Leonidas of Tarentum Critical Essays


It is not known in what form Leonidas of Tarentum published his epigrams. A large number were published after his death in the Garland of Meleager, an anthology of epigrams put together early in the first century b.c.e., but it is probable that Meleager himself depended on earlier collections. Meleager’s Garland is lost, although large parts of it were included when Constantine Cephalas, a church official in the palace at Constantinople in the late ninth century c.e., made a larger anthology of Greek epigrams. Within a century, Cephalas’s collection (itself also lost) became a source of a still much larger anthology of Greek epigrams from the Byzantine, Roman, and earlier Greek eras, now known as the Greek Anthology or the Palatine Anthology. Cephalas’s collection was also the source of an independent selection of epigrams put together in 1301 by the Byzantine monk Maximus Planudes. Eight or nine epigrams by Leonidas are extant only in the Planudean Anthology. The Palatine Anthology is so called because of its rediscovery in the Count Palatine’s library at Heidelberg in 1606; modern editions are based on that tenth century codex as supplemented by the later Planudean collection. The numbering system used for references is either that of the Palatine Anthology (AP.) or that of the standard edition, The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams (1965), edited by A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page (G.-P.).