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Theophrastus on Ebay

Recently, a text entitled 'Theophrastus' in Greek, copy 1541, published
in Basel, was being auctioned on Ebay, as it appeared from a message to
this List by the Florentine bookseller Bardi.
Departing from our philosopher, and in connection with him, I can't go
without saying a few words pertaining destiny of books. A favorite pupil
of Aristotle, Theophrastus directed the famous Academy in Athens for 35
years. He had received in heritage Aristotle's library, an important
(private) collection of books at the time. In turn, when Theophrastus
died in 287 BC, left the same library to his student Neleus. Now, Neleus
at his retirement, carried the books to a small place called Scepsis,
not too far from Troy. His descendants, to avoid having to surrender
them to the library of Pergamum , hid them underground! It's true that
for the Attalid dynasty of Pergamum book collecting appears to be almost
a mania; in fact king Eumenes II combed the kingdom for books, sometimes
paying, sometimes snatching them away. But burying books in a damp place
such as underground, what a silly idea! Consequently, they were damaged.
Still, Apellicon of Teos, shall we say a bibliophile rather than a
scholar, bought them at a high price around year 100 BC.; he himself
decided to copy what was left of the texts on to fresh sheets, filling
in the gaps with his OWN thinking. So that he published the books full
of errors. Anyway, eventually the Appellicon books were transported by
emperor Sulla (138-78 BC) to Rome where they were studied and carefully
edited by scholars. Nevertheless, Strabo adds that mistakes continued to
be common due in part to mediocre copyists, in part to inefficient
booksellers who omitted proper proofreading before

Rezan Peya Gökçen,

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