By Harvey Yunis

The landmark advancements of Greek tradition and the serious works of Greek inspiration and literature have been observed through an explosive development within the use of written texts from the 6th throughout the fourth centuries B.C.E. The construction of the "classical" and the perennial use of Greece through later ecu civilizations as a resource of information and concept do not need taken position with out the textual concepts of the classical interval. This booklet considers how writing, examining, and disseminating texts resulted in new methods of pondering and new varieties of expression and behavior.

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A wide dissemination of this kind of literacy is all Euripides would have needed to depend on when contriving the famous scene in the Theseus (frag. 382 Nauck) in which an illiterate herdsman can only spell out for the audience – by describing the shapes of the letters – the name of Theseus that he discerns on a sail coming into port. 24 Havelock’s picture of restricted early literacy is thus not easily refuted, but its significance for literature may be questioned. After all, a good story needs a good plot, no matter whether it is told or written, and a live performer can bring down the house with le mot juste at the right moment as forcefully as a careful writer can by putting it in the right place.

Estrateum”noi g†r e«si, / bibl©on t ì ›cwn ™kastov manq†nei t‡ dexi†. Woodbury 1976: 353. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff 1907: 120–7 argued for a trade in . tragic texts, but see Sedgwick 1948; on tragedy and writing, see Segal 1982. Havelock 1963: 55–6, cf. Davison 1968: 107–8. , at Wasps 1222: toÅtoiv xunÜn t‡ sk»li ì Âpwv d”xei kalwv. Cf. 4 West (dexi»thv te l»gou). 54 Woodbury, who holds that “literacy had become general by the date of the Frogs,” yet appreciates that even in 405 “books did not yet fit easily into the general view of life.

A significant body of serious readers of song texts is only clearly visible in the fourth century. What I call textualization was the appropriation of such objects by highly literate minorities who made the primary criterion of their value the play of language, the one aspect of song a text can best capture. Then, as now, fixed written texts allowed interpretation to exploit the precise observation of word usage and formal patterning. Of course, nothing in principle prevented people from quoting and reflecting on songs without a text at hand.

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