Greek Manuscripts of Demosthenes

The main intention has been to take a systematic approach to the complex problematic of the rich manuscript transmission of the Corpus Demosthenicum. A synergetic treatment of the all relevant disciplines (Greek palaeography and codicology, Byzantine studies, classical philology) permits a more systematic analysis of the manuscripts of Demosthenes and the diachronic aspects of the transmission, primarily for the period most important for establishing the text. This requires insights into the intellectual and cultural backgrounds as well as the geographic and historical conditions of the production and subsequent survival of the manuscripts. 

In the years 2008-2011 the research was supported by the FWF Project P 20049-G02 „Greek Manuscripts of Demosthenes from Antiquity to the Eleventh Century (Studies on Paleography, Codicology and Textual Criticism)“. Emphasis has been placed on a palaeographical and codicological re-examination and an in-depth critical documentation of the oldest Byzantine manuscripts of the Corpus Demosthenicum, dating from the ninth to the 11th century (codices vetustissimi) on which the existing editions are based. A monograph on the transmission of the Corpus Demosthenicum from Antiquity to the 11th century as well as an apparatus lectionum containing a comprehensive documentation of all material relevant for establishing the text are being prepared.

One of the main goals has been to create an international scholarly network on this particular topic and to provide new impetus for further research on the textual transmission of the Corpus Demosthenicum. An important achievement in this respect was the international Symposium organised in September 2011. The proceedings Demosthenica libris manu scriptis tradita. Studien zur Textüberlieferung des Corpus Demosthenicum with contributions by (in alphabetical order) Herbert Bannert, Lisa Benedetti, Luciano Canfora, Lorenzo Maria Ciolfi, Ernst Gamillscheg, Jana Grusková, Felipe G. Hernández Muñoz, László Horváth, Konstantinos A. Kapparis, Sofia Kotzabassi, Herwig Maehler, Stefano Martinelli Tempesta, Donal Spence McGay, Brigitte Mondrain was published in 2014 in the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press.

Some insights into the transmission of Demosthenes were published (as an additional and extended contribution to The Oxford Handbook of Demosthenes) in the Graecolatina et Orientalia 39-40, 2018. The second part of this overview will be published in the Graecolatina et Orientalia 41-42 (2022).


  • University of Vienna, Institute of Classical Philology, Medieval and Neolatin Studies(Herbert Bannert)


Otto Kresten (project leader)

Jana Grusková (project collaborator)