Loeb Classical Library

Symposion

Active Member
When I analyze texts written in Latin from the antiquity I most often use Loeb Classical Library. I have understood that the problem with the Loebs is that it only contains a minimal so called critical apparatus. What do you think about this problem?
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
I think it exists. How serious a problem it is obviously depends on the text in question.

I'd have thought that the main problem with Loebs is that it's virtually impossible not to let your eyes stray to the English version. Or the main advantage, if you're using it as a pony.
 

Symposion

Active Member
Well it is published by Harvard University Press (HUP) with Professor Jeffrey Henderson from Boston University as General Editor. At the same time the intended audience for the publication is indeed an amateur reader of for example Latin and not Latinists. I know several historians that use Loeb for historic research but not Latinists that use it for classical philology.
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
The Loeb series is meant simply to be a translation of the Classical (Latin and Greek) corpus for undergraduates majoring in Classics, which is why it includes the original text in a facing-page format. It is for Latin learners, but is not, however, meant as an apparatus of either textual or translational criticism for, say, doctoral students. It fulfills its mission well, particularly when accompanied by an interlinear translation of the text in question. However, for those who have gained enough facility in Latin that they are at the level of optimizing diction and determining proper style of expression to convey tone and intent, then the Loeb Classics would not seem to provide much assistance, and indeed are not determined for that.
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
ita... possunt usuī esse, sed illīs quī volunt linguae studēre melius est nōn versiōnem anglicam legere.

illud tamen instrūmentum quaerendī quod apud rēte invenītur ūtilissimum est.
 

Iáson

Cívis Illústris
sī venīs ad pāginam Bibliothēcae Loebicae, invenīs tāle instrūmentum, quō potes verba latīnē vel graecē vel anglicē quaerere apud omnēs librōs Loebicōs.
 

Symposion

Active Member
I think Loeb is not that good for Latin linguistics and philology research. At the same time the positive value of the series is that the great Classical Latin masterpieces are made easily available for people that are not Latinists. Loeb is found readily online or at book shops or in public libraries. At the same time I know that Loeb is commonly used for academic research in History of ancient Greece and Rome.
 

rothbard

Aedilis
Staff member
I have almost never used the Loeb editions; it seems too distracting to have an English translation on the next page. Instead, I like the In Usum Delphini. For poetry and the more difficult authors, such as Apuleius or Tacitus, they include a "translation" below the text into easier Latin, together with notes (also in Latin) and a short critical apparatus.
 

Symposion

Active Member
Then why look at the English version? In the online version you can choose to only have the Latin version on display. If need be one can then also check only the English version.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
The Loeb series is meant simply to be a translation of the Classical (Latin and Greek) corpus for undergraduates majoring in Classics, which is why it includes the original text in a facing-page format. It is for Latin learners, but is not, however, meant as an apparatus of either textual or translational criticism for, say, doctoral students. It fulfills its mission well, particularly when accompanied by an interlinear translation of the text in question. However, for those who have gained enough facility in Latin that they are at the level of optimizing diction and determining proper style of expression to convey tone and intent, then the Loeb Classics would not seem to provide much assistance, and indeed are not determined for that.
I think you vastly overestimate most Classicists' Latin abilities. Your average doctoral student is precisely the type of person that needs a Loeb edition and would be none the wiser if given an all-Latin edition like In Usum Delphini. I myself regularly use the Loebs as a quick reference when I need to understand a phrase I came across out of context, especially when I need to translate it for someone else; or to compare my understanding of a passage with a professional translator's, especially when the issue is non-linguistic and relates to cultural knowledge (something which Classicists are supposed to be good at). Even if your Latin quick-reading skills are on par with those of English, having a parallel translation will still be beneficial in close to 100% of cases like it's beneficial to hear what you're seeing and vice versa. And of course, unlike those all-Latin editions, a passage in a Loeb is just one google-search away.
 
Last edited:

Quintilianus

Civis Illustris
What I don't like with Loeb is the original text being on the left page. That makes the translation the main version somehow when it should really only be an auxilium to the Latin or Greek.
 

Symposion

Active Member
I think you vastly overestimate most Classicists' Latin abilities. Your average doctoral student is precisely the type of person that needs a Loeb edition and would be none the wiser if given an all-Latin edition like In Usum Delphini. I myself regularly use the Loebs as a quick reference when I need to understand a phrase I came across out of context, especially when I need to translate it for someone else; or to compare my understanding of a passage with a professional translator's, especially when the issue is non-linguistic and relates to cultural knowledge (something which Classicists are supposed to be good at). Even if your Latin quick-reading skills are on par with those of English, having a parallel translation will still be beneficial in close to 100% of cases like it's beneficial to hear what you're seeing and vice versa. And of course, unlike those all-Latin editions, a passage in a Loeb is just one google-search away.
I agree and it is good to also have professional translation also. I do not see that as such a problem especially when if the English translation disturbs you you can as I wrote above hide it in the online version of Loeb. The academic French publication Collection Budé has the Classical text and a translation into French. The problem with Loeb is that it does have only a minimal critical apparatus compared to Oxford Classical Texts or the Teubner editions. Those are useful for textual criticism in Classical philology. That is not as useful for historians studying the antiquity and as such historians use the Loeb series many times.
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
I think you vastly overestimate most Classicists' Latin abilities. Your average doctoral student is precisely the type of person that needs a Loeb edition and would be none the wiser if given an all-Latin edition like In Usum Delphini.
Haha, maybe so. I have never attended college, so my experience with levels of Latin expertise within academia is, shall we say, quite limited by that fact. I'm basically just some "jamoke" who happened to get interested in Latin, Greek, and then linguistic history, which I find fascinating (fascinating, for instance, that I can find words in Farsi which are cognate to familiar English terms I have always used).
What I don't like with Loeb is the original text being on the left page. That makes the translation the main version somehow when it should really only be an auxilium to the Latin or Greek.
But, isn't that exactly what is desireable? With a facing page format, if the Latin text were to be on the right page, then the English translation would precede, no? I wish I had one of my (few) Loeb volumes right now, so I might see what you mean, but I am at a friend's house...
 
Last edited:

Quintilianus

Civis Illustris
It's not a question of coming first but of being on the nobler page which is the right one, the one that feels more natural, easy to read. That's the choice made by the Budé collection and I think they're right.
 
Top