I thought encyclopedias were a comparatively modern invention, but there is the Suda:

(Σοῦδα or alternatively Suidas Σουΐδας) is a massive 10th century Byzantine Greek historical encyclopædia of the ancient Mediterranean world. It is an encyclopædic lexicon with 30,000 entries, many drawing from ancient sources that have since been lost. The derivation is from the Byzantine Greek word suda, meaning ‘fortress’ or ‘stronghold.’

Alexander Pope knew about the Suda and said in the Dunciad, “For Attic phrase in Plato let them seek, / I poach in Suidas for unlicens’d Greek.” (4.227-8) The Danish scholar Ada Adler made a critical edition of the Suda in the 1930s, which we can now consult on line.

According to the Suda, Hypatia of Alexandria once rebuffed a suitor by throwing sanitary napkins at him! And some believe school and esoteric knowledge are not fun, but how is it not fun to learn of these exciting rumors?



Filed under Bibliography, News

4 responses to “Esoterica

  1. thanks for the bibliotip!

  2. wow – amazing — so many thanks for this link!!!

  3. Perfect.

    The story I heard was that one of her students fell in love with her and that during one of her lessons she took a part of her garment and wiped the blood from between her legs, then put into his face and said “This! This is what you love.”


    Thanks for the links I will revisit.

  4. OMG what a great story! I have got to seriously read up on her!

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