Saturday, June 8, 2019

Book Blogger Hop June 7th - June 13th: The Romans Defeated the Etruscans in the Battle of Lake Vadimo in 310 B.C.

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: What's the oldest work (by publication date) you've read?

This is an interesting question, because it raises the issue of what one means by "published". I've read some very old works, but only in translation, since I don't speak Ancient Greek and my Latin is rudimentary at best. The question to be confronted is when were they "published"? Do we consider their publication when they were first written, or when they were translated? I'm leaning towards "when they were first written", but I can see an argument for the other position. of course, once you go back far enough, "publication date" becomes a fuzzy issue, mostly because there aren't really good records for when a particular story was first written.

For example, I have read the Iliad and the Odyssey, both in multiple translations. As far as I can tell, general consensus is that these stories were first written (as opposed to being recounted in oral form) some time in the 8th century B.C. I have also read Antigone by Sophocles, which is usually dated to some time around 441 B.C. This does take a somewhat expansive view of what a "work" is, as the Iliad is an epic poem and Antigone is a play. If we are confining the question to prose novels, another older work I have read is The Golden Ass by Apuleius, which is the oldest known surviving novel and is dated to some time in the late 2nd century A.D.

If we are only counting works of more recent vintage published in English, I have read Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, which was published in 1820.

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  1. The questions you raised are wonderful. I tend to go deeper as well, but this time I didn't. I am glad you did! This is the best response I have read!

  2. Nice answer! I go back to Ancient Greece with Theogony by Hesiod. We had to study Latin in high school so my oldest reading comes from that time (I know he's Greek but as you said, I read a translated version which was in Latin, bot English or my mother tongue). But does what we read for school count? And I did forget about the Iliad and Beowolf but the question is the same. Do they count? After those title, I picked the Divine Comedy, read for school, too, in the original language (I'm Italian) so does it count? Heehee, dilemma. If we count all these "don't count" my very first published work that I read all by myself (not for school) is Utopia. If that also doesn't count I have Tom Jones. Is it okay for the answer? HeeHeee dilemma, dilemma!!!

    Have a nice week!!