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Bill Thayer

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The Texts on LacusCurtius

Of the more than two hundred works authored by Theophrastus, fewer than a dozen have survived, of which the most important are his two works on botany, Enquiry into Plants and Causes of Plants (the traditional but stilted title, better rendered as How Plants Work). Neither one is onsite yet: I've started with two minor works, Odors and Weather Signs. The Greek texts of these and their English translations by Sir Arthur F. Hort, as well as the brief Introduction to them, are those found in Volume II of the Loeb Classical Library's Theophrastus: Enquiry into Plants, pp323‑433.

As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents below, the items are therefore shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the texts to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme. Should you spot an error, however . . . please do report it.



Περὶ ὀσμῶν

Concerning Odours

Περὶ σημείων
 ὑδάτων καὶ πνευμάτων
 καὶ χειμώνων καὶ εὐδίων

Concerning Weather Signs


As mentioned, text and translation are those printed in Volume II of the Loeb Classical Library's Theophrastus: Enquiry into Plants, first published in 1926. They are now in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright expired in 1954 and was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been that year or the year before. From a European standpoint, they have been in the public domain since 2006 because Sir Arthur Hort died in 1935. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

Chapter Numbering, Pagination, Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the Loeb pagination is indicated by local links in the sourcecode and appears in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line p57 ): it's hardly fair to give you "pp53‑56" as a reference and not tell you where p56 ends. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

The chapters and sections mark local links, according to a consistent scheme; you can therefore link directly to any passage. Some other local links have been inserted as needed for cross-reference, and occasionally for other purposes. If you have a website and would like to target a specific passage that does not have its own local link yet, just ask.

As elsewhere in the texts on my site, the little flags allow you to toggle back and forth between the languages: each language opens in its own window.

Critical Notes

The Loeb edition provides no apparatus criticus to the Greek text, but mixes critical notes in with its other notes on the translation. I didn't try to disentangle them: to find them you will have to consult the English pages.

[image ALT: A photograph of a single bloom of Anemone sylvestris, serving as the icon on this site for the works of Theophrastus.]

The icon with which I indicate the works of Theophrastus onsite — a close‑up of an Anemone sylvestris, a fragrant Old World plant whose name is usually thought to derive from ἄνεμος, the Greek word for wind — comes to me kind courtesy of Peter Häger, who has ceded it to the public domain. It is a detail of his photo Spring Flowers, Anemones, part of a large, useful, and generous-minded site, PublicDomainPictures.Net.

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Site updated: 13 May 12