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Theophrastus - lost works

Update on 5.5.2010: For any enquiries about the Theophrastus Project, please visit or contact David Mirhady.

These pages are maintained by the Department of Greek and Latin, UCL, as part of R. W. Sharples' and the Department's contribution to Project Theophrastus, an international collaborative undertaking initiated by Professor William W. Fortenbaugh of the Department of Classics at Rutgers University, New Jersey, in 1979.

The first priority of Project Theophrastus was the publication of the "fragments" of works by Theophrastus not preserved in MSS and known only from ancient or medieval citations. "Fragments" is here a shorthand expression, since the collection includes testimonia as well as verbatim quotations. In addition, the last collection of Theophrastean "fragments", by Wimmer in 1866, included as fragments some short texts which are preserved in MSS and which we are therefore treating as opuscula. The text and translation of the "fragments" has been published by E.J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands:

  • Theophrastus of Eresus, Sources for his Life, Writings, Thought and Influence, text and translation, ed. W. Fortenbaugh, P. Huby, R. Sharples and D. Gutas, 1992, 2 vols

and a series of commentary volumes is appearing with the same publisher.

The extracts from ancient and medieval sources included in the text and translation volumes are, precisely, sources for the study of Theophrastus and his fortuna. The inclusion of a report is not a statement of confidence in its reliability, and the texts as printed include not only what we may suppose to derive from Theophrastus himself, but also context material relevant for its interpretation. Both the accuracy and the extent of the reports of Theophrastus embedded in our extracts are subjects for discussion in the commentary volumes.