Saturday, September 9, 2023

PURism in Antiquity: Theories of Language in Greek Atticist Lexica and Their Legacy

PURA is an ERC Consolidator project (grant agreement no. 865817) which started in January 2021 at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. PURA investigates the theories of linguistic purism that were developed in ancient Greek culture, and the way they were received in later periods. The focus of our analysis is Atticist lexica, ancient ‘dictionaries’ that collect linguistic features to be cultivated or avoided in correct Greek.

Linguistic purism is a recurrent phenomenon in periods of societal crisis, when issues of cultural or national identity are at stake or in the process of being redefined. It responds to the anxiety that a language is decaying, disappearing or being ‘threatened’ by other languages and multilingualism. Such attitudes are common in contemporary societies and have marked the history of European culture at several stages (Italy, Greece and Germany being some prominent examples). Yet their roots can be traced back to antiquity: an antecedent that remains mostly unknown outside Classics and that has never been studied in a multidisciplinary perspective.

PURA goes to the heart of this problem and seeks to build a bridge between ancient and modern purist theories by producing the first diachronic study of Greek purism, the texts which upheld it, and their legacy in later ages


  • Jacopo Cavarzeran, "Polluce in età paleologa: gli excerpta del Marc. gr. Z 490 e del Vat. gr. 904", in Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik 72, 2022.
  • Olga Tribulato, "'Aristophanes with his chorus': Citations and uses of comedy in the lexica of Phrynichus Atticista". In F. Favi, V. Mastellari (eds.), Lampada tradere. Berlin, Boston, De Gruyter.



file pdf Olga Tribulato, "Photius, ἀναλφάβητος and Atticist Lexica"
"Classical Quarterly" 72, 2022, 914-933 (Open access).
361 KB
file pdf Federico Favi, "A Contribution to the Study of P.Oxy. 1803 (Atticist Lexicon)"
"Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies" 62, 2022, 309-327.
320 KB
file pdf Federico Favi, "Procopio di Gaza lettore di Frinico l’Arabo (e di Cratino)"
"Medioevo greco" 22, 2022, 137-146.
115 KB


  • Olga Tribulato, "Antiatticist η 6 Valente (ἡσύχιος). A Proposal for a Different Textual Arrangement", Cambridge Classical Journal 67, 119-134. (DOI with open access file:
  • Olga Tribulato, "ἀφθόνητος αἶνος. Su tre lemmi pindarici dell'Antiatticista". In E. E. Prodi, S. Vecchiato (eds.), ΦΑΙΔΙΜΟΣ ΕΚΤΩΡ. Studi in onore di Willy Cingano per il suo 70° compleanno. Venezia, Edizioni Ca' Foscari, 564-584 (DOI with open access file:


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