SGA 13 (2023)

Studia graeco-arabica 13 (2023)

ISSN 2281-2687 / ISSN 2239-012X (Online)
ISBN 978-88-3339-881-5

Available in print. Please contact: claudia.napolitano(at)

Affiliations and addresses of the authors of this volume

Dr. Sara Abram
Dipartimento Culture e Società
Università di Palermo
Viale delle Scienze, Ed. 15, 90128 Palermo
Dr. Zhenyu Cai
Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge, CB2 1TQ
United Kingdom
Dr. Elisa Coda
Centre Jean Pépin UMR 8230-ENS-PSL MSCA Fellow (THEIA Project)
7 rue Guy Môquet BP n°8, 94800 Villejuif, Paris
Prof. Cristina D’Ancona
Dipartimento CFS
Università di Pisa
via P. Paoli 15, 56126 Pisa
Prof. Marco Di Branco
Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia
Università di Roma “La Sapienza”
Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma
Dr. Banafsheh Eftekhari
Centre Jean Pépin, UMR 8230
7 rue Rue Guy Môquet BP n°8, 94800 Villejuif, Paris
Prof. Christophe Erismann
Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik der Universität Wien
Postgasse 9, 3. Stock, A-1010 Wien
Dr. Maria Fasciano
maria.fasciano [at]
Dipartimento CFS
Università di Pisa
via P. Paoli 15, 56126 Pisa
Prof. Lenn E. Goodman
Philosophy Department
Vanderbilt University
PMB 406319
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville TN 37240-6319
Dr. Roberto Granieri
KU Leuven – De Wulf-Mansion Centre for Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
Kardinaal Mercierplein 2, 3000 Leuven
Dr. Jawdath Jabbour
TDMAM – UMR 7297, CNRS, Aix Marseille Université
Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l’homme
5, rue du Château de l’horloge, CS 90412
13097 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 2
Prof. M. Cüneyt Kaya
Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Letters
Istanbul University
Balabanaga Mh. Ordu Cad. no. 6, Laleli 34134 Fatih, Istanbul
Dr. Geneviève Lachance
Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon
Alameda da Universidade, 1600-214 Lisboa
Dr. Concetta Luna
Scuola Normale Superiore
Piazza dei Cavalieri 7, 56126 Pisa
Prof. Cecilia Martini Bonadeo
Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche Geografiche
e dell’Antichità, Università di Padova
Via del Vescovado 6, 35141 Padova
Dr. Teymour Morel
Faculté des lettres, Université de Genève
5, rue De-Candolle, 1211 Genève 4
Dr. Benedetto Neola
Alexander von Humboldt Postdoc Research Fellow
Institut für Religionswissenschaft
Heinrich-Düker-Weg 14
37073 Göttingen

Prof. Em. Josep Puig Montada
Institute for the Study of Religion
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Ciudad Universitaria
28040 – MADRID
Prof. Daniel Regnier
St. Thomas More College
Department Head, Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies
University of Saskatchewan
1437 College DR
Saskatoon SK S7N 0W6
Prof. Meryem Sebti
Centre Jean Pépin, UMR 8230
7 rue Rue Guy Môquet BP n°8, 94800 Villejuif, Paris
Prof. Tony Street
Faculty of Divinity
University of Cambridge
West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9BS
United Kingdom
Dr. Leonida Vanni
Dipartimento CFS
Università di Pisa
via P. Paoli 15, 56126 Pisa

Marie-Odile Goulet-Cazé (1950–2023) In memoriam


1. Leonida Vanni, La concezione plotiniana della parcellizzazione (μερισμός): la nozione di parcellizzazione nella filosofia di Plotino, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 1-24
Affiliation: Dipartimento CFS, Università di Pisa
doi: 10.12871/97888333988151
Keywords: Plotinus, Enneads, Lexicon of fragmentation, Plato, Ennead IV 2[4]

Abstract, Full Text PDF

This study explores Plotinus’ conception of μερισμός (“fragmentation”). In the first part of the study, which constitutes the present article, I analyse the notion itself of μερισμός and its significance in Plotinus’ philosophy. In a broad sense, every item in the scala entium, from intellect to bodies, is “fragmented”, since it consists of distinct parts. In its primary and most characteristic sense, however, “fragmentation” refers to the extreme instance of this phenomenon, i.e. the spatial separateness of the parts, which is a distinguishing feature of bodies. In this strict sense, (lack of) μερισμός is a key-notion in the distinction between the intelligible and the sensible domain. In the broader sense, μερισμός admits of various degrees, and serves as an indicator of the intrinsic degree of plurality that characterizes any given entity. This conception is seemingly at odds with certain statements of Plotinus, according to which the soul is not fragmented by its own nature, but becomes so in the bodily realm; however, I try to show that the two perspectives can be reconciled. The article is complemented by an analysis of Plotinus’ lexicon of fragmentation. In the second part of this study, which will form an independent article, I shall focus on the question of what the specific cause is of the fragmentation of bodies.

2. Benedetto Neola, Divine Sending and Ontological Models in Late Antiquity, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 25-48
Affiliation: Institut für Religionswissenschaft, Göttingen
doi: 10.12871/97888333988152
Keywords: Iamblichus, Proclus, Hermias of Alexandria, Eusebius of Caesarea, Cyril of Alexandria

Abstract, Full Text PDF

This article addresses the problematic relationship between divine transcendence and divine immanence in late antique thought from a specific perspective. The schema of the ‘divine sending’ to earth of a divine entity entrusted with a soteriological mission towards humankind will be duly analysed in both the Neoplatonic and Christian sources, focusing on pure souls according to Neoplatonic thought, such as Pythagoras and Socrates, and various figures of Christ. Through a study of the works of Iamblichus, Proclus, and Hermias of Alexandria, on the one hand, and of Eusebius of Caesarea and Cyril of Alexandria, on the other, it provides an overview of the varying ontological models that arise from the concept of the divine sending. It will thus be proved that the shared usage of the ‘sending’ pattern unveils both differences and similarities among the underlying stances concerning how to envisage the divine in itself. From this angle, it will be shown that a due qualification of the distinction between the ontic status of the ‘sender’ and of the ‘one being sent’ is of the utmost importance, since it forces to admit or to refute the existence of different, axiologically connotated, degrees of divinity. By using the ‘divine sending’ modus as a tool to explore late antique conceptions of the divine, this article sheds light on the complex relation of interferences between Neoplatonism and Christianity, revealing different and yet cognate theological world-views.

3. Roberto Granieri, That In Virtue of Which Something Is a Being Note on Damascius, De Principiis II, p. 75.10-11 Westerink, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 49-56
Affiliation: KU Leuven – De Wulf-Mansion Centre for Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
doi: 10.12871/97888333988153
Keywords: Damascius, De Principiis, Plato, Sophist, Form of Being

Abstract, Full Text PDF

At De Principiis II, p. 75.10-11 Westerink, Damascius states that ‘Being will be that which provides being itself to each thing, καὶ καθ’ ὅ τι ὄν ἐστι’. The modern reference translation of the De Principiis, that of Joseph Combès for the Collection des Universités de France, renders the phrase left here in Greek as ‘et selon ce qu’elle est comme être’. Combès interprets it by stating that being is here conceived of as the constitutive unity of each form, at once responsible for both its essence and existence. I argue that both a translation and an interpretation of καθ’ ὅ τι ὄν ἐστι of the type suggested by Combès are untenable and I defend an alternative construal. The two other main modern translations, those of Ahbel-Rappe and Galpérine, are also critically assessed. The translation of the relevant phrase I propose is: ‘and in virtue of which something is a being’. I argue that being – that is the property bestowed by the Kind or Form of Being, a notion that Damascius draws from Plato’s Sophist – is here conceived of as that which is metaphysically responsible only for the fact that something is (or is a being), not also for what something is. This construal does justice to the grammar of Damascius’ text and fits better with the argument of De Principiis II, pp. 56-99 Westerink.

4. Geneviève Lachance, Sur les Catégories 1 a 1 – 1 b 24. Un commentaire anonyme préservé en arménien, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 57-84
Affiliation: Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon (CFUL)
doi: 10.12871/97888333988154
Keywords: Aristotle, Categories, Anonymous Armenian Commentary on the Categories, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Neoplatonic Schools, Organon

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Aristotle’s Categories were translated into Armenian around the end of the fifth or the beginning of the sixth cent. CE. The first text of the Organon was transmitted alongside an anonymous commentary from which it cannot be separated. This commentary, probably a translation from Greek to Armenian, has escaped the attention of most researchers of Aristotelian philosophy in the French-speaking world due to the lack of a proper translation and a philosophical comparative study. The following article aims to offer for the first time a French translation of the Armenian commentary, more precisely of the exegesis of the Cat. 1 a 1 – 1 b 24 (Antepraedicamenta), as well as a comparative analysis of its content. The analysis will reveal that the anonymous commentary was probably written between the third and sixth centuries by a Greek-speaking commentator who was more influenced by the exegesis of Alexander of Aphrodisias than by the one of the various members of the Neoplatonic school of Rome, Athens or Alexandria.

5. Christophe Erismann, Why do Methods Change? On the Significance of the Year 815 for the History of the Byzantine Thought, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 85-108
Affiliation: Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik der Universität Wien
doi: 10.12871/97888333988155
Keywords: Theodore the Studite, Nicephorus of Constantinople, Emperor Leo V, John of Damascus, Year 815

Abstract, Full Text PDF

This article proposes a revised chronology and analyses the conditions of emergence of a new argumentative strategy developed by Theodore the Studite and Nicephorus to defend the cult of images in reaction to the reintroduction of iconoclasm as the official religious position of the Byzantine Empire by Emperor Leo V in 815. It outlines the three main characteristics of this method, based on Aristotelian logic: the use of logical concepts, the production of numerous deductive arguments, and the denigration of the opponent on the basis of his (alleged) poor knowledge of logic.

6. Daniel Regnier, Finding Yourself in Avicenna: The Flying Man Argument and its Plotinian Background, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 109-136
Affiliation: St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan
doi: 10.12871/97888333988156
Keywords: Plotinus, ps.-Theology of Aristotle, Avicenna, Flying Man Argument, Kitāb al-Inṣāf

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Avicenna’s “flying man argument” may have a direct source in Plotinus’ thought as adapted in the ps.-Theology of Aristotle. Avicenna’s Kitāb al-Inṣāf contains a commentary on passages of the ps.-Theology which are directly relevant to the flying man argument. These passages treat of awareness, simplicity of the soul and ethical practice. I examine these passages of the Inṣāf in parallel with the source passages in the ps.-Theology and in Plotinus’ Enneads. With reference to the flying man argument as it appears in Kitāb al-Išārāt wa-l-Tanbīhāt and to Avicenna’s Metaphysics of the Šifāʾ, I argue that at least in certain contexts the flying man argument functions as a moment in a Neoplatonic ethical program.

7. Jawdath Jabbour, Le manuscrit Ṭabāṭabāʾī 1367. Une nouvelle version des Taʿlīqāt d’Avicenne au De Anima et la découverte de la traduction arabe du De Anima I 1 – II 2 par Isḥāq ibn Ḥunayn, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 137-156
Affiliation: TDMAM – UMR 7297, CNRS, Aix Marseille Université
doi: 10.12871/97888333988157
Keywords: Isḥāq ibn Ḥunayn, Arabic Translation of the De Anima, Arabic Aristotle, Avicenna, MS Ṭabāṭabāʾī 1367

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Isḥāq ibn Ḥunayn’s (d. 298/910) translation of Aristotle’s De Anima is a major element of the reception of Aristotelian philosophy in the Arabo-Islamic context. This text was, until recently, considered to be lost in Arabic, where only indirect witnesses of it, besides its Latin and Hebrew translations, were left. While working on the identification of a fragmentary text that remained unmarked in the manuscript Ṭabāṭabāʾī 1367 –housed in the Library of the Parliament in Tehran, I discovered that this copy was a consequent fragment of Avicenna’s Annotations to the De Anima and that it not only presented a recension of the text different from the one previously known, but that it also contained lemmata of that recorded Isḥāq’s translation of book I and chapters II 1-2 of Aristotle’s De Anima, whose edition I am preparing. This article announces this discovery and presents the manuscript in question, the copy of Avicenna’s text it contains, and the translation of De Anima that the text preserves.

8. Marco Di Branco, Lost in Translation: Some Mistranslations from the so-called Kitāb Hurūšiyūš, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 157-162
Affiliation: Università di Roma “La Sapienza”
doi: 10.12871/97888333988158
Keywords: Kitāb Hurūšiyūš, Historiae adversus paganos, Paulus Orosius, Pragmatic Mistranslation, Cultural Mistranslation

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The purpose of this article is to use the theoretical frame proposed by Christiane Nord in her important book Translating as a Purposeful Activity: Functionalist Approaches Explained, in order to analyze some of the most significant mistranslations of the so-called Kitāb Hurūšiyūš, the famous Arabic version of the Historiae adversus paganos by the Latin historian Paulus Orosius.

9. M. Cüneyt Kaya, “Rectifying Faith” Through Philosophy: On al-ʿĀmirī’s al-Iršād li-taṣḥīḥ al-iʿtiqād, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 163-180
Affiliation: Istanbul University
doi: 10.12871/97888333988159
Keywords: Al-ʿĀmirī, al-Iršād li-taṣḥīḥ al-iʿtiqād, Kindian Tradition, Religion, British Library

Abstract, Full Text PDF

This article aims to introduce al-ʿĀmirī’s (d. 381/992) al-Iršād li-taṣḥīḥ al-iʿtiqād, which had been listed among his lost works in the studies on him. This text, referred to by al-ʿĀmirī himself six times in his four extant works, provides us with important insights for understanding al-ʿĀmirī’s thought, particularly his use of philosophical terminology and teachings in explaining religious doctrines, used in polemics against the theologians. After establishing al-Iršād’s position in al-ʿĀmirī’s oeuvre, I first introduce its unique manuscript at the British Library, Collection of Oriental Manuscripts, Or. 9840. I then explain its aim, content, and structure in general, and determine its approximate date of composition; finally, I present the introduction of al-Iršād as an appendix.

10. Sara Abram, A Treatise on the Immortality of the Soul by Ibn Suwār, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 181-210
doi: 10.12871/978883339881510
Keywords: bū al-Ḫayr al-Ḥasan ibn Suwār, M. fī baqāʾ al-nafs al-nāṭiqa min al-insān ʿalā ra ʾy Arisṭūṭālis, Isḥāq ibn Ḥunayn, Aristotle’s De Anima, Alexander of Aphrodisias’ De Anima ,

Abstract, Full Text PDF

This article presents the edition and translation of the Treatise on the Immortality of the Rational Soul of Man According to Aristotle’s Opinion (M. fī baqāʾ al-nafs al-nāṭiqa min al-insān ʿalā ra ʾy Arisṭūṭālis) by the Christian philosopher and physician Abū al-Ḫayr al-Ḥasan ibn Suwār (942-post 1017). Its importance lies in the fact that: (i.) it provides the sole testimony concerning the doctrine of the immortality of the soul developed by a philosopher who was a significant representative of the intellectual life of his day; (ii.) it constitutes concrete evidence of the fact that the philosophical activity of the Baghdad Aristotelians did not concern only Aristotle’s logic, physics, and metaphysics, but also psychology and noetics; and (iii.) it transmits literal quotations from lost Arabic translations, representing their earliest testimony: three lemmata from Aristotle’s De Anima and one from Alexander of Aphrodisias’ De Anima in Isḥāq ibn Ḥunayn’s (830-911) translations.

11. Zhenyu Cai, Revisiting Avicenna’s Semantics of Genus and Differentia, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 211-222
Affiliation: Trinity College, Cambridge
doi: 10.12871/978883339881511
Keywords: Mereology of Meaning, Avicenna, Genus, Differentia, Metaphysics of the Cure

Abstract, Full Text PDF

In recent years, the dominant approach to understanding Avicenna’s theory of meaning is to speak in terms of a mereology of meaning. In particular, Paul Thom’s mereological interpretation of Avicenna’s theory of the predicables offers a mathematical model to illustrate how the meaning of definition is mereologically constructed from genus and differentia. This paper aims to revisit Avicenna’s semantics of definition to examine the limitations of the mereological approach. I will highlight a few texts from chapter 7, Book V, the Metaphysics of the Cure, to show that Avicenna is aware of the possibility of developing a mereological interpretation of the meaning of the definition. As I will argue, however, he explicitly rejects this possibility and develops an alternative.

12. Banafsheh Eftekhari, Teymour Morel, An Unnoticed Fragment of the Ps.-Theology of Aristotle
in a Manuscript of Averroes’ Talḫīṣ al-Manṭiq Preserved in Iran
, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 223-230

Affiliations: Centre Jean Pépin – UMR 8230, CNRS Paris; Université de Genève
doi: 10.12871/978883339881512
Keywords: ps.-Theology of Aristotle, Arabic Plotinus, Arabic Plato, Arabic Aristotle, MS Kitābḫāna-yi Maǧlis-i Šūrā-yi Islāmī 1981

Abstract, Full Text PDF

This article reports the discovery of a fragment of the ps.-Theology of Aristotle in a codex preserved at the Library, Museum, and Documentation Center of the Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It will be shown that this fragment presents the peculiarity to accompany a copy of Averroes’ logical works, namely, the Middle Commentaries on the first four books of Aristotle’s Organon.

13. Lenn E. Goodman, Ibn Tufayl’s Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān Enters the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 231-256
Affiliation: Vanderbilt University, Nashville (Tennessee)
doi: 10.12871/978883339881513
Keywords: Ibn Ṭufayl, Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓan, Edward Pococke, John Locke, George Keith

Abstract, Full Text PDF

Translating a work gives it new readers, and perhaps new meanings. Ibn Ṭufayl, the Andalusian physician/philosopher (ca. 1100-1185), wrote his Arabic philosophical novel Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓan as thought experiment. Where Avicenna had sought, notionally, to isolate his self-awareness from all bodily sensations, aiming to show that thoughts of consciousness presume no physical object, and therefore that the seat of consciousness, depends on nothing physical – not even one’s body – Ibn Ṭufayl sought, fictively, to isolate a single human being from all human exposure, assigning him, as he grew to maturity, no parental or other human contact, no language, communal upbringing, or religious tradition, seeking to determine what a brilliant, curious, and dedicated man could discover without societal support – or interference.

14. Concetta Luna, Une traduction latine inédite des Excerpta Chaldaica de Proclus: Lucas Holstenius et un traducteur anonyme, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 257-278
Affiliation: Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa
doi: 10.12871/978883339881514
Keywords: Proclus, Excerpta Chaldaica, Lucas Holstenius, MS Vallicellianus Allacci CXXV, MS Vallicellianus Allacci XLVII

Abstract, Full Text PDF

The article analyzes an unpublished Latin translation of Proclus’ Excerpta Chaldaica, preserved in two manuscripts (Allacci CXXV and XLVII) at the Vallicelliana Library, in Rome. The palaeographical analysis shows that ms. Allacci CXXV is in the hand of Lucas Holstenius (1596-1661). In the eighteenth century, Holstenius’ holograph was copied into ms. Allacci XLVII, and the translation, which Holstenius left unfinished, was completed and partly revised. The article presents the critical edition of the text, preceded by a study of the translation and of the Greek models employed by Holstenius and by the anonymous translator that later on completed his translation.


1. C. D’Ancona: D. Gutas ed., With the assistance of Ch. Burnett and U. Vagelpohl, Why Translate Science? Documents from Antiquity to the 16th Century in the Historical West (Bactria to the Atlantic), Brill, Leiden – Boston 2022 (Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section One. The Near and Middle East 160), SGA 13 (2023), pp. 281-287.
doi: 10.12871/978883339881515

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2. M. Fasciano: Y. Beale-Rivaya – J. Busic (eds.), A Companion to Medieval Toledo. Reconsidering the Canons, Brill, Leiden – Boston 2018 (Brill’s Companions to European History 16), SGA 13 (2023), pp. 288-295.
doi: 10.12871/978883339881516

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3. J. Puig Montada: Aristotle’s Physics VIII: Translated into Arabic by Isḥāq ibn Ḥunayn (9th c.), Edited with Introduction and Glossaries by R. Arnzen with a Contribution by P.S. Hasper, De Gruyter, Berlin – Boston 2021 (Scientia graeco-arabica 30), SGA 13 (2023), pp. 296-298.
doi: 10.12871/978883339881517

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4. C. D’Ancona: Ptolémée “al-Gharīb”. Épître à Gallus sur la vie, le testament et les écrits d’Aristote, Texte établi et traduit par M. Rashed, Les Belles Lettres, Paris 2021 (CUF), SGA 13 (2023), pp. 299-304.
doi: 10.12871/978883339881518

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5. C. Martini Bonadeo: J. Jabbour, De la matière à l’intellect. L’âme et la substance de l’homme dans l’oeuvre d’al-Fārābī, Vrin, Paris 2021 (Études musulmanes, LIII) , SGA 13 (2023), pp. 305-311.
doi: 10.12871/978883339881519

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6. T. Street: Avicenna, The Healing, Logic: Isagoge. A New Edition, English Translation and Commentary of the Kitāb al-Madḫal of Avicenna’s Kitāb al-Šifāʾ by S. Di Vincenzo, De Gruyter, Berlin 2021 (Scientia graeco-arabica 31), SGA 13 (2023), pp. 312-314.
doi: 10.12871/978883339881520

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7. M. Sebti: T. Alpina, Subject, Definition, Activity. Framing Avicenna’s Science of Soul, De Gruyter, Berlin 2021 (Scientia graeco-arabica 28), SGA 13 (2023), pp. 315-318.
doi: 10.12871/978883339881521

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8. E. Coda: S.R. Ogden, Averroes on Intellect. From Aristotelian Origins to Aquinas’ Critique, Oxford U.P., Oxford 2022, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 319-323.
doi: 10.12871/978883339881521

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9. E. Coda: Averroès (Ibn Rušd), L’intellect. Compendium du livre De l’âme, Introduction, traduction, notes et commentaires par J.-B. Brenet, texte arabe établi et présenté par D. Wirmer, Vrin, Paris 2022 (Sic et Non), SGA 13 (2023), pp. 324-327.
doi: 10.12871/978883339881522

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Errata Corrige

M. Di Branco, Book Announcement of “A.M. Roberts, Reason and Revelation In Byzantine Antioch. The Christian Translation Program of Abdallah ibn al-Fadl, University of California Press, Oakland 2020”, Studia graeco-arabica 12 (2022), pp. 183-4:
• p. 183: add quotation marks before “This book” and after “Christianity”.
• p. 183, line 13: after “Christianity” add “(Introduction, p. 1)”.
• p. 183, paragraph 2: the reviewer apologizes for unintentional omission of exact references to “Introduction, p. 4, §3-5”.

Index of Manuscripts, SGA 13 (2023), p. 331
Index of Ancient and Medieval Names, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 332-333
Index of Modern Names, SGA 13 (2023), pp. 334-337

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