From the History of Classical Philology: Alexei F. Losev and Bruno Snell
This article delves into the history of classical philology and the relationship between two prominent classical philologists, one Russian and one German: Alexei Losev (1893–1988) and Bruno Snell (1896–1986). The article shows that both scholars worked at the intersection of philosophy, philology, and history of concepts, and both were interested in the history of ideas, terminology, aesthetics, and mythology and in the language of ancient Greek epics. Unlike Snell, who did not speak Russian and was unable to familiarize himself with Losev’s work on the history of ancient thought, Losev relied on Snell’s work from the mid-1920s until the very end of his life, using Snell to defend his own views on various controversial issues (e.g., reconstructing Homer’s archaic notions of the cosmos, debating the meaning of Heraclitus’ term “ethos,” or discussing the usage of the word sēmainō, and so forth). The subject of analysis is Losev’s 1962 review of the Dictionary of the Early Greek Epic (Lexicon des frühgriechischen Epos), edited by B. Snell, as well as the two scholars’ correspondence in 1959–1960.