The aim of this conference is to bring together an international group of distinguished speakers to consider the status of the fragment in antiquity, ancient perceptions of fragments and attitudes to fragmentary texts.

In the reception of literature from Graeco-Roman antiquity to the present, the failure of whole works to survive, i.e. survival in fragmentary form, is far more the rule than the other way around. Even whole genres could perish. In the case of authors who survive, we usually have a small and not always repre­sentative selection of their works. Readers from antiquity to the present were more sensitive to risks and lapses in transmission than we are: the digital revolution is one modern expression of such anxiety. Realization of the preponderance of partial transmission puts the fragmentary work in a new light.

The relation of the part to the whole, the literary microcosm, and the representative nature of a text preserved as an extract or quotation—all become central to the processes of reading and interpretation. The papers of the conference will introduce for discussion, in the debate over raising the fragment to the status of a whole, a test-set of texts both new and old, both familiar and previously unknown, or little known, which have entered the corpus of Graeco-Roman literature for the first time as fragments, in order to set out some of the ways in which we help ourselves to the textual past, using a variety of a different types of fragments to recover lost texts.

Such texts will be used to illustrate some of the rules and basic procedures commonly followed in the reception and transmission of fragmentary texts in antiquity. The focus is not only on the collection and editing of fragments in the Renaissance or modern times but also on their status, reception and transmission in antiquity in form of quotations, collections and also in citations in scholia, commentaries, and lexica.