Welcome to the Paradoxography website

This site is a work in progress; see blog for updates.

What is paradoxography?

'Paradoxography' is the name now given to a genre of ancient – mostly Greek – literature describing various marvels of the natural and human worlds, which had its origins in the Hellenistic world. The earliest writings date to the third century BCE, with a work of Callimachus that survives only in quotations by the slightly later Antigonus. Most paradoxographical texts were reasonably sober, if rather trivial, compilations of striking instances from authorities such as Aristotle or Herodotus: a sort of 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not' of the Graeco–Roman world. A few were more sensationalist in nature: monstrous births, ghosts, and the wilder reaches of ethnographic and historical works in the style of Ctesias rather than Herodotus.

A more detailed introduction to Paradoxography

The resources offered by this site, how it is structured, and on what sources it draws.

Translated Texts

A very paradoxographical-looking beast from Kongelige Bibliotek, Gl. kgl. S. 1633 4º, Folio 50r, via The Medieval Bestiary