The Greek Anthology is an enormous collection of incidental poetry, mostly post-classical and mostly elegy of one to four couplets. The content and quality of the poems vary wildly. Poems were penned for every occasion, to excoriate a dreadful host at a dinner party, to make fun of the size of someone's nose, to memorialize the dead. There are ruminations on numerology, celebrations of wine, of life, and sober reflections on death and the brevity of life, and of course sex. Some poems are vulgar. The wide variety of the topics may seem strange to modern readers, who expect a certain loftiness to poetry. Book 14, for example, is devoted to puzzles, oracles and riddles. The first book is Christian, which isn't terribly odd, but it starts the work that ends with an appendix for epigrams on works of art. I seem regularly to run across vivid descriptions of persons with bad breath, or chronic gas, and in at least one vivid poem, a horrible confusion of both.

The full collection has about 4500 poems. The entire collection is known from a single source, the Palatine Codex, which represents the work of a 10th century editor, who was apparently working from several previous collections made from the 1st century BCE to the 2nd century CE, all lost to us now. The enire mass was rearranged and added to again in the 14th century.

Much of the collection is frankly tedious, and this doubtless accounts for the low opinion many have of the Anthology. However, with 4500 poems to choose from, there are some gems too. Obviously completely lacks the resources to publish the entire Anthology, even if I wanted to do such a thing. But I will anthologize the anthology, and publish those few poems that catch my eye.

Unless otherwise marked, I'm getting the texts from Epigrammatum Anthologia Palatina, v.2., Fred. Dübner, Paris 1872.