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An epitome (; gr, ἐπιτομή, from ἐπιτέμνειν ''epitemnein'' meaning "to cut short") is a summary or miniature form, or an instance that represents a larger reality, also used as a
synonym A synonym is a word, morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical item in a language. A morpheme is not a word. The difference between a morpheme and a word is that a morpheme bound and free morphemes, sometimes does not stand alone ...
for embodiment. Epitomacy represents "to the degree of." An
abridgment An abridgement (or abridgment) is a condensing or reduction of a book or other creative work into a shorter form while maintaining the unity of the source. The abridgement can be true to the original work in terms of mood and tone, capturing the ...
differs from an epitome in that an abridgment is made of selected quotations of a larger work; no new writing is composed, as opposed to the epitome, which is an original summation of a work, at least in part. Many documents from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
and
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
worlds survive now only "in epitome," referring to the practice of some later authors (epitomators) who wrote distilled versions of larger works now lost. Some writers attempted to convey the stance and spirit of the original, while others added further details or anecdotes regarding the general subject. As with all secondary historical sources, a different
bias Bias is a disproportionate weight ''in favor of'' or ''against'' an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded Open-mindedness is receptiveness to new ideas. Open-mindedness relates to the way in which people approach the views and kn ...

bias
not present in the original may creep in. Documents surviving in epitome differ from those surviving only as fragments quoted in later works and those used as unacknowledged sources by later scholars, as they can stand as discrete documents but refracted through the views of another author. Epitomes of a kind are still produced today when dealing with a corpus of literature, especially classical works often considered dense, unwieldy and unlikely to be read by the average person, to make them more accessible: some are more along the lines of abridgments, such as many which have been written of
Edward Gibbon Edward Gibbon (; 8 May 173716 January 1794) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval Eng ...

Edward Gibbon
's ''
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire ''The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'' is a six-volume work by the English historian Edward Gibbon Edward Gibbon (; 8 May 173716 January 1794) was an English historian, writer and Member of Parliament. His most importan ...
'', a work of eight large volumes (about 3600 pages) often published as one volume of about 1400 pages. Some are of the same type as the ancient epitome, such as various epitomes of the ''
Summa Theologiae The ''Summa Theologiae'' or ''Summa Theologica'' (), often referred to simply as the ''Summa'', is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian ...
'' of
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, ...

Thomas Aquinas
, originally written as an introductory textbook in theology and now accessible to very few except for the learned in
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed ...
and
Aristotelian Aristotelian may refer to: * Aristotle (384–322 BCE), Greek philosopher * Aristotelianism, the philosophical tradition begun by Aristotle * Aristotelian ethics * Aristotelian logic, term logic * Aristotelian physics, the natural sciences * Aristot ...
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
, such as ''A Summa of the Summa'' and ''A Shorter Summa''. Many epitomes today are published under the general title "The Companion to ...", such as ''The Oxford Companion to Aristotle'', or "An Overview of ...", or "guides," such as ''An Overview of the Thought of
Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about r ...

Immanuel Kant
'', ''How to Read
Hans Urs von Balthasar Hans Urs von Balthasar (12 August 1905 – 26 June 1988) was a Swiss theologian and Catholic priest who is considered an important Roman Catholic theologian of the twentieth century. He was appointed a Cardinal (Catholic Church), cardinal by Pope Jo ...
'', or, in some cases, as an introduction, in the cases of ''An Introduction to
Søren Kierkegaard Søren Aabye Kierkegaard ( , also ; ; 5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He wrote critica ...
'' or ''A
Very Short Introduction ''Very Short Introductions'' (''VSI'') is a book series published by the Oxford University Press (OUP). The books are concise introductions to particular subjects, intended for a general audience but written by experts. Most are under 200 pages ...
to the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
'' (many philosophical "introductions" and "guides" share the epitomic form, unlike general "introductions" to a field).


Examples of epitomes for lost works

*
Sextus Julius Africanus :''For the first century orator, see Julius Africanus. For others with this name, see Africanus.'' Sextus Julius Africanus (c. 160 – c. 240; Greek: Σέξτος Ἰούλιος ὁ Ἀφρικανός or ὁ Λίβυς) was a Christian tra ...
and
Eusebius Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τῆς Καισαρείας, ''Eusébios tés Kaisareías''; AD 260/265 – 339/340), also known as Eusebius Pamphili (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμϕίλου) ...

Eusebius
epitomes of
Manetho Manetho (; grc-koi, Μανέθων ''Manéthōn'', ''gen''.: Μανέθωνος) is believed to have been an Ancient Egyptian religion, Egyptian priest from Sebennytos ( cop, Ϫⲉⲙⲛⲟⲩϯ, translit=Čemnouti) who lived in the Ptolemaic Kin ...
's ''
Aegyptiaca Manetho (; grc-koi, Μανέθων ''Manéthōn'', ''gen''.: Μανέθωνος) is believed to have been an Ancient Egyptian religion, Egyptian priest from Sebennytos ( cop, Ϫⲉⲙⲛⲟⲩϯ, translit=Čemnouti) who lived in the Ptolemaic King ...

Aegyptiaca
'' *
John Xiphilinus Joannes Xiphilinus (also John Xiphilinus; el, Ἰωάννης Ξιφιλῖνος), epitomator of Dio Cassius Lucius Cassius Dio (; ) or Dio Cassius ( ''Dion Kassios'')), Cassius Lucius Dio or Cassius Claudius Dio; alleged to have the ' (nic ...
's precis of the missing portions of
Cassius Dio Lucius Cassius Dio (; ) or Dio Cassius ( ''Dion Kassios'')), Cassius Lucius Dio or Cassius Claudius Dio; alleged to have the ' (nickname) Cocceianus was a Roman statesman and historian of Greek and Roman origin. He published 80 volumes of the ...
's ''Roman History'' *
Justin Justin may refer to: People * Justin (name), including a list of persons with the given name Justin * Justin (historian), a Latin historian who lived under the Roman Empire * Justin I (c. 450–527), or ''Flavius Iustinius Augustus'', Eastern Roma ...
's abridged version of the ''Philippic History'' by
Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus also anglicized as was a Gallo-Roman The term "Gallo-Roman" describes the Romanization (cultural), Romanized culture of Gaul under the rule of the Roman Empire. This was characterized by the Gaulish adoption or adaptat ...
, one of the main sources for the life of
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
* The epitome of Book IV of the Pseudo-Apollodorus's '' Bibliotheca'' 'Library'' a comprehensive
encyclopedia An encyclopedia (American English), encyclopædia (archaic spelling), or encyclopaedia (British English) is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge either from all branches or from a particular field or discipline. ...
of
Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psyc ...
* ''
Libro de los Epítomes The ''Libro de los Epítomes'' (''The Book of Epitomes'') is a catalogue summarising part of the library of around 15-20,000 books which Ferdinand Columbus ( es, Fernando Colón) assembled in the early sixteenth-century in an effort to create a libr ...
'', a 2000-page volume summarising the 16th-century collection of
Ferdinand Columbus Ferdinand Columbus Spanish: ''Fernando Colón'' also ''Hernando'', Portuguese: ''Fernando Colombo'', Italian: ''Fernando Colombo''; c. 24 August 1488 – 12 July 1539) was a Spanish bibliographer and cosmographer, the second son of (Cristobal Co ...
(Hernando Colón) of over books


See also

*
Abridgment An abridgement (or abridgment) is a condensing or reduction of a book or other creative work into a shorter form while maintaining the unity of the source. The abridgement can be true to the original work in terms of mood and tone, capturing the ...
* ''
Epitome de Caesaribus The ''Epitome de Caesaribus'' is a Latin historical work written at the end of the 4th century. It is a brief account of the reigns of the Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Impe ...
'', short fourth-century Latin example of an epitome * ''
Epítome de la conquista del Nuevo Reino de Granada ''Epítome de la conquista del Nuevo Reino de Granada'' (English: ''Summary of the conquest of the New Kingdom of Granada'') is a document of uncertain authorship, possibly (partly) written by Spanish Empire, Spanish List of conquistadors in Colom ...
'', a probably sixteenth-century description of the Spanish conquest of the Muisca * ''
Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae The ''Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae'' was an astronomy book on the heliocentric system published by Johannes Kepler in the period 1618 to 1621. The first volume (books I–III) was printed in 1618, the second (book IV) in 1620, and the third ...
'', a seventeenth-century astronomy textbook by Kepler


References

* Bibliography * * {{lit-stub