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The greatest anthology or compilation of short ancient Greek poetry. It was compiled by Constantinus Cephalas in the Byzantine Empire around the year 900, building on previous anthologies.

It was reworked around 1300 by Maximus Planudes, who unfortunately wasn't nearly as good an editor, and produced a much inferior version. It was this botched Anthology of Planudes that first appeared in print, in 1494, under the hand of Janus Lascaris, a refugee from the fall of Constantinople and a protégé of Lorenzo de' Medici and Pope Leo X. This work became widely known and diffused.

In 1606 a young scholar Claude de Saumaise was in Heidelberg looking through the library of the Elector Palatine. This boy of 18, better known as Salmasius, and as "the miracle of the world, most learned of mortals", found a manuscript he recognized as the original anthology of Cephalas, lost for centuries. This became known as the Palatine Anthology. (So it has nothing to do with the Palatine hill in Rome.)

The Heidelberg manuscript was seized in about 1622 in the Thirty Years War and presented to the Pope. It was not printed until 1776. In 1797 it was seized by the French and carried to Paris; and after Waterloo the victors returned most of it to Heidelberg (leaving part in Paris by mistake).

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