‘Si possem, haec […] volumina retinerem et retractarem potius quam ederem.’ As I prepared to publish the results of nearly two decades of research dedicated to the history of the text and to the editing of the Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius, more than once this phrase came to mind. But, like Siegfried Sudhaus, I did not give in to the temptation: ‘sed multa me commovent, ut quae habeam tandem edam. nam […] infiniti laboris aliquis tandem finis faciendus videbatur, et complurium contentione et iudicio philologorum plus effici quam unius opera expertus scio’ (Philodemi Volumina Rhetorica ed. S. Sudhaus, Leipzig 1892, v).
No edition of an ancient text can be considered definitive. My hope is to have taken a step forward in the understanding of the text of Diogenes' Lives, and to have laid down foundations on which others will build.
This project would never have been realized if I had not had the enviable privilege of belonging to a team of the French ‘Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique’ (CNRS), the ‘Centre Jean Pépin (UPR 76)’. Being free of didactic and administrative commitments, and hence enjoying complete otium, I have been able to dedicate myself full time to the study of Diogenes Laertius.
Many other cultural institutions have come forward with useful and concrete o.ers of help.