TLG Technical Note 004:
TLG Date Sorting

Authored: Nishad Prakash, TLG
Maintained by
Created: May 2000
Last Revised: 2000-5-12

The following defines the sorting order for dates in the TLG Canon as used on the TLG CD ROMs and online databases.

1. Preliminaries

The following conventions are used in designating TLG Dates (from Berkowitz, L. & Squitier, K. A. 1990. Thesaurus Linguae Graecae: Canon of Greek Authors and Works. 3rd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. xix-xx.)

Arabic numerals in cardinal form indicate the century of an author's floruit. A dash between numerals indicates that the author's floruit spans the two centuries. Thus, the date given for Strabo Geogr. is 1 B.C.-A.D. 1, based upon the approximate dates of his sojourns in Rome (44-35 B.C., again ca. 31 B.C., and a third time in 7 B.C.), Egypt (25 until ca. 19 B.C.), and Amasia (ca. 7 B.C. until his death sometime after A.D. 21.)

When no firmer evidence can be adduced, a virgule between numerals is used to suggest the earliest and latest possible dates. Thus, the date given for Alciphron Rhet. et Soph. is A.D. 2/3, meaning that the earliest possible date for his letters (though purportedly written by Athenian fishermen, farmers, parasites, and courtesans of the fourth century B.C.) is the second century and the latest is the third.

When only a terminus ante quem is discernable, or at least logically to be assumed, this is indicated by, for instance, ante 1 B.C. for Socrates Argivus, an historicus whom Jacoby dates "vor Demetrius Magnes." The word ante, however, can encompass both antecedence and contemporaneity. Appolonius Med. --- the one from Tarsus --- is datable only in relation to Galen (who can be dated with certainty to the second century), but whether he was Galen's contemporary or predecessor is indeterminable.

Similarly, a terminus post quem is indicated by the word post and the appropriate century; the date for Ariston Hist., for instance, is given as post 3 B.C.

Question marks have been used with dates that are considered problematical, as for Democritus Epigr. (ante A.D. 3?) and Aristocles Paradox. (3 B.C.?/A.D. 1). When it is simply impossible to suggest a date, the word Incertum has been used instead, as for Zenodorus Trag. Incertum is also assigned to many of the letters attached to a well-known name, although they were certainly composed later, such as Chilonis Epistula, Crateris Epistula and Themistocles Epistulae.

2. Sorting

Order of precedence is as follows for sorting:

Within this structure is the following precedence: Example: