Systasis 40 (2022)


Editorial Preface to the Jubilee Issue

„Since then I never stopped thinking about this problem. The result was that on the 19th of December 1942, I came to the solution that has only now seen the light of day.“

Mihail D. Petruševski

‘Definicijata na tragedijata kaj Aristotela i katarsata [La définition de la tragédie chez Aristote et la catarse]’, GZFF 1 (1948), 1.

It is with great honor and pleasure that I present this jubilee issue. The joy is threefold. We celebrate the publication of the fortieth issue, the twentieth anniversary of our journal, and at the same the eightieth anniversary of the birth of an idea, a discovery in honor of which the journal was named Systasis.

In his own words, Mihail D. Petruševski (1911-1990), Macedonian classical philologist and founder of the Institute of Classical Studies in Skopje, got acquainted with the problem of the catharsis in Aristotle's definition of tragedy for the first time when he was a student of classics at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. He never stopped thinking about it until he found a solution on the 19th of December 1942. However, he communicated it publicly only six years later, after the Second World War, in 1948, in his first article on this topic, which was published in the first issue of the Annual of the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje. Guided solely by the original text of the Poetics and its logic, he came to the conclusion that Aristotle actually never spoke about catharsis as an element of tragedy in his Poetics and that the expression παθημάτων κάθαρσιν ’cleansing of emotions’ was never used in his definition of tragedy. Based on the palaeographical analysis of the surviving manuscripts, Petruševski made the conjecture πραγμάτων σύστασιν on the final part of the definition of tragedy. What Aristotle discussed many times in the Poetics and what he considered to be the most important element of the tragedy was the ’composition of events.’ The phrase παθημάτων κάθαρσιν was introduced in the Aristotelian text only later, as a result of a scribal error, a wrong conjecture in what seemed to be a damaged place in the manuscript.

˝This is one of the boldest conjectures of our time and it has been overlooked in contemporary literature. ... It is almost too elegant and too reasonable to be accepted at once˝ commented Teddy Brunius in his article Catharsis in the Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Petruševski himself was also aware that the reputation of Aristotle and his Poetics is so high and the legacy of the term catharsis in the theory of poetics and aesthetics so enormous that it would take some time before everybody understood and accepted the fact that all theories about the tragic catharsis were built upon a myth.

Is the conjecture πραγμάτων σύστασιν still too elegant and too reasonable to be accepted at once, eighty years after its birth? Does its argumentation still stand firm? What was its critical reception over the past years? How can this discovery be applied to philosophy and to the other discourses and disciplines? How does it change our understanding of Aristotle's Poetics? What is in the background of the use of the term σύστασις and the use of the phrase σύστασις τῶν πραγμάτων in Aristotle and his teacher Plato?

The contributions collected in the special thematic section ˝Παθημάτων κάθαρσιν or πραγμάτων σύστασιν? Professor Mihail D. Petruševski's Solution of the Problem of Tragic Catharsis 80 Years Later˝ examine all these questions and offer answers that will engage your thinking and hopefully provoke you to ask more questions.

The articles devoted to other topics in this issue are of no less importance.

The journey of the electronic journal Systasis started twenty years ago. It was created to be a digital place where contributions from classical philologists, historians, archaeologists, philosophers and all others who study the civilizations of Ancient Greece and Rome and their heritage and reception could come together. A composition of scholarly articles, translations from Ancient Greek and Latin, book reviews, abstracts. A combat of different ideas, opinions, views. The bibliography of all the contributions published from the first issue until today, prepared for this special occasion, speaks for itself about the importance of having a place that calls for contributions twice or at least once a year. It would have not been possible for the journal to grow into what it is today without the selfless efforts of many people and without the continuous financial support by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of North Macedonia.

I would like to express my gratitude to the founder of the journal Margarita Buzalkovska Aleksova, Proffessor at the Institute of Classical studies in Skopje and its first editor in chief, to all the members of editorial board, current and former, and to all collaborators (peer reviewers, proofreaders, editors) who have devoted many hours of work to make the publication of Systasis possible over the years. I would also like to express my special appreciation of the co-operation of all the authors who have entrusted the publishing of their scholarly work to our editorial board. Finally, the editorial board of Systasis is deeply indebted to Vladimir Sidorovski who was responsible for the web design and the editing of the contents of the journal and who had unfortunately left us too soon. Our memories will always be with him.

Dear colleagues and friends of Systasis the editorial board will continue to work with enthusiasm, hoping that by preparing new issues, we will pave the way for new great discoveries.

Elena Džukeska

Editor in chief


Светлана Кочовска-Стевовиќ

Лукијан и Хомер: рецепцијата на Хомер во Вистинска приказна(1-21)

Целта на овој прилог е да ја истражи рецепцијата на Хомер и на Хомеровите епови во делото Вистинска приказна од Лукијан од Самосата. Примарниот интертекст на делото е епизодата од Одисеја (Od. 9. 39–12. 453) во која Одисеј на гозбата кај Алкиној им ја раскажува на Фајачаните приказната за своето необично патување: нараторот во Вистинска приказна, именуван исто како и авторот на делото, Лукијан, раскажува дека тргнал на патување по море за време на кое, носен од ветрови и бури, посетил многу места населени со необични форми на живот, а во еден миг, исто како и Одисеј, се нашол во подземниот свет. Делото изобилува со референции на Хомер и со пародични алузии на сцени и епизоди главно од Одисеја, но и од Илијада. Овие интертекстуални постапки се најбројни во описот на престојот на нараторот на Островот на Блажените (Luc. VH 2. 5–35), каде што престојуваат сенките на Хомер и на неговите книжевни херои. Средбите на нараторот со Хомер и со неговите херои не го рефлектираат само односот на Лукијан кон Хомер туку и кон неговата биографска и критичка рецепција. Во делото Лукијан го обвинува Хомер дека е лажго и се подбива со неговите биографи и критичари поради нивната тенденција да измислуваат приказни и да посветуваат внимание на безначајни нешта.

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Филип Марковски

Писмото бр. 71 на Теодор Студит и вториот бран на иконоборското движење во Византија(22-41)

Овој труд има две главни цели што треба да ги исполни: 1. превод на писмото со намера за збогатување со средновековен изворен материјал на македонски јазик; 2. анализа на писмото и негово сместување во поширокиот контекст. Теодор Студит со својот опширен творечки опус е најзнаменитиот претставник на иконофилството во текот на вториот иконоборски бран, така што сметаме дека тој е соодветна личност преку која може да се осознаат главните текови на даденото историско време.

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Слободан Танасковски

Библиографија на објавени трудови во списанието Систасис број 1 (2002) ‒ број 40 (2022)(42-59)

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Лидија Ковачева

Обредната симболика во антиката и во македонската народна традиција(60-63)

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Elena Koleva

Encomium in honor of the Macedonian scholar–philologist – Mihail D. Petruševski Ad perpetuam memoriam Mihaelis D. Petruševski(64-77)

Emendatio Mihaelis D. Petruševski in definitione tragodiae Aristotelis est docta inventio, logica correctio contra obscuram dogmam in totalitate formae artis poeticae. Syntagma κάθαρσις τῶν παθημάτων (ἔλεος καὶ φόβος) in definitione tragica est alienus locus: κάθαρσις (lustratio, purgamentum) est mystica res in rebus divinis… In disputatione Aristotelis De arte poetica absolute absens mysteria; autem vero Aristoteles disputat de arte (περὶ τέχνης, περὶ ἐμπειρίας, ἐμπειρίας εἴδεος poeticae). Vero autem in corpore Platonico abundat mysteria, divinae res, mystica, sed haec sunt res divinae: in dialoge Leges (Νόμοι) saepissime adest lustratio (καθαρμός) hosper mystica poena in scelerem et in vastationem sacrorum. Necesse est dicere syntagma (emendatio) ‒ in tragica εἴδεος ‒ „σύστασις τῶν πραγμάτων“ esse principium formae poeticae ex toto.

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Katerina Kolozova

Poetics as Composition of Events(78-85)

The paper argues that Aristotle’s Poetics reveals a unique view of art or poetic creation as a realm closely intertwined with the rest of the domains of human cognitive and creative practices such as philosophy, science, technology all stemming from the centrality of the notion of technē. In order to access the notion of technē in a way that allows for the propositions made here, one has to endorse the trajectory of reading Aristotle’s text through the prism of the concept of systasis (of elements) as the definition of tragedy, an argument put forward in a daring and illuminating way more almost 70 years ago by the Macedonian classical philologist, Mihail D. Petruševski.

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Marina Christodoulou

Neither "pathēmatōn", nor "symptōmatōn", or "kataphaseōn" katharsin: The non-cathartic philosophy of "non-decision" and "ephexis in decision"(86-146)

Professor Mihail D. Petruševski was a Macedonian Philologist who proposed that pathēmatōn katharsis or katharsis pathēmatōn (παϑημάτων κάϑαρσις or κάϑαρσις παϑημάτων), as it appears in the first line of the definition of Tragedy (in Aristotle's Poetics), was an error of copying, and the correct phrase Aristotle most probably used was pragmatōn systasis or systasis pragmatōn (πραγμάτων σύστασις or σύστασις πραγμάτων; the order, system, concatenation of things, facts, or events). Catharsis was favored and given a medical-pathological interpretation by Bernays, and others before him, which created a tradition and a consensus on how to understand catharsis and consequently the essence of Tragedy itself. I argue here in favor of Mihail D. Petruševski's linguistic-philological proposal, and I extend it to include philosophy, where I propose and argue that we have a cathartic understanding of philosophy as well, that is, a cathartic understanding of the exogenous affects it produces or brings on the reader, in parallel to our perception that there is the telos and the essential exogenic element of catharsis in our interpretation of what Tragedy, arts, in general, and psychoanalysis, do, shall do, aim at, or shall aim at, and be practised for. I will try to propose and argue on how the philological discovery of Petruševski can or shall be applied to Philosophy, and to other discourses and disciplines, and the pivotal ethico-political importance of this discovery to our general habits of thought and to our habits or forms of life.

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Darin Angelovski

The Critical Reception of Academician Michail D. Petruševski's Conjecture 'Composition of Events'(147-156)

The aim of this article is to analyse the critical reception of the conjecture composition of events made by Academician Mihail D. Petruševski. Our intention is to provide insight into the articles published in Macedonian journals (Godišen zbornik na Filozofskiot fakultet ‒ Annuaire de la Faculté de Philosophie, Živa Antika ‒ Antiquité vivante, Stožer, Sovremenost), in which Academician Petruševski communicated the new reading of Aristotle's definition of tragedy and then to make an overview of the critical responses to this issue home and abroad.

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Elena Džukeska

On the Use of the term σύστασις in Aristotle and Plato(157-169)

The arguments for making the conjecture πραγμάτων σύστασιν on Aristotle's definition of tragedy were corroborated by Mihail D. Petruševski both by palaeographical analysis of the surviving manuscripts and copies of the Poetics and by comprehensive semantical and textual analysis of Aristotle's theory of poetry. He pointed out that in the Poetics the term κάθαρσις is mentioned only once more other than in the definition of the tragedy. Whereas the term σύστασις and in particular the phrase σύστασις των πραγμάτων is mentioned many times, the ’composition of events (acts)’ i.e. the plot being one of the main six elements of the tragedy.

The aim of this paper is to explore the overall use of the term σύστασις in Aristotle's works in comparison to its use in Plato's works in order to provide linguistic data for reevaluation of the arguments provided by Petruševski on one hand and to deepen our understanding of the evolution of the meaning of this term within the Greek language on the other.

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