ANECDOTE (from ἀν-, privative, and ἐκδίδωμι, to give
out or publish), a word originally meaning something not published. It
has now two distinct significations. The primary one is something not
published, in which sense it has been used to denote either secret
histories—Procopius, e.g., gives this as one of the titles
of his secret history of Justinian's court—or portions of ancient
writers which have remained long in manuscript and are edited for the
first time. Of such anecdota there are many collections; the
earliest was probably L. A. Muratori's, in 1709. In the more general
and popular acceptation of the word, however, anecdotes are short
accounts of detached interesting particulars. Of such anecdotes the
collections are almost infinite; the best in many respects is that
compiled by T. Byerley (d. 1826) and J. Clinton Robertson (d. 1852),
known as the Percy Anecdotes (1820-1823).
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