Monday, July 24, 2017


Orly Lewis, Praxagoras of Cos on Arteries, Pulse and Pneuma. Studies in Ancient Medicine, 48. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2017. Pp. 350. ISBN 9789004337428. $151.00.

Reviewed by Jessica Wright, University of Southern California (

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Frustratingly little has been written on the medical author Praxagoras of Cos (c. late 4th/early 3rd century BCE), despite his recognized influence on later medical and philosophical theories about the human body. From the past century—with the exception of Steckerl's collection of fragments and Capriglione's Italian translation of it—Lewis counts just two studies dedicated to Praxagoras, one of which is a journal article, the other a book chapter (7).1

This neglect is the consequence of two primary obstacles: first, very little of Praxagoras' work survives, and most of it is in the form of third-party description or testimonies rather than verbatim fragments (15-16); second, Praxagoras is most famous for a doctrine that has been damned as a "tragic mistake," formulated without regard for empirical evidence and delaying scientific progress. This was the theory that the arteries (artêriai), as distinct from the veins (phlebes), carried only air (pneuma), and terminated in sinews (neura). That Praxagoras separated the arteries from the veins has been upheld as a watershed in medical knowledge; that he was the first to articulate an understanding of the pulse as a natural (i.e., non-pathological) and constant motion has been all but ignored; his notion that the arteries contain only pneuma and "become" neura has earned him ridicule from ancient and modern readers alike.

Lewis' excellent volume—a collection and re-interpretation of fragments related to Praxagoras' arterial theory—not only disputes this assessment of his scientific contribution, but also lays solid foundations for engaging with Praxagorean theories more broadly. One effect of the stagnation in Praxagorean scholarship is that past claims about his methods, ideas, and influence are repeated uncritically in work on related topics. By opening up questions long thought settled, Lewis has demonstrated the fruitfulness of revisiting the Praxagorean corpus, not only from the perspective of philosophy of science (as, for example, in Michael Frampton's study of voluntary motion, which Lewis critiques), but also with renewed attention to methodology in selecting, framing, and explaining textual "fragments."2

The volume is divided into two parts, preceded by an introduction that lays out the little we know about Praxagoras and sets the agenda for the rest of the book. I discuss each part in turn below.

Part One includes the fragments and Lewis' commentary. The fragments are preceded by a second introduction, which sets forth the rationale for selection and arrangement. Here, Lewis emphasizes both the narrow range of source texts (most of the fragments are drawn from the works of Galen and the Anonymous of Paris) and the broad criteria for inclusion: fragments that mention neither Praxagoras nor Lewis' key terms (arteries, pneuma, pulse) are included if they seem, based on pattern or deduction, to refer to Praxagoras, or if they contribute indirectly to an understanding of his arterial theory, or both.

Lewis collects 33 fragments, inclusive of "testimonies."3 The fragments are organized under four headings: the anatomy of the arteries (fragments 1-3); the physiology of the arteries (fragments 4-15); the relationship between pneuma and soul (fragments 16-20); and pathologies of the arteries and the pneuma (fragments 21-32). Each fragment is presented in the original language with facing English translation, although Lewis is careful to point out that she is not offering a critical edition (23-5).

Lewis' translations are lucid. Her provision of extensive surrounding text for each fragment both in the original and in translation makes the collection bulky and creates a disjointed effect, in contrast to Steckerl's smooth passage through morsels of Praxagorean thought. The choice is nonetheless wise, reminding the casual reader of the painstaking and subjective process through which an editor creates an assemblage of "fragments" out of whole texts, and encouraging evaluation not only of the fragment itself, but also of the lens through which it has been reinscribed by its source text.

Only two of the fragments (frr. 2a and 2b) present themselves as direct quotations from Praxagoras' own writings, and both of these provide different renderings of the same text. Lewis takes this opportunity to reflect upon the problematic nature of the verbatim fragment as it is typically understood. Suggesting that the distinction between "fragments" and "testimonies" might obscure the imprecision of ancient quotation practices (18-19), Lewis stresses throughout the importance of reading always with a view to imported terminology, tendentious framing, and manipulation or misquotation of the original text.

The fragments in this collection are, for the most part, also found in Steckerl's earlier volume. However, Lewis makes a number of vital contributions: (1) new translation of the fragments, relying in some cases on updated critical editions, (2) the inclusion of additional context from the source texts, (3) thematic organization toward a synthetic discussion of important Praxagorean doctrines, (4) reintegration of fragments that were split up and shuffled in Steckerl's collection, (5) reinterpretation of some fragments based on new critical editions of the source texts, (5) the inclusion of a small number of fragments that are absent from Steckerl's collection. Given the extensive overlap between Steckerl's and Lewis' collections of fragments, it is unfortunate that Lewis' volume lacks a concordance for easy reference. Overall, however, the organization of the fragments and their relation to their source texts is clear.

Part Two of the volume, titled "The Doctrines of Praxagoras on Arteries, Pulse and Pneuma," offers a synthetic discussion of Praxagoras' teachings, based on the fragments presented in Part One. It is here that Lewis makes her historiographic intervention clearest, disputing three authoritative claims that derive, ultimately, from Fritz Steckerl. In each case, Lewis emphasizes the difficulty of drawing certain conclusions from the fragmentary evidence. Her focus is upon the need for proper contextualization of fragments within their source text and its framework of reference. Through close reading and careful argument, Lewis reveals the weaknesses in Steckerl's reconstruction of Praxagoras' doctrines and sets forth a more modest account that no doubt will become the standard in future studies.

The first claim Lewis disputes is that Praxagoras developed his arterial theory without practical anatomical experience. Lewis argues, to the contrary, that Praxagoras quite possibly carried out dissections, both in experimental and therapeutic contexts, and that in any case his theorization is clearly based on an understanding of arterial morphology that he could only have gained through observation. Lewis is correct to emphasize Praxagoras' practical experience, especially since it is the perceived falsity of his ideas that have motivated scholars to insist that he worked from theory alone. In some places, however, Lewis is so insistent upon the importance of revising this assumption that she seems to neglect the role of theory in shaping perception. It is not necessary to reject the insight of Steckerl and Frampton that Praxagoras was answering a "theoretical demand" in the development of his arterial doctrines in order to demonstrate that he was also observing material bodies. As historians of science have long since demonstrated, theory shapes not only how scientists and doctors explain what they perceive, but also what they perceive in the first place.4

The second claim Lewis disputes is that Praxagoras thought that arteries actually become neura (sinews). Lewis suggests, rather, that Praxagoras followed Aristotle in understanding arteries as being "like neura" in general, their tips being most neura-like of all. Navigating the complexities of the evidence in thorough, if sometimes overly detailed fashion, Lewis lays out three questions central to this debate: (1) did Praxagoras think that the arteries became neura or only looked like them? (Lewis: arteries looked like neura); (2) did Praxagoras think that the arteries changed anatomically or functionally or both? (Lewis: arteries changed anatomically only); and (3) did Praxagoras think pneuma continued to travel through the neura-like endings of the arteries? (Lewis: yes, he did). What is fascinating in this discussion, as Lewis hints at in her conclusion, is that neurabecame, for Hellenistic authors, the name for the "nerves," that is, vessels though which only pneuma passed in order to enable sensory and motor function in the animal.

Third, Lewis disputes the claim that Praxagoras considered pneuma to be identical with soul, anticipating and laying the foundations for the more famous Stoic theory. While Lewis notes in her conclusion that Praxagoras marks an important development in the history of pneuma, she strongly contends that there is no evidence that Praxagoras equated it with soul. Instead, she demonstrates that pneuma was an instrument of psychic agency, which Lewis attributes to the heart. Lewis' discussion of this question, albeit somewhat dense, is extremely valuable, offering an important corrective to Steckerl's striking but unsustainable theory that Praxagoras understands the soul to be "a kind of mixture of the air which enters the body and of the air which is enclosed in the bubbles" released through digestive processes (292, quoting Steckerl). The broader importance of this argument for the history of the "soul" is clear: as Lewis remarks, the "substance" of soul was simply not an interesting question to medical authors of this period; rather, Praxagoras and his peers sought to identify "the instrument (and physiological infrastructure) of the faculties connected with the soul" (294).

Praxagoras of Cos on Arteries, Pulse and Pneuma is an important contribution to the field of ancient medicine, making accessible to researchers and to students the ideas of a central transitional author between Hippocratic and Hellenistic medical writings. Lewis' writing is repetitive but thorough. Readers seeking a basic grasp of Praxagoras' arterial theory will be well served by reading at least the conclusion, which sets out in clear summary form each of the doctrines discussed. The meticulous detail of Lewis' arguments, meanwhile, lays the foundations for more precise investigation of how theories about the arteries, the pulse, the pneuma, and indeed the nervous system and the soul, developed in the hazy years between "Hippocrates" and Galen.


1.   E. D. Baumann, "Praxagoras von Kos", Janus 41 (1937): 167-85. F. Steckerl (ed.), The Fragments of Praxagoras of Cos and His School (Leiden: Brill, 1958). J. C. Capriglione, Prassagora Di Cos (Naples: Il Tripode, 1983). D. Nickel, "Hippokratisches bei Praxagoras von Kos?" in P. J. van der Eijk (ed.), Hippocrates in Context (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 315-23. There are, of course, numerous studies that discuss Praxagoras in passing.
2.   M. Frampton, Voluntary Animal Motion from Greek Antiquity to the Latin Middle Ages, 400 B.C.-A.D. 1300 (Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag, 2008). Frampton invokes Kuhn's theory of scientific paradigms to explain Praxagoras' argument that arteries "become" sinews, suggesting that this thesis was an attempt to solve a theoretical problem within the Aristotelian paradigm. According to Frampton, following Kuhn, a (paradigmatic) scientific model that includes gaps and inconsistencies will encourage solutions that fit within the same paradigm, rather than total reinvention.
3.   33, that is, counting frr. 2a and 2b separately.
4.   See especially S. Kuriyama, The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine (New York: Zone Books, 1999).

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Victoria Moul (ed.), A Guide to Neo-Latin Literature. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Pp. xxviii, 488. ISBN 9781107029293. $140.00.

Reviewed by Floris B. Verhaart, Queen's University Belfast (

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[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

Recent years have witnessed a sudden surge in the number of works whose purpose it is to offer readers a reference work for and introduction to Neo-Latin studies. These are the publication of both The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin (2015), edited by Sarah Knight and Stefan Tilg, and Brill's Encyclopaedia of the Neo-Latin World (2014, 2 vols), edited by Philip Ford, Jan Bloemendal, and Charles Fantazzi. To these titles can now be added A Guide to Neo-Latin Literature, edited by Victoria Moul. A senior lecturer in Latin Language and Literature at King's College London, Moul has been an important voice in the fields of classics and Neo-Latin studies both because of her work on the early modern reception of Latin and Greek poetry—especially lyric—and Latin literature in Renaissance and early modern Europe.

It has been the orthodoxy for a long time in overviews of Neo-Latin literature and culture to use genre as a central organising principle. The reason is very pragmatic. As Moul writes in her introduction, early modern authors reveal a marked interest in the distinctions and definitions of different genres and one of the first steps any student who encounters a new early modern text will take is to (roughly) establish its genre on the basis, for example, of the text's metre and subject (p. 5). Such an approach should, of course, come with a caveat since some neo-Latin works are very hard to categorise. Thomas More's Utopia, for example, could be justifiably defined as a dialogue, satire, or prose fiction. We therefore find it discussed in three different chapters in Moul's volume. The same focus on genre can be found as early as Paul van Tieghem's enthusiastic, but rather positivist survey in "La littérature latine de la Renaissance", first published in Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance in 1944, as well as the first proper reference work of the field: the Companion of Neo-Latin Studies, first published in 1977 by Jozef Ijsewijn and later expanded by Ijsewijn and Dirk Sacré (1990- 1998, 2 vols). Ijsewijn is still seen as one of the founding fathers of present-day Neo-Latin studies and it is thefore no surprise that the second edition of the Companion is an important point of reference for Brill's Encyclopedia, as well as The Oxford Handbook (TOH) and this new Guide to Neo-Latin Literature (NLL). Given the relatively recent publication of a handbook and an encyclopedia on roughly the same topic one might be inclined to ask if this guide has anything relevant to add to the field of Neo-Latin studies. The fact that many contributors to Moul's volume were also involved in the two other publications makes asking such a question more understandable. The chapters on oratory in both TOH and NLL have even been written by the same person, Marc van der Poel.

The purpose of each of the essays in NLL is to introduce readers to a particular aspect, in most cases a genre, of neo-Latin literature. Therefore, instead of discussing all 23 essays separately, I will discuss the characteristics and emphases in this volume on the basis of particular examples and show how this sets the volume apart from earlier publications. For a full overview of the volume's chapters, please see below in the table of contents.

I will start with the question of relevance. According to this reviewer the answer to this question should be an emphatic "yes". As the editors of TOH write in their introduction their volume is "more compact than the Encyclopaedia, while placing a more concerted emphasis on cultural and historical than does [A Guide to] Neo-Latin Literature." Indeed, TOH consists of three parts, of which only the first part Language and Genre (pp.13-214) deals with the different genres of Neo-Latin literature, while the second part (Cultural Contexts) and third part (Countries and Regions) focus on aspects of Latin culture—such as education, religious identity, and social status—and geographic context respectively. NLL consists of four parts. The first part (pp.15-80) is called Ideas and Assumptions and discusses the intellectual and cultural context of Latin literature from the Renaissance and Early Modern period. The backbone of the volume is followed by the two following parts, Poetry and drama (pp. 81-234) and Prose (pp. 235-376). The final part (pp. 307-407), Working with Neo-Latin Literature, deals with practical matters such as the editing of neo-Latin texts.

The lion's share of NLL is therefore devoted to discussions of different genres. In some cases, this is also reflected in a slightly further distinction of genres than we find in this volume than in TOH. Whereas in the latter, we find essays on satire, narrative poetry, and fiction, in Moul's volume this has been further distinguished into verse and prose satire, didactic poetry and epic, and shorter and longer prose fiction.

The narrower focus in Moul's volume on literary texts allows for a much more detailed treatment and textual analysis than one would find in the other two publications and where the Encyclopaedia and TOH aim at giving a broad introduction to the kinds of issues on which neo-Latinists work, the format of NLL gives us a more intimate glimpse of the neo-Latinist at work. I will take the difference between Marc Van der Poel's contributions on oratory to both volumes as an example. In the essay we find in TOH, there is a section on "Renaissance Manuals of Rhetoric" in which we get a brief overview of the main handbooks written on Latin eloquence during the early modern period, such as the Oratoriarum institutionum libri sex (1606) by Gerardus Joannes Vossius (1577-1649) and the main trends that can be perceived in these works. This is followed by sections on the role played by eloquence played in the educational programme of the humanists and in Renaissance culture as a whole. What is lacking, however, is a close reading of particular passages from neo-Latin texts. We do encounter this in Van der Poel's essay in NLL. Here we find a couple of introductory remarks about the Quattrocento humanists who stood at the basis of humanistic oratory and the place of eloquence in Renaissance society, followed by a discussion of examples of neo-Latin eloquence through an analysis of passages from among others the Oratio in laudem philosophiae et reliquarum artium (1476) by Rudolph Agricola (1444-84) and Lorenzo Valla's (1407-57) oration at the opening of the academic year in 1455. These passages are then subjected to a stylistic analysis in which Van der Poel concludes that Agricola's style as "florid" and "grandiloquent" while Valla's is much more "succinct" (p. 279). Van der Poel also gives an example of analysis on the level of collections as he discusses a posthumous collection of ten speeches written by Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim (1486-1535). Van der Poel uses the instance of this collection to demonstrate the rich variety of many epideictic orations, as it contains a funeral oration, two academic orations, and speeches delivered when Agrippa was the city orator and legal adviser of Metz (pp. 281-2).

Even in the case of the "contextual" essays, the focus on a literary analysis and perspective is apparent. An example is Sarah Knight's contribution on education. Knight is primarily interested in how "Latin poets represented institutional experience and pedagogy" (p. 53). She shows us, for example, how Montaigne's teacher, the Scottish historian and poet George Buchanan (1506-82), complained how "wretched the state is of those teaching classical literature in Paris" (p. 58), whereas the German reformer Ulrich von Hutten (1488- 1522) was so strongly convinced of the blessings of a humanist education that in a 1517 poem he described students as soldiers "carrying their spoils as if in a Roman triumph" (p. 55).

Some contributions can be clearly related to a specific line of research pursued by the author elsewhere and therefore take the essays beyond a mere introductory level while presenting some very novel insights into the topic at hand. In his essay on "Latin and the Vernacular", Tom Deneire examines the interplay between these two with the help of the polysystem theory of Itamar Even-Zohar. As Deneire describes in his chapter, polysystem theory starts from the assumption that "literature is a system of signs rather than a conglomerate of disparate elements" and that "it is the functional relations between different signs that produce meaning in the literary system" (p. 38). This is an effective tool in the study of Latin and the vernacular in Renaissance Europe as it helps counter the old- fashioned notion of the relationship between the two in a strictly binary hierarchy. After all, interaction between Latin and the vernacular languages cannot just be seen within one genre or the corpus of one author's writings, but even within one particular text. An example of the potential insights this approach could lead to, is Deneire's demonstration how literary quotations in the Dutch vernacular gradually seem to become more acceptable between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (pp. 43-44). This approach to the topic of neo-Latin and the vernacular was also used in Dynamics of Neo-Latin and the Vernacular: Language and Poetics, Translation and Transfer (2014), a volume edited by Deneire, in which polysystem theory also played an important role.

One might be concerned that the focus on "literature" reflects an anachronistic conception of pre-modern texts, since "literary", "scholarly", and "scientific" texts were not as clearly defined and distinguished from one another in the Renaissance as they are now. Such criticism, however, would be unfair, as Moul emphatically dismisses such a distinction and has adopted her focus on literature rather to create a division of labour between her own volume and TOH and Brill's Encyclopaedia (p. 6 n. 17). Perhaps a chapter might have been added entirely devoted to examples of texts that we in the twenty-first century would not categorise as literature, for example, a case study of theological, scholarly, and scientific texts subjected to the same kind of rhetorical and stylistic analysis we find in the rest of the volume. Such texts are, of course, discussed in TOH, but not—as I have tried to demonstrate above—with the same amount of detail and textual analysis. This would have formed an extra argument for those who do not see themselves primarily as neo-Latinists, but specialise in e.g. theology or the history of science that the kind of research neo-Latinists do is important for their fields, too. Such readers might now falsely believe that for them reading TOH is sufficient, despite the fact that NLL has a lot to offer them.

In conclusion, this volume will therefore come as a welcome and up-to-date introduction to the subject that deserves to be used alongside Brill's Encyclopedia and TOH, by all who are interested in the culture and intellectual life of Renaissance and early modern Europe.

Table of Contents

Introduction (Victoria Moul)

1. Conjuring with the Classics: Neo-Latin Poets and Their Pagan Familiars (Yasmin Haskell)
2. Neo-Latin Literature and the Vernacular (Tom Deneire)
3. How the Young Man Should Study Latin Poetry: Neo-Latin Literature and Early Modern Education (Sarah Knight)
4. The Republic of Letters (Françoise Waquet)

5. Epigram (Robert Cummings)
6. Elegy (L.B.T. Houghton)
7. Lyric (Julia Haig Gaisser)
8. Verse Letters (Gesine Manuwald)
9. Verse Satire (Sari Kivistö)
10. Pastoral (Estelle Haan)
11. Didactic Poetry (Victoria Moul)
12. Epic (Paul Gwynne)
13. Drama (Nigel Griffin)

14. Approaching Neo-Latin Prose as Literature (Terence Turnberg)
15. Epistolary Writing (Jacqueline Glomski)
16. Oratory and Declamation (Marc Van der Poel)
17. Dialogue (Virginia Cox)
18. Shorter Prose Fiction (David Marsh)
19. Longer Prose Fiction (Stefan Tilg)
20. Prose Satire (Joel Relihan)
21. Historiography (Felix Mundt)

22. Using Manuscripts and Early Printed Books (Craig Kallendorf)
23. Editing Neo-Latin Literature (Keith Sidwell)
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Anne-Isabelle Bouton-Touboulic, Carlos Lévy​ (ed.), Scepticisme et religion: constantes et évolutions, de la philosophie hellénistique à la philosophie médiévale. Monothéismes et philosophie, 21​. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2016. Pp. 300. ISBN 9782503565453. €80.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Máté​ Veres, Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies – University of Hamburg (

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[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]

The present volume collects thirteen papers delivered at an international conference, held in Bordeaux in June 2013, devoted to encounters between philosophical scepticism and religious belief from the Graeco-Roman period to the Western Middle Ages. Broadly speaking, the chapters present case studies concerning, first, the confrontation between ancient scepticism and philosophical theology; second, varieties of fideism emerging in the post-Hellenistic period; finally, the medieval discourse concerning scepticism and Christian belief, with a particular emphasis on Augustine's reception of Ciceronian scepticism. In the preface, the editors provide a brief historical overview of their chosen theme, parts of which are then recapitulated—somewhat redundantly—in various individual contributions.

Among the protagonists of ancient Academic and Pyrrhonean scepticism, Cicero receives relatively little attention in his own right. In the introduction, the editors stress the importance of his De Natura Deorum, a literary representation of the Academic attitude towards philosophical theology, offering a short, non-committal summary of the interpretation developed by Carlos Lévy in his 1992 monograph.1 Cicero immediately reappears in the very first chapter, written by Anna-Maria Ioppolo, who reads his De Divinatione and De Fato at face value as providing evidence for Carneades' arguments against the Stoic theory of divination. Ioppolo shows that, in arguing against the claim that divination is a proper domain of expertise, Carneades (as represented by Cicero) follows a dialectical strategy familiar from Plato's Gorgias. In the remainder of the volume, Cicero figures as the most important source for sceptical epistemology in Latin Christianity (see below).

Sextus Empiricus is discussed in two consecutive chapters: Emidio Spinelli describes the Sextan argument against dogmatic theology in Book III of the Outlines of Pyrrhonism, while Stéphane Marchand outlines the practical stance implied by the very same argumentative strategy. In the Outlines, Sextus motivates suspension of judgement about god conceived as an active cause, by counterbalancing dogmatic proposals as to the conception, existence, and providential activity of the divine. In this context, Spinelli makes a passing reference to the methodological remarks in Against the Physicists Book I, without elaborating on the differences between the strategy followed in these two works. Furthermore, he attributes the Sextan argument concerning providence lock, stock, and barrel to an Epicurean source, even though the outcome of the Sextan argument is not that gods do not exercise providence—which would be the Epicurean view—but rather that any definite take on the matter, including the denial of divine providence, will land the inquirer in trouble.

Marchand picks up at what Spinelli calls Sextus' "théologie élementaire de l'habitude", which is the non-dogmatic acceptance of ordinary views about the divinity. He argues that Sextus' expressed intention to participate in the religious practices of his society is more than simply a part of his response to the charge of inactivity. Rather, on Marchand's view, Sextus makes a conscious attempt to distance his suspension in matters of theology from straightforward atheism, perhaps with an eye to the charge of impiety raised against the Epicureans. As part of his effort to clarify the Sextan position, Marchand signals his tentative agreement with Spinelli with regard to the importance of experience for the Pyrrhonean outlook, a suggestion that gets them close to implying that the sceptic does after all take her or his cognitive states to be epistemically warranted. All in all, Sextus receives a fair, if not exhaustive, treatment in these chapters.

In their studies, which are among the most successful in the volume, Mauro Bonazzi and Carlos Lévy provide glimpses of authors relatively neglected in the study of scepticism, presenting Plutarch of Chaeronea and Philo of Alexandria as incorporating Academic and Pyrrhonean tenets into their respective Platonist and monotheist positions. In Bonazzi's analysis, Plutarch sees Pyrrhonean and Academic scepticism as based on rather different epistemologies. As part of his defense of Arcesilaus against the Epicurean Colotes, Plutarch groups Pyrrhonism together with Epicureanism as a form of empiricism, while he takes the Hellenistic Academy to propagate suspension of judgement exactly in accordance with a dualist metaphysics of the sensible and the intelligible realm. Plutarch's Platonising interpretation of the sceptical Academy allows him to assimilate it into a unified Academic tradition, and to emphasise the fallibility of the human mind and thus the need for ongoing inquiry.2

One implication of Bonazzi's reading is that one should not apply the label of fideism to Plutarch's position, since it does not imply an opposition between competing claims of faith and reason. According to Lévy, it is in fact with Philo of Alexandria that fideism appears on the scene. Scholars of scepticism mostly know Philo as one—indeed, the earliest—of our sources for the Ten Modes of Aenesidemus; Lévy highlights the significance of the Modes for Philo insofar as he argued for the claim that unaided human reason is unable to arrive at the truth. Philo was, however, deeply hostile to the sceptics, since in his view they failed to recognise the radical distance between God and created beings. Interestingly, Philo uses the term epoche exactly once, in his allegorical commentary on the sacrifice of Isaac, where the miraculous appearance of the sacrificial animal is described in terms of suspending judgement.

Two chapters discuss further developments in Late Antiquity. In her paper, Brigitte Pérez-Jean relates structural analogies between, on the one hand, the development of negative theology in Middle Platonism, with a particular focus on Maximus of Tyre, and on the other hand, the appearance of aphasia in the early Pyrrhonist tradition. The discussion is somewhat unfocused, and lacks a clear conclusion. Jesús Hernández Lobato directs our attention to the Cappadocian Fathers, arguing that Gregory of Nyssa's philosophy of language is to be understood in the context of his scepticism concerning the human ability to attain knowledge. In contrast to Eunomius' theory of its divine origin, Gregory argues that language is merely conventional, and is therefore misleading us on the way to the truth; one should rather engage in the project of negative theology in the hope of attaining knowledge by way of mystical experience. Regrettably, Lobato chooses to invoke alleged similarities with the ideas of Wittgenstein or Lacan at the expense of a detailed analysis of Gregory's views in their proper context.

Turning to the Latin Middle Ages, Cicero reappears as a formative influence on Lactantius and Augustine through his reports on the sceptical Academy. According to Gábor Kendeffy, Lactantius appropriates various sceptical arguments not in order to argue for a genuine sceptical position but, rather, to establish a dogmatic anthropology, showing the inability of the human mind to come to true views in the fields of physical and ethical investigation. In his quest to provide an alternative to Arnobius' fideism, so Kendeffy argues, and to show the internal incoherence of pagan philosophy, Lactantius shows keen interest in the destructive capacity of the Carneadean arguments he found in Cicero.

In a series of contributions, Anne-Isabelle Bouton-Touboulic, Isabelle Bochet, and Giovanni Catapano outline Augustine's changing views concerning Academic scepticism throughout his early intellectual development. The young Augustine, despairing of finding the truth and grappling with the Manichean challenge, uses scepticism as a means to clear the way for an honest search for the truth. Bouton-Touboulic and Bochet analyse his Contra Academicos and his De utilitate credendi, arguing in unison that Augustine's instrumental use of scepticism is to be understood in light of his pre-existing commitment to the truth of Christian revelation as well as of his view that the Academy was secretly espousing dogmatic Platonism. Catapano picks up the story with the Enchiridion, showing that—now in the context of the Donatist controversy—Augustine eventually rejects scepticism, championing a novel epistemic ideal: instead of the wise man of the Hellenistic Stoics and Academics who refuses to assent in the absence of certainty, Augustine's just man will have faith, which implies giving assent to Scriptural tenets necessary for salvation. At the end of the day, even if they do not succeed in showing that the Augustinian project is ultimately successful, these chapters provide a lucid and informative survey of the role played by scepticism in Augustine's intellectual biography.3

The final two papers introduce the reader to post-Augustinian developments. Christophe Grellard presents us with John of Salisbury's discussion of divine foreknowledge, crucially informed by Augustine's criticism of Cicero's alleged rejection of divine providence in the De Fato, De Divinatione, and De Natura Deorum. Being aware of Augustine's authority, John of Salisbury nevertheless vindicated the need for further inquiry into theological matters, labouring under the conviction that humans can at best aim at holding probable views. Finally, Alice Lamy discusses the origin, sources, and influence of Jean Gerson's notion of certitudo moralis, which she argues is tied as much to the sceptical heritage as to the tradition of Cistercian mysticism.

The volume is extremely well produced and is practically without typographical errors (though read "native" for "nativ" on p. 26, "as an antidote" instead of "is an antidote" on p. 57 n3, "Dieu se manifeste" for "Dieu ce manifeste" on p. 72, "skeptic's piety" instead of "skeptics piety" on p. 95 n18, and "antimanichéen" instead of "animanichéen" on p. 183 n68); occasionally, however, the punctuation is missing (e.g. on p. 66 or p. 139).

Some of the cited items failed to find their way into the consolidated bibliography: see Floridi 2010 (21 n41), Beaujeau 2002 (22 n43), Gassendi 2006 (115 n31), Whittaker 1983 (119 n2), Tarrant 2012 (120 n6), Wallis 1987 (121 n9), Donini 2010 (122 n13), Perrin 1974 (140 n20), Scheid 2010 (173 n10), Brunt 1986 (173 n11), Beaujeau 1964 (174 n17), Schüssler 2003 and 2009 (254), Brinzei 2013 (257). Some of these might be typos, or references to different editions of the same works; similarly, Conche 1973 (p.17) is indicated as Conche 1973/1994, Le Bonniec 1984 also appears dated 1974 (p. 278), and see also Ferrari 1996 or 1992 (p. 83) and Mandouze 1968 or 1958 (p. 196). On occasion, the bibliography fails to disambiguate between different works by the same author, as in the case of more than one Lévy 2008 (see p. 134 n42), or various Hoffmans (p. 198) and more than one Catapano 2006 (p. 235 n1).

In sum, the volume manages to vindicate ancient and medieval scepticism about religion as a topic of considerable interest, presents a valuable survey of non-Anglophone scholarship on the matter, breaks some new ground in the interpretation of particular texts, and leaves the door open for further investigations into the very same authors as well as others not covered by the present contributions.

Table of Contents

Ioppolo, La critique de Carnéade sur la divination, pp. 41-56
Bonazzi, Le platonisme de Plutarque de Chéronée entre scepticisme, théologie et métaphysique, pp. 75-88
Lévy, De l'epochѐ sceptique à l'epochѐ transcendantale, pp. 56-73
Spinelli, «Le dieu et la cause la plus active»: Sextus Empiricus contre la théologie dogmatique, pp. 89-102
Marchand, Religion et piété sceptiques selon Sextus Empiricus, pp. 103-117
Pérez-Jean, Ne pas dire le principe: usage sceptique et usage théologique de la négation, pp. 119-135
Kendeffy, L'appropriation des arguments néoacadémiciens par Lactance, pp. 137-155
Lobato, Más allá del pensiamento: El escepticismo epistemológico de Gregorio de Nisa, pp. 157-169
Bouton-Touboulic, Scepticisme et religion dans le Contra Academicos d'Augustin, pp. 171-192
Bochet, Le scepticisme de la Nouvelle Académie et la réflexion d'Augustin sur la légitimité du croire: le De utilitate credendi, pp. 171-192
Catapano, Errore, assenso e fede. La critica dello scetticismo academic nell'Enchiridion di Agostino, pp. 193-217
Grellard, Scepticisme et prescience divine, de saint Augustin à Jean de Salisbury, pp. 219-233
Lamy, L'amour consciencieux de la créature pour Dieu. Héritages anciens et postérité doctrinale du scepticisme de Jean Gerson, pp. 253-268


1.   See Lévy, Cicero Academicus. Recherches sur les Académiques et sur la Philosophie Cicéronienne. Rome: École Française de Rome, 1992, esp. pp. 557-588.
2.   Bonazzi's chapter is closely related to his "Plutarch on the difference between the Pyrrhonists and the Academics", Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 43 (2012), 271-298.
3.   There is regrettably little attention paid to the diversity of sceptical voices in Cicero's Academica, as well as to some of the most important recent discussions of this work. Notably missing are, among others, the papers collected in Inwood and Mansfeld, ed., Assent and Argument, Brill, 1997, and the analysis in Brittain, Philo of Larissa, Oxford University Press, 2001.

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Valentino Gasparini (ed.), Vestigia: miscellanea di studi storico-religiosi in onore di Filippo Coarelli nel suo 80° anniversario. Potsdamer Altertumswissenschaftliche Beiträge, 55. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2016. Pp. 786. ISBN 9783515107471. €94.00.

Reviewed by L. Bouke van der Meer, Leiden University (

Version at BMCR home site

This Festschrift, called Vestigia ('Footprints'), is dedicated to Filippo Coarelli, professor emeritus of the Università degli Studi di Perugia, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. It contains 52 contributions mostly on Roman religion, often with a diachronic approach, and the themes involve one of Coarelli's main fields of interest. Each paper has its own footnotes and bibliography. The book starts with a short introduction by the editor with a very concise summary of the contents, a tabula gratulatoria, a list of abbreviations, and Coarelli's bibliography of 453 publications including 63 books among which are many famous ones on Rome, published between 1961 and 2015.

In Part I (Religion and landscape archaeology), G. Battaglini surveys the ancient salinae along Italy's coast and relates the Hercules cult on the forum Boarium at Rome to the salt trade in the proto-historical period. S. Sisani derives the juridical-sacred concept of pomerium from *po-smer- ('external boundary') instead of post moerium ('behind/within the city wall') and reconstructs the boundaries of Rome. F. Diosono dates the base of the temple of Portunus, god of gates and harbours, near the Tiber at Rome to the sixth century BC. M. Cébeillac-Gervasoni suggests from circumstantial evidence that Neptunus' relation with volcanic activities (carbon gas emanations) in the (formerly Etruscan) area to the north of the Tiber, near Fiumicino, and in Lake Albano played a role in Rome's siege of Veii. Her hypothesis is based on an inscription from the former region, dated to AD 135, that mentions a dedication to Neptunus by the conductores Salinarum Romanarum. P. Braconi presumes that the life cycle of a Tiber fish, the twaite shad (Alosa fallax), played a role during the ludi Piscatorii of 7 June and the Volcanalia of 23 August, two holidays which Festus mentions together. G. Ghini focuses on Diana's lucus at Nemi, suggesting that a quadrangular structure (ca. 100 BC) on the middle terrace of her sanctuary, contained a sacred branch (known as Frazer's golden bough), a sacred tree, a larch (larix, as visible on denarii of P. Accoleius Lariscolus) or a beech. S. Gatti presents many new data on cult places in the regions of the Hernici and the Volsci, in Latium. It appears that votive deposits in or near springs and other waters can rarely be attributed to specific deities. T. Leggio explains how territorial strategies in the early Middle Ages led to the transfer of the cult of san Vittorino from Amiternum to Cotilia, the former but almost disappeared Roman vicus Aquae Cutiliae in the Sabine region. It was thought that the saint died from inhaling the gas of the local sulphurous waters.

In Part II (Times and spaces of the sacred), E. Greco argues that the sanctuaries of Apollo and Aphrodite form the western boundary of the chora of Athens. M. Maiuro presents a short reflection on the 'Numan calendar' and the feriae conceptivae ('movable feasts') in early Rome. In his view, the calendar was created before ca. 600 BC (p. 178). Usually it is dated to the sixth century BC. R. Esteve Tébar explains the Etruscan origin of the cult of Ceres on the estate of the villa of Pliny the Younger in Tuscis (Colle Plinio) at San Giustino (Perugia). He associates the Ides of September, when a market near her temple was held, with Celi, the Etruscan name of September, that derives from Cel, goddess of the earth. J. Scheid, following H. Versnel, argues that the concepts lustrum and lustratio refer rather to expiation than to purification. M.R. Picuti informs us about a temple with two cellae in the region of Foligno, that was possibly dedicated to a male and a female Pales. O. de Cazanove analyzes the use of a monumental altar for the goddess Mefitis in Rossano di Vaglia in Lucania. P. Gros informs us about the sacred meaning of white marble in Rome, and M.H. Crawford about the late ancient prohibitions of nocturnal reunions which would go back to the archaic period as may be deduced from the Laws of the Twelve Tables.

In Part III (Cult Agents) most papers focus on the third and second centuries BC. M. Torelli deals with the iconography of a statue of Aphrodite leaning on a pillar, called the 'Tiepolo type,' hypothesizing that she was worshiped as a Trojan Venus by the gens Aemilia. L. Pedroni shows that apices on the images of denarii of T. Quinctius Flamininus, Fabius Pictor and L. Postumius Albinus (131-126 BC) refer to frequent power struggles between pontifices maximi and flamines. H. Uroz Rodríges and J. Uroz Sáez demonstrate the connection between Iberian elites and religious representations on pottery. F. Zevi explains the role of Marius and merchants in the introduction of the cult of Honos in Puteoli. L. Capogrossi Colognesi deals with pontifices maximi and curiae, A. Dubourdieu with augures as interpreters of Iuppiter by watching birds, and C. Pavolini with hymn singers of Cybele on the Palatine. D. Nonnis focuses on terracotta votives with inscription from Cales and other places, while S. Panciera concentrates on middle-republican, fragmentary inscriptions dedicated to Aesculapius, Jupiter, and Diana. J. Mangas sheds light on the role of women, liberi and slaves as worshippers of Mars in Hispania. C. Gonzáles Román focuses on religion, for example the assimilation of the indigenous deity Netón with Mars, and Isiac iconography in Guadix (Granada). R. Rubio Rivera looks at Mithraism in Umbria, and H. Solin reads Silvani clientis instead of Silvani pollentis in a votive inscription from Rome, now in Urbino (CIL VI 647). W.V. Harris reflects on the religious mentality of soldiers who participated in the battles of Saxa Rubra (AD 312) and Frigidus (AD 394).

In Part IV (Portraits of Iuppiter), L. Agostiniani explains forms of the Etruscan name for Zeus like tin(i)a and tins, deriving them from tin-, tinia being a nominative and tins a genitive.1 E. Jarva identifies the famous bronze statue from the Cape Artemision wreck as Zeus, rejecting the Poseidon interpretation. The idea is not new. A. Celani holds that a second century BC marble head from Terracina belonged to an over-life-size statue of Iuppiter Anxur, and I. Bragantini argues that an exceptional painting with Iuppiter, Amor and eagle from (the Basilica of?) Herculaneum (now in Naples) hints at the god's relation with Alcestis. A Greek painting in or from Southern Italy may have been used as model.

In Part V (Iconography and religious preferences), E. Lo Sardo comments on representations of heavenly constellations in Egypt and the Greek world, such as an incised one on an eighth century BC Euboian shard from Ischia. A. Polosa shows that deities on coins of Sybaris and Thurii did not necessarily have local cults. M. Clavel-Lévêque pays attention to terracotta votive statuettes from Roman Gaul and syncretism, F. Marcatilli to statues of Marsyas with raised right hand in connection with the taking of oaths, and V. Gasparini to the meaning of marble and bronze votive ears from Isiac cult places. L. Abbondanza looks for the original context of two marble wings (probably of one statue of Victoria) from the Palatine. G. Sauron focuses on paintings in two parts of Augustus' residence, in the 'Room of the Masks' in the 'House of Augustus' and in the 'triclinium' of the 'House of Livia' on the Palatine, each showing a baetylus, in the latter context with three torch bearing Diana statuettes on a curved wall, in order to reconstruct the worship of Apollo and Diana by Augustus and Livia in 36 BC. In my view, the so-called Pompeian second style paintings cannot be dated with certainty before or to that date. E.M. Steinby demonstrates the importance of 'speaking' and 'non-speaking' stamps showing deities on dolia for the identification of owners and the contractors of figlinae. A.M. Poveda Navarro explains why Hercules and Christ in late antique Spain assimilated: both were regarded as sufferers and saviours.

In Part VI (Funerary practices), M. Nafissi deals with the transfer of Tisamenos' bones to the sanctuary of the Moirai at Sparta in the sixth century BC that may imitate the (contemporary?) one of Orestes' bones. T. Mavrojannis holds that the recently discovered but not yet fully published 'Great Tumulus' (ca. 325-300 BC) at Amphipolis functioned as the heroon of Alexander's general Hephaistion who died at Babylon in 320 BC. L. Alapont Martín analyses two fourth century BC grave goods of Samnite warriors in Alife (ancient Allifae), thus reconstructing funerary rites among which the os resectum ('cut bone'). P. Vitti presents a new reconstruction of the Mausoleum of Hadrian at Rome, and V. Tsiolis explains why Hadrian promoted the cult of Antinoos in Mantineia where he was said to been born.

In Part VII (The reception of antiquity. The myth and the sacred), E. De Albentiis sheds light on the change of place names into ancient, sometimes 'presumed' sacred ones, after Italy's unification and during the fascist period. A. Tinterri shows how Igor Strawinsky and Alberto Savinio transformed the content of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex in their operas. L. Romagnoli and G. Batacchioni present reconstructions of temples in Villa S. Silvestro at Cascia, the Sanctuary of Hercules Victor at Tivoli, and highlight the importance of 'musealisation' in Diana's sanctuary at Nemi. A. Schnapp explains why visitors and Arab poetry during the Abassid empire paid respectful attention to Sassanian and other ancient ruins. The visitors left their name on monumental remains in order to be remembered but, fortunately, did not destroy them because of their glorious past.

Then follows an index locorum and an analytical index.

Some papers give incomplete or wrong information. The circus at Anagni, meeting place of the nomen Hernicum (p. 134), was called maritimus (Livy 9.2. 6-11), a strange adjective since the form of the travertine building from the fifth or fourth century BC is round. Should we read Maricinus, adjective of the goddess Marica? The Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis does not mention Cel Ati (p. 193), nor tinś in marle (pp. 461, 464) but tinś in śarle (LL VI 14).2

The book is impeccably edited, with very few typos.3 The editor makes cross-references, though not exhaustively. The analytical index is reliable but entries such as assimilation, syncretism, memory, etc. are missing. As most papers do not offer translations of Greek and Roman words and texts, the book is less accessible to non-classicists. The many black-and-white maps and photos in the text are sharp. However, fig. 3 on p. 103 is useless since the dots are without colour; fig. 2 and its captions on p. 135 are too small. Since the papers are written in four languages, most of them in Italian, it is regrettable that abstracts or conclusions in English are missing.

To conclude, this is a book of high standards. Because it contains many new data and hypotheses, no doubt it will become a source of inspiration for archaeologists, ancient historians, and, last but not least, for scholars and students of ancient religions. Coarelli may be proud of his pupils, friends and colleagues.


1.   For tis (from tins), see now F. Colonna, Notarella ceretana, Studi Etruschi 78, 2015 (2016), 97- 113.
2.   V. Belfiore, Il liber linteus di Zagrabia. Pisa-Roma 2010, 138; reviewer, Liber linteus zagrabiensis. Louvain-Dudley 2007, 108.
3.   Typos are: fainomai (p. 120) > phainomai ; Tinia velηumna (p. 196) > *veltumna (which never occurs as an adjective of Tinia); basement (p. 482) > base, platform; Faistos (p. 486) > Phaistos; Ralf > Rolf (p. 595); lekythos aryba-llica (p. 670) > arybal-lico.

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Friday, July 21, 2017


Niall W. Slater (ed.), Voice and Voices in Antiquity. Orality and Literacy in the Ancient World, 11; Mnemosyne supplements. Monographs on Greek and Latin language and literature, 396. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2017. Pp. xi, 444. ISBN 9789004327306. $180.00.

Reviewed by Hannah Silverblank, Haverford College (

Version at BMCR home site

[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]

When Homer's Sirens sing their legendary song to Odysseus in Book XII of the Odyssey, they invite the hero to listen to their voices and thereby become a wiser man (Od. 12.184–91). Their song proposes a deferred auditory experience, through which knowledge and contentment can be gained. But this proffered song remains unheard, at least within Odysseus' retelling of the encounter to the Phaeacians. Whether the Sirens' song in its entirety is a false invitation to hear more, or whether Odysseus only recounts the prelude to a longer song, the hero never clarifies for his audience.

This encounter aptly characterizes the relationship between Classicists and the voices that call out to us from antiquity. Just as the Sirens' invitation to Odysseus creates a desire for a voice that can never be fully heard (and survived), the voices of ancient singers and poets resound within the literary record, yet deny a complete listening experience to modern ears. Niall Slater's edited volume Voice and Voices in Antiquity considers the simultaneously present and absent sonority of the voices of antiquity, and it probes the relationship between orality, vocality, and text. The book emerges during a vibrant moment for voice studies in Classics, and functions as the eleventh installment in the thriving biennial conference series "Orality and Literacy in the Ancient World," whose first volume/conference tackled the theme "Voice into Text." Each of the chapters in this volume contains nuanced and sophisticated readings in a wide range of genres, periods, and cultural traditions.

The essays in the first section, "Epic Voices," all make significant contributions to the study of Greek epic. These chapters are united by an interest in a long-standing notion of vocality that emphasizes message over medium and sense over sound. Each of these chapters engages with the idea of utterance: who speaks when, and how, in Greek epic. The contributions in this section engage in coherent dialogue with one another, insofar as they all discuss special modes of vocal performance — bardic performance, messenger speech, didacticism, and prophecy. Elizabeth Minchin's chapter, "Voice and Voices: Homer and the Stewardship of Memory," considers the Homeric bard's use of memory as a resource through which he delivers and organizes oral performance. Minchin also discusses the ways in which the Homeric poet speaks in the voice of his characters and "interleaves" the accounts of heroic nostoi: the poet assumes the voices of his heroes in order to avoid the confusion or inference of details within their respective stories.

In "The Voice of the Seer in the Iliad and the Odyssey," Deborah Beck argues that the words that are used to describe prophecy (θεοπροπ-, μαντ-) reveal character responses to those prophecies. Beck engages with voice not merely as a vessel of ideas and messages, but also as a mode of utterance that provokes emotional responses in its hearers. Because conflicts within the Homeric epics, Beck argues, are often mapped onto responses to the seer and the prophecy, the prophetic voice and the responses it incites may be read as integral components of the larger plots and moments of tension within Homeric epic.

The essays in "Part II: Lyric and Dramatic Voices" exemplify rich and refreshing dispositions with which classicists might approach vocality within ancient texts. The first essay, written by Claas Lattmann and entitled "Pindar's Voice(s): The Epinician Persona Reconsidered" follows the line of thought established in Ruth Scodel's chapter ("The Individual Voice in Works and Days"): both Lattmann and Scodel pursue the question of what we as readers are seeking when we try to characterize the "voice" of an ancient poet. Whereas Scodel identifies an individual Hesiodic voice in the Works and Days through the narrator's distinctive tendency toward caution and the scope of the narrator's advice, Lattmann argues that "there is no Pindar in Pindar" (124). He concludes that the epinician odes were not sung at the games themselves, but rather during processions at the victors' homecoming. Lattmann argues for a fresh reading of the voice behind the "I" in Pindar's epinician odes: Pindar's "I" implies the identity of an "idealized komast" (140) rather than the identity of one historical, professional poet.

Margaret Foster's chapter, "Poeta Loquens: Poetic Voices in Pindar's Paean 6 and Horace's Odes 4.6," also engages with the question of Pindar's narrative persona(e). Foster argues that Paean 6 acts as a model for Horace's Odes 4.6 because of Pindar's presentation of the effects of the poetic voice not only to resolve certain thematic tensions but also to reveal "the Apollo-backed power to lift Rome out of its brutal past and introduce[d] it to its prosperous Augustan present" (163). Foster's chapter engages with the volume's larger theme of considering "voice" as a poetic identity that comes across in the poet's words and expression. In considering the force of poetic vocality, Foster also introduces another theme, sustained elsewhere in the volume (and circulating in other classicists' work within voice studies): the ability of the voice to do things, i.e., the power of the poetic voice itself.

Anton Bierl's chapter, "Melizein Pathe or the Tonal Dimension in Aeschylus' Agamemnon: Voice, Song, and Choreia as Leitmotifs and Metatragic Signals for Expressing Suffering," stands out as the contribution that is most thoroughly engaged with the sonority and musicality of voice. Bierl observes that music is not simply a theme in Agamemnon, but rather one of the central ways in which pathos and audience reception are directed. Bierl's chapter thus offers a reading of the soundscape in Agamemnon, demonstrating awareness that his object of study emerges from a musical genre of poetry whose precise tones are largely missing but not completely lost. Bierl's close reading of metatragic discussions of music and chorality in the Agamemnon sets the bar for how to "read voice" in a way that allows us to hear the Aeschylean soundscape more fully.

In "Daphnis' Folksong: The Euphonist's Effect on the Creation of a Textual Performance," Naomi Kaloudis argues that the Alexandrians should be recognized for their ability to listen to the soundscapes of language. Kaloudis demonstrates how Theocritus' Idyll 1 engages with folksong performance and euphonist theory, in her readings of the textual sounds that evoke environmental soundscapes. Kaloudis thus models how we might read poetic language in a sonic register, with the aid of euphonist discussions of sounds and their effects.

Part III ("From Singing to Narrative Voice") is the least cohesive in the volume. Nevertheless, its individual chapters make important contributions to an impressively broad range of subjects. This section opens with Andreas Willi's chapter, "Towards a Grammar of Narrative Voice: From Homeric Pragmatics to Hellenistic Stylistics." Here Willi notes the absence of a grammar of narrative voice and focuses his analysis on the question of the absence of the historical present in Homer. Willi addresses the oddness that emerges from the fact that the historical present seems to evoke a sense of oral poetry—despite the fact that it is not regularly featured in Homeric poetry. Willi's study sets the groundwork for future studies that might allow us to more sensitively hear the connotations of grammatical constructions in prose texts; in this sense, Willi's chapter issues an important call to philologists to open our ears to the tones inscribed in language but unheard without a grammar of narrative voice. Geoffrey Bakewell's chapter, "The Voice of Aeschylus in Plato's Republic," works to address the contradiction that emerges between Plato's views about the dangers of tragedy and his regular quotation of Aeschylus' tragedies in his Republic. Bakewell draws attention to the polyvocality of the Republic and argues that we should not frame the question in terms of Plato's use of Aeschylus generally, but rather in terms of the specific tragic character and moment he quotes. Bakewell notes that Plato appropriates moments of Aeschylean tragedy that have civic merit, and this gesture harmonizes with Plato's claims in Book 10 (607a2-4) that hymnody and sung praise of good people serve a healthy social purpose. Bakewell concludes that Plato's quotation of Aeschylus serves not as a contradiction, but as an exemplification of how tragedy might be redeemed to take on a socially productive role within the polis.

In "Part IV: Voices of Prose," the chapters by Athena Kirk and Amy Koenig stand out most for their contributions to voice studies. Kirk's chapter, "Λόγος and φωνή in Odyssey 10 and Plutarch's Gryllus," builds upon and moves beyond the Aristotelian link between vocalization and ontology. Kirk argues that the representation of animal speech and thought varies from Homer to Plutarch, concluding that Plutarch's Gryllus challenges the supremacy of human (over animal) morality. By suggesting not only that animals are endowed with internal λόγος but that their morality is not dependent on an ability to speak, Plutarch allows the possibility that although extralinguistic animal sounds can in fact be communicative, animals seem not to require speech to manifest their λόγος in the way that humans do. Amy Koenig's chapter, "The Fragrance of the Rose: An Image of the Voice in Achilles Tatius," closes the volume by drawing attention to the intersections between sound and other senses. In a synaesthetic reading of Achilles Tatius' novel Leucippe and Clitophon, Koenig draws the reader's attention to the ways in which the novel portrays the senses and sensory experience in an erotic yet mediated register. This is a powerful note on which to end the volume, since it draws our attention to one of the goals of studies of the voice in antiquity: to hear in new ways, to bring sound to what has long been perceived as silent, and to always grapple with the layers of mediation and polyvocality that bring the voices of antiquity to our ears today.

Slater indicates in his brief introduction that this volume was conceived with a dual purpose: to offer a response to the theme of the first volume in the series, elaborating on questions and ideas circulated at the 1994 conference and in the subsequent volumes; and to make a contribution to recent work in the field of voice studies. The volume accomplishes both; yet its contribution to the larger trends and questions posed by the series comes at a cost of more thorough engagement with some of the more recent provocations and challenges posed by other classicists working in voice studies.

The emphasis falls on Greek over Latin texts: only three essays (Foster's, Kenty's, and Fisher's) out of the eighteen give detailed attention to Latin, and two of the essays also explore Hebrew texts in dialogue with Greek texts (Person's and Buster's). This imbalance is relatively unsurprising due to certain elements of Greek literature that lend themselves to the nexus between orality and vocality, but as recent work by Shane Butler and Helen Kaufmann has shown, Latin literature offers tremendous potential for the relationship between voice and text.1

While Slater puts the various chapters in dialogue with eloquence and precision, further elaboration on the conference's and volume's specific aims and collective takeaways—particularly situated within the context of current research in voice studies—would have strengthened the volume's sense of cohesion. Since the volume itself seems to speak so vividly to its earlier counterparts, it would have been illuminating for Slater to chart thought patterns from 1994 to 2017. That said, Slater's overview of the individual essays reveals a deep consideration of the multifaceted ways in which this theme can be explored, and his introduction reveals how the individual papers speak to one another across languages, genres, eras, and methodologies.

Authors and Titles

Part 1. Epic Voices
Chapter 1. Introduction / Niall Slater
Chapter 2. Voice and Voices: Homer and the Stewardship of Memory / Elizabeth Minchin
Chapter 3. Which Limits for Speech Reporting? Messenger Scenes and Control of Repetition in the Iliad / Ombretta Cesca
Chapter 4. The Voice of the Seer in the Iliad and the Odyssey / Deborah Beck
Chapter 5. The Individual Voice in Works and Days / Ruth Scodel
Chapter 6. Nestor's Cup and Its Reception / Jasper Gaunt

Part 2. Lyric and Dramatic Voices
Chapter 7. Pindar's Voice(s): The Epinician Persona Reconsidered / Claas Lattmann
Chapter 8. Poeta Loquens: Poetic Voices in Pindar's Paean 6 and Horace's Odes 4.6 / Margaret Foster
Chapter 9. Melizein Pathe or the Final Dimension in Aeschylus' Agamemnon: Voice, Song, and Choreia as Leitmotifs and Metatragic Symbols for Expressing Suffering / Anton Bierl
Chapter 10. Daphnis' Folksong: The Euphonist's Effect on the Creation of a Textual Performance / Naomi Kaloudis

Part 3. From Singing to Narrative Voice
Chapter 11. Towards a Grammar of Narrative Voice: From Homeric Pragmatics to Hellenistic Stylistics / Andreas Willi
Chapter 12. The Voice of Aeschylus in Plato's Republic / Geoffrey W. Bakewell
Chapter 13. Character in Narrative Depictions of Composing Oral Epics and Reading Historiographies / Raymond F. Person, Jr.

Part 4. Voices of Prose
Chapter 14. Written Record and Membership in Persian Period Judah and Classical Athens / Aubrey E. Buster
Chapter 15. Voiced Mathematics: Orality and Numeracy / Tazuko Angela van Berkel
Chapter 16. Cicero's Representation of an Oral Community in De Oratore / Joanna Kenty
Chapter 17. Becoming Gallic: Orality, Voice and Identity in Roman Gaul / Jay Fisher
Chapter 18. Λόγος and φωνή in Odyssey 10 and Plutarch's Gryllus / Athena Kirk
Chapter 19. The Fragrance of the Rose: An Image of the Voice in Achilles Tatius / Amy Koenig


1.   Butler, Shane. 2015. The Ancient Phonograph. Brooklyn: Zone Books. Helen Kaufmann organized the conference "Voices in Late Latin Literature," held March 23-24, 2017, at the University of Oxford.

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Bassir Amiri (ed.), Religion sous contrôle: pratiques et expériences religieuses de la marge? Institut des Sciences et Techniques de l'Antiquité. Besançon: Presses universitaires de Franche-Comté, 2016. Pp. 200. ISBN 9782848675619. €22.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Dan-el Padilla Peralta, Princeton University (

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This compact volume publishes the proceedings of a 2015 colloquium organized by Bassir Amiri at the Université de Franche-Comté,1 the primary focus of which was "la pratique et les expériences religieuses de ceux qui, en raison de leur statut et de leurs choix, sont exposés à des phénomènes d'exclusion" (11). While the essays vary considerably in quality, the collection as a whole is a welcome departure from the usual obsession with elites and will prove a handy resource for anyone interested in the interplay of religious practice and social marginalization in antiquity.

Although the cultural and geographic sweep of the volume is not immediately apparent from the title, the attractively reproduced image of a Pompeian lararium on the cover as well as the opening sentences of Bassir Amiri's introductory essay dispel any uncertainties: these contributions are concerned primarily with Roman religion. As Amiri's references to the works of Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Jean-Pierre Vernant, and François de Polignac make clear, scholarship on Greek religion was an inspiration to the colloquium and to the essays that grew out of it, but the collection has both feet firmly planted in the world of Roman religious marginality, understood to encompass the cultic and devotional practices of women, slaves, freedpersons, and adherents to "foreign" cults in the Republic and Empire. Unifying the volume's study of these different (if sometimes intersecting and overlapping) groups is a theory of the marginal as that which stands at a remove from a "center" or "norm" of status and/or power. Other avenues of inquiry originally teased in the colloquium's problématique—such as the experiences of pilgrims—did not make their way into the volume but are mentioned as possibilities for future investigation (15).

The contributions themselves are organized under three headings. In "Pratiques religieuses et marginalité," four essays take up the interest of Romans in non-traditional cult, with the first two training their sights on Varro. Yves Lehmann asserts on the basis of Varro's interest in Egyptian cosmogenic theologies that the most erudite of the Romans may have been intimate with the mysteries of Isis and Serapis; while I was not won over by the claim that "l'âme contemplative, fortement idéaliste de Varron a recueilli avec ferveur" (22) the teaching of Egyptian priests, Lehmann is surely right to see Varro as far more than a stolid custodian of the old Roman religion. Alessandra Rolle's essay works through a close reading of five fragments of Varro's Menippean satire Eumenides to build a case for interpreting the satire as an ironizing - if not outright sarcastic - depiction of Serapis cult at Rome, detecting in it the faint echoes of a strong Varronian response to the Egyptianizing proclivities of late-republican figures such as Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius. While some Serapis worshippers may have steered clear of onions and watercress (fr. 138 Bücheler = 147 Cèbe), other Romans of the late Republic and early Empire became aficionados of vegetarianism, the Pythagorean flavor of which is the theme of Gérard Freyburger's essay. Harping on the "hostilité constante de la population [romaine] à l'encontre du pythagorisme" and concluding with the speculation that Ovid's famously enigmatic Pythagorean interlude in Met. XV not only discloses the poet's personal views but factored in his exile, Freyburger's sketch should be read alongside Katharina Volk's recent essay on the Roman Pythagoras.2 Rounding out this section of the volume and bridging to the next section's concern with slaves and freedpersons is Françoise Van Haeperen's clear and focused summary of her research in progress on civic priesthoods during the Empire. Exploiting the epigraphic evidence, Van Haeperen documents the underrepresentation of freedmen and freedwomen in these priesthoods, with the significant and revealing exception of the cult of Magna Mater (and possibly the cult of Isis).

Part II of the volume takes up "La religion au prisme du statut juridique des dévots," beginning with Bassir Amiri's evocative reconstruction of the religious life of the Roman slave, "situé à l'interface" of visibility and invisibility. In its investigation of the double dialectic of prominence and subordination at work in the cultic routines of slave victimarii, Amiri's sophisticated essay drives home its arguments by adducing the visual evidence of sacrificial scenes on Roman reliefs. Yet save for a remark about "l'attention scrupuleuse portée à la réalisation des gestes qui permettra de faire place à la satisfaction du devoir bien accompli" (68), Amiri mostly punts on the question of the emotional affect engendered within victimarii by the paradox of being at once ritually necessary and socially marginal. Next in line is Andrea Binsfeld, whose contribution steps outside of Roman Italy to summarize research on slave and freedperson inscriptions from the civitas Treverorum: four inscriptions from Trier are discussed with the aim of showing how dedications of slaves and liberti "s'inscrivent d'une part dans le cadre du culte municipal de Lenus Mars et d'autre part dans celui du culte impérial" (83); also examined are dedications addressed to Mercury and Rosmerta in the territory of the civitas and inscriptions from the military outpost at Mainz. For all that the epigraphic material does to showcase the religious activities of slaves and liberti in this neck of the provincial woods, Binsfeld is quick to remind us that those capable of erecting these inscriptions formed part of a "groupe très élevé … la plupart des esclaves et affranchis restent muets" (89).

Darja Šterbenc Erker's chapter travels back to Rome to investigate the role and place of matronae in the Secular Games of Augustus and of Septimius Severus. After a brief overview of the debate over the "sacrificial incapacity" of Roman women, the chapter proceeds to a lucid analysis of the different roles accorded to matronae in the two ludi, as gleaned from the epigraphic commentarii that survive for each. At both the Augustan and Severan games, male officiants (Agrippa and Septimius Severus respectively) dictated to the supplicating matrons the prayer they were to use; however, whereas the Augustan commentarii present these matrons as an undifferentiated group, the Severan record names them (110). Likewise attentive to the cultic roles of women but ranging well beyond Rome is this section's final chapter, in which Ludivine Beaurin assesses whether the cult of Isis in the Roman West was truly "un culte de femmes." Mining the epigraphic evidence gathered and sifted in a 2013 doctoral thèse, Beaurin is able to debunk the stereotypical representation of Isis-cult in the literary sources by demonstrating that it was neither a specifically female cult nor a cult primarily of interest to foreigners and social outsiders; what it did offer women perusing the wares available to them in the empire-wide religious marketplace were "des alternatives individuelles leur permettant d'enrichir non seulement leur vie religieuse mais aussi leur existence sociale" (137).

With Part III ("Chrétiens et païens dans le devenir religieux de Rome"), the focus tilts to Christianity. Of all the contributions, Christian Stein's essay is the only one to open with a definition of marginalité—after which he proceeds to an exposition of a simple yet powerful model for explaining early Christianity's durability on the social margins. The model lays down three determinative factors: first, the extent of an individual or group's religious integration (here Stein devotes some words to the religious "gradient" typical of cities throughout the Roman Empire, sweeping downward from elites at the center of public religious ritual to non-elite citizens, and from there to residents, migrants, women, slaves, etc.); second, social integration, best gauged by considering whose prospective or actual conversion to Christianity was likeliest to give rise to public scandal; and third, legal constraint, in particular the (un)willingness of governors to prosecute Christians during the 1st and 2nd centuries. Baudouin Decharneux's chapter on the marginalization of Christians in Lucian's Peregrinus shares some interpretive affinities with Stein and is enlivened with delectable moments, among them the amuse-bouche comparison of Lucian's Greek to "l'anglais que les petits-bourgeois des lointaines régions du Commonwealth affectent lorsqu'ils font leurs études à Oxford ou Cambridge" (163). However, the claim that Lucian had no patience with marginalized Christians in part because he had been born a marginal and came to feel the need to distinguish his cultural trajectory from that of a Peregrinus could have benefited from a sharper polish; and readers jaded by sunny- side-up panegyrics to empire will find Decharneux's rose-tinted representation of the world of the Antonines as a social system that "savait comment s'adjoindre les plus brillants de ses marginaux en les fascinant et subjuguant par et grâce à sa richesse culturelle" (164) hard to take on board. The final chapter of this section and of the volume as a whole returns the reader to Trier, in the form of Marcello Ghetta's re-evaluation of the Late Antique evidence for the wax and wane of ritual activity in and around the sanctuaries of Gaul and Germania. Ghetta shows that the material evidence for a pagan "decline" is far from straightforward, and cites the inscriptions that survive to attest the continuing presence of pagan cults: "… la religion païenne n'était pas devenue une religion à la marge durant l'Antiquité tardive" (182).

The volume ends with a wrap-up by Bruno Poulle that commences with the recusatio "Il n'est pas toujours facile de faire la synthèse […]." Much the same feeling weighed on this reviewer when evaluating these contributions. Despite their differing emphases, the volume's essays coalesce around several methodological commitments, some more apparent on an initial read than others. Channeling John Scheid (and William Van Andringa), multiple contributions take as axiomatic the notion that blood sacrifice was at the center of Roman religion, and that those not competent to officiate over blood sacrifice were ipso facto religiously subordinated to those who could. To cite only one instance of this line of argument, L. Beaurin contends that the roles of women in the public rituals of Isis cult were "mixtes mais subordonnées puisqu'elles ne semblent pas avoir un rôle actif dans le sacrifice sanglant, cœur de la pratique religieuse romaine qui reste entre les mains des hommes" (126). However, it bears noting that real pressure has been applied to Scheid's position in recent years: efforts to dethrone blood sacrifice from its Burkertian preeminence are now picking up steam,3 and Celia Schultz has contended that not all—in fact not even most —sacrifice was blood sacrifice.4

By and large, the contributors' engagement with English-language scholarship is light, with Binsfeld's reliance on Orlando Patterson and Sandra Joshel and Stein's interest in Rodney Stark standing out as prominent exceptions. Not that this is a bad thing: some readers might find it curious that a collection of essays on marginal groups in Roman religion makes only passing references to Beard/North/Price, but others might see this non-engagement as a tactful redress of one of BNP's shortcomings. And certainly the essays will bring good cheer to anyone fearful of the tyranny of the Anglophone over classics, or of the prospect of scholarship practiced "allein mit Englisch und im Horizont allein amerikanischer Diskussionen" that so distressed E.A. Schmidt back in 2001.5 It is French scholarship that receives pride of place in this volume, and the imprint of Scheid is everywhere to be found: seven of the eleven contributions cite him, with Amiri—half of whose bibliography consists of Scheid publications—leading the charge.

This embrace of Scheid does result in some conceptual shortcomings, especially when it comes to the topic of women's "sacrificial incapacity." Moving against Scheid, Meghan DiLuzio has recently marshaled a significant amount of evidence in support of the claim that "official religious service was the one area of public life in which Roman women assumed roles of equal legitimacy and comparable status to those of men."6 A concerted effort to venture beyond the Scheidian horizon on these matters might have emboldened some of the volume's contributors to power up their conclusions. Turning back to slaves for a moment, I was disappointed not to see more attention devoted to what Jacques Annequin in a review of E. Herrmann-Otto's new guide to ancient slavery termed the production of a self "socialment divisé"7: what are the experiential and psychological aspects of roaming Roman society's margins as a religiously divided self? Yet the questions that multiplied like mushrooms as I put down Religion sous contrôle are in the end a testament to the volume's overall success.


1.   The program .
2.   It is hard to square "constant hostility" with the apparently favorable reception accorded to Pythagoras in mid-republican Rome, the installation of a statue of the philosopher on the corner of the Comitium (Pliny NH 34.26) being the most startling example. On these and other Pythagorean matters see, in addition to K. Volk's recently published "Roman Pythagoras" (in G.D. Williams and K. Volk, eds., Roman reflections: studies in Latin philosophy [Oxford, 2015], 33-49), M. Humm's Appius Claudius Caecus. La République Accomplie (Rome, 2005), 483-638.
3.   See C. Ando's final salvo in C. Faraone and F.S. Naiden, eds., Greek and Roman animal sacrifice: ancient victims, modern observers (Cambridge, 2012).
4.   "Roman sacrifice, inside and out" (JRS 106 [2016]: 58-76).
5.   Entretiens Hardt 2001, p. 264.
6.   M. DiLuzio, A place at the altar: priestesses in Republican Rome (Princeton, 2016), 241.
7.   Dialogues d'histoire ancienne 36.2 (2010), p. 158.

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Bianca Liebermann, Lateinische Präpositionen: Verortung und Valenz. Studienbücher zur lateinischen Linguistik, 1. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag, 2016. Pp. x, 290. ISBN 9783875487404. €26.90 (pb).

Reviewed by Ville Leppänen, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (

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Bianca Liebermann's book about Latin prepositions is the first volume to appear in the new series Studienbücher zur lateinischen Linguistik of Buske Verlag. One of the main goals of both the book and the series is to provide up-to-date insights into the Latin language by the application of modern linguistic theories.1

The book is divided into three major sections. The first one (Ch. 1, pp. 1‒50) consists of an extensive theoretical introduction into valency-oriented grammar ("valenzorientierte Grammatik"), a type of dependency grammar, where the linguistic units of a sentence are connected to each other by directed links (dependencies), and the concept of localisation ("Verortung"), which depicts the spatial relations of constituents. The adopted meta-framework is cognitive linguistics. The introduction is followed by a detailed semanto-syntactic analysis of almost all Latin prepositions (but see below), constituting the bulk of the work (Ch. 2, pp. 51‒275). The analysis is followed by an extremely short conclusion (Ch. 3, pp. 276‒277), which merely sums up the most important theoretical points and predictions made already in Ch. 1. A bibliography and an index locorum conclude the work.

Liebermann's approach is based on previous applications of valency-oriented grammar to Latin syntax; the framework is strictly synchronic. The focal point here is not only the functional spectrum of the individual prepositions but also the syntactic role of prepositional phrases in sentence structure. Central to the analysis of prepositional functions is their localisation, i.e. how various syntactic constituents are localised by prepositional phrases, based on three components: Trajector (the object that is being localised), Landmark (the prominent static entity) and Point of View. The various localisation schemes ("Verortungsschemata") that are used in the main analysis are explained in the introductory chapter (pp. 14‒34). Individual prepositional functions are further classified according to three types (pp. 38‒40: local, temporal, and abstract) and five semantic roles (p. 35: locus, directio, origo, via, and comitativus). The prepositions themselves are classified into five categories according to their relation to the Trajector and Landmark (p. 45). Lastly, the semantic base values of case forms in prepositional phrases are discussed, followed by the generalisation (pp. 49‒50) that the ablative occurs when the Landmark is the starting point for the Trajector, or both the Landmark and the Trajector are conceptualised as a single static and coherent entity, and the accusative when the Landmark is the direction or goal, or when it is autonomously conceived as an area or a point and, thus, the Landmark does not constitute a single static and coherent entity with the Trajector.

The data of the study consist of hundreds of example sentences collected mostly from Classical Latin literature: the majority of examples are from Caesar, Cicero and Livy. It is stated (p. 44) that the analysis is mostly based on Latin prose, but metrical texts such as those of Plautus, Vergil and Ovid are also occasionally cited. Although the data include texts spanning almost 400 years, from Plautus and Cato to Gaius and Gellius, the chronological dimension is not discussed, i.e., whether the usage of prepositions changed with time (which requires further inquiry elsewhere). Moreover, the dialogues of Plautus or the satirical imitation of spoken language by Petronius are stylistically and in form and content quite unlike the polished prose of Cicero and Livy; yet there is no discussion as to whether the stylistic differences have any effect upon prepositional usage.

The concepts introduced in Ch. 1 are put to good use in Ch. 2: all prepositions are analysed by way of selected passages according to the principles of valency-oriented grammar and the localisation schemes. This analysis is arranged under the five categories mentioned above. The localisational function of each preposition is illustrated by a figure where the components (Trajector, Landmark, Point of View) and their relations are shown as a graphic representation. This is followed by a detailed analysis of each usage according to the level of abstraction, syntactic structure, and syntactic role. This part of the book resembles a reference work rather than a study book. And the repetitive nature of the analysis ensures that the reader will quickly internalise the most important principles of Liebermann's approach.

The book ends quite abruptly: there is no proper concluding chapter per se, since, as pointed out above, Ch. 3 is but a two-page summary of the most important theoretical points.

The book is written in modern scholarly German; the author must be complimented for exceptional clarity and precision of expression. To fully understand Liebermann's framework, a good command of German linguistic terminology is required, since none of the terms is translated into English, and the references are mostly to German-language theoretical literature. The publisher has produced a high-quality print product. The text includes blue-coloured font for chapter titles and example sentences as well as blue boxes for summaries and for highlighting important theoretical issues and generalisations. For a paperback, the book is quite robust and will probably stand the test of time well. Proofreading has been effective: I could not find a single typographical error, and only one minor inconsistency—the summary of sine on p. 82 is not enclosed in a blue box.

Liebermann's book succeeds in delivering a coherent and extensive analysis of Classical Latin prepositions and prepositional phrases as an alternative to more traditional approaches. Apart from minor details, my main criticism concerns two issues: the metatheoretical status of modern linguistic theories vis-à-vis traditional grammar, and the explanatory principles of prepositional phrase case government.

Traditional Latin grammar is ultimately based on the writings of Roman grammarians, who translated and adopted Greek terminology and applied it to Latin, their native language. In the 19th century, this was complemented by the comparative grammar of Indo-European languages. This framework is evident in such monumental works as Hofmann & Szantyr 1965 and Kühner & Stegmann 1976, and of course in the historical grammars of Latin such as Meiser 1998 and Weiss 2011.2 The novel linguistic theories developed in the latter half of the 20th century have generally been adopted rather slowly by Latin linguists. While it is certainly true that the classical grammatical framework ought not to be imposed on unrelated and typologically dissimilar languages,3 it does not follow that traditional Latin grammars are outright obsolete in that language. In fact, grammatical descriptions based on native intuition and actual language use are synchronic grammars par excellence, and should be taken seriously even by the most modern theoretical linguist. There is no room here for more elaboration of this topic, but it is not unthinkable that such grammars possess a surprising amount of psychological reality. My main point is that traditional grammars cannot simply be dismissed as obsolete and replaced by more "modern" descriptions. Hence, Liebermann's analysis of Latin prepositions is in no way a replacement for the traditional (synchronic) and historical (diachronic) accounts, but is rather a welcome addition or complement to them.

A recurring problem in the description of Latin prepositional phrases is the assignment of case. Beyond the two groups of prepositions that govern exclusively either the accusative or the ablative, there is a mixed group of only four items (in, super, sub, subter) that govern both with an accompanying distinction between a static and a dynamic notion of location. From the diachronic perspective, the cause for this state of affairs is well known: Latin prepositions have grammaticalized from adverbs and particles that were used to strengthen the local notions of pure case forms. But in an exclusively synchronic framework, the issue is much more complicated, since there appear to be no unambiguous semantic or syntactic criteria for case government, apart from the rule of thumb that the accusative expresses movement 'into' or 'towards' something while the ablative expresses a state 'in' or 'at' something or movement 'from' somewhere. As noted above, Liebermann approaches the problem by assigning a semantic base value to the cases. She then refers to this generalisation as an explanation ("Erklärung") for the choice of case. However, this kind of argumentation is circular, since the semantic base values are ultimately based on their use in the prepositional phrases themselves. In my opinion, without reference to external factors (such as language change, linguistic typology, psycho- or sociolinguistics, etc.) it is not possible to offer a satisfactory explanation. Moreover, precisely the aforementioned kind of evidence indicates that the governed case in Latin prepositional phrases expresses not a particular semantic function but merely the syntactic function of subordination.4 Liebermann's generalisation, however, may be useful for translation, textual interpretation, and language learning.

As the title suggests, the book is not about Latin adpositions but exclusively about prepositions. Hence, postpositions such as causā and gratiā are not examined. Rare prepositions, such as subter, tenus, fini, foras and retro (and several others), are not mentioned. Due to the book's focus, the internal structure and constituent order of prepositional phrases are not discussed, for example, in such cases as magna cum laude vs. viris cum summis, and post multos annos vs. multis annis post, etc.

On some occasions (e.g. on pp. 84, 211, 221), "xxxxx" and "yyyyy" are used as placeholders instead of the usual "x" and "y" without explanation for how these notations differ.

There is very little discussion of previous analyses of Latin prepositions. Some standard works are occasionally referred to (such as Kühner & Stegmann 1976, Touratier 2013, Pinkster 2015),5 but the reader must otherwise rely on his or her previous knowledge of the field. Consequently, the bibliography is relatively short and is in no way exhaustive.

The undisputed merit of Liebermann's book is its nature as a study book for advanced learners: although knowledge of linguistic terminology and good command of Classical Latin are required, the reader is not expected to possess previous knowledge on valency-oriented grammar, localisation schemes and syntactic roles, since these theories and concepts are explained in the introductory chapter. The analysis itself gives the reader a clear picture of how Liebermann's approach works in practice. Perhaps the most instructive lesson one can learn here is how prominent a role prepositions have in Latin syntactic structure and how functionally similar prepositions (such as pro vs. prae) differ from each other in theory and in use. Despite the rather minor problems that I have pointed out in this review, I would recommend the book without hesitation for anyone interested in prepositions and localisation. And I certainly hope that Liebermann and her students and colleagues pursue this line of analysis further, perhaps by adding more fine-grained historical, stylistic, sociolinguistic and typological modes of explanation to complement the synchronic analysis.


1.   This agenda is also evident in Liebermann's previous publications: she has, e.g., translated the Latin grammar of Christian Touratier into German (Touratier, Christian. 2013. Lateinische Grammatik: Linguistische Einführung in die lateinische Sprache. Transl. by Bianca Liebermann. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft).
2.   Hofmann, J. B. & Szantyr, Anton. 1965. Lateinische Syntax und Stilistik. München: C. H. Beck. Kühner, Raphael & Stegmann, Carl. 1976. Ausführliche Grammatik der lateinischen Sprache. Zweiter Teil: Satzlehre. 5th ed. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Meiser, Gerhard. 1998. Historische Laut- und Formenlehre der lateinischen Sprahce. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Weiss, Michael. 2011. Outline of the Historical and Comparative Grammar of Latin. 2nd, corrected printing. Ann Arbor, NY: Beech Stave Press.
3.   Cf. e.g. Itkonen, Esa. 2009. 'The true nature of typological linguistics'. In: Zlatev, Jordan et al. (eds.). Studies in Language and Cognition, pp. 19‒29. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
4.   See Alho, Tommi & Leppänen, Ville. 2016. 'Roman brick stamps: evidence for the development of Latin case syntax', Glotta 92, pp. 3‒15.
5.   Pinkster, Harm. 2015. The Oxford Latin Syntax. Volume I: The Simple Clause. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Staffan Fogelmark, The Kallierges Pindar: A Study in Renaissance Greek Scholarship and Printing (2 vols.). Köln: Verlag Jürgen Dinter, 2015. Pp. xvii, 787. ISBN 9783924794606. €180.00.

Reviewed by Giambattista D'Alessio, Università di Napoli 'Federico II' (

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In his long career Staffan Fogelmark has published scholarly works focusing on both Pindar and on Renaissance book printing. With these two lavishly produced and painstakingly researched volumes he has now combined both interests in a thorough study of one of the most influential modern editions of Pindar's Victory Odes (according to Fogelmark 'the most important Pindar edition ever' [xiii]). Published on 13 August 1515 by the Cretan scholar and printer Zacharias Kallierges, two years after the Aldine editio princeps, this was one of the first Greek books printed in Rome,1 and was the first edition of Pindar that included also the fundamental exegetical apparatus of the ancient scholia. Its production was a very demanding enterprise. According to its colophon the book was printed in a venue belonging to the celebrated tycoon Agostino Chigi,2 and at his expense. This last piece of information contradicts the content of the prefatory Greek epigram by the humanist Benedetto Lampridio praising Cornelio Benigno of Viterbo (Agostino Chigi's chancellor) for making the feat possible thanks to his munificence (v. 5, σοῖς, Κορνήλιε, δώροις), a statement confirmed by documentary evidence showing that Benigno in the same period borrowed a substantial sum from Agostino Chigi (and had to sell his entire stock of Greek books in order to pay him back).3

Apart from exploring the historical and cultural background of the enterprise, Fogelmark provides an extremely detailed description and analysis of the edition, having examined, directly or indirectly over more than 40 years, 227 of the more than 230 printed copies he identified. In doing so, he discovered that important portions of the edition were reset, with various consequences for its content. Most of Fogelmark's book, in fact, is devoted to a meticulous analysis of the reset sheets of the first four quires of the Pythians, taking into account all kinds of bibliological criteria, including the distribution of the reset sheets, the analysis of the watermarks and of the various paper stocks utilized, as well as the philological evidence provided by the textual variants. Fogelmark calls the two sets Variant a and Variant b and argues that they rely on different manuscripts. This finding allows Fogelmark to identify the different 'variants' of the printed copies used by later scholars, as well as to offer important qualifications to Irigoin's assessment of the Roman edition. Irigoin was able to identify the source of the text of the first 4 quires of the Pythians, corresponding in part to a section for which Kallierges' main source, the important codex B, is lacunose, in the 15th century codex X (Parisinus graecus 2709), featuring, according to Irigoin, notes in the hand of Kallierges himself.4 Irigoin, however, was not aware of the fact that exactly these same quires appear in two variants, and, even if he had access to two different copies, the only copy he seems to have actually collated featured only Variant b sheets.

Both 'variants' ultimately derive from X. The problem is to establish which one was set first, based on X, and which one represents a later, corrected setting. Fogelmark publishes a full collation of all the variants in Pindar's text and discusses in detail also some significant variants in the scholia. Even if he points out that some of these results 'might suggest that Variant b was printed before Variant a', or 'would most certainly have persuaded us that the text of Variant b was set before that of Variant a' (274, 277), Fogelmark is very strongly inclined to consider Variant b the later one, mainly based on 'the analytical evidence generated by the physical examination of the book' (277). The issue is difficult to settle, but my opinion, based on Fogelmark's own meticulous data, is that it would make more sense to consider Variant a later than Variant b. The latter features several inferior readings that coincide either with readings of X or with those added on that manuscript by the hand Irigoin identified as that of Kallierges, and which, at any rate, is usually thought to represent Kallierges' editorial work. Some of these inferior readings in Variant b, however, Fogelmark considers the result of mere carelessness on the part of the typesetter. In order to explain their coincidence with changes or additions by X's annotator, Fogelmark argues that in these particular cases, the annotations in the manuscript should not be seen as editorial interventions of Kallierges, but as the result of a later collation of X against the second setting of the printed edition (e.g. 156-7). They look to me, though, undistinguishable from the bulk of the annotations in the manuscript that clearly belong to Kallierges' work in preparation of the edition. The most economical explanation of these coincidences seems to me that Variant b was set using the text of X after these annotations were made.

In at least one case the aberrant text of Variant b coincides (against Variant a) with the change in X by a hand in pale red ink so far considered to represent a stage earlier than the bulk of Kallierges' work (Irigoin: 416-7). Fogelmark (175-9) argues that this too was an addition based on collation with the printed edition but, while Fogelmark is successful in showing that this hand did not necessarily have 'editorial authority', the fact remains that most interventions in this ink do clearly belong to a stage earlier than the bulk of Kallierges' editorial work, which must by definition have preceded the first setting. According to Fogelmark we cannot rule out that some of these interventions may theoretically postdate this stage but he does not identify any such case.

In most of these passages Variant a has a better reading, which might have easily been reached by more careful consideration of the evidence, through collation with other sources, or via conjecture, as e.g. in the scholia on Pythian 4.61, where Variant a is the first available source reading the name of the scholar Χαῖρις instead of the meaningless χάρις of most manuscripts (including X, and Variant b), or the inferior Χάρης of a few others: the name of the scholar appears correctly spelled several times in the scholia on Pythian 4 (and elsewhere), and the correction was well within the range of Kallierges and his collaborators. 5

Ultimately Fogelmark himself assesses the evidence and the arguments for the priority of Variant b as in some cases 'bordering on decisiveness', but finds 'none of them strong enough to settle the matter once and for all' (336). I beg to differ, and consider that the 'philological evidence', if anything, very much favours the opposite conclusion, i.e. that Variant b was the earlier setting, while the 'analytical evidence' does not seem to me to offer any argument of comparable weight against this interpretation.

Fogelmark, however, finds decisive corroboration for his own assessment in the evidence provided by his fascinating discovery of yet another, even more impressive editorial variant. In only one of the 227 copies examined by Fogelmark (Jesus College, Cambridge E.4.27, copy 134 in Fogelmark) the preliminaries too appear in a substantially different version. In all copies the colophon states that the first quire of the book is a ternion (a quire, that is, of three double leaves, corresponding to six sheets, and twelve pages), and attributes the funding of the edition to Chigi. In all copies bar one, however, the first quire is a binion (two double leaves, corresponding to four sheets, and eight pages), and it includes Lampridio's Greek epigram praising Cornelio Benigno, not Chigi, for funding the enterprise. Copy 134 instead opens with a Greek epistle addressed by Kallierges to his Cretan compatriot, the great scholar Marcus Musurus, only the first three pages of which are preserved (α1v-α2v, following the front page, α1r). After a lacuna of (as Fogelmark convincingly argues) two sheets, two further sheets are preserved, roughly corresponding in content to the last four introductory pages of all other copies (α3r-α4v). In this reconstruction, the prefatory materials in copy 134 must have occupied a ternion, exactly as announced in the colophon. The letter in copy 134 also praises Chigi at length for his munificent patronage and his funding of the printing not only of the Pindar but also of future projects (Pausanias, Strabo and Xenophon).

Large parts of the preserved portion of Kallierges' letter, as Fogelmark shows, coincide with parts of Musurus' own Greek prefatory letter to Janus Lascaris for his Pausanias (July 1516).6 Fogelmark explains the overlap as an act of plagiarism on Musurus' part. It seems more probable to me, however, that it indicates the degree of collaborative partnership between the two Cretan scholars. Musurus had been working for years on the three Greek authors (Pausanias, Strabo and Xenophon) mentioned in the epistle: his editions were announced as forthcoming (together with the Athenaeus, printed later that same year) by Aldus in his 1514 preface to Musurus' edition of Alexander of Aphrodisias on Aristotle's Topica. The author of the new epistle hopes that (after Aldus' death) Chigi would finance exactly this same editorial project, not an alternative one. Musurus' Pausanias and Strabo were eventually published by Andrea Asolano in 1516: the Pausanias manuscript Musurus sent to the press (Ricc. 29) is partly in the hand of Kallierges, who contributed also numerous corrections. In the same months Musurus was collaborating on Kallierges' edition of Theocritus (1516).7

Fogelmark deals with the preliminaries in great detail, correctly surmising that Kallierges had to reset them after Chigi withdrew his financial support and Benigno stepped in. Somewhat surprisingly, however, Fogelmark attributes the dedication to Musurus not to an earlier stage but to a later resetting, imagining that Kallierges 'could not longer resist the lure of his original idea of dedicating the book to Musurus' (364). It seems more natural to me to consider the copy with the epistle to Musurus as the only surviving one printed before the preliminaries were reset (and, again, I see no obstacle in the 'analytical evidence generated by the physical examination'). In this copy the preliminaries must have occupied a ternion, and contain praise of Chigi's munificence, both elements in accord with the colophon. Once the conditions changed, Kallierges was forced to reset the preliminaries, using binions instead of ternions, and praising Benigno, not Chigi. At this stage it was too late (and uneconomical) to reset the final quire with the colophon (which had obviously already been printed). The fact that this same copy also includes only Variant b quires would confirm, if anything, that this was the earlier setting.

This is a fascinating book, beautifully illustrated, with 160 plates of pages of the different settings, copious indexes, and appendixes documenting the author's meticulous scholarship, as well as his love for his subject, and it is impossible, in the limited space of this review, to do justice to the wealth of information and the numerous original points of detail it offers. Scholars working on Pindar and on the Greek Renaissance will be grateful to Fogelmark for this enormous effort of many decades.8


1.   As pointed out to me by A. Rollo, the earliest was the Operetta bellissima da imparare la lingua greca composta per Paulo Enea, printed in 1510.
2.   Scholars tend to agree in identifying this venue with the splendid new villa on the Tiber's right bank (subsequently known as Villa Farnesina) decorated with frescoes by Raphael and other prominent artists (so, e.g., also Fogelmark, 18). The colophon in fact only implies that the press was hosted in one of Chigi's properties in Rome.
3.   Cf. Fogelmark, 37-8 (with previous bibliography).
4.   J. Irigoin, Histoire du texte de Pindare, Paris 1952: 408-20. There are clear signs showing that this was the manuscript sent to the press.
5.   In the case of Ἐπιάλτα (only Variant a, later corroborated by secondary sources and now adopted in most editions, vs Ἐφιάλτα of the rest of the tradition) at P. 4.89, differently from Fogelmark (288-94) I consider far more probable that it was based on some grammatical or exegetical source, rather than on a lost Pindaric manuscript. The Odyssey manuscript with the scholia quoting P. 4.89 with this reading (H, published only in 1800) was probably in Rome in those same years: cf. F. Pontani, Sguardi su Ulisse, Rome 2005: 210; the psilotic form (but without attribution to Pindar) was also in the Etymologicum Magnum edited by Kallierges (possibly with Musurus' help) in 1499. I find very unlikely that after coming upon this recherché reading Kallierges would have ever reverted to the vulgata in Variant b.
6.   Cf. L. Ferreri, L'Italia degli umanisti. Marco Musuro, Turnhout 2014: 215-28.
7.   Cf. Ferreri: 172 and n. 26 (the 1514 preface), 517-8 (Ricc. 29), and 329-46 (Theocritus), with previous bibliography.
8.   Thanks to R. Hamilton, P. Megna, A. Rollo, and G. Ucciardello for comments on earlier drafts.

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