Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Giovan Battista D'Alessio, (ed.), Callimaco: Inni; Epigrammi; Ecale; Aitia; Giambi e altri frammenti, 4th edition, 2 vols. (Revised and enlarged edition). BUR Classici greci e latini 1104-1105. Milano: Biblioteca universale Rizzoli, 2007. 789 p. €21.50 (pb). ISBN 9788817170710.
Reviewed by K. Spanoudakis, University of Crete (spanoudakis@phl.uoc.gr)

This is the fourth edition (revised and enlarged) of an immensely successful two-volume (I: Inni, Epigrammi, Ecale; II: Aitia, Giambi e altri frammenti) edition of Callimachus in the Rizzoli series, offering an introduction on the man and his poetic oeuvre, and a revised text faced by Italian translation and equipped with ample annotation. The first edition of this handsome set (subsequently reprinted as second and third 'editions') appeared in 1996 and was warmly welcomed by critics and specialists. It belongs to a string of handy works on Callimachus which, due to the accretion of new findings, began to appear again after an interval of some decades, in Italian,1 English (F. Nisetich, 2001: translation only), German (M. Asper, 2004) and French (Y. Durbec, 2006: fragments only). Among these D'Alessio's edition stands out for its accuracy, good taste and judgment, for a number of magisterial notes (e.g. a possible context for the enigmatic 'son of Damasos' in Aetia inc. sed. fr. 33 Pf., and for quite a few parallels drawn from archaic lyric, especially choral), many sensitive to concerns of current research on Callimachus; and not least for some brilliant new conjectures, to the extent that a knowledgeable reviewer of the first edition found it necessary to remark that, along with specialized commentaries, "it would be advisable for future readers of Callimachus to keep D'Alessio's edition at hand to supplement the earlier work".2 Ten years later such a statement still holds true.

This fourth edition retains the virtues of the original edition and imports a large number of corrections and updates derived from two main sources: from reviews of the first edition and from important publications that appeared in the meantime. In keeping with the policy of the original edition, where the dubia were left out, D'Alessio refrains from including fragments attributed to Callimachus by conjecture (even when the attribution is entirely convincing),3 but a good ten pages at the end of the work are devoted to printing, with translation and generous notes, two recently published new fragments. These are a glossary on a lost elegy containing elementary comments (PSI inv. 3191 first announced by G. Bastianini in L. Lehnus, al., Callimaque, Vandoeuvres-Genève 2002, 271-5 and now published as P. Horak 4 by G. Menci in H. Harrauerand R. Pintaudi (eds), Gedenkschrift Ulrike Horak (P. Horak), I, Florence 2004, 19-31), and a new fragment from the Victoria Berenices. The left half of the latter (PSI inv. 1923) was published by L. Ozbek (Comunicazioni dell'Istituto Papirologico 'G. Vitelli' 6 [2005], 3-18) but it was soon realised that PSI inv. 2002 was the right half of the same poem, now published in toto by G. Bastianini as PSI XV 1500, Florence 2008 [non vidi]). These fragments are here made accessible to a broader public for the first time; it is, however, regrettable that for reasons of copyright only the left half of the second fragment is printed by D'Alessio though this is faced with a translation which renders the right half as well. The first fragment suggests the probable context of fr. 641 Pf. and partly cites fr. 506 Pf.; the second fragment partly cites fr. 674 Pf.

Both these new fragments are important and are likely to provoke considerable further speculation, a specimen of which may even be advanced right away. In the corrupt fr. 674 κεῖνον? δωδεκάκις περῖ +δίφρον ἐπήγαγεν ὄθματα +δίφρου+ D'Alessio emends into ἐπηγάγετ' [not ἐπήγαγεθ' as it is printed] ὄθματα ... δίφρος meaning that the chariot attracted the attention of the spectators twelve times. But the very Callimachean wording 'set his eyes on' (or 'their eyes were set on'), employed of Apollo in Hymn to Apollo 52, makes this unlikely and we should rather revert to Pfeiffer's interpretation of a god casting a favorable eye on a mortal, a common concept in Callimachus, cf. Aetia frr. 1.37, 85.15, Hymn to Apollo l.l. For the corrupt περὶ +δίφρον (accepted by Pfeiffer) Heyne proposed περὶ νύσσαν which D'Alessio accepts. I might hesitantly propose περὶ φιτρὸν of a god casting an eye of protection on a racer as he turns his chariot around a log or trunk serving, like the dry piece of wood in Iliad 23.327-8, as a turning post, which is the most dangerous point in a chariot race, cf., for the word, Aetia fr. 177.2 = SH 259.2, fr. inc. auct. 785 Pf. In the next line, for καὶ τ[- perhaps a form of τ[ος- 'and as many times' is to be restored.

The last decade, compared to previous ones, has seen no large increase in new fragments of Callimachus, but it has seen considerable progress in the classification and contextualization of existing material. An idea can be gleaned by modifications adopted in this new edition compared to the first. In fr. 1.1 D'Alessio now prints as the first word of the Aetia πολλάκι once surmised by the critical acumen of Edgar Lobel and now confirmed by the scholium Ma Odyssey 2.50a1 (I.238 Pontani). D'Alessio rightly emends the text in Iambi fr. 202.17 fin.; he now prints his own excellent restitution of Aetia fr. 43.414 (but νέα in this verse is not translated and φθινοπωρίδες is misaccentuated: in such cases the "limitazioni ... di tempo" evoked by the author in the new preface are resurgent). In Hymn to Apollo 76 he now renders οὗλος with "vigoroso", not "integro" (a correction prompted by E. Dettori, GIF 51 [1999], 333) and in Hymn to Zeus 41 υἱωνοί with 'nipoti' not 'figli' (a correction prompted by E. Magnelli, QS 51 [1999], 234). A large number of new notes, mostly on the fragments, are now added to, or even supplant earlier comments.5

Important bibliographical updates are given in the "Premessa alla quarta edizione", but what is now obsolete remains intact in the rest of the book: e.g., p. 50 where there is a reference to Kerkhecker's "work in progress for an Oxford PhD", or p. 540 where Cameron's Callimachus and his Critics (1995) is said to be "in corso di stampa" and information about it is drawn from P. Knox, ZPE 96 (1993), 175-8. D'Alessio resists the expunction of a probably false reference to Mimnermus in Iambi fr. 203.7 (cf. also his p. 317 n. 10) but now erases the false supplement of Aetia fr. 1.11 fin. α[ἱ κατὰ λεπτὸν for a blank space and declines to introduce into his text any of the proposals advanced so far. In other instances his conservatism seems less justified. In Aetia fr. 1.3-4 E. Lobel's βασιλ[ήων / πρήχι]ας derives solid support from Dioscorides AP 11.195.5-6 = HE 1695-96, cf. E. Lelli, SemRom 3 (2000), 73-6. In the same fragment verse 10 init. D'Alessio leaves a blank space for the monosyllable missing although he himself has made the strongest case for Housman's δρῦν.6 In Hymn to Delos 41 he fails to print O. Schneider's ἀπὲς Ἄνθαο (unfortunately not recorded by Pfeiffer) which has now been shown to be all but certain.7 D'Alessio, following Hollis, prints fr. 705 Pf. as Hecale fr. 174 but in a good note remarks that the fragment may actually belong to the Aetia, a supposition which has now been made very plausible by L. Lehnus, ZPE 142 (2003), 32, who adduces Bacchylides fr. 4 Maehler to support the ascription.

Although there is much that has been corrected, not all slips of the first edition have been removed. On p. 440 "W. G. Arnott in A. S. Hollis, Essays ... presented to Sir Kenneth Dover" should read "A. S. Hollis in E. Craik (ed.), Owls to Athens. Essays etc. ". On p. 556 "H. Erbse, Hermes 83 [1955], 417 n.0" has not been corrected. As in the first edition, page numbers are missing from several pages (e.g. 51; 94-5; 418-9; 498-9): certainly the author is not to be blamed for that.

Students of Callimachus look forward to more: A. S. Hollis' updated Hecale, with translation and Addenda, has been announced for the first quarter of 2009. Massimilla's Aetia III-IV is imminent. A new edition of the Aetia with commentary has long been promised by A. Harder as has a complete Teubneriana of Callimachus by L. Lehnus. It may take some more time until the last two appear: who would draw his nets when fish keep coming in? But in the meantime D'Alessio's Callimaco is to be kept at hand. Material from it will no doubt find its rightful place in forthcoming literature on Callimachus, thus securing a lasting impact for his significant contribution to Callimachean studies.


1. Another Italian edition with revised text is in preparation by E. Magnelli for Mondadori publishers, due to appear in the fourth quarter of 2009.

2. A. Harder, Mnemosyne iv 55 (2002), 611. Selections of D'Alessio's original conjectures are also provided by B. Acosta-Hughes, CJ 97 (2001-02), 400; E. Dettori, GIF 51 (1999), 329-33; E. Magnelli, QS 50 (1999), 233-4.

3. Most of these attributions are collected in H. Lloyd-Jones, Supplementum Supplementi Hellenistici, Berlin-New York 2005, 23-36, cf. C. Meliadò, Gnomon 80 (2008), 491-2.

4. D'Alessio in A. Casanova, G. Bastianini (eds), Callimaco: cent'anni di papiri, Florence 2006, 101-17.

5. Cf. (I do not aim at completeness) 88 n. 26; 241 n. 38; 366 nn. 1, 2; 371 nn. 8, 10; 378 n. 26; 415 n. 102; 471 n. 44; 473 n. 48; 491 n. 84; 497 n. 97; 553 n. 11; 585 n. 27; 682 n. 12; 771 n. 145.

6. D'Alessio in A. Martina, A.-T. Cozzoli (eds), Callimachea, Rome 2006, 138-50. There are, of course, other supporters of this supplement, including this reviewer.

7. Cf. fr. 703 and see L. Lehnus, ZPE 131 (2000), 25-6; H. Lloyd-Jones, The Further Academic Papers, Oxford 2005, 223.

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