Wednesday, March 31, 2010


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Barbara Ann Kipfer, Dictionary of Artifacts. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Pp. 346. ISBN 9781405118873. $124.95.
Reviewed by Geoffrey D. Summers, Middle East Technical University, Ankara

This book entitled Dictionary of Artifacts comprises a two-page "Preface" in which the author sets out the ambitious aims of providing "informative definitions in accessible language about the vocabulary describing artifacts." She then states that entries relate to a wide range of related issues from analysis, examination and identification to production and technology, and includes examples of artifacts and types. Thus a main failure of this work lies perhaps in the choice of a misleading title for what is in fact an eclectic dictionary of archaeological terms amongst which artifacts feature very prominently. The book is aimed at "students, archaeology professors, archaeologists, museum staff, archaeology volunteers, and general readers." There follows 346 pages of dictionary entries. Some 110 line illustrations (slightly more if each individual drawing is counted) and occasional small photographs are scattered throughout, sometimes confined to the wide margin on the outer edge of each page, occasionally indented into the relevant portion of text, or more often spread across a section of a page. These pictures are generally informative although line illustrations are not provided with scales.

It was exciting to learn that Barbara Ann Kipfer, a professional lexicographer with a special interest in archaeology, had produced a Dictionary of Artifacts because I thought it would be extremely useful for a course entitled "Artifact Analysis" that I teach in the Graduate Program in Settlement Archaeology at the Middle East Technical University at Ankara, where the great majority of our students speak Turkish as their first language but English is the language of instruction. I have however been greatly disappointed and found it difficult, in spite of the inordinately long time taken to write this review, to come up with much to write that is positive.

One underlying problem is that the majority of what archaeologists, for whom this book has been principally compiled, call artifacts, objects, or simply finds, are, in actual fact, only those parts of complex artifacts that have survived burial in archaeological contexts. Survival is a result of both the accidents of preservation and the different organic and inorganic materials from which they are made. The author is clearly aware of the shortcomings for, in the Preface, she writes, "More than 2000 entries [the publisher's blurb on the flap says close to 3000] cover all aspects of artifacts: specific artifact types, prominent examples of artifacts, technological terms, culture periods, words associated with the making of and description of artifacts (including material and methods), principles and techniques of examination and identification, and terms regarding the care and preservation of specimens." Architectural terms and materials are, we are told, excluded. Further, although not specifically stated, both the chronological and the geographical scope are as broad as possible, embracing as they do all continents, and all periods from the Lower Palaeolithic to the Historic with geological periods also getting entries. Some unique objects have been selected, such as the Phaistos disc, the description of which does not mention that its authenticity has been questioned, and the Bayeux Tapestry, which is awarded one of the longest entries. Additionally, a few archaeological tools, e.g. "auger", and terms for archaeological practices, e.g. "find number", are included for good measure.

That Kipfer's own interests and areas of archaeological expertise are chipped stone artifacts and their production, from the Palaeolithic to North American Indian, is indicated by the disproportionate number of entries and illustrations afforded them. One has the impression that this book began as specialised work restricted to these fields. This good idea was expanded to include much more, but with very uneven coverage which ranges from the general to the specific. To take but one example from the Ancient Near East, the entry for "Halaf" quite correctly describes it as the type site for the Halaf Culture that spanned much of the 5th millennium. The latter part of the entry, however, is muddled and fails to make clear that in the Iron Age Tell Halaf, called Guzana in Akkadian, was the capital of a local kingdom. However, Halaf culture, the Halaf Period and Tell Halaf/Guzana are not artifacts in the sense of excavated objects. To make matters worse, there are no entries at all for the equally important terms Uruk or Ubaid. Likewise we have Middle Assyrian but not Hittite whilst the Middle Bronze Age is apparently restricted to the Levant. Difficulties of the same order apply to other parts of the Old and New Worlds.

A very few entries are cross-referenced by terms and alternative spellings enclosed in square brackets, but not all such bracketed terms can be found. To give but two examples, the entry for Adze terminates with [adz and adze blade] neither of which are found, while biface has [bifacial, coup-de-poing, hand ax], but no entry for coup-de-poing. Successive entries are biface bevel, biface bevel flaking, biface serration flaking, biface thinning flake, bifacial, bifacial blank, bifacial core, bifacial flaking, bifacial foliate, bifacial retouch, bifacial thinning flake (and expanded version of the definition of biface thinning flake), and bifacially worked. Turning now to a class of artifact, we have arrow, arrow straightener and arrowhead with illustration; but also Adena-Rossville point for which the entire entry reads "contracting stemmed point with a narrower section at the base than the main part of the arrowhead point." with Adena as the previous entry that references merely Adena point. Later comes Avonlea point ("early bow and arrow projectile point dated AD 100-500, from North Dakota"), barb, barbed and tanged arrowhead, bow, bow and arrow, Breton arrowhead, chisel-ended arrowhead, corner notch (with illustration), crossbow, Dalton (with illustration of a Dalton point), flake (sometimes used for arrowheads), Hardaway point (with illustration), knapping (for amongst other things the manufacture of arrowheads), leaf arrowhead (with illustration), meadowood point, and nock. Together with six line drawings that show different types of notches on arrowheads there are successive entries for notch, notch width, notching, and notching flake; the entry for corner-notched and side-notched come in alphabetic order while bottom-notched, labelled in an illustration on page 216, is not provided with a separate entry. Here it would surely have been more sensible to have made a single entry for notched. Next are petit-tranchet arrowhead and, with mention of arrowheads, pressure flaking, projectile point, quarry blank, serrated point, stemmed point, and stunner (with illustration). Woodland is accompanied by four illustrations of different types of Woodland point. Not here listed are all entries for particular types of projectile point, the majority of which were not arrowheads, nor for the many terms relating to methods and techniques of stone working where the term arrowhead was not specifically mentioned. The broad point is that these entries do not provide the helpful guide that a student or professional would require in order to be able to classify and describe arrowheads. Nor does it offer a useful overview of the materials from which arrowheads were generally made, or of methods of production. Additionally, no discussion of the uses or effectiveness of arrows in hunting and warfare is attempted. The same shortcomings apply to all classes of artifact within this volume, from tools and weapons to ceramics.

It might very well be that such an overview is not possible in the form of a dictionary such as this, but in that case it must be asked what purpose is served by the volume under review, and, at 125 US dollars, for whom is this book intended? It is published in hardback by Blackwell, an internationally renowned academic publisher. One can hardly imagine that students are expected to buy it. What we have then is a commercial product aimed at libraries. But why, it might be asked, should anyone today go to a library to consult a volume such as this when definitions of any of the terms can be instantly retrieved online? Sadly, I have to conclude that this Dictionary of Artifacts is itself an artifact of little utility.

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Adrian Goldsworthy, How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009. Pp. x, 531; 16 p. of plates. ISBN 9780300137194. $32.50.
Reviewed by Hugh Elton, Trent University

I often tell my students that I don't know why Rome fell, but I can talk about it for a long time. Adrian Goldsworthy, however, does know why Rome fell, and describes the process in over 500 pages. Like all of his work, it reads well, but I suspect that the majority of BMCR readers are not the target audience who instead would seem to be the (almost mythical) general reader. Opening and closing sections discussing Rome in relation to the US and to modern Britain, as well as regular analogies throughout to the modern period, give the work topicality, though mean it will not age well.

Like Gibbon, Goldsworthy starts with the death of Marcus Aurelius. He then proceeds reign by reign as far as Justinian. There is an admirable attempt, as the narrative becomes more complex in the fourth century, to maintain the story of a single political body. This is not easy, and Goldsworthy does as well as can be done. Once the middle of the fifth century is reached, the treatment of events becomes thinner, especially in the east, and after 476 there is a very swift progression to the reign of Justinian, treated very much as an epilogue to Roman history, rather than a part of it.

The viewpoint is a very traditional one, focussing on politics and military history (so strongly that neither Athanasius nor John Chrysostom are mentioned, while the Council of Chalcedon occurs only once, and that in the reign of Justinian). I've great sympathy with this as an approach, but am reluctant to accept that this is all there is to the collapse of the Late Roman Empire. The major culprit for Goldsworthy is civil war, which he sets out as being mostly absent in the first two centuries, but prevalent in the third, fourth, and fifth centuries. While it is true that there was a lot of civil war, this doesn't seem satisfying as an explanation in itself. Similarly, talking about Rome as a body 'made vulnerable by prolonged decay' (415) is true enough, but I'm not sure how much Goldsworthy's approach really explains the fall of the western Roman Empire or the continuity of the eastern. Goldsworthy argues that: 'The Roman Empire did not fall quickly, but to use this as proof that its institutions were essentially sound is deeply misguided' (413). I disagree, but in the sort of work that Goldsworthy is writing, I'm inevitably going to be disappointed.

Goldsworthy's approach is very different from the more nuanced debate involving scholars like Liebeschuetz and Ward-Perkins who take issue with the perspectives of positivistic scholars on the way in which the Late Empire changed or declined. Goldsworthy knows about this work (18-20), but never actively engages with it, choosing to keep his work at a more general level. Although the introduction mentions that different scholars have different opinions, these are consciously kept out of the narrative as 'deathly dull' to those who are not professional historians (8). Allusions to scholarship are sparse in the text but can be followed up by those in the field through the endnotes (which, like the bibliography, are well-read and up to date). Thus the sections on Goths for example, give no sense of the depths of divided opinions between many scholars. Endnotes, as opposed to footnotes, don't help here.

This is not a book that I could use in the classroom--too thick, too well-written, and perhaps most dangerously, too clear. Portraying history in such simplistic terms, however, fails to explain that governing the Late Roman Empire was a complex business. But since this is not what Goldsworthy set out to do, such criticism is unfair. By design, this is the sort of book that politicians, school teachers, and my colleagues in the Department of Physics will read, sucked in by the blurb on the dust jacket. The full title, How Rome Fell: The Death of a Superpower (US) or Fall of the West: The Long Slow Death of the Roman Superpower (UK) encourages this sort of audience and here, I think, it will be successful.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010


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Fabio Gasti, Marino Neri (ed.), Agostino a scuola: letteratura e didattica. Atti della Giornata di studio Pavia (13 novembre 2008). Testi e studi di cultura classica 43. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, 2009. Pp. 191. ISBN 9788846723840. €18.00 (pb).
Reviewed by Vincent Hunink, Radboud University Nijmegen

Augustine can be meaningfully connected with 'school' in more than one way. First, there is his own experience as a pupil with ancient education, ranging from the elementary education by the ludi magister to the highest forms of rhetoric. In addition, he was a teacher of pagan rhetoric himself. At a later stage in his life, well after his conversion to Christianity, his teaching role radically changed: as a bishop he taught his faithful for over thirty years in countless sermons, many of which are still extant.

In addition to these various forms of personal experience in education, Augustine as a thinker and writer has contributed important and influential ideas about what real (that is, in his view, Christian) teaching is, or should be, and what place pagan knowledge and literature could have in it, such as in his De cathechizandis rudibus and De doctrina Christiana.

In turn, Augustine's works were studied in school for many centuries. And even today it seems to make sense to reflect on the possibilities of using Augustinian texts in the Latin curriculum and to explore their potential for the education of pupils.

Thus, the theme of Augustine and school is actually rather vast, and it seems difficult to comprise all its subthemes in one volume.

Surprisingly, this is exactly what a new Italian volume with conference papers of a colloquium in Pavia aspires to do. The collection consists of four long papers by academic scholars, and four much shorter ones by school teachers (I leave aside the introductions and words of welcome that seem due in Italian collections of conference papers). It does not come as a surprise that the academic authors focus on Augustine and his practical and theoretical approaches of education, whereas the teachers highlight modern didactic approaches of Augustine.

Although this division is clear enough, the volume as a whole fails to convince because it does not present all material in a coherent and balanced way. Notably, the 'academic' papers are far too long and offer relatively few new insights, whereas the 'didactic' papers show little interaction with the academic ones and are so short as to be no more than suggestive of fruitful didactic methods. The volume is certainly relevant for scholars and specialized libraries, but can not be recommended to a general audience.

The first paper by Paola Francesca Moretti (36 pages) deals primarily with Augustine's own experience of education and his approach to using and justifying the liberal arts as instruments in service of truth and faith. A brief analysis of De dialectica follows, which shows how sensitive Augustine is to matters of etymology and sound. This in turn brings the author to the Confessiones, where an excessively long series of textual examples (amounting to more than 20 pages) is adduced to elaborate on this point.

In response to this, I would suggest that Augustine's linguistical talents stand out for all to see clearly enough, both in his Confessiones and in other works, and need little explicit analysis here. Much of this article would better fit the detailed notes of a good commentary on the Confessiones, rather than as the opening piece in a collection of essays on the broad theme of Augustine and school.

The second paper is by Domenico Devoti (21 pages). It tackles a well known problem: how did Augustine, the experienced rhetorician, deal with the circumstance that most of the Bible is in plain, simple language, and how did he manage to develop something of a 'Christian rhetoric'? Devoti studies De cathechizandis rudibus and De doctrina Christiana at some length, including a fair amount of paraphrase from these works, only to arrive at the conclusion that Augustine did not establish a christian rhetoric (as the title of his piece suggested) but rather re-established rhetoric, a fairly meager and predictable result.

One of the editors, Fabio Gasti, attempts to bridge the cleft between 'Augustine the rhetorician' and 'Augustine in the classroom', by suggesting a thematic approach of texts by Augustine and other authors on 'conversion' (24 pages). Of course, Confessions 8 is given much space, but other authors, such as Paulinus of Nola, are also highlighted. Augustine's literary account of his conversion has in turn influenced later authors, such as Orientius in his Commonitorium. It is a pleasant surprise to see this lesser known poet mentioned in this context. Gasti has at least seriously tried to contextualize the theme of conversion that seems so crucial to our understanding of Augustine.

The fourth, central piece of the volume is the longest (51 pages) and the least satisfactory one. Sergio Audano widely elaborates on two passages in De civitate Dei (3,16 and 5,18) where Augustine quotes a Virgilian line (Aeneid 6,823: uincet amor patriae laudumque immensa cupido) on Brutus. We hear all about Brutus, the Virgilian line, Livy's account, and Augustine's use of the passage and almost inevitably a final section deals with later, Renaissance echoes of the Augustinian Virgil quote. It is all very learned and richly documented, but I find it difficult to see the relevance of the contribution to the issues in the volume. The piece shows a clear lack of restraint and focus and one might even call it self-indulgent.

The ample room given to Audano has perhaps been at the expense of the four other contributions with a clearly didactic aim. That seems a pity, for it is here that the most interesting ideas can be found.

Anna Turra and Sabina Depaoli are working together on an Augustine project for classes. In their contributions (9 and 7 pages), they center the 'lexicon of I' in Augustine, (with the Latin words on body, soul, and senses) in combination with approaches to bring pupils in contact with Augustinian philosophical thought, which makes one, in the end, turn towards God. Some parts of these contributions remain rather abstract to me, but it is refreshing to see modern teachers think about ways to teach Augustine.

The final two and shortest pieces are arguably the most useful ones to those who wish to put theory into classroom practice. Martino Menghi in no more than 4 pages manages to suggest a promising confrontation in class of Augustine and the Stoic philosopher Seneca, notably on the issues of 'the good', 'grace', and 'time'. This straightforward and clear idea may prove to be inspiring to many teachers.

Finally, Gianluca Vandone suggests a practical approach to teach Augustine (6 pages) by concentrating on some essential connecting threads: Augustine as an author belonging to both classical culture and christian culture, and Augustine as a philosopher highly indebted to Plato. Some concrete textual proposals are made (De Doctrina christiana 2,40,60-61; Confessiones 6,6,9-10, and De beata vita 4), the first one which is analyzed as a case study.

The volume is concluded with a helpful index locorum.

As a whole, the book does not give a coherent view of the broad theme that is 'Augustine and school'. It is somewhat unbalanced, clearly favoring long academic pieces to shorter didactic ones, which are, nonetheless included. However, it is in these final pieces that the general reader will find the best ideas.

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Johannes Breuer, Der Mythos in den Oden des Horaz: Praetexte, Formen, Funktionen. Hypomnemata Bd. 178. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Pp. 444. ISBN 9783525252857. €85.00.
Reviewed by Dorothee Gall, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

Breuers Studie präsentiert sich in zwei Teilen: Umfänglichen Prolegomena folgt die Untersuchung des Mythengebrauchs in neun horazischen Oden. Angesichts des Titels ist der Leser von dieser Beschränkung auf Einzelanalysen überrascht. Dennoch liegt hier nicht nur der Kern, sondern auch das eigentliche Verdienst von Breuers Studie. Ausführlich und mit ausgewogenem Urteil erörtert der Autor unter sorgfältiger Beachtung der einschlägigen Forschung die Motive (selten nur die Strukturen) der Einzeltexte, um dann sein besonderes Augenmerk auf die jeweils vorhandenen Mythologeme zu richten.

In den Prolegomena kommt Breuer nach einem raschen Überblick über die Forschungsliteratur zu dem Ergebnis, dass bisher "weitgehend darauf verzichtet [wurde], den Kontext der Einzelstellen zu berücksichtigen und die Eigenarten und Formen der Mythologeme sowie ihre Funktionen innerhalb der jeweiligen carmina für die Interpretation fruchtbar zu machen" (S. 22). Auch seien die Praetexte und Parallelen zwar zumeist bekannt, aber nicht hinlänglich berücksichtigt.1 Diese Lücke will Breuer schließen und damit "gleichsam eine Phänomenologie des horazischen Mythosgebrauches entwerfen" (S. 23). Die folgenden Präzisierungen der eigenen Methode und Textauswahl (letztere nach dem Kriterium der Grenzziehung zwischen Mythos und Nicht-Mythischem [S. 25f.]) sind gründlich, aber auch etwas langatmig dargelegt.

Der Frage "Was ist ein Mythos" entledigt sich der Autor dagegen in atemberaubender Schnelligkeit: Breuer geht von Burkerts Mythoskonzept mit den Elementen "traditionelle Erzählung", "Sinnstruktur" und "überindividuelle Wirklichkeitserfahrung" aus und konkretisiert es im traditionellen Sinn als "Erzählungen über Götter oder Heroen oder über den Ursprung von Gegebenheiten, Zuständen, Lebewesen und Dingen, auch Festen" (30). Der neuere Diskurs um den Mythos (Hans Blumenberg; Roland Barthes) ist nicht bzw. nur am Rande eingeflossen; Blumenbergs in seiner Rezeptionsgeschichte vielstrapazierter Begriff der "Arbeit am Mythos" erscheint verkürzt auf die poetische Variation. Der Passus zum Mythos in Rom und in der römischen Literatur (S. 30ff.) weicht der Frage nach der Existenz römischer Mythen im klassischen oder modernen Sinn aus und verengt sich rasch auf die Frage, inwieweit die antiken Mythen geglaubt wurden. Aus den Testimonien zur Unglaubwürdigkeit der fabulae kommt Breuer dann etwas gewaltsam zu einer Definition, die für die Antike überhaupt das Bewusstsein einer höheren Wahrheit des Mythos postuliert.

Die Untersuchung zur horazischen Religiosität führt über weite Umwege zu dem Schluss, dass sich aus den Dichtungen kein Aufschluss über die persönliche Religiosität des Horaz gewinnen lässt; auf die für eine methodenbewusste Literaturwissenschaft weithin selbstverständliche Weiterung, dass ein solcher Aufschluss auch für das Verständnis der carmina irrelevant wäre, lässt sich Breuer nur am Rande ein.

Der Einleitung in die Horaz-Analyse sollen die Untersuchungen zur Rolle des Mythischen bei Hesiod, Archilochos, Alkaios, Sappho, Pindar, in der attischen Tragödie, der griechisch-römischen Komödie, bei Kallimachos, Lukrez, Catull und Vergil dienen. Diesem Thema widmet Breuer insgesamt 86 Seiten; im Rahmen einer Abhandlung zu Horaz' carmina ist das sehr umfänglich, angesichts der Vielschichtigkeit des Themas mutet die Darstellung aber wie ein Parforceritt an. So ist auch das Resultat wenig tragfähig für die folgenden Analysen. Auf die genannten Autoren verweist Breuer später nur noch knapp, und häufig nicht im Hinblick auf ihren Mythengebrauch; ausführlicher vergleichend analysiert werden im zweiten Hauptteil: zu c. 1,2 Verg. Georg. 1, 498 ff. (S. 314-318); zu c. 1,10 der homerische Hermeshymnos und der Hermeshymnos des Alkaios (S. 331-334); zu c. 1,15 die Ilias, Alkaios fr. 283 Lobel-Page und Horaz epod. 10 (S. 357-365); im letzten Kapitel versammelt die zusammenfassende Darstellung (S. 388-391) zu den "Praetexten" Einzelbeobachtungen.

Durchaus gelungen ist Breuers Analyse von c. 1,27 (Natis in usum laetitiae scyphis). Merkwürdig nur, dass Breuer ausgerechnet im Kernpunkt seiner Fragestellung hinter bisherige Erkenntnisse zurückfällt. Der Kommentar von Nisbet/Hubbard verweist zu 1,27,19 (quanta laboras in Charybdi) auf zwei Bedeutungen des Bildes: die Frau/Hetäre als gierig ("symbol of rapacity") und als unendlich attraktiv ("an overwhelming power of attraction"). Gerade diese Ambivalenz macht die mythische Metapher reizvoll; Breuer sieht nur den ersten Aspekt.

Zu 1,16 weist Breuer mit plausiblen Gründen die These zurück, die angesprochene Schöne (O matre pulcra filia pulcrior) aus V. 1 sei Helena; ebenso hält er jeden Bezug zur Canidia der Epoden für unhaltbar.

Die (Unterwelts-)Mythen in c. 2,14 (Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume) dienen dazu, die Unausweichlichkeit des Todes "anschaulich und konkret" zu machen. Mit gutem Grund sieht Breuer in der Todesmahnung keine Persiflage auf dümmliches Geschwätz beim Gelage, sondern eine ernst gemeinte Mahnung zum Lebensgenuss, der die Erinnerung an den nahen Tod Gewicht verleiht. Dass der glückliche Erbe den Boden mit Wein befeuchten wird (2,14,25 ff.), fasst Breuer nicht als Verschwendung auf, sondern als fromme Trankspende; pavimentum tinguere (27) sei Variation zu libare. Eher sollte man hier allerdings die reizvolle Ambivalenz gelten lassen. -- Der Überblick über weitere Unterwelts- oder Todesbilder in den Oden berücksichtigt mit den carmina 2,13; 1,24; 3,11; 4,7 nur Todesdarstellungen in szenischer Form. Breuer kommt zu dem Schluss, dass leisere Töne in der Todesdarstellung eher den konsolatorischen Oden vorbehalten seien, die umfänglichere Ausbreitung der Unterweltsbilder dagegen als Überleitung zu anderen Themen diene (223). -- Für die ausgewählten Texte lässt sich dieses Ergebnis nachvollziehen; das Auswahlkriterium der szenischen Plastizität scheint aber doch willkürlich eingeführt; eher sollte es überhaupt um mythisierte Todesdarstellungen gehen, und da müsste c. 1,28 Breuer zu einem anderen Ergebnis führen.

C. 2,7 (o saepe mecum tempus in ultimum) ist 1999 von Stefan Freund ausführlich auf dem Hintergrund der Motivtradition des Schildverlusts analysiert worden. 2 Freund akzeptiert Zielinskis Konjektur zu Archilochos, fr. 95,4 West und damit die Retterfunktion des Hermes bereits bei Archilochos. Breuer ist hier skeptischer; auch die These, Horaz wolle sich als θεοφιλής stilisieren3, lehnt er unter Berufung auf den Kontext ab: Es gehe dem Dichter vielmehr um eine taktvoll unpräzise Darstellung von Niederlage und Versagen; das mythische Motiv übe eine "wohl 'verrätselnde', kaschierende Funktion" aus (237).4--Die Deutung des Mythologems als taktvolle Umschreibung ist sicher richtig; weder der Kontext noch der sonstige Mythengebrauch bei Horaz verbieten aber, weitere Implikationen anzunehmen.

In c. 1,6 (Scriberis Vario fortis et hostium) repräsentieren, so Breuer, die im Zuge der recusatio angeführten mythischen Motive die Gattungen Tragödie und Epos und werten die genannten zeitgenössischen Personen und Ereignisse auf. Die Verteidigung der überlieferten Textform gegen die Umstellungs- und Athetierungswut des 19. Jahrhunderts läuft freilich offene Türen ein; der Leser empfindet zudem hier -- im Kontext eines so geläufigen Themas -- Breuers Verzicht, stoffliche oder funktionale Parallelen aus dem horazischen Werk anzuführen, besonders deutlich als Manko.

Zu c. 1,1 wendet sich Breuer zunächst kleinen mythologischen Anspielungen und Metaphern zu, in denen er Sinnambiguitäten vermittelt sieht; im Musenhain-Motiv (29ff.) wolle Horaz nicht die Existenz des genialischen Dichters persiflieren, sondern "die Andersartigkeit des Lebensmodells des lyrischen Dichters" (S. 269) demonstrieren, eine nicht neue, aber überzeugende Auslegung. Richtig hebt Breuer hervor, dass nicht alle zuvor genannten bioi negativ konnotiert sind. Merkwürdigerweise verweist Breuer hier nur in einer Fussnote (S. 262, 56) auf Hesiods Musenweihe; Kallimachos, fr. 2 Pfeiffer, Vergil, ecl. 6 und Prop. 3,1 sind gar nicht berücksichtigt.

Zu den diffizilen Fragen, die c. 1,2 aufwirft -- welches Leid der Ilia ist beschworen? auf welche Tiber-Überschwemmung verweist Horaz? warum ist der Tiber und nicht der Anio Ilias Gatte und Rächer? welches nefas soll Augustus sühnen, und warum erscheint er in der Gestalt Mercurs? -- präsentiert Breuer einen sorgfältigen Überblick über die von den antiken Kommentatoren angebotenen Lösungen und die neuere Forschung. Das in den Endstrophen beschworene scelus deutet er mit einem Großteil der Forschung als Verurteilung des Bürgerkriegs (und nicht der Ermordung Caesars).--Etwas oberflächlich bleibt der Vergleich mit Vergil, Georgica 1, 481ff.: Die zweifellos vorhandenen Motivvariationen sind der Zoll, den ein Dichter einem anderen leistet, dem er nacheifert, nicht aber unumstößliche Hinweise auf weitestgehende Selbstständigkeit. Und natürlich verwendet auch Vergil das Motiv der Göttlichkeit der Rettergestalt Augustus, nämlich im Prooemium der Georgica, 1, 24ff. (vgl. auch Prop. 3,4,1; 4,11,60)!

Zu c. 1,10 (Mercuri, facunde nepos Atlantis) führt die vergleichende Betrachtung des homerischen Hermeshymnos Breuer zu dem Ergebnis, "von einem engen Anschluss des Horaz an den homerischen Hymnus" könne "keine Rede sein" (332). Eines der Argumente ist, dass Horaz die drastischen Züge, explizit die Blähungen des Hermes-Kindes (295f.) und die eristischen Motive, ausspart. Gerade hier sollte aber die Interpretation ansetzen; sie könnte im Rekurs auf weitere Stellen in der 'Veredelung' und Sublimierung typische Züge der horazischen Mythengestaltung eruieren. Bedauerlich, dass sich Breuer darauf nicht einlässt.In der weiteren Analyse destruiert Breuer verschiedene Theorien zur Bedeutung Merkurs für Horaz: Merkur als besonderer Schutzgott des Dichters (so u.a. Hommel5), Horaz als vir Mercurialis (so u.a. Neumeister6), Merkur als Repräsentant des Augustus (so insbes. Lo Cicero7); in der dezidierten Kritik schlägt sich die manchmal simplifizierende, aber doch auch wohltuend nüchterne Ablehnung des Autors gegenüber allem Spekulativen besonders deutlich nieder.

Höchst sorgfältig ist auch c. 1,15 (Pastor cum traheret) analysiert, wenngleich Rez. sich Breuers Ablehnung eines allegorischen Bezugs auf Antonius nicht anschliessen mag. Richtig verweist Breuer darauf, dass die Beschuldigung des Paris nicht kongruent ist mit der in augusteischer Propaganda verankerten Lesart des Bürgerkriegs gegen Antonius und Kleopatra als bellum externum; diese Lesart setzte sich aber doch erst allmählich durch, und noch die horazische Epode 9 weiß nichts von ihr; wenn 1,15, wie meist vermutet, zu den früheren Oden gehört, muss sie von solcher Wertung noch nicht beeinflusst sein.8 Wenn aber die allegorische Auslegung nicht ausgeschlossen werden kann, ist Breuers Kategorisierung von 1,15 als "Ode rein mythischen Inhalts" ohne Verankerung im Nicht-Mythischen (auch wenn diese ggfs. in der Verhüllung des Allegorischen liegt) brüchig.

Das Kapitel "Ergebnisse" fasst die vorangegangenen Analysen knapp zusammen und listet insbesondere die Funktionsweisen des Mythos in den einzelnen Kontexten und Aussagen zur Relevanz der Praetexte auf. Wie kaum anders zu erwarten, ist die Differenzierung in beiden Bereichen zu stark, als dass verallgemeinernde Aussagen getroffen werden könnten.

Breuer bietet zu allen analysierten Texten Übersetzungen; dass diese auf größtmögliche Textnähe abzielen, ist im Prinzip nachvollziehbar, führt aber manchmal zu unbeholfenen Wendungen: Nicht nur professionelle Segler werden über die Möglichkeit, "die Segel rückwärts zu richten" (1,34,3f. retrorsum/ vela dare), grübeln; auch "Becher, die zum Gebrauch der Fröhlichkeit bestimmt sind" (1,27, 1: natis in usum laetitae scyphis) wirken nicht eben einladend. Aber das sind Kleinigkeiten.

Das Verdienst von Breuers methodisch konservativer Arbeit liegt in der ausgiebigen Analyse ausgewählter horazischer carmina . Dabei treten zahlreiche Phänomene des horazischen Mythengebrauchs und einige Aspekte der horazischen Rezeptionstechnik zutage, die sich aber nicht zu Gesetzmäßigkeiten verallgemeinern lassen. Dass Breuer dies nicht gewaltsam versucht, ist positiv zu vermerken; größer aber wäre der Wert der Studie, wenn sie innerhalb des horazischen Odenwerks Vergleichbares zumindest benennen und damit die Ergebnisse auf eine etwas breitere Basis stellen könnte.


1.   Angesichts der sorgfältigen Quellenuntersuchungen bei Nisbet/Hubbard und auch bei Syndikus überrascht diese Kritik.
2.   Stefan Freund, Horaz, Archilochos und der Krieg, in: RhM 142 (1999), 308-320.
3.   So Helmut Krasser, Horazische Denkfiguren. Theophilie und Theophanie als Medium der poetischen Selbstdarstellung des Odendichters (Hypomnemata 106), Göttingen 1995, 33.
4.   Zu bedenken ist aber, wie Horaz in c. 3,4,25ff. dasselbe Motiv aufgreift: vestris amicum fontibus et choris / non me Philippis versa acies retro, / devota non extinxit arbor [...]: Hier besteht ein deutlicher Konnex zwischen Götter- bzw. Musennähe und Rettung.
5.   Hildebrecht Hommel, Horaz, Heidelberg 1950, 126 (nicht im Literaturverzeichnis).
6.   Christoff Neumeister, Horaz und Merkur, in: A&A 22 (1976), 185-194.
7.   Carla Lo Cicero, Mercurio e Orazio (Carm. 1,10), in: Pan 7 (1981), 99-112.
8.   Vgl. Dorothee Gall, Geliebte Caesars, Verderben Marc Antons, Feindin Roms. Kleopatra in der Literatur der Antike, in: Kleopatra und die Caesaren. Katalog der gleichnamigen Ausstellung, Hamburg 28.10.2006-4.2.2007 (Publikationen des Bucerius Kunst-Forums), München 2006, 142-150, und Michael P. Schmude, Horaz, Ode I 15 ("Pastor cum traheret...") und Antonius und Kleopatra in der augusteischen Dichtung, Anregung 40 (1994), 179-185.

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Monday, March 29, 2010


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Nina Mindt, Manfred Fuhrmann als Vermittler der Antike: ein Beitrag zu Theorie und Praxis des Übersetzens. Transformationen der Antike, Bd. 5. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2008. Pp. viii, 203. ISBN 9783110203646. $93.00.
Reviewed by Ioana Claudia Popa, Eduard Nebelthau Grammar School, Bremen-Lesum, Germany

The purpose of this book is the correct placement of Manfred Fuhrmann within the German translation tradition and the just appreciation of his contribution to general translation theory based on the close examination of his work.

Manfred Fuhrmann (1925-2005) is the author of seven volumes containing the translation of all Ciceronian speeches. He also translated Greek tragedies, prose, Christian literature, Tacitus, Aristotle, etc. Beside this, he has repeatedly reflected upon his own translations, considering also theoretical issues regarding the translation of ancient literature in general.

The most important part of Fuhrmann's theoretical views on translation is found in his lectures. According to him, the history of translation of classical works into German has been neglected, especially that of Latin literature. Classical philology in German-speaking countries has started only quite recently to relate to general translation theory and practice. As a result, Mindt finds it necessary to evaluate Fuhrmann's work both in the context of general translation theory and from the point of view of translation practice.

The book has three main parts: Fuhrmann in the context of translation theory (his statements on translation in general, his views regarding its history and criticism as well as Fuhrmann's own translation "norms"), his translation work, and, as a conclusion, his place in the field of translation.

1. Fuhrmann in the context of translation theory

A. Fuhrmann's statements on translation

In his work Neue Übersetzungen? (1985), Fuhrmann showed that in Goethe's time, the norms for translating contemporary and ancient literature were quite distinct, and that this distinction is still valid today. This view is not shared by Fuhrmann out of his fundamental belief that the translation of ancient texts should follow the principles of general translation theory. According to it, the ideal translation should be accurate, reproducing as exactly as possible the meaning of the source text; natural, using natural forms of the target (or receptor) language in a way that is appropriate to the kind of text being translated, and also communicative, expressing all aspects of the meaning in a way that is readily understandable to the intended audience.1

The vocabulary of ancient languages reflects a cultural context that modern Europe left behind a long time ago. Ancient texts describe a completely different life, a fact that poses serious problems to translators and also to readers, especially to those who did not have the chance to receive a classical education. Beside this, new translations of classical authors have become necessary due to modifications of the target languages along time.

B. Fuhrmann's views on translation history and criticism

Fuhrmann is also the author of analyses of translation history and criticism, specificially his commentaries on the translations of Christoph Martin Wieland, Schiller, and Goethe. While discussing Fuhrmann's research, Mindt outlines in parallel a brief history of the translation of classical works into German. Fuhrmann himself studied the translation tradition beginning with antiquity, and Mindt believes he had good reasons in doing so, for the development of Latin literature was influenced by translations from Greek. Mindt highlights the great importance of Cicero in the tradition of translation. Cicero was the one who gave the term interpres a negative connotation, regarding it as the opposite of the literary-oriented translator (word-by-word versus artistic translation).2

Speaking about translation in the 18th century, Mindt refers mainly to the views of Wieland, whose ideas on translation were highly appreciated by Fuhrmann. Wieland believed that the main barrier in translation is represented by the differences in the various language systems, each with its different nature and 'spirit', but he considered this barrier surmountable. It was Wieland, who transformed the hexameter of Horace's satires into the German iambus, thus aiming towards the equivalence of reception, which is one of the precepts of modern translation theory. A translation that respects this principle is one in which the translator manages to find the middle path between the source language and the target language by respecting their grammar rules and 'spirit', while reproducing the style of the source text as much as possible.

In the chapter concerning the beginning of the 19th century, Mindt analyzes the views of Goethe, Humboldt, Schleiermacher, and Voss, and at the same time Fuhrmann's reading of them. This double undertaking and the fact that there is no clear separation among the four authors make this section hard to follow. The chapter referring to Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff3 is systematic and clear. His views are also part of the modernizing wave in the context of translation theory.

In his work Von Wieland bis Voss (1987), Fuhrmann examines the evidence in order to prove his hypothesis that there was a turning point in translation history at the beginning of the 19th century. This turning point is represented by the emphasis on the preservation of the foreign character of the source text and the diminishing attention paid to idiom and grammatical correctness of the target language.

Fuhrmann asserts that the science of translation was born in the middle of the 20th century. In his discussions of this topic he remarks, with regret, that classical philologists are quite reticent on the topic of contemporary translation theory. There is no systematic and general theory of translation, in part because of the great variety of literary genres and subgenres.

The most vivid debate and, at the same time, the best review of scientific discussions on translation between 1950 and the mid-seventies belongs to Rainer Nickel.4 Fuhrmann maintained that the vast majority of translators of ancient texts, whether they are writers or classical philologists, pay no notice to this debate.

According to Fuhrmann, Wolfgang Schadewaldt played a crucial part in the debate on translation during the 20th century. He defined another type of translation of ancient literature, the documentary one (dokumentarische Übersetzung).5 This "documentary translation" aims not only to approach the ways of feeling and thinking of the foreign author, but also to assimilate them in order to extend and enrich the reader's experience. It is opposed to "transposing translation" ("das transponierende Übersetzen"), which means translating in the narrow sense, without respecting the particularities of the national and personal features of the foreign author, by giving his work the patterns of the usual terms and expectations of our linguistic and poetic conventions.

Mindt points out some resemblances between the theories of Fuhrmann and Schadewaldt, the most important of which is the analogy between the dichotomies of source language versus target language-oriented translation (Fuhrmann) and documentary versus transposing translation (Schadewaldt).

C. Fuhrmann's own translation "norms"

Grammar and style are the two levels of language; the former is determined by compulsory rules ("zwingende Regeln"), the latter is shaped by the rules of the good style ("Regeln des guten Stils"). According to Mindt, it was exactly this distinction that Fuhrmann took as a starting point when he formulated his concepts of source language versus target language-oriented translation. He distinguished three categories of licence: at the level of syntax, word order, and choice of word types and phraseology.

Fuhrmann differentiates between the "normal", the "rhetorical", and the "poetic" style, based on the stylistic analysis of the original text. The texts belonging to the "normal" style (prose) have a conventional particularity, and their most important aspect is content. In this case, the appropriate translation is the target language-oriented one, except for philosophical texts or those containing many special terms, in which situations the better approach is the source language-oriented translation, for it eases the reader's work through these texts.

Fuhrmann's "rhetorical style" corresponds to artistic prose, for which he recommends only source language-oriented translations that preserve as much as possible the means of expression of the original text. The translator should not annihilate the artistic particularity of the text, thus reducing the translation to the reproduction of the text's content.

Fuhrmann formulates no rules for the translation of texts written in the poetic style. He remarks that every translator points out a different aspect of the original. Probably the most notable observation concerning the translation of this type of texts was made by Schadewaldt, who defined translation as "the art of the correct sacrifice".

2. Fuhrmann's translation work

As is widely known, Fuhrmann's main translation work is represented by the speeches of Cicero. Between 1970 and 1982, he published seven volumes containing the translation of all 58 speeches of Cicero, with introductions and explanatory notes.

According to Fuhrmann, there are two characteristics of Ciceronian oratory that are still impressive today: the art of narration and the suggestive power of the pladoyer. What especially lasts is the effect of the style, and Fuhrmann tried hard to translate Cicero's speeches by preserving their form. Not linguistic, but communication equivalence is what Fuhrmann aims for.

After the chapter dedicated to Fuhrmann's Cicero, Mindt discusses his other translation works. Tacitus' Germania is considered by Fuhrmann to be the most representative example of artistic prose, and, as such, of the rhetorical style. On the other hand, Latin law texts belong to the category of scientific prose. The translation of these texts should help the reader understand issues of Roman law, while at the same time entertain him.

Fuhrmann also became known as an editor of translations in his capacity as a member of the scientific council of The Artemis Publishing House. He wrote prefaces and epilogues of German editions of ancient literature and also edited two anthologies.

3. Fuhrmann's place in the field of translation

According to Mindt, Fuhrmann's particularity inside the field of translation relies in the fact that he followed "the middle path" between the original text and the reader, between the source and the target text, respectively. The dichotomy "literal/faithful" versus "free/creative" (ut interpres or ut orator) remains a constant issue of the general discussion of translation. Fuhrmann requires a correct stylistic classification of the source text, the determination of its primary function, and a translation based on the results of this analysis. His aim is the functional reproduction of the source text.

Fuhrmann's self-assigned mission was a more intense discussion of translations from ancient languages inside and outside classical philology. Mindt proved that he accomplished his mission. She also successfully demonstrated Fuhrmann's role as a "mediator of antiquity" ("Vermittler der Antike"), i.e. as a translator of ancient literature into contemporary German, thus enabling everyone's access to classical culture. Mindt managed to outline Fuhrmann's important contribution both to the general theory of translation and to the modern reception of classical texts in German speaking countries.


1.   Larson, Mildred L., editor, Translation: theory and practice, tension and interdependence, American Translators Association scholarly monographs, 5. Binghampton, NY: State University of New York, 1991, p. 1.
2.   For a detailed examination of translation and of reflections on translation in antiquity see Astrid Seele, Römische Übersetzer. Nöte, Freiheiten, Absichten--Verfahren des literarischen Übersetzens in der griechisch-römischen Antike, Darmstadt 1995.
3.   Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Was ist übersetzen?, 1891.
4.   Die Alten Sprachen in der Schule, 1974, 87-179.
5.   Das Problem der Übersetzung antiker Dichtung, 1963.

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Reviel Netz, Ludic Proof: Greek Mathematics and the Alexandrian Aesthetic. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Pp. xv, 255. ISBN 9780521898942. $99.00.
Reviewed by Anne Mahoney, Tufts University

Table of Contents

The argument of this book is that the style of Hellenistic mathematics is "comparable to that of contemporary literature" (p. x): playful and complex. This is the third part of Netz's extended project on Greek mathematics and, like the earlier books, it is a beautiful, creative study of well-known texts from an unexpected point of view.1 The main character in this story is Archimedes, "a giant of mythical magnitude; perhaps, of all Greeks, the one to have achieved the most" (p. 198); here we see not only Archimedes the brilliant mathematician, dimly grasping ideas that would not be fully developed for almost two thousand years, but also Archimedes the writer, "master story-teller" (p. 229, the last words of the book) and craftsman of Greek prose. Netz argues that the way Archimedes and other Hellenistic mathematicians present their mathematics is designed to please the reader: in this period, mathematical texts are playful, personal, even poetic.

This may sound paradoxical to modern ears. As Netz points out, in our time "the people who read and write mathematics lead a life totally separate from that of the people who read and write poetry" (p. 228; perhaps slightly over-stated). The aesthetic concerns of 21st-century math and those of 21st-century poetry are quite different. But in the Hellenistic period (Netz focuses especially on 250 to 150 BC), the writers of mathematics seem to have picked up some aesthetic values, generic trends, from the writers of poetry: mathematicians and poets both participated in "the kind of verbal art favored in the Hellenistic world" (p. x). That is, the style or feel of a Hellenistic mathematical text is not so different from the feel of Hellenistic poetry, by Callimachus, say, or Posidippus.

Netz begins with a case study, the Spiral Lines of Archimedes. In this work, Archimedes defines a particular kind of spiral curve, then proves four major facts about its area and its relationship to circles circumscribing it. The work is framed as a letter to Dositheus, best known for being the addressee of this and several other works by Archimedes (p. 2). It starts with an introduction, in which Archimedes mentions several other sets of problems, but then readers "learn all of a sudden -- four Teubner pages into the introduction -- that this is going to be a study of spirals" (p. 3). From the very beginning, Archimedes raises readers' expectations, then goes off in a different direction. The introduction is densely written, and the proofs that lead up to the main goals are not motivated: "no effort is made to explain their evolving structure" (p. 4). Instead, Archimedes starts with theorems about linear motion, then goes on to some abstract geometric results about circles. Then come two results about proportions or ratios, "enormously opaque" (p. 6) and with no obvious relationship to spirals, or indeed to anything else we have seen so far. We are now roughly halfway through the work, and only now does Archimedes get back to spirals. First, Archimedes proves the second of the four results he set up as goals in the introduction, using some of the apparently irrelevant results about motion and about circles that have come before. Then he shows some additional results that follow from this fact. As Netz observes, "at this point, therefore, the reader is thoroughly disoriented: the next proofs can be about some further consequences of goal (ii), or about goal (iii), (i), or anything else" (p. 10). What actually does come next is a discussion of "bounding the spiral area between sectors of circles" (p. 10), with no particular reason why.

"Then we reach proposition 24 and now -- only now! -- the treatise as a whole makes sense, in a flash as it were" (p. 10). Archimedes suddenly pulls everything together, showing how all the apparently disparate, unrelated discussions about motion, circles, and parts of circles all actually do relate to the problems announced in the introduction. From here to the end, it isn't exactly smooth sailing, but the remaining propositions of the treatise are somewhat more obviously connected, and the last two things proved are the last two of the four goals from the introduction.

Netz brings out several features of this treatise that, he argues, are typical of Hellenistic mathematical writing in general (p. 12-14). First of all, there's a ton of calculation. Next, the treatise revels in straddling the boundaries between genres -- concrete physics and theoretical abstraction, geometry and arithmetic. Finally, the rhetorical structure is neither "axiomatic" (like a modern mathematical paper) nor "pedagogical" (like a textbook) but a "mosaic" (p. 13), in which the pieces come from different conceptual areas, in no obviously logical sequence, but ultimately come together. "Archimedes made a deliberate choice to produce a mystifying, obscure, 'jumpy' treatise. And it is clear why he should have done so: so as to inspire a reader with the shocking delight of discovering, in proposition 24, how things fit together; so as to have them stumble, with a gasp, into the final, very rich results of proposition 27-28" (p. 13-14). The next three chapters of the book take up each of these points, with examples and analyses from other Hellenistic mathematical works.

The final chapter, entitled "The Poetic Interface," looks at poetic texts rather than mathematical ones, to show the similarities between these two groups of writings. Netz looks at some texts that use science: Aratus's Phaenomena, of course, but also the geography in Apollonius Rhodius' Argonautica, astrology there and elsewhere, the fragments of didactic epics by Nicander, and the Lithica and Iamatica, "stone poems" and "recovery of health poems," from the New Posidippus. The next section of the chapter compares the florid calculations of Hellenistic mathematics with the piling-up of erudite details in Hellenistic poetry. Here Netz chooses Callimachus's Hymn to Artemis as a case study rather than something more overtly erudite like the Aitia, partly because the hymn is both complete and a whole lot shorter than the Aitia, but more importantly because even this non-didactic work displays the same "carnival of erudition" as the longer one (p. 206). The close reading of the hymn (p. 200-206) is particularly well done. Two more sections of the chapter show how the "mosaic" structure Netz finds in some mathematical works is also available to poets; here examples include Apollonius Rhodius and Theocritus. The concluding section brings the threads together, observing that in the Hellenistic period, in both science writing and poetry, we have "a certain carnivalesque play of detail, with its ironic self-undercutting; mosaic composition; narrative surprise; indeed a certain tendency to experiment with one's very generic boundaries" (p. 227); the period is marked by a "scientific-poetic program of multigeneric experimentation" (p. 229).

Although one may argue with some of the details here (for example, the idea explored p. 130 ff, that presenting a second, wholly different proof of a result "undercuts the very notion of a definitive proof" and demands a "suspension of disbelief granted ... by the reader"), the overall case is convincing. Netz gives both mathematical and poetic works the same kind of close reading, bringing out the poetry in the science and vice versa. Mathematical facts can be presented in any number of ways, with more or less explanation or motivation, more or less concern for clarity or elegance. Netz argues that mathematicians in the Hellenistic period chose to present their work in the same style as contemporary poets. This playful, exuberantly erudite, deliberately complicated style was part of the culture. As he puts it, "in some sense, Hellenistic mathematics could not have been otherwise" (p. 240). Readers interested in mathematics, Hellenistic literature, or the history of aesthetics will find this a valuable book.2


1.   Netz's first general study is The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics, reviewed here as 2000.02.17; the second is The Transformation of Mathematics in the Early Mediterranean, reviewed as 2004.10.25. Reviews from a more mathematical point of view have appeared in Mathematical Reviews and can be found in MathSciNet: MR1683176 (2000f:01003) is a review of the former by J. L. Berggren and MR2072579 (2005m:01008) of the latter by Benno Artmann.
2.   All the Greek is translated. So is much of the mathematics, into modern terminology and notation. There are 36 diagrams and a 7-page bibliography.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010


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David Butterfield, Christopher Stray (ed.), A. E. Housman: Classical Scholar. London: Duckworth, 2009. Pp. x, 288. ISBN 9780715638088. £50.00.
Reviewed by Stephen Harrison, Corpus Christi College, Oxford

This volume celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of A. E. Housman (1859-1936). Housman's charismatic status amongst British (and other) classical scholars has several aspects: his remarkable mastery of a wide range of scholarly skills, his fearsome acerbity in castigating the failings of other scholars, and his compelling other life as an initial academic failure, tragically frustrated lover and best-selling poet of yearning and melancholy. Housman has been the subject of several biographies, inevitably more interested in his life, sexuality and poetry than in his classical work, but the publication in 1972 of the splendid three-volume edition of his classical papers and the useful survey of Housman's work in Charles Brink's English Classical Scholarship (1986, 150-98) have reminded modern scholars of the breadth and quality of his scholarly achievements.1 This well-planned book now provides a most welcome detailed analysis, enlisting an impressive panel of experts in a fully authoritative investigation of Housman's classical work and its intellectual context.

The volume falls into three parts, the first of which examines Housman's contribution to the study of specific Latin authors. First up is Stephen Heyworth, who (fresh from his recent Oxford Classical Text of the author) looks at Housman on Propertius (11-28), the target of much early effort (the draft of an edition was burnt at Housman's death on his instructions, p.11). He catalogues Housman's important published work and his equally significant unpublished marginalia in Oxford and Cambridge, finding several conjectures to add to his own edition; he rightly has less praise for Housman's over-complex and unhistorical approach to the manuscript tradition, and plausibly notes that Horace is more influential than Propertius on Housman's poetry. Next comes Edward Courtney (29-44), who looks at Manilius, the most consistent subject of Housman's textual scholarship from 1903 (his edition of Book 1) to the editio minor of the whole Astronomica in 1932, again presenting a balanced assessment. Housman's great contribution to Manilius is emendation, 339 instances according to Courtney, about one every dozen lines; one might add that the opportunity to propose so many new readings was perhaps Housman's primary motivation for taking on a lesser known poet. Housman's main fault is the moralising content of his negative judgements on other scholars, and Courtney also rightly argues that many items in his commentary and text can be disputed despite its continuing deserved status as a scholarly classic.

Three further chapters in this section consider Juvenal, Lucan and Ovid's Ibis, all texts edited by Housman (1905, 1924 and 1894). Robin Nisbet (45-63) points out that on Juvenal Housman's approach to the MS tradition was essentially right, but again shows that his edition was far from perfect and should not be approached uncritically (some splendid emendations stand alongside some dubious ones, Housman did not allow enough for possible deletions, and did not cite enough proposals by other scholars). He rightly stresses that, as in the case of Manilius, the edition (now more than a century old) remains a key reference point for anyone dealing with Juvenal's text and interpretation. Stephen Oakley (65-94) chronicles Housman's engagement with Lucan and gives a high estimate of the edition, showing that Housman's view of the transmission was essentially correct and that his judgement in conjecture, punctuation, choice of reading and explanation was generally excellent. He also assesses Fraenkel's famous review of the edition (occasionally correct against Housman) and Housman's generous support for Fraenkel in his English exile, citing an unpublished letter of Housman. Gareth Williams (95-116) shows that Housman's Ibis (though not perfect) is important and superior to those of Ellis and Owen which he castigated, but takes issue (persuasively) with Housman's belief that the malice in the poem is purely fictional.

Two final chapters in this section look at Housman's scholarly skills more generally. David Butterfield (117-137) demonstrates Housman's mastery of metre and prosody, while suggesting that he was not infallible and sometimes too willing to accept apparent anomaly rather than posit corruption, and adds a brief account of Housman's own (few) compositions in Latin verse. Michael Reeve (139-52) shows that Housman's estimates of the textual traditions of the authors he edited remain soundly based, and that his editorial skills could cope with many aspects of transmission as well as emendation, though his early besting by Postgate on the textual tradition of Propertius is not ignored.

A third section considers Housman's scholarly environment, assessing him through illuminating links and comparisons with his contemporaries. Christopher Stray (155-73) looks at the engagements between Housman and R. C. Jebb over the discovery and emendation of Bacchylides, and its context in the development of universities, journals and the wider public diffusion of classics; Housman was clearly right against Jebb on questions of metre, unsurprising for anyone who has read Jebb's metrical analyses of the choruses of Sophocles. Neil Hopkinson (175-191) considers the three decades of wary rivalry and scholarly interaction between Housman and the broader and more public-spirited J. P. Postgate; their controversy on the text of Propertius in the 1890s (lost by Housman) may have been responsible for the famous mental excitement in which he claimed to have written A Shropshire Lad (pp.178-9), but Housman defeated Postgate for the Kennedy chair in 1911. David Butterfield (193-216) sets Housman alongside a distinguished (but very different) contemporary British Latinist, W. M. Lindsay: the two had a range of professional contacts and clashed in print, inevitable given that Lindsay was sceptical about the value of emendation and keen on the details of palaeography and textual transmission. Luigi Lehnus (217-27) gives us an unpublished set of letters from Housman to the papyrologist A. S. Hunt, illuminating Housman's conjectural contributions over two decades to the publication of the Oxyrhynchus papyri and confirming his fine knowledge of and powers of conjecture in Greek. Finally in this section, Colin Leach (229-43) combs Housman's recently edited letters for nuggets of textual criticism and his limited interactions with other scholars, showing that they share the concern of his published scholarship for truth while pouring less vitriol on opponents.

A final section presents three brief pieces on Housman's legacy by three distinguished textual critics. Georg Luck (247-254) pays tribute and notes the high count of Housman's conjectures in the recent OCT text of Propertius (Heyworth in 2007 accepts 47 against Luck's own 39 in 1996). E. J. Kenney (255-260) offers an after-dinner speech honouring Housman as the scholar who has meant most to him, with amusing fantasy classical cricket teams for Oxford and Cambridge (Housman plays for Oxford, his alma mater). James Diggle, to whom we should be grateful as co-editor of Housman's collected papers, rounds off the volume (261-263) with an account of how he acquired Housman's cap and pen, nicely illustrated on the book's front cover (the volume, beautifully produced as ever by this publisher, also presents a fine portrait of Housman aged c.40 on the back cover).

Though these personal relics of the great man are perhaps redolent of the cult of Housman which has sometimes inhibited a balanced assessment of his achievement as a scholar, the volume as a whole offers a well-conceived and fair-minded re-examination of Housman's classical work, by which his extraordinary talents can be appreciated in their larger contemporary professional context. Though some may reasonably deprecate Housman's magisterial self-construction in print as the apostle of truth and smiter of the wicked, honed over initial years of professional marginalisation and personal disappointment and less justifiably imitated by some of his followers, we must all admire his sheer capacity as classical scholar and textual critic which few can hope to match.


1.   Also important is the contribution made to the study of Housman's career by the detailed researches of P. G. Naiditch (e.g. in his A. E. Housman at University College, London: the Election of 1892, Leiden 1988), and by the recent edition of Housman's letters by Archie Burnett (The Letters of A. E. Housman, Oxford 2007).

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Philip Hardie (ed.), Paradox and the Marvellous in Augustan Literature and Culture. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. xiii, 388. ISBN 9780199231249. $130.00.
Reviewed by David Meban, Campion College, The University of Regina

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

'Marvellous' and 'paradoxical' are not adjectives traditionally applied to the Augustan age. The frequent reluctance to employ these terms perhaps stems from a longstanding belief in the concept of Augustan classicism and its attendant qualities of balance, moderation and idealism. Yet close scrutiny does not always bear out such a characterization. The wondrous and paradoxical, as this book attests, were important elements in the literature and culture of these years and the accompanying social and political transformation. The seventeen papers in this volume, produced by an admirably wide range of scholars, aim to provide a more comprehensive view of the topic than has been achieved by individual studies. Although at times opportunities are lost to explore a wider array of material, or to exploit some broader conclusions regarding the paradoxical and marvellous in the Augustan era, this is a solid collection. It has much to offer newcomers to the topic and is also very suggestive for future research.

The papers in the collection are not categorized or arranged under any subheadings. But numerous connections between the offerings, some of which Hardie outlines in his introduction, present themselves. Several of the contributions, for example, incorporate analysis of both material culture and literary text to illustrate some of the distinctive aspects of the paradoxical and marvellous in the Augustan period. Verity Platt examines paintings from the Villa Farnesina and elsewhere to elucidate the meaning of the marvellous and its ideological implications for viewers of the time. With a close analysis of the frescoes, in addition to consideration of relevant material provided by Vitruvius, Horace, and other works such as the Ara Pacis, Platt argues that while the depiction of the marvellous is common in private and public art of the period, its representation is controlled and never exceeds restraint or unsettles the viewer. Room still exists for creativity and choice, but marvellous motifs are contained and naturalized. This paradoxical move to normalize the extraordinary, Platt argues, replicates the political move of Augustus to transform the state into something new while presenting it as a return to the past. This is a very good discussion and offers an attractive model for literary studies of the period. Alessandro Barchiesi's study of the Phaethon episode in Ovid's Metamorphoses succeeds on similar grounds. Barchiesi views Phaethon's journey in terms of spectacle and reveals how the urban space of Augustan Rome, especially the cosmic elements created by the Temple of Apollo on the Palatine and its ornamental quadriga, and the Circus Maximus and the obelisk contained within, inform the Ovidian episode. More could be said on the Circus as an early site of solar cult, but the chapter is a very good example of how reading text and monument in conjunction can enrich appreciation of both. Rebecca Armstrong looks at how poets such as Horace, Propertius and Virgil react to contemporary examples of marvellous art and architecture. Armstrong concludes that while Augustan poets no doubt express admiration for grand architectural or artistic accomplishments, they also often colour such celebration in ambiguous terms and invoke some of the accompanying moral implications, issues absent at comparable moments in the works of earlier Hellenistic poets or later Roman authors. This is a rewarding study, although further comparison with immediate Roman predecessors to the Augustan poets might have been useful, perhaps providing insight into whether the developments Armstrong traces are distinctive to the age, or indeed might have roots in reactions to earlier large scale building projects such as the sanctuary of Fortuna at Palestrina.

A number of papers in the volume focus on the appearance of the marvellous and paradoxical in one particular author or text and often address how this shapes our understanding of literary history. Mario Citroni opens the collection with a discussion of one of the few Augustan analyses of the marvellous. The relationship between the Ars Poetica and the Aristotelian tradition is Citroni's primary focus, although he does include consideration of how Horace's treatment might be a reaction to the overuse of the marvellous in earlier artistic production. Philip Hardie's essay on Virgil reviews paradoxical elements in Virgil with an eye to uncovering how his practice differs from that of post-Augustan poets. Through a detailed review of small-scale figures and how these might relate to potential larger structural paradoxes (e.g., characters such as Dido or Camilla), or contribute to existing interpretative trends on the Eclogues or Georgics, Hardie concludes that "for the most part the paradoxical in Virgil...lurks rather than shouts" (110) and does not match the scale seen in Ovid or Lucan. Alain Deremetz analyzes passages such as the laudes Italiae and praise of country life at the end of book 2 and argues that Virgil rejects some of the marvellous aspects of his Greek models and replaces them "with a marvellous that is properly Roman, and which is to be found in the contemplation of Italian nature and places" (122). Yet what is missing here is fuller discussion of how and why this differs from the poet's practice elsewhere in his work, or indeed the tendencies of Virgil's contemporaries, or how what Deremetz suggests might be contextualized within Augustan culture in general. Damien Nelis lays greater emphasis on literary history and Ovid's attempts to situate his work within preceding traditions. Through close intertextual analysis Nelis reveals Ovid's debts to a long history of philosophical discussions regarding metamorphosis, and asserts the particular importance of Empedocles and Lucretius.

Other papers in the volume pursue similar goals, but stress the role of the marvellous and paradoxical within the narrative strategies of the text. In her examination of the Metamorphoses, for example, Florence Klein considers how the poet explores the issues of fictionality and belief and how his narrative creates an allegory for the reaction of the reader to the text. Klein discusses how Perseus' adventures frequently illustrate Ovid's thematization of a lack of belief in the marvellous, especially in the non-Iliadic and aetiological sections of the narrative. At other moments in the narrative - such as the metamorphoses of Atlas and Medusa - miraculous and marvellous elements are rationalized and thus lent a certain air of trustworthiness, although the narrative techniques Ovid uses to express them simultaneously undermine their credibility. Klein closes her contribution by tying this ongoing balance between belief and disbelief to some of the theoretical underpinnings of the reading of poetic fiction, the ideal reader being "self-conscious of his own suspension of disbelief when reading marvellous poetic lies" (210). In a dense and at times impenetrable essay, Jürgen Paul Schwindt provides a reading of Horace's Odes that highlights how they often express a "disquiet about thematic speech" (161). Marco Fucecchi examines the narrative functions of metamorphosis in Ovid and Virgil, paying particular attention to the reactions it creates in characters and readers and how these are often influenced by literary expectations. Andrew Feldherr's discussion highlights the many paradoxical and miraculous elements in Livy's portrayal of Hannibal despite a historiographical tradition, represented mainly by Polybius, which sought to downplay such aspects of Hannibal's achievements. Feldherr then sets these narrative dynamics within the context of Lucretian echoes in Livy's text and draws attention to many interesting parallels between Hannibal and Epicurus. Feldherr also discusses how Livy manipulates his Lucretian model, encouraging his readers to turn to history and imitate its positive models, rather than to turn away from history and politics to focus on the unchanging and universal.

How the appearance of the marvellous and paradoxical in various literary texts relates to the changing social and political environment is another concern of several papers. Joy Connolly, for instance, examines the appearance and use of the sententia or epigram in Seneca's Controuersiae. The arguments in Seneca's work often rely on reasoned judgement, but Connolly draws attention to how the sententia - with its frequent reliance upon the paradoxical and marvellous to create dramatic effect - highlights some of the psychological issues colouring the moral choice so many of the speakers in the Controuersiae face. Unlike during earlier periods, moral reflection in Seneca seems prompted rather by emotional and illogical factors, in a process akin to the effects produced by poetry or literary texts. Connolly connects this increasing concern with the rhetorical and linguistic means to express moral choice to the often irresolvable decisions and dilemmas faced by individuals in a time of changing conceptions of political authority, duty and identity. In her discussion of the speech of Pythagoras in book 15 of the Metamorphoses, not surprisingly a very popular entry point for discussion in this volume, Mary Beagon argues that Pythagoras manages to present change and transformation as a universal phenomenon and a matter of common experience. Ovid thus "produces the paradox that the extraordinary is ordinary" (297). Understood from this Pythagorean perspective, the developing Augustan world view, predicated upon the idea of stability and timelessness, becomes an empty shell, the imposition of "a superficial veneer of stability upon an inherently unstable world" (299).

Roman religious practice was also a central cultural preoccupation of the Augustan years, and a number of papers in the volume examine how concerns about divine power, and some of the shifting boundaries between gods and man, find expression in conjunction with the paradoxical and marvellous. Jacqueline Fabre-Serris, for instance, reads the episode of Philemon and Baucis in Metamorphoses 8 within the context of religious renewal and restoration of tradition occurring during the age of Augustus. In a sensitive reading of the episode, much of which is achieved through comparative analysis with the tales told by Achelous, Fabre-Serris elucidates how Lelex's narrative strategy serves to create a credible and appealing story that ultimately manages to convey and emphasize the power of the gods and their intervention in the lives of men. In his analysis of elements of the fantastic in the Aeneid, Mario Labate acknowledges some of the affinities between Aeneas and Hercules but also quite rightly draws attention to the differences between the two. Through close readings of episodes such as the fight between Hercules and Cacus and Aeneas' descent into the underworld, Labate illustrates the different ways these two heroes encounter the fantastic. Hercules relies on his fantastic, primitive, and superhuman capabilities, whereas in comparable situations Aeneas' actions remain rooted in a world of reality, history, virtus and pietas. Gianpiero Rosati's analysis of the song of the Pierides at Metamorphoses 5.318-31 examines how the depiction of divine power in Ovid helps elucidate Roman reaction to Egyptian presence. Rosati illustrates how Ovid traces the rise of theriomorphism in Egypt through the flight of Greek gods from Typhon and their subsequent transformation. This serves to prioritize Greek religion in the face of other accounts which suggest its Egyptian origins. The aetiological dimension consequently serves to "explain and normalize the Other, indeed assimilates it and renders it derivative" (279). Rosati argues that this normalization signals an evolution from earlier portrayals of the monstrous and barbaric Egyptian in the poetry of Virgil and Horace.

The papers in the volume thus address a number of different aspects of the paradoxical and marvellous in Augustan culture and examine not only how they find expression in different texts or artistic works, but also how they intersect with many of the period's social and political preoccupations. The contributions also approach the subject from a variety of angles, some arguing for the representation of paradox as reflective of the changing political environment, for example, or emphasizing its use as an instrument of subversion. But although the collection offers a number of different perspectives and readings, some aspects of the volume hamper its stated goal of providing a "synoptic treatment of the subject" (1). The most obvious limitation is the rather narrow array of evidence adduced. The majority of the contributions investigate the topic in Augustan literature, Ovid not surprisingly attracting the most interest. Seven papers, for instance, take the Metamorphoses as their primary focus. Only Platt's contribution maintains a principal concern with material culture, with the essays of Barchiesi and Armstrong doing so to a lesser degree. The success of these contributions, deriving in considerable part from their inclusive survey of the subject matter, underscores some of the lost opportunities in the choice of material.

The failure of many papers to devote greater consideration to some of the larger questions and issues the appearance and role of paradox and the marvellous in Augustan culture provokes, moreover, also detracts from the comprehensiveness of the collection. One of the most interesting of these, as Hardie states in his introduction, revolves around the qualities of "continuity and discontinuity" (3). Paradoxical and marvellous are terms more often employed in conjunction with periods earlier and later than the age of Augustus. Interpretation of their appearance in these years, consequently, has important ramifications for our understanding of Augustan culture and its transitional position. Several papers touch on these issues. Connolly, for instance, locates Senecan sententiae between Cicero and later Neronian and Flavian authors, while Hardie and Citroni situate Virgil and Horace within the context of earlier and later literary productions. Yet these are too often the exception. Indeed, one area for comparison that is surprisingly neglected is the triumviral period. These years, so often associated with doubt, uncertainty and a world turned upside down are fertile terrain for such an examination. In the Eclogues, for instance, wonder and amazement are connected both to the upheavals of recent years and also the attempt to rectify them. As Hardie notes in his introduction, moreover, metamorphosis and the fantastic were common in neoteric poetry. Comparison with examples from this period would be useful to see how they anticipate developments in the years after Augustus seized power, or how and to what ends specific images are transformed. Even the role of Augustus himself seems too often overlooked. The collection begins with a passage from Suetonius (Augustus 43-4) that neatly illustrates how Augustus both exploited and controlled the marvellous. To be fair some paradoxical aspects of the Augustan principate itself is touched on in the volume, but given the role of the princeps in the literature and culture of the period, his contributions are too often excluded from analysis.

In a book devoted to such a large and interesting topic it is of course possible to cite issues that one feels could have been included. The brief examples provided above are simply emblematic of some of the more encompassing questions this volume at times neglects to consider. This is no doubt partly attributable to the format of the book - a collection of papers by a variety of individuals rather than a single author volume. But these comments are not meant to detract from the quality of the contributions in the book. To reiterate my opening comments, this is a valuable collection, and one that suggests and no doubt will provoke further work on such an important subject.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Paradox and the Marvellous in Augustan Literature and Culture, Philip Hardie

2. Horace's Ars poetica and the Marvellous, Mario Citroni

3. Where the Wild Things are: Locating the Marvellous in Augustan Wall Painting, Verity Platt

4. Against Nature? Some Augustan Responses to Man-made Marvels, Rebecca Armstrong

5. Virgil: A Paradoxical Poet?, Philip Hardie

6. The Question of the Marvellous in the Georgics of Virgil, Alain Deremetz

7. In Search of the Lost Hercules: Strategies of the Marvellous in the Aeneid, Mario Labate

8. Thaumatographia, or 'What is a Theme?', Jurgen Paul Schwindt

9. Phaethon and the Monsters, Alessandro Barchiesi

10. Prodigiosa mendacia uatum. Responses to the Marvellous in Ovid's Narrative of Perseus (Metamorphoses 4-5), Florence Klein

11. Encountering the Fantastic: Expectations, Forms of Communication, Reactions, Marco Fucecchi

12. Constructing a Narrative of mira deum: the story of Philemon and Baucis (Ovid Metamorphoses 8), Jacqueline Fabre-Serris

13. Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.416-51: noua monstra and the foedera naturae, Damien Nelis

14. Alien Divinities. How to Tame Monsters through Aetiology, Gianpiero Rosati

15. Ordering Wonderland: Ovid's Pythagoras and the Augustan Vision, Mary Beagon

16. Delusions of Grandeur: Lucretian 'Passages' in Livy, Andrew Feldherr

17. The Strange Art of the Sententious Declaimer, Joy Connolly

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Saturday, March 27, 2010


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Settimio Lanciotti (ed.), Titus Maccius Plautus. Curculio. Editio Plautina Sarsinatis; 8. Sarsina/Urbino: QuattroVenti, 2008. Pp. 86. ISBN 9788839208514. €16.00 (pb).
Reviewed by John Henderson, King's College, Cambridge

Curculio has always been starved of a following.1 It can't have meant all that much to Lindsay, whose OCT apparatus (1904) is ultra non-specific about the paradosis. Lanciotti has done the shrunken script in 729 lines proud.2 His inerrant edition collates all the main witnesses afresh, and takes advantage of the Sarsina-Urbino series format to provide full running details of headings, rubrics, lay-out and -- the play's prime challenge (no kidding) for scribes and scholars alike -- speaker-assignments (accepting Curculio's continuing presence as one in five roles on stage together at 679, against Lindsay),3 in a band separate from the apparatus criticus strip furthest down the page. The latter can afford to be unusually open-weeve in assembling its materials for constituting the text. Featured are, besides generous records of orthographica and multi-layered correcting hands, neatly nuanced glosses on the considerations that weighed with editors present and past. There is even space to issue running signals to discussions in Fraenkel's Elementi, sayings in Otto, and multiple metrical determinations from Questa. Where these topics impinge, Lanciotti gestures to Plautine adaptation (esp. in the opening run of shticks),4 to technicalities amatory5 and legal,6 and to rare words;7 and he duly lingers (pp. 57-8) on the staggering pezzo -- in staggeringly lousy Latin8 -- that crowns Curc.'s running gag of acting out quasi-street theatre in the Roman round by wheeling out the Director-Producer (Choragus) to tour our Roman venue of forum and populace (462-86, commonstrabo ...: like the play's extended banksta-rap, the sandwich between town house, Epidaurian Aesculapius and sex-vendor's was already at home there for real).9

The history of the transmission through to Lanciotti's own intervention is admirably served. The text we are offered is anti-spectacular: hiatus is not resisted (med and ted down by four on OCT, at 37, 337, 386, 595); i often prevails over y (Lico, and e.g. clamis, Licia, sicophanta, Sirus, tirannus); archaizing exotica are treated on their merits rather than trust posteriores (quur makes the cut at 542); the bulk of differences from Lindsay are routine (prend- filled out to prehend-, hau to haud (x 3), nihil trimmed to nil (x 6), mihi to mi (x 20), -u' to -us (x 27); assimilation in compounds is mostly resisted (obs-, not ops-), monstr- preferred to mostr-, tarpezita allowed to sit beside trapezita ... In the historical spirit of the series, Lanciotti exercises discernment, not inventiveness. Since the OCT remains and retains common currency, I list the differences that make any difference at all to the sense (Lindsay first): 25, oportet esse: e. o.; 84, [af]ferri: ferri; 123/125, paullulum hic: paululum | hoc; 125/127, omnes .. [e]ueniunt: omnis [homines] ... euenunt; 156, sed: st; 163, mihi: [te] mi; 205, surrupticio: surrepticio; 284, nec [usquam]: [n.]; 323, suis: sueris; 344, eo accedunt: coaccedunt; 352, demorari: me morari; 366, obstrudamus: obtrudamus; 382, aliquem [mi]: a. |; 394, i: hi; 452, nam: [nam]; 517, cures: c. [ut]; 531, di: dei; 545, mihi--: m. ... [tabellas]; 571 dabo,: d. [mihi]; 582, sese aiebat esse: a. e. s.; 595, peior [quam haec est] quae ubi med hunc habere: p. q. h. e. q. u. me habere hunc; note 597 app., manum [ea] Ritschl: m. [mi] Ernout; 611, is: eis; 612, bolis, cum bullis: boleis c. bulbis; 618, egoquidem: e. q.; 639, istae: isti; 667, illic: ille | ita; Lanciotti resists stabs of Lindsay's own, at: 80, [ubi]: [ego]; 446, oram [omnem]: o. |; 574, * * * [meus]: * * *; 603, pater uero is: p. tuos. The metrical schemes tally,10 outside the solitary canticum at 98-157 (wherein line divisions and so numbering diverge), which has the ever-parched anus Leaena, likely punning on lena (as the paradosis' scene-headings could encourage us to suppose), swoon out for her mood-setting cameo, answering the call of true love ... -- a lagoena (pun at 78), before staggering back in so she can answer the true lover's call by bringing out his beloved bride-to-be, to get this appetite-whetting comic turn on the Roman road, so we can paint the town silly. More than eighty lemmata from the play are culled for the Testimonia effectively marshalled in an appendix. Now all we could do with is more of a reason than those strange siblings, macho-gob Soldier of Fortune and "owl-eyed" Beautiful Freak with their fateful anulus, or the Pimp with his gut-ache to cure and toilette to fuss with and the pseudo-servus callidus-cum-currens Parasite, with panto-pirate's eyepatch up his sleeve, to put our gladrags on and get down with this particular caper, and party. De Ol' Bo-Evil Kornweevel looking for a home. Come to think of it ... 11


1.   Italy produced two editions back when I came in: Ferruccio Bertini, and Giusto Monaco, both 1969, Bologna; Palermo; in English, there is John Wright (1981, Chico CA; 19932, Norman OK) -- and now we've Amy Richlin's travesty-translation set in New Haven, Weevil, in Rome and the Mysterious Orient, 2005, Berkeley-Los Angeles-London: pp. 57-108.
2.   455-61 look to most punters to mark elision of what should have been a longer-'n'-livelier Back from the Front scene (not the surreal Production Turns on the Audience "Yes, YOU LOT" featurette) as prequel to Soldier and Banker Get to Grips at 533 (Lanciotti. p. 57, cf. Richlin 2005: p. 104).
3.   Lanciotti (p. 71) ungags Curculio after 675's decisive pledge with spondeo, assigning him bites at 687, 688, 691-2, 694 to gang up two-v.-one on Pimp with Soldier, and at 712-13 for an irrepressible non taceo (at pimply Cappadox, not banker Lyco as in Wright, 1993: pp. 81-3). On the "Ensemble scenes" at 610-78, 679-729, see Fred Franko, American Journal of Philology 125 (2004) pp. 27-59, esp. 48).
4.   See esp. Elaine Fantham's "The Curculio of Plautus. An illustration of Plautine methods in adaptation", The Classical Quarterly 15 (1965) 84-100; Eric Csapo's "Plautine elements in the running-slave entrance monologues?", The Classical Quarterly 39 (1989) 148-163. For the "impro theatre" take, see Sander Goldberg's "Improvisation, plot, and Plautus' Curculio" and Geoffrey Arnott's "The opening of Plautus' Curculio: comic business and mime", in Lanciotti. Benz, E. Stärk, and G. Vogt-Spira eds., Plautus und die Tradition des Stegreifspiels: Festgabe für Eckard Lefèvre zum 60. Geburtstag (ScriptOralia A19), 1995 Tübingen: pp. 33-41; 185-192, after E. Lefèvre's "Curculio oder der Triumph der Edazität" in E. Lefèvre, E. Stärk, and G. Vogt-Spira eds., Plautus Barbarus, 1991 Tübingen: pp. 71-105.
5.   Lanciotti. (esp. p. 41) links to Netta Zagagi's Tradition and Originality in Plautus: Studies in the Amatory Motifs in Plautine Comedy (Hypomnemata 62), 1980 Göttingen.
6.   Lanciotti does not reference Adele Scafuro's The Forensic Stage. Settling Disputes in Graeco-Roman New Comedy, 1997 Cambridge (on staged money, force, threat of summons and counter-threat, arbitration, settlement out of court, post-verdict afters: esp. pp. 432-3, 457-8 on 619-21, 625; pp. 175-7 on 679-86; pp. 177-80 on 686-729).
7.   On 236-40, Lanciotti (p. 45) accepts reference to hepatium, pâté de foie, after A. Thierfelder's "De morbo hepatiario", Rheinisches Museum 98 (1955) 190-2). For conuadari at 162, see Zagagi pp. 113-4 on the theme Love as Property to Fight For, tooth and nail.
8.   Like Lanciotti (p. 58) and Richlin (2005: p. 105), I just about wear 483-4 [and bear 485] in A Plautus Reader, 2009 Mundelein IL: ?2A: pp. 44-9.
9.   Lanciotti (p. 58) points us to Timothy J. Moore's 1991 article rather than chapter 7 of his book (The Theater of Plautus. Playing to the Audience, 1998 Austin, TEX: pp. 126-37); and to Sommella's 2005 essay (see below).
10.   This form of analysis passes up on, even obscures, dramatic rhythm and rhyme: metrical continuity masks Curculio's move to step out (monologue on metatheatre, from 591); metrical shift marks entr'acte "Time Passes" (tr7to ia6 for Weevil's feeding-time inside at 371, he discloses at 384-8) and discursive shift (from dialogue in tr7to tell-all narrative in ia6at 635). See Toph Marshall's The Stagecraft and Performance of Roman Comedy, 2006 Cambridge: pp. 217-18, finding (sc. in the remnant or rump we have) 1-215 and 371-634 as amble toppling into knotted blockage brought by pimp and banker (so exit loverboy-groom) versus 216-370 and 635-729 as crisp plunge into dénouement (with the pivotal name of the father triggering recognition, rescue, in loco patris betrothal, and so to party). For Marshall's 1996 production on campus at UBC, see
11. The 2005 companion volume on Curculio in the sibling QuattroVenti series "Ludus Philologiae", Renato Raffaelli and Alba Tontini eds., Lecturae Plautinae Sarsinates. VIII, Curculio (Sarsina, 25 settembre 2004), 119 pp., has five contributions: Lanciotti's avant-pensées, "In margine ad una prossima edizione del Curculio" (pp. 37-68), Paolo Sommella's "La Roma Plautina (con particolare riferimento a Cur. 467-86)" (pp. 69-116), with Timothy Moore's "Pessuli, heus pessuli": la porta nel Curculio (pp. 11-36), Cesare Questa's "Intorno al choragus" and Maurizio M. Bianco's "La 'cagna' ovvero Ecuba. Per un'interpretazione di Cur. 96-109": nondum uidi. (read complete article)


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AnneMarie Luijendijk, Greetings in the Lord: Early Christians and the Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Harvard Theological Studies 60. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Divinity School, 2008. Pp. xix, 294. ISBN 9780674025950. $25.00 (pb).
Reviewed by Roberta Mazza, University of Manchester

The city of Oxyrhynchus has attracted the attention of scholars in early Christian studies since the first archaeological season of Grenfell and Hunt on the site (1896-1897), which, amongst others, brought into light the Greek original of what came to be known about fifty years later as the Gospel of Thomas (P. Oxy. I, 1). From that moment onwards the ancient rubbish heaps of the city have given to us a wide range not only of Christian literature, but also of documents -- such as letters, lists and contracts -- relating to the everyday life of Christians and Christian institutions in that city and its neighbourhood.

AnneMarie Luijendijk's "Greetings in the Lord" is an updated and well-structured presentation of the papyrological material relating to early Christianity from the site. The book, mainly addressed to students and scholars in early Christian studies, is divided into three parts ("Meeting Christians at the Marketplace"; "Papa Sotas, Bishop of Oxyrhynchus"; "Legal matters and Government Dealings"), preceded by a general introduction ("Destination Oxyrhynchus: Historical Detective Work in the Footsteps of Monks and Papyrologists") and ended by a concluding chapter ("Early Christians in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri: New Voices in Ancient History").

Chapter one ("Destination Oxyrhynchus: Historical Detective Work in the Footsteps of Monks and Papyrologists") consists of a short but comprehensive introduction to Oxyrhynchus and its papyri, with a focus on the religious panorama of the city. Luijendijk specifies that her investigation concentrates on the pre-Constantine material, that is to say on papyri potentially dating from the first to the beginning of the fourth century CE. This is of course a hard task since, as the author admits, it is not easy to separate Christians from other groups, especially the Jews, in this period. The following pages demonstrate that the bulk of the available material in fact dates to the third century, except for a number of literary pieces.

Part one ("Meeting Christians at the Marketplace") focuses on the "markers of identity" (see p. 30 for a definition) for distinguishing Christians from other groups. Luijendijk rightly stresses that there were no clear external indicators, such as garments or physical characteristics, to identify Christians in their everyday activities. They eventually had to declare openly their belonging, otherwise they were just inhabitants of the empire who shared rights, ethnicities, and other attributes with other people. Despite this premise, Luijendijk does think, following a well-established tradition, that manuscripts help us to find tracks of the first Oxyrhynchite Christians. As a consequence, she concentrates first on three specific markers: the mention of god in the singular, the use of the word Christian, and personal names (the author uses the term 'nomenclature'), and then she dedicates an entire chapter to the nomina sacra, i.e. the scribal habit of abridging holy names in a peculiar, patterned way.

As for the first potential identity marker, god in the singular, the author rightly concludes that it does not automatically imply a Christian, since monotheistic/henotheistic tendencies were shared also by other religious groups. On the basis of the available papyri, Luijendijk shows that the adjective Christian is attested in the span of time she is considering only as an "external marker", that is to say as a label used by outsiders to identify Christians. Onomastics is highly debated as a marker of identity because of the overlapping of many Jewish and Christian names and the well-attested use of pagan theophoric names also among Jews and Christians. Luijendijk gives a comprehensive and clear summary of the status quaestionis, and rightly concludes that before Constantine it is hard to identify Christians solely on the basis of names. She then gives a number of examples that demonstrate the haphazardness of these attempts: a variety of situations are attested, such as families with a mixed nomenclature or people openly designated as Christian and bearing polytheistic theophoric names.

Chapter 3 is entirely devoted to the nomina sacra. There is a huge bibliography on the topic, which also reflects a lively debate on the origin of the practice and its relationship to Jewish palaeographical habits. Luijendijk gives an extensive overview on the debate and then chooses her own perspective to grapple with the theme. Instead of trying to solve the intricate origins problem, she analyses the nomina sacra as attested in private letters in order to prove that writers who used them in their ordinary writings were members of the clergy who often owned literary manuscripts and were involved in teaching activities. The perspective is very interesting, and the examples presented show how multifaceted early Christianity at Oxyrhynchus (and more widely in Egypt) was. However, Luijendijk seems convinced of some traditional positions, such as the possibility of drawing a clear divide between Jewish and Christian copies of the Septuagint about which I personally have more doubts.

In comparison with part one, part two ("Papa Sotas, bishop of Oxyrhynchus") is more original and creative. Luijendijk collects a dossier (to accord with papyrological definitions, I would have preferred this to the term 'archive' used by the author) of five letters, plus an uncertain sixth, all mentioning a Sotas and then presents a fascinating, although not totally convincing, reconstruction of their background.

Since no other chronological data are given in the texts, the letters have been dated on a palaeographical basis within a span of time ranging from the third to the early fourth century CE. Luijendijk circumscribes the date to the third quarter of the third century, which seems to me a reasonable possibility only on the basis of her main argument, that is to say that Sotas is one and the same man, and this in my opinion is possible but not unquestionably proved. For the sake of clarity, I add the texts list (pp. 81-82):

1) Sotas to Paul (PSI IX 1041), a letter of recommendation written by Sotas

2) Sotas to Peter (PSI III 208), a letter of recommendation written by Sotas

3) The presbyters of Heracleopolis to Sotas (P. Oxy. XXXVI 2785), a letter of recommendation written to Sotas

4) Sotas to Demetrianus (P. Oxy. XII 1492), a letter soliciting the donation of a plot of land written by Sotas

5) Sarapammon to his mother and Didyme (SB XII 10772)

A sixth letter addressed to Maximus (P. Alex. 29) may be another letter of recommendation written by Sotas, but the sender's name is not fully preserved and the author prefers to exclude it from the group.

In short, Luijendijk thinks that the writings bear traces of the otherwise unknown first bishop of Oxyrhynchus. The hypothesis is very well presented, but in my opinion the status of the sources does not exclude other possible interpretations of the documents, as I shall explain. As is clear from the above list, three of the five letters are written by a Sotas, one is directed to him and the fifth just mentions one Sotas 'the Christian'. Two of the three epistles penned by Sotas -- or more precisely by scribes for him, since the hands are different -- are letters of recommendation, the third is a letter concerning fund-raising. The first two (PSI IX 1041 and PSI III 208) are very interesting, and Luijendijk does excellent work in presenting and analysing not only their content, but also their physical shape. Both the texts, in fact, are written on parchment. People recommended in PSI IX 1041 are described as catechumens, one of them more precisely at the beginning of his education in the gospel. These two data, and other elements such as the style of the writings, bring Luijendijk to infer that our Sotas was involved in catechumenal activities and book production. Now, a fundamental problem is: if Sotas was living in Oxyrhynchus, as were the people he recommended, how can it be that the letters were found in the same city? The author proposes that often people used to bring back home their letter of introduction, but not always. In fact the same Sotas dossier presents a counter-case: P. Oxy. XXXVI 2785. This, according to Luijendijk's interpretation following a correction proposed by Treu, is a recommendation letter sent to Sotas for one Anos, who came to study at Oxyrhynchus. This last papyrus introduces another central point for Luijendijk's identification of Sotas as a bishop: here the addressee is called 'papa', a title that is often but not exclusively attributed to bishops. The contents of the documents relating to Sotas are rather elusive, but it appears that the man addresses a Demetrianus on a possible donation of one aroura to a pious institution (to topos). As Luijendijk emphasizes, 'papa' was also attributed to teachers, such as Clement of Alexandria for instance, and abbots. Now, on the basis of Sotas's involvement in teaching activities and possibly book production, it is not clear to me why the author did not choose to present the other options to the readers as well, and preferred to focus only on the bishopric model. Also, since as Luijendijk states, topos might indicate either church or monastery, I wonder why she at the end decides to make Sotas a bishop instead of the head of a monastery. Of course a monastery in the third quarter of the third century is quite implausible; however, as stated above, the date attributed to the dossier relies on quite weak arguments.

I found all the chapters on Sotas extremely lively and interesting; however I had the overall impression that what is presented by the author is a plausible but not unquestionably proved hypothesis of identification among others. In his recent Early Christian Books in Egypt (Princeton and Oxford 2009), Roger Bagnall called attention to the trend in New Testament studies to analyse Christian evidence with a strong wish to find proofs of theological and scriptural beliefs, or the ancient roots of later institutions. I am wondering if this is also the case of Luijendijk's choice in making Sotas the first bishop of Oxyrhynchus, discarding the other above-mentioned possible hypotheses.

Part three is a useful and well-balanced presentation of the documents relating to the Decian and subsequent persecutions at Oxyrhynchus. After a general introduction to the topic, the author gives a detailed analysis of the four libelli coming from the city, then moves on to analyse other documents related to Valerian's confiscations. The papyrological evidence is always put into conversation with literary sources and the result is a lively bottom-up account of what may have happened. Chapter 7 of this last part of the book seemed to me particularly interesting. The author considers a number of papyri relating to the so-called Great Persecution, giving insights into the strategies of subversion and resistance (and alignment) put in place by the Christians. The evidence collected, although scanty, is very well analysed and the author demonstrates her ability to underline the interaction between the bureaucratic process at work and the reaction of the individuals. She presents the case of a reader who does not subscribe a declaration of church properties in the village of Chysis with the improbable excuse he was illiterate, probably with the real aim of avoiding the oath to the fortune of the emperor; then she suggests identifying Paul, a man from the Oxyrhynchite placed under sentence by the praeses of the Thebaid, as a martyr of the Great Persecution, and finally she highlights another kind of Christian, Aurelius Anasthasius, the procurator rei privatae who appears in the same papyrus of Paul, possibly a man who was born as a Christian and when Diocletian issued his edicts aligned with the imperial policy (at least officially).

As I stated at the beginning, the book is predominantly intended for students and scholars in early Christian studies. However I do think that it will provide interesting reading also for papyrologists and, more broadly, scholars in classics and ancient history, because Luijendijk is able to give a wide panorama of the sources, combining papyri with literary sources, mostly Christian, which classicists tend often to consider as 'alien' material. Moreover, she often proposes new and thoughtful interpretations of the evidence. Luijendijk is one among many scholars in religious studies who are becoming more and more interested in papyri. This is very welcome since these sources are still giving us new insights on ancient lives, as Luijendijk's book brilliantly demonstrates.

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