Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Sylvie Laigneau-Fontaine, Catherine Langlois-Pézeret, Gilbert Ducher. Epigrammes. Textes littéraires de la Renaissance, 18. Paris: Éditions Honoré Champion, 2015. Pp. 728. ISBN 9782745329127. €135.00.

Reviewed by Florence Bistagne, University of Avignon – Institut universitaire de France (florence.bistagne@univ-avignon.fr)

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This 728-page volume is divided into five parts : a very long introduction (p. 1-140), the text of Ducher's Epigrams with their French translations and with 200 pages of critical notes placed at the end of the section, thus at the same time allowing easier reading and providing more detailed analyses for those who want them (p. 141-636), a series of appendices with critical apparatus (p. 637-358), a copious bibliography (p. 659-708), and, finally, a very helpful index (p. 709-720). The authors are to be congratulated first and foremost for producing a volume that is such a pleasure to read, and one that brings the finest scholarship and scientific accuracy to a text which does not figure among the classics of the university curriculum.

The introduction begins with a well documented biographical sketch, which focuses on the networks that the author had within his native country; this is an important point for the study of sixteenth-century multilingual France since it allows us to understand the place of intellectuals in relation to their perceived audience. After resolving the issue of the date of Ducher's birth, the authors turn to his intellectual training : he learned Greek (still something of a rarity at the time, p. 16), no doubt with Aleander. Around the same time, he became a printing-house corrector, editing Martial in 1526 (p. 20), and, already, a poet (p. 21), publishing his first epigrams.

After Paris and Savoy, we find him in Lyons in 1538, where he had become a teacher of the humanities and a corrector for the printer Sebastian Gryphius, who published the collection of epigrams that is the subject of the present volume. He frequented the Lyonnese sodalitium, an episode which is dealt with in some detail in the introduction (p. 32-82), and which is extremely interesting, not only for the light it sheds on Ducher's work and its poetic interpretation (pp. 32-36), but also for its status as a historical source (p. 57-82): the places and the people mentioned here are in no way simply legendary. For instance, Marot (pp. 52-54) embodies a kind of early form of "product marketing" (p. 53) based on a fashionable author. Quarrels are of course also mentioned (pp. 60-65), and this brings these intellectuals back down to our level, and makes them appear more human, thus reversing the traditional notion that old times were more peaceful than our own. Being seen and heard is shown to have been something essential: meeting places, dinners among friends, small gifts, reciprocal translations (on p. 81, that of Marot, for example) also helped to construct the identity of these intellectuals as Frenchmen.

The authors then turn to the study of Ducher's poetics in the Epigrammes (p. 83-140), underlining the large proportion of moral epigrams in this collection. They do not forget to state their editorial principles (p. 139), and they also give an overall view of all the types of metre used by Ducher, thus demonstrating its variety.

The section containing the text and its translation is, for obvious reasons, the longest (almost 500 pages), and we can have nothing but praise for this initiative, since there are few things that are trickier to translate than poetry. The authors have taken the option of translating the text in unrhymed verse, corresponding to the Latin verses, and thereby sacrificing the French metrics. This allows them greater precision and fidelity, while not excluding poetic inspiration and contrasts in tone that are quite in keeping with the original epigrams. Since the notes have been relegated to the end, it is possible to enjoy the translation without being distracted by the scholarly apparatus. When we do refer to it, however, we appreciate the translators' expertise all the more, with room only for the occasional criticism. For example, in note 153 (p. 436), on epigram I, 29 (p. 162), they indicate that Ducher used here a variant form (the noun helluo) rather than the usual expression (tempus edax), and yet they themselves employ the stereotyped phrase "all-devouring time". When we read the translation without referring to the notes, we admire the semi-alexandrine, but if we look at the note, we wonder why they didn't try to find a more original turn of phrase. However, such quibbles are rare, as there are so many translations that are both subtle and precise : for example, the translation of fuco sibi pingit by peinturlurer (p. 241), the polyptoton in mille in I, 176, "sur Félix, imitation de Martial", or again on pp. 354-355, where the authors manage to translate the verses on the libelli and on the nugae without resorting to clumsy imitations of Ovid or Horace. After the second book of Ducher's Epigrams, there are further epigrams, written by "several people (true poets)" to Ducher; the epigram by Maurice Scève (p. 390) is truly a perfect example both of the elegiac distich in Latin and of how it can be best translated into French: the authors respect the alliterations, the assonances, the polyptota, and the layout of the verses with regard to the Latin original. Finally (pp. 402-409) we have Ducher's eclogue Le Dauphin, imitated from Virgil – from the Bucolics, of course, but which also refers to the Hyrcanian tigress from the Aeneid (p. 407).

Then comes the section containing the 1718 footnotes, spread over 225 pages (pp. 411-636). This part is the epitome of exceptional scholarship: description and explanation of the metres used, information about the people referred to, identification of sources and secondary bibliography, contextualisation of the epigrams within the contemporary scene. The reader who refers to them will find there a wealth of information (we should just point out that the proceedings of the conference La Réception du 'couple' Virgile-Ovide…, quoted p. 583, note 1222, have now been published: in 2015, at around the same time as this volume, no doubt). The critical apparatus concerning the sources is no less accurate. We should also mention that some Greek epigrams are found here, with their translations, but that there are also sometimes quotations from Greek (isolated words, hemistichs or even whole verses) in the Latin epigrams: the authors translate them, of course, but sometimes they are put in inverted commas, as though they were quotations – which they do not seem to be in the original. In I, 134, p. 332-333, for example, the authors give the translation "it sent many souls to Hades", and explain in note 1238 (p. 585) that this refers to the anger of Achilles in Homer; however, they do not indicate whether this translation is their own or a translation of Homer, whether the quotation is exact (with regard to our modern editions) or whether it is a text from the time, or something quoted from memory. This may not seem to be of primary importance; and yet, it raises the question of textual transmission and its witnesses.

These few remarks do not detract in any way from the excellent scholarly quality of this volume nor diminish the merit of the translators, who have tackled a particularly difficult corpus. By putting at our disposal this collection of texts from one of the most important authors of the early sixteenth century, they allow us to gain entry to a whole world which was still to some extent bilingual.

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Elizabeth Marie Young, Translation as Muse: Poetic Translation in Catullus's Rome. Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Pp. viii, 259. ISBN 9780226279916. $50.00.

Reviewed by Christopher B. Polt, Boston College (christopher.polt@bc.edu)

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Translators have gotten a bad rap. At worst, they are traitors (traduttore, traditore) and catastrophic defilers (medieval Jewish tradition holds the Septuagint translators responsible for plunging the world into darkness for three days).1 At best, they are a necessary but inept evil (what other professionals are expected to "lose" what they have been entrusted with?), to be avoided whenever something really important is at stake. But translators have not always been so despised and disposable, and in the past decade scholars such as Possanza, Bettini, and McElduff have shown how fundamental translation was for ancient Roman literature and culture, as well as how fundamentally different Roman attitudes towards translation could be from those of modern readers.2 Young's book offers a valuable addition to this recent interest in recovering ancient translation, arguing persuasively that translation stands at the heart of Roman cultural production and, in particular, of Catullus' literary program. Through close readings, Young astutely analyzes how Catullus mediates and manipulates Greek and Roman literature, culture, and identity. Along the way, she successfully demonstrates that translation can be not only a specific product or technique, but also an overarching mindset through which Catullus and other Latin speakers negotiated their polyglot Mediterranean.

Young begins from two interrelated challenges to modern assumptions about translation. First, "while we tend to discount translation as uninspired hackwork, the Romans proudly proclaimed themselves a nation of translators. Romans did not copy the Greeks out of any creative malaise: translation was, for them, the preeminent act of literary creation" (2). Building on the work of McElduff, Young in her introduction argues that translation was one of the many ways in which Romans tried to exert control over Greek culture — indeed, to dictate the terms of Hellenization during the late Republic. Second, she expands what constitutes "translation," which she asserts "permeates Catullus' oeuvre but in forms that are frequently unrecognizable to us" (3), including, among others, acts of broader cultural appropriation, the reconfiguration of foreign symbols, and metapoetic references. Instead of treating translation as a unique category of linguistic activity, Young persuasively links it to related literary and cultural practices by which Romans develop new work from existing material, such as contaminatio, imitatio, and allusion, all types of "piecemeal translation" (18).

Chapter by chapter, Young moves from discussing incarnations of translation that are least like their current form towards what modern readers would more easily recognize as translation. Her approach is productively jarring, helping to defamiliarize "translation" and to offer us fresh eyes through which to view Catullus' ostensibly more familiar but also deceptively subtle poetic shifts in poems 51 and 66. Young begins with poem 64, Catullus' epyllion, which she argues in chapter 1 is replete with metapoetic symbols standing for various aspects of Catullus' translation process. The Argo becomes a metaphor for the poem itself, as both transport cargoes plundered from eastern lands (the Argo brings the Golden Fleece from the Black Sea westward to Greece; poem 64 transports the epyllion "genre" westward from Greece to Rome). Likewise, the wedding tapestry represents poem 64, each a luxurious and aggressively exotic textum. Especially perceptive is Young's analysis of the dangerous effect that the tapestry has on the poem's internal audience, which allows its land to fall into disrepair while mesmerized by the objet d'art, and its relationship to contemporary anxieties about Hellenistic aesthetics and poetic luxuria. She thus shows that Catullus not only promotes but also problematizes his poetic program as simultaneously alluring and alarming. Less complex and convincing, however, is her interpretation of Ariadne as an "emblem for the dangers of Hellenization" that seduces and enervates the audience (34). Ariadne is more helpless victim than effeminizing danger, and in her I think we can see yet another metapoetic embodiment of the epyllion, especially as most other Roman examples of this "genre" we know about are named after mythological women who similarly undergo transportation from their homeland (Young nods in this direction with Cinna's Zmyrna and Caecilius' Magna Mater (205, n.17)). Not only does this contribute to the problematic status of the poem's imported aesthetics (just like the epyllion at Rome, Ariadne finds herself in a threatening new land), but it also reinforces Young's cogent argument that the figures of Theseus and of the Argonauts in the poem stand metaphorically for the poet, who recasts himself as a literary hero who has returned from the labyrinth of Callimachean and other Greek literature and boldly carries the stolen epyllion back to Rome.

In chapter 2, Young continues to explore how Catullus portrays the importation of exotic goods, shifting attention to the polymetric poems. She traces how Catullus refashions seemingly minor foreign objects to bolster his speaker's social standing and to transform alien material into new, appropriately Roman poetry. In poem 12, for instance, Catullus deploys a Spanish napkin to show that different people can assign different values (and types of value) to objects: the napkin is an item of convivial frivolity, but for the poet it is worth an infinity of invective verses, and while he writes it off as an apparently minor frippery whose cost he does not care about, Pollio would pay a talent to undo its theft by the clumsy Asinius. By dubbing it mnemosynum and valuing it in terms of hendecasyllabi, the speaker translates a ho- hum Spanish article into one with Greek panache, spinning real textile into poetic textum. In the process, he shows the base thief how proper Romans steal, transforming rags into a rich pretext for iambic poetry, a form freshly taken from Greece. The same appropriative motions undergird poem 25, where Young carefully demonstrates that Catullus amplifies the stakes of control over foreign goods, deploying physical abuse and verbal degradation from iambic as part of his strategy to translate Greek material into Roman. She closes by analyzing Catullus' play with the material side of kisses and poetry in poems 5 and 7, which she intriguingly and metapoetically links.

Chapter 3 turns to poem 4, whose phasellus Young argues allegorically portrays Roman anxieties over their reliance on plunder for their burgeoning literary tradition. After noting how allusions to Hellenistic sepulchral and votive epigrams highlight the power of the poetic narrator, who alone has the authority to animate (and dictate) the boat's voice and movement, she shows that the boat can be viewed as a metaphor for learned Greeks, such as Parthenius of Nicaea and other intellectuals who came to Rome as slaves only to become sources of inspiration for Latin poets. Catullus anthropomorphizes the boat as a "speaking tool," the very definition of an ancient slave, whose speech is redolent of Greek education and who undergoes a heroic journey before coming to rest as a domesticated inhabitant of Italy. Young closes with a remarkably sensitive reading of Catalepton 10, which parodies poem 4 but replaces Catullus' metaphorized Greek slave with upstart Transpadane poets. This is a sharp reading of an out-of-the-way text, which Young contextualizes alongside its parodic target and unpacks to elucidate the complex dynamics of 1st century BCE poetic culture.

In chapters 4 through 6, Young enters territory that resembles more closely the modern idea of translation, though here she reveals some major gaps between ancient and modern practice. Her readings center on poem 51, Catullus' version of Sappho fr. 31 (the first half of chapter 4 and all of chapter 6), and poem 66, his adaptation of Callimachus' Plokamos Berenikes (the rest of chapter 4 and all of chapter 5). Since these chapters touch upon similar issues, it is useful to read all three together as one conversation. Young offers an incisive metapoetic reading of poem 51, where Catullus explores the fraught experience of translation itself and the poet's negotiation of his source's and his own literary identity. She shows that Catullus personalizes Sappho with subtle deviations (e.g., the insertion of Catullus' and Lesbia's names), inhabiting her voice and effectively becoming a literary body-snatcher. But close translational contact poses dangers of contagion, and Young vividly tracks how the symptoms of fr. 31's illness jump the quarantine of poem 51 and infect the Catullan speaker elsewhere, especially poem 50, where he suffers similar eroticized physical degradation. The Catullan fourth stanza in poem 51 thus presents the poet trying (and failing?) to reassert control over his sublime Sapphic disease.

Young's reading of the relationship between poem 66 and its preface, poem 65, follows similar lines of thought. She proposes that his experience of translating Callimachus' simultaneously desirous and aggrieved Lock gives Catullus new modes of voicing loss and yearning elsewhere in his poetry, particularly in contemplating his brother's death in poem 65. 3 Young is careful to note that the direction of influence may not be altogether straightforward, since clearly his Latin Coma is as creatively refashioned as the speaker that possesses Sappho in poem 51. While her argument about the interplay between poems 66 and 65 is nevertheless persuasive, it would have been useful to tackle this issue head-on and before the closing pages of chapter 4, where she confesses that "from one perspective, such Catullan interference would undermine the central argument of this chapter" (138). A parallel close reading of poem 66 alongside the extant fragments of its Greek source, on the model of her careful analysis of poem 51, would also have been welcome and might have gone a long way in elucidating this issue. Young does, however, offer in chapter 5 an extended discussion of the ways in which Catullus disembeds the poem from its Alexandrian context and reconstructs it as uniquely Roman and Catullan property. While her argument that poems 65/66 and 116 frame a distinct libellus will not convince everyone (I myself am skeptical that there is an ipsissima forma of the corpus or any parts thereof, let alone that they can be recovered by modern formal or thematic slicing and dicing), Young's approach to poem 66 as integrally related to the rest of Catullus' poems is refreshing and will, I hope, encourage others to continue examining this and the other long poems as part and parcel of the Catullan whole. Despite these minor quibbles, these three chapters underscore how radically transformative and appropriative Catullus' translations are and should become standard reading for anyone working on ancient Roman translation.

Young closes with an epilogue on poem 70, which she uses to sketch what she sees as Catullus' "poetics of appropriation, a vision of poetic production that refuses to draw a stark line between verbal larceny and self-expression" (183). Poem 70 is shot through with allusions, "indebted for almost every thought and phrase to some Greek model or other."4 But Young shows that such repetitions reveal "no matter how unoriginal its raw materials may be, a poem cannot help but generate new meanings of its own" (193), and indeed that love poetry is inherently redundant, an idea Catullus revels in rather than conceals. This same notion applies just as easily to translation as a whole, and Young's lucid study underscores throughout the recreative potential that Catullus and other Romans recognized in translating a world where there was nihil novi sub sole.


1.   A. Wasserstein and D. Wasserstein, The Legend of the Septuagint: From Classical Antiquity to Today (Cambridge, 2006), 51–83; M. Simon-Shoshan, "The Tasks of the Translators: The Rabbis, the Septuagint, and the Cultural Politics of Translation," Prooftexts 27 (2007), 1–39.
2.   D. M. Possanza, Translating the Heavens: Aratus, Germanicus, and the Poetics of Latin Translation (New York, 2004); M. Bettini, Vertere: un'antropologia della traduzione nella cultura antica (Turin, 2012); S. McElduff, Roman Theories of Translation: Surpassing the Source (New York, 2013).
3.   Young's analysis of the interrelation between personal grief, translation, and metapoetics in poems 51 and 66 can fruitfully be read alongside Rosanna Warren's study of Sapphic translation as elegiac lament in R. Warren, Fables of the Self: Studies in Lyric Poetry (New York, 2008), which shares a similar interest in "the strain of self-creation through confrontation with the foreign and the past" (11).
4.   D. Konstan, "Two Kinds of Love in Catullus," Classical Journal 68 (1972), 102–106, at 103.

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Matthew T. Rutz, Morag M. Kersel (ed.), Archaeologies of Text: Archaeology, Technology, and Ethics, Joukowsky Institute Publication 6. Oxford; Philadelphia: Oxbow Books, 2014. Pp. xviii, 250. ISBN 9781782977667. £30.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Lorenzo Verderame, "Sapienza" Università di Roma (lorenzo.verderame@uniroma1.it)

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Il presente volume raccoglie 13 contributi ad un simposio tenutosi al principio di Dicembre 2010 presso la Brown University. Come chiaramente spiegato dagli editori, l'iniziativa mira ad esplorare «different perspectives on the interplay of archaeological and textual material from the ancient world» chiedendo a specialisti di varie discipline di discutere «current theoretical and practical problems that have grown out of their work on early inscriptions and archaeology» (p. xvii). Il risultato è una raccolta di articoli che affrontano possibili prospettive di indagine di documenti epigrafici in quanto oggetti archeologici e che si sviluppano secondo, ma non esclusivamente, tre linee di analisi : quella del contesto archeologico, delle applicazioni delle nuove tecnologie, e la questione etica in relazione alla provenienza dei documenti stessi.

Dopo l'introduzione al volume dei due editori (§1. "Introduction: No Discipline is an Island", pp. 1-13), Matthew W. Stolper (§2. "Case in Point: The Persepolis Fortification Archive", pp. 14-30) affronta tutte e tre le prospettive enunciate nel sottotitolo del volume in relazione all'archivio della fortificazione di Persepoli. Si tratta probabilmente del più vasto archivio di testi economici dell'antichità per concentrazione spaziale, temporale e contenutistica. L'archivio, proveniente da due ambienti del torrione di una delle porte della cinta muraria di Persepoli, contiene quasi ventimila documenti. la maggior parte dei quali («10,000- 15,000», p. 17) in elamita. Tutti riguardano l'uscita di beni commestibili nell'arco di 16 anni (509-493 a.C.). In forma chiara ed esaustiva Stolper espone la storia del rinvenimento, la ricchezza di informazioni fornite dai testi, le vicissitudini che portarono l'intero archivio a Chicago e come questo si sia trovato in epoca recente al centro dei contrasti politici tra Stati Uniti e Iran. Partendo proprio dalla questione dello studio e "custodia" del materiale Stolper espone come siano importanti due aspetti, quello tecnologico e quello della "disseminazione" della conoscenza, che sono in stretta relazione. Le moderne tecnologie informatiche forniscono uno strumento eccezionale per quanto riguarda l'acquisizione, la catalogazione e gestione dei dati e, infine, la condivisione ed esposizione dei risultati.

I successivi sei articoli sono dedicati a materiale epigrafico nel suo contesto archeologico e paesaggistico. Nicholas P. Carter (§3. "Space, Time, and Texts: A Landscape Approach to the Classic Maya Hieroglyphic Record", pp. 31-58) analizza in dettaglio il contesto spaziale delle iscrizioni monumentali maya mostrando come l' analisi del rapporto tra paesaggio ed epigrafi possa offrire interessanti risultati. Dopo una chiara introduzione Carter descrive tre casi studio. Il primo riguarda il sito di Copan e la distribuzione delle stele iscritte allineate in assetto con il sole "trascrivendo" nel paesaggio la geografia mitica. Il secondo studio riguarda il panorama geografico e mitico di monumenti in cui sono menzionati due toponimi (uxte'tuune chiik nahb) e la relazione con la città di Calakmul. Il terzo caso presenta un'analisi molto interessante e che può essere proficuamente impiegata in altre aree di indagine. Carter si occupa, infatti, del "paesaggio linguistico" (linguistic landscape), individuando la distribuzione spaziale e geografica di varianti grafiche e fonetiche. Queste sono indizi di mutamenti sincronici e diacronici non legati prettamente a diverse forme dialettali, ma da interpretare, piuttosto, a seconda dei casi come espressioni di stili o scelte socio-politiche che possono arrivare fino a vere riforme. Questi mutamenti, infatti, non riguardano la lingua parlata, ma vanno considerati come espressioni delle scelte delle élites, promotrici e principali fruitrici di queste epigrafi e monumenti.

Simile è l'approccio proposto da Scott Bucking (§4. "Now You See it, Now You Don't: The Dynamics of Archaeological and Epigraphic Landscapes from Coptic Egypt", pp. 59-79) che analizza la distribuzione dei graffiti copti in strutture templari dell'antico Egitto. La riutilizzazione degli edifici dell'Egitto faraonico nei periodi successivi è poco documentata per varie ragioni. Alla distruzione causata dagli agenti naturali e dall'azione dell'uomo, si aggiunge il disinteresse e l'incuria degli archeologi nel preservare e documentare quelle fasi tarde considerate poco importanti. L'analisi del contenuto, del contesto e del posizionamento dei graffiti proposta da Bucking è tesa a comprendere il riutilizzo e la funzione di quegli ambienti per le comunità monastiche copte. Bucking si concentra su due casi specifici: il tempio di Hatshepsut a Beni Hasan e quello di Seti I ad Abydos. L'analisi è destinata a determinare il paesaggio "archeologico" e "culturale" (archaeological / cultural landscape) in cui sono inseriti i graffiti e da cui essi sono inscindibili. Bucking mostra come i graffiti posti in relazione con rimaneggiamenti della struttura esistente (creazione di nicchie per lampade; chiusure di ambienti; sistemi per lo stoccaggio; etc.) offrono indizi interessanti sulla natura e le attività delle comunità monastiche del tempo scarsamente documentabili da fonti "più esplicite". Un termine che ricorre di frequente in molti degli articoli della prima parte del volume è "paesaggio" (landscape) nelle sue diverse accezioni (linguistico, archeologico, culturale) in relazione ai rapporti che intercorrono tra l'epigrafe e la sua collocazione, spaziale, geografica, scenica, etc.

Timothy P. Harrison analizza il contesto archeologico di rinvenimento dei documenti epigrafici dal sito di Tell Tayinat (§5. "Articulating Neo-Assyrian Imperialism at Tell Tayinat", pp. 80-96). Dopo la presentazione della storia degli scavi e del sito (da identificare con Kunulu, capitale dello stato neo-ittita e poi provincia assira di Patina/Unqi), Harrison si concentra sul contesto archeologico dell'edificio XVI, verosimilmente un tempio. Nella cella sono state rinvenute diverse tavolette e oggetti cultuali abbandonati in loco durante la distruzione dell'edificio. Tra le tavolette vi è una copia del cosiddetto "trattato di vassallaggio" di Esarhaddon. Il luogo e il modo di rinvenimento così come la forma stessa del documento indicano chiaramente che questo oggetto era esposto nel tempio. L'edificio II è posto perpendicolarmente all'edificio XVI e delimita assieme a quest'ultimo una terrazza rialzata su cui si aprono gli ingressi di entrambi gli edifici. Secondo Harrison le due strutture potrebbero essere templi dedicati rispettivamente a Nabû e a Tašmētu le cui celebrazioni annuali (akītu) si sarebbero svolte sull'antistante terrazza. È questa una conclusione che, alla luce delle fonti, risulta troppo azzardata, non potendosi affermare con sicurezza che l'edificio XVI sia da mettere in relazione con Nabû.

Matthew T. Rutz (§6. "The Archaeology of Mesopotamian Extispicy: Modeling Divination in the Old BabylonianPeriod", pp. 97- 120) discute un tipo di documentazione a lui ben noto, i documenti legati alla pratica dell'extispicina, nel loro contesto archeologico. Allo stesso modo Adam Smith (§7. "The Ernest K. Smith Collection of Shang Divination Inscriptions at Columbia University and the Evidence for Scribal Training at Anyang", pp. 121-141) si occupa dei più antichi documenti epigrafici in scrittura cinese, ovvero le notazioni apposte sulle ossa bovine e sui carapaci di tartarughe le cui spaccature, una volta esposti al fuoco, venivano interpretate come presagi. Smith si concentra su un lotto di oggetti conservati presso la Columbia University analizzandone il contesto di provenienza e diversi aspetti funzionali desunti dallo studio epigrafico dei materiali. Come per i documenti studiati da Rutz, anche quelli di Smith sono di natura mantica e proprio da una comparazione con le pratiche mesopotamiche e le considerazioni desunte dall'analisi archeologica ed epigrafica Smith arriva alla conclusione che parte delle iscrizioni sono state aggiunte in fasi posteriori a scopo propedeutico.

I due successivi contributi sono dedicati all'uso delle tecnologie informatiche. Eleanor Robson (§8. "Tracing Networks of Cuneiform Scholarship with Oracc, GKAB, and Google Earth", pp. 142-163) avanza una serie di considerazioni sulla "cuneiform scholarship" a partire dall'analisi di differenti corpora di documenti per mezzo di banche dati e altri strumenti informatici. Lisa Anderson e Heidi Wendt (§9. "Ancient Relationships, Modern Intellectual Horizons: The Practical Challenges and Possibilities of Encoding Greek and Latin Inscriptions", pp. 164-175) espongono il progetto di digitalizzazione del materiale epigrafico conservato nelle collezioni americane (USEP) e del linguaggio di mark-up (XML) utilizzato per la loro indicizzazione. Molte di queste iscrizioni provengono da contesti archeologici ignoti o non documentati, come nel caso delle numerose epigrafi della necropoli di Porta Salaria a Roma, ma la catalogazione informatica permette di inferire alcune informazioni sull'originale contesto o rete di relazioni tra le diverse epigrafi.

Il contributo di Christopher A. Rollston (§10. "Forging History: From Antiquity to the Modern Period", pp. 176-197) ci traghetta verso un'altra sezione del volume, quella dedicata ad aspetti di gestione, quindi epistemologici, legali ed etici, di documenti di incerta origine. Rollston espone alcuni casi il cui filo conduttore è la genuinità dei documenti stessi, trattandosi sempre di falsi — esposizione interessante che offre numerosi spunti di riflessione su come valutiamo e ci rapportiamo all'oggetto della nostra ricerca. Gli esempi discussi spaziano dal Vicino Oriente alla classicità e, cronologicamente, dall'antichità ai nostri giorni. Rollston discute con arguzia i diversi casi presentando di volta in volta la "storia" dell'oggetto o del suo rinvenimento, le posizioni assunte dagli studiosi, le ragioni (paleografiche, filologiche, storiografiche) che hanno portato a giudicare o ipotizzare la non originalità dell'iscrizione e, cosa piuttosto insolita, le motivazioni del falsario.

Gli ultimi tre contributi sono dedicati agli aspetti etici, legali, politico-accademici della gestione di documenti epigrafici. Neil J. Brodie e Morag M. Kersel si occupano estensivamente del caso delle coppe aramaiche nella collezione Schøyen (§11. "WikiLeaks, Texts, and Archaeology: The Case of the Schøyen Incantation Bowls", pp. 198-213). Il caso, che pur riguardando oggetti poco noti al grande pubblico è salito alla ribalta delle cronache, è analizzato puntigliosamente grazie a un'analisi investigativa che prende in considerazione tutti i documenti disponibili. È interessante notare che la discussione si centra sugli aspetti legali di un caso che riguarda documenti di dubbia provenienza e che, ironicamente, prende spunto a sua volta da un documento di dubbia provenienza, "fuori contesto" e irregolare ai termini di legge. Si tratta infatti di una relazione resa pubblica da WikiLeaks originariamente fatta alla Camera dei Lords nel 2009 da parte di una commissione della UCL, che aveva in custodia questi oggetti per studio.

Lo stimolante articolo di Patty Gerstenblith (§12. "Do Restrictions on Publication of Undocumented Texts Promote Legitimacy? ", pp. 214-226) passa in rassegna le diverse politiche adottate dalle associazioni accademiche e istituti di ricerca e dalle loro pubblicazioni, principalmente le riviste, in merito all'edizione di materiali di dubbia provenienza. Gerstenblith analizza le diverse contromisure adottate e la loro reale efficacia, in particolare nell' arginare il mercato illegale di opere trafugate che attenzione da parte di studiosi accreditati potrebbe favorire.

L'ultimo contributo, di John F. Cherry (§13. "Publishing Undocumented Texts: Editorial Perspectives", pp. 227-244) riprende lo stesso tema dell'articolo precedente ma dal punto di vista di uno degli attori chiamati in causa, ovvero gli editori di riviste scientifiche. Cherry ha contattato i direttori delle principali riviste del settore domandando quale fosse la politica editoriale adottata nei confronti di tali documenti. Il tono dell'intervento è meno prammatico e più realistico degli altri contributi, ma l'analisi di Cherry è inficiata, a mio parere, dal fatto che, come egli stesso dichiara , diversi direttori, e in particolare quelli delle più importanti riviste europee, non gli hanno risposto. Cherry ha dunque ampliato la sua analisi a riviste che poco hanno a che fare col settore in questione. Cherry, inoltre, concentra la discussione sulle scelte operate dall'American Schools of Oriental Research, al centro del contributo anche di Gerstenblith, facendo emergere un quadro che deriva più dall'impaccio che da una reale ed efficace risposta istituzionale al problema.

In conclusione, le indicazioni e i propositi espressi dagli organizzatori del convegno ed editori del volume che ne raccoglie gli atti sono stati in massima parte esauditi. Gli autori sono tutti anglosassoni e la bibliografia riporta principalmente opere di autori inglesi o nord-americani, cosa piuttosto abituale in questi casi. La natura dei contributi, sia per quanto riguarda l'oggetto di indagine che per la prospettiva adottata, comporta che l'opera nel suo insieme manchi di omogeneità, cosa che, tuttavia, nel volume in questione non costituisce una pecca. Al contrario, la ricchezza di considerazioni e spunti che le diverse prospettive e casi studio offrono è amplissima e stimolante.

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Monday, May 30, 2016


P. J. Finglass, Adrian Kelly (ed.), Stesichorus in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Pp. xii, 220. ISBN 9781107069732. $110.00.

Reviewed by Pauline LeVen, Yale University (pauline.leven@yale.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

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[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

What Anne Carson says of Stesichorus' monster Geryon in her Autobiography of Red goes for the poet himself: "there is no person without a world" (XXVII, Mitwelt). With the intense scholarly activity that has surrounded Stesichorean poetry in the last two decades, and with excellent recent editions of Stesichorus' fragments and testimonia now available, it is only natural to hope for a volume that will unveil more of the intriguing world of the Sicilian poet.1 Patrick Finglass and Adrian Kelly's edited volume, Stesichorus in Context, makes a step into that direction, but the promise of the title remains only partially fulfilled.

The book is structured around three ideas based on ancient claims about Stesichorus: first, that Stesichorus is "supremely Homeric" (Ὁμηρικώτατος, On the Sublime 13.3); second, that there is more to his narrative technique than Quintilian's remark "[Stesichorus] is redundant and diffuse" (redundat atque effunditur, Inst. 10.1.62); finally, that even though a character in a fifth-century comedy declares that "it is old- fashioned to sing Stesichorus' works" (τὰ Στησιχόρου... ἀρχαῖον ἀείδειν, Eupolis, fr. 148 PCG), the poet's influence can be traced throughout centuries, from the mid-sixth century BCE to our days. 
 First, Stesichorus and epic. In his choice of epico-Doric dialect and dactylic meter, his use of images, his thematic choices, and perhaps also in his mode of performance, it is clear that the lyric poet recalls, reworks, or plays with the archaic epic tradition. For Adrian Kelly (chapter 2), Stesichorus introduces a break in literary history in the way he uses Homeric language and allusions. While Sappho, Alcaeus, and Alcman merely relied on their listeners' acquaintance with Homeric formulae, knowledge of marquee episodes, or ability to recognize stock scenes, Stesichorus requires his audience to have a thorough knowledge of the details of the Homeric text to be able to enjoy the effects of his own lyric. Chris Carey (chapter 3) discusses Stesichorus' relationship with the larger archaic hexameter epic tradition, both in terms of themes and performance context. On Carey's reading, too, Stesichorus marks an "evolutionary leap" in literary history (p. 54), as he combines elements from different strands of the heroic narrative tradition, both Homeric epic and the Cycle, into a creative synthesis. Stesichorus' new type of lyric narrative could have been associated with the growth of competitions "along the lines of the rhapsodic contests or the dithyrambic competitions in Athens," which could have "form[ed] part of the cultural amalgam from which tragedy eventually emerged as distinct performance mode" (p. 53). M. L. West's attention is on the notion of genre itself (chapter 4). Distinguishing between formal criteria (meter and dialect) and other markers (thematic, stylistic, context of performance), West speculates on the type of tradition that might lie behind the Stesichorean production: the poet could be representing a form of "lyric epic" typical of Southern Italy, combining very familiar traits of epic narrative with unique forms of lyric address, as well as "individual introductions and concluding sections, in architectonic musical structures with large, repeating strophes, varied by epodes at every third stop" (p. 78).

Two main aspects of Stesichorean poetics are treated in the shorter second part of the book. In chapter 5, Patrick Finglass considers three Stesichorean poems, the Thebais, Cycnus and Helen, from which "enough survives to allow some controlled speculation concerning the content and shaping of the works in question" (p. 96). In those poems, the interplay between speech and narrative, methods of characterization, and the overall shaping of the plot to achieve emotional effect attest to the fact that Stesichorus is a "master of narrative" (the title of the chapter). Chapter 6 (Ian Rutherford) investigates a lesser-known side of Stesichorus. A handful of poems usually confined to the dubia and spuria of the poet (the Rhadine, the Calyce, and the Daphnis) offer a different view of the narrative art of the poet. Without arguing for the authenticity of these pieces, Rutherford considers what this tradition of a "romantic Stesichorus" adds to our understanding of the heroic poet. The poems could have had a link to a local cult, but they could also have "anticipated Greek romance after all" (p. 108).

Lastly, Stesichorus' reception. Ewen Bowie (chapter 7) inquires into the entangled relationships between performance and politics over the course of 150 years and focuses on three representative moments of Stesichorean poetic presence in Athens: in the 420s (where Aristophanic parody suggests that Stesichorus' Oresteia and other bits were known, perhaps through sympotic performance); in the "already lively agonistic culture" of the 480s; and in the mid sixth century, when performances of Stesichorus in Attica might have been promoted by Hippocleides, Miltiades and other Philaids, "outward-looking members of the elite." Laura Swift's chapter (chapter 8) examines the presence of Stesichorus in fifth-century tragedy and describes possible verbal and thematic links between Stesichorean and tragic passages of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Stesichorean influence is particularly important for characterization (especially of female characters), and for highlighting significant themes in the tragic treatment of myth. In chapter 9, Richard Hunter deals with ancient testimonia about Stesichorus' "sweetness" (γλυκύτης, a term used by Hermogenes). For Hunter, it is not so much the use of epithets that contributes to the "sweet" quality of the poet's style but the choice of erotic plots. A specific case of such Stesichorean "sweetness" is examined in Theocritus' subtle reworking (among other sources) of Stesichorus' Helen in Idyll 18. In chapter 10, Gerson Schade provides a survey of readings of Stesichorus from Pierre de Ronsard to Anne Carson. Much before papyri of the poet's compositions were discovered in the latter part of the twentieth century, Stesichorus' name was deemed "worthy of mention" (p. 164) by French Renaissance poets, Italian humanists, and decadentismo figures, who engaged with Stesichorus via Plato's description of the poet's palinode in the Phaedrus and Horace's palinodes. The last part of the chapter provides readings of the "allusive, dense, and emotional interplays" (p. 185) between Stesichorus' monster Geryon and Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red.

This brings me back to where I started and to the title of the book: Stesichorus in Context. What is meant by context exactly, or what context is meant? It is difficult to know what the editors intended, since there is neither introduction nor conclusion highlighting a specific direction for the volume. The first chapter, as a matter of fact, does not make any claim about the ambition or goals of the book: instead, Finglass offers an overview of "the state of Stesichorean studies" (that is, a survey of the ways Stesichorus' text came to be known to the public, from Athenaeus' quotations to the most current editions of the poet) and Kelly provides a summary of the chapters collected in the volume. Yes, the cast of contributors is impressive, the scholarship impeccable, and each chapter thorough and illuminating on its own. But as a whole, the volume provides an approach to Stesichorus in contexts (plural), or even a sample of brilliant Stesichorean scholarship in a twenty-first century context, rather than the sense of a world.

It is all the more surprising not to find a line of investigation clearly articulated, as many of the chapters are actually in dialogue with each other — without stating it explicitly or making systematic cross-references. Several threads run through the volume and I see them as follows: the first is the question of the nature and position of the Stesichorean poetic production within archaic performance culture. There is no need of course to return to older meditations on the issue of the solo/choral nature of the corpus of the lyricist named "the-one-who-sets-up-the-chorus." But several contributors reflect on the question of the poet's mode of performance. I would have liked to know, in particular, how West's suggestion that performance of "hexameter epic by citharodes" (p. 77) influenced Stesichorus' invention of "lyric epic" squares with Carey's idea of "competitions in epic-lyric (either choral or citharodic) along the lines of the rhapsodic contests or the dithyrambic competitions in Athens." Are both scholars imagining the same roots for the performance context that lead to the type of poetry Stesichorus composed? Are their different scenarios compatible? The white elephant in this admittedly dark room is the citharodic nome: how do Stesichorus' lyric-epic compositions relate to that genre that will become so important? Finally, if some sort of musical competition scenario is indeed the context that we are to imagine for Stesichorus' compositions, can't we supplement Kelly's claim about Homeric intertextuality with insights from that context of performance (i.e. what audiences are we to imagine for Stesichorus' very learned use of Homer—a festival audience? How large/select a festival audience?)

The second thread running through several chapters is the Sicilian element: to what extent does Stesichorus provide a link between a Western lyric tradition (marked by the names of Xanthus and Xenocrates) and mainland Greek tradition of (sympotic?) performance of Sicilian poetry? In a different vein, how truly Sicilian are the erotic / pastoral themes attributed to the poet? The former two questions are tackled by West and Carey, the latter hinted at by Rutherford and Hunter. Given recent scholarly attempts to have a less Athenocentric view of Greek poetry and performance, surely more can be said (or examined more systematically) about Stesichorus' pivotal position between traditions. In that regard, the lack of a chapter on the testimonia devoted to the poet and his origins is all the more striking.

The last recurring thread is the question of Stesichorean poetics: both Finglass and Rutherford go some way toward suggesting the range of the poet's artfulness (especially with remarks on characterization (p. 86) and fictionality (p. 106)), but additional insights can be gleaned from other chapters. Carey for example has fascinating comments on focalization (p. 59), Swift on imagery (p. 130), and Schade on the poet's "intense, cinematic detail[s], as if [a scene] was being filmed or photographed in close-up" (p. 182). Bowie's reference (p. 113) to a scholiast's comment on the practice of "interweaving" as something Stesichorean gives us a better sense of what makes the poet so rewarding to read, as do Hunter's remarks (p. 154-8) on the originality of the Stesichorean Helen (via a reading of Gorgias and Theocritus). But it takes work from a reader to gather all these gems from different chapters, and it would take much more to see how they might work together in an actual continuous reading of the fragments.

Many of these questions, of course, cannot find an easy answer, but openly acknowledging that most of the contributors in the volume reflect on the same set of underlying issues would go some way towards providing a more solid context for reading Stesichorus. As things stand, there is much to be gained from this learned volume, but we are still some distance away from encountering the world of the poet.

Table of Contents

1. The state of Stesichorean studies - P. J. Finglass and Adrian Kelly
Part I. Stesichorus and Epic:
2. Stesichorus' Homer - Adrian Kelly
3. Stesichorus and the Epic Cycle - Chris Carey
4. Epic, lyric, and lyric epic - M. L. West
Part II. Stesichorean Poetics:
5. Stesichorus, master of narrative - P. J. Finglass
6. Stesichorus the romantic - Ian Rutherford
Part III. Reception and Influence:
7. Stesichorus at Athens - Ewen Bowie
8. Stesichorus on stage - Laura Swift
9. Sweet Stesichorus: Theocritus 18 and the Helen revisited - Richard Hunter
10. Stesichorus' readers: from Pierre de Ronsard to Anne Carson - Gerson Schade


1.   The most recent edition of the fragments is M. Davies, P. J. Finglass, Stesichorus: The Poems. Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries, 54. Cambridge: 2014 (on which see BMCR 2015.10.40). For the testimonia, M. Ercoles, Stesicoro: le testimonianze antiche. Bologna: 2013.

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Krastu Banev, Theophilus of Alexandria and the First Origenist Controversy: Rhetoric and Power. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. Pp. x, 233. ISBN 9780198727545. $90.00.

Reviewed by Robert J. Morehouse, Evington, VA (rjmorehouse@gmail.com)

Version at BMCR home site


Krastu Banev reconsiders the place of Theophilus of Alexandria, specifically his Festal Letters, within the Origenist controversy. He aims to rectify the reception of Palladius of Helenopolis' negative depiction of the patriarch and instead properly to situate our understanding of Theophilus' actions and words within the forensic context of the controversy.

Banev's study needs to be understood in the context of recent research on the Origenist controversy. In a study published in 1992, Elizabeth Clark significantly advanced our understanding of the controversy through the analysis of its social dynamics. Her work demonstrates that there were distinct personal affiliations for each of the authors in the controversy, and these connections in large part determined the role they played within the debate.1 More recently, Norman Russell has argued that Theophilus' reputation needs to be rescued from the polemics of the likes of Palladius, largely by considering the forensic nature of Theophilus' approach to Origen.2 In his work on Palladius' Lausiac History and Dialogue concerning John Chrysostom, Demetrios Katos evaluates the legal nature of Palladius' treatment of both John Chrysostom and Theophilus.3 Banev intends to further Russell's rehabilitation of Theophilus, as it were, by doing for Theophilus what Katos does for Palladius. In doing so, Banev is attempting to corroborate Synesius of Ptolemais and Jerome's claims about the rhetorical prowess of Theophilus.

This volume makes two primary contributions. The first is to detail the rhetorical world in which Theophilus was operating. The second is to delineate the rhetorical expectations of his monastic audience and how Theophilus met them.

In the book's first chapter, Banev surveys the social world of the Origenist and Anthropomorphite controversies, focusing on the complexities of the context within which Theophilus was writing. Banev's stated aim is to show that Theophilus entered an ongoing theological dispute within which his own work could not possibly have remained objective. Chapter two addresses the theological background of these controversies. Here Banev highlights recent scholarship's demonstration that Theophilus' response to the anthropomorphite position was not against "simple" monks, but against a rich tradition of theological exegesis surrounding the issues of visionary and imageless prayer. In the third chapter, Banev analyzes the historical records, or lack thereof, regarding the Anti-Origenist Councils of 400. He focuses on the fact that Theophilus' opponents undermined his prominence as a skilled practitioner of canon law, more by what they omitted than by what they said. Banev concludes that the omission of these councils from the histories of Sozomen and Socrates is itself a clear indication of their efforts to downplay the influence of Theophilus' status.

The first section of the fourth chapter considers the place of rhetoric in the early church. Beginning with Paul, Banev outlines evidence of a positive disposition towards classical education and rhetoric among early Christian writings, and concludes that by Theophilus' day there was a "widespread rhetorical culture within the church." (65) The second section argues that Theophilus' Festal Letters ought to be seen as the equivalent of mass media, affording Theophilus considerable sway over popular opinion. In the third section, Banev defends the reliability of Jerome and Synesius' praise of the rhetorical accomplishment of Theophilus' Festal Letters.

In chapter five, Banev surveys Aristotle's Art of Rhetoric, the progymnasmata tradition, and the corpus of Hermogenic works to provide the reader with a theoretical rhetorical framework for understanding how Theophilus and his audience operated. He argues that the progymnasmata and the Hermogenic corpus, along with works well into the medieval period, show that the basic principles proposed by Aristotle remained the roots of rhetorical theory up to and well past Theophilus' day. He concludes that "there can be little doubt that these or very similar works were the basis of the school curricula in Egypt at Theophilus' time" (82-3).

The sixth chapter evaluates Theophilus' rhetorical merits in the setting of a late antique rhetor's classroom, by considering in particular his use of emotion (πάθος), authority (ἦθος), and reason (λόγος). Banev critiques Theophilus' arguments along theoretical lines, while acknowledging that Theophilus himself may have remained unaware of the theoretical underpinnings of his methods. Banev shows that whatever Theophilus' awareness of rhetorical theory, the invention and arrangement of his arguments are congruent with the traditions outlined in chapter five.

The aim of the seventh chapter is to illustrate the liturgical relevance of Theophilus' arguments. Banev is able to demonstrate that liturgy and scripture held significant places of authority in Theophilus' argumentation. However, this reader would like Banev to have more clearly outlined how these factors were unique to Theophilus' rhetoric or in what way they may have been effective for his particular context, as it is rather to be expected that both liturgical themes and scripture would have been authoritative sources for a bishop writing at the turn of the fifth century. Further, Banev's analysis of the bishop's arguments is at times anachronistic. He cites an eighth-century inscription (154), a twelfth-century synod (155), and refers to Theophilus' gauging the "doctrinal and devotional sensitivities of … the era of Chalcedon, [and] of later generations as well" (157).

In chapter eight, Banev asserts that monks were Theophilus' main intended audience. He argues that disobedience was tantamount to heresy in the Egyptian monastic literature of the time and that disobedience and heresy were nearly synonymous in the monastic rhetorical lexicon. In chapter nine, Banev discusses the treatment of Theophilus in the Apophthegmata Patrum. Working through several of the ten Apophthegmata concerning Theophilus, he convincingly demonstrates that the portraits of the patriarch in these sayings are congruent with the ethos Theophilus crafts of himself in his Letters.

The conclusions of these final two chapters bolster Banev's broader contention that Theophilus was effective not because of his demagoguery but primarily because he successfully cast Origen in an ethos unfavorable to his predominantly ascetic audience. By contrast, Theophilus presented himself as embodying the very dearest virtues of the monastic life (as exemplified in the thought of Antony): obedience, humility, and prayer with self-condemnation.

There are a few curious statements in this study. Banev argues that due to the polemic of Methodius of Olympus, Pamphilus, and Eusebius of Caesarea "it was no longer possible for future discussions to take place in a rhetorical vacuum" (12). This implies that, had the earlier anti-Origenist literature not existed, there might indeed have existed a rhetorical vacuum, which seems to fly in the face of Banev's efforts to show the thoroughgoing nature of the classical rhetorical tradition in late antique Christianity. Banev also at times over-problematizes his project. For example he remarks that "observations allow us to perceive an inherent difficulty in the way we somehow expect late antique bishops to be able to operate in a serene climate of cool intellectual objectivity" (18). This problematization is particularly peculiar because Banev goes on to explain how scholarship has already shown that such presuppositions are foolish.

Overall, Banev's case is compelling. He demonstrates the vibrancy of rhetoric in Alexandria at Theophilus' time and thus that the bishop and his audience were rhetorically trained and likely to have sophisticated rhetorical tastes. Banev also shows that Theophilus' arguments employ elements that were crafted along classical theoretical lines, and that they drew on themes selected for their importance to Theophilus' audience. Thus, Banev's claim that Jerome and Synesius had good cause to see Theophilus as an able rhetorician is convincing. There may be a fine line between pastoral polemic and vindictive slander, although there is no proof that such a line exists. Banev's contribution is to show how Theophilus' polemic was not reckless slander, but rather carefully crafted rhetoric designed to win the hearts and minds of his monastic and lay audiences within the forensic, conciliar context of the Origenist controversy.


1.   The Origenist controversy: The Cultural Construction of an Early Christian Debate (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992).
2.   Theophilus of Alexandria (London: Routledge, 2007); "Theophilus of Alexandria as a Forensic Practitioner," Studia Patristica, 50 (2011), 235-43.
3.   Palladius of Helenopolis: The Origenist Advocate (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

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Stephen Halliwell, Aristophanes: Clouds, Women at the Thesmophoria, Frogs. A Verse Translation, with Introduction and Notes. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. Pp. xcv, 298. ISBN 9780198149941. $100.00.

Reviewed by Alan H. Sommerstein, University of Nottingham (alan.sommerstein@nottingham.ac.uk)

Version at BMCR home site


In 1997 Stephen Halliwell published a verse translation of four plays of Aristophanes that he billed in his preface as the first part of a three-volume translation of the eleven comedies and selected fragments.1 The present volume is the third in the original plan but the second to appear; the final (originally second) volume will include Acharnians, Knights, Wasps and Peace.

Apart from the inclusion of an appendix on the fragmentary plays, this volume largely follows the pattern of its predecessor. The general introduction, like the surviving version of Clouds, "is the same as the previous one but has been revised in detail"; the style and verse-forms of the translation are also broadly similar, though the dominant iambic rhythm is now more extensively diversified with trisyllabic feet. As before, the translation is accompanied by limited explanatory annotation, together with a chronological table and a glossary of names (including not only persons and places but also "institutions" such as Assembly, Council and Mysteries). The bibliography has of course been updated, though some sections still consist predominantly of pre-1995 material.

The translations are once again (to quote my review of the 1997 volume) "accurate enough to be usable for any academic or educational purpose for which the use of translations is acceptable at all", and the introductions to individual plays provide in general an excellent orientation (though the introduction to Clouds might with advantage have included a compact summary of what parts of the play did or did not, so far as we can tell, undergo significant revision after the original production). I would draw special attention to the perception (p. 3) of a red herring in the opening verses of Clouds (lines 5–7 create the impression that this will be another war-and-peace play); to the demonstration (pp. 4–6) that Plato in the Apology (19c–d) carefully distinguishes Aristophanes from those who slander Socrates "with animus and malice" (φθόνωι καὶ διαβολῆι χρώμενοι) and who, unlike the comic poet, are unidentifiable; to the stimulating analysis (pp. 92–100) of the second half of Thesmophoriazusae as a paradigm example of paratragedy, whose object is "not to critique or devalue tragedy as such, but to convert it into the stuff of comedy" (p. 99); and to the comparison (p.101) between the final scene of the same play and the Dionysus-Ariadne entertainment in Xenophon's Symposium (9.2-7).

Halliwell has long been known for (among many other things) his rejection of the view that Aristophanes' plays have a political or cultural agenda—that he was seeking to influence the opinions of his audiences on questions of the day—and nobody will be surprised to find this position being maintained in the present volume. But those unconvinced by this approach may find certain weaknesses in its presentation here.

A favourite device is to point to passages in a play that seem to take contradictory views on some political, cultural or ethical issue. On closer examination, however, these contradictions often vanish. There is no contradiction, as claimed on p. 9, between seeing philosopher-intellectuals as "pursuing abstruse ideas" and seeing them as "possessors of a key to practical success": Halliwell himself notes that Hippias of Elis claimed expertise both in science and in rhetoric (p. 10), some other philosophers such as Democritus studied both nature and society, and according to Plato (Apology 19b–d) it was alleged by many who were not comic poets, and widely believed among the Athenian public, that Socrates was simultaneously "a thinker about things in the sky, an investigator of everything that is under the earth, and one who makes the worse argument into the better". Again, there is (unfortunately) nothing contradictory about believing both that it is "wrong to try to cheat one's creditors" and that it is "acceptable to set fire to people's property" (p. 18)—especially perhaps if, like Strepsiades, one supposes oneself to have divine authority for both. In Frogs, the play's apparently "dovish" final words (1531–3) are contrasted (pp. 154–5) with Aeschylus' recipe for Athens' salvation, which is "predicated on a continuation of war"; but one might with perfect consistency believe (i) that any opportunity should be taken of ending the war on acceptable terms and also (ii) that until such an opportunity arises (or, indeed, for the very purpose of encouraging the enemy to offer good terms) the war effort must be pursued with the utmost vigour.

Even those, such as Malcolm Heath,2 who have argued most strongly against a politically engaged reading of Aristophanic comedy, have often felt compelled to make an exception for the parabasis of Frogs where the chorus plainly advocate the re-enfranchisement of those who had lost their citizen rights for having supported the Four Hundred. Halliwell admits (p. 168) that this proposition was "a realistic political option for the city", but argues that it "must have been gradually winning support" in any case (probably true, but irrelevant; it took several months, and a catastrophic naval defeat, before it was implemented). He also (pp. 169–170) seeks to undermine the ancient evidence that Aristophanes was publicly honoured for giving this advice; but would anyone inventing a fictitious decree have made it award Aristophanes a crown of sacred olive, when Athenian honorific crowns were normally of gold? Halliwell makes one strong point against the view, which I have championed,3 that Frogs was restaged early in 404: the play contains passages that presuppose the existence of a strong Athenian navy (one of them, 701–2, is in the parabasis itself), and these would have been "jarringly anachronistic" when this navy had been destroyed. Yet if the objective of the restaging was to honour Aristophanes for the advice he had given a year before, its proponents may well have expected many spectators to feel that things might have been very different now if only they had adopted this policy in time.

In any case, Halliwell undermines his own position by conceding (p. 237), in his discussion of Babylonians, that this play "certainly caused some political controversy". Cleon, the most successful and popular politician of the day, thought it would be to his advantage to make an attack on Aristophanes (or his producer Callistratus) on account of things that had been said or seen in Babylonians: either he was making an utter fool of himself, or it was widely accepted in Athens in the 420s that comedy could be a political weapon.

The Appendix (pp. 235–254) finds something to say about every one of the 33 non-extant plays attributed to Aristophanes (and one other play very doubtfully attested by a badly broken inscription), translates between eighty and ninety fragments, and makes brief comments on a good many more (expecting, no doubt, that interested readers will consult them in Henderson's Loeb edition4). He is wisely cautious about attempting any reconstruction, but the reader will carry away an impression of the variety and unpredictability of Aristophanes' imagination.

Minor points: (p. lxiii n. 87) the acceptance of the possibility of a wider use of the ekkyklema is inconsistent with the categorical statement in the text that it is used "purely for the purposes of paratragedy". (p. xciii) the dates given for Cleon's generalships will not make it clear to the uninformed reader whether he was elected twice or four times. (p. xciv) Alcibiades was "suspected of involvement" not in the mutilation of the Herms but in profanations of the Mysteries. (p. 97) Teucer is not "Menelaos' companion" but has come to Egypt independently after being banished from Salamis (Helen 90ff). (p. 168 n. 25) the genuineness of the Andocidean text of Patrocleides' decree has now been defended by M.H. Hansen, GRBS 55 (2015) 884–897. (p. 172) it is surprising to find Dionysus described as "elderly", which he never is in art (even on the lost Berlin krater his beard was black). (p.256) the quotation labelled as fr. 21 is actually fr. 18; the real fr. 21 is the one discussed in the text above (Amphiaraus addressing his daughter Iaso). (p. 263) treating the aegis as a "means of transport" is not necessarily an "extravagant metaphor"; cf. Aeschylus, Eumenides 404. (p. 294) the Council was not "temporarily suspended" in 412, nor does the note on Thesm. 808–9, here referred to, say it was. (p. 294) Demeter was a sister, not a daughter, of Zeus.

No two writers or readers will agree where transliteration should end and latinization begin, though many will wonder why we are given "Kypros" and "Korinth(ian)" alongside "Cretan". But can we please get rid of the unaccountably fashionable "Attika", which is neither one thing (Attica) nor the other (Attike)?

We look forward eagerly to the completion of the series—and to the appearance of this volume in paperback (due November 2016).


1.   Aristophanes: Birds, Lysistrata, Assembly-Women, Wealth (Oxford, 1997). I reviewed this volume in CR 49 (1999) 252–3.
2.   Political Comedy in Aristophanes (Göttingen, 1987).
3.   Talking about Laughter and Other Studies in Greek Comedy (Oxford, 2009) 254–271 (originally published 1993).
4.   J. J. Henderson, Aristophanes V: Fragments (Cambridge MA, 2007).

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Richard Green, Mike Edwards (ed.), Images and Texts: Papers in Honour of Professor Eric Handley CBE FBA. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies: Supplement 129. London: Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 2015. Pp. x, 136. ISBN 9781905670567. £32.00.

Reviewed by Tyler Jo Smith, University of Virginia (tjs6e@virginia.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

[The Table of contents is at end of the review.]

Classicist and Papyrologist Eric Handley (1926–2013) will be remembered by many for his lifelong research on Greek drama, especially the New Comedy of Menander. Others will forever associate him with a keen interest in and some important contributions to the study of 'monuments' (vases, mosaics, terracottas, etc.) associated with ancient theater. 1 Thus, the current volume, which derives from a colloquium organized in London to celebrate his 85th birthday, is a very fitting tribute to a prolific scholar who ever wore the two hats of text and image.2 There are a few additions, including Alain Blanchard's "Tribute to Eric Handley: Papyrology and Menander" (actually in French), which was presented at the Institute of Classical Studies in June 2013 as part of a day-long memorial, a Curriculum vitae academicae, and a complete list of publications. It is evident that each of these authors shared a close personal connection to Handley, either as colleague or former student, and their indebtedness to his generosity and wisdom is clear throughout. Considering the list of invited luminaries, it comes as no surprise that the writing is of a universally high standard, and several offerings may be considered non-trivial additions to their respective sub-fields. The book is nicely illustrated, well-edited, and error-free. It does, however, assume a knowledgeable, specialist reader.

Handley's much-loved Menander is as central to the spectacle as the honoree himself. Christopher Carey explores the relationship between tragedy and Menander's comedy, and is particularly interested in the ancient author's voice—"the dialogic self-definition" (15)—looming behind his masked actors despite the loss of the parabasis of Old Comedy. Staging and humor, metatheatricality and psychology, are all themes of importance in a beautifully penned essay that is a model of how the combination of primary and secondary sources may be used to illuminate the poet, the genre, the audience, and the setting. Peter Parsons' rather brief "A Few More Letters" reminds readers of Handley's seminal research on Menander's corpus, singling out the Misoumenos ('The man she hates') for special mention, as well as the impact that a few more letters (and thus words) can have with each new discovery of Oxyrhynchus papyrus. The sentiment is echoed by Mike Edwards in his paper on the Archimedes Palimpsest, where the modern scientific technique of Multi-spectral Imaging has been used to aid in decipherment. Both Parsons and Edwards, maybe inadvertently, make a strong link with archaeology, an adjacent discipline that privileges such new discoveries and often depends on similar technical aids in order to scrutinize enigmatic material artefacts.

Visuality is a theme underlying several contributions, and it is one that transcends the text-image dichotomy. Pat Easterling's "Space in the Tragic Scholia" takes up the matter of 'stage action' referencing, expectedly, the writings of Oliver Taplin, Rush Rehm, and W. G. Arnott among others. Her quandary, however, is what, if anything, the ancient scholia on tragedy can "tell us…about the conceptualization of space shared by dramatists, performances, and audiences" (1). She brings to the forefront the important issue of how classical Greek scripts, in particular those of Sophocles, were understood by later readers and how the experience of revivals in other venues might have played a part in interpretation and staging. She entreats readers to consider scholia not simply as source material, but, rather, as confirmation for "the responses of readers at different periods" (3). Posing questions, such as "How was Ajax's suicide managed?" (cf. Ajax, 815–65), inevitably brings to mind the fixed performance space of the theater as well as artistic renderings (both fixed and portable) of the subject by both vase-painters and sculptors, and encourages us to questions whether it is better to segregate or to elide seeing and reading. J. R. Green faces a similar set of concerns using a rather different set of evidence in his "Pictures of Pictures of Comedy. Campanian Santia, Athenian Amphitryon, and Plautine Amphitruo." The aims of his paper, three in total, engage with current scholarship concerned with South Italian vases and the performance of Greek drama: the reliability of ancient evidence for the "style of comic performance" (45), the reception of Greek comedy, especially on decorated pottery, amongst native South Italians, and the extent to which images of comedy were known before Menander. His fascinating investigation of the much-discussed Santia jug, a Campanian red-figure oinochoe in the British Museum, demonstrates the necessity of employing the traditional methods of descriptive formal analysis, iconography, connoisseurship, and epigraphy, alongside more current contextual and comparative readings of both imported and locally made pottery in the regions of South Italy. Green's expertise in various ceramic fabrics, masks, and terracottas results in a sort of Kopienkritik centred on the vases' costumed slave figure labelled 'SANTIA' (Oscan for Xanthias).

The relationship between images and texts is expressed in yet another way, indeed a less familiar one, in the lengthy essay by Michael Squire, "Patterns of Significance: Publilius Optatianus Porfyrius and the Figuration of Meaning." Writing from the perspective of his undergraduate days at Cambridge where Handley was his tutor, Squire opens with a rather personal homage that encapsulates the generous sort of scholar and mentor he remembers so fondly. He defines perfectly Handley's signature approach: "Whether recognizing a gesture on an Apulian pot with reference to a little known passage of Menander, or reconstructing some Oxyrhynchus fragment with an eye to a Cypriot mosaic, Eric is a master at reconciling different sorts of visual and verbal evidence: while analysing images and texts alongside each other, he shows an exemplary sensitivity to the respective mechanics of each medium" (87). Squire introduces a not terribly well-known fourth-century CE poet, here called 'Optatian' for short, with careful attention to the "'iconotextual' qualities" of his poems. This lengthy chapter is a must-read for any scholar attracted to the dynamic interplay of word and image, or as the Squire describes it: "Optatian's carefully crafted pictorial-poetic artefacts" (90). Summarizing the poets' life, works, and reception (the footnotes are substantial), he guides us through the three surviving poems described by the poet himself as imagines metrorum, literally 'images of verses': an altar, a set of panpipes, and a 'water organ'. We here also learn about Optatian's letter grid compositions — an early form of word search puzzle — where the poetry is woven into the square configuration (a uersus intexti) and the words can be read horizontally, vertically, diagonally, left to right, top to bottom, and in reverse. Further embedded therein are diagrams formed by the words once circled or visually identified. Squire's writing necessitates careful reading as it is densely packed with information that may be unfamiliar to many readers, excellent comparanda and references, and a lengthy analysis of these poems.

All in all, this modest volume represents an ideal merging of old and new approaches to several standard classical topics, and mixes scholars at nearly every possible career stage. One minor quibble: there is no cross-referencing between the individual papers, although there is some predictable overlap of topics and people, both ancient and modern.

Table of Contents

Space in the tragic scholia / Pat Easterling
Menander on the poetics of comedy / Christopher Carey
A few letters more / Peter Parsons
The text and staging of the recognition scene in Menander's Perikeiromene / William Furley
Pictures of pictures of comedy : Campanian Santia, Athenian Amphitryon, and Plautine Amphitruo / J.R. Green
Hyperides in the Archimedes palimpsest / Mike Edwards
Patterns of significance : Publilius Optatianus Porfyrius and the figurations of meaning / Michael Squire
Tribute to Eric Handley : papyrology and Menander / Alain Blanchard


1.   E.g. R. Green and E. W. Handley, Images of the Greek Theatre (1995) was published in English in two countries, was revised and reprinted (2001), and has been translated into both Greek (1996) and German (1999); cf. 'Books and Monographs' in the book under review, p. 125. Handley was long involved in the Ancient Theatre Project at the Institute of Classical Studies.
2.   A. Griffiths (ed.), Stage Directions: Essays in Ancient Drama in honour of E. W. Handley. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies: Supplement 66 (London: 1995). BMCR 96.9.25.

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Paolo Fedeli, Irma Ciccarelli, Rosalba Dimundo, Properzio. Elegie, libro IV. 2 vols. Studia Classica et Mediaevalia, 7. Nordhausen: Verlag T. Bautz, 2015. Pp. 798; 735. ISBN 9783883099378. €160.00.

Reviewed by Antonio Ramírez de Verger, Universidad de Huelva (rdverger@uhu.es)

Version at BMCR home site

With this work P. Fedeli (now with the collaboration of R. Dimundo and I. Ciccarelli) sees the conclusion of the complete commentary on Propertius that he began in 1965 (book 4), continued in 1980 (book 1), 1985 (book 3) and 2005 (book 2), and now rounds off with a second book 4. Fedeli is responsible for six elegies (1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11), Dimundo for three (3, 5, 7) and Ciccarelli for another two (2, 10).

The book contains an extensive bibliography (pp. 7-64); a lengthy introduction by Fedeli himself (pp. 65-134); a note on the text (pp. 135-140), comparing it with Heyworth's OCT edition of 2007 (pp. 135-140); a commentary on each elegy, preceded by the Latin text without apparatus (pp. 141-1410); and the extremely useful indexes (1. Parole notevoli, pp. 1413-1436; 2. Nomi e cose notevoli, pp. 1437-1461; 3. Lingue, stile, poetica, pp. 1462-1471; 4. Topoi, pp. 1472-1473; 5. Passi citati, pp. 1474-1528). It might not have been a bad idea to add an Index auctorum recentiorum to include the names of modern and contemporary experts in the text of Propertius, such as Beroaldus, Scaliger, Passerat, Broukhusius, Graevius, Heinsius, Burmannus Secundus-Santenius, Kuinoel, Lachmann, Hertzberg, Baehrens, Palmer, Postgate, Housman, Rothstein, Enk, Shackleton Bailey, Tränkle, Luck, Fedeli, Goold, Butrica, Giardina, Liberman, Cairns, Hutchinson, Günther, Heyworth, among others.

The two volumes are in a more generous font than we are accustomed to seeing from other publishers. Over so many pages I have found very few errata: unnecessary blank spaces on pp. 33-34, 132-133; lack of indentation on p. 42, or unnecessary indentation on p. 61; linguaggio, not limguaggio on p. 375; tenebo., not tebebo. on p. 1002; Epist. Sapph. 358 (?) on p. 1204.

The bibliography that opens the work is comprehensive, though lacking a number of titles later cited in the course of the commentary, such as Dousa senior (1592), Marcilius (1604), Gebhardus (1628), Graevius (1680), Koppiers (1771), Peerlkamp (1865), Liberman (1992), Watson (1995). In addition, it continues to surprise me that modern commentators are very precise in their bibliographical references from the 19th century on but will settle for a simple mention of the names of scholars of previous centuries. Here are two examples. It is stated on p. 474 that "tra le numerose proposte di correzione l'unica interessante è quella di Ayrmann pastor me ad baculum possum curvare". The reference should have been Ayrmann (1726, 8) and the initial bibliography ought to have included his opusculum Sylva emendationum criticarum, Giessae, 1726. For 10.5, on p. 1210, the reading primus for primae is attributed to van Jever with no exact reference. One has to look for van Jever's work in Smyth (1970, 186); his Specimen selectarum observationum in M. Annaei Lucani Pharsaliam may be found on-line. The Leiden editions of this work (1767, 25 and 1772, 25) contain his notes on Lucan 3.194, featuring his proposal imbuis exemplo primus nos for Propertius, 4.10.5, with the support of Catull. 63.11 (illa rudem cursu prima imbuit Amphitriten). Examples could continue to be listed ad nauseam for this and other commentaries on Greek and Latin authors. It would be of great help to readers if references were always cited in the same way. It is much better, for instance, to write Oakley 1998, 422-423 rather than Oakley on Liv. 8,6,5 (p. 911), or to indicate the page for Willymot's proposal for 4.36 deae. In fact, the conjectures for 6.36 (deae on p. 852) and 11.93 (lenire on p. 1.397) do not appear in the Electa Minora from 1705, but in the Electa majora ex Ovidio, Tibullo, et Propertio: cum consolatione ad Liviam. Usui scholæ Etonensis, Londini, MDCCLII. There is another edition of these Electa Etonensia from 1701, but it only contains the first of these conjectures. Or perhaps this is simply a mania of mine for saving the reader time and effort.

In Fedeli's introduction, book 4, with its new approach to elegiac poetry, is dated to the year 16 BC as terminus 'post quem'. The different theories regarding the structure of the book are presented, with Fedeli opting to compare book 4 of Propertius to the fourth book of Horace's Odes. Seen in this light, the book is distributed around a long programmatic elegy (1), an ideological central one (6) and a moralizing closing elegy (11). The four elegies preceding 6 and the other four preceding 11 alternate between aetiological (2, 4 // 9, 10) and non-aetiological or erotic poems (3, 5 // 7, 8). On pages 73-118 Fedeli gives an account of the elegies contained in this book by means of an overall literary study of each of them. On the following pages he positions himself firmly, as he has done previously (2009, 135-151), against the theory of Propertius as an opponent of the Augustan régime and in favour of a poet who, while less of a court poet than Horace, did support the traditional values defended by Augustus.

The "Nota al testo" (pp. 135-140) lists the 143 divergences from the text of Heyworth's edition (Oxford, 2007) but there is no mention of the numerous differences between the text of the commentary and 3rd edition of Fedeli's Teubner (2006). The Latin text should ideally have been accompanied by a brief critical apparatus.

The original 311 pages of Fedeli's 1965 commentary on book 4 now stretch to more than 1500 in these two thick volumes. One has the impression that 11 monographs have been brought together in a single commentary, as the length ranges from the 254 pp. devoted to elegy 1 to the 66 on elegy 10. But an unhurried reading of the general introduction to each elegy, the individual introductions to blocks of verses (see, for example, the excellent texts on elegy 3 on pp. 505-514 and elegy 11 on pp. 1268-1282) and the line-by-line commentary give the impression that the aim has been to deal at length with all matters pertaining to each expression in Propertius's text. For instance: sources (7 Homer, Virgil and comedy as sources for 7 on pp. 707-708), lexis (1.61 hirsuta … corona as an expression of the ars rudis of Ennius, on p. 274; 2.17 insitor as a rare and archaic term on pp. 438-439; 3.2 meus = meus vir as 'firma inconcussaque amantium possessio' on p, 518; 4.58 repende as a business term on p. 675, cf. Her. 15.32; 5.18 hippomanes as a potent aphrodisiac on p. 743; 6.9 ite procul as a liturgical formula on p. 824; 11.67 specimen as a moral exemplum on p. 1366), morphology (5.3 cineri as an archaic ablative on pp. 724-725), syntax (7.21 foederis heu pacti as an exclamatory genitive on p. 936), metre (1.17 fuīt with lengthening in arsis on p. 191; 2.2 ego et / ego and 'correptio iambica' on p. 414), style and rhetoric (passim), textual criticism (passim), prosopography (9.1 Amphitryonides on pp. 1119-1120), topoi (4.19-20 teichoscopia in an amatory context on pp. 629-631), astrology (1.150 octipedis Cancri terga sinistra time on the enigma of its meaning on pp. 390-395). After the text of each elegy there is a specific bibliography that should be complemented by the commentary of Hutchinson (2006) and Heyworth's Cynthia (2007).

It only remains for me to mention a few marginalia:

2.5 Haec me turba iuvat on pp. 418-20] In a religious context we should not rule out the possibility that turba might refer to the devout followers of Vertumnus stopping in the presence of the deity on the street (nec templo laetor eburno) outside a temple. The term is used in this sense with reference to followers of a god (4.2.56 turba togata or devout free Romans; Ov. am. 2.13.18 with McKeown 1998, 288; Ramírez de Verger 2006, 76) or to a literary grouping (4.1.136; Hor. serm. 1.10.67 poetarum seniorum turba; Ov. am. 1.16 non tua turba sumus; trist. 2.119 turbaque doctorum, 5.3.47 vos quoque, consortes studii, pia turba, poetae; Pont. 4.16.41 te tamen in turba non ausim, Cota, silere).

3.11 haecne marita fides et †parce avia† noctes on pp. 531-533] The most likely proposal, offered by L. Mueller (1870, xl and 98) and defended by Shackleton Bailey (1956, 230-231), is haecne marita fides et pactae gaudia noctis.

3.41 pallida nutrix on pp. 556-558] There is no mention of the proposal by Heinsius (1742, 744) of callida for pallida, defended by met. 6.576 (1659, 148) in the following terms:

'Simile mendum ex Propertio quoque tollendum libro iv Eleg. iii
Assidet una soror curis et callida nutrix
Peierat hyberni temporis esse moras.
vafra, inquit, nutrix pejerat moram reditus tui hybernae tempestati esse imputandam. Codices scripti editique perperam illic pallida nutrix'. There would therefore be no need to punctuate after soror.

4.45 Pallados on pp. 659-660] Tarrant (2004, 164 and 491) correctly introduced the Greek genitive Pallados at met. 6.335 and 12.360, although the manuscripts and editions kept Palladis. I am also inclined, as a general rule, to maintain the Greek transcription and declension in Greek proper names. Similarly, it is preferable to read Isidos in 5.34, as defended by Hertzberg (1843, 450 and 1845, 450).

4.52 hanc quoque on pp. 667-668] I am not sure that it is necessary to change the haec of the codices for the hanc proposed by Baehrens in order to avoid "l'anticipazione di quoque": cf. my note on met. 6.27 (addit et infirmos quoque sustinet artus) in Philologus 155, 2011, 383-386.

6.28 ante on p. 845] The correction of unda into ante is not due to Lipsius, who wrote in his Iusti Lipsi Opera omnia quae ad Criticam proprie spectant, Antverpiae, 1600, p. 133 'Fulvii et Mureti libri, unda Notos. Forte scribend. Non tulit i. m. unda Notos. Ut dicat Apollinem ventos iratos in Antonium duxisse'. Burman (1780, 813) attributes the proposal to Francius (though I do not know where) and also cites Broukhusius, who I think should be considered the originator of the reading ante (1792, 372): 'in τᾠ unda latet vera lectio, quae est ante'. Recently Dominicy (Latomus 74, 2015, 658-660) proposed non tulit ... inde.

7.69 vitae sancimus amores on p. 980] There is no reference to the attractive emendation proposed by Markland (ap. Burm. 1780, 846) and accepted by Hutchinson (2006, 46 and 184), vitae sanamus amara.

8.88 solvimus arma on p. 1101] There is no discussion of the reasonable proposal by Heinsius (1742, 756 movimus arma, defended by Tränkle (Hermes 96, 1968, 580-582); cf. Passerat 1608, 671-672.

11.64 vestra ... manu on p. 1365] I still maintain (cf. BMCR 2009.07.23) that there is no need to change the phrase vestro ... sinu, on the basis of the correct explanation by Passerat (1608, 705-706): 'compositi et clausi mihi oculi a vobis, cum in sinu et amplexu vextro exspiravi'; 'in complexu carorum emori solent et libenter homines'. Propertius is referring not only to the closing of the mother's eyes for the last time, but also to the fact that the mother dies in the arms of her children; cf. Ov. met. 14.743 accipit illa sinu complexaque frigida nati / membra sui, with Hardie 2015, 463; Virg. ecl. 5.22 cum complexa sui corpus miserabile nati. The term sinus is equivalent to pectus, as in 1.17.11-12 an poteris siccis mea fata reponere ocellis / ossaque nulla tuo nostra tenere sinu?

After the succulent appetizer that was the commentary by Hutchinson (2006) I invite the reader to enjoy this delicious main course prepared in the kitchens of the master chefs Fedeli, Ciccarelli and Dimundo. Fedeli deserves special congratulations on the completion of an excellent, complete commentary on the works of the sensitive and multidimensional poet of Assisi.1


1.   This review has been translated from the Spanish by J. J. Zoltowski. Thanks are due to Professors L. Rivero and J. A. Estévez for their criticism and bibliographical assistance, as well as to the Spanish MICINN (FFI2013-42529) and the Junta de Andalucía (P09-HUM-4534 and FEDER-FSE) for their financial support.

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William Furley, Menander, Perikeiromene or The Shorn Head. Edited with Introduction and Commentary. BICS supplement, 127. London: Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 2015. Pp. x, 209. ISBN 9781905670598. £46.00.

Reviewed by Nathalie Lhostis, Université Grenoble Alpes (nathalie.lhostis@ens-lyon.fr)

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Après sa très brillante édition traduite et commentée des Epitreprontes parue en 2009, William Furley publie, dans la même collection en 2015, celle, tout aussi remarquable de la Perikeiromene. L'ouvrage suit le même canevas et les mêmes principes que celui des Epitrepontes. Il est divisé en quatre chapitres et ensuite complété par une très riche bibliographie ainsi que des annexes qui facilitent encore la circulation dans l'ouvrage. Contrairement aux Epitrepontes, il n'y a pas de chapitre intitulé « Composite readings » ; l'auteur justifie son choix en précisant que le nombre de manuscrits ne rend pas ici ce chapitre nécessaire, l'apparat critique suffisant pour rendre compte des variantes, selon l'usage traditionnel. Malgré l'absence de ce chapitre qui participait très heureusement à la dimension didactique du premier ouvrage, force est de constater que William Furley manifeste dans la Perikeiromene le même souci pédagogique qui s'associe très heureusement à la haute tenue scientifique de l'ouvrage.

L'introduction est magistrale ; sans chercher une impossible exhaustivité, elle pose les principaux problèmes interprétatifs concernant la Perikeiromene et y répond avec clarté, justesse et pertinence, en mettant en perspective un grand nombre de travaux. Dans une rubrique intitulée « Menander and Women », William Furley dépasse les considérations biographiques sur le rapport entre Ménandre et les femmes pour caractériser les personnages féminins du dramaturge : victimes des circonstances et de leur statut, les femmes apparaissent in fine le plus souvent comme de véritables héroïnes, qui grâce à leur bravoure, leur loyauté et leur désintéressement affrontent avec succès les hommes de leur entourage.1 William Furley souligne avec justesse la dimension politique et sociale de cette transformation du code héroïque. Puis il traite la question, centrale dans l'appréhension de l'intrigue, du statut de Glycère. Tout en donnant les éléments sociaux et juridiques nécessaires à la compréhension de la situation, William Furley pose très justement la question de la place du droit dans la comédie : de fait, ce dernier, évoqué souvent de manière assez imprécise dans l'intrigue, est peut-être moins utilisé comme thème ou comme objet de réflexion que comme moyen dramaturgique ; ce qui intéresse véritablement Ménandre c'est la construction psychologique et éthique des personnages que permet le statut de Glycère. Le point suivant de l'introduction aborde une autre question très débattue, à savoir le sens de l'acte de Polémon qui donne son titre à la pièce. Là encore, William Furley expose très utilement différentes lectures qui en ont été données et propose de voir dans ce geste moins une transgression des codes sociaux ou légaux qu'une transgression du code amoureux, qui blesse la dignité et l'estime de soi de l'être aimé. S'ensuit un exposé synthétique des questions scéniques : l'identification des trois portes, des masques portés par les personnages, le partage des répliques entre les trois acteurs. La comédie nouvelle, rappelle utilement l'auteur, suppose que l'essentiel de l'intrigue se passe hors-scène, à l'intérieur, et qu'elle soit rapportée à l'extérieur par les personnages de sorte que le dramaturge doit employer une multitude de techniques dramatiques pour combler cette dichotomie spatiale. Les entrées et sorties des personnages sont ainsi prépondérantes dans la conduite de l'action. Il faut dès lors noter qu'elles sont en général rendues vraisemblables par Ménandre qui s'efforce de maintenir un certain effet de réel. William Furley fait également un point rapide, mais utile, sur les questions de métrique et annonce qu'il a choisi de traduire les vers ménandréens, pour l'essentiel du trimètre ïambique, par des vers libres afin de rendre au mieux le rythme et le flux du texte original. L'auteur s'intéresse ensuite à l'identité du personnage de Pataicos en proposant de manière argumentée et convaincante la thèse qu'il est le mari de Myrrhine et non pas un ami de Polémon. William Furley étudie enfin la tonalité de la comédie, caractérisée par un rire tout en subtilité. Le comique est fondé sur le ridicule (mesuré) des personnages, sur l'intertexte tragique qui conduit le spectateur à éprouver une sympathie amusée pour eux, et enfin sur l'intertexte épique utilisé pour renforcer la dimension farcesque des personnages de Polémon et de Moschion. L'utilisation des genres épique et tragique procède ainsi de la mise à distance et non de la parodie. Cet intertexte, opposant deux moyens d'action, la guerre et la persuasion, permet ici à William Furley d'évoquer avec prudence une éventuelle dimension politique de l'œuvre de Ménandre. La dernière rubrique met en évidence, comme pour le rire, toute l'attention qu'il faut prêter au texte ménandréen pour en apprécier la valeur et le sens, tant la langue du dramaturge est subtile et encline à la litote. La dernière rubrique reprend les éléments concernant la datation de la pièce : celle-ci repose seulement sur des indices internes, qui sont sujets à des interprétations contradictoires, ce qui rend la datation incertaine. William Furley propose néanmoins de faire de la Perikeiromene une pièce écrite au tournant du IVe siècle. L'introduction s'achève en proposant la liste des manuscrits transmettant la pièce, celle des supports iconographiques et enfin celle des éditions antérieures qui ont servi à l'établissement du texte proposé par William Furley.

Le chapitre 2 restitue le texte grec de la pièce. La liste des personnages est donnée, agrémentée de vignettes représentant des masques qui leur correspondent. Ces vignettes permettent, au sein du texte, d'attribuer les répliques et de signifier les entrées et les sorties des personnages. Ce système offre ainsi agréablement un repérage d'ordre visuel dans le texte. Quant au texte lui-même, William Furley en propose une nouvelle édition qui tire parti de l'ensemble des dernières découvertes et se nourrit, de façon critique, des travaux antérieurs, notamment les éditions d'Alain Blanchard, de Mario Lamagna et de Geoffrey Arnott.2 L'établissement du texte est argumenté de façon tout à fait précise, documentée et convaincante, dans le chapitre 4 consacré au commentaire. William Furley y propose, en effet, une argumentation méticuleuse et très pédagogique fondant ses choix textuels : examen des photographies des manuscrits, des usages de la langue grecque ou de la langue de Ménandre, discussion des choix proposés par les éditeurs antérieurs. Son argumentation est très précieuse et elle offre aux lecteurs une sorte de méthodologie pour l'édition des textes anciens, en particulier lorsqu'ils sont aussi fragmentaires. Soulignons quelques différences avec les éditions antérieures. William Furley introduit le fragment 96KA qu'il place au tout début de la pièce. Il s'agirait de quelques vers d'une réplique de Polémon à Glycère portant un serment du soldat à la jeune femme. L'auteur s'appuie sur la mosaïque d'Antioche (reproduite p. 86) ainsi que sur la lettre fictive d'Alciphron entre Ménandre et Glycère : il fait l'hypothèse qu'Alciphron se serait inspiré d'une pièce du dramaturge (voir l'introduction). Il introduit également le fragment donné par le P. Oxy. 2658, malheureusement en très mauvais état, qu'il place juste avant le P. Oxy. 211, au début de l'acte 5. En sus de ces introductions de fragments nouveaux, William Furley propose des variations ponctuelles : notons par exemple celle des vers 179–180 : le choix de ἤ vs ἦ donne un sens beaucoup plus satisfaisant à la fin de la réplique de Sosias qui a bien conscience que le soldat cherche des excuses pour le faire aller voir ce qui se passe chez lui et notamment ce que fait Glycère.

Le chapitre 3 consiste en une traduction nouvelle du texte grec dont nous ne pouvons que souligner l'excellence. Elle rend justice au texte par sa modernité et sa vivacité. A peine peut-on discuter certains points de traduction. Ainsi au vers 383, il traduit πράγματος ἀσελγοῦς par « it's a bad business » (contra Alain Blanchard « quelle impiété » et Mario Lamagna « che sfacciataggine »3), expression qui peut sembler un peu en dessous de l'expression grecque alors même qu'il souligne en commentaire la rareté du mot dans la comédie.

Le chapitre 4 offre un commentaire remarquable par sa pertinence, sa documentation et sa richesse. L'ensemble des aspects de la comédie sont mis en évidence à travers un commentaire linéaire, scène par scène, qui suit une introduction synthétique de chaque scène. Le commentaire a pour but d'expliquer les choix d'établissement du texte, mais aussi d'apporter des éclairages scéniques, dramatiques, sémantiques, littéraires etc. Toutes ces dimensions sont étudiées de façon fine par l'auteur, il utilise également un grand nombre de travaux antérieurs cités, parfois résumés, parfois enfin mis en perspective les uns avec les autres et critiqués. William Furley offre donc ici, très utilement, un état des lieux précis et critique de la recherche actuelle portant sur cette pièce (ou plus largement sur l'œuvre du dramaturge). Le commentaire a pour but d'éclairer chaque passage du texte, presque chaque mot : certains vers nécessitent en effet une explication (par exemple p. 143 pour les questions rhétoriques de Polémon, p. 172–173 sur le pardon de Glycère). Par ailleurs, l'auteur, comme attendu, clarifie certains usages sémantiques (par exemple συνεστηκώς, p. 146) et certaines connotations. Les suggestions portant sur la mise en scène du texte (les mouvements et gestes des personnages, leurs entrées et sorties) participent à la compréhension du texte dramatique. Tout aussi précieuses sont les indications évoquant le ton (notamment ironique, sarcastique) de certaines répliques (ainsi, p. 159 où est donné un exemple de la subtilité tonale ménandréenne qui peut susciter empathie et amusement en même temps). Enfin, le texte est éclairé par d'abondantes références à d'autres pièces de Ménandre comme à d'autres œuvres de la littérature grecque, ce qui met clairement en évidence l'important réseau intertextuel sur lequel est construite la comédie ménandréenne, comme l'est en général la littérature hellénistique. Soulignons pour finir que la lecture suivie de ce commentaire linéaire permet de cerner certains 'faits ménandréens' au-delà des études de détail : l'attention portée à la construction psychologique et éthique des personnages, l'emploi récurrent de l'ironie dramatique, la valorisation par Ménandre de certaines valeurs, par exemple le primat de la persuasion sur la violence, ou encore la coloration politique, subtile, de l'œuvre.

Pour finir, l'ouvrage propose trois index (mots grecs, mots anglais, et passages cités) ainsi qu'une très riche bibliographie.

Le livre est en lui-même un bel objet tout à fait agréable à lire. Notons quelques erreurs typographiques (ainsi, dans le sommaire, la bibliographie commence à la page 183 et non 191 ; p. 149, c'est au vers 718 et non 728 que se trouve le participe συμπεπεισμένος ; à la page 162, la citation en français est porteuse d'une faute d'accent (« évoquer ») et d'une faute d'orthographe « ces » au lieu du possessif « ses » ; dans la bibliographie, p. 191, deux points d'interrogation sont vraisemblablement une survivance du travail de relecture. Ces menues erreurs n'entravent pas bien entendu la lecture de l'ouvrage.

Tout comme l'édition des Epitrepontes, celle de la Perikeiromene ne peut que susciter une vive admiration et est destinée à rester un ouvrage de référence, tant pour les spécialistes de Ménandre et de la comédie grecque en raison de la haute scientificité de l'ouvrage, que pour les lecteurs moins avertis, en raison de la clarté et de la pédagogie qui le caractérisent.


1.   William Furley adopte ici, pour sa présentation de la pièce, une perspective quelque peu différente de celle choisie par Alain Blanchard dans son édition à la CUF. Ce dernier met davantage en avant le pathétique masculin autour duquel serait construite la pièce. William Furley insiste quant à lui sur le personnage féminin de la pièce. Il s'appuie ce faisant également sur les autres pièces de Ménandre.
2.   Blanchard, Alain (ed.), Ménandre. Tome II. Paris, 2013 ; Lamagna, Mario (ed.), La fanciulla tosata. Testo critico, introduzione, tradizione e commentario, Naples, 1994 ; Arnott, W. Geoffrey (ed.), Menander. Edited with an English Translation in three volumes. Vol. II. , Cambridge, Mass., 1996.
3.   P. 178 et p. 149.

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