Friday, July 21, 2017


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

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

Version at BMCR home site

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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