Friday, January 18, 2019

2019.01.34

Andreas Willi, Origins of the Greek Verb. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018. Pp. xxxi, 713. ISBN 9781107195554. £120.00.

Reviewed by Éric Dieu, Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès (eric.dieu@normalesup.org)

Version at BMCR home site

Preview

Le présent ouvrage cherche à combler une importante lacune dans les travaux sur la morphologie historique du grec ancien et de l'indo-européen. Il étudie le système verbal grec en visant à en reconstruire les origines, sans chercher en aucune façon l'exhaustivité sur ce qui, dans ce système, est spécifiquement grec. Bien au contraire, il s'agit au moins autant d'un ouvrage sur le système verbal indo-européen que sur le système verbal grec, qui intègre tous les apports récents de la linguistique comparée à notre connaissance de la préhistoire du verbe grec, et qui se sert de la grande richesse du système verbal grec comme principal point de départ pour reconstruire le système indo-européen. C'est aussi, avant tout, un livre sur l'aspect verbal indo-européen et ses implications sur l'organisation du système verbal grec. L'ensemble est magistralement mené, que l'on soit ou non en accord avec les conclusions souvent quelque peu hardies et pour le moins hétérodoxes de l'auteur : s'il s'agit à bien des égards d'un ouvrage très personnel, il peut aussi être tenu, en quelque manière, pour un ouvrage de référence, tant les données relatives à chaque problème étudié sont présentées de manière circonstanciée, avec un examen approfondi des théories des différents savants qui ont travaillé sur les mêmes questions avant Andreas Willi. Ne serait-ce que pour les discussions de ces théories, indépendamment des siennes propres dont, quelque ingénieuses qu'elles puissent être, il n'est guère probable qu'elles parviennent à faire chaque fois l'unanimité parmi les spécialistes de linguistique indo-européenne, c'est un livre qui mérite indéniablement d'être consulté de manière systématique.

Cet ouvrage est composé de dix chapitres. Les deux premiers proposent, en une cinquantaine de pages, une présentation synthétique du système verbal grec (désinences, marqueurs modaux, thèmes temporels, etc.) et de la différence entre le système grec et le système indo-européen, avec un exposé circonstancié de différentes doctrines (modèle aspectuel dit de « Hoffmann-Strunk », à partir de racines indo-européennes téliques ou atéliques ; modèle de Cowgill sur le « proto-indo-hittite » ; travaux de Jasanoff réalisés à partir des données anatoliennes sur le « proto-moyen » et la conjugaison hittite en -ḫi ; modèle de Kuryłowicz).

Les six chapitres suivants, dont nous fournirons ci-dessous un rapide aperçu des conclusions propres à Andreas Willi, portent respectivement sur l'aoriste à redoublement, le présent à redoublement, le parfait, l'aoriste thématique, l'augment et l'aoriste sigmatique.

Le chapitre sur l'aoriste à redoublement s'efforce de défendre l'idée que ce type d'aoriste ne serait nullement tardif en indo-européen : ni sa nature thématique en indo-européen (récent), ni la relative rareté d'équations significatives entre différentes langues, ni sa disparition en tant que catégorie distincte en dehors du grec et de l'indo-iranien ne sauraient être utilisées à bon droit comme des indices de son caractère tardif. Pour Willi, l'aoriste à redoublement constituerait même une formation perfective plus archaïque encore que l'aoriste radical (le redoublement serait un marqueur de perfectivité).

Le chapitre suivant, consacré au présent à redoublement, vise à montrer que ce type de thème verbal ne remet nullement en question l'idée selon laquelle le redoublement serait le moyen le plus ancien de marquer l'aspect perfectif. Ces présents seraient des imperfectifs secondaires de thèmes perfectifs à redoublement, bâtis sur le modèle des présents thématiques sans redoublement (eux-mêmes imperfectifs, et d'origine nominale). Le présent thématique à redoublement relèverait donc d'un type plus ancien que le présent athématique à redoublement, ce qui serait suggéré en particulier par les données anatoliennes ; en grec et en indo-iranien, des alignements analogiques se seraient produits, qui auraient fait passer certains vieux présents thématiques à redoublement sous une forme athématique, à une époque où ils faisaient couple avec des aoristes radicaux athématiques. Le timbre /i/ de la voyelle du redoublement pourrait s'être étendu à la même époque au détriment de /e/, à partir des racines de type *Cei̯(C)- (où la voyelle du redoublement, par assimilation régressive, a le timbre /i/ en indo-iranien, de même que dans certains parfaits latins du type de scicidī, ou dans certains prétérits celtiques). Le type grec μίμνω serait alors secondaire par rapport à un plus ancien *mé-mn-e/o-.

La fonction fondamentale du parfait indo-européen serait reflétée principalement par les perfecto-présents (de valeur stative), ainsi que par les parfaits marquant une situation persistante, ce qui inclut les parfaits intensifs du grec homérique, qui se rencontrent communément dans des verbes de sonorité (type de βέβρῡχεν en P 264, μεμυκώς en Σ 580, etc.). La valeur nactostatique du parfait (valeur d'état atteint, suivant la terminologie de Kümmel) serait secondaire, de même que sa valeur résultative. Il faudrait admettre, à la suite de Cowgill, que la source ultime du paradigme de parfait serait un ancien nom d'agent déverbatif « quasi-participial ». De ce nom d'agent fonctionnant comme un nom verbal seraient tirés un type perfectif à redoublement *Ce-CόC-e (3 sg.) dont serait issu le parfait indo-européen, et un type imperfectif sans redoublement CόC-e (3 sg.) dont proviendrait le présent anatolien en -ḫi ; les noms d'agent du type *CoC-όs (grec τομός, φορός, etc.) et les itératifs-causatifs du type *CoC-éi̯e/o- (grec φορέω, etc.) seraient alors apparentés au parfait indo-européen.

Le chapitre sur l'aoriste thématique remet en question l'idée selon laquelle l'aoriste thématique indo-européen à degré zéro radical remonterait à un aoriste radical thématisé secondairement (théorie largement répandue qui remonte à la thèse de Cardona en 1960, lequel ne faisait remonter à l'indo-européen que deux aoristes thématiques, à savoir les prototypes des aoristes grecs εἶδον et ἤλυθον / ἦλθον). L'aoriste thématique à degré zéro serait, en réalité, secondaire par rapport à l'aoriste à redoublement, et comporterait un redoublement simplifié et standardisé *h1e- : il s'agirait originellement du redoublement des racines à laryngale initiale, qui, loin de se limiter aux racines commençant par la laryngale *h1, aurait fonctionné comme un « redoublement par défaut » dans toutes les racines à laryngale initiale à partir d'une époque où les laryngales n'étaient plus fortement articulées ; ce redoublement standardisé aurait ensuite été étendu à tous les types de racines, et il serait à l'origine de l'augment (hypothèse fort hasardeuse à nos yeux, dont il ne fait guère de doute qu'elle ne sera pas unanimement acceptée par la communauté scientifique). On trouvera enfin dans ce chapitre des réflexions sur la place de l'aoriste thématique au sein du système verbal indo-européen et sur ses rapports avec les aoristes à redoublement et les aoristes radicaux, ainsi que sur la genèse des présents du type tudáti.

Le septième chapitre porte sur l'augment. Il s'efforce de démontrer, par un examen des données philologiques, principalement homériques (mais aussi mycéniennes, et, en dehors du grec, phrygiennes, arméniennes, et surtout indo- iraniennes), et en discutant bon nombre de travaux récents sur cette question (ceux de Bakker notamment), une hypothèse avancée dans le chapitre précédent : l'augment, issu selon Willi, comme on l'a signalé ci-dessus, d'un ancien redoublement standardisé *h1e-, serait originellement un marqueur aspectuel de perfectivité. On se souvient, à cet égard, de la valeur foncièrement perfective accordée par Willi au redoublement. Selon lui, l'augment ne serait pas un marqueur de passé, ni un connecteur narratif ; il ne s'agirait pas non plus d'une ancienne particule. Seule une approche aspectuelle permettrait de rendre compte des données homériques. Quant aux formes sans augment qui dominent assez largement en mycénien par rapport aux formes à augment, cela serait dû à la volonté d'y éviter des implications résultatives liées à la présence de l'augment. La fin du chapitre s'efforce tout d'abord de mettre en évidence des similitudes entre l'arménien d'une part, l'avestique d'autre part, et certains faits homériques : pour se limiter ici à l'exemple de l'arménien, étudié à travers un petit nombre de formes irrégulières au sein d'un système très largement normalisé, Willi observe, à la lumière d'une étude assez récente de Lamberterie sur l'augment dans le texte arménien de l'Évangile, une tendance à l'absence d'augment dans les passés itératifs en *-sk̑e/o- du grec homérique et de l'arménien. Mais elle vise également à remettre en question la fonction mémorative attribuée par Hoffmann à l'injonctif védique. Willi arrive à la conclusion que les faits védiques seraient finalement assez proches des données homériques : l'augment se rencontrerait dans des formes de valeur résultative ou renvoyant à un passé récent en lien avec le présent, l'absence d'augment serait attendue lorsqu'il s'agit d'exprimer un passé narratif.

L'aoriste sigmatique, enfin, est décrit comme caractérisé par un haut degré de transitivité, ce qui serait confirmé non seulement par l'existence de nombreux aoristes sigmatiques de sens factitif (ἔφῡσα « j'ai fait croître, j'ai produit » vs ἔφῡν « j'ai grandi, je suis devenu, je suis naturellement », etc.), mais aussi par le comportement morphosyntaxique propre au futur sigmatique, analysé par Willi comme la continuation d'un ancien subjonctif aoriste sigmatique, où la voix souvent moyenne neutraliserait les propriétés transitives du suffixe. L'auteur s'efforce de retrouver cette fonction transitive du suffixe dans d'autres langues, principalement en indo-iranien, en hittite et en tokharien, à défaut de disposer de données suffisamment nettes en italique, en celtique, en baltique ou encore en slave. Les présents en * -sk̑e/o- sont alors analysés comme remontant à *-s-k̑e/o-, avec un élément vélaire servant originellement à rendre imperfectifs des thèmes marqués comme perfectifs par l'élément sigmatique. Quant au degré long des aoristes sigmatiques à la voix active, il se laisserait expliquer non pas, comme on l'admet fréquemment, par un degré long morphologique, mais comme une longue phonologique à partir d'un proto-aoriste *CeC-s (3 sg.) : il faudrait admettre, à la suite d'une analyse de Szemerényi, une évolution, dans des racines terminées par une sonante, de *CeR-s vers *CēR-s (3 sg.), et, à la 2e personne du singulier, de *CeR-s-s vers *CēR-s, puis une extension analogique du vocalisme long aux autres personnes, ainsi qu'aux racines qui ne se terminaient pas par une sonante.

Les deux derniers chapitres remontent d'abord du « proto-indo-européen » au « pré-proto-indo-européen », puis redescendent du « pré-proto-indo-européen » jusqu'au grec. Dans le premier, un long développement est consacré à réhabiliter l'hypothèse ergative : le « pré-proto-indo-européen » aurait connu une ergativité scindée (split-ergativity), avec une distinction entre passé et présent corrélée à une opposition entre structures ergatives d'une part, et structures antipassives d'autre part. L'existence de ces structures antipassives, réinterprétées comme transitives, expliquerait l'évolution d'un système ergatif vers le système accusatif de l'indo-européen récent. Les désinences verbales seraient d'origine pronominales, ce qui permettrait de rendre compte de la distinction entre les désinences des verbes en *-m(i) et celles des verbes en *-h2e : les premières seraient ergatives, les secondes absolutives. Dans le dernier chapitre, un retour sur l'origine des désinences verbales puis des différents thèmes verbaux est entrepris à la lumière des résultats obtenus dans le chapitre précédent. On notera, entre autres conclusions, une tentative d'identification de la désinence de troisième personne du pluriel *-nt(i) au suffixe de participe *-nt-, en lien avec la théorie ergative.

Le but de ce livre n'est pas d'enseigner, comme l'indique explicitement l'auteur dans sa préface après avoir mis en exergue une belle citation d'Anton Tchékhov : Умный любит учиться, a дурак — учить « L'homme intelligent aime apprendre, et le sot, enseigner ». On ne saurait mieux lui faire honneur qu'en concluant que cette somme imposante n'est pas destinée à clore définitivement les débats sur la reconstruction du système verbal indo-européen (ce que ses aspects trop souvent spéculatifs ne sauraient laisser espérer), mais au contraire, par la synthèse raisonnée des travaux antérieurs qui y est réalisée, et qui, à elle seule, vaut le détour, ainsi que par les nombreuses propositions de solutions nouvelles qui y sont avancées à titre expérimental, à constituer un point de départ incontournable à toute tentative future de reconstruction du système verbal indo-européen.

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2019.01.33

L. Fratantuono, Caligula: An Unexpected General. Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2018. Pp. xiv, 288. ISBN 9781526711205. £25.00.

Reviewed by David Woods, University College Cork (d.woods@ucc.ie)

Version at BMCR home site

Preview

Fratantuono is a specialist in Roman literature, probably best known for his commentaries on the Aeneid, who has recently been turning his hand to Roman military history. The present book represents his third volume of military history to be published by Pen & Sword in three years, where his first was on the battle of Actium in 31BC and his second was on the career of the late Republican general Lucius Licinius Lucullus (d. 56 BC).1 Yet it is a rather odd book. The most obvious problem is the almost total disconnect between what the title and the comments on the back-jacket lead one to expect and the actual contents of the volume. The title, with its emphasis on Caligula as general, and jacket-comments such as "this is a unique assessment and reappraisal of Caligula's military career and abilities," lead one to expect a clear focus on military affairs. Given the brevity of Caligula's reign and the short amount of time that he actually spent campaigning on the frontiers, one naturally expects extensive discussion of military developments on various frontiers up to his reign, an exhaustive analysis of the scanty sources for his military achievements, and a short summary, perhaps, of the effects of his policies on subsequent reigns. Yet what one actually encounters is a systematic paraphrase or summary of all of the various literary sources for the reign of Caligula, everything that they say about every aspect of his reign, regardless of whether it has the slightest military significance at all, followed by a short biography of Caligula, all concluding in a brief analysis of his foreign policy in general, not just of his military policy. Consequently, most students of Roman military history who purchase this book will feel duped, and rightly so. This is a pity, however, because any student or general reader wanting to learn about the literary sources for the reign of Caligula as a whole would find this book quite useful.

The main body of the book consists of twelve chapters. The first chapter engages in what is little more than a paraphrase, with the occasional explanatory comment, of the first section of Suetonius' life of Caligula dealing with Caligula the princeps, while the second chapter repeats the process for the second section of his life of Caligula, dealing with Caligula the monstrum. The third chapter repeats the process for what Dio Cassius has to say about Caligula, the fourth chapter for what Tacitus has to say about him, and the fifth chapter for what Josephus has to say about him. Chapter six basically summarises Philo's De Legatione ad Gaium, while chapter seven does the same for his In Flaccum. Chapter eight identifies and summarizes all the various anecdotes told by Seneca the Younger about Caligula, while chapter nine repeats the process for Pliny the Elder. Chapter ten is a bit of a jumble, beginning with a short discussion of the lost early imperial sources for the reign of Caligula, proceeding through brief descriptions of the epigraphic and numismatic evidence for his reign, and concluding with descriptions of what various fourth- or fifth-century sources have to say about him, chiefly Eusebius of Caesarea and Orosius. Chapter eleven presents a short biography of Caligula, while chapter twelve analyses his foreign policy as a whole. Finally, one notes that although Fratantuono says a few introductory words about each of the authors whose work he essentially paraphrases, these tend to be biographical in nature rather than historiographical.

No single event or deed of the reign of Caligula is ever subjected to a rigorous analysis where the evidence of the various often contradictory primary sources is systematically contrasted and compared in order to reach a reasoned conclusion. The same is true of the secondary sources. Their often highly conflicting arguments and conclusions are never properly compared and contrasted in order to expose why it is that (mostly) intelligent scholars can reach such different conclusions about the same topics. Hence anyone expecting a detailed exposition of the various arguments concerning, for example, the nature of Caligula's activities on the Rhine frontier in early 40, or the nature of his subsequent activities at the English Channel, will be sorely disappointed. Yet there is a wealth of secondary material on these two topics in particular and such discussion would surely have been of strong interest to the readers of the sort of books published by Pen & Sword.

The final bibliography is, as the author himself admits (p. 251), "highly selective, even idiosyncratic," and rather misleading also, since it does not include the numerous journal articles that the author cites in the footnotes. However, there are some obvious omissions from the footnotes even, and it sometimes seems that the author is not entirely au fait with more recent journal publications, whether on the Julio-Claudian period more generally or on the reign of Caligula in particular. For example, he follows the Oxford Latin Dictionary in assuring the reader that a spintria was "a type of male prostitute" (p. 194), despite the fact that Champlin has decisively proven otherwise.2 Similarly, he reveals no knowledge (p. 149) of the recent debate concerning the significance of the quadrans depicting the pileus, culminating in an article by Elkins (with which I thoroughly disagree, but that is not the point).3

There are some minor inconsistences concerning such issues as the age at which Caligula delivered the funeral oration for his great-grandmother Livia, variously described as 17 (p. 5) and 16 (p. 68), and one cannot reconcile the initial claim that he spent over a year across the Alps (p. 166) with the actual dates of his movements as next recorded (pp. 167-68), but the only real howler lies in the claim that the Historia Augusta was composed during the "late third or early fourth century" (p. 153), about a century earlier than any modern expert would allow.4

Finally, one notes that there are eight glossy pages of colour photographs (four double-sided pages) bound into the centre of the volume, and they ought to have provided a wonderful opportunity to draw some of the relevant art and architecture to the attention of the readers: a photograph of the military boot, the caliga, from which Caligula took his name (p. 4) would have been both interesting and relevant, as would have a photograph of the sestertius depicting Caligula addressing soldiers from a platform (p. 149). Yet one is actually presented with what appear to be a series of random landscape photographs more suited to a brochure advertising a Mediterranean holiday than an academic book, whether on Caligula as general or any other classical subject. For example, I cannot understand the need for even one photograph of the sun setting over the sea off eastern Cyprus (beautiful as it is), but to include a second photograph of a similar sunset is totally mystifying.

In conclusion, despite its title, this book does little more than survey and summarize the main literary sources for the reign of Caligula. Anyone desiring a detailed discussion of the military history of his reign must look elsewhere. Anyone hoping for a standard biography of Caligula must look elsewhere also. But anyone desiring a very basic introduction to the literary sources for the reign of Caligula needs to look no further.



Notes:


1.   The Battle of Actium, 31 B.C.: War for the World. Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2016; Lucullus: The Life and Times of a Roman Conqueror. Barnsley: Pen & Sword, 2017.
2.   E. Champlin, "Sex on Capri," TAPhA 141 (2011), 315-332.
3.   N.T. Elkins, "Taxes, Liberty, and the Quadrantes of Caligula," Numismatic Chronicle 174 (2014), 111-117.
4.   See, e.g., A. Cameron, The Last Pagans of Rome (New York: OUP, 2011), 743-782, dating it to 375/80, where even this is substantially earlier than many other scholars would allow.

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2019.01.32

Elina Pyy, The Semiotics of Caesar Augustus. Bloomsbury Advances in Semiotics. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. Pp. 224. ISBN 9781474277228. $128.00.

Reviewed by Aimee Turner, Macquarie University (aimee.turner@students.mq.edu.au)

Version at BMCR home site

Preview

Semiotics has been consistently and variably applied in classical studies since Rubin's 1983 article highlighted its interpretative potential.1 Merely a decade later, reception studies, evolving out of the classical tradition, advocated a reader/receiver-based theory of ancient literature and art.2 Pyy's book, part of Bloomsbury's series on semiotics, offers an approach that combines the two approaches to create an intriguing exploration of the ways in which Augustus Caesar has appeared in literature and film in the latter half of the twentieth century. It will be of interest to advanced students and scholars of both classical reception and twentieth century literature.

Pyy sets out to highlight the multitude of interpretations that Augustus Caesar and Rome have attracted and to explain the ongoing popularity of the ambiguous first emperor in modern thought. The work successfully interweaves post-modernism with semiotics and reception theory to create a compelling narrative of the role of Augustus in the twentieth- century context. Of particular interest is the Introduction (pp. 1-26), which provides a detailed overview of the ongoing debate surrounding theory in classical studies. Pyy concludes that semiotics and classical reception are intertwined. Her aim is to "bridge the tradition of classical reception studies with theoretical considerations of semiotics" (p.11). The introduction, therefore, provides an excellent starting point for those new to these approaches, as well as reminding the experienced reader of the recurring themes. The first three chapters focus on the dual interpretation of Augustus that Pyy identifies in Kurt Vonnegut's 1965 God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine. As is well established in the scholarly tradition, the reign of Augustus has been represented ambiguously, leading to a positive interpretation of Augustus, as the reluctant ruler who endures personal sacrifice in order to bring peace to his people, and a contrasting negative image, as the ruthlessly ambitious politician craving power and establishing a tyrannical government.3 Pyy is not only aware of this ambiguity, but makes use of it in her analysis of Vonnegut's novel. She distinguishes the political uses of Augustus by two of Vonnegut's characters—Senator Lister Rosewater and his son, Eliot Rosewater. Pyy associates Senator Lister Rosewater with the vision of Augustus as ruthlessly ambitious and explores how the character's references to Augustus reflect this approach. Pyy more positively associates Eliot Rosewater with the reluctant-ruler image of Augustus, who inspires the moral actions of this character. These themed chapters (the appropriation of the image of the emperor in Chapter 1 (pp. 27-52), the concept of empire in Chapter 2 (pp. 53-77), and the discourse on tyranny in Chapter 3 (pp. 79-108)) follow a set structure, beginning with an overview of the classical representation of Augustus that highlights the ambiguity of the emperor in association with the set theme. This is followed by discourse on the ways in which Vonnegut interprets and portrays facets of the ambiguous classical tradition. The detailed analysis of Vonnegut's interpretation of Augustus is accompanied by a comprehensive consideration of the political and social context of post-World War II America to which it belongs. In this way, Pyy is able to establish the pliable nature of the representation of Augustus, which can be adapted for opposing ideological points. He becomes "a model for and an archetype of a modern politician" (p.77), connected with both the reluctant, benevolent ruler and the despotic, ambitious tyrant. The depth of Pyy's analysis of Vonnegut's novel is impressive and provides interesting insights into the role of Augustus in debates surrounding political power and leadership in the post-war period.

It is only halfway through Chapter 3 (p. 93) that Pyy brings in another work for comparison with Vonnegut's novel. She provides a detailed analysis of Christoph Ransmayr's 1988 Der letzte Welt, or The Last World. Pyy continues her discussion of Augustus as a character on the periphery who, nonetheless, "is omnipresent" (p.94). Ransmayr's Augustus is contrasted with the representation of the emperor by Vonnegut. She argues that the Rome of Augustus in The Last World represents "continuity, eternity, stability and certainty" (p.103), and the representation of Augustus engages with the established monarch rather than the rising youth. While Pyy links elements of the novel with concerns of fascism and democracy important in late twentieth century Europe, it would have been useful to include an equally detailed examination of the political and social context of Ransmayr's work as was provided for Vonnegut, to further reinforce her analysis. Given the nature of her semiotic approach, this feels like an oversight, as this context would shape the development of the signs and symbols employed by the author. Despite this gap, Pyy's exploration of the text is engaging as she analyses Augustus as an absent but compelling character.

In Chapter 4 (pp.109-142), Pyy explores representations of Augustus in historical fiction. The four texts included in her analysis of the genre are Elisabeth Dored's 1959 Jeg elsket Tiberius, John Williams' 1971 Augustus: A Novel, Alan Massie's 1986 novel of the same name, and François Fontaine's 1989 Le sang des Césars. Her professed dislike of this genre4 appears to have limited Pyy's exploration of the field, and the social and political contexts of the works do not receive much, if any, attention. Despite these limitations, Pyy appears to warm to the possibilities for analysis offered by historical fiction and argues that these works are more heavily influenced by the classical depiction of the emperor than those explored in the previous chapters. She returns to the theme of contrasting representations, as Augustus is associated with both democracy and despotism in the genre, and is, therefore, used to explore the "controversial and conflicted emotions towards the concept of empire" (p.142). Pyy's analysis reveals an Augustus who embodies the traditional Western hero of the twentieth century, which she defines as the youth who begins with nothing and relies on his own skills and intelligence to succeed.

The final chapter (pp.143-168) explores representations of "Augustus on Screen" in both films and television of the later twentieth and early twenty-first century. Pyy begins with a comparison of the portrayal of Augustus in Joseph Mankiewicz's 1963 Cleopatra, BBC's 1976 I, Claudius, and British Granada Television's 1968 The Caesars. Her focus shifts in the second half of the chapter to television at the beginning of the twenty-first century, exploring Hallmark Entertainment's 1999 Cleopatra, Lux Vide/RAI's 2003 Imperium: Augustus, ABC's 2005 Empire, and HBO's 2005 Rome. Again, there is limited discussion of the selection process or the political and cultural background of these portrayals, which is perhaps inevitable given that they take up only one third of the space dedicated to Vonnegut. Pyy begins by highlighting the impact that screen portrayals of history have on "shaping the modern imagination" and "modern audience's ideas of the past" (p. 143). She divides her analysis into two sections, starting with the representation of Augustus in the 1960s and 1970s before continuing with the more recent works. Pyy focuses on the characterisation of the emperor rather than the production values and identifies a different adaptation in each cinematic work. Her analysis reveals contrasting portrayals. The Octavian of Cleopatra possesses the arrogance of youth and inexperience, bringing "the inevitable demise of the Republican spirit" (p.149), while The Caesars and I, Claudius portray the older, established emperor. Pyy argues that this distinction between the young and old Augustus, arising naturally from the genre, reduces the ambiguity of his character. She rightly notes the deficiencies of Hallmark Entertainment's Cleopatra and ABC's Empire, arguing that both lack depth, before moving onto the more successful Imperium: Augustus. Here, Pyy analyses the way in which different narrative levels within the series restore the ambiguity of Augustus' character. Finally, she argues that HBO's Rome, widely successful and therefore influential on the twenty-first-century perception of the emperor, functions "as an archetype and as an historical analog for the twenty-first-century Western villain-hero" (p.168). In this way, she links the Augustus of Rome with the "ruthless conniving, unspeakable nerve and a complete lack of conscience" (p.168) present in the political dramas House of Cards and The West Wing.

Pyy provides a brief concluding chapter (pp. 169-179), beginning with the anecdotal appearance of Augustus as a marketing tool for a Scottish Brewery. For the author, this is symbolic of the continuous reinterpretation that the emperor undergoes. This leads into a summary of the role of the emperor in the modern context, highlighting the ambiguity and fluidity of his representation. Pyy explains the ways in which Augustus as a sign has become synonymous with imperialism, revolution, power struggles and leadership in the modern imagination.

Throughout her book, Pyy has linked the varied interpretations of Augustus that inform his portrayal to the ambiguous nature of his representation in the ancient sources. Despite some limitations in the later chapters, the analysis is detailed and convincing. The volume establishes the role of the emperor in the postmodern discourse of power, politics, and leadership, highlighting his continuing significance in the modern imagination. It is an insightful work for scholars and advanced students alike, providing inspiration for a deeper analysis of the representation of Augustus Caesar, wherever he might be found.



Notes:


1.   N. F. Rubin, "Introduction: Why Classics and Semiotics?", Arethusa 16 (1983): pp. 5-14.
2.   As Lernout notes in his review of Brill's Companion to the Reception of Classics in International Modernism and the Avant-Garde. Brill's companions to classical reception, 9, classical reception is a topic that needs little introduction (BMCR 2017.09.17). For the development of reception studies, see L. Hardwick, "Reception Studies," Greece & Rome: New Surveys in the Classics 33 (2003), pp. 1-5; C. Martindale, "Thinking Through Reception," Classics and the Uses of Reception, edited by C. Martindale and R. F. Tomas, (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2006), pp.1-13.
3.   E. Gabba, "The historians and Augustus" in Caesar Augustus: Seven Aspects edited by F. Millar and E. Segal, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), pp. 61-88; B. Levick, Augustus: Image and Substance (Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Limited, 2010), pp. 5-10.
4.   Pyy states she has "always found [herself] to be somewhat suspicious and prejudiced about historical fiction as a genre," p. 112.

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2019.01.31

Giulio Vannini (ed.), Storia di Apollonio Re di Tiro. Scrittori greci e latini. Milano: Fondazione Lorenzo Valla – Mondadori, 2018. Pp. cv, 341. ISBN 9788804702801. €35,00.

Reviewed by Malena Pilar Trejo, IdIHCS-CONICET/ UNLP (malena.trejo.mt@gmail.com)

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The story of Apollonius, the King of Tyre, narrates how Apollonius loses his wealth and his family, how he recovers them after several years, and how his wife and daughter preserve their dignity in the meantime. The story was extremely popular during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, but its origin remains unknown. The lack of information about its author, place of redaction, and even of the language in which the novel was first written has led to the rise of two opposite theses since Welser's editio princeps (1595). The prevailing thesis during the nineteenth century, and strongly put forward by Kortekaas,1 maintains that the novel was initially redacted in Greek during the third century, and that it was later epitomized and translated during the fifth century. This thesis was challenged by Klebs,2 and later by Schmeling,3 who claim that it was a Latin novel from the very start. Recently, Panayotakis4 not only has argued that this text is a Latin novel, but also has stated that it is not necessary to assume from its style that it is an epitome, and therefore he challenges the thesis of an early first redaction. These different theses ultimately condition how the editors reconstruct the text from the one hundred and fourteen Latin manuscripts in which it has survived.5 Since Klebs, they are classified in three groups: the recension A (RA), the oldest; the recension B (RB), closer to A than the others; and the Mischtexte, a heterogeneous group of redactions that derive from the two previous ones to varying extents. Among the redactions included in this group, the editors frequently single out two redactions in order to clarify readings both in RA and RB: Rα, which derives mainly from RA; and RC, which takes elements from RA and RB in equal proportion.

The present edition of the Hist. Apoll. is the result of a new collation of manuscripts. The Latin text is supplemented by an Italian translation on facing pages, a positive critical apparatus and an apparatus of sources, the richest among the previous editions (for instance, Vannini points out the myth of Enomanus as the possible underlying model of the Antiochus episode, as it was previously stated by Rohde6, but now he identifies Hyg. Fab. 84 as its precise source). A comprehensive preliminary study precedes the edition, in which Vannini presents innovative ideas regarding the question of the work's origin. There follows an updated bibliography of editions, commentaries and studies, and a map in which Vannini illustrates the travels of Apollonius and his family, including the travels left aside by Alvares7 and eliminating the ones included by Kortekaas8 without textual support. A thorough commentary is placed after the edition, as well as an appendix with the text of the recognition scene in Mytilene as it is amplified in RB. The volume ends with two indices, the first of proper names and the second of themes and keywords. Vannini employs the division into chapters used by the previous editors since Riese,9 and the internal numbering of Panayotakis, with the goal of developing a quoting system detached from any specific edition.

Vannini's edition is innovative in many ways. To start with, Vannini abandons the tradition of editing RA and RB separately. The explanation requires a short preamble regarding the previous editions. Since Riese, these two recensions are considered the oldest and closest to a common, previous redaction, of which there is no piece of evidence. Despite giving the same version of the story, both redactions have linguistic and stylistic features that differentiate one another in such a way that the previous editors have considered it impossible to constitute a single text from them. At the same time, regarding the problem of the origin, it is stated that both recensions relate separately to a previous, common redaction, which would have been closer to the original. While Riese10 considered RB a prima variandi forma of RA, Tsitsikli11 claimed that RB is the oldest redaction and that RA corrects RB from a direct reading of the "original." Therefore, he printed the two redactions in facing pages, a model that would be followed by the subsequent editors, and that would be called into question only by Vannini. Kortekaas and Schmeling, however, argue that RA is correcting RB from a previous common redaction: a Greek one according to the former, and a Latin one, according to the latter. At the same time, Schmeling edits RC along with RA and RB, since he considers that the unclear readings in RA and RB should be corrected from RC.

Vannini agrees with Riese and Kortekaas on the assumption that RB has a substantial dependency on RA. Nevertheless, he maintains that Kortekaas' thesis, according to which RB would have made use of a previous lost redaction to correct RA, is uneconomic (p. lv); therefore, he abandons that thesis, despite having accepted it cautiously before.12 At the same time, he agrees with Klebs on the idea that RB is earlier than the witnesses of RA, but differs on the claim that both redactions would have been independent derivations from a common antecedent (the epitome of the novel according to Klebs).

For these reasons, Vannini put forward a new stemma, according to which RB represents a systematic reworking of the redaction A, made by exploiting a lost witness, less corrupted than the surviving witnesses of RA, named APVac. Such a manuscript, named "X" in the stemma, would have been a witness of the oldest and best preserved version of the Hist. Apoll., the archetype of RA. As a consequence, Vannini considers that RA is the archetype of the Hist. Apoll. itself, and that RB offers better readings of this archetype than the witnesses of RA, which is why he utilizes the readings of the witnesses of RB to correct the corrupted readings of APVac (p. lv).

This stemma emerges from a second radical thesis regarding the traditional assumptions about the history of the Hist. Apoll.. As Vannini claims after Kortekaas13 and Konstan,14 the Hist. Apoll. can be considered a text vivant, a text that has an open tradition (p. xlvii), meaning that such a text accepts some kind of indeterminacy and variation along its textual tradition. Therefore, the redaction A represents one stage in a dynamic tradition in which the textual material is continuously adapted as a response to different contexts of reception. In this sense, the redaction A is the oldest stage recorded of the textual tradition of the story of King Apollonius. Its style and the particular mixture of previous narrative materials are typical of the Late Antique world, and suggest that this redaction is to be dated in the second quarter of the fifth century. The redaction B thus would be a prima variandi forma of the archetype, the redaction A. Vannini still places RA before RB in time, but claims that the witnesses of RB present better readings of RA than its own witnesses, APVac, and discards those readings considered additions of the RB redactor, although he does not exclude the possibility that such additions could have been part of the source of RA –Vannini cautiously avoids calling this source "archetype" or "epitome" because of the open-text tradition he applies as conceptual framework. As a consequence, Vannini carries out a new collation of manuscripts towards the reconstruction of RA, the Hist. Apoll. archetype, making use of APVac and improving its readings by contrasting them with the recensions α and B mainly, and only occasionally with RC.

The theses discussed above have important consequences for the dispute about the origin of the story. The idea of "open tradition" enables Vannini to overcome the dispute since, according to him, the convergence in the novel of narrative patterns stemming from different genres (such as the Greek novel of adventure, the family novels and the sapiential literature), the well-known holes in the plot, the consequent inorganic structure, and the late Latin lexical and syntactical features suggest that Hist. Apoll., just as it is, is the oldest version of the story of King Apollonius, and that the textual and narrative aspects related to the possible contexts of reception need careful study. As Vannini points out, it is inferred that the materials involved are older than the redaction A, but it is not possible to make any assumptions about their origin from the late Latin text (p. xxv). Collages of this kind, in fact, were typical during Late Antiquity, and this compositional technique was employed not only in literary compositions (p. xxvi). This idea, as a consequence, endows RA with the individuality that the quest for the first lost redaction has traditionally disregarded. In connection with this point, Vannini gives special attention to Symphosius' Aenigmata included in the riddle contest, in chapters 42 and 43. Since Symphosius' riddles are thought to be compiled at the end of the fourth century or at the beginning of the fifth, their presence in the novel has been considered to provide the terminus post quem for the antecedent of RA and RB. For that reason, Vannini includes a brief critical study of the riddles embedded in the novel, along with a commentary about the alleged influence of Hist. Apoll. on Symphosius' textual tradition.

These criteria have consequences for the critical apparatus, which, as Vannini claims, is necessarily positive (p. lxxvii). The critical apparatus is intended to show which witnesses contribute to the constitution of the text. Conversely, a negative apparatus is employed only when the readings in APVac are not acceptable. Since the recensions α and B are considered to be closely attached to RA, their readings are reported only when they confirm the readings in APVac. When they are not reported, it must be understood that their readings are considered unacceptable to corroborate or correct the text of APVac.

In conclusion, Vannini's thesis concerning the origin of the novel and the importance of RA in its textual tradition simplifies several problems of Hist. Apoll., but when applied to an edition, the open tradition becomes invisible. The stylistic features and additions of RB are subsumed to those of RA, and thus its individuality as the alleged second sequence on this open tradition is left in the shadows. It can be said that Vannini's edition represents a breaking point in the critical tradition of the novel, but at the same time, it should be taken into account that the study of its open tradition still demands the examination of both recensions separately, whether RA is constituted from its witnesses and from RB or not.



Notes:


1.   G. A. A. Kortekaas, Historia Apollonii Regis Tyri (Groningen, 1984); The story of Apollonius King of Tyre. A study of its Greek origin and an edition of the two oldest Latin recensions (Leiden and Boston, 2004).
2.   E. Klebs, Die Erzählung von Apollonius aus Tyrus. Eine geschichtliche Untersuchung über ihre lateinische Urform und ihre späteren Bearbeitungen (Berlin, 1899).
3.   G. Schmeling, Historia Apollonii Regis Tyri (Leipzig, 1988).
4.   S. Panayotakis, The story of Apollonius, King of Tyre. A Commentary (Berlin, 2012) 8.
5.   Vid. Kortekaas, op. cit. (1984), p. 413–418 for a description of the manuscripts identified so far.
6.   E. Rohde, Der griechische Roman und seine Vorläufer (Leipzig, 1876), p. 448, n.1.
7.   J. Alvares, 'Maps', in G. Schmeling (ed.) The novel in the ancient world (Leiden, 1996), 801–814, 809.
8.   Kortekaas, op. cit. (2004) 2.
9.   A. Riese, Historia Apollonii regis Tyri (Leipzig, 1893).
10.   Ibid, viii.
11.   D. Tsitsikli, Historia Apollonii Regis Tyri (Königstein, 1981) i.
12.   Cf. G. Vannini, 'Note al testo della Historia Apollonii Regis Tyri', Maia 66, 2 (2014) 352–373, 354.
13.   Kortekaas, op. cit. (1984) 141.
14.   D. Konstan, 'The Alexander Romance: The Cunning of the Open Text', Lexis 16 (1998) 123–138, 23.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2019.01.30

Roshdi Rashed, Athanase Papadopoulos, Menelaus' 'Spherics': Early Translation and al-Māhānī/al-Harawī's Version. Scientia Graeco-Arabica 21. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2017. Pp. xiv, 873. ISBN 9783110568233. $199.95. ISBN 9783110571424. ebook.

Reviewed by Nathan Sidoli, Waseda University, International School for Liberal Studies (sidoli@waseda.jp)

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Menelaus' Spherics was written in the 2nd century CE, addressing and extending earlier work in spherical geometry, but it was probably never seriously studied in its entirety in the ancient period and only fragments of the Greek text survive, preserved in later authors.1 The treatise can be divided into three topics. The first treats the geometrical properties of spherical triangles by developing analogies between these and the properties of plane triangles developed in Euclid's Elements. The second shows how certain arcs of spherical triangles can be treated using the lengths of chords related to these and based on a theorem known as the Sector Theorem (Menelaus Theorem). The third topic develops these methods for application to problems in spherical astronomy—a field that investigated issues such as the length of daylight and night-time, and the rising times of stars or arcs of the ecliptic.

The book under review is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the history of Menelaus' Spherics in the medieval period, as well as the mathematics developed in the treatise. The first part deals with the various medieval versions of, and witnesses to, Menelaus' treatise; the second part provides mathematical commentaries, including commentaries and studies by medieval scholars; the third part gives critical editions of a fragment (breaking off in Proposition 36) of an early Arabic translation (A, pp. 408-483) and of the al-Māhānī/al-Harawī version (M/H, pp. 500-777), along with English translations. There is also a postface on spherical geometry and its history. The mathematical commentaries are useful for understanding the text and the critical editions, and the many editions and translations of medieval sources are an extremely valuable contribution to our knowledge of this text.

The M/H version of the Spherics, edited and translated along with A, in "Part III: Text and translation," is historically quite interesting, but al-Harawī's many interventions, along with his failure to grasp some of the mathematical details, introduce nearly as many problems as they resolve.2 Al-Harawī has added two historical and philosophical prefaces to the text (pp. 500-505, 684-685); inserted a number of lemmas (pp. 686-695), one of which is mathematically incorrect (pp. 692-695); rewritten some propositions, sometimes incorrectly; and introduced some terminological innovations, which cause more confusion then help and are not used by any other medieval scholar (pp. 688-691). Hence, this version of the treatise cannot be taken as a reader's text, and Naṣr Manṣūr ibn 'Irāq's version, N, edited by Krause, and the revision by Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī, available in the Hyderabad series, must still be consulted in order to understand the mathematics involved.3

Another welcome contribution of Rashed and Papadopoulos's book is "Part II: Mathematical commentary," which explains the mathematical details of the text and gives commentary to each proposition, including the relevant scholarship of both Ibn 'Irāq and al-Ṭūsī. Hence, this section of the book provides a fairly clear picture of the mathematical issues involved.

In "Part I," Rashed and Papadopoulos give an introduction to Menelaus and his work, and then discuss the text history of the Spherics in the medieval period. Here, they follow the scholarship of Krause and Hogendijk,4 although they provide some new evidence to support the findings of these scholars—namely, that the source translation for M/H and N differ, and that the source used by Ibn Hūd has the same characteristics as that used for the Latin translation by Gerhard of Cremona. They also propose that the new fragment they found and edited, A, is not the source translation for M/H, which is not convincing; and that the source translation for N is that attributed in some scholia to Abū 'Uthmān al-Dimashqī, which is possible but not proven.5

One disappointing aspect of this book is Rashed and Papadopoulos's lack of any attempt to situate their work in the context of previous scholarship. This means that the only readers who will be able to appreciate what is new and what was already known are those who have previously read all of the literature on the subject. Three examples will make this case: (a.) Rashed and Papadopoulos argue at length that the first part of the Latin version is based on al-Māhānī's version, while the second part is based on the same source as Ibn 'Irāq's edition (pp. 26-71). The way that they express themselves makes it sound like they have discovered this—but this was also argued for at length by Krause. Rashed and Papadopoulos do give further evidence beyond that presented by Krause, for which we are grateful, but their work serves to confirm Krause's findings. (b.) In the section on Ibn Hūd, Rashed and Papadopoulos claim that the question of his source has "not been correctly addressed until now" (p. 74), and then proceed to address the question using the same methodology as Hogendijk and come to the same conclusion—namely that the first part is from al-Māhānī's version and the second part from the same source translation as N (pp. 73-121). Again, Rashed and Papadopoulos's actual contribution is to give further evidence, including edited texts, which help to confirm Hogendijk's previously established position. (c.) Finally, Rashed and Papadopoulos caution against believing that there was ever a full Syriac copy of the Spherics, while noting the Syriac influence on A (p. 486), a position already argued for by Sidoli and Kusuba.6

We should be grateful to Rashed and Papadopoulos for their work in producing two new editions of the Spherics (A and M/H), in providing the original sources for much of the medieval scholarship on this important work, and in commenting on the overall mathematical development of the treatise. As noted above, however, we cannot simply read M/H as Menelaus' Spherics, because it is a highly edited version of the treatise. In our current state of knowledge, it remains that we must read M/H along with N and al-Ṭūsī's texts in order to assess Menelaus' work, and we still await critical editions of the Latin and Hebrew versions before we can hope to fully understand the medieval transmission of the text.



Notes:


1.   The Greek fragments are collected and studied by A.A. Bjørnbo, Studien über Menelaos' Sphärik (Leipzig, 1902): 22-25 and F. Acerbi, "Traces of Menelaus' Sphaerica in Greek Scholia to the Almagest," SCIAMVS 16 (2015): 91-124.
2.   For an overview of the al-Harawī version of the text, see N. Sidoli and T. Kusuba, "Al-Harawī's Version of Menelaus' Spherics," Suhayl 13 (2014): 149-212.
3.   M. Krause, Die Sphärik von Menelaos aus Alexandrien in der Verbesserung von Abū Naṣr Manṣūr b. 'Alī b. 'Irāq (Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1936); Naṣr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī, Kitāb Mānālāwus, Taḥrīr (Hyderabad: Osmania Oriental Publications Bureau 1359AH/1940CE).
4.   For Krause, see note 3; J. Hogendijk, "Which Version of Menelaus' Spherics was Used by Al-Mu'taman ibn Hūd in his Istikmāl?" in: M. Folkerts (ed.), Mathematische Probleme im Mittelalter (Wiesbaden, 1996): 17–44.
5.   I will discuss the details of these transmission issues in a longer review to appear in Aestimatio.
6.   See note 2, pp. 191-192.

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2019.01.29

Gernot Michael Müller, Fosca Mariani Zini (ed.), Philosophie in Rom - Römische Philosophie? kultur-, literatur- und philosophiegeschichtliche Perspektiven. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, 358. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2018. Pp. vii, 531. ISBN 9783110488722. €129,95.

Reviewed by Wolfgang Polleichtner, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (wolfgang.polleichtner@philologie.uni-tuebingen.de)

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

Müller and Mariani Zini present us with a very useful collection of what can in general be called case studies on various topics and current trends in research in the field of Roman philosophy. As the title of their book indicates, the question of whether we can talk about a specifically Roman way of writing and dealing with philosophy also plays an important role for their Sammelband. In accordance with the general agreement between researchers that philosophy was received in Rome under specific historical and cultural conditions and actively developed further under exactly those auspices, Müller and Mariani Zini publish (with the one exception of Jörn Müller's contribution) the papers of a conference that was held at Beilngries in 2013. Roman philosophy never developed its own independent schools. The editors claim that what was typically Roman about philosophy in Rome was the reassessment of philosophy in general against the background of Rome's, and these Roman authors', sociological and cultural interests, including, but not limited to, the liking for questions relevant to practical daily life (14-15). This highly recommendable collection of essays has by and large restricted itself to late republican and early imperial times.

The introduction in itself includes a very thorough overview of current secondary literature. Even without the other chapters that follow, this review of the pertinent literature recommends the volume to anyone who desires greater familiarity with the field.

For the majority of the articles, the editors succeed in making their volume exceptionally coherent. Jolivet stresses the Roman interest in justifying why Greek philosophy and education was received and accepted in Rome, something they did when they talked about the embassies from Pergamon and Athens which were crucial for the introduction of philosophy to Rome. Sauer elaborates on this topic and characterizes the Roman interest in philosophy as the search for affirming and not so much for challenging Roman moral standards within the framework of Roman society. Sauer convincingly argues that some systematic weaknesses of argumentation in Roman philosophical works have their origins in that same motivation. Fuhrer's contribution also deals with these attempts of Roman philosophical authors to mold their identity as philosophers within and under the conditions of Roman society. According to G. Müller, Horace, too, fashions his identity as a poet and teacher of philosophy within the framework of the realities of his life. Tsuni's article argues in the same vein that Antiochus of Ascalon's teachings were attractive for members of the Roman upper class like L. Licinius Lucullus because they resembled to a certain extent the Roman way of talking about their mos maiorum through series of exempla. The importance of an elaborate ekphrasis of examples in Philodemus leads Delattre to his conclusion that Philodemus, too, recognized this Roman need and adapted his didactical methods of teaching Epicureanism to the Romans accordingly. This rhetorical device of accumulating examples and arguing about the same points in various ways can also be found in Lucretius' efforts to establish philosophy as a discipline of healing, as Erler shows. Powell and Steel argue that practical considerations for using philosophical thinking are also at the heart of Cicero's evaluation of the usefulness of philosophy in his own circumstances. Mariani Zini and Wiener take this therapeutic interest in philosophy in Rome even further. Mariani Zini recognizes it in Cicero's approaches to consolation in the Tusculan Disputations and Wiener in Seneca's attempt to overcome the image of the heartless Stoic. Wildberger demonstrates that Seneca also adapts the Greek understanding of ἔρως and φιλία between a wise man and a philosophical novice in a way that makes it more palatable to the Roman sense of decency. Likewise, J. Müller's very interesting piece on ἀκρασία in Seneca's Phaedra interprets this tragedy as philosophical case study of the possible consequences of psychological weakness of will. This interpretation of the Phaedra shows how Seneca reworked a literary motif to provide a didactic example for his philosophy. Gauly argues that the same trait of explaining current moral views in Rome through philosophy can be detected in Pliny the Elder's zoology. Nature not only shows general moral perspectives in life, but also even foreshadows Roman history, like Marc Antony's defeat. Even when Schirren shows that Quintilian looked at philosophy from the viewpoint of its usefulness for rhetoric and speeches, we see a Roman approach to philosophy.

While these previous chapters are parts of a wonderfully coherent discussion on Roman discourses about philosophy and its use, Lévy's study of the development of Cicero's use of temeritas and Reinhardt's article on the understanding of κατάληψις in Cicero and Augustine fit less well with the other contributions in this book. Convincing as the content of both articles is, it does not become clear in how far the results of these studies on specific problems of translations of individual words or phrases and the history of the meaning of certain words chime in with the overarching theme of the volume. The same is true about the concluding essay. Auvray-Assayas' article, as the editors themselves suggest, is supposed to show that Cicero became part of the philosophical heritage that he wanted to establish in Rome (32).

Two useful indices (nominum and locorum) conclude this massive and well produced volume. One minor flaw is that the table of contents lacks coherent editing. There is inconsistency in the use of upper and lower case in English titles; Latin words or titles of ancient works are not italicized; and so forth.

In sum, the editors present us with a very useful and widely coherent volume that keeps its promise. It sheds more light on the cultural, sociological, and literary conditions in Rome under which philosophy was adapted and appropriated not only by Romans, but also by Greek thinkers like Philodemus. The explorations into what is considered belletristic literature are especially appreciated, and indeed more could be done here. Just as Philodemus wrote On the Good King According to Homer, Crates of Mallus had already introduced the Romans to the exegesis of Homer. Philosophical thought informed literary works like Horace's poems or Seneca's Phaedra to a far greater extent than some would be prepared to admit. And as in the case of the Phaedra, these "interdisciplinary" considerations can lead to new discoveries or perspectives.

Table of Contents

Gernot Michael Müller, Fosca Mariani Zini: Einleitung, 1
I. Kultur und mentalitätsgeschichtliche Grundlagen der Philosophie in Rom
Jean-Christophe Jolivet: Philosophes et philologues helénistiques, ambassadeurs et héros culturels à Rome: le cas de Cratès de Mallos, 43
Jochen Sauer: Römische Exempla-Ethik und Konsenskultur? Philosophie und mos maiorum bei Cicero und Seneca, 67
II. Gesellschaftliche und literarische Rollenkonzepte für eine Selbstdefinition des Philosophen in Rom
Therese Fuhrer: Philosophische Literatur in Rom als Medium der Definition sozialier Rollen, 99
Gernot Michael Müller: Philosophie im Plauderton. Zum philosophischen Gehalt der Horazischen Episteln, 115
III. Griechische Philosophen und ihr römisches Umfeld im 1. Jh. v. Chr.
Georgia Tsouni: The ‚Academy' in Rome: Antiochus and his vetus Academia, 139
Danie Delattre: Philodème et le portrait moral dans le livre X des Vices ([LʼArrogance], PHerc 1008), 151
IV. Zum Verhältnis von Philosophie und Rhetorik in philosophischer Literatur und rhetorischer Theorie
Michael Erler: Beweishäufung bei Lukrez. Zum Verhältnis von Philosophie und Rhetorik in philosophischer Literatur, 175
Thomas Schirren: Wieviel Philosophie braucht der Redner? Zur Bedeutung der Philosophie in der Institutio oratoria des Quintilian, 189
V. Ciceros politische Philosophie und die Krise der römischen Republik
Jonathan G. F. Powell: Philosophising about Rome. Cicero's De re publica and De legibus, 249
Catherine Steel: Re publica nihil desperatius: salvaging the state in Cicero's pre-civil war philosophical works, 269
VI. Skeptizismus und Erkenntnistheorie bei Cicero und Augustin
Carlos Lévy: De la rhétorique à la philosophie: le rôle de la temeritas dans la pensée et l'œuvre de Cicéron, 285
Tobias Reinhardt: Cicero and Augustine on Grasping the Truth, 305.
VII. Argumentationsthechniken für eine Philosophie als Therapie: Cicero und Seneca im Vergleich
Fosca Mariani Zini: Argumentation als Trost. Bemerkungen über Ciceros Tusculanen, Buch I, 327
Claudia Wiener: Stoa ohne stoische Terminologie? Senecas Vermittlungsstrategien, 349
VIII. Elemente einer stoischen Anthropologie für die römische Gesellschaft des 1. Jhs. n. Chr. im Œuvre Senecas
Jula Wildberger: Amicitia and Eros: Seneca's Adaptation of a Stoic Concept of Friendship for Roman Men in Progress, 387
Jörn Müller: Senecas Phaedra: Stoisches Porträt einer akratischen Persönlichkeit, 427
IX. Philosophie und Naturkunde im 1. Jh. n. Chr.
Bardo Maria Gauly: Plinius' Zoologie und die römische Naturgeschichte, 469
X. Zu Rezeption und Überlieferung römischer Philosophie am Ausgang der Spätantike
Clara Auvray-Assayas: Lectures néoplatoniciennes de Cicéron: le témoignage du manuscript Reg. Lat. 1762 de la Bibliothèque Vaticane, 491
Anhang
Index, 501
Index locorum, 507
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2019.01.28

Gunther Martin, Euripides, 'Ion' : Edition and Commentary. Texte und Kommentare, Band 58. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, 2018. Pp. vii, 613. ISBN 9783110522556. €129,95.

Reviewed by Matteo Pellegrino, Università di Foggia (matteo.pellegrino@unifg.it)

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Ho già avuto modo di scrivere (cfr. BMCR 2009.08.57) che, a differenza di altre tragedie euripidee, che sono state al centro dell'interesse anche di autorevoli studiosi, lo Ione non ha goduto di una pari, rilevante attenzione filologica: si possono ricordare il fondamentale, ma ormai datato, commento di U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (Berlin, Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1926); quello di K. H. Lee (Warminster, Aris & Phillips, 1997), fondato sulla magistrale edizione curata da J. Diggle (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1981, Vol. II), e il testo con introduzione, traduzione e note a cura di D. Kovacs (Cambridge [Mass.]- London, Harvard University Press, 1999, Vol. IV); in italiano si possono ricordare il volume Euripide. Ione, introduzione, traduzione e commento a cura di M. Pellegrino (Bari, Palomar 2004) e la traduzione con pregevole commento di M. S. Mirto, Euripide, Ione (Milano, BUR, 2009). Di rilievo sono anche le recenti analisi critico-testuali e metriche sulle parti monodiche e sulle parti corali dello Ione condotte da M. De Poli (Le Monodie di Euripide. Note di critica testuale e analisi metrica, Padova, Sargon, 2011; Monodie mimetiche e monodie diegetiche. I canti a solo di Euripide e la tradizione poetica greca, Tübingen, Narr, 2012) e da P. Santé (Euripide, Ione. I Canti, Pisa-Roma, Fabrizio Serra Editore, 2017).

Ora della tragedia euripidea disponiamo, per i tipi di De Gruyter, dell'Edition and Commentary a cura di Gunther Martin, valente studioso che sul dramma euripideo ha pubblicato anche altri lavori che esplorano la pièce da diversi punti di vista: analisi del testo ('Three deletions in Euripides' Ion', GRBS 50, 2010, pp. 29-40; 'Durch Konjektur zum Verschwörer. Zu Eur., Ion 690-693', WS 129, 2016, pp. 63-69), questioni pertinenti alla datazione ('On the Date of Euripides' Ion', CQ N.S. 60, 2010, pp. 647-651), esegesi di alcuni passi dell'opera sul fondamento di un'attenta disamina di Realien di natura antropologico-culturale ('Weben und Wahrheit. Die Hermeneutik von Geweben in Euripides' Ion', in H. Harich-Schwarzbauer, ed., Weben und Gewebe in der Antike. Materialität - Repräsentation - Episteme - Metapoetik. Texts and Textiles in the Ancient World. Materiality - Representation - Episteme - Metapoetics, Oxford-Philadelphia, Oxbow Books, 2016, pp. 133-145).

La presente edizione si apre con una densa Introduction (pp. 1-44), in cui sono illustrati: le parti strutturali del dramma; le problematiche relative alla definizione dell'opera (diversamente interpretata dalla critica moderna come melodramma, dramma di intrigo, tragedia romanzesca, tragicommedia); i motivi fondanti del mito correlato alle origini della gente ionica, al culto di Erittonio, alla celebrazione dell'autoctonia, e i possibili (ma non certi) legami contenutistici con altre opere (su tutte la Creusa di Sofocle); la controversa datazione, per la quale Martin ha riesaminato il dato metrico-stilistico, fondato sul principio che Euripide avrebbe modificato nel corso degli anni la versificazione delle parti dialogate, con una maggiore libertà di soluzioni nel trimetro giambico (le statistiche collocherebbero lo Ione sullo stesso piano delle tragedie messe in scena dopo il 415, con una comune percentuale di soluzioni pari al 25-27%) e i possibili elementi cronologici interni ed esterni al testo, pervenendo alla conclusione che "the most interesting and nuanced reading probably points to a date after the desertion of allies in 412" (p. 32); gli aspetti pertinenti alla drammaturgia (facciata scenica, entrate e uscite dei personaggi, ripartizione dei ruoli degli attori) e al testo (trasmissione, interpolazioni, edizione). Seguono le pagine contenenti la Critical Edition (pp. 45-112), per cui Martin stampa un limpido testo (con la dovuta, meritoria cautela metodologica fondata sul principio che lo Ione "is among those tragedies with the slimmest basis of evidence for the constitution of the text": p. 36), corredato di un'utile concordanza con il testo oxoniense di Diggle (pp. 113-116: si tratta di poco più di centocinquanta divergenze, in cui Martin rivela, rispetto a Diggle, una maggiore tendenza a crocifiggere il testo: cfr., ad es., vv. 2-3, 222, 300, 481, 507, 589, 721, 755, 1106, 1198, 1276), e il Commentary (pp. 117-547), che costituisce, con tutta evidenza, la parte più corposa del volume: vi ricorrono puntuali note di commento di carattere testuale, grammaticale, retorico, metrico, scenico, nonché di interesse storico-letterario e mitologico-antiquario; e di grande efficacia si rivela la capacità di indagine condotta sui personaggi del dramma: degno di menzione il focus su Ione, rappresentato come novello Erittonio/Eretteo (cfr. note ai vv. 1412-25, 1426-32a); su Hermes e sulla fondamentale funzione di divinità prologante (cfr. note ai vv. 14-27, 29-36a); su Apollo, il dio che pur in absentia è centrale nel dramma, e che Martin studia mettendone in evidenza le ambiguità, così come emergono dai giudizi espressi nei suoi confronti nel corso della tragedia (cfr. note ai vv. 10-11, 362b-80, 384-400, 859-922, 1553-1605, 1606-13); su Atena, valorizzata nel suo ruolo di nume tutelare della gens ionica e del primato ateniese (cfr. nota ai vv. 1553-1605); su Creusa e sul suo rapporto 'conflittuale' con Apollo (cfr. note ai vv. 252-4, 384-400, 859-922, 1282-1319) e sulla di lei 'complicità' con il Coro (cfr. note ai vv. 1048-60, 1229-49); sul Vecchio Pedagogo e sulla sua devozione verso Creusa (cfr. note ai vv. 725-34, 950-9); su Xuto e sui suoi 'equivoci' rapporti con le altre personae dramatis (cfr. note ai vv. 401-28, 410-12, 525-7, 582-4, 650-67); e sulla Pizia e sul suo legame affettivo con il protagonista (cfr. note ai vv. 41-51, 1320-68, 1355-63). E parimenti meritevoli di interesse sono le riflessioni su aspetti fondanti del dramma: il tema dell'autoctonia (cfr. note ai vv. 29, 184-218, 542, 607-11, 714-24, 1297); la valenza simbolico-rituale degli uccelli, considerati 'intermediari' tra dèi e uomini (cfr. note ai vv. 82–183, 1191); le ekphraseis sia del frontone del tempio di Apollo, così come appare alle donne del Coro nella parodo, sia delle immagini istoriate sulla tenda, descritte dal Messaggero nel quarto episodio (cfr. note ai vv. 184-218, 1122-1228, 1132b-66a, 1141-66a); le scene di riconoscimento presunto e reale (cfr. note ai vv. 517-62, 1439-1509); l'happy ending e il ruolo della τύχη (cfr. note ai vv.1380-4, 1516-20, 1553-1605); i motivi eziologici e paretimologici, che sono peraltro peculiari dell'arte euripidea (cfr. note ai vv. 20-7, 74-5, 81, 661-3a, 802, 997, 1553-1605).

Due ultime osservazioni più di dettaglio.

a) Nel commento ai vv. 752-62, concordo con Martin, quando afferma che "the chorus do not say why they decide to reveal Xuthus' secret, but from the preceding stasimon one may infer that sympathy for and loyalty to Creusa and patriotic revulsion at the idea of Ion as king are their motives" (p. 335); non altrettanto, quando soggiunge che "another reason presumed by Pellegrino, suspicions at the veracity of the oracle, does not surface here or later and is not communicated to Creusa" (p. 335): i) nel mio commento (p. 264) io rilevo che "le esclamazioni del Coro […] sono interpretate da Creusa come presagio di sventure", cosa peraltro confermata dall'evidenza testuale del v. 753 (τὸ φροίμιον μὲν τῶν λόγων οὐκ εὐτυχές); ii) che il Coro nutra sospetti in merito alla veridicità dell'oracolo trova riscontro nel v. 685 (οὐ γάρ με σαίνει θέσφατα μή τιν' ἔχῃ δόλον).

b) A proposito del valore simbolico della collocazione all'ingresso della tenda dell'immagine del re ateniese Cecrope (vv. 1163-5), confermerei le conclusioni a cui sono pervenuto in 'Nel segno degli antenati: Euripide, Ione 1163-1165', in O. Vox (a cura di), Ricerche euripidee, Lecce, Pensa Multimedia, 2003, p. 108: "Ione compie un atto in cui mi sembra lecito individuare tutto il valore di una prefigurazione, non intenzionale e dunque tragicamente ironica, della felice scoperta, giustificabile esclusivamente in ragione del ricongiungimento con la vera madre, dei suoi legami con la dinastia regnante in Attica; una scoperta che nell'esodo, nella fase culminante dell'anagnorisis (vv. 1463-7), troverà la sua più alta consacrazione nelle stesse gioiose parole di Creusa, evocanti il sospirato ritorno dell'erede della celebrata famiglia 'nata dalla terra'".

Il libro, che non mi è parso caratterizzato dalla presenza di errori tipografici particolarmente degni di nota, si conclude con una documentata bibliografia (pp. 548-604) e con utili indici (pp. 605-613).

In definitiva, gli studiosi dello Ione euripideo troveranno un sicuro punto di riferimento in questo volume che si lascia apprezzare per ricchezza di informazione, acribia critica, rigore metodologico e ampiezza espositiva.

Table of Contents

Preface v
Introduction 1
1) Structure 3
2) Problems of Interpretation 6
3) Myth 13
A) Ion's Genealogy 13
B) Ion and the Erichthonius Myth 20
C) Ideological Implications 22
4) Date 24
A) Metrical Criteria 24
B) Structural Criteria 27
C) External Criteria 28
5) Set, Entrances and Exits, Actor Distribution 33
6) The Text 36
A) Transmission 36
B) Interpolations 36
C) The Edition 44
Critical Edition 45
Commentary 117
Conventions, Abbreviations, Bibliography 548
Indices 605

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

2019.01.27

Rose MacLean, Freed Slaves and Roman Imperial Culture: Social Integration and the Transformation of Values. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018. Pp. xi, 208. ISBN 9781107142923. xi, 208.

Reviewed by Tatjana Sandon, The University of Edinburgh (tsandon@ed.ac.uk)

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Freed Slaves and Roman Imperial Culture, the result of a doctoral thesis written by Rose MacLean at Princeton, focuses on the transformations that freed people underwent during the Principate to integrate fully in Roman society. The book advances the study of the lives of slaves and ex-slaves in the Roman world, following specifically in Weaver's and Mouritsen's footsteps. In particular, MacLean's focus on wealthy and powerful freedmen and their relations with the imperial family cannot but remind us of Weaver's study on the Familia Caesaris,1 while her approach to the ancient sources, both epigraphic and literary, resembles that of Mouritsen in his work on freedmen.2 MacLean's study is a constructive contribution to the analysis of slavery through the words left behind by those individuals who actually experienced slavery.

The book's first chapter begins with an exhaustive introduction to the world of liberti and the effects that manumission had on the lives of Roman ex-slaves. MacLean emphasises the importance of not considering freedpersons as an isolated group: liberti coexisted, cohabited and worked with servi as well as ingenui, inhabiting not just the same environments but also cherishing the same expectations and values. The author is well aware of the elite's biases that permeate the ancient literary sources, hence the decision to analyse inscriptions. These texts, mainly tombstones, were commissioned by freedpersons themselves, regularly speaking to two audiences: the texts that were inward facing spoke to the familial context of the deceased; those that were public-facing addressed the passersby (p. 21).

The qualitative, rather than quantitative, study of the epigraphic evidence is supported by the analysis of literary sources that aid our understanding of the elite's conceptualisation of freedpersons. It also helps us understand how freedpersons adapted the social expectations and strategies for advancement of the elites in early imperial society (p. 24). A good, although not new, example of how a parallel use of these two types of evidence provides a more complete understanding of slaves and ex-slaves, is the comparison between the Tomb of the Baker from Rome and some passages about Trimalchio's life from Petronius' Satyricon. MacLean argues in Chapter 1 that what we can extrapolate from these two contexts is how the cursus of slavery led slaves to become masters, to own slaves themselves, and to make a fortune, and that this could be achieved by foregrounding particular qualities, such as obedience, industry and honesty, that were expected from servi and liberti (p. 14).

Chapter 2 focuses on the attempt by freedmen to achieve immortality through the use of (funerary) monuments. MacLean analyses, in particular, those inscriptions that contain the word 'fama', a term that captures a range of different meanings and values. MacLean argues that the word was used to cover several aspects of a freedperson's achievements—from domestic virtues and respect towards their patrons, to occupational skills and economic activity (p. 42). The freedmen's desire to get ahead in life and to advance their social position was influenced by the changes in values and monumental practices that the elite had to face when adapting to the new form of power under imperial government and its rules. MacLean very capably illustrates the case of (Tacitus') Agricola and his submission to the emperor, highlighting how the political transformations at the highest levels of Roman society managed to alter the entire social system, in a domino effect that moved from one group to another (p. 58). The obsequium that was expected from the 'good' freedman was not a prerogative of the enslaved and libertine people; rather, it became a tacit and implicit requirement for all those who wanted to advance in imperial society. Similarly, MacLean contends that obedience and humility were adopted by Paul in his vision of Christian values. Thus, Paul is presented as applying the rules of slavery and manumission to his ideology of Christianity: the slave-master and freedman-patron relationships became the models of interaction between Christians and their God, the best—if not only—way to achieve immortality through religion. According to MacLean, then, Roman social values were adopted and adapted by Paul and other Christians, marking a continuity, rather than an interruption, between Roman imperial society and Christianity (p. 62).

In Chapter 3, MacLean investigates the use and consumption of freed culture by the elite through analysing the words of several Latin authors and their points of view. MacLean contends that Petronius' Satyricon is the most emblematic text that presents stereotyped freedmen, specifically in Trimalchio's persona, through the lens of the Roman aristocracy. We can be fairly certain that Petronius' text documents that the elite were well aware of the freedmen's practices, particularly those connected to epigraphic production; the Satyricon, according to MacLean, was written by and for the elite, with whom Petronius is in dialogue about the freedmen's culture (p. 82). At the same time, the biases that can be deduced from the Satyricon are almost completely absent in Horace's poetry: being himself the son of a freedman, Horace presents a favourable picture of his father and, consequently, of the libertine class. Furthermore, Horace compares the "moderate libertas" of ex-slaves to that of Roman citizens during the turbulent times of late Republican Rome (p. 87). A positive appreciation of freedmen can be seen also in Seneca and Stoic philosophy: virtue is the supreme good to which all men have to aspire, irrespective of their legal and social condition. Roman aristocrats, in Seneca's words, tend to measure personal worth according to what MacLean terms 'externals'. Liberti could, by contrast, not rely on an ancestral heritage, and thus, they had to build their virtue by themselves (p. 94). The final author that MacLean takes into consideration is Phaedrus and his Fables. Phaedrus, whose status is commonly assumed to be that of an imperial freedman,3 provides a few general rules to follow in order to successfully integrate socially: the weak should not overcome the strong, while modesty is represented as a survival strategy. The weak can react, but their actions can be unpredictable, sometimes even self-harming, and the benefits may not be so rewarding. All these tactics, in Phaedrus' eyes, are typical of libertine people, who accept their place in the social system and think carefully before reacting (p. 98).

Chapter 4 analyses imperial freedmen and the Familia Caesaris, and how their influence and power grew to the point that they became a fundamental instrument for the emperors' political propaganda. By citing a few examples, like the case of Claudius' freedman Pallas, who was given a public monument by the Senate in order to celebrate his actions and person, MacLean investigates how the role of the members of the Familia Caesaris shaped a new owner–slave and patron–freedman model in which the owner/patron was the emperor himself. This model soon became a paradigm to which aristocrats had to respond, MacLean argues, and some imperial freedmen were such important figures on the political scene that even freeborn Roman citizens had to show respect towards them in order to gain the emperor's favour (p. 119). Through the analysis of elements that characterised the epigraphic production of the Familia Caesaris, MacLean highlights how the connection with the Emperor, which could be very personal and direct for some freedmen, allowed imperial liberti to reach exceptional social standing that was no longer dependent on a single particular ruler but on the imperial system (p. 124).

The final chapter takes a practical approach to the epigraphic evidence, focusing on how manumission was perceived by freedmen. MacLean looks in particular for elements of continuity, i.e., for elements that persisted beyond the transition from slavery to freedom. While manumission created the new social entity of the freedperson, the stain of the previous servile condition never left an ex-slave, and sometimes even affected the next freeborn generation. The best type of evidence for investigating the life narratives that freedmen considered important enough to be shared with others, including (other) citizens, is represented by inscriptions, especially those on funerary monuments. On their tombstones, freedpersons commemorated their own persona by recalling specific moments, achievements and relationships that influenced their life. MacLean, by analysing several epigraphic texts, highlights how the patron-freedman relationship, economic and civic achievements, and the continuity of personal relationships with former fellow slaves, were for many freed commissioners fundamental elements in the celebration of their new life. A key example for the transition from being an enslaved person to a freed person marshalled by MacLean is the (inscriptional) formula servus vovit, liber solvit, which closes many votive inscriptions. This formula underlines both the continuity and the discontinuity between the two statuses: a vow that was undertaken by a slave, was fulfilled afterwards by a free person (p. 150). The end of the chapter returns to the question of the role of the slave-owner relationship and the language of slavery in the formation of Stoic thought, as well as in Christian thought, reading the transition that a person experienced from slave to free from an eschatological point of view.

Freed Slaves and Roman Imperial Culture tackles various issues connected to slavery and its perception in both antiquity and today. An important aspect that this book brings to light is how the onset of imperial power provoked a profound change in Roman society to which the elite could not but adapt, sometimes by adopting the approaches and tactics of the freed. In this study, then, the cultural and social practices that moved from one group to another are considered from a fresh direction, challenging the usual and commonly accepted movement from the top to the lower strata; it is clear from the sources analysed that the libertine group influenced the elite as much as the elite influenced liberti, proving that the interaction between different strata was not one-directional. There are to my mind, however, a couple of drawbacks to MacLean's thesis and approach. First, although it is said in the first chapter that the epigraphic evidence has been chosen to provide the reader with the most reliable and authentic voices of freedpersons, the epigraphy is not given the prominence that one would expect, lingering often merely in the background compared to the literary sources, thereby actually privileging the elite. Second, although this study makes reference to the experiences of both freed men and women, the latter are almost invisible in the analysis, and when they are called upon, their lives are subordinated to the study of their male relatives. These criticisms aside, MacLean's book deserves credit for seeking to understand the dynamics of Roman slavery by studying the lives and experiences of the individuals who were actually subjected to the institution: slaves and ex-slaves.



Notes:


1.   P. R. C. Weaver, Familia Caesaris: a Social Study of the Emperor's Freedmen and Slaves, (Cambridge 1972).
2.   H. Mouritsen, The Freedman in the Roman World, (Cambridge 2011).
3.   Phaedrus' legal status is arguable; he is considered by some scholars to have been a freeborn Roman citizen; MacLean, however, inclines towards the libertine option (p. 97).

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2019.01.26

Elena Duvergès Blair, Plato's Dialectic on Woman: Equal, Therefore Inferior. Routledge monographs in classical studies. London; New York: Routledge, 2017. Pp. 250. ISBN 9781138243071. $40.95 (pb).

Reviewed by Rodolfo Lopes, Universidade de Brasília (rodolfo.nunes.lopes@gmail.com)

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The book was originally published in 2012, in this same series (Routledge Monographs in Classical Studies), and the cataloguing data suggest that the only difference in this 2017 issue is strictly material: paperback instead of hardback. Also, since there is no evidence of changes within these five years, one must assume that its content is the same as the first issue. One year after the hardback publication, Prof. Julie Ward wrote a very positive review1 that covered most of the book's contents and structure. In this review, in order to avoid unnecessary overlaps, I will try to focus on some issues that, in my opinion, were not sufficiently highlighted.

Blair's authoritative study of Plato's views on woman is intended to fill a gap in recent scholarship, since "no comprehensive work identifying his position on the subject has yet appeared, and by now the flurry of articles that began in the 1970s (many limited simply to feminist critiques) has subsided" (p. ix). The main purpose of this study is thus to "draw an image of the Platonic woman as rich and full as the textual and historical information allows" (p. x). As I expect to show in the current review, the success of Blair's bold endeavour is only partial. If, on the one hand, she manages to collect and comment (in a very competent way) on all the Platonic texts on the subject, on the other hand, the conclusion of book falls short of answering its main question: what is Plato's "theory of woman"? This is particularly problematic since the book's main purpose was to answer it in the most unified way possible: "the quest for this coherent theory of woman is the overarching purpose that drives the argument of the book, and provides its logical structure" (p. 9).

Since there is no neutral or even single way of reading Plato's Dialogues, it is important to dedicate some lines to the methodological groundings of this book. If I had to sum it up in one word, I would choose 'eclectic'. The study follows the so-called 'analytic approach', which deals with the consistency of Plato's thought (vide pp. 2-3). Even though no one knows what an 'analytic' reading of Plato is exactly (moreover, what would be its opposite, i.e. a 'non-analytic' one?), I suppose that the search for doctrinal consistency and coherence are key features of that kind of approach. This is, of course, a very difficult task to perform given the singularities of Plato's writing: he never speaks in his own name; his characters say different things in different contexts; and he never defines (inside or outside the Dialogues) his positions on any matter whatsoever. Unfortunately, Blair does not explain which criteria she is using to attribute to Plato ideas that various characters express at various points in the dialogues. For instance, she assumes that both the misogyny exhibited by the character Timaeus and Socrates' egalitarian theory of virtue in the Meno are to be considered 'Platonic'. Such broad understanding of authorship produces a list of 'contradictions' or 'inconsistencies' that the interpreter has to solve with the help of the so-called 'analytic method', as if we are to solve an encrypted puzzle that, for some obscure reason, Plato left us in the Dialogues. If the task of the interpreter is to eliminate or reduce the inconsistencies and therefore to reach a coherent reading, this entails a soft version of unitarianism — I choose to limit the concept with the adjective 'soft', because unitarianism stricto sensu, as Paul Shorey originally put it, implies that there are no inconsistencies at all (or that they are only apparent). Yet, the possibility of reaching doctrinal coherence depends on argumentative resources that traditionally define the developmental view (in the version proposed by Gregory Vlastos, whose influence is particularly clear throughout Chapter 2). Finally, I would add that the study is based on the fundamental assumptions of the 'genetic' approach, which is implicitly followed by the vast majority of modern Platonists: the idea that Plato's personal opinions are somehow encrypted throughout the Dialogues and that therefore it is the interpreter's task to unveil them.

The introductory material includes a very concise and useful preface that explains the structure of the book and the results at which the research aims. After the acknowledgments, the Introduction deals almost exclusively with the status quaestionis of the book's subject. It is an extremely accurate analysis of the modern scholarship from the late years of the 19th century onwards. According to Blair, systematic studies first appeared only in the 1970s, the sole exception being a book by Ithurriague2 on Plato's positions on the equality of sexes — all other publications are limited to sparse references. The result of this analysis is a list of 16 contradictions raised by several authors that would undermine the claim that Plato held a consistent theory of woman (pp. 3- 8). It is not clear if every cited author shares the 'consistency assumption' or if Blair has only included authors who interpret Plato's works from this standpoint. In any case, such a procedure is improperly partial and arbitrary, since either it projects onto those authors assumptions that they would not acknowledge or it excludes others that read Plato from different standpoints (perspectivism, contextualism etc.). The introductory material ends with an excellent Prologue on methodological considerations, which explains in great detail and with admirable precision the criteria used to organise the textual materials (pp. 10-12) and also refers to some historical elements that could bring light to the selected passages of Dialogues. Unfortunately, this contextual aspect of the research is limited to a set of general topics that are listed in less than 2 pages.

Parts I and II deal with the interpretation of the selected passages (the most relevant are Republic 5, i.e. 449a-457c, Meno 71e-73c, Symposium 189c-193d, Timaeus 41d-42d; 90e-91a and Laws VI, VII), according to the criteria established in the Prologue. Part I ("The Dramatic/Rhetorical Texts") works with a set of texts that "belongs to Plato's literary and argumentative artistry", where "woman appears (among many other elements) to give a scene the color and character the particular topic demands" (p. 14). As for Part II, which deals with the passages that Blair considers to be "philosophical" (sic), it "contains Plato's specific reflection about woman herself" (p. 15). Ward's review is particularly extensive on these sections of the book and, for that reason, I refer the reader to her analysis.

Part III, the last, is divided into three chapters. The first (Chapter 8) works as prolegomena to the conclusions. The second (Chapter 9) draws the conclusions. The third (Chapter 10) provides the groundwork for a theory of woman "Beyond Plato" (the title of the chapter). Since in this last chapter the emphasis changes to ideological positions and debates, I will abstain from commenting on it, because this would demand my personal opinions on that matter, which I consider irrelevant to philosophical debate.

Chapter 8 ("Prolegomenon to the Results") deals with three difficulties that, according to Blair, need clarification, before drawing the conclusions of the study. The first two are indeed relevant to most of the subjects that a Platonist must face when interpreting the Dialogues: the challenge of unitarianism and Plato's use of myths. Unfortunately, each of them requires more than half a page of discussion. The challenge of unitarianism is dismissed with a confident assertion, after three paragraphs, which would be, at most, introductory to another debate: "The debate becomes irrelevant to the validity of my conclusions, because they avoid errors caused by simplistic notions of the text's unity" (p. 189). The clarification of the second challenge is even shorter (one paragraph), but it has already been discussed earlier (pp. 136-138), even if quite incompletely (at a minimum Brisson's classic work on this topic should have been mentioned3). As for the third difficulty, to which six pages are dedicated, it is, in my opinion, impossible to accept as relevant to any philosophical topic whatsoever. It is worth citing the first paragraph of this discussion (p. 190):

The third difficulty regards the possible influence of Plato's sexual orientation on his conception of woman. A general reticence to discuss this issue has limited the commentaries to indirect and general allusions. For a serious investigator, discussing it is apt to seem either irrelevant or indiscreet. In our particular case, however, I intend to show that Plato's sexual orientation could have contributed to his theoretical view on woman.

The irrelevance of personal positions to interpreting philosophical aspects is noted earlier by Blair herself, when she says that "his [Plato's] personal attitudes are in large measure irrelevant to his philosophical thought; it is reason and evidence that govern his reflection, not personal inclination" (p. 19). And even if one had the 'personal inclination' to assume that a philosopher's sexual orientation is somehow relevant to his philosophy, there is no evidence whatsoever of what may have been Plato's preferences on that matter.

Chapter 9 draws the conclusions of the book. After the 16 'inconsistencies' that had been highlighted in the Introduction, we would expect an analytic set of answers that help to shed light on this problem. The result is, however, disappointing. Blair starts with a set of defining features of Plato's theory on woman that, according to her own words, do "not yet give us Plato's unified insight on what woman is" (p. 199). The solution is to use the famous divided line sketched by Socrates in the Republic (509d-511e) to explain how humans acquire knowledge and also to establish which kinds of knowledge one is able to acquire. However, Blair seems to assume that the image of the divided line is somehow autobiographic and self-reflexive, since the progression of knowledge illustrated by Socrates' divided line is used to show how Plato himself would understand woman. This methodological leap, from an image used in a text to the personal life of the author of that text, is very hard to accept as valid. Blair seems to take its validity for granted, since she does not provide any justification for using it. In any case, even if we accept this awkward solution to the problem of unifying Plato's position on woman,

we must conclude that, as U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf has said, and now we have confirmed by examining Plato's theory of knowledge, Plato does not understand woman.' (p. 201; the italics are hers)

In sum, the book is very useful as a systematic collation of the passages that may be used to infer a Platonic theory of woman. However, its main purpose, which was to reach such theory, is far from being fulfilled.



Notes:


1.   Ward, J. in The Classical Review, 63.2, pp. 364–366, 2013.
2.   Ithurriague, J., Des idées de Platon sur la condition de la femme au regard des traditions antiques (Paris, J. Gamber, 1931).
3.   Brisson, L., Platon. Les mots et les mythes, Paris, Maspero, 1982, English version: Plato the Myth Maker (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2005).

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