This article offers a usage study of the word φήμη throughout Herodian’s Roman History. It sets Herodian’s practice in a broader literary picture that includes other historians, but also epic and the novel, and then suggests that the extremely high frequency of φήμη in Herodian is unique among Greek-language historians and that Herodian is indebted to Latin-language historiography for this technique. The following sections examine how Herodian perceives the phenomenon of φήμη and makes it a salient feature of his historiographical (...) strategy. The discussion shows that φήμη, regardless of its truth status, has multiple functions in Herodian’s narrative. First, it contributes to the portrayal of historical agents. Second, it is a crucial dramatic factor that signals turning points in the story and generates vividness and an atmospheric narrative. Third, it acts as a plot-driver in the story. Fourth, it has a role in the composition of the narrative by creating intratextual associations and narrative patterns. Finally, it has metanarrative ramifications, since there is a parallel between the use of φήμη by the historical agents and by Herodian himself. Overall, the analysis advances our understanding of Herodian’s narrative technique and his construction of historical truth. (shrink)
In this article the aurea dicta of Epicurus (DRN 3.12) are placed in conversation with larger discourses related to apian, floral, and honey imagery. Within these literary contexts, bees and honey are often associated with morally suspect appetites, effeminacy, and potentially dangerous erotic entanglements. Lucretius, I argue, seems to allude to these risky literary valences and manipulates them for his own poetic and rhetorical ends. Honey, we discover, is much more than a sugary substance.
This paper considers two scenes in Books 15 and 16 of the Punica of Silius Italicus: Hasdrubal’s celebration of the founding of Carthage with the ecphrasis of the general’s cloak (Sil. 15,410–440) and Scipio’s visit to the court of King Syphax (16,170–276). For both passages there are important reference texts in scenes of Vergil’s Aeneid and Statius’ Thebaid that have until now received no, or not enough, attention: Aeneas’ visit to the future Rome (Aen. 8,102–553) and the sacrifice of Eteocles (...) (Theb. 11,205–238). After a brief assessment of the historiographical basis, I set out the influence in content and language of these reference texts on the two scenes. Further, I consider the adaptation of other epic pre-texts in the ecphrasis of Hasdrubal’s cloak and propose a new interpretation: the ecphrasis links Hasdrubal to Ganymede, Polyphemus and Cacus, and Scipio with Jupiter, Odysseus and Hercules. The study highlights positive and negative aspects of the pre-texts and shows the ambivalent characterisation of Silius’ Scipio, who is associated both with positive figures (Hercules and Aeneas) and with the sinister Polynices. The shared reference of the two scenes of the Punica has a linking, framing and preparatory function. (shrink)
In book 8 of his Naturalis historia, Pliny the Elder mentions the particularly savage character of some monkeys. Most editions and translations of Pliny’s text maintain that the reference to the fierce nature of these animals concerns both the cynocephali and the satyri. However, in the manuscript Riccardianus 488 (R in the transmission of Pliny), a second hand, contemporary to the period in which the text was copied, added supra lineam the obscure term *miarsima, which would refer to the nature (...) of the satyri in opposition to that of the cynocephali. By examining part of the ancient zoological and geographic traditions, in particular the De natura animalium by Aelian, this article defends editing the text of Pliny with the adjective mitissima, already present in the first printed editions of the Naturalis historia, as follows: Efferatior cynocephalis natura sicut mitissima satyris. (shrink)
Cornutiana.Giovanni Zago - 2023 - Philologus: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur Und Ihre Rezeption 167 (2):173-190.details
This article provides conjectural emendations and exegetical notes to several passages in Cornutus’ Theologiae Graecae compendium; it also offers an emendation of a controversial fragment of Cleanthes on physics (SVF 1,497).
The character of Paris in the Ilias Latina maintains the ambiguity that characterises him in the Greek Iliad, where he does not lack military attitudes, but chafes against his duties to his country, being committed instead to satisfying his taste for luxury. This ambiguity is even reinforced in the epitome. The ‘heroic’ aspect of Paris’ personality emerges in a clearer light, expressed in a more mature awareness of his obligations to his family and country, but the other aspect, his indolence, (...) is also accentuated: the character becomes a true elegiac lover, immersed in the experience of an exalted passion that partly distinguishes him from the cliché of the libertine of the Homeric tradition. It might therefore seem legitimate to interpret the Paris of the Ilias Latina in a more positive key than the Homeric character. However, this exegesis is opposed by the judgement expressed by the authorial voice at many significant points of the story: by his dissolute and unscrupulous behaviour, Paris has started a war that will lead to the ruin of his country; he himself is thus his own funesta ruina (234), the funesta... flamma (253) that will burn down Troy and his own fate. (shrink)
Despite the frequent use of the antithesis of parua and magna in Latin literature, the expression parua magnis in Pliny 5,6,43–44 need not be read as proverbial but as a quotation of Vergil, georg. 4,176. This attribution follows from the naming of Vergil and of Aratus in epist. 5,6,43–44. Combined allusions as in 5,6,43–44, consisting of a quotation, the naming of the author and/or narrative structures, are a pattern in the corpus of the younger Pliny’s correspondence. The context of georg. (...) 4,169–179, too, supports the attribution of the phrase as a quotation, since in Vergil’s lines a comparison of genres is made, which Pliny adopts for his own literary positioning in the descriptions of villas in epist. 2,17 und 5,6. Further, the attribution to Vergil’s didactic poem, in combination with the reference to Aratus, which other interpretations hardly take into account, permits a new understanding of the narrative structure of the villa descriptions and their allusive affinity not only to ecphrasis but also to didactic poetry. (shrink)
The author returns to a much debated topic, the so-called “Episode of Helen”, which has come to us only through indirect transmission, and endeavors to dismantle the prejudice against Virgilian authorship. G. P. Goold’s pugnacious intervention, dating back to more than half a century ago, contributed decisively – in fact, more than it should have – to the thesis that the text is spurious. A critical analysis of the text will demonstrate this claim to be groundless while offering arguments that (...) support the authenticity of the episode. (shrink)
That the Vergilian commentary by Aelius Donatus – one of the most influential late-antique commentaries that have not survived – was extant in the ninth century and available to some Carolingian scholars is still a widespread belief. The evidence in support of this thesis is said to have been provided by the Harvard Servianist J. J. H. Savage in three articles published between 1925 and 1931. In these articles, Savage claimed that a few marginal notes in one of the ninth-century (...) primary witnesses to the DS scholia, the so-called ‘Vergil of Tours’ (Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Ms. 165), were drawn almost directly from Donatus’ commentary and that a marginal note in a roughly coeval Servian witness (Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Ms. 363) provided information about a place where a copy of the commentary could be found. A re-examination of the two manuscripts shows that the evidence adduced by Savage does not stand scrutiny and that the terminus post quem for the loss of Donatus’ commentary should be antedated by at least one century. (shrink)
The value of the prohoemia or ‘prefaces’ to Cicero’s later philosophical works, composed in the last years of his life, has not yet been settled. Two schools of thought have emerged somewhat more clearly in recent times: one places a greater value on the prefaces as tools for understanding Cicero’s philosophica as a whole, the other applies a more skeptical approach, using a degree of caution as to the nexus between the prefaces and the treatises to which they were affixed. (...) The article advocates for the latter camp, however not only to temper the recent emphasis the optimists have placed on the prefaces as key interpretive elements to the dialogues, but to refocus their importance as extensions of Cicero’s personal and social networking with other Roman elites of his time. I rely on two main lines of argument: the anecdotal evidence from Cicero’s volumen prohoemiorum, “book of prefaces”, mentioned in a letter to Atticus in 44 bce, as well as a broader analysis of a deeper disconnect between Cicero’s prefatory rhetoric regarding Latin philosophical vocabulary compared with Greek and his translation practices in his treatises. (shrink)
A concise summary of Nicanor’s theory of punctuation that has recently been discovered in a codex mixtus of the 15th century throws precious new light on a topic of some complexity. The general picture that emerges from the new extract does not substantially differ from that of the other known summary, which has been the starting point for all modern reconstructions of Nicanor’s theory. Therefore, these reconstructions need not be rewritten on a larger scale. The two summaries nevertheless display some (...) telling differences in how they explain and present the details, not least when read against the backdrop of Nicanor’s actual practice that can be derived from the relevant scholia to Homer. The purpose of the present article is to assess the new discovery especially with regard to these differences and their effects on how Nicanor’s theory is to be reconstructed. (shrink)
In the complete quotation of Verg. Aen. 4.415 in Auson. Epigr. 75.8 Green, the participle moritura, originally referring to Dido, takes on the obscene double entendre of “about to orgasm”, matching analogous attestations of this distinctive sense of the verb morior.
In Roman literature, the Argo commonly ranks as the first ship. The Flavian poet Valerius Flaccus seems to place himself in this line of tradition too by constantly stressing the Argo’s pioneer status. Yet it has rightly been noted that nowhere in the Argonautica is the Argo explicitly said to be the first ever ship. Her exceptional role is based rather on her status as the first sea-going ship to sail across the open sea from Europe to Asia, opening the (...) seas to global marine trade. From this perspective, the hitherto inadequately explained mentions of ships in the Phlegyas simile (3,124–132) and the Lemnos episode (2,107–114; 285–305) can also be analysed as only apparent inconsistencies. The interpretive effort required here draws the attention of the reader or audience, which is called upon to compare the earlier ships to the Argo. In this, the poet suggests a pessimistic judgement: a consequence of the opening of the seas was shipping disasters and human tragedies. Also, it did not only lead to the expansion of civilising achievements, but also held the danger that rituals and customs of a periphery which is read as barbaric would penetrate into the cultural space of the Mediterranean world. (shrink)
The choliambic metre of the prologue poem of Persius’ Satires is key to understanding the poem’s message. On the one hand it creates a link to Hipponax as the canonical exponent of the iambic genre and to the tale of his inspiration transmitted by Giorgios Choiroboskos, and so attests the presence of the iambic poet in the cultured literary circles at Nero’s imperial court. On the other hand the poet alludes to Callimachus, his iambic poetry and his poetology, and so (...) adopts his rejection of a poetry that has sunk to mere literary convention. This casts new light both on Persius’ own claim to be a semipaganus and on his mockery of the profit-oriented corvi and picae. (shrink)
It is well-known to scholars that the simile of the wool spinner described in Verg. Aen. 8.407–413 reworks on a verbal level Ap. Rhod. Argon. 3.291–295. Comparing Verg. Aen. 8.410 and Ap. Rhod. Argon. 3.291, this paper aims to suggest that in Ap. Rhod. Argon. 3.291 Virgil read a different text from that generally accepted by modern editors.
In this short article I discuss the variae lectiones in Il. 8.408 and 8.422. All manuscripts have ὅττι νοήσω (408) and ὅττι νοήσῃ (422), but many editors have preferred to print Aristarkhos’ corrections ὅττί κεν εἴπω and ὅττί κεν εἴπῃ respectively. By comparing the instances in which ὅττί κεν εἴπω/ῃς/ῃ and ὅττι νοήσω/ῃς/ῃ are used and by delving deeper into the use of the modal particle (MP) in epic Greek, I argue that the transmitted readings ὅττι νοήσω (408) and ὅττι (...) νοήσῃ (422) should have preference, because they have no MP and refer to repeated actions, whereas the construction ὅττί κεν εἴπω/ῃς/ῃ, which has an MP, refers to a more specific instance (which is why it has an MP in the first place). (shrink)
The article presents an edition of the previously unpublished letter from A. E. Housman to Grigory E. Saenger, written in Latin and dated 28 May, 1909, as well as a commentary on this text. The letter contains a criticism of Saenger’s 1909 edition of Statius’ Siluae. Housman evaluates the general approach of the edition and pronounces his judgement on two particular decisions made by the editor. The commentary treats both the general context of the letter and particular statements made by (...) Housman. The approach recommended by Housman is compared to those adopted in the major post-Saengerian editions of the Siluae; it is suggested that, while in certain respects some of the modern editions come close to what Housman endorsed, in other ways there is nothing among them to compare with it. (shrink)
Concepts of reason play a decisive role in the discussion of the different ideas of god in Cicero’s De natura deorum. However, the dialogue uses many different conceptual terms (such as ratio, mens, consilium, intelligentia or cogitatio) to refer to the achievements and potentials of reason. The variable use of the expressions across the dialogue at first suggests purely rhetorical criteria – variatio delectat – in selecting the terms for reason. However, the investigation presented here into the use of terms (...) reveals that Cicero ascribes to each of his dialogue partners a specific use of terms for reason. As will be shown, the use of terms relates not only to the underlying concepts of reason of the Epicurean, Stoic and Academic schools, but is also closely linked to their ideas about god. (shrink)
This article presents an edition with introduction and commentary of two unpublished letters that Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff wrote to the art historian and cultural scholar Aby Warburg in the 1920 s. The edition completes a correspondence that includes a letter from Warburg that has already been published several times. The two letters cast light on the hitherto barely known relation of Wilamowitz to Warburg himself and to his Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek in Hamburg. They centre on the Warburg Library’s special research interest, (...) namely the influence of the ancient world on later cultural periods, especially the Renaissance. (shrink)