Too Many Ablatives Spoil The Broth

Classical Quarterly 28 (2):471-472 (1978)

The orthodox explanation of the syntax of lines 453–4 is that repeated by the most recent commentator, F. Bömer , p.343): ‘neque adhuc epota parte ist Abl. absol.; der Gegenstand, mit dem Ceres den Jungen überschüttet, ist mixta … polenta.‘ The ablative absoluteis in itself unexceptionable , but the proliferation of three ablatives in two verses is awkward writing. As transmitted, line 454 is the product of a copyist who, as is often the habit of copyists, was confininghis attention to the verse on which he was engaged and still had ‘tosta … polenta’from line 450 echoing in his head. Unless I am much mistaken, Ovid wrote
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DOI 10.1017/s0009838800035011
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