Bryn Mawr Classical Review 95.11.10


Helena Maria Keizer, Indices in Eustathii Archiepiscopi Thessalonicensis Commentarios ad Homeri Iliadem Pertinentes ad fidem codicis Laurentiani editos a Marchino Van der Valk. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995. Pp. xviii + 656. ISBN 90-04-10327-9.


Reviewed by R. Janko, Greek & Latin, University College London (r.janko@ucl.ac.uk).

Eustathius' compendious commentary on the Iliad has been admirably served by the equally monumental edition, in four massive tomes, of M. Van der Valk, a Dutch country parson who died in 1992, having completed the edition (Eustathii archiepiscopi Thessalonicensis Commentarii ad Homeri Iliadem pertinentes, Leiden: Brill, 1971-87), but not the indices. Scrutiny of the photograph of Eustathius' autograph MS, which survives as Laur. Plut. LIX 2 & 3 (see vol. I, opposite p. 297), reveals the difficulty of editing this work, significant not only for Homeric and Byzantine scholarship, but for the almost innumerable passages which Eustathius cites from all of extant Greek literature, plus a number of works surviving only in incomplete form, e.g. the opening of Athenaeus or grammatical treatises by Aristophanes of Byzantium (cf. N.J. Wilson, Scholars of Byzantium, London: Duckworth, 1983, 199-202, and W.J. Slater, Aristophanis Byzantii Fragmenta, Berlin & New York: De Gruyter, 1986, xiv f.). Van der Valk himself established much of what we know about his scholarship, both in this edition, in the mellifluous Latin of his introductions to vols. 1 and 2, and in the charmingly idiosyncratic English of his earlier Researches on the Text and Scholia of the Iliad (Leiden: Brill, 1963-4). His great stature in Homeric scholarship has been somewhat obscured by the rather disorderly structure of Researches, in which, as in Eustathius, one has often had to search through many pages to find what one is seeking; his suspicious view of the activities of the Alexandrian scholars makes by far the best sense of what they were doing to the text of Homer. Under the guidance of J.M. Bremer and C.J. Ruijgh, and with the help of the NWO and the TLG CD-ROM, Helena Keizer has undertaken the Herculean task of indexing Eustathius' commentary, together with Van der Valk's equally valuable introductions and apparatus of sources. Byzantinists, Homeric scholars, lexicographers and editors of texts or collections of fragments will be in her debt.

K.'s volume, in English, opens with a graceful tribute by J.M. Bremer to the extraordinary erudition and achievement of Van der Valk. There follows the Editor's Preface (on p. xii l. 3, for 'disclosure' read 'closure'), in which she explains how to use the indices. These consist of: I, names; II, words discussed by Eustathius; III, Eustathius' own terminology; and IV, sources. Sensibly, the indices are keyed to the page and line-number of Van der Valk's text, not the old editio Romana, except in index IV, where the references are to the page and line-number of Van der Valk's apparatus fontium; I am persuaded by K. that there was no alternative to this system, but casual users, failing to note this, will search in vain, and perhaps a reference to it ought to have been put into the header above each page. The indices were set up with consummate skill; everything a philologist might need has been foreseen. Thus periphrases like 'the geographer' for 'Strabo' are cross-referenced, authors cited have their book-titles included in index I if Eustathius gives them, in index II suffixes and transformations of letters are included and variants of the Homeric text are marked, and words missing in LSJ (with Supplement) are signalled in index III.

Index III will be especially valuable for Byzantinists. Though it is not exhaustive (and Van der Valk's entries for DIASAFE/W in Vol. IV p. xxvi are accidentally omitted), a check on several pages of text revealed that little of moment has been missed. If Eustathius uses a word in different senses, e.g. DIA/QESIS, these are noted, with a gloss either in English or in Van der Valk's own Latin (his own annotations to words, either in introductions or the apparatus, are signalled); so are late or unusual forms of common words. The marking of rhetorical, grammatical and metrical terms in the margin will facilitate study of his usage in those areas. After index III, K. lists Eustathius' descriptions of Homeric style and Van der Valk's references to Byzantine and Christian topics.

Index IV is of sources or parallels referred to by Van der Valk, not an index of passages cited by Eustathius himself; thus, surprised to see Aristotle's Poetics appear seven times, I found that all the references are to parallels, none of them close. The index naturally refers to the editions cited by Van der Valk, and not to any published since. It includes biblical sources (under Vetus Testamentum and Novum Test.); one is amazed at the diversity and number of sources which Van der Valk was able to identify from his own reading. It excludes several Byzantine lexica (reasonably enough, since there is Index II), but also the Homeric scholia, since these are Eustathius' main source; indeed, by reading Erbse's edition of the scholia immediately beforehand, one can skim swiftly over much in Eustathius, giving oneself more chance to observe what he contributes suo Marte (often it is not much). But perhaps scholia cited outside their original context ought to have been included.

The volume ends with an index of modern authors, and a list of corrigenda and addenda, including some additional source-identifications (which have been taken into account in the Index). The numerous corrigenda to the Greek text of vol. IV include a serious omission by haplography at IV 567.26 (p. 652, where the the correction is misprinted and should read O(/PER O( *KWMIKO\S DUSE/MFATON OI)=DE). One hopes that the publisher will be able to incorporate all these minor changes into a future reprint. In several hours of testing this index, I found no other errors, mistaken interpretations or omissions -- a wonderfully frustrating result. But let me end with two desiderata for the future, one minor and one major. The first is a reprint of Van der Valk's Researches -- but this time with a far better set of indices. The second is a new edition of Eustathius' commentary on the Odyssey, which (given the state of the scholia to that epic) would yield even more new information, especially on the lost parts of Porphyry's Quaestiones Homericae, than has emerged from that on the Iliad.