Bryn Mawr Classical Review 96.04.11


W. Morel, K. Büchner et J. Blänsdorf (edd.), Fragmenta Poetarum Latinorum. Stuttgart and Leipzig: Teubner, 1995. Pp. xxvi, 494. DM 195,--. ISBN 3-8154-1371-0.


Reviewed by E. Courtney, University of Virginia.

Professor Blänsdorf, who saw through the press Büchner's unsatisfactory edition of the Fragmenta, has now produced an independent edition constituting a volume much fatter because of additions, more detail and more attractive typography. However, it must be said that the work still suffers from serious defects, even though it is awkward for this reviewer, who has produced a book (Fragmentary Latin Poets, 1993; henceforward FLP) covering much of the same ground, to be the man to say so; what I have done is not to raise any points where my own intellectual property is involved except to correct mis-statements. My work appeared just a few months before Blänsdorf completed his, so he was able to use it hastily (too hastily sometimes).

A standard collection like this (mine was not intended to be such) needs a firm definition of its field. Is everything called a carmen to be included (e.g. the incantations on pp. 419-22)? If so, why not Cato's Carmen de Moribus, which was included by Baehrens (p. 57)? The very word Peotarum in the title implies a restriction to texts in metrical form. Secondly, Blänsdorf's definition of a fragment, with a few understandable exceptions such as the Carmen Arvale and the Bellum Actiacum (I will remark that the apparatus on pp. 432-3 is full of false and misleading statements), seems to be that it is quoted by an ancient author; consequently, he includes a number of inscriptions recorded by literary sources (I note that some of these are now in my Musa Lapidaria, 1995). However, the principle becomes absurd when one line out of a longer poem by Tiberianus (p. 381) is produced simply because it is quoted by Servius, but not the rest of the poem because it has an independent manuscript tradition. The whole treatment of Tiberianus is perverse. One fragment has two numbers, under one of which nothing appears except a cross-reference to the other; the attribution of this fragment to Tiberianus is due not to Scarcia but to Helm (FLP 430); and it is as absurd as in the case just mentioned to print the fragment because it is quoted by Augustine and Fulgentius, and not other fragments of Tiberianus because they have an independent manuscript tradition. Would it not then be consistent to print those poems of Petronius quoted by Fulgentius from outside the Satyrica? And if we are told (p. 319) that there are poems in the Satyrica, why are we not told on p. 313 that there are poems in the Apocolocyntosis? And should we nowadays be referred to Baehrens PLM IV for texts of the epigrams attributed to Seneca and Petronius?

That raises the wider question of what to do with poems which appear in what we know in the wider sense as the Latin Anthology. Blänsdorf uses this to add two lines to the fragment of Gallienus, though on the principle which he applied in Tiberianus 1 he should omit them; yet from this source alone he introduces the Pontica (p. 445), while declining to print poems alleged to be by Pliny (p. 339) and Apuleius (p. 366). And finally it seems ridiculous to include in a collection of fragments poets such as Valerius Cato, from whose work not a word survives. From all this it should be clear that the whole basis of the work needs to be re-thought.

As for errors of fact, they abound. It is distressing to see Maecenas still given the name Cilnius despite such warnings as Syme, Roman Revolution 129; this error dies hard (I have recently noted it also in D. Mankin's commentary on Horace's Epodes p. 2). Atilius Calatinus is presented as the author of his elogium (p. 13). The name of Ticida is given as Ticidas (see FLP 229). Under Amelius Macer, to say sed fortasse duo Macri is a very misleading way of indicating that some of the references to a Macer (but not any of the quotations) may be to Pompeius Macer. It is ridiculous to have an entry for Horace with a reference to fr. inc. 95. Under Poetae Novi (p. 194) the reader is misleadingly referred to a passage in which Diomedes uses the word neotericus (see FLP 280).

Büchner simply declined to discuss questions of metre (this edition p. vii), which is perhaps as well in view of his blunders at e.g. fr. inc. 83.2 and 107 (these are perpetuated in this edition). Blänsdorf (who as Seneca 11 adduces a passage of Seneca's prose translating an apophthegm of Euripides and remarks metrum incertum!) is equally reticent (e.g. at Laevius 15 and 20, Valgius 1, Serenus 13 as presented by him) about how he understands the metre; Marianus 5 is presented in unmetrical form and defended by reference to a 'parallel' which Blänsdorf himself emends away. In the Didascalia of Accius, even those who see a medley of metres have to admit that some quotations are in prose, but Blänsdorf will not tell you which. In Cicero 33.6 and 34.23 there are unmetrical readings, the former Mulciberi introducing a split anapaest (gone are the days when Eduard Fraenkel could arrive at Oxford and announce 'Every German schoolboy knows that Menander never splits an anapaest'), the latter involving patris in a dramatic scenarius (patriis L. Mueller, DRM ed. 2, 552).

Here are a few samples of the gaps, errors and confusions with which text and apparatus abound. Repeatedly we find corrections reported incompletely, e.g. Hermann's on Accius 21; and when the reader proceeds to 24 he will wonder whether the Hermann of 21 is or is not the same as the G. Hermann of 24 (he is; Opusc. 8.391). On fr. inc. 28 it should be noted that this is Lucillius 1370 Terzaghi, 1386 Krenkel; on fr. inc. 31, 92, 95, 128 there should be references respectively to FLP 434, 456-7, 427, 419. I will add that the treatment of the fragmenta incerta is particularly unsatisfactory; e.g. 45b should not be there at all, and on 7a he pays no attention to the possibility, even probability, that the Carmen Nelei was a drama (anyway why is only one of the fragments of this work produced?). On p. 164 he does not know how to spell Phthia, though he has learned by p. 401. On Albinovanus Pedo 19 why is < bellis > printed thus? The word is not added to the text but emended from lib(e)ris. This is one of the many notes arranged preposterously, with the lemma taking seventh place in the apparatus. Ovid 18 is AA 2.300. On Cicero 40.6 Nauck's conjecture recens (neores Euripides) should certainly be mentioned; on the other hand inexecrable conjectures by Büchner survive in the text at Seius 1.1, Calvus 12 (which as presented makes no sense at all). Anthalogia Latina and A. Palatina are confused on p. 181. On Aemilius Macer 18 the reader has to find for himself that the BK quoted are manuscripts of Isidore, not of Servius (who also has BK; p. xxvi), and that in quoting them from the apparatus of Lindsay Blänsdorf has neglected to note that the main tradition of Isidore has what he attributes to Dahlmann. The apparatus on Macer 7 is a mess; apart from a misprint it uses symbols which cannot be elucidated from p. xxi. At Lucan 6a there should be a reference to Timpanaro GIF 36 = ns 15 (1984), 163. At Porcius Licinus 6.1 Blänsdorf himself attributes tenerae to Hosius, not to Petrus Crinitus (who proposes teneraeque); and one may add that the punctuation of 3-4 is designed to avoid taking a stand on a difficulty. At Laevius 9 the apparatus is inadequate, twice inquit is included in a quotation which it merely introduces, and he misunderstands Gellius to be quoting dubitanter rather than forte from Laevius. He fantastically attributes Cicero's accidental spondaic verse (12a) to the De Consulatu.

I hope that I may be allowed to correct some statements about myself. On p. 249 I am recorded as changing one of the two occurrences of aliud in the line to alium: which? The apparatus to Caesar 1.5 implies that Baehrens (and I) read despecte, not despecte ex. In Gaetulicus 3 (p. 308) praecedunt is not my conjecture, but the reading of 3 out of the 5 manuscript sources of Probus; the whole fragment as here presented is nonsense. On p. 341 an emendation is attributed to me in a form in which I did not make it, since I placed the lacuna not where Blänsdorf does but where von Winterfield, with much greater paleographical probability, did. On Septimius 1 I am alleged to defend a reading which in fact I rejected. The note on fr. inc. 43 misunderstands my pp. 279-80. On p. 348 for 'Courtney" read 'Dahlmann".

I have filled pages with notes like these, but it is pointless to proceed, since it must be clear by now that I regard this book as a mess. Teubner's catalogue prices it at about $130; it is not worth half of that. On all personal grounds I am distressed to have to issue this verdict; amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas.