Bryn Mawr Classical Review 97.5.10


Minos Kokolakis, "The Personality of Herodes Atticus," E)PISTHMONIKH/ E)PETHRI/DA TH/S FILOSOFIKH/S SXOLH/S TOU= PANEPISTHMI/OU A)QH/NWN. TOM. Labda. (Athens, 1995) pp. 65-79.

Haralambas B. Kritzas, "DU/O E)PIGRA/MMATA APO/ TO PETRI/ NEME/AS," DIEQNE/S SUNE/DRIO GIA/ TH/N A)RXAI/A QESSALI/A STH/ MNH/MH TOU= DHMH/TRH P. QEOXA/RH (Athens, 1992) pp. 398-413.


Reviewed by Jennifer Tobin, Bilkent University, Bilkent 06533, Ankara Turkey.

Two recent Greek publications have featured Herodes Attikos. Although both works are short, they are valuable additions to the growing bibliography for Roman Greece. The first, by Kokolakis, is a written version of a paper delivered at the British School in Athens in 1993. As a consequence of its originally oral nature, the article has no footnotes or bibliographical references. Kokolakis, taking a literary approach to the personality of Herodes, begins with a short discussion of the ancient sources for the life of the subject: Aulus Gellius, Lucian and above all Philostratos. Then follows a summary of Herodes' ancestors including a discussion of the ill-fated Hipparchos, grandfather of Herodes, who, accused of tyranny by the people of Athens, had his lands confiscated by the Emperor Domitian. Space is given to the career of Attikos, father of Herodes, who served as ephebe in Sparta and, after recovering the family fortune (by fortuitously discovering buried treasure in the garden of his Athenian home, probably funds squirreled away by Hipparchos before his fall), made generous donations to Athens and other Greek cities. Having thus set the stage Kokolakis launches in on a discussion of the youth of Herodes, his education under such notable scholars as Skopelian, Secundus, Favorinus and Polemo, and his rise as a rhetor of some standing. From here Kokolakis concentrates on the public life of Herodes, his political career, and his advantageous marriage to Annia Regilla, a young patrician related to Faustina the Elder. Herodes' interest in building is noted, and references are made to his benefactions at Alexandria Troas, Canusium, Orikon in Epiros, Thermopylai, Delphi, Olympia, Corinth, Isthmia, and of course Athens. As for his personality, Kokolakis characterizes Herodes as being class-conscious, having a high opinion of himself and enjoying the pretentious display of luxury. This brings the author to the private life of Herodes, a life fraught with conflict, first with Antoninus Pius and later with the Athenians. The latter eventually brought the charge of tyranny against Herodes, against which he had to defend himself before Marcus Aurelius. Besides political turmoil, Herodes' home life was tragically marred by the deaths of his loved ones: Regilla, most of his children, and his three foster sons for whom he erected statues inscribed with curses. Kokolakis ends his article with Herodes' estimation of his own career. He saw himself as a failure, since he had not been able to cut the isthmus of Corinth and thus felt he had created nothing lasting.

The article is an adequate summary of Herodes' life relying mostly on Philostratos' Lives of the Sophists, and to a lesser degree upon Aulus Gellius, Lucian, Pausanias and Fronto. Epigraphical data is mentioned, but not referenced. The author also seems to have based his work partially on Walter Ameling's Herodes Atticus (Hildesheim, 1983). While the personality of Herodes is not fully explored, the article provides a good summary in English of the life of Herodes Attikos.

The second article to be reviewed is the publication by Haralambos Kritzas of two inscriptions set up by a wealthy Corinthian family in the late 2nd-early 3rd centuries AD. The article's rather unexpected inclusion in the Proceedings for the International Congress on Ancient Thessaly is explained by the fact that the matriarch of the family came from Thessaly. The two inscriptions were discovered in 1973 in Petri, a village located some 12 km northwest of Archaia Nemea. Petri may be the site of ancient Kelees mentioned by Pausanias (II, 15, 3). The inscribed blocks were found built into an early Christian tomb and are at present on display in the inner court of the Nemea Museum. The inscriptions were carved on two matching stone slabs; on the top of each is a semi-circular recession for the placement of portrait busts. Epigram A, as Kritzas calls it, bore the portrait of one Salvia and is arranged in 5 elegiac distychs. Kritzas provides the following text:

QESSALIKO\N BLA/STHMA TO\ PHLE/OS AI)AKI/DAO
SALBI/A, H(/N E)FU/RHS E)/K POTE SEUA/MENOS
FLABIANO/S, POLLOI=SI SU\N I(/PPOIS H(MIO/NOIS TE,
EU)RU/XORON PE/LOPOS NH=SON E)SHGA/GETO.
5 UI(H/WN STEFA/NWI E)P' A)MU/MONI QH/SEI<S>, UI(E/,
DW/MATOS EU)DO/COU R(U/TORA KAI\ KTEA/NWN,
DW/MHTOR XW/RIO. PO/SIS D' E)MOS E)CENE/PEI TOI
O(/PPWS AI(=MA FI/LON NWI/TERON TELE/QEIS.
DH\ GA/R SOI KAI\ TO/SSON A)GALLO/MEQ', O(/TTI PATRW/|OU
H)/MBROTES OU)D' O)LI/GON KU/DEOS E)N BIO/TW|.
Epigram B, which Kritzas suggests once held a portrait of Salvia's husband Flavianos, is in slightly poorer condition than Epigram A, and is also arranged in elegiac distichs. Kritzas' reading follows:
FLABIAN- - TO - - - | - - - - -EN [- - - - - - - -] DRWN
FL[A]BIANO\S SAO/FRWN, XEINAGO/RH[S - - - - -]O/S
FLABIANO\S ME\N E)/TIKTE ME/NANDRON, XEINAGO/RHS DE\
FLABIANH/N. TOI=IN D' E)/RNOS A)RISTOME/NHS.
AU)TA\R A)RISTOME/NEI O(MOW/NUMOS E)/PLETO PATRI\
UI(OS, O(/TIS TRI/TATON TI/KTEN A)RISTOME/NH.
TOU= TA/DE E)/RGA TE/TUKTAI, E)PEI\ SKU/MNON FA/TIS E)STI\N
LEI/ONTOS KRATEROU= KARTERO\N E)CIE/NAI
H(RW/DHS MOU=NO/S MOI I)/SON KLE/OS H)/RAT' A)XAIW=N,
O(/SSON KAI\ MORFH=S EI)/DEI SUMFE/RETAI.
Kritzas provides an apparatus criticus for both epigrams as well as a long discussion of the family. Epigram A presents Salvia, who came from an illustrious Thessalian family. Flavianos of Corinth, on an errand to buy horses and mules in Thessaly brought her back to the Peloponnesos as his wife. In lines 5 and following Salvia herself addresses a (nameless) descendent, who as rhetor and builder fills her with pride as he continues the family line. The line of descent is explained by Flavianos in Epigram B. Salvia and Flavianos had two sons, Flavianos II and Xenagoras, the first fathered a son Menander, and the latter a daughter Flaviana. These two cousins married and from their union stemmed three generations of men named Aristomenes. The last, Aristomenes III, is responsible for the two inscriptions and is described by Flavianos as the "mighty cub of mighty lions." Aristomenes III is also described in Epigram A as a builder and rhetor. It is of interest that Flavianos (whose portrait adorned the top of the stone) compares himself (not Aristomenes) both in fame and appearance to the great rhetor and builder Herodes Attikos.

The two inscriptions record six generations of a family of some wealth and standing, perhaps connected even in Aristomenes III's day with the raising of horses. At Petri the remains of large Roman buildings with mosaic floors have been discovered, perhaps part of the family's holdings. What's more, certain members of the family prided themselves on being members of the intellectual elite. Aristomenes III is characterized as a rhetor and builder, perhaps acting on the model of Herodes Attikos. His ancestor Flavianos is compared directly to the Athenian euergetes, in countenance and fame. Kritzas finds further similarities between the family and Herodes Attikos, noting the coincidence that both Herodes and Salvia were Aiakides.1 Herodes had been active in Corinth, rebuilding the odeion and setting up statues, including one of his wife Regilla within the Peirene Spring.2 After Herodes' death around AD 178 a herm was set up in his honor, perhaps within the Kraneion, which bore a portrait of the rhetor and the inscription "Herodes used to walk here."3 Thus at least one portrait of Herodes was available for comparison with the portrait of Flavianos. One of the most famous monuments funded through Herodes' largess was the great nymphaeum at Olympia, which was decorated with statues of his family and of members of the imperial house.4 Kritzas suggests that Aristomenes III may have also built a fountain house accompanied by the monuments honoring his family, since the two epigrams were found near a spring. Kritzas concludes that there may have been some friendly relations between the family and Herodes Attikos.

Although the family's lands were located at Petri, certainly the family was also active in Corinth. Kritzas tentatively connects the family with the Gellii of Corinth whose members share some of the names found on the inscription: Xenagoras, Aristomenes and Menander. Two men with the name Lucius Gellius Menander (grandfather and grandson) are known from Corinth, and Kritzas suggests that the elder may be the Menander in the inscription (grandson of Flavianos I and great grandfather of Aristomenes III). The younger L. Gellius Menander was a friend of Arrian, the biographer of Alexander, and he and his cousin Lucius Gellius Iustus erected a statue in Arrian's honor around AD 145.5 According to Kritzas' scenario, these men would have been the cousins of Aristomenes II of the inscription. A Gellius Aristomenes Corinthos, known as a victor in the Phocian games of AD 212 could possibly be our Aristomenes III, but if the cousins of his father were active in the mid-second century there would be a 70 year span between the two generations.6 Kritzas suggests that this man might be the son of Aristomenes III. The connection with the Gellii of Corinth is attractive. Like the members of that family, the line of Flavianos and Salvia had wealth and standing as well as an interest in intellectual pursuits.

Kritzas makes one further intriguing suggestion, that the family had a friendship with Apuleius, author of The Golden Ass. Although it is not known that Apuleius visited Corinth, it is likely he spent some time there since the denouement of the novel occurred at the Sanctuary of Isis at Kenchreai.7 In his novel, the mother of the protagonist Lucius, called Salvia, left Thessaly as a girl to marry a wealthy Corinthian (2.2). Kritzas suggests that Apuleius may have known the family at Petri, and was even perhaps their houseguest. In their honor he may have included in his novel the romantic legend of the matriarch Salvia.

The article is clearly written and carefully researched. In the one-paragraph English summary found at the end of the article the author presents the date for the inscription as 2nd to early 3rd centuries AD. No discussion of the date is found in the Greek text, although a date in the second half of the second century AD is implicit in the suggested connections with Arrian and Apuleius. Also, the comparison with Herodes Attikos may argue that the inscriptions were set up nearer the third quarter of the 2nd century AD, when we know the rhetor, in so many ways a model for the family, was memorialized in nearby Corinth.


NOTES

1. For Herodes as a descendent of the Aiakidai of Aegina see IG XIV 1389, lines 30-33.

2. Odeion: Philostr. VS 2.551; statue of Regilla: Corinth VIII.i.86.

3. SEG XI 187; A. Philadelpheus, "Un Hermès d'Hérode Atticus." BCH 44: pp. 170-180.

4. R. Bol, Das Statuenprogramm des Herodes-Atticus-Nymphaeums. Olympische Forschungen Band XV (Berlin, 1984).

5. CIL III 7269.

6. IG IX (1) 12.

7. P.G. Walsh, The Golden Ass (Oxford, 1994) p. xxxvii.