Bryn Mawr Classical Review 98.5.01


H. Lloyd-Jones and N. G. Wilson, Sophocles: Second Thoughts. Hypomnemata 100. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997. Pp. 146.


Reviewed by H.-C. Guenther, Albert-Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg.

That second thoughts are often best will have occurred to many, I suppose, who have ever worked seriously in the field of textual criticism, since as a human art rather than an exact science it must involve a certain degree of personal judgement, which will -- at least that is what one would hope for oneself -- evolve with growing experience and acquaintance with the texts. It had in recent times become quite common for scholars who have produced a major edition to publish a companion volume in which they explain their textual choices in particularly difficult places. Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones and Nigel Wilson have followed this custom and published together with their OCT of Sophocles a sizeable volume Sophoclea (Oxford 1990). Inevitably an OCT of such a central and notoriously difficult author, produced by two so particularly distinguished scholars, prompted a vivid response, documented not only in a number of substantial reviews but also in further books and articles on textual matters in Sophocles, which took their start from Ll-J/W's work. Now, seven years after the first edition of their text Ll-J/W have published another volume in which they take account of the ongoing discussion and of the reception of their work. This procedure must be highly welcome because it documents the benefit of serious discussion among scholars and the progress which can be achieved by it.

Already in the second edition of their OCT, published only two years after the first one, Ll-J/W introduced changes to their text in seven places (Ai. 1369, OT 81, Ant. 635, 1289, 1298, OC 882, 1729). Now this new book marks further progress. Its main part contains notes on 301 passages; at the end, an appendix is added which touches upon several more general points which have been raised in the scholarly discussion about the new OCT. The new book shows everywhere a sincere and generous appreciation of the work of others and of serious criticism advanced by other scholars, coupled with a willingness to learn and to correct the shortcomings of one's own work. This attitude certainly entitles the authors to be outspoken from time to time about scholars who try their wits in textual matters without adequate knowledge of the basic facts. When on p. 9 in the preface Ll-J/W point out the scholarly duty of warning readers against several common faults one can hardly disagree with them, in particular if one is conscious of the fact that the number of scholars endowed with the most basic knowledge of what is going on in mss. and papyri and with satisfactory linguistic competence in Greek and Latin is sadly decreasing. Yet, despite the occasional severity one must also admire the remarkable discretion of Ll-J/W, in particular in the appendix, in reviewing several opinions which one might easily reject much less politely.

As regards the general matters treated in the appendix, I shall limit myself to briefly touching upon two points raised therein, before I come to the central part of the book. Ll-J/W rightly defend their view that the conjectural abilities of Byzantine scholars, even their inclination to interfere at all with the transmitted text, has often been overrated in the past. Recent work on the ms. tradition, in particular of the tragic poets, has shown abundantly that the impact of conjectural activity prior to Triclinius is smaller than has been assumed before. As regards the pre-Paleologan period it is extremely small indeed, at least in regard to poetic texts; I shall present the full evidence for Pindar in a book on Pindaric philology in Byzantium, due to appear shortly.

On the risk of seeming to be pedantic, I venture to add a further remark on Ll-J/W's decision to use collective sigla for ms. groups. Looking at the cumbersome apparatuses of some modern editions -- alas, indispensable as the only source of adequate information on ms. readings -- one will surely welcome the desire of the Oxford editors to remove from the apparatus of an editio minor all superfluous details. The minuscule letters for the groups a,p,r,t,z, printed in bold type, surely make for a very attractive picture and an extremely clear and easy to handle apparatus. It is surely to some degree a matter of opinion how close one judges the cohesion of a group of mss. to be, but if one looks at Ll-J/W's groups there is a marked difference between the fairly coherent families r,t,z -- as regards the non-triadic plays, also a -- and p or a (in the triad) on the other hand. I doubt that it was wise to cite the group p under a collective siglum. Since these mss. sometimes present genuine readings, the reader is entitled to know precisely in which ms. such a reading is found. It would seem to me that in such cases it is better to cite only two or three particularly important mss. (if possible those dating before c. 1300) for a certain reading, indicating by a convenient symbol like + or brackets if the reading is also found in further mss. not cited explicitly. If we agree e.g. that in OT 942 DO/MOIS is right, I wonder whether it would burden the apparatus too much to write DO/MOIS (NH) : TA/FOIS rell. instead of DO/MOIS p : TA/FOIS rell. Or take El. 364 where Ll-J/W's apparatus gives LAXEI=N p, Xr GR, L s.l. (manu recentiore, ut videtur): TUXEI=N LKrpat. Is the testimony of L+sl+ or Xr+GR+ really the most important for the correct LAXEI=N, and do we not want to know at least that it is also in N, one of the oldest of the p group? And would it be too much trouble to write e.g., LAXEI=N (NO), Xr GR, L s.l. u.v.: TUXEI=N LKrat, (CS)?

The foremost merit of Ll-J/W's OCT and their first companion volume was, in my opinion, the authors' sensitivity to poetry which is both so rare and so important in textual matters. This poetic sensitivity was mainly responsible for the fact that the OCT was neither a conservative text nor one disfigured by frivolous emendation. Ll-J/W have in many places defended rightly a difficult transmission against widely accepted attempts of emendation or deletion, but they have on the other hand had the courage to intervene radically or to delete even longer passages where their instinct strongly told them to do so. Among the most successful restorations of the transmission argued again in Second Thoughts I reckon Ll-J/W's splendid defence of PAREI/RWN in Ant. 367. On the other hand, Ll-J/W have rightly printed (with Pearson, but against a wide consensus) Martin's NU/C in OC 1752 (see Second Thoughts p. 137). 1751-3 -- with NU/C in the text -- condense the very essence of the whole play; whoever prefers Reisig's feeble and pointless interpretation of the transmitted CUN as CU/N) utterly fails to understand that. Ll-J/W's courageous decision -- much criticised by others -- to bracket Ai. 854-858 and 1028-39 (cf. also my Exercitationes Sophocleae p. 9 n. 1), which they defend again in Second Thoughts is also due to sense for poetry. As regards 1028-39, if further proof is needed, one may point to the frequent and awkward use of pronouns which is a typical stylistic feature of interpolations (see Jachmann, NGG 1934-6, p. 135, 199ff; RhM 89, 1940, 182). Even if a passage is free of grave metrical and linguistic errors it need not be genuine; there may have been other persons as well in the ancient world beside the great poets who were capable of producing now and then verses of acceptable quality.

The considerable progress marked by the new book is indicated by the large number of places (about forty) where the authors take back their choice of text or the explanation proposed in Sophoclea. Only in very few places or details, doubts remain about the progress achieved; almost everywhere one will readily see the advantages of the new solution proposed over the text printed in the OCT or argued for in Sophoclea. Ll-J/W propose two new conjectures: O)XO/N for E)/XON in OT 709 is compelling; in OC 342 they rightly agree with Kamerbeek's objection to SFW=IN D' and propose plausibly NU=N D', which can, of course be only an interim solution. SFW=IN D' should certainly be obelized in the next edition. In Ai. 702 Ll-J/W are now prepared to put their old proposal KELEU/QWN for PELAGE/WN in the text, they also defend five conjectures already printed in Ll-J's Loeb text at Ai. 225, El. 1193, 1347, Tr. 693, Phil. 973 (cf. also on OC 410-1). In six places where the OCT had accepted the transmission, Ll-J/W would now print an emendation suggested in the past: Ai. 81f., El. 653, OT 790, Ant. 269, Phil. 921, 945. In one place, El. 1239, they would chose a different emendation from the one printed in OCT.

In eighteen places Ll-J/W abandon the emended text of the OCT and return to the transmission: Ai. 245 A(RMOI= is hardly certain enough to be printed, but W(/RA 'STI\N is surely right); 420, 476, 747, El. 121-6 (Ll-J/W are right to revert hesitantly to the tradition, cf. also my Exercitationes Sophocleae [Göttingen 1996] 129 n. 433; but if emendation is needed, I still prefer LA/SKEIS to Kvicala's text; LA/SKEIS > TA/KEIS does not seem so difficult to me), El. 845 (the transmitted E)DA/MH is rightly retained together with a reinterpretation of the GA\R of the mss. as G' A)=R', El. 1276, OT 162 and 165, 1090, 1350 (Ll-J/W now accept the reading of V); Ant. 1227, Phil. 22f. (I do not think that the examples adduced protect E)/XEI XW=RON PRO\S AU)TO\N TO/ND'; PRO\S is a likely intruder from above, and if 23 is genuine, Blaydes' TO\N AU)TO\N is fully satisfactory), Phil. 43f. (Ll-J/W rightly take back MASTU/N; NO/STON does, in my opinion, never mean simply 'journey' cf. Exercitationes Sophocleae 125 f.; Jebb's view is far from easy, but one cannot exclude that the word in this context may be stretched so as to mean 'quest'. Ll-J/W may be right not to alter NO/STOS), Phil. 236, 421 (I hope I am right in interpreting the note to imply that Ll-J/W would now print Campbell's O(\S; this is right in my opinion. I also find Diggle's objection to Page's text convincing), Phil. 1361 (Dawe was right to cut out 1358-61; the interpolator will have intended his text to mean what Jebb -- who opted however for KAKOU/S -- ad loc. thought the transmitted text to mean), OC 113f. In OT 892-4 Ll-J/W would now obelize (Hölscher's TEU/CETAI is rightly taken back, E)/RCETAI looks indeed like an intruder from 890, which leaves one only to guess, but QEOU=, which is still regarded with sympathy, seems unacceptable to me). In two places the authors rightly abandon a deletion accepted in the OCT: Phil 794 (their note is exactly to the point and shows again their fine appreciation of poetry; surely the question is much more effective than the wish resulting from deletion of the line; Nauck's conjecture is also rejected by Jebb) and OC 743. In two places Ll-J/W are now inclined to choose a different transmitted reading than previously: Ai. 372 ~ 387, OT 942. In both places they are right. In one place (OT 81) they prefer a different interpretation of the transmitted text (O)/MMA TI instead of O)/MMATI, already proposed by Wex), in one other place (Ai. 1130) they opt for a different punctuation. In two places they do not say explicitly that they would now in fact choose to print a different text, but their note seems rather to imply it: Ant. 439 (Housman's or at least Blaydes' conjecture should be in the text), Ant. 859 (the transmission may be defended even without Kvicala's text in El. 121f.; this is in fact an easier case of the construction in question). The OCT obelized Tr. 196f.; the note on p. 91 seems to indicate that the authors are inclined to accept Wilamowitz' translation of the transmitted text, rightly I think. In El. 1085 Ll-J/W take back their explanation of PA/GKLAUTON; in OC 813f. the authors rightly revert to Campbell's and Jebb's explanation (the comma after FI/LOUS must be a misprint). In OT 527 the accentuation TINI/ of the Loeb text is taken back in favour of the usual TI/NI. Dawe's emendation W(/S SF' in Tr. 628 -- rejected as unnecessary in Sophoclea, but now recommended -- was already printed in the first ed. of the OCT (not in the second only, as stated in the note p. 94).

The book contains also valuable new exegetic material, which every serious student of the plays will wish to consult; I only point to a few places which seem particularly important to me: Ai. 866f., 1366, El. 1391-4, OT 772-3, 846-7, 895-6, Ant. 439-42, 608. Fine stylistic remarks one finds, e.g., on El. 1472-3; important new information about a reading in K on Phil. 220; cf. also on OC 493 (on L).

In conclusion I add a few remarks, mostly on places where I disagree with Ll-J/W's solution, but also on a few where I can add some additional support:

Ai. 770-3: Renehan's objections against the text are not sufficiently refuted by this note; they strengthen the case for a lacuna after 772 (cf. my Exercitationes Sophocleae p. 41).

El. 448-52: we should indeed read A)LIPARH= with Renehan. The faulty prosody and the late word reveal the interpolator. 451f. should be deleted with Paley. In this case the supplement for the elliptic A)LL' O(/MWS is particularly plausible: the interpolator failed to understand FE/RE with 449-51 from 447.

OT 35-9: I think one should indeed consider deleting 39. LE/GHI NOMI/ZHI T' is rather weak in a protestation of confidence; the interpolator obviously wanted to supply a verb.

OT 420: Ll-J/W rightly reject Easterling's defence of LIMH/N. E(LIKW/N for LIMH/N is reasonably certain. This is the common corruption of proper names; here it is particularly plausible because of the hiatus.

OT 445-6: Schoell's deletion of 447-62 is very likely. The lines ineptly duplicate 413ff. and are far too explicit. This is an example of 'Schlußinterpolation'. Surely Schoell deserves at least to be mentioned in the apparatus.

OT 666, 696: My conjecture in 696 is rightly rejected on grounds of sense, but I would still regard Page's KH=R (or KE/AR if one prefers the spelling) in 666 as almost certain.

OT 873: The explanation offered in Sophoclea (p. 100) appears to me the only one which makes sense of the passage in the context of the play, but I find the text as it stands rather obscure. Although one will be reluctant to remove the anaphora, I think Fraenkel's U(/BRIN should be in the text.

Ant. 465-8: A)/LGOS is surely not impossible, but I still find it awkward, because one is prone to take it together with OU)DE\N; as for H)NESXO/MHN the first metrically safe example for double augmentation in Greek poetry is E. HF 1319 (see O. Lautensach, Augment und Reduplikation [Hannover/Leipzig 1899] 159ff.); it is strange that West appears to be the first to question A. Ag. 905 (cf. his apparatus). One should be cautious to introduce the form here by conjecture (the transmission in Zo counts for nothing).

Ant. 571-7: In the past I had always been convinced that 572/4/6 should all be assigned to Ismene, both on grounds of preserving the conventions of the stychomythia and because indeed 572 is more in line with Ismene's than with Antigone's character. Reading the passage again I have changed my view: I would now assign 572 alone to Antigone, 574/6 to Ismene, precisely because on closer inspection it has great force if Antigone here reveals en passant that the adamant character she showed towards Creon may not be the whole truth and that she is in fact capable of other feelings as well. This is very forcefully brought out by letting her interrupt -- against all convention -- the stichomythia between Creon and Ismene just for once. Surely this is a purely personal view, but the opposite view is personal as well. It is quite understandable that scholars today react against romantic sentimentalism, but this should not make us blind for the fact that Sophocles was capable of expressing if he wished -- and he did so -- a much wider and more sophisticated range of feelings than modern scholars sometimes appear to realize. That 574/6 belong both to Ismene is clear; Ll-J/W are right to defend in particular the assignment of 576 to her together with the transmitted text in 577. Ant. 648: G) is not transmitted but a Byzantine conjecture. Thus it does not require a defence but rather proof that it is the best solution of the metrical problem. Neither OC 1278 nor Ant. 747, cited by Jebb, are suitable parallels for GE emphasizing a whole sentence; in both these places GE emphasizes a noun with attributive genitive; for the position of GE see Denniston, GP 149f.

Ant. 663-7: Ll-J/W are right to cut out the whole passage, but if the awkward language and thought in 666f. is adduced as proof for interpolation rather than transposition, then it is illogical to explain the intrusion of the passage by assuming that it comes from another tragedy. If 663-5 do not exhibit grave linguistic and metrical errors, they need not be genuine. In Exercitationes Sophocleae 52f. I had suggested that the lines may have been meant to replace 668-80, but they may equally well have been composed to stand between 671 and 672 where Seidler put them. In any case their displacement is proof of them being an interpolation, see my Quaestiones Propertianae (Leiden 1997) 115ff.

Ant. 834: I was entirely wrong to object to QEOGENNH/S beside QNHTOGENH/S; on the contrary, the form is chosen deliberately to soften the almost rhyming closure of two consecutive anapaestic dimeters.

Ant. 1155-7: Jebb's explanation of STA/NT' is correct, as is shown by 1158f.

Tr. 767-9: Ll-J/W rightly declare their sympathy for Bergk's lacuna which I regard as necessary; they are right to suspect that the scholion, on which Bergk based his supplement and which I had overlooked when I argued for a lacuna in Exercitationes Sophocleae 39, indeed indicates knowledge of the genuine text.

Tr. 834: I cannot produce a parallel either where the active and the middle voice are opposed so neatly as Ll-J/W suppose in their attractive interpretation of TE/KETO -- E)/TEKE in this line, but one may at least compare OC 1385ff. where KALOU=MAI (sc. A)RA/S) is similarly followed by KALW= (thrice) in 1398ff. (immediately after A)RW=MAI which resumes A)RA\S KALOU=MAI from above).

Phil. 502: Ll-J/W voice sympathy for Wakefield's PA/NT' A)/DHLA. I find PA/NTA DEINA\ perfectly suited and far superior to the flat A)/DHLA. The interpolator of 503-6 appears to have read DEINA/.

Phil. 576f.: Ll-J/W give a convincing explanation of SEAUTO\N CULLABW\N. The phrase does not look like a corruption. With Paley's conjecture the lines oddly anticipate the much vaguer statement in 620f.

Phil. 1036: TOU=TON is quite likely indeed, TO/NDE may have crept in from 1038.

OC 17: the question is not so much whether nightingales have particularly thick feathers or not, but whether another meaning than 'thickfeathered' is possible for PUKNO/PTEROI. This seems not to be the case. Sophocles may have cared rather for a poetic epithet (thick feathers fit the idea of natural abundance expressed in 16ff. very well) than for ornithological realism.

OC 288-90: O( cannot be dispensed with. The relative clause has only its point if it explains TIS after the definite O( (cf. also Kamerbeek ad loc.).

OC 516: A)NAIDW=S is among the most compelling conjectures the editors made in their text; cf. OC 238.

OC 638-641: LL-J/W rightly refute Bremer's objection to EI)/T' E)MOU= STEI/XEIN ME/TA. To read E)/ T' and contemplate a lacuna after 639 is futile: we do not want the rather feeble insistence on this irrelevant point expanded even further. TO\ D' H(DU\ TOU/TWN in 640 smacks rather the jargon of interpolators with their predilection for pronouns. Probably not only 640f. (del. Nauck), but OC 638-41 have to be deleted with Dindorf. They oddly anticipate 643ff. and dwell ineptly on a point of no significance.

OC 861: The readings of r and t are both metrical interpolations. Surely we rather want to give the missing syllable to the chorus, not Creon, although there are a few examples of antilabe after the second longum in Sophocles (e.g. Phil. 1295). Hermann's LE/GOIS A)/N is unwantedly vague. Smith's DEINO/N G' A)PEILEI=S gives excellent sense, but Heimsoeth's easy insertion LE/GEIS <SU/> is satisfactory.

OC 1226: Dawe's KEU/QE' is likely to be correct.

OC 1583f.: Even after the explanation of Ll-J/W the transmitted TO\N A)EI\ BI/OTON seems still obscure to me, despite Dietz. Mekler's TO\N A)/NDRA (regarded with sympathy by Jebb) is highly likely. The emphasis on the human status of the deceased is particularly fitting in contrast to QEI/AI in 1585. A)EI\ is a thoughtless metrical interpolation after corruption of TONANDRA to TONA by haplography.

OC 1680: PO/NTOS should not be defended with reference to 1658ff. There the idea is clearly expressed and has a crucial role in the context in which air, sea and earth are mentioned in succession. Whether NO/SOS in the scholia is due to a genuine survival of transmission may be doubted; it could be a gloss on PO/NOS. Still, even if the NO/SOS of the scholia should be a lucky chance, Reisig's NOU=SOS must be right. PO/NTOS in fact may easily be a corruption of an intrusive gloss PO/NOS. 1697: E)/BHTON should not be altered; Maehly's E)/TLHTON is among the feeblest conjectures ever received in the text of major Sophoclean editions. I see no need for a violent conjecture like AI)=SA (Nauck) either. Surely such an exquisite phrase as OU) KATA/MEMPT' E)/BHTON -- singular, but easily understandable from EU)= BAI/NEIN -- will not arise by corruption, even less so the dual. E)/BHTON is deliberately repeated from 1684.