Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2000.07.12

Bruno Gentili, Franca Perusino, La colometria antica dei testi poetici greci.   Pisa-Roma:  Istituti editoriali e poligrafici internazionali, 1999.  Pp. 197.  ISBN 88-8147-190-6.  



Reviewed by Hélène Perdicoyianni-Paléologou, Brown University
Word count: 1697 words

In this work, Bruno Gentili and Franca Perusino gather together certain lectures of outstanding scholars in the area of Greek metrics. These lectures were held in the course of the research seminar La colometria antica dei testi poetici greci in Urbino between May 17th-19th 1997 on the initiative of the National Center for Studies on Ancient Greek Culture and the Institute of Classical Philology.

The book begins with a short, five-page introduction where Bruno Gentili presents the significance of the seminar and proceeds to a brief description of the history of colometry from 5th c. B.C. to the present time. By "colometry" the author means the analysis of cola, i.e. purely grammatical entities, transmitted by manuscripts and described in the ancient commentaries. This analysis enables him not only to reconstruct the relationship between various codices and eliminate many arbitrary conjectures inserted in the modern vulgate for metrical reasons, but also to re-examine the metrical tradition which was gradually being obliterated.

Following are the thirteen contributions and conclusions.

1. Thomas Fleming, "The Survival of Greek Dramatic Music from the Fifth Century to the Roman Period" (p. 17-29).

Fleming seeks to study "how much was known of the music of Greek drama after the fifth century" (p. 18). After the disappearance of the music, the texts of dramatic and lyric poetry were divided into lines (cola) by Aristophanes of Byzantium and other Alexandrian scholars who relied on metrical theory rather than on solid musical evidence. The main hypothesis that Fleming put forward is that the music was written down by composers of dramatic choral lyric poetry, because they considered it an essential part of their work. These copies were used by poets and chorus-leaders for instructing singers. These musical notations were preserved down to the Roman period. This hypothesis encourages him to believe that the cola of Alexandrian editions reflect the rythmical features of fifth-century dramatic choral lyric poetry.

2. Andrea Tessier, "Demetrio Triclinio (ri)scopre la responsione", (p. 31-49).

In this article, Tessier seeks to assess the significance of the edition of the lyric parts in the three tragic poets made by Demetrius Triclinius (Aeschylus (M), Sophocles (L) of Laurentiantus 32, 9, Euripides, Laurentiantus 32, 2 (L)). Specifically, he attempts to make obvious the antistrophic relation ("responsione" according to him, thesis and (ant)apodosis in ancient terminology). This permits him to demonstrate the perfect competence of Demetrius Triclinius in metrics and, consequently, his ability in editorial activity.

3. Bruno Gentili, "Problemi di colometria pindarica (Paen. 2 e Nem. 7)", (p. 51-61).

This article aims to clarify all kinds of colometrical problems in Pindar's texts transmitted by various papyrus and medieval codices. The first papyrus that Gentili briefly studies is P. Oxy. 841 (I-II d. C.) of Pean 2 and, specifically, the strophes 4-5 (cola 5-6 of papyrus). Afterwards, he examines the colometry transmitted by medieval codices. His study is focused on the epodos of Nem. 7, for which the codd. B (Vat. gr. 1312) and D (Laurent. 32, 52) are used. In fact, this epodos provides an example of a plausible colometry analysis confirmed by the interpretation of the Scholia Vetera. The study of this epodos enables Gentili to assess the role of ancient colometry, and he concludes that it is not possible to assess it without a good knowledge of the metrico-rythmic doctrine.

4. Liana Lomiento, "Analisi metrica di Pindaro, Ol. 4 e 5: codici e Scholia Vetera", (p. 63-84).

Lomiento first cites the Greek text of Ol. 4 and 5 according to the colometry of the codices and the Scholia Vetera. This text is followed by a brief apparatus criticus, which is limited to indicating the textual variants crucial for the metrical interpretation, by the apparatus criticus of the ancient colometry, which indicates the colometrical deviations appearing in the mss and, finally, the metrical scheme as well as the apparatus criticus of the modern colometry. The study of the colometry and the ancient interpretation of the Pindaric metrics leads the author to draw interesting conclusions about the colometrical order of the two odes, the strong pauses of Boeckh's verse, the justification on the level of style of hiatus that is internal to colon in Ol. 4, v. 8 and in Ol. 5, v. 2, and the internal coherence of all the sections in the poem.

5. E. Christian Kopff, "Diggle's Critique of Dale's Canon of Iambic Resolution in Tragic Lyrics", (p. 85-93).

In this article, Kopff investigates the fate of A. M. Dale's Canon of Iambic Resolution in Tragic Lyrics, found in the The Lyric Metres of Greek Drama, Cambridge 1982 (2nd ed.), p. 73: "In syncopated iambic or trochaic cola there is no instance where resolution unmistakably precedes syncopation". In Diggle's analysis, the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles provide no example of resolution before syncopation in lyric iambics. The supposed examples in Euripides, specifically in Orestes, Hecuba and Hippolytus, cause many textual, metrical and interpretative problems. However, Kopff does not impugn the entire validity of Dale's canon and confirms the validity of certain exceptions in the lyrics of Euripides' later plays and Rhesus.

6. Alessandro Pardini, "Note alla colometria antica dell' Aiace di Sofocle" (p. 95-120).

This falls into three parts, the first of which deals with the colometry of Ajax in Laur. 32, 9 and papyrus. Based on the finding that in Laur. plut. 32, 9 (L) the lyric parts have been written out with such great care that they permit him to reconstruct with great certitude the systematic colometry, which is reproduced in the appendix of this study, Perdini asks whether we can glimpse there one of antiquity's licenses. For this, he uses P. Berol. 21208, P. Oxy. 1615, P. Berol. 21208 and a fragment of a codex dated in 5th or 6th c. In these papyri, there have been preserved the parts of the antistrophe in commos comprising v. 879-914 = 925-960. In the second part, Pardini examines the manuscript tradition independent of L and, in the third, he attempts to explain why the deviation of the three cola in ancient editors seems obvious and clear to modern editors.

7. Maria Grazia Fileni, "Il secondo stasimo degli Eraclidi di Euripide (vv. 608-629)", (p. 121-132).

In this article, Grazia Fileni proceeds to modifications in the colometry of the second stasimon in Heraclides. This colometry reproduces in a precise manner that of the codex L preceding the multiple interventions of Demetrius Triclinius.

8. Antonietta Gostoli, "Euripide, Eracle 637-700", (p. 133-141).

The author engages in a detailed study of the metrical structure of cola transmitted by the codex L (Laurentianus gr. 32, 2) and P (Vaticanus gr. 287 + Laurentianus Conv. soppr. 172). This permits her to demonstrate that, in its totality, the colometry of the codices corresponds to a metrical analysis that is perfectly correct according to the principles of ancient and modern theory.

9. Elena Marino, "Il papiro musicale dell' Oreste di Euripide e la colometria dei codici", (p. 143-156).

This article deals with the re-examination of the papyrus P. Vindob. inv. G2315, which comprises v. 338-344 (Diggle) of Euripides' Orestes (408 B. C.), in relation to the colometry of medieval codices of this play. According to Marino, the credibility of the ancient colometry is demonstrated by the metrical interpretation of the first stasimon in the tragedy (v. 316-347 Diggle), which she cites in its entirety in her conclusions. The article ends with an appendix on one textual note of the v. 338-340 of Orestes.

10. Angelo Meriani, "Il Ciclope di Euripide. Osservazioni sulla colometria dei manoscritti", (p. 157-168).

The author aims at making all kinds of observations on two parts of Cyclops, the parodos (v. 41-81) and the second stasimon (v. 495-518), preceded by the anapest (v. 483-494). Those two are transmitted by Laur. plut. 32, 2 dated in 1315 and Vat. Pal. Gr. 287 dated in 1320, whose origin was the object of many constroversies, which come down to two questions: i) is P a copy of L? and ii) do both L and P depend on a lost common copy (Ï)?

11. Giovanna Pace, "Errori colometrici e colometrie equipollenti nella tradizione manoscritta del Reso", (p. 169-195).

The aim of this study is to examine all the significant passages which provide differences in the colometrical establishment of the main manuscripts of the Rhesus. These manuscripts are the following: Vaticanus gr. 909 (V) dated ca. 1280, Laurentianus plut. 31, 10 (O) dated in the second half of the 12th c., Laurentianus plut. 32, 2 (L) dated 1315, Vaticanus Palatinus gr. 287 (P) dated between 1320 and 1325, Londiniensis Harleianus 5743 (Q) dated ca. 1500 P. Achmim 4 (Codex Panopolitanus, nowadays P. Par. Suppl. gr. 1099, 2; Pack (2nd ed.)). This comparative approach enables Pace to assert that only an attentive consideration of the colometry transmitted by all the manuscripts permits us to reconstruct with a sufficient credibility the ancient colometrical division.

12. Luigi Bravi, "Aristofane, Cavalieri 303-311; 382-388: manoscritti e scolî metrici", (p. 197-205).

This brief article aims at studying the colometry of vv. 303-311 and 382-388, which constitute the initial part respectively of the ode and of the antode in the first agôn of Knights. To this effect, he proceeds to a comparative analysis of the main manuscripts of this comedy, R V A M E, wherein the secondary verses present a colometry that is essentially unitary.

13. Franca Perusino, "La seconda canzone nella Lisistrata di Aristofane (vv. 1296-1321)", (p. 207-212).

The study of the colometry of the second song in Lysistrata permits the author to prove that the echo of the rhythm belongs to the ancient Spartan cultural poetry. As a result, the song may have sounded bad to an Athenian, who was not used to sound and rhythm of a different language.

The work ends with a conclusion wherein Pietro Giannini underlines the scientific significance of the totality of the collected studies and with an an index of the cited passages.

In conclusion, this work draws its interest from the variety of the studies and their specificity. These studies, whose aim is to assess the philological role of ancient colometry, i.e. the reconstruction of the metrico-rythmical form of the lyric texts, are characterized by precision in analysis and sobriety of presentation.

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