Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006.02.45

Paolo Esposito (ed.), Gli scolii a Lucano ed altra scoliastica Latina.   Pisa:  Edizioni ETS, 2004.  Pp. 203.  ISBN 88-467-1081-9.  €13.00.  



Reviewed by Vincent Hunink, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands (v.hunink@let.ru.nl)
Word count: 642 words

Lucan's epic Bellum Civile aroused scholarly interest already in late antiquity and was commented upon in various sets of scholia. The present volume contains six studies of this material. The Italian authors highlight intertextual relations of the Lucanean scholia with, notably, Virgil and his well-known commentator Servius. Some of the information is also provided in the form of comparative tables. The volume is clearly not intended for a general readership but for specialized scholars only.

In a general introductory essay, Paolo Esposito, the editor and main contributor of the volume, sketches the collections of scholia (notably the Commenta Bernensia, the Adnotationes super Lucanum, and the medieval Arnulfi Aurelianensis Glosule super Lucanum) and their modern editions. It is argued that the material stands in need of further, systematic research on its own account. Finally, the Lucanean exegesis in the humanistic period is said to be a promising area of research that has been largely neglected.

The second article, also by Esposito, forms the main part of the volume, covering nearly its first half (p.25-107). It focuses on the role of Virgil and Servius in the Adnotationes super Lucanum and the Commenta Bernensia. Hardly surprisingly, this role turns out to be highly important. For the scholiasts, Virgil's epic was a constant point of reference in their explanations of Lucan, whereas they regularly took up or reworked Servius' notes on Virgilian lines. Three extensive, comparative sets of tables (arranged both in the order of the annotated Lucanean verses, and, reversely, in the order of Virgil's works) well illustrate the general point of Virgil's presence in the scholia.

Next, Nicola Lanzarone, deals with poetic citations in the Supplementum Adnotationum super Lucanum (p.110-131). Again, Virgil received most attention, but the scholia also refer to some other Roman poets, notably Juvenal, Persius and Statius. The section concludes with a relevant index of passages referred to in the scholia.

Working the other way around, Paolo Esposito then discusses the presence of Lucan in book one of Servius' commentary on the Aeneid (p.133-152). The Flavian poet is quoted by Servius e.g. as an authority for a different version of a myth or as a source of comparable idiom. This shows how Virgilean and Lucanean exegesis intermingle to a certain extent.

In a further analysis, Rosina Iannone analyses nine specific examples of notes by Servius in which Lucan is quoted (p.153-170). Three of these concern Virgilean explanations which became the model for comments in the Commenta Bernensia, and in six cases the original line of Virgil is also quoted. Another double index at the end provides full material (again arranged in the order both of Servius' notes and of Lucanean lines).

Broadening the scope even further, in a final contribution (p.171-191). Enrico M. Ariemma studies Lucanean quotations in the scholia on Statius' Thebaid by Lactantius Placidus. In some 116 cases, Lucan appears to be directly referred to by the scholiast. Again, full material is also listed at the end in a double comparative table of relevant places. General indexes (p.193-202) close the volume.

On the whole, the contributions in this book are of a technical and philological nature. The book is obviously intended as a tool for advanced research in the field of ancient scholia. It will be relevant to scholars studying the circulation of secondary, explanative material in late antiquity. The numerous added tables and indexes will prove useful in this respect.

Meanwhile, scholars looking for a literary or more general analysis of these sets of scholia will inevitably be disappointed. In addition, the contributions in this volume are written in a traditional, academic Italian style that does little to attract the reader or to allow easy consultation. Even in a volume of such technical nature, the average reader or student of Virgil and Lucan might have been better served by a stimulating essay calling attention to this little known material.

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