Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006.10.17

Franz Bömer, P. Ovidius Naso, Metamorphosen: Addenda, Corrigenda, Indices.   Heidelberg:  Universitätsverlag Winter, 2006.  Pp. 352.  ISBN 3-8253-5189-0.  €95.00.  

Reviewed by Gauthier Liberman (
Word count: 464 words

Every Latinist interested in Latin poetry has used or knows the late Franz Bömer's monumental seven-volume commentary on Ovid's Metamorphoses (1969-1986). This volume of Addenda, Corrigenda is the first of two; the Indices will stand in the next one.

A two-page preface by the collector of Bömer's notes on his own work, Ulrich Schmitzer, reveals the genesis and limited scope of the book, which he even adorns with a reproduction of a few typed notes of Bömer's, themselves corrected by the author either with the typewriter or with his own legible hand. Schmitzer tells he has added limited material of his own, bibliographical data up to 1998, when he received Bömer's last addenda addendis, and references to the ThLL up to 2004. So far as I am aware, nothing enables the reader to distinguish Schmitzer's addenda from Bömer's, and this is a pity, especially if one views the volume as a work of pietas, which it partly is. It is also a pity that Schmitzer has not taken into account bibliography up to 2005 (the date of the preface is 31/12/2005): this makes the addenda considerably less useful than they might have been.

It will be no surprise to those who know Bömer's enormous bibliographical knowledge that many addenda are bibliographical. Not a few notes include new references to works already quoted in the commentary; some refer to passages of the Latin poets which had escaped Bömer. On the whole, these Addenda, Corrigenda look very much like what an author writes in the margin of his own book when he wants to correct and update it. They are short and succinct. No attempt has been made to improve the way many textual issues are dealt or rather not dealt with in the commentary. The new conjectures which have been selected for quotation are very rarely commented upon, and when they are, the commentary is very summary. Discussions are generally rather rare. One may be disappointed that the quotation of Valerius Flaccus 3,244-245, suspectaque motu explorant, in the note on Met. 10,455-456, altera motu caecum iter explorat, is not followed by a discussion, where it would have been stressed that motu is much clearer in Valerius' line (suspecta motu) than in Ovid's, where it seems to me to be difficult. But one must be content with the quotation. The notes generally strike a cold and impersonal note. Such a remark as 'mit vielen falschen Zitaten' (note on 12,39 sq., about a paper by a French scholar) is rather exceptional. The short note on 3,321 'Eine antwort auf diese Frage hat L. Tolstoi in der Kreutzer-Sonate gegeben' is also of a kind rarely to be met with in the volume. The book is by no means free from misprints, especially in the foreign languages, ancient Greek included.

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