Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2007.10.09

Carlo M. Lucarini, Paulinus Pellaeus, Carmina. Accedunt duo carmina ex cod. Vat. Urb. 533. Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana.   München/Leipzig:  K.G. Saur, 2006.  Pp. xxviii, 38.  ISBN 978-3-598-71323-1.  €48.00.  



Reviewed by Altay Coskun, Alte Geschichte and SFB 600, Universtät Trier (altay.coskun@uni-trier.de)
Word count: 1311 words

The core of Carlo Lucarini's edition (1-22) is the Paulini ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΙΚΟΝ Deo sub ephemeridis meae textu ("Thanksgiving of Paulinus to God, on the Textual Basis of My Diary"), commonly known as Eucharisticos. This short autobiography was written in Southern Gaul during the mid-5th century and consists of a prose preface and 616 hexametric verses. It is followed by the 19 verses of the Oratio Sancti Paulini, now usually ascribed to the same author. Moreover, two anonymous pieces have been drawn from the codex Vaticanus Urbinas 533 and added in an appendix under the titles Ignoti peccatoris precatio and Conquestio de domesticis calamitatibus (25/27-34, 35). On balance, the idiosyncrasies of the editorial preface (pp. IX-XXVIII), the arbitrary choice of texts, and the dubious principles of their constitution have left a highly unconvincing impression on the current reviewer.

The preface opens with a very selective introduction to the autobiography (IX-XII). Its focus is on Paulinus' birth, his first three years of life, and the date of his conversion in his adulthood. Lucarini follows P. Courcelle -- who posited a first draft of the Eucharisticos in A.D. 455 and its hasty revision in 4591, and ignores or misrepresents the compelling counter arguments in favour of a unitarian composition in 460.2 But Lucarini addresses neither the historical nor the literary implications of this issue. As to the remaining 80 years of Paulinus' life, Lucarini confines himself to referring to two further speculations: firstly, that Paulinus was the author of the Oratio Sancti Paulini, and, secondly, that he may have edited some works of his grandfather Ausonius.3

Next, Lucarini presents an accurate and useful description of cod. Bernensis and the ed. princ. (XIII-XVI). His main interest, however, are the early editions and scholia from the 17th to the mid-19th centuries. The scrutiny of their interdependence results in a nearly impeccable stemma (XXIV); only the relation of C. Daum is not clearly expressed. One of the pedigree's advantages is no longer to represent the ed. princ. by Margarinus de la Bigne with the letter P (i.e. the lost cod. Parisinus, now called alpha). But this remains implicit, and further possible changes that Margarinus may have introduced to the transmitted text remain unconsidered. Lucarini rather stresses that Margarinus is the 'first' to have rightly ascribed the glosses to their Humanist authors, not surprisingly since all of the early modern authors at issue depended entirely on Margarinus, as the more important cod. B had not yet been discovered.

It is left to the readers to muse about the motivations for Lucarini's inclusion of the two final poems -- or for the exclusion of similar pieces such as the Sancti Paulini epigramma or the Carmen de providentia.4 In the preface (XXVf.) we learn nothing about their content, historical background or individual features, which may somehow link them to the Eucharisticos. But we are told instead that one former attempt at ascribing the Conquestio to Paulinus was duly refuted long ago.

The three concluding bibliographies (XXVIIf.) are extremely selective. Thus the editions by H.G. Evelyn White, J. Vogt and A. Marcone are excluded from the "Editiones Paulini ad textum constituendum utiles". By confining himself to a short 'Index Nominum' (37f.), Lucarini has missed the opportunity to update G. Brandes' useful indices (CSEL 16.1.314-34), esp. the "laterculum poetarum" (cf. XXIII n. 39).5

The shortcomings of the preface notwithstanding,6 the judgement on the booklet will mainly depend on the quality of the textual constitution. While I was hoping for a new edition of the Eucharisticos that would pay more respect to the manuscript tradition, Lucarini has pursued the opposite path. He has maintained most of the 'corrections' to be found in C. Moussy's edition,7 re-established several conjectures already suggested by Humanist critics and introduced dozens of additional changes of his own. The latter are rarely accounted for, but appear to reflect mainly the editor's stylistic taste and personal understanding of history.

To give but a few examples: Paulinus' confession that, as a youngster, he "contented himself with having intercourse with the enticements, the maids, of his house" (v. 166 contentus domus inlecebris famulantibus uti) is changed to "with the enticements of the/a maid of the house" (famulantis abuti). Lucarini thus reduces the sexual abuse to a single girl. But the fact that the richest family of Aquitaine disposed over flocks of servants is repeatedly mentioned in the autobiography. For instance, when Paulinus was being driven out of Bordeaux in A.D. 414, in the face of all the hardship suffered, he comforts himself with the fact that "at least the honour of all the (female) companions as well as of the maids that followed his exile, was left unharmed, with no one even daring to touch them" (vv. 321-23 cunctarumque tamen comitum simul et famularum, / eventum fuerant nostrum quaecumque secutae, / inlaeso penitus nullo adtemptante pudore). For whatever reason, Lucarini prefers to read ... nulla evadente pudore, thereby presupposing that the servants would rather have wished to flee their master. After their arrival in Bazas, the fugitives were threatened by "a faction of slaves mixed with the insane madness of a few young, though free-born, men; these had taken up arms and strived particularly after the nobility's blood" (vv. 334-36 factio servilis paucorum mixta furori / insano iuvenum ... licet ingenuorum / armata in caedem specialem nobilitatis). But according to Lucarini, who conjectures instincta furore, the revolt had been instigated by the free-born. None of these changes is explained by the editor, let alone required by grammar, context, or history.

Cases in which the train of thought is seriously disturbed abound. Take for example Paulinus' reflexions on the reasons for not moving to his copious estates in Greece to escape the disruptions of Gaul: he was not so brutal as to "expose" his family against their will "to a foreign country" (v. 461 peregrinae exponere terrae). The change of terrae to turbae remains inexplicable to me, for Paulinus' Eastern estates had not been affected by barbarian raids and would have allowed a life in wealth and peace (cf. vv. 413-19). Or consider how, by supplanting the transmitted magna manus to magne Deus (vv. 463f.: sed tua magna manus divina et provida virtus / consilio sanctorum cuncta operando peregit), Lucarini destroys the subtle ambiguity of manus, which implies God's activity through the group of saints who advised Paulinus in Marseille.

If we compare my list of notable variae lectiones published in 2005, we find that in 16 instances Lucarini has opted for a version that I excluded mostly as unnecessary change to the transmitted text, if not as a distortion of the content. Only twice is his suggestion more attractive.8 In checking 20 new conjectures by Lucarini. I find 17 changes to the transmitted wording are, again, unnecessary, if not worse. Twice I am undecided whether to follow Lucarini or not, whereas once his suggestion is a clear improvement.9 Moreover, only one out of four newly posited lacunae of a whole verse is convincing. 10

As to the Oratio, Lucarini's conjecture of fuderit instead of the transmitted oderit (vv. 10-12 turpesque iocos obscenaque dicta / oderit illa nocens ... / ... semper rea lingua) cannot stand. In the remaining pieces, I count 15 alterations newly introduced by Lucarini, which I pass over here.

To conclude: Lucarini's main achievement is the solid and detailed description of the textual evidence and of the conjectures by 16th- to 19th-century scholars. The results of these efforts may have made a decent journal article but have not sufficed to produce a convincing edition of the Eucharisticos. My reservations are further based on the user-unfriendly shape of the preface and the lack of more detailed bibliographies or indices.11 Much worse, however, is that neither the editor nor the publisher cared about the manuscript authority. Instead of discovering some of the author's subtleties anew, Lucarini has buried them under further dubious conjectures.


Notes:


1.   P. Courcelle, Histoire littéraire des grandes invasions germaniques, Paris 3rd ed. 1964, esp. 167 with n. 3.
2.   N.B. McLynn, 'Paulinus the Impenitent. A Study of the Eucharisticos', JECS 3, 1995, 461-86 was the first to rebuke Courcelle's analytical interpretation. No one will blame Lucarini for ignoring my 'Notes on the Eucharisticos of Paulinus Pellaeus. Towards a New Edition of the Autobiography', ExClass 9, 2005, 113-53 or 'The Eucharisticos of Paulinus Pellaeus. Towards a Re-Appraisal of the Worldly Convert's Life and Autobiography', VigChrist 60, 2006, 285-315, which appeared too late. But he only discusses -- or rather distorts -- a fraction of my arguments deployed in 'Chronology in the Eucharisticos of Paulinus Pellaeus. A Reassessment', Mnemosyne 55, 2002, 329-44, and wholly ignores my monograph Die gens Ausoniana an der Macht. Untersuchungen zu Decimius Magnus Ausonius und seiner Familie, Oxford 2002. -- A detailed restatement is soon forthcoming in the Göttinger Forum für Altertumswissenschaft.
3.   For further bibliography, but also reservations as to the assignations, cf. Coskun, Die gens Ausoniana (as n. 1), 91 n. 3; idem 2006 (as n. 1), 301 n. 45.
4.   Cf. CSEL 16.1.499-510, and PL 51.616 = T.P. McHugh, Washington 1964.
5.   G. Brandes: Paulini Pellaei Eucharisticos, in Poetae Christianae minores I (CSEL 16.1), Vienna 1888, 263-321. H.G. Evelyn White, Ausonius, vol. 2, London 1921, 293-351. J. Vogt, 'Der Lebensbericht des Paulinus von Pella', in W. Eck et al. (eds.): Studien zur antiken Sozialgeschichte, Cologne 1980, 527-72. A. Marcone, Paolino di Pella, Discorso di Ringraziamento, Florence 1995.
6.   One might add that Lucarini's preface will be a delight to those who read Latin as easily as the newspaper, but will incite impatience in the average scholar working through it meticulously, and deter most graduate students from reading it at all. Although I approve of Teubner's policy to maintain Latin praefationes to classical texts, their composers should possibly refrain from rare words such as mantissa ('additional service/ profit') or misplaced periphrases as oculata et linguosa Dea (i.e. Fama, though strangely not in the sense of 'rumor', as one would expect, but 'glory/ credit') (XVII).
7.   C. Moussy, Paulin de Pella, Poème d'action de grâces et Prière, Paris 1974.
8.   Cf. Coskun 2005 (as n. 1), 149-53. -- Cf. praef. tit.; praef. 2, l. 11; praef. 5, l. 14; tit.; vv. 100; 142; 174; 316; 371; 415; 474; 493; 558; 566; 569; 608. -- Improvements: vv. 53; 270.
9.   Unnecessary: Praef. 5, l. 14f.; vv. 17; 30; 86; 93; 166; 236; 323; 334f.; 461; 463; 480; 507; 511; 522; 523; 526. Possible: vv. 61; 536. To be accepted: v. 452. In Praef. 1, l. 5; v. 259, older conjectures have been re-introduced to the text to its detriment. Fortunately, many other attempted 'improvements' have been relegated to the apparatus: vv. 333; 336; 372; 507; 536; 597; 559; 609. Not necessary but worthwhile considering are the notes to vv. 255; 344; 399; 552, while the suggestion for the lacuna in 542 is in fact attractive. -- The aporetic note on v. 37 could have been avoided, if Moussy's commentary (p. 118) had been considered. Also the crux editoria in v. 599 and the accompanying conjecture in the apparatus are better ignored; cf. Coskun 2006, 304. I further stumbled over a disturbing comma newly introduced to v. 37. -- I shall discuss some of the new suggestions in more detail elsewhere.
10.   Lacunae to be rejected in v. 267 (after ignorans) and after vv. 296 and 448; to be accepted after v. 270.
11.   Typos are on p. XI n. 4 "Oct{r}obri" and XVIII l. 19 "Guilel{e}mus"; on p. XIV l. 8, one would expect "Antequam ... disputam" instead of "disputo"; on p. XXV l. 7 read "Quod <ad> carmina ... pertinet". -- Lucarini's tiresome and inconsistent use of Latin (instead of Arabic) figures is fortunately restricted to his preface, where it is applied to years, books, chapters, pages, verses, though examples for inconsistent usage abound even there. The order of pp. 24-27 is confused.

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