Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2007.12.25

Matteo Taufer, Jean Dorat editore e interprete di Eschilo, prefazione di M. Mund-Dopchie. Supplementi di Lexis XXX.   Amsterdam:  Adolf M. Hakkert Editore, 2005.  Pp. ii, 213.  ISBN 90-256-1202-4.  €48.00.  

Reviewed by Massimo Magnani, Università degli Studi di Parma (
Word count: 1871 words

"Lexis" has recently devoted many "Supplementi" to Aeschylus and to the history of the Aeschylean editions and criticism.1 The first of them is Matteo Taufer's book (henceforth, T.), a completely revised version of his PhD dissertation about Jean Dorat, the scholar who "omnes Aeschyli interpretes iudicio et recti sensu superavit"2 or, more properly, about "one of the greatest of the sixteenth-century critics of Aeschylus" according to West. "But" -- continues West -- "the exaggerated notion of his absolute supremacy, which was partly founded on a wholesale misattribution of emendations, must be given up". At the end of the volume, T. is able to confirm West's judgement through a circumstantial discussion of the Aeschylean emendations credited to Auratus.

After the "Préface" of Monique Mund-Dopchie3 and the "Premessa" (pp. I-2), the first chapter ("Il greco in Francia nel Cinquecento: uno scorcio", pp. 3-14) sets the activity of Dorat in its historical context, briefly overviewing the most important French personalities and events of the period: the first teachers of Greek language (Georgios Hermonimos, after 1470 known as Gregorios Tifernates) and Greek literature (Ianos Lascaris); the Italian humanist Girolamo Aleandro, who promoted school editions similar to the Prometheus of Dorat (see infra); thereafter, the great Budé, Pierre Du Chastel, the foundation of the Collège de France (1530), Pierre Danès and Jacques Toussain (the first lecteurs royaux of Greek) and their successor Adrian Tournèbe;4 finally, the impressive undertaking of the refugee Henri Estienne, the Genevan publication of the Thesaurus Graecae linguae (1572).

The second chapter ("Profilo biografico di Jean Dorat", pp. 15-34) deals with the biography of the scholar, born in Limoges either in 1508 or in 15175 and dead in Paris the first day of November 1588. T. handles different sorts of documents with praiseworthy ability in order to reconstruct the life of Dorat, taking account of the interest that Dorat has always been capable of arousingamong students of the Pléiade and of the recent publication of the archive documents referring to Ronsard and his group.6 T. also emends in some parts the established cursus studiorum et honorum of Dorat and is more precise about his relationship with Ronsard, Baïf and Belleau.

In the third chapter ("Emendator per coniecturam, pp. 35-47), T. dismisses Dorat's poetical work and prepares the reader for the following examination of his philological efforts by surveying judgments about him: from Lambinus to Fraenkel, scholars all seem to be extremely delighted by his brilliant conjectures and his great familiarity with the most difficult Greek poets. A noteworthy exception is the harsh condemnation of Isaac Casaubon (pp. 42f.).

Even though, during the years spent as master of the "collège de Cocqueret" and "lecteur ordinaire" at the Collège Royal, Dorat devoted his attention to many other Greek and Latin authors (e. g. Lucretius and Nonnus),7 he was deeply interested in Aeschylus. However, the only edition he published was the 1548 Prometheus Bound (ch. V, "Il Prometeo del 1548", 48-80), while for other tragedies "his emendations were propagated by his admiring friends and pupils".8 T. adds two other copies of this edition to the Cambridge one discovered by Mund-Dopchie in the Wren Library of Trinity College in 1976: the first, also discovered by Mund-Dopchie but unpublished, comes from the Bibliothèque municipale of Rouen; the second comes from the Bibliothèque municipale of Valognes. The three copies are completely identical, but the last two help to read the damaged parts of the Cambridge exemplar. Unfortunately, Dorat prepared this edition in usu scholarum, giving in to the repeated requests of the publisher, Chrestien Wechel (see the Epistula praefatoria). In fact, there is only one (easy) emendation (PV 113, see infra) that improves the text of the editio Aldina of Francesco d'Asola (so M. L. West, Studies in Aeschylus, Stuttgart 1990, p. 358), and a dozen plain alterations, subsequently confirmed by manuscripts. Otherwise, it is a question of "banali emendamenti" or "modifiche inopportune" (see pp. 79f. with nn. 101-103), that would create difficulties for the well-established reputation of Dorat if we did not have a large amount of his Aeschylean conjectures, mostly preserved in the form of manuscript annotations made in the margins of Vettori-Estienne editions (1557) by eminent scholars close to him: W. Canter (in this case, in the appendix of his 1580 edition) and J. J. Scaliger (both pupils of Dorat), F. Portus, I. Casaubon.9 Out of this chaotic corpus, T. takes into consideration only the emendations that Mund-Dopchie and West testify as Dorat's (ch. V, "Congetture a Orestea e Supplici", pp. 81-171), finally joining West's above-cited judgement. In the "Conclusioni" (ch. VI, pp. 172-178), T. defines the personality of Dorat and comes to the opinion that he was not really interested in the constitutio textus but in unfolding his own ingenium to his learned group of pupils and friends.10

T.'s book offers a detailed survey of Dorat's contribution to Aeschylus -- completing in this respect the work begun by Gruys and Mund-Dopchie -- and a starting point to studies on the rest of Dorat's learned activity. T.'s enthusiasm is always present, especially in the first part of the volume. In ch. IV-V not all the discussed alterations are noteworthy, and the most important effort, to attribute and assess them, has already been made;11 perhaps a selection of the relevant emendations would have been enough, particularly in the section devoted to PV. T. often clutches at straws in trying to explain the reasons for Dorat's emendations, but sometimes resignation could be the right choice. T. always prefers clarity to stylistic elegance, which is appropriate when one deals, as he does, with such complicated matters, but some repetitions could be easily avoided as well as some inelegancies refined.

Some observations and additions on textual-critical matters.

P. 60 PV 40: perhaps Dorat's emendation οἶόν σε was intended to set up a prolepsis (with accusative of exclamation?).

P. 61 PV 54: I am inclined to believe that Dorat's ψελλία for ψαλλία (Aldina, i. e. ψάλια codd.) was not intended to give a more poetical flavour: in fact, the opposite is true, and Dorat could read ψάλια with metaphorical meaning e. g. in Aesch. Choe. 962 (the only poetical instance of ψέλιον is for us [but not for him] Phryn. 24 Sn.-K. = Phryn. fr. dub. 92 K.-A. ap. Antiatt. p. 116, 26 Bekker). Perhaps Dorat was unhappy with a word usually referring to horses (see the comm. of M. Griffith, Cambridge 1983, p. 94 ad l.), and preferred a metaphor from "armlet" (but see LSJ s. v. 2019 ψέλιον for the relationship between the two nouns). Here both spellings are wrong metri causa, not only the accents.

P. 63 PV 113: here we are dealing with the unique improvement, πεπασσαλευμένος, but Dorat keeps δεσμοῖσι and so we have an irregular anapest in the fourth foot: the parallel at v. 840 is really "d'incerta interpretazione" (ibid. n. 77), for Ἰόνιος is "probably to scan with the short first iota" (so Griffith ad l., p. 235) and also it is an ethnic, not so useful for attesting the license (see what T. says on p. 72 about the anapest in fifth foot, v. 748 and Sept. 569).

P. 65 PV 387: the future στελεῖ, imposed by Dorat, instead of the present in the Aldina and in the mss., is influenced by the preceding δοκήσει.

P. 66 PV 399-401: ῥέθος for the transmitted ῥέος is per se subtle, but needs unwelcome textual changes all around in order to be accepted. Also, T. might have mentioned that this conjecture derived from the difficulty in finding a reference for ῥαδινὸν (ῥαδινῶν M et alii).

P. 68 PV 547-550: in this case, the phrasing of T. is too concise. (v. 549) is the transmitted reading, not a conjecture, and is required not by the lyrical context but by the syntax.

P. 69 PV 590-591: better not to use the word "colometria" with reference to iambic trimeters (and see p. 78).

P. 71 PV 712f.: the vox nihili γυπόδας (most of the mss.) was influenced by the preceding γύας (v. 708, see West's ap.crit.).

P. 72 PV 740f.: προοίμια (Dorat and Ot) is not the "nome del predicato di λόγους", but its correlative (in this chapter, more complete information about manuscript readings would have been desirable).

P. 85: T. prints the text of the consensus codicum next to Dorat's emendations (ch. V), to make the latter's contribution stand out more clearly, but this consensus is roughly achieved (see T.'s. apparatus, passim). If we know that Dorat had nothing else but the Aldina for PV, it is impossible to ascertain his starting point for the Orestea and Suppl. Perhaps, T. could reprint the text of the Aldina, as in ch. IV, or West's, chiefly because sigla, readings and colometry come from the Teubner edition.

P. 90 Ag. 105: better to print double, not square brackets as regards the reading of M (see West's apparatus).

P. 93 Ag. 165: here Dorat suggested μάτας instead of μάταν, but I would explain his correction differently, not as a "genitivo di origine dipendente da φροντίδος, a sua volta retto da ἄχθος (dunque, il 'peso dell'angoscia derivante dalla stoltezza')" but as a genitive depending on ἄχθος. If we accept T.'s interpretation, "la lettura è... complicata, e più difficile che se si mantenesse l'avverbio tràdito μάταν". Dorat saw a difficulty in the paradosis, but not the real one (i.e. "the precise meaning of τὸ μάταν ἄχθος": see Fraenkel II pp. 102s. ad l.).12

P. 105 Ag. 697: without any evidence, why should we expect that Dorat had anticipated Heath's πλατᾶν for πλάταν?

P. 122 n. 228: Aesch. Eum. 112, supplying a parallel for the plural of ἀρκύστατος, is a (plain) conjecture of Tournebus (see West's ap.crit.).

Pp. 124f. Ag. 1509-1512: T. tries to explain Dorat's προσέξει for παρέξει supposing that the Limosinus implicitly anticipated Hermann's πάχνᾳ κουροβόρῳ, in order to give a meaning to his own προσέξει (scil. τὸν νοῦν). So: "(dovunque avanzi), farà attenzione al sangue raggrumato dei fanciulli divorati". The passage is very complicated and the paradosis probably corrupt, but I find this solution worse than others, unless we take Dorat's προσέξει as 'wherever ... he will land' (in a metaphorical meaning: but see LSJ 1512 s.v. 2). Fraenkel's arrangement still seems to me the best (with Dorat's [?] πάχναν κουροβόρον, see I pp. 182-184 and comm. ad l. III pp. 715f.). In order to simplify the problematical syntax in ὅποι δὲ καὶ προβαίνων (Auratus, Canter: προσβαίνων τ), i.e. "and wherever he advances" (Fraenkel I 185 duce Hermann), we could perhaps assume an ellipsis of the preceding βιάζεται.

P. 127 Ag. 1535-1536: T. misreads the apparatus of West (1998, 267), where "esse ratus" follows "1536 πρὸς Ἄτας Keck2 (βλάβης huius glossema esse ratus)", not "Μοίρας Aur.3 (μοίρα G)".

P. 132 n. 299: it is better to mention the second edition of TrGF IV (S. Radt, Göttingen 1999).

P. 145 and n. 372: to avoid misunderstandings, it is better to write "l'ultima edizione favorevole al plurale", rather than "l'ultimo editore", referring to Headlam and Thomson.

P. 154 Eum. 377: this is the only occurrence of ἄφρων in the surviving plays of Aeschylus, but the adjective is also attested in Aesch. fr. 392 R., and ἀφρόντιστος in Ag. 1377 (but with different meaning).13


1.   S. Novelli, Studi sul testo dei Sette contro Tebe, avant-propos de Pierre Judet de la Combe, Amsterdam 2005; S. Amendola, Donne e preghiera. Le preghiere dei personaggi femminili nelle tragedie superstiti di Eschilo, Amsterdam 2006; A. M. Galistu, L'edizione eschilea di Adrian Tournebus, prefazione di R. Tosi, Amsterdam 2006; V. Citti, Studi sul testo delle Coefore, Amsterdam 2006 (cited by T. "2005 (in corso di stampa)", p. 119 and passim); E. Medda, Sed nullus editorum vidit. La filologia di Gottfried Hermann e l'Agamennone di Eschilo, Amsterdam 2006.
2.   Aeschyli tragoediae, II, rec. G. Hermannus, Lipsiae 18592, 442 ad Ag. 900; M.L. West, Studies in Aeschylus, Stuttgart 1990, 364.
3.   M. M.-D., La survie d'Eschyle à la Renaissance. Éditions, traductions, commentaires et imitations, Louvain 1984; Ead., La survie d'Eschyle à la Renaissance: vingt annes après, in Ecdotica ed esegesi eschilea, Lexis 19 (2001) 67-77. The base of the contemporary studies about this subject remains J. A. Gruys' The Early Printed Editions of Aeschylus, The Hague 1981.
4.   This seems to be the most appropriate spelling of the family name: see Galistu (supra n. 1), pp. 3f., despite for example Mund-Dopchie ( supra, n.3) passim and R.D. Dawe, CR 35 (1985) 247.
5.   The birthdate is not easily defined, notwithstanding the laudable efforts spent by T. in facing up to the problem: see p. 15f. n. 2 and pp. 20f.
6.   Archives nationales. Documents du Minutier central des notaires de Paris. Ronsard et ses amis, réunis par Madeleine Jurgens [...] à partir des dépouillements de Xénia Pamfilova, Paris 1985.
7.   On pp. 46f. we are told that the Dorat's provider of manuscripts was Henri de Mesmes, to whom Dorat addressed an "interessante 'biglietto'", in order to ask the "Memmij clare nepos Lucretiani" for a "Homeri / Hymnorum [...] codicem vetustum", that not unexpectedly began with the Hymn to Apollo (ll. 15 and ff.). It would be interesting to know which of the four Paris manuscripts (A, B, C, Π) was that long-awaited by Dorat (see the list in Inni Omerici, a c. di F. Càssola, Milano 1975, p. 595).
8.   Aeschylus. Agamemnon, ed. with a comm. by E. Fraenkel, I, Oxford 1950, p. 35.
9.   We have also seven more exemplars annotated by several anonymous hands, though the marginalia in the seventh copy, Leiden Universiteitsbibliotheek 756.D.23, earlier attributed to Dorat, are due to Jean Bourdelot, as well as many conjectures inside (see M. Mund-Dopchie [cit. n. 3], p. 211).
10.   The volume of T. ends with a bibliography ("Bibliografia eschilea", pp. 179-185; "Edizioni o commenti di altri testi antichi citati", pp. 185f.; "Bibliografia generale", pp. 186-196) and indexes ("Indice dei luoghi antichi citati", pp. 197-204; "Indice analitico", pp. 205-212, in fact an index nominum).
11.   See the "Praefatio" in Aeschyli tragoediae cum incerti poetae Prometheo, ed. M. L. W. Ed. correctior ed. primae (MCMXC), Stutgardiae et Lipsiae 1998, pp. XXII-XXIV. For the sigla and the critical apparatus, I refer to this edition. My thanks to the Dipartimento di Scienze Filologiche e Storiche dell'Università degli Studi di Trento for the digital reproductions of the ed. Wecheliana of Cambridge, Trinity College, and Rouen, Bibliothèque municipale.
12.   Aeschylus. Agamemnon. Ed. with a comm. by E. F., I-III, Oxford 1950.
13.   Some other misprints: p. 7 n. 22 l. 1 read "vieppiú"; p. 66 n. 81 "ῥέθος; p. 70 "655-659"; p. 74 n. 93: "Livio, Parisiis"; p. 89: "ms. Triclinianus"; p. 94: "necessario"; p. 99: "gives"; p. 110: "E. A. J. Ahrens"; p. 115: "giudizio"; p. 118: "ci si può solo limitare"; p. 129: "entre" semel; p. 133: v. 213 "ἐπαγγέλλουσα"; p. 139 n. 335: only one dot; p. 159 n. 461: "Seidler"; p. 188: "étymologique".

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