Bryn Mawr Classical Review

BMCR 2018.12.40 on the BMCR blog

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018.12.40

Andreas Michalopoulos, Sophia Papaioannou, Andrew Zissos (ed.), Dicite, Pierides: Classical studies in honour of Stratis Kyriakidis.   Cambridge:  Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018.  Pp. xv, 438.  ISBN 9781527502888.  $89.32.  


Reviewed by Manolis Spanakis, University of Crete (manolispanakis@hotmail.com)

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[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]

This volume is inspired by and celebrates the work of Stratis Kyriakidis, Emeritus Professor of Latin Literature at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and offers a rich assortment of scholarship on classical literature, ranging from Homeric epic and the works it spawned in a number of genres, to 17th-century English translations of Virgil’s Aeneid. In the words of the editors Andreas Michalopoulos, Sophia Papaioannou, and Andrew Zissos, this collection of essays “is a testament to the impact Kyriakidis has had not only as a scholar and teacher, but also as a colleague and friend” (p. 18). As such, it admirably fulfils the editors’ desire to celebrate the work of the honorand.

As is to be expected in such a volume, the opening pages include a short biography of the honorand (pp. 1-13) and a list of his publications (pp. 14-17): memorialised in this way, he will not be forgotten by later generations. There follows an introduction by the three editors, who summarise the essays which follow (pp. 18-23). The remaining sixteen chapters are divided into two parts: Greek Literature (chapters 1-6) and Latin Literature, covering the biggest part of this collection (chapters 7-16).

Part I: Greek Literature

The first part opens with David Konstan’s “Image versus Narrative: Ecphrasis in the Classical Tradition”. Konstan examines a re-definition of the ancient term ecphrasis, applied to any vivid description, in which what is crucial is the ability to make the scene come alive as it was visible to the eye (enargeia), and suggests that “ecphrasis” existed in a coherent or self-conscious way. The article begins with the description of Achilles’ shield in the Iliad (18.590-606): in Homer’s description pictorial representation stops time, indicating motion only by suggestion in scenes with a progression. However, in Hesiod’s description of the shield of Heracles (216-236) narrative comes to an ending and represents life-like figures, though one must notice that there is complete absence of temporal markers in the description of local scenes. In Aeschylus’ Seven against Thebes (385-90) Konstan emphasises the significance of the images which are accompanied by inscriptions or quotations of the warrior’s boasts. In Moschus’ Europa (211-15), a series of images centred on a single story, that of Io, are meant to be viewed sequentially: the ecphrasis threatens to compete with the frame narrative, relating a complete action or praxis and thus restoring temporality to the pictorial images. In the Latin example, Catullus’ epyllion 64 reflects the boundaries between image and word and offers a description of embroidered scenes reverting to straightforward narrative and speech. Finally, Lucian’s Zeuxis depicts two different scenes: a painting and a battle. Konstan indicates here the contrast between the two descriptions: there is a big difference between an ecphrasis and vivid evocations of other types of scene.

In chapter 2 (“Etymologising Helen”), Tsitsibakou-Vasalos explores the complex and ambiguous figure of Helen, underlining the potential meanings behind her name for artistic and dramatic purposes: Hesychius 1992) attests to Helen’s religious and medicinal associations on the epichoric (or regional) level (cf. the Heleneia, and helenion). Pollux (Onom. 10.191.1-3) associates helene with a ritual (cf. Elenephoria). Modern scholars look for Helen’s name in a variety of traditions including Minoan, Indo-European, Spartan, and Rhodian (cf. Curtius, Pokorny, Frisk, Lindsay, Watkins, Clader, Skutsch, and Edmunds). Finally, in the Homeric epics, a number of proper names occasionally toy with possible meanings: the heroine is highly connected with loss, destruction, and metis “cunning”, while in later literature Helen is connected with cosmic light and to a genealogy from sun or moon. In chapter 3 (“Τὸν πάντα δουλεύσω χρόνον: Barbarians in Menander Reconsidered”), Petrides attempts a re-consideration of the figure of the barbarian in the New Comedy of Menander. First, the chapter offers a comparison of Menander’s barbarian with Aristophanes and tragedy: Old Comedy includes the non-Attic foreigner as distinct from the barbarian proper in its iconography of the “ethnic Other”, while in tragedy the “ethnic Other” is taken to be a self-referential construction of Athenian insiders addressing their peers (cf. logoi). In New Comedy, the “ethnic and cultural Other” is in short supply: protagonists, language, mores, and ideology are expressly Atticised, though Petrides considers that Atticisation doesn’t preclude the barbarian’s othering (p. 73). Stock types of non-Athenian or barbarian characters are incidental or renovated and the barbarian as an ethnological category is represented by slaves of non-Greek extraction (cf. the mercenary soldier in Dys. 218-28). What is more, it is observed that the Self and the Other are sidelined in favour of a scala naturae, a hierarchisation of beings on the vertical axis (Peripatetic ethical principles). Petrides concludes his article referring to a contradiction of “character” and “type” brought forth by the mask of a slave.

In chapter 4 (“The Strymon Vying with the Nile: Literary Implications in T. Geminus’ Anth. Pal. 9.707”), Plastira-Valkanou presents the figure of Geminus, who embellishes the Garland of Philip like melilot (AP 4.2.9): in his epigrams we may note the predominance of epideictic pieces on works of art with topics from history or the natural world (p. 91). Plastira-Valkanou offers a metapoetic reading of AP 9.707: two rivers, the Strymon and the Nile, dominate the epigram, which is constructed around a double comparison of the Strymon to the sea and to the river Nile. The author stresses the Strymon’s fertility as a literary symbol of a new generation of poems from Macedonia: many allusions to Geminus’ own aesthetic program invoke a Callimachean metaliterary figure in order to overturn it (cf. small-scale over large in Geminus, p. 104) and extol Macedonian poetic production, exhibiting an independent poetic spirit.

Chapter 5 (“Personal Names in Antonius Diogenes’ Incredible Things beyond Thule”) explores personal names, an interesting area of research for the Greek novels, allowing us to connect the text with the real world and affording us a glimpse into the author’s conception of the plot through the use of speaking names (cf. also the intertextual play with literary tradition). Ruiz-Montero recognizes two ethnic groupings or “lines”: the Arcadian line (Deinias, Demochares, Cymbas, Erasinides, Ceryllos, Carmanes, and Azoulis) and the Phoenician line (the family from Tyre and the characters related to them). The author concludes that Diogenes, a polymath, uses mostly real names, though he provides his characters with names that suited his work as a “comedy” and as a utopian travel narrative with erudite and exotic material.

In chapter 6 (“Agonistic Perspectives in the Orphic Argonautica”, Karanika draws attention to the agonistic I of the narrator and the creation of a new literary space in the Orphic Argonautica (OA). This essay focuses on the intertextual allusions that establish Orpheus as an agonistic figure, representing the authorial voice with sensitivity and displaying a deep knowledge of both the Greek and Latin epic traditions. Orpheus’ agonistic spirit in OA is evident in the scene of his agon with the Centaur Chiron (406-12) and his song contest with the Sirens (1270-1275). Orpheus is a sui generis hero and the OA’s style not only resonates with the Apollonian and thus Greek epic tradition of the Argonautic journey, but also engages with the poetics and aesthetics of Roman poetry as well (cf. Ov. Met. 10.148- 152).

Part II: Latin Literature

In chapter 7 (“Disease, Closure and Lucretius’ Sense of Ending”), Kazantzidis concentrates on one aspect of De Rerum Natura’s architecture, reflecting what we might call Lucretius’ “closural anxieties”: the three closing sections of Lucretius’ poem (6.1138-1286, 3.1053-1075, 4.1030-1287) have in common the idea of disease (morbus), a sign of deterioration and decline towards an end, and this disease gradually loses its metaphorical value, acquiring a literal meaning instead. In chapter 8 (“The Happiness of Love in Roman Comedy and Elegy”), Maltby examines expressions of happiness and exultation by successful lovers in Roman elegy (cf. Prop. 2.14, 2.15, Ov. Am. 2.12.9-16, Tib. 1.3.83-92) and suggests that Roman comedy, especially the comedy of Terence, played an important role in the development of Roman love elegy.

The next five chapters explore different literary aspects and intertextual allusions to Ovid’s poems: in chapter 9 (“The Chronology of Ovid’s Career”), Harrison reconsiders Ovidian chronology from a more literary angle than the perspective of prosopography and the potential historical allusions of Syme’s monograph History in Ovid (1978). In chapter 10 (“Ovid and Catullus: The Silence of Time”), Ziogas describes Catullus’ presence in Ovid’s poetry, creating a unique tension between tradition and innovation. Catullus has blurred the boundaries between myth and reality, and Ovid, on the other hand, draws attention to the continuity between Catullus’ mythological and personal names. In chapter 11 (“Boreads and Boar Hunters: Cataloguing Argonauts in Metamorphoses 6-8”), Gildenhard and Zissos look beyond Medea, to consider those very heroes who on her account have been partially or completed elided from Ovid’s Argonautica, namely the Argonauts themselves, while in chapter 12 (“Revisiting the Composition of the Calydonian Catalogue: Ovid, Met. 8.298-328”), Papaioannou actually supplements the previous chapter and offers a meticulous survey about the catalogue of heroes participating in the Calydonian Boar Hunt in Ovid’s Met. 8.298-328 (cf. the alphabetic tabulation of the four literary enumerations: Ov. Met. 8.298-328, Hyg. Fab. 173-74, Apollod. 1.8.2, Paus. 1.42.6, 8.45.6-7, pp. 252-55). Finally, in chapter 13 (“The Advent of Maiestas [Ovid, Fasti 5.11-52]”), Garani examines the invocation to the Muses in Ovid’s Fasti for the first time at the beginning of Book 5, as part of an authorial inquiry into the derivation of the name May (cf. the concept of Maiestas).

In chapter 14 (“Exploring the Boundaries Between Human and Monstrous in Seneca’s Phaedra”), A. Michalopoulos examines the role and the significance of the wild and the monstrous in Seneca’s Phaedra for the development of the plot and the way in which Seneca exploits them for the depiction of his characters and for the needs of his play. He also explores the interaction between the human and the monstrous, which constitutes a major thematic thread in this play.

In chapter 15 (“Catalogues in the Corpus Priapeorum”), C. Michalopoulos presents a critical assessment of the nature and the function of catalogues in CP, based on the comparison of Priapus with the Olympian gods. Furthermore, the author draws upon Kyriakidis’ study of catalogues of proper names in epic poetry; his analysis concentrates on proper name catalogues, with the sole exception of CP 51, which consists of common names.

Finally, in chapter 16 (“English Translations of Virgil’s Aeneid, Chaucer to Wordsworth”), Hardie, the co-editor of the book series Pierides: Studies in Greek and Latin Literature along with Kyriakidis, explores the history of translations of the Aeneid in English: translators cover a range of topics and tend to have a stake in the theology and politics of the poem (he begins his survey with Chaucer’s House of Fame and ends with the translation of Wordsworth in the nineteenth century).

Overall, over the course of an academic career spanning four decades, Kyriakidis has inspired dozens of students, helping them to discover and pursue their particular interests. The collection constitutes a memorial both to Stratis Kyriakidis and to his friendship with and generosity to his colleagues and students, who are the authors of the individual papers. The sixteen chapters within offer fresh insights and thoughtful readings of a variety of works of classical literature, as well-known as the Iliad and the Aeneid and as exotic as the epigrams of Geminus. The volume is coherent and covers many aspects of Greek and, mainly, Latin literature. It is a valuable source not only for scholars or students, but also for anyone who wants to study Classics in general.

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors
Abbreviations
Introduction

Part I. Greek Literature
1. Image versus Narrative: Ecphrasis in the Classical Tradition. David Konstan.
2. Etymologising Helen. Evanthia Tsitsibakou-Vasalos.
3. Τὸν πάντα δουλεύσω χρόνον: Barbarians in Menander Reconsidered. Antonis K. Petrides.
4. The Strymon Vying with the Nile: Literary Implications in T. Geminus’ Anth. Pal. 9.707. Maria Plastira-Valkanou.
5. Personal Names in Antonius Diogenes’ Incredible Things Beyond Thule. Consuelo Ruiz-Montero.
6. Agonistic Perspectives in the Orphic Argonautica. Andromache Karanika.

Part II. Latin Literature
7. Disease, Closure and Lucretius’ Sense of Ending. George Kazantzidis.
8. The Happiness of Love in Roman Comedy and Elegy. Robert Maltby.
9. The Chronology of Ovid’s Career. Stephen J. Harrison.
10. Ovid and Catullus: The Silence of Time. Ioannis Ziogas.
11. Boreads and Boar Hunters: Cataloguing Argonauts in Metamorphoses 6-8. Ingo Gildenhard and Andrew Zissos.
12. Revisiting the Composition of the Calydonian Catalogue: Ovid, Met. 8.298-328. Sophia Papaioannou.
13. The Advent of Maiestas (Ovid, Fasti 5.11-52). Myrto Garani.
14. Exploring the Boundaries between Human and Monstrous in Seneca’s Phaedra. Andreas N. Michalopoulos.
15. Catalogues in the Corpus Priapeorum. Charilaos N. Michalopoulos
16. English Translations of Virgil’s Aeneid, Chaucer to Wordsworth. Philip R. Hardie.
Bibliography
General Index
Index Locorum
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