BMCR 1995.12.06

1995.12.06, Ziegler, ed., Plut. Vit. Par. 1.2, 2.2 (ed. maior) iegler, Konrat (ed.)

, , , Vitae parallelae. Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana. Leipzig: K.G. Saur, 2000-. volumes ; 21 cm.. ISBN 381541671X DM 120.

A half century of studying Plutarch and his manuscripts culminated in Konrat Ziegler’s Teubner edition of the Lives. That was thirty years ago and in the meantime Flacelière’s excellent Budé edition has been completed and a few scraps of papyri have also been found. More importantly, there has been a minor renaissance in Plutarchean studies, producing many worthy articles 1 and several fine commentaries. The world was ready for a conscientious update of Z’s edition, and Gärtner, as a collaborator on Z’s last editions and as the compiler of the indices, was a logical choice. G has done an excellent job of keeping abreast of the literature, and has included a fair bit of earlier material overlooked by Z. Let us remember that for Plutarch “the literature” is a Gordian knot made from innumerable threads of scholarly discourse. Additions to G’s apparatus come from specialist works on Roman law, Cratinus, Euripides, Archilochus, and Livy, to name but a few. Unfortunately, the utility of this added material has been severely impaired by a lack of attention to presentation and detail. Particularly missed are a good proofreader, a conspectus librorum, and any sort of preface from G, as the discussion that follows will make clear.

The first volume under consideration (I.2) consists of 374 pages of Z’s text, reprinted with a few minor corrections, followed by 20 pages of G’s addenda. The other volume (II.2) has 337 pages with 15 pages of addenda. The examples in the following remarks are taken from volume I.2 unless otherwise noted.

Several errors have been silently corrected without any notice in the Addenda, mainly where the stereotype allowed an easy alteration. The mistaken attribution (“Cob.” instead of “Cor.”: pointed out by Sansone in ICS 13 (1988) p. 312) in line 19 of the app. crit. to page 8 has been changed. I noticed several other corrections of the testimonia, and it is likely that more escaped my notice.

In earlier Teubner editions, such as Z’s 4th edition of the Vitae Parallelae vol. I.1, a square was put in the margin of the stereotype to alert the reader that an addendum had been made. No such convenience has been provided in G’s editions, presumably because they each have several hundred addenda. It would have been far better to prune the addenda to a manageable number and indicate their presence in the text. As it stands, G’s edition is inconvenient bordering on unusable.

There are four categories of addenda which I will discuss in turn: 1. corrections to Z’s apparatus and text, 2. updated fragment citations, 3. new testimonia and references to modern articles, and 4. added dates in the margin.

1. Many additions are made to Ziegler’s apparatus, mostly suggestions taken from recent literature, although more than a few additions and corrections accept suggestions made by earlier editors. Z included some of the emendations proposed in Erbse’s review article ( Gnomon 33 (1961) p. 38-44), but most were passed over in silence. G has included many more of Erbse’s suggestions in the apparatus. On rare occasions MS readings have been revised, such as p. 111,7 οὐδὲν M instead of οὐδὲ. G usually—but by no means always—notes where Flacelière’s text deviates from Z’s and his own.

It is impossible to determine where G actually wishes to alter Z’s text. Presumably the addenda which begin, e.g. “p. 13,13 et app. crit.” mean that G intends to change the reading and adjust the apparatus appropriately, while an addendum beginning “p. 340 app. crit. 29” calls attention to a new reading, but does not alter the text. Unfortunately, this distinction is more often honored in the breach, as a glance at the addendum to p. 13,13 will show. I have counted the emendations where there was a clear and redundant word of approbation such as iure, bene, utique, recte, arridet, placet eximie, assentior, gerundives like praeferendum, or the doubly redundant phrases recte, ut opinor and in text. receperim. Similar perfect subjunctives (e.g. praetulerim restituerim, deleverim) were usually also counted as emendations, but the contrary addendum to p. 102, app. crit. 14 gave me pause. Not included were readings introduced by the polite possis or readings followed by fort. as in fort. recte.

With these limitations in mind we find that in vol I.2 G chooses to change Z’s text 52 times, of which changes 7 are his own emendations. Often these are emendations which Z earlier proposed but about which he later had second thoughts. G benefits from access to Z’s papers and even generously credits an emendation to a marginal note found in Z’s exemplar (II.2 p. 268,8 ). Many other changes are at places where Flacelière or others have defended the MS readings over Z’s emendations. Erbse criticized Z’s edition for being somewhat too invasive of the text, and G appears to be correcting some of the excesses.

Since BMCR does not sanction the reduced typeface used in Gnomon for case-by-case critiques, I shall limit myself to two. According to Fabius Maximus 17.2, Barcas tells Hannibal that he knows how to win, but not how to use his winnings. Livy and other sources attribute this remark to Maharbal, G notes (adopts?) <Μάγωνα τὸν, an emendation attempted by H. A. Sanders. 2 I have been unable to check Sanders’ own argument, but it would seem to be based on the one source that attributes this bon mot to Hannibal’s brother Mago, Silius Italicus 10.375, which is not even included among G’s testimonia. If we really have to make Plutarch say what our other sources say, then why not emend Βάρκαν to the more popular Μααρβαν?

In Nicias 10,3 the MSS read Πάνακτον ἑστῶσαν while in Alcibiades 14,4 they read Πάνακτον ἑστὼς. G proposes to make them both (στὼς. There are many similar notes which pertain to Plutarch’s Rechtschreibung. Until G is given a chance to set out his own editorial policy, one has to assume the previous one stands. Z’s policy was to follow the MS tradition and consistency be damned: severa orthographia sermonem Plutarchi constringere non oportere … prout quoque loco melior librorum auctoritas suadebat, scripsi. (Praefatio vol I.1 p. XIX). How can we expect Plutarch to have achieved a consistency that printing, spell-checkers and proof-readers have not succeeded in producing for us moderns? In the age of computer searches, this question is less trivial than it might seem. Z’s edition is on the TLG (although the TLG follows the Aldine arrangement of the lives.) In vol. I.2 there are 122 instances of οὐδέν and only one of οὐθέν, but 24 θάλαττα as against 29 of θάλασσα. Most users would rather have the convenience of a standardized text, instead of doing a separate search for each variant spelling. However, students of Atticism and the history of the Greek language would probably appreciate a faithful report of the MS readings. Since the next full edition of Plutarch will be composed and perhaps distributed on computer, the editor should weigh these concerns carefully.

G tacitly assumes the reader’s familiarity with a current bibliography of textual criticism of the Lives such as Podlecki & Duone’s ( ANRW 33.6 p. 4071-3) and cites articles therein by name only. Many other works are given full citations, particularly articles of a historical bent. Even so, a large number of name citations go unidentified, because they are not, strictly speaking, emendations to Plutarch, but rather to the authors he quotes. For example, “Luppe” in the addendum to p. 3,27 refers to Luppe’s 1967 article in WZHalle “Wie lange las man noch Kritinus-komödien.”

The following cruces demonstrate the dangers awaiting Plutarch editors venturing into the critical battlefields of specialist literatures. On page 33 we have Archilochus fragment 205 (West). G follows Z in sticking to the MS reading γραῦς, but his addendum to the apparatus notes that Flacelière follows Schneidewin in reading γρηῦς. Flacelière’s text, as I have it, reads GRH/ÜS, citing Otto Hoffman’s 1898 book on Greek dialects. For the pedantic and unresolved question of resolving Ionic ναῦς and γραῦς see H. Chandler Greek Accentuation (Oxford 1881) §566.

G’s addendum to p.17,20, fragment 326 K.-A. of Cratinus, notes that Stadter follows Meineke and Kassel in changing the unmetrical MS reading ὅδε to the comic ὁδὶ. Actually Stadter 3 argues that we should not alter the text, because Plutarch was more likely to have used the incorrect ὅδε in his quote. Where the MS tradition of Plutarch is clear, that is what should be followed in the text. If this is different from the standard edition of the fragment in question, the fact should be noted and the reader should then be referred to the edition in question, where she will find copious references to the non-Plutarchean literature.

2. By far the most common addenda (by my count 106 in vol I.2 alone) are updatings and expansions of Z’s fragment citations. For comedy fragments Z’s citations of Kock page numbers are converted into Kock and Kassel-Austin fragment numbers. Poetry is converted from Diehls. to Page or West. Fragments of tragedians, emperors, orators, and philosophers are also appropriately numbered or re-numbered. References to FGrH and HRR are more systematically included.

Occasionally the citations can be further updated, e.g. G’s addendum to p. 34, 12, which corrects ἠλεῖος to οὔλιος and cites PA 11496 (Kirchner Prosographia Attica). It would be more helpful to cite APF (Davies Athenian Propertied Families) 8429 XIII, where the reader would find a more recent and complete survey of the sources.

G is to be thanked for his unflagging and accurate work on a time-consuming, necessary task. However, he has thereby peppered his addenda with references to the fragment collections of K., K.-A., Malc., D., W., Mejer, Mette, Of., N, v. Bl., Sn., Kr., Dittm., K.-Th., Ed.-K., and Th., to name but a few. Naturally these telegraphic references are obvious to specialists in the field. In the ideal world of interdisciplinary Altertumswissenschaften, the Roman historian is at home with Kassel and Austin’s Poetae Comici Graecae and West’s Iambi et Elegi Graeci, just as the well-rounded Sappho scholar is familiar with Henrica Malcovati’s Oratorum Romanorum Fragmenta and Edelstein and Kidd’s collection of the fragments of Posidonius. However, as I have discovered in the course of consulting HRR, RE, and assorted other nineteenth century works, the obvious citation of today becomes the crux desperanda of tomorrow. Just as the works of Plutarch serve as a nexus for classics communities of differing interests and concerns, one should assume that one’s Teubner edition will serve more than one century of classics communities. Habent sua fata libelli. Why edit on the assumption that one’s work will be superseded? After all, it is in the quest for continued relevance that these new fragment collections have been added to Plutarch’s text.

In future printings I propose that the updated fragment citations (by my count there are 106 in vol. I.2 alone) be given in a separate appendix, preceded by a bibliography of the fragment collections cited.

3. The most important of G’s addenda are new testimonia from other ancient authors, cross-references to other passages in Plutarch, and citations of secondary literature. Z had earlier conceded that the testimonia were not comprehensive, and probably could not be, without substantially altering the nature of the work (into, say, Bauer’s Themistokles). In addition to correcting several of Z’s lapses, G has added many important and overlooked testimonia. Though not comprehensive, it is well done, and the following suggestions should in no way detract from G’s fine work.

In an addendum to p. 9, 29 ( Pericles 8,6) G points out the similar passage at Moralia 803f. Stadter also mentions this comparandum and adds Quint. 12.9.13 and Aelian VH 4.10, giving one an idea of the portrayal of Pericles in imperial times. In the Alcibiades, no mention is made of POxy. 3.411, a fragment of an imperial biography of Alcibiades, possibly predating Plutarch’s. The fragment covers the events discussed in chapters 18,5 to 23,2, and on occasion has Plutarch’s exact wording (e.g. line 96). Line 57 of the papyrus credits Alcibiades’ diplomacy in Sicily with great success, directly contradicting Thucydides and Alcibiades 20,3. (p. 247,14). The fragment supports the reading of Πουλυτιων instead of the MS variant Πολυτιων (p. 246,3 and p. 250,8). Other testimonia can be gleaned from D. A. Russell’s article, “Plutarch Alcibiades 1-16″, 4 e.g. the parallel wording to Alcibiades 4.4 (p. 230,11) found in Plato’s Alcibiades I, 104D.

The modern citations are quite selective, as they should be. Trends in scholarship have produced a plethora of fine works on popular Lives such as the Pericles and Alexander, whereas the Crassus and others go virtually unstudied. In particular Alcibiades has been the object of some work since Hatzfield’s 1951 monograph that should not be passed over in silence. Although G does not cite Russell’s article mentioned above, he does, rightly, cite his article on Coriolanus. Here Russell’s historiographical work should be cited together with the still-unsuperseded article by Mommsen in Römische Forschungen II, 125. Another scholarly tool worth citing is Strasburger’s Caesars Eintritt in die Geschichte (München 1938, reprinted Darmstadt 1968). But these are minor matters of taste and judgment—on the whole G’s citations are learned and apt.

4. Last and least among the addenda are the marginal dates. When the text referred to a specific, dateable event Z sporadically put the date in the margin. G puts new marginal dates in the addenda (around 118 in vol I.2 alone) usually in the following format:

p. 11, 23 mg. dext. adde: a 457

Most of these are apt corrections of Z’s oversights, but G goes further in giving the reader an indication of the date of long sections of narrative, such as:

p. 325, 1 mg.
u. ad. 331,1 mg. adde. a. 63

This citation lacks the “mg. sin.” or “mg. dext.” G normally provides. The format of several such addenda is mystifying, e.g. “p. 197, 20 sq. mg. …” “p. 329, 18 sq. mg. …” “p. 336, 14 sq. mg. sin. …” I found the whole business rather irritating. Those who are struggling to use the addenda are not likely to forget the date of the battle of Tanagra, and if so, they are likely to have a commentary by their side. One which will tell them that the date of Cimon’s death, e.g., is not securely dated to “a. 450.” Despite Z’s already overburdened margins, I’m in favor of what G is trying to do here. It is just that putting these notices in the addenda makes the addenda bulky and inconvenient. In line 17 on p, 92. of Z’s edition the marginal date “429” was missing an “a.” before it. In G’s edition it has simply been inserted into the stereotype. Since all of the dates belong in the margin, inserting them into the stereotype would have been a matter of relative ease. Only then might they have served as a convenience to the reader.

In general G’s work suffers from lack of attention in the final stages of production. On p. 376 of his addenda we read: “p. 12,12 et app. crit. κατελθεῖν (Sint) praeferunt Flac., Stadter”, where the word in question is actually the participle κατελθῶν, on the 10th line, not the 12th. Several times G misleadingly uses tue(n)tur for an editor’s reading without MS support. (p. 12,24, p. 244,12, and vol II.2 p. 196,7). G constantly refers to Z’s manuscript upsilon with a Roman font Y. The standard Teubner apparatus has line numbers in boldface. So too do Z’s addenda in the fourth edition of I.1. G does not, which makes reading his addenda quite confusing, since there is no consistency in presentation. For example, the following addenda refer to line numbers 29,17, and 18 respectively:

p. 9 app. sim. adde: 29 …
p 45 app. sim. 17 adde: ….
p. 46 app. sim. adde: 18…

The “app. sim.” is apparently G’s manner of referring to what Z and this review have been calling “testimonia.” The addendum to p. 38,9 should read “Flac. Stadter”, instead of just “Stadter”. M. Manfredini SCO 17, 1968 is given a reference at the beginning of the Pericles, and then cited in full again in an addendum to p. 27,9. The inconsistency is maintained in a different manner on p. 385 (addenda to pages 183-216) where a different, yet still not correct, style sheet appears to have been used.

What we have here seem to be the notes for a large-scale revision of the text, which were awkwardly and unsystematically converted into addenda. Several addenda appear to be in-house editing notes for a forthcoming, non-stereotype edition (e.g. “p.13 app. sim delendum”). So too the marginal dates hardly seem intended as a convenience for the reader, but rather blueprints for a new edition. Such an edition would be heartily welcomed, particularly if it includes a conspectus librorum of the sort that G included in his own exemplary 1970 Teubner of Rufus’Quaestiones Medicinales. The rationale behind the testimonia and other citations was stated in Z’s introduction to vol. I.1 and should serve as a general standard for any edition of Plutarch: maxime lectorum (imprimis historicae studiosorum) commoditati me consulturum esse duxi—quae suprema edendi lex mihi videtur esse. This edition, despite its wealth of painstakingly gathered materials, fails to meet that standard.

  • [1] Choice examples of such articles have just been published in the anthology Essays on Plutarch’s Lives ed. Barbara Scardigli (Oxford 1995). [2] Die Quellenkontamination im 21. u. 22. Buch des Livius (Berlin 1898) p. 140. [3] P. A. Stadter A Commentary on Plutarch’s Pericles (Chapel Hill 1989). [4] PCPS (1966), p.37-47, reprinted in Scardigli (see note 1).