BMCR 2001.04.03

Titi Livi Ab Urbe Condita. Oxford Classical Texts. Tomus VI. Libri XXXVI-XL

, , , , , , , , , , , , Titi Livi Ab urbe condita.. Scriptorum classicorum bibliotheca Oxoniensis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. volumes 1-6 ; 19 cm.. ISBN 9780198146216 $45.00.

John Briscoe, in his second Oxford commentary on Livy (books 34-37 [1981], 15), declined to offer a detailed accounting of the textual tradition because “it would be wrong to attempt to anticipate the forthcoming Oxford text of books xxvi-xl”. That comment was composed sometime before the summer of 1980. Time passed. Briscoe himself edited for Teubner a fine critical text of Livy 31-40 (2 vols.; 1991); that edition, in turn, was the basis for J.C. Yardley’s recent (2000) “Oxford World’s Classics” English version of Livy 31-40.

Here now is the OCT Briscoe anticipated. How should we review a critical text of a standard author? Perhaps by studying it, using it thoroughly, teaching from it, comparing it line by line with the existing editions, then offering, in the fullness of time (and that time would be very full), detailed analysis and judgment. In lieu of that, I offer some notice of, and a few observations on, a significant instrument to assist our better understanding of an ancient author and his text.

This reader knows full well that he is not alone in appreciating that his primary post-graduate introduction to modern scholarship on Livy was owed to two modern masters who have written in English: the late Robert Ogilvie (who receives a generous compliment in the preface to the present text) and Peter Walsh, whose 1961 Cambridge monograph, Livy: his historical aims and methods, aimed at a comprehensive treatment of author, work, and genre. An added benefit was Walsh’s summary and critique of several generations of Teutonic Quellenforschungen. The result was a “censorious but fair” and reliable treatise (compare M.I. Henderson’s review in JRS 52 [1962], 277-78). Walsh then turned his facile mind and translating hand to a readable and stimulating, if theoretically conservative, discussion of that curious beast, The Roman Novel (1970), and an acclaimed translation with critical commentary (in fact, all but a critical edition) of Paulinus of Nola’s Epistulae (“Ancient Christian Writers” vols. 35-36: 1966-67). Walsh has published readable versions of Petronius (1986), Apuleius’ Metamorphoses (1994), and Cicero’s de natura deorum (1997). It is difficult to know which to respect more: Walsh’s elegant translations of classical and post-classical texts—such as Andreas Capellanus’ courtly treatise de amore (1982), George Buchanan’s sixteenth-century Latin tragedies (1983) and Boethius (1999)—or his fine school editions, with text, translation, and commentary (but only the arrogant and ignorant will view them as suitable solely for the sixth-form or North American undergraduates) of Livy 36 through 40, economically produced by Aris & Phillips from 1990 through 1996. The point to this bibliographic catalogue (and it is not comprehensive) is to suggest the qualifications (expertise in Latin prose, in general; specific knowledge of Livy as demonstrated by continuing study) of this editor to edit this text.

Walsh offers in his preface a brief survey of the manuscript tradition of books 36-40, a survey incorporating and extending what A.H. McDonald covered in detail in his OCT Livy t. V: 31-35 (1965), and John Briscoe discussed in his Teubner edition, t. 1 (1991). Our appreciation of the nature of the complicated manuscript tradition for these books is now considerably clarified: the manuscript tradition of books 36-40 is less than straightforward, as L.D. Reynolds’ discussion of the text of Livy in Texts and Transmissions: A survey of the Latin Classics, ed. Reynolds (OUP 1983), 205-14, made abundantly clear. (We may contrast the situation with the “monolithic simplicity”—in Reynolds’ phrase—of the fifth decade: one early, damaged witness and the 1531 editio princeps.) Older editions do not necessarily offer much guidance. In the late nineteenth-century Teubner editions of these Livian books by Weissenborn and Mueller, the reader encounters bibliographic addenda to, and some distinctions from, the great J.N. Madvig’s several editions, but little independent critical judgment and minimal commentary on the textual tradition. Walsh’s preface to the present volume summarizes work done by Briscoe for his two Teubner volumes and incorporates the studies of two modern scholarly personae looming behind these recent Teubner and OCT critical editions: the late Giuseppe Billanovich and Michael Reeve (see, e.g., RFIC [1986], 129ff.; [1987], 129ff., 405ff.). What we have in Walsh, therefore, is a text placed on a far more firm (and reliable) foundation than the old Weissenborn-Mueller editions A few observations (for this is not the place for new emendations and suggestions) on Walsh’s text, drawn solely from book 40, to illustrate the nature of this edition. In what follows: W(alsh); B(riscoe); W(eissenborn)-M(ueller); Mog = the 1519 printed edition by Carbachius (thought to reflect with care a lost, major ninth-century codex, on which see McDonald’s OCT, Livy V, xxxvii-xxxix; B, t. I, xviii-ix; W, xv-xvi); Y(ardley)—with reference to his “list of variations from the Teubner [id est, Briscoe’s] text” (p. 539).

40.9.7: Perseus addresses his father as such: B. “… per te patriumque nomen”; W: “per te patrium[que] nomen”; Y: “per te patrium nomen”. W and Y are surely correct to follow Gronovius: the enclitic conjunction is not necessary.

40.12.17: W and Y accept Drechsler’s “cuius voluntate et consiliis me nunc arguis regi”; B prints *virtute*—a consensus manuscript reading. Surely “voluntas” in context, with a textually-secure parallel “consilia”, is preferable to an assertion of manly courage.

40.16.8: Roman authors had demonstrable difficulty with Iberian place names. Compare Livy 28.22.2 and Appian Iberica 33 (132), “Astapa urbs”, with Livy Periochae 28: “urbs Gisia” and Cynthia Begbie’s important discussion in CQ 17 (1967), 334. Here is another example: a Spanish oppidum is besieged: B prints *ut hic nam*; W, *uthicnam*. Caution may be excessive in this instance: Schulten proposed and Y adopted “Urbiacam”.

40.42.1: Walsh’s sensible restorations of the sequence of the praetor L. Doronius’ activities depend on a variety of readings and conjectural restorations one would not, relying solely on ω necessarily expect had ever been proposed. Walsh thus reads “eodem anno L. Doronius, qui praetor anno superiore ex Illyrico cum decem navibus Brindisium redierat, inde in portu relictis navibus cum venisset Romam…”, thus agreeing with B. W-M offered “eodem anno L. Doronius, qui praetor anno superiore fuerat, ex Illyrico cum decem navibus Brindisium rediit, inde in portu relictis navibus cum venisset Romam…” The distinctions seem to be minor, but assist our appreciation of Livian stylistics, notably (in this instance) the Patavine’s tendency to eliminate or ignore forms of esse where self-evident in context (“fuerat”); here we also observe Livy’s common (but not uniform) precision in verbal tenses (“redierat”, not “rediit”). Incidentally, here, as often, Mog’s readings offer clarity as to tense.

40.45.2: Celebration of the Latin festival in 179: “Itaque Latinas nox subito coorta et intolerabilius tempestas in monte turbavit.” For “nox”, B prints *mox*; Y and W incorporate Crévier’s “nox”, surely preferable for context and parallel structure.

40.46.6: B offered “*nisi forte implacabiles fueritis implicaverint* animos vestros.” W obelizes solely *fueritis* (which Mog offers); Y accepts Madvig’s reasonable “furores” in place of the odd “fueritis”.

40.46.15: B follows Mog: “mittere vere”; W and Y prefer Madvig’s “remittere se”.

40.52.6: This pentad opens (36.1) with Roman preliminaries to war against Antiochus III; the various campaigns against the Seleucid and his miscalculating Aetolian allies occupy much of the rest of these books. Livy fittingly includes towards the end of the pentad notice of the fulfillment of a vow made early in the campaign (see also Macrobius Sat. 1.10.10). Livy reports the dedication placed above the doors of the temple dedicated to the Lares Permarini in the Campus Martius (that is, one of the temples in the modern Largo Argentina; cf. Richardson, New TDAR [1992], 233) by the censor M. Aemilius; Walsh reports this dedication as including the statement, “…ea pugna pugnata, rex Antiochus regnumve ++ Eius rei ergo aedem Laribus permarinis vovit.”

Here lurk difficulties. In the first instance, we have a Livian report, surely drawn from an annalist, concerning an ambitious senator of the post-Hannibalic era, L. Aemilius Regillus, whose kinsman M. Aemilius Lepidus in 179 fulfilled Lucius’ vow of 190 to advertise publically his res gestae. Livian language here evokes attested early second-century texts: compare, for example, the figura etymologica in Livy, “ea pugna pugnata” with boastful Sosia’s declamation at Plautus Amphitruo 253: “haec illist pugna pugnata…”. W-M, B, and W properly print a text visually manifesting (with obels, asterisks, or angle-brackets) the lacuna Madvig identified. Walsh offers, here as elsewhere, in his apparatus, the possible, perhaps even probable, emendations. B offers a somewhat more extensive, if (as in this instance) often unintentionally amusing, report of emendations. For example: Karl Heusinger, in 1821, proposed to read in this instance “regnumque eius Eius….” Here we encounter a prime example of a self-confident nineteenth-century scholar’s intuition as to what Livy should have said, even though palaeographic and semantic evidence is lacking. Carlo Sigonio (on whose studies of Livy, see William McCuaig’s Carlo Sigonio. The changing world of the late renaissance [Princeton 1989], 346 & 363) proposed “regumque eius in potestatem populi Romani redactum. Eius…”. Sigonio’s suggestion is attractive. We might expect that “in potestatem (alicuius) redigere”, indicates total surrender and control of territory (so at Livy 24.29.12 and Velleius 2.34.1)—circumstances which were not consequent on any of the several Roman victories over the forces of Antiochus III. The phrase may be employed, however, simply to indicate (or promise: Cicero de officiis 3.79) victory in battle, capture of a chieftain, control of an opponent’s army (Cicero Phil. 5.46; B.Alex. 26.2; Livy 31.31.7). (I offer the previous citations because the TLL entry under “potestas” does not catalogue in helpful fashion.) Caution here, as elsewhere in Walsh, is appropriate, but Sigonio may have been correct.

40.58.1: B printed “*digressi sunt pacato agro*”. Walsh draws on Madvig and Mog to read “Primum ingressi sunt pacato agmine; digressu deinde…”: similar to Y’s reading and translation and consistent with Livian semantics. (Here, of course, I and all readers of Livy rely on what was reported by David Packard, in that extraordinary scholarly resource, A Concordance to Livy [Cambridge, MA: Harvard 1968].)

40.58.8: The Bastarnae retreat. B (& Y): “cetera multitudo retro, qua venerat, *Apolloniam meridianam regionem* repetiit.” W: “cetera multitudo retro, qua venerat, *Apolloniam Mesembriamque regionem* repetiit.” Walsh thereby incorporates the sensible emendation, “Apolloniam Mesembriamque regionem”, for Mog’s “Apolloniam meridianam regionem” and Madvig & W’s “Apolloniam aquilonem/aquiloniam regionem.” Walsh’s apparatus reveals from where arose this latter emendation: Heraeus’ intuition that Mog’s “meridianam” expressed not geography, but concealed a plausible place name. Likewise, Walsh’s apparatus makes clear that “repetit” is a probable scribal error for the expected “repetiit”—as Froben’s editions made explicit.

The nature of this text, then, is conservative, with readings cautiously and judiciously drawn from earlier scholarship clearly reported in Walsh’s critical apparatus. In almost every instance, the student of this text will discern the origin of emendations and corrections; we thereby learn much about the textual and editorial tradition of Livy. The user of this text will thus profit from the bibliography of authors cited in the preface and critical apparatus, but in several instances, the reader requires Briscoe to identify modern scholars cited in the apparatus. For example, a little more information on Frobenius’ (Johannes Froben, better known as Erasmus’ publisher) two Basle editions, of 1531 & 1525, would have been helpful to the reader, because cited frequently in the apparatus (e.g., pp. 335-36, 338-39). Walsh also gives us extremely helpful indices of deities, human personae, and locations.

Finally, connoisseurs of Latin prose will relish Walsh’s “praefatio ad lectorem.” Several recent OCTs have retained the ancestral Latin introduction: compare Reynolds’ elegant preface to his Cicero de finibus (1998) and, of similar Latinate clarity, but refreshingly distinct style, Winterbottom’s Cicero de officiis (1994). Others have not: contrast R.P.H. Green’s “introduction” to his OCT Ausonius (1999). (On this and other aspects of current textual and editorial practices, Michael Reeve’s survey article in JRS 90 [2000], 196-206, contains much worthy of reflection and discussion.) A preference for unambiguity and clarity in an introduction is admirable; nonetheless, those who study and employ an Oxford Classical Text surely should be competent to comprehend a lucid Latin introduction—and this is one. In sum, Peter Walsh has in this OCT set a very high standard.