BMCR 2001.06.10

Lisias. Discursos, vol. III, Discursos XXVI-XXXV. Fragmentos (Alma Mater, Collección de Autores Griegos y Latinos)

Lysias., José M. Floristán Imízcoz, Discursos. Alma mater : Colección de autores griegos y latinos. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2000. volumes 3 ; 22 cm.. ISBN 8400062094

This finely produced book completes after a long interval the edition of Lysias in the collection “Alma Mater”, whose first volume appeared almost fifty years ago (orr. ι ed. by M. Férnandez-Galiano, Madrid 1953; vol. II, by L. Gil, followed in 1963). It includes the last six of the thirty-one orations transmitted by Pal. Gr. 88 (XX) the three incomplete speeches that we owe to Dionysius of Halicarnassus (XXXII) the Erotikos Logos attributed to Lysias in Plato’s Phaedrus (XXX) and a complete collection of the fragments. The Greek text is accompanied by apparatus criticus and faces by a Spanish translation, with brief complementary notes. Each oration is preceded by an introduction, focusing mainly on historical and juridical points. A general preface to the fragments classifies by type of procedure the cases handled by Lysias in the lost part of his production and briefly discusses the best preserved fragmentary speeches.

The four decades that separate the work of J. M. Floristán Imízcoz (henceforth F.I.) from the earlier volumes of the series have been very fruitful in Lysian scholarship. The studies of Dover, Usher, Avezzù, Sosower, Carey and others have greatly clarified our ideas about such relevant topics as the composition and publication of the speeches, the client-speechwriter relationship, the problems of authenticity, the manuscript tradition and the transmission of the corpus. Less scholarly attention, however, has been devoted to textual problems. No complete critical edition of Lysias has been published after that of U. Albini (1955), and we must go back to 1913 to find the last complete collection of the fragments, edited by T. Thalheim. The time is ripe then for a critical revision of the text, and a new edition will be legitimately expected to offer an assessment of the results of the last fifty years of scholarship. In the following pages I shall make clear why I think that F.I.’s book has only partially succeeded in giving readers a reliable and up-to-date text of Lysias.

In a short preface (p. xi) F.I. informs his readers that he has decided not to add a general introduction about Lysias’ life and works, and refers them to Férnandez-Galiano’s essay in vol. I. This is a reasonable choice: nonetheless, a fresh discussion would have been welcome in view of the number and relevance of the biographical studies published after 1953. Its absence is partially counterbalanced by a rich bibliography, including literature on orr. I-XXV since the publication of the earlier volumes. Some relevant omissions must, however, be noticed: I miss in particular a mention of M. Edwards and S. Usher, Greek Orators I: Antiphon and Lysias, Warminster 1985; S.C. Todd, The Shape of Athenian Law, Oxford 1993; S. Feraboli, Lisia avvocato, Padova 1980. No item in the bibliography is later than 1996: it is regrettable that this gap of four years has swallowed up the book of C. Bearzot, Lisia e la tradizione su Teramene. Commento storico alle orazioni XII e XIII del corpus lysiacum, Milano 1997.

F.I.’s book has undeniable merits. The introductions to the speeches are thorough and well informed, with useful discussions of the evidence about the trials, and the complementary notes offer a good deal of reliable information about specific historical and juridical points. Though my knowledge of Spanish is not good enough to express a judgement about stylistic features, I can say with confidence that the translation is always clear and accurate. Doubts about the authenticity of orr. XXVII, XXX, XXXI, XXXIII are rightly not shared by F.I, who handles with due caution statistical arguments about authorship. It is more difficult to decide whether the speech on love in Phaedr. 230e-234c is an authentic work of Lysias literally quoted by Plato or only a delicious piece of imitation. F.I. leaves the question unanswered, in view of the lack of any comparable work (according to Suidas Lysias wrote five epistulae πρὸς μειράκια, none of which survived, unless we assume with Sauppe that XXXV was one of them). Approval or disapproval of his choice to include the Platonic passage in the edition is bound to be subjective. I observe only that it seems to me rather awkward to look at the Erotikos as Lysias’ ipsissima verba. Nonetheless, the speech is an interesting document of what Plato could present as Lysian rhetoric, with reference to an early stage, almost unknown to us, of the orator’s career. It will be useful for the reader to have the text at hand together with the other orations.

On the other side, it must be noted that F.I.’s book offers few new insights to the student of Lysias. Though usually exhaustive in listing other people’s opinions, only on very few occasions the editor adds personal suggestions. Moreover, he is often excessively cautious in adopting an existing proposal, so that sometimes the reader is left in doubt about his opinion on relevant points (for example, it is not clear to me from his discussion of or. XXXI whether he believes that Solon’s law forbidding neutrality existed or not). A detailed discussion being impossible here, I mention only one point of dissent and one of agreement. I do not believe that in the trial of or. XXVII Epikrates had been accused παραπρεσβείας (the evidence from the text points rather to a case of corruption), nor would I accept as genuine the traditional title of the speech and the words καὶ τῶν συμπρεσβευτῶν in section 1. About or. XXXII, on the other hand, I think that F.I. is probably right in thinking that we do not have sufficient reason to believe that the accuser had no hope of recovering the loans of Diodotos mentioned in section 5. In the introduction to or. XXXI, I miss a discussion of C. Carey’s relevant argument about the chronology of the flight of Philon from Athens (see Lysias. Selected Speeches, Cambridge 1989, p. 189).

Owing to the nature of the book, textual criticism deserves specific attention. F.I.’s attitude towards the paradosis is sound and cautious; his text is moderately conservative, on the whole nearer to Hude’s than to Thalheim’s. The apparatus criticus looks clear and reliable (see below for the particular problem of cod. C). The reader interested in textual problems will not find the book particularly exciting, however, since no new suggestion by the editor is presented either in the text or in the apparatus. I add a few observations on points of detail. XXVI 2: I do not share F.I.’s defence of X’s ταύτην τὴν εὐήθιαν (the problems in this reading have been elucidated by M. Weissenberger, Die Dokimasiereden des Lysias, Frankfurt am Main 1987, p. 211 n. 531). XXVI 10: the reference to the service of Epikrates in the cavalry under the Thirty can hardly be defended, in my opinion (del. Müller, Thalheim). XXXI 24: I prefer a text without the sentence σωφρονέστερονἀποδιδόναι (del. Hundeck). XXXI 31 Carey’s proposal καὶ ὁτιοῦν τιμηθῆναι should have been mentioned in the apparatus. XXXII 5: the words μετὰ Θρασύλλου may be a gloss as F.I. believes, but Carey’s argument about hyperbaton in defence of them (see Lysias. Selected Speeches cit., p. 213) deserved mention.

A rather perplexing feature of the book is the absence of any discussion of the manuscript tradition. It is true that little could have been added to the existing studies about Pal. Gr. 88 (X) the only manuscript for Lysias XXVI-XXXI. Nonetheless, the relationships between its apographs are now far better known than in the fifties (it will suffice to mention M. L. Sosower, Palatinus Graecus 88 and the Manuscript Tradition of Lysias, Amsterdam 1987), and some introductory elucidation on this topic would have been welcome. Moreover, many readers will miss a detailed description of the manuscripts, particularly of those papyri that have been included for the first time in an edition of Lysias.

A specific criticism must be made over the presence in the apparatus of ms. Laur. LVII 4 (C) about which a relevant contribution has escaped F.I.’s attention. This codex has undergone ups and downs in fortune: it was judged the best authority for Lysias by Bekker, but was dethroned by Sauppe, who reduced it to the rank of codex descriptus. Nothwithstanding this, C maintained a place in all the editions of the twentieth century, owing to the good conjectural suggestions that were attributed to its scribe. In 1976, however, F. Donadi showed that C is a copy of cod. Ambros. H 52 sup. (Am4) and that the conjectures are already present in the exemplar, written by the learned Greek Andronikos Kallistos (see BIFG 3, 1976, 225-50, not quoted in F.I.’s bibliography, and also Sosower, op. cit, p. 62). C. Hude’s “vir Lysiani sermonis peritissimus” is then to be identified with Andronikos, to which F.I. should have given the merit of the admired suggestions by mentioning the readings of Am4 instead of those of C.

I focus now on the second half of the volume, presenting a new collection of the fragments. This is in itself a major achievement since Thalheim’s edition dates back to a time when the most important papyrus findings were still to come. Gernet and Bizos (1926) were able to include P. Oxy. 1606, but other important papyri came to light within a few years. F.I.’s work offers the reader a thorough picture of the lost speeches of Lysias, including the important fragment For Eryximachos who had remained in the town and the new titles transmitted by P. Oxy. 2537, first published in 1966. F.I. has chosen, rightly in my opinion, to follow the model of the edition of Sauppe, including in his collection also the fragments constituted by a single word. He has also faced the necessity of giving new numbers both to the titles of the speeches (from I to CXXXIX) and to the fragments (from 1 to 366). This will perhaps create some confusion in future references, but it must be admitted that too many modifications would have been necessary to rescue the numeration of Sauppe-Thalheim.

In view of these merits, it is a great pity that the editor has missed the opportunity to make available to the readers a really up-to-date text of the papyrus fragments. F.I.’s text is not based on direct inspection of the manuscripts: like other editors before him, he has reproduced the editiones principes, neither offering any new suggestions nor correcting their mistakes. Moreover, readers wanting a complete edition of these texts for research on language and style will hardly approve the omission of a considerable number of smaller fragments, some of which contain readable lines or at least isolated words. F.I.’s choices in this field appear rather inconsistent, too: it is not easy to see, for example, why a long series of unsupplemented letters from P. Hibeh I 14 ( Against Theozotides, frr. 123 d-x = 42 d-x Th.) deserved to be printed, while longer and more readable texts like P. Oxy. 1606 frr. 24 (16 ll.), 25 (17 ll.) , 26, 27, 28+29+30 ecc., or the damaged columns of P. Vind. 29816 b (fr. 1, col. ii; fr 2, col. i etc.) have been left out of the collection.

The edition of P. Oxy. 1606, in particular, is open to objections. F.I.’s text is based on the editio princeps of Grenfell and Hunt (with slight modifications introduced by Gernet). A look at the original, however, would have revealed that the actual condition of the papyrus does not correspond any more to that text. As a consequence of the work of E. Lobel (BQR, 4, 1923-1925, 47-48 and 5, 1926-1928, 303-304, not mentioned in F.I.’s bibliography), in fact, the number of the fragments has been considerably reduced by a lot of certain joins, and there are now 866 lines of text instead of the 985 of Grenfell and Hunt’s edition. The reconstruction of many passages of the Against Hippotherses, of the Against Theomnestus and of the other unidentified speeches has been modified by these changes so that F.I.’s text is largely out of date. I shall give only a few examples (for a thorough discussion of this papyrus I refer the reader to ZPE 129, 2000, 21-28 and 135, 2001, forthcoming). 1. At Against Hippotherses fr. 6, col. II, ll. 194-96 F.I. prints Grenfell and Hunt’s ὅ[τι μ[εῖο]ν νυνί φρονεῖ τῶν τ[ειχῶν ωἰκο]δομημένων [ἢ τῶν] τότε καθηιρημένων. After Lobel’s collocation of fr. 104 in the lacuna at fr. 6, col. II, ll. 194 ff. we know that these supplements are impossible. What we read now in the manuscript is τῶν τ[ειχῶν] ωἰκ[ο]δομημένων ὅσονπε[ρ]…, which excludes both μ[εῖο]ν and [H) τῶν]. 2. Frr. 8-9 and 11-16 of P. Oxy. 1606, still printed separately by F.I. (fr. 251), have been combined by Lobel into one large fragment, containing the last column of the oration [πρός…]υλιον and the first very damaged column of another speech. We have now a continuous text, and a certain number of Grenfell and Hunt’s readings have been modified. Moreover, it is far from certain that fr. 10 belongs to this speech, as F.I. believes. 3. Lobel considerably modified the text of the second column of the Against Theomnestus by placing fr. 78 near fr. 6, col. V, ll. 333-36.

To sum up: F.I.’s book can take a worthy place beside other recent studies on Lysias and may be considered a good introduction to the reading of or. χχ particularly for Spanish-speaking readers. However, some undeniable defects will not allow it to become a standard reference for scholars interested in the textual problems of Lysias’ speeches. The fragments, in particular, will have to wait for a really up-to-date critical edition.