BMCR 2003.01.01

Muse e modelli. La poesia ellenistica da Alessandro Magno ad Augusto

, , Muse e modelli : la poesia ellenistica da Alessandro Magno ad Augusto. Collezione storica. Roma-Bari: GLF editori Laterza, 2002. x, 600 pages ; 21 cm.. ISBN 8842065374. EUR 48.00.

This attractively produced book contains an introduction, nine chapters with copious endnotes, a bibliography containing works repeatedly cited, an index of passages discussed, a general index, and a table of contents.

The intention of this work, as stated in the introduction, is to provide an adequate portrait of the Greek poetry of the third and second centuries B.C. with regard to its historic and synchronic contexts, and that of the literature preceding it, in order to identify this poetry’s peculiar characteristics and the inherited elements which it continued to employ. The ultimate goal of the authors is to demonstrate the need for a revision of accepted opinions emphasizing what is characterized as the artificiality of Hellenistic poetry (esp. the ‘contamination’ of genres) without sufficiently taking into account the forces causing a changed world to evolve new forms. The method of choice is “archaeology” — not further defined here but known from their earlier works: it entails a close reading of a poem to discover its relations to earlier (esp. archaic) poetry. The results are exhaustively evaluated before offering a synchronic (and of course diachronic) interpretation. The authors advise the reader that the works chosen for evaluation are only a selection, that this is not a Hellenistic poetry handbook. A key is provided to the individual authorship of the chapters (M.F. or R.H. as noted below).

Since this work is very long and compactly written, I will confine myself to a general evaluation followed by a sketch of the contents and then offer a few observations on details.

True to its introduction the book stays within the announced parameters. The “archaeological method” is applied almost everywhere, giving close readings and interpretations with respect to the literary tradition and contemporary practice. Genre metamorphoses and other changes in respect to the literary models are carefully noted and given explanations; but there is little or no evaluation of the net worth of the innovations. Attention is, as announced, focused on a restricted circle of authors, the main poets of the Callimachean movement of third cent. B.C. Alexandria (the trail-blazers) and their early Roman followers (beside Menander in Chapter 8), and then only a selection of works — for example, there is no treatment of Callimachus’ hymns; Herodas is only touched upon; only a few of Theocritus’ poems are discussed. Nor is any extended attempt made to coordinate this literary production with Hellenistic visual art. This all having been said, it remains to state that Muse e modelli is a very impressive and useful book. I found all of the discussions informative and insightful. The authors push to the limits of defensible inference, rarely beyond, and this encourages, or, perhaps better, challenges the reader to arrive at his or her own conclusions. In Muse e modelli M.F. and R.H. have realized a work which will be warmly welcomed by scholars of Hellenistic literature for its insights, detail, and rich documentation, and for providing impetus for further work. Also the book must be recommended to students; here they can obtain an exciting introduction to the field and an intimate acquaintance with the authors’ method. Furthermore, the translations furnished for every Greek and Latin passage make the book’s contents accessible to scholars from other disciplines, who by reading this book can arrive at a good understanding of the nature of Hellenistic poetry. An excellent book at an excellent price.

Sketch of subjects treated:

Chapter 1 (M.F.) Occasioni di performance e genesi letterari (3-60)

1.1. Invocare le muse, invocare modelli (3-20): Earlier poets as sources of inspiration beside the Muses. Poems of investiture (Theocritus, Herodas, Callimachus). Herodas, Mim. 8: Hipponax. First person speech. Long discussion of Callimachus’ Iambs and adoption of and deviation from Hipponactean elements. New Hipponax. Ion of Chios as model for polyeidea.

1.2. Modelli impossibili e occasioni perdute (20-29): Contamination of genres evokes accusation of exaggerated intellectualism. Evolution of dithyramb in fifth and fourth centuries resulting in survival of a lyric form. Spread of historic epic (also encomiastic, geographic) and (for the learned) of the epyllion, aetiology, and didactic poetry. From performance culture to book culture. Study of archaic genres produced written rules and consciousness of those genres’ obsoleteness.

1.3. Smontare e rimontare: a caso? (29-40): Contamination according to a system. Diffusion of hexameter and elegiac distich. Stichic use of lyric meters. Erinna’s hexameter lament. Expanded use of hexameter by Theocritus and Callimachus. Call. Lav. Pall. and elegiac hymns. Theater. Mimic innovations of Theocritus and Herodas. Regularization of meters, Callimachus’ hexameter — easy metrics for every reader. Theocritus plays with this.

1.4. Aberrazioni ‘marginali’ (40-44): Conclusion: reconsideration of Hellenistic program — (a) reconsideration of forms and functions of traditional genres, (b) evaluation of actuality of traditional forms and their adaptability. Minor poets interested in experimentalism and exotic use of meters. Technopaignia.

Chapter 2 (R.H.) L’eziologia degli ‘Aitia’ di Callimaco (61-120)

2.1. Callimaco (61-63): Biographical and literary sketch. Poet-philologist par excellence. Originality and controlled style.

2.2 La struttura degli ‘Aitia’ (63-68): Length. Nature of the work. Bks. I & II: dialogue with Muses, order of subjects. Bks. III & IV: no longer in dialogue structure. Interaction between aetia. Later additions. Order of subjects again. Intended engagement of reader with structural correspondences. Transitions between aetia.

2.3 L’eziologia (68-71): Explaining origins of customs and cults. “Il progetto eziologico è … momento di intersezione tra la cultura totalizzante dell’Alessandria tolemaica e il mondo delle città ellenistiche con le loro tradizioni, i loro culti e la loro politica” (p.68f.). Relation to Hesiod’s mythology. Political value of mythology, even in foreign affairs. Part of Hellenistic systemization of knowledge. Playful nature of fictive simplicity of persona and explanations, peculiar Callimachean irony.

2.4 Esiodo e Callimaco (71-81): ‘New Hesiod’: dream of meeting Muses on Helicon. First aetion: Parian cult of Graces. Extensive discussion of relationship to the Theogony. Variants and ‘truth’ (genealogies of the Graces). Wonder: childish curiosity and philosophy. Intellectualism as mark of free persons.

2.5 Aconzio e Cidippe (81-88): Risks of knowledge (Zeus and Hera…, Sotades). Cause of sickness revealed by Apollo (poet-physician). Selectiveness of the Aetia contrasted with archaic catalogue poetry. Use (ironic) of Xenomedes (chronicler of Keos). Aetiology of practices and of Callimachus’ sources.

2.6 La ‘replica ai Telchini’ (88-97): Date. Problems of interpretation. Criticism and defense. Length alone invalid criterium of excellence. And ‘short’ helps make ‘fine’. Pindar as model. Ass vs. cicada. Hesiod as model: rejuvenation. Suggested connection between liberation from old age and liberation from the weight of the literary tradition. Callimachus wants to make a new beginning.

2.7 Callimaco e lo straniere di Ico (97-104): fr. 89 M. = 178 Pf. Allusion to Od. 17.217-228 (like to like). Ideology of moderate drinking and concomitant intellectual freedom. Position of the fr.: beginning of Bk. II? Odyssey as contrast. Freedom from Athens, Callimachean innovation.

2.8 Carmi in onore di una principessa (105-111): Beginning of Bk. III, celebrating chariot victory of Berenice. Nemean games and Heracles, progenitor of Ptolemies. Molorchus story: constellation of several aitia, mice in foreground, Nemean lion in background. Lock of Berenice, later appended to the Aetia. Characteristically playful use of speaking voice (of the lock). Analogy with role of court poet.

Chapter 3 (R.H.) Le ‘Argonautiche’ di Apollonio (121-175)

3.1. Geste epiche e poesia epica (121-130): Apollonius’ biography uncertain, he was immersed in the poetic tradition. Poem’s relationship to the Odyssey. Only surviving post-Homeric epic before the Romans. Big influence on subsequent literature. Distance to past: his heroes at beginning of heroism; they hear only cosmology, not heroic poetry; no “autopropaganda”, i.e. they do not arrive preceded by their own fame like Odysseus and Aeneas. Interplay between the Argonaut saga and the Odyssey and then between the latter and the Argonautica. Superhuman powers related to Cyclic poems, romance to Cypria; Cyclic poem in modern style. φιλία alternation traditional (Homeric).

3.2. Il senso dell’epica (130-137): Homeric poems as socio-political authority and social-ethical paradigm in Greek culture. Homeric heroes and Aeneas heroic models, but Jason not inspiring emulation, heroically marginal. [Longinus]: Apollonius not lofty but “infallible” ( ἄπτωτος). Cosmological correspondences/reflections in the Argonautica. Similes: relate to common experience, like lyric similes; removing from action, not timeless, addressing the particular.

3.3. L’ira eroica e il suo rifiuto (137-152): ‘wrath’ scarcely operative in the poem (Idas, Telamon). Contrast between Jason, who renounces wrath and Achilles, similarity rather to Odysseus. Jason has a decorated cloak, not a decorated shield. Alexander the Great a ‘wrathful hero’, a negative example.

3.4. La poesia della memoria (152-162): ‘Ira’ and memory (wrath of a god). Modes of memory: narration, aetiology, genealogy. Exhortation in narration (‘remember me’). Repetition (type scene). Bk. IV recalling previous books. Muse, Memoria, creative force and ‘truth’. Prediction has minor role compared to Odyssey and Aeneid: bitter future of Jason and Medea, story of expedition, not of Jason. Prophecy and Necessity.

3.5. La qualità di un capo (162-168): Political variety in Homer and this poem. Aeetes’ tyranny contrasted with deliberations of Argonauts. Jason best leader for expedition, not ‘best’ in Homeric sense. Comparison with Xenophon of the Anabasis. Power not main theme of poem.

Chapter 4 (M.F.) Teocrito e il genere bucolico (177-262)

4.1. Teocrito e il ‘realismo’ del quotidiano: alla ricerca di nuovi mondi possibili per la poesia (177-186): Poet of many genres. Comparison with Callimachus. Country and urban mime. Indebted to Sicilian mime. Comparison with Herodas. New world of bucolic poetry with music at center. Theoc. 7 the only ‘I’-mime (Simichidas-Theocritus). City to country. Exegesis of Lycidas’ Ageanax-song: music over love; of Simichidas’ song: relief from love. Elements of bucolic poetry: peace, locus amoenus. Invention of bucolic poetry. Earlier parodic hexameter poems. Hexameter mimes challenging the tradition. Internal coherence.

4.2. Verosimiglianza e coerenze (186-216): Examination of internal coherence of Theocritus’ poetry. Music / song made main activity. Symbolism of boy on the cup (Theoc. 1), models (Phaedrus, Shields). Idealized harmonious countryside / nature: Theoc. 1, radically idealized: end of Theoc. 7. Phaedrus. Bucolic realism to mitigate idealization. Theoc. 6 and 11, Daphnis, Cyclops. Bucolic pantheon: Graces, Nymphs, Muses, Hermes, Apollo. Magic. Use of proverbs. Use of mythology sporadic and dissonant, as extraneous to bucolic world. Wine: Centaurs (Theoc. 7), Cyclops (11 and 6). Blinding and self-curse.

4.3. La poesia bucolica post-teocritea, tra imitazione e stilizzazione (216-221): Theoc. 8. Daphnises and Comatases (Theoc. 1 and 5-8), poetic fallacy. Milo (Theoc. 4 and 8): historical allusion.

4.4. Evoluzioni dell’idea di amore, ‘bucolico’ e non (221-245): Text of Theocritus point of departure for ‘minor’ bucolic poets. Use of myth to demonstrate maxims (on love: Theoc. 11, 13, and 6). Moschus and Bion: non-ironic and non-occasional treatment, positive romantic vs. Theocritean pessimism. Descriptions of Eros: Eros-symbolism, Bion 13 and 10. Theocritean opposition between Eros (love) and pastoral setting. Vergil and Gallus. Third cent. epigrammatists and philosophers: love as sickness — poetry as cure — opposed by Bion 9. Models: Sappho, Theognis, the Theogony. Relation to Anacreontica. Bion 7: Theocritus and Vergil. Bion 3. Bion in Stobaeus. Bion (Epitaph. Adon.) and Propertius.

Chapter 5 (R.H.) Raconti epici, ma non troppo (263-332)

5.1. L’epyllio ellenistico (263-269): Definition: dimension (ca. 100-1000 vv.), formal aspects (frame, autonomy), meter. Models: sub-narratives in epic, narratives in lyric. Innovative use of direct speech (e.g. Theoc. 22 stichomythy): influence of drama (Megara), relation to mimes.

5.2. L”Ecale’ di Callimaco (269-274): Related poems: models, imitators. Hecale like Eumaeus. Formal relationships to Homeric narrative, allusions.

5.3. L”Eracle fanciullo’ di Teocrito (275-286): Hymnic form, for contest? Heracles and Philadelphus. Model Pindar, Nemean 1. Use of retardation. Pindaric features (Nem. 1, Paean 20). Use of time. ‘Realistic’ remodeling. Epic and everyday speech mixed. Relation to Homeric hymn to Demeter. Use of direct speech. Declines opportunities for ecphrasis (sword, shield).

5.4. L”Eracle uccisore del leone’ del corpus teocriteo (286-291): Uncertainties concerning structure. Lost verses? Reading strategy for unique group of episodes. Problems of recognition. Heracles before his fame. Animal confrontations. Iliadic models. Within frame of cleansing stables the story of the Nemean lion. Meaning of δέ in verse 1. Structure shows Hellenistic tendency toward dramatization. Introduction to a world that still does not know κλέος.

5.5. L”Europa’ di Mosco (291-301): Second cent. different from third. Aetiology plays secondary role. Function of dream. Double motivation and the natural. Models: Nausicaa, Medea. Maiden to woman. Not reluctant. Literary effect of the bull. Significant treatment of myth. Basket ecphrasis: parallel, but in cyclical epic style, while Europa story within short time epyllion narrative, ecphrasis a kind of simile. Europa in art.

5.6. I ‘Fenomeni’ di Arato e la tradizione didascalica (302-322)

5.6.1. La poesia didascalica (302-316): Phaenomena is one poem. Model: Works and Days. Scources: Eudoxus of Cnidus; peripatetic weather treatise. Function of didactic poetry. Aratus and the “Great Namer” of the constellations. Hesiod and seafaring. Didactic poetry not meant to be exhaustive, meant to be inspiring and to give examples. For every reader. Hesiodic ἔρις. Human weakness and divine helpers.

5.6.2. La Giustizia e le stelle (316-319): Personification in the Works and Days and in the Phaenomena. Differences concerning Dike and former ages.

5.6.3. Verità visibile (319-322): Descriptions: taste for paradoxical, enargeia, will to visualization. Failure to see is another evidence of need. Use and criticism of myth (catasterism).

Chapter 6 (M.F.) Stili epici, ma non troppo (333-387)

6.1. Introduzione (333-336): Strato’s epic cook. Epicisms in later poetry. Obsolete use of formulae: criticism, parodies (Cratinus). Antimachus very Homeric. Use of Homeric language and achievement of leptotes common to great poets of third cent., Callimachus the paragon. He, Theocritus, and Apollonius practised un-Homeric Homericism.

6.2. Callimaco (336-344): Hecale and early epic: echoes, allusions, modifications. Contrast between sophisticated use of language and humble subject matter.

6.3. Teocrito (344-359): Theoc. 24. Pindaric models. In 24 Alcmena fast, Amphitryon slow. Rationalization of baby’s victory. Demartialization (shield as cradle). Comparison with Hesiodic ‘Shield’: Amphitryon and Taphians, no ecphrasis / excursus, Pterelaus betrayed not vanquished (irony)? The lullaby: Homeric echoes, Simonides’ Danaë. Astronomy: shield of Achilles; here indication of season and time (un-Homeric). Serpents: usually in ecphrases, reduction toward the realistic, models. Brother, parents, household and their epic models.

6.4. Apollonio Rodio (359-380): Significant example of variation and dissimilation in respect to Homer. Own strategy for use of repetitions and ‘formulae’ (both Homeric and own). His first use of an epic phrase often alludes to original context — for epic elevation or parodic emphasis on difference. The use of magic reduces the heroic achievement of the trials. Heroic similes undercut. Similes sounding Homeric but own synthesis: images motivated more logically than Homer does.

Chapter 7 (M.F.) L’epigramma (389-481)

7.1. Iscrizione ed epigramma: la ‘preistoria’ del genere (389-397): Literary form (fourth and third cent.) dedicatory / erotic, concentrated expression and pointe. Erotics and symposium. Dipylon Jug, Nestor’s Cup. Forerunners: Herms of Hipparchus, Simonides, Ion of Samos (CEG 819).

7.2. L’epigramma funerario e dedicatorio: convenzioni epigrafiche e variazioni epigrammatiche tra il IV e il II secolo a.C. (397-448)

7.2.1. L’importanza del nome (397-398): Parameters of epigraphic content. Literary variation and topical content.

7.2.2. Tombe senza nome (398-413): Botrys and son (by Asclepiades). Metrical difficulties with names. Mutually supplementary epigraphs. Names outside of metrical part. Misanthropic epitaphs.

7.2.3. Dialoghi con le statue (413-448): Common variation: tombstone speaker, passerby interlocutor. Early instances. Variations. Dedicatory epigrams in dialogue (and monologue), signs of the literary. Dioscurides: Thyreatis epigram. Callimachus: more funerary variations, also irony on afterlife.

7.2.4. Difficoltà di dialogo e vittoriose congetture (437-448): Symbolic elements on funerary monuments. Oriental influence. Visual riddles. Hellenistic explanatory epigrams in dialogue / monologue. Antipater.

7.3. L’epigramma d’amore (448-462): Pleasure in interpretation characteristic of Callimachus also evident in his love epigrams. Diagnosis of love. Asclepiades: wine is symptom or remedy, philosophical views. Posidippus, Callimachus: intellectual vs. erotic. Antipater: water vs. love. Meleager, Callimachus: ironic ambiguity. Intellectual stance and Plato’s Symposium.

Chapter 8 (R.H.) Teatro e forme letterarie para-teatrali (483-532)

8.1. Menandro e la Commedia Nuova (483-512)

8.1.1. Introduzione (483-487): Surviving texts. Plautus and Terence: adaptations. Menander: structure of plays, metrics, scenics.

8.1.2. La Commedia Nuova e la società ellenistica (487-496): Central interest: preservation of family. Plays end with matrimony. Perikeiromene: legalities of society. Almost no current affairs. Changed political situation. Now affluent audience. Voice of philanthropy, social concord. Dyscolus.

8.1.3. L’orizzonte etico della Commedia Nuova (496-504): Exaggerated characters. Theophrastus and Menander. Aristotelian ethics of the mean. Example: Terence’s Adelphoe. Liberality, friendship, and education. Subjectivity of moral judgments. Acting and real life.

8.1.4. Commedia Nuova e tragedia attica (504-511): Later plays of Euripides. Similarity of structure. Roles of parody and imitation: the Aspis, Dyscolus, Sicyonii, Samia.

8.1.5. Il fascino della Commedia Nuova (511-512): Enduring popularity. Ethical rhetorical reception. Recognizable types and troubles of the ordinary world. Chance as positive force (psychological reasons).

8.2. La tragedia ellenistica (512-518): Little after fifth cent. survived but flourished in Hellenistic Age. Classical tragedy became source texts and literature. Performance in extracts. Hellenistic tragedies for performance and for reading. The Alexandrian Pleiad. Scholar-dramatists. Metrical strictness. Five acts. Exagoge of Ezechiel. Satyr play.

8.3. L”Alessandra’ di Licofrone (518-526): Problem of authorship and date: third cent.? Probably (at least nucleus) by Lycophron of Chalcis. Relation to epic and tragedy. Return to origin of tragedy by deconstruction of same. Contrast with the Megara: dramatic form on epic scale with epic in compass of a dramatic scene. Oriental revelation literature. Exegetic mimetic mix. Thematic scatter. Difficulties for understanding: subject, language, abrupt transitions. Recondite poetry suiting poet’s now marginal position in society. Aristotle’s rules taken as negative challenge. Messenger’s report visualizing (prophecies from) Cassandra’s visualizations.

Chapter 9 (R.H.) Epilogo romano (533-565)

9.1. ‘Grecia capta’ (533-538): Greek models. In first cent. B.C. proof of relevance of Hellenistic esthetics. Ennius (second cent.) and Callimachus and Vergil. End of second / beginning of first cent. knowledge of Hellenistic epigrams and interest in literary history. The neoterics. Catullus and Callimachus. Varro and Cicero and Callimachus. Theocritus. Apollonius Rhodius and Catullus. Aratus. Parthenius in Rome engendering interest in third cent. poetry (Cinna, Calvus, and Gallus). But known and imitated long before Parthenius’ arrival. Emphatic use of Hellenistic structure in poems as a substitute for the lack of a Latin poetic vocabulary.

9.2. ‘Verbum pro verbo’ (538-546): What ‘word for word’ meant in Rome: imitation-translation. Horace: Alcaeus; Vergil: Theocritus, Homer. ‘Translation’ and ‘autovariation’ as modes of allusion. Hellenistic translations? Much according to Tzetzes. Inspiration from model (admiration). Otium referring to translating.

9.3. Poesia o traduzione? (546-548): Catullus 65: exprimere (‘translate’) and the implications of expromere (‘produce’).

9.4. I limiti della traduzione (549): Catullus 66: last two verses of Callimachus’ Lock not translated. Catullus 67: is the beginning of the poem an allusion to omitted end of 66? Experiment with translation.

9.5. L”Attis’ di Catullo (550-559): Catullus 63. Comparison with Theoc. 26 and Bath of Pallas. Meter (Callimachus model?). Bacchae of Euripides. Attis and Attica? Attis and Hylas (of Theocritus). Apollonius Rhodius and the Great Mother (mentioned just before his Hylas story), search for echoes in 63. Catullus 64. Attis and Ariadne. Proem of 64 from end of the Argonautica. 64 as third cent. Hellenistic poem. 63 and 64: comparison and contrast (generic and thematic). Example of transition from third cent. Alexandrian poetry to later more popular forms (dramatization, mime).

Following this (admittedly selective) sketch, some comments on a few details:

(2.3. p.68f.) The formulation (quoted above) is striking. But Callimachus’ goal in writing the Aetia still seems to need further explanation. Is it meant to be (among other things) an ironic celebration of the new writing culture? (2.7.) At the latest in the section on the stranger from Ikos, where Callimachus thematizes alcohol abuse, it would have been helpful to cite Degani’s article explaining Callimachus’ choice of Hipponax over Archilochus as his iambic model because of the former’s abstemiousness.1 (2.8.) In the last section dealing with the Lock of Berenice, later appended to the Aetia, an analogy is drawn between the lock and the court poet. The Lock is then interpreted as a fittingly ironic ending for the Aetia. Perhaps Callimachus had these ideas, but it seems simpler to see the Lock as the kind of thing a court poet and famous writer of aetia was later encouraged to provide, and since it was an aetion, it was appended to the Aetia.

(3.1. pp.128-130) While dealing with the connections between the cyclic epics and the Argonautica in respect to romance (p.129) it would have been better to mention (explicitly) the motif interrelationship between this story and the abduction of Helen (Cypria).2 (3.2. p.131f.) It is difficult to accept the relevance of the deaths of Jason’s and Medea’s children for his heroic marginality; for example, Achilles and Ajax do not interact with the next generation, but they are not marginal heroes. Still, Jason, unlike some other Argonauts, is not the father of Iliadic fighters, only of their wine merchant, Euneos (Il. 8. 467-475). (p.132f.) The cosmological interpretations of the fixing of the Symplegades and the confrontation with Talos seem tenuous.

(4.2. p.187ff.) After the interesting discussion of the representation of the boy with the foxes on the cup (Theoc. 1.45-54), which states that the scene is “una sorta di metafora della instaurazione della poesia bucolica stessa”, one needs some explanation for the other two scenes there. (p.214ff.) Two of the passages cited (Theoc. 11.30-33, 60-62) to demonstrate the interpretation of the Cyclops’ song as a pharmakon of self-curse invoking later blinding through incautious mention of his eye, begin with κόρα and κόριον, here meaning ‘girl’ but also capable of meaning ‘eye’.3

(6.2. p.316ff.) Apropos of Aratus’ Dike story (clearly, as noted, built on Hesiod’s Dike) and her connection to Demeter and Kore, one might have mentioned the similar withdrawal motif in h.Cer. (6.4. p.362ff.) The author’s discovery, that very often Apollonius’ first use of a formula/phrase from early epic alludes to the original context, is presented with amazing modesty.4

(7.2.3. p.419f.) In the case of the two epigrams (AP 6.122 and 123) dedicating javelins a remarkable feature of that of Anyte (123) is that each time the epigram is read, a ‘re-dedication’ is made (similarly Mnasalces, AP 6.128).5 (p.431-433) Callimachus’ epigram on Timarchos (AP 7.520) is connected with Cynic philosophy; in the case of his paradoxical epigram (AP 7.524) on Charidas of Cyrene (dialogue with a dead man who denies contemporary beliefs about the afterlife) the name (perhaps unique, evoking ‘joy’ — and Charon), the nationality, and the doctrine suggest a connection with Cyrenaic hedonism.

(8.1.3. p.498-504) The discussion of Terence’s Adelphoe seems somewhat slow in coming to the main point, namely, that a subjective application of the ethics of the mean is open to distortion. Demeas’ statement of principle, inspicere tamquam in speculum in vitas omnium | iubeo atque ex aliis sumere exemplum sibi (v.415f.), is designed to establish the broadest possible basis for judgment: “lives of all”, not just “of others” as translated. (8.1.4. p.511-512) In addition to the psychological reasons adduced for Menander’s continuing popularity, there were the artistic ones: very pleasing language, and good plots free of current affairs (see p.491) — characteristics imparting timelessness.

I noticed only one misprint in the Italian: delll’ on p.162. The following are in the citations: οὐδε τι twice on p.149. φέροιεν without following period on p.238. οἰκέτι on p.457. γὰρ; on p.489. There also from the twelfth line from the top to the sixteenth the speaker distribution is erroneous; the correct assignments are in the translation at the bottom. ἠτόχησε and μεῖζον’ on p.514. And avet instead of amat on p.548.


1. E. Degani, Aevum(ant) 8 (1995) 105-136 (important for the whole ‘water vs. wine’ theme).

2. Nor is this mentioned by Vian in his Les belles lettres edition vol. 2, pp.6-10 “Les sources d’Apollonios”.

3. Cf. Emp. fr. 84.8 κύκλοπα κούρην.

4. First described in Th. D. Papanghelis & A. Rengakos (ed.), A Companion to Apollonius Rhodius (Leiden 2001) 179-192. “immense implications for the study of Apollonius”, P. Ojennus, BMCR 2001.11.13. “sensationelle … Beobachtung”, P. Dräger, GFA 5 (2002) 1011.

5. Cf. J.W. Day in Matrices of Genre, M. Depew, D. Obbink (ed.), Cambridge, Mass. and London (2000) 37ff.