This new collection of the fragments of Chrysippus, the second founder of Stoicism, is not the book we have been waiting for since 1903, the year in which Hans von Arnim published the second and third volumes of his Stoicorum veterum fragmenta.1 This standard work of reference, one of the great achievements of 19th century philology, obviously has its shortcomings when viewed from a contemporary perspective. And it certainly stands in need of revision. But in spite of the promise made by Dufour (henceforth D.) in his preface, his new collection of Chrysippus’s fragments with accompanying French translations is on the whole not successful in updating Von Arnim’s work. It will not supersede Stoicorum veterum fragmenta (henceforth SVF) even though it is a useful book which does have its merits.
In order to explain and justify my judgment I will first describe D.’s new collection. Then I will focus on its advantages in comparison with SVF, but also on its major defects. Finally I will formulate a short conclusion.
D.’s collection comprises some 1250 fragments taken from over 100 authors. However, they cover only two branches of Stoic philosophy: logic and physics. The third branch, ethics, is left out altogether. D.’s edition therefore corresponds only to the second volume of SVF. A revision of its third volume, which contains Chrysippus’s ethical fragments, may have been postponed, but I have searched in vain for any announcement. Consequently, as it stands, the new collection is a torso.
Within these limits D. in fact reproduces the chapter division of SVF as well as its distribution of fragments over the chapters. By and large he even retains the sequence of the individual texts within the chapters, thereby implicitly perpetuating Von Arnim’s handling of the sources as well as his understanding of early Stoic philosophy. Now and then subchapters have been combined, texts have been moved to different chapters, old fragments have been deleted and new ones inserted, but in spite of these changes the new collection is built on the principles of SVF.2 For example, not only Von Arnim but also D. include those texts which report, refer to, or contest early Stoic doctrine in general, that is, without mentioning names of Stoic philosophers among the fragments of Chrysippus, because D. shares Von Arnim’s conviction that Stoicism as it was known to our sources was in fact Chrysippus’s brand of Stoicism. In short: D.’s edition is not an independent collection but just a newer version of SVF.3
As a result, D. has retained many of SVF’s characteristics. For example, verbatim quotations of Chrysippus are recognizable in virtue of their typeface. A list of his works and of the fragments in which they are mentioned is added at the end of volume 1. At the end of volume 2 there are indexes in French of the sources and the passages which constitute the fragments, but also of the persons mentioned and the philosophical notions treated. In the index of sources, it may be observed, D. even repeats Von Arnim’s inconsistencies as to the inclusion of authors whose works are lost but who are cited or referred to in the fragments. For example, Diocles of Magnesia or Critolaus the Peripatetic are included, but Antiochus of Ascalon or Alexander Polyhistor are left out. Finally, volume 1 starts with a similar introduction. This opens up with a statement of the objectives and principles of D.’s edition. It continues with a most useful discussion of the available sources, of Chrysippus’s life and place within the Stoic tradition, and of his relations to his philosophical rivals. After these preliminaries, early Stoic logic and physics are accurately outlined. Finally the introduction is rounded off by some practical information, mostly concerning the numbering and presentation of the fragments.
Parts of this introduction have parallels in SVF’s first volume. However, D.’s introduction also covers new grounds. Notably his discussion of the historical background of Chrysippus’s career and his fine overview of early Stoic logic en physics, which are elaborated in introductions to every single chapter of the new collection, will be warmly welcomed by its users. These are real advantages of D.’s edition over SVF. But there is more.
First of all, there are the French translations accompanying the Greek and Latin fragments. I will return to them later, but it is obvious that their presence is a major reason to use D.’s collection. Secondly, there are the texts themselves. D. has not presented us with a new critical edition of the fragments, but he has used the texts of the best editions available. As a result, SVF’s system of reference, which is based on editions now out of date and which therefore does not always make it easy to recover a text printed or referred to, is no longer an inconvenience.4 In addition, D. has printed many texts more fully, and he has added explanatory notes in which he regularly points to related passages in the works of Plato or Aristotle and often adduces scholarly literature on problems of interpretation. D. has even printed most of the passages to which the reader in SVF is only referred to. And, whenever necessary, he has placed a fragment in its context by giving a short introduction. Finally, the editions from which the texts are taken are listed in a bibliography at the end of volume 2.5 To these editions too I will return later, but it should be clear that in comparison to the second volume of SVF, published in 1903, these factors really mark progress.
To make his collection useable D. has added a Greek-French glossary (which however is far from complete) as well as concordances to SVF and to Long and Sedley’s widely used Hellenistic philosophers.6 A further point worth mentioning is the good typography, which makes for ready overview and pleasant reading. This is a real relief in comparison to SVF. The only disadvantage in this respect is the size of the typeface: it should have been larger.
So much for the advantages of D.’s collection. Among its disadvantages there are first of all two minor points. The first of these is the physical production of the two weighty paperback volumes that I have worked through: they either should be hardbacks, or the collection should have been divided over a larger number of volumes. Paperbacks of over 700 pages which are continually used are bound to go to pieces soon. And Chrysippus deserves better.
A second point is the absence of any signs to mark the standard division of the texts. Obviously, this is a major inconvenience when, in the case of longer fragments, one is not content with stating their numbers in D.’s collection, but wishes to supply exact references to their original sources — a practice that is to be recommended, if only for the multiplicity of collections that are in use today with all their different numberings. D. for one, in view of the relatively few divergences in his ordering of the fragments, should have retained the numbering of SVF.
But these are minor points. More important are the following observations. In spite of many similarities to SVF, two important features of Von Arnim’s work have not been preserved. First, there is the difference in typeface between some texts in which Chrysippus is explicitly named or which, according to Von Arnim, can be traced back to him with certainty, and other texts which, to use Von Arnim’s formulation, one way or another may be useful to recover Chrysippus’s thought (SVF I, p. v). In D.’s collection this important difference is ignored. Secondly, D. has printed his texts without critical apparatus, which is to be deeply regretted. SVF’s apparatus surely is not as informative as it should be, but Von Arnim did provide at least some information about manuscript readings or editions, especially in those cases in which he was uncertain about the constitution of the text or in which he proposed conjectures or even printed corrections made by himself and others. D.’s collection has nothing of the sort, unless one is prepared to count as such the critical notes which accompany a number of fragments, and which pertain to only a portion of the numerous passages which have been the subject of critical discussion in the past. In many more places some form of comment, if only to register rejected readings or proposals, would not be out of place. In my opinion D. is too restrictive in his use of critical literature, perhaps because he places too much confidence in the texts of what he counts as the best modern editions.7
Now, in relation to these texts the reader should be on his guard. First, the Greek and Latin of D.’s fragments does not always conform to the texts of his best editions. And secondly, his best editions are in fact not always the best editions. As to the first point, I admit that I have not checked every single fragment, but among the fragments I did check there are quite a number where the text departs from the editions listed in D.’s bibliography without a critical note. Usually these departures are the results of mistakes and, as such, are easily recognizable. But sometimes they are not. And sometimes they even bear on issues of interpretation. A few examples to prove this point will follow in due course, after some tentative remarks on the second point: D’s choice of editions.
In the case of Greek authors, D. may have used editions which are not the best available because he appears to have exploited the texts of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (henceforth TLG)8 which is not always up-to-date with regard to the editions of works which are included. At least he has copied some works from TLG, although its editions have been superseded.9 In other cases, however, he seems to have missed the superior editions of TLG by using Adler’s index in SVF’s fourth volume. For that index is rather thoughtlessly based on Von Arnim’s often inconsistent references to the 19th century or even older editions he used in preparing SVF and, therefore, is often inconsistent itself: sometimes texts from the same work are listed under headings so different as to even make it difficult to recognize their common origin in works of which more adequate editions than the ones used by Von Arnim are available from TLG.10
Now, there is no need to discuss those departures from D.’s best editions which are obvious misprints. They are easily recognizable. But others are not. A rather innocent but telling example of this category is the epitaph of Chrysippus by his nephew Aristocreon in Fr. 10 (Plutarch, On Stoic Self-contradictions, 1033e). D.’s text reads:
Not so innocent as these two examples is Fr. 428 (Arius Didymus, Fr. 21 Diels = Stobaeus, Eclogae I, 10, 16c). Judging from D.’s bibliography, the text used should be either that of Diels’s Doxographi Graeci or that of Wachsmuth’s edition of Stobaeus. But Diels’s text is very different from the one D. presents. So it must have been Wachsmuth’s text that D. has borrowed. Wachsmuth, however, marks a lacuna, which is not to be found in Diels: (…)
Another serious case is Fr. 48 (Ammonius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Prior Analytics, p. 9.1-35 Wallies). D.’s text reads:
Errors of this kind, that is, errors generated by the method of copying TLG-texts, are rather frequent. It would be tedious to discuss them all.15 So I will repeat my initial warning that the user of D.’s collection should be on his guard as to the constitution of the texts. I will pass on to D.’s translations of the fragments.
Many of these have been adopted from existing billingual editions, e.g. the Collection Guillaume Budé, or from earlier French translations. Often they have been modified by D. himself, who has also produced translations of his own whenever there was no appropriate one available. As far as I can judge the French they are all elegant but, on the whole, they might have been more accurate. More seriously, they are even mistaken in quite a number of cases. And, as the translations of Plotinus and Ammonius referred to above have already made clear, sometimes they presuppose a text which is not the one printed. I will give a few examples to justify my judgment.
A good example of translations which might have been more accurate is Fr. 392 (Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentary on Aristotle’s Topics, p. 360.9-13 Wallies). In the course of his comment on Aristotle’s demand that genus and species should be used synonymously (Topics IV 4, 127b5) Alexander rejects the Stoic definition of quality as pneuma or matter in a certain state. His reason to do so is obvious: the definition of the genus, pneuma or matter, cannot be truly predicated of the species, quality. Yet this must be possible if genus and species are used synonymously.
Now, in the passage preceding the fragment Alexander states that such a line of argument is more general than one based on Aristotle’s earlier demand that the genus must not be inherent in the species or, in other words, that the species must not be the subject of the genus (Topics IV 4, 127b1). After that he stresses the fact that both lines of argument are different and then he starts his criticism of the Stoic definition as follows:
The inaccuracy of this second part is shown by Alexander’s reason for rejecting the Stoic definition: ‘pneuma and matter cannot be the genus of quality’. In D.’s translation however they can, because it conceives of the quality as a certain state of pneuma or matter and not as pneuma or matter itself in a certain state. D.’s translation does exactly what Alexander and other ancient sources demand from the Stoics, but what the Stoics themselves are not prepared to do: it transforms Stoic qualities, which inhere in the one unqualified matter or substance (
Of course, D.’s translation ‘une manière d’être du (…)’ has the same tenor as ‘(…) in a certain state’. But it does not mean the same. It has different ontological implications. And especially in a fragment which addresses those implications a translator may be exspected to avoid the ontologically wrong choice.
Examples of translations which are simply mistaken are two fragments which are closely interrelated, namely Fr. 819 (Tertullian, On the soul, LIV, 1) and Fr. 822 (Tertullian, On the soul, LV, 4). In the first of these Tertullian reports that almost all philosophers who somehow conceived of the human soul as immortal or who, like the Stoics, only accepted its temporary survival until the next world-conflagration, restricted their tenets to the souls of the wise. The fragment reads: Omnes ferme philosophi, qui immortalitatem animae, qualiterqualiter volunt, tamen vindicant, ut Pythagoras, ut Empedocles, ut Plato, quique aliquod illi tempus indulgent ab excessu usque in conflagrationem universitatis, ut Stoici, suas solas, id est sapientium animas in supernis mansionibus collocant. However. according to D.’s translation almost all philosophers who believed the human soul to be immortal had it perish in the next world-conflagration, whereas it was only the Stoics who confined its survival to the souls of the wise: ‘Parmi presque tous les philosophes qui revendiquent l’immortalité pour l’âme, de quelque manière qu’ils la conçoivent (…), chacun accorde quelque temps à l’âme, de la naissance jusq’à la conflagration de l’univers. C’est le cas des stoïciens, qui croient que seules certaines âmes subsistent (…)’. I cannot think of any reason for this interchange of tenets.
Nor can I explain D.’s translation of the second fragment. In the paragraphs preceding it Tertullian has reported various locations of the supernae mansiones, the ‘heavenly abodes’, mentioned in the first fragment — e.g. Plato has picked the aether, the Stoics have preferred the region of the moon. But Tertullian has also given some extra information about Plato’s souls of the wise: he is outraged over what he takes to be Plato’s view, namely that only the souls of wise men who have engaged in pederasty are admitted to the ‘heavenly abodes’ in the aether (On the soul, LIV, 2). In the second fragment Tertullian briefly returns to the subject of these ‘heavenly abodes’. Only in order to reject it he sarcastically wonders whether our souls will be resting in aethere (…) cum puerariis Platonis (…) aut circa lunam cum Endymionibus Stoicorum ?, that is, ‘in the aether (…) together with Plato’s pederasts (…) or in the area around the moon in the company of the Endymions of the Stoics?’. I cannot see a reason why D. translates as follows: ‘Mais notre lieu de repos sera-t-il l’éther, comme le croit Platon le pédéraste (…) ou les alentours de la lune, comme le croient les Endymions des stoïciens ?’. Tertullian does not call Plato himself a pederast. And the Endymions of the Stoics do not locate their ‘heavenly abodes’ in the region of the moon: they dwell in them.
One last example be permitted: Fr. 182 (Sextus Empiricus, Against the Professors, VIII 10). In the course of an argument which is meant to show that the dogmatists’ conceptions of the true are incoherent Sextus Empiricus sketches the theory of the Stoics. According to that theory there are some objects of sense as well as of thought which are true. However, the former are only true ‘by reference to’ the latter. Sextus explains this thesis by citing some Stoic description of the true as
Mistakes like the ones I just pointed out are rather frequent. In addition many errors are also found in the introduction and in the bibliography. For example: Cicero is said to have died in Rome (p. xvi), Athenaeus of Naucratis is a contemporary of Chrysippus (p. xix), or in 306 B.C. the young Epicurus came to Rome (p. xxxviii). In the bibliography Seneca’s Epistles are listed among the works of Cicero, an edition of Salvian’s On the government of God is missing, and many descriptions of editions or translations are faulty. As a result it is hard to avoid the impression that the book was produced in a hurry.
To come to a conclusion: D.’s edition is not an independent collection but just a newer and sometimes not a better version of SVF. It has advantages over its predecessor in its introductions to the collection as a whole and to its individual chapters, in its explanatory notes, in often superior texts with their modern systems of reference, and in the addition of French translations. However, the Greek and Latin texts and their translations are not always to be trusted. Therefore the most important advantages of D.’s edition are diminished. Moreover this new edition has one important disadvantage compared to SVF: the texts are printed without critical apparatus. For these reasons D.’s collection will not be able to supersede SVF. For the time being scholars still have to wait for a careful new edition built on modern principles.
1. Stoicorum veterum fragmenta, 3 vols., (ed.) Ioannes ab Arnim, Leipzig 1903-05 (a fourth volume containing indices compiled by M. Adler was published in 1924).
2. For short but pertinent criticism of some of these principles see J. Mansfeld, ‘Sources’, in: The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy, K. Algra, e.a. (eds.), Cambridge 1999, 27-28. Lately there has been some theoretical interest in the practice of collecting fragments. See e.g.: Collecting fragments, G.W. Most (ed.), Göttingen 1997, Fragmentsammlungen philosophischer Texte der Antike, W. Burkert, e.a. (eds.), Göttingen 1998.
3. This may be the reason why e.g. in the bibliography of sources the works On incorporeal qualities and On Fate, which today are generally thought to be spurious, are listed as works of Galen and Plutarch. It may also explain why texts taken from Diogenes Laertius,VII 49-82 are found under Diocles of Magnesia, though so large an extent of the ‘Diocles fragment’ has been criticized. See e.g. J. Mansfeld, ‘Diogenes Laertius on Stoic Philosophy’, in: Elenchos 7 (1986) 351-373 and V. Celluprica, ‘Diocle di Magnesia Fonte della Dossografia Stoica in Diogene Laerzio’, in: Orpheus 10 (1989) 58-79.
4. One only has to think of Von Arnim’s references to the page numbers of Potter’s edition of Clemens of Alexandria (Oxford 1715) or to Simplicius’ commentary on Aristotle’s Categories by folio and column of the Basel edition of 1551.
5. At the end of volume 1 there is also a bibliography of scholarly literature referred to in the explanatory notes.
6. A.A. Long & D.N. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers, 2 vols., Cambridge 1987. It is a pity that there is no concordance to K. Hülser, Die Fragmente zur Dialektik der Stoiker, 4 vols., Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1987-88.
7. Departures from these editions which in my opinion have been unjustly ignored are e.g. the proposals to delete
8. I have checked D.’s texts against cd-rom E. At least some of his Latin texts seem to derive from that CD-Rom too. See note 15 below.
9. Obvious examples (superior editions within brackets) are: Dio Chrysostomus, Speech 36 (D.A. Russel, Cambridge 1992); Galen, On Fallacies (S. Ebbesen, Leiden 1981) and On the formation of the foetus (D. Nickel, Berlin 2001); Hierocles, Elements of Ethics (G. Bastiniani & A.A. Long, Firenze 1993); Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (J. Dalfen, Leipzig 1987); Philodemus, On Piety, Book
10. Examples of such works (superior editions within brackets) are: Anonymous Art of Rhetoric (C. Hammer, Leipzig 1894); Anonymous Prolegomena [D. calls them Scholia] to Hermogenes’ On Issues (H. Rabe, Leipzig 1931); Scholia Vaticana on Dionysius Thrax (A. Hilgard, Leipzig 1901); Apollonius Dyscolus, On Conjunctions (R. Schneider, Leipzig 1878).
11. The crux is also missing at Plutarch, On Stoic Self-refutations, 1041c, 1046f and On Common Conceptions, 1066c, 1071a and 1084b. None of these texts however has found its way into D.’s collection. Only On Common Conceptions, 1077b has been adopted as Fr. 619. There however D. has a different text which is accounted for in a critical note.
12. P. Henry & H.R. Schwyzer, Plotini opera, vols. 1-2, Paris/Bruxelles 1951-59; vol. 3, Leiden 1973. Other fragments confirm that this edition underlies D.’s texts, e.g. Fr. 322, 324.
13. The TLG-texts of both Arius Didymus and Chrysippus are identical to Wachsmuth’s text of Stobaeus. So D. did not use a TLG-text other than Stobaeus and without the lacuna.
14. Long & Sedley (note 6 above) do not mention Wachsmuth’s lacuna. But they clear things up differently, viz., by not adopting all of Wachsmuth’s text. See vol. 2, pp. 277-78.
15. However one kind of error must not be passed over in silence. D. seems to have copied Fr. 377 (Seneca, Letter 58.12-13) and Fr. 820 (Tertullian, On the Soul, LIV, 2) from the TLG-texts of Chrysippus (SVF II 346a and II 814). In doing so, however, he apparently did not notice that along with the text he copied explanatory notes by Von Arnim, placed within brackets: Illud genus ‘quod est’ (scil.
16. Apparently D. has ignored the context of the fragments in other cases too. See e.g. his faulty translation of Fr. 778 (Galen, On simple Drugs, vol. XI, p. 731.3-4 Kühn):
17. Texts like SVF II 378 (
18. For this interpretation of the