BMCR 2006.04.36

The Owl of Minerva: the Cambridge Praelections of 1906. Reassessments of Richard Jebb, James Adam, Walter Headlam, Henry Jackson, William Ridgeway, and Arthur Verrall

, , The Owl of Minerva : the Cambridge praelections of 1906 : reassessments of Richard Jebb, James Adam, Walter Headlam, Henry Jackson, William Ridgeway and Arthur Verrall. Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society. Supplementary ; no. 28. Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 2005. viii, 172 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 21 cm.. ISBN 0906014271 $54.00.

[Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]

The history of classical scholarship is an academic genre that some may still think of as the stuffiest of all.1 If so, they have not kept up with the fashions. HiCS is scalding hot, not only in Urbana, Illinois, but in places like Berlin, Bologna, St. Petersburg, and — as in the present case — the UK. The current trend seems to be the merging of the subject with that of general reception studies, so that it may sometimes be difficult to distinguish “pure” HiCS from general cultural history (as in some of the bibliography cited below, n. 2). This, of course, only serves to make it all the more interesting.

The present book contains some of the best things the reviewer has encountered in the genre. To some degree this could perhaps be blamed on his weakness for glamorous biography, but this is far from the most prominent virtue of the book. The well-written articles are important on several levels, often stretching the limits of the genre to become studies in “meta-philology,” as it were, with important inquiries into the conditions, methods, and purposes of scholarship as an ideal and a secular pursuit.

There are antecedents, indeed already a tradition to build on, that has made such a happy result possible. Britain in the last couple of decades has seen a steadily increasing output of research on the national history of classics; initially consisting mainly of American publications (under the guidance or influence, of course, of William M. Calder III but in recent years much indigenous work, including several books by the editor of and contributors to the present volume.2

There is no denying that in England, the profession once used to be a glamorous one. And nowhere more glamorous, it would appear to an outsider, than in “the Cambridge of Bentley and Porson,” to which we are now heading. In The Owl of Minerva we are taken back to early 1906. Sir Richard Jebb, Regius Professor of Greek, had vacated the Chair by his untimely death in December the previous year, and in January five candidates, all Cambridge scholars, stand for the position. They enter into a competition with roots in medieval practice, being required to compete by “expounding openly in the Senate House … part of a book written in the Greek language.”3 These expositions, or “praelections” as they were called, were subsequently published, and even honoured by a Classical Review article by Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (included in the present volume with a translation by E. J. Kenney).4

The praelections themselves are not included in the book, as the title might suggest. However, each of the competitors receives an essay, and Jebb gets two: scholarly assessments with more or less particular angles of approach. The praelections are (perhaps deservedly) given relatively little attention, except in the case of William Ridgeway, for special reasons (v. infra).

The quality is even and, as already stated, very high. For one thing it is refreshing to observe that the late 20th-century taboos against biography and psychology in historical studies no longer seem to be operating;5 generally speaking, the maturity and level of experience of the contributors appear to have immunized most of them against fads, fashions, and ideological thinking. The reviewer would single out Mary Beard on Ridgeway and Michael Silk on Walter Headlam as the absolute highlights of the collection, but may be biased by personal interests and fields of research. Nevertheless, these two will be dealt with in somewhat greater detail than the other contributions here.

The articles

1. Stray on the praelections

In an introductory essay, the editor describes the event and its historical setting in detail. He focuses on the praelections as a social event and on the competitors’ personal attributes, reputation, and general standing in contemporary Cambridge. This is a happy strategy, which together with quotations from contemporary witnesses (pp. 4-8, 10), and snapshots of marginal figures (J. G. Frazer [p. 5], T. R. Glover [p. 7, n. 29], “little” Archer-Hind [p. 8], Charles Waldstein [p. 8]), gives an acute sense of presence and atmosphere.

The tone is elegiac: we are present at the end of an era. The title of the essay, “Flying at dusk”, refers to the Owl of Minerva, which according to Hegel takes flight “erst mit der einbrechenden Dmmerung.”.6 Not only was this the last public praelection of its kind (p. 1), but change was coming on all fronts: specialization, the admission of women to the university, the abolition of Greek as a compulsory requisite for university studies (p. 2). The views and standpoints of the competitors to the Chair on these issues are discussed in several of the essays in the present book (see especially Beard on Ridgeway’s positions, pp. 122-30; Todd on Jackson’s, pp. 89, 94, 96).

Conservative minds obviously felt the changes struck at the very heart of British civilization — the place where Oxbridge was in fact situated at the time. Was it Lionel Johnson who defined the gentleman as “one who knows Greek and Latin”? At any rate, the association of gentlemanship with (classical) education may be traced back to Elizabethan times: A scholar’s, courtier’s, soldier’s eye, tongue, sword; a scholar and a gentleman, etc. The abolition of Compulsory Greek was if not instrumental, so at least symbolic of the decline and fall of that best-known of all British institutions — and, subsequently, of the British Empire itself.7

2. Stray on Jebb

The two essays following the Introduction concern Richard Jebb, who has received much attention lately (Todd 2002 and Easterling 2004: opp.cit. n. 2). Christopher Stray contributes a short life, including an interesting section on Jebb’s role in the founding of the Classical Review (p. 19) and a survey of the verdicts of his posterior critics (pp. 20-23). The latter have been somewhat depreciating, and S. attempts a defence, which unfortunately remains vague. He rightly praises Jebb’s willingness to assess a wide range of external evidence (p. 21). More could have been done, however, with the assessments of Dawe (op.cit. n. 2) and Wilamowitz 8 cited on pp. 20-21, and in particular of that of Charles Brink, whose detailed critique (1986, loc.cit. n. 2) is given short shrift.

“Wissenschaftliche Produktion [war] nicht sein [sc. Jebbs] Feld” according to Wilamowitz (loc.cit. n. 8). Brink rendered this as “critical production [etc.]”, according to S. “a little tendentiously.” However, while in line with Brink’s stated purposes with his book (pp. 1-9, esp. 2-4), his translation seems appropriate. In Wilamowitz’s view, “Wissenschaft” is about identifying and attempting to solve problems — the pursuit of a “critical” mind. This is also the opinion of some of the real authorities on the subject.9 “Scholarship”, on the other hand — so in the translation of Dawe (op.cit. n. 2, p. 242) — may allow for a somewhat more passive approach: describing, interpreting, “reading,” “learning.” This looks more like the Jebb we know. Jebb’s scholarly mind, I think, always remained a passive one — fluent, supremely receptive of every nuance of Sophocles’ Greek and of every relevant intertext, but rather reluctant to tackle the actual problems, the cruxes of the text and its interpretation. Not just in the sense of being a conservative conjectural critic: it is as if the very presence of a problem was distasteful to him, just as distasteful as a thoroughly problematic author such as Euripides.10 It is surely significant that he never finished the Sophocles fragments.

3. Easterling on Jebb

For all this, Jebb’s virtues are undeniable, as the subsequent contribution by his 7th successor to the Regius Chair, Pat Easterling, demonstrates in detail. While Brink (op.cit. n. 2) saw Jebb as entirely a product of the despised Victorian schoolmaster tradition of classicism, E. tries to ascertain where he in fact breaks with it, and what might have been his immediate influences (pp. 25-30).11 For he does break with it, not the least in his keen professionalism, already extolled by E. in her prefatory essay to the new edition of Jebb’s Sophocles (op.cit. n. 2). As Dawe before her (op.cit. n. 2, pp. 242-43), E. identifies the prose translations as a telling marker of Jebb’s scholarship, and honours them with a full discussion (pp. 30-32). She examines his views on conjectural criticism (pp. 34-37), and clearly demonstrates the particular strengths of his tour de force, the Commentary (pp. 37-41). Finally she looks at three of Wilamowitz’s assessments of Jebb, not including the one discussed by Stray (pp. 41-44).

The section on Jebb’s commentaries is particularly enlightening. Citing lemmata from the Oedipus plays and the Ajax, E. defines the characteristic virtues of Jebb the commentator: economy of expression, appropriate choice of points to expound upon (including, in a pioneering manner, reception study [p. 41 with n. 47]), and, in particular, a superb ability to demonstrate the finer nuances of words and expressions. Pure semantics, if not “critical scholarship,” may have been the proper field of Richard Jebb.

4. Robinson on Adam

The first contestant for Jebb’s Chair (in the present book as well as at the actual event) is James Adam. Adam stands out among the otherwise homogenous crowd of born and bred English12 gentlemen, being the son of a farm-hand, later shopkeeper in a village outside of Aberdeen. His biographer David Robinson presents a thorough scholarly life with a patriotic slant, opening with references to Scots giants David Hume and Adam Smith. We get detailed discussions of Adam’s major works, The Religious Teachers of Greece (pp. 56-60) and the edition of Plato’s Republic (pp. 60-66). The former discussion includes interesting notes on how different scholars’ personal religious views operated in the study of Greek religion at the time, especially in the case of Adam himself (an undogmatic Christian) and of the atheist Burnet.

Adam, whose commentary on the Republic is still in use, may well have been the proper choice of successor to Jebb, had scholarly merits been decisive. So R., whose account, unlike the others in this volume, is strongly partisan (55, 66-67). R. appears not entirely to accept, at least on a moral level, the general consensus that Henry Jackson, due to his long engagement in the social and administrative matters of the university, was a given candidate (see especially Stray pp. 4-6 and n. 16; Todd pp. 89, 94-96).

5. Silk on Headlam

Michael Silk takes on Walter Headlam in a precisely defined paper: “Scholarship, poetry, poetics.” S.’s readings are psychological and insightful. His essay may be read in part as an answer and complement to two recent accounts of Headlam: Geoffrey Arnott’s chapter in Jocelyn (op.cit. n. 2, pp. 151-61), and Simon Goldhill’s essay “1891, and Mr Headlam starts a row” (op.cit. n. 2, pp. 231-43).

The first part, “openings”, presents biographical facts in an impressionistic fashion. Headlam remains the enigma he always was, but we learn some interesting things: for instance (p. 72 with n. 18) that he was the first love of the young Miss Virginia Stephen, whose later husband, Leonard Woolf, also appears in the present volume — in Robert Todd’s essay on Henry Jackson (pp. 105-6).13 One of the fascinating features of the present book, at least for a non-British outsider, is the intricate webs of social and spiritual connections which emerge around the Cambridge characters, with threads stretching all over the contemporary English intelligentsia. One understands how very much at the centre of British intellectual life the Oxbridge-London university world was situated at the time, and how much the Classics were at the centre of the university.14

Among his own colleges, on the other hand, Headlam was an outsider (p. 73, n. 21); indeed in periods he may have been virtually excluded from the established community (see Goldhill loc.cit.). This may perhaps explain some of the extraordinary loyalty and devotion of his pupils (Silk pp. 71, 73-74), adopting as it were the stance of “us and Headlam against the dons.”

In part 2, “The ‘scientist,'” S. examines Headlam’s traditional-style scholarship, which falls neatly into two categories: lexicographic commentary, and conjectural criticism (on Aeschylus). In the former area, S. demonstrates Headlam’s peculiar blend of German-style thoroughness and flimsy disorganisation (pp. 75-76). In the latter, he underestimates Headlam’s importance, however: “Relatively few of his many conjectures have commended themselves to the fraternity as a whole” (p. 75, text for n. 36). True, Page adopts no Headlam in his OCT Agamemnon, but this the most studied of Aeschylean plays was by the turn of the century quite well-emended: a look at Page’s apparatus here will show few names of scholars active beyond the mid-19th century. And, as S. notes, Headlam gets six honourable mentions in the critical apparatus. If we look instead at the Supplices, Page adopt six conjectures by Headlam in the text (including 248, where H. anticipates Whittle), citing him twelve times in all. In fact, for successful emendation of Aeschylus (as reflected by the elsewhere often differing opinions of Page and West), Headlam has only two rivals among his contemporaries and posteriors: Wilamowitz and Blaydes.15 In comparison with the latter, his ratio of success relative to output is certainly superior. This result was accomplished during an active publishing career of not twenty years, taking place after the massive 19th century output of Aeschylus editions. Schtz, Porson, Weil, Blomfield, Dindorf, Bothe, Paley, and Hartung score higher than or equal to Headlam in Page’s apparatus: most of those scholars published not one, but several editions of Aeschylus.

The quirks and eccentricities of Headlam’s conjectural “method” are obvious and often derided (see Silk p. 75, n. 34) — he was much too clever for his own good, and too often let himself be taken in by his own imagination. On the other hand, his cleverness and imagination sometimes let him discover truths that otherwise — unlike much of contemporary and earlier textual criticism — might still have remained unthought-of.

In part 3, perhaps the most important section of the paper, S. looks into a side of Headlam’s research that has received little attention before: “Headlam as a literary scholar.” S. praises what he unflinchingly calls Headlam’s “intuitive-theoretical sensitivity” (p. 84), and shows that in his understanding of poetical language and the literary work of art, Headlam was ahead of his time, anticipating ideas associated with modern superstars such as Roman Jakobson, “[George] Lakoff and [Mark] Johnsson, with Nietzsche, and with Jacques Derrida” (p. 79). Most of it was presented in brilliant asides, as it were, among the disorganised rambling in short articles on various subjects. S. commands an impressive control of modern aesthetic theory, effortlessly referring to Coleridge, Matthew Arnold, F. R. Leavis, and Wagner in his discussion of the successes and failures of Headlam; S. also cites — in a league of erudition quite his own — Walter Whiter on Shakespeare and Havelock Ellis on Emile Zola (p. 78, n. 57).

The final part of S.’s essay is a reading of Headlam’s poetry, which is shown to be depressingly derivative, up to and beyond the point of plagiarism. S. points out the sources among 19th-century English poets such as Keats and Tennyson.

6. Todd on Jackson (pp. 87-110)

Robert Todd presents Henry Jackson, the man who was to succeed Jebb to the Chair at the age of sixty-six. Jackson was already a local legend at Cambridge, extremely popular and “one of the great English worthies” (Housman in an address on his 80th birthday, sampled as the title to T.’s essay). Unfortunately, his merits are not of the kind to make him very interesting to posterity. “A man free from scepticism, irony or cynicism” (p. 87), “a seamless web of scholarly and institutional activity” (p. 89), an “unabashed Liberal” (p. 93), and a forgotten scholar on the development of Plato’s theory of Ideas (pp. 90-92, 100-104), he is remembered first and foremost as a politician, active in the reforms of the university (pp. 87, 89, 94, 99).16 A little twist of irony, which T. chooses not to notice (see p. 93, text for nn. 41-43), is offered by the fact that the liberal Jackson was such a passionate devotee of Plato and Socrates (cf. Stray p. 5) — today often identified as the Founding Fathers of illiberal ideology.17

Students of the Greek drama — and indeed readers of a book assessing the life and scholarship of Richard Jebb, Walter Headlam, and Arthur Verrall — may be surprised to learn that the “Cambridge Ritualists” are “now regarded as the defining moment of Edwardian Cambridge Classics” (p. 95). Nevertheless, this is an accurate statement of fact — on T.’s side of the Atlantic Ocean (cf. Arlen, Ackerman, Calder 1991: opp.cit. n. 2).

7. Beard on Ridgeway (pp. 111-41)

Mary Beard has some acerbic comments about the “Cambridge Ritualists” in her essay, and readers of her recent book on their most famous proponent (op.cit. n. 2) will recognise the focused, unsentimental style and the willingness to assail conventional views and perspectives. In the present paper B. treats of William Ridgeway, the man who has gone to history as the evil opposition, as it were, in the saga of Jane Harrison and Co.: the Reactionary Establishment Figure. The portrait is sympathetic, and B. clearly demonstrates how very modern Ridgeway actually was (in matters of science and scholarship, that is). He was a pioneering scholar in the fields of anthropology and archaeology, and usually right in his opinions on the “Ritualist” theories (pp. 113, 118, 131-35). Nevertheless it is the Ritualists, not Ridgeway, who have gone down in history as the Great Modernizers of the Classics. B. puts emphasis on a lesson which is very difficult for the intrinsically dualistic human psyche to grasp, but all the more important for scholars and scientists to internalise, namely that a person who is perceived as “wrong” — here a choleric Victorian reactionary — may be indisputably right in particulars.18

B. devotes considerable space (pp. 135-39) to Ridgeway’s praelection, for special reasons. Ridgeway proposed a very original interpretation of Aeschylus’ Supplices, which he saw as depicting a conflict between the principles of the exogamy and matrilinearity of the ancient society, and the more modern endogamy and patrilinearity of Aeschylus’ times.19 The irony is twofold: first, this was for the time a “wonderfully modish” (B. p. 115) theory — not at all what was to be expected from a “Victorian reactionary”; secondly, the theory is nowadays known to most Aeschylean scholars as that of the Marxist and dedicated communist George Thomson.

B. notes that Ridgeway’s theory has not found much favour in recent works on the Supplices, and rightly complains that it is not taken as seriously as other outdated theories, and hardly ever correctly attributed (p. 139).20 However, she might have added that the issue of exogamy and matrilinearity has recently returned to the scholarly forefront in a quite spectacular way, in connection with the equally spectacular developments of the archaeology of the eastern Bronze Age Mediterranean. We may now certainly connect names from the Homeric epos and Greek mythology with identifiable towns and kings of the Hittite empire — notably, Wilusa (Ilion) and its king Alaksandu. From Richard Janko’s review of Joachim Latacz, Troy and Homer (Oxford 2004, Germ. original Munich 2001) in Times Literary Supplement 15 April 2005, we learn:

The name Alaksandu has long been a puzzle, since it is Greek, not Anatolian […]. How did a Trojan king get a Greek name? Why, indeed, does Homer give Paris this very name?

In 1991 the Israeli scholar Margalit Finkelberg observed in Greek myth an extraordinary pattern, which may suggest an explanation. No Greek hero would want his son to succeed him to the throne; those who do suffer horrible fates. […] Orestes has to murder his mother […]. Oedipus gains power by killing his father and marrying his mother; his sons, Eteocles and Polynices, kill each other over which will succeed him. The normal pattern is different. The king holds a contest of some kind for the hand of his daughter. […] This explains why most princes end up ruling different realms from their fathers. […]

This system, I suggest, reflects a historical reality. […] How better to explain Alexandros’ abduction of Helen from Sparta, than as a dim recollection of an exogamous system of dynastic marriage? How else to explain that Troy was ruled by a Greek with the same name, than because he obtained the throne by marrying a Trojan princess?

Finkelberg21 in fact demonstrated that the Greek mythical genealogies and king-lists can only be interpreted as reflecting an original matrilinear, exogamous dynastic system at the royal seats of Bronze age Hellas. The Hittite connection is interesting in the context, seeing that a version of the Danaid myth a thousand years older than Aeschylus has been found on one of the Bogazköy bronze tablets.22 Thirty brothers sleep with their sisters, all except one, who instead appears to found a dynasty. For the Danaids a thousand years later, the perspective is reversed: the endogamic marriage (Hypermnestra and Lynceus) is now the exception, not the rule, and is also rewarded with dynastic succession. This is not the place to speculate about the meaning of this, and about whether Ridgeway could after all on some level be right. However, the theory is certainly worth more attention than it has hitherto received by Aeschylean scholars; and it should be credited to its rightful author.

8. Lowe on Verrall (pp. 142-60)

If Headlam sometimes let his own cleverness get the better of him (v. supra), what shall we say about his arch-enemy, the man who interpreted Aristophanes’ Birds as a satiric warning against Judaic religion?23 N. J. Lowe’s essay on Arthur Verrall puts much emphasis on the so-called “rationalist” method of criticism or scholarship, which in the case of Verrall, at least, may be described as extreme simplification of the issue at hand, complete disregard of all details and complexity, and projection of one’s own mindset on that of the author under examination, in order to score points which are as false as they are absurd. We are given the key to Verrall’s “method” already at the beginning of the paper (p. 142): he came from a family of barristers, and studied three years of law before becoming a full-time classical scholar.

Nevertheless, Verrall has been much admired for his “brilliance” and “originality,”24 and his contemporaries were captivated by his charm and showmanship (Lowe pp. 142, 157-58, Stray pp. 5-6). Lowe presents a sympathetic portrait of a man who was obviously, for all his charlatanry, in possession of a deep humanity as well as empathy and psychological insights (see n. 10 above). In fact, these may have been these very characteristics that made him reluctant to accept the points where the Greeks were different from himself — failing, as it were, to distance himself sufficiently from his subject (or from his own ego).

The second part of Lowe’s essay (pp. 144-46), “The Sceptic,” about Verrall’s (or more actively, his wife’s) wanderings into the world of psychical research, is very interesting. Parapsychology is shown to be something of a secret vice among Cambridge classicists at the time, including Henry Sidgwick, Matthew Bayfield, Walter Leaf, and Gilbert Murray. According to Lowe (p. 144), “the intense involvement of Cambridge classicists in the SPR’s [Society for Psychical Research] establishment and early work is a story that badly needs telling.” Rumour has it that he is himself right now in the process of doing that.

Summary and paraphernalia

To conclude: this volume earns a high first. Most articles are a pleasure to read, not the least for the often loving and disrespectful tone which characterises of the best English (and Irish) biographical tradition. The choice of illustrations, contemporary caricatures of Jebb and the contestants (except Adam: see Stray p. 10), also well harmonizes with the content. Max Beerbohm’s Headlam (p. 70) and Frances Darwin’s Ridgeway (p. 112) alone would almost be worth the price of this volume.

The proof-reading is excellent, and I have found very few errors:

p. 4, l. 3-4: for “The Oresteia” read “Aeschylus.”

p. 24, Bibliography: C. Jebb and A. W. Verrall is 1907, not 1908 (also in footnotes 11, 20).

p. 56, second paragraph, l. 7 from bottom: for “has” read “had”(?).

p. 147, n. 21: I do not understand the last sentence: for “Headlam” read “Fraenkel”? (Cf. Goldhill op.cit. n. 2, pp. 237-38.)

p. 158, l. 6: left quotation mark omitted, presumably before “Literature.”

The typographic design could use some refreshment. As usual with the PCPS series (recently renamed Cambridge Classical Journal), we get spidery Times against chalk-white paper, minimal margins — and the beautiful old “Graeca I” (1993) Greek typeface. I would probably not have thought of mentioning this, had it not been that the choice of frontispiece, a facsimile of the original announcement of the 1906 praelections (from Cambridge Praelections, op.cit. n. 4, p. iii), made for such a painful contrast.

Table of contents

Editor’s Preface, pp. vi-viii

Christopher Stray: “Flying at dusk: the 1906 praelections,” pp. 1-12

—— “Reading Jebb: life and afterlife,” pp. 13-24

Pat Easterling: “‘The speaking page’: reading Sophocles with Jebb,” pp. 25-46

David Robinson: “James Adam: an Aberdeen Platonist in Cambridge,” pp. 47-68

Michael Silk: “Walter Headlam: scholarship, poetry, poetics,” pp. 69-86

Robert B. Todd: “‘One of the great English worthies’: Henry Jackson reassessed,” pp. 87-110

Mary Beard: “‘While RIDGEWAY lives, Research can ne’er be dull,'” pp. 111-41

N. J. Lowe: “Problematic Verrall: the sceptic at law,” pp. 142-60

Appendix: “Praelections 1906 reviewed by Wilamowitz: Classical Review 20.9 (December 1906) 444-6″ (Latin text with an English translation by E.J. Kenney), pp. 161-70

Index nominum, pp. 171-72.


1. My present stay at the Free University Berlin, where the review was written, is funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. I would like to express my thanks for a generous welcome.

2. A limited bibliographical account of the trend may be in place, seeing especially that many of the contributions to the present volume are either inspired by, or (explicitly or implicitly) polemical against other recent studies on the subject. Indeed bibliography is very much an intrinsic part of this academic genre. C. O. Brink, English Classical Scholarship: Historical Reflections on Bentley, Porson, and Housman (Cambridge 1986) appears to have been controversial, at least in his evaluation of Jebb (pp. 143-48, nn. on pp. 223-24). Judging from comments in the present volume, a more positive inspiration came from the articles on British classicists in W. M. Calder III and W. W. Briggs (eds), Classical Scholarship: A Biographical Encyclopaedia (New York 1990), where Roger Dawe evaluated Jebb in more (and Porson in somewhat less) positive terms than did Brink (Dawe’s contributions are very curiously singled out for derision in the BMCR review). Brink defended his views in an article in H. D. Jocelyn (ed.), Aspects of Nineteenth-Century British Classical Scholarship (Liverpool Classical Papers, 5: 1996); in the same volume Christopher Stray contributed an article on the “Sociology of English Classical Scholarship,” which heralded greater things to come: Idem, Classics Transformed: Schools, University, and Society in England 1830-1960 (Oxford 1998); (ed.) Classics in 19th and 20th Century Cambridge (PCPS Suppl. 24, 1999) (Stray’s response: BMCR 2000.11.13); and The Classical Association: The First Century 1903-2003 (Oxford 2003). The PCPS Supplement volume 24 is a precursor to the present one; it also includes contributions from Beard, Easterling, and Todd. Mary Beard’s own great accomplishment in the genre is The Invention of Jane Harrison (Revealing antiquity, 14; Cambridge, Mass. 2000 [rep. 2002]). Two years later Annabel Robinson published an exhaustive biography: The Life and Work of Jane Ellen Harrison (Oxford 2002). In this context mention should be made of three American books from the early nineties: S. Arlen, The Cambridge Ritualists: An Annotated Bibliography of the Works by and about Jane Ellen Harrison, Gilbert Murray, Francis M. Cornford, and Arthur Bernard Cook (Metuchen, NJ 1990); R. Ackerman, The Myth and Ritual School: J. G. Frazer and the Cambridge Ritualists (New York 1991), and W. M. Calder III (ed.), The Cambridge Ritualists Reconsidered (Illinois Classical Studies, Suppl. 2; Illinois Studies in the History of Classical Scholarship, 1: Atlanta 1991). Two interesting recent volumes on and beyond the fringes of the subject are T. P. Wiseman (ed.), Classics in Progress: Essays on Ancient Greece and Rome (Oxford 2002) and Simon Goldhill’s sleazy, enjoyable Who Needs Greek? Contests in the Cultural History of Hellenism (Cambridge 2002). The trend has only just recently culminated in Robert Todd’s (ed.) three-volume Dictionary of British Classicists (Bristol 2004), reviewed — scaldingly! — by Mary Beard in Times Literary Supplement, 15 April 2005. Finally, the “Jebb project,” to which the present volume may be seen as a complement: Robert Todd’s edition, with introduction and bibliography, of Jebb’s Collected Works (9 volumes, Bristol 2002), and P. E. Easterling’s ditto of his Sophocles (7 vols, Bristol 2004), each volume containing an introductory essay by Easterling as well as of the individual subeditor.

3. Cambridge University 1860 Statues, cited after Stray (p. 2). The ancient requisite of public oral disputations for doctorates and professorships lives on in other parts of the world, for instance in my own home country Sweden, where they are now in practice little more than ceremonial and public relations events.

4. Praelections delivered before the Senate of the University of Cambridge, 25, 26, 27 January 1906 (Cambridge 1906); CR 20 (1906), 444-46.

5. Cf. Calder in the preface to Calder & Briggs (loc. cit. n. 2), p. xvii.

6. Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts (Berlin 1821), preface, 14. Minerva’s owl appears in the arms of the Cambridge Regius Chair of Greek (see Stray, p. 2, text for n. 9).

7. Ominously, three of the five candidates for the Regius Chair died within six years of the praelections (pp. 11, 95). On all the loss, decline, and fall associated with 20th-century classics in Britain, see Stray 1998 (op.cit. n. 2), part iii.

8. U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, [review of R. C. Jebb, Translations into Greek and Latin Verse, 2nd ed. (Cambridge 1907) and Caroline Jebb, The Life and Letters of Sir R. C. Jebb (Cambridge 1907; reprinted in Todd 2002 [op.cit. n. 2], vol. 1),] Literarisches Zentralblatt, 58 (1907), 1469-71 (S. does not give the original source, but repeats a quotation by C. O. Brink 1986, loc.cit. n. 2).

9. It is that of Karl Popper. All scholars of the humanities, indeed, all scholars and all natural scientists without exception ought to read the essay “A pluralist approach to the philosophy of history,” the latest revised version of which is found in The Myth of the Framework: In Defence of Science and Rationality (London 1994), 130-53 — especially section III (pp. 138-50). On the importance of problems, pp. 140-45. See also my discussion in Eranos 100 (2002), 155-56.

10. See Arthur Verrall’s insightful afterword to Jebb’s Life and Letters (op.cit. n. 8), p. 467, cited by Stray p. 18.

11. E. omits any mention of Brink, praising (p. 25, text for n. 2) Dawe’s assessment (op.cit. n. 2). Still, with Dawe explicitly denouncing Brink (p. 242), E. reads in part like an implicit polemic (cf. pp. 25, 34-41, 44).

12. In the case of Sir Richard Jebb and Sir William Ridgeway, (Anglo )Irish.

13. See also Goldhill (op.cit. n. 2), p. 234.

14. G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell are obvious occurrences in the Cambridge context; less obvious is perhaps the appearance of W. B. Yeats in connection with Arthur Verrall (p. 145), or — on a spiritual level — Karl Marx in connection with both Headlam and William Ridgeway (pp. 73-74, 139).

15. We possess tables of conjectural “success-rates” for both Page’s OCT and West’s Teubner edition of Aeschylus: the former by Dawe in his article on Porson in Briggs & Calder (op.cit. n. 2) pp. 378-80; the latter by West himself in his Studies in Aeschylus (Stuttgart 1990), p. 377. West counts only conjectures adopted in the text, while Dawe includes all citations in the apparatus. However, seeing that West (and the format of Teubner editions) is more generous than Page in regard of both adoption and honourable mention, the tables present numbers that are in some ways comparable.

16. A sign of life is found in the margin of Jackson’s copy of Gilbert Murray, Ancient Greek Literature : see C. M. Bowra, Memories 1898-1939 (London 1966), p. 220, cited by Todd p. 95, n. 66.

17. After Karl Popper: The Open Society and Its Enemies, vol. I: The Spell of Plato (London 1945, rev.ed. 1952). Cf. also section II b), final paragraph, of Mogens Herman Hansen’s comprehensive BMCR review ( 2006.01.32) of L. J. Samons II, What’s wrong with democracy (Berkeley 2004); and Malcolm Schofield, “Socrates on Trial”, in Wiseman (op.cit. n. 2), pp. 263-83 (with further bibliography).

18. Cf. Popper (op.cit. n. 9), 149-50.

19. Op.cit. n. 4, pp. 141-64. The connoisseur of political incorrectness may get some entertainment value out of the praelection. In it Ridgeway exemplifies the phenomenon of accumulated wealth through endogamic practise with the Rothschild family (p. 154), and refers to patrilinearity (which in Hellas often entailed the virtual enslavement of women) as (p. 164) “a more advanced and stable social system,” reflecting “a nobler and a purer morality” (i.e. the strict enforcement of wedlock).

20. To B.’s catalogue of sinners in nn. 109-12 may be added P. Sandin, Aeschylus’ Supplices: Introduction and Commentary on vv. 1-523 (Gothenburg 2003/Lund 2005), p. 12, n. 35.

21. “Royal succession in heroic Greece,” CQ 41 (1991), 303-18.

22. H. Otten, Eine althethitische Erzhlung um die Stadt Zalpha (Studien zu den Bogazköy-Texten, 17: Wiesbaden 1973). See, e.g., Sandin (op.cit. n. 20), p. 5 with refs.

23. “The Birds of Aristophanes. Lecture given by Dr Verrall, 1903,” Cambridge Review 25 (1903-4), 233-37: see Lowe p. 154. “Arch-enemy”: after Headlam’s furious pamphlet On Editing Aeschylus (London 1891): see Silk p. 71, Lowe pp. 147-48.

24. Locus classicus: Fraenkel’s Agamemnon, vol. 1, p. 58 (cited by Lowe p. 147, n. 21).