BMCR 2006.05.23

Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta. Volume 5. Euripides (in two parts)

, , , Tragicorum Graecorum fragmenta. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, [1971]-c2004. volumes 1-5 ; in 6 ; 24 cm. ISBN 3525257554 €368.00.

This is the last of the TrGF volumes with which Bruno Snell, Richard Kannicht and Stefan Radt have replaced Nauck’s 1889 second edition of all the tragic fragments. It is a monumental completion of a monumental series, and will be a cornerstone of 21st century Euripidean studies. Kannicht’s work has occupied more than twenty years, a not unduly long period considering the scale and nature of the project. Fragments, testimonia and apparatus fill 884 pages, compared with 389 for Aeschylus and 558 for Sophocles (some 15 pages per play on average for Euripides compared with 5 each for his predecessors with their larger oeuvres). Nearly a quarter of these contain the papyrus texts which were almost completely absent from Nauck and account for so much of the last century’s progress in the study of the lost plays; K.’s index of sources lists some eighty papyri, some in multiple parts. His work is at every point extraordinarily thorough, accurate and well balanced, as I can attest from nearly a year’s regular use of the published work and from previous access to some of the drafts which K. so generously made available to scholars with similar interests. (This may be taken, if need be, as a reviewer’s declaration of prejudice.)

The structure of Volume 5 is similar to that of Radt’s Aeschylus and Sophocles. Twenty-five pages of abbreviated bibliographical references are followed by ‘Testimonia Vitae atque Artis’ sorted into twenty-five sections ranging from ‘Vitae’ and ‘Catalogi fabularum’ to ‘Qui de Euripide libros conscripserunt’, ‘Fata textus Euripidis’, etc. (for the more important items in English see David Kovacs’ Euripidea (Leiden, 1994)). The fragmentary plays follow (pp. 151-884), then ‘Incertarum Fabularum Fragmenta’ (885-1020) and ‘Dubia et Spuria’ (1021-34). The remainder is devoted to Indices (1035-99) and a large section of Addenda and Corrigenda (1101-66). Notable amongst the former is the Index Verborum updating C. Collard’s Supplement (1971) to Allen and Italie’s Concordance to Euripides (1954). The Addenda and Corrigenda contain supplements to the Didascaliae and Tragici Minores in TrGF Vol. 1 (ed. 2, 1986) and the Adespota in Vol. 2 (1981), as well as to Vol. 5 itself. For Vol. 1 note especially the papyrus text of an Achilleus of Sophocles (probably the younger) published by Martin West in ZPE 126 (1999). For Vol. 2 note the much improved text of adesp. F 279g (cf. Kannicht in ZPE 120 (1998)), a new adesp. F 640b with seventy lines of an Achilles tragedy (= P. Köln 241), the revision of adesp. F *646a (Silenus speaking about the gifts of Dionysus) in light of P. Köln 242, a new adesp. F 667a comprising P. Lit. Lond. 77 frs. 1-4 (Kannicht accepts D. Sutton’s attribution to a postclassical satyric Medea), and a new adesp. F 672a (= P. Köln 245) with dialogue from a play about Odysseus in Troy. These Addenda also include supplements to some of the Indices to Vols. 1-2. In the Addenda to Vol. 5 the most notable items are some new readings offered by M. Fassino in the difficult Sorbonne papyrus of the ending of Erechtheus, and the expansion of Cresphontes F 453 from P. Köln 398.

K.’s presentation of the testimonia and fragments of the lost plays is at least as full as Radt’s in the preceding volumes, and the ‘chapters’ for each play are considerably more substantial since the information and texts available for Euripides are generally much more extensive. Whereas Radt’s play-introductions hardly ever needed to reach beyond two pages, K.’s are hardly ever less than that and often reach five pages or more. It is helpful that K. has organized these sections clearly: actual testimonia (ancient references to play and content, and related mythographic and iconographic material) are followed by brief summary paragraphs on (as relevant) plot reconstruction, dramatic location and personae, special historical information (e.g. on Greek laws on brother-sister incest for Aeolus), major editions and discussions, chronology, other ancient plays on the same subject, and other fragments sometimes ascribed to the play. K. has also supplied T-numbers for the testimonia which will assist accurate reference, although the numbers can become complicated, e.g. ‘T iv b (3)’. The T-numbers are normally asterisked (like the Fragment-numbers) where ascription to the play is conjectural (p. 13), but sometimes the absence of an asterisk seems to imply that the ascription is only very likely, or generally agreed, rather than certain or proven; this applies, for example, to the mythographic or otherwise derivative summaries in Aeolus T iii a-b, Alexandros T iv b-c, Auge T ii b, Cresphontes T ii a-b, whereas those in e.g. Alope T *ii b, Archelaus T *iii a, Cretans T *iii a are properly asterisked, presumably because the conjectural identification of the Euripidean plot in them is more debatable (or more debated). The same may be said about many of the vase-paintings and other artworks presented under unasterisked T-numbers; these ascriptions are strictly speaking conjectural, and even in the most plausible cases the iconography may have diverged to some extent from the dramatic ‘source’.

K. preserves Nauck’s numeration of the fragments as far as possible, and leaves clear signposts wherever a Nauck fragment has been eliminated, renumbered, or incorporated in a papyrus text. The results can be a little unnerving; Hypsipyle is an extreme case with fragments now numbered 752, 752a-k, 753, 753a-d, 754, 754a-c, 755a, 756a (nine papyrus scraps), 757, 758a-d, 759a, 759b (thiry-three papyrus scraps), 760, 760a (= 758 N 2), 761-3, 765, 765a (= 756 N 2), 765b (= 755 N 2), 765c (= 942 N 2), 766-7, 769. But for most plays the correspondence with Nauck remains close, and the results even where cumbersome are far preferable to a complete renumbering.

K. presents the texts meticulously and authoritatively. There continues to be room for debate, of course, on innumerable textual points, but what matters most is that K. invariably displays good judgement and presents alternatives fairly, drawing on an encyclopedic knowledge of the scholarship. On a very few occasions one notices a supplement printed that might be considered optimistic (e.g. Alexandros F 46a.16, F 61d.4, Hypsipyle F 754a.4) or an impossible text printed without warning except in the apparatus (e.g. Danae F 322.5, Ino F 402.2, 410.1, Cretan Women F 467.3), and K. sometimes refrains from identifying certain or very likely speakers in the text itself, e.g. Erechtheus F 351 (Praxithea?), F 360a (Praxithea), Oenomaus F 571 (Oenomaus?), Chrysippus F 841 (Laius). The textual apparatus is very full — perhaps a little too full in recording opinions, conjectures or papyrus readings which are best regarded as obsolete (though possibly of historical interest), in spelling out references (e.g. volume, page and line numbers in Wachsmuth-Hense for all 578 citations of Stobaeus, plus the Greek title of the section in which the citation is found), and in describing variances in source-texts and damaged letters in papyri in great detail. All of this can make the routine use of the apparatus laborious, although it also means that virtually all the information one could think of wanting is ready to hand. Users will be well advised to consult the apparatus regularly since it includes a great deal of very concise explanatory and illustrative comment. Moreover, K. has re-examined most of the papyri himself, often making fresh observations, as well as manuscripts of the scholia to Aristophanes’ Frogs, the Lives of Euripides, much of the Etymologicum Genuinum, and the Codex Marcianus of Hesychius: ‘In his cave ne errasse me suspiceris si ab editionibus discrepo’ (p. 10).

Lacking major complaints, I offer an assortment of observations and Addendis Addenda for some of the plays: Aegeus. On the identification of the Sophoclean and Euripidean plots see further C. Hahnemann in A. Sommerstein, Shards from Kolonos (Bari, 2003), 203-18, and S. Mills, ibid. 219-32 and Theseus, Tragedy and the Athenian Empire (1997), 234-45.

Aeolus and many others. Observations and minor alterations to the texts of many of the ‘narrative’ hypotheses are proposed by J. Diggle based on their widespread use of rhetorical clausulae: see Diggle in G. Bastianini and A. Casanova, Euripide e i papiri (Florence, 2005), 27-67. Aeolus F 30: the punctuation after ἀλλ’ ὅμως found in one ms. of Stobaeus and adopted by K. seems unlikely to me: why was the phrase included in the quotation if not as part of a continuing sentence? ἀλλ’ ὅμως at line-end is often self-contained as K. observes, but not necessarily so (cf. Hipp. 1325, Tro. 366, Or. 1168, IA 688).

Alcmene. K.’s five vase-paintings (p. 219, cf. LIMC‘Alkmene’ nos. 3-7) are by now eight: see Eva-Maria Schmidt, Antike Kunst 46 (2003), 56-71 with Plates 13-14.

Alexandros. I think F 54 is better placed at the end of the messenger’s report, F 61a within this report, and F 62 following the recognition, for the reasons given in my recent commentary. I also suggest there that the newly arriving character at F 62d.51 is Paris himself rather than Hector (Snell, cited by K.).

Antigone. K. prints P. Oxy. 3317 (which includes verses attributed by Stobaeus to Antigone) as Antigone F 175, and rejects the attribution to Antiope favoured by Luppe, Diggle and Collard, which seems to me preferable.

Antiope. On pp. 274 and 592 K. favours the idea that Antiope formed a trilogy with Hypsipyle and Phoenissae, and that Orestes may have been the concomitant satyr play. The first of these propositions is uncompelling (the mention of the three plays together in the scholia to Frogs 53 does not require it), and the second seems decidedly unlikely, not least because we would surely have heard about such a peculiar provenance for such a popular play as Orestes. In F 200 note the punctuation of this and Erechtheus F 258 each as two fragments in ms. V of Orion, as indicated in M. Haffner’s recent edition and noted in K.’s addenda, pp. 1160-1.

Archelaus. Punctuation of F 255.1-2 as a question seems necessary, i.e. ‘Do you suppose you will ever get the better of the wisdom of the gods . . .?’ rather than ‘You suppose you will at some time get the better . . .’: cf. L. Battezato, MD 44 (2000), 164-8, who also justifies ἥδ’ (Orion) against ἡ δ’ (Stobaeus) in v. 3.

Auge. F 265a is surprisingly placed near the beginning of the play (making Auge the speaker, either in her own right or reporting Heracles’ words), although K. notes in the apparatus that thay are more likely to be part of Heracles’ self-justification at the end. In F 274 K. prints τὸ + δ’ + ἐπιεικὲς, but we may well have a sound text which begins at the second syllable of the trimeter; split resolutions like this occur a few times in very late plays (cf. Cropp-Fick type 2.3c, especially Orestes 1659). In F 275.4 Stobaeus’ νομίζεται seems preferable to Philo’s νομιζέτω (perhaps an alteration to suit Philo’s context), so that v. 4 simply completes the assertion made in v. 3.

Erechtheus F 258: see under Antiope F 200 above.

Hypsipyle : F 752f.31: most editors including K. and myself have retained the papyrus reading Ἀργεῖον, but I now think von Arnim’s Ἀργείων preferable; not only is the idea of viewing the Argive plain from Nemea surprising, but one would expect the chorus to identify the army’s origin before identifying its destination and its leader. In F 757.844-5 K. retains the papyrus text and takes λευκαῖνον as intransitive (‘albescens’); but the sense still seems to me unlikely (‘O Argo’s prow and water whitening from the brine’?).

Phrixus I, II. K. referring to Cropp-Fick reports that both plays seem to have been produced not later than Andromache, Hecuba, Supplices, Electra. This needs a little qualification: the inference holds only if most of the fragments actually come from Phrixus II, and this remains quite uncertain as K. indicates (he assigns specifically to one play or the other only those fragments where the assignment is expicitly attested — one to the first, four to the second).

These volumes are finely produced by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht and almost error-free.1 A Corrigenda sheet explains that in pp. 264-292 the first line of the apparatus of testimonia etc. for a dozen fragments has been displaced to the previous page, or further in a couple of instances (F 179 from p. 281 to p. 273, F 183 from p. 285 to 283). The page-margins (except for the Greek text) are three-eighths of an inch narrower than in the preceding volumes, which means that a bit more information is packed on each page but marginal annotation is harder.


1. A few typographical errors are perhaps worth noting: p. 151 penultimate line, ‘331’ for ‘431’; p. 174 under T ii a, Τρωσὶ should be Τρῳάσι; p. 522 under F 477a, αἰρήσειν should be αἱρήσειν; p. 750, v. 33 of Greek text, ἔγρον should be ἔργον. In F 754c.15 (p. 767) the papyrus has σηδ’, not ησδ’.