BMCR 2007.01.19

Demetrio stephanos. Timetikos tomos gia ton kathegete Demetre Lupourle

, , Dēmētriō stephanos : timētikos tomos gia ton kathēgētē Dēmētrē Lypourlē. Thessalonike: University Studio Press, 2004. 474 pages : 1 illustration ; 24 cm. ISBN 9601213457 €39.00.

[Titles (translated) and authors are listed at the end.]

This book is a collection of articles by former students and colleagues honoring the 70th birthday of Demetris Lypourlis, Professor Emeritus of Classics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. According to A. Mavroudis’ detailed preface, the honoree was a pioneer in the study of ancient Greek medical literature, particularly the Hippocratic corpus, and he introduced the study of Aristotle to the classics curriculum at the Aristotle University. (Dimitris Lypourlis is more widely known today, as the author of the best-known manual on Greek meter written in Modern Greek.) The contributions in the volume are arranged chronologically and range from Homer to the early 19th c. translation of Cornelius Nepos by Spyridon Vlantis. In all, there are 24 articles in the collection, 21 in Greek, one in German and two in English, and their arrangement follows a descending chronological order. Most of the articles address specialists in the respective areas, but there are also a few (e.g. Kapsomenos, Hourmouziades) written with the non-specialist reader in mind. Several of the authors have selected their topics inspired by Lypourlis’ own research interests. There is no index at the end of the volume and no general bibliography; instead, secondary literature is recorded in the footnotes of the individual articles. The volume is handsomely produced.

The first essay, by E. Tsitsibakou-Vasalou (pp. 21-58), argues that Iliad 6 nurtures a coherent thematic and stylistic unity — to restore and maintain henceforth the cosmogonic breach that threatens the stability of the epic order. T. distinguishes certain leading motifs, specifically, anger and madness (mainly for war), and rationality and the loss of it, which manifest themselves in a variety of contexts throughout the book and around which every unit revolves. Complex etymology, handled with ease by the author, only tightens this unity further. The names of all leading characters in the book are related to linguistic forms that are semantically involved in the vocabulary of cosmogony. Etymology reflects the evolution of these characters in terms of epic psychology, as they progress through the book from an extremely negative, cosmic-threatening behavior towards fulfilling the beneficent role that predestination, revealed in the semantics of their names, has already reserved for them.

D. Jakob, developing further an idea originally expressed in a note by Puelma, argues (pp. 59-79) that the miraculous replacement of Pelops’ shoulder by Demeter with a piece of ivory, as narrated in Pindar’s First Olympian 25-57, introduces philosophical issues which later feature in full development in Aristotle’s Poetics, namely, the association of poetry with ethics, and more specifically, the ongoing debate throughout antiquity on whether a poet is justified in lying or distorting the truth in order to serve sociopolitical constraints along with literary aesthetics. For Pindar, Jakob states, adherence to moral orthodoxy is combined with observance of the social demands of the genre of praise poetry, as well as with the poet’s own artistic ambition. Aristotle, on the other hand, dissociates completely poetic composition, a mimesis, ‘imitation’ of deeds, from the actual deeds of society and history.

A. Kapsomenos’ contribution (pp. 71-88) is best understood as a broad introduction to historical tragedy. The author offers general observations on the nature of historical tragedy (specifically the Persians, and Phrynichos’ Fall of Miletos), in order to cover the history, the objectives and the popularity of the few tragedies dramatizing actual events. I am a bit troubled by Kapsomenos’ explanation of the emotional reaction that Phrynichos’ play generated when presented in Athens as an organized attack by Phrynichos’ political opponents, as opposed to the usual view that the play failed to adequately distance the oikeia kaka of Athens’ kinsmen and allies from the audience (cf. the narrative of the famous incident as recorded in Herod. 6.21.2).1

N. Hourmouziadis, a classicist as well as translator and director of ancient drama, discusses Sophoclean drama production and direction (pp. 89-104). The essay begins with a general introduction to Sophocles as both author and director, but its main part is devoted to analyzing specific dramatic moments in the Sophoclean plays which present the director with an assortment of technical challenges to be resolved.

E. Alexiou (pp. 105-122) makes a well-argued case for comparing Plutarch ( Life of Pericles 1-2) and Isocrates ( Life of Evagoras 72-73) on the usefulness of art as comparable to the accomplishments of famous men. For both Isocrates and Plutarch the art of statue-making is compared (and is judged inferior) to literary composition. This paper was originally published in German in Classica et Medievalia 51 (2000).

Plato’s paradoxical doctrine in Rep. 451b 9-457c 3, that, among the ranks of the guardians in the philosopher’s vision of the ideal state, women and men have essentially the same capabilities and therefore they should partake of the same education and be assigned the same duties, is the subject of E. Passaloglou’s paper (pp. 123-132). Passaloglou acknowledges that there is a paradox only when one takes Plato’s ideal state to stem conceptually from political systems already in existence, and in particular from the Athenian polis.

Th. Kouremenos’ paper (pp. 133-148) deserves praise for providing a lucid and accessible discussion of an issue as technical as Aristotle’s embrace of Eudoxus’ geometric theory of the homocentric spheres in order to formulate a satisfactory explanation for all the heavenly motions. In Eudoxus’ homocentric system of rotating spheres, each sphere rotates about an axis through the centre of the earth. This axis of rotation was not fixed in space but, for most spheres, it was itself rotating under the control of points fixed on another rotating sphere. Aristotle in De Caelo defines as the “first body” the broader territory in the outermost area of the universe within which all the heavenly bodies are located, and he contends that the incessant motion of this area in circles is explained as the natural motion of the “first body”. Kouremenos argues that in Eudoxus’ system Aristotle discovers the ideal representational model to support his argument that a heavenly body is not a single solid mass but rather a union of smaller spherical masses, and, since each of these smaller masses rotates around its own axis at its own speed, the heavenly body in question must follow as many different rotations around as many different axes. This, however, is impossible unless we accept that this body has a soul. Since the soul directs the motion of the heavenly body, it also controls the motion of the system of rotating spheres that puts together this body, and so it controls the natural motion of the “first body”.

Two more papers on Aristotle follow. E. Vasileiades’ piece (pp. 149-154) sheds light on Aristotle’s idiosyncratic linguistics by focusing on the anatomy and the overall integration of the twenty adverbs, twelve not attested in any other author, that the philosopher coins out of participles. G. Sifakis (pp. 165-184), focusing on the Rhetoric, discusses how ethos and pathos, the two leading categories of artistic proofs ( pisteis entechnoi), are integral in the articulation of those entechnoi pisteis that belong in the third category, of logos. This entwinement of ethos and pathos in the logos is only implicit in the Rhetoric, according to Sifakis, but it is more clearly articulated in Aristotle’s ethical treatises and also in the Politics.

The Hellenistic epigram is the subject of the next two articles. I thoroughly enjoyed P. Kotzia’s discussion (pp. 185-216) of the famous epigram (23 Pf. = 54 G.-P = AP 7.471) attributed to Callimachus, about Cleombrotus of Ambracia, who was driven to suicide after reading the section ‘On the Soul’ in the Platonic Phaedo. For the author, as for several thinkers in antiquity who were no less fascinated by it, Cleombrotus represents an allegory for the ill-prepared reader of the particular Platonic dialogue, who takes on it without any guiding assistance. Kotzia deserves praise for the thoroughness with which she handles the various aspects tied to Cleombrotus’s case (e.g. his historicity, true identity, and the circumstances of his suicide), the efforts among important later philosophical thinkers to rationalize the suicide, and for her lucid rendering of the leading contemporary critical ventures on the topic (namely, the readings by White [ TAPA 1994], Williams [ CQ 1995], and Gutzwiller 1998).

K. Tsantsanoglou’s no less interesting paper (pp. 217-232) explores Callimachus’ antagonistic take on Posideippos, at epigram 13Pf. (= AP 7.524), manifested in a series of ingenious wordplays that involve double entendres, humorous irony, and allusive toying with proper names, through which Posideippos’ poetry becomes an object of subtle satire. Poseidippos’ own, self-referential epigram, IX G.-P., 140 Austin-Bastianini (= AP 12.168) studied in the later half of the paper, seems to corroborate, self-sarcastically, the widely held view among the poetic circles at the time, brandishing Posideippos’ poetic artistry as graceless, and the poet himself as someone not the least attractive erotically.

The role and significance of doxography in Cicero’s De Natura Deorum is considered in D. Tsitsikli’s study (pp. 233-240). Velleius, who typifies the Epicurean man in the dialogue, receives a rather negative treatment, as one might expect, but the doxography he employs to outline his theological beliefs is meant to be taken seriously and to be dissociated from the characterization of the speaker as an Epicurean.

D. Nikitas’ detailed presentation (pp. 241-274) of Cornelius Nepos’ translation and hermeneutic commentary by the late 18th / early 19th c. Greek scholar Spyridon Vlantis is the first lengthy and systematic contemporary publication on this work, which originally appeared in Venice in 1810 and was actually the second, improved edition of an earlier version. Vlantis was an eminent early Greek Latinist, who had already produced (in 1798) an interpretive translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses in Modern Greek, and Nikitas’ portrayal also aims to inspire further interest in post-Byzantine and early Modern Greek latinitas, which has received very little critical attention so far.

The poetics of Vergil and Ovid sit at the core of the next four studies. V. Fyntikoglou, first (pp. 275-304), traces the transformation of the Lucretian didactic spirit in Vergil’s Georgics, as expressed in the semantic evolution of expedire, ‘to instruct’, a distinct term of didactic poetics. Fyntikoglou observes that at least thirteen times in the DRN, eleven in the first person singular, Lucretius employs this term to signal his intention to ‘instruct’. This standard-bearer of Lucretian didactics Vergil borrows and redefines in order to introduce his own interpretation of the didactic genre. Very briefly, expedire in the Georgics occurs three times, all in book four (4.150, 286, 397), each introducing a significant narrative dealing with topics that usually are the subject of didactic literature, specifically aetiologies. In Vergil, though, these aitia are not given a scientific explanation; instead, the author prefers a mythological interpretation that is clearly impossible to materialize in real life.

S. Kyriakides (pp. 305-322) considers several catalogues from the Aeneid and the Georgics in the light of the Homeric model of this epic narrative trope, which is decisively based on a culture of orality. Kyriakides’ catalogues are divided into four different categories according to the compositional texture of the items recorded in them: catalogues more dense in the beginning and the end, and rather thin in the middle; catalogues more dense in the middle; catalogues compiled of sections that all contain the same number of items; and catalogues that observe no particular scheme or canonical arrangement. The crux of this comparative study is the realization that in both epics similarly structured catalogues serve similar objectives regarding the mechanics and structure of narrative progression.

The ‘shadowy’ presence of Lavinia throughout the Aeneid is the subject of Petrocheilos’ discussion (pp. 322-342). The author defends Vergil’s decision to confine Aeneas’ Latian bride to the margins of his narrative and deprive her of a complete personality by stating that it is not Lavinia herself that matters in the Aeneas legend, but her fate to become Aeneas’ wife. Traditional in his approach, Petrocheilos interprets Lavinia’s overall inconspicuousness as a sign of absolute obedience on the maiden’s part to the mandates of fate and a promising indication that she will adhere to her new duties as Aeneas’ queen with the same diligence. Under this perspective, the heroine’s famous blushing in book 12 is explained as a mark of awareness of the great pain her marriage to Aeneas is causing her people.2

The intellectually stimulating world of Ovidian etymology sits at the core of E. Peraki-Kyriakidou’s essay. The author investigates with insight Ovid’s handling of ‘bipolar etymologies’, a poetic technique as old as the Iliad through which the essence and peculiar powers of a divinity are expressed already in the etymology of his or her name (which may derive from Greek or Latin or both) and also of his/her symbols. On several occasions, the etymology of the divine name is complemented or enhanced by the etymology of the symbol, in which case the symbol acquires a semantic context that is exclusively tied to the particular god. The divinity-symbol pairs that the author examines come mostly from the Fasti and the Metamorphoses, texts particularly fond of aetiology (and etymology). Peraki-Kyriakidou shows that Ovid’s genius has invested in a climactic presentation of etymological bipolarity, in order to illustrate the unlimited possibilities of etymology. The poet begins, for instance, with relatively simple pairings (the god Janus, in Fasti 1, etymologized from ire, ‘to go’ is represented holding a staff or baculum, which in turn may derive from the Greek badizein, ‘to march’ and advances to progressively more complex structures. One such may be the wordplay, in Fasti 5, with Muta and Mercury, and the toying on silence and speech, since the goddess Muta, ‘silent’ (from mutare) was originally called Lara, who simultaneously bore also the alternative name form Lala, ‘bubbly’ (from lalein, ‘to prattle’). Muta was punished by Jupiter for her garrulity by having her tongue cut off, and on her way to the area of Silence in the underworld she was raped by Mercury, whose Greek name Hermes may justify an etymology from the verb eirein, ‘to speak’. Their offspring, the Roman deities Lares, born in the place of silence by a mute mother, are the silent guardians of the compita, thus signifying precisely the opposite of what the etymology of their name (as in their mother’s case, from lalein) signifies. Several other examples of etymological complexes are discussed in the study, the one more entertaining and mind-teasing than the other, and all worth reading.

L. Tromaras (pp. 369-374) suggests improved readings of two problematic passages of Apicius: in 3.8.1 he reads de agro in place of the corrupted degrano and adds the preposition ex before piper; and in 4.2.51 he suggests that the scribe has made an error in the copying process, and hence the phrase et obliges should not come right after cum ferbuerit, as recorded in the manuscripts, but at the end of this sentence, after in ius mittis).

Ch. Theodorides (pp. 375-380) comments on various hermeneutic observations by the grammarian Julius Pollux in his Onomasticon purporting to restore the Attic orthography of several words and phrases that had since evolved.

Likewise linguistically oriented is D. Christides’ contribution (pp. 381-406). Inspired by an earlier study of Lypourlis on the adjectives ending in -ikos in the texts of the Presocratics and the Hippocratic writers, he explores an assortment of forms ending in -ikos, arguing that these feature widely throughout the work of Lucian of Samosata and enhance the comic effect and the humorous tone of the language.

Galen’s disputed work Synopsis of the Therapeutic Method is the topic of A. Mavroudis’ essay (pp. 408-418), which succinctly addresses three major questions regarding the actual existence of the text, the actual title of the text, and, finally, the possibility of restoring the structure of the text. Mavroudis is quite positive about the existence of this compendium of Galen’s fourteen-book Therapeutic Method, and he cites as leading evidence the fact that this synopsis is mentioned in Arabic medical writings and translations of the original treatise; he argues, principally by analogy to other writings by Galen, that the title should read ‘ Synopsis of the Therapeutic Method‘; and he admits that our available evidence is too scant to provide exact detail on the structural arrangement of the Synopsis.

P. Soteroudes has undertaken the edition of 654 of the 2187 manuscripts recorded in the Iveron Holy Monastery in Mount Athos(specifically nos. 1387-1568) and offers here a sample of his current research (pp. 419-434). After a brief introductory description of the 654-manuscript collection, which includes mostly religious texts dating from the 10th to the 20th century, Soteroudes singles out a manuscript particularly interesting from a philological perspective. Ms. 1417 is a collection of five fragments 1417a-e from various speeches of St. Gregory the Theologian, dating from the 11th c. The fifth of these fragments, 1417e, was unknown until now and is not included in the most recent (1995) edition of Gregory’s manuscripts by Mossey ( Repertorium Nazianzenum. Orationes). According to Soteroudes, the text of this fragment records certain scripts otherwise unattested and different from those recorded in the overall manuscript tradition.

In a brief contribution (pp. 335-340), N. Konomis lists an assortment of interpretive additions and corrections made by Adamantios Koraes (1748-1833) on the text of Hesychios’ Lexicon.

The final paper in the volume (pp. 441-474), by M. Plastira-Valkanou, deals with “the praise of eminent physicians in the Greek Anthology”. The author identifies several of those laudatory epigrams, mostly situated in books 6, 7, and 16 of the Palatine Anthology, and studies their various praise motifs. Subsequently, by focusing on individual poems, she comments on the methods of appropriation of these motifs by individual epigrammatists. Along the way, an effort is made to trace a relation between the evaluation and praise of medical excellence in the epigrams, on the one hand, and the medical teachings of the Hippocratics, on the other. In sum, it is noted that all the physicians receiving immortalizing praise were legendary figures of medicine (Nikander, Hippocrates, Hippocrates’ successor in the Coan school Praxagoras, Pausanias, Galen, Ablabios, Iamblichos), and they are associated or likened to deities-patrons of medicine (the Iliadic Paiëon/Paean, Apollo, Asclepius and his wife, Epione, Asclepius’ daughter Akestoria). All these extolled physicians are distinguished for their ability to successfully combat illness and avert death, and they are noted for their moral values and superior ethics, their exemplary lifestyle. Finally, several are noted for their medical writings, and they are even portrayed in imagery used for the description of poets (e.g. the ‘bee’ metaphor).

List of Papers (the Greek titles have been translated):

Ai. Mavroudes, Life and Works of Demetris Lypourlis

E. Tsitsibakou-Vasalou, Ilias 6: Book of Mental Oscillation — Its Thematic and Linguistic Unity

D. Jakob, Pindar’s First Olympian and Aristotle’s Poetics : a Mere Coincidence?

A. Kapsomenos, Neglected Details about the Historical Tragedy

N. Chourmouziades, Sophocles Directing

E. Alexiou, Engomium, Biography and the ‘Motionless Statues’. Isocrates, Euagoras 73-76 and Plutach, Pericles 1-2

E. Passalogolou, On the ” γυναικεῖον δράμα” [in English]

Th. Kouremenos. Eudoxus’ Theory of the Homocentric Spheres and the Animate Celestial Bodies in Aristotle’s De Caelo B 12

A. Vasileiades, Πεπαρασμενάκις : Adverbs and Participles in Aristotle

G. Sifakis, The Participation of ethos and pathos in the Logical Argumentation of the Orator According to Aristotle

P. Kotzia, an Allusion to the Platonic Criticism of the Written Word

K. Tsantsanoglou, The Dialogue of/among the Poets

D. Tsitsikli, Ethopoeia in the Doxography of Cicero’s De natura deorum

D, Nikitas, Cornelius Nepos Neograecus : the Translation of Nepos’ Vitae by Spyridon Vlantis

V. Fyntikoglou, Expedire: From the Lucretian to the Vergilian instruction

S. Kyriakides, Vergil’s Catalogues: Structure and Narrative

N. Petrocheilos, Lavinia: A Shadowy Presence in Vergil’s epic

E. Peraki-Kyriakidou, Bipolar Pairs: The Ovidian version

L. Tromaras, Apiciana

C. Theodorides, Ährenlese aus dem Onomasticon des Julius Pollux

D. Christides, Lucanian Adjectives in -ikos

Ai. Mavroudes, Galen’s Synopsis of the Therapeutic Method

P. Soteroudes, Fragments of Gregory the Theologian and Various Epigrams in the Manuscripts of the Iberon Holy Monastery

N. Konomis, Koraes’ Lexicographica: Emendations on Hesychios

M. Plastira-Valkanou, The Praise of Eminent Physicians in the Greek Anthology [in English].


1. On the importance of distance and displacement to the Attic tragedy generally, see P. Easterling, “Constructing the Heroic”, in C. Pelling, ed., Greek Tragedy and the Historian (Oxford 1997), 21-22 [21-37]. Kapsomenos’ paper offers hardly any citation of specialized secondary literature on historical tragedy.

2. Unfortunately, P’s bibliography generally stops before 1980, hence he does not take into consideration important views expressed in some moe recent readings of Lavinia’s part (e.g. Hanson, MusAfr 1976; Todd, Vergilius 1980; Lyne, Greece and Rome 1983; Cairns, Vergil’s Augustan Epic 1989 [chapter on ‘Lavinia and the Lyric Tradition’; Bleisch AJP 1996; and certainly the ‘Lavinia’ entry by Lacey in the Enciclopedia Virgiliana 3).