Volumen II, published through the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas belongs to the growing Alma Mater Colección de Autores Griegos y Latinos. These volumes have a functional and structural similarity to the Loeb Classical Library and the Collection Budé, with a closer affinity to the latter. Volumen II comprises the Latin text of Books 8-14 of Martial’s epigram poems, a detailed apparatus criticus, and mention of relevant ancient testimonia, all prepared by Juan Fernández Valverde (JFV), on the left hand pages, with a Spanish translation by Enrique Montero Cartelle (EMC) along with explanatory notes on the right. Volume II also contains a brief list of editions, commentaries,1 sigla used in the app. crit., and a complete index nominum. (Volumen I, non vidi, appeared a year prior and contains an introduction to the collection by Rosario Moreno Soldevila.) This edition is very unlikely to supplant other more readily available critical editions of Martial (e.g. the OCT and the Teubner editions), although a translation of Martial’s entire oeuvre into Spanish by such an accomplished translator as EMC is significant.
In general, the book is well produced, with very few typographical errors (mostly spacing problems), all in the explanatory notes and none of any significance. The app. crit. is responsibly full, with one exception (see below), and the explanatory notes are quite complete, aimed at readers at least moderately informed about the ancient world and Roman culture. Cross-reference to other poems is especially noticeable and laudable.
The Latin text of Volumen II is generally well-supported by the app. crit. and the rationale behind the choice of many readings is often quite clear. But the absence of the introduction from Volumen I (and I’m sure the manuscripts and families are discussed there), was keenly felt: the overwhelming impression in the choices at important cruces or points of deviance among the reliable manuscripts is that JFV is trying to manage the difficult task of presenting a complete edition of Martial after the superlative work (although in very different ways) of two excellent editors, Lindsay and Shackleton Bailey (SB). This tension manifests itself in JFV’s general preference (where there is debate) for the readings from his
At other times, JFV seems to follow SB and earlier continental editions (such as Heraeus’ 1925 Teubner edition and Izaac’s 1930-33 Budé) against
At 9.101.4 JFV chooses aurea poma from
These are rather minor, if interesting and challenging, points of interest. More troubling is the numbering followed for the troubled initial sequence of epigrams in Book 12. JFV, again following SB among modern editors, prints the epigrams as they are found in
Of course with critical editions it is easy to get caught up in the minutiae and the literally thousands of editorial decisions, and it is always the points of contention that find their way into reviews. In all, Volumen II is a carefully presented, well supported text, that takes into account the advances in our understanding of the text of Martial’s Epigrammata up to Shackleton Bailey’s important Teubner edition, and that is accompanied by appropriate, accurate, and annotated Spanish translations.
1. The list is complete up to 2004, the publication date of the first volume, but now is out of date with the publication of Damschen, G. and A. Heil, Marcus Valerius Martialis. Epigrammaton liber decimus, Frankfurt am Main, 2004; Schöffel, C., Martial, Buch 8: Einleitung, Text, Übersetzung, Kommentar, Stuttgart, 2002; Watson, L. and P. Watson, Martial: Select Epigrams, Cambridge, 2003; Williams, C.A. Martial: Epigrams Book Two, Edited with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary, New York, 2004.
2. The interpretations are admirably if briefly discussed with references in Henriksén, C., Martial Book IX: A Commentary, Uppsala, 1999, ad loc. and Watson, L. and P. Watson, Martial: Select Epigrams, Cambridge, 2003, 242-244, to both of which should be added Obermayer, H.P., Martial und der Diskurs über männliche ‘Homosexualität’ in der Literatur der frühen Kaiserzeit. Classica Monacensia 18, Tübingen, 1998, pp. 223-4.
3. Housman’s suggestion that with nemo vincere must mean “exhaust” (A.E. Housman, Classical Papers, p. 725) is predictably brilliant. Perhaps we simply have two authentic versions of the epigram preserved in the MS tradition, rather than one right and one wrong reading.
4. See Seaton, R.C., “The Symplegades and the Planctae”, AJP 8 (1887) 433-440.