BMCR 2010.11.52

Kommentar zu den simonideischen Versinschriften. Mnemosyne, bibliotheca classica Batava. Supplementum, 282

, Kommentar zu den simonideischen Versinschriften. Mnemosyne, bibliotheca classica Batava. Supplementum, 282. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2007. xv, 345. ISBN 9789004151536 $134.00.

This 2004 Heidelberg PhD dissertation of Andrej Petrovic was published in 2007 (the bibliography, with some exceptions, does not go beyond 2004). The core of the volume, which shares many point of interests with L. Bravi, Gli epigrammi di Simonide e le vie della tradizione, Roma 2006, regards 15 epigrams, edited and commented,1 a selection from the 89 edited and commented by D.L. Page ( Epigrammata Graeca, Oxford 1975, pp. 8-39; Further Greek Epigrams, Cambridge 1989, pp. 186-302) and from the 107 variously assigned to Simonides by the Greek Anthology and other witnesses (see p. 55 and Anhang I, pp. 293-297). This part is preceded by a thorough introduction ( Kapitel I-V, pp. 1-210) and followed by two appendices ( Kapitel VIII: Anhang I: Forschungsresultate zur Echtheit, pp. 293-297; Anhang II: Konkordanz, pp. 298-299), by the bibliography ( Literaturverzeichnis, pp. 301-322), the Incipit-Liste (p. 323) and the indices ( locorum, pp. 325-338; verborum, pp. 339-341; nominum, 342-343; rerum, pp. 344-345).

Whereas the assessment of Simonidean authorship was essential for previous scholars, Petrovic initially puts it aside: in Ch. 1 ( Einleitung: Ziel, Gegenstand, Methode, pp. 1-12), he focuses around origin and development of the Sylloge Simonidea and, before this, on the features of the inscriptional epigram in the archaic period, whose evolution as a literary genre Petrovic follows in Ch. 2 ([1]Zum Epigramm als literarischer Gattung in der spätarchaischen und klassischen Zeit[i/], pp. 13-24).

Ch. 3 is devoted to the history of the Echtheitsfrage ( Echtheit: Simonides, [Simonides] und “Simonideisches”. Probleme der Echtheit der ihm zugeschriebenenen Epigramme und ihre Konsequenzen, pp. 25-51). Before resuming the debate from the all-Simonidean attitude of Schneidewin and the stylistic criteria of Erbse,2 Petrovic rightly underlines the predominance of the poet’s charismatic figure, and the fact that is the corpus of the epigrams — despite the problems of authenticity – and neither the victory odes nor the threnoi, which represents the most vital part of Simonides’ legacy since Hellenistic times. In accordance with the current interest in “generische Entwicklung”, literary appreciation has to be devoted to Simonidean, ‘Simonidean’ and [Simonidean] epigrams. The chapter ends with an evaluation of the usefulness of linguistic – statistical and comparative — and stylistic analysis: for Petrovic both methods are difficult to apply to epigrams, since they vary greatly in tradition and dialectal form.

Ch. 4 ( Quellen der simonideischen Epigramme, pp. 52-89) aims to complete the work of M. Boas, De epigrammatis Simonideis. Pars prior. Commentatio critica de epigrammatum traditione, diss. Groningen 1905,3 but only, as said, on selected epigrams. These texts must meet the following conditions: a) to be preserved on stone and dated during Simonides’ life (ca. 556-468 BC) according to the textual content and/or the antiquity of the inscription; b) to be transmitted by literary sources datable before the end of the third century BC with explicit Simonidean attribution. Concerning Herodotus (7.228) and the three Thermopylean epigrams ( FGE VI, XXIIa-b), that Petrovic considers implicitly attributed by the historian to Simonides, he does not believe in their oral tradition (Page and S. West), because this at least forty years-lasting Spartan tradition would hardly have been able to preserve the Ionian dialectal facies. Petrovic rightly emphasizes the role of the Amphictyonic League, which controlled the Thermopylae. Herodotus could have exploited its archives for the information concerning the stele’s commission. For FGE XVIIa and XXVIa-b, Thucydides is also based on oral tradition and autopsy, but with no attribution to Simonides. The first to mention him as author of epigrams is Aristotle (again FGE XXVIa and frr. 2, 290 Poltera [= PMG 515, 572]), who will have taken advantage of a Simonidean sylloge, unknown to Thucydides.

After a digression on the early collections, Ch. 5 ( Sammlungen der simonideischen Epigramme, pp. 90-109) shifts its attention to the Hellenistic period and to the auktorial organisierte n Epigrammsammlungen (e.g. the new Posidippus). Petrovic argues for an early origin of the Sylloge Simonidea and the antiquity of its literary tradition; consequently, he examines in detail the mixed (papyrological, grammatical and literary) evidence for that.

Ch. 6 is devoted to Petrovic’s selection of texts ( Text, Übersetzung und Kommentar der simonideischen Versinschriften, pp. 113-279). Every epigram is edited, translated, commented on with reference to the epigraphical and literary evidence; finally, Petrovic addresses the issue of authenticity.

Ch. 7 summarizes the previous contributions ( Abschließende Überlegungen, pp. 280-290). Some epigrams may be Simonidean (epp. 1, 3, 7, 9-12), some probably are not (epp. 5, 8, 13, 15), others (2, 4, 6, 14) are of uncertain paternity. This leads Petrovic to dwell on the political and social function of the epigrams. With a deep theoretical understanding, Petrovic enters the realm of reception studies, in order to restore “die Rolle der poetischen Epigramme im öffentlichen Leben einer Polis” (p. 286).

Briefly, Petrovic’s book has many chapters that can be warmly recommended as sound basis for further research (e.g., 3-5) and everywhere displays learning and common sense. The commentary, especially on the epigraphical matters, constitutes a major upgrade of FGE, even though Page’s edition will continue to be the reference work. If there is a deficiency, it lies in some inaccuracy or lack of clarity concerning the critical apparatus and matters of detail. Some observations: p. 5 n. 13: “Pherekrates Fr. 153.7K” corresponds to fr. 162 (152 + 153 Kock),10 Kassel-Austin (also, on p. 135 n. 13 “Sappho frg. 60B” is 128 Voigt). Pp. 17ff.: Petrovic concludes from the Vita Aeschyli ( TrGF test. 3.27-30 R.) that a public contest between epigrammatists already existed in Athens since Simonides defeated Aeschylus ἐν τῶι εἰς τοὺς ἐν Μαραθῶνι τεθνηκότας ἐλεγείωι. Against the interpretation of ἐλεγεῖον as ‘epigramm’ see now H. Bernsdorff, CR 59.2 (2009) 347-349: 348; with more evidence, again A. Petrovic, Epigrammatic contest, poeti vaganti, and local history, in R. Hunter-I. Rutherford (edd.), Wandering Poets in Ancient Greek Culture: Travel, Locality and Pan-Hellenism, Cambridge-New York 2009, 195-218 (reviewed by R. Rocha, BMCR 2010.01.55). J. Lougovaya ( JHS 129, 2009, 142-144 at 144) points to SEG 49.370N and 51.425 as both referring to “a stele [425: “‘Pentelic’ marble, 1.20 x 0.60 m., letters of the late 6th/early 5th cent. B.C.”] associated with the polyandrion at Marathon” with a casualty list, that “is said to be preceded by five ‘introductory’ lines that include the word ἀρετή – perhaps a heading and four lines of an epigram?”, and she cautiously suggests that the epigram may be Simonidean. “The casualty list of Erechtheis, found in the villa of Herodes at Loukou of Arcadia in the Peloponnese” and the epigram are now properly published by G. Steinhaouer, Στήλη πεσόντων τῆς Ἐρεχθηίδος, Horos 17-21 (2004-2009) 679-692 (email of Angelos P. Matthaiou); at first glance, the epigram may sound ‘Simonidean’. P. 29: the opinion of E.A. Junghahn ( De Simonidis Cei epigrammatis quaestiones, Berlin 1869: only the epigram for Megistias, FGE VI, was genuine) “sollte mit wenigen und eher unbedeutenden Ausnahmen bis heute als communis opinio gelten” (p. 29), but see M.L. West, Simonides redivivus, ZPE 98 (1993) 1-14 at 1.4 P. 58: here, De Herodoti malignitate is regarded as genuinely Plutarchean (see also p. 73 n. 75), according to the communis opinio (see G. Lachenaud in Plutarque. Œuvres morales, t. XII 1, Paris 1981, 114-117), but elsewhere Petrovic thinks it is spurious.5 P. 62 n. 28 (and p. 63 n. 29): Herodotus is always cited according to the OCT edition of K. Hude (but his third and last edition was published in 1927, not in 1954 [the Danish scholar died in 1936 in Copenhagen]). Because Herodotus is often a unique or relevant source (see FGE III, IV, VI, XXIIa and b), the edition of H.B. Rosén (I-II, Stuttgart- Leipzig 1987-1997) or the “Lorenzo Valla” edition (I-VI, VIII-IX, Milano 1988-2006 [VIII-IX were already edited by A. Masaracchia, 1977-1978]) probably might have been useful. P. 104 n. 72: before and after B. Bravo, Pannychis e simposio, Pisa-Roma 1997, 43ff., on the Elephantine poems (M.-P. 3 1924) see also F. Ferrari, P. Berol. inv. 13270: i canti di Elefantina, SCO 38 (1988) 181-227 and the CEDOPAL bibliography (the papyrological reference is always with the old Pack 2 or LDAB). Pp. 108s.: on P. Oxy. 31.2535, cf. also D. Sider, Simonides epigram 3 FGE in P.Oxy.31.2535, ZPE 162 (2007) 5-8 and, on behalf of Lobel’s cautious reading of col. I l. 2, myself in RFIC 136.3 (2008) 368-377 at 373. Pp. 121ff.: I join Bernsdorff (o.c. 348) in praising Petrovic’s contextualization, but also in doubting his interpretation of FGE I as celebrating Harmodius and Aristogeiton “as mystic hierophants of liberation” (their becoming μέγα … φόως is Homeric). Pp. 132ff.: among the sources of ‘Anacreon’ FGE XV, read “post A.P. 6.213”. P. 149: relating to what survives of FGE XI 1 in IG I 2 927, especially ποκεναιομεσθορινθο, it is probable that at the beginning of line 1 the stone had ξεν’, not ξεῖνε, even though the reader was obliged metri causa to understand the Homeric form. P. 150: it seems daring to suppose that here, in line 2, the eulogistic apposition “island of Ajax” for Salamis implies a parallelism Odysseus-Athenians vs Ajax-Corinthians. P. 178: there are some inconsistencies in the apparatus of FGE XLIX 4 ( μαρνάμενοι is also in APl and C, μαχόμενοι in P 1) and, in line 3 ΠΑΤ]ΡΙΔΟΣ, CEG 4 attests uncertainty for rho, not for iota. P. 185: in fact (see app., p. 178), the Ionic-Attic form ἱπποσύνῃ is attested not only in APl, but, with the omission of the iota mutum, in AP ( FGE XLIX 2, epitaph on the Athenians fallen in battle). To support West’s ἱπποσύναις ( ΙΠΠΟ]ΣΥΝΑ[Ι Wilhelm, IG I 3 1181.2), the Homeric parallels for the plural are two, not three ( Il. 16.776 = Od. 24.40); Page and Hansen’s reasons for keeping the singular are worthwhile (see nn. 37-39). P. 189 and n. 72: it is not completely right that “mit dem Dativ ist es [scil. ἀντία ] z.B. bei Simonides in den lyrischen Fragmenten wie auch bei Pindar bezeugt”: in Simon. PMG 581,4, it is an emendation of Bergk, accepted by Diehl and Page, not by Poltera (fr. 262,6), who prefers the transmitted ἀντιθέντα. P. 209: in FGE III 1, Petrovic prints ἀχνύεντι between cruces, but this is a conjectural reading; another emendation of Petrovic, the hapax ἀλυόεντι, seems to me difficult to derive from ἄλλυτος (p. 215; Od. 8.275 reads in fact ἀρρήκτους ἀλύτους κτλ.); in commenting on vv. 3f., Petrovic uses the square brackets, in the edition the semisquare ones; finally, the ultimate epigraphical reference is IG I 3 501 (with ” ἀχνύεντι (?)”). P. 235: Petrovic does not discuss H. Stein’s emendation ἡγεμόνα to FGE VI 4 (see Page, p. 196 ad l.). Pp. 237ff. (and 63ff.): on the historical problems put forward by FGE XXIIb, see now V. Parker ( Zu dem ersten Epigramm auf die Schlacht bei den Thermopylen als historischer Quelle Herodots, C&M 60, 2009, 5-26), who does not take note of Petrovic’s book. P. 249: the parallel between the v.l. ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι in FGE XXIIb 2 and Sol fr. 4.6 W. 2 χρήμασι πειθόμενοι is interesting , but Petrovic’s interpretation of ῥήματα (“die Worte” or “das Gesagte”) is more asserted than proved. Then, Petrovic proposes una tantum not his own translation but the -celebrated- Schiller’s one (p. 245), even if Schiller translates “das Gesetz” (from νομίμοις ?).


1. Kapitel VI, pp. 211-290: Epp. 1-15 Petrovic = Simon. FGE I, Anacr. FGE XV, Simon. FGE XI, XXa-b, XLIX, XVI, III, IV, VI, XXIIa, XXIIb, XXVIa, XXVIb, XVIIa, XLI.

2. F.G. Schneidewin, Simonidis Cei carminum reliquiae, Braunschweig 1835; H. Erbse, Zu den Epigrammen des Simonides, RhM 141 (1998) 213-230, see H. Molyneux, Simonides. A Historical Study, Wauconda, Ill. 1992, pp. 13-23.

3. Cf. Molyneux, o.c. 29 n. 42.

4. “Of his epigrams we have precisely two whose authenticity is reasonably assured”, and n. 2: “The epitaph for Megistias, Hdt. 7. 228. 3 (Epigr. 6 Page); IG I2 673 + 850 (CEG 270)”. I shall treat this topic in a forthcoming paper.

5. On pp. 153f., the phrase “Der Zeitabstand zwischen Ps.-Plutarch [with reference to the De Herodoti malignitate ] und Favorin betr�gt ungef�hr 30 Jahre” sounds odd, if the pamphlet is not believed to be Plutarchean. Some errata : p. 14 “Entlapidisierung”; p. 49 n. 119: “interventions”; p. 67 n. 49: “Apollodors”; p. 76 n. 94: ” μανδρόκλεω; p. 77 n. 101: “complecterentur”; p. 79 l. 7 f.b. “Tyrannen”; p. 82 n. 127 l. 15 f. b.: “Aristotele”; p. 86 nn. 142s. ” δὲ” bis; p. 103 n. 68: “Fogelmark”; p. 118 l. 7: “([Thuc.] 6.56,1)”; p. 168 n. 46: “Aspekt”; p. 231 (translation of FGE VI 2): “Spercheios”; p. 235: “elegischen”, n. 19 “donc”.