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During the necromantic ceremony in Odyssey 11 Odysseus slits the throats of two sheep and then proceeds to drain their blood into the βόθρος, or pit, which he has dug in the ground (Od. 11.35–6). At this point in the ceremony the dead swarm up from the Underworld, displaying an innate attraction to the blood (Od. 11.36–7). Such is the overwhelming response of the dead that Odysseus must draw his sword in order to hold back the multitudes who clamour to drink the offering (Od. 11.48–50). Odysseus refuses to allow the dead to approach the blood until Tiresias has drunk the offering and offered a prophecy for the future (Od. 11.95–6). After Tiresias has concluded his prophecy for Odysseus some of the other dead step forward and drink the blood, but to what end? Odysseus does not seek prophecies from these figures, nor do they produce any, which means that their reason for desiring and drinking the blood must lie elsewhere.
One of the most baffling inscriptions has come down to us from the so-called ‘Passage of the Theôroi’ at Thasos. Situated at the north-eastern entrance of the ancient agora, and consisting originally of two walls on either side of a path paved by marble, the monumental passage way had a long list of names inscribed on the inside of its western wall; this is the so-called ‘great list of Thasian theôroi’. Two of its constituent lists bear the headings ἐπὶ τῆς πρώτης ἀπαρχῆς and ἐπὶ τῆς δευ[τέρη]ς ἀπαρχῆς| οἵδε ἐθεόρεον. The meaning of the word aparchê and the nature of the theôroi in question have been the subject of disagreement among historians. The aim of this article is to contribute further suggestions to existing discussions.
Plato's Hesiod is a neglected topic, scholars having long regarded Plato's Homer as a more promising field of inquiry. My aim in this chapter is to demonstrate that this particular bias of scholarly attention, although understandable, is unjustified. Of no other dialogue is this truer than of the Ion.
The only reference to the Athenian general Lamachus in the Platonic corpus is at Laches 197c6 where Nicias compares Laches to him. In response to Laches' criticism that Nicias is embellishing himself with his words (κοσμεῖ τῷ λόγῳ, La. 197c3), and trying to deny that those agreed to be courageous are indeed courageous, Nicias says:
Mirko Canevaro and Edward Harris, in their recent CQ article (henceforth C&H), have rejected, as forgeries or reconstructions of post-classical origin, all the laws and decrees appearing in the text of Andocides' speech On the Mysteries (77–98) and purporting to be the documents which the speaker, at six points in that passage, directs the clerk to read out. I have no quarrel with their arguments (pp. 100–19) for rejecting the documents presented as the decree of Patroclides (§§77–9), the decree of Tisamenus (§§83–4), and a series of new laws passed in 403/2 b.c. (§§85–7) – though in this last case, with the exception of one phrase, the genuineness of the laws themselves is confirmed by the fact that they are cited verbatim by the orator in the surrounding text (§§88–9, 93, 94, 99). I shall be concerned here only with the last document of the group, a decree ascribed to Demophantus (§§96–8), which C&H discuss at pp. 119–25.
Philosophers who would do history of philosophy (which they must do in order not to impoverish themselves and the discipline they serve) must also occasionally do some philology. The meaning of the text interacts with the language in which it is spoken, and it is informed by it. One need not be a Whorfean to appreciate that there is no text without contexts, and one of the most important of these contexts is the language itself. To what extent the philologist must also become a palaeographer is a question seldom raised even among those who call themselves philologists. Taking our texts not only in written form, but in printed regularity, we tend to focus on the type of expression rather than the token, treating the latter as incidental, irrelevant and uninteresting. I want here to tell a tale of a text with attention to some palaeographic dimensions, hoping to open questions about their philological and philosophical worth. The palaeography may itself be superficial or amateurish, but if the point is well taken at this level, someone more expert may be able to unfold a richer tale.
In the last decades Orphic scholarship has found itself in rather fortunate
circumstances: there have been not only spectacular finds such as the Derveni
Papyrus and the so-called Orphic Gold Tablets, but these texts together with all
the other fragments ascribed to the authoritative author-figure Orpheus have
been made accessible in the new and extensive edition by Alberto
Bernabé (2004–7). Understandably, recent discussions have
focussed especially on the new material. Nevertheless, much work remains to be
done on those fragments with which we have long been familiar. The present study
puts a new complexion on a text long taken as evidence for an Orphic
The subject of this paper is a striking and unavoidable feature of the Alexandra: Lykophron's habit of referring to single gods not by their usual names, but by multiple lists of epithets piled up in asyndeton. This phenomenon first occurs early in the 1474-line poem, and this occurrence will serve as an illustration. At 152–3, Demeter has five descriptors in a row: Ἐνναία ποτὲ | Ἕρκυνν' Ἐρινὺς Θουρία Ξιφηφόρος, ‘Ennaian … Herkynna, Erinys, Thouria, Sword-bearing’. In the footnote I give the probable explanations of these epithets. Although in this sample the explanations to most of the epithets are not to be found in inscriptions, my main aim in what follows will be to emphasize the relevance of epigraphy to the unravelling of some of the famous obscurity of Lykophron. In this paper, I ask why the poet accumulates divine epithets in this special way. I also ask whether the information provided by the ancient scholiasts, about the local origin of the epithets, is of good quality and of value to the historian of religion. This will mean checking some of that information against the evidence of inscriptions, beginning with Linear B. It will be argued that it stands up very well to such a check. The Alexandra has enjoyed remarkable recent vogue, but this attention has come mainly from the literary side. Historians, in particular historians of religion, and students of myths relating to colonial identity, have been much less ready to exploit the intricate detail of the poem, although it has so much to offer in these respects. The present article is, then, intended primarily as a contribution to the elucidation of a difficult literary text, and to the history of ancient Greek religion. Despite the article's main title, there will, as the subtitle is intended to make clear, be no attempt to gather and assess all the many passages in Lykophron to which inscriptions are relevant. There will, for example, be no discussion of 1141–74 and the early Hellenistic ‘Lokrian Maidens inscription’ (IG 9.12 706); or of the light thrown on 599 by the inscribed potsherds carrying dedications to Diomedes, recently found on the tiny island of Palagruza in the Adriatic, and beginning as early as the fifth century b.c. (SEG 48.692bis–694); or of 733–4 and their relation to the fifth-century b.c. Athenian decree (n. 127) mentioning Diotimos, the general who founded a torch race at Naples, according to Lykophron; or of 570–85 and the epigraphically attested Archegesion or cult building of Anios on Delos, which shows that this strange founder king with three magical daughters was a figure of historical cult as well as of myth.
The most famous – and most discussed – ancient statement on speeches in historiography is probably Thucydides 1.22.1, but Polybius’ discussion of speeches in Timaeus in Book 12 of his Histories follows closely. Although Polybius’ criticism of Timaeus has been fruitfully studied from very different angles, the meaning and implications of many of his statements are still debated.
Among the poems of the Greek Anthology is one (Anth. Pal. 6.171) which purports to be the dedicatory inscription of the Colossus of Rhodes built to celebrate the Rhodians' successful resistance to the siege of their island by Demetrius Poliorcetes in the years 305–304 b.c. It has long been assumed by scholars that this epigram represents the authentic dedicatory inscription carved on the base of the Colossus, which was completed in the 280s and stood for some sixty years before being destroyed by an earthquake that rocked the island of Rhodes in the 220s. There are, however, strong reasons to doubt the epigram's authenticity, some of which come from considerations of the poem itself and others which come from a comparison with a closely related epigram (Anth. Pal. 9.518) composed by Alcaeus of Messene to celebrate Philip V's military successes during his Aegean campaign of 203–200. Verbal and thematic parallels between the two epigrams make a connection certain. It is the aim of the present study to re-examine the Rhodian epigram and its relation to Anth. Pal. 9.518 in order to propose a new date for the former in the context of Rhodes' defeat of Philip V and the advent of Rome in the affairs of the states ringing the Aegean.
Ennius' Scipio is represented for us by three fragments explicitly attributed to the poem by our ancient sources, frr. 31, 32 and 33 Courtney (= var. 9–12, 13 and 14 Vahlen), along with a detail from the Suda s.v. Ἔννιος (Ε 1348, p. 2.285 Adler = fr. 29 Courtney = var. I Vahlen) asserting Homer's pre-eminence as a panegyrist (and Scipio's as a recipient of panegyric), which is echoed (and perhaps amplified) by Valerius Maximus (8.14.1).
The aim of this paper is to propose a new and more satisfactory context for a fragment from one of Ennius’ tragedies preserved in Cicero and discussed by a late scholiast on the Ciceronian passage. It will be shown that the scholiast, or more likely the source upon which he drew, had in front of him a bit more of the Ennian passage than the partial line preserved in Cicero and that the scholiast drew a false conclusion concerning the identity of one of the interlocutors from the way in which one speaker addressed the other. Previous scholars have sought to remove the inconsistency in the scholiast's sketch of the scene either by changing the locale of the dialogue or by correcting the scholiast's identification of the out-of-place speaker. It will be shown that a more productive line of investigation is to seek to discover the underlying cause of the scholiast's apparent error. The identification of the cause not only sheds light on the fate of Ennius’ text in Late Antiquity but permits us to restore, by means of conjecture, an additional word to the corpus of Ennius’ tragedies, a word that is a favourite of his in the Annales, but until now has not been attested in a Roman tragedy before the age of Seneca.
C. Sergius Orata was famous for the oysters that he raised on the Lucrine lake, where he also bought and renovated villas, reselling them at a profit. His oysters changed the market for gourmet seafood by creating a new standard in taste around 100 b.c., and he grew rich enough from this trade to enjoy the luxuries that he purveyed. He was a path-breaking entrepreneur in luxury goods, ‘the first Campanian speculator to cater to the leisure of the great grandees’, as D'Arms described him. Instructive as this interpretation is, it does not address the way Orata is presented in the sources. While the ‘facts’ may be reliable enough to establish a biographical sketch, their presentation has another story to tell because Orata is known from rhetorically coloured portraits that reveal less about him as an individual than about elite identity generally. Fish and fishponds were a favourite target of Roman moralizers concerned with elite behaviour and attitudes. Oysters in particular have a long history as a signal luxury. Orata is a prime example in this tradition, and his name became nearly a trope: ‘Orata’, as I will write when I mean this reputation and not the man himself. A cognomen was a sign of family identity, but it also could be used as an indicator of character. Although Kajanto rejects this interpretation of Orata's name because of its association with fish, it is the very association with fish that made his name powerful as a literary example, whether or not it reflects anything about his actual personality. No more can be said about the Orata family reputation because he is the only man with this cognomen in our sources. For Roman moralizers, ‘Orata’ represented the contested relationship between wealth, commerce and status, because his oyster ponds were both a symbolic luxury and a commercial success.
The mutilation of the snake provides compelling evidence that the soul and the body form an interconnected structural complex. The verbal complex, however, in which this serpens is articulated, has long been a problematic one. At the heart of the problem is the meaning of serpentis utrumque, a phrase which has been treated with considerable indulgence and is printed in the majority of twentieth-century editions, though it does not yield a satisfactory sense. It is usually interpreted to mean ‘both parts of a snake’, as if utrumque serpentis were equivalent in meaning to utramque partem serpentis. The word ‘parts,’ however, is an evasion of the semantic value of utrumque because it eliminates the ambiguity, in this context, of the pronoun ‘each of two,’ the reference of which should be made clear by the context, and supplies instead the very thing that is in question here, a clearly defined object, ‘both parts,’ for discidere. This may seem a small point but ‘both parts’ greatly obscures the nature of the problem. If we take a more literal approach to utrumque, we will get a better sense of the frustrated linguistic expectation caused by the pronoun: ‘of a snake with a darting tongue, quivering tail, long body, to cut up each of the two’. The question immediately arises: to what does ‘each of the two’ refer? According to the normal usage of uterque the answer should be apparent. In 3.658 it is not. It has long been assumed that utrumque refers to cauda and corpore but such a reference is not at all clear from the syntax. In the description of the snake we do not find, and this is the essential point, two clearly defined components of the snake to which utrumque (‘each of the two’) can refer in accordance with its meaning and the syntax of the sentence. Instead, we find three components, expressed in three parallel ablative phrases, uibrante lingua, micanti cauda and procero corpore, all of equal importance in delineating the snake. And since the whole construction is dependent on one verb, discidere, the normal expectation would be that, whatever words are the antecedent of utrumque, those words would be in the accusative as well; the shift from cauda and corpore in the ablative to utrumque in the accusative, in what is essentially an appositional relationship, is syntactically jarring.
Caesar's Commentarii have hardly been studied within the historiographical tradition – probably because of their generic difference from historia and, more generally, alleged overall sparseness, famously and influentially compared to nudity. While their relationship to Greek historians has received some haphazard attention, their possible debt to antecedent Roman historians is an even less explored question – admittedly compounded by the fragmentary state of early republican historiography. In the following pages, however, I will suggest that there is ample evidence of Caesar's familiarity with, and even imitation of, the Historiae by Lucius Cornelius Sisenna.
In the litigious world of ancient Rome patroni were often torn between conflicting bonds of loyalty, and this is the dilemma that Cicero laments in the exordium of the Pro Plancio (5). Both the prosecutor, Laterensis, and the accused, Plancius, were personal friends, and Cicero bemoans the quandary: either upsetting Laterensis by comparing him unfavourably with Plancius, or letting down his client. A second problem for Cicero was that the prosecution also took the opportunity to impugn him as the creature of Pompey and Caesar, so that Cicero had to defend himself as much as his client. Two examples of sermocinatio (an imaginary dialogue with a personified entity) helped him to face these challenges: these sermocinationes are Cicero's main strategy for getting out of the conundrum but, in spite of their relevance to his line of argument, they have received very little attention. In this article, after a brief historical contextualization, I analyse each sermocinatio, arguing that Cicero cunningly sets aside the dilemma of comparing two friends by constructing an alternative comparison between Laterensis and himself, and that such a comparison, which is highly selective, re-establishes his own positive public image. The two sermocinationes, moreover, also display some meaningful textual references which have remained unnoticed: in the final part of this paper I set them against the backdrop of Plato's Crito and of Cicero's letter to Lentulus (Fam. 1.9), arguing that the reference to the Crito supports Cicero's strategy of contrasting himself with Laterensis and that comparison with Fam. 1.9 illuminates the connection between the Pro Plancio and Cicero's broader post reditum self-defence.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the variations in Cicero's treatment of Clodius in his speeches and to suggest reasons why these variations occur. The treatment of five principal themes will be considered: (1) Clodius' relationship with Gabinius and Piso; (2) Clodius’ alleged link with Catiline and/or surviving Catilinarians; (3) the Bona Dea affair; (4) Clodius’ alleged incest with one or more of his sisters; (5) Clodius’ supposed insanity, which clearly exceeded the tribunician norm.
Cicero's level of success within the senate fluctuated throughout the period of his Philippic orations. These fluctuations reflect the very divisive nature of the conflict with Marcus Antonius, and the ever-changing circumstances that Cicero confronted. The orations themselves record Cicero's improvisational responses to these developments and allow us to study Cicero's range of persuasive techniques over a period of eight months, from September 44, when Cicero delivered his first Philippic, through to April 43, when he delivered his last. There has been a growing body of scholarship dealing with the Philippics, but there remains work to be done on the ad hoc nature of senatorial debate. Manuwald's recent study of praise and blame within the Philippics has provided a starting point, since she identifies strategic elements within the collection as a whole and how these elements functioned in terms of persuasion. She notes the short term use of praise and blame for the purpose of urging the senate to a particular course of action, but her avowed aims were not to isolate strategies within the speeches. And while Frisch provides full coverage of the historical context, he is less concerned with persuasive strategies within and between the speeches themselves. In this regard Philippics 10 and 11 provide an insight into the malleable and ad hoc nature of Roman oratory in the context of senatorial debate. We are able to follow Cicero's shifts in rhetorical strategies as he attempts to meet the exigencies of each situation. Philippics 10 and 11 have ostensibly similar rhetorical aims: to persuade the senate to appoint Marcus Brutus and Caius Cassius to powerful military commands in the eastern provinces, and yet the rhetorical strategies that Cicero employs differ in various ways. My aim is to examine what factors influenced his choice of strategy in the delivery of the two speeches.
Augustus opens the Res Gestae with his age: ‘nineteen years old’ (annos undeviginti natus). This places the reader firmly in the autumn of 44, rather than the aftermath of Caesar's assassination on the Ides when Octavian had been eighteen, presumably because the credibility of Octavian's claim to have liberated the res publica rested on his military intervention against Antony and the senate's commendation of it. Velleius Paterculus' summation (which echoes Augustus' formulation in the RG) is clear enough: although the domination of Antony was universally resented, no one was willing to take action against him ‘until Gaius Caesar, shortly after his nineteenth birthday, with marvellous daring and supreme success, on his private initiative (privatum consilium) showed a courage on behalf of the res publica which exceeded that of the senate. He summoned his father's veterans first from Calatia then from Casilinum; other veterans followed their example, and in a short time they united to form a regular army’. By raising an army, Octavian made himself politically relevant, but his move was strikingly illegal in two respects: he was too young (the entrance of politicians into public life had been subject to regulation since the formalization of the cursus honorum in 180 b.c.; Octavian, entering public life at the age of nineteen, was too young to have set foot on the lowest rung of the ladder, the quaestorship, for which the minimum age was thirty) and he was a private citizen with no authorization whatsoever to do anything of the sort. None the less, he advertises both aspects in the opening sentence: why?