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Yet, the Greeks do wage war, I hear, and they do so senselessly, in their poor judgement and stupidity. When they have declared war against each other, they find the finest, flattest piece of land and go down there and fight, so that the victors come off with terrible loss—I will not even begin to speak of the defeated, for they are utterly destroyed.
This passage has long been one of the pillars of the ‘orthodox’ view of Greek warfare. It appears to describe a very peculiar way of war, in which conflicts were resolved by single battles at prearranged times, fought on open ground where neither side had an advantage. Fairness counted for more than tactical skill; all conditions were made equal, so that the winners could truly claim to be the braver and stronger men. The result, as Mardonius stressed, was needlessly bloody—but it was quintessentially Greek. Modern authors have argued that this ‘agonistic’ style of fighting, this ‘wonderful, absurd conspiracy’ of open hoplite battle, determined the shape of Greek warfare until the long and hard-fought Peloponnesian War changed the rules.
Er ist der Wanderer, der genau weiß, wohin er schließlich kommen will, auch genau die Hauptstationen seines Weges vorher festgelegt hat und innehält, der sich aber dabei Zeit läßt, um alles Schöne und Interessante, das die Gegend bietet, zu betrachten, und selbst lange Seitenwege zu diesem Zwecke nicht zu scheuen braucht, da er weiß, daß er die Hauptstraße am richtigen Punkte wieder erreichen wird.
M. Pohlenz, Herodot, der erste Geschichtschreiber des Abendlandes (1937)
Anyone familiar with Greek literature knows at once that this can describe no author but Herodotus. As readers have long recognized, travel is a crucial element of Herodotus’ persona not only as an historian and ethnographer but also as a narrator, to the extent that he has been called a tourist and a guide. Pohlenz draws his vivid metaphor from Herodotus himself, who assimilates movement through his narrative to movement through space by several well-known narratorial habits: he points out ‘paths’ of logoi (1.95.1: λόγων ὁδούς), goes out of his way to justify so-called ‘digressions’ (or Exkurse) and frequently uses verbs of movement to return to earlier narratives or to preview upcoming ones. However, most scholars have overlooked one important feature by which Herodotus creates this sense of progress through his logoi, although it appears in the programmatic sentence that begins his whole network of narrative signposts and recurs in his voice in the first half of the Histories and in important speeches in the second.
In his biography of Polemon, head of the Academy from 313 to 269, Diogenes Laertius comments on Polemon's fondness for Sophocles after detailing Polemon's relationship with his predecessor, Xenocrates (4.19–20):
It would seem that Polemon imitated Xenocrates in all respects. In the fourth book of On the Luxury of the Ancients, Aristippos says that he loved him. Certainly Polemon kept him in mind and, like him, wore that simple, dry dignity that is proper of the Dorian mode. He also loved Sophocles, particularly in those passages where it seemed as if, in the words of the comic poet, ‘a Molossian dog co-authored’ plays with him and where the poet was, in the words of Phrynichus, ‘neither bland nor doctored but Pramnian’. Thus he would call Homer the epic Sophocles and Sophocles the tragic Homer.
The main source of Diogenes Laertius' Life of Polemon is Antigonus of Carystus, who was active in Athens and (apparently) Pergamon around the mid third century. In addition to being generally considered a reliable author, Antigonus is also chronologically close to Polemon's lifetime. He is also the source of Philodemus' History of Philosophers, a work preserved by two important papyri from Herculaneum. Philodemus, too, mentions Polemon's admiration for Sophocles, although he gives a shorter version than Diogenes Laertius: λέγεται δὲ καὶ φιλοσοφοκλῆς γενέσθαι καὶ μά || λιστα τὸ ΠΑ[.]Α[……….] | τῆς φωνῆς καὶ παρα[….] ἀποδέχεσθαι. In Dorandi's translation, Philodemus records that ‘si dice che [Polemone] fu ammiratore di Sofocle e soprattutto ne apprezzò l'audacia (del suono della lingua) e ciò che suonava duro’.
Alone among surviving Athenian homicide orations, Antiphon's On the Murder of Herodes resembles a modern murder mystery. Antiphon's client, a Mytilenean named Euxitheus, tells a story of a stormy night, an isolated harbour, a drunken murder victim, a missing corpse, misleading bloodstains, forged documents and hints of political intrigue. And, like in any good whodunnit, Euxitheus insists that no one knows who the killer is. Although all the clues seem to point to him, he maintains that Herodes' relatives have manipulated the evidence to make him seem guilty. We do not know whether Euxitheus succeeded in convincing his jurors, but the author of the Life of Antiphon attributed to Plutarch, who says that Antiphon was ‘adept in situations with no way out’ (ἐν τοῖς ἀπόροις τεχνικός), considers On the Murder of Herodes one of Antiphon's finest compositions (832E, 833D).
Ἀσέβεια is one of Greek religion's vexatious topics. It was a crime, or γραφή, as well as a religious wrong according to ‘sacred law’. It happened to be the charge in the most famous Greek trial, that of Socrates, and thus became part of a locus classicus, with the result, as Kenneth Dover showed, that later reports of ἀσέβεια trials were often distorted by the influence of Socrates' example. Focussing mostly on the sources found reliable by Dover, this article proposes that ἀσέβεια sometimes resembled μίασμα, which was contagious religious pollution. An impious person could sometimes spread his or her ἀσέβεια, and others could catch it.
102-3 θηρότροφον praeeunte Musgrave (-τρόφον) Allen : -τρόφοι ‹L›P
The subject of ἔτεκεν (99) and ϲτεφάνωϲεν (101) is Zeus (95). If the text is right, Zeus gave birth to Dionysus, and Zeus then crowned him with snakes. This note argues that the text is corrupt because (i) vase painting shows Dionysus born already crowned, and (ii) the notion that Zeus should crown anyone is quite exceptional. I conclude that in 101 Euripides probably wrote ϲτεφανωθέντα, not ϲτεφάνωϲέν τε.
In the late spring of 400 b.c.e., when the Ten Thousand were encamped outside the city of Cotyora, Xenophon addressed the soldiers gathered in assembly in order to defend himself against accusations that he was planning to lead them on a colonizing expedition to the land of the Phasis river. Having demonstrated that he was not misleading the soldiers (that is, that his true intentions were not to lead them to the Phasis) by proving that he could not hope to deceive them into travelling east, Xenophon then moved on to what he presented as a more serious matter for the assembled mercenaries: the problem of growing indiscipline in the army, and its consequences (both potential and actual). Xenophon illustrated the extent of the problem by describing to the men two incidents in detail.
In his magisterial work Persephone, Zuntz drew a basic distinction between two sets of Orphic gold leaves—those known from the elaborate tumuli at Thurii, which he called Group A, and a more widely scattered series, Group B, then represented by two longer texts from Petelia in southern Italy and Pharsalus in Thessaly, and, in a shortened form, by a series of six (now seven) short texts from the environs of Eleutherna in Crete (his Group C). Three further finds have reinforced Zuntz's distinctions: first, a tablet from Hipponium, the colony of Epizephyrian Locri in southern Italy, published by Foti and Pugliese Carratelli, then a lamella said to be from Thessaly but now in Malibu and published by Breslin, and finally a tablet said to be from Entella in Sicily and recently in Geneva, which was published in a bad transcription by Frel and much clarified by Riedweg. The first and third belong to Zuntz's Group B, while the second is close to his Group C. Pugliese Carratelli has published an exceptionally fine set of photographs of all the texts except those from Petelia and Entella. My restudy of the leaf from Petelia has led to some improved readings. Not even a drawing exists of the Entellan leaf, which no scholar except its first editor has ever seen. This fact prompted a reviewer of this article to wonder about its authenticity. In the absence of the object itself, such doubts can only be allayed if its text consistently contributes to improving our understanding of the archetype from which it is derived. One of the aims of this article is to show that it does indeed do so.
Aristodemus, a Phigalian by birth, was tyrant of Megalopolis for around fifteen years in the first half of the third century b.c., possibly from the time of the Chremonidean War (267–262) until around 251, when he was murdered by two Megalopolitan exiled citizens, Megalophanes and Ecdelus, pupils of the Academic Arcesilaus. While giving an account of his violent death, Pausanias, none the less, draws a very positive portrait of him, also mentioning the nickname ‘the Good’ which he probably read on Aristodemus' grave. Pausanias also reports the foundation of two temples by the tyrant, both dedicated to Artemis. At 8.35.5 he locates one of the two temples at thirteen stades from Megalopolis on the road to Methydrion, so to the north. There, he says, is a place named Scias, where there are ruins of a sanctuary of Artemis Sciaditis. At 8.32.4, Pausanias briefly refers to the temple of Artemis Agrotera at Megalopolis. He says only that the sanctuary was on a hill in the south-east district of the polis, and adds that it was dedicated as an ἀνάθημα by the tyrant as well.
Lucretius' primary didactic aim in De Rerum Natura (DRN) is to teach his readers to interpret the world around them in such a way as to avoid the formation of false beliefs. The price of failure is extremely high. Someone who possesses false beliefs is liable to experience fear (of the gods, or of death, or both), and so will not be able to attain the state of tranquillity that, for Epicureans, constitutes the moral end. Equipping readers with sufficient knowledge always to form true beliefs about the phenomena they encounter thus serves no less a purpose than the enabling of their future happiness. This paper is concerned with how Lucretian intertextuality contributes to this primary didactic aim. For reasons to be explained below, I will focus on Lucretian engagement with the texts of Greek and Roman drama. I will show that allusions to drama in DRN, rather than functioning simply as ‘honey on the rim of the cup’, make a direct contribution to Lucretius' ethical project, teaching readers how to respond rationally to the full variety of their cultural experience.
Modern readings of Cicero's reception of Greek culture tend to reflect the way we frame the larger question of Roman reception of Greek culture. In the nineteenth century, and indeed well into the twentieth, when Hellenism was in the ascendant and Latin awarded a decidedly second place, Cicero was often read as a slavish copyist in thrall to the Greek classics. Recent work, however, has emphasized Cicero's sense of control over and entitlement to the cultural capital of this conquered province, and his manipulation of it in ways that position Rome (and himself) as a cultural and intellectual rival to Greece.
‘But tell us, Tityrus, who is that god?’ (sed tamen, iste deus qui sit, da, Tityre, nobis). This is what the herdsman Meliboeus asks in Virgil's first Eclogue (Ecl. 1.18) in response to Tityrus' assertion that a certain deity granted him the leisure to sing and to pasture his herd (o Meliboee, deus nobis haec otia fecit. | namque erit ille mihi semper deus, Ecl. 1.6–7). In posing this question, the herdsman raises the issue of this god's identity also for us, Virgil's readers. We are invited to ponder ‘Who is that deus?’ The question lingers, hanging over the text for the next twenty-three verses, without answer. For despite Meliboeus' blunt and plainspoken query (qui sit, da … nobis), which demands a concrete response, Tityrus—on finally returning to the question qui sit—pointedly names no names. Rather, he leaves his divinity anonymous. We learn only that the god is a iuuenis, whom Tityrus saw at Rome, and who answered the herdsman's entreaty (hic illum uidi iuuenem … | hic mihi responsum primus dedit ille petenti, Ecl. 1.42, 44). In honour of this deity, Tityrus' altars smoke with sacrifice every month of the year (quotannis | bis senos cui nostra dies altaria fumant, Ecl. 1.42–3). As the poem takes the form of a dramatic dialogue without narrative frame, no authoritative voice intervenes to offer further guidance as to the god's identity. Thus we continue to wonder as to the identity of this divine iuuenis. The question remains open, an incitement to readerly conjecture.
The dating of Catalepton 9 has been the central issue of scholarship on that poem. The more particular questions of the poem's authorship, the identity of the addressee, and its chronological relation to other texts, both depend on and contribute to ascertaining the date of composition. The clearest exposition of the problem remains that by Richmond. Evidence provided by Catalepton 9 falls into two categories: literary and historical. Literary evidence encompasses two kinds of data: various formal features of the text and intertextual links with other poetry. While the poem's metre, language and style suggest a relatively early date of composition (before the Eclogues), the close textual parallels with the Eclogues, interpreted as borrowings from rather than sources of Virgil's poetry, point in the opposite direction. Historical indications are likewise ambivalent. On the one hand, it seems likely that the addressee is M. Valerius Messalla Corvinus (cos. 31 b.c.) and, further, that the occasion of composition is his (only) triumph in 27 b.c. (Catalepton 9.3 uictor adest, magni magnum decus ecce triumphi). On the other hand, the allusions to his military achievements (4–5, 41–54) are both too vague and exaggerated, and, if taken literally, do not fit well our Messalla at any particular point of his career (nor any other known member of the family). Richmond, following Birt and followed by Schoonhoven, believed that at least some of the historical references are ‘intended to be prophetic’. More recently, Peirano has attempted to explain this lack of precision by arguing that Catalepton 9 is not a real-life panegyric but a later biographical fiction, the real focus of which ‘is to be found […] in the relationship that the poem constructs between Virgil and his patron’.
In the Roman Republic, in the case of the death of both consuls or a situation which made it impossible to proceed with the election of their successors, the Senate would decide to establish an interregnum. For that the senators chose several persons of patrician dignity from among their midst, and awarded them the auspices and the signs of magisterial power. The interreges had the task of preparing for the elections of new consuls and hold the electoral assembly. Although the interreges had been chosen by the Senate, rather than elected by the People, and were in power for a short period, they resembled extraordinary magistrates. The interrex was appointed by the senator with auspices; likewise, the magistrate was elected in accordance with the will of the gods (auspicato). As well as the auspices and the attributes of magisterial power (lictores, fasci, sella curulis), the interreges were provided with an ius agendi cum patribus et cum populo and could summon the People to the centuriate assembly. In an epistle to C. Trebatius Testa (Fam. 7.11.1), written in January 53 (all dates are b.c.), Cicero ironically said that, with such a large number of interreges, an experienced lawyer could use them to prepare a defence in civil suits by asking each interrex for two adjournments to obtain legal assistance. Interreges, albeit as part of a jest, were seen here as holders of some civil jurisdiction. Referring to Asconius' clarification that a certain M. Lepidus was appointed interrex because he had been elected as a curule magistrate, Theodor Mommsen concluded that every interrex was regarded as magistrate. In fact, Asconius means here that Lepidus held a curule magistracy in addition to his being interrex (or, more precisely, the magistracy entitled him to this role). Nevertheless, the notion of extraordinary magistrate has been frequently applied to the interrex by modern scholars. When interreges periodically appeared at the head of the Republic as holders of auspices and of the signs of the highest power for five days, the Romans became accustomed to thinking that the interreges received supremacy for that period.
Towards the end of Book 2 of Tacitus' Annals, Germanicus, great-nephew of Augustus, grandson of Mark Antony, and nephew, adopted son and heir of the emperor Tiberius, falls ill and dies at Antioch (2.69-72). His travels in the eastern Mediterranean in a.d. 18 thus reach a sad conclusion. They had begun when, after being recalled from the wars of conquest in Germany described in detail in the opening books of the Annals (1.50-1, 1.55-71; 2.5.2-26), he was sent from Rome by Tiberius to preside over the installation of a new king of Armenia (2.43.1; cf. 2.3-5.1).
‘Valerius Flaccus knows how to write with elegant precision.’ – R. Syme, Tacitus (Oxford, 1958), 89.
Phoebe, mone, si Cumaeae mihi conscia uatis 5
stat casta cortina domo, si laurea digna
fronte uiret …
In these lines, as critics have long recognized, resides evidence for identifying Valerius Flaccus as a quindecimuir sacris faciundis. Emphasis is placed on the tripod emblematic of this sacred office which is here intimately associated with expertise in the oracular communications of the Cumaean Sibyl. The libri Sibyllini, the supervision and interpretation of which were amongst the earliest and most conspicuous of the XVuiri's responsibilities, could be traced to the Sibyl at Cumae (Lactant. Div. inst. 1.6.10-11, citing Varro, even if this connection was less than the entire story from a strictly historical perspective). Wreathes, too, formed part of the XVuir's equipment, and of course during the Imperial period the Sibylline books were deposited in the Temple of Apollo on the Palatine. In little more than two lines, then, one finds an abundance of references that cannot fail to fashion this addressee of Apollo as a quindecimvir.
There has been a tendency, even among authors who have regarded Valerius Maximus as worthy of independent study, to use the Facta et Dicta as a neutral conduit of information about other wider areas. Valerius has thus sometimes become a sourcebook mined for nuggets of information but effectively invisible to those who work it. The past thirty years have seen valuable contributions that raise awareness of the importance of the genre of the Facta et Dicta and (to a lesser extent) the personal input of Valerius, but traces of the ‘conduit’ approach are still preserved in some authors’ attempts to justify their study of the work. For instance, Valerius provides an insight into the historical image of Marius, and is valuable precisely because he has no opinion or personal ideas to offer, because he preserves the language of school rhetoric, because his collection gives us strictly conventional material about religion, because he presents an unadulterated mirror-image of imperial policy and propaganda and because he is ‘middle-brow’ and thus depicts common attitudes. The text has also sometimes been studied for what it reveals about Early Imperial Latin, non-Republican culture and the organisation of Roman knowledge. Most recently, Tara Welch has argued that Valerius deliberately strips exempla of all authorial input, including his own, in an attempt to make himself a conduit for traditio. Alternatively, study of the text is justified by interest in the time period in which it was written.
quippe Byzantium fertili solo, fecundo mari, quia uis piscium in metapontum erumpens et obliquis subter undas saxis exterrita omisso alterius litoris flexu hos ad portus defertur.
For Byzantium is favoured with fertile soil and teeming seas, since a multitude of fish, bursting out (of the Pontus?) and spooked by rocks slanting beneath the water, leave off the curve of the opposite shore and are wafted to these harbours.
That is the text of the second Medicean and all of its descendants. For centuries now the unfitness of the words in metapontum has been obvious to editors. J. Lipsius conjectured innumera Pontum (1585), G. Brotier innumera Ponto (1771), N. Bach and G.A. Ruperti immensa Pontum (each in 1834). F. Ritter returned to the problem again and again, first proposing immensa Ponto (1834), then immensum Ponto, i.e. ‘immensa multitudine’ (1848), and finally in meatu Ponti (1863). Bach's and Ruperti's remedy is clearly the most efficient. Modern editors agree in printing uis piscium immensa (i.e. inmēsa) Pontum erumpens, ‘an immense multitude of fish, bursting out of the Pontus'. Neat, but perhaps unnecessary. My object here is to defend the text of the manuscripts.
This paper focusses on two lines in what counts as our best available literary source for the study of religious life in the Roman Near East. In paragraph 5 of Περὶ τῆς Συρίης Θεοῦ (On the Syrian Goddess), a treatise professing to describe the temple and cult at Hierapolis, a place in northern Syria also known by its indigenous names of Manbog or Bambyce, the author writes: