Untitled - Księgarnia Akademicka

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Untitled - Księgarnia Akademicka
Volume XVIII (2015)
EDITED BY
JOANNA JANIK, ALEKSANDRA KLĘCZAR, JERZY STYKA
Kraków 2015
Academic editor:
Jerzy Styka
Editorial Committee:
Michael von Albrecht (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, emeritus),
Gerhard Binder (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, emeritus), Joachim Dalfen
(Universität Salzburg, emeritus), Bernd Effe (Ruhr-Universität Bochum,
emeritus), Daniël den Hengst (University of Amsterdam), Józef Korpanty
(Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, emeritus), Kazimierz Korus (Uniwersytet
Jagielloński, Kraków), Hugo Montgomery (Universitetet i Oslo / University
of Oslo, emeritus), Heikki Solin (Helsingin yliopisto / University of Helsinki),
Wolfgang Speyer (Universität Salzburg, emeritus), Stanisław Stabryła
(Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, emeritus)
Reviewers:
dr hab. Agnieszka Dziuba, dr hab. Anna Kucz
Publication financed from funds of the Faculty of Philology
of the Jagiellonian University
Kraków 2015
KSIĘGARNIA AKADEMICKA
31-008 Kraków, ul. św. Anny 6
tel./fax 12 431 27 43, 12 421 13 87
e-mail: [email protected]
www.akademicka.pl
Typesetting: Agnieszka Kluzik
Cover design: Emilia Dajnowicz
Editing: Marta Stęplewska
ISSN 1505-8913
Published in the e-book form plus 150 paper copies
The primary version of the journal is the electronic format
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Laudacja prof. Kazimierza Korusa................................................................... 9
Bibliografia prac prof. dr. hab. Kazimierza Korusa (do 2015 roku).............. 17
Krystyna Bartol
SENECIO AND LARENSIS THE DINERS:TWO NON-GREEK
INTELLECTUALS AT THE HEART OF A HELLENIC SYMPOSION........... 27
Bartłomiej Bednarek
ARISTOPHANES, THE ACCUSER OF SOCRATES: SOME
SOCIOLINGUISTIC ASPECTS OF COMEDY.............................................. 39
Bogdan Burliga
ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS ALEXANDROU AND
PLUTARCH’S PROLOGUE TO THE LIFE OF ALEXANDER..................... 51
Michał Bzinkowski
THE CASE OF THE ANGELS. THE RELEVANCE OF THE RESEARCH
BY CLASSICAL SCHOLAR JOHN CUTHBERT LAWSON (1874-1919)
ON MODERN GREEK CULTURE................................................................. 83
Kamil Choda
INTELLECTUAL SOURCES OF HISTORIAN’S LEGITIMIZATION –
THE CASE OF GREGORY OF TOURS........................................................111
Zbigniew Danek
UTRUM ISOCRATEA DE BENE CONFORMATO ANIMO DISCIPLINA
AD ALUMNORUM UTILITATES SOLUM ACCOMMODATA SIT ............. 125
Jerzy Danielewicz
PHILICUS’ “NOVEL COMPOSITION” FOR THE ALEXANDRIAN
GRAMMARIANS: INITIAL LINES AND IAMBE’S SPEECH...................... 137
Konrad Dominas
PLUTARCH IN THE GALAXY OF NEW MEDIA. MECHANISMS OF
RECEPTION................................................................................................. 151
Agnieszka Heszen
THECLA’S HYMN (SYMP. 285-292) – DID METHODIUS
OF OLYMPUS IMITATE PLATO?............................................................... 171
Joanna Janik
THE WRITTEN TEXT IN THE ATHENIAN POLITICAL CULTURE
IN THE FIRST DECADES OF 4TH CENTURY BC....................................... 185
Aleksandra Klęczar
RHETORIC, WIT AND HUMOUR IN CATULLUS 44................................. 199
Joanna Komorowska
GRAMMATIKOI AND GRAMMATISTAI: TEACHERS
OF LITERATURE AT AMMONIUS’ TABLE (Plut. QC IX).......................... 209
Iosephus Korpanty
CICERO DE RE PUBLICA EIUSQUE RECTORIBUS
QUID PUTAVERIT....................................................................................... 223
Justyna Łukaszewska-Haberkowa
“GRAMMATICA” OF EMMANUEL ALVAREZ SJ AND ITS EDITIONS
IN POLISH-LITHUANIAN COMMONWEALTH
IN THE 16TH CENTURY............................................................................... 229
Maria Maślanka-Soro
“TU DICI CHE DI SILVÏO IL PARENTE […] AD IMMORTALE SECOLO
ANDÒ” (INF., II, 13-15): IL PROTAGONISTA DELLA
DIVINA COMMEDIA DI DANTE COME “NUOVO ENEA”.................... 241
Anna Mleczek
THE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS
IN THE RES GESTAE OF AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS.......................... 255
Tomasz Mojsik
ARIST. RHET. 2.23.1398B AND THE CULT OF PYTHAGORAS................ 293
Jakub Pigoń
SOME INTELLECTUALS IN TACITUS AND PLINY THE YOUNGER....... 311
Manuel Serrano-Espinosa
EPIMÉNIDES DE CRETA EN EL RELATO DE UN LIBERAL
ESPAÑOL DEL S. XIX.................................................................................. 335
Stanisław Stabryła
THE CLASSICAL CULTURE IN THE MODERN WORLD......................... 349
Magdalena Stuligrosz
MA;GEIROSV SOFISTH;S: THE LEARNED COOK IN ATHENAEUS’
DEIPNOSOPHISTAI.................................................................................... 363
Jerzy Styka
LATE ANCIENT COLLEGIA POETARUM ACCORDING
TO SIDONIUS APOLLINARIS..................................................................... 377
Olga Śmiechowicz
ВОПРЕКИ ТОМУ ВРЕМЕНИ… ОТЕЦ И СЫН ФАДДЕЙ
ФРАНЦЕВИЧ ЗЕЛИНСКИЙ И АДРИАН ИВАНОВИЧ
ПИОТРОВСКИЙ......................................................................................... 391
Stanisław Śnieżewski
THE CRITERIA OF EVALUATING CICERO IN QUINTILIAN’S
INSTITUTIO ORATORIA .......................................................................... 413
Stanisław Śnieżewski
RHETORICE ACCORDING TO THE SECOND BOOK
OF QUINTILIAN’S INSTITUTIO ORATORIA.......................................... 437
Magdalena Wdowiak
HERACLITUS’ SENSE OF LOGOS IN THE CONTEXT
OF GREEK ROOT ‘LEG-’ IN EPIC POETS................................................ 459
Elżbieta Wesołowska
SENECA IN SEARCH OF PASSING TIME.................................................. 475
Aleksandra Wojtasik
LITERARY ADAPTATIONS OF JEWISH SAGES IN THE WORKS
OF JOSEPHUS FLAVIUS............................................................................ 491
Q. F. F.
F. Q. S.
COETUS PHILOLOGORUM
POLONORUM UNIVERSUS
OMNIBUS HASCE LITTERAS VISURIS
SALUTEM
Quum Casimirus Korus, Universitatis Studiorum Iagellonicae professor egregius, vir excellenti ingenio, exquisita doctrina, singulari industria, qui de promovendis philologiae classicae studiis optime meruit,
qui multorum librorum et articulorum scientificorum locupletissimus
exstitit auctor, qui sinceritate et benevolentia omnium sibi animos conciliavit, iuventuti studiosae praeceptor gratissimus, antiquae probitatis
exemplar, vir omni virtutum laude cumulatus, quattuordecim lustra
vitae suae piissimae feliciter peregerit,
amici, collegae, discipuli,
ex animo gratulantur et optant, ut valeat vigeatque in multos annos et
praeclara humanitatis studia colere et adornare pergat.
Datum Cracoviae, die IV mensis Martii
Anno Domini MMXV.
Textum concinnavit et exaravit
Georgius Andreas Wojtczak-Szyszkowski.
•••
LAUDACJA PROF. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
Jego Magnificencjo, Panie Rektorze,
Szanowna Pani Dziekan,
Szanowni Państwo,
Szanowny Panie Profesorze,
przypada mi dziś w udziale wielki zaszczyt i przyjemność wygłoszenia laudacji Profesora Kazimierza Korusa. Stoi przede mną trudne
zadanie, bo jak w relatywnie krótkim czasie opowiedzieć o niezwykle
pełnym życiu człowieka, który miłość do wiedzy łączy z otwartością
na świat i innych ludzi, a pasję życia splata z ciekawością badawczą?
Jak streścić dokonania uczonego, który od półwiecza nieustannie
intensyfikuje tempo pracy? W czasie, kiedy przygotowywałam to wystąpienie, ukazała się kolejna książka autorstwa Profesora Korusa i podejrzewam, że zanim skończę mówić, moje informacje o jego dorobku
stracą walor aktualności.
Zrobię jednak co w mojej mocy, by wywiązać się z powierzonego
mi zadania.
Profesor Kazimierz Korus urodził się w Krakowie 2 czerwca
1944 roku, tu również, na Uniwersytecie Jagiellońskim (UJ), w latach
1961-1966 studiował filologię klasyczną pod kierunkiem profesora
Władysława Madydy, po ukończeniu studiów związał się z Katedrą
(a potem Instytutem) Filologii Klasycznej UJ. W roku 1975 uzyskał
tytuł doktora na podstawie rozprawy Program wychowawczy Plutarcha z Cheronei – praca ukazała się drukiem trzy lata później (Wrocław
1978). W 1982 roku habilitował się na podstawie rozprawy Poetyka
Lukiana z Samosat (Kraków 1982), dwa lata później został mianowany
docentem. W latach 1984-1987 pełnił funkcję prodziekana Wydziału
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LAUDACJA PROF. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
Filologicznego. W latach 1987-1997 był kierownikiem Zakładu Metodyki i Praktycznej Nauki Języków Klasycznych. W roku 1992 został
profesorem nadzwyczajnym UJ. W tym samym roku objął stanowisko
kierownika Studium Praktycznej Nauki Języków Obcych UJ, które piastował do roku 2005.
W roku 1994, po opublikowaniu pracy Die griechische Satire. Die
theoretischen Grundlagen und ihre Anwendung auf Homers Epik (Warszawa–Kraków 1991), otrzymał tytuł naukowy profesora, a w 2004
roku został profesorem zwyczajnym na podstawie monografii Grecka
proza poklasyczna (Kraków 2003). W latach 2001-2015 kierował Katedrą Filologii Greckiej, a w latach 2008-2012 pełnił funkcję dyrektora
Instytutu Filologii Klasycznej.
Od ukończenia studiów Profesor Korus intensywnie angażuje się
w działalność towarzystw naukowych:
– w roku 1966 wstąpił do Polskiego Towarzystwa Filologicznego
(PTF), w latach 1978-1981 był sekretarzem Koła Krakowskiego PTF,
w roku 1984 został przewodniczącym tegoż Koła, a w 2005 roku prezesem Zarządu Głównego PTF, którą to funkcję sprawował do roku
2009;
– od 1976 roku jest członkiem Komisji Filologii Klasycznej Polskiej
Akademii Umiejętności, a od 2000 roku pełni funkcję jej sekretarza;
– w latach 2007-2014 był członkiem Komitetu Nauk o Kulturze Antycznej Polskiej Akademii Nauk.
Poza tym Profesor należy do kilku prestiżowych zagranicznych
towarzystw naukowych: od 1987 roku jest polskim przedstawicielem
w International Plutarch Society, od 1990 roku członkiem Instituto
Nazionale del Drama Antico (socio di diritto) oraz Accademia Ciceroniana, a od 1992 roku członkiem Società di Dante Alighieri.
Współpracuje też z uniwersytetami w całej Europie; regularnie gości z wykładami w Austrii, Niemczech, Włoszech, Wielkiej Brytanii,
Holandii, na Węgrzech. Bierze udział w licznych konferencjach i seminariach naukowych w kraju i poza jego granicami.
Profesor Kazimierz Korus bez wątpienia należy do najznakomitszych współczesnych badaczy antyku, jest niekwestionowanym autorytetem i znawcą greckiej literatury, szczególnie greckiej prozy. Jego
pionierskie prace dotyczące Plutarcha i Lukiana ukształtowały nasze
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LAUDACJA PROF. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
spojrzenie na spuściznę owych autorów i na zawsze wpisały się w historię filologii.
W uznaniu osiągnięć naukowych w latach 1979, 1983 oraz 1992
otrzymywał Nagrody Ministra Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego.
Bogaty dorobek naukowy Profesora Kazimierza Korusa obejmuje
ponad sto dwadzieścia pięć oryginalnych prac, w tym siedem monografii naukowych, dziesiątki artykułów opublikowanych w wysoko cenionych czasopismach, liczne redakcje i recenzje naukowe. Warto zwłaszcza podkreślić, że Profesor jest inicjatorem dwóch serii wydawniczych:
wespół z Anną Lubecką stworzył i współredagował dziesięć tomów
„Biuletynu Glottodydaktycznego”, zaś dla młodych uczonych stworzył „Źródła Humanistyki Europejskiej. Iuvenilia Philologorum Cracoviensium”, w której ukazało się sześć tomów (siódmy tom w druku).
Zainteresowanie antyczną teorią wychowania widoczne od początku kariery naukowej Jubilata zaowocowało licznymi artykułami
o greckich i rzymskich teoriach edukacyjnych. Twórczość Plutarcha
interesowała zresztą Profesora nie tylko w jej aspekcie dydaktycznym;
rozmaitym utworom i tematom obecnym w dziełach Cheronejczyka
poświęcił szereg prac w latach siedemdziesiątych ubiegłego wieku.
Najważniejszą z nich jest jednak monografia poświęcona rekonstrukcji
programu wychowawczego Plutarcha, Program wychowawczy Plutarcha z Cheronei, wydana w Krakowie w roku 1978, w której Profesor
zajął się również kwestią autorstwa traktatu O wychowaniu dzieci, dostarczając nowych argumentów przeciw jego autentyczności.
W latach osiemdziesiątych zainteresowania Jubilata koncentrowały
się na rozmaitych zagadnieniach greckiej teorii literatury, zaś głównym
obiektem badań stała się twórczość Lukiana z Samosat. Ważnym ich
etapem jest podstawowa dla tego tematu praca Poetyka Lukiana z Samosat. Kryteria oceny i wartościowania (Kraków 1982), którą Autor
poświęca poetyce immanentnej twórczości Lukiana, analizuje ewolucję jego retoryki i technikę budzenia śmiechu, dając kompleksowe ujęcie nowatorskiego dialogu satyrycznego. Satyra, obok pism Plutarcha
i Lukiana, staje się najważniejszym przedmiotem naukowych dociekań
Profesora. Ich rezultatem jest wspomniana już błyskotliwa monografia
Die griechische Satire. Die theoretischen Grundlagen und ihre Anwendung auf Homers Epik opublikowana w Krakowie w roku 1991. Autor
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LAUDACJA PROF. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
powraca w niej do nieco zaniedbanego w ówczesnej nauce zagadnienia,
proponując nowatorskie podejście do genologicznej charakterystyki
satyry; rekonstrukcja antycznych wyznaczników gatunku pozwala
uczonemu zdefiniować obiektywne i teoretyczne kryteria stanowiące
podstawę dalszych badań i uprawniające do poszukiwania elementów
satyry w utworach o innej przynależności gatunkowej.
Lata dziewięćdziesiąte ubiegłego stulecia to okres szeroko zakrojonych badań nad literaturą epoki hellenistycznej i cesarstwa; wówczas
to uwidoczniło się zainteresowanie Profesora miejscem i rolą mimu
greckiego w literaturze. W roku 2003 ukazała się monografia Grecka
proza poklasyczna, która należy dziś do podstawowych w polskiej literaturze naukowej opracowań z zakresu historii literatury greckiej.
Profesor Korus uczestniczył również w przygotowywaniu monumentalnej Literatury Grecji starożytnej pod redakcją profesora Henryka
Podbielskiego (Lublin 2005). W latach 2004-2005 ukazały się drukiem
przekłady Żywotów równoległych Plutarcha (ze wstępami i komentarzami), które Jubilat przygotował we współpracy z Lechem Trzcionkowskim i Aleksandrem Wolickim. Trudno przecenić znaczenie tych
tłumaczeń dla przyswajania literatury antycznej przez szerszą publiczność. Dziś należą one do kanonu najpopularniejszych dzieł starożytnych czytanych przez studentów i uczonych.
Ostatnie dziesięciolecie dobitnie dowodzi rozległości humanistycznych zainteresowań Jubilata; poza twórczością Plutarcha Profesora zaprząta praca nad Platonem, Orygenesem, Pieśnią nad Pieśniami, Plotynem, Iliadą i grecką tragedią. Kontynuuje również badania greckiego
mimu, które wieńczy wydana kilka dni temu monografia Mim grecki
w gatunkach literackich (Kraków 2015); czytelnik znajdzie w niej
wnikliwe studium genologiczne i szczegółową analizę podstawowych
gatunków literackich pod kątem występowania w ich strukturach elementów mimu.
Nawet pobieżne przedstawienie naukowego dorobku Jubilata budzi
szacunek wobec rozległości horyzontów i naukowej pasji, nie daje jednak pełnego obrazu jego działalności.
Profesor Kazimierz Korus jest bowiem nie tylko wybitnym znawcą
antycznej paidei, jest również urodzonym nauczycielem i niestrudzonym popularyzatorem wiedzy o antyku. Działalność dydaktyczna
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LAUDACJA PROF. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
stanowi zresztą niezwykle ważną część jego pracy, dzięki której zaskarbił sobie szacunek i wdzięczność kilku pokoleń uczniów.
Jego zajęcia zawsze cieszyły się wielkim powodzeniem; poza
oczywistą wiedzą prowadzącego decydującym powodem jest jego osobowość: pogoda ducha, wielkie poczucie humoru i niezwykła życzliwość dla studentów. Profesora świetnie się słucha i bardzo dobrze się
z nim dyskutuje. Można się nauczyć, jak rozmawiać i konfrontować
sprzeczne często poglądy w sposób, jaki przystoi uczonemu.
Być może uczestnicy zajęć Profesora nie od razu zdają sobie
sprawę, że fundamentem tych ciepłych relacji z Mistrzem jest szacunek, jaki żywi on do każdego człowieka. Jego życzliwość skraca dystans, ale w żaden sposób nie umniejsza jego autorytetu, jakim cieszy
się wśród uczniów.
Profesor był promotorem około stu dwudziestu prac magisterskich
i ośmiu doktorskich, pod jego opieką powstają kolejne doktoraty. Recenzował wielką liczbę prac doktorskich i habilitacyjnych.
Swojej aktywności na polu dydaktyki nie ogranicza do studiów filologii klasycznej; przez osiem lat prowadził zajęcia dla doktorantów Wydziału Filologicznego UJ. Specjalnie dla młodych uczonych stworzył
i przez lata redagował wspomnianą już serię wydawniczą „Źródła Humanistyki Europejskiej. Iuvenilia Philologorum Cracoviensium”, umożliwiając naukowy debiut rozpoczynającym karierę naukową filologom.
Nauczanie to jedna ze sfer zawodowej aktywności, którą Profesor dzieli z małżonką, panią Agnieszką Korusową. Wspólnie napisali
pierwszy po II wojnie światowej polski podręcznik do greki, Hellenike
glotta, który doczekał się już trzech wydań.
Jako dydaktyk i popularyzator nauk o antyku Profesor nigdy nie
zamierzał ograniczać swej aktywności do hermetycznego świata akademickich spekulacji. Jest jedną z osób, którym polska humanistyka
zawdzięcza najwięcej w dziedzinie odnowy i propagowania nauk
o starożytności.
Szczególne miejsce na tej płaszczyźnie działań Jubilata zajmują
starania o odpowiednie miejsce języków i kultury antycznej we współczesnej szkole średniej, a zwłaszcza wieloletnia współpraca z I Liceum Ogólnokształcącym im. Bartłomieja Nowodworskiego w Krakowie, gdzie Profesor prowadził zajęcia przez osiem lat, a w 1981 roku
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LAUDACJA PROF. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
współorganizował pierwszą w powojennej Polsce klasę o profilu klasycznym, na wzór której powstały podobne klasy w Warszawie, Tarnowie i Sosnowcu.
O powstaniu tejże klasy w I Liceum mówiono w telewizji, pamiętam, bo owa wiadomość miała znaczący wpływ na moje decyzje.
Miałam szczęście być uczennicą obojga Profesorostwa; gdyby Pani
Profesor Agnieszka Korusowa nie pojawiła się pewnego dnia na lekcji
łaciny w mojej klasie, wątpliwe, czy stałabym teraz przed Państwem.
Również w liceum po raz pierwszy spotkałam Pana Profesora, który
kiedyś przyszedł na lekcje w zastępstwie żony. Nie przesadzę, jeśli powiem, że od nich uczyłam się uczyć.
Niedługo później Profesor Korus zajął się organizowaniem Olimpiady Języka Łacińskiego; jako przewodniczący Komitetu Okręgowego przygotowywał ją przez trzydzieści dwa lata. W latach 20032005 stał na czele Komitetu Głównego Olimpiady.
Myślę, że to jego styl prowadzenia olimpiady w znacznej mierze
zdecydował o sukcesie; entuzjazm i dobry humor Profesora udzielały
się nam wszystkim: uczestnikom i członkom Komitetu. Dzięki stworzonej przez niego atmosferze, mimo stresu związanego z rywalizacją,
udział w olimpiadzie stawał się dla uczestników pasjonującą przygodą
i mile wspominanym doświadczeniem.
Wiele spośród obecnych tu osób, z piszącą te słowa na czele, zaciągnęło u Profesora wielki dług wdzięczności, który spłacić możemy
jedynie, starając się z choćby przybliżonym oddaniem opiekować się
naszymi uczniami. Profesor z poświęceniem i zaangażowaniem czytał i poprawiał nasze prace; zawsze mówiliśmy, że pisze je ze swoimi
uczniami całym sercem. Znajdowaliśmy w nim zawsze życzliwego, ale
i bardzo skrupulatnego nauczyciela, a krytyka w jego wykonaniu inspirowała zamiast przygnębiać.
Na Pana Profesora zawsze mogliśmy liczyć. Nie śmiem nawet zapytać o liczbę zarwanych nocy poświęconych na korekty prac i pisanie recenzji, opinii, listów polecających. Dobro uczniów i młodszych kolegów w hierarchii ważności zadań zawsze plasowało się na
pierwszym miejscu.
Dzisiejsze seminarium naukowe poświęcone jest intelektualistom
w starożytności. I nie jest to oczywiście temat przypadkowy; przede
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LAUDACJA PROF. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
wszystkim odpowiada zainteresowaniom naukowym Jubilata, ale to
nie wszystko, Profesor bowiem kontynuuje najlepsze tradycje greckich i rzymskich mędrców; epikurejską pogodę ducha i radość życia
harmonijnie łączy z właściwą stoikom powagą obyczajów i stałością
charakteru.
Zastanawiając się nad określeniami, które najlepiej opisałyby
osobę Profesora, wybrałam dwa, równie istotne: Profesor Korus jest
bez wątpienia philosophos – w pierwotnym, najbardziej uniwersalnym znaczeniu tego terminu; jest prawdziwym miłośnikiem mądrości;
jest także phil anthropos – kocha ludzi. Według niektórych Greków
to cechy prawdziwego intelektualisty.
Pozwólcie, Państwo, że przywołam bardziej osobiste wspomnienie. W IV klasie liceum wracaliśmy z Warszawy, z finału olimpiady
łacińskiej z Panią Agnieszką Korusową, której towarzyszył małżonek.
Wszyscy wepchnęliśmy się do przedziału Profesorostwa i była to najprzyjemniejsza w moim życiu podróż do Krakowa ze stolicy. Minęła
nam ona w mgnieniu oka, choć urwał się pantograf i trzy godziny staliśmy w szczerym polu.
Kiedy kolejarze usiłowali naprawić usterkę i przyczepić nas na powrót do źródła zasilania, Profesor zaproponował nam zabawę psychologiczną. Każde z nas miało wyobrazić sobie, że idąc drogą znajduje
różne przedmioty, przede wszystkim klucz i filiżankę, a potem opisać
te przedmioty i okoliczności ich znalezienia.
Okazało się, że każde z nas zobaczyło zupełnie inny obraz, a Profesor zabrał się za ich interpretację. Klucz miał symbolizować nasze
zdolności i przyszłe osiągnięcia, być swoistym kluczem do przyszłości.
Przyjazd na peron w Krakowie niemile nas zaskoczył, bowiem zabrakło nam czasu, ale wymusiliśmy na Profesorze kilka dni potem kontynuację zabawy. Przypominając sobie ostatnio to zdarzenie, pomyślałam, że jeśli Profesor jako maturzysta sam poddał się temu testowi, to
klucz w jego wyobraźni musiał być naprawdę niezwykły.
Joanna Janik
15
BIBLIOGRAFIA PRAC
PROF. DR. HAB. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
(DO 2015 ROKU)
1968
Michał Bogucki – tłumacz Lukiana, „Meander”, t. 23, nr 2, s. 131-144.
1969
Grecka samoobrona powszechna w epoce klasycznej wg Eneasza Taktyka, „Meander”, t. 24, nr 11-12, s. 507-520.
1970
Niektóre czynniki skutecznego nauczania języka łacińskiego na lektoratach, „Języki Obce w Szkole”, nr 2, s. 97-99.
Z pierwszych doświadczeń nauczania języka greckiego uczniów szkół licealnych
w Krakowie, „Języki Obce w Szkole”, nr 5, s. 301-303.
1973
Wokół genezy traktatu Plutarcha ‘De audiendis poetis’, „Meander”, t. 28, nr 2-3,
s. 57-78.
1975
Ioannis Dlugosii, Annales seu Chronicae. Liber VII et VIII, Varsoviae, s. 307-395
(przekład komentarza na język łaciński).
Jak kształtowało się pojęcie ogólnego wykształcenia w Atenach, „Filomata”,
nr 293, s. 158-163.
Praefatio in Ioannis Dlugosii Annales seu Chronicae. Liber VII et VIII, Varsoviae
(przekład na język łaciński).
Program wychowawczy Plutarcha z Cheronei, „Sprawozdania z Posiedzeń Komisji
Naukowych PAN/O w Krakowie”, t. XVIII/2: Lipiec–grudzień 1974, s. 411-412.
1976
Enkyklios paideia w Rzymie, „Filomata”, nr 294, s. 217-224.
BIBLIOGRAFIA PRAC PROF. DR HAB. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
1977
Kształcenie i wychowywanie domowe w Rzymie w I i połowie II w. n.e., „Filomata”, nr 304, s. 206-215.
Plutarch wobec greckiej tradycji wykształcenia ogólnego, „Eos”, nr LXV, s. 53-76.
Plutarch z Cheronei – platonik czy eklektyk?, „Filomata”, nr 312, s. 91-100.
Plutarcha ‘De amore prolis’. Próba interpretacji, „Eos”, nr LXV, s. 211-220.
1978
Poezja i malarstwo w literackich poglądach i praktyce Plutarcha, „Eos”, nr LXVI,
s. 203-212.
Program wychowawczy Plutarcha z Cheronei, Kraków, ss. 144 Prace Komisji Filologii Klasycznej, t. 16.
Twórczość Plutarcha z Cheronei, Kraków, ss. 28 Nauka dla Wszystkich, nr 308.
1979
Grecka teoria pedagogiczna a problem porzucania dzieci, „Meander”, t. 34, nr 9,
s. 439-454.
Początki greckiej pantomimy, „Eos”, nr LXVII, s. 45-54.
1980
Nauka i nauczanie w opinii starożytnych Greków, Kraków, ss. 28, Nauka dla
Wszystkich, nr 327.
Poezja i malarstwo w literackich poglądach i praktyce Plutarcha, „Sprawozdania
z Posiedzeń Komisji Naukowych PAN/O w Krakowie”, t. XXII/1: Styczeń–czerwiec 1978, s. 29.
1981
Antyczna teoria pedagogiczna a problem porzucania dzieci, „Sprawozdania z Posiedzeń Komisji Naukowych PAN/O w Krakowie”, t. XXII/2: Lipiec–grudzień
1978, s. 346-347.
Motyw Pantei w enkomion Lukiana, „Sprawozdania z Posiedzeń Komisji Naukowych PAN/O w Krakowie”, t. XXIII/1: Styczeń–czerwiec 1979, s. 31.
The motif of Panthea in Lucian’s Encomium, „Eos”, nr LXIX, s. 47-56.
1982
Poetyka Lukiana z Samosat. Kryteria oceny i wartościowania, Kraków 1982,
ss. 141, Uniwersytet Jagielloński. Rozprawy Habilitacyjne, nr 71.
1983
Początki greckiej teorii literatury, „Filomata”, nr 353, s. 20-27.
1984
Praca nad sobą w koncepcji pedagogicznej Plutarcha z Cheronei, „Filomata”,
nr 360, Kraków, s. 79-90.
18
BIBLIOGRAFIA PRAC PROF. DR HAB. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
The Theory of Humour in Lucian of Samosata, „Eos”, nr LXXII, s. 295-313.
1985
Über den Einfluss der pädagogischen Ansichten der Sophisten auf Plutarch pädagogisches System, [w:] Kultur und Fortschrift in der Blutezeit der griechischen
Polis, Hrsg. E. Kluwe, Berlin, s. 188-205.
1986
Die Chronologie der Schriften Lukians, „Philologus”, nr 130/1, s. 96-103.
Funktionen der literarischen Gattungen bei Lukian, „Eos”, nr LXXIV, s. 29-38.
1987
Czy istniała satyra w literaturze greckiej? Kryteria rozpoznawcze, „Sprawozdania
z Posiedzeń Komisji Naukowych PAN/O w Krakowie”, t. XXVIII/1-2: Styczeń–
grudzień 1984, s. 35-37.
[Rec.:] H. G. Neselrath, Lukian Parasitendialog, Berlin 1985, „Eos”, nr LXXV,
s. 169-175.
1988
[Rec.:] Luciano, Il lutto, a cura di Valeria Ando, Palermo 1984, „Eos”, nr LXXVI,
s. 136-143.
[Rec.:] M. Szarmach, Maximos von Tyros, Eine literarische Monographie, Toruń
1985, „Eos”, nr LXXVI, s. 353-359.
Od retoryki do satyry greckiej. Lukian z Samosat, Kraków, ss. 68 Nauka dla
Wszystkich, nr 423.
1989
[Rec.:] C. P. Jones, Culture and Society in Lucian, London 1986, „Eos”, nr LXVII,
s. 344-352.
1990
Kwestia autentyczności pieśni Deomodoka o Aresie i Afrodycie (Od.VIII 266369), „Sprawozdania z Posiedzeń Komisji Naukowych PAN/O w Krakowie”,
t. XXXIV/1-2: Styczeń–grudzień 1990, s. 26-28.
Wokół teorii satyry menippejskiej, „Eos”, nr LXXVIII, s. 119-131.
1991
Die griechische Satire. Die theoretischen Grundlagn und ihre Anwendung auf Homers Epik, Warszawa–Kraków, ss. 144, Zeszyty Naukowe UJ. Prace Historycznoliterackie, z. 77 [Rec.: H. Schwabl, „Wiener Studien” 1996, nr 109, s. 295-296].
19
BIBLIOGRAFIA PRAC PROF. DR HAB. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
Wokół satyry menippejskiej, „Sprawozdania z Posiedzeń Komisji Naukowych PAN/O w Krakowie”, t. XXXIII/1: Styczeń–czerwiec 1989, s. 21-22.
1992
Kompozycja dialogu Plutarcha De genio Socratis, „Sprawozdania z Posiedzeń
Komisji Naukowych PAN/O w Krakowie”, t. XXXIV/1-2: styczeń–grudzień
1990, s. 30-31.
Poglądy Plutarcha na rolę ojca w rodzinie, [w:] Rodzina w starożytnym Rzymie,
red. J. Jundził, Bydgoszcz, s. 51-61.
Sposób myślenia (Rozważania po Gaudeamus...), „Przegląd Techniczny”,
nr 44/92, s. 14.
1994
Hellenike glotta. Podręcznik do nauki języka greckiego. Kraków, ss. 325 (współautor: Agnieszka Korus).
Rzeczywistość w Mimach Herondasa, „Meander”, nr 9-10, s. 493-503 [Rec.:
E. Heitsch, Die Welt als Schauspiel. Bemerkungen zu einer Theologie der Ilias,
Stuttgart 1993, s. 32; „Grazer Beitrage” 1994, nr 20, s. 237-238].
1995
De genio Socratis. Analyse und Interpretation eines Plutarchischen Dialog, [w:]
Prinzipat und Kultur im 1 und 2 Jh., Hrsg. B. Kuenert, V. Riedel, R. Gordesiani,
Bonn, s. 267-282.
Rola łaciny w nowym systemie edukacyjnym, „Biuletyn Glottodydaktyczny”, nr 1,
s. 11-18 [redakcja „Biuletynu Glottodydaktycznego” w latach 1995-2003].
Schnayder Jerzy (1891-1974), [w:] Polski słownik biograficzny, s.v., szp. 765-767.
Schugt Herman (1775-1845 ), [w:] Polski słownik biograficzny, s.v., szp.
1023-1025.
Zur Poetik der Mimen von Herondas, „Analecta Cracoviensia”, nr 1, s. 51-66.
1996
La cultura italiana nella coscienza della gioventù polacca, [w:] Presenza della
cultura italiana nei paesi dell’Europa Centro Orientale e del Levante, Roma,
s. 75-80 [Przedruk: La cultura italiana nella coscienza della gioventù polacca,
„Biuletyn Glottodydaktyczny” 1966, nr 2, s. 43-47].
Mistrz i uczeń w tradycji antycznej, [w:] Mistrz i uczeń. Materiały z sympozjum
18-19 marca 1996 w Krakowie, Kraków, s. 43-47.
1997
Borsi G., Rozmowy, Kraków, ss. 157 (wstęp i opracowanie).
20
BIBLIOGRAFIA PRAC PROF. DR HAB. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
Hellenike glotta. Podręcznik do nauki j. greckiego, wyd. 2 popr., Kraków (współautor: Agnieszka Korus).
Herodot wobec języków obcych, „Biuletyn Glottodydaktyczny”, nr 3, s. 11-22
(współautor: Agnieszka Korus).
Obrazy z daru Lanckorońskich na Wawelu. Mit i historia Rzymu, Kraków, s. 27
[maszynopis udostępniany jako opracowanie źródłowe w Zamku Królewskim na
Wawelu, por. Donatorce- w hołdzie. Katalog wystawy odnowionych obrazów i rodzinnych pamiątek z daru Karoliny Lanckorońskiej, red. K. Kuczman, J. T. Petrus,
M. Podlodowska-Reklewska, Kraków 1998].
Plutarch, Dialog o miłości, Kraków, ss. 141 WL (wstęp i opracowanie).
U źródeł naszej wiedzy o wychowaniu, „Po Lekcjach”, nr 4, s. 5-11.
Z badań prof. M. Plezi nad Arystotelesem i arystotelizmem, „Meander”, nr 4,
s. 329-337.
1998
Przesłanie kulturowe języków klasycznych, „Biuletyn Glottodydaktyczny”, nr 4,
s. 37-45.
U źródeł greckiego mimu literackiego, Kraków, s. 9-29, Zeszyty Naukowe Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego. Prace Historycznoliterackie, z. 92-93.
1999
Rola łaciny w nowym systemie edukacyjnym, [w:] Antiquorum non immemores...
Polskie Towarzystwo Filologiczne (1893-1993), red. J. Łanowski, A. Szastyńska-Siemion, Warszawa–Wrocław, s. 97-103.
Wokół problemu rozumienia i odbioru greckiej tragedii, „Biuletyn Glottodydaktyczny”, nr 5, s. 65-75.
2000
Alle origini del mimo letterario greco, „Classica Cracoviensia”, nr V, s. 131-159.
Historia literatury – geneza gatunku literackiego, „Biuletyn Glottodydaktyczny”,
nr 6, Kraków, s. 109-117.
Jerzy Edward Schnayder (1891-1974), [w:] Uniwersytet Jagielloński. Złota księga
Wydziału Filologicznego, red. J. Michalik, W. Walecki, Kraków, s. 469-472.
Kazimierz Morawski (1852-1925), [w:] Uniwersytet Jagielloński. Złota księga Wydziału Filologicznego, red. J. Michalik, W. Walecki, Kraków, s. 117-126.
Leon Sternbach (1864-1940), [w:] Uniwersytet Jagielloński. Złota księga Wydziału Filologicznego, red. J. Michalik, W. Walecki, Kraków, s. 175-185.
2001
Ambicje literackie Plutarcha [streszczenie referatu], „Sprawozdania z Czynności
i Posiedzeń Polskiej Akademii Umiejętności”, t. LXIV: 2000, s. 88-92.
21
BIBLIOGRAFIA PRAC PROF. DR HAB. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
Oszustwo – przebaczenie – prawda – i my czyli dlaczego „Quo vadis” ? – „Dekada
Literacka”, nr 11/12, s. 3-5.
Uczeń Tadeusza Sinki. W czterdziestopięciolecie pracy naukowej prof. dr. Romualda Turasiewicza, [w:] Freedom and Democracy in Greek Literature, red. J. Korpanty, J. Styka, Kraków, s. 27-40.
Życie pracą i służbą. Profesor Mieczysław Brożek (1911-2000), „Meander”,
nr 1-2, s. 3-8.
2002
Artyzm dialogów diegematycznych Plutarcha, „Collectanea Classica Thorunensia”, vol. XIII. „Studia Graeco-latina Universitatis Nicolai Copernici”, vol. IV,
s. 79-94.
Język jest jak miłość, „Gazeta Krakowska”, nr 92 (z dn. 19.04.), s. 14 [wywiad
autoryzowany].
Miłość i pragmatyzm Profesora Mariana Plezi (26 II 1917 – 3 XI 1996), „Eos”,
nr LXXXVIII, s. 5-15.
Pieśń nad Pieśniami i komentarz Orygenesa, [w:] U źródeł kultury wczesnochrześcijańskiej. Materiały z sesji naukowej 25 kwietnia 2002 roku, red. J. C. Kałużny,
Kraków 2002, s. 7-15.
Życie i twórczość Ptolemeusza w świetle nowszych badań, „Biuletyn Glottodydaktyczny”, nr 8, s. 141-146.
2003
Grecka proza poklasyczna, Kraków, ss. 289.
Źródła antyczne kultury europejskiej, „Biuletyn Glottodydaktyczny”, nr 9-10,
s. 31-41.
2004
Plutarch, Żywoty równoległe, t. 1, Warszawa, ss. 392 (przekład i wstęp; przypisy
oraz komentarz wraz z Lechem Trzcionkowskim).
2005
Cytaty greckie na każdą okazję, o bogach, człowieku i sprawach ludzkich, Kraków
2005, ss. 351.
Do nas współczesnych [rec.: Arejos Dydymos, Podręcznik etyki, przekł., wstęp
i komentarz Michał Wojciechowski, Kraków 2005], „Nowe Książki”, nr 12, s. 31.
Historiografia za Cesarstwa, [w:] Literatura Grecji starożytnej. Proza historyczna. Krasomówstwo. Filozofia i nauka. Literatura chrześcijańska, red. H. Podbielski, Lublin, s. 89-122.
Lukian z Samosat, [w:] Literatura Grecji starożytnej. Proza historyczna. Krasomówstwo. Filozofia i nauka. Literatura chrześcijańska, red. H. Podbielski, Lublin,
s. 271-294.
22
BIBLIOGRAFIA PRAC PROF. DR HAB. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
Moi pierwsi uczniowie..., [w:] Jubileusz uniwersyteckich klas klasycznych w I Liceum Ogólnokształcącym im. Bartłomieja Nowodworskiego w Krakowie, Kraków,
s. 1-4.
Nauka i studia nad filozofią, [w:] Literatura Grecji starożytnej. Proza historyczna.
Krasomówstwo. Filozofia i nauka. Literatura chrześcijańska, red. H. Podbielski,
Lublin, s. 895-918.
Pierwsi biografowie, [w:] Literatura Grecji starożytnej. Proza historyczna. Krasomówstwo. Filozofia i nauka. Literatura chrześcijańska, red. H. Podbielski, Lublin,
s. 229-240.
Plutarch z Cheronei, [w:] Literatura Grecji starożytnej. Proza historyczna. Krasomówstwo. Filozofia i nauka. Literatura chrześcijańska, red. H. Podbielski, Lublin,
s. 241-270.
Plutarch, Żywoty równoległe, t. 2, Warszawa ss. 392 (przekład: Publikola, Temistokles, Kamillus, wstęp i przypisy wraz z Lechem Trzcionkowskim i Aleksandrem
Wolickim).
Profesor dr hab. Romuald Turasiewicz (1930-2005), „Nowy Filomata”, nr 1,
s. 4-10.
Profesor Romuald Turasiewicz (1930-2005), „Alma Mater”, nr 70 (kwiecień),
s. 59-60.
Retoryka za Cesarstwa, [w:] Literatura Grecji starożytnej. Proza historyczna.
Krasomówstwo. Filozofia i nauka. Literatura chrześcijańska, red. H. Podbielski,
Lublin, s. 353-370.
2006
Demokracja i prawda, [w:] Prace poświęcone pamięci Adama Uruszczaka, Kraków, s. 57-66 (Prace Instytutu Prawa Własności Intelektualnej, z. 96).
Sofokles. Tragedia – teatralny obraz kondycji ludzkiej, [w:] W świecie literatury
i teatru. Sztuka współuczestnictwa, red. E. Łubieniewska, Kraków, s. 16-55.
Sofrosyne i filiai Profesora Romualda Turasiewicza (11.10.1930 – 31.01.2005),
„Eos”, nr XCIII/1, s. 11- 25.
2007
Etyczna konstrukcja Iliady, [w:] From Antiquity to Modern Times. Classical
Poetry and its Modern Reception. Essays in Honour of Stanisław Stabryła, ed.
J. Styka, Kraków, s. 79-92.
Komiczna funkcja ekfrazy w Pharmakeutria Teokryta, „Roczniki Humanistyczne”,
t. LIV/3, Lublin, s. 77-91.
Zawieszanie Krzyża i my, [w:] Dwadzieścia pięć lat Parafii św. Jana Kantego
w Krakowie, red. ks. J. Franczak, Kraków, s. 38-41.
23
BIBLIOGRAFIA PRAC PROF. DR HAB. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
2008
Dla Polski. Życie i działalność Kazimierza Morawskiego, [w:] Kazimierz Morawski (1852-1925) w służbie nauki i narodu, red. R. M. Zawadzki, S. Stabryła, Kraków, s. 9-17 (Komisja Historii Nauki PAU, Monografie, t. 16).
Greckie źródła idealistycznego myślenia o miłości. Platon – Plutarch – święty Metody z Olimpu, [w:] Źródła humanistyki europejskiej, Kraków, s. 13-31 (Iuvenilia
Philologorum Cracoviensium, t. I) (redaktor tomu oraz redaktor naczelny wydawanej w latach 2008-nadal serii).
Greckie źródła preambuły konstytucyjnej, [w:] Ut magis leges sapere. Studia
i prace dedykowane Profesorowi Januszowi Sondlowi w pięćdziesiątą rocznice
pracy naukowej, red. W. Uruszczak, P. Święcicka, A. Kremer, Kraków, s. 201-206.
Mim i motywy komiczne w Orestei Ajschylosa, „Symbolae Philologorum Posnaniensium Graecae et Latinae”, vol. XVIII, s. 1-11.
Narcyz i Plotyn: od piękna ku Pięknu. Materiały sesji pt. Oblicze Narcyza: obecność autora w dziele, red. M. Cieśla-Korytowska, I. Puchalska, M. Siwiec, Kraków, s. 9-21.
Radość – młodość – cierpienie, [wstęp w:] A. Ligęza, Przepłynąć rzekę życia, Kraków, s. 5-7.
2009
NOMOS-AGAPH. Antike Quellen der Europäischen Kultur, „Classica Cracoviensia” vol. XII, s. 95-110.
Theokrits „Pharmakeutria”. Analyse und Interpretation, „Classica Cracoviensia”,
vol. XIII, s. 159-176.
Źródła humanistyki europejskiej, Kraków (Iuvenilia Philologorum Cracoviensium, t. II) (redaktor naukowy tomu oraz redaktor serii).
2010
Interpretacja literacka i alegoryczna greckiej wersji „Pieśni nad pieśniami”, „Pietas et Studium”, nr 2, s. 125-136.
Żart, śmiech, zabawa w micie o Demeter i Persefonie, [w:] Persefona, czyli dwie
strony rzeczywistości, red. M. Cieśla-Korytowska, M. Sokalska, Kraków, s. 19-30.
Źródła humanistyki europejskiej, Kraków (Iuvenilia Philologorum Cracoviensium, t. III) (redaktor naukowy tomów oraz redaktor serii).
Członek kolegiów redakcyjnych czasopism: „Eos”, „Classica Cracoviensia”,
„Filomata”.
2011
Due strade per conoscere la verità, „Classica Cracoviensia”, nr XIV, s. 183-193.
[Rec.:] Katarzyna Dybeł, Vedere Dio. L’uomo alla ricerca del Suo Creatore nella
poesia di Karol Wojtyła, Cattedra Karol Wojtyła. Pontificio istituto Giovanni
24
BIBLIOGRAFIA PRAC PROF. DR HAB. KAZIMIERZA KORUSA
Paolo II per Studi su Matrimonio e Famiglia - Edizioni Cantagalli s.r.l, Siena
-Città del Vaticano, ottobre 2010, pp. 131, [w]: Źródła humanistyki europejskiej,
Kraków, s. 225-231 (Iuvenilia Philologorum Cracoviensium, t. IV) (redaktor naukowy tomu oraz redaktor serii).
Mim w Eutydemie Platona, [w:] Starożytny dramat. Teoria. Praktyka. Recepcja.
Księga pamiątkowa ku czci Profesorów Roberta R. Chodkowskiego i Henryka
Podbielskiego, red. K. Narecki, Lublin, s. 103-111.
2012
Godność jednostki w starożytnej kulturze greckiej, [w:] Godność w perspektywie
nauk, red. H. Grzmil-Tylutki, Z. Mirek, Kraków, s. 57-65.
Jak Platon uczył humanistów europejskich poznawać prawdę, [w]: Źródła humanistyki europejskiej Kraków, s. 7-11 (Iuvenilia Philologorum Cracoviensium, t. V)
(redaktor naukowy tomu oraz redaktor serii).
2013
Prawda i charakter. Słowo od redaktora naukowego, [w:] Źródła humanistyki europejskiej, Kraków, s. 7-8 (Iuvenilia Philologorum Cracoviensium, t. VI) (redaktor
naukowy tomu oraz redaktor serii).
Profesor Tadeusz Sinko – wielki hellenista, [w:] Tadeusz Sinko 1877-1966 w służbie nauki i narodu, red. S. Stabryła, Kraków, s. 11-20.
2014
Tęsknota za wolnością w zmysłowych obrazach Arystofanejskiej komedii, [w:]
Olimp – ideał, doskonałość, absolut, red. M. Cieśla-Korytowska, I. Puchalska,
Kraków, s. 11-28.
TIMH (wartość, godność, honor) w starożytnej kulturze greckiej, udział w grancie kierowanym przez prof. Jerzego Bartmińskiego pt. Metody analizy językowego
obrazu świata (JOS) w kontekście badań porównawczych. Projekt zarejestrowano
jako grant NPRH nr 0132/NPRH2/H12/81/2012, na lata 2012-2015. Referat wygłoszony podczas zorganizowanej przez Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii
Nauk w Puławach w dniach 20-23 listopada 2014 roku międzynarodowej konferencji naukowej EUROJOS X (artykuł w druku).
2015
Hymn do Hermesa. Elementy komiczne czy mim?, Wratislaviae 2015, s. 3944 (Wratislaviensium Studia Classica olim Classica Wratislaviensia, vol. IV
[XXXV]).
Mim grecki w gatunkach literackich, Kraków 2015, ss. 170 (Prace Komisji Filologii Klasycznej PAU, nr 47).
Opracowała Joanna Janik
25
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.01
KRYSTYNA BARTOL
(POZNAŃ)
SENECIO AND LARENSIS THE DINERS:
TWO NON-GREEK INTELLECTUALS
AT THE HEART OF A HELLENIC SYMPOSION
ABSTRACT: This paper compares accounts of Senecio's actions in Plutarch's
Table Talk with the relation of Larensis' comportment in Athenaeus' Deipnosophists. The results of the examination suggest that the extent of self-awareness
of both characters is what should be understood as the symbolic accommodation between Greek and Roman in the High Empire times.
KEY WORDS: Plutarch's Table Talk, Athenaeus' Deipnosophists, literary
symposion, Greek Imperial prose
Plutarch's Table Talk and Athenaeus' Deipnosophists take up the
threads of the good Platonic tradition of convivially discussing topics
appertaining to various fields of knowledge.1 Being a part of a timehonoured genre tradition they are also exemplary representatives of
the historical and cultural reality of the Graeco-Roman society in the
High Empire.2 Both works provide comprehensive keys to our understanding of the leading elites' memory-based cultural communication,3
For Plutarch's sympotic literary models see the concise remarks made by Klotz,
Oikonomopoulou 2011: 13-18. For Athenaeus' anchoring in the tradition of writing
symposia see Bartol, Danielewicz 2010: 20-26.
2
Klotz (2014: 209) rightly summarises: “With its quasi-autobiographical form, Table Talk mirrors Plutarch's contemporary environment in a way that the Lives do not”;
the same as Jacob (2000: 110) who points out that “Athenaeus is also a major actor and
witness of cultural practices and erudite techniques of the Second Sophistic”.
3
As König and Woolf call it in their recent book (König, Woolf 2013: 58).
1
27
KKrystynKrKryst
which manifested itself in reading texts4 as well as in discoursing about
them.5 The intellectual life of the Empire's citizens, focusing on assimilating and exhibiting knowledge,6 besides the unique blossoming of
ever-increasing interests in the Greek classical world of the past and its
heritage, led to the springing up social circles that include Greeks and
Romans alike.7
If one looks at Plutarch's and Athenaeus' literary works from the
perspective of portraying the intellectual agenda of both authors' communities, it is telling that two of the important characters of their writings are Romans. Sosius Senecio and Larensis – as they are the persons
in question – are featured in the role of interlocutors who attended the
two banquets mentioned above. Senecio is also the addressee of the
Table Talk8 while the role of the host of the symposia presented in the
Deipnosophists9 is attributed to Larensis.
Although Senecio and Larensis are distinguished figures existing
in historical time,10 and there is no real doubt that they were close acquaintances respectively with Plutarch11 and Athenaeus,12 Senecio the
Reading as a sociocultural phenomenon in the Graeco-Roman society has been
recently examined by Johnson (2010) who stresses its importance for the construction
of ideological notions of leading elites.
5
Johnson (2010: 202) treats the ‘text-centered discussions' in ‘a variety of social
context' as a cultural element shared by members of the Graeco-Roman society in the
High Empire.
6
For reading and performing texts as two key themes of the Second Sophistic culture see Schlapbach 2012: 150-160.
7
See König's diagnosis of the culture of this time (König 2007: 63): “Rome can be
made a part of this world”.
8
Also Plutarch' Lives and the essay Progress in Virtue from his Moralia are dedicated to Senecio. See Russell 1972: 10: “these complimentary dedications do not
necessarily prove the degree of intimacy which they superficially imply”.
9
Also Senecio is presented as a host (635E) in Rome.
10
For biographical information about Quintus Sosius Senecio, the imperial Roman
consular, see Jones 1971: 55-57; Duff 1999: 288-289. His Western provenance must
not be contested any longer, as Swain (1996: 426-427) has persuasively showed. For
Publius Livius Larensis' activity see Braund 2000: 3-22. A critical survey of past scholarship on the issue see Bartol, Danielewicz 2010: 15-17.
11
See Ziegler 1951: 688-689; Stadter 2014: 17.
12
Jacob (2001: XXVI) describes the relationship between Athenaeus and Larensis
as “rapporto di dipendenza sociale ed economica”. Braund (2000: 18) suggests that the
4
28
SENECIO AND LARENSIS THE DINERS…
diner in the Table Talk and Larensis the host in the Deipnosophists appear to be carefully shaped versions of these persons combining historicity and fiction,13 in the same way in which both oeuvres purposely
mix biographical titbits with fictitious narratives. Scholars exploring
the problem of the ‘authenticity' of the participants at the described
banquets mostly focus on revealing the level of the intellectual experiences of the particular Roman diners as presented by a Greek author
and wonder why these authors decided to show their Roman friends in
such and such a way14. They often miss a comparative approach which
goes beyond the interpretation of some internal indications of the Roman diners' intellectual abilities. On the one hand, the emphasis on the
similarity of socio-cultural contexts in which Senecio and Larensis
displayed their skills,15 and – on the other – highlighting in modern
Deipnosophists is a work “created for the greater glory of Larensis and his friends at
dinner”.
13
See Dalby 1996: 169 on Athenaeus' diners: “the speakers must of course be treated as fictional, even though they have points of contact with the real […] world”,
and Klotz, Oikonomopoulou 2001: 12: “We can assume that he [Plutarch] did not document situations […] as they occurred, and that in this presentation […] he arranged
and rearranged it, along with its main players”. See also Sinko 1951: 218, who labels
the Table Talk “fikcja wspomnień z lat młodości autora”. But one should remember that
there are scholars who accept the literal reality of the described banquets and diners'
opinions (cf. Abramowiczówna (1960: 8), who mentions “fakty, które – moim zdaniem
– przemawiają wyraźnie za realnością wspomnień przedstawionych przez Plutarcha”
and passim, as well as Braund (2000: 11), who insists that “there can be no real doubt
that the views of the character Larensis are indeed the views of the real Larensis”.
14
The question of the portrait of the Plutarchan Senecio has long been a part of
scholars' discussion. The most representative voice is here Swain's opinion who says
about him: “his general presentation as a man of good average intelligence who is familiar with the major Greek poets and philosophers, and no more” (Swain 1990: 130).
Against Swain's position Klotz has recently argued. She rightly pointed out that “Simon
Swain has suggested that Sosius was an educated but not particularly brilliant figure,
yet within TT there is no sign that he is an unsophisticated dinner guest” (Klotz 2014:
209). Athenaeus' intention in presenting Larensis as a rich admirer of books has been
summarised by Mainguy's phrase “le statut d'un homme digne de respect” (Mainguy
2011: 126).
15
See König 2012: 94 about the Deipnosophists and the Table Talk: “[both works]
are held together by a unifying ideological and intellectual agenda. Like Plutarch, Athenaeus is interested in conjuring up a picture of an idealised and harmonious intellectual
community”.
29
KKrystynKrKryst
treatments of these two imperial prose pieces the difference between
the levels of intellectual achievements of both personae presented in
two works,16 does not by any means sufficiently explore the broad
problem of Plutarch's and Athenaeus' engagement in the construction
of the image of the Romans among the Greeks. This paper compares
accounts of Senecio's action during the feast given by the narrator17 of
the Table Talk with the narrator's relation of Larensis' comportment in
the Deipnosophists. The results of the examination suggest, I think, that
neither the quantity nor the range of quality of the material presented
by either of diners, but the extent of self-awareness of both characters,
expressed by them in the course of sympotic behaviour, is what should
be understood as the symbolic accommodation between the Greek and
the Roman in the High Empire times. This paper, which I dedicate to
Kazimierz Korus, whose works on Greek imperial prose admirably
show his sensitivity to the nuances of the cultural history of this period, is hoped to be a contribution to better understanding of Plutarch's
and Athenaeus' structuring of their works' fictional setting which they
employed to communicate with their readers, who were the real participants in Imperial culture.18
When one examines the descriptions of Senecio and Larensis exhibiting knowledge in front of their fellow symposiasts, one discerns
that both characters – independently of how long their interventions
are and what they are about – share the same or a very similar type
of behaviour. As speakers both men initiate talks on a certain subject,
join the discussion initiated by someone else, polemically or approvingly endorse others' statements exhibiting their own point of view, and
judge other speakers.
See König 2012: 96: “Like the Romans of the Sympotic Questions, Larensis makes regular and impressive contributions to discussion. […] Plutarch, in contrast, makes
it clear that […] Sosius Senecio deserves praise primarily insofar as he embodies the
Greek virtues Plutarch himself admires, rather that portraying him as a Larensis-style
orchestrator and patron of Greek culture”.
17
The narrator who also plays an important role in his own narrative.
18
See Lamberton 2001: 74: “Nothing is simple in Plutarch […]. Beyond this implied audience lie two more. The first was imposed by the social and literary conventions of Plutarch's moment in history”. The same can be said of Athenaeus.
16
30
SENECIO AND LARENSIS THE DINERS…
In the Table Talk there are narrative moments which show Senecio
initiating the learned discussions. A good example of his invitation to
make a conversation devoted to a special topic is found in Question
One of Book I and in the Question One of Book II. In the first one he
was presented as the symposiast stressing the importance of making
some inquiry into the nature of philosophical Talk. His encouraging to
zhte‹n (613C) this problema evokes a response from his fellows19 and
the erudite debate starts after Senecio's incentive (sou# d ] ei]po;ntov ... kai'
parakalou#ntov h[ma#v e]pi' to'n lo;gon said Plutarch the diner). Similarly
in the second instance, where he demonstrates his interest in the nature
of jokes which offer pleasure and suggests he would be glad to learn
(puye;syai, 629F) about them, he in fact proposes the topic for the
sympotic discussion.20 In the Deipnosophists Larensis does the same
when wondering (e]zh;tei, IX 372d), if the ancient cooks knew the tricks
to make cucumbers retain their freshness in winter, or when after having remarked that they all feed on questions (zhth;seiv ... sitou;meya,
IX 398c) he suddenly puts a question to his companions: “What do
you think the tetrax is?”. Also the epitomator's presentation of Larensis includes the mention of his inclination to propose topics worth of
inquiry21 (ta' ... prosba;llwn tw#n a]xi;wn zhth;sewv, epit. I 2b), and it is
said in the epitome that others admired the keen observation shown by
his questions (tw#n zhth;sewn th'n th;rhsin, epit. I 2c).
However, both characters are presented not only as taking the initiative in raising issues. They are also portrayed as participants pursuing topics and ideas proposed for the sympotic Talk by other diners.
The best evidence for Senecio's role as a discussant is provided in the
discussion presented in Quaestion 3 of Book II where he starts his spermatikos logos as the reaction against Firmus' treatment of the problem
19
Senecio's asking questions contributes, of course, to forming the question-answer
format of the work. See Kechagia 2011: 80, who points out that “the terms zh;thma or
pro;blhma […] evoke another type of philosophical prose, the literature of problems,
which flourished within the Peripatetic tradition”.
20
The same can be said about his having raised (dihpo;rhse, 666E) the question
concerning the number of wedding guests. He himself also tries to find the answer to
this question and gains others' acclaim (667B).
21
The research is treated in Athenaeus as the food of the intellect, as Romeri (2000:
261) says: “note the curious and significant expression of Larensis, zhth;seiv ga'r sitou;­
meya, ‘we nourish ourselves on research'”.
31
KKrystynKrKryst
about what came first, the egg or the hen (636E). He proceeds to investigate this problema provoked – as it were – by the internal contradiction of the preceding speaker's arguments. He also delivers – after
ironically praising other speakers22 in Question 5 of Book I – a wellconstructed speech devoted to the interpretation of some poetic verses
about “love teaching a poet” (623A-D). Senecio the diner seems also
to be referred to as one of sympotic zhthtikoi; when his past critical
view23 on the Epicurean conception of the relationship between the soul
and pleasure is mentioned in the preface of Book V (672D), although
these words are directly addressed to the real person – Quintus Sossius
Senecio, to whom the author dedicated the whole work. In the case of
Larensis the Deipnosophists offers a lot of passages which mirror the
exchanges between him and the guests. His replies to other speakers'
words are often introduced by the phrase pro'v tau#ta ... e/fh (as in II
160b and VI 272d) or by the a]panth;santov ... au]tw#j tou# Larhnsi;ou kai'
ei]po;ntov (XIV 648d). Sometimes when he joins the discussion or comments on what happens in the dining room, the narrator indicates it by
the simple e/fh, as it is at the moment of Larensis' starting a long speech
on riddles (X 448c) and when he reacts to the cook's boastful address
(IX 381f). Also in the light of the epitomator's presentation Larensis
is a person prone to disclosing his own solutions of various questions
(tw#n a]xi;wn zhth;sewv ta' ... a]neuri;skwn, I 2b). His critical acumen is
even called Socratic, although one must remember that the pervasive
praise of Larensis in the epitome is likely to be a result of employing
hyperbolic rhetorical devices in this evaluative statement.24
So it is that Senecio as well as Larensis, the characters of the two
Imperial literary symposia, fit well into the pattern of a traditional sympotic speaker, practicing various intellectual activities in a convivial
environment. This is an important similarity and the fact that the scope
of their knowledge and the scale of the displays made by each at the
22
See Abramowiczówna 1960: 73: “Pochwaliwszy, jak wypadało gospodarzowi,
dyletanckie wywody swych poprzedników, zabiera się Senecio sam do naukowego
uzasadnienia”.
23
The pa;lai mh'n e]do;keiv is opposed to the nu#n e/ceiv gnw;mhn (672D).
24
See Rodríguez-Noriega Guillén 1998: 49, who believes that Larensis' portrait in
the epitome “podría interpretarse como una laudatio adulatoria y excesiva”. Cf. also
Bartol, Danielewicz 2010: 16.
32
SENECIO AND LARENSIS THE DINERS…
narrated feasts are different does not prevent us from treating Senecio's
and Larensis' conduct as almost parallel cases of intellectual behaviour.
There is, however, a characteristic which makes Senecio's interventions
differ very markedly from Larensis' contributions. If we look at Senecio's discourse throughout the work, it appears, perhaps surprisingly,
that no reference to Roman people or Roman matters is put into his
mouth.25. In fact we should observe that in the Table Talk the characters acknowledging Roman issues are more often Greek than Roman.
So Plutarch the diner turns his companions' attention to the sense of
the Romans' ancient custom of not putting out the lamps after eating
(703D), emphasises his knowledge of some Latin terms (727B), and
comments on the Romans' liking for quoting witty and sociable persons (697C). He seems also to be the speaker who continues Lucanius'
speech on the pine dedicated to Poseidon and Dionysus, and mentions
with competence the Romans' estimation of various wines (676B-C).
Lamprias the diner (represented as Plutarch's brother) provided the disputants with a kind of jester's speech when comparing Greek and Latin
words for some sympotic matters (726E-727A). On the contrary, Larensis' speeches in the Deipnosophists show him obsessively focusing
on Roman people and matters.26 This comes to light most notably in
the discussions devoted to heuremata27 where Larensis' remarks show
that Roman inventiveness also remains important to the practitioners
of various professions. Athenaeus' Larensis also highlights the difference between himself and the Greeks saying: ‘you Greeks' (u[mei#v oi[
Graikoi;, epit. II 50f), emphatically calling Varro ‘my ancestor' (o[ e]mo'v
propa;twr, IV 160c) and Roman poets and prose writers ‘of my country' (polloi' tw#n h[medapw#n poihtai' kai' suggrafei#v, V 222a), or
But see Abramowiczówna 1960: 75, who understands Senecio's negative attitude
to dancing (623B) as a typically Roman opinion. Cf. Teodorsson 1996: 115.
26
See Wilkins 2000: 24 on Larensis: “intervenes often, especially on Roman matters”. Cf. also Danielewicz 2011: 62 and Zecchini's remark (1989: 20) on the importance of “le lunghe e ricche sezioni dedicate a Roma e all'Italia all'interno di vari temi
successivamente affrontati […] e confronti tra prodotti italici e prodotti greci […], lo
sforzo di mostrarsi informato delle antichità romane […], l'elogio degli antichi costumi
reppublicani” (Zecchini 1989: 20) within Larensis' speeches.
27
Larensis' remarks referred to the problem of the inventions of the Romans have
been examined by Bartol 2006.
25
33
KKrystynKrKryst
reminding of his own involvement in the Roman administrative duties in Moesia (IX 398e), but also searches for the similarities when
comparing some Greek matters with Roman ones (as it is in VI 272e
where he speaks about a number of slaves possessed by rich members
of both nations). One can say that as these juxtapositions suggest a Roman self-awareness of Larensis within the Greek circle of intellectuals,
so the similarities make him and – generally – the Romans fit into the
Hellenic imperial culture.
The contrasting trait observable in both Roman speakers' approach
towards their own culture and its achievements is significant. Senecio
the diner seems to spare no effort to show himself as an erudite whose
intellectual world is totally Greek. He cares about presenting himself
as a part of his Greek fellow feasters' community. He tries to maintain
the intellectual standards of his Greek interlocutors and is absolutely
determined to prove his ‘acquired Greekness'. His proselytising attitude
towards the Greek culture makes him, indeed a tyro among the Greek
learned gentlemen, purposely silent on Roman matters. Larensis the
diner emerges as an erudite28 who apart from sharing – with full conviction – Hellenic ideals with his Greek companions at table is also openly
committed to his native cultural experiences and aware of their being
worthy of remembrance by himself and also learning by the Greeks.29
The portraits of two Romans given by Plutarch and Athenaeus in
their works have an exemplary quality and could be meant as guides
as to how to reconstruct the Graeco-Roman cultural coexistence in
both authors' contemporary societies. The Table Talk written sometime
between 99 and 116 CE30 represents the member of the Roman upper
class attracted by the fascinating culture of Greeks, but still feeling –
although socially superior – culturally inferior to his Greek friends,31
and tries to exhibit more and more proofs of his excellence in Greek
28
Cf. Danielewicz 2011: 65: “Larensius' remarks serve to create his own image as
a polymath and an esteemed politician. He mentions his procuratorship in Moesia and
emphasises the fact that even far away from Rome he conducted serious research”.
29
Larensis seems to point out the ignorance of some Greek matters to his Greek
companions when he says a]gnoei#te ... o=ti Leu;kollov o[ [Rwmai;wn strathgo;v ... (II 51a).
30
See Jones 1971: 137.
31
Sinko (1951: 196) seems to suggest that this Greek superiority can be observed
in Plutarch's attitude towards his Roman friends: „Wobec […] Rzymian Cheronejczyk
34
SENECIO AND LARENSIS THE DINERS…
matters. Athenaeus, writing later (for his Deipnosophists, the terminus post quem and ante quem have been stated respectively as 195 and
210 CE32), shows the Roman rich man moving in the circle of Greek
friends, a fully qualified, almost professional, Hellenophile who does
not, however, neglect Roman traditions. He treats himself as an equal
of his Greek companions and appears to persuade them to begin to open
to the Roman culture. His speeches reflect his familiarity with Greek
matters and at the same time discreetly (or sometimes even ironically)
demand the recognition of the importance of Roman cultural issues in
the civilised world.
Both works, the Table Talk and the Deipnosophists deal with the
paradigms of imperial intellectuals' identity.33 Their authors explore the
problem in different ways. While the Roman character in Plutarch's literary symposium proves that Greekness played a totally central role
in the intellectual world of the time,34 the Roman hero in Athenaeus'
massive work adopts a different position, making the Roman tradition
an important point of his multiple identity.35 These two approaches towards the Romans' relationship to Greek intellectual domination, reflected in both authors' prose works, are not accidental. They mirror the
crucial attitudes towards the idea of what was thought of as worthy of
‘the Imperial intellectual circle' at two stages of the Imperial era. In the
first century CE the characteristic flavour of intellectualism was definitively Greek. The Roman contribution the intellectual life of the Empire and Romans' awareness of it seems to have been growing throughout the course of the second century CE. The former conceptualisation
występuje jako doradca w sprawach etyki, nauczyciel, kaznodzieja, spowiednik, jako
lekarz dusz”.
32
See Bartol, Danielewicz 2010: 7-8.
33
The general problem of a complex and multi-layered identity in the Imperial era
has been thoroughly explored by Jones 2004: 13-21.
34
Swain examining the problem of the coexistence of Greek and Roman culture in
Plutarch's time says that for Plutarch it was worthwhile “to consider how well and with
what benefit Romans absorb it [i.e. Greek culture]” (Swain 1990: 126). Senecio the
diner seems to present himself as a Roman who has perfectly absorbed it.
35
Cf. Mainguy 2011: 124 on the Deipnosophists: „le texte laisse transparaître à
première vue une attitude favorable à la romanité”.
35
KKrystynKrKryst
of an intellectual is embodied in the Plutarchan Senecio, the latter one
found its devotee in Larensis, the character featured by Athenaeus.
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Göteborg.
Wilkins J., 2000 , ‘Dialogue and comedy: The structure of the Deipnosophistae', [in:] D. Braund & J. Wilkins (eds.), Athenaeus and his world: Reading Greek culture in the Roman Empire, Exeter, pp. 23-37.
Zecchini G., 1989, La cultura storica di Ateneo, Milano.
Ziegler K., 1951, ‘Plutarchos', RE XXI, pp. 635-962.
37
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.02
BARTŁOMIEJ BEDNAREK
(JAGIELLONIAN UNIVERSITY, KRAKÓW)
ARISTOPHANES, THE ACCUSER OF SOCRATES:
SOME SOCIOLINGUISTIC ASPECTS OF COMEDY
SUMMARY: This paper examines the impact of verbal abuse typical of the
old Attic comedy on the reputations of real-life citizens of Athens. It can be
argued that the way in which comic poets insulted well-known people of their
age shared many characteristics with the communicative strategies applied in
everyday familiar speech. This may indicate that the only proper reaction to it
consisted in accepting the ridicule as if it were not offensive.
KEYWORDS: old comedy, aischrology, shame, obscenity, personal abuse
According to a widespread interpretation of the Apology of Socrates
(18a-b), Aristophanes was responsible for the bad reputation of the philosopher, and at least partially for his notorious trial and condemnation.1 If we are to believe Plato (Epist. 7.325), this traumatic experience
made him resign from his career as a statesman and made him turn
for the rest of his days towards theoretical life.2 If this chain of causation is true, we should be grateful to Aristophanes for the creation of
works which show us that apart from the shadows on the wall of our
In the passage, Socrates says that his earlier accusers (i.e., comic poets) were
much more serious and dangerous than those later ones (cf. Apology of Socrates 19c).
Assuming that the reader of the dialogue did not take comic playwrights seriously, the
philosopher’s words may be understood as an insult, since they imply that Anytos and
his colleagues were even less serious than Aristophanes. Such a reading has recently
been criticized by Sommerstein (2004: 155) and firmly retained by Halliwell (2008:
254-255 with note 94 which contains the bibliography to the controversy).
2
See e.g., Snell 2009: 371-372.
1
39
BBartłomieBaBartłom
cave there is some other reality. On the other hand, one cannot be sure
that the playwright contributed to it in any substantial way. Although
we know that the old Attic comedy harassed the citizens of Athens
in a way which perplexes even the most liberal representatives of the
modern audience, it seems likely that it did not affect the reputation of
the Athenians ridiculed on the stage. If it had, we would probably know
something about it. Instead, the ancient sources do not contain anything
to that effect. The only exceptions are the passage in the Apology and
some obscure mentions of a legal action, supposedly taken by Cleon
against Aristophanes.3 It is noteworthy that in the latter case, the demagogue, even though he had been ridiculed by the poet in his comedy
Babylonians, did not sue the poet for personal slander, but for the abuse
of the people of Athens.
This is bewildering for at least two reasons. First of all, we know
that the law forbade under penalty the verbal abuse of citizens in public
and sacred places (the theater belonged to both categories; see Halliwell
1991: 49). Secondly, in ancient Athens a person’s reputation counted
perhaps even more than in contemporary public life.4 Moreover, seeing
that the Athenians used to sue each other even for petty offenses and
that the trials were often treated as a source of entertainment for the
general public (Cohen 1995: passim), it seems natural to expect them
to prosecute the comic poets on a regular basis. This, however, was
clearly not the case. It has even been suggested by scholars that there
had been some sort of law which protected the playwrights.5 This does
not seem plausible, however, because the ancient authorities do not inform us about the existence of such a law. More importantly, the aforementioned story about the conflict between Cleon and Aristophanes
shows that a citizen abused by a poet, even if he was not allowed to
sue him for personal slander, was free to take action against him for
any other real or invented crime. Since this almost never happened, it
is clear that something protected the playwrights. What could it be if it
3
In Aristophanic comedies, scholia and the vita of the poet. A full account is given
by Sommerstein (2004: 167-172, 145-154).
4
See e.g. Cohen 1991: passim; Fisher 1998: passim.
5
See e.g. Halliwell 1984: 86-87; Halliwell 1991a; Halliwell 2004: 15-16; Halliwell
2008: 244 (bibliography); Sommerstein 2004; MacDowell 1995: 25-26; Henderson
1990: 288-289; Carrière 1979: 44-46.
40
ARISTOPHANES, THE ACCUSER OF SOCRATES…
was not the law?6 In my opinion, paradoxically, what made the comic
poets immune was the personal invective itself. The less sublime they
were and the more precisely they hit below the belt by being obscene,
the safer they may have felt behind the walls of laughter.
Laughter is a physiological reaction to some (usually) psychological stimuli, and is a means of emotional discharge. This is one of the
reasons why it can be described in terms analogical to those applicable
to physical aggression. Within the field of research on the ancient comedy, most scholars draw a distinction between its exclusive and inclusive social functions.7 The former is perfectly parallel to collective violence, the model of which was developed by René Girard; it (laughter/
violence) focuses on a human object, stigmatizes it, excludes it from
a group or community (the exile of Oedipus can be cited as a locus
classicus), and at the same time allows the group to express its unity
and consolidate its internal ties. Inclusive laughter, the effects of which
are much more beneficial for its object, can be compared with the act
of including a structurally marginal human being into a society (as in
the reception of Oedipus by the Athenians), which, in turn, can also be
a means of the self-articulation of the group and can help strengthen its
cohesion (Seaford 1994: 123-139).
Classical examples of these two functions of laughter can be sought
in the Iliad in the episode (1.595-600) in which the lame Hephaestus acts as a steward serving nectar to the gods and makes the others
Most scholars claim that the time of Dionysian festivals was somehow excluded
from ordinary life, which made the audience treat the comic insults less seriously and
forget them easily. Why? Reckford (1987: 479) claims that the ritual context explains
everything; Rosen (1988: especially 63-64 and 78-79; criticism in Bowie 2002) argues
that people mentioned or depicted in comedy are purely fictional (the comic Socrates
has nothing to do with the real one). Such an explanation is theoretically perfectly
correct, although it requires the ancient simpletons to be as deeply aware of the orthodoxy of literary theory as only few modern scholars are. Halliwell (2008: 254-255)
claims that the accumulation of obscenity caused some sort of anesthetics; Sommerstein (2004) states that the words of comic poets could really spoil a citizen’s reputation,
although a trial would only have made the situation worse. The latter opinion seems to
me to be closest to the truth.
7
See e.g., Robson 2006: 78; O’Higgins 2003: 4. Halliwell, quite exceptionally,
applies a pair of analogical terms consequential/non-consequential = playful laughter,
which he defines in Halliwell 1991b.
6
41
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laugh by imitating Ganymede and Hebe in a naturally clumsy way, he
brings an end to a quarrel between Zeus and Hera, which otherwise
could have brought other, certainly not laughable, results. In another
passage, (2.211-277) the worst of Achaeans, Thersites speaks boldly
against Achilles and Agamemnon. Subsequently, Ulysses insults him
and threatens him, which makes the witnesses of the stage laugh at
Thersites and puts an end to a potentially dangerous conflict between
the leaders and their troops. The contrast between the two situations described in the Iliad consists in different consequences that the laughter
of the group had for its object and in his willingness (or unwillingness)
to play this role and to accept the rules of the game.
According to Aristophanes’ declarations, the invective in his comedies was supposed to cause strongly exclusive laughter.8 In similar
terms of verbal aggression, we may describe all other instances of the
use of obscene language typical of the old Attic comedy. According to
Jeffrey Henderson, the author of the classical monograph on obscenity
in Aristophanes, this category embraces all references to the taboo phenomena connected with sex and physiology (scatology) which avoid
euphemisms or technical language.9 Seeing that there is no metalinguistic term such as the Latin obscaenum in the classical Greek, the ancient
speakers of this language would use some other words, all of which
connote the concept of shame.10 One of them, namely αἰσχρολογία (and
its cognates), has become quite common in the scholarly works of recent decades.11
Taking these differences in terminology as a starting point, Henderson (1991: 1-13) draws a sharp borderline between our ideas and the
Greek image of the phenomena which may be described in an obscene
manner. He reaches the conclusion that unlike the Romans and the
Victorian-Christian western culture, which associated sexuality with
guilt and obscenity with impurity, the Greeks treated eroticism mainly
8
See especially Nubes 549-550, where the comic attacks on Cleon are described
in the categories of fist-fighting: ὃς μέγιστον ὄντα Κλέων’ ἔπαισ’ εἰς τὴν γαστέρα κοὐκ
ἐτόλμησ’ αὖθις ἐπεμπηδῆσ’ αὐτῷ κειμένῳ.
9
Henderson 1991: 2 (first edition: 1975).
10
Henderson (1991: 2) enumerates: αἰδέομαι, αἰδώς, αἰδοῖος, αἰσχρός, αἰσχύνομαι.
11
E.g., Halliwell uses its English version which he himself minted: aischrology.
Degani (1987) uses the Italianized term escrologia.
42
ARISTOPHANES, THE ACCUSER OF SOCRATES…
as a source of pleasure, as long as it remained confined to the private
sphere. Therefore, talking about it publicly would not break the rules of
morality or purity, but it could violate the decorum (analogically, stripping off in a private space is morally neutral, whereas in public it may
be seriously disruptive). If, however, obscene language was applied to
a description of a third party, especially some well-known person, the
audience would enjoy it in a similar way to that which is connected
with the violent exposure of someone and the penetration of his or her
intimate sphere.
The parallels, unfortunately, do not have to be sought very far.
Whoever has had the opportunity to read a tabloid newspaper might
have noticed that these virtual forms of collective violence are still
a common source of pleasure. In order to remain within the Greek universe, we may return to Thersites’ episode, in which Ulysses threatens
the unfortunate scoundrel (Il. 2.258-264):
εἴ κ’ ἔτι σ’ ἀφραίνοντα κιχήσομαι ὥς νύ περ ὧδε,
μηκέτ’ ἔπειτ’ Ὀδυσῆϊ κάρη ὤμοισιν ἐπείη,
μηδ’ ἔτι Τηλεμάχοιο πατὴρ κεκλημένος εἴην,
εἰ μὴ ἐγώ σε λαβὼν ἀπὸ μὲν φίλα εἵματα δύσω,
χλαῖνάν τ’ ἠδὲ χιτῶνα, τά τ’ αἰδῶ ἀμφικαλύπτει,
αὐτόν δὲ κλαίοντα θοὰς ἐπὶ νῆας ἀφήσω
πεπλήγων ἀγορῆθεν ἀεικέσσι πληγῇσιν.
This passage describes a paradigmatic case of the violation of
someone’s intimacy, evidently with hostile intentions and in a clearly
aggressive manner. Or, to be more clear, it would have described it had
Ulysses put into practice what he said he would do. Instead, the violence remained almost completely virtual. Having uttered the threats,
Ulysses hit Thersites with a scepter, Thersites fell into tears, and the
others laughed (since the performance had an audience).12
In this particular case, real, physical violence is almost absent. Henderson is clearly right by saying that it can be entirely eliminated and
12
In spite of some evident parallels between this episode and a comic performance,
Redfield’s (1990: 327) claim that Thersites may be a prototype of a comic poet seems
unjustified, seeing that this character becomes an object of laughter and aggression.
If anybody plays a role in this passage similar to that of Aristophanes, it is certainly
Ulysses.
43
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substituted with the use of obscene language. What begs some sort of
correction is his statement that obscenity actually makes the sender and
the receiver of the message imagine the object to which the word refers.
Within this oversimplified model, the difference between more (primary obscenities) and less (secondary obscenities) vulgar expressions
consists in the mental picture they evoke.13 It would be much safer,
then, to apply the term and definition proposed by Steven Halliwell.
Unlike Henderson, this scholar, instead of using the modern word
obscenity, uses the word aischrology. According to his definition (Halliwell 2004: 117):
The concept covers the use of language that causes (or could reasonably be expected to cause) individual or social offense by obtrusively breaching norms of acceptable speech. Especially in one or more
of the following ways: (1) by explicit, non-technical reference to sexually sensitive topics (a form of offensiveness that at any rate overlaps
with later classifications of obscenity); (2) by personal ad hominem
vilification; or (3) by direct mention of religiously protected and normally ‘unspeakable’ objects (ἄρρητα, ἀπόρρητα), though these terms
can also embrace the two preceding categories in my list.
As Halliwell explains (further on Halliwell 2004: 117-130), whether
the Greeks considered a given sort of verbal behavior to be aischrological or not often depended not on the subject matter, but on the way in
which it was presented. This clearly results from the Aristotelian criticism of Bryson (Rhet. 1405b), who claimed that language had no other
level than a purely referential one. As the Stagirite says, what really
counts in this case is word choice. Therefore, aischrology, or at least
Henderson 1991: 10, 35-54. As primary obscenities, the scholar describes those
(mostly four-letter) words which in the most immediate way refer to some specific
actions or parts of the body. This is certainly not the place to criticize at length his idea
(based on Freud and Ferenczi) of how they function and are acquired by speakers of
natural languages. It is sufficient to say that it seems highly speculative that the use of
these lexemes causes hallucinatory-regressive states since their acquisition precedes the
understanding of their taboo. As a matter of fact, common experience shows that most
children start using forbidden words exactly because they know that they are forbidden
and in spite of the fact that they do not know their exact meaning.
13
44
ARISTOPHANES, THE ACCUSER OF SOCRATES…
the kind 1 which to a large degree overlaps with our obscenity, should
be described in sociolinguistic terms rather than in any other terms. It
would, however, be an oversimplification to claim that it depends entirely on lexical choices.14 There are, for instance, many ways of talking
about sexuality, ranging from very obscene ones to those perfectly neutral, elevated, or technical. On the other hand, it is really difficult to talk
about someone’s mother’s sexual life without offending that person’s
feelings. This sort of behavior is very likely to be considered abusive
and therefore aischrological in the sense 2. In this case, the choice of
subject matter plays a much more important role than lexical choices.
Two points need to be emphasized: first, the possibility of the violation of rules presupposes their existence. Second, clearly very much
depended on the context of verbal behavior. Henderson has already observed that obscene language would be categorized as such when used
in a public space mainly because it belonged primarily to the private
sphere of conversations at home, or a symposium between friends and
with courtesans. Analyzing the phenomenon in sociolinguistic rather
than semantic terms, James Robson (2006: 81-83) made a valuable suggestion that obscenity can be compared to some linguistic subsystems
such as slang, the use of which is a means of identifying a given social
unit’s members. This degradation of the language, as the scholar calls
it in Bachtinian terms, is tolerated only in a specific sphere, to the definition of which it contributes. Outside of this conceptual space, it can
be (and usually is) considered outrageous and often causes a violent reaction. Michail Bachtin (1975: 75-77) himself noted that the linguistic
and extralinguistic communicative strategies which indicate intimacy
or familiarity are not limited to the lowering of register. They comprise,
for instance, the replacement of official forms of address with first
names (often shortened) or nicknames, jokes, mutual ridicule, and the
choice of less serious subjects of conversation, including some private
or even intimate matters. Within this model, a paradigmatic dialogue,
which consists of the interchange of roles between the sender and the
14
Halliwell is clearly aware of this (see Halliwell 2004: 121: Aischrologic speech is
correlated with but not reducible to the status of its subject matter), although his rhetoric strategy of polemics makes him mention it only in passing.
45
BBartłomieBaBartłom
receiver, permits them to examine and negotiate the degree of mutual
familiarity by means of the use of figures of intimate speech.
Seeing that the highest degree of absolute familiarity between
friends exists only in mythology, the behavior of each person in any
close relationship is to a large degree determined by this person’s position in the hierarchy. There are, for instance, some explicit rules which
tell us who may start calling the other by his or her first name. Less
explicit, although very rigid, rules regulate who may first use a vulgarism or the interlocutor’s nickname, make a joke about the way he or
she dresses, say something about delicate matters such as erotic life,
etc. When a person of lower social status shows this sort of initiative,
his or her invitation to closer familiarity can be easily dismissed by the
other with such simple (and yet cruel) methods as perplexed facial expressions or lack of a smile. On the other hand, some behaviors apply
these rules (which can be compared to grammar) in a paradoxical way
by violating them, which sends a clear message. When, for example,
a student refuses to shake a professor’s hand or to greet him or her, or
does not allow himself or herself to be called by his or her first name,
his or her action can be described as an act of symbolic aggression, an
attempt to break down the existing hierarchy and establish a new one.
This sort of behavior is typical especially for communities in a state of
political, religious, racial, or other conflicts.
The dialectic of the temporal interchange between the states in
which the hierarchy is well articulated and those in which it becomes
suppressed can be easily described in Turnerean terms of structure and
communitas. The old comedy, by means of using obscene language, the
invective exchange between the characters and the verbal abuse of the
audience (sometimes entire or large part of it, as in the case of Nubes
1099), radically breaks with what was permitted in public space in everyday life. The mythological burlesque, which did not leave even the
gods immune to slander, and the fact that the poets focused on the banal pleasures of food, drink, and eroticism,15 contributed to that special
mood of celebration. For an average citizen, it must have been difficult
to decline an invitation to share such intimacy with others because the
comedy was produced and received collectively. It needs to be empha See e.g., Ruffell 2000: passim; Fisher 2000: 359-360.
15
46
ARISTOPHANES, THE ACCUSER OF SOCRATES…
sized that it was not Aristophanes himself who insulted the Athenians.
It was the chorus and actors appointed by the archont as being representative of the whole city-state.
The temporary suppression of the structure and hierarchy contested
by means of insulting the most prominent citizens can be understood as
an articulation of democratic egalitarianism. This concept, quite naturally, existed in its pure form only within the symbolic space of official
ideology, whereas the real life practice consisted in a constant struggle
for status and rank in the hierarchy. This dichotomy, however, explains
the freedom of speech and insult in comedy. The rhetoric of the slightly
later period shows that the more elevated the position of a speaker was,
the more he was determined to convince the audience that he entirely
depended on people’s favor and that all he wanted to do was to serve
demos, not manipulate it.16 Therefore, it seems reasonable enough that
a demagogue whose intention was to dominate society could not help
but apply the strategies which made him appear to be an average member of it. The more a comedy could spoil his image, the less he was supposed to show that he cared for his dignity and elevated status.
It is not a surprise that the only (fictional) judicial speech in which
a playwright is accused of spoiling someone’s reputation is the Apology of Socrates. The fictional speaker created (or at least colored) by
Plato refuses to persuade the judges to declare him innocent. Thus the
speech, although formally being an apology, instead of aiming to show
that the defendant is a helpless victim, is designed to create an image of
a real philosopher, an intellectual aristocrat, who does not even bother
to pretend to be an average citizen. Socrates does all he can to the opposite effect by emphasizing the differences between himself and other
people, slaves of illusions.
It is noteworthy that in another dialogue, the Symposium, Plato
shows Socrates peacefully spending time in the company of Aristophanes. Assuming that Plato was a genius and that nothing in his oeuvre is really casual, it is tempting to think that the two texts are complementary. The fictional Socrates (and very likely also the real one) was
the exact opposite of a demagogue. He did not take comic slander as
a personal offense since he was not a presumptuous megalomaniac. He
See e.g., Cohen 1995: 75-81; Ober, Strauss 1990; Goldhill 1987: 62-63.
16
47
BBartłomieBaBartłom
was not afraid of saying publicly that he did not deserve to be laughed
at simply because he cared little for his image. It seems to be a great
strategy: not to speak well of ourselves, waiting for others to do it in
our stead. Socrates, however, had to wait for it until he was dead. Why?
If we permit ourselves to take the Apology at face value as a real judicial speech, it will become clear that it was not the accusation (which
was otherwise really clumsy) that made the jury condemn Socrates, but
his own arrogant attitude towards the possibility of defending himself.
It is not Aristophanes, one of the earlier accusers, who is responsible
in this case, but Socrates himself, who did not even pretend that he deserved to be ridiculed.
If he had laughed, he would have been safe.
REFERENCES
Bachtin M., 1979, Twórczość Franciszka Rablais’go a kultura ludowa średniowiecza i renesansu, tłum. A. i A. Goreniowie, Kraków (Biblioteka Studiów
Literackich).
Bowie E., 2002, ‘Ionian Iambos and Attic Komoidia: Father and daughter, or
just cousins?’, [in:] A. Willi (ed.), The language of Greek comedy, Oxford,
pp. 33-50.
Carrière J. C., 1979, Le carnaval et la politique, Paris.
Cohen D., 1991, Law, sexuality, and society: The enforcement of morals in
classical Athens, Cambrdge.
Cohen D., 1995, Law, violence, and community in classical Athens, Cambridge.
Degani E., 1987, ‘Insulto ed escrologia in Aristofane’, Dioniso, LVII, pp.
31-47.
Fisher N., 1998, ‘Violence, masculinity and the law in classical Athens’, [in:]
L. Foxhall, J. Salmon (eds.), When men were men: Masculinity, power and
identity in classical antiquity, London–New York, pp. 68-97.
Fisher N., 2000, ‘Symposiasts, fish-eaters and flatterers: Social mobility and
moral concerns in old comedy’, [in:] D. Harvey, J. Wilkins (eds.), The
rivals of Aristophanes: Studies in Athenian old comedy, London–Swansea,
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Foxhall L., Salmon J. (eds.), 1998, When men were men: Masculinity, power
and identity in classical antiquity, London–New York.
Goldhill S. D., 1987, ‘The Great Dionysia and civic ideology’, JHS CVII, pp.
58-76.
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Halliwell S., 1984, ‘Ancient interpretations of ὀνομαστὶ κωμῳδει̑ν in Aristophanes’, CQ 34, pp. 83-88.
Halliwell S., 1991a, ‘Comic satire and the freedom of speech in classical
Athens’, JHS 111, pp. 48-70.
Halliwell S., 1991b, ‘Uses of laughter in Greek culture’, CQ 41, pp. 279-96.
Halliwell S., 2004, ‘Aischrology, shame, and comedy’, [in:] I. Sluiter, R.
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115-144.
Halliwell S., 2008, Greek laughter. A study of cultural psychology from Homer
to early Christianity. Cambridge.
Harvey D., Wilkins J. (eds.), 2000, The rivals of Aristophanes: Studies in Athenian old comedy, London–Swansea.
Henderson, J., 1990, ‘The Dēmos and the Comic Competition’, [in:] J. J.
Winkler, F. I Zeitlin (eds.), Nothing to do with Dionysos?, Princeton, pp.
271-313.
Henderson, J., 1991, The Maculate Muse. Obscene Language in Attic Comedy.
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Kirk G. S., 1990, The Iliad: A Commentary. Vol. II, Books 5-8, Cambridge–
London–New York–Port Chester–Melbourne–Sydney.
MacDowell D. M., 1995, Aristophanes and Athens: An introduction to the
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Ober J., Strauss B., 1990, ‘Drama, political rhetoric, and the discourse of Athenian democracy’, in: J. J. Winkler, F. I. Zeitlin (eds.), Nothing to do with
Dionysos?, Princeton, pp. 237-270.
O’Higgins L., 2003, Women and Humor in classical Greece, Cambridge.
Reckford K. J., 1987, Aristophanes’ old-and-new comedy, Chapel Hill.
Redfield, J., 1990, ‘Drama and Community: Aristophanes and Some of His Rivals’, [in:] J. J. Winkler, F. I Zeitlin (eds.), Nothing to do with Dionysos?,
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Sommerstein A. H., 2004, ‘Harassing the satirist: The alleged attempts to prosecute Aristophanes’, [in:] I. Sluiter, R. M. Rosen (eds.), Free speech in
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50
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.03
BOGDAN BURLIGA
(UNIVERSITY OF GDAŃSK)
ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS
ALEXANDROU AND PLUTARCH’S PROLOGUE
TO THE LIFE OF ALEXANDER*
KEYWORDS: Arrian, Plutarch, biography, history, preface, polemics
SUMMARY: It is usually maintained that the main object of Arrian’s criticism in his Anabasis are the historians of Alexander the Great. In the following
I would like to argue that one of the writers Arrian criticized was also Plutarch
of Chaeronea who wrote an influential biography of the Macedonian king. Although Arrian never referred directly to Plutarch’s Life of Alexander, he read
not only many historical works on the king but used and criticized other accounts, called by him ta legomena (‘tales’). To this latter group Plutarch’s vita
Alexandri should be included as well.
EXORDIUM
The aim of this paper is simple: to prove that in his programmatic
praefatio to the Anabasis Alexandrou Arrian referred also polemically
to Plutarch’s very short and almost cursory, but famous introduction to
the Life of Alexander. Therefore I would like also to suggest that looking from a broader perspective it was Plutarch’s biography of Alexander which should be included – together with other available, numerous
histories of Alexander from the Hellenistic times1 – to the general, yet
*
I thank Dr. Katarzyna Jażdżewska (Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw) for her valuable comment. Any faults remain mine.
1
On which see Pearson 1960; cf. Pédech 1984.
51
BBogdaBoBogdan
enigmatic category of the legomena (λεγόμενα) Arrian has been using in
his Alexander history (Anab. 1. praef. 3).2 This of course presupposes,
in turn, that the young Bithynian adept of Stoicism who just has left the
school of Epictetus in the Epirote Nicopolis (before, or about 113),3 was
well acquainted both with Plutarch’s vita Alexandri (written most probably in the very beginning of the second century4) as with his two notorious Alexander-‘declamations’.5
As far as I know no scholar to date drew the attention to the idea
that in the introductions to his history Arrian likely alludes to his older
Greek compatriot.6 Long ago an American expert Steele wrote an interesting paper devoted to the verbal and stylistic similarities in the two
works but he stressed any lack of the evidence for direct influences,
especially as far as ideas are concerned (Steele 1916; Schoene 1870).
However, quite recently Bradley Buszard has proven that Arrian read
Plutarch’s Life of Caesar,7 and in this respect his paper remains exceptionally important as it encouraged me to argue what always seemed to
me obvious: Arrian’s good knowledge of Plutarch’s writings concerning
the Macedonian conqueror.8 This last observation, however, although
E.g., at Anab. 7. 26. 3-7. 27.
See Wheeler 1977: 20. I follow Bosworth (1980) in claiming that the Anabasis
belongs to the earlier phase of Arrian’s literary career which of course is the view which
is not shared universally; on this see Sisti 2002: 44.
4
Unless otherwise stated, all dates refer to AD. J. R. Hamilton (1969: xxxvii) thinks
of the years between 110-115; cf. Brunt 1976: xix; Hornblower 1994: 56. Jones (1966:
66-70) also prefers the date of early second century (he is followed by Pelling 2009b:
252; Pelling 2011: 2-ca. 110) which makes no substantial difference to my arguing for
Arrian’s knowledge of this biography.
5
Περὶ τῆς Ἀλεξάνδρου τύχης ἢ ἀρετῆς (De Alexandri fortuna aut virtute = Mor.
326d-345b); cf. Ziegler 1949: 85-87; Russell 1973: 166-167; Anderson 1993: 114-116;
Prandi 2000; see esp. the notes by D’Angelo 1998 and Cammarota 1998.
6
An eminent exception is Bosworth 1980: 12. He admits that Plutarch’s biography
‘could have given Arrian the stimulus to improve upon it’ but expresses a voice of reservation that ‘Arrian worked from different sources’.
7
Buszard (2010: 567) reminds that Alexander and Caesar were conceived as a
one piece, i.e., scroll (cf. Stadter 1988), so the Alexander must have been consulted by
Arrian, too; cf. also the ‘Introduction’ of Pelling 2011.
8
Which, on the other hand, would be something obvious given the social aspects
and practice (realities) of ancient readership, in the circumstances when works on any
given theme usually were known to anyone dealing with the same subject-matter. The
2
3
52
ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS ALEXANDROU…
occasionally signaled, still is not adequately acknowledged among
modern experts in Arrian as it deserves to be. Perhaps understandably,
as the main objection for this is straightforward: Arrian’s ‘Olympian’
silence about Plutarch (Bosworth 1980; Baynham 2003). If one seeks
in the Anabasis any direct reference to the Chaeronean philosopher,
this would be indeed cautious attitude. But in fact, literary influences
cannot always (in fact – very rarely) be detected in such a direct way,
that is, by a simple quotation from, or recalling of an author by her/his
name (Badian 1987: 611). Due to the peculiar nature of the evidence
that remains at our disposal, a literary historian could not always be
dogmatic. So, mutatis mutandis, from the fact that Thucydides does not
name Herodotus should we infer that he did not read the work of the
pater historiae? (a later tale even runs that he heard personally a public
lecture Herodotus had delivered before the Athenians). Or, can one reject immediately the assertion that Xenophon was not acquainted with
Thucydides’ κτῆμά ἐς αἰεὶ on the sole basis that he did not record the
predecessor’s name? Of course, a true dilemma in such and alike cases
is the following: if direct, ‘hard’ evidence is lacking, where should one
look for corroboration of the views as these advanced here? Each case
must be treated separately, true, but nevertheless I think that in this
particular instance there is some ground justifying such a suggestion.
In the following I shall deal with the problem by investigating four
essential points: 1), a portion of the text will be devoted to the similarities between history and biography which prove that biography was not
far from historiography, so Plutarch’ work was logically under Arrian’s
consideration as an important source for Alexander story; 2), closer attention will be paid to the different way the Bithynian thinker treats
a few key episodes described also in the Plutarchan Alexander-vita
which in itself may be interpreted as his effort to rebut – on a par with
the rebuttal of other narratives – the data in this influential biography,
and to replace them with his own authoritative version; 3), one should
acknowledge in both authors a different interpretation of the figure of
Alexander and his memorable accomplishments: in this respect, Arrian
existence of such books provided often either a real impulse for writing (again) on the
same topic, or – as in the case of the Greek historiography – to continue the theme;
Fornara 1988; cf. Whitmarsh 2004: 5.
53
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certainly disagreed with Plutarch, and this factor also may point to his
literary rivalry (aemulatio) with the Boeotian sage.9 It will be suggested
that among many reasons Arrian had taken into the consideration when
he attempted to rewrite the story of the Macedonian conqueror,10 a contest with the older rival and his vision of Alexander both as ‘a philosopher on the throne’11 as a dreamer carrying the glowing beacon of a farreaching and romantic plan (Wardman 1955: 97; Bosworth 1986: 12;
Asirvatham 2012; Boulet 2013: 49), played the important role.12 According to Plutarch, such a plan was to be the realization of an alleged
Graeco-Macedonian-Persian Verschmelzungspolitik,13 just an ancient
prefiguration of a honest but utopia-like alle Menschen werden Brüderideal; finally, 4), an intriguing episode from Arrian’s early career will
be recalled in order to suggest that his quarrel with Plutarch may also
have been based on a personal resentment.
But cf. Powell 1939: 229. See also Bosworth 1980; Baynham 2003; Baynham
2010.
10
Trajan’s Parthian campaigns, notoriously undertaken as an ‘anabasis’ (cf. Lepper
1948: 196-198, on the ancient authorities see especially Cassius Dio, 68. 30. 1; cf.
Itiner. Alex. 1) and the Emperor’s politics of imitatio Alexandri; Bosworth 1995; Bosworth 2007: 447; cf. Wirth 1976; den Hengst 2010: 77; Pelling 2011: 26), presented
probably for Arrian both the most direct, military-political stimulus as an actual source
of inspiration (Burliga 2013), irrespective of the controversial issue whether he took
part in it andheld any office (Wirth 1974: 169-204; Bosworth 1980). I suppose Arrian’s
interest in Alexander was also strengthened by – in all probability – the four kingship
orations of his Bithynian compatriot, Dio ‘Chrysostomus’ of Prusa (see Jones 1978:
115-123; Szarmach 1979; cf. Whitmarsh 2001: 202-203). Written about the year 100
and addressed to Trajan, they raise several moral problems connected with maintaining
royal power and ruling empire; see Roisman 1983-1984; Zecchini 1983: 197-199. Of
great importance (but here we may only speculate) might be the same philosopher’s
long treatise (in eight books) – its subject-matter had to do with the virtues of the Macedonian conqueror. Unfortunately, the work is lost.
11
Cf. note 46, below.
12
So Bosworth (1980: 12) cites the opinion of other scholars that it may be not a
coincidence that Arrian wrote also the biographies of Dion and Timoleon who were
also – noticeably – Plutarch’s heroes. However, this highly interesting fact cannot be
pursued here.
13
A vision that goes back as far as to the Prussian historian Droysen 1833; cf. Badian 1976: 280; Bosworth 2006: 10. On which see Tarn 1949, whose views were refuted by Badian 1958: 425f. and Badian 1976 (an excellent overview); cf. Bianchetti
2005: 127-154.
9
54
ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS ALEXANDROU…
1. BIOGRAPHY VS. HISTORY?
In the case of Arrian the importance of this prefatory statement
which must be read with its second part, inserted at another place (Anab.
1. 12. 5; Schepens 1971; Stadter 1981; Moles 1985; Marincola 1989;
Gray 1990), has been recognized and appreciated by modern experts
long time since. They two constitute the sophisticated train of thought,
with the author’s famous rhetorical recusatio when introducing himself.14 But above all, Arrian’s first preface was unmistakably meant
to be highly polemical passage. His intention there was to blow away
other numerous accounts of the Alexander ‘tale’, to ‘clean out’ – in his
conviction – that whole ‘Augeas’ stable’ of the Hellenistic Alexanderproduction. Whether the writer was successful in his efforts or not is
the topic fiercely debated until now.15 Today, the Bithynian historian’s
unmasked, evident rhetoric in argumentation is pointed out, rather than
his (alleged) wie es eigentlich gewesen war-faculty to present historical data in the Tacitean-like, sine ira et studio-manner, that’s, without
open prejudices and major distortions.16 Regarding the historical value
of the Anabasis as a historical source the modern authorities aim to
find out many flaws and faults in Arrian’s narrative, and to rehabilitate
the so-called Vulgate-tradition, starting with the works of Callisthenes
and Clitarchus (Pearson 1960: 22-49, 212-242; Bosworth 1988b: 295300; cf . Hornblower 1994: 40-41; Prandi 1996: 13; Baynham 1998;
Rzepka 2006; McInerney 2007: 424-430; cf. Dreyer 2009: 71). Be that
In the ‘second’ preface; cf. Bosworth 1980: 106.
Cf. especially the revisionist studies of Bosworth, e.g. Bosworth 1976a; Bosworth
1976b. As usual in the case of this scholar, his papers contain many valuable and insightful observations, yet is difficult to follow the author who claims (Bosworth 1976b)
that it was the literary style which Arrian, first and foremost, was obsessed with. Far
from it. I am convicted that one should take the Nicomedian pepaideumenos’ ‘methodological’ rhetoric as seriously as possible (cf. Burliga 2012); see Baynham 2010.
16
Which itself could not also be taken at face value and interpreted as the expression
of a perfect impartiality (see Syme 1958; cf. Wiseman 1993), or – especially – of any
readiness of avoiding personal condemnatory/laudatory notes; see Scheller 1911: 49
(citing Polybius, 1. 14. 5 and 8. 10. 7; see Lucian, Hist. conscr. 59) who aptly comments
that for the ancients there was no contradiction between the demand of telling truth and
inserting moral judgments: ‘Veritas in eo quoque est observanda quod non mendose
laudet vituperetve scriptor, sed ex ipsis factis iudicium suum repetat’; see Luce 1989:
17.
14
15
55
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as it may, this very intriguing issue cannot here concern us longer.17
Instead of this what must be addressed here is the vital question: what
kind of polemics Arrian’s preface (as well as his vision of Alexander’s
everlasting achievements) contains? Why was his work on Alexander
so pathbreaking and crucial, as he himself boastfully claims at the end
of the preface (Anab. 1. praef. 3): ὅστις δὲ θαυμάσεται ἀνθ’ ὅτου ἐπὶ
τοσοῖσδε συγγραφεῦσι καὶ ἐμοὶ ἐπὶ νοῦν ἦλθεν ἥδε ἡ συγγραφή, τά
τε ἐκείνων άντα τις ἀναλεξάμενος καὶ τοῖσδε τοῖς ἡμετέροις ἐντυχὼν
οὕτω θαυμαζέτω.18
It was always thought that it was a bunch of the Hellenistic Alexander-historians against whom Arrian was writing. Essentially, as
a general statement this observation must be accepted as valid (Brunt
1976; Atkinson 2013; Pownall 2013). So, it may be inferred that when
dealing with a true flow of the Alexander-industry Arrian’s great methodological merit was to make a very reasonable, ‘Herodotean’ choice
between contradictory or conflicting traditions:19 in practice, this meant
17
Yet, it should be said that the recent, somewhat severe attacks on Arrian’s historical methods and, in consequence, on his historical reliability, go too far. Partly, it must
be here conceded, to some extent they are understandable, as they constitute a reaction
to the earlier idolatry of this ‘best’ Alexander-historian, especially if made (and such
was a practice) at the price of underestimating of the other versions (especially that by
Curtius Rufus; cf. Atkinson 1998: xxv-xvi; Baynham 1998; Billows 2000: 305; Rzepka
2006). It is true that Arrian was not an ideal researcher (how could he have been? was
there any ever?), that he has his own bias (see below), that he made more or less serious
mistakes (counted by Bosworth 1972; Bosworth 1976: 34-46; cf. Spencer 2002: 7;
Davidson 2001), and that his two main sources, the works of Ptolemy and Aristobulus,
were not without flaws also (on the latter there is a notorious tale preserved in Lucian’s
How to write history?, §12 = FGrH 139 T4 = F44; Avenarius 1960; Anderson 1990).
On the other hand, when regarding geographical data, he was the main authority for
Strabo’s account of India; cf. Brunt 1983; Pownall 2013 – according to her the episode
may be apocryphal). But it would be an exaggeration to deny his efforts to determine
the true version of events.
18
Ed. A. G. Roos & G. Wirth, Teubner; cf. Schepens 1971: 255.
19
In three ways: first, as he – in the vein of the father of history – stressed the importance of the accounts based on eyewitness experience; second, Arrian not rarely leaves
the reader with a choice between different accounts of the same event (or he recalls,
at least, the existence of such accounts), although he himself does not fail to notice his
critical stance or doubts; third, like Herodotus he thought worth emphasizing that these
legomena were also axiaphegetotera (‘worthy of belief’: Strasburger 1982: 135; cf.
Wiseman 1993: 135); on a similar procedure see Curtius, 9. 1. 35: Equidem plura trans-
56
ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS ALEXANDROU…
to rely mainly on the valuable accounts made by the two eyewitnesses
to the expedition, Ptolemy and Aristobulus,20 and to criticize (on many
particular points) all the rest (Brunt 1983: 542-550).21 But what about
the above mentioned λεγόμενα ὑπὲρ Ἀλεξάνδρου? (Stadter 1980: 6076; Bosworth 1988a: 61-93) Arrian says:
ἔστι δὲ ἃ καὶ πρὸς ἄλλων ξυγγεγραμμένα, ὅτι καὶ αὐτὰ ἀξιαφήγητά τέ
μοι ἔδοξε καὶ οὐ πάντῃ ἄπιστα, ὡς λεγόμενα μόνον ὑπὲρ Ἀλεξάνδρου
ἀνέγραψα (‘However, I have also recorded some statements made in
other accounts of others, when I thought them worth mention and not
entirely untrustworthy, but only as tales told of Alexander’; tr. P. A.
Brunt, Loeb).22
Obviously, here the term λεγόμενα is purportedly ambiguous but
I believe this category should be taken more broadly than one is usually accustomed to assume. It encompassed all what Arrian has read
(Pearson 1955: 430-431). It would be thus a mistake, I would suggest,
to confine it to the existing historical works only. In Arrian’s case it
must have comprised the existing Alexander literature, available to
him, including both philosophical treatises as biographies of this terrifying and iconic figure of the past – all that vast literary tradition
that Lionel Pearson included in the general category of ‘Rhetoricians,
Antiquarians, and Others’ (Pearson 1960: 243-264; see Hamilton 1978:
19-21). Among the latter there was undoubtedly that most eminent and
(what obvious) most actual βίος – Plutarch’s vita Alexandri.23 In consequence, it was Plutarch who should have been included to Arrian’s
cribo quam credo; nam nec affirmare sustineo de quibus dubito, nec subducere quae
accepi (‘As for myself, I report more things than I believe; for I cannot bring myself to
vouch for that about which I am in doubt, nor to suppress what I have heard’; tr. J. C.
Rolfe, Loeb); with Atkinson 1998: 530, ad loc.; cf. Bosworth 1988a: 61-62; Bosworth
1995: 7.
20
Baynham 2003 and 2010; but Roisman 1984, 379, n. 27, observes that in many
cases Arrian preferred the relations that differ from these found in his two main sources;
cf. Brunt 1983, 553-554.
21
A honourable exception of Nearchus the Cretan must be especially mentioned.
22
See Tonnet 1988: 131.
23
If Buszard (2010: 581-582) is right, there is a possibility that the adverb μόνον
refers not to ὡς λεγόμενα but to ὑπὲρ Ἀλεξάνδρου (so, the meaning would be not:
‘only as tales told of Alexander’ but: ‘about Alexander alone’). If so, this would be an
57
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list of τῶν ξυγγραψάντων and ἔστιν οἳ ἀνέγραψαν (Anab. 6. 11. 8).
I therefore think that for Arrian’s purposes a sharp Plutarchan divide
between ἱστορίαι and βίοι was without substantial value. Accordingly,
there were some other elements in Plutarch’s methodological credo that
could be relevant to Arrian. Now, let us take a closer look at Plutarch’s
famous statement.
As it is notoriously recognized, Plutarch is making a fundamental
difference between biography and history, as Polybius already did (10.
2424; cf. Nepos, Pelop. 1; Leo 1901: 146; Momigliano 1993: 1; Pelling 2000; Pelling 2002a; Pelling 2009a; Pelling 2009b; Pelling, Duff
2013: 340; Pelling Schorn 2014: 688-690). But where such reservation
came in the case of Alexander at all from? As a matter of fact, a sharp
distinction between biography and history is something exceptional in
Plutarch’s practice as biographer, and (as many scholars observed) his
‘anti-historical’ rhetoric is not so common in his other vitae (Whitmarsh
2005: 79; Grethlein 2013: 92); conversely, a straightforward divide between the two genres seems to be peculiar to this concrete Plutarchan
vita and does not appear in his other biographies where the learned
essayist fails to hold so firmly the distinction between erga and bios.
The most plausible explanation of this is the figure of Alexander
himself, as Plutarch realized that regarding the king there was at one’s
disposal such an endless sea of various accounts that he could not take
responsibility for their detailed recording25. Here lies probably the
source of Plutarch’s strong reservation, as he wished to anticipate a future critique that his story is neither told in quite chronological order nor
additional argument that Plutarch’s biography must have been taken by Arrian into the
consideration.
24
Polybius’ statement is, however, highly ambiguous. He does not deny that a description of a king or eminent personalities should be excluded from history. His point
is only that such digressions within a historical work ought to be applied to the account
of deeds, not in a separate introduction. The Polybian example proves, I believe, that in
the ancient literary practice the difference between biography and history was that of a
degree only: it means (to use Momigliano’s words) that Greek and Romans ‘were also
able to appreciate what remains human in a king or in a politician’ (Momigliano 1993:
104).
25
Hamilton (1969: xlix) counted that in the Life of Alexander there are 24 references
to the other sources; Pelling 2009a: 608.
58
ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS ALEXANDROU…
embracing all the details from Alexander story.26 Thus he conceded it
necessary to define his goal more narrowly – to give man’s ethos (ἦθος;
Görgemanns 2003: 648; Nawotka 2010: 20).27 According to Plutarch, it
was the occasion to make a comparison of his own procedure to that of
painters (οἱ ζῳγράφοι). He explains therefore that the painter’s goal is
to show the face and soul of an individual (τὰ τῆς ψυχῆς σημεῖα; Alex.
1.3), but by doing so he is by no means obliged or at pains to give on
his painting the whole background (Korus 1978: 208; Duff 1999: 16).
So by analogy, as Plutarch argues, is the task of a biographer: what is
important, he also implies that his effort will not be to give any detailed
Modern scholars observe, however, that in comparison with the vita of his contemporary, the Roman Suetonius (writing down, as it is maintained, about ten or twenty
years after Plutarch), Plutarch’s lives retain, in general, chronological order: Momigliano 1993; Görgemanns 2003: 648-649.
27
Burridge 2001: 248; Duff 1999: 13-22; cf. Mossman 1988: 93: ‘Plutarch is concerned with Alexander’s internal development more than his external career’. I am far
from denying that the two types of writing were not distinguished totally in antiquity
(Fornara 1983; Momigliano 1993; Wardle 2014: 6). The point is thus if (to quote Mossman, above) that ‘more’ (the Plutarchan μᾶλλον) can be determined precisely and how
far can we push such an argument? One should, however, bear in mind that Plutarch’s
‘methods’ as a biographer had its necessary limits: although not of primary importance,
Plutarch inserts much what informs the reader of the king’s character by narrating the
historical events (cf. König 2009: 87). Now, his exceptional statement in Alexander
looks as an attempt of self-justification, yet it does not change the fact that history remained ‘substance that makes up the Lives’ (so rightly Hägg 2012: 272; cf. also Stadter
2007: 538: ‘Plutarchan biography had to have its foundation in historical fact’). Consequently, Mossman’s statement, true as it generally is, does not exclude the possibility
that the biographer used the same sources as Arrian did, and that his biography contains
a lot of historical narrative, that is the king’s erga (which always was a criterion of a
historical work, according to Aristotle, Poet. 1451b 4-11; cf. Duff, 1999: 28; Pelling
2006: 255) – the importance of which, by contrast, is stressed, e.g., in the Life of Pericles, 2. 3 and Lives of Aemilius Paulus and Timoleon, 1. 1 (cf. Stadter 1989: 60-61; see
Hägg, 2012: 272). Finally, one must ask of the results of Plutarch’ efforts: how much
does his biography differ from a historical narrative? Here the additional point is that
Mossman seems to ignore a different philosophical angle from which Plutarch approached Alexander – a factor which appears to have been in antiquity more important than
the alleged, strict differences between so fluid ‘genres’ like biography and history (see
Pelling 2006; Pelling 2009a: 612; Pelling 2009b). It might also be of some importance
to remind that Jacoby has included one essay of Plutarch (now lost but quoted by Eusebius of Caesarea in his Preparatio Evangelica) to ‘history’: On the Daidala at Plataiai;
cf. Schachter 2014.
26
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account of so many events (τὸ πλῆθος τῶν ὑποκειμένων πράξεων), for
such a description of great deeds and military or political conflicts, battles or sieges (ἐάσαντας ἑτέροις τὰ μεγέθη καὶ τοὺς ἀγῶνας: Alex. 1.
3) must be left to the others, that is, by implication to the historians
(Hamilton 1969, ad loc.).
Be that as it may, Plutarch’s standpoint might look for Arrian,
a careful reader of the vita Alexandri, as self-justification, and provide
a great stimulus. Again, I do not want to imply that this lecture gave
the ambitious Bithynian man of letters one and only (or: decisive) impulse. But should we reject by the same a possibility that Arrian might
have understood such a ‘minimalistic’ program in this biography as
a challenge, and considered thus himself (rightly, or not) as one of
those Plutarchan heteroi, a group of these ‘another’ writers whose task
– contrary to Plutarch’s (οὔτε γὰρ ἱστορίας γράφομεν, ἀλλὰ βίους) –
was that of historians, traditionally obliged to record κλέα ἀνδρῶν /
κλεῖα προτέρων ἀνθρώπων / τὰ γενόμενα ἐξ ἀνθρώπων / ἔργα μεγάλα
τε καὶ θωμαστά,28 that’s, deeds that since long were the subject-matter
of epic poetry and historiography. Not coincidentally Arrian (Anab. 7.
30. 2) lays emphasis – to use here Plutarch’s own phraseology – on
ταῖς ἐπιφανεστάταις πράξεσι and great military achievements (μάχαι
μυριόνεκροι καὶ παρατάξεις αἱ μέγισται καὶ πολιορκίαι πόλεων). This
means that his effort might have been purportedly directed against Plutarch’s rhetoric to focus not on τὰ μεγέθη καὶ τοὺς ἀγῶνας, rather than
on man’s ethos.29
28
Homer, Il. 9. 189; Hesiod, Theog. 100; Herodotus, 1. 1; cf. Diodorus, 17. 117.
5: πράξεις δὲ μεγίστας κατεργασάμενος οὐ μόνον τῶν πρὸ αὐτοῦ βασιλευσάντων,
ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν ὕστερον ἐσομένων μέχρι τοῦ καθ' ἡμᾶς βίου; see Marincola 1997: 34-35;
Briant 2015: 141.
29
See notes 26 and 27, above. Plutarch’s rhetoric did not mean, naturally, that the
biographer’s goal – δήλωσις ἀρετῆς ἢ κακίας, ἀλλὰ πρᾶγμα βραχὺ πολλάκις καὶ ῥῆμα
καὶ αιδιά τις ἔμφασιν ἤθους – was totally alien to the historians of Alexander, including
Arrian. Quite the contrary; cf. Kraus 2010: 408.
60
ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS ALEXANDROU…
2. THE AEMULATIO AT WORK: ARBELA, ‘SOTER’,
AND EPHEMERIDES
There are a lot of passages in Arrian where he presents his own,
modified version of the events narrated by others, in a deliberate and
openly expressed opposition to them.30 Modern experts try to find out
the authorities he was actually relying on, yet given the loss of almost
all the Alexander-production this is not an easy task. Anyway, what is
clear is that that Arrian’s intention was polemics – a usual practice of
the Greek historians from the very beginning was to enter a literary
competition, ἀγών, aemulatio. This being so, it remains intriguing to
find out that in his effort to establish the most probable version of the
events Arrian sometimes seems to takes issue with accounts recorded
by Plutarch – in a few cases the story narrated by Arrian remarkably
differs from that given by the biographer. Again, although it would be
a risky thing to claim that Life of Alexander remained Arrian’s main (or
sole) object of criticism, it is obvious that trying to replace previous
versions, his critique must have concerned Plutarch too. It looks as if
only occasion permitted, Arrian corrected – where it was necessary –
the erroneous thinking he has found in the biography, but without naming its author. Instead, the young Stoic preferred to go another way of
his implied critique: he abandoned his usual self-restraint and devoted
more space to indicate the error. Some of these passages were analyzed
thoroughly by Professor Bosworth (1988a), although – given a different
aim of his investigation – he was less interested in the question which
is significant here to me: why at all in some cases did Arrian think suitable to place explanations and corrections in such an expanded form as
he did.
As the first, fine example of such literary rivalry we may cite Arrian’s long, polemical digression where took the place the last great
battle of Alexander with Darius: was it Gaugamela or Arbela? (Anab. 6.
11. 4-6).31 The passage’s aim is to reject the erroneous views concerning the spot of the clash, yet it seems very probable that it might have
On this see Schepens 1971: 256, quoting Livy, praef. 2.
Arrian mentions Arbela at 3. 8. 7; 3. 15. 15 and 3. 16. 3 (see note 34).
30
31
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been directed also against the mention made by Plutarch,32 this time
in the speech De Alex. fort. & virt. 326f, who – contrary to his own,
right identification of the place in the Life of Alexander (31. 6) – said
of Arbela.33 For Arrian this may have been the evidence for Plutarch’s
carelessness and the occasion to issue his implicit critique.34 Moreover, what is also striking here (Anab. 6. 6. 11. 4-6) is that the historian
is obliged to insert a long (and vehement in tone) digression, giving
thus a far more detailed explanation of the sources of the error than
the reader might find in a cursory narrative by (for example) Plutarch.
The presence of such a digression in the Anabasis does not seem to be
coincidental.
In the second polemical passage Ptolemy’s alleged role in saving Alexander during the siege of the Indian city of the Malli is discussed. It was believed (mistakenly, as Arrian emphasizes: Anab. 6. 11.
8) that thanks to his courage Ptolemy, together with Peucestas, saved
The same mistake was made by Diodorus, 17. 64. 1, Frontinus, Strat., 2. 3. 19;
Polyaenus, Strat. 4. 3. 17; and Lucian, Dial. mort. 12. 2.
33
I say ‘also’, for one must remember that Arrian might have found the error in other
accounts that are lost now. Bosworth (1980; 1988a: 78), who does not give a comment
on Arrian’s possible issue with Plutarch, stressing, like Arrian, that the battle Τὴν δὲ
μεγάλην μάχην πρὸς Δαρεῖον οὐκ ἐν Ἀρβήλοις, ὥσπερ οἱ πολλοὶ γράφουσιν, ἀλλ' ἐν
Γαυγαμήλοις γενέσθαι συνέπεσε (‘[…] was not fought at Arbela, as most writers state,
but at Gaugamela’; tr. B. Perrin, Loeb); cf. Hamilton 1969: 80 who cites Strabo, Geogr.
16. 1. 3 (ἐν δὲ τῇ Ἀτουρίᾳ ἐστὶ Γαυγάμηλα κώμη, ἐν ᾗ συνέβη νικηθῆναι καὶ ἀποβαλεῖν
τὴν ἀρχὴν Δαρεῖον), and according to whom the source of the confusion were the Macedonian soldiers themselves: οἱ μέντοι Μακεδόνες τοῦτο μὲν ὁρῶντες κώμιον εὐτελές,
τὰ δὲ Ἄρβηλα κατοικίαν ἀξιόλογον, κτίσμα ὥς φασιν Ἀρβήλου τοῦ Ἀθμονέως, περὶ
Ἄρβηλα τὴν μάχην καὶ νίκην κατεφήμισαν καὶ τοῖς συγγραφεῦσιν οὕτω παρέδωκαν.
This last remark calls the figure of the historian Callisthenes, on which see Devine
1994: 90; see esp. Pearson 1960: 22-49; Rzepka 2015: forthcoming.
34
At Anab. 3. 22. 4 Arrian himself seems to have made the same mistake, saying of
Darius’ shameful escape from Arbela, not Gaugamela, and Bosworth sees this erroneous attribution in the power of the rhetorical tradition Arrian has followed (1980: 348:
‘a remarkable lapse’; 1988a: 78; see Romm 2010: 138). However, it seems improbable
that Arrian really had made a mistake here: at 3. 15. 15 he clearly states that Alexander
went from the battlefield to Arbela in order to capture Darius (who remained there) and
his treasure, while at 3. 22. 4, in Darius’ obituary, he only says that the Persian king
fled further – from Arbela eastwards. Here Arrian is not implying that Arbela was the
battlefield, and, still following Ptolemy and Aristobulus, he does not identify, strictly
speaking, Arbela as Gaugamela; cf. Briant 2015: 130-131.
32
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ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS ALEXANDROU…
Alexander and gained the famous nickname Σωτήρ (‘the Saviour’).35
The Bithynian historian writes here generally of τῶν ξυγγραψάντων
and ἔστιν οἳ ἀνέγραψαν – it was them who repeated the falsehood.
Brunt (1983: 135) renders them as ‘the historians’ and ‘some recorded’
but still the question remains who exactly were ‘they’? Certainly Clitarchus and Timagenes, as Curtius Rufus proves (9. 5. 21: Ptolomaeum,
qui postea regnavit, huic pugnae adfuisse auctor est Clitarchus et Timagenes: sed ipse, scilicet gloriae suae non refragatus afuisse se, missum in expeditionem, memoriae tradidit36). But again, it is difficult to
think that Plutarch with his version, relatively recent and repeating the
old error at two places of the De Alexandri fortuna et virtute (327a-b
and 344d: Λιμναῖοι γὰρ καὶ Πτολεμαῖοι καὶ Λεοννάτοι),37 could have
escaped from Arrian’s consideration. The mistake was too serious to be
left by the young historian without a reproaching comment, especially
if he relied on Ptolemy’s work. On this occasion Professor Bosworth
(1988a: 83) observed that in this particular case Arrian’ polemics is
directed against ‘a historical authority, and this authority is relatively
late’, yet the name of Plutarch as the most likely target of criticism does
not appear in his discussion.
Perhaps the most evident example of Arrian’s polemical stance remains, however, the case of the Royal Diaries, the notorious βασιλικαὶ
ἐφημερίδες (Jacoby, FGrH 117, p. 618-622; cf. Pearson 1955: 432433; Bosworth 1971; Bosworth 1988b: 299; Goukowsky 1978: 199200; Brunt 1983: 503-504). Much ink was spilt over the vexed problem
whether Arrian, quoting these diaries (Anab. 7. 25. 1-7. 26. 3), had at his
disposal their authentic version or used an apocryphal forgery (Badian
1968; Badian 1987). The studies of Pearson, Badian and Bosworth
have proven that it is impossible to say whether the original Diaries
Bosworth 1988a: 80-82.
Ed. M. Lucarini, Teubner. Curtius, as Bosworth 2012: 400, says, ‘is by far the
fullest derivative of Cleitarchus’, however not in this case. Romm 2010: 249, thinks
that Curtius ‘places Ptolemy at the scene of Alexander’s wounding’ but the Roman
historian’s attitude is rather closer to Arrian’s.
37
So Anderson 1993: 114. In Alexander, 63, Plutarch does not mention Ptolemy; cf.
Hamilton 1969: 177.
35
36
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existed at all.38 What concerns us here is that Arrian thought the copy
he was using was.39 He certainly did not doubt its validity and gave it
credit to be authentic document, relying on it his report of the king’s
illness and death.40 Now, remarkably, the same basilikai ephemerides
are quoted – as far as we can it state – only by Plutarch (chapters 76.
1-77. 1 of his Alexander),41 as Diodorus and Curtius do not even make
any mention of the document (Atkinson 1998).42 The comparison between the two versions is thus inevitable, and it is sharpened by a true
enigma that while the two accounts agree essentially in outlining how
the illness ran they differ in details concerning the king’s last days.
This has been acknowledged by modern authorities (Badian 1987: 610;
Bosworth 1988a: 158-16143), and was variously explained but now an
agreement seems to prevail that what we read in Plutarch and Arrian
hardly is any extract from an ‘Ur’- journal, or an ‘authentic’ document.
From my point of view the most vital question is the following: why
did Arrian decide to insert such a long passage of Alexander’s last days
following these diaries (‘journal’), if the story on the same topic could
be already found in-, and known from Plutarch? The most probable
answer would be that it was certainly important for Arrian that he could
present the ‘corrected’ (better) version of the final stage of Alexander’s
life and to replace the narrative in biography with his own authoritative
Pearson 1955: 429-439, Brunt 1983: 294-295; Badian 1985: 489; Badian 1987;
Bosworth 1988a: 158; Zambrini 2004: 213; pace Hammond 1983: 4-11; Hammond
1988: 129-150; Hammond 1989: 276-277; Hammond 1993: 306-311.
39
Plutarch, Alex. 77. 1: Τούτων τὰ πλεῖστα κατὰ λέξιν ἐν ταῖς ἐφημερίσιν οὕτως
γέγραπται; Arrian, Anab. 7. 26. 3: οὐ πόρρω δὲ τούτων οὔτε Ἀριστοβούλῳ οὔτε
Πτολεμαίῳ ἀναγέγραπται.
40
Which, otherwise, has fundamental consequences for the rejecting or reconstructing one of the most vital points of Greek history.
41
Cf. the notes of Hamilton 1969: 210-213; see Jacoby who in his FGrH (p. 619622. Also in his commentary at p. 403-406) he puts the version in the two writers in
parallel columns; see Bosworth 1971; Bosworth 1988a: 158-167; Bosworth 2010.
42
We omit the later quotation from the Diaries in Aelian, VH, 3. 23 (= FGrH 117
F2a).
43
Bosworth adds that the two accounts are ‘formally inconsistent’; he notes also the
differences in chronology of the events, as Arrian’s version has one day more. The discrepancies may be explained either by the circulation of the two different redactions of
the Diaries, or Arrian’s adding one additional day in his own report (Bosworth 1988a:
165).
38
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ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS ALEXANDROU…
version. So, I would like to suggest again, Arrian did not make this
without a reason. Conversely, it was a deliberate step, as it stood – let
us remind – in accord with his programmatic credo from the preface: to
narrate Alexander’s deeds as they were. But again, such a way of explanation of Arrian’s motives does not conflict with his another aim which
all the time was to repudiate ta legomena. This last goal meant in turn
to enter into the literary dispute (ἔρις), and here Plutarch, an acknowledged author of the latest major contribution in the Alexander-studies
at that time, comes to sight again.44
3. THE STOIC AGAINST ‘THE PHILOSOPHER-KING’
Having suggested as very probable that Arrian’s polemics in a few
selected episodes from the expedition was directed also against the reports on the same subject that he has read in Plutarch, we may deal
with another argument which, although less direct and more general,
remains nonetheless equally important: I mean the Bithynian’s different
understanding and philosophical approach toward the king. Arrian remained a Stoic thinker, so I suggest that the vehement assaults Plutarch
had made on the adherents of the Stoa Poecile in Mor. 1033a-1086b
(Cherniss 1975: 369-371; Opsomer 2013: 88-103) also had some importance for the Bithynian Epicteti de grege porcus and influenced his
reserved attitude towards the Chaeronean. The result of representing
One should also mention that Arrian differs from Plutarch when reporting what
did Alexander send to Athens after the battle of Granicus. He writes of panoplies, while
Plutarch says of shields only. Probably they both were right. Arrian must have known
that Alexander had sent in fact armor, while at the time he and Plutarch visited Athens,
the shields remained – one with the famous inscription that both quote – and were
exhibited on the Acropolis. Yet, it is tempting to argue that Arrian deliberatively chose
to write of whole armor, apparently correcting Plutarch (Diodorus does not write of the
votive shields). Another striking case would be Arrian’s ostentatious omitting the story
of the queen of the Amazons, as Ptolemy and Aristobulus omitted it. Not surprisingly,
a list of nine writers who credited it and five who rejected it as unbelievable, is found
in Plutarch (Alex. 46); cf. Steele 1916: 422. Stadter (1981: 166) calls also the attention
how different from Plutarch is Arrian’s treatment of the famous episode of Alexander’s
meeting with Diogenes. Plutarch relates the anecdote as certain and gives some details,
while Arrian places it out of historical context (Anab. 7. 2. 1) and expresses his doubts
about its authenticity, treating the story as ta legomena (λέγεται).
44
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different philosophical schools is the different portrait of Alexander in
both authors.
As such, the issue itself was rather neglected by modern experts
and remains highly controversial. P. A. Brunt in his thoughtful 1977
study claimed that Arrian did not write the Anabasis with a Stoic colour. Professor Badian (1968: 192), mainly interested in Alexander’s
(alleged) ‘notebooks’, conceded that at the beginning of Book VII of
the Anabasis Arrian adopted philosophical stance, yet he concludes that
the Greek historian ‘does not give us a philosophical disquisition and
indeed does not force any conclusion on the reader’. With the claim
that Arrian uses no ‘force’ to insist his views upon his addressee one
may willingly agree but this should not be understood as if the disciple
of Epictetus forgot Stoic precepts and Stoic notions of man.
The theme is complex but perhaps the most famous example will
suffice here as instructive. As it is well known, Plutarch saw in Alexander a ‘philosopher on the throne’, a thinker in arms who turned into
deeds what others treated only in theory, by discussions.45 As Bosworth
(1988a: 72-73) rightly recalled, in the biography this argument is to
be seen, among others, in the episode when the king speaks to the Indian ascetics: Alexander examines them from the position of a person
with wisdom, say, a sage (Alex. 64).46 But quite a different situation
occurs in Arrian’s account, where Alexander is only friendly oriented
towards philosophy which means a fundamental difference in the readers’ perception and evaluation of the ruler. The difference in approach
45
After Strabo, Geogr. 15. 1. 64 (715), quoting Onesicritus of Astypalaea (FGrH
134 F17a; with the remarks of Whitby 2012; cf. Schachermeyr 1949: 128; Pearson
1960: 83-111; Pédech 1984: 74-75; Prandi 2000: 253f.; Bosworth 1996: 1-3; Wiemer
2011: 201) who notoriously saw in Alexander ‘philosopher in arms’ (μόνον γὰρ ἴδοι
αὐτὸν ἐν ὅπλοις φιλοσοφοῦντα). Plutarch followed this line of thought: in his first
essay on the virtue of Alexander he calls the king ‘philosopher’ twice: De fort. & virt.
Alex. 4 (328b: ὀφθήσεται γὰρ οἷς εἶπεν οἷς ἔπραξεν οἷς ἐπαίδευσε φιλόσοφος) and 11
(329a: εἰκότως ἂν φιλοσοφώτατος νομίζοιτο); in the same vein he saw in Lycurgus a
philosopher (Lyc. 31. 2-3; cf. Schneeweiss 1979: 376. According to Whitby 2012, the
whole chapter 5 (328 c-d) is devoted to concept of Alexander as ‘philosopher in arms’;
Bosworth 1996: 2-3, thinks it was Plutarch who has confirmed the idea of Alexander’s
‘mission to impose civilization’.
46
With the remarks of Hamilton 1969: 178-185; cf. Ps.-Callisthenes, 3. 5-6; Nawotka 2010: 283-284.
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ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS ALEXANDROU…
becomes clear in the same episode with Calanus – in Arrian Alexander
allows to be instructed, and even frankly censured, by the Brahmans
(Anab. 7. 1) for his conquests and insatiable, absurd in fact, longing
for glory, that is in practice – in the Indian thinkers’ conviction – for
the politics of imperialism (Anab. 7. 19. 6: ‘always insatiate in winning
possessions’). Again, I believe such a line of thought was thoroughly
that of a Stoic.47 Arrian did not hesitate to express his moral judgment
(it was not the first time, of course48), stressing the vanity of the king’s
‘earthly’ efforts in the face of imminent death. Hence his open praise of
the Indian sophists at Anab. 7. 1. 5 (ἐπαινῶ – ‘I commend’) and their
knowledge of what is right and just in man’s life. Does this mean by
the same ‘a condemnation’ of Alexander? No. Rather it proves Arrian’
understanding of the man who was unable to define his life goals properly to live happily (a Stoic precept), and who led by powerful pothos
incessantly preferred to chase what is unavailable.49 ‘On that occasion
– writes the Greek historian – Alexander commended their remarks and
the speakers, but his actions were different from and contrary to what
he commended’ (Anab. 7. 2. 1). Alexander’s career was thus not wise
man’s way of life, rather than that of ‘corrupted’ mind – a personality
See Marcus Aurelius, Medit. 8. 3, with Rutherford 1991: 165-166. Pace Professor
J. Atkinson (2013: XXXIV), who was of the opinion that there is some discrepancy
between Arrian’s admiration for Alexander and the Stoic scale of values, I think to the
contrary. Atkinson is right in writing that the Anabasis is not ‘A Study in Tyranny’, but
nonetheless a Stoic scale of values is visible in the work. It is not to be taken simply
as a proof of the author’s rhetorical disapproval or approval (see, e.g., Stewart 1993:
15; Stoneman 2003). Above all, as a Stoic Arrian tried to understand the Alexander’s
motivation and steps. If he as a Stoic appreciated the king’s exceptional achievements
(Anab. 7. 30. 1), it is not the same as the author’s identification with Alexander’s way
of life. This life appeared to Arrian to be a way of no return.
48
A spectacular example remains his passage in Anab. 4. 7. 4-4. 14. 4, being in
fact a long moral reflection, expressed in the narrative about the killing of Cleitus; see
Bosworth 1995: 54, who very acutely calls this ‘the great digression’ and ‘a sustained
moral commentary’; cf. Carlsen 2014: 209-221.
49
Which reminds what Theophrastus was to say of Callisthenes in his (lost) work
Callisthenes, or On Grief, as quoted by Cicero, Tusc. disp. 3. 21 (= FGrH 124 T19b).
Alexander is described there as follows: hominem summa potentia summaque fortuna,
sed ignarum quem ad modum rebus secundis uti conveniret; cf. Mensching 1963: 274f.;
Goukowsky 1978: 173-174; Wiemer 2011: 198 (to whom I owe this reference), and the
commentary by Rzepka 2015 (forthcoming).
47
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blinded by false ambitions and torn apart by an excessive passion for
power (Anab. 5. 25. 2: πόνους τε ἐκ πόνων καὶ κινδύνους ἐκ κινδύνων
ἐπαναιρούμενον ὁρῶντες τὸν βασιλέα).50 In the light of such interpretation there could have been no possibility for Arrian to see in Alexander
‘a philosopher in arms’. The concept, so espoused in Plutarch, was totally at odds with Arrian’s understanding of the man.
Another compelling evidence for the Stoic interpretation of Alexander’s achievements in the Anabasis was indicated by Professor
Schepens (1971: 267). He rightly pays due attention to the fact that the
Stoic interpretation of Alexander’s accomplishments contains Arrian’s
statement that it was a deity under which Alexander was born (Anab.
7. 30. 2: οὔκουν οὐδὲ ἐμοὶ ἔξω τοῦ θείου φῦναι ἂν δοκεῖ ἀνὴρ οὐδενὶ
ἄλλῳ ἀνθρώπων ἐοικώς). The king’s successes were thus, to some extent, the result of a divine providence which, again, needless to say,
does not agree with Plutarch’s view that Alexander deserved nothing
to Tyche.
To recapitulate – the above passages point to the conclusion that
Arrian’s Anabasis, raising the theme how to evaluate Alexander’s exploits, was therefore meant to be directed also against the Plutarchan
concept of Alexander as philosopher-king. Here we need to stress out
See Anab. 5. 25. 3 – 5. 26 (the concept of imperium sine fine in Alexander’s
speech at Hyphasis) and 5. 24. 8: ‘For he thought there could be no end of the war as
long as any enemy was left’; cf. Arrian, Ind. 9. 11: ἀλλὰ Ἀλέξανδρον γὰρ ἐλθεῖν τε
καὶ κρατῆσαι [πάντων] τοῖς ὅπλοις ὅσους γε δὴ ἐπῆλθε· καὶ ἂν καὶ πάντων κρατῆσαι,
εἰ ἡ στρατιὴ ἤθελεν (see also Strabo, 16. 1. 11: τὸ δ' ἀληθὲς ὀρεγόμενον πάντων εἶναι
κύριον); with Bosworth 1995: 338, 343; Carlsen 2014: 221. Arrian’s Stoic estimate has
much common with what Professor Bosworth (1996) has characterized as ‘the tragedy
of triumph’ – a conviction that conquests bring to a conqueror not joy or satisfaction
but more trouble and uneasiness. Briant (2010: 25) takes pothos as a ‘psychological makeup’ which he finds a factor insufficient for the understanding of Alexander’s motives.
But this is a point where ancient and modern ways of interpreting the events and the
nature of personal motivation diverge: where one speaks recently of psychology, ancient philosopher (as Arrian) thought of ethics (cf. Briant 2015: 135, citing Auerbach’s
Mimesis). Yet, the fact itself that there is in Arrian a lof of speculation about the king’s
pothos proves the writer’s profound interest in ethical dilemmas (cf. Baynham 2009:
290; Wheeldon 1989: 36). This does not mean, as Briant reminds, that other factors in
the Alexander history were and are unimportant now, or that one may forget that ‘Even
an individual as outstanding as Alexander belongs to a historical context, which he has
to engage’.
50
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ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS ALEXANDROU…
the term ‘concept’ for Arrian wrote no pure military account of Alexander’s deeds but inevitably presented also his own understanding
and judgment of the great conqueror’s personality. This was a natural,
say, step, if we bear in mind that the Anabasis was written by a Stoic
philosopher who read many other Alexander accounts, and interpreted
some of Alexander’s deeds from a Stoic point of view.51 Polemics that
exceeded far beyond a mere presentation of a historically accurate account of Alexander’s expedition was thus inevitable in Arrian’s plan.
Given the immense literary tradition about Alexander such a polemics was ‘embedded’, so to speak, in his project (Buszard 2010: 574;
Whitmarsh 2004: 4-5). So, the writings of Plutarch as well as the Platonic and Peripatetic philosophical views the biographer favored (Hershbell 2004; Dillon 2013: 61-72; cf. Babut 1969; Russell 1973: 84-98;
Cherniss 1976), logically stood behind one of Arrian’s motives. It was
these views that additionally seem thus to have provided a natural object (if not: target) for Arrian as being rival to his own ambitious undertaking. As in the case of every account of Alexander’s exploits and
character (Stadter 2007), it could not be otherwise, since such accounts
contained the author’s evaluating of the king’s ἦθος.
4. ENVOI: A ‘SECOND SOPHISTIC’ ENCOUNTER AT
DELPHI?
Now, let us pass from ‘literature to life’ and pay the attention to
an event that possibly might have had an influence on Arrian’s critical
attitude towards Plutarch and enhance his reluctance to the Boeotian
Alexander-writings. I mean the intriguing episode from the ambitious
Bithynian’s early career when he – most probably – personally met Plutarch at Delphi.
Generally, as Sir Ronald Syme has convincingly shown (Syme
1982; cf. Badian 2003b: 26-27), the details of Arrian’s early ‘cv’ and
his Roman cursus honorum remain obscure. Nevertheless, at some
points epigraphy provides some help. So, between the years 111-114
Arrian is attested to have been included to the concilium of the imperial governor of the province Achaea, Avidius Nigrinus, who was – as it
The scholarly literature is vast; cf. Fears 1974.
51
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happened – a close friend of the future Emperor Hadrian (Syme 1982;
Bosworth 1980; Bosworth 1988a; Bosworth 1995; Stadter 1980; Atkinson 2013: xiv). About 114 this Nigrinus visited Delphi, so Arrian, by
an amazing coincidence, must have met there a noble priest of Apollo
(Stadter 2014a: 207), holding this old prestigious religious office since
many years (Sinko 1951; Jones 1971: 13-38; Korus 2003: 63). This
priest was nobody else than Plutarch himself (An seni, 17; Hirzel 1912:
11; Hamilton 1969: xv; Swain 1996: 136; Stadter 2014b: 20; Pelling
2014) who – noticeably – had dedicated also one of his moral essays
(Περὶ φιλαδελφίας; De frat. amore52) to his two influential Roman
amici, the Avidii brothers – Arrian’s actual patron’s father and uncle.53
It was this time, one may reasonably infer, when an opportunity occurred for a very probable encounter of Arrian with the acknowledged
and noble Boeotian man of letters. As far as I know the possibility of
such a meeting has been first ingeniously put by Professor Everett L.
Wheeler in his thoughtful biography of Arrian (Wheeler 1977: 27).54
Wheeler thinks that ‘at least official contact between two seems unavoidable’. In the same manner wrote recently another Arrian-authority,
Professor Stadter, according to whom the Nicomedian ‘must have met
Plutarch’ (Stadter 2014a: 200). Contrary to the other imaginary encounters of ‘the greats’ like Scipio and Hannibal, or, more recently, Haendel
and Bach, one may assume here the highest likelihood of such a meet52
De frat. amore 478b: οὕτω δὴ καὶ αὐτὸς ὑμῖν, ὦ Νιγρῖνε καὶ Κυῆτε, τὸ σύγγραμμα
τοῦτο περὶ φιλαδελφίας ἀνατίθημι κοινὸν ἀξίοις οὖσι δῶρον (‘In like manner do I also
dedicate this treatise On brotherly love to you, Nigrinus and Quietus, a joint gift for you
both who well deserve it’; tr. W. C. Helmbold, Loeb); on the two men see Groag, Stein
1933: 189-190; on the chronology of Plutarch’s writings see Jones 1966: 61-74; Jones
1971: 51-55.
53
Cf. Groag, Stein 1933: nos. 1407, 1410; see Sherwin-White 1966: 388; Bowersock 1969: 111; Stadter 2002: 227f. Additionally, as Jones 1971: 51, reminds, Quietus
(a friend of the heroic Stoic Thrasea Paetus) was the addressee of the another Plutarchan treatise On the delays of the divine vengeance (Περὶ τῶν ὑπὸ τοῦ θείου βραδέως
τιμωρουμένων; De sera numinis vindicta, 548a).
54
Earlier on, Christopher Jones (1971: 36) rightly observed that Plutarch certainly
had a knowledge of the school Epictetus had founded in Nicopolis, although in the
extant works of Plutarch there is no hint at, or reference to it, as – remarkably – no
word is issued about Arrian’s famous Stoic praeceptor (the same is true in the case of
the Dio Chysostomus; Jones 1978). The same may be said of Arrian too: there is neither
allusion nor mention of Plutarch in the Nicomedian’s Discourses of Epictetus.
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ARRIAN’S PREFACE TO THE ANABASIS ALEXANDROU…
ing. Yet, even if safely assumed that it really has occurred, any further
speculation how it proceeded must remain in guessing. Nevertheless,
there is perhaps another intriguing trace that for Arrian, at least, a conversation did not need to leave a nice impression.
In the beautiful essay On the tranquility of mind (Περὶ εὐθυμίας; De
tranquillitate animi: Mor. 464e-477e), there is an interesting view the
Boeotian essayist holds of the young Greeks from the Black Sea region.
Their aim was to excel in the Roman ‘rat race’ in order to gain profits
in holding prestigious administrative honores (Hamilton 1969: xviiixix; cf. Madsen 2006: 66). Remarkably, there is a mention (470c) of
a Βιθυνός whose modest aim is not to be honored by his fellow-citizens
in a native local city (εἴ τινος μερίδος ἢ δόξαν ἢ δύναμιν ἐν τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ
πολίταις εἴληχεν) but who is obsessed by career and complains (ἀλλὰ
κλαίων) not only for achieving the office of patrician but, next, pretorship, and then consulship, or consulship second time (ὅτι μὴ φορεῖ
πατρικίους· ἐὰν δὲ καὶ φορῇ, ὅτι μηδέπω στρατηγεῖ Ῥωμαίων· ἐὰν δὲ
καὶ στρατηγῇ, ὅτι μὴ ὑπατεύει). Plutarch’s bitter notice could not have
referred to Arrian personally, one may be sure, yet if the young Arrian knew this essay, it must certainly have sounded unpleasantly to the
ear of man who traveled in the company of the Roman dignitary, with
a hope for promotion. It is not inconceivable that Plutarch has repeated
his reserved standpoint in the presence of Arrian while talking. If so, to
the young Stoic this might have been a derogatory lesson that he has
remembered well. In any case, despite of Plutarch’s good-natured but
at the same time condescending ‘warnings’, Arrian went nonetheless
his own way – successfully, as we know of his later spectacular rising
in the Roman military administration which at that time was, in some
sense, an unique phenomenon among the representatives of the provincial Greek elite (Lucian, Alex. 2; Schwartz 1895: 1230-1231; Zecchini
1983: 8-9; Vidal-Naquet 1984: 316-317; Sisti 2001: XIII).
***
Valuable as it is, the Anabasis by the ‘younger Xenophon’ was not
meant to be a dispassionate work. What Professor Henry Theodore
Wade-Gery put once famously of the historian of the Peloponnesian
war (‘perhaps no good historian is impartial; Thucydides certainly
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not’ [Wade-Gery 2012: 1475]), you can say about Arrian too. Like his
great Athenian predecessor, Arrian sine dubio was not such an ideal
researcher (Lane Fox 1978: 500). We need no more ‘Arriankult’, as
Davidson wrote in 2001, true. On the other hand, our knowledge in this
matter cannot stop us from appreciating Arrian’s benevolence and his
brave effort to face the rich but hopelessly complicated tradition concerning Alexander. A great part of this job was thus to correct erroneous
views about the king, to re-establish the facts anew (Heckel 2015: 24)
– which meant simply polemics. In the above it was several times suggested that in all probability Arrian attempted at such work with Plutarchan biography, inter alia, in mind, and that Plutarch’s work must
remained one of Arrian’s oubjects of criticism.55 Even if not mentioned
by name, the Boetian and his Life of Alexander appear to have been
the most natural point of departure in the Epictetus’ apprentice new
Alexander history, also for this reason that the criticized biography was
relatively ‘fresh’, actual, and known in the circles of the other viri literati (pepaideumenoi). Absolute certainty in this matter (as in so many
issues in the tale of Alexander; Bowden 2014: 145) cannot be reached,
however, so the conjectural character of this paper, in accord with Aristotle’s memorable sentence from the Nicomachean Ethics (1. 3 = 1094b
25): πεπαιδευμένου γάρ ἐστιν ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον τἀκριβὲς ἐπιζητεῖν καθ'
ἕκαστον γένος, ἐφ' ὅσον ἡ τοῦ πράγματος φύσις ἐπιδέχεται.
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Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.04
MICHAŁ BZINKOWSKI
(JAGIELLONIAN UNIVERSITY, KRAKÓW)
THE CASE OF THE ANGELS.
THE RELEVANCE OF THE RESEARCH
BY CLASSICAL SCHOLAR
JOHN CUTHBERT LAWSON (1874-1919)
ON MODERN GREEK CULTURE
SUMMARY: In my paper I focus on the well-known John Cuthbert Lawson’s
study about Modern Greek folklore (1910) and I venture to verify if it may be
regarded as a reliable source of information about Greek folk beliefs. I base
my argument on the eschatological remarks Lawson made concerning the personification of Death – Charos and his relationship to the Christian Angels.
Confronting Lawson’s views and his source material with other similar demotic songs, mainly from the collections he had had access to, I try to show in
what way the older collections of folk-songs might have distorted or falsified
the eschatological images of Charos and the Angels, and what he overlooked
while analyzing the sources. I also shed some light on possible influences of
Byzantine orthodoxy on Modern Greek folk tradition to which Greek demotic
songs belong.
KEYWORDS: Modern Greek literature, Modern Greek folk poetry, demotic
songs, Modern Greek folklore, folk eschatology, personification of Death,
Byzantine eschatology, Byzantine orthodoxy, reception of Antiquity, John
Cuthbert Lawson, angels in Byzantium
A discussion about continuity or discontinuity of Greek tradition
from various points of view and according to different schools has
been the subject of research at least since the late eighteenth century,
83
MMichaMiMichał Bz
just before the birth of the Greek state, when it became strongly ideologized by “romantic” philhellenic movement and generally was a result
of nineteenth century nationalist theories.1 The debate whether Modern Greek culture in some of its manifestations is a natural descendant
of its ancient predecessor or not does not seem to have ceased today,
although it definitely lost its vigour and generally in recent scholarship is regarded as unconstructive (Tziovas 2014: 9). The most recent
approaches to the problem, especially made by Alexiou, accentuate
a rather cyclical than linear aspect of time and its relation to the understanding of what Greek culture is in modern times and thus broaden
the research perspective trying to embrace language, myth and metaphor present not only in written texts but in ritual manifestations of
folk culture (Alexiou 1974; Alexiou 2002a).2 Together with the change
of attitude to the question of whether the “survivalism” of ancient culture should be examined synchronically or diachronically, including
the transitional phases of Byzantine and Ottoman periods that left indelible traces on Greek culture, there occurred a sort of rehabilitation
of the studies written mainly at the end of nineteenth and in the beginning of twentieth century. We should remember that the scholars with
classical education faced the question rather “romantically”, in accordance with the ideological tendencies of their times.
One of the books that has been an inexhaustible source of information for over a hundred years concerning the supposed continuity
of ancient Greece in its modern counterpart is a memorable study by
a young classical scholar John Cuthbert Lawson (1874-1919), Fellow and Lecturer in Pembroke College in Cambridge, entitled Modern Greek folklore and ancient Greek religion: A study in survivals
(Lawson 1910).3
Vryonis (1978: 237-256) gives a convincing survey of the theories. See also Alexiou 2002a: 8-16. As for the role folk studies played in Greece in the shaping of Greek
national identity see Politis A. 2011: 241-262.
2
There is no way here to enumerate all the valuable studies devoted to the “continuity problem”, however it seems important to remind here the most significant of
them, relevant to our paper, such as a classic study by Herzfeld (1982) or the most
recent volume of essays by Tziovas (2014).
3
Other well-known and memorable studies by English visitors in Greece during the
nineteenth and the beginning of twentieth century include: Geldart 1884; Rodd 1892;
1
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THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
As the author writes in the preface to his book, he spent two years
in Greece (1898-1900) thanks to the Craven Fund that financed his
stay and work that he undertook in order to gather the information for
his research on the customs of modern Greece (Lawson 1910: vii). But
the real purpose he aimed to achieve was not the ethnographic collection of data during the fieldwork but – as he states with undisguised
pride – the first attempt ever made to show modern Greek folklore as
a significant and essential vehicle for the exploration of the continuity
of Ancient Greek religion (Lawson 1910: x).
The same year when Lawson’s book was published, it was reviewed in The Classical Review by the then influential classical
scholar Jane Ellen Harrison (1850-1928) (Harrison 1910: 181-183)
who did not conceal her admiration for his work but simultaneously
reproached him for neglecting and rejecting the comparative method
and not showing the modern Greek folklore in broader perspective in
comparison with other primitive tribal initiation ceremonies (Harrison
1910: 183). Another critical insight into Lawson’s book is offered by
the review written the same year by H. J. Rose who accused the author
of being “childish” in interpreting the religious passages from ancient
writers that he had no knowledge about at all (Rose 1910: 529-532).
On the other hand, Rose admits that the ethnographic data gathered by
Lawson is valuable indeed and his remarks about the contemporary
beliefs of Modern Greeks deserve credit.
Two years later a Professor of Harvard University, Clifford Herschel Moore (1866-1931) later author of the classic study on Greek
religion (Moore 1916) and translator of Tacitus’ Historiae, reviewed
Lawson’s book, paying attention to the richness of the content concerning the Greek folklore as well as to the author’s lack of knowledge
of the contemporary studies on Greek religion that could support his,
in many cases doubtful, theses (Moore 1912: 108-111). According to
Moore, one should also treat with caution the accounts used by Lawson due to the fact that the respondent’s oral accounts are not always
trustworthy (Moore 1912: 111). However, the most critical review was
published the same year by George L. Hamilton who explicitly reproached Lawson for his unacceptable ignorance of both comparative
Abbot 1903.
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religions and folklore studies and complete lack of knowledge of the
broader European context of the tales and folk stories he deals with in
his book (Hamilton 1912: 87-90).4 Later reviews such as, for instance,
Johannes Th. Kakridis’ detailed analysis of some passages in Lawson’s book that are oversimplified or misleading (Kakridis 1969: 495499), or a short review by Américo Paredes (1965: 356) generally
share the opinion that although in many cases his study is obviously
out of date, one must not deny his ability to show universal beliefs
and practices.
The person most critical both to the question of diachronic survivalism of Hellenic culture and the person who sought every possible source that could explain modern tales via ancient myths was
professor of Greek at the University of Oxford, archeologist and folklorist, Director of the British School at Athens, Richard M. Dawkins
(1871-1955). One of the most influential neohellenist scholars whose
works,5 thanks to his research accuracy and thorough documentation
of the sources, are invariably admired in modern scholarship (Alexiou 2002a: 218), strongly stressed the necessity to see Greek folktales
in terms of a synchronic system where every element is meaningful
for the community that is an addressee of a story (Mackridge 2009:
56; Tziovas 2014: 26, n. 5). Instead of tracing back modern folklore
to ancient Greek culture, he preferred the comparative method and
sought to juxtapose Greek folksongs with their counterparts in other
contemporary cultures (Mackridge 2009: 56).6
4
For instance, he observes that Lawson does not know either the then well-known
collection of folk tales by Hahn (1864), or Dyer’s study about Greek religion (Dyer
1891), that could support some of his theses and place them in their relevant context.
5
The most influential are: Dawkins 1916, the result of three visits to Cappadocia
(1909, 1910, 1911) just before the Balkan wars begun, and Dawkins 1953.
6
In a letter to Hasluck, Dawkins writes that Lawson “does not possess an imaginative mind. It’s odd that such an unsuitable person got hold of such a subject” (Dawkins
to Hasluck, 2 Feb. 1919). The quote is from Mackridge 2009: 56. However, later he
seems to have softened his stance against Lawson. For instance, in the James Frazer
Memorial Lecture given at Oxford on 5th May in 1924, although he does not agree with
Lawson’s opinion about the vampires, he shares his views on eschatology of Greek
dirges. Besides, he also shares some of Lawson’s views about the continuity of ancient
Greek concepts about the afterlife of an individual. See Dawkins 1942: 134-136.
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THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
Since Lawson’s study in spite of the lapse of time and change of
approaches is regarded, among others by Alexiou in her influential
monograph (Alexiou 2002a: 455, n. 24), as a still reliable source of
information about Greek folk beliefs, in the present paper I venture
to verify this statement. Based on the eschatological remarks Lawson
made concerning the personification of Death in Greek tradition and
specifically the relationship between the pagan Charos/Death and the
Christian Angels I will try to establish to what degree his account may
be up-to-date and the information he conveys on the subject is up-todate or if it should be disregarded. Thus, confronting Lawson’s views
and his source material with other similar demotic songs, mainly from
the collections he had had access to, I shall try to show in what way
the older collections of folk-songs he used might have distorted or falsified the eschatological images of Charos and the Angels, and what
he overlooked while analyzing the sources. On that occasion, I hope
to shed also some light on the problem that in my opinion is rather
neglected by researchers of Greek demotic poetry, namely to possible
influences of Byzantine orthodoxy on Modern Greek folk tradition to
which Greek demotic songs belong.
It also seems useful to pay some attention to the sources of Greek
demotic songs Lawson used to illustrate his theses about Modern
Greek eschatology. He cites, among other things, the collections of
Passow (1860) and Schmidt (1877), as well as mentions the works
of the founder of Greek folk studies, Nikolaos Politis (1852-1921),
whose first Greek collection of songs he could not have known for
obvious reasons.7 It is also worth remembering that at that time other
collections of Greek songs in translation into European languages
7
The first edition of the well-known collection was published in 1914. Interestingly, when publishing his collection Politis used the method of textual criticism that he
borrowed from the classical studies. Moreover, in contradistinction to European folklore studies of that time, Greek folksongs were treated mostly as “written text” and their
oral performance was neglected. See especially Alexiou 1984: 7-10.
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were already plentiful enough both in England8 and in France9 and
Germany or Austria.10
However, what is extremely interesting and – as I suppose – has not
attracted proper interest so far, in spite of Lawson’ s peculiar attitude
to folk elements and his tendency to link every similar element with
ancient Greek sources, is the fact that he is fully aware of the “doublefaith” patterns of Greek folk beliefs based, on the one hand, on Christian elements as the legacy of Byzantine church and, on the other, on
Hellenic sources of ancient origin (Bzinkowski 2011: 104-105).11 As he
notices, with a sort of perplexity, peasants seem not to bother and easily
identify both sides of their beliefs.12
Undoubtedly, Lawson is right in his general supposition that Modern Greek Charos (Ca;rov, Ca;rontav) is only partly what Charon
used to be in classical times,13 namely the carrier of the dead to the
8
A detailed list and comparison of the nineteenth-century European collections
of Greek folk songs was made by Ibrovac (1966: 153-248) and if one would like to
check any relevant information I strongly recommend his thorough study. As for the
Greek collections and their relationship to European sources, see Politis A. 2011: 277283, 325-334. For a short survey of collections see also Beaton 1986: 115-117. Here I
mention merely some of the English collections Lawson might have known and could
have had access to. Apart from the translation of Claude Fauriel’s collection by Sherridan (Fauriel 1825), collections by Garnett (1888) and by Abbot (1900) were already
available.
9
The most important are these by Marcellus 1851; Lévy 1860; and especially by
Legrand 1874. See Ibrovac 1966: 187-188.
10
The most influential, as it seems, was the anthology by Karl Theodor Kind that
had four editions (1835, 1844, 1849). In the last one published in 1861 (Anthologie neugriechischer Volkslieder) Kind used the earlier collections and excerpted some songs
from them: among others from Passow, 1860; Zampelios 1852; Tomasseo 1842. See
Ibrovac 1966: 212-213.
11
See also Dawkins 1942.
12
Lawson (1910: 53, 101) even suggests that Charos is – though rarely – called
άγιος (saint). I have not found so far any confirmation of his statement either in collections of demotic songs or in the studies devoted to the subject. Thus, I omit this remark
in my analysis.
13
The whole chapter about Charos, see Lawson 1910: 98-117. Abbot (1903: 205207), who mentions Charos only in the context of funeral rites, is also aware of the
complexity of a division of his duties and unclear origins.
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THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
“Homeric”-looking Underworld,14 although, as it should be stressed, he
is by no means “the ferryman” but rather a “psychopompos”, as documented elsewhere (Lawson 1910: 98).15 Generally, in accordance with
the method he chose and the goal he aimed to attain, Lawson regards
Charos simply as “an ancient deity” (Lawson 1910: 98). The speculation whether the name of the modern personification of death in Greek
tradition is indirectly rooted in the name of the ancient ferryman, Charon, does not engage him so much. He limits himself just to a statement that the origins of this modern deity are taken for granted and
the case does not need more elucidation (Lawson 1910: 98). This is
a significant way of treating the researched material by the scholar who
seems to have chosen the shortest path to reach the confirmation of his
theses that some manifestations of Modern Greek folk customs are an
indirect continuity of the ancient rituals and beliefs that survived on
Hellenic ground in spite of the domination of Christianity. It is worth
noticing, because it reveals the core of his methodology: to see ancient
features in everything that seems similar but to omit the differences
and, more importantly, not to take into account the transitional stages
of a development of a researched feature. However, let us remind that it
was nothing uncommon for nineteenth century European scholars, for
whom Greek folklore was interesting provided that it could be linked
to the classical past and possibly explain ancient Greek mythology or
religion (Alexiou 1984: 9).
Moreover, the case of Charos touches upon the question of the
credibility of the accounts that gave Lawson the proof material for his
research. As he states, the interlocutors asked about the personified
death showed “neither superstitious awe nor fear” (Alexiou 1984: 9),
which demonstrates that he did not take into account the fact obvious
for all ethnographers and researchers working on the spot. Firstly, the
respondents’ attitude to strangers does not allow them to speak openly,
especially when the question is a ritualized taboo of a village or a traditional society, and that is exactly in the case of death as it is a “border
As for the Modern Greek Underworld and its relation to Ancient Greek Hades see
my recent paper: Bzinkowski 2011. See also Dawkins 1942: 143-145.
15
The outline of his role as a psychopompos see, among others, my paper: Bzinkowski 2009.
14
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situation”. Secondly, the informants just do not want to show they are
superstitious or backward (Alexiou 1984: 12-13). On the other hand,
the respondent, in order to show himself and the story in better light,
may embroider it to make it more attractive or simply provide information that is expected (Alexiou 1984: 11). It could also happen, which
Abbot suspects in a book that Lawson had known, that the informant
simply did not remember exactly the story or the song he cited and thus
changed its contents (Abbot 1903: 206).
Thus, the knowledge that Lawson gathered investigating the inhabitants of Greek villages must be treated very cautiously and attempting
to reconstruct the folk beliefs basing mainly on the accounts he refers
to would be quite risky. Besides, it was not the main aim of the scholar
who – as I have already mentioned – attempted to show the relics of
Ancient Greek religion by shedding some light (though in some cases
rather obscuring than illuminating) on the possible reminiscences or
traces of its manifestations in folk customs and beliefs.
***
CHAROS AND THE ANGELS
Lawson suggests that in some cases Charos, who “is conceived to
be a free agent responsible to none or merely a minister of the supreme
God” (Lawson 1910: 101), is accompanied in his duties by God’s assistants, the Angels.16 Their duty in the version of the demotic song
mentioned by him and taken in turn from Passow’s collection, is to
It would be a difficult task, as I suppose, to find an equivalent image for instance
in Byzantine texts. Byzantium had never developed a coherent and universally accepted
system of the spiritual existence of the Angels. Besides, it also had never rejected more
Biblical ideas and more ancient concepts about them. Apart from pseudo-Dionysius the
Areopagite’s Celestial hierarchy, who distinguished nine orders of the angels according
to Neoplatonic concepts, there is no other Byzantine treatise dealing thoroughly with
the problem of angelology. See Meyendorff 1979: 136. What is striking in Dionysius’s
system is that those who are in direct contact with humanity are angels and archangels who are at the bottom of the angelic hierarchy, whereas in Byzantium the case of
Archangel Michael indicates that the folk beliefs in him were rooted rather in pagan
and Jewish concept than in theologians’ treatises. See Peers 2001: 5-6 – a remarkable,
hitherto most comprehensive study of Byzantine angelology.
16
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THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
take care of children during the journey to Hades. Interestingly, the
motif comes from a very popular song that we come across in almost
every part of Greece (Dawkins 1942: 136), “Charos and the Shepherd”
or “The Young Brave and Charos” (Ο Χάρος και ο Τσοπάνης, Του
Λεβέντη και του Χάρου) that corresponds to different versions of the
song belonging to the acritic cycle, “Digenis and Charos” (O Digenήv
kai o Ca;rov).17 The plot of the short story goes like this: a young man
comes down a mountain slope and heads back home and suddenly sees
Charos approaching (in some versions riding a horse) with a sword in
his hands. The dialogue between a young man and Death independently
of a version has some common characteristics: Charos’ declaration that
he had come to seize his soul, his resistance, fight with Charos (usually
on the marble threshing floor) and the shepherd’s surrender. In some
versions there is also a pleading of the shepherd so that Charos does not
take him because of his wife, his children and his flocks.
Interestingly, in Passow’s version, after the fight that was in a sort
of a scheme of “wrestling with Charos” (χαροπάλεμα), the shepherd
that had surrendered, ordered Charos to take him to his tent: δείξε μου
την τέντα σου να πάγω μοναχός μου (“and show me your tent so that
I go by myself”).18 Charos’ answer gives no hope and rather aims to
make the shepherd realize his situation:
Na dghv esu; thn te;nta mou, o tromiasmo;v se pia;nei,
Opώcw ta mikra; paidia; pou fe;rnoune τ’οι Aggέloι
Mostly, the heroic medieval songs were not disseminated in mainland Greece. However, the versions of the songs with a motif of wrestling of a young brave (lebe;nthv) or
a shepherd (tsopa;nhv, bosko;v) with Death/Charos are the traces of the “charopalema”
motif of Digenis Akritas. They were adapted to new reality, namely to the agricultural
society. See Politis A. 2011: 75-76. Lawson (1910: 104) knows a Cypriot version of such
a song from Sakellarios’ collection. For more on different versions of the motif see Anagnostopoulos 1984: 119-120. The comparative and cultural analysis especially see Saunier 1972 and also Stathis 2004: 771-784. Saunier (1999: 537) also includes in this group
a third category: “A bet between Yannis and the Sun” (Στοίχημα Γιάννη και Ήλιου),
which, according to him, is a different form of the motif of wrestling with Death.
18
Saunier (1982: 301-302) convincingly suggests that it is a strictly military term
and he directs attention to the historical background of the motif. It is striking that
Dawkins (1942: 136) misinterprets this passage and writes that the conquered in the
struggle with Death “must dwell in Charos’ tent”. In the cited fragment it is obviously
the shepherd’s will to go there.
17
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When you see my tent, you will be filled with dismay,
Just there I have the little children the ones that the Angels bring me.
(Passow, nr 427, p. 303-304)19
Interestingly, let me underline it clearly, the parallel examples do
not exist in demotic songs (at least I have not found so far any other
similar ones), which means that the image of the Angels helping Charos in his duties by taking children may be something extremely incidental or there must be another explanation of the appearance of the
motif.20 There is no such mention in Fauriel’s collection, although it
contains a version of the song “The Shepherd and Charos” (Fauriel
1824-1825: II, 90-93).21 Neither do we come across it in the collection
We find the same fragment in an almost unaltered version in Kind’s collection, nr
IX (O Ca;rov kai o tσopάnhv), p. 76: Na idήv esu; thn te;nta mou, o tromasmo;v se pia;nei
/ Opώcw ta mikra; paidia; pou fe;rnoune t' oi Aggέloi.
20
Stathis (2004: 776), basing on Yrhskeutikh; kai Hyikh; Egkuklopaίdeia (12
volumes, edited by A. Martinos), refers to that: “The angels take the souls of small
children and they bring them to Charos” (οι Άγγελοι παίρνουν τις ψυχές των αθώων
παιδιών και τις φέρνουν στο Χάρο). Due to the fact that I had no access to Stathis’
source, it is impossible for me to verify his statement. However, I realize that such
a conviction may be rooted in folk orthodox beliefs and the problem needs definitely a separate research procedure. There are also some accounts in Psychogiou that
may confirm the eschatological connection between the angels and children in folk
tradition. Psychogiou 2008: 303, according to Eleni Psychogiou, age 80, illiterate: Τα
μικρά παιδιά, άμα πεθαίνουνε αβάφτηγα, ούτε τα διαβάζουνε ούτε το θάβανε μέσ’ στην
εκκλησία [στο νεκροταφείο]. Τα βαφτισμένα τα θάβουνε με πολλά λουλούδια και τα
λένε «οι άγγελοι του θεού» (“When little children die unbaptized, they are not read out
nor buried in church [in the graveyard]. The children that are baptized, they bury with
a lot of flowers and they call them “the angels of God”). Psychogiou 2008: 319, according to Anna Rozaki, age 55, literate: όταν είναι [ο νεκρός] μικρό παιδάκι, μέχρι 10-12
χρονών, φτιάχνομε κουλουράκια σε σχήμα γ που τα λέμε «λαζάρους» και τα μοιράζομε
και λέμε «οι αγγέλοι να του τα πάνε» (“When a small child [that dies], around 10-12
years of age, we make bagels in the shape of the letter gamma, we distribute them and
we say «may the angels bring them to him»”).
21
Almost the same version is contained in Abbot’s collection. Another collection
Lawson might have read, namely the well-known anthology by Legrand (1874) contains only a few songs about Charos and the Underworld that do not contribute at all
to our issue. Interestingly, both Abbot and Legrand abundantly drew from earlier collections of folk songs but they never made reference to them. See Politis A. 2011: 266.
Only in the anthology of Kind (1861) we come across another mention of the angels,
though – I daresay – even more obscure and rather unusual in demotic songs. In a variation of a well-known song about Charos-the builder who builds the orchard (garden)
19
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THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
by Iatridis (1859) known and cited by Lawson in which a variant of
the story appears under the title: Ότι ουδέν αδάμαστον απέναντι του
αδυσωπήτου θανάτου (Τραγώδι παλαιότατον) (Iatridis 1859: 16-18)
nor in Chasiotis, who mentions two variants of the song (Chasiotis
1866: 167-168).
Besides, in the collection of Passow there are other songs centered
around the motif of “Death and the Shepherd”, but the Angels do not
appear. Instead, in the case of our fragment and its parallel versions, we
have to do with a strictly formulaic language: the second part of a verse
is replaced by different elements while the first one stays (almost) unchanged. Let us cite some examples of the above-mentioned formula to
see the oral technique of composition:
Μωρέ αν δγης την τέντα μου, όλος ανατρομάξεις.
You fool, if you see my tent, you will be wholly scared.
(Passow, nr 428, p. 305 [the last verse of the song])
Να πας κ’ ιδής την τέντα μου θέλεις να συντ΄ομάξεις
Διατ΄είν’ απόξω π΄άσινη και μέσα μαυ΄ομένη.
When you go and see my tent you will be scared
Because from the outside it is green, from the inside black.
(Passow, nr 432, p. 308)
Πάμε να δεις την τέντα μου να στραβοκατινίσης.
Απόξ΄ έχω τα κόκκινα και μές΄έχω τα μαύρα.
Let’ s go, so that you see my tent and doubt.
Outside I have red colours and inside the black ones.
(Passow, nr 433, p. 308; Kind, nr VII [Ο Ζάχος και ο Χάρος], p. 72)
from the dead bodies, in the first part, that is rather impossible to connect to the second
one with the well-known motif, there is a phrase that seems to be obviously an intrusion: μα εκείνος ήτον άγγελος με ταις χρυσαίς φτερούγαις (“But he was the angel with
the golden wings”). See Kind 1861: 68, song V (Το περιβόλι του Χάρου). It cannot be
easily determined whether it is about Charos identified here with The Angel of Death
or if it comes from another song not related to that one at all. As for the motif of Charos
building the garden see Stathis 2004: 801-806.
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We come across an interesting variation of the same formula in the
collection that Lawson knows and cites several times, namely in folk
songs from the island Chios by Kanellakis (1890). In the Chiotic version
of the song about Charos and the Shepherd (In Kanellakis: Τσόμπανης
και Χάρων, nr 78, pp. 108-109) we do not find the cited formula but
there is another curious trace of Christian beliefs interweaving with
the folk paganism. When after the fight Charos at last seized the shepherd’s soul, he asked if he “had stolen any lambs or had eaten goats”
(έκλεψες αρνιά; τσοπάν΄, ήφαγες ΄γίδια). After the shepherd’s negative
answer his soul “was put on the scales and he went out justified” (Σ την
ζυγαριάν τον έβαλαν και ήβγεν δικηωμένος). Such a mixture of eschatological motives coming from two mutually exclusive worlds we find
extremely rarely. The netherworld of modern Greek demotic songs is
generally “morally neutral” and there is no division of the dead according to their life’s deeds.22
However, we come across the above-mentioned formula23 in another
song in Kanellakis’ collection, entitled “Charon” which tells the story of
three brothers building the tower in order to avoid Death/Charos, who
unfortunately takes notice of them. Although they invite him to drink
and eat with them – the motif frequently occurring in different variations throughout Greece – he stands to fight with Konstandis in a “charopalema”. The conquered Konstandis asks Charos to show him his
place so that he could go alone there. He receives the following answer:
Να δης εμόν το μέρος μου τρομάρα θα σε πιάση,
΄που ΄ν΄ από μέσα σκοτεινό τσ’ από ‘ξω ΄ραχνιασμένο
με των αντρών της τσεφαλαίς το ΄χω εγώ χτισμένο
με των κοπέλλων τα μαλλιά το έχω ΄σκεπασμένο.
As soon as you see my place, you will be scared,
because inside it is dark, outside cobwebbed
and I built it from men’s heads
and covered it with girls’ hair.
(Kanellakis, nr 35, p. 46)
I have already referred to it elsewhere: Bzinkowski 2011.
Interestingly, the cited formula appears very rarely in later versions of the song in
twentieth century collections as if it was regarded as a fragment coming from another
narrative.
22
23
94
THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
Another variation of the motif we encounter in the collection of
folk-songs from Asia Minor by Lagarde (1886).24 In the song coming
from Cappadocia, the motif of charopalema differs in the character
of Charos, who here is astonishingly “sensible and better educated”
(φρόνιμος και κάλλιο παιδευμένος). Akritas as in other versions wants
to go to Charos’ tent alone, but he is warned by him25:
Αν σε δείξω την τέντα μου, πολύ θενά τρομάξεις,
ως κλώθει ολοπράσινα και μέσα ροχιασμένα,
ως κλώθουν τα τεντώματα, παλληκαριού βραχιόνια.
(Lagarde, nr 22, p. 26)
If I show you my tent, you will be very scared,
because around it is totally green from outside but inside it is cobwebbed,
because the arms of the young brave are stretched all around.26
It seems to me that the presence of the Angels in Passow’s collection mentioned in the first example as an illustration of Lawson’s suggestion could be explained in two ways. We should remind the reader
indeed that Passow cites the song at second hand for he uses the older
popular collection of the Greek songs by an Italian linguist of Dalmatian origin, Niccolò Tommaseo (1802-1874), Canti popolari italiani,
corsi, illirici, greci (Tommaseo 1842).27
The song is cited by Saunier in his collection of moirologia (Saunier 1999: 540).
There are many variants of the song as well as of the formula. See Politis, Akritika, 247.
26
Due to the doubts about the meaning that arises with the last line, I decided to
paraphrase it.
27
More on Tomasseo’s collection, his sources of Greek songs, see Ibrovac 1966:
231-232. As we know, some of the informants of Tomasseo were scholars and they
purposely changed the songs they presented to Tomasseo to make them more elegant
or more – in their opinion – proper. Very interesting is the example of one of the kleftic
songs alluding to the time before the war of independence cited by Fauriel (t. 1, Του
Κίτσου, p. 119) who had noted it from an anonymous informant. Because it was in
prose, Fauriel gave it only in his French translation. However, a slightly later teacher of
The Flanginian School in Venice, Anthimos Mazarakis, changed Fauriel’s prose translation into verses and transmitted it as a genuine song to Tomasseo, who published it in
his collection. See Politis A. 2011: 183.
24
25
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MMichaMiMichał Bz
Based on the comparison of the above-mentioned verses with parallel examples from similar songs, we could assume that the phrase
as a part of a formula could have been introduced by a singer who
presented the song to Tomasseo in order to satisfy the collector with
a slight but significant reference to Christianity and he replaced the
phrase with “the Angels”. Of course, I realize the lack of firm basis for
such a supposition and thus I propose the second possibility. Tomasseo
himself might have replaced the phrase he had heard and made it more
“Christian” in the way that instead of cruel and merciless Charos he
introduced the Angels, but only in one context – the one of carrying the
children to the Underworld. Let us underline the fact that is neglected
by other scholars commenting on Charos’ presence in demotic songs.
For, as it turns out, Tomasseo is fully aware of the possibility that the
mention of the Angels may be a sort of intrusion and, according to him,
no matter what the reality is, it is a good reason for rejoicing.28
Thus, Lawson’s remark that was a starting point for asking a question about the validity of the syncretistic connection between Charos
and the Angels gains another dimension. Although Lawson had the
possibility to collect the material on the spot, he chose among others
the Passow’s collection that in turn was based on the texts published
– let us say – in a scholarly manner. It is now well-known that Passow
had the tendency to conflate some variants of the songs in order to –
just like the classical philologists, the editors of ancient texts used to –
create the established model text of a given song based on all accessible
versions (Beaton 2004: 10, 203; Politis A. 2011: 256-257). Besides, as
it turns out, most of the collections of folk songs that were published in
the nineteenth century were not the reproductions of oral performances
Let me cite the passage from Tomasseo’s collection to show more accurately my
supposition: “L’ imagine degli Angeli rallegra Il luogo dell’ ultima notte. Non so se sia
verso intruso; ma toccarlo non oso: che mostra il confondersi delle cristiane tradizioni
con le pagane, e quelle più liete. – Dicono il Cristianesimo malinconico! Il Cristianesimo trae gioia dal dolore; il Paganesimo dolore da gioia. L’ uno dice: godiamo alla
disperata, chè il dolore è inevitabile; l’ altro dice: speriamo gioie sempre maggiori dell’
inevitabil dolore” (Tomasseo 1842: 303). It is known that some of the “folk” songs in
the Tomasseo’s collection were provided to him by the national Greek poet Dionysios
Solomos, who never visited the Greek mainland and was rather interested in the creation of the national Greek literature than the folk poetry itself. See Beaton 2004: 8-9.
28
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THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
at all but the work of a scholarly mind organizing and readjusting the
text material (Beaton 2004: 203).29 Thus, naturally we must treat with
great suspicion also Lawson’s remarks about the Angels in the company of Charos based on the cited folksongs.30
***
CHAROS AND ARCHANGEL MICHAEL
Interesting, though at first sight striking, is the information Lawson
gives about Archangel Michael who, according to him, in some cases
acts as a counterpart of Charos and plays the role of a psychopompos
taking the souls to the Underworld (Lawson 1910: 101).31 Unfortunately, the scholar who regards the Archangel as a natural Christian
continuation of ancient Hermes psychopompos (Lawson 1910: 45)32
does not reveal where he had drawn his information from nor does
he give any example of a folk song or folk tale that could possibly
illustrate that phenomenon. His main interest lies in juxtaposing the
above-mentioned charopalema motif with a motif of “struggling with
As Beaton (2004: 6-7) strongly underlines, neither Werner von Haxthausen (17801842), the author of the collection of Greek songs (in print 1935) and Claude Fauriel
had never visited Greece and drew information from the educated informants coming
from the Greek diaspora, many of them close friends of the collectors. To see how the
romantic movement together with Greek nationalism affected the publishing of folk
songs both in Greece and abroad, see the whole Introduction chapter in Beaton 2004:
1-12.
30
Interestingly, in one of the accounts in Psychogiou we come across such a company of Charos and the Angels. Syncretism of the image is explained by Psychogiou as
a possible result of the sex of the narrator, who in this case is a man. Psychogiou 2008:
343, according to Theophanis Papoutsis, age 74, shepherd: Αχ ο Χάρος κάνει μια χαρά
– αχ μωρέ μια χαρά/ μαζί με τους αγγέλους (“Oh, Charos has a good time, together
with the angels”).
31
It seems that Dawkins (1942: 135-136) had not noticed this remark since he writes
that “Of the archangel we lose sight entirely; his place is taken by Charos”. However,
later he adds “it is hard to say who the conductor of the dead is, Charos or the angel”.
32
He gives an example of a relic of ancient beliefs in the Maina village, where,
according to him, people tell the story about the archangel with a sword passing at the
mouth of the caves of Taenarus, exactly the same place, where Heracles was supposed
to come out with Cerberus.
29
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an angel” which, according to Schmidt’s study that he cites several
times (Schmidt 1871: 230), is reflected in the phraseology of Modern
Greek,33 so as a consequence he puts Archangel Michael aside.
As it turns out, Lawson is generally right in his remark about the
presence of the Archangel. He indeed acts like Charos,34 but – let me
underline it – it happens only in some specific cases (Anagnostopoulos 1984: 122-127). What is yet more important, I doubt if, as Lawson states (Lawson 1910: 101) he leads the souls to the Underworld.35
Therefore, in my opinion, he is not interchangeable, as Lawson postulated, with Charos in all his duties as one would like him to be.36 The
folk songs in which his name appears exclude such a possibility what
I shall try to prove subsequently.
There are many terms describing the struggle with the angels such as:
αγγελοσκιάζουμαι, αγγελομαχώ, αγγελοκρίνομαι, αγγελοκριτηρεύομαι. See Anagnostopoulos 1984: 120f.; Dawkins 1942: 135. I referred to them also in my paper: Bzinkowski 2009: 28.
34
Dawkins (1942: 136) reminds that in some folk songs we can find a reflection of
the pictures of Michael we could see in church, where he is dressed in bright garments
and is equipped like a Roman soldier. Charos, similarly is sometimes, not frequently,
presented as a shining warrior.
35
In Psychogiou 2008 we find an interesting account about the angel in the Underworld. Psychogiou 2008: 338, according to Makri Aleksandra, age 80, illiterate: Λένε
ότι πήγε μια φορά η Παναΐτσα με τον άγγελο στον Άδη, να ιδεί τσι ψυχούλες και τσι
είδε να βασανίζονται και ρώτησε τον άγγελο και της είπε ο άγγελος τις αμαρτίες (“They
say, once upon a time the Mother of God together with the angel went to Hades to see
the souls and saw that they are being tormented and asked the angel and he told her
about the sins”). As it turns out, there are countless sources of the story about the visit
of the Virgin Mary in the otherworld that survived in Greek, Ethiopic, Syriac, Arabic,
Latin, Irish, Georgian, Armenian, Slavonic and Romanian languages that confirm the
extraordinary popularity of Mary’s katabasis. See Baun 2007: 16, 97-98. About the plot
and the structure of the story see Lambakis 1982: 46-49. Dawkins (1942: 133) mentions
he had found an unpublished sixteenth or seventeenth century manuscript from the
Marcian library at Venice with a unique Cretan version written in Latin characters of
the Apocalypse of the Virgin containing many unusual motifs of the narrative.
36
Herzfeld (1982: 96) for example cites a Cypriot scholar Loukas, who regards the
Modern Greek Charos and the Archangel Michael as the same person with the same
responsibilities. In the Escorial manuscript of Digenis Akritas, a dying hero is scared
seeing “The Angel of fire, descending from heavens” (Άγγελο πυρός, από ουρανού
επελθόντα) and he cries to his wife: “Can you see, my dear, the angel who wants to take
me?” (Βλέπεις, καλή, τον άγγελο οπού με θέλει πάρει;). The fragment of the Escorial
version (verses 1765-1771) I cite from Stathis 2004: 775.
33
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THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
It is beyond the scope of this paper to develop the subject of the
presence of Archangel Michael – the patron saint of Byzantine emperors appearing on coins together with them – in Byzantine as well in orthodox art, where he manifests himself in thousands of icons and is an
object of the greatest worship,37 which confirms that that he must have
been important for all the believers of the orthodox church and thus
naturally could have also permeated into the folk beliefs.
Instead, firstly let me notice that during the Byzantine era Archangel Michael had already been confused and identified with Death/Charos (Angold 2000: 445). In the late Byzantine period there are many
paintings depicting the deceased accompanied by Archangel Michael,
who had been regarded as the “escort of souls” (Krueger 2006: 125)38
in the early Christian tradition that we can find in the third century
apocryphal “Apocalypse of Paul”.39 Numerous apocalypses from early
as well as late Antiquity confirm that the cult of Archangel Michael was
extremely popular in Byzantium (Baun 2007: 205; Peers 2001: 157f.
[chapter V: Apprehending the Archangel Michael]). Thus, there is no
37
Very interesting in eschatological context is a miraculous icon of the Archangel
Michael on Lesvos known as Archangel Michael of Mantamados. He is called also
“Arab” (Αράπης, Αραπέλλι) due to his black face and is presented rather as a hermaphrodite, which, according to Psychogiou, could indicate his strong connection to his
chthonic character as a psychopompos and relate also to androgynous “Black Earth”
(Μαυρηγή) whom a dead (irrelevantly man or woman) symbolically marries. See Psychogiou 2008: 48.
38
As it turns out there were even popular shrines of Archangel Michael (Krueger
2006: 91). The cult of Archangel Michael was also very widespread at Chonae, resulting in the popular tales of the miracle the archangel made at the shrine of his name
there, dating back to the eighth century. See Peers 2001: 157f. It is also significant
that generally the cult of the angels that flourished especially during the early Church
became a problem for the Church because it was based mainly on a syncretistic belief
coming from Jewish and pagan traditions. See Peers 2001: 8.
39
Known also as Visio Pauli or Visio Sancti Pauli (ed. Tischendorf 1866). It presents
the vision of heaven and hell saw by Paul the Apostle. See Baun 2007: 205-206. The
relevant fragment of the “Apocalypse of Paul”: “Let it [the soul] be delivered therefore
unto Michael the angel of the covenant, and let him lead it into the paradise of rejoicing
that it become fellow-heir with all the saints” (Paul 14, 43). “The Apocryphal New Testament”, M.R. James (Trans. and Notes), Oxford 1924. Accessible on: http://wesley.
nnu.edu/sermons-essays-books/noncanonical-literature/noncanonical-literature-apocryphal-nt-apocalypse/apocalypse-of-paul-summary/ (12.02.2015). About the plot as
well as the characteristics of the story see Lambakis 1982: 43-44.
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need to think, as Alexiou writes basing on Moravcsik (1931: 45-61),
that the hypothetical fusion might have originated in vernacular poetry of the late Byzantine period (Alexiou 2002a: 216, n. 7). Until now
some people say, as Danforth notices, that forty days after death, when
the soul, after wandering about and visiting the people and places from
its life, is presented by Charos to Archangel Michael (The Angel of the
Lord) who eventually takes it to heaven (στους ουρανούς) (Danforth
1982: 45).40
The traces of confusion of Charos with Archangel could be also
seen in the songs belonging to the acritic cycle, especially connected
with different versions of the song “Death of Digenis” (Ο Θάνατος του
Διγενή) (Anagnostopoulos 1984: 122), which Lawson fully realizes
and in that case, what is rather unusual for him, gives his sources in the
footnote (Lawson 1910: 104, n. 4).41 The collections which he references contain a lot of interesting traces of the confusion of Christian
motives with the pagan folk tradition. Both sources known to Lawson,
Sakellarios (1891) as well as Politis (1909), provide examples of the
coexistence of Christian elements artfully interwoven in the fibre of the
demotic songs (Sakellarios 1891; Politis N. 1909).
The biblical image of Archangel Michael with a sword in one hand
and the scale in another, very common in Byzantine iconography, has
mingled with a folk personification of Death (Anagnostopoulos 1984:
125). In acritic songs, that are regarded as the oldest preserved examples of the demotic songs,42 it seems that the subsequent fusion had
not yet taken place. Let us see the example from Politis’ collection
which makes the issue of the responsibility for man’s souls even more
40
See also Angold 2000: 455-456. In ethnographic accounts the angel appears when
someone is about to die soon. Psychogiou 2008: 307, according to Pigi Angelopoulou,
age 72, illiterate: Όταν είναι κανένας να πεθάνει, κάπως αλλάζει, κάτι βλέπει, βλέπουνε
τον άγγελό τους. (“When someone is about to die, he somehow changes, sees something, they see their angel”). The belief that in the moment of death the soul is taken by
the angels and in particular by the Archangel Michael is, according to Dawkins (1942:
135), a common folk belief.
41
Lawson (1910: 102) also notices that even Charos was Christianized and the fact
influenced also his character and made him more compassionate and in some cases
even reluctant to fulfill God’s orders.
42
According to the recent research both the category of the songs and their medieval
origins were questioned. See Politis A. 2011: 55.
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THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
obscure. Digenis tells on his death bed a story about his adventures and
brave deeds:
Ποττέ μου δεν εδείλιασα ωσάν αυτήν την ώραν,
που δα το Χάρον εγδυμνό, τολ Λιον αρματωμένο,
τομ Μιχαήλ αρκάγγελο τριά σπαθιά τζωσμένο.
το ένα ναι για τους φτωχούς, τάλλο για τους αρκόντους,
το τρίτον το φαρμακερό για μας τους αντρειωμένους.
I never feared like I do at that moment,
when I saw naked Charos, armed Elijah,
Archangel Michael belted with three swords:
the one for the poor, the other for the nobles,
the third, the poisoned one for the brave.
(Politis, Akritika, nr 8, p. 223; Saunier 1999, nr 5β, p. 550)
Or in another song with the same motif of Digenis speaking before
he dies:
Κ΄εκεί δεν εφοβήθηκα σαν τούτηνε την ώρα,
που είδα το Χάρο ζωντανό, το Χάρο καβαλλάρη,
που είδα τον αρχιστράτηγο με το σπαθί στο χέρι.
I never feared like in that moment,
when I saw Charos alive, Charos the rider,
when I saw the archistrategos with a sword in hand.
(Politis, Akritika, nr 14, p. 227; Saunier 1999, nr 7α, p. 552)
In Sakellarios’ collection we come across another interesting, yet
slightly different, example in the song entitled “The Alphabet Song of
Charos” (Άσμα το Αλφάβητον του Χάρου):
Άρχοντες αδροικήσετε τ’ αλφάβητον του Χάρου,
όταν ο Χάρος κη άθρωπος στέκουν και διαποντάρουν,
τον Μιχαήλ αρχάγγελον έχομεν σ’ ταις δουλειαίς μας,
και την θεότην του ‘δωκέν να παίρνη ταις ψυχαίς μας.
You noble ones, you have heard the alphabet of Charos,
when Charos and a man stand and wrestle,
we have Archangel Michael for our affairs,
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and it was given to him a theoti43[by God], so that he would take our
souls.
(Sakellarios, nr 7, p. 29)
The aforementioned fragments clearly show the well-known phenomenon of syncretic beliefs and convictions manifest in the popular
tradition of village societies. Folk imagination absorbed many elements
not only from ancient, pre-Christian rituals and traditions, as we can
see as one of the key-concepts in Lawson’s book. It has also assimilated different concepts coming from different epochs and places and
thus used to create from time to time images not exactly adherent or,
one could say, not easily definable.
In the cited fragments we have different psychopompoi: Charos,
Archangel Michael (called also “Archistrategos”) (Baun 2007: 97,
391f.)44 and even Saint Elijah (here: Λιος).45 However, the question of
Politis (1909:2001), commenting on the word in the version of the song from Cyprus, is not sure what θεότη actually means: αγνωώ αν η λέξις έχει την έννοιαν εικόνος
ή άλλου θείου πράγματος (“I don’t know if the word has the meaning an image or any
other divine thing”).
44
According to Jewish apocalyptic writings, including the Revelation, the archangels Michael and Gabriel are ranked just as “chief captains” of celestial armies, which
seems to be the main source of their presence in the Byzantine liturgy. See Meyendorff
1979: 136. It stands in striking opposition to the concept of Pseudo Dionysius’, where
the archangels are the second rank from the bottom in the hierarchy of nine ranks. See
Peers 2001: 4-5.
45
Politis (1909: 190, 223) explains that in some regions of Greece Λιος is used as a
diminutive of Εμμανουήλ, Μανώλης and probably it is an allusion to the prophet Elijah.
According to Anagnostopoulos, it is certainly the Prophet Elijah who was taken to Heaven armoured (αρματωμένος). It is worth noticing also the strong connection between
the prophet Elijah and Ilios (the Sun) due to the similarity of two words (Ηλίας – Ήλιος)
that manifests in popular beliefs and is reflected in folk imagery. As for the connection
between them in folk traditions see Politis 1882: 45-54. The local tradition of Kerkyra
also features Saint Spyridon who, according to Anagnostopoulos (1984: 123) acts like
Charos (Chasiotis 1866: 177-178, nr 12). However, it seems to me that in this case the
identification is rather impossible and it is due to a completely different context. In the
song from Chasiotis’ collection the day of Saint Spyridon is approaching and thus a
mother tries to plead with the saint, promising him some gifts if her beloved sons could
be alive. She blames Saint Spyridon for taking her child and regrets that instead of him
there come birds, swallows, but he never comes back. In other versions Charos’ duties
could be executed even by Saint Nicolas. See Anagnostopoulos 1984: 122-123. Politis
(1909: 190) notices that the Saints as psychopompoi are rather unknown besides Asia
43
102
THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
the correspondence between the persons mentioned above is not so easily tangible and I am not quite convinced – I daresay – if it is relevant at
all. The core of the first fragment comes from the story that has countless variants throughout Greece about Digenis that is dying (Ο Διγενής
ψυχομαχεί). If we look closer at the language and the imagery of the
cited fragment we will notice a formulaic expression46 containing a tripartite enumeration (Χάρον – Λιον – Μιχαήλ) that corresponds in turn
to the three swords of Michael that are assigned to each sort of the
dead. We encounter the same situation in the next cited example, where
a trio appears: Charos alive – Charos the rider – the Archangel with the
sword.
The tripartite division into persons is thus an element of the expression characteristic for oral tradition of composing the songs. I do
not say definitely that it is meaningless but I try to cast some doubt on
attempts at identifying what was sung (or written) and what is or was
believed. I do not see in the cited fragment any signs of “cooperation”
of the psychopompoi as some commentators suggest (Anagnostopoulos
1984: 122). Neither could we see the presence of Michael or Elijah
as a substitution or replacement of Charos (Anagnostopoulos 1984:
123). The only conclusion that is visible more clearly after examining
the language of the fragment is that we have to do here with a process of “identification” or “fusion”, using Alexiou’s phraseology she
used to describe in reference to Modern Greek Charos (Alexiou 1978:
224-225).
As a matter of a fact it is nothing else than what is called “the rule
of three equivalents”,47 the characteristic element of the morphology of
Greek demotic songs that consists in expressing the same meaning in
Minor. Undoubtedly, the presence of the Saints executing Charos’ duties needs a separate study and has not been, as far as I know, treated with accuracy and due attention by
the scholars dealing with the subject of folk eschatology.
46
As for the formulas and their role in Greek folk songs see especially Beaton 2004:
35-57.
47
I use the term after Kosegian 2010: 33 (ο νόμος των τριών ισοδυνάμων). She
argues that we find the motif of three equivalents already in Homeric Hymns, giving
an example of the Hymn to Demeter (13-14), where the following speak in turn: the
sky, the earth and the sea, the three elements of the whole and thus the universe. See
Kosegian 2010: 35.
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three different ways (Kosegian 2010: 33-36),48 and more specifically
introducing the main person as the third one and thus underlining his
superiority over the others. In folk songs this triadic scheme that we
can come across also in the fables, as Alexis Politis notices (Politis A.
2011: 153), may be also used to stress “the third, the best one” element
of a whole (Kosegian 2010: 43), but it may also indicate the general,
symbolic usage of the number three, which is commonly used in different contexts of the folk songs (Kosegian 2010: 56-59).
Transferring these observations into the interpretation of the first
two fragments cited above, we could say that Digenis sees Death that
is polymorphous or, to put it more precisely, he sees the equivalent
ways in which Death could appear in front of him – on the one hand
unknown, enigmatic and all-embracing, on the other in the religious
masks he could imagine and identify with Charos.
However, the third fragment, cited from Sakellarios’ collection, diverts our attention in another direction. Here, Archangel Michael turns
out to be the one who has the scale in his hands while a man fights with
Death/Charos. He is the one that eventually takes our soul to heaven or
not. As we read in subsequent part of the same song in Sakellarios’ that
is a sort of a confession as well as a pleading:
Ω Μιχαήλ αρχάγγελε και πρώτε των αγγέλων
‘που χαίρεσαι κη αγάλλεσαι μετά των αρχαγγέλων.
Ω Μιχαήλ αρχάγγελε, πρόφθασε εις εμένα,
και παραστάσου ‘ς την ψυχήν γλυκά ταπεινωμένα.
Ω Μιχαήλ αρχάγγελος γράφει τα κρίματά σου,
κη όντας σε πάρη ‘ς τον κριτήν φέρνει τα ομπροστά του.
(Sakellarios, nr 7, p. 31-32).
Oh, Michael the Archangel and chief of the angels
who rejoice and enjoy together with the archangels.
48
Chara Kosegian cites a very figurative example of such a technique in the well-known song Της Λυγερής και του Χάρου. A girl whose soul Charos is going to take,
asks him to let her rejoice in the summer and see the ones who will come back from
abroad. Apparently she speaks about three different persons: her mother’s son-in-law,
her mother-in-law’s son and her sister-in-law’s brother – in reality about her husband.
(Να ‘ρτει της μάνας ο ‘αμπρος, της πεθθεριάς μου ο υιος/ Της αντραδέρφης μ’ αερφός
κ’ εμέναν ο καλός μου!) (Kosegian 2010: 36).
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THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
Oh, Michael the Archangel, come near to me,
and stand by my soul mildly and humbly.
Oh, Michael the Archangel writes down your sins,
and when he takes you to the judge, he has them in front of him.
The confirmation of such a picture of Archangel Michael as a judge
of the sins, of the one who holds the scale on which the human errors
are being weighed, we can find also in other demotic songs from different collections.49 I shall cite a fragment of the “Song for Good Friday”
(Άσμα Μεγάλης Παρασκευής) coming from the book that Lawson
was supposed to know, which, however, is not clear because he does
not refer it to, namely “The History of the Athenians” (Ιστορία των
Αθηναίων) by Dimitrios Kambouroglou (1889: 237)50:
κ’ ο Μιχαήλ αρχάγγελος ο φοβερός και μέγας
όπου ζυγιάζει της ψυχαίς αμαρτωλαίς και δίκηαις.
And Michael the Archangel terrifying and great
he who weighs the souls of sinners and fair ones.
The Christian element of differentiating the souls according to
man’s life deeds and as a consequence allotting the soul to heaven or
elsewhere has permeated into the almost entirely pagan eschatology of
Modern Greek folk songs in which, as I have already mentioned, the
Underworld is “neutral” like in ancient Homeric poems. However, such
cases are very incidental and occur rarely in demotic songs together
with other “Christianized” pagan ideas of mostly ancient origin.51
Thus, once more trying to verify Lawson’s knowledge about Modern Greek folklore that he included in his memorable book, we observe
Anagnostopoulos (1984: 124) gives interesting examples of such a motif.
Anagnostopoulos (1984: 124) cites the same fragment from the later three-volume
edition (Αθήναι 1959).
51
To the best of my knowledge, so far there is no up-to-date study that would cover
the question of the presence of Christian beliefs in folk tradition of Modern Greece. An
interesting and until now the best, as I suppose, approach has been made by Anagnostopoulos in his doctoral dissertation, especially in chapter 10 entitled Η Κόλαση, ο
Παράδεισος και η Μέλλουσα Κρίση (The Hell, The Paradise and The Last Judgement).
(Anagnostopoulos 1984: 320-347). The most recent and thorough study concerning the
syncretism of Christianity and pagan folk elements see Psychogiou 2008, especially
233-287 (chapter V).
49
50
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MMichaMiMichał Bz
the same tendency and the same method, that I would call a “unification of the similar, ignoring the differences, underlining the ancient
origins”. Although, as the mentions of books cited by him prove, he
must have had access to contemporary collections and studies, his way
of treating and examining the analyzed material is rather negligent. The
scholar cites the songs at second hand without critical insight into what
he had read or heard during his field research. Along with the seemingly authentic accounts of the peasants he wrote down during his stay
in Greece, his remarks reveal a somehow “romantic” folkloristic approach to popular religion (Hartnup 2004: 8) and a philhellenic spirit
that predisposes him to see all around him the ancient deities. It is by
no means surprising if we take into account the stereotypical image of
Greece most of the West Europeans had through centuries.
The case of the appearance of the Angels among other elements
of folk eschatology could constitute a good illustration of Lawson and
his contemporaries’ attitude to Modern Greek tradition that is interesting provided that it comprises reminiscences of ancient predecessors.
Moreover, the above-mentioned of the Angels and Archangel Michael
also shows clearly the ambiguous attitude towards Byzantine legacy
and a rather reluctant view of the Medieval Empire that dominated over
that thousand years in the Greek world. Edward Gibbon’s well-known
contempt of the Byzantines and their culture had influenced the European minds for more than a century and it is by no means surprising
that classically educated John Cutberth Lawson must have shared the
same stereotypical opinion of the somewhat obscure Christianity of the
Greeks. As a consequence, presenting the Christian elements appearing in Greek folklore he oversimplifies them and does not pay a due
attention to their relationship to popular beliefs deeply rooted among
others in Byzantine iconography.52 As for the examples he uses to illustrate his thesis about the continuity of Ancient Greek tradition, as
52
Moore (1912: 109) suggests that Lawson is generally right in his supposition that
Christianity in the popular religion only applied some elements to the existent ones and
modified some of the features belonging to the pagan religion. However, it seems more
justifiable to share Hartnup’s opinion that in fact, just like other researchers of Lawson’s time, he did not attempt to trace and research the practices of the intervening periods
from the conversion to Christianity until the end of the Ottoman Empire. See Hartnup
2004: 8.
106
THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
I tried to show, the scholar lacks the critical and comparative view of
the sources, even to ones that were accessible to him and that he cites.
It would be risky to attempt to understand the Modern Greek folk
beliefs and traditions and their relation to antiquity basing entirely on
Lawson’s study. Though its value still today is unquestionable and after
a century it may be a point of reference and a valuable source of ethnographic data, we must not forget about the time it was written and
about the general, stereotypical view of the West intellectuals concerning the existence of Modern Greece in European thought. How could
they have comprehended the place where Nymphs are still dancing
with the satyrs and the Angels help ancient Greek Charon whom the
Almighty ordered to take up disagreeable duties and lead all the souls
to the somber Hades…?
REFERENCES
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Chasiotis G., 1866, Χασιώτης Γ., Συλλογή των κατά την Ήπειρον δημοτικών
ασμάτων, Εν Αθήναις.
Fauriel C. Ch., 1824-1825, Chants populaires de la Grèce moderne, Paris.
Fauriel C. Ch. (ed.), 1825, The songs of Greece, from the Romaic text, trans.
Ch. Brinsley Sherridan, London.
Garnett L. M. J., 1888, Greek folk-songs from the Ottoman provinces of Northern Hellas, London.
Hahn J. G. von, 1864, Griechische und albanesische Märchen, Leipzig.
Iatridis Α., 1859, Ιατρίδης Α., Συλλογή δημοτικών ασμάτων. Παλαιών και
νέων. Μετά διαφόρων Εικονογραφιών, Εν Αθήναις.
Kanellakis Κ., 1890, Κανελλάκης Κ., Χιακά Ανάλεκτα, ήτοι σύλλογοι ηθών,
εθίμων, παροιμιών, δημωδών ασμάτων, αινιγμάτων, λεξιλογίου, ιστορικών
και άλλων χειρογράφων, χρυσοβούλλων, σιγιλλίων κλπ., Εν Αθήναις.
Kind T., 1861, Anthologie neugriechischer Volkslieder, Leipzig.
Lagarde P. de, 1886, NeuGriechisches aus Klein Asien, Göttingen.
Legrand É., 1874, Recueil de chansons populaires grecques, Paris.
Lévy M., 1860, Chants populaires de la Grèce moderne, Paris.
Marcellus M. de, 1851, Chants du peuple on Grèce, 2 vol., Paris.
Passow A., 1860, Popularia carmina graeciae recentioris, Lipsiae.
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MMichaMiMichał Bz
Politis N., 1909, Πολίτης Ν., Ακριτικά άσματα: Ο θάνατος του Διγενή, Εν
Αθήναις.
Politis N., 1914, Πολίτης Ν., Εκλογαί από τα τραγούδια του ελληνικού λαού,
Εν Αθήναις.
Sakellarios Α., 1891, Σακελλάριος Α., Τα Κυπριακά: Ήτοι Γεωγραφία, Ιστορία
και Γλώσσα της Κύπρου από των αρχαιοτάτων χρόνων μέχρι σήμερον, τ.
2, Εν Αθήναις.
Saunier G., 1999, Ελληνικά δημοτικά τραγούδια. Τα μοιρολόγια, Αθήνα.
Schmidt B., 1877, Griechische Märchen, Sagen und Volkslieder, Leipzig.
Tommaseo N., 1842, Canti popolari italiani, corsi, illirici, greci, vol. III,
Venezia.
Zampelios S., 1852, Ζαμπέλιος Σ., Άσματα δημοτικά της Ελλάδος: Εκδοθέντα
μετά μελέτης ιστορικής περί μεσαιωνικού Ελληνισμού, Κερκύρα.
Secondary literature:
Abbot G. F., 1903, Macedonian folklore, Cambridge.
Alexiou M., [1978], Modern Greek folklore and its relations to the past: The
evolution of Charos in Greek tradition, [in:] Proceedings of the 1975 Symposium of modern Greek studies, Oakland, pp. 211-236.
Alexiou M., 1984-1985, ‘Folklore, an obituary’, BMGS 9, pp. 1-29.
Alexiou M., 2002a, After Antiquity: Greek language, myth, and metaphor,
Ithaca.
Alexiou M., 2002b, Ritual lament in Greek tradition, rev. D. Yatromanolakis,
P. Roilos, Cambridge University Press.
Anagnostopoulos J. S., 1984, Αναγνωστόπουλος Ι. Σ., Ο θάνατος και ο κάτω
κόσμος στη δημοτική ποίηση. Εσχατολογία της δημοτικής ποίησης, Αθήνα.
Angold M., 2000, Church and society in Byzantium under the Comneni, 10811261, Cambridge.
Baun J., 2007, Tales from Another Byzantium: Celestial journey and local
community in the medieval Greek apocrypha, Cambridge.
Beaton R., 1986, ‘The oral traditions of modern Greece: A survey’, Oral Tradition 1/1, pp. 110-133.
Beaton R., 2004, Folk poetry of modern Greece, Cambridge.
Bzinkowski M., 2009, ‘Charos psychopompos? Tracing the continuity of the
idea of a Ferryman of the Dead in Greek culture’, Classica Cracoviensia
XIII, pp. 17-33.
Bzinkowski M., 2011, ‘Names of the abode of the Dead in modern Greek folk
songs’, Živa Antika 61, pp. 101-115.
Danforth L., 1982, The death rituals of rural Greece, Princeton.
108
THE CASE OF THE ANGELS…
Dawkins R. M., 1916, Modern Greek in Asia Minor: A study of the dialects
of Siĺli, Cappadocia and Phárasa, with grammar, texts, translations and
glossary, Cambridge.
Dawkins R. M., 1942, ‘Soul and body in the folklore of modern Greece’, Folklore 53/3, pp. 131-147.
Dawkins R. M., 1953, Modern Greek folktales, Oxford.
Dyer L., 1891, Studies of the Gods in Greece at certain sanctuaries recently
excavated, New York.
Geldart E. M., 1884, Folk-lore of modern Greece, London.
Hamilton G. L., 1912, ‘Modern Greek folklore and ancient Greek religion:
A study in survivals by John Cuthbert Lawson’ [Rev.], The American Journal of Philology 33/1, pp. 87-90.
Harisson J. E., 1910, ‘Modern Greek folklore and ancient Greek religion:
A study in survivals. By John Cuthbert Lawson’ [Rev.], The Classical Review 24/6, pp. 181-183.
Hartnup K., 2004, On the beliefs of the Greeks: Leo Allatios and popular orthodoxy, Leiden–Boston.
Ibrovac M., 1966, Claude Fauriel et la fortune européenne des poésies populaires grecque et serbe: étude d’histoire romantique, suivie du Cours de
Fauriel la Poésie populaire des Serbes et des Grecs, professé en Sorbonne
1831-1832, Paris.
Kakridis J. Th., 1969, ‘John Cuthbert Lawson: Modern Greek folklore and
ancient Greek religion: A study in survivals. Foreword by A. N. Oikonomides’ [Rev.], Gnomon 41, pp. 495-499.
Kambouroglou D., 1889, Καμπούρογλου Δ., Ιστορία των Αθηναίων: Τουρκοκρατία: Περίοδος πρώτη, 1458-1687, εκδίδοται υπό Α. Παπαγεωργίου, τ. 1,
Εν Αθήναις.
Kosegian Ch., 2010, Κοσεγιάν Χ., Αρχαία επιβιώματα στα νεοελληνικά
δημοτικά τραγούδια, Αθήνα.
Krueger D., 2006, Byzantine Christianity, vol. III, Minneapolis.
Lambakis S., 1982, Λαμπάκης Σ., Οι καταβάσεις στον Κάτω Κόσμο στη
βυζαντινή και στη μεταβυζαντινή λογοτεχνία, Αθήνα.
Mackridge P., 2009, ‘From archaeology to dialectology and folklore: The role
of the British School at Athens in the career of R. M. Dawkins’, British
School at Athens Studies 17, pp. 49-58.
Meyendorff J., 1979, Byzantine theology: Historical trends and doctrinal themes, New York.
Moore C. H., 1912, ‘Modern Greek folklore and ancient Greek religion by
John Cuthbert Lawson’ [Rev.], Classical Philology 7/1 , pp. 108-111.
Moore C. H., 1916, The religious thought of the Greeks: From Homer to the
triumph of Christianity, Cambridge.
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Parédes A., 1965, ‘Modern Greek folklore and ancient Greek religion: A study
in survivals. By John Cuthbert Lawson; new foreword by A. N. Oikonomides’, Journal of American Folklore 78/310, p. 356.
Peers G., 2001, Subtle bodies: Representing angels in Byzantium (The transformation of the classical heritage), Oakland.
Politis N., 1882, Πολίτης Ν., Ο ήλιος κατά τους δημώδεις μύθους, Εν Αθήναις.
Politis Α., 2011, Πολίτης A., Το δημοτικό τραγούδι, Ηράκλειο.
Psychogiou Ε., 2008, Ψυχογιού Ε., «Μαυρηγή» και Ελένη. Τελετουργίες
θανάτου και αναγέννησης, Εν Αθήναις.
Rodd R., 1892, The customs and the lore of modern Greece, London.
Rose H. J., 1910, ‘Modern Greek folklore and ancient Greek religion: A study in survivals. By John Cuthbert Lawson’ [Rev.], Folk-Lore XXI, pp.
529-532.
Saunier G., 1972, ‘Le combat avec Charos dans les chansons populaires grecques. Formes originelles et formes dérivées’, Ελληνικά 25, pp. 119-152,
335-370.
Saunier G., 1982, ‘Charos et l’Histoire dans les chansons populaires grecques’,
Revue des Études Grecques 95, pp. 297-321.
Schmidt B., 1871, Das Volksleben der Neugriechen und das hellenische Alterthum, Leipzig.
Stathis E., 2004, Στάθης Ε., Ελληνικά δημοτικά τραγούδια. Από τον ομηρικό μύθο
και τ’ αρχέτυπα σχήματα στους ρεμπέτες της Σμύρνης, της Θεσσαλονίκης
και του Πειραιά, Εκδόσεις Ι. Σιδέρης.
Tziovas D. (ed.), 2014, Re-imagining the past: Antiquity and modern Greek
culture, Oxford.
Vryonis S., 1978, ‘Recent scholarship on continuity and discontinuity of culture: Classical Greeks, Byzantines, modern Greeks’, [in:] S. Vryonis (ed.),
The “past” in medieval and modern Greek culture, Malibu, pp. 237-256.
110
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.05
KAMIL CHODA
(JAGIELLONIAN UNIVERSITY, KRAKÓW)
INTELLECTUAL SOURCES
OF HISTORIAN’S LEGITIMIZATION
– THE CASE OF GREGORY OF TOURS
SUMMARY: The question of Gregory’s of Tours awareness of the persuasive
potential of his learning he demonstrates in his works is discussed. The Touronian bishop’s high evaluation of the erudition of other men is clearly shown
and juxtaposed with his opinion concerning his linguistic competence. Gregory’s ability to embellish his style, being a sign of the literary training is demonstrated. His degree of acquaintance with the classical literature is assessed
and his familiarity with Latin poetry is underlined. The literal meaning of his
statements concerning classical literature as detrimental to a Christian soul is
contrasted with the subtle and indirect play those statements engage his readers in; their implicit meaning is shown to contradict their direct significance.
Various examples of Gregory’s efforts to display his erudition in the field of
literature and his high degree of learning, including a fair number of erudite digressions are brought forth. Gregory’s unambiguous statement concerning the
intention with which he inserted them into his text is evoked. Finally, the Touronian Bishop’s positive judgment about his audience’s capacity of properly
evaluating the erudite content of his writing is demonstrated and corroborated
with the external evidence provided by contemporary sources.
KEYWORDS: intellectual, erudition, persuasion, classics, Late Antiquity
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INTRODUCTION
The purpose of the almost whole literary activity of Gregory of
Tours1 was twofold: to register (or, at least, to transmit) the facts and
to make them credible, i.e. to persuade the reader that he should accept
them as events having taken place precisely in the manner the historian
wrote them down.2 It goes without saying that Gregory was forcing his
interpretations of the past on his readers. On the other hand, it is he himself who, directly or not, admits that his audience may have experienced
difficulties in accepting his narrative. The most obvious place is Hist. IV
13.3 The narratives of Gregory, who saw them as means of preservation
and propagation of what he accepted as facts give us another insight
into how at least part of his audience was not ready to hold his accounts
to be (Goffart 1988: 174).4 The aim of the present article is to discover,
if Gregory himself saw the fact of being an intellectual as one of historian’s means of persuasion and if he himself wanted to underline his
intellectual quality in order to make his account more credible.
To answer this question, however, we should discern which categories Gregory associated with being an intellectual. The word intellectual itself is relatively new, as is the concept of an intellectual
associated with it. Judging from his own writings, Gregory would – as
it will be demonstrated – probably appreciate another term: a learned
man, an erudite.
1
De cursu stellarum is perhaps the exception, although its first part devoted to
human and divine wonders of the world has an overall registrative character.
2
Breukelaar (1994: 92) writes: As with all literary narrative, historia seeks to convince. Its main purpose is persuasio, convincing the audience of the opinion of the
narrator. Because the narrative is to serve party interest, it has to be acceptable in the
first place. Therefore, its capital virtue is narratio probabilis, verisimilis or credibilis.
3
Sed nos haec narrantis, Salustii sententiam, quam in detractaturibus historiografforum protulit, memoramus. Ait enim: Arduum videtur res gestas scribere: primum
quod facta dictis exaequanda sunt; deinde quia plerique quae delecta repraehenderis
malevolentia et invidia dicta putant.
4
Two examples taken from a single hagiographical work should illustrate this sufficiently: Virt. Iuli. 1: Quod necuiquam fortassis videatur incredibilis esse narratio, quae
audivi gesta fideliter proda;. Virt. Iuli. 1 27: Quod si haec fortuitu quis putat, admiretur
magis et stupeat incliti potentiam martyris, quod praeteriens ignis per medium populi
neminem nocuit […].
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INTELLECTUAL SOURCES OF HISTORIAN’S LEGITIMIZATION …
I. ERUDITES OTHER THAN GREGORY
Gregory’s opinion about education and those who received it can
be inferred from what he wrote about men other than himself. In such
cases, he did not feel forced to use the topoi of self humiliation he so
often and so zealously applied to himself and his intellectual qualities.5
It may be argued that the schooling one could receive in Gaul in the
sixth century was not even remotely as good as it used to be before and
shortly after the collapse of the Roman rule. Gregory himself seems to
have noticed it, at least this is what can be inferred from the literal, not
nuanced reading of his famous Praefatio prima.6 We are told that good
classical education available for laymen was almost totally substituted
by the Church oriented study of the Bible and patristic literature the
main aim of which was to form future clergymen. (Kurth 1919: 1-11).
However, neither did the classical learning disappear altogether,7 nor
was the shift from secular to ecclesiastical erudition responsible for the
diminishing of the respect the learned could enjoy, as it is clear from
Gregory’s own writings. On the contrary, good education is often one
of the constituent parts of person’s positive characterization and is, as
such, mentioned by the Bishop of Tours on many occasions in his various writings.
Gregory’s work abounds in descriptions of people healed because
of their piety towards God and his saints. However, not every prayer
is answered and healing cannot be taken for granted. Sometimes it
is because of the sinful behavior of a sick person (Hist. Franc. V 6),
sometimes due to some other factor (Gloria Mart. 6). Gregory’s positive characterization of the sick person excludes the first possibility
and therefore announces that this particular member of the Church is
See below.
Hist. I Praef. Prima: Decedente atque immo potius pereunte ab urbibus Gallicanis
liberalium cultura litterarum, cum nonnullae res gererentur vel rectae vel inprobae
[…] nec repperire possit quisquam peritus dialectica in arte grammaticus, qui haec aut
stilo prosaico aut metrico depingeret versu: ingemescebant saepius plerique, dicentes:
‘Vae diebus nostris, quia periit studium litterarum a nobis, nec reperitur rethor in populis, qui gesta praesentia promulgare possit in paginis’.
7
Kurth (1919: 4) constructed [une] liste […] assez modeste of intellectuals living
in the second half of the sixth century who received classical education.
5
6
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likely to be healed by a saint. One of such men is Armentarius, a priest
serving together with Gregory. His erudition and intellectual capacity
constitute an important part of the positive characterization the bishop
of Tours describes him with.8 Armentarius, having suffered from a disease, is eventually healed. The enumeration of positive traits, among
which erudition occupies a noteworthy place, sets the stage for his final
recovery.
Gregory of Tours was far from considering that married couples
engaging in sex could lead an exemplary life of Christian piety (Elliott
1993: 7). To please God, men and women ought to preserve their virginity (a condicio sine qua non of being chaste in the eyes of the Touronian bishop) even within the framework of marriage. Among such
saintly men Gregory portrays we can find certain Riticius (Gloria confess. 74). After the death of his wife, the virginal widower is elevated
by the people to the episcopate of Autun – not an insignificant honor
in the eyes of Gregory and his contemporaries. When he dies, his flock
is not able to move his body and place it in a grave. And with a good
reason: he and his wife had decided that their earthly remains should
rest in a common tomb. His will having been revealed by an old man
conscious of the arrangement the couple made, Riticius’s body is located alongside that of his wife and the saintly and chaste bishop comes
back to life for a moment just to address his wife. This miraculous story
of an extraordinary man is introduced by Gregory with the words expressing the author’s approval for the excellent education of the pious
aristocrat.9 The erudition acquired by the saintly man is presented as
a virtue corresponding with his noble birth and religious life. Riticius is
not only a chaste bishop, he is an intellectual as well.
Paulinus of Nola is another example of a married man, who preserved chastity (equaled by Gregory with virginity) and ascended to
the episcopal throne (Gloria confess. 108). An aristocrat by birth, he
8
Virt. Mart. I 33: Unus ex clericis meis Armenterius nomine, bene eruditus in spiritalibus scripturis, cui tam facile erat sonorum modolationes adprehendere, ut eum non
putaris hoc meditare, sed scribere […].
9
Gloria confess. 74: Fuit enim nobilissimis parentibus et litterarum acumine clarus, qui, transacta aduliscentia, uxorem simili morum honestate praeclaram sortitusest, cum qua spiritalis dilectionis conhibentia, non luxoria copulatur. Concurrunt elymosinae, vigiliae caelebrantur, et opus Dei per eos incessabiliter exercetur.
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INTELLECTUAL SOURCES OF HISTORIAN’S LEGITIMIZATION …
nevertheless sold all his property and gave the money thus received to
the poor. Portraying him, Gregory underlines his learning, of which he
made use as an author of the works in honor of Saint Martin of Tours.10
A devoted worshipper of the Touronian bishop, he was found worthy of
seeing him at his deathbed: Martinum Genuariumque Italicum, priusquam spiritum redderet, corporeis oculis contemplaret […].
Saint Patroclus, as Gregory reveals, was not only helped by God
in his education, but also ascribed the very idea that he could receive
it to the Most High (Vita partum IX 1). In his early years he worked as
a shepherd, while his seemingly more intellectually capable brother was
sent to school. When his brother insults him calling him a rude peasant
(rusticus), he understands his words as a divine stimulus and decides to
get education. He does not need much time to achieve greater success
in learning than his brother, which should not astonish the reader of his
vita, as he is favored by God in his quest for knowledge: fratrem vel
in scientia praecederet vel alacritate sensus, adnuente divini Numini
auxilio, anteiret (Vita partum IX 1). One does need to take into account
that the person in question is a future hermit. Gregory, however, not
only does not reproach his attitude towards education, but presents the
process of learning the future saint undergoes as something harmonizing well enough with the ascetic life he will lead in the future.
Gregory not only sees good education as a positive thing; he stresses
the lack of it to denigrate people he criticizes. The vicious bishop Cautinus is described in the manner that associates his ungodliness and his
positive attitude towards unconverted Jews11 with his lack of learning.
It is interesting that he reproaches him for not having studied not only
ecclesiastical, but also secular, i.e. pagan literature.12
Gloria confess. 108: Erat autem vir sanctus mirae prudentiae et rethoricis litteris
eruditus. Quod opus eius, de quanto ad nos pervenit, valde patefacit. Nam cum ad diversos tam versu quam prosa scripserit de virtutibus beati Martini sex versu conscripsit
libros scripsit et alios versiculos in laude eius.
11
As Gregory’s opinion about Jews can hardly be called positive or even neutral, he
sees the fact that a person as representative for the Church hierarchy as a bishop treats
them amicably as scandalous.
12
Hist. IV 12: In Cautino autem nihil sancti, nihil pensi fuit. De omnibus enim
scripturis, tam ecclesiasticis quam saecularibus, adplene immunis fuit. Iudaeis valde
carus ac subditus erat, non pro salute, ut pastoris cura debet esse sollicita, sed pro
10
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Those few examples demonstrate that Gregory was by no means
prone to reproach the learning of others. Neither was he ready to associate the fact of having received good education with vanity. The embarrassing strife of two intellectuals, Asteriolus and Secundinus, could
have given him an opportunity to do so, had he wanted to stress the
darker side of learning.13 Instead, he choose to stress the successful career Secundinus made as an ambassador to the Byzantine court as the
factor stimulating his vanity. We should keep in mind the high evaluation the Bishop of Tours gave to education received by other people
while examining Gregory’s approach to his own intellectual qualities
and their possible persuasive valor.
II. GREGORY THE INTELLECTUAL
One of the sources of Gregory’s authority and his capacity to influence his readers was the fact that he was the Bishop of Tours. Those
high officials of the Church who preceded him had accumulated great
prestige by connecting themselves to the apostolic origins of the Christian community.14 If the respect the believers felt towards their pastors
was enormous already in the first centuries of Christianity, bishops exploited the fall of the Roman Empire and the collapse of the imperial
administration to influence not only the spiritual well-being of the flock
commissioned to them, but also the political life of the Merovingian
kingdoms. Thus, they were presenting themselves not only as successors to the apostles, but to the Roman state apparatus as well (Moore
2011: 5).
comparandis speciebus, quas, cum hic blandiretur et illi se adulatores manifestissime
declararent, maiori quam constabant pretio venundabant.
13
Hist. III 33: Asteriolus tunc et Secundinus magni cum rege habebantur; erat autem uterque sapiens et retoricis inbutus litteris. Sed Secundinus plerumque legationem
imperatori a rege missus intulit, et ob hoc iactantia sumpserat ac nonnulla contra rationem exercebat.
14
Sullivan, Wood 2003: 415: In any case, from the writings of Irenaeus, Tertullian
and Origen it is certain that by the third century orthodox Christian communities everywhere recognized their bishops as the successors to the apostles in their role as pastors
and teachers.
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INTELLECTUAL SOURCES OF HISTORIAN’S LEGITIMIZATION …
But did Gregory draw his persuasive power as a writer only from
the high post he occupied in the Church administration? Was the mantle
of his mighty predecessor, Saint Martin of Tours15 the only argument he
could gain the trust of his readers with?
Gregory’s literary erudition was sufficiently evaluated by Kurth
(1919: 11-29). In his analysis the Touronian bishop presents himself
as someone remaining under the charm of Latin poetry, especially of
the works of Virgil, from whom he borrows a fair number of phrases.
He was also acquainted, we are told, with the works of Christian poets, whose mastery he, an avid reader of literature in general, deeply
admired.16 But poetry was not the only form of literature he nourished
himself with; we will expand on this point in the course of the present
article. It is important, however, to remember that what is being assessed here is neither the number of works known to him, nor his intellectual capacity as such, but rather the use he makes of both to present
himself as a trustworthy narrator.
The author of the Histories has been since long known for his selfhumiliating statements in which he addresses what he portrays as his
lack of linguistic and rhetorical skills. The most obvious statement
is Praefatio prima with which the Touronian bishop opens his historiographical work.17 Gregory’s harsh judgment with witch he measured his learning has been the cause of controversy among scholars
for more than a hundred years. Shall we conclude with Traube (1911:
54), that [d]as ist nun aber nicht so ernst zu nehmen. Derartige Entschuldigungen gehörten zum Stil, derartige Anklagen und scheinbaren
On the authority of Martin of Tours see e.g. Heinzelmann 2001: 169-170.
Kurth 1919: 28: Mais, avant tout, je crois devoir attribuer cette connaissance de
Virgile au goût de notre auteur pour la poésie. Ce goût était très vif; nous en avons
la preuve dans ce fait qu’il a lu à peu près tout ce qui existait de son temps en fait de
poésie chrétienne. Prudence, Sedulius, Paulin de Noie, Paulin de Périgueux, Sidoine
Apollinaire et Fortunat défdent dans ses écrits, sans compter un certain poète du nom
d’Hilarius et plusieurs inscriptions en vers qu’il reproduit. Telle est son estime de la
forme poétique, qu’il invite ceux qui voudront corriger sa chronique à la mettre en
vers et leur promet que ce sera leur gloire. De même il lait mettre en vers, par son ami
Fortunat, ses Miracles de saint Martin, et il regrette que ce ne soit pas Fortunat ou
Paulin qui ait écrit ce livre. […] Il y a dans tout cela la preuve d’un amour véritable de
la poésie et de la littérature en général […].
17
Hist. I Praef. prima.
15
16
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Unterschätzungen oder Ablehnungen der Grammatik sind selbst nichts
anderes als rhetorische Kunstgriffe, or is the credit to be given to Bonnet (1890: 78-80), who takes Gregory’s self accusations at face value,
interpreting them to be the writer’s sincere opinion about his wanting
education and literary skills?18
To say that Gregory’s Latin is far removed from the classical norm
is to state the obvious fact he himself was well aware of.19 On the other
hand, the author of the Histories was skilled enough to elevate his style
and made frequent use of this capacity when he especially wanted to
present it, namely, in the prefaces to many of his writings. They are
remarkably more rhetoricised than the narrative parts of his texts. The
two prefaces with which Gregory opens his work (one addressing the
Histories as such and the other the Book I) demonstrate this in a very
ostensible manner. In the Praefatio prima, Gregory makes frequent
use of antithesis (Breukelaar 1994: 307) and alliterations; as a matter
of fact, the antithesis is its dominant stylistic component. The preface
to the Book I abounds in abstract terms otherwise rarely employed by
him even at analogous places20 (Kaltenstadler 2011: 35-36). Moreover,
the word order he employs is not, we are told by Bonnet (1890: 717),
the so-called natural order. Although it has been argued that he does
not fully understand how to invert the sequence of words properly, i.e.
with the accordance with the usage of classical authors (Bonnet 1890:
719), it is beyond any doubt that the aim for which this color rhetoricus
was displayed by Gregory (mainly in prefaces, but also elsewhere in
his texts) was to impress the reader and to remind him of the fact that
18
Thürlemann (1974: 60-72) summarizes scholars’ opinions on the humility topos
and its possible meaning in Gregory of Tours.
19
Gloria confess. Praef.: Sed timeo, ne, cum scribere coepero, quia sum sine litteris
rethoricis et arte grammatica, dicaturque mihi a litteratis: ‘O rustice et idiota, ut quid nomen tuum inter scriptores indi aestimas? Ut opus hoc a peritis accipi putas, cui ingenium
artis non subpeditat, nec ulla litterarum scientia subministrat? Qui nullum argumentum
utile in litteris habes, qui nomina discernere nescis; saepius pro masculinis feminea, pro
femineis neutra et pro neutral masculine conmutas; qui ipsas quoque praepositiones,
quas nobilium dictatorum observari sanxit auctoritas, loco debito plerumque non locas.
Nam ablativis accusative et rursum aecusativis ablative praeponis […]’.
20
In its final sentence Libuit etiam animo, ut pro suppotatione annorum ab ipso
mundi principio libri primi poniretur initium, cuius capitula deursum subieci. the letter
i occurs 22 times (Kaltenstadler 2011: 36).
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INTELLECTUAL SOURCES OF HISTORIAN’S LEGITIMIZATION …
he has to do with a skilled writer applying refined literary technique.
Further observations shall more fully demonstrate that the literal sense
of Gregory’s statements concerning his supposedly wanting erudition
stays in sharp contrast with the meaning he conveyed implicitly.
Gregory’s Glory of the Martyrs begins with the refutation of the
pagan literature and culture that Jerome in his famous Letter to Eustochium made into one of the frequently recurring topoi of Christian
Latin literature.21 Having stated, in accordance with the translator of
the Bible, how dangerous for one’s eternal salvation is the engagement
into the reading of classical authors, he provides his audience with the
copious examples illustrating the content of this spiritually detrimental
literature.22 In so doing, he demonstrates three different things: that he
is acquainted with the writings of Jerome, one of the most influential
classics of Christian letters; that he himself is well aware of the fact that
Jerome’s caveat concerning the reading of classics is, in fact, a topos
and, finally, that he himself had fully ignored the precept of his great
predecessor. The literal meaning of this passage is a simple elaboration on the theme of the poisonous effect of the classics on a Christian
soul. However, the prolonged enumeration of Virgilian themes leaves
no doubt as to the fact that the implicit aim of the text is to demonstrate
Gregory’s literary erudition. This is hardly the only case in which the
author accumulates examples intended to prove his wide intellectual
21
Gloria mart. Praef.: Hieronimus presbyter et post apostolum Paulum bonus doctor ecclesiae refert se ductum ante tribunal aeterni iudicis et extensum in supplicio
graviter caesum, eo quod Ciceronis argutias vel Vergilii fallacias saepius lectitaret,
confessumque se coram angelis sanctis ipsi Dominatori omnium, numquam se deinceps
haec lecturum neque ultra tractaturum, nisi ea quae Deo digna et ad ecclesiae aedificationem oportuna iudicarentur.
22
Gloria mart. Praef.: Non ego Saturni fugam, non Iunonis iram, non Iovis stupra,
non Neptuni iniuriam, non Eoli sceptra, non Aeneada bella, naufragio vel regna commemoro. Taceo Cupidinis emissionem, non Ascanii dilection emeneosque lacrimas vel
exitia saeva Didonis, non Plutonis triste vestibulum, non Proserpinae stuprosum raptum, non Cerberi triforme caput, non revolvam Anchisae colloquia, non Itachis ingenia,
non Achillis argutias, non Senonis fallacias. Non ego Laguonthe consilia, non Amphitrionidis robora, non Iani conflictus, fugas vel obitum exitiale proferam. Non Eomenidum variorumque monstrorum formas exponam, non reliquarum fabularum commenta,
quae hic auctor aut finxit mendacio aut versu depinxit heroico. The poet in question
here is, of course, Vergil, to whom Gregory wrongly attributes the story of Proserpine
described by Ovid (Arndt, Krusch 1969: 38, n. 17).
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horizons. The amount of literary references Gregory inserted in the
short text of De cursu stellarum was applauded by Krusch, the editor of
the text (Arndt, Krusch 1969: 405).23 The author was well-read enough
to allow himself to pronounce his philosophically based judgment on
a subtle stylistic question after having cited and confronted with each
other two authoritative sources on it.24 In the context of the present
article the possibility that those are second-hand citations is without
significance; naming them would suffice to evoke the impression that
Gregory is able to partake in the stylistic discourse alongside with Aulus Gellius and Pliny.
The foreword attached to Book I proves Gregory training in historiography.25 It is noteworthy how Gregory manages here to add one
additional name to the list of authors he read. For he knew the work
of Eusebius only in the Latin shape given to it by Jerome. The custom
of quoting authors one had only indirect access to in a way that would
suggest to the readers author’s acquaintance with the original text is
rooted in the ancient tradition (Addey 2014: 92) and the aim Gregory
introduces both his direct and indirect source for may only by described
as persuasion: the argument is corroborated by an artificially extended
list of sources proving it.
Yet, the Bishop of Tours was not only an avid reader of historiographical literature, he felt and made his readers feel that he was in
position to read it critically. He devotes a whole chapter (Hist. II 9)
Ut erat literis humanioribus apprime eruditus, in opusculo perparvo septem
scriptores laudavit, inter quos poetae praevalent. The works cited in the astronomical
treaty are those of Virgil, Prudentius, Hilary of Arles, Jerome, Orosius, Iulius Titianus
and the anonymous Carmen de Phoenice attributed by Gregory to Lactantius.
24
Vita patr. Praef.: Et quaeritur a quibusdam, utrum vita sanctorum an vitas dicere
debeamus. A.Gellius quoque et conplures philosophorum vitas dicere voluerunt. Nam
Plinius auctor in tertio artis grammaticae libro ait: Vitas antiqui cuiuscumque nostrum
dixerunt; sed grammatici pluralem numerum non putaverunt habere vitam. Unde manifestum est, melius dici vitam patrum quam vitas, quia, cum sit diversitas meritorum
virtutumque, una tamen omnes vita corporis alit in mundo.
25
Hist. I Praef.: De subpotatione vero huius mundi evidenter chronicae Eusebii Caesariensis episcopi ac Hieronimi presbiteri prolocuntur et rationem de omni annorum
serie pandunt. Nam et Horosius diligentissime haec inquaerens, omnem numerum annorum ab initio mundi usque ad suum tempus in unum colligit. Hoc etiam et Victurius
cum ordine paschalis solemnitates inquirere fecit.
23
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INTELLECTUAL SOURCES OF HISTORIAN’S LEGITIMIZATION …
to the examination the accounts on Franks written by Sulpicius Alexander and Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus (two historians whose works
are lost), Orosius. Gregory wants to know if it is more proper to call
the Frankish rulers of old reges or duces.26 With this question in mind,
he examines his sources posing them questions relevant to the theme
of his inquiry.27 Having stated that [h]anc nobis notitiam de Francis
memorati historici reliquere, regibus non nominates, Gregory resorts
to the oral tradition (Tradunt enim multi […]) corroborated by the evidence provided by Fasti consulares ([n]am et in Consolaribus legimus
[…]) to conclude that kingship was introduced by Franks only at the
later stage of their history.
The author of the Histories embellished his writings with a fair
number of erudite digressions. He openly confesses that he introduces
them to make his readers believe in the high degree of his learning:
Ergo ne videamur unius tantum Hebreae gentes habere notitiam, reliqua regna, quae vel quali Israhelitarum fuerint tempore, memoramus.
(Hist. I 17). Thus, Gregory expands his summary of the Old Testament with some extrabiblical material, lest his public believes that
his knowledge of the ancient times is limited to the religious in nature
content of the biblical books. He even tries to impress the reader with
a supposedly Egyptian term: […] apud Aegyptios autem sexta decima
erat potestas, quam sua lingua dinastiam vocabam. (Hist. I 17). There
is no need to guess if his public knew the etymology of the word better
than him, what is important is the fact that he believed he knew it well
enough to show his learning.
It has been observed that Gregory had some understanding of architecture and that he showed some interest for nature (Blume 1970: 164166). Descriptions of specific buildings are by no means rare by him and
they also may be turn into a source of learned factoids, especially when
the building in question is something as old and exotic as the city of
26
Isidore of Seville witnesses that this was not devoid of for contemporaries of
Gregory: Historia de reg. II: Per multa quippe retro saecula [Gothi] ducibus usi sunt,
postea regibus […].
27
Hist. II 9: Cum autem eos regales [Sulpicius Alexander] vocet, nescimus, utrum
reges fuerint, an in vices tenuerunt regnum. […] Movet nos haec causa, quod cum
aliorum gentium regis [Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus] nominat, cur non nominet et
Francorum.
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Babylon, description of which Gregory found in Orosius.28 Yet, he does
not miss the chance to exploit the information he got from the oral tradition (represented by sapientes) if only it may account for a digression
containing not only interesting details, but also giving him the opportunity to demonstrate his exegetical abilities, as it is the case of the account
of the Crossing of the Red Sea.29 It is important to observe that Gregory,
despite having been accused of not being able to structure his material, is
conscious that such paragraphs are digressions from the main narrative.
He demonstrates this awareness by the choice of verb inserere, which he
employs when he introduces digressions (Breukelaar 1994: 99).
Still, was his public ready to recognize such erudition as a positive
trait? As the subject we are exploring is Gregory’s own perception of
his persuasive capacities, it would suffice to answer this question entirely on the basis of the internal reference. The very attitude Gregory
exhibits towards learning and his frequent appeals to the erudition he
acquired, as well as the general absence of contestation of the learning
itself and the very fact that he portrays his potential critics as reproaching him for the lack of proper training in letters (Gloria confess. Praef.)
leave no doubt as to the fact that he was certain that by presenting himself as a learned man he would be able to win the respect of his readers
and to disarm his potential detractors. The world he and his contemporaries inhabited valued not only ecclesiastical, but also secular learning
and this can be observed even by an author such as Gregory the Great,
Hist. I 6: Haec est Babilonia a Nebroth gygante aedificata, filio Chus. Et, sicut
Horosi narrat historia, mira campi planitiae in quadrum disposita est. Munis eius ex
coctili latere infusu bitumine in latum habet cubitus quinquaginta, altitudinis cubitus
200, in circuitu stadia 470. Unus stadius habet aripennes quinque. Vicinae quinae portae per unumquemque latus sitae sunt, quae faciunt 100. Harum portarum ustia mirae
magnitudinis ex aere fusile sunt formata. Multa et alia de hac civitate isdem historiographus narrat, addens: Et cum tanta fuissit honestas aedificii, attamen victa atque
subversa est.
29
Hist. I 10: De quo transitu multa, ut dixi, narrantur; sed nos quod a sapientibus
et certe illis hominibus, qui in eodem locum accesserant, virum cognovimus, ea inserere studuemus paginae. Aiunt etiam, sulcos, quos rotae curruum fecerant, usque hodie
permanere et, quantum acies oculorum videre potest, in profundo cerni. […] Alii vero
asserent, unum cunctis ingressum, nonnulli, unicuique tribui suam patuisse viam, illud
testimonium psaltirii abutentes: Qui divisit mare Rubrum in divisiones. Quas nos divisiones spiritaliter et non secundum littera intellegere oportit.
28
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INTELLECTUAL SOURCES OF HISTORIAN’S LEGITIMIZATION …
who has quite unjustly became notorious for his supposed hostility towards the classics. As a matter of fact, he ascribed a major, although
preparatory role to the training in secular literature and it is from his
correspondence that his episcopal colleague from Gaul was even more
liberal in that respect (Cecchi, Sapegno 1965: 60-70). To cite one other
example, Fredegar’s sentence [m]undus iam seniscit, ideoque prudentiae agumen in nobis tepiscit, nec quisquam potest huius tempore, nec
presumit oratoribus precedentes esse consimilis (Chronic. IV Prol.)
pronounced some 50 years after Gregory finished his work expresses
nothing other than the longing for the learning now lost. This longing is
an expression of the high esteem in which the seventh century elite held
education; could their sixth century antecessors value it less?
CONCLUSION
Gregory of Tours not only valued the erudition of other people, but,
despite his self-humiliating statements concerning his own supposed
lack of learning, made use of the amount of education he received to
present himself as an authoritative, trustworthy author in the eyes of his
readers. One needs to carefully distinguish between Gregory’s evaluation of his linguistic competence and the ways he expresses his erudition as such. The first is to be taken more or less at face value, however
the fact that Gregory is able to write in a remarkably more sophisticated
manner when he wishes to impress his readers should also be taken into
account. The Bishop of Tours, directly admitting his inability to follow
the classical norm of Latin, resorts to a great amount of mostly indirect ways of influencing his public with his education, to the quality of
which his audience remains sensitive, a fact he is well aware of.
REFERENCES
Addey C., 2014, Divination and theurgy in Neoplatonism: Oracles of the God,
Farnham.
Arndt W., Krusch B. (eds.), 1969, Gregorii episcopi Turonensis miracula et
opera minora, Hannoverae (Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores
rerum Merovingicarum 1,2).
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Blume I., 1970, Das Menschenbild Gregors von Tours in den Historiarum libri
X, Erlangen.
Bonnet M., 1890, Le latin de Grégoire de Tours, Paris.
Breukelaar, A. H. B., 1994, Historiography and episcopal authority in sixth-century Gaul: The Histories of Gregory of Tours interpreted in their historical context, Göttingen.
Cecchi E., Sapegno N., 1965, Storia della letteratura italiana, vol. 1, Milano.
Elliott D., 1993, Spiritual Marriage: Sexual Abstinence in Medieval Wedlock,
Princeton.
Goffart W., 1988, The narrators of barbarian history, Yale.
Heinzelmann M., 2001, Gregory of Tours: History and society in the sixth
century, Cambridge.
Kaltenstadler W., 2011, Interpretation der Vorreden Der ‘Historia Francorum’
bei Gregor von Tours [Elektronische Ressource], Nordhausen.
Krusch B., Levison W. (eds.), 1951, Gregorii episcopi Turonensis Historiarum
libri X, Hannoverae (Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores rerum
Merovingicarum 1,1).
Krusch B. (ed.), 1888, Fredegarii et aliorum chronica. Vitae sanctorum, Hannoverae (Monumenta Germaniae Historica Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 2).
Kurth G., 1919, Études Franques, Tome Premier, Paris.
Mommsen, Th. (ed.), 1894, ‘Isidori Iunioris episcopi Hispalensis historia
Gothorum Wandalorum Sueborum ad a. DCXXIV’, [in:] Th. Mommsen
(ed.), Chronica minora saec. IV. V. VI. VIII. Vol. 2, Berolini, pp. 241-303
(Monumenta Germaniae Historica Auctores antiquissimi XI).
Moore M. E., 2011, A sacred kingdom: Bishops and the rise of Frankish kingship, 300-850, Washington.
Sullivan F. A., Wood S. K., 2003, ‘Bishop (in the Church)’ [in:] T. Carson,
J. Cerrito (eds.), The new Catholic encyclopedia, 2nd ed., vol. 2, Detroit,
pp. 411-417.
Thürlemann F., 1974, Der historische Diskurs bei Gregor von Tours: Topoi
und Wirklichkeit, Bern.
Traube L. 1911, Vorlesungen und Abhandlungen herausgegeben von Franz
Boll, Bd. 2, München.
124
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.06
ZBIGNIEW DANEK
(UNIWERSYTET ŁÓDZKI)
UTRUM ISOCRATEA DE BENE CONFORMATO ANIMO
DISCIPLINA AD ALUMNORUM UTILITATES SOLUM
ACCOMMODATA SIT
SUMMARY: The purpose of this paper is to present the views of Isocrates on
human excellence as a result of the educational process. The author examines
some passages in Isocrates’ speeches, in which the well formed human virtue seems to be changeable and still dependent on the pupils’ social position.
Apart from the fact that this virtue occurs as a faculty of seizing each opportunity to speak in a relevant way, it also appears to be once a kind of patience
in bearing any success as well as any misfortune in the same manner, and, at
other times, it presents itself as a type of activity of the mind, which seeks the
best solutions to different problems of the State. It is argued that in the view
of Isocrates, despite some relevancy in his model of human excellence, which
must be adapted to the future social tasks of each of his pupils, human perfection always entails three most important values. Apart from speaking well at
the right time and living agreeably with other people, this perfection is based,
to a large extent, on some form of seriousness and a gravity of the mind, which
remains totally independent of any opportunities of time.
KEYWORDS: Isocrates, ethical ideal, its relativity and consistency
Permultis iam agentibus in educandis iuventutis animis educationis
eius finis propositus ipsaque institutio semper a civilium rerum statu
aliquam partem dependent. Est enim educantibus gravissimum tales
excolere cives, quibus nixa res publica, imminentia sibi omnia perstans
tutissime, prosperitate continua uti possit. Itaque bellatores aliquando,
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aliquando strenui oratores secundum publicam utilitatem rerumque
commutationes institui debent, at altera ex parte tam properante rerum
transgressu necesse est imbuatur iuvenile tempus talibus bene agendi
principiis, quibus pollens nulla inexpiabili contaminatum culpa a rostris in aciem et contra e castris forensia sua ad munera vicissim redire possit – et aliorum opinione et ipsius conscientia ab omni integer
scelere. Stat virtus humana civilisque disciplina immutabili quadam
boni et mali existimatione, cuius est inter alia lucrum nonnumquam et
utilitatem ipsius sui contemnere.
Utrumque Isocratis temporibus iuventus Atheniensium docebatur,
cum prior maiorum disciplina firmum rerum civilium ordinem paternamque virtutem sustinuisset, at sophistica incedens ratio docendi pro
rebus constanter gerendis iam ad omnem excipiendam apte dicendo utilitatem discipulorum animos praeparavisset. Et rhetor celeberrimus, ancipitem tunc factam iuvenum educationem aliquando qui conspiciebat
(Panath. 26), nullius tamen partis se fautorem esse declarabat. Non sufficienti sibi et revera refutatae utrique illi disciplinae ab ipso acceptam
bene colendi cultique animi rationem contra ponebat, utriusque in vitia
non concidentem. Ultimum fere Isocrateae de optime conformato animo rationis in quattuor excultae virtutis condicionibus Panathenaico in
sermone expositis continetur (Panath. 30 ss.), at multis iam annis ante
bene praeparati animi effigiem suam aliquot in scriptis ille protulit. Et
non ab omni parte consistens haec eius recte educandi disciplina videtur, cum ad animum omnia aeque patientem excolendum intenta sit,
at alibi locorum ad imperia strenue gerenda discentem praeparaverit,
cuius iam non sit pati, sed dominari et de subiecta sibi multitudine semper agilis curare. Itaque non una et constans docendi ratio fuisse Isocrati
videtur, tum ad conformandam regiam virtutem – sicut Cyprii Nicoclis,
seu aliquo post ipsius Macedonii Alexandri adulescentuli – quae collata
sit, tum ad illius patientis aliisque se clementem et indulgentem offerentis animum edocendum conversa – quod iam in Panathenaici supra
dictis locis conspici potest et multo fit evidentius in Nicoclis Isocratei
ficto sermone, ubi de subiecti imperio gregis virtutibus plurima disseritur (Nicocl. 48 ss.). Tam differentia, nisi etiam contraria, docens
accusabitur rhetorum praestantissimus, quod temporibus commodisque
inserviens omni veritate et constantia neglecta satisfaciendo cuilibet
126
Utrum Isocratea de bene conformato animo…
lectori indeque fructui percipiendo totum se obtulerit. Orta eiusmodi
quaestione et adducta in dubium Isocratis constantia iustum videtur
rem diligentius perquirere, omnia scitu digna locorum, ubi Isocratea
de bene conformata virtute disciplina exposita sit, examinantem, quo
utrique quaestionum responsum aliquod dari possit, ita de unica multiplicive rhetoris illius docendi ratione aliqua statuentem, ut etiam firma
an condicionibus solum opportunitatibusque diversissimis obsequens
fuerit haec disciplina, quoad id perfici possit, diiudicantem.
Summum fere Isocrateae de exculta virtute humana disciplinae in
Panathenaico sermone profertur, ubi hoc de mundo exiens iam brevi
rhetorum celeberrimus educationi ita veteri ut geometricis astronomicisque nixae recenti suam docendi rationem opponit, non tam revera de
ipso disciplinarum studio agens, ut totius muneris effectum, id est excultam iam labore et suo et discipuli virtutem eius, in conspectum proferens. Quattuor stat haec excellentia animi condicionibus. Quarum est
prima capacem fructus excipiendi temporum opportunitatibus uti excellentissime, sequens iuste et decenter societate frui humana ita aliorum
mores agrestes indulgenter ferentem ut ipsum in eos mitissimum maximeque aequabilem, tertia ipsius animum refrenantem etiam in omnia
fortunae adversa imperium tenere stabile et denique – in speciem priori
contraria, revera coniunctissima – quarta, ex qua etiam omnes fortunae
favores eodem aequo animo ferri debeant superbia omni vacuo nec tam
forte datis sibi bonis pollente, ut ipsius prudentia comparatis (Panath.
30-32)1.
In Panathenaici supra dicto loco duo revera contraria poscuntur,
quaedam agilitas mobilitasque animi, omnia qui sequens commoda
quaque occasione oblata sagax uti possit, at altera ex parte etiam constantia moderatioque mentis ita laetitiam nimiam reprimentis ut maeroribus occurrentis. Tam alterum alteri adversantia suadens non tamen
ipsi Isocrates contradicit, sed a forensi quadam sollertia prodiens ad humanae virtutis celsiora erigitur unaque in interiora animi bene conformati descendit, qui ex eius sententia cotidianis in rebus agens strenuus,
intrinsecus tamen quibusdam nixus praesidiis firmus et indeclinabilis
remanere debeat, ne omnes auferamur gerendarum voragine rerum.
Cf. Z. Danek, Quid Isocrates de bene sua gerentis virtute exculta iudicaverit,
„Collectanea Philologica” 2013, XVI, p. 73-78.
1
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Talia proferre aetas sua et tot annorum munera rhetorem illum docuerunt. Aliter quid tamen se habet eius prior de hominis ingenio bene
exculto disciplina.
In examinanda Isocratis de bene conformata mente opinione tria
saltem respici debent conferenda illius rei testimonia, quibus illustrissime res peracta esse videtur: praeter supra allatas bene culti animi
condiciones, prudentiae, regem quae deceat, prior aliquo explanatio Alexandro brevi regnaturo praeposita et pluribus illas duas antecedentia
annis de sapientia humana praecepta regnanti iam Nicocli Cyprio quae
ab Isocrate data sunt. Cum tamen tres illae rei dispositiones nominibus eius, de qua agitur, excellentiae humanae inter se paulo differant
(tum enim inscribuntur educati iam hominis ipsiusve ad suum effectum
tendentis educationis appellationibus, tum sapientis etiam nomine, tum
ad humanam prudentiam et id prudentem esse referuntur2), ad eandem
revera effictam iam humanam virtutem pertinere omnes videntur. Sicut
enim Antidosis Isocratea testificatur, idem est accessibili mortalibus
prudentia – cuius est nomen „phronesis” – potiri ac sapiens – „sophos”
fieri3, cum altera de parte „phronesis” illa id demum est, ad quod excolendum omnis ab Isocrate instituta iuvenum educatio intenditur4.
Consideratur itaque tribus in locis, de quibus sermo est, eadem exactae
prudentiae humanae imago, qua nihil magis esse idoneum magisque
necessarium ad bene facienda domestica et civilia munera non illi
solum videtur.
Illos excultos iam iustam per educationem „educatos” (pepaideumέnoςj – Panath.
30) etiam „sapientes” (sofoύς – Ad Nicocl. 39) Isocrates vocat, cum tertio in casu –
ad Alexandrum usque puerum eiusque studia regalia versus – „prudentem esse” adulescentulum (swfrone‹ς‹– Ad Alex. 5) iam per ingrediendam hanc studiorum viam
appellat.
3
Cf. Antid. 271: σοφοὺς μὲν νομίζω τοὺς ταῖς δόξαις ἐπιτυγχάνειν ὡς ἐpὶ τὸ πολὺ
τοῦ βελτίστου δυναμένους, φιλοσόφους δὲ τοὺς ἐν τούτοις διατρίβοντας, ἐξ ὧν τάχιστα
λήψονται τὴν τοιαύτην φρόνησιν.
4
Est Isocrati omne iuventutem educandi munus – omnis qua fungitur „philosophia”;
ita enim hanc progredientem disciplinam appellat – sui generis „exercitatio prudentiae”
(fron»sewj ¥skhsij – Antid. 209; cf. Antid. 294); cf. T. Poulakos, ‘Isocrates’ civic
education and the question of doxa’, [in:] D. Depew, T. Poulakos (eds.), Isocrates and
civic education, Austin 2004, p. 60 (the business of philosophy is to develop an insight,
phronesis).
2
128
Utrum Isocratea de bene conformato animo…
Attamen non eadem est virtus eademque prudentia regalis et privati
cuiuslibet hominis, cuius est cedere non modo regentis voluntati obnoxium, sed etiam patientem fortunae conversionibus. Et talem denique
illum perfecte educatum, in Panathenaico qui describitur, conspicimus,
cum unica fere qua polleat fortitudo sit aequo et quoad fieri possit sereno vultu tum adversa tum autem prospera ferre, ipsius sui commoda
utilitatesque data sibi prudentia procurantem et partis iis gaudentem.
Longe aliter praeparatus esse debeat regale obtenturus imperium Alexander. Eius est enim, praeter eandem communem praeparationem ad
tempestive apteque praesentis diei utilitatibus loquendum, et res futuras
accurate providere et hac nixum scientia permisso sibi civium gregi
munera distribuere prudenter et, multo maius quod videtur, iusti decorique arbitrum inter homines fieri et secundum suam illius rei existimationem tum honorare merentes tum iustam de noxiis exsequi poenam
(Ad Alex. 4). Non est concessa regale prendenti gubernaculum illa
modo dicta patientis aequabilitas, non datur ei, quae fortuna suave prudentia adferat, iis gaudere utilitatibus; semper agens, semper strenuus
tunc demum, cum omnia muneris sui bene procuret, prudentis, id est
sufficienter iam educati, nomen revera demerebit.
Tam adversa cum eodem fere tempore Isocrates ad virtutem tendentibus praecipiat, potest haec eius excellens prudentia humana anceps et ambigua videri ipseque ad utilitatem et obsequium tempori et
mentem suam et disciplinam flectere. Numne praeter omnia civilium
munerum discrimina unicum et constans apud eum pretium gerendarum rerum aliquod requiri potest? Et de eius constantia magis etiam
dubitare poterimus, cum Nicocli dicata scripta utrumque inquiremus,
ita data iuveni de iuste regendo praecepta ut ipsius de iuste regali imperio obsquendo ad suos directa admonita. Cum autem iam primo in
sermone Isocrates opere maximo niti videatur, ut regale illius imperium
prudenter in cives procedendo quoad fieri possit corroboretur, altera in
oratione talia – Nicoclis per ora – regi submissum gregem admonet,
ut omnino dignitatis libertatisque humanae oblitus se quasi famulum
regiae dominationi praebeat. Contra totiens apud se civili rerum ordini
posthabita unius regimina5 exuit tum Salaminae cives omni licentia,
Cf. Ad fil. Ias. 11: ᾿Εμοὶ γὰρ αἱρετώτερος ὁ βίος εἶναι δοκεῖ καὶ βελτίων ὁ τῶν
ἰδιωτευόντων ἢ τῶν τυραννούντων, καὶ τὰς τιμὰς ἡδίους ἡγοῦμαι τὰς ἐν ταῖς πολιτείαις
ἢ τὰς ἐν ταῖς μοναρχίαις; cf. De pace 111-113.
5
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cum libere coeundi tum etiam aliqua emptu aliove modo acquisita prae
rege abscondendi, unica relicta miseris libertate omnibus iis, quae regiae dominationi immineant, obsistendi. Tam se praestat huic dominationi obsequentem Isocrates, ut etiam aliquando dissimulanter agere, id
est sub specie adulantis ministerii subactam sine ullo respectu civilem
libertatem irridere videatur6, at altera ex parte, cum severis in rebus
ridiculose se gerere alienum eius consuetudini bene compertum sit, non
sine ratione accusari potest ingenii secundum potentium commoda suamque utilitatem mutabilis.
Ob talia obicientes defensio – quae iuste ex mea quidem sententia rhetori clarissimo debetur – suum habeat exordium in illis Nicoclis Cyprii erga coactum civium gregem admonitis diligentius respiciendis. Quae arroganter in speciem imperantur audientibus eiusmodi
revera sunt praedicta, ut quamque admonitionem explanatio ratioque
aliqua oblata sequatur quodque eius generis iussum ad irrefutabilem
quandam humanam boni et mali existimationem referens. Et iam illud
omnem furtim factam emptionem vetitam esse hunc in modum Nicocles explanat vetandamque confirmat, ut clandestina hominum incepta
plerumque timoris fontem esse coarguat, cum contra simpliciter et aperte acta omnia in crimen quoddam adducendi periculum semper amoveant (Nicocl. 52). Quae autem coepta clam, seu commenta solum,
regali imperio immineant, non tam denuntianda imperatori, ut ab ipsis
refutanda coercendaque esse suadet, omnibus clandestinis – sicut prius
– nocentibus et utrique parti periculosis factis7. Sunt in iis etiam civium
coetus secreti, aliis in civitatibus – sicut Nicocles docet – rebus publicis utiles, in unius tamen dominatu rerum statui infesti (Nicocl. 54).
Hoc enim de regio sui imperio ille agit contenditque, imperio non tam
revera subactis omnique dicione exutis coniciendo, ut coram civibus,
rem sua voluntate suoque arbitrio dimetientibus, ponderosis probando
argumentis. Stat regni successor prae plebe sua (revera prae electorum
Cf. D. Konstan, Isocrates’ „Republic”, [in:] D. Depew, T. Poulakos (eds.), op.
cit., p. 107-124 ([ad: Nicocl. 62] These words, in which it would probably be wrong to
detect Isocratean irony – p. 117).
7
Nicocl. 53: Μὴ κατασιωπᾶτ’ ἄν τινας ὁρᾶτε περὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν τὴν ἐμὴν πονηροὺς
ὄντας, ἀλλ’ ἐξελέγχετε, καὶ νομίζετε τῆς αὐτῆς ζημίας ἀξίους εἶναι τοὺς συγκρύπτοντας
τοῖς ἁμαρτάνουσιν.
6
130
Utrum Isocratea de bene conformato animo…
quorundam contione8) sicut popularis in comitiis orator et oratoriis
utens instrumentis, quibus rationibus audientium ingenia ad obtemperandum imperio suo vel cogentissime compellat, eas profert conscius se
nisi cogerentur poscere quae voluerit non posse9.
Cum autem una ex parte regia apud Isocratem dominatio populari civilium rerum regimini simillima facta sit10, tum etiam publicis
de rebus popularis ipse dominatus semper apud eum quendam regali
dicione omnia civitatis continentem deposcit. Praesunt semper rebus
communibus viri ingenio et virtute excellentissimi, sitve in his civilis
ordinis conditoribus Theseus ille fabulosus, sintve optime de Atheniensium civitate posterioribus annis qui demeruerunt Solo Cleisthenesque
seu antecedens fere aetate rhetorem nostrum Pericles11. Quorum regalis
aliquando dominatus, ut cedat prudenti optimatium de rebus civilibus
consilio12, multo magis probandus Isocrati videtur quam summa rerum
statuentis vulgi effrenata libido. Exstat apud eum inter utrumque, regale bene ad id praeparati principis imperium et prudentium consilio
nixam rem publicam quoddam commune13: bona de omnium commodo
8
Cf. Isocrates vol. III, Nicocles, or the Cyprians, tr. J. A. Freese (editio interretialis) – J. A. Freese (Introductio): „It is not addressed to the whole people, but only to the
most distinguished citizens, who had been called together by Nicocles for the purpose
of hearing it”. Quae excellentissimi interpretis opinio recta esse probatur, cum verba
Nicoclis respiciamus, ex quibus non sint eius auditorium gregarii regni incolae, sed imperatoria quadam potestate fortes in suos domini (Nicocl. 62: οἵουσπερ τοὺς ὑφ’ ὑμῶν
ἀρχομένους οἴεσθε δεῖν περὶ ὑμᾶς εἶναι, τοιούτους χρὴ καὶ περὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν τὴν ἐμὴν
ὑμᾶς γίγνεσθαι).
9
Cf. Nicocl. 10-11.
10
Statuit Ch. Tuszyńska-Maciejewska, diligens rei indagatrix, ipso suo animo habituque propiorem esse illum Isocrateum regna obtinentem virum popularis imperii
moribus quam unius dominatui; cf. K. Tuszyńska-Maciejewska, Izokrates jako twórca
parenezy w prozie greckiej, Poznań 2004, p. 164.
11
Cf. Panath. 126 ss.; Antid. 231-235; Antid. 137.
12
Perstanter enim improbamus prolatam a K. Rekucka-Bugajska (‘Izokratejskie
wychowanie władcy’, „Meander” 1980, 35/3, p. 83-95) opinionem de superante apud
Isocratem unius dominatu ceterum omnem civilium rerum ordinem (cf. annot. 5), servatis revera ab illo principe temperantia et prudentia regali.
13
Cf. D. Konstan, op. cit., p. 121 (he believed that a well-run democracy, in which
a natural aristocracy controlled political offices, was not fundamentally different in
character from a good monarchy or oligarchy). Potest etiam existimari Isocrates (quod
recte, mea quidem sententia, Ch. Tuszyńska-Maciejewska animadvertit) virtutem qui
civilem toti humanae genti propriam communem („wartości niejako uniwersalne”)
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providentia iustaque damni et meriti existimatio, unde etiam id alterum, iuste munera distribuere civibus iusteque cum pia honorare facta
tum etiam delicta reprehendere deducatur. Publicarum rerum quolibet
in ordine semper electi quidam studio scientiaque idonea docti nec non
prudenter ipsos moderantes iis de rebus curare debent et talibus – ipsa
natura sua ad gerenda munera publica aptissimis – excolendis principibus, praestantibus civili rerum ordini atque etiam humaniori omni cultui14, disciplinam suam Isocrates obtulit.
Dicitur ceterum rhetor laudabilis irrepugnabilem inter unius dominatum et civilem in rebus publicis dicionem differentiam quoad potuerit
lenire unam ob causam, quae ut gravis non tamen unica fuisse videtur.
Est haec consilium eius multorumque annorum conamina de cogendis
in unum diversissimis rerum statu Graeciae civitatibus, quo toti genti
imminens de oriente periculum interimi denique possit. Quod inceptum, si ad bonum eventum duci posset, consensum approbationemque
omnium gubernacula rerum prendentium reposcebat; numquam enim
unam prodire in aciem ordines ducesque a rerum statum evertente agitatore cogerentur. Interfuit itaque Isocratis tam suam salubri consilio
firmare civitatem, ut etiam reges permulcere unaque dissensionis labisque internae a periculo regna eorum servare, ceterum qui suopte
ingenio numquam in rerum quarundam conversiones pronum se praebebat. Ipse placabilis et aliorum cupiditatibus indulgens multorum hac
clementia sua animos alliciebat et disciplina qua iuventutem conformabat benigna eundem in modum discipulis tam factus est popularis, ut
potentissimorum progenies – etiam regia – educanda ei traderetur.
Numne aliter ac ceteri omnes regalis haec proles apud eum educabatur, ut sibi tantum data licentia suaque boni et mali institutione uti
posset? Non talis est Isocratis animus, cum alteram quid statuit designandam disciplinam virtutemque Alexandro iuveni atque ceteris,
collectim qui „educati” – pepaideumšnoi ab eo appellantur. Non enim
propagaverit, exsurrexisse ad respiciendam rem illam talem, supra omnia tunc civilis
ordinis discrimina quae elata esset („poziom ponadustrojowy”, K. Tuszyńska-Maciejewska, op. cit., p. 151-152).
14
Cf. E. Mikkola, Isokrates. Seine Anschauungen im Lichte seiner Schriften, Helsinki 1954, p. 252: „Am allerwichtigsten ist die Erziehung derjenigen, die eine Führerstellung unter der Menschen einnehmen sollen, einerlei ob es sich dabei um Herrschaft
oder um Lenkung des geistigen Lebens handelt”.
132
Utrum Isocratea de bene conformato animo…
petendi quaecumque velit licentia regni successori ab eo praebetur, sed
non evitabilia publicae navis gubernatori onera communi bono consulendi, futura caute observandi, munera civilia iuste distribuendi et illud fere difficillimum recta pravaque statuendi, ceterum qui ad eandem
omnibus communem humanam virtutem praeparandus Isocratea disciplina videtur.
Tria illius virtutis gravissima enumerare debemus, de quibus vocabulis solum differens quodque in utraque Isocratea bene culti animi constitutione – tam regalem ut etiam ceteram omnem virtutem
dimetante – requiri potest. Sunt eius excellentiae humanae partes: bene
et tempestive in rebus agere sermone utentem idoneo, hominibus convivam se mitem et benevolum praestare et – summum quod videtur
– pectore iam ab ambitione omni soluto rerum discrimina omnia pervincere posse, continua quadam fixum quiete animi, pacati cum ipsius
studio tum etiam fide cultuque deorum. Possunt omnia de tribus illis
tum recognosci, cum de pulcherrime sua gerendo munera Isocrates
agit, possunt etiam in doctorum opinionibus reperiri. Pulcherrime in
vita sua facere munera – seu etiam vivere pulcherrime – est secundum
Isocratem cum erga deos pietatem, in homines autem iustitiam, tum in
suis operibus prudentiam servare continuo15. Et triplex haec excellentia
humana tum etiam revera restruitur, cum ab Isocratei operis commentatore ad id cum bene loqui, tum mitem hominibus, intus autem divina
quadam dignitate severum esse bonus mentis habitus bonaque vivendi
ratio refertur16. Illud enim decenter loqui arte iunctum est – sicut ipse ea
Cf. Panath. 204: Οὐδεὶς γὰρ ὅστις οὐ τῶν μὲν ἐπιτηδευμάτων προκρίνει τὴν
εὐσέβειαν τὴν περὶ τοὺς θεοὺς καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν περὶ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ τὴν
φρόνησιν τὴν περὶ τὰς ἄλλας πράξεις; cf. Panath. 217. Ceterum Isocratea illa „epitedeumata” ancipitem in modum legi possunt, ad negotia solum quibus fungimur seu ad
totam vivendi rationem etiam referenda (hunc in modum reddit vocem Georgius Norlin
[ways of life – Isocrates with an English translation, vol. II, London 1929, p. 499] et id
utroque in loco). Ex mea sententia in dictis Panathenaici sermonis locis illusio quaedam
continetur, uno de collocutoribus allata illa appellatione negotia solum Lacedaemoniorum (qui pulcherrime in vita agendi tria dicta fundamina statuisse ab eo feruntur)
laudabilia denotante, altero autem hanc vocem ad totum id vivere iuste reportante.
16
Cf. T. Veteikis, Isocrates on eu phronountes, „Colloquium Balticum Lundense”
2012, XI, p. 3-4 (editio interetialis). Quartum enim illud optimae animi constitutionis quod ab eo auctore superioribus (appellanatur haec ab ipso: „Wise eloquence [the
ability to use the power of logos]”, „Friendliness, openness, mildness [praotēs]” et in
15
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distinguens addit – cum sagaciter temporibus utendo et opportunitatem
quamque acute percipiendo17, quod primum in Panathenaici sermonis
trium virtutis graduum distinctione discernebatur.
Tria illa Isocratea bene cultae mentis fundamina etiam in regenti
datis praeceptis requiri possunt, in dicto iam ad Nicoclem sermone
quae continentur. Quod illic circa triginta annis ante imperatori praecipitur, indubitabilem in modum simillimum videtur posteriori disciplinae de tribus virtutibus consistente hominis excellentia, cum sapientiae humanae primum habeatur gravibus de rebus loqui bene, sequens
bono in consensu cum hominibus rebusque vivere posse, tertium autem
moderate et decenter ita omne infortunium ut etiam secundam rerum
conversionem ferre18. Et similiter atque commemoratis Panathenaici
in locis haec bene vivendi praecepta opposita proferuntur quibusdam
contraria praestantibus, id est subtliter levia disceptantibus et praeter
omnem suam de vita beata disciplinam ipsis in angusta incidentibus
exturbatisque qualibet commutatione rerum. Et similiter atque in admonendo multo post Alexandro iuvene, est Isocrati triplex illa exculta
iam facultas bene humana munera faciendi scientia quaedam, doceri
et disci quae potest19, non tamen haec ad inutilia homini quorundam
supra adhibito ordine tertium „Seriousness [semnotēs]”) adnumeratur quodque appellatur„eudoxia”, id est nomen apud ceteros laudabile, alterum iam rei genus est non
tam ad suam virtutem sicut ad exteriora quaedam, aliorum videlicet opiniones iniquas
aliquando et mutabiles, pertinens. Tribus itaque supra dictis constat etiam apud illum
auctorem virtus Isocratea.
17
Ibidem, p. 4: “It is the intelligent man (anēr eu phronōn) who manages to use his
knowledge, perception and vocabulary appropriately and in a timely manner (Paneg.
9). To such a person the insightful sense of appropriate rhetorical situation (eukairia)
is more important than abundance of words and other means of expression (euporia)
(Panath. 33-34)”.
18
Ad Nicocl. 39: Σοφοὺς νόμιζε μὴ τοὺς ἀκριβῶς περὶ μικρῶν ἐρίζοντας,
ἀλλὰ τοὺς εὖ περὶ τῶν μεγίστων λέγοντας· μηδὲ τοὺς τοῖς μὲν ἄλλοις εὐδαιμονίαν
ὑπισχνουμένους, αὐτοὺς δ’ ἐν πολλαῖς ἀπορίαις ὄντας, ἀλλὰ τοὺς μέτρια μὲν περὶ
αὑτῶν λέγοντας, ὁμιλεῖν δὲ καὶ τοῖς πράγμασιν καὶ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις δυναμένους, καὶ
μὴ διαταραττομένους ἐν ταῖς τοῦ βίου μεταβολαῖς, ἀλλὰ καλῶς καὶ μετρίως καὶ τὰς
συμφορὰς καὶ τὰς εὐτυχίας φέρειν ἐπισταμένους.
19
Adhibetur enim ab eo utroque in loco idem scientiam denotans verbum (™pistamšnouj – Ad Nicocl. 39; ™pist»sei – Ad Alex. 4), quod ad discendo ortam quandam
humanam facultatem vel eiusmodi rerum notitiam plerumque refertur.
134
Utrum Isocratea de bene conformato animo…
studia pertinens20, sed scientia ad bene sua gerendum et domesticis et civilibus in rebus lucrose proficiens. Tribus stat principiis apud
Isocratem humana virtus, partim quae ad externam rerum condicionem
et quibuscum sociali in conexu vivimus necessitates flexibilis excolitur, partim autem pia quadam gravitate firma et immutata cum maneat,
et turbulentissima gerenti contionatori ipsius bene compositae mentis
praesidio quietum servare pectus omni in casu quae prodest. Et quietis
eius internae adminiculum firmissimum est innocenter et fideliter publicae rei munera sua curamque offerre, sicut ipse ea docens regum et
principum educator omnem per vitam suam et faciendum proclamabat
et factum operibus praestabat suis.
BIBLIOGRAPHIA
Danek Z., 2013, „Quid Isocrates de bene sua gerentis virtute exculta iudicaverit”, Collectanea Philologica 16, 73-78.
Freese J. H., 1894, The orations of Isocrates, vol. I, London. Editio interretialis: Isocrates, Nicocles, or the Cyprians, trans. J. A. Freese. Accessus per: http://www.classicpersuasion.org/pw/isocrates/pwisoc3.htm
(2014–03–21).
Konstan D., 2004, „Isocrates’ ‘Republic’”, [in:] T. Poulakos, D. Depew, (eds.),
Isocrates and civic education. Austin, p. 107-124.
Mikkola E., 1954, Isokrates. Seine Anschaungen im Lichte seiner Schriften,
Helsinki (Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae, vol. LXXXIX)..
Norlin G., 1929, Isocrates with an English translation by George Norlin, vol.
II, London–New York.
Poulakos, T., 2004, „Isocrates’ Civic Education and the Question of Doxa”,
[in:] T. Poulakos, D. Depew, (eds.), Isocrates and civic education, Austin,
p. 44–68.
Rekucka-Bugajska K., 1980, „Izokratejskie wychowanie władcy”, Meander
35/3, p. 83-95.
Tuszyńska-Maciejewska K., 2004, Izokrates jako twórca parenezy w prozie
greckiej, Poznań.
Dicit in Antidosi Isocrates hanc nil ad vitae munera proferentem disciplinam, similem „miracula efficientibus” praestigiis (qaumatopoi…aij – Antid. 269), factam esse
quasdam notitias seu narrationes „portentorum” (teratolog…aj – Antid. 269, cf. Antid.
285).
20
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Veteikis T., 2012, „Isocrates on eu phronountes”, Colloquium Balticum Lundense, XI, p. 1-5. Accessus per: http://konferens.ht.lu.se/uploads/media/
Handout_Tomas_Veteikis.pdf (2014–03–21).
136
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.07
JERZY DANIELEWICZ
(POZNAŃ)
PHILICUS’ “NOVEL COMPOSITION”
FOR THE ALEXANDRIAN GRAMMARIANS:
INITIAL LINES AND IAMBE’S SPEECH*
SUMMARY: The Hymn to Demeter (SH 676-80) by Philicus of Corcyra can
be viewed as a combination of new and traditional features. It contains a proclamation of novelty, but, at the same time, it is rooted in the hymnic tradition;
the traceable characteristics of the conventional hymn, however, are considerably modified by Philicus and practically require redefinition. What seems
particularly worth emphasising is the poet’s receptiveness to other than hymnic modes of expression as well as intertextual allusions ranging in time from
the archaic period to the present day.
Philicus’ poem (dw#ra) is “brought” to the grammatikoi, a specific group of
recipients whose opinions must have counted so much that the poet decided
to address to them his hymn on par with the gods. Although it is a truism to
say that the ancient hymn composers took into account two communicative
settings, one formally adopted (the author/performer – the god) and one resulting from the circumstances of their performance (the author/performer – the
audience/readers), it is Philicus’ merit to state explicitly what the other poets
used to leave implicit.
This article results from the project “Zakres kontynuacji i modyfikacje tradycyjnych odmian greckiej liryki w epoce hellenistycznej” [The scope of continuation and
modifications of traditional categories of Greek lyric poetry in the Hellenistic period],
funded under the scheme OPUS, number 2013/09/B/HS2/01160 (National Science Centre, Poland).
*
137
JJerzJeJerzy Dani
The innovativeness of Philicus’ hymn is clearly visible also in Iambe’s speech,
quoted in the last part of the preserved text (SH 680.56-62). The author of the article highlights the witty contrast between her suggested uneducatedness and refined
poetic diction. In Iambe’s protests can be heard the Homeric mh' ba;llete kou#roi ]
Acaiw#n (Il. 3.82), the Pindaric E
[ lla;dov e/reisma, kleinai' Ὰya#nai (fr. 76.3) or
the Hippocratean, highly technical di;aita tw#n a]nyrw;pwn (De aere, aquis et locis
1.19), comically applied to the deer. In addition, there can be found a thematic
echo between Philicus and Callimachus, compare bota;nh ... e]la;fou di;aita in
Philicus and mh#la ... bota;nhn ne;moito in Callimachus (Branchus, fr. 229.4 Pf.).
KEYWORDS: Greek literature, literary experiments in Hellenistic poetry,
Philicus
In recent studies there has been a growing recognition that Hellenistic poets were seeking to recreate and restore, as much as they sought
change and novelty.1 To avoid the possible impression that the order of
the above enumeration is meaningful and reflects the preferred hierarchy I propose to put the statement also the other way round: they sought
change and novelty, as much as they were seeking to recreate and restore. The proportions may vary from author to author, even within
a corpus of works of the same genre by a particular author – compare
the six hymns of Callimachus. The Hymn to Demeter (SH 676-680) by
Philicus of Corcyra, a well-known tragedian and priest under Ptolemy
II Philadelphus, can likewise be viewed from this perspective as a combination of new and traditional features. It contains a proclamation of
novelty, but, at the same time, is rooted in the hymnic tradition; the
traceable characteristics of the conventional hymn, however, are considerably modified by Philicus and practically require redefinition.
What seems particularly worth emphasising is the poet’s receptiveness
to other than hymnic modes of expression as well as intertextual allusions ranging in time from the archaic period to the present day.
The idea of novelty is put forth already at the start. Fragment SH
677, which according to a scholiast belongs to the poem’s proem,2 reads:
See Hunter, Rengakos, Sistakou 2014: V.
Scholia Hephaest. AC p. 140.14-15 Consbruch. Hugh Lloyd-Jones and Peter Parsons (1983), the editors of Supplementum Hellenisticum, question the initial position of
1
2
138
PHILICUS’ “NOVEL COMPOSITION” FOR THE ALEXANDRIAN GRAMMARIANS …
kainogra;fou sunye;sewv th#v Fili;kou, grammatikoi;, dw#ra fέrw pro'v
u[[ma#v
The precise meaning of the crucial expression kaino;grafov
su;nyesiv, as might be expected, is not easy to grasp and still needs
careful consideration. Compare its translations in the context of the
whole line by various scholars: “Ihr Gelehrten, eines von Philikos
neugeschaffenen Gebildes Gaben bringe ich vor euch” – Alfred Körte
(1931); “Philikos, I, lovers of books, offer you here a new-fangled
composition” – Peter Marshall Fraser (1972); “A composition in a style
unheard of, which is that of Philicus, I present to you, men of letters!” –
J. M. van Ophuijsen (1987); “Scholars, I bring you a new-fangled composition” – Alan Cameron (1995); “Grammarians, I bring you the gift
of the innovative written composition of Philicus” – Marco Fantuzzi
(2004); “Men of letters, I bring you gifts of a composition of Philikos
in a new style” – Nita Krevans and Alexander Sens (2006); “This gift
of Philicus’ newfangled composition I present to you, scholars / critics” – Mary Depew (2007); “Per voi, o grammatici, porto i doni di una
composizione originale di Filico” – Federica Provenzale (2008-2009);
“Men of letters, I bring you a gift of Philikos’ newly/innovately written
composition” – Peter Bing (2009); “Gifts in a new style of composition
by Philikos, I bring you, scholars” – William D. Furley (2009); “I bring
gifts to you, philologists, of Philicus’ innovatively written composition” – Ewen Bowie (2015).
The above survey illustrates well the degree of difficulty in translating Philicus’ phrasing. To start with, the compound kaino;grafov
is a lexical hapax legomenon, not attested elsewhere in the preserved
Greek texts. Its first component stresses the novelty of the composition, but it is important to keep in mind the nuance of sense it brings
in, which, importantly, makes it different from seemingly synonymous
neo;grafov3 and the like. Armand D'Angour's thorough comparative
analysis of the use of ne;ov etc. and kaino;v showed that the latter expresthis fragment in Philicus’ poem; see their comment ad locum.
3
Cf. AP 4.1.55: a/llwn t ] e/rnea polla' neo;grafa, “the newly written buds of
many others” (trans. W. R. Paton); Scholia in Aristophanem: Commentarium in Plutum
(scholia recentiora Tzetzae), verse 137, line 12: e/k ge tw#n neogra;fwn (scil. bibli;wn)
and 14: bi;blouv e]feurw'n tw#n neogra;fwn du;o.
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sion “is more often found when novelty is simply felt by the utterer to
be unprecedented, or as a rhetorical means of emphasising the extent to
which something departs from the past experience” (D’Angour 2011:
21).
The second element of the compound under discussion (-grafov,
“written”) seems to be underestimated by some scholars. It is given due
importance by Peter Bing who connects it with “the materiality of the
text” to be read by a concrete group of recipients, namely “readers”,
“men of letters” (Bing 2009: 109).
The translation of the su;nyesiv is made easier by the fact that
there exist its calques in several modern languages (via the Latin noun
“compositio”): “composition”, “composizione”, etc. Nevertheless, one
should be aware that the semantic field of the ancient term does not
fully coincide with the modern one. It is noteworthy that the other proemial fragment, that quoted a little earlier by Hephaestion (p. 30.2122 Consbruch) and hence considered by Hugh Lloyd-Jones and Peter
Parsons as the most likely initial line of the poem,4 is preceded by the
statement: Fi;likov d ] o[ Kerkurai#ov […] e[xame;trwj sune;yhken o=lon
poi;hma, “And Philicus of Cercyra […] has composed an entire poem
with a hexameter”.5 Thus, the verb sune;yhken (“he composed”) from
Hephaestion’s introductory note anticipates the noun su;nyesiv (“composition”) occurring in Philicus’ text quoted immediately afterwards.
The close vicinity of these two etymologically connected words may
suggest that Hephaestion understood the noun su;nyesiv, above all, as
the product of a metrical experiment.
Such a supposition is confirmed by Hephaestion’s subsequent
remarks on what we now cite as SH 677 (p. 31.1-6 Consbruch), i.e.
the fragment we are dealing with here (kainogra;fou sunye;sewv th#v
Fili;kou, grammatikoi;, dw#ra fέrw pro'v u[[ma#v). The fragment is introduced with the words: “Philicus actually pretends to be the inventor
of this (metron) when he says …”, and followed by the metrician’s
remark: “but his claim is false, for before him Simmias of Rhodes used
(the metron)”. All in all, Hephaestion’s primary concern is with the
SH 676: th#j cyoni;hj mustika' Dh;mhtri; te kai' Fersefo;nhj kai' Klume;nwj ta' dw#ra.
I.e. with stichic choriambic hexameters. All passages from Hephaestion are given
in J. M. van Ophuijsen’s translation.
4
5
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PHILICUS’ “NOVEL COMPOSITION” FOR THE ALEXANDRIAN GRAMMARIANS …
metrical structure of the composition; in his eyes, the noun “composition” denotes such a structure.
Since one can object that Hephaestion as a metrician par excellence was an one-sided interpreter of poetry, and lived a couple of
centuries later at that, let us have a closer look at the usage of the verb
sunti;yhmi in the poems written by Philicus’ contemporaries, starting
with Callimachus, the most outstanding representative of the period.
In his famous criticism of the conception “one genre, one poet”, Callimachus describes the production of different kinds of poetry with
exactly the same word: ti;v ei}pen […] / su' penta;metra sunti;yei, su'
d ] h[[rw#jo]n, / su' de' tragwjde[i##n] e]k yew#n e]klhrw;sw;? (Iamb. 13.31-32
= fr. 203 Pf.). Nevertheless, there is one important difference between
Hephaestion and Callimachus: the former understood the (choriambic) metron instrumentally as a unit serving to construct a more complex whole (e[xame;trwj sune;yhken o=lon poi;hma), in the latter – the
name of the metre (penta;metra, h[rw#jon) indicates the genre typically
composed in such a metre (elegy, epic), as the juxtaposition with
tragedy clearly shows: “Who said … you compose pentameter, you
hexameters, you have been allotted tragedy by the gods?” – trans.
Andrew Morrison.
The technical, mainly syntactical, aspect of composing the poem
out of units of identical length (11 letters) and rhythm (iambic metron)
comes to the fore in Castorion of Soli’s Hymn to Pan (SH 310, line 3-4):
klh;sw grafh#j thj#d ] e]n sofh#j pa;gkleit ] e/ph / sunyei;v, a/nax, du;sgnwsta
mh' sofw#j klu;ein – “I shall invoke you by knitting together in this clever
composition, / lord, widely-renowned phrases that are difficult for dull
listeners” (trans. S. Douglas Olson). The word sunyei;v, as Peter Bing
has pointed out (Bing 1985: 505, n. 9), refers here to the task of both
poet and reader and consists in “putting together” the discrete metra,
which on the part of the reader – in spite of the ostensible freedom in
reshaping the hymn at will – finally turns out to be illusory if the hymnic character of this composition is to be retained (Bing 1985: 508).
What Philicus and Castorion have in common is their pride of the
new-fangled, clever poem which is intended for intelligent and erudite
men. The aspect of novelty is strongly highlighted also by Boiscus,
another Alexandrian poet-experimentalist (SH 233):
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JJerzJeJerzy Dani
Boi~;skov a]po' Kuzikou#, kainou# grafeu'v poih;matov,
to'n o]kta;poun eu[rw'n sti;con, Foi;;bwj ti;yhsi dw#ron.
Boiscus of Cyzicus, writer of a new poem, inventor of the eight-footed
verse, dedicates it as a gift to Phoebus – trans. Marco Fantuzzi.
Boiscus, symbolically, devotes his poem to Apollo, the divine patron of the poetic art. The style of this couplet is reminiscent of the style
of votive epigrams. Boiscus’ dw#ron is presented almost like an artefact
set up in a temple. The ambiguous self-definition grafeu;v (painter/
writer) increases that impression.
A metaphoric reference to the novelty of the poem’s metrical pattern (Kwapisz 2013: 115) can be found also in Simias’ Egg (line 1-4):
Kwti;lav
mate;rov
th# to;d ]a/trion ne;on
Dwri;av a]hdo;nov>
Lo here a new weft of a twittering mother, a Dorian nightingale – trans.
W. R. Paton
In Simias, this initial statement is followed by an address to the
reader (line 5): pro;frwn de' yumw#j de;xo, “receive it with a right good
will”, formulated, rather unexpectedly, in a prayer-like style.6 Philicus’ poem (dw#ra), to return to our main subject, is “brought” to the
grammatikoi, a specific group of recipients whose opinions must have
counted so much that the poet decided to address to them his hymn on
par with the gods. Although it is a truism to say that the ancient hymn
composers took into account two communicative settings, one formally
adopted (the author/performer – the god) and one resulting from the
circumstances of their performance (the author/performer – the audience/readers),7 it is Philicus’ merit to state explicitly what the other poets used to leave implicit.8
Cf. Kwapisz 2013: 115: „[I]ts reapplication as an apostrophe to the reader sounds
ironic; it is para prosdokian when it turns out that it is the reader addressed here, and
that the poem is not dedicatory”.
7
See Danielewicz 1976: 38, 119 (accepted by Furley, Bremer 2001: 59).
8
Cf. Depew 2007: 166 (who, however, compared Philicus mainly with Callimachus).
6
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PHILICUS’ “NOVEL COMPOSITION” FOR THE ALEXANDRIAN GRAMMARIANS …
But now – if we admit that both SH 676 and SH 677 belong to the
hymn’s prooimion – the question arises which of these lines is to be
granted the initial position. On the one hand, it was customary to mention the god’s name at the very beginning of the hymn, and that is what
happens (albeit in a quite unconventional form) in SH 676:
th#j cyoni;hj mustika' Dh;mhtri; te kai' Fersefo;nhj kai' Klume;nwj ta' dw#ra
To Chthonic Demeter, Persephone and Klymenos mystic gifts… – transl.
William D. Furley
on the other – it is tempting9 to take the article t£ in this fragment as
anaphoric, and on that basis – following Alfred Körte (1931: 443) and
Kurt Latte (1954: 11)10 – to inverse the still favoured order SH 67667711 and achieve the sequence: dw#ra … ta' dw#ra, “gifts … the gifts”.
The first two lines of the poem would then read:
kainogra;fou sunye;sewv th#v Fili;kou, grammatikoi;, dw#ra fέrw pro'v
u[[ma#v
th#j cyoni;hj mustika' Dh;mhtri; te kai' Fersefo;nhj kai' Klume;nwj ta' dw#ra
Körte translates this couplet as follows: “Ihr Gelehrten, eines von
Philikos neugeschaffenen Gebildes Gaben bringe ich vor euch; mystisch, für die chthonische Demeter, Persephone und Klymenos sind die
Gaben”.
In spite of Lloyd-Jones’ and Parsons’ categorical rejection of this possibility – see
their comment ad locum: “perperam 677 et 676 coniunxit Körte, inverso ordine, ut
unum ambo enuntiatum efficerent” (Lloyd-Jones, Parsons 1983).
10
Giuseppetti (2012: 117, n. 74) ascribes the same opinion to Pfeiffer (1968: 157),
but that scholar is not specific on this point; he writes more generally: “[P]hilicus […]
in the proem to his Hymn to Demeter”. The initial position of SH 677 is taken for granted by Fraser 1972: 651: “It began apparently with the line ‘Philikos … [etc.]’”, and
Cameron 1995: 42: “[a]n obscure hymn […] which opens with the words: ‘Scholars
(grammatikoi;), I bring you …’ [etc.]”.
11
Among the scholars who succumb to Lloyd-Jones’ and Parsons’ authoritative statement are, for example, Brown 1990: 175; Furley 2009: 485. Giuseppetti (2012: 117) [following another suggestion of the two Oxonian scholars’] additionally relegates SH 677
to the poem’s end. Provenzale, the most recent editor of Philicus, though admitting the
initial position of SH 677, seriously considers the possibility that it was a later inclusion,
added at the moment of the poem’s publication (see Provenzale 2008-2009: 68).
9
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JJerzJeJerzy Dani
The hierarchy of addressees strongly implied by such an order (and
additionally, as stated above, the very fact of directly addressing human
recipients in a hymn) has no precedent in the traditional Greek hymnography, but ought we expect repeating the old-fashioned rules from
a poet who declares himself an innovator? Why should we exclude the
possibility, on the part of Philicus, of a conscious departure from the
stereotype way of beginning the hymn? Callimachus’ “mimetic” hymns
(2, 5, 6) show clearly the extent to which it was possible to deviate
from the old principles of hymn composition.
I am prepared to think that Philicus modelled the line addressed to
Demeter, Persephone and Clymenus on dedicatory inscriptions, as did
Boiscus of Cyzicus (quoted above). The “gifts” are, naturally, to be
taken figuratively as poetry.12 This explains the use of the dative case
while enumerating the gods’ names, a practice unparalleled in Greek
hymns which typically began with either an apostrophe to the god in
the vocative or had his name in the accusative as the direct object of
a verbum canendi – compare Lasus’ Hymn to Demeter of Hermione
(PMG 702.1)13 mentioning the same divine triad: Da;matra me;lpw
Ko;ran te Klume;noi ] a/locon, “I sing of Demeter and the Maiden [Persephone], wife of Clymenus” – trans. David A. Campbell.
A structural parallel to SH 676 of Philicus (as far as its inscriptionlike features are concerned) may be found in Callimachus’ Epigr. 39 Pf.:
Dh;mhtri th#j Pulai;hj […] / kai' th#j ka;tw yugatri; / ta' dw#ra Timo;dhmov
/ ei=sato, “For Demeter of Thermopylae […], and for her daughter under earth, did Timodemus […] place here these gifts” – trans. W. R.
Paton. Given, however, that Philicus’ poem was metrically modelled
on Simias, it is better to concentrate on the similarities to that poet. The
first two lines of Simias’ Axe, of identical rhythm and length to those of
Philicus’ hymn:
As for the dw#ra, “gifts”, it is worth noting that this is a manifestation of the archaic idea of poetry as a verbal a/galma, “pleasing gift” for the gods. For a/galma in
archaic epigrams and dedications see particularly Day 2010: 85-129, and for the reception of this motif in Hellenistic poetry compare Ivana Petrovic (2012: 173) who recalls
an alluring fragment of Callimachus (494 Pf.) as a testimony: a/kapna ga'r ai]e'n a]oidoi;
/ yu;omen, “We bards always offer smokeless sacrifices”.
13
Generally thought to be a close model for Philicus.
12
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PHILICUS’ “NOVEL COMPOSITION” FOR THE ALEXANDRIAN GRAMMARIANS …
]Androye;aj dw#ron o[ Fwkeu'v kratera#v mhdosu;nav h}ra ti;nwn ]Aya;naj
w/pas ] ]Epeio'v pe;lekun, tw#j pote pu;rgwn yeoteu;ktwn kate;reiqen ai}pov
Phocian Epeius has offered a gift to the virile goddess Athena, so as to
honour her strong councel; the axe, with which he once overthrew the
height of the god-built towers – trans. Jan Kwapisz
may have inspired Philicus with more than just the choriambic metre.
The shared elements14 are: the god’s name in the dative,15 the name
of the donor, the object offered as a gift (dw#ron) and its praise, the
article ta; used as a deictic. Note also that in both cases the relation of
the dedicatee(s) to the dedicator is comparable and can be described in
terms of hierarchical interconnection: consummate master and judge
of art’s quality (Athena, grammatikoi) – artisan or artist. Last but not
least: the beginnings of both poems are characterised by self-referentiality. Epeius’ pe;lekuv in Simias not only denotes the material object
whose history is described, but also – by mere insertion of this word
in the carmen figuratum formed in the shape of an axe – acquires the
metatextual16/metapoetic function of a pointer to the visual concept of
the poem. Similarly, the phrases kainogra;fou sunye;sewv ... mustika'
... dw#ra in Philicus, as an utterance about the general character of the
poem inserted intratextually in its beginning, reflect the ‘meta-’ perspective of the author qua creator of the text.
Coming back to the use of the gods’ names, in the context of Philicus’ hymn, their untypical (inscriptional) dative form, as mentioned
above, can additionally serve as a substitute for the traditional hymnic
announcement of the addressee (ergo, of the content). The sequence:
Demeter – Maiden/Persephone – Clymenus/Hades is constructed according to the rule of priority: the principal addressee is mentioned
first, and the other ones specify the topic by narrowing it down to the
episodes connected with them. The literary models go back to the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, lines 1-3:
While comparing Philicus with Simias I take together SH 676 and SH 677 as a
proemial unit.
15
The dative in SH 676; in SH 677 pro'v u[ma#v substitutes for the dative u[mi#n; for
these alternatives of taking the indirect object by the verb fe;rw see LSJ s.v. IV.2.
16
For the definition and applicability of the term “metatext” see Danielewicz 2001:
46-61.
14
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JJerzJeJerzy Dani
Dh;mhtr ]h]u:komon semnh'n yea'n a/rcom ]a]ei;dein,
au]th'n h]de' yu;gatra tanu;sfuron h`n ]Ai~doneu;v
h=rpaxen,
Of Demeter the lovely-haired, the august goddess first I sing, of her and
her slender-ankled daughter, whom Aïdoneus seized – trans. Martin L.
West
Nevertheless, the bold formal experiment at the beginning of Philicus’ hymn, i.e. within its most conventionalised structural element, is
a signal of further possible changes and modifications. The poet managed to insert in the hymn’s proem much more metatextual information
than his predecessors and contemporaries in the field of hymnography,
and doing so transformed the traditional pattern.
The innovativeness of Philicus’ hymn is clearly visible also in another passage I am going to deal with here, namely in Iambe’s speech,
quoted in the last part of the preserved text (SH 680.56-62):
sta#sa ga'r e]fye;gxat[o dh' ya]rsale;on kai' me;ga> “mh' ba;llete co;rton
ai]gw#n,
ou] to;de peinw#nti yew#i [fa;r]makon, a]ll ]a]mbrosi;a gastro'v e/reisma
lepth#v.
kai' su' de' th#v ]Atyi;dov, w} da[i#m]on, ]Ia;mbhv e]pa;kouson bracu; mou; ti
ke;rdov>
ei}mi d ]a]pai;deuta ce;a[i dar]o'n a]poikou#sa la;lov dhmo;tiv> ai[ yeai' me;n
ai=d ]e/yesa;n soi ku;likav ka[i' tel]e;sai ste;mmata kai' bapto'n u=dw[r]
e]n u[grw#i.
e]g de' gunaikw#n p[e;letai,] h/n, bota;nh dw#ron o]knhra#v e]la;fou di;aita,
ou]ye'n e]moi' tw#nde [me;testin] ge;rav> a]ll ]ei] cala;seiv p[e;]nyov e]gw' de'
lu;sw”17
For she stood her ground and spoke out loud and bold: “Don’t throw
goats’ feed! / That’s no cure for a goddess hunger. Ambrosia’s the diet for
a delicate stomach. / And you listen, goddess, to a word of good advice
from me, Iambe of Attica. / I’ll not mince my words; I’ve lived long in
the backwoods, an old chatterbox. These goddesses / have ruled that
cups and wreaths and water drawn from the source be paid you. / The
women’s gift – just look! – is grass, food of the timid deer. / None of
The text as printed by Furley 2009: 487.
17
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PHILICUS’ “NOVEL COMPOSITION” FOR THE ALEXANDRIAN GRAMMARIANS …
these fine gifts for me! If you care to ease your grief and I release…” –
trans. William D. Furley
As has been long recognised, Philicus follows the traditional (cf. h.
Cer. 202-205) account of Iambe who makes the grief-stricken Demeter
laugh, but he completely changes the scenery and time of this episode.
In the Homeric hymn the scene takes place in the house of Celeus before the goddess caused a universal famine, and Iambe’s jests, probably indecent, are not recorded at all, presumably because of the epic
decorum, whereas in Philicus’ poem Iambe (transformed into an old
woman) comes from the Attic deme Halimus,18 meets Demeter in the
open air after the earth has been bared of any crops by the goddess, and
delivers a long speech.19 It follows, and alludes to, the act of obeisance
combined with the fulloboli;a, pelting Demeter with leaves,20 on the
part of a group of women. Unlike these worshippers (Furley 2009: 484),
Iambe will not worship the goddess but will make some comments. Her
address is introduced by a metapoetical statement: “A humorous tale is
not without profit on solemn occasions”, as Fraser (1972: 651) neatly
puts it.
Some important undertones of Iambe’s speech confirming Philicus’
novel approach to traditional themes and his literary refinement seem
to escape, for all their merits, the commentators’ notice.21 My impression is that they generally tend to take Iambe’s words à la lettre. Even
Christopher Brown (1990: 185), who, promisingly, uses the adverb
“perversely” to define the nature of Iambe’s intervention, turns out to
refer it merely to the question of the inappropriateness of showering the
18
Where a festival in honour of Demeter, a preliminary to the three-day Athenian
Thesmophoria, took place, see Richardson 1974: 214, who reminds us that Apollodorus
(1.5.1) makes Iambe’s jesting the aition for the skommata of women at the Thesmophoria, and this may refer to the Thesmophoria at Halimus.
19
Of which only the initial part is preserved; Furley (2009: 484) surmises that the
length of the whole poem may have been some two to three hundred verses.
20
This act typically applies to the practice by which victors were honoured, like
Theseus in Callimachus’ Hecale. As Brown (1990: 185) reminds us, in the case of Demeter it is difficult to see in what way the phyllobolia is appropriate; Lloyd-Jones and
Parsons (1983: on line 53) divine an aition for ritual practice.
21
See e.g. Previtali 1969: 16; Brown 1990: 185-186; Provenzale 2008-2009: XXIV,
112-124; Furley 2009: 494.
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JJerzJeJerzy Dani
goddess with leaves in this very case: “That this practice is not normal
is emphasized by Iambe herself, who perversely infers that the point of
the fulloboli;a is a mistaken attempt to offer the goddess food; ambrosia is the proper diet of a goddess”.
As for Iambe’s speech, I would highlight the witty contrast between
her suggested uneducatedness and refined poetic diction. Iambe is
seemingly shown as a simple woman taking the symbolic act of phyllobolia as feeding the goddess, but in her protests can be heard the
Homeric mh' ba;llete kou#roi ]Acaiw#n (Il. 3.82), the Pindaric [Ella;dov
e/reisma, kleinai' ]Aya#nai (fr. 76.3)22 or the Hippocratean, highly technical di;aita tw#n a]nyrw;pwn (De aere, aquis et locis 1.19), comically
applied to the deer. One can also trace some intertextual links between
Philicus and Callimachus, the leading figure of the Alexandrian scholarship and literature. The two poets must have known each other’s poems. Incidentally, there can be found a thematic echo between them,
compare bota;nh ... e]la;fou di;aita in Philicus and mh#la ... bota;nhn
ne;moito in Callimachus (Branchus, fr. 229.4 Pf.). Whatever the direction of the impact is, the above parallel testifies to Philicus’ presence in
the literary discourse between the Alexandrian men of letters to whom
he had much to offer.
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Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.08
KONRAD DOMINAS
(ADAM MICKIEWICZ UNIVERSITY IN POZNAŃ)
PLUTARCH IN THE GALAXY OF NEW MEDIA.
MECHANISMS OF RECEPTION
SUMMARY: The aim of this article is to present the most important mechanisms of appearance Plutarch’s texts on the Internet. The author, referring to
the scale-free network theory, identifies three overlapping each other spaces
of reception: ancient literature, literature and popular culture, new media. The
last one represents in the frame of Lev Manovich, whose book The language
of new media complements Henry Jenkins in the concept of Convergence
Culture.
KEYWORD: ancient literature and culture, reception studies, new media,
popular literature and culture, Plutarch’s works, the scale-free network theory
Let us imagine a space created by all ancient texts and their authors.
In such a space we cannot find authors more and less privileged, as
in the structuralist approach to myth by Claud Lévi-Strauss: “On the
contrary, we define the myth as consisting of all its versions; or to put it
otherwise, a myth remains the same as long as it is felt as such” (LéviStrauss 1963: 216-217). Due to the finite number of works, the space
could be described as closed, however the key is held by researchers
of new scrolls and parchments. Every new discovery enhances the collection and replenishes it with new parts. The space is therefore static
and can be easily described, using for example a proper division. What
will happen though, if a researcher implements a relational element in
the collection? An element of this kind could refer to a specific story
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or literary motif, a historical or mythical character, etc. In that case, the
space will become dynamic – a relational element will create a set of
connections (relations) between authors and their works. A characteristic feature of that set will be the number of links and their relevance.
One author will be connected by many paths, whereas the other will
have only one path, and there will be authors who will remain on the
periphery, without any links. Some paths will be wide and other will be
narrow. If a relational element becomes Aeneas, then obviously most
paths will lead to such works as Virgil’s Aeneid, Homer’s Iliad, Dionysius of Halicarnassus’ Roman Antiquities, Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
There will be also works which in spite of only a few paths will create
broad and meaningful connections. An example of it can be Hellanicus
of Lesbos’ The Priestesses of Hera at Argon. It is only one excerpt
quoted by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Roman Antiquities I 72), but
truly important – Rome was founded together by Aeneas and Odysseus
(or according to Odysseus), the name of the Town comes from Trojan
Women, Roma.1
The space that has been built thanks to the relational element can be
depicted with a graph. The parts of such a graph will constitute its vertices (texts of particular authors from a given era) and the links. We can
also notice its various qualities, e.g. a graph path (a series of vertices
connected by edges), path length (a number of vertices included in one
path), graph vertex degree (a number of edges joining at one vertex),
joint weight (thickness of an edge joining particular vertices) and many
other. We are able to achieve in this way a view of multiple relations
between individual threads and motifs of a tale about Aeneas. What is
interesting, the image will appear outside the time (periods within one
space have no meaning) and it does not include canonical texts (Czeremski, Dominas, Napiórkowski 2013: 59-61).
Regardless of the relational element used in the ancient literary
space, we are dealing with texts which always create a vast number
of links. Speaking metaphorically, they are the brightest stars in the
„ὁ δὲ τὰς ἱερείας τὰς ἐν Ἄργει […] Αἰνείαν φησὶν ἐκ Μολοττῶν εἰς Ἰταλίαν
ἐλθόντα μετ᾽ Ὀδυσσέα οἰκιστὴν γενέσθαι τῆς πόλεως, ὀνομάσαι δ᾽ αὐτὴν ἀπὸ μιᾶς τῶν
Ἰλιάδων Ῥώμης” – according to Müller 1891: 52 (fragment 53).
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galaxy of antiquity. Such a star undoubtedly involves the works of Plutarch of Chaeronea.
Each literary period can be described by means of a graph theory.
Each of the spaces will be both static and dynamic. Much is to depend
on a researcher and the relational element used by him. The most interesting space, however, will be literature and contemporary culture. It is
the only fully open space – a number of elements is beyond estimation,
due to the fact that new ones are being created all the time. It is also
a space which, in an unusual way, delves into new media, actually at
many levels. It is not coincidental that Henry Jenkins calls contemporary culture a Convergence Culture: “By convergence, I mean the flow
of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between
multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted. Convergence is a word that manages to describe technological, industrial, cultural, and social changes,
depending on who’s speaking and what they think they are talking
about” (Website 1; see: Jenkins 2006: 4-10).
In such an adopted convention of mathematical and literary character, the greatest challenge for researchers of different sciences might be
not so much building of connections within one individual space, but
many spaces. In this manner, the reception of Greek-Roman literature
becomes a study of relations taking place between antiquity and any
other selected number of spaces. A starting point – the heart of that
research – should always be antiquity, no matter of how much it will
be processed and how many paths and transformations it will need to
go through.
It turns out that there is not one perception but there are many. An exact understanding of it is presented by Lorna Hardwick and Christopher
Stray in the introduction to A companion to classical receptions: “By
‘receptions’ we mean the ways in which Greek and Roman material has
been transmitted, translated, excerpted, interpreted, rewritten, re-imaged
and represented. These are complex activities in which each reception
«event» is also part of wider processes” (Hardwick, Stray 2008: 1).
A study of individual threads and literary motifs at the level of multiple spaces seems to be a part of interdisciplinary, complex studies,
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which embrace more and more often cultural and media theories. It
is particularly visible in the context of Plutarch and his Parallel lives.
Tanja Kinkel, the author of Synowie wilczycy (Die Söhne der Wölfin:
Roman), which corresponds to a dozen of resources telling mythological and historical beginnings of Rome. It is a tale of Rhea Silvia, her
marriage with Faustulus and her children: Remus and Romulus. The
German writer reaches for The Life of Romulus, which is confirmed in
the preface (Kinkel 2010: 463). Every classical philologist or a historian
of antiquity might wish to juxtapose historical facts with literary fiction
and investigate how much Synowie wilczycy confirms or denies a particular source of literary periods and their texts. We could therefore build
two spaces around the main heroes: one of ancient literature and the
other one of popular literature. The most valuable part of the analysis
will deal not with a work on the sources – it is a beginning point – but
a discussion on mechanisms of reception of stories and ancient motifs.
One of them is told by the author herself, quoting the novel The King
must die by Mary Renault (first published 1958). It is a mechanism well
described in Degradacja mitu w literaturze fantasy by Bogdan Trocha
(2009). It functions in the way that it de-mythicizes various tales and
presents them with a resemblance to historical events. A similar mechanism was constructed by David Benioff in the screenplay to the movie
Troy by Wolfgang Petersen from 2004 and David Gemmell in the trilogy
of the same title.2 A Kinkel tale is also a perfect example of a growing
relevance of female characters in popular literature including ancient
history subjects and mythology. It is worth to appreciate in this context
The Memoirs of Helen of Troy by Amanda Elyot (2005), the already
mentioned Troy by Gemmell (the character of Andromache) and most
of all The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (first published 2005) and
Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin (first published 2008). The references to
antiquity constitute the foundation of the analysis, whereas the mechanisms responsible for the way of their interpretation must be sought in
literature and popular culture and in the new media.
It seems that the relationship of Greek-Roman heritage with popular literature and culture are embedded in studies on reception. It is
testified by such publications as Reception studies by Lorna Hardwick
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Gemmell 2006a; Gemmell D. 2006b; Gemmell, Gemmell 2007.
PLUTARCH IN THE GALAXY OF NEW MEDIA. MECHANISMS OF RECEPTION
(2003), Ancient Greece in film and popular culture by Gideon Nisbet
(2006), Classical myth and culture in the cinema, edited by Martin
Winkler (2001), Classics and the uses of reception, edited by Charles
Martindale and Richard F. Thomas (2006), and Classics for all: Reworking Antiquity in mass culture, edited by Dunstan Lowe and Kim
Shahabudin (2009) and many others.3
However, it is difficult to find a work at a methodological level
which would refer to the reception of antiquity in new media, which is
best expressed by Lev Manovich “the translation of all existing media
into numerical data accessible through a computer” (Manovich 2001:
40). Perhaps the reason for it is the answer to the question whether in
the context of cyberspace we are actually dealing with the process of
reception. The Internet can be regarded as a new space for representation of antiquity, however more and more often it is being depicted as
a digital platform that enables readers and authors to post their works,
to search and browse the material at random, etc. Therefore a question
about Plutarch in new media is not only a question about reception.
The reason is the already mentioned methodological matters and the
network character of new media.
Research of antiquity reception in new media could rely on the analysis of a route that every given thread travels from antiquity to modern
times and of a degree to which it is processed and of its average route.
Unfortunately, there are not many such works. Research of it depends
only on registering different examples – more or less known in ancient
literature – according to the principle that only the act of paying attention
to something, e.g. to various websites, is already sufficient. The Internet
is becoming in this way a mere supplement to traditional methodologies.
Whereas registering hundreds of instances occurring in the space, which
as assumed is highly dynamic (feature of hypertext), might be at most
a starting point for research. In the case of new media, what becomes relevant is an exact analysis of mechanisms (media, cultural, marketing, etc.)
responsible for multiple processes of reception. Reception is a process in
It is worth to take note of these series: Companions to Literature and Classics
(Cambridge University Press), Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World including
M. Beck, 2014, A companion to Plutarch, Chichester, as well as Brill’s Companions in
Classical Studies.
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which the appearing element of ancient literature becomes influenced by
particular mechanisms of digital environment. These mechanisms allow
the message to be influenced by numerous transformations, for example
changing its primal meaning. The onset of such process is arbitrary and
depends by and large on the perspective of the researcher who begins the
analysis (Dominas 2014a: 104).
Another equally important element is the character of media itself.
The space of the Internet can be presented by means of a graph theory,
although the network character of WWW is extremely specific. Applicable in this case could be a scale-free network theory and a smallworld network model, developed by the researchers from the University of Notre Dame: Albert-László Barabási, Hawoong Jeong and Réka
Albert. These scientists have proved that the web of WWW documents
builds one entity thanks to only a few sites with a great number of
references. On a map of websites which they created, those with fewer
than 4 links constituted over 80%. A pattern that appeared from the
research was determined as a scale-free, which means that the distribution of links is exponential (Barabási Jeong, Albert 1999: 66-67).
Internet websites focus therefore around the centers which can have
even millions of connections (the so-called clustering coefficient). Two
relationships of the theory are pivotal: exponential growth and the socalled preferential attachment, which was named by sociologist Robert
K. Merton as the effect of Saint Matthew – the rich get richer and the
poor get poorer (Matt 25:29) (Watts, Strogatz 1998: 440-442). It means
that newly created internet sites are more likely to be connected to the
already existing centers in which the so-called strong nodes are prevalent, with a peculiarly great number of links.
HOW MUCH OF PLUTARCH IS THERE ON THE
INTERNET?
Apparently answering that question is childishly easy. With only
a Google search website, which is accessed by 96,24% of Internet users
in Poland,4 we can estimate the number of sites that we get after typ4
Data comes from the period 09-15.03.2015. Source: Gemius, http://www.ranking.
pl/pl/rankings/search-engines.html (21.03.2015).
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ing in the word “Plutarch”. The search website will display in less than
a second approximately 960,000 web pages,5 mainly in Polish, English
and German. To the right of the screen we will see also basic information on the Greek writer – the source is Wikipedia (Fig. 1): “Plutarch
was a Greek historian, biographer and essayist, known primarily for
his Parallel Lives and Moralia” (Website 2). Comparing, after typing
in the phrase “parallel lives Plutarch” we get 991,000 websites and
for the word “Caesar” over 22 million search results. What these results actually mean? The answer includes one of the most vital mechanisms of contemporary media: popularity. That word has been given
by two Google search website founders – Sergey Brin and Larry Page,
a completely new meaning. In computer lingo these results mean that
there are nearly a million websites which contain the above-mentioned
words. Due to the fact that we are dealing here with computer programs
which rely on some algorithm, the subject of a website does not matter
much at this level (Morville, Rosenfeld 2006: 158-161).
Fig. 1 A fragment of screenshot from Google website with information about Plutarch
Just a few years ago, the algorithm PageRank was responsible
for displaying the results of a search in a sequence. Its operation was
based on the idea of quoting – the more frequently a website with the
word “Plutarch” was quoted, the higher was its position in the ranking
5
The results of the search website in this paragraph come from 30.03.2015.
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(Website 3). One should not wonder therefore that first in the ranking
are websites coming from the multilingual Wikipedia, one of the most
popular websites on the Internet. In 2012 the policy of th esearch website was changed a lot. These days the ranking depends not only on the
algorithm PageRank but also on the information that the website extracts from our computer’s cookies files.6 In this way another network
mechanism comes to life, which is described currently with the term
personalization – adjusting the websites to the interests of a user. In
conclusion, one might say that the more often we browse through some
material, the more probable it is that it will be the point of reference for
the search tools. Speaking metaphorically, we are looking all the time at
our own reflection. If we are historians or classical philologists and we
navigate frequently through the web pages connected with our profession, we will get websites exactly on that subject. Such a short experiment reveals to us one more mechanism, namely the skill of making
queries for the search website. The more it is accurate, the better results
we get. So if we want to begin research on Plutarch and we are going to
use for that purpose a Google search tool, then we should be aware of
the principles of operations of that tool, which in this case will average
the message, according to the basic views of Toronto School of communication theory – the medium is the message (Mersch 2010: 106127). Here appears a question, who actually creates a query – a search
site or a human? That question can be answered in the following way:
a human thinks of a word or phrase and writes it in the tool – the search
website delivers results on the basis of words and phrases relying on a
few hundred complex algorithms – a human looks through the results and
makes the analysis.
6
The Privacy Policy of Google has greatly changed on 01.03.2012 and its recent
version comes from 25.02.2015. We can read on the company website in Information
we collect: “We collect information to provide better services to all of our users – from
figuring out basic stuff like which language you speak, to more complex things like
which ads you’ll find most useful, the people who matter most to you online, or which
YouTube videos you might like. We collect information in two ways: information you
give us […] and information we get from your use of our services” (http://www.google.
com/intl/en/policies/privacy/#infocollect [21.03.2015]).
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What is interesting, the last step is not always done. Many internet
users believe, no matter of their education, that content quality delivered by the search tool is flawless.
WHAT DO WE REALLY GET FROM THE GOOGLE
SEARCH WEBSITE?
The internet web pages devoted to the author of Parallel lives can
be divided into three basic groups. The first one is made up of scientific
web services hosted by academic centers and university staff. Among
many there is one which deserves more attention, it is frequently cited,
the Website of The International Plutarch Society hosted by Utah State
University (Website 4). The service includes a sophisticated bibliography of Plutarch (last update 5th of May, 2014) (Website 5) and a number
of current information to the subject of conferences, meetings, symposiums, etc. (Website 6). It is also worth to mention Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) (Website 7). The author of entry “Plutarch”
together with the bibliography is George Karamanolis; the last update
was done in November 2014 (Website 8). Here we can recall some important statistical data connected with SEP. Service Compete, Millward
Brown Digital informs that in February 2015, the web page SEP was
visited by over 466,000 unique visitors (Website 9). That is even more
by 100,000 than a year earlier. It is hard to say what percentage of this
number refers to Plutarch, but even assuming that we are dealing with
a mere half per cent of that number, it stands for the result of 2,330 users (Website 9).
Truly interesting in the context of reception is the website with Rosalie Kaufman’s book Our Young Folks’ Plutarch (Website 10) within
The Baldwin Project. Bringing Yesterday’s Classics to Today’s Children
(Website 11). This work includes fifty retellings from Plutarch’s Lives
skillfully adapted for children.
Services of scientific nature make an example of using the internet
not only as a space for publishing information but they also meet the
needs of various environments which demanded from computer networks a new, digital Alexandrian library. For many researchers they
can be a space for communication, particularly when they are enhanced
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by functionality of popular social networks. Unfortunately, apart from
representatives of the science world or literary and cultural fans, that
kind of website is visited by only a scant percentage of users, even
though they are ranked at high positions. Interesting as well is the fact
that they constitute a platform for many entries created in Wikipedia.
The second group embraces services of encyclopedic kind with
some fundamental information on the subject of the life and creative
output of Plutarch. The best example is Encyclopedia Britannica.7 The
author of a three-page entry divided into several subcategories is Frank
W. Walbank, Rathbone Professor Emeritus of Ancient History and
Classical Archaeology, University of Liverpool, author of A Historical
commentary on Polybius (first published 1957) (Website 12, 13). Additionally, Britannica has at its disposal a bibliography and some basic
data on the edition and entry update. The editors make also available
a version for elementary and junior high schools, although such information is accessible only to subscribers (Website 14). It might seem
that this kind of information should become the basic knowledge for
the majority of internet users, and what is more important, this knowledge should be repeatedly checked and verified. Unlike in Wikipedia,
we get an author’s name, surname and an exact, academic bibliography.
Unfortunately, it is all denied by the statistics. The most important and
in the same way the most popular source of information on Plutarch is
Wikipedia. Permanently, the two first positions for the word “Plutarch”
in the Google ranking are occupied by Polish and English Wikipedia.
In February 2015, Britannica was checked by nearly three and a half
million unique visitors (Website 15), but Wikipedia by almost a hundred million (Website 16). The Service Alexa which monitors the internet users informs that directly before Britannica, web surfers visited
Google (66,6%), and at the second place Wikipedia (2,9%) (Website
17). Although the percentage is not high, it means that almost three million users visited Wikipedia in the first place.
In Poland one of the most popular services of this sort is encyclopedia WIEM
from the Onet web portal. It was developed on the basis of the Popular Common Encyclopedia of the Fogra Publisher. See http://portalwiedzy.onet.pl/encyklopedia.html
(21.03.2015).
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The last group representing the services with Plutarch’s works,
especially Moralia and Parallel lives are in the original as well as in
translations. It is worth to take note here that a good deal of publications, translations, comments, etc. are situated in the so-called public
domain, which means that owing to the expiry of a copyright they are
legally available for every web surfer.
About 10 years ago, texts written in Greek language belonged to
a rarity. Responsible for that were chiefly printers which had great
problems in displaying all characters properly. The Development of internet technologies and web applications make it possible these days
that the works of Homer in Greek are as popular as in Latin. Among
hundreds of websites of this kind the most renowned is the service Perseus Digital Library, led by Gregory R. Crane from Tufts University
(Website 18). The beginnings of the largest database of ancient texts
on the internet go as far back as the year 1985, which means that the
project had been launched four years before the creation of World Wide
Web and six years before the birth of first internet browsers! Plutarch
texts’ database counts about 300 links, all works are in Greek language
and in English translations. As an example, Greek The life of Julius
Caesar originates from the following version (original bibliographical
record) (Website 19):
Plutarch. Plutarch’s Lives. with an English Translation by. Bernadotte
Perrin. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. London. William
Heinemann Ltd. 1919. 7.
Plutarch’s works can be also found in the service LacusCurtius
belonging to Bill Thayer (Website 20). It is another impressive database with 575 webpages, 752 photos, 739 drawings and engravings,
119 plans, 122 maps (counted in late 2014) which are connected with
ancient literature and culture (Website 20). Another example is Theoi
Greek Mythology: Exploring Mythology in Classical Literature & Art
guided by Aaron J. Atsma from New Zealand (Website 21). We can discover here mostly Plutarch’s texts which refer to mythology, e.g. Life
of Theseus and many other. In February 2015, it was visited by over
200,000 unique visitors (Website 22). To compare with, Perseus Digital
Library attracted in the same period slightly over 100,000 (Website 23).
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Theoi Greek Mythology is cited by over three thousand other web pages
(Website 24), whereas Perseus by over 23 thousand (Website 25).
The above-mentioned websites publish texts of Plutarch in XHTML
or HTML 5.0 which means they are fully adjusted to the digital environment, being a perfect example of new media. They can be processed freely by editors, as well as sophisticated computer programs,
e.g. search engine robots. Thanks to that they can be easily found and
made use of. The process of digitalization means in this case either rewriting of particular issues or scanning a text and converting it in OCR
software to the digital form. The latter can be the cause of some errors,
misspellings, repetitions and so on.
Fig. 2 A screenshot from the Internet Archive website
(eBooks and Texts) with Plutarch’s collection
Recently, more and more ancient works are being published on
the Internet in a PDF form. In the lead is mainly one, The Internet Archive – a San Francisco-based non-profit digital library (Website 26)
and Google Books (Website 27). The database of The Internet Archive
contains 1415 works corresponding to Plutarch: critical publications,
translations, studies, etc. (Website 28). The texts mainly come from
American and Canadian libraries, but also from a few European institutions (Fig. 2). Posting of texts in the form of the so-called post-script
files offers a few advantages. Among these it is worthwhile to take
note of a possibility of storing an entire text on a computer hard disk,
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tablet, phone, etc. and what is more important, without any errors in
the text. The only difficulty is associated with the fact that a search
site is capable of indexing only the title and some additional information about a given text (the so-called metatags). Indexing of the PDF
content of the 19th and early 20th century books is currently impossible.
Extremely troublesome is also browsing and searching through a file,
mostly because of its large size – a file can occupy even 200 MB of
hard disk space.
PLUTARCH AND SOCIAL NETWORKING SERVICES
Present computer technologies equipped with modern software
make it possible for almost all web users to become authors of texts,
their editors and reviewers. The only limitation is a lack of access to
the Internet. These changes are commented by Paul Levinson, who
very consciously entitles his book from 2009 New new media: “Every
Consumer Is a Producer” – the author writes (Levinson 2009: 3). The
examples of new new media, according to Levinson, are among others:
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia.
Wojciech Orliński, author of the work Internet. Czas się bać, calls
such media scientists as Lev Manovich, Paul Levinson, Henry Jenkins,
Marshall McLuhan, Alvin Toffler cyber-optimists (Orliński 2013: 192193). For this journalist of “Gazeta Wyborcza” the most relevant features of the new media, for example so much praised by Jenkins collective intelligence, is not a blessing but a punishment which we have to
face for having too much trust in technology and large media corporations – Google, Facebook, Microsoft. In effect, we are losing gradually freedom of choice, rights, access to information, privacy, freedom
of speech, work, culture and transparency. Orliński’s theses fit well in
Nicholas G. Carr’s views presented in The shallows: What the Internet
is doing to our brains. The American journalist mentions all that in the
first chapter of his book: “Calm, focused, undistracted, the linear mind
is being pushed aside by a new kind of mind that wants and needs to
take in and dole out information in short, disjointed, often overlapping
bursts – the faster, the better” (Carr 2010: 10).
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Leaving aside the quarrel about the values of media to the social
scientists, it is worthwhile to ask a question in the context of Plutarch
in cyberspace and in a broader context of the entire ancient literature
and culture, if together with the birth of new new media, of the social
network era, thousands of web users around the world have begun to
post texts, make movies, write blogs or web sites devoted to the ancient
times?
The conviction about a major role played by new media users in
content creation is the largest myth of the contemporary media culture
(Dominas 2014b: 144-146). Internet users comment various kinds of
information, discuss topics at forums, exchange views and knowledge
on Facebook, post films on YouTube, review and describe them. Do
they make any new knowledge by that? The answer is easy. No, they
do not. The earlier mentioned websites of a scientific and encyclopedic character are still much liked and appreciated, despite the fact that
media have undergone a transformation or convergence. Web services
containing ancient texts and commentaries are still often visited. It is
also worth asking if the number and level of information on WWW
would be the same if it were not for traditional media? With no radio,
television, press or books, the internet would still be rather a platform
chiefly of communication or solely information character.
Another myth is the apparent ease of website creation, various
texts, films or blogs. Even if we have access to the right tools and software, making materials on the internet is not a simple thing, unless we
treat a short forum comment or a post on a commercial blog as a quality of new new media. Web users, no matter if they are scientists, college students or school students, have at their disposal a great potential
which contemporary technology offers, but only possessing it does not
make them really producers.
Perhaps one of the greatest examples of the reception of Plutarch
in social media is Wikipedia – the largest non-profit8 service of this
According to the Alexa web service, Wikipedia ranks sixth in the world among
WWW websites with the highest number of users (http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/
www.wikipedia.org), according to Compete, Millward Brown Digital its 7th position
with 98461327 users (https://siteanalytics.compete.com/wikipedia.org/#.VSPKB-Ggrng [21.03.2015]).
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kind. The history and importance of that tool, as well as content-related
analysis of individual entries and categories referring to the author of
Parallel lives is according to me of secondary significance. In Polish
and English subject literature alike, we can find quite many publications dealing with the Encyclopedia, and analyzing the entries does not,
in my opinion, make much sense, especially at the scientific workshop
level. It does not mean though, that Wikipedia poses no interesting research goals, particularly if we look at it in the context of popular cultural and literature. Worth noticing is also a quite complex bibliography
which includes both academic knowledge and reception. It is worth
an effort to study carefully the most essential statistics referring to the
English entry of “Plutarch”, to have an idea how well it is inscribed
into the trend of new new media. Are we talking about a collective
intelligence or about a hobby of creating, developing and updating the
knowledge using traditional sources of information or exclusively the
network itself?
The English-language entry “Plutarch” was made on 9th of November, 2001. The author of the short biography was a user nicknamed
MichaelTinkler (Website 29). He posted the following information
(without bibliography, annotations, etc.; original spelling) (Website 30):
Plutarch, historian, around A.D. 46-120, born at Chaeronea, Boeotia,
in Greece during the Roman Empire. Plutarch travelled widely in the
Mediterranean world until he returned to Boeotia, becoming a priest at
the temple of Apollo at Delphi. His most important historical work is the
Parallel Lives, in which he arranges 46 biographies of leading Greeks
and leading Romans in tandem to illuminate their shared moral virtues or
failings.
The entry was 476 bytes long at that time, today it is over one hundred times larger (48 222 bytes of data). In the period of 14 years, there
have appeared 1290 entry versions (about 92 versions a year), over
which 717 editors have worked. The number of editions (logged-in users and users identified by an IP address) reached 64,7%, the remaining
35,3% were the so-called minor edits. Most intense works on the entry
were carried out in 2006, where 237 editions were created. The average
number of edits per user as of today reaches 1,8, average time between
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KKonraKoKonrad
edits is 3,8 days. There are 2842 inbound links and 585 outbound links
for the website. The entry contains also 48 external links (Website 31).
Most interesting though, are the figures confronting the number of
editors with the total number of readers of the entry. In order to show it
well, I have taken into account the year 2008 (Website 31). As a matter of fact, the entry was edited by 96 writers, with 149 changes saved
together with the new information and also with the already existing
updates (Website 31). At the same time, the entry was pulled up by
243 872 web users. The ratio of editors to readers was 0,039%, and
at that time 4,61% (2207,072 bytes) of the today’s entry was created
(Website 32). If we look at the above relation, it is worth to pose a question in this context if we really are dealing with a social media based
on the so-called collective intelligence? Does that percentage of editors
entitle us to calling that project the biggest database in the world created by crowds of web users? The problem gets even more complicated
if the material content is compared with popular encyclopedias and
guidebooks of antiquity. In effect it will turn out that the new text, bordering on plagiarism, is a mere copy of already available knowledge.
The only difference though, is accessibility or interactive and multimedia features, in other words digital media mechanisms.
Wikipedia raises interest for a different reason – as one of the most
significant objects of pop culture. In the context of antiquity reception,
important become such relationships as: chronology of adding new
motifs and threads to the main entry and their dependence on a movie,
popular literature, mass media, etc., relations between the entry and
individual categories and subcategories. Knowledge in Encyclopedia
– material many times processed and derivative to the original – constitutes also a starting point for new information on the internet. Web
users quote other web users without any reference to ancient literature
or culture.
INSTEAD OF AN ENDING – PLUTARCH AND GRAPHS
Shahar Ronen, a worker of Microsoft Corporation (Program Manager II, MSN Analytics) and a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of
Technology created The Petit Plutarch Project (Website 33). The project
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PLUTARCH IN THE GALAXY OF NEW MEDIA. MECHANISMS OF RECEPTION
was built in the course of
classical philology studies
which Ronen started after
the computer college. The
aim of the project was investigating relations between
institutions and characters
of late Roman Republic and
the cult of goddess Venus
Fig. 3 A visualization of the connections
based on Parallel lives of
between Roman generals and the gods
Plutarch. For that purpose he associated with them in Plutarch’s Lives from
created a graph (by means of
The Petit Plutarch Project by Shahar Ronen
NodeXL application) which
presented connections between Roman generals and the gods associated with them in Plutarch’s Lives (Website 33). Ancient literature became for Ronen a foundation for research – a graph became an opportunity to present results and introduce the right methodology based on
mathematical and computer-related laboratory (Fig. 3).
The following example fits in the presented in this article convention of graph theory and computer networks. Research on reception of
antiquity in new media requires therefore an interdisciplinary approach
which will grasp not only the gist (literature and culture of antiquity)
but also the transmission (medium), and some mechanisms responsible
for the process of reception. Such research becomes useless though, if
they are not backed by a thorough analysis of convergence of individual motifs and threads. However, the analysis is not possible without
proper studies. If we strip the research on reception in new media from
the classical philology knowledge, then that research will become in
itself another reception – a reception of the reception.
REFERENCES
Atwood M., 2005, The Penelopiad, New York.
Barabási A.-L., Jeong H., Albert R., 1999, ‘Scale-free characteristics of random networks: The topology of the world-wide web’, Physica A 281, pp.
69-77.
167
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Carr N., 2010, The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains, New
York.
Ch. Martindale, R. F. Thomas (eds.), 2006, Classics and the uses of reception,
Malden–Oxford.
Czeremski M., Dominas K., Napiórkowski M., 2013, Mit pod lupą II, Kraków.
D. Lowe, K. Shahabudin (eds.), 2009, Classics for all: reworking antiquity in
mass culture, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Dominas K., 2014a, ‘Mechanisms of ancient literature reception in digital media: Methodological context’, Scripta Classica 11, pp. 101-110.
Dominas K., 2014b, Specyfika i mechanizmy Internetu a badania nad mitologizacją władzy w nowych mediach, [in:] B. Trocha, W. Charchalis (red.),
Mitologizacja państwa w kulturze i literaturze iberyjskiej i polskiej / Mitificación de estado en culturas y literaturas ibéricas y polacas / Mitificação
de estado nas culturas e literaturas ibéricas e polacas, Zielona Góra, pp.
135-149.
Elyot A., 2005, The memoirs of Helen of Troy: A novel, New York.
Gemmell D., 2006a, Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow, London.
Gemmell D., 2006b, Troy: Shield of thunder, London.
Gemmell D., Gemmell S., 2007, Troy: Fall of kings, New York.
Hardwick L., 2003, Reception studies, Oxford–New York.
Hardwick L., Stray Ch. (eds.), 2008, A companion to classical receptions,
Malden–Oxford.
Jenkins H., 2006, Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide,
New York.
Kinkel T., 2010, Synowie wilczycy, tłum. R. Wojnakowski, Poznań.
Le Guin U. K., 2008, Lavinia, Orlando.
Levinson P., 2009, New new media, Boston.
Lévi-Strauss C., 1963, Structural anthropology, trans. from the French by
C. Jacobson, B. G. Schoepf, New York.
Manovich L., 2001, The language of new media, Cambridge.
Mersch D., 2010, Teorie mediów, tłum. E. Krauß, Warszawa.
Morville P., Rosenfeld L., 2006, Information architecture for the World Wide
Web, Bejiing.
Müller K. O., Müller Th., 1891, Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, Paris, [on-line:] https://archive.org/details/fragmentahistori01mueluoft
(21.03.2015).
Nisbet G., 2006, Ancient Greece in film and popular culture, Exeter–Devon.
Orliński W., 2013, Internet. Czas się bać, Warszawa.
Renault M., 1958, The king must die, New York.
Trocha B., 2009, Degradacja mitu w literaturze fantasy, Zielona Góra.
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PLUTARCH IN THE GALAXY OF NEW MEDIA. MECHANISMS OF RECEPTION
Watts D. J., Strogatz S. H., 1998, ‘Collective dynamics of “small world” networks’, Nature 393/4, pp. 440-442.
Winkler M. M. (ed.), 2001, Classical myth & culture in the cinema, Oxford–
New York.
NETOGRAPHY
Website 1 – http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html (30.03.2015).
Website 2 – https://www.google.com/?hl=en#hl=en&q=Plutarch (30.03.2015).
Website 3 – A. Wall, Search Engine History, http://www.searchenginehistory.
com/ (30.03.2015).
Website 4 – http://www.usu.edu/ploutarchos/ (30.03.2015).
Website 5 – http://www.usu.edu/ploutarchos/plutbib.htm (30.03.2015)
Website 6 – http://www.usu.edu/ploutarchos/conferences.htm (30.03.2015).
Website 7 – http://plato.stanford.edu/ (30.03.2015).
Website 8 – http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plutarch/ (30.03.2015).
Website 9 – https://siteanalytics.compete.com/plato.stanford.edu/#.VTenb5Ogrng (30.03.2015).
Website 10 – http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=kaufman&book=plutarch&story=_contents (30.03.2015).
Website 11– http://www.mainlesson.com/main/displayarticle.php?article=mission (30.03.2015).
Website 12 – http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/465201/Plutarch
(30.03.2015).
Website 13 – http://www.britannica.com/bps/user-profile/3096/frank-w-walbank (30.03.2015).
Website 14 – https://safe1.britannica.com/registrations/signup.do?partnerCode=EBOK_300x50_EUR_B (30.03.2015).
Website 15 – https://siteanalytics.compete.com/britannica.com/#.VTeqppOgrng (30.03.2015).
Website 16 – https://siteanalytics.compete.com/wikipedia.org/#.VTeqzpOgrng
(30.03.2015).
Website
17
–
http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/www.britannica.com
(30.03.2015).
Website 18 – http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/ (30.03.2015).
Website 19 – http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3atext%
3a2008.01.0130 (30.03.2015).
Website 20 – http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/home.html
(30.03.2015).
Website 21 – http://www.theoi.com/ (30.03.2015).
169
KKonraKoKonrad
Website 22 – https://siteanalytics.compete.com/theoi.com/#.VTesQJOgrng
(30.03.2015).
Website 23 – https://siteanalytics.compete.com/perseus.tufts.edu/#.VTesC5Ogrng (30.03.2015).
Website 24 – http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/www.theoi.com (30.03.2015).
Website 25 – http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/http%3A%2F%2Fwww.perseus.
tufts.edu (30.03.2015).
Website 26 – https://archive.org/index.php (30.03.2015).
Website 27 – https://books.google.com/ (30.03.2015).
Website 28 – https://archive.org/details/texts?and[]=Plutarch (30.03.2015).
Website 29 – http://tools.wmflabs.org/xtools-articleinfo/index.php?article=Plu
tarch&lang=en&wiki=wikipedia&uselang=en (30.03.2015).
Website 30 – http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Plutarch&oldid=275406 (30.03.2015).
Website 31 – http://tools.wmflabs.org/xtools-articleinfo/index.php?article=Plu
tarch&lang=en&wiki=wikipedia&uselang=en (30.03.2015).
Website 32 – http://stats.grok.se/en/latest/Plutarch (30.03.2015).
Website 33 – http://www.shaharronen.com/plutarch.html (30.03.2015).
170
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.09
AGNIESZKA HESZEN
(JAGIELLONIAN UNIVERSITY, KRAKÓW)
THECLA’S HYMN (SYMP. 285-292) – DID METHODIUS
OF OLYMPUS IMITATE PLATO?
SUMMARY: In this article the author analyses the literary sources of Thecla’s
hymn from Methodius of Olympus’ Symposium. It is obvious that Methodius
took over his concept of the treaty on chastity from Plato’s Symposium, but in
the end of the work, or Thecla’s Hymn, is closer to Origen, from whom he borrowed the concept of mystical marriage of the Church and of the soul. In the
hymn there are some common motifs with Song of Songs, especially with regard to the allegorical interpretation of love. The hymn is not Platonic, but it is
a poetic summary of philosophical discussion, and praise and glory to Christ.
KEYWORDS: Methodius of Olympus, Thecla’s hymn, mystical marriage,
Song of Songs, epithalamium
Thecla’s hymn is the culmination of a banquet – the meeting of
ten virgins, described in Methodius’ of Olympus treatise on chastity,
entitled in Greek Sumpo;sion tw#n de;ka parye;nwn. The very title of the
work clearly indicates Platonic reminiscences on the one hand, and on
the other hand, the number and characters of ten virgins have obvious
associations with Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matt
25:1-13). So, from the very beginning of the treatise we are dealing
with combining both traditions – the Classical Greek and Christian one,
which in the era of Methodius was already quite widespread in literature, philosophy, and theology. One of the first writers, who starts this
long process of inculturation of Hellenism and Christianity was Justin
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AAgnieszkAgAgnie
Martyr, then Clement of Alexandria and then Origen, although the latter contributed more to the introduction of innovative methods in the
exegesis of the Old Testament and the approximation of the Jewish and
Christian culture.
The conscious building of his treatise on chastity on the model of
one of the most beautiful of Plato’s dialogues, the dialogue about love,
has aroused keen interest among researchers for a long time – they have
tried to figure out how original Methodius is, how much he is dependent on Plato, and whether his work is an example of emulation, especially typical for the writers of Rome, or a simple imitation or merely
a transfer of the literary form to Christian content. Anyway, the use of
Plato is not limited to the motif of symposium, the dependence on this
work lies on the imitation of the language and style, a structural frame
and form, and perhaps above all, the subject – an ideal love.1
Maria Benedetta Zorzi carries out studies on linguistic and theological connections of Methodius with Plato’s Symposium and makes
an interesting reinterpretation of the concepts: the Platonic heavenly
eros becomes a]ga;ph in the author of the Olympus – and therefore is
not negated (Zorzi 2003: 116). The researcher focuses on vocabulary,
without separating the Thecla’s Hymn from the rest of the treatise, as
her study does not relate to the literary genre.
Calogero Riggi notes that a form of dramatic dialogue according to
the Platonic model echoes in the Methodius’ work (Riggi 1976: 63). Although his division of the treatise on the dramatic acts is interesting, yet
the significance of Thecla’s hymn is completely not underlined herein
– neither its content nor form, only that it composes ​​the final catharsis
together with the statements of the three heroines (Riggi 1976: 76).
Kazimierz Korus pointed out yet another possibility of the use of
Plato by Methodius, namely, through Plutarch’s works, especially his
dialogue On love. Although, as he notes, quotes and parallel thoughts
of the Christian writer with those of Plutarch are rare (Korus 2008:
24), however, prove about the knowledge of some writings of the author of Chaeronea. It is interesting to compare these three authors:
Plato, Plutarch and Methodius and their common pursuit of the ideal
In Methodius’ Symposium there are also reminiscent of Phaedrus, the Republic,
Phaedo (450B) and – in the Thecla’s speech –Timaeos (22B).
1
172
THECLA’S HYMN (SYMP. 285-292) – DID METHODIUS OF OLYMPUS IMITATE PLATO?
of the different faces of love – homosexual, marital and virginal (Korus 2008: 14).
Alexander Bril compares the sympotic form in both the authors and
he accuses the Christian author of ignorance and lack of literary talent, as the sympotic genre is closely associated with a particular social
convention: in the classical antiquity a symposium is a meeting of the
Greek male aristocracy, where predominantly sex and drinking was being spoken about – the Eros is a typical subject of the logos sympotikos
(Bril 2005: 290). The banquet of Plato’s work does not fully reflects the
real symposium either, but this is a literarily processed relation of the
meeting that is primarily characterized by intellectual ethos. Such elements are preserved by Plato as ritual feasts, libations, singing hymns,
drinking (also an autothematic discussion of the principles of good
drinking), yet omitted utensilia: the details of furniture, decorations are
skipped or only subtly marked, some entertainment and sympotic customs are missed as well – “with the consent” of the present people.2
One of the main pastimes of banquets – sexual games, is limited to the
topic of conversation in Plato’s work.
Methodius’ treatise is the absolute negation of these customs: the
women are meeting to talk about sexual abstinence (chastity is the
main subject of the discourse), and drinking wine is actually symbolic
(it is not in the foreground in any case), but – as Bril emphasizes –
para;kopa sumpotika; are preserved by Methodius: the aristocratic
status of the participants, using the services of slaves, following the
order of speeches or praises and – singing the hymn (Bril 2005: 284).
After all, Bril describes the whole form and sympotic character in the
Methodius’ work as aberrations (Bril 2005: 297) – but I would call
these changes transformations rather, because I think there are not accidental but deliberately introduced modulations being the result of the
different cultures. The transformations, except for the above-mentioned
(women and sexual abstinence), also apply to such elements as scenery
– the classical sumpo;sion was typically urban, here we have a garden
behind the city and meeting in the shade of a tree. The next: the negation of the e/rov3 and ka;llov and the suggestion that real beauty is
2
3
Bril 2005: 284: “Other performers, and the recitation of lyric poetry”.
Is it really negation of the eros – see above (Zorzi 2003).
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AAgnieszkAgAgnie
spiritual; the composition of the work – a sequence of voiced praises
follows here in the form of catechizes, without interludes or digressions, as in Plato; characteristics of heroes – uniform, without individualized personalities.4
The second kind of reminiscences in the Methodius’ Symposium is
the Holy Bible, both the Old and the New Testament. Like most of the
early Christian writers, Methodius treats the Scripture as the main point
of reference, he often explains Jesus’ words by examples of the Old
Testament, extensive fragments are woven with biblical quotations.5
The Gospel parable conveys the idea of ​​the Bridegroom and the Bride
in the treatise on chastity, as well as it is a structural frame that organizes the content, in a different scope than those borrowed from Plato
– here it is about the precisely specified number of participants of the
banquet (ten) and the meeting of the girls preparing for the encounter
with Christ by living their lives in purity.
Methodius, the disciple of Origen, dependent upon him in many
cases (although he fought his spiritualism), in the Symposium also uses
the allegorical method of interpreting the Scripture. The researchers
agree that in exegesis, mysticism and terminology Methodius is reliant
on Origen: Emanuela Prinzivalii shows that Methodius was the first
one to use Origenian exegesis, holding “il discorso esegetico intorno
ad un unico tema predeterminato” (Prinzivalli 1985: 12). Josep Montserrat-Torrents examines the ecclesiological aspect of the Symposium,
comparing it with the relevant passages of Origen and comes to the
conclusion that Methodius follows the master of Alexandria only in the
field of terminology: “Metodio sigue las huellas de Origenes tanto en el
contenido como en la terminologia” (Montserrat-Torrents 1986: 100).
Zorzi draws more attention to the theological than methodological aspect, saying that dependence on Origen concerns the idea of ​​monastic
4
Most scholars claim that the composition of speeches is a schematic, and discussions are devoid of drama and true beauty of the Platonic dialogue (Korus 2008: 24).
5
Methodius’ Symposium in its mosaic pattern of genre shall be introduced into the
tradition of the sympotic genre represented by Athenaeus of Naucratis and his Deipnosophistae, where the revelers cite lots of comedy, tragedy, etc. Bril points out, however,
that the influence of nine sympotic works, which have arisen over the centuries from
Plato to Methodius, is to be detected in Methodius’ Symposium, with the exception of
Plato’s one (Bril 2005: 280).
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THECLA’S HYMN (SYMP. 285-292) – DID METHODIUS OF OLYMPUS IMITATE PLATO?
and celibate, and she stresses that in the philological prospect Methodius is dependent on Plato (Zorzi 2006: 47).
The above review shows that there are many works devoted to the
influences of Plato, Origen, the writings of the Old and New Testament
on Methodius’ Symposium as a complete work, but there is no research
on Thecla’s hymn and its links with the early Christian literature.6 The
purpose of my article is to identify the literary sources of the hymn,
which can be treated as an autonomous text, even if in some way it
forms a self-contained whole with the rest of the treatise. I would like
to consider whether the hymn is also inspired by Plato to such an extent
as the remaining parts of the Symposium, or perhaps by another pagan
or Christian work.
The early Christian poetry does not actually exist on its own, that
is, we do not have any collection of hymns or liturgical songs, we do
not know any author of the first centuries of Christianity either, who
could be called a strictly religious poet, but there are a lot of pieces
of religious poetry that came to the liturgy – so, where did these come
from? The uniqueness of this phenomenon lies in the fact that these
songs are always parts of some other larger work, and being on the one
hand separate works in terms of form and quite often of content, on the
other hand, they are closely linked with the rest of the work that they
are a part of. So the paradox lies in the autonomy and connectivity with
the context at the same time. And to briefly look at the phenomenon of
early Christian literature, one may just mention the parts of the Gospel,
like Magnificat or Benedictus, some passages of St. Paul’s epistles, for
example, 1 Cor 1:13, Eph 1:3-11 and Phil 2:6-11, a large excerpt can be
found in the 1 Clement (59-61), a very short passage just a few verses
long in the Epistle to the Ephesians by Ignatius’ of Antioch. So is it also
in the case of Didache (“Teaching of Twelve Apostles”), which contains the Eucharistic Song possessing hymnic features.7
Methodius places his hymn at the end of the Symposium – so does
Clement of Alexandria at the end of the Educator,8 but the custom of
The only exception is a very good commentary of Pellegrino 1958.
I took up these questions in two articles: Heszen 2007; Heszen 2009.
8
Pellegrino 1958: 39: “Si è pensato che l’idea di chiudere il Simposio con un inno
sia venuta a Metodio da Clemente Alessandrino, il quale terminava il Pedagogo con
l’inno cantato dal coro dei fanciulli”.
6
7
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AAgnieszkAgAgnie
including hymns in some writings dates back, as I showed, to the beginnings of Christian literature. Note that although the first collections
of the hymns were created in the fourth century,9 this practice persisted
much longer: the Byzantine drama Christus patiens attributed to Gregory of Nazianzus, but dating back to the twelfth century also ends with
a hymn (vv. 2532-2604).
The hymn in Methodius’ treatise is being sung by one of the girls
giving the praises of chastity. She was – Thecla – awarded a wreath by
Arete for the most beautiful speech:
[Uma#v de' diarkw#v a]gwnisame;nav twj# lo;gwj au]th;koov genome;nh pa;sav
a]pofai;nomai nika#n kai' ste;fw, Ye;klan de' twj# mei;zoni stefa;nwj kai'
dasute;rwj w[v prw;thn u[mw#n kai' megaloprepe;steron e]kla;mqasan
(Symp. 284)10.
Right after that there is a description of arranging the anthem by
Arete, a moment important for the understanding of the situation in
which the hymn was given. There is a description of the scenery, and
it is clearly stated who, when and how to sing a hymn. There is also an
answer to the question of how to deliver the hymn, what is the fundamental in this genre, namely, theatricality – performance and happening in the extratextual reality:
(Yeopa;tra e/fh) tau#ta ou}n ei]pou#san keleu#sai pa;sav a]nasth#nai th'n
]Areth'n kai' sta;sav u[po' th'n a/gnon eu]caristh;rion prepo;ntwv u=mnon
a]nape;mqai tw#j kuri;wj, e]xa;rcein de' th'n Ye;klan kai' prou~fhgei#syai.
[Wv ou}n a]ne;sthsan, th'n Ye;klan me;shn me'n tw#n parye;nwn e/fh, e]k
de;xiw#n th#v ]Areth#v sta;san kosmi;wv qa;llein, ta'v de' loipa'v e]n ku;klwj
kaya;per e]n corou# sch;mati susta;sav u[pakou;ein au]thj# (Symp. 284).
I would like to point out a few things that I think are important in
this description: the garden, where the girls are performing, is modeled
on Eden (Zorzi 2003: 109); the willow, which the virgins are standing
under, is a symbol of purity11; from the words “Thecla started singing and she led the song” we know who is the coryphaeus; there is
For example, Gregory of Nazianzus or Synesius of Cyrene.
Quotations according to the edition SCh 95 – see References – Sources.
11
Note the play on words: sta;sav u[po' th'n a=gnon – and a[gnei;a.
9
10
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THECLA’S HYMN (SYMP. 285-292) – DID METHODIUS OF OLYMPUS IMITATE PLATO?
information about the choir as well: “other virgins surrounding her like
a chorus accompanied her” – so the hymn has clearly performative nature, what as Furley writes, is the feature of the hymn as a religious
work (Furley 1995: 33).
The hymn is clearly announced by some kind of stage directions
(didaskalia) in the text: narration in prose – the relation of the banquet turns into poetry, so that from the point of view of the theory of
literature, there is a separate genological entity. And yet, it can be said
that this hymn “fits” here very well – the sympotic genre provides for
the singing of hymns, the rhetorical contests and some competitions
(agones),12 so it is not surprising that one of the characters having won
the agon, sings a hymn of praise. The hymn, however, is not the usual
“entertainment” or interlude, typical of the symposium, because of the
participants of the banquet taking part in this singing – there are not
slaves or musicians and flute-girls. In this respect, Thecla’s hymn is
a part of the feast as a discourse on a particular topic, its continuation in
a poetic way and summary of the whole work (Stanula 1980: 25, n. 92).
Does the hymn render the nature of its performer, Thecla? In
Methodius’ Symposium there is no special individualization of heroes,
but might the hymn of this kind have indeed been delivered by each of
virgins participating in the banquet? According to the Asian tradition,
Saint Thecla, a disciple of the Apostle Paul, died as a martyr, or she
had won the “crown” of glory – so, the wreath in Symposium refers
to this symbol, if we assume that Thecla in Methodius is modeled on
the heroine of the apocrypha, or even she is her herself.13 The prize for
legendary Thecla for her virtue was the martyrdom, for Thecla of the
Symposium – the laurel of victory for the most beautiful speech, what
may be anticipation of her future death. The hymn is so arranged that
everything here harmonizes with each other: it is being delivered by
the person, who has won; her award joins the tradition of St. Thecla
“crowned” with martyrdom; the content of the hymn reflects Thecla’s
speech, especially in the ecclesiological aspect – the subject of the
spousal union of Christ with the Church (Montserrat-Torrents 1986:
See: Węcowski 2011.
The historical realities are not clearly defined in Methodius’ treaty.
12
13
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AAgnieszkAgAgnie
89) and the mystical wedding is developed in speech VIII, 4-9 of the
Symposium.
For comparison, I would like to cite some examples of similar literary actions in the earlier texts, like Magnificat and Benedictus, which
were quoted by the evangelist as prayers of the people of the story.
The fragments are distinct works – songs, underlined by didascalia,
what explicitly separates those ones from the rest of text: “And Mary
said…”, “Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied…”,
“Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying…”.14 Each of
these statements is individualized, matched to personality and the social function of these characters – Mary gives a very personal prayer,
the prayer of a young girl who is praying with the Psalms, Zechariah
sings as the priest of the temple, Simeon as a prophet.
Clement of Alexandria, after having written three extensive books
of his treatise in prose, closes it with a poetic passage, completely
distinct from the rest of the work from the formal point: the Hymn to
Christ Saviour. After the argumentation on the Logos-Educator of the
universe and after the prayer to Him, the author encourages readers
– followers of Christ – to common singing the anthem for the greater
glory of God. The concept of the treatise is based on the identification
of Christ as an educator, and His followers – children, and just they are
the ones to sing the final hymn. So, the performers of the song are the
link or bind with what is contained in the books that precede the hymn
to Christ.
As it is showed above, a method of involving a hymn into some
bigger work is similar in many cases – introduced by means of simple
didaskalia song which changes the genre of the work (prose into poetry), but a figure that this hymn presents, on the one hand expresses
the ideas contained in the whole work, on the other hand, as it befits
a poem, expresses his personal feelings or thoughts. From the point of
view of poetics, it is a variety of literary and embellishment, but also
it has a religious dimension – all the songs discussed here belong to
the writings related to faith and religion, whether canonical Gospels,
or a philosophical dissertation by Clement or treatise by Methodius
– so, the hymns included in the compositions could be an attempt
The translation from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage, accessed 28.02.2016.
14
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THECLA’S HYMN (SYMP. 285-292) – DID METHODIUS OF OLYMPUS IMITATE PLATO?
to glorify God by the author, to honor and praise, all what is prayer,
except that here it is uttered by the mouth of the characters of works
in question.
Thecla’s hymn is sometimes described as an epithalamium (Pellegrino 1958: 44-46; Quasten, Plumpe 1958: 151ff.; Musurillo, Debidour 1963: 340; Riggi 1976: 76), because it is constructed on the theme
of marriage to Christ: marriage to the Church and marriage to an individual person living in chastity. I would like to focus on references
and the literary source of this type of metaphor – a mystical concept of
wedding. Methodius’ virginal symposiasts are Brides of Christ, what is
mentioned several times in the text of the Symposium (Clark 2008: 1415), and the hymn as a whole expresses this idea, which is immediately
evident in the introductory refrain:
[Agneu;w soi kai' lampa;dav faesfo;rouv
kratou#sa, numfi;e, u[panta;nw soi.
The marriage of the Church to Christ and the mystical union of the
soul with the Logos is mentioned in the Talia’s and Thecla’s discourses
(chap. III, 8-9; VIII 4-9), what corresponds to stanzas 7, 20 and 23 of
Thecla’s hymn. The subject of the soul betrothed to the Lord is taken in
the Agatha’s speech (chap. VI, 1-3), next continued in a poetic form of
the hymn in strophes 2-5 and 10. There are here the two levels of the
metaphor: the Church as the bride and the soul as the bride.15 This interpretation of the spousal relationship with Christ has its source in the allegorical method of Origen, the motif of mystical marriage is naturally
found in the Song of Songs,16 what Origen comments as follows:
Libellus hic epithalamii habens speciem dramatis in modum conscribitur
[…]. Spiritualis vero intelligentia, secundum hoc nihilominus quod in
This metaphor is derived from the tradition of the New Testament: Matt 25:1-13;
Eph 5:22-33. Compare Montserrat-Torrents 1986: 91: “Señalemos en primer lugar la
introducción del término «esposa» attribuido a la Iglesia. Es un tema tradicional derivado del abundante tratamiento escriturístico de las imágenes epitalámicas. Metodio
une las corrientes tradicionales del alma-esposa y de la Iglesia-esposa”. The use of
metaphor of “Bridegroom”, see Clark 2004: 172-174.
16
As regards the influence of Song of Songs on the Symposium, as the second, next
to Plato, inspiration on Methodius, see Pellegrino 1958: 20, 69, 81, 107; Zorzi 2003:
126.
15
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AAgnieszkAgAgnie
praefatione signavimus, vel de ecclesia ad Christum sub sponsae vel
sponsi titulo vel de animae cum Verbo Dei coniunctione dirigitur (I, 1,
1-2).17
One might have assumed this method and looked at Thecla’s hymn
with so many layers, as it is proposed by Origen regarding the Song of
Songs. In the historical sense the hymn can be understood as a specific
song of praise sung during some feast, at which participants express
their love and willingness to sacrifice themselves to Christ (a[gneu;w soi,
numfi;e) through their celibate lives. Historically speaking, Methodius’
times were an era where an organized ascetic life was just beginning and
on the basis of his work exactly one may think that some form of koinos
bios, which in later centuries took the form of life in the monasteries
had already existed in its germs in the 2nd/3rd century AD. Thus, if we
consider Methodius’ Symposium as a description of real events, as there
is in Plato’s one and which the example Christian author follows of,18
the hymn would be the crowning achievement of such considerations on
chastity, a kind of ​​vows to live in asceticism put in a poetical way. The
next sense of the reading the text, according to Origen, is the internal one:
Interior vero intellectus videamus si hoc modo poterit competenter
aptari. Ecclesia sit desiderans Christo coniungi; ecclesiam autem coetum
omnium adverte sanctorum (I, 1, 5).
And the third, the allegorical sense:
Tertio vero expositionis loco introducamus animam, cuius omne studium
sit coniungi et consociari Verbo Dei et intra mysteria sapientiae eius ac
scientiae veluti sponsi caelestis thalamos intrare (I, 1, 9).
How clear the inspiration by Origen’s allegorizing is shows the fact
that some stanzas of Thecla’s Hymn could be almost illustrations of the
comment to the Song of Songs:
Th'n sh;n, ma;kar, gamh;lion poyou#ntev a[me;ran
i]dei#n, o=souv a/nwyen au]to'v a]gge;lwn a/nax
ke;klhkav, h=kasin me;gista dw#ra; soi, lo;ge,
fe;rontev a]spi;loiv stolai#v. (19)
Quotations according to the edition SCh 375 – see References – Sources.
Compare the introductory dialogue of Eubulion and Gregorion.
17
18
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THECLA’S HYMN (SYMP. 285-292) – DID METHODIUS OF OLYMPUS IMITATE PLATO?
Michele Pellegrino repeatedly points out that Methodius refers to
the Song of Songs,19 but to be precise, it is the reference via Origen,
through his commentary on the Canticles and his interpretation of the
work. Methodius takes his conception of the soul – the Bride of Christ
and the Church – the Bride of Christ, which the Alexandrian master
developed in his commentary (Zorzi 2003: 115), and he recognizes this
allegoric method in a poetic way.
A common imaging method to both the works (Thecla’s hymn and
Song of Songs) is, in general, typical for wedding songs: a room for
spouses, gifts, feast and cups full of nectar: krath#rev a[duplhye;ev
ne;ktarov (10). The procession of peers is also a similar motif:
o[mo;stoloi […] me;lpousai so'n ga;mon (7). But a sophisticated eroticism
of the Song disappears in Methodius – that one is full of exclamations
expressing the desire to kiss, touch, there are beautiful comparisons of
type:
for your love is more delightful than wine.
[…]
your name is like perfume poured out (1, 2-3).20
In Methodius’ hymn (as in all Symposium) chastity emphasized
with “whiteness of robes”: leukai#sin e]n stolai#v (1), a]spi;loiv e]n
ei=masin (3), the sexual abstinence and the desire for grace come to the
fore. Eroticism is almost negated and rejected:
[…] e]kfugou#sa kai' bi;ou trufh'n a[dona#v t ] e/rwta (2);
Ga;mwn lipou#sa ynhta le;ktra kai do;mon,
a/nax, dia se polu;cruson […] (3)
The subtle erotic allusions occur only in strophes describing the
exempla of chastity and fidelity – that mention Joseph (and Potiphar’s
wife), Judith (and Holofernes), Susan (and old men), but here eroticism
has by no means such a positive tone as in the Song of Songs, where it
is a metaphor of the deepest love.
See note 16.
The translation from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NIV&search=Song%20of%20Songs%201 (31.03.2015).
19
20
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AAgnieszkAgAgnie
So, what are the literary sources of Thecla’s hymn? Montserrat-Torrents writes about Thecla’s speech as the most Platonic of all parts of
the dialogue21, but it should be noted that the hymn sung by her, even
though some of the issues are common with her speech, is not Platonic.
In Plato’s Symposium there is no equivalent of a hymn of this kind –
a little prayer or even mini-hymns, the praise of Eros have not taken
after all such a dimension (and a size) as Thecla’s hymn. Although
Methodius’ Symposium is a reflection of Plato, an attempt of imitation
of him, more or less successful, Thecla’s hymn being its part is entirely
original in this respect. I do not agree with Elizabeth Clark saying about
the influence of Plato’s erotic imagery on the entire Symposium, including the final hymn (Clark 2008: 15, n. 85) – it seems to me, however,
that the Song of Songs and Origenian method of allegory are more important. Methodius’ Symposium – according to Zorzi – is a reinterpretation of Platonic eros (Zorzi 2003: 102ff.), it is also a reinterpretation of
“banquet” in general, as a cultural phenomenon. The hymn, the least
Platonic element, is based on the concept of mystical marriage, is the
culmination of discussions or rather praises of purity, which have been
carried out earlier. It is somehow an essence of the taken subject on
chastity (parye;nia), which is dedicated to the Bridegroom-Christ.
As the first space of literary references one ought to consider the
early Christian literature, from the New Testament, by the Apostolic
Fathers and Clement of Alexandria as the main model of ending a philosophical treatise with a poetic passage. Methodius chose a motif of
marriage from the tradition of the Old and New Testament: the parable about wise and foolish virgins and wedding song or the Song of
Songs. The Gospel parable, which is the frame of the all treatise (ten
participants of the banquet, the waiting for the Bridegroom or the second coming of the Lord), in Thecla’s hymn is evoked in strophes no. 8
and 9. The hymn and the Song of Songs with its allegorical interpretation made by Origen share the character of a wedding song and the idea
of the Bride and Bridegroom, what is especially shown in strophes no.
7 and 10. From the writings of the Apostolic Fathers and Clement of
Alexandria, he took a model of a work different in terms of genre to be
21
Montserrat-Torrents 1986: 94: “Los tres primeros párrafos del discurso de Tecla
son uno de los lugares más genuinamente platónicos de toda la obra de Metodio”.
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THECLA’S HYMN (SYMP. 285-292) – DID METHODIUS OF OLYMPUS IMITATE PLATO?
woven into the treatise (like it has been shown above, this technique is
derived from the Gospel too).
In relation to the whole work, which is the Symposium, the hymn
is a poetic summary of philosophical discussion, but above all, it is the
final prayer of praise and glory to Christ. Thecla’s Hymn is approximate
to the adoration hymns of the New Testament and to the ending of Paedagogus, but in very little degree to the minor forms of prayer in some
of the dialogues of Plato. Although the Symposium as a whole refers to
Plato in such an extent, I would like to emphasize that in Thecla’s hymn
there is no allusion to or inspiration by, whether in form or content, the
Athenian philosopher and his dialogue about love.
REFERENCES
Sources
Méthode d’Olympe, 1963, Le Banquet, H. Musurillo, V.-H. Debidour (éd.),
Paris (Sources Chrétiennes 95).
Origèn, 1991, Commentaire sur le Cantique des Cantiques, t. I (Texte de la
version Latine de Rufin), L. Bresard, H. Crouzel, M. Borret (éd.), Paris
(Sources Chrétiennes 375).
Literature
Bril A., 2005, ‘Plato and the sympotic form in the “Symposium” of St Methodius of Olympus’, Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 9/2, pp. 279-302.
Clark E. A., 2004, History, theory, text: Historians and the linguistic turns,
Cambridge.
Clark E. A., 2008, ‘The celibate Bridegroom and his virginal Brides: Metaphor
and the mof Jesus in early Christian ascetic exegesis’, Church History
77/1, pp. 1-25.
Furley W. D., 1995, ‘Praise and persuasion in Greek hymns’, The Journal of
Hellenic Studies 115, pp. 29-46.
Heszen A., 2007, ‘The earliest Christian poetry as exemplified by Didache
9-10’, Classica Cracoviensia 11, pp. 171-179.
Heszen A., 2009, ‘Mosaic character of late Antiquity literature: Some remarks
on Greek Christian hymns’, Classica Cracoviensia 13, pp. 61-78.
Korus K., 2008, ‘Greckie źródła idealistycznego myślenia o miłości. Platon –
Plutarch – święty Metody z Olimpu’, Źródła Humanistyki Europejskiej.
Iuvenilia Philologorum Cracoviensium I, pp. 13-31.
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Montserrat-Torrents J., 1986, ‘Origenismo y Gnosis: Los Perfectos de Metodio
de Olimpo’, Augustinianum 26/1-2, pp. 89-101.
Musurillo H., Debidour V.-H. (éd.), 1963, Méthode d’Olympe, Le Banquet,
Paris (Sources Chrétiennes 95).
Pellegrino M., 1958, L’inno del Simposio di S. Metodio Martire, Torino.
Prinzivalli E., 1985, L’esegesi biblica di Metodio di Olimpo, Roma.
Quasten J., Plumpe J. C. (eds.), 1958, Methodius of Olympus, The Symposium:
A treatise on chastity, New York (Ancient Christian Writers).
Riggi C., 1976, ‘Teologia della storia nel “Simposio” di Metodio di Olimpo’,
Augustinianum 16/1, pp. 63.
Stanula E. 1980, ‘Wstęp i opracowanie’, [in:] Św. Metody z Olimpu, Uczta;
Homilie o Pieśni nad Pieśniami; Zachęta do męczeństwa, tłum. S. Kalinkowski, Warszawa.
Węcowski M., 2011, Sympozjon czyli wspólne picie. Początki greckiej biesiady arystokratycznej (IX-VII wiek p.n.e.), Warszawa.
Zorzi M. B., 2003, ‘La reinterpretazione dell’eros platonico nel Simposio di
Metodio d’Olimpio’, Adamantius 9, pp. 102-127.
Zorzi M. B., 2006, ‘Metodio d’Olimpio, un autore minore?’, Revue d’ études
augustiniennes et patristiques 52, pp. 31-56.
184
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.10
JOANNA JANIK
(JAGIELLONIAN UNIVERSITY, KRAKÓW)
THE WRITTEN TEXT IN THE ATHENIAN
POLITICAL CULTURE
IN THE FIRST DECADES OF 4TH CENTURY BC
SUMMARY: The growing impact of textuality in the classical Greece seems
to be generally accepted view. However, the importance of the written text as
an autonomous mean of transmission in different spheres of life in Athens in
the IV century BC is more complex phenomenon. The purpose of this paper
is to present a general sketch of this issue with particular emphasis on politics
and individuals whose ambition was to have a real impact on the current affairs. In this context the activity of Isocrates and his self-consciousness provides especially interesting material for debate.
KEYWORDS: textuality, orality, rhetoric, Isocrates
Asking about the status of a text in Athens in the 4th c. BC may
seem absurd and quite out of the place in the best time of Greek literature. Questioning Athenian literacy in the age of Plato and Xenophon is
certainly not my intention; what puzzles me is the autonomy of a text
in this seemingly overwhelmingly textual habitat.1 The purpose of this
paper is to sketch an outline of the issue and point at the particularly
interesting phenomena.
In the beginning of the 4th c. BC writing was used as a basic tool
for preserving and transferring information: for decades Athenians had
1
The development of literacy in Athens has been discussed for a long time by several scholars, e.g. see: Havelock 1963; Havelock 1982; Harris 1989; Thomas 1996: 3350; the summary of the most important arguments was given by Nails 1995: 159-179.
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JJoannJoJoan
been publishing laws and decisions of the gathering, lists of all kinds,
reports and accounts of magistrates and diplomats (Hansen 1999: 2829, Thomas 1996: 41-45). Administration of the Athenian state and
League without writing would be almost impossible to imagine. Common knowledge of the alphabet does not necessarily imply that every
Athenian citizen was able to use letters and understand a complex written statement; it would be reasonable to assume that these abilities were
characteristic of adult male citizens, that is of people who possessed
full citizenship, and perhaps even several men included in this group
were just able to read simple words and write their own names.2
People brought up in the world dominated by writing can hardly
imagine that the knowledge of writing does not make it impossible to
live and act in the public without using this tool.3 It seems more difficult to imagine than a strictly oral society. In order to comprehend the
role and status of a text as a medium of communication in the environment where people know writing, but are able to live and work without it, we must look at it from a different perspective and abandon the
subconscious assumption about the primacy of writing in every situation where both writing and oral transmission coexist. A simple orality/
textuality opposition should not be the used as a universal key to understand Athenian culture in the 5th c. and 4th c. BC.4
Theories of McLuhan, Havelock and Ong following Perry and
Lord were milestones in the history of culture and certainly contributed a great deal to the comprehension of the fascinating and complex
phenomenon of oral culture and textual culture. We realized that invention of writing radically changed not only technical means of transmission and communication, but also influenced the way the human
brain works and this discovery opened a new perspective (McLuhan
1962; Havelock 1963; Havelock 1982; Ong 1982).5 However, even
The literacy of Athenians is mentioned e.g. by Luiza Rzymowska in reference to
Hans M. Hansen, see: Rzymowska 2004: 171-172; Hansen 1999: 310-312.
3
On the presumed connection of writing and civilization, see: Woolf 1996: 84.
4
Apart from the scholars mentioned in the note 1, see also: Worthington 1996: 165177; I have already referred to the issue, see: Janik 2005.
5
These scholars refer to the fundamental woks on Greek archaic epic poetry: Parry
1928; Lord 1960.
2
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THE WRITTEN TEXT IN THE ATHENIAN POLITICAL CULTURE …
these scholars were aware, to some extent, of the uniqueness of ancient culture.6 The socio-political context instigated the development of
rhetoric; anybody who would like to speak during a political gathering
or had a case in the court of law was obliged to deliver a speech. The
quality of such a performance decided about the success. The citizens
rendered their decision after hearing the speech without consulting any
notes or protocols. Hence the ability to hear and remember was still
one of the most valued virtues. Orality and aurality are crucial terms in
understanding almost all classical culture. If one takes all this into consideration, the question of the effectiveness of a text as an independent
and single means of transmission becomes quite reasonable. We should
of course exclude drama and lyric poetry as particular types of artistic
expression and refer our reflection to prose.
It is much easier to answer this question in reference to philosophy or historiography, that is to the texts which nowadays we would
rate among academic or scientific literature. In both fields written texts
work perfectly, although we should remember that these treatises were
read aloud and their authors always, at least to same degree, considered
their esthetic attractiveness to the audience. Even then we may safely
assume that a philosopher or a historian was able to attract attention
and have some impact on the public using writing as a main means
of transmission. At the same time it is notable that speeches become
almost a compulsory element of a historical writing and Plato chooses
to write dialogues, not treatises, still nobody would deny that in this
case writing turns out to be quite effective at ensuring the survival of
the authors’ names and their works. Thus we could conclude that academic texts were rather independent from oral transmission, although
their style and language reflect an inclination to discussion and dialectic controversy so characteristic of the Athenian culture.
Whereas the role of writing in the humanities seems to be obvious,
especially if we consider the intertextual references present in the classical works since the very beginning of the literature, its significance in
the public life, mainly in politics, should be treated as a more complex
phenomenon. The question is whether a written text could be used as
Rhetoric escapes the radical opposition of orality and literacy, see: I. Worthington
1996, Haskins 2004: 10-47.
6
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JJoannJoJoan
an effective and autonomous tool also in this sphere. For the purpose of
this reflection we might talk about two basic kinds of texts connected
with politics: philosophical and political considerations included in bigger units, mainly historical writings, and speeches published by the orators. The first group comprises speeches held by the characters taking
part in historic events, Greek historiography provides multiple samples
of such rhetoric; the famous Constitutional Debate from the III book of
Herodotus’ History (Hdt 80-82) is certainly one of the most recognized
examples of the kind. The significance of such specimens for the public
discourse in the long run seems to be unquestionable, their impact on
the current affairs could be the effect of the reflection on the past, but
we should remember that their authors aimed mainly at education, they
intended to develop a certain attitude of their readers rather than influence current events.
It should not be omitted that this sort of transmission was aimed at
the educated elite, which comprised a relatively small group; authors
of rhetorical texts, who were known from their performances during
public gatherings, had much more chances to reach a broader audience.
Well-known politicians of the 5th c. BC did not publish their
speeches, perhaps prof. Turasiewicz is right when he says that they
wanted their actions to speak for themselves, and as they achieved their
goal when the citizens voted in favor and they did not need to write
speeches for financial profit, they did not bother to document their professional activity (Turasiewicz 1991: LXXIV). The growing popularity
of rhetoric and the sophists’ influence contributed to the emergence of
rhetors for whom writing and publishing speeches became important;
it was vital especially for the professional speech-writers, logographers: published speeches together with the success of their clients in
courts promoted their talents in the best possible way and attracted new
customers. Gradually also politicians and teachers of rhetoric came to
appreciate this method of promotion; for some of them it could come
more naturally since they began their career with writing speeches for
the others in hope that some day they would be able to leave this job
behind and act in politics on their own. The term “rhetor” came to signify a “politician”, because taking active part in politics was inevitably connected with speaking in public. Teachers of rhetoric and eristic,
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THE WRITTEN TEXT IN THE ATHENIAN POLITICAL CULTURE …
who often had the status of guests in Athens, used to publish epideictic
speeches in order to present their exceptional oratorial skills. Such publications were used as ready patterns for students of rhetoric.
Antiphon of Ramnus, politician and orator executed for the participation in the oligarchical coup d’état in 411 BC, is believed to be the
first author who had written his speeches composed for himself and
for the others. The question of the authorship of the treatise On truth,
whether it was written by this Antiphon, or not, is of no relevance to
the subject.7
Since the beginning of the 4th c. BC writing political speeches became popular and a great deal of such works preserved to the present
day provide a vital source of information for the history of this turbulent time. Asking about the aim of the publication and the status of
these texts seems quite natural in the context. It is usually assumed that
they more or less represent the version of the real speeches, although
their authors could make several corrections before publication; published texts could also play the role comparable to political pamphlets
designed to influence public opinion and current political decisions as
well as citizens’ views in the long run. This second view was shared
by Wilamowitz, Meyer and Wendland, who argued that Demosthenes’
speeches were composed as pamphlets for the political companions of
the orator, to be read in clubs and private houses (Adams 1912: 5). The
review of the discussion was delivered by Ch. D. Adams, who joined
the debate in 1912 and generally did not agree with the “pamphlettheory” (Adams 1912: 5-22). On the next two pages I will recall his arguments. In order to prove his point Adams listed four reasons for writing pamphlets in the political system based on the direct contact with
Thuc. VIII 68; the identity of Antiphon had already been discussed in antiquity.
Xenophon’s mention about Antiphon the Sophist (Mem. I 6) provided arguments for the
assuming existence of two writers of this name: conservative politician and the sophist
promoting quite opposite views. Several scholars followed Hermogenes in his opinion
about stylistic differences between particular writings (Peri ideon 385-387, Hermogenis opera, ed. H. Rabe, Lipsiae 1913). In the 20th century scholars focused on the
content of these works; last decades brought more arguments for the unitarian fraction;
nevertheless, the question is still open; for the summary of the arguments in the works
of the scholars representing opposite views see: Pendrick 2002: 1-26; Gagarin 2002:
35-52.
7
189
JJoannJoJoan
citizens: the first would be to promote unpopular political concepts,
which would be difficult to support openly; e.g. oligarchical views (it
might instigate this sort of writings in the end of the 5th c. BC, especially in 411 and 404 BC); the second reason would refer to people who
were not able to speak in public, therefore chose to write. However, this
seems quite reasonable, it is not valid in the Athenian political reality
in the 4th c. BC, as Demosthenes and the Athenian Constitution mention special gatherings, when everybody, even a slave, was permitted
to speak (Phillippic 3.3, Ath. Pol. 43.6). The third situation would be
composing speeches for the selected audience consisting of few trusted
listeners to be discussed in more subtle way than during public meetings. The last motif of writing would be an intention to reach the audience outside one’s own city-state. I would suggest one more possible
explanation: pamphlets could be composed in order to prolong the discussion and to influence the some political or social idea.
According to a common belief, political pamphlets were already
composed in the 5th c. BC, although we have only one sample of such
a text coming from this period, the so-called Old Oligarch attributed
to Pseudo-Xenophon, the ironic praise of democracy presented by the
opponent of the system. This work fits perfectly into Adams’ scheme
representing the first category. Xenophon’s Poroi, De vectigalibus, provides an example of a text for a smaller audience.
Political speeches that could be taken into account in the debate on
pamphlets first emerged at the middle of the 4th c. BC. Most of them
were composed by Demosthenes and although we have also three written by his political opponent, Aeschines, it could be difficult to argue
that the latter were designed as pamphlets regarding the current Athenian policy, since they all refer to the peace of Philocrates, 346 BC, and
were probably published after 330 BC. They may have been useful as
a statement on the political decisions of their author and presented his
version of the events, but their effect on the current political situation
was rather small.
Demosthenes’ speeches could be useful as pamphlets for the promotion of his politics outside Athens and building an anti-Macedonian
coalition and it certainly would be quite rational, when we consider
his actions, still, as Adams emphasizes, Demosthenes always presents
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THE WRITTEN TEXT IN THE ATHENIAN POLITICAL CULTURE …
a strictly Athenian point of view and never addresses the audience
from another city-state. Other reasons for composing political pamphlets do not apply to Demosthenes, who did not need to write fictional speeches in order to influence his fellow-countrymen. Among
contemporary scholars many, like Ian Worthington, share a more traditional opinion and believe that Demosthenes’ speeches were published
after delivery, with possible revision of the text (Worthington 2013:
7), Jeremy Trevett however argues that Demosthenes’ works are actually drafts of his speeches, later presented at the gathering, published
without serious corrections (Trevett 1996).8 It is a well-known fact that
Demosthenes used to write speeches before a performance at the ecclesia and, as Trevett proves, there is no reason why he would have to
publish them, political speeches were not usually published, we had
no certain knowledge about any corrections and the argument referring to the magnificence of the speeches allegedly surpassing oral performance does not seem convincing. Regardless of whether we find
Trevett’s arguments plausible, his thesis induces us to draw at least one
conclusion: written political speeches whose authors were acting politicians were not designed to have a decisive impact on the effectiveness
of their actions. Decisions depended on citizens gathered in ecclesia
and it would be difficult to reach the majority of them with such texts.
On the other hand, writing pamphlets for a smaller audience would
not influence the result of a voting and most probable would be close
to persuasion directed to people who did not need to be persuaded at
all. Adams thinks that pamphlets as a tool were useful for people like
Critias, Theramenes, Thrasymachus, Lysias or Isocrates (Adams 1912:
10). And however these individuals had much in common, since they
all shared more or less oligarchical sympathies, they did not follow
exactly the same path. There are significant differences between their
political activities. Apart from Lysias and Isocrates all of them were active politicians, for whom speaking in public was natural. The situation
of Lysias was particular because of his status: as a metic he was not
able to develop a regular career as a political speaker although he had
an opportunity to present his oratorical talents in before the Athenian
audience.
8
In the note 1 we may find the list of other scholars taking part in the discussion.
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Isocrates’ professional activity deserves particular attention in this
context: as a well-educated man with a good social standing and an
Athenian by birth Isocrates could easily pursue a political career, instead he chose not to engage in political life – a weak voice and stage
fright being his excuses. There is no reason why we should not believe
in this weakness, on the other hand we may suspect that these natural
disadvantages provided Isocrates with a perfect explanation for taking
his own path.9 He did not approve of the general quality of political
debate, and this could be the most vital reason for his withdrawal from
active political life. He did not hesitate to criticize his fellow-country
men, but he strived not to be perceived as an enemy of the democratic
state. Deeply concerned about the quality of Athenian politics Isocrates
always wished to be an advisor; instead of speaking in public he decided to publish speeches. His works are usually described as “treatises”, although Isocrates put a lot of effort into concealing the fact that
they were never meant to be held in front of a bigger audience and
they were composed as texts and as such were to be received by their
recipients.10
Considering Adams’ categories in reference to Isocrates we should
say that they only partially apply to his work: he did not hide his views,
he officially addressed his texts either to one individual reader, or to
a bigger audience, and even if in reality they were composed for the
elite, they were not circulated in secrecy among members of some particular social circle. There was no formal obstacle for Isocrates’ speaking in public, so the only important reason of writing pamphlets in the
case of Isocrates would be his wish to influence the audience outside
Athens. Such a conclusion could be plausible, since Isocrates was perhaps the only author of his time, who emphasized common good as
a necessary principle in the relations between Greek states. Nevertheless, he addressed his texts to the Athenians, and some say that even in
his treatise Philip he really was speaking to his compatriots. Therefore
it would be too far-fetched to regard Isocrates “international” ambitions
9
I have already referred to this issue following Too and Michelini in their opinions;
see: Janik 2012: 132-133; Too 1995: 90-97; Michelini 1998: 115.
10
On the intrinsic connection of orality and literacy in rhetoric Isocrates see: Haskins 2004: 10-47; Worthington 1996; Rzymowska 2004; Welch 1999.
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THE WRITTEN TEXT IN THE ATHENIAN POLITICAL CULTURE …
as a decisive factor in composing political pamphlets. I would rather
seek an answer in his aforementioned attitude towards contemporary
politics in general and the complicated relation to Athenian democracy.
I do believe that Isocrates consciously chose the written text as a medium and was also aware of the risk of using it as the only tool. The
adequate passages we find in his letters to Dionysius and to the rulers
of Mytilene. The first one addressed to the tyrant of Sicily, and dated
at 368 BC, begins with a whole paragraph referring to the weakness
of a written text of a letter as compared to the performance of a living
speaking person, since the latter gives an opportunity to clarify any
doubts and makes the communication easier (Ep. 1.2) We might classify
these remarks as customary expression of false modesty, but, due to one
particular observation of Isocrates, I am inclined to think of these lines
as something more important and applying not only to the letter itself:
among the obvious advantages of spoken delivery the author admits,
that “all men give greater credence to the spoken rather than to the written word, since they listen to the former as to practical advice and to the
latter as to an artistic composition” (trans. L. Van Hook11), pa;ntev toi#v
legome;noiv ma#llon h\ toi#v gegramme;noiv pisteu;ousi, kai' tw#n me'n w[v
ei]shghma;twn, tw#n d' w[v poihma;twn poiou#ntai th'n a]kro;asin. Isocrates
does not seem to convey something odd, or unexpected, on the contrary,
this remark has no special place in the paragraph, it appears among others statements, the meaning of which should not surprise a contemporary reader. Isocrates refers to the common knowledge, but in his case
this knowledge has particular bearing, as he must have been aware that
it applied not only to his letters. He chose to write instead of to speak
in public and he certainly understood, or came to understand, the risk
of stripping his texts at least of some part of authority. I am induced
to assume that he wrote about it in a letter because its written form
was obvious and it made all the remarks about writing look natural. He
did not usually discuss this problem in his treatises, since their textual
character was to be hidden in the background. A letter provided a perfect excuse to present some tension between spoken and written word
and in his letters words denoting writing, also as opposed to speaking,
11
Isocrates. Vol. III with an English Translation by Larue van Hook, LOEB Classical Library 2006, p. 373.
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appear relatively often (e.g. Ep. 1.2, 1.5, Ep. 5.1, Ep. 8.7-8), and this
may imply that Isocrates gave some thought to the subject. It may also
be inferred from the fact that he came back to it several years later, in
his treatise addressed to king Philip of Macedon (Phil. 25-29), where
he devoted three paragraphs to persuade Philip, that the text he was
going to receive was worth attention and even without the advantages
of proper presentation its content deserved the kings’ consideration.
Isocrates writes about the difference in persuasion of spoken and read
things (oi[ lego;menoi, oi[ a]nagignwsko;menoi lo;goi) and once more emphasizes that people believe that the former treat (r[etoreu;esyai) of serious and necessary matters (spoudai#a pra;gmata, ta' katepei;gonta),
whereas the latter are composed (gegra;fai) in order to show off and
earn money (pro'v e]pi;deixin kai' e]rgolabi;an). The significance of the
passages referring to the different reception of the spoken and written
word became particularly interesting, when we consider Isocrates’ explanation of his not taking part in politics and not speaking in public.
The first comes from the letter to the ruler of Mytilene (Ep. 8.7-8): he
speaks about his weak voice and lack of courage, but in the very next
sentence he observes that he was not useless helping others as an advisor (su;mboulov) and a “fellow-combatant” (sunagwnisth;v), and that
he composed “more discourses on behalf of the freedom and independence (plei;ouv lo;gouv u[pe'r th#v e]leuyeri;av kai' au]tonomi;av th#v tw#n
[Ellh;nwn) of the Greeks than all those together who have worn the floor
of our platforms” (transl. L. Van Hook12). The next passage appears, not
surprisingly, in “Philip” (Phil. 81-82), and might be treated as complementary to the lines mentioned above: Isocrates explains to the king,
why he wrote to Dionysius, although himself he was neither a military commander (strathgo;v), nor an orator (r[h;twr) or a man of power
(dunasth;v). This paragraph is another reference to the lines from the
earlier letter to the Sicilian tyrant (Ep. 1.9). All three categories seem to
denote people professionally engaged in serious politics. Isocrates repeats information about his physical and psychical weakness and argues
that his ability to think right (to' fronei#n eu}) and his good education (to'
pepeideu#syai kalw#v) encourage him to give advice (sumbouleu;ein)
12
‘Isocrates’ Vol. III with an English Translation by Larue van Hook, LOEB Classical Library 2006, p. 465.
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THE WRITTEN TEXT IN THE ATHENIAN POLITICAL CULTURE …
to the state, to the Hellenes and to the most eminent individuals. The
sentence is clear enough to convince the modern reader that Isocrates
seriously pondered his delicate position as a counsellor without any
practical experience. The way he comments on the career he could not
pursue reveals his attitude to this activity: he was not strong enough
to “manage the mob” (o/]clwj crh#syai), disgrace himself (molu;nesyai)
and to take abuse among individuals wallowing on the platform (toi#v
e]pi' tou# bh;matovj kulindoume;noiv). The choice of words is hardly a coincidence and it could strengthen our assumption that physical and psychical limitations were not the only reasons of giving up the political
career.
Isocrates is usually, and generally correctly, perceived as conservative and far from any sort of innovation, but as a matter of fact, his
professional activity has no direct parallel in the contemporary intellectual world. His persistence in writing about current politics instead
of speaking about it deserves special attention: he writes treatises in
reference to current affairs, they are aimed to influence the audience,
their author is not able to publish his reflections as quickly as modern
publicists, nevertheless his work resembles their profession. Having all
the reservations in mind I would not hesitate to call Isocrates the first
publicist. It is difficult to estimate whether his efforts were successful.
I would be argue for a rather limited influence of his writings. He was
closest to real impact on important decisions in the case of the signing
of the peace of Philocrates, unfortunately his Philip was finished, when
the treaty had already been signed. Of course Isocrates’ concepts must
have been known, he consequently promoted them for years and perhaps thus he contributed to the development of events, but we are not
able to prove it. It would be rather difficult to argue that written texts,
without reinforcement of public presentation in the gathering, have real
impact on political decisions or popular views. The case of Isocrates
demonstrates the ambiguous position of a writer and political commentator and sheds some light on the autonomy of the text in the era of
Plato and Demosthenes.
Famous orators owed their fame and influence in the state to their
public performances, publishing speeches, so vital for the posterity,
was of secondary importance for the authors. A written text deprived of
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the performance of a speaker and verification of a living audience had
all the chances of being classified as an intellectual exercise, intended
to be read for pleasure or entertainment, maybe to provoke an interesting conversation in a moment free from serious political business.
REFERENCES
Adams Ch. D., 1912, ‘Are the political „speeches” of Demosthenes to be
regarded as political pamphlets?’, Transactions and Proceedings of the
American Philological Association 43, pp. 5-22.
Gagarin M., 2002, Antiphon the Athenian: Oratory, law, and justice in the age
of the Sophists, Austin.
Hansen H. M., 1999, Demokracja ateńska w czasach Demostenesa, tłum.
R. Kulesza, Warszawa.
Harris W. V., 1989, Ancient literacy, Cambridge–London.
Haskins E. V., 2004, Logos and power in Isocrates and Aristotle, Columbia.
Havelock E. A., 1963, A preface to Plato, Cambridge.
Havelock E. A., 1982, The literate revolution in Greece and its consequences,
Princeton.
Janik J., 2005, ‘Textual tradition of Plato’s dialogues: Making, editing, circulating’, [in:] C. Galewicz (ed.), Texts of power. The power of the text:
Readings in textual authority, Kraków, pp. 33-42.
Janik J., 2012, Political concepts of Isocrates, Kraków.
Lord A. B., 1960, The singer of Tales, Cambridge.
McLuhan, M., 1962, The Gutenberg galaxy: The making of typografic man,
Toronto.
Michelini, A.N., 1998, ‘Isocrates’ civic invective: ACHARNIANS and ON
THE PEACE’, Transactions of the American Philological Association
128, pp. 115-133.
Nails D., 1995, Agora, Academy, and the conduct of philosophy,
Dortrecht–Boston–London.
Ong W. J., 1982, Orality and literacy: The technologizing of the word, London.
Parry M., 1928, L’épithète traditionelle chez Homère, Paris.
Parry M., 1971, The making of Homeric verse: The collected papers of Milman
Parry, Oxford.
Pendrick G. J. (ed., trans., comment.), 2002, Antiphon. The Sophist. The Fragment, Cambrigde.
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Rzymowska L., 2004, ‘O języku Demostenesa w świetle uwarunkowań komunikacji politycznej w Atenach w IV w. p.n.e.’, Bulletin de la Sociétè
Polonaise de Linquistique LX, pp. 169-181.
Thomas R., 1996, Literacy and the city-state in the archaic and classical Greece, [in:] A. K. Bowman, G. Woolf (eds.), Literacy & power in the ancient
world, Cambridge, pp. 33-50.
Too You Lee, 1995, The rhetoric of identity in Isocrates, Cambridge
Trevett J., 1996, ‘Did Demosthenes publish his deliberative speeches?’, Hermes 124/4, pp. 425-441.
Turasiewicz R. (tłum, oprac.), 1991, Demostenes. Wybór mów, Wrocław–Warszawa–Kraków, pp. I-CXXXII.
Welch K. E., 1999, Electonic rhetoric: Classical hetoic, oralism, and new literacy, Cambridge–London.
Woolf G., 1996, Power and the spread of writing in the West, [in:] A. K. Bowman, G. Woolf (eds.), Literacy & power in the ancient world, Cambridge,
pp. 84-98.
Worthington I., 1996, Greek oratory and the oral/literate division, [in:] I. Worthington (ed.), Voice into text: Orality and literacy in ancient Greece, Leiden–New York–Köln, pp. 165-177.
Worthington I., 2013, Demosthenes of Athens and the fall of classical Greece,
Oxford.
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Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.11
ALEKSANDRA KLĘCZAR
(JAGIELLONIAN UNIVERSITY, KRAKÓW)
RHETORIC, WIT AND HUMOUR IN CATULLUS 44
SUMMARY: The paper analyses Catullus’s c. 44, a witty and ironic poem on
the frigidity of the rhetorical style of a certain Sestius’. The aim of the analysis
is to point at the relationship between c. 44 and other Catullan poems concerning the themes of friendship/companionship and literature. Comic elements,
especially in the presentation of Catullus’ parasitus-like behaviour, will also
be taken into account.
KEYWORDS: Catullus, parody, pastiche, rhetoric, Roman comedy, frigus
O funde noster seu Sabine seu Tiburs
(nam te esse Tiburtem autumant, quibus non est
cordi Catullum laedere; at quibus cordi est,
quovis Sabinum pignore esse contendunt),
sed seu Sabine sive verius Tiburs,
fui libenter in tua suburbana
villa, malamque pectore expuli tussim,
non inmerenti quam mihi meus venter,
dum sumptuosas appeto, dedit, cenas.
nam, Sestianus dum volo esse conviva,
orationem in Antium petitorem
plenam veneni et pestilentiae legi.
hic me gravedo frigida et frequens tussis
quassavit usque, dum in tuum sinum fugi,
et me recuravi otioque et urtica.
quare refectus maximas tibi grates
ago, meum quod non es ulta peccatum.
nec deprecor iam, si nefaria scripta
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Sesti recepso, quin gravedinem et tussim
non mihi, sed ipsi Sestio ferat frigus,
qui tunc vocat me, cum malum librum legi.
O my estate, whether you are Sabine or Tiburtine (because some, who
do not want to break Catullus’ heart, assess that you are Tiburtine; and
those who do, will bet anything that you are Sabine); anyway, whether
you are Sabine or rather Tiburtine, I had a good time in your suburban
villa and I got rid of bad cough from my chest. It was not undeserved:
this cough my stomach gave me and I got it, pursuing a splendid dinner.
As I want to be a guest at Sestius’, I read his speech against the plaintiff Antius, a speech full of poison and pestilence. Then I was shaken
by a heavy cold and coughing fits, until I ran back into your arms and
cured myself with rest and with nettle. This is why, having recuperated,
I give you many thanks, because you have not avenged my iniquity. And
I do not pray now for anything but this: if I take up yet again Sestius’
malicious writings, let the cold and the coughing fall not on me, but on
Sestius himself, who now calls me to dinner because I read his evil book.1
Carmen 44, one of the less-known poems in the Catullan corpus,2
is an interesting example of a rather elaborate intellectual joke. Catullus’ victim is this time an orator and Catullus’ would-be dinner host,
Sestius. In preparation for the dinner, Catullus is (or just feels) obliged
to read Sestius’ speech against a certain Antius. This turns out to be
a rather bad idea: as a result, the reader catches a severe case of cold
and must retreat to his country villa, who is the nominal addressee of
the poem, to recuperate. Catullus blames only himself for the illness –
after all, it was his decision to read the wretched speech – but wishes,
in turn, the same sickness on the author of the unfortunate composition,
the very same author who now calls him to dinner: after all, Catullus
has read his speech.
The translation is mine and its aim is to render the poem as closely as possible,
without any artistic ambitions; thus the peculiar word order in the translation of line 9,
rendering Catullus’ own emphatic placement of dedit.
2
D. B. George’s comment: Catullus’ poem on the frigidity of Sestius’ style and
the cold which the poet caught from it has attracted considerable scholarly attention
(George 1991: 247) seems rather an exaggeration, especially when one compares the
amount of critical analyses of c. 44 and of other poems of Catullus (c. 5, c. 7, c. 51, to
name only a few).
1
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RHETORIC, WIT AND HUMOUR IN CATULLUS 44
The poem itself presents a number of problems. The main point of
interest for the critics seems to be the social situation in which Catullus finds himself: whether he has to read the poem (because otherwise
he would not be invited to dinner) or does he just feel obliged to read
it, being a polite man and/or a friend of the author (George 1991: 247248; Sandy 1978). Apart from that, another issue which is often discussed is the problem of Sestius’ rhetorical style and its possible parody
in Catullus’ poem: the question of Catullus’ understanding of frigus in
this case is an instrument which he uses to achieve the pastiche effect
in his own poem (De Angeli 1969). The third problem is, of course, the
poem’s language itself and its possible models, whether legal (Ronconi 1953: 202f.) or religious ones ( Heusch 1954: 47; Jones 1968) as
well as its stylistics, especially the poet’s use of archaisms (Heusch
1954). The genre of the poem (especially its relation to prayers, Jones
1968), its possible literary antecedents (Vine 2009, unconvincingly, on
Hipponax’s influence) and the presence of comic motifs (Sandy 1978)
were also studied by scholars.
After a careful reading of the poem, the opinion of Fordyce, who
sees c. 44 as merely a vehicle for the pun on ‘frigus’ (Fordyce 1961:197)
seems rather questionable. Seemingly simple, the poem is in fact quite
complicated in its form. Catullus often misdirects his readers and uses
a number of literary tricks to obfuscate the meaning of his words. He
starts the poem with a solemn, formal invocation to his fundus, the estate that belongs to him. The term fundus as such is interesting in this
context. Together with a number of other forms, such as grates, autumnant or recepso, it adds to the formal, archaizing tone of the poem
(Jones 1968: 379), especially that the invocation to the land gives the
initial lines an epic tone which only later turns out to be a parody. This
initial seriousness is stressed by the use of the exclamation o funde, especially if one accepts Jones’ idea that the use of the formula with o in
Catullan corpus is always used to add gravity or urgency to an address
or an exclamation (Jones 1968: 381). The entire formula o funde noster
seu Sabine seu Tiburs might, as Jones (Jones 1968: 381-382) suggests,
have also an additional meaning, recalling the religious exclamation
using two different names or appellations of a divinity-addressee of
a supplication. This solemn, religious tone is immediately broken with
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pedantic, legalistic debate on the proper geographical setting of the estate, which begins already in line 1: the tone of parody starts to prevail
already at that point.
Interestingly, in addition to the language of religion and prayer,
there seems to be another kind of literary game at play here as well:
the association with or similarity to the Sirmio poems of Catullus. This
connection, overlooked so far, it seems, by the critics, adds to the humour of the poem. Catullus himself more than once addressed in his
poems the lands and places to which he felt attached. His invocations to
Sirmio (paeninsularum Sirmio insularumque ocelle, c. 31, 1-2) and his
comments on the return to the native land seem, at first, quite similar in
tone to the invocation to fundus. The main difference lies in tone: the
reader is in one case (c. 31) given a sincere, sentimental even, invocation to the beloved homeland of the speaker, while in the other (c. 44)
the tone changes to that of a parody and literary joke. This paradoxical
similarity is stressed by the fact that both poems start with a similar formula: a question concerning the true nature of the place. In the case of
Sirmio in c. 31, Catullus suggests that it can be a treasure of either peninsulas or islands.3 In the case of the estate in c. 44 the debate is ostensibly on the geographical location of Catullus’ country retreat, but in fact
it concerns the estate’s value: those friendly to Catullus would believe
it belonging to the fashionable Tiburtine region, while those who want
to hurt his pride would believe the villa to be situated in Sabine lands,
associated with tradition, frugality and old-fashioned country values4 –
everything a fashionable and worldly young man would like to avoid
at all costs.
The archaizing tone and the allusions to fundus Sabinus, associated with traditional values is also rather comically enhanced by the
mention of curing the cold, caught by Catullus while reading, with nettle (line 15). Nettle was traditionally associated with curing ailments
associated with cold (Kavalali 2003: 14-16), especially coughing
Antithesis (peninsula or island, the Neptunes of both salty and sweet water, Thynia and the Bithynian fields) in general seems a main formal principle in the poem; see
McCaughey 1970.
4
On the Sabine region, especially in the context of Horace’s poetry, see Dang 2010;
on the importance of the Sabina vel Tiburs in the poem see George 1991:248-9
3
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RHETORIC, WIT AND HUMOUR IN CATULLUS 44
(cf. Celsus, Med. 4.5.8.) and Catullus’ mention of the therapy emphasizes the main concept of the poem: that of merging the general and
medical meaning of frigus with the technical and rhetorical one. The
mention of nettle here may also allude to yet another property of the
plant, present in Greek writings: its effectiveness as an anti-poison
agent, mentioned repeatedly by Nicander of Colophon in both his Theriaca (I 880-890) and Alexipharmaca (50-55, 200-205; see also Gow,
Scholfield 1953: 219). In the context of line 12, where Catullus defines
the speech he had read as plenam veneni et petilentiae, it seems rather
probable that Catullus alludes here also to the facts known from Nicander, whose works were apparently quite widely read in 1st c. BC Rome
(Fantuzzi, Hunter 2004: 465-466). Thus, it adds yet another layer to the
set of meanings hidden in the poem. In addition to reminding the reader
about the traditional Roman medicine, the mention of urtica suggests
also, paradoxically, familiarity with Alexandrian learned poetry: something that one may well expect of Catullus as we know him.
The invocation to the estate is interesting also because it initially
misdirects the reader, as it suggests that the poet’s estate or his villa,
located within it, will be the main topic of the poem. Such a belief may,
indeed, be strengthened by the fact that lines 1-7 are dedicated to the
description of the fundus, the villa and their beneficial influence on
the poet’s health. Once again the Sirmio poem comes to mind – and
once again there are significant differences between the two. The main
alteration, it seems, is the fact that while in c. 31 Sirmio remains the
addressee and main theme throughout the poem, in c. 44 the invocation
to fundus points the reader in the wrong direction. After all, the poem is
not meant as a straightforward praise of the favourite spot’s beauty or
its beneficial influence on the health or mood of Catullus (as, indeed,
is the case of c. 31). In c. 44 the praise of the fundus is ironic, multilayered. At first this compliment is presented as dependent not on the
estate’s intrinsic value, but on people’s opinions; only later Catullus
states that – whatever people may say – he finds his villa praiseworthy
because that is where he felt better after he had caught the cold. And
this cold, its origins and the man who was responsible for it soon replace the fundus and its villa as the main theme of the poem (to return,
in the final part, once again to the villa and the fundus).
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This second part of c. 44 introduces the other topic of the poem,
connected with the first one by the motif of illness. In the first part
of the poem Catullus was praising his estate for its healing properties:
now we learn about the reasons of his bad health. Two motifs seem
most prominent here: Catullus’ own behaviour and the literary frigus of
Sestius’ speech.
Catullus claims that he had to read the oration of Sestius and that
the invitation to dinner was his reason. This immediately brings to mind
a comic stock character: a parasitus, whose main aim in life is to get,
by all means necessary, a meal and (often) some wine and/or financial
gratification.
The whole debate on whether the fundus is Sabine or Tiburtine
in previous lines sets the stage for the game that Catullus plays with
the parasitus concept. The fact that he clearly divides people in two
groups: those who want to be unpleasant to him (and associate his property with the rustic and Sabine) and those without this malicious intent
(who believe the villa and its surroundings to be fashionably Tiburtine)
stresses the comic dilemma. Catullus here is a man whose position is
rather precarious and who cares very much for appearances, yet who,
apparently, must hunt for (appeto) invitations to sumptuosas… cenas
(v. 9). Ostensibly, if he wants to be the guest of Sestius (Sestianus…
conviva, v. 10), he needs to read his speech and repay for the invitation
with – presumably – flattering remarks on the rhetoric composition of
his host. Such an action would put him among the vast and varied class
of parasiti – the garrulous, avaricious and constantly cajoling lowerclass characters, in constant pursuit of a free meal (Duckworth 1952;
Tylawsky 2002).
Catullus here clearly assumes a role of a peculiar kind of parasite:
that of a poet-flatterer invited to judge (and, presumably, praise) the literary merits of his host’s work. This type of character, actually, is not so
typical for comedy as a genre as it is popular in literary anecdotes concerning poets and intellectuals, both famous and self-proclaimed ones,
invited to comment on the literary production of the rich and famous.5
5
Probably the most famous of these anecdotes is that of Dionysius of Syracuse,
who (repeatedly) sent the poet Philoxenus to the quarries for criticizing his poetry. It is
mentioned, in a form which is slightly different from the best-known one, by Diodorus
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RHETORIC, WIT AND HUMOUR IN CATULLUS 44
In these stories, it is usually the poet who comes out as the winner, due
to his wit and his power over words, even though he criticizes the failed
literary attempts of the patron. The joke, in this case, is on the patron
rather than the “parasite” – and one may, indeed, read the poem of Catullus in similar vein. Yes, it is true that Catullus pays the price for his
parasitic attempts: he catches a severe and deeply unpleasant cold and
presents, in the poem, the exaggerated and rather comical version of his
sufferings and the cure he needed. Yet the one who is presented here
as more ridiculed is, arguably, Sestius: after all, in the world of Catullus, writing bad literature is one of the greatest crimes of all (see, e.g.,
c. 22, describing Suffenus, who might be venustus, dicax and urbanus,
but who loses all these positive qualities when he starts writing his bad
verses) and composing bad speeches certainly qualifies one to the ranks
of failed writers.6
Catullus devotes a relatively large number of his poems to discussing poetry and writing in general. Some of them, like the allusive c. 105,
describing Mentula/Mamurra’s failed attempt to conquer Parnassus, deal
with his enemies, some describe people, like the previously mentioned
Suffenus, who are socially acceptable as long as they do not dabble in
poetry. A number of these ‘poems on poetry’ deals with his friends writing poetry (c. 95, on Cinna’s Smyrna), with himself composing poetry
together with friends (c. 50, on the poetic exchange between Catullus
and Licinius, cast in rather erotic terms), or, as in case of the infamous
(15.6.1-5), and later discussed in Greco-Roman imperial literature (e.g. Plut. Alex. Fort.
2.1.334c, Ael. Ver. Hist. 12.44). The material preserved is obviously post-Catullan, but
Pauline LeVen (2014: 113-149) points at its origins from the time of Philoxenus and
treats it as a valuable source for reconstructing literary debates at the time of Philoxenus. This type of anecdotes by itself seems to be sub-type of the narrative concerning
the meeting between the wise man and the tyrant (see Gray 1986).
6
But see also Sandy 1978, who associates Catullus in c. 44 with the type of scurra
and provides numerous examples of scurrilitas from Augustan and early imperial Latin
poetry. Sandy’s point is that Catullus’ behaviour – criticizing the writings of the host
after he was invited – is presented as morally reprehensible scurrilitas; at the same time
the whole situation is placed within the context of the late Republican practice of letting
a circle of literary friends read and assess one’s composition before publication. While
the latter seems absolutely convincing, the former seems to neglect one feature typical
for Catullus, which is his constant disdain for bad writers regardless of their social or
political position.
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c. 16, with the critique of Catullus’ poetry by his friends. In case of
the Sestius poem, the status of Sestius is rather difficult to define (Is
he a friend? A patron? What exactly is the level of his familiarity with
Catullus?), but the fact that literary topics are important for the poem
is beyond doubt: both the theme of fundus and that of frigus ultimately
play into the motif of writing and reading (bad) prose. And although
we cannot be certain about the status of Sestius and whether we may
safely call him a friend of Catullus, the poem does exhibit some features
of the ‘friendship poems’, even if the friend in question is not Sestius.
In the light of Baker’s conclusions concerning c. 31 (Baker 1983) it is
the fundus that can be read as a friend here. Baker understands c. 31 as
a special kind of a poem on friendship, seeing Sirmio as an equivalent of
the poet’s friend. In the light of the conclusions presented above on the
similarity of c. 31 and 44, this seems important not only for the Sirmio
poem, but also in the context of c. 44.
The crucial idea of the literary-critical part of the poem, as mentioned above, is the play on the double meaning of frigus: both the cold
that Catullus caught and its reason, the speech of Sestius, characterized
by frigus, a rhetorical fault well known to the Roman theoreticians of
Catullus’ time. Cicero mentions it a number of times (Brutus 178.911. 236.9-12), but frigus (Greek psychrotēs) was a topic discussed in
Greek rhetorical theory at least since Aristotle (Rhet. 1406a-1406b).
The main features of literary frigus can be detected in the style of Catullus’ poem (De Angeli 1969). Its bombastic beginning (expressed in
affected, stilted and inappropriate language, De Angeli 1969: 355),
contrasted with the more everyday language of the latter part, together
with the stylistic mixture that this contrast of style creates, are typical
features of a literary frigus. Thus the poem’s language and style reflect
the very vice which caused Catullus’ cold. One may say that the curse
of the cold is spreading: Catullus caught it and then wished it on the
author who caused his discomfort, but ultimately, using the pastiche of
frigus to show his audience what exactly was the fault of the speech he
discusses, he gave it to those who heard or read his poem.
Brent Vine (2009) points at yet another possible stylistic significance of frigus, connecting the concept to the idea of chillingly cold
weather, present in a number of preserved fragments of Hipponax. The
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RHETORIC, WIT AND HUMOUR IN CATULLUS 44
motif of cold would therefore suggest an additional level of intertextual exchange between Catullus and yet another representative of the
great Greek masters of poetry. The idea seems very tempting – Hipponax’s fame as an obscene poet as well as the reputation of being
irascible and prone to angry outbursts would suit the role of a model
for Catullus’ literary persona very well. Still, Vine himself refutes
some of his arguments (e.g. when pointing at the fact that the physical chill of the bad weather in Hipponax is a phenomenon which is
altogether different from the cold which Catullus had caught) and the
remaining ones seem rather unconvincing. It would seem that frigus,
after all, is exactly what it seems to be: a rhetorical concept, illustrated
by the poem’s style and employed as a part of a joke played at the mediocre orator’s expense.
One more thing may be stated here. We discussed before the interconnecting web of similarities and allusions that binds c. 44 with other
poems within the oeuvre of Catullus: its links and similarities with
the friendship poems, the poems on poetry and the poems connected
to Sirmio. In case of the meaning of the frigus, one more association
springs to mind: that with the carmen immediately following c. 44 in
the current form of the Catullan corpus, the charming song on Acme,
Septimius and Amor’s cold. Mark Williams (Williams 1987) points
rightly at the similarities between the style of the speech of Sestius,
parodied in c. 44, and the bombastic, grandiose statements pronounced
by Septimius in c. 45, seeing not only the first one, but both of them
as practical, pastiche examples of literary frigus resulting in real-life
colds: while the Sestian cold is enough to make a man sick, the one by
Septimius affects even the god of love himself.
The above analysis shows convincingly, I hope, one particular
thing: that in case of a Catullus’ poem it is never safe to assume that it
can only be read in one easy way. Scholars may disagree on the details
of the interpretation of c. 44 and argue about the special importance of
any of its facets, but, after reading it carefully, it would be difficult to
still think about it as a simple vehicle on the pun of frigus.
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REFERENCES
Baker R. J., 1983, ‘Catullus and Sirmio’, Mnemosyne 36/3-4, pp. 316-323.
Dang K., 2010, ‘Rome and the Sabine “Farm”: Aestheticism, topography and
the landscape of production’, Phoenix 64/1-2, pp. 102-127.
De Angeli E. S., 1969, ‘A literary chill: Catullus 44’, The Classical World 62/9,
pp. 354-356.
Duckworth G. E., 1952, Nature of Roman comedy: A study in popular entertainment, Princeton.
Fantuzzi M., Hunter R., 2004, Tradition and innovation in Hellenistic poetry,
Cambridge.
Fordyce, C. J., 1961, Catullus. A Commentary, Oxford.
George D., 1991, ‘Catullus 44: The Vulnerability of Wanting to be Included’,
American Journal of Philology 112, pp. 247-250.
Gow A. S. F., Scholfield A. F. (eds.), 1953, Nicander. The Poems and Poetical
Fragments, Cambridge.
Gray V. J., 1986, ‘“Xenophon’s Hiero and the meeting of the wise man and
tyrant in Greek literature’, The Classical Quarterly 36/1, pp. 115-123.
Heusch H., 1954, Das Archaische in der Sprache Catullus, Bonn
Jones C. P., 1968, ‘Parody in Catullus 44’, Hermes 96/3, pp. 379-383.
Kavalali G. M. (ed.), 2003, Urtica: Therapeutic and nutritional aspects of
stinging nettles, London.
LeVen P. A., 2014, The many-headed Muse: Tradition and innovation in late
classical Greek lyric poetry, Cambridge.
McCaughey J., 1970, ‘The mind lays by its trouble: Catullus 31’, Arion 9/4,
pp. 362-365.
Ronconi A., 1953, Studi Catulliani, Bari.
Sandy G. N., 1978, ‘Indebtedness, “scurrilitas”, and composition in Catullus
(Cat. 44, 1, 68)’, Phoenix 32/1, pp. 68-80.
Stroup Culpepper S., 2010, Catullus, Cicero, and a society of patrons: The
generation of the text, Cambridge–New York.
Tylawsky E. I., 2002, Saturio’s inheritance: The Greek ancestry of the Roman
comic parasite, New York.
Vine B., 2009, ‘A Hipponactean Echo in Catullus (Frigus, 44.20)’, Classical
Philology 104/2, pp. 213-216.
Williams M. F., 1987/1988, ‘Amor’s head-cold (Frigus in Catullus 45)’, The
Classical Journal 83/2, pp. 128-132.
208
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.12
JOANNA KOMOROWSKA
(UNIWERSYTET KARDYNAŁA STEFANA WYSZYŃSKIEGO
W WARSZAWIE)
GRAMMATIKOI AND GRAMMATISTAI:
TEACHERS OF LITERATURE AT AMMONIUS’ TABLE
(PLUT. QC IX)
In a vivid contrast to the less rigorous attitude displayed in other
parts of the work, Book Nine of Plutarch’s Quaestiones convivales describes a single banquet: held in the house of the Athenian philosopher
Ammonius, the banquet is held in honor of the Muses – in accordance
with this aim, it is attended by the most learned among the Athenian
society, the best of Athenian teachers.1 As I have discussed the contents
as well as the actual structure of the book elsewhere (Komorowska
2014), it seems advisable to supplement that particular discussion with
a consideration of yet another aspect, an aspect of particular importance given the theme of the present volume: with a roomful of teachers, it would be interesting to inquire into the possible peculiarities of
their portrayal. My focus, however, will be on the single and possibly
most colorful group attending the banquet, i.e. the grammarians, as set
against the background of the two personages of particular importance
in Plutarch’s narrative, namely the host, Ammonius, and the one often hidden behind the tale, but frequently present within the tale, i.e.
Plutarch himself. A methodological caveat should be however signaled
The relevant research was facilitated by the Lanckoroński Foundation grant
(2014). For some interpretative tenets I rely on my earlier article Dar dla Muz (Komorowska 2014). For the more frequent patterns of the QC compare Teodorsson 1996b. It
should be noted, however, that in spite of the unique character of Book Nine, the scholar
maintains that unity and consistency are most rigorously maintained in Book Three.
1
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JJoannJoJoanna Ko
right at the beginning: my interest lies with a literary portrayal rather
than factual reference, which effectively means that regardless of their
possible ‘reality’ the personae of Plutarch’s will be considered as
prosopa of the narrative2, the internal dynamics governing their mutual
interactions carefully traced in order to reconstruct something of the
Cheronean’s attitude towards various academic disciplines as present
in QC IX. By necessity, such a discussion will involve some narratological inquires relating both to the execution of actual narrative incl.
authorial/narratorial choices involved and to the persona of the narrator.
One note must be made before one starts the relevant discussion:
several chapters or problemata are missing from Book Nine, chapters
devoted to matters of particular importance in the Middle Platonic philosophy (and hence, matters of considerable importance to Plutarch
himself) and, even more intriguingly, chapters located at the very center of a carefully construed whole.3 Thus, lost are IX 8 on the consonant
and melodic intervals, IX 9 on the cause of consonance, astronomical
IX 10, possibly highly philosophical IX 11 (on the flux of substance)
and major part of astronomical IX 12. This loss, a loss affecting chapters possibly relevant to the interpretation of APT in its mathematical
and cosmological sections, proves a major obstacle in a conclusive
reading of the work, or, for that matter, in considerations concerning
other professional groups in attendance (doctors or mathematicians are
particularly likely to have figured in problemata concerning cosmology, the natural world, etc.). Nevertheless, survival of the major part of
the book allows at least for a tentative reading of Ammonius’ feast as
a learned banquet par excellence as well as for a reconstruction of Plutarch’s outlook on the various professional groups invited when they
participate in the surviving debates.
On the literary character of Plutarch’s portrayal of his teachers and contemporaries in QC compare e.g. Klotz 2007; Brenk 2009; Teodorsson 1996b.
3
On the lost problemata as parts of a larger compositional scheme compare Komorowska 2014. On the importance of the material derived from QC for the reconstruction
of Plutarch’ philosophy compare Ferrari 1994: 161ff. et aliis; just to highlight the possible implications: the notion of substance’s flux has profound consequences for the
debates concerning individual identity and unity (continuity) of living substances (on
the issue compare e.g. Galen’s QAM 780-782 K.).
2
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GRAMMATIKOI AND GRAMMATISTAI…
AMMONIUS AND THE SETTING
After a brief address to the dedicatee in the proem, the first quaestio of Book Nine opens with introductory explanations concerning the
circumstances of the banquet: its origin lay in a display of scholarly
achievements of the ephebes at the school of Diogenes. It was after
this display that Ammonius, at the time one of the Athenian strategoi,4
invited the successful teachers for a celebratory dinner, a dinner which,
very much in keeping with that paradigm of a philosophical banquet,
the Platonic Symposium, will be a gathering of men distinguished by
their intellectual achievements and erudition. Interestingly, at this point
the actual names of the participants are withheld from the reader – they
will be revealed later in the course of the actual narrative, but for now,
everything that we are provided with is the self-explanatory remark:
Nearly all our friends were present, and quite a number of other men
with literary interests (parh#san de' kai' tw#n a=llwn filolo;gwn sucnoi'
kai' pa;ntev e]pieikw#v oi[ sunh;yeiv; 736d5-6).5
The reticence concerning the names (or indeed the number) of
the participants shifts the present focus of the narrative to Ammonius:
the host of the dinner, he has carefully planned the event in order to
make the most of the company assembled. The acknowledged parallel
(model) is Homeric, found in the Iliad 23.810 (kai' sfindai#t ] a]gayh'n
parayh;somen e]n klisi;hjsin ), where Achilles invites the chieftains to
the banquet – invites them, as Plutarch explains (and the reason appears
solely in the QC), in order to lay to rest the animosities aroused by the
fierce competition of the funeral games (736d6-10):
4
Ammonius’ banquet takes places during the festival of the Muses, while the events
of the paradigmatic text of philosophical symposiastic literature, the Platonic Symposium, are set immediately after Agathon’s triumph in dramatic competition (i.e. at the
time of a Dionysiac festival), which may be seen as an additional argument in support
of the Platonic reference: both settings emphasize a certain literary quality of the text.
As for the time of the banquet coinciding with Ammonius’ tenure as the strategos, one
may refer to the close relationship between notions of political and symposiastic leadership as present in Plutarch’s writings: on the issue see Stadter (2009).
5
All quotations from QC in the English translation of E. L. Minar, F. H. Sandbach,
W. C. Helmbold (Plutarch, Moralia, vol. IX, Cambridge 1961). The Greek text is that
of C. Hubert (Leipzig, 1938) as accessible in the TLG Online database.
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Now the reason why the only competitors to whom Achilles promised a
dinner were those who had fought in single combat, was his wish, so we
are told, that the contestants should, through sharing an entertainment
at a common table, discard and relinquish any anger or ill-feeling that
they might have conceived against one another in arms (ei/ tiv e]n toi#v
o=ploiv o]rgh' pro'v a]llh;louv kai' calepo;thv ge;noito, tau;thn a]fei#nai kai'
kataye;syai tou'v a=ndrav e[stia;sewv koinh#v kai' trape;zhv metasco;ntav).
Despite this illustrious precedent, what Ammonius achieves may
well appear opposed to that aim (tw#j d ] ]Ammwni;wj sune;baine tou]nanti;on,
737a1): in provoking discussion rather than quelling dissatisfaction
his actions will, at least in some instances, lead to discord and discontent (still, not all discord is a destructive one, as we are duly reminded
through the Hesiodic reference of 736e6-7). Hence, additional steps
will be necessary in order to ascertain the success of the symposiastic
endeavor.
The banquet proper (i.e. the banquet that will form the object of
Plutarch’s narrative) opens with a song by the singer Erato, who invokes the opening of the Hesiodic Works (736e6);6 Ammonius comments briefly on the song before he proceeds to consider the instances
of apt quotation in a variation on the discussion of kairos. In a parallel
manner, Plutarch’s account closes with Ammonius’ discussion of dance
(an art fallen into disrepute due to many misconceptions concerning
its nature and consequent misuse, 747b-748d),7 a discussion succeeded
While the name belongs to an actual person, it is hard not to think that such an
opening would necessarily reinforce the impression of a Muses’ banquet, of inspired
and ancient wisdom. As for the quoted verse of the Works, the Erga 11 (it is interesting
that the verse quoted is the opening of the Erga is in a sense similar to the portrayed
opening of the banquet: while not exactly the first verse in the poem it effectively introduces the work proper; compare Minar, Sandbach, Helmbold 1961: 221 ad loc.), it
is useful to remember that Hesiod is the poet famously inspired to sing by the Muses
of Helicon (Theogony), a fact not without some importance given the purpose of the
portrayed banquet. On the importance of Hesiod in Plutarch's work compare Pérez-Jiménez 2004; Fernandez-Delgado 2009.
7
On the account of dance compare de Jesus 2009. The fact that Ammonius’ exposition closes the tale of the banquet is discussed by Klotz (2007), yet the discussion
occurs in the context of problems surrounding the self-portrayal of Plutarch. It is my
belief that the decision to grant Ammonius the honor of the last, comprehensive discussion is linked to both his capacity as the host and symposiarch as well as his proficiency
6
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GRAMMATIKOI AND GRAMMATISTAI…
in turn by authorial comments of the narrator (to be identified with
Plutarch himself), an element in its own turn effectively mirroring the
introductory proem of the book.8 In IX 1, however, his role is that of
the symposiarchos – his introduction of the appropriate subject of the
discussion (a conscious allusion on the part of the author to the theme
discussed in CQ I 1, whether philosophy is an appropriate discussion
subject for a symposion) proves successful. At the same time, while
we have no inkling of the identity of those present, Plutarch is quick to
point out that it is them rather than Ammonius himself who introduces
a further variation on the subject: the instance of inept or inopportune
quotation. Thus, IX 1 provides the reader with examples of both the
advantages of erudition and its possible disadvantages when misused
or incorrectly employed, a fact of possible importance for the present
considerations.
When order has been restored through the learned, witty discussion
of IX 1 (the lack of proper names acquires here the additional function of enlivening the debate, conveying the free, tumultuous character of the gathering), Ammonius decides on the further shape of his
banquet (737de): in reversal of the traditional policy, some rules will
be introduced to govern the forthcoming discussion, with participants
challenging each other’s intellectual abilities in such a way as to avoid
the groupings of professionals:
as a philosopher, the latter element further highlighted by awarding the actual closure
to the other philosopher within the text, Plutarch in his capacity as the narrator of the
tale (in other words, at the close we are reminded both of Ammonius’ leading role in the
debate, and of Plutarch’s own importance as the tale-weaver). Extensive narratological
study of QC is still pending and the scope of relevant research far exceeds the limits of
the present essay, but one notes that Plutarch persona remains intriguingly present in
the tale (a maneuver similar to that employed in the Lives, for which compare Pelling
2004), often reminding the reader of the central role played by the narrator (Plutarch)
and of the control the latter exercises over his story. Significantly, Pelling emphasizes
the importance of proems and epilogues in the shaping of the narrator’s persona – it
might be expected that a similar tendency may be at play in the QC.
8
The closure effectively mirrors both the proem of Book Nine, with its comments
concerning the number of problemata included in the book (in the address to the dedicatee and mention of the festival to Muses. For the problems related to Plutarch’s self-portrayal in the QC, compare Klotz 2007; König 2011.
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Ammonius, fearing that some professors of the same subject might be
drawn together (mh' tw#n o[mote;cnwn tine'v a]llh;loiv sulla;cwsi), directed
that, without any balloting, a geometer should put a problem to a teacher
of literature and a musician to a teacher of rhetoric, and that afterwards
they should change round and pay one another in kind (737d13-e2).
This decision is aimed to remedy the prior situation as well as to
set and define the overall tone and character of the banquet. Refusing
to follow the established custom, he decides on enlivening the evening
with something akin to what we know as interdisciplinary interactions:
individuals of various professions are encouraged to pose problems to
those representing a different scholarly discipline: this Ammonian pattern will hence govern the explorations narrated in Book Nine, even in
spite of several possible disruptions or threats – threats, as it happens,
invariably posed by the teachers of literature.
Among the grammatikoi, the first to be mentioned (also, the first
to be challenged) is Protogenes. The question he faces is, as will be
seen, deceptively easy yet suitable for his profession, as it concerns
the structure of the alphabet;9 unsurprisingly, he responds with what
is described as ‘the stock reason given in schools’, o[ de' th'n e]n tai#v
scolai#v legome;nhn a]pe;dwke, 737e5-6). Yet, the reason he gives for
the primacy of the alpha is patently considered insufficient: while Ammonios never expressly states his dissatisfaction, he immediately calls
on Plutarch (the younger, ‘in the text’ version of the narrator) to provide
another explanation – this second account, narrated in direct speech as
well as in notably more detail, with an account of the theory’s origin
and a number of illustrative examples, is clearly given precedence over
the unoriginal and less than satisfying contribution of the grammarian.
Next to make his appearance is the schoolmaster (grammatistes)
Zopyrio: his dismissive comments, only briefly outlined by the narrator, greet the account of proportions of consonants and vowels within
the alphabet as given by the geometer Hermeias. Related in indirect
speech (this immediately clashes with the rendering of geometer’s
9
Additionally, one cannot help but notice that the subject of this particular discussion may also serve as a reminder that this is the first actual challenge issued at Ammonius’ banquet: it concerns the letter alpha, the first letter of alphabet, an acknowledged
symbol of unity, oneness and beginning.
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GRAMMATIKOI AND GRAMMATISTAI…
account), his arguments reject the theory of proportional arrangement
illustrative of more general order (738f):
While he was still talking, Zopyrio the schoolmaster was obviously
laughing at him and kept making audible comments; when he came to an
end, he let himself go and stigmatized all such talk as complete nonsense
( /Eti d ] au]tou# le;gontov o[ grammatisth'v Zwpuri;wn dh#lov h}n katagelw#n
kai’ parefye;ggeto> pausame;nou d ] ou] kate;scen a]lla' fluari;an ta'
toiau#ta pollh'n a]pe;kalei>).
Given Plutarch’s vivid interest in philosophical mathematics, the
fact that he has his Zopyrio stigmatize the account of proportion as
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is hardly complimentary towards the grammarian (a pejorative undertone may also tint the epithet grammatistes). Then, one has
to account for Zopyrio’s behavior as such: no other guest behaves in
a similar manner during the banquet, which seems to reflect the narrator’s censure, particularly once we recollect the remarks concerning
the conciliatory character of communal experience of banqueting mentioned in the opening chapter as well as Ammonius’ care in structuring
this particular symposium. Even more illustrative is the later account:
in the place of alternative explanatory account, Zopyrio proposes a theory of accidental character of alphabet, a theory basically negating existence of any intrinsic order of language (739a1-5):
Both the number of the letters of alphabet and their order, he said, were
what they were by coincidence, and not for any reason (mhdeni' ga'r lo;gwj
suntuci;aj de; tini kai' to' plh#yov tw#n gramma;twn gegone;nai tosou#ton kai'
th'n ta;xin ou=twv e/cousan), just as it was an accidental consequence of
chance (e]k tu;chv kai au]toma;twv e]phkolouyhke;nai) that the number of
syllables in the first line of the Iliad was the same as that in the first line
of the Odyssey, while the same thing was again true of their last lines.
In an instructive turn of events, he is almost immediately (IX 4)
bested by the rhetorician Maximus, who puts to him a problem derived
from the very fundament of Greek education, the Homeric Iliad (the
question seems particularly appropriate as the Homeric element was
introduced by the grammarian himself). Though Zopyrio attempts to
dismiss the challenge as an impossible one by claiming an attempt
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at answering would equal the impossible feat of establishing which
of Phillip of Macedon’s legs was lame (739b; interestingly, he is described as countering Maximus’ question with one of his own, the only
attempt of this kind in the surviving account of Ammonius’ banquet),
he is quickly proven wrong as Maximus (the argument being quoted in
direct speech) expressly negates the validity of the alleged parallel and
demonstrates that the Homeric text provides enough clues to establish
beyond any doubt which of Aphrodite’s hands was hurt by Diomedes’
spear. As a consequence of this encounter, Zopyrio emerges not only
as ill-tempered and ill-behaved, but also as incompetent, the result of
the rhetorician’ challenge reflecting back on the prior exchange and,
hence, on the critique of Hermeias. Additionally, one notes, his behavior threatens to disrupt the order of the banquet, a danger avoided due
to the timely intervention of other guests and, most importantly, Maximus: for a moment, immediately after schoolmaster’s critique of Hermeias, the debate threatens to become more of an open quarrel between
the two adversaries (739b6-7) and it is only after Maximus’ intervention that the convivial mood is restored (tau#ta tou'v a/llouv a=pantav
h[di;ouv e]poi;hsen, 739e1).
Introduced in IX 5, the grammarian Hylas is described as having
little luck with challenges: since he does not figure in earlier conversations, this is a point of possible importance not only in a narratological
reading, but also within the framework of the present considerations.
Dissatisfied with his performance until this particular point in the debate (ou] pa;nu ga'r eu]hme;rhsen e]n tai#v e]pidei;xesin, 739e4-5), he is
playfully compared to the Homeric Ajax, sulking in silence – thus challenged, he responds with a terse reply on the general stupidity of men,
and then, upon being met with good natured laughter, with an open
display of anger. The relevant narratorial comments are as follows:
All this has put everyone in a more pleasant humour (h[di;ouv), except
Hylas the teacher of literature. Observing him to be maintaining a
dejected silence (a]posiwpw#nta kai' baruyumou;menon) (739e3-6).
Hylas, still ruffled by his ill-temper, made an awkward reply (e/ti d ]
a]nw;malov w\n u[p ] o]rgh#v) (739f1).
Hylas replied with curses (a]poskoraki;santov), imagining that he was
being made fun of for his lack of success (740a3-5).
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GRAMMATIKOI AND GRAMMATISTAI…
Yet, clearly, in contrast with the aggressive Zopyrio, Hylas chooses
a more passive mode of displaying his dissatisfaction with the banquet
– instead of being outright rude and dismissive of other participants’
arguments, he chooses offended silence or terse witticism intended to
hint upon his inability to communicate the talent he possessed to his
fellow banqueters (ironically, the effect he achieves is quite the opposite, for he appears as a person who has very little to say). His response,
however, introduces the theme of further debate (from which, however,
he remains significantly absent, to be reintroduced at the beginning of
IX 6 with conciliatory remarks of Menephylus): the discussion turns to
Plato’s Politeia and the myth of Er, the main question concerning the
place given to the soul of Ajax in the drawing of lots (ironically, the
focus on Ajax, that paradigm of sullen temper and obstinate silence,
highlights the sullen silence of Hylas, further emphasizing the aptness
of Sospis’ observation). Two consecutive explanations are provided by
Plutarch’s brother, Lamprias, but the problema ends with the account
of yet another grammarian, Marcus (640e1-f5): the explanation links
the text of the Politeia to that of the Odyssey XI, with Plato making
a conscious allusion to the Homeric text, and relating events in his own
nekyia to the great precedent in the work of his predecessors, while underlining certain additional complexities of the tale, such as the unique
status of Tiresias or the depths of Palinurus’ misfortune.10 Significantly,
Marcus, with his detailed knowledge of Homer and Plato, appears to
be the most proficient of the four grammarians, the only one to provide
a self-contained and coherent interpretation of the problem, an interpretation based on individual insight and erudition. Polite and imaginative, he displays neither the malice of Zopyrio nor Hylas’ discontent:
instead, he is portrayed as competent and well-versed in literary material, appreciative of Plato’s literary talent even when incapable of appreciating the possible hidden meanders of his thought. Even more importantly, he displays a particular affinity to the tone of the debate and
the issues raised in IX 1, one that puts him very close to the polished
ease of Sospis. At the same time, his employment of literary sources
10
The two are excluded from the sequence because of their unusual status: Tiresias
retains his memory, while the soul of Palinurus, whose body still awaits to be buried, is
banished from the realm of the dead.
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contrasts with the awkwardness of Hylas, even further highlighting the
ill-temper of the latter.
Somewhat surprisingly, given his not so persuasive presence in the
opening problema, Protogenes returns in the later considerations – in
IX 12 he is portrayed as deploring the apparent success of the rhetoricians in the debate:
At this Protogenes got to his feet and, calling me by name, “What is the
matter with us”, he asked, “that we let these orators have it all their
own way, deriding others but not being asked any questions themselves
or contributing anything of their own to the conversational pool?”
(741c14-17).
Significantly and in keeping with grammarian’s inability to influence the current of discussion (one notes that Protogenes’ comment
almost openly if unintentionally betrays his helplessness with the rhetoricians), the complaint is quickly undermined by an observation of
Plutarch, who points out that no question has been hitherto addressed
to the professors of rhetoric (a]ll ] h[mei#v ou]de'n au[tou'v h]rwth;kamen,
741d4). Given the ease of Maximus’ success in his encounter with
Zopyrio, the circumstance appears hardly accidental: it may well be
that teachers of literature are in no position to ask questions of others.
Moreover, instead of complaining, the young Plutarch is prepared to
pose an adequate (and quite pertinent) question concerning the conflict of formulas in Homeric Iliad and the antinomy it involves (IX 13).
This ability to amend the status, to actively participate in the debate
and to influence its actual course, appears to set Plutarch apart from
the more passive grammarian: while the latter is shown as capable of
noticing a certain weakness of the debate, but not necessarily of actively influencing the course of the discussion, Plutarch demonstrates
his ability to act and improve. Even more importantly, his question is
approached with extreme care by both Glaucias and Maximus: it is the
latter who will present a decisive argument in the discussion, arguing
in favor of the authority of the oath formula over that of the challenge
(it is the latter that was preferred by Glaucias). Interestingly, this short
exchange has the additional merit of filling a part of the gap occasioned
by the loss of central chapters – owing to Protogenes we know that no
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GRAMMATIKOI AND GRAMMATISTAI…
rhetoricians figured in the lost section of the work. Also, we may infer
that the lot of the grammarians could not have been much better than in
the opening part: otherwise, the grammarian would have no cause for
complaints.
A BRIEF LOOK AT TWO OTHER PROFESSIONAL
GROUPS
Since Plutarch’s portrayal of other professional groups does not fall
under the scope of this particular article, I shall limit myself to pointing out the characteristics which may be seen as influencing our perceptions of the grammarians or, for that matter, our visions of technai
and epistemai as such. As a result of the losses suffered by the work
only two groups, i.e. rhetoricians and philosophers, may be viewed as
emerging from the work with a relative clarity. Among the rhetoricians,
the one most prominently present is probably Sospis, who proves his
erudition in the encounter with Hylas – it is him who makes the reference to Ajax in 739e (it is, however, not him who manages to calm
the grammarian down – this is achieved by the Peripatetic Menephylus through his reference to both Hylas’ known area of expertise and
mythological stories of Poseidon). Then, there is Maximus, who quells
the incipient feud between Hermeias and Zopyrio in IX 4, where he
deftly defeats the latter with a skillful reading of Homer, and Glaucias
whose explanation of the conflicting formulas in the Iliadic challenge
scene is patently privileged over that of Sospis (IX 13). The last one is
Herodes, who participates in the controversy concerning Muses (interestingly and in keeping with the character of the banquet itself, this
subject attracts considerably more interest from all groups present than
any other in Book Nine).
Should we believe the text, three philosophers are present at the
banquet: Ammonius, Plutarch himself, and the Peripatetic Menephylus (IX 6). The last one appears only briefly, yet it seems advisable to
pay him some consideration – his prosopon is neither Plutarch’s selfportrait, nor Plutarch’s portrayal of his favored teacher, which may
eliminate some necessary complications and biases. The part he plays
attracts attention because of the actual effect of his intervention: while
219
JJoannJoJoanna Ko
the remarks of Sospis in IX 5 have patently angered the already dissatisfied Hylas, Menephylus deftly disarms the sulking grammarian,
drawing him into a discussion concerning defeats of Poseidon at hands
of various divinities, a discussion that relies on Hylas’ alleged predilection for stories concerning Poseidon’s own defeats (741a5-10):
You are yourself always relating to us (au]to'v ei/wyav i[storei#n h[mi#n)
how he was worsted on many occasions, here in Athens by Athena, at
Delphi by Apollo, at Argos by Hera, in Aegina by Zeus, and in Naxos
by Dionysus, but everywhere took his failure with an easy-going
absence of resentment (pra#on de' pantacou# kai' a]mh;niton o/nta peri' ta'v
dushmeri;av).
Unfortunately, as the problema survives only in fragments, we are
in no position to reconstruct the entire discussion – yet, at least at the
beginning, the intervention of Menephylus appears to work for the benefit of the assembled company and, strikingly, for the benefit of Hylas
himself, who is portrayed as plainly taking comfort in Menephylus’
words (w=sper h[di;wn geno;menov, b2).11 This, is nothing else, might be
indicative of the philosopher’s supremacy over the rhetorician: his remarks succeed in restoring harmony, in putting to rest the disquiet that
threatened the symposium.
CONCLUSIONS
To summarize: only twice are the grammarians awarded the honor
of the final argument – in IX 3, the argument is that of Zopyrio, who
all but interrupts Hermeias’ arithmetical speculations with his own
interpretation (or, in fact, with his argument in favor of the accidental origin of the alphabet), which effectively weakens the force of
his contribution. The other instance is that of Marcus, who advances
a Homer-related reading of Plato’s portrayal of the allotment of souls
– the case is interesting in its inclusiveness, for the Homeric reading of
Plato does not necessarily invalidate those presented earlier by Lamprias. Even more importantly, I contrast with other professional groups,
11
For a more detailed study of the Peripatetic element in the QC compare Oikonomopoulou 2011; Becchi 1999.
220
GRAMMATIKOI AND GRAMMATISTAI…
the grammarians are occasionally portrayed as inattentive or even rude
(Zopyrio), touchy, and sulky when unappreciated (Hylas), as well as
prone to misplacing responsibility (Protogenes). Then, Zopyrio, while
so prone to criticize others, proves inadequate to the task of interpreting Homer when directly challenged by Maximus; in his turn, Hylas
appears to intentionally misunderstand jokes of his companions, emulating the heroic temper of Ajax where more socially acceptable paradigms are easily available (the circumstance quickly pinpointed by
Menephylus). The resulting image is hardly complimentary: in spite of
their relatively prominent presence, the grammarians (with possible exception of Marcus) display none of the qualities of the two other prominent groups of professionals: neither the wit of rhetoricians nor the erudition and the rhetorical proficiency of philosophers. Interestingly, this
image agrees to some degree with that encountered in Aulus Gellius’
Noctes Atticae where grammarians all too often fall victims to the supreme wit of the sophists Favorinus, or, as a matter of fact, to the pen
of Gellius himself. It is highly likely that with intellectual supremacy
allotted to philosophers (or philosophizing rhetoricians), grammarians
remain at the lower level of the respective development, their intellectual weakness mirrored by impaired social skills.
REFERENCES
Becchi F., 1999, ‘Plutarco tra platonismo e aristotelismo: la filosofia come
παιδεια dell’anima’, [in:] A. Pérez-Jiménez et al. (eds.), Plutarco, Platón
y Aristóteles. Actas del V congreso de la I.P.S. (Madrid-Cuenca, 4-7 de
Mayo de 1999), Madrid, pp. 25-44.
Brenk F., 2009, ‘In learned conversation: Plutarch’s symposiac literature literature and the elusive authorial voice’, [in:] J. Ribeiro-Fereira et al. (eds.),
Symposion and philanthropia in Plutarch, Coimbra, pp. 51-62.
Donini P.-L., 1986, ‘Plutarco, Ammonio ed Accademia’, [in:] P.-L. Donini,
Miscellanea Plutarchea, Ferrara, pp. 98-110.
Fernandez-Delgado J. A., 2009, ‘Trabajos y días como hipotexto de las obras
simposiacas de Plutarco’, [in:] J. Ribeiro Fereira et al. (eds.), Symposion
and philanthropia in Plutarch, Coimbra, pp. 19-30.
221
JJoannJoJoanna Ko
Ferrari F., 1995, Dio, idee e materia. La struttura di cosmo in Plutarco di
Cheronea, Napoli.
Jesus C. A. M. de, 2009, ‘Dancing with Plutarch: Dance and dance theory in
Plutarch’s Table talk’, [in:] J. Ribeiro Fereira et al. (eds.), Symposion and
philanthropia in Plutarch, Coimbra, pp. 403-415.
Kechagia E., 2011, ‘Philosophy in Plutarch’s Table talk: In jest or in earnest?’,
[in:] F. Klotz, K. Oikonomopoulou (eds.), The philosopher’s banquet: Plutarch’s Table talk in the intellectual culture of the Roman Empire, New
York, pp. 77-104.
Klotz F., 207, ‘Portraits of the philosopher: Plutarch’s self-presentation in the
Quaestiones convivales’, CQ 57, pp. 650-667.
Komorowska J., 2014, ‘Dar dla Muz: rzecz o plutarchowych Quaestiones convivales księdze dziewiątej;, Studia Antyczne i Mediewistyczne 12, pp.
37-49.
König J., 2011, ‘Self-promotion and Self-effacement in Plutarch’s Table talk’,
[in:] F. Klotz, K. Oikonomopoulou (eds.), The philosopher’s banquet: Plutarch’s Table talk in the intellectual culture of the Roman Empire, New
York, pp. 179-206.
Minar E. L., Sandbach F. H., Helmbold W. C. (eds.), 1961, Plutarch. Moralia,
vol. IX, Cambridge (Loeb Classical Library).
Oikonomopoulou K., 2011, ‘Peripatetic knowledge in Plutarch’s Table talk’,
[in:] F. Klotz, K. Oikonomopoulou (eds.), The philosopher’s banquet: Plutarch’s Table talk in the intellectual culture of the Roman Empire, New
York, pp. 105-130.
Pelling Ch., 2004, ‘Plutarch’, [in:] I. de Jong, R. Nünlist, A. Bowie (eds.),
Narrators, narratees and narratives in ancient Greek literature, part 1,
Leiden, pp. 403-421.
Pérez-Jiménez A., 2004, ‘El Hesiodo de Plutarco’, [in:] I. Gallo (ed.), Plutarco
e la sua biblioteca, Napoli, pp. 37-46.
Stadter Ph. A., 2009, ‘Leading the party, leading the city: The symposiarch as
politikos’, [in:] J. Ribeiro Fereira et al. (eds.), Symposion and philanthropia in Plutarch, Coimbra, pp. 123-130.
Teodorsson S. T., 1996a, A commentary on Plutarch’s Table talks, vol. III (Books 7-9), Göteborg (Studia Classica et Latina Gothoburgensia 62).
Teodorsson S. T., 1996b, ‘Principles of composition in the Quaestiones convivales’, [in:] J. A. Fernandez Delgado, F. Pordomingo Pardo (eds.), Estudios sobre Plutarco: Aspectos formales, Actas del IV Simposio Español
sobre Plutarco, Salamanca, 26 a 28 Mayo de 1994, Salamanca, pp. 39-47
(Ediciones Clasicas).
222
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.13
IOSEPHUS KORPANTY
(KRAKÓW)
CICERO DE RE PUBLICA EIUSQUE RECTORIBUS
QUID PUTAVERIT
Casimiro amico carissimo
SUMMARY: The paper analyses Cicero’s attitude towards the Roman republic and its celebrated leaders, such as Cato Major. The opinion of Cicero on
certain aspects of proper Republican leadership and the attitude of the populace towards them (e.g. the problem of invidia) are also examined.
KEYWORDS: Cicero, Roman republic, De re publica
De re publica administranda iam ante Ciceronem Romani disputaverunt. Cato Maior dixit: censores qui posthac fiunt, formidulosius
atque segnius atque timidius pro re publica nitentur (Orat. frg. 50). In
oratione Contra Cornelium ad populum habita legimus: ecquis publicis
negotis repulsior? (frg. 204). In oratione De praeda militibus dividenda
Cato queritur: fures privatorum furtorum in nervo atque in compedibus
aetatem agunt, fures publici in auro atque in purpura (frg. 224). Non
est praetereundus Caius Lucilius: commoda praeterea patria<i> prima
putare, deinde parentum, tertia iam postremaque nostra (Sat. inc.
1337-1338). Sed transeamus ad Ciceronem, qui scripsit: Haec pluribus
a me verbis dicta sunt ob eam causam, quod his libris erat instituta
et suscepta mihi de re publica disputatio; quae ne frustra haberetur,
dubitationem ad rem publicam adeundi in primis debui tollere. Ac tamen si qui sunt, qui philosophorum auctoritate moveantur, dent operam parumper atque audiant eos, quorum summa est auctoritas apud
223
IIosephuIoIosephu
doctissimos homines et gloria; quos ego existimo, etiamsi qui ipsi rem
publicam non gesserint, tamen, quoniam de re publica multa quaesierint et scripserint, functos esse aliquo rei publicae munere. Eos vero
septem, quos Graeci sapientis nominaverunt, omnis paene video in media re publica esse versatos. Neque enim est ulla res, in qua propius ad
deorum numen virtus accedat humana, quam civitatis aut condere novas aut conservare iam conditas (De re publ. I 12). Sed saeculo I ante
Christum nato multi Romani in re publica versari nolebant, quia vitae
metuebant memores illarum proscriptionum Sullanarum. Sat est verba
Ciceronis afferre haec: vel acerbissima C. Marii clades principumque
caedes vel eorum multorum pestes, quae paulo post secutae sunt (De
re publ. I 6); Tum C. Flavius Pusio, Cn. Titinius, C. Maecenas, illa
robora populi Romani, ceterique eiusdem ordinis non fecerunt idem
quod nunc Cluentius, ut aliquid culpae suscipere se putarent recusando, sed apertissime repugnarunt, cum et recusarent et palam fortissime atque honestissime dicerent, se potuisse iudicio populi Romani
in amplissimum locum pervenire, si sua studia ad honores petendos
conferre voluissent. Sese vidisse in ea vita qualis splendor inesset,
quanta ornamenta, quae dignitas; quae se non contempsisse sed ordine
suo patrumque suorum contentos fuisse et vitam illam tranquillam et
quietam, remotam a procellis invidiarum et huiusce modi iudiciorum
sequi maluisse (Pro Cluentio 153). In verbis supra allatis magni momenti est invidia1. Igitur initio libri I Cicero Epicuri sectatores vituperavit, quod sapientibus suaderent, ne rem publicam capesserent. Cuius
rei causas reddebant has: vir in republica versatus pacem animi perdit
et amicitias colere prohibetur. Sed magnis periculis instantibus ad rem
publicam accedere fas erat. Quam opinionem Cicero risit: Maximeque
hoc in hominum doctorum oratione mihi mirum videri solet, quod, qui
tranquillo mari gubernare se negent posse, quod nec didicerint nec umquam scire curaverint, iidem ad gubernacula se accessuros profiteantur excitatis maximis fluctibus (De re publ. I 9-11). Omnes fere philosophi Graeci de re publica gerenda tractaverunt. Cicero se Academiae
favere semper dixit, sed aliarum scholarum quoque placita bene novit.
Fuerunt viri docti, qui putarent Ciceronem stoicis, praecipue Panaetio,
Cf. J. Hellegouarc’h, Le vocabulaire Latin des relations et des partis politiques
sous la republique, Paris 1972, p. 196 sq.
1
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CICERO DE RE PUBLICA EIUSQUE RECTORIBUS QUID PUTAVERIT
multa debuisse, qui Scipionis Minoris amicus fuit. Sed credendum est
iis, qui dicant Arpinatem Platoni et Aristoteli plurima debuisse. Non
est obliviscendum Ciceronem Romanum in re publica versatum Romanorum opiniones non neglexisse. Sat sit Scipionem Africanum Minorem audire, quem Arpinas in dialogo de re publica loquentem induxit: Sed neque his contentus sum, quae de ista consultatione scripta
nobis summi ex Graecia sapientissimique homines reliquerunt, neque
ea, quae mihi videntur, anteferre illis audeo. Quam ob rem peto a vobis,
ut me sic audiatis, neque ut omnino expertem Graecarum rerum neque
ut eas nostris in hoc praesertim genere anteponentem, sed ut unum e
togatis patris diligentia non inliberaliter institutum studioque discendi
a pueritia incensum, usu tamen et domesticis praeceptis multo magis
eruditum quam litteris (De re publ. I 36).
In libris V et VI dialogi De re publica Cicero virum rei publicae regendae peritum tractavit, quem „principem civitatis” (De re publ. V 9).
moderatorem rei publicae (De re publ. V 8) et rectorem rerum publicarum (De re publ. V 6) appellavit. Saeculo XX ineunte alii putaverunt
Ciceronem credidisse necesse esse, ut res publica regno cederet, alii autem Arpinatem rei publicae fidelem mansisse, principem autem politicum optimum, unum ex multis nobilibus fuisse, qui moribus emendatis
civitatem gubernabit. Quam opinionem plurimi secuti sunt.
In dialogo De re publica Cicero commemorat politicos celebres,
qui Romae hostes maximos devicerunt. Cato Maior exemplum est
civis, qui otiosus vitam Tusculi degere potuit, sed laborum et periculorum immemor in re publica versatus est. Multi alii ita faciunt, quia
tanta est necessitas virtutis generis hominum propria (De re publ. I 1).
Sed Cicero putavit a politicis totius generis humani opes augeri (De re
publ. I 3). Arpinas sine dubio speravit populos devictos a Romanis bene
tractatum iri2.
In rebus, quibus operam damus, gravissima virtus est, quae imprimis in civitate regenda elucet3. Virtuti et labori oppununtur: inertia,
Cf. S. Augustinus, De civ. Dei 19,21, ubi Ciceronis verba, quae asservata non sunt,
a Sancto summatim allata sunt.
3
De re publ. I 2: virtus in usu sui tota posita est; usus autem eius est maximus civitatis gubernatio.
2
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IIosephuIoIosephu
desidia, ignavia4. Apud multos scriptores virtus militum fortium propria est. Ad virtutem accedit industria. Labor quoque virtutis socius est:
Rhet. Herr. IV 31: Alexander Macedo summo labore animum ad virtutem a pueritia confirmavit.
Sed homines stulti putant solos homines divites et bono genere natos
virtute excellere. Cicero autem docuit rem aliter se habere: Hoc errore
vulgi cum rem publicam opes paucorum, non virtutes tenere coeperunt,
nomen illi principes optimatium mordicus tenent, re autem carent. Nam
divitiae, nomen, opes vacuae consilio et vivendi atque aliis imperandi
modo dedecoris plenae sunt et insolentis superbiae, nec ulla deformior
species est civitatis quam illa, in qua opulentissimi optimi putantur.
Virtute vero gubernante rem publicam quid potest esse praeclarius?
cum is, qui inperat aliis, servit ipse nulli cupiditati, cum, quas ad res
civis instituit et vocat, eas omnis conplexus est ipse nec leges inponit
populo, quibus ipse non pareat, sed suam vitam ut legem praefert suis
civibus (De re publ. I 51-52). Cicero putat rei publicae rectores contemporales imitari viros antiquos patriae amantes et de politicorum munere docet haec: Ut enim gubernatori cursus secundus, medico salus,
imperatori victoria, sic huic moderatori rei publicae beata civium vita
proposita est, ut opibus firma, copiis locuples, gloria ampla, virtute
honesta sit; huius enim operis maximi inter homines atque optimi illum esse perfectorem volo (De re publ. V 8). Politicus autem ipse debet
laudem et decus expetere, ignominiam et dedecus fugere non propter
poenae metum, sed verecundia ductus. Qua re fiet, ut pudor cives non
minus a delictis arceat quam metus (De re publ. V 6).
Videamus de iustitia et pietate, quae politicorum virtutes erant
magni momenti. Iustitia in numero quattuor virtutum summarum fuit,
cuius proprium fuit suum cuique tribuere5. Romani putabant sine iustitia civitatem regi non posse, nullam esse concordiam6.
Cicero de auctoritate saepe disputavit. Apud auctores Romanos
legimus auctoritatem nasci e magnis rebus et magistratibus gestis atque
Cf. Cic. Sest. 138: sed mihi omnis oratio est cum virtute non cum desidia; Balb.
51: itaque et civis undique fortis viros adsciverunt et hominum ignobilium virtutem
persaepe nobilitatis inertiae praetulerunt; Publilius Syrus I 42: Inertia indicatur, cum
fugitur labor.
5
Cf. Cic. De re publ. I 64.
6
Cf. Cic. De re publ. II 69-70.
4
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CICERO DE RE PUBLICA EIUSQUE RECTORIBUS QUID PUTAVERIT
ex aetate provecta. Libro I dialogi De re publica Cicero tractat de politicis, qui consilio atque auctoritate rem publicam regunt (De re publ.
I 3) atque putat ex optimorum civium consiliis fortunam civitatis pendere (De re publ. I51). Consilium autem definivit hoc modo: Consilium
est aliquid faciendi aut non faciendi excogitata ratio (De inv. I 36).
Apud scriptores Latinos prope consilium invenimus sapientiam, rationem et prudentiam. Quibus verbis opponuntur: temeritas, imprudentia et audacia. Cum in civitate regnat consilium, nullae sunt libidines,
irae, avaritia.
Consilio propinqua est sapientia, quam Cicero hoc modo definivit: Sapientia autem est, ut a veteribus philosophis definitum est, rerum
divinarum et humanarum causarumque, quibus eae res continentur,
scientia (De off. II 5). Arpinas putavit sapientiam vivendi artem esse
(De fin. I 42) atque rei publicae regendae7. Politicorum sapientia gignit
continentiam, temperantiam et clementiam. Talis sapientia proxima est
prudentiae. Cicero putavit prudentia fieri, ut homines bona a malis discernant. In rebus ad civitatem pertinentibus prudentia ad usum accedit,
cui theoretica opposita sunt.
Sed de clementia plura dicenda sunt. Cicero scripsit Numam
Pompilium, qui Romulo successit, religione, id est deorum cultu, et
clementia Romanorum animos imbuisse. Qua re factum est, ut duri animi Romanorum mitescerent. (De re publ. II 26-27). Notissima est illa
Caesaris clementia, quem Octavianus Augustus secutus est, quamquam
patrem suum necatum crudeliter ultus est. Anno 27 clementia in clupeo
virtutis una cum virtute, iustitia et pietate scripta est8. Politici Romani
humanitas quoque propria fuit, cuius sensus saepe accedit ad clementiam, misericordiam et mansuetudinem9. Cicero scripsit humanitatem
mansuetudinem, religionem et clementiam a Numa Pompilio Romanis
insitas esse10. Arpinas paucis locis commemorat Graecorum virtutes
summas, ne virtutes Romanorum proprias neglegere videretur. Raro sapientiam laudat, quam politicorum propriam virtus sequebatur, quia in
Cf. Cic. De re publ. III 47: si enim sapientia est, quae gubernet rem publicam […]
Cf. Augustus, Res gestae 6,18-20.
9
Cf. exempli gratia verba, quae sensu vicina sunt: Rhet. Her. II 50: si de clementia,
humanitate, misericordia nostra […] aperiemus.
10
Cf. Cic. De re publ. II 26-27.
7
8
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IIosephuIoIosephu
memoriam revocabat philosophiam. Fuerunt enim, quibus illa suspecta
vel etiam nocens videretur. Quam rem confirmat auctor Rhetoricae
ad Herennium, II 35: Philosophia vitanda est, adfert enim socordiam
atque desidiam11. Sapientiam in agendo positam vel politicam Cicero
laudavit: De re publ. I 33: Eas artis, quae efficiant, ut usui civitati simus. Id enim esse praeclarissimum sapientiae munus maximumque virtutis vel documentum vel officium puto; De re publ. III 24 Sapientia iubet augere opes, amplificare divitias, proferre finis […] imperare quam
plurimis […] pollere, regnare, dominari.
11
Cf. Pseudo-Sallust. Ad Caesarem de re publ. II 12,5-6: atque ego te oro hortorque
ne clarissimus imperator Gallica gente subacta populi Romani summum atque invictum imperium tabescere vetustate ac per summam socordiam dilabi patiaris.
228
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.14
JUSTYNA ŁUKASZEWSKA-HABERKOWA
(AKADEMIA IGNATIANUM, KRAKÓW)
“GRAMMATICA” OF EMMANUEL ALVAREZ SJ
AND ITS EDITIONS IN POLISH-LITHUANIAN
COMMONWEALTH IN THE 16TH CENTURY
SUMMARY: The paper briefly characterizes the Jesuit education in the Polish-Lituanian Commonwealth in 16th century and the first Latin grammar book
by Emmanuel Alvarez SJ used in colleges. The reader is presented with a brief
description of the Grammatica of Alvarez and its editions in Poland till the end
of the 16th century.
KEYWORDS: Latin grammar, Emmanuelis Alvari, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 16th century
Saint Ignatius of Loyola regarded apostolic work, including its
slightly unrewarding aspect, namely education, as one of the most prominent activities of the Jesuit Society. As a result, each newly constructed
Jesuit house was accompanied by a school and a college. All these
houses were organized according to a common design, typically based
on the first school established in a given country or province. In Poland
a model college was that in Braniewo. However, regardless of the details
characterizing a particular house, a Jesuit college was supposed to be
a humanistic school, where the knowledge of Latin and Greek grammar
shaped the students’ erudition, eloquence and devotion.
At the beginning of their work in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Jesuits faced numerous difficulties.1 The first dozen priests to
1
Cf. Natoński 1969. Natoński’s work appeared as the last, sixteenth chapter of the
monograph on Jesuit history, p. 414-476.
229
JJustynJuJustyna ŁuJuJustyna arrive to Warmia at the end of 1564 were foreigners. Similarly, a majority of Jesuits working in Poland till the end of 16th c. were of foreign
origin. They were educated outside Poland, often before entering the Society. It was not until the later period, when Jesuits started to grow in
number and become more powerful, that the foreigners were replaced by
Poles. According to Bronislaw Natonski (1970: 309-337; 1994: 29-58) in
the 16th c. there were 181 Polish Jesuits working in Poland. From the 17th
c. on, the majority of Jesuits acting in the Commonwealth, that is in the
Polish Province established in 1575 and later on (from 1608) also in the
Lithuanian Province, were of Polish origin (Natoński 1970: 40; Poplatek
[typescript]).
According to Jesuit Constitutions, a majority of candidates to the
Society could be accepted. No special prior education was required, although it was appreciated due to the many needs of the developing order.
However, an individual could not receive education in the Society if,
upon entering the novitiate, he could neither read nor write in Latin.
In the first years of the Society’s existence in Poland, most Jesuits
had reached some level of education yet before entering the novitiate.
The first generation of Jesuits was characterized by extremely diverse
and inhomogeneous education, they changed schools and academic
centers, often learning in heretic environments and during scientific
journeys throughout Europe. It is worthwhile to note for instance the
studies of Justus Rabb at universities in Strasbourg, Wittenberg, Jena,
Leipzig and Paris or those of Stanislas Grodzicki in Frankfurt and Wittenberg, at Krakow Academy and in Rome (Łukaszewska-Haberkowa
2013: 119, 133f.). Other Jesuits, for example Jakub Wujek and Stanislas
Warszewicki, appreciated education received in the Commonwealth
(Łukaszewska-Haberkowa 2013: 119, 133f.). Due to the lack of stable
educational structures, Jesuits often changed collages in order to finish
their philosophy and theology courses, frequently as external students.
However, it seems that in the end this diversity had an overall positive
effect on their education. Moreover, Protestantism greatly influenced
future Jesuits: numerous candidates made a catholic profession of faith
only directly before entering the novitiate.
According to a common belief, the Society of Jesus possessed a uniform, systematic and constant scholar system from the beginning of the
230
“GRAMMATICA” OF EMMANUEL ALVAREZ SJ…
order’s existence in Poland, that is from the 16th c. This is, however, not
true. St. Ignatius of Loyola did not prepare nor record any general rules
needed by the rapidly developing Jesuit educational system. The socalled Ratio studiorum, that is a document specifying scholar rules pertaining to all Jesuit schools, emerged slowly and not without difficulties.
It was not until 1599 that it was finally accepted and from that time each
college was obliged to adopt it.
The ultimate goal that cardinal Stanislas Hozjusz was pursuing when
he invited Jesuits to Poland was to create a network of modern schools
(Nadal 1965: 136). As a result, in a very short time a number of colleges were founded, which required considerable manpower as well as
financial means to operate.2 Clearly, all these needs by far exceeded the
possibilities of a newly established province. It should also be mentioned
that the formation of a Jesuit teacher took more than a dozen years (Bieś,
Dybowska, Grzebień 2012: 74-80).
The program and curriculum of Jesuit colleges in the Commonwealth
are broadly known and have been a topic of numerous publications. The
majority of them (e.g. Kot 1931: 226-234; Piechnik 2000: 299-332),
however, synthetically deal with the very beginnings of the order’s history, overlooking the less well-known aspects of the subject. Yet, in the
first half century of the order in Poland Jesuits did not wholly obey the
principles imposed by the Society (Łukaszewska-Haberkowa 2014: 3962). In case of education this resulted, among others, in a large variety of
different syllabuses. Jesuit schools in Poland were generally highly acclaimed, although till 1575 they did not attract particularly large numbers
of students, among which, by the way, a half were dissenters. Until late
1580s professors in higher classes were of foreign origin.
What undoubtedly had an adverse effect on Jesuit teaching quality
was the fact that teachers frequently changed, especially in the Commonwealth. Having finished their philosophy course and pedagogical
training, clerics were obliged to teach in lower classes for the period of
two years, but they frequently performed this duty in several colleges
in parallel. Directly after this period they commenced theological studies followed by teaching in higher classes. They typically spent several
It is estimated that at the beginning of 1590s Jesuit schools belonging to the Polish
Province of the Jesuit Society educated and supported 3300 students.
2
231
JJustynJuJustyna ŁuJuJustyna years in the Rhetorica and ran one or two courses of philosophy. Finally
they began teaching theology. Due to the lack of qualified staff, later on
they usually took on administrative duties.
Jesuits could not afford to purchase handbooks for their schools – financial means, even to cover current expanses, were in short supply, not
to speak about expensive teaching aids. In the 17th c. (Bednarski 2003:
178-185) the difficulty in finding inexpensive handbooks still remained
a problem. Colleges occasionally received books as gifts from benefactors, who in the 16th c. were not necessarily absolutely faithful to the
catholic teaching. Jesuit Society was well aware of the List of Prohibited
Books, but volumes, even those by Luther or Calvin, were never burnt
here. Forbidden prints were typically closed up in inaccessible locations,
were only selected people could consult them. On the margins of surviving books of this type one can frequently find polemic comments and
remarks (Grzebień 2013: 201f.).
It was not until Ratio studiorum3 was published, a document dating from the fall of the century, that the Grammar of Emmanuel Alvarez
was broadly accepted in Jesuit teaching4. Before that time teaching of
Latin had been very diverse and numerous handbooks had been used.
The grammar book by Johannes Despauterius was commonly regarded
as the best choice, but because of insufficient number of copies as well
as diverse, often protestant, education of professors, more often than not
it was substituted by different handbooks, such as those by Cornelius
Valerio, Heinrich Glarean or Cornelius Traiectinus. One could also come
across, albeit seldom, books by Christoph Hegendorff and Thomas Linacre (Ratio studiorum 1996: 561-562).
The first two classes of Jesuit colleges, Infima and Grammatica,
were supposed to prepare students for their Latin language course
through a lecture on basics of grammar and syntax, that is the so-called
syntax parva. Due to problems related to diverse knowledge levels of
students as well as the above-mentioned lack of handbooks, the approach
The publication of Ratio atque institutio studiorum Societatis Jesu was preceded
with numerous difficulties. The first edition of the document was established in 1586, it
was then published again in 1591, but the version acknowledged by all province started
to be in force 8th Jan. 1599, cf. Danysz 1921: 158.
4
Cf. Żołądź 1990: 91 and critical study of Alvarez book by jesuit, Jan Ożóg: Ożóg
1997: 141-160.
3
232
“GRAMMATICA” OF EMMANUEL ALVAREZ SJ…
to teaching was considering to be more significant than a choice of a particular handbook.
Handbooks by Despauterius were most classical in form, above all
due to the author’s classification of syntax. Despauterius successively
published Rudimenta, Exercitationes, Syntaxis and Commentarii grammatici, the latter was published in Paris in 1537. His books were reprinted
in Krakow in the printing houses of Maciej Szarffenberg (1528, 1537)
and Hieronim Wietor (1532) (Estreicher 1977: XV.160). This particular
handbook draws from medieval tradition, utilizing the ideas and the way
of presentation of earlier grammarians; it is varied in character, in that
it is not based on the grammar of only one ancient author. What is also
significant, Despauterius often underlines the importance of the mother
tongue and frequently recommends the reader to translate certain forms
into his native language (Cytowska 1968: 60f.). In the book in question,
as well as in those of Valerio and Glarean, rudimenta are mostly derived
from Donatus. The name of Donatus was often given to the first class,
which was supposed to last two years.
In 1572 a grammar book by Emmanuel Alvarez was published.5 It
was as a matter of fact the first Latin handbook published in view of
being used in class under the guidance of a teacher, rather than for selfstudy. It is worth to note here that Emmanuel Alvarez, born in 1526, was
a Jesuit, professor of literature and the rector of Coimbra college (Sommervogel 1891-1900: I.223-249), so he was well aware of the nature of
a teacher’s work. The initial version is a massive book containing 526
pages of dense print, divided into three parts. The next (1572) version,
the proper, so to speak, Alvarez, contained De Etymologia, De Syntaxi
and De Prosodia (Cytowska 1968: 64-65), consecutively describing
these chapters of grammar.6 It was probably the language handbook remaining in constant use for the longest period of time in Poland or maybe
5
Emmanvelis Alvari e Societate Iesu de Institvtione Grammatica libri tres. Olyssipone, Excudebat Joannes Barrerius typographus Regius, M. D. LXXII, Cum Privilegio. The edition contained 245 pages (243 numbered pages), in quarto format. The
second edition, on which most handbooks were later based, also included an index: Emmanvelis Alvari e Societate Iesu de Institvtione Grammatica libri tres. Venetiis, Apud
Basam or apud Franciscum de Franciscis Senensem, MDLXXV, 4°, pp. 526.
6
Description by M. Cytowska, cf. Bednarski 2003: 160-161.
233
JJustynJuJustyna ŁuJuJustyna even in entire Europe.7 And as each source remaining in use for too long
a time, it finally became exhausted. Although it is mostly remembered by
unfavorable opinions it received in the 18th c., it should be noted that at
the time of publication it served extremely well as a grammar compendium. Its concise character was underlined in the first version of Ratio
studiorum from 1586. At that time it was also suggested that Alvarez’s
grammar book should be adapted to school teaching. This act of standardization of teaching practice all throughout Jesuit colleges combined
with selecting a specific Latin handbook (specially prepared for this reason), is absolutely unique. One can even risk a statement that it is unique
in the history of education in general.
By the end of the 16th c. there were several different Polish editions
of Alvarez’s grammar book, all of which say a lot about the development
of Jesuit schools as well as their needs in terms of teaching practice in the
diverse and multifaceted Commonwealth.
The first Polish edition of the book was published by Melchior
Nehring in 1577 in Poznań.8 What is important, it seems that this printer
became known in the catholic milieu thanks to the publication of this
very print for Jesuits.9 In 1577 it was one of 13 prints that he printed
in Poznań. The most commonly cited copy of this edition can be found
in Kórnik Library, bound in one volume with Cicero’s letters (Woj­
ciechowska 1927: 137), also published for a Jesuit college.10
A Jesuit researcher into the order’s literature, Carlos Sommervogel,
in his voluminous work11 claims that the 1577 edition of Alvarez’s oeuvre was complete, that is contained all three parts. In fact, it was only
its last book (Grammaticarum institutionum liber tertius. De syllabarum
Most recently in Saint Petersburg in 1840.
[Emmanvelis Alvari] Grammaticarum institutionum liber tertius. De syllabarum
dimensione. Posnaniae, Melchior Nering, 1577, 8°.
9
By the way, in 1577 Nehring Publisher his first prints, but due to financial reasons
also printed a heretic book entitled Diatribe by J. Niemojewski. As a result He had
severe problems and was forced to leave Poznań. Cf. Wojciechowska 1927: 43-56.
10
Epistolarum M. T. Ciceronis. Liber Decimus Quartus et Decimussextus. Posnaniae, Melchior Neringk, Anno Domini 1577. Cf. Wojciechowska 1927: 138. (Estreicher
1977: VIII.67; XV-XVI.131 with reference to Kórnik Library). In another location
(with alphabetically ordered prints, Estreicher 1977: XIV.247f.) Estreicher does not
mention this print.
11
Sommervogel 1890-1932: I.223-249.
7
8
234
“GRAMMATICA” OF EMMANUEL ALVAREZ SJ…
dimensione). In 1577 publishing Alvarez’s Grammar in its entirety would
be ungrounded. At that time teaching was carried out in five colleges: in
Braniewo (established in 1566), Pułtusk (1568), Vilnius (1569), Poznań
(1573) and Jarosław (1575). Most colleges had at least two parallel first
classes, some (as for instance the five-class college in Braniewo) were
international in character, that is were frequented mostly by inhabitants of
borderlands and foreigners. It seems that for effective teaching of grammar basics, the choice of a particular handbook played no important role.
In many cases teachers were selected among priests without full academic
degrees. Fully educated professors were necessary in higher classes, were
the demands and needs were greater. Still, proper infrastructure and books
were in short supply. The problem was especially acute in some colleges,
e.g. in Pułtusk, where the number of students in higher classes, including
Rhetorica, was large – in 1573 this particular school had 361 students. In
the same years the Poetica and Rhetorica classes were opened in Poznań.
It is clear from the introduction to Alvarez’s book that it was aimed mostly
at students and professors of this very school.
Large number of students in higher classes necessitated the creation of proper working conditions. Although in lower classes basics of
Latin stylistics and etymology were taught, practical use of this knowledge was supposed to be exercised in the next class, the Syntaxis. The
lack of a unique grammar handbook did not pose a problem here either, as even at this stage of education the differences in the students’
skills could still be compensated. The situation was more complicated
as far as teaching poetics and advanced stylistics is concerned. That
is the reason why only a single, selected part of Alvarez’s book was
published. Besides, the Jesuit Society provided students with their
handbooks free of charge, hence publishing all three parts (561 pages!)
would be much too costly. Finally, the first two books of the Portugal
Jesuit were closely related to each other – basic grammar knowledge
presented in book one was supplemented by a lecture on syntax in the
second volume. Hence, these volumes should be treated and utilized as
unity (Cytowska 1968: 65). The third one in turn contained information
on prosody12 and was in itself an independent part.
12
Among the volumes of Alvarez’s book, this one was later on published most frequently. Cf. Sommervogel 1890-1932: III.
235
JJustynJuJustyna ŁuJuJustyna The education that Jesuit colleges offered in the first years of the
Society’s existence in Poland, is well illustrated by entrance examinations to the college and novitiate in Braniewo. Candidates were supposed to describe their knowledge in a conversation with a superior
(Łukaszewska-Haberkowa 2012: 7-18). If they lacked higher education
or full college education, they enumerated the authors, whose works
they came across. Among the writers they read, apart from Cicero,
Virgil were Donatus, were Johannes Honter, Philipp Melanchthon,
Nicolas Nicolasa Cleynaerts and Johann Spaugeberg (ŁukaszewskaHaberkowa 2013: 140-175).
Maria Cytowska (1968: 65) claims that the first full edition of
Alvarez’s book was publish in Poland in 1586. It seems, however, that
this belief in unsubstantiated: in that year two editions were published,
none of which was complete. The first print contained the second volume of the handbook (Emanuel Alvarez SJ, Grammaticarum institutionum [libri tres]. Liber secundus. De constructione octo partium
orationis. Poznań, Jan Wolrab, 1586, pp. 38113), whereas the second
one consisted of its third part (Emanuel Alvarez SJ, Grammaticarum
institutionum [libri tres]. Liber tertius. De syllabarum dimensione, etc.
Poznań, Jan Wolrab, [1586], pp. 19214). At the time of publication of
these books, Jesuits already worked on a unique and consistent syllabus for all their colleges along with handbooks specially prepared
for this purpose. Nevertheless, some colleges, e.g. in Vilnius., where
apart from the college Jesuits also ran a primary school, still insisted
on using the book of Despauterius (Cytowska 1968: 68). Meanwhile,
in 1586 the first project of Ratio studiorum was elaborated by a selected body of six best pedagogues of the Society. The project was sent
out to the provinces for critical comments (Ratio studiorum 1996, s.
561-562). Therefore, one can suppose that in view of the still uncertain
future of Ratio, the complete edition of Alvarez’s Grammar was considered unnecessary.
Literature mentions also a 1590 edition, which was supposed
to have been ordered by Jesuits from Jan Wolrab’s printing house in
13
Cf. Estreicher 1977: XII.160; Sommervogel 1890-1932: I.223; cf. Also Wierzbowski 1889: 2.163.
14
Cf. Estreicher 1977: XII.160; Sommervogel 1890-1932: I.223.
236
“GRAMMATICA” OF EMMANUEL ALVAREZ SJ…
Poznań. However, similarly to the alleged 157815 edition, there is no
sufficient proof that the publication ever existed.16
Let us, therefore, repeat that the Latin grammar handbook by Alvarez perfectly suited the new syllabus in Jesuit schools, introduced as
a results of Ratio studiorum. Though, the document came into being
after several years of discussion and controversy with respect to the
novel teaching system (Bednarski2003: 158-159), towards which Polish Jesuits remained generally skeptical. In 1599 objections against
the book, already formulated back in 1586, were repeated and it was
claimed that the book should be adapted for college use: it was too
voluminous and far too detailed to be utilized at schools. Besides it
was not properly translated into Polish. The latter is important, as in
the 16th c. Latin handbooks were also utilized as concise manuals of the
Polish language.
In the 1590s Jesuit colleges in the Commonwealth became more
uniform and consistent. Moreover, colleges became more populated
and the number of subjects taught increased, which necessitated further
regulations. Two editions of Alvarez’s book published in 1592 (Emanuel Alvarez SJ, De institutione grammatica. Liber 1. Scholis auctoris
praetermissis. Vilnius, 1592, pp. 50 (Estreicher 1977: XII.126; Sommervogel 1890-1932: I.226) and Emanuel Alvarez SJ, De institutione
grammatica. Lib. 1. Libri primi pars prior. De partim orationis declinabilium inflexione. Scholiis authoris omissis. Vilnius, 1592, c. n.
p. 6917) were printed explicitly for use in Jesuit schools and due to the
introduction of Ratio studiorum. However, neither of them was a complete edition, which is attested, among other things, by the small number of pages.
The increasing importance of Jesuit schools called for a special
version of Alvarez’s book, it should be concise and adapted to the
15
Emanuel Alvarez SJ, Grammaticarum institutionum libri primi Epitome syntaxeos. [De constructione octo patrium orationis libellus], Poznań, Jan Wolrab, 1578, c.
n. p. 59 (Sommervogel 1890-1932: I.225; Wojciechowska 1927: 169. Wojciechowska
claims that it probably doesn’t exist).
16
Emanuel Alvarez SJ, Grammaticarum institutionum libri primi Epitome syntaxeos, item faciliora praecepta, ex eiusdem auctoris libro secundo descripta, Poznań, Jan
Wolrab, 1591, p. 238.
17
Cf. Estreicher 1977: XII.126; Sommervogel 1890-1932: I.226.
237
JJustynJuJustyna ŁuJuJustyna three-stage teaching system. These books started to be printed in the
17th c. (Popiak 2008: 345-351). Also at that time printers became uneager to print only small numbers of copies and also refused to print
single volumes of Alvarez’s oeuvre (Bednarski 2003: 161).
REFERENCES
Prace źródłowe:
E. Alvari, De Institutione grammatica. Liber secundus, Cracovia, 1667.
[E. Alvari], Grammaticarum institutionum liber tertius. De syllabarum dimensione. Posnaniae, Melchior Nering, 1577.
Emmanvelis Alvari e Societate Iesu de Institvtione Grammatica libri tres.
Olyssipone, Excudebat Joannes Barrerius typographus Regius, 1572.
Emmanvelis Alvari e Societate Iesu de Institvtione Grammatica libri tres. Venetiis, Apud Basam lub też apud Franciscum de Franciscis Senensem,
1575.
M. Alvarez SJ, De institutione grammatica. Lib. 1. Libri primi pars prior. De
partim orationis declinabilium inflexione. Scholiis authoris omissis,Wilno, 1592.
M. Alvarez SJ, Grammaticarum institutionum [libri tres]. Liber secundus. De
constructione octo partium orationis, Poznań, Jan Wolrab, 1586.
J. Bielski SJ, Pro institutione grammaticae Emmanuelis Alvari oratio in recurrente post ferias Augusti studiorum instauratione, [Kalisz] 1746.
J. Bielski SJ, Pro Scholis Publicis Studiorumque in illis, ratione Oratio, Habita Posnaniae. Ibidem Typis Societatis Iesu perquam splendide excusa,
[Poznań] 1747.
Epistolarum M. T. Ciceronis. Liber Decimus Quartus et Decimussextus. Posnaniae, Melchior Neringk, 1577.
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Bednarski S., 2003, Upadek i odrodzenie szkół jezuickich w Polsce. Studium z
dziejów kultury i szkolnictwa polskiego, Kraków (1st ed.: 1933).
Bieś A. P., Dybowska E., Grzebień L., 2012, ‘Pedagogia jezuitów (ignacjańska) [Towarzystwa Jezusowego]’, [in:] J. Kostkiewicz (red.), Pedagogie
katolickich zgromadzeń zakonnych. Historia i współczesność, t. 1, Kraków, pp. 74-80.
Cytowska M., 1968, Od Aleksandra do Alwara (Gramatyki łacińskie w Polsce
XVI w.), Wrocław.
Danysz A., 1921, Studia z dziejów wychowania w Polsce, Kraków.
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Estreicher K. (ed.), 1977, Bibliografia polska, cz. III: Seria staropolska, t. VIII,
XII, XIV, XV, Warszawa.
Grzebień L., 2013, Organizacja bibliotek jezuickich w Polsce od XVI do XVII
wieku, Kraków.
Kot S., 1931, Źródła do historii wychowania (wybór), cz. I: Od starożytnej Grecji do końca w. XVII, Warszawa–Kraków–Lublin–Łódź–Paryż
–Poznań–Wilno–Zakopane.
Łukaszewska-Haberkowa J. (ed.), 2012, Examina novitiotum (egzaminy nowicjuszów) jezuitów z Braniewa z lat 1569-1574, Kraków (Studia i Materiały
z Dziejów Jezuitów Polskich).
Łukaszewska-Haberkowa J., 2013, Pierwsze pokolenie polskich jezuitów
w świetle biografii i egzaminów, Kraków.
Łukaszewska-Haberkowa J., 2014, Wpływ pierwszego pokolenia polskich jezuitów na życie kulturalne i religijne Rzeczypospolitej Obojga Narodów
(1564-1608), Kraków.
Nadal H., 1965, ‘De studii generalia dispositione et ordine’, [in:] L. Lucács
(ed.), Monumenta Paedagogica Societatis Iesu, vol. 1, Romae, s. 133-16.
Natoński B., 1969, ‘Początki i rozwój Towarzystwa Jezusowego w Polsce
(1564-1580)’, [in:] J. Brodrick, Powstanie i rozwój Towarzystwa Jezusowego, t. 1: Początki Towarzystwa Jezusowego, trans. W. Baranowski,
M. Bednarz, Kraków, s. 414-476.
Natoński B., 1970, ‘Szkolnictwo jezuickie w Polsce w dobie kontrreformacji’,
[in:] J. Pelc (red.), Wiek XVII – barok – kontrreformacja. Prace z historii
kultury, Wrocław, pp. 309-337.
Natoński B., 1994, Z dziejów szkolnictwa jezuickiego w Polsce. Wybór artykułów, wstęp, wybór, oprac., lista map, bibliografia i indeks J. Paszenda,
Kraków, pp. 29-58.
Ożóg J., 1997, ‘Jezuicka gramatyka łacińska XVI-XVIII wieku’, [in:] J. Rostropowicz (red.), Studia nad kulturą antyczną, Opole, pp. 141-160.
Piechnik L. , 2000, ‘Model średniej szkoły jezuickiej w Polsce i na Litwie
przed wydaniem „Ratio studiorum”’, Nasza Przeszłość 94, pp. 299-332.
Popiak W., 2008, ‘Emmanuelis Alvari Syntaxis. Przez dwa wieki’, Symbolae
Philologorum Posnaniensium Graecae et Latinae XVIII, pp. 345-351.
Poplatek J., (tapescript), Znajomość języków u jezuitów polskich w latach 15671599 XVI wieku, typescript No. 1149-XXIII in the collection of the Archive of the Polish Southern Province of the Society of Jesus in Krakowie.
Ratio studiorum, 1966, [in:] L. Grzebień et al. (red.), Encyklopedia wiedzy
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Sommervogel C., 1891-1900, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, vol. 1-9,
Brussels–Paris.
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JJustynJuJustyna ŁuJuJustyna Sommervogel C., 1890-1932, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus: Bibliographie, vol. 1-11, Paris.
Wierzbowski T., 1889, Bibliographia polonica XV ac XVI ss. et editiones, quae
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240
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.15
MARIA MAŚLANKA-SORO
(UNIWERSYTET JAGIELLOŃSKI)
“TU DICI CHE DI SILVÏO IL PARENTE […]
AD IMMORTALE SECOLO ANDÒ”1 (INF., II, 13-15):
IL PROTAGONISTA DELLA DIVINA COMMEDIA
DI DANTE COME “NUOVO ENEA”
SUMMARY: The protagonist of the famous poem of Dante Alighieri has a lot
in common with the Virgilian Aeneas: both have a mission to accomplish, but
its meaning is profoundly different: political in the case of the son of Anchises
and universal in that of Dante-pilgrim. Aeneas will encounter, in the Otherworld,
his father and from him he will learn about his own future as well as that of the
Roman Empire of which he will become a protoplast. The disciple of Virgil in
Dante will know a posthumous destiny of Man with the purpose of showing
mankind the way of moral and spiritual renewal. This paper presents a comparative analysis of the figures of “old” and “new” Aeneas, involving an intertextual approach to the theme of their katabasis. The illustration of the similarities
and differences between them takes into consideration the changed cultural and
spiritual context and the aspiration of the Italian poet to become a “new” Virgil
whose masterpiece is superior to the Aeneid both in content and form.
KEYWORDS: Dante, Virgil, Aeneas, Dante-pilgrim, comparative analysis,
intertextual approach
Nella concezione di Dante il protagonista del suo capolavoro che
compie un viaggio ultraterreno con obiettivi ben determinati, allude
chiaramente al personaggio di Enea, il quale ottiene per volontà divina
Tutte le citazioni dalla Commedia di Dante nel presente articolo sono tratte
dall’ed.: Dante Alighieri 1994.
1
241
MMariMaMaria MMaMar
il privilegio di recarsi con Sibilla nell’aldilà, nel paese delle ombre,
dove viene a conoscenza – durante il colloquio con il padre Anchise –
dei suoi fata e del destino del futuro Impero Romano. Anchise gli svelerà pure i meandri della cosmogonia, nella versione vicina a quella dei
dialoghi di Platone, Fedro e Timeo, nonché i principi dell’escatologia
orfico-pitagorica. Questa “lezione” che unisce, per così dire, la teoria
alla prassi – rimane in funzione di un discorso politico. Enea vedrà
“con i propri occhi” le ombre dei suoi discendenti – illustri eroi romani
– pronte ad entrare un giorno nei corpi, chiamate dai loro fata. Tutto
il suo lungo, travagliato iter – dal momento dell’uscita da Troia fino
alla vittoria nel Lazio – ha un carattere anzitutto politico. Virgilio crea
il mito di Roma e dei Romani, facendo risalire la loro origine alla dea
Venere e al nobile sangue troiano e nella “profezia” di Anchise ricorda
alla “prole” di Romolo la missione che hanno da compiere nel mondo,
sanzionata dal loro passato – mitico, ma considerato (nell’intentio auctoris) parte della loro storia più remota. Secondo questa predizione
i Romani devono estendere il benefico potere su altre nazioni, diffondendovi la famosa lex con i suoi principi “aurei” – debellare i superbi
(cioè i non-Romani irrispettosi di questa legge) e dimostrare la clementia (una delle virtù che la propaganda imperiale attribuiva ad Ottaviano
Augusto) a quelli che riconosceranno il dominio romano:
Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento
(haec tibi erunt artes) pacique imponere morem,
parcere subiectis et debellare superbos2. (Aen., VI, 851-853)
Virgilio rende qui indirettamente omaggio al “primo cittadino”
(princeps), come piaceva essere chiamato a Ottaviano, sotto il cui governo tacque – nella gran parte dell’impero – il suono delle armi – (la
famosa Pax Augusti o Pax Romana) e cominciò a regnare la nuova età
dell’oro3.
2
Tutte le citazioni dall’Eneide nel presente articolo sono tratte dall’ed.: Virgilio
2010.
3
Cfr. Virgilio, Aen., VI, 791-794: “Hic vir, hic est, tibi quem promitti saepius audis,
/ Augustus Caesar, Divi genus, aurea condet / saecula qui rursus Latio regnata per arva
/ Saturno quondam”.
242
“Tu dici che di Silvïo il parente […] ad immortale secolo andò” …
Dante-autore, invece, si pone altri obiettivi: il suo protagonista,
il quale, a differenza dell’eroe romano, ha conosciuto la verità rivelata4, deve per volontà di Dio cristiano5 condurre l’umanità diventata
schiava di vari vizi6 – grazie alla testimonianza di ciò che aveva veduto
e vissuto – ad un rinnovamento morale e spirituale, ritenuto condizione
necessaria per stabilire un nuovo ordine politico e un’autentica pace:
“removere viventes in hac vita de statu miserie et perducere ad statum
felicitatis”; Epist., XIII, 39)7. L’uomo, fin quanto rimane in vita, ha,
secondo l’Alighieri, due scopi fondamentali – felicità terrena e quella
eterna – di cui egli discorre più dettagliatamente nel suo trattato politico latino intitolato Monarchia (III, XV, 7), in parte contemporaneo
alla stesura del magnum opus, ma terminato sicuramente prima. Per realizzarli appieno sono indispensabili due guide, l’imperatore e il papa,
supponendo che ognuno di loro compia la missione assegnatagli dalla
Provvidenza, con piena responsabilità e onestà, non abusando delle
proprie competenze.
Il viaggio di Enea virgiliano ha solo una dimensione – terrena; inoltre, la fine dell’Eneide coincide con la crisi del messaggio di Anchise,
il che sicuramente non poté sfuggire ad un lettore così attento come
l’autore della Commedia: il Troiano non ha risparmiato il nemico, nonostante questi avesse riconosciuto la propria sconfitta. Enea fallisce
nel ruolo del “secondo Achille”8, non saprà trattenere l’ira e soffocare
Diversi sono i luoghi della Commedia, dove si allude all’ispirazione divina del
poema, tra cui Par., XXV, 1-2; il carattere profetico del poema viene ribadito soprattutto negli ultimi canti del Purgatorio la cui azione si svolge nel Paradiso Terrestre;
sulla questione cfr. (a titlolo di esempio): Hollander 1980: 39-89; Picone 2008: 64, n. 4
(bibliografia scelta).
5
Cfr. Dante, Inf., I, 91; VIII, 104-105; IX, 91-96; XXI, 79-84; Purg., VIII, 66; XIV,
14, 79-80; XVI, 40-41; XX, 42; Par., X, 54, 83-86; XXIV, 4; XXXI, 112.
6
L’immagine metaforica della selva oscura che apre il poema (Inf., I, 2-3), va riferita sia a Dante-pellegrino che all’umanità da lui rappresentata.
7
Cito dall’ed.: Dante Alighieri 2005.
8
È superfluo ricordare che la concezione dell’Eneide deve molto ai poemi omerici, al tempo stesso emulandoli come modelli. In particolare nei primi sei libri si fa
richiamo all’Odissea e ai viaggi di Ulisse, invece negli altri sei si trovano numerosi
parallelismi con l’Iliade. Enea unirebbe quindi in sé certe caratteristiche di Ulisse e di
Achille. Ma Achille omerico rende il corpo di Ettore al vecchio Priamo nell’ultimo libro
dell’Iliade, invece nell’Eneide manca qualsiasi cenno al fatto che la preghiera di Turno
riguardante una simile questione (XII, 934-936) possa essere esaudita.
4
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MMariMaMaria MMaMar
il sentimento di vendetta, non si dimostrerà clemens. La morte di Turno
segna l’inizio della trasformazione di Enea in un “Romano”9; dimenticando le parole del padre egli inaugurerà il suo regno con lo spargimento di sangue10, arso dalla furia e terribile nell’ira (“furiis accensus
et ira / terribilis”; Aen., XII, 946-947) che poteva placare non perdendo
nulla della propria gloria di vincitore, in quanto Turno ha riconosciuto
i suoi diritti al trono di Lazio:
[…] Vicisti et victum tendere palmas
Ausonii videre; tua est Lavinia coniunx;
ulterius ne tende odiis […]. (Aen., XII, 936-938)
Passeranno molti secoli prima che Ottaviano “corregga” e “completi” la missione politica di Enea, dando inizio all’opera di rinnovamento dell’ordine morale tra i Romani demoralizzati da lunghe e sanguinose guerre civili. Dante apprezzerà i suoi sforzi di cui saprà prima
di tutto dalla lettura dell’Eneide, chiamandolo – tramite il “suo” Virgilio – “’l buono Augusto” (Inf., I, 71).
Nella Commedia il classico descensus di Enea precede e preannuncia il cristiano descensus di Dante-pellegrino, diventando la sua prefigurazione11. Questa strategia retorica ed intertestuale12, che rimane
vicina alla cosiddetta “allegoria dei teologi” (fondata appunto sul con9
Nell’ultimo libro dell’Eneide Giove riconciliandosi con Giunone fa una dichiarazione che dopo la vittoria di Enea nel Lazio i Troiani scompariranno come nazione,
fusi con i Latini; cfr. Virgilio, Aen., XII, 820-837, in particolare 834-837: “Sermonem
Ausonii patrium moresque tenebunt, / utque est nomen erit; commixti corpore tantum
/ subsident Teucri, morem ritusque sacrorum / adiciam; faciamque omnis uno ore Latinos”. In questa prospettiva l’atto dell’uccisione di Turno potrebbe essere interpretato
come compiuto da Enea che si presenta già nel ruolo del capostipe dei Romani, la cui
origine troiana si sposta al secondo piano; cfr. anche Putnam 1991: 109.
10
Similmente Romolo, il lontano discendente di Enea, fondatore di Roma che le
darà anche il nome, inizierà – secondo la tradizione leggendaria – il proprio governo
con lo spargimento di sangue, uccidendo il fratello Remo.
11
Cfr. Picone 2001: 8.
12
Le strategie intertestuali nella Commedia sono, a mio avviso, strettamente legate
alla ferma convinzione di Dante che il suo poema superi sotto l’aspetto ideale e formale
le opere epiche antiche, essendo al tempo stesso la loro continuazione (ciò riguarda in
particolare l’Eneide), che completi o avveri i loro sensi, necessariamente imperfetti, o li
corregga conformemente all’idea che il messaggio portato dalla Commedia sia ispirato
dall’alto, dallo Spirito divino che si è servito del suo talento per il bene dell’umanità.
244
“Tu dici che di Silvïo il parente […] ad immortale secolo andò” …
cetto di figura)13, distinta dall’Alighieri nettamente dall’“allegoria dei
poeti”14, si manifesta già nel Canto II dell’Inferno dove, inoltre, il viaggio dell’eroe romano viene situato in una prospettiva storica più ampia
e iscritto nei piani della Provvidenza divina. In Dante, con un netto
distacco dalla concezione virgiliana, esso ha due dimensioni, in quanto
il “suo” Enea, mettendo le basi al futuro Impero Romano15, in qualche
modo aveva preparato il momento e il luogo all’Incarnazione di Cristo16 e con ciò (sempre per volontà divina)17 aveva posto le fondamenta
al potere sprituale del suo successore terreno:
Tu dici che di Silvïo il parente,
corruttibile ancora, ad immortale
secolo andò, e fu sensibilmente.
Però, se l’avversario d’ogne male
cortese i fu, pensando l’alto effetto
ch’uscir dovea di lui e ’l chi e ’l quale,
non pare indegno ad omo d’intelletto;
ch’e’ fu de l’alma Roma e di suo impero
ne l’empireo ciel per padre eletto:
la quale e ’l quale, a voler dir lo vero,
Sul concetto di figura e sul modello figurale del mondo rappresentato nella Commedia cfr. Auerbach 2007: 176-226.
14
La distinzione tra le due specie di allegoria di cui scrive Dante nel Convivio (II,
I, 2-8), risponde a quella agostiniana tra l’allegoria in verbis e l’allegoria in factis: cfr.
Sant’ Agostino, De Trinitate, XV, IX, 15. Nell’allegoria dei teologi sia il sensus litteralis che il sensus spiritualis risultano veri.
15
L’eco di questo pensiero risuona nell’episodio dantesco di Ulisse, dove l’inganno
consistente nell’introduzione dolosa del “cavallo di Troia” entro le mura della città
di Priamo riceve un significato più ampio, in quanto il cavallo non solo aprì la porta
ai Greci, ma rese possibile l’uscita di Enea e di conseguenza la futura fondazione di
Roma: “E dentro da lor fiamma si geme / l’agguato del caval che fé la porta / onde uscì
de’ Romani il gentil seme” (Inf., XXVI, 58-60). Dante in maniera mirabilmente sintetica riassume il “pieno” senso della distruzione di Troia, presentandolo dalla prospettiva della Provvidenza per cui la storia terrena dell’umanità va vista nella sua totalità.
L’Alighieri più di una volta suggerisce una tale visione della storia, per esempio nella
straordinaria metafora nell’ultimo canto del Paradiso (XXXIII, 85-87), nella quale il
mondo si presenta simile ad un libro scritto da Dio (l’immagine nota dai testi di Ugo da
San Vittore e di altri pensatori mistici dell’epoca): “Nel suo profondo vidi che s’interna,
/ legato con amore in un volume, / ciò che per l’universo si squaderna”.
16
Cfr. Dante, Mon., II passim.
17
Cfr. Dante, Inf., II, 20-21.
13
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MMariMaMaria MMaMar
fu stabilita per lo loco santo
u’ siede il successor del maggior Pietro.
Per quest’andata onde li dai tu vanto,
intese cose che furon cagione
di sua vittoria e del papale ammanto. (Inf., II, 13-27)
Nel passo sopraccitato l’Alighieri “corregge” Virgilio rivestendo la
missione di Enea di un senso più profondo, il quale non sarebbe mai
potuto venire in mente all’autore dell’Eneide. Inoltre, egli osserva che
durante la sua discesa nell’Averno Enea si è reso conto18 che la sua vittoria nel Lazio avrebbe avuto importanti effetti per il cristianesimo e per
la Chiesa! Sarebbe un errore pensare che Dante-autore abbia malinteso
la versione virgiliana. Piuttosto, qui come altrove, egli tratta l’esodo dei
Troiani dalla patria in fiamme nella direzione della “terra promessa”
(Italia), dove diventeranno il primo nucleo del “popolo eletto”, quasi
alla pari con l’esodo degli Ebrei dall’Egitto19. Questa prospettiva compare anche più avanti nella Commedia, nell’episodio di Ulisse20. Nella
profezia di Beatrice, precedente la lunga scena che rappresenta la storia
della Chiesa (con le persecuzioni subite, ma anche con i suoi errori e le
sue apostasie) nel Paradiso Terrestre, essa viene “applicata” alla dimensione escatologica di Dante-pellegrino e dell’umanità redenta; invece
della “Gerusalemme Celeste” si parla della “Roma Celeste”: “Qui sarai
tu poco tempo silvano; / e sarai meco sanza fine cive / di quella Roma
onde Cristo è romano” (Purg., XXXII, 100-102).
Nella Commedia ci sono diversi luoghi dove viene ribadita – per lo
più indirettamente – la distanza che prende il suo autore nei confronti
degli autori epici romani, soprattutto di Virgilio ed Ovidio21. Essa si
manifesta tra l’altro nella più “esatta” e più profonda lettura dei loro
testi tra i quali il primato spetta all’Eneide. In particolare Dante pone
l’accento sulla continuità tra la missione del “vecchio” e del “nuovo”
Enea: quest’ultimo, nella persona di Dante-pellegrino ripeterà, ma in
un diverso contesto storico e culturale-religioso, l’esperienza del suo
Così traduco il verbo “intese” (Inf., II, 26).
Cfr. Jacoff, Schnapp 2001: 3.
20
Cfr. la nota 15 nel presente articolo.
21
All’analisi della Commedia in chiave intertestuale che prende in esame il suo rapporto con la grande epica latina (Eneide, Metamorfosi, Farsaglia, Tebaide), è dedicata
la mia recente monografia: Maślanka-Soro 2015.
18
19
246
“Tu dici che di Silvïo il parente […] ad immortale secolo andò” …
predecessore, nel momento in cui sia l’Impero che il Papato si trovano
in una profonda crisi, traendo in essa l’intera umanità22.
Entrambi i viaggi – di Enea e di Dante-pellegrino – sono di natura iniziatica: il proseguimento dell’uno e dell’altro è possibile solo in
seguito ad un graduale superamento di ostacoli e di prove a cui i due
protagonisti vengono sottoposti per il volere degli dèi (Enea) e di Dio
(Dante). Ambedue i viaggi tendono al raggiungimento di un determinato bene che nel caso di Dante riguarda tutti gli uomini e il cui carattere si presenta come immortale ed eterno. Completando ed integrando
l’obiettivo del cammino di Enea l’Alighieri diminuisce la distanza tra
il suo “poema sacro”, al quale “ha posto mano e cielo e terra” (Par.,
XXV, 1-2) e l’Eneide, chiamata da Macrobio (Sat., I, XIV, 13) “sacrum
poema”, ma lo aumenta tra sé e Virgilio, il quale – nella sua concezione – non fu del tutto consapevole di tutti i sensi del suo magnum
opus. Non solo qui, ma anche, più esplicitamente, altrove (in particolare nell’episodio dell’incontro dello spirito del poeta Stazio nei Canti
XXI-XXII del Purgatorio) il nostro poeta attribuisce a Virgilio certi
pensieri che ne fanno un profeta inconsapevole delle proprie profezie23,
il propheta nescius24.
Dante-autore non si limita al sopraddetto significato intertestuale
del suo protagonista e l’aver ridotto la distanza che intercorre tra lui ed
Enea gli serve a stabilire un determinato rapporto tra i due poemi. Nel
testo del Canto II dell’Inferno, che segue quello citato prima, il poeta
suggerisce che l’esperienza oltremondana di Dante-pellegrino possa
essere paragonabile a quella mistica di san Paolo (oltre che alla katabasis di Enea), menzionata brevemente nella seconda Lettera ai Corinzi
(12, 2-4):
Andovvi poi lo Vas d’elezïone,
per recarne conforto a quella fede
ch’è principio a la via di salvazione.
22
Com’è risaputo, il viaggio dantesco si svolge nella Settimana Santa dell’anno
1300, nel momento dei forti conflitti interni nei comuni italiani (tra i guelfi e i ghibellini
e, dopo la scissione dei primi, tra i Neri e i Bianchi), e di un notevole disordine politico
tra diversi organismi statali in Italia e in Europa, alimentato dalla lotta tra il Papato e
l’Impero.
23
Cfr. Barolini 1984: 220.
24
Cfr. Mineo 1968: 340.
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MMariMaMaria MMaMar
Ma io, perché venirvi? o chi ’l concede?
Io non Enëa, io non Paulo sono;
me degno a ciò né io né altri ’l crede.
Per che, se del venire io m’abbandono,
temo che la venuta non sia folle.
Se’ savio; intendi me’ ch’i’ non ragiono. (Inf., II, 28-36)
La testimonianza di san Paolo a cui qui si allude, riguarda la sua
visione del terzo cielo, avuta – secondo la spiegazione che l’apostolo
ne dà – per rafforzare la fede cristiana25. Dante-pellegrino, riportando
l’esempio dei suoi “precursori”26, non si sente degno di una simile
grazia, ma la sua reazione si incontra con un forte rimprovero da parte
di Virgilio che lo accusa di viltà (“viltade”; Inf., II, 45), corrispondente alla mikropsychia aristotelica che consiste nell’incapacità di intraprendere grandi cose nella convinzione di non esserne degni27. Secondo Virgilio è del tutto infondato il rifiuto di ciò che Dio approva e
circonda della sua grazia; per convincere il suo discepolo egli gli narra
della discesa di Beatrice nel Limbo (il luogo assegnatogli da Dio) e
della preghiera rivoltagli dalla donna, preoccupata per la sorte eterna
dell’amato. Questa spiegazione che chiarisce il suo ruolo di guida di
Dante, si rivela sufficiente e il viaggio ultraterreno di quest’ultimo
unirà il descensus di Enea con l’ascensus di san Paolo, diventando la
loro fusione.
Il paragone più esplicito tra Enea e Dante-pellegrino, questa volta
suggerito direttamente dal narratore, ha luogo nel Canto XV del Paradiso, nel momento dell’incontro tra quest’ultimo e lo spirito del suo
25
Cfr. Tommaso d’Aquino, Quaestiones disputatae: De veritate, q. 13, a. 5 ad 6,
[on-line:] www.corpusthomisticum.org/sth0000.html (15.05.2013): “Paulus non fuit
raptus ad videndum Deum, ut esset beatus simpliciter, sed ut esset testis beatitudinis
sanctorum, et divinorum mysteriorum, quae ei revelata sunt”.
26
Dante ha potuto attribuire alla katabasis di Enea un’importanza paragonabile a
quella del raptus di san Paolo al terzo cielo, grazie ad aver riconosciuto la sua storicità.
Se ancora nel Convivio (IV, XXVI, 8) le vicende di Enea vengono interpretate in chiave
allegorica (secondo l’allegoria “dei poeti”), già nella Monarchia l’accento cade sul loro
senso letterale: il viaggio di Enea vi viene trattato allo stesso modo che le storie descritte da Tito Livio, chiamato da Dante “gestorum Romanorum scriba egregius” (II, III, 6);
cito dall’ed.: Dante Alighieri 2005.
27
Cfr. Aristotele, Eth. Nic., IV 3 1123 b 9-10, dove la mikropsychia viene definita in
opposizione alla megalopsychia.
248
“Tu dici che di Silvïo il parente […] ad immortale secolo andò” …
antenato Cacciaguida nel Cielo di Marte, dove soggiornano i cosiddetti
spiriti militanti, cioè tutti quelli che avevano sacrificato la loro vita
combattendo per la fede28. Questo incontro ricorda da vicino (almeno
dal punto di vista strutturale e funzionale) quello tra Enea ed Anchise
nell’Elisio29. Tutti e due gli antenati hanno cose importanti da rivelare
ai loro discendenti, entrambi nutrono per loro sentimenti d’affetto. Ma
le somiglianze finiscono qui, per cedere lo spazio al rapporto figurale,
conformemente al quale l’una scena costituisce la prefigurazione (imperfetta) dell’altra.
In realtà la suddetta analogia mette in rilievo importanti divergenze
semantiche, suggerite da Dante nella terzina che apre l’intero episodio. Per cogliere il contesto spaziale e la sua simbologia ricordiamo
che le anime soggiornanti nel Cielo di Marte, come pure quelle in altri
cieli, appaiono a Dante-pellegrino coperte di luce la cui intensità varia
a seconda del grado di santità di ciascuna delle anime. In questa sfera
celeste loro sono disposte a forma di croce (Par., XIV, 98-102) in segno
della loro passione e morte con cui intendevano imitare quella del Figlio di Dio (vv. 104-108). In un certo momento uno dei punti luminosi
che nasconde l’anima di Cacciaguida scende attraverso la croce (“venerabil segno”; v. 101) per parlare con il suo lontano pronipote. Ecco il
commento del narratore:
Sì pïa l’ombra d’Anchise si porse,
se fede merta nostra maggior musa30,
quando in Eliso del figlio s’accorse. (Par., XV, 25-27)
Dante-autore, riferendosi al proprio modello, ne prende le distanze
alludendo alla sua poca credibilità (v. 26). La terzina successiva contiene le parole di Cacciaguida pronunciate in latino in cui, accanto agli
echi classici, risuonano quelli biblici. Vi è, infatti, presente la dimensione trascendente che “corregge” in qualche modo un’analoga dimensione presente pure nell’episodio virgiliano:
Cacciaguida prese parte alla seconda crociata condotta dall’imperatore Corrado
III Hohenstauf e dal re di Francia Lodovico VII (negli anni 1147-1149).
29
Per l’analisi di questa scena cfr. ad es.: Schnapp 1991: 145-156.
30
Il termine “musa” con il significato di “poeta” compare ancora due volte nella
Commedia: cfr. Par., XII, 7; Par., XVIII, 33.
28
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O sanguis meus, o superinfusa
gratïa Deï, sicut tibi cui
bis unquam celi ianüa reclusa?. (Par., XV, 28-30)
Cacciaguida constatando che Dante gode dell’eccezionale grazia di
poter vedere il Paradiso da vivo, fa indirettamente allusione all’esperienza mistica di san Paolo: avremmo qui una specie di epilogo del
soprammenzionato episodio del Canto II dell’Inferno, dove il protagonista dubitava di poter diventare il secondo Enea e il secondo Paolo. Inoltre, queste parole richiamano – anteticamente – la risposta data
da Sibilla (Aen., VI, 125-144) alla domanda di Enea di poter entrare
nell’Averno per incontrare il padre; dall’affermazione dell’indovina
Cumana si evince che chi intende “navigare due volte / sulla palude
stigia, vedere due volte il nero Tartaro” (“bis Stygios innare lacus, bis
nigra videre / Tartara”; Aen., VI, 134-135) deve trovare e cogliere da
un albero il virgulto dalle fronde d’oro, da portare come dono alla dea
Proserpina. Ciò che in Dante è una grazia, ricevuta per il bene dell’umanità, in Virgilio costituisce un privilegio concesso a pochi eroi di
origine divina.
Nella parte ulteriore del discorso di Cacciaguida sono pure presenti
contenuti biblico-cristiani che suonano ottimisticamente, anche quando
egli profetizza a Dante l’esilio, aggiungendo che la verità alla fine vincerà (Par., XVII, 52-54). Il chiaro senso delle sue parole viene polemicamente contrapposto dal narratore al linguaggio ambiguo ed enigmatico degli oracoli pagani di cui abbondava l’epica latina, allusivamente
chiamati qui ambage31, termine che riecheggia la forma virgiliana ambages32 con cui si definiscono le oscure profezie di Sibilla che rendono
impossibile la conoscenza della verità (Aen., VI, 100).
La profezia di Anchise, nonostante riguardi la gloria del popolo romano i cui eroi (o piuttosto le loro “ombre”) egli passa in rassegna davanti al figlio, contiene alcuni accenti pessimistici, relativi alle guerre
civili nel periodo repubblicano, o alla precoce morte di Marcello, il nipote di Ottaviano Augusto, pieno di virtù e destinato ad essere il suo
Cfr. Dante, Par., XVII, 31-35: “Né per ambage, in che la gente folle / già s’inviscava pria che fosse anciso / l’Agnel di Dio che le peccata tolle, / ma per chiare parole
e con preciso / latin rispuose quello amor paterno”.
32
Cfr. Virgilio, Aen., VI, 99: “horrendas canit ambages antroque remugit”.
31
250
“Tu dici che di Silvïo il parente […] ad immortale secolo andò” …
successore. Ad un certo punto il padre di Enea rivolge una preghiera –
impotente – all’anima di Giulio Cesare (così si afferma in numerosi commenti, anche se il suo nome non viene pronunciato) di non fare guerre
intestine, di perdonare i suoi nemici invece di combattere con loro:
tuque prior, tu parce, genus qui ducis Olympo;
proice tela manu, sanguis meus!. (Aen., VI, 834-835)
Non ci sono dubbi che questo discorso abbia come primo destinatario il futuro dittatore romano, nondimeno penso che sia giustificata la
domanda, se esso non sia indirizzato anche a Enea al quale sembrano
più appropriate le espressioni “sanguis meus” e “tuque prior”. Se Anchise sa della guerra civile tra Cesare e Pompeo, come potrebbe non
essere consapevole del molto più vicino nel tempo duello tra Enea e
Turno, decisivo per risolvere la questione del dominio sul Lazio, nel
quale suo figlio ucciderà il rivale non per necessità, ma per vendetta?
Virgilio lascia qui sospesa (o ambigua) la questione del destinatario e
non sembra improbabile che Dante prenda in considerazione la seconda
ipotesi, visto che nel saluto che Cacciaguida dirige al suo lontano discendente, compare il sintagma metonimico “sanguis meus”. Tale interpretazione potrebbe avere ulteriori sviluppi semantici che fanno luce
sulla distanza intercorrente tra le due scene: la prima apostrofe viene
pronunciata nel contesto della preghiera destinata a rimanere inesaudita; la seconda, invece, potrebbe essere intesa come manifestazione
della gioia per la grazia avuta da Dante-pellegrino, il cui coronamento
sarà la visione dell’Empireo e della Rosa Candida di tutti i beati.
Anchise conosce non solo le future vicende del popolo romano, ma
anche la sorte postuma dell’anima e la presenta ad Enea seguendo da
vicino la teoria orfico-pitagorica della metempsicosi (Aen., VI, 713751) che non riempie di ottimismo: un interminabile ciclo di nascite
e di morti mette in questione il senso della storia (e, quindi, il senso
ultimo della vita dei grandi eroi Romani che aspettano il loro momento
per incarnarsi) e la finalità degli sforzi umani.
Indubbiamente la “lettura” proposta da Dante dell’episodio dell’incontro tra Enea ed Anchise è legata a notevoli modifiche del “modello”
che suggeriscono la superiorità della sua rielaborazione intertestuale.
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MMariMaMaria MMaMar
Nella conclusione finale dell’intera analisi si può osservare che se
Dante-pellegrino si presenta come il “nuovo Enea” e il “nuovo Paolo”33,
la Commedia merita il nome di una Eneide cristiana. Ciò non elimina,
anzi approfondisce la distanza tra i due poemi, chiaramente indicata
tramite l’opposizione comedìa34 (come Dante-autore definisce la sua
opera) – l’alta tragedìa35 (come Virgilio dantesco chiama il suo poema).
In questa opposizione non si tratta solamente di stile: alto nell’Eneide,
“misto”, in quanto imitatio del sermo humilis della Bibbia – nella Commedia36. La verità che ne risulta si lascia facilmente indovinare: Danteautore è il “nuovo Virgilio”, ma – a differenza del poeta romano – pienamente consapevole di tutti i significati del suo magnum opus.
BIBLIOGRAFIA
Auerbach E., 2006, Język literacki i jego odbiorcy w późnym antyku łacińskim
i średniowieczu, tłum. R. Urbański, Kraków 2006 (titolo orig.: Literatursprache und Publikum in der lateinischen Spätantike und im Mittelalter,
Tübingen–Basel 1958).
Auerbach E., 2007, ‘Figura’, [in:] E. Auerbach, Studi su Dante, pref. D. Della
Terza, trad. M. L. De Pieri Bonino, D. Della Terza, Milano, pp. 176-226.
Barolini T., 1984, Dante’s poets. Textuality and truth in the Comedy, Princeton
(NJ).
Dante Alighieri, 1994, La Commedia secondo l’antica vulgata, vol. 1-4, a cura
di G. Petrocchi, 2a ed. riveduta, Firenze.
Dante Alighieri, 2005, Opere latine, a cura di L. Coglievina, R. J. Lokaj, G. Savino, introd. M. Pastore Stocchi, Roma.
Hollander R., 1980, ‘Dante “Theologus poeta”’, [in:] R. Hollander, Studies in
Dante, Ravenna, pp. 39-89.
Jacoff R., Schnapp J. T. (eds.), 1991, The poetry of allusion. Virgil and Ovid in
Dante’s «Commedia», Stanford.
Maślanka-Soro M., 2015, Antyczna tradycja epicka u Dantego, Kraków.
Mineo N., 1968, Profetismo e apocalittica in Dante, Catania.
Il parallelismo tra la visione mistica di san Paolo e una simile esperienza di Dantepellegrino sarà segnalato ancora più di una volta nella Commedia: cfr. Par., I, 73-75; II,
36-38; XV, 28-30.
34
Cfr. Dante, Inf., XVI, 128; XXI, 2.
35
Cfr. Dante, Inf., XX, 113.
36
Cfr. Auerbach 2006: 29-64.
33
252
“Tu dici che di Silvïo il parente […] ad immortale secolo andò” …
Picone M., 2001, ‘L’invenzione dantesca dell’Inferno’, [in:] A. Ghisalberti
(a cura di), Il pensiero filosofico e teologico di Dante Alighieri, Milano,
pp. 3-20.
Picone M., 2008, ‘Gli ipotesti classici (Virgilio e Ovidio)’, Letture Classensi
37, pp. 63-81.
Putnam M. C. J., 1991, ‘Virgil’s Inferno’, [in:] R. Jacoff, J. T. Schnapp (eds.),
The poetry of allusion. Virgil and Ovid in Dante’s «Commedia», Stanford,
pp. 94-112.
Schnapp J. T., 1991, ‘«Sì pïa l’ombra d’Anchise si porse»: Paradiso 15.25’,
[in:] R. Jacoff, J. T. Schnapp (eds.), The poetry of allusion. Virgil and Ovid
in Dante’s «Commedia», Stanford, pp. 145-156.
Tommaso d’Aquino, Quaestiones disputatae: De veritate, q. 13, a. 5 ad 6, [on-line:] www.corpusthomisticum.org/sth0000.html (15.05.2013).
Virgilio, 2010, Eneide, trad. L. Canali, comm. E. Paratore adattato da M. Beck,
introd. E. Paratore, Milano.
253
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.16
ANNA MLECZEK
(JAGIELLONIAN UNIVERSITY, KRAKÓW)
THE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR –
PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE
OF AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS
SUMMARY: The article discusses Procopius’ usurpation which took place
in 365-366 AD. Ammianus in his Res gestae deals not only with the historical
details of this event, but also focuses on its interesting literary aspects. On the
basis of quotations and sources the author of this article analyses these literary
images of the whole issue, which are an integral part of Ammianus’ historical
narrative. This article was written with a view to showing the metaphorical
and theatrical creations of the usurper against the background of the more important stages of his coup.
KEYWORDS: Procopius, Roman historiography, Ammianus Marcellinus.
Procopius,1 a comes from an outstanding Cilician family, illegitimately seized power in 365 AD during the reign of Valens and Valentinian. Ammianus presents the usurper’s undertaking as a remarkable
historical diptych constituting two contrasting parts: the first one being
small and ridiculous while the second is enormous, warlike and almost
disastrous. Procopius, the main hero of this diptych, is an interesting
character because of his metamorphoses and literary creations that are
embroidered with psychological and theatrical overtones.
Let us begin with the short introduction of Procopius that Ammianus sketched in XXVI, 6, 1 of his Res gestae: Procopius […] ut vita
moribusque castigatior, licet occultus erat et taciturnus, notarius diu
1
Procopius’ life and career – cf. PLRE I, Procopius 4.
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perspicaciter militans et tribunus iamque summatibus proximus post
Constantini obitum in rerum conversione velut imperatoris cognatus
altius anhelabat adiunctus consortio comitum et apparebat eum, si umquam potuisset, fore quietis publicae turbatorem.2 According to Ammianus, Procopius’ character as well as his conduct and way of life were
blameless; moreover, he stuck to a strict and rigorous lifestyle (vita
moribusque castigatior3).
These virtues went hand in hand with (ut) Procopius’ successful career: he was a notarius and tribunus4 initially before he became a comes.
The historian also says that Procopius was a secretive and taciturn man
(occultus et taciturnus; perque morum tristium latebras ‒ sombre and
self-contained in XXVI, 9, 11). The combination of these two features
is interesting and noteworthy. The adjective taciturnus (without occultus) denotes a virtue that is praiseworthy because it characterizes a reliable man who is trustworthy and can keep a secret.5 But, if taciturnus
is used in combination with occultus (insincere, secretive, deceitful),6
which has a definitely pejorative meaning, the positive sense of the
former adjective is lost and, in consequence, taciturnus ‒ like occultus
In this article we quote the Latin text according to Seyfarth 1968-1978: Bd. I-IV.
It is worth mentioning that the combination vita and mores in the characterization
of a person’s decorous lifestyle and perceptible conduct and way of life has a long
literary tradition – this combination appears in literature from Plautus to Ammianus.
Many examples of vita moresque can be found in Cicero and in the Historia Augusta in
particular. Ammianus himself uses the combination of vita moresque in the following
passages: XV, 1, 3-4 (the combination relates to Constantius’ character and way of life):
formare vitam moresque suos; XXX, 4, 6 (the combination refers to the ancient orators
who were famous for their perceptible way of life, blemish-free characters and simplicity of speaking): vita, moribus, frugalitateque spectati ‒ cf. den Boeft et al. 2008: 127.
4
In Ammianus the functions of notarius and tribunus are closely connected – notarius diu perspicaciter militans et tribunus. Teitler points out the close connection of
these functions and explains that imperial notarii frequently had the rank of tribuni in
the army; this is the source of the connection between notarius and tribunus in Ammianus – cf. Teitler 1985: 19-20.
5
Taciturnus (without occultus) in combination with fidus (trusted) is used in the
positive meaning in the following passages in Ammianus: XXI, 13, 4-5 ‒ praeter optimates taciturnos et fidos; XXVIII, 5, 10 – per taciturnos quosdam et fidos.
6
Occultus in its negative meaning appears in Cic., Fin. 2, 54: occultus et tectus or
in Tac. Ann. IV, 52, 3 (occultus refers to Tiberius’ character): audita haec raram occulti
pectoris vocem elicuere.
2
3
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
‒ denotes a drawback to our usurper’s nature. The combination of occultus and taciturnus clearly implies that Procopius, despite his blameless character and perceptible way of life, was prone to keeping certain
evil intentions up his sleeve. Let us add that the phrase humus intuendo
semper incedens (he walked with lowered eyes ‒ XXVI, 9, 11) has
a comparable meaning with taciturnus et occultus as the usurper’s
downcast eyes denote not so much his modesty as his tendency to conceal insincere and evil intentions.7 But it was not the only mala pars of
our usurper’s nature. In the phrase altius anhelabat8 Ammianus reveals
another vitium of Procopius’ sombre and close character – that is a pernicious inclination to realize his excessive ambitions and aspirations.
Therefore it was evident that Procopius would someday try to seize
power and disturb the peace of the commonwealth (quietis publicae
turbator) if he were given the opportunity (si umquam potuisset).
After Emperor Julian (his relative) had died, Procopius waited for
favourable circumstances to raise his rebellion. At that time he was hiding at his friend’s, Strategius, near Chalcedon. Here, in this safe hidingplace, the usurper was attentively watching current events and observing public feeling. Moreover, Procopius like a most skilful spy (ritu
sollertissimi speculatoris) also paid his frequent visits to Constantinople9 (XXVI, 6, 5-6) to hunt after rumours (rumusculos colligebat) and
Some other instances of people with downcast eyes can be found in the Res gestae: in a pejorative sense ‒ Petronius Probus (XXIX, 6, 9) who under the threat of war
betrayed his indecision, helplessness and fear in this way; the schemer Terentius (XXX,
1, 2) who walked with downcast eyes to conceal his evil intentions; in a positive sense
‒ provincial bishops (XXVII, 3, 15) whose lowered eyes denote their modesty and humility. As for Procopius, it does not seem right to take humus intuendo as an indication
of his modesty.
8
The passages XVI, 12, 46; XVIII, 4, 2 and XXXI, 7, 1 show that the phrase altius
anhelabat is used in a definitely unfavourable sense in Ammianus: in XVI, 12, 46 this
phrase refers to the barbarian Alamanni who were enemies of the Roman Empire at that
time; in XVIII, 4, 2 the phrase refers to Ursicinus’ excessive ambitions that were falsely
ascribed to him by the court clique; in XXXI, 7, 1 the phrase refers to the excessive
ambitions of Profuturus and Traianus ‒ two incompetent and ambitious, but ‒ in point
of fact ‒ not very brave generals.
9
After Julian’s death (June 26th, 363 AD) Procopius withdrew from public life for
two reasons. Firstly, according to the anonymous and false rumour that might have put
our usurper in serious danger, Julian was to have appointed Procopius as his successor.
Secondly, Procopius still remembered that Jovian, who actually became Julian’s suc7
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collect some important information. Ammianus illustrates Procopius’
behaviour by a telling comparison (XXVI, 6, 10): subsidebat ut praedatrix bestia viso, quod capi poterat, protinus eruptura.10 Let us note
that the usurper lurks like a wild beast (praedatrix bestia)11 lying in
ambush (subsidebat) and ready to pounce as soon as it sees something
that might be caught (quod capi poterat). Thus, in Ammianus’ animal
image the usurper is compared to a predator which attentively looks
out for its prey (quod capi, which, in this case, denotes the imperial
power) and is very eager to realise his maturing plans (in haec, quae
maturabat, ardens – XXVI, 6, 11). Just as with wild beasts, Procopius’
“lurked” posture indicates his vigilance and concentration on a possible
attack. Moreover, this animal posture also implies that Procopius, like
a predator which pounces only on a certain kind of prey, will attack
suddenly (protinus eruptura) and when he has no doubts12 (quod capi
poterat) his coup d’état will constitute a great success.
cessor, reigned very briefly and, according to common opinion, was murdered as he was
suspected of revolutionary projects and a possible usurpation (XXVI, 6, 3) – Procopius
was terrified by this horrible removal. Before Jovian’s death the authorities had been
on the lookout for Procopius, so he moved to impenetrable and desert areas away from
the civilized world, where his living conditions were very difficult (he suffered hunger
and could not manage without social contacts – XXVI, 6, 4). So he quietly moved to
Chalcedon and found shelter at his most faithful friend’s, Strategius (XXVI, 6, 5). It
was from Chalcedon that Procopius went on his secret “outings” to Constantinople.
10
Procopius’ hope for a successful hunt was enlivened by the increasing upheaval
of the provincial and Constantinopolitan society. This social upheaval was due to the
plunders through which Valens and his father-in-law, Petronius (the instigator of these plunders), had recently ruined the social position and the fortune of many people
(XXVI, 6, 6-9).
11
There are numerous animal images in Ammianus. Our historian often compares
a person’s character and behaviour to those of an animal; in this way he illustrates the
nature and behaviour of a person with whom this comparison is connected. Let us give
some examples: the emperor Valens (XXIX, 1, 27) and two officials of the emperor Valentinian, that is Leon (XXVIII, 1, 12) and Maximinus (XXVIII, 1, 10), are compared
to wild beasts; Maximinus (XXVIII, 1, 7; 33; 41) and Arbitrio (XV, 2, 4) are compared
to snakes. According to R. C. Blockley (1975: 183-184), individuals and groups are
compared twelve times to wild beasts in the Res gestae; “animal comparisons” in Ammianus cf. also Wiedemann 1986: 189-201; den Boeft et al. 2007: 296-297.
12
In the statement quod capi poterat protinus eruptura Ammianus sees future
events from Procopius’ viewpoint (that is from the praedatrix bestia’s point of view);
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
The opportunity to raise a rebellion came by chance (XXVI, 6, 11):
fors hanc materiam dedit impendio tempestivam. Let us emphasize that
the noun fors (chance) is a key word to characterize Procopius’ usurpation. The active verb dedit (fors […] dedit) indicates that fors is the
Agens of the entire episode and this active role of chance is almost
programmatic here: Ammianus, setting the proper tone of his report,
characterizes Procopius’ usurpation by coincidence and improvisation.
Let us explain that the usurper had neither a plan nor supporters; therefore he only seized chances that offered themselves (den Boeft et al.
2008: 148).
At the beginning of spring Valens left Constantinople and headed
for Antioch (when the revolt began he was a long way from Constantinople, in Bithynia – XXVI, 6, 11);13 at the same time the Gothic tribes
that had formed a confederation under the leadership of Athanaric,
were preparing for the invasion of Thrace (XXVI, 6, 11).14
In these favourable circumstances Procopius staked everything
on one roll of the dice and decided to carry out his bold plan (XXVI,
6, 12): Procopius aerumnis diuturnis attritus et vel atrocem mortem
the historian does not refer to the actual historical and political conditions at that time
– cf. den Boeft et al. 2008: 148.
13
At the end of winter 365 AD (probably at the end of March or the beginning of
April), after he had celebrated the first anniversary of his imperial election, Valens set
out for Antioch in Syria, because the Persians were threatening to break the truce of
363 AD. The emperor, however, never reached Antioch. Having heard about Procopius’
rebellion, at the beginning of October 365 AD, Valens left Caesarea in Cappadocia and
had to return to Constantinople.
14
In 332 AD Constantine struck the treaty with the Goths. For about thirty years
afterwards economic, cultural and religious contacts between the Romans and the Goths were quite peaceful (cf. Heather 1991: 107-115). There was a considerable deterioration of these favourable Roman-Gothic relations in the early 360s (particularly after
Julian’s death ‒ 363 AD). According to Wolfram, the Goths felt threatened because they
had expected that the Romans, after their disastrous defeat in Persia, would attack the
Danubian frontier (cf. Wolfram 1985; Wolfram 2003). As a result the Gothic tribes formed a confederation under the leadership of Athanaric and invaded Thrace in the spring
of 365 AD. According to Heather, the Goths were aggressors in this conflict; however,
his opinion is doubted by Lenski, who claims that it was primarily Valens who went
to war with Goths because he wanted to boost his position as emperor (by the spring
of 365 AD Valens had already reigned for over a year) – cf. Heather 1998: 498-499;
Lenski 2002: 126-127.
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clementiorem ratus malis, quibus afflictabatur, aleam periculorum omnium iecit abrupte et extrema iam perpeti nequaquam timens praeeunte
perdita ratione facinus adoritur audacissimum. Let us pay attention to
the metaphor aleam periculorum omnium iecit because it reveals the
character of Procopius’ action. In Ammianus’ metaphoric image the
usurper’s bold attempt (facinus audacissimum) appears to be an actual game of dice (aleam iecit)15 which usually begins when one player
throws the dice whereas the course and final result depend only on the
fors. At the very beginning of this game of chance Procopius is a solitary player (he has no supporters), who begins to act as if he were Julius Caesar. Taking his action suddenly (abrupte) and unexpectedly, the
usurper casts the die [of periculorum omnium] (aleam [periculorum
omnium] iecit) just as the great leader Julius Caesar had done at the Rubicon river in 49 BC before he began his bellum civile with Pompeius
(alea iacta est – Suet., Iul. 32). But let us note that in his reminiscence
Ammianus adds the Gen. qualitatis periculorum omnium to these famous words of Julius Caesar (alea iacta est) so that their terseness is
lost. In this way our historian makes a travesty of the saying ascribed
to this great Roman leader in order to bring out the ridiculous character
of Procopius’ enterprise and the cowardice with which he begins to act.
A real leader, unlike Procopius, is not afraid of any dangers, because he
believes in his own victory when he begins the game and, in addition,
he feels sure that his undertaking is definitely right (like Caesar – alea
is used without periculorum omnium).
Procopius’ throwing of the dice (that is his enterprise) is a plan
which is morally wrong (perdita ratione);16 it is only a bold attempt
to end the usurper’s troubles and misery (malis, quibus afflictabatur)
while it is not a political act of great significance. Let us draw attention
to the fact that before taking his sudden decision (abrupte) Procopius
had been worn out by long-standing worries (aerumnis diuturnis at A very similar metaphor about Procopius’ attempt is also used in Libanius (Or.
XXVI, 13) and in Philostorgius (HE IX, 5). As one may assume, Ammianus and these
authors either derived this metaphor from a common source, in which aleam iecit (the
throwing of the dice) denoted Procopius’ bold attempt, or they took this metaphoric
phrase from one another.
16
Cf. Seyfarth 1978: IV, 29 (seiner verderblichen Berechnung); perditis rationibus
– perditus as a synonym of turpis or pravus – cf. den Boeft et al. 2008: 152.
15
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
tritus – XXVI, 6, 12); his decision was also accompanied by a strong
feeling that a cruel death was better than all the miseries he had been
suffering for a long time (atrocem mortem clementiorem […] malis,
quibus afflictabatur – XXVI, 6, 12). So the usurper’s mood was not
typical of a man who desired to seize imperial power. The reason was
that Procopius’ bold decision arose from his torments and lack of selfassurance as well as from his desire to escape from his own miseries. Let us also pay attention to the surprising motivation which caused
Procopius to overcome his fears and made him begin to act without
being anxious about even the worst fate (extrema iam perpeti nequaquam timens ‒ XXVI, 6, 12). One should emphasize that it was not the
usurper’s hope and confidence that he would become an emperor which
encouraged him to start the action. On the contrary, making his bold attempt Procopius chose the lesser (in his opinion) of two evils because
he chose a cruel death (mors atrox) as something better and milder
(clementior) than the miseries (mala) which had been wearing him out
for a long time. Therefore, we can conclude that the usurper decided to
act in the belief that mors atrox rather than potestas certa would make
an end of his facinus audacissimum (XXVI, 6, 12). Therefore from the
very beginning Procopius was acting with a resignation which seems to
be the characteristic of a desperate man rather than that of a potential
candidate for the position of emperor.
A mere day before his usurpation Procopius tried to incite and win
over the soldiers of two emperor’s contingents who had stayed for two
days in Constantinople. Since he knew that it was not safe to stir up
the whole army, he (with the help of some military acquaintances in
these legions) won the support of only some confident soldiers (fidem
paucorum elegit – XXVI, 6, 13) by promising them huge rewards (spe
praemiorum ingentium – XXVI, 6, 13). In return, these new supporters, tempted (pellecti) by Procopius’ promises, swore an oath (sub
consecratione iuris iurandi – XXVI, 6, 13) that they would fulfil all
his commands and would try to win their brothers in arms over to his
plans (promisere se quae vellet cuncta facturos, favorem quoque polliciti conturmalium – XXVI, 6, 13). During a night meeting (societate
coita nocturna ‒ XXVI, 6, 14), which preceded the start of Procopius’
undertaking, they managed to win the unanimous support of all soldiers
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(conscios omnes in eius studium consensisse – XXVI, 6, 14).17 So we
can say that the usurper bought the army over and won its support by
his susceptible promises of huge amounts of money, which was the
only stake in this secret and illegal bidding for the emperorship.18
Hardly had Procopius succeeded in this disgraceful bargaining with
the soldiers than he took a decisive step in his venture. He started his
coup early in the morning, at sunrise (ubi excanduit radiis dies – XXVI,
6, 14).19 The usurper, filled with hesitation and indecision (diductus in
cogitationes varias – XXVI, 6, 14), went to the military quarters at the
Anastasia Baths (Anastasianas balneas petit, a sorore Constantini cognominatas, ubi locata noverat signa – XXVI, 6, 14). One should admit
that the warm reception which Procopius experienced in the thermae
was somewhat strange (XXVI, 6, 14): libenter admissus constipatione
vendibilium militum cum honore quidem, sed in modum tenebatur obsessi […] ipsi quoque Procopium infausti dominatus exordia molientem
attenti ad omne compendium defenderunt. In fact, the reception our
usurper was given in the military quarters appeared to be a caricature
of the customary welcome of a leader. Ammianus expresses this caricature with the phrase admissus constipatione vendibilium militum cum
honore; the historian emphasizes this image by means of the noun con Zosimos says (Neá Historía IV, 5, 3-4) that the immensely rich eunuch Eugenius
who had been dismissed from the imperial court at that time (Eugenius had probably
been cubicularius at Valens’ court before his dismissal) backed Procopius financially.
Having Eugenius as his backer Procopius could be so brave as to promise “huge money” to the bribed soldiers. Eugenius (PLRE I, Eugenius 4) more – cf. den Boeft et al.
2008: 154. Zosimos also says (NH, IV, 5, 5) that Procopius rallied support not only from
the soldiers but also from urban slaves and other unknown volunteers.
18
Ammianus illustrates this attitude to Procopius’ usurpation by means of an exemplum which belongs to the senium period of his historiosophic theory. The historian
mentions Didius Iulianus who, after having killed his predecessor Pertinax, became
emperor by “bidding for the emperorship” – Didius Iulianus was ready to pay 25 000
sestertii to each of the praetorians in the army. Didius Iulianus reigned for only two
months and five days (from March until June 193 AD) – this may be an allusion to the
doubtful success of Procopius’ usurpation.
19
Procopius’ usurpation took place in Constantinople on September 28th, 365 AD.
As for the time of the day, other versions are given as well. According to Temistius (Or.
VII, 91 a-b; 92 b), who was an eyewitness of Procopius’ undertaking, and to Zosimos
(NH, IV, 5, 5), the usurper started his coup when it was still night. These versions are
different from Ammianus’ version.
17
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
stipatio (constipatione in the passage) which converts the whole scene
into a caricature of the customary welcome (constipatio is used in three
other passages in the Res gestae where ‒ like in XXVI, 6, 14 ‒ its sense
is definitely pejorative).20 The welcoming ceremony in the military
quarters seems to be a customary one – Procopius like a real emperor
is encircled by soldiers and given a welcome cum honore (admissus
cum honore). However, it cannot escape our attention that the soldiers
form a throng (a disorderly mass) round the would-be emperor, which
is called constipatio vendibilium militum by Ammianus. This phrase
suggests that Procopius is not so much surrounded by officers, but
drowned in a crowd of military men who are not obedient to him at all.
On the contrary, although the throng of soldiers (constipatio militum)
have sold their loyalty to the new emperor and are ready to pay homage
to him, they hem Procopius in and dominate over him: the soldiers hold
on to the usurper as if he was being besieged (sed in modum tenebatur
obsessi). The past passive participle obsessi (obsidere), which has no
metaphoric sense here, denotes that Procopius was encircled like a defenceless and helpless sheep by a throng of hostile legionaries21 who
were ready to support him provided that in doing so they benefited their
own (especially financial) situation. Such being the case, the soldiers
made neither a night nor a day proclamation which might have confirmed their own choice and will to hail Procopius as emperor. Procopius himself, an usurper and emperor rolled into one, takes a cautious
and obedient attitude towards the crowd of soldiers, although he should
have presented himself as the real ringleader of the coup; what is more,
20
Parallels for the constipatione vendibilium militum (XXVI, 6, 14) which are also
used in the pejorative sense occur in the following passages: XXIV, 8, 5 (constipatio
refers to a dense mass of wild donkeys) – asinorum constipatione densa; XXIX, 1, 13
(constipatio denotes a crowd of prisoners kept in jails before the Antiochian lawsuit) –
inclusorum constipatio; XXXI, 13, 3 (constipatio is referred to a dense mass of soldiers
and horses that are not able to get out of straits at the Adrianople battlefield) – evadendi
copiam constipatio densior adimebat.
21
Parallels for the real meaning of obsidere (that is to surround in a hostile way)
may also be found in other authors: Sall., Iug. 24, 3 (obsessus occurs in the complaint
of hemmed Adherbal) – itaque quintum iam mensem socius et amicus populi Romani
armis obsessus teneor; Tac., Ann. I, 28, 4 (obsidere refers to Drusus who is besieged in
the quarters by enraged soldiers) – spem offerunt, metum intendunt: «quo usque filium
imperatoris obsidebimus? Quis certaminum finis?».
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trying to organize the start of his ill-starred tyranny (infausti dominatus
exordia) Procopius makes the best of the soldiers’ support, which he
had bargained with them by his promises of praemia ingentia.
Let us now have a look at Procopius’ first appearance before the
troops that he was to lead as emperor (XXVI, 6, 15). At the very beginning we would like to emphasize that Ammianus depicted this scene as
a funny episode full of vain theatrics, focussing entirely on descriptions
of the ridiculous and theatrical creations of the would-be emperor. According to Jenkins (Jenkins 1987: 55-63), Ammianus’ theatrical metaphors and reminiscences that occur in this scene of the presentation
have the negative tenor, as they are connected with a domain which our
historian despised, that is the theatre. Actually, by spicing up the whole
scene with these theatrical metaphors, the historian makes a perfect
parody of the would-be emperor.
In Ammianus’ metaphoric image a pale and silent Procopius appears before his army like a vain creature summoned suddenly from
the underworld to the real world of human beings in which he is supposed to accomplish a great task (this is the first theatrical creation of
our usurper – XXVI, 6, 15): stetit itaque subtabidus – excitum putares
ab inferis.22
Procopius, wearing only a gold-embroidered tunica and being improperly dressed with the purple robe,23 looks like an emperor’s servant
According to the authors of the commentary on the Res Gestae, this section of the
whole scene of Procopius’ presentation was probably inspired by a passage in Solinus’
chapter on Sicily (Memor. V, 13): hic primum inventa comoedia: hic et cavillatio mimica in scaena stetit (Ammianus also uses stetit in his passage: Stetit itaque subtabidus
– XXVI, 6, 15; but stetit in Ammianus occurs right at the beginning of the phrase – therefore one may receive the impression that our historian borrowed this verb from Solinus to use it for a different purpose) – cf. den Boeft et al. 2008: 159. As for summoning
someone from the underworld, this theme occurs in other authors, too ‒ e.g.: Cic., Ver.
V, 129 – excitare ab inferis filium possem; Liv. XL, 56, 6 – Demetrium excitatum ab
inferis. Quintilianus says (Inst. orat. XII, 10, 61) that this rhetorical device belongs to
the grand style. However, it is more likely that Ammianus uses this motive only to show
one of the theatrical creations of the usurper so, as one may assume, this device is not
referred to in the grand rhetoric style of Ammianus. On the other hand, some translators
assume that this phrase is a mythological reminiscence – cf. den Boeft et al. 2008: 160.
23
When an emperor presented himself before the soldiers or appeared at ceremonies, he was dressed in a gold-embroidered mantle (paludamentum) made of purple
22
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
rather than an emperor himself (this is the second theatrical creation
of the usurper – XXVI, 6, 15): nusquam reperto paludamento tunica
auro distincta ut regius minister indutus. Moreover, he did not have
a diadem which was an important part of full imperial attire. In point
of fact, nobody even thought about giving a diadem to Procopius (the
historian does not mention this imperial insignium at all) and the purple
imperial robe could not be found anywhere (nusquam reperto paludamento). As a matter of fact, Procopius lacked the two most important
imperial insignia which were integral parts of an emperor’s full attire
and ‒ according to Orosius (Hist. VII, 40, 6)24 ‒ were indispensable
for a successful usurpation. Therefore, Procopius breaks the imperial
tradition; according to which, not only a legitimate emperor but also an
illegitimate one should be properly dressed in full imperial attire during
his presentation to his soldiers.25 For example, the legitimate emperor
Valentinian wore a proper purple mantle and a diadem when he presented himself to his troops. The imperial insignia were solemnly put
on Valentinian’s arms and head during the official ceremony of hailing
him as Augustus – this ceremony, which took place before his speech
to the soldiers, was accompanied by the enthusiastic praise of all the
legionaries (XXVI, 2, 3): mox principali habitu circumdatus et corona
Augustusque nuncupatus cum laudibus amplis. Blockley (1975: 58)
draws attention to the fact that in Ammianus each legitimate emperor is
properly dressed in a purple mantle when he is presented to the army.
The scholar also notices that no usurper in the Res gestae wears the
proper purple robe at the moment of hailing him as emperor and then,
during his presentation to the soldiers. According to Blockley, Ammianus presents usurpers as not fully dressed with the imperial insignia
to express his disapproval of anyone who illegitimately seizes power.
Within the context of Blockley’s remarks, let us discuss the imperial
attire of other usurpers in Ammianus. One of them, Silvanus, had no
silk and he had a diadem on his head ‒ this was the full imperial attire of a late-antique
emperor; cf. Vogt 1993: 83.
24
Oros., Hist. VII, 40, 6: nam tyrannidem nemo nisi celeriter maturatam secrete
invadit et publice armat, cuius summa est assumpto diademate ac purpura videri ante
quam sciri.
25
Ammianus refers to the purple mantle which was an important element of the
imperial regalia in XX, 5, 4; XXII, 9, 10.
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diadem and at the moment of hailing he was dressed in a piece of purple cloth (instead of a proper purple robe) which he had obtained from
military standards (XV, 5, 16): cultu purpureo a draconum et vexillorum
insignibus ad tempus abstracto ad culmen imperiale surrexit.26 Julian
at the moment of being hailed as emperor by his soldiers had neither
a diadem nor a purple mantle. Finally, the new Augustus was decorated
with a necklace which one of his officers had taken off his uniform and
placed solemnly on Julian’s head (XX, 4, 17-18): Augustus renuntiatus iubebatur diadema proferre […], Maurus nomine quidam, postea
comes, […], abstractum sibi torquem, quo ut draconarius utebatur,
capiti Iuliani imposuit confidenter.27 Another rebel, Firmus, during his
presentation to the soldiers was dressed in a purple cloak (not a proper
purple mantle) but had no diadem on his head (XXIX, 5, 48): paulo ante
vesperam visus est Firmus equo celsiori insidens sago puniceo porrectius panso.28 Let us draw attention to the fact that Procopius looks worse
than other usurpers in the Res gestae because he has no imperial insignium (not even a makeshift one). The absence of the imperial insignia
was due to the fact that our usurper had neither cared about his imperial
regalia himself nor had received any from his soldiers before he was
presented to the troops. In fact, Procopius who contents himself with
a gold-embroidered tunica is only a fake emperor:29 he looks like a servant of the imperial court, although he presents himself to his legionaries
as a real emperor and thinks he really is their new ruler.
The other part of Procopius’ “imperial attire” was also quite funny.
With a sardonic smile Ammianus notices that from heel to hips the fake
emperor looked like an apprentice of the court paedagogium in which
Silvanus’ usurpation took place on July 11th, 355 AD during the reign of Constantius II.
27
Julian’s usurpation took place in Lutetia Parisiorum in 360 AD during the reign of
Constantius II. This successful usurpation was the result of the spontaneous action of
Julian’s soldiers. Julian himself had never before searched for his imperial diadem or
expected it to be given to him; this fact implies that he had not planned his coup before
his soldiers began their action – cf. Lewandowski 2001-2002: I, 311, n. 48.
28
Firmus rebelled against the legitimate Roman authority in 375 AD during the
reign of Valentinian and Valens.
29
For the counterfeit emperor (Procopius) – cf. also Temistios, Or. VII, 91 c.
26
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
boys (paedagogiani pueri)30 were brought up, educated and trained
for service in the palace. So, like one of these servant boys, Procopius wore purple shoes and he held a purple scrap of cloth in his left
hand as well (XXVI, 6, 15): a calce in pubem in paedagogiani pueri
speciem purpureis opertus tegminibus pedum hastatusque purpureum
itidem pannulum laeva manu gestabat. Let us now cast a glance at
the lower part of the odd “imperial attire” of the would-be emperor
Procopius. Viansino (1985)31 suggests that the purple shoes (purpurea
tegmina) mentioned by Ammianus, probably denote long and purple
gaiters from the heel to the private parts. According to Alföldi (1935:
3-158), such gaiters were an element of the everyday dress of court attendants. Therefore, in the scholar’s opinion, the presence of this comparable element in the usurper’s costume indicates that Ammianus sees
Procopius to be a caricature of a real emperor. Procopius, having neither a diadem nor a proper paludamentum and wearing boyish gaiters,
which are the only purple element of his dress, looks like an apprentice
page (a member of pueri paedagogiani) rather than a real and dignified emperor (Steigerwald 1990: 218-219). One cannot say that a spear,
which the would-be emperor holds in his hand like an ordinary weapon
(hastatus), adds to his imperial dignity. This spear is probably the shaft
of a lance with a purple dragonlike banner, which was usually carried
by a warrant officer in a legion. One may regard Procopius’ attribute as
a lance shaft on the basis of the passage XVI, 12, 39 in which a lance
(hasta) denotes the shaft of this dragonlike banner: quo agnito per purpureum signum draconis summitati hastae longioris aptatum. Thus, in
this context, itidem (quoted above – XXVI, 6, 15) may refer both to the
Paedagogiani pueri (court attendants) were slaves; Nero was the first to make
free boys be brought up as paedagogiani pueri. The paedagogiani were educated and
trained by the paedagogus at the emperor’s court or in the palaces of rich nobles. The
growing luxury at the imperial court manifested itself in thorough education and training as well as in sumptuous clothes (esp. outer garments) of pueri paedagogiani (see
in Ammianus XXVI, 6, 15: purpureis opertus tegminibus pedum – wearing purple
shoes [about Procopius]). At the imperial court the paedagogiani lived and slept in a
separate apartment which was called the paedagogium. In the later empire the paedagogiani were servants at the imperial court; apart from menial tasks they also carried out
ministeriales and curae palatiorum – cf. den Boeft et al. 2008: 162.
31
Cf. Viansino 1985; Balty and Ensslin refer to the comparable dress of the pueri
paedagogiani – cf. Balty 1982: 299-312; Ensslin 1942: 2204-2205.
30
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purple tegmina pedum and hastatus; this could mean that the phrase
purpureis opertus tegminibus pedum hastatusque […] itidem occurs in
the sense of carrying a lance with a purple dragonlike banner32 (in his
right hand, because the usurper holds a scrap of purpureum pannulum
in his left hand). Procopius with this lance in his hand (hastatus) does
not present himself like a real emperor who is expected to show his
imperial dignity but he looks like a warrant officer carrying a dragonlike banner (hastatus draconarius – this is the third creation of our
usurper). An indication that we can see Procopius as a hastatus draconarius may also be found in the passage XX, 4, 18 in which hastatus
is referred in relation to one of the non-commissioned officers of the
Petulantes (Maurus nomine quidam, postea comes, […], Petulantium
tunc hastatus).
Let us now move on to another insignium of the would-be emperor
‒ that is the purple scrap of cloth (purpureus pannulus) which he holds
in his left hand. Alföldi (1935: 152)33 implies that purpureus pannulus is
meant to be a purple scarf (mappa) which was usually dropped into the
arena being the sign for the opening of the public games.34 Therefore,
in this passage (XXVI, 6, 15) a mappa is the symbolic sign to open the
public ludi. Let us explain that this opening of the public games refers
to the start of Procopius’ bold and ridiculous undertaking, which appears to be only a form of cheap entertainment for the urban mob. But
we should also consider an alternative interpretation of the usurper’s
mappa. So within the purpureus pannulus and its function can also be
found a token of degeneration of a proper imperial presentation considering that the noun pannulus is used by Ammianus in a definitely
pejorative sense in XXII, 9, 11; in this passage a plural form of this
word (pannuli) denotes rags (old and torn clothes – in Julian’s remark
about a private man stitching a purple cloak for himself): ut sciri possit
sine viribus maximis quid pannuli proficient leves.35 Thus, in this context, the phrase purpureus pannulus (a purple rag) may be the symbolic
sign of a distortion of our usurper’s vain undertaking, which loses its
Cf. den Boeft et al. 2008: 162-163.
The scholar points out that a mappa frequently appears on the coin portraits of
emperors (in their hands).
34
Cf. Mart., Ep. XII, 28 (29), 9; Suet., Nero 22, 2; Iuv., Sat. XI, 193.
35
Cf. den Boeft et al. 2008: 163.
32
33
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
normal and desirable qualities: Procopius holds a purple scrap of cloth
(a quasi-imperial piece of purple attribute) in his hand but, in fact, has
no imperial authority.
To sum up, according to Ammianus, Procopius is dressed in
a patchy, two-piece and quasi-imperial piece of attire, which seems
to be an odd compilation of two funny styles of dress that is the regius minister style (the upper part: a gold-embroidered tunica) and the
paedagogianus puer style (the lower part: purple gaiters). The wouldbe emperor’s attire is completed by a spear (hasta) and a purple rag
(mappa). One should admit that Procopius in wearing his odd costume
and holding quasi-imperial regalia in his hands looks like a funny, helpless and submissive “fake emperor”, who stands in front of his army
unable to move out of fear of being supposed to play the serious part of
a real emperor.
As a matter of fact, Ammianus sees the usurper’s undertaking as
a vain entertainment which is performed at the military quarters as if it
was staged in a theatre (in theatrali scaena – XXVI, 6, 15) in the presence of silent and motionless spectators (that is the soldiers). Procopius
seems to be the only actor in this farcical and theatrical performance,36
which is about the presentation of an emperor. Suddenly, in front of the
main curtain (per aulaeum), an odd creature (simulacrum insigne – the
fourth creation) or rather a comic mime (mimica cavillatio – XXVI, 6,
15; the fifth creation) appears in the presence of the waiting spectators,
who are eager to see an emperor on the stage: ut in theatrali scaena
simulacrum quoddam insigne per aulaeum vel mimicam cavillationem
subito putares emersum. You can easily recognize this actor – it is Procopius, the bizarre and fake emperor, who emerges suddenly in front of
the curtain to play the part of a real emperor, something which is too
difficult for him.
36
Other authors also emphasize the theatrical aspects of Procopius’ usurpation. Themistius (Or. VII, 91 a sqq) underlines the farcical aspects of the usurper’s undertaking
and calls it a comedy. Zosimos’ description is comparable (NH IV, 5, 5): he says that
the Constantinopolitans left their houses and observed Procopius’ usurpation as if they
were watching a play performed on stage. These similarities in Ammianus, Temistius
and Zosimos imply that these authors probably used a common written source which
contained such an official view of Procopius’ coup – cf. Leppin 2007: 41.
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Let us mention that Ammianus in his image of Procopius’ farcical
appearance tallies together two theatrical genres: mime and tragedy.
Till (1974-1975: 75-83)37 explains that the phrase mimica cavillatio is
the equivalent of mime whereas aulaeum, which is the counterpart of
siparium (a small screen usually used in mime or comedy), can be referred to as tragedy. According to Till, who draws an analogy between
aulaeum and siparium, these two terms allegorically indicate two theatrical genres that are tragedy and mime. Another scholar, Eichele (1984:
160), agrees with the combination of these two genres in Ammianus’
description, but he comes up with an entirely different and more convincing explanation. In the scholar’s opinion, Ammianus’ simulacrum
(an odd apparition which is slightly of a tragic character) appears as
a mimica cavillatio (a mime) at the end of the whole performance on
the aulaeum (on the main curtain) when it is raised (the scholar explains that in Late Antiquity, as in the previous epochs, the main curtain
was raised at the end of performances). Beacham (1991: 171-175), in
his explanation of Ammianus’ theatrical references, focuses on some
mechanical details, although he does not reject the combination of
these two theatrical genres that are tragedy and mime. According to
Beacham, who outlines a mechanical system by which curtains were
lowered or raised, Ammianus’ mimica cavillatio is probably referring
to the mechanical devices that were used during the performance of
a mime (so the historian’s reference to mime is a mechanical rather
than a literary one); with the help of these devices an odd simulacrum
which is comparable with a tragic apparition (this is Ammianus’ reference to tragedy) can appear on the stage.
Anyway, one cannot deny that the whole scene of Procopius’ appearance contains many farcical and parodic elements which are to
make fun of the usurper and his undertaking. Ammianus himself says
37
Till refers to two kinds of theatrical curtains that is aulaeum and siparium. Aulaeum (the main curtain) was richly ornamented: images of deities or heroes were usually
woven or embroidered onto it; aulaeum was used during performances which were not
of a comic character (including tragedies). In early Roman theatre aulaeum was fixed
to the lower part of the stage (the curtain was lowered at the start of a performance and
was raised at the end); in Late Antiquity this curtain was fixed to the upper part of the
stage. The siparium (a screen) – was lowered at the end of each scene of a comedy; this
screen was used when comedies and mimes were performed.
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
that Procopius was raised to his imperial position in a ludicrous and
dishonourable manner (XXVI, 6, 16): ad hoc igitur dehonestamentum honorum omnium ludibriose sublatus. Let us draw attention to the
fact that by tallying the phrase ad dehonestamentum honorum omnium
(a degradation of honours) with sublatus (raised), Ammianus implies
that, in fact, Procopius was raised to the degradation of all honours.
Moreover, by ludibriose the historian once more emphasizes the fake
and ridiculous character of the entire episode because this rarely used
adverb clearly refers to the ludicrous aspects of the whole affair, that is
to the usurper’s patchy, two-piece and odd attire, to the absence of the
proper imperial insignia and to the absence of the proper proclamation
which should have taken place in the quarters. In fact, Procopius by
having been raised to his imperial position in that manner, was rather
degraded and humiliated than honoured.38 This is a further paradox
which Ammianus adds to his theatrical image of Procopius’ appearance.
Let us now move on to the speech which was given by the wouldbe emperor in the presence of the troops. Shortly after having appeared
in the quarters, the fake emperor addressed his soldiers with servile
flattery (ancillari adulatione). In his servile speech (adulatio ancillaris) Procopius promised (pollicitus) that he would give huge rewards
(opes amplas) and official functions or ranks (dignitates) to each of the
legionaries to celebrate the primitiae of his reign (ob principatus primitias – XXVI, 6, 16). The servile and flattering character of Procopius’
oratio can clearly be emphasized by a comparison with Julian’s speech
which he delivered during his presentation to the troops after having
been hailed as emperor in Lutetia Parisiorum. In his comments upon
opes and dignitates Julian stressed the point that neither an official nor
a general would be promoted provided that he deserved his new dignitas
(function or rank) on the basis of his real merits (ut neque civilis quisquam iudex nec militiae rector alio quodam praeter merita suffragante
ad potiorem veniat gradum – XX, 5, 7). It is noteworthy that Procopius,
Within the context of Procopius’ fake proclamation one should mention Julian’s
proclamation whose character was quite different ‒ the soldiers were filled with enthusiasm and joy; as for Julian, he was raised to all honours by soldiers who hailed him as
emperor with determination (firmo iudicio ‒ XX, 5, 3): Caesarem vestrum firmo iudicio
ad potestatum omnium columen sustulistis.
38
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unlike Julian, omitted this important statement (praeter merita) in his
adulatio ancillaris in order to succeed in “bargaining” with the soldiers
for their support and favour. And, to some extent, he was successful.
Later, when the fake emperor left the quarters and came out into the
streets (appeared in public ‒ processit in publicum), he stopped moving clumsily and walked upright as if he was a true leader; the usurper
was accompanied by a throng of military men who took up standards
(multitudine stipatus armorum signisque sublatis erectius ire pergebat
circumclausus – XXVI, 6, 16). Let us draw attention to the fact that
the legionaries who accompany Procopius are not brought into regular
order (according to the military custom, the soldiers who accompanied
a newly hailed emperor should have been drawn up – XXVI, 7, 17), so
the fake emperor is surrounded by a throng of military men (multitudo
armorum) taking up their standards. That is why Procopius’ public appearance resembles rather a demonstrative march through the streets
of Constantinople than the “ticker tape” parade of a newly proclaimed
emperor. The usurper himself, who walks upright (erectius ire) and is
encircled by his military mob, looks like the leader of this untidy group
rather than a dignified emperor.
The fake emperor who strides along the urban streets is entirely
hemmed in by gloomy sounds and the loud clash of shields (fragor
scutorum lugubre concrepantium) and accompanied by the indifference of the citizens of Constantinople who observe his march but show
neither resistance nor enthusiasm (nec resistebat populus nec favebat
– XXVI, 6, 16-17): circumclausus horrendo fragore scutorum lugubre concrepantium, quae metuentes, ne a celsioribus tectis saxis vel
tegularum fragmentis conflictarentur, densius ipsis galearum cristis
aptabant. Huic intimidius incedenti nec resistebat populus nec favebat.
It is noteworthy that the legionaries who encircle Procopius in disorder,
take up their shields, join them together closely and hold them tight
above the crests of their helmets. In this way the scuta (shields) make
for a horizontal defensive covering above the soldiers’ heads, which
is very similar to the particular arrangement of shields that the ancient
Roman legionaries used during sieges in order to protect themselves.39
39
In the ancient Roman army a rectangular formation was arranged by soldiers during sieges: those legionaries that were drawn up in the front-row as well as those who
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
By this particular shield covering Procopius’ soldiers wanted to protect
the usurper and themselves against being pelted by stones and pieces
of roof tiles40 during their march through the streets of Constantinople
(ne a celsioribus tectis saxis vel tegularum fragmentis conflictarentur –
XXVI, 6, 16). One may come to the conclusion that the legionaries are
aware that they are taking part in a fake “ticker tape” parade.41 That is
why the soldiers act as if they were supposed rather to besiege the town
than accompany the emperor to the tribunal and to the imperial palace.
Therefore the clashing of the soldiers’ shields is not an expression of
their approval and support for Procopius’ undertaking; on the contrary,
the fragor of shields is casual because it is caused by the legionaries
taking up their scuta and using them in order to protect the usurper and
themselves.
Given the context of the above remarks let us now point out a completely different role and character of the clashing of shields during
Julian’s undertakings. As soon as Constantius had raised Julian to Caesar, the soldiers stroke their shields against their knees to express their
approval (militares omnes horrendo fragore scuta genibus illidentes,
quod est prosperitatis indicium plenum – XV, 8, 15). The legionaries’
reaction to Julian’s speech, which he delivered after having been hailed
as Augustus, was comparable: the soldiers clashed their spears against
their shields to show their support and unanimous approval of Julian’s
were drawn up on the sides held their shields vertically and the soldiers who were lined
up in the middle-rows of the whole formation held the shields horizontally above their
heads (so the vertical and horizontal shields joined tight and closely resembled the shell
of a tortoise and protected the whole unit). As for Procopius’ soldiers, they created a
comparable horizontal shield covering above their heads (that is only the top of the
whole covering), although (unlike the ancient legionaries) they were not drawn up.
40
W. D. Barry (1996: 55-74) draws attention to the fact that pieces of roof tiles were
some kind of weapon which was frequently used during urban unrest. Ammianus’ allusion to the possibility of the soldiers being pelted by roof tiles may mean that ‒ in the
historian’s opinion ‒ Procopius’ public appearance seemed to be some kind of an urban
rebellion.
41
Ammianus’ description of Procopius’ ticker tape parade contains many reminiscences of Herodian’s report on Didius Iulianus’ march to the imperial palace – Didius
Iulianus, like Procopius, was rather escorted by the soldiers than accompanied by them
to his palace (Her., Tes meta Markon basilejas historia, II, 6, 13) – cf. also den Boeft et
al. 2008: 166.
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words and plans (miles […] hastis feriendo clipeos sonitu assurgens
ingenti uno prope modum ore dictis favebat et coeptis – XX, 5, 8-9).42
When Julian, after his proclamation as emperor, informed the soldiers
of his decision to march against Constantius, they clashed the shields
to show their unanimous approval and cheered Julian on (unanimanti
consensu voces horrendas immani scutorum fragore miscebat magnum
elatumque ducem – XXI, 5, 9).
Within the context of the above comparison it can hardly be doubted
that Procopius’ usurpation is an ill-omened and ill-starred undertaking:
one may think that it is rather a sinister rebellion than the prosperous
reign of a real emperor that is about to commence. Procopius is being
escorted to the imperial palace in a gloomy urban setting and in a terrifying atmosphere. The throng of soldiers using their shields to protect
the fake emperor and themselves, the gloomy and casual clashing of
shields and the cool indifference of the urban mob43 make Procopius’
public appearance more ominous than it really is. One can be under the
impression that Procopius’ march is rather reminiscent of someone being escorted to an execution than of a dignified emperor’s “ticker tape”
parade to the palace.
Zosimos gives a different report on the atmosphere in Constantinople and the feelings of its inhabitants during this part of Procopius’
usurpation (NH, IV, 5, 5 ‒ IV 6, 1; 3). He says that having heard about
Procopius’ rebellion the citizens of Constantinople were panic-stricken
(NH, IV, 5, 5) and terrified (NH, IV, 6, 1). Let us add that during the
night which preceded Procopius’ public appearance, the citizens of
Constantinople were intimidated by his supporters, who were deliberately sent by the usurper to the city in order to threaten the inhabitants
(NH, IV, 5, 5). When the people, who were responsible for keeping
order in Constantinople, heard about this unexpected coup, they were
so surprised that they were not able to do anything to stop the usurper
42
The striking of spears against shields usually was an expression of the soldiers’
anger and indignation (XV, 8, 15); in this particular situation (described in XX, 5, 8-9)
the soldiers, by striking their spears against their shields, show their approval.
43
Herodian gives a comparable report: when Didius Iulianus was escorted to the
palace the urban population showed neither resistance nor enthusiasm (Her., II, 6, 13).
Ammianus’ description is probably inspired by Herodian’s report of Didius Iulianus’
march to the palace – cf. also den Boeft et al. 2008: 166-167.
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
from starting the rebellion (NH, IV, 6, 1). As for Procopius’ march to
the forum, Zosimos ‒ unlike Ammianus ‒ mentions that it was really
a “ticker tape” parade ‒ the usurper was self-assured and did not seem
to be walking along a procliviorem viam ad mortem (NH, IV, 6, 3); according to Libanios (Or. XIX, 15), he was welcomed by the citizens of
Constantinople.
Let us now move on to the usurper’s public appearance at the city
forum. According to Ammianus, when Procopius ascended the tribune
in order to deliver his first public speech here, in the political heart of
Constantinople, the urban mob present at the forum was dumbfounded
(XXVI, 6, 18): cum itaque tribunal idem escendisset Procopius et cunctis stupore defixis. On the platform, where during solemn ceremonies
speeches were always given, the mob suddenly saw a poor man dressed
in an inept motley outfit (let us recall: a costume of a regius minister
/ paedagogianus puer) who was preparing to deliver his adlocutio as
if he were a great orator or a real emperor. No wonder the inhabitants
were struck dumb with astonishment ‒ they had never before seen such
an awkward jester standing on the tribunal. Therefore the silence at
the forum does not testify to the solemnity or respect of the spectators but, on the contrary, it is ominous (lugubre; silentium triste). The
counterfeit emperor was frightened of this silentium triste because he
thought that a downward path towards death had appeared (XXVI, 6,
18): timeret silentium triste, procliviorem viam ad mortem, ut sperabat,
existimans advenisse.44 Procopius was standing on the tribunal in fear
and trembling and he was unable to speak for quite some time (per artus tremore diffuso implicatior ad loquendum diu tacitus stetit – XXVI,
6, 18). Finally the usurper began his speech to the mob gathered at the
In the phrase proclivior via ad mortem Ammianus reveals his true attitude towards Procopius’ usurpation – in the historian’s opinion, the whole undertaking was
ill-considered, clumsy and ill-starred. Zosimos, however, gives a different report on the
issue; he says that Procopius’ attempt was well prepared, although it came as a surprise
to the inhabitants of Constantinople (Procopius arrested the city prefect Caesarius and
the praetorian prefect Nebridius and forced them to communicate his ideas and orders
to the subjects of the empire. Procopius personally oversaw this procedure – NH IV, 6,
2). Ammianus’ version of this affair is possibly influenced by the rhetorical strategy of
Valens’ propaganda which dismissed Procopius’ rebellion as a farcical episode – cf. den
Boeft et al. 2008: 169.
44
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forum: his voice sounded like that of a dying man and his adlocutio –
like the broken utterances stemming from his broken spirit (pauca tamen interrupta et moribunda voce dicere iam exorsus – XXVI, 6, 18).45
So the usurper’s speech sounded rather like the spiritual torment of
a condemned man on the tribunal than a public adlocutio of a dignified
emperor who presents himself to his subjects in order to demonstrate
his imperial power. At this particular moment the fake emperor seems
to be somewhat tragicomic. For, on the one hand, Procopius acts alone
because he has no true supporters (he bargained for the counterfeit support of the soldiers and met with the cold indifference of the urban
mob); what is more, the usurper is strongly in fear of death because he
knows that he is acting against the legal authorities (in this aspect his
behaviour and actions are comparable with those of tragic characters
who oppose legal authorities and their orders and act alone, although
they know that death is the only “reward” for their struggle). However,
on the other hand, Procopius ‒ unlike tragic characters ‒ is not great
and heroic and he does not act with a view to realizing his lofty moral
purposes or great political ambitions; on the contrary, he is a small and
clumsy man who longs to be a real emperor but, in fact, is afraid of his
bold attempt which arose only from his low and egoistic motives (this
is the comic aspect of his behaviour).
It is interesting to point out the considerable contrast of Procopius’
public appearance with Julian’s public speech and his acceptance of
imperial dignity. The presentation of the latter after his proclamation
was accompanied by an atmosphere full of cheerful expectation and
approval. After his magnificent arrival at the forum, Julian climbed
onto the tribunal, which was surrounded by standards, military signa et
aquilae and soldiers who were standing close together in order to protect him (XX, 5, 1-2): progressus princeps ambitiosius solito tribunal
ascendit signis aquilisque circumdatus et vexillis saeptusque tutius armatarum cohortium globis. Julian was silent for a moment (interquievisset paululum – XX, 5, 2) because he wanted to observe the faces of
the legionaries who encircled him (dum alte contemplatur ‒ so Julian’s
silence was not due to his fear); he noticed that the soldiers were joyful
45
Zosimos, unlike Ammianus, makes no mention of Procopius’ fear; he also does
not mention that the mob was dumbfounded (NH IV, 6, 3).
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
and cheerful (praesentium vultus alacres omnes visos et laetos – XX,
5, 2). The new Augustus addressed his soldiers using simple and clear
words which sounded like litui and encouraged the legionaries (quasi
lituis verbis, ut intellegi possit, simplicibus incendebat – XX, 5, 2). In
his adlocutio Julian emphasized his cooperation with the soldiers in
difficulties and struggles for the common good of the Imperium (XX,
5, 3-5), encouraged the legionaries to protect him in case of adversities
and dangers (XX, 5, 6) and charted the course of dealing with honores
et dignitates civiles militaresque (XX, 5, 7). Let us draw attention to the
fact that Julian, unlike Procopius, appeared as a self-assured, reliable
and fearless man. Valentinian’s acceptance of power was comparable
(XXVI, 2, 5). Before he began to speak, he raised his right hand and,
confident of his imperial dignity, when no one interrupted him, delivered a speech which he had previously thought through (elata propere
dextera vi principis fiducia pleni […] cogitata nullis interpellantibus
absolvebat – XXVI, 2, 5). In his adlocutio Valentinian thanked the soldiers for hailing him as emperor, praised them for their courage (XXVI,
2, 6-7) and assured the legionaries that he was willing to share imperial
power with the other Augustus (XXVI, 2, 8). Moreover, Valentinian encouraged the legionnaires to be always in agreement with one another
(XXVI, 2, 8) and feel sure of their achievements and successes (XXVI,
2, 10); the emperor also promised that he would give a donativum
to each soldier to celebrate the primitiae of his reign (XXVI, 2, 10).
Thanks to this well-prepared speech Valentinian’s authority increased
(finita oratione, quam auctoritas erexerat inopina – XXVI, 2, 11) and
he managed to encourage the legionnaires to support him and give their
approval to his intentions (flexit imperator in suam sententiam universos consiliique eius viam secuti – XXVI, 2, 11).
Let us now come back to the content of Procopius’ adlocutio. In
his cowardly and patchy speech the fake emperor made only one statement – he emphasized his relationship with the Constantinian dynasty46
Procopius was related to the Constantinian dynasty through his mother, who was
a sister of Julian’s mother Basilina; the usurper probably had no agnatic relationship
with the dynasty of Constantine. So Procopius’ imperatoria propinquitas is actually a
dubious argument – Ammianus points out this dubious sense by the verb praetendebat
(imperatoriam propinquitatem praetendebat ‒ praetendere), which tends to be used
when the historian refers to statements causing doubt (see praetendere in this sense
46
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(quibus stirpis propinquitatem imperatoriae praetendebat – XXVI, 6,
18). He omitted his military functions and ranks as well as his military achievements, although he had some.47 Furthermore, Procopius did
not chart the course of his action and made no attempt to rally support
from the citizens of Constantinople and to urge the soldiers to revolt.
One may easily conclude that by stressing his imperatoria propinquitas
Procopius intended to appear before the citizens as the right man to
be granted the dignity of an emperor and, merely on account of this
imperial relationship, enable his usurpation to be at least a mediocre
success. Let us add that imperatoria propinquitas was a cunning argument for two reasons. Firstly, the social affection for the dynasty of
Constantine was still great at that time; secondly, the legal emperor Valens had a relationship neither with the Constantinian dynasty nor with
other gens imperatoria.48 That is why Procopius, for the sake of his
case, used this indispensable statement (imperatoria propinquitas) and
pretended to have a relationship with the favourable gens Constantina.
Later, in other difficult and decisive moments of his undertaking, the
usurper also manifested his connection with the Constantinian dynasty.
Let us mention that Procopius carried Constantius’ daughter around the
soldiers in Thrace (XXVI, 7, 10) to claim his kinship with this dead
emperor who belonged to the gens Constantina; the usurper was also
accompanied by Constantius’ wife Faustina49 (a widow at that time)
and his daughter even into the line of the decisive battle with Valens in
also in XXVI, 7, 10 and XXXI, 14, 20) – cf. den Boeft et al. 2008: 170. Zosimos, unlike
Ammianus, in his comments on Procopius’ adlocutio makes no mention of the fact that
Procopius was to have stressed his imperatoria propinquitas in his speech; the author
says that the usurper filled the Constantinopolitans with great hopes and promises (NH,
IV, 6, 3).
47
Procopius was an envoy (together with Lucilianus) to the Persian king Sapor; he
also took part in Julian’s Persian expedition (Procopius commanded the troops in Mesopotamia). As for Procopius’ military functions, we have discussed them at the very
beginning of this article.
48
Valentinian and Valens were the sons of Gratianus Maior (called Funarius scil.
Ropemaker ‒ XXX, 7, 2) who came from an unknown family from Cybale in Pannonia.
R. C. Blockley (1975: 61) underlines the strong affection for the dynasty of Constantine
at that time.
49
Faustina ‒ PLRE I, Faustina.
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
order to incite soldiers to fight more bravely for the gens Constantina,
to which he himself claimed to be related (XXVI, 9, 3).
When Procopius had finished his cowardly adlocutio (XXVI, 6,
18), one could hear the soft whispers of a paid usurper’s claque (leni
paucorum susurro pretio illectorum) which were followed by the haphazard shouts of approval by the mob (tumultuariis succlamationibus
plebis). In this disorderly and dishonourable manner Procopius was
finally declared emperor (imperator appellatus incondite); after his
proclamation he went straight to the curia (petit curiam raptim). Let
us draw attention to the fact that hailing Procopius as an emperor is
a parody of a true imperial proclamation: the usurper was proclaimed
in disorder (incondite) by several paid supporters (a claque – pauci pretio illecti) who whispered softly (susurro) and the urban mob which
showed its approval by improvised shouts (tumultuariae succlamationes); the soldiers stood silent, although they were present because
they had escorted the usurper to the forum. It is understandable that
in such circumstances Procopius went to the curia (petit curiam) to
make sure of the support of the senate. But it is astonishing that he
went there in a rush (raptim: he rushed to the curia), for he should have
done so in a dignified manner. As for raptim, one should explain that
this adverb is used in Ammianus only in descriptions of speedy military
actions.50 So the reference of this adverb to Procopius’ action is clear:
raptim (as well as incondite) brings out (once more) the amateurish
and improvised character of Procopius’ usurpation which appears to be
rather a weak and not well-prepared revolt started by a poor leader than
a great state event.
It is noteworthy that in the curia Procopius was not welcomed by
the senators as a new emperor (XXVI, 6, 18). No member of the dignified clarissimi (nullo clarissimorum51) waited indoors to do honour to
him. There were only some unimportant men in the senate (ignobilium
50
Raptim (in a rush) occurs in descriptions of speedy military actions in eight other
cases in Ammianus ‒ cf. den Boeft et al. 2008: 171.
51
In XXVI, 6, 18 Ammianus uses clarissimi probably in a general sense ‒ the noun
clarissimi refers to the truly distinguished and influential men contrasting them with the
ignobiles (this noun refers to those people whose role was unimportant). Let us mention
that Valentinian and Valens legislatively formalized the existing distinctions of status
within the ordo senatorius in 372 AD when three imperial grades were created that is
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paucitas inventa), but they made no attempt to greet Procopius. After
this disgraceful welcome, the disdained and ridiculed emperor went to
the palace (XXVI, 6, 18); he entered his new residence in a hurry (festinatis passibus) and with an utterly unfavourable foot (pessimo pede:
palatium pessimo pede festinatis passibus introiit – XXVI, 6, 18). Let
us now pay attention to the usurper’s gait52 because the way in which
he entered the palatium helps us recognize his mood at this particular
moment of his usurpation. So Procopius’ quick step (passus festinati)
expresses the anxiety and fear of a man who is fully aware that after his
ill-starred entrance to the imperial palace he will meet his own misfortune there (pes pessimus). This is the last image of our usurper in the
first and ridiculous part of his coup. But Ammianus explains that this
ludicrous affair will soon be developed and converted into a dangerous state rebellion, although it was only improvised and thoughtlessly
started by a man dressed in an inept motley outfit (XXVI, 6, 19): profecto irrisione digna principia incaute coepta et temere ad ingemescendas erupisse rei publicae clades.53
clarissimi, spectabiles and illustres – cf. Jones 1964: 143-144, 528-529; Demandt 1989:
281-282.
52
The ancients were interested in the way people walk (people’s gait). Sallust mentions that Catiline’s step was irregular – this way of walking expressed Catiline’s anxiety and excitement after he had committed a crime (Cat. 15, 5); in Suetonius gait helps
one to recognize the relationship between Caesar and his son (Iul. 52, 2) as well as
some features of Tiberius’ character (Tib. 68, 3). Ammianus himself refers to people’s gait several times: in XXII, 14, 3 – when he mentions about Julian’s macho-like
swagger (grandiaque incedens); in XXV, 10, 14 ‒ when he pays attention to Jovian’s
heavy step (Incedebat autem motu corporis gravi); in XXVIII, 1, 13 – where he refers
to Maximinus’ ballet dancer gait, which imitates the Brahmans’ levitation (this way of
walking expresses Maximinus’ true joy: ideoque pedes huc et illuc exsultando contorquens saltare, non incedere videbatur […] dum studebat […] imitari Brachmanas).
According to ancient physiognomic studies, people’s way of walking was an important
factor which helped to recognize features of someone’s character and mind – cf. chapter
50 (De incessus et motus signo) of Polemon’s treatise on physiognomy or chapter 74 of
an anonymous treatise entitled De physiognomonia. For more information on people’s
gait see den Boeft et al. 2011: 31-32.
53
Let us mention that passage XXVI, 6, 19 functions as a hinge between two contrasting parts of Ammianus’ diptych: the first part which is only the ludicrous beginning
of Procopius’ coup and the second one – dangerous and almost disastrous.
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
Procopius, however, is a transformable character. This ludicrous
man showed quite different colours in the second, serious and dangerous part of his enterprise. The striking transformation of our usurper
from a ridiculous and fake emperor into an authoritative and brave
leader of his coup took place near Mygdum at the River Sangarios,
where the imperial army confronted the rebels’ troops.54 Let us have
a look at this memorable scene (XXVI, 7, 15). Procopius full of unusual boldness rushed suddenly to the middle of the battlefield and stood
between the opposing battle lines, although the volleys of arrows were
thrown from every side by the two hostile armies: inter reciprocantes
missilia quasi procursatione hostem lacessens solus prorupit in medium. Then the usurper greeted in Latin a soldier called Vitalianus as if
he knew him well, asked this comrade-in-arms to step out of the row,
took him by the hand and for the first time addressed the astonished
soldiers bravely like a real emperor: agnitum quendam Vitalianum,
quem si norat ambigitur, Latine salute data blande produxit eumque
porrecta dextera saviatus omnibus hinc inde attonitis.
In his dramatic adlocutio (XXVI, 7, 16) Procopius forsook the
servile and flattering promises of the dignitates and the huge rewards
(XXVI, 6, 16) and desperate claims of his relationship with the Constantinian dynasty (XXVI, 6, 18) which he had emphasized in his previous speeches. Here, at Mydgum, the usurper stood before the troops
not as a pale apparition (XXVI, 6, 15) or a mimica cavillatio (XXVI, 6,
15), but as a real emperor and a true leader who incites the soldiers to
fight bravely. Procopius in the high moral tone of his adlocutio invoked
the fidelity of the Roman soldiers and their oath confirmed by religious
rites (XXVI, 7, 16): en, […] cana Romanorum exercituum fides et religionibus firmis iuramenta constricta!.55 Let us explain that in these
Having heard about Procopius’ revolt, Valens was driven to despair. The emperor
decided to discontinue his journey to Antioch and return to Constantinople by way of
Galatia (Gallograecia) in order to face Procopius and the rebels. Valens sent forward
the two legions, that is the Iovii and Victores; these legions met the usurper and his
rebellious troops at Mygdum. As for Procopius’ army, it consisted of corrupted soldiers
and desperados (ex vulgari faece nonnulli desperatione consiliisque ductantibus caecis
– XXVI, 7, 7).
55
In this statement Ammianus’ reference (cana Romanorum exercituum fides) to the
first book of the Aeneid, lines 291-293, is clear – cf. Verg., Aen. I, 291-293: aspera tum
54
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words (at the very beginning of his speech) the usurper referred to the
pledge of allegiance which the soldiers had formerly sworn to Julian
(XXI, 5, 7-11)56 and by this reference insisted that they were bound to
follow him, Procopius, Julian’s true kinsman. It is noteworthy that in
this way the usurper turns the tables on Valens to whom all legionaries
were actually bound to be loyal at that time, although some of them had
taken part in Julian’s Persian campaign. But considering that Julian was
dead and Valens was the legitimate emperor, the pledge of allegiance
sworn to the former by the soldiers many years before, was no longer
valid at the time of Procopius’ usurpation; what is more, the oath sworn
to Julian did not oblige the soldiers to follow the usurper (even if he really was a relative of the dead emperor).
In the next part of his speech Procopius raises a considerable rhetorical question57 (XXVI, 7, 16): placet, fortissimi viri, pro ignotis tot
suorum consurrexisse mucrones, utque Pannonius degener labefactans
cuncta et proterens imperio, quod ne votis quidem concipere ausus est
umquam, potiatur, ingemiscere nos vestris nostrisque vulneribus. Let
us draw attention to Procopius’ attitude towards the legitimate emperor
and turning the tables on him. In his bombastic and impudent question
Procopius calls Valens a degenerated Pannonian (Pannonius degener)
and pictures him as a Pannonian upstart and the real usurper who
breaks the peace and order in the commonwealth (labefactans cuncta),
positis mitescent saecula bellis / cana Fides et Vesta, Remo cum fratre Quirinus / iura
dabunt.
56
The soldiers swore an oath of allegiance to Julian after his proclamation in Lutetia Parisiorum when he decided to fight with the legitimate emperor Constantius II
(XXI, 5, 7-11): ad quae vos ex more fidentium ducum iuramento, quaeso, concordiam
spondete mansuram et fidam operam mihi navaturo sedulam et sollicitam […]. iussique
universi in eius nomen iurare sollemniter gladiis cervicibus suis admotis sub exsecrationibus diris verbis iuravere conceptis omnes pro eo casus, quoad vitam profuderint, si
necessitas adegerit, perlaturos. quae secuti rectores omnesque principis proximi fidem
simili religione firmarunt.
57
According to M.-A. Marié (1984: 84), the whole phrase up to vulneribus is a
rhetorical question which contains a proposition that must be rejected by the audience
(placet […] tot suorum consurrexisse mucrones […] ingemiscere nos vestris nostrisque
vulneribus), and which is followed by a preferable alternative introduced by the phrase
quin potius (quin potius sequimini culminis summi prosapiam) ‒ cf. also den Boeft et
al. 2008: 208.
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
tramples everything (proterens) and wields imperial power, although –
according to Procopius – he should not even have dared to dream about
becoming emperor (imperio, quod ne votis quidem concipere ausus est
umquam). In these insulting remarks the usurper impudently ascribed
to Valens all the rebellious intentions and actions which he, Procopius,
had actually undertaken himself. In addition to this, at the high-flown
end of his adlocutio (XXVI, 7, 16) the usurper presented himself to
the soldiers proudly as the true representative of the imperial dynasty
(culminis summi prosapia) and the rightful heir to the purple (maiestas
avita). He also incited (XXVI, 7, 16) all soldiers to follow him (quin
potius sequimini culminis summi prosapiam) and said in justification of
this adhortatio that his fight against Valens was legitimate (arma iustissima commovens) and aimed not to seize imperial power and properties of the citizens illegitimately (non ut rapiat aliena), but to restore
his own imperial authority and the right to the throne to which he had
been entitled by birth as a close relative of the imperial family (sed
in integrum maiestatis avitae restituatur). It is worthy of mention that
the cunning statements of the arma iustissima and maiestatem avitam
restituere were used by Procopius to hide his real, illegitimate and rebellious actions and to conceal his true role as the usurpator indebitae
potestatis (XXVI, 7, 12) which he had actually played over the course
of the entire affair.
Thanks to this authoritative and deceitful speech delivered like
a real emperor, Procopius managed to win over the troops who had been
sent by Valens to stifle the rebellion (Valens […] agmina duo praeire
iussisset, quibus nomina sunt Iovii atque Victores, castra perduellium
irrupturos ‒ XXVI, 7, 13-14). The soldiers lowered the banners in token of surrender and instead of raising the barritus (a scream which
denotes the start of a battle) and starting the real armed clash, they
proclaimed Procopius emperor. Then the soldiers, who were brought
into regular order, surrendered to Procopius and accompanied him in
agreement to the military camp (XXVI, 7, 17): Hac sermonis placiditate molliti omnes, qui acriter venerant pugnaturi, signorum apicibus
aquilisque summissis descivere libentes ad eum et pro terrifico fremitu,
quem barbari dicunt barritum, nuncupatum imperatorem stipatumque
de more consentientes in unum reduxerunt ad castra. Here, in the camp,
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the legionaries ‒ according to the military rite ‒ swore by Jupiter that
the newly hailed emperor would be invincible (XXVI, 7, 17): testati
more militiae Iovem invictum Procopium fore.58 Let us note that Procopius’ proclamation, which came as a consequence of his adlocutio,
was made by the soldiers according to the ritu militari, although ‒ in
fact ‒ it was provoked by the usurper and proved to be the prelude to
a disastrous rebellion. It is noteworthy that in Ammianus’ account of
this proclamation there are many topical elements which usually occur
in the descriptions of speeches made by emperors to their troops (these
elements are closely connected with the ritus militaris) that is stipatus (the well-arranged formation of soldiers who accompanied a newly
proclaimed emperor to the quarters after his speech to the troops), consensus militum (the unanimity of soldiers), nuncupatum imperatorem59
(praise for the emperor) and testati [Iovem] (the soldiers’ oath sworn on
a deity or God).
Procopius, the invincible emperor,60 was not able to persevere any
longer in his new and difficult role as a great ruler and leader. The myth
of the great emperor Procopius was dispelled as unexpectedly as it had
In XXI, 5, 9 a similar statement refers to Julian, who was acclaimed after his
speech as a great and invincible leader and a fortunate conqueror of people and kings:
magnum elatumque ducem et, ut experta est, fortunatum domitorem gentium appellans
et regum. As for the oath (in XXVI, 7, 17 sworn by Iupiter), it is important that it was
sworn whereas ‒ according to Jones (1963: 24-25) ‒ one should not attach too much
importance to the choice of god or deity by whom an oath was sworn. The scholar
explains that soldiers conformed more or less passively to the prevailing religion of the
state whatever it might be for the time being (that is to the Christian or pagan religion).
For example, the reception of Constantius’ speech (XVII, 13, 34) was comparable to
that of Procopius, although Constantius’ soldiers called the Christian God (a nameless
deum in Ammianus) to witness, because the emperor was a Christian: Post hunc dicendi
finem contio omnis alacrior solito aucta spe potiorum et lucri vocibus festis in laudes
imperatoris assurgens deumque ex usu testata non posse Constantium vinci tentoria
repetit laeta.
59
As for the element of praise for the newly proclaimed emperor in this passage
(XXVI, 7, 17), it is either implied in the phrase nuncupatum imperatorem or just omitted by Ammianus.
60
Procopius was successful in his military operations: he managed to capture Thrace, Bithynia, Cyzicus and Hellespontus.
58
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HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
arisen. During the decisive battle at Nacolia61 the usurper was suddenly
betrayed and left by his magister peditum Agilo and those supporters
who had been loyal to him until then (Agilo rem excursu prodidit repentino eumque secuti complures iam pila quatientes et gladios ‒ XXVI,
9, 7).62 It is noticeable that the situation at Nacolia is quite the opposite
to that at Mygdum. Just as some time ago at the Sangarios river the
soldiers had left the rightful emperor and had gone over to Procopius
(XXVI, 7, 17), so now, at Nacolia the legionaries betrayed the usurper
and with determination took sides with Valens reversing their shields,
constituting a token of desertion (ad imperatorem transeunt cum vexillis scuta perversa gestantes, quod defectionis signum est apertissimum
‒ XXVI, 9, 7).
At that very moment Procopius realized that his part of being a great
and invincible emperor, which he had tried to play after his successful
proclamation, had just come to an end (XXVI, 9, 8). The usurper was terrified – he understood that he could count neither on the help nor favour
of his soldiers and that they had left him to his fate. Procopius took to
flight (versus in pedes) and with his two comrades-in-arms Florentius
The battle at Nacolia (in Phrygia) probably took place on May 26th, 366 AD – a
day before the execution of the usurper.
62
Procopius’ army was divided into two parts: the first one, which was under Procopius’ command, had fought with Valens in Bithynia (Agilo was magister peditum in this
part of troops) and the second one, which was under the command of Procopius’ magister equitum Gomoarius, operated in Lydia. Ammianus says (XXVI, 9, 6) that some
time before the encounter at Nacolia Procopius was betrayed by his magister equitum
Gomoarius and that part of the rebel army which was under his command. After this
success Valens moved into Phrygia (XXVI, 9, 7); here, at Nacolia the decisive battle
took place during which the usurper was betrayed by Agilo and the rest of the rebel
army. Zosimos, like Ammianus, mentions that Agilo betrayed Procopius at Nacolia and
took sides with Valens (NH, IV, 8, 3); the historian also implies (NH, IV, 8, 1-2) that
Gomoarius’ betrayal during the battle at Thyatira in Lydia (the date of this clash is not
certain) was a decisive factor which contributed to Procopius’ defeat. Philostorgius
(HE, IX, 5), like Zosimos, relates that Procopius’ defeat in the battle with Valens was
due to the treachery of his two generals, that is Gomoarios (Gomoarius) and Agelius
(Agilo). As for Agilo – cf. PLRE I, Agilo (he was magister peditum under Procopius
– cf. den Boeft et al. 2008: 188). As for Gomoarius – cf. PLRE I, Gomoarius + A. Lippold, Gnomon, 46 [1974] 270 (Gomoarius was magister equitum under Procopius – cf.
den Boeft et al. 2008: 188).
61
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and Barchalba,63 went into hiding in remote places in the woods (XXVI,
9, 8): Hoc praeter spem omnium viso Procopius salutis intercluso suffragio versus in pedes circumiectorum nemorum secreta petebat et montium Florentio sequente et Barchalba tribuno. Just as before the start of
his bold undertaking he took shelter in remote and secret places lying in
ambush like a beast ready to pounce and catch his prey (XXVI, 6, 10) so
now, following his defeat, he returned to his safe hiding-place exhausted
and unable to keep his prey (that is imperial power: quod capi – XXVI,
6, 10) any longer. His role as an invincible leader was most certainly
over. Here, at night (maiore itaque noctis parte consumpta ‒ XXVI, 9,
9), in his remote hiding-place Procopius was transformed from the invincible emperor who had captured sizeable swaths of the Imperium following his unanimous proclamation by the soldiers at Mygdum, into a helpless and desperate man who felt sorry for himself in the presence of two
false friends (XXVI, 9, 9). One may easily draw an analogy between the
usurper’s demeanour at the very beginning (XXVI, 6, 12) and at the end
of his enterprise (XXVI, 9, 9): just as before the start of the coup, Procopius was depressed and worn out by long-lasting miseries (aerumnis
diuturnis attritus – XXVI, 6, 12), so at the end of his rebellion he was
out of spirits, helpless in the face of his own fortuna luctuosa et gravis
and filled with anxiety (consiliorum inops Procopius, ut in arduis necessitatibus solet, cum Fortuna expostulabat luctuosa et gravi mersusque
multiformibus curis ‒ XXVI, 9, 9). Procopius’ fears did not prove to be
vain. Florentius and Barchalba suddenly captured the helpless usurper,
bound him and delivered him to Valens, who immediately ordered his
opponent’s beheading (subito a comitibus suis artius vinctus relato iam
63
As for Florentius – cf. PLRE I, Florentius 4; as for Barchalba – cf. PLRE I, Barchalba. Philostorgius gives a different account of this event (HE, IX, 5): After having
been defeated by the emperor, Procopius retreated to Nicea; on the next day he was
seized and delivered to Valens by Florentius who was in charge of the garrison of this
city. Philostorgius’ version, however, is rather improbable, because Ammianus mentions that Marcellus was the commander of the garrison in Nicaea when he heard about
the treachery of Procopius’ troops and the execution of the usurper (XXVI, 10, 1); as
for Marcellus – cf. PLRE I, Marcellus 5.
286
HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
die ductus ad castra imperatori offertur […] statimque abscisa cervice
‒ XXVI, 9, 9).64
Ammianus mentions that in the last minutes of his life the wouldbe emperor was silent and numb (reticens atque defixus – XXVI, 9, 9).
In this way the tragicomedy of Procopius was to come full circle. Let
us recall that his tragicomic enterprise was started in Constantinople
in the quarters when the pale Procopius appeared to the soldiers like
an apparition summoned from the underworld (Stetit atque subtabidus
– excitum putares ab inferis ‒ XXVI, 6, 15); it was to be continued
when the terrified usurper encircled by the dumbfounded mob (cunctis
stupore defixis – XXVI, 6, 18) stood on the tribunal unable to speak for
some time (implicatior ad loquendum diu tacitus – XXVI, 6, 18) and
staring death in the face (procliviorem viam ad mortem […] existimans
advenisse – XXVI, 6, 18). The end of this tragicomedy was similar to
its beginning: after having been defeated and seized at Nacolia, Procopius reticens atque defixus faced the real emperor Valens whom he
had called a degenerated Pannonian (Pannonius degener) not so long
before (XXVI, 7, 16).
One may notice that Procopius’ image, in spite of his transformation at Mygdum, is generally coherent with the course of the entire
usurpation and links two contrasting parts of Ammianus’ diptych. So at
the end of the whole affair in the presence of Valens (XXVI, 9, 9) just as
at the very beginning in the quarters (XXVI, 6, 15) and on the tribunal
(XXVI, 6, 18), Procopius is reticens atque defixus as if he was transformed again into the pale and silent apparition (subtabidus – XXVI,
6, 15; tacitus – XXVI, 6, 18; reticens – XXVI, 9, 9) which was to walk
a downward path towards death (proclivior via ad mortem – XXVI, 6,
18) and come back to the underworld from which he had been summoned for a moment (excitus ab inferis – XXVI, 6, 15). Paradoxically,
this ridiculous novator (XXVI, 10, 15), in spite of his temporary transformation from an odd creature into a real emperor, was able to develop
Procopius was executed on May 27th, 366 AD. As for his execution, Philostorgius,
like Ammianus, says (HE IX, 5) that Procopius was beheaded. Zosimos (NH IV, 8, 4)
explains that the usurper was killed (but he makes no mention of how it was done). As
for Ammianus, he does not concentrate on the tragic aspect of Procopius’ death, but
underlines the fact that the disruption of the established order has finished.
64
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AAnnAnAnna M
his thoughtless undertaking from a ludicrous local affair into a dangerous state rebellion; moreover, he caused Valens, having heard about the
revolt, fall prey to sudden despair and was so dispirited that he wanted
to discard his imperial attire (augustos amictus abicere – XXVI, 7, 13)
as if it was a heavy burden to him (gravis sarcina – XXVI, 7, 13):
atrocitate nuntii Valens perculsus iamque revertens per Gallograeciam
auditis apud Constantinopolim gestis diffidenter incedebat et trepide
ac repentino pavore vias providendi turbante eo usque desponderat
animum, ut augustos amictus abicere tamquam gravem sarcinam cogitaret. And this seems to be the most intriguing aspect of Procopius’
image in Ammianus.
*
Lastly, let us add that Procopius, in spite of his theatrical creations
and the striking transformation at Mygdum, has one immutable feature
in the two contrasting parts of his usurpation. The historian consistently
pictures Procopius as a victim of his own hybris (arrogant pride), an
important character defect, which influences the usurper’s undertaking
from the very beginning and finally determines its failure (Blockley
1975: 61, 172). Procopius is full of excessive ambitions by nature (altius anhelabat – XXVI, 6, 1), so in the first part of Ammianus’ diptych
he makes an audacious attempt to start his ridiculous affair (hybris:
facinus audacissimum – XXVI, 6, 12) and in the second part, after the
capture of Cyzicus (Hoc Marte Cyzico reserata ‒ XXVI, 8, 11), he is
elated by his successes and ignores the fact (hybris) that his fortune
can change and, in consequence, he can easily run out of luck (XXVI,
8, 13): Ea victoria ultra homines sese Procopius efferens et ignorans,
quod quivis beatus versa rota Fortunae ante vesperum potest esse
miserrimus. Ammianus clearly indicates that the usurper, who seems
to be unaware of this simple practical truth, will soon be punished for
his hybris (versa rota Fortunae – XXVI, 8, 13) – after his defeat at
Nacolia Procopius loses the part of a real emperor (XXVI, 9, 8-9) and
transforms into the pale and silent apparition (XXVI, 9, 9) which stares
death in the face at the end of its enterprise (imperatori offertur reticens atque defixus statimque abscisa cervice – XXVI, 9, 9; the second
part of the diptych) just as he did at the start of it (atrocem mortem
288
HE COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE EMPEROR – PROCOPIUS IN THE RES GESTAE…
clementiorem ratus malis – XXVI, 6, 12; procliviorem viam ad mortem […] existimans advenisse – XXVI, 6, 18; the first part of the diptych). By introducing hybris into the explanation of Procopius’ failure,
Ammianus lifts the whole action from the political level to the moral
one. Thanks to his narrative art, which consists in making theatrical
and metaphorical creations of the usurper and the picturesque scenes in
which he acts, the historian shows this important moral lesson in a rich,
literary light. In joining these literary images by this moral message
and founding them on historical facts, Ammianus creates an impressive
and coherent picture of the usurpation and its leader Procopius in both
parts of his diptych.
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Alföldi A., 1935, ‘Insignien und Tracht der römischer Kaiser’, “Mitteilungen
des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts (Römische Abteilung)” 50, pp.
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Charles Delvoye, Brussels, pp. 299-312.
Barry W. D., 1996, ‘Roof tiles and urban violence in the ancient world’, “Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies” 37, pp. 55-74.
Beacham R. S., 1991, The Roman theatre and its audience, London.
Blockley R. C., 1975, Ammianus Marcellinus: A study of his historiography
and political thought, Brussels.
Boeft J. den, Drijvers J. W., Hengst D. den, Teitler H. C. (eds.), 2007, Ammianus after Julian: The reign of Valentinian and Valens in Books 26-31 of the
«Res gestae», Leiden.
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and historical commentary on Ammianus Marcellinus XXVI, Boston.
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Beitrag zu Ammian 26, 6, 15)’, “Jahrbuch für fränkische Landesforschung” 34/35, pp. 75-83.
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Vogt J., 1993, Upadek Rzymu, tłum. A. Łukaszewicz, Warszawa.
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Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.17
TOMASZ MOJSIK
(UNIWERSYTET W BIAŁYMSTOKU)
ARIST. RHET. 2.23.1398B AND THE CULT
OF PYTHAGORAS
SUMMARY: In the present article I would like to focus on three things: the
usefulness of Alcidamas’s fragment (cited in Arist. Rhet. 2.23.1398b) for the
procedure of establishing when the cult of poets/intellectuals began, the suitability of the terminology in scholarly papers which refer to the problem, and
the validity of the information about Pythagoras.
In conclusion it is proposed that there are no existing testimonies supporting the (weak) hypothesis that the phrase καὶ Ἰταλιῶται Πυθαγόραν featuring
in manuscripts of Rhetoric is authentic. Few late testimonies are either too
vague or they indicate only Crotone and Metapontum, and not Greeks from
the Italian peninsula in general. Such a perspective is not typical (to say the
least) and at most reveals that the mention of respecting Pythagoras by those
Greeks is not to be trusted fully. In the form as we know it, the phrase does not
harmonize neither with the times of Alcidamas nor with the passage quoted by
Aristotle.
KEYWORDS: pythagoreanism, Pythagoras, cult of intellectuals, heroic cult,
cult of the Muses, Alcidamas, mouseion, memory
The mention of Alcidamas by Aristotle in Book II of his Rhetoric
(1398b) is considered the earliest record of the cult of poets or intellectuals1 that was flourishing in the 4th century.2 This testimony, however,
E.g. Clay 2004: 6; Graziosi 2002: 152.
All the dates provided in the article, unless indicated otherwise, refer to the centuries BC.
1
2
293
TTomasToTomas
is neither easy to interpret nor unambiguous. And the same can be said
of the “cult of outstanding individuals”. The terms of reference that are
commonly used or proposed in monographs or studies do not contribute to the precision of scholarly description; after all, both “cult” and
“intellectual” are not only archaisms but also vague words in themselves. Still, as they encapsulate the essence of the problem, the use of
both terms has a justification.
Indeed, there are more interpretive doubts in the aforementioned
fragment about Alcidamas. Yet, in my article I would like to focus
merely on three things: the usefulness of Alcidamas’s fragment for the
procedure of establishing when the cult of poets/intellectuals began,
the suitability of the terminology in scholarly papers which refer to the
problem, and the validity of the information about Pythagoras. The second reconsideration is required both for the sake of the text analysis
and because of the very status and influence of the philosopher himself.
As it is often pointed out, the cult emerged quite early, and the proof for
such a supposition can be found in the fragment of Rhetoric.3 Moreover, the mention of Pythagoras in numerous scholarly studies and the
results of the text analyses have significantly contributed to our understanding of other phenomena in ancient Greek culture, e. g. the development of Plato’s Academy.4
Before I move on to an analysis of the fragment from Aristotle’s
Rhetoric, I would like to explain that my article has been prompted by
the ideas of two scholars: Graham Zanker (1995), who examined representations of the intellectual in antiquity, and Diskin Clay (2004), who
dealt with the cult of poets. Zanker’s work is dedicated primarily to
iconographic material, and the book’s main merit lies in its attempt to
create a diachronic picture that gives other scholars a panoramic view
of changes in the ways intellectuals were perceived in the period under
consideration. Clay’s book draws on a significantly larger number of
historical sources but offers a limited chronology and a different perspective. Despite its unquestionable assets (the amount of material it
collects and innovative analytical tools it applies), his analysis features
a few controversial elements. The category of “poets”, as Clay uses it,
3
4
294
See Boyancé 1936.
See e.g. Boyancé 1966; Huffman 2013.
ARIST. RHET. 2.23.1398B AND THE CULT OF PYTHAGORAS
is vague; his inclusion of other testimonies (not relevant to his examination) is usually left without any explanation. For example, the American researcher elaborates on relatively unknown figures (Antigonos of
Knidos), or philosophers (Arideiktes of Rhodes or Pythagoras), whom
he treats as poets. Besides, he analyses posthumous cults of individuals
who had nothing to do with poetry at all. What links them sometimes
is the cult of the Muses that would appear in these cases in funeral
contexts. One of the best known examples of that phenomenon was the
heroon described in the so-called Will of Epicteta.
It seems that the rejection of the too narrow term “poets” in favour of the much broader, and popularized by Paul Zanker, category
of “intellectuals” would be a better solution.5 Even if the use of the latter, which dates back to the late 19th century, appears risky, it is, in all
probability, the only possible one. As we know, there is no Greek word
equivalent whose meaning would cover poets, prose writers, philosophers, historians, rhetoricians and, as Todd M. Compton6 calls them,
“verbal artists”. The use of the term appears obvious for two more reasons – Greek intellectuals were versatile and did not limit their interests
to one field of intellectual reflection only (the fact that thwarts all our
efforts to pigeonhole them); what is more, these days ancient terms of
reference are either dead (e.g. sophist, logopoios, rhetor), or they have
assumed different connotations (e.g. grammatician, astrologist).
One can easily find a number of scholarly studies whose authors
(more or less deliberately and more or less successfully) resort to the
term “intellectuals”.7 It needs to be noted, however, that the category
of “intellectuals” does not fully embrace the phenomenon of the cult of
(exceptional) individuals, even in spite of its overt reference to (broadly
understood) intellectual skills and education – the Will of Epicteta or
Concluding his book, Diskin Clay (2004: 94), only once and in brackets, recognizes a possibility of using the term.
6
The simple term “poet” is often used in such a context – e.g. by Todd M. Compton
(2006) – with the proviso that it means more than the contemporary definition does.
This approach, however, is not without flaws. Compton’s explanation that in antiquity
the term “poet” used to cover a whole spectrum of meanings is only partly true and
stems from the fact that he assumed a synchronic perspective for diachronic and supra-regional examination.
7
See e.g. Vatai 1984; Zanker 1995; Haake, 2008; Geiger 2014.
5
295
TTomasToTomas
the cult of Hellenistic rulers are cases in point here. On the one hand,
in the 4th century there existed a widespread cult of exceptional individuals; on the other hand, the historical sources from the 4th and the
3rd century testify to the emergence of posthumous heroisation of ordinary individuals. Somewhere in the mid-ground between these two extremes there was a gap for the cult of individuals who were notable for
the attributes of their intellects; the cult which would assume manifold
manifestations.
Being far from attempting to describe the phenomenon or to classify it, I would like to emphasize the fact that identifying the heroised
intellectuals as a distinct group seems a sensible thing to do as they
played an important role in public and private socio-religious rituals; an
analogical procedure concerning other groups of “heroes” has yielded
interesting results.8 When compared with other groups, the category
“intellectuals” comes across as being exceptional because of its supraregional character and the outstanding persistence of certain cults. Finally, the use and usefulness of the term do not change the fact that it
is poets who constitute the most characteristic and the largest group
within the phenomenon under examination.
By the same token, the use of the term “cult” needs to be adjusted
to the specificity of the examined period, which, inevitably, is detrimental to the religious aspect of the whole research. As Clay shows,
the peculiarity of the phenomenon is clarified by Aristotle in yet another fragment of the Rhetoric (1.5.1361a. 34-36) (Clay 2004: 6-7).
The philosopher explicates the meaning of τιμῆ and, simultaneously,
hints at various forms the reverence for outstanding individuals can assume. This term, very imprecise as it seems to us, is most commonly
applied to describe the genuine cult of heroised intellectuals.9 As Aristotle shows, the idea of the cult of intellectuals can encompass certain
simple forms of recognition – from gifts, prohedria and statues to traditional religious gestures (grave sacrifices and festivals). What Aristotle
Among other distinct groups of heroes there were athletes (Bohringer 1979; Fontenrose 1968), enemies (Visser 1982), and heroines (Larson 1995) See also Wypustek
2013.
9
On the use of τιμή, see Kimmel-Clauzet 2013: 192-198.
8
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ARIST. RHET. 2.23.1398B AND THE CULT OF PYTHAGORAS
omits but what should be added is the phenomenon of collecting souvenirs of notable individuals, which started to develop in the 4th century.10
The multifaceted phenomenon that Aristotle describes can be better
understood if we relate it to the category of remembrance of outstanding individuals and their achievements. The term appears in some of the
sources, as mnemeion or mneme, in the fragments describing objects,
places or actions connected with commemoration of a poet, a philosopher or an orator. And while not all of the gestures towards intellectuals
require religious setting (or, at least, this is not obvious in available
sources11), each gesture of this kind stems from the desire to pay tribute
to and to “upgrade” the achievements of the given individual, which, in
turn, means recalling the category of remembrance. Of course, a commendation given to a polis or a group of individuals that dedicate their
efforts to such a honorification is of equal importance.
The vagueness of all possible terms of reference as well as the discrepancy between contemporary theories and ancient vocabulary partly
account for our difficulty with an adequate assessment and analysis of
the phenomenon. They also constitute a significant obstacle to establishing the beginnings of the cult of poets/intellectuals. I would like
to emphasize the fact that some scholars researching the field tend to
estimate that the phenomenon began in the late 6th or early 5th century.
Certain studies, however, e. g. Pierre Boyancé’s (on the cult of Pythagoras), Natasha Bershadsky’s (2011 - on the cult of Hesiod) or Diskin
Clay’s (on the cult of Archilochus) seem to lose their validity because
they lack, among other things, a thorough examination of the social and
cultural background against which such cults could have emerged. The
sources they all draw upon cannot be considered in a vacuum or separated from the historical context in which they originated and which
they reflected. The emergence of the heroic cult of poets/intellectuals must have been related to certain social and cultural needs, which
it could be a good idea to elaborate on. Admittedly, the phenomenon
See Hermippos FGrH 1026 F84 – Mojsik (forthcoming); on collecting in antiquity see Gahtan, Pegazzano 2014.
11
There is nothing sacred about an act of collecting things; however, an act of placing them later in a shrine as votive offerings does make them sacred. See Hermippos
FGrH 1026 F84.
10
297
TTomasToTomas
should not be taken for granted as obvious and easy to comprehend
– the poets earned the status of “classics” later. Therefore, the growth
and popularity of the cult ought to be explained in a broad context of
changes in Greek culture from the 5th to the 4th century.
Zanker’s analyses of the iconographic representations of intellectuals are interesting examples of drawing dissimilar conclusions from
sources that are analogical to ones used by the scholars mentioned
above. Let us consider how he interprets the function of the fifth-century statute of Anacreon. Zanker correctly asserts that the representation of the poet, who once was a guest at the court of Peisistratids,
could not have been an expression of honorification of him as a poet,
but, given the context in which he was represented, must have been
meant to show him as an ideal citizen (Zanker 1995: 30-31). The famous epigraph of Aeschylus, which emphasizes his exceptional role
as a citizen but says nothing of his poetic achievements, is yet another
manifestation of this tendency.12 The problem of honouring Sophocles
with the title of Dexion is perhaps the most telling example of examination that ignores the cultural context. By referring to this well-known
case,13 Clay does not mention the fact that the cult does not commemorate Sophocles as a poet. As we know from the sources, the act of honouring Sophocles was connected with sacral rituals he performed and
with his role as a citizen of the polis, not as a tragedian.
Summing up the aforementioned remarks, there is sufficient evidence for the claim that honorific gestures concerning the “poets” in
the 5th century did not necessarily refer to their poetic skills. There is
no source available that would unequivocally suggest a different explanation. Besides, this confirms all that we know about the status
of the poet, or, more generally, the intellectual in Archaic and Classical Greece.14 The attitude to them changed gradually, and its effects
were observable in the late 5th and the early 4th century; in addition,
I put aside the question of the epigraph’s authenticity and the date of its composition as irrelevant (for this see Sommerstein 2010) because, in my opinion, the text in its
known form still expresses the ideas that are typical of the 5th century.
13
See Connolly 1998.
14
See e.g. Slings 1989; Ford 2009.
12
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ARIST. RHET. 2.23.1398B AND THE CULT OF PYTHAGORAS
the changing attitudes paralleled other cultural phenomena that were
emerging at the time.
The earliest available testimony that possibly hints at the existence
of such a cult comes from the 4th century and concerns Gorgias’s student, Alcidamas.15 Its significance can be seen, for example, in Clay’s
work, where the fragment under consideration was a crucial part of the
whole argument and a proof of the validity of dating cults of poets to
earlier times, particularly the cult of Archilochus (Clay 2004: 6-7, 9395). That is why this evidence should come under closer scrutiny. The
quotation from Alcidamas’s work that is of particular importance for
our analysis can be found in Aristotle’s Rhetoric (2.23.1398b. 10-19):16
καὶ ὡς Ἀλκιδάμας, ὅτι πάντες τοὺς σοφοὺς τιμῶσιν· “Πάριοι γοῦν
Ἀρχίλοχον καίπερ βλάσφημον ὄντα τετιμήκασι, καὶ Χῖοι Ὅμηρον οὐκ
ὄντα πολίτην,17 καὶ Μυτιληναῖοι Σαπφῶ καίπερ γυναῖκα οὖσαν, καὶ
Λακεδαιμόνιοι Χίλωνα καὶ τῶν γερόντων ἐποίησαν ἥκιστα φιλόλογοι
ὄντες, καὶ Ἰταλιῶται Πυθαγόραν, καὶ Λαμψακηνοὶ Ἀναξαγόραν ξένον
ὄντα ἔθαψαν καὶ τιμῶσι ἔτι καὶ νῦν, ὅτι18 Ἀθηναῖοι τοῖς Σόλωνος νόμοις
χρησάμενοι εὐδαιμόνησαν καὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι τοῖς Λυκούργου, καὶ
Θήβησιν ἅμα οἱ προστάται φιλόσοφοι ἐγένοντο καὶ εὐδαιμόνησεν ἡ
πόλις”.
And [another example is] as Alcidamas [argued], that all honor the
wise; at least, Parians honored Archilochus despite the nasty things
he said [about them]; and Chians Homer, though he was not a citizen;
and Mytilenaeans Sappho, although a woman; and Lacedaimonians,
though least fond of literature, made Chilon a member of their council
of elders, and the Italiotes honored Pythagoras and the Lampsacenes
buried Anaxagoras, though a foreigner, and even now still honor him.
And Athenians were prosperous while using the laws of Solon, and
Lacedaimonians when [using] those of Lycurgus; and at Thebes, at the
15
Diskin Clay consistently dates Alcidamas’s evidence to the late 5th century, which
is rather improbable. On other relevant pieces of evidence concerning the problem see:
Mojsik (forthcoming).
16
Alcidamas fr. 10-11 Avezzu = fr. 3-4 Muir.
17
Surprisingly, in this version Homer is not a citizen of Chios, and this is the most
often quoted place of his origin.
18
I am drawing on R. Kassel’s edition (1976); some of the manuscripts feature καὶ,
Iohanes Diaconus – καὶ ὅτι, Vahlen proposes a lacuna.
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TTomasToTomas
time the leaders became philosophers, the city prospered [trans. G. A.
Kennedy].
The majority of scholars are of the opinion that the fragment Aristotle quotes, or at least the part of it until Anaxagoras is mentioned,
comes from Alcidamas’s work entitled Mouseion, which features a famous argument between Homer and Hesiod.19 It appears that even if
the work focused on both legendary figures, it could have included
more or less elaborated profiles of other poets and philosophers. A part
of the information – irrespective of the fact whether it was authored by
Alcidamas, or whether Alcidamas drew upon some earlier sources –
was undoubtedly fictitious.
While moving on to the analysis of the fragment, it has to be remarked that we do not know where the quotation from Alcidamas’s
work ends and Aristotle’s text begins. The further part, i.e. one relating
to Solon and lawgivers, is treated differently, i.e. as a separate fragment,
by editors of Alcidamas.20 Rudolf Kassel is inclined to the opinion that
the fragment on lawgivers is Aristotle’s addendum and not a part of
Alcidamas’s text, which – as a matter of fact – is clearly indicated in his
edition of Aristotle’s work. So we are unable to verify the accuracy of
the quote as well as the terms Aristotle uses. Despite the fact that it is
highly probable that the quote was borrowed from Mouseion, nothing
is known of the context in which Alcidamas mentioned forms of honorification and respect towards other poets and philosophers.21 It is usually assumed that this could have been an element of an introduction to
the dispute between Homer and Hesiod and to a discussion on sophia.
However, when it comes to the examination of the cult of poets/
intellectuals the key interpretive problem is the ambiguity of the verb
τιμάω (πάντες τοὺς σοφοὺς τιμῶσιν; τετιμήκασι; Ἀναξαγόραν ξένον
ὄντα ἔθαψαν καὶ τιμῶσι) used in the fragment. Obviously, the word
names an activity of honouring somebody in a way, but this way of
See Richardson 1981.
Fr. 11 Avezzu = fr. 4 Muir.
21
Aristotle himself does not help here either: his quotation from Alcidamas is included in the part dedicated to syllogisms and models of argument, and in this particular
excerpt he provides examples of inductive reasoning.
19
20
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ARIST. RHET. 2.23.1398B AND THE CULT OF PYTHAGORAS
expressing respect may assume various forms: from simple, individual
or group, gestures to formal, group or public, initiatives. Aristotle himself makes a similar point in the aforementioned fragment from Book
I of Rhetoric (1.5.1361a. 34-36):
μέρη δὲ τιμῆς θυσίαι, μνῆμαι ἐν μέτροις καὶ ἄνευ μέτρων, γέρα,
τεμένη, προεδρίαι, τάφοι, εἰκόνες, τροφαὶ δημόσιαι – The components
of honor are sacrifices [made to the benefactor after death], memorial
inscriptions in verse or prose, receipt of special awards, grants of land,
front seats at festivals, burial at the public expense, statues, free food in
the state dining room [trans. G. A. Kennedy].
In the above source as well as in Alcidamas’s fragment, forms of
honouring connected with posthumous sacral gestures (θυσίαι; τεμένη;
τάφοι) are interwoven with ones reserved for the living and connected with the act of strengthening the social prestige of an individual
(προεδρίαι; τροφαὶ δημόσιαι). This, undoubtedly, demonstrates that
as early as in the second half of the 4th century Greeks perceived this
set of gestures as a continuum and did not distinguish clearly between
forms of honouring. The complexity or multifaceted nature of the problem can be seen also when we take into consideration statues (or other
iconic representations), which may commemorate both the dead and
the living, and which do not necessarily express any cults at all. To
illustrate the case in point, we can again refer to the statue of Anacreon on the Acropolis of Athens (Paus. 1.25.1). In the context of the
cult of poets, the statue may, theoretically, be taken as the proof of the
early emergence of the phenomenon of that kind. However, as Zanker
showed, the significance of the statue cannot be considered outside the
context of the democratic Athens in the mid-5th century, irrespective
of the exact location of the sculpture, or without taking into account
the poet’s reputation (in Athens) as one who associated himself with
tyrants (Zanker 1995: 22-31).
Bearing in mind the aforementioned interpretive restrictions, it
seems that the information included in Alcidamas’s fragment should
be treated with caution. It is not clear whether the honours towards
Archilochus, Sappho and Homer that Alcidamas recalls are connected,
let us say, with the cult at a grave, or whether they refer to something
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TTomasToTomas
much simpler, e.g. erecting a statue of the given poet within the area of
polis, or including his works in mousikoi agones.22 I would like to point
to the fact that the existing text does not provide any detailed information on how the three poets were honoured. Such a piece of information
accompanies the mention of granting Chilon honorary membership of
the Gerousia, and the reference to Anaxagoras’s grave in Lampsakos.
As for Chilon, rather than heroised, he was respected for his wisdom.
When it comes to Anaxagoras and Lampsakos, where the philosopher
appeared shortly before his death, there is no sufficient proof of the
claim that from the very beginning the cult at his grave was connected
with the attributes of his intellect.23
Generally speaking, the heroic cult at a grave is (also from the historical point of view) an ultimate form of honouring the poet/intellectual, and that is why the phenomena described in Alcidamas’s fragment
cannot be subsumed under one, narrow, and arbitrarily selected category. What is more, any analysis of the issue should not overlook the
regional diversity prevailing at the time in the region as well as changes
in the chronological perspective. What can be called the “cult”, for
want of a better term, of intellectuals should, perhaps, be perceived as
a dynamic and multifaceted phenomenon that tended to assume different forms in different social and cultural contexts.
Moreover, as I have already indicated, the most important aspect
of this phenomenon is not the very act of making the poet/intellectual
a hero or revering his grave, but memory; and this category, as one of
the crucial aspects of Greek social life, should play a key role in the
analysis of the cult of intellectuals. Such a perspective makes it possible to consider numerous cultural phenomena together, re-consider
seemingly marginal gestures, and re-direct our attention from outstanding poets/intellectuals to communities and individuals responsible for
deciding who and how should be honoured.
Bearing in mind the aforementioned reservations concerning
the interpretation of Alcidamas’s fragment, let me now focus on the
On statues of Homer – see Zanker 1995: passim; on the presence of Archilochus’s
works on contests (the presence of Homer being more than obvious) – see Heracl. 22 B
42 and Pl. Ion 531a.
23
See DL 2.3.14-15; Ael. VH 8.19 – indeed, the cult assumed such a character later.
22
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ARIST. RHET. 2.23.1398B AND THE CULT OF PYTHAGORAS
information related to Pythagoras, which I deliberately omitted in the
first part of my article. The analysis of this fragment seems to be paramount importance as the information it conveys is often repeated in
translations and scholarly papers, even despite the fact that its authenticity is doubtful. And conclusions drawn on its basis, hinting at an
early date of the cult of the philosopher, are rather controversial.24
In his article published in 1861, Charles Thurot pointed out that the
phrase καὶ Ἰταλιῶται Πυθαγόραν may be not authentic (Thurot 1861:
47). He remarked that the lack of a verb and any additional information
(as it is with other people referred to) is more than noticeable. Thurot’s
analysis was taken up and developed by Rudolf Kassel during his editorial work on Aristotle’s Rhetoric – he finally decided that the fragment
was not part of the quotation from Alcidamas’s work but was added
later (Kassel 1971: 139-140). According to Kassel, in all probability
the phrase was initially a note on the manuscript margin (Randnotiz),
which, at a certain stage of the book’s dissemination, was incorporated
into the main text. As he also observed, there is no information whatsoever about an obstacle that could have prevented Pythagoras from
obtaining the honour, but somehow he did not (as the previous phrases
with participles γυναῖκα οὖσαν, οὐκ ὄντα πολίτην, καίπερ βλάσφημον
ὄντα would make us expect). Of course, the existence of a lacuna in
this particular fragment could be assumed, but for Kassel such an assumption would be artificial and detrimental to any further examination of the text.
Kassel draws our attention to the fact that from the moment Chilon
is mentioned in the text the whole structure of the passage changes,
namely there appears an additional explanation concerning ways of
honouring – Chilon becomes a member of the Gerousia, and Anaxagoras is granted a public funeral. The information about the obstacles, i.e.
that Spartans are not φιλόλογοι, and Anaxagoras is a stranger in Lampsakos, is sustained. However, as for the mention of Pythagoras, there is
nothing about obstacles or ways of honouring.
Moreover, the change in the structure of the fragment from the
mention of Chilon is connected with the change of the predicate, from
τιμῶσιν to ἐποίησαν, which strengthens the impression of the phrase
See e.g. Boyancé 1936, Clay 2004.
24
303
TTomasToTomas
καὶ Ἰταλιῶται Πυθαγόραν being haphazardly inserted in this part of
the sentence. As Thurot indicated, the lack of a verb is obvious, and
ἐποίησαν is not possible.
So if Kassel’s judgment is correct, the problem with the interpretation of the fragment that is crucial for the examination of the cult
of poets/intellectuals cannot be limited to the aforementioned reservations concerning the way of quoting, its scope, terminology and lack
of the original context for Alcidamas’s fragment, but should take into
consideration the fact that the handwritten corpus of traditional texts is
“contaminated” by later addenda. Of course, there is a little chance that
there is a lacuna in the text, which would account for the impression
that it was taken out of the original context. That is why syntax and
structural analyses of Alcidamas’s fragment should be supplemented
by additional clarifications.
First of all, the information about honouring Pythagoras differs
from other examples of this kind in other respects, too. All the cases
illustrate the act of honouring an individual by political communities:
Paros, Chios, Lesbos, Sparta and Lampsakos. In the case of Pythagoras, it is a more “vague” group: Ἰταλιῶται, i.e. Greeks in Italy.25 This,
in turn, would suggest that the alleged cult developed simultaneously
in numerous poleis – a virtual impossibility at the time and in the given
form. Equally mistaken would be an assumption that the fragment refers to a cult at a grave, as Boyancé asserted, because such a cult would
have to be located on a particular site (Boyancé 1936: 233-247). It cannot be ruled out that the use of Ἰταλιῶται is a simplification, and that
it names a kind of respect (good remembrance) manifested by Italian
Greeks towards Pythagoras. Still, it is rather problematic to reconcile
this information with other testimonies to the cult and the grave in
Metapontum/Croton, or to build up on its basis a theory about the 5thcentury origin of the cult of the philosopher.
To be able to properly assess the hypothesis of the early origin of
the phenomenon, we need to briefly review well-known testimonies to
the cult of Pythagoras, or testimonies that are interpreted as confirming
the hypothesis. As I have already mentioned, this is important also in
the context of relations between representations of Pythagoras, a model
See Hdt 4.15; Th. 6.44.
25
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ARIST. RHET. 2.23.1398B AND THE CULT OF PYTHAGORAS
of Pythagorean society, and the emerging Academy as well as the cult
of Plato in the 4th century.
Indeed, also in this case the Pythagorean tradition is as entangled
as the Gordian knot. Allegedly, a certain testimony concerning the cult
of Pythagoras comes from Marcus Junianus Justinus’s epitome of the
Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus (20.4):
Pythagoras autem cum annos XX Crotone egisset, Metapontum emigravit
ibique decessit; cuius tanta admiratio fuit, ut ex domo eius templum
facerent eumque pro deo colerent.
Pythagoras, after living twenty years at Crotona, removed to
Metapontum, where he died; and such was the admiration of the people
for his character, that they made a temple of his house, and worshipped
him as a god [trans. J. S. Watson].
The above testimony signals the presence of the philosopher’s cult
in Metapontum in the 1st century. The only problem here would be the
exact identification of the grave site. Croton, a possible location of the
house dedicated to gods, is equally often mentioned in sources.26 Even
if we recall the testimony of Cicero, who visited Metapontum and saw
the site of the philosopher’s death, any final adjudication seems impossible.27 In this particular case translation heavily depends on interpretation as the phrase sedes et locus may refer both to a grave or a site.28
Undoubtedly, in the 1st century the site in Metapontum, where Pythagoras either died, or had a house, or a grave, was commonly identified.
This, however, can hardly be reconciled with another early tradition,
dating back to Dicaearchus of Messana, suggesting that Pythagoras
See Tim. FGrH 566 F 133 [Porph. VP 4]; DL 8.15 = Favorinus frg. 73 Barigazzi.
Cic. de finibus 5.2.4: Ego autem tibi, Piso, assentior usu hoc venire, ut acrius aliquanto et attentius de claris viris locorum admonitu cogitemus. Scis enim me quodam
tempore Metapontum venisse tecum neque ad hospitem ante devertisse, quam Pythagorae ipsum illum locum, ubi vitam ediderat, sedemque viderim. Hoc autem tempore, etsi
multa in omni parte Athenarum sunt in ipsis locis indicia summorum virorum, tamen
ego illa moveor exhedra.
28
See e.g. Vallet 1974. In this passage Cicero wanted to indicate sites that evoke
remembrance of a given person – hence the reference to Pythagoras.
26
27
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TTomasToTomas
died in Metapontum in a shrine of the Muses after 40 days of fasting.29
The only problem is that shrines to the Muses, mentioned in the biographies of Porphyry and Iamblichus and connected rather with a visit to
Crotone, do not seem an original element of biographical tradition and,
apparently, were added later.30
So we are not sure neither where Pythagoras died (Crotone?, Metapontum?) nor how he died. Although the analogical uncertainty pertains to the philosopher’s grave, one, in fact, was identified in Metapontum during the times of Cicero. There are speculations that the
philosopher’s house was turned into a shrine (to Demeter), but there is
some disagreement about the exact location of the building. In all probability, the above-mentioned tradition is a blend of different versions of
events with fictitious elements.
It could, theoretically, be argued, as Valerius Maximus (8.15) does,
that the consecrated house was the site remembering Pythagoras,31 but
such a general sentence has only a symbolic value and should be treated
as a late literary interpretation.
In conclusion, it can be argued that conclusive evidence of the cult
of Pythagoras in Metapontum or Crotone cannot be provided. Even if
there are some 4th-century testimonies concerning the philosopher (especially Dicearchus and Timaeus), none of them imply the existence
of Pythagoras’s grave or the cult of him. This, however, does not mean
that Greek towns in the Italian peninsula did not cultivate the remembrance of the Pythagoreans and the founder of the society. Yet, this remembrance did not refer to all poleis because the Pythagoreans were
not present in each of them. Secondly, at the time the remembrance had
not assumed the form of a heroic cult (yet). Thirdly, bearing in mind the
29
Dicaearch. fr. 41 Mirhady = DL VIII 40: φησὶ δὲ Δικαίαρχος τὸν Πυθαγόραν
ἀποθανεῖν καταφυγόντα εἰς τὸ ἐν Μεταποντίῳ ἱερὸν τῶν Μουσῶν, τετταράκοντα
ἡμέρας ἀσιτήσαντα; cf. Porph. VP 57.
30
See Mojsik 2011, 50-65. According to Boyancé’s hypothesis, after the philosopher’s death the cult of the Muses was linked with the heroic cult (Boyancé 1936: 233247). See also Provenza 2013.
31
Val. Max. 8.15: enixo Crotoniatae studio ab eo petierunt ut senatum ipsorum, qui
mille hominum numero constabat, consiliis suis uti pateretur, opulentissimaque ciuitas
~ tam frequentem uenerati post mortem domum Cereris sacrarium fecerunt, quoadque
illa urbs uiguit, et dea in hominis memoria et homo in deae religione cultus est.
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ARIST. RHET. 2.23.1398B AND THE CULT OF PYTHAGORAS
circumstances surrounding the fall of the Pythagorean school, political
activities (rather than philosophical views) of the disciples would be
a key element for sustaining social remembrance of the group. Their
philosophical views might have become important later, e.g. in the 4th
century, when they became confronted with ideas propagated by the
already developed prestigious school of Plato.
All the above remarks lead to the conclusion that there are no existing testimonies supporting the (weak) hypothesis that the phrase καὶ
Ἰταλιῶται Πυθαγόραν featuring in manuscripts of Rhetoric is authentic. Few late testimonies are either too vague or they indicate only Crotone and Metapontum, and not Greeks from the Italian peninsula in
general. Such a perspective is not typical (to say the least) and at most
reveals that the mention of respecting Pythagoras by those Greeks is
not to be trusted fully. In the form as we know it, the phrase does not
harmonize neither with the period of Alcidamas nor with the passage
quoted by Aristotle.
Finally, even though it is difficult to prove the existence of the cult
of Pythagoras in the Italian peninsula before the 1st century, it is possible to speculate that a “cult” of such a kind existed in the 4th century
on Samos. This can be implied, for example, from Duris of Samos’s
remark about a raising of the philosopher’s statue by his son, Arimnestos.32 In an analogical context we can locate B. Freyer-Schauenburg’s
analysis of the 4th-century relief (showing a man and female figures,
probably the Muses) that suggests the possibility of the existence of the
heroon of Pythagoras on Samos (Freyer-Schauenburg 1992).
On the basis of the above deliberations I want to draw a set of
conclusions:
– for numerous reasons Alcidamas’s testimony cannot be treated as an
unequivocal proof of the existence of the cult of poets/intellectuals in
the 5th century;
– the words καὶ Ἰταλιῶται Πυθαγόραν from the existing manuscripts
are not part of the original Rhetoric but an addendum;
– that is why the passage under consideration cannot be used as a primary argument for the early dating of the cult of Pythagoras.
Duris FGrHist 76 F 22-23 – see Zhmud 2006: 63.
32
307
TTomasToTomas
Consequently, late testimonies to forms of commemorating the philosopher need to be regarded in an utterly different context as simply
indicating a cult or ways of honouring during the Hellenistic era.
Admittedly, the lack of unequivocal testimonies originating from
the 5th century does not mean that the cult of intellectuals must have
emerged in the 4th century. In fact, this lack points to the insufficiency
of arguments for accepting such a thesis. As it seems, the development
of the phenomenon could not be homogenous in the whole Greek world
because of the political fragmentation and cultural differences, which
were inevitable. It is therefore possible that not only did the cultivation
of the dead because of their intellectual abilities emerge around the 5th
century, but that in some regions of the Greek world it started earlier.33
It might have assumed such forms that defy all our attempts to classify
or universalize the phenomenon.
The development of the cult could also have been stimulated by the
biographical tradition that was just emerging in the 4th century.34 Early
stages of this tradition can be found in the surviving fragments of Alcidamas’s works, particularly in his Mouseion. In fact, other aspects of
the phenomenon analysed here can also be examined in relation to the
daughters of Mnemosyne: e.g. it is not accidental that the goddesses appear in the context of the cult at a grave of poets (Archilocheion on Paros) or ordinary citizens (the heroon of Epicteta’s family on Thasos).35
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Zanker P., 1995, The Mask of Socrates: The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity, Berkeley.
Zhmud L., 2006, Pythagoras and the Early Pythagoreans, Oxford.
310
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.18
JAKUB PIGOŃ
(INSTITUTE OF CLASSICAL, MEDITERRANEAN
AND ORIENTAL STUDIES
UNIVERSITY OF WROCŁAW)
SOME INTELLECTUALS IN TACITUS
AND PLINY THE YOUNGER
ABSTRACT: The paper provides a (far from exhaustive) overview of references found in Tacitus’ historical works (Annales, Historiae, Agricola) and in
Pliny the Younger’s Epistulae to people who may be defined as “intellectuals”,
notably to orators, historians and philosophers. The historian Tacitus is, in
general terms, somewhat uninterested in those people in their capacity as men
of letters; his focus is, rather, on their involvement in Roman politics (but he
makes some interesting side-comments on their intellectual activity). Pliny, on
the other hand, is more inclined to emphasize their mental pursuits and, also,
to praise their achievements. However, a closer reading of passages devoted
to such intellectuals in the Epistulae reveals that he uses them to promote his
own image as an ideal Roman, devoted not only to studia but also to officia
publica and officia amicorum, and an upholder of humanitas.
KEYWORDS: Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, intellectuals, Roman Empire, historiography, epistolography
Were there any intellectuals at Rome? An answer to this question
depends, to be sure, on how we define the word. If intellectuals are
those for whom purely mental pursuits, with no external purpose, are
the very core of their lives, we will probably be inclined to answer
in the negative. Or, even if we are able to name some Romans for
whom this definition applies, it will soon become clear that these are
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just isolated cases and it is unwise to speak about “the intellectuals” of
Rome in terms of a professional group or a social class.1
Yet, on the other hand, mental pursuits undoubtedly were an important part of Roman life. Rich evidence from just one period of Rome’s
history has been collected and discussed by Elizabeth Rawson in her
fine book on Intellectual life in the late Roman republic. Two chapters of
this book are actually entitled Intellectuals in Rome; the first deals with
grammarians, rhetors and philosophers, while the second with those
specializing in other subjects such as medicine, law, historiography or
antiquarian matters (Rawson 1985: 66-99). However, two prominent
examples from this period will be enough to show our problem. First,
Terentius Varro. If any Roman of this generation deserves the name of
a true intellectual it is, beyond any doubt, him. But Varro had other priorities apart from his books; if he had not, he would never have fought,
in his late sixties,2 in the civil war under Pompey’s orders. And, more
importantly, his books were not l’art pour l’art; they were written with
a purpose – namely, to uphold traditional Roman values and customs
against the social and political forces of his day which he believed were
threatening them. Second, Sallust. Any reader of the opening chapters
of his first historical monograph is struck by the author’s insistence on
his task – writing history rather than taking part in political life – being
justifiable and even noble. But we should bear in mind that, when he
was writing these chapters, Sallust was just over 40; for a senator of
his age to retire from public affairs was in fact deemed highly unusual
– and called for explanation. Particularly telling are his words “non
fuit consilium socordia atque desidia bonum otium conterere” (Cat. 4,
1), because bad sluggishness and good leisure are here put in sharp
contrast. Sallust is pleading his case so he fails to mention that, in the
See Bardon 1971. At the beginning of his paper he says: “L’intellectuele existe:
nous constatons sa présence dès la plus ancienne période républicaine” (p. 95), but, towards its end, he is much more sceptical: “Le véritable intellectuel, celui qui distingue
l’exercise de l’esprit et l’utilitarisme de la culture, est un déclassé; et même, existe-til?” (p. 106).
2
Compare Atticus (six years his younger), who, when the civil war broke out, “usus
est aetatis vacatione neque se quoquam movit ex urbe” (Nep. Att. 7, 1). Of course we
should remember that Atticus was an equestrian and that, throughout his life, he abstained from party politics.
1
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Rome of his days, otium was not necessarily regarded as bonum; on the
contrary, it was quite often looked with suspicion.3 Otium litterarium
was allowed, but only when certain conditions were met; Sallust’s case
(retiring from public affairs for good in the prime of life) was something entirely different. And here we come to the heart of the matter:
otium is, from the semantic point of view, roughly tantamount to Greek
scolh; – but for the Greeks, at least from the time of Aristotle onwards,
leisure devoted to intellectual pursuits was hardly suspicious, and did
not demand any excuse (Stocks 1936).
Thus it would be better to adopt a wider definition of intellectuals
as those who engage in intellectual activity, but not necessarily for its
own sake, and not necessarily regarding this activity as the only or even
central aim of their lives. Almost all “intellectuals” whom we meet in
Tacitus and Pliny the Younger fit only this broad and, admittedly, not
particularly clear-cut definition. And we should never forget that the
modern concept of the intellectual, owing its origin mainly to the social changes of the nineteenth-century industrial societies, cannot be
applied to ancient Rome or to antiquity in general.
I.
In this section I will limit myself to Tacitus’ two major works,
the Historiae and Annales, although it would seem natural to discuss first and foremost his Dialogus de oratoribus, a work featuring
four intellectuals (Curiatius Maternus, Marcus Aper, Iulius Secundus
and Valerius Messala), talking about intellectual matters (the decline
of eloquence and its reasons) and citing many examples of both contemporary and earlier homines litterati, mainly orators but also poets
At least by more traditionally minded Romans. Cato the Elder’s opinion, expressed at the beginning of his Origines, is significant: “clarorum hominum atque
magnorum non minus otii quam negotii rationem exstare oportere” (fr. 2 Peter, quoted
approvingly by Cic. Planc. 66). In a letter to Cato the Younger Cicero says that for both
of them philosophy is closely associated with public activity: “nos philosophiam veram
illam et antiquam, quae quibusdam otii esse ac desidiae videretur, in forum atque in rem
publicam atque in ipsam aciem paene deduximus” (Cic. Fam. 15, 4, 16; note that otium
is here linked with desidia). For a history of the Roman concept of otium, see André
1966.
3
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and philosophers. The Dialogus is Tacitus’ most controversial piece of
writing,4 but its many conflicting interpretations notwithstanding, one
thing seems uncontested, the historian’s keen interest in oratory and
its representatives. Of course Tacitus was himself an orator and, as we
may judge from Pliny the Younger’s letters, he was quite successful in
this field.5 In his historical works he not only makes his characters deliver speeches (which he himself has composed – this was, to be sure,
a standard practice in ancient historiography), but he also passes judgements on individual orators qua orators, discussing not what they said
but how they said it. The best-known example is perhaps a short digression on the emperors as public speakers, introduced after mentioning
Seneca as Nero’s ghost-writer (Ann. 13, 3, 2),6 but such judgements
are found also in reference to less important figures. Tacitus’ estimate
of Quintus Haterius’ (suff. 5 BC) manner of speaking is particularly
interesting (Ann. 4, 61):
Fine anni [AD 26] excessere insignes viri Asinius Agrippa, claris
maioribus quam vetustis vitaque non degener, et Q. Haterius, familia
senatoria, eloquentiae, quoad vixit, celebratae: monimenta ingeni eius
haud perinde retinentur. Scilicet impetu magis quam cura vigebat; utque
aliorum meditatio et labor in posterum valescit, sic Haterii canorum illud
et profluens cum ipso simul exstinctum est.
This is an obituary notice, and Tacitus’ characteristic practice in
such notices is to put two or three deceased men together, for comparison and contrast (usually, as in this case, only implied).7 It is clear
from the historian’s description that Haterius relied too much upon his
For a recent book-length study of the work, see van den Berg 2014.
Plin. Epist. 2, 1, 6 (“laudator eloquentissimus”); 2, 11, 17 (“respondit Cornelius
Tacitus eloquentissime”); 4, 13, 10 (“ex copia studiosorum, quae ad te ex admiratione
ingenii tui convenit”).
6
“Adnotabant seniores […] primum ex iis, qui rerum potiti essent, Neronem alienae facundiae eguisse”. We may compare Suetonius’ biographical rubric on his emperors’ genus eloquendi. Interestingly, Tacitus starts his overview with Julius Caesar,
not with Augustus.
7
Here, Tacitus fails to mention that the two were related: Haterius married a daughter of Marcus Agrippa, Asinius’ grandfather. For Tacitean obituaries, see Syme 1958;
Pomeroy 1991: 192-225.
4
5
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SOME INTELLECTUALS IN TACITUS AND PLINY THE YOUNGER
ingenium and neglected ars (or cura);8 this was enough to secure him
renown during his lifetime, but not enough to immortalize him. The
use of tenses in this passage deserves attention, especially the contrast
between the present valescit and the perfect exstinctum est (which picks
up excessere from the beginning of the chapter). The sentence “monimenta […] haud […] retinentur” is, in a sense, paradoxical: since they
are not preserved, they are no monimenta at all.9 The noun calls to mind
Horace’s exegi monumentum; we may note that the “dum formula” of
this poem10 is matched in Tacitus by “quoad vixit”: Haterius, evidently,
could not have said about himself “non omnis moriar”.
But there is more to this obituary than meets the eye. Tacitus’ comment on Asinius Agrippa, “vitaque non degener”, deserves attention11
– and invites a comparison to Haterius. Yes, the historian compares the
two men’s lineage (“claris maioribus quam vetustis” ~ “familia senatoria”), but there is nothing here about Haterius’ moral standards. Yet
Tacitus does not have to be explicit. In the preceding book he made
a castigatory comment on Haterius’ flattering motion during a senatorial debate on the bestowal of tribunicia potestas on the emperor’s son:
“at Q. Haterius cum eius diei senatus consulta aureis litteris figenda in
See two contrasting estimates of poets, “Ennius ingenio maximus, arte rudis” (Ov.
Trist. 2, 423) and “scribebat carmina maiore cura quam ingenio” (on Silius Italicus,
Plin. Epist. 3, 7, 5). Tacitus’ appraisal of Haterius’ oratorical style closely resembles the
judgement on it by Seneca the Elder, Contr. 4 praef., 7-11 (velocitas, impetus, flueret).
“Canorum illud et profluens” is an echo of Cicero, De orat. 3, 28 (the favourable appraisal of Gaius Carbo); for an interpretation of this allusion, see Formicola 2013: 217.
See also, for Tacitus’ use in this chapter of Callimachean aesthetic vocabulary, Martin,
Woodman 1989: 231-232.
9
Tacitus uses monimentum/monumentum mainly in reference to buildings and similar objects, but there are four instances of it being used of literary works. See Shannon
2012 (esp. 752-753).
10
On which see Pöschl 1991: 257, n. 14 (“die Solange-als-Formel”). Cf. Critias fr.
8 Gentili–Prato (ap. Athen. 13, 600 d-e); Posidippus 122 Austin–Bastianini; Verg. Aen.
9, 446-449; Ov. Am. 1, 15, 9-30.
11
Compare Tacitus’ comment on the brave death of Sempronius Gracchus (a descendant of the famous Gracchi and a disgraceful lover of Augustus’ daughter Julia):
“constantia mortis haud indignus Sempronio nomine: vita degeneraverat”. The family
of Asinius Agrippa was not so noble (he was a grandson of Marcus Agrippa and Asinius
Pollio, both novi homines), but his honest life matched the (relative) claritas of his lineage. Unlike Haterius (as Tacitus subtly implies).
8
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curia censuisset, deridiculo fuit, senex foedissimae adulationis tantum
infamia usurus” (3, 57, 2). The noun infamia reappears a few chapters
later, in the famous programmatic statement about Tacitus’ principles
of selecting his senatorial material: “exsequi sententias haud institui
nisi insignes per honestum aut notabili dedecore, quod praecipuum munus annalium reor, ne virtutes sileantur utque pravis dictis factisque ex
posteritate et infamia metus sit” (3, 65, 1). Thus, if we combine these
three passages, it becomes clear that there was something in Haterius
which outlived him – his infamia. We may say, paraphrasing Tacitus’
formulation in the obituary, “infamia in posterum valescit”; note that
posteritas is invoked at 3, 65, 1 (and the Annales themselves, written
some ninety years after Haterius’ death, bear witness to the durability
of his disgrace).12
Thus Haterius fares badly on both counts, in his oratory and in his
moral standards. Another senatorial orator, Domitius Afer (suff. AD
39), receives a slightly better assessment, both when he is mentioned
for the first time (Ann. 4, 52, 4: “prosperiore eloquentiae quam morum
fama fuit”) and when he is given an obituary notice in the Neronian
books of the Annales. Tacitus, once again, uses his technique of double
obituary (14, 19):
Sequuntur virorum inlustrium mortes, Domitii Afri et M. Servilii, qui
summis honoribus et multa eloquentia viguerant, ille orando causas,
Servilius diu foro, mox tradendis rebus Romanis celebris et elegantia
vitae, quam clariorem effecit, ut par ingenio, ita morum diversus.
It is highly probable that, when Tacitus was writing this obituary,
he had in mind his first mention of Afer. Note not only the contrasting
pair eloquentia (or ingenium)13 and mores, but also the use of gerund/
gerund­ive forms (in two instances preceded by mox) in both passages:
“mox capessendis accusationibus aut reos tutando” in Book 4 and
For “history as deterrent”, see Luce 1991 (esp. 2911-2914).
Ingenium figures earlier in the passage from Book 4 (“Afer primoribus oratorum
additus, divulgato ingenio et secuta adseveratione Caesaris, qua suo iure disertum eum
appellavit”). Domitius Afer’s rhetorical abilities are extolled by Quintilian, who calls
him “longe omnium, quos mihi cognoscere contigit, summum oratorem” (Inst. 12, 11,
3; cf. 5, 7, 7; 10, 1, 118 and passim). Afer is mentioned twice in the Dialogus de oratoribus (13, 3; 15, 3).
12
13
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SOME INTELLECTUALS IN TACITUS AND PLINY THE YOUNGER
“orando causas” (of Afer) as well as “mox tradendis rebus Romanis
celebris” (of Servilius) in Book 14. In this obituary, unlike in that discussed above, the two men put together are overtly compared to each
other; the contrast between them is finely underscored by the chiasmus
and variatio of the concluding epigram. Relevant to our purpose is the
fact that the two deceased are introduced as “intellectuals”. Interestingly, Servilius Nonianus (ord. AD 35) is one of a few historians who
appear in the Annales as Tacitus’ characters (and not as his sources);14
the author points to Nonianus’ evolution as a writer from oratory to
historiography (the same evolution, in fact, as in the case of Tacitus
himself) and emphasizes his elegantia vitae, which distinguishes him
sharply from Afer. It is perhaps not unwarranted to regard the Tacitean
Nonianus as the author’s own alter ego.15
Let us look at two other historians mentioned in the Annales. First,
Cremutius Cordus, the author of a contemporary history covering
(most probably) the triumviral period and the early years of Augustus. He figures prominently at the beginning of the narrative of AD
25: Tacitus says that he was accused under the charge of maiestas for
some statements in his historical work,16 he quotes a powerful speech
which Cremutius delivered in the senate, in defence of the freedom of
speech rather than of himself, and reports his suicide and the senate’s
decree that his book be burnt. The Cremutius episode in the Annales
has been discussed by many scholars (Suerbaum 1971; Cancik-Lindemaier, Cancik 1986; Moles 1998; Meier 2003) and there is no need to
dwell on it here; what I would like to point to is the theme of memoria
14
In fact, he is mentioned only here and at 6, 31, 1 (but there only as the eponymous
consul of AD 35). But he might have appeared in the lost books. On Nonianus, see
Syme 1964.
15
Cf. Syme 1958: 89: “Like the speeches and the digressions, the obituaries may
convey personal disclosures about Cornelius Tacitus, consul, orator, and historian. […]
Matched with the great Domitius Afer, Servilius Nonianus earns the primacy, an orator
who passed on from eloquence to the writing of history: equal in talent to Afer, but a
better man, and commended for grace of living”.
16
Namely for his laudatory assessment of Brutus and Cassius. But we know from
Seneca (Cons. ad Marc. 22, 4) that the real cause of the accusation was that Cremutius
had offended Sejanus “ob unum aut alterum liberius dictum”; his historical work probably figured as an official, advertised charge. Tacitus fails to mention this in order to
present Cremutius as an example of a historian who paid with his life for his opinions.
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and posteritas (already known to us from the obituary of Haterius),
which plays an important role not only in the Cremutius chapters (4,
34-35), but also in the preceding digression on historiography (4, 3233) and in the following episode on Tiberius’ reaction to the request by
the province Hispania Ulterior to erect a temple to him and Livia (4,
37-38).17 But, to limit oneself to Cremutius, he rounds off his speech
as follows (4, 35, 3): “suum cuique decus posteritas rependit; nec de­
runt, si damnatio ingruit, qui non modo Cassii et Bruti, sed etiam mei
meminerint”. Thus “they will remember me” are the last words spoken
by Cremutius in his life (his ultima verba – of course composed, as
the whole speech, by Tacitus) and the truthfulness of this assertion is
confirmed by the very fact that the story of Cremutius’ trial and death is
told in the Annales, some ninety years afterwards. But Tacitus corroborates Cremutius’ claim also by means of an authorial comment in which
he denounces the futile efforts of those in power to crush intellectual
achievements. He notes that, the senate’s decree notwithstanding, Cremutius’ books survived (“sed manserunt, occultati et editi”) and then
proceeds to a more general reflection (4, 35, 5):
Quo magis socordiam eorum inridere libet, qui praesenti potentia credunt
exstingui posse etiam sequentis aevi memoriam. Nam contra punitis
ingeniis gliscit auctoritas, neque aliud externi reges aut qui eadem
saevitia usi sunt nisi dedecus sibi atque illis gloriam peperere.
This is a powerful statement, and Tacitus is seldom as explicit as
here in exposing imperial power (note “qui eadem saevitia usi sunt”,
coupled with “externi reges”) and vindicating the autonomy of intellect.18 The contrasting pairs of concepts play an important role in this
passage; in particular dedecus / gloria (stressed by the chiasmus and
even by the clausula heroica19), but also potentia / auctoritas; let us
On this episode, see (apart from Cancik-Lindemaier, Cancik 1986) Pelling 2010.
For a similar sentiment, cf. Agr. 2, 2 (on the book-burning under Domitian). Cf.
also Vell. 2, 66, 5 (on Cicero proscribed by Antony); Sen. Cons. ad Marc. 1, 4 (on Cremutius and his persecutors).
19
The clausula heroica is condemned by rhetoricians (Quint. Inst. 9, 4, 102) and
normally avoided by writers, but quite often used by Tacitus, especially in the Annales;
see Brakman 1925 (esp. 181-182).
17
18
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remember that potentia in Tacitus usually connotes oppression and
illegitimacy.
Tacitus’ second historian is Bruttedius Niger – and he appears in
a much less favourable light than Cremutius. Remarkably, both are
mentioned in a similar context (maiestas trials). However, Bruttedius
does not figure as an innocent defendant, but as an accuser. Three senators jointly accused a former proconsul of Asia – Mamercus Scaurus,
Iunius Otho and Bruttedius. Tacitus speaks in a castigatory manner of
all three, but his criticism of Mamercus and Otho is more harsh.20 Bruttedius comes as the last (Ann. 3, 66, 4):
Bruttedium artibus honestis copiosum et, si rectum iter pergeret, ad
clarissima quaeque iturum festinatio exstimulabat, dum aequalis, dein
superiores, postremo suasmet ipse spes antire parat; quod multos etiam
bonos pessum dedit, qui spretis quae tarda cum securitate, praematura vel
cum exitio properant.
In contrast to Iunius Otho, Bruttedius’ “professional” interests are
not explicitly stated, but “artibus honestis copiosum” evidently points
to some kind of intellectual activity. We know from Seneca the Elder
that he was a rhetorician and that he also wrote a historical work, of
which only one fragment survives.21 It seems probable that some sympathy towards Bruttedius which is noticeable in this passage comes
from his being a historian, Tacitus’ much less famous colleague. Of
course, this sympathy is countered by what Tacitus says about Bruttedius’ uncontrollable ambition – but our author’s vocabulary is curiously restrained, with no trace of obprobrium, infamis, impudens, propolluere. The last words most probably hint at Bruttedius’ violent death
in the aftermath of the fall of Sejanus; Tacitus’ narrative of these events
Mamercus: “proavum suum obprobrium maiorum Mamercus infami opera dehonestabat” (once again the theme of “descendants (not) living up to their ancestors”).
Otho: “Iunio Othoni litterarium ludum exercere vetus ars fuit; mox Seiani potentia
senator obscura initia impudentibus ausis propolluebat”. Note that Tacitus’ vocabulary
in his assessment of Bruttedius picks up words used by him to characterize Mamercus
and Otho: dehonestabat ~ honestis; ars ~ artibus.
21
Sen. Contr. 2, 1, 35-36 (rhetorical declamations); Suas. 6, 20-21 (historical work).
The fragment (preserved by Seneca) deals with the death of Cicero. For an analysis, see
Pigoń (forthcoming).
20
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is lost, but it may be supplemented by a passage from Juvenal’s tenth
satire (10, 81-85).
For Tacitus, as for other ancient historians, history is about politics
and military matters. Cultural events, intellectual or artistic achievements do not interest him – or at least are not regarded important
enough to merit a mention in his work.22 Thus literary texts are reported
only when they have become historically relevant, as for instance Cremutius’ Annales or Mamercus Scaurus’ tragedy, some lines of which
were interpreted as containing criticism of Tiberius and used in court
as evidence against the author (Ann. 6, 29, 3).23 For this reason Tacitus
is reticent about the literary output of Petronius (Ann. 16, 18-19) or
Curtius Rufus (Ann. 11, 20-21)24 and gives no obituary of Ovid or even
his fellow historian Livy (both died AD 17). Bearing this in mind, we
have to appreciate his comment on the aftermath of Pomponius Secundus’ (suff. 44) military action against the Chatti in AD 50: “decretusque
Pomponio triumphalis honos, modica pars famae eius apud posteros, in
quis carminum gloria praecellit” (Ann. 12, 28, 2). From the traditional
Roman standpoint, the comment is highly paradoxical, because carmina were no match at all for triumphalis honos. Horace’s presentation
in Carmina 3, 30 of his poetic achievement in terms of a military victory and triumph (deduxisse, the laurel wreath, perhaps also the Capitoline Hill) was something quite bold – and Horace was a “professional”
Velleius Paterculus’ inclusion of cultural items in his history is rather exceptional;
see Starr 1981: 168-169, 173.
23
Ann. 6, 29, 3: “detuleratque argumentum tragoediae a Scauro scriptae, additis
versibus qui in Tiberium flecterentur”. But even here Tacitus does not deem it import­
ant to inform his readers about the subject of the tragedy, although, as we may judge
from Cassius Dio (58, 24, 4), this information was clearly in his sources. Dio says that
the play’s title was Atreus, that it contained a passage advising one of the subjects to
endure the folly of the monarch, and that Tiberius himself came to the conclusion that
the tragedy was, in fact, about himself (in Tacitus, this interpretation is suggested to the
emperor by Mamercus’ accuser). See, for the question of detecting/inventing political
allusions in literary works of the imperial period, Bartsch 1994: 63-97 (esp. 86-87 for
Mamercus’ Atreus).
24
Admittedly, it is possible that they are not identical with the authors of (respectively) the Satyrica and Historia Alexandri Magni, although this seems less probable
than the opposing option. Be that as it may, it is wrong to adduce the silence of Tacitus
as an argument against the identification.
22
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poet who could not boast about any real military victories.25 Here, the
phrase carminum gloria seems particularly striking, given the fact that
gloria was traditionally associated with political and above all military
sphere (Knoche 1934). But perhaps a darker interpretation of the passage is justified. Tacitus may imply that, under the emperors, it is almost impossible for Roman aristocrats to gain glory in war, fighting the
enemies of Rome. What remains are areas which do not fall under the
imperial sway, such as writing poetry.26 Interestingly, the poetic activity
of Pomponius is mentioned earlier in the Annales in connection with
Claudius’ edicts of AD 47, rebuking “theatralem populi lasciviam”;
Tacitus explains that people gathered in the theatre hurled insults at
Pomponius and high-born women and adds à propos of the former, “is
carmina scaenae dabat” (11, 13, 1). The audience, evidently, did not
enjoy the performance.27
A few words, at the end of this section, about philosophers. A good
starting point may be a passage from Tacitus’ biography of his fatherin-law about Agricola’s early youth (Agr. 4, 3):
Memoria teneo solitum ipsum narrare se prima in iuventa studium
philosophiae acrius, ultra quam concessum Romano ac senatori, hausisse,
For triumphal undertones in Hor. Carm. 3, 30, see Borzsák 1964 (esp. 145); also,
Pöschl 1991: 260 (the laurel wreath). For this kind of imagery, cf. Verg. Georg. 3, 8-18;
Prop. 3, 1, 9-12.
26
Cf. Corbulo’s reaction to Claudius’ decision not to wage war on the Chauci: “beatos quondam duces Romanos”, as well as Tacitus’ own sarcastic comment: “insigne
tamen triumphi indulsit Caesar, quamvis bellum negavisset” (Ann. 11, 20). Pliny emphasizes the need to prolong one’s fame by means of remarkable achievements: “si non
datur factis (nam horum materia in aliena manu), certe studiis proferamus” (Epist. 3, 7,
14).
27
Quintilian’s opinion of Pomponius Secundus as a tragic poet is very high, but he
adds that he was criticized (“eorum quos viderim longe princeps Pomponius Secundus,
quem senes parum tragicum putabant, eruditione ac nitore praestare confitebantur”,
Inst. 10, 1, 98). It may be doubted whether such aesthetic considerations were at play
in the audience’s response to the performance of AD 47. Pomponius’ biography was
written by Pliny the Elder (Plin. Epist. 3, 5, 3) and it is likely that he contributed to the
consular’s fame as a poet (at Nat. 7, 80 he refers to him as consularis poeta and at 14,
56 he speaks about his biography as vita Pomponii Secundi vatis). Apart from the two
passages cited above, Tacitus mentions him also twice in the Tiberian books where
he notes his multa morum elegantia (5, 8, 2), a quality closely resembling Nonianus’
elegantia vitae.
25
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ni prudentia matris incensum ac flagrantem animum coercuisset. Scilicet
sublime et erectum ingenium pulchritudinem ac speciem magnae
excelsaeque gloriae vehementius quam caute appetebat. Mox mitigavit
ratio et aetas, retinuitque (quod est dificillimum), ex sapientia modum.
Tacitus’ usually takes care to avoid Greek loanwords and, as a rule,
he uses sapientia and sapiens for, respectively, philosophia and philo­
sophus.28 Here however, he does not shun the “un-Roman” noun – and
this has its point. Young Agricola’s interest was in pure, undiluted
“Greek-style” philosophy, not in Roman “wisdom”. This was, as rightly
noticed by his mother, unacceptable. Philosophia had to become sapientia (cf. “retinuitque […] ex sapientia modum”). And note that, apart
from philosophia and sapientia, we have in this passage also prudentia,
a distinctly un-philosophic counterpart of “wisdom” (although prudentia/fronh;siv is also one of the four virtues of Greek philosophy).
This passage epitomizes, in a sense, Tacitus’ attitude to philosophy and philosophers. Yes, it may be good, but you have to be on your
guard, and you must know the limits. Some did not. For instance, the
Stoic Musonius Rufus, who in December 69, during the last episode of
the civil war between the Flavians and Vitellius, attempted to deliver
a sermon to the soldiers on the advantages of peace and the evils of
war: “coeptabatque permixtus manipulis, bona pacis ac belli discrimina
disserens, armatos monere” (Hist. 3, 81, 1). It is not difficult to imagine
the soldiers’ reaction; eventually, under the threat of physical assault,
Musonius gave up “his untimely wisdom” (“omisisset intempestivam
sapientiam”).29 There is a marked contrast between the historian’s disdainful treatment of Musonius and what he says in the preceding chapter about Arulenus Rusticus, who as a pupil and admirer of Thrasea
Paetus was also close to the teachings of the Porch. But Arulenus (who
was wounded by the soldiers, a fact which elicits Tacitus’ angry comment) came there not on his own initiative, but as a representative of the
senate – he was then praetor, and a member of the senatorial embassy
Apart from the Dialogus, philosophia occurs twice (Agr. 4, 3 and Hist. 3, 81, 1 –
on which passage see next note) and philosophus once (Ann. 13, 42, 4).
29
Earlier, the historian speaks about Musonius’ emulation of “studium philosophiae
et placita Stoicorum”; also Stoicus is very rare in his works (here and Ann. 14, 57, 3; 16,
32, 3). On the Musonius episode, see Bellardi 1974: 131-132; Williams 2012: 222-231.
28
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SOME INTELLECTUALS IN TACITUS AND PLINY THE YOUNGER
to the Flavian troops. Musonius, on the other hand, was of equestrian
status, and he mingled with the embassy (“miscuerat se legatis”), so he
was, certainly, a wrong person in a wrong place at a wrong time.30
Tacitus is usually rather sparse in his praise of historical characters. There are, however, exceptions and, in the Historiae, the most
noticeable exception is his portrait of Helvidius Priscus (Hist. 4, 5-6).
The historian does not leave unsaid his philosophical interests but,
significantly, he does not use the “suspicious” words philosophia or
Stoicus.31 More importantly, he explains why Helvidius started to study
philosophy in the first place: “non, ut plerique, ut nomine magnifico
segne otium velaret, sed quo firmior adversus fortuita rem publicam
capesseret”. This was, for the more traditionally-minded among the
Romans, the only admissible reason for engaging in philosophical
pursuits; we may refer to Cicero’s words from his letter to Cato the
Younger (Fam. 15, 4, 16; quoted in note 3 above). Helvidius Priscus
was, like other members of his political group, especially his father-inlaw Thrasea Paetus (condemned to death under Nero in AD 66), close
to Stoicism, but certainly not a “professional” philosopher; and the circle’s political opinions and activity, although to some extent influenced
by the teachings of the Stoa, were certainly not the direct result of their
philosophical creed.32
Tacitus mentions also, in both the Historiae and Annales, a “professional” philosopher, but the picture of him is the very opposite of what
he says about Helvidius. Even Musonius comes off much better. The
man is called Egnatius Celer and he made his appearance as a witness
for the prosecution during the maiestas trial of his aristocratic patron
Barea Soranus in AD 66 (Ann. 16, 32, 3):
See Williams 2012: 227: “Musonius’ counterpart […] illustrates that Stoics who
behave as senators or envoys instead of as Stoic martyrs certainly can serve as honorable citizens”.
31
But he makes it clear, by means of a periphrasis, that Helvidius was a follower of
Stoicism.
32
Thus it is wrong to use the label “the Stoic opposition” (as does, e.g., Carlon 2009:
21 and passim). The best treatment of the question remains that of Wirszubski (1950:
138-149). As he writes about Thrasea, “he acted primarily as a courageous and upright
Roman senator who held Stoic views, not as a Stoic philosopher who happened to be a
senator at Rome” (p. 138).
30
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Cliens hic Sorani, et tunc emptus ad opprimendum amicum, auctoritatem
Stoicae sectae praeferebat, habitu et ore ad exprimendam imaginem
honesti exercitus, ceterum animo perfidiosus subdolus, avaritiam
ac libidinem occultans; quae postquam pecunia reclusa sunt, dedit
exemplum praecavendi, quo modo fraudibus involutos aut flagitiis
commaculatos, sic specie bonarum artium falsos et amicitiae fallaces.33
Of course it would be wrong to generalize from this particular
instance and to maintain that, in the historian’s eyes, all professional
philo­sophers were wicked. Tacitus does not share the enmity towards
them of his later Greek colleague Cassius Dio, or the deep suspicion of
his putative teacher Quintilian. However, also in the Annales his message seems to be roughly the same as that evoked in the Agricola passage from which we began: “be on your guard!”.34
II.
The quest for intellectuals in Pliny the Younger is much easier –
and, for this reason, this section will be rather brief. In his correspondence he professes, again and again, his admiration for people of talent
and industry, both from the past and of his own age. As Helmut Krasser
has noticed, the phrase “claros viros colere” (used to describe Titinius
Capito’s reverential attitude towards great men, 1, 17, 3)35, may be regarded as epitomizing Pliny’s own life project (Krasser 1993: 66). Of
particular relevance to our subject are of course his “portrait letters”,
sometimes written to commemorate someone recently dead, sometimes
to recommend a minor friend to a more influential one, sometimes for
other reasons.36 Most of them are laudatory; Pliny in his letters is much
more inclined to praising people than Tacitus is in his historical works
Cf. Hist. 4, 10: the trial of Publius Celer in AD 70 for his false testimony against
Barea (with Musonius as his accuser). There is an interesting passage about Celer (not
named) in Juvenal (3, 116-118).
34
My survey of Tacitean “intellectuals” is highly selective. I have purposefully left
out the greatest egghead of them all, Seneca.
35
All references to ancient sources in this section, unless stated otherwise, are to
Pliny’s Epistulae.
36
On such letters, see Pausch 2004: 51-146.
33
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SOME INTELLECTUALS IN TACITUS AND PLINY THE YOUNGER
(apart from the Agricola).37 However, and this is the crucial issue, in almost all instances Pliny’s praise of others implies his praise of himself:
firstly, because he is so kind towards magna ingenia, so lacking any
trace of envy; secondly, because we are invited to detect similarities
between the object of the praise and the author.38
It seems appropriate to begin our short survey of intellectuals in
the Epistulae with Pliny the Elder. Apart from the Vesuvius letters (6,
16; 6, 20), he is the subject of a letter to Baebius Macer (3, 5), who
asked Pliny to compile a list of all the works written by his uncle.39
The list is given (§ 1-6), but it makes only a quarter of the whole letter. The rest is taken up by a description of the uncle’s daily routine (§
8-13), of his working habits while on holidays or on travel (§ 14-16)
and a summing-up notice about the material result of his industry (apart
from the books published and listed at the beginning), one hundred and
sixty scrolls of his electorum commentarii (§ 17). There follow some
more general reflections and a final address to Macer (§ 18-20). The
recurring theme of the letter is the Elder’s ability to make the most of
the time available to him, in spite of his many other occupations.40 This
theme is firmly introduced immediately after the book list section (§ 7):
Miraris quod tot volumina multaque in his tam scrupulosa homo
occupatus absolverit? Magis miraberis si scieris illum aliquamdiu causas
actitasse, decessisse anno sexto et quinquagensimo, medium tempus
distentum impeditumque qua officiis maximis qua amicitia principum
egisse.
There are exceptions, most notably the letters concerning Aquilius Regulus (1, 5;
2, 20; 4, 2; 4, 7; 6, 2) – although they are not “portrait letters” in the strict sense of the
word. For Pliny’s presentation of Regulus (who certainly may be called “intellectual”),
see e.g. Hoffer 1999: 55-91.
38
Cf. Krasser 1993: 68: “All das, was Plinius uns über Capito wissen läßt, gilt
gleicher­maßen���������������������������������������������������������������������
für ihn selbst und hat programmatische Geltung”. Krasser’s other example is 1, 16, a portrait of Pompeius Saturninus, an author of speeches, a historical
work, light poetry and (probably) literary letters – thus almost the same genres as those
practiced by Pliny.
39
On this letter, see Henderson 2002; Lefèvre 2009: 123-126; Gibson, Morello
2012: 115-123.
40
Henderson (2002: 270) notes that the keywords tempus and studium are used,
respectively, six and eleven times in the letter; they are juxtaposed four times.
37
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Towards the end of the letter41 Pliny observes that when one considers the amount of his uncle’s reading and writing, one may come to the
conclusion that he did not have any other duties (“nec in officiis ullis nec
in amicitia principis fuisse”); on the other hand, when one learns how
much effort he spent on study, one may conclude that he did not write or
read sufficiently enough.42 This looks, at the first sight, as a criticism of
the uncle, but the impression is of course wrong; the nephew immediately explains his point: “quid est enim quod non aut illae occupationes
impedire aut haec instantia non possit efficere?” (§ 18).
And precisely here Pliny the Younger enters the scene (§ 19):
Itaque soleo ridere cum me quidam studiosum vocant, qui si comparer
illi sum desidiosissimus. Ego autem tantum, quem partim publica partim
amicorum officia distringunt? Quis ex istis, qui tota vita litteris adsident,
collatus illi non quasi somno et inertiae deditus erubescat?
§ 18 refers back to § 7. This is made clear not only by verbal echoes (occupatus ~
occupationes; officiis maximis ~ officiis ullis; amicitia principum ~ amicitia principis;
impeditumque ~ impedire), but also by the fact that grammatical forms evoking the addressee, used for the last time at § 7 (miraberis), resume at § 18 (tibi recordanti); Macer
is absent from the sections dealing with Pliny’s daily routine and his working habits.
42
This is how I understand “rursus cum audis quid studiis laboris impenderit,
(nonne videtur tibi) nec scripsisse satis nec legisse?” For another interpretation, see
Lefèvre 2009: 125 with n. 44, who suggests that “das vor laboris überlieferte studiis
entweder zu tilgen oder etwa durch officiis zu ersetzen ist” and paraphrases the sentence
as follows: “Wenn man höre, wieviel Arbeit er in seinen Ämtern aufwendete, scheine
er dann nicht zu wenig geschrieben und gelesen zu haben?” But, if we retain the transmitted text (and there is a strong reason to retain it, since Pliny seems to refer back to
the concluding remark of the preceding section: “nam perire omne tempus arbitrabatur,
quod studiis non impenderetur”, § 16), its logic will not be upset: the author’s point is
that the man who devoted so much effort to his scholarly work (as though he had had
no other occupations) would have been expected to have achieved more – in terms of
books both written and read. But, of course, his other duties proved to be a tremendous
impediment (“quid est enim quod non aut illae occupationes impedire…”). From the
list given at the beginning of the letter we know that Pliny the Elder wrote 102 books,
thus (assuming that his first work may be dated to ca. AD 50) some three books and
a half per one year, on the average. If he had no other occupations (and of course this
“if” is here of crucial importance) this ratio would not seem particularly impressive
(compare Cicero in 46 and 45 BC or Varro’s 490 books written before he finished 77).
See also, against Lefèvre’s reading, Evenpoel 1999.
41
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SOME INTELLECTUALS IN TACITUS AND PLINY THE YOUNGER
Pliny, so it seems, could not have ended without any thought about
himself.43 Of course, he is modest (“si comparer illi”). But is he, really?
“Partim publica partim amicorum officia” is here the crucial phrase,
because it both sets the author apart from those who may devote all
their lives to studies (it is them, in fact, who are desidiosissimi) and assimilates him to his uncle (cf. “qua officiis maximis qua amicitia principum”, § 7). But the similarity, in the field of officia, is only partial.
Pliny does not have to be explicit, but the addressee (and the reader)
knows that there is an important difference between the Younger’s and
the Elder’s public responsibilities: whereas the latter was an equestrian,
the former is a senator, and has just held the consulship.44 Moreover,
amicorum officia seem to be more time-consuming than the Elder’s
friendship with Vespasian. Note that the uncle used to visit Vespasian
before dawn, then went to delegatum sibi officium, but, after coming
back home, he had still quite a large part of the day left for his studies
(§ 9). And compare this with the nephew’s complaints about the daily
grind of life in Rome in his letter to Minicius Fundanus: “officio togae
virilis interfui, sponsalia aut nuptias frequentavi, ille me ad signandum
testamentum, ille in advocationem, ille in consilium rogavit” (1, 9, 2).
Being a senior senator, the Younger simply cannot devote as much time
to intellectual pursuits as the Elder did – however much he wants to.45
Also in Book 3, there is a portrait of the poet Silius Italicus (3, 7).
As the first sentence makes clear (“modo nuntiatus est Silius Italicus
in Neapolitano suo inedia finisse vitam”), it is one of Pliny’s obituary
Compare his intrusion of himself at the end of the first Vesuvius letter: “interim
Miseni ego et mater – sed nihil ad historiam, nec tu aliud quam de exitu eius scire voluisti. Finem ergo faciam” (6, 16, 21) – which understandably elicits Tacitus’ second request, fulfilled in Pliny’s second letter (6, 20, 1). He uses the same rhetorical strategem
as the Vergilian Sinon does in Aeneid 2, 100-104.
44
He was consul suffectus in September 100. Book 3 was published ca. 103 (see
Sherwin-White 1966: 31-32). Pliny’s consulship “is the understood context for much of
Book 3” (thus Gibson, Morello 2012: 123).
45
And it is possible that he does not want it that much. See Gibson, Morello 2012:
115-123, who finely compare Pliny’s other descriptions of the daily routine (3, 1: Vestricius Spurinna, cos. iterum AD 98; 9, 36 and 9, 40: Pliny himself while on holidays in
his villas) and conclude that “[t]he consular Pliny must choose appropriate fellow consuls as his model, and not equestrian procurators who focused too narrowly on studia”
(p. 123).
43
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letters. Since Silius was a senior consular (ord. 68), in fact the latest of
the Neronian consuls still alive in the early years of Trajan (he died ca.
102, in his 76th year), Pliny devotes a few lines of the letter to his political career. This belonged to the days long gone, and the distance of
time is emphasized by the repeated use of the pluperfect (§ 3):
Laeserat famam suam sub Nerone (credebatur sponte accusasse), sed in
Vitelli amicitia sapienter se et comiter gesserat, ex proconsulatu Asiae
gloriam reportaverat, maculam veteris industriae laudabili otio abluerat.
Silius’ proconsulship of Asia is dated to ca. 77/78, so the temporal
span of this curriculum vitae is very short, just slightly more than ten
years. Interestingly, Pliny does not record here his consulship under
Nero (this piece of information is postponed until § 9, where it facilitates the transition from the first part of the letter to the second)46, but he
mentions a report – we are not told, true or false47 – of his having been
a voluntary informer in a, we may presume, political trial. Pliny may
be suggesting that his consulship was a reward for his subservience to
Nero,48 but he takes care to contrast his earlier political engagement
with his attitude under Vitellius and (not named) Vespasian; the contrast is underscored by the juxtaposition of famam and gloriam (gloria
is a revered aristocratic concept, see Knoche 1934). There is another
contrast, that between Silius’ period under Nero and his life of leisure
which followed his return from Asia (and we encounter here the third
word pointing to fame or renown, laudabili). Pliny’s choice of vocabulary is, from the traditional Roman point of view, paradoxical, because,
in republican times, it was otium which was treated with suspicion and
See Lefèvre 2009: 143. His discussion of the letter is on p. 142-145. See also
Gibson, Morello 2012: 123-126, and, for a comparison between Pliny’s and Martial’s
treatments of Silius Italicus, Vessey 1974.
47
What is important is the public opinion’s verdict on him, not the facts themselves.
But it seems that credebatur refers logically to sponte (see next note), not to accusasse;
his having brought an accusation was beyond dispute.
48
Cf. Tac. Hist. 1, 2, 3: “nec minus praemia delatorum invisa quam scelera, cum alii
sacerdotia et consulatus ut spolia adepti…”. The important point about Silius acting as
an informer is that he was believed to have brought an accusation on his own initiative;
cf. Tac. Hist. 4, 42, 3; Ann. 6, 10, 3.
46
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SOME INTELLECTUALS IN TACITUS AND PLINY THE YOUNGER
which might bring opprobrium on those who made wrong use of it;
industria, on the other hand, was praiseworthy.49
Because we know Silius Italicus first and foremost as the epic poet,
the author of the Punica, we are inclined to assume that laudabile otium
refers to his poetry. It turns out, however, that Pliny is very brief on this
particular aspect of Silius’ life of leisure: “scribebat carmina maiore
cura quam ingenio, non numquam iudicia hominum recitationibus experiebatur” (§ 5). No mention of what kind of poetry he practiced, what
poem(s) he wrote.50 Instead, Pliny speaks about Silius’ passion for collecting books, statues and even villas connected with great figures of
Roman culture, Vergil in particular, who (we may presume) was his
favourite poet (§ 8). Once again, Pliny has nothing to say about Silius
the poet’s imitation of Vergil (which is obvious to any reader of the
Punica).51
Silius’ doctissimi sermones (mentioned at § 4), if not his poetry,
bear witness to his being an intellectual. Pliny is much more explicit
in his portraits of Greek men of letters, the philosophers Euphrates and
Artemidorus (1, 10 and 3, 11, respectively) and the rhetorician Isaeus
(2, 3).52 This should not surprise us. It is much more natural to look for
“true” intellectuals among the Greeks than among the Romans. No one
will hesitate to regard Plutarch (one of Professor Korus’ favourite authors) as an intellectual; to use the same term in reference to, say, Tacitus or Pliny the Younger will quite probably arouse some controversy.
See e.g. Cic. Sest. 137; Off. 1, 122; Sall. Cat. 52, 21 (Cato’s speech): “domi industria, foris iustum imperium”. Cf. McDonnell 2006: 130.
50
Contrast 3, 1, 7 on Vestricius Spurinna: “scribit enim et quidem utraque lingua
lyrica doctissima…”. Even in his first work, De iaculatione equestri, Pliny the Elder
fares better than Silius: “pari ingenio curaque composuit” (3, 5, 3); see Gibson, Morello
2012: 126.
51
Associations, at the level of literary activity, between Silius and Vergil (and also
Cicero) are pointed out, on the other hand, by Martial (7, 63; 11, 48 and 49). Interestingly, Pliny’s Book 3 ends with another obituary of a poet – but, on this occasion, his
(namely Martial’s) poetry is the letter’s main subject, and even one of his epigrams is
quoted (10, 19, of course addressed to Pliny). The final reflection on “gloria et laus et
aeternitas” (§ 6) resembles the closing of the Silius letter (§ 14 f.).
52
See Grimal 1955 (more concerned with the men themselves than with Pliny’s picture of them); Pausch 2004: 129-141 (Euphrates and Isaeus). On Artemidorus see next
note.
49
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To limit oneself to Euphrates, it is remarkable how deftly Pliny
brings in his own person, while (apparently) focusing attention on the
Greek philosopher.53 He first explains how he met Euphrates for the
first time (long ago, when he was a military tribune in Syria in the early
eighties) and, after a section devoted to the presentation of the man
(§ 5-8), he complains about his being unable to listen to his lectures
and enjoy learned conversations with him: “nam distringor officio […]
scribo plurimas sed inlitteratissimas litteras” (§ 9).54 However, Euphrates himself views the situation in a different light (§ 10):
Soleo non numquam (nam id ipsum quando contingit!) de his
occupationibus apud Euphraten queri. Ille me consolatur, adfirmat etiam
esse hanc philosophiae et quidem pulcherrimam partem, agere negotium
publicum, cognoscere iudicare, promere et exercere iustitiam, quaeque
ipsi doceant in usu habere.
A fine paradox: Euphrates speaks as a true Roman of old might
have spoken, pointing to the practical uses of philosophy; we may recall Cicero’s statement in his letter to Cato the Younger (see note 3
above) or Tacitus’ characterization of Helvidius Priscus.55 And there is
another paradox: the Roman senator Pliny is not convinced (“mihi tamen hoc unum non persuadet”, § 11).
Moreover, the very portrait of Euphrates seems to throw light on
Pliny. The author emphasizes the serene humanity of the philosopher.
Yes, he is stern (multum severitatis: we should bear in mind how very
Roman virtue severitas is), but there is no trace in him of harshness
(nulla tristitia), a trait sometimes associated with philosophers, especially of the Stoic school, and with enemies of emperors (Grassl 1975).
The same authorial strategy is employed in the Artemidorus letter. Pliny’s aim is
to advertise his courage displayed at the time when the philosopher had been banished
from Rome by Domitian. See Shelton 1987.
54
Note the verb distringo, used also in the Pliny the Elder letter (3, 5, 19). For other
passages in which this verb occurs in reference to Pliny’s non-literary occupations, see
2, 14, 1; 7, 15, 1; 9, 2, 1; 9, 25, 3.
55
And cf. Quint. Inst. 12, 2, 30: “an fortitudinem, iustitiam, fidem, continentiam,
frugalitatem, contemptum doloris ac mortis melius alii docebunt quam Fabricii, Curii,
Reguli, Decii, Mucii aliique innumerabiles? Quantum enim Graeci praeceptis valent,
tantum Romani, quod est maius, exemplis”.
53
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SOME INTELLECTUALS IN TACITUS AND PLINY THE YOUNGER
Moreover, Euphrates’ vitae sanctitas is balanced with comitas; the
consequence is that he “insectatur vitia non homines, nec castigat errantes sed emendat” (§ 7). This picture is highly reminiscent of the selfportrait Pliny draws, explicitly and implicitly, in almost every letter of
his collection. Consider the following statement, emphatically placed
at the beginning of a letter to Arrianus Maturus: “ut in vita sic in studiis
pulcherrimum et humanissimum existimo severitatem comitatemque
miscere, ne illa in tristitiam, haec in petulantiam excedat” (8, 21, 1).
Or Thrasea Paetus’ dictum, quoted approvingly in the next letter: “qui
vitia odit, homines odit” (8, 22, 3). Or a letter from the same book (8,
16), in which he speaks about his compassion towards his sick and dying slaves, confesses that his humanity makes him feel weak (“debilitor
et frangor eadem illa humanitate”), but he, nevertheless, does not want
to adopt a harsh attitude towards such afflictions, advocated by some
philosophers (“non ideo tamen velim durior fieri”). Thus, Euphrates
seems to be, at least to some extent, the author’s alter ego, rather like
the historian Servilius Nonianus is in Tacitus’ Annales.
So far, we have discussed only intellectuals of the male sex. Does
Pliny, who speaks quite often and quite favourably about women,56
mention also their intellectual pursuits and achievements? In 7, 19 he
gives a moving and highly sympathetic picture of Fannia, Thrasea’s
daughter and Helvidius’ widow, who saved copies of Herennius Senecio’s biography of his husband (which had been banned by the senate’s
decree under Domitian); Pliny mentions her castitas, sanctitas, gravitas and constantia, her courageous behaviour during Senecio’s trial –
but there is nothing about her intellectual accomplishments (it is clear
that she saved the biography as an act of devotion towards her dead
husband). Similarly, it would be wrong to call another widow (of quite
different demeanour), Ummidia Quadratilla, an intellectual, despite her
artistic interests (she was fond of pantomime; 7, 24). In 1, 16 Pliny
extols literary activity of Pompeius Saturninus. He dabbled in various genres, among them letters – of which he claimed they had been
written by his wife. Pliny seems not quite convinced, but he adds that,
even if Saturninus’ wife were in fact their author, the credit would go
56
There are two recent books on Pliny’s presentation of women: Carlon 2009; Shelton 2012.
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to her husband rather than to her, because he “uxorem quam virginem
accepit tam doctam politamque reddiderit” (§ 7). Finally, there is a fine
obituary of Minicius Fundanus’ teenage daughter (5, 16) in which Pliny
draws attention not only to her outstanding moral qualities, but also
to her intellectual prowess (“quam studiose, quam intellegenter lectitabat”, § 3); this is, however, not enough to call her an intellectual.57
To conclude: most of the intellectuals we meet in Tacitus’ major
historical works and in Pliny’s letters are men for whom mental accomplishments are important, but who, at the same time, are active in
other fields, especially in politics. Tacitus is only seldom interested in
their intellectual occupations (if so, mainly in oratory); for Pliny, such
people are quite often a means of the author’s self-promotion, of presenting himself as a man of both action and letters, and as an example
of humanitas.
REFERENCES
André J.-M., 1966, L’otium dans la vie morale et intellectuelle romaine des
origines à l’époque augustéenne, Paris.
Bardon H., 1971, ‘La notion d’intellectuel à Rome’, Studii Clasice 13, pp.
95-107.
Bartsch S., 1994, Actors in the audience: Theatricality and doublespeak from
Nero to Hadrian, Cambridge, MA.–London.
Bellardi G., 1974, ‘Gli exitus illustrium virorum e il l. XVI degli Annali tacitiani’, Atene e Roma 19, pp. 129-137.
Berg C. S. van den, 2014, The world of Tacitus’ Dialogus de oratoribus:
Aesthetics and empire in ancient Rome, Cambridge.
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334
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.19
MANUEL SERRANO-ESPINOSA
(UNIVERSITY OF ALICANTE, SPAIN)
EPIMÉNIDES DE CRETA EN EL RELATO
DE UN LIBERAL ESPAÑOL DEL S. XIX*
SUMMARY: In my paper I examine a literary work, virtually unknown, of
the Spanish journalist, writer and liberal politician of the late nineteenth century, Nilo Fabra, who builds an imaginary story with the background of the
island of Crete. He describes the situation of the island during the period, in
which Crete is going to be liberated from the Ottomans by the Western powers. The writer uses the dialogue between a well-known personality of the ancient Crete and an occasional traveller to describe allegorically the moment
in which the events take place and its relationship with the past times of the
island.
KEYWORDS: XIX Century, Spanish literature, ancient Greek literature,
Greek philosophy, Cretan history, Ottoman Crete, Cretan revolution.
εἶπέ τις ἐξ αὐτῶν ἴδιος αὐτῶν προφήτης·
Κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψεῦσται, κακὰ θηρία, γαστέρες ἀργαί.
(Epístola del Apóstol Pablo a Tito, obispo de Creta, I, 12)
Recojo a continuación una cita del maestro de filólogos clásicos de
Cracovia, el Profesor Kazimierz Korus, con el que he tenido la fortuna
de compartir los últimos seis años de su magisterio en nuestro Instituto
de Filología Clásica de la Universidad Jaguelónica1, para presentar esta
1
* Chciałbym podziękować raz jeszcze za wielką pomoc i wsparcie ze strony całego personelu Biblioteki Polskiej Akademii Umiejętności, a zwłaszcza Dyrektora, Pana
335
MManueMaManuelMaManuel pequeña contribución en la que se muestra cómo, en ocasiones, la tradición clásica sobrevive y reaparece en los recovecos más inesperados.
Hablando de uno de sus temas predilectos, al que más trabajos ha dedicado, de Luciano de Samosata, por el que ha sido profusamente citado,
en un célebre artículo de 1984 (Korus 1984) el profesor Korus afirmaba que Luciano tenía perfectamente pergeñada su teoría del humor.
El tema que nos ocupa en este trabajo tiene relación con una parte de su
teoría que había tomado del Himno a Zeus de Calímaco (Himno a Zeus,
I, 8) pero que en realidad se remitía a Epiménides de Creta2 y a su célebre paradoja: Los cretenses siempre mienten, luego yo soy un cretense.
Y, basándose en la anterior paradoja, Luciano advierte y afirma: «la
única verdad que les voy a decir es que miento» (Korus 1982; Korus
1988)3. Ahora queda al lector creer o no al samosateo que más adelante
Wiesława Feldmana i Pani Katarzyny Dresler, w pracach nad ukończeniem niniejszego
artykułu.
El presente artículo desarrolla y profundiza en muchos aspectos un trabajo reciente mío publicado en Réthimno (Creta) en el que presentaba la traducción del relato de
Fabra al griego moderno: Serrano 2013.
Recuerdo a los curiosos que esta Universidad, con el nombre de Akademia
Krakowska fue fundada en 1364 por Casimiro III el Grande en la entonces villa de
Kazimierz, y entre sus estudios originarios se encontraban las materias clásicas. Fue
posteriormente reformada en 1400 por el rey consorte Vladislao II Jaguelón con la inestimable ayuda de su esposa la reina Eduwiges I. Aquí en este mismo lugar, hoy distrito
de la ciudad de Cracovia, me encuentro 650 años más tarde concluyendo esta pequeña
contribución en honor de otro Casimiro, otro grande de una extensa y reluciente lista de
filólogos clásicos cracovienses.
2
Indudablemente no es nuestro propósito en este trabajo realizar un examen detallado de la figura de Epiménides y su época y de su relación con la corriente órfica,
pero sí hemos de reseñar algunos trabajos que contribuirán a la profundización del tema
por parte del lector. En primer lugar citaremos las ediciones: West 1983. Dos ediciones
fundamentales del profesor Bernabé sobre la materia: Bernabé 2004; Bernabé 2007.
Por último refiero algunos trabajos que completan lo que podemos saber de la figura de
Epiménides. Cito especialmente un reciente artículo muy completo en el que se analiza, con abundante bibliografía, la figura de Epiménides: Jiménez San Cristóbal 2013.
Además, Diels 1891; Kern 1907; Kern 1935; Federico, Visconti 2001; Colli 1978.
3
Luciano I, 4: τούτοις οὖν ἐντυχὼν ἅπασιν, τοῦ ψεύσασθαι μὲν οὐ σφόδρα τοὺς
ἄνδρας ἐμεμψάμην, ὁρῶν ἤδη σύνηθες ὂν τοῦτο καὶ τοῖς φιλοσοφεῖν ὑπισχνουμένοις:
ἐκεῖνο δὲ αὐτῶν ἐθαύμασα, εἰ ἐνόμιζον λήσειν οὐκ ἀληθῆ συγγράφοντες. διόπερ καὶ
αὐτὸς ὑπὸ κενοδοξίας ἀπολιπεῖν τι σπουδάσας τοῖς μεθ᾽ ἡμᾶς, ἵνα μὴ μόνος ἄμοιρος
ὦ τῆς ἐν τῷ μυθολογεῖν ἐλευθερίας, ἐπεὶ μηδὲν ἀληθὲς ἱστορεῖν εἶχον — οὐδὲν γὰρ
336
Epiménides de Creta en el relato…
remacha su afirmación cuando escribe sobre cosas que ha visto y de
algunas que no tienen visos de haber existido jamás. He aquí un señero
ejemplo de la tradición que la paradoja dejó en las letras antiguas. Aunque el autor originario, insisto, no aparece nunca citado directamente.
Probablemente esta máxima adquiere su máxima difusión para la
posteridad tras la conocida epístola del Apóstol Pablo a San Tito, primer obispo de Creta (Χρήστου 1949), cita que también aparece citada
un par de veces en el Nuevo Testamento (Betz 1961). Y esta paradoja
no sólo tuvo mucho éxito en la antigüedad, sino que, bajo diversas
formas, continuó en vigor en épocas posteriores. Citemos, a modo de
ejemplo, las palabras del célebre pensador del Renacimiento Nicolás
Maquiavelo que dirige a un importante político y hombre de letras congénere florentino:
«…de un tiempo a esta parte yo no digo nunca lo que creo, ni creo nunca
lo que digo, y si
se me escapa alguna verdad de vez en cuando, la escondo entre tantas
mentiras que es
difícil reconocerla» (Maquiavelo, Carta a Francesco Guicciardini. Mayo
de 1521).
Y la pervivencia de esta máxima continuó a lo largo de la literatura
hasta nuestros días siendo su personaje principal sobre el que se basó
tal máxima una figura en la ficción literaria hasta nuestros días, como
veremos más adelante.
Como bien sabemos, Epiménides se convirtió en uno de los personajes más célebres de la antigüedad y también de los más oscuros
a caballo entre la realidad y la leyenda4. Ubicado con seguridad en la
isla de Creta, en Cnoso o Festo, según los autores, estuvo emparentado con la religión, la mántica, la filosofía y la poesía, y disponemos
ἐπεπόνθειν ἀξιόλογον — ἐπὶ τὸ ψεῦδος ἐτραπόμην πολὺ τῶν ἄλλων εὐγνωμονέστερον
κἂν ἓν γὰρ δὴ τοῦτο ἀληθεύσω λέγων ὅτι ψεύδομαι. οὕτω δ᾽ ἄν μοι δοκῶ καὶ τὴν παρὰ
τῶν ἄλλων κατηγορίαν ἐκφυγεῖν αὐτὸς ὁμολογῶν μηδὲν ἀληθὲς λέγειν. γράφω τοίνυν
περὶ ὧν μήτε εἶδον μήτε ἔπαθον μήτε παρ᾽ ἄλλων ἐπυθόμην, ἔτι δὲ μήτε ὅλως ὄντων
μήτε τὴν ἀρχὴν γενέσθαι δυναμένων. διὸ δεῖ τοὺς ἐντυγχάνοντας μηδαμῶς πιστεύειν
αὐτοῖς.
4
Noticias parciales de su vida entre otros autores: Diógenes Laercio, Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres I, p. 109-112, 114-115. Plutarco, Solón XII.
337
MManueMaManuelMaManuel de muy pocas noticias fidedignas de su vida. Se le ubica entre el s.
VII-VI en el célebre episodio ateniense de la ira de los dioses para la
purificación de los Alcmeónidas5. De su obra, apenas conservamos algunos fragmentos, objeto permanente de discusión, ya que desde edad
antigua le fueran atribuidas obras de carácter dudoso. Sin embargo, lo
más destacable del autor es su relación con el origen del orfismo y con
la filosofía pitagórica6.
Sin embargo, la característica que más nos interesa constatar en
este trabajo, es su origen cretense y su relación con la caverna que conecta con el celebérrimo episodio de su larguísima estancia, entre 40
o 57 años según las diversas fuentes, en una cueva en la que se dedicó
simplemente a dormir.
La relación entre la isla de Creta y la caverna ya ha sido profusamente comentada desde el ámbito histórico-arqueológico, mitológico,
filosófico y literario. Es una de las marcas de identidad de la isla desde
la floreciente época minoica en el II milenio a.C. y no es de extrañar,
por tanto, que el personaje histórico o semi-histórico cretense ocupara
este espacio otrora de culto, de enterramiento, de habitación (Faure
1984; Rutkowski, 1986), para otra de sus funciones primordiales: la de
refugio del mundo conocido. Veamos cómo se conjugan los elementos
citados de la antigüedad con la historia contemporánea en la que el autor nos coloca al personaje clásico.
En las últimas décadas del s. XIX se produce en la isla de Creta uno
de los episodios más importantes de su historia contemporánea: se suceden progresivos levantamientos contra el poder otomano, al albur de
la revolución griega de 1821, que darían lugar a finales del mismo siglo
con la expulsión definitiva de los infieles de la isla. Conviene recordar,
empero, que los otomanos resistieron allí mucho más que en otras zonas del continente debido a factores socio-políticos muy concretos de
Creta y también al hecho de que apenas llevaban tres siglos allí, tras
haber arrebatado la isla a los venecianos, cuando en otros lugares del
continente griego llevaban apostados más de cuatro siglos.
Hecho que tiene lugar en el 596 a.C. Jiménez San Cristóbal 2013.
Para una mayor y detallada información, Korus, 1984 Refiero, además de las ediciones citadas, otro trabajo que contiene fragmentos y comentarios del filósofo: Martínez Nieto 1998: 125-128.
5
6
338
Epiménides de Creta en el relato…
Estas luchas por la liberación de la isla de Creta atrajeron la atención de la prensa europea que informó con extraordinaria precisión
en periódicos, magazines y revistas de la época de la marcha de los
acontecimientos. En la España de la época, acuciada por la crisis que
desembocará en la pérdida de sus últimas colonias, la situación en el
oriente del Egeo no atrajo mucho la atención, entre otras cosas, por
la carencia de medios y de infraestructuras para estar a la última en el
ámbito periodístico.
Sin embargo, conservamos un excepcional caso de un periodista
que supo estar a la altura de las circunstancias, un pionero español de la
época que además supo conjugar en sus artículos la información puramente periodística con otras incursiones en el terreno literario en el que
aparecen algunos personajes descritos con anterioridad. Nos referimos
al liberal Nilo Mª. Fabra.
En una España, por lo general empobrecida culturalmente en aquel
tiempo, alejada de las revoluciones industrial y tecnológica de la época
y más cercana a otros ámbitos acientíficos como la superstición, la figura de este periodista merece nuestra atención y, por ello, referiremos
algunos detalles biográficos que interesan en nuestro relato.
Había nacido en Cataluña, en Blanes (1843) y desde muy temprano
sintió la afición a las letras y al periodismo. El episodio más importante
de su carrera profesional lo dio con su traslado a Madrid en 1865 para
fundar de manera inmediata un Centro de Corresponsales, nunca visto
anteriormente en España, que se ocupaba mayormente de suministrar
noticias a los diarios regionales.
Como corresponsal en Madrid del Diario de Barcelona siguió de
muy cerca las guerras austroprusiana (1866) y francoprusiana (18701871). Esta experiencia como corresponsal extranjero en Viena le
aportó una experiencia única apara acometer el gran proyecto de su
vida. En 1867 fundó la agencia de noticias Fabra, la primera de su género en nuestro país (y que sería el embrión de la actual agencia de
noticias EFE) y que rápidamente entró en contacto y colaboración con
las dos agencias internacionales más conocidas entonces la inglesa
Reuters, pero, sobre todo, con la francesa Havas de la que se convirtió
en sucursal en 1870 para lo que edificó en Vallecas (Madrid) una estación telegráfica que recibía las noticias de París y que posteriormente
339
MManueMaManuelMaManuel difundía por los diarios de Madrid mediante correos especiales de caballos. Construyó un semáforo en Tarifa (Cádiz) para transmitir las
noticias referentes al paso de los buques por el Estrecho de Gibraltar.
Además fue un pionero en España en el uso de palomas mensajeras
para el envío urgente de noticias. Llegó a tal grado de eficiencia que
a comienzos del s. XX, proporcionaba información tres veces al día
a sus clientes regionales, a entidades como el Banco de España o a la
misma Regente María Cristina.
Fabra también se ocupó de la política. Fue diputado en 1876 por la
circunscripción de Barcelona7 y posteriormente fue elegido senador en
el bienio 1891-1892 en el Partido Liberal por la provincia de Alicante8.
Nos encontramos, pues, ante una persona con intereses científico-técnicos muy adelantados en su época en España. Pero también fue un
hombre de letras que cultivó los géneros literarios tradicionales (Fabra
1860; Doménech 2003)9, pero que se ocupó de otros menos en boga
como la ciencia-ficción (Fabra 2006) de entre la que destaca la denominada ucronia (Pérez de la Devesa 1982; Merelo 2006; Pelegrín 2010)
a la que pertenece el relato que examinamos en este trabajo.
EL RELATO DE FABRA: EL CONTEXTO HISTÓRICO
Centrémonos ahora en su relación con la isla de Creta, su historia antigua y contemporánea. Como referíamos con anterioridad, en la
última década del s. XIX, Fabra, empresario, periodista y político ya
muy conocido y respetado en los ámbitos internacionales, publicó una
serie de artículos sobre las revueltas cretenses de aquel tiempo contra
el poder otomano en la revista La Ilustración Española y Americana,
un semanario que se editaba en Madrid desde 1869 y que había dedicado amplios artículos acerca del denominado conflicto de Oriente, en
el que entra de lleno la lucha por la Independencia de Creta del Imperio
Otomano.
http://cvc.cervantes.es/lengua/congreso_literario/pdf/CVC_congreso_585.pdf
(31/03/2015).
8
http://www.senado.es/web/conocersenado/senadohistoria/senado18341923
/senadores/fichasenador/index.html?id1=971 (31/03/2015). Ramos 1989.
9
Publicados originariamente en tres volúmenes entre 1885-1897 en Madrid y Barcelona. Reseña de L. A. De Cuenca, ABC: 26/09/2006.
7
340
Epiménides de Creta en el relato…
Las publicaciones sobre este tema se intensifican durante el período
1896-1897, justo cuando tiene lugar la gran revuelta cretense de febrero de 1897 –como es bien sabido en el contexto de la guerra grecoturca de 1897 donde se juega entre otras cuestiones el deseo de los cretenses encabezados por Eleutherios Venizelos de unir la isla de Creta al
Estado Griego–. La gran derrota helena a manos de los turcos significará paradójicamente el principio del fin de la ocupación otomana de
la isla y la asunción por parte de las 6 Grandes Potencias de la época
del control de la isla, y ello dificultará en gran modo las intenciones de
los cretenses fieles a Venizelos que propugnan la unión con Grecia. En
febrero, pues, de 1897, Venizelos se rebela en la península de Akrotiri,
situada al norte de la Canea, contra las tropas internacionales, estableciendo sus tropas en la bahía de Suda y el gobierno provisional en la
cercana capital de la Canea. El príncipe Jorge llega a la isla el 12 de
febrero con una flotilla en loor de multitudes griegas pero es obligado
a abandonarla al día siguiente.
El 21 de febrero tiene lugar la rebelión cretense en la península de
Akrotiri contra las tropas de las grandes potencias que les superan de
manera ostensible en armamento y tropas. Finalmente el 10 de marzo
del mismo año Venizelos recibe a una representación de las tropas extranjeras que le imponen sus condiciones. La isla se establece como un
protectorado autónomo, y las potencias se dividen la misma en demarcaciones y colocan sus respectivas fuerzas militares para que se cumplan los nuevos acuerdos. La primera tentativa de Venizelos ha fracasado (Δετοράκης 1990: 390-398).
Y es precisamente en este momento de gran ebullición militar y
política en el continente griego y también en el Egeo cretense10, cuando
Como ejemplo de lo que hemos dicho con anterioridad, precisamente en el mismo
número y página en que se verá publicado el relato corto de Fabra, (XII, 1897: 193)
aparece una noticia sobre la llamada “Cuestión de Creta” que complementa el relato de
Fabra y que reproduzco a continuación en el castellano de la época:
«A pesar de las amenazas de las grandes potencias, siguen los griegos disputando
á Turquía la posesión de Creta. El conflicto crece por momentos, y cada día parece
más probable la guerra entre Turquía y Grecia. De las fuerzas terrestres y marítimas de
estas dos naciones dimos noticia en uno de los pasados números. Por tierra el poder de
los turcos es, sin duda, muy superior al de los griegos. Por mar la ventaja de aquéllos
es más aparente que verdadera, por ser viejos los barcos y poco prácticos los marinos.
10
341
MManueMaManuelMaManuel Fabra decide publicar un relato corto que bebe de la corriente antes
citada, la ucronia, y que titula: el cuento de Creta (La Ilustración Española 1897; Serrano 2013)11.
El relato se estructura como un diálogo en torno a dos personajes.
El primero de ellos aparece presentado nada más comenzar el relato. Se
trata de un español, médico, pero también reputado latinista e insigne
helenista, el Doctor Briján. Pero Fabra comienza su caracterización del
personaje: su máxima aportación es un estudio sobre el caballo de Calígula (La Ilustración Española 1897: 195; Δετοράκης 1998; Πετράτος
2008). El segundo tampoco tarda en aparecer pero de forma indirecta.
Nuestro médico se encuentra viajando por la isla de Creta para buscar
materiales acerca de un trabajo inédito sobre el filósofo Epiménides de
Gnoso12, nuestro segundo personaje.
Nuestro protagonista viaja a pie y va pertrechado únicamente de los
salvoconductos otomano y cretense pertinentes que le permitan transitar por la isla13. Y así comienza a recorrer los lugares históricos de la
isla, no sin quejarse desde el principio de la mano destructora de la guerra, aún peor que la del paso del tiempo. Visita Gortina y su supuesto
El crucero Fuad (Grabados del mismo con el capitán Canevaro en p. 204) dará idea á
los lectores de lo que vale la armada turca. El Fuad es un vapor de ruedas que anda 8
millas por hora. En cambio el barco griego Spetsai, del que damos una vista en la página 204, acaba de salir del arsenal. Tiene 3.000 toneladas, anda 18 millas y monta una
potente artillería, compuesta de cañones Canet y ametralladoras. Igual á él es el Psara,
también recién construido. En la misma página damos una vista parcial del interior del
acorazado italiano Italia, uno de los mayores barcos de guerra que existen, ó el mayor
de todos. Los cañones que aparecen en el puente son de 100 toneladas. En la cubierta
vese al almirante Canevaro con su Estado Mayor».
11
Traducción del relato de Fabra al griego moderno.
12
Fabra sigue aquí la línea tradicional que se remonta a Platón y siguen, entre otros,
Diógenes Laercio y Pausanias. Recordemos que Estrabón y Plutarco localizan a Epiménides en Festo.
13
Desde el principio Fabra demuestra estar muy al día de los acontecimientos recientes de la isla –como buen profesional del periodismo–. En este caso por la cita del
caudillo cretense, el héroe de Vamos (Apokoronu) Εμμανουήλ Μαλεκάκης (Papamalekos). Pareciera que nuestro escritor quisiera seguir demostrando sus conocimientos
y rizar el rizo del detallismo al mencionar al héroe más cercano geográficamente al
transcurso del viaje del doctor español por Creta.
342
Epiménides de Creta en el relato…
laberinto14. Y de ahí a la cima del monte Ida que describe como una de
las maravillas de la naturaleza y evoca desde allí el pasado esplendoroso de la isla de Creta.
El médico prosigue su viaje ahora por las ciudades importantes de
la isla: primero Candía o Heraclión, después Réthimno –de las que apenas nos comenta– y de allí prosigue la conocida vía costera en dirección a la Canea. Y en un punto indeterminado del recorrido se detiene
estremecido por los sonidos del fuego, estampidas y cañonazos de los
barcos. Su mirada se detiene en la flota y en la dirección hacia la que se
dirigen los disparos: un promontorio15.
El doctor Briján decide poner pies en polvorosa y alejarse rápidamente del lugar. Decide tomar una vía entre dos colinas, con elevadas
montañas al fondo, que le lleva a un pequeño llano donde advierte sobre un cerro la existencia de una caverna. Asustado por el estruendo de
los cañonazos que llegan de la cercana bahía decide entrar en la gruta
para reposar sobre todo su ánimo y reflexionar sobre la condición humana. Cuando, apenas apagados los ecos de la última detonación, otra
más sutil le llega a oídos del viajero desde dentro de la caverna. Una
enigmática voz le habla al doctor en perfecto ático:
«¿Quién va allá? ¿Quién turba mi reposo? Quienquiera que seas tú que
profanas este sagrado recinto, respetado hasta por los dioses inmortales,
pagarás caro el sacrílego atrevimiento! ¡Caigan sobre ti las iras de las
furias infernales!» (La Ilustración Española 1897: 196).
¿Quién será este personaje que me habla en un perfecto ático, y denigra de mis ropajes cual Histrión disfrazado? He aquí que se ha presentado
14
Nuestro escritor domina también otros aspectos no tan comunes –ni contemporáneos de la historia cretense– basados en conocimientos de historia y mitología de la
isla. Es muy probable que recurriera a algunas lecturas de viajeros por Grecia o Creta,
ya que el decurso de su narración es la propia de un viajero extranjero por la isla. El
“topos” de las ruinas y del pasado tiempo mejor es muy repetido por los viajeros a Creta
desde el florentino Buondelmonti en el s. XV. Igualmente su referencia al célebre laberinto de Creta ubicado tradicionalmente en Gortina y las dudas sobre su real ubicación
demuestra que Fabra estaba muy documentado acerca de lo que escribía.
15
Nuestro médico en realidad se halla ahora en algún punto de la zona sur de la
bahía de Suda y desde es punto privilegiado su mirada se dirige al promontorio de
Akrotiri, donde Venizelos y las tropas cretenses libran una ofensiva desigual contra las
potencias occidentales.
343
MManueMaManuelMaManuel el filósofo ante nuestro doctor que se mueve entre el espanto, el estupor
y la curiosidad. Tras unos primeros momentos de duda, el personaje de
canosos cabellos y barbas hasta la cintura acompaña al doctor hasta la
playa para que aquél le muestre las verdaderas razones del fin de su largo
sueño. Las escuadras bombardean de manera inclemente la tierra firme.
El anciano se mueve entre la sorpresa y la alegría. ¡Barcos sin remos! ¡Por fin Plutón ha vencido a Neptuno! Poco a poco el enigmático
griego le va dando pistas al viajero. Soy de Cnoso, dice. ¡Ah!, replica
el doctor, yo vengo de allí y no queda nada. Y el viejo se enfada y descubre su identidad. Soy Epiménides y hace tres días que estuve allí en
mi tierra. Parece que el tiempo haya volado o bien se haya detenido
para el viejo filósofo16. De repente el médico se encuentra vivo y frente
a él a aquel que venía buscando en vestigios como las ruinas que había
visto al pasar por Gortina. Y comienza, en esta última parte del relato,
la parte más jugosa, la verdadera discusión filosófica acerca de la condición humana desde ambos puntos de vista: el filósofo antiguo y el
pensador moderno. Las consecuencias del diálogo entre dos personajes anacrónicos que hablan sobre los mismos temas no son difíciles de
imaginar. La descripción del médico del mundo actual es desoladora.
Por un lado, la plebe no ha cambiado un ápice desde cuando la dejó
despierta el filósofo cretense, incurre en los mismos defectos, entroniza a sus héroes en el peligro para olvidarlos de inmediato pasado el
mismo. Pero Epiménides replica incrédulo: tras la purificación de Atenas17, ¿acaso no han aprendido los dirigentes? Las palabras clave, Justicia y Derecho en boca de Epiménides son de inmediato replicadas por
el doctor Briján al mostrarle al filósofo lo ocurre en la bahía de Suda:
«¿El derecho? Mira los navíos que arrojan sobre la playa instrumentos de
muerte y de ruina: pues ése es el derecho. ¿La justicia? Hela allí en aquel
campamento de patriotas cretenses, rodando ensangrentada por el suelo»
(La Ilustración Española, 1897, 199).
En realidad, en el relato de Fabra, Epiménides lleva veinticinco siglos en la caverna (625 Olimpiadas nada menos, afirma el asombrado filósofo) y parece que se le ha
pasado el tiempo volando.
17
Véase la cita de Maquiavelo en la p. 3 del presente trabajo. De nuevo Fabra demuestra sus amplios conocimientos. Se ha documentado adecuadamente para construir
este relato ucrónico, basándose en noticias reales del filósofo heleno.
16
344
Epiménides de Creta en el relato…
Epiménides se siente perdido en los valores morales de su época
pero se refugia en último término en los dioses a los que sirvió y veneró. Pregunta por Júpiter, otrora poderoso, pero el viajero le dice que
hoy día ya ha sido desplazado por Pluto y Mercurio. ¿Y Minerva, la
diosa protectora de la ciudad a la que purificó y deidad de las artes y
las letras? Pues vencida por estas naves que viajan sin velas, se alumbran de noche y disparan balas metálicas, replica el médico. Y, totalmente desanimado, pregunta finalmente por su patria a la que ve desde
la playa envuelta en las humaredas de la guerra. Y entonces Fabra pone
en boca del médico español unas hermosas palabras, eternas sentencias
a la par que dolorosas, sobre todo lo negativo en que puede convertirse
la condición humana, en este caso para describir el sufrimiento cretense
que cito de manera literal:
«La común envidia y el temor del bien ajeno. Tu patria es una doncella
eternamente hermosa que arrastra las cadenas de larga y cruenta
esclavitud. Por romperlas ha vencido á Penélope en la constancia, á
Hércules en los trabajos y á Aquiles en el valor y el ardimiento. Espera
al fin sacudirlas: pero los grandes Estados de Europa, codiciosos de la
posesión y cobardes para la disputa, le ofrecen á manos llenas la libertad,
si en cambio sacrifica el firme y acendrado amor que profesa al pueblo
helénico. Ella resiste pensando sólo en el elegido de su corazón, y los
rivales se unen y congregan aquí para imponer su voluntad con la fuerza
bruta. Así, la diplomacia, resumen y compendio de bajas pasiones, sin
alteza de miras para alentar y servir los más nobles ideales, haciendo
hasta ostentoso alarde de tenerlos en poco, dispone á su antojo de la
suerte de los Estados débiles, y busca su justificación en la conveniencia
de prolongar una paz vacilante y siempre en peligro; paz más costosa ó
inicua que la misma guerra, porque las naciones se arruinan al peso de
las armas que acopian la mutua desconfianza, la torpe emulación y el
constante recelo. De esta manera obran y proceden las potencias que se
jactan de marchar al frente de la civilización» (La Ilustración Española
1897: 199).
Ante tal realidad, Epiménides, ante el asombrado viajero, toma la
única decisión sabia y plausible que puede en aquel momento. Decide
volver a la caverna de donde salió para compartir soledad, silencio,
sueño que lo alejen de los rugidos de la fiera humana.
345
MManueMaManuelMaManuel De este modo concluye el pequeño relato de Nilo Mª Fabra. El escritor ha construido una historia en el que el interés de la misma va
creciendo y la ha concluido, según mi opinión, de manera magistral.
Ha conjugado de manera muy sabia y documentada los elementos de
la antigüedad, poniéndolos y entremezclándolos con la realidad de su
tiempo. Habla de los grandes y eternos temas de la condición humana y
observa con tristeza que no hemos avanzado nada desde que Epiménides purificó la ciudad de Atenas y luego se refugió en una caverna. Asimismo toma decidido partido por el pueblo cretense y su liberación de
todos los yugos, los pasados otomanos y los actuales de las potencias,
de la barbarie ilustrada, como afirma de manera típicamente ucrónica
el filósofo cretense al final del relato. La hermosa doncella, la patria
cretense18, se ha enamorado pero unos cuantos personajes poderosos no
le dejan consumar su amor con la Hélade19. Disponemos de poquísimos
ejemplos en la literatura española de la época acerca de los acontecimientos y la suerte de la isla de Creta en la última década del s. XIX20.
El relato del casi olvidado escritor Nilo Mª Fibra merece ser puesto en
valor, por la hondura de sus reflexiones, su perfecto conocimiento de
la antigüedad, de la realidad cretense de esa turbulenta época y, sobre
todo, por haber sabido conjugar en su relato las cuestiones que ocupan
el alma humana centrándolas en un entorno localista, como hicieron los
grandes clásicos griegos.
Quiero expresar, una vez más, mi agradecimiento al gran erudito de la ciudad
cretense de Réthimno Georgios Ekkekakis que tantas cosas me ha descubierto a lo
largo de las dos últimas décadas acerca de la historia de la Creta contemporánea, y me
ha proporcionado una numerosa y valiosa información procedente de diarios y magazines griegos y extranjeros de la época acerca de las revueltas de Creta contra el poder
otomano que he usado para la redacción de este trabajo.
19
Desgraciadamente tampoco nuestro escritor vivió para poder contarlo. Falleció en
1903.
20
Con la excepción de Cataluña. El semanario la Veu de Cataluña publicó en el mismo mes de marzo de 1897 un número dedicado a la cuestión cretense y a la situación
de los cristianos de Creta. Merece destacarse, entre otros, la participación del gran
neohelenista y cónsul de Grecia Antonio Rubió i Lluch que una de sus colaboraciones
en este número fue la traducción del himno griego de Solomós al catalán (La Veu de
Cataluña 1897: 91).
18
346
Epiménides de Creta en el relato…
BIBLIOGRAFÍA
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Bernabé A. (ed.), 2004, Orphicorum et Orphicis similium testimonia et fragmenta. Poetae Epici Graeci, pars II, fasc. 1. München-Leipzig. (Bibliotheca Teubneriana).
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fasc 3: Musaeus. Linus. Epimenides. Papyrus Derveni. Indices, Berlin-NewYork. (Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana).
Betz H. D., 1961, Lukian von Samosata und das neue Testament, Berlin.
Colli G., 1978, La sapienza greca, vol. II: Epimenide, Ferecide, Talete, Anassimandro, Anassimene, Onomacrito, Milano.
Diels H., 1891, ‘Über Epimenides von Kreta’, Sitzungsberichte der Königlich
Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, vol. I, 387-403.
Doménech J., 2003. ‘Un poeta olvidado, Nilo Fabra, y una poesía desconocida
a Valle-Inclán’, El pasajero. [on-line:] http://www.elpasajero.com/nilofabra.html (31/03/2015).
Fabra N. Ma., 1860, Poesías, Madrid.
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García Gual C., 1998, Luciano de Samosata. Relatos fantásticos, Madrid.
Jiménez San Cristóbal, A. I., 2013, ‘Epiménides de Creta purificador de Atenas’ [en:] A. Casanova (ed.), Figure d´Atene nelle opere di Plutarco, Firenze, p. 129-141.
Kern O., 1907, Epimenides, RE VI, p. 173-178.
Kern O., 1935, Die Religion der Griechen, Bd. II, Berlin, p. 175-176.
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Κρήτης του 1897’, [en:] Σ. Μ. Μανουράς, Α. Παπαδάκη, Γ. Παπιομύτογλου,
Χ. Στρατιδάκης, Μ. Τζεκάκης (eds.), Αντιδώρημα. Τιμητικός Τόμος στον
Γιώργο Π. Εκκεκάκη. Ρέθυμνο, p. 269-276.
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Κρητικά Χρονικά, 3, p. 118-126.
348
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.20
STANISŁAW STABRYŁA
KRAKÓW
THE CLASSICAL CULTURE IN THE MODERN WORLD
SUMMARY: The author discusses the impact of classical antiquity on the
modern culture, particularly in Poland. He tried to point out that ill-considered
and harmful educational reforms have reduced or even eliminated the classical
education from the school system in Poland, as in several other countries. Now
we are witnessing the decline and collapse of classical humanism. But on the
other hand it is difficult to imagine that the viivifying stream of ancient culture
woluld dry up finally in our times. We believe that our world of western civilization does not want and cannot renounce the values that have created and
shaped the ancients.
KEYWORDS: classical antiquity, ancient culture, Greek and Roman civilization, classical tradition, classical education, classical languages, grammar
schoolsClassical , classical gymnasium
The issue of the impact of antiquity on the modern culture is neither a new nor an original problem, but clearly gains relevance today.
You do not need to convince anyone that the antiquity understood as
the whole of the ancient Greco-Roman culture played a crucial role in
the formation and development of European civilization. On the other
hand, now increasingly fewer people know that we are the heirs to that
ancient cultural heritage. It is undoubtedly the result of ill-considered
and harmful educational reforms that have reduced or even eliminated
the classical education from the school system in Poland, as in several
349
SStanisłaStStanisłS
other countries.1 The so-called “progressionists” for a long time have
persuaded us that we are witnessing the decline and ultimate collapse of
classical humanism, and that this is already happening before our eyes,
while its supporters and followers are usually accused that the source
of their enthusiasm for the ancient culture is the taste for anachronism,
for which there should be no space neither in the modern educational
system, nor in the social life. The classical humanism is often contrasted with knowledge areas such as mathematics, physics, computer
science, astronomy and molecular biology, where no one complains
that they can be or actually are anachronic (Delanois 1980: 38ff.). But
is it really so that classicism can not have anything to offer us and we
must absolutely let him it die? It is true that the results of philological,
historical, archaeological, linguistic research have no direct bearing on
practice and are much less spectacular than the achievements of physics, biology and astronomy, and do not bring measurable financial gain,
but they certainly contribute to the development of culture which is
endangered by total stagnation.
Almost a hundred years ago, one of the greatest researchers of antiquity, Tadeusz Zieliński (1922: 107), said that the classical culture
should not be a standard for contemporary culture, but a grain and inspiring factor stimulating its development. The first part of this oftencited claim may, however, raise doubts today, and even the opposition.
Is it true that the antiquity and classical humanism can not be to our
culture model or standard? It seems that the hierarchy of moral values created by Greek and Roman thinkers, modified by Christianity,
constitutes an irremovable canon of ethics that has remained unshaken
despite the passage of time or the modern “reformers”. The open question still remains, whether these Greek and Roman systems of values,
proven over many centuries, should be a standard to which the modern
society could refer, if it had not put up as a rule an expediency over
unselfishness, profit above the law, comfort over devotion, greed over
honesty. The same question can be put when it comes to the relation
The current situation of classical education in Poland against the background of
the history of teaching Latin is described by A. W. Mikołajczak in the large monograph
(Mikołajczak 2005). The European aspect of this issue discussed by F. Waquet (2004:
461ff.). Cf also Delanois1980: 38ff.
1
350
THE CLASSICAL CULTURE IN THE MODERN WORLD
of antiquity and classical humanism to many other areas of modern
culture. The crisis of teaching classical languages and ancient culture
in our school system at the secondary level badly affected the overall
humanistic education. It turned out that even secondary school students
have serious difficulties in understanding easy literary texts. Students
of the humanities do not understand the common terms of Greek or
Latin provenance, the simplest Latin expressions or sayings rooted in
the Polish language, they show elementary deficiencies in the overall
culture of the humanities. An even worse situation involves the oral
and written ability of young people to express themselves on literary or
historical matters or even on their own experiences. Sociologists and
historians of culture for a long time have called attention of the educational authorities to the fact that it is a consequence of the elimination
of the universal teaching of classical languages and ancient culture in
middle and high schools which should prepare students in the field of
humanistic culture. Uncritical preference of the science education, in
particular computer science which is so fashionable in school programs
today, at the expense of ancient languages and cultures leads to the
harmful dehumanization of teaching content, and thus to the intellectual and emotional sterilization. The tyranny of modernity conceived
as science and technology, the modernity which is completely contrary
to the tradition of Polish schools, and the schools of Jesuits and Piarists in particular, inhibits the intellectual and moral development of the
young people, bringing about an admiration for the technical progress,
particularly mobile telephony and internet. It causes the snobbery and
careerism, which is connected with the aversion to books and the written word in general, form attitudes directed at to “have” and not to “be”
(Delanois 1980: 14).
Let us dwell for a moment on the problem of teaching classical languages, especially Latin, in our country. Polish culture, like the culture
of many other European nations, from the very beginning drew from
the rich Greco-Roman tradition which also exerted an influence on the
Christian civilization. In order to understand how the European culture
originated and developed over the course of centuries, including the
culture of our nation, we need to know as far as possible the Greek
and Roman civilization which, as we have seen, was its foundation and
351
SStanisłaStStanisłS
main source (Stabryła 2007: 10). An important part was played here by
the school as an institution whose mission is an education ofto educate
successive generations in the broadest meaning.
Adopted in the nineteenth century by the partitioning states (Prussia, Austria and Russia), the classical model of grammar-school soon
became a common type of secondary education in the annexed territories of Poland, obtaining approval and social prestige thanks to a very
high standards of teaching (Mikołajczak 2005: 254). The situation of
classical languages in the grammar schools was relatively worse under
the Prussian occupation, except for the Poznań area, where dominated
schools with Greek and Latin languages with full teaching program
dominated. In the Russian partition in addition to the classic middle
schools, which were the predominant type, some new types of real and
trade schools were also established, in which instead of extending the
teaching of Latin and Greek, the teaching of mathematics, the natural
sciences and the modern languages. Finally, under Austrian occupation
the dominant type of schools involved the eight-year classical gymnasium, where the base of the curriculum was associated with the classical languages and Greek and Roman culture. The grammar school
graduates were undertaking successfully university studies, obtaining
excellent results in all fields, from the humanities, medicine, biology,
agriculture to the science and technology (Popiak 1990: passim).
When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the Greek and
Latin languages occupied still a leading position in the programs of
grammar schools (the classical gymnasiums) but they were reduced in
humanistic secondary schools. The main task of grammar schools in
the interwar period was to prepare the young people for university
studies. The school education in the Second Republic was confined essentially to develop the intellectual abilities of students and to enable
them to university or polytechnic studies. Secondary schools of classical or humanistic type gained a decisive advantage over the mathematical and scientific schools, but it was by no means difficult for
their graduates to access all faculties of higher education and to achieve
success (Popiak 1990: 205f.).
After the introduction of the so-called. “Jędrzejewicz’s reforms”
(the Act of March 11, 1932 [Dziennik Urzędowy 1932: poz. 32
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THE CLASSICAL CULTURE IN THE MODERN WORLD
„O ustroju szkolnictwa”]) were initiated the fundamental changes in
the system of Polish education were initiated. Then was established
a six-year high school including a four-year grammar school (gymnasium) and a two-year secondary school (liceum) was established. In the
new program of the grammar school teaching the Latin language was
reduced as compared to the classical gymnasium;2 the Greek language
was removed. In the reformed secondary school (liceum) the Latin language was obligatory at the humanistic faculty beside the Polish language, the history and modern languages; at the classical faculty Greek
and Latin were obligatory.
The main aim of teaching the classical languages in the reformed
schools was to enable the pupils to understand the text that is read and
to translate it into the Polish language in a communicative and correct
form. Analysis of the content and form of a Greek or Latin text was to
develop the efficiency of speaking in the native language, the ability to
penetrate the content of the translated text, the sobriety and the correctness of thinking. When the students were studying the content of the
translated text, they could become acquainted with the ancient culture,
with its aesthetic and ethical values.
Let us ask, what is the current status of the teaching of languages
and ancient culture in our country. To tell the truth, of the items that
once formed the basis of humanistic education in Poland there subsisted only remains as the lessons of history, knowledge of culture, Polish language limited to the minimum and, in a few secondary schools,
Latin language courses; in several Polish cities there are single classes
(the so-called classical profile) with extended teaching of Latin and one
or two hours a week of Greek. As a result, only a tiny percentage of
secondary school students are taught the elements of Latin, the other
students have to accept the fragmentary knowledge in the field of classical antiquity acquired in the lessons of history, language and learning
about the Polish culture.
Now let us consider the real causes of the practical elimination of
the knowledge of antiquity – both the classical languages and culture
– or the causes of leaving it at the most rudimentary form in the Polish
education system after 1945. It seems that it was due to a few reasons,
2
3 and 1/2 years in the new gymnasium; 5 hours in the old gymnasium.
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which can be broadly described as political and cultural. The communist authority imposed upon Poland by force, acting in accordance with
the will of the Soviet principals considered that the classical culture and
languages are a very strong link between our nation and the western
civilization. The task of the contemporary educational authorities became to destroy the classical tradition in Poland as soon as possible, to
separate us from the western culture and to cast us into the eastern barbarism. The construction of a new, pseudo-socialistic society modelled
on the Soviet society required the decisive break with the culture of
the “rotten West”; inclusive of the knowledge of classical antiquity, the
Greek and Latin language. When considering a possibility of the resistance of the part of the Polish society educated in the pre-war classical
and humanistic secondary schools or in the classes of secret teaching,
at the time of the German occupation, the action of eliminating the classical languages and culture from our educational system was gradually
carried out by the authorities. It started with the complete removal of
the teaching the Greek language, and later, after the introduction of the
so-called eleven-year secondary schools, the division into the humanistic and mathematical and natural faculties was abolished; only Latin
remained in a reduced form as the language alternative to a modern
western languages, i. e. the students who chose to learn the Latin language could not (sic!) attend the lessons of a modern language. According to the rules established by the Ministry of Education, only one third
of the secondary school pupils could learn Latin. Gradually, however,
the percentage of students receiving instruction in Latin as an optional
language underwent a further reduction due to the successive educational reforms.
A factor that significantly contributed to the disastrous elimination
of the Latin language from the Polish schools is associated with the
introduction, already at the end of the 40s, in all types of schools in Poland of compulsory instruction in the Russian language which according to the conviction of the Warsaw educational authorities controlled
by Moscow was an important instrument of the so-called “socialistic
education” of the Polish young people, i.e. their russification. Fortunately, the effect turned out to be quite opposite. The Polish young people learned Russian very reluctantly, and the results were shamefully
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THE CLASSICAL CULTURE IN THE MODERN WORLD
bad in most schools, despite the efforts of relatively well-prepared
teachers who were commonly considered, not always rightly, to be the
russificators. Anyway, imposing a general duty to learn Russian in the
Polish schools became one of the formal factors of the gradual elimination of Latin. The educational authorities argued that in the school
programs which were already overburdened there was no time for the
Latin language in this situation, and they endeavoured under this pretext to reduce the number of pupils who wanted to choose the Latin
language as an obligatory subject.
The successive factor which had an strong effect on the position of
Latin and classical culture in the Polish educational system after World
War II has been the fight against the Catholic Church in Poland, consistently pursued by the Warsaw government subordinated to the Soviet
ideologists. The Warsaw authorities with the help of Russian advisers
came to the conclusion that the knowledge of Latin and classical culture may encourage some young people to join the seminaries and religious orders, where a certain preparation in this area was demanded.
This was, of course, one of the manifestations of open hostility of the
communist authorities to Catholic clergy and the Church, which was
the most serious obstacle to the total secularization of the Polish society
and to the extirpation of the many hundred years old religious traditions
of the Catholic nation, to the deprivation of Polish people of support
in the faith of their forefathers, and consequently to the denationalization under the banner of the so-called socialistic internationalism. It
was also a proof that the methods used in the fight against the Catholic Church were very primitive and senseless; but it was an amazing
paradox that as hostile actions of the state increased, the Church grew
stronger.
And what is the present state of teaching the classical languages
and culture in the western countries.3 Generally speaking, the best
secondary schools offer the pupils to learn Latin or Latin and Greek:
the English grammar school, the French and Belgian lycée, German,
the Austrian, Swiss, Dutch, Scandinavian gymnasium (Bogaj 2003:
1059). In the Italian liceo classico during the first two-year cycle (ginnasio) Latin and Greek grammar and language is taught, in the second
3
The European aspect of this issue is presented by F. Waquet (2004: 461ff.).
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three-year cycle (liceo) – Latin language and literature. To a much
greater extent the ancient Greek language and literature is taught in
the Greek klassiko lykeio. Generally speaking, notwithstanding some
limitations in the teaching of classical languages and culture introduced
in the western countries in consequence of the various reforms in recent
decades, the state of education in these subjects can be considered as
satisfactory at last. Without a doubt, the future intellectual elites of these
countries continue to receive full classical education, often deepened
and expanded in further education on a higher level at the universities.
Meanwhile the Polish society has taken a keen interest in the ancient culture and the classical humanism from many decades. It is
evidenced by the success of books, plays, films, TV series which are
themathically connected with the classical antiquity. A special place is
occupied here by the translations from classical languages, republications of great editions, often in the big publication series – the literary,
historical, philosophical treatises, the Greek and Latin poetry and prose,
which are still attractive for a large number of readers. Some years ago
the two great series of translations from Greek and Latin achieved
a remarkable success: “Masterpieces of Ancient Culture” and “The
Ancient Library”, which include already more than forty new translations at a very high literary and scholarly level. An important position
in today’s publishing market, both in Poland and in many other western
countries, is occupied by the books for general readers and the belles
lettres which refer to antiquity. The contemporary theater repertoire
constantly returns to the ancient tragedies of Aischylos, Sophocles,
Euripides, to the comedies of Aristophanes and Plautus. The modern
theater with higher aspirations or artistic ambitions cannot simply do
without these pieces. Films and TV series on ancient themes succeed
in the so-called “viewership”, as e.g. the Gladiator which was recently
aired in Poland or the known and popular TV series Aeneid, The Odyssey, Trojan War and recently presented Rome. Generally speaking, the
visual arts constantly deal with antiquity, when they use the existing
stage material, or they create new original script books on the basis of
ancient, historical, mythological, literary themes. There is no doubt that
at the root of this phenomenon is the undisputed universality of ancient
culture, as it were increased in a globalized world civilization.
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THE CLASSICAL CULTURE IN THE MODERN WORLD
But let us try to look at some other aspects of the functioning of the
classical culture in the modern world. The relative disappearance or the
weakening of the role of the knowledge of antiquity in the universal
consciousness does not mean that its functions have been significantly
reduced or minimized in modern culture. On the contrary, as the number
of people who received the full, thorough classical education decreases,
the interest in the ancient world increases. This is due to the great extent
to the development of global tourism which mainly involves the Mediterranean countries, first of all Greece and Italy, where both the great
spiritual culture as well as the material one flourished in antiquity. The
recognition of their historic monuments, the noble beauty and harmony
of the surviving ancient buildings, mural paintings and sculptures stimulates a deeper interest in it, and even, in many cases, the studies in this
realm. It must not be forgotten that our consciousness and sense of aesthetics have been shaped primarily according to models derived in one
way or another from the ancient Hellas or Roma. One of the most frequently used and abused terms in contemporary political and social life
is “democracy”, derived from the Greek, where this compound (demos
– ‘people’ and krateo – ‘I rule’, ‘I reign’) signified a political system in
which power belonged to the people. We are not interested here in the
term itself, which was probably introduced by the Greek Sophists in
the 5th century BC, and disseminated by Democritus and the critics of
democracy – Plato and Aristotle. But democracy as a political ideal was
invented in ancient Athens,4 and continued in a modified form in Rome.
Without doubt, both the concept itself as well as the main features of
the political system was based on the power of the people according
to the will of the majority of citizens. It warranted everyone the equal
rights and political freedom, the ownership and management of the national wealth and the equal access to the culture and education. This
ancient Greek notion has been used in a more or less modified form in
various modern countries, also outside Europe and in the United States.
Despite the different types of innovations and transformations the fundamental properties of democracy created in ancient Athens remain unchanged, because they represent the essence of this political system.
Modern democracies must continually make a confrontation with the
4
The Athenian democracy was discussed by K. Kumaniecki (2003).
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principles of Athenian democracy, which teaches us that the state cannot be anybody’s property except the citizens, because it belongs to
them, and not to any political party or coalition, which would appropriate it. The citizen must always be the measure and the starting point in
democracy as well as the basis of the civic organization of common life
(Srebrny 1984: 35f.). We are in a straight line the direct heirs of ancient
Greece and Rome, which have designated and defined the role of the
state in the collective life. Thus, we constantly need to refer to the political culture that was created by the Athenian democracy based on the
individual liberty and equality of citizens.
Let us find another example of the impact of antiquity upon contemporary culture. One of the areas in which this effect is strongly
marked involves pedagogy conceived as the theory of education closely
connected with the educational practice. “The whole modern pedagogy
has not afforded any higher ideals of education than those that were
created by the classical antiquity, i.e. the Greek kalokagathía, which
consisted in the fusion of beauty, physical perfection with the highest
qualities of the spirit in the education of the young people, and the Roman disciplina populi Romani grounded on the education of the young
Roman to a brave and well-disciplined citizen” – such were the words
written in 1929 by the the world-renowned scholar latinist Gustaw Przychocki (1929: 9). To With these educational ideals one should be
jointed combine the Greek enkýklios paideía – the general secondary
education and the Roman artes liberales – definitively established by
Varro in I century BC. The fact that in many of today’s educational
theories one may easily notice the primacy of the moral agent over
the sensual one, the aesthetic and the spiritual over the physical one,
seems to indicate clearly that it is the heritage of ancient kalokagathía
and other educational ideals of antiquity, which were a direct continuation of the thought of the Hellenistic and later Roman and medieval,
and finally the humanistic educational ideals of the Renaissance and
Enlightenment.5
A branch of the ancient culture, whose influence on contemporary
civilization could not be overestimated is certainly the Roman law,
5
The Greek kalokagathía was discussed by H.-J. Marrou (1969: 82-85); cf. also
Jaroszyński 2004: 444-447.
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THE CLASSICAL CULTURE IN THE MODERN WORLD
because its content was important to ensure freedom to the citizens
thanks to the constant observance of the principles of equality (aequitas), honesty (honestum), justice (iustitia) and a general respect for the
law. According to the Roman law theorists, a society in which these
principles are not respected cannot survive, as the crisis or the collapse
of the law leads to the loss of freedom and the birth of tyranny, that is,
to use a contemporary word, to dictatorship; the Roman citizens retain the freedom, as they enjoy the protection of law and avoid ignoble
deeds, not because they are forbidden and punishable, but because it is
required by the dignity and justice. The basic principles and ideas of
Roman law: “to live with dignity”, “to do no harm to another”, “to give
everyone his due” are still relevant for the modern legislators and societies. Today’s legal codes against which citizens constantly levy reservations, should respect the principles of Roman morality, which together
make up the ideal of humanitas, i.e. full approval of the human values
and personality. The perfection of legal rules and institutions created
by the Romans is the reason why they were and still are a practical
model of the legislative systems of many nations (Stabryła 2007: 143).
The Roman lawyers clearly formulated and determined established the
most important legal concepts which are without doubt valid; they also
learned to use them in specific cases. Twenty years ago an excellent
expert in Roman law. professor Henryk Kupiszewski, rightly wrote the
following: “It is a great school of legal thought, an important part of
the historical and humanistic education […] The inevitable process of
consolidation of the world (i.e. globalization) has with its unifying idea
chances of playing the role of an integrating element in bringing law
function in the entire planet. It suggests a model of coexistence of the
peoples in agreement with their rights, covering the entire population in
one body” (Kupiszewski 1988: 215f.).6
Examples of the impact of antiquity upon other areas of contemporary culture can be multiplied almost indefinitely. One of them is
certainly the language, or more precisely – the vast sphere of terminology. Thus, the modern languages, including Polish, are forced to
resort to the lexical resources of ancient Latin and Greek, the so-called
“dead languages”, in order to create the appropriate terms for concepts
6
Cf. also Sondel 1995: 47.
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commonly used in the international circulation. Moreover, the number
of those terms taken from the classical languages is growing in all areas
of contemporary culture.
Having discussed the problem of terminology let us go to the problem of the relations between contemporary literature and antiquity.
However, we do not mean here the phenomenon of copying ancient
models in the literature, the imitation of the ancient poetic themes and
themes by the modern writers. It seems that the more important matter is the classicist attitude of many contemporary writers who have
a very strong sense of the persistence of tradition rooted in history. The
classicist attitude is characterized by an intensified sense of historical
continuity, the belief about a continuity of culture, implying eo ipso the
tendency of writers to delve into the ancient theme, which includes not
only the inspirational possibilities, but also the factors stimulating the
creation of a specific, individual vision of the past. It seems that this
double-inspiring and creative importance justifies borrowing from the
ancient artists in the ancient philosophy, mythology, history, and art
(Stabryła 1983: 41ff.). The ancient literature has traced the main routes
of development of the modern literature, which in a sense is its continuation, if even if we merely take into account the fact that all important
genres have had their models in antiquity.
As we close the superficial and by necessity vague remarks on the
impact of the Greco-Roman antiquity upon the culture of the era of globalization, it must be emphasized that the cited examples have shown
only fragments of an extremely broad question. In a concise paper it
would be difficult to take into consideration many of its important aspects, such as the impact of the ancient philosophy, religion and political science, historiography, art,7 architecture, drama, physical education
and sport upon the culture of the modern society. Each of these areas is
for us an inexhaustible source of ideas and creative impulses, the lack
of which inhibits any development and progress. But let us ask why the
tradition derived from Greece and Rome has been impressed forever in
our culture. Perhaps it determined such virtues of the ancient culture as
the deeply rooted cult of beauty, the desire for order and harmony, the
passion for moderation and noble simplicity, the unselfish knowledge,
7
360
The ancient influences on the Polish art discussed by L. Kalinowski (1995: 19-46).
THE CLASSICAL CULTURE IN THE MODERN WORLD
the ability of setting morality above usefulness. If modern man and the
man of future will want to save his humanity, to oppose the fast and
progressive dehumanization of life in a global society, he will have to
turn to the tradition, whose first and most important source and also
the common homeland of all European cultures was ancient Greece.
He will have to rediscover a sense of the Greek humanism (philanthropía), one of the most beautiful ideals that humanity has managed to
develop throughout its history. The ancient culture understood as a set
of main spiritual values produced by the Greek and Roman civilization performs its functions in the modern world – despite all the crises
and retreats from its ideals – from the Middle Ages to the present day.
It is hard to imagine that this vivifying stream of the ancient culture
would dry up finally in our time, that its invigorating waters suddenly
would stop and not flow to the times that are to come. The history,
the whole past teaches that our world of western civilization does not
want and cannot renounce the values that have created and shaped the
ancients, it cannot break the thread linking itself with that world, which
has long ago passed, but is still alive in the collective memory of Europe (Stabryła 1992: 178).
REFERENCES
Bogaj A., 2003, ‘Liceum’, [in:] E. Adamczuk et al., Encyklopedia pedagogicz­
na XXI wieku, t. II, Warszawa, p. 1059.
Davies J. K., 2003, Demokracja w Grecji klasycznej, tłum. G. Muszyński,
Warszawa.
Delanois M., 1980, Le classicisme antique est un humanisme, Namur.
Dziennik Urzędowy 1932 = Dziennik Urzędowy Ministerstwa WRiOP Nr 4
(1932), poz. 32 „O ustroju szkolnictwa”.
Jaroszyński P., 2004, ‘Kalokagathia’, [in:] A. Maryniarczyk et al. (eds.),
Powszechna encyklopedia filozofii”, t. V, Lublin, pp. 444-447.
Kalinowski L., 1995, ‘Antyk w dziejach sztuki polskiej’, [in:] A. Rabińsksa
(red.), Tradycje antyczne w kulturze europejskiej – perspektywa polska,
Warszawa, pp. 19-46.
Kumaniecki K., 1948, Demokracja ateńska, Warszawa.
Kupiszewski H., 1988, Prawo rzymskie a współczesność, Warszawa.
Marrou H.-I., 1969, Historia wychowania w starożytności, tłum. S. Łoś, 1969.
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Mikołajczak A. W., 2005, Łacina w kulturze polskiej, wyd. 2, Wrocław.
Popiak W., 1990, Języki klasyczne – łacina i greka w średniej szkole
ogólnokształcącej w Polsce w latach 1919-1939. Z badań nad programami, metodami i podręcznikami, Warszawa.
Sondel J., 1995, Rola prawa rzymskiego w kształtowaniu polskiej kultury
prawnej [in:] A. Rabińska (red.), Tradycje antyczne w kulturze europejskiej. Perspektywa polska, Warszawa 1995, pp. 47-69.
Srebrny S., 1984, ‘Co zawdzięczamy kulturze świata antycznego?’, [in:]
S. Srebrny, Teatr grecki i polski, Warszawa, pp. 35-37.
Stabryła S., 1983, Hellada i Roma w Polsce Ludowej. Recepcja antyku w literaturze polskiej w latach 1945-1975, Kraków.
Stabryła S., 1992, Starożytny Rzym, Warszawa.
Stabryła S., 2007, Zarys kultury starożytnej Grecji i Rzymu, Warszawa.
Waquet F., 2004, ‘Łacina – język powszechnej komunikacji’, [in:] J. Axer
(red.), Łacina jako język elit, Warszawa, pp. 461-463.
Zieliński T., 1922, Świat antyczny a my, Zamość.
362
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.21
MAGDALENA STULIGROSZ
(INSTYTUT FILOLOGII KLASYCZNEJ UAM POZNAŃ)
MA;GEIROS SOFISTH;S1: THE LEARNED COOK IN
ATHENAEUS’ DEIPNOSOPHISTAI
SUMMARY: Within the category of “cultural humour” applied by Athenaeus
in his Deipnosophistai, a special place is assigned to the speeches of stock mageiroi, who seek to obtain theoretical knowledge in various disciplines and to
apply it to culinary art. By drawing on fragments from Middle and New Comedy of the 4th century BC, Athenaeus creates a specific “canon” of sciences
and of “high” arts, which the cook, who pretends to the title of a sage or a philosopher, has to study, consisting of philosophy, geometry, arithmetic, medicine, music, astronomy, architecture and military strategy. The way the author
of Deipnosophistai casts the mageiros as an intellectual can be read as a play
on the definition of a sophist. The learned cook, who appears to be a product
of the sophistic model of education, based on the mathematical quadrivium
introduced by Plato, resembles Athenaeus’ characters, who practice some of
the very same disciplines he has studied.
KEYWORDS: cook, philosopher, parody, Athenaeus, Epicurus, Middle and
New Comedy, culinary art, sophist, quadrivium, canon of sciences
Among the categories of sympotic humour applied by Athenaeus in
his Deipnosophistai (or, The learned banqueters), thus imparting to it
ludic qualities characteristic of the literary symposium of the Imperial
1
The title of this paper is intended to allude to the title of Gregory W. Dobrov’s
article on the character of the poet cook, Ma;geirov poihth;v (Dobrov 2002).
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period,2 Graham Anderson lists “literary and cultural entertainment, not
least that which draws on the now long-established repertoire of previous sympotic literary situations” (Anderson 1995: 319)3. Within that category of “cultural humour”, he assigns a special place to “the recurrent
series of paradoxes on the idea that philosophers are cooks or gluttons,
and that cooks for their part are really philosophers”. The boastful cook
(ma;geirov), who, by showcasing his skills in long and witty monologues,
pretends to the title of pepaideume;nov, that is, a sage or philosopher,4 appears as a stock character in many of the fragments from Middle and New
Comedy of the 4th century BC quoted in Athenaeus.5 In these speeches,
which testify to the intellectual and linguistic prowess of those master
chefs,6 a comic effect is achieved by juxtaposing a profession widely
considered “low”, and “high” ideas. There is a special place among them
The presence of irony and satire in the Deipnosophistai is noted by Bartol, Danielewicz 2010: 24. This work by Athenaeus, dating from the late 2nd or early 3th century
CE, continues the tradition of the literary symposium originating with Plato’s Symposium, one in which the banquet is but a framework for the presentation of issues more
or less related to its circumstances.
3
Cf. Anderson 2005: 175: “Cooks and chefs can now become the centre of attention, and paradox and paideia are most ludicrously at variance in the scholarship of
cookery.”
4
I omit in this article the character of the poet cook, who uses the language of the
dithyramb or else parodies that of Homer’s epic poems, discussed in detail in the paper
by Gregory W. Dobrov (2002). Nesselrath (1990: 257) describes him as follows: “The
cook makes his [dramatic] entrance [in Middle Comedy] not only as a culinary specialist, but as a word-wizard (Sprachzauberer) as well”.
5
Scafuro (2014: 211) points to the change that the character of the cook undergoes
in comedy during that time: “Comic cooks in the late fourth century are erudite, though less bombastic than their dithyrambizing, philologizing counterparts earlier in the
century.” Cf. Nesselrath 1990: 298-301; Burckhardt 2009: 13: “Wszelako tylko w tak
wysoko cywilizowanej epoce i środowisku jak w Atenach IV wieku mogło się zdarzyć, że także kucharz nabierał naukowych lub poetyckich manier, komedia zaś, która
z tego powodu szczególnie często go wyśmiewa, poucza nas, jak bardzo szeroko, aż
po dolne warstwy społeczeństwa, rozpowszechniła się wówczas postawa pretensji do
dystyngowanej kultury” [“However, it is only in a time and environment as cultured as
4th century Athens that a cook could assume a scholarly or poetic manner, and comedy,
which ridicules him for that particularly often, shows us how widely the pretenses of
sophistication had spread by then, all the way to the lower social strata”].
6
The lines revealing the cook’s alazoneia would usually feature in a dialogue between him and either a client commissioning him to prepare a feast, or some of his
slaves. The issue is dealt with in detail in Dohm 1964: 201 sqq.
2
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MA;GEIROSV SOFISTH;SV: THE LEARNED COOK IN ATHENAEUS’ DEIPNOSOPHISTAI
for speeches in which cooks declare themselves Epicureans, or followers
of a school preaching hedonistic values.7 Holding up a distorting mirror of comedy to Epicurean teachings, Athenaeus and his cooks point
to a connection between pleasure in general and the pleasures of taste8.
The overview of comic excerpts in which a cook is elevated to the rank
of a philosopher, contained in Book 7 of The learned banqueters, is prefaced with these words of Epicurus9: “For I, at any rate, am unable to conceive of ‘the Good’ if I remove from consideration the pleasure derived
from the flavours of food or from sex” (Athen. 7.278f. ).10
No wonder then that Athenaeus believes Archestratus11 “a forerunner of the wise Epicurus on the subject of pleasure” (]Epikou;rjwj tw#j
sofw#j th#jv h[donh#v); this is the Archestratus who in his gastronomic poem
[Hdupa;yeia (The life of pleasure) gives advice and recommendations,
Hesiod-like and paraenetic in tone, on the right choice of dishes and
their ingredients.12 That “Hesiod or Theognis of gourmands”, as Athenaeus calls Archestratus, emphasizing his mastery of gastronomic poetry (3.101f),13 is further compared to the cook in The Foster-brothers,
a play by Damoxenus (fr. 2.1-2 Kassel-Austin = Athen. 3.102a), who,
at the onset of his long speech, prides himself on being a follower of
the wise Epicurus: “You see that I’m / A student of that wise Epicurus”
(’]Epikou;rou de; me/ o[ra#jvµj mayhth'n o/nta tou# sofou#).
Parody references to the doctrine of Epicurus can be found in
Greek comic poets on both notional and lexical levels.14 His words are
7
As Wilkins (2000: 404) notes, “Philosophy is one of the more recherché areas of
knowledge to be attempted by a comic mageiros”.
8
Cf. Constan 2014: 283: “by invoking Epicurus […], the cook is aligning himself
not just with any philosophical school, but with the one that preached pleasure as the
goal of human life”.
9
Fr. 67 Usener.
10
All excerpts from the Deipnosophistai and the comic poets cited there are in
S. D. Olson’s translation.
11
A poet from Gela in Sicily, representative of the didactic tendencies in gastronomic poetry (ca. mid-4th century BC).
12
Elsewhere, Athenaeus invokes Chrysippus, who calls Archestratus “the predecessor of Epicurus”: Athen. 7.278e-f; cf. 3.104b.
13
Athen. 7.310a.
14
Discussed more closely in Gordon 2012: 14-37, in the chapter “The First Lampoons of Epicurus”.
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very freely and simplistically interpreted by a comic character in Hegesippus’ play (fr. 2.5-6 Kassel-Austin = Athen. 7.279d), who identifies
pleasure (h[donh;), which the Epicureans saw as the source of all goodness and the purpose of life, as well as absence of pain and freedom
from cares, with pleasures of the palate (masa#syai15):16
There’s no greater good than chewing;
the Good’s an attribute of pleasure.
Epicurus seems to find a worthy successor in the cook in Bato’s
comedy Benefactors, who addresses a slave on the hardships of a master chef’s life (fr. 4 Kassel-Austin = Athen. 14.662c):
Good for us, Sibyne, that we don’t sleep at night
or even lie down. Instead, a lamp stays lit,
and there are books in our hands.
The image of sleepless nights (ta'v nu;ktav ou] kayeu;domen) spent
with a lamp lit (kai;etai lu;cnov) on studying cookbooks (bibli;on e]n
The same verb appears in Damoxenus, fr. 2.62-63 Kassel-Austin: “This is how
Epicurus ‘condensed’ pleasure: he chewed carefully” (]Epi;kourov ou=tw katepu;knou
th'n h[donh'n> e]masa#t’ e]pimelw#v). Gordon (2012: 32) believes that the fact that the verb
masa#syai appears in both of these texts might indicate a reference to Epicurus: “I take
the reference to ‘chewing’ as another signpost for the lost intertext: the language stands
out from its surroundings and signals that something specific (but lost to us) is being
quoted, paraphrased, or recycled. The original may have been a text of Epicurus, or
perhaps it was a memorable parody”.
16
In his Letter to Menoeceus, Epicurus warned the reader not to misinterpret his
teachings by looking for pleasure to sensations, including those which accompany the
eating of exquisite food (Diog. Laert. 10.131-132): “When we say, then, that pleasure
is the end and aim, we do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of
sensuality, as we are understood to do by some through ignorance, prejudice, or wilful
misrepresentation. By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble
in the soul. It is not […] the enjoyment of the fish and other delicacies of a luxurious
table, which produce a pleasant life” (transl. R. D. Hicks). There is an excellent example of this biased conception of Epicurus’ hedonism in Bato’s comedy The partner in
deception (fr. 5.7-10 Kassel-Austin), where the paidagogos absolves the young man
in his care from his inclinations towards heavy drinking thus: “Epicurus, for example,
identified the Good / with pleasure, I believe. And you can’t get / pleasure from anywhere else; but by living very well / [corrupt] you’ll grant me is to the point”.
15
366
MA;GEIROSV SOFISTH;SV: THE LEARNED COOK IN ATHENAEUS’ DEIPNOSOPHISTAI
tai#v cersi;) written by famous predecessors17 appears to be a reference to the picture of Epicurus painted in Epictetus’ Discourses (Diatr.
1.20.9): “why do you light your lamp and labour for us, and write so
many books?”18 (ti; de' kai' lu;cnon a=pteiv kai' ponei#v u[pe'r h[mw#n kai'
thlikau#ta bibli;a gra;feiv;).19 Unlike the cook, however, who merely
reads, Epicurus actually wrote quite a lot.20 The cook in Bato’s play
seems to imitate Epicurus as far as intellectual activity is concerned,
and the work the mageiros undertakes is a prerequisite to acquiring
“scientific” foundations in the several theoretical disciplines which
find application in culinary art.21 We are reminded that a good cook
ought to combine manual skill and intellectual prowess22 by a character
in a comic play by Philemon the Younger (fr. 1.6-9 Kassel-Austin =
Athen. 7.291e-f):
A man’s not a cook just because he comes to
someone’s house carrying a ladle and a butcher’s
knife,
or because he tosses fish into casserole-dishes.
There’s thought involved in the business.
The aforementioned wisdom (fro;nhsiv) of which a mageiros
should be possessed is, according to Epicurus, “the beginning and
the greatest good (to' me;giston a]gayo;n) […]. Wherefore prudence is
Here, Bato mentions Sophon, Simonactides of Chios, Tyndaricus of Sicyon and
Zopyrinus, all listed among other famous personages by Pollux (Onomasticon 6.70).
18
Transl. G. Long.
19
Long (2002: 128-141) interprets this passage in the Discourses as follows: “Epictetus charges Epicurus with refuting himself by living a life that, instead of concentrating on sensual and self-centred pleasure, confirms the value Epictetus assigns to
intelligence and to exercising it philanthropically”.
20
Epicurus’ works extended to the impressive volume of three hundred scrolls,
which is why he earned himself the epithet polugrafw;tatov. Only Chrysippus could
compete with him.
21
That desire of the cook to broaden his intellectual horizons, which is so characteristic of late 4th century comedy, is noted by Wilkins 2000: 383: “It is claim to thought and
theoretical study that characterizes the boastfulness of the later speeches of the stock
mageiros. The cook seeks always to extend into new areas”.
22
Plato’s Socrates in Gorgias (465a) perceives cookery differently, denying it the
rank of an art (te;cnh) and terming it a/logon pra#gma instead.
17
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MMagdalenMaMagdalena
a more precious thing even than philosophy; from it spring all the other
virtues, for it teaches that we cannot lead a life of pleasure which is not
also a life of prudence, honour, and justice; nor lead a life of prudence,
honour, and justice, which is not also a life of pleasure”.23
The need for labour (ponei#n) if one is to ascend to the necessary
theoretical knowledge is mentioned by the Epicurean cook in Damoxenus’ play (fr. 2.9-11 Kassel-Austin = Athen. 3.102a):
There’s nothing wiser than hard work,
and anyone who devotes himself to this saying finds
his business easy.
He further maintains that a master of the culinary art should be
familiar not only with Epicurus’ Canon, but also Democritus’ atomic
theory (fr. 2.12-15 Kassel-Austin = Athen. 3.102b):
So if you ever see a cook who’s uneducated
and hasn’t read Democritus from beginning to end,
along with Epicurus’ Canon – smear his nose with
shit and kick him out.
It is not by accident that Democritus’ name comes up here, since
he is regarded as a forerunner of Epicureanism. As noted by Pamela
Gordon, besides referring explicitly to both Epicurus and Democritus,
the author of the fragment includes in it certain elements parodying
philosophical language.24 Further into his speech the cook discusses
applying to the culinary art what knowledge one possesses in the discipline of quaestiones naturales (such as the seasons), as well as medicine (16-41) and music (42-61).25 It is possible to notice allusions to
Diog. Laert. 10.132, transl. R. D. Hicks.
Gordon 2012: 24: “Remarkable here is that the joke on Epicurus goes beyond
the obvious equation that links Epicureans with food, wine, or sex. Instead, the comic
poet delivers a very specific parody of Epicurean vocabulary”. A detailed discussion of
Epicurean terminology used in this passage from Damoxenus, as well in Bato’s fr. 5
Kassel-Austin and Hegesippus’ fr. 2 Kassel-Austin follows in Gordon 2012: 25-32.
25
Dohm (1964: 173-187) sees a mockery of the two arts, here as well as in Sosipater’s fr. 1 Kassel-Austin and Nicomachus’ fr. 1 Kassel-Austin, both discussed in this
article, where he believes medicine to receive the same treatment. Moreover, he notes
that Damoxenus focuses on applying astronomy to medicine. Dohm 1964: 175: “der
23
24
368
MA;GEIROSV SOFISTH;SV: THE LEARNED COOK IN ATHENAEUS’ DEIPNOSOPHISTAI
the medical treatises of the Hippocratic school collected in the Corpus
Hippocraticum (ca 440-350 BC) dealing with choosing food which had
the right dietary virtues,26 as well as to the Pythagorean theory of musical harmony (Konstan 2014: 283).
Sometimes the cook is not content to draw on the achievements of
his great predecessors. The motif of a cook who himself is in his own
opinion a philosopher (kau]to'v filosofw#) and would, like his teacher,
Sophon of Acarnania,27 leave behind some work of his, can be found in
a fragment from Anaxippus’ play The man who tried to hide his face (fr.
1.21-22 Kassel-Austin = Athen. 9.404b):28
I’m also a philosopher, and I’m eager to leave behind
my own original treatises on my line of work.
In the cook’s declaration that he will leave behind a new written
work (katalipei#n suggra;mata speu;dwn e]mautou# kaina' th#v te;cnhv),
Adele C. Scafuro (2014: 211) sees an allusion to the words of Alcidamas (4th century BC), a pupil of Gorgias, who, emphasizing in his
speech On the Sophists that improvised speeches were superior to composed ones, still justified the latter with his care to leave behind him
Dichter sich vielmehr über die erstaunliche Hochschätzung lustig macht, welche die
astronomischen Kentnisse bei den Medizinern genossen”. Still, it seems that in all those
passages the comic poets only mock the art of cooking rather than its several auxiliary
disciplines.
26
The issue is in particular the subject of the extensive treatise De dieta, and the text
De natura hominis, known as “the explication of the four humours and dietetics”. The
use of the humoral theory mentioned by Damoxenus (29-30) for cooking is mentioned
by Dalby 2003: 96: “the real application of humoral theory to diet […] was already in
evidence in Hippocratic Regimen and has been fated to persist for more than two thousand years”.
27
Bato’s fr. 4.4 Kassel-Austin ascribes to Sophon the authorship of a cookbook.
Sosipater on the other hand (fr 1.14 Kassel-Austin) refers to him as “the founder of the
art” (th#v te;cnhjv a]rchgo;v).
28
Bartol remarks that the cook’s speech highlights the relationship between the art
of cooking and philosophical doctrine: “[…] wzmianka o przynależności mistrzów patelni do poszczególnych szkół gastronomicznych dodatkowo podkreśla jej pokrewieństwo z uprawianiem filozofii” [“Mentioning that masters of the frying pan belong to
various schools of gastronomy emphasizes its similarity to the practice of philosophy.”]
(Bartol, Danielewicz 2011: 559).
369
MMagdalenMaMagdalena
a memorial and to gain fame (32): “we are eager to leave behind memorials of ourselves”29 (e/ti de' kai' mnhmei#a katalipei#n h[mw#n au]tw#n
spouda;zontev).
Just as his fellow cook in Bato’s play, Anaxippus’ character spends
his leisure poring over books (to'n o/ryron e]n tai#v cersi' o/qei bibli;a
e/conta), which makes him like a philosopher (fr. 1.24-26 Kassel-Austin = Athen. 9.404b-c):
First thing in the morning, you’ll see me with
books
in my hands, doing research on my trade;
I’m no different from Diodorus of Aspendus.
This time the poet says directly that the cook’s lifestyle mirrors
that of Diodorus of Aspendus, a Pythagorean philosopher of the 5th and
4th centuries BC. The simile is actually not very flattering in depicting
the cook’s dedication to improving his art (te;cnh), since according to
Athenaeus (4.163e-f), Diodorus, like the cynics, let his hair and beard
grow out and neglected his personal hygiene. The cook in Anaxippus’
play combines culinary skill, which is here presented as a philosophical
doctrine, with medicine, and even with psychological knowledge, since
he selects dishes based on a person’s way of life (those he would pick
for lovers differ from those he would offer philosophers and tax collectors) and age.30 Moreover, he is also skilled at another, new discipline:
the pseudo-science of physiognomy,31 as he can correctly “diagnose”
a banqueter by observing his face32 (48-49):
Transl. J. V. Muir.
Dalby (2003: 96) draws attention to the fact that cooks in comedy make use in their practice of as yet unnamed sciences: “the most interesting applications of extraneous
science to cookery, in these comedy speeches, are of sciences that were yet unnamed:
‘the psychology of the individual’ […] the art of public relations”.
31
Galenus (Anim. mor. corp. temp. 7) considers Hippocrates the creator of physiognomy, but it was supposedly the Pythagoreans who initiated the discipline. It was the
subject of the pseudo-Aristotelian treatise Physiognomica, as well as of De physiognomia by Polemo of Laodicea, written during the 2nd century CE under the Second
Sophistic just as the Deipnosophistai was.
32
See Scafuro 2014: 211: “The final lines of the fragment may be parody of the
‘new’ study of physiognomy”.
29
30
370
MA;GEIROSV SOFISTH;SV: THE LEARNED COOK IN ATHENAEUS’ DEIPNOSOPHISTAI
When I see your faces, I’ll know what each of you
wants to eat.
The cook’s familiarity with issues belonging to various disciplines
of human knowledge and his ability to practically apply them to gastronomy make it possible to consider him an intellectual. In a satirical
comment on the skills and talents of cooks, Athenaeus especially points
out their “scholarliness”.33 And so, he applies the terms “a real intellectual (me;gav sofisth;v) and no less of a bullshitter (ei]v a]lazonei;an) than
the physicians” (Athen. 9.377f) to the boastful cook from Sosipater’s
play The false accuser (fr. 1 Kassel-Austin), who believes himself to
be one of three “true” masters of the culinary art (ma;;geiron a]lhyino;n).
In his opinion a perfect cook must not only hone his skills from childhood, but also master them in order to acquire the sciences (8-9, ta'
mayh;mata a=pany’ e]fexh#v ei]do;y’) of astronomy, architecture and military strategy (16-18), whose application to te;cnhv mageirikh#v makes up
the subject of his discourse later on (25-26).34 As Sosipater’s character
says, following the advice of Sicon,35 considered a forerunner of the art
Towards the end of the Italian Renaissance, Tomaso Garzoni alludes in his encyclopaedic work La piazza universale di tutte le professioni del mondo to the motif of
the “learned” cook so showcased by Athenaeus. The way he was inspired by the Greek
literary symposion and referred to The learned banqueters was pointed out by McClure
2004: 126-127: “Elaborating on Athenaeus’ motif of the learned cook, Garzoni praises
those ‘in the Academy of dishes’ who profess ‘to be at one and the same time padroni
and lords of all the sciences, because they show themselves to be Rhetoricians exalting
proudly the royal banquets that sometimes are made; Poets in describing the pastas of
the lords with hyperboles and suitable and apt emphases; Arithmeticians enumerating a
multitude of dishes brought to the table’, and so on, satirically hailing them as Geometers, Musicians, Logicians, Philosophers, Jurists, Physicians, and Astrologers”.
34
Wilkins 2000, p. 399 notes that two of the disciplines mentioned here as supposedly useful to the culinary practice, namely astronomy (which was part of natural
history) and military strategy, were both auxiliary in the study of rhetoric (students of
rhetoric were advised to familiarize themselves with them by Cicero and Quintilianus):
“While the choice of natural history and military strategy might make sense in the
theorizing of the kitchen […], there is an implication that the cook is supporting his
inflated art with science of real importance. Natural history and strategy are areas of
knowledge which were also used by the students of rhetoric.”
35
The name Sicon was often given to cooks in Greek comedy.
33
371
MMagdalenMaMagdalena
of cooking (th#v te;cnhv a]rchgo;v), practising skills should be preceded
by obtaining theoretical knowledge in the above-mentioned fields (19):
He wanted us to master these subjects before we
studied our own professions.
It is in a similar way that a character in Nicomachus’ Eilethuia describes the perfect cook (o[ ma;geirov o[ te;leiov) as an expert at many
kinds of knowledge, while conversing with a man who would hire him
to prepare a feast (fr. 1.11-14 Kassel-Austin = Athen. 7.291a). In that
conversation he notes how it is necessary to study the disciplines in
question diligently and in depth:
A fully-trained cook’s a different master.
You’d need to master a large number of quite
significant arts;
and someone who wants to learn them the right way
can’t
take them on immediately.
The same character recommends that one should begin their education by studying other arts (e[te;rav te;cnav), the knowledge of which
is necessary for acquiring the theoretical foundations used in cooking
(15-16):
[…] and before the
art
Of cooking you have to master others.
Other than the astronomy mentioned in Damoxenus’ and Sosipater’s plays, the command of which is supposed to be applied to observing the seasons, Nicomachus includes painting, geometry, and medicine among a cook’s skills. He pays the most attention to the latter,
which seems completely justified given the close relationship between
medicine and the culinary art at the time.36
36
In the early stages of its development, gastronomic literature was a subsection of
medical literature, in which food was seen as a factor necessary to achieving a balance
372
MA;GEIROSV SOFISTH;SV: THE LEARNED COOK IN ATHENAEUS’ DEIPNOSOPHISTAI
Among the characters mentioned by Athenaeus in his discourse on
the abilities of cooks there is also the erudite character from Euphro’s
comedy The brothers, whom the author of the Deipnosophistai refers
to as “a learned and well-educated cook” (9.379c, ma;geiron polumayh#
kai' eu]pai;deuton). Taking on the role of an instructor and teacher, he
praises the achievements of his pupil Lycus, adducing for comparison
the accomplishments of such past masters of the art as Agis of Rhodes,
Nereus of Chios, Chariades of Athens, Lamprias, Euthynus, Aphthonetus and Aristion, whom he considers the successors to the seven sages,37
e[pta' deu;teroi sofoi; (fr. 1.11-12 Kassel-Austin = Athen. 9.379e):
After the famous seven ancient wise men, there
people
represent our generation’s second group of seven
sages.
Euphro also sees the learned cook as the “first inventor” in gastronomy. The mageiros is serious as he numbers among the prw#toi
eu[rhtai; not only his contemporary above-mentioned seven sages, who
are famous as inventors of dishes, but also himself and his student as
the inventors of a specific kind of theft.38
At times the term sofisth;v, which Athenaeus applies to the master chef from Sosipater’s comedy, is clearly derogatory, referring as it
does to that character’s special skill which makes cookery so similar
to sophistry. Thus understood, mageirikh' te;cnh is about “making the
unacceptable superficially palatable”.39 In Athenaeus’ opinion the title is deserved by the clever cook in Archedicus’ play (fr. 2 KasselAustin): he is the “sophistic little cook” (sofisth'v mageiri;skov) who
uses a considerable amount of cheap olive oil to make an elegant dish
of humours (fluids) and as part of a diet needed for the body to function correctly. In his
Gorgias (464c-465b), Plato considers the art of cooking a false shadow of medicine.
37
The seven sages were outstanding politicians, lawgivers and philosophers active
in Greece between the 7th and 6th centuries BC. Plato is the first to list them in Prt. 343a
(as Thales of Miletus, Bias of Priene, Solon, Cleobulus of Lindus, Myso, and Chilo of
Sparta), but the list varies from author to author.
38
Here, Euphro introduces the motif of sacrificial meat stolen from the altar (bomolochia), known from Old Comedy; see Wilkins 2000: 88-90, 400-401.
39
As Gowers (2003: 82) refers to this skill of a cook.
373
MMagdalenMaMagdalena
for the banqueters, spending the money thus saved on luxury food for
himself. A similar “compliment”, that is, inclusion among sofistai;,
comes up in the lines of a character addressing a cook who talks about
the secrets of his art in Alexis’ comedy Milesians (fr. 153.14 KasselAustin = Athen. 9.379b): “I’m adding the cook to my list of intellectuals”, he says (ei]v tou'v sofista'v to'n ma;geiron e]ggra;fw>). In this case
the cook’s sophistry is that he shifts some of the responsibility for the
results of his work onto their consumers, that is the banqueters, who
must not arrive at the feast either early or late (1-14).
The way Athenaeus casts a master cook as pepaideume;nov can be
read as a play on the definition of a sophist, that is, somebody considered an expert in a field. During the early centuries of the Empire the
term was used to refer to erudite people, primarily orators and men of
letters; all widely learned, just as Athenaeus’ characters are. It is them
that the learned cook resembles as he shows off his broad knowledge
both of his own art and some others. By drawing freely on the works
of comic poets, the author of the Deipnosophistai creates a specific
“canon” of sciences and of “high” arts, which a master chef has to
know. The perfect cook is a product of the sophistic model of education, based on the mathematical quadrivium introduced by Plato,40
which encompasses theoretical understanding of geometry, arithmetic,
astronomy and music.41 However, his theoretical background far exceeds that canon, including also medicine, architecture and strategy.42
His learned discourses on the mageirikh' te;cnh, of which he is an unsurpassed master due to applying his knowledge of other disciplines, rival
the erudite debates held by the banqueters present at Athenaeus’ feast,
See especially book 7 of the Republic, and cf. Prt. 318e, Hp. Ma. 285c-d.
Theoretical knowledge supplemented the formal education provided by sophists
in the fields of grammar, rhetoric and dialectic; cf. Jaeger 2001: 404-408. Plato was to
adopt the division of mathematics into four mayh;mata introduced by the Pythagoreans,
as borne out by a fragment of a lost treatise by Archytas of Tarentum. On that subject
see Zhmud 2006: 63-64. The division presented here finds a reflection in enkyklios paideia, or the late Hellenistic concept of general education, as well as in the Roman artes
liberales system; see Clark 2012: 11-54.
42
Medicine and architecture were added to the seven artes liberales by Varro in his
Disciplinae; Cornelius Celsus (1st century CE) on the other hand included strategy and
philosophy as well in his encyclopedia Artes.
40
41
374
MA;GEIROSV SOFISTH;SV: THE LEARNED COOK IN ATHENAEUS’ DEIPNOSOPHISTAI
who practice some of the very same disciplines he has studied, namely
medicine, philosophy, grammar and music. Just as Athenaeus’ deipnosophistai, the ma;geirov sofisth;v not only possesses impressive knowledge, but also studies it passionately and willingly shares it with others.
REFERENCES
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Anderson G., 2005, The Second Sophistic: A cultural phenomenon in the Roman Empire, London–New York.
Bartol K., Danielewicz J. (tłum., wstęp, koment.), 2010, Atenajos. Uczta mędrców, Poznań.
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Kassel R., Austin C. (eds.), 1983-2001, Poetae Comici Graeci, 8 vols. Berolini–Novi Eboraci.
Long A. A., 2002, Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic guide to life, Oxford.
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Nesselrath H.-G., 1990, Die Attische Mittlere Komödie. Ihre Stellung in der
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376
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.22
JERZY STYKA
(INSTITUTE OF CLASSICAL PHILOLOGY
JAGELLONIAN UNIVERSITY, KRAKÓW)
LATE ANCIENT COLLEGIA POETARUM ACCORDING
TO SIDONIUS APOLLINARIS
SUMMARY: The paper discusses the image of collegia poetarum in 5th c.
Gaul, as presented in the poetry of Sidonius Apollinaris, one of the leading poets of the period. Thanks to his poetic works we have access to the information
on the writings of a number of important authors, whose literary efforts have
been lost, as well as to numerous facets of literary life in 5th c. Gaul.
KEYWORDS: collegia poetarum, Sidonius Apollinaris, Petrus, Domnulus,
Lampridius, late ancient poetry
The tradition of literary circles (collegia poetarum) in Rome started
with the beginning of written Roman literature, i.e. second half of the
3rd c. BC. It is connected with Livius Andronicus, the first Latin poet,
albeit of Greek origin. He was an author of translations and adaptations of Greek epic and dramatic poetry as well as the author of the
first Latin choral ode (carmen saeculare) written for the ludi saeculares
celebration in 207 BC. Let me quote the account of Festus the grammarian, who thus describes this first testimony proving the existence of
organized literary life in Rome:
Cum Livius Andronicus bello Punico secundo scripsisset carmen quod
a virginibus est cantatum, quia prosperius res publica populi Romani
geri coepta est, publice attributa est ei in Aventino aedis Minervae, in
377
JJerzJeJerz
qua liceret scribis histrionibusque consistere ac dona ponere in honorem
Livi, quia is et scribebat fabulas et ponebat.1
The most famous Roman literary circle, which flourished at the time
when Roman literature was already a well-developed phenomenon, was
the 2nd c. BC philhellenic circle of Scipio Africanus the Younger; chief
representatives of this circle were Publius Terentius Afer, the satirist
Caius Lucilius, the philosopher Laelius the Younger and the prominent
Greek Stoic philosopher, Panaitios of Rhodes. Conversely, the 1st c. BC
is the time when the revolutionary circle of neoteric poets appears on
Roman literary stage. These poets broke with earlier literary traditions
and models and its main representatives were celebrated poets: Valerius
Cato, Helvius Cinna, Licinius Calvus, Marcus Furius Bibaculus, Varro
Atacinus and, first and foremost, the most popular (and the single one
whose works are preserved) Caius Valerius Catullus.
The most important among Roman literary circles was, undoubtedly, the circle of Maecenas, a friend and political cooperator of Augustus. Maecenas himself was a pragmatic creator of Augustan cultural policy (31 BC-14 AD) and he managed to convince the greatest
of Roman poets: Vergilius Maro and Quintus Horatius, but also others, among them the elegist Propertius and lesser poets such as Lucius
Varius Rufus, Plotius Tucca, Quintilius Varus, Valgius Rufus. Domitius
Marus and others to support Augustus’ political programme.
But the circle of Maecenas was not the only centre of artistic and
critical creativity in Augustan Rome. Its rival group was concentrated
around Messala Corvinus, the admirer of Theocritus’ idyllic muse. The
most important poets gathered around Messala were great elegiac poets Albus Tibullus and Publius Ovidius Naso. The second independent
circle was created by Asinius Pollio, a neoteric-style poet, tragedian,
historian and Atticizing orator. In his circle prominent figures included
former neoteric poet Helvius Cinna as well as Lucius Varius Rufus (de
morte, Thyestes) and Aemilius Macer. In these artistic salons literary
life flourished and new aesthetic attitudes were formed. Their activity
was decisive for defining the cultural space of the Augustan period and
1
378
Cf. Festus, Grammatici Latini, p. 333.
LATE ANCIENT COLLEGIA POETARUM ACCORDING TO SIDONIUS APOLLINARIS
the salon’s approval was what decided about the success and career of
a new, debuting author.
In the present paper I would like to concentrate on presenting the
organized artistic life in southern Gaul in 5th c. AD. It was a crucial
moment for ancient Roman culture, endangered by destruction with repeated waves of barbarian incursions. The attitude of the people, who
were manifesting their need to preserve and keep their Roman cultural
identity, was of great importance for the survival of the Roman culture,
endangered as it was by the waves of destructive barbarian incursions.
The attitude of the people and their apparent will to keep and preserve
their Roman identity, were of great importance for the survival of the
ancient tradition in European culture.
In 5th c. AD the southern province of Gaul, Galia Narbonensis,
kept its Roman character for a long time, despite the turbulent changes,
brought about by the barbarian invasions (Klein 1991: 352-380). The
western part of Gallia Narbonensis, together with its capital Narbo,
was adjoined to the Visigoth kingdom of Aquitaine in 462 AD, and the
rest of it in 475-6 AD. This part of southern Gaul was colonized by
Rome already in 120 BC and was soon Romanized. The Provincia Romana, with a capital located in Narbo, was created there. Roman culture in this area was merged with the Greek one, present there for ages,
especially in Massilia (Marseille).2
Roman settlements and cultural centres in Nemausius (Nîmes), Vienna (Vienne), Tolosa (Toulouse) Arelate (Arles), Arausio (Orange)
were developing fast. After Julius Caesar had annexed the entire Gaul
to the Roman empire, new Gallic provinces were created: Aquitania,
Lugdunensis, Belgica with the centres in Lugdunum (Lyon), Burdigalia (Bordeaux), Remi (Reims) and Augusta Treverorum (Trier). When
a major part of Gaul was conquered by the barbarians, Roman culture
and administration lasted the longest in Gallia Narbonensis and in
a part of the Lyon province: in Auvergne, which until 475 was defended
by bishop Sidonius Apollinaris.
The end of 4th c. and then 5th c. is the period of large literary productivity in Roman Gaul. The majority of authors come from the southern,
Cf. Courcelle 1943 : 224ff.; see also Menteyer 1908: esp. 37-70; Sivan 1978:
35-36.
2
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most thoroughly Romanized part of Gaul; our main source of information concerning them is Sidonius Apollinaris (430-486), a notable poet
and epistolographer, who was also the prefect of Rome and the bishop
of Auvergne. Belonging to local aristocracy, gifted and well-educated
in classical Greek and Latin literature, he enjoyed great popularity
among the officials, higher clergy and the landowners of the region.
He cultivated friendships, writing numerous letters and occasionally
poems dedicated to his friends, many of whom were also intellectuals
and writers (Nellen 1981). Their works have been almost entirely lost,
which is why the testimonies of Sidonius Apollinaris are of special importance for the study of Gallo-Roman culture of the 5th century (Mathisen 1981: 95-109).
Sidonius Apollinaris is an author particularly characteristic of the
period. He is a true litteratus homo from the end of the Roman culture.
His works give us information about intellectual life in southern Gaul
in the 5th c.: both in large urban centres such as Arles (called The Gallic
Rome), Bordeaux, Lyon, Vienne, Narbonne, as well as in the private
estates of Gallo-Roman aristocracy, where the specific “villa culture”
has developed. North of the Alps authors such as Horace, Vergil, elegiac poets of the Golden Age, empire-age satirists are widely read;
Lucan, Statius and Claudianus are also popular, together with gnosis,
Neoplatonist philosophy and ever-flourishing Ciceronian rhetoric. At
the same time, however, a new and specific style, marked by mannerism, develops in this region.
The image of literary life in Gaul, which we get from the works of
Sidonius Apollinaris, is first and foremost marked by the importance of
the above-mentioned important urban centers of political and cultural
life, with a broad tradition of the literary and the intellectual. It is not
possible to characterize them all in the short scope of this paper.
I will therefore use, as an example for presenting the quality of
literary life in Southern Gaul in 5th c., the circle of poets congregated at
the court of Emperor Majorian. (457-461) in Arles (Arelate). Emperor
Majorian established his court in Arles at the beginning of the year 460.
The presence of a ruler added imperial splendor to the city. Since the
time of Constantine, Arles played a leading role in Gaul, alongside the
imperial Trier. The city has become the center of politics, economy
380
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and culture. Emperor Majorian was eager to see Sidonius Apollinaris
among the regular visitors at his court. He was impressed by the poetic fame of Sidonius, his outstanding intellectual culture and satirical
verve. Sidonius Apollinaris’ preserved literary legacy includes 24 occasional poems, assembled in a separate collection, and nine books of letters. His other works – hymns on the Christian martyrs and the sermons
recited before the people, called contestatiunculae – were either lost or,
possibly, never published by the author himself. It is also known from
Sidonius’ own letters that he was working on a translation of Flavius
Filostratus’ Life of Apollonios of Tyana. The prose part of Sidonius’
oeuvre consists of nine books of letters, containing 146 items, the majority of which was written between 470-480. These were rediscovered
many centuries later, in the years 1451-1455, by an Italian humanist
Enoch d’Ascola. The bulk of the letters were originally part of Sidonius’ everyday correspondence; nevertheless, they were carefully preserved and gathered by their author; moreover, before the publication
they were embellished and stylized, thus becoming what was known
at the time as accurate or curatius scriptae litterae, so called artistic
letters. The term describes correspondence which was destined to be
published and publicized. The division of the letters into nine books
alludes to a similar division of Plinius’ correspondence. The bombastic
and grandiose style dominates in the collection, with its characteristic
abundance of epithets; we may also observe the tendency towards formalistic verbalism, similar to the one known from Sidonius’ poetry. The
texts are filled with excurses and prosopopoeias; there are also numerous speeches, anecdotes and parables with certain satirical qualities. It
should be noted that Sidonius’ literary culture functions, in a way, in two
aspects: one of them has to do with erudition and educational practice,
the other with certain social attitudes. The first aspect is realized by the
copious usage of the means of expression learnt during the grammatical
and rhetorical education. Of special importance here is the efficiency in
using traditional mythological motifs, erudite metaphors, hyperboles,
periphrases, puns etc. The second aspect is created by evoking in the
poems the atmosphere of a literary salon with its elegant conversations
between subtle and cultivated interlocutors, whose erudition and grace
are meant to dazzle and astonish the audience. Sidonius’ writings are
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the mirror for the classical culture, read and perceived through the lens
of the profound education.
Sidonius also had friends among the important imperial courtiers.
He was thoroughly supported by Petrus, the emperor’s personal secretary (magister epistularum), himself a renown poet. Among his numerous duties he would find time to devotedly pursue his literary interests,
and although his works did not survive until the modern times, it is
certain that he should be counted among the most important writers of
the period. Sidonius proves the publication of Petrus’ prosometric letters which enjoyed widespread popularity in Gaul, Italy and also Spain
(Epistula IX 13, 5; Carm. V 568).
Among the court poets those especially liked by the emperor included, beside Sidonius Apollinaris and the aforementioned Petrus
the secretary, also Domnulus, Severianus and Lampridius. The first of
them, Domnulus, was of African descent, but he had stayed in Gaul for
quite some time and he was known to be a man of great and diverse
knowledge (Epist. IX 15, 37) He settled in Arles where he keenly listened to the sermons of St. Hilary, who was the bishop of this city until
449. According to Sidonius, Domnulus was a questor there (Carm. XIV
15 [preface I]). Today we could judge him not by his poems, of which
none are preserved, but rather by his fame as noted by Sidonius Apollinaris (Epist. IV 25).3 According to him, Domnulus was one of the best
educated men of the period. Sidonius mentions him often, both in the
context of his rhetorical skills (Epist. IX 13, 4) and his fame as a poet
(Epist. IX 15, 1). Sidonius ranks Domnulus together with poets such
as Leo of Narbonne and Consentius Junior, who were also believed to
be renowned scholars in Greek literature. Domnulus combined rhetorical and poetic skills with deep philosophical interest and gained such
prominence in this area that he was quoted as an arbitrator in subtle
metaphysical questions. Sidonius made him an addressee of a very
interesting letter (IV 25), dated probably at the beginning of 470, in
which he explains to Domnulus certain intriguing details related to the
election of a new bishop in the city of Cabillonum (Chalon-sur-Saôn)
(Williams 1967: 48-51).
3
382
Cf. also Cavallin 1955: 49-66.
LATE ANCIENT COLLEGIA POETARUM ACCORDING TO SIDONIUS APOLLINARIS
About Severianus we know even less. According to Sidonius he
was a poet and a prose writer; his poetry, probably epic, was marked by
grandiose sublimity, while his prose resembled that of Quintilianus as
far as its expressiveness is concerned: Praestantem tuba Severianum,
// Et sic scribere non minus valentem // Marcus Quintilianus ut solebat
(Carm. IX 315-317).4
The third of the poets, Lampridius, was one of the most famous
characters in Gaul’s literary life in 5th c. (La Penna 1995b: 211-224).
Originally from Bordeaux, he came to Arles on request of Majorian; to
do so, he left the famous grammatical and rhetorical school in his home
town. He was a professor there as well as an important poet, continuing
the artistic traditions of Ausonius and Paulinus of Nola. The Bordeaux
school was a worthy rival of similar centers of intellectual and cultural
life in Milan and Aquileia. It is enough to take a book of Ausonius to
see what sort of professors taught in Bordeaux and how many of the
Gallo-Roman youths would study both ancient and contemporary poets
there. Sidonius Apolloinaris, who knew Lampridius ever since he was
a young man, would not hesitate to compare him to the two greatest
masters of Greek and Roman poetry, Pindar and Horace: Eum ire censeres post Horatianos et Pindaricos cycnos gloriae pennis evolaturum
(Epist. VIII 11, 7). Lampridius, in a separate letter addressed to him
by Sidonius Apollinaris, was subtly praised already in the first lines,
where his poems are said to be full of nectar, flowers and pearls. Cum
primum Burdigalam veni, litteras mihi tabellarius tuus obtulit plenas
nectaris, florum, margaritarum, quibus silentium meum culpas et aliquos versuum meorum versibus poscis, qui tibi solent per musicum
palati concavum tinnientes voce variata quasi tibiis multiforatilibus effundi (Epist. VIII 9, 1). The cited fragment, apart from the respect for
Lampridius’ poetry, also refers to his elegant poetic appeal to send him
the poems of Sidonius. The form in which he framed his request is, according to Sidonius, very proper for the rendition of Lampridius’ poetic
art, full of musical effects.
Sidonius returns to praising his friend’s literary talent in the latter
parts of the letter VIII 11. The comparisons meant to render Lampridius’ art are more tangible here. In the following chapters we are dealing
4
Cf. also Epist. IX 15, 1, carm. v. 37: Severianus ista rhetor altius.
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JJerzJeJerz
with a phenomenon atypical for Roman literary critique: an overall assessment of the literary production of a poet whose oeuvre is lost. This
assessment includes both the metric and generic criteria, together with
the aesthetic ones and the valuation of the contents. Sidonius’ opinion refers to a concept of special importance for ancient art of writing,
namely the idea of imitating literary models. This statement is worth to
be quoted in extenso:
De reliquo, si orationes illius metiaris, acer, rotundus, compositus,
excussus; si poemata, tener, multimeter, argutus, artifex erat. Faciebat
siquidem versus oppido exactos tam pedum mira quam figurarum
varietate: hendecasyllabos lubricos et enodes, hexametros crepantes
et cothurnatos, elegos vero nunc echoicos, nunc recurrentes, nunc per
anadiplosin fine principiis conexos. Huc, ut arreptum suaserat opus,
ethicam dictionem pro personae, temporis, loci qualitate variabat,
idque non verbis qualibuscumque, sed grandibus, pulchris, elucubratis.
In materia controversiali fortis et lacertosus; in satirica sollicitus et
mordax; in tragica saevus et flebilis, in comica urbanus multiformisque,
in fescennina vernans verbis, aestuans votes; in bucolica vigilax, parcus,
carminabundus; in georgica sic rusticans multum, quod nihil rusticus.
Praeterea quod ad epigrammata spectat, non copia sed acumine
placens, quae nec brevius disticho neque longius tetrasticho finiebantur,
eademque cum non pauca piperata, mellea multa conspiceres, omnia
tamen salsa cernebas. In lyricis autem Flaccum secutus nunc ferebatur
in iambico citus, nunc in choriambico gravis, nunc in alcaico flexuosus,
nunc in sapphico inflatus. Quid plura? subtilis, aptus, instructus, quaque
mens stilum ferret eloquentissimus, prorsus ut eum iure censeres post
Horatianos et Pindaricos cygnos gloriae pennis evolaturum. […]
Scribebat assidue, quamquam frequentius scripturiret. Legebat etiam
cessanter auctores cum reverentia antiquos, sine invidia recentes, et,
quod inter homines difficillimum est, nulli difficulter ingenii laude
cedebat (Epist. VIII 11, 5-8).5
In the quoted statement of special importance is Lamprodius’ incredible mastery in grasping various literary techniques. He is both
a gifted orator and a good poet. Already the first two sentences underline the general features of his literary style. In rhetoric, he is characterized by his expressiveness, which might even be called impetuosity: he
5
384
Cf. also Brożek 1996 : 113-114; Styka 1999: 43-61.
LATE ANCIENT COLLEGIA POETARUM ACCORDING TO SIDONIUS APOLLINARIS
is acer, and the same quality is ascribed to him also in poem IX, 314:
acrem Lampridium. Sidonius also praises him for the free and artistically full expression, calling him rotundus. This seemingly trivial term
is in ancient literary critique often marked as serious and important. Its
meaning is best defined by Horace’s words in Ars poetica, stressing
the preeminence of Greek literature when compared with the Roman:
Grais ingenium, Grais dedit ore rotundo // Musa loqui, praeter laudem
nullius avaris (Horatius, Ars poetica 323-324).
The expression ore rotundo loqui is related to the demand of formal perfection, required from Roman writers. It is an equivalent of the
Greek term to strongyllon, defining a statement which is artistically
polished, lacking nothing and having nothing in excess6. The fact that
Sidonius stresses rotundus as an aesthetic quality of Lampridius’ poetry
seems to point at the fact that he views his oeuvre as a perfect one,
in which both the poetic and prosaic genres have achieved faultlessness of form and content. Other features of Lampridius’ rhetorical style
are compositus and excussus. The first of these describes the harmony
in constructing speeches, while the second designates its artistic finish. The Latin participle excussus means, in literary context, well-researched, analysed in detail, well thought-out; this goes well together
with a main rule of artistic decorum, based on knowledge and rational
thought7.
The evaluation of the artistic worth of Lampridius’ speeches in not,
however, the dominant part of Sidonius’ statement. The main direction
of Apollinaris’ aesthetic and literary account is Lampridius’ poetry, set
in metric and generic-stylistic categories. Sidonius stresses strongly
the varied character of Lampridius’ work; it is characterized by subtle
grace (tener), polimetricity (polimeter) and ingenious artistry (argutus
artifex). Its formal variety is always accompanied by careful crafting of
each poem, visible in the proper choice of metre and of poetic figures
(tam pedum mira quam figurarum varietate). This poetic technique provides each poem with a generically proper choice of euphonic rhythm:
the smoothness and fluency of iambic poetry, sonority and pompous
Cf. Brink 1971: 348.
Cf. Cicero, Orator 21, 70: Sed est eloquentiae sicut reliquarum rerum fundamentum sapientia.
6
7
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JJerzJeJerz
solemnity of epic, whining repeatability of elegiac poems. Appollinaris
tries to find a feature defining the power of the poems’ expressiveness.
He speaks of Lampridius’ power of argument (in materia controversiali fortis et lacertosus), which might have to do with epic contents,
stresses the sincerity and audacity of the author’s satirical works (in satirica sollicitus et mordax), underlines the raw grandiosity and moving
character of his tragedies (in tragica saevus et flebilis) as well as the
refined comic power and variety of his comedies (in comica urbanus
multiformisque).
According to Sidonius, Lampridius is youthfully sensual in fescennine verses (in fescennina vernans verbis, aestuans votis), vigilant,
laconic and melodious in bucolic (in bucolica vigilax, parcus, carminabundus) and in his poems on agriculture he can describe the farmer’s work in a detailed and convincing way, even though he himself
is not a man of the country (in georgica sic rusticans multum, quod
nihil rusticus). In his epigrams he is a master of subtle culminating
point, which is not, however, deprived of satirical acumen8. Finally,
his lyric odes, metrically based on Horace, are full of subtle refinement
and they prove that thanks to his advanced poetic proficiency the Aquitanian poet is worth being set above the greatest poetic masters, Horace and Pindar. The great number and variety of literary forms used by
Lampridius, both prosaic and poetic, certainly proves that the standards
of the literary life in South Gaul were rather high. The aesthetic and
literary judgements of Sidonius Apollinaris are surely not only proof
of friendly courtesy; more likely they seem to be a result of a deep
and thoughtful evaluation of a literary authority, which Lampridius certainly was for this generation of Gallo-Roman writers.
Petrus, Domnulus, Lampridius, Severianus and Sidonius Apollinaris himself were indisputably the most prominent poets at Majorian’s
court in Arles and, as Sidonius emphasises, they got there due to the
emperor’s own initiative; it was the ruler himself who brought them all
together to his Gallic capital: Quos undique urbium ascitos imperator
in unam civitatem […] contraxerat (Epist. IX 13, 4). The poets were
literarily active not only at the court, where their presence added to the
8
386
Cf. Munari 1958: 131ff., cf. also Bernt1968: 7ff.
LATE ANCIENT COLLEGIA POETARUM ACCORDING TO SIDONIUS APOLLINARIS
prestige of the emperor; they were also popular among the citizens,
who were interested in literary culture and in poetic recitations.
One day a citizen of Arles and a lover of poetry invited the aforementioned poets, together with Sidonius, to an elegant supper, during
which the new collection of poems by Petrus, the emperor’s secretary,
was presented. For Sidonius and his friends the reading of these poems became an impulse to present improvised poetic praises of Petrus’
work (La Penna 1995a: 3-34; Roberts 1995: 91-111; Guillaume-Coirier
2000: 44-53). When the host was preparing fish sauce, the poets cast
lots among themselves, ascribing each other a metre in which each of
them should improvise a laudatory poem. Such a decision was a show
of urbanitas morum: since it was believed that the comparison of the
poetic talent is easiest if one deals with poems by various authors, composed on the same topic but also in the same meter, the choice of polimetry was meant to spare humiliation and shame to those of the poets
whose work would be deemed the weakest. The participant, after all,
meant the whole game rather as entertainment than a true certamen
poeticum.
The story of the meeting is related by Sidonius in letter IX 13, addressed to his friend Tonantius Ferreolus: suscipe libens, quod temporibus Augusti Maioriani, cum rogatu cuiusdam sodalis ad cenam conveniremus, in Petri librum magistri epistularum subito prolatum subitus
efudi, meis quoque contubernalibus, dum rex convivii circa ordinandum moras nectit oxygarum, Domnulo, Severiano atque Lampridio
paria pangentibus […]. Id morae tantum dum genera metrorum sorte
partimur. Placuit namque pro caritate collegii, licet omnibus eadem
scribendi materia existeret, non uno tamen epigrammata singulorum
genere proferri, ne quispiam nostrum, qui ceteris dixisset exilius, verecundia primum, post morderetur invidia. Etenim citius agnoscitur in
quocumque recitante, si quo ceteri metro canat, an eo quoque scribat
ingenio (Epist. IX 13, 4-5).
True to his urbanitias, Sidonius never mentions the results of
the competition; of four poems presented only his, sent to Tonantius
twenty years after the event, was preserved. The poem is composed in
Anacreontic dimeters, a meter very rare in Latin poetry, and it proves
the ease and lightness of Sidonius’ poetic diction: it is a real gem of
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post-neoteric gracefulness, shining with colors, showing off with
sounds and scents, filled with the charm of poetry. Sidonius calls his
companions to a charming party at the end of the day, a party under the
patronage of the genius of poetry. Let the songs resound among sophisticated dishes, goblets of wine and dances: Celebremus ergo, fratres, //
Pia festa litterarum. // Pergat diem cadentem // Dape, poculis, choreis
// Genialis apparatus (Epist. IX 13, 5, carm. v. 9-14).
Amongst the lavish, sometimes exaggerated praises of Petrus’
poetry, Sidonius describes the joy of meeting, the banqueting beds
adorned with linen coverings and purple, the splendour of the table, the
baskets of colourful flowers, air fragrant with scents of incense and expensive perfumes, the shining candelabra and glittering lamps emitting
pleasant fragrances, the tripods, amphorae and chalices of Falernian
wine, the rose crowns; he recalls the sound of bronze flutes, Corinthian harps, pipes and trumpets, accompanied by the dancing of mad
Maenads. All these form, it seems, a catalogue of motifs present in the
poetry of Petrus, who, according to Sidonius, is second to none in both
poetic art and rhetoric flair and whose literary works are received with
applause by well-educated readers: Date carminata socco, // Date dicta
sub cothurno, // Date quidquid advocati, // Date quidquid et poetae //
Vario strepunt in actu: // Petrus haec et illa transit. /…/ Sed in omnibus
laborans // Et ab omnibus probates // Rapit hinc et inde palmam, // Per
et ora docta fertur (Epist. IX 13, 5, carm. v. 82-95).
Having presented a catalogue of ingenious poetic motifs, recalling the sensuous world of pagan poetry, Sidonius in the final part of
the poem unexpectedly rejects the traditional sources of poetic inspiration: the fonts of Hippocrene and Aganippe, Apollo, the processions
of Muses or Athena; he bids them to stay away from Petrus; poetry,
of which the only patron is God: Procul hinc et Hipocrenen // Aganippicosque fontes // Et Apollinem canorum // comitantibus Camenis // n
Abigamus et Minervam // Quasi praesulem canendi; // Removete ficta
fatu: // Deus ista praestat unus (Epist. IX 13, 5, carm. v. 96-103).
Despite this chastising, one could say, provision, the feast went on
into the night; among refined poetic games and wordplays accompanied by good wine nobody was afraid that tomorrow, possibly, a barbarian might come, destroy the carefully set table, break the fragrant
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lamps and smash the poet’s lyre. It is, indeed, a charming picture of
otium filled with literary humanitas: Rome exists, Muses speak, the illusionary world rules supreme over the real one.9
The general image of literary culture in southern Gaul shown here,
as well as the representation of the life of collegium poeticum in Arles
proves that the intellectual and literary life of this region in the time
of the barbaric invasions was rich and impressive. This life had one
dominant aim: to keep the existence of the Roman culture, despite the
growing political dangers (Mascoli 2001: 131-145; Fontaine 1957:
208-215). The collegia poetarum were active: they organized a meeting
devoted to composing poetry, recitations and rhetorical declamations
and philosophical debates, which took place in the refined atmosphere
of a literary salon to which only the educated elite had entry. One cannot help but be fascinated by high intellectual culture of these people,
many of whom held high-ranking state offices. For them cultivating
literary interests became not only the form of pleasant entertainment,
individual self-cultivation and fostering the bounds of friendship, according to the Roman otium tradition; in many cases, they were the
way of manifesting their Romanitas and their attachment to the culture
of old.
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Ritmi Latini, Frankfurt am Main.
Brink C., O, 1971, Horace on Poetry: The Ars Poetica, Cambridge.
Brożek M., 1996, ‘Galia literacka w pismach Sydoniusza’, Filomata 435-436,
pp. 109-118.
Cf. André 2006: 63ff. The scholar, presenting the synthesis of the otium culture in
the works of Sidonius, suggests at least one risky and, in our opinion, wrong concept;
accordig to him, in Sidonius’ work the dominating forces are Horatian aesthetics and
Augustan lyricism, which seems mistaken especially in the light of post-neoteric character of the majority of Sidonian poems and also his letters. Cf. also Consolino 1979.
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Cavallin S., 1955, ‘Le poète Domnulus. Étude prosopographique’, Sacris erudiri 7, pp. 49-66.
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littéraire: Sidoine Apollinaire, Epist. IX 13, 5’, Bulletin de l’Association
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Klein R., 1991, ‘Das südliche Gallien in spätantiker Zeit’, Gymnasium 98, pp.
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La Penna A., 1995a, ‘Gli svaghi letterari della nobilità gallica nella tarda
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Mascoli P., 2001, ‘Gli Apollinari e l’eredità di una cultura’, Invigilata lucernis
23, pp. 131-145.
Mathisen R. W., 1981, ‘Epistolography, literary circles and family ties in late
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Menteyer G., 1908, La Provence du Ie au XIIe siècle, Paris.
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Nellen D., 1981, Viri litterati. Gebildetes Beamtentum und spätrömisches Reich im Westen zwischen 284 und 395 nach Christus, Bochum.
Roberts M., 1995, ‘Martin meets Maximus : The meaning of a late Roman
banquet’, Revue des Études Augustiniennes 41, pp. 91-111.
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Styka J., 1999, ‘La culture littéraire romaine dans la Gaule du Ve siècle, selon
le témoignage de Sidoine Apollinaire’, Terminus 1, pp. 43-61.
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390
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.23
OLGA ŚMIECHOWICZ
(UNIWERSYTET JAGIELLOŃSKI)
ВОПРЕКИ ТОМУ ВРЕМЕНИ…
ОТЕЦ И СЫН
ФАДДЕЙ ФРАНЦЕВИЧ ЗЕЛИНСКИЙ И АДРИАН
ИВАНОВИЧ ПИОТРОВСКИЙ
SUMMARY: The present paper analyses how the biography of Tadeusz
Zielinski, one of the most famous Polish classicists, was influenced by the
history of Poland, Russia and Germany. (He was living in Sanct-Petersburg,
Leipzig and Warsaw.) On the basis of his Autobiography and Diary I am
trying to seek his real personality apart from the common knowledge about the
famous scholar with outstanding publications and thousands of students. In his
private papers Zielinski had openly described his “colorful” student life and
love affairs, but he concealed his illegitimate children… One of them – Adrian
Petrovsky – was a classicist, translator and dramatist. He was the first translator
who translated all Aristophanic Comedies into Russian (1934 – first edition).
After the premiere of the ballet The Limpid Stream (with music by Dmitri
Shostakovich, libretto by Petrovsky), censors banned the piece and Petrovsky
was attacked in a “Pravda” editorial. Shortly after that he was arrested by the
NKVD (November 1937) and shot in prison (15 November 1937).
KEYWORDS: Tadeusz Zielinski, Classics in Russia, translations, Greek
theatre, Adrian Petrovsky.
Фаддей Зелинский – один из самых крупных исследователей
античной культуры. Первое воспоминание, приходящее на ум при
звуке его имени это коллоквиум по грамматике древнегреческого
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языка, а именно третье склонение, и его проницательные глаза, смотрящие с настенной фотографии. Это не глаза человека, который
простит, который не обратит внимания на студенческие недостатки.
Когда мы смотрим на его научные работы, мы в полной мере
осознаём, что это человек особенный, воплощающий недостижимый идеал учёного. Даже сегодня, даже в наше время, хотя прошло
почти 100 лет, когда в Санкт-Петербургском Университете разговариваем с научными сотрудниками кафедры классической филологии, мы чувствуем, что они говорят не об учёном, о сотруднике, а
как будто говорят об одном из великих обитателей Олимпа.
Ханна Геремек, историк античности была связана с Варшавским
университетом. Последние годы своей жизни занималась исследованиями, связанными c биографией и научными достижениями Фаддея Зелинского. Рукопись его автобиографии Mein Lebenslauf (автобиографию он написал в Шондорфе в 1924 году в Германии) Ханна
Геремек нашла в Японии1. Эти воспоминания шестидесятипятилетний учёный писал ретроспективно. Читая их, нам может показаться,
что к своим юношеским шалостям он подходил с пониманием и
ничего не приукрашивал, описывал свою жизнь в соответствии с
фактами, и достоверно. Трудно сопоставить серъёзного учёного,
профессора СПб Императорского университета, замечательного знатока античности, с описанием его студенческих приключений, его
встреч в немецких тавернах, где по вечерам он сидел с товарищами
за кружкой пива, читая (разумеется) Аристофана. Когда в воспоминаниях Фаддея Ф. Зелинского мы читаем о его студенческой жизни,
нам всем хочется, чтобы у нас был именно такой друг, такой сосед,
живущий с нами в одной комнате, такой спутник наших юношеских
приклчений. Он был всегда весёлым и всегда готовым к новым исследованиям, а кроме того очень одарённым и исключительно талантливым человеком. В своей автобиографии Зелинский открыто
пишет (автобиографию он писал прежде всего для своих детей)
о своих первых увлечениях, о том, как ходил на сельские танцы,
рассказывал о своих странствиях по горам, о приключениях. Даже
о том, что во время обучения в Венском университете он «неприличным образом» жил в одной комнате с девушкой (Zieliński 2005: 106).
1
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Дневники (1939-1944) годов Ханна Геремек нашла в Петербурге.
ВОПРЕКИ ТОМУ ВРЕМЕНИ…
Говорят, что его любовные победы стали легендой. Учёный шутил,
что вместе с ним в Петербург приехал вальс в ритме ¾ (Zieliński
2005: 112). Он был поклонником вестфальского пряника и брауншвейгской колбасы (Zieliński 2005: 43) (зато ненавидел песочную
бабу [Zieliński 2005: 23]). Всегда выделялся из толпы, был ярким,
прекрасно выглядел и отличался интеллектом. Как сам говорил о
себе: «северная душа, которая хочет вырваться из холода на горячий юг» (Zieliński 1972: 6). Но, чего можно ожидать от мужчины,
который делает предложение своей будущей жене на лодке, когда
вокруг бушует гроза (Zieliński 2005: 117)?
Говоря о биографии ученого, мы всегда имеем в виду его научные труды: научные публикации, результаты научной деятельности,
награды, его непосредственных учеников и последователей. Мы
не обращаем внимания на время, в котором Зелинскому пришлось
жить, и которое сыграло непосредственную роль в его биографии,
мы считаем его само собой разумеющимся. Все мы помним эти
исторические события. Мы не задумываемся об этом, не рассматриваем в какой реальной действительности ему пришлось трудиться, c
какой суровой реальностью ему пришлось столкнуться, какие препятствия ему все создавали: и поляки, и белые и красные, и нацисты
(национал-социалисты). У него не было места, где он чувствовал
бы себя, как дома. Когда он был в России, он писал на немецком
языке, когда был в Германии – писал по-русски (Zieliński 2005: 235).
В ответ на все политические – измы (национализм, социализм) и
собственную судьбу, он создал свою частную идеологию, назвав её
«супранационализм» (Идея нации, требующая не подавления, а развития национальных особенностей – это уклон в сторону каждого
народа, с которым он связывал свою судьбу) (Zieliński 1999: 75).
ВОПРЕКИ ТОМУ ВРЕМЕНИ
Фаддей Францевич Зелинский родился в 1859 году в Киевской
губернии Российской империи (ныне Киевская область Украины),
в обедневшей дворянской польской семье. В 1863 году (имевшем
ключевое значение для польско-русских отошений) четырёхлетний
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мальчик лишился матери. Вспоминая детство, он говорит, что был
мальчиком спокойным и смирным сидящим всега с книгой и не
было больших хлопот с его воспитанием (Zieliński 2005: 17). (Со
временем у него появился интерес к химии, а особенно к альхимическим экспериментам [Zieliński 2005: 38]). После смерти матери
он жил с отцом в Петербурге. Впоследствии в доме появилась гувернантка, ею стала молодая русская девушка, которая с мальчиком
говорила только на французском языке. Это привело к тому, что он
почти ничего не знал о городе в котором жил, почти не знал русскую
литературу, не принимал участия в культурной жизни столицы, а на
языке страны, в которой жил, говорил только с прислугой (Zieliński
2005: 19). Развитию способностей мальчика много времени уделял
отец, который сам был воспитан в старой дворянской среде в традициях гуманизма, которые хотел передать своему сыну. Отец подбрасывал ему очередные шедевры польской литературы, например
Адама Мицкевича, запрещённого в России (отголосок недавнего
Январского восстания 1863 года) Пана Тадеуша, в честь которого
будущий учёный и был назван. В своей автобиографической книге
он пишет, что мачеха (русская девушка ранее служившая в доме
гувернанткой) привозила из-за границы эти книги, которые прятала от таможенников. Привозила французские издания Мицкевича,
которые покупала в Берлине (Zieliński 2005: 19). С детства у него
сохранилось воспоминание, о том, что когда он был испуганным
мальчиком, ожидая опаздыающего отца, он спрятался за комод с
зеркалом и, чтобы заглушить тревогу (об отце), громко спрягал
глаголы: amo, amas, amat… Дойдя до amaverunt услышал весёлый
голос отца – «vel amavere» (Zieliński 2005: 19). Домашние занятия
продолжались до десятилетнего возраста, а затем мальчика надо
было отдать в гимназию. Была выбрана школа Св. Анны, где преподавание велось на немецком языке и его коллегами были дети из
немецких семей. Выбор такого училища был вызван тем, что недавнее Польское восстание углубило раскол в польско-русских отношениях. Легко можно себе представить какой ад могли ему устроить в
русской школе его русские однокласники, он мог даже столкнуться
с неприязненным отношением к нему учителей. Поэтому отец и
решил послать его в школу с немецким языком, где его учителями
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ВОПРЕКИ ТОМУ ВРЕМЕНИ…
были немецкие протестанты (Zieliński 2005: 21). В этой среде он
был принят как ещё один эмигрант. Занятия в школе проводились на
немецком, кроме того Фаддей учился английскому языку, а русский
язык всё время оставался на элементарном уровне (Zieliński 2005:
31). Много времени он посвящал греческому и латинскому языкам.
Но когда его отец умер, дядя со стороны отца, ставший опекуном
осиротевшего мальчика, потребовал, чтобы тот после окончания
школы продолжал образование в технологическом институте (Институт дорожного строительства).
В начале молодой Зелинский принял это абсолютно безразлично, но потом, когда на его пути стали появляться одарённые
учителя преподающие античную культуру и языки, харизматические личности, подросток пересмотрел свои академические планы
(Zieliński 2005: 29). Когда дядя узнал об этом, он попросту выгнал молодого человека из дома, лишил его всякой материальной
помощи и порвал все отношения (Zieliński 2005: 36). В то время,
когда Зелинский блистательно окончил среднюю школу, по счастливому совпадению в Лейпциге была открыта филологическая семинария, он решил, что поедет в Лейпциг к професору, к «самому
Георгу Куртюсу» (Zieliński 2005: 39). Это было в 1876 году. Фаддей
Зелинский на несколько лет ушел с головой в латинский и греческий языки, занимался также санскритом и вопросами методологии
(Zieliński 2005: 45). Вероятно он сидел бы там до сих пор, между
ворохом бумаг и истлевшими от сырости словарями, но однажды
в коридоре он увидел объявление. На нём был только адрес, место
встречи, время и название трактира. С этого вечера в студенческой
жизни Зелинского началась новая эра. Достаточно сказать, что на
следующий день, первый раз в жизни, он почувствовал, что такое
похмелье (Zieliński 2005: 49). В этом трактире он познакомился с
новыми друзьями, со спутниками общих «пивпоходов», которые
пережил благодаря крепкой голове (Zieliński 2005: 65). В тот памятный первый вечер в трактире, они читали в лицах какую-то комедию
Аристофана, при этом эффектно мешая другим гостям (Zieliński
2005: 47). Товарищи по «пивпоходам» встречались регулярно и ещё
больше укрепляли дружеские отношения, которые сохранились на
долгие годы. Кроме оживлённых дискуссий о греческой комедии,
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возник юношеский интерес к социаизму (Zieliński 2005: 63). Замечательная бурная студенческая жизнь, благодаря которой студент
Зелинский часто возвращался домой ранним утром, ни в коем случае не мешала академической карьере, не имела деструктивного
влияния на его научную деятельность. Первым его успехом была
конкурсная работа, посвящённая древнеаттической комедии О синтагмах за которую он получил награду -профессорскую стипендию
(Zieliński 2005: 55-56). На следующий год он опять получил такую
же высокую стипендию, но тогда Зелинский обязан был в Лейпциге
написать и защитить докторскую диссертацию (Zieliński 2005: 58).
Свою первую диссертацию о последних годах Пунической войны
он защитил в Лейпциге в 1880 году (Zieliński 2005: 58). За это время
все его друзья уже успели покинуть Лейпциг, начиная новый этап
жизни, и молодой учёный покинул Лейпциг без особого сожаления.
Он уехал работать в Мюнхенский университет.
Там он кропотливо изучал историю древнего искусства. Проклиная свою плохую зрительную память, он пытался изучить различия
между школами и мастерами (художниками) (Zieliński 2005: 70).
На зимний семестр он поехал в Вену, там он занимался латинской
эпиграфикой и изучением итальянского языка, так как весной хотел
отправиться в Верону и Виченцу, а потом ещё дальше, в Венецию.
В Венеции он восхищался картинами написанными Винченцо Беллини и Тьеполо (Zieliński 2005: 75). Весть о смерти царя Александра
II застала его на Площади Сан Марко (Zieliński 2005: 77). Оттуда
(из Венеции) отправился в Падую, а затем в Болонью, Флоренцию,
Рим и Неаполь. Свои очень бурные итальянские приключения с
женщинами он называл «этнологическими» (Zieliński 2005: 107).
Дальше по пути была Греция. Первую встречу с Грецией он начал с
острова Корфу и через Коринфский залив попал в Лутракион (строительство Коринфского канала началось на годом раньше в 1881
году), а дальше в Пирей и Афины. С новыми друзьями, которых
встречал на своём пути, и с бутылкой вина, он шатался по улицам
Афин. А ранним утром, сидя у подножия Парфенона, провозглашал
тосты за предков: за Иктина, за Фидия и Перикла (Zieliński 2005:
84). Объехал весь Пеллопонес (Zieliński 2005: 85). В Мюнхен Зелинский возвращался через Пизу, Геную, Милан и Цюрих. После шести
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ВОПРЕКИ ТОМУ ВРЕМЕНИ…
лет пребывания за границей, он вернулся на поезде в Петербург,
осенью 1882 года (Zieliński 2005: 86). Но здесь учёный сталкнулся
с бюрократической махиной, которая так хорошо описана Гоголем.
Здесь не признают его магистерскую степень и ему приходится защищать диссертацию вторично. Он плохо владел русским языком,
но вторично писал на этом «плохом» языке магистерскую диссертацию О синтагмах в древнегреческой комедии (Zieliński 2005: 90).
(Со временем слово синтагма заменяет другой научный термин
– агон.) Для того, чтобы научное сообщество приняло его как учёного и научного сотрудника, достаточно было написать (ещё раз!)
докторскую диссертацию. С 1884 года он стал работать преподавателем Петербургского университета. 21 января он провёл первую
лекцию посвящённую комедии Аристофана. На ней присутствовало только пять слушателей, однако у него были не только такие
проблемы (Zieliński 2005: 95). Тогдашний университет так же, как
и сегодняшний, был связан с левыми силами. И хотя его коллеги
не одобряли политику монархии, то это не значит, что любили и
благоприятствовали полякам. Научные сотрудники относились к
нему недружелюбно и сдержанно, в сущности Зелинский тоже не
стремился к тому чтобы искать у них симпатию. В воспоминаниях
он определённо писал о том, какое впечатление производили на него
его учёные коллеги, писал что это «научные нули» (Zieliński 2005:
129). Он не обращал внимания на них, в личных отношениях держался в стороне, и бросился в водоворот дел. До 1886 года учёный
усердно работает над докторской диссертацией. Он дал ей название:
О дорийском и ионическом стилях в древнеаттической комедии. Но
здесь его постигла неудача. Университет в Петербурге не принял его
работы. От Зелинского требовался только сухой, написанный в сжатом виде анализ, а эта работа была слишком новаторская и широкая
по содержаню. Инновационный образ мышления не был целесообразен и нужен для того, чтобы получить научное звание (Zieliński
2005: 120). Русские учёные сомневались в его научном будущем.
Они считали, что Зелинский ничего особенного собой не представляет. Сегодня фамилий этих учёных никто не помнит… Точно также
неизвестна фамилия человека который ему посоветовал: «Ваше
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положение в науке будет зависеть не от того, что о вас напишут, а
от того, что вы сами напишете» (Zieliński 2005: 122).
Подготовленная им докторская диссертация не была принята в
Петербурге. Зелинский отправил свою диссертацию в университет
в Дерпте (нынешний Тарту), где успешно её защитил. Несколько
лет спустя, Ульрих фон Виламовиц-Меллендорф пишет, что это
«работа достойна цитирования» (Zieliński 2005: 122). Это было
благословением величайшего современного научного авторитета
для его дальнейшего научного пути. Такой констатацией он закрыл
рот всем критикам. Однако «дорпатское отступничество», которое
использовал Зеленский, чтобы обойти негативную оценку учёных
Петербургского университета, не прибавило ему друзей (Zieliński
2005: 122). Первые пятнадцать лет он ничего не издавал. Но годы
молчания в результате дали потом 200 авторских листов: это были
комментарии и научные трактаты, среди которых не было, как он
сам подчёркивает, ни одного научно-популярного текста (Zieliński
1972: 17). Он работал в тишине библиотеки. Как позже определял
это Ян Парандовский: в своих научных исследованиях он целиком
был сосредоточен именно на конкретах, на узкоспециалистических
деталях, знание которых приводит к тому, что «коллеги по делу»
начинают тебя уважать (Zieliński 1972: 7). На занятиях со студентами он занимался метрикой, грамматикой и текстологией, но число
студентов с течением времени всё сокращалось (Zieliński 1972: 7).
Предметом лекций не были темы: интерпретация текста, исторический контекст, интертекстуальность, внутренний смысл. «Об этом
не говорилось, но это чувствовалось» (Zieliński 1972: 18). Тогда ещё
никто не учил классических филологов, как делать занятия интересными. Поэтому они с завистью смотрели на учителей истории, у
которых на занятиях собирались толпы студентов. Симптоматичным
является факт, что Пётр Никитин выдающийся исследователь античности, который занимал посты декана историко-филологического
факультета и ректора Петербургского университета, убеждённый
в том, что классическое образование необходимое и историку и
филологу любого профиля, и не видя возможности аннулирования
Министерством прсвещения предложения о упразднении преподавания древних языков, подал в отставку. Его место занял Фаддей
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Зелинский, получив кафедру греческого языка и лекции по греческой трагедии, которыми завоевал авторитет в студенческой среде,
и которые стали поворотным моментом в его карьере.
Он по прежнему плохо владел русским, но тем, что притягивало
к нему, было его ораторское мастерство и умение увлечь слушателей. Зелинский читал лекции, не глядя в свои записи, не читал «по
бумажке», они были для филолога только «страховкой» (Zieliński
2005: 126). Он был сторонником живого общения с аудиторией. В
это время cвобода формы имела решающее значение, так как содержание лекции становилось только дополнением. Он решил обновить
учебную программу, отказаться от грамматики и текстологии. Революцию в обучении он начал с Вакханок Еврипида – эта лекция
оказалась переломоной. Харизматичность взяла верх над серьёзностью учёного. Студентов увлекли и содержание и блестящая форма
изложения. Лекцию закончили овации студентов, чего раньше никогда не случалось. С тех пор научную деятельность Зелинский
проводил на двух фронтах: с одной стороны дотошный анализ понятный только профессионалам, с другой – популяризаторская деятельность. К сожалению, он снова столкнулся с реальной жизнью.
Это была действительность вне стен университета. Во времена
Александра III, правительство относилось с недоверием к университетам, а тем более к классической филологии (Zieliński 2005: 142).
Новый университетский устав резко ограничивал автономию университетов, ставя их под контроль попечителей. Наступило новое
усиление цензуры, печать подвергалась цензуре и острому политическому режиму. Зелинскому трудно было найти подходящее место
для публикации своих текстов. Журналы «Русский вестник», «Русское обозрение» и «Русская мысль», были слишком консервативными, а их редакторы были согласны с тем, что интерес к античности несомненно закончился. (Более прогресивными были,
выходящие тогда в Петербурге «Вестник Европы»„и «Мир Божий»).
Далее ситуация усложнилась: коллеги не испытывали к Зелинскому
симпатии и открыто выражали неприязнь, не желая работать с поляком (Zieliński 1972: 20). Наконец учёный нашёл подходящий журнал. Он стал печатать свои труды в московском научно-политическом журнале «Русское слово». Молодой учёный сотрудничал с этой
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общероссийской газетой, благодаря которой его тексты могли стать
известными в самых далёких уголках страны (Zieliński 2005: 180).
Но следующей проблемой, которая ограничивала поле его деятельности (эта проблема существует и по сей день), а также ограничивала интеллектуальную свободу, был низкий уровень знаний и низкий уровень исследований греческой и римской античности.
Сегодня в этой области можно рассчитывать только на Московский
и Петербургский университеты. В общем такая ситуация не давала
(и сейчас тоже не даёт) широкой читательской среды. Поэтому, если
Фаддей Зелинский хотел печатать свои тексты на русском языке, он
должен был помещать их в неспециализированных периодических
изданиях. Это требовало от него много работы, требовало также и
много времени, но никто не знал – дадут ли эти действия ожидаемый эффект. Общество незнакомое с достижениями античной культуры, было равнодушно к ней. Надо было её сделать понятной и
интересной для широких масс. Учёный был вынужден выбрасывать
из текста всё нежелательное, целый «научный аппарат»: примечания, профессиональные термины и определения. Он не мог даже в
самом лучшем случае предполагать, что читатель образован, и знаком с проблемой, о которой пишет автор. Прежде всего ему необходимо было воспитать будущего читателя. Это требовало от него
много работы, и никто не мог дать ему никаких гаранй, что эта
работа не окажется напрасной. Тексты учёного, которые в то время
появлялись в печати в большинстве случаев имели научно-популярный характер. Зелинский боялся, что при таком сочинительстве он
обретёт не славу серьёзного учёного, а печальную известность популяризатора. К счастью, его громадная и добросовестная работа
не пропала даром. Несколько лет спустя ему удалось повторно опубликовать эти стати, но в этот раз на немецком языке, снабжённые
примечаниями, комментариями к тексту и цитатами они являлись
профессиональными, высококачественными статьями. Владея несколькими языками, учёный писал свои работы на немецком и польском языках. Публикации, которые он печатал за рубежом, открывали для его научной деятельности новые возможности. Опираясь
на его автобиографические заметки очень трудно сказать, чувствовал ли он когда нибудь, что он на своём месте. Поляк по
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происхождению, среди русских коллег, он всегда подчёркивал свою
национальность, и поэтому у него было немного друзей. А иногда
это только увеличивало число врагов. Фаддей Зелинский болезненно
ощущал отсутствие поляков. Вспоминал, что когда получил профессуру и переехал с молодой женой и маленьким сыном из Царского Села в Петербург, отношение к нему в университете не было
приятным (Zieliński 2005: 125). Поляк по происхождению, он принадлежал к той группе российской интеллигенции, которая ориентировалась на Запад, на западные культурные традиции. Он работал
в России, но друзья у него были из Германии и страной его настоящих симпатий была Германия. Фаддей Францевич Зелинский был
приглашён на работу в Мюнхен, ему удалось пройти всю процедуру
конкурса. В итоге, хотя у него не было друзей и было немного близких людей в Петербурге, он не решился на переезд, ему было неудобно оставить своих студентов (Zieliński 2005: 144-145). В 1905
году казалось, что отношения в университетских кругах изменились, и обращение к нему стало более дружественным. Его назначили на должность декана. Но для многих было немыслимым, что
деканом российского университета может быть назначен поляк
(Zieliński 2005: 148). Однако на выборах Зелинский победил и хотел
доказать, что декан-поляк будет самым лучшим (Zieliński 2005: 149).
И действительно, он привёл в порядок материальные дела университета, искал компромисс с научными сотрудниками, даже теми,
которые восстали против него. Пытался укротить молодых боевиков, которые не занимались учёбой, и которые бойкотировали лекции. Он был настолько решительным и эффективным, что начал
получать письма с угрозами (Zieliński 2005: 158-159). В 1909 году
в двадцатипятилетний юбилей, он получил Звание Почётного доктора Московского университета. Это были самые лучшие годы его
работы. На его лекциах присутствовало до 600 человек (Zieliński
2005: 162). Но с 1912 года опять началась острая кампания против
учёного-поляка. Тем студентам, которые посещали его лекции, это
могло принести неприятности, и тогда количество слушателей значительно снизилось (Zieliński 2005: 174). По их мнению, поляк не
мог стать академиком, не мог добиваться международных успехов
(Zieliński 2005: 185). По словам Фаддея Зелинского, некоторые в
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этом конфликте стали более русскими чем вся царская династия
(Zieliński 2005: 186). Неприязнь к нему проявляли его университетские коллеги. Зелинский не мог обвинять в недружелюбии властей
– он получал награды, учёные степени и стипендии. Но когда к
власти пришли большевики, он перестал быть российским учёным
и был лишен всего: и пенсии, и денег, были анулированы ценные
бумаги (Zieliński 2005: 187). Условия жизни настолько ухудшились,
что Зелинский, который был лишён средств к существованию, вынуждён был искать работу. Он мог эмигрировать: Октябрьская революция и Гражданская война привели к тому, что для учёного было
невозможно продолжать свои научные занятия. Особенно нестерпимой была для него невозможность поддерживать контакты с западноевропейскими учёными, кроме того профессор, который поддерживал связи и дружил с немецкими учёными, мог быть жертвой
будущих притесненй. Он мог официально присоединиться к партии,
но ему стыдно было связывать своё имя с большевиками. Для многих это могло иметь самое важное значение в оценке учёного. В то
время, когда царствовала распоясанная, карнавальная атмосфера
первых революционных лет, он не принадлежал ни к какой партии
(Zieliński 1999: 15). С Анатолием Луначарским, будущим наркомом
просвещения в Советском правительстве, профессор-филолог познакомился на Башне у Вячеслава Иванова, ещё до революционной
бури, потом сотрудничал с ним в качестве редактора в издаваемой
министерством серии посвящённой театру2. (Революционный театр
искал творческого вдохновения. Нарком просвещения современный
театр признавал основой пролетарской культуры. Такой театр в
определённой степени должен возродить традиции античности, так
как в античности был «самый великий театр». А причина его уникальности была в том, что афинский театр был государственным,
общенародным и воспитательным. Пролетарский, революционный
театр должен быть ещё грандиознее. Луначарский поднимая вопрос
о репертуаре, советовал обратить внимание на трёх великих трагиков, а также на умный смех Аристофана3).
Дневники (1939-1944) годов Ханна Геремек нашла в Петербурге.
«Журнал министерства народного просвещения», No XI-XII, 1917, с. 50, [в:]
Дератани, Радциг 1956: 180.
2
3
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Когда в июне 1922 года Фаддей Зелинский был за границей (уже
обосновался в Варшаве), в российской печати появилась его Красная наука. (Статьи Зелинского были полностью собраны Ханой Геремек и изданы в книге Kultura i rewolucja [Культура и революция]):
«Наука не совпадает с истиной, она является отражением истины
в человеческом разуме. (…) не подвергается каким-либо окраском
(…) Наука будет тем более красная (белая или чёрная), чем меньше
будет наукой» (Zieliński 1999: 89).
Его приводило в ужас то, что большевики пытаются контролировать то, о чём учёные говорят во время лекции. Конечно, они
могли прибегнуть к уловке, применяя «эзопов язык», таким образом спасаясь от цензурного вмешательства. Совершенно очевидно,
что большевики могли профессорские кафедры заполнить «своими
людьми», которые говорили бы в один голос, но это становилось
проблемой, так как в тогдашней науке таких «своих людей» не было.
Не было кому блеснуть талантом, а ложь и качество предоставляемых теорий, интеллигентный слушатель сразу бы определил в
словах (Zieliński 1999: 94).
«Свобода, неотъемлемый атрибут науки, и вы её от остальной
Европы отделили. (…) Наука отреклась от схоластики (…), инквизиции, отречётся и от большевизма» (Zieliński 1999: 94-95).
Статья была опубликована в альманахе «Утренники» и вызвала
бурю. Как об этом говорит Ханна Геремек, она появилась в особое
время. Не прошло и трёх месяцев, как была опубликована статья
Ленина о том, что основной задачей является контролирование интеллигенции, которая своей пассивностью может повредить целой
новой системе. Позже (1922-1923 гг) эта статья послужила предлогом для высылки за пределы страны 160 представителей российской интеллигенции, без возможности протеста (под угрозой
смертной казни), в знаменитом рейсе, на так называемом «корабле
философов».
На первом торжественном докладе в Варшавском университете,
Фаддей Зелинский сказал:
«Если Варшава призывает, то ни один поляк не может остаться
глухим к этому призыву» (Zieliński 2005: 191).
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Когда учёный приехал в Польшу, у него была уже международная слава: доктор философии Лейпцигского университета,
профессор Санкт-Петербургского и Варшавского университетов,
член-корреспондент Российской Академии Наук, доктор Honoris
causa четырнадцати университетов Европы, один из последних лауреатов Пушкинской премии, почётный член по разряду изящной
словесности ПАН, член Баварской, Британской, Парижской, Румынской академий наук В двадцатых годах дважды был кандидатом
на Нобелевскую Премию. Должность профессора предлагали ему
многие иностранные университеты, но он выбрал возрождающуюся
Польшу (Mortkowicz-Olczakowa 1959: 294). В это время Польша,
которая раньше пережила три раздела, войну 1914 года, падение
трёх империй она приняла началом националльного возрождения
страны. Стала развиваться, возвращались из-за рубежа учёные с
бесценными знаниями, бросая свои посты на зарубежных университетах. Вернулись: Габриэль Нарутович, Ян Бодуэн де Куртенэ и
Лев Петражицкий. С 1886 года у Зелинского почти не было никаких
контактов с Польшей. Он плохо говорил по-польски. Время от времени свои статьи он посылал в польский филологический журнал
«Eos», и только от польских беженцев, которые приезжали в Петербург, он узнал, что на родине пользуется большим авторитетом
(Zieliński 2005: 190). Письмо с предложением Сената Варшавского
универитета поста профессора должно было пересеч линию фронта
войны польско-большевистской. В этом письме они вежливо спрашивали, каких условий ожидает Зелинский. У него не было никаких
желаний (Zieliński 2005: 191). В это время на родину возвращалось
много поляков. Назначение Зелинского профессором университета
было подписано 23 января 1920 года главой государства, маршалом
Юзефом Пилсудским. Осталась одна, важная проблема, а именно,
как выбраться из Петербурга? В этом помог Анатолий Луначарский, благодаря которому, семья Зелинских получила нужные для
выезда документы. Зелинский получил подписанную Луначарским,
научную командировуку на один год. В знак признания заслуг и для
обеспечения безопасности, Анатолий Луначарский проводил профессора на вокзал. Там тогдашний нарком просвещения сказал ему:
«Теперь уже всё зависит от вашей сообразительности» (Zieliński
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2005: 193). (Наверное думал, что профессор не вернётся). Фаддей
Францевич прорывался через линию фронта; с одной стороны были
отряды большевиков, с другой – польские патрули, а у них (он ехал
не один, у него была семья) всё время были ещё русские документы,
но польские пограничники даже не проверили этих документов. С
тревогой на душе, они добрались до Варшавы. Как только они появились в Варшаве, сразу получили польские документы и польское
гражданство. Но командировка у него была только на год, после чего
надо было возвращаться в Петербург. В это время большевистская
армия стояла у ворот Варшавы. Зелинский, опасаясь за свою старшую дочь, которая в голодающем городе не получала отцовской
зарплаты, к удивлению всех, вернулся в Петроград. Наверно, он,
как профессор и честный человек, не хотел нарушить слово. Но, в
Петрограде Фаддей Францевич только ждал подходящего момента,
чтобы опять уехать. Таким моментом был мирный договор. Под
предлогом заграничной командировки Зелинский окончательно перебрался из Петрограда в Варшаву. Уезжая он был вынужден оставить свою научную библиотеку. Библиотека была спрятана в подвале Академии Наук, но во время наводнения она была уничтожена.
Россию учёный покинул навсега 22 апреля 1922 года и опять
обосновался в Варшаве, возглавляя кафедру классической филологии. Его языком теперь стал польский, которым учёный владел не
в таком совершенстве, как русским или немецким. Об этом пишут
его издатели (Mortkowicz-Olczakowa 1959: 296). Однако, в Варшаве
не все с симпатией приняли этого «блудного сына», как он сам о
себе говорил (Zieliński 2005: 191). Его обвиняли в том, что он недостаточно польский, или «неправильно» польский (Zieliński 1999:
6). В защиту своего коллеги выступал профессор Мариан Плезия,
учёный-филолог, медиевист, связанный с краковской академической
средой. Благодаря ему, многие труды Зелинского были переведены
на польский язык. Несмотря на все трудности и невзгоды, перемену
обстановки, потерю библиотеки, учёный писал: «Только в Польше
ветер дул в мои паруса» (Zieliński 2005: 192). Для его научной работы это был очень хороший, почти идиллический период. Польша
приняла его с почестями: профессура в Варшавском университете,
ежегодные командировки на симпозиумы. Здесь ему было легче
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поддерживать контакты с западноевропейскими университетами и
всем учёным миром. Оттуда он мог ездить на конференции в любые
города Европы. Фаддей Францевич так погрузился в научную работу, что даже не заметил, как от немецких рубашек политический
мир становится всё более коричневым. Не замечал надвигающейся
опасности.
За выдающийся вклад в развитие немецкой культуры, в 1932
году он получил Медаль Гёте. Зелинский газет не читал, не обращал
внимания на заголовки, занимался своим собственным творческим
делом. Он не знал о том, что до 1939 года Германию покинуло 3000
учёных, в том числе 24 лауреата Нобелевской премии. (Можно сказать, что многим немецким учёным, которые пострадали от первых
акций нацистов, попросту повезло, потому что санкции вынудили их
покинуть Германию, когда это было еще возможно). Ханна Морткович-Ольчакова (дочь Якуба Мортковича, издателя книг Зелинского),
пишет в воспоминаниях, что старик – Фаддей Зелинский – потерял
чувство реальности. Хорошие жизненные условия и помощь дочери
Вероники, которая очень любила отца и трогательно заботилась о
нём, дали ему возможность работы. Учёный, наполненный творческой энергией, интенсивно работал над задуманным раньше своим
главным трудом по истории античных религий. К двум книгам, изданным ещё в России, он добавил два объёмистых тома: Эллинизм
и иудаизм, и Религия Римской Республики. Замысел исследования
истории античных религий появился ещё в молодости. Противопоставляя элленизм иудаизму, Зелинский доказывал, что именно сейчас, в ХХ веке наступило время лидерства славянского мира. Учёный не понимал, что его взгляды представляют угрозу для евреев,
и похвалу зарождающемуся фашизму (Mortkowicz-Olczakowa 1959:
297-298). Его встреча в 1934 году с Йозефом Геббельсом в Варшаве была подвергнута суровой критике польской интеллигенции,
но для учёного, Германия была родиной Гёте и Шиллера, родиной
истинных научных друзей. Удовлетворённый визитом Геббельса,
Зелинский приветствовал его, выступая с докладом на торжественном заседании Международного союза интеллектуалов. Доклад по
радио был передан на всю Польшу, а в газетах были помещены фотографии профессора с немецким офицером, со свастикой на рукаве.
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Всё это имело место уже после выступления министра пропаганды
доктора Геббельса на Университете Гумбольдта в Берлине, и акции
публичного сожжения книг перед университетом. Зелинский не мог
понять, почему он стал объектом атаки членов польских левых сил
(Mortkowicz-Olczakowa 1959: 299). Если кто-нибудь рассказал бы
ему, как будет выглядеть Европа в ближайшее время, профессор не
поверил бы.
Благополучная карьера профессора оборвалась в 1939 году, когда
немецкие войска вошли в Варшаву. Началась оккупация Польши,
университет был закрыт. Профессор какое-то время продолжал жить
в здании, которое разбомбили фашисты. Атмосфера этих дней воссоздана в воспоминаниях Ханны Морткович-Ольчаковой: «Седой
профессор бродит среди развалин, между полуразрушенными базарами, на улице Ордынацкой. Он бредёт в толпе, надеясь найти
пищу для себя и больной дочери. Пустая сумка в руке, и голос,
пресекающийся от слёз» (Mortkowicz-Olczakowa 1959: 300). Он жил
в полуразрушенном здании, где пламя пожара уничтожило драгоценные книги и рукописи «…между ними сидел профессор похожий
на больную птицу» (Mortkowicz-Olczakowa 1959: 301). От оккупационных властей профессор получил разрешение поехать к сыну в
Баварию. По дороге он читал книгу Маргарет Митчелл «Унесённые
ветром» (Zieliński 2005: 254). А в это время, в Америке, состоялась
премьера одноименного фильма (главные роли сыграли Вивьен Ли
и Кларк Гейбл). Зелинский мечтал поехать в Италию, но этой мечте
не было суждено сбыться. Первоначально он жил в Ландхайм (это
был интернат с полным содержанием), потом власти сочли неуместным пребывание поляка с учениками элитарного заведения и он
переселился в Шондорф к своему сыну Феликсу, который в здешней
гимназии работал учителем. Из-за болезни он не совсем понимал,
что случилось. Переписывался с друзьями из Польши, спрашивая
о театральных премьерах, университетских сплетнях и издательских новостях. Он все время расспрашивал друзей о судьбе коллег
по университету. (Но он не успел узнать, что многие, в том числе
самые близкие, погибли в Варшавском гетто). Он систематически
переписывался с друзьями: Станиславом Пигонем, Стефаном Сребрным, писал Мариану Плези, а своим польским издателям постоянно
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обещал свои новые книги (Mortkowicz-Olczakowa 1959: 301). Ян
Парандовский вспоминает, как во время войны он получил итальянский журнал «Scietia», а в нём – на французском языке статью
подписанную именем Зелинского – Thadee Zieliński, professeur a l’
Universite de Varsovie. Варшавский университет был тогда закрыт, а
немецкий губернатор обещал, что на польской земле никогда не будет университетов (Zieliński 1972: 12-13). Только таким образом он
мог доказать миру, что польская наука существует. Польские письма
подвергались цензуре, не было возможности написать профессору
о том, что гестапо арестовало краковских профессоров (так называемое «Зондеракцион Кракау»), не было возможности написать о
подпольных университетах, о систематическом преследовании и
истреблении евреев.
Шондорф было последним приютом старого профессора. Фаддей Францевич Зелинский умер 8 мая 1944 года и похоронен на
кладбище в Шондорфе.
О любовных победах учёного сплетничал весь Петербург. Злые
языки утверждали, что у профессора Зелинского «есть дети во всех
университетах мира» (Mortkowicz-Olczakowa 1959: 229). Однако об
этом в своих воспоминаниях учёный молчит. Только Ханна Геремек в открытую говорит о «внебрачных детях» Фаддея Зелинского
(Zieliński 2005: 204). Но сам учёный, который считал, что должен
оставить на земле много детей, никогда, ни разу не вспомнил своего
одарённого сына, самого известного из своих детей, автора переводов из древних языков, которые в России стали «культовыми».
Если бы в научных журналах был раздел «светская хроника»,
наверно 1898 год (год рождения внебрачного сына) вызвал бы огромный резонанс в общественных научных кругах. Не все знают,
что один из самых известных русских и советских переводчиков
античности, родился вне брака у Веры Викторовны Петуховой, молоденькой курсистки от известного филолога-классика. Внебрачного
ребёнка усыновил дед Веры Викторовны, Иван Осипович Пиотровский (оттуда и взялось по всей вероятности его отчество – Адриан
Иванович). Место рождения сомнительно, по одним данным это
Вильньюс, по другим – Дрезден, потому что мать ребёнка в подходящий момент отказалась от общественной жизни Петербурга.
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ВОПРЕКИ ТОМУ ВРЕМЕНИ…
(Виктор Ярхо, российский филолог-классик, автор научных комментариев к переводам Пиотровского, предполагаемым местом
рождения указывает: Вильньюс, а по другим данным – Дрезден
[Аристофан 2000: 943].) По словам Ярхо, биологический отец очень
заботился о сыне, посвящал ему особенно много внимания. Неотьемлемой частью воспитания сына были поездки в Грецию, куда
с ранних лет он ездил с отцом. Во время экскурсий отец пытался
привить ему увлечение атничной культурой. Он позаботился о том,
чтобы сын мог учиться в самой лучшей и престижной немецкой
гимназии Петришуле в Петербурге. Этот выбор был неслучайным,
отец старался развить в сыне интерес к античности и классическим
языкам. Ещё до начала образования он хорошо освоил вопросы
классицизма, с юности владел греческим, латинским и немецким
языками. Так что выбор факультета, наверно, никого не удивлял – он
поступил на отделение классической филологии. Его отец привил
ему увлечение античным театром, а особенно творчеством Эсхила и
Аристофана. Говоря о своём увлечении афинским автором, Адриан
Пиотровский всегда подчёркивал карнавально – народный характер
его комедий, цирковые и акробатические трюки, которые потом мы
найдём также в театральных инсценировках после Октября (Аристофан 2000: 944). Ещё в студенческие годы он опубликовал собственный перевод с древнегреческого поэзии Феогнида, а потом начал
работу над переводом комедии Аристофана. В 1923 году были изданы комедии: Ахарняне, Всадники, Лисистрата. После окончения
университета, к предыдущим изданиям ещё добавил: Облака, Осы,
Птицы, а в 1930 году – Лягушки, и Женщины в народном собрании4. Адриан Пиотровский перевёл все 11 сохранившихся комедий
Аристофана. Стратегия перевода привела к тому, что все они оформлены в одном стиле. Они были изданы в двухтомнике в 1934 году.
Переводы Адриана Пиотровского 1920-1930 гг. закончили работу,
начатую ещё при Петре Великом. До сегодняшнего дня он остаётся
главным переводчиком Аристофана в России. Каждое последующее
издание мгновенно исчезает из книжных магазинов. Они представляют собой абсолютное уникальное явление на книжном рынке.
4
Эти переводы до сих пор продолжают переиздаваться. Последнее издание
было опубликовано в 2013 году.
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OOlgOlOlga Śmiec
Когда мы держим в руках новенький, «упитанный» том дошедших
до нас одиннадцати пьес (изданный в 2000 году), мы должны помнить о «жестокой» сталинской цензуре, и о том, что «через четыре
года, после гибели переводчика, он был поруган ножницами и тушью цензоров. Многим памятны обезображенные экземпляры этого
двухтомника, напоминавшие тела средневековых преступников, изувеченных щипцами палача»5. Когда Адриан Пиотровский перевёл
уже все комедии Аристофана, в 1935 году он публикует перевод
Эсхила Прометей прикованный, а в 1937 году, уже после смерти
Пиотровского, были изданы, остальные трагедии марафономаха.
Весной 1937 года была опубликована антология Древнегреческая
драма в которой нашлись: Софокла Царь Эдип, Еврипида Ипполит
и Менандра Третейский суд. Это была последняя книга, изданная
при жизни переводчика. У него, как и у его отца, были всесторонние способности, его занимала масса вещей, интересовало всё. Он
перевёл с латинского языка Петрония Сатирикон, Апулея Золотой
осёл и поэзию Катулла. Адриан Иванович Пиотровский был руководителем Высших государственных курсов искусствоведения, был
не только директором, но сам читал лекции по истории античного
театра (Аристофан 2000: 944). Он сотрудничал с театром МХАТ
и Всеволодом Мейерхольдом, вместе работали в петроградском
Театральном отделе Наркомпросса (Народный комиссариат просвещения, государственный орган РСФСР контролирующий все
культурные сферы, образование и искусство), в это время, когда А.
Луначарский был назначен народным комиссаром по просвещению.
В театре-студии, возглавляемой Мейерхольдом, он читал лекции.
Выступал как драматург и либретист. Вместе с Сергеем Радловым
они приготовили инсценировку Лисистраты, а также школьную инсценировку Битвы при Саламине. Сотрудничал также с Дмитрием
Шостаковичем и Сергеем Прокофьевым, для которого с Сергеем
Радловым они сочинили либретто к балету Ромео и Джульетта, но
после трагической смерти Пиотровского, его имя исчезло с афиши.
На протяжении двух десятилетий он очень много сделал. Он осуществлял массовые празднества, работал заведующим литературной
5
Эти переводы до сих пор продолжают переиздаваться. Последнее издание
было опубликовано в 2013 году.
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ВОПРЕКИ ТОМУ ВРЕМЕНИ…
частью Большого драматического театра, Ленинградского ТРАМа,
Малого оперного театра, в Мариинском театре работал завлитом,
возглавлял художественный отдел ленинградского Губполитпросвета и руководил художественной самодеятельностью города.
С 1928 – по 1937 год, он был художественным руководителем Ленинградской киностудии «Ленфильм». В 1935 году молодой ленинградский композитор Дмитрий Шостакович закончил работу над
балетом на советскую, колхозную тему, Светлый ручей. Автором
либретто был Адриан Пиотровский. Сюжет балета очень прост: действие разворачивается в колхозе «Светлый ручей», где колхозники,
завершив свою работу весело танцуют вместе с профессиональными артистами, которые приехали к ним на предстоящий праздник
урожая. На одно из представлений Светлого ручья пришёл Сталин. Вождю зрелище не понравилось, и 6 февраля 1936 г. в газете
«Правда» – (которая была органом ЦК ВКП(б)) – была опубликована
статья под названием Балетная фальшь6. Партийным цензорам не
понравился балет, представляющий молодых артистов, которые приехали выступать в советском колхозе. Цензоры утверждали, что он
льстит вкусам дореволюционной публики и показывает кукольное,
фальшивое отношение к колхозной жизни. Спектакль немедленно
был снят с программы театра, все запланированные представления
отменены, и в течение следующих лет не ставился. Весной 1937 года
над Адрианом Пиотровским уже начали сгущаться тучи. 10 июля
1937 года Пиотровский был арестован НКВД по обвинению в шпионаже и диверсии, и расстрелян 15 ноября 1937 года (Clark 1995:
291-292). В течение многих лет его переводческие труды выходили
без указания имени, прочие работы не переиздавались. Лишь в 1969
году был издан сборник его статей и сборник статей о нём. Приказом Никиты Хрущёва от 25 июля 1957 года Адриан Иванович
Пиотровский был реабилитирован.
«Античность интересует меня только потому, что дает возможность понять современность. Если бы это было не так, я бы не интересовался античностью» (Аристофан 2000: 945). – говорил Адриан
Пиотровский.
6
Первая постановка состоялась 04.06.1935 г. в Малом оперном театре,
в Ленинграде.
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БИБЛИОГРА́ФИЯ
Аристофан, 2000, Комедии, Фрагменты, пер. А. Пиотровского, Москва.
Clark K., 1995, Petersburg: Crucible of cultural revolution, Cambridge.
Дератани Н. Ф., Радциг С. И., [ред.] 1956, Аристофан – сборник статей,
Москвa.
Mortkowicz-Olczakowa H., 1959, Bunt wspomnień, Warszawa.
«О переводах вообще и о переводе Аристофана в частности», [on-line:]
http://feb-web.ru/feb/kle/kle-abc/ke5/ke5-7501.htm (20.04.2014).
Zieliński T., 1972, Szkice antyczne, Kraków.
Zieliński T., 1999, Kultura i rewolucja. Publicystyka z lat 1917-1922,
Warszawa.
Zieliński T., 2005, Autobiografia. Dzienniki 1939-1944, Warszawa.
412
Classica Cracoviensia
XVIII, 2015
DOI: 10.12797/CC.18.2015.18.24
STANISŁAW ŚNIEŻEWSKI
(JAGIELLONIAN UNIVERSITY, KRAKÓW)
THE CRITERIA OF EVALUATING CICERO
IN QUINTILIAN’S INSTITUTIO ORATORIA
SUMMARY: Quintilian tries to evaluate Cicero on various levels. Examples
from the Arpinate’s opera are interspersed almost in the whole textbook of
the orator from Calagurris. He highly estimates Cicero’s achievements both in
rhetorical practice and theory and appreciates his usage of metaphor, allegory,
hyperbole, irony, riddle. The Arpinate is the greatest embodiment of various
virtues that are praised in other speakers. As concerns incisum, membrum,
circumitus, Quintilian constantly quotes Cicero. The most beautiful kind of
speech is the one where analogy, allegory and metaphor are gracefully entwined. Quintilian remains under Cicero’s spell. It is obvious that Quintilian
would not have written Institutio oratoria if he did not use the examples contained in Cicero’s works. Poetry raised to its height due to Homer and Vergil,
while rhetoric – due to Demosthenes and Cicero.
KEYWORDS: evaluation, rhetorical theory and practice, eloquence, figures
of speech and thought, richness of vocabulary, charm, ethics
In the conclusion of Institutio oratoria Quintilian encourages his
readers to search wholeheartedly for the majesty of the oratory art,
the best gift the immortal gods bestowed on men, one without which
everything is inarticulate and devoid of both the contemporary fame
and the memory of future generations (XII 11, 30).1 These words are
1
The text of the Institutio oratoria is quoted after the following edition: Radermacher L. (ed.), 1971, M. Fabi Quintiliani Institutionis Oratoriae libri XII, pars prior
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strongly linked with the rhetorical art of Marcus Tullius Cicero, whose
thinking plays a special part in the work of Quintilian.2 I will be aiming
at an analysis of the passages within Institutio oratoria where Quintilian evaluates various aspects of the Arpinate’s activities, in regards to
both the rhetorical art and politics.
Above all, Quintilian holds Cicero’s eloquence in high regard.3
He emphasizes that the Arpinate’s art was highly appreciated by the
plebeian audience, even when he spoke against the agrarian laws and
thwarted the audacious designs of Catiline, and in the time of peace he
merited the highest propitiatory sacrifices (supplicationes), which are
usually granted only to the victorious army leaders. It is the eloquence
that often gives new courage to the terrified soldiers and convinces
them in a dangerous situation that glory is more precious than life (II
16, 7-8). The Arpinate talks often about thwarting Catiline’s conjuration, but he ascribes it either to the steady determination of the senate or
to the grace of immortal gods. In his speeches against his enemies and
slanderers he gives himself greater credit, because he had to defend his
actions against various accusations (XI 1, 23). Marcus Tullius achieved
much not only in rhetorical practice, but also in the theory of the art (III
1, 20). Arpinate attributes the beginnings of rhetorical art to the people
who founded cities and created first laws, as they had to be naturally
gifted with powers of speech (III 2, 4).4
libros I-VI continens, addenda et corrigenda collegit et adiecit V. Buchheit, Leipzig;
Radermacher L. (ed.), 1959, M. Fabi Quintiliani Institutionis Oratoriae libri XII, pars
secunda libros VII-XII continens, addenda et corrigenda collegit et adiecit V. Buchheit,
Leipzig.
2
Albrecht 1997: 1257-1258: “An admirer of Cicero, though less in letter than in
spirit, he does not limit himself to the actual vocabulary of the great orator but emulates
his great variety of tones and his sense of appropriateness”.
3
See Odgers 1933: 186-187: “Almost three-fifths of his citations of Latin literature
are from Cicero. […] many are allusions to the orations or quotations from them, for
Quintilian believes that he can find no better illustrations than those provided by Cicero.
Over 70 per cent of the citations of Cicero are illustrative in character. Three-fifths of all
the Ciceronian citations are actual quotations”; Odgers 1935: 33: “To Quintilian Cicero
offered a model of Latinity and the best theoretical presentation of the subject by a man
of great attainment and experience”; Tellegen-Couperus 2003: 14; Craig 2010: 264.
4
However, it is important to note that Quintilian does not agree with this point of
view.
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THE CRITERIA OF EVALUATING CICERO IN QUINTILIAN’S INSTITUTIO ORATORIA
The author of Institutio oratoria is happy to compare Arpinate with
every Greek orator. The virtues of Demosthenes and Cicero are, for
the greatest part, the same, namely their intention, the planning of the
material, the methods of division, preliminary preparation and evaluation, and finally everything that pertains to inventing the subject of
a speech (X 1, 105-106). Nonetheless it was Demosthenes5 who shaped
Cicero. Marcus Tullius created the power of speech equal to that of
Demosthenes, a vocabulary range equal to Plato’s and charm equal
to Isocrates’s (X 1, 108). Quintilian emphasizes the virtues begotten
by the plentiful fertility (beatissima ubertas) of Cicero’s immortal genius (X 1, 109). He was a major force in court cases and the posterity
holds him in such a great esteem that the name Cicero is no longer
the name of a mere man, but signifies the power of speech (iam non
hominis nomen, sed eloquentiae habeatur) (X 1, 112). Additionally, the
Arpinate became a worthy rival (aemulus) of Plato (X 1, 123). On the
other hand, Quintilian observes that Cicero bragged (especially in his
speeches) more about his achievements in politics than in rhetorical
arts (XI 1, 17).
The opinions expressed by Cicero both in the senate and in the plebeian council indicate that his eloquence there was brilliant, equal to
what he presented in his judiciary speeches, both defensive and accusatory ones (III 8, 65). In another passage Quintilian observes that Cicero
was rather humble when it came to his eloquence: he never exaggerated
his own prowess during the court cases and he often ascribed greater
power of speech to those who represented his adversaries (XI 1, 19).
Cicero is a pleasant (iucundus) and sufficiently comprehensible
(apertus satis) author for beginners. He can not only give aid, but also
make a student enamoured of his art. When it comes to other authors,
Quintilian believes that the closer they are to Cicero, the more worthy
they are of imitation (II 5, 20).
Among the thoughts on the nature of laughter we find a remark
that according to many people Demosthenes was lacking in this ability,
while Cicero used it without any constraint. The Arpinate was believed
to be overly eager for making jokes, not only in things unrelated with
court cases, but also when he delivered his judiciary speeches (VI 3,
5
See May 2010: 260.
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1-3). Quintilian observes that Cicero’s words are usually facetious (facete) and the cold remarks (dicta frigidius) he makes on Verres are often
quotes from other people, so that the less elaborate words he uses may
seem more credible to the audience. It is regrettable though that Tiro or
another man who published the three books of Cicero’s jokes did not
limit their number and concentrate more on selection criteria than on
diligence in fishing them out (VI 3, 4-5). As Cicero says, laughter is
based on a certain ugliness and wickedness (De or., II 58, 236): when
it refers to others, it is called refinement (urbanitas), when it refers to
ourselves, stupidity (stultitia) (VI 3, 8). Speaking of amusing things
is particularly subtle and apt for an orator; for example, Cicero in Pro
Cluentio, XXI 58, describes Caepasius and Fabricius, while Marcus
Caelius tells his audience of the rivalry between Decimus Laelius and
his colleague, when they raced to gain the rule of a province. In all cases
such as these the whole narration requires subtlety and grace; whatever
commentary the speaker adds should be very amusing (festivissimum)
(VI 3, 39). The Arpinate believes that humour belongs in the narrative
part of the speech, while mockery in the part which contains our accusations against the opponent (VI 3, 42). Jokes derived from proper
names can be sometimes extremely humorous. Now and then a fortuitous coincidence gives a speaker an opportunity to use efficiently this
type of joke, for example in the speech Pro Caecina, X 27, we can read
the following words regarding Sextus Clodius Phormio, a witness: nec
minus niger, nec minus confidens quam est ille Terentianus Phormio
(VI 3, 56). Poems quoted in an appropriate manner may also evoke
a humorous effect. Sometimes proverbs become a successful aid. The
evidence of speaker’s knowledge is provided when he introduces jokes
based on historical facts, e.g. in the court case against Verres, Hortensius told Cicero during the witness interrogation: non intellego haec
aenigmata. The Arpinate responded: atqui debes, cum Sphingem domi
habeas; for Hortensius received a priceless bronze statue of Sphinx as
a gift from Verres (VI 3, 98).
Quintilian approves Cicero’s usage of metaphor (VI 3, 68), allegory
(VI 3, 69), hyperbole (VI 3, 67), irony (VI 3, 77; 84), riddle (VI 3, 516). ]
6
pervenit res usque ad aenigma, quale est Ciceronis in Plaetorium Fontei accusatorem, cuius matrem dixit, dum vixisset, ludum, postquam mortua esset, magistros
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THE CRITERIA OF EVALUATING CICERO IN QUINTILIAN’S INSTITUTIO ORATORIA
Ena;rgeia, which Cicero describes as illustratio and evidentia7 seems
not to speak, but to imply. Emotions will be evoked as if we participated in real events (VI 2, 328). The lively vividness of expression or, as
some call it, the representation (repraesentatio) is something more than
just the clarity of depiction. It is very advantageous to present facts
in a clear and vivid way, for the speaker will not achieve the greatest effect if he appeals only to the sense of hearing and if the judge
feels that the facts on the basis of which he has to make a decision are
presented with words instead of evoked and shown with “the eyes of
the mind”. In the speech against Verres, V 33, 86 we observe not only
the “performers” on stage, but also the place itself, the attire. We can
even imagine other details, which the speaker has not described: stetit
soleatus praetor populi Romani cum pallio purpureo tunicaque talari
muliercula nixus in litore (VIII 3, 61-64). Similes give the opportunity
to see the subject matter clearly in a concise and energetic way. Brevity (braculogi;a) is worthy of praise if it is perfect itself (VIII 3, 8182). Amplification can be strengthened and made more visible if we
put side by side words of stronger meaning and words which we want
to substitute by them: this is what Cicero does in his speech against
Verres, I 3, 9 (VIII 4, 2). Increase (incrementum) causes the greatest
effect when we amplify the meaning of something which in reality is
trifling. This can be achieved by one or multiple degrees of comparison; in effect, we can not only reach the highest point, but even overreach it (VIII 4, 3).9 A similar thing happens in Cicero’s speech against
Catiline, I 7, 17: servi mehercules mei si me isto pacto metuerent, ut te
habuisse. dicebantur autem, dum vixit, infames feminae convenire ad eam solitae, post
mortem bona eius venierant. [quamquam hic ‘ludus’ per translationem dictum est, ‘magistri’ per ambiguitatem].
7
Probably an allusion to Cicero’s Part. or., VI 20.
8
Four passages from Vergil are provided as an example: IX 474; XI 40; XI 89; X
782.
9
See Quint., VIII 4, 4-5: omnibus his sufficit vel unum Ciceronis exemplum: ‘facinus est vincire civem Romanum, scelus verberare, prope parricidium necare: quid
dicam in crucem tollere?’ nam et, si tantum verberatus esset, uno gradu increverat,
ponendo etiam id esse facinus, quod erat inferius, et, si tantum occisus esset, per plures
gradus ascenderat: cum vero dixerit ‘prope parricidium necare’, supra quod nihil est,
adiecit ‘quid dicam in crucem tollere?’ ita cum id, quod maximum est, occupasset, necesse erat in eo, quod ultra est, verba deficere.
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metuunt omnes cives tui, domum meam relinquendam putarem (VIII 4,
10). In the speech Pro Cluentio, XI 32,10 in the passage on Oppianicus,
the comparison is not aimed to prove that his actions were criminal, but
that they can be considered even worse than criminal (VIII 4, 12). In
amplification, Quintilian emphasizes, we compare not only the whole
with a part, but also a part with another part, as it occurs in the speech
against Catiline, I 1, 3. In this passage the Arpinate compares Catiline
to Tiberius Gracchus, the condition of the state to the condition of the
whole world, political turmoil of little significance to slaughter, conflagration and devastation, a private man to consuls: all these comparisons give vast opportunities for further development (VIII 4, 14). As
amplification we may also consider accumulation (congeries) of words
and opinions bearing the identical meaning. Quintilian again uses as an
example his favourite passage from the speech Pro Ligario, III 9: quid
enim tuus ille, Tubero, destrictus in acie Pharsalica gladius agebat?
cuius latus ille mucro petebat? qui sensus erat armorum tuorum? quae
tua mens, oculi, manus, ardor animi? quid cupiebas? quid optabas?.
We can also reinforce the effect by closing the sentence with climax,
e.g. In Verr., V 45, 118: aderat ianitor carceris, carnifex praetoris,
mors terrorque sociorum et civium Romanorum, lictor Sextius (VIII 4,
26-27). Similar rules apply in the case of diminution (ratio minuendi).
Quintilian states that there are as many degrees of amplification as of
diminution. To illustrate this thesis the orator from Calagurris chooses
the following example from the speech of Rullus, De leg. agr., II 5, 13:
pauci tamen, qui proximi adstiterant, nescio quid illum de lege agraria
voluisse dicere suspicabantur (VIII 4, 28).
Let us recall other examples discussed by the author of Institutio
oratoria. Is there anything more harsh for the ear than the words of
Verres’s lictor or braver than the words of the man who, being flogged
as a punishment, uttered only the words: civis Romanus sum11 (XI 1,
40)? The words of Milo in the final part of the speech are worthy of
the man who, wanting to save the country, repeatedly supressed the
10
quanto est Oppianicus in eadem iniuria maiore supplicio dignus! si quidem illa,
cum suo corpori vim attulisset, se ipsa cruciavit, hic autem idem illud effecit per alieni
corporis mortem atque cruciatum.
11
See Cic., In Verr., V 62, 162.
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THE CRITERIA OF EVALUATING CICERO IN QUINTILIAN’S INSTITUTIO ORATORIA
seditious citizen and came out of an ambush victorious due to his bravery.12 Sometimes one has to be respectable towards people of high rank
in order to reckon up our freedom of speech and not to make someone
believe us to be impudently pugnacious or overly persistent in our verbal attack. Cicero, though he intended to speak in a very violent manner
against Cotta,13 and the case of Publius Oppius was of such a kind that
he could not have acted differently, he justified the necessity of his duty
in a long introduction (XI 1, 67). Sometimes it is also appropriate to
spare (either truly or seemingly) in the speech people of lower rank and
those who are very young. Cicero uses such moderation (moderatio)
when he defends Caelius from Atratinus. It seems he is not attacking
him as an enemy, but admonishing him almost the same way a father
admonishes his errant son (XI 1, 68).
Narration serves not only didactic purposes, but also as a decorative
effect, e.g. the story of Proserpine’s abduction,14 as described in IX 4,
127. Digressions (egressiones) are usually moderate, pleasant and free
of passions, e.g. Proserpine’s abduction mentioned above, description
of Sicily, praise of Gneius Pompeius (XI 3, 164). Digression is supposed to look as if it was made impulsively, as the result of a sudden
and uncontrollable urge (IV 2, 105) – as an example serves the passage
on Sasia’s marriage in the speech Pro Cluentio, VI 15. An appropriate
result may be achieved if we join the facts with a credible picture of the
events, one that would make the audience feel they are witnessing these
events in reality. Quintilian quotes the words of Marcus Caelius directed
against Gaius Antonius: namque ipsum offendunt temulento sopore
profligatum, totis praecordiis stertentem, ructuosos spiritus geminare,
praeclarasque contubernales ab omnibus spondis transversas incubare
et reliquas circumiacere passim.15 If we have a complicated case which
consists of several smaller ones, it is necessary to use something resembling epilogue. In the speech In Verrem (I 75; V 117; V 162) the Arpinate laments the death of Philodamus, a captain in the navy, a crucified
Roman citizen and many similar tragic fates (VI 1, 54).
14
15
12
13
Cf. Quint., IV 2, 25; VI 5, 10.
Cf. Quint., V 13, 20. The speech, delivered in 69 BC, has been lost.
See Cic., In Verr., IV 48, 106.
See ORF, p. 482-483; Cic., Pro Cael., XXXI 74.
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Some authors maintain that narratio should be started with referring to a person, next we should praise the said person, if they are on our
side, or defame them, if they are on the side of our adversary. People
can be introduced at the same time as the circumstances associated with
them, if it is probable this will be profitable for us, as Cicero does in
Pro Clu., V 11: A. Cluentius Habitus fuit pater huiusce, iudices, homo
non solum municipii Larinatis, ex quo erat, sed regionis illius et vicinitatis virtute, existimatione, nobilitate princeps. Sometimes though we
can omit the circumstances, e.g. Pro Lig., I 2: Q. enim Ligarius cum
esset, or start with presenting a fact, e.g. Pro Tull., VI 14: fundum habet in agro Thurino M. Tullius paternum; Demosthenes, Pro Ctesiph.,
18: tou# ga'r Fwkikou #susta;ntov pole;mou (IV 2, 129-131). The task
for the specialist is to discover the inconsistencies, real or apparent,
even though sometimes they are not visible in the facts themselves, for
example in the case of Caelius, Pro Cael., XIII 31, Clodia on the one
hand attests that she borrowed money to Caelius, which is a proof of
great intimacy, on the other hand she claims that he prepared poison to
murder her, which is a proof of extreme hate (in causa Caeliana Clodia
aurum se Caelio commodasse dicit, quod signum magnae familiaritatis
est; venenum sibi paratum, quod summi odii argumentum est (V 13,
30). The speaker should trust his own strength and speak in such a way
as if he had the best opinion of his case. This feature is particularly visible in Cicero. The Arpinate takes much care to create the impression of
trust (securitas) and when he speaks he does not allow the audience to
feel even the slightest doubt, so convincing is the strength of the proofs
he presents (V 13, 51-52). Young age compensates defects and when
some words are delivered with youthful impetuosity they are accepted
as a sign of natural vigour. As an illustration of such attitude Quintilian uses famous words from the speech Pro Roscio Amerino, XXVI
72: quid enim tam commune quam spiritus vivis, terra mortuis, mare
fluctuantibus, litus eiectis? (XII 6, 4). These words were pronounced
when Cicero was twenty six years old, but when he got older he admitted himself16 that with the passage of time he calmed down (defervisse
tempore) and his style became clearer.
See Cic., Or., XXX 107.
16
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THE CRITERIA OF EVALUATING CICERO IN QUINTILIAN’S INSTITUTIO ORATORIA
Let us have a look at the appraisal of Cicero as a literary critic. The
Arpinate, as Quintilian reminds us, does not believe even Thucydides
and Xenophon can be useful for a speaker, though according to him the
first one seems to encourage his audience to fight, while the latter uses
the same words the Muses do (X 1, 33). Quintilian recalls the opinion
of Livy. The Patavinian counsels his son in a letter to read Cicero and
Demosthenes, as well as these authors who are most similar to them
(X 1, 39). Cicero himself admits that he was supported by the eldest
writers who, though they were very talented, lacked any artistry (art of
speech) whatsoever. He corrects those places in Gracchus’s speeches
which he considers too unevenly composed (IX 4, 15).
The Arpinate calls style the best creator and teacher of speech.
In the dialogue De oratore he backs up his own judgement with the
authority of Lucius Cassius (X 3, 1). Cases of lesser significance are
suited by simplicity and nonchalance of effortless speech, while the
cases of greater magnitude are more suited by a style that can be admired. The uncontested master (eminet) of both styles is, according to
Quintilian, Cicero (XI 1, 93).
A very important role is played by the remarks regarding poetic
inspiration. According to Quintilian, a speaker filled with inspiration
and something bordering on madness improvises and achieves a spectacular success, which he would not have been able to achieve even if
he had prepared most meticulously. In such a situation the orators of the
elder days, such as Cicero, used to say that it was a god that inspired
the speaker (X 7, 12-14). From time to time even Cicero surprised his
adversaries. Quintilian writes that it is extremely inconvenient when
a son or his advocate need to speak against mother. Sometimes though
it is absolutely necessary, as it was in the case of Cluentius Habitus (XI
1, 61). In many cases one should mollify the harshness of the speech
by adding a more conciliatory tone, as Cicero did in the speech on the
children of the proscribed (XI 1, 85).
The good choice of words is extremely important. Cicero points out
that this is the fourth virtue of a style (XI 1, 1). The best style is the one
which, it is universally believed, can be achieved easily by imitation.
In reality though such a style is well beyond our capabilities. Cicero,
as many other speakers, thinks that actio, i.e. the way of delivering
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a speech, plays the most significant role in the rhetorical art. The Arpinate shows that Gnaeus Lentulus was valued more because of his art of
delivering speeches than because of any eloquence he truly possessed.
It is because of actio that Gaius Gracchus moved the whole Roman nation to tears and made them lament the murder of his brother; that Antonius, Crassus and indeed above all, Quintus Hortensius gained such
importance (XI 3, 7-8).
Cicero ridicules the melodious endings of speeches. This remark
pertains to the speakers from Lycia and Caria (XI 3, 58). The Arpinate
claims that a song is “incomprehensible” in the speech of an orator (XI
3, 60). Speaking in an effeminate way should be avoided: Cicero, Brut.,
LXII 225, ascribes such a mode of speech to Titius and adds that this
was how the dance called “Titius” originated (XI 3, 128). In another
passage Quintilian emphasizes that people are right when they criticise
pronouncing words with undue mimicry, awkward gesticulation and
abrupt changes of tone. The most accurate remarks on this subject are
the ones made by Cicero in the dialogue Orator. Similar thoughts can
be found in the dialogue Brutus, XXXVIII 142. They pertain to Marcus
Antonius Orator. Seeking pity can be found in two different forms: one
is associated with indignation, as in the passage on condemning Philodamus, the other with a pleading prayer: the tone is then lowered (XI
3, 171). Speaking of gesticulation (I 11, 18), Quintilian quotes Cicero’s
words from the dialogue De oratore, III 59, 220, where the Arpinate
points out that a speaker should use laterum inclinatione forti ac virili
non a scaena et histrionibus, sed ab armis aut etiam a palaestra. As
Quintilian emphasizes (IX 4, 92), it is best to start a speech with long
syllables, though sometimes it is also correct to start with a short, e.g.
nǒvum crimen (Pro Lig., I 1). The effect is more gentle if we start with
two short syllables, e.g. ǎnĭmadverti iudices (Pro Clu., I 1). Such a start
is apt because it begins with an outline (partitio), which “takes joy” in
rapid pace. The effect will be less strong if we start with a Spondee, preceded by a Pyrrhic or a <Choreus>, e.g. iudicii Iūnĭānī; it will be even
worse if we precede a Spondee with a Paeon, as in the words Brūtĕ,
dǔbĭtāvī (Or., I 1), though if we look at it differently, the phrase can be
considered to consist of a Dactyl and a Bacchius. As a rule it is not allowed to complete a phrase with two Spondees, unless it is possible to
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THE CRITERIA OF EVALUATING CICERO IN QUINTILIAN’S INSTITUTIO ORATORIA
build it with three separate parts of a period, e.g. cur de perfugis nostris
copias comparat īs cōntrā nōs? – monosyllable, disyllable, monosyllabe (Or., LXVI 223). What we have here is the word contra, build
of two syllables and both preceded and followed by a monosyllabic
word (IX 4, 101). The final Spondee should not be preceded even by
a Dactyl, because the ending typical for poetry is criticised in the ending of a speech. A Bacchius should close a speech and it should be accompanied by another one, e.g. vĕnēnūm tĭmērēs (Pro Cael., XIV 33);
a proper effect can be achieved as well when a Bacchius is preceded
by a Choreus and a Spondee, e.g. ūt vĕnēnūm tĭmērēs. Its opposite, i.e.
a Palimbacchius, may also close a speech, unless we assume that the
last syllable is long and it would be best if it were preceded by a Molossus, e.g. cīvīs Rōmānūs sǔm (In Verr., V 62, 162), or by a Bacchius:
quod hic pǒtēst, nōs pōssēmǔs (Pro Lig., IV 10) (IX 4, 102).
In his deliberations on the artistic composition of words Quintilian
emphasizes that we should take into consideration two points of reference: the first is related to poetic feet, the second to grouping words
into periods (comprehensiones), which is the result of how the feet are
built. When it comes to grouping words, we should consider short constituents of a clause (incisum), colons (membrum) and rhetorical periods (circumitus). Here Quintilian uses again an example from Cicero. A short constituent of a clause can be described as expression of
a thought which is devoid of rhythm. On the other hand, many authors
believe it to be a part of a colon, e.g. domus tibi deerat? at habebas:
pecunia superabat? at egebas (Or., LXVII 223).17 A period contains at
least two colons. The length of a period should be great enough to guarantee closure of the thought it is supposed to express (IX 4, 121-125).
The speakers of old, Quintilian says, tried to be elegant by using
words which sounded alike, or quite the opposite. In this Gorgias knew
no measure, while Isocrates, especially in his early youth, was a great
enthusiast. Cicero admired this style, but he was moderate in using
such words as they are not graceless if not overused; he managed to fill
a speech on inconsequential matters (res levis) with grave sentences.
17
See Quint., IX 2, 15-16: cui diversum est, cum alium rogaveris, non expectare
responsum, sed statim subicere […]. quod schema quidam ‘per suggestionem’ vocant.
fit et comparatione: ‘uter igitur facilius suae sententiae rationem redderet?’.
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This artificial trick (adfectatio) is in itself devoid of any vigour and true
meaning, yet when it expresses fervent thoughts it seems to possess
a natural, not an artificially induced charm (IX 3, 74). The Arpinate
often said18 that the whole art of composing prose is based on rhythm
and, according to Quintilian, he is criticised by some authors for constraining the style of speech with cumbersome rules of rhythm (IX 4,
53). Cicero was trying to discover what rhythm truly is. He believed it
is more important for a text not to be devoid of rhythm, as this would
be unreasonable and tactless, than to be overly rhythmical, as then it
would become poetic (IX 4, 56).
Evoking emotions in the judge is done in multiple stages. Quintilian gives as an example several passages from the speech Pro Ligario,
III 7: suscepto bello, Caesar, gesto iam etiam ex parte magna; III 6:
quantum potero voce contendam, ut populus hoc Romanus exaudiat;
III 9: quid enim tuus ille, Tubero, in acie Pharsalica gladius agebat?.
A speech can be also fuller, slower and consequently better sounding,
as in Phil., II 25, 63: in coetu vero populi Romani negotium publicum
gerens. Words can flow even more slowly, e.g. Pro Mil., XXXI 85: vos,
Albani tumuli atque luci. There are some speeches which sound almost
like singing, which makes them gradually quiet down, e.g. Pro Arch.,
VIII 19: saxa atque solitudines voci respondent (XI 3, 166-167).
The most important task for an orator is to speak in a convincing
way19. The Arpinate calls rhetoric a “part of political science”, scientiae
civilis pars (II 15, 33). He adds that rhetoric is speech in accordance
with the rules of the art. To this point of view ascribe not only speakers, who want to give greater gravity to their art, but also philosophers,
both stoics and peripatetics (II 17, 2). In the dialogue De oratore, II 57,
232 Marcus Antonius says that rhetoric is based on following certain
See Cic., Or., XX 67 sqq.: quicquid est enim quod sub aurium mensuram aliquam
cadit, etiam si abest a versu – nam id quidem orationis est vitium – numerus vocatur,
qui Graece r[uymo’v dicitur. itaque video visum esse non nullis Platonis et Democriti
locutionem, etsi absit a versu, tamen quod incitatius feratur et clarissimis verborum
luminibus utatur, potius poema putandum quam comicorum poetarum; apud quos nisi
quod versiculi sunt, nihil est aliud cotidiani dissimile sermonis. nec tamen id est poetae maximum, etsi est eo laudabilior quod virtutes oratoris persequitur, cum versu sit
astrictior.
19
See Arist., Rhet., 1355 b 25 sqq.; Cic., De inv., I 5, 6; De or., I 31, 138.
18
424
THE CRITERIA OF EVALUATING CICERO IN QUINTILIAN’S INSTITUTIO ORATORIA
rules, but it is not an art. A speaker, when he utters a falsehood, is aware
that he uses a lie instead of the truth. When Cicero boasted that during
Cluentius’s trial he veiled the eyes of the judges (se tenebras offudisse
iudicibus), he did not claim with these words that he was unaware of
the truth. Sometimes common good demands of rhetoric to defend even
falsehood. Quintilian quotes Cicero’s words (De or., II 7, 30) which
contain substantial contradictions. The Arpinate believes that art is
composed of known and concrete things. When it comes to speech,
the whole conduct is based on a notion, not on knowledge, because
a speaker delivers his speech in front of the people who do not know
the truth, and even he himself sometimes speaks of things he is not
entirely sure about (II 17, 36-38). Nonetheless, real rhetoric, the one
which Quintilian is trying to instil in his students and which is seemly
for a noble man, is a virtue (virtus). The orator from Calagurris recalls (II 20, 9) the important words of Crassus: est enim eloquenta una
quaedam de summis virtutibus (De or., III 14, 55). In another passage,
Cicero claims that a speaker must have knowledge of all the arts, if his
duty is to spe