The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories by Herodotus, edited by
Robert B. Strassler, introduction by Rosalind Thomas, translated by
Andrea L. Purvis (Pantheon) From the editor of the widely praised
The Landmark Thucydides, a new Landmark Edition of The Histories by
Herodotus, the greatest classical work of history ever written.
Herodotus was a Greek historian living in Ionia during the fifth century BCE. He traveled extensively through the lands of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and collected stories, and then recounted his experiences with the varied people and cultures he encountered. Cicero called him “the father of history,” and his only work, The Histories, is considered the first true piece of historical writing in Western literature. With lucid prose that harks back to the time of oral tradition, Herodotus set a standard for narrative nonfiction that continues to this day.
In The Histories, Herodotus chronicles the rise of the Persian Empire and its dramatic war with the Greek city-states. Within that story he includes rich veins of anthropology, ethnography, geology, and geography, pioneering these fields of study, and explores such universal themes as the nature of freedom, the role of religion, the human costs of war, and the dangers of absolute power.
Ten years in the making, The Landmark Herodotus gives us a new, dazzling translation by Andrea L. Purvis that makes this remarkable work of literature more accessible than ever before. Illustrated, annotated, and filled with maps, this edition also includes an introduction by Rosalind Thomas and twenty-one appendices written by scholars at the top of their fields, covering such topics as Athenian government, Egypt, Scythia, Persian arms and tactics, the Spartan state, oracles, religion, tyranny, and women.
Like The Landmark Thucydides before it, The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories is destined to be the most readable and comprehensively useful edition of The Histories available.
The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, edited by Robert B. Strassler, introduction by Victor Davis Hanson, translated by Richard Crawley (Free Press) (Paperback) Thucydides called his account of two decades of war between Athens and Sparta "a possession for all time," and indeed it is the first and still most famous work in the Western historical tradition. Considered essential reading for generals, statesmen, and liberally educated citizens for more than 2,000 years, The Peloponnesian War is a mine of military, moral, political, and philosophical wisdom.
However, this classic book has long presented obstacles to the uninitiated reader. Robert Strassler's new edition removes these obstacles by providing a new coherence to the narrative overall, and by effectively reconstructing the lost cultural context that Thucydides shared with his original audience. Based on the venerable Richard Crawley translation, updated and revised for modern readers. The Landmark Thucydides includes a vast array of superbly designed and presented maps, brief informative appendices by outstanding classical scholars on subjects of special relevance to the text, explanatory marginal notes on each page, an index of unprecedented subtlety, and numerous other useful features.
In any list of the Great Books of Western Civilization, The Peloponnesian War stands near the top. This authoritative new edition will ensure that its greatness is appreciated by future generations.
Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War is one of the great books in the Western tradition, as well as its first true historical narrative. Editor Robert Strassler has annotated this classic text to make it more accessible to modern readers and added dozens of maps for easy reference. A helpful introduction places Thucydides in proper historical context and a series of short appendices focus on particular aspects of life and war during the period. But the bulk of the book itself, where Thucydides chronicles the long struggle between Athens and Sparta, enjoys an unexpected freshness on these pages--partly due to Strassler's magnificent editorial labors, but mostly because it's a great story resonant with heroes, villains, bravery, desperation, and tragedy. Every library should have a copy of Thucydides in it, especially libraries on military history, and The Landmark Thucydides is without question the best version available.
Rediscovering Homer: Inside the Origins of the Epic by Andrew
Dalby (W. W. Norton) Scholar Andrew Dalby delves into the world that
first heard the Odyssey and the Iliad, and asks new questions about
the poet named Homer. Dalby follows the growth of the legend of
The historical evidence for the existence of the Trojan War is
fascinating, and the specific evidence and conclusions presented by
Andrew Dalby are highly possible, but the book contains a major
flaw. He digs through a variety of Egyptian, Hittite, and Greek
sources to argue that the Trojan War of Homer--and the major
characters, such as
The problem comes with his "bold assertion" (as the publishers call it on the jacket) that Homer was a woman. Well, so what? It has been stated before, and few would be particularly upset if it were proven to be true, so there is nothing "bold" in it. The real weakness comes from Dalby's weak evidence and his loosely constructed logic. Even more glaring is that this assertion doesn't seem essential to the book itself. This book is really a collection of thoughts and ideas related to various aspects of Homer's texts, and the Homer as Female thesis is a weak attempt to provide a controlling idea. However, Dalby only presents this thesis 2/3 of the way through the book and then quickly moves on. It's a way to stand out, and perhaps a way to sell a few more books, but it isn't very important.
This is a good and an interesting book when it allows itself to be what it is: an educated collection of thoughts related to history, oral literature, and Homer. It's when it pretends to be something else that it fails.
From Publishers Weekly: Late in this look at Homer's two great
epic poems and the context out of which they grew, Dalby presents
his audacious thesis: Homer, he would have us believe, was a woman.
Some hedging accompanies the assertion, but it figures as the
centerpiece of this study. While Dalby, a historian and linguist,
excels in his discussion of the transformation from oral to written
poetry and of the single-author theory for the Iliad and the
Odyssey, his case for Homer's sex is discursive and full of
speculation. The strongest chapter, "The Iliad and History," is a
thrilling account of the evidence in support of an actual Trojan
War, much of it built on Joachim Latacz's
The Baltic Origins of Homer's Epic Tales: The Iliad, the Odyssey,
and the Migration of Myth by Felice Vinci (Inner Traditions)
Compelling evidence that the events of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey
took place in the Baltic and not the Mediterranean.
Reveals how a climate change forced the migration of a people and their myth to ancient Greece .
Identifies the true geographic sites of Troy and Ithaca in the Baltic Sea and Calypso's Isle in the North Atlantic Ocean.
For years scholars have debated the incongruities in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, given that his descriptions are at odds with the geography of the areas he purportedly describes. Inspired by Plutarch's remark that Calypso's Isle was only five days sailing from Britain, Felice Vinci convincingly argues that Homer's epic tales originated not in the Mediterranean, but in the northern Baltic Sea.
Using meticulous geographical analysis, Vinci shows that many Homeric places, such as Troy and Ithaca, can still be identified in the geographic landscape of the Baltic. He explains how the dense, foggy weather described by Ulysses befits northern not Mediterranean climes, and how battles lasting through the night would easily have been possible in the long days of the Baltic summer. Vinci's meteorological analysis reveals how a decline of the "climatic optimum" caused the blond seafarers to migrate south to warmer climates, where they rebuilt their original world in the
Felice Vinci offers a key to open many doors that allow us to consider the age-old question of the Indo-European diaspora and the origin of the Greek civilization from a new perspective.
Felice Vinci traces the Greek epic tales of Homer to an original Baltic setting. Scholars have long troubled over the misfit of geographical information that the Iliad and Odyssey relate. Vinci makes a strong case that the Mycenaeans came from a then much warmer Scandinavia and migrated south to the
His thesis is not as far fetched as this reviewer intially assumed it would be. We can see many places along the east coast of the
Toward the end, Vinci mars his fine research with extrapolated speculation in an effort to suggest that
Vinci himself allows that his ideas rest upon cultural and geographic evidence and need archaeological research to confirm them. His argument is so strong, though, that it alone should be justification to explore physically the places that he identifies as the actual locations of the events of Homer's tales.
It is a curious fact that the geographical descriptions furnished
in Homer's Iliad (the story of the siege of
Vinci, a nuclear engineer by profession and a passionate classicist by vocation, took Plutarch's statement as a serious clue to search for the geography of the Homeric epics in the North Atlantic rather than the
What about Schliemann's
Vinci's audacious rewriting of Homeric culture and mythology is a creative proposition, which deserves to be further investigated.
The Iliad, The Odyssey boxed set by Homer, introduction by Bernard Knox, translated by Robert Fagles (Penguin Classics: Viking) This is a boxed gift edition of Fagles's two widely acclaimed translations of Homer. The aesthetics of the binding, page design and typeface are complemented by a well designed and sturdily constructed box for this gift edition. Fagle’s translation is likely to be the preferred reader's choice for the next generation or so. For the simplicity of pure reading pleasure these volumes are done well.
I would also suggest for many of us who are busier than we would like to be that the audio versions of these books are quite listenable and also will produced.
The Iliad is typically described as one of the greatest war
stories of all time, but to call it a war story does not begin to
describe the emotional sweep of its action and characters: Achilles,
Helen, Hector, and other heroes of Greek myth and history in the
10th and final year of the Greek siege of
This set of books by Homer was the guiding light of Western
culture for about 1000 years: from ~700 BCE. until ~300 CE. and
beyond, until it was replaced by the Old and New Testaments in
cultural importance. The philosophers were not nearly so important
as Homer. In
Plato and Aristotle account for less than ten percent, playwrights make up the remainder. It was thought good to memorize both epics. Education focused on them almost exclusively as did art, and other works of literature tended to base themselves on them or to echo them strongly. In the poems was seen the art of persuasive speaking and bravery: the two most important attributes for a person living at that time. We can still learn the same from the epics today. About half of the epics are eloquently and powerfully worded speeches, their other half describes a brutally tough, nearly merciless, view of the world which instills first fear and then courage in a reader (if read with full absorption). I could almost not bear to read the Iliad the first time due to the utter violence and gore of many of the scenes. But now, having read it for the seventeenth time, and having considered the real state of affairs in most of the world even today, I have accepted all the unfairness, loss, early death and carelessness experienced by the characters as all too indicative of the human condition. The complacent incompetence and/or lack of care displayed by both leaders and gods in the epics is frighteningly realistic and all too telling of how power really does work in our world. The pure mercilessness of the epics and the total solitude of individuals in the face of dangerous forces is a cruelly real portrayal of our human lives.
For nearly three thousand years the poems of Homer have thrilled listeners of every culture and epoch. Allusions to The Iliad and The Odyssey are so pervasive in our western culture that they are almost required reading for anyone who wishes to study western literature.
Briefly, The Iliad is the story of the ten year long Trojan War,
which climaxes with the destruction of the city of
Translations of Homer which try to adhere to the original poetic structure and be as literal as possible are immensely difficult to read by many save the most focused scholars. Other translations have completely deviated from any resemblance of poetry in an effort to be more accessible to the average reader. Here Mr. Fagles has achieved a translation which is not only easy to read and understand, but which retains the poetic lyricism of the original.
Homer's works should be on the bookshelf of anyone who is
interested in the classics, and with this translation you don't have
to be a University Professor to appreciate them.
This set is not for someone who wants to read a cute fantasy story where the good beat down the bad and everyone lives happily ever after, enough to fill a summer's afternoon. These are books for the tough minded, for the ambitious and if I may be permitted to say so, for those of a powerful intellect (of which the reviewer is perhaps the exception that proves the rule). They were written as convincing tales for the Greeks about their Mycenaean warrior ancestors whom they expected to be stronger, braver and cleverer than themselves. Only the greatest of storytellers and the keenest observers of human affairs can provide such an epic for a people while at the same time create an exciting read (or listen, in Homer's time). This set is a holder of wisdom and not of fine words only. It is of the greatest benefit for the serious reader. A note on the translation: I have compared sections of this set with the originals. These translations are not word-for-word. Be this as it may, there is often more to desire in a translation than mere rigid attention to exactness if one wishes to create a modern classic and not merely a dusty reference book for some scholars. The Greeks themselves continually made new versions of the Iliad, updating the language for the reading public (never discarding the original of course, which was memorized, studied, quoted etc). The Romans as well had their line by line translations into up-to-date Latin. We need ours too. This set by Robert Fagles with his most excellent sensitivity to the force and passion of the English language fulfills this need for us. The original still sits there for reference and for those sufficiently skilled among us for reading, but these wonderful translations are necessary so as to make the Iliad useful for English speakers in our English speaking lives. The epics of Homer have carried in them the essence of our Western soul from our very beginnings as a civilization and now Robert Fagles has equipped us with their majestic thunder and bright flash so that they are ever ready for us if ever we wish to be reinvigorated by them.
It is not perfect, but it is still one of the best books I've ever read. I believe this is a better story than "The Iliad". There are a lot more journey's and adventures. Besides fighting the Egyptians, Odysseus has to battle the goddess Circe, the Cyclopes, a Monster in a cave that he can't defeat, as well as get by the Sirens. He meets merpeople, and visits many foreign lands. He has to avoid lightning bolts, Hurricane's, Crashing rocks, and even go to Hades to consult with the dead. After all of this the prophets foretell that he will lose his ship and all of his men, but that one day he will make it home again. After all of this will he finally reach home only there to be killed?
After the war at
While on his journey home Odysseus visits Hades and there sees
The only part of the storyline that I didn't like was where the
goddess Athene has Odysseus' son Telemachus take a journey to see if
he can find out news of his father. I believe Homer just used this
as an excuse to give you an update on Nestor and Menelaus who seem
to be the only other heroes that are still alive out of all the
Achaeans who fought in the War at
The Iliad was not quite what I expected. It doesn't have the lyricism and imagery of other epic poems such as Paraside Lost or the Inferno. Its metaphors are sometimes crude and very wordy. It is also an extremely violent book -- large sections of the text are devoted to describing the deaths of warriors in graphic detail. It is also sometimes repititious, which is partly a result of having evolved from an oral tradition in which repitition allowed the poet more time to improvise the next segment of poetry.
However, it is still a powerful poem. The story is not what you
might expect. There is no Trojan horse, no golden apples. It starts
in the ninth year of the siege of
The Iliad unfolds novelistically. We start with the rage of
Achilles in the plains of
Although there are many characters in the book, Achilles is the most powerful. Passionate, temperamental, arrogant, brutal and courageous. In many ways, he comes across as the villian. He is opposed by Hector -- also arrogant and brutal, but a family man. Hector is both admired and loved by the Trojans. Achilles is admired by the Greeks, but not loved. The characters of Patroclus, Odysseus and Agamemnon are also well-defined.
The Odyssey is a completely different sort of work. Whereas the
Iliad is grand in scope and tells many overlapping stories, the
Odyssey is tightly focused on the story of Odysseus's return to his
The Odyssey was again not what I expected. It start with
Odysseus's son, Telemachus, watching Penelope's suitors devour the
fruits of his father's kingdom. Telemechus leaves on a voyage to
find word of his father. This segues into Odysseus's return from a
seven-year stay with Calypso. He is shipwrecked on Phaeacia, where,
after being received by the King of Phaeacia, he unfolds the tale of
the journey that landed him on Calypso's isle. The last half of the
book deals with eventual return to
Homer's style is still songlike and lyrical. His description of the journey to the underworld is especially vivid. And Odysseus is expanded into a complex character - cunning, brave, suspicious - and of course the tragic flaw that creates the Odyssey - proud.
Fagles translation is probably the most unique you will run across. It translates the poems into vivid, song-like language that probably best reflects what the poems sounded like when Homer sang them. I find some fault with his occasionaly use of modern idiom (the overuse of phrases like "cut -and-run", etc.). But it is an easier and more enjoyable read than the more classic translations that favor more stilted prose.
Also, read the introductions. Although they are long, they are fascinating, especially in the discussion over the debate on the origins of the Iliad and the Odyssey. It will also help you appreciate some of the phrases used repeatedly in the poems ("swift-footed Achilles", "long-haired Argives", etc.").
Aristotle's school is formally known as the Lyceum, from the
Upon Aristotle's death the headship of the school passed to his student and friend Theophrastus, who provided competent if not brilliant leadership until his own death in ca. 287. The titles of over two hundred works composed by Theophrastus are known, but only a handful survive. These extant works "show industry and intelligence, but testify to a seemingly complete lack of speculative originality in their author."
The Peripatetic school remained more faithful to the founder's teachings than the Academy did, but its adherence to Aristotle's thought was not slavish. The most significant change was one of emphasis. Hellenistic scholars separated science from philosophy. Much of Aristotle's biological and zoological work fell into the domain of the scientists of the third and second century BCE.
After the first century BCE. the Peripatetic school produced
little beyond commentaries on Aristotle's works. The only author who
stands out from the herd is Alexander of Aphrodisias, who wrote ca.
200 CE. He claimed to be only an interpreter of Aristotle, but in
recent years has come to be seen as a philosopher in his own right.
Much of his work deals with the problem of free will or determinism.
Because he attacks the Stoics (usually without naming them) his work
helps us to reconstruct their thought.
Aristo of Ceos: Text, Translation, and Discussion edited by
Stephen White, William Fortenbaugh (Rutgers University Studies in
Classical Humanities, Volume XIII: Transaction Publishers) Aristo
(fl. c. 225-200 BCE.), of Lulis on Ceos. Peripatetic philosopher;
probably Lyco's successor as head of the School. In antiquity,
Aristo was confused with the like-named Stoic of Chios. Diogenes
Laertius reports a book list for the Stoic but adds that Panaetius
and Sosicrates attribute all the works except the epistles to the
Peripatetic. Works with Peripatetic precedents, such as Exhortations
and Erotic Dissertations, can be plausibly attributed to the
Peripatetic. Other sources report additional titles: Lyco (perhaps
part of Dialogues mentioned in Diogenes' list), On Old Age, and On
Relieving Arrogance. Whether part of the last-named work or from a
separate treatise, Aristo's descriptions of persons exhibiting
inconsiderateness, self-will, and other unattractive traits
(preserved in Philodemus) relate closely to the Characters of
Theophrastus. In addition, Aristo wrote biographies of Heraclitus,
Socrates, and Epicurus. We may be sure that he did the same for the
leaders of the Peripatos. Diogenes cites Aristo as his source for
the will of Strato; the wills of Aristotle, Theophrastus, and Lyco
probably also derive from Aristo. Because of the fragmentary
literary remains he is often confused with Aristo (fl. mid-3rd cent.
Excerpt: There were many Aristo's in antiquity and the often nonspecific manner of citing used in ancient texts (e.g., simply as "Aristo") inevitably causes problems.' M a result, the attribution of texts to Aristo of Ceos often is a matter of scholarly dispute, especially where Aristo of Ceos is to be distinguished from the Stoic Aristo of Chios, who is uncomfortably close to Aristo of Ceos not only in time of living, but also in the Greek and Latin designation of his home country…
The present edition of the fragments of Aristo of Ceos is modeled on that of the fragments of Demetrius of Phalerum in RUSCH vol. 9 and of Lyco of Troas in RUSCH vol. 12. In the case of Aristo of Ceos the format of the edition is determined— much more so than in the case of Demetrius of Phalerum or Lyco of Troas—by the often problematic nature of the attribution of the fragments, particularly where the distinction between Aristo of Ceos versus Aristo of Chios is involved.
The texts are divided into five sections: I texts concerning the Life of Aristo of Ceos (1-6); II and III texts concerning the Writings of Aristo of Ceos, that is to say, II texts concerning the Writings of which the attribution to Aristo of Ceos is considered certain and uncontested (717); III texts concerning the Writings of which the attribution to Aristo of Ceos is considered uncertain and Disputed (18-29); IV texts preserving Sayings that (rightly or wrongly) have been attributed to Aristo of Ceos (30); V texts that have been attributed to Aristo of Ceos but are Not accepted in the present edition and are listed mainly for ease of reference (31-49). Most of the texts are what traditionally are called testimonia rather than fragmenta.
The decision to include a fragment either in section II (fragments of certain attribution) or in section III (fragments of disputed attribution) was made on the strictly formal ground of the presence or absence of a sufficiently explicit reference to Aristo of Ceos in the texts and not on the philosophical contents. In III the uncertainty of attribution is caused almost exclusively by the nonspecific nature of the reference ("Aristo" in 19-29); in one case (18) by a difference in reading of the MSS. The scholarly debate concerning the attribution of these texts invariably involves the choice between the Peripatetic Aristo of Ceos and the Stoic Aristo of Chios, and is of necessity wholly based upon the contents of the texts. The editors purposely abstain from arguing either way, and merely aim at presenting the material with a maximum of clarity in order that the users may judge for themselves.
The material is not large enough to admit of any extensive subdivision of the five sections. In the case of the texts concerning the Writings (II & III), the texts have been arranged according to the title (Lyco 15) or subject matter (On Old Age, On Flattery, On Arrogance 18-21) mentioned in the texts and in such a way as to facilitate the comparison of the texts of certain attribution with those of disputed attribution (e.g., under the parallel headings "Erotic Examples" 10-14 and 22, "Lives of the Philosophers" 16 and 23-5, "Of uncertain provenance" 17 and 26-9).
Texts that have not been accepted (V) are arranged primarily according to the identity of the Aristo who appears most likely to be involved (Aristo of Chios 32-5; 41-4; 45-7; Aristo the Younger 36-40; Aristo the Peripatetic Aristo of Ceos 31). These texts are printed whenever Wehrli and/or Knogel print the text as a fragment of Aristo of Ceos (31-3; 41-9); in all other cases only a reference to the text is given (34-40).
The present edition has 22 texts more than Wehrli's edition (4B; 13B; 19; 29; 30; 32-44; 46-9); one text included by Wehrli is excluded from the present edition (31). Of the added texts, two are parallel texts not included by Wehrli (4B; 13B); one (a papyrus text) was not known at the time of Wehrli's edition (19); the remainder are texts of disputed attribution (29) or texts that have not been accepted (32-44; 46-9).
The texts are numbered from 1 to 49. In some cases (2A—B; 4A—B; 13A—B; 14A—B; 17A—D; 24A—B), a number covers two or more texts which are distinguished by the letters A-B(-C-D). These texts refer to the same specific subject matter (in that sense they are parallel texts), but the information supplied by these texts differs significantly enough to quote them in full. In the case of PHerc. 1008 the columns of the papyrus have been numbered separately 21a—o.
In editing the texts, the editors have taken as their starting-point the text of an existing recent edition (mentioned in the heading of the text with line numbers of the edition used). That does not mean that the text printed here is identical to that of the edition mentioned in the heading. The editors have felt free to make changes in the text. These changes are accounted for in the lower critical apparatus, and reflect our editorial policy. In an edition of fragments, problems relating to the constitution of the text ought to be made perfectly clear to the user and not glossed over in order to effect an "easy" reading.
The texts as printed in this edition are based upon the information supplied in the editions used, and no original research on the paradosis has been done by the editors, with the following exceptions. The texts from Diogenes Laertius (1, 5; 8; 16; 23-5) are based upon collations made by Tiziano Dorandi in preparing a new edition of the Vitae Philosophorum. Anna Angeli of the Liceo Classico Vittorio Emanuele III di Napoli has generously put at our disposal information based upon personal inspection of PHerc. 1457 (20) and 1008 (21 a) which has not yet been published; the text of these fragments printed in the present collection is based upon her inspection of the papyri. Stefan Radt of Groningen University has generously put at our disposal the text, apparatus criticus and commentary of his new Strabo edition (Gottingen 2003—) for the two Strabo texts (2A and 31).
References to the corresponding testimonia and fragmenta in Wehrli's edition are given in the left-hand margin of the Greek text at the line where Wehrli's fragment begins. The upper apparatus of parallel texts makes reference to all parallel texts in the strict sense which explicitly mention Aristo of Ceos (the line numbers of the edition used are always added in these cases), and also to parallel texts in a wider sense which, without referring to Aristo, contain information that seems particularly relevant to the interpretation of the text (the passage or text is merely cited in these cases and often introduced by means of cf.). In addition, references are given to modern editions or collections of fragments of authors mentioned in the text. Finally, there are cross-references by means of numbers in bold type to other texts in the present collection in order to assist the user in collecting information.
The lower or critical apparatus is based upon the critical apparatus of the edition used for the text. It is selective and aims at supplying information specially relevant to the user of this edition. As a rule it is fuller than that found in the edition of Wehrli.
The translation tries to effect the impossible in being both readable and as close to the original as possible. The Philodemus texts (19-21) have proven to be particularly difficult in this respect and the editors—who with one exception are not native speakers of (American) English— are fully aware that their word-by-word translation is likely to compare unfavorably with a continuous translation like that of Voula Tsouna or Jeffrey Rusten.
The notes to the translation serve two purposes. First, they may supply (often quite basic) information which will assist the user in understanding and interpreting the text. Second, they place the text within the wider context of the work from which it has been taken. Although the notes are not intended as a full commentary, they are fuller than they would be if the editors were planning to add a companion volume containing a commentary. This is especially so in the case of the fragments of disputed attribution (III) and the fragments that have not been accepted (V), where the (often tedious lists of) references aim solely at assisting the users in finding their way in the maze of secondary literature on the subject.
Tables of Abbreviations and of Editions Used have been provided.
All abbreviations not found in these tables are those of LSJ. In
view of the many references in the notes to the translation, a
separate list of Studies cited in this edition has been added; it is
not intended to be exhaustive. The Concordances relate the texts in
this edition to those of Aristo of Ceos by Wehrli (1968) and Knogel
(1933);4 to those of Aristo of Chios by Arnim (SVF 1905), Festa
(1935) and Ioppolo (1980); to that of Aristo the Younger by Wehrli
(1969); and to that of Aristo of Alexandria by Mariotti (1966). The
Index of Aristonean Texts lists all Aristonean texts in the strict
sense of the word, i.e., all texts explicitly mentioning Aristo of
Ceos, printed here as a text (indicated by means of numbers in bold
type) or entered in a list, and all parallel texts in the strict
sense, i.e. all parallel texts explicitly mentioning Aristo of Ceos,
entered in the upper apparatus. All other passages cited in the
upper (or lower) apparatus and in the notes to the translation are
listed in the Index of Passages Cited. The Index of Names to the
translation may help the users in finding their way through the
fragments more quickly. Because the notes to the translation cite
many modern scholars, an Index of Modern Scholars has been added in
order to make it easier to collect the opinions of the various
scholars who have worked on Aristo of Ceos. Finally, a List of
Citations of Aristo is added in order to provide an overview of the
manner in which Aristo is cited in the fragments.
Lyco of Troas and Hieronymus of Rhodes: Text, Translation, and
Discussion edited by William W. Fortenbaugh and Stephen A. White
(Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities, Volume XII:
Transaction Publishers) Volume XII in the RUSCH
series continues work already begun on the
Hieronymus of Rhodes was a member of the school and an antagonist
of Lyco. Excellence in teaching was Lyco's distinguishing attribute,
but he also attracted benefactors and had the reputation of being a
bon vivant. Hieronymus is best known for his work on ethics, but he
also wrote on literature, history, and rhetoric. Hieronymus was
disliked by Lyco and critical of Arcesilaus. His writings, which
were admired for style, survive only in fragments. Almost all
involve ethical themes, such as anger, eros, education, and
inebriation; many recount anecdotes about poets and earlier
philosophers; a few discuss rhetorical style. Hieronymus was accused
of apostasy for equating happiness with "absence of disturbance
(aochlêsia)," but he probably sought to update Aristotelian theory.
Like Epicurus, he made equanimity the criterion for happiness, but
he avoided hedonism by denying that pleasure is intrinsically good;
and while endorsing the Stoic thesis that virtue is necessary for
avoiding disturbance, he followed Aristotle in denying that it is
sufficient for happiness. He probably also helped develop the
Peripatetic theory of "moderate passions" from Aristotle's doctrine
of the mean.
Eudemus of Rhodes edited by István Bodnár and William W. Fortenbaugh (Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities, Volume XI: Transaction Publishers) Eudemus of Rhodes (2nd half of 4th cent. BCE.), was a pupil of Aristotle in the second half of the fourth century BCE. This volume is composed entirely of articles that discuss Eudemus from a variety of viewpoints.
In a charming story in Aulus Gellius (13.5), when Aristotle was
dying, he chose Theophrastus over Eudemus as his successor in the
Lyceum. Eudemus apparently returned to
There are ascribed to Eudemus in various places two books of Analytics, a Categories, On Expression, On the Angle, Physics, and histories of geometry, arithmetic, and astronomy. Simplicius refers to Eudemus as "the most genuine of Aristotle's comrades" (In Phys. 411.15-16) and says that he "follows Aristotle in all things" (133.. 22). Though not entirely true, this appears not far off.
In logic, Eudemus and Theophrastus (who are always mentioned together in this connection) made various modifications to Aristotle's syllogistic; Alexander, in his commentary on the Prior Analytics, cites the following Alexander is echoed by the other commentators on most a, these points): (i) Theophrastus and Eudemus devised a direct proof of the convertibility of universal negative propositions (Alexander 31.4-10; contrast Ar. APri. 1.2, 25a14-17). (ii) They adopted the peiorem rule in modal logic: "that the conclusion is always assimilated to the lesser and weaker of the premises" (Alexander 124.13-14; by contrast Aristotle allowed certain combinations of necessary and assertoric premises to yield necessary conclusions, as in APri. 1.9). (iii) They defended the convert- ibility of universal negative problematic propositions (Alexander 220.9- 16, against Ar. APri. 1.17, 36b35-37a31). (iv) They also did extensive work on hypothetical syllogisms (Alexander 389.31-390.3; Philoponus, In APri. 242.18-19, speaks of "treatises of many lines" on the subject).
Eudemus is said to have claimed in On Expression (Alexander In APri. 16.15-17, scholium in APri. ed. Brandis [in Aristotelis Opera 4]. 146a24-27) that "is" in "Socrates is" is a predicate term; he may thus have been the first to have contradicted Kant's claim that existence is not a predicate. Alexander's notice of this is phrased in a way that makes to appear to contradict Aristotle (at least under Alexander's interpretation of Aristotle: 15.14-22).
All we know of On the Angle is that Eudemus argued in it that the angle is in the category of quality on the ground that straightness is a quality, fractures are qualities, and an angle is a fractured straightness (Proclus In Eucl. 125.6-13).
The most substantial remains of Eudemus' work are from the Physics; this seems to have been a paraphrase of or commentary on Aristotle's Physics. Simplicius, in the introduction to his commentary on Physics 7, says (In Phys. 1036.13-15): "Eudemus, having followed the main points in the entire treatise up to this point, passes by this book as superfluous, and proceeds to what is in the last book."
Eudemus' historical works were of very great importance; much of
what we know about the early history of mathematics, including
astronomy, is traceable to Eudemus. Proclus three times quotes him
by name for historical points (In Eucl. 299.3, 333.6, 352.14), and
Proclus' report of the history of geometry before
Seven passages in Aelian's On the Nature of Animals name a Eudemus as the source for wild stories about animals, but, although *Apuleius (Apologia 36) credits Eudemus along with Aristotle, Theophrastus, and Lyco with books on the generation of animals, these passages seem unlikely to have come from our Eudemus.
The treatise entitled Eudemian Ethics in the corpus Aristotelicum
was taken in the 19th century to be Eudemus'; it is now thought to
Dicaearchus of Messana: Text, Translation, and Discussion edited
by William W. Fortenbaugh and Eckart Schütrumpf (Rutgers University
Studies in Classical Humanities, Volume X: Transaction Publishers)
Dicaearchus of Messana in
Dicaearchus' interests were narrower than those of his teacher: no works on logic, physics, and metaphysics are reported. In On the Soul, which comprised the Corinthian and Lesbian Dialogues, he advanced the view that mind and soul do not exist; there is only body configured in a certain way. In some sources, this view is interpreted as a harmony theory, but the interpretation may derive from Dicaearchus' association with Aristoxenus, whose musical interests were well known. How Dicaearchus reconciled his view of the soul with a belief in divination through dreams and frenzy is problematic. An answer may have been given in another dialogue, Descent into (the Cave of) Trophonius, in which both the luxury of the priests of Trophonius and their practice of divination were attacked.
Dicaearchus wrote on good and bad life styles. In On the
Dicaearchus' Life of Greece was a cultural history tracing the development of human society. An initial golden age in which men lived virtuously, meeting their needs from what the earth produced spontaneously, was followed by a second period, and characterized by gathering fruits and pasturing animals. The third involved the rise of agriculture, and the fourth that of civilization. Dicaearchus took notice of other cultures, and the whole work, several books long, appears to have had an evaluative slant.
Dicaearchus wrote a work entitled the Constitution of the
Spartans. The annual reading of this work to
The titles On Musical Competitions and On Dionysiac Competitions may have been the whole and a part, respectively, of the same work. Dicaearchus probably discussed a range of forms, from banquet songs to dramatic productions. He provided didascalic information and took an interest in "firsts," noting innovations regarding the dithyrambic chorus and the number of tragic actors. Hypotheses of the myths of *Euripides and Sophocles are attributed to Dicaearchus; the accuracy of the attribution, including the assignment of recently published papyrus fragments, is a matter of debate. The titles Panathenaic and Olympiac appear to refer to dialogues, which dealt with festivals and musical themes. Homeric questions were discussed, probably within a monograph. A work On Alcaeus is certain. Dicaearchus's interest in proverbs is well attested.
In Circuit of the Earth, Dicaearchus argued that the earth has
the shape of a globe. He established a main parallel of latitude
running from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Himalayan mountains,
made maps that were known to
Athens in Paris : Ancient Greece and the Political in Post-War
French Thought by Miriam Leonard (Classical Presences: Oxford
University Press) Classical Presences
Series Editors: Lorna Hardwick, Professor of Classical Studies, Open University, and James I. Porter, Professor of Greek, Latin, and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan : The texts, ideas, images, and material culture of ancient Greece and Rome have always been crucial to attempts to appropriate the past in order to authenticate the present. They underlie the mapping of change and the assertion and challenging of values and identities, old and new. Classical Presences brings the latest scholarship to bear on the contexts, theory, and practice of such use, and abuse, of the classical past.
Excerpt: This book argues that the interplay between ancient and
modern can be seen at work in a much wider current of post-war
French thought. It will examine how the debates surrounding the
political identity of the democrat and anti-democrat in
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, French intellectual life had been left polarized between resistance and collaboration.
Structuralism is traditionally seen to have side-stepped this
problem in its abandonment of an orthodox political programme.
Vincent Descombes in his famous study of contemporary French
philosophy argues that 'in France the development of a political
position remains the decisive test ... It is as if the heart of the
matter had not been reached until, from suppositions of the One and
the Many, or about the nature of knowledge, the subject shifted to
the issue of the next elections or the attitude of the Communist
Party'. And yet, he asserts that 'despite heavy over-investment in
the political dimension of philosophical debate, almost no important
political thinking as such can be seen to thrive within it. The
major works of political philosophy in French can be counted on the
fingers of one hand'. But the question precisely remains of how one
is to define Descombes' qualification 'as such'. The very definition
of what constitutes political philosophy is at the heart of the
post-war investment in antiquity. For although it is the apoliticism
of Levi-Strauss, Lacan, Foucault, and Derrida which has become a
topos of recent scholarship. It is paradoxically in their
encounters with the Greeks that their politics come to the fore. It
is in this context that the distance which we traced between these
figures on the one hand, and Vernant, Vidal-Naquet, and Schnapp on
the other, appears most interesting. Although their model of
political engagement may have been strikingly different, these
intellectuals undoubtedly share an investment in the relevance of
the debates about the classical city for the contemporary political
situation. But far from wanting to erase the significance of their
ideological differences, this book argues that it was precisely
through its engagement with antiquity that post-war France
negotiated the political differences itself within 'structuralism.'
My argument is not that one can identify an orthodox structuralist
reading of Greek democracy, but rather that the encounter with
The questioning of history, and the challenge to the modern subject which marks these works, were seen by many to be all the more dangerous in the context of the immediate post-war climate. Denying the importance of history, underplaying the responsibility of the subject, was to run the risk of being an apologist for Nazism.
In this context it is highly significant that there is a return
to Greek culture and democracy. For the legacy of German
philhellenism in Nazi ideology made the Greek example problematic in
the wake of the occupation. It is no secret that French post-war
philosophy owes an important debt to the writings of Hegel,
Nietzsche, and Heidegger. Ferry and Renaut famously argued that the
whole project of French thought could be interpreted as a revisiting
of German philosophy.32 But more significantly for this book, the
preoccupation with the most difficult sites of German thought makes
the reappropriation of
But in spite of its dubious ideological tainting, post-war
Karl Marx may have claimed that the French Revolution was acted
out in Roman dress, but it would be difficult to maintain that the
theorists of '68 acted out their revolution in Greek dress. Rather,
what we are dealing with here, is a specifically post-Enlightenment
project whose objective is a new kind of politics, a new critique of
We begin with just such a discussion about the political
consequences for structuralism of the return to antiquity. My first
chapter is an investigation of Oedipus' role in the structuralist
critique of the subject. Its central focus is a dialogue between
Vernant, Levi-Strauss, and Michel Foucault. Vernant's rereading of
Sophocles's Oedipus Tyrannus in the light of Levi-Strauss's famous
structural analysis of the myth of Oedipus is an attempt to put the
history and politics of the classical city back into the
schematizing reading of his anthropological master.34 The context of
democracy that Vernant makes central to his understanding of Greek
culture challenged the apoliticism of the Levi-Straussian reading.
In this sense Vernant's dispute with Levi-Straussian structuralism
is not so much one about historicism or lack of philological
accuracy, as is so often believed to be the case, but rather a
debate about the politics of structuralism and the new political
possibilities of postwar
Vernant's work, then, provides the model for an explicitly
political reading of the Greeks, a political reading which refers as
much to the politics of Greek society itself as to the politics of
reading the Greeks in his own culture. Vernant repeatedly frames his
The second half of the chapter traces the legacy of Vernant's Oedipus in an early essay of Michel Foucault. In a little known text which announces many of the later themes of Discipline and Punish, Foucault takes over Vernant's hostility to psychoanalysis in a reading that makes Oedipus' story a crucial moment in the history of the oppressive alliance between power and knowledge. For Foucault the search for truth that Oedipus instigates is just one step on the road to the panoptic society which reached its apotheosis in the liberal democracies of the twentieth century. This progress towards a self-policing community is identified by Foucault with the Freudian Oedipus, the ultimate representative of bourgeois society. I thus investigate a debate about the political background of the commitment to an anti-psychoanalytic reading of antiquity—a background which is often ignored by classicists who are intent on dismissing out of hand any psychoanalytic interpretation of the past as an anachronism. Foucault's dialogue with Vernant's anti-Freudian Oedipus delivers a different understanding of the Vernantian hostility to the psychoanalytic project. I argue that his hostility, far from being grounded in the traditional concerns of philology, has its roots in the political debates of the post-'68 era.
My decision to launch this book with an analysis of Vernant's relationship to Levi-Strauss and Michel Foucault is not just motivated by the fact that Vernant remains the most obvious point of contact between classics and French philosophy. Vernant should undoubtedly be credited as the scholar who made French theory acceptable to classicists in the Anglo-Saxon world. But this perception of Vernant as a liminal figure carefully negotiating the boundaries of classics and French thought is to some extent misleading. Vernant's revolutionary readings of Greek tragedy are intimately bound up in the debates of the post-war French intellectual scene. Vernant does not so much provide the `go-between' for classics and anthropology, classics and structuralism; rather he shows how their histories are linked in the development of post-war thought. We will not only see Vernant in direct dialogue with Levi-Strauss, but also Foucault arguing with Vernant while attending Lacan's seminars, Vidal-Naquet proof-reading for Lacan, and Derrida writing in homage to Vernant—and all this in the context of a debate about the Greeks. And as we saw above, we will witness how these figures have been both united and bitterly divided by the political conflicts of the post-war era, from Foucault and Vidal-Naquet joining forces in the creation of a pressure group to Irigaray's unceremonious expulsion from Lacan's Ecole Freudienne.
This book aims to make a contribution not just to intellectual
history but also to the methodological issues of writing
intellectual history. The reception of the so called 'classical
tradition' has all too often ignored the full range of historical,
social, and political issues which have been at stake in the
appropriation of antiquity in the modern world. The return to the
Greeks in postwar
So I argue that the textual reception of antiquity in the works
of the major thinkers of post-war
Medicine and Philosophy in Classical Antiquity: Doctors and Philosophers on Nature, Soul, Health and Disease by Philip J. van der Eijk (Cambridge University Press) This work brings together Philip van der Eijk's previously-published essays on the close connections that existed between medicine and philosophy throughout antiquity. Medical authors such as the Hippocratic writers, Diocles, Galen, Soranus and Caelius Aurelianus elaborated on philosophical methods such as causal explanation, definition and division and applied key concepts such as the notion of nature to their understanding of the human body. Similarly, philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle were highly valued for their contributions to medicine. This interaction was particularly striking in the study of the human soul in its relation to the body, as illustrated by approaches to specific topics such as intellect, sleep and dreams, and diet and drugs. With a detailed introduction surveying the subject as a whole and a new essay on Aristotle's treatment of sleep, this wide-ranging and accessible collection is essential reading for the student of ancient philosophy and science.
Excerpt: Few areas in classical scholarship have seen such rapid growth as the study of ancient medicine. Over the last three decades, the subject has gained broad appeal, not only among scholars and students of Greek and Roman antiquity but also in other disciplines such as the history of medicine and science, the history of philosophy and ideas, (bio-)archaeology and environmental history, and the study of the linguistic, literary, rhetorical and cultural aspects of intellectual `discourse'. The popularity of the subject even extends beyond the confines of academic communities, and ancient medicine has proved to be an effective tool in the promotion of the public understanding of medicine and its history.
The reasons for these changes are varied and complex, and to do justice to all would require a much fuller discussion than I can offer here.' In this introductory chapter, I will concentrate on what I perceive to be the most important developments and in so doing set out the rationale of the present collection of papers. Evidently, ancient medicine possesses remarkable flexibility in attracting interest from a large variety of people approaching the field from a broad range of disciplines, directions and backgrounds, for a number of different reasons and with a wide variety of expectations. The purpose of publishing these papers in the present form is to make them more easily accessible to this growing audience.
First, there has been a major shift in overall attitude and general perception with regard to the history and historiography of medicine in classical antiquity. Until about thirty years ago it was customary for Greek medicine to be viewed as one aspect of what was sometimes referred to as le miracle grec or the `Enlightenment' — the sudden, surprising rise of Greek civilisation, inexplicably emerging against the background of the primitive barbarism of earlier times. Like Greek literature, philosophy, art, architecture and democracy, ancient medicine was seen as one of those uniquely Greek contributions to the development of European culture and humanity. `Rational' medicine, based on empirical observation and logical systematisation, and devoid of any superstitious beliefs in supernatural powers intervening in the human sphere, was believed to have been invented by the Greeks and to have developed teleologically into the impressive edifice of contemporary biomedical science and practice as we know it today.
This `appropriating' claim was illustrated with such powerful examples as the sharp clinical observations recorded in the case histories of the Hippocratic Epidemics, the defiant rejection of supernatural explanations of disease by the author of On the Sacred Disease, the search for natural and empirically observable causes by the author of On Ancient Medicine, and of course the high ethical standards advocated by the Hippocratic Oath. These and other documents constituted the medical part of the Greek miracle, and they served very well as examples for classicists to cite when it came to promoting the study of Greek and Roman culture and demonstrating its relevance to the modern world. They also provided the cachet of a respectable historical tradition with which Western medicine believed it could identify and, perhaps legitimately, claim to stand in a special relationship of continuity, while at the same time taking pride in having emancipated itself from this tradition through the spectacular achievements of medical science in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Yet, curiously, these examples and the underlying attitude and motivation for referring to them somehow also seem to have posed an obstacle to a closer study of the actual evidence. For while, in many other areas of classical studies, the belief in this `Greek miracle' had long been eroded, if not abandoned, the perception of Greek and Roman medicine as the paradigm of rationality and the ancestor of contemporary biomedical science and practice was remarkably persistent.' One of the reasons for this was that, for a long time, the academic study of the field was a rather narrowly defined specialism, which very rarely had an impact beyond its own boundaries. It was mainly the territory of medical historians, often employed in (or retired from) medical faculties or other areas of the medical profession, and hadlittle appeal among classicists. Of course, there were exceptions on either side, and the names of such eminent historians of medicine as Karl Sudhoff, Henry Sigerist and Owsei Temkin, who devoted much attention to antiquity, could be paralleled by classicists such as Hermann Diels, Ludwig Edelstein, Karl Deichgraber and Hans Diller. But the reason why the latter are well known to most classical scholars is that they published also on mainstream, canonical classical subjects such as Aristophanes, Sophocles, the Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle and Posidonius. And at any rate (with the exception of Edelstein), their approach to ancient medicine had always been rather strictly philological, focusing on the texts of the great masters such as Hippocrates and Galen, but paying little attention to the social, cultural, economic, institutional, geographical and religious environment in which medical writing took place. For the rest, the subject was largely neglected: the majority of classicists considered it too medical and too technical, while the fact that the main texts were in Latin and Greek (and often in a quite technical, austere kind of Latin and Greek at that) did not help to secure the subject a prominent place in the attention of medical historians or members of the medical profession at large.
Nothing could be further from my intention than to dismiss the contribution of members of the medical profession to the study of ancient medicine — indeed, I myself have often benefited from the collaboration and dialogue with medically trained colleagues when studying ancient Greek medical texts. Still, it is fair to say that, especially in the first half of the twentieth century, the interest taken by medical people in Greek and Roman medicine was often motivated, apart from antiquarian intellectual curiosity, by what we could call a positivist, or presentist, attitude. There often was an underlying tendency to look for those respects in which Greek medicine was, as it were, `on the right track', and to measure the extent to which the Greeks `already knew' or `did not yet know' certain things which contemporary biomedicine now knows, or claims to know, to be true. This attitude led to a historiography of medicine (and science) which was predominantly conceived as a success story and which was preoccupied with great discoveries such as the nervous system or blood circulation, with heroic medical scientists such as Hippocrates, Galen, Harvey and Boerhaave, and with retrospective diagnosis of diseases in the past on the basis of great literary masterpieces such as Thucydides' account of the Athenian `plague' or Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year. In other words, it was inspired by a kind of teleological progressivism that pays particular attention to those aspects in which classical medicine still `speaks' to us today.
But times have changed. Postmodernism, pluralism, cultural relativism and comparativism, as in so many other areas, have had their impact also on the study of Greek medicine and science. Questions have been asked about the uniqueness of Greek medical thought, and it has been suggested that its debt to earlier, Near Eastern and Egyptian thinking may have been much greater than was commonly assumed. Questions have also been raised about the rationality of Greek medical thought, about the assumption that Greek medicine developed `from myth to reason' ,4 and Greek medicine has been shown to have been much more open and receptive to superstition, folklore, religion and magic than was generally believed.
Furthermore, in the academic study of medical history — and to a certain extent also in the historiography of science — significant changes have occurred over the past decades, especially in the area of medical anthropology, the social, cultural and institutional history of medicine and science, the history of medical ethics, deontology and value systems, and the linguistic study and `discourse analysis' of medical texts. There has been an increasing realisation of the social and cultural situatedness of medicine, healthcare and knowledge systems: individuals, groups of individuals and societies at large understand and respond differently to the perennial phenomena of sickness and suffering, health and disease, pain and death; and these reactions are reflected in different medical ideas, different `healthcare systems', different value systems, each of which has its own social, economic and cultural ramifications. This appreciation of the variety of healthcare (and knowledge) systems — and indeed of the variety within one system — is no doubt related to the increasing acceptance of `alternative' or 'complementary' medicine in the Western world and the corresponding changes in medical practice, doctor—patient relationship and the public perception of the medical profession. And the traditional assumption of a superiority of Western, scientific medicine over non-Western, `primitive', `folklore' or 'alternative' medicine has virtually reached the state of political incorrectness.
This shift in attitude has had rather paradoxical implications
for the study of ancient medicine. In short, one could say that
attention has widened from texts to contexts, and from `intellectual
history' to the history of `discourses' — beliefs, attitudes,
perceptions, expectations, practices and rituals, their underlying
sets of norms and values, and their social and cultural
ramifications. At the same time, the need to perceive continuity
between Greek medicine and our contemporary biomedical paradigm has
given way to a more historicising approach that primarily seeks to
understand medical ideas and practices as products of culture during
a particular period in time and place. As a result, there has been a
greater appreciation of the diversity of Greek medicine, even within
what used to be perceived as `Hippocratic medicine'. For example,
when it comes to the alleged 'rationality' of Greek medicine and its
attitude to the supernatural, there has first of all been a greater
awareness of the fact that much more went on in Greece under the
aegis of `healing' than just the elite intellectualist writing of
doctors such as Hippocrates, Diodes and Galen. Moreover, it has been
shown that although the Hippocratic writers did not positively
encourage recourse to divine healing, they did not categorically
reject it either. Thus, as I argue in chapter 1 of this volume, the
author of On the Sacred Disease, in his criticism of magic, focuses
on a rather narrowly defined group rather than on religious healing
as such, and his insistence on what he regards as a truly pious way
of approaching the gods suggests that he does not intend to do away
with any divine intervention; and the author of the Hippocratic work
On Regimen even positively advocates prayer to specific gods in
combination with dietetic measures for the prevention of disease.
Questions have further been asked about the historical context and
representativeness of the Hippocratic Oath and about the extent to
which Hippocratic deontology was driven by considerations of status
and reputation rather than moral integrity. And the belief in the
superiority of Greek medicine, its perceived greater relevance to
modern medical science — not to mention its perceived greater
efficacy — compared with other traditional healthcare systems such
as Chinese or Indian medicine, has come under attack. As a result,
at many history of medicine departments in universities in Europe
This change of attitude could, perhaps with some exaggeration, be described in terms of a move from `appropriation' to `alienation'. Greek, in particular Hippocratic medicine, is no longer the reassuring mirror in which we can recognise the principles of our own ideas and experiences of health and sickness and the body: it no longer provides the context with which we can identify ourselves. Nevertheless, this alienation has brought about a very interesting, healthy change in approach to Greek and Roman medicine, a change that has made the subject much more interesting and accessible to a wider group of scholars and students. An almost exclusive focus on medical ideas and theories has given way to a consideration of the relation between medical `science' and its environment — be it social, political, economic, or cultural and religious. Indeed `science' itself is now understood as just one of a variety of human cultural expressions, and the distinction between `science' and `pseudo-science' has been abandoned as historically unfruitful. And medicine — or `healing', or `attitudes and actions with regard to health and sickness', or whatever name one prefers in order to define the subject — is no longer regarded as the intellectual property of a small elite of Greek doctors and scientists. There is now a much wider definition of what `ancient medicine' actually involves, partly inspired by the social and cultural history of medicine, the study of medical anthropology and the study of healthcare systems in a variety of cultures and societies. The focus of medical history is on the question of how a society and its individuals respond to pathological phenomena such as disease, pain, death, how it `constructs' these phenomena and how it contextualises them, what it recognises as pathological in the first place, what it labels as a disease or aberration, as an epidemic disease, as mental illness, and so on. How do such responses translate in social, cultural and institutional terms: how is a `healthcare system' organised? What status do the practitioners or `providers' of treatment enjoy? How do they arrive at their views, theories and practices? How do they communicate these to their colleagues and wider audiences, and what rhetorical and argumentative techniques do they use in order to persuade their colleagues and their customers of the preferability of their own approach as opposed to that of their rivals? How is authority established and maintained, and how are claims to competence justified? The answers to these questions tell us something about the wider system of moral, social and cultural values of a society, and as such they are of interest also to those whose motivation to engage in the subject is not primarily medical. As the comparative history of medicine and science has shown, societies react to these phenomena in different ways, and it is interesting and illuminating to compare similarities and differences in these reactions, since they often reflect deeper differences in social and cultural values.'
From this perspective, the study of ancient medicine now starts from the basic observation that in the classical world, health and disease were matters of major concern which affected everyone and had a profound effect on the way people lived, what they ate and drank, how they organised their private and public hygiene and healthcare, and how they coped — physically as well as spiritually — with pain, illness and death. In this light, the emergence of Greek `rational' medicine, as exemplified in the works of Hippocrates, Galen, Aristotle, Diodes, Herophilus, Erasistratus and others, was one among a variety of reactions and responses to disease. Of course, this is not to deny that the historical significance of this response has been tremendous, for it exercised great influence on Roman healthcare, on medieval and early modern medicine right through to the late nineteenth century, and it is arguably one of the most impressive contributions of classical antiquity to the development of Western medical and scientific thought and practice. But to understand how it arose, one has to relate it to the wider cultural environment of which it was part; and one has to consider to what extent it in turn influenced perceptions and reactions to disease in wider layers of society. The medical history of the ancient world comprises the role of disease and healing in the day-to-day life of ordinary people. It covers the relations between patients and doctors and their mutual expectations, the variety of health-suppliers in the `medical marketplace', the social position of healers and their professional upbringing, and the ethical standards they were required to live up to. And it also covers the material history of the ancient world, the study of diseases and palaeopathology; for in order to understand reactions to the pathological phenomena, and to explain differences between those reactions, it is obviously of vital importance to establish with as much certainty as possible the nosological reality of ancient Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean.'
As a result of these developments — and greatly helped by
scholarly efforts to make the subject more accessible by means of
modern translations of the original texts — increasing numbers of
students of the Greek and Roman world have now embraced ancient
medicine as a new area of re-search with very interesting
implications for the wider study of classical antiquity. It is
almost by definition an interdisciplinary field, involving linguists
and literary scholars, ancient historians, archaeologists and
environmental historians, philosophers and historians of science and
ideas, but also historians of religion, medical anthropologists and
social scientists. Thus, as we shall see in the next pages, medical
ideas and medical texts have enjoyed a surge of interest from
students in ancient philosophy and in the field of Greek and Latin
linguistics. Likewise, the social and cultural history of ancient
medicine, and the interface between medicine, magic and religion has
proved a remarkably fruitful area of research;' and similar
observations can be made about areas such as women and gender
studies and studies into `the body'.
Pythagoreans And Essenes: Structural Parallels by Justin Taylor
(Collection De La Revue Des Etudes Juives: Peeters) In
The inquiry identifies five characteristic elements that were
common to both the Pythagoreans, according to the literary
tradition, and the Essenes, according to the
On the other hand, the strict community of life and goods and the aggregation to the community of the goods of a candidate are highly exceptional. Normally, members of voluntary associations expressed their sense of community by meeting regularly and by contributing financially to a common fund. Finally, the exclusivity of both Pythagoreans and Essenes goes far beyond that normally found in any group. It seems to be the result of a permanent problem of purity. Here we are in a realm quite different from that of the Graeco-Roman voluntary association as such.
Next we were introduced to the characteristics of Oriental
priesthoods and religious fraternities. We ascertained that the
characteristic features common to the Pythagoreans and the Essenes
were not simply commonplaces (topoi) of "a literary genre well known
in the Hellenistic period: the idealized portrayal of the priestly
castes or religious brotherhoods of barbarian peoples" (Festugiere).
The principal text was Porphyry's De Abstinentia, book 4, with some
interesting results. The connected themes of common life and goods
and common meals are associated there with an idealized portrait of
On the other hand, the themes of common life and goods and common
meals are scarcely discernible in the descriptions of Oriental
priesthoods and religious fraternities given by the ancient authors
excerpted by Porphyry. It is significant that the only instance
where common life and common meals occur explicitly, along with
celibacy and poverty, is in reference to the "Samaneans" of
By contrast, the theme of purity runs through Porphyry's work, where it is even the subject of an excursus. Closer examination reveals, however, that the permanent state of high purity of the Pythagoreans and Essenes — such that those outside their group, even compatriots, render them impure — is singular. Even the Egyptian priests are not said to live in such a state. The nearest case cited by Porphyry to the Pythagoreans and the Essenes may be that of the Cretan initiates in the fragment of Euripides. We have seen that this passage can be related to episodes in the Life of Pythagoras.
So we have, as it were, two blocks of elements — a community of life and goods voluntarily embraced, and permanent purity — that do not necessarily and intrinsically go together. To find either of them attributed to any group is already out of the ordinary. To find the two blocks combined seems to be unique to the Pythagoreans and the Essenes. Finally, it is remarkable that those characteristics should be shared by Greek philosophers and by Jewish sectaries with a strong attachment to the Bible.
The Golden Chain : An Anthology of Pythagorean and Platonic
Philosophy edited by Algis Uzdavinys (Treasures of the World's
Religions: World Wisdom) As Research Fellow at the
Usually, these texts are not easily available to non-specialists. As a general reader, one may gain access --thanks to Uzdavinys-- to the essential teachings of Platonists and Neo-Platonists. But the main merit of this book is that it clearly demonstrates that Platonism used to be much more than a mere philosophy, in the modern and reductive sense of the term. Platonism was a spiritual way leading to the One. This is most often missed by academics that flatten Platonic and Neo-Platonic teachings down to the level of rational dialectics. In light of this book we understand how Platonism could be integrated into the Jewish, Christian and Muslim intellectual traditions in a way in which no secular or rationalistic philosophy can.
A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology by Andrew S. Glick (Mellen Studies in Mythology, V. 1: Edwin Mellen Press) A first place to seek identification of characters and places from Greek and Roman Mythology. Glick has produced a monograph which, in time, will be found on the shelf of every serious classicist. In no greater length than a legal brief, he has systematically displayed the entire spectrum of gods and goddesses who made up the mythology of early western history.
The word `ancient' must be used in a way at allude to that repository of story of the ancient world. So much of the primal tradition remains fully alive today in names and classical allusions. The legends and fables remain essential in the background tapestry of the western letters.
Glick has positioned every entry, Greek and Roman alike, within
its mythological heritage. Each is also sited in the more familiar
terrain of its actual historical location,
Bulfinch's Mythology, published in 1855, is found in every
reference library - illustrated, indexed, annotated all 800 pages.
Yet, the immense classic is seldom seen in a private home. Just
here, the Glιck edition can fill a vital role. Slim as a primer, and
crisply written, its 140 pages contain all the insights into our
Greek and Roman mythological heritage that any previous publication
has offered. It belongs on the desk of the general reader and as a
ready resource for all those who read the classics.
Ancient Erotic Mythology: Ritual And Literary Values Of Initiation
Patterns by Evangelia Anagnostou-Laoutides (Gorgias Press)
Decidedly one of the more learned mythographic treatises to come to
the fore in some while, Anagnostou-Laoutides covers old ground with
new arguments and a plethora of insights and connections,
ethnographic and literary. Excerpt: For
many years, the study of Greek mythology as a major aspect of Greek
culture was haunted by the aura of a superlative society that almost
stood alone among the other peoples of the
Chapter One: The Myth of Atalanta
The myth of Atalanta was initially treated by Hesiod but it often reappeared in poetry until the late Augustan period. The popularity of the myth in antiquity is additionally confirmed by its survival in the scripts of I. Tzetzes, a scholar of the twelfth century AD 42 The erotic element of the myth was underlined during the Hellenistic period although it was also implicit in the archaic versions. There were twο main versions of the myth; an Arcadian that focused on the heroine's hunting skills and a Boeotian that referred to the foot race that she had set as a prerequisite for her marriage.
Atalanta as a heroine particularly hostile to marriage is compared to Artemis. Consequently, it will be argued that the myth should be understood in the context of rites of passage from adolescence to adulthood. Details from later versions of the myth such as those of Apollodorus, Aelian, and Ovid are discussed in relation to the cultic processes in honour of Artemis at Brauron, Haloa and other locations. Atalanta is perceived as a by-form of the goddess who, as her mortal reflection confirms, exhibited many similarities with Near Eastern goddesses like Cybele and Ishtar. Although Artemis was regarded as a strictly virginal deity, her role as protector of the young of every species also gave her aspects of a fertility goddess.
In this framework, the apples that appeared in the myth of Atalanta underline the association of the myth with fertility and therefore, with pre-nuptial customs. In addition, they stress the erotic character of the myth since the early days of its circulation; the question of whether later poets that treated the myth were aware of its erotic connotations is put forward. A study of the role of the apples in Near Eastern rites and magical spells shows remarkable similarities between the Greek and the Near Eastern cultic practices. In bοth cultures, apples were associated with erotic filters and nuptial ceremonies thus indicating that in antiquity lovers were regarded as bewitched. The circumstances under which the Greeks were influenced by the Near East cultures are also covered.
The myth of Atalanta was treated by Propertius in the programmatic elegy of his Monobiblos, a poem that has raised many debates regarding the nature of Latin erotic elegy and its origins. The allusions employed by Propertius seem to be explained more effectively through the recent reading of the myth in association with fertility rites. Propertius and the other elegists seem to have been familiar with a set of ideas initially promoted in the Near Eastthat extolled the magical aspect of love which could even cause madness and disease to its victims. Propertius' preference for the myth stresses the erotic implications of certain motifs within the myth such as the motif of running in the wild. Furthermore, the association of love and marriage with agriculture, a relation often imprinted in ancient metaphors is also pointed out.
Chapter Two: The Myth of Daphnis (Theocrítus)
In the previous chapter, the agricultural aspect of love was merely touched upon. This chapter explores in detail the views of Theocritus on love as rendered through the myth of Daphnis. The myth was favoured by Theocritus' ancient editor(s) as the most representative of his bucolic poetry and was therefore placed at the beginning of his collection. The status of Theocritus among the Hellenistic poets and the longstanding aphorism that bucolic poetry is at the fringe of Hellenistic literary production will be presented. It has nowadays been accepted that Theocritus did not invent the bucolic genre, although the question regarding the origins of the genre remains unanswered. The claims of the ancient sources, which refer to as yet unattested fertility rites, will be examined through the indications contained in the tradition of Daphnis.
According to the traditional version of the myth, Daphnis, the Sicilian proto-shepherd cheated on his divine beloved and was blinded in return before falling off a rock into a river. The tragic death of the hero is also treated in the first Idyll. The argument that Theocritus followed another version, which allies Daphnis with the Euripidian Hippolytus, is here refuted. The association of Daphnis with cult is investigated and motifs already detected in the myth of Atalanta, like that of a girl wandering in the wilderness, are brought to discussion. It is held that Daphnis was in love and therefore, he could be viewed as a prototype of the Propertiun elegiac lover.
In the first Idyll Theocritus offered certain clues about the
mythic affiliation of Daphnis with heroes such as Adonis and
Gilgamesh who had their origins in the Near Eastern cults of the
consort of the fertility goddess. It is argued that Theocritus, who
in Idyll fifteen described the celebration of the Adonia at
The description of a Cup that Theocritus described before the
death of Daphnis in his Idyll enters the forum of debate. Its epic
tradition will be covered in one of the thesis' appendices. The
third scene on the Cup is especially analysed in relation to eastern
religious motifs that Theocritus might have adduced from
contemporary literature. The death of Adonis was celebrated by the
Greek Adoniazousai of Idyll fifteen as much as by the women of
The last part of the chapter examines the actual description of the death of Daphnis who is said to have `gone [to the] river,' an expression that has been much discussed. The report of Daphnis drowning after falling off a rock is compared with famous legends of lovers to whom literature attributed a similar death. It will be argued that Daphnis, as a lover who totally submitted to love, had to experience death symbolically, much like the death that sexual initiation would customarily bring upon the consort(s) of the fertility goddess. A Near Eastern tradition of associating love with death and witchcraft is also identified and Daphnis' representation in Theocritus and Vergil is discussed under the light of this evidence.
Appendix I: The Epic Tradition of the First Idyll
The description of the Cup included in the first l dg of Theocritus is regarded as a typical sample of ecphrasis, a technique of delay ng the plot by inserting a detailed description of an object of art. Hellenistic writers in their extensive use of it followed the tradition established by Homer with the description of the Shield of Achilles which was later imitated by the author of the Shield of Heracles, often attributed to Hesiod. It has been argued that the Cup of Theocritus should be included in the epic tradition from which it was inspired.
The twο epic shields and their mythic owners are compared to Daphnis. It seems that the erotic adventures of Achilles and Heracles could actually provide a convincing framework for the adventures of Daphnis. Heracles, who according to Sositheus, was reputed to have saved Daphnis and his beloved from the hands of the spiteful king Lityerses, had famously died as a lover (rather than a soldier) before being reborn at a higher level. Achilles, who was also identified with excessive lust and grief, was relieved of his sufferings after death in the Isles of the Blessed where he lived happily married to Iphigeneia.
The adventures of the twο heroes are discussed in the context of ritual transformation and their fortunes are compared with the death of Daphnis. The latter was definitely not an epic warrior; yet he seems to have been a competent `epic' lover.
Appendix II: The Cup of Theocritus
The three scenes depicted on the Cup are described in relation to the erotic torture of Daphnis. It is argued that the first twο images on the Cup treat well-known erotic motifs that refer to the dangers of love. A link between the tale of Daphnis and common ideas about love is established in confirmation of the argument that Theocritus opted for the traditional version of the story.
In the first image, motifs regarding the dangerous character of women are treated. Theocritus seems to have inherited his views on the nature of women from Hesiod. In addition, Daphnis' affliction by a woman is probably reflected in the suffering of two young men that pose in the first image on the Cup.
The second image refers to a fisherman. In antiquity, the dangers that fishermen face when at sea were often compared with the adventures of lovers. The love of women was also compared to the various moods of the sea itself. Furthermore, the sea was associated with the waters of death and Charon was imagined as a boatman. The possibility that the silent fisherman of the second image alludes to the death of Daphnis because of love is examined.
Appendix III: Fishermen: Lovers of Death?
In the second scene on the Cup a fisherman is depicted and his possible connotations with the erotic adventure of Daphnis will be presented in Appendix II summarised above. Here the links between the sea and erotic danger are explored and it is argued that the fisherman stands as a reminiscence of the erotic traps that tantalise lovers and indeed Daphnis by the end of the poem.
Furthermore, evidence from Greek drama and Hellenistic epigram is gathered in support of an association between fishermen and their implements (nets, hooks etc.) with deaths resulting from or attributed to erotic misconduct. The cases of Agamemnon and Heracles in particularly are discussed.
Chapter Three: The Myth of Daphnis (Vergil)
The influence that the work of Theocritus has exercised on Vergil is undoubted. The latter introduced Daphnis, Thyrsis, Menalcas and the rest of the bucolic personae in his Eclogues, a collection of poems which along with his Georgics have laid the foundation for a major part of European literature from the days just after Vergil's death until the English pastoral poetry of the sixteenth century and following with Schiller on the continent. The modern criticism on the literary relation of Vergil with Theocritus will be summarised and the view that Vergil showed more understanding of Theocritus than has been assumed will be pursued.
Hence, the fact that Vergil presented the death of Daphnis in his Eclogues with close reference to Theocritus, yet he also described the apotheosis of Daphnis in terms similar to the apotheosis of Heracles, should not be regarded as accidental. The comparison of Daphnis with Heracles further developed in Appendix I will be briefly debated here along with the hero's likening to Caesar, whose apotheosis had recently taken place.
Furthermore, attention will be drawn to Vergil's technique of attributing to Daphnis features traditionally ascribed to Orpheusand Prometheus, twο heroes renowned for their sufferings and their contribution to civilisation. It will be argued that Vergil cast Daphnis in the role of a culture hero with civilising and spiritual powers with the purpose of promoting the pastoral "locus amoenus" as the ideal place for the spiritual regeneration of the Romans that his poetry anticipates.
Vergil transferred the place of Daphnis' suffering from
The identity of the child whose birth, according to Vergil, will bring the realisation of the second Golden Age is examined in the context of rites regarding the absolution of sins and the promise of rebirth. The Orphíc and Dionysian mysteries are particularly discussed, on the strength of twο factors: Vergil referred to the cradle of the child that will blossom automatically, a motif mentioned in the birth of Dionysus. In addition, at the end of the fourth Eclogue Vergil compared himself with Orpheus and Linus, who were associated with the mysteries of Dionysus. Vergil's comparison is discussed in detail and the conclusion reached is that the poet favoured ancient rites in which the birth of a child was regarded as the obvious sign for the gratification of the devotees. In this context, the Eleusinian mysteries are also brought into discussion.
It seems that Vergil appreciated these mysteries because of their agricultural character; this idea is also supported by his effort to link the Golden Age with agriculture in his Georgics. The last part of the chapter argues that in doing so, Vergil does not contradict Hesiod who also referred to the Golden Age conditions as preserved in the righteous caste of the farmers.
Chapter Four: Poetry and Vergil
The comparison of Vergil with Orpheus brings to light the
question of Vergil's stance in this New Order of things that he
prophesised. Traditionally poetry was associated with erotic passion
and as covered in the previous chapter,
In a world in which, according to the first and the ninth Eclogues, poetry is shown to be ineffective, the answer seems to lie with the farmer that Vergil depicted in his Georgics as enjoying some of the advantages of the Golden Age. In the third book of the Georgics the farmer was seen as carefully arranging the mating of his animals, imposing his iron will over irrational sexual instinct. Vergil's view of love is presented as a creative force, sexual as much as spiritual.
This study supports the view that the farmer represents the ideal statesman of an ideal state as reflected in the society of the bees of the fourth Georgic. The bees have a special claim to the Golden Age as well as in poetic tradition. The view that Vergil did not refer to the bees' association with poetry because he wished to banish it from the new society that was about to arise is challenged.
On the contrary, Vergil's posture as the bard of the new era is examined. Vergil like Hesiod, Orpheus, and Silenus, moves between legend and universal truth, and restores the role of the ancient "vates" to its previous status. Vergil poses as the hierophant of the new era, who finds in poetic tradition the solutions for a secure future. Vergil's appreciation of poetry anticipates a more optimistic reading of the fourth Georgic.
Chapter Five: Orpheus and Aristaeus
The fourth book of the Georgics treated the story of Orpheus and Aristaeus. The argument that Vergil invented the story in which Aristaeus is responsible for the death of Eurydice is questioned. This book has raised a great many discussions regarding Servius' comments according to which Vergil had included in the last part of the book praises for his friend Gallus, a poet and politician who committed suicide after losing favour with young Octavian, the monarch that was later called Augustus 44 The view that Augustus ordered Vergil to exchange the "laudes Galli" with the verses that now contain the epyllion of Orpheus and Aristaeus is disputed. The more moderate view that Vergil probably changed a few verses in the second edition of the book (if there was ever a second edition) is adopted.
The importance of the bees has already been discussed in the previous chapter in association with the poetry of Vergil and the Golden Age. However, in this chapter the bees are examined as a bridge between the Hesiodic Golden Age and the agricultural version that Vergil puts forward. Through their association with the cult of Zeus, the bees pose as the tangible example of Zeus' theodicy. The Bugonia is examined as Aristaeus' reply to the sacrificial codes of Prometheus, which brought about the separation of man from god. Aristaeus is seen as a heroic embodiment of the justice of Zeus.
However, the expiation of guilt, which Aristaeus secured through
the Begonia, has been the preoccupation of several mystery cults in
antiquity, pre-eminently of the Orphic mysteries and those of
The claim of Aristaeus, Orpheus, and Eurydice in the tradition of bees and honey seems to link them with initiatory patterns in the context of prenuptial rites. Aristaeus' stance as a solemn husband and pious beekeeper, the bees' hostility towards adulterers, and the rape of Eurydice by Aristaeus are all brought into discussion. A comparison of Eurydice with Persephone, which originates from the relation of bees with the cult of Demeter and Kore, seems to support this conclusion. It is argued that the story of Orpheus and Aristaeus is employed as an example of restoration within the new order of Zeus, a restoration that Vergil wishes for the total of the Roman nation that has just emerged from civil war.
Throughout the chapter, a parallelism between Aristaeus and Orpheus is constructed with the intention of emphasising their similarities. Initially Aeneas and then Prometheus are invoked as a reference point for the comparison. According to the evidence presented, Aristaeus and Orpheus shared a number of similarities in their legendary aspects as culture heroes and as deities.
Orpheus, who was additionally reputed as author of cathartic poetry and magical spells, had repeatedly attracted the criticism of Plato who despised all miracle-workers, and indeed Orpheus as much as Pythagoras, who was accused for passing off his writings as those of the legendary poet. This aspect of Orpheus does not seemingly correspond to the character of Aristaeus as depicted in Vergil. At this point of the analysis the name and legend of Ans teas of Proconnesus is also discussed.
His identification with Aristaeus is argued on the basis of three
comparisons: firstly, on Aristeas' similarity with Prometheus as it
emerges through the similarities of pseudo-Aeschylus' Prometheus
Vinctus and Aristeas' epic about the Arimaspeans. Secondly, on
Aristeas' association with
Appendix IV: Orpheus, Pythagoras and the Egyptians
The fourth appendix discusses the connection of Pythagoras and
Oprheus with the Egyptians based on Herodotus 2.81, a text where
special reference is made to the prohibition of wool in burials. The
custom, which applied to the initiates of specific rites, is traced
Greek Mythography in the Roman World by Alan Cameron (American Classical Studies: American Philological Association Book) By the Roman age the traditional stories of Greek myth had long since ceased, to reflect popular culture. Mythology had become instead a central element in elite culture. If one did not know the stories, one would not understand most of the allusions in the poets and orators, classics and contemporaries alike; nor would one be able to identify the scenes represented on the mosaic floors and wall paintings, or on the silverware at well-appointed homes.
Mythology was no longer imbibed in the nursery; nor could it be simply picked up from the often oblique allusions in the classics. It had to be learned in school, as illustrated by the extraordinary amount of elementary mythological information in the many surviving ancient commentaries on the classics, notably Servius, who offers a mythical story for almost every person, place, and even plant Vergil mentions. Commentators used the classics as pegs on which to hang stories they thought their students should know.
A surprisingly large number of mythographic treatises survive from the early empire, and many papyrus fragments from lost works prove that they were in common use. In addition, author Alan Cameron identifies a hitherto unrecognized type of aid to the reading of Greek and Latin classical and classicizing texts what might be called mythographic companions to learned poets such as Aratus, Callimachus, Vergil, and Ovid, complete with source references. Much of this book is devoted to an analysis of the importance evidently attached to citing classical sources for mythical stories, the clearest proof that they were now a part of learned culture. So central were these source references that the more unscrupulous faked them, some-times on the grand scale.
Despite an extraordinary surge of interest in Greek mythology over the last few decades, there has been no corresponding interest in our sources of information about the myths. Books on mythology have been appearing at an alarming rate in most modern languages, but not a single comprehensive study of the mythographers. Of course, we know many famous episodes in the great mythical sagas direct from the classics (Homer, Hesiod, Pindar, the Attic tragedians), not to mention monuments of archaic and classical art. But any alert reader who has tried to follow up earlier or later stages of even the most familiar stories in a care-fully documented handbook like Timothy Gantz's indispensable Early Greek Myth (1993) must be aware that countless details we take for granted are first mentioned not by Homer or Aeschylus or even Callimachus but by some anonymous Roman or even Byzantine hack. Where did they get their information, and how reliable is it?
Those who teach Greek mythology in American colleges usually
assign their students the Bibliotheca ascribed to Apollodorus, a
convenient survey of most of the main stories. It is indeed a handy,
well-arranged, comprehensive manual, with many virtues. But what are
its credentials? A precise date is out of reach, but it is not
likely to be earlier than the first century of our era and might be
as late as the third. In the Bibliotheca's defense, critics often
confidently assert that it is "drawn from excellent sources," a
claim based on its frequent direct citation of specific texts from
archaic and classical poets and mythographers, citations we can in
one or two cases actually verify ourselves. That is to say, the
writer gives the appearance of an easy, firsthand familiarity with
the entire range of relevant texts. But this is an illusion. In all
probability he came by most of his citations at second (or third)
hand and had never even seen an original copy of many of the texts
he quotes (Ch. V. 3). The same will usually apply to the scholiasts,
however much we might like to think that some particular scholion
bristling with plausible details and archaic citations was copied
directly from one of the great Hellenistic critics working in the
Apollodorus is probably the only mythographer most students (or scholars for that matter) have ever looked at. There is a handy (if misguided) old Loeb by J. G. Frazer, and the recent annotated translation by Robin Hard with useful tables and indexes (Oxford 1997) is especially helpful. Some may also have dipped into Parthenius, who made a rather furtive entry into the Loeb series, as an appendix to Daphnis and Chloe. My own point of departure into this murky field of study was a Latin text, the Narrationes, a series of summaries of the successive stories in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The few scholars who have paid this work any attention at all have dismissed it as late (sixth century, if not medieval) and utterly lacking in value. It is indeed of little help to readers of the Metamorphoses. It is not the Ovidian text it illuminates but the needs of Ovid's less cultivated early readers.
In the first place, it can be dated much earlier than generally
assumed. No one has noticed that it draws on a work that can be
dated before 300 AD and may well be earlier still (Ch. I. 3–5). It
is in fact a compilation of the second or (at latest) third century.
But what first caught my attention was a number of similarities
between the Narrationes and a sequence of summaries of the
successive stories told in the various poems of Callimachus, called
by what is after all the Greek for Narrations, Diegeseis, in
particular the way both give occasional source references (Ch. I. 1
and III. 3). These source references are reminiscent of both
Apollodorus and Parthenius, and I soon discovered that they are one
of the most characteristic features of early imperial mythographers.
The few scholars even to notice the citations in the Narrationes
derived them from an otherwise entirely lost ancient commentary on
the Metamorphoses. But there is no evidence that any such commentary
ever existed (
Further investigation revealed more such parallels and more such works, texts that I have called "mythographic companions," the most substantial and impor- tant being a companion to all three poems of Vergil, partially preserved in the Servian corpus (Ch. VIII). Diegeseis and mythographic companions constitute a hitherto unidentified group of nonphilological aids to the reading of classical texts (both Greek and Latin) in the Roman ages: Cliffs Notes to the Classics. They illustrate, in fact, how people with only a modest literary culture were able to navigate difficult classics like Callimachus and Aratus, full of often obscure mythological allusions (Ch. VII).
There is a reason these works have hitherto passed under the radar of literary historians. Over and above the fact that most are anonymous, they are also derivative and undistinguished, for all their parade of learned source references not based on genuine research, at best preserving otherwise unknown stories or other-wise unknown detail of familiar stories, of uncertain authority. Their interest and importance lie in their sheer number rather than any individual specimen of the genre. Almost all date from the first two centuries of the empire. Their authors are not interested in the sort of questions about the meaning and function of myth that have exercised most modern students—and many ancient writers. The mythographic companions are not even interested in how the poet they are explaining used the myth in question. They just tell the stories, where possible with that evidently all-important learned reference.
I devote much space (especially Ch. V–VI) to the question of this elaborate and often very precise documentation (titles and even book numbers), the more intriguing in that so much of it is derivative, and not a little actually bogus. Critics have long been uncomfortably aware that the engaging mixture of mythology, history, and fantasy offered, complete with extensive and elaborate source citations, by Ptolemy the Quail (Chennos) and Ps-Plutarch's Parallela minora and De fluviis is unreliable, but few have been hard-hearted enough to admit that it is pure fiction, sources and all (Ch. VI). Ptolemy and Ps-Plutarch belong with the Historia Augusta in an as yet unwritten chapter of the history of forgery. Even more or less honest compilers like pseudo-Apollodorus clearly try to give the impression they have directly consulted texts they only know at second hand. Despite strong evidence to the contrary, scholars have often been tempted to believe that Proclus produced his summary of the Epic Cycle directly from the original text on the basis of his claim that it survived to his own day. T. W. Allen was outraged at the assumption of German sceptics that Proclus had "deceived his public." No contemporary would have taken such a claim seriously.
Yet by no means all the strange variations on familiar tales
found in unlikely places are fabrications. Some are genuine local
versions that simply chance to be first recorded in some late text.
For example, the people of Xanthos (in
It is a commonplace that ancient writers in general eschew precise documentation, above all historians. Arnaldo Momigliano underlined the importance of Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History in attributing "a new importance ... to documentary evidence." Paul Veyne objected that Eusebius did not so much cite sources as transcribe excerpts, as Porphyry, Diogenes Laertius, and others had done before him. By carefully arranging his excerpts in chronological sequence, Eusebius certainly produced something closer to history than his predecessors, but he was not systematically footnoting a narrative of his own. Yet arguably this is just what the mythographers purported (or pretended) to be doing. We have here an over-looked chapter in the history of footnotes (see appendix 4). It is a curious irony that systematic documentation should begin in so disreputable a corner of ancient literature.
By late antiquity these early imperial mythographers were heavily drawn on by those who compiled the scholia we find in medieval manuscripts of the classics (Ch. V). It has hitherto been taken for granted that the mythological material in our scholia derives from the same sources as the rest of their material, that is to say (ultimately, at any rate) the learned commentators of the Hellenistic world. But if (as I argue) much of it comes from mythographers, learned citations not-withstanding, it is much less likely to reflect the views and arguments of those commentators accurately.
Another insufficiently recognized source of mythographical information is marginal notes in surviving ancient books, mostly codices but even rolls (Ch. VII). It is typical of modern scholarly biases that so-called scholars' texts offering textual variants have been exhaustively studied; and all marginalia citing unknown texts have been dutifully entered in the appropriate collections of fragments. But a great many marginalia (sometimes no more than glosses) in ancient books that simply explain mythological allusions have been dismissed as trivial and ignored. Yet trivial and unoriginal as they are, such notes would have provided welcome assistance to poorly prepared readers of allusive classical texts.
The significance of mythographic handbooks, companions, and scholia lies in the way they document the importance (and the difficulty) of acquiring a working knowledge of the basic stories of classical mythology in the Roman period. Anyone with any pretensions to literary culture, that is to say any member of the elite, had to be able to identify mythological allusions in the literature he read and the oratory he listened to, as well as mythological scenes in wall paintings, mosaics, silver plate, and other media. Greek mythology was the cultural currency of the Greco-Roman world. The mythographers are documents as much of social as of literary history.
It would no doubt have been more useful if I had written a systematic history of Greco-Roman mythography. But over and above my reluctance (and lack of competence) to trespass on Robert Fowler's territory, mythography is not a subject that readily lends itself to systematic treatment. Its early stages have to be reconstructed on the basis of its later representatives, who (as we have seen) are unreliable witnesses. If asked to name a "typical" mythographer, most scholars would probably come up with Apollodorus. Yet the Bibliotheca is the only comprehensive mythographic work of its age. Most other mythographers of the Hellenistic and Roman period either have a specialized purpose of one sort or another (genealogical lists, love stories, stories of metamorphosis or catasterism); or else they provide mythographic companions to specific ancient texts (Homer, Aratus, Callimachus, Apollonius, Vergil), limiting themselves to the stories alluded to in those poems. All the works included in my own (fairly generous) definition of mythographer (Ch. I. 6) share two common features: they offer a narrative, not an interpretation of the stories they deal with; and they all cite classical or Hellenistic sources. I have left out of account all texts that offer allegorical and philosophical interpretations of the myths, already studied in a variety of modern works, (notably Félix Buffière, Les mythes d 'Homère et la pensée grecque [Paris 1956]). Those that simply repeat the stories, usually in a "bald and unconvincing narrative," have hitherto seemed unworthy of any extended treatment or analysis. Geoffrey Kirk dismissed Hellenistic and Roman mythographers as "arid" and "sterile."
Aristo of Ceos: Text, Translation, and Discussion edited by Stephen White, William Fortenbaugh (Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities, Volume XIII: Transaction Publishers)
The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories by Herodotus, edited by Robert B. Strassler, introduction by Rosalind Thomas, translated by Andrea L. Purvis (Pantheon)
The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, edited by Robert B. Strassler, introduction by Victor Davis Hanson, translated by Richard Crawley (Free Press) (Paperback)
Rediscovering Homer: Inside the Origins of the Epic by Andrew Dalby (W. W. Norton)
The Baltic Origins of Homer's Epic Tales: The Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Migration of Myth by Felice Vinci (Inner Traditions)
The Iliad, The Odyssey boxed set by Homer, introduction by Bernard Knox, translated by Robert Fagles (Penguin Classics: Viking)
Aristotle's school is formally known as the Lyceum, from the
Aristo of Ceos: Text, Translation, and Discussion edited by Stephen White, William Fortenbaugh (Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities, Volume XIII: Transaction Publishers)
Lyco of Troas and Hieronymus of Rhodes: Text, Translation, and Discussion edited by William W. Fortenbaugh and Stephen A. White (Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities, Volume XII: Transaction Publishers)
Eudemus of Rhodes edited by István Bodnár and William W. Fortenbaugh (Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities, Volume XI: Transaction Publishers)
Dicaearchus of Messana: Text, Translation, and Discussion edited by William W. Fortenbaugh and Eckart Schütrumpf (Rutgers University Studies in Classical Humanities, Volume X: Transaction Publishers)
Athens in Paris : Ancient Greece and the Political in Post-War French Thought by Miriam Leonard (Classical Presences: Oxford University Press)
Medicine and Philosophy in Classical Antiquity: Doctors and Philosophers on Nature, Soul, Health and Disease by Philip J. van der Eijk (Cambridge University Press)
Pythagoreans And Essenes: Structural Parallels by Justin Taylor (Collection De La Revue Des Etudes Juives: Peeters)
The Golden Chain : An Anthology of Pythagorean and Platonic Philosophy edited by Algis Uzdavinys (Treasures of the World's Religions: World Wisdom)
A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology by Andrew S. Glick (Mellen Studies in Mythology, V. 1: Edwin Mellen Press)
Ancient Erotic Mythology: Ritual And Literary Values Of Initiation Patterns by Evangelia Anagnostou-Laoutides (Gorgias Press)
Greek Mythography in the Roman World by Alan Cameron (American Classical Studies: American Philological Association Book)