Vindex Humanitatis: Essays in Honour of John Huntly Bishop 0858343460, 0858343436

Festschrift for John Huntly Bishop - "The ports of the Etruscans", Michael Grant - "Petrified silence&qu

250 45 7MB

English Pages [228] Year 1980

Report DMCA / Copyright


Recommend Papers

Vindex Humanitatis: Essays in Honour of John Huntly Bishop
 0858343460, 0858343436

  • 0 0 0
  • Like this paper and download? You can publish your own PDF file online for free in a few minutes! Sign Up
File loading please wait...
Citation preview









Edited by BRUCE



© The University of New England, 1980 ISBN 0 85834 346 0 ISBN 0 85834 343 6 Paperback




Vita — John Huntly Bishop The Ports of the Etruscans


Petrified. Silence: an Essay in Epigraphical Restoration







The Origins of Plautine Comedy



The Tribunate of C. Cornelius





Julius Caesar’s Last Words: a Reinterpretation



Regius Puer: Ascanius in the Aeneid













Human and Divine in Euripides’ Heracles Some Critical Observations on Ephorus, Fragments 119, 111 and

Testimony 23 (Jacoby)

Sallust and Sempronia

Virgilian Places

Virgil and Homer The Importance of Aspect in

Virgilian Similes

Modern Greek in Australia How many angels can dance on the end of a pin? Notes on Contributors


Vecto minaces Aeneadum patris instar per undas otia carpere tandem sub Australi labores et placuit posuisse caelo? o nate nostris litoribus procul aedis decorae cornua Saxones vivum per annorum fideles qua seriem coluere numen. fortuna quaenam constituit tibi metam viarum? nempe puer studes artisque maiorumque mores gymnasio iaculis celebri; mox veritatem rite paludibus mersam profundis, iungitur alveus qua ponte, rimaris bonorum proposita pietate fines. vindex venustae verba facis probus Humanitatis comis et artium exempla producens magister consilium populo dedisti.

fida beatus coniuge praemia

Virtutis aevum percipias carens curis in extentum serenam

emeritus studiis senectam.



John Bishop came to Armidale in 1959, over twenty years ago, to fill the Foundation Chair of Classics at the University of New England. He is now about to retire, and the purpose of this collection of essays in his honour is to show in some measure how highly his colleagues and friends have valued their association with him during his academic career. His main academic interest has always been Virgil, especially the Aeneid and he is happiest when he lectures on this subject. That is appropriate, for he, like Aeneas, set out on a long journey from his native land. The

mission he envisaged and has made his life’s work at New England is to

propagate the knowledge and the love of the Classics and the culture they embody. This was no narrow task for he is a classicist in a very traditional sense, convinced that his subject lies at the core of all civilized learning and that the classicist should face the widest intellectual challenge.

He did not confine his activity to the university but played an active part in the church, and in the affairs of the city as an alderman. Within the university itself his special interest, beyond his own department, has been in the University Council and the Staff Association. On both of these bodies he has fought many battles on behalf of individuals and principles. This has not been an easy period for a classicist. The old dominance of the subject has gone, perhaps for ever, and many Departments of Classics have suffered drastically in consequence. It is much to John Bishop’s credit that the Department of Classics at New England has not withered. It has, instead, adapted under his direction, and diversified its courses to cater for changing student interest in Modern Greek, Ancient History, and most recently, Classics in translation. Three Classics chairs have been filled during these years by men who taught at New England under John Bishop’s leadership — at Monash University, at the University of Queensland, and at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He also has given encouragement to past and present graduates of this university, some of whom have gone on to hold posts of leadership in education, in two cases within the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of New England. It is to Professor Bishop’s credit that he has maintained a department in which learning can flourish and talent be developed. Indeed it is true to say that his central concern has always been the well being of his

colleagues and students in the common pursuit of that Humanitas of which he has long been a worthy champion.



Born 9th November 1921 at Hornchurch, England. Educated at Lancing College and Peterhouse, Cambridge. Married, with five children and five grandchilren. 1948-59

Assistant Lecturer, then Lecturer in the Department of Humanity at the University of Edinburgh.


Honorary Secretary, Classical Association of Scotland.


Professor of Classics, University of New England.


Deputy Chairman, then Chairman, Professorial Board, University of New England. :

1961-64, 1970

Member, Council of University of New England.

1965, 1969-71

Alderman, Armidale City Council.


Lay Deacon, Anglican Church, Armidale.


Public Orator, University of New England.






of Arts, University




of New





‘‘Plautus, Miles Gloriosus 217’, Parola del Passato 6,20 (1951) 360.

“The Debt of the Silvae to the Epyllia’’, Parola del Passato 6,21 (1951) 427-32. “Two Notes on Statius, Silvae iv.1”, Classical Review n.s. 4 (1954) 95-7. Review of H.M. Mulder (ed.), Publii Papinii Statii Secundus, in Classical Review n.s. 5 (1955) 28355.



‘Palatine Apollo”, Classical Quarterly n.s. 6 (1956) 187-92. Review of V. Ussani, Studio su Valerio Flacco, in Classical Review n.s. 7 (1957) 166.

Review of R. Giomini (ed.), L. Annaei Senecae Agamemnona, in Classical

Review n.s. 8 (1958) 82.

Review of E. Wistrand, Die Chronologie in Classical Review n.s. 8 (1958) 189.

der Punica des Silius Italicus,

‘The Ghost of a Longaevus Parens’’, Classical Review n.s. 10 (1960) 8. “Leaps and Bounds: a Study in Evidence and Special Pleading’’, Inaugural Lecture, Armidale, 1960. “Palatine Apollo:

A Reply to Professor Richmond’’, Classical Quarterly

n.s. 11 (1961) 1278.

Nero, the Man and the Legend (Robert Hale, London, 1964). “The Silvae of Statius”, in For Services to Classical Studies: Essays in Honour of Francis Letters (Cheshire, Melbourne, 1966) 15-29. Review of L.P. Wilkinson, The in AUMLA 34 (1970) 311-2.


of Virgil: a Critical Survey,

Review of E.V. George, Aeneid AUMLA 43 (1975) 97-8.

VII and

the Aetia of Callimachus, in

Review of N. Rudd, Lines of Enquiry: Studies in Latin Poetry ,in AUMLA 47 (1979) 62-3.

Review of A.J. Boyle (ed.), Virgil’s Ascraean Song, in AUMLA 53 (1980) 65-6. “Cicero’’, 1980.






The Cost of Power: a Study of Virgil’s Aeneid (forthcoming).




The Ports of the Etruscans


Writing in honour of John Bishop, as I do with great pleasure and happy memories of the time when we were colleagues at Edinburgh, I hope that in view of his strong Virgilian interests the Etruscans are not an

inappropriate subject. For Virgil’s concern for the Etruscans was intense,

absorbing and complex. I believe that the time may have come when his attitude to them ought to be reexamined and an attempt made to reassess them. But this cannot be done here and now. Instead, I want to say something about one aspect of these Etruscans — which the Aeneid, as will be mentioned again in the course of this article, more than once stresses:

that is, their strong relation to the sea.!

They had an enormous contemporary reputation, unprecedented among the Italians, for sea-faring activities, including trade, domination, piracy, and improvements in ship design. But as both Professors Massimo Pallottino and Professor Luisa Banti have pointed out, and I myself have recently emphasized, it is not sufficient, in this or other contexts, to speak

of ‘Etruria’ and ‘the Etruscans’ in general terms. Etruria was composed of

a number of city-states which were quite distinctive, individual and separate” — just as separate as, for example, Athens was from Sparta. We owe our failure to recognize this to the Greeks and Romans, who were ignorant of Etruria (owing to its language) and hostile to it (owing to wars).

These individual Etruscan city-states, like those of Greece, possessed two kinds of port, which may be described (and will be described in this article) as primary and secondary. The primary ports are those very close and intimately related to their mother city — like the Piraeus in relation to Athens, and Cenchreae and Lechaeum in relation to Corinth. The secondary ports are those which likewise belonged to a city-state and formed parts of its territory, but were situated in a more distant portion of 'MPallottino,







84f. admirably


References to modern works relating to points in the present article, if not cited in these notes, will mostly be found in my book of 1980 with the same title, for the use of which I owe acknowledgements to the publishers, Messrs Weidenfeld and


Nicolson. I am also grateful to my wife for assistance with this article.


M. Pallottino, Atti del VII Convegno di Studi sulla Magna Grecia (1969), 45; L. Banti, Etruscan Cities and their Culture (1973), 206f.; M. Grant, Proceedings of the Classical Association 75 (1978), 12. |


Michael Grant

that territory, so that the same intimate symbiotic connexion did not exist, like Thoricus and Crommyon in the territories of Athens and Corinth respectively (among many other such examples), and in Italy

perhaps Dicaearchia (Puteoli) and Palaeopolis (Neapolis) in the territory of

early Cumae.

Proceeding possessed such time picture, stages in the

next to consider the individual Etruscan city-states which primary and secondary ports and contributed to the mariPallottino reminds us that ‘when we consider the earliest development of coastal Etruria, we are faced with the

problem of the relations between Etruria and Sardinia.’> In this con-

nexion, the two Etruscan centres which immediately come to mind because of their manifest exchanges with Sardinia are Populonia and Vetulonia which lay across the Tyrrhenian Sea to the north of the island, and produce finds that reveal Sardinian contacts and imports. Like other Etruscan places, they owed the interest they aroused in the contemporary outside world — and thus, indeed, owed their whole impressive rise to urban wealth — to their immediate proximity to enormously coveted, immensely lucrative, supplies of metals. The copper and iron of the mainland Massetano and Campigliese regions, and of the island of Elba, are within very easy reach of these two centres. Populonia was only a dozen miles from the metal-rich Campigliese zone. Famous for iron-working much later, Populonia was a centre for the working of bronze from at least the eighth century B.C., when fine specimens of the art appear in its tombs. The local acropolis stood right on the sea, upon a promontory nearly 900 feet high overlooking the Baratti gulf. The ancient habitation site is still amost totally unexplored. But the early existence of two separate burial grounds, one at the foot of the promontory and the other to the north-east, invites the conclusion that, before the town appeared, these were two separate villages, which communicated with the mining hills in the adjacent interior. The ashes lodged in these earlier burials were mostly deposited in trenches. But there is also a tomb in the form of a chamber crowned by a ‘false’ dome (tholos), that is to say a sort of dome built of rows of overlapping stones that gradually close up to provide a conical summit. Later, such false domes (often surmounted by mounds) became frequent in Etruria, but this Populonian example is at present the earliest known in the territory, dating apparently from the end of the ninth century B.C., or possibly from the beginning of the eighth. It has been convincingly argued that the formula, of Mycenaean

antecedents, came to the place from Sardinia.*

In the light of this fruitful contact with an adjacent island enjoying, at this time, a comparatively advanced ‘Iron Age’ civilization, it is not surprising that, during the initial centuries of the first millennium B.C., the

3M. Pallottino, The Etruscans, 85. G. Colonna, Contributi introduttivi allo studio della monetazione etrusca (Atti del V Convegno del Centro Internazionale di Studi Numismatici, 1976), 5 n. 4.

The Ports of the Etruscans


area around the two villages on the site of the future Populonia developed

an exceptional density of population. Moreover in due course, as elsewhere

in Etruria, the two settlements coalesced with one another, perhaps com-

pleting their union in the seventh century. But the town of Populonia that

emerged from this process remained unique among Etruscan centres (or

rather, among those centres which eventually became city-states) because, in contrast to the others that are habitually some miles inland from the Tyrrhenian Sea, it stood directly upon the coast. In consequence, instead of possessing a primary or secondary port outside its own built-up confines, it was a. harbour-town itself. Its harbour has recently been identified (and some of its underwater remains surveyed) just below the acropolis in the Baratti Gulf, which gave the moored ships some shelter. The acropolis now lies unmistakably on the mainland, but in ancient times the site formed a peninsula, as the geographer Strabo points out.® Indeed, it was so nearly separated from the continent that it was virtually

an island, as maps from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries continue

to show.

This island-like location makes it possible to explain another peculiarity of Populonia. For, although the villages on its site, already prosperous, duly amalgamated before 600 B.C., Servius, the commentator on Virgil, gives the impression that it only became a city and a city-state later; for he

indicates that it was not so ancient as other cities of Etruria;® and his information is indirectly confirmed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who omits Populonia from a list of north Etruscan towns which he provides

for the sixth century B.C.’

In earlier days it seems, instead, to have been a

sort of emporion or market, like those of the Euboean Greeks at Al Mina in Syria, and Ischia and Cumae in Campania (of which more later). It was Al Mina that fed Pithecusae and Cumae with goods and artistic motifs from Phoenicia and other near eastern lands, of which the influences

united with those of the Greeks to give Etruria its peculiar, twofold Greek

and near-eastern culture. Thus, for instance, the Etruscan god Fufluns (Dionysus, Bacchus), from whom Populonia (Fufluna) took its name, may be an Etruscan form of the Greek Byblinos, the ‘god of Byblos’, the

mercantile harbour on the Phoenician (Syrian) coast.® But in any case,

even if that derivation is not certain, we can see the market-town of Populonia, with its unusual location and status, as a probable Etruscan link in this chain of Mediterranean emporia. Moreover, the availability of iron on adjoining Elba attracted the interest of Greek traders at least from the eighth century B.C., since fragments of iron of that date, firmly traceable back to the island’s mines, have been


ocrvius on Virg. Aen. 10.172. ,Dion. Hal. 3.51.4. | ea Richardson, The Etruscans: Their Art and Their Civilization (Chicago 1964), 233.

Michael Grant Massarosa


“ ==







\\ v


We ny\\






“ w


rsrayy 71,



Ze Se



~ =


= s








\ \Y 4

wv ony ss



ry on


§ g


enw NS E







WN ,.




cand jan



















Siily ‘ lig u we






Li _

4 2

§02 2s








YSXN \ ww apis


ee= ws








ss . =7 \S

02B%L OSo ul Mie



yi ti







we a





\\Wy wi "


x! \\



. ,


JE &

Tv; {os .

2 zN, ‘

% 4,

a Pinyl iH

% 2


nn 2






ls =


wer C = —







\ wll \V\\s SNS ELAN




\“ ait


w° YS




_—. ~

701) baal 1! \*












iw ’

NS a*



R * Wl lta,


AY ws








= XN





°s x





— ==












e sé ( cso

ii wie! i





Ss Te














‘ x







$ gy


\\ \\









= -_

= TA 4h


s \~

z= ry =









Or, YO.


80 Km

Tolfa Mtns.







50 Miles




e Viareggro

The Ports of the Etruscans


found at Pithecusae? — and Elba was called ‘Aethalia’ from the smoke

(aithalos) rising from its open-cast ironworks. Much earlier, however, Elba had also been famous for its copper: tablets of the thirteenth century B.C. inscribed by the Mycenaeans (whose activities in these waters were

significant) refer to aitaro, which has been identified with Aethalia and

related to Elba’s role as a copper exporter.!°

Populonia, I believe (despite views to the contrary), had at some early

State become a dependency of its neighbour Vetulonia.!! The cemeteries

of that city-state, displaying a great prosperity which dates from as early as the eighth century B.C., reveal that the place possessed not only important land-links but strong overseas relationships as well — that is to say, a large, unexpectedly large, maritime trade. The bronze coins of Vetulonia when it began to issue them in the third century B.C. showed nautical types (anchors and. dolphins), and a monument of the time of Claudius (A.D.4154) at Caere displayed a personified Vetulonia with a steering wheel on her

shoulder.'? These are pieces of evidence, of course, dating from centuries

after the age of Vetulonian prosperity. Yet they still may be relevant to far more ancient times. For this coast had enjoyed an overseas commerce since the first centuries after 1000 B.C.

In the first place, as at Populonia, there had been early links with Sardinia, from which came the false-domed tombs not long after the idea arrived at Populonia (and perhaps, one day, even earlier examples will come to light at Vetulonia). And bronze model boats of Sardinian fabrication, or copied from Sardinian imports, have turned up in several Vetulonian tombs of the seventh century B.C., together with many bronze animals

from the same island.’* Conversely, excavations at Sardinian ports such as

Tharros have yielded many Etruscan products, so that Strabo can even describe the inhabitants of the island as ‘Tyrrhenians’.!* There seems no reason to assume that this traffic was exclusively carried on Sardinian vessels. Transport must have been provided by Vetulonia as well. After all, the place had timber to make them with, from its adjacent hillsides (and the bark of local cork-oaks was used to seal bronze receptacles in its tombs).

If Vetulonia had ships, it must also have had primary and/or secondary ports in its own territory, in common with other Etruscan cities a few miles from the sea. But the location and identification of these Vetulonian harbours raises strange problems, since (as at Populonia) astonishing changes have affected the coastline since ancient times. If these are borne in mind, it becomes apparent that Vetulonia possessed a ‘primary’ port.

oS Buchner, Dialoghi di archeologia, I, 1969 (1970), 978f.

iit Zecchini, Gli Etruschi all’isola di Elba (1978), 8.

12M Grant, The Etruscans, 188. 3 L. Banti, Studi etruschi V (1931), 185 and pl. 14. R. Bianchi Bandinelli and A. Giuliano, Etruschi e Italici prima

qkoma, 2nd ed. (1976), 65 fig. 70. Strabo,

| del dominio



Michael Grant

The hill on which the city stood lies just to the west of the stream or

torrent of the Bruna, and east of the Bruna — on the seaward side of the modern city of Grosseto — there are nowadays five miles of flat land before we come to the nearest reach of the larger River Ombrone. In ancient times, when the sea-level was much higher,'> this flat land was water — an extensive lagoon known to the Romans as Lake Prilius. The

lagoon was apparently fed by the Bruna and Ombrone alike (although

there is an alternative -possibility that it was linked to them by canals). Lake Prilius was also open to the sea through deep and navigable

entrarices, apparently augmented by a man-made channel.'®

Traces of the buildings that stood along the shores of this sea-lagoon in

ancient times can be seen today. They date from the third and second

centuries B.C., showing that Lake Prilius still existed at that time; indeed Cicero mentioned an island in the middle of its waters in 52 B.C."’

Furthermore, maps of the Renaissance and even later eras continue to depict the lagoon and its outlet to the sea, though by then, like a number of other Etruscan sea-lakes, the stretch of water had deteriorated into an

almost land-locked, lethally malarial swamp.

For as time went on, the

process of silting, which because of deforestation, goats, and winds overwhelmed so much of this coast, gradually destroyed the lagoon altogether

and obliterated all trace of its ports, leaving the sort of harbourless tract of dry land that makes it so hard to understand today how, and from where,

the ancient



ever have been

a seafaring nation.

Yet they were: and in their time Lake Prilius provided Vetulonia with

its harbours. At least one of them can still be identified at Badiola al Fango, now half-way between the city and the sea, and local nomenclature

indicates clearly that Vetulonia had a whole series of other adjacent harbour installations that were likewise on the shores of the lagoon. They

served its trade with Sardinia and no doubt also with Corsica and countries

farther afield, as well with other city-states of Etruria itself.'® The

suggestion that Vetulonia already declined in the Etruscan epoch because

its harbours on Lake Prilius had even by then silted up seems to antedate that process, because — quite apart from the evidence of the last three centuries B.C. — another Etruscan city, Rusellae, beside the opposite shore of the lake, continued to flourish. But it does seem (despite dissentient views) that for some other reason, no doubt connected with the excessive proximity of the two places, Vetulonia, in the years between 550 and 500 B.C., flagged and then succumbed to Rusellae and was partly destroyed, or

at least temporarily eliminated from power politics.’


Rusellae, like

Cristofani, The Etruscans (1979), 10; V.J. Bruno, Archaeology 26 (1973), 198


iC B. Curri, Forma Italiae; Region VII, Vol. 5, Vetulonia I.

Cic. MiL 74.


io Camporeale, I commerci di Vetulonia in eta orientalizzante (1969), 94ff., 99ff. M. Grant, The Etruscans, 192.


The Ports of the Etruscans


Vetulonia, had supplies of ships’ timber (in 205 B.C.,”° and no doubt

much earlier as well) and conducted its own trading operations: excavations reveal traces of commercial contact with Carthage in north Africa — the great western offshoot of Phoenician Tyre — a contact in which Sardinian harbours perhaps acted as intermediaries. Like Vetulonia, Rusellae had its own port or ports on Lake Prilius — perhaps at or near the present Terme di Roselle.

Moreover, in the neighbourhood of the River Albegna — apparently its

southern frontier — Rusellae seems to have established, or developed, a

secondary harbour-town as well. This was Telamon, now Talamone — of which the remains display a strong cultural connexion with Rusellae.?! Situated on a steep hill upon a promontory a little south of the modern town, Telamon overlooked a bay which was bordered by the River Osa on the other side. The bay formed a good harbour, and evidently served as such in ancient times, when the coastline was more deeply indented (and followed the route of the latter Roman coastal road from north to south, the Via Aurelia). Traditions of a foundation of Telamon, going back to a legendary Argonaut of the same name, show that the place had certain historical or traditional pretensions, but they are not confirmed by any important archaeological evidence going back to very early times. On the other hand Telamon had evidently begun to flourish by the late sixth and early fifth centuries B.C., from which impressive architectural terracottas survived at the site. In view, however, of the special importance of the Greek markets in

Campania as influences on Etruria,’? it is only to be expected that the

first Etruscan centre to have become really powerful at sea lay in the south of the country. It was Tarquinii (Tarquinia) which, deriving its desirability in the eyes of the Greeks — that is to say, deriving its power — from easily accessible metals in the Tolfa mountains, became the first impressive exponent of the Etruscan ‘thalassocracy’. Like Vetulonia and Rusellae, it was only a short distance from the sea; and it possessed fifteen miles of valuable coastline of its own. At the height of its power, this coastline extended from near the mouth of the River Arrone to the north (one of the two streams of that name, beside the modern Riva di Tarquinii) to beyond the Mignone to the south, thus including, for a time, the shore immediately adjoining the metal-rich Tolfa Range. In that period, as elsewhere along the Tyrrhenian Sea, the shore showed considerably deeper and more useful indentations. This made it possible for Tarquinii to develop no less than three ports. All were only a few miles from the city, ranking as primary ports. We have not, so far, recovered the Etruscan names of any of them, but it is known where they were. One was

Livy 28.45.18.

R. Naumann, Rom. Mitt. 70 (1963), 39-43. 22See now M. Frederiksen in Italy Before the Romans, ed. D. and F.R. Ridgway (1979), 277, 282ff.


Michael Grant

at the place the Romans later called Martanum, at the mouth of the Marta; another was Graviscae (Porto San Clementino) a little further south at the nearest point to Tarquinii itself; and a third was Rapinium, further on beside the mouth of the Mignone. From the beginnings of the history of urbanized Tarquinii in the eighth century B.C., some at least of these ports must already have been very busy. For by that time a sea-route was already in use to the Etruscan or Etruscanized centres in Campania, which used the Tarquinian form of the Etruscan alphabet. Moreover, especially from 650 B.C. onwards, Tarquinian exports found their way not only to

Campania but to the Aegean basin,?? and subsequently even to north


Which of its ports the Tarquinian fleet chiefly used, it is hard to say: perhaps Martanum which was the closest, although today the harbour only







of later,





excavations have shown that the harbour of Graviscae was already active before the end of the seventh century B.C. The place had a large, roughly

rectangular site, with elaborate rock-cut tombs on the neighbouring slope leading up to the plateau of the mother-city.

But the significant feature of Graviscae, it now proves, is that it housed a community of Greek traders. Their presence is confirmed from c.600


and includes

shrines first of Aphrodite

and then, some four

decades later, of Hera and Demeter. However, most of the Greeks who appear at Graviscae seem to have arrived in the later years of the sixth century, coming from the Ionian coast of Asian Minor, at the time when this was under pressure from the Persians; perhaps a majority originated

from the island of Samos. Tarquinii gave them permission to establish a

trading post at Graviscae, in the same way as Pharaohs allowed Greeks marketing bases at Naucratis (Nabira) and elsewhere.?° A little later on, from about 500 B.C., there is archaeological evidence showing that other Greek maritime powers besides the Ionians made their appearance at Graviscae, including Athenians and Aeginetans.

The southern neighbour of Tarquinii was the rival city-state of Caere,

and not long after 700 B.C., if we may judge from excavated material, Caere had wrested a large part of the Tolfa metals from the Tarquinians. It also succeeded them as the leading Etruscan naval and sea-trading power. It was probably by sea that the Cumaean Greeks brought their




in the




for adaptation to

Etruscan needs. And it was by sea that an enormous wealth of near-eastern gold found its way into Caeritan tombs, and that imports continued to

23 The


that one

or more


city-states had a base and market on

Lemnos (rather than that, as has sometimes been supposed, it formed a stage on an



24 Thid. 132.




is discussed

in my



25E.D. Oren and V.S. Webb, Greece and Italy in the Classical World (Acta of the XIth International Congress of Classical Archaeology, 1979), 199ff.

The Ports of the Etruscans flow into the town Caeritans did not only for this wealth; they products of their land

in increasing quantities thereafter. have the copper and iron of Tolfa to also had their own black (bucchero) and industry for which these served

9 Moreover, the offer in return pots, and the as receptacles.

For this pottery shortly after its inception in the seventh century began

to pass in huge quantities over the sea-routes, developing a massive external distribution throughout the Mediterranean and Aegean regions. Caere’s geographical position explains these extensive Greek contacts, for it was the southernmost of the Etruscan maritime cities, and the nearest to the Greek markets and colonies of Campania. Thus it was the first Etruscan state reached by traders from Pithecusae and Cumae, and thereafter continued to lie uniquely open to successive Greek influences, as well as sending its own wares and influences to Campania. When Strabo

paid Caere the rare compliment of saying that its people were the only

Etruscans who did not engage in piracy,?° what he meant was, first that

they had been good friends of the Romans (as was generally true), and second that their sea-trade was on a thoroughly, uniquely well-organized basis. Not, of course, that these activities took place without violence. Thus vase-painters of Caere depicted a sea-battle between Greeks and Etruscans. The latter are soldiers of the Caeritan city-state, travelling and fighting on Caeritan ships. And the timber needed to build these powerful fleets was readily available to Caere, both on the Tolfa hills, after its people had gained possession of these resources, and ready at hand beside its own stream, the Vaccina. That is why Virgil singles out for particular mention, among the numerous, varied timber supplies of Etruria, these

notable pine-woods;?’ and he does so with special pleasure because the early Romans had made great use of the Caeritan navy.

The existence of this substantial Caeritan fleet also involved Caere in complex commercial, and competitive, relationships with other powers active in Italian waters. Outstanding among these powers was Carthage. By the late seventh century B.C. the Carthaginians, intensifying their expansionist endeavours,”® were importing Etruscan metals, and Caeritan bucchero pottery as well. However, the trading and rivalry alike were not a bilateral but a triangular affair, since a further and very significant element was provided by the Greeks. In particular, it was just at the turn of the century that Ionian Greeks from Phocaea established themselves at

Massalia (Marseille). And then they founded other centres, including Alalia

(Aleria, c. 560 B.C.) on the coast of Corsica, an island which, although a later developer than Sardinia, likewise fulfilled an important role on the trade-routes to Spain.” Alalia commanded access to the interior of the island, and to lakes rich in fish and salt. It looked out over the alluvial plain of the River Tavignano — one of the few stretches of level shore in

5 Strabo 5.3.220.

9g Vins. Aen. 8.597. 59! . MacIntosh Turfa, American Journal of Archaeology 81 (1977), 368ff. J. and L. Jehasse in Italy Before the Romans, 313ff.


Michael Grant

the island, situated beside a large bay (now filled in) which enjoyed protection from the north-east wind. And from this strategic locality Alalian seamen dominated the approaches to the ports of mainland Etruria, including those of Caere which lay only eighty miles away by sea. So the Etruscans, Carthaginians and Phocaeans uneasy balance in central Mediterranean waters.



in an

In about 550 B.C., a brusque attempt was made to adjust this balance in favour of Carthage when one of its commanders, Malchus, embarked on a double coup. First, using existing colonies of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians as springboards he consolidated the Carthaginian position in western Sicily. And then he made a forcible endeavour to repeat the same process in Sardinia. Strong resistance was offered by the native Sardinian city-states and communities, and they claimed success.2° Yet Malchus probably achieved something. But, if so, he paid a high price, for the result of the enterprise was to bring the Carthaginians onto a collusion course with the Phocaeans, for whom Sardinia was only a scarcely less sensitive area than Corsica.

What, then, was the third interested sea-power, that of Etruscan Caere, to do? Its leaders considered the matter and decided that the most pressing peril to themselves came not from the Carthaginians, in spite of their expansion, but from the Phocaeans, whose Corsican colony was so close and menacing a neighbour. In consequence Caere decided to throw in its lot with Carthage. Thus began the important, perhaps fluctuating, but on the whole durable alliance (emphasized later by Aristotle?!) between the Carthaginians and ‘the Etruscans’ — who were really the Caeritans. The clash between this new pair of allies on the one hand and the Phocaeans on the other was not long in coming. It took the form of the historic naval engagement, somewhere off the coast of Corsica (or perhaps

Sardinia?) known as the battle of Alalia (c. 535 B.C.), in which ‘the

Etruscans’, who with their Carthaginian allies were victorious over the Phocaeans, are specifically identified by Herodotus as Caeritans.32 In expiation for having maltreated their Phocaean prisoners, they sent envoys to the Delphic oracle which told them what rites and games to perform. Caere also possessed its own ‘Treasury’ at Delphi — a frequent practice among Greeks, but Caere was the only city-state of the Etruscan homeland to follow the custom. This testifies to the uniquely close relations with Greece which are displayed by the whole cultural history of the place, notwithstanding the war against the Phocaeans.

It is known that after the battle of Alalia the hold of the Carthaginians over Corsica was strengthened. But Diodorus Siculus also offers the

curious information that the Etruscans (Caeritans), too, founded a colony

306 | Moscati, J Cartaginesi in Italia (1977), 18, 29f., 134ff.

31 Arist. Pol, 1280a.36

32 Hat. 1.167 (Agylla is the Greek name for Caere).

The Ports of the Etruscans


on the same island — an event which can plausibly be attributed to the

years following the battle. The colony was apparently at, or near, Alalia

itself.* Diodorus adds that the original settlers gave the place the Greek

name of Nicaea or ‘Victory-Town’, which has caused some to suppose that

they must have been Greek and not Etruscan. But the Caeritans, deeply Hellenized as they were, might well have given their colony a Greek name

(and, for all we know, Greek settlers from Caere as well); so that there is no reason to doubt Diodorus’ story. He adds that the Etruscans exacted tribute from Corsica in the form of resin, wax and honey. By the turn of the century, there was also an Etruscan workshop and Etruscan graves at Alalia, and chamber tombs of Etruscan form and contents make their appearance at the place. As excavations show, it had connexions with all the Etruscan ports, but probably with Caere most of all. There may have been small groups of Caeritans in Sardinia as well; indeed Strabo describes the inhabitants of that island, perhaps loosely but none the less re-

vealingly, as ‘Etruscans’*? .

The coastline of Caere, longer than that of its neighbour Tarquinii, extended, at the height of Caeritan power, from near the estuary of the River Mignone in the north down to only a mile or two short of the Tiber in the south. Recent discoveries suggest that the coastal installations of Caere, and its settlements on which they were based. were spread along almost the entire length of this substantial water-front. The picture that emerges is of five more or less consecutive port areas, two in the north, two in the south, and the most important harbour in the middle. In the north, the two ports were at Castellina (near the Roman Castrum Novum) and Santa Marinella (the Roman Punicum). At Castellina, a fortified hill-top site commanded a harbour near Torre Marangone. The harbour lay at the mouth of the river Marangone, which provided the shortest and easiest communication with the Tolfa hills, the source of Caere’s mineral wealth and of the timbers needed to construct its ships. It seems that this port below Castellina’s hill was used by early Greek traders and prospectors, since fragments of seventh century B.C. pots that have been found there resemble discoveries at Pithecusae.*° Just to the south of Castellina was another small harbour town at Punicum. Remains of its ancient port-works are still to be seen, or are in process of excavation, beneath the low rocky promontory of Cape Linaro, and the site of a sanctuary of Menrva (Minerva) has been found on the other side of the bay. The name ‘Punicum’, despite arguments to the contrary, seems to be derived from the Roman word for ‘Carthaginian’, and indicates that the place was, or contained, a settlement of Carthaginian merchants and traders, no doubt operating there in accordance with the treaty between Carthage and Caere. Like Castellina, Punicum com-


a stream (the Castelsecco) linking it with metal-bearing Tolfa.

33 Diod. Sic. 5.13.4. 3 gstrabo

D. Ridgway, Archaeological Reports (1967-8), 39f.


Michael Grant

Balancing these two northern ports of the Caeritans were two in a southward direction, Alsium (Palo, near Ladispoli) and Fregenae (Fregene). Alsium was of importance because it was much the nearest of all Caere’s harbours to the city itself, from which it was only four miles distant, along the course of the River Vaccina. Tombs of the late seventh or early sixth century B.C. have been found in the place. The tradition that it was named after a Greek, though based on a false etymological


may well mean that there had once been Greek traders or

settlers at Alsium, as there were at Tarquinii’s harbour town of Graviscae. Further south still, Caere possessed another small harbour at Fregenae.°’

Between these northern and southern pairs of ports, the Caeritans possessed yet another harbour at Pyrgi (Santa Severa).°® It was eight miles from the city, whereas Alsium was only four, but still near enough to be regarded as a primary port of Caere, to which it was joined by an impressive road (in addition to a valley connexion with the mines on Mount Tolfa). By now, coastal currents have eaten away most of Pyrgi’s shoreline, but local finds suggest that its small bay, sheltered to the northwest by a promontory, was the most important of the Caeritan harbours. For

The thoroughfare linking the two places may have been a Sacred Way. Pyrgi, like its mother-city, was a major religious centre. Famous

inscriptions of c. 500 B.C. were found in its sanctuary in 1964. Recording

dedications by the ruler Thefarie Velianas, they confirm the close relations between Caere and the Carthaginians.2? Yet at about the same time, or very slightly later, a Greek holy place was also established at Pyrgi (a Greek name), and it became one of the most important sacred complexes in all Greek Italy, of a type not hitherto known in such territories. The Greeks, referring to the Pyrgi sanctuary on locally discovered inscriptions in their own language, indicated its dedication to a divine personage named variously as Leucothea and Eileithyia — the former a goddess of the sea, and the latter of child-birth, whose worship went back far beyond the first millennium B.C. But it is virtually certain from finds on the site that the Etruscan name of the deity worshipped at the holy place was Uni (Hera, Juno, Astarte), to whom Thefarie Velianas offered his dedication. For the Greeks often identified Eileithyia with Hera, and indeed used the former name as one of the latter’s titles. On either side of Pyrgi’s sacred central zone are the remains of two

temples, built parallel to one another and facing the sea. One (Temple B’) dates from about 500 B.C. and the other (Temple A’), it is now believed,

from about 460-450 B.C.*° This second temple, unlike the first, is wholly

3641 Ital. Pun. 8.246 (Alaesus, Halaesus). Fregenae was equidistant from Caere and

Veii, but probably belonged to Caere,

since Veii does not seem to have possessed a port, relying for its wealth on agricul3g ture and the salt-pans at the Tiber mouth. 39) .P. Oleson, Journal of Field Archeology 4 (1977), 297ff. M. Pallottino, The Etruscans, 90, 93, 132, 190, 195-8, 200, 207, 221, 272.

40M. Cataldi and F. Boitani in M. Torelli (ed.), Etruscan Cities (1975), 176.

The Ports of the Etruscans


Greek in character, and (at a time when the Carthaginians had been

shatteringly defeated by the Greeks at Himera in 480 B.C.), has been believed to mirror a political readjustment of a pro-Greek character on the part of Caere (after all, Greeks and Etruscans seem to have collabor-

ated effectively at Spina and Adria, on the Adriatic coast of north Italy).

Indeed, it may well have been at this time, and after this volte-face, that Caere openly clashed with its former ally Carthage — as far away as the Atlantic Ocean, where Diodorus Siculus offers the unexpected information that the Carthaginians thwarted an ‘Etruscan’ attempt to establish a

colony on an island,*!

perhaps Madeira, an enterprise plausibly attrib-

utable to the Caeritans, which


no doubt



to break

Carthage’s monopoly of the tin route from Gaul, Spain and Cornwall.

When Caere had encroached on Tarquinii from the south in about the seventh century B.C., Vulci had soon afterwards done the same from the north. Its rise to wealth, in dramatic contrast to the present desolation of the region, is displayed by the enormous lavishness of the furniture of its tombs, including a massive unparalleled influx of Greek vases. In the light of all this remarkable material, it must be assumed that the city-state of Vulci, like Tarquinii and Caere, possessed a fleet of its own; its enormous overseas trading operations could scarcely have been conducted entirely on vessels belonging to other powers. And indeed, Vulci was strong enough at sea to leave strong traces in Campania*? (and possibly, if a curious passage in the Aeneid should so be interpreted, to provide shipping space to at least one Etruscan city-state in the interior, notably Clusium).*? Moreover, in Etruscan times parts of Vulci’s maritime plain were probably covered with pine trees that could be used as ships’ timber. This coastline of Vulci was longer and more complex than that of its southern neighbours, extending from beyond the mouth of the River Albegna to beyond the estuary of the Flora, along the route of the later Via Aurelia. Vulci itself stood back from the sea in a protected position, like Tarquinii and Caere, and needed a port or ports to serve it. Within the territory of the city, though not very close to it (the two places are twenty-two miles apart), lies one of Italy’s most peculiar geographical features, the protruding promontory and peninsula of Mount Argentarius, now Argentario. Today, after a long process of the large scale erosion characteristic of this coast, the Argentario, on either side, is completely joined to the mainland by two continuous sandbars — isthmuses of silt, thrown up by centuries of waves and winds. The sandbars form an


lagoon, upon which stands the mainland town of Orbetello,

situated on a spit (originally a third, central sand-bar, which never fully developed).** In antiquity, the more westerly of the two full-length

42 Diod. Sic. 5.20.4. E.g.

at Fratte

de Salerno;



the names

of Volcei




PAGE Aurinia, Saturnia in the territory of Vulci). Virg. Aen. 10.167f., in which Cosae (in the territory of Vulci) is linked with

Clusium. 44 4. Mori, Bollettino della Reale Societa Geografica Italiana, Ser. 6, 8 (1931), 534.


Michael Grant


isthmuses at the sides was scarcely emerging, so that the lagoon was open to the Tyrrhenian Sea on that flank. And it was also open on the other flank, as well, since the eastern isthmus, too, was penetrated by two natural or artificial exit channels. So Orbetello, in ancient times, enjoyed an impressive harbour consisting of a sea-lagoon which was partially enclosed and well protected, and yet which, at the same time, opened out at both sides into the sea. It is by no means astonishing then, to find that an Etruscan settlement existed at the place, established at least as early as the eighth century B.C. and continually inhabited thereafter. No trace of the ancient town has yet been discovered. But its existence and prosperity are demonstrated by discoveries in an Etruscan cemetery on the ancient central spit. the

The place may have borne the name of Cusa in Etruscan times.4° Under Romans,


this name,

in the


of Cosa or Cosae, was applied to a

of theirs four and half miles to the southeast,


is now

Ansedonia. It used to be thought that this had formerly been an Etruscan

harbour-town. But excavations have proved pretty conclusively that it was not. On the contrary, Ansedonia only started life in the third century B.C., and the canals leading into its inner basin, although one of them is erroneously known as the ‘Etruscan Cutting’ (Tagliata Etrusca), are likewise not Etruscan but Roman. The Etruscan Argentario harbour was not Ansedonia, but Orbetello. A sphinx of volcanic stone that has been found on the latter site shows the clear influence of Vulci, and on geographical grounds, too, it seems apparent that the place belonged to the Vulcentines, serving them as a secondary port. Yet surely they must also have had a primary port in the immediate vicinity of their city. This cannot have been far from the mouth of Vulci’s river, the Fiora. Its estuary was scarcely more than six miles from the urban centre, and, as early maps show, formerly led into a large sea-lagoon of its own. Indeed, an ancient guide-book, the Itinerarium Maritimum, specifically indicates that there existed a harbour beside this river mouth. Moreover, Vulci’s most important cemeteries lie along this same lower stretch of the Fiora, beside which ran a route going back to the second millennium B.C. And so it is by no means strange to find that only three miles south of the Fiora mouth there was reputedly a harbour town of legendary origins, named Regae, from a Greek word meaning ‘clefts’ —

the Roman

Regisvilla (now

Le Murelle).*°

Here, then, was Vulci’s

principal port, which still remains to be discovered and brought to light.

At the north-western extremity of Etruria proper lay the territory of Volaterrae (Volterra), about whose early history we would know more had it not been for the gigantic land-slide, or series of landslides (Le Balze), that engulfed so much of it. Yet it is clear that this was another ae J. Pfiffig, Einfuhrung in die Etruskologie (1972), 92. Strabo The Roman Forum Aurelii was just inland, near Montalto di Castro.

The Ports of the Etruscans


city-state which attained great importance. Furthermore, although it was twenty-two miles from the sea, its people engaged in maritime activities. The prominence of the theme of Odysseus (the Etruscan Uturze and Roman Ulysses) and the Sirens among the mythological reliefs of Volaterran funeral urns is suggestive of a seagoing tradition. And in 205

B.C. we find the place providing ships’ rigging to the Roman fleet,*’ a

contribution that may justifiably be regarded as indicative of a nautical role in earlier centuries as well.

In view of the distance of Volaterrae from the sea, the question of a

primary port (in the sense in which we have defined the term) does not

arise. But a secondary one ought to be discoverable. Three miles north of the estuary of the Cecina (after it has flowed past Volaterrae) the Romans later had a harbour, Vada Volaterrana (the ‘Shallows’ or ‘Ford’ of Volaterrae, not far from the present Vada), a posting station on the Via Aurelia; Rutilius Namatianus, in the fifth century A.D., described it as a

harbour reached through a hazardous channel,*® as is still the case today.

Various remains have been found at Vada both on land and under the sea, and it is not impossible (the coastline, once again, having greatly changed)

that in ancient times the mouth

of the River Cecina was nearer to

Vada than it is now, and that the Volaterrans, in the time of their prosperity, had a port there, still unidentified. Alternatively, or in addition, they may have had harbours a little further to the north (beside the mouth of the Fine stream, where ancient objects have been discovered underwater), and at Castiglioncello which seems to have been a minor Etruscan harbour town, and to the south beside the present Cecina estuary (Marina di


It should not, therefore, be any longer supposed that early Volaterrae

was a city-state which had no outlet to the Moreover, the place must be considered in Etruscan maritime trading posts or markets far to the north. First of all, on the border

sea, or deliberately avoided it. relation to the whole line of beyond the Arno, extending of Etruria, this seems to have

been the character of Pisae (Pisa), an Etruscan or Etruscanized port on the

mouth of the Arno itself, where in ancient times (though not now) it was joined by another river, the Serchio, before they debouched together into a lagoon (again non-existent today) which opened into the sea. This sealagoon came right up to Pisae, providing it with a magnificent harbour. Next up the same coast came other places where Etruscan objects are likewise found, including Viareggio fronting a settlement at Massarosa on the foothills of the metal-bearing Apuan Alps. For geographical reasons, the only city-state of the Etruscan homeland which could easily have sponsored this expansion was Volaterrae: it seems therefore that this city must have exercised some measure of control or influence over a substantial part of the coastline of north-west Italy. But

471 ivy 28.45.18.

gg Rut. Namat. Red. 457ff. G. Monaco, Princeton Encyclopaedia of Classical Sites (1976), 210.


Michael Grant

whether the outposts thus placed at intervals along this Tyrrhenian shore remained politically attached, in however loose a manner, to Volaterrae, or after a time were shared by other Etruscan city-states, or even acted autonomously and on their own account, cannot now be determined. At all events, Viareggio is one of the links in a chain of coastal-markets housing Etruscan maritime quarters, or at least handling Etruscan goods, which were often, it has now become clear, on their way up to France and central Europe, and it is apparent that Volaterrae played a significant part

in these movements.°°

Such, then, it seems, were some of the means by which the Etruscans maintained their partly naval, partly commercial, and no doubt (although one must not believe the Greeks and Romans too much) partly piratical ‘thalassocracy’.



and 12.

The Etruscans,

chaps. 6 (with some references for finds outside Italy)



ayadn texne

deddx3ar énawéoar

"Entoxonov *Enwoxdrov NedyyXucov dperns éveka Kal edvotac. —

In a recent paper’ I attempted to remedy what I there described as

certain ‘irregularities’ in restorations involving negatives. ‘Irregularities’ was, of course, a polite way of referring to erroneous supplements

suggested and defended by scholars who should have known better. But my attack was not directed ad hominem. Rather what I had in mind was to tidy up one or two texts where anomalies in negative coordination had

been accepted without question, a trifling matter in itself, perhaps, but not

without significance in the wider sphere of epigraphical restoration where, for example, important hypotheses may be erected on the basis of a text

restored with x letters to the line as determined with reference to the

Apart from abbreviations in general use I here employ the following:



D.W. Bradeen and M.F, McGregor, Studies in Fifth-Century Attic Epigraphy (University of Oklahoma Press 1973) ML = R. Meiggs and D.M. Lewis, A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions to the End of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford 1969) Petirka = J. Petirka, The Formula for the Grant of Enktesis in Attic Inscriptions (Prague, Acta Universitatis Carolinae, Phil. et Hist. Mon. xv, 1966) Tod = M.N. Tod, A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions, vol, 2 (Oxford 1948) Wilhelm AU = Ad. Wilhelm, Attische Urkunden I-V, Sitzungsberichte Akad. Wien 165, 6 (1911); 180, 2 (1916); 202, 5 (1925); 217, 5 (1939); 220, 5 (1942) In referring to inscriptions in the Corpus I omit the letters /.G,: thus i2 56 = Inscriptiones Graecae, vol, I° n. 56. All dates are B.C.

1 JHS 97 (1977), 155-158, 17


Alan Henry

restoration of a lacunose but recognizably formulaic line.”

In this present small offering, dedicated with respect and affection?

to the scholar we honour in this an area where editors have been silentium saxorum. This study although classical studies may on

volume, I make another such venture into less than respectful in observing the total will perhaps serve as a reminder that, occasion advance by leaps and bounds, it

is often much wiser to look before you leap.*



Virtually every state decree of Athens contains instructions for its publication: it is expressly stated whose responsibility it is to have the stone inscribed and set up, where the stone is to be erected, and at whose expense.” The Eleusinian First-fruits decree provides an adequate illustra- .

tion (vv. 48-52):°


tas 5€ xouvypayas Kal To poéyroua Td5€ avay payoarto ho ypaypartevs ho rés Bodés év oréAaw dvow AwiWvar v kai Karadéro tev pev ‘Edevowr év ror huepat, rev 5¢ herépav [é] wmode - hou 5€ moXeTal dropadoodvrov To oréda: hou 5€ KoALakp] é€rat ddvtov 70 dpyupvov.

*Cf., e.g., the text of the Treaty with Samos (i? 50 (+ i? 102) = ATL II, D 18 = ML

56). In the oath to be taken by the Samians (wv. 15 ff.) [od5é€ d&mooréoopac) had been coordinated with the preceding positive declaration, to accommodate a line of 35 letters, as inferred from restorations proposed for the last two fragments of this document. This is almost certainly incorrect. One consequence of the removal of the anomaly is the possibility that the line of 35 letters should also be abandoned,

and with it therefore the general overall restoration of the whole text. H. Wankel (ZPE





at the


and most recently C. Fornara VHS 99 [1979], generally accepted line-length of this decree. But

also with


via a different route,

14-17) has also challenged the

a degree of hesitation, since, so far as I am aware, John Bishop has

never cultivated a secret passion for the formulae of Attic decrees. Nevertheless, during our days as colleagues at Armidale, he was always prepared to shed a kindly (and often illuminating) light on my researches into the grey areas of Attic epigraphy. It is my hope, therefore, that this essay in &xp(Bewa will win the approval of a man who was always the first to emphasize the fundamental importance of precision in our understanding of Latin and Greek. A striking example of the wisdom of caution has most recently been offered to the classical world in another field of restoration: see BCH 103 (1979), 29-50, where Jean









,formed a pugilist into a ‘Prince aux Lis’. In the fifth and early fourth centuries often with the addition of a clause authorizing the poletai to let out the contract for the stone. (So in the example quoted for illustration).

Petrified Silence

cutting and



erecting of marble stelai was, of course, a costly

business. When it was not considered impolite or impolitic, therefore, the shrewd-minded Athenians often made the recipient foot the bill himself.

In such a case, while the state is still responsible for the publication through the medium of the secretary and still prescribes the location of the stone, no official financial board or officer is cited in the decree. Instead, the formula for the expenses is expressed as réreouv)’ tois —

‘at the expense of —’.

There would seem, in principle, to be three logical ways of completing this formula: 1. réXeou TOic + name in genitive case: as we shall see below, there is ample evidence for this type of formulation 2. réXeat TOS Eavrov/éaurwyv (vel, sim.), if the construction justifies a reflexive. This too is attested. But, in addition, there are many examples in restorations where the context is non-reflexive. Such restorations are, I submit, not only unnecessary but erroneous. 3. réXeot Toic + the genitive of a demonstrative pronoun, where a reflexive is not in order. Here the evidence is slender, but at least one document is probably to be restored in this way. In any case,

réXeot Toic ékewou, for example, would be unobjectionable Greek.

In addition to these three, however, editors have attempted to introduce a fourth type viz. réXeot Tois avrov/atrav. In my view, this is neither

Greek® nor is it supported by the evidence of the stones themselves. For

there is no unrestored example of such a formulation in any of the many Attic decrees where the recipient himself pays for the physical manifestation of Athens’ generosity.

6ML 73 (= i2 76 +) (2 c. 422). The fact that the lines here quoted are part of a rider

demonstrates the importance of the inclusion of the provision for publication in the overall decree. "Ephelkustic nu is extremely uncommon in this formula: the only certain instance is

130 (+ SEG xix 49). 18 (355/4). In the fifth century we find restored examples in ML 49 (i? 45) 19-20, pov a[vrov ré}|[Aeow., where the formulation is atypical, and


x 111.

10 where


spatial arrangement

of the text makes


almost inescapable. For another possible instance in SEG xii 41, see below pp. 25-6. This is not to say that expressions of the type roic abvrod/abray never occur in Greek.


is an unequivocal example

in the fifth-century Laconian inscription

recording the victories of one Damonon and his son (Buck, Greek Dialects?, 268/9, no. 71 w. 14-17): avrég dvwxlov | evheBchaics hirmor | hemrdxw ex rav airé | hirmov xéx 76 avd[r]6 [hiro]. (I owe the reference to Sir Kenneth Dover). But this is quite a different matter altogether, for here the construction is reflexive. In the cases to be considered in this paper I am dealing with alleged instances of roic abvrov/adrwv in non-reflexive contexts. Moreover, my remarks are confined to Attic.


Alan Henry


7édeo Toic + name of recipient in genitive

By explicitly expressing the name, the mover of the decree left no room for doubt as to who was to pay for the privilege of recording the decisions made by Athens. Examples of this type predominate, some being securely read on the stone, others dependent upon varying degrees of restoration. For convenience of reference I shall make a distinction between documents relating to individuals and those relating to states:

A. Individuals

1. Leonidas of Halikarnassos:

nept [5] é Aeovido Ta éyoeyiopeva a{v]



i? 56. 19-26 (c. 4307)!°


aypayodro ho ypappareves Té ¢ BoAés TéAEt TOIs Aeovido év orédkaw dvow, Kat Tév pév herépay oréoat éu modet, Tév 5€ herépav év haXtkapvacod

¢év 70t hvepdt 70 ‘Am6AXovos-

2. renewal of a proxeny grant to the sons of Apemantos of Thasos:

ii? 6 (Tod 98) 14-16 (c. 400):

avaypay[at] rnv ornAnv TOY ypapya[r]éa tA BoANs TedEat TOS Evpumvao-

3. citizenship for Sthorys of Thasos: ii? 17 = BSA 65 (1970), 157, wv.

33-36 (394/3):

* Under each Type examples are listed more or less in chronological order. Many

dates in the fifth century in particular are, of course, the subject of vigorous dispute, but it is impossible within the scope of this paper to deal with the problems of the chronology of fifth century Attic decrees. (For a recent attempt

to contribute to the solution of this vexed question, see my paper ‘The Dating of




in CSCA 11





-_ dating of the documents in question here will not affect the points at issue. I quote this excellently preserved text in extenso so that the reader may have a clear indication of the general type of document with which I am dealing. For reasons of economy I shall not quote every example in such detail, except where the circumstances demand it.

Petrified Silence


Tov 5€ [yJoaup[aréa r}js Bod[7]

S$ dvaypawa To Why.opa 705 [ré]Ae[or rot]¢ DHdpv[o]

¢ év ornAn ivanep avtax Td n{p}érep[a Wnyi]ouara [4]


4. proxeny decree for Sochares of Apollonia: ii? 130 + EM 5415 (SEG

xix 49) 15-19 (355/4):1


[ov 5€ ypa]uuar[éa] rns Bo[vARs] avayp[a]

[Yas év] ornd[ne] 5€xa [huepwly [év axp]

[omda Jet TEAE Ow

To[is Dux p[ov Td]

[Se To Wrhyproma - ------------------- ]

5. proxeny decree for Nika-:

ii? 289.8-11 (352-336):!?

Tov 5€ ypayparéa Thins BovAns [avaypdwat év dxpondne]t Td5€ TO [nproua éornreEr dive|e 5€[K Ja hue

[pwr Kai ornoa TédEa1 T]oic Nixa.

B. States?

1. Relations with Phaselis:

ML 31 (i? 16) 22-27 (469-450): 7

[6 5€ WHyo]ua rd[5e] avaypawd


[Tw 6 ypaplarevs 6 THC BorTS [€ornAnt Acdiyne Kai Katad [rw éu mode T]éXEat ToIs TA

[» Paondrev],


2. Honorary decree for Sigeion:

SEG x 13 (i? 32) 10-13 (451/0):

[-------------------- ev o|

[réAee Au ]ver t[EXeou Tog T] vye[loy Kai karadéro éu md[de]

t, KaVanEp avrot Séovrat,

3. Treaty with Kolophon:

ML 47 (i? 14/15) 37-39 (2447/6):

'l For the readings in v. 18, see Pecirka, 35-36.

12For the text of v. 11, see SEG xxi 300 (b). However, as Pedirka has shown (see

SEG xxiii 60), ii? 289 is not to be joined with ii? 372, pace Schweigert. For the date and circumstances of the decree, see Petirka, 57-58. 13 Apart from the 5 examples quoted here, it should be noted that ii? 98. 26-27 (? 372) is also restored réAeo[t roig Kepaddr]|[wr].


Alan Henry [ro] 5€ Péyrou[a 705e Kai Tov pK ov dvaypaaro 6 ypap]

[ua]revs 6 TEs B[oAEs éoréder ALOWer eu mddrEL TEEO] [t T]ots KoAoyo[viov-

4. Relations with Chalkis: ML 52 (i 39) 57-61 (446/5):


70 5€ poeyiopa TOSE Kal TOV hdpkov dvaypayoa., ‘A dévect pév Tov ypa Mul[a]réa Tres Bore EoréAet ALOWvet Kal K aradévar és modw TédEat TOIc Xadk be ov,

5. Honorary decree for Neapolis in Thrace: (410/09):

ML 89 (i? 108) 42-44

Kal TO poéyioyua T05€ dvaypa[yoas 6 ypaumarevs 6] TNS Bovdns EorndrAnt Wwe KaTad[éro eu méAEt TEAEOL TOL] ¢ NeomoXurov-


Reference Uncertain

Fragment of an honorary decree: SEG x 128 (i? 171) 4-7 (c. 410): the text is presented thus in the Corpus



avaypayoat dé To yo

[Eyroua T05e év oréder Nivew K Jal Kar

stoich. 32

[adevar év TO BodevTEpio TOV ypa]upaT [€a ré¢ Bor€s - 76 5’ apyuprov Sova 76]s veo-

a footnote

to the effect that Wilhelm,

tentatively, suggests

TO]s veol[s Kodakpéras, ‘si decretum anno exeunte placuit’.!4 This is unparalleled and most unlikely. Meritt’s revision,!> printed in

SEG x 128, reads


avaypayoa S]é 76 yo [éyroua Tdde€ éorédet KJat Kar [avevar Eu mOXEL TOV ypa]uuar

stoich. 23

[€a réc Bod€s TédXEat ToOi]¢ Neo Although we cannot be absolutely sure whether Neo- is an individual or a state, the restorations in wv. 1-4 (q.v.) suggest that Neo- is one of two or more individuals honoured in the decree. 14k irchner reports this as roc vél[oc KoAaxpérac, but presumably the transcription is


'* Hesperia 10 (1941), 333-334. (Wilhelm also had second thoughts: seeAU IV 87-89).

Petrified Silence

TYPE 2: There



réd\eot Toic éavrov/éaurav (vel, sim.) is, in fact, only one

such example actually evidenced by the

It is the decree relating to the Athenian colony at Brea: ML

49 (i? 45) (c. 445). The text of w. 17-20 is not absolutely certain, and it

will be observed that the formulation here is somewhat different from

those we have examined so far. Nevertheless, the reference is manifestly reflexive and the restoration unobjectionable in principle:

ypdyoat 5{é raura] [év oréA jeu Kai Katadevar éu nmdAet: na[pacyxdv] [rov 5€ rjev orédev hor Groot ovov a[vrov 7é]


On the other hand, there are several instances to be found where, in a context which is unequivocally non-reflexive, reflexive pronouns and possessives have been inserted by restoration. I now list these, and suggest alternative approaches to obviate the difficulty: 1. proxeny decree for Krison (? and his brothers): SEG x 54 © Prit-

chett, Hesperia 11 [1942], 230-231. 42); SEG xii 22 (= Meritt, Hesperia 21 [1952], 348-351), (c. 430). Pritchett’s original text is printed as follows in the version in SEG (w. 4-9):


Kpioova [rov . 9... kai Tos a] Sedpdc kai Aex[. 4. . avaypdyoa 79]

stoich. 28

OXa€evos Kail evd[epyeras év oréet A]

wiver éu moder [Kai év Oe Bodevte]

plot és oavida t[ov ypaypatéa TEs B]

ov€s TéAEOt TO[ic avTov. ..2.. eine]:

with the following apparatus criticus added by Hondius:

4/5 Kptoov a[vaypdyoat kai ros a]|5eAyoc Kai Aék[edov] dub. ed., Aéx[arov] dub. Wilh. || 9 suppl. Wilh., réAeou ro[is Kpioo kai Aexké)o] dub. ed. The identity and nationality of those honoured need not detain

us here, nor will I pause to discuss the supposed réAeat ro[ic avrov,

a formulation which I reject completely below. Suffice it to note that Hondius, at least, was aware that a name(s) in the genitive might be in order in v. 9. In Hesperia


Meritt treated the


restored as follows (retaining a line of 28 letters): 5

Kpioova [kai...19..... TOS|

Aedyos Kai 5€ K[wpatos ypdyoat 7p] oxoevos Kai evlepyéeras év orédet A]




[Kat év toe Bodevre]

'©For ML 87 (i? 116), see below p. 31.


again, and


Alan Henry pto. és oavida

t[ov ypapyaréa réc B]


It is ingenious, to say the least, thus at a stroke to banish Krison’s brothers and to introduce ‘Delphians and Kirrhaians’, but I suggest

that there 67) in v. avrov| is [yodyoat]

are two insuperable objections to this text: i) kat 5é (= 5 is totally unparalleled; ii) the reflexive ro[tc operépots quite unjustifiable, since the subject of the infinitive is the secretary of the Council,'’ not the honorands

themselves. Although the parameters are too wide to allow us to offer anything other than an exampli gratia restoration for the 14 available letter-spaces after to[ic, one may certainly consider the possibility of restoring one or more proper names in the genitive.'®

. relations with Aphytis: ii? 55; SEG x 67 (Hesperia 13 [1944], 211224. 2; cf. ATL Il, D 21); SEG xiii 7 (ATL IV, p. x notes 18/19), (428/7):1° Although this text has been subjected to much revision, it is at least clear (from w. 10/11) that the reference is non-reflexive: it is the secretary of the Council who is charged with the task of inscribing the record. But at whose expense? It is interesting to trace the ‘development’ in the restoration of the expenses formula: |


ii? 55: with only fragments a and b to hand, the text there is

restored to read (v. 9): r]éXeot rofic Trav ‘Ayuraiwv], a suggestion which, at the time it was made, was quite acceptable. But soon two new fragments were to hand, which dramatically altered the overall reconstruction of the document: so


SEG x 67. 10-12: Kat Td6€ 70 [WH] yroua avaypay [ac 6] ypaupyarev[s 6 THS BoANs é]

[v] ornAne NOwn[t K]a[T]adéro eu mo[Aet T]édeat To[is Tav dpKiodEr] [T]oor -

Clearly ro[is tw ‘Ayutatwr] is now no longer adequate to fill the lacuna tof... ..13......]If.]Jwv, required by the line which Meritt had established as stoichedon 50. But, once again, one would not quarrel grammatically with tov

OpK oVEV]|[T]oov.


However, in a revision of their D 21 text, the authors of ATL offered a ‘correction’ of their reading in ATL IV viz: T]é€Xeor Tol[is overépars avd]|[T] av -

17 The restoration t[ov ypayparéa réc B]lodéc is inevitable and certain. 18 What the name(s) may have been depends, of course, on how one is to restore

w. 4/5.

19 See also SEG xxiv 6.

Petrified Silence



This, of course, happens to fill the lacuna very nicely, but it

has the disadvantage of introducing the unwelcome reflexive. I suggest that for Meritt, Wade-Gery and McGregor first thoughts were better than second.

3. agreement with Mytilene:

i? 60; ATL II, D 22; SEG xiii 8 (= Meritt,

AJP 75 [1954], 361-368), (427/6).

In Meritt’s 1954 text the relevant lines (21-24) read thus: Ka avaypayp[oat tavra Toy y]_

[pa]uuaréa rec Bodes éoréder ALH{iver Kai KaTad] evar ét moet TEAEOL TOIS O[yeTepats avrov: Tad]

stoich. 38


Admittedly, this has two considerable advantages: j) it accounts

for the final sigma before the lacuna in v. 23; and ii) it fills out exactly the available space before rav]|7a, thus removing the need to

posit any uninscribed

problem of the reflexive. We is the about itself,


Yet, once again, we have the

cannot seek an alternative by assuming that the second sigma initial letter of a name in the genitive, since this is a decree Mytilene. The text offered in the Corpus therefore commends there being no difficulty in quoting parallels for the doubled

sigma in roios.?!

4. proxeny decree for an unknown person: SEG xii 41 (=Meritt, Hesperia 21 [1952], 342-351); SEG xxv 30 (= Mattingly, BCH 92 [1968] , 482-483), (ce 425-405). This fragment, found, appropriately enough, in the garden of the

American School, was restored by Meritt thus (w. 1-8): ["Edogev

rye Borne Kat Tax Shu]

[wu-...9. . émpurdvever']|/\..

[. éypapudrevev,....


stoich. 23

|anoc é[7]

[eordrer,....9....]s einev- A [..2.. ypdwat rov 2:3].ov ev ra

[¢ Bodreurnpiux év cav}id[t] mpd [Eevov kat evepyérn]v "Adnvat

[wv réXeowv Toi éav]ToMeritt assumed that the that his nationality was is unexpressed — which subject is the secretary

honorand’s name began with lambda and given in v. 5. The subject of the infinitive is not unusual — but clearly the implied of the Council, not the honorand himself.

Hence éavjzo is out of place.

AS in the i? 60 text: réAeor totos [Murivevalov, vv rad].

For the Corpus text see note 20 above. For sigma doubled before a labial cf., e.g.,

ATL Il, A 9, col. 4. 62-63 (425/4), (MiJepeos mapa]; ii? 47. 33 (in.s.iv), coos TXetoTAa,

Alan Henry


Much later Mattingly offered a revised text, assuming that A at

the end of v. 4 is an incomplete alpha,?* and making the honorand a


["Ed0gev rhe Borne Kat tax Shy] [we: Owns énpurdveve, Ge ]a[io] [cs éypauydreve, ..>.. amos é[7] [eordte,... 10 wees Js eimev- a


stoich, 23

[vaypdwat..2.. rov X]iov év rw [t BoXeuTnpicurt KTA.

but also accepting réAeow Tots éav]ro. Any




of course, take account not

only of the last letter of v. 4 (does the name begin with lambda,”? or

is this the initial letter of a[vaypawat]?), but also of the first two letters remaining in v. 8 (that is to say, we need a name with a

genitive TéXeow



in - 70). Also relevant is the ephelkustic nu in by






as I have

mentioned above, is very uncommon.”* The alternatives, therefore,

for the restoration of a name in the genitive in v. 8 would seem to

be?5 i)

reading rédeou : a 7-letter (in nominative) name in - ros or ™nS, probably beginning with lambda. If we accept Chios as the honorand’s home, one could make this fit vv. 4-5 of Meritt’s text thus

A [...7.v ypawat tov X]tov év tw ii)

reading réAeow : a 6-letter (in nominative) name in - 7os/-

™s. To accommodate this in Meritt’s text one would have to dispense with Chian nationality: A [. .7.v yoawat Tov . .Juv év Tw

5. proxeny decree for Ana-: SEG x 111 = Meritt, Hesperia 5 (1936), 381-382. 5 (415/14). Meritt offered the following text for wv. 5-10:

22 Meritt,






9, firmly

rejects this interpretation:

‘I see no

reason to accept H.B. Mattingly’s text... for lines 2-4. He must assume that a clear lambda was intended for alpha at the end of line 4 and he must posit an epsilon in the name of his alleged secretary in line 2 where only the tip of a vertical stroke is preserved. Readings which I believe correct were made by Pritchett and o3me in the original publication of 1952’. Even, conceivably, does the honorand’s name begin with alpha? But I agree with Meritt that there is little to commend Mattingly’s attempt to read A as q. See footnote 7 above. Note that neither of the alternatives would fit v. 5 of Mattingly’s proposed text.

Petrified Silence


‘Ava[ét? . 4. .]

yp Kat Tos naiéac, éne[tdn ev 71:0]



stoich. 23

[clet rev médAwW Kai ‘Ad[nvaios, a] vaypawar mpdéevo[py Kat evep|


[ylérnv ‘Adnvaiwv év [ornrAnt At] [dine ré[Aeo}{v rol]is éavro. .]

The unexpressed subject of the infinitive is the secretary of the Council. There is, therefore, no justification for To |t|¢ €avro. But the

remedy is simple: since the text breaks off after ré[Aeo]t[v ro]is,

there is nothing to prevent the restoration of, for example, Ana-’s name in the genitive.

Before I close this section, I would hasten to point out that there is ample evidence on stone of the proper usage of reflexives in comparable contexts other than publication expenses formulae: e.g. in the decree on

the Neleion (i? 94, 418/17)° we read at w. 13-14

Tov 5€ puodoodpevov Epyoar To hte

[oe ]ov ro Kddpo kai 70 Nedéos Kai rés Baoties Tots éavro TéAEOwand in a decree containing the terms of a pactio with reference to some

public property (ii? 411, c. 330) we read at w. 15-16

Koutferda[tbé...19..... ]

. TOW avtav TédEot[y] E[KaTEpov-

The Athenians certainly knew their grammar well enough.*” TYPE 3:

1éA€or Totc, + genitive of demonstrative pronoun

In cases where the reference is non-reflexive and where the genitive of

the proper name is not employed the formula is in effect saying: ‘the

secretary shall have this decree inscribed and set up at his (the recipient’s) expense’. There is thus an element both of contrast and of emphasis; contrast, since it is someone other than the state authorities who is to meet the expense, emphasis, since it is his responsibility. In a context like this, in which someone previously mentioned is later referred to emphatically, the oblique cases of the demonstrative pronoun would normally be mployed, and in attributive position:?° e.g. I am going into his (unemphatic) house: eoépxouar eis THV oik tay avrov

26F. Sokolowski, Lois sacrées des cités grecques (Ecole francaise d’Athenes: Travaux et Memoires, xviii, Paris 1969) no. 14.


a non-state

example cf. ii? 1186.

ag TUPaoKevdoas Trois abrob réA[e]|[o]}t xopovs Svo. See Schwyzer, GG ii. 207.§4.


11-12 (c. 350), a decree of the Eleusinioi:

Alan Henry

28 but

I am going into his (emphatic) house: eioépxouar eis THY ék elvov oik tay

Applying this principle to the formulation in question, one would not be

surprised to find réAeou Toic Exewvou (= ToIs Exeivov Téd€EoL), and indeed this is the probable reading in ML 94 (ii? 1) 40 (405/4): after the secretary

of the Council has been instructed to inscribe the decree in collaboration with the generals and to set it up on the acropolis at the expense of the Hellenotamiai, he is also instructed

avaypdwat 5° é¢ Da]ucr Kara tabra Té[Ne]ou [Tots Exe ]verv. Although the text is substantially restored, it is difficult to see what else could be substituted for ékéJywv. Nor indeed is there any grammatical reason to question the generally accepted restoration. 2TYPE 4:

7édeou TOIs abrov/avroav

But what of the cases, never on the stone,?? where editors have restored with the genitive of anaphoric avrov? I submit that, in such contexts, the weak, unemphatic pronoun is i) quite inadequate, since manifestly the intention is to stress the fact that the Athenians are not going to pay for the publication: Athenian generosity stops short of incurring the expenses involved in the material display of their decision; and ii) un-Greek, since the article would not be employed in such a phrase.

I proceed then to discuss in detail each text where this dubious restor-

ation has been foisted upon us:

1. relations with Aphytis:

i? 58.5-7 (c. 426):°°

76 5€ poeyto[ua T65€ avaypdayoa Tov y] paparéa Tés Bones [év order ALIiver Kal Kata] Vévat Ep TOAEL TEAE[OL TOLS AUTOV.

non stoich.

Since the text is ‘non orotx . 36-41’, there is nothing to prevent the restoration 7éAe[ou ‘Ayuraior, giving a line of 37 letters, or even

Tére[or Tov ‘Ayutaiov (40 letters). This alleged instance need not therefore detain us.

2. small


of an honorary

Wilhelm, AU IV 90-91), (c. 420).



150; SEG

x 97

In JG the text is wisely left ‘open’ (vv. 2-4):

T[o 5€ poéyropa Td5€ dvaypayoat Tov yp] apparéa T[és Bodés ev oréder AwOwer Eu mdAEt T]

stoich. 38

1 gPossible exceptions to this categorical denial are dealt with below (pp. 29-31).

°For the date see SEG x 74.

Petrified Silence


édeot To[ic ....... 16.000... eine - Ta. uev dAda] Wilhelm,*' however, assuming (with great likelihood) a line of 31 letters, offers:

dvaypdpoat Tov yp] apuaréa Tec Bor€s ev orédet éu mddEt T]

éeot To[is aura. .. >. . eime- Ta ev Adda]

In order to remove the offending avro we have, I think, two avenues of approach: i) read the genitive of a name: certainly one’s room for onomastic manoeuvre is severely limited, but by no means

impossible. One could read (exempli gratia only)

TléXeo Tolis “Iovos - Adov eine >? And if. anyone be tempted to ridicule the unlikely jingle Ion-Leon, let him not be unaware that such fortuitous configurations do in fact occur in the real world far away from the hypothetical plane of epigraphical restoration. In the classical sphere one has only to point to “Owen’s Jon”; and John Bishop himself, a keen follower of cricket since his days at Lancing as a classmate of Trevor Bailey, would, I have no doubt, be the first to supply the truly incredible (but

actual) “Lillee, caught Willey, bowled Dilley”.°?

read éxévo. Hence (again exempli gratia)

ii) or, perhaps,

T|l€Xeor rolics Exévo: Aéov eine-

. fragmentary decree for unknown proxenos: The text of w. 3-6 reads


ii? 54 (ante 387/6).>*

avaypawat avr lov npdkev [ov Kat evepyernv ‘Ad |nvatwv Trédre [ou Tots avro éu TOA Jet €v ornANt Ar [wine tov ypaupalréa rns BoARs -

stoich. 26

To remove the anomaly here we need a name which occupies only four letter-spaces in the genitive. If one assumes a genitive in -o0 (for ~ ov), candidates are not hard to find (eg. Awpo, Duo, 2 woo).

It is clear, therefore, that these three alleged instances of réXeot ToIc


can be eliminated


difficulty. But even a single

31 Withelm in particular seems to have favoured expressions of this type: cf., e.g., 422. 12 (350-300), where, in an enktesis grant, he wanted to read xa} éx]ydvouc rods [abrod (see Pecirka, 76 note 1).

32 33

I owe to Mr. A.G. Woodhead the convenient three-lettered Ion.

Fourth day, first Test, Australia vs. England, Perth, Australia, December 18, 1979. (For another fascinating cricketing jingle, cf. ‘caught Knott, bowled Old’). I have retained the dating of the Corpus here, on the basis of éu mdéAjec restored in

v. 5. I shall publish a paper elsewhere arguing against Dinsmoor’s attempt (AJA


[1932], 157-160) to show that éu méAec occurs as late as 375. (Note, however,

that our text is very fragmentary and heavily restored).


Alan Henry

example of the formulation on the stone would be enough to destroy my thesis. Prima facie, such an example is to be found, but a closer examination of the document will show that here too the phenomenon is illusory.

The text in question is a proxeny decree: i* 23 + 30 (SEG x 20 = Hesperia 16 (1947), 79-81. 2 (c. 450/49). The join between i? 23 and 30 had been





he and Loughran in Hesperia

presented the following text for w. 13-15:°°


[. 4. .- ho 5é ypauparevs ho Tés BoX€s dvaypdyoas 76 yo] stoich.42

[E]yproua z[ode €oréder Awe katadero eu modet TEA] 15 €or Tots [avrov- énawéoat yev Kal KTH. ]

They interpreted the decree as one in honour of two men, Athenodoros and Hikesios, ambassadors from the Hellespontine state of Parion. The problem is the same as in our three previous cases. With the above text, since the rest of v. 15 is entirely missing, it would have been possible to suggest an alternative restoration avoiding avrov: e.g. Eau TOS [Ek evov - Enaweoat b€ Kat K7X.]

or Eat Tots ['Ikeow: énawéoa 5é Kal KTA.] However, the solution may not be so simple, for Michael Walbank?®

now claims to be able to read on the stone eat trois adr[.>” He anticipates a suspicious reaction to his new readings by pointing out that Raubitschek and Loughran did not have the opportunity for autopsy of

the stone: they were working from squeezes alone.2®> How then do we circumvent this apparently serious obstacle?

An appeal to Plate 61 of Walbank’s article is obviously inadequate to settle the point, for it is quite impossible from the otherwise excellent photograph to draw any confident conclusion about the readings at the broken right-hand edge of the stone in v. 15. At my request, however, Dr. Eugene Lane has kindly re-examined the stone in the Epigraphical Museum, and he informs me, per epistolam that, in his opinion, all that

35Note that v. 15 of their text = v. 3 of i? 23. In IG. 36 different, as is the assumed length of line. Hesperia 42 (1973), 334-339.

Although Walbank does not comment

the restorations are entirely

on his restoration of the singular adr[6],

no doubt his different overall reconstruction of the document — he sees it as a decree for a man called Parianos and his two sons, Athenodoros and Ikesios — is the reason. avr[{6] will refer to the father Parianos. (Note, incidentally, that Walbank does not aspirate the name of the second son. This is probably correct,

381% the aspirate seems to be expressed in the text).

Yet, as we all know, squeezes, if anything, often reveal traces which the eye cannot see on the stone itself. Since the two earlier editors clearly wanted to read

ayr-, it would be surprising if they had not reported any traces which supported their interpretation.

Petrified Silence


can be read is eot rois.°? I come now to the last of the texts I wish to discuss, a document in which we do find the letters*® AYTON on the stone after réNeot Toic.

This is the ratification of a treaty with Selymbria, i? 116 + = ML 87 (408/ 7). It is important to see the phrase here in its full context (vv. 31-36): "AA|x B[tddes] cites kada youvédevto Le [Avy |Boca[v ot mp[dc "Ad Jevaioc, kara ravra noe, kal Katavdévat év [1A Jet dvaypdpoavras TO0T


[p Jaré(yoc [T]as ovvde[K Jac ueTa 76 ypapyaréos T

[és] Bodéc ......18...0000... ] év ordder Ad

[v]ec TEAE€L ToOLs avTOV Kai TO poé propa Td5E.

We notice that here the responsibility for inscribing the agreement and

setting it up on the acropolis is entrusted to the generals (rdorT|[p Jare(y) 6c) in collaboration with the secretary of the Council (werd 76 ypauparéos Tiles] Bodés: they (the generals) are thus the subject of Karavevat.

Curiously enough, Meiggs and Lewis comment (p. 269):

‘An Athenian

decree, proposed by Alcibiades in 407, ratifies the settlement . . ., orders its publication, apparently at the generals’ expense’ (my italics), yet they

refrain from printing the reflexive thus demanded: ré\eot Trois adrov. Once the reflexive is accepted the difficulty ceases to exist.

There can be no objection to reading abdrov on the ground that on this

stone the aspirate is represented by H (as in wv. 8, 27 and 29 bis), for the practice is quite inconsistent: thus in v. 25 we have drt; 28, oi; 38, duepeas; and 39, due[p]ov. There is therefore no reason in principle why

we should not have avrov at v. 36.*! Nor

should the erasure

in v. 35 detain us.*? If we read [Kai 76

yoépioua Td5¢]] with Meritt,** we recognize a simple dittography which

has been remedied by the direct expedient of erasure. If, on the other

hand, we read [kai r6v LedupBpravov] with Wilhelm,** then it is just conceivable, as Meiggs and Lewis note (p. 269), that ‘it could have been

intended that the Selymbrians should pay’.*® But I would still urge the reading 7éAeau rots abrov, with a direct reflexive reference to the generals.

391 am extremely grateful to Dr. Lane for taking the time and trouble to check this reading for me. He writes ‘abr- is definitely not there. As a matter of fact, there is 40% big chip where it is alleged to be’. 4 iu emphasize the letters AYTON, as opposed to the word avroév. Meiggs and Lewis (p. 267) describe the text thus: ‘Attic writing, with frequent lapses into Ionic (...H = n five times, with three other occasions where it is corrected toE...)’. As Meiggs and Lewis note (p. 268), the erasure is clear on the stone. It is not simply a question of a lacuna (pace Wilhelm).

> Hesperia 10 (1941), 327-328 (see SEG x 132). With double brackets, of course.

Perhaps it would have been more accurate to say ‘should contribute to the costs’.

Alan Henry


Ill. CONCLUSION From the evidence of the stones quoted above I draw the following conclusions:

1. that the commonest way of indicating that the recipient was to pay for the stele himself was by the formula réAeor Trois + name in genitive

2. a) that where

a reflexive is grammatically justified, this may

employed (as in the Brea decree)


b) on the other hand, 7éAeot Trois éavrov (vel sim.) should (and need never be imported into texts where the reference is non-reflexive 3. réXeou Tos + genitive of demonstrative possible but seems rarely to occur


is theoretically

4. réXeou Tos avtov/abrwv is a pure fiction of misguided and misin-

formed restorative ingenuity .*°

467 wish to acknowledge helpful comments and criticisms from Sir Kenneth Dover and Mr. A.G. Woodhead. Neither, however, should be held to be implicated in the heresies here propounded. I am also indebted to my wife for discussion of the general principles involved in this paper.

In the writing of this paper I was, unfortunately, unable to make use of Michael

Walbank’s Athenian Proxenies of the Fifth Century B.C. (Toronto and Sarasota 1978), or of the forthcoming third edition of Vol. I of the Corpus. The reader may, however, find the following comparationes numerorum useful: —




14/15 16 23+30 32 39 45 56 _ _ 58 60 16 94 108 116 126 150 _ 171

37 10 18 17 40 46 156 155 56 63 66 78 84 101 118 127 170 95 198

47 31 _ _ 52 49 _ _ _ _ 73 _ 89 87 94 _ _

Walbank _ _ 12 ~ _ _ 22 24 33 _ _ _ _ _ ~ _ 54 69 _


Petrified Silence






1 6 17 55

127 _ _ 62

96 98 _

94 _ _

_ 61 78

Human and Divine in Euripides’ Heracles KEVIN LEE

Those who regard literary criticism, and in particular the criticism of

dramatic literature, as mere subjective humbug or at best, a futile exercise,

will find plenty to confirm their views in the recent criticism of Euripides’ Heracles. Even to those committed to the task of making sense of ancient

drama it can scarcely be comforting to discover that the same play which has seemed to one sensitive critic “a monster, a chaos, a grotesque

abortion’ has been described reverently by another as ‘the perfect piece’.' In the hope that I will neither confirm the cynicism of the one group nor add to the discomfort of the other, I propose in this paper to discuss some features of this enigmatic drama. Most of my space will be spent considering the peculiar structure of the play and the supposed weakness of its first part. These observations will then be related to the question of the role of the gods in the play and, in particular, to the interpretation of the notoriously difficult passage 11.1 340ff. We can start from the consensus, now almost general, that it is not possible to make the tragedy please Aristotle.” In order to create a play involving a development in plot consistent with the demands of necessity or probability, some have turned Heracles into a megalomaniac or even an epileptic whose insane murder is a manifestation of psycho-somatic defects present latently from the start. But these views do violence to the text and/or turn the tragedy into a complicated form of case-history.*? Even the For

references see J.C. Kamerbeek,

‘Unity and Meaning of Euripides’ Heracles’,

Mnemosyne 19 (1966), 1. For reviews of recent work on the play see H. Rohdich, Die euripideische Tragddie (Heidelberg 1968), 71ff., and M. Schwinge, Die










Tubingen 1972), 7ff. (hereafter Schwinge). See Schwinge, loc. cit.. and W. Arrowsmith, The Complete Greek Tragedies ed. Grene & Lattimore: vol. II Euripides (Chicago 1956),45 (hereafter Arrowsmith). As is shown in Schwinge’s review of recent work, there have been several attempts, more or less successful, to find in the drama themes which confer on it a unity

different from that required by Aristotle. For

a concise

Herakles? within


of the


first advanced




[Berlin 1895], 128), that the cause of Heracles’ madness is to be located


see E. Kroeker, Der Herakles des Euripides




116ff. E.M. Blaiklock’s diagnosis of Heracles as an epileptic (The Male Characters of Euripides [Wellington 1952], 122ff.) has found little support. See most recently J. Gregory, ‘Euripides’ Heracles’,


(1977), 268. I discuss below A.P. Burnett’s

attempt to find in the two halves of the play ‘positive ethical links that establish something very like a causal sequence between them’ (Catastrophe Survived {Oxford 1971], 159 [hereafter Burnett]).


Human and Divine in Euripides’ Heracles


admission that the play lacks an Aristotelian coherence leaves room for

doubt, since scholars cannot agree whether the play has two or three parts. The matter is of more than numerical importance, hence the need to argue

the view that we are concerned with only two separate actions: the first action comprises the threat to the family of Heracles posed by Lycus, the unexpected arrival of the hero, and his subsequent rescue of his philoi from

the tyrant whom

he then kills; the second action deals with Heracles’

deranged attack on his family, the despair he feels as a consequence, and the sudden appearance of Theseus, whose offer of a home and possessions in Athens allows Heracles to decide against suicide. Between, and literally

above (cf. 1.817, 874), these two actions — whose parallelism is obvious even from an outline* — stands the short scene involving the deities Iris

and Lyssa who, as the agent of Hera, will cause Heracles’ madness. This scene, often compared with an extra-dramatic prologue,> marks an interlude, as our attention is diverted away from the human action to the supernatural forces which will shortly impinge upon it.° During the dialogue of Iris and Lyssa dramatic time comes, in a sense, to a halt, since the contemporaneous actions of Heracles and his family inside the palace do not become part of the drama until we hear of them from the Messenger in 11.922ff. As will be shown in more detail below, the ‘broken-backed’ nature of the play of which Murray’ complains should be seen not as a flaw, but as the consequence of the extraordinary dramatic weight given to this scene through its isolation from the rest of the drama. The divine epiphany is made to connect the two parts of the drama in a way which breaks all the rules, precisely because it is the breaking of the rules which Euripides wants to dramatize. Any tidy cause and effect connection would be incompatible with the unique form of

disorder which underpins this play.®

Before going on I must consider briefly the alternative view, that the play involves three actions, i.e. that there is a structural break either before Heracles’ recovery from madness (1.1088),? or before the intervention of

Theseus (1.1153).’° Against this view is the point that Heracles’ gradually

increasing awareness of what he has done and of the meaning of what he sees around him only makes sense in the light of the foregoing action described to the chorus by the Messenger. Heracles’ return to sanity is of

*For a discussion of the parallelism between the two parts of the play see Schwinge, ; 126ff., and Arrowsmith, 51ff.

Cf. Kroeker, op. cit. (n.3), 59; D.W. Lucas, The Greek Tragic Poets” (London 61959), 215; G. Norwood, Essays on Euripidean Drama (London 1954), 46. Cf. G.K. Galinsky, The Heracles Theme (Oxford 1972), 58; A Lesky, Die Tragische

=Pichtung der Hellenen? (Gottingen 1972), 379. Greek Studies (Oxford 1946), 112.

A positive approach to the play’s supposedly defective structure has, of course, been recommended by others. Cf. Schwinge, 14f.; Arrowsmith, 46. 9 Cf. H.H.O. Chalk, ‘APETH and BIA in Euripides’ Heracles’, JHS 82 (1962) 7; Kamerbeek, Mnemosyne 19 (1966), 3f. 10 Cf. H.D.F. Kitto, Greek Tragedy? (London 1961), 237; G.M.A. Grube, The Drama of Euripides (London 1941), 85.


Kevin Lee

no interest in itself; its tragic dimension lies in the fact that it allows the

convergence of his actions and his own consciousness of them. Again, the entrance of Theseus does, of course, mark a major turning point, but it derives its significance from the preceding scene depicting the suicidal despair of Heracles.'! Furthermore, to argue ad absurdum, those who see the Theseus-scene as distinct must allow for a four-part play, since there is a break before the return of Heracles from Hades (1.514) of precisely the same thematic and formal character as that before the entrance of Theseus. There are two further considerations which tell against a

tripartite account

of the play’s structure.

First, it dislodges from its

central, pivotal position the Iris-Lyssa scene; secondly and conversely, it gives to the role of Theseus an exaggerated importance which has led in turn to the unwarranted optimism which some have found at the play’s end. Having discussed the structure of the play in these broad terms I can

now turn to a more detailed examination of its two parts and of the play’s meaning as a whole.

A major obstacle to the proper understanding of the play lies devaluation and misinterpretation of the opening scenes up to the the second stasimon (1.700). This part of the play has prompted negatives: its theme is conventional, its characters are wooden, it is

in the end of many devoid

of any real conflict; it is, in short, dramatically feeble.'* Very recently

W.G. Arnott, who recognises that such incompetence must, even for Euripides, be deliberate, has put the extreme view that the opening section of the play is ‘Euripides’ mightiest red herring’.13 These incomparably weak scenes are included of set purpose, Arnott believes, namely to ‘turn the next 350 lines into a caustic series of savage shocks’ (p. 11). Euripides took here a calculated risk since ‘judges in the Theatre of Dionysus might easily be stampeded by the horrific vigour of the Heracles’ middle section and the chauvinistic glorification of Theseus at the end of the play into ignoring, if they had not already forgotten, the play’s beginning’ (p. 12). Now even a priori this is unconvincing. The physical conditions under which their plays were produced forced ancient dramatists to have a high regard for economy, and it is unlikely that Euripides would have been prepared to throw away one half of a play in order to magnify the effect of the other half. An even stronger objection to Arnott’s view is the fact that an ample portion of this red herring was not caught in the sea of myth, but was of Euripides’ own concoction. I refer to the story of Lycus’ seizure of the throne of Thebes and threat to

11 Burnett seems to acknowledge this, since she wants Heracles’ speech in 1.1146-62 to belong not only to part II but also to part III because ‘it describes the despair of its isolated principal’ (p. 173). But how can the speech as the expression of , Heracles’ despair be detached from the preceding stichomythia? Cf. Kitto, Greek Tragedy, 239ff.; Galinsky, The Heracles Theme, 57ff.; V. Ehren13 PCtB: Aspects of the Ancient World (Oxford 1946), 158f.; Arrowsmith, 48f.

‘Red Herrings and Other Baits’, MPhL 3 (1978), 1ff. Cf. p. 14.

Human and Divine in Euripides’ Heracles


the lives of Heracles’ family, and to the placing of Heracles’ labours before,

not after, the death of his children.'* Are these startling innovations likely to have lulled the audience into a false sense of boredom?

But Arnott is, I think, right in trying to assign some positive purpose to these opening scenes. A more probable one may emerge from the answer to two questions: (a) what aim underlies the treatment of the characters involved;




in fact,


threatened suppliants eventually rescued?






The first mistake made in regard to the characters is that their situation

is wrongly compared with superficially similar situations of conflict in plays like Andromache, Orestes, or even Antigone. The second mistake is that, having been found to behave in a manner inappropriate to these situations, they are then contrasted unfavourably with characters in those

plays.!> But, as is clear from a less facile comparison, between the situa-

tions found in the other plays and the one we are examining there are essential differences, which are linked interdependently with the characters given to those involved. In the Heracles the suppliants and their pursuer are seen at odds not over the issue which has led to the extreme

situation which we see on the stage (contrast the Andromache where the

first episode is dominated by a continuation of the quarrel over the ménage a trois which led to the threat on the life of Andromache and her child), but over the separate point, the possible return of Heracles. This is, of course, an absolutely decisive issue but it has no bearing on the rights and wrongs of the present situation, and it is an issue which does not even divide the suppliants from their pursuer. Euripides emphasises this by making Amphitryon disagree with Megara, who shares Lycus’ conviction that Heracles has crossed the boundary between life and death once and

for all.’° It is quite natural, then, that little heat is generated in the

dialogue between the two parties and that Lycus be presented in such black and white terms. He simply has no case to answer and, certain of Heracles’ demise, he has nothing to fear from men while the gods are, for the moment, kept in an irrelevant background. Nor is there any place

for qualms about his course of action, grounded as it is in the tyrant’s

quite reasonable obedience to the demands of expediency.!’ The nearest we come to an agon between pursuer and pursued is the curious debate on the relative standing and efficacy of the bow and the spear (1l.157ff.l1.188ff.). The disproportionate elaboration of this debate is hard to explain without recourse to extra-dramatic factors, but in essence it is quite

1406. 16






Literatur (Munich 1940), I, 3, 432ff. Cf. Kitto, Greek Tragedy, 239ff.; Arnott, MPhL 3 (1978), 8.

der griechischen

Burnett, 160, points out that such a disagreement between characters in these circumstances is remarkable. I cannot, however, agree with her that the central ' , issue of the debate is whether they should leave sanctuary. Cf. Grube, Drama of Euripides, 247.


Kevin Lee

at home in its dramatic context.'® In another play such a debate might

bring into sharp conflict the claims of the suppliants and the ambitions of their assailant.'? Here the discussion of Heracles’ credentials and of what we can call his badge of courage?° is meant to ensure that we continue to relate the interests of those present to the strengths and weaknesses of the absent hero. The hero returns at last in 1.523. To Arnott it is surprising that ‘even this event does not raise the temperature as dramatically as one would have expected.’*' But why surprising rather than entirely consistent with what has gone before? It has been impressed on us that all will turn on the arrival or continuing absence of Heracles. This has been the only topic which has merited real discussion and when all parties finally agree that his return is out of the question the overwhelming significance of this is reflected in the unimportance of the matters left for settlement: the order in which the deaths should occur and the acquisition of funeral garments

(11.321ff.). Now that Heracles has unexpectedly returned, the audience will naturally take the rescue of his family and the death of Lycus for granted. It cannot be surprising that this straightforward inference is productive of little dramatic tension. As if to stress that the issue is already settled, Euripides allows for no meeting of the principals concerned. Contrast

Peleus’ altercation with Menelaus when he rescues Andromache and her

child (And. 577ff.) and the argument between Theseus and the Kerux in Euripides’ Supp. 399ff. But here the matter admits of no weighing of opposing claims. Once he is apprised of the situation, Heracles’ first action is to tear from his family the garments of death (11.5 62ff.). We are encouraged to feel that he will carry out the converse action, vengeance on their would-be murderer, with equal single-mindedness. And in fact the act of vengeance follows swiftly and is treated with remarkable brevity. Within thirty lines the chorus leaves the off-stage action behind it and then, without the intervention of any report from within, sings an ode in

celebration of the restoration of order and Heracles the kallinikos. The

short shrift given Lycus might surprise scholars who would remember developments following the persecution in similar circumstances of Clytemnestra in Electra and Plymestor in Hecuba. But would the audience have expected to hear more of Lycus when the first 700 lines of the play

18 oF. Wilamowitz, Herakles, 139, and the nice judgement of G. Zuntz, ‘Contemporary Politics in the Plays of Euripides’, now in Opuscula Selecta (Manchester 1972), S4ff. (See p. 60). In keeping with his view that Euripides’ original conception of

the play ended with 1. 814 is J. Carriere’s idea that the debate is a later insertion designed to create an artificial link with the details in the Messenger’s speech in the ‘second’ play. See L'Information Litteraire 19 (1967), 72. The results of J.




d’Euripide’, Miscellanea





Tragica in honorem J.C. Kamberbeek,

19 Ruiigh (Amsterdam 1976), 125ff., are fatal to Carriere’s analysis. oct And. 155ff., 319ff. On




21 (1962), 14. MPhL 3 (1978), 8.


as the


of Heracles’




ed. Bremer, Radt,





Human and Divine in Euripides’ Heracles


have shown them that his dramatic existence is a negative which can have no meaning once Heracles has returned??? To sum up this discussion: the opening scenes of the play present us with characters and a situation with vitality sufficient to ensure that

Heracles is at the centre of this dramatic world. Had Euripides given

Amphitryon, Megara and Lycus less individuality, he would have diluted our interest in the struggle of which Heracles was the final arbiter. Had he made them more engaging, he would have risked prolonging our interest in their concerns instead of procuring by means of Heracles’ uniquely

efficacious role a state of equilibrium before the play is half finished.**

I can now deal with the chasge that the first part of the play is a clicheridden and conventional treatment of the theme of suppliants rescued. Burnett has shown this to be the reverse of the truth. She speaks, in fact,

of a ‘drama of non-suppliants’ (p. 165) and points to the far from normal

behaviour of those leave sanctuary, not a decision taken by we constantly hear

concerned. Megara and Amphitryon are prepared to as a result of trickery or force, but in consequence of themselves. Unlike other suppliants, from whose lips the name of Zeus, Megara in particular is alienated

from the divine; her only prayer is addressed to the ghost of Heracles (cf. p. 161 and n.). The suppliants’ saviour too does not behave true to type, for instead of leaving the punishment of the pursuer to the wrath of Zeus Soter or the authority of the state, he dispatches Lycus himself (cf. p. 165). The abnormalities pointed out by Bumett are, I think, real and important. But her view of what they signify is untenable. She believes that we are meant to condemn, or at least have grave misgivings about, this behaviour and that we are therefore not surprised when these abnormal suppliants and their equally abnormal champion are punished by

the gods (cf. pp. 166f., 171). But if this is the poet’s intention, why has he been so ungenerous in the provision of signposts directing the moral judgements of the audience? Those detected by Bumett are far from

unambiguous.** Thus, for example, she describes Amphitryon and Megara

critically as people who ‘willingly divest themselves of all their supernatural force and choose to die as the ordinary secular victims’ of Lycus (p. 161). But can we condemn this decision made in the face of death by fire after a long period of deprivation from food and shelter? The clear motive given for it is that the suppliants cannot disgrace the name of Heracles (Il.285ff.), and we are not encouraged to reject this as misguided. Burnett’s charge that Megara ‘defies an ancient nomos and breaks faith with Zeus, in order to procure for them all a few articles of clothing’ (p. 162) is a misinterpretation of a device whose purpose is chiefly

5g Or the contrary view see Arnott, MPhL 3 (1978), 10.

sacl Kroeker, op. cit. (n. 3), 58f. For a critique of Burnett’s approach see B.M.W. Knox in CPh 67 (1972), 276ff. Knox even denies, wrongly in my view, the aberrations from the normal suppliant

plot detected by Burnett.


Kevin Lee

dramaturgical.?> Euripides dresses the family of Heracles in black in order

to express visually their resignation to death. When Heracles returns to the world of light his sense of relief receives an immediate jolt from the mere sight of the nether darkness which surrounds his family (11.525ff.). It is this effective contrast, not the trivialisation of Megara’s motives, which accounts for Euripides’ introduction of the need for funeral garments. The reason for the unconventional attitude and behaviour in the opening scenes is not, then, to cast a moral shadow over the proceedings, but to give to the person and actions of Heracles a dominant and even exclusive importance. It is the conviction that this more than human being will not return which justifies the abandonment of sanctuary. It is her belief in his more than human power which allows Megara to say to the children after his entrance: ‘to you this man in no way takes second place to Zeus Soter’ (1l.521f.). This is not rhetorical exaggeration but a statement of the facts as she sees them. Given the status which has been

accorded the hero it would be intolerably tame if, as normally happens.

the vengeance on Lycus were left in the hands of others. We see instead in the immediate death of Lycus the natural climax of the self-sufficiency on which all has depended from the beginning.

It is important to note here that, just as before Heracles’ arrival Zeus is ignored or mentioned only because he seems inert, so too after his return the dialogue is no more metaphysical and Heracles’ determination on revenge springs from an entirely secular outlook. The threat to his philoi makes nonsense of his labours. How can he expect to win glory from them

if his family is persecuted with impunity in his absence (11.575ff.)? In the last words he speaks before leaving to wait for Lycus, divine retribution is

given no mention and, even more startlingly, there is no appeal for assist-

ance from above.”® After a stasimon (11.637ff.) which extols the efficacy

of youthful strength and firmly rejects the gods’ senseless organisation of human affairs, Amphitryon guides Lycus to his death inside. Even the old man has had his awareness of the divine numbed by the prospect of seeing Lycus suffer for his crimes.

We can now return to the question raised on pp. 36ff. above: what is

the purpose served by- the opening scenes of the play, remarkable in so

many ways? From the foregoing analysis a twofold aim emerges. First, to give to Heracles a status of singular importance. As long as his continued absence was thought certain, further resistance to Lycus was pointless; as soon as he returns, there remains no shadow of doubt that good and justice will prevail. The second aim is the creation of a dramatic world which has little or no sense of the divine. The first part of the play is deliberately organised in a way which excludes the gods. The characters move between the extremes of despair and satisfaction with no 25 Burnett finds support for her idea in Lycus’ words od yd8ovw rénxdwr (1. 333). But

this statement characterises the mock generosity of the tyrant, not the attitude of


2©CE£. Or. 124 2ff.; Antiope fr. XLVIII (Kambitsis), 10ff.; Soph. El. 1376ff.

Human and Divine in Euripides’ Heracles


interference from, and with little reference to, the supernatural. After the

tyrant is slain and the rightful ruler is restored to the throne, we are reminded, it is true, by the chorus that Lycus’ death is a witness to the god’s interest in the fate of the wicked (cf. 11.757, 773, 813f.). But these statements are not included as a corrective to the secularism of the preceding scenes. They are meant to create momentarily, for the sake of contrast, an illusion which will shortly be destroyed.?” The statement which reflects and emphasises the mood of the play’s first part is made in ll. 805f.: ‘a brilliant light has been thrown by time on the saving power of Heracles.’ The divine contribution to the present happy situation pales beside this.

It is in the midst of this emphatically human situation that Euripides

places his most remarkable divine epiphany. Nowhere else, with the possible exception of the Rhesus, does he allow his gods to enter a play

save at its extremes;”® in no other case do we find two supernatural

visitants at odds over their purpose. Clearly this divine visitation is meant to be arresting and has little in common with the business-like speeches which tidy up the ends of other plays. Here the gods bring about a catastrophe in the strict sense. The order which was celebrated in the third stasimon is thrown into confusion and the hero who effected it is destroyed. The agent of the destruction is the hero himself who, in the delusion that he is killing the children of his former master Eurystheus, kills his own philoi (U.970f.). Any attempt to see justice in this mindless slaughter fails. It is true that the gods with their usual tact make his own strength and inclination to violence (cf. the worryingly impassioned tone of 11.565ff.) the instrument of Heracles’ fall, but we cannot erect on this basis a theory of hamartia.? It is noteworthy that Euripides himself invites us to ask the question ‘why?’ by making Lyssa ask it (11.84 6ff.); he invites us to consider the question of justice by making Iris introduce the term in 1.842. Heracles must 5ixnv Sovvar — but the genitive we expect is lacking. To name the crime in ordinary language would be to beg the question. If he does not pay the penalty ‘the gods will be nowhere and mortal things will be great’ (11.841f.) — the statement is sufficient charge for Hera. The surge of divine power felt in the midst of the play quickly subsides and Heracles recovers his senses. The extent of his ruin is revealed in an

expressive gesture. In shame at the arrival of Theseus he covers his head.

This is not simply to save his friend from pollution, but to flee from the light (1.1231). The former greatness which brought him back from the nether world, the former pride which made him reject so violently the signs of attachment to that world worn by his family are gone and he now assumes the mantle of darkness himself. The coming of his friend Theseus allows Heracles to salvage from this wreckage at least his existence and he

eck: Kamerbeek, Mnemosyne

19 (1966), 8; Kitto, Greek Tragedy, 245, n. 2.

Cf. the discussion of W. Ritchie, The Authenticity of the Rhesus of Euripides

29 (Cambridge 1964), 120ff.

Cf. Chalk, JHS 82 (1962), 15f.


Kevin Lee

determines to face the struggle with a life of shame and misery (ll. 1351f.).3° The positive value of true philia is, of course, an important theme in this final scene, but the exaggeration of its salutary effect on Heracles’ condition by some scholars has muted the harsh notes of the play’s tragic close. We cannot, I think, compare Theseus to a deus ex machina,*' nor

can we speak of Heracles’ determination to face life as a ‘triumph’ or

‘final victory’.*? The decision to live is made not for positive reasons, but to avoid the charge of cowardice and in the conviction that he who is unequal to the vicissitudes of fortune will be no match for the assaults of men (11.1348ff.). The benefits of friendship are largely material and do not impinge on the substance of Heracles’ fate. This is revealed in 11.1406ff. when Heracles, instead of looking ahead to the brave new world of Athens, turns back to his father and dead children. When he is chided by Theseus for being womanish and unlike the Heracles of old, he is not chastened, but asks the trenchant question; ‘And you, what sort of man were you

surrounded by misery in the lower world?’ (1.1415). The end of the play

is, then, very far from a victory.°? It is, however, an assertion of the best man can do for himself in an hostile environment where he is threatened by powers as unpredictable as they are amoral. The preceding pages have shown that the first part of the play moved on an almost totally human plane; the second part is no different. To begin with, the gods were pushed

into the background as superfluous; man, in the person of Heracles, had

in his own hands the power to effect a change from evil to good. Now the gods are equally irrelevant because they operate in terms of values foreign to the understanding of man. ‘Who could pray to such a goddess?’ asks Heracles (11.1307f.), in utter bewilderment at Hera’s behaviour. In suggesting that the two parts of the play are set in similar worlds,[ am denying in particular the validity of Arrowsmith’s view that ‘the whole play exhibits as though on two plateaus, a conversion of reality’ (p. 50). The new reality is one in which the characters and chorus ‘discover both courage and hope in the community of weakness and love’ (p. 54). The evidence for this radical change in outlook is insubstantial and is, I


ruled out by two

brief but significant passages. In 11.1378ff.

Heracles rejects his inclination to leave behind the weapons with which he slew his wife and children. Instead he will keep them, the mark of his former exploits, though they cause him pain. He then asks Theseus to assist him in taking Cerberus to Argos. How does any ‘conversion of reality’ theory square with this passage in which the hero, far from

3° Arguments in favour of the traditional text ¢yxaprepjjow Ydvarov (cf. Schwinge,

174, and Arrowsmith, 58f.) have not convinced me that S8dvarov is not a ‘correction’ of the true reading Biorov (so Wilamowitz, Herakles, ad loc.). op. cit. (n. 14), I, 3, 444; Norwood, Essays, 21. Cf. D.J. Conacher, Euripidean Drama (London 1967), 86, 88. See the instructive remarks of Burnett, 180. There is little evidence for the silver

31 Cf. Schmid-Stahlin, 32






the spectator


finds in a ‘fourth action of divine


after the play

is over.

salvation’ (p. 182)

Cf. Knox,




Human and Divine in Euripides’ Heracles


rejecting the old world of his labours, very deliberately clings to it. It is also noteworthy that in the exchange of 11.1410f. Heracles’ labours are used, just as they were in Il.575Sff., as a standard for evaluating present action. In the first part of the play the glory of the labours was seen as nothing beside the shame accruing from the wretched state of his family. Here it is the misery he feels as their slayer which obliterates the memory of the pain and suffering occasioned by the movow. But this is not to say that the reality of his labours is lost on him or that his world is in some sense ‘converted’. It is rather the case that his recent experiences make him realize what was true all along: that the Heracles celebrated in the first

stasimon is separated from the tragic figure who finally leaves the stage by

the finest of margins. It is not reality, then, but the characters’ apprehension of it which has changed, and this has led not to hope but to

the bitter awareness of their error. ‘Foolish the man who prefers to acquire

wealth or might rather than good friends.’ This noble sentiment spoken by

Heracles at the end of the play (11.1425f.), although it rejects the attributes

whose role was regarded as decisive earlier, nevertheless shares with the first part of the play the assessment of reality in purely human terms. At the end of the play’s first action it was felt that man had brought about a state of order in which justice prevails. At the end of the second action it is man once again who provides some solution, however limited, to the seemingly overwhelming troubles which threaten his existence. There is, however, a key difference: between the two actions the power of the divine has made itself felt. This brings us to the question of the meaning of the role assigned to the gods in the drama. But before broaching this

topic we need first to consider the meaning of 11.1340ff.

The context is this: Theseus, on finding Heracles in despair at the shame of his actions, attempts to comfort him with the reminder that even the gods are affected by such misfortunes. They have committed all sorts of crimes but are prepared to put up with having done wrong. How can he, a mortal, refuse to do the same? Theseus then offers Heracles a home and other favours in Athens. Heracles replies with the words in question (Murray’s text): oiuou: mMapepya * 34 Ah, all this has no bearing on my grief;

but I do not believe the gods commit adultery, or bind each other in chains. I never did believe it; I never shall;


nor that one god is tyrant of the rest. If god is truly god, he is perfect, 1345 lacking nothing. These are poets’ wretched lies. (Arrowsmith)




Kevin Lee

Heracles thus seems to deny to the gods the type of behaviour to which he owes not only his present misery, but his very existence. The problem has been discussed most recently by A.L. Brown.** Brown’s conclusion, unless I have misunderstood him, is disappointing because it is essentially a restatement of the view advanced by Greenwood

nearly thirty years ago.*© These words, he believes, are extra-dramatic and

belong not to Heracles but to Euripides who informs the audience that his own


of the


is very

different from

that postulated

by the

mythical framework of the play (pp. 24f.). Brown rightly emphasises that

the personal beliefs of a dramatist and any supernatural premisses implicit in his play need not coincide for the play to ‘work’. To use his own example, Thunder and Lightning. Enter Three Witches tells us nothing about the existence or nature of witches (p. 25). But the analogy does not go far enough. The procedure which Brown, Greenwood and others?” attribute to Euripides would be paralleled if we found Macbeth musing

silently after his interview with the witches and then saying to Banquo: ‘Very interesting. What a pity I don’t believe in this sort of thing.’ If Euripides has done this, then he has deprived his play of any real meaning

and has made of it, as Greenwood said, a fantasy .°® In order to avoid this

unfortunate conclusion Brown suggests that we can leave Euripides’ personal credo on one side and see in the drama ‘his own vision of the

uncertainties and futilities of human life’ (p. 28). But this will not do,

since in this, of all plays, it is the susceptibility of the human condition to divine interference which is exposed. It is the contact, however fleeting, between the two spheres which is productive of the futilities and uncertainties here dramatised. Unless, then, we are prepared, as Lesky is, to see the play as an amalgam of ‘zwei Dramen mit sehr verschiedenen Voraussetzungen’,°? 11.1340ff. must mean something different. It may be that the meaning of the passage in its context has been blurred by the almost inevitable associations with the end of the Bellero-

phon fragment (292N7) ei Seoi 71 5pa@ow aloypdr, ovx eioiv Seoi and with Xenophanean theories on the nature of god.*° There is, however, no need

to make Heracles propound an ideal concept of the divine. His speech has the more modest purpose of denying Theseus’ conclusion in 1. 1319 that the gods tolerate the awareness of their guilt. Heracles replies that the gods suffer neither guilt nor shame because (a) they do not regard as contrary to themis the amours they enjoy;*! (b) divinity cannot be constrained and so no shame can arise from evidently fictitious events like the gods having

35«Wretched Tales of Poets: Euripides, ‘Heracles’ 1340-6’, PCPhS n.s. 24 (1978), 22ff. 3 Aspects of Euripidean Tragedy (Cambridge 1953), 59ff. Cf. Conacher, Euripidean Drama, 89f.; A. Lesky, History of Greek Literature trans. Willis & de Heer (London 1966), 382.

59 Aspects

of Euripidean Tragedy, 80ff.

40 198: Dichtung der Hell., 380. at Cf. Wilamowitz, Herakles, ad loc.

Cf. Burnett, 174ff.

Human and Divine in Euripides’ Heracles


their hands bound. The premiss on which this is based deirat yap 6 dedc,

einep éor’ op8ws YIedc, odSevds means no more than ‘god, if truly god, feels a need for nothing’ or put more crudely, ‘the gods get what they want.’ If this seems disappointing, it may be that we are letting our

expectations on the subject of Euripidean theology get the better of our attempt to understand this passage in this context. The view that divinity is not thwarted accords perfectly with the opinion of the gods voiced by Heracles elsewhere. Hera, he says, has had it in for me from my birth and

now she has finally gained her purpose.*? If this interpretation is correct, then an important

consequence is that Heracles’ notion of divine power

is shown by the rest of the play to be wrong. Hera has, in fact, had her way only in part. Her plans were stopped short of complete fulfillment by the interference of Athena (cf. 11.1001ff.) and, more importantly, she had

to wait, as Iris makes plain (1.828), on the requirements of fate.** Part of

the function of Heracles’ erroneous statement is to emphasise this. I suggest




to the understanding

of the



structure lies in its treatment of the theme of the gods’ limited power. In

the Hippolytus the gods appear at the beginning and the end and observe with remote control the working out of human affairs which occupies the play’s centre. In the Bacchae, on the other hand, the controlling deity is immersed in the human situation throughout. Dionysus does not simply guide, he is his own agent in the management of the fate of the human

characters. In the Heracles we see a brief, unique flash of divine power

which drives the latter half of the play in a totally unexpected direction.

The implications of this for the ordinary man’s view of order and justice in

the world are obvious. What is less evident is that the gods themselves are the servants of fate. They act not always in accordance with some far-reaching plan, but as and when they can. The portrayal of this aspect of divinity and its effect on the lives of men was scarcely compatible with a tragedy of the Aristotelian type in which every element contributes logically to a conclusion known to be inevitable. Such a view of men and gods could be dramatised only in a play like the Heracles whose structure and development of plot challenge rather than fulfil our desire for certainty and order.

aac ll. 1263ff., 1303ff.

Cf. Kroeker, op. cit. (n. 3), 64f.

Some Critical Observations on Ephorus FRAGMENTS



I. EPHORUS, FRAGMENT 119 (JACOBY) Fragment 119 (= Strabo 9.2.2-5) deals with the early history and settlement of Boeotia and is printed by Jacoby as being entirely from Ephorus, with the exception, in section 2, of the words @5er 5€ mpoodewat KTX, and going as far as Wore Kai Bowwruny mpooayopevecbat. According to Jacoby, it is an ‘einheitliches exzerpt aus der b6otischen urgeschichte das zu F21-22 gehort und stark unter dem eindruck der voriibergehenden thebanischen hegemonie steht.’ F21-22 are assigned by Jacoby to Book 2 of Ephorus’ Historiae, which formed part of ‘die entstehung der griechischen staatenwelt, wie sie durch die dorische eroberung der Peloponnes gegeben wird.’ This is the explanation of Jacoby’s stopping the fragment in section 5 after mpooayopevénva., since the continuation gives a resumé of Boeotian history from the time of the Persian Wars onwards to Strabo’s own time. Section 2 is in reported speech, introduced by the words "Eyopos 5€ kat...adnopaivet, mopooriéna: 5¢é and ynot, and deals with the natural advantages possessed by Boeotia for the exercise of hegemony over the surrounding peoples, leading into some ‘ethnological’ comments on why any Boeotian hegemony has been short-lived — namely, their neglect of ayuxyn and natéeia. Section 3 is in direct speech and deals with the early settlements of Boeotia and the expulsion of the Pelasgians to Athens and the Thracians to Mt. Parnassus. Section 4 is introduced by the words ynoi 5° “Eyopos and continues in reported speech, relating the story of the Boeotian tricking of the Thracians, which gave rise to the proverb Qpaixia mapevpeocics, and the origin of the customs that at Dodona the Boeotians alone received their prophecies from men and that each year the Boeotians secretly carried tripods to Dodona. Section 5 resumes the narrative from section 3 in direct speech and relates the despatch of Tnv AiokKny anokiav tois mepi MevOiXov, which, because of the large number of Boeotians involved was called BouwortK?.!

Some comments can be made immediately on the text of the fragment as set out by Jacoby. Firstly the fragment contains a mixture of geographical, strategical and sociological comment on contemporary Boeotia and Thebes, a narrative of the early settlement of Boeotia, given with 1CF. Strabo 13.1.3. 46

Critical Observations on Ephorus

considerable economy


and in a factual manner, and a long aetiological

digression on one aspect of this narrative. The brief narrative of the future development of Boeotia, from 481-346 B.C., is printed by Jacoby in small type, showing that he does not regard this as part of the fragment. Secondly, the change from indirect speech in section 2 to direct speech in section 3 and then back to indirect speech in section 4 is rather strange. We can certainly say that sections 2 and 4 are from Ephorus, because he is cited by name and then quoted in indirect speech. But we cannot say the same for section 3, which is in direct speech and where he is not cited, though it is quite possible that Ephorus is the source, in view of Strabo’s

frequent use of him in his descriptions of the geography of Greece. It

should be noted that when Strabo cites Ephorus, he is pretty consistent in doing so in indirect speech and when he reverts to direct speech, it usually marks the end of the citation of Ephorus and the return to his own account.” It is, of course, possible that Strabo, in relating the early settlement of Boeotia, preferred to rely on a different source from Ephorus, and to use Ephorus only to amplify his account. For whilst he generally

has a fairly high regard for the historian (cf. F122 [= Strabo 10.3.2] on early Aetolian history, section 5: rowvros 5° adv “Eyopos érépwv Guws

Kpeitrwv éott), he also, on at least one occasion, shows that he believes that Ephorus has shortcomings (cf. again F122, where he speaks of Ephorus’ dvopodoyiay TNS ypayns Kai THS anoydoews). Such a source, well versed in and regarded as reliable for Boeotian history, could be Daimachus of Plataea (J65), whose work on Boeotian history seems to have preceded the writing on the subject by Ephorus, who, indeed, is accused of large-scale plundering of Daimachus’ work® and who may well have got much of his 4th century Boeotian material from this source, rather than from Callisthenes’ Hellenika.* Similarly the favourable judge-


on Theban motivation in the Third Sacred War — dmép 5€ tov

‘EAANVWY Ouws énmodéunoay mpds Pwkéas Tovs 76 tepov ovdAHoarTasS TO Kowdv — may reflect the attitude of Daimachus, if his work went that far. If, then, section 3 (in direct speech) is not Ephorus, but Strabo’s own

account, based

on perhaps


the long aetiological story in

section 4, quoted from Ephorus in indirect speech, will be for the purpose of adding colour to the straightforward, chronicle-like account of Daimachus in section 3. This leaves us with section 2, which is certainly from Ephorus. A question that may be asked is: is it, as Jacoby believes, from the same book as section 4, i.e. Book 2 of the Historiae? I am inclined to doubt it. The argument itself in section 2 is far from clear and is not helped by textual difficulties. Boeotia, because it fronts onto three seas and has an


in fragment

149 (= Strabo

10.4.16-22) I would, at the beginning of section

20, prefer to omit the (zaira- xai) of Jacoby and regard the direct citation of Ephorus as ending at ra mAedw and beginning again at maidac 5é ypdupard Krh.

Cf. Daimachus T1(a) in FGH,

IIA, no. 65, where Ephorus is also accused of similar

plagiarisms from Callisthenes and Anaximenes.

*Jacoby, FGH, KIC, pp. 4-5.


abundance hegemony.

Robert Milins

of harbours, is well favoured by nature for the exercise of But because the Boeotians did not pursue any regular system

of training and education (a reference to the Boeotian dva:o@noia), they

could not remain together in harmony (or their leaders could not), as is shown by the example of Epaminondas. For after his death, the Thebans straightway (ev@Uc) lost the hegemony; and the reason for this was their

neglect of Adyou and intercourse with men (6u1ALa 7 mpds avOpuTous) and

their attention solely to military excellence.* The direction of Ephorus’ thought seems to be that the Boeotians’ sole attention to military excellence and lack of attention to the finer points of life made them, leaders and led alike, incapable of anything requiring imagination, tact and diplomacy, such as the resolving of their own internal disputes, dealing with outside people and formulating policy. They were like automatons, who required a strong and sensitive leader to give them this guidance and community of purpose; and such was Epaminondas, who, it would appear,

did pursue dywy7 and matdela.®

Now, Ephorus must certainly have written this passage after 362 B.C., the year of the death of Epaminondas; and the words rnv tyeuoviay — anoBahew seem to suggest a date after 346 B.C. and the settling of the Phocian War by Philip, or even after 338 B.C. and the battle of Chaeronea. Jacoby says that ‘buch II, dem F119 zuzuweisen ist, ist wenigstens einige

jahre nach 362 geschrieben.’’ I would agree that section 2 of F119 was written quite a while after 362 B.C., but am less confident in assigning it to Book 2. The other cited fragments of Books 1-3 have nothing to do with geography or geographical description; and the fragments of any length cited from Books 4 and 5 — the ‘geographical’ books — seem, with

the exception of F30, less concerned with detailed geographical descrip-

tion and analysis than with mythical association and ‘Homeric’ exegesis. On the other hand, the observations on the strategic advantages of Boeotia, as given in section 2, taken with the reference to the achievements of Epaminondas, seem to fit more appropriately at the beginning of a book in which Ephorus is about to turn his attention to the subject of the rise to predominance of Thebes; i.e. the beginning of either Book 22 or 23, which, together with 24 and 25, form ‘die Epaminondas btcher’.

It would be interesting to know if, at this point, Ephorus made a cross-reference to or comparison with the Spartan constitution, which also aimed at 7) xara méAeuov gtpeTn, but which was based on the laws and ayw7} of Lycurgus.

Note that Plut. Pel. 4 makes the point that, whilst Pelopidas cultivated the body,

Epaminondas cultivated the mind and devoted his leisure hours to the reading and discussion of philosophy. It might be noted that the judgement of Ephorus on the Boeotians does not altogether harmonise either with that of Polybius or of Plutarch. Polyb. 6.43, when speaking of the excellent qualities of the Roman constitution, says that the success of the Thebans was due, not to their moAtrela (which included aywyn and macdeia as well as véuor and apxai) but to h rv mpoeoruwtwv avbpav dpery; these leaders, in Polybius’ account, are limited to Epaminondas and ,belopidas. Plut. Pel. 19 also gives a very different picture of the Theban aywyt}. gf CA, JIC, p. 24.

Jacoby, FGH, IIC, p. 28.

Critical Observations on Ephorus


It would seem, then, that the Strabo passage, printed together by Jacoby as F119 of Ephorus, may be much more complicated; that, instead of the whole passage being part of Book 2 of Ephorus’ Historiae, it may well have come from different books of Ephorus and even from more than one author, of whom Ephorus is certainly one, Daimachus of Plataea possibly another. II. EPHORUS, FRAGMENT


As part of his long attack on Timaeus in Book 12,’ Polybius rebukes

the earlier historian on the subject of the speeches which he inserts in his history. The two main aspects of his reproaches are that Timaeus invents his speeches and does not report the actual words that were spoken;!° and that these invented speeches are over-rhetorical, childish, long-winded arid full of ridiculous paradoxes.'! These are some of the qualities that deprive Timaeus’ history of all beneficial qualities; and ‘if we take from history all that can benefit us, what is left is quite contemptible and useless’ (25g). Polybius of Timaeus’ admit, but against him.’ all for the avakptoes);

then (26e et seq.) turns to what he regards as the prime cause errors, ‘a cause which most people will not be inclined to it will be found to be the truest accusation to be brought This is that Timaeus has neglected the most important task of historian — the interrogation of witnesses of events (ai that he has not played an active part in war or politics nor

gained any personal experience by travel and observation (rnv évepynriuxnv

THY MEPL TAS TOAEULKGS Kai TOALTUKGS TpdkELS Kal THY eK THS TAdYNS Kai Jéacs abronabetav); and that, lacking all experience of war and politics, he has spent his life in libraries reading books and is therefore no historian; though, heaven knows how, he has gained the reputation of being capable

of sustaining the role of a master in the art of writing (> CAkwy Thv ToD

ovyypayéws mpooraciay). Moreover, says Polybius, we can easily show that Timaeus is such a person from his own admission. He then goes on to cite Timaeus’ polemic, at the beginning of the sixth book of his history, against those who suppose that greater natural talent, more industry and previous training are required for epideictic oratory than for historical writing; which brings us to the passage of Polybius published by Jacoby as F111 and T23 (= 12.28-28a). The gist of this passage may be given thus: Polybius rebukes Timaeus both for his dismissal of Ephorus’ attempt to demonstrate the falseness of the above proposition and for his own attempt to do the same thing. The grounds for his rebuke are: that

oP olye. 12. 3ff. 12.25b:

‘a writer who passes over in silence the speeches made and the causes of

events and in their place introduces false rhetorical exercises and discursive speeches, destroys the peculiar virtue of history. And of this Timaeus especially is

guilty, and we all know that his work is full of blemishes of this kind’ (Loeb translation).

11 12.25k-26c.


Robert Milns

Timaeus has dismissed and denigrated Ephorus’ treatment, in which, Polybius believes, Ephorus has spoken evyapwrdrara and méavwrara MEPL TNS OVYKPLOEWS ... TNS TY ioTOPWyPdywPr Kal oyoypdypuv and which is in keeping with Ephorus’ generally high standard of phraseology,

treatment and working out of his arguments (ypdois, yeuprouds, énivora

TwWV ANUUATWV) — qualities of Ephorus that are especially marked in his digressions, in the parts of the work where he gives his own opinions and, in short, whenever he allows himself to enlarge on any subject (érav tov

TOV émpetpouvrta Adyov Siari@nrat);\* that Timaeus’ own treatment of

the subject is confused and excessively prolix; and that Timaeus, in his contention that history is much more demanding and difficult than epideictic oratory, has adduced as evidence nothing less than his own methods of composition, setting forth the labour and expense that he went to in acquiring books, documents, memoranda and such like. But, as Polybius has already said, to believe that by relying on the mastery of written materials alone one can write history well ‘is absolutely foolish,

and is much as if a man who had seen the works of ancient painters fancied himself to be a capable painter and a master of that art’ (25e).

On the basis of these remarks of Polybius, we may venture one or two general deductions. Firstly, Polybius evidently believed that Ephorus did






historical and rhetorical

composition, especially the epideictic speech in the Isocratean mould, and approved of Ephorus’ general style of writing. It is therefore a legitimate inference, from what we know of Polybius’ attitude towards ‘rhetorical history’, that he did not regard this style of Ephorus as excessively ‘rhetorical’; and this is borne out both in the testimonies on Ephorus’ style, which have come down to us from antiquity, and from the fragments themselves which purport to be verbatim citations and which show a plain, easy style enlivened occasionally by the use of colloquial phrases and expressions. It is important to emphasise this point, because modern writers, influenced by the long tradition in antiquity that Ephorus was a student of Isocrates, have tended to characterise Ephorus’ historical writings as being ‘showy’ and highly rhetorical, with the concentration being placed on outward display rather than on the substance of the contents.'? In fact, the validity of the tradition that Isocrates was the teacher of Ephorus and Theopompus is highly dubious and has recently

'2On the significance of the phrase 6 émmerpdsv Adyoc, see P. Pédech, La Méthode Historique

de Polybe




and F.W. Walbank, A Historical Com-

mentary on Polybius Il, 411. Walbank comments that ‘Such moralizing, with its

stress on praise and blame, was a regular feature of the Isocratean school, including both Ephorus and Theopompus, and often took the form of a comparison, general or specific etc.’ That doubts may be felt as to whether the two historians ever were 13

‘pupils’ of Isocrates does not invalidate the general tenor of Walbank’s comment. Three distinguished examples are J.B. Bury, in his Ancient Greek Historians, 1635;









in his article


Critical Observations on Ephorus


been challenged by Kathleen Reed in an excellently written doctoral thesis.'* Moreover, of ancient writers who refer to Ephorus’ style, only Plutarch uses words that could be taken as meaning that Ephorus engaged

in rhetorical tricks;'* and his testimony, in its context, should be weighed against the judgement of such critics as Dio Chrysostom, who speaks of Ephorus’ style as being Unriov Kai daveysévov (‘flat and lacking in


Secondly, Polybius’ words would seem to indicate that the question of whether historical composition or the composition of epideictic orations was the more taxing was one that had been treated before Timaeus by other writers as well as Ephorus. Not only, therefore, may the alleged influence of Isocrates and other teachers of rhetoric have been less extensive on the writers and writing of history than is often alleged; but we may also see here vestiges of a controversy of the mid- and late-4th century over the comparative merits of history and oratory as art-forms, with Ephorus taking up his stance for the more demanding nature of historical composition. Indeed, the famous passage in Aristotle’s Poetics (1451 b), in which Aristotle says that kai yrrocopwrepov Kai onovdaidrepov noinots toropias éoTw, may well be relevant here. The Greeks saw a close relationship between poetry and rhetoric; and the orator, no less than the poet, can deal with ofa dv yé, rather than ra yevoueva. Greek orators indeed were frequently more given to arguments from 76 eixdc than hard facts. The practitioners of rhetoric, the 4th century’s answer to the poetry of the 5th century, may well have argued that their art was both ‘more universal’ and demanded greater powers of invention and réyvn — and had a greater pedagogical value — than the composition of history.

Again, it would seem highly probable that Ephorus dealt with this subject in his historical work, rather than in his treatise mepi Né¥ewse or as a separate essay called ovypwis Tw ioropwypdywr Kal doyoypdywv.

Ephorus in RE VI.9. Bury talks about ‘the introduction of elaborate Isocratean speeches’, ‘the pernicious influence of rhetoric’ and ‘the tendency to seek first of all and at almost any cost what may be called rhetorical effects’. Barber, in stating

that ‘the desire for rhetorical brilliance — the cult of the Adyoc émeSeuxruxdc — ran through his work’, appears not to have noticed his own inconsistency. For on p. 149 he had said that Ephorus’ style, ‘the mirror of his ability as a compiler, is

dull and formless.’ Schwartz says that the prose-style created by Isocrates ‘das bequem daliegende Werkzeug war, mit dem er [i.e. Ephorus] seiner Erzahlung die 1grorm gab.’ Theopompus of Chios: History and Oratory in the Fourth Century (University of California, Berkely 1976); see especially chapter I, ‘The Isocratean Mirage’. 1S Mor. 803b (= Ephorus, T21). Ephorus is here associated with Theopompus and Anaximenes.










re speeches’. | Dio Chrys. 18.10; for a similar judgement, cf. Suda, s.v. "Eyopos Kuyaios (= Ephorus, T 28a).



Robert Milns

Polybius’ remarks at 28.10 makes this seem likely;'” but the discussion

need not have occurred, as Jacoby believes,!® in or as a proem to the whole work or an individual book, but as a napékBaots, which may well have

occurred in one of the Sicilian Books (12 and 16), in which the growth of rhetoric in Sicily would surely have been mentioned.

Again, it is a reasonable deduction that the speeches inserted in his work by Ephorus, despite the comment of Plutarch, Moralia 803b, would certainly have measured up to Polybius’ standards; otherwise we could have expected some reference to his failings by Polybius, when Polybius

is castigating Timaeus.'? It is, however, difficult to see how Polybius can

avoid the charge of inconsistency in this discussion of the respective merits of Ephorus and Timaeus. Timaeus is reproached because he cites his own method of composition as proof that historical writing is harder than speech-writing. Ephorus is said to have handled the subject in a most graceful and persuasive manner. Ephorus therefore either approached the subject and argued along the same lines as Polybius (i.e. the historian must

be experienced in affairs of state and warfare, must have personally visited

the places he describes and have conversed with the more important participants); or he argued along similar lines to Timaeus, but in a less longwinded and rhetorical manner (which may be the meaning of

evxaptoTorata as applied by Polybius to Ephorus’ defence of historical

composition; Timaeus’ dissatisfaction with Ephorus’ attempt may have been on stylistic criteria, not because of the arguments adduced by Ephorus). If the latter was Ephorus’ approach, then he is as wide open to reproach by Polybius on the grounds of incorrect methodology as is Timaeus himself. If, however, Ephorus had adopted the former — Polybian — approach, Polybius seems unaware of the fact that Ephorus is convicting himself as being incompetent to write history, since he too, no less than Timaeus, seems to have been an ‘armchair historian’, little travelled and devoted to his books and libraries.7° Indeed, Polybius himself, only a few pages earlier (12.25f.), had criticised Ephorus’ description of the battles of Leuctra and Mantinea, after making the point that Ephorus was completely without experience of battles on land; though he commends him highly for his descriptions of naval battles, especially those of Cnidus and Citium. We must, says Polybius, admire Ephorus in his narrative of these two battles for his descriptive power (Svvayic) and his experience of the subject (€umerpia), and we carry away much information useful for

175 yap "“Eyopos nap’ dAnv thy npayparelav Oavudows cov Kxrd. For the use of \ gearHarela as referring to historical composition, cf. Polyb. 1.1.4 and 1.3.1. Jacoby, FGH, IIC, p. 64. For Polybius’ criteria for the contents and insertion of S5nunyoplac in historical works, see especially 12.25i and 36.1. The former passage is very difficult in its

argument; see Walbank’s commentary ad loc. (II, 387). See Pedech, op. cit. (n. 12),

ch. V, for a general discussion of Polybius’ views on the role of speeches in histor-


ical composition. This is a reasonable assumption from the total lack of any reference in the Testimonia to any political or military (n. 13), chapter I.


of Ephorus; cf. G.L. Barber, op. cit.

Critical Observations on Ephorus

similar circumstances. Polybius seems

quite unaware


of the apparent

inconsistency of his judgements on Ephorus’ skill as a military and a naval historian respectively. For, if Ephorus wrote badly about military tactics on land because he had had no practical experience of warfare and battles,

how could he write with greater authenticity on naval battles, when there is no evidence that he had had any experience in this area?”’ It is possible

that Polybius is repeating, in an obscure and confused way, the point that he has been discussing in 25e, that the use of documents, memoirs, records and libraries is of prime’ importance only in non-contemporary history, where the historian cannot use his own eyes and ears to establish the truth; in this situation, the historian must exercise and show his judgement by his choice of written source-material. Thus Ephorus, in describing the non-contemporary. naval battles of Cnidus and Citium, has demonstrated a good judgement in his choice of sources; but in his accounts of the nearcontemporary land-battles of Leuctra and especially Mantinea, he obviously has not carried. out the historian’s duty of visiting the battlefields and talking to important survivors and participants; and if Ephorus was composing his work in the 340’s and 330’s B.C., there would have been ample opportunity for him to do so. It is, of course, possible that Ephorus, in his defence of historical composition, had both ‘argued along the sort of lines of which Polybius approved and in a less rhetorical manner than Timaeus and that Polybius was able and willing to give praise to the historical principles which Ephorus pronounced, but did not pursue. It is, however, more likely that Polybius, whose hostility towards Timaeus borders almost on the pathological.and who had a certain admiration and respect for Ephorus, despite his other deficiencies, as his first and only predecessor in the science of

‘Universal History’,?* was so indignant at the presumption of Timaeus in

criticising Ephorus that he was willing and able to use his defence of Ephorus as a stick with which to beat Timaeus, regardless of the incon-

sistencies of argument and position to which this led him.

A further deduction may be drawn from our Polybius passage. Walbank argues that Jacoby, following Laqueur, is incorrect to associate the Ephorus fragment with the proem to Book 20 of Diodorus and to suggest

21 Schwartz, in his RE article on Ephorus cited in n. 13, tries to rationalise this incon-

sistency by.arguing that ‘wenn der in solchen Dingen [i.e. military matters] strenge Kritiker [i.e. Polybius] die Seeschlachten des Ephorus besser beurteilt, so heisst das nur, dass die nautischen

Manover nicht so dargestellt waren, dass ihre Unmog-

lichkeit sofort beim Lesen einleuchtete, wie es bei den Landschlachten der Fall war; der Kymaeer mag ofter ein Kriegschiff gesehen haben, als einen Exerzierplatz, aber ein brauchbarer Zeuge ist er auch fuir die Seekriege nicht.’ But Polybius does not say this and it is not possible to extort this meaning from words such as 92 Cavnatew TOY ovyypaydéa kal Kara Thy S¥vapw Kal xara Thy éureiplav (lkdc). On Polybius’ bitter personal hostility towards Timaeus, see F.W. Walbank, ‘Polemic in Polybius’, JRS 52(1962), 1-12, especially 7. For Ephorus as Polybius’

precursor in ‘Universal History’, see G.A. Lehmann, ‘Polybios und die griechische Geschichtsschreibung’, 8, with references.

in Polybe

(Fondation Hardt Entretiens, XX[1974]),



Robert Milns

that Diodorus used it for that proem;“. . . this is improbable, for whereas Ephorus was concerned with the distinction between history and epideictic in general, Diodorus is concerned with the position of speeches inside a history.’** We may go even further and argue that the proem of Book 20 has no connection with Ephorus at all, since the reasons given by Diodorus for admitting speeches into historical narratives are quite repugnant to Polybius’ views and seem much closer to the sort of thing that Timaeus himself produced, according to Polybius’ criticisms of Timaeus’ speeches. If Ephorus’ practice in this area had been that stated in Diodorus’ proem, it is impossible that Polybius could have praised Ephorus for his statement of the difference between history and speech writing or have had the generally high regard for him that he did have. Diodorus’ argument is directed, not against the insertion of speeches, but against those writers who insert excessively long and frequent speeches, which slow down the narrative and bore the reader. There is, says Diodorus, a place for speeches

in historical works because they give the historian the chance to make his mark in the literary category of oratory as well as of history, and because

speeches, if properly composed (i.e. not excessively long and with a ~ proper sense of the occasion — without dxaipia), provide history with the variety with which it needs to be adorned; and Diodorus admits he would

not like to deprive

himself of this evxaipia.



according to Diodorus, is intended to be both oaync and émrepmc and there are many occasions on which the aid of rhetoric will necessarily be enlisted. The clear implication of Diodorus’ statement is that the historian composes his own speeches — ovykarafaivywv mpds tovs év Tois Adyotc aywvas— as and when he believes the occasion merits it and he who does

not boldly do this would be deserving of blame. There is no hint that

Diodorus thinks along the lines of Polybius about the composition and function of speeches — quite the opposite; the two writers are poles apart.

If Ephorus is not Diodorus’ source here — whether for the words or the ideas or both — who is? One obvious possibility exists and has already been suggested — Timaeus himself. Diodorus certainly knew and used

Timaeus’ work.** Indeed the proem of Book 20 occurs in the middle of

the narrative of Agathocles’ campaigns in Sicily and Africa; Agathocles, as

Polybius tells us, was hostilely portrayed by Timaeus?*> and Diodorus’

generally unfavourable account of Agathocles in Books 19 and 20 may well come from Timaeus.”° Similarly, it is highly likely that Diodorus had

23Walbank, A Historical Commentary on Polybius I, 41.

24 See below, n. 26.

2° Polyb. 12. 15.

© Schwartz, whilst he argues in his RE article on Diodorus (5.1.663ff.) that Duris is Diodorus’ main source for Agathocles, maintains in his RE article on Ephorus

(6.1.1ff.) that ‘in der sicilischen [sc. Geschichte] hat er Varianten aus Ephoros in die Exzerpte aus Timaios eingefugt.’ For a more up-to-date discussion of Diodorus’ use

of Timaeus,





sizilische Geschichte

bei Diodor,

von den

Anfangen bis zum Tod des Agathokles. Quellenuntersuchungen zum Buch IV-XXI

Critical Observations on Ephorus


read the introduction to Timaeus’ sixth book, where Timaeus had made his comparison between epideictic and history and where, after completing his account of the foundations of the Greek cities and the general geography of the West, he began his narrative proper.*’ Timaeus’ discussion of the difference between history and speech-writing may well have included a discussion on the place of speeches in historical works, with a criticism of those writers whose speeches are excessively long, slow up the narrative and are lacking in the necessary adornments of rhetoric. Such a writer would be Thucydides, whose speeches occupy one-fifth of the whole work and whose style, full of rhetorical figures though it may

be, did not meet the requirements of those accustomed to the rhetorical

developments of the 4th century. We may note that Dionysius of Halicarnassus (de Thuc. 16 = Cratippus, J64, F1) cites Cratippus as saying that Thucydides’ speeches ov povov tais mpadteow avracs éumoduv yeyevnoda....ddAa@ Kal TOIS aKovovow dxAnNpas eivat — which are pretty much the arguments advanced by Diodorus in the proem of Book 20 against the évuo. It may be that if Cratippus is a younger contemporary of Thucydides, Timaeus is taking over and agreeing with his criticism of Thucydides and Diodorus taking it from Timaeus; conversely, if Cratippus is, as Jacoby maintains, a late-Hellenistic writer,*® he may, independently of Diodorus, be taking the idea from Timaeus. In either case, it is possible that among the objects of the captious Timaeus’ censure was Thucydides for the way he wrote and introduced his 5nunyopiar into his narrative. Another writer whose speeches may well have provoked criticism of this kind was Ephorus’ younger contemporary, Anaximenes. Jacoby prints both ‘speeches’ 11 and 12 of the Demosthenic corpus as fragments of







an_ historical

narrative would certainly, in Diodorus words, ‘rend asunder’ its continuity, ‘interrupt the interest of those who are eagerly pressing on towards a full knowledge of the events’ and tend to reduce ‘the whole art of history into an appendage of oratory’.

There is, of course, another possible answer to the question of Diodorus’ source for the proem to Book 20, an answer that will not be to the liking of the dedicated ‘Quellenforscher’: the ideas may well be Diodorus’ own and not taken over from his source or sources. Diodorus, because of his known practice of following closely in his narrative one main source at any particular time, is often regarded as having no independent thoughts of his own on the craft of the historian, but as being little

(Munchen 1967). See also F. Biziere’s comments in the ‘Notice’ section Bude edition of Diodorus, Book XIX (Paris 1975), especially xvii-xix.

of her

27CF. Jacoby, FGH, IIIB, p. 543. The comparison is given as part of Fragment 7 of

5g Lumaeus (FGH, 566). 39 3ee FGH, IIc, p. 2. FGH, IIA, no. 72, Fllb


is called


(= Demosth.


11) and F41


(‘Anhang’) to the fragments of Anaximenes.


(= Demosth.


12). This latter

it as an appendix


Robert Milns ©

more than a mouthpiece for the views, ideas and biases of his sources.?°

But a careful examination of his narrative will reveal that he had some quite consistent ideas about history and its purpose — not very original ideas, perhaps, but too consistent for them to be merely the mindless repetition of other peoples’ views; and in the present instance, we might be doing Diodorus less than justice by making the assumption that the views expressed by Diodorus in the proem to Book 20 on the place of speeches in historical compositions can only be those of one or another of his


After this warning about the danger lest the critic develop what might be called ‘tunnel-vision’ in his eagerness to apply a preconceived formula to each particular case and thereby make the facts fit the theory, it might not be without value to close this paper on Ephorus, which has dealt at some length on his relationship to Diodorus in the proem of Book 20 of

this author, with a further example of the frequently over-schematised treatment of the Ephorus-Diodorus relationship. Jacoby publishes as

Fragment 191 of Ephorus a very mutilated historical papyrus, which has been heavily restored and which narrates events dealing with the years 476/5 and 466/5 B.C.*? On the basis of the script, the papyrus can be dated to c. A.D. 200. In his commentary on this document (p. 90),

Jacoby argues that the remains of the papyrus correspond so exactly with Diodorus 11. 56ff. that it appears certain that Ephorus is the author of the

work found on the papyrus, since Ephorus is almost certainly Diodorus’ main source in this book. However, says Jacoby, the papyrus work is probably not the original text of Ephorus, but rather an epitome or a series of excerpts from the original made by a copyist. If this is so, he continues,

3° See further on this point E.N. Borza, Diodorus Siculus: A Study of the Seventeenth Book (Chicago 1966), Ch. II, ‘Originality in Diodorus’. Many of the qualities that Bury attributes to Ephorus in his discussion in his Ancient Greek Historians are, in fact, qualities that he sees in Diodorus, The argument ‘Diodorus













Ephorus’ is not logically necessary. Cf. the sensible comments of T.S. Brown on the general relationship of Diodorus’ proems to those of Ephorus: ‘Because we know that Diodorus Siculus drew

heavily on Ephorus for long sections of his Historical Library, there has been a temptation to attribute much of the prefatory remarks in the Historical Library to the same source . .. But all we know is that Ephorus made one or two obvious

generalisations which would not have been any revelation to Hecataeus, let alone , Herodotus or Thucydides’ (The Greek Historians, 111).

Pap. Oxyrh. XIII, 1610. A fuller discussion of both the text and its importance is to be found in the commentary of Grenfell and Hunt, 98-127. Even a cursory

glance at the text of the sixty-two fragments of this Papyrus, as set out on 113117, will immediately reveal the very mutilated state of the document. Grenfell

and Hunt declare unequivocally that the papyrus is Ephorus and enthusiastically assert that ‘with the recovery of these fragments of Ephorus’ history of the Pentecontaetia the “higher criticism” of Diodorus... enters a new phase.” But it is amusing to note that what they regard as one of the clinching arguments for Ephoran authorship — the mention by the papyrus of the Persian general Pheren-


turns out

to be itself a heavy

a&deX — fr. 11, line 86).


of the name

([Pepev darn] v

Critical Observations on Ephorus


one must ask the question whether Diodorus, where he is using Ephorus as his main source, used, not Ephorus himself, but an epitome of Ephorus. It is certainly true that, thanks to the very considerable restoration of the papyrus, there is a reasonable resemblance between it and Diodorus’

narrative at 11.56ff.; and it is a not unreasonable conjecture that, because the papyrus appears in places to be more detailed than Diodorus, the

author is not Diodorus himself, but Ephorus. But it is also possible, though Jacoby does not suggest this, that the work could well be part of an historical compendium of first or second century A.D. composition, based

at this point on Diodorus himself and perhaps supplemented in places

from other works. It is also possible that the papyrus does, as Jacoby argues, contain an epitome of Ephorus; but it is not necessary to assume that such an epitome was made before Diodorus composed his history. Admittedly, these arguments are no less conjectural than those of Jacoby

and just as incapable of proof. But they do suggest possibilities that

Jacoby apparently has not considered; and one may be forgiven for suspecting that he has not done so because he is so firmly committed to

the belief that Diodorus is an historian whose method of working is solely

to condense and transcribe one main source at a particular time; if he can find his main source already epitomated, so much the easier for him. Much of Tarn’s work on Alexander has been refuted or discredited; but his attempt to demonstrate that the question of the sources of Diodorus Book 17 is much more complicated than the traditional view that it is merely epitomated Cleitarchus®* should warn us against readily accepting a similar view about Diodorus’ methods in the books in which he is known or believed to have used Ephorus. 33 ww. Tarn, Alexander the Great Il, 63-91.

The Origins of Plautine Comedy GODFREY


The perplexed scholar might at first glance conclude that little more could be said on this topic for want of any new evidence. The question is bedevilled by uncertainties at every turn. What was the precise origin of Atellan farce, and how ancient was this dramatic form?! Exactly how many stock characters did it involve in any given scene, and what were the full range of named Atellan masks available to the producer?? What was the origin and scope of the Latin mime or planipedia? Did this latter | genre require two characters only, or were more required?? Finally, was dramatic satura a reality or a mere literary myth?* Last of all, is there any hard core of evidence for a native Italic drama, or were all its phases

successive importations of ready-made Greek elements?°*


PROLEGOMENA These problems are not obfuscations dreamed up by scholarly busybodies. Whether one gives unlimited credence to the quasi-scientific art of Quellenforschung or not, it is surely correct in pointing to Cicero’s friend Marcus Terentius Varro as the source of most of what we gather from later historians and grammarians about the beginnings of Roman theatre production.° We know Varro was a great scholar and antiquary and that he possessed a magnificent library, and we are told in Cicero’s Second Philippic that Mark Antony chose this room for a peculiarly lewd and destructive drunken debauch.’ However, the crucial issue is not Varro’s learning but Varro’s honesty. of

Our first source is the grammarian Diomedes, and it is the firm verdict Quellenforschung that Varro was the origin of his information.

1 See W. Beare, The Roman

Stage, 3rd ed. (London


137-148. Cf. G.E. Duck-

, Worth, The Nature of Roman Comedy (Princeton 1952), 10-13. 2W.S. Teuffel, A History of Roman Literature, tr. W. Wagner (London 1873), Vol. I, 12-13. Beate, Roman Stage, 149-158; cf. Duckworth, Nature of Roman Comedy,

*tbid., 8-10; Beare, Roman _1976), 18-23.


18-23; cf. M. Coffey, Roman


Satire (London

SW.R. Chalmers, ‘Plautus and his audience’, in Roman Drama, edd. Dorey & Dudley (London 1965), 21-50.

71 yPical of constant Varronian citations is Diomedes, 488 Keil. 7Cic. Phil. 2.41.


The Origins of Plautine Comedy


Consequently, Diomedes is held to reflect a Varronian sympathy for going

beyond strict evidence in asserting parallelism between Greek and Roman experience. But as the dramatic satura tradition is the one most generally doubted element we must also note the verdict of Quellenforschungen

regarding Livy 7.2.4-10 and the parallel passage Valerius Maximus 2.4.4.

Here, as Michael Coffey reminds us in his recent book on Roman satire, there is a reluctance to regard Varro as the source: There has been much speculation about the identity of Livy’s source or sources: Varro is often considered the most likely immediate source. Some general indications support this, for patriotism and a belief in human degeneracy are both marks of Varro’s way of thinking. But it seems unlikely that Varro, the conscientious and critical literary historian, wrote an account

of the development of Roman

drama which could not be

reconciled with the fact of Greek influence, so that even if some details in Livy may be deemed to coincide with the views of Varro the account as a whole is probably not to be attributed to him. The poet and grammarian Accius has been suggested as Livy’s immediate source: another possible source, though this too is conjecture, is the grammarian Aelius Stilo, who was a teacher of Varro, but no certain solution of this problem is possible.® When Coffey is explicit, he finds no solid ground for rejecting the truth of the Livy-Valerius Maximus tradition except its Roman chauvinism: This accords with his (Livy’s) approach to the writing of history: just as Etruscan domination in politics was to be minimised, so Greek influences on dramatic institutions were

to be discounted.”

Now though it may be that ‘in the etymology of satura implied in impletas modis he showed that the name was also Italian, !° one should remind Dr. Coffey that this art form by Livy’s account is as much a piece of Etruscan influence as regards its origins as was the later comoedia palliata a result of Greek influence — hardly very convincing nationalism! Again, having

first told us that ‘For the Greeks satire was not an independent literary form. This was an unique Roman invention’, he then objects to L.R.

Palmer’s advocacy of an etymology from Etruscan ‘speak’ or ‘declare’. This he justifies by saying

satir/satre meaning

It is also unlikely that Ennius would have chosen an Etruscan rather than, as was customary, a Greek loan word for the title

8M. Coffey, Roman Satire, 21.

* Ibid. 10 tbid.


Godfrey Tanner

of a genre



so much

subject matter and presentation.!?


material in its

However, the behaviour of Ennius does not rule out a possible pre-Ennian Etruscan borrowing to describe an earlier and distinctive phase of this genre. Livy tells us the silent actor was called hister and the Romans thus dubbed actors histriones. When the dialogue was added to the histrionics, what more natural than to borrow an Etruscan word for speaking — satir — to describe this new elaboration of a borrowed Etruscan stagecraft? In maintaining my scepticism regarding Coffey’s explaining away of the traditions, I am much emboldened by the position taken up by H.D. Jocelyn in his study of Ennius’ tragic fragments:

The history of the ludi scaenici down to 240 is wrapped in obscurity. The accounts which serious scholars wrote have

come down to us in a somewhat garbled form and it is clear

that they were based much origins of Attic drama than what went on in Rome elements of these accounts

more on Greek theories about the on documentary evidence about before 240. Nevertheless some seem to have come from intellig-

ent observation of post 240 stage practices and their general

evolutionary approach is preferable to that of certain modern

idealist accounts.!?

Though I may feel that Greek theories could as easily have been chosen by Roman critics because they suited remembered Roman experience rather than as a ‘colonial cringe’ towards adopting all things Hellenic, one cannot but agree with Jocelyn’s preference for an evolutionary approach in explaining the ludi scaenici. His supporting arguments are worth repeating: The survival of words of probable Etruscan origin, like histrio, persona and scaena in the vocabulary of first century theatrical practice suggests that some of the early performers did come from Etruria and may have brought Etruscan theatrical ways with them. The word satura itself can be plausibly interpreted as Etruscan. The word must have denoted at one time some sort of stage performance. It can hardly be a mere invention on the model of Aristotle’s rd oarupudv. All, however, that Livy’s story at 7.2.4ff implies is that the histriones presented on a scaena at public festivals arrangements of words in a variety of metrical patterns accompanied by pipe music and called saturae. There is no suggestion that these saturae

involved consistent acts of impersonation.!3 - Ibid., 17.

H.D. Jocelyn, The Tragedies of Ennius (Cambridge 1967), 12-13.

13 rhid., 13.

The Origins of Plautine Comedy


With Jocelyn’s footnote regarding dramatic satura as a misleading title'*

I am in full agreement, provided that we regard ‘consistent impersonation’ as referring to an interaction of characters on stage rather than to an impersonation of a character making a solitary revelation of his foibles to the audience, which I suspect to have been the nature of such satura. In treating this dramatic satura issue as a specimen case, we discover that it serves to illustrate the whole dilemma. Concerning direct Greek influences we have gained a vastly richer understanding since fragments of Menander texts on papyrus began to turn up in Egypt, but we still have

only one complete play, and that piece itself seemingly a very early effort of the poet.!> Of Diphilus or Philemon we have no surviving plays or

extended fragments. The vast body of South Italian vase painting relating to stage scenes is not a set of illustrations from Middle Comedy, nor is it

Oscan farce ar Italic mime.!® Certainly those Rhinthonian Phlyax plays

we find on these vases may well have influenced the Roman stage. Indeed it is the present writer’s belief that Roman temporary theatres were

originally rectangular like Rhinthonian ones. Traditions which suggest that both traditions arose from performances given at crossroads in villages

and later on in towns may explain this shape.'”

Jocelyn again is firmly of the view that Atellan farce preceded Attic style comedies on the Roman stage: Campanian farce was performed at ludi scaenici in Rome during the first century and later, both in Latin and Oscan.

Plautus makes an obvious reference to the stock character

Bucco at Bacch. 1088 and another to Manducus at Rud. 535. The name Maccus suggests that Plautus may at one time have been himself an actor in this kind of drama. Livy leaves it

unclear when precisely he thought Campanian farce was first

performed at the Judi scaenici, but it seems likely that the aediles would have presented this kind of drama before they

tried the more sophisticated Athenian kind.!®

One may accept Jocelyn’s further view in the next sentence as another

sensible judgment:

There were plainly no links between the histriones and the

performers of farce in Livy’s own day, and it is therefore hazardous to suppose either that they had more than accidental relations in the third century or that the form of

1 glbid., footnote 5.

T.B.L. Webster, ‘The Comedy of Menander’, in Roman Drama, edd. Dorey & Dudley, 4. 167, Bieber, The History of the Greek and Roman Theatre (Princeton 1961), 129.

RG Tanner, ‘Problems in Plautus’, Proc. Camb. Philol. Soc. 195 (NS. 15) (1969), -105.

18 Tocelyn, Ennius, 14-15.


Godfrey Tanner Campanian drama had any considerable influence on the form which Athenian drama assumed on the Roman stage.'?

This is true, but, as Livius Andronicus came from Tarentum, his first stage versions in Latin from Attic New Comedy may well have been played by fellow Tarentine captives who had been Rhinthonian farce actors. If these players had also to perform tragedy for Livius, this fact may account for the metrical and linguistic merging of tragedy and comedy in the early Roman adaptations which puzzles Jocelyn: It is plain that the first Latin poets set the scripts of comedy and tragedy they chose to adapt in one dramatic mould and that during the time of the republic this mould was never broken despite an ever increasing desire on the part of critics for the main features of the two Attic genres to be faithfully reproduced. Two historically credible kinds of explanation

have been offered of their behaviour. According to one they

adapted the Attic scripts to a contemporary type of musical stage performance. According to the other they simply merged the theatrical forms of Attic tragedy and Attic comedy. The latter explanation does not cover all the facts, the former has

to postulate an entity for whose existence there is little solid

evidence. The aside with idle our knowledge the theatres of

issue is an important one and cannot be brushed talk about Roman creativeness. The paucity of of what went on during the third century in Etruria and the Greek and Oscan speaking cities

of the South makes it incapable of settlement.?°

We may now suggest a third possible explanation — that the captive poet who introduced Attic types of tragedy and comedy to Rome had to employ captive fellow Tarentine artists accustomed to acting Rhinthonian Phlyax plays in his early productions, and that these players set one and the same tone in staging the two unfamiliar Attic genres, and further that this origin had a persistent influence on Republican drama.

All in all, the possibilities of this difficult problem of cultural interaction between an old literary culture and what we might call a ‘developing society’ in the Tiber basin may be better understood after the

work of scholars like Ulli Beier?! on the fusion of modern western and

native elements in the fiction written in English by citizens of Nigeria or New Guinea is extended to their similar writing in Yoruba or Motu. Certainly the social function and attitudes of the Tarentine translator 197,. 30 Ibid., 15. Ibid., 32. 21 Plack Writing from New Guinea, ed. U. Beier (Brisbane 1973);Yoruba Poetry, An Anthology of Traditional Poems, compiled and edited by Ulli Beier (Cambridge

1970). Cf. J.I. Gleason, This Africa, A Study of Novels by West Africans in English and French (Evanston 1965).

The Origins of Plautine Comedy


and teacher Livius Andronicus suggest the approach of Christian missionary translators from Ufilas, who selected non-military and therefore non-

inflammatory parts of the scriptures to render into Gothic for the conversion of his fellow Goths, down to Henry Martin in India and David

Livingstone in Africa. Livius was not content to expound the ancient international culture of the Hellenistic era in its original Greek texts to

schoolboys who had learnt Greek. All through his long career in Rome he prepared translations to permit Latin speakers of Italic background to read the content of Greek poetry, the notable instance being his version of

Homer’s Odyssey in Saturnian metre. The Odyssey was doubtless chosen

for two reasons — its hero’s sense of pietas and its traditional association with the locale of the Tyrrhenian coasts of Italy. Saturnian was selected to lead Roman readers to associate and equate it with their own traditional poetry. The dramatic versions may well have been made for declamation by schoolboys and private reading by rich Romans, and later been converted into acting scripts — again presumably for a form of production partly familiar to Romans — through special reasons which applied in 240


So it is well to expect a considerable element of familiar Italic

tradition in both stagecraft and versification. For the present, we might well clear some ground by re-examining our evidence from antiquity without dragging in too many critical preconceptions of the nineteenth or earlier twentieth centuries.

I, EVIDENCE ABOUT SATURA AND EARLY DRAMA Unfortunately we lack the contemporary evidence of later Republican acting and stagecraft contained in the lost works of Varro. As we saw, the late grammarian Diomedes preserves certain data likely to derive from these treatises, however, and thus deserving close scrutiny: Comoedia dicta 410 Tov K wav, Kwa enim appellantur pagi, id est conuenticula rusticorum......... nam postea quam ex agris Athenas conmigratum est et hi ludi instituti sunt, sicut Romae compitalicii, ad canendum prodibant......... uel dm0 TOU Kwpou, id est comessatione, quia olim in eiusmodi fabulis amantium iuuenum Kq@po canebantur......... tertia aetas fuit Menandri Diphili et Philemonis.... ab his Romani fabulas transtulerunt, et constat apud illos primum Latino



Liuium Andronicum


togatae fabulae dicuntur quae scriptae sunt secundum ritus bees Romanorum, sicut Graecas fabulas ab habitu aeque palliatas Varro ait nominari...... tertia species est fabularum Latinarum quae e ciuitate Oscorum Atella, in qua primum coeptae, appellatae sunt Atellanae, argumentis dictisque locularibus similes satyricis fabulis Graecis. quarta species est planipedis, qui Graece dicitur mimus. ideo autem Latine planipes dictus, quod actores pedibus planis, id est nudis, proscenium introirent; siue quod olim non in suggestu scaenae sed in plano orchestrae positis instrumentis mimicis actitabant.

(Keil, Grammatici Latini, 1. 488-90)



Godfrey Tanner We may propose the following version:

‘Comedy is named from the comae: these comae are the name

for pagi, that is, meeting-places of rustic folk ......... For after the removal from the country to Athens took place and

these games were organised, just as were the compitalicii at

Rome, they progressed to song..... Otherwise the name comes from the comos, that is, a drunken revel, because of old the drunken revels of young men in love were sung about in plays of this kind..... The third period was that of

Menander, Diphilus and Philemon....... From these writers the Romans translated their dramas, and it is accepted that

Livius Andronicus a comedy with according to the togatae, just as

was the first among them to have written Latin dialogue. Plays which are written custom of the Romans are referred to as Varro says that Greek plays are called

palliatae in the same way from the clothing worn in them.

The third type is the form of Latin plays which are named Atellanae from the Oscan city of Atella, where they first began. These are similar in their plots and humorous dialogue to the Greek satyr plays. The fourth kind is the planipedia, also called mime in Greek. However in Latin the mimus is called a planipes either because actors enter the proscenium with flat, that is, bare feet — or else because once upon a time, after arranging the properties there for mime, they used to act, not on the raised platform of the stage, but on the flat surface of the orchestra.’

The implication of this passage is that the Judi compitalicii were brought to Rome from the country in the same way as Pisistratus had once transferred the Rural Dionysia to Athens. There is the further suggestion that in Rome such plays developed a sung portion analogous to Old Attic Comedy also to be gleaned from this section of the text. With this we should compare carefully the controversial accounts of the rise of Roman

comedy to be found in Livy and Valerius Maximus. Livy tells us (7.2.4): sine carmine ullo, sine imitandorum carminum actu, ludiones ex Etruria acciti, ad tibicinis modos saltantes, haud indecoros motus more Tusco dabant. imitari deinde eos iuuentus, simul inconditis inter se iocularia fundentes uersibus, coepere: nec absoni a uoce motus erant. accepta itaque res saepiusque usurpando excitata. uernaculis artificibus, quia hister Tusco

uerbo ludio uocababatur nomen histrionibus inditum: qui non,

sicut ante, fescennino uersum similem incompositum temere ac rudem alternis iaciebant; sed impletas modis saturas, descripto iam ad tibicinem cantu, motuque congruenti peragebant.

This passage may be rendered:

The Origins of Plautine Comedy


‘Players summoned from Etruria dancing to the measure of the

fluteplayer without any song or the acting of those imitating song used to perform not ungraceful evolutions in the Tuscan tradition. Thereafter the young men began to copy them,

uttering jests amongst themselves in uncouth verses, nor were their dances unaccompanied by the voice. Thus the activity was introduced and then became established by more frequent use. The name histriones was then applied to indigenous artists because a player is called a hister in Etruscan speech. These artists used not, as before, to utter at random

and by turns a crude and irregular verse like the Fescennine, but began to perform saturae filled with metres, with the song setting assigned to the fluteplayer and the movement harmonising with it.’

Valerius Maximus offers rather similar evidence (2.4.4): uenerabilibus erga deos uerbis iuuentus rudi atque incomposito motu corporum iocabunda gestus adiecit, eaque res ludium ex Etruria arcessendi causam dedit; et quia ludius apud eos hister appellatur, scaenico nomen _histrionis inditum est. paulatim deinde ludicra ars ad saturarum modos perrepsit, a quibus primus omnium poeta Liuius ad fabularum argumenta spectantium animos transtulit. We may render thus: ‘To words expressing reverence towards the Gods young men

in jest added dramatic gestures with crude and far from elegant movement of their bodies, and this practice gave occasion for summoning a player from Etruria, and because among the

Etruscans a player is called a hister, the name histrio was applied to a stage performer. Thence gradually the art of comedy crept into the tunes of the saturae, and from these

saturae the poet Livius first of all playwrights transferred the interest of the spectators to the plots of plays.’

All three accounts insist that a connexion between song and comedy

followed shortly after the introduction of theatrical shows at Rome. So we read in Diomedes postea quam... hi ludi instituti sunt, ad canendum prodibant; in Livy we find qui non, sicut ante... iaciebant, sed impletas modis saturas..... peragebant; in Valerius we note ludicra ars ad saturarum modos perrepsit. This parallelism rather suggests that ludi compitalicii, fescennino uersum similem incompositum, and ludicra ars were one and the same thing.



The rustic ritual described by Virgil (Georg. 2.385-8) is not dissimilar


Godfrey Tanner

to some features of the activities discussed in the last section: nec non Ausonii, Troia gens missa, coloni

uersibus incomptis ludunt risuque soluto oraque corticibus sumunt horrenda cauatis et te, Bacche, uocant per carmina laeta.. . [‘“Likewise the Ausonian settlers, a race sent from Troy, Sport with rough-hewn verses and broad farce When using the hollow bark of trees they put on dreadful faces;

Also thee, Bacchus, they invoke in joyful song. . .”|

Here there is the suggestion of a form of coarse dialogue which was quite distinct in its character of verse repartee from the joyful song addressed

to Bacchus. The account given by distinguishes between two types of verse.





carmine di superi placantur, carmine manes. agricolae prisci fortes paruoque beati Tellurem porco, Siluanum lacte piabant, floribus et uino Genium memorem breuis aeui. fescennina per hunc inuenta licentia morem uersibus alternis opprobria rustica fudit. [“By song the Gods above are placated, by song the departed The


ancient tented — Were wont milk — With flowers Through this


— valiant men with scanty goods con-

to appease

Tellus with a sow

— Silvanus with

and wine the Genius mindful of short life. custom fescennine licence was devised

And flung its rustic insults in verses alternating between two people.’]

Now it is a tradition of commentators to equate genius here with the sense

it bears in ep. 1.7.94.”? But in this rite of group sacrifice there is little

room for offerings to an individual man’s genius; while if the genius loci is meant, why should that divinity be breuis aeui memorem? Since Aristotle’s day there had been a tendency to equate the old Greek sky god Kpdévos, whom the Romans identified with Saturnus, with the near homo-

phone xpdvoc and to regard him as personifying time — a notion surviving

today in the phrase ‘Father Time’. Is Horace here in fact making allusive

22 AS. Wilkins, Horace: The Epistles (London 1892), ad loc.

The Origins of Plautine Comedy


play on a near homophone of the Greek ypdvoc by speaking of the genium

memorem breuis aeui so as to suggest a Latin paraphrase of Kpdvoc, the god Saturnus, who was an agricultural and vegetation deity? Certainly we need a vegetation deity in our list of powers placated at Harvest Home; while if genius seems an odd word we must recall that deus would not scan

here and that the deification of Caesar had made diuos too specialised. It is

of interest too that the fescennina iocatio is deemed to grow later out of these harvest festival carmina. The brief account of Tibullus (1.1.50-6) serves to support the notion that carmen was often devoted to vegetation gods and also entirely distinct from fescennina iocatio: agricola adsiduo primum satiatus aratro cantauit certo rustica uerba pede et satur arenti primum est modulatus auena carmen ut ornatos diceret ante deos agricola et minio suffusus, Bacche, rubenti, primus inexperta duxit ab arte choros.

[‘To begin, a farmer, sated with constant ploughing,

Sang rustic words in fixed metre, And having a well filled stomach first with the dry reed

Accompanied a song that he might utter before garlanded


gods: this farmer, Bacchus,


his face with red lead,

First developed dances from an artless custom.’]

This passage in fact states that the arts of poetry, music and dance were all invented by farmers for harvest or sowing festivals. However, the further reference to smearing the face with red lead for dancing suggests that masks cannot have been worn in these festivals as they were in the fescennina iocatio described by Virgil above. We may also wonder if the use of satur has other implications. Is it perhaps a confirmation of scholarly suggestions that the term satura for a kind of performance derives from the word describing the full stomachs of the participants in the Harvest-Home? It is now time to re-examine the late Imperial traditions about early comedy.



However much Evanthius may in fact confuse Greek and Roman traditions it is clear that in de fabula 1.4-6 he sincerely believes he is treating the origin of Roman comedy: 4. etenim per priscos poetas non ut nunc ficta penitus argumenta, sed res gestae a ciuibus palam cum eorum saepe qui gesserant nomine decantabantur...sed cum poetae licentius abuti stilo et passim laedere ex libidine coepissent plures bonos, ne quisquam in alterum carmen infame


Godfrey Tanner componeret lata lege siluerunt. 5. et hinc deinde aliud genus fabulae, id est satura, sumpsit exordium,.... haec satura igitur eiusmodi fuit, ut in ea quamuis duro et uelut agresti ioco de uitiis ciuium, tamen sine ullo proprii nominis titulo, carmen esset. quod idem genus comoediae multis offuit poetis, cum in suspicionem potentibus ciuium uenissent illorum facta descripsisse in peius ac deformasse genus stilo carminis. quod primus Lucilius nouo conscripsit modo .. . 6. hoc igitur quod supra diximus malo coacti omittere Saturam aliud genus carminis — nouam comoediam — repperere poetae ... [‘4. Indeed among the old pcets plots were not completely invented as now, but the actual behaviour of citizens was sung about openly, often with the real names of those who had

done the deeds... But when the poets began to misuse their

pen too capriciously and to injure many good citizens at their own whim, they fell silent after a law was passed forbidding anyone from composing a scandalous song against another

person. 5.

So from this custom another kind of play, the satura,

took its origin. This satura was of such a kind that in it a song

might occur with jests as harsh and coarse as you could wish directed against the vices of the citizens, but without any labelling with proper names. However, this kind of comedy also brought trouble to poets, since they came under suspicion

with powerful citizens for having reported their deeds in an unfavourable light and insulted their families with the style of the poem. And this form Lucilius first wrote in a new


6. Therefore, being compelled to give up satura through this trouble we mentioned above, the poets discovered another

kind of song — new comedy .. .’]

With this history of the matter we should now compare Horace, ep. 2.1.153-8: poenaque lata, malo quae nollet carmine quemquam describi; uertere modum, formidine fustis ad bene dicendum delectandumque redacti. Graecia capta ferum uictorem cepit, et artes intulit agresti Latio; sic horridus ille defluxit numerus Saturnius ... We may render this in three sections describing successive phases:


‘Anda penalty was introduced to prevent anyone from writing against somebody in a malicious poem.’

The Origins of Plautine Comedy

(2) (3)


‘They changed their tune/method (metre?) reduced by

fear of the cudgel to speaking well and giving pleasure.’ ‘Conquered Greece overcame her savage conqueror, and introduced the arts into rustic Latium; thus that rugged

Saturnian measure ceased to flow.’

Here we find mention again in our first section of the extract from Horace of the law which ended dramatic Fescennine, while the second section refers to the introduction of dramatic satura, possibly with change of metres at the same time. The final section refers to the coming of the

Greek type of New Comedy and the disappearance of the old Saturnian verse, which






of the


dramatic saturae. One may suspect that both Evanthius and Horace look to Varro, and that his original schema may have been:

(1) (2)

Ars Ludicra written in the Versus Fescenninus:** Satura written in Numerus Saturnius** with lyric inser-


Noua Comoedia written in Greek quantitative metres.


Of this group type (1) was masked if we are to rely on Virgil, while in

type (2) the face was made up for certain scenes with the aid of red paint, if we are to trust Tibullus’ report. According to Diomedes (p. 489 Keil) the type of comedy borrowed from Greece did not use masks till the first century B.C.: antea itaque galearibus non personis utebantur, ut qualitas coloris indicium faceret aetatis, cum essent aut albi aut nigri aut rufi. personis uero uti primus coepit Roscius Gallus, praecipuus histrio, quod oculis peruersis erat nec satis decorus sine personis nisi parasitus pronuntiabat. We may render this: ‘And so previously they employed wigs, not masks, so that the

kind of hair might reveal age, since the actors were then white-

haired, black-haired or red-haired. But Roscius Gallus first began to use masks, a very famous actor. The reason was he

squinted and was not handsome enough unmasked unless he

was playing a parasite.’ Presumably




of Menander





Thracians red would have been the hair colour for servile persons, and it is likely that early Roman producers used red hair to indicate a slave, whilst 23R.G. Tanner, ‘The Arval Hymn and Early Latin Verse’, CQ 55 (n.s. 11) (1961), 212-213. 24 Thid., 229-230.


Godfrey Tanner

the presence or absence of a false beard could distinguish two whitehaired old gentlemen or two black-haired young men about town. IV.


The original use of masks for fescennina iocatio may well explain some odd features of later Roman tradition. When Horace describes the very

fescennine encounter between the two scurrae (sat. 1.5.60-3) he draws

attention to the badly scarred face of Messius, which was probably a necessary qualification for his stage acts. If clowns cannot be masked the profession can only recruit the naturally ugly; so the banning of masks would have been an adroit means of discouraging that type of comedy. Festus preserves a curious note under personata which may serve to explain some matters. Sed cum post multos annos comoedi et tragoedi personis uti coeperint, uerisimilius est eam fabulam propter inopiam comoedorum actam nouam per Atellanos, qui proprie uocantur personati; quia tus est is non cogi in scaena ponere personam, quod ceteris histrionibus pati necesse est.

(Lindsay, p. 238)

[“But since comic and tragic actors began to use masks many

years later, it is actors this play who properly are not to be forced

more likely that because of a lack of comic (the Personata) was first acted by Atellani, called personati, because the law is for them to remove their masks on the stage, a rule

which other actors must endure.’|

This type of rule directed against fescennine players — perhaps about 363 B.C. — might have remained in force till the Gracchan era apart from a special exemption for players in the non-political Oscan farce. Apart from the ban on personal references, a further rule confining in fact the recruiting of fescennine players to deformed persons would have very

quickly ended the practice of fescennine drama.

Dramatic satura was presumably obliged to fit in with legislation designed to prevent fescennine performances, therefore it would have used

no masks. However, the Harvest-Home custom of painting the faces of

festival dancers (satura) may well have been extended to cover certain roles in dramatic satura. We have in Plautus considerable use of the phrase os sublinere — an expression not found in Terence at all. The instances given in Lodge’s Lexicon Plautinum are all in reference to persons who have been deceived or tricked by other persons in the play. The realisation by the victim is usually in iambic senarii, the victim’s resolution to seek vengeance is in trochaic septenarii, as are the boasts of those who deceive



Aul, 668, where Euclio is overhead by a thief while fearful for

The Origins of Plautine Comedy





(4) (5) (6)


his gold — iambic senarii.

656, where a cheated Hegio is threatening Tyndarus — trochaic septenarii. 783, where Hegio alone laments his being cheated —

Bacchiac tetrameters. Epid. 8, a part of the argument which may be post-Plautine — iambic senarii.

Epid. 429, Periphanes laments alone in senarii that he has been tricked. Epid. 490, the miles reveals the extent of his deception fully


to Periphanes — iambic senarii, Merc. 485, Eutychus offers to paint Charinus’ father’s face —







(11) (13)

Miles 153, this plans the deception of a suspicious slave — iambic senarii. Miles 467, this describes the above process — trochaic septenarii, Pseud. 719, Pseudolus boasts of successful deception — tro-






trochaic septenarii. 604, reflexion on presumed success in this venture — trochaic septenarii,

631, Charinus’ anger at failure of scheme — trochaic septenarii.

110, this describes deception iambic senarii.

of a lady by miles —

chaic septenarii. Stasimus tricks Philto out of his farm — iambic senarii. 589, Therapontigonus wishes to punish his deceivers — trochaic septenarii.


We have to recall that the experience here described is not unknown to other Roman

rituals. Thus the red painting of his face was part of the

ritual undergone by the general about to lead his triumph to the Capitol

while being subjected to fescennine abuse from his troops on the way.?° V.


Having tried to define so much of the nature of ludicra fescennina and

satura as our limited sources permit us to conjecture, let us turn again to reconsider our initial difficulty, the meaning and character of ludi compitalicii. Donatus makes a further reference to this practice in

excerpta de comoedia (5.2):

comoediae autem more antiquo dictae, quia in uicis huius modi carmina initio agebantur apud Graecos, ut in Italia compitaliciis ludicris.

25 4. Momigliano, ‘Triumphus’, OCD!, 926.


Godfrey Tanner [“By ancient usage comedy was so named because among the Greeks poems of this sort used to be acted in the villages, as

at the cross-roads entertainments in Italy.’]

The most natural theory is that these performances which Diomedes also mentions were originally the ars ludicra or fescennina iocatio. They were probably, as we have already suggested, masked performances; and they must have been performed either on the level ground or on a low temporary wooden stage. It has been argued elsewhere that the metre was more probably the versus quadratus or trochaic accentual septenarius than

the Saturnian of Livius and Naevius or the Scipionic epitaphs.?® That

these performances were associated with country harvest festivals which included song and mimetic dancing with unaccompanied Saturnian chants is a priori likely and firmly suggested by Horace. Donatus implies that these fescennine entertainments were later moved

to Rome

and Diomedes is more specific in confirming this suggestion.

364 B.C.

Now at a later date Fescennine was used at weddings and

Livy tells us (7.2) that the iuuentus began inter se iocularia fundentes after

triumphs by the attendant youths and maidens in the one case?” and by

the troops in the other?® — it was an amateur and citizen activity originally. The most likely change produced by bringing ludi compitalicii to town would be to make Fescennine a part-time paid activity for some younger citizens. The prohibition of defamation and the suspected banning of masked shows could have combined to force the introduction of the associated elements of the country cross-road entertainment, the dance and chant, as an alternative amusement. With this brief unmasked

dramatic sketches for two actors would naturally be introduced, and the

face of the man being cheated or deceived might well have been smeared with red lead. As Valerius puts it ludicra ars ad saturarum modos perrepsit (‘the art of farce crept into the tunes of satura’). The next phase would prove naturally enough to be a kind of semi-musical comedy full of accompanied songs — impletas modis saturas. Though Jocelyn notes there is little solid evidence, the considerations above lead me to join

Wilamowitz in assuming it.?? Presumably the staging would be similar to

that of Fescennine. However, the dialogue would be unaccompanied Saturnian, or else with flute accompaniment for impassioned parts. The monodies and laments would also be in measures and tunes convenient for the flute player to accompany. The actors would be unmasked, but the character who was the butt of the story would have his face painted red. The subject matter of this type of play is not easy to conjecture, but it seems reasonable that Lucilius and his successors kept the tradition, as Evanthius suggested above. Now a high proportion of the later satires of

Horace and Juvenal are character studies. The tabulation is this:

oe Fanner, art. cit. (n. 23), 236-237.

ogee: 61.119-123.

Suet. Jul. 49-51. Jocelyn, Ennius, 32.

The Origins of Plautine Comedy Hor. 1.1:


The nature of the avaricious man and his inescap-

able malaise. The nature of the foolish man and his pitfalls. The censorious man and the necessity of not copy-



ing him. A distinction between social critics and malicious men.



Hor. 2


11: 12:

13: 14: 15: 16:

Travel and the behaviour of travelling companions. The nature of the upstart and how to avoid becoming one. A study of two arrogant litigants.

The vicissitudes of a Priapus.

A character study of a bore. The nature of a true and urbane satirist.

The futility of legal advice.

The The The The The The The

failings of the glutton. nature of insanity viewed philosophically. values of a gourmet. behaviour of legacy hunters. merits of town and country life. freedom of the wise man’s mind. pretentious man at dinner.

The degeneracy of the age.

The character of the sodomitic philosopher. The life of the poor at Rome. A study of sycophantic behaviour. A parasite and his mean patron. The wickedness of women.

The wretched life of Roman men of letters.

The true nature of nobility. The sorrows of a rejected sodomite. The vanity of human wishes. The folly of gluttony. An attack on legacy hunters. A consolation for being cheated.

The vice of avarice and the need for proper educa-

tion. Pious cannibalism in Egypt. The life of a soldier.

If these themes for off-stage satire grew out of the content of stage satire, it is perhaps likely that dramatic satura was a short play illustrating the cruelty or stupidity of certain undesirable common practices composed in this style. Since these are also themes in Greek New Comedy, as Menander’s Dyscolus has shown, the existence of a native drama on such topics would render its replacement by this Greek form the more accept-

able, especially if, as Evanthius maintains, a legal suppression of our satura has occurred. Some substitute innovation would then be essential to


Godfrey Tanner

provide employment for the actors.



Now in the classical period mime or planipedia was a very popular amusement. Furthermore, Laberius and Publilius Syrus had put on a

literary version of planipedia before

Julius Caesar.*° Its origin and

development again raise issues of serious complexity. First, the tale of the elderly mimic actor called Pomponius at the Ludi Apollinares of 211 B.C.

which we find in Festus (p. 326 M) represents the earliest reference to a

dated performance of mime at Roman ludi. We are told that Livius had introduced the Greek tradition of comedy with a plot in 240 B.C. Are we to explain this event as the finding of a substitute for the newly banned satura? If so, were intemperate attacks on the prosecution of the First Punic War or personal abuse of those senators who conducted the war and made the peace regarded as the ground for banning this form? Then, if the new fabulae were acted by Tarentine freedmen and did not yet provide adequate openings for actors of satura, was the unmasked planipedia developed to meet their need for work? In short, if the essence of Fescennine was preserved in Satura, were the basic features of Satura again kept alive in a newly devised Planipedia? Certainly, after 171 B.C. mimes were shown annually at the Floralia. However, this festival was actually estab-

lished in 238 B.C., and it is quite possible that mimes were always a part of it, as Duckworth maintains.*! Now

let us investigate the nature of planipedia.

In the last century

Teuffel assembled the evidence in some detail,>? and little more has been done to improve on this material, though the discovery of the papyrus of Herondas now permits us to account better for the choliambic mimes of Caius





Teuffel finds recorded

by the

ancient sources are the wearing of the many-coloured centuncula by male

mimi and the employment

of scantily-clad women

as mimae.

Both men

and women acted barefoot, and song with dancing in the orchestra played

a large part in the performance. The subject matter seems to have largely concerned deception, adultery and seduction — though moral sentiments were frequently uttered, either in character or because of their glaring comic inappropriateness. It is notorious that mimic actors were always unmasked. In the Imperial age their scenes were at least partly done on the raised stage, but we lack adequate evidence for the Republic, though our quotation from Diomedes would confine their activity to ground level. The


of mime

in the Augustan

age is used by Horace to

furnish him with a convenient simile (ep. 1.18.10-13):

3°Macrob. 2.7.7. 3 ; Duckworth, Nature of Roman



Teuffel, History of Roman Literature, I, 8ff.

The Origins of Plautine Comedy


alter in obsequium plus aequo pronus et imi derisor lecti sic nutum diuitis horret, Sic iterat uoces et uerba cadentia tollit,

ut puerum saeuo credas dictata magistro reddere uel partes mimum tractare secundas.

[‘The other is unreasonably prone to servility,

And trembles at the rich man’s nod like the jester on the lowest couch,

So closely does he repeat words and pick up

incomplete sentences That you would think a boy was repeating his lesson to a cruel schoolmaster,

Or a mime actor was playing the second role.’]

Here Horace suggests that the second actor repeats the words of the first

like a school pupil repeating the master’s lesson. Suetonius (Caligula 57) also tells us that the second actor in a mime is obliged to copy every act of the first, so that on one occasion he felt obliged to cough up blood on

stage when the first actor had an involuntary lung haemorrhage during the play. In Nonius (p. 7 M) we find that the second actor is often caluos : ‘caluitur’ dictum est frustratur: tractum a caluis mimicis, quod sint

omnibus frustratui (“becomes bald” means “‘is frustrated”: this use is

taken from bald mime actors, who are open to frustration by all’). In addition, caluos is glossed by stupidus, which is given by Nonius (p. 400M) as the equivalent of stultus/iniquos, This distinctive plot in which the second character imitates the first one, who in turn beats his clumsy pupil is clearly a standard feature of Imperial-age mime. In confirmation of this

we have Martial’s reference (1.4.5) to Latinus the well-known mime as a derisor, whilst the epigrammatist also marks his habit of beating and boxing

the ears of Panniculus his foil.?? Juvenal refers to this practice

twice also.°* Arnobius also suggests the wearing of phallic costume


delectantur dii stupidorum capitibus rasis, salpitarum sonitu et plausu, factis et dictis turpibus, fascinorum ingentium rubore.

[“The Gods are delighted by the shaven heads of the fools, the

blasts and applause of the trumpeters, foul deeds and words, and the shame (?redness) of enormous phalili.’] The

original association with the fertility feast of Flora renders this

motif scarcely surprising.

3gEP. 2.72.3-4 and 5.61.11-12. Sat. 5.171 and 8.191-192.


Godfrey Tanner

Though planipedia was probably introduced as a surrogate for the prohibited satura and may have tended therefore to absorb many of the elements of the latter, it seems to have an independent source. The mimicry of the leading character and beating of the clumsy pupil suggest an educational ritual underlying planipedia. One may suspect that it was apotropaic in its origin and part of the rebirth ritual associated with the initiation of youths in many societies. After their ‘resurrection’ as men they would become clumsy as infants, and the baldness of the shaved head is a mark of infancy as well as of age.?> The metre of planipedia originally might well have been fescennine, its aims being to turn aside divine jealousy from the newly initiated by suitable forms of humiliation. Later

the initiator’s treatment of the initiand will be presented symbolically in

pageant by the callidus*® tormenting the caluos, The fescennine verse designed to avert the evil eye from the triumphs of generals shows a parallel practice of such repetition in succesive lines:?7 ecce nunc triumphat Caesar non triumphat Nicomedes

qui subegit Gallias qui subegit Caesarem

Further it is noteworthy that Plautus frequently puts those scenes where a stupidus repeats the words of his derisor and becomes gradually instructed


the quantitative

version of this accentual versus quadratus, the

trochaic septenarius. However the actual fragments of Laberius and Publilius Syrus show a great preponderance of iambic senarii over these

trochaic septenarii.>® This feature, which they share with early Roman

comedy fragments as shown in the table at the end, is no doubt a common inheritance drawn by mime and comedy from the primarily Saturnian content of satura.



A further examination will show that our table in the Appendix reveals a contrary feature to mime — a predominance of trochaic septenarii over iambic senarii in the fragments of Atellan farce from the second century B.C. Moreover, Plautus himself occupies an intermediate position between mime and early comedy on one side and Atellan farce on the other with his nearly equal balance between the two metres over the twenty extant plays. This figure reminds us of the suggestion that Plautus was himself a former Atellan player, and that both his increased use of the septenarii in comedy and the types of scenes in which he often employs them may well represent influences from his Atellan background. As one distinctive element in the subject matter of scenes is the feature already noted, we are bound to inquire whether in all probability the imparting of true or false 353.G.






ed.) (London



36 eastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. 7, 314-319. 375 Nonius p. 257 M, s.v. ‘calleo’. On caluos as initiand, see Nonius, p. 528 M. Suet. Jul. 49. 38 See Appendix.

cf. J.

The Origins of Plautine Comedy


instruction played some part in Atellan plots as well as in mime. Let us

now try to find what can be known about these Atellan plays.

We have already noted that Festus tells us that Atellan actors were always masked, and that Diomedes observes that these plays resemble

Greek satyr plays in their plots and their humour. We can glean a little more information from Valerius and Livy. So again from the section of Valerius Maximus quoted earlier (2.4.4): Atellani autem ab Oscis acciti sunt. quod genus delectationis Italica seueritate temperatum ideoque uacuum nota est: nam neque tribu mouetur actor nec a militaribus stipendiis repellitur.

[‘The Atellans however were summoned from the Oscan people. This form of entertainment is blended with Italic severity and

so is free from


for neither is an actor

removed from his tribe nor rejected for military service.’ Livy gives a not dissimilar account (7.2.10):

quod genus ludorum ab Oscis acceptum tenuit iuuentus, nec ab histrionibus pollui passa est. eo institutum manet, ut actores Atellanarum nec tribu moueantur, et stipendia, tamquam expertes artis ludicrae, faciant. [‘And the young men retained this type of play borrowed from the Oscans and did not allow it to be polluted by the histriones. Thus it remains a practice that actors of Atellans

are not removed from their tribes, and that they perform military










Now since Aristotle it had been accepted (rightly or wrongly) that Greek

tragedy evolved from dithyramb through a satyr play phase.*? Thus the Atellanae are here alleged to belong to a tradition associated with the tragic as well as the comic aspect. Modern knowledge of South Italian vase painting permits us to make sense of this. As Miss Bieber explains,*° Oscan farce grew out of the South Italian Phlyax tradition portrayed on such vases, and a great many subjects depicted are parodies of tragic themes, not only those involving Heracles, but also subjects as grave as the

Antigone theme.*!

Regarding the details owed to literary sources, Teuffel has again made a complete collection, though the work of Miss Bieber and now that of

4058 Poetics 1449a 7-30.

4 Bieber, History of Greek and Roman Theatre, 131, 145.

'Thid., 134, plate 490.


Godfrey Tanner

Trendall*? has provided vase material which has revolutionised our interpretation of the documents. Teuffel offers this historical account:

After the Romans (A.V.C. 543) had annihilated the independence of Campania and latinised the province, both the thing

and its name migrated to Rome, and soon Maccus, Pappus, Bucco and Dossenus were well-known and favourite figures with the Roman people also, who joined to them similar ones,

such as Manducus, Mania, Lamia, Pytho.*°

In the Oxford Classical Dictionary Beare offers these definitions: Maccus, “Clown”, Pappus, “Gaffer”, Bucco, “Fat-cheeks”’, Dossenus, “Hunchback”(?), (? identical with Manducus,


The female figures are hard to define. In the Oxford Classical Dictionary H.J. Rose defined Lamia as ‘a child-stealing bogey (apparently sometimes

bisexual)’, Mania as ‘the good one’, cf. manes, who may also be a euphemism for the death-goddess, and Pytho as ‘the female dragon of

Delphi’.** Teuffel goes on to explain:

Maccus is stupid, voracious and wanton. Bucco amuses by his bucca, in blabbing and devouring. Pappus is an old man, vain, and very stupid, always cheated by his wife and son. Dossenus

(dorsum) is a cunning sharper, the dottore.*®

Duckworth insists on only four stock characters,*” but Beare is more cautious, noting that from the fragments preserved ‘we collect the names of four or five.’ He also observes that Varro’s statement item significat in Atellanis aliquot Pappum senem, quod Osci ‘casnar’ appellant suggests Pappus was a character in some plays only, while the fragments of the Maccus Virgo are the only proof that Dossenus and Maccus could appear

in the same play.*® One is therefore disposed to the conclusion that a grex

of eight masked Atellan players was available, but that only three or four could be present on stage simultaneously.



Apart from his taste for the apparently predominant metre of Atellan — the trochaic septenarius verse — Plautus is likely to have been heavily

a A.D. Trendall, Phlyax

Vases, BICS, Supp. VII (1959).

44. cuffel, History of Roman Literature, 1, 12.

45: Beare, ocp! ; 112 (‘Atellana’). are) . Rose, OCD*

, 478 (‘Lamia’).

, Leuffel, History of Roman Literature, 13. ag Nature of Roman Comedy, 11.

Roman Stage, 139-140.

The Origins of Plautine Comedy


influenced by stock characters he would have played as a farce performer

in his treatment of the New Comedy type roles he found in his Greek models. Whether the prologue statement Maccus uortit barbare (Asin. 11) refers to his own Atellan role or is simply a pun on his name Maccius,

Horace’s description of him (ep. 2.1.173): quantus sit Dossenus edacibus in parasitis seems to refer to Plautus as an actual Dossenus player. I do not find persuasive Beare’s view that the reference implies that the Dossenus

was a super-glutton;*? rather I think he was the cat among the pigeons.

Whatever the case, though, it is not impossible that Plautus excelled both as a Maccus and as a Dossenus player. Nonetheless, our well. Leo maintains nomina.°° In this Titus the Umbrian

writes (p. 305 M):

comic poet’s name suggests another Italic influence as that before 150 B.C. the nobility alone had the sia event Plautus may also be a theatrical nickname for playwright, as Beare believes Maccius was.°! Festus

ploti appellantur qui sunt planis pedibus. unde et poeta Maccius, quia Umber Sarsinas erat a pedum planitie initio Plotus, postea Plautus est dictus. soleas quoque dimidiatas quibus utebantur in uenando quo planius pedes ponerent semiplatia appellabant.

[‘Those are called ploti who are flat/bare footed. Thus the poet

Maccius, because he was an Umbrian of Sarsina, at first was called Plotus because of the flatness of his feet, afterwards

Plautus. Also people call the half-shoes men used in hunting to place their feet more firmly semiplatia.’|

Though this may refer to a physical defect Plautus emphasised to avoid the obligation on Atellan players to serve in the Punic War, it might also refer to his having acted in planipedia or mime, which had probably been

a regular stage art since 238 B.C.°? Whether he played in planipedia or

not, his comedies derisor. Now

are full of scenes where a stupidus is gulled by the

traditional sources insist that there was a rule of five actors for

Roman Comedy:

et ad ultimum, qui primarum partium, qui secundarum tertiarumque, qui quarti loci atque quinti actores essent, distributum, et diuisa quinque partito actu est tota fabula. This we may render:

30 Ibid., 139.

51 F. Leo, Plautinische Forschungen, 63-86. so Beare, Roman Stage, 47. Duckworth, Nature of Roman




Godfrey Tanner ‘Finally it was assigned who were to be actors of the first parts, the second parts and the third parts, who were the fourth places and fifth actors; and the whole play was divided up for

five-part performance.’|

The plural implies that each actor would have more than one role in most

cases. On Diomedes’ doctrine of unmasked comedy with wigs each actor

could play six roles — both sexes; and old, young or servile in each sex. If

we add a further possibility that males may be bearded or beardless, then each actor has nine roles open to him in any play. We might indeed codify

them thus — white wigs: A (old man), D (old bearded man), P (old woman); black wigs: B (young man), E (bearded young man), Q (young

woman); red wigs: C (male slave), F (bearded male slave), R (female slave). If five players represent the true tradition, it need not exclude some silent actors as well, while historically it may represent the three actors of the

borrowed Greek art plus the two needed for the native Fescennina, Satura or Planipedia.

Now faced with this inheritance of a blending of satura influences with © Greek comedy by Livius: a quibus (saturarum modis) primus omnium poeta Liuius ad fabularum argumenta spectantium animos transtulit. (Livy 7.2.4-10)

might not Plautus have wished to accommodate this modern art form to his own Atellan tradition? If so, he could hardly have put his actors into

Atellan masks rather than borrowing Greek ones, as perhaps Terence did

at a remove of sixty years later.>? All that Plautus could have done would

be to give his comic characters dialogue and situation and character depiction which would suggest well-known Oscan personae were performing

the roles of the Greek plot. If so, he would have no problem in aligning any one member of our team of five with more than one Oscan type in

the different situations prevailing in different scenes of the fabula: the Atellan limit seems to have related to number of personae on stage rather the number of them in the cast. To determine the feasibility of this interpretation of ‘Plautinism in Plautus’ let us offer an analysis of the Rudens dividing the roles amongst five actors and specifying the wigs worn

for each role as well as the Atellan type it serves to exhibit. I. II.


RUDENS Sceparnio (F), Trachalio (C) BUCCO Plesidippus (B), Ampelisca (R), Turbalio (C), _ MACCUS/LAMIA/ Gripus (F) DOSSENUS Daemones (A), Ptolemocratia (P), PAPPUS/PYTHO/ Charmides (D) DOSSENUS

Palaestra (Q), Sparax (C)

3 Donatus, Eun. Praef., 1.6.


The Origins of Plautine Comedy


Labrax (A), Ampelisca (1044-90) (R)



It will be noted that different actors can exhibit Lamia or Dossenus qualities in different parts of the play. That Labrax is meant to have a Manducus quality is made clear by the text itself — the main reason for

analysing this play first (Rud. 535-6).

Labrax: Quid si aliquo ad ludos me pro manduco locem? Charmides: Quapropter? Labrax: Quia pol clare crepito dentibus! [Labrax:

Suppose I were to get myself a contract as a Manducus for the play somewhere? Charmides: Why so? Labrax: Because my teeth chatter so splendidly!|

Now bearing in mind the Varronian reference (LL 7.95) to Manducus as

Mueller emended it

unde manducari, a quo in Atellanis Dossenum codd.} vocant Manducum.

(ad obsenum

(“Whence to chew, from which they term (one) Dossenus in the Atellans Chewer.’| it is likely that the scene on the beach reminded Plautus of the Atellan plot called Duo Dosseni,** Presumably then the Manducus is a secondary


man, like Dossenus in this, but with gnashing teeth. Hungry

parasites will naturally fit this type, hence we assign Ergasilus and Peniculus to this heading. The avaricious money-lender Misargyrides probably deserves the same typing.

I. II. III. IV. V.

I. II. III. IV. V.


MENAECHMI Peniculus (B), Messenio (F), Doctor (A) Menaechmus of Epidamnus (E), Menaechmus Sosicles (E)

Erotium (Q), Matrona (P) Culindrus (C), Maid (R) Sosicles (vv. 1040-1162) (E), Father in Law (D) CAPTIVI Tyndarus (B), Philopolemus (E) Ergasilus (B), Stalagmus (C) Hegio (D) Philocrates (C), Aristophontes (E) _Lorarius (F), Puer (C)

Beare, Roman Stage, 139.






Godfrey Tanner

MOSTELLARIA Tranio (C), Scapha (P)



Grumio (F), Callidamates (E), Sphaerio (C), BUCCO Simo (D)

Philolaches (B), Theopropides (A) Philematium (Q), Pinacium (C) Delphium (Q), Misargyrides (B), Phaniscus (C)


In this classification we see Lamia remaining true to her bisexual origins and furnishing a type for catamites as well as courtesans — hence the classification of Phaniscus and the child-stealing ex-catamite Stalagmus under this heading. The Pytho mask probably included shrewd old slave women or matrons as well as priestesses, and in Mania the pleasanter types of younger woman may appear, but the suggested death-goddess link may imply femmes fatales like Helen of Troy! If in fact Plautus saw so equivalent Atellan terms, it a chronological problem. shows no plays from our

much of his Greek comedy material in clearly is not impossible we may now have the key to The study of Plautine chronology by Buck Varronian corpus were produced by Plautus

between 200 and 194 B.C.*° If this is so, did Plautus perhaps stage some

of his Greek-derived comedies as masked A tellanae during those years, and was this the reason why their titles are not listed as comedies? Though they might appear grotesque in this form, most of our Varronian plays could be staged with Atellan masks employed for all scenes.

CONCLUSION This inquiry suggests that it is now possible to infer in more precise terms the methods which Plautus used in embellishing his Greek models with the various successive traditions of acetum italicum found on the early Roman stage. With Menandrian comedy he has intertwined threads from Fescennine, from dramatic Satura, from Italic mime and from Atellan farce. The result is a creative fusion of two cultural traditions. Here at least Greece has not conquered her savage vanquisher — rather, the two have formed a partnership to earn the rich legacy to sustain

comedy down to Shakespeare, Moliére and Oscar Wilde.5®

gc: H. Buck, A Chronology of the Plays of Plautus (Baltimore 1940). ©The first draft of this paper was read by request of my friend Mr. David Lowther

to his Classical Sixth at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh, in November 1967. Subsequently a revised version similar in substance to the present text was presented, first at a seminar in the Institute of Classical Studies in Gordon Square on 5 February 1970, and subsequently at a seminar held at the University of South

Africa in Pretoria on 17 September

1971. The peculiar doctrines of the present

contribution remain, however, my own responsibility! The suggestion that Ancient

Rome was comparable to a modern ‘developing society’ set out in the Prolegomena was already beginning to form in my mind as my paper on ‘The Evolution of Roman Epic’ was being prepared for Proceedings of the African Classical Associations 12 (1973), 15-23.

The Origins of Plautine Comedy


APPENDIX lamb.Sept.:



109 (61%)

11 (6%)

12 (7%)

47 (28%)


80 (57%)

3 (2%)

39 (28%)

18 (13%)

232 (57%)

19 (5%)

62 (15%)

93 (13%)


183 (72%)

12 (5.5%)

19 (8%)

36 (14.5%)


36 (44%)

9 (11%)

15 (18%)

22 (27%)

7 (55%)

2 (15%)

2 (15%)

2 (15%)

36 (10.5%)

60 (17.5%)




23 (7%)

11 (12.5%)

28 (32%)


66 (73%)

3 (4.5%)


134 (75%)

159 (17%)


28 (23%)

6 (5%)

6 (S%)

82 (67%)


17 (24%)

3 (5%)

4 (5%)

46 (66%)

45 (23%)

9 (5%)

10 (5%)

128 (57%)


4 (4.5%)

16 (18%)

76 (8%)



226 (65%)

5 (5.5%)




43 (50%)






N.B. Percentages are calculated out of total complete lines surviving, except in

case of Plautus, where the sum of iambic senarii and trochaic septenarii alone is considered.

The Tribunate of C. Cornelius BRUCE MARSHALL

In the (delivered Cornelius’ the senate

introduction to his comments on Cicero’s speech pro Cornelio in 65), Asconius gives an account of what happened during tribunate two years earlier.’ Cornelius had placed a bill before for its approval, that no one should lend money to ambassa-

dors from foreign nations. The senate rejected this on the grounds that the practice was controlled by a senatus consultum passed some years

earlier.” Asconius says that Cornelius. was alienated from the senate because of the rejection of his proposal, and in retaliation against the senate (or rather the powerful principes civitatis within the senate) he proposed at a public meeting that no one should be exempted from the

laws unless with the approval of the assembly. This was aimed, says

Asconius, at preventing the powerful few from using the senate to secure privilegia for their associates; the pauci retaliated by finding another tribune, P. Servilius Globulus, to veto Cornelius’ proposal. When the day for voting on the bill came, Globulus duly prevented the crier from reading out the bill, so Cornelius took the codex himself and began to recite the rogatio. When the consul, C. Calpurnius Piso, objected to Cornelius’ attempt to read out the bill himself despite Globulus’ veto, a riot broke out in which Piso was pelted with stones from the back of the meeting and his fasces were snatched from the lictor and broken when he tried to protect the consul. Cornelius then disbanded the meeting before a decision was reached.

For his action in reading out the law himself, Cornelius was subsequ-

ently prosecuted under the lex Cornelia de maiestate.* A question to be settled is whether Cornelius’ action contravened an enacted law, or was simply contrary to mos maiorum. Asconius’ account of Piso’s reaction

1The following account is a summary of Ascon. 57-9 C. References to Asconius are by page and line number of A.C. Clark’s Oxford Classical Text, and the numbering of the fragments of Cicero’s pro Cornelio is that found in the first edition of G. Puccioni.

The s.c. was passed in the consulship of L. Domitius Ahenobarbus and C. Coelius

Caldus in 94 (57.13-14), and reaffirmed by another decree in 70 or 69 in regard to a Cretan embassy (57.14-16; cf. Diod. Sic. 40.1.1-3, and Dio frag. 111). For the references and a discussion of this case, see R.A. Bauman, The Crimen

Maiestatis in the Roman 71-5.

Republic and Augustan Principate (Johannesburg 1967),


The Tribunate of C. Cornelius


(58.18-20) suggests the latter, and the prosecution’s chain of interpretation (62.6-12; cf. 61.2-7) implies that they were dealing with the spirit of the law, rather than the letter. The prosecution argued that, by reading out






a colleague’s




diminished the tribunician power, that this in turn diminished the majesty

of the Roman people, and hence his action was against the general spirit of the law (and so they wanted a ‘free interpretation of the law’, libera

eius interpretatio iudici [62.9-10]). The defence, on the other hand, argued that Cornelius had not intended to diminish tribunician power, i.e. the jury was being asked to determine the question of intent on Cornelius’ part (62.10-11), and such a determination required an interpretation of the law. Cicero even tried to suggest later (Vat. 5) that Cornelius had not

ignored Globulus’ veto but had read out the bill simply to refresh his memory, and he pointed out that Cornelius had dismissed the assembly, respecting the tribunician veto. That the charge against Cornelius required an interpretation

of the law shows that his action was not an offence

expressly listed in Sulla’s law on maiestas.

There was heated discussion of Cornelius’ first solutio proposal in the senate, and he then modified his proposal to the form that no one should be granted a dispensation from the laws by the senate unless two hundred members were present, and that the granting of such a privilegium could not be vetoed when it was referred to the assembly. This modified solutio proposal was then passed without a disturbance. Next Cornelius put forward a proposal that in determining matters of law praetors should

adhere to their edicts,* and this proposal was passed. That there was a

need for such a law when the principle had long existed suggests that there

had been recent scandalous abuses (e.g. Cic. Verr. 2.1.119).° Then



‘several other



of which were

vetoed by his colleagues’ (59.11-12). Included in these, presumably, was

a bribery proposal. In his introduction to the speech where he is giving an account of Comelius’ tribunate, Asconius does not specifically mention the proposal for a law on bribery, but his preservation of a passage about

it from Cicero’s speech (74.21-75.2) shows that Asconius knew of the existence of the proposal. The consul Piso then drew up a counter-

proposal on bribery at the request of the senate.° This counter-proposal

was intended to modify Comelius’ proposal, but when it was put to the

vote at an assembly, divisores broke up the meeting. It was presented

40n praetorian edicts, see W. Kunkel, An Introduction

to Roman

Legal and Consti-

tutional History, 2nd edn., trans. J.M. Kelly (Oxford 1973), 91-4 and 211-2. In the speech in defence of Cornelius, Cicero himself cites a number of examples of praetors varying their edicts (Cn. Cornelius Dolabella and L. Sisenna, and some _ Others as illorum at 74.13 shows). Although according to Dio 36.38.3 and 5 the senate instructed both consuls to draw up the modified proposal on bribery, the law is known under the name. of only one (C. Calpurnius Piso): see e.g. 69.11, and cf. L. Hayne, Class, Phil. 69 (1974), 282. Dio’s subsequent account of the passage of the law talks only of Piso’s involvement.


Bruce Marshall

again at a subsequent assembly, to which Piso had brought a stronger body of supporters, and after urging those who wished the state to be safe to

attend and endorse the law, Piso secured its passage (75.24-76.2).

The other major source for our knowledge of the events of Cornelius’ tribunate, and especially of the bribery proposal, is Dio, but the order he gives is at variance with that given by Asconius. Dio makes no mention of Cornelius’ proposal that money should not be lent to ambassadors from

foreign nations, and begins his account with Cornelius’ proposal on bribery which he says was a response to an increase in bribery and political corrup-

tion due to intense competition for office as men removed from the senate by the censors strove to regain their position; the severe terms of Cornelius’ proposal had the approval of the people apparently (36.38.24).’ The senate, however, thought that the penalties were too severe and wanted to modify his proposal, and so instructed the consuls to put a revised law to the vote. But since the elections had been announced and it

was contrary to the law (i.e. the leges Aelia et Fufia) to present any legisla-

tion until the elections had been held, the senate granted a privilegium to Piso so that the revised proposal could be introduced (36.38.5 -39.1).

Cornelius was annoyed by this procedure and retaliated by proposing

that the senate should not be allowed to grant office to anyone seeking

it in any way not prescribed by law, nor to take away the people’s right of decision in any other matter. At a public meeting, Piso and a number of senators opposed Cornelius, and a serious riot occurred, with the result that Cornelius, seeing that the consul was threatened, dismissed the assembly before a vote was taken (36.39.2-4).® Later, says Dio, Cornelius modified his proposal on privilegia by adding a provision that the senate should pass a preliminary decree and that it should be necessary for the decree to be ratified by the people. He then secured the passage of that

law, and the one concerning praetors’ edicts (36.39.4-40.1).

It can be seen that Asconius and Dio give different reasons for Cornelius’ alienation from the senate. For Asconius, the senate’s rejection of Cornelius’ proposal about loans to foreign envoys led to his retaliation in putting forward the proposal that no one should be granted an exemption from the laws except with the approval of the people. For William McDonald, this is not a sufficient explanation for Cornelius’ alienation

from the senate, and he prefers Dio’s account of Cornelius’ tribunate:?

he sees a more logical nexus between Cornelius’ solutio proposal and the senate’s tactics to modify his bribery proposal by instructing the consul "Cf. Cic. Corn. in Ascon. 74.21ff., where he says that the people demanded the law of Cornelius and rejected the one drawn up on the instructions of the senate.


The account of the violent public meeting is similar to that given by Ascon. 58.1124 (e.g. the breaking of the consul’s fasces, and the dismissal of the assembly by Cornelius before a vote was taken), but Dio does not mention that the senate found another tribune, Globulus, to veto Cornelius’ proposal.

W. McDonald, CQ 23 (1929), 196-208, following F. Munzer, RE 4 (1901), 1252, and now followed by K. Kumaniecki, Med. Kon. Vlaam Acad. Belg. 32 (1970), 3-5.

The Tribunate of C. Cornelius


to draw up a counter-proposal and by granting him an exemption from the laws so that he could present the proposal before the elections. of

McDonald attempts to reconstruct from Dio’s account (but using some Asconius’ evidence) what happened following the riotous public

meeting at which a vote on Cornelius’ solutio proposal was not taken. This

disorder occurred just before the date by the senate led to a postponement shortly before the new date set for the Piso attempted to carry his rogatio de

set for the elections; apprehension of the elections. Soon after, and elections, according to McDonald, ambitu; this assembly was broken

up by divisores, and the elections were postponed for a second time. The

second attempt of Piso to carry his proposal was successful (Dio in fact makes no mention of when Piso’s bribery proposal was finally put to the vote, or even what happened to it after the senate’s instructions for its

drawing up and the failure to carry it at the assembly broken up by

divisores), and the elections were then held. Cornelius subsequently modified his solutio proposal, and it was passed without disturbance.

Recently Miriam Griffin has criticised McDonald’s reconstruction and

argued in favour of Asconius’ order of events.'° One of her arguments is the general one that Asconius is likely to be a more reliable source than Dio. Though his reputation for accuracy is greater than it perhaps deserves

to be (a point which is outside the scope of this paper), Asconius’ methods

of checking his material and his greater acquaintance with Ciceronian writings ought to lead to the conclusion that his information about this period of Roman history would be more reliable than Dio’s.

Griffin’s strongest argument against McDonald’s order of events is that the logical nexus in Dio between Cornelius’ first solutio proposal and the senate’s tactics in blocking his bribery proposal by granting Piso a dispensation to present a counter-proposal on bribery is not as strong as McDonald thinks, For in Dio’s account, Comelius’ first solutio proposal is linked with the senate’s granting of office to anyone seeking it in a way not prescribed by law and its usurping of the people’s right to make decisions on other matters, in the context of the formation of a great many factions and cliques aiming at all the offices, and not solely with Piso’s privilegium.

One must remember, too, that Asconius had the whole of Cicero’s speech in front of him when writing his commentary, and the order of the lemmata on which Asconius comments might give us a clue to the order in

which Cornelius made his proposals, for the lemmata are taken in strict progressive order as Asconius worked his way through the speech.!! When

he gets to that part of Cicero’s speech which

dealt with Cornelius’

proposals, it is clear from the order of the fragments that Cicero dealt first with the solutio proposal (at length, since he was trying to prove it

MT. Griffin, JRS 63 (1973), 196-203.

For an excellent reconstruction of the speech, based on the fragments remaining and on Asconius’ commentary, see Kumaniecki, art. cit. 9ff.


Bruce Marshall

was a good law and since it was over this proposal that Cornelius had committed the alleged offence), then with the law concerning praetors’ edicts, and last with the bribery proposal. Though Cicero need not

necessarily have dealt with Cornelius’ proposals in strict chronological

order, but rather in the order which would best suit his case, he seems to have made no link between the solutio proposal and the bribery law.

Moreover, Cornelius desired to maintain the power of the recently restored tribunate, and to combat the encroachment of the senate on the

people’s right to make decisions,'? or rather to reduce the influence of

the powerful

clique in the senate who were using that body to secure

advancement for themselves and their associates.'* This desire would

incline Cornelius to be resentful of any senatorial rejection of a proposal of his, and hence Asconius’ reason for Cornelius’ alienation, i.e. the rejection by the senate of his proposal about loans to foreign envoys which led to his first solutio proposal (which was seen as an attack on the gratia of the potentissimi quique ex senatu), may well be a perfectly acceptable explanation. There is evidence to suggest that Cornelius was a supporter of Pompeius, or at least sympathetic to Pompeius’ interests, and that his legislation was part of the conflict between the senatorial oligarchy and

the popular movement which in the 70’s had forced the restoration of

tribunician powers and which had continued into the 60’s (and which the restored tribunate had not resolved, but rather exacerbated). And much of this conflict centred on support for or opposition to the dominant figure of Pompeius, for it was he who as consul in 70 had sponsored the

law restoring the full power of the tribunate,!* and who used the restored tribunate to secure extensive commands for himself in 67 and 66.

Comelius had served as a quaestor under Pompeius (57.7, 61.16-17), probably in Spain. Though Asconius’ assessment seems to be that Cornelius was a disinterested reformer, that may be an opinion derived from the sorts of things that Cicero would naturally say in a defence speech in public in the political situation of 65, especially when Cicero would have in mind his forthcoming candidature for the consulship. Indeed, Cicero undertook the defence of Cornelius (as he did the defence of Manilius right at the end of 66'°) partly with the intention of swinging

12Nio 36.38.2 talks of the restoration of the power of the tribunate to its former level in the context of his account of Cornelius’ legislation, and at 36.39.2 of 3 Cornelius’ proposal that the senate not usurp the people’s right of decision. Cf. 58.11-13, 59.5-7 and 61.13, and see below the discussion of the list of principes civitatis who initiated the prosecution of Cornelius and appeared as prosecution witnesses. 14 The law is usually credited to both Pompeius and Crassus (see e.g. 76.10-11), despite the attempt of W.C. McDermott, Class. Phil. 72 (1977), 49-52, to attribute it to Pompeius alone. For the details of Manilius’ trial, see 60.9-18 and 62.15-18; Plut. Cic. 9.4-6; and

Dio 36.44.1-2; cf. B. Marshall, Class. Phil, 72 (1977), 318-20.

The Tribunate of C. Cornelius


Pompeian support behind his consular candidature,'® and this suggests that Cornelius was a Pompeian. Cicero did this, despite the fact would incur the opposition of the powerful group in the senate was opposed to Cornelius and the ‘popular’ view of the tribunate. ius implies that Cicero managed to avoid trouble from this quarter

that it which Ascon(61.8-

9), but in a letter to Atticus in late July 65 (1.2.2) Cicero wrote: ‘I need

you here soon; there is a strong rumour abroad that your noble friends will oppose my candidacy for the consulship.’ It seems too that Cicero did not always speak with restraint about the men behind the prosecution, for although there are occasions where he speaks respectfully of them,’” there are other instances where he is highly critical of their credibility and sincerity.!® Perhaps Cicero undertook the defence of Cornelius because he calculated that a significant number within the senate was opposed to the attacks of the pauci on popular institutions, and that he would thereby

secure their sympathy.

Cornelius attempted to protect the tribunate, which Pompeius had restored, against the attacks of the pauci. Though the principes civitatis, who initiated the prosecution of Cornelius, tried to argue that his disregard of Globulus’ veto diminished tribunician power and that the diminishing of tribunician power meant diminishing the majesty of the Roman people, and though they therefore claimed to be defending the tribunician office by the prosecution of Cornelius, Cicero questioned the sincerity of this defence by the principes.'? Most of the five powerful principes civitatis, who are listed by Asconius as initiating the prosecution of Cornelius, were

known opponents of Pompeius, as was the consul Piso,?? with whom

Cornelius came into conflict in his tribunician year. This again provides a link between Cornelius and Pompeius. The

five principes


civitatis are named by Asconius at 60.20-21


Q. Hortensius Hortalus, Q. Lutatius Catulus, Q. Caecilius

Metellus Pius, M. Terentius Varro Lucullus, and Mam. Aemilius Lepidus Livianus. Q. Hortensius and Q. Catulus were related by marriage (Hortensius being married to Catulus’ sister) and both were staunch optimates; their attitude to Pompeius can be seen in their opposition to the bill of 16 [Q. Cic.] comm. pet. 51 specifically mentions the defence of Cornelius as assisting Cicero’s candidature for the consulship and as bringing in Pompeian support. A fragment

of the speech preserved in Quintilian (= 47 P) is in praise of Pompeius,

which reveals something of Cicero’s intentions. E.g. he speaks respectfully of the Metelli at 62.21ff., and of a P. Scipio, who was adopted by Metellus Pius, one of the principal prosecution witnesses, at 74.16-18. gr or other examples of complimentary references, see Kumaniecki, art. cit. 20ff. 18F gy. 76.5ff., 78.18-22, 79.17-18. Fragments of the speech preserved by the grammarian "Arusianus Messius (11-13 P) indicate the firmness of Cicero’s criticism got the pauci.

3018 5ff., 78.18-22, 79.17-18. a1 L.R. Taylor, TAPA 73 (1942), 1-24; E.S. Gruen, CSCA 1 (1963), 155-70. 'cf. also 61.13 and 20. Other phrases which Asconius uses (58.11: pauculi; 58.12: potentissimi quique ex senatu; 59.6: optimates and pauci; 61.8: clarissimi cives) presumably included, if not comprised, the five principes.,


Bruce Marshall

Gabinius, Cornelius’ colleague in the tribunate, granting Pompeius an extensive command against the pirates, and to the bill of Manilius, tribune in the following year, giving Pompeius command of the war against Mithridates. Metellus Pius had been joined by Pompeius in the command of the war in Spain against Sertorius, but this had led to some political

rivalry between them,”” though it should be noted that Metellus Pius did

favour Pompeius by delaying his return to Italy with his troops, thus giving Pompeius an excuse for delaying his triumph (and keeping his troops together) till the very end of 71 and allowing him therefore to secure the

consulship for the following year.??

M. Lucullus, brother of the Mithridatic commander, shared his brother’s opposition to Pompeius. They were linked with the Metelli, being the sons of a Caecilia Metella, and both were prosecuted by Pompeius’ relative and supporter, C. Memmius, during his tribunate in


For Lepidus, two of the mss. of Asconius have the praenomen

initial L., but no one with that name is known for this period; the third

ms. has M. which some have emended to M’., making it a reference to the

consul of 66.”° The problem with this emendation is that the consul of 66 appeared as an advocatus for Cornelius at the first abortive attempt in 66 to bring him to trial (60.2), and he can only be placed on the side of the prosecution at the trial in 65 if he had changed his stance. Sumner has suggested the emendation Mam. (a similar emendation of M. to Mam. has to be made at 81.6, which shows that the copyists made such errors), arguing that the consul of 66 was not of sufficient standing to be placed in the same company as the other four principes, and making it a reference

to Mam. Aemilius Lepidus Livianus, the consul of 77.76 This man is not

known as an opponent of Pompeius; his possible nomination as princeps

senatus by the pro-Pompeian censors of 70 (Val. Max. 7.7.6) might argue against it. But the man linked with M. Lucullus at 79.20 is described as inimicus tribuniciae potestatis, suggesting a prominent person from the period 78 to 70 when there was optimate resistance to popular agitation for the restoration of tribunician power. In addition Lepidus may have had Sullan connections, like the other four in the list.

Further evidence of Cornelius’ support for Pompeius can be found in Cornelius’ connection with the pro-Pompeian tribune of 66, Manilius. Cornelius was alleged to have been behind Manilius’ proposal to distribute

the freedmen in all thirty-five tribes (64.11-12). When Cornelius was first brought to trial in 66, the trial was disrupted by gangs thought to have








Gruen, AJP 92 (1971), 1-16, and B. Twyman, ANRW



1.1 (1972), 834.


23 app. BC 1.121; cf. D. Stockton, Historia 22 (1973), 206-8.

On Memmius’ association with Pompeius through marriage connection with the

house of Sulla, see E. Courtney, Philologus

18 (1969), 75-7.


was the first to emend

105 (1961),

151, and Gruen, Historia

it thus, followed now by Griffin, art. cit. 213.

2©G_V. Sumner, JRS 54 (1964), 41-7.

The Tribunate of C. Cornelius


been provided by Manilius.?’ Finally, Cornelius seems to have shared Pompeius’ concern for good provincial government.”® He argued in support of his proposal forbidding loans to foreign envoys ‘that the provinces were being squeezed dry by

interest payments simply so that ambassadors might have the wherewithal

to make timely gifts’ (58.1-3). The suggestion has also been made that the law on praetors’ edicts might have been intended to relate to provincial

governors as well (the term pmetor often being used for them).?? So then,

although it would seem that Cornelius was engaged in a struggle with the principes civitatis over the powers of the restored tribunate and their attempts to exercise political control through the senate, his legislative programme should be seen in the wider context of the struggle between the conservative aristocrats and the popular movement in which Pompeius played a part by his promotion of tribunician activity in the first half of

the 60’s, including his link with Cornelius.*°

The fact that the altered form of Cornelius’ proposal on privilegia was passed without disturbance suggests some sort of compromise. A majority of the senate must have been prepared to accept the altered form, and, as Asconius points out, even the pauci could not deny that it favoured the senate’s authority (59.4-5). In his defence of Cornelius Cicero was prepared to concede the prosecution’s contention that Cornelius’ original proposal had been bad, and he concentrated on Cornelius’ willingness to alter a bad proposal to a good one which respected the senate’s authority.2! For McDonald, the compromise was ‘that Cornelius consented to make his law against senatorial dispensations less severe on condition that the senate reinstated in its consultum on bribery the clause in respect

of the divisores.’>? His view, of course, relies on the acceptance of Dio’s order of events, but it has been suggested above that Asconius’ order may be more acceptable.

Further, it is not certain that the senate’s consultum on bribery did restore the clause about divisores. Cicero, frag. 41 P (= 74.21-75.2), seems to suggest that the lex Calpurnia (the final form of the senate’s consultum)

*7 Cornelius’ first trial in 66 was interrupted by ‘well known gang leaders’ (59.21-22: a notis operarum


the same phrase is used in association with Manilius’

name in the description of his trial disrupted in 65 (60.10-12: 5 apparu(isset ) Manilius qui per operarum duces turbaverat... ). For



of this


of Pompeius,



Biography (Oxford 1971), 54-62, and cf. Cic. Verr. 1.45.

pstockton, op. cit. 56; Griffin, art. cit. 209.




a Political

Stockton, op. cit. 54-62; cf. R. Seager in Hommages a Marcel Renard, ed. J. Bibauw (Collection Latomus 102, Brussels 1969), 2.680-5, and A.M. Ward, TAPA 101 (1970), 554-6. 5 Cic. Corn. I, frags. 5, 20-27 P; cf. Griffin, art. cit. 199. McDonald, art. cit. 204. He believes that there were penalites for divisores in the lex Calpurnia, as does E.S. Staveley, Greek and Roman Voting and Elections (London 1972), 204.


Bruce Marshall

did not include penalties for divisores.*? Cornelius’ proposal on bribery was put forward first, but the senate instructed the consul to draw up a modified bribery proposal to counter that of Cornelius. When Piso’s proposal was first put to the vote, the Roman people (so Cicero says)

recognised that bribery could not be stamped out unless there were penalties for the divisores and that for this reason they pressed for

Cornelius’ proposal. From this it might be concluded that penalites for divisores were included in Cornelius’ proposal, but not in Piso’s. There is a slight puzzle, however, and that is that, if there were no penalites for divisores in the lex Calpurnia, it is difficult to see why they caused a riot

and broke up the assembly when Piso’s bill was first put to the vote. Perhaps the answer is that they would be opposed to any law which was likely to affect the distribution of bribes.

33.¢, Kumaniecki, art. cit. 25, and Griffin, art. cit. 157 n. 15. The penalites we do know of in the lex Calpurnia were exclusion of convicted persons from any further office, expulsion

Dio 36.28.1).


the senate, and the imposition of a heavy fine (69.12-13;

Sallust and Sempronia THEODORE CADOUX

This enquiry’

is concerned with the Roman lady Sempronia who

figures twice in Sallust’s de coniuratione Catilinae. In chap. 25 he introduces her as one of the females in Catiline’s conspiratorial gang, and

supplies a lively sketch of her character; later (40.5) he refers to a meeting

of select conspirators and Gallic envoys held at her house. Two interconnected questions have been asked about her: why did Sallust insert this account of her, and at this point; and who (beyond what he tells us) was she? 1 Based upon a paper of the same title read to the Oxford Philological Society on 17 May 1974. It has been extensively rewritten and provided with documentation, but

its argument remains the same. I hope that my erstwhile colleague John Bishop will find it amusing and instructive. The following items arranged in chronological order, are usually referred to both in the text and in other notes by author’s name alone: E.


Stern, Catilina



1883), 124!.


und die Parteikampfe




in Rom


der Jahre



(1897), 564, 570. G. Boissier, La Conjuration de Catilina (Paris 1905, 1908), 128-31.




G. Theissen, De Sallustii, Livii, Taciti digressionibus (Berlin 1912), 8.

R. Ullmann, ‘Essai sur le Catilina de Salluste’, RPh 42 (1918), 18. L. Alheit, ‘Characteristik bei Sallust’, Neue Jahrbiicher 22 = 43 (1919), 38-9. F, Munzer, Romische Adelsparteien und Adelsfamilien (Stuttgart 1920), 272-3; RE 2A (1923), 1446 (Sempronii no. 103). G. Funaioli, RE 1A (1920), 1923 (Sallustii no. 10). H. Wirz


A. Kurfess,

1922) ad loc. [Kurfess] .

C. Sallusti Crispi de Coniuratione Catilinae ... (Berlin

W. Baehrens, ‘Sallust als Historiker, Politiker, und Wege zur Antike 4 (1926), 39.

Tendenzschriftsteller’, Neue

E. Ciaceri, ‘La Dama Sempronia nella congiura di Catilina’, Atti della reale Acc. di arch., litt., e belle arti 11 (Naples 1929/30), 217-30. O. Seel, Sallust (Leipzig 1930), 73-4. W. Schur, Sallust als Historiker (Stuttgart 1934), 172, 175. L. Pareti, La Congiura di Catilina (Catania 1934), 119-20 = Studi minori 3 (Rome 1965), 376-7. K. Latte, Sallust = Neue


zur Antike,







Darmstadt 1962), 31-2. FE Manni, Lucio Sergio Catilina (Florence 1939), 68-9, 126-9 = (Palermo 1969), 51-2, 97-9. I. Calevo, Il Problema della tendenziosita di Sallustio (Udine 1940), 51-2. E. Howald, Vom Geist antike Geschichtsschreibung (Munich and Berlin 1944), 150-1.



Theodore Cadoux

It may be found convenient if we first quote and translate? the two

passages, prefixing to the former the introductory remarks in 24.3-4: 24.3

ea tempestate plurumos quoiusque generis homines adscivisse sibi dicitur, mulieres etiam aliquot, quae primo ingentis sumptus stupro corporis toleraverant, post ubi aetas tantummodo quaestui neque luxuriae modum fecerat, 4 aes alienum grande conflaverant. per eas se Catilina credebat posse servitia urbana sollicitare, urbem incendere, viros earum vel adiungere sibi vel interficere.

25.1 sed in iis erat Sempronia, quae multa saepe virilis 2 audaciae facinora conmiserat. haec mulier genere atque forma,




satis fortunata



Graecis Latinis docta, psallere saltare elegantius quam necesse est probae, multa alia, quae instrumenta luxuriae 3 sunt. sed ei carior semper omnia quam decus atque pudicitia fuit; pecuniae an famae minus parceret, haud facile discerneres; lubido sic adcensa, ut saepius peteret 4 viros quam peteretur. sed ea saepe antehac fidem prodiderat, creditum abiuraverat, caedis conscia fuerat: luxuria 5S atque inopia praeceps abierat. verum ingenium eius haud absurdum: posse versus facere, iocum movere, sermone uti vel modesto vel molli vel procaci; prorsus multae facetiae multusque lepos inerat.

G. Corradi, Cornelia e Sempronia

romani 8 (1946), 22 with n. 25.

[sister of the Gracchi]

= Quaderni di studi

A. Pastorino, ‘La Sempronia della congiura di Catilina’, GIF 3 (1950), 358-63. W. Steidle, Sallusts historische Monographen = Historia: Einzelschriften 3 (1958), 4-5, K. Buchner, Sallust (Heidelberg 1960), 134-5. R. Syme, ‘Bastards in the Roman Aristocracy’, PAPhS

D.C. Earl, Sallust (Cambridge 1961), 90.

J.P.V.D. Balsdon, Roman



104 (1960), 326-7.

1962), 47-9.

W. Fauth, ‘Ein romisches Frauenportrat bei Sallust’, Der altsprachliche Unterricht 5.5 (Stuttgart 1962), 34-41. R. Syme, Sallust (Cambridge 1964), 133-5. G.M. Paul, Latin Historians (ed. T.A. Dorey)



92 with

n. 22.

D.C. Earl, ‘The Early Career of Sallust’, Historia 15 (1966), 309. A. La Penna, Sallustio e la rivoluzione romana (Milan 1968), 106 n. 167. E. Malcovati, Sallustio De Catilinae Coniuratione (Turin 1971), ad loc. E. Tiffou, Essai sur la pensee morale de Salluste (Paris 1974), 366 n. 43. K. Vretska, C. Sallustius Crispus De Catilinae coniuratione (Heidelberg 1976), 272-3, 347-8, 456. P. McGushin, C. Sallustius Crispus Bellum Catilinae... (Leiden 1977), 163-5, 303-4. 21 follow Kurfess’ Teubner edition of 1957. No serious textual questions arise. My translation borrows a few turns of expression from the excellent version in the contemporary idiom by S.A. Handford (Penguin Classics 1963), 192-3 (reprinted by permission of Penguin Books Ltd).

Sallust and Sempronia


40.5 __ ille eos in domum D. Bruti perducit, quod foro propinqua erat neque aliena consili propter Semproniam; nam tum Brutus ab Roma aberat.

[‘One of these was a certain Sempronia, a woman who had

performed many deeds of a masculine boldness. Fortune had been tolerably kind to her as regards her family and physical appearance, her husband and her children. She had

been taught Greek and Latin literature; how to play the

lyre and dance, both with more elegance than is needful for a respectable lady; and many of the other skills which minister to a life of luxury. She held nothing so cheap as propriety and chaste conduct; it was hard to tell which she spared less, her good name or her money. Her appetite for sex was so strong that she more often made advances to men, than waited for theirs. Often ere now had she broken faith, repudiated a debt, or even been an accessory to

murder. She had plunged down precipitous paths of luxury

and financial ruin. Yet her intellect was not to be despised: she could compose poetry, raise a laugh, converse decorously, or tenderly, or wantonly, as she pleased. In a word she was full of humour and charm.’ ‘He takes them to the house of D. Brutus, since it was near the forum and suited to his purposes, because of Sempronia; for Brutus was away from home at the time.’] Chapter 25 is in the nature of a digression, for it could have been omitted without upsetting the continuity of the surrounding matter. It is inserted into the narrative of the conspiracy at the point where the author

is describing what he believed Catiline did after the failure of his candidature at the consular election of 64. He enrolled into his gang a large

number of new members, including several married women, accustomed to satisfy their extravagant tastes by selling their favours, but being now no longer young, less able to do that, and so — it is implied — eager to share in the rewards of revolution. They, like the husbands they are expected to win over or to murder, are evidently of the ruling class. Sempronia is introduced as one of them, but instead of the bare mention of her name, which would have sufficed for the purpose of the reference to her at 40.5 (if that had been decided on), we have the extended character sketch which follows. | Certain basic facts about her stand out at once from the introductory

remarks of 24.3-4 and from the sketch itself. Her name confirms what is said about her good birth and implied by the role assigned to her and the

others, viz. that she is of the ruling class. She has a husband of that class who is alive; she has children, including at least one son (to have daughters only would not be fortunate), who have survived the hazards of infancy and are at least approaching maturity; and therefore she herself is at least


Theodore Cadoux

verging on middle age, which is also implied if she shares the motive for

joining the conspiracy attributed to the others; but she is not too old to be still attractive, for her capacity for ‘wanton conversation’ is not repugnant.

She appears only once again in the story. Some sixteen months have elapsed: it is November 63. Catiline has left for Etruria and Lentulus is in charge of the plotters in Rome. P. Umbrenus, acting on his orders, buttonholes discontented envoys of the Gallic tribe of the Allobroges in the forum, sounds them out briefly, and finds them suitable material for further solicitation: for the purpose of private conversation with himself and one of the leading conspirators, P. Gabinius, he takes them to the near-by house of D. Brutus. It is convenient not only because of its proximity, but also ‘because of Sempronia; for Brutus was then absent from Rome.’ Who is this D. Brutus? Almost all agree that he is Sempronia’s husband, alluded to in 25.2, and now named. There is an isolated suggestion that the absent D. Brutus was her son, the later murderer of Caesar;> but without anticipating our discussion of the identity of the person or persons concerned,’ we can rely upon Sallust’s clear implication (in 25.2) that Sempronia’s husband was still alive just after the elections of 64, and unless he has died — or been murdered by Sempronia — in the interval, which Sallust could not have failed to mention, he is still alive and master of the house in November 63, so it is his


which is convenient. The mention of this opportune absence

implies that he was not privy to the plot. Evidently Sallust believes that Sempronia has made no attempt, since she was enlisted herself, to draw him in also, judging that any such attempt would be both useless and dangerous. She might, if she were to come up to Catiline’s expectations and to Sallust’s description of her character and past deeds, still try to murder him. In the meantime, without arousing his suspicions, she has continued to assist the conspiracy and to keep the confidence of the other conspirators, and is helping now by making her house, in her husband’s absence, available for this meeting, whether actually present at it herself or not. This is all that Sallust tells us.

The two questions which we propose to try to answer are asked because, on the face of it, Sempronia does not deserve the attention which Sallust has devoted to her. Whatever assistance she may have given to Catiline before the occasion of this meeting, she is far less important than Lentulus, Cethegus, or Manlius; the assistance she is recorded as giving him is far less significant than are the revelations of F ulvia, the only other woman (apart from the short references to Catiline’s wife) who appears on Sallust’s stage; yet their qualities are summarized briefly, while Sempronia is placed on the level of Catiline himself, the arch-villain of the piece, and of Caesar and Cato, the only contemporary Romans of

3 Vretska in his commentary

(n. 1) on 40.5 ascribes this view to Pareti (ibid.), butI

have not been able to find the relevant passage.

Sallust and Sempronia


outstanding virtus, in that these four alone receive full character sketches. Her relative historical unimportance appears to be confirmed by the total absence of any mention of her in the extant pages of any other ancient author. These questions, along with others related to them, have exercized scholars for at least a century; nearly every specialist in Sallustian studies has had something to say about them, and there have also been specific

articles, by Ciaceri (1929), Pastorino (1950) and Fauth (1962).5 The

answers have been various. They may be grouped under three main heads: (1) (2) (3)

Considerations of composition required the insertion of such a paragraph at this point. __ The presentation of Catiline’s movement, and of the corrupt society from which it sprang, required the addition of such a portrait to be complete. Sempronia was chosen because she was of particular interest to Sallust or to his readers, or both, either for who she was or for what she did.

Evidently answers from two or more of these groups do not necessarily exclude one another. (1) It is suggested that the passage fills a gap in the narrative (Syme), or affords relief from it (Funaioli, Syme), or marks the transition from the account of the introductory circumstances to that of the conspiracy

proper (Schur, Fauth). This last suggestion clearly will not do; if the story

of the conspiracy proper did not for Sallust begin with its foundation (at chap. 17), we must move on to Catiline’s decision extrema omnia experiri, after his second failure at the polls (26.5). In any case, judgements about the composition of a work are highly subjective: one critic (Biichner) objects to the Sempronia-chapter because it disturbs the balance of the composition. And whatever we think about the artistic effect of the chapter, the questions remain, why afford relief, etc. in this way; and why Sempronia? It is admitted that these suggestions are not offered as complete explanations: but, in fact, they do not take us very far.

(2) More promising are the explanations based on the alleged incompleteness of the total picture, if the portrait of Sempronia is withdrawn.

We have had, in chaps. 10-13, an account of the corrupt society from which Catiline’s movement sprang, and have been given, in 13.3, a glimpse

of the female half of that society; Catiline’s male followers have been described (14, 16.1-3, 17.6); so have his recently recruited female followers (23.3-4). We have had a portrait of Catiline himself, the epitome of the movement (5, cf. 14, 15); does not symmetry now require a portrait

of one of his female followers, to fill out the general picture of them, and

*Pp. 99-103. >For the bibliography, see n. 1.


Theodore Cadoux

to provide a counterpart to him personally?® An answer in the affirmative

appears even more plausible when we come to compare the portrait more closely with that of Catiline. There are numerous points of similarity between the two figures. Catiline and Sempronia are both of good family, and physically well-endowed as becomes their respective sexes. Both are intelligent and ready of speech. Both have that equivocal quality, some-

times a virtue, but in their case a vice, of audacia:’ it makes them ready to

commit, or at least be privy to murder. They are equally careless both of their reputation and their resources (25.3, cf. 14.6). They spend heavily from their own fortunes and do not scruple to lay their hands on those of

others (25.4, cf. 5.4); but neither can stave off financial ruin (25.4, cf.

5.7). Catiline is not especially luxurious, indeed he can deny himself even necessities; but he is ardens in cupiditatibus, surely sexual desires, to judge from chap. 15; and Sempronia resembles him in this too. Indeed, she here stands apart from all the other female conspirators and from Fulvia; they

sell their favours for money (24.4, 23.3); she seeks men for their own sake.

Sempronia is not a carbon copy of Catiline, and Sallust presents their characters differently.® Merely to have reproduced for her what he had said about Catiline with verbal alterations would have been implausible and added nothing to the total picture. But she is sufficiently like him for us to notice it, and for our general view of Catiline and his entourage to be reinforced and filled out. (3) Some might be prepared to leave it at that. But perhaps it is natural for us still to be curious, and to ask wky Sallust chose Sempronia for this role. It is in answer to this question that scholars have been most inventive. Their answers have been usually, though not always, in terms of her family relationships. Sallust tells us whose wife she was. But of whom was she the mother? the daughter? the aunt? If we could answer such questions as these, it has been thought, we would understand more clearly the reason for Sallust’s choice. Let us examine some of these theories. The oldest, it would seem, originates in a footnote of E. von Stern. It proved an attractive one and was taken up by a fair number of scholars.” It has the virtue of being founded — as some of those we shall examine

This view is accepted, with modifications and reservations in some cases, by Boissier, Ullmann, Altheit, Munzer, Baehrens, Ciaceri, Seel, Howald, Steidle, Biichner, Earl, Balsdon, Fauth, Syme, Paul, La Penna (85), Tiffou, Vretska, McGushin. 7 For Sallust audacia is both an ars bona (9.3) and an ars mala (3.3, cf. 3.4), and he uses the word in both senses: cf. V. Poschl, Grundwerte romische Staatsgesinnung in den Geschichtswerken des Sallust (Berlin 1940), 37; recognized in LS and OLD, but not by Earl (12) or by J. Hellegouarc’h, Le Vocabulaire latin des relations et des

partis politiques sous la republique (Paris 1963), see Index.

See p. 117. In Alheit’s view, Sallust’s Sempronia resembles his Sulla (Jug. 95.3-5) more closely than his Catiline. This judgement is at least debatable. For the theory

she based on it, see p. 115.

Schwartz, Theissen, Ullmann, Miinzer, Kurfess, Baehrens, Seel, Latte, Calevo.

Sallust and Sempronia


later are not — on information actually supplied by Sallust. He has told us

that Sempronia was the wife of a D. Brutus, and that she was ‘fortunate enough in her children’. We have already inferred from this that he had one or more sons who at this time were at least approaching maturity. It is also not unlikely that one of them bore his father’s praenomen Decimus. Will he not, then, be that famous Decimus Brutus, the murderer of Caesar? Sallust writes after the death of Caesar, as the past tenses used of him (53.6-54.6) indicate; and, having been his follower, cannot but have felt the strongest abhorrence at the crime of his assassination; and Decimus Brutus was stigmatized by Caesarians generally as the blackest of

the assassins in his ingratitude to Caesar.'° Sallust could assume his

readers would know all this. Was it not, therefore, natural that he should strike at this political enemy, or through him at his party, if he was now dead, by reminding his fellow Romans that Brutus’ mother had been a

follower of Catiline, and stressing (in §4) that she too was faithless and

murderous? Such, or the like, were the arguments used in support of this theory. But after a time it fell out of favour, no one, it would seem, having

accepted it since 1940.'' However, it deserves careful scrutiny.

First of all, we need to ask if we have sufficient grounds for believing

that D. Brutus, the murderer of Caesar, was Sempronia’s son; and this

question calls first for an enquiry into the identity and connexions of her husband. It is generally assumed that he was D. Brutus, the consul of 77.'*

Of him something is known.!* He was the son of D. Brutus Callaicus,

consul of 138, and grandson of M. Brutus, consul of 178.!* His mother was a Clodia, i.e. a member of the patrician family of the Claudii Pulchri. He appears first as one of the young nobles who in 100 helped to suppress

the movement of Saturninus and his clique (Cic. Rab. perd. 21). In 78 he

was a supporter of the Sullan regime,’> and no doubt owed to this his

election to the consulship of 77. Like his colleague Mamercus Lepidus, he neither claimed nor was judged to have any military competence: the youthful Pompey, who had as yet held no office, was sent in their place to help Metellus against Sertorius in Spain non pro consule sed pro consulibus.'® He devoted much of his time to pleading in the courts, but did not make a name for himself by any spectacular success. He was learned in

11 Vell 2.56.3; App. BC 2.111.464, 113.474, 143.597; Dio 44.14.3-4, 18.1, 35.2-3.

11in 1958 Syme alluded to it non-committally (Tacitus, 576 n. 6), but in 1964 he rejected it (see p. 104). For example, by Munzer, Kurfess, Corradi, Balsdon, Syme, Vretska, McGushin.

14 See Munzer, RE 10 (1917), 968 (Iunii no. 46). This is established by his filiation, D.f.M.n., preserved in the fasti Capitolini. For his father, see Munzer, ibid., 1021 no. 57; for his grandfather, 970 no. 48. M. Lepidus, when he attacked the Sullan regime in 78, cast scorn, according to

Sallust (hist. 1.55.2-3) on the praeclara Brutorum atque Aemiliorum et Lutatiorum proles who are the tyrant’s satellites. He evidently meant to refer to D. Brutus




16 his own fellow-consul of 78. Cic. imp. Pomp. 62, Phil. 17.3-4; Oros. 5.23.8.




to be consuls in 77, and

(... quia

Q. Catulus,

| consules recusabant); Plut. Pomp.


Theodore Cadoux

both Greek and Latin literature, like his father Callaicus.!7 An episode of 74 showed him to be a man at least moderately well off, possessing both

land and ready cash.'* If he was Sempronia’s husband, he was still alive

in November 63;'? in 45 Cicero was in doubt as to whether his mother

Clodia survived him or not,?° from which we may infer that he had died

quite a number of years previously. A young man

in 100, and consul in 77

under the Sullan rules, he would have been at least 56 in 63.

This is the sum of our knowledge of D. Brutus, consul of 77, and much

of it fits the D. Brutus named by Sallust as Sempronia’s husband. The

expression viro... satis fortunata suits a man of the consular’s descent, rank and wealth, and a common interest in literature might have been thought to favour a harmonious match. His decided political views would explain why Sempronia had not attempted to persuade him to join the conspiracy; and the somewhat unaggressive temperament suggested by his lack of military ambition and of striking success in the courts, combined with his greater age (from what we have said there could have been twenty

years between them), might account for his complaisance in not divorcing her despite her mode of life, if indeed he was fully aware of it,2/ and if _

it was as lurid as Sallust paints it.

Is any other identification open to us? We certainly have no positive knowledge of any other D. Brutus of this generation. All the data collected by Munzer under the name of the consul of 77 (omitting his marriage with Sempronia which we are discussing) certainly refer to him save one, that concerning the episode of 74; and there is no reason why it too should not do so. We may wonder why Cicero should appear to be identifying the consul of 77 in two of his references (see notes 17 and 20), if there was only one D. Brutus of whom he could have been writing; but the qualification may have been intended not to distinguish the consular from

another D. Brutus, but simply to remind the reader (admittedly in the one

case Atticus, who should not have needed the reminder) of the principal fact in the career of a not very memorable man and so cause him to be instantly recognized. It is true that the existence of a second D. Brutus cannot be excluded by the absence of evidence, and would be in no way 17 Cie. Brut. 175 (is qui consul cum Mamerco fuit), cf. 107. Munzer (n. 13) reasonably thinks it significant that his name is not attached, in our fairly full records, to any particular case. 18 Cic. Verr. 2.1.144, 150; cf. Ps.-Asc. 253 St. A D. Brutus is named as having pledged land and put down 560,000 HS on behalf of a minor Iunius who had fallen into Verres’ clutches. After vigorous protests he got 110,000 HS back. 19

He was not present when Cicero spoke for Rabirius earlier in the year (Rab. perd. 21), as were

the three men

named just after him


the addition of hic. The

three named just before him were dead, but if he was Sem pronia’s husband he was


not dead, but away from Rome

Cic. Att.


(Sall. Cat. 40.5).

12.22.2 (num Clodia D. Bruto consulari filio suo mortuo vixerit. id de

aut certe de Postumia

sciri potest,...),

cf. 20.2. We are not here con-

cerned with Miinzer’s speculations about Clodia, leading to his conclusion that


she certainly did die before Brutus (Rom. Adelsp. , 404-8, cf. 272-5). See G. Long’s edition of Sallust, revised by J.G. Frazer (London 1894), 44, and Munzer (n. 13).

Sallust and Sempronia


surprising; there had been no less than three M. Bruti of this period.?” A second D. Brutus, furthermore, would satisfy at least ments of Sempronia’s husband: he would be as noble though humbler in rank; and having survived the proscription, probably of conservative views. Despite

be inclined to fall back

some of the requireas the consul of 77, civil wars and the this, one may well

on the principle of not multiplying entities

unnecessarily, and to accept the identification with the consular.

The next question for consideration is whether D. Brutus, the murderer

of Caesar, was the son of D. Brutus, consul of 77. Their relative ages certainly allow it: the consul of 77, we have shown, was probably born not long before 120; Caesar’s murderer was probably born not long before 80.77 The praenomen Decimus suggests both men belonged to the same branch of the family. A closer connexion is supported by the circumstance of a family link with the patrician gens Postumia independently indicated for both. In the case of Caesar’s murderer, this link is established by his sumame Albinus, which is not used of him by Cicero or Caesar, or by himself in his letters, but is attested by his coins and by Plutarch, Appian and Dio.** These writers do not attempt to explain it, but it is a surname peculiar, in Republican times, to the gens Postumia, and the coins confirm that this is indeed the connexion. They are all denarii and have on the reverse, with minor variations only, a wreath with the legend ALBINVS BRVTI F. There are three types of obverse, of which one shows a head with the legend A. POSTVMIVS COS. Men of the name A. Postumius Albinus held the consulship in 242, 180, 151 and 99; it is impossible to say which of them is commemorated by the coins. What is beyond doubt is that the moneyer, certainly our D. Brutus, murderer of Caesar, belonged to the

two families of the Iunii Bruti and the Postumii Albini. This must have

come about by adoption, more probably from the former into the latter

family.?° The adoptive father could have been any of the last members of

the latter family, concerned

to save his line from



A. Postumius A.f. Sp.n. Albinus, moneyer in 81.7° If so, D. Brutus’ full 22Vi7. the so-called accusator, cousin of the consul of 77 (RE no. 50), the praetor of 88 (no. 51), and the tribune of 83, father of the tyrannicide Marcus (no. 52). He appears first in 56 as a young man (adulescentem) whom Caesar put in charge

of a fleet (BG 3.11.5), and is still so described in 52 (ibid. 7.9.1, 87.1), but not in 49 (BC 2.3.3, etc.). Adulescens is an elastic term which Cicero could apply to a man as young as 19 (Phil. 3.3) or as old as 43 (Phil. 2.118), but Caesar would hardly have used it repeatedly of Brutus if he was above the lower part of the age-range

from which a junior officer would be taken. We cannot deduce much from the political posts which he held or was promised in the 40’s, when the rules were

oq often bent.

Cic. fam. 11.1, 4, 9-11, 13, 13b, 19, 20, 23, 26; M.H. Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage (Cambridge 1974), 466 no. 450; Plut. Ant. 11.1, Brut. 12.5, Caes, 64.1; App. BC 2.111.464; Dio 44.14.3.

Munzer, RE Sptbd. 5 (1931), 369 (lunii no. 55a). | So Crawford, loc. cit. Miinzer, Rom. Adelsp., 407, in his stemma, suggests Aulus,

consul in 99 (RE 22 [1953], 909 no. 33). But the moneyers Aulus Spurii f. and

Aulus Auli f. Spurii n. (ibid. 910, nos. 35, 36) are both junior to him.


Theodore Cadoux

names after his adoption were A. Postumius A.f. A.n. Albinus Brutus. The

combination on his coins of his adoptive surname (Albinus) with a filiation employing his original father’s surname (Bruti f.) represents a partial

concession to strict usage; for all ordinary purposes he used his original praenomen and surname (D. Brutus). Both these practices can be

paralleled in the first century B.C.?7

A second piece of evidence linking Caesar’s murderer with the gens Postumia is furnished by Cicero, who in a letter to him of December 45 calls Servius, son of Ser. Sulpicius Rufus, consul of 51, his cousin (fam. 11.7.1, cf. 24.2). Now Sulpicius’ wife was a Postumia, who is mentioned

several times in Cicero’s correspondence of the years 50-45.2® She was

still in Rome in March 43 (Phil. 9.5). Suetonius (div. Jul. 50.1) claims that she was one of the matrons seduced by Caesar. Evidently she was a sister of one of Brutus’ parents, more probably of his adoptive father.?? But D. Brutus, the consul of 77, also had some connexion with the gens

Postumia, For when Cicero enquires of Atticus in March 45 whether his mother Clodia survived him or ‘from Marcellus, or certainly from this Postumia is the same person correspondence as Sulpicius’ wife.

not, he tells him he Postumia’ (see n. 20). as the Postumia who If so, she is at once an

can find this out It is probable that figures in Cicero’s aunt of D. Brutus

Albinus and one of the persons in Rome best able in 45 to inform Atticus

about the last years of D. Brutus, consul in 77, and his mother Clodia. The inference that he and D. Brutus Albinus were closely related, and probably father and son, is very strong. It is possible that Atticus could not ask Albinus himself, if at the time of Cicero’s enquiry he had not returned

from abroad.*°

We have established, then, that Sempronia’s husband was very probably D. Brutus, consul in 77, and that he was very probably father of D. Brutus Albinus, murderer of Caesar. But does it follow that Albinus was Sempronia’s son? We must allow the possibility that the consul of 77 married more than once. Sallust says nothing to disprove this. He says Sempronia was ‘fortunate enough in her husband’, which suggests she had 27 Miinzer

(n. 25) cites ‘Lent(ulus) Mar(celli f.)’ on the coins of P. Lentulus, moneyer

c. 89, apparently a Claudius Marcellus by birth, and A[e]dxwsc Levrp[w]vioc Bnotia vios ‘Arparivos, consul suffect in 34, originally a Calpurnius Bestia. With






his well-known


P. Clodius and M.

9g brutus, who like him preferred these original names to their adoptive ones. g cic. Att. 5.2.9, 14, fam. 4.2.1, 4, Att. 10.9.3, cf. 10.4.

Of his mother, if Syme’s suggestion (p. 103) be accepted. So Munzer, Rom. Adelsp., 405, following Drumann-Groebe, 4.14. The evidence is

Plut. Ant.

11.1: when Caesar was returning to Rome from Spain and Gaul in Sep-

tember 45 he was accompanied through Italy by Antony, Octavian, and D. Brutus. But Antony, with many others, had gone from Rome to meet him, and Brutus

could have been one of these. On the other hand, Brutus had been put in charge of Transalpine Gaul in 46, when Caesar went to Africa (Liv. per. 114; App. BC 2.111.465); we are not told how long he stayed there, and conceivably he left in

September 45, joining Caesar for the remainder of his journey from Spain, and in that case was not in Rome in March to answer questions from Atticus.


Sallust and Sempronia


only one (at least so far), but does not exclude Brutus having had two

wives. An earlier wife could have given birth to Decimus and died soon after, before 80, leaving plenty of time for a second marriage, and for this marriage to be blessed with infants who, by the time of the conspiracy, had reached a healthy adolescence.*! In this event, the younger D. Brutus would be Sempronia’s stepson. There is even a certain positive, though not very strong, indication that this may have been the relationship, offered for our attention by Syme. He suggests that if Decimus’ mother was not our Sempronia, but a Postumia, this would supply a motive for the choice

of him as adoptive son by a Postumius: he would already belong in a

physical, though not yet a legal sense to the family; on this hypothesis he would be cousin of the younger Ser. Sulpicius Rufus by blood as well as by adoption. His case would then be similar to that of his fellow-murderer

M. Brutus, who was adopted by a Q. Servilius Caepio, brother (?) of his

mother Servilia.** The suggestion is an attractive one, but in the absence of stronger evidence it must remain a conjecture.

When Syme first made this suggestion, in an article with the engaging title ‘Bastards in the Roman Aristocracy’, he also propounded an interesting alternative, namely that D. Brutus, though acknowledged by the consul of 77, was in fact fathered by Caesar: ‘and if Sempronia were the mother, so much the better.’ Now if this was a belief still current in the society for which Sallust wrote the Catiline, the dramatic irony of the Sempronia-chapter would be much enhanced: Sempronia would become even more of a fatale monstrum. She is in any case a faithless and adulterous murderess who, on the theory we are discussing, brought into the world a creature like herself, an ungrateful murderer of his benefactor. On this last-mentioned hypothesis of Syme’s the benefactor is also his mother’s paramour and his own father. We cannot dismiss the notion out

of hand, for it was said of Caesar?* that he was every woman’s man, and

he may


well have entered

as for Sempronia,

on his career as a seducer while still in his

Sallust implies that she was every man’s

woman. But, if he is right, who could tell who was the father of any of her children? In a curious aberration, Biichner says that Sempronia was the aunt of

Brutus (he does not tell us which), Caesar’s murderer.

The upshot is that D. Brutus, murderer of Caesar, was very probably the son (at least the legal and reputed son) of D. Brutus, consul of 77; and

that his mother was Sempronia, if he was not born to an earlier (but unattested) wife of the consul.

But even if we could be certain that Sempronia was his mother, could this be a sufficient or even a contributory reason for Sallust’s inclusion 335 p. 95. ; 33 Munzer, Rom. Adelsp., 337.

By the elder Curio, quoted in Suet. div, Iul. 50.3.

That Caesar was born in 100 and not 102 may be accepted, since E. Badian, JRS 49 (1959), 81-9. Thus he was not yet 20 when D. Brutus was born.


Theodore Cadoux

of the paragraph about her? It is a necessary presupposition of this theory that Sallust, at the time of writing, was full of indignation at the murder of Caesar and eager to take an opportunity of hitting out at the perpetrators of the deed. For some critics, of course (Schwartz was the prime

example), the whole purpose of the monograph was the rehabilitation of

Caesar’s memory and the stigmatization of all those opposed to him. This view may now be regarded as dead. Sallust certainly owed much to Caesar in the years 49-45, and at least in retrospect admired him greatly as a man of outstanding virtus, but he probably did not approve of his arbitrary rule as dictator (Jug. 3.2); and we cannot be sure that he disapproved of his murder, if we remember how many of Caesar’s followers, besides D. Brutus, joined in the deed or went over to the ‘liberators’ afterwards. In any case, was the Catiline a suitable vehicle for the conveying of a hit at Caesar’s assassins? The theme of the work is the decline of Roman morality, as illustrated by the novel crime of Catiline’s conspiracy. Many other crimes had been committed since: why single out this one, and this particular malefactor D. Brutus? And why attack his memory, and honour Caesar’s, in this roundabout way? If a reference to Caesar’s murder was needed, what more suitable place than the eulogy devoted to him and Cato in chaps. 53 and 54? ‘And yet, despite their great virtus, the one was driven to suicide by the fortune of civil war, the other ignobly done to death by assassins.’ One may ask, too, whether Brutus’ crime was made worse, Or was partly to be excused, by the evil example set him by his mother. And if Sallust did bring in Sempronia because she was his mother, why not remind the reader, when she is first mentioned, who her husband was? True, readers are supposed to know who he was, as the manner of the

allusion at 40.5 shows, but would not the hit at D. Brutus in chap. 25 be made plainer by a reference to his homonymous father?

But the strongest objection to the Decimus Brutus theory lies in the words that Sallust does use. Sempronia was ‘fortunate enough in her children’. If Decimus was one of them, and Sallust knew it, and hated Decimus because he had murdered Caesar, how could he say that? ‘It is not at all clear that Sallust was hostile to Decimus’, Syme pertinently says. If the purpose of the chapter was wholly or largely to strike at him because, when a mature man, he committed the most dastardly act of ingratitude of the age, would it not detract fatally from the desired effect to refer to him as a promising youth in 64? Surely, whatever Sallust thought of Decimus’ act on the Ides of March, he has in mind here only the fact that in 64 Sempronia had no reason to be discontented with her lot — she had a good husband and fine children to make her happy. We may add that there is no need to see an allusion to Decimus’ act in the description of Sempronia as faithless and murderous — for in this respect she was, in Sallust’s eyes, typical of all Catiline’s followers, male and female alike. In the light of these objections, the present lack of support for the once popular Decimus Brutus theory seems fully justified. We pass on to examine a group of theories which are concerned not with Sempronia’s

Sallust and Sempronia


marriage and offspring, but with the family to which she herself belonged.

Here Sallust leaves us almost in the dark: she was ‘fortunate enough in her family’. We might infer so much from her name. The Sempronii were one of the more distinguished plebeian gentes, with several branches extant in

Catiline’s day. The urge to see a special significance in Sallust’s account of Sempronia has led scholars to try to establish that she belonged to one or other of these branches and was related to this or that individual towards

whom Sallust might be expected to have a definite attitude.

First, there have been those who have made her a member of the family of the Gracchi, most notably Miinzer, who suggested that she was a daughter of the reforming tribune C. Gracchus; but this particular view has not been widely adopted.** The principal arguments used for and against it are based on the supposed motives not only of Sallust, for introducing

her into his monograph in the way that he does, but also of Cicero, for not mentioning her in any of his public utterances during or after his handling

of the conspiracy. The eloquence of the one and the silence of the other are pressed into service on both sides of the controversy, with what justification we shall see. Miinzer thought that Sallust’s choice of Sempronia as a typical example of the female emancipation of the time, together with the element of admiration in his account of her, and Cicero’s respectful silence, are best explained if she was the daughter of the great reformer, who was looked back to in Cicero’s time, even by those who disapproved of him, with considerable awe. Ciaceri, on the other hand, felt that if she

had been C. Gracchus’ daughter, then Sallust could not have criticized her

as he does, since this would have constituted an indirect attack on the man whom he must have admired as the founder of the democratic party; while Cicero, taking an opposite point of view, would have been bound to mention Sempronia’s part in the conspiracy, either at the time or later, presumably so as to make capital out of the circumstance that one of the conspirators was the daughter of an arch-revolutionary. Mtinzer and Ciaceri agree that Cicero would not have been deterred merely by consideration for her husband Brutus whom he did not know very well, Ciaceri adding that his friendship for young Brutus began later. Pastorino said that Ciaceri was not justified in arguing against Miinzer from Cicero’s silence, since Cicero did not attack the Gracchi in the Catilinarians and often speaks of them with a certain respect. Indeed, as we have noted, Munzer argued precisely from Cicero’s attitude of respect, rather than his 35 Miinzer’s arguments were accepted by Ciaceri in his Cicerone (1926), 1.252, and are admitted as possible by W. Eder in Kleine Pauly 5 (1975), 103 no. 24. Earlier, Boissier had said she was of Gracchan family, and Corradi and Malcovati repeat

this. Munzer’s views were criticized by Ciaceri in his article of 1930 (n. 1) and are

also rejected by Corradi, Balsdon, Syme and Vretska. Munzer further believed (270-2) that D. Brutus, Sempronia’s husband, was a half-brother of C. Gracchus’ wife Licinia, but it is not clear whether he regarded

this as an additional indication that Sempronia was C. Gracchus’ daughter. D. Brutus’ father, Callaicus, was an opponent of C. Gracchus, and the marriage of





son could

therefore, in Miinzer’s view,


been an attempt to heal a breach. We may compare the suggestion of Ciaceri (below p. 107) that Sempronia was the daughter of a friend of Callaicus.


Theodore Cadoux

antagonism, for the Gracchi and their actions. It remains doubtful, however, how far we can press Cicero’s various remarks about the Gracchi, in

attempting to explain his silence about Sempronia in 63 and thereafter.°°

There is no good reason to suppose that C. Gracchus could not have

had a daughter still alive in 63. It is true that he said himself in 122 that he and his young son were the sole living representatives of the family of Ti.

Gracchus (his father) and Scipio Africanus (his grandfather);°” but as his

sister, the widow of Aemilianus, was still alive in 101,°° he was evidently speaking of males only. It remains the case that any daughter of C. Gracchus, who died in 121, must have been at least 57 in 63, and this is rather older than we would suppose Sallust’s Sempronia to be then. Minzer speculates on the possibility that she attracted criticism precisely because, at such an age, she was unwilling to be written off as an ‘altes Mitterchen’: but this is surely special pleading, and unconvincing in the light of Sallust’s testimony as to her genuine allure.*° This, then, is a grave difficulty in Miinzer’s view. As to Ciaceri’s criticisms, although what he says about Cicero will not do, what he says about Sallust holds good. If Sallust wanted in his work to celebrate the radical tradition that stemmed from the Gracchi, why should he elect to

do so by focussing attention on a daughter of C. Gracchus, who, for all her attractive qualities, has to be condemned in the roundest terms as a person

totally without moral scruple, and is moreover a committed member of an anarchic and bloodthirsty revolutionary conspiracy? The portrait of Sempronia he supplies and the fact of her membership of the conspiracy could only besmirch the memory of the Gracchi.

We may add that while the family of the Gracchi had certainly been very distinguished, especially in the persons of the grandfather and father of the tribunes, each twice consul, and the latter also censor, it would be more than strange to say that someone was ‘fortunate enough in her family’ if her father and uncle (ex hypothesi the said two tribunes) had both been murdered in civil riots and stigmatized as dangerous rebels, and the whole family had since lapsed into a lengthy political obscurity,

lasting till triumviral times.*° In sum, it seems impossible to believe that

3°In the passages cited by Pastorino (Cat. 1.3-4, 29, 4.4) Cicero does not condone the actions of the Gracchi or regret the fate they met; he merely emphasizes how much worse Catiline was than they, in order to argue a fortiori for drastic action 3 7 against him. gochol. Bob. 81 St.; cf. Plut. C.Gr. 15.1.

39 Val. Max. 3.8.6; de vir. ill, 73.4. ose p. 96.

It is sometimes said (e.g. by E. Groag, RE 2A (1927), 1370-1) that C. Gracchus’ son died young and that the Sempronii Gracchi of the triumvirate and early Principate (ibid. 1371-5, 1400, 1426-8, nos. 41-44, 48, 56-58) did not inherit but only

assumed the surname. But Tacitus seems to think that Sempronius Gracchus (no.

41), adulterer of Julia, is a genuine descendant of the Republican Gracchi (ann. 1.53 familia nobili); and later (4.13) he says the adulterer’s son (no. 48) was nearly

ruined claritudine infausti generis, which is even more pointed. That Tacitus calls the family



it even


difficult to believe

that Sallust, if he

knew Sempronia belonged to it, could have called her genere . . . satis fortunata.

Sallust and Sempronia


Sempronia can have been a daughter of C. Gracchus or can have belonged

to the family of the Gracchi at all.

Ciaceri’s own view is that Sempronia was a daughter of C. Sempronius Tuditanus, consul in 129 and a convinced opponent of the Gracchi. As such, and as the wife of the equally conservative D. Brutus, Sempronia

represents the odious nobility which (we are told) Sallust was always at pains to attack. Ciaceri seeks support for this view from the fact that Tuditanus when on campaign in his consulship incurred a debt of gratitude

to his legate D. Brutus Callaicus, consul in 138 and father of the consul of 77; both of them were, besides, cultured persons, as were their children, Sempronia and D. Brutus; their ties and shared interests could explain how

the marriage came about.*! To Tuditanus Miinzer in the Realencyclopddie

assigns a son and a daughter. The son was a rich man, but weak in the head, who diessed up as a tragic actor and scattered coins to the populace

from the rostra.*? Ciaceri finds it appropriate that Sallust’s wayward Sempronia should have such a man as her brother. The daughter was

mother of the orator Hortensius.** She, Ciaceri says, could not have been

our Sempronia: she could, indeed, have married twice, but the orator could not have helped to suppress a conspiracy in which his own mother

took part!**

Sallust’s Sempronia was therefore a sister of this one:

Hortensius, evidently, would not have stood idly by for the sake of an aunt. Ciaceri does not make use of the argument that this relationship with a leading optimate would reinforce the aristocratic taint which Sempronia,

he supposes, had for Sallust.

Ciaceri’s suggestion suffers equally with Miinzer’s from the too great age, in 63, of his candidate. Any child of Tuditanus, opponent of the Gracchi, would probably have been born at latest not long after his consulship in 129, and would therefore have been at least approaching 60 by 63; certainly his daughter who was Hortensius’ mother, even if he was her first child, must have been well over 60 by 63, since Hortensius was consul in 69 and at least 42 at the time under the Sullan rules.

It will be noted that both these attempts to give Sempronia a known

father, like that to give her a known son, so as to make her portrait more significant, assume that Sallust has fixed and largely black and white

opinions with regard to Roman politics in the late Republic. He is for the

Gracchi, Marius and Caesar; against the nobiles, Sulla and the Republicans of 44. The absurdity of this approach is indicated by the fact that it leads to the choice by different scholars of fathers for Sempronia on opposite sides of the political game: and it dissolves altogether on any unprejudiced analysis of Sallust’s attitude to the leading political figures of the period. He has, in fact, balanced views about the Gracchi Jug. 42) and about the


2Cic. 43,RF 44 Cic. Cic.

pp. 99-100.

Phil. 3. 16, acad. prior, 2.89; Val. Max. 7.8.1; Lact. inst. div. 3.23; Minzer, 2A (1923), 1439 (Sempronii no. 89). Att. 13.6.4, 30.2, 32.3, 33.3; Miinzer, loc. cit., 1445, no. 100. Phil. 2.12, cf. Att. 2. 25. 1.


Theodore Cadoux

political struggles of the 60’s (Cat. 38-9). He thinks equally highly of Caesar and Cato, disapproves of the former’s arbitrary rule Jug. 3.2), sees in Catiline good material gone utterly to the bad, and in Cicero’s foiling of him a competent and valuable piece of public service. His attitude to the nobility is certainly critical, but must not be oversimplified.** He knew very well that many praiseworthy men, and almost all political leaders of whatever opinion, including the Gracchi and Caesar, were nobles, and it is absurd to suppose that every time the good descent of a bad or equivocal character is mentioned (as in Sempronia’s case) this is a hit at the nobility. It was a frequent practice with Sallust as with other Roman writers, when introducing a character, to say a word about his origo; and if any inference is to be drawn from the mention of that of Catiline, Sempronia, Lentulus, etc., it is rather that, as people of good family, they ought to have known better. This is quite clear in regard to Lentulus (55.6) and surely also Sempronia. Another suggestion linking Sempronia with the Tuditani is made by Syme. The mentally unstable Tuditanus, referred to above, had a daughter Sempronia who married M. Fulvius Bambalio; their daughter Fulvia is the © notorious lady married in turn to Clodius, Curio and Antony. In the Philippics (3.16, cf. 2.90) Cicero taunts Antony with her undistinguished descent, her father a man ‘of no account’, her grandfather a noble indeed but fatally flawed. With her mother Sempronia, she testified tearfully and effectively at the trial of Milo for the murder of Clodius (Asc. Mil. 40 C). Syme suggests that Sallust’s Sempronia could be another daughter of the madman Tuditanus and so aunt of the notorious Fulvia. If so, Sempronia with her virilis audacia would be of great interest to Sallust’s readers, as reminding them of an equally bold and vigorous woman, closely related to her, and much in the public eye through her three marriages and her own activities, continuing past the time when (we suppose) Sallust was composing the Catiline. It must be said in favour of this suggestion that, as against those of Miuinzer and Ciaceri, it puts Sempronia into the correct generation. But in other respects it may well seem ‘troppo sottile per convincere’ (La Penna). If Sempronia was Fulvia’s aunt, some of Sailust’s readers might recall the relationship on reading Sallust’s sketch of her character. But would this be a sufficient, or even a principal contributory reason for choosing her to represent the female conspirators? It is not perfectly clear from Syme’s exposition just what he thinks Sallust’s aim was in introducing into his monograph various persons, among whom he includes Sempronia, who were directly or indirectly of topical interest: simply to remind readers that persons in the contemporary world were connected or identical with figures from the episode of Catiline, or also in some cases positively to strike at them?* The former motive hardly seems compelling enough, and

aeCf. Syme (n. 1), 125-6.


Syme (129-36) reviews the later careers of L. Paullus (Sall. Cat. 31.4), C. Antonius (Cicero’s fellow-consul), L. Bestia (17.3, 43.1) and P. Sittius (21.3); Ti. Nero disappears after 50.4, but his son (praetor in 41, not 42) was noteworthy. Syme clearly alleges malice on Sallust’s part only in the case of Bestia.

Sallust and Sempronia


the latter is in the case of Fulvia unlikely. If people may be struck at

through relations no closer than aunts, ‘who should scape whipping?’ And if the blow were to be effective, it would also, in view of Fulvia’s proved

venom, be dangerous to the striker.*”

Without more positive clues, the hunt for Sempronia’s place among the known representatives of the gens is hopeless. The list appended shows

that there were at least six branches extant in the late Republic, or five if

we accept some of Badian’s suggestions.*® As we have seen, she probably

did not belong to the Gracchi; but besides the Tuditani, who are not to be ruled out by our scepticism regarding the specific suggestions made, she could have come from the Aselliones, or the Atratini if they are different

from these, from the Longi or Rutili, or even from a family whose name is not attested for the late Republic, the Sophi.*? Not all these branches are technically noble: some are only praetorian, and some, apparently, not even that. But does Sempronia have to be of technically noble descent? She is genere . . . satis fortunata, which is at least ambiguous.

It must be remembered that we know the names of no more than about 250 of the senators of any year of the Ciceronian age, out of a total of about 600.°° No doubt the proportion is higher in the case of the more distinguished gentes, of which the Sempronian was one. But we would

still be right to assume that there may have been as many Sempronii of

this age unknown to us as there are known. And of one thing we may be certain: for every Sempronius there was, approximately, one Sempronia. But we know rather fewer Semproniae than Sempronii, so that the total field from which our Sempronia falls to be drawn is many times larger than the small group of known Semproniae. This makes the odds against

her being a member of this or that family, the daughter, sister or aunt of

this or that Sempronius, all the longer.

Our Sempronia is not the only one whose family connexions are a

mystery. We are equally in the dark about the mother-in-law of Lentulus Niger (she is no. 101 in the Realencyclopddie). She took part in a 47 The suggestions of Ciaceri and 4gappended. E. Badian, PACA

11 (1968),


are illustrated by the genealogical table

1-6. He thinks the adoptive father of L. Atratinus,

consul in 34, and born a Calpurnius Bestia (see n. 27), may have been an Asellio rather than a descendant of the ancient Atratini, and that C. Sempronius (RE no.

79) Rufus is also an Asellio, ‘Rufus’ being an extra personal name. If he is right, the view of Groag (n. 40) that the Aselliones adopted the surname Gracchus

4 becomes even less plausible.

M. Sempronius (RE no. 82) Rutilus has a namesake of the early second century (no. 81); the two Sophi (nos. 85, 86) were distinguished each for a consulship and

59 Censorship in the late fourth and the first half of the third centuries.

P. Willems, Le Sénat de la république romaine 12 (Louvain 1885), 427-535, listed 418 senators for the year 55, but 160 of these (marked with asterisks) are not positively attested as members in that year. D. R. Shackleton Bailey, in CO 54

(1960), 253-67, counted 184 senators, not including those of humble birth, for 49. My own calculations show 208 names of senators certainly members on 1 January 49.


Theodore Cadoux

magnificent pontifical banquet in about 70, for the inauguration of Lentulus as flamen Marrtialis. It was a really spendid occasion. Catulus, Caesar, L. Caesar, D. Silanus, a Lepidus, a Scaevola, and the rex sacrorum, among others, were present and the bill of fare was quite out of the ordinary.°' This Sempronia was at the heart of Roman upper class society. But we do not know to what branch of the gens she belonged, or who her husband Publicius was. Nor do the chance unknown could have

we know about Sempronia no. 104 more than is preserved by of an inscription,°* which gives her a husband and son of the gens Cosonia, and a father who from his praenomen Aulus belonged to the Aselliones or Atratini.

We simply do not know where our Sempronia belongs: and why should we suppose that Sallust ought to tell us, or is telling us in some roundabout way?

These prosopographical ventures do not exhaust the attempts to see extra significance in Sallust’s choice of Sempronia. We have the view put forward by 1950. This says about in Brutus’


of the

Manni in 1939 and, apparently independently, by Pastorino in has at least the merit of being based on what Sallust himself her, including the passage in 40.5 about her offering her house, absence, for the first meeting of the Allobrogian envoys with

conspirators. Manni

and Pastorino

see difficulties in the

account of the Allobrogian affair given by Sallust, and Pastorino points out that Cicero is silent about the place of meeting and does not name Sempronia. It was, they say, no other than Sempronia who betrayed the conspiracy; and she received immunity from Cicero, and his silence, as a reward. In Manni’s reconstruction, based on Cicero’s acknowledgement in

57 (dom.

134) of evidence about the conspiracy furnished to him by

Murena cum Allobrogibus, Murena guessed in advance that the Allobroges would be sounded out by the Catilinarians, put a spy on their trail who saw them go to Sempronia’s house, and then interrogated Sempronia and persuaded her to turn state’s evidence. Pastorino urges that Cicero relied

throughout on spies, Fulvia at first, and others later.°>* He regards the dis-

closure of the negotiations with the Allobroges as proof in itself of this, and is also able to point to Plutarch’s mention of spies precisely in the context of this disclosure (Cic. 18.7). And when in the same passage Plutarch also says that the conspirators were ‘unstable men who concocted

their plans over wine and with women’, this is for Pastorino an indication

that the spy in this case was a woman. But if it was Sempronia who betrayed the conspiracy, that explains, according to this theory, the prominence given to her by Sallust. In commenting on it we may first try to determine the probable historical facts as to the disclosure of the preliminary negotiations between the

5! Macr. sat. 3.13.11; for the date, L.R. Taylor, AJPh 63 (1942), 400. S2 cry 12. 1294. >3Cic. Cat. 1.6-10; Sall. Cat. 26.3, 28.2; Plut. Cic. 16.2, 18.7.

Sallust and Sempronia


Allobroges and the conspirators, and then discuss their bearing, if any, on

Sallust’s presentation of Sempronia. As to the facts, we need to explain the apparent divergences between our sources. Of these there are really only three, viz. Cicero’s allusion to Murena in the de domo, Sallust’s

account, and the passage of Plutarch just referred to. For in the Third Catilinarian Cicero does not say how he was informed; Appian simply

follows Sallust; and Dio’s text is defective at the crucial point.°* As to

Murena’s involvement, we must not forget that he had just returned from the governorship probably of both Gauls but certainly of Transalpine

Gaul.** He must therefore have been well acquainted with the tribe of the


and their grievances and was very possibly

in touch

with their patron Sanga and with their ambassadors in Rome, and consequently aware of their disappointment at the negative response of the Senate to their pleas (Sall. Cat. 40.3). If, as Manni supposes, he suspected that Lentulus and his associates (with regard to whom he was surely in

Cicero’s confidence) might take the drastic step of trying to involve the

tribe in their treasonable plot, it was an inspired guess on his part. But it would be a sufficient and much easier explanation of Murena’s involvement if Sanga, when the Allobroges confided in him, went first to him, because of his recent knowledge of the province and his semi-official status as consul designate, and Murena took them with Sanga to Cicero.*°° This explanation also better suits Cicero’s words, me consulem cum Allobrogibus communis exiti indicia adferre. If Manni is right, what Murena brought to Cicero were the revelations not of the Allobroges accompanying him but of a third party, Sempronia, reporting their negotiations with the conspirators. Thus Cicero’s brief allusion confirms Sallust’s account in which the Allobroges themselves supplied him with this information, directly or through Sanga.°>’ Manni’s view requires us to believe that the Allobroges confessed only after they had already been betrayed, and that Cicero trusted them in the sequel despite this failure to come forward of their own accord; that is, to reject Sallust’s account as garbled. There is in fact nothing in what Cicero says which in 54Cic. Cat. 3.5 (ut comperi legatos Allobrogum . . . esse sollicitatos), cf. 14; App. 55PC 2.4.14-5; Dio 37.34.1-2. T.R.S. Broughton, Magistrates of the Roman Republic 2 (New York 1952), on 5604 and 63 B.C., Promagistrates, and p. 646. So Pareti (n. 1), 120=377; J. Carcopino, Hist. rom. 2 (1936), 648. Murena as governor had seen to it that debts due to Roman financiers were paid (Cic. Mur. 42, cf. 69), and so may not have been altogether persona grata to the Allobroges;

but Carcopino overstates the case against him. Apparently Sanga and the envoys 5 7ielt they could not bypass him.

Sallust (in 41.5) does not place it beyond doubt that the Allobroges themselves went to Cicero. Per Sangam may go either with both consilio cognito and legatis praecepit, or only with the former. Vretska favours the latter alternative, when

he draws attention (on 11.4) both to this passage and to 41.3 haec illis volventibus as examples of Sallust’s habit of allowing an object or qualification of an

ablative absolute

to stand

first. If he is right, Sallust leaves open the possibility

that Sanga first went to Cicero by himself and then brought the Allobroges to him to receive their instructions. Cicero, on the other hand, implies that the Allobroges

came personally with their information to him, accompanied by Murena.


Theodore Cadoux

any way contradicts Sallust. Each omits one of the two intermediaries: Cicero does not mention Sanga, because he is concerned, in the context of his remarks, merely with what Murena did; and Sallust either did not know what Murena did, or thought it unimportant. As to Plutarch, he certainly does imply that Cicero learned of the conversations of the conspirators with the Allobroges through spies who helped him to watch the conspirators’ movements or pretended to be of their number, but agrees with Cicero and Sallust that in the closing stages of the episode the Allobroges were themselves collaborating with Cicero. It is not impossible that Cicero became aware of the conversations from such sources independently of the confession of the Allobroges, although this is not the evidence of Cicero himself or of Sallust: but it is also possible that Plutarch’s statement should be understood as primarily a description of the contrast between the careless behaviour of the conspirators and Cicero’s sober and painstaking methods of detection throughout the course of the conspiracy, which he (Plutarch) no doubt derived from a

respectable source, but mistakenly applies to this particular (and crucial) disclosure. Certainly what he says about the habit of the conspirators meeting each other ‘over wine and with women’ suggests betrayal not much by the women of good class who became conspirators themselves such as Sempronia and the others referred to by Sallust — but rather meretrices brought in to enliven their drinking parties, and suborned the consul’s agents.

of so — by by

The evidence for the disclosure points to the conclusion that it was made by the Allobroges of their own accord. For this is what Sallust, in our most circumstantial account, says; it is not contradicted by what Cicero says in the Third Catilinarian; and it is supported by his allusion to Murena in the de domo and by his willingness to trust the Allobroges in the sequel. If other persons also reported the negotiations, as Plutarch implies, we do not know who they were. The only reasons for believing that Sempronia did so are the facts (a) that having lent her house for the negotiations she at least knew of them and was in a position to report that they had taken place, and (b) that there is no evidence that she was ever brought to trial for her part in the conspiracy, and that none of Cicero’s surviving public utterances at the time or later mentions her; which might be explained by her having bought immunity by an act of betrayal. But none of these facts affords a positive indication of any such act; all are quite consistent with loyalty to the conspiracy. We shall consider presently other possible explanations of those grouped under (b). If, however, we were to accept the theory that Sempronia did betray the conspiracy, how would that help us to explain Sallust’s presentation of her in chap. 25? To this question Manni and Pastorino reply that two features of the chapter are thereby explained. First, the tell-tale opening: sed in eis erat Sempronia. Why sed? It recalls the opening of the last chapter but one (23.1): sed in ea coniuratione fuit Q. Curius. Curius



conspiracy, by boasting of his prospects to Fulvia; the

repetition of sed means that Sempronia will also betray the conspiracy.

Sallust and Sempronia


Secondly, Sallust lays stress on her total unreliability: saepe antehac fidem prodiderat (25.4). This was precisely what she was going to do to her fellow-conspirators.

The use of sed by Sallust offers a very extensive, if perhaps not very

fruitful field for investigation. It occurs in his extant writings some 250

times, and is used in a variety of different ways. He is particularly fond of it as the opening word of a paragraph. In the Catiline there are some



This makes it unlikely that this opening has a

special significance every time, or even most times, that it occurs, or that

there is a special relationship between any two paragraphs near to one another so beginning. Sometimes in this position sed seems to be no more

than the written equivalent of a speaker’s clearing his throat when he turns to a new point. In the present case its significance as a pointer to the supposedly parallel cases of Curius and Sempronia seems to be precisely

nil. Not that there would be much resemblance between the uncontrolled

blusterings of Curius and the (ex hypothesi) cool and deliberate treachery of Sempronia.

Nor does Sallust’s reference to Sempronia’s disregard of fides require to be explained by the supposition that he is presenting her as a betrayer of her fellow-conspirators. He says that all the conspirators were taught by

Catiline to hold fides cheap (16.2), and that many had lived on their perjuries (14.3). Yet Catiline had made them loyal to him (14.6), and none

of them betrayed the conspiracy for the sake of the reward offered by the











phenomenon of ‘honour among thieves’, and this furnishes an adequate commentary on what he says about Sempronia having often broken faith. The theory that she betrayed the other conspirators, so far from helping us to understand better the character he gives her, creates instead unnecessary difficulties for us, as it contradicts what he says so emphatically about the loyalty of all the conspirators, and is hard to reconcile with his assertion that it was the Allobroges themselves who reported the overtures made to them. Indeed, we may well ask why, if Sallust really believed that Sempronia made this disclosure, he did not say so openly in chap. 41 in modification of what he says about the Allobroges, instead of

merely dropping such barely perceptible hints as Manni and Pastorino

see in chap. 25.

An additional argument brought by Pastorino is that Sallust’s hatred of

Sempronia, evident in the portrait, can be explained by her betrayal of the conspiracy, upsetting the careful plans of his leader Caesar and Caesar’s ally Crassus. Such an argument requires us not only still to believe with Mommsen that all Catiline’s doings, from 66 to 63; were ultimately contrived by Crassus and Caesar, but also, on the assumption that Sallust was a committed Caesarian, to suppose, in the teeth of all the evidence provided by the Catiline, that he really regretted that the conspiracy in 5815, 2.9, 3.3, 7.1, 10.1, 11.1, 16.1, 18.1, 20.5, 36.1, 44.1, 49.1, 53.1, 57.1, 60.1, 61.1; and there may be others I have missed.


Theodore Cadoux

this its last and most desperate stage did not succeed! Let us now examine the argument that the absence of any evidence that Sempronia was prosecuted for her part in the conspiracy, together with Cicero’s silence with regard to her both at the time and afterwards, is best explained on the hypothesis that she was granted immunity from prosecution and a promise of silence for having betrayed her fellowconspirators. We must first admit that there was evidence against her on which a prosecution could have been founded — the fact that the first overtures made to the Allobroges took place in her house in her husband’s absence. From this fact Cicero surely inferred that she was a party to the conspiracy. He, and the others in the know (the Allobroges, Sanga, Murena and other close advisers of the consul) kept quiet about these overtures until after the arrests at the Milvian Bridge, and even then he did not say where they took place (Cat. 3.5). But this omission need not indicate any intention of sparing Sempronia: there was no need to give details of that first meeting, which was now of little importance in comparison with the

conclusive evidence since obtained. After the suppression of the conspir-

acy the case of Sempronia must have been considered along with those of the other conspirators who were tried in 62 (Cic. Sull. 6-7). But we simply do not know whether she was prosecuted or not. The absence of evidence does not lead to the conclusion that she was not prosecuted. We are equally in ignorance of what happened to a number of other conspirators, including one man of equestrian rank and distinguished birth, M. Fulvius Nobilior. We cannot infer from the silence about him that he went scot


If Sempronia was prosecuted, Cicero might have refrained from

public mention of this afterwards out of consideration for her respectable husband D. Brutus: we are not obliged to accept the view of Miinzer and

Ciaceri°® that this motive could not have been of sufficient weight with

him. If she was convicted, and went into exile, this could explain why she

is never mentioned in his correspondence,°! though it would be unsafe to aruge from this silence that that did happen.

But let us suppose that she was not prosecuted, as Manni and Pastorino wish: does it follow that she was spared as an informer? A very prominent conspirator (if we can believe Sallust), L. Calpurnius Bestia, was never prosecuted, but he gave no help to the government, on the contrary. Either the evidence against him was not good enough, or other circumstances favoured him, or both.°? The same may have been true for Sempronia. There may, have been no evidence other than that about the one meeting held at her house (there is no reason to suppose that the >? He is mentioned only in Sall. Cat. Fulvius of 39.5 (Syme, 129 n. 27). See p. 105.

17.4. He is not the same as the senator’s son

61 Only 62

four of Cicero’s letters of the year 62 are preserved (fam. 5.2.5-7). Sallust is quite positive that Bestia was a member of the conspiracy from the


those who




still active

in November


(43.1). But he was not one of

signed promises to the Allobroges

(44.1), and

soon after the

execution of those who did, he became tribune of the plebs (10 December), which

afforded him protection against all but the most drastic steps.

Sallust and Sempronia


meeting of 44.1 was also held there), and it may have been thought that

it would be easy for her to explain it away (she knew nothing of the conSpiracy, but just did a favour to Umbrenus and Gabinius, who wanted to meet some distinguished strangers in a house conveniently situated and

sufficiently well-appointed; she herself was not at their meeting). Or,

again, Cicero wanted to spare D. Brutus. His silence afterwards, if it requires any explanation at all, could have been due to the care she probably took not to attract notice by further meddling in politics, or

possibly to death after not many years, or to her relative unimportance.®*

Thus the theory that Sallust gave such a prominent place to Sempronia

in his account of the conspiracy, because he saw her as having played a key part in the unmasking of it, is wholly unacceptable. We need not spend long on a theory propounded by Alheit in 1919: to

the best of the writer’s knowledge, it has found no support since. This is that the portrait of Sempronia is intended as a hit at Sulla, whose portrait in the Jugurtha (95.3-5) it so closely (as she claims) resembles. But

Sallust’s readers have not yet got this portrait in front of them to compare with Sempronia’s. They have got Sallust’s criticisms of Sulla in 11.4-8 and 51.32-34: these, however, concern not his personal character but his public actions. How could they be expected to discern in this account of

Sempronia’s personal character a model for a portrait of Sulla, and there-

with a backhanded attack on him, even supposing that they, if asked about the dictator’s character, would have made the same selection of features as Alheit thinks was already present to Sallust’s mind? And why should Sallust wish to insert, and expect his readers to be alert to detect, such a covert attack, in addition to the open criticisms of Sulla in the work? The most one could argue, with regard to Sulla, is that the portrait of Sempronia illustrates vividly the bad social effects of his career, which Sallust emphasizes as marking a turning point in the decline of Roman morals: but this would not explain why Sempronia’s portrait was chosen.

Another theory is put forward briefly by Earl in his article on Sallust’s early career. It is based on what Syme had said about the inclusion in the

Catiline of ‘personal reminiscences’ of individuals involved in the conspir-

acy who were still active, or indirectly of interest, at or not long before the time of writing. In the case of Sempronia, Syme had conjectured that she was included as having an indirect interest for the reader as being the aunt

of the notorious and still active Fulvia.°* Earl suggests instead that Sallust

‘advertises a direct personal link with the circle of Catiline,’ ie. knew Sempronia himself. He says this in the context of a discussion designed to show that Sallust was not in Rome in 63; and the implication, though not

made at all clear, should be that he was able to fill in some of the gaps in ©3 See pp. 96-7. It would be an interesting, if lengthy task to find out how many of Cicero’s contemporaries are, like the two ladies mentioned on pp. 109-10, known to us only from other sources. This would provide a useful check on the use of the 64 asument from his silence. See p. 108.


Theodore Cadoux

his knowledge, due to this absence, from. conversations afterwards with Sempronia, Sittius and perhaps others. We do not know how long after 63 Sempronia continued to live in Rome. Her presence there could have been terminated in the very next year, if she was prosecuted and went into exile, or she may have died

within a few years, or have survived for a decade or more.°> We know for certain only that she was already dead when the Catiline was written, to

judge from the past tenses used of her. As for Sallust, it is probable that he spent some years away from Rome on military service, and possible that these years included 66 and 63, as Earl thinks, but we cannot be very positive about this. At all events it is clearly possible that Sallust and Sempronia were both in Rome at the same time, perhaps both before and after the conspiracy, long enough for him to get to know her. But Earl does not explain why as a result of getting to know her he should need to introduce her into his book in the way that he does. Whether his purpose

in introducing her and other Catilinarians was ‘to advertise a direct personal link’ with Catiline’s movement or to acknowledge useful informa-

tion received, we still need to ask why Sempronia should have received such generous and graphic treatment when others, for example Sittius — a very interesting figure, and potentially more important to the movement — get no more than a bare mention. It is, moreover, rather improbable

that Sempronia, in Rome, would have been willing to supply Sallust with

any information of value supplementing what could be known from other sources, since if he is right in believing that she was a conspirator, she could be incriminating herself. |

Thus all the attempts so far made to see a hidden or half-hidden signif-

icance in Sallust’s choice of Sempronia as the person best fitted to exemplify the emancipated females of the age, in particular those who joined Catiline’s conspiracy, and accordingly to receive a full charactersketch parallel to that of Catiline, fail to convince. Can we put anything

in their place?

If, instead of looking for clues lurking here or there in the text of

Sallust, or making inferences from the silence of Cicero, or from family relationships based on conjecture, or from Sallust’s supposed political views, etc., we focus our attention on the whole content of the chapter

on Sempronia, and listen to its tone, do we not feel not merely that

Sallust had made her acquaintance, but also that she had left with him a very strong and vivid impression of her personality, positively compelling him to write about her? This, in the present writer’s opinion, is sufficient to explain the inclusion in the Catiline of this. full and graphic account of her. She does, indeed, represent the age and her sex and class and fulfils all the other requirements of presentation noted at the outset of our

discussion:°° but she is essentially an-individual, not a type, and the urge

to write about her certainly reinforced, and perhaps even suggested, the oe See pp. 114-5. See pp. 97-8.

Sallust and Sempronia


notion that the work required the inclusion of such a portrait; and determined its scale and style.

Of course, it is not impossible for a writer to receive a vivid impression

from material supplied to him at second hand, or even to create it from his

imagination, and ‘give to airy nothing a local habitation and a name:’ but since we have no reason to believe that Sallust could not have met Sempronia, it is easier to believe that in this case the impression was received directly.






Before him Syme





Sallust knew

(as Earl had apparently not noticed) had

inferred this from the tribute he pays to her attractive qualities, but without using this (any more than Earl) to explain her presence in the

story.°” Before him Biichner, while not asserting that Sallust knew her, stated that Sallust was prompted to write about her not directed at a third party,°® but by the fascination which her qualities had for him: and he therefore should get the credit us on the right path. But he does not develop the theme. The

Sempronia deserves a fuller analysis. We



earlier to the resemblances


by malice contrasting for putting portrait of it and the

portrait of Catiline.°? Despite these, there is one important difference:

unlike Sempronia, Catiline is painted almost all black. His good qualities are, it is implied, perverted; and Sallust does not acknowledge the attractive side of his character which we meet with in the (admittedly tendentious) description by Cicero in the pro Caelio (12-14). Sallust may or may not have met Catiline, but the portrait of him shows no clear signs of personal knowledge. The features are those of a stock villain with a black

heart, if a tormented conscience. It is otherwise with Sempronia. Her portrait (as we have already acknowledged) is at least half an attractive

one. She is beautiful, well-educated, a talented dancer and singer, a good conversationalist, amusing, friendly and forthcoming (to say the least) in masculine society. Let us consider some of these advantages in turn. Be it noted, first, that Sallust’s attribution to Sempronia of a knowledge of Greek and Latin literature was not intended as a reproach.

We should not, with Péschl,’° infer this from the fact that in the Jugurtha

Marius is said to disdain Graeca facundia (63.3) while Sulla is credited with

‘equal erudition in Greek and Latin literature’ (95.3). Sallust is neither an

uncritical admirer of Marius (63.6) nor wholly condemnatory of Sulla (cf. Cat. 11.4), and if it was to the former’s credit that he preferred solid deeds to fine words, that does not mean that the latter’s learning was blameworthy. Neither in the passage about Sulla nor here does Sallust’s language suggest that anything is amiss; the elegantius clause and that about

©7Syme, 25-6; cf. p. 108. : > Buchner names Cato and Brutus. Why Cato? And which Brutus? See p. 103. See p. 98.

79 pschi (n. 7), 54.


Theodore Cadoux

instrumenta luxuriae do not refer back as far as the literature; and the


of Cornelia,


of the


Laelia, Hortensia, and

Cornelia, wife of Pompey, show that respectable women could own to

such knowledge.’' Sallust himself was well-read in both literatures and

might be expected to appreciate learning in others. In that respect he was no Catonian.

Music and dancing are, however, more equivocal. The orthodox traditional view was that, as a form of social entertainment, both were objectionable, even for men. The elder Cato criticized a fellow-senator with the words: praeterea cantat... staticulos dat,’* and Scipio Aemilianus deplored the teaching of singing and dancing at special schools to the sons and daughters of the nobility.’* Cicero regards dancing as undignified for a man of rank,’* and Nepos notes that both singing and dancing are unacceptable practices for leading Romans, though important in Greek education.’° Obviously these objections did not apply to singing in a religious context, as Horace’s remarks about Maecenas’ wife (carm. 2.12.17-20) show: it was dancing for pleasure that was wrong, because it led to moral licence. Dancers are ministrae voluptatum (Cic. off. 1.150) and lascivious Ionian measures could end in incest and adultery (Hor. carm. 3.6.21-28). Scipio’s remarks, however, show that both singing and dancing for pleasure were already becoming fashionable in his time, and probably by Cicero’s time moderate indulgence in them was objected to

only by old fogeys.”°

Sallust’s attitude to Sempronia’s singing and dancing is a balanced one. He objects to them as instrumenta luxuriae, but the elegantius clause shows that they are this because of her excessive proficiency. He criticizes her, as Macrobius says (sat. 3.14.5) non quod saltare sed quod optime scierit. Perhaps the implied thought is that such proficiency could be acquired only through habitual contact with professionals, who were notoriously lax in their morals. And we must not overstress the element of criticism. Strictly, he concedes that some knowledge of singing and dancing is necessary for a chaste woman; and he expresses no abhorrence of Sempronia’s too great knowledge, using of it an adverb (elegantius) of which the positive form would have been harmless and even commendatory.

7 Quint. 1.1.6 (Cornelia, Laelia, Hortensia); Cic. Brut. Max. 8.3.3; App. BC 4.32-34 (Hortensia); Plut. Pomp.

Cf. also Cic. Att.

Holmes, Rom. Rep.

72 Cato 73

104, 211 (Cornelia); Val. 55.2 (Pompey’s Cornelia).

13.21a.2, 22.3 on Caerellia; Marquardt, Privatleben, 65; Rice 1.83-87; Balsdon, 273-4.

ap. Macr. sat. 3.14.9 = ORF?

p. 47 fr. 115. Staticulus is a type of dance.

Scipio ibid. §7 = ORF? p. 133 fr. 30. The whole of chap. 14 in Macrobius is full 74 of interesting references to dancing. Cic. Pis. 22, cf. Mur. 13.

7 Nepos preface 1, Epam. See


1.2, 2.1.




Holmes Rom.




273-5; J.F. Mountford, Bull. Ryl. 47 (1964), 198-211; L.B. Lawler in OCD? s.v.

‘Dancing’, and J.F. Mountford and R.P. Winnington-Ingram, ibid. s.v. ‘Music’ §8.

Sallust and Sempronia


If we ask what are the other instrumenta luxuriae which Sallust omits

to mention, as not wishing, one supposes, to offend against the canons of a brief and elevated style, they must be things like dress, modes of wearing the hair, toilet aids, jewellery, baths, furniture, food, etc. The critical tone

of the expression cannot be denied, but at least Sempronia is not pilloried

in a detailed catalogue of instrumenta; and in any case Sallust will not have been blind to the attractiveness of some of them.

Among the more devastating of the condemnations in the portrait is that of her sexual behaviour (§3). §4 loads the scales even more heavily against her; but then in §5 the effect of §3 is blunted by the description of her intellectual gifts and feminine attractiveness. It is difficult to believe that this last section is not based on personal contact. Condemn her as you will, he says; you could not help enjoying her company, listening to her contributing to a general conversation with jokes, or recitations of her

own verses, or having with her a tete-a-tete in which her tone might be

tantalizingly demure, or warm and friendly, or frankly inviting.

There is no need for us to enter more than briefly into the vexed question of Sallust’s personal morals. In 54 or 53 he was supposedly

caught by Milo in adultery with his wife Fausta, the daughter of Sulla.’’

Older editors accepted the story, modern writers are perhaps unduly sceptical. Adultery in the Roman upper class was very common, and Fausta was credited with at least four other lovers.’® In 50 he was expelled from the Senate by the censors, the reason publicly given being his immorality.”? Modern writers prefer to believe that this was a pretext,

the real grounds being political.2° However, there is good reason to think

that Ap. Claudius, the more active of the two censors, was principally motivated by moral and social considerations;®! and in any case the public reason given had to be plausible. Thirdly, Horace, writing in the 30’s, refers to a Sallust, who may possibly be the historian, who ‘is mad about freedwomen’, but leaves married women alone.®? While these allegations, even if all true, do not amount to a very grave indictment, they do suggest that Sallust was no more abstemious in regard to women than the majority of his fellow Romans of the upper class. The fact that he moralises in the Catiline against the unchastity of Roman matrons (13.3) and particularly castigates Sempronia for the violence of her libido does not mean he was not the sort of man who would enjoy her company; and he writes as if he had. §5 is noteworthy in that he presents what might be 7 Varro

ap. Gell.

17.18; Ps.-Acron

on serm.


Serv. on Aen.



g married Fausta on 28 November 55 (Cic. Att. 4.13.1), and was exiled early in 52. a9 9F- serm. 1.2.64-6; Val. Max. 6.1.13; Macr. sat. 2.2.9. Invectiva in Sall. 15-6; Ps.-Acron on serm. 1.6.47; Dio 40.63.4.

E.g. Funaioli, 1917; Syme, 33-5. There are difficulties in the political motives suggested. Cael. fam. 8.14.4; Hor. serm. 1.6.20; Dio 40.63.4. 82 Hor. serm. 1.2.47-54. The only firm date in sermones 1 is that of the journey to Brundisium in 37 (v. 5). Sallust died on 13 May in 34 quadriennio ante Actiacum bellum (Suet. ap. Jerome Jerome is a year or so wrong).





= 36/5.

As often,


Theodore Cadoux

a criticism, Sempronia’s sometimes immodest conversation, as one of her attractive accomplishments. He might not have assented, in a serious moral discussion, to the proposition that it was in order for Roman matrons to use sermone molli vel procaci, but he writes here as a member of his sex,

to which (we may agree) a certain measure of such sermo from an attract-

ive woman will rarely be felt to be amiss. And why does he so write? Because he has a personal interest in the woman he is describing and is obliged by his tender recollections to make as attractive a picture of her as her undoubted wickedness will admit.

We may then imagine the young Sallust, after he had come to live in Rome, and in the intervals of his military service, frequenting Sempronia’s salon, perhaps both before and after the events of 63, as long as she remained alive and in Rome herself.8* At least he knows where her house is — and being near the forum, it was convenient for dropping in.

To conclude, Sallust chose Sempronia from among the female Catilinarians, and composed this portrait of her, not because she was any particular person’s daughter, wife, mother or aunt, nor because she played a particular part in the conspiracy — such as betraying it — nor because she furnished him with an account of what went on during his absence from Rome

in 63; but


a portrait

of a female Catilinarian did help to

balance his account of contemporary society and of the circle of conspirators, and most of all because he had known this particular lady, and her personality had made a great impression on him. The moral which I draw from this enquiry is ‘do not look too far beyond the text’, and I cannot end it better than by quoting from a letter

of an ex-pupil:



your forthcoming paper on “Sallust and

Sempronia’’, well, I thought Sallust said it all.’

83 See p. 116.

_ Sallust and Sempronia APPENDIX



Sempronii and Semproniae of the Late Republic

(from RE, with conjectural alterations based on Badian [n. 48]) L., moneyer 150/125


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(Asellio?) A.f. Fa(1)., senator c. 140, possibly father of 16 (Taylor, Voting Districts, 252) Asellio, At

Antioch the formula is used in two successive mosaic floors decorating the vestibule of a building, accompanied in one case by an array of hostile

agents attacking a large eye.'* These include a raven, scorpion, centipede,

serpent, trident, dagger and ithyphallic dwarf. A similar selection of malignant forces attacking the Evil Eye appears in a carved relief on a rock face near Burdur in Pisidia.'* Here the accompanying legend reads Bdokave xai av (‘Evil Eye, to hell with you, too!’). The phrase by itself is also common in Syria where it is found on the lintels of houses and tombs to provide

security from the evil influence of the omnipresent Eye.!® The same two

words appear also as a stamp on eastern Roman sigillata ware of late Republican and early Imperial date from a wide range of sites in the

eastern Mediterranean, and are also found inscribed on gemstones.!”

The phrase kat ov then, either by itself, or with some addition, was perhaps the commonest apotropaic formula in everyday use throughout the entire Greek speaking world. Travellers from Rome must frequently have encountered it and recognized its force, especially if, as was likely, it was accompanied by some gesture of the fingers or hands, or by the displaying of an amulet. During the late Republic in particular young Romans

of noble family spent considerable time in the Greek east in the course of their education or early military and political careers, or, like Catullus, as hangers-on of a provincial governor. It would be natural for these young

1, Levis op. cit., 226 n. 69. 13) Judica, Le antichita di Acre (Naples 1819) 117, pl. 16. Phalloi appear also with kai ov in a mosaic from the heated cf. Abd El-Mohsen El Khachab, Ann. Stillwell, op. cit. (see note 11), 7, Pavements (Princeton 1947), 28-34, ISG_E. Bean, ‘Notes and Inscriptions

basin in the baths at Kom Trougah in Egypt; Serv. Ant. Egypte 54 (1957), 118. 24-5, figs. 26-27; D. Levi, Antioch Mosaic pl. 4; JGLS, nos. 874-875. from Pisidia 2’, Anat. St. 10 (1960), 98, pl.

, 12e: Engemann, op. cit., 30, pl. 12e. SF. g. IGLS, nos. 387, 576. The formula also appears in the form xai aol, probably to be explained by confusion of ov and ool as a result of iotacism: JGLS, nos. 396, 409, 446, 476. Examples

of sherds from Tarsus (Cilicia), Antioch, Hama (Syria), Samaria (Palest-

ine), Coptos

(Egypt) may be cited; cf. J.H. Iliffe, ‘Sigillata Wares in the East’,

QDAP 6 (1936), 37; H. Goldmann, Excavations at Guzlu Kule, Tarsus, 1 (Princeton 1950), 284-5; F.O. Waage, Antioch-on-the-Orontes, IV: 1, Ceramics and Islamic Coins (Princeton 1948), 34-5; A. Oxe, Germania 21 (1937), 137. The

forms kat ov, Ke av and xai ooo are all attested, but an apotropaic force may be assumed in each case, conveying an imprecation against any dangers or harmful substances that might insinuate themselves into the drink contained in the vessel so inscribed.




formula on gems, cf. F.H. Marshall, Catalogue of the

Finger Rings, Greek, Etruscan and Roman in the British Museum (London 1907), no. 513.

Julius Caesar’s Last Words


men to adopt a colorful phrase such as kai ov along with other expressions

from the argot of the streets, much as students today readily affect the slang of the day when residing in a foreign country. It is well known that words and phrases acquired during one’s impressionable years have a habit

of remaining part of one’s speech patterns for the rest of one’s life. The

result of this process is particularly evident in the correspondence of Cicero which is liberally sprinkled with Greek words and idioms that could only have been acquired from a first hand acquaintance with the language of everyday speech.'® Indeed probably at no other time in Rome’s history did the use of Greek in the ruling circles reach such a degree of fluency as in the late Republic.’? There is ample evidence to suggest that both Caesar and Brutus were quite typical in this regard, both having lived in

the east for lengthy periods as young men.?° The use of a phrase in

common parlance like kai ov by Caesar, and the immediate recognition of

its significance by his assassins need therefore occasion no surprise. I suspect indeed that the words were as instinctive to Caesar and his contemporaries as the exclamation gesundheit! when prompted by a sneeze, or ciao as a standard greeting amongst the sophisticated today. Nor should the word rékvor present any difficulty. Although in literary Attic it has a faintly poetic ring to it, the evidence from other dialects and of inscriptions and papyri from all over the Greek world establish it as perhaps the commonest and most general word for child.?) With this meaning it can embrace both the closest blood ties and the neutral notion of a person of tender years. In this latter sense réxvovy was a perfectly appropriate term for Caesar to use in addressing Brutus, a man fully fifteen years his junior

and to whom he had demonstrated considerable fondness.2? This was in

fact not the only occasion during the events surrounding Caesar’s murder when Greek was used. A few seconds previously, during the opening struggle, Casca had appealed to his brother for help with the words, aderdé, Bonder.2? Was it any less natural for Caesar, therefore, when confronted so unexpectedly by Brutus’s treachery to let slip the standard

18The wide extent of Cicero’s Greek vocabulary is summarized by H.J. Rose, (‘The Greek of Cicero’, JHS 41 [1921], 91-116): ‘a very large percentage of the vocabulary is Hellenistic: not a few words are unexampled elsewhere, i.e. formed part of the current vocabulary of his day’ (p. 116). A particularly vivid and relevant

example where

of Cicero’s use of Greek appears in his letter to Atticus (Att.

he conveys

in two



phrases the literary tone of the dinner conver-

sation during his visit with Caesar in December 45 B.C.: omovdaiov ovddév in sermone, iAcdoya multa, Indeed it is hard to escape the impression that much of

the conversation on that particular occasion was conducted in Greek. 19F FE. Best Jr., “Suetonius: The Use of Greek among the Julio-Claudian Emperors’,

CB 53 (1977), 39-45.

For Caesar, Suet. Div. Jul. ' For Brutus, Plut. Brut. 2-3.

2.1, 4.1-2; Plut. Caes.

1.8, 2.2-5, 3.1; Vell. 2.41-43.

LSJ s.v. réxvov; Preisigke, Worterbuch der Griechischen Papyrusurkunden (Berlin 1927), 584, s.v. réxvov.

The generally accepted date for Brutus’s birth is 85 B.C.: Cic. Brut.

230, 324;

Gelzer, RE 10.1.974; Meyer, op. cit. (see note 4), 450 n.2; Drumann, op. cit. (see 53 note 2), IV, 21 sqq.

Plut. Caes. 66.5; Nicol. Dam. FGrH 90 F 130.89.


James Russell

cliché picked up in his youth to ward off the Evil Eye, kat av, rékvov (‘to hell with you too, lad!’) at the same time drawing the fold of his toga over

his face to escape in vain its blighting influence?

This strange little incident was remembered long enough to find its way into at least one contemporary account, which is probably where Suetonius encountered it.2* We can reconstruct the rest. The conscientious biographer, with a knowledge of Greek more bookish than practical, missed the technical sense of the expression.2° Yet it seemed worth pre-

serving for all that; and so, interpreting ka ov in a literal sense, he

appended it to his version of Caesar’s assassination, in the process sowing enough doubt to convince all his successors that the words Kal ov, TéKvov were apocryphal. We may never know for certain the truth of Caesar’s last words, to be sure, but we should recognize that popular tradition, right or wrong, as recorded by both Suetonius and Dio does preserve the interesting possibility that in using this apotropaic expression Caesar

died with a curse on his lips.7°

241n his Divus Iulius Suetonius quotes authors of the time of Caesar only, which leads Weinstock ‘to the probable, though not certain, conclusion that he did not use any later source either’ (Divus Julius [Oxford 1971], 343). This point is also

made by M. Haupt in Opuscula, I (repr. Hildesheim 1967), 72. The degree to which Roman writers of the late first century after Christ were ‘less Greek’ than their late Republican predecessors is demonstrated in A. Gwynn’s comparison of Cicero and Quintilian (Roman Education from Cicero to Quintilian


[New York 1964], 226-30).

I am grateful to my colleague, Professor A.A. Barrett, whose helpful comments on

this paper have been most valuable.

Regius Puer: Ascanius in the Aeneid


This essay is offered to John Bishop with my thanks for an association with him during the whole twenty one years he has occupied his chair — an association happy for me as fourth year student (a te principium), postgraduate student and, during the last decade, colleague and friend. It is a special pleasure for me, in view of John’s enthusiasm for all things Vergilian (communicated over the years at many a happy session, formal and informal), to be offering him my first work on Vergil intended for an audience wider than the classroom. The first paying job that John ever set me as a temporary tutor in his department long ago was the preparation of some lectures on the second’ book of the Aeneid for a first year Latin class; so this offering to him can with happy propriety be inscribed thus: accipe iussis carmina coepta tuis. There is no book in the Aeneid in which Aeneas’ son, Ascanius, is not brought to our attention by Vergil. Because the action of Book 9 begins after Aeneas has left the Trojan camp to take part in the events of Book 8, and considering that Ascanius is, as we shall see, especially prominent in the action of Book 9, one might expect to have no mention of him in 8. But even Book 8 provides no exception to this statement.’ At the epic’s

end Ascanius is still barely on the threshold of adulthood;? and his very

youth places limitations upon the possibilities for his participation in the action of the poem.’ The fact of his appearance, nevertheless, in every book is sufficient to mark him out as a most important minor character i in the Aeneid.

Far beyond that, however, Ascanius’ central participation in the most important theme of the whole poem (Troiae... ab oris / Italiam fato

1g. 48, 550 and 629. W. Warde Flowler, in his charming pages devoted to Ascanius, The Death of Turnus (Oxford


87-92, is mistaken when he observes (89), ‘in

the sixth book he is not even mentioned.’ See 6.364 and 789. At his last appearance in the poem it is still appropriate for him to be addressed as

puer (12.435). Cf. v. 438: mox cum matura adoleverit aetas. Cf. Ward Fowler, op. cit. (above, n. 1), 89.



Robert Baker

profugus venit, 1.1-2) is indicated by his first appearance in the chronological structure of the epic. This is at 2.559ff., after the death of Priam which Aeneas has just witnessed. Aeneas is shocked by the horror of that impious episode into recollection of the welfare of his own family, envisaging his father, Anchises, done to death in the same savage way (vv. 560-562). His wife, Creusa, left alone by his determination to play the Homeric hero’s part, comes to his mind also (v. 562). And, interestingly coupled last in this catalogue of family concerns, he bears in mind et direpta domus et parvi casus luli (v. 563). Thus Ascanius’ first action, so to speak, in the epic is to remind his father of the mission obscurely

imposed upon him by the apparition of Hector (vv. 289-295). And the

reminder is so phrased that Aeneas’ direpta domus, which he is bidden to leave in flight, is identified with the fortunes of Ascanius.* The pathetic little boy is in this way taken straight to the heart of the poem in this single verse conveying his first appearance.

From the speech of Jupiter to Venus in Book 1 we have already learned

the reason behind this share, given to one who is little more than a baby, in the action of the epic at its very core. With the fall of Troy, the name by which puer Ascanius was formerly otherwise known, Ilus — a name which identified him so closely with that proud city now in ruins (v. 268), and from which he and his father and the direpta domus are henceforth to be profugi — is changed by divine decree to Iulus (v. 267). It is under this name that Ascanius is fated to establish his reign in Alba Longa (vv. 269271). It is under this new name so charged with symbolism of the connection between the old and new Troy, furthermore, that Ascanius is prophesied as the progenitor of the Julii Caesares, under whom the new

Troy will be perfected (vv. 286-288).° The problem of the identity of the

Caesar in v. 286 is one of long standing.© Among modern scholars, G. Williams can still write strongly of ‘the absurdity of supposing that Virgil could say these things of Julius whose death was followed by nearly fifteen further years of civil war.’’ If tum in v. 291 is taken with retrospective reference, Williams’ objection to Julius at v. 286 is just. But if we take tum as forward-looking, also bearing in mind with E.J. Kenney that mitescent is an inceptive verb,® the reference in wv. 286ff. can still be to Julius whose death initiated the career of Augustus, as Rome’s saviour and *In parvi casus luli (v. 563) we have the first of those examples, well observed by

L.H. Feldman, ‘The Character of Ascanius in Virgil’s Aeneid’, CJ 48 (1952-3), 303-13, of the pathos injected into the epic in this phase by Ascanius ‘whose helplessness is forever kept before the reader by the epithet parvus, which is applied to him in this book only’ (305). A symbolism made explicit by Augustus in the ideological arrangement of, and choice of heroes for veneration in, the Forum Augusti. See, in general, Suet. Div. Aug. 31; on the specifically dynastic point, Ovid, Fasti 5.563-4. Cf. H.T. Rowell, ‘The Forum and Funeral Jmagines of Augustus’, MAAR 17 (1940), 131-43.

See the excellent presentation and discussion of the arguments on both sides in the







Vergili Maronis Aeneidos

'Tradition and Originality in Roman Poetry (Oxford

E.J. Kenney, CR n.s. 18 (1968), 106.

Liber Primus

1968), 427.



Regius Puer: Ascanius in the Aeneid


founder of her Golden Age. This also has the advantage of eliminating the

chronological difficulty noted by both Kenney and Austin, of having Jupiter refer to Augustus’ apotheosis at vv. 289-290 before the achievement of the Pax Augusta (vv. 291-296) which earned it. I find very attractive

Kenney’s suggestion that the whole passage is couched in deliberate ambiguity, in the Vergilian manner. My own preference, however, would be to

follow Conway and Julius. In this way, (v. 288), have been and the link with

Austin? in taking Caesar at v. 286 to be a reference to I believe, would Julius, a magno demissum nomen Iulo most clearly understood by Vergil’s contemporaries, Ascanius most meaningfully conveyed to them.!°

That so much significance for the dynastic future rides on Ascanius’ infant shoulders is sufficient to explain his prominence as a symbol of these concerns recurring again and again in Book 2, even though at this stage the burden falls more heavily on the growing awareness of the father, Aeneas, than on the as yet unaware Ascanius. Well might Venus invoke Ascanius puer (v. 598) as last named among those who symbolise Aeneas’ responsibilities, in order to dissuade him from indulging his dolor, ira and furor (wv. 594-595) in vengeance upon Helen. At v. 652 Ascanius is given prominence by being somewhat unconvincingly included in the action of the attempt to sway Anchises from his decision to stay and die with his dying city (vv. 634-649). The boy is truer to the role he plays in these early stages of the epic (and particularly in this second book), as symbol of the dynastic hopes for a better future, when he again appears in Aeneas’ desperate outburst at Anchises’ intransigence in the face of the mandate to flee (v. 666); and twice (vv. 674 and 677), as a symbol of familial pietas, in Creusa’s actions and speech to dissuade Aeneas from being driven by his desperation to a return to old-style heroism (vv. 671-672). This symbolism with which Ascanius has been invested throughout Book 2 assumes a specially crucial significance when he becomes the object of the prodigy expressing heaven’s favour at wv. 681ff. Here Ascanius, the symbol of dynastic hopes that we have already seen, becomes, as Brooks Otis has shown, the principle of resolution in ‘the very real conflict between Aeneas’ familial and Anchises’ Trojan-patriotic pietas’.'' Ascanius, the ‘innocent child. . . harmlessly marked for future


thus becomes the instrument of the fundamental change in

attitude on Anchises’ part which is necessary for the beginning of Aeneas’ mission.’ This innocence so unconscious of the heavy burden of significance that it thus carries is nicely caught by Vergil in the tender pathos of

RS. Conway, P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos Liber Primus (Cambridge 1935), 65-6; Austin, op. cit. (above, n. 6), 110. For Julius Caesar’s claims to descent from Venus see Suet. Div. Iul. 6; App. BC

2.68; Dio 41.34, 43.43.

11 Books Otis, Virgil: A Study in Civilized Poetry (Oxford 1963), 245.

12 Tbid., 248.

‘From now on Anchises is the agent of Jupiter and the very embodiment of the new pietas of Rome and the future; his presence urges Aeneas forward’ (Otis, ibid.,



Robert Baker

the famous lines:

dex trae se parvus Iulus implicuit sequiturque patrem non passibus aequis.


Here the helplessness of Ascanius, and his unconsciousness of the signs of divine favour that have touched the household of Aeneas through him,

are movingly brought out by the whole image of toddling, childish trust,!4

and not least by the application, for the last time, of the epithet parvus.'* And pathos of a different order is signified by the last reference to Ascanius in Book 2, the pathos of personal suffering and loss. The last words of the pathetic and prophetic speech uttered by the shade of the lost Creusa (vv. 776-789) are her farewell and final motherly commission

to Aeneas: iamque vale et nati serva communis amorem. 1°

These two strands of significance with which Ascanius has been invested in Book 2 — as symbol of national pietas and of the pietas involved in concern for the household — are sustained in the third book of the poem. Ascanius’ full participation in the mission which is entailed in the Trojans’ wanderings is solemnly shown at 3.11-12: feror exsul in altum / cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis. In Andromache’s questions about Ascanius at wv. 339-343 Vergil splendidly draws the two strands together: ecqua tamen puero est amissae cura parentis? ecquid in antiquam virtutem animosque virilis et pater Aeneas et avunculus excitat Hector?


It is natural for Andromache, as a woman herself tragically bereft of her little Astyanax, to wonder whether Ascanius misses his lost mother.!’ And it is equally natural to have from Hector’s widow a question which expresses the hope that Ascanius carries into Troy’s future the national and family virtues from the Trojan past. It is as both mother of Astyanax and widow of Hector that Andromache brings gifts to Ascanius and bids him farewell (vv. 482ff.) as he leaves these last vestiges of old Troy behind

146. Servius on implicuit (v. 724): puerilem expressit timorem, ne manu excidat patris. In this Ascanius constitutes an image that parallels the trusting ignorance of his father, Aeneas, as he begins his own pilgrimage: incerti quo fata ferant, ubi sistere detur (3.7). See above, n. 4. ‘Creusa reminds Aeneas that she is still his wife; he must be father and mother too to their little son: pietas from a fresh angle’ (R.G. Austin, P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos Liber Secundus [Oxford 1964], 285). With the further comment that

‘there is a very Roman touch here’, Austin well indicates the parallel with Prop. 4.11.73-80. .



Williams, P.


between the Ascanius.’

Vergili Maronis Aeneidos Liber Tertius (Oxford 1962), 126:








of Aeneas’ son




son points the contrast the




Regius Puer: Ascanius in the Aeneid


to embark on the quest for the new.'® Ascanius’ active role in the epic can be said to begin with his entry into the Carthaginian phase of the poem at the end of Book 1. Already at 1.555-556 in Ilioneus’ speech to Dido, the loss of Ascanius, along with Aeneas, at sea has been evisaged as a sad possibility. Austin, and Conway before him, draw a contrast between the phrase spes Juli at v. 556 and its

other occurrences in the poem where spes clearly means ‘promise’.'? I am

inclined to disagree, however, preferring to take the phrase here too, as do

Henry and Conington,”° in the sense of the hope for the future vested in

Ascanius. We may thus see v. 556 as the first among many indications that men accept what Jupiter has told Venus about Ascanius’ future earlier in the book. At w. 643-646, Creusa’s final injunction is recalled in Aeneas’ anxiety to have the apple of his eye, in whom both his domestic and dynastic hopes thus rest, join him in the city. Here too, at the beginning of his involvement in the Dido episode, Ascanius is called regius puer by Venus (vv. 677-678). The context is the goddess’ plotting of her novae artes and nova consilia, with the substitution of Cupid for Ascanius (wv. 657ff.), to Dido’s cost. We may note that at only one other place in the poem is Ascanius referred to thus as a royal personage. That is at 9.224, at the beginning of the episode involving Nisus and Euryalus which parallels in a number of ways the one involving Dido. Meanwhile the ‘royal lad’, innocently ensconced in altos Idaliae lucos (1.692-693), is vicariously implicated in the fate of Dido: pariter puero donisque movetur (v. 714). There is something horrible and predatory, marked especially by reginam petit (v. 717), in the deliberate and huntsmanlike way in which, in

Ascanius’ name, Cupid sets about ensnaring the unsuspecting queen:?! ille ubi complexu Aeneae et magnum falsi implevit reginam petit. haec oculis, haeret et interdum gremio

colloque pependit genitoris amorem, haec pectore toto fovet inscia Dido

insidat quantus miserae deus.


In a less predatory way, but in his own person, Ascanius does the same 1B coe Williams, ibid., 158 (on dona extrema tuorum, v. 488): ‘Throughout this passage we have been made to feel that this meeting with Helenus and Andro-

mache is Aeneas’ last link with the tragedy of the past before he finally goes forward into his new world.’ This is true; but the comment applies equally well to 1g puer Ascanius — the more so as these words are addressed specifically to him. Austin,

op. cit. (above, n. 6), 179. Cf. Conway,

op. cit. (above, n. 9), 101:


specific reference to his future, though quite in place in IV.274, VI.364 and X.



be out

of place here. .., an amplification burdening rather than en-

59 tancing their poignant appeal.’ J. Henry, Aeneidea, Vol. I (London 1877), 759-60. J. Conington and H. Nettle, Ship,

The Works of Virgil, Vol. Il (London

1884), 64.

‘The action is deliberate on Cupid’s part. He creates an atmosphere of warm feeling

in order that Dido


follow the father’s example, and be drawn

to that father

by seeing and sharing his love for the boy’ (Conway, op. cit. [above, n. 9], 120).

Cf. J.R. Dunkle, ‘The Hunter and Hunting in the Aeneid’, Ramus 2 (1973), 132-3.


Robert Baker

at his first appearance in Book 4. This is at vv. 84-5 where Dido takes Ascanius on her lap — illum absens absentem auditque videtque, aut gremio Ascanium genitoris imagine capta detinet, infandum si fallere possit amorem.


— just as she had unknowingly done with Cupid (gremio, 1.718) in the belief that she held Ascanius, and just as Venus had done with the real Ascanius (gremio, 1.692). I am not convinced by Austin’s note to the effect that Ascanius is here on Dido’s lap only in her imagination.?? The lines seem to me to make more sense when taken in the way earlier proposed by Conington: ‘The simple meaning is, that whenever they are separated, she has [Aeneas] always on her mind, and when she can, solaces

herself by the presence of Ascanius.’’* There is indeed a special point to be taken from these verses if they are read in this way. Conington’s same

note further observes ‘as an instance of Virgil’s manner of indirect narration that he does not mention Ascanius’ return in place of Cupid, but only leaves us to infer that it has taken place.’ It seems to me that Vergil has, however, facilitated our drawing this inference by having us envisage the real Ascanius actually sitting on Dido’s lap and thus exactly repeating the earlier behaviour of Cupid in whose place he has now returned. Even the predatory aspect of Cupid’s substitution is not without its reflection in the depiction of Ascanius as an amusingly ambitious huntsman when he is next on the scene, at wy. 156-159. At least qua hunting, and given the awesomely erotic character of the scene to which this description of Ascanius in the hunt is the immediate prelude, there is the strong suggestion that the roles have been altered to such an extent that it

is now Ascanius who is impersonating Cupid.?4 The degree ipation which Suggest


tragedy that ensues is undeniably that of Aeneas and Dido, but the to which Vergil seems deliberately to sustain Ascanius’ particin the tragedy — a participation already heralded by the point to I have just drawn attention — is quite remarkable. As though to that Ascanius is now of a more appropriate age for one having a

Vergili Maronis Aeneidos Liber Quartus (Oxford 1955), 48-9.

3Conington, op. cit. (above, n. 20), 258. Cf. Feldman, art. cit. (above, n. 4), 312: ‘With regard to this passage there is considerable ambiguity, much of which arises

because Virgil does not state clearly at what moment in the account Cupid stops

impersonating Ascanius.’ It seems to me, however, that the ambiguity is eliminated and Vergil’s intention in this matter clearly conveyed by the point I make in the text. 24 The comment by Warde Fowler, op. cit. (above, n. 1), ‘Dido might take him on her knee, but he was big enough to learn to ride, and delighted in his pony’ (p. 88),

makes the link between the two passages, vv. 82ff. and 156ff., but without recognition of the predatory Cupid parallel that I see underlying the connection. If Iam

right in this, there is a certain irony in the remark by Ruth E. Coleman, ‘Puer Ascanius’, CJ 38 (1942-3), 146: ‘As all boys do, Ascanius loves excitement, and he is especially fond of hunting. That irresistible scene at Carthage is so natural!’

Regius Puer: Ascanius in the Aeneid


share in the tragic business of Book 4, Vergil for the first time describes him as surgens at v. 274 where the last words of Mercury’s commission (themselves echoing Jupiter’s words at vv. 234-236 where Ascanius is likewise mentioned) remind Aeneas that his dalliance cheats Ascanius of

future promise and his Roman destiny.?> And the poet puts Ascanius at

the very centre of the tragic conflict between Aeneas and Dido in the last two references to him in Book 4. In Aeneas’ own words to Dido at wv. 354-355 there is an echo of the earlier message of Jupiter brought by Mercury, that for him to dally is to defraud Ascanius. This means that the boy, the genitoris imago of v. 84 who was the first bond in the love of Dido for Aeneas, is the final reason for the destructive discidium amoris,*® leading straight to the heartbreaking Jtaliam non sponte sequor (v. 361). Recognising

this fact, Dido takes it to its horrible conclusion at vv. 600-

602: if Ascanius drew her to Aeneas, why had she not punished them both




banquet ?27



up the one

to the other in a Thyestean

When, at the beginning of Book 5, Ascanius assists his father in the rites at Anchises’ tomb (v. 74), we may note the leading character of the part thus played. Mackail may well be right in observing that the three names, Helymus, Acestes and Ascanius, are chosen to indicate that the forthcoming games will be for all age groups.?® More pertinent to Ascanius at this point is the comment by Conington that the designation of Acestes as aevi maturus ‘discriminates Acestes from Ascanius and perhaps from

Helymus and the rest, cetera pubes.’*? But even this observation some-

what blurs the picture as I see it. The point must be that, though Acestes is thus discriminated in age from Ascanius, the naming of the boy along with the older man includes Ascanius among those whom the cetera pubes follows and establishes him in a position of leadership over his own age group.°° The quality of leadership which is in this way foreshadowed is fully exercised when next we see Ascanius, on the point of leading his

257 find it quite significant that the two other occasions in the epic where surgens describes Ascanius also belong to a pathetic context.

in his the Cf.

He is thus invoked at 6.364

Palinurus’ pathetically ineffectual prayer for burial, and at 10.524 by Magus in equally ineffectual and pathetic prayer to be spared the wrath of Aeneas after death of Pallas. the perceptive comment by J.R. Green, Stray Studies from England and Italy

(London 1876), 267, quoted by Feldman, art cit. (above, n. 4), 313: ‘The common love of his boy is one of the bonds that link Dido with Aeneas, and a yet more exquisite touch of poetic tenderness makes his affection for Ascanius the one

final motive for his severance from the Queen.’

In the light of this, it is not altogether easy to agree with the comment by Feldman, art. cit. (above, n. 4), 306: ‘We may also add that the whole picture of


The Aeneid: Edited with Introduction and Commentary 9 Conington, op. cit. (above, n. 20), 335.

29 3

Ascanius in this book provides a foil to the deep tragedy which is its central theme.’ To a quite remarkable extent he is a participant in that tragedy. (Oxford

1930), 171.

Cf. Feldman, art. cit. (above, n. 4), 306: ‘... he leads the rest of the youth in the participation of the solemn rites of the Parentalia.’


Robert Baker

file of riders in the Lusus Troiae:*' ducat avo turmas et sese ostendat in armis.


We note, furthermore, that by the device of which Vergil is peculiarly fond, of linking epic present with the Roman future in such a way as to reflect on some institution of the Rome of his own time, Ascanius is taking the lead in an event which was dear to Augustus.°? Ascanius’ leading role in this compliment is continued at wv. 568ff. where ‘the introduction of Atys as the supposed founder of the Atian gens is a compliment to Augustus, whose mother was an Atia. The special attachment of Julus to him is another stroke of compliment, as if the future union of the

two houses were prefigured even then.’?* Again at wv. 596ff. Ascanius is seen as first link in the chain of tradition — from Troy, to the Latins of

Alba, to the maxima Roma of Augustus.

There is another point, with an altogether different bearing, that needs to be stressed in connection with this first instance of Ascanius as a leader; the more so as it does not seem to have elicited much attention. The point arises from the way in which Ascanius is described as he leads his troop of riders out. For the first time in the poem he is here described as pulcher (v. 570),°* the significance of which epithet has been seen by one scholar in its indication of the end of a period of the boy’s development, from gawky child to good looking youth.** Such a view has considerable charm,

and some point.°° But the real point in my view is the sad irony, and

pathetic reminder of what we have seen of Ascanius’ role in Book 4, in the fact that essential to Ascanius’ handsome turnout is the disclosure that

31 Professor Bishop suggests to me in a personal communication that ‘the Lusus Troiae seems to mean something like the assumption of the toga virilis.’ The emphasis in the text upon leadership (ducat) and the injunction sese ostendat in

3 arms seem to bear out this suggestion. Suet. Div. Aug. 43. Cf. R.D. Williams, P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos Liber Quintus

3 (Oxford 1960), 145-6.

34conington, op. cit. (above, n. 20), 388.

Cf., at 9.293, exactly the same formula as here: ante omnis pulcher Iulus; also pulcher [ulus at 7.107, 477-478 and 9.310. See further below, p. 139 with n. 49.

>Coleman, art. cit. (above, n. 24), 143: ‘This first use of the adjective pulcher for Ascanius is significant. His face has lost the chubbiness of infancy and he has

outgrown the homely

stage of missing teeth and awkward arms and legs. He has

, become a handsome boy.’ It suffers, I think, from the limitation which delightful essay. As her title, ‘Puer Ascanius’,

pervades the whole of Coleman’s suggests, there is rather too much

stress throughout on a folksy view of boyhood. ‘The essential quality of Vergil’s portrait of him is boyishness, a quality that is never overwhelmed by the grandeur of the poem. In the midst of lofty ideas and great themes this brainchild of Vergil’s

remains just puer Ascanius, a real boy endowed with all the virtues and funny little

quirks of boys’ (142). But Vergil’s portrait is much more subtle and shaded than this; in Ascanius, as well as mere growth in age there is growth in wisdom and in

realisation of, and involvement in, central issues fraught with human suffering.

Regius Puer: Ascanius in the Aeneid Sidonio est invectus equo, quem candida Dido esse sui dederat monimentum et pignus amoris.

137 (571-572)

Again we are reminded of the human cost involved in the growth to matur-

ity of this regius puer.>"

In further confirmation of the impression that leadership in the Lusus Troiae is meant to suggest Ascanius’ assumption of the toga virilis is the fact that, fresh and keen from that exploit (Jaetus, acer, vv. 667-668), he plunges straight into his lone confrontation of the women who have set fire to the ships.°® For all its alacrity, however, this is emphatically an action in the civil sphere.°? This is stressed by Ascanius’ mode of address (miserae cives, v. 671), by the terms of his stern reproof (non hostem

inimicaque castra / Argivum. .. uritis, vv. 671-672), and by the unexpected

intimacy of en, ego vester / Ascanius, vv. 672-673). It also seems to me that the galea inanis which Ascanius hurls before the feet of the women (v. 673) apart from anything else is meant to add to this impression that

Ascanius is bent on a civic, not military, mission.*° When all is said and

done, we are reminded by belli simulacra (v. 674) that even in the Lusus Troiae Ascanius is not to be envisaged as having in any real sense won his military spurs. And the scene at wv. 667ff. is more appropriately, perhaps,

to be thought of as his tirocinium fori: ‘Clearly Virgil meant to show that

he was able to act for himself, and not only to take a swift resolution, but

to speak with force and point,”

Warde Fowler goes on to observe, correctly, that Ascanius is still a boy; even in the ship-burning scene there is every indication that he has not * ° . : quite grown up.** 42 Warde Fowler’s9 further point that Ascanius is too immature to accompany Aeneas on his journey to the Underworld is also

>7See above, pp. 134-5 with nn. 23-27; cf. below, pp. 138-40 with nn. 53-57.



Fowler, op. cit. (above, n. 1), 88:

‘... he suddenly takes on himself an

active man’s part.’ The whole scene, si parva licet componere magnis, puts me in mind of the famous

simile at 1.148-153, with Ascanius as a cadet version of a pietate gravis ac meritis



It surprises me that in all the editorial controversy over the adjective inanem since Servius its other, simpler significance seems to have been lost in a welter of scholarship. Conington, op. cit. (above, n. 20), 399-400, at the end of his note, comes closest to what I see as the fairly simple truth. Adducing tigrin inanem, Statius, Thebaid 6.715, he comments that it ‘means not so much that the skin is sham and void of meaning or terror, though that doubtless comes into it, as that it is actually empty of the savage beast that filled it.’ Just so, the helmet of Ascanius is empty of his head which is on his young shoulders, helmetless, the more easily to be

recognised by the frightened ladies: en, ego vester Ascanius!. Conway, Harvard Lectures on the Virgilian Age (Harvard 1928), 107, saw this point; so too Feld-

41 man, art. cit. (above, n. 4), 306.

Warde Fowler, op. cit. (above, n. 1), p. 88 (with my emphasis). Cf. Coleman, art. cit. (above, n. 24), 143: ‘His “you are burning your hopes”’ is worthy of his father.

5 His mind has developed, and he possesses some skill in speaking.’ Otis, op.

cit. (above,

n. 11),


has well observed

that ‘the initial reaction of

Ascanius . . . is an almost comical exhibition of precocious pietas.’


Robert Baker

well taken. But we have already seen that he is in error in claiming that Ascanius is not even mentioned in Book 6. This is to ignore two important phases of the book where he is, though absent, brought into prominence by name. As ‘Aeneas meets the ghosts of his past, those for whose death

he feels in some measure responsible, to whom he speaks in terms of guilt

and remorse,’*? he is obliged by the terms of Palinurus’ fruitless prayer for

burial to have in mind once again the spes surgentis Iuli (v. 364) in almost the same terms as were enjoined upon him by Mercury in another crisis in his past.** ‘Against this background of grey and black comes the golden radiant light of Elysium, the meeting with Anchises, and the revelation of the ghosts of Roman heroes waiting to be born.’** And it is the name of Ascanius (v. 789) which ushers in the great, pulse-racing climax of that pageant of heroes — the promise of Augustus


divi genus,

saecula qui rursus Latio

Saturno quondam...

aurea condet

regnata per arva


Here we are thus carried back to Jupiter’s similar use of Ascanius’ name to usher in that part of his prophecy in Book 1 which had foretold all this to

Venus (1.267-296).*® Far from there being no mention of Ascanius in

Book 6, therefore, Vergil has him here prominently called to mind in a heavily significant echo of his very first appearance in the structural (as distinct from chronological) plan of the poem. It is true enough, as is further observed of Ascanius by Warde Fowler, that ‘in the seventh and eighth books we see but little of him.’*” But once again, each time we do see him in these books it is in a significant context. When the Trojans, in answer to the oracle of Faunus, first land at the Tiber’s mouth, Ascanius is appropriately prominent; his dynastic importance and princely bearing are marked at 7.107 where he alone is mentioned by name along with Aeneas and where he is, for the second time, called pulcher. It is important too that it is Ascanius, the future founder of Alba Longa (1.267ff.; cf. 8.48), who announces at wv. 116-117 the fulfilment of the prophecy of Celaeno (cf. 3.255ff.) about the eating of the tables. To have him do so in jest (adludens) is a clever stroke by Vergil, as Coleman has well observed.*® But it is an even more satisfyingly clever device than she has realised. To suggest as she does that this solution to the puzzle of the Harpy’s prediction comes naturally from the boy, being based on the sort of word play to which boys are prone, is no doubt aR.

Williams, ‘The Purpose of the Aeneid’, Antichthon

Cf. 4.274-275: n. 25.


1(1967), 30.

surgentem et spes heredis Iuli/respice. See above, with

*5 Williams, art. cit. (above, n. 43), 31.

4c, Rowell, art. cit. (above, n. 5), 142: ‘It is significant that Virgil speaks of Aeneas as founder of the Roman race and his son Iulus as founder of the gens Iulia in the

47same two passages’, referring to these passages from Books 1 and 6. 4g OP: cit. (above, n. 1), 89. Art. cit. (above, n. 24), 147.

Regius Puer: Ascanius in the Aeneid


part of the point — but hardly the whole of it. Besides the dynastic factor to which I have already alluded, there is also here a happy fulfilment of Helenus’ reassuring promise in Book 3 on this very question: nec tu mensarum morsus horresce futuros: fata viam invenient aderitque vocatus Apollo.


The fates have indeed found a way; and the boy has been inspired with a solution so couched in jest as effectively to dispel the horror portended by Celaeno’s baleful threat. Nor does the fact that they were thus so felicitously spoken in jest diminsh the importance of Ascanius’ words; they lead straight (continuo, v. 120) to Aeneas’ exultant realisation that hic domus, haec patria est (v. 122). Vergil for -the third time applies the epithet pulcher to Ascanius at 7.477-8. There seems to be a degree of irony here in so describing him,

as was the case in the first instance,*? especially given the attendant

circumstances of the description. For the context is the maddening of Ascanius’ hounds by Allecto which leads to his shooting of Silvia’s stag (vv. 475-499). Ascanius is thus crucially involved in the outbreak of the war which informs the action of the second, or Iliadic, half of the epic: on the one hand the assault on the stag prima laborum / causa fuit belloque animos accendit agrestis (vv. 480-481); and on the other nec non et Troia

pubes | Ascanio auxilium castris effundit apertis (vv. 521-522). There is a pathetic irony, I think, in the fact that pulcher [ulus (vv. 477-478), eximiae laudis succensus amore (v. 496),°° is in this way responsible for ‘the incident [which] is the microcosm of all that is to follow, the destruc-

tion of the Italians’ pastoral civilization.’*! Ascanius’ association with this

destructive warfare in Italy is sustained by the mention of his name at 8.550. Aeneas, absent at Pallanteum, has been pondering on the prospect of this very war and has just witnessed and understood the portent of the thunder and flash of arms in the clear sky (vv. 520-540). Choosing some of his party qui sese in bella sequantur (v. 547), he sends others downstream with news of these military matters to Ascanius. Further, the bellicose atmosphere in which Ascanius is here centrally involved has a triumphant echo when he next appears again by name at the beginning of the description of Aeneas’ shield: illic res Italas Romanorumque triumphos haud vatum ignarus venturique inscius aevi fecerat ignipotens, illic genus omne futurae stirpis ab Ascanio pugnatque in ordine bella.


49 See above, with n. 34. 51

Variants of this phrase can be preludes to disaster. Cf., e.g., laudum percussus amore applied to Euryalus at 9.197.

Steele Commager, Virgil: A Collection of Critical Essays (Englewood Cliffs 1966), Introduction, 11. Cf. Dunkle, art cit. (above, n. 21), 136-7.


Robert Baker

In the first of these lines one can hear the very rattle and thump of drums, and in the second the bray of the brass, of the triumphal marches in the future which they describe. In this way we have the loss and the gain, the destruction of pre-Trojan, pastoral Italy and the triumph of Rome, the

new Troy in Italy, set down in a balance which pivots on the person of Ascanius.

The absence of Aeneas from Book 9 allows Vergil to present Ascanius more prominently than in any other since Book 2. And whereas his prominent role in that book was very often as a symbol of Rome’s future, in this it is pre-eminently the prominence of action. It is in this book that Ascanius is for the second time introduced as a royal personage. As a mark, perhaps, of his assumption of added responsibility in Aeneas’ absence, the regius puer of 1.667-668 has become more simply rex. It is in this capacity: that Ascanius is introduced (v. 223) into the episode involving Nisus and Euryalus — an episode in which he plays a significant part, as a sort of prelude to his own aristeia in slaying Remulus later in the book. Nisus and Euryalus intrude upon a heroic, nocturnal scene of vigilant leadership and responsibility of which Ascanius is part. Having served his apprenticeship in dealing with the miserae cives of 5.671 he has qualified to join the councils of the men where ductores Teucrum

primi, delecta iuventus,

consilium summis regni de rebus habebant.

Ascanius is actually the first to welcome


the youths to this council and

give them leave to present their plan (vv. 232-233).

Fascinatingly diverse views have been expressed about the scene which follows. Warde Fowler found it ‘one of the most beautiful in all poetry’: the final injunction of Aletes’ speech, for Ascanius to be ever mindful of the noble exploit proposed by the two youths, is taken up by Ascanius who ‘in a speech that is almost inspired rises suddenly above his own boy-

hood.’*? In marked contrast to this enthusiasm is the view of Otis who

somewhat dampeningly sees the episode in terms of Ascanius’ ‘enhanced importance ...exhausted in his fruitless patronage of Nisus and Euryalus’.°* I am bound to say that I see indications which support Otis’ view.

I am struck, first of all, by the fact that conspicuous in the ‘array of gifts such as only a boyish imagination could contrive’>* as rewards for the heroic pair is the drinking bowl that originally belonged to Sidonian Dido (v. 266). Boyish imagination is not sufficient, I think, to explain this characteristically Vergilian and pathetic link. Surely this inclusion is of the same order, and to the same purpose, as the cloak fashioned by





will use to wrap

52 Warde Fowler, op. cit. (above, n. 1), 90. ® Otis, op. cit. (above, n. 11), 350. 5 Feldman, art. cit. (above, n. 4), 307.



of Pallas

Regius Puer: Ascanius in the Aeneid


(11.72-77). In this way the pathetic futility of the expedition of Nisus and

Euryalus, and hence the fruitlessness of Ascanius’ patronage of the pair to which Otis alludes, are underlined. Vergil’s ‘private voice’ is here inviting us to compare the fate thus portended for these two with Dido’s

own;°® and Ascanius has a leading part to play in both. Another clue pointing in this direction is the application again of the epithet pulcher to Ascanius, twice. The first of these instances (v. 293) reminds us of precisely the same formula, ante omnis pulcher Iulus, as was used to describe his handsome turnout when mounted on a horse given him by Dido to be sui... monimentum et pignus amoris (5.570). In the second

instance (vw. 310ff.) the irony of the situation is marked by Vergil him-

self. It lies in the circumstance that pulcher Ascanius (v. 310), playing a man’s part (v. 311), seeks to commit to Nisus and Euryalus mandata for his father (v. 312) on the sort of mission which was expressly forbidden by that same father’s praecepta (vv. 40 and 45). Vergil himself marks the irony by the use of language strangely reminiscent of that used by the love poets to signify the inanity of lovers’ promises: sed aurae / omnia

discerpunt et nubibus inrita donant (vv. 312-313).°° The circle of irony in Ascanius’ participation in this episode is complete at vv. 500-502. Here the chapter of his initiative and counsel pathetically ends in a way which again underlines the utter fruitlessness of his patronage of Nisus and Euryalus. All that is left for him is to try to help restore morale by tearfully seconding Ilioneus’ advice that the wailing, grief-maddened ‘mother of Euryalus be carried into her house.

In view of the assault by pulcher Ascanius on Silvia’s stag at 7.475ff. and the huntsmanship of the Cupid-figure Ascanius at 4.156-159, both of | which passages have been discussed above, there is irony too in the reference at wy. 590-593 which introduce his aristeia. On the threshold of Ascanius’ tirocinium belli (v. 590) we are again pathetically reminded of poor Dido. For when we read that Ascanius has hitherto been an object of terror only to ferae fugaces (v. 591) we cannot but recall the imagery of 4.68-73, where the love-maddened Dido is likened to a doe smitten by an uncaring shepherd’s arrow; or of the much discussed w. 550-552 of the same book, where she desperately regrets having abandoned her vow to live a life of innocent widowhood, more ferae (v. 551). Nor is the reminiscence of the undeserving Dido without relevance: Remulus, the present victim of Ascanius’ nova virtus (9.641), is neither

>> How shall we define the private voice of the poet? with Dido and the apparently senseless suffering of who does what he thinks right and loses his lite; and Pallas and Euryalus and Lausus and Camilla and the battle .. .” (Williams, art. cit. [above, n. 43], 32).

We associate it most strongly her tragedy; and with Turnus with the old king Priam; with countless warriors who fall in

The line itself is an echo of Catullus 64.142: quae cuncta aerii discerpunt irrita

venti. The irony of this comparison with the fickle world of love is heightened by the fact that Nisus had been described as portae custos (v. 176). It was surely Ascanius’ duty, as leader in his father’s absence, to have reprimanded Nisus for

deserting his post (statione relicta, v. 222).


Robert Baker

contemptible nor wicked. For all its anti-Trojanism, his speech (wv. 598620) is charged with intense Latin patriotism. He too is the undeserving victim of the Trojans’ progress, represented here in the military coming-ofage of the regius puer which is encompassed in a passage (vv. 622-636) flanked by two laconically forthright phrases built upon his name: non

tulit Ascanius... hoc tantum Ascanius,°"

It is the Augustan god, Apollo, himself who puts the seal of divine approval on this display by Ascanius of Roman virtus: macte nova virtute, puer, sic itur ad astra, dis genite et geniture deos. iure omnia bella gente sub Assaraci fato ventura resident, nec te Troia capit. In this oracular





of the future which the Trojan

prince is to inherit is affirmed, the access of power to new Troy assured,

and the Pax Augusta of Rome’s second foundation prophesied.*® And all this depends for its fulfilment on Ascanius. For that reason he must be prohibited from further fighting by Apollo who, now impersonating Butes, addresses him as Aenides (vw. 653-656). The appositeness of the patronymic is revealed at vv. 661-662 in the description of Ascanius as avidus


It is true that this phrase ‘implies that Ascanius argues a little

with the Trojans who want to keep him out of danger.’*? But there is more to it than just that. The phrase is used elsewhere, and that only once, of the boy’s father, Aeneas, when he is arming for the final battle (12. 430). So its application to Ascanius here confirms that his display of martial virtus has marked him out as a son worthy of his father and well deserving of being addressed as Aenides at this crucial stage in his development.


to Warde



is withdrawn almost entirely

from our sight during the fighting of the next two books.’®’ As far as actual combat is concerned, this is true enough. Strong emphasis on Ascanius’ non-combatant status is the burden of a cluster of references to

him in Venus’ speech (vv. 18-62) at the concilium divum with which the tenth book


opens. His safety and survival (v. 47), his withdrawal from



Iulus better indicate his fitness to succeed his father than in

the despatch with which he slays the Rutulian boaster and in the laconic manner —

as was befitting a prince — in which he answers his taunts’ (Feldman, art. cit. {above, n.4], 308). 58, Conington in J. Conington and H. Nettleship, The Works of Virgil, Vol. IIl



wars that were


‘The primary

reference is to Ascanius putting down

to trouble Aeneas... and reigning in peace:


the secondary refer-

gence is to Augustus composing civil discord and shutting the temple of Janus.’ Coleman, art. cit. (above, n. 24), 146. Professor Bishop, in a personal communication:

‘He is now

victor (v. 640)


Apollo’s words seem to portray a sort of sacramental assumption of whatever was the military equivalent of the toga virilis.’ Op. cit. (above, n. 1), 91.

Regius Puer: Ascanius in the Aeneid


fighting now (v. 50) and in any future war (vv. 52-55), are the final boon

she craves from Jupiter in the face of Juno’s implacability. This picture of Ascanius living out his life in absolute pacifism, as well as being so much at odds with the future actually marked out for him, is amusingly opposed by Juno’s equally exaggerated version of Ascanius’ role in Book 9: num puero summam belli, num credere muros? (v. 70). But in Book 10 at least, it is amazing how often Vergil keeps Ascanius before our eyes — and this too in a book where he has to compete for space with Pallas. As a matter of fact, Vergil does rather marvellously contrive to make Ascanius appear in as heroic a light as Juno’s sarcastic, one-line sketch implies, even while observing Apollo’s prohibition on his engagement any further in the actual fighting: , hi iaculis, illi certant defendere saxis molirique ignem nervoque aptare sagittas. ipse inter medios, Veneris iustissima cura, Dardanius caput, ecce, puer detectus honestum, qualis gemma micat fulvum quae dividit aurum, aut collo decus aut capiti, vel quale per artem inclusum buxo aut Oricia terebintho lucet ebur; fusos cervix cui lactea crinis accipit et molli subnectens circulus auro.


This picture of Ascanius bearing the brunt of war in Aeneas’ absence is further sustained in the speech of Cymodocea, at wv. 236-237. Ascanius is

the first subject she mentions when the focus in this speech switches from

the escapism of her fantastic story of ships changed into nymphs,*°? back to the reality of the war. Even when the fighting starts, Vergil still manages to keep Ascanius before us. Magus’ plea to be spared by Aeneas (vv. 524529) includes the prayer per... spes surgentis Iuli; and Aeneas’ curt reply disavowing the normal belli commercia (v. 532) is given in the name of lulus (v. 534). Thus Ascanius’ name is chillingly invoked to justify Aeneas’ lapse into battle-madness. Two things are also noticeable about Ascanius’ last appearance in Book 10, at vw. 604-605: again he is included in the nearest thing to fighting that is consistent with Apollo’s veto; and again he is closely identified with Aeneas’ rabid behaviour. Nettleship offers on v. 604 the comment that ‘the story of the siege is ended suddenly

enough.’°* The consequence of this abrupt ending, however, is that Vergil

is able to point up this identification by having Aeneas, furens in the manner of a lowering cyclone, at the head of one verse and Ascanius puer at the head of the next.

Pallas’ death marks Aeneas’ failure in the special commission from Evander (haec mea magna fides?, 11.55). It also involves a partial failure

in the special commission given him by Creusa’s shade at the end of Book oct. Williams, Virgil (Oxford 1967), 40. Op. cit. (above, n. 58), 290.


Robert Baker

2: lamque vale et nati serva communis amorem (2.789). This sense of failure towards Ascanius is acknowledged, and emphasis placed once again on his boyhood, by the only reference to him in Book 11: hei mihi, quantum praesidium, Ausonia, et quantum tu perdis Iule!


In this cry of anguish the two strands that Ascanius represents — concern for the future of the nation and for the bond of the family — are made once more, as they were at the end of Book 2 and in Book 3, to come


So are they arms and fires cessation of the in his solicitude

also at Ascanius’ first appearance in Book 12. As Aeneas his spirit for the duel with Turnus which will ensure the war (vv. 107-109), he still has time for pietas, manifested in comforting his Trojans and his son (v. 110). But when

Ascanius accompanies Aeneas to the solemnisation of the foedus with Latinus the emphases are very much dynastic and future-looking: hinc pater Aeneas, Romanae stirpis origo, sidereo flagrans clipeo et caelestibus armis

et tuxta Ascanius, magnae spes altera Romae,

procedunt castris. . .


It has been well observed that ‘Vergil sums up the place of both Aeneas and Ascanius in the history of Rome with two short phrases . . . The father is called Romanae stirpis origo, and the son magnae spes altera Romae.. . The past and the future all wrapped up in two single phrases.”°> Similarly future-looking and centring on Ascanius is that part of Aeneas’ solemn undertaking before the duel which envisages the possibility of Turnus’ victory. In such a contingency it will fall, of course, to Ascanius (v. 185) to lead the vanquished Trojans in yielding the field to Turnus. Although Ascanius takes no part in the fighting in Book 12, he is still very prominent on the periphery of the central action. Thus when, after the



of Aeneas (vv. 318-323),°©

Turnus is a death-

dealing victor in the field (v. 383), Ascanius makes one of the escort of three, with Mnestheus and fidus Achates, which helps the limping Aeneas back to camp (v. 385). Again at v. 399 he is prominent by name among the anxious crowd of warriors that gathers to watch Iapyx attempting surgery on their chief. Ascanius is ‘still a boy, though fast approaching manhood, when his

64 CF, Conington, op. cit. supplied the place of an tion to the new kingdom, 65 Coleman, art. cit. (above,

(above, n. 52), 323: ‘Had Pallas lived, he would have elder brother to Ascanius, and would have been a protecin the event of Aeneas’ dying prematurely.’ n. 24), 145.

©© Warde Fowler, op. cit. (above, n. 1), 92, is guilty of a strange slip on this point: ‘He [Ascanius] assists him [Aeneas], too, when wounded by the spear of Turnus.’

Regius Puer: Ascanius in the Aeneid



father bids him farewell before going to his last fight.’"°’ This refers to

the scene at vw. 430-440 which is charged with significance at several levels as Aeneas, miraculously healed of his wound by Venus, puts on his armour and takes leave of his son and heir. The embrace and farewell mark once again the love and pietas of Aeneas towards his son, and call to mind the final injunction of Creusa. But the message he speaks is distinctly dynastic in tone as well; it is at once backward-looking to their Trojan origin, with its reference to Hector, and forward-looking to the Roman future into which the Trojan inheritance of Ascanius is to be

carried.°® But in the midst of all this tenderness and hope we may well

see very different symbolism in the picture painted by the passage. To the very end, Ascanius is not in the fight; it is the right hand of Aeneas that protects him from the war and reaps for him war’s rewards (vw. 436-437), at this stage. But at the same time, Ascanius is avidus pugnae as we have been told (9.661), and is thus morally certain to prove capable, in the fullness of matura aetas (v. 438), of emulating in practice the martial exempla of Aeneas and Hector. Furthermore, present protection is not all that is signified by Aeneas’ right arm in these lines. I find something rather chillingly symbolic in the verbal echo and the image of the boy who is avidus pugnae caught in the embrace of the armour-clad arms of the father similarly characterised as avidus pugnae (v. 430). In this so much more than ordinary laying on of hands, there falls across the last appearance of Ascanius in the poem an ominous foreshadowing of the atmosphere

surrounding the last violent act of Aeneas himself.°? ©” Warde Fowler, ibid.

The dynastic tone and double perspective within the passage are further marked by

the fact that its last line, 12.440, almost exactly echoes the last line of Andromache’s questions at 3.343 — with the difference of just one letter in the verb-

gg ending,

as injunction takes the place of enquiry. On 3.343 see above, p. 132.

Cf. M.C.J. Putnam, The Poetry of the Aeneid (Harvard 1965), 192: ‘The forces of violence and irrationality which swirl around Aeneas, through person and event


their accompanying



... but rather to complete submission.’



to his triumph over them

Virgilian Places


The grand object of travelling is to see the shores of the Mediterranean, whether we start from Edinburgh in Scotland or Armidale in New South Wales. The Virgilian takes a double profit. In this conviction the present paper attempts to consider some less well-known places which figure in

the poetry of Virgil and invites the reader to consider for himself the

extent, if any, to which a more precise knowledge of these places is likely — to assist us in gauging the motives and intentions behind their mention. It is not



to spend



on relating Roman

literature to its topographical background. The reasons for this are easily

guessed. Virgil’s readers live for the most part at some distance from Italy, and few of those who visit it have the means or leisure or indeed desire to trace his remoter topographical allusions on the ground. Nor has the enthusiasm with which, in earlier centuries, the classically-minded traveller sought out the localities of which he had so often read or dreamed noticeably heightened our enjoyment of the poetry. Moreover, in the last two centuries of rapid change, the last vestiges of a resemblance between modern reality and ancient poetic fantasy must surely have vanished. Archaeologists have their own interests and a rich field for endeavour hardly connected with the study of Latin poetry. In any case, must not a poet stand at some remove from the world around him, and live in a secret universe which no geographer can map? We read Virgil in the study and the classroom, and suspect that he was as bookish as ourselves. Better therefore to ask what literary influences conditioned him and how ingeniously he has rivalled the Greeks and his own Roman predecessors. Finally, we remember the awful example of Housman’s Hughley Steeple,’ and reflect that it matters not — though many have debated — where lies sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain. Yet I nourish the hope that a view of Virgil’s Italy, so far as it still exists, cannot be totally irrelevant to Virgil, and that the scholar whom this volume honours has not yet quite forgotten his exploration of the Palatine. Perhaps he will look tolerantly upon observations formed in the course of repeated wanderings through Italy, with Virgil and others in mind. Probability, not mathematical demonstration, is all we can expect in

I See L. Housman, 4.E.H., (1937), 82 and 165. 146

Virgilian Places


these matters. Sometimes, however, the traveller finds illumination. There is a connexion between travelling and understanding, indeed even with textual criticism. Clitumnus illustrates the younger Pliny, and the coins still shine in the transparent waters. In Apulia there is a strange well, says his uncle: iuxta oppidum Manduriam lacus ad margines plenus neque exhaustis aquis neque infusis augetur (NH 2.226). It is reassuring to find that he is right, to go to Manduria, there pass through a colourful garden and descend to the great subterranean chamber in which the well of water lies, undiminished and unincreased. The centuries are abolished. How, otherwise than by such acquaintance, could we avoid supposing that lacus meant a lake? How, otherwise, could we realise that, when Horace described his childhood escape from the wild creatures of Monte Vulture, he had good reason to remember the nidus of Acerenza perched on the skyline in its eyrie, but no reason at all to call neighbouring Forenza

humilis, ‘low’, rather than humilis,

plied beyond the Ionian Sea.°

‘humble’? Examples could be multi-

expectation.” But now to Virgil and his Aeneas upon the

From Crete he sails for the western land, Hesperia, and for three days and three nights the navigator is helpless, seeing neither sun nor stars to give him guidance; but on the fourth land is sighted (Aen. 3.203-13): tris adeo incertos caeca caligine soles erramus pelago, totidem sine sidere noctes. quarto terra die primum se attollere tandem

uisa, aperire procul montis ac uoluere fumum.


uela cadunt, remis insurgimus,; haud mora, nautae adnixi torquent spumas et caerula uerrunt. So far this is Homeric, but now follows something Virgilian: seruatum ex undis Strophadum me litora primum excipiunt. Strophades Graio stant nomine dictae insulae Ionio in magno, quas dira Celaeno Harpyiaeque colunt aliae, Phineia postquam clausa domus mensasque metu liquere priores.


*The extent to which Virgil assumes knowledge in his readers may be illustrated by a trifling example. The unsuspecting might suppose (with the Loeb translator) that at Aen. 9.715 the poet’s Prochyra alta was an allusion to the height of Procida. This island, within sight of which (we may suppose) Virgil lived, is however flat (at most 91m) compared with the mountainous Ischia behind it (alluded to in line 716) whose peak, Mt Epomeo, rises to 788m. It is clear that Prochyta alta tremit means ‘Procida trembles to its depths’ or ‘to its core’, as Day Lewis put it. Here Henry and Williams have no warning note; and even Bunbury (in Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography) merely remarks mildly that the epithet seems ‘less appropriate than usual’.

What follows is almost a commentary upon Mackail’s excellent appreciation in JRS

3(1913), 9: ‘Virgil gives the impression of being one who had touched and picnicked among the screaming, ill-smelling sea-fowl at the Strophades, had seen from shipboard the Albanian [sic] coast opening point beyond point, had made the night

crossing from Buthrotum

[sic] to Portus Veneris and watched the low line of the

Italian coast coming into sight in the glittering morning.’


Kenneth Wellesley

The Strophades lie some 26 miles west of the nearest approach of the Peloponnese, and a similar distance south of Zacynthus: two lonely islands, the larger, Stamphdni, to the south, rising at its west end to the cliffs above which stands the lighthouse; the smaller, a little way off, bears the name of The Harpies’ Rock, and the two are linked by a halfsubmerged reef of rocks dangerous to penetrate except in a small boat. Few but the odd fisherman seeking shelter and water have ever visited the islands. The question must be asked: why did Virgil insert this mention, and why place the Harpies here, so giving them the name which they bear still? It is instructive to find evidence of a change of intention here on

Virgil’s part. Servius Auctus informs us there were to be found in Virgil’s copy, after line following words:

204, ringed around

for exclusion


the text, the

hinc Pelopis gentis Maleaeque sonantia saxa circumstant, pariterque undae terraeque minantur.

pulsamur saeuis et circumsistimur undis.

A reason for bracketing may be conjectured. A mention of the Peloponnese and Cape Malea would be standard features of a periplus of Southern Greece, but it is intrusive if the poet is set on causing his hero to make his next landfall well out in the Ionian Sea. Virgil has indeed prepared the way for Malea, which lies well to the north of Crete, by the phrase excutimur cursu at line 200, for voyagers making westwards had no need to seek this dangerous place. But once a decision had been made to introduce the Strophades, Virgil excises Malea, but lets excutimur cursu stand, since we can now understand it as referring to a turn to starboard and an entry into the Ionian and Adriatic Seas. The Harpies have no clear home in Greek literature. Apollonius puts them, conveniently to his purpose, in the Euxine and then in Crete; others thought of the Aegean; it is possible, though not certain, that Virgil was the earliest literary writer to place them on the Strophades. His heavy emphasis upon the Greek derivation, upon the change in the Harpy home and indeed the mere repetition of the name suggest that he is making a point which had some novelty for his readers. An adaptation of Apollonius and his predecessors would score a point; and a rapaciously hungry bird might very suitably be chosen for the table-eating prophecy: sed non ante datam cingetis moenibus urbem quam uos dira fames nostraeque iniuria caedis ambesas subigat malis absumere mensas. But one still asks why Virgil jettisoned the traditional Malea and introduced the extremely recondite Strophades. One answer — a desperate one — might be that he had visited the place itself willingly or more probably unwillingly, or had read or heard accounts from those expert upon the Ionian Sea. A written source cannot be excluded. The scholiast on Apollonius 2.296-7 (the Harpy passage) quotes and comments upon a Hesiodic fragment (156 MW):

Ore 5€ nvéavro oi nepi Zyrnv tw Act orpadévres A€yet Kai

Virgilian Places ‘Hatodos



év0' ofy' evxéoOnv Aiypniw bYysedovrre. ort yap Ailvos dpos THs KedaddAnvias dnov Aivnoiov Atos tepdv éoTw, od uvnuovever Kréuv év IlepitAw Kat T yoodevns

év Trois Ayséow ... ai dé WAwrai vnoot kavrar ev Tw) LUEAK meAdyet.*

The fragment already points to a home in the Ionian or Sicilian Sea at an early date; and the sailing handbooks cited are just the kind of thing that

the learned and travelled poet Virgil seems to have found to his taste.

Timosthenes, the admiral of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, may well have provided information about the Ionian Sea in his Periplus, written around 280 B.C., and we may be certain that a book with a similar title produced a little earlier by one Cleon of Syracuse cannot have avoided mentioning these dangerous yet useful islands so near home, which offered shelter and

fresh water in an unattractively open bit of sea. Cleon, it seems, mentioned

Cephallenia and Mount Aenos thereon, with its temple, and the learned found here a derivation for the mysterious Aivniw of Hesiod. So we find the Harpies perhaps already moving into the Adriatic/Ionian area in the third century. We still however have to explain why Virgil or another planted the birds precisely upon the Strophades — though it was clear enough that any quiet islets in such a place would be a bird-sanctuary. The best description of the Strophades known to me is that supplied by Philippson (Die griechischen Landschaften 2.2. 541-5), who quotes from

the ornithologist Otto Reiser a passage which I here translate (Reiser

identifies the harpy with the puffinus cinereus):

(The puffin) is a strange creature. It finds its home in deep holes and hollows in the rocky ground of the two islands, covered as it is with an absolutely impenetrable maquis of pistacia shrubs; and while half of the denizens, male and female, swoop far out in incomparable flight over the surface of the sea, ever greedy and always in restless movement, the other half squats motionless in the cool half-light of the maquis, betraying their presence to the expert only by their strong blubbery smell. But woe to the rash adventurer who dares to catch this

creature of the dark by an over-hasty grab: as quick as lightning

it nips him take some with their glory under

in its sharp beak and inflects nasty wounds which time to heal... The birds defile everything around noisome droppings...When the sun sinks in its the watery horizon, sometimes a fishing boat lands

on the rocky


of the Strophades, and a cheerful fire

quickly blazes up on the beach, and above it is hung a bubbling kettle of fish-soup. Then suddenly through the warm night

sounds a shrill shriek like that of a drowning man; soon a

4¢. Wendel, Scholia in Apollonium Rhodium Vetera (1958), 149f. Adrian Heringa emended Alyniw to Alunaiw to accord with Strabo 10.2.15(456).


Kenneth Wellesley


follows, then a third, then long-drawn-out cries of

lamentation, and finally something like a caterwauling or the howling of dogs. The fiendish noise grows more sinister and comes closer and closer to the place where the fire is. Bat-like shadows flit through the air and dread seizes the stranger, who has never heard the like — this is the song of the Harpies from the greyness of prehistory.

Another visitor, J. Ponten, was woken up at night, in his room in the monastery on Stamphani, by a frightful screaming: ...@ grunting, growling squeaking sound which reminded me of pigs or ravens, though less repulsive. Often, too, it sounds

like a man’s call for help, like a whimpering and lamenting,

and at the instant of waking I thought that a ship was in danger on the rocks. Large black birds flew past, obscuring the glittering stars. They are called locally Artenis; but for us they

are the Harpies.

Even if we make due allowance for a certain exuberance of style and language and perhaps even an acquaintance with Virgil — the manner of the ecphrasis is not confined to antiquity — there does seem reason to

believe that the observations of passing sailors, though not necessarily of Virgil himself, may have encouraged the localization of the Harpies in

these western waters. At any rate, we have in Virgil roadsteads (portus, suitable to two islands with creeks and the double access from north and south toward the barrier-reef), cliffs (montes), hidden lairs (caecae latebrae), an undergrowth (silua) and noisy, noisome birds, a dreadful tribe against which one must defend oneself, whose moanings surely portend evil. We are not surprised to find that in later legend (Hyg. Fab. 14. 15) their mother was no longer Electra, but ‘Smelly’ (Ozomene). Whoever, then, or whatever prompted Virgil in his description, the Harpies are very happily accommodated on the Strophades. From the Strophades Aeneas and his men move on quickly past Zacyn-

thus, Cephallenia and Leucas to the sites of Actium and Nicopolis. There

is much telescoping here, and having loitered over the Harpies, Virgil is keen to get his hero and his readers to Buthrotum further north. After briskly celebrating a precursor of the Actian Games and offering a dedication of arms ‘taken from the victorious Greeks’ (a nice variation of normal formula, and a tactful allusion to Antony and Cleopatra), they push on up the coast northwards from the Gulf of Ambracia. Now come some

difficult lines (291-3) where the commentators fail us: protinus aerias Phaeacum abscondimus arces litoraque Epiri legimus portuque subimus Chaonio et celsam Buthroti accedimus urbem.

For line 291 Heyne offers the paraphrase: ‘abscondimus: praeteruehimur



a tergo relicta, adnauigamus litori Epiri.’; and R.D. ~

Williams (ed. 1962), following Page, gives a full note on abscondimus, quoting Servius (nauticus sermo est, which is correct) and Seneca’s echo

Virgilian Places


(Ep. Mor. 70.2: quemadmodum in mari ut ait Vergilius noster, ‘terraeque

urbesque recedunt’

[Aen. 3.72]

sic in hoc cursu rapidissimi temporis

primum pueritiam abscondimus, deinde adulescentiam.) There is a misunderstanding here in the ancient and modern comments. It is quite

impossible, while sailing across the six-mile (or narrower) channel between

Corcyra and the mainland, to lose sight of the dominant heights krdtor with its two peaks (3,000 and 2,786 feet above sea-level to the Mediterranean Pilot), and no sailor or voyager in these could have understood the lines as Heyne appears to have done.

of Pantoaccording latitudes The range

of Istone constitutes Virgil’s Phaeacum arces; they are the Kopvyat which give Corfu its name. And quite apart from this absurdity, sight of the

peaks Virgil North wards,

is said to be lost immediately (protinus) after leaving Nicopolis. remarks precisely that the fleet hugs the coast (litora legimus). of Préveza, the Bay of Nicopolis (Ormos Nikopdleos) trends northnot northwestwards, and intervening capes would have obscured

Pantokrdator. But at this point we are at the extreme limit of the visibility

of the peak permitted by the earth’s curvature. It will be safer to assume that in giving us this perfectly gratuitous piece of information — and this is why we ask questions — Virgil telescopes in his mind the Ormos Nikopoleos with the bay of Parga, from which the heights of Corfu are only 45 miles distant; this bay would be in any case shielded by the mountains of the mainland north of Parga and east of Ayid. Something similar would happen if Aeneas entered the Bay of Igoumenitsa, only 30 miles from

Pantokrdtor. These successive appearances and disappearances of a major

landmark must have evoked the attention of every mariner, and are briefly

alluded to in a single line in Virgil. But what is of interest to us is not the

brevity of the allusion, but its presence. For it was totally desirable to have

a passing reference to the Phaeacians, and totally unnecessary to tell us

that their mountains were ‘lost to sight’. Though Seneca and Servius could not understand abscondimus, we may be pretty sure that most of Virgil’s well informed contemporaries did, and would take the sense with pleasurable recollection. The poet is concerned to give his story a topographical verisimilitude, to connect legend with actuality, the past with the present.

By a slight twist in the tradition as represented by Dionysius and Varro, Aeneas visits not Dodona but Buthrotum. The associations of the former place were almost entirely Greek, but Buthrotum was a name in Roman history and from Julius Caesar’s time a Roman colony. Its association with Helenus, son of Priam, prophet and husband of Andromache, made him a very suitable mouthpiece for the oracle which was to supple-

ment that of the Harpies with more immediate advice. The town offered

therefore much more lay opposite Corcyra, Lake Butrinto with Greece, 1.99ff.), was inaccuracy in his use

to the Roman reader than the Dodona of Zeus. It on the right bank of the little river that connects the sea. Leake, who described the site (Northern too quick to condemn Virgil for topographical of celsam: ‘Virgil had a most imperfect idea of the

place, when he applied to it the epithet of lofty; and its resemblance to

Troy is very like that of Monmouth to Macedon.’ The second criticism is

an alliterative but pointless echo from Henry V 4.7; but if we are to claim

that Virgil knew the place, we must certainly rebut the charge concerning


Kenneth Wellesley

celsam. Even this is hardly necessary, since Leake himself seems to qualify the aspersion when, two pages further on, he remarks: ‘The citadel was towards the bay of the lake, where the side of the peninsula is the highest

and steepest.’ Contrast Philippson (2.2.68) who puts the city ‘on a rock on the right hilly bank of the river opposite the small modern village of

Vutrinto on the flat left bank’; and nearby he also found an unnamed acropolis upon a steep limestone hill. But even if this were not so, the adjective celsus may be properly applied to something no loftier than a man mounted on a horse, and it is a standing epithet of cities because they rise above the level of the surrounding ground to two or more storeys; and unless strangely undefended, these cities will have turres

about their gates.°

From the mouth of the Buthrotum river the voyagers steer northward along the steep coast of Acroceraunia: prouehimur pelago uicina Ceraunia iux ta unde iter Italiam cursusque breuissimus undis. sol ruit interea et montes umbrantur opaci,; sternimur optatae gremio telluris ad undam sortiti remos passimque in litore sicco corpora curamus: fessos sopor occupat artus,


The indications of route are perfectly clear. The Acroceraunian range occupies a huge jutting peninsula which does in fact offer the shortest passage across the Adriatic to Italy, but it possesses few harbours of note and the Trojans are content with a short bivouac between dusk and a

little before midnight on the beach beside their ships, under the high mass of mountain. Despite the dangers of these infames scopuli (of which

Horace warned Virgil himself to be aware in the propemptikon sending him on his way to Greece: Odes 1.3.20), the inducement of the short crossing, the general set of the current and the rising SE winds (Aen. 3.481) lure them north-westwards.° When Palinurus finds that the wind

is right for crossing the Adriatic/Ionian Sea, the brief sleep of the travellers -For a description of Butrinto see Leake; the Mediterranean Pilot (111); and the doyen of Mediterranean yachtsmen, Capt. H.M. Denham, The Adriatic (1967), 10f. Probably further than Onchesmus (Sarandés, Santi Quaranta) or Panormus (Port

Palermo), for the words at Aen.


do not suggest a harbour. Onchesmus

(cf. Cic., Att. 7.2.1) seems the obvious place for a bivouac, but Dion. Hal. is not sure (1.51.2): ék 5€ Bu@pwrov napa yhv Komiodevtes Axpt Ameévoc "Ayxioou peév Tore dvouacbevroc, viv 6’ Acadeotépay exovros dvoyaoiav, ‘tepdv Kai abrd6t Tis ‘Agdposirns & pvaodpevor... Onchesmus, moreover, lay SE of the Italian harbours

(Att. 7.2.1 lenissimus Onchesmites = Fam. 16.9.2 austro lenissimo) and from it the crossing is longer, whether to Otranto or to Brindisi, than it is from Acroceraunia. For the view of the latter from the sea, consult the plate opp. p.327 of the Mediterr-

anean Pilot IlI>. The shadowy mountains close to the coast are principally Elias

- (4911’), Kiore (6619’), Cika (6650’), and Sopoti (5955’). Denham, The Adriatic, 10,








a few



occurred in the cliffs causing coves to be formed — these were used many centuries ago as landing-places, and in the rock-face may still be seen medieval, or possibly earlier, drawings.’

Virgilian Places


is broken (515), for the sky is clear and the helsman has the wind he wants.

The first sighting of Italy is at once quiet and dramatic. A few hours

have sufficed to cover most of the 50 miles of this short passage (521-31).” It is dawn:

iamque rubescebant stellis Aurora fugatis cum procul obscuros collis humilemque uidemus Italiam... crebrescunt optatae aurae portusque patescit iam propior, templumque apparet in arce Mineruae. At what port does Virgil wish us to suppose that the immigrants made landfall? Certainly not at the obvious place Brundisium, whose distinctive and famous double harbour bears no possible resemblance to the one described in some detail by Virgil; nor does the shortest passage from Greece take one to that port, but to Otranto.® This circumstance alone would seem decisive. The question is better answered by a visit. Some have found a clue in the mention of a Temple of Minerva on a height, for Strabo (6.281) places a Castrum Mineruae in his list next to Hydruntum as one proceeds in the direction of Leuca, and if Castrum Minervae is the place, the distance of eight miles between it and Hydruntum (tranto) seems to point to the tiny creek of Porto Badisco or the small fishing town of Castro further south. But neither in any way corresponds with Virgil’s description.” When you are on the spot, the first glance makes it clear that

Virgil had one place clearly in mind, and that was Otranto itself. Here (in the summer months at least) the traveller from Greece can still sail into the

Atticus once boasted of crossing from Greece in five hours (Att. 15.21.3). As Shackleton Bailey remarks, this was probably a record time for the Adriatic passage.

Aeneas crosses in winter (Aen. 3.285), sets sail shortly before midnight (512) and is some way off Italy at dawn (521). Putting winter sunrise at 7 a.m. we get a much more

realistic rate, about

6 knots.


so, this was

a good



possible by favourable weather and wind. For another good but slower crossing, see Fam, 16.9.2 where lenissimus and ludibundi perhaps explain the leisurely pace. 8 Plin. NH 3.100: discrimen Ionii et Hadriatici maris, qua in Graeciam breuissimus transitus, ex aduerso Apollinatium oppidi latitudine inter-

gcurrentis freti L non amplius. Nissen, Ital. Landeskunde, 2.884 n.3 on Castrum Mineruae (Castro): ‘Dion. H.1.51;

Verg. Aen. III 530 mit Schol.; die Schilderung des Dichters widerstreitet der Wirklichkeit.’ This was denied by Boissier, The Country of Horace and Virgil (1896), 202: ‘At the first rays of morn, the Trojans see before them a promontory crowned by a temple, and at the foot of the hill a natural port open towards the east [sic], where they shelter their ships. NOTE:

place meant by Virgil few



The description is so exact that the

was recognised without difficulty. It is the village of Castro, a


not far from

the promontory

of Japygia,



Santa Maria di Leuca.’ Of course, aly euroo... fluctu, mistranslated by Boissier, means ‘on the side facing the rollers stirred up by the east wind’. Denham, accepting

the traditional identification of the port of landfall with Castro, remarks of Aen. 3.

533f.: ‘This is somewhat misleading; the shelter is effective only when the wind remains north of east’, and he concedes the superiority of the protection afforded

by Otranto.


Kenneth Wellesley

round bay behind the rocky barriers described by Virgil. James Henry, though he belabours the commentators with his usual acerbity (Aeneidea, 2.485ff.), yet observes correctly that Virgil describes the harbour town not as a modern guidebook would, but as it would appear to a sailor approaching it from the sea: ‘Virgil... tells you that Aeneas and his comrades see

the Temple

of Minerva


the sea, enter the

port which as they

approach widens out before them, and land. Having thus accomplished the main object, the safe landing on the Italian shore, in the port of Arx Minervae, and so put his readers out of suspense, he turns about and begins leisurely to tell them what kind of port the port of Arx Minervae was...’

If the identity of Virgil’s harbour with Otranto is conceded, we may ask

what precisely is meant by the allusion to obscuros collis humilemque.. .

/Italiam, Troiani,









ad castrum Mineruae


et molle


litus; hinc humilem

[taliam. siue quia procul intuentibus terra semper humilis uidetur. Both these explanations are summarily dismissed by Henry, who has his own

doctrine: Italy, it seems, appears low in contrast with the mountains of /

Acroceraunia. Maybe. But I am inclined to think that Virgil has himself made the passage from Greece to Otranto and has observed that the coast to the starboard (i.e. north) of the Italian port presents a perfectly flat profile beneath which cliffs of some 50 feet drop sheer,'° while to port, south of Otranto, there is a bumpy skyline where coves and creeks are surmounted by a iandscape slightly more irregular. With the words


collis humilemque

..., therefore, he alludes successively to two

aspects and not simultaneously by a hendiadys to one. Just to the right of Otranto, at the place called Torre S. Stefano, there is a distinct transition

from the one to the other landscape. Nor is it probable to suppose (as the

modern reader naturally tends to do) that the adjective humilis is to be understood metaphorically, for in Virgil’s eyes Italy is already a land of great and doughty peoples. It may seem, however, surprising that he has not precisely named the place (e.g. nondum ceperat ille locus cognomen Hydrunti), and Henry insists that at line 531 in arce Mineruae must be taken together (and not read as templum Mineruae in arce), Otherwise, says he, ‘the place is not named at all, quod absurdum.’ Not so. The poet does not always name his landfalls. It is true that we have a string of names in Sicily, but the harbour at 5.570, clearly that of Taormina, is not named, nor is Ostia in Book 7.

Virgil presupposes some knowledge of Italy in Italian readers.

As if in answer to Anchises’ prayer for wind to take them into harbour crebrescunt optatae aurae portusque patescit lam propior, templumque apparet in arce Mineruae, uela legunt socii et proras ad litora torquent. portus ab euroo fluctu curuatus irfarcum;


10-This flatness is demonstrated by the fact that the cathedral of Lecce several miles inland is a landmark for sailors at sea.

Virgilian Places obiectae salsa spumant aspergine cautes, ipse latet: gemino demittunt bracchia muro turriti scopuli refugitque ab litore templum.

155 535

These are difficult lines. Williams rightly observes that the specific touches

suggest that Virgil may have known the harbour at first hand; and it will therefore be interesting to consider how far the site of Otranto helps us

to understand them. There are four main problems:

1. How does the templum appear, and where is it? 2. What is the relationship between the cautes and the scopuli? 3. What is the sense of demittunt (dimittunt) bracchia? 4. How can the templum retire from the shore?

To consider these in order: 1. If the Trojans took the shortest crossing, they left the coast of Acroceraunia towards the northern end of that peninsula, and approached Otranto from the north-east. But the temple which stands on an arx of modest height to the SW is not visible until they are rather close to the harbour whose entrance reveals it. As they sail in, the temple appears. The harbour of Otranto is in fact roughly circular, its mouth facing NE. On the SW side is the castle on slightly rising ground close to the water, but it is natural to suppose that a prehistoric arx, in reality as well as in Virgil’s imagination and remembrance, will have occupied the highest portion of

the little town, the Colle della Minerva.!!

2. As one looks out from the town, both the left (or northerly) and the right side of the harbour entrance are composed of natural rock, and the immediate coastline is rocky as well as shoaly. Against these barriers protecting the harbour the waves break in spray. Within, the waters are still, and there is ample anchorage not only for small ships (as the Mediterrean Pilot says) but for modern ships of the car-ferry type. 3. The uncertainty in the text is puzzling: neither dimittunt nor demittunt (bracchia) is immediately perspicuous. The former should mean that the rocks put out arms in different directions; and it is in this sense

that OLD s.v. 6b lists our passage with other less mysterious examples: ex

omni dimissis parte flagellis (sc. polypi), Ov. Met. 4.367; (cometae) facies ...Non,..artata sed dimissa liberius, Sen. Nat. 7.276; in latitudinem dimissi (sc. rainbows), Plin. NH 2.151; cruribus uelut gubernaculis dimissis (of a swimmer steering a raft of skins with his legs), and so on. In all these passages, except the Virgilian one, the sense of movement away in different directions is readily understood. But at few harbours could rocks be said to send out arms in various directions. I conclude therefore (as did I 1 Touring Club Italiano, Guida d‘Tralia:Puglia (1962), 460: ‘si raggiunge la sommita del Colle della Minerva, dal quale si domina il panorama del Canale d’Otranto (largo c.70 km ...); sulla sponda opposta si vedono, con tempo chiaro, i M.Acro-

cerauni, l’isoletta di Saseno a sin., e Corfu a d.’


Kenneth Wellesley

Mynors) that Virgil wrote demittunt (Mw); the crags sink or plant their arms (in the water) as a well is sunk in solid ground (Georg. 2.231). Note that in this sense demittere often has as its object parts of the body: umeros, caput, alas, supercilia, auriculas, rostrum. Of these two arms ‘planted in the water’ at the entrance to the round harbour only one is prominent today, though, on the north-western crag opposite, the other might well have extended once to make an even narrower mouth than at present. Of the southerly arm, upon which masonry has now been superimposed to form an excellent mole, the 1919 Mediterranean Pilot Il (written apparently before the present mole was constructed) says that the inner portion is rather high and that it terminates in a chain of rocks awash which afford some protection to the port against easterly winds. This seems as good an explanation of demittunt bracchia as one can now hope to find and largely bears out Henry’s intuitive understanding: “The high rocky ground on the landward side of the port, in other words, at the head of the port landwards, descending on each side of the port with a

rapid inclination towards the sea, seems to embrace the port with its arms;

these bracchia, converging where they reach the waves and there protecting the harbour from the waves, become there identified with the cautes of verse 534.’ As to turriti, usage demands that we should not interpret this merely as a grand synonym for alti, The two arms may well have borne turres, beacons, in Virgil’s day, since such would be essential to navigators in view of the nature of the coast; they would also be objects

which would remain in Virgil’s memory.!?

4. There is a certain difficulty in the position predicated of the templum. In line 531 it appears that it comes into sight when Aeneas and

his men are close to the harbour: five lines later, when they have passed

inside the harbour and surveyed its nature, they find that the temple is not as close to the water’s edge as they had at first supposed. It is a commonplace that, for the watcher on shipboard, it is the coast that seems to move rather than the ship in which he sails. Heyne’s explanation (based on Servius and embroidered by Henry) correctly deals with the matter: dum in alto intuentibus in ipso litore situm uidebatur, propius accedentibus retrocedebat, But the importance of this touch is that it is completely gratuitous; or rather, its function is to transport our imaginations and help us live with the characters of the story, especially if we are also reminded powerfully of the very harbour at which these remote forebears of the race are believed to have reached the promised land. Such little connexions between the past of legend and the reality known to the reader abound in the Aeneid. But Virgil must get on. He has dallied in the Ionian. We are now moved briskly along the southern coast of Italy. Aeneas’s own narrative avoids a repetition of the itinerary prescribed by Helenus: he mentions a different set of place-names. Taken together they include most of the well-known landmarks, and we soon arrive with Aeneas at the toe of Italy, with Etna 12 Tyrris is the obvious word for a lighthouse: Caes, BC 3.112.1; Suet. Gaius 46.


Virgilian Places


dead ahead or slightly to port. Having decided to take the expedition along

the African coast of Sicily, Virgil must provide a motive: the avoidance of the Strait of Messina with its twin fiends, Charybdis and Scylla (whom however — perhaps owing to an incompletely harmonized combination of

two drafts — he is reluctant to pass over entirely). Helenus had provided precise sailing-directions: ast ubi digressum Siculae te admouerit orae uentus et angusti rarescent claustra Pelori, laeua tibi tellus et longe laeua petantur aequora circuitu; dextrum fuge litus et undas.


Then, after a comment on the geological formation of the strait and on the two monsters, he had emphasised again the instruction to sail southwards to Cape Pdssero and virtually circumnavigate Sicily: praestat Trinacrii metas lustrare Pachyni cessantem, longos et circumflectere cursus quam semel informem uasto uidisse sub antro Scyllam et caeruleis canibus resonantia saxa.


These orders are in fact carried out, if we are to believe Aeneas’ account to Dido: tum procul a fluctu Trinacria cernitur Aetna et gemitum ingentem pelagi pulsataque saxa audimus longe fractosque ad litora uoces exultantque uada atque aestu miscentur harenae. et pater Anchises ‘nimirum hic illa Charybdis: hos Helenus scopulos, haec saxa horrenda canebat. eripite, oO socii, pariterque insurgite remis.’ haud minus ac iussi faciunt, primusque rudentem contorsit laeuas proram Palinurus ad undas; laeuam cuncta cohors remis uentisque petiuit.



The general area in which this change of course is imagined as happening is

clear enough.'* The fleet has left Italy, it is approaching the Sicilian coast

under Etna and is shortly to make Taormina. A major difficulty is, however, presented by the words rarescent claustra Pelori at line 411. It is often held that Virgil is here thinking of the opening-up of the strait as its narrowest point is approached so that there is seen to be a way through where previously it might have appeared that there was no through channel at all, or no perceptible gap in the mountains on one side and the other. This seems to be the popular view of the matter. The objection to it is that the Strait of Messina does not really ‘open up’ or ‘open out’ until the voyager from the south has already passed through it and is abreast of

the Punta del Faro. Dramatically the remark would be inappropriately 134 good map mobilistica

covering the Strait of Messina and NE Sicily is the TCI Carta auto-

1:200,000, no.26; and


has a sketch-map of the strait on p.125.







Kenneth Wellesley

obscure to someone who had no familiarity with these waters, such as the

Aeneas whom Helenus addressed. But Aeneas has been told that he must port his helm (the word Jaeuus appears three times in the quoted lines)

and circumnavigate Sicily; so that he is not going to enter the strait at all and proceed northwards. The word rarescent in its usual acceptance would therefore be unintelligible. However, R.D. Williams has another doctrine: ‘the claustra Pelori are not the two promontories of the strait itself, Punta del Faro and Scilla or Villa S. Giovanni, but the mountain masses which screen the strait from the south-east.’ By ‘mountain masses’ I understand Williams to mean the steep coast of Bruttium at the actual toe south of Réggio and the Monti Peloritani in Sicily. This is presumably an attempt to deal with the objection raised above; but he would be a clever Roman reader (and even more a clever Aeneas) who could read these qualifications into claustra Pelori, a phrase which naturally means the narrowest, and not the widest, part of the strait. And this widest part is no less than 40 km south of the narrowest. Some other explanation must be found, or we

must enter the perilous and probably self-defeating slope of emendation.

The verb must convey a concept which, at any rate when they reach these waters, the Trojans will understand, and which Virgil’s readers will recollect because they have so often passed that way southbound or northbound. The Punta del Faro is merely the extreme point of a long spine of mountains that runs roughly from the Etna area northeastwards, dominating the eastern coast of Sicily beneath it. In height these mountains decline steadily as they move away from Etna. Is it not reasonable to suppose that when the Trojans arrive at the toe with instructions to go south in order to go west, they will study the mountain profile of Sicily that confronts them? As the mariners look along to the right, they will observe that the mountains taper away, though they do not, and will not,

see the claustra themselves.'* As soon as they observe this trend, they will

know that their course lies to port, indeed towards Etna; and in fact they land, after some stormy weather (which by an unhappy conceit Virgil seems to connect with Scylla and Charybdis) at Taormina, as the poet

indicates sotto uoce.'°

The lines 687-708 of Aeneid 3 may seem unnecessarily cluttered with proper names and geographical or mythological allusions. Virgil appears to

apologize for this display of learning by telling us that Achaemenides (who

had already done the voyage in the opposite direction, from Africa) was anxious to play the Cicerone: in sober fact Virgil has put his own private knowledge at the service of a desire to involve his Sicilian audience in the events of the national epic. Aeneas and his men are sailing south from


14-The meaning


‘taper off’ for rarescere seems suited to the difficult parallel at Tac.

Germ. 30.1: durant siquidem colles, paulatim rarescunt, et Chattos suos saltus Hercynius prosequitur simul atque deponit. The idea of a gradual descent of hills is also present at Ecl, 9.71: qua se subducere colles/incipiunt mollique iugo demittere cliuo. At or rather under Taormina is Mazzaro Bay (Porto di Castellucio), ‘a charming but insecure cove convenient for a short stay off Taormina’ (Denham).

Virgilian Places


contra ac iussa monent Heleni, Scyllam atque Charybdin inter — utramque uiam leti discrimine paruo —


ecce autem Boreas angusta ab sede Pelori missus adest; uiuo praeteruehor ostia saxo Pantagiae Megarosque sinus Thapsumque iacentem. talia monstrabat relegens errata retrorsus


ne teneam cursus, certum est dare lintea retro:

litora Achaemenides, comes infelicis Ulixi.'®

The brief detail is strikingly accurate. Megara Hyblaea stands on the east-

ward-facing Gulf of Augusta, protected from the north by the great Punta

d’Izzo and the two southward-facing bays of Augusta; and a mile or so beyond Megara is the flat peninsula of Magnisi, almost entirely filled with the impressive remains of Thapsus. But the first allusion is the most inter-

esting. The Pantagias (Porcdria) is an inconspicuous river of no great length

which flows into the sea 25 km north of Syracuse at Brucoli. Indeed, so inconspicuous is it that it is wrongly described by the Mediterranean Pilot as ‘a rivulet’. This tiny river cuts a way near its mouth through a considerable belt of limestone, and so provides a sheltered anchorage for fishingcraft, wide and winding.!’ The banks are sheer, scaled here and there by

steep paths and steps. The words uiuo... ostia saxo/Pantagiae forms a

decidedly recondite allusion. Virgil’s imitators and commentators know nothing about the river, and Pliny (VH 3.89: merely amnis Pantacyes) puts it in the wrong position between Megara and Syracuse. Here Virgil’s brief description of the Alphaeus: qui nunc ore, Arethusa, tuo Siculis confunditur undis may mean ‘who now mingles with the Sicilian sea near Arethusa’s mouth’ and so conceal, rather than reveal, knowledge of the Occhio della Zilica.!® He then gives us another gratuitous piece of lore:

16 At line 684 I accept Madvig’s economical emendation contra ¢c) (Adv. Crit., 2. 35ff.), but see no reason to welcome N. Heinsius’ (the alleged parallels cited by Mynors metrically demand -que -que, as 684 does not). Nor is there need to alter urramque at 685; both Charybdis and Scylla are ways to death, and they are close together.

| gSketch-map: Briefly

Denham, The Tyrrhenian Sea, 138 (spelling: Bruccoli).


to in the TCI Guida d'Italia: Sicilia (1968) 616:

(near Arethusa’s

pool) ‘Una polla d’acqua dolce, che zampilla nel porto a 27m di distanza, chiamata locchio della Zillica, sarebbe Alfeo.’ But the best account known to me is that of Smyth in his earlier work, Sicily and its Islands (1824), 171f.: ‘A copious spring

called L’Occhio della Zilica rises from the bottom

of the harbour (distinguishable

only on very calm days) with such force that it does not intermingle with the salt

water until it gains the surface. This, the poets assert, is Alpheus, who after vainly

rolling through Elis, in Greece, rises here to rejoin his metamorphosed nymph; and Moschus, in his eighth idyllium, says that leaves, flowers, dust and olives have been thrown up by it. A similar story to this was told to me by the monks of Strophadia, respecting a well in their convent, which is situated exactly opposite the Grecian river; here, they say, leaves of the plane-tree have often been brought up by the bucket, and as that tree does not exist on their little rock. they must have

come over by a subterranean channel from the Alphaeus:— one doubt remained, for notwithstanding all asserting that the phenomenon was not unusual, no one of the relaters could positively assure me, that he had personally witnessed the fact.’ See also Paus. 5.7.3 for a remarkable oracle.


Kenneth Wellesley inde exsupero praepingue solum stagnantis Helori. hinc altas cautes proiectaque saxa Pachyni radimus.. .


Halfway between Syracuse and Cape Passero is a delightful and as yet unspoiled beach of grey sand which forms the mouth of a shallow valley carrying a little river to the sea. South and north the land rises gently; and on the left bank of this river-valley, on a hummocky plateau, are the extensive foundations of Helorus. As you look southward from the Greek city across the valley, you see a glitter of water, though the river is invisible amid the greenery: this is a marsh encouraged by the partial damming of the Tellaro by a slanting sand-dune or bar at its mouth. You are looking in fact at what Virgil saw: ... Draepingue solum stagnantis Helori.

Above the sand and the marsh, the valley is full of crops. The beach, hardly half-a-mile long, is that on which Verres’ fleet was beached and burnt, the flames of the combustion — as Cicero plausibly says — visible to the governor in his palace at the tip of Ortygia (Verr. 2.5.90-91, 95). As for the cautes proiectaque saxa of line 699, those who have travelled from Pachino to Porto Palo have passed by that line of cliffs (silhouetted from sea-level) and seen the rocky headland and projecting island which together form Cape Passero. They find it hard to believe that Virgil was not also an eye-witness and that these throw-away phrases do not betoken the assurance of first-hand knowledge. To discuss all Virgil’s allusions would need more space than can here be spared. Many Sicilians were destined to be delighted with their national poet for commemoration in the great epic. Along the south coast we have mention of Camarina, Gela, Acragas, Selinus, Lilybaeum and Drepanum in correct sequence, accompanied by a word about each to relieve the monotony of what might have been a Plinian string of names. Let one or two passages stand for many. Our texts at lines 700-1 read

apparet Camarina'? and, since Servius, oracular command


fatis numquam concessa moueri







Ln Kivec Kaydpwap - dx ivntos yap dpewouv.

But the remarkable thing about Camarina, whose sad remains await the devotion of the archaeologist, is not this specific injunction on a particular occasion, but its successive destructions at the hand of Syracusan, Cartha-

ginian, Mamertine and Roman. We should therefore probably read

19 Texts, including Mynors’, often print Camerina in obedience to the MSS; but I prefer to think that Virgil was a better speller than has -e- (14.198).

his scribes. Silius of course

Virgilian Places


fatis numquam concessa manere. And soon Virgil brings us to palmosa Selinus, the home, like much of southern Sicily and Corsica, of the chamaerops humilis, the European palm, upon the nutty meat at the base of whose fronds the starving sailors

of Verres supported life at Porto Palo,”° and to Lilybaeum with its dangerous reefs and shallows. Scogli, flat rocks that present a particular hazard because they are awash or hidden, figure rather prominently in Virgil and reflect a nautical interest or influence. Less dangerous is the Isola Asinelli off Trapani, around which is held the boat-race in Aeneid 5: est procul in pelago saxum spumantia contra litora, quod tumidis immersum tunditur olim fluctibus, hiberni condunt ubi sidera Cauri; tranquillo silet immotaque attollitur unda campus et apricis statio gratissima mergis. hic uiridem Aeneas frondenti ex ilice metam constituit signum nautis pater, unde reuerti scirent et longos ubi circumflectere cursus.



The Mediterranean Pilot informs us that the island is a cable (608 ft) in circuit, rises 6 feet above the sea and lies 1% miles westward of Punta Pizzolungo (that is, Virgil’s spumantia litora, where the map indicates the Stele Virgiliana). It is situated conveniently near to the site where the funeral games were held on the low ground NW of Erice. Such an island would be familiar to any visitor to Trapani. The first book of the Aeneid, however, refers to a remoter and more dangerous maritime hazard midway between Sicily and Corsica. A year before the holding of the games, when the Trojans first arrive off the west coast (as we presume) of Sicily — Virgil does not, here at the beginning of

his story, care to particularize, but the words in altum (1.34) tell their tale, for no sailor bound hug the Italian coast —, Juno’s instigation. Many four mentions (against

for Rome from NE Sicily would dc other than they suffer the great storm raised by Aeolus at winds are mentioned in conflict, but Eurus gets two for Notus, and one each for Aquilo and

Zephyrus) and Neptune regards him as the main culprit (140), so that one

may conclude that the fleet has been displaced from its Italian course towards the west. The poet is rather precise about the nautical hazard confronting the ships: hi summo in fluctu pendent; his unda dehiscens terram inter fluctus aperit, furit aestus harenis.





of Cicero’s

agrestium, may







the palma



erat in illis locis, sicut in magna those








parte Siciliae, which


of the fronds, but you would certainly have to work extremely hard advocate implies) if you were to support life on these meagre morsels.

(as the

is referring). The possession of a stout knife and its use with a patience not inferior to that of Verres’ sailors will reveal the edibility of the lowest portion


Kenneth Wellesley tris Notus abreptas in saxa latentia torquet (saxa uocant Itali mediis quae in fluctibus Aras, dorsum immane mari summo), tris Eurus ab alto


in breuia et syrtis urget, miserabile uisu,

inliditque uadis atque aggere cingit harenae. Austin opens a long note on Arae by saying ‘Virgil has transferred to a suitable location some rocks of this name which Pliny mentions...’ He rightly quotes also Servius and Varro. It may be as well to set out the relevant passages: Pliny, NH 5.42. Arae autem, scopuli uerius quam insulae, inter Siciliam maxime et Sardiniam; auctores sunt et has quondam habitas subsedisse. Varro, De ora maritima 1 (quoted by Servius). ... ut faciunt hi, qui ab Sardinia Siciliam aut contra petunt. nam si utramque ex conspectu amiserint, sciunt periculose se nauigare ac uerentur in pelago latentem insulam, quem locum uocant aras. According to the ancient evidence, therefore, the Altars lay west of Sicily in the direction of Sardinia, out of sight of either island, but nearer to Africa than to either (Aen. 1.157-8). The danger area is a huge ridge just under








If we

consult a chart of these seas (for example, Admiralty Chart 165 or, better, 2122 ‘Bizerte to Capo San Marco’), we are immediately aware of the

appropriateness of the ancient evidence to the Skerki Bank (Lat. 37°50’

N., Long. 10°57’ E.) and its most dangerous point, now buoyed, the Keith

Reef.” The Mediterranean Pilot describes these features thus:

Skerki Bank. — An extensive bank, composed of rock, sand, coral and shells lies in the fairway channel between the coasts of Tunis and Sicily ... Keith Reef... the shoalest spot on Skerki bank, is composed of limestone, nearly half a mile in length and a third of a mile in breadth, with a space of about 6 feet square covered with weeds, nearly awash, which generally breaks...As the currents are uncertain both in strength and direction, and the reefs not always seen, mariners should take great care to give all these dangers a wide berth.

At the conclusion of his note on the Arae, Austin remarks, almost as an

afterthought, ‘Their identification with the Skerki rocks [sic] (south-west

21 The Skerki Bank was surveyed by Admiral William Henry Smyth (cf. his fine book The Mediterranean (1854), 93, 136, 334, 356 with a vertical section exactly illustrating dorsum immane mari summo), and identified with Virgil’s Arae by him

and by George Long who communicated the information to Conington, whom see ad loc. F. della Corte (La Mappa dell’Eneide [1972] 81) refersto N. Vulic (giving a wrong reference) and A. Biedl, Ararum quas Vergilius commemorauit situs definitur in Charisteria Rzach (Reichenberg 1930), 11-15 (not seen by me).

Virgilian Places


of Lilybaeum) is only guess-work.’ This is a personal opinion, but I submit

that the weight of evidence bears decidedly against its validity. Taken together with the corroboration provided by Varro and Pliny, Virgil’s description must be held to echo the sailing directions of his time. Like

his other instances of precise topographical knowledge, it is in a sense gratuitous, but serves to give his epic a verisimilitude which would please the well-informed.

But it is time to turn to other rocks, those of the Sirens, identified with

I Galli, three small and dangerous islands (the third often shields the second) a short way from the south coast of the Sorrento peninsula and clearly visible to all travellers along the corniche road.?? In this instance Virgil has probably adopted a localization already devised by the mythographers of Italy, and one which suits his purpose in conveying Aeneas past Cape Palinurus and Velia to Cumae. Their dramatic function is to

warn the hero (5.864ff.) of the loss of his pilot Palinurus, whose ghost is

to appear in the underworld and recount the story of his murder at the hands of local inhabitants near the cape destined to bear his name (6.



again Virgil is incorporating a pre-existant aetiological

myth. For our present purpose the interesting thing is that his allusions to the cape do in fact suit it admirably. To the south the Capo di Palinuro shows sheer cliffs of rock some 600 feet high, falling steeply to the water. These rocks continue around the point and into the northern bay which the cape encloses. Here they suddenly give way, and yield to a sandy beach facing north and west, sheltered by the high neck of the peninsula. It is therefore quite comprehensible that the body of Palinurus, killed as he clutched desperately at the rock-face where it met the sea, should be carried by the current to the sandy beach nearby. There is no conflict

between imagination and reality: the capita aspera montis (360) are the steep, sharp rocks of the cape that descend into the water and by their sheer nature elude the pilot’s grasp; and the /itus (362) is the sandy beach

upon which his drowned body lies, washed by the waves and tossed by the winds. The ghost’s appeal to Aeneas tu mihi terram inice, namque potes, portusque require Velinos


is puzzlingly precise. Why Velia and why harbours? Cape Palinurus is 20 km south of Velia, as everybody knew. But perhaps the mention is plausible enough in the mouth of one who evidently cannot say exactly where he came to land, since he perished in so doing; and the plural may be

chosen to indicate a whole stretch of coastline between Pesto and Sapri,

with its numerous small creeks and harbours both north and south of Velia. Virgil knows also that Velia is an ancient Greek colony (the possibility of anachronism would hardly deter him from mentioning the 22 For a lively description of a landing on I Galli, see V. Berard, Les navigations d’Ulysse IV (1929), 375-89.


Kenneth Wellesley

name in the interest of intelligibility) and conceivably is aware that it had sea-gates both on the north and on the south side of the hill upon and

behind which it lay.?° Almost


100 km

to the north of Velia, and



inland, is the lonely Vallis Amsancti which Allecto used as one of the

entrances to the underworld which was her home (Aen. 7.563-71): est locus Italiae medio sub montibus altis, nobilis et fama multis memoratus in oris, Amsancti ualles; densis hunc frondibus atrum urget utrimque latus nemoris, medioque fragosus dat sonitum saxis et torto uertice torrens. hic specus horrendum et saeui spiracula Ditis monstrantur, ruptoque ingens Acheronte uorago pestiferos aperit fauces, quis condita Erinys,

inuisum numen, terras caelumque leuabat.


spot, though





the modern, if not the ancient, tourist |

trail, is not hard to find.2* Leave Autostrada 17 at Grottaminardi for Frigento, or travel eastwards from Benevento to the same spot. Six km east of Frigento along SS 303, a side-road right, leading to Rocca S.Felice,

and a rough track right again very soon, give access to the Mefite in their hollow place at the upper end of a shallow valley. Beside them an upland

stream follows a depression westwards through seaward-sloping country. The sulphur wells are indeed in a sheltered nook (specus), but they are easily reached, preferably with the help of a local peasant. Though they are noisome and on occasions dangerous to cattle, under suitable conditions humans may safely approach the bubbling pools, disregarding a modest notice warning of Pericolo di morte. Nowadays there is, alas, no atrum nemus overshadowing the spot, though woodland is not far away and disafforestation seems very likely. With groanings and eructations six witches’ cauldrons, one more active than the rest, eject every few seconds a mass of grey sulphureous mud, and upon the surface of the bubbling mass whorls and eddies ceaselessly move. No different in essence from other solforate in Italy, Amsanctus’ isolated position well inland sub montibus altis, the one-time oppressive woodland and the lethal nature of its vapours made it an excellent choice. Virgil misses few tricks when it comes to local colour. The underworld understandably has entrances in volcanic places. For both Greeks and Romans, it is associated with underground rivers — omnia sub magna labentia flumina terra —, a conception aided by the geological 23 Velia is conveniently dealt with by M. Guido, Southern Italy: an Archaeological Guide (1972), 205ff. ““Monstrantur (569) is a clear indication of Virgil’s visit. Fordyce-Christie ad loc.

(‘Virgil’s description of the scene, as usual, is the realism not of observation but of

literary convention’) are perverse. Contrast Pease on Cic. Div, 1.79. For the account of a recent traveller, see J.A.S. Evans, ‘Amsancti Valles’ in Vergilius 10

(1964), 12-14.

Virgilian Places


formation of the Mediterranean basin and perhaps particularly of Greece

and Italy. The appearance, disappearance or re-appearance of rivers, the knowledge of the water-table, the magic and sacred qualities of running water, the thunder of waterfalls, the destructive force of floods and lava,

even the hard struggle to cross and bridge thousands of watercourses may be thought to have combined to encourage a belief that the next world

has its rivers no less than ours, waters of mourning and of blessing, which delight or imprison.

We leave the topic of Virgil’s Campania and Latium — too vast and too well-known to need or permit survey here — and move to the very limit of NE Italy and to a strange river which, it seems probable, Virgil knew personally as a child. Such early memories are deeply etched. Just as Horace is obsessed with the normally placid Ofanto which flows (at some distance) around Venusia, longe sonantem natus ad Aufidum — an obsession which can only spring from a childhood memory of an unusual and catastrophic flood —, so Virgil dwells upon lapydian

Timavus.?* He virtually claims autopsy in the Georgics (3.474ff.) when he invites us to use our eyes as witnesses to the cattle plague which had afflicted the area some years before: tum sciat, aerias Alpis et Norica si quis castella in tumulis et Iapydis arua Timaui nunc quoque post tanto uideat, desertaque regna pastorum et longe saltus lateque uacantis,


But where is this area of devastation? Obviously where Alps and Noricum

and Iapydia come together at the NW tip of Dalmatia and the southern frontier of Noricum — the Karst Range from Naupactus southwards

towards Metulum, the hinterland or neck of Istria. But the Timavus of common knowledge is an Italian river, between Aquileia and Duino,

clearly within the Augustan frontiers of Italy. What aérial Alps and Norican castles on mountains have to do with it is far from clear.

The river has already been mentioned in Ecl, 8.6 ff.: addressing Pollio and either conjecturing or imagining his whereabouts, Virgil writes tu mihi, seu magni superas iam saxa Timaui siue oram Illyrici legis aequoris — en erit umquam ille dies, mihi cum liceat tua dicere facta? Controversy and confusion abound. For our purpose it matters little whether Pollio is travelling northwards or southwards, or whether he has never travelled that way at all, but is merely imagined so to do or to have


It appears that the Timavus is large and has saxa of a


25Maps: TCI Carta automobilistica 1:200,000, no. 6; G.B. Grundy, Italia and Sicilia (in the series of separate sheets of Murray’s Atlas on a larger scale); Tabula Imperii Romani, sheet ‘Tergeste’; other modern maps are inconvenient.


Kenneth Wellesley

magnitude which are to be surmounted or crossed or passed by the traveller, before or after hugging the Adriatic by the Illyrian coast-road. Stranger still is the third reference (Aen. 1.242ff.) in the speech in which Venus complains of the licence given to Antenor (founder of Padua) to travel the full length of the Adriatic. We are baffled when Virgil drags in his river and gives its description disproportionate emphasis: Antenor potuit mediis elapsus Achiuis Iilyricos penetrare sinus atque intima tutus regna Liburnorum et fontem superare Timaui, unde per ora nouem uasto cum murmure montis it mare proruptum et pelago premit arua sonanti.


We may relish the sonorous lines, but their precise sense is elusive. The difficulty lies in the exuberant description of the wildness and roar of the



river is well-known,



to a much-travelled


Virgil cannot allow his poetic imagination too much licence. The Fonti del

Timavo may be reached by following the old main road (SS 14) which

leads round the head of the Adriatic to Trieste, and by stopping at S. Giovanni al Timavo. Just below the road, to the SW, the visitor will find three quiet conjoined ponds or basins that unite and flow down to the sea on a journey which, since it covers a mile at most, must make the Timavus the shortest river in Italy. If we descend to the grassgrown brink of the

basins, we observe here and there the water trickling in (just as it does at

the Clitumnus source as described by Pliny) from the underground watertable. A tiny tinkle is perhaps discernible by the keen ear. What then does Virgil mean by talking of the ‘great Timavus’, ‘rocks’, ‘Iapydian’ and ‘wild thundering in the mountain’? Is this the language of hallucination? Is the poet drunk with words? Some despair of a solution. Radke, writing in Der Kleine Pauly (s.v. ‘Timavus’), having cited the relevant ancient literature, concludes ‘Die

orograph. Bedingungen haben sich h(eute) verandert.’ Lack of faith may

move mountains, but history knows of no such cataclysmic deformation, and geology will not admit one, at least in the last 2000 years. Others think of an exceptional flow of water into the basin source of the river, causing a flooding of the seaward area. So Henry (Aeneidea 1) with his accustomed vigour, which persuades some.

The hint of a solution to the puzzle is to be found in a remark of Strabo (5.1.8) quoting Posidonius. After giving information concerning the little Timavus from Polybius, with reference to the basins near the sea, he continues:

Ilooewavios 5€ yaou nérayov tov Tivavovy éx rdw épaov yepouevov Kataninrew eis Bépedpov, ei?’ bmd he évexdévra mept €KaTOV Kai TpidKovTa oradiove éni ™ Yardtrn Thy

éx Bort mroveiadar.? 26 Piin, NH


briefly puts the Timavus

in his catalogue of underground rivers,

but gives no details. Livy at 41.1 clearly refers only to the flooding caused on occasion by the Lower Timavus.

Virgilian Places


About a century ago, thanks to the use of powerful modern dyes, there

was finally established beyond question what had been a matter of belief

and speculation since the time of Posidonius.?” At a point only some 25

km east of Trieste, but within the modern boundaries of Yugoslavia, the

visitor is shown one of the great curiosities of the Karst: the caverns and

gorges of St Canzian, Skocjanske jame, through which the Upper Timavus (Timavo di sopra, Notranjska Reka) passes before going finally underground to re-emerge 30 km to the west, in Italy, as the Italian Timavo. The Reka rises 10 km east of Sapjane (? Ad Titulos) a little to the south of

SneZnik (Monte Nevoso) (1796 m), that is, on the borders of the land of

the Iapydes. Virgil’s adjective Japys is therefore accurate. Near Metavun, a few kilometers from Divaca, the river begins to pass through a 3-mile-long succession of gorges, tunnels and dolinas (vertical cavities up to 160 m deep, where a luxuriant vegetation flourishes). The site is uniquely striking; prehistoric traces have been found; and the stalactites remind one of Virgil’s pendentia pumice tecta. The Reka disappears, reappears and finally vanishes. Where there are waterfalls, a thunderous din re-echoes in the confined space and impedes all conversation except by shouting at close range. This surely is the spot to which the young Virgil was taken, this the memory that prompted repeated reference to the Timavus. Is any light thus shed upon the dark places of his verse? With superas lam saxa Timaui in Ecl. 8 compare fontem superare Timaui in Aen. 1.244. This must refer to the mountain source of the Reka under Sneznik. Close by passes the modern (and Roman) road connecting Rijeka (Fiume, Tarsatica) with Trieste (Tergeste) which Virgil envisages Antenor as taking to avoid the peninsula of Istria. Superare is in both passages used in the literal sense of climbing up and over an obstacle, a sense supported by intima regna Liburnorum, the innermost parts of the kingdom of the

Liburni, who lived between the Rasa (Arsia) and the Krka (Tit(i)us). For

one travelling north, as Antenor did, the inmost parts must be the extreme north of Liburnian territory, that is, the confine with the Iapydes near Mount SneZnik, which separates both from Noricum. The fons, below which the Reka passes through the mountain barrier, is clearly not the placid triple basin at S. Giovanni. If this is granted, then the meaning of per ora nouem uasto cum murmure montis it mare proruptum et pelago premit arua sonanti

becomes clear. The ‘nine openings’ are the numerous clefts and gorges and

caverns througt which the Reka dives down, in fact the Skocjanske jame

traversed by the tourist; and ‘the wild uproar in the mountain’ (totally inappropriate of the lower river) is the thunder of the underground river or the sound of the waterfalls in the dolinas, In rainy seasons the onrush of waters and the consequent turmoil increases rapidly, and the surrounding 27 There is a large technical literature on the Karst phenomena, none very accessible. Note a succinct account of the Skocjanske Jame with map in the Blue Guide to

Yugoslavia: the Adriatic Coast (1969 and later). For an older brief mention see Cluver, Italia Antiqua, 1.192.


Kenneth Wellesley

countryside is ‘crushed’ by the clamour. There can be no question of a flooding of that countryside by a river which finds its way through a deep gorge: the overwhelming characteristic is that of re-echoing and reverberating sound, the din of Acheron. The three Timavus passages relate to a virtually unique geological phenomenon on the very frontier of Italy, if not beyond it, far away from the scene in which the main business of the Aeneid is laid. The excuse for this irrelevancy must be a private interest and personal knowledge. Whatever parts of Italy Virgil personally knows — and some areas are passed over in silence and are, one presumes, unknown — he brings into his epic. In the midst of a description of the fighting in Latium, at Aen. 9.585, a sudden allusion takes us to a lonely spot in the far-distant plain of Catania, where at I Palici the modern traveller can still see what remains of the oracular springs and wander along the quiet rivers that converge to form the Simeto. Volcano stands up high from the sea with a plume of smoke.

Do you wish to know why the River Clanius is unfair to Acerrae? See the

dredgers at work on the canalized river in Campania, preventing the flooding that Acerrae feared and fears. It is good to find that Ardea, so decayed in Virgil’s time, but imagined by him as Tumnus’ capital, is now reviving; and year by year the new discoveries around Lavinium increase our knowledge of Virgil’s Latium. Dennis had no difficulty in reconciling the poet’s account of Caere with the Cervéteri before his eyes. The high reeds along the Mincio’s bank help us to understand Virgil’s allusions to the river that flowed past his childhood home; and west of Lake Garda, in the valley of the Mella, you should, like Virgil, find the aster amellus. Thus memories of childhood and later years are pressed into the service

of his poetry.7®

Landscape and seascape in Virgil are of course largely evocative. They may be thought peripheral to the main interest. Yet topographical allus-

ions supplied relief or reminded readers of a country of incomparable

endowment in natural beauty and physical and human resources. The Italian must learn to be patriotic, to be proud of Italy and think of it with affection. But mention of particular places and peoples served at the same time a functional purpose: to make living and actual legends of the past whose survival might help to form and maintain civic pride and national identity. This, after all, was the purpose of the Aeneid. Whether, for us, an acquaintance with Virgilian places directly enhances appreciation of Virgil’s poetry is a question which each can best answer for himself. Some

8The Clanius (Georg. 2.225) is the twin watercourse called the Regi Lagni, which

flows into the sea near the Volturno. Dennis on Cerveteri: Cities and Cemeteries, ch. 33; Virgil’s description at Aen. 8. 597-605 is clearly based on recollections of

a visit. Reeds by the Mincio may be seen with advantage between Pozzolo and Goito,






Virgil’s childhood home

as yet uncontroverted).

(for which see Wiener Studien

At Georg.


Virgil gives a

detailed description of the aster amellus (the European -Michaelmas Daisy), on which see, for instance, O. Polunin, Flowers of Europe (1969), no.1364 with pl. 142.

Virgilian Places


will prefer to remain within the imaginative and imagined world in which poetry lives, or savour the craftsmanship of the metrical and dramatic artist. On a reasonably objective view, however, it seems possible that an acquaintance with the places which Virgil knew and wrote of may also help us sometimes to understand and appreciate the love and effort with which he toiled to commend his poem to his countrymen. We may find the setting of the Roman J/liad and Odyssey still recognisable in the world of today, and come to see it as something more than a pallid painted backcloth of borrowed literary motifs.

Virgil and Homer


It ought to strike us as strange that, in order to compose an epic on the greatness of Rome, Virgil turned to Homer as a model, a poet who had written perhaps seven hundred years earlier in a different language. The reasons which led him to do this have been much discussed from varying angles. One obvious one is simply that he was inspired by the glory and grandeur of Homer and wished to do for Latin what Homer had done for Greek, using the epic genre which was always regarded in the ancient world as the peak of literary achievement. A second reason was that in

matters of epic technique and machinery, narrative style, use of speeches

and similes, divine intervention, topoi (catalogues, ghosts, descriptions of armour etc.) Homer could serve as a model to be adapted in a new way. The work of Brooks Otis on Virgil’s subjective style as a variant on Homeric narrative technique is very illuminating on this kind of

adaptation. A third reason, much less discussed, is the one I want to con-

centrate on: Homer could act as a touchstone for Virgil’s own examination of the Roman scene. How much in Rome was the same as in heroic Greece of the twelfth century B.C. as Homer reflected it, and how much was different, or ought to be different? Should a Roman behave like those glorious heroes, Achilles, Odysseus and the rest, or if not, how should his conduct differ?

First, however, let us look at the various sorts of ‘imitation’. The simplest are the verbal reminiscences, adaptations or indeed direct trans-

lations of Homer’s phrases. The learned dissertations of the nineteenth

centry amassed these with enormous zeal, and more recently they — along with longer episodes — have been collected and discussed in the massive

work of G.N. Knauer, Die Aeneis und Homer (Gottingen 1964), which

contains exhaustive indexes both from Homer to Virgil and from Virgil to Homer. The smallest number of entries in this index for any book of the Aeneid is around 300 (more than one every three lines) and the

largest around 650 (nearly one per line). Most of these of course are small-

scale similarities (J 16.776 ‘He lay mighty and mightily fallen’: Aen, 5.447 ipse gravis graviterque ad terram...; Od. 12.208 ‘My friends, we are not without experience of suffering before this . . .: Aen. 1.198 o socii, neque enim ignari sumus ante malorum...). Some of these are used to recall the Homeric context for similarity, others for contrast.

It is interesting to look from a larger point of view at the extent to 170


Virgil and Homer


which individual books of the Aeneid are Homeric ( I do not mean in the

number of small phrases, but in the overall subject-matter and treatment). The first book is in many ways the most Homeric of all, based as it is very closely indeed on the episodes of Odyssey 5-8; but it has highly significant differences made all the more significant by the general similarity. I shall return to this later. The second book, although it deals with events which are closest of all in time to those of the Iliad (perhaps a year later) does not have any real major similarity of episode. Aeneid 3 — which we might call Virgil’s Odyssey — is the strangest mixture of Odyssean episodes (Scylla and Charybdis, the Cyclops) and of the real geography of Virgil’s

Mediterranean world with its Roman

significance (Actium, the famous

towns of South Italy and Sicily); and the several prophecies of Roman greatness in the book make it a kind of pilgrimage rather than a series of strange adventure stories. Book 4 is of course by far the least Homeric, being concerned with the two aspects of Virgil’s poem which have no counterpart at all in Homer, namely the intimate portrayal of a woman in love, and the concept of historical destiny which causes Aeneas to leave

Dido for the sake of the Roman mission. Book 5, much of which is con-

cerned with athletic contests, is very much indebted to the account of the games in honour of Patroclus in /liad 23, but the subject is handled very differently. Virgil could not hope to reproduce the gusto of Homer’s games, and instead he gives a highly elaborate and formally organised account, cutting the number from nine to four, balancing these four for length (long boat-race, short foot-race, long boxing-match, short archery contest), and linking the whole thing to his main theme of the foundation of Rome by means of name associations (Cloanthus — the Cluentii, Atys — the Atii, and so on), and by rounding off the contests with a description of the Jusus Troiae, a popular feature of Roman enjoyment in his day. Book 6 is an outstanding example of an episode based in some ways on

Homer, but organised into something entirely different. The appearance of the ghosts of the underworld to Odysseus in Odyssey 11 furnished a good epic precedent for Virgil’s land of the ghosts; the inhabitants of Tartarus are somewhat similar in both authors; the ghost of Palinurus the helmsman

corresponds with Homer’s Elpenor; one of the most memorable passages in

Aeneid 6 is taken from Odyssey 11: when Dido turns away from Aeneas’ pleas without a word of reply all readers think of the silent Ajax rejecting Odysseus’ plea for a reconciliation. But the essence of Virgil’s underworld is the opposite of Homer’s: in Homer it is a miserable existence; Achilles’ ghost says that he would sooner be the lowest serf on earth than king of

all the dead, but in Virgil the afterlife matters far more than this life on

earth, which is seen just as a preparation for the hereafter. The religious

aspect then of Aeneid 6 is entirely different from its Homeric model —

so also are the other two main themes of this book: the profound effect upon Aeneas of his experiences (so that he can now go forward with con-

fidence, having been so hesitant before), and the historic and patriotic : vision with which the book ends.

It is commonly said that the second half of the Aeneid is concerned with battles, like the /liad. It would be much more accurate to say this


Deryck Williams

about the last third, because there is no fighting at all in Books 7 and 8

(except for the brief incident of the actual casus belli in Book 7). The fighting begins in Book 9. Books 7 and 8 do not have any very close resemblance to Homer, except that each of them contains a particular piece of epic machinery taken from Homer. Book 7 ends with a catalogue of Italian forces, the precedent for which is the catalogue of the ships in Iliad 2; but Virgil’s presentation is quite original, being a catalogue of the enemy forces rather than the Trojans, filled with a deep patriotic love of

the peoples and the little places of his own Italy (reminiscent of the tone

of the Georgics). Book 8 ends with a description of the pictures on the shield of Aeneas; here again the poetic intention of Virgil is entirely differ-

ent from Homer’s description of Achilles’ shield in Jliad 18. Achilles had

lost his shield and needed a new one, so while he was described the pictures of general aspects of Greek portrayed upon it. Aeneas has not lost his shield, but by one Virgil has the opportunity to present, for the last

about it Homer life which were giving him a new time before the

full-scale battles begin, a patriotic indication of what Aeneas’ victory will

achieve, if he achieves it. The pictures on the shield compleme nt the pageant of the ghosts of Roman heroes at the end of Book 6 in giving an optimistic preview of known history, of the glorious results of Aeneas’ divine mission which he is still striving to fulfil. Here again we have a clear

indication of the difference between the Aeneid and the Homeric poems:

Aeneas has to do generations ahead.







of posterity


Book 9, the first of the battle books, is very Homeric indeed (the Nisus and Euryalus episode is based on Iliad 10 — though with great differences in treatment), and the prowess of Turnus in the second half of the book is like the aristeia of many Homeric heroes, especially perhaps Hector. Book 10 is generally Homeric in its battle-scenes, and specifically so in the correspondence of the whole plot. The enemy general Turnus fights and kills young Pallas, the protégé of Aeneas, which leads Aeneas to a violent determination to take vengeance; similarly in Iliad 16 the enemy general Hector fights and kills Patroclus, the close friend and charioteer of Achilles, which leads Achilles to a violent determination to take vengeance. In both cases the arrogance of the victor leads to deep sympathy for the victim. Book 11 is largely concerned with the great

deeds and death of the warrior queen Camilla whose aristeia has many

Homeric echoes, while Book 12 — to which | shall return — relates the Stages of Aeneas’ defeat of Turnus in a manner which compels recollection of Achilles’ defeat of Hector in the single combat described in Iliad 22.

Thus we see how Virgil, besides translating and adapting Homeric phrases, and using Homeric machinery, also employs whole episodes (and indeed characters) as a point of comparison for his own explorat ion of human ideals and behaviour. I propose now to take two example s in detail,

one from the beginning of the Aeneid and one from the end. The first example is the way in which Aeneid 1 uses the episodes , and

indeed the whole framework, of Odyssey 5-8. Let us first establish that

Virgil and Homer


this is so, and then consider why Virgil has imitated so closely.

The narrative action in the Aeneid begins with the hero confronted by a violent storm aroused by the hostile goddess Juno: similarly on the first

appearance of the hero of the Odyssey in Book 5 (Odysseus does not figure in person until then) we find him confronted by a storm aroused by

the hostile god Poseidon. Aeneas’ reaction is to wish he had died at Troy (1.94f. ‘Three times and four times blessed those who died . . .’); this is a translation of Odysseus’ words in the same situation. Eventually Aeneas, in bad shape, reaches the shore of an unknown land, Carthage, just as Odysseus finally saved himself by reaching the shore of Phaeacia. Aeneas is met by a goddess in disguise, his mother Venus, who tells him where he is; this is a conflation of Odysseus’ meetings first with Nausicaa and then with the goddess Athena in disguise. Aeneas is hidden in a cloud by Venus as Odysseus had been by Athena; each of them marvels at the splendour of the city to which they come, and each is received in kindly fashion by the ruler of the country, Aeneas by Dido and Odysseus by Alcinous. Each is welcomed to a splendid banquet; in honour of Aeneas the minstrel Iopas sings, as the minstrel Demodocus had sung in honour of Odysseus. When the feast is over Dido asks Aeneas to tell the story of his adventures; he does so in the next two books, just as Odysseus at Alcinous’ request had told of his adventures in the form of a flash-back in Odyssey 9-12. It is a most extraordinary similarity of episode, and the more striking because Virgil uses this very close imitation at the start of his poem. We feel that in a way we are attending at a replay of the well-known Odysseus story. So much is the same that we are inevitably challenged to see whether there are any points of difference at all. And indeed there are — differences which make clear the essential distinctions between Odysseus and Aeneas. The most striking of these is in Virgil’s scene in Olympus



Venus complains to Jupiter of the unjust suffering

which Aeneas is having to face. This is based on the complaint of Athena to Zeus at the beginning of Odyssey 5, but the reply of Jupiter is totally different from that of Zeus. Zeus promises to save Odysseus so that he can return safely to Ithaca to resume the life he used to live before he went to Troy; but Jupiter promises to save Aeneas so that he can fulfil a destiny affecting the whole future history of the civilised world. Aeneas is not returning to where he was before — Troy is burnt to ashes; he is journeying into the unknown in order to begin the foundation of the city destined one day to be queen of the world, giver of peace and civilisation to mankind. Odysseus is an individual of no future importance outside Ithaca; Aeneas is a person who symbolises mankind’s destiny as planned by the benevolent working of providence. As an individual Odysseus is perhaps the most vivid and exciting character in ancient literature; but Aeneas is less, or more, than an individual. He is the chosen agent of

Jupiter; he does what he must do often against his own inclinations.

We see this same distinction from a different angle in another of the differences between the two authors. Odysseus when ship-wrecked is all

alone; all the other ships that were with him have been destroyed through


Deryck Williams

the folly or failings of the Greeks aboard them, and of the crew of

Odysseus’ ship when it is wrecked only Odysseus, so splendid a warrior against adversity, has the strength and the resource to survive. But all but one of Aeneas’ ships are saved, and the first thing he has to do on landing in Africa is to hearten the crews of those ships which have landed with him, and to reconnoitre in order to try to restore the situation. He is their

general, and he must bring them through safely. He must be the group leader, the social hero who operates not alone but in conjunction with those dependent on him. He must show the Roman quality of pietas: he

must live up to his epithet pius. In Odyssey 9.19, after Alcinous has asked Odysseus who he is (having satisfied the Homeric code of hospitality by providing a banquet first) Odysseus replies ‘I am Odysseus, son of Laertes’. In Aen, 1.378, after the disguised Venus, mocking her son by pretending not to know him, has asked who he is, Aeneas replies sum pius Aeneas. Here is the total difference between Aeneas and Odysseus: Aeneas is less of an individual than Odysseus (many critics have complained that he does

not cut the figure expected of a large-scale epic hero) because he has more

responsibilities. He has given something of himself away, to the gods, to his men, to the future of his still undiscovered country.

My second example is from the closing scenes of the poem. We have been led throughout the poem to see the war between the Trojans and the Rutulians as a replay of the war between the Trojans and the Greeks. As early as Book 6 (83f.) the Sibyl had said ‘You will not be without a Simois or a Xanthus or a Greek camp: another Achilles is ready for you in Latium ... Turnus in Book 9 (136f.) makes a long comparison of the Rutulians with the Greeks (to the advantage of the Rutulians): Lavinia has been

stolen by the Trojans just as Helen was: Turnus therefore intends to wreak

havoc upon them as the Greeks had done, but he will not need the armour of Hephaestus or a thousand ships or a wooden horse — openly, in broad daylight, he will consume their defences with fire. Later in Book 9 (598f.), Numanus mocks the Trojans for being once more enclosed behind besieged ramparts. It is the Trojan war all over again, but this time it is ‘not the sons of Atreus nor the eloquent Ulysses’ who oppose them, but a tough Italian people. The similarity between Turnus and Achilles is again emphasised, this time by Turnus himself, when he tells Pandarus (9.742) that he will be able to inform Priam in the underworld that he has found another Achilles.

In Book 10, as we have seen, the main features of Virgil’s plot are very closely lined up with Homer’s. The part played by Pallas is very similar to that of Patroclus: the death of Pallas at the hands of Turnus is the cause of Aeneas’ vengeance, as that of Patroclus is the cause of Achilles’ vengeance. Virgil points this very clearly when he intervenes in his narrative (501f.) to reflect that ‘a time will come for Turnus when he would give anything to have left Pallas untouched.’ We begin to feel that Turnus is a new Achilles, but he is in Hector’s situation. Achilles will not

win this time.

Apart from these specific similarities of Turnus to Achilles as enemy of

Virgil and Homer


the Trojans, and to Hector as destined loser, we have in countless ways

been caused to think of Turnus as a heroic warrior of the Homeric type, whereas Aeneas has seemed less anxious to rush into battle: he lies awake worrying about the imminence of war (8.18f.) and he regrets the horrida

belli fata (11.96-7). To the envoys who seek a truce to bury the dead he says that he wishes he could have granted it to the living (11.110f.).

Admittedly he is driven to wild fury on the battlefield after hearing of the death of Pallas, but none the less it is undeniable that our impression of him is that he fights because he must, in the bitter fulfilment of duty, in order to establish peace and bring civilisation. Turnus on the other hand fights in the Homeric frame of values, for honour and reputation: he is

confident of his prowess (9.126, 10.276), he is proud (10.445, 514) and

violent (the word violentia is used only of Turnus in the poem), he rejoices in slaughter (9.760 caedisque insana cupido) and his behaviour in his

contest with Pallas is insultingly arrogant (10.443, 492, 500).

At the beginning of Book 12, after the death of his ally Camilla, the dauntless Turnus with the eyes of all upon him seems to himself and to the reader as irresistible as Achilles had been — but it is of Hector that we are reminded as King Latinus and Queen Amata try to dissuade him from single combat, as Priam and Hecuba had tried to dissuade Hector at the beginning of Iliad 22. The last two hundred lines of the Aeneid are crowded with reminiscences of Homer, including some of the most famous lines of Iliad 22. As Aeneas chases Turnus, Jupiter holds aloft his scales (725f. Juppiter ipse

duas aequato examine lances sustulit...) as Zeus had in JI. 22.209, and

the loser’s fate sinks down. Aeneas pursues Turnus as a hound pursues a

stag (12.749f.); so Achilles had pursued Hector (7. 22.189f.). The onlookers are prevented from joining in (12.760f., J 22.205f.), and the chase continues round the walls, not for a prize in the games, but for the

life of the loser (12.764f. neque enim levia aut ludicra petuntur praemia, sed Turni de vita et sanguine certant, Il. 22.159f. ‘they were not striving for prizes..., but they ran for the life of Hector, tamer of horses’).

For a moment the mortal action is suspended in the Aeneid as the scene shifts to Olympus, as it had in Homer, and when we return to the final dénouement of the single combat, Turnus’ strength begins to ebb and he

is like a man in a dream (12.908f. ac velut in somnis...): in Il. 22.199f.

Homer had illustrated the chase with just such a simile: ‘as in a dream a




cannot pursue the man who flees, the one cannot escape nor the pursue,

so Achilles



catch Hector

nor Hector


Finally Turnus is wounded and begs for mercy, as Hector had. Achilles rejected Hector’s pleas in a violent and savage speech, and now

suddenly we realize where after all these similarities with Homer the point of difference is going to lie. Aeneas will now show that mercy which is

appropriate for a man who basically hated violence and bloodshed, though sometimes forced into it. He will be able to apply the words of Anchises about the Roman mission for the world — parcere subiectis et debellare

superbos (6.855). Turmus has been one of the superbi, but now he is


Deryck Williams

brought low (12.930 ille humilis...), and Aeneas will therefore spare him. But he does not. Seeing the belt of Pallas, which Turnus is wearing

as spoils of war, he kills his helpless suppliant. Why? Virgil is very explicit why — in order to take vengeance. It was a vengeance which Evander, Pallas’ father, had specifically required of Aeneas when he received the news of Pallas’ death (11.177f.); and that is why Aeneas kills him. In a paradoxical way it is required by pietas. There may have been other reasons — perhaps that it was the last grim necessity of his mission into which Turnus could not fit: but Virgil has not said so. Aeneas did it for vengeance. We are left perhaps with two main questions: the first is how does it happen that a peace-loving man should disgrace himself in this fashion — and the second, or was he right? We remember that Augustus had vowed that he would hunt down the murderers of Julius Caesar, and he did so; later he built a temple in the forum to Mars Ultor, Mars the Avenger.


is very evident

is that, whether there was justification or

not, Virgil did not like it: the poem ends on a note of discord, with no

rejoicing over the final achievement of the mission, but instead sorrow for

the victim. The last line is a lamentation for Turnus as his life departed complaining with a groan to the shades below: vitaque cum gemitu fugit indignata sub umbras. No, Virgil did not like it, but he was not prepared to pretend that such things did not happen, nor even to say categorically that they should not happen. In this aspect of human behaviour the Homeric pattern had not changed.

Thus we see that Virgil’s use of Homer is not limited to phraseology or episodes or epic machinery — though all these things were vitally important to Virgil —, but extends beyond this to the very essence of the problems of human behaviour which the Aeneid explores. The Homeric world with its heroic values is used as a counterpoise to weigh the Roman world; the Roman man is set against the heroic man, and is seen to be in some situations more thoughtful and responsible, in some situations less vivid and exciting, and in some situations the same.

The Importance of Aspect in Virgilian Similes GORDON WILLIAMS

Similes are one very important means whereby the epic poet, with

perfect generic propriety, can enter his own text. Thereby he creates awareness in the reader of a gap between the temporality of the narrative and that of the composition,' such that the terms and locale of the events

being narrated have no intrinsic connexion with those of the simile; that

connexion is arbitrary and entirely dependent upon the poet. This is easily seen in the first simile of the Aeneid (1.148-56): ac veluti magno in populo cum saepe coorta est seditio saevitque animis ignobile vulgus iamque faces et saxa volant, furor arma ministrat; tum, pietate gravem ac meritis si forte virum quem conspexere, silent arrectisque auribus astant; ille regit dictis animos et pectora mulcet: Sic cunctus pelagi cecidit fragor, aequora postquam prospiciens genitor caeloque invectus aperto flectit equos curruque volans dat lora secundo.

[‘As often happens when a riot breaks out in a great popular

gathering and the emotions of the undistinguished mob boil over and now firebrands and stones begin to fly, rage supplies the weapons; then, if by chance they catch sight of a man

respected for his devotion and services, they fall silent and stand with ears pricked up; he controls their emotions with his words and soothes their breasts: so all the roar of the sea subsided after the Father, looking over the ocean and riding through a cloudless sky, wheeled his horses and flying along

gave rein to his hurrying chariot.’] This



at the


of a scene

of Hellenistic rococo,


Neptune and his subordinates exerting themselves to undo the damage

caused by the storm, calming the waves and prying ships off rocks and

*This essay is dedicated with warmth and admiration to a fine scholar and inspiring teacher, who has made the problems of interpreting the Aeneid one of his major


1 This gap is constantly maintained before the attention of the reader by a variety of devices throughout the epic. I have dealt with this and other aspects of the composition of the Aeneid in a forthcoming book.





sandbanks. The poet’s simile breaks in from a totally different world and from a time that belongs to his own life. The shock of Roman reality underlines, at an early stage of the poem, what will be a significant theme. For the scene of riot with the calming figure of a man who looks remark-

ably like Cato of Utica is a metonymy for civil war and its quelling. The climax of Juppiter’s great speech (1.257-96) will be a portrait of civil war

brought to an end by Augustus, and that same idea will be portrayed in

the central and climactic scene on the shield made by Vulcan (8.675 -728).

The same theme of civil war will be echoed in the events of the twelfth century B.C., for the war waged by Italians against Trojans in the second half of the Aeneid will be represented by the poet as a type of civil war (10.6-15; 12.503-4) on the ground that the two peoples were destined to be one and that their energies should be conserved to fight the great common enemy, the Carthaginians.



of the simile is increased

by its originality:

it has no

actions to mirror events in nature instead of comparing events with natural phenomena. Here the fantasy-world of epic gods by a blast of Roman reality, and the poet, drawing attention to as poet, speaks in the tones of a man living in the late Republic

among men is shattered his persona and the age



and reverses normal

epic procedure

by using human

of Augustus. He deliberately measures the distance between the tempor-

ality of the narrative and that of the poem’s composition by means of a theme that bridges the gap between the twelfth century B.C. and the age of Augustus. The tone here is authorial, objective, and impartial. The poet is viewing the situation authoritatively through his own eyes. That is the

aspect of the simile.

That, indeed is the normal Hector is compared to a rock:


of epic similes. In JL


Tpwes 5€ npovrupav aoddées, Toxe 5’ dp’ “Extwp GVTLK PV HEeUAaws, ddOOITPOXOS Gs and TeTPNS,

OV TE KaTa OTEgavns ToTaLdSs KEyLdppoos won, pngas Gonérw duppw avaidéos Exuara nérpne UWe 5’ Gvabpwok wv nérerat, KTUTEEL 5é 8’ br’ avrov vAn: 6 5’ doparéuxs Oder Eurredov, hoc iknrar todmedov, tore 5’ od Tt KuAWSETAL EgovuEVds TEP * ws “Exrwp Tos wéev ameter wéxpt Oaddoons béa SedevoeoOar kALOlas Kai VHas ‘Axaiov KTEWWve —

[‘The Trojans advanced all together, and Hector led them,

raging forward like a boulder from a cliff that a winter-swollen torrent thrusts from the overhang, breaking the supports from the ruthless rock with an overwhelming flow of water. Leaping high, it flies along and the wood resounds toit; and it races on without check «ontinuously till it reaches level ground; then it rolls on no further, much though it is eager to. So Hector for

a time threatened to break easily, as far as the sea, through to



Aspect in Virgilian Similes


the huts and ships of the Achaeans, slaughtering . . .’] The aspect of the simile is neutral and impartial; the poet’s eye observes

and records an objective likeness that measures the difficulty of. stopping Hector. The potential of the simile is fully exhausted within the limits of its immediate context. Virgil uses this simile as a model in Aen. 12.681 -90: dixit, et e curru saltum dedit ocius arvis perque hostis, per tela ruit maestamque sororem deserit ac rapido cursu media agmina rumpit. ac veluti montis saxum de vertice praeceps cum ruit avulsum vento, seu turbidus imber proluit aut annis solvit sublapsa vetustas; fertur in abruptum magno mons improbus actu exsultatque solo, silvas armenta virosque involvens secum: disiecta per agmina Turnus sic urbis ruit ad muros... [‘He spoke and jumped from his chariot to the ground, and through the enemy, through their weapons he rushed, deserting his heart-broken sister and breaking through the midst of the battle-lines at a swift pace. And as when a boulder rushes headlong from a mountain-top, torn away by the wind, or else storming rain washes it out or passage of time undermining it over years loosens it; out of control the crag is carried into the abyss with enormous impetus and bounces back from the ground, involving in its course woods, herds, and men. So through the scattered lines Turnus rushes towards

the city walls .. .’]

Here there are multiple correspondences” with the context, induced by

the verb ruere (682, 685, 690) used to lead into the simile, used inside it, and used again to lead out of it. Virgil takes Homer’s ‘shameless rock’ and transforms it into mons improbus (687), where the personification is

active in the text (as it is not in Homer): Turnus has just ended his speech

to his sister by saying hunc, oro, sine me furere ante furorem (680, ‘I

beg you, let me first rage out this rage’). Turnus is willingly out of control and is to that extent improbus (‘not to be approved of’). But, while it is easy to see how the poet regards Hector as a careering boulder, since he is killing his way through the enemy, how is Turnus to be seen in the same terms? He runs madly through the enemy who scatter before him. What destruction does he do? None is mentioned. A recent commentator 2On









correspondence similes in the Aeneid’, JRS 59 (1969), 40-9, and ‘Virgilian multiple-correspondence similes and their antecedents’, Philologus 114 (1970), 262-75.


Gordon Williams

speaks thus of Turnus here:? ‘He, like the rock, rushes headlong to his fate.’ Another is more explicit and elaborate:* ‘But the boulder has itself been dislodged ... by wind, rain or simply old age (vetustas). This last detail, in itself a strange reason ..., fascinates for what it tells us about

Turnus*. .. Turnus is compared to a cliff falling in ruin . . .” None of this

can be right; the poet in no way envisages the destruction of the boulder, and he omits the Homeric detail of its coming to a halt when it reaches level ground (in Homer the Greeks finally manage to stop Hector). The

clue to the aspect of the simile is given by improbus (687). This is not the

objective eye of the poet recording from his impartial point of vantage (as

in the Homeric simile); here the viewpoint of the Trojans is given. Turnus is looked at through the eyes of his enemies who scatter before him (689);

their one thought is to get out of his way. They recognise his furor and do not like or approve it. That disapproval comes from the enemy, not from the poet. However, despite the personification in improbus, the poet does

not cancel the major impact of the simile — the terrifying, mindless energy with which the sight of the rushing Turnus impresses the Trojans: in his

furor he becomes like a thing, not a human being.

Here the aspect of the simile is such that the poet views Turnus through the eyes of his enemies. Sometimes the poet even indicates the aspect of a

simile. For instance, at 10.453-6 Turnus approaches to fight with Pallas: desiluit Turnus biiugis, pedes apparat ire comminus, utque leo, specula cum vidit ab alta stare procul campis meditantem in proelia taurum, advolat, haud alia est Turni venientis imago. [‘Turnus leapt down from his chariot and prepared to come to grips on foot; and as a lion, after he has caught sight of a bull from a high lookout point, standing far off in the plains,

practising for battle, flies towards him, no different is the appearance of Turnus as he approaches.’]

The Homeric analogue to this is quite different. At Jl 16.823-16, Hector’s killing of Patroclus is viewed in terms of a fight over a water-hole between a lion and a bull, which the lion finally wins. The simile is objective in the

normal Homeric manner and the relationship of two elements in the con-

text is compared to the relationship of two elements within the simile. In the Virgilian simile, however, the bull is not operative and the outcome of the battle (here the poet relies on his Homeric analogue) is taken for granted. The whole force of the simile is focused on the impression that Turnus makes on the spectators who are also presumed to foresee the

likely outcome. That aspect of the simile is re-inforced by the poet’s

3 Roger A. Hornsby, Patterns of Action in the Aeneid: An Interpretation of Vergil’s Epic Similes (lowa City 1970), 130. Michael C.J. Putnam, The Poetry of the Aeneid (Cambridge, Mass. 1965), 180-1 (hereafter referred to as Putnam).

> Apparently, in Putnam’s view, that Turnus is old and collapsing.

Aspect in Virgilian Similes


comment. The Homeric context operates here in the Virgilian text in such

a way as to shape a reader’s anticipation through his knowledge of the fight between Hector and Patroclus.

In Aen, 9.530ff. a tower on the Trojan camp’s walls is brought down and some of its defenders are thrown among the Latins, including Helenor (549-55): isque ubi se Turni media inter milia vidit, hinc acies atque hinc acies astare Latinas, ut fera, quae densa venantum saepta corona contra tela furit seseque haud nescia morti inicit et saltu supra venabula fertur — haud aliter iuvenis medios moriturus in hostis inruit et qua tela videt densissima tendit.

[“He, when he ‘saw himself amidst the thousands of Turnus’ troops and the Latin battle-lines standing ready on this side

and on that, like a wild beast that, hedged about by a dense circle of hunters, rages against their weapons and with full

knowledge throws itself on death and with a leap soars above

the spears; not otherwise did the young man, intending to die,

hurl himself into the midst of the enemy and direct himself to the point where


he saw the weapons most densely concen-

Macrobius has an interesting treatment of this simile. He represents Eustathius, who is giving examples of passages where Virgil has failed to do justice to Homer, criticising this simile as compared with what he regards -as its Homeric analogue. He says (Sat. 5.13.26): ‘You see how the Latin comparison has been contracted into so narrow a compass that nothing

could be more jejune; the Greek on the other hand, by means of a wide range both of words and of matter has filled out the array of a real hunt. Where the difference is so great one must really blush to make a comparison.’


the Homeric

simile is not close to the Virgilian at all. It

occurs in the description of the combat between Achilles and Aeneas.

Achilles was ‘like a ravaging lion whom men are eager to kill, hunting him, the whole people together. He at first proceeds, ignoring them; but after one of the bold young men has hit him with a spear, he gathers himself

roaring, and foam appears around his teeth, and his brave heart groans within his breast and he lashes his ribs and flanks on both sides with his tail as he works himself up to fight; eyes aflame, his strength carries him straight so that he may kill one of the men or himself perish at the first

encounter. So his strength and manly spirit worked Achilles up to attack the great-hearted Aeneas’ (/1. 20.164-75). Here the poet concentrates on the psychology of Achilles and the effect he has had on the Trojans that has made Aeneas step out to confront him. The poet objectively views


Gordon Williams

and represents both sides. But the highly condensed Virgilian simile sees the scene through Helenor’s eyes and the simile breaks off before the hunters kill the beast; the killing is enacted in the context by the death (also not described) of Helenor. There is no suggestion that the Latins saw the scene in this way, or even that the poet viewed them as if they were hunters. The simile explains what is virtually a suicide and its very economy contributes to that effect by avoiding the complex scene that Homer evoked. The outcome is open for the Homeric lion — to kill or be killed. The pathos of the Virgilian simile is that the outcome has already been decided, and the beast (of unspecified kind) knows that. A simile from earlier in Book 9 is interesting in this context. Turnus has been inspired to attack the Trojan camp, but he is frustrated because the Trojans keep within their fortifications and refuse to come out and fight (57-66): 7 huc turbidus atque huc lustrat equo muros aditumque per avia quaerit. ac veluti pleno lupus insidiatus ovili cum fremit ad caulas ventos perpessus et imbris nocte super media; tuti sub matribus agni balatum exercent, ille asper et improbus ira saevit in absentis; collecta fatigat edendi

ex longo rabies et siccae sanguine fauces:

haud aliter Rutulo muros et castra tuenti ignescunt irae, duris dolor ossibus ardet.

[Wildly he ranges the walls, at this point, then at that, and searches for an approach through the pathless region; and as when a wolf, setting ambush to a crowded sheepfold howls at

the chinks [in the fence] , enduring wind and rain right beyond

midnight; the lambs, safe beneath their mothers, engage in bleating, but he, cruel and beside himself with rage, savages them in imagination; a craving to eat, long pent up, and his: throat unslaked with blood do not let him rest. Not otherwise did rage kindle within the Rutulian as he surveyed the walls

and camp, and anger blazed within his flinty bones.’] This


simile has no

close Homeric


and, as often,

Apollonius Rhodius provides a more immediate model. When Heracles is

away, Hylas goes to collect water but is drowned; only one of Heracles’ companions heard the boy’s cry as he was drawn under the water,

Polyphemus, son of Eilatus (Argon. 1.1243-9):

By 5é weraiéas Mryéwv oxeddv, hue Tuc Op dypws, dv pa Te yhpus anompodev ik ero pjrwy,

Aww 5° aldduevos ueraviocera, ov5’ énéx vpoev TOUWNOW - TPO yap avroi Evi orabuoiot voyjes €doav : 6 5€ orevdxwv Bogue donerov, dopa Kdunow


Aspect in Virgilian Similes


ws Tér dp’ El\aridns weyan’ Eorevev, audi 5é xwpov dotra KeKAnyuss : werXen 5é of ErAETO Gwv7. [‘And he went rushing along, near Pegae, like a beast of the

wilds to whom

the bleating of sheep has come from afar;

blazing with hunger, he follows it but does not reach the flocks, for the shepherds have penned them within the steadings. And, groaning, he roars fearfully till he becomes tired. So did the son of Eilatus groan greatly, and he went

about crying out.’]

A number of differences from the Virgilian simile are obvious. The groaning and roaring of the wild animal are emphasised by Apollonius in

order to provide him with a lead-out from the simile. The hunger of the

animal is only very slightly operative either in the simile or in the context, and its tiring has no point whatever. Also the single cry of Hylas is not convincingly picked up by the bleating of the sheep. In fact, the simile is only loosely accommodated to its context and creates an impression of careless and superficial composition. The Virgilian simile is detailed in the way that Eustathius praised in

Homer: a complex scene is gradually built up. Its effort is concentrated on

psychology as it moves from objective facts to feelings. For at first the simile creates the impression of authorial objectivity, but there is one detail that contradicts such an impression. The Trojans are as lambs only

to Turnus. They do not feel like that themselves: they are following the orders of Aeneas, although they are eager to go out and fight (44), and

they are armed, ready to repulse the enemy (38-9 and 45-6). The one

element in the simile here that can truthfully be transferred to the context is tuti — they are certainly safe in the camp. That draws attention to

another feature. The adjective turbidus (57) leads into the simile and

irae (66) leads out; that link corresponds to asper et improbus ira / saevit

(62-3) inside the simile. But the simile in fact reaches its climax of terror

in details that are not operative in the context. The wolf here is tired not

by its immediate sufferings (as in Apollonius), but by its long-denied lust

for blood. The simile creates a scene of terror, but the Trojans are not terrified in the least, because they do not yet know their man. Blood-lust will have become a very familiar characteristic of Turnus by the end of the epic: he lives to kill and, as the wolf has long been denied blood, so has Turnus. It is he who views the Trojans as a wolf does lambs, and, in a most imaginative phrase, savages them though they are absent (that is, he

imagines the pleasurable sensation of tearing them) — their blood will

sate his lust. Thus the aspect of the simile, appearing at first to be objective, is, in fact, subjective, and sees the world from Turnus’ point of view,

the psychology of which is here revealed for the first time. In this respect the simile can be contrasted with that at 9.339-41 (a starving lion falls upon sheep) or at 791-6 (a lion gives way under pressure but without turning tail); both of those are authorially objective in the Homeric style


Gordon Williams

and have close Homeric analogues. Another wolf-simile — this with a clear model in the /liad — can be seen, in contrast with its model, to have something of the same aspect as the simile of Turnus and the wolf. This is the simile that compares Arruns, after he has killed Camilla, to a wolf. The Homeric model is used of Antilochus who was persuaded by Menelaus to kill a Trojan; so he ran out in front of his own troops, threw his spear, and killed Melanippus. Hector

then came running up to avenge the death and Antilochus fled black to his own ranks (J. 15.585-91):

‘Avriroxos 5’ ob pee O00¢ TED EWV TOAELLOTNS, avr’ dy’ dp’ érpece Onpi kakov Pé~avrt Eo ws, és TE KUVa KTEtVas 1} BovKGAOV audi BoEdot pevryer TOW TEP GutrAOV GodAALOOHpEVvat avip cv + ws Tpéae Neotopibnes, émi 5€ Toweés re Kat “EKTWwp


NX Geoneoin Bédea oTovdEvTa xXEovTO:


oTn 5€ weraotpedpbeis, énet ikero €Ovos étalpwv.

[‘And Antilochus did not wait, fine warrior though he was, but ran away like a beast that has done an evil deed, that, having killed a dog or a herdsman among his cattle, flees before a crowd of men can collect: so did the son of Nestor run away, and upon him the Trojans and Hector, with deafening cries, showered down deadly weapons. But as soon as he reached the company of his companions, he stood and

faced about.’]

Here little is operative in the context except the running away — and that is only temporary. Antilochus has no reason to feel guilty. The poet objectively sees his hasty retreat in terms of an animal that has done some-

thing outrageous (though Antilochus has nct), and the ‘evil deed’ of the simile is judged only in terms of the judgment passed on it by the affected people in the simile.

The Virgilian simile is different in that respect (11.805-15): concurrunt trepidae comites dominamque ruentem suscipiunt. fugit ante omnis exterritus Arruns laetitia mixtoque metu, nec iam amplius hastae credere nec telis occurrere virginis audet. ac velut ille, prius quam tela inimica sequantur, continuo in montis sese avius abdidit altos occiso pastore lupus magnove iuvenco, conscius audacis facti, caudamque remulcens subiecit pavitantem utero silvasque petivit: haud secus ex oculis se turbidus abstulit Arruns contentusque fuga mediis se immiscuit armis.




run to her and



Aspect in Virgilian Similes


collapsing mistress. But Arruns, more terrified than any, runs

away in delight mixed with fear, and he no longer dares trust his spear or face the maiden’s weapons. And just as a wolf, before deadly weapons can pursue him, immediately hurries himself, avoiding paths, up into the high mountains, after killing a shepherd or a great ox, fully aware of his outrageous act, and drooping back his tail he tucks it in terror under his belly and makes for the woods: not otherwise did Arruns wildly take himself out of sight and, happy to run away, hid

himself in the middle of the army.’]

Here the adjective audacis (812) draws facti into the sense of facinus (which is an unepic word) so that ‘crime’ is nearer to the meaning than ‘deed’. The word conscius completes the idea that Arruns has good reason to have a guilty conscience. But what has he done to deserve that? There is nothing in the immediate context to tell; but, as he prepared to throw his spear, he prayed to Apollo of Soracte, his patron god, and concluded the prayer with these words (789-93): da, pater, hoc nostris aboleri dedecus armis, omnipotens. non exuvias pulsaeve tropaeum virginis aut spolia ulla peto, mihi cetera laudem facta ferent; haec dira meo dum vulnere pestis pulsa cadat, patrias remeabo inglorius urbes. [‘Permit, omnipotent father, that this disgrace be wiped out by my weapons. No spoils or trophy over the beaten maiden or plunder of any kind do I seek; all my other deeds will win me fame. Provided this deadly plague fall beaten by a wound

from me, I shall return inglorious to the cities of my fathers.’]

Apollo heard, but granted only half his prayer (704-5). The odd formula-

tion of the prayer emphasises Arruns’ desire not to be known as author of this deed. He will, in fact, not only not return home; he will also be denied

all recognition (fulfilling inglorius [793]) and his death will be ignored (865 -6): illum exspirantem socii atque extrema gementem obliti ignoto camporum in pulvere linquunt. [‘As he expired and groaned his last, his companions forgot

him and left him on the unknown dust of the plains.’]

This is a sort of epitaph on Arruns and it shows his body unburied and

unmarked, for ignoto camporum in pulvere means ‘in an unknown part of

the dusty plains’. Arruns’ act is militarily useful, but cowardly and so inglorious. His own consciousness of that fact only emerges in the simile, which views the world through his eyes: the wolf has done something so dastardly that it knows retaliation will certainly follow. The killing of a


Gordon Williams

shepherd or of an ox is beyond the proper sphere of action of a wolf — the fact creates guilt in the same way as the killing of Camilla which the

cowardly Arruns had no right to do. The word improbus (used in the two similes about Turnus above) would express that sense of stepping beyond the proper bounds.

This simile, therefore, like that which compares Turnus to a wolf, conveys an idea within itself that is not expressed in the context but must be read into it from the simile. In both cases the aspect of the simile is such that the situation is viewed through the eyes of the major subject. A quite different aspect can be seen in another dramatic simile. In Book 7, after there has been some fighting, the people of Latinus gather round the king and demand that he declare war (585-90): certatim regis circumstant tecta Latini;

ille velut pelago rupes immota resistit, ut pelagi rupes magno veniente fragore, quae sese multis circum latrantibus undis mole tenet; scopuli nequiquam et spumea circum saxa fremunt laterique inlisa refunditur alga.

[“Vying with one another, they surround the palace of king

Latinus; he stands against them like a rock unmoved by the sea, like a rock, when the roar of the sea grows great, that holds firm by its own mass as the waves bark all around: in vain its crags and its foam-covered reefs roar, and seaweed

battered on its side is poured back over it.’]

The simile is surprising because, even by this point, an impression of Latinus has begun to emerge quite clearly — he is someone who always wants the easy way out, a man unwilling to face unpleasant reality, who knows what he should do but cannot stand firm. He is totally unlike the great rock set in an angry sea. The needed explanation comes in what follows (591-600): verum ubi nulla datur caecum exsuperare potestas consilium, et saevae nutu Iunonis eunt res, multa deos aurasque pater testatus inanis Jrangimur heu fatis’ inquit ‘ferimurque procella! ipst has sacrilego pendetis sanguine poenas, o miseri. te, Turne, nefas, te triste manebit supplicium, votisque deos venerabere seris. nam mihi parta quies, omnisque in limine portus funere felici spolior.’

[‘But when no possibility is given him of overcoming their blind counsel and events are proceeding at the will of cruel Juno, the father, loudly calling on the gods and the empty

breezes to witness “Alas!” he cries “we are being broken by

Aspect in Virgilian Similes


fate and carried out of control by the storm. It will be you

yourselves, pitiful creatures, who will pay the penalty for this with your sacriligious blood. It is for you, Turnus, that the crime, for you that the bitter punishment will be waiting, and your prayers to the gods will be too late. For I have won my repose, and, right at the mouth of the harbour, I am only

robbed of a happy death.”’’]

The image used by Latinus of himself is of a ship shattered by the seas and carried helplessly before a storm. He has no feeling whatever of being a rock that stands firm against the breakers. The poet has here made new use of two related Homeric similes. In Iliad 15 the Trojans, led by Hector, storm the Greek ships. But at first

the Greeks stand firm against the assault (618-29): ioxov yap mupyndov apnpdres, hire méTON

NAiBaTos LEyaAn, TOALS adOs eyyvs éovoa,

fh TE Mevet Acyéwv avéuwv AawWnpa Kédevba KUpaTa TE TPOPOEVTA, TA TE TPOGEPEUyEeTaL AUTHV@s¢ Aavaot Tpaas pyévov éuredov 005’ épéBovro. avrap 6 haumduevos Tupi mavrobev évOop’ ou,


AdBpov Urat vedéwv dveyotpedes : f 5é TE TACA dxpn vrexpuoOn, avéuow 5é Sewds ars loTk éuBpéueTat, Tpopeovar 5é Te dpéva vavrat dewudres: TuTOov yap bneK Bavaro pépovratwe édaifero duds évi ornPecow ‘Ayauov.


év 5° éneo’ ws Ore KUpua Bon év vni néonat

[‘For they held on close-fitted like a wall or like a great beetling cliff, facing the grey sea that resists the swift streams

of howling gales and swelling waves that foam against it. So the Greeks resisted the Trojans firmly and did not give way.

But he [Hector], blazing with flame all over, leapt into their

ranks, and he fell upon them as when a wave falls upon a swift ship, a wild wave lifted by the gale beneath the clouds. But it

is completely engulfed in foam and a fearful blast of wind roars on the sail and the sailors tremble in their hearts with

fear, for they escape death by only a little. So was the spirit

of the Achaeans torn within their breasts.’]

Here the poet moves from one simile to the other as the situation changes,

and the second simile is only very partially operative in the context, because the Greeks in fact flee — though only one man is killed by Hector.

However in the Virgilian sequence there is no change in the situation.

Instead, the poet uses the Homeric sequence to define two different and simultaneous perceptions. What happens is that the aspect of the rock-

simile is to be defined not from the viewpoint of Latinus, and still less

from that of the impartial poet; it is to be defined from the viewpoint of




the warmongers: to them his unwelcome stubbornness seems to be like a

rock. But with a nice touch of irony the poet follows this point of view with its opposite as the king expresses his own sense of himself. Here the aspect of the rock-simile is modified and commented on by the new aspect of the metaphor used by the king — the ship helplessly driven before a storm. He then views himself — by a slight change of the metaphor — as a ship already at the harbour-mouth (of death); he has nothing to lose except a happy death, and so he withdraws from attempting to govern his

people (599-600).

Here we can take note of a simile that has recently aroused the indignation of commentators against Aeneas. After Aeneas has heard of the killing of Pallas by Turnus, he rages over the battlefield, killing all he meets. He

is described (10.565 -70):

Aegaeon qualis, centum cui bracchia dicunt centenasque manus, quinquaginta oribus ignem pectoribusque arsisse, Iovis cum fulmina contra tot paribus streperet clipeis, tot stringeret ensis: sic toto Aeneas desaevit in aequore victor ut semel intepuit mucro. [“He was like Aegaeon, who, they say, had a hundred arms and one hundred hands and fire blazed out from fifty mouths and lungs as he roared against the thunderbolts of Juppiter with

the same number of matching shields and drew

number of swords: so Aeneas raged victoriously whole plain once his sword-blade grew warm.’]

the same

over the

One recent writer says of this passage:° ‘For all this barbarity and irresistible violence, Virgil compares Aeneas to a monstrous giant who challenges

the very might of Jupiter (S65ff.). The implication is that our hero has

exceeded the limits.’ Even the latest commentator is moved to remark:7 ‘It is very significant that Aeneas, given over as he now is to rage and frenzy, should be compared with a barbaric figure symbolizing violence and brutality.’

The only appearance of Aegaeon in the Iliad is at 1.402-5 where he is remembered for having protected Zeus against plots by other gods. However the Roman poet has deliberately cast him in his role of ally to the Giants in their assault on Juppiter. Consequently he certainly is here a figure for violence and barbarity. But the commentators suppose that the poet is thereby condemning Aeneas: that is, the simile is to be regarded as authorially objective and impartial, conveying the viewpoint of the detached poet. This makes no sense. The reader can be trusted to have grasped by now the conception of Aeneas that the poet offers in the

°W.S. Anderson, The Art of the Aeneid (New Jersey 1969), 84.

TROD. Williams, The Aeneid of Virgil: Books 7-12 (St Martins Press 1973), 359.

Aspect in Virgilian Similes


poem, and this simile, coming in the middle of a list of warriors slain by

Aeneas, is properly interpreted as one that views the subject of both context and simile through the eyes of his opponents. Aeneas seems to the Latins, in their terror, like Aegaeon. That is a much more interesting and

pointed idea than that the poet thinks of Aeneas as behaving as if he really were Aegaeon. There is a prominent index of discrepancy here

between simile and context that should make a reader question the supposed objectivity of the simile — those hundred arms and those fifty chests that breathe out flames. Those details have no objective analogy in

Aeneas, only in the terrified image of him that the doomed Latins have.

Aeneid 10 ends with Tumnus leaving the battlefield in pursuit of a phantom Aeneas and with Aeneas killing Lausus and Mezentius. Book 11 buries the dead, makes negotiation abortive in favour of Turnus’ advice, kills off Camilla, and ends with Turnus’ absurd abandonment of his ambush. At the beginning of Book 12 Turnus realises that the Latins have been defeated (1-9): Turnus ut infractos adverso Marte Latinos defecisse videt, sua nunc promissa reposci, se signari oculis, ultro implacabilis ardet attollitque animos. Poenorum qualis in arvis sauctus ille gravi venantum vulnere pectus tum demum movet arma leo, gaudetque comantis excutiens cervice toros fixumque latronis impavidus frangit telum et fremit ore cruento: haud secus accenso gliscit violentia Turno.


[‘When Turnus realised that the Latins, broken by a war that had gone against them, had collapsed, that he was being required to make good his promises, that he was being marked by all eyes, he flew into an implacable rage and exalted his spirits. Like the lion in the territory of the Carthaginians who, disabled by a grave wound in his breast from hunters, then at last takes up arms and exults, tossing the hairy muscles along his neck, and fearlessly breaks the brigand’s spear buried in his flesh and roars with a blood-stained mouth: not otherwise did

violence catch fire within the flaming Turnus.’]

There are two wounded lion similes in Homer (Jl. 5.136-43 and 20.16473), and neither is significant in judging the effect of this Virgilian simile, mainly because neither Diomedes nor Achilles (to whom the similes are linked) has been wounded. But the wounding has a real meaning in the case of Turnus. The detail that immediately surprises in the Roman simile is the noun Jatro ‘brigand’, for this is a distinctly unepic word. Many

recent commentators interpret it as meaning that the poet is condemning

Aeneas, and they point to the fact that on three earlier occasions Aeneas was called a praedo, a word that also means something like ‘brigand’.® But 8For instance, Putnam, 154.




in this they ignore the speakers: the first time it is Amata, poisoned by Allecto and cursing Aeneas as a prospective son-in-law (7.362); the second time it is Mezentius as he prays to be allowed to kill Aeneas (10.774); the third time it is the Italian matrons as they pray to Diana to break the weapon of Aeneas in his hand (11.484). In all instances an enemy is giving a far from impartial appraisal of Aeneas. Consequently no reader should for a moment be deceived into thinking that the poet here condemns Aeneas with the word Jatro. The very surprise the word evokes points to a contradiction and is an index of a discrepancy between the simile and the poem as a whole that enforces reconsideration of any assumption that the aspect of the simile is objective and views the situation through the eyes of the impartial poet. Here the situation is seen through Turnus’ eyes. Furthermore, the surprising lexical correction of the way in which the perpetrators of the

lion’s wound are described — from venantum (5, ‘hunters’) to latronis (7, ‘brigand’) — marks a shift in the lion’s own attitude from being hunted to being itself an attacker. That movement also parallels the psychological

change that takes place in Turnus as soon as he feels himself isolated (14): he flies into an implacable rage. Homer describes the lion lashing itself with its tail to work up its rage (J 20.170-1); in Virgil that act of selfstimulation does not form an element in the simile, but it is in the context

and should be read into the simile (as part of the shift from venantum latronis).


In fact this simile commences as if it were authorial and objective in aspect, but it changes, as the lion’s rage grows, into accepting the colour and aspect of that rage. It is in the first part of the simile that a detail is inserted which is authorial: for Poenorum (4) picks up the theme, powerfully expressed in the council of gods at the beginning of Book 10, that the Carthaginians are to be regarded as the real enemies of Rome. This detail connects Turnus, not with Dido,? but with the most dangerous enemies in Rome’s history. This simile is not sympathetic to Turnus; it through his eyes, and sympathy is denied in the however, it is worth considering a later simile Turnus. Aeneas is pursuing Turnus who runs (12.746-62):

simply sees the situation word violentia (9). Here, that is used to portray away to avoid a fight

Nec minus Aeneas, quamquam tardata sagitta interdum genua impediunt cursumque recusant, insequitur trepidique pedem pede fervidus urget: inclusum veluti si quando flumine nactus cervum aut puniceae saeptum formidine pennae venator cursu canis et latratibus instat; ille autem insidiis et ripa territus alta

PAs Putnam, loc. cit., asserts.

Aspect in Virgilian Similes


mille fugit refugitque vias, at vividus Umber haeret hians, iam iamque tenet similisque tenenti increpuit malis morsuque elusus inani est; tum vero exoritur clamor ripaeque lacusque responsant circa et caelum tonat omne tumultu. ille simul fugiens Rutulos simul increpat omnis nomine quemque vocans notumque efflagitat ensem. Aeneas mortem contra praesensque minatur exitium, si quisquam adeat, terretque trementis excisurum urbem minitans et saucius instat. [“Nor less does Aeneas (though his knees, slowed by the arrow, often let him down and refuse to run) pursue and hotly press with his foot upon the foot of the frightened man: just as when, on occasion, a hunting dog, having come upon a stag hemmed in by a river or trapped by a scare of scarlet feathers, presses after him, running and barking; he, however, terrified by the trap and by the high bank, races backwards and forwards a thousand ways, but the lively Umbrian hangs on to him, mouth agape, and he is ever on the point of catching him and, as if he has caught him, he clashes his jaws and is frustrated by an empty bite; then indeed does an uproar arise and both banks and waters echo around and all the heavens

thunder with the tumult. He [Turnus] at every single moment as he runs away does not cease upbraiding all of the Rutulians, calling each by his name, and demands his own Aeneas on the other hand threatens death and tion should any come near, and terrifies frightened, threatening to destroy their city,

wounded, he presses after.’] This simile has two

chasing Hector (188-93):



trusty instant them and,

sword. execualready though

is from liad 22 where Achilles is

“Extopa 5° donepxeés KAoveuw Eger’ wKuc AxiAdeus. we 5° Gre veBpov dpeodt Kw édadowo Sinrat, dpoas é€ evvic, Sia 7’ dyKea Kal 5a Bhocas Tov 5’ ei nép Te \dOnot KaranTHéas dTd Gap, GAG 7’ dvixvevouov Oéer EuTedov, Oppa Kev evpn: as “Extwp ob Abe mobwKea Tndewva.

[‘But the swift Achilles relentlessly pressing on him pursued Hector, as when on the mountains a hound pursues a fawn,

rousing it from its lair, on through the glades and through the valleys; and even if it should take cover, crouching beneath

a thicket, yet the hound runs on, tracking it without cease until it finds it. So Hector did not find cover from the swift-.

footed Achilles.’]





The other model is in Apollonius Rhodius, and comes from the scene where the sons of Boreas chase the Harpies (A7vgon. 2.278-83): ws 5° or’ evi Kynyuoior KUves Sedanuévor dypns 1) alyas KEpaous he TPdKAas ixVEVOVTES detwoww, tuTOov S€ riTawvopevor weTOmobev aKpns év YEVvUEOOL parnv apaBnoav ddovras ws Zynrns Kadats te pada oxyedov atooovres TaWDV AKpoTaTnow émexpaov Tra xEpaiv.


[‘As when, on the shoulders of a mountain, hounds skilled in hunting run tracking down horned goats or deer; straining a little distance behind they clash their teeth at the very tip of their jaws, in vain. So Zethes and Calais, racing along very close, just touched them with the very tips of their fingers, in


Recent commentators seem confident of the real meaning of the Virgilian simile. A typical judgment is this:'® ‘Turnus has become only the frightened stag, Aeneas its vicious hunter — a hound who has taken to himself all the violence he has felt from others.’ What is justified in this comment (and in many similar paraphrases) is that the simile is certainly designed to win sympathy for Turnus; but the rest is mere prejudice. There is one element in the simile that is contradicted by the context:


is the

detail of the dog, the vividus Umber.

It is ludicrous to regard

Aeneas as here portrayed objectively in the picture of the lively hound; the poet has explicitly denied that equation by insisting on Aeneas’ lameness (744-5 and 762) that every now and then actually prevents him from running. That detail makes it clear that the aspect of the simile is not impartial and objective: this simile sees the situation through Turnus’ eyes and the dog is a means of showing how he (not the poet — and so not the reader) sees Aeneas. That this is the aspect of the simile is confirmed by other details. The hound is made more terrifying by the sound of the clashing jaws as it thinks it has caught its prey; that detail comes from Apollonius Rhodius — the impact of whose dogs is weakened by their plurality (forced on him by the context); in that respect Homer is more powerful and Virgil follows him. But another important element that is missing in Apollonius and is only hinted in Homer is made the major feature of the Virgilian simile: that is the fear of the stag. The tone of the simile is dominated by that fear, and it enforces an element that only gradually emerges from the context. In line 742 Turnus is amens, in 748 he is trepidi; it is not till line 776 that the poet forthrightly describes him as amens formidine (‘out of his mind with terror’). In the simile the terror that is also Turnus’ and his view of Aeneas expressed in terms of a savage hunting-dog are used by the poet to win sympathy for Aeneas’ enemy. In the Homeric passage, sympathy for Hector is resident in the context lO butnam,


Aspect in Virgilian Similes


rather than in the simile, and in Apollonius the authorial impartiality of

the simile conceals the poet’s actual hostility towards the pursued no less than his warm sympathy for the pursuers. The carefully slanted subjective aspect of the Virgilian simile is remarkable and acts strongly upon th context. : Finally, the end of the Aeneid is dominated by an extraordinary simile. When Turnus, like a Homeric hero; tries to fell Aeneas with a huge rock, he fails to make it carry far enough to reach him (903-14): sed neque currentem se nec cognoscit euntem tollentemve manu saxumve immane moventem; genua labant, gelidus concrevit frigore sanguis. tum lapis ipse viri vacuum per inane volutus nec Spatium evasit totum neque pertulit ictum. ac velut in somnis, oculos ubi languida pressit nocte quies, nequiquam avidos extendere cursus velle videmur et in mediis conatibus aegri succidimus, non lingua valet, non corpore notae

sufficiunt vires nec vox aut verba sequuntur: sic Tumo, quacumque viam virtute petivit, successum dea dira negat.

[“But neither as he ran nor as he moved did he recognise himself nor as he lifted the huge rock in his hand nor as he impelled it; his knees gave way, his blood chilled and congealed with cold. Then the rock too, whirled through empty space, did not cover the whole distance or carry its blow home. And as in dreams, when relaxing peace at night has overwhelmed our eyes, we perceive ourselves desperately wanting to run on further, but in vain, and in the midst of our attempts we are taint and collapse; our tongue has no strength, the normal powers are not available in our body and neither voice nor words issue forth: so wherever Turnus exerted his valour to find a way, the terrible goddess denied him success.’]

This simile has a brief Homeric analogue that occurs in the immediate context of the analogue to the Virgilian simile of the stag and the hound (dl. 22.199-201):

ws &’ év dveipw ov Svvarat devyovTa SuoKEw -

ovr’ dp’ 6 Tov Svvarat Uropevyew ovO' 6 SuoK Ewa¢ 6 TOV ov SUvaTO udpWat Too, ov5’ d¢ aAvVEAL.

[‘But, as in a dream, he cannot catch up with the man who is running away; neither can the one escape away, nor the other catch him up. So the one could not catch him by speed of

foot, nor the other reach safety.’]





This Homeric simile provides only the merest suggestion. The Virgilian simile, however, is unique in using verbs in the first person plural to appeal to a common experience that the reader must have shared. This technique is characteristic of didactic poetry — certainly of that type of didactic poetry that is represented by Lucretius’ de rerum natura and Virgil’s Georgics — where the poet poses as teacher to readers who are pupils as

he shares his experience with them, depending for the success of his com-

munication on sensations they have also experienced themselves. But that

direct approach to the reader is normally alien to the impersonality of the

epic poet’s persona. Consequently a special effect is being sought here by means that go beyond the bounds of generic legitimacy. The simile has

multiple correspondences with its context!’ and its aspect is clearly such

that it views the situation through Turnus’ eyes. But here the pcet goes further and explicitly appeals for a sympathetic attitude towards Turnus who is now paralysed by fear and by a self-defeating sense that death is

near (916). The figure or emblem of that fear is the trope of the dea dira

who is said to deny him success. The call for sympathetic understanding is made by a momentary change from epic to didactic persona in a unique direct appeal to readers. These similes are important elements in the literary strategy devised by

the poet to bring the Aeneid to a climax. It would have been easy to leave

Tumus as he was in earlier books, condemned by the poet as violens (a word applied to no other character), as consumed by a lust for blood and battles, a coward where he was not clearly superior. His death would then be fully justified and applauded. But the poet has allowed a different, more vulnerable side of Turnus to appear in adversity, as his circumstances become hopeless and compel a decision on him. It should not need saying that thereby the poet does not condemn Aeneas in the least. What he achieves is more interesting. The choice which Aeneas has to make before the final act becomes a real moral decision, so that, when Turnus begs for his life, Aeneas’ hesitation is not only justified but fully understandable. There is a somewhat parallel situation at the end of Book 10 when Aeneas kills Mezentius. In earlier books, and earlier in Book 10 itself, Mezentius had been portrayed as a viciously cruel tyrant, a contemptor divum, and a violent, braggart warrior. But before his death a totally different side of his character is revealed, a real nobility hidden under the conventional arrogance of the Homeric hero. In both cases the poet deliberately shows two aspects to the problem of killing, each justifiable in its own terms but both mutually incompatible. Such a view reflects

the complexity of life and of moral decision, but no justice is done to the poet by swinging to the opposite extreme and condemning Aeneas. The poet does not; the subtle and difficult balance, true to life, is carefully


Three major aspects of Virgilian similes have been distinguished above.

First, there is the aspect that represents the viewpoint of the epic poet, 1 See West, Philologus 114 (1970), 269-71.

Aspect in Virgilian Similes


detached, impersonal, and impartial; this is the traditional aspect of similes in epic poetry from Homer onwards. Secondly, there is the aspect

that sees a situation from the viewpoint of the major contextual character;

here the omniscient narrator abandons his objectivity to analyse a scene

from an unexpected angle. Finally, there is the aspect that is manipulated

by the poet to present a view of the major contextual figure not through the poet’s eyes but through the eyes of other participants in the action, generally his enemies. In the case of the last two types of aspect there is

often what

has been

called above

an index

of discrepancy between

simile and context to make clear a shift from the viewpoint of the impersonal poet to one that is subjective and belongs to the immediate participants in the events of the narrative. Every simile in the Aeneid requires interpretation in these terms.


Greek in Australia


Until the University of New England introduced a course in 1968, Modern Greek was not taught officially in any school or university in this

country. This was all the more surprising, when one considers that Greek speaking people have formed one of the two largest non-English speaking

immigrant groups to our shores. Up to this time, the only Modern Greek taught was in afternoon schools (arranged by the Greek church and - communities for their own children), together with a few short courses offered in language colleges or university extension departments.

Ancient Greek has always held an honoured (if small) place in our

universities and secondary schools, but Modern Greek studies have tended to be neglected generally in Western Europe, and even in Greece itself. Why was this? A partial explanation is the contempt that some classicists have felt (at times subconsciously, and in any case irrationally) for the modern descendant of Ancient Greek, regarding it as a sort of bastardized, inferior (even barbaric) product, undeserving of serious attention. The four century Ottoman occupation of Greece delayed the emergence of truly creative works of literature (apart from folk poetry) till after independence in 1821, and then progress was slow for another half century through slavish imitation of western models, and a preoccupation with the ‘language question’. Meanwhile other modern languages, e.g. German, French, Italian and Spanish, were being established in the educational system.

Many of those who have felt an interest in learning Modern Greek have quickly been discouraged by the linguistic chaos prevailing in Greece, and the lack of suitable teaching materials. The ‘language question’ — i.e. the struggle between the spoken language, the people’s language (demotic) and the archaizing language, the katharevusa, based to a large extent on classical Greek, with various compromise forms in between — has taken more than a century and a half to resolve, and even now there is not universal agreement. As far as literature is concerned, the national poet

Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857) in verse, and later Yiannis Psycharis in prose (with his Td ra&i(5« you, 1888) showed the way, so that by the First World War the victory of demotic as the language of literature was ensured: this led to the rapid advance of Greek literature, so that it could soon take

its place with other European literatures, and Greek poets have twice been awarded Nobel prizes, Seferis in 1963 and Elytis in 1979. However, the 196

Modern Greek in Australia


katharevusa was maintained as the official language of state (with some fluctuations), until after the Junta was dismissed from office in 1975, and it takes a long time for firmly entrenched habits to disappear completely,

particularly since the ‘language question’ has been a political issue, the demotic being irrationally associated with the left and consequently with Communism. but

Some course books, grammars and dictionaries of a sort were produced generally of a very basic nature, often inaccurate and failing to

distinguish between demotic and purist words and usage. In fact it was not till 1941 that a reasonably comprehensive official grammar of demotic

Greek appeared in Greece, and this did not cover syntax. As Modern Greek studies have spread in the last decade or so, the position regarding text books has improved, but there is still a need for comprehensive grammars and dictionaries, properly structured course books, readers and annotated editions of literary works. Despite the difficulties involved in its teaching, around the mid-sixties several people were concerned — considering it strange and unjust — that Modern Greek studies were not formally available at any Australian tertiary institution. Associate Professor Kelly, of the Department of

Classics at the University of New England, took the initiative in suggesting

that this University should take the lead in introducing the subject as part of a degree course. This suggestion was approved by Professor Bishop and other members of the Department, and after a questionnaire had been sent, on the instruction of the then Vice-Chancellor, Professor Zelman Cowen, to all Australian universities to check whether any other university was contemplating early introduction of courses in Modern Greek (the answers were all negative), a first year course in Modern Greek (an intensive course in the language and an introduction to the literature) was begun in 1968, and made available to external students in 1969. Since 1970 a full range of undergraduate courses has been developed, and Modern Greek may also be read at the post-graduate level for the degrees of Bachelor of Letters, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy.

Although the numbers taking Modern Greek were relatively small in

the early years, the fact that the subject was available externally enabled a number of secondary school teachers in New South Wales and Victoria to gain formal qualifications in Modern Greek, and this paved the way for its introduction into high schools. A syllabus for the Higher School Certificate in New South Wales was in fact prepared as early as 1969, but it was not till 1976 that the subject became a regular subject for the Higher School Certificate (a small number of candidates from one school

were allowed to offer the subject in 1974). Since 1979 Modern Greek has also been a subject for the School Certificate.

At the school level Victoria anticipated New South Wales by introducing Modern Greek as an H.S.C. subject in 1973. This came about

partly as the result of the first interstate conference on Modern Greek held in Melbourne in 1970, at which a number of dedicated teachers and other

professionals resolved to work (and help raise funds) for the introduction


Peter Thomas

of the subject at secondary and tertiary levels. Not surprisingly, in this city of so many native speakers of the language, progress was very rapid. The subject is also available in South Adelaide, and developments are now taking place in Western Australia. Modern Greek is taught now in some primary schools in various states. At the tertiary level courses have also mentioned, in some cases with the help communities. These were begun in the bourne in 1974 (a chair in Modern Greek

been developed in the four states of funds raised by local Greek Universities of Sydney and Melhas been founded at Sydney, but

has not yet been filled), in the Adelaide College of Advanced Education in 1973, and the University of Western Australia in 1980. Other institutions have set up courses for training teachers, interpreters and translators, and the number of offerings seems to be expanding all the time. Development has been rapid indeed!

How many angels can dance on the end of a pin?


Nobody, I hope, will accuse me of posing a frivolous question in so learned a conclave as this.* Even those who know nothing else of the Schoolmen

are aware that they discussed this matter with much care and zeal, though little success. Some think, indeed, that they were interested in almost nothing else, and it has got them a bad name among the vulgar, who have laughed and made them a byword for idle disputation. But then this the vulgar are very apt to do with philosophers generally, since they take such questions literally and fail to perceive that there may be a point of some general interest lurking in an otherwise trivial-seeming example. So let us

not make that mistake. When St. Thomas Aquinas takes up such a question in detail and at length, we may be fairly sure there is something in it. And even if there is not, the spectacle of a great mind grappling

with a non-issue can hardly fail to prove instructive. I intend, to take this question fairly seriously. Though it need hardly be don’t have much interest in the answer. Whether there ever was answer, I don’t even know. None seems to have passed into

therefore, said that I an official tradition,

presumably because there has never been agreement on the terms of the

question. As will shortly be seen, that is, in fact, the main if not the only

point of interest here. The question is essentially a philosophical question,

not so much because it has no answer, as because the kind of answer we get is determined directly by the presuppositions we make about the

question. The whole matter is conveniently up in the air therefore, and

can be raised, discussed and settled only by methods essentially a priori. There is no question of verifying the conclusion; no need whatever to get involved in any mundane issues of fact. And it is therefore a good question, I think, for philosophers to debate.

The general question, as I understand it, is this: we are to ask, of a

certain kind of being, whether and in what numbers it could occupy and

be active in a minimum region of space? A space so small that no two finite physical objects could occupy or adjoin it simultaneously. That, I take it, is the point of the pin; and it is no objection to argue that under

a microscope a pin is a jagged mountain-top, or that any number of atoms,

*John Bishop has a deserved reputation for being an excellent (and witty) afterdinner speaker, so we include the following article as a tribute in similar vein to that quality of his.



Peter Heath

or what not, could te comfortably accommodated on its summit. If the Schoolmen had known about such things they would have altered the terms of the question, and asked it about atoms instead. Nevertheless the question is already becoming odd. It is not like asking how many students can get into a telephone box or a Volkswagen. For it seems to be asking, how many things of a certain kind can occupy a minimum region of space as if anything else but a physical object could occupy space, and as if more than one such thing could possibly be in the same place at the same time. Clearly, if we are only prepared to consider physical objects here, the question was not worth asking, and is answered already. One and only one such object can occupy the point of a pin. However, this is true only on a narrow view of physical objects. We might want



for instance,

that radiation,


fields of force, etc.

‘occupy’ bits of space, but not to the exclusion of other things; they are physical, but not very clearly objects. They can coexist with objects. And

therefore to such things as these the above considerations do not have to

apply. The Schoolmen, needless to say, knew nothing of this either, any more than they were aware of quantum limits, exclusion principles and other mini-paraphernalia of modern physics. But they did not have to. They already had the idea of a non-physical object which could coexist with the physical, which was nevertheless unextended, and active; and which might thus be thought to be in space without taking up space, or displaying the physical property of impenetrability. Namely, the idea of a soul or spirit. Which brings us finally to angels, and what, if anything, they are supposed to be.

To anyone who wishes to know the facts about angels (if that is altogether the right word) I can do no better than recommend the delightful Dictionary of Angels by Gustav Davidson, an invaluable compendium of useless learning and misapplied research, which will tell him far more about the subject than he ever suspected or is likely to be able to use. Most of these facts are totally irrelevant to our purpose, but before proceeding to it, I cannot resist dallying a little with Mr. Davidson, if only to show what we are up against. The beliefs about angels derive, not only from Biblical, Talmudic, Koranic and Zoroastrian sources, but also froma vast mass of apocalyptic, cabbalistic, gnostic, patristic, and magical lore, whose overall effect when gathered together is one of total uncertainty and utter confusion. No two writers appear to agree even on such important matters as the geography or relative location of Heaven and Hell, or the proper ranking or number of grades in the angelic hierarchy — with seraphim and cherubim usually at the top, archangels and angels at the bottom, but an unseemly scramble in the middle between ‘thrones, dominions, princedoms, virtues, powers’ as Milton lists them (Paradise Lost, Book 5) though in Book 3 it is ‘thrones, princedoms, powers, dominions’; in Isidore of Seville we find exactly the reverse order of Milton’s first list, while between Gregory the Great and Pseudo-Dionysius there is dissension about the relative places of virtues and principalities which even St. Thomas does not reconcile to my satisfaction, though he does try. And Dante disagrees with both in putting principalities below archangels,

How many angels can dance on the end of a pin?



appears to be an idea entirely of his own. Undaunted by this

muddle, Mr. Davidson proceeds to speculations about the total number of angels which range from the cabbalistic figure of 301, 655, 722, (one third

fallen) to Albertus Magnus’ estimate of (6,666), or 44, 435, 556 per choir

of angels, though how many choirs there are I have not been able to dis-

cover. St. Thomas, basing himself on the uncertain footing of the Book of Daniel, appears to settle for the round number of one billion, or at least does not dispute it. But if stars are included in the tally, and if St. Augustine is right in thinking that everything on earth has a guardian angel, it will be evident that all these estimates are a great deal too low. Fortunately, the exact number is of no importance to us. Our concern is with how many angels can dance on a pin. not with how many are actually available to do so. As to the duties and functions of angels they are many and various, ranging from perpetual chanting around the heavenly throne or providing the tyres on God’s chariots, to such menial occupations as guarding the gates of the East wind, presiding over Thursday or 4 o’clock, or simply standing about doing nothing for all eternity in the various halls of heaven. The bureaucracy of Paradise is, in fact, as extensive, complicated and overmanned (or rather, overangelled) as that of the Pentagon or CIA; though some of the jobs done by angels are certainly of value, and should perhaps be better known than they are. How many Wall St. brokers and bankers, for example. realise that they are under the special protection of an angel called Anauel? How many philosophers, for that matter, have heard of their presiding intelligences, Poiel, Nanael. lahhel, and possibly others? Or of Forcas, a fallen angel who teaches logic in Hell, though whether as part of the punishments of the place I do not find explicitly stated? Some of the 6.000-odd angel-names collected by Mr. Davidson are scarcely credible: Hocus Pocus, for example, or Porna, a suitable name, I thought, for another entry, the Angel of the Media — who tured out to be not what I supposed, however, but the tutelary guardian of the ancient people of that name. Leafing idly through the list to see if my old friends Camestres and Camenes were by any chance included, I found instead a pair of obviously Scottish angels, Cambill and Cameron. But I still regret the absence of the syllogistic names, it only because the syllogisms which draw particular conclusions trom universal premises — Darapti, Bramantip, Fesapo or Felapton — might so appropriately have joined Forcas in Hell, as fallen angels, for having neglected the doctrine of existential import. Which brings me back, and about time too, to the subject we are here

to discuss. For our purpose, it doesn’t matter in the least whether there are any angels, or how many there are, or of how many kinds, and so on. All that concerns us is what they would have to be like if they did exist — what their minimum properties must be, if they are both to do the sorts of things they are popularly imagined to do, and also to give meaning to our problem. What, then, for pin-dancing purposes. is an angel? For reasonably sober guidance on this matter we do best to rely on such responsible authorities as St. Thomas and John Milton, and to reject the doctrine, held by


Peter Heath

Alexander of Hales, Bernard of Clairvaux, Bonventura and Origen, that angels are in some way material, i.e. composed of matter as well as form. The official doctrine is that this is not so. Angels are almost universally held to be intelligences, pure spirits, immaterial substances, intermediate

(as the chain of being suggests) between finitely material and impure man

and infinitely immaterial deity. They resemble ourselves in being finite centres of consciousness; they are immortal but not necessarily eternal (for there are records of angels being wiped out; an unfortunate group called the song-uttering choirs was simply exterminated by omnipotence

for the seemingly trivial offence of failing to chant the trisagion at the

appointed time). In general, however, angels do not age, decay, or perish from natural causes, nor is there any reason why their activity as consciousnesses should ever be interrupted, despite popular beliefs — and perhaps a biblical reference or two, suggesting that they sleep. As already indicated, angels are distinct persons, indeed personalities, able to perceive, act, communicate and so forth, and by general consent to travel. Though St. Thomas seems to be of opinion that they can move instantaneously — in the twinkling of an eye — he certainly does not think they can be omnipresent, or even in two places at once. There are difficulties, perhaps, in reconciling these two views; but if we remember that Milton has the angel Uriel riding to earth on a sunbeam, we can perhaps settle for the intermediate view that angels, like photons, neutrinos and other massless particles, travel with the velocity of light.

All this seems very well, as theoretical angelology; but it has to be

reconciled with the biblical and other evidence to the effect that angels also appear to people, in order to deliver messages, get them out of fixes, and so on. This they can hardly do if they are merely the invisible pointintelligences which is all that theory requires them to be. Hence the prevailing opinion is that, although angels have no bodies in any strictly physical sense, they are able to generate at will apparent or assumed

bodies, under which form they normally appear to the eye of sinful man.

Milton, who likes to get things straight if he can, puts the situation as follows (Paradise Lost, Book 6): ... for spirits that live throughout Vital in every part, not as frail man In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins,

Cannot but by annihilating die;

Nor in their liquid texture mortal wound Receive, no more than can the fluid air; All heart they live, all head, all eye, all eare, All intellect, all sense, and as they please They limb themselves, and colour, shape or size Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.

The context of this passage is somewhat embarrassing for Milton, however; he has just been describing how Satan was clobbered by Michael

during the battle in heaven, in which swords were wielded, wounds of a

How many angels can dance on the end of a pin?


temporary character inflicted, and even artillery employed at one stage by the powers of evil to considerable, though not lasting, effect. How, or why, all this should have taken place between immaterial beings, who had no

need of apparent bodies, and could suffer little or no damage even when equipped with them, is far from clear. There are similar difficulties about the logistics of apparent bodies in the reported transactions of angels with men. For angels have been known to eat, e.g., on the occasion when Abraham entertained three angels unawares (Genesis 18.2). And Milton actually has the angel Raphael sitting down to lunch with Adam and Eve

in the Garden of Eden (Paradise Lost, Book 5); ‘Food alike’, he says those pure intelligential substances require

As doth your rational . . . so down they sat And to their viands fell, nor seemingly

The Angel, nor in mist, the common gloss

Of theologians, but with keen dispatch Of real hunger and concoctive heat To transubstantiate ...

In denying that Raphael merely seemed or pretended to eat, Milton, I fear, has fallen into heresy along with Alexander of Hales & Co. For real eating requires a real body, and transubstantiation is no alternative to digestion, particularly when it is compared, as Milton goes on to do, to

the transmutation of the alchemists — which was of course, only a change

of one kind of material substance into another. St. Thomas (Summa Theologica, Qu. 51, Art. 3), dealing with the same subject, has no objection to Christ’s eating after the resurrection, but he will not have it that angels can indulge in true eating, and denies, indeed, that angel-bodies can have specifically vital functions at all. The sense-organs of such bodies do not work as such, because they are not needed to do so. As to the

reports of copulation between fallen angels or demons and the daughters

of men, he will not have that either, and treats it as a case of artificial insemination. Angels can move about, however, in their assumed bodies, because that is something they can also do without them. Walking may be a vital function, restricted to living bodies, but movement is not. And angels, like other things, are here, in such a way as not to be elsewhere. They have, or can have, local position and motion, and move with their bodies, much as a driver moves with his car. Except that, as Thomas paradoxically maintains, the angel virtually contains the body and not vice versa, Leaving this last point aside, we can, at all events, now begin to get a little light on what it would mean for an angel to dance. Angels cannot dance, in any literal sense, but they can move accordingly, and move their assumed or apparent bodies in such a way as to seem to dance. It is only the apparent body that can be said to dance, either on or

off a pin. But this returns us to square 1. If it is the apparent body which

dances — apparently — on a real physical pin, is there not obviously room for only one? Not necessarily. For from what has been said already it would seem that the assumed body, unlike ordinary physical bodies, is penetrable. It does not, or need not, resist the incursion of other bodies,


Peter Heath

either real or, still less so, apparent bodies. There is no reason, therefore, why apparent bodies should not overlap in space. One might in that case have many angel bodies overlapping and even right inside one another, for angels have an unlimited choice, it seems, of the size of their apparent bodies. And all of them, in that event, could be

supposed to have one toe, at least, on the pin. If this is an allowable possibility, however, two questions arise: (1) Where are the real angels? And (2), is there any limit to the number of penetrable bodies that can be

in contact with a single point in space? As to the first, we can be guided only by the relation of our own minds and bodies. The mind, so nearly all philosophers maintain, is not strictly a spatial entity (has no dimensive quantity), and so cannot be anywhere. But at the same time there is a certain presumption, congenial to most people, that it is where the body is. As Locke says, agreeing with St. Thomas, it seems to be in, though not at, a place. Locke himself remarks (Essay 2.23.20) that it seems reasonable to suppose that when his body travels from London to Oxford, his mind

goes along too. And most of us would find it difficult to dispute that

since our bodies are in this room, our minds, if they are anywhere, are also in some sense in the room, though we should probably jib at the further question whereabouts in the room, as liable to lead to conclusions

both misleading and improper. Minds can be contained in a volume of

space, but not located there, because they do not occupy any part of space, and therefore cannot, a fortiori, occupy it to the exclusion of anything else. In that case there is no reason why an infinity of minds could not be contained in an infinitesimal or point volume of space, much as Leibnizian monads might be. And so for angels; but since each, in order to dance, must have its own apparent body, at a real place, namely in contact with the pin, this leads to question 2. For if there is any limit, natural or supernatural, to the number of such bodies, the number of minds will be limited too.

In order to decide this, we must have recourse to a Gedankenexperiment and imagine, if we can, a crowd of standard-sized diaphanous and interpenetrating apparent angelic bodies all poised on the pin; let us arrange them tidily in a circle, and then ask, how many? Each one, we may suppose, appears to occupy a space not quite coextensive with that of its neighbour — say one point to left or right. If so, they can be set in oneto-one correspondence with the points on the circumference. For convenience of visualising we can have the bodies leaning outwards somewhat,

and as tall as we please, thereby enlarging the outer circle of angel heads

to give everyone breathing room, even if the toe-area remains uncomfortably cramped and congested. On this footing we get the answer that the

number of possible dancers is the second infinite number, C — or X& > I believe it is conjectured to be — the number of continuum, or the

number of points in a line of any length. That seems enough to go on with — until we remember that, since angels are untroubled by gravity, there is no reason for not multiplying such circuits indefinitely by arranging other rings of angels at different angles to the pin, thereby creating a volume solidly filled with angels, which can of course be as large

How many angels can dance on the end of a pin?


as we please. If, remembering that angel-bodies are penetrable, we also add

the consideration that they can co-occupy (apparently) the same point, and so may be encapsulated inside one another like Chinese boxes ad infinitum, we can obviously multiply the number we last thought of by infinity all over again. Indeed, if we allow for the fact that angel-bodies of

the same apparent size may nonetheless differ in other properties, such as

colour, or shades of rank and so infinity of standard-sized angels in one of them. With no restriction such bodies apparently making up

on, it is clear that we could have an the volume apparently occupied by any on finite size, there is nothing to stop a dense mass occupying every point of

the entire spatial universe, and then multiplying or iterating indefinitely at

every such point. We could simple-mindedly imagine them as the infinite radii of each of an infinite number of concentric spheres centred on the pin, and with each such radius duplicated ad infinitum in different and distinguishable ways. Such a universe could still be finite — indeed as small as you please, really — and I think it would have to be, since in an infinitely large volume there could, I suppose, be angel-bodies infinitely tall and this would perhaps violate the condition that angels are finite, and so doubtless cannot provide themselves with bodies even apparently of infinite dimensions.

It will be evident, anyway, that on these conditions, our Gedankenexperiment seems to have got completely out of hand, and to be multiplying angels at a rate which makes our own efforts at overpopulation sink into puny insignificance by comparison. The only redeeming feature of the scramble we have generated is that — so far as I know — the mathematicians would tell us (not that I believe a word of it) that the number of individuals involved is still the same as before — namely C or & ,, So the overcrowding, though serious, has at least not got any worse. On certain conditions, so the mathematicians tell me, it might nevertheless be concluded that the total possible number of angels so arranged is the third infinite number X ,, or even the ‘absolute infinity’ dreamed of by set-theorists. Having no idea of what could be meant by this, I pass the suggestion by.

It is easy to be reminded here of Leibniz’ universe of monads — but there is a difference, since monads are metaphysical points, occupying no Space — whereas what we have been talking of are physical, or at any rate apparently physical and at least extended bodies, from which the property of impenetrability has been subtracted, but which are still supposed capable of being oriented in space relative to the one undoubtedly physical object in this picture, namely the pin. Our troubles obviously spring from

the removal of the impenetrability condition, and the striking effects thus produced, which the principle of the identity of indiscernibles seems no

more capable of controlling than in the case of monads themselves. Spatio-

temporal location, at all events, is of no value here as a principium individuationis, since we cannot exclude the possibility of distinct

individuals located ad infinitum at any given spatio-temporal point. Once






of course,




collapses. At a pin-point one and only one such individual can be located,


Peter Heath

and that is that. However, it might be said that none of these arguments are of any relevance since they do not have to do with angels, but only with the appearances or quasi-physical projections of such. Admittedly, the latter are what pass for angels among the vulgar, and are all that even philosophers could hope to observe as an angel, but if the assumed-body theory is in any way correct, it must be accepted that, although the number of such bodies is a clue to the minimum number of angels involved in the pin-dancing situation (since angels are not multiply located), it is in no way indicative of what they are doing in that situation. Angels are immaterial substances, and as such, though capable of movement, they cannot dance, or despite the property of here-or-thereness, be located anywhere in space in the sense of occupying any part of it. Once again, they are not like monads in being essentially non-spatial, but they are like them in being simply not the kind of thing that could function in the place and manner supposed. There may be an infinity of angels, and they may be all over the place. But dance on pinpoints they cannot, and hence the correct answer to our question is 0. A hard saying, since in that case they can’t sing either, but there it is. That gives us three answers, none of them particularly reasonable, all

directly dependent on the character attributed to the entity under dis-

cussion, and representing, along with X ,, about the only answers one would be likely to get to a question open to settlement only in a purely a priori way. As a matter of fact, only ‘1’ — dull as it is — represents anything like an answer to the question. ‘0’ denies its applicability, and *® ,’, being non-denumerable, is not an answer to ‘how many’? One is inclined to think the answer ought to lie somewhere between a vacuum and a plenum, and so if ‘1’ is the only such answer to be had, it seems we must settle for it, and be done with the question. But then — it may be asked — doesn’t that drive us back into Alexander of Hales’ deplorable view that angels are material? — for it was only in making some such assumption that we were able to arrive a priori at the conclusion that the limit of pin-occupancy was ‘one’. Again the answer is — not necessarily. For St. Thomas Aquinas, interestingly enough, also arrives at the same answer, though he certainly does not think that angels are material. As already indicated, he construes them as pure intelligences, on the analogy of souls or minds, but he does

not think on that account that it is senseless to ask questions about their

relation to place. An angel, for St. Thomas, can be said to be ‘around’, to

be exerting its power or activity in a particular region of space, which

precludes it from doing so in any other. That does not mean, however, that its relation to place is the same as that of a material thing, i.e. as an occupant, in which capacity its location and so on can be measured and

_ fixed by its refusal to admit anything else into the same place. Thomas’s view is that angels are complete causes or perfect movers, i.e. completely

account for whatever is taking place at the point where they happen to be. | Not that they themselves have position in the sense that a point does. As

How many angels can dance on the end of a pin?


intelligences they are above such things — or rather their locations is vague

and variable, in as much as it extends so far as their causative power extends — this itself being determined, in the case under consideration, by the size of the body, large or small, which they chance to activate or

assume. Thus an angel is in a place ‘definitively’, but not in a ‘circum-

scribed fashion’ — in much the same way, one imagines, that the mind is in, or ‘all over’, the body which belongs to it. This co-occupancy of mind and body should not, however, lead us to assume that there can be a corresponding co-occupancy of several minds in one body, or of several pure intelligences, perfect movers, or what not, in relation to the same (physical) place. If you are a complete cause, wherever you are, then that means complete, in the sense that your local agency is sovereign and cannot be shared or divided with other such causes. Divine omnipresence

apart, you have the place to yourself, as it were; and that means that no two angels can ‘be’ in the same place. This is not so much a physical

impossibility as a conceptual or logical one; just as you cannot have two

sovereign states both literally sovereign in the same territory (though they

may of course dispute over who has the sovereignty), so you cannot —

logically — have two angels operative or active in one and the same region, since if this were to happen, one or other of them would not be a

complete cause. It will be seen that though St. Thomas invented the exclusion principle for angels, long before Pauli did the same for electrons in phase-space, the idea is very much the same. But the idea of ‘power’ is somewhat treacherous here perhaps; for just as sovereign states can act in common, so agents also can join their powers to produce a common result. St. Thomas himself instances, but dismisses, the example of rowers in a boat, on the ground that they are not complete causes, since no one

of them can move the boat by himself (he somewhat disingenuously makes

it a very heavy mediaeval sort of boat); but if two men can ride a tandem bicycle, which either could ride alone, I don’t see why two angels couldn’t co-operate to the same effect — as distinct from contending, as good and

bad angels do, for sovereignty over one and the same soul. If so, however, we are not far away from the same troubles which plagued us earlier. If

two angels, good and reasonable spirits both, can co-operate one and the same assumed body — or assumed bicycle, for that matter — then there is no logical reason why an infinite multitude could not do so. And since

we know

absolutely nothing about angels and what if anything they

actually do do, we have no means, a priori, of stopping the proliferation of such causes, any more than we could stop the proliferation of assumed penetrable bodies earlier on. Not caring for this conclusion any more than before, I am therefore inclined to hope that St. Thomas is right, even though I don’t find his reasons ultimately very convincing. In whatever

Pickwickian sense angels can be said to ‘dance’ at all, it is at all events a consummation


to be wished, that no more than one of them

should be able to dance on the point of any given pin.

Notes on Contributors

ROBERT BAKER is a Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of New England, and a native of Armidale, where he was educated from Kindergarten (1945) to M.A. in Latin (1963) — the latter under John Bishop’s supervision. He is also a graduate in Classics from the University of Edinburgh, and has been Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Tasmania. His special interest is Roman personal poetry,

on which

he has published


articles in various journals. In

1974 he was a visiting Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow and holder of a Commonwealth Study Grant at the Institute for Classical Studies in London. 7

THEODORE JOHN CADOUX has been Head of the Department of Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh since 1952. He has retained a keen and equal interest in the periods he studied at Oxford — Greek history to 404 B.C. and Roman history of the late Republic and early Principate, and he has published a number of articles on these periods. He is at present preparing a historical commentary on Sallust’s Catiline. MICHAEL GRANT, formerly Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, was Professor of Humanity at the University of Edinburgh and then President and Vice-Chancellor of the Queen’s University of Belfast. During his distinguished academic career he has at some time been President of the Virgil Society and President of the Classical Association. His books include The









Myths, Cleopatra, The Fall of the Roman Empire, The Jews in the Roman World, Saint Paul, Jesus, The History of Rome, and (most recently) The Etruscans. PETER HEATH, born in 1922, was educated at Shrewsbury and Magdalen, and was a colleague of John Bishop’s at the University of Edinburgh (1946-58) where he taught Moral Philosophy. After four years of teaching Logic and Metaphysics at the University of St. Andrews (1959-62), he became Professor of Philosophy at the University of Virginia and has been there ever since. His publications include an edition of De Morgan’s logical papers, a philosophical commentary on Lewis Carroll, about a dozen translations of German philosophical works, and a number of articles. ALAN SORLEY HENRY has been Professor of Classical Studies at Monash University since 1973. Before coming to Australia to join the staff of the University of New England in 1963, he was a member of the Greek 208


Notes on Contributors


Department in the University of St. Andrews, His main research interests are in the field of Attic epigraphy. He has published numerous articles in this area, as well as a recent book entitled The Prescripts of Athenian Decrees. He is at present engaged on a full-scale study of the formulae of Attic decrees.

MAURICE KELLY graduated with a Medal in Classics in 1941 from the

University of Sydney, where he later completed an M.A. and a Diploma in Education. He was awarded a doctorate at the Université Laval (Quebec) in 1961. On graduating he taught secondary school for a number of years before joining the Department of Classics at the University of New England in 1954. His publications include View from Olympus and View from the Forum, and he edited a collection of essays in honour of Francis Letters. He retired, as Associate Professor, in 1979, and is now an Honorary Fellow and Honorary Curator of the University’s Museum of Antiquities (which he helped largely to establish in 1958). KEVIN LEE went to the Chair of Classics at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1979 from the University of New England where he had completed his postgraduate work and been a member of staff. His major area of interest is Greek tragedy, on which he has published a number of papers; he has also produced an edition of Euripides’ Troades. BRUCE MARSHALL, the editor of this collection of essays, is a Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of New England, where he has been a member of staff since 1968. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Sydney, and completed his doctorate at Worcester College, Oxford, in 1978. His main research interest is late

Roman republican history, on which he has published numerous articles

in a variety of international journals. He is also the author of two books, Crassus: a Political Biography and An Historical Commentary on Asconius. In 1981 he will be a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley. ROBERT DAVID MILNS, born at Doncaster in 1938, received his university education at Leeds and at Pembroke College, Cambridge. After three years of school teaching, he came to the University of New England in 1964, and went from there to the Chair of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland. His research interests include Greek history of the 4th century B.C., especially Philip and Alexander of Macedon, and the Flavian emperors. He has published numerous articles in these areas, as well as two books, Alexander the Great and The Spectre of Philip (with J.R. Ellis). JAMES RUSSELL

is a Canadian who was born in Scotland and studied at

the University of Edinburgh where he graduated in Classics in 1957. He subsequently


his doctorate

at the University of Chicago



Notes on Contributors

1965. Since 1959 he has taught in Canada and is currently Professor of Classics at the University of British Columbia. His specialty is Roman and Byzantine archaeology, and since 1970 he has directed the Canadian excavations at Anemurium in Southern Turkey. He has published on a variety of epigraphical and archaeological subjects. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Archaeological Institute of America, and the Committee of Senior Fellows of Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies. GODFREY TANNER, a graduate of the University of Melbourne and Clare College, Cambridge, has been Professor of Latin and Head of the Department of Classics at the University of Newcastle since 1964. Before coming to the (then) Newcastle University College in 1960, he was a Lecturer at the University of Melbourne and Classics Master at The King’s School, Parramatta. He is a member of a number of English learned societies, and

has published in British and European joumals, mainly on ancient drama and Greek philosophy.

PETER THOMAS is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of New England. After a number of years as a high school teacher, he came to Armidale in 1960 to do honours in Greek, and then his M.A. in Classics, under John Bishop’s supervision. He has been a member of staff since 1962. In 1968 he began teaching Modern Greek at this University (the first in Australia to offer the subject), and since that date his main interests have been in Modern Greek language and literature (especially the novel). ALAN TRELOAR, who composed the dedicatory verses, is Reader in Comparative Philology at the University of New England. He has divided his time between the Army and the University. He held appointments in the AMF, AIF, Sherwood Foresters and Glasgow Highlanders, and retired with the rank of Colonel after 32 years’ service. He studied at Ormond College, Melbourne, and New College, Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He has held academic appointments in the Universities of Nottingham, Glasgow, Tasmania and New England. He has contributed to army and other learned journals.

KENNETH WELLESLEY is Reader in Humanity at the University of Edinburgh, where he has taught since 1949, for some years as a colleague of John Bishop. His published work has been largely, but not exclusively, devoted to Tacitus, and he is now preparing, as joint-editor, the new Teubner (Leipzig) text of Tacitus. He is the author of the Penguin translation of the Histories, an edition of Histories Ill, and The Long Year, A.D. 69.

R. DERYCK WILLIAMS is Professor of Classics at Reading University. His publications have been mainly in the field of Latin poetry, especially Virgil: he is the editor of a three-volume commentary on Virgil’s works,

Notes on Contributors


and of more detailed editions of Books 3 and 5 of the Aeneid. He has held visiting professorships in the U.S.A. and Canada, and at Canberra and

Melbourne in Australia.

GORDON WILLIAMS was educated at Trinity Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford (1953-63), at the University of St. Andrews (1963-74), Professor of Latin at Yale University. In 1972 Lecturer in the University of California at

College, Dublin; he was a and Professor of Humanity and is currently Thatcher he was the Sather Classical Berkeley; in 1976 he was

Visiting Professor in the Department of Classics at the Australian National

University; and in 1981 he will be Research Fellow at the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University. Among his major publications are Tradition and Originality in Roman Poetry, The Third Book of Horace’s Odes, The Nature of Roman Poetry, Change and Decline: Roman Literature in the Early Empire, and Figures of Thought in Roman Poetry.