Looks Good ‘To Me’: Three Notes on Martial 6.63

The seventh of my Martial papers for August 2017, titled as above, is here in PDF form.

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What is the First Poem in Martial, Book I?

The sixth and longest (so far) of my Martial papers for August 2017, titled as above, is here in PDF form.

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Dammae Damnatae: Two Notes on Martial 4.74

The fifth of my Martial papers for August 2017, titled as above, is here in PDF form. This is the second to explain a conjecture on Book IV first web-published in 2007.

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The Emperor’s Pet Fish: A Conjecture on Martial 4.30.6

I have now uploaded the fourth of my Martial papers for August 2017, titled as above. The PDF is here. This is the first to explain one of the conjectures on Book IV I uploaded with the text ten years ago (link). Better late than never.

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Martial’s Gloomy Ethiopian (7.87)

I have just uploaded the third of my Martial papers for August 2017, titled as above. The PDF is here. Not a conjecture this time, but an exegetical footnote.

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Martial 4.49: Find the Missing Joke

I have just uploaded the second of my Martial papers for August 2017, “One, Two, Three, . . . Where’s the Fourth? Martial 4.49″ The PDF is here. This is a new conjecture, not in the 2007 text of Martial IV.

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More To Be Done Here: Martial (especially 1.79)

Ten years after uploading a virtual edition of Martial IV, with half a dozen original conjectures (link), I have finally found time to continue the task of making an online edition of all of Martial. Books I, II, VII, and XII are now uploaded, but not quite ready to show: they need one more thorough edit, and the QLTP program to view them is undergoing long-overdue debugging.

As I go over my text, I will be posting adversaria explaining my choices in controversial passages, and defending my own conjectures, particularly the ones that have been up for ten years. I hope to post one such comment each day in August. The first, “More To Be Done Here: Martial 1.79.2″, will be found here in PDF form. I will soon be making a sortable database of comments on Martial like the one on Persius already on-line (here), and adding more comments on Persius, too, as well as other authors, along with bibliographies, lists of manuscripts, and more. Comments are welcome, as always.

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Books For Sale

A few months ago (link), I found that I had somehow ended up with two copies each of five different Classics books, and offered the spares for sale, selling two. Now I find that I still have nine duplicates, including (is this a sign of terminal bibliomania?) a Mnemosyne Supplement. I am now offering all nine for sale at competitive prices (a few dollars less than the lowest price for the same title in comparable condition on ABE or Amazon Marketplace), plus one more non-duplicate (#9) that I don’t need, that seems to be unavailable at any price on the web, so I hope someone will be glad to find a copy. All are in Near Fine condition or close enough, depending on how picky you are, except #5, as noted below. Here are the details:

  1. Arethusa 25.1, Winter 1992, ‘Reconsidering Ovid’s Fasti, $20.
  2. Bacchylides, a Selection, ed. H. Maehler, Cambridge ‘green and gold’ series, 2003, $20.
  3. Cicero, De Natura Deorum, Book I, ed. Andrew R. Dyck, Cambridge ‘green and gold’ series, 2003, $16.
  4. Flavian Poetry, ed. Ruurd R. Nauta, Harm-Jan Van Dam, & Johannes J. L. Smoleaars, Mnemosyne Supplement 207, Leiden, 2006, $90.
  5. Peter Garnsey and Richard Saller, The Early Principate: Augustus to Trajan, Greece & Rome New Surveys in the Classics No. 15, Oxford University Press, 1982 (paperback), Very Good condition – a bit dingy, with a penciled price ($3.50) and some specks next to it on the title page, but the text is totally clean and unmarked. $6.
  6. S. J. Harrison, Generic Enrichment in Vergil & Horace, Oxford University Press, 2007 (cloth in dustjacket), $40.
  7. Patrick Kragelund, Roman Historical Drama: The ‘Octavia’ in Antiquity and Beyond, Oxford University Press, 2016 (cloth in dustjacket), $60.
  8. Rosa Maria Lucifora, Voci Politiche in Properzio ‘Erotico’: Ideologia e progetto elegiaco in II,16 e III,11, Bari, 1999, $12.
  9. The Pythagorean Golden Verses, with Introduction and Commentary by Johan C. Thom, Series: Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 123, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995, Fine condition. $240. If that seems like a lot, note that there are no copies available at any price on Amazon or ABE, and that if it were in print, that’s roughly what Brill would be charging for it.
  10. Virgil, Aeneid, Book XI, ed. K. W. Gransden, Cambridge ‘green and gold’ series, 1991, $12.

To claim a book, e-mail me at curculio + at-sign + curculio + dot + org, or write a comment if you want the whole world to know your bibliographical wants and needs.

Don’t like my prices? Make me an offer, but prepare to be disappointed if someone offers more. Postage will depend on the destination: I try to break even on that, and it would be $3.00 or less in the U.S. for book-rate. Here is a picture of six of them (1, 8, 5, 2, 3, and 10):

And here is a picture of the other four (6, 4, 9, and 7):

Please note that they are not in fact faded, though the Thom in particular looks that way because of the particular shade of the dust jacket. I can try to take better pictures if anyone needs them.

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Bibliographic Byways I: The Cambridge Greek and Latin Book Club

Among the Persïana on my shelves, one of the least often consulted contained an interesting document when it arrived from an on-line bookseller. The book is . . . well, it will be quicker to provide a picture of the front cover than to quote it:

This is what I found tucked inside:

Here is a brief account of the book club, from the BMCR review of Christopher Stray (ed.), Classics in 19th and 20th Century Cambridge: Curriculum, Culture and Community. Cambridge Philological Society, Suppl. 24. Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 1998, which I really need to buy now:

The collection closes with a light-hearted account, by John Crook and Joyce Reynolds, of the Cambridge Greek and Latin Book Club, which flourished from about 1909 till 1993. Members of this amiable society recommended books, which were then acquired on credit from a local bookseller. Each book was circulated round all the members. Eventually, it was auctioned off at a club meeting. Only then was the bookseller, whose patience must often have been sorely tried, finally paid. To American readers at least, this Cambridge institution, though only recently defunct, must seem infinitely more remote than the nineteenth-century squabbles over the curriculum.

I thought for a moment I had A. E. Housman’s autograph signature, but then realized that his name must have been written by Mr. Rattenbury, who sent the book to him, while he must have written the name of Prof. Robertson, to whom he passed it on. I like the handwriting of Housman’s ‘heterograph’ very much.

It appears that Rev. Angus (as he is called in the “ordered by”) or Mr. Angus (as he is called elsewhere) got to look at the book for two weeks in January and another week in June, but either lost interest or was outbid when the book was auctioned off the following February: the name and date inside the front cover are “A. L. [or C.?] Peck” and “Feb. 8th 1932″. I assume this is the “Dr. Peck” who had it for a week in April. It’s in tolerably good shape for a book that had been handled by twenty-four different people, one of them twice, over the course of five months and four days. With only twelve pages of introductory matter, and eight of notes, to accompany the translation, I doubt it has spent a lot of time off the shelf in the ensuing eighty-five years.

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When Did Ovid Die?

For Ovid’s 2059th birthday, here’s a note on his death-year. It could use some footnotes, but this should do for a funeral offering.

We’re all celebrating commemorating the 2000th anniversary of the death of Ovid this year, but the date of a poet’s last datable poem is not always a reliable guide to his date of death – not even for the most compulsively productive poet in Latin literature, whose attempts to write prose came out as verse against his will (so he says: Tristia 4.10.25-26).

Others have noted that Tacitus gives him no obituary in the Annales, which cover A.D. 17 and show an interest in writers oppressed by tyrants. (Could that chapter have fallen out? Perhaps Tacitus scholars can tell us whether there are likely lacunae in Annales I-VI beyond the huge one that has swallowed up most of Book V and part of Book VI.)

The purpose of this note is to point out that there are a number of things that might have ended his writing career some years before he died:

1. Catatonic depression. Ovid must have been fairly confident that he would outlive Augustus, who was nearly twenty years older, though in the end it took longer than he must have hoped. Once he had done so, and his attempts to convince the new emperor (a year and a half younger than Ovid), and his influential nephew Germanicus, had failed, it must have been clear that he would never return from exile, but would die in Tomis. Depression or even despair at that point would have been likely enough. Did he throw away his pen and ink and papyrus and stare out at the Black Sea for some years until he died? Perhaps not: people that depressed tend to lose their appetite for eating and drinking (drinking in moderation, at least) as well as for writing, and do not usually hang on for years, but there are exceptions.

A variation on depression is writer’s block: the two are not incompatible. If five books of Tristia and four of Epistulae ex Ponto were not good enough to persuade Tiberius or Germanicus to allow his return, he might have felt incapable of writing anything that would. Sibelius more or less gave up composing at 61, though he lived for another 30 years. Rossini and Congreve did much the same, though apparently in a more positive way, enjoying their well-earned retirements. (I will not compare Rimbaud, who abandoned poetry much younger. Perhaps someone should write a novel in which Ovid quits poetry at age fifty-nine in favor of a new career supplying the local tribal chiefs with civilized military technology.)

2. Medical Disability. Some writers of words and of music have had their careers, but not their lives, ended by serious medical problems. Ravel’s career as a composer ended five years before his death, when a blow on the head left him unable to compose, though scholars are still arguing the precise diagnosis. H. L. Mencken’s astonishingly productive writing career ended seven years before his death, when a stroke left him unable to read or write. Ovid might well have suffered a similar stroke. Blindness is another possibility: a competent Miltonic amanuensis might have been hard to find in Tomi. Even gout or severe arthritis would have made verse composition very difficult in Tomi, where Ovid would have had difficulty finding a proficient scribe.

Of course, even a less-than-completely-debilitating physical condition would have reinforced a tendency to despair, so a combination of the first two reasons is possible.

3. Communication Problems. I don’t believe Ovid gives us any hints as to how his verses were sent to Rome. Did the local military commander (there must have been one in a port on the border) send them along with military dispatches? That would be a courtesy a poet could not demand, and might well change with a new commander or governor – or emperor, for that matter, though he was not immediately cut off when Tiberius succeeded. Or did Ovid have enough money and friends to pay a local ship-captain who made regular voyages to Byzantium or Athens or Rhodes to deliver his manuscripts to a friend there, who would take care of further travel? If he ran out of money, or his friends in Greece died, then what? Although relegation meant he kept nominal control over his property, I doubt he could exercise much actual control. Did his wife die before him? Did a son-in-law or nephew get hold of his estate? Or was the estate simply too small to support regular communications with one so far away? It seems to me (in my relative ignorance of ancient communications methods) that there would have been a lot of different ways communications could have been cut off before his death.

My conclusion is simple. We can and should commemorate the presumed death of Ovid this year, but it would be going too far to say that his death in A.D. 17 is a fact.

There is a PDF of this note at here. Comments welcome.

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Bad Temperament: Seneca, E.M. 2.3

Just posted: a note on Senecan prose, titled as above. The PDF is here. Comments welcome.

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A is for Accidence: Juvenal 14.214

Just posted: a note on Juvenal, titled as above. The PDF is here. Comments welcome.

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There’s More than One Kind of Filthy Lefty: Catullus 12.1-3

Just posted: a note on Catullus, titled as above. The PDF is here. Help with the final question would be much appreciated: perhaps pictorial representations of convivia will answer it.

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Peripatetic Conjectures

I try to walk an hour a day, and find that memorizing verse is an excellent way to pass the time: usually Latin verse, most often Horace or Catullus. I can’t keep more than a dozen or so texts in memory at one time, but they’re much easier to relearn than to learn the first time. At one time or another I’ve memorized most of Catullus 1-60, all of Horace’s Epodes and Book I of the Odes, half of Book II, and more than half of Book III, and about a third of Book I of the Epistles.

I get a lot of ideas reading and rereading verse very slowly, some of which I have published here. Are these good ideas? Not always.

One of the most interesting things about memorizing verse is seeing which lines are hard to remember right. Perhaps I should say hard to remember in the transmitted form, since I suspect that many of the passages that are most difficult to remember are in fact corrupt. For some, it is very hard to tell. For instance, the received text of Epodes 2.4 is solutus omni faenore. I tend to remember it as omni solutus faenore. Separating the adjective from the noun and putting the emphatic omni up front does seem Horatian, but I hesitate to emend the text, not wishing to asssume that even Horace went for the maximum level of Horatianity at all times. A similar case is Epodes 4.14, et Appiam mannis terit, which I tend to remember as mannis et Appiam terit, postponing the conjunction and emphasizing the luxury possession. Can my Stilgefühl can be trusted in these cases? It is certainly defective in other instances. I always remember Odes 3.9.4, Persarum vigui rege beatior, with rigui for vigui: that is no doubt partly a sign of a dirty mind, partly anticipation of the consonants in the next word. Worse, I always remember Odes 2.14.17, visendus ater flumine languido, with lumine flanguido as the last two words, or rather I always recite to myself “visendus ater lumine flang — wait, that’s not right, flumine languido”.

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It Takes an O to Make a Ring: Catullus 50.21

Just uploaded: a textual note on Catullus, titled as above: PDF. Comments, anyone?

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Proleptic Mountains? (Horace, I. 16.28)

Just uploaded: an exegetical note on ‘Proleptic Mountains’ in Horace, Iambi (Epodi) 16: PDF.

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Catullus 16.14: Ring Composition with a Twist?

Just uploaded: another conjecture, this one in Catullus: PDF. I suspect it will amuse more than it persuades.

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Blame the Author, or the Scribe? (Pliny, Ep. 10.4.3)

Just uploaded: another conjecture, this one in the letters of the Younger Pliny: PDF. Comments?

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An Inadvertent Conjecture: Horace, C. 3.1.5

Just uploaded: another conjecture, this one of arguable authorship: PDF. Comments are even more welcome than usual. I’m hoping someone can answer the question just before the post scriptum.

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Two Kinds of Textual Conjecture in One: Horace, I. 12.12

I have just written another textual note (a page and a half – 585 words), this one a really obvious, but apparently original, emendation of one of Horace’s dirtiest poems. Here is the link to the PDF. As always, comments are welcome, and may be left here.

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