Kristopher Fletcher, Lee M. Fratantuono, R. Alden Smith (Edd.): Virgil, Aeneid 8: Text, Translation, and Com-mentary. in:

Gnomon, page 18 - 21

GNO, Volume 93 (2021), Issue 1, ISSN: 0017-1417, ISSN online: 0017-1417,

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Bibliographic information
T. Dorandi: Miller (Ed.), Lives of the eminent philosophers 18 Una forma e dei criteri assai diversi sono stati invece scelti più di recente per il progetto spagnolo nella serie degli ‘Escriptors Grecs’ della ‘Fundació Bernat Metge’ di Barcellona curato da S. Grau, del quale sono usciti finora due volumi con la traduzione in catalano dei primi tre libri delle Vite (Barcelona 2014 e 2018). La novità principale consiste nel fatto che la traduzione è preceduta da una ampia introduzione e accompagnata da un testo greco ‘rivisto’ e da un apparato che si vuole critico nonché da numerose note (‘Notícies preliminars, texts revisat, traducció i notes’). A dire il vero, il testo è quello della mia edizione e lo stesso vale per l’apparato critico riduzione di quello da me redatto, ricopiato ‘mit Haut und Haar’ (come ebbe a scrivere E. Schwartz a proposito del metodo di lavoro di Diogene Laerzio). Ne è prova la riproposizione di imprecisoni e errori che purtroppo mi erano sfuggiti e ai quali se ne sono aggiunti nuovi. Alla fine della sua introduzione, M. (XVIII) scrive «Our common goal has been to makes Lives as accessible as possible to English-speaking readers — and at the same time to convey some of the essential strangeness of what philosophy once was, in hope that readers may wonder anew at what philosophy might yet become». La lettura dell’insieme del volume non può che confermare che M. e il gruppo di persone che si è affiancato in questa impresa sono riusciti a realizzare quanto si erano proposti. Villejuif/Paris Tiziano Dorandi * Lee M. Fratantuono, R. Alden Smith (Edd.): Virgil, Aeneid 8: Text, Translation, and Commentary. Leiden/Boston: Brill 2018. IX, 801 S. (Mnemosyne. Suppl. 416.). This text, translation, and commentary on Book 8 is the most recent Aeneid commentary in the ‘Mnemosyne’ Supplements and the second by Fratantuono and Smith, who released their commentary on Book 5 in 2015. It is also the third of three English-language commentaries on Aeneid 8 released in as many years.1 Of these three, this is the one most geared toward the professional Vergilian. Because this commentary is in the same series as those of the late Nicholas Horsfall, who did books 7, 11, 2, and 3 before moving from Brill to De Gruyter for his two-volume commentary on Book 6, and it looks identical to Horsfall’s commentaries in terms of size and the layout of text, translation, and commentary, his are the obvious point of reference, and it will be useful to compare this new entry to his throughout. The relatively brief introduction (pp. 1–32) provides an overview of the book that situates it within the larger poem and touches on current scholarly trends. Their overview of Book 8 (pp. 12–25) offers a more than serviceable introduction to the key events, themes, and interpretative issues, while also arguing that the book is a meditation on the nature of pietas and – most interestingly – for the importance of the number three, which often portends victory (culminating in the depiction of Octavian’s triple triumph on Aeneas’ shield). The last quarter of the introduction focuses on the manuscripts and their text. Unfortunately, there are few references to the introduction in the commentary proper, with the –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 1 Keith Maclennan, ‘Virgil. Aeneid Book VIII’. London, etc.: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017; James J. O’Hara, ‘Vergil Aeneid 8’. Indianapolis: Focus, 2018. GNOMON 1/93/2021 K. Fletcher: Fratantuono/Smith (Edd.), Virgil, Aeneid 8 19 result that at times Fratantuono and Smith seem there to be ignoring a larger issue that they actually discuss earlier. The current volume differs from Horsfall by offering what the editors call «a fresh [text] that does not merely take for granted the work of others» (30). Because «[a]ll major and minor manuscripts that preserve Book 8 were studied in toto, some in digitized form, others in situ» (p. 26), they provide a much fuller apparatus criticus than many texts, including Mynors’ venerable OCT (in contrast, Horsfall includes no such apparatus). But two things make this fresh text less useful than it could be. First, by their own admission, they include readings «even though there is no chance [they] could be right», such as jtz’s otius for ocius in 8.101 (p. 28). Second is the lack of any kind of conspectus editionum to show how their text differs from others’ – perhaps because the gains to be made in Vergil’s text are relatively slight; I noticed only about a dozen differences between their text and Mynors’ OCT, of which the only three non-orthographic or non-phonological ones seem to be: 579, nunc o nunc for nunc nunc o; 583, maesta for dicta; 633, reflexam for reflexa. While none of these readings is new or even controversial (Conte prints the same thing as they do in the first and third instances), the editors argue diligently for their preferences in the notes, and their discussion of textual matters will help advanced students understand the workings of textual criticism. The translation opposite the text is very literal, and not one to be read with pleasure; the set-up is meant to complement their notes, and it is often necessary to turn to the translation to understand how they construe something. Unfortunately, there are many places where what they say in the commentary differs from how they translate a given word or phrase. For example, in their translation of impulit arma (v. 3), they say that Turnus «drove on his weapons», but keep referring to «arms» in their note, which could imply also his armor or even his chariot (surprisingly, there is no lemma for arma). Unlike, say, Fordyce, who argues in his commentary that the phrase essentially means «struck his shield with his spear», it is not clear what action Fratantuono and Smith envision here. Likewise, they translate the detail about Mezentius componens…oribus ora (v. 486) as «face to face», but in their discussion of the passage say both «fixes together the faces» and «mouths were joined» – which are very different things! It would be helpful to know whether they consider ora a synecdoche here. Similarly, they say of monstra in 698’s omnigenumque deum monstra that it is «[c]lose to English ‘monsters’», but then translate it as «portents of gods», which does not make clear what kind of genitive they think deum is. The bulk of the book is the notes that go into great detail on almost every word of every line and, in terms of scope, are more or less on par with Horsfall. In practical terms, however, this work is much more accessible and user-friendly than Horsfall’s, with fewer idiosyncratic abbreviations (even the use of «Virgil» instead of Horsfall’s «V.» suggests less of a coded language for the initiated). Gone, too, is the tiered system for the length of a citation signifying views of quality. It is easier to find things here, too, since the cross-references – and references in general – are clearer than in Horsfall. The work is still meant for experts, however; few students will be able to understand all of the references, and may be put off by the untranslated German, French, Italian, and Dutch. GNOMON 1/93/2021 K. Fletcher: Fratantuono/Smith (Edd.), Virgil, Aeneid 8 20 Perhaps the biggest difference between the current authors and Horsfall is in tone. Fratantuono and Smith are generally even-handed in their treatment of scholars’ interpretations, and never dismissive. Whatever scorn or derision they show is reserved almost solely for Henry’s late-19th century commentary, many of the references to which show disbelief or bemusement (e.g., p. 536 on v. 456: «Henry’s note defending the cock crow versus the song of swallows is another of his triumphs of rhetorical art»). In general, they are far less doctrinaire than Horsfall, and open to aporia almost to a fault. Although they generally give much fuller citations than Horsfall, making it easier to follow up on their points, there is a frustrating lack of consistency in the entries. They only sometimes give full page ranges (often relying instead on «ff.»), and cite many commentaries simply by author’s name, without providing an accompanying entry in the bibliography. Even more problematic is the not infrequent citation of chapters in edited volumes by the name of the editor rather than the name of the author of the chapter (e.g. on p. 355 they cite «Kemezis 2015» for Kondratieff’s chapter in a volume edited by Kemezis – which they cite properly on p. 220). Such a citation nowadays is ultimately only a minor inconvenience, but it deprives scholars of citations in an age where such mechanical ways of calculating ‘impact’ are unfortunately prominent. This lack of consistency is also evident in the way they quote and cite the Aeneid and other texts. Although they often make some conclusion about the use of a word in Vergil by citing or quoting every use of it (e.g., their note on v. 87 about the association between Dido and lenire is insightful), such entries often pass without meaningful comment, and therefore offer nothing that one could not get from an index verborum or corpus search. For instance, they quote numerous variations of the phrase foedera iunge (v. 56) from the Aeneid, but also quote instances of it in Caesar, Livy, Grattius, and the Ilias Latina, while also giving references to passages in Manilius, Ovid, Seneca, Statius, Flaccus, Silius. Similarly, the note on 585’s equitatus refers to the TLL then says, «Hapax in Virgil (Ennian; also Catonian; Lucilian; Caesarian; Livian; Tacitean)». It is not, of course, the commentator’s job to know what every reader is looking for, so in some sense, more is more. But this makes the lack of information at other times all the more baffling. For example, in discussing the word ineluctabile (v. 334), they simply tell us «Seneca twice in the NQ» (cf. «once in Horace and Propertius», p. 447). In a (very positive) sign of the times, Fratantuono and Smith pay more attention to reception than Horsfall, and point out with some frequency how later authors use Vergil. These remarks are generally useful, as with the reference to the Roman d’Énéas to remind us «that Venus and Vulcan had been quarreling ever since the revelation of the goddess’ affair with Mars» (p. 19 n. 74). Similarly, in the discussion of the MS issue of 205, whether to read furiis or furis in relation to Cacus, the reference to Dante making Cacus a guard over thieves in Inf. 25.17– 33 can help show how the line has been read. But their accompanying statement that, «For Cervantes in the Quixote, Cacus is a prototypical thief» is not as helpful as it would be if it included actual citations. Other remarks on reception seem of much more limited use, as with the fact that Mozart composed a piece about Ascanius; this detail seems to add nothing GNOMON 1/93/2021 K. Fletcher: Fratantuono/Smith (Edd.), Virgil, Aeneid 8 21 to our understanding of v. 48, under which lemma they include it. Reception is, of course, bound to be idiosyncratic, connected with a given scholar’s (in this case, scholars’) knowledge and interests outside Classics, but I was surprised to see no reference in the lemma for Evander’s o mihi praeteritos referat si Iuppiter annos (560) to Coleridge’s poem of the same title (or to the fact that the quotation appears twice in Hilton’s ‘Goodbye, Mr. Chips’). The bits on reception would be more useful if they were included individually in any of the indices, or under a locator for ‘reception’. As it is, one just has to hope to stumble upon something. But the inclusion of numerous instances of reception points the way to what a modern commentary might look like. Beyond the general appearance and scale, perhaps the aspect of this commentary most similar to Horsfall’s is the consistent self-citation, primarily by the famously prolific Fratantuono. The note to v. 631 cites no fewer than five of his publications, and Camilla – on whom he has written a great deal – is mentioned an astonishing number of times for a character who does not appear at all in Book 8. Appearing only three years after their Book 5 commentary, this 800-page volume shows signs of hasty composition beyond the lack of consistency in citations. Even for a work of this length and detail, typographical errors are frequent enough to be distracting, and occasionally even problematic. Things such as hix for hic (p. 626) are obvious and will cause no trouble, but numerous other typographical errors in Latin sent me to check references to understand a passage. Such errors are particularly troublesome when they cluster, as with the three on p. 541 (persolvam for persolvas; haec haec for non haec; dedera for dederas). Although this commentary is far from perfect – whatever that would look like for such a book, since it is the nature of commentaries to leave readers unsatisfied – I am surely not alone in hoping that they finish the series so that some day we Vergilians can have such mammoth commentaries on every book. All Vergil scholars will need to consult this book and will often profit from doing so—but would benefit even more from a more polished final product that had a clearer set of guidelines underlying it. Baton Rouge, LA Kristopher Fletcher * Arnobe, Contre les Gentils (Contre les Païens). Tome II. Livre II. Texte établi, traduit et commenté par Mireille Armisen-Marchetti. Paris: Les Belles Lettres 2018. XLVII, 302 z.T. Doppels. (Collection des Universités de France. Association Guillaume Budé.) 59 €. Nach Buch 1 (Le Bonniec 1982), Buch 3 (Champeaux 2007) und Buch 6–7 (Fragu 2010) liegt nun das zweite Buch von Arnobius, Adversus Nationes in der Reihe Les Belles Lettres vor. Wie die anderen Bände so bietet auch dieser von M. Armisen-Marchetti (= A.-M.) betreute Band eine Einleitung, den kritisch erstellten lateinischen Text auf der rechten und eine französische Übersetzung auf der jeweils gegenüberliegenden linken Seite. Das zweite Buch nimmt innerhalb der sieben Bücher von Arnobius’ Adversus nationes eine Sonderstellung ein. Es ist erstens das längste Buch des gesamten Werks, zweitens ist es durch entsprechende Bemerkungen zu Beginn des zweiten GNOMON 1/93/2021

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