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Die Auseinandersetzung mit den Chorlyrikern in den Epinikien des Kallimachos.

Previous scholarship on Callimachus' use of choral lyric (e.g., Smiley, Hermathena 18 [1919] 46-72; Bundy, CSCA 5 [1972] 39-94; Gelzer, AAntHung 30 [1982-84] 129-47; Newman, ICS 10 [1985] 169-89) has demonstrated the fundamental importance of this archaic literary form for the development of Callimachus' Dichtkunst. With Fuhrer's book we have at last a more systematic treatment of the topic.

Fuhrer approaches her subject by detailed analyses of Callimachus' three epinicians. This approach immediately raises the problem of generic classification, because the three poems do not share a single metrical scheme (two are elegiac and one in iambic trimeters) and Callimachus, in his own organization of his poetic oeuvre, did not edit these poems in any kind of combination. Victoria Berenices (254-68 SH) became the first episode in the third book of the Aetia (Parsons, ZPE 25 [1977] 1-50), a position that emphasizes the aetiology of the Nemean Games as opposed to the queen's success with the chariot, whereas the epinician for an unknown Aeginetan named Polycles in a local race called the Amphorites (frr. 198 with Dieg. VIII 21-32, frr. 220, 222,223 Pf.), while also containing an aetiology, served as the Eighth Iambus. On the other hand, [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] (frr. 384, 384a Pf.), which contains a quoted dedicatory epigram and a possible aetiology, is known from two papyri (POxy. 1793, 2258), in which it follows two different Callimachean poems (frr. 110, 388 Pf.) in orderings that may not represent the hand of the author. Although Fuhrer discusses in some detail the combination of genres within the individual poems, she deals only indirectly with the issue of imposing upon Callimachus a generic classification he himself disavows, by supposing that each of the three poems may have originated as occasional verse, recited at some kind of celebration. While this may or may not be so, it can scarcely overcome the fact that Callimachus chose to deflect attention from the epinician character of the poems when he edited them for posterity. But I would further point out, in Fuhrer's defense, that the Alexandrians so persistently innovated with genre forms that, for heuristic purposes, it is often necessary to impose upon them a classification that reflects either earlier (e.g., epinician) or even later (e.g., pastoral) generic conceptions.

The book betrays its origins as a dissertation in its tendency to lean heavily upon the opinions of earlier scholars and its elaborate proof of the obvious, such as Callimachus' knowledge and use of the choral lyric poets. But the effect of this somewhat pedantic approach is partially alleviated by the clarity of Fuhrer's presentation and the usefulness of her discussions of three poems that have found little analysis outside of rather technical literature. In the first of her five chapters she shows that Callimachus probably knew an edition of the lyric poets produced by Zenodotus and that he was concerned in his Pinakes with questions of classification by type or [GREEK TEXT OMITTED]. She also reviews passages in Callimachus' own poetry that may reveal his interpretations of the choral lyricists in his scholarly work.

The three chapters on the individual epinicians each include information about the transmission of the texts and earlier scholarship, a discussion of the contents of the poems (all of which are fragmentary), and a comparison with archaic epinicians. Fuhrer is particularly good at showing how the changed circumstances of celebration have affected Callimachus' handling of epinician form. She argues that in both Victoria Berenices and [GREEK TEXT OMITTED] the poet, who hears in Egypt of the victories on the Greek mainland, does not occupy the position of the archaic lyricist, who transmits the message of victory, but that of the. audience or recipient of the message. In both instances the information about the victory is mediated by the poet's conveyance of his own reaction to that information, with generic effects upon the poetry. Callimachus presents Victoria as his own gift ([GREEK TEXT OMITTED], 254.1 SH) to Zeus and Nemea, a gift that Fuhrer interestingly compares to Hellenistic dedicatory epigrams in celebration of athletic victories. The [GREEK TEXT OMITTED], which, as best we can tell, begins and ends with the voice of the poet, develops its information about Sosibius' various athletic victories through a series of direct speeches: a prayer to the Isthmian Poseidon that constitutes the message delivered to Callimachus; celebratory comments by the Nile; and apparently a speech by Sosibius himself which Fuhrer argues may contain a further direct speech by an unknown Argive, who describes a dedication by Sosibius at the Heraion. Although Fuhrer carefully works out the identity of these speakers and discusses at length the various victories commemorated, she could have explored more fully Callimachus' use of this series of voices to celebrate a lifetime of achievement as opposed to a single victory. The transference of praise to nontraditional speakers was a technique Callimachus used elsewhere (e.g., Lock of Berenice) to facilitate the task of adapting traditional praise poetry to the new and complicated relations that prevailed between poet and patron. In discussing the extremely fragmentary Iambus 8, Fuhrer argues that the occasion was perhaps fictional (note [GREEK TEXT OMITTED]) or, alternatively, that Callimachus' disavowal of the "working Muse" (fr. 222 Pf.) suggests that the victor was a friend rather than a patron.

Fuhrer argues that Callimachus' deep knowledge of archaic epinician is shown by the way in which he varies the three main structural elements of the form: praise of the victor, myth, and gnomic statement. While the mythic element is missing in [GREEK TEXT OMITTED], it follows a section of praise in Victoria Berenices (the aition of Heracles' second rounding of the Nemean Games) and opens Iambus 8 (the aetiological precedent of the Argonauts' racing with jars of water at Aegina). One of Fuhrer's principal theses is that the narrative style of choral lyric (concentration upon detail, rapid change from theme to theme, brevity of statement in opposition to epic fullness) serves as a basis for the development of Callimachus' own poetic style. She compares, for instance, the Abbruchsformel in 264 SH, where Callimachus passes over a narrative account of Heracles' slaying of the lion, with Pythian 4.247-48, where Pindar shortens his account of Jason's battle with the dragon. But she further notes that Callimachus gives his mythical narrative a particularly Hellenistic flavor by substituting for the story of the Nemean Lion the muscipula (fr. 177 Pf.; see Livrea, ZPE 34 [1979] 37-42), Molorchus' mock-epic battle with the mice who inhabit his hut. Fuhrer once again points to Callimachus' masterful ability to combine and renew genres by noting that the Molorchus episode is an adaptation of the epyllion form (cf. its resemblance to Hecale) to elegiac epinician. Part of the purpose of this, she argues, is to deal with the new relationship between laudanda, a semideified Berenice, and the heroic comparandus, Heracles, who, treated as Berenice's relative in Ptolemaic mythology, undergoes humanization here and elsewhere in Alexandrian poetry: the two are thus brought into a closer relationship than victor and hero in earlier epinician.

The book concludes with a useful series of appendices that illustrate the papyrological sources for the three poems and print the relevant texts and testimonia. A final appendix discussing Callimachus' use of Pindaric metaphor in the epilogue to his Hymn to Apollo offers a surprisingly appropriate conclusion by demonstrating that Callimachus' dependence on choral lyric has implications for his poetic art that extend beyond the epinicians themselves.

Overall, Fuhrer's book is a useful addition to the increasing body of scholarship on the various types of Callimachean poetry. While not strikingly original in its observations or conclusions, her treatment pulls together disparate material not widely known except to serious Callimachean scholars. It thus contributes to the growing accessibility of this important and often misunderstood poet.

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Author:Gitzwiller, Kathryn
Publication:American Journal of Philology
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1995
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