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On the metre of Anacreont. 19W.

[Greek Text Omitted]

An. 19 has a metrical form which is quite peculiar and anomalous if compared either with hemiambics or with anaclastic ionic dimeters (anacreontics), i.e. the metres of all the other Anacreontea.

This metre, [Greek Text Omitted], remains unchanged in each of the poem's nine lines, and in current descriptions it is considered a pherecratean,(1) which is thought to have been felt by the ancient author as assimilable either to a pure ionic dimeter with contraction of the biceps in the first foot (there is but a single sure instance of this kind in the Anacreontea: 44.2; in 52A.3 either the text is corrupt or prosody is faulty),(2) or to a hemiambic with anaclasis giving a trochaic second foot.(3) The second interpretation seems more plausible, because 'pherecratean' hemiambics are more numerous in the Anacreontea,(4) but these instances also are lines where the structure in question originates as the isolated and accidental outcome of anaclasis.

Therefore the stichic fixity of the metric form [Greek Text Omitted] in An. 19 continues to be problematic, all the more since it is absolutely invariable, and even avoids any of the rational or irrational substitutions which are common both in the hemiambic and in the anacreontic Anacreontea (and also in the 'pherecratean' hemiambics quoted above, n. 4).(5)

Such a strict fixity hardly leaves room for doubt that we are dealing with a deliberate metrical choice. So why this metre? Nothing prevents us from supposing that either some unknown reason or a mere arbitrary act led the author of An. 19 to extend to the whole poem a metrical structure, the 'pherecratean' hemiambic, which he had found here and there in previous Anacreontea as isolated results of anaclasis and substitutions.(6) Nevertheless I think this metrical choice may be accounted for in a more satisfactory way.

As far as I know nobody has noticed the perfect metrical and lexical identity (apart from dialectal details) which joins [Greek Text Omitted], the incipit of An. 19 (a micro-epyllion about Eros), to [Greek Text Omitted], the first hemistich (a feminine hemiepes) of a hexametrical incipit in Bion 9 Gow (also an epyllion about Eros) and finally to [Greek Text Omitted] in Call. Ep. 46.3 Pfeiffer = 1049 Gow-Page (AP 12.150.3), a first hemistich which neither was an incipit nor concerned the god, but may have influenced Bion, though the high frequency in the hexameter of word shapes: [Greek Text Omitted] and [Greek Text Omitted] must not be forgotten. Besides, both An. 19 and Bion 9 fall into a group of short hexametrical stories on 'XY and Eros...' which begin with the same metric and semantic structure, i.e. a feminine hemiepes ([Greek Text Omitted]), where the first word is the name of Eros' deuteragonist: 'XY [Greek Text Omitted]': the instances we know in addition to Bion 9 and An. 19 are Mosch. 1. 1 Gow = adesp. AP 14.3.1 'A [Greek Text Omitted], which may have been an imitative pair, just as I suppose Bion 9 and An. 19 are.

The oldest Anacreontea we know, among which nearly all the modern chronological theories on the corpus include also An. 19, are commonly dated back to a period between the third and first century B.C. and the first century A.D.(7) So at least some of the old Anacreontea may antedate Bion (beginning of the first century B.C.), and it is impossible to prove absolutely that An. 19 postdates Bion 9. At any rate (i) the easy intelligibility of the stichic structure [Greek Text Omitted] as the hemiepes of the commonest stichic verse, (ii) the rarity of this structure in the Anacreontea, and (iii) the radical anomaly of the stichic fixity in An. 19, are clues which allow us to argue that the first line of An. 19 quoted the 'motto iniziale' of Bion's poem (and thus possibly recalled the Moscho-Bionean beginning pattern) - not vice-versa.

In my opinion the very quotation of this initial 'motto' may have suggested to the author of An. 19 the choice of the structure: [Greek Text Omitted] as the metre for the first line - a choice allowed by the formal coincidence of the fem. hemiepes with the 'pherecratean' hemiambic -, while both the stichic nature of the model's versification and the rare but paralleled stichic use of pherecrateans may have induced him to perpetuate the same metre in the other lines of the poem.

Is it right to suppose that a poem by Bion might be so crucial a focus in an anacreontic author's mind as to let him use its incipit as an initial 'motto'? I think so. Not only were the two poems short stories about Eros as a god associated with the Muses, but above all Bion's poetic Eros impressively resembled the one we find in many Anacreontea. The last part of Bion 9 is concerned with the uniqueness and the 'physical' inevitability of erotic poetry (and the uniqueness of the beloved as a theme of this poetry), a form of recusatio which is fairly common in the Latin elegiac poetry of Bion's century (and after), but is very rare in Greek literature, with the exception of the Anacreontea, where this kind of recusatio stereotyped a theme by Anacreon and became an obsessive topos of the 'anacreontic' poetic ideology.(8) As a matter of fact the closest parallel passage I know for Bion 9.8-11 (the poet's tongue cannot sing other gods and men, that is to say epic-encomiastic and mythological poetry, since it can sing only Eros and the poet's beloved(9))

[Greek Text Omitted]

is to be found in An. 23, a poem commonly included in the oldest nucleus of the Anacreontea (the poet's instruments can play nothing but love):

[Greek Text Omitted]

MARCO FANTUZZI Universita di Firenze

1 The metre of An. 19 is interpreted in this way also in the most recent editions, by M. L. West: Carmina Anacreontea (Leipzig, 1984), p. xvi, and D. A. Campbell: Greek Lyric vol. 2 (Cambridge, MA and London, 1988), p. 9.

2 This explanation has been reproposed by West, loc. cit.; it had been shared, e.g. by F. Hanssen, Die Metra der Anakreontea, 'Excurs' in A. Rossbach-R. Westphal, Theorie der musischen Kunste der Hellenen(3), vol. iii.2: Specielle griechische Metrik (Leipzig, 1889), p. 862, n. **; J. Sitzler, 'Zu den Anakreonteen', WKPh (1913), no. 30/31, p. 855; M. Brioso Sanchez, Anacreontea. Un ensayo para su datacion (Salamanca, 1970), p. 27.

3 Cf. Campbell, loc. cit.

4 According to the list provided by Campbell, loc. cit.: 5.19, 21.2, 36.6 and 16, 47.3 (doubtful), 49.4 and 5, 51.6.

5 From this point of view An. 19 is more markedly exceptional than An. 20, a poem often quoted as the other instance of heavy metrical anomaly in the Anacreontea. In fact An. 20 consists of two strophes, each of four lines which can all be interpreted as dimeters formed by two metra easily found in the hemiambic Anacreontea ([Greek Text Omitted], chor. +ia.: [Greek Text Omitted], chor. = aristoph.; [Greek Text Omitted], chor. +ia. = ibyc.; 4 = 1: the choriamb is a very frequent outcome of anaclasis in the first metron of hemiambic Anacreontea, while the anapaest in the beginning of the second iambic metron (line 3 = 7) is a quite possible replacement in iambic verses, although not very common). Furthermore, the 'strophic' subdivision of contents is quite a common device in the Anacreontea, though only An. 20 demonstrates a properly strophic repetition of the same metrical sequences in the same order; in any case, by virtue of the alternation between and ia.acat. and of the replacement of lambs by anapaests in the second metron of line 3 = 7, An. 20 shares at least some variability with the other Anacreontea. Only the stichic fixity of An. 19 really makes any difference.

6 This is, for instance, Brioso Sanchez's opinion, loc. cit.

7 A useful survey is to be found in Campbell, op. cit., pp. 16-18. There are a few discordant opinions. E.g. F. Hanssen, loc. cit., dates An. 19 in the second century A.D.; among twentieth-century scholars, Brioso Sanchez proposes by thoughtful arguments to date An. 19 in the early-middle imperial age: 'Aportaciones al problema de la metrica griega tardia', EClas. 16 (1972), 131-7.

8 Cf. the excellent analyses by P. A. Rosenmeyer, The Poetics of Imitation: Anacreon and the Anacreontic Tradition (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 96-101.

9 This text seems to have been overlooked both as a forerunner of the poetics and the poetical-existential credo of Latin elegy (cf., however, Nisbet-Hubbard on Horace, Odes 1.6, p. 81), and as a parallel for the recusationes in the Anacreontea. For instance even the very rich similia-apparatus provided by West in his Teubner edition of the Anacreontea (quoted above, n. 1), pp. 18-19, quotes only passages from Ovid's Amores with regard to An. 23.
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Title Annotation:Anacreontea
Author:Fantuzzi, Marco
Publication:The Classical Quarterly
Date:Jul 1, 1994
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