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Two notes on Greek dithyrambic poetry.

1. Melanippides, PMG 762

[GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

The fragment is preserved in two sources, Clement of Alexandria's Miscellanies, Strom. 5.14.112 (ii.402 Stahlin), which gives the order of words printed above, and Eusebius' Praep. Evang. 13.680c, in which the second line is given as [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The latter reading was preferred by Bergk,(2) but there seems at first little reason to prefer one order over the other. I shall return to this issue shortly.

The metre is uncertain, but apart from this there is no obvious textual corruption. However, in line 1 the phrase [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] strikes a false note. The singular [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and the plural [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], are found in a number of different constructions: (1) followed by a dative, as at Hes. Th. 500 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], Od. 11.287 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], h. Hom. 2.403 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 4.219, E. IA. 202 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (in lyric); (2) with an infinitive, as at h. Hom. 5.202 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (E. Ion 1142 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] appears to be a conflation of these two constructions); (3) more rarely with a preposition, as at h. Hom. 4. 270 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. However, there are no examples of a construction with the genitive with this sense: at E. Ba. 693, for instance, we find [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] `a strange sight for its ordered calm' (Dodds), where [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is a genitive of the cause. In view of the parallels, and the probability of assimilation to the following genitive and the participle ending in [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], we should here read [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], despite the fact that [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is given by both sources.

Reading [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], we can translate: `Hear me, o father, marvel to mortals, ruler of the ever-living soul'. The precise sense is somewhat uncertain. [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is used only of Zeus in Homer (e.g. Il. 3.276, 16.234), but can be freely applied to other gods elsewhere; cf. h. Hom. 4.2 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (of Hermes), Pi. fr. 95 S.-M. [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], (of Pan), SIG 1044.8 (of Apollo). Its use here thus gives no indication as to which god is being addressed. [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] also makes us think of Zeus, but again there is no evidence that the epithet was restricted to him. At Ion Eleg. 26.13f. it is used of Dionysus: [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. Although there is a difference between [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] used on its own and used as an epithet with a name (as in Ion), the fact that Melanippides was primarily known for his dithyrambs might encourage us to expect a reference to Dionysus here.(3) In line 2, I suspect that we might see an allusion to Orphic-Dionysiac mysteries.

The metrical difficulties remain. If Clement's word-order is retained, the second line can be scanned as e-D, where D is --(4); this form of the D-colarion is more likely than the form --, which must be read if Eusebius' text is preferred. The first line is less easily dealt with. We would expect correption of [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] before [Omega], but it is unclear whether the stop + liquid combination [Beta][Rho] in [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] should be regarded as syllable-closing or -releasing; either would be possible, but if it is syllable-closing, we can compare Melan. PMG 760.2 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], where [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is best scanned long (the whole line is [D.sup.2-]). Thus, we should perhaps analyse the line as ar. (--) cr. (--); for the aeolic metron in dactylo-epitrite, compare Tim. PMG 781, to be analysed gl. | D-.

One final point deserves attention. O. Hansen has recently argued that the fragment should be attributed not to Melanippides, but to Euripides.(5) There are three arguments used to support his case: (1) the fragment shows marked metrical similarities to PMG adesp. 1018(a), the Prayer to the Fates, which he also regards as written by Euripides;(6) (2) the adjective [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is restricted to tragedy; and (3) the only parallel to the expression [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is Euripides, I.A. 202, cited above. The other examples adduced above clearly show that argument (3) is fallacious. Nor are his other arguments convincing, [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is attested at Heraclitus DK 22 B 30, which is a clear indication that it was not regarded as exclusively tragic. Even if his statement were true, it does not follow that Melanippides could not have been influenced by tragic diction. The metrical similarities are negligible; the Prayer to the Fates is predominantly dactylo-epitrite, but I can identify no aeolic cola which might make any initial similarities more noteworthy. Thus, even if we accept Hansen's attribution of the Prayer to Euripides, itself a subject of some doubt, we can nevertheless confidently reject Hansen's theory about PMG 762.

2. Timotheus, PMG 794

[GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]

([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Vat. 23, s. xiii exeunt.)

[GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] A: [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN

ASCII]

The line is cited by Aristotle at Rhet. 3.14.1415a11 (p. 183 Kassel, from whom the apparatus is taken) as an example of how dithyrambs begin, and the ascription to Timotheus depends entirely on the reading of A, [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. This connects the fragment with Timotheus' Scylla, a dithyrambic poem severely criticized by Aristotle (Poet. 15.1454a28, 26.1461630) and the anonymous author of a treatise clearly based to a large extent on Aristotle's Poetics.(7) A is the earliest MS (cod. Paris. 1741), but is not necessarily to be trusted on that account. The rest of the codices ([Beta]) have [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] `spoils'; this must also be the reading behind the explanation in the anonymous Greek commentary on the Rhetoric: [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (comment. in Arist. graec. 21.2: p. 230 Rabe). The sequence of developments is slightly unclear, but it seems highly probable that the commentator had no knowledge of the poem beyond the quotation in Aristotle, and that [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] represents an attempt either by him or by some previous writer (scribe or scholar) to make sense of the corrupt line. That an original [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] might be corrupted to [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] by mere accident is also not unthinkable.

However, although we may accept [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] as an obvious, and essentially meaningless, corruption, it is equally hard to defend [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], since it is difficult to see what the `gifts of Scylla' might be. Nor is it clear where they would belong in a poem which apparently repeated the story broadly as found in the Odyssey. We know that the poem was a dithyramb, and therefore a reference to Dionysus would not be out of place (as the Greek commentator obviously assumed). I suggest we read a vocative [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; the name [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is attested only at SEG 1025.58, 63, an inscription from Cos dating to the fourth or third century B.C., as a cult-title of Dionysus as the god of the [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (given by Hesychius, s.v., as a variant for [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] `vine-branch'). The vocative would in any case be expected in connection with a phrase such as [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]: we might compare Pi. I. 5.1-2 [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].(8) The very rarity of the name would explain the corruption, and although the reference might seem overly obscure for a dithyrambic poet of the period, the context is unknown and the authorship uncertain. It might easily have been a dithyramb written for performance at a Coan festival. [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] probably results from an attempt to correct the MS. If a text originally had [GREEK WORD NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], a scribe might have written EITA (writing EI for I) above the line as a correction; this could subsequently have been introduced into the quotation by later copyists.

The `gifts of Dionysus' can be understood as a reference to wine and its effects. We may compare especially [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (of wine) at Hes. Op. 613, and the Latin phrases at Hor. C. 4.15.26 iocosi munera Liberi and Verg. G. 2.454 Baccheia dona (of the vine, and probably based on a Greek phrase; see Thomas on the line). The construction and thought are common in Greek: see West on Hes. Th. 102-3.

(1) I am indebted to Dr M. L. West, who read an earlier version of this paper, and the anonymous referee, both of whom made a number of useful comments and suggestions.

(2) T. Bergk, Poetae Lyrici Graeci (Leipzig, 1914(4)).

(3) For Melanippides and the dithyramb, cf. Suda, s.v. [Mu] 454, 455, Xen. Mem. 1.4.3 etc. He is also said to have composed hymns (Meleager 1.7 GP = AP 4.1.7), epigrams, elegies, and epic poems (Suda).

(4) This form appears in Euripides; see M. L. West, Greek Metre (Oxford, 1992), p. 134.

(5) O. Hansen, Ziva Antika 36 (1986), 32.

(6) Also suggested by Hansen in RhM 133 (1990), 190-2.

(7) For this treatise, see Mittheil. Samm. Pap. Erz. Rainer 1 (1887), 84ff. This, and the two passages in Aristotle, are printed by Page as PMG 793.

(8) See E. Norden, Agnostos Theos (Stuttgart, 19564), pp. 157-60, for further examples.
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Author:Horndern, J.H.
Publication:The Classical Quarterly
Date:Jan 1, 1998
Words:1705
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