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Résumés des conférences

Ecdotique des textes latins antiques

Gauthier Liberman
p. 162-177

Résumé

Programme de l’année 2022-2023 : Nature et technique de l’édition critique des textes latins classiques, philosophie et philologie de l’ecdotique, critique verbale et critique textuelle. Étude de textes divers, sur proposition tantôt du directeur, tantôt des auditeurs.

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1Dans la foulée de l’an dernier, où la conférence avait consacré ses efforts à l’établissement du texte de l’anonyme epistula Annae ad Senecam, elle a pris pour l’objet de ses réflexions un autre anonyme tardif, l’Alceste dit de Barcelone. Afin de ranimer plus facilement l’intérêt suscité par ce spirituel et plutôt élégant poème à l’époque de sa publication (début des années 1980) et aujourd’hui, hélas, beaucoup amenuisé, on a décidé de rédiger dans la langue la plus facile d’accès à l’échelle mondiale une présentation de ce texte et de sa « condition critique » suivie de la discussion d’un choix de passages et d’une édition accompagnée d’un appareil critique réduit. Cette édition met en vis-à-vis, d’un côté, un texte très conservateur, « quasi diplomatique », souvent inintelligible, établi en 2014 (c’est l’édition la plus récente), et, de l’autre côté, son contraire, notre essai de restitution. Le latin de ce dernier étant le plus souvent très clair et très simple, nous nous dispensons de fournir une traduction, que nous avions cru devoir donner s’agissant de l’epistula Annae ; notre discussion et l’appareil critique éclairent ce qui peut faire difficulté.

 

  • 1 The lengthening of the last syllable of uenit at 100-101, tum non mea dulcis imago | paulum no<c>te ue</c> (...)
  • 2 “Entre autres indices, le blanc laissé à la dernière ligne de la page trois après poscunt (64), fin (...)
  • 3 Provided that Lebek’s ingenious conjecture prope is not right. It does not only improve prosody, fo (...)
  • 4 On the contrary L. Zurli, “Alcestis Barcinonensis ed Aegritudo Perdicae. Considerazioni stravagante (...)
  • 5 See e.g. F. Vollmer, “Über die sog. Iambenkürzung bei den skenischen Dichtern der Römer”, SBAW, Phi (...)
  • 6 Müller 1894, 368-379.
  • 7 The poet could easily avoid hiatus writing beatis… toris. Perhaps he did.
  • 8 See Ov. met., 6.645; Pers., 5.8-9, si quibus aut Procnes aut si quibus olla Thyestae | feruebit sae (...)
  • 9 See Verg., georg., 4.15, et manibus Procne pectus signata cruentis.
  • 10 I mean R. Westphal: see his ground-breaking Prolegomena zu Aeschylus Tragödien, Leipzig, 1869 but a (...)
  • 11 Euripides’ Alcestis was not, to judge from the very small number of extant papyrological fragments, (...)
  • 12 See e.g. Eur., Alc., 142, καὶ πῶς ἂν αὑτὸς κατθάνοι τε καὶ βλέποι;
  • 13 See e.g. 93, Ante omnes commendo tibi pia pignora natos / Prop., 4.11.73, Nunc tibi commendo commun (...)
  • 14 I discuss a Pindaric case in “Olympica Pyndarica (I)”, ExClass, 27, 2023, 9-55, esp. 34.

2A miscellaneous Greek and Latin papyrus codex (P. Monts. Roca inv. 158-161, s. IV/2, pp. 65-71, 02298.100 MP3), written by the same scribe, contains an anonymous 122-hexameter poem conventionally referred to as Alcestis Barcinonensis. The editio princeps dates backs to 1980 (R. Roca-Puig), the last one was published 2014 (G. Nocchi Macedo): Cedopal registers five editions published after the former and before the latter (Roca-Puig 1982 and 2000, Marcovich 1988, Nosarti 1992, Liberman 1998). The occasionally extremely corrupt text aroused strong critical interest in the years following the publication, as is testified by the Cedopal bibliography. Marcovich 1988 and Liberman 1998 tried to edit a readable text and extensively resorted to conjectures, whereas Nosarti 1992 is much more conservative, though not as much as Roca-Puig and Nocchi Macedo. Then the critical and also, but to a lesser extent, literary interest for Alcestis Barcinonensis abated. The text edited by Nocchi Macedo is, like that of Roca-Puig in his three editions, but a slightly doctored version of a diplomatic transcription. It is not I believe unfair to say that it is barely readable and very incorrect, sometimes unmetrical (see l. 49, deripia<n>t uterum<que> cōgis, uis, ultimus ignis, also ungrammatical; the beginning of l. 74, Admetĕ uentura, where I now reject lengthening of an open syllable at caesura ternaria;1 102, disce mori, disce ex m<e> exemplă pietatis). This would be no criticism of the editor if the author of what Cedopal hesitatingly suggests may be an “exercice scolaire” were an incompetent writer and poet by classical standards. But well transmitted passages, including those which only call for extremely light emendation, prove the contrary: the gifted and witty author wrote good Latin and poetry; when the text is un-Latin and absurd, it is the scribe’s (or scribes’) fault, not the author’s. The mistakes in our papyrus codex suggests that the scribe was not quite conversant with Latin and that he may have had little understanding of what he wrote. Remarkably enough most lines he writes do not coincide with the poem’s hexameters, though the text he copied seems to have been written κατὰ στίχον ἑξάμετρον.2 Without the passages which, in the transmitted and uncorrected text, offer good or excellent Latin and poetry, one might rightly object that emending the text and then claiming that its author is competent involves circular reasoning. But this is not the case and any editor who accepts an absurd and/or incorrect text must account for the fact that elsewhere the author is competent or even very competent. If the qualification “exercice scolaire” aims at claiming presumably wrong or suspect readings as failures of the author, then it must be firmly rejected. A reader of classical Latin poetry may query dactylic edoce (6) and iambic para (26),3 but this does not amount to much.4 Pyrrhic para reminds one of the old “Iambenkürzung”;5 it is by no means certain that the true reading is not <m>e doce (contrast latē 56). At 88-89, nec timida tractare manu, ?sudare? fa<u>i<l>las | unguento, the nearest correction udare entails hiatus, not unexampled in the body of “correct” Latin poetry6 and in the admittedly correctly transmitted text of Alcestis: iactat membra toro et fletibus atria conplet (22);7 Si sine lumine ero, aliquid tamen esse uidebor (35). The transmitted text offers another case of hiatus at 68, fleuit Ityn Progne et colligit illa cruentum, but the tense and meaning of colligit do not fit (Procne did not collect the limbs of Itys whom she had dismembered) and the line certainly harbours corruption: I suggest fleuit Ityn Procne quem coxerat8 ipsa cruenta.9 If this poem really is an “exercice”, it is in my view a very successful one, one of a competent poet and writer. Revisiting the carefully composed piece and indulging in a now unfashionable “Westphalian”10 study of literary “economy”, I realised that the hexameter poem (unsurprisingly in the case of a poem dealing with the story of Alcestis11) imitates the division of a drama into five acts: I) 11 + 9 lines, Admetus asks Apollo what is in store for him and Apollo answers that Admetus may escape his incoming death if he finds somebody to die in his place; II) 11 + 11 lines (actually 10 lines and a half), his father asks Admetus why he is crying, Admetus answers and asks his father if he is ready to die instead of him; the father says no and accounts shrewdly and calmly for his answer; III) 28 lines (actually 28 and a half), Admetus asks his mother and she also says no but states her case angrily and offensively; IV) 34 lines (three groups, 12 + 10 + 12), Admetus’ wife says yes unhesitatingly; V) 20 lines, the poet narrates Alcestis’ death. One could also identify an introduction and a conclusion (20 lines each) and a three-part main body, 82 lines, 20 1/2 + 28 1/2 + 34, an illustration of Behaghel’s “Gesetz der wachsenden Glieder” (extended to larger components) in which the mother’s selfishness and the wife’s devotion are efficaciously contrasted with each other. All this may well be too much for a schoolboy in later Roman Egypt, even if one remembers the very young Arthur Rimbaud’s admirable Latin poems. Note the apparently unnoticed hellenizing use of cerno at l. 47, tu, scelerate, potes materna cernere morte, “you wicked, can you see the light of day if you buy it with the death of your mother?”. Nocchi Macedo accepts the correction maternam cernere mortem, but this “Verschlimmbesserung” makes poor sense: the author, presumably living in partly Greek-speaking Egypt, possibly imitated the well-known brachylogy βλέπω meaning φάος βλέπω, viz. uiuo.12 Nisbet’s ingenious suggestion materna uiuere morte may be unnecessary. Instead of an “exercice scolaire” I would rather suppose a successful attempt, no αὐτοσχεδίασμα, by a professional poet who used his skill and learning (he e.g. knows Propertius’ regina elegiarum13) to commend the boundless commitment of a wife to her husband. It is true that parts III, IV and V may seem to contain unnecessary lines and display increasing rhetorical self-complacency, whereas parts I and II seem to show a pithy and elegant breuitas. The interesting use of transitive inproperans (46) – a word already in Petronius, 38.11 – meaning inprobans is one of the few items which point to later Latin, so that one has to admit that heavy corruption took place in an unknown but comparatively short lapse of time. The text of Alcestis had already suffered before being copied by the scribe of our papyrus codex. Such rapid corruption is by no means unique and illustrates the fact, well-known to Plato scholars,14 that good medieval manuscripts may offer a much better text than an ancient papyrus, even when the date of the writing of the papyrus is near the date of the composition of the text. How near? I think it is impossible to tell. Sure if this were a faulty “exercice scolaire”, it could well antedate the papyrus by only a few years. But this is no “exercice scolaire”. One of the very different texts copied by the same and one scribe in the same papyrus codex (pp. 5-47; 02921.100 MP3) is Cicero, In Catilinam, 1.6-9, 13-33 and book 2, so that one cannot base on the contents of the papyrus book the idea that Alcestis is a fourth-century poem, which it may be, but I think one cannot rule an earlier date out.

  • 15 L. Zurli, Il limen (sottile) tra congettura e restituzione. Sulla validità delle congetture ritenut (...)
  • 16 My supplement at CLE 2481,1, moenia quisque [f]acit, famae et[ernae studet ille], is replaced by fa (...)

3The level of corruption of parts of the poem is such that no restitution of the entire piece may hope to reach certainty and meet with general approval. Nevertheless a tentative restitution of the whole poem is I believe worth proposing for it gives an idea of what the poet wrote or may have written. Now this cannot be achieved by a nearly diplomatic text or even by one which stands mid-way between nearly diplomatic transcription and tentative restitution. I offer below a new attempt for anyone interested to ponder over. It is I believe an improvement on my 1998 text, which was meant to provide the French public with a provisory and readable text of Alcestis Barcinonensis. A quarter of a century has elapsed and I think that, in spite of recent Covid affecting my intellectual capacity, I am now aware of textual issues which I had missed and of my sometimes resorting to rewriting when textual corruption could have been emended away less violently. Nevertheless the level of corruption of the text is sometimes so high that only bold remedies are at hand, if one wants to offer more than palaeographical stop-gaps, I mean emendations which follow the ductus litterarum at the cost of diction and sense. I readily grant that some emendations I accept are not definitive: let others find better.15 My point is that the difficulty of recovering the truth should not be used as a pretext for keeping or defending nonsensical or ungrammatical readings. Sure, the author of a very thorough and competent critical commentary (none exists as far as the Alcestis is concerned) may usefully print a conservative text and explain why it cannot be what the author wrote and discuss more or less plausible emendations, but then the ordinary reader cannot form an idea of what the original as a whole looked or may have looked like. I would less hesitatingly claim that many emendations I adopt are so obvious and necessary improvements that whoever checks them against the transmitted corrupt readings will find them justified or at least will understand why I adopt them and what they are meant to put right, but now less than ever in the history of classical scholarship can one expect the obvious to be obvious, Latin (or Greek) prosody or metre to be known or cared for,16 basic grammar and ordinary diction to be mastered, to say nothing of the unwritten laws of logic. All this is becoming a very serious hindrance and threat to the pursuit and acknowledgement of truth in the field of textual criticism and more generally “Altertumswissenschaft”. I nevertheless proceed with the examination of selected passages, some involving less obvious issues and solutions, beginning with part I, which perhaps includes the most difficult cruces in the whole poem. I start from Nocchi Macedo’s text and French translation. The reader is kindly asked to check the text and apparatus criticus which follows this discussion.

PART I

1-11

  • 17 See Eur., Andr., 296 παρὰ θεσπεσίωι δάφναι; Callim., in Apoll. hymn., 1-2 and in Delum hymn., 94; C (...)
  • 18 See K. Rossberg, Materialien zu einem Commentar ueber die Orestis Tragoedia des Dracontius, I, Hild (...)
  • 19 I follow an oral suggestion of J. Cornillon.
  • 20 TLL 10.1.129,29 (Cornelia Zäch, 1982) seems to admit this confusion at Verg. aen. 8.197, foribusque (...)
  • 21 Compare Eur., Alc., 623-634, πάσαις δ’ ἔθηκεν εὐκλεέστερον βίον | γυναιξίν, ἔργον τλᾶσα γενναῖον τό (...)

4He accepts laurusque tuo de nomine tectas (2) and translates “ainsi que les lauriers protégés par ton nom”, which does not in my view make sense: Apollo’s laurels are famously prophetic17 and I am fairly confident that the author wrote or may have written laurusque tuo de numine doctas, “and the laurels which owe their knowledge to your divine power”. This use of de is notoriously characteristic of later Latin.18 Further Nocchi Macedo prints cui (qui pap.) me post fata relinquam (5), “(fais-moi connaître) à qui, après l’accomplissement de mon destin, je m’abandonnerai”, which I consider as meaningless. According to him, sidereas animus quando ibit in auras depends on edoce, “enseigne-moi quand mon âme ira dans les airs étoilés”. I am afraid that this is a misunderstanding of the grammatical construction: quando ibit is not on the same footing as quando rumpant (3-4) and it is no indirect interrogation but means “at the time when my spirit goes”. In fact edoce is to be referred to what precedes, not to what follows. Rightly understood, the text seems to imply some such a contrast:19 “tell me what will happen after my death to my memory on earth, at the time when my spirit goes to the sky (sidereas oras, seemingly more plausible than the transmitted siderea<s> auras)”. This could be expressed by quid mea post fata relinquam or (more elegantly) mea quid post fata relinquam (cf. 83 post mea fata). Note that Alcestis also cares for her memory after death: Quod morior, laus magna mihi post funera restat. | Non ero, sed factum totis narrabitur aeuis | et coniunx pia semper ero (76-78, our text). The following lines (7-11), as transmitted and barely improved by Nocchi Macedo, are extremely difficult: Quamuis scire homini, sit prospera uita futuri, | tormentum sit, <an> atra dies et pallida uita, | ede tamen, si te colui famulumque pauentem | succepi pecudumque ducem post crimina diuum | accepi iussi<que> idem dare iubila siluis. I wonder how quamuis scire homini, sit prospera uita futuri, | tormentum sit (7-8) can mean “quoique, pour un homme, savoir si sa vie future sera heureuse soit un tourment”: this would require futura, not futuri. Mark that repeated sit is extremely awkward. The addition of an (8) enables Nocchi Macedo to consider sit prospera uita futuri as the first part of the indirect interrogation, but “it is hard for a man to know if his future life will be happy or if the day will be dark and the life pale” is irrelevant because Admetus is not asking Apollo whether his life will be happy or not but whether he is to die or not. Consequently Admetus must say that he wants to know whether he is about to die even if it is torture for a man whose life is happy to know the future (because he would love his happy earthly life to last for ever and knows that death will put an end to it). I have no doubt that this is what the author meant, though it may seem difficult to fit this meaning into the Latin. The original meaning and construction of atra dies et pallida uita are not obvious. I guess Admetus means that when you have a happy life, to know what anyway lays in store for you, viz. death, saddens your life. Atra dies very neatly means “a sad life”, but pallida uita hardly fits. I suggest pallida may be a not unknown slip for squal(l)ida.20 My attempt is quamuis scire homini, si prospera uita, futurum, | tormentum sit et atra dies et squalida uita, | ede tamen etc., “though for a man, if his life is prosperous, to know the future is a torture and his day is (then) dark and his life worthless, nevertheless tell me the truth”. If I am right, the author of this poem may interestingly have believed that a dead man’s soul goes back to the sky but that a man who enjoys a happy life on earth could not expect to find any sort of similar personal happiness after death. Alcestis later (76-78) acknowledges that the only thing she can expect after death is the earthly fame of her sacrifice.21

12-20

5Admetus may escape death if he finds somebody lumina pro te | qui claudat fatoque tuo tumuloque cremetur. Cremetur hardly fits fato tuo and does not fit tumulo (tuo) at all: prematur (Nisbet), which is very near, is palmary. Cremetur may be due both to cl(audat) and to the death of Alcestis as described below, 114, arsurosque omnes secum subponit odores. The mistake quae for qui (20) is also an anticipation of Alcestis’ sacrifice. Prematur pointedly picks claudat (“close one’s eyes”, viz. “die”) up.

PART II

  • 22 See Eur., Alc., 685-689. Angry Admetus tells his father εἰ δ’ ἀπειπεῖν χρῆν με κηρύκων ὕπο | τὴν σὴ (...)
  • 23 See Eur., Alc., 649-650, βραχὺς δέ σοι | πάντως ὁ λοιπὸς ἦν βιώσιμος χρόνος; 692-693, ἦ μὴν πολύν γ (...)
  • 24 See W. Heraeus, Die Sprache des Petronius und die Glossen, Leipzig 1899, 46 = Kleine Schriften, Hei (...)

6Admetus’ very old father would be ready to sacrifice for his son’s sake his eyes or one of his hands but not whatever length of life he still can enjoy: Si lumina poscas, | concedam gratamque manum de corpore nostro, | nate, uelis, tribuam: uiuet manus altera mecum (32-34). Altera points to the old father having mentioned the left or the right hand, more probably the latter, because he insists on his being ready for some sort of serious sacrifice, though not for the one he is asked. Now gratam would be an implausibly indirect and obscure way of meaning the right hand and I suspect gratam is a “Perseverationsfehler” due to 14, gratamque relinquere lucem. Why should the father give his remaining life to his son? Quapropter? Quia regna dedi tibi, castra reliqui, | con<ten>tus tantum uitae qua[m] dulcior ulla[m] | nil mihi (38-40). I hold that the at least superfluous quia expelled the word with which tibi was in sharp and very welcome contrast, that is mea.22 I am ready to accept the later Latin construction of contentus with genitive but I am unable to concile with the Latin text N. M.’s translation “uniquement content de la vie, rien ne m’étant plus doux”. Dulcius is an obvious and necessary emendation. But what are we to do with ulla? It can neither, as nominative (ulla sc. uita), coexist with nil nor, as an ablative with qua, mean quantacumque, “than which, no matter how long it may be, nothing is sweeter to me”, or quantulacumque, “however limited”. Qua dulcius nil una (Hutchinson), which I formerly accepted without translating it, is worse than a mere verse-filler: it is virtually impossible. That is why I suggest uitaeoffla/ofla: “only content with a crumb of life than which nothing is sweeter to me”.23 Offla (three times in Petronius,24 once in the insulting phrase crucis offla, 58.2, “chip of the cross”, “gallows-bird”) is a contracted form of offula (TLL 9.2.530.46-80), a diminutive of offa meaning a small round piece of meat, bread etc. Figurate use of offa itself seems extremely rare, but Persius is not shy to say quantas robusti carminis offas | ingeris, ut par sit centeno gutture niti? (5.5-6), which Sidonius, a reader of Persius, may have remembered when he wrote cumque frusta diuersa (sc. carminis) quasi per iocum effunderent (epist. 1.11.3).

PART III

  • 25 There are still many undetected glosses in our classical texts. See Eur., Alc., 965-972, κρεῖσσον ο (...)
  • 26 One finds two final disyllables preceded by a monosyllable (prepositive or not) at 69 uel uagus aer(...)
  • 27 A very striking amplification of Horace’s debemur morti nos nostraque (ars, 63). One is reminded of (...)
  • 28 Compare Eur., Alc., 12-14, ἤινεσαν δέ μοι θεαί | Ἄδμητον Ἅιδην τὸν παραυτίκ’ ἐκφυγεῖν, | ἄλλον διαλ (...)
  • 29 Compare Eur., Alc., 204-205, παρειμένη δέ, χειρὸς ἄθλιον βάρος | … | ὅμως δὲ καίπερ σμικρόν ἐμπνέου (...)
  • 30 Compare Eur., Alc., 201, κλαίει γ’ ἄκοιτιν ἐν χεροῖν φίλην ἔχων.

7The mistake which I postulate at 45, nec pietate nocens nec uincitur, inproba, fletu, for nec pietate parens nec uincitur inproba fletu is difficult to account for but nocens is much worse than otiose: perhaps somebody who did not understand that one has to construe inproba parens looked for a participle synonymous with and symmetrical to inproba. Admetus’ mother asks him “Oblitus mente parentum | tu, scelerate, potes materna cernere morte?” (46-47), “forgetting mentally your parents, you wicked, can you see the light of day if you buy it with the death of your mother?”. Oblitus mente parentum for oblita mente parentum seems implausibly awkward, but is “forgetting your parents” fully satisfactory? What one expects is “forgetting that you owe your life to those begot you”. Parentum seems too weak to carry this meaning: did the gloss parentum expel creantum?25 At 50-51 I postulate a remarkable mistake, hostismeae? lucis, | hostis, nate, patris, for hostis genetricis, nate, tuae. I consider hostis mihi lucis (Marcovich) as nothing more than a way of mending the wrong quantity. This poet does not seem to end the line with three disyllables26 and hostis mihi lucis is very poor diction, especially when hostis patris follows. Meae lucis may be an unmetrical rewriting of a misunderstood original reading, genetricis, which I believe calls for tuae instead of patris. One might object that parentum supports patris but here Admetus’ mother considers her son’s disrespect of uterum quod te peperit (49-50) and I think there is no point for the father to be mentioned. Admetus’ mother is supposed to ask her son cur metui<s> mortem, cui nascimur?27 (53), but what she blames him for is not fearing death but trying to escape it, that is refugis,28 which I adopt and is pointedly picked up by effuge in the same line: death will find Admetus wherever he flees to escape it. I would not compare 119, coniugis in gremium refugit fugientis imago, for there fugientis sc. Alcestis is totally otiose: this “Perseverationsfehler” seemingly expelled a participle construed with coniugis sc. Admeti, perhaps lacrimantis (“no more than a shadow,29 she took shelter in the bosom of her crying husband”30), but there are of course other possible verbs. There is a kind of non sequitur between cur metuis mortem and “you may flee wherever you like: death will find you there”, which calls for refugis.

  • 31 Perhaps nouis iterum succingitur armis. CLE 1549,5 (held to belong to the second century AD), adiec (...)
  • 32 TLL 2.590.73 adds Ennod., carm., 2.18.1-2 (In missorio quod habet loricatum iuuenem super equum ten (...)

8The mention of the phoenix, ubi barbarus ales | nascitur adquenobis iteratum cingitur urbis† (55-56), is unfortunately corrupt. I formerly (1998) resorted to extensive rewriting, eque toris renouatus surgitur ustis, but I now prefer to follow the apices litterarum more closely, even if I am not sure that I can thus recover the original reading: atque nouis iteratum31 cingitur armis, “and is again equipped with new weaponry”, that is new wings. For this use of arma, see Ov., ars, 2.50, haec umeris arma parata suis (Icarus’).32 Reposcunt is an obvious emendation for the unmetrical deposcunt at 64, Cur ego de nato doleam quem fata deposcunt?, but is Admetus’ mother so hateful as to wonder why she should lament her son’s death? There is an obvious non sequitur between cur ego de nato non doleam… and the following line Cur ego non plangam, sicut planxere priores? I think Admetus’ mother asks why on earth she should die instead of her son and not rather lament his death as other legendary women did their son. De nato doleam must have replaced pro nato peream through a kind of “Antizipationsfehler” due to 92, nec doleam de me quod uitam desero pro te.

PART IV

9The repetition of uinco at 75, si uinco matrem, uinco pietate parentis, and the absurdity of parentis point to another reading of the line: sic uinco matrem, uinco pietate parentem. It is very plausible for Alcestis to say proudly “thus I surpass a mother, I surpass a father as far as pietas is concerned” after stating that she wants to give her life to her husband. Si at 76, Si mo<r>ior, laus magna mei or rather mihi, is less offensive than si at 75, but Alcestis has already decided to sacrifice herself and si wrongly suggests that she is still weighing the pros and cons. That is why I read quod morior: “because I die great glory awaits me”. I construe post funera nostra with laus magna mihi, not with what follows, because I consider the statement post funera nostra non ero as unworthy of this poet. But nostra is weak and one misses a verb; restat (Nisbet) mends both defects: quod morior, laus magna mihi post funera restat. Many print non tristior atros aspiciam uultus (78-79). Whose face is it? That of Admetus or of other relatives? Does atros mean “pale because of death” or “sad”? Where in Latin literature are uultus said to be atri? In fact atros points to mourning clothing, cultus (Nisbet). But it would be almost ridiculous for Alcestis to say that her sacrifice prevents her from seeing her own bereavement dresses or those of her relatives; she must say that she will be prevented from wearing such dresses, non accipiam (Goodyear).

PART V

  • 33 De te = a te, “originating from you” (see Meridan Burgess 1966, 36-40).
  • 34 Ultima is very idiomatic: see my note on Valerius Flaccus, 5,226 (II, Paris, 2002, 171).
  • 35 Parker 2007, 108 notes J. Racine’s translation.
  • 36 See Wilamowitz 19062, 78-79.
  • 37 Thanatos, Berlin, 1879, 34-36. He mentions Wilamowitz’ Ἅιδαν, an emendation in my judgment not wort (...)
  • 38 Euripide, Alceste, Paris, 1891, 31, adopting a dubious conjecture of his based on a variant reading (...)
  • 39 Perhaps simply ἤδη: see 216-217, καὶ μέλανα στολμὸν πέπλων | ἀμφιβαλώμεθ’ ἤδη;; 266 μέθετε μέθετέ μ (...)
  • 40 There is no warrant for A. M. Dale’s suggestion, favourably viewed by Parker 2007, 228, that “‘host (...)
  • 41 See Wilamowitz 19062, 79 n. 1.

10Not a few corruptions mar the last lines. That in 107, Plangere saepe iubet sese natosque uirumque, is the ugliest because it misrepresents Alcestis’ ethos: the woman who said to her husband de te33 sic nullas habeat mors ista querellas: | non pereo nec enim morior; me, crede, reseruo, | quae tibi tam similes natos moritura relinquo (95-97) cannot repeatedly ask her loved ones to keep lamenting her death. A “polar error” changed uetat into iubet. The last line, infernusque deus claudet *** membra sopore, is also corrupt. It is not enough to emend claudet (wrong word, wrong tense) into condit and to supply the missing three-letter word between condit and membra. Sopore must mean death but for that it needs an epithet, aeterno, which may have been first corrupted to aeternus and then to infernus. Compare CLE 2099,1 (between 401 and 499 AD, France, Aquitania, Lugdunum Conuenarum), Nymfius aeterno deuinctus membra sopore. The ablative aeterno also improves the structure of the imbalanced line, which is as bad as 31, digneris natoque tuo concedere lucem, where tuam is an obviously right emendation of the otiose tuo. We are no longer left with the unexpected infernus deus but deus is still odd. I suspect that the preceding mors ultima34 is the subject of condit and that deus replaced e.g. semel “once for all”. Alcestis mentions Porthmeus: Me trade sepulcris, | me portet nigro melius uelamine Porthmeus (81-82) = Eur., Alc., 253-255, νεκύων δὲ πορθμεὺς | ἔχων χέρ’ ἐπὶ κοντῶι Χάρων | μ’ ἤδη καλεῖ.35 Who is the infernus deus I suppress? It cannot be Mors, who would be dea.36 Is he Hades? One might adduce Eur., Alc., 259-262, ἄγει μ’ ἄγει τις, ἄγει μέ τις (οὐχ | ὁρᾶις;) νεκύων ἐς αὐλάν, | ὑπ’ ὀφρύσι κυαναυγὲς βλέπων | <⏑ –> πτερωτὸς Ἅιδας. But Death, not Hades is winged and it is not easy to concile the repeated τις with Ἅιδας. It follows that Ἅιδας is suspect; it seems, as Carl Robert,37 Wilamowitz and Henri Weil38 thought, to have replaced another reading.39 This is corroborated by what Apollo declares in the prologue, ἤδη δὲ τόνδε Θάνατον εἰσορῶ πέλας, | ἱερέα θανόντων, ὅς νιν εἰς Ἅιδου δόμους | μέλλει κατάξειν (24-26), and what Admetus states later, τοῖον ὅμηρόν μ’ ἀποσυλήσας | Ἅιδηι Θάνατος παρέδωκεν (870-871), “such is the life pledge40 (Alcestis) I was robbed of when Death consigned her to Hades”. I suggest that infernus deus is not more genuine in our poem than Ἅιδας in Euripides’ line. The scribe or reader who I surmise introduced the infernus deus may have taken him to be Orcus.41

Nocchi Macedo’s text and ours

I) 20 v. (11 + 9)

1111v. <Admetus Apollinem adloquitur>

« Praescie lauripotens, Latonie, Deli<e>, Paean, « Praescie lauripotens, Latonie, Delie, Paean,
inuoco te laurusque tuo de nomine tectas: inuoco te laurusque tuo de numine doctas:
?Apollo? da scire diem, da noscere quando <uaticinans> da scire diem, da noscere quando
rumpant Admeti fatalia fila Sorores, rumpant Admeti fatalia fila Sorores;
quae finis uitae, cui me post fata relinquam, 5 quae finis uitae, mea quid post fata relinquam,
edoce, siderea<s> animus quando ibit in auras. edoce, sidereas animus quando ibit in oras.
Quamuis scire homini, sit prospera uita futuri, Quamuis scire homini, si prospera uita, futurum
tormentum sit, <an> atra dies et pallida uita tormentum sit et atra dies et squalida uita,
ede tamen, si te colui famulumque pauentem ede tamen, si te colui famulumque pauentem
succepi pecudumque ducem post crimina diuum 10 succepi pecudumque ducem post crimina diuum
accepi iussi<que> idem dare iubila siluis ». accepi iussique idem dare iubila siluis ».

12Selecta tantum abiectis quisquiliis enotantur. Emendationum ab omnibus aut ab ipso Nocchi Macedo receptarum auctores perraro nominantur. Nominatur autem unus tantum e pluribus qui in idem commentum simul paene inciderunt. 1 Delie Paean : DOLIPIANT | 2 QUEM TUUS | numine Parsons : NOMINE | doctas Lib. 1998 : TECTAS || 3 uaticinans Lib. || 5 mea (Lebek) quid (Roca-Puig) post fata Lib. : QUI ME POST FATA | RELINQUA{NT}M || 6 AEDOCE : me doce Lebek | ANIMUM | ibit Führer : LUIT || 7 HOMINIS | si Lib. : SIT | futurum Lib. 1998 : FUTURI || 8 sit et atra Lib. : SIT ATRA || squalida Lib. : PALLIDA || 9 SI NON TE COLUI || 10 CRIMINE || 11 IUSSI, ut dominus famulum. Vide Eur., Alc., 572-573, ἔτλα δὲ σοῖσι μηλοβότας (μηλονόμας codd., correxi) | ἐν νομοῖς (δόμοις codd., corr. Pierson) γενέσθαι, et K. O. Müller, Prolegomena zu einer wissenschaftlichen Mythologie, Göttingen, 1825, 306-307.

139 v. <Apollo Admetum adloquitur>

Praescius <h>eu Paean: « Doleo, sed uera fatebo<r>: Praescius hic Paean: « Doleo, sed uera fatebor:
mors uicina premit maestumque Acheronis adire, mors uicina premit maestique Acherontis adire
iam prope regna tibi gratamque relinquere lucem. iam prope regna tibi gratamque relinquere lucem.
Sed ueniat pro te qui mortis damna subire 15 Sed, ueniat pro te qui mortis damna subire
possit et instantis in se conuertere casus possit et instantis in se conuertere casus,
tu poteris posthac alieno uiuere fato. tu poteris posthac alieno uiuere fato.
Iam tibi cum genitor, genetrix cum car<a> supersit Iam tibi cum genitor, genetrix cum cara supersit
et coniux natique rudes, pete lumina pro te et coniux natique rudes, pete lumina pro te
qui claudat fatoque tuo tumuloque cremetur ». 20 qui claudat fatoque tuo tumuloque prematur ».

1412 hic Parsons : EU || PIAN | sed : SEO || 13 MORS INQUID UICINAM | maestique Hutchinson : MAESTUMQUE | ACHERONIS || 15 SUBIRET || 16 CASUM || 18 CUM GENITUM || 20 qui : QUAE | prematur Nisbet : CREMETUR.

II) 21 1/2 v.

1511 v. <Pater pro Admeto nato suo mori non uult>

Ille larem post dicta petit maestumque beato Ille larem post dicta petit maestusque beato
iactat membra toro et fletibus atria conplet. iactat membra toro et fletibus atria conplet.
Ad natum genitor triste concurrit et alto Ad natum genitor tristem concurrit et alto
pectore suspirans lacrimarum causa<m> requirit. pectore suspirans, lacrimis quae causa, requirit.
Edocet ille patrem fatorum damna Sororum: 25 Edocet ille patrem fatorum damna suorum:
« Me rapit ecce d<i>es genitor, para funera nato. « Me rapit ecce dies, genitor, para funera nato.
Hoc Parcae docuere nefas, hoc noster Apollo Hoc Parcae neuere nefas, hoc noster Apollo
inuitus, pater, edocuit. Se<d> reddere uitam inuitus, pater, edocuit. Sed reddere uitam
tu, genitor, tu, san<c>te, potes, si tempora dones, tu, genitor, tu, sancte, potes, si tempora donas,
si pro me mortem subitam tumulosque subire. 30 si pro me mortem subitam tumulosque subire
digne<ri>s natoque tuo concedere lucem ». dignaris natoque tuam concedere lucem ».

1621 maestus Parsons : MESTUM || 21-22 a beatis… toris hiatus uitandi causa emendando caui, nescio an non recte || 23 tristem Parsons: TRISTE || 24 lacrimis quae causa Parsons : LACRIMARUM CAUSA | REQUERET || 25 suorum Lebek : SORORUM || 26 ECCE UIDES | PARA : probe Lebek || 27 HOC… NEFAS : has… neces Lib. | neuere Shackleton Bailey : DOCUERE || 29 GENITUR | SANETE | donas Lib. : DONES || 30 SUBITAM, an propter SUBIRE ? : monitam Lib. 1998 (« mortem cuius Apollo me monuit ») uel potius properam idem nunc. Caue ne subitam tuearis coll. Eur., Alc., 12-14, ἤινεσαν δέ μοι θεαί | Ἄδμητον Ἅιδην τὸν παραυτίκ’ ἐκφυγεῖν, | ἄλλον διαλλάξαντα τοῖς κάτω νεκρόν | TUMULIS || 31 dignaris Lib. : DIGNEOS | tuam Lebek : TUO.

17101/2 v. <Admetus patrem suum adit>

Hic genitor, non ut genitor: « Si lumina poscas, Hic genitor, non ut genitor: « Si lumina poscas,
concedam, gratamque manum de corpore nostro, concedam, dextramque manum de corpore nostro,
nate, uelis, tribuam: uiuet manus altera mecum. nate, uelis, tribuam: uiuet manus altera mecum.
Si sine lumine <e>ro, aliquid tamen esse uidebor. 35 Si sine lumine ero, aliquid tamen esse uidebor.
Nil ero, si qu<o>d sum donauero. Quanta senectae Nil ero, si quod sum donauero. Quanta senectae
uita meae superest, minimam uis tollere uitam? extremae superest, minimam uis tollere uitam?
Quapropter? Quia regna dedi tibi, castra reliqui, Quapropter? Mea regna dedi tibi, castra reliqui,
con<ten>tus tantum uitae qua dulcior ulla contentus tantum uitae qua dulcius ofla
nil mihi. Post mortem quam tu si reddere uelles, 40 nil mihi. Quam tu si post mortem reddere posses,
nate, tibi concessissem tumulosque <h>abitasse<m> nate, tibi concessissem tumulosque habitassem
uisurus post fata diem ». uisurus post fata diem ».

1832 GENITOR GENS SI || 33 dextram Lib. : GRATAM || 34 UELLIS || 36 NIHIL | SI CUT SUM || 37 extremae Nisbet (cf. Eur., Alc., 649-650) : UITAE MEAE | uitam : USTAM || 38 QUEMPROPTER | mea Hutchinson : QUEA | REGNAM | dedi : DEDS | RELINQUI || 39 contentus tantum Shackleton Bailey : CONTUS TANTTUM | QUAM | dulcius Hutchinson : DULCIOR | ofla Lib. : ULLAM || 40 quam tu si post mortem Lib. 1998 : P. M. Q. T. S. | posses Hutchinson : UELLIS || 41 tibi : TUO | CONCESSISSESEM ED TUMULUSQUE | habitassem Lebek : ABITASSE : fort. subissem coll. 30 tumulosque subire.

III) 281/2 v. <Admetus matrem suam adit>

        Pulsus genetricis         Pulsus genetricis
uoluitur ante pedes, uestigia blandus adorat uoluitur ante pedes, uestigia blandus adorat
inque sinus fundit lacrimam. Fugit illa rogantem inque sinus fundit lacrimas. Fugat illa rogantem
nec pietate nocens nec uincitur, inproba, fletu, 45 nec pietate parens nec uincitur inproba fletu,
haec super inproperans: « Oblitus mente parentum haec super inproperans: « Oblita mente creantum
tu, scelerate, potes materna<m> cernere morte<m>? tu, scelerate, potes materna cernere morte,
Tu tumulis gaudere meis? Haec ubera flammae tu tumulis gaudere meis? Haec ubera flammae
diripia<n>t uterum<que> cogis, uis, ultimus ignis diripiant uterumque rogi uis ultimus ignis
consumat, quod te peperi<t>, hostis †meae† lucis 50 consumat, quod te peperit, genetricis
hostis, nate, patris. Vitam concedere uellem hostis, nate, tuae. Vitam concedere uellem
si semper posses aeternam sede<m> morari. si semper posses terrena in sede morari.
Cur metui<s> mortem, cui nascimur? Effuge longe, Cur refugis mortem, cui nascimur? Effuge longe,
quo Part<h>us, quo Medus, Arabs ubi barbarus ales quo Parthus, quo Medus, Arabs, ubi barbarus ales
nascitur adque nobis iteratum †cingitur† urbis: 55 nascitur atque nouis iteratum cingitur armis;
illic, nate, late <…> te tua fata sequentur. illic, nate, late: tete tua fata sequentur.
Perpetuum nihil est, nihil est sine morte creatum: Perpetuum nihil est, nihil est sine morte creatum:
lux rapitur et nox oritur, moriuntur et anni. lux rapitur et nox moritur, moriuntur et anni.
Non est terra locos quos egenerauerat ante? Nonne est terra locos quos egenerauerat ante?
Ipse pater mundi fertur tumulatus abisse. 60 Ipse pater mundi fertur tumulatus abisse
et frater Stygium regnum multatus obisse. et fratris Stygium regnum mutatus obisse.
Bacc<h>um fama refert <T>itanide <de> arte perisse Bacchum fama refert Titanum de arte perisse
per uada <…> Lethi Cererem Veneremque subisse. perque uadum Lethes Cererem Veneremque subisse.
Cur ego de nato doleam quem fata †deposcunt†? Cur ego pro nato peream quem fata reposcunt?
Cur ego non plangam, sicut planxere priores? 65 Cur ego non plangam, sicut planxere priores?
Amisit natum Diomede, carpsit Agaue, Amisit natum Diomede, carpsit Agaue,
perdidit Alt<ha>ea natum, dea perdedit Ino, perdidit Althaea natum, dea perdidit Ino,
fleuit Ityn Progne et colligit illa cruentum. fleuit Ityn Procne quem coxerat ipsa cruenta.
Labuntur, †pr<a>ecedunt†, moriuntur, contumulantur 70 Nam quaecumque gerit tellus, mare uel uagus aer,
Nam qu<a>ecumque †legit illius†, uel uagus aer ». 69 labuntur, pereunt, moriuntur, contumulantur ».

1942 PULSUSQUE || 43 DANTE | UDULANDUS || 44 lacrimas Lebek : LACRIMUM || fugat Lib. (cf. TLL 6.1.1501.63-74) : FUGIT. Verbum respuendi sensus postulat || 45 PIETATEM | parens Watt : NOCENS | FLETUS || 46 oblita mente Hutchinson : OBLITUS MENTE | creantum Lib. : PARENTUM || 47 uiuere Nisbet || 48 GAUDERE sc.‘uita frui per mortem meam’ : florere Lib., ‘θάλλειν ἐμοῦ θανούσης’ || 49 diripiant Hutchinson : DERIPIAT | rogi Parsons : COGIS || 50 genetricis Lebek : MEAE LUCIS || 51 NATAE | tuae Lib. : PATRIS || 52 posses : POSSIS | terrena in sede Shackleton Bailey : AETERNAM SEDE || 53 refugis Lib. : METUI | MORTEM QUI CUI || 54 PARTUSQUE MEDUS || 55 atque nouis (nouis Parsons) iteratum cingitur uel iterum succingitur armis (i. e. alis) Lib. : ADQUE NOBIS ITERATUM CINGITUR URBIS || 56 tete Lib. : TE || 58 moritur Lebek : ORITUR || 59 nonne Marcovich : NON | LOCUS | EGENERABUERAT || 61 fratris Roca-Puig : FRATRE | mutatus (sc. regione mutatus) Parsons : MULTATUS || 62 Titanum Parsons : ITAM || 63 perque uadum Lethes Parsons : PER UADA LECHI || 64 pro nato peream Lib. 1998 : DE NATO DOLEAM | reposcunt Lebek : DEPOSCUNT || 66 ADMISIT | DIOMEDES | ACATEM || 67 ALPEA | ION || 68 ETIN | PRIGNE | quem coxerat ipsa Lib. (conscidit Lib. 1998 ; ipsa iam Parsons) : ET COLLIGIT ILLA | cruenta Lib. 1998 : CRUENTUS : cruentum Parsons || 70-69 ordinem male traditum restituit Parsons || 70 gerit tellus, <mare> Parsons : LEGIT ILLIUS || 69 pereunt Nisbet : PRECEDUNT.

IV) 34 v. <Alcestis Admeti miseretur eumque pauca admonet et rogat>

2012 v.

Coniugis ut talis uidit †Peleide† fletus, Coniugis ut talis audit Pelia sata fletus,
« Me » inquit « trade †niquid†, me, coniux, trade sepulcris, » « me, inquit, trade neci, me, coniux, trade sepulcris,
exclamans, « concedo libens, ego tempora dono, exclamans, concedo libens, ego tempora dono,
Admete, uentura tibi, pro coniuge coniux. Admete, aduentura tibi, pro coniuge coniux.
Si uinco matrem, uinco pietate parentis, 75 Sic uinco matrem, uinco pietate parentem.
Si mo<r>ior, laus magna mei; post funera nostra Quod morior, laus magna mihi post funera restat.
non ero, sed factum totis narrabitur annis Non ero, sed factum totis narrabitur aeuis
et coniunx pia semper ero. Non tristior atros et coniunx pia semper ero. Non tristior atros
aspiciam uultus, non toto tempore flebo accipiam cultus, non toto tempore flebo
aut cineres seruabo tuos. Lacrimosa recedat 80 cum cineres seruabo tuos. Lacrimosa recedat
uita procul! Mors ista placet. Me trade sepulcris, uita procul! Mors ista placet. Me trade sepulcris,
me portet nigro melius uelamine Po<r>t<h>meus. me portet nigro melius uelamine Porthmeus.

2171 audit Lib. : UIDIT. Nec narrandi perfecto poeta utitur et uidendi uerbum hic parum aptum est | Pelia sata Lib. (Pelia iam Lebek) : PELEIDE | FLETUS : questus Lib. || 72 neci Lebek : NIQUID || 74 aduentura Marcovich olim : UENTURA || 75 sic Lebek olim : SI | parentem Hutchinson : PARENTIS || 76 quod Lib. : SI | morior : MEOR | mihi Hutchinson : MEI | funera restat Nisbet : FUNERE NOSTRO || 77 aeuis Lib. 1998 (cf. TLL I.1168.84-1169.18) : ANNIS || 78 TRUSTIOR | ATRUS || 79 accipiam Goodyear : ASPICIAM | cultus Nisbet : UULTUS || 80 cum Lib. : AUT : dum Marcovich, in quod potius seruo quam seruabo quadrat | RECEDAM || 81 PROCUM.

2210 v.

Hoc tantum moritura rogo, ne, post mea fata, Hoc tantum moritura rogo, ne, post mea fata,
dulcior ulla tibi, uestigia ne mea coniux dulcior ulla tibi, uestigia ne mea coniux
carior ista tegat. Et tu me nomine tantum 85 carior ipsa legat. Nec tu me nomine tantum
ne cole meque puta tecum sub nocte iacere. percole meque puta tecum sub nocte iacere.
In gremio cineris nostros dignare tenere In gremio cineris nostros dignare tenere
nec timida tractare manu, †sudare† fa<u>i<l>las nec timida tractare manu, udare fauillas
unguento titulumque nouo pr<a>ecingere flore. unguento titulumque nouo praecingere flore.
Si redeunt umbrae, ueniam tecum †sub nocte iacebo†. 90 Si redeunt umbrae, ueniam tecumque iacebo.
Qualiscumque tamen coniux ne desera<r > a te Qualiscumque tamen coniux ne deserar a te
nec doleam de me quod uitam desero pro te. nec doleam de me quod uitam desero pro te.

2385 ipsa Watt: ISTA | legat Lebek : TEGAT | nec Lib. (‘et tu me non nomine tantum percole meque puta tecum sub nocte iacere’) : ET || 86 percole Lib. : ME COLE || 87 dignare tenere Lebek : NEUEDIGNARETINERE || 88 udare Lib. 1998 : SUDARE || 89 UNGUENTUM || 90 tecumque iacebo Hutchinson : TECUM SUB NOCTE IACEBO || 91 intellege ‘qualiscumque coniux fui, tamen ne a te deserar’ ; qualiscumque (pereleganter dictum) = οἱαδήποτε οὖσα || 92 DEGERO.

2412 v.

Ante omnes commendo tibi pia pignora natos, Ante omnes commendo tibi pia pignora natos,
pignora quae solo de te fecunda creaui, pignora quae solo de te fecunda creaui.
de te: sic nullas habe<a>t mors ista querellas, 95 De te sic nullas habeat mors ista querellas:
non pereo nec enim morior: me, crede, reseruo non pereo nec enim morior; me, crede, reseruo,
quae tibi tam similes natos moritura relinquo, quae tibi tam similes natos moritura relinquo.
quos rogo ne paruos man<u>s †indigna nouercae† Quos rogo ne paruos manus unquam indigna nouercae
proderet et flentes matris pia uindicet umbra. uerberet et flentes matris pia uindicet umbra.
Si tibi dissimiles hoc, non mea dulcis imago 100 Hoc si dissimules, tum non mea dulcis imago
paulum no<c>te ueni<t>, et tu pro coniuge cara nocte ad te ueniet. Tu iam pro coniuge cara
disce mori, disce ex m<e> exempla (!) pietatis. disce mori, disce hoc ex exemplo pietatis.

2593 OMNEM || 95 sensus uerae structurae : ‘propterea ne a te eam propter mortem quam pro te subeo querelae ullae moueantur, quia re uera non morior’ | QUERELLAM || 96 PEREOR NEC ENIM MOREOR || 98 unquam add. Tandoi || 99 uerberet Nisbet (cf. Eur., Alc., 306-307) : PRODERENT || 100 hoc si dissimules (dissimules Marcovich olim), tum Lib. (sensus : ‘si hoc officium neglegas, tum’) : SI TIBI DISSIMILES HOC || 101 nocte (nocte iam Roca-Puig) ad te ueniet. Tu iam pro Lib., expulsa uocula paulum farciendi causa, ut saepius fit, inserta : PAULUM NOTE UENI TU PRO | cara Parsons : CARO || 102 hoc ex exemplo Lib. : EXM EXEMPLA.

V) 20 v. <Poeta Alcestis mortem narrat>

Iam uaga sideribus nox pingebatur et alis Iam uaga sideribus nox pingebatur et ales
rore soporifero conpleuer<a>t omnia somnus. rore soporifero conpleuerat omnia somnus.
Ad mortem properans in coniuge fixa iacebat. 105 Ad mortem properans in coniuge fixa iacebat
Alcestis lacrimasq<ue> peritura uidebat. Alcestis lacrimasque peritura uidebat.
Plangere saepe iubet sese natosque uirumque, Plangere saepe uetat sese natosque uirumque,
disponit famulos, conponit in ordine funus, disponit famulos, conponit in ordine funus,
l<a>eta sibi pictosque toros uariosque paones, strata parat pictosque toros uariosque tapetas,
barbaricas frondes †odoresque† tura crocumque, 110 barbaricas frondes et nardum tura crocumque.
Pallida sudanti destringit balsama uirga, Pallida sudanti destillat balsama uirga,
ereptum nido pr<a>ecidit puluer amomi, ereptum nido contundit puluer amomum,
arida purpureis destringit cinnama ramis arida purpureis destringit cinnama ramis,
arsurosque omnes secum disponit odores. arsurosque omnes secum deponit odores.
<H>ora propinquabat lucem ra<p>tura puellae 115 Hora propinquabat lucem raptura iacenti
tractabatque manus rigor, omnia corripiebat. torpebantque manus, rigor omnia corripiebat.
Caeruleos ungues oculis moritura notabat Caeruleos ungues oculis moribunda notabat
algentisque pedes. Fatali frigore pressa algentisque pedes. Fatali frigore prensa
coniugis in gremio refugit fugientis imago. coniugis in gremium refugit lacrimantis imago.
Ut uidit sensus: « Coniux, dulcissime coniux, » 120 Ut uidit sensus labi, « dulcissime coniux,
exclamat, « rapior. Venit, mors ultima uenit, exclamat, rapior; uenit, mors ultima uenit
infernusque deus claudet *** membra sopore. aeternoque ?deus? condit mea membra sopore.

26103 ales Parsons : ALIS || 104 CONPLEBENT | SOMNUM || 105 IACABAT || 107 uetat F. Jones : IUBET || 108 sensus : ‘famulos quid cuique faciendum sit docet’ | FAMOLOS : tumulos dub. Lib. 1998 || 109 strata Lib. : LAETA : lecta Roca-Puig ; morituram iam in lecto iacere (105) memento | parat Lib. : SIBI. Parat, destillat etc. = parari, destillari etc. iubet | PICTUS | tapetas Parsons : PAONES || 110 et nardum Lib. : ODURESQUE propter odores u. 114 : et odores Parsons || 111 PALLADA | destillat Nisbet : DISTRINGIT || 112 contundit Lib., uocem propriam restituens : PRECIDIT, uox parum apta | amomum Marcovich : AMOMI. Sensus : ‘amomum sic contundit ut pulver fiat’ || 114 ARSURUSQUE | deponit Roca-Puig : DESPONIT (cf. disponit 108) || 115 iacenti Lib. : PUELLAE parum adpositum glossema, etsi σὺ δ’ ἐν ἥβαι | νέα νέου προθανοῦσα φωτὸς οἴχηι Euripideus chorus canit (470-471) || 116 torpebantque Tandoi : TRACTABATQUAE (cf. tractare 88) | corripiebat Nisbet : DIRIPIEBAT || 117 moribunda Nisbet : MORITURA propter 83 et 97 || 118 prensa Lib. 1998 : PRESSUM || 119 gremium Hutchinson : GREMIO | lacrimantis e.g. Lib. : FUGIENTIS || 120 sensus labi dulcissime Hutchinson : SENSUS CONIUX EX DULCISSIME || 121 MORIS || 122 aeterno Lib. : INFERNUS | DEUS : semel Lib. | condit Hutchinson : CLAUDET | mea Lib. : lacuna trium fere litterarum | SEMBRA.

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Notes

1 The lengthening of the last syllable of uenit at 100-101, tum non mea dulcis imago | paulum no<c>te ueni<t>, et tu pro coniuge cara, would not by itself be shocking (see F. Vollmer, “Zur Geschichte des lateinischen Hexameters. Kurze Endsilben in arsi”, SBAW, Philosophisch-philologische und historische Klasse, 1917, “3. Abhandlung”, 1-59). But we need a future and paulum is, as happens in the transmission of Latin poetry, a mere stop-gap: all flaws vanish if one reads nocte <ad te> ueniet. Tu <iam> pro coniuge cara. See Eur., Alc., 354-356, ἐν δ’ ὀνείρασιν | φοιτῶσά μ’ εὐφραίνοις ἄν· ἡδὺ γὰρ φίλους | κἀν νυκτὶ λεύσσειν, ὅντιν’ ἂν παρῆι τρόπον (χρόνον mss., corr. Prinz). Imago (φάσμα) corroborates τρόπον, an unfortunately no longer fashionable emendation. One faces the same issue at 85-86, carior ista tegat. Et tu me nomine tantum | ne cole meque puta tecum sub nocte iacere (Nocchi Macedo’s text). One might accept the lengthening of the last syllable of tegat (read legat), but et… ne cole with four intervening words is implausibly awkward and it is difficult to guess why the author did not write something like nec tu me nomine tantum | <per>cole meque puta etc. H. Pinkster, The Oxford Latin Syntax, II, Oxford, 2021, 647 claims that nec… -que “is attested from Cicero onwards, but it is very rare”: a careful reader of Latin knows and TLL 9.1.586.66-587.13 (a. 2022) shows that it is not true.

2 “Entre autres indices, le blanc laissé à la dernière ligne de la page trois après poscunt (64), fin d’hexamètre, suggère que le modèle n’était pas écrit comme de la prose” (Liberman 1998, 219 n. 2).

3 Provided that Lebek’s ingenious conjecture prope is not right. It does not only improve prosody, for funera prope nato is better in point of sense than funera para nato.

4 On the contrary L. Zurli, “Alcestis Barcinonensis ed Aegritudo Perdicae. Considerazioni stravagante”, Paideia, 73, 2018, 699-707 believes that the prosody of Alcestis “shows noticeable abnormalities in respect of the classical poetry practice” and that “they attract Alcestis near to the Vandal African poems, collected in the Salmasiana anthology”. How is it that those abnormalities are absent from whole passages which make sense? How is it that they tend to concentrate in passages which do not make sense or suffer from other than metrical flaws?

5 See e.g. F. Vollmer, “Über die sog. Iambenkürzung bei den skenischen Dichtern der Römer”, SBAW, Philosophisch-philologische und historische Klasse, 1924, 4. Abhandlung, 1-19. Pyrrhic caue is famously classical; so is pyrrhic puta meaning “e.g.” (see L. Müller, De re poetica poetarum Latinorum praeter Plautum et Terentium, Petersburg, Leipzig, 1894, 418-420). Contrast putā “imagine” 86 (arsis, main caesura).

6 Müller 1894, 368-379.

7 The poet could easily avoid hiatus writing beatis… toris. Perhaps he did.

8 See Ov. met., 6.645; Pers., 5.8-9, si quibus aut Procnes aut si quibus olla Thyestae | feruebit saepe insulso cenando Glyconi.

9 See Verg., georg., 4.15, et manibus Procne pectus signata cruentis.

10 I mean R. Westphal: see his ground-breaking Prolegomena zu Aeschylus Tragödien, Leipzig, 1869 but also his Catull’s Gedichte in ihrem geschichtlichen Zusammenhange übersetzt und erlaütert, Breslau, 18671, 18702.

11 Euripides’ Alcestis was not, to judge from the very small number of extant papyrological fragments, very popular in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt, though it is part of the ten tragedies by Euripides selected for educational purpose early in the Christian era: see L. Parker, Euripides. Alcestis, Oxford, 2007, lix-lx. She does not mention Alcestis Barcinonensis and even writes (xxiv) “from Roman poetry, no version of of the story of Alcestis survives”. Parts II-IV of Alc. Barc. are but a development of four lines said by Apollo at the beginning of the play (15-18). Alc. Barc. is not interested in the rescue of the dead Alcestis by Herakles which qualifies the drama as a satyric one (see Liberman, “Petits riens sophocléen”, Hyperboreus, 28, 2022, 29-52, esp. 38 n. 40).

12 See e.g. Eur., Alc., 142, καὶ πῶς ἂν αὑτὸς κατθάνοι τε καὶ βλέποι;

13 See e.g. 93, Ante omnes commendo tibi pia pignora natos / Prop., 4.11.73, Nunc tibi commendo communia pignora natos (natos mss.: Paulle Butrica; the author of Alc. may have already read a corrupt text).

14 I discuss a Pindaric case in “Olympica Pyndarica (I)”, ExClass, 27, 2023, 9-55, esp. 34.

15 L. Zurli, Il limen (sottile) tra congettura e restituzione. Sulla validità delle congetture ritenute palmari, Hildesheim, 20202 devotes a light chapter (91-94) to Alcestis. I no longer think that his sal (which I had adopted in 1998) is better than mare at 69, Nam quaecumque gerit tellus, mare uel uagus aer (this emends nam quaecumquelegit illiusuel uagus aer). True, the omission of sal between illius and uel seems easier than that of mare, but the rarer sal jars with the simple tellus and aer. Furthermore 83, ne post mea fata, is the only line in this poem with a long monosyllable at the fourth weak position and another one at the following fifth strong position. Now the components of post mea fata belong together. Tellus, sal uel uagus aer strikes me as an ugly hemistich. Such may be the limits of “palaeographical” conjectures.

16 My supplement at CLE 2481,1, moenia quisque [f]acit, famae et[ernae studet ille], is replaced by famae et [gloriae studet ille] by the latest editor, P. Cugusi, CLE IV,1 (Teubner, 2023): “computandum (!) est ‘glorjae’”. There is no ground for thinking that the author of the four lines was that bad at Latin prosody.

17 See Eur., Andr., 296 παρὰ θεσπεσίωι δάφναι; Callim., in Apoll. hymn., 1-2 and in Delum hymn., 94; Claudian, rapt. Pros., 2.109, uenturi praescia laurus; cons. Stil. lib. tertius, 59, litora fatidicas attollunt Delia laurus. Claudian was born in Alexandria at a time which is more or less that ascribed to our papyrus codex.

18 See K. Rossberg, Materialien zu einem Commentar ueber die Orestis Tragoedia des Dracontius, I, Hildesheim 1888, 50; G. Sheridan Burgess, The Preposition DE. A Study in Late Latin and Old French Syntax (thesis), Mac Master University, Hamilton (Ontario), 1966, 55-72 (with bibliography).

19 I follow an oral suggestion of J. Cornillon.

20 TLL 10.1.129,29 (Cornelia Zäch, 1982) seems to admit this confusion at Verg. aen. 8.197, foribusque adfixa superbis | ora uirum tristi pendebant pallida tabo, but at 130,20 it quotes the passage with pallida and voices no doubt. I wonder if J. Delz, who had been busy with TLL as a proofreader since 1971, had planned to adopt squalida in the edition of Vergil’s main poems which he was preparing for Teubner when he died (2005). G. B. Conte (Teubner edition, 2009) prints pallida without reporting squalida, which is, as squallida, Bentley’s conjecture, formerly wrongly said to be the prima manus reading of Mediceus (f. 150r). It is discussed but rejected in the latest commentary on book 8 (Frantantuono-Smith 2018; Eden 1975 had done the same). It is in my view misguided to advocate Ov. met., 15.627, pallidaque exsangui squalebant corpora tabo, for in this description of pest squalebant is better support for squalida than pallida (Ov.) is for pallida (Verg.). For squalida uita, see e.g. Vita S. Raymundi confessoris (XIth c.) 3B (Acta sanctorum… collecta… a C. Ianningo, J. Sollerio et J. Pinio, editio novissima curante J. Carnandet, Julii tomus primus, Paris, Roma, 1867, 601), dulces etiam musas nostras, sine quibus inficeta et squalida uita est nihilque habet iocunditatis aut solatii, in exilium quasi amandaverat.

21 Compare Eur., Alc., 623-634, πάσαις δ’ ἔθηκεν εὐκλεέστερον βίον | γυναιξίν, ἔργον τλᾶσα γενναῖον τόδε; 1002-1005, Αὕτα ποτὲ προύθαν’ ἀνδρός, | νῦν δ’ ἔστι μάκαιρα δαίμων· | χαῖρ’, ὦ πότνι’, εὖ δὲ δοίης. | τοῖαί νιν προσεροῦσι φῆμαι.

22 See Eur., Alc., 685-689. Angry Admetus tells his father εἰ δ’ ἀπειπεῖν χρῆν με κηρύκων ὕπο | τὴν σὴν πατρώιαν ἑστίαν, ἀπεῖπον ἄν (737-738), “If I (…) renounce your paternal hearth by means of heralds, I would have renounced it”. Like everybody, Parker 2007, 198 renders χρῆν “(if) it were appropriate for me to…”, but this is strained. One needs a verb meaning “(if) it were/had been possible for me to…”, that is ἦν with acc. and inf.

23 See Eur., Alc., 649-650, βραχὺς δέ σοι | πάντως ὁ λοιπὸς ἦν βιώσιμος χρόνος; 692-693, ἦ μὴν πολύν γε τὸν κάτω λογίζομαι | χρόνον, τὸ δὲ ζῆν (“life” generally) σμικρὸν ἀλλ’ ὅμως γλυκύ. “Dieser Pheres hätte die Herrschaft gewiss nicht abgegeben, wenn er nicht ganz dekrepit wäre” (Wilamowitz, Griechische Tragoedien, III, Berlin, 19062, 95).

24 See W. Heraeus, Die Sprache des Petronius und die Glossen, Leipzig 1899, 46 = Kleine Schriften, Heidelberg 1937, 144. A Greek “calque” of offula is ὀφλάϱιον, a word not known to TLG but (not aptly) registered s. v. ofella by E. Dickey, Latin Loanwords in Ancient Greek, Cambridge, 2023, 722.

25 There are still many undetected glosses in our classical texts. See Eur., Alc., 965-972, κρεῖσσον οὐδὲν Ἀνάγκας | ηὗρον οὐδέ τι φάρμακον | Θρήισσαις ἐν σανίσιν, τὰς | Ὀρφεία κατέγραψεν | γῆρυς, οὐδ’ ὅσα Φοῖβος Ἀ|σκληπιάδαις ἔδωκε | φάρμακα πολυπόνοις | ἀντιτεμὼν βροτοῖσιν. The repetitive φάρμακα must be the gloss of such a word as χρίματα (cf. Pindar, Pyth., 4,220-221, σὺν δ’ ἐλαίῳ φαρμακώσαισ’ ἀντίτομα στερεᾶν ὀδυνᾶν | δῶκε χρίεσθαι).

26 One finds two final disyllables preceded by a monosyllable (prepositive or not) at 69 uel uagus aer, 83 post mea fata, 84 ne mea coniux. I read Pelia sata flentis (see Ov., met., 7.322, satae Pelia; Eur., Alc., 37, Πελίου παῖς) at 71, but this is not unobjectionable. I for one would not inflict on this poet either of the unattested forms Pelieida (Tandoi) or Pelieia (Hutchinson), though they are nearer PELEIDE and avoid the objectionable hexameter end.

27 A very striking amplification of Horace’s debemur morti nos nostraque (ars, 63). One is reminded of Martin Heidegger’s “Sein zum Tode”. Alcestis dying instead of Admetus breaches the law “Tod ist je nur eigener” (Sein und Zeit, Tübingen, 196711, 265).

28 Compare Eur., Alc., 12-14, ἤινεσαν δέ μοι θεαί | Ἄδμητον Ἅιδην τὸν παραυτίκ’ ἐκφυγεῖν, | ἄλλον διαλλάξαντα τοῖς κάτω νεκρόν; 197-198, καὶ κατθανών τἂν ὤιχετ’, ἐκφυγὼν δ’ ἔχει | τοσοῦτον ἄλγος, οὔποθ’ οὗ λελήσεται; 956-957, ἀλλ’ ἣν ἔγημεν ἀντιδοὺς ἀψυχίαι | πέφευγεν Ἅιδην.

29 Compare Eur., Alc., 204-205, παρειμένη δέ, χειρὸς ἄθλιον βάρος | <…> | ὅμως δὲ καίπερ σμικρόν ἐμπνέουσ’ ἔτι. In spite of Parker 2007, 92-93, the omission of a line (Elmsley) must be postulated. In the transmitted text χειρὸς ἄθλιον βάρος is implausibly obscure; the missing line made it clear that Alcestis is but a burden in her husband’s hands.

30 Compare Eur., Alc., 201, κλαίει γ’ ἄκοιτιν ἐν χεροῖν φίλην ἔχων.

31 Perhaps nouis iterum succingitur armis. CLE 1549,5 (held to belong to the second century AD), adiecit Chloto iteratum rumpere filum, is adduced by Nosarti 1992 and Zurli 2018 as support for iteratum here but, even if F. Bücheler himself (CLE) takes it as meaning iterum, it seems better to construe it with filum: “Clotho added another thread to cut” (the father lost his wife and his son). TLL VII.2.551.35-8 registers another very dubious example (Oribasius) of iteratum = iterum.

32 TLL 2.590.73 adds Ennod., carm., 2.18.1-2 (In missorio quod habet loricatum iuuenem super equum tenentem Victoriam in manu), Ecce tenet uictrix pennatum dextera numen: | uenit et ad reditum non habet arma uiae.

33 De te = a te, “originating from you” (see Meridan Burgess 1966, 36-40).

34 Ultima is very idiomatic: see my note on Valerius Flaccus, 5,226 (II, Paris, 2002, 171).

35 Parker 2007, 108 notes J. Racine’s translation.

36 See Wilamowitz 19062, 78-79.

37 Thanatos, Berlin, 1879, 34-36. He mentions Wilamowitz’ Ἅιδαν, an emendation in my judgment not worthy of its author at his best, though he stuck to it: see Wilamowitz 19062, 155; A. Biel, W. M. Calder III, R. Fowler, The Prussian and the Poet: the Letters of U. v. W.-M. to Gilbert Murray, Hildesheim, 1991, 40. Murray himself proposed the strange ἆ δᾶ (cf. [Aesch.], Prom., 567).

38 Euripide, Alceste, Paris, 1891, 31, adopting a dubious conjecture of his based on a variant reading. The way Parker 2007, 109 tries to explain τις… τις… Ἅιδας away and to neutralize the fact that Hades is not winged seems to me to strain credulity. G. A. Seeck, Euripides. Alkestis, Berlin, New York, 2008, 93 resorts to desperate special pleading: “„Hades“ ist hier nicht die mythologische Figur (Bruder des Zeus, Herrscher im Totenreich), sondern eine Personifikation des Todes wie der „Tod“ im Prolog (…). Daher kann er „geflügelt“ genannt werden, während in bildlichen Darstellungen Hades keine Flügel trägt”.

39 Perhaps simply ἤδη: see 216-217, καὶ μέλανα στολμὸν πέπλων | ἀμφιβαλώμεθ’ ἤδη;; 266 μέθετε μέθετέ μ’ ἤδη·; Medea, 977, οὐκέτι· στείχουσι γὰρ ἐς φόνον ἤδη (a few other passages from Euripides could be adduced). Neither a substantive nor an adjective are ruled out, e.g. ἅρπαξ or ἀδμάς (indomitus), which would recall the name of Admetus, who, according to K. O. Müller and Wilamowitz, was originally a god reigning over the dead.

40 There is no warrant for A. M. Dale’s suggestion, favourably viewed by Parker 2007, 228, that “‘hostage’ is being used very loosely to mean no more than ‘substitute’”.

41 See Wilamowitz 19062, 79 n. 1.

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Gauthier Liberman, « Ecdotique des textes latins antiques »Annuaire de l'École pratique des hautes études (EPHE), Section des sciences historiques et philologiques, 155 | 2024, 162-177.

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Gauthier Liberman, « Ecdotique des textes latins antiques »Annuaire de l'École pratique des hautes études (EPHE), Section des sciences historiques et philologiques [En ligne], 155 | 2024, mis en ligne le 13 juin 2024, consulté le 25 juillet 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/ashp/6877 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/11t3k

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Gauthier Liberman

Directeur d’études, École pratique des hautes études-PSL — section des Sciences historiques et philologiques

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