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Of Philosophers, Crowns, and Boundary Stones: Revisiting Cipus in Metamorphoses 15

Raymond Marks

Résumé

This paper argues that Ovid was familiar with the philosophy of the Hellenistic dialectician Diodorus Cronus, in particular, his views on fate, which he probably knew from Cicero’s De Fato, and the so-called “horned” and “veiled” arguments associated with him. Ovid draws on these aspects of Diodorus’ philosophy to tell the story of Cipus in Metamorphoses 15 ; he uses them to portray Cipus’ attempt to avoid kingship as a highly ambiguous and unnecessarily risky, if not self-defeating, exercise in forestalling fate and thus leaves open the question of whether Cipus, in the end, succeeds in his attempt. This reading complements others that have argued that the inescapability of kingship, not Cipus’ moral choice, is the central point of the story. It also adds to our appreciation of Ovid’s use of philosophical material in his epic, an area of growing interest in Ovidian studies, which has thus far paid no attention to Diodorus Cronus and only a little to the influence of Cicero’s philosophical works.

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  • 1 E.g., Fränkel 1945: 226 n. 104; Lundström 1980: 73–79; Porte 1985: 194–95; Schmitzer 1990: 265–68, (...)
  • 2 Emphasis on ambiguities and complexities of Ovid’s version: Galinsky 1967; Barchiesi 1994: 251–53; (...)
  • 3 Similar insights based on a comparative analysis of Valerius’ and Ovid’s versions: Galinsky 1967: 1 (...)

1Among the exempla Valerius Maximus uses to illustrate the virtue of pietas erga patriam, “devotion to one’s country”, is a quasi-historical figure of the Republic named Genucius Cipus, who grows horns on his head, which portend that he will be king if he enters Rome (5.6.3). The story, as Valerius tells it, has a simple narrative arc, moving directly from problem to resolution, and offers a straightforward moral message : horns appear on Cipus’ head when he is leaving Rome ; they indicate that he will be king if he returns to the city ; to avoid that outcome, he goes into self-imposed exile ; the problem is solved, and Cipus is an example of pietas for the ages. Ovid in his Metamorphoses provides our other major version of this story (15.565-621), which is sometimes read as an illustration of Cipus’ pious, anti-monarchical devotion to the Republic as well.1 That reading is hard to maintain, however, since the many plot twists and turns of this version, its ambiguities of language and symbolism, and the seemingly illogical and self-contradictory actions of its characters, all confound a straightforward moralizing interpretation of the story.2 This is not to say that the moral impulse of Ovid’s Cipus comes under great suspicion – he appears to be committed to not being king as Valerius’ Cipus is – but, rather, that it is unclear whether he avoids kingship at all or has a real choice in the matter ; indeed, there is much in the episode to suggest that, in the end, monarchy is inescapable and is even realized by Cipus himself, albeit in a different form. Ovid’s version destabilizes, therefore, two “truths” on which Cipus’ exemplarity in Valerius’ version is based, that he avoided kingship (because he may not have) and that he made a moral choice, and a morally praiseworthy one at that (because the outcome may have been out of his control).3

  • 4 Marks 2004. Other notable treatments of Ovid’s Cipus episode: Galinsky 1967; Versnel 1970: 395–96; (...)
  • 5 So, e.g. Marks 2004: 108: “what really interests our poet in this story … is neither the moral forc (...)

2Some years ago, I offered an interpretation of this sort, identifying the unavoidability of kingship in Rome rather than Cipus’ moral choice as the central message of Ovid’s tale.4 I argued that the poet uses the preceding story of the hasta Romuli, “Romulus’ spear” (560–64), to frame this as a legacy of the city’s foundation by king Romulus and then uses Cipus’ story, his tortuous efforts to avoid kingship in particular, to show how deeply rooted in the Romans’ psyche and conception of themselves that historical fact is, so much so that even for a devout Republican like Cipus the threat – or temptation – of kingship’s recurrence is ever-present and dangerously close at hand.5 In this paper, I re-examine Cipus’ story in Metamorphoses 15 and likewise argue that the unavoidability of kingship in Rome is its central message, but do so from a philosophical perspective ; that is, kingship is here read not (or not only) as an abiding legacy of Rome’s past, Romulus’ foundation of the city, but as the fulfillment of a fate or destiny Cipus does not possess the free will to circumvent.

  • 6 The cosmogony in Met. 1 and Pythagoras’ speech in 15 have garnered the most attention, but other pa (...)
  • 7 Labate 1984: 124–169; Liebermann 1999; Gibson 2005; Kelly 2019. Cicero’s influence on Ovid in other (...)

3I begin my analysis with a close reading of the episode, devoting particular attention to the ambiguities of its language and symbolism, the intricate complexities of its plot, and the often inscrutable motivations of its characters. I understand that in doing so I will cover some of the same ground I covered in my previous treatment of the story, but I believe that it is necessary in order to show how irresolvable a bind Cipus finds himself in and how unnecessary and even self-defeating his attempts to avoid kingship are. I then propose that Ovid wants us to read Cipus’ fight as one against fate, an inference drawn first, and briefly, from the theme’s topicality in Metamorphoses 15. I develop the idea at greater length by next considering the influence of the Hellenistic philosopher Diodorus Cronus in the episode, specifically, two logical puzzles with which he was associated, the “horned” argument and the “veiled” argument, and his view of fate, as understood through his so-called “Master Argument”, which, I suspect, Ovid was familiar with from Cicero’s treatment thereof in his De Fato. Cipus’ predicament and the ways in which he aims to get out of it thematize these aspects of Diodorus’ philosophy and in doing so suggest that the seemingly inevitable prospect of kingship in Rome is due not only to the way in which Diodoran fate works – or, to be precise, fate as Ovid may have understood it to work from Cicero’s application of Diodoran philosophy to the concept in De Fato – but to the way in which man works, especially foolish men like Cipus, who employ Diodoran logic puzzles in an attempt to avoid fate, but end up heading right toward it. This reading, as I have suggested, complements my previous discussion of the episode and lends support to its central thesis : that the inescapability of kingship, not Cipus’ moral choice, is the point of the story. It also adds, however, to our appreciation of Ovid’s use of philosophical material in the Metamorphoses, an area of growing interest in Ovidian studies, which has thus far paid no attention to Diodorus6 and only a little to the influence of Cicero’s philosophical works.7

Cipus’ Dilemma

  • 8 Note that Cipus here refers to the seer as augur (596) although Ovid previously called him haruspex(...)

4Returning to Rome after a victorious military campaign, Cipus sees that he has horns on his head ; he prays to the gods that they bode well for Rome or ill for himself, if need be, and prepares a sacrifice to find out what they mean (565–76). After examining a victim’s entrails and beholding Cipus’ horns, a haruspex calls him king, says that Rome and her people will obey him and his horns, and tells him to make haste and enter the open gates as the fates command since he will be king when received by the city (577–85). Dismayed, Cipus asks the gods to ward off the omen and prays that he live as an exile rather than that Rome see him as king (586–89). To this point in the story, there appears to be no reason why the threat of kingship should not be averted. Since Cipus’ reaction to his horns and to the haruspex’s interpretation of them assures us that he is a good, devoted, selfless citizen, who has no intention of subjecting Rome to his kingship, and since the haruspex implies that he needs to enter the city or be welcomed into it to be king, the solution to his predicament should be simple : avoid the city and immediately go into exile. But this is not what happens. Cipus next calls together the people and the Senate and, with his horns covered by a crown, tells them that there is a man who will be king unless they drive him from the city, that he is recognizable by horns on his head, and that an augur has indicated that he will enslave them if he enters Rome (590–97).8 He goes on to say that the man could have entered but that he prevented him and then repeats his warning to the Romans that they not let him in, adding that they should bind him in chains or even put him to death, if he deserves it (598–602).

  • 9 Galinsky 1967: 185 briefly considers the possibility that the meeting takes place inside the city, (...)

5This step in the plot is perplexing for many reasons. First, it is strange that Cipus stays at Rome since the easiest and most obvious solution for him is to head straight into exile, as I said above ; he imagined that fate for himself anyway (586–89), and that is what his Valerian counterpart does (5.6.3). Granted, the situation is more complicated for Ovid’s Cipus because his horns appear not after he has left Rome, as is the case for Valerius’ Cipus (portam egredienti ; “exiting the gate”), but when he returns after a successful military campaign (ut uictor domito ueniebat ab hoste ; “when, as victor, he was coming from defeating an enemy,” 569). This makes his entering the city a logical extension of the plot since that is the direction in which he was going anyway and since such an entrance might be expected for a returning conqueror ; I shall return to the latter expectation momentarily. And yet, his return does not strictly necessitate his entrance to the city or his lingering outside its walls, which is what he ends up doing.9 Nor does it prohibit him from turning around and going directly into exile either, again, the simplest solution. So, why does he stay ?

  • 10 In fact, he represents himself as capable of doing so to the people when he tells them that he has (...)

6The short answer is “the ruse” since, apparently, Cipus believes he can avoid being king by employing it. But this choice raises a whole new set of questions. For one, if Cipus thinks that he will be king if he enters Rome (596–97), why bother with the ruse at all ? He simply needs not to enter the city, something, one would suppose, he is capable of doing all on his own.10 One explanation for his apparent illogic is that Cipus understands his entrance, and thus his becoming king, to be bound up with something not entirely in his control, his being welcomed or received into the city by the Romans. This would explain why he claims that the horned man will be king not only if he enters Rome (si Romam intrarit, 597), but unless the Romans drive him from the city (est … hic unus, quem uos nisi pellitis urbe, / rex erit ; “there is here an individual, who, unless you drive him from the city, will be king,” 594–95) and why he tells them to keep him away (uos urbe uirum prohibete, Quirites ; “citizens, keep the man from the city,” 600). Cipus may have arrived at this understanding on the basis of the haruspex’s earlier interpretation of his horns (583–85) :

tu modo rumpe moras portasque intrare patentes
adpropera : sic fata iubent. namque urbe receptus
rex eris et sceptro tutus potiere perenni.

[“Just do not delay and hurry to enter the open gates : so the fates command. For received by the city, you will be king and will take sure possession of the everlasting scepter.”]

  • 11 And note that when Cipus speaks of the horned man’s entrance to Rome as a condition of his kingship (...)
  • 12 This is what Valerius Maximus does, who formulates it as a condition: responsumque est regem eum fo (...)

The haruspex does not expressly make Cipus’ entrance to the city a condition of his kingship – he formulates it as a command (intrare … adpropera) – but one can see how Cipus might understand it as such.11 But the haruspex also ties Cipus’ entrance in with his being “received by the city” (urbe receptus) – note the explanatory namque – and while the use of the participle receptus here makes the syntax vague, the phrase probably should be read as a conditional antecedent, implying that Cipus will be king if or provided that he is received or welcomed by the city or into it.12 But if that is so, then why, again, does Cipus not just go immediately into exile ? Would he not avoid being urbe receptus in that way ? Yes, unless he understood the non-fulfillment of the condition of his being urbe receptus to require not that he passively avoid being “received by the city”, but that he actively be rejected by it, an understanding that appears to be reflected in his repeated attempts to get the Romans to reject himself, the horned man. Why Cipus should interpret the haruspex’s words in this way I do not know, but I suspect that we are to understand that he is acting out of an overabundance of caution, and that may not be an unreasonable position to take, given the often vague, slippery terms in which prophecies are made and, hence, the risk of misinterpreting them. It may be, in other words, that Cipus is trying to get himself rejected by Rome because he fears that avoiding a reception may not be enough to circumvent his royal fate.

  • 13 Galinsky 1967: 186.
  • 14 Martinez Astorino 2017: 267.
  • 15 This is to say nothing of the fact that a triumphator is viewed as a kind of king when celebrating (...)
  • 16 Many point to this symbolism of the crown, sometimes identifying specific echoes therein of Julius (...)

7Whatever Cipus’ reasons for his ruse, the irony is that in doing so he runs the risk of becoming what he does not want to be, a king, and he even ends up acting like one. Consider the fact that he covers his horns with a laurel crown (591–92). Why he covers them is not clear. Is he ashamed of them and what they portend ?13 Or is it that he does not trust his fellow Romans to heed his warnings, fearing that they might welcome him in if they know he is the horned king ?14 Whatever his reasons, Cipus could not have chosen a worse means of disguising himself. For one, the crown’s being made of laurel invites us to view him as a triumphator, as that is the sort of crown a triumphator wears. If we view him as such, however, we expect him to enter Rome and to be celebrated there – one might even say “welcomed” – because that is what happens to triumphators when they return from their conquests. And that is a problem for Cipus because entering the city and being “welcomed” are what he fears most because, he believes, they will make him king.15 Another major and more obvious problem with the crown, of course, is its royal symbolism, crowns being what kings traditionally wear.16 Ironically, then, Cipus’ disguise, which is supposed to help him avoid becoming king, invites his audience to view him as one and/or to let him into Rome, which will make him one.

8What compounds the irony – and the cognitive dissonance – is his speech to the people and the Senate. Although he does not want to be king, the manner of his address is unsettlingly authoritarian : he does not merely advise the Romans to be on guard against the horned man, but commands them (prohibete, 600 ; uincite, 601 ; finite, 602). Also, while his hope is surely that the Romans will heed his advice, he may not be helping himself if they do ; for by listening to him or, to put it more pointedly, by obeying him, they would be doing precisely what the haruspex said they would do when Cipus is king : “rex” ait “o salve ! tibi enim, tibi, Cipe, tuisque / hic locus et Latiae parebunt cornibus arces” (“‘king,’ he says, ‘oh hello ! For this place and the Latian citadels will obey you, Cipus, you and your horns’,” 581–82). Of course, the irony is that the people cannot do the opposite and disobey him either because if they do and, hence, invite or let the horned man in, the result will be the same : Cipus will be king. And so, by not leaving Rome immediately and by employing his ruse there, Cipus creates two problems for himself. First, he risks conveying a message directly opposite to that which he intends. Second, he undermines the whole purpose of the ruse by making it virtually impossible for the Romans to reject him as king since, whether they obey him or disobey him, they will legitimize his kingship all the same.

  • 17 This and other possible influences: Bömer 1986: 413–14; Granobs 1997: 139–40; Marks 2004: 115–17 (t (...)
  • 18 Incidentally, Agamemnon’s dream is referred to earlier in the Metamorphoses (13.216–17), and Agamem (...)

9After Cipus’ speech, Ovid turns his attention to the people’s and the Senate’s reactions to it. We might expect a path toward resolution to open up here now that Cipus is no longer pulling the strings and tying them into knots. Instead, we are plunged further into doubt and uncertainty, and not only about whether Cipus will avoid kingship but about whether Rome will ever put the threat of kingship behind her. Consider the crowd’s initial reaction to Cipus’ speech, a confused murmur (603–08). This reaction clearly reflects their confusion about who the horned man is, as someone asks that very question and they go on to inspect each other’s foreheads in search of the horns (606–08). But it is not clear whether their reaction reflects hope, fear, or mixed feelings about the horned man, and that is not an insignificant uncertainty because the purpose of Cipus’ ruse is to ensure that the people regard the horned king as a threat and refuse him entry to the city. Problematic too is the simile that Ovid uses to compare the crowd’s murmur to the sound of winds and waves (603–06) ; it is based on a simile Homer uses to describe the reaction of the Greeks to a speech of Agamemnon in Iliad 2 (142–49).17 The fact that Cipus’ counterpart in the Homeric intertext is the prototypical scepter-bearing king is troubling enough, but it is doubly so because Cipus shares with Agamemnon other similarities : each receives a divine sign, Cipus the horns, Agamemnon a dream from Zeus telling him to keep fighting at Troy ; each is motivated by the sign to address his people, the Romans and the Greeks, respectively ; and each somehow misrepresents the sign, Cipus by hiding his identity as the horned king to avert his fated reign in Rome, Agamemnon by telling the Greeks that they should abandon Troy, the opposite of what Zeus told him in the dream. We may not wish to go so far as to attribute to Cipus, when delivering his speech, the same intent Agamemnon has when delivering his, namely, to test his audience’s loyalty and obedience to him. But we also cannot fail to take the intertextual hint that that may be the effect, that the Romans may play the Greek-like subjects to Cipus’ Agamemnon-like king.18 Add the fact that the Greeks end up being convinced to disobey Agamemnon, which, ironically, entails their abiding by their oath of fealty to him, and the unsettling and equally ironic prospect presents itself that the Romans may similarly disobey Cipus, which would entail, of course, welcoming him in and thus making him king. And yet, as was just noted above, should the Romans do the opposite and obey him, the result would be the same anyway, since obeying him is an indication of his being their king, as the haruspex suggested earlier (581–82). The Homeric intertext thus reinforces the fact that Cipus’ ruse puts its audience in an insoluble dilemma : no matter what they do, he is or becomes king.

  • 19 Much of what follows is based on Marks 2004: 117–19.
  • 20 If we regard the festam coronam (615) with which they recrown him as a victory crown, then his rece (...)
  • 21 For the view that the people’s actions here bespeak their aversion to kingship, see esp. Lundström  (...)

10This fact is further impressed upon us by what happens next. In response to the question about the horned man’s identity, Cipus removes his crown, though the people ask him not to, and reveals his horns (609–11). The people lower their gaze and emit a collective groan ; in disbelief they reluctantly look upon his head and, not suffering it to remain without some honor, place a crown upon it (612–15). What are the people’s emotions here ? What is their motivation ?19 The cause of their disbelief seems to be straightforward : it is consistent with the fact that Cipus led them to believe that the horned man was not he. As for their discomfort with his going unhonored, this seems to reflect their appreciation for his recent military achievements on Rome’s behalf and their shame at not seeing him decorated for them ; the phrase illud meritis clarum … caput (“that head famous for his services”, 613–14), which likely focalizes the people’s perspective, and the context in which it appears, right before the people honor him by recrowning him (614–15), invite this reading.20 The people’s attempt to forbid him from removing the crown moments before (610) and their reluctance to look upon his head (613–14) might also point us in this interpretive direction, as might their downcast gaze and groan (612). But these details could bespeak feelings of dismay or sadness too, and feelings motivated not simply by the absence of a due military honor like the crown, but by the presence of the horns, which the removal of the crown reveals and the recrowning of Cipus covers up. So, what in this case could be the cause of their dismay ? Could it simply be that they find the horns ugly ? Or are they reacting to what the horns symbolize, kingship ? If the latter, then, maybe they are sad that Cipus is king because they like him but otherwise hate kings.21 Maybe they do not hate kings, generally, or the idea of Cipus being king, in particular, and are sad because he cannot now be their king, whether because he has already refused to be their king or because he has forbidden them to allow him to enter the city and make him one. Or maybe the people are tempted by the prospect of a good man like Cipus being their king, but repulsed by the thought of monarchy at the same time. Still another possibility is that what troubles them is the fact that they now know that Cipus is the horned king and are in denial about it. If so, their attempt to prevent him from removing the crown (610) and their subsequent recrowning of him (615) would be two sides of the same coin in that they do the former because they are afraid of what they will learn and the latter so as to deny or cover up what they have just learned, that Cipus is the horned king. Of course, covering Cipus’ horns will not undo the fact that he is the horned king, but it may be enough to satisfy a people facing what they have been told is an existential threat and looking for some sort of escape ; making the horns “disappear” may be their way of making the problem “go away”, of releasing themselves from the responsibility of making the choice Cipus has saddled them with, that of preventing the horned man from ruling Rome, and from culpability, should they fail to do so or make the wrong choice.

  • 22 A similarly “passive-aggressive” Cipus emerges from the interpretation of Granobs 1997: 137–38, who (...)
  • 23 Cf. Barchiesi 1997: 186–87 (cf. 1994: 252), for whom the scene evokes the way imperial power is con (...)

11These readings of the people’s motives are speculative, and I am not sure that Ovid necessary wants us to settle on one ; indeed, complicating the issue of kingship, showing it to be unresolvable or difficult to resolve, itself serves the poet’s broader historical and philosophical aims, as I understand them, in the episode. Nevertheless, the last possibility considered above, that the people effectively ignore or sidestep the issue, has much to recommend it, I think. This is because, first, it does not require us to commit to a pro- or anti-monarchical reading of the people’s intentions, something Ovid has, frankly, given us little insight into anyway. Second, it coheres with the fact that the people do neither what Cipus commanded them to do nor what he warned them against : Cipus told them to stop (prohibete, 600) the man from entering the city, but the only thing they try to stop is his removal of the crown (populo prohibente, 610), and after he does, they just put it back on him anyway (615) ; they also do not do what Cipus warned them against and invite him into the city. They succeed, in other words, in circumventing the no-win dilemma he has created for them by neither obeying nor disobeying him and thus avoid treating him as or making him king. And, in a way, that is a perfectly appropriate “tit for tat” response to Cipus : by staying at Rome and employing his ruse, he has not only put the city at risk of being ruled by him, but, it might be said, has failed to take responsibility for deciding his own and Rome’s fate, foisting it, instead, on the Romans.22 This is not to say that the people’s demurral does anything to resolve the larger issue of kingship in Rome ; it does not. Rather, it is, in effect, just a way of kicking the can down the road until someone else resolves it, and the regal symbolism of the crown, the object they prefer to see on Cipus’ head, suggests as much, namely, that the specter of monarchy still looms over the city.23 But even if we steer clear of that symbolism, there are the crown’s association with the triumph, and that raises the question of whether the people’s crowning of Cipus, their returning victor, who, they feel, deserves some honor, is meant to evoke that ritual or represent a part of it ; if so, Cipus’ entrance to the city and triumphal procession should come next, and that would make him king too, his entrance being, as we have seen, a precondition of his kingship.

  • 24 Marks 2004: 118. Cf. Galinsky 1967: 184: “Ovid leaves it entirely open whether Cipus himself or the (...)
  • 25 Famously, he breezes by the foundation of Rome in Met. 14.774–75.
  • 26 For a different way of reading Ovid’s address of Cipus in the second person, see Feldherr 2022: 15.

12But in the very next sentence, where Ovid is about to relate how the Senate awarded Cipus land, this eventuality appears to have already been averted since we are told that he is forbidden to enter the city : quoniam muros intrare uetaris (“since you are forbidden to enter the walls,” 616). This statement is more than a little suspicious. There is nothing in the preceding exchange between the people and Cipus to suggest that the former have forbidden the latter from entering Rome ; the only way that is possible is if not inviting or welcoming him in is tantamount to forbidding him, but if so, then Cipus was wrong that their driving away or stopping the horned king from entering (pellitis ; prohibete) was necessary. Alternatively, the passive uetaris might be read to convey a reflexive or middle voice, and that would make sense since by stopping the horned man from entering, as he puts it in 598–600, Cipus has already forbidden himself.24 And yet, if that is the act of forbidding to which Ovid refers here, then, again, Cipus’ ruse was effectively a waste of time. Another possibility is that we are to infer that the Senate has somehow forbidden Cipus entrance in the meantime. It would be odd, granted, for Ovid to pass over this detail and broach it as a fait accompli since whether Cipus enters the city or not is one of the central tensions of the story, but it would not be out of character for our poet ; he passes over or understates details and events, famous or otherwise worthy of mention, elsewhere in the Metamorphoses.25 In any case, that the Senate decided his fate remains an inference and does not settle the matter, to the exclusion of the previous two possibilities, about who has forbidden Cipus entrance and how. We might even ask ourselves whether Cipus has really been forbidden at all ; for Ovid’s address of him in the second person (uetaris) leaves open the possibility that he is focalizing the point of view of Cipus himself, and Cipus, as his ruse and speech suggest, may not have the firmest grasp on reality and, as we noted just moments ago, may even be desperate for someone, anyone, to take the decision of his kingship off his hands. It may be, in other words, not that Cipus has been forbidden to enter, but that he believes or wants to believe that he has been forbidden.26

  • 27 Although he goes on to say that Cipus will be king urbe receptus (584-85; on which, see § 6 above), (...)
  • 28 Marks 2004: 125. Also, see Barchiesi 1997: 186 (cf. 1994: 252) on ad finem lucis ab ortu (618–19), (...)
  • 29 Marks 2004: 119–20. The fact that the horns are a symbol of kingship in the story and Ovid is the f (...)

13Questions linger even though it is now all but certain that Cipus will leave Rome: as we just saw, he is forbidden from entering the city (616), and, as we next learn, he has been awarded a plot of land by the Senate (617–19). While Cipus’ departure may mean that he will not be king in Rome, this does not rule out the possibility that he will still be a king, perhaps even king of Rome, though he would be living as such in exile outside the city. What recommends this interpretation is that it allows us to reconcile the overwhelming impression we get from the episode that kingship is inescapable for Cipus with the fact of his eventual departure from Rome. It may also be supported by the haruspex’s earlier interpretation of the horns (581–85), which could be read to imply that Cipus is already king and that his entering Rome will simply make him king there rather than wherever else he ends up.27 Moreover, there is the plot the Senate awards to him, as much land as he can plough around in a day (617–19) ; this award invites him to replicate the actions of city founders, a group that includes Rome’s own founder and first king, Romulus, who defined the size of his new city by ploughing around the Palatine. That Romulus’ precedent is pertinent here is assured by Ovid’s placement of the hasta Romuli story immediately before Cipus’, where he tells how Romulus threw a spear that landed on the Palatine and turned into a tree (560–64) ; that spear throw was understood to have occurred in connection with the foundation of Rome, right after Romulus took the auspices that endorsed his claims and right before he ploughed around the Palatine. When Cipus is granted land to plough around, then, it is hard not to be reminded of Romulus’ precedent and to compare Cipus with Rome’s first king.28 Ambiguous too is the other measure the Senate takes, having horns sculpted on the porta Raudusculana (620–21). Surely, this is a way of commemorating Cipus, but as a gate is the only way to enter a city, the message these horns convey is potentially dangerous. Will they serve as a warning to would-be kings who wish to enter the city or an invitation ?29 Since all signs point toward Cipus’ departure, we do not expect the threat of kingship in Rome to come from him. But this does not rule out future threats, the possibility that other Cipuses, other would-be kings, may try to enter. In short, as we here reach the end of the story and as the narrower question of Cipus’ being king in Rome appears to be settled, the larger question of kingship at Rome remains unresolved, as open as the gate that could let the next king in.

Fate in Metamorphoses 15

14Antiquity is full of stories of characters who, when informed of their fate, try to run away from it, only to run straight toward it; that is what Cipus and the Romans appear to be doing in this story. But why must that be so ? Why is it so hard for them to escape kingship ? Although the haruspex claims to know the answer – it is what “the fates command” (sic fata iubent, 584 ; cf. fatalis ... tyranni, 602), he says – it is entirely conceivable that he does not, that there is no foreordained fate to know, and that Cipus and the Romans are free to determine their own paths in life. On this view, they struggle to avoid kingship not because they are truly “tempting fate”, but because they happen to take steps or, perhaps, missteps in that direction, which they have personally or collectively chosen for themselves.

  • 30 Marks 2004.

15But Ovid, I submit, wants us to see bigger forces at work here. One of them, as I have previously argued, is the legacy of Rome’s foundation by a king, a fact of which we were just reminded thanks to the preceding hasta Romuli story.30 This interpretation holds that since monarchy is bound up with “Romanness” from the start in virtue of the city’s foundation as one, it is an inevitable point of reference for the Romans’ conception of their own identity and a recurring preoccupation for them throughout their history, even during the seemingly anti-regal Republic. That legacy does not nullify the possibility of free will for Cipus and the Romans, but as it conditions the way they think about themselves and thus shapes the choices they make, it could certainly invite – one might even say “tempt” – them to revisit the idea of kings in Rome and, perhaps, even consider living under one. So read, Ovid’s tale thematizes the idea that in Rome’s beginning is its end or, at least, one of its ends and, as such, advances a form of cultural determinism grounded in aetiology. Historical perspectives of this kind were not unfamiliar to ancient societies, including that of the Romans of Ovid’s own day ; one need only recall how often they regard their civil wars as a curse traceable to Romulus’ killing of his brother Remus.

  • 31 Fate in Metamorphoses 15: Papaioannou 2011; Gladhill 2012. Fate in Ovid, generally: Kajanto 1961.
  • 32 The haruspex’s claim, sic fata iubent (584), in Cipus’ story appears to echo Pythagoras’ sic dicere (...)
  • 33 Divination as link between Tages’ and Cipus’ stories: Galinsky 1967: 183; Marks 2004: 111–13, 123-2 (...)
  • 34 Marks 2004: 108–11.

16Another “big force” to consider, I submit, is fate, in which case kingship is Rome’s foreordained, inescapable destiny. Such a state of affairs would likewise explain the difficulties Cipus and the Romans experience in trying to avert it, but has the added benefit of accounting for the attention Ovid gives to the practice of divination in the episode (573–85, 596–97) ; one might even say that the story legitimizes that practice and shows the haruspex to have been right all along. Another reason to consider this line of interpretation is that the wider context of Metamorphoses 15, in which Cipus’ story appears, sustains it ; Ovid adverts to a fatalistic view of history many times in the book and recounts several instances in which divination attests a predetermined course of events as well.31 The book begins with the story of Myscelus, who, in fulfillment of a prophecy given by Hercules (17–18) and with his help, leaves Argos for the “fated mouth of the Aesar river” (Aesarei fatalia fluminis ora, 54), where he founds Crotona. Next, Pythagoras claims that Apollo speaks through him, giving him oracular powers (143–52) : he “will unlock the oracles of [the god’s] august mind” (augustae reserabo oracula mentis, 145) and likes “to unroll the course of fate” (seriemque euoluere fati, 152). Later, when recounting how cities and peoples rise and fall over time (420–30), he turns to Rome’s fate and claims that she will one day be the head of the world (431–35), an assertion he supports by appealing to seers and lots (sic dicere uates / faticinasque ferunt sortes ; “so, they say, seers and prophetic lots tell it,” 435–36) and a prophecy Helenus gave Aeneas at the time Troy fell (436–52).32 Moments before Cipus’ story, Ovid recounts the birth of Tages, the founder of Etruscan divination, out of a clod of earth (fatalem glaebam, 554) : once born, he foretells the future (oraque uenturis aperire recentia fatis, 557) and teaches the Etruscans how to do so as well (edocuit ... casus aperire futuros, 559).33 And right before Cipus’ story, there is the transformation of Romulus’ spear (560–64), an event closely connected with Romulus’ foundation of Rome and his taking of auspices on that occasion.34

  • 35 In addition to the laurel and its Apollonian/Augustan associations, Galinsky 1967: 190 sees the the (...)

17A fatalistic view of history is advanced after Cipus’ story as well. Immediately after it, Ovid recounts how the Romans, when unable to stop a plague, consulted the Delphic oracle for help and were told to seek out Apollo’s son, Aesculapius (622–40) ; they send an embassy to Epidaurus to fetch the god, his cult is transferred to Rome, and the plague comes to an end, just as the oracle said it would (641–744).35 In the next story, about the murder and apotheosis of Julius Caesar (745–851), divination and fate are central themes, which combine to articulate the strongest statement on predestination in the book yet. When Venus sees that a plot on Caesar’s life is afoot and complains to the gods about it (760–78), Ovid tells us that the gods were moved by her words, but could do nothing to avert it because they “cannot break the iron decrees of the ancient sisters” (rumpere … / ferrea non possunt ueterum decreta sororum, 780–81). What they can do, however, is “give not uncertain omens of future woe” (signa tamen luctus dant haud incerta futuri, 782), and a list of omens forewarning the murder then follows (783–98). After that list, we are again reminded of the fixity of Caesar’s destiny – the signs sent by the gods are unable to stop the plot against him and the “coming fates” (uentura fata) (799–800) – and, then, moments later, when the conspirators close in and Venus tries to cover Caesar in a protective cloud (800–806), Jupiter explains to her why her efforts are useless :

                                      sola insuperabile fatum,
nata, mouere paras ? intres licet ipsa sororum
tecta trium : cernes illic molimine uasto
ex aere et solido rerum tabularia ferro,
quae neque concussum caeli neque fulminis iram
nec metuunt ullas tuta atque aeterna ruinas :
inuenies illic incisa adamante perenni
fata tui generis. legi ipse animoque notaui
et referam, ne sis etiamnum ignara futuri.               (80715)

  • 36 Note echoes of the Cipus episode here: magna ... rerum molimina uidit in illis (578) = cernes molim (...)

[“Are you, daughter, trying to alter unconquerable fate alone? Go ahead and enter the house of the three sisters ; you are allowed. You will see there archive rooms, a massive construction of bronze and solid iron, secure and everlasting, which fear neither a heaven-sent blow nor hostile lightning nor any destructive force. You will find there the fates of your line etched for eternity in adamant. I myself have read them and committed them to memory and will relate them to you so that you are no longer ignorant of the future.”]36

  • 37 Jupiter’s remarks on all, including gods, being subject to fate and his subsequent prophecy have an (...)
  • 38 For the epilogue and the tabularium description, see Hardie 2015: 622. Note too that line 879 looks (...)

Hereafter, Jupiter prophesies Augustus’ glorious future (816–39).37 Finally, in the epilogue (871–79), Ovid describes his work (871–72) in terms reminiscent of the tabularium of fates Jupiter describes in 809–12, quoted above, and, when next predicting his own immortality (873–79), refers to prophecies in the epic’s last line : si quid habent ueri uatum praesagia, uiuam (“if the presages of seers have any truth to them, I will live on,” 879).38

18We have seen how Cipus’ dubious attempts to avoid kingship and their ambiguous results show fate to be difficult, if not impossible, to avoid, and we now see that message is reinforced by the wider context in which his story appears : to resist kingship is to try to alter, as Jupiter says of Caesar’s murder, an insuperabile fatum. That message, however, is conveyed not only by the mechanics of the story’s plot or its relation to mytho-historical demonstrations of fate elsewhere in Metamorphoses 15. It is also conveyed, as we shall now see, by its engagement with the philosophy of a Hellenistic dialectician named Diodorus Cronus, who offered important insights into the nature and workings of fate. In this respect too Cipus’ story is of a piece with the Metamorphoses 15, whose first half is devoted, after all, to the teachings of a philosopher, Pythagoras (60–478).

Diodorus and Cipus’ Logic Puzzles

  • 39 Diodorus’ biography: Döring 1972: 124-28 (on fr. 96–108); Sedley 1977: 78–83.
  • 40 For an overview of Diodorus’ philosophy, see Sedley 1977: 84–104.
  • 41 Diodorus: Diog. Laert. 2.111 (= fr. 109 Döring; cf. Them. Or. 2.30b = fr. 110 Döring). Eubulides: D (...)

19Precise dates in the life of Diodorus Cronus are hard to come by, but the late fourth-early third century BCE is likely his floruit ; during this time, he lived mostly in Athens and, thereafter, briefly in Alexandria.39 He was known for a number of philosophical puzzles or paradoxes, his theories on motion and language, advances in modal and propositional logic, and especially his so-called “Master Argument”, the purpose of which seems to have been to define “the possible” and “the necessary”, but which lent itself to fatalistic interpretations.40 One of those interpretations is Cicero’s in De Fato, a text with which, I suspect, Ovid was familiar ; this will become clear in our discussion of the “Master Argument” later. First, however, I would like to consider the influence of two logic puzzles, knowledge of which would have been easy for our poet to come by because they were quite famous, if not notorious, in antiquity. They are known as the “horned argument” (κερατίνης λόγος) and the “veiled argument” (ἐγκεκαλυμμένος λόγος). Our sources associate Diodorus with these puzzles either directly, by attributing them to him, or indirectly, by attributing them to Eubulides, the teacher of Diodorus’ teacher Apollonius Cronus.41

  • 42 The “horned argument”: Döring 1972: 113–14; Sedley 1977: 102; Wheeler 1983: 290–91.
  • 43 Diog. Laert. 7.187 (= fr. 65 Döring). Similarly, Sen. Ep. 49.8: quod non perdidisti habes; cornua a (...)
  • 44 Sedley 1977: 102 poses the dilemma in this way on the model of a question the dialectician Alexinos (...)

20To begin with the “horned argument”, its name has, as many such puzzles do, a double meaning : it is literally about horns and figuratively puts one on the “horns” of a dilemma.42 Its argument goes as follows : “If you did not lose something, you have it ; you did not lose horns ; therefore, you have horns.”43 Another way to appreciate the dilemma is by asking the question “have you lost your horns ?” The respondent is stuck with two undesirable choices : if he replies “no”, then he has horns ; if he replies “yes”, he had horns before.44 What invites consideration of this paradox in connection with Cipus’ story is not the detail of his horns per se, which, unless Ovid invented it, is a standard part of the tale (cf. Val. Max. 5.6.3 ; Plin. HN 11.123), but his attempt to deceive the Romans by covering them up (590–602) ; for the ruse raises the same issue the paradox does, whether one possesses horns, and leads to the same foregone conclusion, that one does. That is, Cipus’ covering of his horns makes it seem as if he has “lost” them and, to his audience, is not the horned man, but his attempt to “lose” them in this way does not actually alter the fact that he has them.

  • 45 The implication that Cipus is similarly foolish, even if he, unlike those duped by the horned argum (...)
  • 46 Riddles, crowns, and parties, especially Saturnalian ones: Leary 2014: 10–12; Egelhaaf-Gaiser 2018. (...)

21Other details in the story suggest that Ovid may have had this logic puzzle in mind as well. When Cipus looks at his reflection in the water and first notices his horns (565–66), he touches his forehead to make sure that what he sees is real : falsamque in imagine credens / esse fidem digitis ad frontem saepe relatis, / quae uidit, tetigit (“and believing that the reflection was inaccurate, he kept groping his forehead with his fingers and touched [the horns] he saw,” 566–68). This reaction recalls the ridicule philosophers sometimes leveled at the “horned argument” and those who were duped by it. Diogenes the Cynic, for example, supposedly thought so little of the argument that, according to Diogenes Laertius, he simply checked for horns on his head to refute it : “In response to someone who came to the conclusion that he had horns, he touched his forehead and said : ‘I don’t see any’” (πρὸς τὸν συλλογισάμενον ὅτι κέρατα ἔχει ἁψάμενος τοῦ μετῶπουἐγὼ μένἔφηοὐχ ὁρῶ,” Diog. Laert. 6.38). Seneca refers to the same practice when dismissing the argument as self-evidently silly : “however, he who is asked whether he has horns is not so stupid as to check his forehead nor, for that matter, so foolish or dim-witted as not to know unless you have convinced him by a really subtle argument” (ceterum qui interrogatur an cornua habeat non est tam stultus ut frontem suam temptet, nec rursus tam ineptus aut hebes ut nesciat <nisi> illi subtilissima collectione persuaseris, Epist. 45.8).45 Another hint at the “horned argument” may be the people’s crowning of Cipus after he reveals his horns (613–15). There are many ways in which one can read the symbolism of this gesture, two of which have already been considered : the investiture of kings and the triumph ritual in Rome. It may conjure associations with other sorts of crowns too, however, such as those bestowed for other kinds of military accomplishments (e.g., corona ciuica, naualis, muralis), awarded to victors at games, or worn at symposia. Among the latter, drinking crowns are most well known, but there were also crowns given to symposiasts for solving puzzles and riddles, the “horned argument” included. Aulus Gellius (NA 18.2) recounts such an occasion, a Saturnalian celebration he attended in Athens : each guest was given a crown and asked a question ; if he got the question wrong, he would pass the crown on to the next guest to be questioned, but if he got it right, he was awarded the crown and a book (2–6) ; the third round of questioning involved philosophical puzzles, which included the “horned argument” (9–10).46 Perhaps the people’s crowning of Cipus is meant to evoke this practice and may be read as a way of awarding him for solving his own “horned” riddle, the question of the horned man’s identity ; after all, they crown him after he correctly answers that question (“quis ille est ?” ; “who is it ?”, 607) by confessing that it is he and revealing his horns to them (609–11). Of course, the crown, so read, is a dubious award since the joke is ultimately on Cipus, being the horned man.

  • 47 The “veiled argument”: Döring 1972: 112–13; Sedley 1977: 95–96.

22If the “horned argument” plays with the idea of identity, the “veiled argument” plays with the idea of identification, and its name likewise has a double meaning : it uses the example of a veiled figure to produce a semanto-logical “cover-up” that misdirects its addressee.47 The following exchange between Chrysippus and a buyer in Lucian’s Philosophies for Sale (Vit. auct. 22) is an example :

Chrysippus :     You will also hear the very splendid “veiled” argument. Just answer me : do you know (οἶσθα) your father ?
Buyer :              Yes.
Chrysippus :      Really ? If I place beside you some veiled person and ask “do you know (οἶσθα) him ?”, what will you say ?
Buyer :               Clearly, that I do not know (ἀγνοεῖν) him.
Chrysippus :      And yet, that person standing there is your father. Therefore, if you do not know (ἀγνοεῖς) him, it is clear that you do not know (ἀγνοῶν) your own father.
Buyer :               Not quite. If I unveil him, I will know (εἴσομαι) the truth.

The argument is designed to conflate and confound two senses of “knowing”, knowing (a fact) and recognizing, a distinction effaced in my translation to produce the desired effect, but indicated by the Greek in parentheses to expose the deception. Cipus’ ruse bears comparison with the scenario of the “veiled person” in that his covering (note uelat, 592) of his horns with a crown similarly deceives his audience, the Romans, by generating two-way interference between both senses of knowing : the Romans think they recognize (ἀγνοεῖν) Cipus and know (εἰδέναι) that the horned man is someone else, but are wrong on both counts because they do not recognize (ἀγνοεῖν) Cipus for who he really is, i.e. the horned man, and thus do not know (εἰδέναι) that he and that man are one and the same. Of course, clear recognition and sure knowledge are easily attainable in such a scenario once the veiled person is unveiled, as the buyer points out in the Lucian passage and as eventually happens in the Cipus episode when he reveals his horns. And yet, the trick is so simple that playing it again is easily done, and that may be, in fact, what the people’s subsequent crowning of Cipus is meant to imply. As I pointed out earlier, there is much about the people’s reaction to his unveiling (610–12) to suggest that they would rather not know that he is the horned king and would prefer to avoid the issue of kingship altogether. Reading their crowning of him in terms of the “veiled argument” would be consistent with that interpretation, as their gesture would then be a “veiling” similarly intended to trick its viewers, the people themselves in this case, into not “knowing” who the person under the “veil” (Cipus) really is.

  • 48 “Cronus” is presumably used in this story in the sense of “dotard” or “old fool” (LSJ, s.v. Κρόνος (...)

23The “horned” and “veiled” arguments, I should point out, shape our reading of Cipus’ story not only individually, but cooperatively. First, since both close off the only alternatives they offer, they together reflect the no-win situation in which Cipus and the Romans find themselves : just as the “horned argument” constrains you to have horns no matter what you say and the “veiled argument” to know and not to know someone at the same time, so fate constrains Cipus to be king and the Romans to have a king whether they like it or not. Second, the identification of Cipus’ ruse with these puzzles reinforces the impression that the ruse is a futile exercise in deception and Cipus himself a kind of huckster-dialectician who is too clever for his own good and yet not quite clever enough ; for he plies a form of “horned argument” to no avail, being stuck with horns he cannot lose, and plies a form of “veiled argument”, only to have the “veil” removed and his trick easily exposed. As such, he is comparable to those dialecticians whom Diogenes, Seneca, and Lucian make fun of, as we saw above. We might even compare him to Diodorus Cronus himself, who, though famous for such logical puzzles, was believed to have been undone by one. The story goes (Diog. Laert. 2.111–12 = fr. 99 Döring ; cf. Plin. NH 7.53.180 = fr. 100 Döring) that at the court of Ptolemy Soter the philosopher Stilpo posed some puzzles of this sort (λόγους τινὰς διαλεκτικοὺς) to Diodorus, which he could not solve ; for this he was rebuked by Ptolemy and was mocked with the nickname “Cronus” ; he left the banquet, addressed the philosophical problem in writing, and died in a dejected state.48 Cipus resembles Diodorus, therefore, not only for employing a ruse that recalls puzzles attributed to him, but for being bested by his own sophistical invention.

Kingship and Fate I : Diodorus, Cicero and the “Master Argument”

  • 49 The bibliography on Diodorus’ “Master Argument” is extensive and is mostly devoted to reconstructio (...)
  • 50 As Epictetus goes on to say (Diss. 2.19.2-5 = fr. 131 Döring), others who addressed these premises (...)
  • 51 Cic. Fat. 17; cf. Fam. 9.4. Note, however, that in De Fato 1 Cicero uses περὶ δυνατῶν to refer to t (...)

24Let us now turn to Diodorus’ “Master Argument” ( κυριεύων λόγος).49 According to Epictetus (Diss. 2.19.1 = Döring fr. 131), Diodorus’ argument addressed a trilemma of incompatible claims : 1) “every past truth is necessary” (πᾶν παραλελυθὸς ἀληθὲς ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι) ; 2) “the impossible does not follow from the possible” (δυνατῷ ἀδύνατον μὴ ἀκολουθεῖν) ; 3) “that which neither is nor will be true is possible” (δυνατὸν εἶναι, οὔτἔστιν ἀληθὲς οὔτἔσται). Diodorus argued that the first two claims were sound, but that the third was not and proposed in its place that “nothing is possible that neither is nor will be true” (μηδὲν εἶναι δυνατόν, οὔτἔστιν ἀληθὲς οὔτἔσται).50 Although we do not possess Diodorus’ proof of this argument, it is clear from Epictetus and other testimonia that it offered important insights into the modalities of necessity and possibility – it may have appeared in a work entitled “On Possibles” (περὶ δυνατῶν), in fact51 – as well as the relationship between the past and the future.

  • 52 I focus on this section of the work because it is extant. This is not to rule out, however, that Ci (...)

25The most extensive, pre-Ovidian treatment of Diodorus’ “Master Argument” in Latin, and one, I believe, Ovid himself was familiar with, is Cicero, De Fato 11–18.52 Weidemann neatly summarizes that section of the work as follows :

  • 53 Weidemann 2007: 35. Cicero’s use of Diodorus in De Fato: Sharples 1991: 12–13, 16673; Gaskin 1995: (...)

“Paragraphs 11–18 of Cicero’s treatise De Fato are centred on the logical aspect of the Stoic doctrine of fate as it is defended by its most prominent advocate, Chrysippus. What Cicero aims at doing in these paragraphs is to show, in the first place, that in his attempt to underpin the doctrine of fate by appealing to the alleged effectiveness of divination Chryippus is committed to a theory of modality which he rejects, namely the theory of modality that originates with Diodorus Cronus ; in the second place, that Chrysippus’ effort to evade the commitment to Diodorus’ modal theory by regimenting the formulation of the astrological principles of divination fails ; and, finally, that Diodorus’ modal theory is in fact immune to the deterministic implications for which Chrysippus sees himself compelled to reject it.”53

For the purposes of this paper, Cicero’s arguments need not be addressed in detail. It suffices to call attention to the following aspects of his discussion : his use of divinatory propositions ; the example of Cypselus ; Chrysippus’ restatement of conditional propositions of diviners in the form of coordinated statements ; and the ascription of a deterministic view of the future to Diodorus.

26Cicero repeatedly appeals to divination or, rather, to propositions regarding the future associated with it, namely, prophecies, to demonstrate the strength of Diodorus’ arguments against those of the Stoic Chrysippus and in doing so shows Diodorus’ approach to be compatible in ways that Chrysippus’ is not with the rationale of divination, a practice that only works, of course, if fate is foreordained and necessary. He initially brings divination into the discussion in De Fato 11. After claiming there that men’s vices may be due to natural causes beyond our power, he asserts that their removal is within our power – our will, effort, self-discipline (uoluntate, studio, disciplina) – but acknowledges that “all such manner of self-determination is done away with if divination provides a reasonable basis for demonstrating the power and natural condition of fate” (quae tolluntur omnia, si uis et natura fati ex diuinationis ratione firmabitur). He next shifts his attention to propositions regarding the future and sets Diodorus’ views about them against those of the Stoic Chrysippus, whom he now addresses as an imaginary interlocutor. For a good part of this discussion, he does not treat just any sort of proposition regarding the future, but those that diviners and oracles are inclined to make ; the topic of divination is thus carried over from the last sentence of the previous section, which was just quoted above, to this one. He announces this direction from the start :

etenim si est diuinatio, qualibusnam a perceptis artis proficiscitur ? (percepta appello quae dicuntur Graece θεωρήματα). non enim credo nullo percepto aut ceteros artifices uersari in suo munere, aut eos qui diuinatione utantur futura praedicere. sint igitur astrologorum percepta huius modi : “si quis uerbi causa oriente Canicula natus est, is in mari non morietur.” (Fat. 11-12)

[“Now then, if divination exists, from what sort of scientific propositions does it proceed ? (‘Propositions’ is my term for what are called theōrēmata in Greek). I ask this because I believe that practitioners of divination predict the future using such propositions just as practitioners of other sciences, when engaged in their own tasks, do. Let us consider, then, propositions astrologers make of the following kind : ‘if someone, say, was born when the Dog Star was rising, he will not die at sea.’”]

After modifying the proposition by substituting “Fabius” for “someone”, Cicero goes on to argue for a Diodoran reading of it, which requires, if we accept its antecedent as true, that it is possible and necessary that Fabius will not die at sea.

27Cicero next fends off Chrysippus’ objections by showing his arguments to be either self-contradictory or disproved by Diodorus’ superior logic (Fat. 12–13). In doing so, he appeals again to divination, this time invoking Cypselus, the tyrant of Corinth, for one of his examples :

tu et quae non sint futura posse fieri dicis, ut frangi gemmam, etiamsi id numquam futurum sit, neque necesse fuisse Cypselum regnare Corinthi, quamquam id millensimo ante anno Apollinis oraculo editum esset. at si ista conprobabis diuina praedicta, et quae falsa in futuris dicentur in iis habebis ut ea fieri non possint ut si dicatur Africanum Carthagine non potiturum, et si uere dicatur de futuro idque ita futurum sit, dicas esse necessarium ; quae est tota Diodori uobis inimica sententia. (Fat. 13)

[“You (sc. Chrysippus) also say that those things that will not be can happen, as that a gem can be broken even if it never will be, and that it was not necessary that Cypselus be ruler of Corinth although that pronouncement was made by Apollo’s oracle a thousand years before. And yet, if you endorse such divine predictions, you will also consider false things said about the future, like ‘Africanus will not take Carthage’, among such things as cannot happen, and if something true about the future should be said and it should so come to pass, then you would say that it is necessary ; that is entirely Diodorus’ point of view, which is antithetical to yours.”]

Shortly hereafter, Cicero adverts to divination again when mocking Chrysippus’ attempt to reconcile his belief in it with his faulty logic (Fat. 15). Chrysippus’ method, he says, would require Chaldaean diviners to restate their conditional propositions about the future in the form of coordinated statements ; that is, instead of saying “if someone was born when the Dog Star was rising, he will not die at sea” ( = if p, q), Chrysippus would have them say “it is not the case both that someone was born when the Dog Star was rising and that he will die at sea” ( = not both p and not q). Cicero considers this an “absurd presumption” (licentiam iocularem) and then calls attention to the compatibility of Diodorus’ logic with such prophetic pronouncements in contrast to Chrysippus’ approach : ne ipse incidat in Diodorum, docet Chaldaeos quo pacto eos exponere percepta oporteat (“to avoid agreeing with Diodorus, he [Chrysippus] instructs the Chaldeans in how they should set forth their propositions”).

  • 54 And this consideration might well be in the forefront of one’s mind since De Fato was part of a tri (...)
  • 55 It may come as a surprise that Cicero understood Chrysippus’ views on fate in this way, given that (...)
  • 56 It has also been proposed that the “Master Argument” is so called because of the superiority or str (...)

28Cicero’s use of prophecies and oracular responses in these instances is not designed to legitimize divination ; one can hardly imagine the author of De Divinatione doing that.54 So, why does he repeatedly bring divination into the discussion ? One reason, it seems, is that Chrysippus’ belief in it and the brand of fatalism he advocates together threaten a concept Cicero holds dear, free will, and must, therefore, be discredited by him ; this is surely why he refers to that threat in De Fato 11, right before he turns to Diodorus’ and Chrysippus’ arguments on possibility and necessity, a discussion in which he repeatedly attacks those of the latter.55 Even so, in appealing to divination to refute Chrysippus, Cicero ends up showing that practice to be compatible with Diodorus’ way of thinking, a point to which I shall return in a moment. Another possibility is that Cicero has not introduced divination into the discussion at all, but is using divinatory propositions to illustrate Diodorus’ and Chrysippus’ views because they themselves – or, at least, one of them – did so. I raise this consideration because one of Cicero’s sample propositions may have a Diodoran basis ; I am thinking of the one in which Apollo’s oracle predicts Cypselus’ reign in Corinth (Fat. 13). It is well known that philosophical puzzles with which Diodorus and other Hellenistic philosophers were associated often had names with multiple meanings ; I noted this above in connection with the “horned” and “veiled” arguments. Whether this is the case with Diodorus’ “Master Argument” and, if so, how is unclear, but it has been proposed that Diodorus used examples of rulers to test his conditional propositions and that may be one of the reasons why his “Master Argument” or κυριεύων λόγος is so called. One observation in favor of this interpretation is that “ruling” is a better translation of κυριεύων than “master”. Another is Cicero’s example of the ruler Cypselus, which may reflect Diodorus’ own use of examples of this kind ; and telling on this point is that Cicero uses it to defend Diodorus’ understanding of possibility over against Chrysippus’.56 Add the fact that Apollo’s oracle is featured in this example, and it may well be that rulers and divination were both related themes in Diodorus’ sample propositions too. But even if not, one can see how Cicero’s Cypselus example might lead others to associate Diodorus with them.

  • 57 Also, see Fat. 17, where Cicero revisits and restates these claims.

29A final aspect of Cicero’s discussion I should take note of is his ascription of a deterministic view of the future to Diodorus. This is evident in De Fato 13 : ille enim id solum fieri posse dicit, quod aut sit uerum aut futurum sit uerum, et quicquid futurum sit id dicit fieri necesse esse, et quicquid non sit futurum id negat fieri posse (“for he [Diodorus] says that only that which either is true or will be true can happen and says that whatever will be must happen and denies that whatever will not be can happen”).57 Sedley, who sees such determinism as inconsistent with Diodorus’ view, comments :

  • 58 Sedley 1977: 99.

“The object of the Master Argument was to establish definitions of ‘possible’ and ‘necessary’, and we know that he kept these two terms carefully distinguished. He did not take the step of identifying the actual, the possible and the necessary. But it is clear from Cicero’s De fato that this step was foisted on him, no doubt by his pupils, and in consequence he came to be associated with the hardline determinist view that all things happen out of necessity.”58

  • 59 Gaskin 1995: 306; Sedley 2005: 24647; Schallenberg 2008: 125–27, 155–56; Weidemann 2007: 46–47; We (...)

It is debated whether the determinism ascribed to Diodorus in De Fato 13 represents an inference drawn by Cicero himself, is derived from one of his sources on the philosopher, or is even consistent with Diodoran thought.59 What matters for us is that the ascription is made at all ; for if Ovid derived his understanding of the Master Argument, in whole or in part, from Cicero’s treatment thereof in De Fato, then we should take some account of the views of that Diodorus, Cicero’s Diodorus, whether they align with those of the actual Diodorus or not. It is additionally significant that Cicero uses divinatory pronouncements in his defense of Diodorus and does so in a work on fate ; for it is conceivable that some of his readers were encouraged thereby to see in Diodorus’ “determinism”– or to read into it – a species of fatalism, thus understanding a statement like “whatever will be must happen” (Fat. 13) to imply “whatever will be is fated to happen.” Ovid, I believe, is one such reader.

Kingship and Fate II : Diodorus ans Ovid’s Cipus

  • 60 Also suggestive of a Diodoran – or a Cicero-Diodoran – connection in this regard is the fact that O (...)

30I now return to the Cipus episode to examine some of the ways in which it invites consideration of Diodorus’ Master Argument and, particularly, Cicero’s treatment thereof in De Fato. Its presentation of fate as a fixed and inescapable thing, for one, points me in this direction. In so saying, I do not mean that Ovid necessarily saw Diodorus as a proponent of such a view of fate, but, as I just suggested might be the case, that he may have come to the recognition, perhaps led there by Cicero’s De Fato, that Diodorus’ philosophy lends itself to such a view, particularly when coupled with a belief in divination. And Ovid needs that practice, whether he personally believed in it or not, to be legitimized within the context of Cipus’ story for its fatalistic message to be conveyed. Granted, Ovid’s views on fate, divination, and the relationship between them are, no doubt, shaped by a number of different sources, models, and traditions, both philosophical and non-philosophical ; our earlier review of references to fate and divination in Metamorphoses 15 suggests as much. Diodorus’ influence becomes harder to deny, however, when we consider the central issue of Cipus’ story, whether he will be king, as that is a proposition about the future involving a ruler and as such resembles either those that Diodorus may have himself used or the one involving Cypselus that Cicero uses to illustrate Diodorus’ argument. What is more, that proposition is put in the mouth of a haruspex and is stated in the form of a prophecy ; Diodorus may have used scenarios involving divination for his propositions, and Cicero certainly does in defense of his philosophy in De Fato, as we have seen.60

31Even the different ways in which the haruspex and Cipus make assertions about the latter’s kingship may reflect the influence of Cicero’s discussion of Diodorus in De Fato. Note that the haruspex mostly makes simple assertions like “Rome will obey you” (581–82), “hurry to enter the city gates” (583–84), and “you will be king” (584–85) ; only in the last case is a complex assertion implied, thanks to the phrase urbe receptus (584), which, as discussed above, may have the force of the conditional protasis “if (you will be) received by/into city”. Cipus, on the other hand, prefers to cast the haruspex’s statements as complex, conditional assertions or to add new ones and to spell them out as such : “unless (nisi) you keep him away, he will be king” (594–95) ; “if (si) he enters Rome, he will enslave you” (597) ; “if (si) he deserves it, bind him or kill him” (601–602). Of these the first two examples are especially notable because they invite a strict implication between Cipus’ entrance to Rome and his becoming king, a connection the haruspex’s assertions more weakly imply. Among the reasons for this disparity may be that Ovid wishes to recall the different ways in which Diodorus and Chrysippus formulate propositions about the future in De Fato 15. As we noted earlier, Cicero there observes that Diodorus’ logic admits of the sort of conditional propositions Chaldean diviners might use (if p, q), but Chrysippus’ does not, and because of that he obliges them to restate their prophecies in the form of coordinated statements (not both p and not q). The difference between these types of prophecies is not exactly the same as that between Cipus’ and the haruspex’s in Ovid’s story, I grant, but we can hear its resonance in Cipus’ use of strict, “Diodoran” conditionals and the haruspex’s use of more loosely connected, “Chrysippan” statements.

  • 61 Palm 1939: 85–86; Lundström 1980: 76; Porte 1985: 194; Bömer 1986: 403-04; Santini 1987: 297–98; Ma (...)
  • 62 Marks 2004: 125–26. If Cipus’ exile represents a shifting of kingship’s boundaries away from Rome, (...)
  • 63 Cf. Feldherr 2022: 33, who considers another philosophical “tie-in” via pun: the Epicurean κῆπος.

32Another hint at Diodorus’ argument may be the name Cipus itself. It is widely acknowledged that the name is a play on the word cippus or “boundary stone” and as such nicely complements Cipus’ efforts to avoid being king in the story : like a human cippus, he sets a limit to kingship by refusing to cross Rome’s boundaries, her walls, and, then, relocates himself – and his kingship – to his plot of land outside the city, whose boundaries he sets when he ploughs around it.61 But the story, as we have seen, gives us many reasons to suppose that Cipus fails to avoid kingship, and his being a cippus may complement that message too ; in this case, his relocation outside of Rome would not represent the containment, isolation, or end of kingship, but its continuation and even expansion outward, its boundaries set by wherever Cipus, the cippus/king, goes.62 The story’s philosophical content leads us to consider another play on Cipus’ name, however, one that reinforces, in fact, its ties to Cicero’s discussion of Diodorus’ fatalism in De Fato. Cicero, we recall, uses a sample prophecy there involving Cypselus to convince Chrysippus of the superiority of Diodorus’ fatalistic logic ; he wants the Stoic to agree, despite his reluctance, that it was necessary that Cypselus would one day reign in Corinth (Cypselum regnare Corinthi, 13) even if the oracle of Apollo had foretold it a thousand years before it happened. This supplies a parallel with Ovid’s story not only in plot, where a ruler’s reign is likewise foretold, but in name, Ovid’s destined ruler being Cipus, a near equivalent of Cypselus.63

  • 64 The following analysis is based on Marks 2004: 127. For other possible puns related to Cipus or his (...)
  • 65 Marks 2004: 126–27.
  • 66 Corn-/coron- words in Cipus’ story anticipate not only Coroniden in Aesculapius’, but perhaps also (...)

33But there is another form of wordplay in the story that recalls Diodorus in a more direct way ; I am referring to the play between cornua (“horns”) and corona (“crown”).64 The story begins with Cipus’ discovery of the cornua on his head (566, 570) ; after seeing them (cornua, 581), the haruspex says that Rome will obey Cipus and his horns (cornibus, 582) ; when Cipus next calls together the Romans, he covers his horns (cornua, 591) with laurel (lauro), which is later identified as a crown (corona), and tells them about the man with horns on his head (cornua, 596) ; after the people inspect each other, looking for the horns (cornua, 608), they try to prevent him when he removes his crown (corona, 610) and reveals his horns (cornua, 611) ; they then put a crown (coronam, 615) back on his head, and the Senate honor Cipus by putting horns (cornua, 620) on the Porta Raudusculana. Wordplay cleverly underlines the message of kingship that the horns (cornua) convey by verbally associating them with a traditional symbol of royalty, a crown (corona). In doing so, it also underlines the futility of the attempt to avoid kingship in the story : whether Cipus exposes his horns or covers them with a crown or whether the Romans put a crown on his head or sculpt horns on a gate, the cause of avoiding kingship or of settling the matter in any definitive way does not seem to be advanced very much, the difference between the horns and the crown being as slim as the alphabetical difference between the words cornua and corona. A play on these words, moreover, links Cipus’ story to that of the hasta Romuli directly preceding it (560-64), a story that, as was noted above, shows kingship to be an abiding legacy of Rome’s foundation and, hence, difficult to avoid ; for the tree (arbor, 562) into which Romulus’ spear turns there, though it goes unnamed, is, in fact, a cornel or cornus, an object that anticipates not only the issue of kingship in the next story, given its association with Romulus, but the words cornua and corona themselves, given its verbal likeness to them.65 We witness another pun-producing verbal metamorphosis when we move on from Cipus’ story and turn to Aesculapius’ thereafter : after Cipus with his cornua and corona leaves Rome, Ovid invokes the Muses to recount the arrival of Coroniden, Aesculapius, the son of Coronis, to the city (622–25). Although the juxtaposition points to a contrast between these two stories – Rome loses a king (Cipus) in the one and receives a god (Aesculapius) in the other – the wordplay between them suggests that something survives that transition, that gods have taken over for kings and now rule Rome as such or, better yet, that their kings become gods ; Aesculapius’ story, after all, leads into a story in which Caesar becomes a god and his son Augustus is prophesied to become one.66

34Ovid’s wordplays on cornua and corona in Cipus’ story also invite us to think of Diodorus through his similar-sounding epithet Κρόνος or Cronus. What invites this consideration is not simply the philosophical content of the story, which recalls Diodorus in many ways, as we have seen, but that there are other instances of punning on his name in ancient literature. Diogenes Laertius provides one. After recounting how Diodorus failed to solve a riddle Stilpo posed, a story I referred to above, he quotes a poem mocking Diodorus for this, which ends : τοιγὰρ εὑρέθης Κρόνος / ἔξωθε τοῦ ῥῶ κάππα τε (“for then you were exposed as a ‘Kronos’ missing its ‘r’ and ‘k’,” Diog. Laert. 2.112). As the removal of these letters from his name spells ὄνος or “ass”, the joke is that Diodorus is himself an ass. This is similar to Ovid’s process of generating puns, which involves adding, removing, or shifting letters around ; hence, cornus (“cornel”), cornua (“horns”), corona (“crown”), Coroniden (“son of Coronis”), and now, possibly, Cronus are all related in this way. An epigram of Callimachus (fr. 393 Pfeiffer), which pokes fun at Diodorus, puns on “Cronus” too and is even closer to what we see in Ovid because it uses similar letter-combinations to form its puns :

                                           αὐτὸς ὁ Μῶμος
   ἔγραφεν ἐν τοίχοις “ὁ Κρόνος ἐστὶ σοφός”.
ἠνίδε κοἰ κόρακες τεγέων ἔπι “κοῖα συνῆπται ;”
   κρώζουσιν καὶ “κῶς αὖθι γενησόμεθα ;”

[“The god Ridicule himself wrote on the walls ‘Kronos is wise’. And – look ! – crows on roofs caw ‘what sort of things follow ?’ and ‘how will we come to be there ?’”]

  • 67 While it is generally understood that the crows’ first question refers to conditional propositions, (...)
  • 68 Adding to the Callimachean association is the fact that Callimachus’ Hecale is fundamental to Ovid’ (...)

Here crows (κόρακες) and their cawing (κρώζουσιν) pun on the name Cronus (Κρόνος).67 We may have in this epigram, however, not merely a parallel for Ovid’s nameplay in Cipus’ story, but its inspiration. It is notable that the first pun Ovid makes after the story is on Aesculapius’ matronymic Coroniden (“son of Coronis”, 624), an epithet that takes us back to the god’s birth-story in Metamorphoses 2, in which his mother’s name, Coronis, is one of an interrelated series of puns that includes a crow, the bird that features in Callimachus’ epigram. The series there begins with a raven (corvus), which discovers Apollo’s lover Coronis cheating on him with another (2.534–47). As the raven is on his way to disclose this to the god, a crow (cornix) warns him not to do that and then explains how she, formerly the daughter of a king named Coroneus, was transformed into a crow by Pallas (2.547–95) ; the raven ignores the crow’s warning and tells Apollo about Coronis’ affair anyway (2.596–99). In his anger, the god slays Coronis, but soon regrets it and, while her body is on the funeral pyre, saves his child with her by snatching it from her womb ; the child is, of course, Aesculapius or, as Ovid later calls him, Coronides (2.600–30). To return to Metamorphoses 15, when we come across Coroniden in line 624, our first impulse is to read it as a play on cornua and corona in Cipus’ story, which themselves play on the cornus into which Romulus’ spear turns in the story before that. But we are surely meant to recall the set of puns with which Aesculapius, Coronides, was connected in his previous and first appearance in the epic in book 2 as well : corvus, Coronis, cornix, Coroneus. As we contemplate both sets of puns and consider them in relation to the philosophical content of Cipus’ story, we might read Coroniden (624), then, as an allusive cue hinting at Callimachus’ crow-puns in his epigram about Diodorus and thus as a way of confirming the pertinence of his philosophy to the tale about Cipus.68

  • 69 Marks 2004: 128.
  • 70 Papaioannou 2011; Gladhill 2012; cf. McKim 1984–1985.
  • 71 For poetic echoes in the epilogue, see n. 38 above.
  • 72 On the Ciceronian resonance of the Metamorphoses’ end, see Hardie 2002: 199–202 and 2015: 620-21. I (...)

35 In this paper I have argued that Ovid was familiar with Diodorus Cronus’ views on fate, probably through Cicero’s De Fato, and the “horned” and “veiled” arguments associated with him. He draws on these aspects of Diodorus’ philosophy to portray Cipus’ attempt to avoid kingship as a highly ambiguous and unnecessarily risky, if not self-defeating, exercise in forestalling fate and thus leaves open the question of whether Cipus really succeeds in the end. In raising this question, however, Ovid raises other, more fundamental ones as well, such as whether kingship in Rome is inevitable and whether philosophy, the philosophy of Diodorus Cronus, in particular, is capable of answering that question for us. I leave aside the former question and refer the reader to my prior thoughts on the matter.69 As to the latter, and by way of conclusion, I might only briefly suggest that Ovid has doubts about the soundness and utility of Diodorus’ philosophy ; of course, he would not be the first poet to do so, as the Callimachean epigram we just looked at above shows. Cipus’ use of the questionable ruse, which recalls the “horned” and “veiled” arguments, points in this interpretive direction. So too the prophecy that motivates it, and not only because it calls to mind Diodorus’ conception of fate as we know it from De Fato, but because it invites us to compare and reflect on other pronouncements about fate in Metamorphoses 15, several of which Ovid treats with ambivalence, in fact ;70 the most explicit instance thereof comes, as we saw earlier, in the very last line of the book, where the poet, musing on his own fate and that of his epic, wonders “if the presages of seers have any truth to them” (879). The scintilla of doubt this protasis raises sticks out in an epilogue where Ovid, ventriloquizing the confident aspirations of predecessors like Horace and Propertius, otherwise assesses his chances of poetic immortality quite positively (871–79).71 And yet, such doubt is not out of place in a book in which fate is not always assured or, rather, the fate one feels assured of is not necessarily the one that comes to pass. Nor is it out of place among the literary figures the epilogue evokes ; for another whose fate we are reminded of in those closing lines is Cicero, who is a staunch critic of divination in De Divinatione and whose exposition of Diodorus’ view of fate in De Fato likely shaped Ovid’s own in the Cipus episode.72

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Notes

1 E.g., Fränkel 1945: 226 n. 104; Lundström 1980: 73–79; Porte 1985: 194–95; Schmitzer 1990: 265–68, 270. The elder Pliny (HN 11.123) provides the only other reference to Cipus in ancient literature.

2 Emphasis on ambiguities and complexities of Ovid’s version: Galinsky 1967; Barchiesi 1994: 251–53; Barchiesi 1997: 185–87; Granobs 1997: 136, 138–39; Wheeler 2000: 128-30; Marks 2004: 113–20; Feldherr 2022.

3 Similar insights based on a comparative analysis of Valerius’ and Ovid’s versions: Galinsky 1967: 183–84; Granobs 1997: 131–42; Marks 2004: 113–14; Guillaumin 2008; Díez Platas and López Barja de Quiroga 2010: 280–81, 283; Martinez Astorino 2017: 261.

4 Marks 2004. Other notable treatments of Ovid’s Cipus episode: Galinsky 1967; Versnel 1970: 395–96; Lundström 1980: 67–79; Bömer 1986: 403–17; Santini 1987; Massa-Pairault 1990; Schmitzer 1990: 262–72; Barchiesi 1994: 251-53; Myers 1994: 129–30; Fabre-Serris 1995: 168–69; Barchiesi 1997: 185–87; Granobs 1997: 78–79, 131–42; Wheeler 2000: 128–30; Guillaumin 2008; Díez Platas and López Barja de Quiroga 2010; Hardie 2015: 563–71; Martinez Astorino 2017; Mollo Brisco 2017; Galasso 2019; Feldherr 2022. For the Genucii and the historical background of Cipus’ story, see Palm 1939 and Gagé 1972: 122-28 in addition to several of the above-cited (esp. Lundström 1980: 71–73).

5 So, e.g. Marks 2004: 108: “what really interests our poet in this story … is neither the moral force of Cipus’ actions nor the question of whether monarchy is a morally defensible form of government, but an historical truth exposed by his dilemma, that in a city such as Rome, which is founded by and thus owes her existence to a king, the prospect of kingship is ever present, maintaining a firm grasp over the collective consciousness of her citizens”.

6 The cosmogony in Met. 1 and Pythagoras’ speech in 15 have garnered the most attention, but other parts of the Metamorphoses and other Ovidian works have been studied for their philosophical content as well. His familiarity with Empedocles and Lucretius is especially well documented, but the influence of Heraclitus, Plato, and Stoics, among others, has received attention too. Ovid and philosophy: Rusten 1982; McKim 1984-1985; Myers 1994: 27–60, 133-66; Hardie 1995; Segal 2001; Hardie 2002: 150–163; Hardie 2009: 136–52; Nelis 2009: 248–52, 261–67; Van Schoor 2011; Garani 2013; Garani 2014; O’Rourke 2014: 20–25; Schiesaro 2014; Moser 2017; Kelly 2019; Volk and Williams 2022.

7 Labate 1984: 124–169; Liebermann 1999; Gibson 2005; Kelly 2019. Cicero’s influence on Ovid in other respects: degl’Innocenti Pierini 1998, Hardie 2002: 199–202; Montecalvo 2006; degl’Innocenti Pierini 2014; Hardie 2015: 620-21.

8 Note that Cipus here refers to the seer as augur (596) although Ovid previously called him haruspex (577). Possible reasons for the switch: Galinsky 1967: 187; Lundström: 72 with 112 n. 90; Schmitzer 1990: 267; Marks 2004: 123–24.

9 Galinsky 1967: 185 briefly considers the possibility that the meeting takes place inside the city, but that is certainly not the case, as lines 592–93 (aggeribus factis ... institit; “he stands on a mound that was made”; cf. Galinsky 1967: 185 n. 8) strongly suggest and line 616 (muros intrare uetaris; “you are forbidden to enter the walls”) confirms; so, Bömer 1986: 405; Schmitzer 1990: 265; Granobs 1997: 137; Wheeler 2000: 129 n. 98. Even so, one might agree with Galinsky that Ovid is being “intentionally ambiguous” about the meeting’s location (1967: 185; cf. Lundström 1980: 74) since Cipus’ remaining outside the city is such an important detail in the story, but is not explicitly indicated until late in it (616).

10 In fact, he represents himself as capable of doing so to the people when he tells them that he has already blocked the horned man from entering the city (598–600).

11 And note that when Cipus speaks of the horned man’s entrance to Rome as a condition of his kingship (si Romam intrarit, 597), he attributes the claim to the haruspex, whom he calls an augur, however (indicat augur, 596), and quotes him (intrarit = intrare, 583).

12 This is what Valerius Maximus does, who formulates it as a condition: responsumque est regem eum fore si in urbem reuertisset (“and the response was that he would be king if he had returned to the city,” 5.6.3). There may be a philosophical reason for Cipus’ formulation of the haruspex’s words as a condition; see §30-32 below.

13 Galinsky 1967: 186.

14 Martinez Astorino 2017: 267.

15 This is to say nothing of the fact that a triumphator is viewed as a kind of king when celebrating his triumph. Other details hinting at the triumph ritual include Cipus’ victorious return (569), the reference to his sceptrum (585), which may suggest a triumphator’s staff (sceptrum eburneum) as well as a king’s scepter, and possible evocations of Julius Caesar’s or Augustus’ associations with the ritual: Galinsky 1967: 188–90; Versnel 1970: 395-96; Lundström 1980: 76–77; Bömer 1986: 410; Santini 1987: 293-95; Barchiesi 1994: 251–52; Barchiesi 1997: 186; Granobs 1997: 135–37; Wheeler 2000: 128–29; Marks 2004: 114–15; Guillaumin 2008: 169; Díez Platas and López Barja de Quiroga 2010: 281–82; Astorino Martinez 2017: 261–62; Feldherr 2022: 25–26.

16 Many point to this symbolism of the crown, sometimes identifying specific echoes therein of Julius Caesar or Augustus: e.g., Lundström 1980: 77; Porte 1985: 194–95; Fränkel 1945: 226 n. 104; Galinsky 1967: 185–88; Barchiesi 1994: 251–52; Barchiesi 1997: 186; Guillaumin 2008: 170; Galasso 2019: 65. A regal association is perhaps also suggested by Cipus’ covering of his horns since this bears comparison with Midas’ covering of his ears (Met. 11.180–81); cf. Porte 1985: 194.

17 This and other possible influences: Bömer 1986: 413–14; Granobs 1997: 139–40; Marks 2004: 115–17 (to which the following interpretation owes much); Hardie 2015: 569; Galasso 2019: 66.

18 Incidentally, Agamemnon’s dream is referred to earlier in the Metamorphoses (13.216–17), and Agamemnon himself is called rex there (217).

19 Much of what follows is based on Marks 2004: 117–19.

20 If we regard the festam coronam (615) with which they recrown him as a victory crown, then his recent military achievements may be pertinent to our reading of the people’s reaction here; cf. Lundström 1980: 75; Granobs 1997: 141. And yet, it may not be such a crown, nor is it clear whether the crown is the same crown Cipus put on his head or whether it is made of laurel. For more on the issue, see Marks 2004: 119 with n. 34.

21 For the view that the people’s actions here bespeak their aversion to kingship, see esp. Lundström 1980: 75 and Granobs 1997: 141 with n. 212. Parallels with Oedipus’ story and echoes of Ovid’s Tereus at this point in the episode would seem to corroborate this interpretation; see Feldherr 2022: 12 with Hardie 2015: 570 (on line 570).

22 A similarly “passive-aggressive” Cipus emerges from the interpretation of Granobs 1997: 137–38, who perceives an “inner conflict” in him: Cipus wants the people to award him a triumphal procession – an award that would entail his entrance to the city and his becoming king there, as we have seen – but he also wants the people to decide against kingship without reference to his own person.

23 Cf. Barchiesi 1997: 186–87 (cf. 1994: 252), for whom the scene evokes the way imperial power is conferred in Augustan Rome: “The narrative structure dramatizes the founding gesture of imperial power: not acceptance, but refusal. Because imperial power arises from the ritualized refusal of honors and absolute power and is constructed as a surrogate, the princeps is a citizen who chose – as a republican magistrate could not – to decline the offer, and then accept it on new terms; this reduction is perhaps the true signifier of imperial power.” Those who draw parallels with Julius Caesar in the episode offer similar analysis on the basis of stories about crowns bestowed upon, yet disavowed by him (Suet. Iul. 79; Plut. Caes. 61). Implicit in such readings is the possibility that Cipus, in fact, wants to be king; cf. Galinsky 1967: 185; Guillaumin 2008: 170.

24 Marks 2004: 118. Cf. Galinsky 1967: 184: “Ovid leaves it entirely open whether Cipus himself or the proceres (15.616) insisted on this withdrawal.”

25 Famously, he breezes by the foundation of Rome in Met. 14.774–75.

26 For a different way of reading Ovid’s address of Cipus in the second person, see Feldherr 2022: 15.

27 Although he goes on to say that Cipus will be king urbe receptus (584-85; on which, see § 6 above), he initially addresses Cipus as king: “rex, ait o salue! (581).

28 Marks 2004: 125. Also, see Barchiesi 1997: 186 (cf. 1994: 252) on ad finem lucis ab ortu (618–19), which “belongs to the coded language of imperial power”; cf. Galasso 2019: 67. This is not the only possible implication of the land award, however. As is often noted, it is known to have been given to generals and great citizens (Plin. HN 18.9) including those who stood up to kings, Horatius Cocles (Liv. 2.10.12) and Mucius Scaevola (Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 5.35.1; cf. Liv. 2.13.5); so, e.g. Lundström 1980: 76; Bömer 1986: 416; Granobs 1997: 141 n. 214; Wheeler 2000: 130; Hardie 2015: 571.

29 Marks 2004: 119–20. The fact that the horns are a symbol of kingship in the story and Ovid is the first to speak of horns adorning this gate – usually, we hear of brass plaques – invites consideration of these possibilities all the more. The symbolism of the horns on the gate: Palm 1939: 83–85; Galinsky 1967: 187-88; Gagé 1972: 122–28; Lundström 1980: 69–71; Porte 1985: 194; Bömer 1986: 404, 416–17.

30 Marks 2004.

31 Fate in Metamorphoses 15: Papaioannou 2011; Gladhill 2012. Fate in Ovid, generally: Kajanto 1961.

32 The haruspex’s claim, sic fata iubent (584), in Cipus’ story appears to echo Pythagoras’ sic dicere uates (435); cf. Massa-Pairault 1990: 288-90. I should make it clear that my review of Pythagoras’ claims about fate and prophecies is not meant to imply that those claims are straightforward – they surely are not (on which, see Papaioannou 2011) – or that Ovid understood them to be (see § 35 below).

33 Divination as link between Tages’ and Cipus’ stories: Galinsky 1967: 183; Marks 2004: 111–13, 123-24.

34 Marks 2004: 108–11.

35 In addition to the laurel and its Apollonian/Augustan associations, Galinsky 1967: 190 sees the theme of oracles as a link between Cipus’ and Aesculapius’ stories. Although prophecy is not a conspicuous theme in Aesculapius’ story, we might, nevertheless, think of it, should we recall that his deification, which is recounted here (15.742–44), was foretold earlier in the epic by Ocyrhoë (2.642–48). Note too the hint at Virbius’ restoration in her prophecy there (2.644–45), an event recounted in book 15 as well (531–34). On these moments, see Myers 1994: 166, who proposes that between them Ovid is showing how prophecies can come true.

36 Note echoes of the Cipus episode here: magna ... rerum molimina uidit in illis (578) = cernes molimine uasto illic / ... rerum (809–10); aeratis ... postibus (620–21) = aere (809): Hardie 2015: 571, 603; Galasso 2019: 65 n. 43; cf. Porte 1985: 195.

37 Jupiter’s remarks on all, including gods, being subject to fate and his subsequent prophecy have antecedents both outside the epic (e.g. Il. 16.439–57; Aen. 1.257-96, 10.466–72) and within it (Met. 9.427–38): Kajanto 1961: 19–22; Bömer 1986: 462–63; Hardie 2002: 203–205; Hardie 2015: 598–99 (on 780–81), 602.

38 For the epilogue and the tabularium description, see Hardie 2015: 622. Note too that line 879 looks back to an earlier prophetic moment in Met. 15, the beginning of Helenus’ prophecy to Aeneas, as reported by Pythagoras: si nota satis praesagia nostrae / mentis habes, non tota cadet te sospite Troia! (“if you have learned well enough and retain the presages of my mind, Troy will not entirely fall so long as you are alive,” 439–40). There is, of course, a number of poetic antecedents to which Ovid’s sphragis looks back as well (e.g. Hor. Carm. 2.20.1–8, 3.30.1–9; Prop. 3.2.18–26); for more, see Bömer 1986: 488-90, Hardie 2015: 617–19, and § 35 below.

39 Diodorus’ biography: Döring 1972: 124-28 (on fr. 96–108); Sedley 1977: 78–83.

40 For an overview of Diodorus’ philosophy, see Sedley 1977: 84–104.

41 Diodorus: Diog. Laert. 2.111 (= fr. 109 Döring; cf. Them. Or. 2.30b = fr. 110 Döring). Eubulides: Diog. Laert. 2.108 (= fr. 64 Döring); Diog. Laert. 7.186–87 (= fr. 65 Döring). On the attribution of these arguments, also see Wheeler 1983: 288.

42 The “horned argument”: Döring 1972: 113–14; Sedley 1977: 102; Wheeler 1983: 290–91.

43 Diog. Laert. 7.187 (= fr. 65 Döring). Similarly, Sen. Ep. 49.8: quod non perdidisti habes; cornua autem non perdidisti; cornua ergo habes; Gell. NA 18.2.9 (cf. 16.2.9–11).

44 Sedley 1977: 102 poses the dilemma in this way on the model of a question the dialectician Alexinos was associated with: “have you stopped beating your father?” (Diog. Laert. 2.135 = fr. 84 Döring).

45 The implication that Cipus is similarly foolish, even if he, unlike those duped by the horned argument, really does have horns, is also suggested by a reminiscence in 566–68 of Eclogue 6, where the hallucinations of the daughters of Proetus are described (48–51); as a divine punishment, they were driven mad and made to think they were cows. They check for horns on their heads too: saepe in leui quaesisset cornua fronte (Ecl. 6.51). In the line and a half directly preceding (565–66), Ovid has Cipus see a reflection of his horns in water, a detail that invites comparison with other mythical, horned beings who similarly see their horns – and in the Metamorphoses no less – Io (1.640–41) and Actaeon (3.200): Gagé 1972: 125-26; Lundström 1980: 73; Wheeler 2000: 128; Guillaumin 2008: 166–67; Hardie 2015: 564; Feldherr 2022: 4. Pliny, incidentally, mentions Cipus and Actaeon together (HN 11.123).

46 Riddles, crowns, and parties, especially Saturnalian ones: Leary 2014: 10–12; Egelhaaf-Gaiser 2018. Diodorus’ “Master Argument” was a subject of discussion at dinner parties as well: Plut. Quaest. conv. 615a, De tuen. san. 133b-c; Epict. Diss. 2.19.8; Gell. NA 1.2.4.

47 The “veiled argument”: Döring 1972: 112–13; Sedley 1977: 95–96.

48 “Cronus” is presumably used in this story in the sense of “dotard” or “old fool” (LSJ, s.v. Κρόνος II). In other sources (fr. 96–98 Döring), the name associates him with his teacher, Apollonius Cronus. For details, see Döring 1972: 124–25.

49 The bibliography on Diodorus’ “Master Argument” is extensive and is mostly devoted to reconstructions of the argument. For the ancient testimonia, see fr. 130–39 Döring with commentary on 132–35. For pre-1995 studies, see Gaskin 1995: 217–81 and, for Gaskin’s own reconstruction, 282–96. Since 1995: Meixner-Newen 1999 (multiple contributions); Kreter 2006: 119–29; Schallenberg 2008: 17–22; Weidemann 2008: 139–44; Denyer 2009; Akama, Murai, and Myamoto 2011; Massie 2016; Weidemann 2019: 28-32.

50 As Epictetus goes on to say (Diss. 2.19.2-5 = fr. 131 Döring), others who addressed these premises similarly acknowledged that all three could not be true, but held the premises to be true and false in different combinations: Cleanthes’ and Panthoides’ faction and Antipater held that premise 2 and 3 were true but premise 1 was false while Chrysippus and his faction held that premise 1 and 3 were true but premise 2 was false.

51 Cic. Fat. 17; cf. Fam. 9.4. Note, however, that in De Fato 1 Cicero uses περὶ δυνατῶν to refer to the general topic on which philosophers espouse their views.

52 I focus on this section of the work because it is extant. This is not to rule out, however, that Cicero may have discussed Diodorus’ Master Argument in a part of De Fato we do not possess – for the work as we have it is fragmentary – and, accordingly, that Ovid was familiar with the argument from that discussion as well.

53 Weidemann 2007: 35. Cicero’s use of Diodorus in De Fato: Sharples 1991: 12–13, 16673; Gaskin 1995: 22235, 30618, Kreter 2006: 13090; Weidemann 2007; Schallenberg 2008: 11468; Weidemann 2019: 26–51, 184–224.

54 And this consideration might well be in the forefront of one’s mind since De Fato was part of a trilogy, which also included De Natura Deorum and De Divinatione.

55 It may come as a surprise that Cicero understood Chrysippus’ views on fate in this way, given that Chrysippus was known for having tried to mediate between those whose theory of fate rules out free will and those whose theory does not by making fate and free will compatible; Cicero acknowledges this in De Fato 39, in fact. But Cicero also says there that, despite the fact that Chrysippus was more closely aligned with the latter group, he makes arguments that cause him such difficulties that he unwittingly strengthens the case for the necessity of fate (necessitatem fati) and thus lends support to those fatalists who deny free will; Cicero then goes on to explain what those arguments are and criticizes them in subsequent sections (Fat. 40–45).

56 It has also been proposed that the “Master Argument” is so called because of the superiority or strength of its logic or because it proves the mastery of fate: Sedley 1977: 115 n. 132; Gaskin 1995: 221–22; Kreter 2006: 121 n. 220; Massie 2016: 281 n. 3; Weidemann 2019: 29–30.

57 Also, see Fat. 17, where Cicero revisits and restates these claims.

58 Sedley 1977: 99.

59 Gaskin 1995: 306; Sedley 2005: 24647; Schallenberg 2008: 125–27, 155–56; Weidemann 2007: 46–47; Weidemann: 2019: 27–28, 32–35. Also, see Fam. 9.4, where a joke Cicero makes to Varro is predicated on his view of Diodorus as a determinist.

60 Also suggestive of a Diodoran – or a Cicero-Diodoran – connection in this regard is the fact that Ovid tells the story of the birth of Tages, the founder of Etruscan divination, moments before telling Cipus’ (553–59); for in De Divinatione, Cicero tells the story of Tages’ birth too (2.50), right after striking what appears to be a “Diodoran” note: numquam quod fieri non potuerit esse factum (“that which could not happen has never happened,” 2.49). Note too that Ovid alludes to a line in what is the longest fragment we possess of Cicero’s De consulatu suo, preserved incidentally in the first book of his De Divinatione (17–22), when he initially refers to the haruspex in Cipus’ story: quae simul adspexit Tyrrhenae gentis haruspex (Met. 15.577) = Lydius ediderat Tyrrhenae gentis haruspex (Cic. de cons. suo fr. 2.34 Soubiran): Bömer 1986: 407; Hardie 2015: 566. Later in Metamorphoses 15, he will draw on Cicero’s description of portents in that fragment when describing those that attended the assassination of Julius Caesar (783–98): Hardie 2015: 599.

61 Palm 1939: 85–86; Lundström 1980: 76; Porte 1985: 194; Bömer 1986: 403-04; Santini 1987: 297–98; Massa Pairault 1990: 300; Barchiesi 1994: 251; Barchiesi 1997: 185–86; Wheeler 2000: 130; Guillaumin 2008: 164 n. 2; Hardie 2015: 571; Astorino Martinez 2017: 262; Galasso 2019: 61. The identification of Cipus as cippus is also consistent with his wearing a crown since cippi were crowned when set in place or when Terminus was worshipped: Marks 2004: 126 n. 51. In fact, Cipus’ being crowned twice in the story, first by himself, then by the people, may be meant to recall the practice of owners of adjacent properties crowning their shared cippi twice (Fast. 2.643–44). The name Cipus, incidentally, was not invented by Ovid; various historical figures bear it, Genucius Cipus, most notably (see studies cited in n. 4 above). Even so, it is possible that Ovid was the first to give the character in the story this name and even invented the story altogether.

62 Marks 2004: 125–26. If Cipus’ exile represents a shifting of kingship’s boundaries away from Rome, we might also understand it to imply an outward expansion of Roman power itself and thus read the story in imperialistic terms; see Barchiesi 1997: 186 (quoted in n. 26 above). So read, the story of Cipus, the human boundary stone (cippus), calls to mind a story about Terminus, the god of boundaries, that he refused to let his shrine be moved to make way for Jupiter’s temple on the Capitoline; for that story, as Livy (1.55.3–5) and Ovid (Fast. 2.667–84) tell it, speaks to Rome’s imperial destiny and condition too (ad indicandam tanti imperii molem, Livy 1.55.3; Romanae spatium est urbis et orbis idem, Fast. 2.684).

63 Cf. Feldherr 2022: 33, who considers another philosophical “tie-in” via pun: the Epicurean κῆπος.

64 The following analysis is based on Marks 2004: 127. For other possible puns related to Cipus or his gens, the Genucii, see Massa-Pairault 1990: 299–301.

65 Marks 2004: 126–27.

66 Corn-/coron- words in Cipus’ story anticipate not only Coroniden in Aesculapius’, but perhaps also the crowned ship (coronatae ... nauis, 696), which conveys the serpent god. There is much to suggest, moreover, that the horns, crowns, and their wordplays in Cipus’ story and thereafter in Metamorphoses 15 are Ovid’s ways of glossing the approaching end of his epic: Barchiesi 1994: 252–53, 256–57; Barchiesi 1997: 187, 190; Wheeler 1999: 92–93; Papaioannou 2006: 133, 143, 154–56.

67 While it is generally understood that the crows’ first question refers to conditional propositions, scholars are divided about what aspect or part of Diodorus’ philosophy the second refers to (e.g. implication, the Master Argument, motion, eternal recurrence): Sedley 1977: 108 n. 35; White 1986; Gaskin 1995: 300–301; Blank 1998: 341–45; Kurzová 2009; Mondini 2017. I do not know the answer, but I would not be surprised if the second question refers to implications regarding the future, such as those we are familiar with from the evidence for Diodorus’ Master Argument, and perhaps even implications made with reference to the practice of divination, which is the way in which Cicero discusses those propositions in his De Fato, as we have seen. I raise this possibility because of the association of crows (and ravens) with Apollo, a god of prophecy; evidence for that association in Ovid’s Metamorphoses is noted next, in fact. Along these lines, consider too the scene in Apollonius’ Argonautika in which a crow – or, rather, Hera speaking through the crow – mocks Mopsus for being a bad seer (Ap. Rh. 3.927–37).

68 Adding to the Callimachean association is the fact that Callimachus’ Hecale is fundamental to Ovid’s treatment of the crow’s and raven’s stories in Metamorphoeses 2: Keith 1992: 9–20, 43–45.

69 Marks 2004: 128.

70 Papaioannou 2011; Gladhill 2012; cf. McKim 1984–1985.

71 For poetic echoes in the epilogue, see n. 38 above.

72 On the Ciceronian resonance of the Metamorphoses’ end, see Hardie 2002: 199–202 and 2015: 620-21. I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers of Dictynna, whose comments greatly improved this paper.

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Raymond Marks, « Of Philosophers, Crowns, and Boundary Stones: Revisiting Cipus in Metamorphoses 15 »Dictynna [En ligne], 20 | 2023, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2023, consulté le 21 avril 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/dictynna/3099 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/dictynna.3099

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Raymond Marks

University of Missouri

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