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Musaeus. Héro et Léandre. Ed. and trans. P. Orsini. (Assn G. Budé.) Paris: ‘Les Belles Lettres.’1968. Pp. xxxvi + 21. Fr. 8.

  • Giuseppe Giangrande (a1)




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* After writing this review, I received from my learned friend Th. Gelzer his extremely good paper ‘Bemerkungen zu Sprache und Text des Epikers Musaios’ (Mus. Helv. 1967, 129–48; 1968, 11–47). As far as practicable, I have incorporated in my typescript references to Gelzer's work.

1 Only twice, as far as I can see, does he explain the MSS. tradition on the basis of late epic Sprachgebrauch: line 83, rightly quoting Keydell, and line 178, rightly defending ἐμῇ on the basis of Hom. Hymn. Aphr. 150.

2 An inevitable residuum will be left over: it is impossible to decide whether the poet wrote or (56), or (67), or (151); or (45) or (88: preferred by Schäfer).

3 Castiglioni (art. cit., p. 336), followed by Wifstrand, (Von Kall. zu Nonn., p. 194) already defended the MSS. tradition, but inadequately, because he thought that Musaeus' construction was ‘una sua epanalessi’, clumsy but defensible. In reality, far from being clumsy and unparalleled in the genre, as Castiglioni seems to think, the construction is a typically epic feature, as I have just pointed out.

4 Ἀνατιταίνει Opp. Hal. 2, 90 means ‘extends’ (cf. Plin N.H. IX, 143 cornicula exerit), i.e. refers to the ἄνεσις of the dermal flap (material in Mair ad Hal. 2, 86). In sum: ἀνατιταίνω means, as I have shown, ‘unbend’ in Oppian and in Musaeus: the meanings hitherto postulated (by Ludwich, LSJ, etc.) are wrong. Τιταίνω does not mean ‘schwingen’, but ‘bend’, so that Gelzer's explanation (art. cit. p. 148) does not seem convincing. Musaeus means that Eros' bow was unbent in discharging the arrow.

5 No need, therefore, to inflict upon Musaeus the ‘allerdings etwas forcierte Bedeutung’ proposed by Gelzer, art. cit. p. 38.

6 There also are syntactical difficulties: cases like (Gelzer, art. cit. p. 47) are not quite apposite parallels, because in them the preposition ἀπό expresses geographical provenance, not inheritance from a person.

7 What Musaeus means is that Hero was a (he indicates the same, with his typical tendency to repeat himself, in lines 54 and 67: cf. my discussion of line 69), i.e. a young girl past puberty, but she did not mix with those who should have been her natural companions, now that she was no longer a child.

8 It is necessary to insist on this point, because many critics, including Orsini, do not seem to be aware of the epic feature in question.

9 Wifstrand, , who (Von Kallim. zu Nonn., p. 133; Geizer, art. cit., p. 40, n. 222) accuses Musaeus of mechanically using the epithet in such a way that it does not suit the ‘vorhandene Situation’ is therefore wrong. Musaeus, like all the poëtae docti, is always extremely precise, and knows what he is doing: it is up to us moderns to understand the specific ancient motifs to which he alludes.

10 On the motif of ξεῑνοι being as a rule ἄπιστοι, cf. Men. Sent. Mon. 389–92; on their wish to settle down ibid., 399.

11 Cf. Ap. Rh. IV, 482 f. of ‘a beacon for which to steer as they (scil. the Argonauts) return’ held by Medea, another παρθενική like Hero (Boiling, Partic. in Ap. Rh., Stud. Gildersl., P. 457).

12 The expression (for which s. below) is, more solito, used metaphorically by Musaeus: Leandros has ‘supplied the tower with signals', ‘placed signals upon the tower’ in the metaphorical sense that he has secured the presence of signals on the tower, but of course he has not carried out the installation himself literally.

13 This type of metaphor (cf. line 2, θαλασσόπορων ὑμεναίων because celebrated by the θαλασσοπόρος Leandros) is not well known to the critics: I illustrate its use in later Epic, in Eranos 1970, forthcoming.

14 Also logically superior: Orsini renders ‘elle montrait la lampe et, dès que la lampe s'alluma …’, but you cannot montrer a lamp before you light it. Miss Malcovati cheats (‘al risplendere di quella’ is not what ἀναπτομένοιο means.

15 Jesus, , in Metab. 19, 183 has nothing to do with intellectual beauty (νοητὸν κάλλος) or neo-Platonic love (on the problem cf. Gelzer, art. cit., p. 42): he is called ἀριατόνους because he Hero, is convincing (παρέπεισεν 272) because she really loves Leandros ( 267), so that Leandros, is easily (αὐτίκα 272) convinced by her words. Therefore their love (which is far from Platonic or intellectual) can well be called ἀριστόνους, by the enallage adjectivi of the type which I have already mentioned ( because love-making is performed by sea-crossing Leandros; ἀριστονόου because love-making was prompted by persuasive, convincing Hero). Κυθερείης means here, of course, ‘love’, metonymically, as Ἀφροδίτη in line 182 (cf. Bo, op. cit., s.v. Ἀφροδίτη: cf. 38, ).

16 Cf. also Coll. 260. It is clear from Nonn. Metab. 9, 138 (=Ev. Joh. 9, 27) that ἄλλοτε means, in Nonnus, ἤδη ‘schon’, ‘nunmehr’. Exactly like ἤδη, it can (cf. Seiler, Wört, z. Hom., sv. ἤδη) either be used ‘von der Vergangenheit’, and mean ‘bereits einmal’, as in Metab., loc. cit., or ‘im Gegensatz der Vergangenheit’, and mean vividly ‘nunmehr’, as opposed to the immediate ‘Vergangenheit’ (as in Musaeus, in the Dionysiaca, loc. cit., and in Colluthus loc. cit.). The origin of this usage of ἄλλοτε is to be found in passages like Eudoc. II, 393 Ludw., where ἄλλοτε means ‘einmal’, with reference to the past. On ἄλλοτε ‘vormals’ or ‘später, nachmals’, cf. Seiler, op. cit., s.v. ἄλλοτε.

17 For the structure, cf. line 307, where θελγομένη δέ (= τυπτομένη δέ) refers to a preceding accusative (αὐτήν to be understood, = ἅλα). The use of the participle in Musaeus is studied by Gelzer, art. cit., p. 14 ff.

18 Cf Hom. Il. 11, 305 f. = Mus. 296 f.

19 My explanation of the passage is confirmed by the fact that Musaeus, as Castiglioni acutely noted (art. cit. p. 336) makes accurate and (as Gelzer has demonstrated, art. cit., p. 40 ff,) abundant use of neoplatonic terminology relating to ‘die Seele’, in particular when ‘von Leanders Tod gesprochen wird’. Gelzer, however (art. cit., p. 29, n. 178) does not arrive at the explanation of line 326 which I have given here. Musaeus’ use of ἀνόητος as explained by me is, as will be easily perceived, extremely accurate: ‘νόος è la mente, φρένες i sentimenti’ (Castiglioni, loc. cit., the ‘mente’ guides the limbs of the body).


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