Transactions of the American Philological Association
Contents of Volume 142 Spring (2012)
Odyssey 20.356-57 and the Eclipse of 1178 B.C.E.: A Response to Baikouzis and Magnasco
The recent argument of Constantino Baikouzis and Marcelo Magnasco that Odyssey 20.356-57 preserves a reference to the solar eclipse of 26 April 1178 B.C.E. has received widespread attention in generalist publications. Unlike Carl Schoch’s 1926 argument, which came to the same conclusion, the new argument cannot be dismissed on the basis ofthe passage’s context. Baikouzis and Magnascorequireseveral other tacit assumptions, however, and many ofthese may be rejected with great confidence.
Will the Epicurean Sage Break the Law if He is Perfectly Sure that He Will Escape Detection? A Difficult Problem Revisited
This paper deals with a notorious vexata quaestio in the domain of the Epicurean philosophy of law and justice: will the Epicurean sage break the law if he can be sure that his deed will never be detected (εἰδὼςὅτιλήσει)? Epicurus himself remained quite cautious on this topic, as appears from his answer that “the unqualified predication is not free from difficulty.” After a discussion of several traditional interpretations, which often unduly neglect the paramount importance and far-reaching implications of the εἰδὼςὅτιλήσει-presupposition, I argue that the Epicurean sage will in the end judge each case on its own merits, using pleasure as his only criterion while taking into account the particular circumstances.
D. S. Levene
Defining the Divine at Rome
Recent analysis of the imperial cult has argued that it can be best understood in terms of the lack of a fundamental division between gods and humans at Rome: worshiping a human as a god was accordingly not a transgressive act. This paper challenges this interpretation, demonstrating that gods and humans were indeed usually conceived as separate species of being. The imperial cult was thus transgressive in theory; however, it primarily operated in contexts where that could be overlooked and the worship of humans as gods accordingly appeared unproblematic.
C. Michael Sampson
Callimachean Tradition and the Muse’s Hymn to Ceres (Ov. Met. 5.341-661)
This paper supplements the work of Hinds 1987 by arguing that the Sicilian setting for the abduction of Proserpina in Metamorphoses 5 marks Ovid’s engagement with Callimachean style and poetic tradition, and that the influence of Hellenistic works (especially the Aetia) on this passage is richer and more complex than has been acknowledged. I aim to show in particular how Ovid manipulates the poetic and intellectual background on which he draws, to which end I take recourse to a new Ptolemaic-era papyrus, as well as a reanalysis of the hymn’s structural and thematic cohesion.
Pliny’s Epistolary Dreams and the Ghost of Domitian
Letters that report dreams and visions showcase Pliny’s concern with controlling interpretation. I argue that in two letters on dreams Pliny advocates a confrontational response to negative dreams as a successful paradigm. I then read a letter that addresses the issue of the existence of ghosts with three tales. By comparing the first two tales with other versions by Tacitus and Lucian I analyze the implications of the letter’s structure and show how Pliny carefully crafts his narratives in an attempt to control the reader’s interpretation of the final story, crucial to his career under Domitian and his future reputation.
The (Cultural) Harmony of Nature: Music, Love, and Order in Daphnis and Chloe
Music in Daphnis and Chloe translates the order that governs the pastoral world. It is silenced when that order is shattered, especially by the irruption of love. Music, however, is not simply the expression of an idyllic order. It also participates in the education of the novel’s protagonists, who must grow to find a new order in their lives subsequent to love’s irruption: that new order is the institutionalization of love, matrimony, and the definition of man’s and woman’s roles in it. This paper attempts to show that Daphnis becomes an increasingly accomplished musician whereas Chloe’s music is gradually silenced, and argues that Longus endorses the musical education he maps.
From Hellas with Love: The Aesthetics of Imitation in Aristaenetus’s Epistles
Combining general observations on Aristaenetus’s use of the epistolary medium, which serves to bridge the gulf between the author’s present and Hellas’s literary past, with a close reading of two epistles, my article investigates the aesthetics of imitation underlying this collection of amatory letters. I show how issues of artistic mimesis are treated both in the opening text (1.1), which programmatically reflects upon the style of Aristaenetus’s work, its imitative nature and the fictionality of his epistolary loves, and in Ep. 2.10, written by a painter in love with his own creation.