Posted by Eric » Add Comment »
Today’s OCD entry is Anthologia Latina.
Anthologia Latina, a modern invention gradually created in print and not intrinsically distinct from Poetae Latini minores or the Appendix Vergilianae, gathers poems mostly short that have no better home. Riese’s arrangement by date of attestation has fewest drawbacks.
The largest block, found in the corrupt and mutilated Codex Salmasianus (8th-9th cent.), was compiled in Vandal Africa, on which it sheds interesting light. In numbered sections of unequal length it embraces a liber epigrammaton in various metres by Luxorius (Riese 287-375), which yields a date after AD 533; another collection probably by one African poet (R. 90-197); Virgilian centos; couplets that end as they begin, or are repeated in reverse; epigrams attributed to the younger Seneca; snippets of Propertius, Ovid, Martial; Symphosius’ 100 riddles; and longer pieces such as the Pervigilium Veneris. A Claudian and Neronian block in the Codex Vossianus (c. 850) ends with epigrams attributable to Petronius (R. 464-79). From late sources Riese forgivably took poems since proved humanistic.
Though Riese segregated Carmina epigraphica (ed. Buecheler, 1895-7), some literary poems in the Anthologia Latina originated as inscriptions, e.g. on bath-houses or mosaics, and others had an epigraphical history still unclarified (e.g. R. 392-3).
Posted by Dennis » Add Comment »
I started casually reading an old anthology of Latin poetry (A Book of Latin Poetry, edd. Basore & Weber, 1925) because I’ve been spending too much time with textbooks and not enough with real literature. It’s a small dose for a minor ailment. Of course, the reading is giving me lots of ideas for the classroom, but thist passage made me think of one of my favorite blogs, Laudator Temporis Acti. It’s a fragment of Ennius, which the editors note serves as intermediary between Homer and Vergil:
- Incedunt arbusta per alta, securibus caedunt,
- Percellunt magnas quercus, exciditur ilex,
- Fraxinus frangitur atque abies consternitur alta.
- Pinus proceras pervortunt: omne sonabat
- Arbustum fremitu silvai frondosai.
(NB: The -ai endings of the phrase silvai frondosai are disyllabic. The meter does work.)
They advance through the lofty trees, fell them with their axes,
destroy the great oaks; the holm-oak is cut down,
the ash is shattered and the tall fir falls;
they overturn the high-grown pines. The whole plantation
was filled with the groaning of the leafy wood.
Ennius fills the passage with martial language, befitting soldiers attacking the wood that will provide the pyre for a fallen friend. But this is not the only way that he effectively communicates the violence of the felling of the forest. His sound effects are especially striking. Beyond the obvious (alliteration), the closing spondaic line has a haunting quality as we hear the forest’s long, lamenting groan:
AR-BUS-|-TVM FRE-MI-|-TV SIL-|-VA-I | FRON-DO-|-SA-I
It seems to stretch the hexameter, but it works because it evokes the magnitude of these enormous trees falling to the earth, and I find these verses to be incredibly moving.
(Cf. Homer, Iliad XXIII, 114 ff., and Vergil, Aeneid VI, 179 ff.)