Scholia Reviews ns 14 (2005) 15.
Vincent Hunink (ed.), Apuleius of Madauros, Florida. Amsterdam: Gieben, 2001. Pp. 258. ISBN 90- 5063-218-1. Fl.120.00.
Thomas D. McCreight,
Loyola College in Maryland, Baltimore.
Scholars will welcome Vincent Hunink's learned and useful commentary on Apuleius' Florida, a set of twenty-three rhetorical 'greatest hits' taken from a wide range of Apuleius's speeches.[] A commentary on this unusual collection has long been a desideratum, and Hunink's volume now makes real study of it possible. The book will be of great use to students of imperial rhetoric and literary history and of special interest to students of Apuleius himself. Hunink has done a great service by making accessible these often obscure but fascinating pieces from the Second Sophistic.
Those familiar with Hunink's work, especially his 1997 commentary on Apuleius's Apology,[] will be pleased to find here the same qualities that make that work an indispensable reference: a firm command of the scholarly literature, clearly articulated and consistently applied methodology, good judgment, keen insight, and remarkable concision.[] The introduction (pp. 11-25), broken up into brief and clearly presented sections, covers the major critical issues associated with the Florida: the division into four books (very short and unequal); the nature, date, unusual title, and probable criteria for selection of the individual elements of the collection;[] the stylistic characteristics of the various pieces (chiefly epideictic, but the range is huge), and the themes and interests represented across the individual fragments. These sections treat their topics competently, although fuller and earlier discussion of the influence of declamation (p. 14) might have been preferable. There follow short and lucid discussions of the probable date and circumstances of production, the relation of this collection to the preface of the De Deo Socratis, and the textual tradition. After this comes a full discussion of methodology with reference to both text and commentary.
With respect to the text, those familiar with the Groningen commentaries on Apuleius' Metamorphoses and with Hunink's 1997 volumes will find here many of the same features, but with some welcome additions. There is no new collation (contra May[]) but a (perfectly defensible) reliance on Helm's 1959 Teubner edition, supplemented felicitously with the addition of Vallette's 1960 chapter subdivisions. As in the Groningen commentaries, the text appears without an apparatus; a list of divergences from Helm appears on page 54. These comprise in the main a very (to this reviewer, overly) conservative approach to the text, which attempts whenever possible to cleave to the readings of F (Laurentianus 68.2)and f (Laurentianus 29.2), the principal witnesses for Apuleius' works. Hunink (properly) retains variant spellings and avoids orthographical normalization. He also adopts an unorthodox and almost maverick approach to punctuation and paragraph division. This produces not only a much more 'readable' or 'approachable' text (pp. 27-53), but one which is also easy on the eye. Indeed, the Latin text on the page is downright inviting, especially compared to other editions.
The organization of the material in the commentary is also familiar from Hunink's 1997 book: discussion of textual matters, 'events and realia', literary concerns (primary, in Hunink's view, which I share), and explication of the rhetorical strategies explicit and (much more often) implicit both within and between individual pieces. Among those headings Hunink treats first that which in each case he views 'most important' to a first-time reader. Other nice touches: Hunink gives the individual pieces 'titles' of sorts (e.g., 'The Miracles of India'; 'Crates as the Second Hercules') and includes at the beginning of each section a brief summary of the material in the fragments. These help organize the lemmata thematically for the reader and lend some unity to the discussion that follows. The bibliography is impressive and well presented, and the indices (passages cited and subjects) are full and accurate and make the book easy to consult.
Overall, then, this is an admirable piece of work. Now for some criticisms. As Hilton mentions in his 2002 CR review,[] greater attention to intertextual issues would have been welcome, and I would have liked especially to see more discussion of connections between the Florida and other Apuleian works. An example: at 6.12 fin. the discussion of some philosophical and culinary practices of the Indian gymnosophists ends thus: Qui nihil habet ad[d]ferre cur prandeat, inpransus ad opus foras extruditur. Hunink notes the comic pedigree and appositely cites comparanda from Plautus and Horace. However, he might also have mentioned that the situation is reminiscent of Lucius' arrival at Milo's house in Hypata in Met. 1.22- 26. There we see that, despite his connection to Plutarch, the protagonist Lucius is unsophisticated and unfortunate; stuck with an unhospitable host he is forced, as guest, go out shopping for his own dinner. He buys some fish at an exorbitant price but has his meal destroyed in a bizarre encounter with an old schoolfriend with the very philosophical name of Pythias. Lucius then returns home without money or food, having learned nothing from his earlier encounter with a debased (and at one point naked) Socrates and from this meeting with an overzealous former contubernalis. Both passages share a focus on the connection between virtue and diet (cf. the dietary regime imposed in Met. 11) and the discomfiture of those who have not yet learned to regulate and reflect upon their conduct. In other words, some of the themes and interests Apuleius explores here turn up elsewhere in his oeuvre.
Another such example is Florida 15. This is an ambitious and highly allusive piece, and Hunink's remarks cover the field well. To be included might be the following: there is no note on 15.7 coma . . . cervicem . . . obumbrat, which appears in an ekphrasis of a statue of the beautiful youth Bathyllus. The rare verb obumbro occurs elsewhere in two famous passages in the Met. that call attention to the absence of hair that one would otherwise expect to see. In 2.17.2 (Helm 38.17-20) the naked Fotis ineffectually covers her bare pubis with her hand and is thus compared to a famous statue of Venus: in speciem Veneris . . . glabellum feminal rosea palmula . . . obumbrans. In 11.30.5 (Helm 291.18) (the final sentence of the work) Lucius refers to the shaved head he now sports as a priest of Isis: non obumbrato vel obtecto calvitio.
Florida 7 presents a number of areas where the discussion could fruitfully
have focused on other areas. In 7.8, immediately after a paragraph about
Alexander's insistence that only three artists be allowed to make his likeness,
the sentence begins: eo igitur omnium metu factum, solus Alexander ut ubique
In the next sentence Hunink retains F's imitarentur although use of
F's text spoils (9- 10) a 'perfectly Apuleian jingle' in contemplarent . . . imitarent
. . . contaminarent. Hunink even concedes that TLL s.v. 'imitor'
attests active forms, but holds that these reasons are insufficient to change F's
text. In cases like this where parallels exist and where a change would make
the text conform to stylistic features well attested elsewhere in Apuleius's
work, I am more inclined to emend. Hunink's commitment to defending F in every
case except where it manifestly makes no sense, often (as here) produces a text
that seems to run counter to Apuleian practice. Indeed, this lemma appears
immediately after one in which he violates one of his other approaches, the
refusal to 'normalize' spelling. In an admittedly unusual passage, F transmits
(7.10) neu rudes, sordidi, imperiti pallio tenus filosophos imitarentur.
Hunink notes that here Helm retains the unusual spelling, but he maintains that
since everywhere else Apuleius writes philosophus and philosophia,
the reading of F must be due to scribal error. Here we see an argument using
Apuleian norms to support a change to F's text. Moreover, the context goes
unexplored in this decision. In a section full of references to the poor
education and slovenly speech of false philosophers (see above and also male
dicendo et simile vivendo contaminarent and 13 quis ex rupiconibus,
baiolis, tabernariis tam infans est, ut, si pallium accipere velit,
A further example of a misplaced willingness to retain the transmitted text is Hunink's retention of F's inusitata at 10.3, which all others change to invisitata (see lemma ad loc. p. 124): sunt et aliae mediae deum potestates, quas licet sentire, non datur cernere, ut Amoris ceterorumque id genus, quorum forma inusitata, vis cognita. Hunink argues for translating F's text here as 'unfamiliar', citing OLD s.v. 'inusitatus', and holds that the change is unnecessary because the previous non datur cernere has already covered the topic of invisibility. This misses the point that the formulations in the relative clause introduced by quorum refer in chiastic order to the two notions in the earlier relative clause introduced by quas. If the vis of these powers is cognita, that is because it is possible to perceive them (quas licet sentire) despite their invisibility (non datur cernere). Having named one of these powers (Amor), Apuleius then (typically) reformulates the earlier notion (with participles instead of finite verb forms). The stress on invisibility is necessary in order to preserve the logic of the sentence.[]
In 12.7 likewise F's text is retained on questionable grounds. Hunink prints Id vero quod dicit, ita . . . canit vel . . . eloquitur instead of all other editors' acceptance of Stewech's didicit, citing parallels for dico used of the sounds of a bird. Hunink argues (p. 130f. ad loc.) that, although learning and uttering are clearly juxtaposed in this section, the focus in the immediately preceding sentence (12.6) is on the 'parrot's ability to articulate sound'. He does not mention that in 12.4-5 the focus is on birds' ability to learn (discit . . . pullus; ad disciplinam humani sermonis) and that in 12.8, immediately following, the combination of learning and pronunciation is similarly stressed: verum enimvero et corvus et psittacus nihil aliud quam quod didicerunt pronuntiant. Thus I think the immediate context argues for acceptance of Stewech's change, as does the larger purview of the speech, which Hunink lays out in excellent fashion in his introductory note p. 128. This fragment probably serves as an introduction to a discussion of Apuleius's rivals, and Apuleius is fond of Tiervergleich (not restricted to birds) in such instances (see, for example, Apol. 3.7 and 7-8 passim[]). Since he often stresses his superiority to his rivals in both doctrina and eloquentia, the repeated focus on learning and pronunciation would make sense also in 12.7.
Some other comments on the book as a whole: the proofreading overall seems less careful than in Hunink's 1997 commentary. Hunink's English is remarkably good for a non-native speaker, but errors remain.[] Despite these criticisms, this is a very fine and useful book, and Hunink deserves our gratitude for putting before us the fruit of his efforts.
[] The late appearance of this review is entirely the responsibility of the reviewer. I attempt to compensate by making sure not to cover points treated by other reviewers: cf. AC 71 (2002) 345f. (B. Rochette); CR 52 (2002) 303f. (J. L. Hilton); JRS 92 (2002) 258 (R. May); Gnomon 76 (2004) 173-75 (M. G. Bajoni).
[] Apuleius of Madauros, Pro se de magia (Apologia) edited with a commentary by Vincent Hunink. Vol. I: Introduction, Text, Bibliography, Indexes; vol. II: Commentary (Amsterdam 1997).
[] Add to Hunink's (excellent) bibliography now these items: Messina, M. T., 'Alcune osservazioni sui Florida di Apuleio', RCCM 41.2 (1999) 285- 305; Romeo, A., 'Gli studi sui Florida di Apuleio: rassegna dei principali contributi critici', BStudLat 30.2 (2000) 641-62; idem, 'Note sulle tecniche di interlocuzione col pubblico nei Florida di Apuleio', BStudLat 31.2 (2001) 518-37; Marangoni, C., Il mosaico della memoria: studi sui Florida e sulle Metamorfosi di Apuleio (Padova 2000).
[] Hunink's discussion (p. 15) of prolaliae, introductory pieces affixed to speeches on related but different topics, is very clear and helpful. Cf. Bajoni's remarks p. 173 on the range and title of the collection as a literary pratum.
[] S. J. Harrison, J. L. Hilton, and V. J. C. Hunink (edd. and trr.), Apuleius: Rhetorical Works (Oxford 2001). Hunink's commentary does not include a translation, but those looking for an excellent one (esp. of the Florida) need look no farther than this volume.
[] See on the other hand the lemma quin p. 97 ad 7.6, where Hunink rightly and ingeniously defends F against the addition of a word like scripsit or edixit.
[] Throughout the commentary on this fragment Hunink's remarks on the pedigree of this notion and on treatments of it in Apuleius's other works are excellent.
[] See Hunink 1997 ad loc. and T. McCreight, 'Invective Techniques in Apuleius' Apology', GCN 3 (1990) 49-56.
[] I list here some categories of mistakes along with their page numbers and suggest corrections after a double dash. Missing words: p. 60 'Apuleius' search a strong' -- 'Apuleius' search for a strong'; p.83: 'we may that close' -- 'we may note/observe that close'; p. 129 n. 2 'corresponding the' -- 'corresponding to the'; p. 193 'This the' -- 'This is the'. Errors in preposition usage: p. 90 'change in' -- 'change to'; p. 101 'address . . . of' -- 'address . . . to'; p. 135 'approach of Cynics' -- 'approach to Cynics'; p. 172 'attack to' -- 'attack on'; p. 189 'convinced to the judges' -- delete 'to'; p. 214 'mentioned . . . in passing by' -- delete 'by'. Various usage errors: p. 61 'nautic' -- 'nautical'; p. 69 'overlooking' -- 'surveying'; p. 70 n.1 'representant' -- 'representative'; p. 78 'looses' -- 'loses'; p. 90 'rhetoric' -- 'rhetorical'; p. 124 n. 1 'innerly divergent' -- 'inconsistent'; p. 125 'progress' -- 'locomotion'; p. 133 'subsequent' -- 'consecutive'; p. 137 'finitive' -- 'finite'; p. 145 'refinedness' -- 'sophistication'; 'artistry of its manufactor' -- 'skill of the artist'; p. 146 'devoted the statue' -- 'dedicated the statue'; p. 160 n. 1 'place' -- 'replace'; p. 174 (usage and spelling) 'Orfitus and his likes,' (i.e., his colleagues) -- 'Orfitus and his kind'; p. 178 'incantative' -- 'incantatory'; p. 210 'temporary' for 'temporal'. Errors in number: p. 14 'superficial talks' -- 'superficial chat'; p. 12, 22 'sounds effects' -- 'sound effects'; p. 96 (subject-verb agreement) 'Apuleius present' -- 'Apuleius presents'; p. 201 words laus -- delete 's'; p. 202 'have an opposite effects' -- delete 's'; p. 203 'all the following adjective' -- add 's'. General proofreading and spelling errors: p. 16 'Apuleius days' -- add apostrophe; p. 90 'consellors' -- 'counselors'; p. 112 (dittography) 'was the town' 'was the subject'; p. 126 (word order) 'other some' -- 'some other'; p. 181 'an lively' -- 'a lively'; p. 188 'his Euathlus' -- delete 'his'; p. 200 'examples ofd free' -- delete 'd'. Idiom: p. 67 'a prey' -- 'some prey' or 'prey'; p. 149 'sources . . . attempt at pointing out persons who achieved or attempted something as the first one' -- 'attempt to point out who was the first to achieve or attempt something'. Hunink often literally translates Latin words like iunctura or locus in the course of his commentary. Although understandable, this sounds discordant to my (admittedly American) sense of English idiom: see, for example: p. 91 'place' -- 'passage'; pp. 90, 92, 207 'juncture' (or 'conjunction' p. 198) -- 'combination of two words'; cf. pp. 16, 22, 182 'equally' -- 'likewise' or 'similarly'. In addition, unidiomatic commas should be removed on p. 155 'Strabo, who'; p. 148 'cosmologist, who'; p. 175 n. 1 (twice) 'places in Galen, where . . . described, which'; p. 181 'doubt, that'; p. 209 'verbs, that'. I noted two citation errors: p. 167 Rives 1984, 283 for Rives 1994, 283; p. 169 Biville 1996 does not appear in the bibliography -- this refers presumably to Frédérique Biville, 'Le statut linguistique des interjections en latin' in Hannah Rosén (ed.), Aspects of Latin: Papers from the Seventh International Colloquium on Latin Linguistics (Jerusalem April 1993). Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft 86 (Innsbruck 1996) 209-20.