Scholia Reviews ns 7 (1998) 5.

Fritz Graf (ed.), Einleitung in die lateinische Philologie. Stuttgart and Leipzig: Teubner 1997. Pp. ix + 725. ISBN 3-519-07434-6. DM76.00.

Siegfried Jäkel
Classical Philology Seminar, University of Turku, Finland

Here we have a new version of a book which has been considered to be the leading introduction into what is generally called Classical Philology in the most comprehensive sense, and which was published almost 90 years ago in 1910 by Alfred Gercke and Eduard Norden.[[1]] That this new version is concerned only with Latin Philology has to do with the fact that in the last decades of this century Latin has improved more and more as a scientific discipline and is no longer considered to be a kind of appendix to ancient Greek philology. So it is quite justified that the publisher has announced a separate volume which will be dedicated to ancient Greek philology.[[2]]

The present introduction to Latin philology presents nine sections, each containing several articles by different authors. The first section, 'Geschichte der lateinischen Philologie und Bildung' ('The History of Latin Philology and Education', pp. 1-50) contains three articles: Robert A. Kasten, 'Die Geschichte der Philologie in Rom' ('The History of Philology in Rome', pp. 1-16), examines the political, religious and social traditions reflected in the Latin Language, Ilsetraut Hadot gives an outline of the history of education in antiquity and a survey of the so-called artes liberales from Homer to late Antiquity ('Geschichte der Bildung', pp. 17-34), and finally Anthony Grafton and Glen W. Most deal with 'Philologie und Bildung seit der Renaissance' ('Philology and Education since the Renaissance', pp. 35-50). The authors follow the history of education up to the nineteenth century from the beginning of the Classical movement in the Renaissance.

The second section is called: 'Die Geschichte der Texte und ihrer Zeugen' ('The History of the Texts and their Witnesses', pp. 51-114). The first contribution, with the title 'Textkritik und Editionstechnik' ('Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique', pp. 51-73), is written by Josef Delz who tries to give a definition of what textual criticism is. He traces this topic from antiquity, referring to the transmission of the so-called Noctes Atticae by Gellius over the centuries, the early Renaissance of the Carolingian era, and the new humanists down to modern times (which in his view starts with Karl Lachmann's investigations into the Greek and Latin New Testament in 1850). He refers to what is known as the so-called recensio and examinatio discovered and practised by Paul Maas in using characteristic errors (`Sonderfehler') as the main technique for finding out the history of manuscripts. The second article in this section with the title 'Römisches Schriftwesen' ('Roman Writing Technique', pp. 74-91) is presented by Martin Steinmann. He gives a detailed and comprehensive description of the history of writing in the ancient world with interesting examples taken from different centuries, a historical survey from the very beginning of the alphabet with its letters and characters up to the presentation of the first book in our modern sense. And finally he also gives an idea of the nature and the meaning of the libraries up to the time of the emperors. A third contribution is written by Werner Eck under the title 'Lateinische Epigraphik' ('Latin Epigraphy', pp. 92-114). The transmission of the inscriptions as well as the question of how to date them are discussed by using concrete examples. He reflects on the fact that there are different kinds of inscriptions: religious inscriptions dedicated to the gods ('Weihinschriften an Gottheiten'), funeral inscriptions ('Grabinschriften') and finally inscriptions under the statues of important emperors, politicians and high-ranking officers, which usually present in brief cursus honorum of these people. Last, but not least, the author mentions what we nowadays would call 'graffiti' -- small inscriptions of every-day matters such as those on cups, vases, doors and the names of owners on walls.

The third section is dedicated to the history of the Latin Language ('Die Geschichte der lateinischen Sprache', pp. 115-164) and is presented by Johannes Kramer. He starts by asking where the Latin language comes from, referring to the Indo-European roots of Latin and tracing the development of the languages of ancient Italy such as the Etruscan and the Faliscan languages. In connnection with the Greek colonization of South Italy, he also refers to the history of the Greek language in this area. He tries to show the difference between the so-called Classical Latin, whose main representative was Cicero, and the Latin of the time of the Emperor Augustus, and he shows how the political events of a libera res publica were mirrored in the use of the language. He then traces the fate of Latin over the centuries up to the Middle Ages. And finally he turns to the Latin of the early Christians and its influence on the Latin of the Humanists and New-Latin ('Neulatein') which developed as the everyday language of the Middle Ages.

The fourth section is dedicated to 'Die Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur' ('The History of Latin Literature', pp. 165-386) and presents the contributions of several authors: Eckard Lefevre writes about 'Die Literatur der republikanischen Zeit' (pp. 165-91) and considers the literary tradition in general, dramatic art, tragedy, the praetexta, the palliata and the togata. He then refers to the most important representatives of epic poetry in this period, Livius Andronicus, Gnaeus Naevius and Quintus Ennius. After this he considers the historiography represented in this period by Fabius Victor and Marcus Porcius Cato. It is quite obvious that the crisis of the Republic after the activities of the Gracchi was also reflected in the Latin language and literature. In this light we may also see writers like C. Iulius Caesar, Cornelius Nepos, C. Sallustius Crispus and, as a representative of politics and philosophy, Marcus Tullius Cicero. Gian Biagio Conte offers the second and third contributions in this section with the titles 'Die Literatur der ausgusteischen Zeit' (pp. 192-227) and 'Die Literatur der Kaiserzeit' (pp. 228-296). The former chapter covers the time after the period of the Civil wars and the so- called pax Augusta (the time of Vergil, Horace, Gallus, Tibullus and Ovid) in which the writers and poets faced the conflict between private opinion and political obedience. Gallus and Ovid, who were the most representative poets of the Roman elegy, became the main victims in this conflict. The way the author describes this period of literature adheres to the standard of a well-written lexicon where one could find similar articles. The historiography of this period has to be seen in this context; its most important historian is without doubt Livy who tried to produce a monumental history of Rome from the very beginning. But because he was not very accurate in judging the transmitted documents, his work takes on in many respects the character of a story. The author refers to two different kinds of historiography in this period: the historiography of opposition -- in general, not very well transmitted and rather unknown, represented by Asinius Pollio and Pompeius Trogus -- and on the other hand, the historiography of political confirmation where one can find authors like Velleius Paterculus, Valerius Maximus and Curtius Rufus. In his second chapter, 'Die Literatur der Kaiserzeit', the author refers to the post-Augustan emperors from Tiberius to Domitian, when the institution of the theatre became very popular and when Seneca was the one who combined drama and philosophy in an ideal way. The literature during the rule of Nero is especially represented by M. Annaeus Lucanus (39-65 AD) and his epic De Bello Civile, a kind of anti-Aeneid which praises republican liberty and rejects the secret power of tyrants like Augustus and Nero. In this chapter Conte also mentions the main representatives of Roman Satire, Persius and Juvenal. The main representatives during the time of the emperors who belong to the Flavian dynasty (Vespasian - Titus - Domitian [69-96 A.D.]) are Marcus Valerius Martialis with his collection of epigrams in 12 books and Marcus Fabius Quintilianus with his 12 books of the Institutio Oratoria. Quintilian was appointed by Vespasian as professor for Language and Rhetoric in 78 AD. He was very critical of the way of language was used by his contemporaries and he wrote a small book -- unfortuntely lost -- De causis corruptae eloquentiae. Conte then turns to the period of the adopted emperors (Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius).

Then follows Jan Ziolkowski with an article about medieval Latin literature ('Die mittellateinische Literatur', pp. 297- 322). Although the whole corpus of Latin texts in the Middle Ages is much larger than that transmitted from Roman Antiquity, philological research has not dealt with it in the same way as with the Latin texts from the classical period. Latin in the Middle Ages was not a mother-tongue, because it was taught in schools and the process of learning Latin was not an emotional, but a rational one. So it became a kind of 'father-language'; used -- not only in a written but also in a spoken way -- in the church, in the schools and universities. So it was not a dead language at all, but a language not bound to the emotional prison of a mother-tongue in which one could express oneself free from any prejudice and shame. And it was the religious culture of Christianity which produced a certain kind of superiority of the authors of the Middle Ages in relation to the literature of the classical Roman Antiquity. Ziolkowski also stresses the point that though the authors of medieval Latin texts were mostly men, there were also some very important women among them, for instance Egeria who travelled to the holy land in the 4th century, Hrosvith des Gandersheim (935-975), who wrote plays, vitae sanctorum and epic poetry, and last but not least Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), a mystic and cosmological author. The general canons in the schools were the principles of the seven free arts (artes liberales): The trivium was based on grammar, logic and rhetoric and the quadrivium contained arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music.

Walther Ludwig continues this section with an article 'Die neuzeitliche lateinische Literatur seit der Renaissance' ('The new Latin Literature since the Renaissance', pp. 323-56) from the 15th to the 19th century. The author who himself is an expert in this period shows that Latin Philology needs to discover this period of Latin Literature much more carefully than it has done up to now. He gives a survey of the single genres of the literature in this period by dividing them between poetry and prose. In the case of poetry he refers to the 'Epos' represented by Petrarch's 'Africa' which unfortunately remained unfinished. In the second Punic War Scipio was supposed to be represented as a vir perfectus -- like Aeneas in Vergil's epos; epic poetry which told the stories of the Bible (Major, Siberus, Stigelius) or even of the Old Testament (Frischlin, Alexander Rosaeus) was very popular at that time. He turns then to the so-called 'Lehrgedicht' in the tradition of Vergils Georgics, and to the 'Bukolik' following the tradition of Vergil's Eclogues. Elegy, following the literary example of the Ovid and Tibullus, is especially represented by Petrus Lotichius Secundus (1528-1560), who was called the princeps poetarum Germanorum of his time. In prose we have only the epistolography of the humanists following the tradition of Petrarch and fictitious narrative prose, continuing the tradition which was initiated by Heliodorus and Petronius. Remarkable among the narrators of this time was Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini who wrote an erotic epistolary novel (a novel based on fictitious letters) which remained in a way unique up to now. The last contribution to this chapter is made by Sandro Boldrin. It is about 'Römische Metrik' ('Roman Metrics', pp. 357-86), and gives an introduction to the basic rules about how verses were build up in Roman poetry, referring first to the problems of prosody which were different in archaic times and in the classical period, then to the problems of metre.

The fifth section is called 'Römische Geschichte' ('Roman History', pp. 387-448) and Jürgen von Sternberg informs us about it by writing the first two contributions of this section: 'Einleitung -- ein Überblick' ('Introduction -- an Overview', pp. 387-89), followed by 'Königszeit und Republik' ('Monarchy and Republic', pp. 390-409) and finally an article called 'Kaiserzeit' ('Empire', pp. 410-28). Historians used to be concerned mostly with particular periods of Roman History but reading this compact survey one is deeply impressed with the long duration and the wide extent of the Roman Empire which became a model for other European empires like the Spanish, the French and the English one. He starts with the description of the early centuries of the Roman Empire, where one can only guess what happened over the time of the kings in power. The turning point, brought on by the Gracchi, introduced the so-called crisis of the Republic until the pax Romana was established by Augustus, the starting-point for the imperial period. A third chapter in this section is written by Jochen Martin under the title 'Spätantike' ('Late Antiquity', pp. 429-48) which discusses the tetrarchic system of government introduced by Diocletian (284-305) and Constantine I (293-306). The sixth section, dedicated to the subject of 'Römisches Privatrecht' ('Roman Private Law', pp. 449-68), could be read in close conjuction with the fifth. Here Ulrich Manthe informs the reader about the institutions of the Roman Civil Law, the history of the Roman Law, the sources of the Roman Law, and finally gives two examples of how to read and to analyse legal texts.

In the seventh section entitled 'Römische Religion' ('Roman Religion', pp. 469-536) John Scheid informs us about the republican period ('Republikanische Zeit', pp. 469-91), Mary Beard about the imperial period ('Kaiserzeit', pp. 492-519) and Christoph Markschies about Christianity from its beginnings to Late Antiquity ('Das Christentum von den Anfängen bis in die Spätantike', pp. 520-36). It is very difficult to draw a picture of Roman religion in the early times, but one thing is certain: there was no fundamentalism whatsoever, the society was very tolerant and many different cult traditions were allowed as long as they did not disturb the common interests of the state. The main principle was polytheism which enabled people to worship a variety of gods. In general, public religious cults were part of the structures of the Roman Empire: religion and politics were closely connected. By the time of the Empire, the name of the emperors such as Augustus became symbols for the idea that the emperor represented a kind of divine figure himself: the adjective augustus had never been used as a name before, it had only meant in general 'holy places' or 'temples'. As far as the development of Christianity as the main religion of the Republic is concerned, historians do not offer a convincing answer; it could well be that the Christian ideas took over because they promised everlasting salvation in heaven after the death of the individual.

The eighth section is dedicated to 'Römische Philosophie' ('Roman Philosophy', pp. 537-600). Michael Erler writes this survey, giving proper attention to Lucretius, Cicero, and Seneca, but also to Marcus Aurelius, Augustine and Boethius. It is quite obvious that the main ideas of Roman Philosophy were taken from the ancient Greek thinkers as they were still alive in the Platonic Academy and the schools of Epicurus and the Stoa. A special case is Lucretius who as a poeta doctus took up the literary tradition of didactic poetry where he combined rhetorical art with the argumentation of a philosopher. In the following chapter, Cicero is shown to be an intellectual who used rhetorical art in dealing with politics and philosophy perfectly well.

The ninth and last section entitled 'Römische Archäologie und Kunstgeschichte' ('Roman Archaeology and Art History', pp. 601-98) shows the development of architecture over the centuries. Henner von Hesberg informs us about 'Kunst und Archäologie Roms' ('Art and Archaeology in Rome', pp. 601- 54), Rudolf Fellmann about 'Die Archaeologie der römischen Provinzen' ('The Archaeology of the Roman Provinces', pp. 655-69) and Hans-Markus von Kaenel about 'Römische Numismatik' ('Roman Numismatics', pp. 670-98). The last three pages present the pictures of coins as examples of the period 230 BC to 400 AD. On the last pages of the volume, one is pleased to find an index rerum et nominum. The whole book can be judged to be an effective and informative publication, very useful for students in Classics and for everybody who is interested in the Roman world and culture in general, and its lasting influence down the centuries.


[[1]] Alfred Gercke and Eduard Norden (edd.), Einleitung in die Klassische Philologie. (Leipzig 1910).

[[2]] Heinz-Günther Nesselrath (ed.), Einleitung in die griechische Philologie (Stuttgart 1997).