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A textual question in Vergil

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A textual question in Vergil

Postby timeodanaos » Sun May 20, 2012 3:12 pm

Over the course of my work with the text of Vergil as read in Macrobius, Saturnalia, I have encountered this little gem of a problem, which is, I think, one of the only places in the entire text of Vergil where the editors choose to print the text of the indirect witnesses rather than the text of the capital manuscripts.

If I use too much of the lingo of my studies, please ask or correct me or something.

Georg.3.448-51:
aut tonsum tristi contingunt corpus amurca
et spumas miscent argenti vivaque sulpura
Idaeasque pices et pinguis unguine ceras


All the capital manuscripts of Vergil read et sulpura viva; I don't have access to Geymonat's edition, so I cannot say what the Carolingian mss. say, except that Ribbeck in his edition quotes Beda with et sulpura viva.

One will of course notice this one point: the printed text here isn't exactly easy to scan, in fact we have to accept a hypermetrum that in my eyes isn't attractive at all, since the anceps now scans short.
Consider, however, the indirect evidence (in rough chronological order):

Victorinus writes in his de metris et de hexametro, GLK VI.212:
...ultimo pede, quem necesse est disyllabum esse, ne contra rationem supra dictam syllabarum amplior numerus adcrescat. Quid ergo? numquamne dactylus in fine ponitur? Ponitur quidem; verum non in eo versu qui ceteros dactylos habet in se, veluti est ille in Georgicis:
et spumas miscent argenti vivaque sulpura
quem quidam invertentes sic legunt et sulpura viva.

Re-reading this, it sounds like total gibberish: of course we never see a dactyl in the sixth foot, a hexametre is always catalectic. His next example, Aen.6.33, however, is also an example of a hypermetrum, which justifies his reading if not his argument.

Servius (with DServius in italics) in his commentary writes ad locum:
vivaqve svlpvra dactylicus versus, quod in fine dactylum habeat.

Exactly the same as Victorinus. Servius uses the same terminus for the hypermetric verse in one other place, ad Georg.2.69:
fetv nvcis arbvtvs horrida versus dactylicus: nam male quidam 'horrens' legunt.

It's beginning to look like a real terminus technicus, but it's just such a misleading name!

No matter, let's look at the next piece of evidence, Macrobius Saturnalia 5.14.4:
ὑπερκαταληκτικοὶ <versus> syllabâ longiores sunt:
(Aen.6.33) ...quin protinus omnia
<et>
(Georg.1.295) ...Vulcano decoquit umorem
et
(Georg.3.449) spumas miscent argenti vivaque sulphura
et
(Georg.2.69) ...arbutus horrida

Ok, let's just check out Servius at the one place we haven't seen so far, Georg.1.295:
Vulcano decoquit umorem hypermetrus versus: unde et sequens a vocali inchoat. <...> et aliter: hic versus longior est una syllaba, sed sine vitio, quoniam sequens a vocali incipit.

Same definition, even word for word in DServ., but different nomenclature. Difference here is of course that umorem has a long o.

Last place to cite our verse, the Scholia Bernensia, a collection of scholia from the tenth cent., I think.:
et spumas miscent argenti vivaque sulphura dactylicus versus

Back to the terminus of Victorinus.


Mynors in his edition cites one, and just one reading from a Carolingian manuscript, his r, which has viva et sulpura, which is even harder to scan, being spondaic and all.

Now, this is about as comprehensive an account as possible of the direct evidence and the grammarians' citations. Only one piece of 'intertextual evidence' (or whatever you wish to name it) have I been able to find, Quintus Serenus, liber medicinalis 35:
aut tu fenuculum nitrumque et sulphura viva


Sulphura is most commonly found as the fifth foot of a hexametre: Silius, 13.568; Ovid, Met, 1.271, 3.370, 14.783, 15.342; Juv. 5.46; Dracontius, Medea, 484; Claudius Marius Victorius, Alethia, 2.127, 3.733, 763; App.Verg., Ciris, 369; Calp.Sic., 5.78.
This list only takes notice of writings from the fifth century or earlier.

So now it all boils down to this one question, which Victorinus and all this evidence inevitably asks us:
If you were to edit the text of Vergil's Georgics, would you join Victorinus, Servius, Servius Danielinus (who might have been Donatus), Macrobius and the Berne Scholiast and write vivaque sulpura, or would you be one of the quidam who preferred the 'metric' reading with no indirect evidence but the evidence of three manuscripts that have survived the centuries since before the fall of Rome and countless examples of sulpura in the fifth foot, including one writer (from the third century) who chose to copy Vergil's words in the easier, metrical version?
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Re: A textual question in Vergil

Postby adrianus » Mon May 21, 2012 4:10 am

timeodanaos wrote:et spumas miscent argenti vivaque sulpura...
One will of course notice this one point: the printed text here isn't exactly easy to scan, in fact we have to accept a hypermetrum that in my eyes isn't attractive at all, since the anceps now scans short.
Consider, however, the indirect evidence (in rough chronological order):

Victorinus writes ...it sounds like total gibberish

Forgive me, timeodanaos, I don't get it. Victorinus sounds sensible to me there, talking about dactyls in the anceps not being impossible. And the feet measure OK, don't they?
Tuâ veniâ, timeodanaos, errorem de quo tractas non capio, separatim dactylum in ancipite de quo probè tractat Victorinus, ut opinor. Nonnè rectè iste versus supputatis pedibus expenditur?

et spū|mās mis|cent ar|gentī |vīvaque | sulpura ?

How is it short? // quomodo brevis anceps?
Maybe I'm being very slow so early in the morning. // Forsit tam multò manè segnis mens mea.

Sorry, you mean this is short: Mea culpa. Hoc a te significatur:

et spū|mās mis|cent ar|gentī_et | sulpura | vīva

Isn't that OK? // Nonnè licet, ad nomen ancipitis vel ambigui?
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: A textual question in Vergil

Postby timeodanaos » Mon May 21, 2012 8:28 am

No, I'm talking about the hypermetric verse ending with vivaque sulpura, where the anceps is pu because of the elision. Were viva the last word, the anceps would be anceps.

The reason why Victorinus is talking gibberish is because the sixth foot in fact cannot be a dactyl and isn't.


But the real question is: what reading is more acceptable to you? Since they both have considerable, but very different, paradoseis.
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Re: A textual question in Vergil

Postby adrianus » Mon May 21, 2012 11:27 am

timeodanaos wrote:No, I'm talking about the hypermetric verse ending with vivaque sulpura, where the anceps is pu because of the elision.

There is no elision between the lines.
Non est elisio inter versus.

Victorinus is saying you can have a dactyl there on a rare occasion. I thought he was saying it's something interesting and you could see why it was done to balance heavy first four feet, all spondees. It seemed a radical but interesting musical notion to me. In that sense he's right, and it sounds interesting if not overdone. Others—editors—will say that's a mistake that Vergil would have corrected if he had lived, possibly?*
Victorinus dicit ibi sed rarò dactylum esse. Id curae est, dicit, ut mihi videtur, quod id contra gravitatem primorum quattuor pedum—qui omni spondei—rependit. Exoticum quod ultra mores musicos. Eâ ratione, rectè dicit et id delectat, nisi res nimis faciatur, sed alii redactores id defectum esse habuerint quod Vergilius correxisset si vivisset, ut dicant.

Vivaque sulpura, which sounds thin, really emphasizes spumas, I think.
Verè vivaque sulpura pedes, qui tenues sonitur, vim vocabulo spumae dat, puto.

Et sulpura viva sounds normal but not so visually vivid poetically to end the line. The danger is that anything can be justified after the fact, and even unfinished lines sound interesting to modern ears.
Minùs vivida ciensque ut finis et sulpura viva clausula normativa sonitur, meae auri. A posteriori, omnia modernis gustatis excusari possunt, etiam versus infecti.

* Sorry, this isn't the Aeneid but the Georgics.
* Me excusas, versus est non Aeneidos sed Georgicorum.
Last edited by adrianus on Mon May 21, 2012 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: A textual question in Vergil

Postby adrianus » Mon May 21, 2012 1:25 pm

If Pharr says, in 6:33 "bis patriae cecidere manus. Quin protinus omnia...omnia: pronounce here as though spelled omnja, the i becoming consonantal", also why not say "pronounce sulpura as though spelled sulpra"? A posteriori sine auctore teste omnia defendantur.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: A textual question in Vergil

Postby timeodanaos » Mon May 21, 2012 1:43 pm

Radical! You do not recognise the hypermetric verse, then, Adriane?

I will concede as much as omnia possibly having two syllables, like alveo on other occasions.

I have always had the feeling that you dearly wish to trust the ancient grammarians - does this mean that you will accept Servius ad Ecl.3.96?
<Tityre, pascentis a flumen> REICE CAPELLAS 'reice ca' proceleumaticus est pro dactylo.


What about the fact that all the cited examples have a vowel-initial line following?

Crusius, Römische Metrik §37, Anm. 1:
Doch hat zuweilen ein Vers eine Silbe mehr als gewöhnlich (Hypérmeter); diese endigt dann auf Vokal und wird - entgegen dem oben Gesagten (namely that there is no elision between verses) - durch den Anfangsvokal des nächsten Verses elidiert, z.B.
multa videmus enim rebus concurrere debere
ut propagando possint procudere saecla

(Lukrez 5, 849f. ; das letzte e von debere wird vor u am Anfag des folgenden Verses elidiert)
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Re: A textual question in Vergil

Postby adrianus » Mon May 21, 2012 2:52 pm

timeodanaos wrote:What about the fact that all the cited examples have a vowel-initial line following?

Finally I get what you are talking about (my fault not yours). I think that the terminology can conceal the sense of the argument and that you can use various devices to keep the beat. For example, with elision the line doesn't sound like an odd "sulpu" with hiatus, but not any different from "sulpur" because we hear the R in Ridaeaeque so clearly and the Rī- syllable held for three beats, seeming to break the meter except the first beat is taken by the end of the first line to keep the hexametric beat. Do you get what I mean?
Deinde capio (tam sensim per me non te stetit) . Nonnunquam terminologia sensum obscurat; exercitatione autem metrum teneatur varios per dolos. Exempli gratiâ, per elisionem nonnè "sulpur" sonatur (non "sulpu" cum hiato) a litterâ versu sequente adsumptâ quod tam clarè sonitur R littera proximum versum incipiens nec adversùs prosodiae leges quod, etiamsi prima syllaba tres temporum est, unum temporum a primo versu conducitur. Capisne sensum meum?
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: A textual question in Vergil

Postby timeodanaos » Mon May 21, 2012 3:14 pm

I think I sort of get what you mean. I would still be worried that my personal feelings about the length of the anceps (always feels long) would be offended - that or my feelings about the quantity of the syllable -pu- would be offended! That's why I'm hesitant to accept the choice of the modern editors, who choose the hypermetric version against all manuscript evidence. The critical principle is sound, utrum in alterum; but, as said, feelings come in the way. I'm all for hypermetric lines and synaphia when the anceps is made up of a long vowel.

Now - I would really like to hear your opinion on the textual evidence, if you have any opinion - I'm trying hard not to let my personal feelings about versification get in my way, you see, since I'm using this as part of my exam this semester.
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Re: A textual question in Vergil

Postby adrianus » Mon May 21, 2012 4:03 pm

I posted this on YouTube a minute ago: http://youtu.be/vw-uoqYiLks
Primum "vivaque sulpura" dulcius sonitur, ut opinor. // "vivaque sulpura" is nicer, I think
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: A textual question in Vergil

Postby adrianus » Mon May 21, 2012 5:23 pm

OK, I looked at the sources, Victorinus and Servius, and I think that it doesn't matter what word you use, "dactylicus versus, quod in fine dactylum habeat" or "versus hypermetricus".
One says, it looks like a dactyl but actually the line is followed by a vowel so no real problem.
The other word says, the line looks too long but it's not really because it's followed by a vowel. Except for the "omnia" one according to Victorinus (who doesn't talk about the following vowel on the next line, but Servius does) so maybe Victorinus doesn't get it unless in someplace I didn't see.

Quid refert an "dactylicus versus, quod in fine dactylum habeat" an "versus hypermetricus" utatur; utrum nomen dicit numerus syllabas versûs excedere at non verùm, quod vocalis versum sequentem incipit. Separatim exemplum per omnia secundum Victorinum (Servius solus de vocalem proximi versûs tractat, non Victorinus qui forsit rem non aspicit nisi in loco a me non perlecto).
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: A textual question in Vergil

Postby timeodanaos » Tue May 22, 2012 9:47 am

I don't think the terminology matters either. I do think it's remarkable that there are two apparently synonymic and interchangeable terms in use at the same time, though. That's why I remark on it. I review (sort of) the evidence in a bit of detail because I haven't seen it assessed in any other place. The editors just choose the indirectly transmitted text because it's more likely to have been corrupted into the directly transmitted, but there's no discussion of the significance of the vulgate text, which is, in my view, quite significant, seeing as it is apparently the known text already in early times.

Hearing your recording and re-reciting the verses a few times, I'm inclined to agree that it sounds dulcius; if only for the variation in rhythm. I read verse aloud with normal stress, disregarding the so-called ictus, and the hypermetric verse really has something exciting about it.
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