8. Notes on the Lithika of Posidippus [1]

Richard Hunter, University of Cambridge
The first group of epigrams is one of many surprises on the Milan papyrus, though perhaps it should not have been so. Lithika is indeed a genre not previously well attested at so early a date, [2] although the considerable interest in precious stones in, say, the Periegesis of Dionysius, to whom a Lithika or Lithiaka is also ascribed, should have led us to expect a rich background in Hellenistic literature; it may indeed be that Posidippus was an innovator in this type of ecphrastic epigram. [3] As for the title, Λιθικά is not of course preserved on the papyrus, but lithika is indeed what these poems are; I shall continue to use the title, but shall return presently to the generic sense of the collection. As we cannot be sure how the roll originally began and ended, we must be very cautious about the structure of the whole, but we know from the preserved stichometric marks [4] that we certainly have the complete Lithika section (though, of course, some individual poems are more complete than others), and the likelihood that the whole epigram collection began with this section seems overwhelming: P. Bing [5] has called attention to how these poems would give a ‘brilliant’ and programmatic opening to the collection through the obvious analogy between the small-scale and detailed craftsmanship of gem-working and the art of the epigrammatist. I turn first to the general shape of the Lithika section. [6]
The tattered remains of the opening poem offer (probably) Ζην[, perhaps—as the editors suggest—the start of the name of a lady who received the gem as a gift. The possibility that at least the collection of lithika, if not the whole collection, ‘commences from Zeus’ (cf. Aratus, Phaenomena 1, Theocritus 17.1 etc), as the lady’s name may have done, may be at least given a certain color by ‘Kronios’ in what looks like the second poem, presumably a reference to the jeweler named also in AB 7.3 (and cf. AB 6.2); that this name also suggests Zeus’ paternity, memorialized in the standard appellation Κρονίων or Κρόνιος (παῖς), is of course a speculation, but I think an attractive one. If there is anything in this, we cannot of course say whether there was a corresponding close to the collection as a whole, but we do at least have the close of the lithika, AB 20.5 a prayer to Poseidon which might remind us of the prayers which close hymns (e.g. the end of Callimachus Hymn to Demeter) [7] and poetry books; G. Hutchinson [8] has noted that the final iamatikon (AB 101) might be considered an adaptation of the hymnic close on ἀρετή and ὄλβος. Be that as it may, the Aetia of Callimachus closes (fr. 112.8) with a prayer to Zeus to save the ‘house of the rulers’ (i.e. Ptolemy III and Berenice II), as the last lithikon seeks to keep ‘the land of Ptolemy’ and the islands free from earthquakes and other natural disturbance. [9] Whether we should connect this with the tradition, discussed by A. Barchiesi in connection with Callimachus and Virgil, [10] that Delos, Apollo’s island, was ἀκίνητον (‘not subject to earthquakes’) [11] is not clear, but both Callimachus and Theocritus make much of Apollo’s relationship to Delos as parallel to that of Ptolemy II to Cos, and a gesture here towards Ptolemy’s divinity would reinforce the weight of the reminder of divine pleading in the second couplet.
The actual form of the prayer to Poseidon is a particularly interesting version of traditional modes: the god is first reminded of his power to destroy (Helike), but then of his past willingness to listen to intercession (the da quia dedisti form); [12] the central couplet lends the weight of Demeter’s physical supplication (more possible for her than for a mortal) [13] to the current prayer, for the goddess too has been in this position of dependence (the assonance in ἐκύνησε and ἀκίνητην reinforces the parallelism). Her kissing of Poseidon’s hand, an unusual gesture in poetic descriptions of supplication, perhaps recalls the only such Homeric gesture, Iliad XXIV 478–479 where Priam kisses ‘the terrible man-slaying hands of Achilles, which had slain many of his sons’ (cf. also XXIV 506); the rôle of Poseidon’s ‘hand’ in the ‘natural’ destruction he causes has already been made clear in the previous, closely related epigram (AB 19.9-13). [14] Unfortunately, we have no idea to what this couplet refers, but the poetic technique is noteworthy: although the sparing of any ‘Eleusis’ might reasonably be assigned to an intercession by Demeter, [15] the god’s previous granting of a prayer is here, as for example in Sappho fr. 1, a poetic fantasy of the poet (for who else would know of the relations between Demeter and Poseidon?), and this creates that intimate link between mortal and god which is so crucial for the granting of prayers. [16] As for Poseidon, a god with whom anyone named ‘Poseidippos’ might have felt a special relationship, there is (as far as I know) not much evidence for his cult in Alexandria, [17] but his famous connection with Euboean Geraistos (AB 20.5) appears also in the Argonautica of Apollonius (III 1244) and in Callimachus’ account of the birth-myth of Apollo (Hymn 4.199), and Ptolemaic interest in Euboea (and dedications at Geraistos?) in the middle of the century would certainly not surprise. [18]
Although the prayer to Poseidon is tied into the Lithika through various links with the preceding poem, it clearly also stands apart as a poem that is not about a single stone or rock, and this too strengthens its force as a closural prayer. Nevertheless, it closes something of a ring around the Lithika, in which both the opening and closing pairs are linked together: [19] we begin, as I have suggested, with Zeus and close with Poseidon, and—in a complementary structure—we begin with Alexander (the Hydaspes, famous in the mid third century only as the site of Alexander’s victory over Poros) [20] and close with Ptolemy, Zeus’ representative and manifestation here on earth and Alexander’s true successor, as (e.g.) Theocritus’ Encomium of Ptolemy makes clear.
The internal arrangement of the Lithika has been briefly sketched out by the editors: [21] first, incised gems (AB 1–15), perhaps themselves divided into gems given as gifts (AB 1–7) and those not (AB 8–15); then, poems about ‘remarkable’ stones or rocks (AB 16–19), and then the prayer to Poseidon of AB 20. A new text such as this naturally tests our interpretative resolve (and our methodology) in finding patterns and meaning in juxtaposition, and the new text of Posidippus is no exception; K. Gutzwiller has already opened certain lines of enquiry. [22] The Lithika offer juxtaposed poems on mother-of-pearl (AB 11 and AB 12) and, very probably, juxtaposed poems about a precious necklace (AB 6 and AB 7). More interestingly, perhaps, we can now see how AB 15 ( = Posidippus 20 GP) begins with a rejection of the ‘river topos’ of, say, AB 1.1 and AB 7.1–2, [23] as AB 8.1–2, οὔτ᾿ αὐχὴν ἐφόρηϲε τὸ ϲάρδιον οὔτε γυναικῶν | δάκτυλοϲ, ‘no throat or woman’s finger wore this carnelian’, ‘rejects’ the subject-matter of the immediately preceding pair of poems. [24] The general impression is that the collection becomes more miscellaneous, and the stones get bigger, as we proceed, but nothing, I think, in either Theophrastus’ On Stones or in Books 36 and 37 of Pliny’s Natural History would have prepared us for the poem on the Euboean rock (AB 19) or for the final poem (AB 20). The first of this final pair is linked to what precedes by the opening notion of ‘calculation’, for the central conceit of AB 18 seems to be exact measurement (cf. Callimachus Iambus 6 on the exact dimensions of the statue of Zeus at Olympia); [25] in the current state of the text, a number or measure appears in every verse of this poem except the third, and who is to say that one should not be found there also. As for the final pair of poems themselves, they are both prayers to Poseidon in connection with his brutal natural power (with ἑνὶ κύματι in AB 20.1 perhaps picking up AB 19.4) and both identify famous Euboean landmarks that were also very close together, the Capharean rocks and the temple of Poseidon at Geraistos; both prayers feature Poseidon’s ‘hand’ (AB 19.11, AB 20.4). [26] The penultimate lithikon is apparently imagined as delivered at the site of the rock (perhaps indeed inscribed upon the rock as a talismanic protection for the island at its border with Poseidon’s realm), [27] and I do not see any reason why the final poem could not be imagined as delivered at Geraistos itself.
The surprise of the final two poems is not lessened by the fact that one of them is indeed about a lithos, though of a rather different kind than all which have preceded. In interpreting this variety we are hampered by our ignorance of the generic expectations which titles such as λιθικά, οἰωνοσκοπικά, and τρόποι would raise in readers of an early collection such as this: how familiar, and how settled in meaning, were such titles? What kind of unity of subject do such titles lead us to expect? Ought we to see the final two poems, or at least the penultimate poem, as a kind of ‘generic joke’, which relies upon a familiar, but unexamined, sense of distinction between types of epigram, or rather as a sign that category boundaries were still far from rigid? The latter explanation is perhaps more likely, but a few brief observations about the rest of the collection will, I hope, indicate that the matter may not be straightforward.
The Oiônoskopika collect both poems about ominous ‘birds’ (οἰωνοί) and about omens (οἰωνοί) drawn from other spheres, but it is birds that predominate and open the section (the first four poems), and which therefore establish a ‘generic sense’ from which the other poems can be seen to deviate. The final two poems, as with the Lithika, are on related subjects and also differ from what has gone before, being about οἰωνοσκοποί rather than about omens. As the Lithika closed with Ptolemy, the Oiônoskopika close with Alexander’s defeat of the Persians, which was, of course, for the Ptolemies a very ideologically charged piece of history. As for the dedicatory Anathematika, one might have thought that this type of epigram was so common that it would have been easy enough to fill a section with ‘straightforward’ poems, but again this proves not so: the first three poems (to Arsinoe) are indeed dedicatory poems of a very common kind, thereby suggesting that we are indeed in familiar territory, but the fourth, though linked to them through the figure of Arsinoe, is in fact quite different, being on the subject of the temple and cult of Arsinoe as Aphrodite Euploia. The final two, apparently on a carved wolf and a tortoise shell, both appear to have been indeed dedicatory, but are again quite different from what has preceded. As a whole, the section again forces us to wonder what kind of unity is imposed by the collective title.
Like the Anathematika, the Epitymbia, if that is the correct title, collect epigrams of a very familiar, indeed perhaps the original ‘epigrammatic’, type; they are mixed in mode and voice, and a few are barely Epitymbia at all (cf. AB 52 on Timon’s sundial). The final two poems are again linked: they are the only two that concern men, and both use the theme of a happy death after a fulfilled life which requires no weeping. More striking perhaps is the fact that, although a passerby is addressed at AB 52.3 earlier in the section, only in the final poem do we have the classic ‘stop, passerby and look at the tomb of …’; this is particularly notable as what is left of the Tropoi section suggests that these poems were standardly epitaphic and address to a passerby was there a regular feature. Perhaps, then, the arrangement of the Epitymbia suggests an attempt to impose, rather than disrupt, a generic identity at the conclusion; at the very least, it would seem again that category-boundaries were very fluid or that the arranger of our new collection placed a high premium on generic surprise and uncertainty. About the remaining sections there is less to say. The ἀνδριαντοποιϊκά and the ἱππικά have been admirably discussed elsewhere; [28] both sections end with ‘Ptolemaic’ subjects (Alexander, AB 70, and Ptolemaic chariot-victories, AB 88), but it is noteworthy that the final two ἱππικά are again closely linked in subject and theme. In view of the patterns I have been tracing, it is perhaps important that the final ναυαγικόν clearly signals its affiliation in the opening word, ναυηγόν με κτλ, and that this is the only occurrence of the word in the section; we have already noted how the final iamatikon functions closurally, [29] and it is distinguished from the other poems in that section in being a request to Asclepius for ‘moderate wealth and health’.
In sum, there is clearly enough variety in the arrangement of the sections to enjoin caution; nevertheless, there are also suggestive indications of play with ideas of ‘unity’ and ‘sameness’, and generic wit of this kind fits easily with the early date of the papyrus: some categories are more obvious and more settled than others, but others are being fashioned for the first time, perhaps never to return. The primary position of the Lithika, with its remarkable closing poems, alerts us to this aspect of readerly pleasure.
Let me now turn to the penultimate poem itself, the longest lithikon for the largest rock, and one of the three fourteen-verse poems on the papyrus. [30]
μὴ] λόγιϲαι με<γ>άλ<η>ν τ̣[αύτη]ν̣ πόϲα κύμα̣[τα λᾶαν
     τη]λ̣οῦ μαινομένηϲ ἐξ[εφόρηϲ]ε̣ν ἁλόϲ·
τή]ν̣δε Ποϲειδάων βρι̣α̣[ρῶϲ ἐδ]όνει καὶ ἀπ[οκλάϲ
     ῥίμφ᾿]{α} ἐφ᾿ ἑνὸϲ ϲκληροῦ κ[ύματο]ϲ̣ ἐ̣ξ̣έ̣βαλεν
ἡμι]πλεθραίην ςϲαϲ προ̣[τὶ τ]ἄ̣[ϲ]τεα πέτρη̣ν,
     τοῦ Πολυφημείου ϲκαιοτέρ<η>ν θυρεοῦ·
οὐκ ἄ<ν> μιν Πολύφημοϲ ἐβάϲταϲε, ϲὺν Γαλατείαι
     πυκνὰ κολυμβήϲαϲ αἰπολικὸϲ δύϲερωϲ·
οὐδ᾿ Ἀνταί<ου> ὁ γυρὸϲ ὀλοίτρ<ο>χοϲ, ἀλλὰ τριαί̣νηϲ̣
     τοῦτο Καφηρείηϲ τε<ι>ρα<τ>οεργὸν ἁλόϲ·
ἴϲχε, Ποϲειδᾶον, μεγάλην χέρα καὶ βαρ̣ὺ κῦμα
     ἐκ πόντου ψιλὴν μὴ φέρ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἠϊόνα·
τετρακαι̣εικοϲίπηχυν ὅτ᾿ ἐ<κ> βυθοῦ ἤραο λᾶαν,
     ῥεῖα καταμήϲειϲ εἰν ἁλὶ νῆϲον ὅλην.
Do not calculate how many waves carried [this rock] far from the raging sea. Poseidon shook it fiercely and [having broken it off] with one powerful [wave] cast out this rock, [?]-plethra in size, shoving it towards …, this rock more wild than the door-stone of Polyphemus. Polyphemus could not have lifted it, the lovesick goatherd who often dived with Galatea; nor does this round boulder (?) belong to Antaeus (??), but this marvel of the sea of Caphareus is the work of the trident. Poseidon, stay your great hand and do not bring a mighty wave from the sea against the defenseless coast; having raised a rock of twenty-four cubits from the deep, easily would you lay waste in the sea a whole island. [31]
The god’s power, in the face of which all we can do is pray, is marked by the difference between the opening of the poem, where we are all but certainly advised not to engage in the proverbially fruitless activity of counting waves, [32] and its close, where we are told that, with typical divine ease, Poseidon can ‘harvest the sea’, another proverbial waste of time (at least for mortals). [33] Καταμήϲεις, ‘you will reap’, a verb of complex semantics, [34] suggests that the wave knocks over, and thus covers, everything in its path (cf., e.g., Homeric Hymn to Apollo 70–78, Plato Timaeus 25d); it is to be seen in counterpoint to ἤραο ‘you lifted up’. The huge rock, which stands as testimony to the god’s powerful effort (marked by the heavy spondaic opening of AB 19.5), and which twice fills the first half of a hexameter with a single measurement (AB 19.5 and 19.13), is larger than the most famous rock of the Odyssey, the Cyclops’ door-stone. [35] In AB 19.6 ϲκαιοτέρην (s.v.l) [36] picks up Nestor’s description of the dangerous Cretan coast: [37]
ἀλλ᾿ ὅτε δὴ καὶ κεῖνος ἰὼν ἐπὶ οἴνοπα πόντον
ἐν νηυσὶ γλαφυρῇσι Μαλειάων ὄρος αἰπὺ
ἷξε θέων, τότε δὴ στυγερὴν ὁδὸν εὐρύοπα Ζεὺς
ἐφράσατο, λιγέων δ᾿ ἀνέμων ἐπ᾿ ἀϋτμένα χεῦε
κύματά τε τροφόεντα πελώρια, ἶσα ὄρεσσιν.
ἔνθα διατμήξας τὰς μὲν Κρήτῃ ἐπέλασσεν,
ἦχι Κύδωνες ἔναιον Ἰαρδάνου ἀμφὶ ῥέεθρα.
ἔστι δέ τις λισσὴ αἰπεῖά τε εἰς ἅλα πέτρη
ἐσχατιῇ Γόρτυνος ἐν ἠεροειδέϊ πόντῳ·
ἔνθα νότος μέγα κῦμα ποτὶ σκαιὸν ῥίον ὠθεῖ,
ἐς Φαιστόν, μικρὸς δὲ λίθος μέγα κῦμ᾿ ἀποέργει.
(Odyssey iii 285–296)
But when he in turn had launched his ships again on the wine-dark sea and came in his rapid course to the sheer headland of Maleia, then thundering Zeus devised a distressing voyage for him, loosing upon him the violent breath of whistling winds and rearing huge heavy waves that were mountains high. Then, dividing his company, he brought some ships to that part of Crete where the Cydonians lived by the waters of Iardanus. There is a smooth cliff in the misty deep at the verge of the territory of Gortyn; it stands sheer above the sea where the southwest wind drives a great surge towards the western headland, and the narrow rock-face checks the great surge on its way to Phaestus.
Here a ‘small rock’ offers protection from a ‘great wave’, and verse 295, ἔνθα Νότος μέγα κῦμα ποτὶ σκαιὸν ῥίον ὠθεῖ, has been broken up by Posidippus and distributed over his poem; [38] σκαιός occurs only here in the Odyssey, and the scholia note that opinion was divided as to whether it meant ‘western’ or ‘δεινὸν καὶ ἄγριον’, as it plainly does in Posidippus. The echo links two coastlines that brought terrible danger to ships (cf. Odyssey iii 298–299).
Posidippus appears to have used, perhaps indeed conflated, two distinct elements of Homer’s portrayal of the Cyclops. First, of course, there is the massive (ἠλίβατος ix 243, μέγας ix 313, 340) ‘door-stone’ to which the Euboean rock is directly compared. The Cyclops can ‘lift it up high’ (ὑψόσ᾿ ἀείρας ix 240, 340, cf. AB 19.13 ἤραο), though ‘twenty-two four-wheeled wagons could not have raised it from the ground’ (ix 241–242), a description that echoes in τετρακαιεικοϲίπηχυν at AB 19.13; Odysseus tells us that he and his men would not have been able ἀπώσασθαι λίθον ὄβριμον (ix 305, cf. AB 19.5 ]πλεθραίην ςσας … πέτρην), whereas we have seen the Cyclops do this ‘easily’ (ix 313). The second part of Odyssey ix that is relevant here is verses 480ff. in which the blind and enraged monster attacks the departing Greeks: he ‘breaks off’ (ἀπορρήξας ix 481, cf. ? AB 19.3 ἀπ[ …) a mountain peak and hurls it (κὰδ᾿ δ᾿ ἔβαλε ix 482) into the sea (contrast cf. AB 19.4 ἐξέβαλεν); as the rock sinks it causes a great wave (πλημμυρίς ix 486, a standard later term for ‘natural’ floods and ‘tidal waves’ such as Poseidon is here asked not to cause) which drives the Greek boat towards the land. In the epigram, one great wave drove the huge boulder onto the shore, rather than into the sea. After Odysseus has taunted him and he has learned the truth as to what has happened, Polyphemus prays to his father Poseidon (who hears the prayer), and then he ‘lifted up a far larger rock’ (πολὺ μείζονα λᾶαν ἀείρας ix 537, cf. AB 19.13) and the pattern is repeated, except that this time the wave carries the Greeks to safety. It is clear, then, that there is a complex and sophisticated intertextual relationship between the epigram and Odyssey ix. Where Homer shows us the terrible power of Poseidon’s son, in Posidippus it is the divine father, now made to resemble his Homeric son, whose ‘great hand’ is to be feared. [39]
Nothing, however, is as surprising in this poem as the apparent echo [40] of Theocritus’ lovesick Cyclops, and specifically of Theocritus Idyll 6, βάλλει τοι, Πολύφαμε, τὸ ποίμνιον ἁ Γαλάτεια | μάλοισιν, δυσέρωτα καὶ [Meineke: τὸν codd.] αἰπόλον ἄνδρα καλεῦσα, ‘Galatea pelts your flock with apples, Polyphemus, calling you ill-starred in love and a goatherd’; we must ask how the Theocritean Cyclops and the Theocritean text are superimposed upon the Homeric pattern, for we clearly have here a very interesting example of so-called ‘window allusion’ in which a model text is traced back in turn to its own model. [41]
Both Idylls 6 and 11 locate the young Cyclops on or near the seashore, and Idyll 11 places him ‘on a high rock’ looking out to sea (11.17–18, cf. Ovid Metamorphoses XIII 778–780), a detail which perhaps turned Posidippus’ mind to the Cyclops. Be that as it may, though Homer’s monster might have been able to lift the Euboean rock, Theocritus’ unhappy young Cyclops, ‘growing thinner [and hence weaker] day by day’ (11.69), could not have done so: the Theocritean rewriting of Homer allows Posidippus both to use the great door-stone of the Odyssey and to surpass it, not merely in size, but by identifying a version of the Cyclops who would have found the task beyond him. Unlike Theocritus’ Cyclops, however, who could not swim and seemed to regard the sea as a nasty, inhospitable place, Posidippus’ Polyphemus ‘often went diving with Galatea’. Although the Homeric character is thus brought nearer (in one respect) to his father Poseidon, the reversal of the Theocritean situation is at least very remarkable. The editors note that δύσερωϲ most naturally suggests that Posidippus does not want us to think that Polyphemus and Galatea are a ‘happy couple’, as they are in a rare, but probably Hellenistic, version of the story. [42] Rather, according to the editors, this Polyphemus appears to have had the courage to go swimming, and Polyphemus is indeed depicted in the water near Galatea in Roman art. [43] Ϲὺν Γαλατείαι does not, of course, necessitate that Galatea welcomes his presence, but the editors’ translation ‘dietro a Galatea’ reveals the awkwardness they feel. It may be, as R. Thomas has suggested, that we should understand κολυμβήϲαϲ conditionally, ‘the lovesick Cyclops could not have lifted it from the sea-floor, even if he dived frequently with Galatea,’ or perhaps the swimming should be seen as taking place solely in the Cyclops’ erotic fantasy (cf. Theocr. 11.54–62), but it is clear that αἰπολικὸϲ δύϲερωϲ identifies this Cyclops as ‘Theocritean’; the words are, as it were, in inverted commas to mark citation. By viewing Homer through Theocritus’ rewriting, Posidippus can demonstrate that, though he may ransack the text of Odyssey ix for ways in which to describe this massive boulder, the events and characters of that book offer no real parallel to the marvel he is describing; what Theocritus has done to the Homeric monster has disarmed his threat. Whatever terrors the Homeric Cyclops held, he has now been ‘humanized’, reduced (by poetry) to a ‘lovesick goatherd’. All that remains is the power of Poseidon: the gap which is thus opened between the text and its model is precisely where meaning lies.
Finally, let me return to the generic question. It may, or may not, be relevant that Homer too marks the distinction between past and present by the ability of the figures of the past to hurl massive rocks which would be way beyond the powers of men ‘of the present day’ (Iliad V 302–304, XII 380–383, 445–9, XX 285–287), but like all Hellenistic poets, Posidippus knew that all things flow from the Homeric source. Just as Homer certainly wrote about bird omens, shipwrecks, and victories in chariot races, so—Posidippus assures us—he also wrote Lithika: you just have to know where to look.


[ back ] 1. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at colloquia on Posidippus at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington (April 2002) and in Florence (June 2002) and at seminars in Cambridge and Oxford. I am grateful to all these audiences and to the editors of this volume for helpful criticism. A (rather earlier) version has appeared in the papers of the Florence colloquium (Il Papiro di Posidippo un anno dopo (Florence 2002) 109–19). I have tried as far as possible to maintain the exploratory tone of the oral presentation and have not at every step cited and/or argued with the outpouring of scholarship on these poems which has appeared or become known to me since I drafted this essay. I would, however, in particular draw attention to Bernsdorff (2002), Lapini (2002), and Petrain (2002) as three important contributions, all written quite independently of each other and of my essay; unsurprisingly, the observations and conclusions of all four of us overlap in important respects.
[ back ] 2. Cf. Gutzwiller 1995.
[ back ] 3. The Lithika certainly do not weaken, and may be thought to add some color to, the case for Posidippan authorship of AB 113 (SH 978), an ecphrasis of a bathing-house, if chronology allows this; cf. now Lehnus 2002:12–13. The description of gemstones, including the ecphrasis of an amethyst engraved with an elaborate pastoral scene, at Heliodorus Aithiopika V 13–14 also suggests a rich tradition that we have now lost.
[ back ] 4. Cf. BG:15–16.
[ back ] 5. Bing 2002; cf. also Hutchinson 2002:2–3.
[ back ] 6. C. Austin prefers to make all of AB 19 and 20 one poem, but I follow the indications of the papyrus and the arguments of Bastianini and Gallazzi.
[ back ] 7. See Hopkinson’s note on verses 134–137, Richardson on Homeric Hymn to Demeter 490–495.
[ back ] 8. Hutchinson 2002:1. On the Iamatika, cf. Bing (this volume).
[ back ] 9. For ‘the islands’ as a designation in the poetry of Posidippus cf. AB 115.3 and perhaps SH 705.15. For the closing prayer, cf. also Callimachus Hymn 5.142 Δαναῶν κλᾶρον ἅπαντα σάω.
[ back ] 10. Barchiesi 1994.
[ back ] 11. Cf. Herodotus VI 98, Pindar fr. 33c.4, Schol. Callimachus Hymn 4.11. Areas of Ptolemaic power and influence in the Aegean and Asia Minor were, of course, prone to earthquakes, cf. RE Suppl. 4.351–358.
[ back ] 12. Cf., e.g., Pulleyn 1997:17, 65–66.
[ back ] 13. On mortal ‘supplication’ of the divine see, however, Pulleyn 1997:56–57.
[ back ] 14. It is probably at least worth noting that the Theocritean Cyclops who appears in the previous poem (cf. below) fantasizes about kissing Galatea’s hand (11.55). A. Sens (priv. comm.) suggests that the motif of Poseidon’s hand varies the emphasis of earlier lithika on the skill of the sculptor’s hands.
[ back ] 15. The editors and Lehnus 2002:13 produce arguments for believing that this is the Eleusis near Alexandria; for Demeter’s important cult status in Alexandria cf. Fraser 1972: I 198–201. The matter seems to me, however, to remain at least open. If the Attic Eleusis were meant, the closing lithikon would gracefully plot a shift of power (and divine protection) from the mainland Greece of the classical period to the new Ptolemaic realm of Egypt and the Aegean islands.
[ back ] 16. M. Fantuzzi (priv. comm.) points out that Demeter is a very suitable ‘representative’ for the initiate Posidippus.
[ back ] 17. Cf. Visser 1938:30.
[ back ] 18. Cf., e.g., Walbank 1984:246–248; the presence of Euboea in Callimachus’ catalogue of islands led by Delos, the center of the pro-Ptolemaic Island League, at Hymn 4.20 is noteworthy in this regard. For different approaches to the ‘Ptolemaic’ dimension of the Lithika, cf. Bing 2002 and Petrain 2002. There is another prayer to Poseidon on the new papyrus at AB 93.3.
[ back ] 19. Cf. further below.
[ back ] 20. It is not obvious to me that Virgil Georgics IV 211 Medus Hydaspes is ‘an evident use’ of Posidippus, pace Hutchinson 2002:3.
[ back ] 21. BG:25.
[ back ] 22. Gutzwiller 2002; cf. also Hutchinson 2002:1.
[ back ] 23. Cf. BG on AB 10.3.
[ back ] 24. Cf. Gutzwiller 2002:4.
[ back ] 25. On this poem cf. Luppe 2002.
[ back ] 26. With AB 19.11 cf. Iliad XV 694–695 τὸν δὲ (sc. Ἕκτωρα) ὦρσεν (ὦσεν Aristarchus, cf. AB 19.5) ὄπισθεν | χειρὶ μάλα μεγάληι. It may be worth noting that the first oiônoskopikon, which follows immediately after the final lithikon, is about dangers to shipping, for which this coast of Euboea was notorious, and the second and third also have waves in them.
[ back ] 27. Cf. Lapini 2002 and Livrea 2003.
[ back ] 28. Cf. Gutzwiller 2003, and the essays of Fantuzzi in this collection and in Gutzwiller 2004 (forthcoming).
[ back ] 29. Cf. above p. 95.
[ back ] 30. Cf. AB 74, AB 78, BG 2001:130.
[ back ] 31. All translations are by the author.
[ back ] 32. Cf. Gow on Theocritus 16.60.
[ back ] 33. Cf. Theognis 105–107 (with van Groningen’s note) and certain ancient explanations of ἀτρύγετος, cf. LfgrE s.v.
[ back ] 34. Cf. Jebb and Griffith on Sophocles Antigone 601, Petrain 2002. I have considered the possibility that ἀμησάμενος at Odyssey IX 247 has been influential here (cf. below).
[ back ] 35. I remain sceptical that the corrupt opening of AB 19.9 really contained the name of Antaios, another monstrous son of Poseidon, though I have nothing better than the editors’ reconstruction to suggest; at the Washington conference D. Obbink attractively suggested οὐδ᾿ Αἰτναῖος ὁ γυρὸς κτλ.
[ back ] 36. Lapini 2002 proposes ϲκαιότερον θυρεόν. Petrain 2002 suggests that the unusual word is chosen to allow Polyphemus’ uncultured ‘gaucheness’ to resonate.
[ back ] 37. Cf. now Bernsdorff 2002:12.
[ back ] 38. For another discussion of a Homeric reworking in the Lithika, cf. Bing 2002:4–6.
[ back ] 39. Cf. Virgil Aeneid III 624, magna manu of the Cyclops; note too how the Virgilian Cyclops is given terrible earth-shaking powers which resemble those of his father (Aeneid III 673–674). For the great hands of marine deities cf. Ap. Rhod. Arg. I 1313 στιβαρῆι … χειρί (Glaukos) and D. Petrain (priv. comm.) adds manu magna at Aeneid V 241 of another sea god, Portunus, propelling a ship through the water.
[ back ] 40. The onus of proof seems to me clearly upon those who would deny allusion to Theocritus here.
[ back ] 41. Cf., e.g., McKeown 1987:37–45.
[ back ] 42. Cf. Hunter 1999:242, 244. A number of scholars have observed that the combination of a lovesick Cyclops and the hurling of great rocks might make one think of Ovid’s story of Acis and Galatea.
[ back ] 43. Cf. BG on AB 19.7–8.