Sunday, August 28, 2022


A Confusing Sentence

Sarah F. Derbew, Untangling Blackness in Greek Antiquity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022), p. 79, n. 33:
Grammarian Nonius Marcellus Melanippus and the narrator of the early epic Danais describe the Danaids' rearing as abnormal and unfeminine (Grammatici Latini 757; fr. 1, as numbered in West [2003]).
Nonius Marcellus' name is simply Nonius Marcellus, not Nonius Marcellus Melanippus, at least according to Martin Schanz and Carl Hosius, Geschichte der römischen Litteratur, 4.1: Die Litteratur des vierten Jahrhunderts, 2. Aufl. (Munich: C.H. Beck, 1914), pp. 142-148 (§ 826: Nonius Marcellus), who make no mention of Melanippus.

There are 7 volumes (8 if you count the supplement) of Keil's Grammatici Latini, so I don't know what "Grammatici Latini 757" refers to, without a volume number. Besides, Nonius Marcellus was not included in the Grammatici Latini collection. Nonius' De Compendiosa Doctrina was edited in 3 volumes by W.M. Lindsay.

Martin L. West, ed. and tr., Greek Epic Fragments (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003), pp. 266-269, has one testimonium and three fragments from the epic Danais—in none of them do I see anything about the rearing of the Danaids. Here is fragment 1, preserved in Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 4.120.4:
And then swiftly the daughters of Danaus armed themselves in front of the fair-flowing river, the lord Nile.

καὶ τότ᾿ ἄρ᾿ ὡπλίζοντο θοῶς Δαναοῖο θύγατρες
πρόσθεν ἐϋρρεῖος ποταμοῦ Νείλοιο ἄνακτος.

From Christopher G. Brown:
I think that the reference is really to the lyric poet Melanippides (fr. 757 PMG), who seems to write that the Danaids did not have the feminine temper or might (οὐδὲ τὰν ὀργὰν [West : αὐτὰν MSS: ἀλκὰν Lloyd-Jones] γυναικείαν ἔχον). The text is pretty clearly corrupt (Page obelizes); there is a good commentary by M. Davies, Lesser and Anonymous Fragments of Greek Lyric Poetry (Oxford 2021) 76-78....[Y]ou can find a more extensive list of suggestions for Melanippides' text in M. Ercoles, Melanippidis Melii Testimonia et Fragmenta (Pisa and Rome 2021) fr. 1.
D.L. Page, ed., Poetae Melici Graeci (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962; rpt. 1967), p. 392 (#757):
The fragment from Melanippides, tr. and ed. David A. Campbell:
For they did not bear the censure of mankind as a reproach, nor did they have a woman's temperament: in seated chariots they exercised in the sunny glades, often delighting their hearts in hunting, or again seeking out frankincense with its sacred tears and fragrant dates and the smooth Syrian grains of cassia.

οὐ γὰρ ἀνθρώπων φόρευν μομφὰν ὄνειδος,
οὐδὲ τὰν ὀργὰν γυναικείαν ἔχον,
ἀλλ᾿ ἐν ἁρμάτεσσι διφρού-
χοις ἐγυμνάζοντ᾿ ἀν᾿ εὐ-
ήλι᾿ ἄλσεα πολλάκις
θήραις φρένα τερπόμεναι,
<αἱ δ᾿> ἱερόδακρυν λίβανον εὐώ-
δεις τε φοίνικας κασίαν τε ματεῦσαι
τέρενα Σύρια σπέρματα

1 Lloyd-Jones: μορφὰν cod. West: ἐνεῖδος cod.

2 West: τὰν αὐτὰν cod., τὰν ἀλκὰν Lloyd-Jones

3 Emperius: ασδεα cod. Page: πολλάκι cod.

4 Porson: θῆρες cod.

5 suppl. Page Emperius: -δακρυ, πατεῦσαι cod.

6 Fiorillo: συρίας τέρματα cod.
See also Alain Moreau, "Les Danaïdes de Mélanippidès: la femme virile," Pallas 32 (1985) 59, 61-90.


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