Saturday, May 18, 2024


More on Supplements

Giuseppe Giangrande, "Hesiod's Fragments," a review of R. Merkelbach and M.L. West, Fragmenta Hesiodea (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967), in Classical Review 20.2 (June, 1970) 151-156 (at 151-152):
Merkelbach and West have succumbed to the occupational disease to which some papyrologists are notoriously prone: too often they have filled hopelessly large gaps with fragments of their own composition. Page, when editing his Loeb Greek Literary Papyri, recovered from the illness at the eleventh hour (p. viii), and this is why his collection, uncluttered by handfuls of private poetry, is so serviceable still today, more than twenty years after: Merkelbach-West were not cured, and therefore the same reservations are valid for their collection as were made by Kerényi in his review of Zimmermann's romance papyri:1 the reader would much prefer to have in front of him a genuine fragment, however mutilated, rather than a line which is almost exclusively modern reconstruction.

1 Cf. B. Lavagnini, Studi sul romanzo greco, Messina (1950), p. 209.
Hat tip: Christopher Brown, who adds:
Although most would judge the edition to be a work of very high quality, Giangrande is right that M-W print some speculative supplements. Such a practice would be more of a problem in a text less formulaic than Hesiod, but at least they meticulously present the papyrological evidence. Page was writing after a period in which papyrus texts were commonly printed fully supplemented, and in some cases no typographical devices were used to identify supplements (such matters were typically relegated to an apparatus). A good example is the edition of Herodas by Headlam and Knox from 1922 (the commentary is still extremely valuable). Page himself was misled: he quotes λινέην κύπασσιν at Her. 8.31 to illustrate a linen chiton (S & A 222 n. 2), but λινέην is a highly speculative supplement by Knox. In his Teubner edition Cunnigham prints ].ν κύπα[σσ]ιν̣, and did not think that Knox’s suggestion was worth mentioning in the app. crit. at all.
S & A = Sappho and Alcaeus.

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