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NEW EDITION OF HERODOTUS.
Ηροδότου τοῦ ̔Αλικαρνησσῆος Ιστοριῶν λόγοι θ', ἐπιγραφόμενοι Μοῦσαι· σὺν προλεγομένοις καὶ σημειώσεσιν, ἐκδίδοντος καὶ διορ Τοῦντος ̓Αλεξάνδρου Νέγρη.
The History of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, in nine books, with Prolegomena, Notes, and Emendations. By Alexander Negris. 2 vols. 12mo. Edinburgh, Thomas Clarke. 1833.
THIS new edition of the Father of History is by a Greek. The Prolegomena, which are written in Romaic or modern Greek, open with a few remarks on the advantages of studying history, which contain nothing either new in thought or calling for particular examination. The life of Herodotus, which is also given in the Prolegomena, seems to require some animadversion, as, in our opinion, it is a very imperfect and incorrect sketch, and tends to perpetuate certain notions which will not stand the test of sound criticism. Being written in a language not generally read with fluency, even by professed Greek scholars, it is not likely to do any great harm in England; but as the author may be presumed to be chiefly writing for his countrymen, who are now, we hope, entering on a new career of intellectual existence, it is well that he should lead them into the path of sound historical criticism.
The writer has apparently not attempted to deduce the life of Herodotus from his own writings, which are almost the only genuine source from which correct information can be drawn. In chap. 8 (of the Prolegomena) and chap. 9, the author has given the order of the travels of Herodotus. He first makes him travel through Hellas (by which, we presume, Greece, in the common acceptation of the term, is meant), Epirus, Macedonia, Thrace; from Thrace he crossed the Ister, and visited the Scythian tribes. His next travels were (chap. 9) to Egypt by sea, from Egypt to Asia, from Asia (these are the words of the author) to Colchis, Scythia, Thrace, Macedonia, and through Epirus into Hellas.' For all this order of events there is not the least evidence, either in the work of Herodotus or elsewhere. We might, with a little pains, fix to a certain degree the order of time in which some places were visited, for example, he had seen Athens (i. 98.) before he had seen Ecbatana; but the whole series of his travels cannot be determined. The extent of his travels also is very imperfectly indicated by the vague terms of Egypt, Asia, &c. He went in Egypt as far south as Elephantine, and it is pretty certain (ii. 181.)
that he travelled into Libya as far west as Cyrene. He certainly visited Ecbatana, Hamadan, (i. 98.) and probably also Susa, Sus, (v. 52-54. vi. 119.) All this extensive travelling was completed, according to the author, before the expulsion of Lygdamis, the tyrant of Halicarnassus, and, consequently, before Herodotus had attained his twenty-eighth year, as we shall presently see.
Finding Halicarnassus distracted by contending factions after the expulsion of Lygdamis, Herodotus left his native country (chap. 12), and returned to Hellas (Greece) during the time of the celebration of the eighty-first Olympiad. Here, wishing to immortalize himself, according to the story, he read 'the beginning of his history, or, perhaps, the parts of it which were calculated to flatter the pride' of the assembled Greeks. The young Thucydides, then fifteen years of age (according to the author), was present with his father, Olorus, and burst into tears on hearing Herodotus recite his history at Olympia. The historian of Halicarnassus observed it, and congratulated the father on the promising disposition of his son. Herodotus employed (chap. 13) the next twelve years in completing his history and making himself better acquainted with the localities of Greece. 'At so great an interval (chap. 14) after the reading of part of his history at Olympia, about the close of the eighty-fourth Olympiad, he read another portion at Athens, during the Panathenaic festival. The Athenians, far from limiting themselves to bare praise, gave him ten talents in conformity with a decree, which was proposed by Anytus and ratified by the public assembly.'
The story of Herodotus reading his works at the Olympic games is grounded on a small piece by Lucian (Ed. Reiz. 4to. p. 831), entitled Herodotus, or Aetion, which is much too long to quote here. It is translated by Dahlmann (p. 12, &c., of his Herodot. Aus seinem Buche sein Leben, Altona, 1823), and examined in a way that leaves the story entirely without any credible foundation. The Aetion appears to be nothing more than an introductory address delivered by Lucian (see section 8) to an audience in Macedonia, and intended to prepossess his hearers in favour of his intended course of readings. That his account of Herodotus was merely fabricated to suit his own purpose, and produce the desired effect, can scarcely be doubted, if the Aetion is read with attention, and if we also take into the account Lucian's character and the general tenor of his writings. Dahlmann (pp. 28, 29) refers to several passages which ought to convince us that Lucian was not very particular either as to historical facts or the order of time; in several
instances he has either betrayed great ignorance, or what is, perhaps, quite as likely, he regarded the events of history as things to be moulded to suit his own purpose. The writer who could speak of the Saturnalia and Panathenaa (De Mercede Conductis, i. p. 696) as Roman festivals, must either have been very ignorant or very indifferent as to many matters which one who wrote as an historian would consider of some inportance.
Mr. Negris has not represented Lucian's account fairly, for we must again remark, that it is on this idle story that the whole Olympic recitation rests, though Mr. Negris has not cited his authorities. Lucian says (p. 833) that Herodotus sung or chanted his histories before the full assembly, and 'charmed his audience so much that his books were named Muses, being, like the Muses, nine in number.' It seems to us that we must either take the whole of Lucian's tale, or reject the whole of it. We are not at liberty to change the story of Herodotus reading nine books, as the author has done, into a new story of his reading the beginning of his history,— a part, moreover, of all others, least likely to interest his hearers; nor can we, as the author has done, interpret nine books to be those parts most likely to flatter his audience :' this supposes that the work was finished, otherwise such selections as are here alluded to could not have been made; and if the work was finished, or nearly finished, we do not see the necessity of twelve years' additional labour to qualify him to read another part (v äλλo μépos) to the Athenians. Besides, among the assembled nations at Olympia, it would have been rather difficult for Herodotus to choose any part which should please all. Some passages most creditable to part of the Greeks, at the same time reflect most severely on others. Further than this; it is almost the concurrent voice of antiquity that the reputation of Herodotus was never universal; he told too much truth to win the universal approbation either of his own age or of those who, like Plutarch, could not pardon him for giving the treacherous Boeotians their due share of censure. We assume, then, that if Herodotus read anything at Olympia, he read nine books of his history, which, if not finished to the last corrections, were complete in all their essential parts. Herodotus was then not thirty years of age (see Dahlmann,
Herodotus was born B.c. 484. Thucydides, according to the account of Suidas, at the time of this supposed reading at Olympia, was a youth (fifteen years old according to Mr. Negris), and the story will suit this age better than any other. Larcher places this public reading at the commencement of the eighty-first Olympiad, or B.c. 456, which would make Herodotus only
p. 20); is it likely that, at this early age, he had travelled so far, and written a work which looks more like the labour of an old man than a young one? I ask,' says Dahlmann, 'this short question-could he then with any propriety call Æschylus a poet of the earlier times (ποιητέων τῶν προγενομένων), who, at the time of this recitation, had not been dead one single year?' To this remark it may, perhaps, be replied, that such passages, which are very numerous in Herodotus, may have been inserted by him at a much later period. This may be so, and in some instances certainly has been the case.
Plutarch in his treatise on the Malignity of Herodotus (ɛpi Tis Hρodóτov naxonDeías, vol. iv. p. 431, ed. Wyttenbach) says nothing of this recitation at the Olympic games, and we infer that the story was not known to him. It may be said, that as it was the design of Plutarch to exhibit Herodotus in the most odious light, he had a manifest object in saying nothing at all of the judgment pronounced by assembled Greece in favour of the historian of the Persian wars. But to this we may rejoin (Dahlmann, p. 33) that Plutarch, on this supposition, must have been both a knave and a fool-a knave for suppressing a species of testimony which a fair judging critic ought to have placed in the opposite scale to his own harsh censure; and a fool for not attempting to overthrow the credit of the Olympic story, which, if true, would prove that the contemporary Greeks, some of whom must have been most sensitive to the sharp criticism of Herodotus on their conduct, unanimously awarded him the meed of praise. We recommend the reader to Dahlmann's work for a discussion of this and other passages in the life of the great historian.
This edition is very neatly printed, and also, as far as we have examined, exceedingly correct. The notes to the first. four books occupy only fifty small pages,-a space far too limited to allow anything like complete or satisfactory comment. Indeed we have no reason for supposing that the editor intended to offer his remarks as anything more than brief helps. Our opinion is, that such short notes, especially on an author like Herodotus, can be of no use at all; in Mr. Negris's notes, hundred of passages are necessarily left, without comment, which require illustration more than those passages on which notes are made. With respect to emendations of classical authors, as a general rule, we object to them altogether; and to most of those introduced into the text by the editor we have
twenty-eight. Marcellinus, in his life of Thucydides, as Dahlmann remarks, does not say where the recitation took place. It might be the later recitation at Athens, and not that at Olympia.-See Dahlmann, p. 33.
particular and specific objections. We shall remark on a few instances where the editor seems to have done some service, and on others where he seems likely to mislead.
Lib. i. chap. i. "Apyos προεῖχε ἅπασι τῶν, &c., is translated Argos surpassed at that time in every thing the cities of the country, &c." This, we believe, is the correct interpretation; but the editor would prefer anasśwv, if the MSS. allowed it. We are glad that he has not preferred it in spite of the MSS., for we really do not see what there is to object to in the ordinary reading. It is hardly correct to say-'supply χρήμασι οι πράγμασι' with ἅπασι: χρῆμα and πρᾶγμα do not mean the same thing *.
Chap. 7.-The editor has changed the usual reading of twenty-two generations into fifteen, alleging in defence thereof Herod. ii. 142, where three generations are reckoned equivalent to one hundred years. There can be little doubt about some corruption lurking in the text, but we prefer keeping it as it is to any emendation that can be proposed.
Chap. 14.—Γύγης . . . ἀπέπεμψε ἀναθήματα ἐς Δέλφους οὐκ ὀλίγα· ἀλλ ̓ ὅσα μὲν ἀργύρου ἀνηθήματα ἔστι οἱ πλεῖστα ἐν Δελφοῖσι. • Construe as follows: ἀλλὰ πλεῖστα ὅσα μὲν ἀναθήματα, an idiomatic expression for a great number of offerings.' If Herodotus used such idioms as this, neither the editor nor any body else could understand him. The words are as clear as words can be, if a man will only look straight at them without perverting the arrangement which, to the mind of the author, conveyed his own meaning:- whatever offerings of silver there are at Delphi, his are most.' The editor also gives another version nearly the same as this, but he construes the last clause in the following order:—πλεῖστα ἐστίν οἱ. It is surprising that it is not seen that stiv of can only stand where it does, if we wish to keep the meaning which the author intended.
Chap. 17.—inò supiyywv, accompanied by the sound of pipes. There is no objection to the translation, but we do not, with the author, consider zò as equivalent to età either here or in similar passages.
Chap. 24.—τοὺς δὲ ἐν τῷ πελάγει ἐπιβουλεύειν τὸν ̓Αρίονα ἐκβαλόντας ἔχειν τὰ χρήματα. This is one of the many examples to be found in different authors where iv is used for is. The meaning is as if the Greek ran thus :—7. §. èï., ix. t. ’A. is To Téλayos, è. T. x. This passage, which has embarrassed ἐς τὸ πέλαγος, many of the learned, appears to me in nowise obscure or ambiguous,' &c. The meaning certainly is what the editor has given
* In Thucyd. i. 9, there is a usage of goux, like this usage in Herodotus. OCT. 1833-JAN. 1834.