Friday, July 31, 2015

Resolving a Century-Old Problem of a Scholion’s Lemma

Athena wearing Zeus's aegis, one of the topics of this scholion
This post comes from the team of editors creating the HMT editions of Iliad 15 and Iliad 18 in the Venetus A manuscript during the Holy Cross Summer Research program in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences: Brian Clark '15, Claude Hanley '18, Stephanie Neville '17, Charlie Schufreider '17, Alex Simrell '16, and Melody Wauke '17. Their perceptive solution to the problem of this particular scholion and its lemma demonstrates their masterful familiarity with the Venetus A manuscript and the practices of its scribe. — Mary Ebbott

Among the many potentially befuddling characteristics of the Venetus A manuscript, one thing that is usually fairly straightforward is the connection made to the Iliad text by a scholion’s lemma, an excerpted word or phrase from the Iliad text at the beginning of a scholion which cues the reader as to what lines the scholion will be commenting on. While some scholia have no explicit lemma, these scholia usually indicate clearly what Iliad lines are being commented on based on their content. When a scholion’s lemma has no clear connection to the Iliad text, however, editors are thrown for a loop.

We find such a case at the beginning of Iliad 15, after a newly awakened Zeus sends Iris to order Poseidon to stop his assault on the Trojans. Chafing against the assumed supremacy of his brother, Poseidon angrily reminds Iris that, being a son of Kronos, he has equal authority over the actions of the battlefield as Zeus. Still, Poseidon yields and Zeus then orders Apollo to rouse Hector to arms.

The lemma in question begins the third main scholion on folio 194 verso of the Venetus A.

Detail of Venetus A 194v: see zoomable version here
Like other lemmata, it is written in the same semi-uncial lettering different from the rest of the scholion. Additionally it is set apart from the rest of the scholion by some sort of punctuation, in this case a colon. It reads:
Κρόνος χρησμὸν λαβὼν:
This string of words does not appear anywhere on the page. Discrepancy between a lemma and text does happen elsewhere in the Venetus A. Often the differing words in the lemmata actually suggest an apparent multiformity. However, for a lemma to differ so greatly that the discrepancy goes beyond spelling differences or word order is certainly unusual. The Holy Cross team examined the content of the scholion to see if any explanation of multiformity existed, but no such discussion followed:
ὅτι ὀ ΐδιος αὐτὸν τῆς βασιλείας μεταστήσει υἱὸς, τὰ γεννώμενα κατέπινεν Ῥέα δὲ τεκοῦσα Δία, Κρόνῳ μὲν αὐτοῦ λίθον σπαργανώσασα ἔδωκε καταπιεῖν· τὸ δὲ παιδίον εἰς Κρήτην διακομίσασα, ἔδωκε τρέφειν Θέμοδι καὶ Ἀμαλθίᾳ ἡ ἢν αἴξ, ταύτην οἱ Τιτᾶνες ὁποτ ἂν ἐθεάσαντο ἐφοβοῦντο· αὕτη δὲ τοὺς αὑτῆς μαζοὺς ὑπέχουσα ἔτρεφε τὸ παιδίον. αὐξηθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ζεὺς μετέστησε τῆς βασιλείας τὸν πατέρα. πολεμούντων δὲ αὐτὸν τῶν Τιτάνων, Θέμις συνεβούλευσε, τῷ τῆς Ἀμαλθίας δέρματι σκεπαστηρίῳ χρήσασθαι εἶναι γὰρ αὐτὴν ἀεί φόβητρον, πεισθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ζεῦς ἐποίησεν καὶ τοὺς Τιτᾶνας ἐνίκησεν· ἐντεῦθεν αὐτὸν φησὶν αἰγήοχον προσαγορευθῆναι

ὅτι [Because] his own son will remove him [Kronos] from his dominion, he [Kronos] gulped down his begotten children. But Rhea, after giving birth to Zeus, wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes and then gave it to Kronos to devour. As for the child, she sent him to Crete to be raised by Themis and Amalthia, who was a goat and one whom, whenever the Titans laid eyes on her, was feared. Nursing him at her breast Amalthia raised the child, and once he had grown Zeus stripped his father of his kingdom. But when the Titans were making war with him, Themis advised him to make use of Amalthia’s hide as a shield. For she advised that Amalthia was always terrifying. Persuaded Zeus did so and conquered the Titans. For this reason he says that he was addressed as “aegis-bearing.”
So not only does the scholion concerning Zeus’s upbringing shed no light on the multiformity of the text, but the scholion’s first word, ὅτι, only confuses matters further. ὅτι is typically used at the beginning of scholia to correlate with Aristarchean critical marks, such that they mean, “[the critical mark was placed there] because.” So not only does the lemma not exist, but the scholion supposedly corresponds with some Aristarchean critical mark that also does not exist, and the content is not typical of the kind of editorial comments Aristarchus makes, either.

Our team at Holy Cross was not the first editorial team to struggle with this scholion. Both Erbse and Dindorf recognized the peculiarity of the scholion, and having analyzed the content, concluded that the scribe had made a mistake in placing this scholion here and decided that he meant to comment on line 229 of book 15:
ἀλλὰ σύ γ᾽ ἐν χείρεσσι λάβ᾽ αἰγίδα θυσσανόεσσαν, (15.229)
On the one hand this conclusion makes some sense. That line contains mention of the aegis, it contains some form of the word λαμβάνω, a word from the lemma, and the name Kronos, another word in the lemma, appears just four lines above. While it would still be a stretch, it is perhaps understandable how there might exist some multiform which included our given lemma in the around this part of the text. The problem with this interpretation is that line 15.229 appears on folio 195v, two folios later from where the scholion actually appears. Such a “mistake” seems extremely unlikely for the scribe of the Venetus A who, on every other account, scrupulously connects scholia with their textual counterparts on the same physical page.

Assuming that the scribe did not make that egregious error, some other explanation is required. Our Holy Cross team decided to look at the surrounding scholia to look for positioning clues. The main scholia are ordered sequentially with the line they comment on. So a scholion on line 2 will succeed a scholion on line 1 while immediately preceding a scholion on line 3. In this case, our scholion of interest is sandwiched by two grammatical scholia on line 15.187. Since a single line can have multiple scholia, it is only logical that our scholion in question must also comment on the line. An examination of the line 15.187 reveals that such a conclusion is not too far-fetched:
τρεῖς γάρ τ᾽ ἐκ Κρόνου εἰμὲν ἀδελφεοὶ οὓς τέκετο Ῥέα (15.187)
While the text and lemma do not match, the poetic line is connected to the scholion’s content: namely, it is about one child of Kronos and Rhea. It seems safe to say that the scholion is simply providing an expanded mythological background to the story of Kronos’s children.

How then must we take this ghost lemma? It has every indication of being a lemma in that it is written in the same lettering that is used for lemmata and is set apart from the rest of the scholion by a colon. The solution then is to concede that the scribe did make a mistake or, at least, that some scribe at some point in the manuscript tradition made a mistake. One must concede that Κρόνος χρησμὸν λαβὼν is not a lemma after all, but merely the beginning of the scholion mistakenly written as a lemma. If one removes the colon after λαβὼν, first sentence of the scholion reads:
Κρόνος χρησμὸν λαβὼν ὅτι ὀ ΐδιος αὐτὸν τῆς βασιλείας μεταστήσει υἱὸς, τὰ γεννώμενα κατέπινεν

Kronos, having received an oracle that his own son will remove him from his dominion, gulped down his begotten children.
No longer does one have to infer from context who the father is whose dominion is being stripped away, nor does one have to supply a subject for κατέπινεν. Both cases are elucidated by the clearly nominative form Κρόνος. Most importantly the ὅτι which likely threw off Erbse and Dindorf given its usual formulaic structure in the scholia serves instead here as just a marker of indirect speech, “that,” rather than an indicator of critical marks. And with that conclusion our diplomatic edition was able to not only keep true to the manuscript’s layout, unlike Erbse and Dindorf, but also make sense of something that had baffled some of the brightest Homeric scholars.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dingbats and Doohickeys in the Venetus A

This post was written by Brian Clark (Holy Cross '15) and Alex Simrell (Holy Cross '16). In it they observe the practices of the Venetus A scribe when he has too much material for his usual layout of certain types of scholia on the same page, and they draw some preliminary conclusions from those observations. Their work was accomplished during the Holy Cross Summer Research program in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and was supported by the Center for Hellenic Studies. — Mary Ebbott

During our work on Iliad 18 this summer, our team found evidence that supports the theory that the scribe of the Venetus A intentionally wrote certain types of comments into specific predetermined regions on the folio. Certain folios still bear the marks that divide up the page into these different areas. Generally, a folio has the text of the poem, surrounded by five categories of scholia: main, intermarginal, interior, interlinear, and exterior. We do not yet fully understand the function of each different group, but we now know that the placement of these groups matter. Perhaps the position on the folio indicates something about the source material for the comment.

Sometimes, when dealing with a very dense page, the scribe was forced to break his rules about the placement of scholia. For example, folio 248v, which covers Iliad 18.480–18.504, is highly packed with comments about the astrological bodies found on the shield of Achilles.

Folio 248v of the Venetus A manuscript: view it in detail in the Homer Mulitext manuscript browser
In the exterior margin, there are three scholia which are not written in the usual hand of the exterior scholia (you can see a typical exterior scholion above these three). Additionally, these scholia have distinctive connecting signs that connect the scholia to the interior margin.

Exterior margin detail of 248v: see zoomable version here
The presence of these connecting signs—dingbats or doohickeys, if you will—are common in other manuscripts, such as the Venetus B, and are similar to the numbered footnotes in the Upsilon 1.1 [see this earlier post for more on how the Venertus B and Upsilon 1.1. link their scholia to the poetry]. 248v is not the first instance of these connecting signs in the Venetus A, but it is just now that we are able to draw conclusions based on our observations over the years.

Detail of interior margin of 248v: see zoomable version here
The use of these signs supports the claim that the scribe intentionally laid out this manuscript with a desire to place certain scholia in specific regions of the folio. By adding these signs, the scribe is guiding the reader not to take these three scholia as exteriors, but rather to read them as part of the interior scholia. On this crowded folio, there is not enough room in the interior margin for the scribe to write all of the interior scholia where they belong. As a result, he was forced to write these three scholia outside of their intended location.

Detail of 248v showing both exterior and interior margins of 248v: see zoomable version here
The first two connecting signs are clearly in the interior margin, and you can see how filling that space with those two comments would have made the margin far too crowded. The last one, however, is written in the interlinear position, above the word ἀρωγοί. Still, we feel that this last scholion is meant to be an interior scholion. The space where the scribe would have placed this connecting sign is taken up by another scholion, thereby forcing him to move the sign to the interlinear position. One could theorize that he trusts his reader to recognize this scholion as an interior, rather than as an interlinear, due to the length and content of the comment.

Another argument for these seemingly exterior scholia to be taken as interior scholia is the nature of their comments. In addition to the different scribal hand used for the exterior scholia, these comments generally lack any introductory or explanatory material. Typical exteriors are comprised of just a few words, while these three scholia offer a more complete explanation of the comment.

Further, the signs do not link the scholia to a specific word in the Iliad line. For example the second scholion, which comments on Iliad 18.499 (ἀνδρὸς ἀποφθιμένου· ὃ μὲν εὔχετο πάντ᾽ ἀποδοῦναι), reads
παρα Ζηνοδότῳ "αποκταμενου" καὶ ἐν ταῖς πλείσταις καὶ ἔστιν οὐκ απιθανος ἡ γραφή ⁑

Zenodotus writes the word "αποκταμενου" [instead of the word "ἀποφθιμένου"] and this is the reading in most editions. This is not an untrustworthy reading
As you can see, this comment is not about the word directly next to the connecting sign (that is, ἀποδοῦναι), but instead it provides a multiform for the second word of the line, ἀποφθιμένου.

Not only does a folio like this help us better understand the practices of a medieval scribe, but it also is another example of the benefits of a diplomatic digital edition that is linked to citable evidence. A printed edition can say that these scholia are “out of place,” but cannot accurately show the function of these connecting signs. Our editions preserve the original placement of these scholia while assigning them intelligent labels based on the evidence of the scribe’s normal practices.