Aelius Aristides between Greece, Rome, and the Gods 9004172041, 9789004172043

Wealthy, conceited, hypochondriac (or perhaps just an invalid), obsessively religious, the orator Aelius Aristides (117

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Aelius Aristides between Greece, Rome, and the Gods
 9004172041, 9789004172043

Table of contents :
Title
......Page 4
Contents
......Page 6
Abbreviations......Page 8
Preface......Page 10
Contributors......Page 12
INTRODUCTION......Page 16
Part One Aristides and the Literature of the Past......Page 22
CHAPTER ONE ARISTIDES AND EARLY GREEK LYRIC, ELEGIAC AND IAMBIC POETRY......Page 24
CHAPTER TWO AELIUS ARISTIDES AND THUCYDIDES: SOME REMARKS ABOUT THE PANATHENAIC ORATION......Page 46
CHAPTER THREE ARISTIDES' USES OF MYTHS......Page 66
CHAPTER FOUR ARISTIDES AND THE PANTOMIMES......Page 84
Part Two Aristide' Self-Presentation......Page 94
CHAPTER FIVE AELIUS ARISTIDES' ILLEGIBLE BODY......Page 96
CHAPTER SIX PROPER PLEASURES: BATHING AND ORATORY IN AELIUS ARISTIDES’ HIEROS LOGOS I AND ORATION 33......Page 130
CHAPTER SEVEN THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE: ARISTIDES’ CORPUS IN LIGHT OF THE SACRED TALES......Page 146
CHAPTER EIGHT ARISTIDES AND PLUTARCH ON SELF-PRAISE......Page 166
Part Three Aristides and the Roman Empire of his Times......Page 188
CHAPTER NINE AELIUS ARISTIDES AND ROME......Page 190
CHAPTER TEN THE ENCOMIUM ON ROME AS A RESPONSE TO POLYBIUS’ DOUBTS ABOUT THE ROMAN EMPIRE......Page 218
CHAPTER ELEVEN AELIUS ARISTIDES AND RHODES: CONCORD AND CONSOLATION......Page 232
Part Four Reception......Page 266
CHAPTER TWELVE ARISTIDES’ FIRST ADMIRER......Page 268
CHAPTER THIRTEEN VYING WITH ARISTIDES IN THE FOURTH CENTURY: LIBANIUS AND HIS FRIENDS......Page 278
CHAPTER FOURTEEN AELIUS ARISTIDES’ RECEPTION AT BYZANTIUM: THE CASE OF ARETHAS......Page 294
BIBLIOGRAPHY......Page 310
INDEX......Page 334

Citation preview

INTRODUCTION

wv.

lIARRrs

Aelius Aristides' Embassy Speech to Achilles (Oration XVI) seems at first reading a ham-fisted piece of work. It takes the form of a speech aimed at assuaging the wrath of Achilles with Agamemnon, like the speeches that Homer gives to Odysseus, Phoenix and Ajax in Iliad IX. I But unlike the clever speeches of Odysseus and Phoenix, it would have been much more likely to inflame Achilles than win him over: 'you seem to hate your fellow-countrymen', says the fictitious orator, 'and fear battle too' (sect. 6). Aristides, however, was not attempting to put himself in the place of a Bronze-Age prince or an archaic poet-though he was attempting as so often to live in the past and to take his audience there with him-, but to demonstrate with maximum cleverness the lack of logic, from his own point of view; in Achilles' behaviour; and in this aim he more or less succeeded. The subtle understanding of furious anger that was demonstrated by Aristides' contemporary Galen was not the sophist's forte, but it was not his interest either. The Embassy Speech to Achilles can serve rather well as an introduction to some of the investigations that are carried forward in this book. In the first place, it shows Aristides in his literary context. The speech displays of course an intimate knowledge of Homer-and no overt interest in anything that had been written since Homer's time about the wrath of Achilles or about anger more generally (between the lines, however, one can see that Aristides, though he avoids anachronism, was familiar with the cliches about moderate anger that were part of the Greek and Roman cultural patrimony). So what was Aristides' relationship to archaic and classical Greek literature? Not simple, for while it is obvious that knowledge of the poetry of that era was a cultural marker, in fact the cultural marker, of an educated Greek, there

I As to how Aristides came to be writing on such a theme, see Kindstrand 1973, 215---216. According to Behr 1968, 95, the 'substance' of this declamation is 'the importance of fame', but that is an eccentric judgement.

2

W.V. HARRIS

was emulation involved ('modesty', as Raffaella Cribiore observes later in this volume, 'was not an attribute of Aristides'), and individual taste too. The studies grouped in the first part of the book are concerned above all with the sophist's intimate mental connection with the literary and mythical traditions of the Greeks. What does the pattern of Aristides' citation of the archaic poets mean, and what in particular does it mean that he so generously cites Pindar (Ewen Bowie's culminating question)? How, in flattering the Athenians, is he to deal with the truthloving and unavoidable Thucydides, who was willing to show them at their worst (Estelle Oudot's theme)? Were the great classical myths still important, still viable, in the world of the Second Sophistic, and how could they be adapted for contemporary use (the questions answered here by Suzanne Said)? In this context too we can place Glen Bowersock's discussion of Aristides' detestation of the pantomimes, those solo performers who brought much of the repertoire of the classical theatre before the Antonine public. Another striking feature of the Embassy Speech to Achilles, especially if you come to it fresh from Homer, is its repeated reference to the Trojan War as a conflict between the Greeks and the 'barbarians': 'if you must be permanently angry, I would say that it should be with the barbarians, our natural enemies' (sect. 4) (the latter trope reappears in sect. 26). 2 In the Iliad Odysseus and Phoenix speak of the harm that Achilles has done the Achaeans by his withdrawal, but Homer never of course calls the Trojans barbarians;" Aristides applies the term to them seven times in a few pages and concludes his speech on this note. That will seem banal. But there is more: it will have been a sleepy Greek listener or reader who never for a moment thought that Aristides might be alluding to the Romans in the guise of their Trojan 'ancestors', especially since, as Laurent Pernot points out in detail in his contribution to this book, both Aristides and his public were accustomed to the practice of 'figured speech'. At all events, Aristides' thoughts and feelings about Rome and its empire were more complex than used to be realized when 70 Rome (Or.

2 The 'barbarians' had been the 'natural enemies' of the Greeks, at least for many, since Pi. Rep. V.47oc, if not earlier. 3 The Carians are barbarophonoi in ii.867. This difference between Homer and Aristides has often been noticed: see for instance Boulanger 1923, 274.

INTRODUCTION

3

XXVI) was taken at face value. The third part of this volume-the papers by Pernot, Francesca Fontanella and Carlo Franco-accordingly considers the political aspects of his writings. 300 years after the annexation of provincia Asia the Greeks were still not wholly reconciled to their subordinate though privileged role." Plutarch had warned a young man elected to office in a Greek city that for crossing their Roman rulers, 'many' had suffered 'that terrible chastiser, the axe that cuts the neck' (Praecepta rei gerendae 17 = Mor. 813£). Who could be at ease in such a situation? But Greek attitudes gradually changed: every individual had his point of view; but Celsus Polemaeanus represents one stage, Plutarch another, Aristides yet another, Lucian and Cassius Dio still others. There are two other important elements in Aristides' identity (and here I leave behind the Embassy Speech to Achilles), apart of course from his main identity as an orator and a sophist.' These two elements, closely connected with each other, are his religiosity and his status as an invalid." We have mainly concentrated both of these topics in the second part of the book, holding that with Aristides the personal is to some extent prior to the political. We have called this whole collection Aelius Aristides between Greece, Rome, and the Gods in part because the clearest element in Aristides' personality is his religiosity, and an important part of his preferred identity consisted of his devotion to Asclepius. Pernot, in the footsteps of Bowersock, reminds us how Aristides used this identity as a means of squirming out of office-holding, but no reader of the Sacred Tales could doubt that the devotion was real as well as convenient. It suited both Aristides' narcissistic personality'JtExa), presumably a reference either to frr. 172-181 West or to frr. 185-187 West. In the first Tarsian oration, Oration 33, Dio picks out Archilochus as a paradigm of an outspoken critic, the role that he himself is adopting towards the people of Tarsus. He shows knowledge of the secondary tradition about Archilochus' poetic gifts and his death (33.12), comparing and contrasting him with the praisepoet Homer. A little later, at 33.17, he cites the first two lines of four tetrameters, fro 114 West, on the better type of general, O't'Qa't'T]y6£, then paraphrases lines 3 and 4 in a way that suggests he had a text slightly different from that cited by Galen. Finally he invokes Archilochus again near the end of the speech (33.61). 12 [Dio] 37.47 quotes a line of Sappho, fro 147 Voigt, which may indeed be the reference of Aristides Or. 28.51 (see above), but this speech is generally agreed to be by Favorinus, not by Dio. 13 Dio is indeed our only source for the full text of this fragment, which may be a complete poem. 14 For citation of this poem in imperial Greek sources see frr. 196-204 Davies, and for its highlighting on Tabulae Iliacae, Horsfall 1979.

EWENBOWIE

Oration 60, Nessus or Deianeira, opens with a report of criticism of Archilochus for having his Deianeira deliver an almost epic narrative (Qa'ljJw60uouv) of her wooing by Achelous at the very point at which she is the victim of sexual assault by Nessus (fr. 286 West). Dio seems to know this poem and discussions of it, and his remarks are a valuable clue to its identification as one of Archilochus' now well-documented narrative elegies. 15 Dio Oration 74, On Mistrust, also seems to know fro 173 West, though I suspect that his relation of it to Archilochus' prospective marriage to a member of Lycambes' family arises from his familiarity with the secondary tradition and not from a careful reading of the poem.

Maximus

of Tyre

Maximus has an especially large number of citations of Anacreon and Sappho, concentrated in and prompted by his four Dialexeis on Eros (18-21 Trapp). Some 15 fragments of Sappho are cited in one paragraph of Dialexis 18, viz. 18.9, and these are Maximus' only citations of Sappho. The same paragraph has four of Maximus' citations of Anacreon. Anacreon is also mentioned in Maximus' list at Dialexis 37.5 of poets whose poetry either calmed or excited their audiencesPindar, Tyrtaeus, Telesilla, Alcaeus and Anacreon. He has no citation of Alcaeus, and neither citation nor even mention of Aleman and Ibycus, or of the elegists Callinus, Mimnermus and Theognis. Solon is mentioned several times, but not for his poetry. The one citation of Stesichorus, opening Dialexis 21.1, OUX E01;' E't1)!!O£ Myo£, ascribed by Maximus to the poet of Himera, 6 'I!!EQuto£ 'toLTJ'tT]£, in words that assign it to his Palinode, may well be taken from Plato Phaedrus 243a. The Palinode is, of course, the only poem of Stesichorus of which Aristides shows knowledge. Simonides also gets only one citation, the phrase XUAE:1tOV Eo{}A6v E!!!!EVaL, i.e. fro 542.13 Page, at Dialexis 30.1, where Maximus ascribes it to an old song, XaLa :n:UAUWV ~o!!u: this too may well come from Plato, in this case from Protagoras 339c. There is no mention of Bacchylides, but as with Aristides, albeit to a much lesser extent, there is some use of Pindar: perhaps the reference to Etna in Pythian 1.20 at Dialexis 5.4 and Dialexis 41.1; perhaps Pythian 3.1ff. for Chiron at

15

See Bowie

2001.

ARISTIDES AND EARLY GREEK LYRIC, ELEGIAC AND IAMBIC POETRY

IS

Dialexis 28.1. But there is only one verbatim citation, that of fro 213 Snell-Maehler, as the introductory text of Dialexis 12, the subject of which is whether it is right to commit injustice against somebody who has done so to onesel£ In this case Maximus seems very likely to have used a text of Pindar, since the earlier quotation which may have drawn the passage to his attention, by Plato in Republic 36Sb, constitutes only two of the four lines cited by Maximus. Like any author, of course, Maximus can come up with surprises: in his case the surprise is the citation of the first two lines of Ariphron's Paean to Hygieia, PMG fro 813 Page, described as an uQXaLov {lolla and not attributed nominatim to Ariphron."

Philostratus

if Athens' Apollonius

In his Apollonius Philostratus' chief poetic intertext is Homer, and there are also several citations of or allusions to Attic tragedy, especially to Euripides. Again lyric and elegiac poetry is rare. Archilochus figures twice: a reference to his 'shield' elegy, fro S West, at 2.7.2, and to his elegy addressed to Pericles on the occasion of the death of friends at sea, fro 13 West, at 7.26.2: in both cases the poet is named. Sappho's poetry is mentioned at 1.30, but nothing is quoted, nor is there any verbatim allusion. Pindar is twice cited: at 7.12.4, Pythian 1.10-13 is paraphrased (the lyre charms Ares), and at 6.26.2 Philo stratus refers to a poem mentioning a i'laLIlOlv that watches over the source of the Nile (fr. 282 Snell-Maehler), Again, as with Archilochus, Pindar is named each time. The same locus, 6.26.2, has the only certain mention of Stesichorus, predictably of his Palinode, referred to by precisely this title: Stesichorus himself is called simply uV~Q 'IIlEQaLo£.17 The final lyric intertext of the Apollonius, as in the case of Maximus, is a surprise: at 3.17.2, Sophocles' Paean to Asclepius (PMG fro 737a Page)."

16 For the resurrection of Ariphron's Paean in the second century A.D. see Bowie 2006, 85--86. 17 4.II.S may also derive from the Palinode. 18 For a fuller discussion of the citations in Philostratus' Apollonius see Bowie forthcoming (a); for discussion of Sophocles' Paean in the second century A.D. see Bowie 2006, 84-85'

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EWENBOWIE

Aristides After these comparisons the thinness of the harvest from Aristides looks less surprising. Moreover it seems that one category of his compositions, I-tEAE'taL, is one in which citation of the poets was unusual. Aristides of course makes extensive use of the Iliad for his Embassy to Achilles (Oration 16), but understandably he does not cite any of Book g-Book 9 had not been composed at the dramatic date of Oration 16! Or. 8.18 and Or. 11.65 refer to Tyrtaeus as a poet sent by Athens to help Sparta, but none of his poetry is quoted. Appeals to Athenians never cite Solon; those to Thebes never cite Pindar. I take this to be a feature of the genre, and think that this view is supported by the absence of poetic quotation in Polemo's two surviving I-tEAE't'aL. Where, then, does Aristides quote early poetry, and what is the basis of his choices? The speeches in which quotation abounds are Orations 2, 3, 28 and 45. 19 Oration 28 is a special case to which I shall return. Orations 2 and 3 are attacking Plato and philosophers in defense of rhetoric, and it might be suggested that Aristides' habit of citation is something he has caught from philosophical writing. Oration 45, to Sarapis, may be Aristides' earliest extant work, perhaps from April 142 A.D. 20 Here too a special explanation can be offered. In this Oration Aristides is setting out his case that prose has as strong a claim as poetry to be used for hymns to the gods: as has been well argued by Vassilaki, Aristides tackles this task first by citing poetry, and prominently Pindar's poetry, in order to criticize it, and then moves on to use allusion to the poets to achieve mimesis of poetry" In each case, however, we see the phenomenon that stands out in Aristides' citation of early poetry; his preference for citing Pindar. Often Pindar is the only early poet to be cited. Only twice are there speeches where another poet is cited and Pindar is not: in Or. 18.4, the monody for Smyrna, Aristides names Sappho and seems to paraphrase her (see

19 Perhaps Oration 20 should be added, but the presence of three Pindaric citations is hardly enough. 20 For the date of Oration 45 see Behr 1981,419. Behr's notes there (op. cit., 420-422), show how much citation from Homer is also to be found in this speech (and, at Or. 45.18, an allusion to Ariphron PMC fro 813 Page; cf above on Maximus of Tyre). Our other candidate for Aristides' earliest surviving work is The Rlwdian Oration 25, for whose Aristidean authorship see]ones 1990. For an analysis of Aristides' procedures in Oration 45 see Russell 1990, 201-209; Pernot 1993a, II, 642-645; Vassilaki 2005. 21 Vassilaki 2005, unfortunately unaware of Russell 1990.

ARISTIDES AND EARLY GREEK LYRIC, ELEGIAC AND IAMBIC POETRY

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above); the speech's only other poetic allusion is to Odyssey 6.231, which follows closely in Or. 18.4 and is not signalled. In the very short Oration to Heracles, at 40.6, Aristides' phrase 'tOUi; vouou; 'tOLi; O:ltAOLi; oUY'KEQavvui; mqy allude to the expression in Solon fro 36.15 West, 0J-t0ii ~LTjV re 'Kat bL'KTjV ;uvaQJ-tooai;, a line that it is clear from Or. 28.138 that he knew; but that there is an allusion here is far from certain. The big question, then, is 'Why Pindar?' It is a question to which there can be no certain answer." The citations attest Aristides' good knowledge and admiration not only for the epinicia but for several works of Pindar in other genres too. And within the epinicia he shows no knowledge of the Nemeans. To me the most persuasive explanation is that Aristides responded to Pindar's praise of the importance of outstanding natural capacities, which Aristides was convinced that he himself had, and of the importance of sustained effort in realizing these capacities, something Aristides was also more than ready to apply. Such praise could also be found in Bacchylides and, doubtless, already in epinicia of Simonides that we have lost: but no ancient critic questioned Pindar's poetic superiority. Dio in his second Kingship Oration picked out his AaJ-t:ltQo'tTj'ta 'tiii; cpuOEWi; (2.33), and his supremacy was affirmed unhesitatingly by Longinus' On the Sublime: 'tL M; EV JlEAEm JlUMOV av Elvm BUXXUAihT]~ EAOLO Tl mV()uQo~, XUL EV 'tQUyq>()L~ ~IOlV 0 Xtoc Tl vi] dLa ~o(POXAfj~; EJtEL()i] ol JlEV (i()LCX:7t'tOl'tOL xaL EV 't