- Triphiodorus, The Sack of Troy. A General Study and a Commentary by Laura Miguélez-Cavero
The Sack of Troy of the Egyptian Triphiodorus is a poem of 691 verses, telling the story of the Trojan horse and the destruction of the city. It coincides with large sections of the second book of the Aeneid and with books 12–13 [End Page 308] of Quintus of Smyrna’s Posthomerica. For many years, the Halosis Iliou was considered a pure example of “Nonnian” poetry, that is, a product of the fifth century a.d. or even later, until Alan Cameron demonstrated on metrical grounds that it should be dated before Nonnus—which was then brilliantly confirmed by a third- or fourth-century papyrus, moving the poem to the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century. Its style is entirely Late Antique: smooth rolling hexameters filled with long epithets.
A commentary on Triphiodorus has long been a desideratum: the only large commentary on this poem was that of Wernicke, a glorious but old-fashioned product of Hermannian philology (1819). Triphiodorus has been edited by E. Livrea and by the late B. Gerlaud (both 1982), and more recently (and wildly) by U. Dubielzig (1996): both Dubielzig and Gerlaud offered various notes on the text (those of Gerlaud are extremely useful and keen; the learned notes of Dubielzig are mainly textual). Miguélez-Cavero now offers a long and learned commentary. She makes intelligent use of the archaeological and artistic data in order to illuminate various passages of the poem, and explores the debts that Triphiodorus owes to previous literature.
A few remarks. Vv. 19–20: Ajax’s suicide “is considered a reparation [ . . . ] for the evil acts he perpetrated with the same sword” (140). No, the presence of the adjective ἐχθρόν is due to the fact that the sword once belonged to his enemy Hector; Triphiodorus probably has Lycοphron 464–46 in mind. Vv. 330–1: Neither Gerlaud’s explanation of the puzzling ἀρηιφίλους (“doit se rattacher par hypallage à ἵππος”) is convincing, nor Miguélez-Cavero’s (“the sacrifice is welcomed not by Athena, who refuses to help the Trojans, but by Ares, rejoicing at the forthcoming battle”). The epithet remains obscure, but it might refer to the fact that Ares was an ally of the Trojans. Vv. 389–90 “Athena’s cry [ . . . ] may correspond to the ὀλολυγή traditionally performed when a child was born”: Yes, and Athena cries after her own birth in Pi. O. 7.36–37 Ἀθαναία κορυφὰν κατ᾿ ἄκραν ἀνορούσαισ᾿ ἀλάλαξεν ὑπερμάκει βο. V. 410: To the various parallels quoted by Miguélez-Cavero add S. Tr. 592–93 ἀλλ᾿ εἰδέναι χρὴ δρσαν• ὡς οὐδ’ εἰ δοκες / ἔχειν, ἔχοις ἂν γνμα, μὴ πειρωμένη. Vv. 491–96 constitute a typical Late Antique ethopoeia and recall the texts which I published in ZPE 188 (2014) 42–3 (see 491 δειλαίη, τέο μέχρις ἀλιτροσύναι σε φέρουσι).
Miguélez-Cavero ably points out the Homeric background of the style of the poet and enriches its commentary with several loci from tragedy and the Aeneid. A couple of possible Callimachean parallels might be added: v. 440 κευθμὸν ἔσω θαλάμοιο ~ ΗJov. 34 κευθμὸν ἔσω Κρηταον (same sedes); see Wernicke ad Triph. loc. and McLennan ad Call. loc. With v. 341 νύμφαι τε πρόγαμοί τε καὶ ἴδμονες Εἰλειθυίης, compare perhaps HDem. 5 μὴ πας μηδὲ γυνὰ μηδ’ ἃ κατεχεύατο χαίταν (and with 547 Τρωιάδες δὲ γυνακες ὑπὲρ τεγέων ἀίουσαι compare perhaps HDem. 4 μηδ᾿ ἀπὸ τ τέγεος μηδ᾿ ὑψόθεν αὐγάσσησθε). Vv. 567–68 ἔτρεμε δ᾿ αἰθὴρ Ἥρης σπερχομένης might be a vague echo of HDian. 30–31 Ἥρης / χωομένης.
Although, as Miguélez-Cavero points out (93 note 1), this is not a critical edition, it generously discusses the main textual problems of the poem, often with great ingenuity, even though she does not propose new solutions. Here a couple of instances. V. 316 Σιμόεντος] ποταμοο: I agree with Miguélez-Cavero, who follows Gerlaud by preferring the varia lectio of b to ποταμοο of F. The fact that Tzetzes read the latter does not compel us to accept it, as he might have read a text belonging to the branch of F. V. 593 ἀνδράσιν οἰχομένοισι] ἀνδράσιν οἰχομένοισι b, unde νηχομένοις Livrea, approb. Dubielzig: Here too I think that Miguélez-Cavero (and already Gerlaud) is right in her choice. [End Page 309]
The overall textual condition of the poem is, as it...