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  • Verrückt nach Frauen: Der Epigrammatiker Rufin
  • Farouk F. Grewing
Regina Höschele. Verrückt nach Frauen: Der Epigrammatiker Rufin. Classica Monacensia, 31. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 2006. Pp. xiii, 156. €48.00. ISBN 3-8233-6205-4.

It comes as no surprise that, after D. Page’s 1978 commentary, this book is the first monograph devoted exclusively to the epigrammatist Rufinus, under whose name there are some thirty-five poems transmitted in Book 5 of the Greek Anthology. Indeed, any study on imperial period, let alone late antique, epigram can still justly be called a rara avis. Hence, Höschele’s Rufinus must be warmly welcomed, and will hopefully inspire further attempts in the literary-critical investigation of Greek epigram.

It is convenient that Höschele, in chapter 2, offers a Greek text, with an apparatus fuller than that of Page, and her own, very readable, German translation (10–26). By and large, she follows both Page’s text (with some eleven departures) and numbering (cf. xii); a conspectus would be helpful here. Rightly, she does not include poems 38 and 39 (AP 5.23, 77). Höschele’s text is much more conservative than Page’s in that she retains the transmission wherever possible, e.g. at 8.2, 11.2, 22.5–6, 24.6, 29.1. At times, brief comment on the text would have been desirable, especially on 12.6 ( ), 23.4 ( ci. Hecker—necessary?), and 29.1 (epithet-less in apposition seems more problematic than Scaliger’s vocative, , adopted by Page). At 12.2, Höschele’s = Paton’s capitalized is surely right (see 106–108).

Chapter 3 discusses the manuscript transmission at some length, but in an admirably clear and cautious way. Pace M. Boas, Alan Cameron et al., Höschele rightly stresses that we cannot ultimately tell how Rufinus’ (or other poets’) pieces actually made their way into the anthology assembled by Cephalas in around 900 C.E. (29–31, 45–48), nor what role the alleged Sylloge Rufiniana might have played in the transmission process (38, 42–44, see 63–64, 73–74). Did Rufinus himself ever edit his epigrams, however carefully, as an arranged book? Yes, argues Höschele, on account of various intratextual connections between individual poems (139, see 65, 122, 124, 129, etc.); I tend to believe her, but this remains nothing but speculation; the Posidippus papyrus (66) does not help here. However, none of the valuable interpretations offered in this study actually relies on that assumption.

The date of Rufinus, particularly his intertextual relation with Strato and Martial, is an equally slippery issue (see L. Floridi, Stratone di Sardi: Epigrammi [Alessandria 2007], 1–13). The relative chronology suggested plausibly in ch. 4 is Rufinus-Strato-Martial (58–61, see 78–80, 85f., 105f.); the arguments’ strength, however, fluctuates. I am not sure, e.g., about item 15 vs. Strato, AP 12.200 vs. Mart. 1.57. [End Page 81]

The final chapter offers an array of select interpretations of various poems, the focus being on intratextual issues (“Der Sitz im Buche,” 65–67; the Prodice-poems, 80–89; Rhodocleia, 125–128), but particularly on the poems’ allusiveness and Rufinian intertexts. Homer figures prominently, e.g. in poems 1 (69–71), 6 (98), 11 (102), and 24 (89); others include Archilochus, fr. 122 W (and Antimachus?), AP 9.321 in 6 (95, 97), Theocritus, AP 9.437 in 12 (111), Philip, AP 9.709 in 21 (118f.), Asclepiades, AP 5.161 in 17 (123f.), and Dioscurides, AP 5.55 in 11 (103f.). Höschele also tentatively suggests Latin influence on Rufinus (138f.), including the idea of a bilingual pun, / fucus at 6.4 (97), and frequently adduces passages from Ovid as comparanda (70f., 92, 119, 131f., etc.). Was her Rufinus in the end a Roman? (138)

Höschele pays a lot of attention to wordplay of all kind (68, 76f., 84f., 127f.), with a particular obsession to unmask sexual double entendre, such as “vaginale variatio” (106) in the of epigram 12, the ( , “dick”) of 17 (123), or the association of sleepiness with impotence in 18 (132f.). Perhaps not everyone would follow her in connecting the...


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