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HUMANITIES 417 The result is brought into sharp focus when one compares Tod's 1913 survey with those of Luigi Piccirilli (Gli Arbitrati Interstatali Greci, 1973) and Ager. Where Tod knew of only 82 examples of interstate arbitration for the whole of Greek history, Piccirilli identified 61 examples for just the period before 337 BC. The golden age of Greek arbitration, however, was the Hellenistic Period. Our knowledge of that period has benefited the most from new discoveries, as can be seen from Ager's work, which mcludes no less than 171 cases of interstate arbitration. She brings the total number of known examples of this remarkable judicial procedure to 232. The study of Greek arbitration is hampered by the peculiarly intransigent nature of the evidence, mostly often fragmentary and hard-to-find inscriptions. For this reasonAger's primary goal is to provide a comprehensive corpus of arbitration texts and not a synthetic study of Greek arbitration . After a brief introduction outlining the history and character of Greek arbitration, therefore, she presents the known cases of interstate arbitration in chronological order. For each text she provides a brief description of the inscription, a select bibliography of previous editions and studies, a critical Greek text, and a concise historical commentary. With so much uncertain, it is inevitable that scholars will disagree in their interpretations. I am, for example, more optimistic than Ager about the efficacy of arbitration as a means of settling disputes between Greek states. So, although some disputes such as those between Sparta and Messene or Samos and Priene were arbitrated repeatedly without resolution , they are a minority of the cases, the vast majority of which appear to have been arbitrated just once. Overalt however, Ager's texts and commentary are marked by care and sound judgment, making Interstate Arbitrations in the Greek World an invaluable reference work that Greek historians will consult for decades to come. Unfortunately, the decision to omit translations of the texts included in this fine work, however understandable , will render it a closed book to numerous historians and political scientists who might wish to explore this remarkable aspect of Greek history. (STANLEY M. BURSTEIN) Alexander Dalzell. The Criticism of Didactic Poetry: Essays on Lucretius, Virgil_ and Ovid University of Toronto Press 1996. xii, 212. $5o.oo Man is mathetikon zoon, a learning animal, as Aristotle might have said, but didn't. Given the admittedly superior clarity of prose, why teach in verse? The extraordinary popularity of didactic poetry in antiquity was no doubt, as Dalzell argues, due primarily to the traditional moral authority of the poet as educator. However, a hardly less potent factor which, surprisingly, he does not mention, is that poetry is mernorable: the mother of the Muses is Mnemosyne. 418 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 The debate which Aristotle initiated when he denied the status of poet to Empedocles has, as Dalzell ends by acknowledging, proved largely sterile. Ancient critics did not recognize didactic as a separate genre, and it is the diversity of the works which we so label that impresses rather than what they have in common. The three poems discussed here are much more unlike each other than any three ancient epics one could name, and each is quite nnlike any other surviving Greek or Latin poem. Dalzell's introductory chapter in effect concludes that each must be evaluated on its merits. He poses two, as he sees them, fundamental questions: 'What is the attitude of the author to the reader as it is implied by the text? ... What is the attitude, manifested in the poem itself, which the author adopts towards his didactic message?' These are good questions, though with the subtraction of the word 'didactic' it is difficult to think of any work of literature to which they would not apply. What I ask myself is, does the poem work? Dalzell sees the primary purpose of the De rerum natura as 'surely ... to give pleasure rather than to convert the tmregenerate.' Well, it is indeed pretty clear that it effected few if any conversions, but what Lucretius said was that he aimed to convince by pleasing, and I believe he meant what he said. Lucretius is adduced...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 417-419
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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