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Callimachus and the Bishops:
Gregory of Nazianzus’s Second Oration

Gregory’s second oration is a book-length treatise on the episcopal office that became a foundational text in the Byzantine tradition while also exercising an important influence, thanks to Rufinus’s translation, in the Latin West. In outlining the duties of the ideal bishop, Gregory invokes the New Testament image of the Good Shepherd, only to build on the text of John’s Gospel by invoking the prologue of Callimachus’s Aetia. He transforms the aesthetics of the latter into a guiding principle for the relationship between priest and congregation. The use of Callimachus to develop the metaphor from the New Testament text is characteristic of Gregory, who frequently adapts Callimachean language for his own literary, polemical, and theological ends. Finally, this paper demonstrates how Rufinus, working with an educated Latin audience in mind, turns to Virgil in order to render the literary texture of Gregory’s original, which draws heavily on the Alexandrian bucolic tradition.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Gregory of Nazianzus had a weakness for the poetry of Callimachus. Simelidis, who is editing Gregory’s vast collection of 17,000-plus verses for the Corpus Christianorum series, writes of Gregory’s “obsession with Callimachus,” and adds that the poet’s verses are “constantly in his mind.”1 Cameron calls Gregory “perhaps the most enthusiastic reader Callimachus had in the fourth century of our era,” and cites “as [End Page 171] many as ten reminiscences from the forty lines of the Aetia prologue alone.”2 Of course, Gregory’s taste extended to other Hellenistic poets as well: Reed has shown how Gregory rewrites a line from the Adonis of Bion of Smyrna, and even uses Bion to emend Gregory’s text.3 Simelidis also, in his discussion of “Gregory and Hellenistic Poetry,” treats reminiscences of Euphorion, Theocritus, and Asclepiades of Samos, the “inventor of the Alexandrian erotic epigram.”4

It is above all Gregory’s affinity for Callimachus that stands out, particularly in the resonance and programmatic placement both of Gregory’s allusions and of his Callimachean source texts.5 Kambylis has shown how Gregory transforms the opening of Callimachus’s Hymn to Apollo in the first lines of his collection of dense theological hymns, the Poemata Arcana.6 Hollis notes how Gregory adapts the description of the hospitality of Hecale from Callimachus’s famous poem of the same name to his own verse account of the hospitality of the widow of Sidon in the Book of Kings.7 Hawkins and others have shown how Callimachus’s self-consciously defensive poetic stance in the Aetia prologue, as well as in his Iambi, contributes to Gregory’s “formulation of a scathing literary manifesto.” For example, in the poem In suos versus (Εἰς τὰ ἔμμετρα), Gregory offers his own iambic self-presentation which, like Callimachus’s Aetia, is cast as a reply to his critics.8 Moreover, some of the passages analyzed by Simelidis include allusions to what have become the perennially cited bywords of “Callimachean poetics”: the “eternal song” of the famous opening fragment of the Aetia (fr. 1.3 Pfeiffer) appears in the first of the Poemata Arcana (I.1.34.10) as an “eternal” hymn that souls “sing” for God;9 and Callimachus’s “slender muse” (fr. 1.24) seems to be [End Page 172] adapted elsewhere in Gregory’s poetry to “the spiritual requirements of [his] poetics.”10 We eagerly await the edition planned by Simelidis for further parallels between Callimachus and Gregory’s poetry.

The present study looks instead at one of Gregory’s orations—which as a group were among the most popular texts in Byzantium11—to show how characteristically Callimachean language passes into the mainstream of late fourth-century Greek prose literature. From there the influence of Gregory’s poetic language spread into a variety of established or nascent literatures, as over the following centuries Gregory’s orations were translated as a complete corpus or in groups into Latin, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian, Syriac, Arabic, Old Church Slavonic, and Ethiopic.12 This extraordinarily rich translation history has few parallels apart from biblical texts, and the influence of Gregory’s orations and his own literary models upon any one of the developing literatures just mentioned could serve as the subject of a monograph in its own right. The present study however restricts its focus to the Greek original and to the Latin version produced shortly after Gregory’s death by the great translator, Rufinus of Aquileia. In what follows I aim to demonstrate a new angle of Gregory’s potential for reception studies in two ways: first to show how Gregory transmutes Callimachean poetics in his second oration and to contextualize this against Gregory’s practice elsewhere; and second to show how Rufinus renders the allusive texture of Gregory’s prose for a Latin audience. To be sure, Rufinus’s translation does not actively engage with Gregory’s Callimachean allusion itself. Nevertheless, we will see how Rufinus uses the Latin poetic tradition to react to and develop the pastoral language that is occasioned by Gregory’s invocation of a famous Callimachean antithesis.

Part I: Oration 2.9 and Callimachean Poetics

In his second oration, the Apologetikos, Gregory announced his arrival upon the Christian scene with a bombshell of a manifesto timed to mark his return to Nazianzus in Cappadocia to perform the Easter service of 363 after a lengthy retreat to his friend Basil’s estate in Pontus.13 The text, a book-length treatise which Elm describes as Gregory’s “inaugural oration,” purports to [End Page 173] justify Gregory’s alleged “flight” and his belated return to Nazianzus to take up his duties as a priest alongside his father the bishop.14 Gregory had fled after his forcible ordination at his father’s hands, and his retreat afforded him the leisure to draft this apology, which emphasizes the importance of ascetic retreat, spiritual contemplation, and exegetical training as cathartic prerequisites for the priesthood. Gregory shrinks coyly from a public office for which his contemplative proclivities render him, as he alleges, fundamentally unfit. Then during his “lost weekend” he writes a book that claims, as the most important criteria for spiritual authority, the very hesitancy and preference for contemplation he had himself just displayed in refusing to don the mantle of that authority. Lizzi Testa and Elm have shown how every step in Gregory’s carefully choreographed dance belongs to a process of self-positioning with deep roots in Classical political philosophy, roots that stretch back to Plato’s discussion of the qualifications for the ideal ruler in the Republic.15 The reluctant acceptance of the “imposed” office is a familiar dance, and one that would be performed again and again by episcopal candidates throughout the fourth and fifth centuries, from John Chrysostom, Synesius of Cyrene, and Theodoret of Cyrrhus in the east to Augustine and Sidonius Apollinaris in the west.16

Gregory’s manifesto of pastoral philosophy is thus embedded in major discourses of classical literature. As mentioned above, Gregory’s orations were among the most popular texts in Byzantium, and Or. 2 became particularly and immediately influential, in part because it constitutes, as Elm puts it, “the earliest systematic discussion of the theoretical and practical foundations for Christian leadership.”17 It would become the direct inspiration for John Chrysostom’s On the Priesthood, was quickly translated into Latin by Rufinus, and would come to influence Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, and ultimately the Pastoral Rule of Gregory the Great.18 With such a storied afterlife it is clear why the oration has been called “the fountainhead of pastoral reflection in both eastern and western Christendom.”19

The oration is a tour de force, and singling out one section for its Callimachean echoes does not do justice to the richness of a text deeply engaged with some of the great concerns of both Christian and Classical literature. However, that section and the literary history behind it take on greater significance [End Page 174] when we consider this oration’s extraordinary afterlife in the Byzantine tradition as well as in the developing national Christian literatures mentioned above. Moreover, the chapter in question touches upon themes that Gregory will handle again and again over the course of his career—and this early treatment should inform our appreciation of these later texts. Here, as part of his justification for hesitating to assume the pastoral office, Gregory develops an extended comparison between shepherds of animals and shepherds of souls in order to demonstrate the gravity of the task that was set before him:

Ὃ δὲ τελευταῖον καὶ μεῖζον τῶν εἰρημένων—εἶμι γὰρ ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ἤδη τὸν κολοφῶνα τοῦ λόγου, καὶ οὐ ψεύσομαι· οὐδὲ γὰρ θέμις τοῖς περὶ τηλικούτων ποιουμένοις τὸν λόγον—οὐκ ᾤμην ἴσον εἶναι οὐδὲ νῦν οἴομαι ποίμνης ἄρχειν ἢ βουκολίου καὶ ἀνθρώπων ἐπιστατεῖν ψυχαῖς. Ἐκεῖ μὲν γὰρ ἐξαρκεῖν ὅτι παχύτατον καὶ πιότατον ἀποδεῖξαι τὸ βουκόλιον ἢ τὸ ποίμνιον, καὶ πρὸς τοῦτο ὁρῶν ὅ τε βουκόλος καὶ ὁ ποιμὴν τῶν τε χωρίων ἐπισκέψεται τὰ εὔυδρα καὶ ἐπίνομα, εἰσελάσει τε καὶ ἐξελάσει ἀπό τε νομῶν καὶ ἐπὶ νομὰς, ἀναπαύσει τε καὶ ἀποκινήσει καὶ ἀνακαλέσει, ὀλίγα μὲν τῇ βακτηρίᾳ, τὰ πολλὰ δὲ τῇ σύριγγι. Ἄλλο δὲ οὐδὲν ἔργον εἶναι τῷ ποιμένι ἢ τῷ βουκόλῳ πλὴν ὅσον βραχέα προσπολεμῆσαι τοῖς λύκοις καὶ πού τι καὶ ἀρρωστοῦν ἐπισκέψασθαι, τὰ πολλὰ δὲ αὐτῷ μελήσει δρῦς καὶ σκιὰ καὶ δόνακες καὶ ἐν καλῷ τῆς πόας κατακλιθῆναι καὶ παρὰ ψυχρὸν ὕδωρ καὶ ὑπὸ ταῖς αὔραις σχεδιάσαι στιβάδα καὶ πού τι καὶ ἐρωτικὸν ᾆσαι μετὰ τοῦ κισσυβίου καὶ προσλαλῆσαι ταῖς βουσὶν ἢ τῇ ποίμνῃ καὶ τούτων αὐτῶν θοινήσασθαι ἢ ἀποδόσθαι τὸ πιότατον. Ἀρετῆς δὲ οὐδείς πω ποιμνίων ἢ βουκολίων ἐφρόντισε. Τίς γὰρ καὶ ἀρετὴ τούτων ἢ τίς τὸ ἐκείνοις καλὸν πρὸ τῆς ἰδίας ἡδονῆς ἐσκέψατο;20

A final point, and one of greater import that what I have said so far (for now I am getting to the peak of my argument and I will not mislead you, nor would that even be right for those treating a subject of such significance): I did not believe—nor do I now—that ruling over a flock or herd amounts to the same thing as presiding over the souls of human beings. For in the case of the former it is enough to render the herd or flock as fat and rich as possible. And with an eye to this both the herdsman and the shepherd will visit the watering holes and pasturage of their fields; they will drive their flocks to and from pasture, rest them and goad them on and call to them, sometimes with the staff but for the most part with their pipe. Neither the shepherd nor the herdsman has any other work except sometimes to fight a little against wolves, and occasionally to tend to an ailing animal. For the most part all he will care for is the forest, and shade, and the reeds, and to recline upon a soft bit of grass next to a cool brook, and arrange a little bed for himself beneath the breeze, and even occasionally to sing a love ditty, drinking cup in hand, [End Page 175] and talk to his cattle or flock—and then from among them to choose the fattest to feast on or send to market. But to the virtue of flocks or herds no one gives a thought. For what even would constitute their virtue? Or who ever considered their well-being ahead of his own personal pleasure?21

No fellow fan of Hellenistic literature can read “it is enough to render the herd or flock as fat and rich as possible” without mentally supplying the responding clause to round off the Callimachean thought: “the victim is to be fed as fat as possible (ὅττι πάχιστον), but the Poet’s muse must be kept lean.” The idea comes from the programmatic opening fragment of Callimachus’ Aetia:22

καὶ γὰρ ὅτε πρώτιστον ἐμοῖς ἐπὶ δέλτον ἔθηκαγούνασιν, Ἀ[πό]λλων εἶπεν ὅ μοι Λύκιος·’. … …] … ἀοιδέ, τὸ μὲν θύος ὅττι πάχιστον    θρέψαι, τὴ]ν ̣ Μοῦσαν δ’ ὠγαθὲ λεπταλέην·

For when I first placed a tablet on my knees, Lycian Apollo said to me, “ … poet, feed the victim to be as fat as possible, but keep the Muse slender.”23

The opening fragment of Callimachus’s Aetia is frequently held up as the emblem of what is variously and sometimes sloppily called “Callimachean” or “Alexandrian” or even “Hellenistic” poetics.24 These lines, together with thematically related passages in Callimachus25 as well as several passages in the Augustan Latin poets, are cited as manifestos of the fine-spun style.26 However, can we read in Gregory’s words any sort of engagement with Callimachus’s lines or aesthetics in general? And if so, how does that affect our reading of the rest of the text? Is it even possible to interpret Gregory’s ὅτι παχύτατον καὶ πιότατον as a recognizable allusion to Callimachus?

Opinions on the final question may vary, but in support of a Callimachean echo I would add that a TLG search for ὅτι παχύτατον yields only one other hit.27 [End Page 176] Gregory’s “as fat as possible” was not as common a construction as one might think, and the relative rarity of this phrase suggests that it would have been easier for a reader to see in Gregory’s ὅτι παχύτατον an allusion to Callimachus’s ὅττι πάχιστον. This is especially so, given that both contexts describe the fattening up of an animal or group of animals, and that in each case there is an explicit or implied contrast with a different task for which the “fattening up” approach is insufficient.

In answer to the question of whether Gregory is engaging more deeply with Callimachus’s lines or his aesthetics in general, we should say definitely “yes,” but first let us take a closer look at what else is going on in this section of Gregory’s oration to see what exactly he is doing with Callimachus. The entire passage at Or. 2.9 reads like a pastiche of motifs from bucolic poetry combined with material from a text of a very different sort: the parable of the Good Shepherd from the Gospel of John 10.1–18. The oration’s modern editor Bernardi notes the “conventional elements” furnished by Alexandrian poetry without offering any further elaboration, and he makes no mention whatsoever of the Johannine material.28 Some of these conventional elements have very strong associations with Hellenistic bucolic indeed: the κισσύβιον or wooden cup features prominently in Theocritus (Id. 1.27); and the oaks,29 reed-pipes,30 shade and cool streams,31 and soft grass32 all belong to the permanent backdrop of bucolic poetry in general and Theocritus’s Idylls in particular. All of the above appear, for instance, in Theocritus’s fifth Idyll, which—thanks to two shepherds performing amoebean song and the appearance of the στιβάς at line 34 (compare Gregory’s ὑπὸ ταῖς αὔραις σχεδιάσαι στιβάδα)—seems to have played an important role in Gregory’s selection of bucolic elements.33 As for Callimachus’s Aetia, Gregory certainly knew it, and alludes to it elsewhere, as we shall see further on. For the rest of Gregory’s pastoral imagery, we turn now to the second half of John’s parable of the Good Shepherd (John 10.7–13): [End Page 177]

Εἶπεν οὖν πάλιν ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα τῶν προβάτων. πάντες ὅσοι ἦλθον [πρὸ ἐμοῦ] κλέπται εἰσὶν καὶ λῃσταί· ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἤκουσαν αὐτῶν τὰ πρόβατα. ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ θύρα· δι’ἐμοῦ ἐάν τις εἰσέλθῃ σωθήσεται καὶ εἰσελεύσεται καὶ ἐξελεύσεται καὶ νομὴν εὑρήσει. ὁ κλέπτης οὐκ ἔρχεται εἰ μὴ ἵνα κλέψῃ καὶ θύσῃ καὶ ἀπολέσῃ· ἐγὼ ἦλθον ἵνα ζωὴν ἔχωσιν καὶ περισσὸν ἔχωσιν. Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός· ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλὸς τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ τίθησιν ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων· ὁ μισθωτὸς καὶ οὐκ ὢν ποιμήν, οὗ οὐκ ἔστιν τὰ πρόβατα ἴδια, θεωρεῖ τὸν λύκον ἐρχόμενον καὶ ἀφίησιν τὰ πρόβατα καὶ φεύγει καὶ ὁ λύκος ἁρπάζει αὐτὰ καὶ σκορπίζει, ὅτι μισθωτός ἐστιν καὶ οὐ μέλει αὐτῷ περὶ τῶν προβάτων.34

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. …”35

Christ as the Good Shepherd cares for his sheep and lays down his life for them; he presumably fights against the wolf, unlike the hireling, who “cares nothing for the sheep” and flees from the wolf. Christ is also the door, through which his flock can “come and go and find pasture.”

Christ’s parable furnishes Gregory with several elements in his description of the shepherd of livestock. Gregory’s shepherd is explicitly characterized with the features that are implicitly attributed to Christ’s Good Shepherd, who is defined against the hireling. The hireling in Christ’s parable flees from the wolf; the shepherd lays down his life and presumably fights against the wolf, as does Gregory’s shepherd, albeit only for a little (βραχέα προσπολεμῆσαι τοῖς λύκοις). The hireling does not care for the sheep (οὐ μέλει αὐτῷ περὶ τῶν προβάτων), but Christ’s Good Shepherd does, as does Gregory’s shepherd, though for the most part he cares more for oak trees and shade and reeds (τὰ πολλὰ δὲ αὐτῷ μελήσει δρῦς, καὶ σκιὰ, καὶ δόνακες). Christ is the door through which his flock “comes and goes and finds pasture” (εἰσελεύσεται καὶ ἐξελεύσεται καὶ νομὴν εὑρήσει), and Gregory’s shepherd “leads his flock [End Page 178] to pastures and from pastures” (εἰσελάσει τε καὶ ἐξελάσει ἀπό τε νομῶν καὶ ἐπὶ νομὰς).

This brings us to a problem: why is the Good Shepherd not “good enough” for Gregory? By formulating the question in this way I do not mean of course to imply that Gregory is criticizing the figure of Christ as the Good Shepherd or the biblical text itself. Gregory is building on the biblical metaphor to make a point. Christ’s Good Shepherd is, obviously, a “good” exemplum. But in Gregory, the Good Shepherd finds himself playing a part in a not-so-flattering comparison between the Pastor of Sheep and the Pastor of Souls. The figure of the Good Shepherd, outfitted with accessories from the traditions of bucolic poetry, requires further literary treatment in order to serve as a model for episcopal care. How so? Why is the Good Shepherd not good enough for Gregory? The answer is that, at least in Gregory’s evocation of the Good Shepherd, “he doesn’t care for the virtue of his flock.”

This is where Gregory’s allusion to Callimachus acquires its force. In Gregory’s characterization of the Good Shepherd, it suffices to make his flock “as fat and rich as possible.” Gregory’s allusion to the programmatic lines of the Aetia is meant to invoke that text’s antithesis between the swollen, tired, and longwinded verse that Callimachus despises and his own ideal of polished and well-wrought poetry. The guiding aesthetic of the Aetia passage—against the trite and inflated style and in favor of the slender and finely-spun—is one, simply put, that favors quality over quantity. That antithesis is repeated in various guises throughout Callimachus’s poetry and that of his successors: the much-traveled road versus the narrow path,36 the muddy river or thundering sea versus the clear stream,37 or the slaughter of a hecatomb of oxen versus the sacrifice of a single precious calf.38 When Gregory says that it is enough for the shepherd of animals “to render his flock or herd the fattest and richest possible” (“ὅτι παχύτατον καὶ πιότατον ἀποδεῖξαι τὸ βουκόλιον ἢ τὸ ποίμνιον”; cf. Callimachus’s “τὸ μὲν θύος ὅττι πάχιστον/θρέψαι”), we understand what he only implies about the shepherd of men. Like Callimachus’s poet, the priest or shepherd of souls must look first to the quality of the object of his care. It is not enough for the Good Shepherd to make his flock as rich and populous as possible. It does not suffice for the priest simply to swell his congregation. Gregory’s shepherd of souls must pay more attention to the quality of the flock in his care than to its quantity. His priest must attend to the psychological and doctrinal soundness of the souls placed in his charge, and it is in his capacity as a “doctor” of souls that Gregory’s role as a rhetor comes to the [End Page 179] fore. Gregory uses Callimachus to make a point about the Christian priest’s role in improving the quality of the souls under his care.

Gregory’s use in Or. 2 of a Callimachean rhetoric of quality over quantity, and of the language of the Aetia in particular, finds parallels throughout his work. Adrian Hollis has shown how in scattered passages throughout his corpus Gregory draws upon almost the entirety of the Aetia’s prologue.39 His use of the “keep your sacrifice fat” motif in Or. 2 invokes the same Callimachean aesthetic that he applies to purely literary matters in his letters. In a response to a request from his great-nephew and protégé Nikoboulos for advice in the art of letter writing,40 Gregory writes that a letter must neither be too short nor too long but of a length appropriate to the subject at hand:

Ἔστι δὲ μέτρον τῶν ἐπιστολῶν, ἡ χρεία· καὶ οὔτε μακρότερα γραπτέον, οὗ μὴ πολλὰ τὰ πράγματα, οὔτε μικρολογητέον, ἔνθα πολλά. Τί γάρ; Ἦ τῇ περσικῇ σχοίνῳ μετρεῖσθαι δεῖ τὴν σοφίαν, ἢ παιδικοῖς πήχεσι. …41

There is a proper measure for letters, namely what the occasion requires. And you must neither write at length in cases where there are not many subjects to deal with, nor be stingy where there are. Why? Must one measure wisdom by the Persian cord, or by the cubits of a child. … ?

The “Persian cord” alludes to lines 17–18 of Callimachus’s Aetia, as Gregory’s editor Gallay indicates:42

ἔλλετε Βασκανίης ὀλοὸν γένος· αὖθι δὲ τέχνῃ / κρίνετε,] μὴ σχοίνῳ Περσίδι τὴν σοφίην

Away with you, destructive race of envy; henceforth judge Sophia by craft, not by the Persian cord.

Gregory appropriates Callimachus’s poetics for epistolography: letters, like poems, are not to be judged or measured in quantitative terms.43 Gregory makes a similar point in another letter to Nikoboulos in which he defines what he means by “the laconic style”—I reproduce the text of the letter in full: [End Page 180]

Τὸ λακωνίζειν οὐ τοῦτό ἐστιν, ὅπερ οἴει, ὀλίγας συλλαβὰς γράφειν, ἀλλὰ περὶ πλείστων ὀλίγας. Οὕτως ἐγὼ καὶ βραχυλογώτατον Ὅμηρον λέγω καὶ πολὺν τὸν Ἀντίμαχον. Πῶς; τοῖς πράγμασι κρίνων τὸ μῆκος, ἀλλ’ οὐ τοῖς γράμμασι.44

The laconic style is not what you think; it does not consist in writing few syllables, but in writing about as much as possible in few syllables. Thus I can call at once Homer “concise” and Antimachus “lengthy.” How so? In judging magnitude by subjects, not by letters.

Here Gregory develops the correlative of the maxim that length does not equate to greatness by showing that brevity does not necessarily imply wit. Again, Gregory invokes Callimachus’s poetics by alluding to his bête noir, Antimachus of Colophon, whose bombastic style Callimachus contrasted with his own polished and pared-down ideal.45 Antimachus’s epic Thebaid may or may not have inspired the Callimachean maxim that “a big book is a big evil,”46 and Callimachus explicitly criticizes the Lyde, Antimachus’s elegiac poem, in a surviving fragment:47

Λύδη καὶ παχὺ γράμμα καὶ οὐ τορόν.

Lyde is both a fat text and none too fine.

In the two letters above, Gregory turns almost instinctively to Callimachean thought when he needs to develop a contrast between quality and quantity. His impulse remains the same in his orations, as we saw in our passage. Gregory finds in John’s comparison between the good shepherd and the hireling an instance where a storied passage from Classical literature can help develop the evangelist’s point. He builds on John’s parable of the Good Shepherd by capping it with a Callimachean antithesis.

Gregory frequently had occasion to develop a rhetorical antithesis between the quality of a small but doctrinally sound flock and the quantity of more populous but “heretical” congregation after his installation as bishop of the Nicene community of Constantinople in 379. Until the reign of Theodosius and with a brief interlude under Julian, Arian Christianity had been in the [End Page 181] ascendancy in the eastern capital since the years of Constantius II.48 Upon his arrival, Gregory found himself in a city where the ranks and organization of the Nicene congregation had dwindled under Arian emperors. Although, as Dagron points out, what Gregory characterizes as the “Arian” community in fact consisted of a diverse spectrum of non-Nicene factions, Gregory can still cast himself as the leader of a persecuted minority.49 In the orations that he delivered during his tenure as bishop of the Nicene congregation, Gregory was able to use the language of quality versus quantity, such as we saw above in Or. 2.9 and in his letters, in order to exploit the numerical supremacy of non-Nicene congregations to his own advantage. Compare for example the opening of his oration, “To the Arians and on Himself”:50

Where are they then, who rebuke us for our poverty, and boast of their own wealth? Who mark out the Church by its large size [πλήθει τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν ὁρίζοντες], and spit upon our little flock [τὸ βραχὺ διαπτύοντες ποίμνιον]?51 Who measure out even the Godhead, and weigh the congregation in the balance? Who honor the sand while reviling the luminaries? Who hoard pebbles and overlook pearls? For they do not understand that grains of sand and pebbles do not surpass in number [οὐ τοσοῦτον … ἀφθονωτέρα] the stars and brilliant gemstones to such a degree as the latter surpass the former in both purity and value [ὅσον … καθαρώτερά τε καὶ τιμιώτερα].

We can also compare a similar passage from Gregory’s “Farewell Oration” that purports to have been delivered when he quit his episcopal seat in Constantinople.52 After offering a catalogue of biblical precedents in which God preferred the righteous few to the godless many, Gregory concludes:53

οὐκ ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν εὐδόκησεν ὁ Θεός. σὺ μὲν ἀριθμεῖς τὰς μυριάδας, Θεὸς δὲ τοὺς σωζομένους, καὶ σὺ μὲν τὸν ἀμέτρητον χοῦν, ἐγὼ δὲ τὰ σκεύη τῆς ἐκλογῆς. Οὐδὲν γὰρ οὕτω Θεῷ μεγαλοπρεπὲς ὡς λόγος κεκαθαρμένος καὶ ψυχὴ τελεία τοῖς τῆς ἀληθείας δόγμασιν.

“God was not pleased with the multitudes” [1 Cor 10.5]. You number the tens of thousands, but God numbers the saved. And you might count the [End Page 182] immeasurable dust, but I count the vessels of election [Acts 9.15]. For nothing is so magnificent to God as purified discourse and a soul made perfect in the teachings of the truth.

Here the phrase λόγος κεκαθαρμένος hints at another notion that, in Gregory’s dichotomy of quality against quantity, is ranged together with the small flock against the unclean multitudes: the rhetor who has learned through a program of spiritual purification and textual study to exercise restraint and circumspection when discoursing upon the divine.54 We can compare a passage from Gregory’s third oration for the motif of theological reserve:55

οὐ γὰρ πολλῶν, εὖ ἴστε, τὸ ὑμέτερον καύχημα. Τὸ δὲ εὐσεβὲς μὴ ἐν τῷ πολλάκις περὶ Θεοῦ λαλεῖν, ἀλλ’ ἐν τῷ τὰ πλείω σιγᾷν εἶναι τιθέμενοι· γλῶσσα γὰρ ὄλισθος ἀνθρώποις μὴ λόγῳ κυβερνωμένη

For know well that your boast does not belong to many. You consider piety to reside not in speaking often about God, but in being silent for the most part. For a tongue ungoverned with logos is a slippery thing for men.

Here the emphasis is placed on “theological reserve,” on discussing theology not with frequency but with care and restraint. Moreover, the editor Bernardi cites both Plutarch’s “On Talkativeness”56 and a fragment of Callimachus57 as parallels for the phrase “a tongue ungoverned in speech is a slippery thing for men.”

The Callimachean fragment cited by Bernardi is grouped in fact by Pfeiffer among those of uncertain authorship. However, Pfeiffer notes that the verse fragment in question (ὅτε γλώσσῃ πλεῖστος ὄλισθος ἔνι, “there is much slippage in the tongue”) is particularly characteristic of Callimachus, and cites a pair of additional passages in support, including one from the Aetia that similarly invokes the [End Page 183] importance of silence and circumspection in speech.58 Both Plutarch and Callimachus are representative of a literary tradition that valorizes discursive restraint and the pose of studied silence as defining characteristics of properly trained rhetors and poets who know the value of discretion.59 Gregory inherits that tradition, and for him the performance of theology is something that requires time, training, and discretion. It requires polish. Quality is favored over quantity. Better to keep silent, better to keep the poem in the drawer for nine years than to publish it prematurely. In Callimachean poetics, a “big book is a big evil,” and in Gregory’s approach to theology, a “big mouth is a big evil.” As we saw earlier, Gregory was able to valorize the minority status of his Neo-Nicene congregation by arguing that it does not suffice “simply to swell the flock to be as fat and rich as possible.” The bishop must see first and foremost to the quality of the souls in his care. In the same way, Gregory can draw on a different strain of literary language—one that runs throughout Callimachus’s poetry—to reinforce his claim to belong to the polished few who have the training and learning necessary to perform theology properly, and who know not to say too much or in front of too many people. Just as Gregory adapts a literary discourse to defend the size of his congregation against the greater numbers of the Neo-Arians in their ascendancy, we can see how he uses another, similar literary discourse to promote his “negative” theology over the sweeping claims of Neo-Arian theology itself.

To avoid speaking about the nature of the divine—to be “silent for the most part”—is presented throughout the writings of the Cappadocians as an act characteristic of a more deeply instructed piety beyond the reach of the many.60 Gregory of Nazianzus and his fellow Cappadocians are responding to Neo-Arians such as Aetius and Eunomius who made absolute and totalizing statements regarding the nature of the divine, and who drew on classical theories of language in their claim that names, particularly the term ἀγέννητος (“unbegotten”), denote essence, and thus that they themselves wielded a theology capable of positively defining the nature of God.61 For the Nicene Cappadocians, a name such as ἀγέννητος cannot [End Page 184] denote the essence of God the Father, as it would then follow that He is of a different essence than His only-begotten Son. Thus the Cappadocians represent Neo-Arian theology as simplistic and popularizing,62 and they characterize Eunomius’ claim to speak about the divine using words that exactly delineate essence as “commit[ting] an act of analytical discursive violence by intruding with words where only silence is appropriate.”63 If we can say with Douglass that the Cappadocians build their theology with words drawn from a discourse of negation “that function architecturally as the great buttresses of sacred space,”64 then we can add that such a discourse draws in turn on a variety of other, literary discourses, including those that valorize obscurity,65 demonize popularism,66 and celebrate silence and reserve in the pursuit of literary solemnity and reverence before the divine mysteries.67 This last virtue of discursive restraint is represented in this case by Gregory’s use of the maxim that “a tongue ungoverned in logos is a slippery thing.” I am not claiming that Gregory depends directly for this particular phrase on Plutarch or Callimachus. I argue rather for approaching collectively a variety of themes in Gregory’s corpus that together speak to a coherent philosophy, one that is shaped partially by his literary sensibilities: as it is not the size of the congregation that counts but its virtue, nor the length of a letter that matters but its content, so a theologian’s piety consists not in discoursing upon the divine often and at length but rather in doing so on carefully selected occasions and with appropriately guarded language. Gregory contrasts the theological restraint of the orthodox few with the verbosity of the many. For his negative or apophatic approach to theology, which he has in common with his fellow Cappadocians, Gregory invokes the literary virtue of discursive restraint and exclusivity to claim the cultural high ground.68

Part II: Oration 2.9 and Rufinus’s Translation

We can now make a brief foray into Rufinus’s reception of Gregory’s pastoral imagery in Or. 2.9.69 Regarding Gregory’s allusion to the recusatio of [End Page 185] Callimachus’s Aetia, we might have expected Rufinus to respond with Virgil’s near-translation of that recusatio in his sixth Eclogue.70 Rufinus opts not to do so, but nevertheless we will see that he still turns to Virgil’s pastoral poetry as a Latin near-equivalent for Gregory’s Alexandrian reminiscences.

Arbitrabar non esse simile, sicut et nunc quoque arbitror, pecora vel armenta regere et hominibus praeesse atque animas moderari. Ibi enim studium est gregem vel armenti vel pecoris validum membris et laetum carnibus facere; quod prospiciens vel armentarius ille vel pastor comantes herbis et virides rivis deligit campos, quos fecundiores probarit ad pabula, et hos ipsos alternis pastibus innovat et ab aliis ad alios gregem transmovet saltus. Sed et ad requiem perquirit nemorosa cubilia. Agit autem gregem interdum virga, praecipue tamen calami vel fistulae suavitate permulcens. Nec aliud ultra operis vel armentario inminet vel pastori, nisi quod parva quaedam sollicitudo requiritur adversum insidias atque improbitatem luporum et, sicubi forte aegrum pecus, vel revisere oculo vel palpando curare, umbras in aestibus prospicere, strata recumbantibus mollia atque herbida providere perflarique recubantium locum auris spirantibus sinere, quem propter decurrentis rivi frigida unda perstringat, cantare quoque et velut alloqui greges aut antiquitatis aliquid aut amoris. Ad haec vel iugulare pinguius quodque vel in pretium vertere licet, virtutis vero animi et industriae nulla cura huiuscemodi pastoribus inminet, per quam necesse habeant voluptati gregis magis quam suae obsequi.

I did not believe, nor do I believe now, that to rule over flocks or herds is a similar thing to being in charge of human beings and guiding their souls. For in the case of the former the goal is to make the herd of cattle or sheep healthy in limb and richly fat in flesh. And with an eye to this the herdsman or shepherd chooses some fields that are luxuriant in grass and others that are green with streams, the more fertile among which he is to approve for fodder, and by alternating pasturage he restores the fields themselves, and he transfers his flock from one pasture to another. And he also seeks out forested beds for rest. And while he sometimes drives the flock with his staff, nevertheless he mostly does so by charming them with the sweetness of his reed pipe or flute. Nor does any other task lie before the herdsman or shepherd—unless it be that some small care must be taken against the ambushes and wickedness of wolves, and that whenever by chance the flock is sick, he must inspect them with his eye or treat them by massaging—other than to look out for shade in hot weather, and to take thought for soft grassy beds for his flock to lie down upon, and to let the spot where they lie down upon be fanned by blowing breezes, and for it to be caressed by the cool wave of a [End Page 186] stream flowing nearby, and to sing also and to speak to his flocks, as it were, about ages past or about love. And in addition to this they may butcher the fattest among them or turn them to profit, but regarding the virtue or diligence of their flocks’ spirit, shepherds are concerned with no thought of such a kind that they would consider it necessary to pay more heed to the pleasure of the flock than to their own.

To begin with it is important to note that, as a good translator, Rufinus allows himself some flexibility when tackling Gregory’s more poetic passages.71 Thus for instance Gregory’s σῦριγξ becomes calami vel fistulae. Behind Rufinus’s choice to expand upon Gregory’s original here is probably the time-honored coupling of the calamus and the fistula in Latin pastoral poetry: they both appear for instance in a description of shepherds’ pipes in Virgil’s second Eclogue.72 Likewise, we might see in Rufinus’s otherwise inexplicable repetition of recumbantium shortly after recubantibus (Gregory has κατακλιθῆναι … σχεδιάσαι στιβάδα) the long influence of Virgil’s famous first line: Tityre tu patulae recubans sub tegmine fagi. …73 In another instance of expansion upon Gregory’s original, Rufinus has his shepherd sing songs “of antiquity or of love” (cantare … aut antiquitatis aliquid aut amoris), whereas Gregory mentioned only love poetry (καὶ πού τι καὶ ἐρωτικὸν ᾆσαι). Rufinus’s translation here is otherwise almost exact, and one notes in particular his aliquid for Gregory’s similarly indefinite τι. Why might he choose to have his shepherds sing of antiquity in addition to love? The answer might be that these are two of the most prominent topics within the songs sung by the characters of the Eclogues themselves. Love is of course omnipresent in the Eclogues, while for antiquity, to name just one example, we can point to the song sung by Silenus and reported in turn by Virgil’s pastor persona in Eclogue 6.74 This is a song that markedly encompasses all of the mythological past, beginning with the creation of the world, and in doing so makes a number of nods to the poets of Virgil’s literary past, including Lucretius, Calvus, and Gallus, as well as Callimachus himself.75 [End Page 187]

My suggestion regarding Silenus’s song of mythological history is speculative, but we are on firmer ground with our final example of Rufinus’s Virgil-ian expansion. The shepherd in Gregory’s version has only to fight a little against wolves (πλὴν ὅσον βραχέα προσπολεμῆσαι τοῖς λύκοις). In Rufinus this is reworked so that his shepherd “must seek some care against the ambushes and wickedness of wolves”: parva quaedam sollicitudo requiritur adversum insidias atque inprobitatem luporum. The “ambushes” or insidiae of wolves feature prominently in Virgil: we find them in the fifth Eclogue, when in an idyllic landscape “wolves no longer lay their ambushes against the flock, nor do hunting nets plan trickery against deer”: Nec lupus insidias pecori, nec retia cervis/ulla dolum meditantur.76 Likewise in the description of the plague that closes the third Georgic: oppressed by the plague, “the wolf does not lay his ambushes around the fold, nor prowl about the flocks by night”: non lupus insidias explorat ovilia circum/nec gregibus nocturnus obambulat.77 Finally, the “ambushes” of wolves appear in Book 9 of the Aeneid in a simile describing the rage of Turnus as he searches for a way to breach the walls of the Trojan camp. Note also that in this last passage, the wolf is further characterized as improbus or “wicked”:

ac veluti pleno lupus insidiatus ovilicum fremit ad caulas ventos perpessus et imbrisnocte super media; tuti sub matribus agnibalatum exercent, ille asper et improbus irasaevit in absentis. …78

And like a wolf, lying in ambush against a full sheep-pen, when after enduring wind and rain he howls at the cote in the middle of the night—the lambs, safe at their mothers’ sides, ply their bleating, while harsh and wicked in his wrath he rages against them in their absence. …

The wolf of Virgil’s pastoral simile—lupus insidiatus … et improbus—seems to lie behind Rufinus’s decision to expand Gregory’s original into insidias atque improbitatem luporum, “the ambushes and wickedness of wolves.”

With this allusion to the wolf of Virgil’s pastoral imagery, we can compare Lo Cicero’s discussion of how Rufinus draws upon the language of Aen. 12.521–26 in order to embellish his translation of a passage in Basil’s [End Page 188] Homily on the First Psalm.79 Lo Cicero invokes the dynamics of aemulatio as expressed in Roman theories of literary translation in order to account for Rufinus’s use of Classical allusions here and elsewhere to reproduce the vivid or figured language of the Greek original.80 We can see the same dynamics at work in Rufinus’s approach to translating Gregory’s densely allusive pastoral language. Rufinus’s translation can rival the Greek original by replacing language evocative of the Greek pastoral tradition with language that evokes Greek pastoral’s Latin cultural equivalents. Finally, we should consider that Rufinus may have worked with the expectation that some in his audience would be actively judging how he as a translator dealt with the more literary aspects of his material. Consider for example the closing words of his preface to the translation of Gregory’s orations, addressed to the dedicatee Apronianus:

Hunc ergo absque ullo prorsus scrupulo lege, sciens tamen quod eloquentiae eius praefulgidum in Graeco lumen non parum necessitas obscurat. In quo utrum nostri sermonis paupertas an ipsa interpretationis natura hoc agat, tu, qui utriusque linguae habes peritiam, magis probato.81

Read [Gregory] therefore without any hesitation at all, recognizing however that necessity obscures not a little the brilliant light of his eloquence in Greek. Whether in this case the poverty of our language or the nature of translation itself is to blame, you rather be the judge, as you have skill in each language.

Rufinus here calls attention to Apronianus’s knowledge of both Greek and Latin, and he instructs Apronianus (and by implication any other reader with “skill in each language”82) to judge for himself if the poverty of the Latin language or “the nature of translation itself” is responsible for obscuring the eloquence of the original. This reads like a challenge to see if Rufinus has indeed risen to the occasion in those instances when Gregory’s language advertises its poetic quality, especially when dealing with themes—like shepherds and their flocks—so sympathetic to poetic treatment. For Rufinus’s wider audience, [End Page 189] especially those with less familiarity with Greek, we can imagine Christian readers steeped in their Virgil and comparable, say, to those depicted by Augustine in his Cassiciacum dialogues, in which Augustine and his companions listen to one another reading Virgil aloud and use his poetry as a springboard for philosophical discussion.83 If Rufinus was working with such a readership in mind, then Virgil was the natural choice for rendering the pastoral color of Gregory’s original.


With Gregory’s use of Callimachus we have seen how an aesthetic discourse that privileges the few, the polished, and the initiated finds new life in a rhetoric that serves on the one hand to valorize the minority status of Neo-Nicene Christianity, and on the other to cement Gregory’s elevated position within the ecclesiastical and cultural elite. Gregory’s version of Christianity, and his own status within that Christianity, are the beneficiaries of these Callimachean echoes.

However, in this oration Gregory is acting not only as an ecclesiastical politician and theorist of episcopal philosophy: he is also a creative literary author. With Gregory’s mingling of elements from Callimachus and the Gospel of John, he engages with the comparative dynamic of the Gospel text and builds upon it by developing the metaphor with a particularly apposite Callimachean antithesis. He makes the “Good Shepherd” even better by insisting on the pastor’s responsibility to attend to the quality of the souls in his charge. I can offer what I think is the most helpful passage for getting at what Gregory himself would have thought of his own literary activity in these passages. He might have characterized his authorial moves vis-à-vis Callimachus and John as agreeing with what, in his most famous autobiographical poem, he says had been his goal since earliest youth: to put the “bastard” literature of the Classics at the service of “true-born” Christian texts:

Ὃ δ’ οὖν ἀνάγκη, γνωρίσω τοῖς πλείοσιν.ἄχνους παρειά, τῶν λόγων δ’ ἔρως ἐμέθερμός τις εἶχε. καὶ γὰρ ἐζήτουν λόγουςδοῦναι βοηθοὺς τοὺς νόθους τοῖς γνησίοις,ὡς μήτ’ ἐπαίροινθ’ οἱ μαθόντες οὐδὲ ἕνπλὴν τῆς ματαίας καὶ κενῆς εὐγλωττίας,τῆς ἐν ψόφοις τε καὶ λάρυγξι κειμένης,μήτ’ ἐνδεοίμην πλεκτάναις σοφισμάτων.84 [End Page 190]

When my cheek was yet undarkened, a warm love of letters took hold of me. For indeed I sought to offer “bastard logoi” as help to the true logoi, so that those who knew nothing besides vain and empty eloquence would not exalt themselves, that eloquence which resides only in noise and human throats, and so that I would not be entangled in the snares of sophistries.

Gregory might have used similar language to characterize his own blending of Callimachean and Johannine elements in his description of the pastoral office. He tries to offer “bastard” logoi—or perhaps we might better translate this as “logoi without an inheritance”—as aids to the true logoi of the scriptures. Gregory uses the language of Callimachus to aid the true logoi of the Gospel of John and improve upon the figure of the Good Shepherd. In Latin, Gregory’s poetic language elicits an informed literary response from his translator Rufinus. The aesthetics of Callimachus qua aesthetics may not have come into their own inheritance, but thanks to their usefulness in characterizing the labor and craft that go into the making of a polished parish on the one hand, and the pastoral imagery in which they are clothed on the other, they nevertheless find a place in the new literatures after all.

Byron MacDougall
Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik
University of Vienna


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It is a pleasure to express my gratitude to the institutions and individuals that made this study possible, beginning with the Brown University Classics Department. My warm thanks go to Joseph Pucci for encouraging me to submit an abstract, the kernel of the present paper, to the International Society for Late Antique Literary Studies Conference held at Boston University in November 2014. My gratitude goes as well to James Uden for being such a welcoming host and for my fellow participants for their stimulating comments and warm company. A Junior Fellowship in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks and a post-doctoral fellowship under Christophe Erismann at the Institut für Byzantinistik und Neogräzistik in Vienna gave me the opportunity to prepare the successive versions of this paper. Finally, I am grateful to the readers at the Journal of Late Antiquity and especially to Noel Lenski, whose suggestions have significantly improved both the style and the arguments of this discussion. Any errors that remain are my own.

2. Cameron 1995, 335, who also cites the index entry for Gregory in Pfeiffer 1965b, 132.

3. See Reed 1997, 220–21 on Adonis 42, and emending Gregory’s Epit. 71.2–4 (=Anth. Pal. 8.30.2–4).

5. For Gregory’s “Callimachean ζῆλος,” see in particular De Stefani and Magnelli 2011, 554–57, who emphasize how Gregory is “quite capable of subtle—and sometimes irreverent—strategies,” (554).

6. Kambylis 1982, 120–22. See also Faulkner 2010, 83–84, who suggests that pagan hexameter hymns in general, and those of Callimachus in particular, “were in the mind of Gregory as models for the opening poems of the Arcana,” since in addition to the allusion to the Hymn to Apollo at Arcana 1.8–10, we also find an allusion to the opening of the Hymn to Delos at Arcana 3.1 (“On the Spirit”). For text and translation of the Arcana, see Moreschini and Sykes 1997.

7. Hollis 1990, 172, citing Callim. Hec. fr. 231 as well as Greg. Naz. Carm. (=PG 37: 592), and 1 Kgs 17.8. On Gregory’s adaptation of the hospitality of Hecale, see also De Stefani and Magnelli 2011, 554–55.

11. For the popularity of Gregory’s orations in Byzantium, see Noret 1983.

12. For introductions to the various translation histories of Gregory’s orations, see the set of essays collected in Mossay 1983, 63–133, which treat Coptic, Armenian, Georgian, Syriac, Arabic, Old Church Slavonic, and Ethiopic. For more detailed studies, see the following: for Coptic, Lafontaine 1981; for Armenian, see the introduction by J. Mossay in Coulie 1994, ix–x; for Georgian, see Metreveli 1998, viii–xi; for Syriac, see Haelewyck 2001, v–vi; for Arabic, see Tuerlinckx 2001, vi–viii.

13. For text and French translation see Bernardi 1978.

18. Elm 2012, 17–18. For the oration’s influence on Gregory the Great, see also Demacopoulos 2007, 19–22.

20. Greg. Naz. Or. 2.9 (SCh 247: 100–102).

21. Translations, unless otherwise noted, are my own.

22. Aet. fr. 1.21–24 (ed. Pfeiffer 1965a, 5).

23. I use here the translation of Trypanis 1958, 7.

24. See Thomas 1999, 207–8 for cautions against conflating the terms “Hellenistic,” “Alexandrian,” and “Callimachean.”

25. In particular, note Epigr. 28 and Hymn 2.105–15.

26. Especially the recusationes influenced by the Aet. lines quoted above; see for example Virg. Ecl. 6.3–8; Prop. 3.3.13–22; and Hor. Carm. 1.6 and 4.15.1–13. For the influence of Callimachus on the Augustan poets see Thomas 1999, which responds to trends in scholarship beginning especially with Wimmel 1960.

27. Gal. De Compositione medicamentorum secundum locos 13.218.15 (ed. Kühn). A search for ὅτι πάχιστον (the form of the superlative used by Callimachus) yields no hits, while Callimachus’s own line is the only attestation of ὅττι παχιστον.

28. Bernardi 1978, 103: “La poésie alexandrine fournit à cette σύγκρισις entre les deux types de pasteurs les éléments conventionnels dont elle a besoin pour faire ressortir l’insouciance des bergers.”

29. In Theocritus’s Idylls alone the δρῦς appears thirteen times. See also Bion Ep. Adon. 32 and Ps.-Mosch. Ep. Bion. 21.

30. The σῦριγξ is all but synonymous with Greek bucolic; see for example Theoc. Id. 1.128, 8.18, and 20.28. For the δόναξ as the shepherd’s reed pipe see Theoc. Id. 20.29 and Epigr. 2.3 and Ps.-Mosch. Ep. Bion. 54; see also Callim. Hec. fr. 280.

31. See Theoc. Id. 5.47–48, a locus amoenus which also features oak, cypress, and pine.

32. See Theoc. Id. 5.34, 6.45, and 8.68.

33. See especially lines 33–49. For the importance of Id. 5 in this section of Gregory’s oration, as well as Gregory’s use in general of Theocritus throughout his orations, poems, and letters, see Wyss 1983, 852. My warm gratitude goes to one of the journal’s anonymous readers for directing my attention to this important study.

35. Translation taken from the RSV.

36. Aet. fr. 1.27–28 (ed. Pfeiffer 1965a, 5).

37. Hymn 2 106–12 (ed. Pfeiffer 1965b, 9).

38. Hor. Carm. 4.2.53–60.

40. For Gregory’s relationship with this Nikoboulos, see Gallay 1964, 126–27.

41. Greg. Naz. Ep. 51.2–3 (ed. Gallay, Budé).

42. Gallay 1964, 66 n.4. On the Aetia fragment as Gregory’s inspiration in this passage, see also Harder 2012, 37.

43. On Callimachus’s lines see Harder 2012, 52: “with these words Callimachus rejects the practice of those who judge poetry by quantity and condemns it as purely mechanical.”

44. Greg. Naz. Ep. 54 (ed. Gallay, Budé).

45. Cameron uses Gregory’s letter and its juxtaposition of Homer and Antimachus to reconstruct the gist of Callimachus’s original comparison of the two, and even offers a possible completion of the fragmentary Lyde couplet (fr. 398); see Cameron 1995, 334–37.

46. fr. 465 (ed. Pfeiffer 1965a, 353). See however Cameron 1995, 337: “Epic had nothing to do with it. The debate about Antimachus centered on his elegy the Lyde. There is no reason to believe that even Callimachus disapproved of his epic Thebaid.”

47. fr. 398 (ed. Pfeiffer 1965a, 325). The “big woman” of Aet. fr. 1.12 may also refer to the Lyde; see Harder 2012, 43 for bibliography on the reception of Antimachus in antiquity and in Callimachus in particular.

48. For the “Arian” ecclesiastical establishment in Constantinople as well as the state of its Nicene community when Gregory was summoned to oversee the latter, see Dagron 1974, 447–49. For the Nicenes as a significantly outnumbered minority in Constantinople under Valens, as well as his dealings with them throughout the East, see also Lenski 2002, 250–63.

50. Greg. Naz. Or. 33.1 (SCh 318: 156).

51. For Gregory’s βραχὺ ποίμνιον Moreschini cites here Luke 12.32.

52. For the text and French translation, see Bernardi 1992.

53. Greg. Naz. Or. 42.7–8 (SCh. 384: 66–68).

54. For Gregory policing the borders of who gets to perform theology and how, see especially Or. 27 (Πρὸς Εὐνομιανοὺς προδιάλεξις) and Or. 32 (Περὶ τῆς ἐν διαλέξεσιν εὐταξίας, καὶ ὅτι οὐ παντὸς ἀνθρώπου οὐδὲ παντὸς καιροῦ τὸ διαλέγεσθαι περὶ θεότητος).

55. Or. 3.7 (SCh 247: 250–52). The oration, entitled in the manuscripts, “To those who had invited him, and not come to receive him” (Πρὸς τοὺς καλέσαντας ἐν τῇ ἀρχῇ καὶ μὴ ἀπαντήσαντας μετὰ τὸν πρεσβύτερον ἐν τῷ πάσχα), was delivered shortly after his return to Nazianzus to celebrate Easter, a festival at which he performed Or. 1; see Bernardi 1978, 24–28. For the relationship between the first three orations and for Gregory’s original publication of them as a triptych, see Elm 2012, 154–55; for their original audience see Elm 2012, 208–12.

56. Plut. Mor. 2.510a (=De Garr.; Loeb 337: 438–39): διὸ δεῖ πεφράχθαι, καὶ τὸν λογισμὸν ὡς πρόβολον ἐμποδὼν ἀεὶ τῇ γλώττῃ κείμενον ἐπισχεῖν τὸ ῥεῦμα καὶ τὸν ὄλισθον αὐτῆς (“therefore the tongue must be fenced in, and reason must ever lie, like a barrier, in the tongue’s way, checking its flow and keeping it from slipping” [Loeb tr.]).

57. fr. 754 (ed. Pfeiffer 1965a, 475). Bernardi also cites Maximus of Tyre, Diss. 37.4, but except for the word ὄλισθος the passage is unrelated.

58. See Pfeiffer 1965a, 475: “versus Callimacho valde dignus,” citing Callim. Aet. 1 fr. 24.20 (ed. Pfeiffer 1965a, 34) and Aet. 1 fr. 75.8–9 (ed. Pfeiffer 1965a, 77). Note in particular the latter passage, from the Acontius and Cydippe episode: χαλεπὸν κακὸν ὅστις ἀκαρτεῖ/γλώσσης … (“a difficult evil is he who cannot control his tongue”).

59. For the classical literary and rhetorical virtue of silence as it is invoked in earlier Christian literature, see especially the study of Ignatius of Antioch by Maier 2004, 506–11. For Callimachus’s treatment of the theme of silence before the divine mysteries in the Acontius and Cydippe episode of Aet. fr. 75, see Bleisch 2001, 25–27.

60. For how the Cappadocians develop the theme of silence in theological discourse, see Douglass 2005, especially 84–88 and 164–73.

61. For the language theory of Aetius and Eunomius and the ancient theory, notably represented by Plato’s Cratylus, that names denote essence, see Wickham 1968, 559–60; Douglass 2005, 94–106; and Elm 2012, 245–58.

62. For what the Cappadocians represent as the popularizing and vulgar aspects of Neo-Arian discourse, see Douglass 2005, 20–23 and Vaggione 1993, 184–86.

65. See for example the chapter “The Concept of Obscurity in Greek Literature” in Kustas 1973, 63–100.

66. See above n. 62.

68. For Gregory’s “poverty” of language and negative theology, see also McGuckin 1994, 17–18. For further background on the Cappadocians and apophatic theology, see Pelikan 1993, 40–56.

69. For the text of Rufinus’s translations of Gregory’s orations, see Engelbrecht 1910; for Or. 2 see pages 7–83, and for this passage 13–14. For Rufinus himself, the basic introduction remains Murphy 1945.

70. For the Callimachean recusatio of Ecl. 6, see Rutherford 1989, 42.

71. For Rufinus’s methods as a translator, see Lo Cicero 2008. See especially Lo Cicero’s study of Rufinus’s preface to his translation of Gregory’s orations at 55–63.

72. Virg. Ecl. 2.32–37 (ed. Mynors, OCT), where calamus (32 and 34) refers to an individual reed and fistula (37) to a pipe of bound reeds, which in the singer Corydon’s case are made of hemlock (cicutae). Rufinus’s calami vel fistulae is probably best described, however, as a case of hendiadys, meaning simply “reed pipe.”

73. Virg. Ecl. 1.1. This and all subsequent citations of Virgil refer to Mynors’s 1969 OCT edition.

74. Virg. Ecl. 6.31–86.

75. The mythological subjects of Silenus’s song include creation (31–40), Deucalion and Pyrrha (41), Prometheus (42), Hercules and Hylas (43–44), Pasiphaë and the bull (45–60), Atalanta (61), Phaethon (62–63), Odysseus and Scylla (74–77), and Tereus and Philomela (78–81). For Silenus’s song as well as for Virgil’s allusions to his poetic predecessors, see Rutherford 1989, 42–43 and 49, notes 5–6.

76. Virg. Ecl. 5.60–61.

77. Virg. G. 3.537–38.

78. Virg. Aen. 9.59–63.

79. PG 29: 225. As demonstrated in her chapter “Ἐνάργεια e riecheggiamenti letterari in un passo di Rufino,” Lo Cicero 2008, 273–77. See also the chapter “Rufino, Basilio, e Seneca: Fra aemulatio e arte allusiva,” at 141–45.

80. Lo Cicero 2008, 145: “Per ‘emulare’ il modello, secondo la prassi consolidata nella tradizione Latina, la traduzione di Rufino si è dunque impreziosita dell’allusione a Seneca.”

81. Engelbrecht 1910, 5 (lines 12–17).

82. Here Rufinus’s utriusque linguae … peritiam is a variation on the set phrase, utraque lingua eruditus, “versed in both languages.” For the use of this formula as a “celebrated badge of classical learning,” as well as an introductory exploration of the various forms and degrees of bilingualism in Greek and Latin, see Biville 2002, 77.

83. For Augustine’s depiction of what we might call his “Virgil reading group” at Cassiciacum, see MacCormack 1998, 45–55 as well as Pucci 2014.

84. De vita sua 111–18 (ed. Jungck 1974, 58).