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  • "Such as When . . .":Homer, Hesiod, and the Theban Cycle in Bacchylides 19
ABSTRACT

The first word of the mythical section in Bacchylides 19 is disputed, and this article offers an emendation. I analyze the Io story in a way that shows its multiple affinity to the epic tradition (Homer, Hesiod, the Theban Cycle). To support my emendation, I argue that micro- and macro-contextual analysis is integral for understanding how textual criticism benefits from the compositional mannerism of circularity, which Bacchylides' dithyramb instantiates.

KEYWORDS

Bacchylides, textual criticism, intertextuality, circularity

I. Introduction

The outset of the mythical section in Bacchylides 19 is problematic and ambiguous. Problematic because the first word is disputed and ambiguous because it alludes to a plentitude of texts from the epic tradition that have an impact on the presentation of the Io story: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, the Thebaid, and the Epigonoi.1 In the course of my argument, I take three steps: (I) I offer an emendation for the first word of the Io story's mythical section; (II) I analyze the conceptual background of my emendation by putting forth three contexts: Iliad 9, excerpts from the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women, and Odyssey 11; (III) I argue that the spaces projected in the incipit of the Thebaid and the Epigoni exert influence on the structure of the Io story. Just as the spatialities of these two epics of the Theban Cycle stage a shift from Argos to Thebes, the mythical section of Bacchylides [End Page 125] 19 recounts Io's departure from Argos and sets up a link between her descendants, Cadmus and Dionysus, and Thebes.

My method of doing textual criticism takes recourse to pivotal developments in discourse theory that acknowledge the importance of context in the way one perceives and studies discourse, be it in the form of everyday communication or poetic expression. Context is the particular narrative environment that determines the shape of a statement and, on that basis, requires an ideological framing to vindicate its occurrence. For that reason, I use the insights of Dutch discourse theorist Teun A. van Dijk (2007: 7), who analyzes the circumstances under which "context models" arise and condition human communication:

[Co]ntext models strategically control discourse processing, in such a way that a discourse is produced or understood that is appropriate in a given communicative situation . . . anything that can vary in discourse may thus become controlled by the context model, such as deictic expressions, . . . formulas, style, rhetorical structures, speech acts, and so on.2

Propriety in discourse is defined by the following parameters: narrative setting, protagonist, and mode of action, which is represented in the immediate narrative environment (Van Dijk 2007: 8). These parameters are contingent on preset outlines (schemata) established in narrative or generic traditions of past discursive instantiations. These instantiations prevent the uncontrollable influx of diversified utterances and thus make discourse contextually appropriate according to circumstance. Should the three aforementioned parameters constitute ways of thinking and/ or uttering in preset forms and shapes, there is just "one contextual dimension [which] is constantly changing, so that context models need to be updated ongoingly: their knowledge" (Van Dijk 2007: 8). This means that the analysis of context derives from inter-, intra- and extra-narrative coordinates that conduce to an audience's perception of knowledge as this has been established in past discursive instantiations. Yet context models are prone to acquire new meanings that characterize the particular circumstances under which they occur.

Context is not a stringently determined concept, and therefore it divides into two main categories: micro-context–i.e., small-scale framing device–and macro-context–i.e., large-scale framing device. The [End Page 126] difference between the two resides in the way they modify the referencing system, which they apply, and they adjust it to discursive circumstances at various levels of specificity or generality.3 Macro-context properties differ from micro-context properties because their degree of specificity is regulated through a shift of focus and techniques of alteration: setting (spatiotemporal sequence), protagonist (role), mode of action (agency). In micro-context, the chronotope in which one (or many) narrative figure(s) is/are situated, take(s) a stance with regard to other figures, and perform(s) an action, can be conceived only in reference to familiar and comparable discursive instantiations attested in narrative or generic traditions of the past. The degree of its specificity shapes itself in accretion to these discursive instantiations. In macro-context, the chronotope in which one (or many) narrative figure(s) is/are situated, take(s) a stance with regard to other figures, and perform(s) an action, is attuned to another chronotope in the frame of the same narrative, the beginning and end of the narrative as a whole or a certain part of it, because points of signification converge in manner that makes sense for the way the entire narrative is construed. Each one of these attuned chronotopes can be conceived only in reference to familiar and comparable discursive instantiations attested in narrative or generic traditions of the past. Logically, also, the degree of their specificity is shaped in accretion to these discursive instantiations. A fundamental objective for the formation or application of a frame, be it a micro- or a macro-context, is the intention to conceptualize a field of knowledge that is otherwise inaccessible or vague. "Frames are evoked by particular meanings of words" (Kövecses 2006: 67) because they "help account for how we understand the meanings of individual words" (Kövecses 2006: 73). Constructing or applying a micro-/macro-context that suggests a semantic nexus, where the co-ordination of points of signification is neatly brought off, becomes a necessary precondition when one deals with individual words whose semantics need to be settled, and whose relation to the semantics of other, environing words needs to be compromised.

In what follows, I propose an emendation for the opening of the Io story, and I undertake an analysis of the narrative in terms of micro- and macro-context. [End Page 127]

II. Emending the Text

In this subsection, I am concerned with the textual transmission because the incipit of the Io story leaves open the question of how this story starts. The introductory part of a story paves the way for every succeeding part of it and smooths out its individual turning points. Therefore, it is paramount to get an idea as representative as possible of how the Io story sets the pace, should one wish to appreciate the narrative (and other formal, discursive, generic) virtues of the kind of dithyramb that Bacchylides 19 is.4

In Bacchylides 19, the Io story is excerpted from "countless paths of ambrosial verses" (19.1–2, μυρία κέλευθος / ἀμβροσίων μελέων) as "superlative prize" granted by Calliope the Muse (19.13–14, παρὰ Καλλιόπας λα-/ χοῖσαν ἔξοχον γέρας).5 Regrettably, the very first word is disfavored by the textual transmission, hence most editors print in cruces what the manuscript reads in a four-letter space:

†τιην† Ἄργος ὅθ' ἵππιον λιποῦσα

φεῦγε χρυσέα βοῦς

(Bacchyl. 19.15–16)

There was a time when the golden cow had left Argos, land of horses, and was in flight6 [End Page 128]

My emendation for the first word in the opening vignette runs asfollows: οἷον Ἄργος ὅθ' ἵππιον λιποῦ-/σα φεῦγε χρυσέα βοῦς ("such as when the golden heifer left horse-breeding Argos to begin her flight").7 οἷον picks up γέρας and exemplifies the Io story in "hesiodizing" terms, in tune with its Hesiodic origins in early Greek epic (Hes. frs. 124–128 M-W). However, the junction οἷον [. . .] ὅθ' is Homeric: it occurs twice in Homer, once in Iliad 9 and once in Odyssey 10, in contexts that thematize an individual's departure from a certain place.8 The closest parallel, and presumably Bacchylides' model, is the passage from Iliad 9 where Phoenix addresses Achilles in an attempt to soothe his heart from anger by recalling the time when he had to leave Hellas due to a dispute with Ormenid Amyntor, because this passage features λείπω in combination with φεύγω in a temporal clause introduced by ὅτε.9 The common scenery of coercive flight away from home plays down Hesiodic overtones by pointing up Homeric ones instead, though it does so by relying upon an Iliadic setting that stresses the unyielding spirit of a hero who once departed from Argos to Ilion and now renounces the treasures of "hundred-gated Egyptian Thebes" (9.381–383, οὐδ' ὅσα Θήβας / Αἰγυπτίας, . . . / αἵ θ' ἑκατόμπυλοί εἰσι)—just as Bacchylides' Io departs from Argos and eventually lands in Egypt, while Cadmus, her descendant, comes to inhabit "seven-gated Thebes" (19.47, ἐν ἑπταπύλοισ[ι Θήβαις).10 Bacchylides seems to bring the Homeric junction οἷον ὅτε [End Page 129] to disarray by placing the place-name Ἄργος in-between. In this way, he lends weight to the Hesiodic element by dint of the overlap between Argos the place-name and Argus the guard of Io from whom she flees–a story overtly Hesiodic in origin.11 Bacchylides manages to vary Homeric language by vesting it with Hesiodic subject-matter, the Io story, and by charging it with para-ehoie lemmatic system12 as this is encapsulated in the emended οἷον, especially since the story he treats mainly stems from the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women.13

Emending the text with the periphrastic construct οἷον [. . .] ὅθ' in its opening is plausible enough to address issues concerning the Io story's generic interlinking. The question of why generic interconnection enhances the understanding of a narrative puts intertextuality into the scale from a different point of view because it re-appraises what is taken for granted in the literary tradition.

III. Frames for Catalogue Poetry: Homer and Hesiod14

In this subsection, I concentrate on the discursive traits of the emendation that I have put forward above, and I investigate the micro- and macro-context of the periphrasis οἷον . . . ὅθ' in the opening of the Io story. [End Page 130]

The periphrasis οἷον ὅτε in Phoenix' speech may feature λείπω in combination with φεύγω in a way that renders Bacchylides' echo plausible, though this periphrasis is co-responsive to a fragmented οἷον ὅτε earlier in Iliad 9. Whereas the periphrasis at Il. 9.447–448 zooms in the departure theme, the preceding occurrence of οἷον . . . ὅτε at Il. 9.105–106 refers to the problem of Achilles' injured γέρας, a term that occurs immediately before the emended οἷον . . . ὅθ' in Bacchylides 19:

πρέπει σε φερτάταν ἴμενὁδὸν παρὰ Καλλιόπας λαχοῖσανἔξοχον γέρας.οἷον Ἄργος ὅθ' ἵππιον λιποῦσαφεῦγε χρυσέα βοῦς

(Bacchyl. 19.12–16)

You must travel by the finest road, since you have obtained from Calliope a superlative prize. Such as when the golden cow had left Argos, land of horses, and was in flight.

In Iliad 9, a negative example of γέρας, the violent appropriation of Achilles' concubine Briseis by Agamemnon, gives rise to the way in which οἷον . . . ὅτε (9.105–106) anticipates a catalogue of Achilles' compensatory presents (9.119–161 [~ 9.262–295]):

οὐ γάρ τις νόον ἄλλος ἀμείνονα τοῦδε νοήσει,οἷον ἐγὼ νοέω, ἠμὲν πάλαι ἠδ' ἔτι καὶ νῦν,ἐξ ἔτι τοῦ ὅτε, διογενὲς, Βρισηΐδα κούρηνχωομένου Ἀχιλῆος ἔβης κλισίηθεν ἀπούρας,οὔ τι καθ' ἡμέτερόν γε νόον· μάλα γάρ τοι ἐγώ γεπόλλ' ἀπεμυθεόμην· σὺ δὲ σῷ μεγαλήτορι θυμῷεἴξας ἄνδρα φέριστον, ὃν ἀθάνατοί περ ἔτισαν,ἠτίμησας· ἑλὼν γὰρ ἔχεις γέρας. ἀλλ' ἔτι καὶ νῦνφραζώμεσθ', ὥς κέν μιν ἀρεσσάμενοι πεπίθοιμενδώροισίν τ' ἀγανοῖσιν ἔπεσσί τε μειλιχίοισιν.

(Hom. Il. 9.104–113)

And no one shall have in his mind any thought that is better than this onethat I have in my mind either now or long before nowever since that day, illustrious, when you went from the shelterof angered Achilleus, taking by force the girl Briseisagainst the will of the rest of us, since I for my parturged you strongly not to, but you, giving way to your proud heart'sanger, dishonoured a great man, one whom the immortalshonour, since you have taken his prize and keep it. But let useven now think how we can make this good and persuade himwith words of supplication and with the gifts of friendship. [End Page 131]

Nestor reproaches Agamemnon for the way he insulted Achilles in the past by raising claim on Briseis. Agamemnon dishonored him and withheld his γέρας. Likewise, the γέρας that Bacchylides composes for Athens, the Io story, shows the maiden (at first) withheld from Zeus.15 The double use of οἷον ὅτε, both fragmented and in conjunction, in the story of Achilles in Iliad 9 becomes conspicuous as intertext for Bacchylides' οἷον . . . ὅθ' because of its links with catalogue poetry; the first use is placed right before the catalogue of presents announced for Achilles by Agamemnon; the second instance is attested after this catalogue of presents has been recounted to Achilles by Phoenix.

Should one regard οἷον autonomously, it works as genre-marker of catalogue poetry because it lemmatizes the Io story as superlative prize in a set of stories which are registered as countless pathways of ambrosial verses. Consequently, Bacchylides' Io story is one lemma in a suppressed catalogue of stories. οἷον occurs once more in Bacchylides, in the closing section of Bacchylides 16 that features a combination of Hesiodic theme and Homeric form when the narrative hints at how Deianeira committed the crime of smearing a garment with Nessus' poisoned blood and handed it over to the herald Lichas so that he passes it on to Heracles (fr. 25.21–24 M-W). This is an episode Bacchylides does not narrate but alludes to at the sidelines of a frame (16.30–35) he sets up to accommodate his reworking of a story registered in the Catalogue of Women. At the upper sideline of this frame, the characterizations attributed to Deianeira to designate the unusual two women story that resulted in Heracles' death and immortalization (16.30, ἆ δύσμορος, ἆ τάλ[αι]ν' "ah, ill-starred, unhappy woman"), point at two micro-frames in the story-variant of the Catalogue of Women.16 The second part of this frame's upper sideline that follows the two exclamatory characterizations is a [End Page 132] hapax attested Homeric expression which stages the tension generated by female figures in male catalogue poetry such as Clytaemestra in the catalogue of men in Odyssey 11: Bacchylides' wonderment about the sort of scheme Deianeira contrived against Heracles forms an instance of irregular catalogue-indexing designed to focus on a single ploy among the many possible non-narrated ones by drawing a lexical connection with another epic woman, Clytaemestra, who caused her husband's demise because of his infidelity.17 Bacchylides makes a double point when he presents his material by using the crucial concept of sexual jealousy (16.31, φθόνος) directly after the double characterization, since both the nuclear instance of Deianeira and Nessus in the river Lycormas, which he implies in the end of his poem (16.32–35), and the following romance of Heracles and Iole incur jealousy, a double ill-fate nicely rendered with Deianeira's double ill-characterization as δύσμορος and τάλαινα. At the lower sideline of the frame, Bacchylides introduces a lexical parallel (16.35, δέξατο), which is meant to function as allusion to the Hesiodic rendition of the Deianeira story (fr. 25.25 M-W δ[εξ]αμένωι). The role of οἷον in the Deianeira story of Bacchylides 16 enhances the suggestion that the Io story makes use of a genre-marker of catalogue poetry.

It is challenging to examine the beginning and end of the Io story along para-ehoie lines. Considering that the start of the mythical section is marked by οἷον, the disjunction in the end of the Io story at the narrative point where the reason for Argus' killing is left unspecified among three options (19.29, εἴτ'; 19.33, ἤ; 19.35, ἤ),18 seems to add to the ehoie associations, thus putting forward an inverted version of para-ehoie lemmatization in the form of hoion-e (x3). Bacchylides' version of the Io story inverts the course of events in the fabula for the ensuing hoion story begins with the departure of Io from Argos, a narrative instance that ought to follow the killing of Argus, and forms a ring-pattern when Argus is overpowered in disjunctive mode. Bacchylides varies a traditionally Hesiodic story by crafting a multiple-choice quiz that aims to measure up the Io story's overall Hesiodism by alluding to non-Hesiodic sources for two out of three assumptions concerning Argus' demise. [End Page 133] This conceit of inverted para-ehoie lemmatization is no Bacchylidean novelty; it parallels an unprecedented experiment in the catalogue of men in Odyssey 11 that has the following shape:

Od. 11.393–394/11.397–403: hoie-e[x3]

Od. 11.414–415/11.427–429: e[x3]-hoion

Od. 11.492–497/11.499–500: e[x3]-[t]/[h]oios

The macro-disjunctive pattern of Odyssey 11, which is variably gendered, indicates that Bacchylides' inversion of para-ehoie lemmatization connects to catalogue poetry from a formal viewpoint, for the hoion story of Bacchylides 19 comes full circle with a macro-disjunction in such a way that justifies its link with catalogue poetry by introducing a multiple choice quiz about how Argus was overpowered.

In the analysis I undertook above, I have designated three frames, two Homeric and one Hesiodic, that substantiate the plausibility of my emendation for the outset of the Io story. As regards Homer, the periphrastic construct οἷον . . . ὅθ' in Bacchylides 19 echoes the co-responsive application of οἷον ὅτε in Iliad 9 at the level of micro-context, while the manner in which οἷον, the introductory pointer to Io's departure from Argos, is rounded off with the disjunctive fashioning of Argus' death, parallels the unusual disjunctive patterns in Odyssey 11 at the level of macro-context. Concerning Hesiod, the Io story's adherence to narrative contexts of the Catalogue of Women renders it appropriate for an individualized hoion story that is reminiscent of the para-ehoie lemmatic system. I have shown that both Homeric and Hesiodic frames are connoted with catalogue poetry.

IV. Cyclic19 and Circular Spatialities: The Theban Cycle

This subsection comes to grips with circularity as compositional mannerism, which pays heed to how the ritual and mythical sections of [End Page 134] Bacchylides 19 start and finish with allusions to the Theban Cycle, thus following the circumference of an imaginary circle. Special references are not to the Thebaid and the Epigonoi in general but to their opening lines in particular. The spatialities of the Theban Cycle become intrinsic for appreciating what the narrative of Bacchylides 19 connotes.

Bacchylides 19 sets up an intriguing interplay with the geography of Argos, a city that features in the Thebaid's opening line: the mythical section starts with Io leaving behind20 Argos, the Thebaid's first word (fr. 1 W, Ἄργος ἄειδε, θεά, πολυδίψιον ἔνθεν ἄνακτες, "Sing, goddess, of thirsty Argos, from where the lords,"),21 but it appears to end up re-encompassing Argive spatiality by being reminiscent of Dionysus' birth in a way that echoes the last word of the Thebaid's first line22 (Bacchyl. 19.48–51, Κάδμος Σεμέλ[αν φύτευσεν, / ἃ τὸν ὀρσιβάκχα[ν / τίκτεν Διόνυσον, [κισσινῶν ἀοιδῶν / καὶ χορῶν στεφαν[αφόρων ἄνακτα, "Cadmus begot Semele, who gave birth to Dionysus the rouser of Bacchants, the master of songs embellished with ivy and of choruses adorned with wreaths").23 Io's shift that spans from the start of her wandering away [End Page 135] from Argos to the connections of her famed descendants, Cadmus and Dionysus, with Thebes, parallels the shift of the Argive warlords who are heading off to Thebes in the Thebaid's first line. This renders the Io story a narrative signposted by a cyclic frame. Thus, Bacchylides re-invigorates a literary geography from an epic that challenges spatialities in form and content:24 the Thebaid may commence with a reference to Argos in its introduction, but is essentially a story about Thebes and the way this city's throne is fought over by two brothers (Davies 1989: 24). What Bacchylides does is to be in keeping with the Thebaid's thematic shift from Argive (19.15) to Theban spatiality (19.47) in terms of narrative content, which he eventually questions with a ring-composition connoting Argos at the level of form. Divorcing the geographies of form and content has repercussions on the extent to which space in lyric narrative differs from space in epic narrative.

The plot of the Epigonoi is acted out on the same spatiality as that of the Thebaid: it hovers between Argos and Thebes, but this is hardly deduced from the opening line (fr. 1 W, νῦν αὖθ' ὁπλοτέρων ἀνδρῶν ἀρχώμεθα, Μοῦσαι, "But now, Muses, let us begin on the younger men").25 Contrary to the Thebaid, this poem's first line is despatialized for it announces that the poem at issue deals with "the younger men," i.e., the descendants of those heroes who participated in the war of the Seven against Thebes. There are two fundamental features in the incipit: the focus on young men and the Muse-driven song. Taking into account that the mythical section of Bacchylides 19 spans from Argos and Io to [End Page 136] Thebes and Dionysus as it moves from beginning to end26 and alludes to the Thebaid to render this spatial and genealogical move perceptible, it is worth examining whether the Epigonoi also have a similar effect on the stylization of the narrative. If the Thebaid bridges beginning and end of the mythical section, the focal points as given out in the Epigonoi's incipit emerge equally salient for the framing of the ritual section as long as a bifurcated reference to the Pierid Muses and Calliope opens and closes the first narrative section respectively (19.3–4, ὃς ἂν παρὰ Πιερίδων λά-/χηισι δῶρα Μουσᾶν ~ 19.13–14, παρὰ Καλλιόπας λα-/χοῖσαν ἔξοχον γέρας),27 and Dionysus proves a singular embodiment of epigonic ὁπλότεροι ἄνδρες because he qualifies as late descendant of Io acknowledged as "leader of dithyrambic choruses [of young men]" (19.50–51).28 The narrative setting of Bacchylides 19 reworks the traditional cyclic shift from Argos to Thebes as suggested by the opening lines of the Thebaid and the Epigonoi.

This circular way in which a lyric narrative alludes to an epic one is certainly not common but occurs in a sympotic elegy ascribed to Ion of Chios (fr. 27 IEG). The opening line of the poem addresses a king (fr. 27.1 IEG, χαιρέτω ἡμέτερος βασιλεὺς σωτήρ τε πατήρ τε, "Hail to our king, savior, and father!"), and the language is highly connotative of Zeus inasmuch as the salutation χαιρέτω as well as the collocation σωτήρ τε πατήρ τε put him at the epicenter.

First, in Hesiod's Theogony, χαίρετ' (Theog. 963) marks the closing part of the theogonic song performed by the Muses (Theog. 1, 36), which comes to an end with a catalogue of divine lovers and the women they slept with (Theog. 886–962), in which Zeus predominates (Theog. 886–923), before it passes over into the section dealing with the [End Page 137] goddesses whom mortal men bedded (Theog. 965–1020). Ion's χαίρετ' (fr. 27.1 IEG) is a Hesiodic benchmark of male catalogue poetry with genealogical focus and forms a point of intersection with theogonic poetry.

Second, the junction σωτήρ τε πατήρ τε (fr. 27.1 IEG) recalls the Zeus-exclusive formula πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε, recurrent both in Homer and in Hesiod. One example from Hesiod is relevant: in Theogony's opening hymn to the Muses, the narrative sequence begins with the Muses as Zeus' offspring (Theog. 36,) and moves from the progeny of Gaia and Ouranos (Theog. 45) to Zeus the "father of gods and men", who marks both beginning and end of the song of the Muses (Theog. 47–49). Likewise, the first half of Ion's elegy opens with a reference to the king "as saviour and father," an echo of Zeus the "father of gods and men", and closes with a "commencement from Zeus" (fr. 27.6 IEG, ἐκ Διὸς ἀρχόμενοι).

This thorough look at the opening line of Ion's elegy proves astonishingly Hesiodic in character as long as it makes a statement on the structure of the main narrative part of the Theogony in which the role of Zeus is paramount. This Zeus-centered narrative part spans from the opening hymn to the Muses to the catalogue of divine lovers, which is itself a point of intersection with the proem of the Catalogue of Women (fr. 1.15–22 M-W), before the catalogue of goddesses sets in. Ion commences and ends his narrative in varying Hesiodic tone because the second half builds on the sympotic theme in the formal manner of catalogue poetry with a four-entries listing of sympotic acts (fr. 27.7–8 IEG) and endorses the governing theme of Hesiod's Catalogue of Women by addressing sexual intercourse with women and through an allusion to Hesiod's κυδροὶ βασιλεῖς in the proem of the Catalogue of Women (fr. 1.16 Most, σπερμαίνων τὰ πρῶτα γένος κυδρῶν βασιλήων, "begetting at first the race of illustrious kings,"29) that echoes the elegy's beginning in ring-form (fr. 27.1 IEG, βασιλεύς; fr. 27.10 IEG, κυδρότερον).30 The example I deduce from Ion, shows that the circular way of composing lyric poetry may occasionally draw on epic poetry just as Bacchylides 19 does with the opening lines of the Thebaid and the Epigonoi.

This extra-Bacchylidean example notwithstanding, it is worthwhile examining whether there is a parallel case for a Theban framing in [End Page 138] Bacchylides' work. As it turns out, there is. Bacchylides 9 commemorates the founding of the Nemean Games on the occasion of the death of Archemoros, the infant son of the Nemean king, whose nurse abandoned him to help the Seven on their way to Thebes cease their thirst at a spring. In this version, the Seven are presented as mythical founders of the Nemean Games (9.10–14), a tradition that runs counter to the one acknowledging the role of Heracles in this matter when he fought against and conquered the Nemean Lion (9.4–9).31 Not only is the overarching narrative of Bacchylides 9 framed in such a way as to invite comparison with the Theban multi-framing devices in Bacchylides 19, but the concise passage dealing with the Seven also suggests a framework reminiscent of the irregular blending of the Thebaid and the Epigonoi in Bacchylides 19. Bacchylides 9 opens with a reference to the Charites and the "violet-eyed" Muses (9.1–3, χρυσαλάκατοι Χάρι[τ]ες, . . . Μουσᾶν γε ἰοβλεφάρων), which Bacchylides 19 varies at its outset by mentioning the Muses together with the "violet-eyed" Charites (19.4–6, δῶρα Μουσᾶν, / ἰοβλέφαροί τε κ<όρ>αι / φερεστέφανοι Χάριτες); apart from these two passages, the adjective ἰοβλέφαρος does not occur elsewhere in reference to the Muses either inside or outside Bacchylides. By analogy, Bacchylides 9 closes with a commemoration of Dionysus (9.98, Διων[υσ] θεοτίματ[ο]ν πόλιν) just as Bacchylides 19 does (19.50–51, Διόνυσον [κισσινῶν ἀοιδῶν / καὶ χορῶν στεφαν[αφόρωνακτα). Likewise, Dionysus features in the Epinikia and in the Dithyrambs in overtly Theban settings. Should my emendation for the outset of the mythical section of Bacchylides 19 be correct, both texts deploy markers of catalogue poetry in combination with overt or covert cues to the Theban Cycle. The diachronic sequence that sets the Seven, as mythical winners in the Nemean Games, in line with Automedes, the historical pentathlete in the same games whose victory Bacchylides celebrates, exemplifies him through irregular catalogue indexing and puts his discus-throwing performance in the frame of the Greeks' immense circle (9.30, τοῖος Ἑλλάνων δι' ἀπείρονα κύκλον), thus including amortal athlete into the catalogue of [End Page 139] the semi-divine Seven (19.10, ἡμίθεοι). However, not all of the Seven are catalogued, since the narrative of Bacchylides 9 names only three: Amphiaraos, the son of Oecles (9.16), Adrastos (9.19), and Polyneices (9.20). The approximation of Automedes to the Seven by dint of irregular catalogue indexing encourages an estimation of his distinguished epigonic position in comparison to the founders of the Nemean Games, especially with a view to how the implicit bifurcation of the Theban Cycle in a narrative context that acknowledges Automedes' distinctions in discus-throwing (9.30, τοῖος) and wrestling (9.37, τοίῳ), designates him as epigone in the Theban Cycle which the Thebaid and the Epigonoi constitute by implication (9.30, κύκλον).32 The notions double rage and circular movement put forward by the junctions νυκτὸς διχομηνίδος (9.29) and δίσκον τροχοειδέα (9.32) frame the reference to the circle of the Greeks and suggest doubleness (9.29, διχομηνίδος ~ δίχα, "in two, asunder"; 19.32, δίσκον ~ δίς, "twice"), thus evoking the two major expeditions of the Theban Cycle.33 In Bacchylides 19, irregular catalogue indexing puts the singled-out hoion of the Io story in the context of a suppressed series of ἀμβρόσια μέλεα, "divine songs," granted by the Muses, which commences and ends with verbal echoes of the Thebaid and accommodates in its closing section two persons linked with Thebes: Cadmus and Dionysus. The Theban Cycle frame of Bacchylides 19 parallels the reworking of the Theban Cycle, which the narrative section dealing with Automedes and the Seven ventures in Bacchylides 9.

The Seven are habitually linked with irregular indexing throughout the Greek tradition, starting with the Iliad. In a speech of Agamemnon to Diomedes, Tydeus is singled out as distinguished warrior hero not only among the Seven whom Polyneices summoned when he planned to attack Thebes (4.377–378), but also among the Thebans, a great number of whom he managed to kill when he entered the gates as messenger (4.391–398). At the close of a genealogy-motivated digression that lays emphasis on the expedition against Thebes, irregular indexing of male catalogue poetry (4.399, τοῖος) is deployed to the effect of extolling an individual entry in a suppressed catalogue of the Seven and a stifled catalogue of Thebans. [End Page 140]

First, the suppressed catalogue of the Seven. Agamemnon praises twice Tydeus' skillfulness in battle in such manner that renders the Aetolian hero distinct among his comrades: first, his habitual inclination was to fight in the forefront, rather than lurk in the background, far ahead of his companions (4.373); second, he outperformed all others in the battlefield (4.375). Both of these statements concerning Tydeus' efficiency as warrior hero extol him as single entry in a group of unnamed fellow-warriors; only he gets to be singled out in a doubly stifled catalogue of men. This makes good sense when one takes into account the instance of analeptic toios indexing concerning Tydeus that closes the digression (4.399) which Agamemnon launches into the narrative in order to rebuke Diomedes. The midpart that bridges the gap between the first and the second point concerning Tydeus' excellence in battle, contains a significant statement about the source of his knowledge of Tydeus. He takes recourse to a certain, here unspecified, narrative tradition, to "the words of those who saw him in action" as he neither came across Tydeus himself nor has he witnessed what he did in the battlefield (4.374–375). This cues the intrusion of a Theban Cycle story alien to the material pertaining to the Trojan Cycle and signifies how the diachronic storyline of Tydeus squares with the synchronic storyline of Iliad 4 on the basis of war theme and genealogy.34

Second, the stifled catalogue of Thebans. Tydeus is sent to the Cad-means as herald and finds them feasting. He challenges them to compete in athletic contests (4.389) and prevails in every single one of them (4.389–390). Tydeus is considered to be favoured by the aiding presence of Athene (4.390), who is toie indexed in a context of suppressed male catalogue poetry. Strangely, the narrative makes use of toie indexing that designates Athene an overtly masculinized warrior-goddess and patron of a male warrior-hero, who wins in male-only athletic competitions that suppress catalogues of those many Cadmeans, who participated in the games (4.385, 4.388). Praise is cast upon Tydeus, who had to compete against an unspecified plentitude of Cadmeans and be granted a name-entry in a smothered, hence not onomastic, catalogue of men. [End Page 141]

It is worth considering the similar construction in Bacchylides 9, which also uses irregular catalogue indexing twice. The two fully fledged catalogues of the Seven against Thebes attested in Greek tragedy make use of deviant formations of irregular indexing. In Aeschylus' Seven against Thebes, the final entry, Eteocles, is integrative of a suppressed catalogue of curses he utters in terms of hoie indexing.35 In Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, the first entry of the catalogue is semanticized by hoios indexing (1313, οἷος δορυσσοῦς Ἀμφιάρεως, "Amphiaraus, being the first in hurling spears"). Judging from the consistent way in which catalogue indexing is at work in suppressed or fully fledged catalogues of the Seven, it may not seem out of place to suppose that the narrative tradition of the Thebaid is receptive to diversified sampling of catalogue poetry. If so, Bacchylides resorts to this tradition to fashion his own samples of irregular catalogue indexing both in Bacchylides 9 (τοῖος, τοίῳ) and in Bacchylides 19 (οἷον).

I have argued that the opening lines of two epics of the Theban Cycle are important as intertexts for the narrative of Bacchylides 19. While beginning and end of its mythical section echo the Thebaid's incipit, the opening and closing parts of its ritual section and the end of its mythical section can be thought to connect to the incipit of the Epigonoi. The ensuing result is a circular mannerism with cyclic connotations. Two examples of such compositional circularity in lyric narrative have been adduced: one concerning Ion of Chios and one about Bacchylides 9.

V. Conclusion

Considering that the beginning of the Io story is not transmitted, I have emended the text in such a way that shows how Bacchylides 19 contextualizes Homer, Hesiod, and the Theban Cycle. My method of doing textual criticism on Greek lyric benefits from discursive semblances and connections that function at the level of micro- and macro-context and involve a variety of texts from the epic tradition. Analyzing what appears to be a formulaic expression in early Greek epic (οἷον . . . ὅθ'), raises questions about how it has been perceived and applied in the past, and [End Page 142] about the degree of ingenuity, which Bacchylides invests in it in the new generic environment that Bacchylides 19 constitutes. [End Page 143]

Marios Skempis
Independent Scholar, Thessaloniki
marios.skempis@gmail.com

I am thankful to a special category of friends, who helped me to effect my own shift to circular spatialities.

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Footnotes

1. Generally on allusion in early Greek lyric see Garner 1990: 1–20.

2. See also van Dijk 2006: 170–73; 2011: 614–15.

3. Van Dijk 2007: 17: "People probably do not have two different models, a micro and a macro model, of the same structure, but in fact one model with the categories mentioned above, but with information at various levels of specificity or generality as contents of the categories" (not my emphasis).

4. My approach to the Io story of Bacchylides 19 focuses on very specific aspects: the way in which this story starts, and what sort of implications this start raises for the generic affiliations of the narrative; it does not provide a wide-ranging interpretation of the poem. Covering matters adhering to dithyrambic performance is beyond my concern.

5. The "superlative prize" endowed by Calliope forms the concluding part of an escalated enunciative framework that advertizes circularity as compositional mannerism already in the ritual section: the "countless paths of ambrosial verses" granted by the Pierid Muses at the outset of this section (19.1–4; see Nünlist 1998: 238) is symmetrical to the "finest road" trodden by the poet from Ceos, who "received by Calliope a superlative prize," at the close of this section (19.12–14; see Becker 1937: 75n67). In the midpart of this section, the prompt to "weave a new song" (19.8–9, cf. B. 5.8–10 for which see Scheid and Svenbro 1994: 118; Nünlist 1998: 112–13) suggests a selection from the plentitude of ambrosial verses, considering that τι καινόν refers to μέλος at line 2, and acquires the elevated status of a superlative prize before the actual μέλος, i.e., the Io story, is introduced.

6. For Bacchylides, I have used the text of Maehler 1997 and the translation of Camp-bell 1992; for Homer's Iliad, the text of West 1998 and the translation of Lattimore 1951; for Homer's Odyssey, the text of van Thiel 1991 and the translation of Lattimore 1965; for the Thebaid and the Epigonoi the text and the translation of West 2003; for Ion of Chios, the text of West 1972 and the translation of Olson 2009; for Hesiod's Catalogue of Women, the text and the translation of Most 2007; for Aeschylus' Seven against Thebes, the text of Hutchinson 1985 and the translation of Grene 2013; for Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, the text of Lloyd-Jones and Wilson 1990 and the translation of Mulroy 2014.

7. This is the case at least as far as four modern editors of Bacchylides are concerned: Snell and Maehler 1970: 69, Campbell 1992: 232, Irigoin 1993: 54, and Maehler 1997: 28, 253–54 print the text as given above. Kenyon 1897: 187 gives a full account of the problem. Jebb 1905: 400 reports that the manuscript reads ΤΙΗΝ, though he tends to discredit τί ἦν, or a Doric infinitive τίεν proposed by Marindin (apud Nairn 1897: 453), in favour of Headlam's emendation ἦεν (1989: 68), glossed as corruption of τι ην, a reading also adopted by Edmonds 1922: 112. Finally, Blass 1898: 153, Jurenka 1898: 142, and Taccone 1907: 187 opt for the interrogative form τί ἦν. Emendations have been proposed also by Housman 1898: 74 (εἴ τιν') and Christ 1898: 28, 51 (τί; ἦν).

8. Hom. Il. 9.447–448, οἷον ὅτε πρῶτον λίπον Ἑλλάδα καλλιγύναικα / φεύγων νείκεα πατρὸς, Ἀμύντορος Ὀρμενίδαο, "as I was that time when I first left Hellas, the land of fair women, running from the hatred of Ormenos' son Amyntor"; Hom. Od. 10.462–463, οἷον ὅτε πρώτιστον ἐλείπετε πατρίδα γαῖαν / τρηχείης Ἰθάκης, "that kind of [. . .] when first you left the land of your fathers on rugged Ithaka."

9. Hom. Il. 14.295; Od. 13.388 (with no trace of λείπω or φεύγω whatsoever). Maehler 1997: 254–55 does not mention these parallels.

10. On "seven-gated Thebes" see Cingano 2000: 141–43; Kühr 2006: 209–20; Pache 2014: 282–84.

11. The Hesiodic character is substantiated by the fact that the Io story was recounted in the Catalogue of Women (frs. 124–128 M-W) and in the Aegimius (fr. 294 M-W), both attributed to Hesiod. The attestation of Hesychius is telling: πρῶτος δὲ Ἡσίοδος ἔπλασε τὰ περὶ τὸν Δία καὶ τὴν Ἰώ (Hsch. α 8771 Latte). The Cyclic Phoronis introduces an alternative name for Io, Callithoe, in order to designate her role as Hera's first priestess (fr. 4 W; cf. Hes. fr. 125 M-W; Plut. fr. 158 Sandbach).

12. If so, οἷον generates a double sound-play both in the same line with ἵππ-ιον and with the name of the mythical character to whom the commencing mythical section is devoted: Ἰώ. Note also the pun on Io set up by ἰο-βλέφαροι (19.5) directly following the "gifts of the Muses".

13. The Io story is neither attested nor presupposed in Homer (Schol. D in Il. 2.103, τὸν γὰρ Ἰοῦς ἔρωτα οὐκ οἶδεν ὁ ποιητής, πέπλασται δὲ παρὰ τοῖς νεωτέροις τὰ περὶ τὸν Ἄργον), though it may have been otherwise with the Epic Cycle for which see Severyns 1926: 130 [the ascription to Aegimius is explicit in Schol. in Eur. Phoen. 1116 Schwartz; Severyns 1926: 125 presumes that the Aegimius provided a concise version of the story that lays emphasis on the killing of Argus]. For the Io story in the Catalogue of Women see West 1985: 76–77n101; Dowden 1989: 118; Gantz 1993: 199; Hall 1997: 81; Hirschberger 2004: 289.

14. For various degrees of Bacchylides' literary connections to Homer see Kirkwood 1966; Segal 1976: 100–107; Pfeijffer 1999: 44–51; Ford 2002: 115–17; Kowalzig 2007: 306–308; Skempis 2011: 259–60, 264–69, 284–86; Fearn 2012; Dova 2012: 76–87; De Jong 2014; Cairns 2010: 49–58; 2014: 115. For Hesiod's impact on Bacchylides see Schwartz 1960: 563–64; Cairns 1997: 37–38; Fearn 2003: 355; D'Alessio 2005: 230–31, 236–37; Currie 2010: 212–16; Skempis 2011: 261–64, 270–75, 278–80.

15. A further connection is instantiated by the term δῶρα: δώροισίν τ' ἀγανοῖσιν (9.114); περικλυτὰ δῶρ' (9.121); δῶρα μὲν οὐκέτ' ὀνοστά (9.164) ~ δῶρα (B. 19.4).

16. Fr. 25.10 M-W, ἔτλη ἐσάντα ἰδ̣ὼ̣[ν μεῖναι κρατερ]ὸ̣ν Μ̣ελέαγ[ρον;fr. 25.16 M-W, Τοξέα τε Κλύμενό[ν τε ἄνακ]τ' ἀτάλαντ̣[ον] Ἄρηϊ. The pun on τλάω/ἀτάλαντος frames Althaea's progeny that starts with Meleager and finishes with Deianeira, before her union with Heracles is lemmatized. Fr. 25.25 M-W, καὶ] θ̣άνε καί ῥ' Ἀΐδ[αο πολύστονον ἵκε]το δῶμα; fr. 25.28 M-W, ἀθάνατος καὶ ἄγηρος, ἔχων καλλ[ίσ]φυρον Ἥβην. The iterated θανstem signals Heracles' double fate (μόρος) the end of his mortal life and the beginning of his immortal life. The wordplay set up by δύσμορος "ill-fated" and δίς + μόρος "double fate" can be thought to suggest the Catalogue of Women from a different point of view because this epic poem mentions the story of the clash between Iole and Deianeira twice (fr. 25 and 229 M-W).

17. 16.30, οἷον ἐμήσατ[ο, "to devise such a plan," transl. D. A. Campbell ~ Hom. Od. 11.429, οἷον δὴ καὶ κείνη ἐμήσατο ἔργον ἀεικές, "[acts of such sort] asthis one [scil. woman] did when she thought of this act of dishonor."

18. Disjunctive is the manner in which the options about how Argus was overpowered, are presented: (1) stone thrown at him by Hermes; (2) anxiety; (3) enchanting song of the Muses (19.29–36). The first option is Hesiodic.

19. For lexical and thematic allusions to the Epic Cycle in Bacchylides see Croiset 1898: 75, cf. Tsagalis 2017: 315–316n1284 (Minyas in B. 5); Jebb 1905: 301 ([Panyassis' (?)] Heraclea in B. 9); Maehler 1982: 144, McDevitt 2009: 154 (Thebaid in B. 9); Jebb 1905: 307 (Aethiopis in B. 9); Kowalzig 2007: 301–308 (Nostoi in B. 11); Jebb 1905: 64, Fearn 2007: 271, West 2013: 45 (Cypria in B. 15); Jebb 1905: 64, Gentili 1958: 50–51, Maehler 1997: 161 (Creophylus' Capture of Oechalia in B. 16); Zimmermann 1992: 75 (Panyassis' Heraclea in B. 16); Herter 1973: 1106, Neils 1987: 12, Maehler 2004: 192 (Theseid in B. 17); Herter 1973: 1081, Neils 1987: 12, Maehler 1997: 188, 2004: 192 (Theseid in B. 18). There is no treatment of the topic in the volume edited by Fantuzzi and Tsagalis 2015.

20. Both Io and the lords mentioned in the Thebaid's opening line move away from Argos as they head off to Thebes, with different, indirect (through Cadmus and Dionysus) or direct, courses each. In doing so, they are at odds with the Homeric trajectory according to which a displaced Iliadic lord, Agamemnon, very often reflects on the possible return to Argos (Hom. Il. 2.115, Ἄργος ἱκέσθαι; 4.171, Ἄργος ἱκοίμην; 9.141, Ἄργος ἱκοίμεθ'). The centrifugal tendency with which the junction Ἄργος λιποῦσα is laden (19.15), itself congruent with the geographic shift of the Argive lords in the Thebaid, takes issue with the Iliadic centripetal drives toward Argos as instantiated by Agamemnon in the formula Ἄργος ἱκέσθαι. Further occurrences of the formula in early Greek epic include: Hom. Il. 9.283, Ἄργος ἱκοίμεθ' (Odysseus reports segments of Agamemnon's earlier speech in this book); 9.115, ἵκετ' Ἄργος (Hera); 24.437, Ἄργος ἱκοίμην (Hermes); Hes. fr. 37.10 M-W, εἰς Ἄργος [. . .] ἵκοντο (Proetids).

21. See Davies 2014: 43–46; Torres-Guerra 2015: 229. Cf. Bethe 1891: 40–41, 106.

22. In fact, the genealogical entry of Dionysus harmonizes the narrative's Argive thread with the Theban one. The re-encompassing of Argive spatiality is realized merely on the discursive level.

23. Bacchyl. 19.48–51, Κάδμος Σεμέλ[αν φύτευσεν, / ἃ τὸν ὀρσιβάκχα[ν / τίκτεν Διόνυσον, [κισσινῶν ἀοιδῶν / καὶ χορῶν στεφαν[αφόρων ἄνακτα, "Cadmus begot Semele, who gave birth to Dionysus the rouser of Bacchants, the master of songs embellished with ivy and of choruses adorned with wreaths." The word ἄνακτα (19.51) is supplemented by Wilamowitz-Moellendorff 1898: 143 and accepted by modern editors: Snell and Maehler 1970: 71; Campbell 1992: 234; Irigoin 1993: 56; Maehler 1968: 106, 1997: 30. For my survey, it is noteworthy that Dionysus' appellation ἄναξ is not common before Bacchylides: it occurs once in Anacreon (fr. 12.1 L-P ὦναξ) and a second time in the fragmentary Homeric Hymn to Dionysus (1A.6, ἄλλοι δ' ἐν Θήβηισιν ἄναξ σε λέγουσι γενέσθαι). This appellation recurs in post-Bacchylidean poetic contexts where it is not dithyrambic, but indicative of the fact that he presides over Bacchic rites. See Ar. Ra. 1259; AP app. ep. dem. 166.7; Orph. A. 28; Orph. H. 30.2; 54.8. Skempis 2016: 14 proposes the supplement κισσινῶν ἀοιδῶν (19.50).

24. The connecting line between Argos and the lords at the Thebaid's first line is drawn by means of ἔνθεν (Ἄργος ἄειδε, θεά, πολυδίψιον ἔνθεν ἄνακτες) whose geographic tenor consolidates the spatial outline of the poem according to which Argos is where "lords" hail from as they make a dash at Thebes. Bacchylides turns this martial-geographic dash into a genealogical-geographic aetion, which explains how a different kind of "lord", Theban in provenance, originates from an Argive clan. It is enticing to discern a reflection of the Thebaid's ἔνθεν in the Bacchylidean ὅθεν (19.46), which introduces the reference to Dionysus.

25. See Davies 2014: 110–12; Cingano 2015: 254–55 with bibliography cited. Cf. Bethe 1891: 36–38.

26. It is worth considering that what scholars tend to take for granted, namely that the end of the Io story features an Athenian setting because of the reference to choruses, is not credible. The Athenian setting is explicit only in the ritual section, not in the mythical one.

27. The co-existence of ἀρχώμεθα and Μοῦσαι in the opening line of the Epigonoi is enough to justify why Bacchylides may have wanted to frame the ἀρχή of his narrative, not to mention the closing part of the first section, with a reference to the Muse(s).

28. Burkert 2002: 33–34 argues that the epithet ὁπλότεροι signifies young men as opposed to the elderly, but in the particular case of the Epigonoi the formula ὁπλότεροι ἄνδρες brings notions of virility and martial competence into focus and forms a point of intersection between the descendants of the Seven and their Argive progenitors. In Bacchylides 19, the focus can be thought to shift to genealogy, Dionysus being literally the younger descendant of Io in a genealogical line starting with Epaphus (19.42).

29. For the supplementation of the Hesiodic line see Renehan 1986.

30. On this intertextual link see Irwin 2005: 47.

31. Seven against Thebes aetiology: Pi. N. hyp. b; Arist. fr. 8.50n [637] Rose; Schol. in Clem. Al. Protr. et Paed. p. 306 Stählin-Treu. Heracles aetiology: Pi. N. hyp. a; Paus. 5.11.5; Schol. in Luc. Bis Acc. 2; Schol. in Luc. DDeor. 7. The traditions have been welded together in Euripides' Hypsipyle (fr. 757.897–943 Kannicht). See Cairns 2010: 96–97; Stafford 2012: 163. For the labour of Heracles against the Nemean Lion and the founding of pankration see B. 13.46–54 with Maehler 1982: 251–53.

32. For κύκλος as metaphor for poems of the Epic Cycle see Nagy 1996: 38; Fantuzzi and Tsagalis 2015: 1–7.

33. The junction τροχοειδὴς δίσκος echoes fr. 1.1 W of the Alcmeonis.

34. Tsagalis 2012: 219 understands Thebes, a bearer of the narrative tradition of the Cyclic Thebaid, as antagonist of Mycenae, a bearer of the narrative tradition of the Homeric Iliad, given that Agamemnon is that character who relates the Tydeus story in Iliad 4.

35. 631–633, τὸν ἕβδομον δὴ τόνδ' ἐφ' ἑβδόμαις πύλαις / λέξω, τὸν αὐτοῦ σοῦ κασίγνητον, πόλει / οἵας ἀρᾶται καὶ κατεύχεται τύχας, "And now, the seventh and the seventh gate I shall unfold–your own, your very brother. Hear now the curses the city and what fate he invokes upon her."

Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9234
Print ISSN
0009-8418
Pages
125-146
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-26
Open Access
No
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