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  • Minor Greek Tragedians: Fragments from the Tragedies with Selected Testimonia, Volume 1, The Fifth Century by Martin J. Cropp
  • Fayah Haussker
Martin J. Cropp. Minor Greek Tragedians: Fragments from the Tragedies with Selected Testimonia, Volume 1, The Fifth Century. Aris and Phillips Classical Texts. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2019. Pp. xxiv + 271. £21.96. ISBN 9781786942036.

This is the first of two volumes in which Martin J. Cropp provides a comprehensive selection, with English translation and commentary, of testimonies and fragments relating to works by the Greek tragedians who are misleadingly denoted in the scholarship as “minor” in distinction to the canonical three (Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides).1 This first volume is dedicated to the earlier tragic poets whose dramatic productions date from the last third of the sixth century to the end of the fifth century BCE. The material is preserved in mostly poor fragmentary remnants, quotations, and paraphrases by later ancient writers or in papyri.

Whereas the lost plays of the canonical triad have increasingly commanded scholarly attention in recent decades, along with an effort to make them accessible to non-specialists,2 research into the fragmentary material of the “minor” tragedians has proceeded at a slower pace. Apart from a few monographs dedicated to the individual authors, such as the in-depth study on Ion of Chios by Leurini (2000), and sporadic editions with limited [End Page 297] account of authors,3 only limited studies dedicated to edited collections (i.e., text, notes, and translation to modern languages) of the “minors” have been published in the period between the publication of Snell and Kannicht’s TrGF I2 (1986) and Cropp’s present study.4 One of these is the bilingual Greek–German edition Musa tragica by Kannicht et al. (1991), which is based on TrGF I2 and II (1981).5 Others are two doctoral dissertations in Spanish that focus on a selection of “minors” of the fifth century BCE: an unrevised reprint of the doctoral thesis of Francisco Miguel del Rincón Sánchez (2007), to whom Cropp refers but does not include in the bibliography, covering the authors from Thespis to Neophron; and the other by Pablo Luzón Martín (2015) presenting ten poets, starting from Agathon. These dissertations rely principally on the edited text of TrGF I2 with minor deviations.

Hence, Cropp’s bilingual Greek–English edition is more than welcome and responds to the need, as the author declares, to “fill a remaining gap in the Aris & Phillips series by presenting in a relatively accessible form virtually all of the text-fragments of tragedies composed by non-canonical poets between approximately 500 and 200 BC” (xxii).

In the introduction, Cropp first presents an outline of tragedy in the fifth century BCE with reference to the earlier period (ix–xviii), challenging Aristotle’s account (Poet. 1449a13–15) of tragedy’s evolution and supporting the view that tragedy “was developed in a particular historical context, as a striking addition to the Athenian democracy’s newly elaborated spring festival of Dionysus” (xi). He then provides a critical overview of evidence (xviii–xxi) and illustrates the editorial principles used in the volume and the internal arrangement of the chapters (xxii–xxiv).

The main body of the book consists of testimonia, fragments, and notes covering twenty of the more than forty neglected tragic poets of the fifth century BCE, several of which “are not in fact represented by any text-fragments but are included for their historical interest” (e.g., Euphorion and Euaeon, 55–57 [TrGF I2 12–13]).

The material is based on the TrGF I2 by Snell and Kannicht, with addenda and corrigenda by Kannicht in TrGF V (2004: 1102–1116). For practical considerations of accessibility, Cropp uses the same identification numbers of authors, as well as the numbering and the order of testimonia (T) and fragments (F), while the few exceptions are discussed in the commentary (e.g., Critias’ Pirithous F 3–4, where F 3 is printed after F 4, 198–199, 222–223 following the order of Nauck’s edition F 593 and F 594). Beyond these correlations, Cropp’s edition is completely different...