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Title: Select commentary on Aulus Gellius Book 2
Author: Holford-Strevens, Leofranc
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1971
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The book studied consists of thirty unrelated chapters covering natural, ethical, and dialectical philosophy, Roman history, Latin phonology, lexicography, literary criticism, and various other matters. The thesis is primarily intended as a Sachkommentar elucidating the things discussed or mentioned in the chapters; but it also considers points of text or Latin usage, and especially of Gellian Latinity. The commentary takes the form of a running annotation on each chapter, with introductory notes and excursus wherever they seemed desirable. It is assumed the reader has to hand the editions by Hertz (ed.maior), Hosius, and Marshall; information given by them (e.g. on the provenance of citations) is in general not repeated. The text followed is Marshall's, save as otherwise stated; questions of text settled by Hertz or his predecessors are normally omitted, being adequately covered in his apparatus. A commentary of this nature on an author of this nature can hardly have a unifying theme to be abstracted and summarized: it must inevitably consist of individual discussions, some longer than others. Among the longer discussions may be noted those on ancient wind-roses, and the peculiarity of that described by Favorinus (Gell.2.22, introductory note); the history of Roman attempts to curb the luxury of the table (2.24 excursus); the use of the adjective cuius(2.29.15), which is shown to have been regular in Early Latin as a predicate, but rarely used as an attribute save in legal language. It is also shown (2.3.5n) that Gellius's references to allegedly autograph Vergils are of no value to the critic save as attesting ancient variants. In passing, an attempt is made to explain an anachronism in Claudius Quadrigarius (Gell.2.2.12-13n). The most important textual discussion is that in the excursus to 2.23, where the fragments of Menander and Caecilius cited in that chapter are treated in detail and several new suggestions made about them. In Gellius himself a few proposals are made, mostly of deletion; at 2.1.2, for instance, Socrates is expelled from the text. Although the excursus to 2.17 is devoted to the demolition of Hosius's argument that the chapter was derived from Probus, not much attention is bestowed on Quellenforschung; this is due to scepticism concerning the assumptions on which that operation has been conducted. Attacks on these assumptions will be found in the prolegomena (pp. 23-32); in the course of this discussion it is concluded that of the various anecdotes Gellius tells about his friends and teachers, some are true, some are composed around their writings, and some are utterly fictitious. These prolegomena are not a full-scale introduction, but confine themselves to certain points such as Gellius's name (for which the evidence is set out in detail, pp.3-7) and the date of the Attic Nights' publication (which is set c.179 A.D. pp.8-12). The claim that the Nights are meant to be morally useful is examined and largely dismissed (pp.13-22); although the archaistic movement is not discussed in detail, passages from Gellius and Fronto apparently running counter to it are shown to be warnings against untimeliness and ostentation (pp. 33-36). There is a brief account of the manuscripts in which Book 2 is found (pp.36-39), and a review of the principal editions, commentaries, and translations (pp. 40-44).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available