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The Archaeology of the Epigrams from the Tabulae Iliacae: Adaptation, Allusion, Alteration*)

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Abstract The epigrams and other metrical texts inscribed on the Tabulae Iliacae document an active engagement with the prior poetic tradition on the part of the artisans of these early Imperial reliefs, who adapt and reshape earlier texts in order to create for their Roman clientele a novel version of Greek myth and history. I reconsider the texts of three groups of inscriptions and argue for their significance to the history of Greek epigram. The Tabula Chigi (IG 14.1296) transmits two elegiac couplets that employ dialectal variation to characterize the speech of Alexander the Great; a metrical irregularity reveals how the couplets were adapted to their inscriptional context. Variations in the two metrical signatures of Theodorus, the creator of the Tabulae (IG 14.1284; SEG 14.626), reveal a nuanced attempt to characterize his relationship with his avowed poetic source, Homer. Verse summaries of the Iliad on the Tabula Sarti (IG 14.1286) have been misunderstood because the sole surviving image of the tablet has been misread: a new edition shows the summaries’ close adaptation of Homer and uncovers the rationale for their unusual meter (anapestic tetrameter catalectic). An appendix discusses the whereabouts of the Tabula Chigi, which is currently lost.

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71. FN0 * )I would like to acknowledge the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the National Endowment for the Humanities for supporting the preparation of this article.
72. FN1 1)The standard monographs on the Tabulae Iliacaeare Jahn and Michaelis 1873 (hereafter J-M) and Sadurska 1964. Cf. also the useful conspectus of extant tablets at Horsfall 1990 and Salimbene 2002, and the important 2004 monograph of Valenzuela Montenegro (hereafter VM). For an additional tablet recently discovered in Cumae that may belong to the class of the Tabulae Iliacae, see Gasparri 2009.
73. FN2 2)For examples of both types of difficulty, see Petrain 2008 and 2010.
74. FN3 3)Descriptions and bibliography may be found at Sadurska 1964, 74-8 and VM 2004, 268-75; Puppo 2008 summarizes earlier scholarship. On discrepancies in reports of the tablet’s dimensions, see the Appendix.
75. FN4 4)For the findspot, see Salimbene 2002, 28-9 (with bibliography); for the present location, see the Appendix. The earliest sources disagree slightly over the year in which the tablet was found. In the first full publication, Visconti (1810, 777) gave the year as 1780, and a label attached to the tablet’s modern frame apparently carries the same date (Matz-Duhn 1882, 75). The detailed inventories of finds from the site published by Fea, however, make it clear that there were two campaigns of excavation, one in 1777-8 and one in 1779-80, and that the Tabula Chigiwas discovered during the earlier one (cf. Pietrangeli 1958, 127).
76. FN5 5)Not six miles, paceSadurska 1964, 74 and Puppo 2008, 65: Visconti, their common source, had written that the site was six leagues, ‘six lieues’, from the city (1810, 777).
77. FN6 6)ἡ ἐπὶ πᾶσι µάχη τρίτη πρὸς Δαρῆον γενοµένη ἐν ʼΑρβήλοις, ‘the third and final battle against Darius at Arbela’ ( IG14.1296). Arrian discusses, disapprovingly, the ancient habit of designating this battle by Arbela rather than Gaugamela ( An.6.11.4-6).
78. FN7 7)Cf. VM 2004, 305-9.
79. FN8 8)For details of the arguments in favor of the later dating, see Salimbene 2002, 27 (with bibliography).
80. FN9 9)On the tablet see Burstein 1984, 1989; Merkelbach 1989; VM 2004, 289-96; Petrain 2008.
81. FN10 10)Further support for this date may be found at Kuttner 1995, 245-6 n. 21 (iconographic parallels); VM 2004, 308-9 (with bibliography).
82. FN11 11)For this point cf. Hardie 1985, 30.
83. FN12 12)See Visconti 1810, 783; J-M 1873, 86.
84. FN13 13)This idea has been championed most consistently by P. Moreno (1974, 138; 1981, 187; 1993, 113; 2004, 170).
85. FN14 14)In his text of the couplet Cougny tacitly alters the verb to ἔπτηξαν (3.54 = 1890, 236), the form printed also by Moreno (F 20 = 1974, 47).
86. FN15 15)For the orthography of the tablets’ inscriptions, Michaelis’s synopsis is most helpful (J-M 1873, 78-9), though it naturally takes into account only the twelve tablets available to him. See also Bieńkowski 1891, 203-6.
87. FN16 16)Contrast epic/Ionic σοφίης at Il.15.412.
88. FN17 17)For the text of Il.18.483-557 from the shield of Achilles tablet, see Bieńkowski 1891, 203; the inscription unmistakeably preserves the Ionic coloring of its epic source at Il.18.497 ἀγορῇ. The Tabula of Zenodotus( IG14.1290) pairs a portrayal of Troy’s destruction with a lengthy inscription about the chronology of the Iliad: contrast ἀγορά, the form that occurs in the prose portions of the inscription, with ἀγορήν in its quotation of Il.1.54. Sadurska (1964, 14) judges this latter tablet to be carved by the same hand as the Tabula Chigi.
89. FN18 18)For attention to dialect on the Tabulae Iliacae, cf. also the Tabula Albani( IG14.1285; Antonine period). Its prose digest of the deeds of Heracles is cast in a literary Doric (cf. J-M 1873, 84 n. 435), while its summary of the same in hexameters shows instead an epic dialect with an admixture of forms characteristic of the koinê.
90. FN19 19)Bastianini-Gallazzi 2001 is the editio princeps; I cite the text after the 2002 editio minor of Austin and Bastianini (= AB).
91. FN20 20)Sens 2004, 69-70, 75.
92. FN21 21)The genitive singular γαίας, by contrast, has no precise generic or dialectal affiliations, for the form is equally at home in the odes of Pindar and the trimeter dialogue of Attic tragedy.
93. FN22 22)Verses inscribed on the tablets generally signal elision, save for two instances in the lines from Iliad18 mentioned above: δὲ ἱέσθην (501; unless we should read δ’ εἱέσθην with the itacism typical of the tablets), τε ἀλλήλων (540).
94. FN23 23)See Gow-Page 1965, 2.404; 1968, 1. xl-xli; Page 1981, 378.
95. FN24 24)Cf. Callimachus’ exploitation in hexameter verse of hiatus justified by original digamma (Pfeiffer ad fr. 283).
96. FN25 25)For the parameters of the Callimachean hexameter, see West 1982, 152-7 and, most fully, Hollis 2009, 15-23. Fantuzzi and Sens (2006) examine to what extent inscribed Hellenistic epigrams observe these tendencies.
97. FN26 26)Though the dative υἷι would also scan, I omit it because, unlike the other two forms, it is virtually unattested outside of archaic epic.
98. FN27 27)Cf. Gutzwiller 2002 (esp. 93-4).
99. FN28 28)For ἄθρει in ecphrastic epigram see Posidippus 67.1 AB (Hellenistic); AP9.541.6 (= Antipater 44 GP; early Imperial).
100. FN29 29)The most fastidious writers of elegiacs tend to avoid epic correption (for details see Bulloch 1985, 179), but even Callimachus employs it, as here, in the hexameter’s first foot between the two shorts of the dactyl: ἵππω ἐπὶ κράνᾳ ( Hymn5.71).
101. FN30 30)For λεῦσσε in an ecphrastic poem, see the beginning of the metrically baroque effort by Simias of Rhodes on the wings of Eros: λεῦσσέ µε ( AP15.24).
102. FN31 31)The relevant metrical rules here are Meyer’s Third Law and Bulloch’s Law (for which see, respectively, Fantuzzi-Sens 2006, 115; Hollis 2009, 21). Literary epigrams of the Imperial age (but not the Hellenistic) prefer also to place a syllable that is long by nature before the masculine caesura (Gow-Page 1968, xli n. 3), i.e., not Ἡρακλέος as in our text. As the form Ἡρακλέους would resolve this difficulty and is more common in literary epigram (several occurrences in the Greek Anthology versus none for Ἡρακλέος), perhaps it is what our poet intended. Neither form seems strongly marked for dialect (the genitive Ἡρακλῆος, by contrast, is decisively epic/Ionic), so that there is probably no intended contrast with Ionic γενεῆς in the pentameter.
103. FN32 32)At the center of the battle scene depicted on the shield, there is a rider carrying a spear whom it would be natural to identify as Alexander, though he is not labeled or otherwise distinguished (on the figure see VM 2004, 273).
104. FN33 33)αὐδάσοντι δ’ ἔοικεν ὁ χάλκεος ἐς Δία λεύσσων· / Γᾶν ὑπ’ ἐµοὶ τίθεµαι· Ζεῦ, σὺ δ’ Ὄλυµπον ἔχε ( APl.120.3-4 = Asclepiades 43 HE).
105. FN34 34)On Alexander’s divinity and related phenomena, see Chaniotis 2003, esp. 434-5 for the epigraphic evidence. I am grateful to the anonymous reviewer for drawing my attention to this material.
106. FN35 35)See Pliny Nat.34.63, a passage that Moreno utilizes along with APl.122 (quoted above) in an attempt to identify extant copies of the Lysippan statue (2004, 38-55).
107. FN36 36)As neither couplet mentions Alexander by name, it is possible that one or both were excerpted from longer epigrams in which the name appeared, though it seems equally likely that both were originally associated with images of Alexander that would have clarified their subject matter.
108. FN37 37)For an introduction to this vast subject, see Zanker 1988; I do not attempt here a comprehensive discussion.
109. FN38 38)On Augustus’ forum, see LTUR2.289-95 s.v. ‘Forum Augustum’ (V. Kockel).
110. FN39 39)Cf. Kienast 1969, Isager 1993, 78-80.
111. FN40 40)Suetonius, Aug.18.1; Dio 51.16.5.
112. FN41 41)Pliny, Nat.37.10; Suetonius, Aug.50.
113. FN42 42)Cf. Isager 1993, 79.
114. FN43 43)Γάιον δὲ τὸν θυγατριδοῦν εἰς ʼΑρµενίαν ἀποστέλλων ᾐτεῖτο παρὰ τῶν θεῶν εὔνοιαν αὐτῷ τὴν Ποµπηίου, τόλµαν δὲ τὴν ʼΑλεξάνδρου, τύχην δὲ τὴν ἑαυτοῦπαρακολουθῆσαι (Plutarch, Mor.207E).
115. FN44 44)Cf. the detailed discussion at Hollis 1977, 65-73.
116. FN45 45)Pliny, Nat.35.93-4.
117. FN46 46) APl.119 (= Posidippus 18 HE; cf. 65 AB); APl.120 (= Asclepiades 43 HE). The anonymous APl.121, which describes a statue of Alexander but does not name the artist, “may well be Hellenistic” (Page 1981, 377), but could just as easily be an Imperial variation on the two earlier pieces.
118. FN47 47)Cf. 31, 35 AB (omens experienced by Alexander).
119. FN48 48)E.g., AP7.239 (= Parmenion 5 GP: Alexander has not truly perished); AP7.240 (= Adaeus 5 GP: Europe and Asia are Alexander’s monument); and cf. AP7.238 (= Adaeus 4 GP: from the grave, Philip II boasts of his accomplishments and alludes to one greater than he who is nonetheless sprung from his own blood). AP7.246, a fictive epitaph in which the Persians slain at Issus proclaim their death to be the deed of Alexander, is attributed to the Hellenistic poet Antipater of Sidon, but I hope to argue elsewhere that it belongs to his Imperial namesake, Antipater of Thessalonica (for confusion between the two see, e.g., Argentieri 2003).
120. FN49 49) AP6.97 = Antiphilus 21 GP.
121. FN50 50) AP9.552 = Antipater 42 GP. For interest in the relics of heroes and historical figures during the early Empire, see Müller 1935, 46-7.
122. FN51 51)Reading ἐντολέων with Gow and Page rather than the manuscript’s ἀντολέων (cf. their discussion ad loc.).
123. FN52 52)See Gow and Page ad loc. for Augustus’ identification with Zeus in the epigrams of Philip’s Garland.
124. FN53 53)It has become traditional in discussions of the dating of our couplets to note the supposed close resemblance between them and the third Vergilian Catalepton, on an unnamed personage who subdued Asia and the rest of the world by his spear (4 hic reges Asiae fregerat, hic populos; 6 cetera namque viri cuspide conciderant). Visconti (1810, 783) and Michaelis (J-M 1873, 86 n. 443) argued that the Latin verses are an adaptation of the Greek and imply a relatively early date for the latter (cf. Moreno 1974, 138; Puppo 2008, 67). But the similarities are confined to the first of the tablet’s couplets, and at any rate are far too general to establish any sort of direct intertextual link. The same may be said for the motifs shared between the first couplet and AP6.97 (on Alexander’s spear), adduced by Valenzuela Montenegro in support of an Imperial date for the Chigi tablet’s epigrams (2004, 270). My own proposal for dating depends not on specific intertexts, but on recognizing a shift in strategies for portraying Alexander in early Imperial epigram.
125. FN54 54)For this idea see Sadurska 1964, 77-8; VM 2004, 275.
126. FN55 55)As Galinsky (1996, 73) puts it, “[t]he history and culture of the Augustan age . . . cannot be understood simply as the product of one man’s will, a biographical fallacy that haunts many studies of the period. The phenomenon . . . is more variegated, and the cultural dynamics of the age were not simply a manifestation of [Augustus’] ‘program.’ The developments could not have taken place without his providing a vision that could be shared, resisted, and individually interpreted by many.”
127. FN56 56)On the so-called heraldic composition in Roman art, see Picard 1973.
128. FN57 57)The nine tablets are 1A, 2NY, 3C, 6B, 7Ti, 8E, 9D, 20Par, 21Fro (see Sadurska 1964, Horsfall 1990, or Salimbene 2002 for the abbreviations; the standard monographs provide comprehensive descriptions).
129. FN58 58)Mancuso (1909, 730) first proposed the restoration; Horsfall (1990, 97) presents the different signatures.
130. FN59 59)See West 1982, 157, 181.
131. FN60 60)An earlier hypothesis made of Theodorus not an artist but a grammarian, and his couplet the preface to a mythographical handbook of which he was the author, and which the tablets slavishly copied. On the history of this now discarded thesis, see Horsfall 1979, 27, 29-31.
132. FN61 61)Ἰλι]ὰς Ὁµήρου Θεοδώρηος ἡι [sic] τέχνη. The text is inscribed in a letter grid that lets the message be read in multiple directions: on these ‘magic squares’, see Bua 1971; Horsfall 1990, 97; Petrain 2011.
133. FN62 62)Even if it were positioned closer to the end of the hexameter, after the masculine caesura (Θεοδώρηον ˘ ˘ – ×), the only way in which it could modify a noun in the next line is if the hexameter’s final word did so too, but then we would have the same problem of imbalance as before.
134. FN63 63)Mancuso translates the phrase “il Ciclo d’Omero”, clarifying that this expression denotes “l’ordine, lo sviluppo, la tela della epopea” (1909, 730).
135. FN64 64)Carlini 1982 offers the fullest statement of this interpretation.
136. FN65 65)See LSJ s.v. τέχνη, IV.
137. FN66 66) SB5.8454 (Egyptian, inscription on a base): Πρωτῦτος τέχνη ἐργαστηριάρχου. Cf. Loewy 1885, 257.
138. FN67 67)γραµµαὶ Παρρασίοιο, τέχνα Μυός (Athenaeus 11.782b). The text is Kaibel’s; problems in the transmission of the first word do not affect the present discussion.
139. FN68 68) SEG39.1334.4-5: ἁ δὲ τέχνα/Θοινίου, τὸ δὲ λῆµµα Πρατίνειον.
140. FN69 69)For the visual dynamics of Theodorus’ miniaturized Troy narratives, and how his signatures on recto and verso guide the viewer’s reception of the images, see Petrain 2011.
141. FN70 70)Pelliccioni 1881, 198-9.
142. FN71 71)Full descriptions may be found at Sadurska 1964, 47-51; VM 2004, 150-68.
143. FN72 72)Ἰλιάδα καὶ Ὀ]δύσσειαν ῥαψῳδιῶν µη͵ Ἰλίου πέρσ[ιν ( IG14.1286).
144. FN73 73)I print here the text of IG14.1286, though see below for minor revisions.
145. FN74 74)Michaelis 1879, 497-8; contrast J-M 1873, 85.
146. FN75 75)West 1982, 152, 170.
147. FN76 76)E.g., they print a design of the Tabula Capitolinaexecuted by Feodor, Lord Elgin’s illustrator, but note that it has been “in einzelnen Punkten revidirt” (1873, 3).
148. FN77 77)Jahn and Michaelis’s design also introduces changes in the tablet’s pictorial matter. The first scene from Book 6, for instance, shows the exchange of armor between Diomedes and Glaucus. Sarti shows Glaucus joining hands with Diomedes over the spears crossed between them, but the altered version partially omits the gesture. These variations account for small discrepancies in the published descriptions of the tablet: contrast, e.g., J-M 1873, 15 with VM 2004, 163 n. 999.
149. FN78 78)Among the sources I have checked, only Sadurska (1964, Planche IX) prints Sarti’s drawing, but the reproduction is unfortunately quite faint and loses much of the original’s detail.
150. FN79 79)J-M 1873, 63 (Varianten zu B, 29): “[a]llenfalls können die Buchstaben zur Perioche gehören”.
151. FN80 80)VM 2004, 158. Unfortunately her text is marred by other problems. Though aware of the metrical character of the other summaries, she treats this one as prose, reviving an unmetrical conjecture by Henzen, and inexplicably prints line 2 as ΥΣΙΣ. While she deserves credit for recovering Sarti’s ΗΛΟΝ, she misrepresents how Michaelis, Kaibel and Sadurska dealt with the letters.
152. FN81 81)The Tabula of Zenodotus( IG14.1290) has versions of both expressions in its Iliadsummary. The ancient hypotheses to the Iliadthat are transmitted in medieval manuscripts may most readily be accessed at J-M 1873, 100-21, or online in the TLGdatabase; for a brief discussion of these sources, see van Rossum-Steenbeek 1998, 67-9.
153. FN82 82)A similar change is required in the label above Apollo’s temple ( Iliad1): the genitive Ζµινθέος should presumably be Ζµινθέως, like the corresponding label on the Capitolina(see Michaelis at J-M 1873, 62).
154. FN83 83)The reading is virtually assured by the surviving letters, the presence of a nominative subject requiring a finite verb, and the consistent use of the present tense elsewhere in the summaries.
155. FN84 84)The Iliad6 summary is corrupt, so that its meter is impossible to evaluate. The resemblance to hexameter rhythm is what led Merkel, Michaelis (1873) and Kaibel ( EG) to analyze the verses initially as hexameters preceded by a choriamb.
156. FN85 85)Michaelis (1879) and Kaibel ( IG) insert δ’ to block the hiatus, but this is impossible if we regard the verse as constituting a single clause.
157. FN86 86)Cf. Σείγαιον for Σίγαιον on the Tabula Capitolina(IG 14.1284), Ἰλιὰς µεικρά on the Tabula Thierry(IGUR 1618).
158. FN87 87)I note that προτὶ Ἴλιον in Homer’s line and the tablet’s πρὸς δ’ Εἴλιον are in analogous metrical positions.
159. FN88 88)For the text see J-M 1873, 101-2, E. ii.
160. FN89 89)Michaelis (1879) resorted to a rewriting: Ἕκτωρ Πάριν εἰς ἔριν ἕλκει.
161. FN90 90)By their puncuation (no point after ζῆτα δ’), Michaelis and Kaibel seem to have understood τὰ πρὸς ʼΑνδροµάχην as object of ὁµιλεῖ, with ζῆτα as subject, but I cannot find a parallel.
162. FN91 91)Cf. Kaibel ( EG): “fortasse Hectoris nomen ex versu superiore repetendum”.
163. FN92 92)Epigraph: Ἕκτορος καὶ ʼΑνδροµάχης ὁµιλία; AP9.385.6: Ζῆτα δ’ ἄρ’ ʼΑνδροµάχης καὶ Ἕκτορος ἐστ’ ὀαριστύς.
164. FN93 93)A scholion to Il.6.404 (bT) says of Hector’s smile when he looks at Astyanax: χαρίζεσθαιδὲ ταῖς γυναιξὶ δοκοῦσι τοὺς παῖδας φιλοφρονοῦντες.
165. FN94 94)δ’ might easily have dropped out if it originally appeared between two similarly shaped alphas (ΑΔΑ).
166. FN95 95)See Sadurska 1964, 65-6; VM 2004, 213-5.
167. FN96 96)Cf. Chaniotis 1988, 233.
168. FN97 97)See van Rossum-Steenbeek 1998, 70-1, 176-9.
169. FN98 98)Horsfall assesses the texts as “faulty and jejune” (1979, 33), mainly referring to the captions and prose summaries. On image and text in the ancient world, see the recent valuable treatment by Squire (2009).
170. FN99 99)Visconti 1810, 777. Cacciotti (2000, 43-5) provides an account of the tablet’s fortunes in the modern world that I hope to supplement in the following appendix.
171. FN100 100)So Sadurska, Horsfall, Salimbene, VM. When Sadurska states that her text of the tablet’s inscriptions was “verifié avec l’original” (1964, 75 n. 19), she may mean that she checked a photograph, for the object was not at the Palazzo Chigi in Rome during the 1950s or 60s (in the preface to her monograph (5), she acknowledges that she was not able to examine all the Tabulaeat first hand). Sadurska (74) reports the tablet’s dimensions as 9 cm wide by 15.5 cm high, though both J-M (1873, 9) and Matz-Duhn (1882, 75) set the height at 14 cm, with the same width. I cannot explain the difference, but a measurement of 9 cm by 14 cm suits better the width-to-height ratio of the tablet as observed in extant photos.
172. FN101 101)When I visited the Palazzo Chigi in Rome in 2006, I was told that the tablet was not there, and P. Puppo describes similar difficulties (2008, 65 n. 1): “[n]onostante vari tentativi, non è stato possibile rinvenire nell’attuale Palazzo Chigi in Piazza del Popolo [sic; the palazzo is off of Piazza Colonna] traccia della tabula”. We were both looking in the wrong place.
173. FN102 102)Earlier Jahn and Michaelis had indicated that the tablet was still in the palazzo’s library (1873, 9); Reinach likewise names the “Bibliothèque Chigi” as its location in his 1912 Répertoire(218), but it is unclear whether he had seen the object there himself.
174. FN103 103)Petrucci 2001, 103.
175. FN104 104)Cf. Cacciotti 2000, 45; Petrucci 2004, 102.
176. FN105 105)Petrucci 2008.
177. FN106 106)F. Petrucci, current curator of the museum, informs me (priv. comm.) that he has never encountered the tablet during his time at the palazzo.
http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/156852512x585142
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/content/journals/10.1163/156852512x585142
2012-01-01
2016-02-13

Affiliations: 1: Vanderbilt University, Department of Classical Studies PMB 0092, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, Tennessee 37203 USA david.e.petrain@vanderbilt.edu

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