The Dark Serpent

A Note on Lucretius DRN 3.658

in Mnemosyne
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After reviewing current suggestions for improving the text of Lucr. 3.658, this article argues for accepting Marullus’ serpentem and emending line-final utrumque to et atro. These proposals, the author contends, significantly improve the syntax of a corrupt line that nevertheless has been retained unaltered in several recent texts of the Epicurean poet. As various parallels show, the newly suggested ater is a particularly appropriate term for characterizing the menacing serpent of Lucretius’ poem.

The Dark Serpent

A Note on Lucretius DRN 3.658

in Mnemosyne

References

BaierT. LefèvreE.SchäferE. Marullus und Lukrez Michael Marullus: ein Grieche als Renaissancedichter in Italien 2008 Tübingen 217 227

BaileyC. T. Lucreti Cari De Rerum Natura 1922 Oxford 2

BaileyC. T. Lucreti Cari: De Rerum Natura Libri Sex 1947 Oxford

BergkT. Kleine philologische Schriften. Vol. i 1884 Halle

BrownA. The Return of Lucretius to Renaissance Florence 2010 Cambridge, Mass.

DeufertM. Lucrez und Marullus. Ein kurzer Blick in die Werkstatt eines humanistischen Interpolators RhM 1999 142 210 223

DielsH. T. Lucreti Cari De rerum natura. Vol. i 1923 Berlin

ErnoutA. Lucrèce: De la nature 1978 Paris rev. C. Rambaux

FloresE. Titus Lucretius Carus: De rerum natura. Edizione critica con introduzione e versione. Volume primo (Libri i-iii) 2002 Naples

GaleM. Virgil on the Nature of Things: The Georgics Lucretius and the Didactic Tradition 2000 Cambridge

GiussaniC. T. Lucreti Cari Libri Sex De rerum natura. Volume Terzo: Libro III e IV 1897 Turin

HardieP. HardieP. Lucretius and later Latin Literature in Antiquity The Cambridge Companion to Lucretius 2007 111 127

HeinzeR. T. Lucretius Carus: De rerum natura Buch III 1897 Leipzig

HoltzeF.G. Syntaxis Lucretianae Lineamenta 1868 Leipzig

KenneyE.J. Lucretius: De Rerum Natura Book iii 1984 Revised Edition Cambridge

LachmannK. T. Lucreti Cari De Rerum Natura Libri Sex 1850a Berlin

LachmannK. In Lucretii De Rerum Natura Libros Commentarius Berlin

LeumannM.HofmannJ.B.SzantyrA. Lateinische Grammatik. Zweiter Band: Syntax und Stilistik 1965 Munich

LindsayW.M. Notae Latinae 1915 Cambridge

MallonJ. L’écriture de la Chancillerie Impériale romaine 1850 Salamanca

MethnerR. Die Entstehung des Ablativus qualitatis und sein Verhältnis zum Ablativus modi und zum Ablativus absolutus Glotta 6 33 61

MüllerK. T. Lucreti Cari De Rerum Natura Libri Sex 1975 Zurich

MynorsR.A.B. Virgil: Georgics 1990 Oxford

NicollW.S.M. Lucretius iii.658 cr 1970 20 2 140 141

ReeveM.D. The Italian Tradition of Lucretius imu 1980 23 27 48

ReeveM.D. The Italian Tradition of Lucretius Revisited Aevum 2005 79 115 164

RichterW. Textstudien zu Lukrez 1974 Munich

RouseW.H.D. Lucretius: De Rerum Natura 1992 Cambridge, Mass. rev. M.F. Smith

TimpanaroS. The Genesis of Lachmann’s Method 2005 Chicago

4

Kenney 1984166-167ad loc.

5

For Nicoll’s position see Nicoll 1970. For Bailey’s see Bailey 1947 335. Bailey’s earlier oct (1922) obelizes utrumque instead. More recently Flores 2002 and Smith-Rouse 1992 also retain the paradosis.

8

Kenney 1984167. It is worth remarking that even interpreters who attempt to retain utrumque acknowledge its difficult ambiguity. The Smith-Rouse Loeb for example which retains the paradosis comments that “[t]he meaning of utrumque is uncertain” (1992 238). Ernout (1978 110) who also refuses any emendation states similarly that “la phrase est très embarrassée.”

9

Giussani 189780.

10

See Heinze 1897143. Richter’s proposal (1974 48-50) serpentis caudam e procero corpore truncam is open to the same objection: why should Lucretius focus on slicing up the tail alone? Addressing Giussani’s proposal Kenney (1984 167) also objects that “truncum entails an awkward reference for the abl. phrases.”

11

For these proposals see Müller 1975118 and 336.

18

See Heinze 1897143where he suggests that 642-656 “nachträglich eingelegt sind.”

20

Bailey 1947335.

21

Smith-Rouse 1992239.

23

Leumann-Hofmann-Szantyr 1965117 (§ 78). Methner (1915 49) presents a slightly more complex view in which he traces the origins of the ablativus qualitatis to both the ablativus modi and ablativus limitationis: “Der abl. qual. ist teils auf einen ursprünglichen Instrumentalis der begleitenden Umstände zurückzuführen teils durch eine Enallage eines Nomens mit dazugehörigem abl. limitationis zu erklären . . .”

24

Kenney 1984167.

28

See Lachmann 1850b19 for discussion of this error where he shows that it occurs in both directions with u appearing for o and o appearing for u at several points in both manuscripts.

31

See the comments of Mynors (1990ad G. 1.129 on atris): “‘deadly’; when applied to venena (G. 2.130 A. 2.221 Ovid. ep. 9.115) it retains much of its original sense but is easily transferred to the vipers whose black venom turns the victim black (3.430 Hor. carm. 3.4.17) and even (G. 4.407) to the tigress. Juv. 5.91 echoes our phrase.” For Lucretius’ influence on Virgil’s Georgics more generally see Gale 2000 and Hardie 2007 114-117.

32

Kenney 1984167.

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