LI Международная научная филологическая конференция имени Людмилы Алексеевны Вербицкой

Philitas of Cos, Cynicism, botany and ancient medicine in the Yale epigrammatic codex (P. Ct. YBR inv. 4000)

Luca Benelli
Кёльнский университет, Институт археологии, классической филологии, греческой филологии, папирологии

16:50 - 17:15

Ключевые слова, аннотация

Keywords: P. Ct. YBR inv. 4000; Cynicism; medicine.
Abastract: P. CT. YBR inv. 4000 was published in 2012 and attributed Palladas. This attribution is wrong. I will try to propose a contextualization in the second century CE (Lucian, Galen). My paper will show how it is possible to reconstruct many of the ca. 60 epigrams, uncovering the names of plants and diseases and also references e. g. to Philitas and to a Cynic philosopher quoted by Lucian (Toxaris 27–34), Demetrius of Sunium.

Ключевые слова: П. Кт. YBR инв. 4000; цинизм; медицина.
Аннотация: P. Ct. YBR inv. 4000 был опубликован в 2012 г. и приписан Палладе. Эта атрибуция неверна. Я попытаюсь предложить контекстуализацию во втором веке нашей эры (Лукиан, Гален). Моя статья покажет, как можно реконструировать многие из ок. 60 эпиграмм, раскрывающих названия растений и болезней, а также ссылки e. грамм. Филиту и философу-кинику, цитируемому Лукианом (Токсарис 2734), Деметрию Сунийскому.


The P. Ct. YBR inv. 4000 came to the Beinecke Library at Yale University (New Haven, Ct.) in 1996, not as a codex, but as a group of unsorted fragments in a box of scraps including also documentary texts. The editio princeps of the ca. 60 Greek epigrams contained therein was produced by the Canadian scholar of Late Antiquity, Papyrology and Ancient History K. W. Wilkinson in the year 2012 (ASP nr. 52). As known, Wilkinson has tried in a series of contribution from the year 2009 onwards to plead for a backdating of the Alexandrian late-antique Greek poet Palladas, from the turn 4th–5th cent. — ages of Valens, Theodosius and Arcadius (and perhaps also Theodosius IInd) — to the turn 3rd-4th cent. — to the period of the Roman Emperors from Galerius to Diocletian and Constantine. In this today contribution, I will not discuss again the problem of the dating of Palladas: I think I have been able to confute Wilkinson’s ideas. I refer to my contributions in Mnemosyne (2016) and ZPE (2015, 2018) and to my forthcoming article in Cuadernos de Filologia clasica (2023). Focus of my today presentation is the reconstruction of the content of the P. Ct. YBR inv. 4000-epigrams. Wilkinson (2012a) focused his editio princeps of this codex mainly on historical issues. You will find therein almost nothing in relation to the literary and philosophical context of the new epigrams. Purpose of my today’s presentation is not only to show how it is possible to reconstruct the text of many epigrams from the Yale codex, but also to offer a new literary context for many of the Yale epigrams: not the turn 3rd-4th cent. — as indirectly highlighted and inexplicitly proposed in the editio princeps — but the Cynic and medicine milieus of the second century Second Sophistic. Moreover, most of the Yale epigrams are not anathematic (book 9 of the Greek Anthology) or scoptic (book 11 of the Greek Anthology), as stated by Wilkinson, but sepulchral epigrams (book 7 of the Greek Anthology). This is my thesis. The Yale epigrams are written in a language very similar — both syntactically and lexically – to that used by Lucian in his dialogues from the second half of the second century CE and in the works by the coeval medicine Galen. And it is with Lucian and Galen that the Yale epigrams have very much in common: not only on the lexical or linguistic point of view, but also as for the content itself it concerns. Cynic themes occur both on p. 6 of our papyrus codex (epigr. 1417 = P. Ct. YBR inv. 4000, p. 6 in my new forthcoming edition), but also in other epigrams: cf. e. g. epigr. 4 (P. Ct. YBR inv. 4000, p. 3.917)  this epigram is comparable and to be compared with a sepulchral epigram (AP 7.67 [Leonidas of Tarentum]) from the Greek Anthology on Diogenes the Cynic in front of the boat of Charon in the Underworld, — epigr. 78 in P. Ct. YBR inv. 4000 p. 4 — these two epigrams seem to be, both of them, examples of Cynic “begging song” (also Phoenix Colophon fr. 2 Diehl3 [1949–1953] was interpreted already by Gerhard [1909, 180–181] as a “cynic begging song”: the cynic beggar was a traditional figure; and Crates Thebanus [ca. 365 — ca. 285 BCE] himself, who used to go begging from house to house, was even nicknamed θυρεπανοίκτης, “door opener”) , epigr. 11 (= P. Ct. YBR inv. 4000, p. 5, ll. 10-14), which shows a theme in common  that of the lawful marriage (γάμος ἔννομος, iustum coniugium— with an epigram of Agathias (AP 5.302) on Diogenes the Cynic and his act of masturbation, etc. A Cynic philosopher mentioned only by Lucian in one of his dialogues (Toxaris 2734), a certain Demetrius of Sunium, not to be confused with the more famous first century CE Demetrius the Cynic mentioned by Seneca (Epist. 20.9, 62.3, 67.14, 91.19; de beneficiis 7.1–2, 8–11; etc.), Tacitus (Ann. 16.34) and dated by Philostratus (Vita Ap. 4.25) and by Lucian himself (De saltatione 63) to the age of Nero (5468 CE), is clearly referred to in the very fragmentary epigr. nr.15 (= p. 6, ll. 59) from my new forthcoming edition. The Oenomaus in the same epigram is surely the famous Cynic philosopher of the second century CE Oenomaus of Gadara. The epigr. nr. 26 (= P. Ct. YBR inv. 4000, p. 9, ll. 2529), by Wilkinson referred to the demise/destruction of the Alexandrian Museum, is instead, in my view, a new sepulchral epigram on the allegedly “Cyrenaic” poet Philitas of Cos: this epigram confirms an old, eighteenth-century view on Philitas’ poems, namely that one of his most renowned poem (the Telephus) was somehow connected with Philitas’ own father (and maybe not only as for the mere title). Another aspect not sufficiently highlighted in the edition princeps published by Wilkinson in the year 2012 is the connection of the Yale epigrams with ancient medicine and pharmacological botany. This is another point which connects the Yale epigrams with the literary, scientific and philosophical milieu in the second century; and, thus, again with Cynicism. I will, in fact, show how it is possible to reconstruct the text of another epigram (nr. 16) from the same Yale codex (p. 6, ll. 120): this epigram, which is to be connected with the representation proposed by Plato himself of Diogenes the Cynic as a mad philosopher as transmitted by Aelian (VH 14.33) and by the codices recentiores of Diogenes Laertius (6.54), demonstrates for the first time that a series of therapeutic properties attributed to the jasminum officinale L. (the flower named φιλάδελφον in the epigram at line 6) by the Indian and Chinese medicine was already known in the Graeco-Roman imperial age. To sum up: many of the Yale epigrams are surely not by Palladas and instead to be dated, in their original facies, to the second century CE: they refer to the same philosophical and medicine environment of Lucian and Galen.
Wilkinson (2012) = K. W. Wilkinson, New Epigrams of Palladas. A fragmentary Papyrus Codex (P. CtYBR inv. 4000), ASP Nr. 52 (Durham, NC 2012).