Log in

[icon] Vergil Repeats Himself - The latin community
View:Recent Entries.
View:Website (The Perseus Project).

Subject:Vergil Repeats Himself
Time:10:46 am
1.) Eclogues 4.48-52:

Adgredere o magnos (aderit iam tempus) honores,
cara deum suboles, magnum Iovis incrementum!
Aspice convexo nutantem pondere mundum,
terrasque tractusque maris caelumque profundum;
aspice, venturo laetentur ut omnia saeclo!

2.) Georgics 4.219-227:

His quidam signis atque haec exempla secuti
esse apibus partem divinae mentis et haustus
aetherios dixere; deum namque ire per omnes
terrasque tractusque maris caelumque profundum.
Hinc pecudes, armenta, viros, genus omne ferarum,
quemque sibi tenues nascentem arcessere vitas;
scilicet huc reddi deinde ac resoluta referri
omnia nec morti esse locum, sed viva volare
sideris in numerum atque alto succedere caelo.

I'm sure he did this more often than just once. Is there a list of all his self-quotes? (Or do you happen to know other examples?)

EDIT: Apparently there's an old (1881) Hermes article by E. Albrecht "Wiederholte Verse und Verstheile bei Vergil". I'll try to find that.
comments: Leave a comment Previous Entry Share Next Entry

Time:2013-06-25 02:05 pm (UTC)
Moskalew, W. (1982) 'Formular Language and Poetic Design in the Aeneid' Leiden

Has an index of these, I think.

(Reply) (Thread)

Time:2013-06-25 06:36 pm (UTC)
I've already got the Albrecht article. It's 50 pages, discusses some problems and also gives lists of perfectly identical repetitions, of slight variations, of repeated parts of verses, of repetitions that Albrecht believes to be spurious. Looks like a very comprehensive list, although maybe somewhat dated.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

Time:2013-06-25 03:27 pm (UTC)
I'd always assumed it was a poetic-diction type thing, like the lines that recur in different Border Ballads - both when learning and composing, one thinks in chunks, and if a line works well in one ballad, it's likely to crop up in another. Not unlike extended stock epithets.
(Reply) (Thread)

Time:2013-06-25 06:46 pm (UTC)
I know that Homer does this a lot in the old oral poetry tradition. But refined, post-Hellenistic Virgil was another thing, I thought. Now, after seeing Albrecht's list, I'm surprised how often Virgil does this. I haven't actually counted the occurences and calculated the ratio, but by the first glance it could be maybe one or two repetitions in every hundred verses.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

Time:2013-06-25 09:34 pm (UTC)
AFAIK Virgil tried to emulate Homer, and wasn't alone, even in Hellenistic (or post-Hellenistic, for a Roman) era.
But still, neither I did know the repetitions happen, and so often. Yay for him! What Homer does because of pre-made hereditary parts, Virgil does, because Homer did (maybe?), and has to do artificially. I'd be interested not only in the number of the repetitions, but if they are of the same kind as in Homer - parts that can be inserted in any heroical poem, because they tend to be quite the same (like "when the sun is rising, the armies start to..." etc. etc. :-) ). If so, then twice yay for Virgil.
Thank you very much for this question!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

Time:2013-06-26 12:05 pm (UTC)
Some principles as I see things

(1) Nothing in Vergil is unintentional! I exaggerate - obviously - and commit a breach of the intentional fallacy. But this is an important point. Vergil was surely conscious that he was repeating himself. Cf. the slowness and care of composition - a decade for the 4 books of the Georgics. Contrast the traditional oral epic where repetition was a useful aid to spontaneous composition.
(2) In the Aeneid, Vergil obviously wanted to emulate (in the sense of the Latin 'aemulatio') Homer. This included reproducing the texture of Homeric poetry, which in turn included formulaic repetition. The subtlety and intensity of the Verg.'s emulation of Homer is a massive subject with still more to be said - after 2000 years' of scholarship! In his own lifetime, Vergil was criticised for the extent of his imitation of Homer by critics: he is said to have responded - 'Verum intellecturos facilius esse Herculi clavam quam Homero versum subripere.': that is, V.'s imiation of Homer was quite deliberate and a task which he regarded as proverbially nigh impossible. The corollary being it was something to which V. devoted enormous effort.
(3) Vergil was in a real sense following the Greek Hellenistic poets in this regard: particularly, Callimachus. Callimachus' poetry looks very different to Homer's but it is deeply steeped in Homer - e.g. allusions to Homer's text, reproducing Homeric hapax legomena, metrical effects etc. This is partly explained by the fact that Callimachus' generation (and he himself) were deeply engaged in explicating Homeric material.
(4) Reproducing Homeric texture is not a sufficient explanation, however, for all Vergilian self-repetition. E.g. the present example is an example of a line repeated from the Eclogues in the Georgics - and not obviously Homeric otherwise (although both loci do aspire to the epic register). Many other examples exist of repetition between the Georgics / Eclogues. Prima facie, reproducing Homeric texture would only be an explanation for internal repetition in the Aeneid.
(5) On some occasions, Vergil reproduces substantial parts (even whole lines) from other earlier poets (in all likelihood far more often than we are able to detect). Almost invariably, there is a particular point to the allusion: where we have the surviving model we can usually see the point and, again, we only have a fraction of the evidence.
(6) Vergilian self-repetition may often be explained in a similar manner: i.e. Vergil is alluding to his own poetry: the point of the repetition (or adaptation) is to point the ready back to the context of the original passage. A good e.g. is the bees in Georgics IV reappearing in Aen. I and again in Aen. VIII.
(Reply) (Thread)

Time:2013-06-28 01:16 pm (UTC)
All excellent points. E. Albrecht says that Horace never repeats himself without a reason. Almost a little bit like Joyce who quotes bits of his Portrait in Ulysses.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

Time:2013-07-01 06:44 pm (UTC)
Apart from the line taken from the Eclogues and from three internal repetitions (538 = 550, 540 ~ 551, 544 ~ 552), there are sixteen whole verses in Georgica IV that Virgil reuses in the Aeneid I, VI, VIII and XI. Here they are:

164: stipant et liquido distendunt nectare cellas (1.433)
167: aut onera accipiunt uenientum, aut agmine facto (1.434)
169: feruet opus, redolentque thymo fraglantia mella (1.436)
172-5: accipiunt redduntque, alii stridentia tingunt
aera lacu; gemit impositis incudibus Aetna;
illi inter sese magna ui bracchia tollunt
in numerum, uersantque tenaci forcipe ferrum (8.450-3)
218: obiectant pulchramque petunt per uulnera mortem (11.647)
352: prospiciens summa flauum caput extulit unda (1.127)
377: germanae, tonsisque ferunt mantelia uillis (1.702)
420: cogitur inque sinus scindit sese unda reductos (1.161)
475-7: matres atque uiri defunctaque corpora uita
magnanimum heroum, pueri innuptaeque puellae
impositique rogis iuuenes ante ora parentum (6.306-8)
480: alligat et nouies Styx interfusa coercet (6.439)
538=550: quattuor eximios praestanti corpore tauros (8.207)

I'm sure you're right that Vergil means to point back to the context of the original passage.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

Time:2013-07-02 11:28 am (UTC)
The identity/similarity of some lines in the Aristaeus/Orpheus episode with lines in the Aeneid has been used to 'prove' that Georgics 4 as we have it was a second revision, undertaken after the beginning of the composition of the Aeneid in order to eliminate the so-called Laudes Galli (i.e. the argument is: V. repeated lines in the revised version of Geo. 4 from the Aeneid). You list the lines which are identical. There are others which are not identical but are sufficiently close to establish that the one unmistakeably depends on the other.

This is a list of those which are felt to be significant.

Aen. 1.126 ~ Geo. 4.352
Aen. 1.701-6 ~ Geo. 4.376-9
Aen. 1.159-69 ~ Geo. 4.418-23
Aen. 6.309-15 ~ Geo. 4.473-7
Aen. 2.790-4 ~ Geo. 4.499-502

One more to add to the list, I think, is

Aen. 1.677-9 ~ Geo. 4.354-6

Regius accitu cari genitoris ad urbem
Sidoniam puer ire parat, mea maxima cura,
dona ferens, pelago et flammis restantia Troiae:
(Aen. 1.677-9)

Cyrene soror, ipse tibi, tua maxima cura,
tristis Aristaeus Penei genitoris ad undam 355
stat lacrimans et te crudelem nomine dicit.'
(Geo. 354-6)

For the Laudes Galli: see Servius on Ecl. 10.1 and on Geo. 4.1: to the effect that Georgics IV originally contained praise of Gallus (the poet, commander of part of Octavian's army's in the Alexandrian campaign and first prefect of Egypt) which were deleted and replaced with the Aristaeus and Orpheus episode following Gallus' mysterious disgrace, prosecution and suicide in BC 26 or BC 27.

Although Servius here is now widely discredited, I myself think that the report is essentially true. But I very much doubt that the 'proof' is to be found in these 'doublets' not least (i) Vergilian self-repetition is such a wide phenomenon; (ii) determining precedence is entirely subjective and hazardous; and (iii) there remains the distinct possibility that the 'doublets' in fact share common (lost) models - so arguing from how well the respective lines fit in context may be to proceed on a false premise.

If you are interested (or anyone else is...!):

Bibliography on the Laudes Galli - include:

Anderson, W. B. (1933) "Gallus and the 4th Georgic" CQ 27 pp. 36-45; Anderson, W. B. (1933) "Gallus and the Fourth Georgic: Addendum" CQ 27 p. 73 (1933)
Norden, E. (1934) 'Orpheus und Eurydice' SPAW 626-683 = Kleine Schriften (1966) Berlin pp. 468-532
Jocelyn, H. D. (1984) 'Servius and the second edition of the Georgics' in 'Atti del Convegno mondiale scientifico di studi su Virgilio, Mantova/Roma/Napoli 19-24 settembre 1981' Milan pp. 431-438
Nosarti, L. (1996) 'Studi sulle Georgiche di Virgilio' Padova

Bibliography specifically on the Laudes Galli and the Georgics IV doublets include:

Otis, B. (1963) 'Virgil: A Study in Civilized Poetry' Oxford (one of the Appendices)
Coleiro, E. (1971) 'Allegory in the Fourth Georgic' in Bardon and Verdiere (edd.) 'Vergiliana: Recherches sur Virgile' Leiden pp.
Paratore, E. (1977) 'L'Episodio di Orfeo' in 'Atti del Convegno Virgiliano bimellenario delle Georgiche' pp. 9-36
Setaioli, A. (1998) 'Novies Styx interfusa: Aen. 6.439-Georg. 4.480' in 'Si tantus amor... Studi Virgiliani' Bologna at pp. 105-120
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

Time:2013-07-03 02:24 pm (UTC)
Ah, thank you! I knew the story about the laudes Galli, but had forgotten.

I'm glad that we've got the Aristaeus-Orpheus passage now, because it's wonderful (and Gallus is praised in the equally wonderful Eclogue X anyway). Also I agree with you that the doublets don't prove much. Do they mean that Vergil used those lines twice because he was too lazy to write something new to replace the laudes? That certainly doesn't fit into my picture of him.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

Time:2013-07-04 02:27 pm (UTC)
'Do they mean that Vergil used those lines twice because he was too lazy to write something new to replace the laudes?'

That is more or less the implication, although it's couched more politely! In a similar vein, some adherents of the Laudes Galli testimony have argued that they detect signs of imperfect revision, as if Vergil would not be capable or would not take the care to complete properly a revised edition (although, in fact, there are some interesting oddities about the composition and an intriguing textual oddity at lines 4.290-3 (describing Egypt - i.e. pertinent to Gallus) - they appear in a different order in each of our three oldest texts of Vergil).
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

[icon] Vergil Repeats Himself - The latin community
View:Recent Entries.
View:Website (The Perseus Project).