LINEBURG


<< . .

 5
( 33)



. . >>

cent. ce), Miscellanies; and the pseudepigraphical ˜Fragmentum Censorini™. Earlier works entitled
˜mixtures™ (s…mmikta) are known of by Aristoxenus (frr.122“7 Wehrli), Istrus (FGrH 334 F57) and
Callistratus ˜the Aristophanean™ (FGrH 348 F2“3).
112 For further discussion of the often disingenuous nature of claims about random composition in
miscellanistic texts, see Jason K¨ nig™s chapter in this volume; for Pamphila™s knowingness, note
o
her claim (again reported by Photius) to have learned her subject matter from her husband, from
visitors and from books: we take this a playful allusion to Ar. Lys. 1125“7.
¨
32 j a son k onig a nd ti m w h i tm a rs h
the paradigm cases of archival thinking under the empire, Julius Pollux™s
Onomasticon (addressed, as we shall shortly discuss, to the Emperor Com-
modus). The history of ancient lexicography is still largely unwritten “
indeed, as John Henderson observes in his chapter, scholarship has largely
connived to repress its visibility, while simultaneously exploiting it as a
resource “ but it seems as though Pollux™s work innovated radically, in that
it orders its words rigorously by theme, grouping the themes together into
books.113 To that extent, it seems to borrow substantially from the conven-
tions of ˜encyclopedic™ knowledge-orderers like Pliny, who deal with a wide
range of different types of expertise in successive sections. Phrynichus™ con-
temporary Atticist (from which we have an extant Eclogue or ˜selection™), by
way of contrast, proceeds by picking its way apparently at random through
the many phrases it amasses (though there may be traces of an original
alphabetical order).
Pollux™s technique is to enter lists of words under broad rubrics. Though
the Onomasticon is not the kind of text that many readers will choose to
read sequentially, the sequence is in fact crucial: the mapping of language
is also an exercise in mapping the hierarchies of the world.114 Let us take an
example, the entry under names for girls and women (which, predictably,
comes after that for men):
In the case of females, the ¬rst names, up to paidarion, are the same as for men (for
this is common to both, to females and males). From there on: paidisk¯, korion e
(which is found in Eupolis™ Goats), kor¯, koriskion. Korasion is used but it is a mean
e
word, as is koridion. The concrete noun is for the state of a virgin is korikon; but
I do not admit this. Phrynichus the comic calls young girls aph¯likas: ˜there were
e
also aphˆlikes women there™. Pherecrates calls an older woman aph¯likesteran, just
e e
as Cratinus calls an old man aph¯lika. You will also say ˜virgin in the season for mar-
e
riage™. Aristophanes also says that girls who are of age ˜are ripe as beans™ (kuamizein):

113 The text as we have it probably derives from an early epitome by Bishop Arethas in the tenth century,
but it is still plenty ample enough to allow for general comments on structure. Lexicography was a
vibrant intellectual industry, particularly in the Greek-speaking world: cf., e.g., Apion of Alexandria
(1st cent. ce), On Homeric language; Apollonius (1st“2nd cent. ce), Lexicon to Homer; Aelius
Dionysius of Halicarnassus (2nd cent. ce “ not to be confused with his ¬rst-century homonym),
Attic words, Erotianus (1st ce) Collection of Hippocratic words; Eudemus of Argos (2nd cent. ce?),
On rhetorical language; Galen, Explanation of Hippocrates™ language; Pseudo-Galen (2nd cent. ce?),
Names of plants; Harpocration of Alexandria (1st“2nd cent. ce), Lexicon of the ten orators; Herodian
of Alexandria (2nd cent. ce), Homeric schematisms; Moeris (2nd“3rd cent. ce), Lexicon of Atticism;
Pausanias (2nd cent. ce), Collection of Attic words; Phrynichus ˜the Arab™ (2nd cent. ce), Preparation
for sophistry and Selection; Ptolemy of Ascalon (2nd cent. ce?), On the difference between words.
There is no comparable ¬eld in Latin, although some shared ground is covered by grammatical
works.
114 ˜Simple classi¬cation is hard to achieve without the imposition of special value judgements like
“higher” or “lower”™ (McArthur (1986) 35).
Ordering knowledge 33
˜Others of them are ripe as beans, they are now nearly taking wing towards their hus-
bands™. Lass, lassie, unmarried girl, nubile, newly-wed, woman/wife (gun¯ ), woman
e
hitched to a man (¯ndr¯men¯ ), woman fused with a man (andri memigmen¯ ),
eo e e
young girl, girl of age, young woman, girl who has reached her age (aph¯b¯kuia),
ee
girl who has gone past her age (parh¯b¯kuia), one who is inclining towards old age,
ee
old woman, and (as in Isaeus) older woman, oldie, and (as in Theopompus the
comic) aged woman lover of wine, drunkard, lusting after wine, perineum. The
rest are the same as for men, such as on the edge of old age, weighed down with
age and so forth. (2.17“18)
This entry is structured (notwithstanding an interlude in the middle) as
a progression through a woman™s life, from birth to death. The terms for
very young and very old are common to women and men alike. Gender
differentiation is presented as a feature of culture, not biology: it only begins
when the child begins to be socialised, and ceases to apply in very old age.
Maturation (h¯b¯ ) is closely linked to marriage, which is constructed as
ee
the natural goal of female existence. This connection is underlined in the
quotation from Aristophanes, which is not necessary for lexical purposes:
what it does, for Pollux, is to underscore the leap from the biological
(ripening like beans) to the socially programmatic (taking wing towards
husbands). But even the lexical point does cultural work: the reference to
beans (kuamoi) may well demand comparison with other fruit and vegetable
words used by the comedians to describe the ¬rm body of a young girl.115 In
other words, the young girl is being presented in salacious, titillating terms,
as a de¬nitively embodied being, and available to the touch and control of
the male subject.
Particularly interesting is the citation from Theopompus that describes
the old woman: the quotation is designed, prima facie, to introduce the word
presbutis (which I have translated ˜aged woman™), but it brings with it a host
of abusive adjectives activating the comic stereotype of the old drunk. These
words are lexically super¬‚uous; nor do they complete a metrical line (the
quotation is ametric). The concluding word, kocÛnh, is a medical word for
the perineum, also found in the comedians meaning ˜arse™ and (according
to Jeffrey Henderson) ˜almost always refers to anal intercourse™.116 These
debasing words serve, in Theopompus and Pollux alike, the function of
abjecting the old woman, again in strikingly corporeal terms; and such
abjection is a crucial social technology because old women are often free of
husbands and thus uncontrolled (another comic motif ).
Pollux™s quotations are primarily introduced to anchor his discourse in
the literature of the prestigious past: they are cited to exemplify lexical
115 116
Henderson (1991) 149. Henderson (1991) 200.
¨
34 j a son k onig a nd ti m w h i tm a rs h
points, not for their content. But content cannot be so quickly deactivated:
citation introduces intertextual pluralism, opens up possibilities for multi-
ple hermeneutic alleys. It is notable that Pollux™s woman is an almost exclu-
sively comic creation (Eupolis, Phrynichus, Pherecrates, Cratinus, Aristo-
phanes, Theopompus; only Isaeus strikes a different note), and this steers
his reader towards a certain culturally enshrined vision of the pleasures and
threats of females. Intertextuality is often presented as a form of interpreta-
tive pluralism and liberation (particularly from the tyranny of ˜allusion and
in¬‚uence™), but in this case “ and there may be a more general underlying
point about all conceptions of ˜freedom™ “ it is a carefully controlled, and
indeed carefully controlling, mode of operation.
Pollux™ work, then, is not simply a collection of miscellaneous synonyms:
it provides an idealised map of society, a vision of les mots et les choses that
performs and manipulates the paradigmatic relationships at the heart of
Romano-Greek society. This lexicon is thus an archive in action: here you
learn through words about the world, its deep structures and unspoken
orders, its hierarchies, equivalences, symbolic parataxeis, and “ not least “
its subtle equivocations.

tex tua l revoluti ons
During this period there also arose a series of revolutions in textual tech-
nology. Perhaps the most important was the appearance of the codex (or
book), which gradually replaced the unwieldy papyrus scroll.117 Scrolls were
designed for information storage in libraries; they slotted neatly into hori-
zontal slots, with an identi¬cation tag visible at the end. The codex, how-
ever, allowed for quick scanning back and forth across several pages “ an
early form of what we now call ˜hypertextuality™. It is surely no coinci-
dence that the earliest codices contained Christian and technical material,
two genres of discourse that privilege, indeed insist upon, cross-referencing
and non-linear reading.118 The Christian Bible, in particular, was a text
that many exegetes wanted to read hypertextually, as they grappled with its
multiple authors and often con¬‚icting demands. The Bible was, indeed,
perhaps the ¬rst book conceived of as a textual embodiment of the cosmos.
In the beginning was the word: God™s language was the sacred transcription
of the mysteries of the universe, of human society and mortality, of bodily
suffering and spiritual redemption.
117 Roberts and Skeat (1983).
118 See Habinek (1998) 117“21 for a different argument, that the codex was closely associated with
sub-elite identity, in contrast with the high-status connotations of the papyrus roll.
Ordering knowledge 35
Another innovation “ albeit less dramatic, perhaps “ was the table of
contents, which we ¬nd ¬rst in extant literature in the works of Scribonius
Largus, the Elder Pliny, Aulus Gellius and Columella.119 At ¬rst sight, we
might want to take these TOCs as consolidation of a new movement under
the empire towards what we have called ˜hypertextual™ reading. As Andrew
Riggsby™s contribution to this volume shows, however, Pliny™s TOC is not
pragmatically useful in ¬nding one™s way around this massive work; rather,
it serves the rhetorical end of displaying his mastery. Yet although it would
be hopelessly crude to see these devices as unilateral re¬‚exes in response
to a single, uni¬ed urge underlying the multifarious textual practices of
the empire, it is clear that paratextual phenomena of this kind do begin
to gain a hold in this period, and that they are intimately related to the
intensi¬cation of activity associated with archival thinking.

itemisin g kn owle d ge
Archival thinking encourages a speci¬c approach to knowledge, as manipu-
lable, discrete fragments. Like Propp™s structuralism, L´vi-Strauss™s mythog-
e
raphy or Barthes™s cultural semiology, the texts analysed in this volume
characteristically conceive of their primary operation as the analysis of raw
material (whether ˜reality™ or pre-existing text) by a process of itemisation.
˜Knowledge™ is to be conceived of as an aggregate of discrete particles that
are to be subjected to a process of analytical ordering.
How can we conceptualise the relationship of this process of itemisation
of knowledge to the imperial project? One metaphor that recurs in this
book is that of ˜mapping™ knowledge.120 This is not an innocent image:
the map is a central image of Roman imperial rhetoric, a taxonomy of the
subject states of the global empire. Not all scholars are equally convinced
that Agrippa™s famous dedication (Pliny, Natural history 3.17) was a map in
our sense,121 but it certainly itemised the nations of the world. Similarly,
the preface to The achievements of the divine Augustus (Res gestae) “ an
inscription copies of which were set up throughout the empire “ speaks of
the emperor™s subjection of ˜the whole world™ (orbem terrarum) to Roman
imperium. The extraordinary fact of the subsumption of the multifarious

119 Pliny does, however, claim a precedent, for Latin literature at any rate (in litteris nostris), in the
Epoptides of the late-Republican author Valerius Soranus, on whom see Holford-Strevens (2003)
30“1.
120 Cf. Murphy (2004) 131“7 on the metaphor of mapping in Pliny™s Natural history.
121 See most recently Brodersen (1995) 275“8 (arguing against the map), and more generally Nicolet
(1991).
¨
36 j a son k onig a nd ti m w h i tm a rs h
nations of the earth under a single political framework was a repeated
motif of imperial ideology, whether in the artistic representations carried
in triumphs,122 or more formally in the development of world-maps. The
relationship in a map between discrete parts and architectonic whole is
simultaneously ˜imperial™ and ˜archival™: ˜unity in diversity™ is the rhetoric
common to both modes of thinking.
The manner of imperialism, though, was not the sole prerogative of the
emperor: through the complex ˜chandelier™ structure of imperial bureau-
cracy, patronage and in¬‚uence, it percolated down all the way to provincial
aristocrats. In the atria of Roman noblemen across the empire, looted art-
works signalled at once their exoticism and their submission to the neces-
sity of the new economic, political and military order. Art galleries, such
as we encounter in Petronius™ Satyricon and Philostratus™ Portraits, encour-
age the viewer to respond both to the individual artwork and to the act
of assemblage that has created (and resourced) the viewing space. From
the late Republic, meanwhile, we ¬nd the Roman nobles collecting books
and hoarding them in purpose-built libraries in country villas: trophies
of conquest, now largely tamed of their political and ethical urgency and
consigned to the leisure space of the dominant elite.
The archive controls time as well as space. The rows of statues in the
forum of Augustus, for example, present a historico-temporal ˜map™ of
ancestors, simultaneously individuated and uni¬ed in the service of their
support for Augustus. Processions performed a similar rhetoric of univer-
salism, whether the imperialist processions of the Hellenistic kings (most
memorably that of Ptolemy Philadelphus, as described by Callixenus) or,
on a smaller and more local scale, Roman aristocratic funeral processions,
with their displays of ancestral masks.123 It is this capacity to control the
representation of space and time, to ¬gure its complex diversity in a single,
appropriative space, that hallmarks imperial power.
It is this same imperialist impulse that underlies much of the intellectual
habit of knowledge collection under the empire. Large-scale compendia
of knowledge (e.g., Seneca™s, Pliny™s and Apuleius™ Natural histories, Pam-
phila™s Collection of historical reminiscences, Favorinus™ Miscellaneous history,
Aulus Gellius™ Attic nights, Aelian™s Miscellaneous history) perform, in their
encyclopedic accumulation of diverse phenomena, the aggregative rhetoric
of empire. Athenaeus™ Sophists at dinner, most notably, is dramatised (in
emulation of Plato™s Symposium) at the dinner table of a wealthy Roman

122 E.g., see Murphy (2004) 154“60.
123 See Rice (1983) for Callixenus; Flower (1995) on Roman funeral masks.
Ordering knowledge 37
patron, Larensis, ˜who outdid all of those who have inspired awe in their
collection of books™ (3a).124 Larensis™ personal library, along with its textual
transcription (the Sophists at dinner itself ), emblazons not only his cultured
re¬nement but also his power within the imperial hierarchy.125
Edward Said writes as follows of nineteenth-century French imperialism:
the power even in casual conversation to represent what is beyond metropolitan
borders derives from the power of an imperial society, and that power takes the
discursive form of a reshaping or reordering of ˜raw™ or primitive data into the local
conventions of European narrative and formal utterance, or, in the case of France,
the systematics of disciplinary order.126
The brilliance of Said™s various analyses of orientalist discourse lies in
their ability to show exactly how politically active the concept of knowl-
edge is, and particularly how the organisation of knowledge relates to the
organisation of empire. Knowledge of the East, for Said, is driven by what
Foucault would call the ˜historical a priori™ of empire. It is easy to see how
parallels with Romano-Greek ethnography might be drawn: ¬gures like
Strabo, Arrian, Ptolemy and the periplous writers could be absorbed into
the post-Hartog school of analyses of ˜the other™ (and, indeed, this process
is already well underway).127 The ˜conquest of the world™ (Roman impe-
rialism never sacri¬ced the rhetoric of world-empire to the truth, which
was less ¬‚attering and certainly messier) evidently relates closely to both
the literal mapping of the world and its symbolic mapping through the
discourse of ethnography.128
But this volume stakes the case for something else, something both deeper
and thicker. It is not, ultimately, the ideality of knowledge that interests us
here, so much as its embodiment: the modes of selection, the processes of
aggregation, the formal techniques for its presentation, the cultural mean-
ing of the work that lends it its ¬‚esh. The two are, of course, mutually
reciprocal: there is no matter without form, as Aristotle would say, just
as there is no form without matter. The aim of this volume, however, is
to rectify an imbalance. Classical scholarship has traditionally privileged

124 For Larensis, see Braund (2000a).
125 According to Athenaeus, Marcus Aurelius had set Larensis in charge of ˜temples and sacri¬ces™
(©er¤n kaª qusi¤n, 3c); Braund (2000a) 6 argues that Larensis was in reality only a pontifex minor,
the status of which was ˜rather less than the glorious supervision of Roman religion suggested in the
eulogy™. The extent to which Athenaeus™ characters map onto real individuals, however, is radically
uncertain.
126 Said (1993) 119.
127 On ˜Greeks and barbarians™ in the Roman period, see esp. Schmidt (1999); Hartog (2001).
128 Momigliano (1974); Nicolet (1991).
¨
38 j a son k onig a nd ti m w h i tm a rs h
idealised knowledge, because it has found the myth of disembodied knowl-
edge so congenial to its own aspirations. The essays in this volume seek to
re-embody knowledge within the rich cultural context of the early Roman
Empire. Our central proposition is that there is a ˜discursive form™ (to bor-
row Said™s phrase) of knowledge that is characteristically imperial, which is
to say the typical modes of operation of the archive: it rests upon itemisa-
tion, analysis, ordering, hierarchisation, synthesis, synopsis.
˜Imperial™, of course, does not necessarily mean ˜pro-imperial™: the oppo-
sition between consolidation and challenging of society is too crude. An
author like Lucian offers a number of archival, ˜synoptic™ ¬gures that mimic
the rhetoric of empire, such as the auction of philosophers in the Sale of
lives and the aerial view in Icaromenippus. But it would be hopelessly sim-
plistic to decide on this basis that he was either ˜supporting™ or ˜criticising™:
as we have seen above, his knowing satire is subtle and dangerously broad-
ranging. Other modes of knowledge, particularly philosophical and theo-
logical, simultaneously borrow the symbolic force of imperial-colonialist
rhetoric and seek to transcend it: Philostratus™ Life of Apollonius, also dis-
cussed above, is an excellent example. Still other authors express the frail
inability of language to match the diversity of the world: Pollux™ word
book, for example, does not include ˜every word™ (p†nta t‡ ½n»mata),
for it is not easy to ˜gather together™ (sullabe±n) ˜everything™ (p†nta) into
a single book (1.2). Rhetorical recusatio, for sure; but in an address to the
emperor (as his dedicatory epistle is), Pollux is conspicuously rendering
unto Caesar what is Caesar™s. Moreover, the fact of cultural and linguistic
differences between Romans, Greeks and other groups means that this vol-
ume is best viewed as a complex tessellation of interrelated responses and
reactions to the imperial order. The ordering of knowledge is an ˜imperial™
phenomenon in that it is mired in the real world of the Roman Empire “
but that observation does not mean that we should con¬ne ourselves to
crudely characterising texts variously as ˜consolidatory™ or ˜subversive™.
The process that we are describing as the ˜ordering™ of knowledge, thus,
operates on two levels. First, knowledge is commissioned, impelled, com-
manded, by or in competition with the authoritarian edicts of empire.
Secondly, however, and no less importantly, it is also given its own dis-
tinctive matrix of intratextual ˜orders™: items of knowledge are isolated,
lemmatised, structured, ranked. It is the interaction between these two
levels, the political and the textual, that forms the substance of this book.
As we have stressed, the Roman Empire was not the ¬rst example of
a culture where the organisation of knowledge re¬‚ected (in the complex
ways we have described) the political order: while many of its practices were
Ordering knowledge 39
distinctive (or gained new signi¬cance from their new context), many others
were inherited from earlier Rome or adapted from Hellenistic Greece. Nor
was it the last. As John Henderson™s chapter shows, mediaeval Europe took
over Rome™s rhetoric of intertwined knowledge and empire and put it to
new uses in the service of the Christian God. Rome™s imperial legacy to
the mediaeval world (and indeed beyond) was not con¬ned to the spheres
of politics, economics and warfare: she also showed that an empire must
be an empire of knowledge. What the essays in this volume show is just
how powerful, intense, multifarious, durable and “ above all “ intellectually
captivating was this society™s engagement in the ordering of knowledge.
pa rt ii
Knowledge and textual order
chapter 2

Fragmentation and coherence in Plutarch™s
Sympotic Questions
Jason K¨nig
o


rea d in g mi s ce ll a ni sm
This volume attempts to draw out some of the ordering principles which
lie beneath the surface of the Roman Empire™s compilatory writing. The
dif¬culty of identifying any such principles is particularly acute for works
which have a strongly miscellanistic quality. I should say at the outset that
it is hard to isolate any clearly bounded ancient genre of the ˜miscellany™. It
seems more fruitful instead to recognise the recurring presence of a range
of miscellanistic characteristics across many different kinds of writing. Mis-
cellanistic works “ in the sense in which I understand that term here “ are
marked primarily by the disparateness of the material they accumulate. In
some cases that quality of disparateness is supplemented by other markers:
for example, many miscellanistic texts claim that their primary aim is to give
pleasure to their readers™, rather than to instruct or to be comprehensive;
many make claims about the randomness of their own structures. Some-
times, for sure, all of these characteristics are combined with each other.
Moreover, in some cases we ¬nd authors situating their own texts in rela-
tion to other miscellanistic writing. For example, Aulus Gellius, Attic nights
pr. 4“10, not only chooses a title which evokes the idea of variety (the many
different nights the author has spent in reading and compiling), but also
compares his title with the titles other miscellanistic writers have chosen, in
a way which suggests a high degree of self-consciousness about his work™s
place among a series of other similar texts.1 At other times, however, these
miscellanistic characteristics ¬nd their way in a diluted form into works

1 Vardi (2004) usefully discusses the dif¬culty of de¬ning any genre of ˜miscellanism™, while also at
the same time mapping out some of the recurring tropes of miscellanistic writing in Gellius™ preface
and elsewhere. It is worth noting, however, that even Gellius, who is one of the ancient writers who
comes closest to identifying a genre of miscellanism and identifying his own work as part of it, insists
on undermining that identi¬cation even as he gestures towards it, since one of his main aims in this
preface is actually to distinguish his own work from the others he lists, which he criticises for their
excessive bulk (e.g., Gell. NA pr. 11“12).

43
¨
44 j a son k on ig
which ¬t (similarly ¬‚uid) categories like encyclopedic or technical writing.
In that sense I hope the problems this chapter raises will have resonances
for a wide range of different kinds of compilatory writing, not only for
those who make it into Gellius™ list of rival miscellanists.
How can we make sense of writing which is apparently marked by lack
of system and lack of order? There are many possible approaches: one
might look, for example, for underlying ideological coherence “ a sense
that disparate material is uni¬ed through being imbued with distinctive
ways of viewing the world; such analysis might reveal the unseen effects of
particular ethical priorities or particular assumptions and anxieties about
hierarchies of social status, gender or cultural superiority (as argued for
Pollux™s lexicographical compilation in the introduction to this volume).
One might also look for recurring images and thematic patterns lying
beneath the apparently chaotic surfaces of these texts “ despite the fact that
they so often claim not to have any such patterning. We should perhaps be
cautious of that approach: the gesture of rehabilitating texts on the grounds
of their thematic coherence is in some ways a relic of old-fashioned literary
criticism,2 and there is an obvious danger of anachronistically mapping
our own critical preoccupation with making sense of ancient literature on
to ancient readers. I argue here, however, that the idea of thematic order
does nonetheless have some applicability for the miscellanistic writing of
the Roman Empire. Many ancient miscellanists, I suggest, gesture towards
thematic order, drawing us into a search for patterns while also at the same
time disrupting and frustrating that search. On that argument, the claim
many miscellanists make, that they are composing at random, turns out,
at least in some cases, to be a matter of convention, a miscellanistic pose
which can hide careful structuring beneath it.3 Perhaps most importantly,
one might think about the way in which disparate material may be uni¬ed
by a consistent methodology of reading. In particular, the image of the
active reader, who must use his or her reading as a resource, a starting-point

<< . .

 5
( 33)



. . >>

Copyright Design by: Sunlight webdesign