Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus - Vol. 1

Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus - Vol. 1

Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus - Vol. 1

Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus - Vol. 1

Synopsis

Pompeius Trogus, a Romanized Gaul living in the age of Augustus, wrote a forty-four book universal history (The Philippic History) of the non-Roman, Mediterranean world. This work was later abbreviated by a certain M. Junianus Justinus, better known as Justin. This volume presents the first modern English translation and scholarly commentary on Books 11-12 of Justin's so-called 'Epitome' of the history. These books constitute one of the five major sources for the history of Alexander the Great and belong to the so-called 'Vulgate' tradition, which in the opinion of many scholars derives ultimately from the lost historian Clearchus of Alexandria. The original work of Pompeius Trogus appears to have had stylistic and historical influences on the better known History of Alexander by Quintus Curius Rufus. In this volume the authors tease out and differentiate as far as possible the relative contributions of the historian Trogus and the 'epitomator' Justin. The commentary examines the relationship of Justin-Trogus to both the extant sources and the works of the lost Alexander historians, and a serious attempt is made to explain errors or deviations from well-known sources in terms of the methods of historian and 'epitomator' before resorting to the expedient of textual emendation. A second volume, covering books 13-15, is forthcoming.

Excerpt

In 1968, when J. R. Hamilton wrote the Preface to his Plutarch commentary (published in the following year), he noted the curious fact that 'no ancient writer on Alexander, not even the invaluable Arrian, had been provided with an English commentary' (v), though C.Bradford Welles had provided extensive notes to Diodorus 17 for the Loeb series. Since then much has changed: A. B. Bosworth and J. E. Atkinson have now completed the second volumes of their commentaries, on Arrian and Curtius respectively, and Hamilton's PA has long been the standard by which other Alexander commentaries are judged. The work that follows, on Justin's 'Epitome' of the 11th and 12th books ofPompeius Trogus' Philippic History, is one further step towards completing the task which Hamilton and Welles began. But Justin presents a special problem for the commentator: his work is a selective, and inadequate, abbreviation of Pompeius' work, which was itself a compression of a lost Greek history of Alexander (probably that of Cleitarchus). Hence Justin omits more than he includes, and many of the details in the latter category are inaccurate on account of the epitomator's carelessness or ignorance. Events are conflated or misplaced, and the reader is subjected to numerous misleading generalizations. Solutions are seldom found in textual emendation, and, in the translation, we have deviated but once (at 12. 8. 17) from O. Seel's conservative text, though the merits of certain suggested readings are discussed in the commentary (see, for example, the notes to 11. 10. 4, 12. 3. 5, 4. 1, 10. 6, 16. 1). More often the difficulties of the text can be explained by Trogus' manipulation of the primary source material, or Justin's careless abbreviation. The commentary thus tries, to the extent that this is possible, to distinguish between Trogus' original contribution andJustin reworking of the Philippic History. Often we have speculated on how or why errors occurred, and the results must be regarded as speculative. We have, however, avoided the temptation to explain historical by scribal error.

The question of 'intended audience' invariably arises. Our aim in writing the commentary was to make it accessible to . . .

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