Greek Mythography in the Roman World

By Alan Cameron | Go to book overview

Appendix 4
Marginal Source Citations in Parthenius and
Antoninus Liberalis

There are two main arguments against attributing all these citations to Parthenius and Antoninus themselves.1 First, scepticism that the texts cited really are the sources of the stories in question, an objection we have seen to be misplaced (Ch. V). Second, the fact that they are written in the bottom (less often top) margins rather than the body of the text.2 But the fact that they are written in the same hand as the body of the text might equally be held to imply that they are an integral part of the original text.

This appendix is devoted to just one question: is it credible that ancient writers put references in the bottom margin, quite literally footnotes? Most critics have taken it for granted that this was simply beyond the technology of ancient book production. But it was not beyond the technology of the medieval book. By the twelfth century we find regular source citations in the margins of texts of Peter Lombard’s commentaries on the Psalter and Pauline Epistles, picked out in red. To give a single illustration, the general assertion “unde Augustinus quaerit” in Peter’s text presupposes the precise citation “Augustinus in XV libro De Trinitate” in the margin, together with a variety of other marginal rubrics to help the reader. Those who have studied the manuscripts of the work are in no doubt that these marginal notations go back to the author himself.3

Interpreting footnotes as precise documentation, the closest Anthony Grafton could find to the modern footnote in the ancient world was references by book and chapter in late antique legal texts (for example, Ulpianus libro VIIII de officio proconsulis ad legem Iuliam de vi publica et privata, in Mosaicarum et Romanarum

1. So I. Cazzaniga, Antoninus Liberalis: Metamorphoseon Synagoge (Milan 1962), 8–9; M. Papathomopoulos, Antoninus Liberalis: Les Métamorphoses (Paris 1968), xi—xxii; Jacob Stern, Parthenius: Erotika Pathemata (New York 1992), 106–7; Lightfoot 1999, 246–56 This is also the view of the overwhelming bulk of the surprisingly extensive literature on the subject (most listed by Lightfoot).

2. Mainly in the bottom margin; in the top margin only if the need for two sets of references on the same page arose.

3. Magistri Petri Lombardi Sententiae in IV libris distinctae, editio tertia, I.1 (Grottaferrata 1971), 138*–40*; I. Brady, “The Rubrics of Peter Lombard’s Sentences,” Pier Lombardo 6 (1962), 5–25; M. B. Parkes, “The Influence of the Concepts of Ordinatio and Compilatio on the Development of the Book,” in J.J.G. Alexander and M. T. Gibson, Medieval Learning and Literature (Oxford 1976), 116–7 (citing a couple of ninth-century examples).

-321-

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