|I ask the list to forgive me if the following all seems a little self-indulgent. It is Sunday morning, and I really am going to finish writing up a Beowulf lecture in a moment.|
Throughout this discussion, I have thought again and again (and I do think this has been touched on in it ) of how a writer who has taken a rhetoric developed for the law court or political debate deeply into his patterns of thought and _expression_ will not boggle to use anything that comes to hand to make (or rather win) a point at a particular moment in his argument even though his treatment of a topic may be apparently contradicted by his use of it two minutes or fifty lines later. I am thinking particularly of Augustine, but I suspect this habit makes it more difficult to decide generally in Latin literature well into the late empire whether we are faced with a true interior ambiguity or merely the impetus of the moment's argument. Perhaps this ought to be less true of the poet, and Vergil may well have been more honest in his persuasion than Augustine.
I suspect this is slightly off topic - but it does seem apposite to me: what does the list think of Ramsay Macmullen's Romanization in the Time of Augustus. I have been reading it (yes, an important work for the understanding of the orthography of the Nowell manuscript scribes) while this thread has been unwound - and feeling a little like Virgil at the end of Georgics IV. Leaving aside that my copy, which was admittedly picked up on a remainders table, is very badly printed after page 132, and that I cannot really agree that the style is 'clear and readable' as someone claims on the cover, it is a deeply stimulating book whose attitude towards Roman acculturation is worth discussion and is a salutary reminder that we ought not read the present automatically into the past. I found it interesting in the context of the discussion on Egypt that at p134 he asserts that Agrippa's and Augustus' patronage of building projects,, an important factor in acculturation was essentially payed for by the wealth of Egypt. I can't help mentioning either that at p.123 he claims Romans introduced one of the true glories of Egyptian civilization (and I am not being ironic ), the domestic cat, to Gaul. To be quite fair, I must bear witness that 'Approval or admiration or envy, any of these lovely things that could be won from one's community' (p.113) is an enviable turn of phrase.
Macmullen's last pages also recalled to me that surely 'barbarus' in Eclogue 1.70 is not an actual 'barbarian' but only 'barbarus' in his actions. Surely he would be a legionary veteran of the civil wars, quite possibly someone with connections to the area - unless in the rush of geography and movement of peoples in the preceding lines here is a further subconscious world-turned upside down image of Latins at the fringes and barbarians at the heart, a downward spiral of impius miles followed by barbarus. Perhaps this is merely the confusion of a medievalist wandering in Vergil (gawping like one of my ancestors in the forum), but in the heat of discussion and exposition in many books and lectures, it has often seemed as if we are reacting to the character as an actual barbarian. Not that being displaced by a returning local could make it any better for Meliboeus.
Back to Beowulf. He is about to take Unferth very properly apart in a way that would make Cicero proud. In fact, Clodia was lucky Cicero didn't have him as junior counsel.
The glorious gifts of Egyptian civilization who run this house have just arrived - Beowulf may have to wait a little longer.
- VIRGIL: Nefarious conjugals with fortunate race Rosemary Grayston
- Re: VIRGIL: Nefarious conjugals with fortun... Leofranc Holford-Strevens
- Re: VIRGIL: Nefarious conjugals with fortun... David Wilson-Okamura
- Re: VIRGIL: Nefarious conjugals with fo... Helen Conrad-O'Briain
- Re: VIRGIL: Nefarious conjugals with fo... Rosemary Grayston