A. W. (Arthur Woollgar) Verrall.

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A. W. VERRALL, Litt.D.






J. D. DUFF, M.A.

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I 9 I 3

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THIS volume contains a selection of articles
which seemed to deserve publication in a
permanent form, collected from the numerous con-
tributions made by the author to classical periodicals
during the last thirty years ; six papers not hitherto
published, and one essay which originally formed
part of Studies in Horace, a book now out of print.
The selection was made by Dr Verrall, in com-
pliance with the suggestions of friends, in the spring
of 191 2, and it was confirmed by the present editors,
by whom the essays have been revised and prepared
for the press. In only one or two places do the
editors think that the author might have wished
to make modifications which seemed beyond their

In the case of republished articles, the names of
the Journals and Reviews in which they originally
appeared are given in the Table of Contents, and
where the date of publication of a particular essay
seemed to be of importance a footnote giving this

vi Preface

has been added ad loc. The dates of composition
of the hitherto unpublished papers are not known
with precision ; some of them are fairly recent,
while others were written a good many years ago.
Most of them were probably read at meetings of the
Cambridge Philological Society, or of some other.

For permission to republish, our thanks are due
to the Classical Journals Board for papers from the
Classical Review ; to the Council of the Society for
the Promotion of Hellenic Studies for essays from
the Journal of Hellenic Studies ; and to Messrs
Macmillan & Co. for those from the Journal of
Philology, and for the reprint from Studies in

We have also to thank Mrs Verrall for valuable

Footnotes added by the editors are printed in
square brackets.

M. A. B.
J. D. D.

May 1913



Tyrtaeus I (Classical Review) I

Tyrtaeus II (C. R.) 29

Herodotus on the Dimensions of the Pyramids (C. R.) . . 45

The Site of Primitive Athens (C. R.) 58

On a Lost Word in Homer 75

Death and the Horse (Journal of Hellenic Studies) ... 84

The Paeans of Pindar and other new Literature (C. R.) . 113

The Bell and the Trumpet (/ //. S.) 136

The Calendar in the Trachiniae of Sophocles (C. R.) . . 147

Aphrodite Pandemos and the Hippolytus of Euripides (C. R.) . 169

Euripides, A ndromache 655 f. (C. R.) 176

Euripides, Helena 962 — 974 (C. R.) 193

The Three Actors (C. R.) 196

Notes on Aristophanes' Knights (C. R.) 203

The Verse-weighing Scene in the Frogs of Aristophanes (C. R.) 212

On a Certain Defect in " Longinus" (C. R.) .... 222

The Latin Sapphic (C. R.) 231

The Metrical Division of Compound Words in Virgil (C. R.) . 243

A Metrical Jest of Catullus 249

On a Metrical Practice in Greek Tragedy (Journal of Philology) 268

X The name Lamia in Horace (Studies in Horace) -—^ ^ 306

A Vexed Passage in Horace 325

An Interpolation in Horace (/. Ph.) 345

Stare in Horace, Sat. 1 9. 39 (/. Ph.) 354

The story of Orpheus and Eurydice in the Fourth Georgic . 358

Philippi and Philippi 362

Statius, Silvae 11 7. 8fT. 366

Index 369


On p. 208, for iircuvQ {bis) and 'Eiratvy read iTralvip and 'T&iraivip.


The history of poetry, says Horace 1 , begins
with the various lore attributed to such half-mythical
personages as Orpheus and Amphion, and presents
to us next the famous names of Homer and of
Tyrtaeus, 'whose verses made sharp for battle the
souls of men.' It is implied by the context that this
conjunction, though partly suggested by community
of spirit between the poet of the Iliad and the military
bard of Lacedaemon, is also justified by chronology;
and in fact, if we accept the tradition which ruled
in the Roman schools and still rules in modern
manuals, the elegiacs and anapaests composed by
Tyrtaeus for the encouragement of the Spartans in
their struggle to recover Messenia were the earliest
pieces of literature, strictly historical and datable,
which the Greeks possessed. According to the
story, presented to us in its entirety by Pausanias,
and accepted in substance by all writers of the
Roman age, the original subjugation of Messenia
was accomplished in two episodes, a first conquest
and a rebellion, separated by an interval of about
one generation. The central date is B.C. 700. The
activity of Tyrtaeus was assigned, since he expressly

1 Ars Poetica 401.

V. C S. T

♦ .« .
• *

•1 • • •♦ • ••?• - *: : • >*

2 Tyrtaeus. I

describes his war as a war of recovery, not to the
first of these contests but to the second, and his
date therefore stood about B.C. 680. The modern
speculations, which would bring it a little lower,
assuming for the moment that they work on a
substantial foundation, would still make no essential
difference. If we place Tyrtaeus at any time before
650, we put him as high as we can with assurance
put any extant Greek literature, except the primitive
Epos or portions of it : and if in that age or near it
his elegiacs, being what they are, were current and
popular in Laconia, their importance to history in
many respects is such as we cannot easily overrate.
The object of this paper is to overturn this hypothesis
completely, not by any speculative argument, but by
direct testimony, the full, plain, and conclusive state-
ment of the principal and only trustworthy witness
who speaks to the point.

The adventures of Tyrtaeus in the ' second
Messenian war* of the seventh century, as admitted
or partly admitted by modern historians, are the
remnant of an elaborate 'house on the sands,' some
time since flooded and ruined by the rain of criticism.
All, I believe, are now agreed, and it is therefore
needless to argue, that about these primeval conflicts
between the Spartans and Messenians the ancients
had no solid information, except what they might
rightly or wrongly infer from the poems of Tyrtaeus.
To support that long romance, — all omens, oracles,
desperate amours, miraculous feats, and hair-breadth
escapes, — which is reproduced in detail by Pausanias,

Tyrtaeus. I 3

no authority is even pretended, except writers, the
chief of them a poet, separated by four centuries
from the events supposed : and if Rhianus of Crete
and Myron of Priene troubled themselves about the
evidence for their novels any more than Scott
troubled himself about the evidence for Ivanhoe,
they must have found that evidence in such oral
tradition as may have been propagated in Messenian
cabins during the dark ages of oppression, ready to
emerge and expand after the deliverance effected in
the fourth century by Epaminondas. But for that
deliverance, as Grote remarks, we should probably
have heard little or nothing about the original resist-
ance. The historians or quasi-historians of the
third and later centuries would probably then have
left the events of the 'first and second Messenian
wars' in that general oblivion which seems to cover
them down to the age of Aristotle. In these cir-
cumstances scientific criticism had a simple task.
Aristomenes, the protagonist of the alleged Mes-
senian insurrection, belongs to that class of popular
heroes whose history is naught and their very
existence not unquestionable. He may stand
possibly above Tell or Vortigern, but not with
William Wallace or Llewelyn, perhaps on a level
with Hereward the Wake. For serious writers it
is now enough to mention his name 1 .

1 See for example Beloch, Gr. Geschichte, vol. 1, p. 284.
Those who (as Prof. Holm and Mr Abbott) condescend to repeat
the narrative of Pausanias do so under reservations effectually
destructive; and in fact there is no controversy about the matter.

4 Tyrtaeus. I

If therefore these same writers treat on a totally
different footing the connexion of this same episode
with the life of Tyrtaeus, if for the 'second Messenian
war' they use the fragments of Tyrtaeus as con-
fidently as Aeschylus for the battle of Salamis, they
do so, not because this proceeding is countenanced
by Pausanias, nor out of deference to any witness
who can have been influenced by the transfiguration
performed upon the history of Messenia in the
romances of the third century. Pausanias, and in
general all the writers of later antiquity, accepted
and circulated so much about primitive Messenia
which no one would accept now, that we should
concern ourselves little, if that were the question,
with what they allege about Tyrtaeus. But in fact
the poems of Tyrtaeus, and his story, complete in
all essential features, can be traced, not indeed into
the seventh century, but well above the level of
Rhianus or Myron 1 . Already in the fourth century
both he and his works were known and had admirers
at Athens. He is cited and some points in his life
are noticed by Plato in the Laws; he is extolled
by the orator Lycurgus, who also narrates at length
the circumstances in which his elegies were composed.
And more significant than all upon the question
of his historical validity, Aristotle, in the Politics,
adduces without scruple the witness of his poem en-
titled Eunomia, or The Blessings of Order, as to the

1 The date of Myron cannot be fixed, but that he was an
author of the same kind and standing as Rhianus is plain from
the account and treatment of him in Pausanias.

Tyrtaeus. I 5

effect of external pressure in producing a particular
kind of political discontent. It is upon the strength
of these names, which certainly make together as
strong a body of evidence as could be desired,
that historians now accept what can be learnt from
or about Tyrtaeus as affording a glimpse at least of
'the second Messenian war.' Rhianus cannot have
seduced Plato; Lycurgus had not read Myron;
Aristotle had probably never heard, and certainly
did not depend upon, any fireside anecdotes that
may have run loose in Messenia. If all three are
agreed — and they are — in accepting a certain belief
about Tyrtaeus, it was probably in the main well
founded. But the question remains, What was it ?

Of the three, the fullest and most explicit state-
ment is that of the orator. The allusions of Plato
and Aristotle, though they support that statement
so far as they go, and are significant when read in
the light of it, contain but little information, and
upon the vital point are in themselves uncertain.
The account of Lycurgus, which words could hardly
make plainer or more definite than it is, puts every-
thing, if we believe him, beyond question. In
reading it we should bear in mind that the speaker
was in his day perhaps the very first figure in the
literary world of Athens, not so much for his actual
production, which is and was always reckoned im-
perfect, as for his political and social character, his
zealous and somewhat ostentatious interest in educa-
tional matters at large. If there is any person from
whom we may accept the assurance that at Athens

6 Tyrtaeus. I

in the latter part of the fourth century a certain
piece of Athenian history was unquestioned, that
person is Lycurgus, who shall now be quoted at
length. He is dilating upon the beauty and praises
of patriotism, which he has illustrated from Euripides;
and he continues the subject as follows 1 .

Another authority whom I would commend to your approba-
tion is Homer: a poet of whose merit your forefathers had so
high an opinion, that they appointed his works by law to be
recited, solely and exclusively, at the quadrennial celebration of
the Panathenaea, as an advertisement to Hellas that the noblest
of actions were the chosen ideal of Athens. And in this they did
well. Laws in their brevity command what is right, but do not
teach it: it is the poets, with their pictures of human life, who
select the noblest examples, and also by reason and demonstration
recommend them to men. Take for instance the patriotic ex-
hortation which is addressed to the Trojans by Hector,

'Fight to the ships, fight on: and whoso meets
Perchance from sword or spear the fated death,
E'en let him die! To die defending Troy
Mis-seems him not; and for his wife and babes,
They are saved, and safe his homestead and his fields,
If but the foeman's navy homeward fly.'

This, gentlemen, is the poetry to which your ancestors used to
listen; and the ambition of deeds like these wrought in them
such a valour, that not for their own city only, but for Hellas
also, our common fatherland, they were ready to lay down their
lives, as was seen when the army of Marathon gave battle to the
foreigner and defeated the host of Asia, imperilling themselves to
win security for the whole Greek brotherhood, and proud not of
their glory but of the deeds by which it was deserved. They had
made Athens the champion of Hellas and mistress over the
national foe, because their manly virtue was not exercised in

1 Lycurgus, pp. 162-163, c. Leocr. §§ 102-109.

Tyrtaeus. I y

phrases, but exhibited to the world in act. And therefore so
excellent, both as a body and as individuals, were the men by
whom our city was in those days administered, that when the
Lacedaemonians, who in earlier times were first in martial qualities,
had a war with the Messenians, they were commanded by the
oracle to take a leader from among us, and were promised victory,
if they did so, over their opponents. And if to the descendants
of Heracles (for such have been ever the kings of Sparta) the
Delphian god preferred a leader from among us, it must be
supposed that the merit of our countrymen was beyond all
comparison. It is matter of common knowledge that the director
whom they received from Athens was Tyrtaeus, with whose help
they overcame their enemies, and also framed a system of discipline
for their youth, a measure of prudence looking beyond the peril
of the moment to the permanent advantage of the future. Tyrtaeus
left to them elegies of his composition, by the hearing of which
their boys are trained to manliness: and whereas of other poets
they make no account, for this one they are so zealous as to have
enacted that, whenever they are under arms for a campaign, all
should be summoned to the king's tent, to hear the poems of
Tyrtaeus; nothing, as they think, could so well prepare the men
to meet a patriot's death. It is good that you should listen to
some of these elegiacs, and thus learn what manner of poetry
obtained the approval of Sparta.

' He nobly dies who, foremost in the band,
Falls bravely fighting for his fatherland;
But beggared and expelled, to utter woes
From town or happy farm the exile goes,
With all his dearest vagabond for life,
Old sire, sweet mother, babes, and wedded wife.
No loving welcome waits him in the haunt
Where need may drive him and the stress of want.
His birth to stain, his person to deface,
All vileness cleaves to him, and all disgrace.
If, then, the wanderer pines in such neglect,
And all his seed are doomed to disrespect,

8 Tyrtaeus. I

Fierce for our country let us fight to death,

And for our children fling away our breath.

Stand firm, young gallants, each to other true;

Let never rout or scare begin with you.

Stout be your hearts within, your courage high,

And fighting, reck not if ye live or die.

Your elders there, whose limbs are not so light,

Betray not ye their honour by your flight.

What shame it were, upon the field to find

The wounded, age in front and youth behind;

To see the hapless senior, hoar and gray,

Gasp in the dust his noble soul away,

His hands the bleeding entrails holding in —

O sight to taint the very eyes with sin! —

His body bare!. ..But nothing misbeseems

The lad, whose youth in him yet lovely teems:

Eyes, hearts adore him, while he draws his breath;

And falls he vanward, fair he is in death.

So plant you each one firmly on the land

With open stride, set tooth to lip, — and stand.'

Yes, gentlemen, they are fine verses, and profitable to those
who will give them attention. And the people, therefore, which
was in the habit of hearing this poetry, was so disposed to bravery,
that they disputed the primacy with Athens, a dispute for which f
it must be admitted, there was reason on both sides in high actions
formerly achieved. Our ancestors had defeated that first invading
army landed by the Persians upon Attica, and thus revealed the
superiority of courage above wealth and of valour above numbers.
The Lacedaemonians in the lines of Thermopylae, if not so
fortunate, in courage surpassed all rivalry. And the bravery of
both armies is therefore visibly and truly attested before Hellas
by the sepulchral inscriptions, the barrow at Thermopylae bearing
the lines,

'Go tell to Sparta, thou that passest by,
That here obedient to her laws we lie.'

Tyrtaeus. I 9

while over your ancestors it is written,

1 Foremost at Marathon for Hellas' right
The Athenians humbled Media's gilded might.'

Such is the passage which — the fact may appear
astonishing, but it shall presently be accounted for —
is constantly mentioned in histories and books of
reference, as part of the evidence for the current
assertion that Tyrtaeus lived and wrote two hundred
years before the Persian war. Is it not surely mani-
fest beyond all possibility of debate, if only we raise
the question, that on that supposition the whole
narrative and argument of Lycurgus would be
nonsense ? Lycurgus assumes, and calls it a 'matter
of common knowledge,' that Tyrtaeus flourished
about a hundred years before his own time, between
the Persian war and the Peloponnesian, and that
the Messenian war in which Tyrtaeus served the
Lacedaemonians was that of our fifth century, now
dated about 464-454 b.c. The preference, he says,
given by the Spartans with divine sanction to
Tyrtaeus, an Athenian, over their own countrymen,
was a consequence and attestation of the virtue dis-
played by Athens in the defeat and conquest of the
Persians. And again, the teaching of Tyrtaeus, by
restoring and elevating the Spartan character, en-
couraged and enabled the Spartans to dispute the
pre-eminence which (according to the orator) in the
times immediately following the deliverance of
Hellas had belonged without question to Athens.
How can this be understood, or what can it mean,

io Tyrtaeus. I

if Tyrtaeus had lived and done this work, had
strengthened the Lacedaemonian arms and improved
the Lacedaemonian schooling, two hundred and fifty
years before Athens and Sparta contended for the
hegemony, and a full century or more before that
public adoption of Homer by Athens as the basis
of an improved education from which the orator
(rightly, though not perhaps exactly on the right
grounds) deduces, as an effect, the primacy of
Athens, and the greatness displayed by his city
at Marathon, at Salamis, and in the development
of the Confederacy of Delos ? Athens became so
pre-eminent about B.C. 475, that she bestowed a
teacher upon Sparta — in 680 ? Sparta from about
B.C. 445 began to dispute that pre-eminence of
Athens, by virtue of an education adopted — in 680 ?
The meaning of Lycurgus is so plain, and so
plainly stated, that we hardly know how to suppose
it to have been overlooked. But it is at any rate
the fact that, in the best and most recent expositions
which I can discover, the early date of Tyrtaeus is
taken as constant, without a hint that, according to
one at least of the oldest witnesses adduced, that
date is wrong by a trifle of two centuries. And
there is a possible reason for this, which is itself not
the least curious part of the case. It is not indeed
possible, as I think, to read the whole passage of
Lycurgus, with a mind awake to the question, 'At
what date does he put Tyrtaeus ? \ without arriving
at the right answer. But it is easy (I may perhaps
say so, as I have done it several times myself) to

Tyrtaeus. I 1 1

inspect the place, or even to glance through the
paragraph, under the presumption that Lycurgus
adopts the common date, without perceiving that he
does not. It happens that, exactly at the point upon
which a student 'verifying the reference' would
chiefly fix his attention, accident has prepared for
a mind so preoccupied the possibility of mistake:
Toiyapovv — so begin the sentences which mention
Tyrtaeus — ovrtu? rja-av cti/Spc? cnrovSaiot /cat Koivrj
/cat- tSta ol tot€ ttjv irokiv ot/coiWe?, oxtt€ tols
d^8pctorarot9 Aa/ccSat/xoi'tot? eV toi? ^TTpocrOev xpopoLs
7roX€aouo"(. 7T/309 Meaorrjviovs avtlXev 6 0eb<z nap* tj/jlcjv
r)y€fji6va \afielv /c.r.X. The words iv rot9 €jXTTpo(r6zv
Xpovois are in themselves, as a relative term, open
to ambiguity, and in this place may be affected by
different punctuations ; so that there are not only
three ways of understanding them, all consistent
with the general sense of the passage, but even a
fourth, which is not. Either we may read them
with the verbs of the sentence, TroXefiovatp and
cU'etXc*', '...that, when the martial Lacedaemonians
had in former times a war with the Messenians, they
were commanded...': in that case former, by the
context, must be relative to the date of the speech,
and the point (as in ol Tore rr)v tto\iv oIkovvt€si) is
to contrast the ancient consideration of Athens with
her enfeeblement, so bitterly felt by the orator, in
his own days. Or else — which seems preferable, and
even perhaps necessary to make the description toIs
avSptLOTaTOLs significant in itself and harmonious with
the rest — we may take together rots avSpeuoT utols

1 2 Tyrtaeus. I

Aa/ceSat/xo^tots eV rotg ejjLTTpocrOev \p6vois 1 , '...that,
when the Lacedaemonians, who were in former
times first in martial qualities, had a war with the
Messenians': in this case former may be relative
to the times of which the orator has been speaking,
and the meaning then is that, before the contest
with Persia and rise of Athens, Sparta in military
spirit had been unquestionably first: this, which
is true, he notes in order to enhance the compli-
ment paid to the new rival when Sparta borrowed
Tyrtaeus from Athens. Or again, while adopting
this second construction, we may refer former to
the date of the speech : in that case the contrast will
be between the ancient might and present feebleness
of Sparta. Between these three the choice is open
and unimportant.

But again fourthly, by taking h> toi% Zfjarpoo-dev
Xpovois with the verbs of the sentence, and also
assuming that former is relative to the events
narrated, it is easy, currente oculo, to read this
particular clause as if the 'war with the Messenians'
preceded the Persian wars of which Lycurgus has
been speaking. Consideration will indeed show that

1 As to the order of the words see Kiihner Gr. Grammar
§ 464, 8. The example would fall under his class d, rbv piovra
TTOTa/xbv 8ta rijs ttoXcws (Xen. Hell. 5. 2. 4), 6 8v<r/x€veoTaTOs
av6pu>Tro<i rfj 7rdA.€t (Demosth. Crown 197), etc. Two other
arrangements would have been possible (1) rot? avSpeiordrois iv
Tots efXTrpocrdev xpovois AaKcScu/xovtois, and (2) Tots iv toi? l/xirpoa-Oev
XPoVois AaKcSai/txoi/tois avSpcioTaTois, but the first is cumbrous, and
the second, though otherwise natural, was to be avoided from the
cacophony of rots iv tois.

Tyrtaeus. I 13

this interpretation deprives of meaning even the
sentence in which the words occur, to say nothing
of the general argument. Nevertheless, if we bring
to Lycurgus the presupposition about Tyrtaeus
which would have been brought, as we shall see,
by Strabo, Diodorus, Pausanias, Athenaeus, Justin
(supposing that any of them consulted him on the
point), and which has been brought there by every
modern, we may well go away with the same
supposition unquestioned, and justified, as we imagine,
by fresh authority. In this way, arguing perhaps
presumptuously from my own repeated error, I am
inclined to account for the citation of Lycurgus by
Grote — and by others who must be supposed to

Online LibraryA. W. (Arthur Woollgar) VerrallCollected studies in Greek and Latin scholarship → online text (page 1 of 24)