Greek Chronography in Roman Epic: The Calendrical Date of the Fall of Troy in the Aeneid

Classical Quarterly 36 (01):212- (1986)
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The last chapter of Politian's first Miscellanea dealt with the amica silentia lunae through which the Greeks sailed back to Troy . He argued that the phrase should not be taken literally, as a statement that Troy fell at the new moon, but in an extended sense, as a poetic indication that the moon had not yet risen when the Greeks set sail. This reading had one merit: it explained how Virgil's moon could be silent while the Greeks were en route but shine during the battle for the city . Yet Politian's effort to identify the phase of the moon described by Virgil was anything but clear: Non igitur aut sera fuerit aut pernox luna, tum nec lunae quidem omnino coitus, sed tempus arbitror potius quamdiu illa non luceret. Accordingly, though his arguments were sometimes repeated by commentators and teachers, they won little assent from scholars who occupied themselves seriously with the passage. In his Adversaria Turnebus took silentia lunae as referring ‘ad noctis taciturnitatem…non ad interlunium’. In the first chapter of his De rebus per epistolam quaesitis Giano Parrasio sharply criticised the fuzziness of Politian's explanation: ‘Ambages istae sunt, ambages’. More important, he quoted a line from the Little Iliad: νξ μν ην μέσση, λαμπρ δ' πέτελλε σελήνη. This he rendered ‘Nox erat intempesta, nitebat et aurea coelo Luna’, and inferred from it that the moon had been up when Troy fell. In his Virgilius collation scriptorum Graecorum illustratus, finally, Fulvio Orsini published a scholium on Euripides' Hecuba, one which quoted both the line from the Little Iliad and an analysis of it by the Peripatetic Callisthenes. He too took the line as refuting Politian



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Virgil's Roman Chronography: a Reconsideration.Nicholas Horsfall - 1974 - Classical Quarterly 24 (01):111-.


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Neal Swerdlow
University of California, San Diego

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Some Problems in the Aeneas Legend.Nicholas Horsfall - 1979 - Classical Quarterly 29 (02):372-.
Some Problems in the Aeneas Legend.Nicholas Horsfall - 1979 - Classical Quarterly 29 (2):372-390.

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