Monday, March 06, 2006

On being reviewed

Last year I had a piece published (which I'd actually written in 1996) in Lost Dramas of Classical Athens: Greek Tragic Fragments. I think it's not too bad a little piece, though I was a little out of my depth in writing textual criticism.

I recently got put onto a review of the volume, by Martin Cropp in Bryn Mawr Classical Review. This is what Cropp says about my chapter:

In 'Lycians in the Cares of Aeschylus', Anthony Keen reviews what has been drawn (much of it speculatively) from the sparse evidence for Aeschylus' Carians or Europa, a play featuring Sarpedon's death at Troy and the return of his body to his home for burial. (The list of fragments on pp. 81-2 hardly needed to include Aeschylus F 315, whose attribution to this play by Hartung is ignored by Radt.) The discussion includes three vase-paintings thought by some to have been influenced by the play, two of them remotely at best, the third - an early 4th C. Apulian vase (New York, Metropolitan Museum 16.140) - perhaps a little more closely. It should be noted, however, that the interpretation of this vase's second side as showing Europa visiting Zeus on Olympus to beg for her son's body is more implausible than K. suggests (the winged figure on this side is not at all like the winged figure of Hypnos on the other side; and how would the mortal Europa have reached Olympus?), and was firmly rejected by A. Kossatz-Deissmann, Dramen des Aischylos auf westgriechischen Vasen (1978), 72. K. then debates at length the question whether the play was set in Lycia (traditionally Sarpedon's homeland) or in Caria as the title Carians and the reference to Mylasa in F 101 suggest. He interprets the evidence for a mythistorical connection between Carians and Lycians as allowing the conclusion "that Aeschylus did set the action of Cares in Lycia, probably at Xanthus, and that the chorus is composed of leading local citizens, whom Aeschylus calls Carians rather than Lycians since, as far as he is concerned, the two are much the same" (78).

That I missed a piece of bibliography is regrettable, and I take the rap for that. And I've got used to the inability of people to spell my full name correctly, even though it is so done throughout the work reviewed (I spell my name without an 'h', which is the correct original anglicization of Antonius). But what bemuses me most is the remark, "The list of fragments on pp. 81-2 hardly needed to include Aeschylus F 315, whose attribution to this play by Hartung is ignored by Radt." Did Cropp perhaps miss the footnote where I say "This list aims to be comprehensive rather than critical"? My aim was to collect all the fragments that had, at one time or another, been thought to be part of the lost work. That other scholars have disregarded the attribution of some of these is irrelevant. The duty of any catalogue of this type is to assemble all possibly relevant material, and leave it to the people who use the catalogue to decide. If a catalogue of all the fragments of Aeschylus was assembled, I should want all the fragments to be there, including those some scholars considered dubious. (Though in fairness, whilst I do note that it is far from clear that the fragment belongs to the Cares, I could have indicated which collections attribute it to the play and which don't.)

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