Eumelus of Corinth: a commented edition


In the course of nearly a decade, the interest in and knowledge about the epic material attributed to Eumelus of Corinth has grown remarkably following the publication of an influential article by West (2002).
The time is ripe to draft an edition that assembles the testimonia and fragments of Eumelus with a detailed introduction and commentary, applying a concept similar to Matthews’ work on Panyassis of Halicarnassus (1974) and Antimachus of Colophon (1996), two epic authors of a later age, who like Eumelus are known exclusively from fragments. The task is fairly compelling in the absence of such a comprehensive resource in the current literature of studies on Greek epics.
The commented edition will consider the latest exegetical essays and some conjectural accounts of attribution that considerably enrich the material (testimonia and fragments) collected in the modern editions sans commentary of Bernabé (19962 [1987]), Davies (1988), and West (2003).
Among the testimonia and ‘novel’ fragments that need to be included, the highlights are as follow:
- certain aspects of Pausanias’ description (V 17, 5 – 19, 10) of the chest of Cypselos, scenes of which, whether bearing metric inscriptions or not, could have been inspired by the works of Eumelus (cf. Paus. V 19, 10): see reconstruction and methodological annotations in Debiasi (2005);
- POxy LIII 3698 (exameters of Argonautic subject): specific analysis in Debiasi (2003a);
- POxy XXX 2513 (exameters associated with Iphigenia). The papyrus is by the same hand as that of POxy LIII 3698 and almost certainly belongs to the same corpus. Rather than ascribing it to the Cypria (Janko [1982]), I will argue that it belongs to the corpus of Eumelus based, among other things, on some passages of Lycophron and Nonnus of Panopolis;
- POxy XXX 2509 e Apollod. III 4, 4 (exameters concerning the dogs and tearing apart of Actaeon): form and content analysis leading to the attribution of verses to Eumelus rather than Hesiod, in Debiasi, forthcoming [a].
- fragments of the Cyclic Titanomachy whose ascription to Eumelus rather than to Arctinus is now considered plausible and coheres with other surviving fragments of his production (West [2002]; Debiasi [2004]; cf. Bremmer [2004]).
In the commentary will be presented an overall perspective that captures the organic structure and interconnections between the ‘rhapsodies’ and related fragments credited to Eumelus whose works demonstrate a distinct internal consistency.
The Titanomachy, the Corinthiaca, the Europia, and the Prosodion for the Messenians will be inter-related; it will be also provided a context and it will be explained the enigmatic titles of works (most likely sections) such as The Return of the Greeks and Bougonia.
Special care will be given to the historical contextualization of a poetic production developed in Corinth during the Archaic age, which while mostly conforming to the interests of the Bacchiads, is able to reflect the cultural, religious, and political links to several regions both nearby and in the periphery of the Greek World (see Debiasi [2004] for a jointly historical and philological approach). The geographical aspects, intimately connected to the mythographical ones (cf. Olivieri [2007]), will merit a specific analysis by virtue of some chronological implications that strongly support a high chronology of Eumelus’ work (see Braund [2005] with arguments that corroborate Debiasi [2004]).
Constant attention will be paid to the inter-textual relationships and especially to the links between the production of Eumelus and the poetic productions (epic in particular) that came before and after. In this way, the substantial contacts with the Hesiodic corpus (cf. Debiasi [2008] and [2009]), the Boeotian epic (cf. Debiasi [2010]), and other ‘minor’ archaic epic poems (cf. Debiasi [2003b]) as well as with the Homeric tradition (cf. Debiasi [2003c]) will be illustrated. Echoes, both direct and indirect, and imitations of Eumelus’ work will be recorded and elucidated in the following literature:
- archaic lyric poetry: noteworthy are the cases of Simonides (see Bernardini [2006]) and Pindar;
- Hellenistic poetry: Apollonius Rhodius (cf. Debiasi [2003a] and [2004]) as well as Callimachus and Euphorion (Debiasi, forthcoming [c]);
- scholiastic literature;
- even the late antique poetry of Nonnus of Panopolis (Debiasi, forthcoming [b] and [c]) where the descendants of Cadmus and the myths connected to Dionysus (cf. Bernabé, forthcoming and Debiasi, forthcoming [a], [b], [c]) appear to have a central role in the work of Eumelus (notably in the Europia which is supposed to have a genealogical structure).
If granted, the fellowship will be an excellent opportunity to organize the preliminary material and to draft the ‘Prolegomena’ and the ‘Paralegomena’ to the edition of Eumelus. This could take the form of either one or more articles or a monograph where new essays are combined with publications I made over time on the subject. The research will no doubt be instrumental in writing the final commented edition of Eumelus, according to the plan outlined above.
2013 - 2014
Andrea Debiasi
Responsabile per il Dipartimento
Flavio Raviola