صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

No doubt Conring2 is right, in saying, that, if there is no corruption, the 28 years must be added to the 128; and we must just take notice of the fact, that there were no subject-states in the time of Deioces. But why fix a point at which this empire of Asia shall commence? How can a year be fixed for it at all? The Median dominion certainly did not extend to the Halys before the taking of Nineveh. Whether we take 128 + 28=156 years, or take the 150 years of the four kings, is all one; the anarchy only varies six years. But the important point—and this is important —is, that the account of Herodotus should be confirmed by its harmony with the Babylonian3, and his accuracy should thus be established.

The passage, however, (Niebuhr proceeds to say) it corrupt: the numbers 28 and 128 (the latter being inconsistent with the statement) make this more than probable. It should apparently be supplied and transposed thus: «V trea irtvT^Kovra Km eVcn-oV,

irape£ rj oa-ov ol 2ici6ai. tfpxov, rpirjKoma bvipv hiovra. Perhaps an editor

bye and bye will have the courage to insert this correction in the

text.

[Niebuhr assumes for Herodotus' own time, Ol. 90.1. (b.c. 420), in spite of the account of Lucian, also found in the life of Thucydides, that he read his history at the Olympic Games, and enchanted the people, and inspired Thucydides (then a boy) with the resolution to become a historian. He contents himself with saying that, even if this deserves credit, it can only apply to the first sketch of his work, mentioned in different parts of it, down to the Peloponnesian war.

This has been discussed more at length by Dahlmann in his Herodot. (Forschungen avf dem Gebiete der Geschichte, B. u. 1.) His conclusions are the following:—]

This recitation must have been in 01. 81. 1, B. c. 456, or at latest, 01. 82. 1, B. C. 452, when Thucydides was 15, or 19 years

[s Conring reckons as follows:—

Deioces 53

Phraortes 22

Cyaxares (including Scyth.) 40

Astyages 35

150 As 128 + 28 = 156 years, he supposes six to have been the period of anarchy before the reign of Deioces: and reckons from the independence of the Medes, not their empire. ]

3 This is shewn again by the period assigned to the Assyrian dominion over Babylon by Berosus, 526 years : for Herodotus gives the duration of this empire

at 520 years The difference, being only between a round and a precise number,

shews that Herodotus collected his materials for this part of his history at Babylon. —(1.95,102).

old. But even in the latter year Herodotus was only 32. And so we are to suppose that all his travels were over, his materials arranged, his history finished, except in minute points (for the nine books were then named after the nine muses) at that early date. Again, Aeschylus died in Ol.8l. 1, (456); yet Herodotus (II. 156) calls him troumréov ráv orpoyevopévov. Let us think too, of the annoyance of a man chanting (#8w) nine books of history in the open air, without any protection to himself or his hearers from the sun in the month of July 1 And as for the possibility of such an assemblage hearing him, see Lucian himself, de morte Peregrini, pp. 343, 354. Public readings, and even panegyrics, were later inventions; but as for an impartial history like that of Herodotus, this is at no time the thing to tickle the ears of a national assembly. The fact is, that it is a sheer invention of Lucian himself, who never could have dreamt of finding himself converted into an historical authority. Earlier than the time of Lucian it could not have been, or Plutarch must have noticed it and explained it away, where he tells us of Herodotus having atrociously libelled all the Greeks, except the Athenians, who bribed him. [To illustrate this and other matters, Dahlmann gives a table of events,

mentioned by Herodotus incidentally, which occurred after what is usually considered the close of his history.] * B.C. v. 32. Pausanias negociates with Xerxes (Thuc. i. 128), about 477 vii. 107. (cf. 113) Heroism of Boges, when besieged in Eion by Cimon (Thuc. i. 98), about........................... vii. 170. Tarentines and Rhegians defeated by the Iapygian | 474

[ocr errors]

Messapiams (Diod. xi 52): (N.B. Herodotus calls
this the greatest loss which the Hellenes had met
with: this, therefore, was written before the dis-
aster in Sicily, B. C. 413):—about .....................

vi. 72. Death of Leotychides in exile, not before............ 467 vii. 106. Death of Xerxes, accession of Artaxerxes ..... - - - - - - - 465 ix. 33, 35. (So called) third Messenian war, from.................. 464 to 454 vii. 7. Revolt of Inaros in Egypt ................................. 460 ix. 35. Battle of Tanagra ............................................. 457 i. 156. Aeschylus mentioned as dead ........................... 456 iii. 12. The son of Inaros succeeds him, with the sanction - 455 of the Persians............................................. }

ix. 75. Defeat of Athenians by the Edoni........................ 453

[Herodotus settles in Magna Graecia, aet. 40......... 444]

bly thought to have been fulfilled in the events

v. 93. Prophecy of Hippias about the Corinthians, proba- }
43#
which led to the Peloponnesian War ...............

[ocr errors]

[Peloponnesian War, Herodotus 53 years old......... 431] vii. 23. Theban attack on Plataea, first overt act in the 431 Peloponnesian War (Marcell. Vit. Thuc.).........

iv. 80. Sitalces named as a well-known character: not before 43; vii. 137. Seizure and death of the Spartan ambassadors to } 430 - Persia (Thuc. ii. 67)..................................... vii. 151. Callias sent as ambassador to Artaxerxes, apparently 425 between 431 and.......................................... iii. 160. Megabyzus takes refuge with the Athenians, and dies in their attack on Caunus (according to

Ctesias, this would seem to be a little before the 425,

death of Artaxerxes, i.e.) before..................... vii. 114. Barbarity of Amestris, widow of Xerxes, in her old

age. According to Ctesias (Pers. § 43,) she died 425

Käpta Ypaws Yevouévn, and, it would appear, very little before Artaxerxes, i.e. shortly before ...... vi. 98. Reign of Artaxerxes spoken of as at an end; consequently written after.................................... } 425 ix. 73. Kindness shewn to Decelèa by the Spartans. N.B. This is so contrary to what Thuc. ii.23, says of the | ravage of the district in which Decelèa lay, that $ 413 it can only be understood of their establishing | themselves at Deceléa, which they did ............ i. 130. Revolt and reduction of the Medes (Xen. Hell.i.2, fin.) 409 iii. 15. Death of Amyrtaeus (Euseb. Chron.).................. 408

This last passage must have been written by Herodotus when he was at least 77 years old.

If the above extracts shall induce any competent person to translate the whole of Dahlmann's little work', they will be the means of conferring a great benefit on future students of Herodotus in England". - R. SCOTT.

* Excepting the translation of the ac- had designed to publish such a translacount of the battle of Plataea, which some- tion, but we know not whether anything what needlessly occupies pp. 190–212. has been done in the matter since his

* The late Mr. Talboys of Oxford, death.

190

XV.

ON ARISTOTLE'S DEFINITION OF TRAGEDY.

The annals of criticism might probably be searched in vain for a passage that has excited so much discussion as Aristotle's Definition of Tragedy. No two commentators are entirely agreed in their views of it; and the mass of contradiction which has been accumulated around it, offers a formidable obstacle to the inquirer. To the brevity and obscurity of the original text this is, doubtless, in a great measure, attributable; but something also may be ascribed to a want of care and discrimination on the part of those critics who have employed themselves about it. And, though there may be much truth in Twining's assertion, that "what was precisely Aristotle's meaning, and the whole of his meaning, will never be the subject of a perfect stoical Karci\r]^ns to any man"—yet diligence and due acuteness, and, above all, the labours of preceding scholars, may possibly pave the way for a near approximation to it. To attempt this difficult exploit is the object of the following pages. They do not profess to enter into any investigation of principles, or to decide whether Aristotle's were right or wrong, perfect or imperfect; but simply to inquire what he really laid down as such: and therefore the limited nature of the plan must be the apology for any dryness in the execution of it. And the writer of them will be amply rewarded should they excite some abler hand to lift the veil which has hitherto wrapped the subject in doubt and obscurity.

The original text, as given in Tyrwhitt's edition of the Poetics, runs as follows, (§ iy'.)

*eotw ovv rpayaSia plpijats Ttpa^tos <nrov8aias Hal TcKrias pJye6os ixovaijs' rjSv<rpJv<p Xdyoj, j^mpis cKaara rav tlbav iv Tots popiots' bpavrav Km w 8t* ajrayytXias' Si fXeov Kal (pofiov wtpaivovira rrjv rav roiairav

iraSi/pArav Kadapcrtv' which Twining renders thus,—" Tragedy, then, is an imitation of some action, that is important, entire, and of a proper magnitude—by language embellished and rendered pleasurable, but by different means in different parts—in the way not of narration but of action—effecting through pity and terror the correction and refinement of such passions."

It may be right to premise that Tyrwhitt's text contains two emendations from the hand of that eminent critic, and which have both very properly been adopted by Hermann; although, as is too frequently his manner, they are given tacitly; a course fair neither to his readers nor to Tyrwhitt. Before the latter's edition the

Vulgate had «dorou for incurry, and dXXd after aimyyeKias, which

Tyrwhitt struck out. Neither of these emendations is important so far as Aristotle's theory is concerned; although the latter, for which there is the authority of two MSS., has the merit of making sense out of nonsense. For there will probably be but few inclined to acquiesce in the defence of the Vulgate which has been set up, with more ingenuity than discretion, by the celebrated Lessing, who, in his "Dramaturgic" is of opinion that Aristotle, in the above definition, uses the words "pity and fear" by a sort of enallage for tragedy itself, which excites those emotions; a mode of expression not sit all in accordance with Aristotle's style, and fitter for poetry itself than for a philosophical treatise upon it1.

But to return to Aristotle's definition. Its chief difficulty (so far as the end and object of tragedy are concerned) lies in the

Concluding words tV tkiov Kcl\ <p6f3ov ircpalvovtra Tt)v To>v Toiovrav

iraBjifmrav KaBapcnv—which, on examination, will suggest two separate heads of doubt and inquiry: viz.

1. What is the true Aristotelian meaning of tkeos and <j>6Pos in connexion with tragic imitation, and, consequently, of Ts>v rounnav

iradripartov f

2. What are we to understand by "effecting the correction and refinement of such passions" (mpaivovo-a Ti)i/ mdapa-iv ?) and, collaterally, whether Aristotle ascribed any moral end to tragedy?

It has been seen above that Twining renders <p6fios by terror; and so also Hermann, miseratione et terrore. But terror is a very violent and uncontrollable emotion, belonging rather to our physical than moral being; whilst pity is of a soft and gentle nature, and a passion of quite a different stamp. They are here, however, ranked together; and what is more, they are expressly referred to the same class by the word rotovnav—such (or similar) passions. If "terror," then, be the right version, we might question either the accuracy of Aristotle's ideas or the precision of his style, that he should thus have coupled and included in one predicament two

1 "Und nur dieses, class miser Mit. leid duich die ErzHhlung wenig oder gar nicht, sondem fast einzig und allein (lurch die gegenwartige Anschauung erreget wird, nur dieses berechtigte ihn,

in der Erklarung, anstatt der Form der Sache, die Sache gleich selbst zu setzen, weil diese Sache nur dieser einzigen Form fahig ist." Dramat. p. 347, (Berlin Ed. 1839;.

« السابقةمتابعة »