25.) Pp. xii + 215. Berlin and New York: Walter de
Gruyter, 2005. Cased, €88. ISBN: 3-11-017771-4.
text published in: Classical Review 56, 2006, 270-272
many years, Apuleius’ works other than his novel Metamorphoses
neglected by scholars. Particularly his Florida,
a collection of some 23
from epideictic Latin speeches, were often considered too fragmentary or
too exotic for extensive study. However, with the renewed scholarly interest in
Second Sophistic, even marginal Latin texts such as the Florida
the already existing standard editions of the text (Helm, Vallette, Augello)
been added translations (notably the English one by John Hilton in S.J. Harrison
translated by S.J. Harrison, J.L. Hilton and V.J.C.
[Oxford, 2001]) and commentaries. There is a full commentary published by
author of this review (Apuleius
of Madauros, Florida edited
with a commentary
2001]) and a commentary on Florida
by A. Toschi (Apuleio
Discorso per la sua statua a Carthagine [Parma,
2000]), and recently a new
commentary was published by L. La Rocca (il
filosofo e la città, commento
ai Florida di Apuleio [Roma,
2005]). Of course, many articles and notices also
this new interest in Apuleius’ rhetorical works.
Todd Lee. It is the reworked version of a doctoral thesis at the University of
which started in 1997 and was completed for publication in the course
2004. After a brief introduction (35 pp.) and the Latin text (24 pp.) follows a
commentary (131 pp.). The volume is concluded with a bibliography and two
the Introduction L. discusses the title of the collection, Apuleius’ life and
his surviving and lost works, important aspects of the Florida
the contents and the structure, and the relation with Apuleius’ other works.
oratory, Second Sophistic and intertextuality receive attention in separate
too, while the manuscript tradition and the manuscript organisation of
fragments are also discussed. All this is useful enough, but it rarely opens up
Latin text is based on the edition of Vallette, except in μfteen places
reading has been adopted. On a curious note, L. has printed all instances of
the MSS in the main text. Given the fact that the MSS divide
limited material in no less than four books (an obvious argument to suggest
the text we have is an extract from a lost original in four books of normal
leads to an unusual number of extra titles in the text, which do not seem to be
the commentary, each fragment is introduced by a longer note that analyses the
as a whole, usually in a few paragraphs (although the longer pieces such as 9,
18 receive fuller treatment), followed by short notes on individual words and
Here, L. focusses on elements of textual criticism, idiom and lexicography,
also explaining di¸cult turns or grammatical points. Realien
necessary and parallel places are provided with due moderation. Generally
the notes do not enter into signiμcant points of interpretation (literary
and secondary literature is largely left out of account. Thus, the notes
helpful for a reader who wishes to study the Latin text without losing his or
in a wealth of scholarly material. The modest dimensions of the book add to its
is this enough for a new commentary on this text? I think not. As a writer of a
commentary on the Florida,
I acknowledge that my view of this book may be
entirely impartial and neutral. But I think it is fair to say that a commentator
given ancient text may be expected to be aware of his or her position, to take
of work previously done and to make clear what he or she intends to add to
present state of research. L.’s book does not bring any substantial novelties,
terms of method, or in terms of form or content. The book seems to have
little revision since 2000, since it engages hardly at all with Toschi (2000),
has not even reached the bibliography, or Hunink (2001). At many places,
with the discussions in these two commentaries would seem necessary
useful. Some examples are Flor.
with oars); 2.11 (a highly complex construction where the syntax may be
special description of hair, which also links this
to a passage in Met.
(a long-winded comparison, of which the
is not immediately clear); 9.14 (the problem of a ‘book division’ in the MSS
the middle of the text of Flor.
and 16.7–9 (the plot, standard themes and stock
in New Comedy).
L. had chosen a markedly different approach, such as La Rocca, the publication
his book would have been justiμed as a work in its own right. As it is, it
that it cannot count as an innovative contribution to Apuleian scholarship.
may well, none the less, be useful as a work of easy reference for students of
Latin, offering help on many individual points.