The Argonautica, by Apollonius Rhodius


Two editions of the Argonautica were published by Apollonius. Of these we have only the second. The Scholia preserve a few passages of the first edition, from which the second seems to have differed only slightly. The old opinion that our MSS. preserve any traces of the first edition has long been given up. The principal MSS. are the following:—

The Laurentian, also called the Medicean, XXXII. 9, of the early eleventh century, the excellent MS. at Florence which contains Sophocles, Aeschylus and Apollonius Rhodius. This is far the best authority for the text (here denoted by L).

The Guelferbytanus of the thirteenth century, which closely agrees with another Laurentian, XXXII. 16, of the same date (here denoted by G and L^2 respectively).

There were in the early eleventh century two types of text, the first being best known to us by L, the second by G and L^2 and the corrections made in L. Quotations in the Etymologicum Magnum agree with the second type and show that this is as old as the fifth century. Besides these there are, of inferior MSS., four Vatican and five Parisian which are occasionally useful. Most of them have Scholia; the best Scholia are those of L.

The principal editions are:—

The text of the present edition is, with a few exceptions, that of the Oxford edition prepared by me for the Delegates of the Clarendon Press, whom I hereby thank for their permission to use it.

The English translations of Apollonius are as follows:—

By E.B. Greene, by F. Fawkes, both 1780; by W. Preston, 1803. None of these are of value. There is a prose translation by E.P. Coleridge in the Bohn Series. The most recent and also the best is a verse translation by Mr. A.S. Way, 1901, in “The Temple Classics.”

I may also mention the excellent translation in French by Prof. H. de La Ville de Mirmont of the University of Bordeaux, 1892.

Upon Alexandrian literature in general Couat’s Poésie Alexandrine, sous les trois premiers Ptoletmées, 1882, may be recommended. Susemihl’s Geschichte der Griechischen Litteratur in der Alexandinerzeit, 2 vols., 1891, is a perfect storehouse of facts and authorities, but more adapted for reference than for general reading. Morris’ Life and Death of Jason is a poem that in many passages singularly resembles Apollonius in its pessimistic tone and spirit.

Last updated Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 15:08