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volumes; a fourth volume would contain other lexicons (as those of Julius Pollux, Erotian, and Phrynichus) which did not lend themselves to the arrangement in column. His thoughts were also busy with Philostratus (the Greek biographer of the Sophists)—with Lucretius — and with the astronomical poet Manilius. Bentley excelled all previous scholars in accurate knowledge of the classical metres. His sojourn at Oxford is the earliest moment at which we find a definite notice of his metrical studies. The Baroccian collection in the Bodleian Library contains some manuscripts of the Greek “Hand-book of Metres” which has come down under the name of the grammarian Hephaestion. Bentley now collated these, using a copy of the edition of Turnebus, in which he made some marginal notes; the book is in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge.
When Bentley was thirty-six, he could still say, “I have never published anything yet, but at the desire of others.” Before he left Oxford, towards the end of 1690, a friend had already engaged him to appear in print. The Baroccian collection of manuscripts contained the only known copy of a chronicle written in Greek by a certain John of Antioch. He is sometimes called John Malelas, or simply Malelas. This is the Greek form of a Syriac surname similar in import to the Greek rhetor
orator," eloquent writer.” It was given to other literary men also, and merely served to distinguish this John of Antioch from other well-known men of the same name and place. IIis date is uncertain, but may probably be placed between the seventh and tenth centuries. His chronicle is a work of the kind which was often undertaken by Christian compilers. Beginning from the Creation, he sought to give a chronological sketch of universal
history down to his own time. The work, as extant, is incomplete. It begins with a statement characteristic of its general contents : “After the death of Hephaestus (Vulcan), his son Helius (the Sun) reigned over the Egyptians for the space of 4407 days;" and it breaks off at the year 560 A.D., five years before the death of Justinian. Historically it is worthless, except in so far as it preserves a few notices by writers contemporary with the later emperors; and it has no merit of form. Scaliger once described a similar chronicle as a dust-bin. Yet the mass of rubbish accumulated by John of Antioch includes a few fragments of better things. Not only the classical prose-writers but the classical poets were among his authorities, for he made no attempt to discriminate facts from myths. In several places he preserves the names of lost works. Here and there, too, a bit of classical prose or verse has stuck in the dismal swamp of his text. Eager to reconstruct ancient chronology, the students of the seventeenth century had not overlooked this unattractive author. In the reign of Charles I. two Oxford scholars had successively studied him. John Gregory (who died in 1646) had proved the authorship of the chronicle-mutilated though it was at both ends-by showing that a passage of it is elsewhere quoted as from the chronicle of Malelas. Edmund Chilmead—a man remarkable for his attainments in scholarship, mathematics, and music-translated it into Latin, adding notes. As a Royalist, Chilmead was ejected from Christ Church by the Parliamentary Visitation of 1648. He died in 1653, just as his work was ready to be printed. After the lapse of thirty-eight years, the Curators of the Sheldonian Press resolved in 1690 to edit it. The manuscript chronicle had already gained some repute through the citations of it by such scholars as Selden, Usher, Pearson, Stanley, Lloyd. It was arranged that an introduction should be written by Humphrey Hody, who had been James Stillingfleet's College tutor at Wadham, and had, like Bentley, been appointed Chaplain to the Bishop of Worcester. He was an excellent scholar, and performed his task in a highly creditable manner. A general supervision of the edition had been entrusted to Dr. John Mill, Principal of St. Edmund Hall, whose learning has an abiding monument in his subsequent edition of the New Testament. One day Mill and Bentley were walking together at Oxford, when the conversation turned on the chronicle of Malelas. Bentley said that he would like to see the book before it was published. Mill consented, on condition that Bentley would communicate any suggestions that might occur to him. The proof-sheets were then sent to Bentley; who shortly afterwards left Oxford, to take up his residence as chaplain with the Bishop of Worcester.
Dr. Mill presently claimed Bentley's promise; and, thus urged, Bentley at length sent his remarks on Malelas, in the form of a Latin etter addressed to Dr. Mill. He elsewhere
that he had been further pressed to write it by the learned Bishop Lloyd. In June, 1691, the chronicle appeared, with Bentley's Letter to Mill as an appendix. This edition (“Oxonii, e Theatro Sheldoniano") is a moderately thick octavo volume; first stands a note by Hody, on the spelling of the chronicler's surname; then his Prolegomena, filling 64 pages; the Greek text follows, with Chilmead's Latin version in parallel columns, and foot-notes ; and the last 98 pages are occupied by Bentley's Letter to Mill.
Briefly observing that he leaves to Hody the question of the chronicler's identity and age, Bentley comes at once to the text. Malelas had treated Greek mythology as history, interweaving it with other threads of ancient record. Thus, after enumerating some fabulous kings of Attica, he proceeds: “Shortly afterwards, Gideon was leader of Israel. Contemporary with him was the famous lyric poet Orpheus, of Thrace."
Malelas then quotes some statements as to the mystic theology taught by Orpheus. One of these is a sentence which, as he gives it, seems to be composed of common words, but is wholly unintelligible. Bentley takes up this sentence. He shows that the deeply corrupted words conceal the names of three mystic divinities in the later Orphic system, symbolical, respectively, of Counsel, Light, and Life. He proves this emendation, as certain as it is wonderful, by quoting a passage from Damascius—the last great Neoplatonist, who lived in the early part of the sixth century, and wrote a treatise called “Questions and Answers on First Principles," in which he sketches the theology of “the current Orphic rhapsodies.” This treatise was not even partially printed till 1828; and Bentley quotes it from a manuscript in the library of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Ile next deals with a group of fictitious “ oracles” which Malelas had reduced from hexameter verse into prose of the common dialect, and shows that several of them closely resemble some which he had found in a manuscript at Oxford, entitled “Oracles and Theologies of Greek Philosophers.”
Then he turns to those passages in which the chronicle cites the Attic dramatists. He demonstrates the spuriousness of a fragment ascribed to Sophocles. He confirms or corrects the titles of several lost plays which Malelas ascribes to Euripides, and incidentally amends numerous passages which he has occasion to quote. Discursive exuberance of learning characterises the whole Letter. A single exam ple will serve to illustrate it. Malelas says: “Euripides brought out a play about Pasiphaë.” Bentley remarks on this: “I do not speak at random; and I am certain that no ancient writer mentions a Pasiphaë of Euripides.” The comic poet Alcæus, indeed, composed a piece of that name, which is said to have been exhibited in the same year as the recast Plutus of Aristophanes. It is true, however, Bentley adds, that the story of Pasiphaë had been handled by Euripides, in a lost play called The Cretans. This he proves from a scholiast on the Frogs of Aristophanes. But the scholiast himself needs correction : who says that Euripides introduced Aeropè in The Cretans. Here he is confounding The Cretans with another lost play of Euripides, called the Women of Crete: the former dealt with the story of Icarus and Pasiphaë, the latter with that of Aeropè, Atreus, and Thyestes. Porphyry, in his book on Abstinence, quotes nine verses from a play of Euripides, in which the chorns are addressing Minos. Grotius, in his Excerpts from Greek Comedies and Tragedies, had attempted to amend these corrupted verses, and had supposed them to come from the Women of Crete. Bentley (incidentally correcting a grammarian) demonstrates that they can have belonged only to The Cretans. He then turns to the Greek verses themselves. Grotius had given a Latin version of them, in the same metre. This metre was the anapæstic-one which had been frequently used by the scholars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, both in translations and in original poems. Bentley points out that one of its most essential laws had been ignored, not only by Grotius, but by the modern Latinists generally, including Joseph Scaliger. The ancients regarded the verses of this metre as forming a continuous