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χαριέντως οὗτος ὁ μῦθος ἐπιδείκνυσι τὴν ἀθλητικὴν ἰσχὺν οὐ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων οὖσαν ἀσκημάτων.

The fragments of this poem may be restored as follows:

Ἐν μὲν γὰρ δολιχῷ πανυπέρτατος ἔσσεται ἵππος,

τὸ στάδιον δὲ λαγωὺς ἀποίσεται, ἐν δὲ διαύλῳ
δορκὰς ἀριστεύσει· μερόπων δ ̓ ἐναρίθμιος οὐδεὶς
ἐν ποσίν· ὦ κούφοι ἀσκήτορες ἄθλιοι ἄνδρες

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This fragment of an unknown poet differs essentially, both in form and manner, from the Brute-fable as treated by later writers. By these, the didactic part appears only in the form of an epimythium, whilst in the fragment, the moral not only prompts the invention of the fable, but is the pervading and ruling element of the whole composition. This essential difference of character should caution us against the belief that we have before us a remnant of the hexameter Mulika used by Suidas. These verses more probably belong to an earlier period, and are the work of an Ionic poet. And this appears likely, not only because the Brute-fable was, in general, especially cultivated by the Attico-Ionic race, but it is also confirmed by the whole tendency of the poem. For the disparagement of gymnastic exercises was a characteristic trait of the Ionians, and one which strongly distinguished them from their kindred races. I therefore suspect, that these verses are the production of Xenophanes, and that they belonged to his Silli, or Parodies, which are evidently but different names for the same work. The second elegy of Xenophanes has altogether the same tendency.

̓Αλλ εἰ μὲν ταχυτῆτι ποδῶν νίκην τις ἄροιτο

ἢ πενταθλεύων, ἔνθα Διὸς τέμενος

παρ ̓ Πίσαο ῥοῇς ἐν Ὀλυμπίῃ εἴτε παλαίων

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καί κε προεδρίην φανερὴν ἐν ἀγῶσιν ἄροιτο,
καί κεν σῖτ' εἴη δημοσίων κτεάνων.
Ἐκ πόλιος καὶ δῶρον, ὅ οἱ κειμήλιον εἴη,

εἴτε καὶ ἵπποισιν ταῦτά κε πάντα λάχοι,
οὐκ ὧν ἄξιος ὥσπερ ἐγώ.

Nay, the very form and manner in which the brute creation is contrasted with the human race, remind us of the verses of Xenophanes in Clem. Alex. vol. v. p. 691: 'AλX' TO Xεiρás γ' εἶχον βόες ἠὲ θέοντες, ἢ γράψαι χείρεσσιν ἢ ἔργα τελεῖν ἅπερ ἄνδρες καί κε θεῶν ἰδεὼς ἔγραφον καὶ σώματ ̓ ἐποίουν. κ. τ. 入. Even the harshness of expression, as τὸ στάδιον ἀποίσεται, πυγμῇ στεφθήσεται perfectly accords with the diction of Xenophanes.

But we must keep steadfastly in view, that the Brute-fable, during the classical period of Greek literature, was not cultivated as a distinct branch of poetry, whereas it lost none of its popularity in common life, but rather became continually more extended, especially through Esop, whom we must regard essentially as a narrator of fables. In consequence of that reflective spirit which was a ruling principle of the Greek nation, it lost, during that period, more and more of its original naïveté, and was more imbued with the didactic element.

The first attempt at treating the Brute-fable as a distinct branch of poetry, in an elegiac form, was made by Socrates, which will cause us no surprise, when we remember his strong feeling for every thing popular:

Αἴσωπός ποτ' ἔλεξε Κορίνθιον ἄστυ νέμουσιν

μὴ κρίνειν ἀρετὴν λαοδίκῳ σοφίη.

But this isolated attempt was followed by no others, and a collection of scattered fables, which had only existed in the mouths of the common people, was certainly not made before the time of Alexander the Great. At this period, the beginning of a new æra, the spirit of the Greek nation underwent a complete transformation, and laid aside earlier forms. At this time there arose a peculiar activity of learned inquirers to rescue from oblivion the treasures of earlier ages, viz. traditionary legends, religious ceremonies, manners, customs, political institutions, &c. &c. Thus there can be no doubt that Demetrius

* See my Poetæ Lyrici, p. 442.

Phalereus, a disciple of the school of Aristotle, which mainly called into existence that investigating spirit, was the first who prepared a collection of Æsopic fables, of course in prose; and thus the Brute-fable, from being a popular and oral tradition, came to form a portion of Greek literature3.

Not till this period, after the materials so inviting for a poetical form were collected, can there, in my opinion, be any question of a comprehensive and poetical treatment of the Brutefable, as we find it in the Mythiambi of Babrius. The age of Babrius can certainly not be placed farther back than this epoch. Another reason, namely, the metre he employed, will serve to corroborate this opinion. The Choliambus, which Babrius uses, is, in the classical period of Greek literature, a merely isolated appearance. It was employed only by Hipponax and Ananius, and as these had no predecessors, they had also no immediate imitators. It was not till the age of Alexander that this metre was again brought forward, and it is very remarkable that the first revivers of the Choliambus were Ionic poets, and of the same race as Hipponax and Ananius, viz. Æschrion of Samos or Miletus, and Phoenix of Colophon, a town renowned for song, and sacred to Apollo. These were soon followed by other poets, though chiefly from the east of Greece, as Parmeno of Byzantium, and Hermias of Cyprus. The metre was now naturally adopted also by the Alexandrine poets, Theocritus, Callimachus, and Herodes, though of the last-mentioned we are in total ignorance, both as to his age and circumstances.

It must, however, be remarked, that the choliambic poetry of this period had become essentially changed. We no longer find in it any traces of that severe, unsparing criticism of human life employed by Hipponax; it rises at most to an epigrammatic point, and indeed it may frequently have been employed in epigrams. It would seem that chiefly anecdotes, and similar short stories, were written in choliambic verse, as, for instance, the tale of Ninus, and the inscription on his tomb3. To these subjects we must add sketches of character and incidents of common life, and it is to these in particular we must

3

Compare Diog. Laert. v. 5. 80, who mentions λόγων Αἰσωπείων συναγωγαὶ among his works.

Compare Æschrion's poem, in Athenæus, VIII. p. 335.

5 See Athen. XII. p. 350.

trace the name Μιμίαμβοι. The poems of Herodes were manifestly of this description; in these, moreover, a decidedly didactic intention, to which indeed the transition was easy, cannot fail to be perceived. In addition to this, popular elements were introduced into them with happy effect, as shewn in the κορώ νισμα, or crow-song, of Phenix. The choliambics of Callimachus are composed in the same way, who decidedly rejects the bitter severity of Hipponax'; but does not exclude literary satire, as the verses written against Euemerus plainly shew3. A considerable portion of the collection consisted of short narratives and anecdotes; but that Callimachus also composed fables is shewn incontestably in fr. 93, which probably formed the commencement of a poem.

Ακουε δὴ τὸν αἶνον· ἔν κοτε Τμώλῳ

δάφνην ἐλαίῃ νεῖκος οἱ πάλαι Λυδοὶ
λέγουσι θέσθαι.

Of this poem some other fragments are extant. Further, fr. 87 evidently points to the treatment of the Brute-fable:

*Ην κεῖνος ονιαυτὸς, ᾧ τό τε πτηνόν

καὶ τοῦν θαλάσσῃ καὶ τὸ τετράπουν οὕτως

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For the Greeks referred the origin of the Brute-fable to the Golden age, that simple, happy state of nature, in which mankind held an immediate intercourse with the brute creation". We may also ascribe to Callimachus the verses in Appollonius (Lexic. Homer. v. ἄειδε), which are generally, though incorrectly, ascribed to Babrius; for a quotation from so obscure and unknown a poet, and that without mentioning his name, would be certainly somewhat extraordinary:

• Athen. VIII. p. 539.

• Compare Plato, Polit. p. 272, where,

7 Compare Julian. Ep. 30: ἡδέως | in speaking of the Κρόνου τρόφιμοι, he ἐδεξάμην τὸ παρά σου πινάκιον ἀποσταλὲν, ἔχει γὰρ καὶ τὰ διαγράμματα | τῶν πρόσθεν βέλτιον, καὶ κατεμόν σώσας αὐτό, προσθεὶς τοὺς ἰάμβους οὐ μάχην ἀείδοντας τὴν Βουπάλειον, και τὰ τὸν Κυρηναῖον ποιητὴν, ἀλλ ̓ οἵους ἡ καλὴ Σαπφώ βούλεται τοῖς νόμοις ἁρμόττειν.

8 Frag. 86, ed. Bentl.

says, εἰ δὲ ἐμπιμπλάμενοισίτων ἄδην καὶ ποτῶν, διελέγοντο πρὸς ἀλλήλους καὶ τὰ θηρία μύθους, οἷα δὴ καὶ τανῦν περὶ αὐτῶν λέγονται ; and Xenoph. Memor. 11. 7, 13 : φασὶ γὰρ, ὅτε φωνήεντα ἦν τὰ ζῶα, τὴν οἶν πρὸς τὸν δεσπότην εἰπεῖν. See also my Comment. de Comedia Attica Antiqua. (Lips. 1838, p. 278, foll.)

ταῦτα δ' Αἴσωπος

ὁ Σαρδιηνὸς εἶπεν, ὅντιν' οἱ Δελφοὶ

ἄδοντα μῦθον οὐ καλῶς ἐδέξαντο.

Thus we may see that Callimachus treated the Brute-fable in choliambic verse, and, probably, not in the manner of earlier poets, as an appendage, but as a distinct and independent subject.

p.

1.

And here the question arises, to what age does Babrius belong? The editor of the lately-discovered choliambics despatches this question very briefly, in a note appended to He there lays it down as his opinion, that Babrius was a Roman, and that his whole name was Valerius Babrius. But what he advances in favour of the Roman origin of the name and of the poet is a very weak argument. It is true that the name Babrius occurs in Roman inscriptions, but the word itself is indubitably of Greek origin, and connected with ßaßpálw. And for this reason our poet might pass for a Greek, even if the whole name was Valerius Babrius. But the arguments in favour of the name Valerius rest merely upon the fact that the MS. which Minoides Menas discovered on Mount Athos has the word Baλeẞpíov, which agrees, in some respects, with the Harleian MS. in Tyrwhitt, p. 69, which has Baλeptov, with Baßpíov written over it. But when we find one name written above another, as in this case (dirтoypapía), we are not justified in assuming this to be a double name; and, very probably, βαλεβρίου may have been substituted for Βαμβρίου (ΒΑΜΒΡΙΟΥ), which was again corrupted into Βαλερίου. That our poet's real name was Báßpios, or perhaps better Baẞpías, is established by the metre in Tzetzes. If the choliambics themselves offered a tolerably certain indication by which we might fix the real age of our poet, no doubt upon the question would exist; but what is here presented to us seems rather to increase the uncertainty. Babrius dedicates his work to Branchus, son of King Alexander. We are in total ignorance as to who these two persons were, and this consequently opens a wide field for conjecture. Boissonade advances a conjecture, in accordance with the view he takes of the Roman origin of the poet, and suggests the Emperor Alexander Severus, whereby the poems are assigned to a later period than any unbiassed critic can well admit.

Dübner, in his Animadversiones de Babrii Mv0iáμßois

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