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Re: orion-list Pliny Qumran analysis (M. Agrippa)
Your last message complains that I have not sufficiently discussed
the genre and style of the writings of Marcus Agrippa. Other than a few old
notes on the use of "infra," and given your persistance in proposing
Nicolaus, it might seem to some that you have a point. But I think you
protest too much.
Nicolaus of Damascus, to repeat, is *not* listed as a source by
Pliny for book 5. Marcus Agrippa tops that list. Pliny much admired
Agrippa. Agrippa was in the area, as Pliny explicitly prefers. Most of the
other authors who are on that list--for example, Aristotle--can be
excluded; in his case, he is too early and not known to have been in the
area, certainly not in the time of Herod the Great, as Menahem Stern and A.
Momigliano instruct us as the relevant time. (And as the archaeology and
Pliny's text requires.) So, to import the style of Nicolaus, you propose a
tradent who might, you wish, be listed. (Oddly, that could include Agrippa,
you seem to say; and you contradictorily say the name of Nicolas might have
caught Pliny's eye--though Pliny does not list Nicolaus.) So the style of
Nicolaus--however it might be described--is, most probably, a completely
moot point. Pliny was a patriotic veteran who admired Agrippa as one of his
Roman, not foreign, authorities.
Now to the style of Marcus Agrippa. I admit that I know very little
about his writing style! But I can say one thing with some real assurance:
his prose style was not limited to expressing measurements of distance, the
style you keep noting, as if, as if that were the limit of talent of one of
the most prominent Romans of his era. In other words, Russell, to put it
plainly, your suggestion that Agrippa could not compose what Pliny conveys
to us about Essenes is a very weak argument!
Pliny surely used M. Agrippa more often than in those places where
he cites him explicitly. This is what the literature which I have cited
shows (your complaint about bibliography seemed to me inappropriate). E.g.
Tierny, Map of Agrippa, p. 155; M. Reinhold, page 147, etc. (details
already given--it seems pointless to spell it out here again).
As you may know, there has been considerable debate about just what
the map commentary included, and about how the map was displayed, and so
on. And again, I do not know all the facts. But Agrippa was certainly
well-travelled and had ethnographic interests. For a sample of the debate
on the nature of his project see, e.g., The History of Cartography, ed.
J.B. Hartley, vol. 1, 1987, p. 208.
Whether this passage came from the map commentary or another work
by Agrippa, such as his autobiography--a work which Pliny would surely have
been quite interested in reading--is a reasonable matter for consideration.
But Agrippa fits the bill here; Nicolaus does not.
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