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will always be unattainable by ordinary minds : it takes a firm grasp of the subject, and conducts the investigation with a degree of perspicuity that is never overshaded, and a fagacity that is but rarely deceived. In the political part, all the sentiments that are liable to be disputed, are delivered openly, firmly, and calmly; and those who do not agree with the author, can neither complain of equivocation, nor plead his example for being angry. When we consider that the substance of this work was originally delivered by Mr Millar in a series of academical lectures, we shall eally be able to account for another peculiarity in its character. Every thing is delivered with studied perspicuity, and a sort of elementary simplicity. The general truth and theory is clearly and boldly asserted ; and the difficulties and detail of the fubjeét are sometimes passed over very slightly. To those who are already proficients in the study, this may not be altogether satisfactory; but, by the general reader, it will be felt as a great relief: and there are few indeed, even among those who have entered profoundly into the subject, who will not feel their knowledge rendered more manageable, and their conceptions more luminous, by the perusal of Mr Millar's speculations.
Art. XIV. Athenai Naucratite Deipnosophiftarum libri quindecim : ex
optimis codicibus nunc primum collatis emendavit ac supplevit, nova La. tina versione et animadversionibus cum Is. Casauboni aliorumque tum suis illufravit, commodisque indicibus infruxit Johannes Schweighauser Argentoratensis, Infiituti Scientiar. et Art. populi Gallo-franc. Jocius, Ano tiquar. Literar. in Schola Argent. Prof. Argentorati, ex Typographia Societatis Bipontinæ. Anno ix. (1801.)
There are few compilations from which the moderns have
1 derived so much of their knowledge of the private life of the ancient Greeks, as from the Deipnosophifts of Athenæus. It may not be superfluous to inform some of our readers, that the profeffed objcét of the writer was to detail to his contemporaries the convivial antiquities of their ancestors, and that he has chosen to convey his information in the form of a dialogue, as the most convenient and amusing. The fable, or plan of the work, is as follows: A considerable number of learned men, among whom we find the celebrated Galen, ailemble at the table of Larensius, a liberal and wealthy Roman, where they beltow as large a portion of erudition on every part of their entertainment, as the memory or common-place book of the author could supply. So much of the business of human life is connected, mediately or immediately, with eating and drinking, that it does M 3
. not require any great share of ingenuity to introduce into a work of so miscellaneous a nature, much useful and curious information, which, at first sight, does not appear to be very closely connected with the science of cookery. Accordingly,' says the author of the Epitome,' we find disquisitions on fish of every fort, together with pot-herbs and poultry; not to mention hil.orians, poets and philosophers; likewise a great variety of musical instruments, witry sayings and drinking veftels ; royal magnificence, ships of prodigious magnitude, and many other articles,' 100 tedious to mention.' Although this kind of conversation bears no very strong resemblance to the dying speculations of Socrates on the immortality of the soul, our author has selected the Phædo of Plato for his prototype, and has borrowed the beginning of that dialogue, with no alteration, except the subftitution of the names of Timocrates and Athenæus to those of Echecrates and Phædo. A strong objection to the dramatic form which the work affumes, arises from the impossibility of collecting the productions of all the different seasons at one banquet. The author seems to suppose that an astonished filimonger might exclaim, in the words of Theocritus, 'annee tà quin Bigios, Tà dè gyíyretær tv zapewn. The loss of the two first books ren. ders us unable to judge how far he was able to palliate this pala pable absurdity. The most valuable part of the work is the large quantity of quotations which it presents from authors whose writings no longer exist. The Athenian comic poets afforded an ample store of materials, and Athenæus seems to have been by no means sparing in the use of them. Many of the extracts from their works, which he has inserted in his own, are highly interesting ; and the mass is so considerable, as far to exceed in bulk all that can be collected from every other Greek or Latin writer. The number of theatrical pieces which he appears to have consulted, was probably not less than two thousand. The iniddle comedy alone furnished him with eight hundred,
Of the author of this work, which has derived so great a pertion of additional value from the general wreck which has de. prived us of the treasures of the ancients, nothing is known, (Xcept a few particulars which he has infested curforily in his work. He was a native of Naucratis, a city of Egypt, to which, in the time of its original kings, the approach of foreigners was restricted in the same manner as to Nangasaki in the modern empire of Japan. He declares himself to have been a little polterior to the poct Oppian; and, as that writer dedicates his Halieutics to the emperor Caracalla, the age of Athenæus may be fixed at the beginning of the third century of the Christian ära. His compilation immediately became the prey of other compil.
every le, as farms are highly
ers, less diligent than himself. Ælian, who was nearly his contemporary, has made use very liberally of the Deipnofophifts in his Various History. In a later age, we again find our author pillaged by Macrobius, who seems to have taken from him not only many of the materials, but even the form and idea of his Saturnalia. But of all writers, ancient or modern, there is none who is so highly indebted to Athenæus as the induftrious Euftathius. Although the Archbishop of Thessalonica appears never to have seen the entire work, but to have made use of the Epitome, the stores of his erudition would be miserably reduced, if he were compelled to make restitution of the property of our author which he has converted to his own benefit.
By the same fortunate accident which has preserved a few of the writings of the ancients *, a single copy of Athenæus appears to have escaped from the ravages of time, ignorance, and fanaticism. That copy still exists. After the death of Cardinal Beslarion, who probably brought it from Greece, it passed into the Library of St Mark at Venice. In this fepulchre of books it would certainly have continued for many ages, unknown to the learned, if the late revolutions, which have changed the face of Europe, had not caused it to be included in the valuable spoils of Italy which now enrich the national collections at Paris. It consists of three hundred and seventy-three leaves of the largest dimensions. Each page is divided into two columns. It is writ. ten without contractions, and, from the form of the characters, may be attributed to the tenth century. The subjunctive vowel of the diphthongs «, ^, and w, is never subscribed, but commonly placed after its prepositive, in the ancient manner. The whole orthography is very incorrect, particularly in the division of the words, and the punctuation.
Many transcripts of this manuscript exist in different parts of Europe, which were probably made while it was in the possesfion of Cardinal Beffarion. All of them betray their origin, as, besides their coincidence in orthographical errors, the same parts
* Among the good qualities of his hoft Larensius, Athenæus enumerates his diligence in colieeting and preserving the works of ancient authors, which, through theã Pinexonia, the want of talle, of the multitude, were almost configned to oblivion. The art of printing has lesfened, but certainly has not removed the danger to which authors are exposed. Perhaps, a hundred years hence, a complete copy of the works of Blackmore may be sought for in vain. We recommend to modern Larenfii the redemption of these and other fimilar productions from topers and defrauded pyes. We tremble for the future fate of many of the most celebrated of our contemporaries.
are wanting in all of them. The two first books, the beginning of the third, a few leaves in the eleventh, and part of two leaves in the fifteenth, are wanting in the Venetian manuscript, and the deficiency appears evidently to have proceeded from accident.
The same lacuna occur in every other manuscript, but are exhibited in a manner which shews the cause to have existed in the copy from which they were transcribed. It is unnecessary to say, that the errors of the Venetian manuscript are in general faithfully retained, and the number of them considerably augmented.'
Fortunately for Athenæus, the integrity of his work is in some measure preserved by an epitome of the whole, which has been transmitted to us without defalcation. This abridgement, if it may be called so, is nearly as bulky as the original work. The age of it is uncertain. It is executed in a careless manner; and the copy which the writer had before his eyes, appears to have suffered so much from time or accident, that he frequently breaks off in the middle of an extract, and declares his inability to decypher the remainder. From these sources our editions are derived, and it will easily be seen that where the original copies are so few and so faulty, conjectural emendation will find ample scope to display its powers. The fact is, that although the game has been considerably thinned by Casaubon and some other fagacious critics, there still remain fufficient materials to exercise the industry of the keenest grammatical sportsman.
The editions of Athenæus are three, or rather five, in number, The first was printed at Venice by Aldus, in the year 1514. Musurus, who was the editor, was obliged to make use of a very faulty manuscript, and to supply the deficiencies of the original from the epitome; a practice which has been imitated in all the succeeding editions. The lacuna in the eleventh book, lowever, was not perceived ; and the corresponding portion of the epitome did not appear until the publication of Calaubon's commentary. Twenty-one years afterwards, a new edition was published at Bafil, which, in most of the pafiages in which it differs from that of Aldus, recedes still further from the purity of the original. In this edition, the pallages of Aristotle and Theophraftus, which are adduced by Athenæus, are professedly altered to the readings of the then existing copies, by which means many important various lections in the writings of these two philosophers are completely abliterated. Neither of these editions is accompanied with a translation, or with notes. The third edition is that of Isaac Casaubon, of which there are three different impressions, in the years 1597, 1612, and 1664, which do not differ confiderably from each other. To thete editions is annexed the Latin translation of James Dalechamp of Cluni,
which was first printed by itself in the year 1583. The Greek text is much more perfect and accurate than in the preceding editions ; as in the long interval which elapsed between that of Balil, and the first of Casaubon's, many new manuscripts had been discovered, and much labour had been bestowed on Athenäus by some of the most celebrated scholars of that age. There exists an edition of the epitome of the first book by Tumebus, of a prior date to that of Casaubon, in which the editor has indulged great license of conjectural emendation. It seems to have been meant as a specimen of an entire edition ; but from the boldness and clumsiness of the alterations, we do not think that it is to be regretted that the design was laid aside.
The most valuable part of the edition of Casaubon is his celebrated commentary, which constitutes a folio of no inconsiderable magnitude. The work is dedicated, with much propriety, to Henry the Fourth, between whose character, and that of Athenæus, the author discovers a resemblance which, to common eyes, is certainly not very apparent. The work itself is so well known to scholars, that it would be superfluous to enlarge upon it. We must only obferve, that many of the emendations which are proposed by Casaubon are violent and improbable, and that a still greater number may be considered as obvious to any person who is endowed with a moderate share of critical sagacity. Not. withstanding these defects, we know no work of this kind, except perhaps Bentley's differtation on Phalaris, in which the reader is presented with such a mass of pertinent information. Una like many commentaries, the text of the author is almost always kept in sight; and the erudition of the critic, although ample, is displayed without oftentation.
Two hundred years have elapsed between the publication of this edition, and the present performance of Professor Schweighäuser. From our previous knowledge of his labours as an editor, we certainly should not have conceived Athenæus to be the author most likely to be benefited by his exertions. The editor of an historian, and still more of a moralist, has a much easier and more simple talk to perform, than must be undertaken by him who labours in the elucidation of an author of so miscellaneous a nature as Athenæus. We cannot avoid wishing that the editor of Appian, Polybius, and Epictetus, had continued in his original course, and had left the Deipnosophifts to some person more accurately acquainted with the minutiæ of Greek literature. It is, however, far from our intention to speak with disrespect of Professor Schweighäuser ; particularly as he candidly admits the deficiencies of which we complain.
The greatest advantage which he has enjoyed, is the collation of the Venetian manuscript, which, as we have already observe