From my diary

I’ve written to a couple of people who have done translations for me, offering them a better rate.  It would be good to get some projects in progress again.

My local library has received an ILL request for the English translation of the Saturnalia of Macrobius, made by P. V. Davies in the 60′s.  I need to consult this for information on Festus.  They wrote back to tell me that a book that I had ordered, on colophons in ancient papyri of poetic works, is in.  I shall get hold of that tomorrow.

I’ve also written to Fay Glinister, who was responsible for the Festus Lexicon Project, enquiring about the status of that project.  In particular there was talk of an English translation.  Festus should exist in English, and it would be nice to see if that could be made to happen.

A kind correspondent has placed a copy of Festus as edited by W. Lindsay (1913) in my hands.  Since this is the standard critical edition, it may well be helpful in getting a translation made.  I’ve also been able to glance at Glinister’s book, Verrius, Festus and Paul (2007), containing papers of a conference on these people.  It’s excellent stuff:

It was compiled during the Roman imperial period, but about Festus himself we know virtually nothing. Mainly on the basis of references to Lucan and Martial in Paul the Deacon’s epitome of the Lexicon, Festus is thought to have lived in the second century AD; his work certainly fits well with the literary climate of that era.[2] A fourth-century grammarian, Charisius, provides a terminus ante quem when he cites Porphyrio, in the early third century, as having used Festus.[3] A connection with Narbo in Gaul has long been posited, but is highly tenuous.[4]  The Lexicon is Festus’ only extant text, although another work is advertised in one of the entries (242.19F poriciam).

2) These authors are mentioned only in Paul’s epitome, however, and may not have been included in the corresponding entry of Festus; Paul, however, takes his quotations straight from Festus and seldom if ever adds them himself.
3)  Charisius, Gramm., 285.12, ed. C. Barwick (Leipzig 1944), cites: Porphyrio ex Verrio et Festo. Cf. R. Helm, s.v. Pomponius Porphyrio’, RE 42 (1952), coll. 2412-16.
4) A catalogue from the monastery at Cluny (no. 328, c. 1158-1160) contains amongst other works a liber Festi Pompeii. The dedication is ad Arcorium Rufum, corrected by M. Manitius, ‘Zu Pompeius Festus’, Hermes 27 (1892) 318-20 to Artorium, and identified as a descendant of the grammarian C. Artorius Proculus, mentioned by Festus. Inscriptions from Narbo (CIL XII 4412, 5066) connect the families of the Pompeii with the Artorii, providing a possible, if very speculative context for the author of the Lexicon.[1]

A lot of solid information, there, in a few lines.  Excellent stuff!  The reference to the catalogue of Cluny, online here is interesting:

328. Volumen in quo continentur vite sanctorum Sylvestri, Antonii, Maxentii, Syri Ticinensis, Dyonisii Mediolanensis, Eucherii atque Consortie, Justi Lugdunensis, Maximi episcopi, Euvertii, Lanteni et Jacobi Darendariensis, atque passio Leodegarii, Cantici, Canticiani et Canticianille, et liber Festi Pompeii ad Arcorium Rufum, habens in capite Augustinum de [decem] cordis et quandam collectionem versuum de psalmis, abbreviationem in Cantica canticorum.

An odd volume, mostly hagiographical but with Festus at the back.  And this volume must either be the sole surviving copy, when it was more complete; or else another manuscript.

  1. [1] Glinister, Verrius, Festus and Paul, p.1.

2 Responses to “From my diary”


  1. Michael Gilleland

    There’s a new translation of Macrobius’ Saturnalia in progress by Robert Kaster in the Loeb Classical Library (vol. 1, coverings books 1-2, published in 2011).

  2. Roger Pearse

    Thanks!



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