Appearance of the 4th almanac "Ancient World and Us"

Friday, April 27, 2012

The first section of the Almanac originated as a joint project by Polish, German and Rus­sian scholars and is dedicated to the memory of the celebrated classicist Tadeusz Zieliński (Thaddaeus Zielinski, Фаддей Ф. Зелинский; 1859–1944), whose 150th birthday anniversary was celebrated in 2009. An attempt is made to understand Zielinski’s significance and impact in the context of three European cultures. Various facets of the subject are studied in essays by Jerzy Axer (Tadeusz Zieliński among Foreigners, trans. from Polish by I. Tatarova), Michael von Albrecht (Throwing Bridges between Cultures and Nations: Philologist Thaddaeus Zielinski, trans. from German by M. Rutz), and Alexander Gavrilov (Faddej F. Zielinski in the Context of Russian Culture). The main body of this volume consists of Zielinski’s Autobiography (Mein Lebenslauf) translated for the first time from German into Russian by Anatoly Ruban who has also contributed a full commentary on the text. Zielinski began writing his Autobiography in 1924, after he had emigrated from the Soviet Rusia in 1922. The manuscript was initially kept by Zielinski’s son Felix; later it was given to the family of his younger sister Cornelia Zielinski-Kanokogi who lived in Japan. In 1996, the Autobiography was brought to Poland where it was published in translation in 2005. This section also includes a preface to the first edition (2005) of Zielinski’s Diary by Anna Geremek (trans. from Polish by V. Budaragin). The Diary was kept by Zielinski during his last years – after he had left Poland in 1939 and until his death in Schondorf in 1944.

A Latin essay by Akihiko Watanabe De Raphaele von Koeber et de initiis studiorum classicorum in Iaponia focuses on the biography of R. von Koeber (1848–1923), who was born into a German family in Nizhny Novgorod (Russia). He studied music at Moscow Conservatory, P. Tchaikovsky and N. Rubinstein being among his teachers. Later von Koeber moved to Germany where he obtained his doctorate in philosophy. A sudden change in his life came in 1893 when the scholar was invited to take a chair in philosophy in Tokyo. Though von Koeber accepted it with some hesitation, he plunged into the teaching of philosophy as well as of the ancient Greek and Latin languages, which he considered a sine qua non for an understanding of European philosophy. In his teaching, human emotion prevailed over interest in textual criticism or textual commentaries. Nevertheless, after twenty years of teaching, von Koeber managed to lay the foundations for Classical philology in Japan and left a number of illustrious pupils. In 1923, he died of a heart attack at the Russian embassy in Yokohama.

The Almanac presents two essays by Alexander Gavrilov dedicated to the memory of two celebrated European scholars: Martin Hengel, a Connoisseur and Practitioner of Piety and Thomas Gelzer, a Citizen of the World from Basel. The author traces the chronological outline of their lives and scholarly careers, as well as emphasizing the aspects of their activities less well known in the West: both Hengel (1926–2009) and Gelzer (1926–2010) happened to be not only the author’s very good friends and correspondents over many years, but also wise advisers who contributed a great deal to the foundation and formation of the Bibliotheca Classica Petropolitana. The account gratefully acknowledges the generous sharing of their experience in science administration and active concern for the future of the new institution. The essays are followed by two translations from German: an article by M. Hengel (“Gespräch über Jesus”, trans. by R. Kim) and a paper by Th. Gelzer (“Frösche 1119–1410: Aristophanes der fleissige Spötter”, trans. by D. Keyer).

A further section is dedicated to the memory of the Cambridge professor of Greek, Colin Austin (1941–2010). It opens with a selection of Austin’s poems in French, Latin and ancient Greek with a foreword written by his daughter Teesta. The Almanac also publishes a funeral address by his friends and colleagues Peter Parsons and Richard Hunter, and an account by his pupil and friend Natalie Tchernetska.

An article by Tatiana Averina From Latin into Latin: An elegy “A Sad Farewell to the Books of the Owner” by Stephanus Javorsky in a reverse translation by Thomas Consett deals with the history of a translation of the most famous Neo-Latin poem written in Russia. A farewell elegy (1721) by Stephanus Javorsky introduced a catalogue of his books intended for the Annunciation monastery in Nezhin (Ukraine) after his death. During the period in question the poem was translated into Russian prose several times. Thomas Consett, who was chaplain in an English outpost in Moscow, published one of these translations in 1729 and accompanied it with his own poetical version: thereby Stephanus Javorsky’s elegy was rendered “back” into Latin. A striking fact is that a number of lines follow the original verbatim. According to Pavel N. Berkov, this could have happened under the influence of Neo-Latin poetical clichés. By contrast, Averina argues that Consett knew not only a Russian prose translation of Stephanus Javorsky’s elegy but also had in his possession the Latin original.

An article by Elena Ermolaeva A Commentary on N. I. Gnedich’s Translation of the “Iliad” discusses some issues concerning the first full translation of Homer into Russian hexameter verse, which was published in 1829. In spite of the undoubted reliability of this edition, which ever since its publication became an integral part of Russian literature, Ermolaeva points out a number of inaccuracies in the text and attempts to inquire into their causes. The author gives careful consideration to the matter and sorts out several groups of errors, such as the wrong translation of patronymics, various transliterations of names, misunderstanding of facts, etc. and proposes a number of corrections for future standard editions of the Russian “Iliad”. The second part of the paper focuses on notes in the margin of the second proof of the edition of 1829. Ermolaeva distinguishes between notes by a Censor Alexander Krasovsky and a good friend of N. Gnedich, Mikhail Lobanov, an employee at St. Petersburg Public Library.

An essay by Vsevolod Zelchenko On V. F. Khodasevich’s “Bacchus” comments upon a poem which has the reputation of having an enigmatic, even a cryptic text. Khodasevich himself had added his own brief comment, having written on his copy of his collected poems: “Nobody understands this poem”. Zelchenko argues against N. A. Bogomolov’s assumption that Bacchus is a grotesque portrait of Vyacheslav Ivanov and points out certain details shared with a poem August (1907) by Valery Bryusov. The author interprets Bacchus as a poetical competition, in which Bryusov’s stock version is opposed to the one by Khodasevich claiming originality and depth.

The next section presents several translations from and into classical languages. The Almanac publishes a number of translations from Russian literature into Latin by Ivan Kholodniak (1857–1913), Professor at St. Petersburg University. Alexej Lubzhin renders into Russian the preserved fragments of Euripides’ Phaethon; Peter Mylov, a recent graduate of the Department of Classics at St. Petersburg State University, translates and comments upon a sophistic treatise Dissoi Logoi. Henri Volokhonsky, a Russian émigré poet, gives his version of Attis by Catullus. The section ends with translations composed by late Professors in the Department of Classics at St. Petersburg State University: Gajana Anpetkova-Sharova (1925–2003) translates from Seneca’s Phoenissae (vv. 51–79, 500–584); the Almanac also publishes an introductory article and translation by Natalie Botvinnik (1944–2008) from Pseudo-Callisthenes’ Alexander Romance (e, 44, 2–46, 6).

The section Litterae elegantiores presents a selection of poems by a classicist Zoja Barzah, which bears a touch of ancient Greek art and literature.

The Almanac then presents a review by Alexej Lubzhin of the book by Jury Vorobjov Latin Language in the Russian Culture of XVII–XVIII (Saransk, 1999). Lubzhin welcomes the author’s challenge of studying the impact of the Latin language on various aspects of Russian society, but grades his attempt as a provisional rather than a final treatment. Basically, his criticism concentrates upon the author’s account of the role of Latin schooling in Russia of the period (e. g. nothing is said about the Kharkov Collegium, one of the most important centres of education not only in the Ukraine but in the whole Russian Empire).

Leonid Zhmud reviews a book by E. Gertsman Secrets of Ancient Music History (St. Petersburg 2004; 2007). The reviewer strongly opposes the author’s adherence to the ‘New Chronology’ (A. Fomenko, M. Postnikov, et al.) and criticizes the following ideas based on such assumptions: all ancient musicological treatises from Aristoxenos to Boethius were written in the Byzantine times after IX century; the history of ancient and Byzantine music is much shorter than is generally accepted (Gertsman’s terminus post quem is the 1st century BC); the authors of ancient musicological treatises could not have lived much before the dates of their earliest preserved manuscripts. Zhmud sees the reason for Gertsman’s easy rejection of his scholarly predecessors in the lack of understanding of the role of tradition in the ancient world. He also points out numerous mistakes in the book (e. g. Aristotle’s school is constantly referred to as ‘Academy’).

The Almanac publishes an obituary for Jevgenij N. Gruzov (1933–2010) written by his former colleague A. N. Smirnov. Gruzov collaborated with the Bibliotheca Classica Petropolitana for many years and was in charge of computer version of The Ancient World and Us (2nd and 3rd issues) and Hyperboreus (volumes 1–15). The author of the article focuses upon Gruzov’s past professional activity as a zoologist and hydrobiologist. Working as a researcher at the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, he participated in three Russian scuba-diving expeditions to Antarctica between 1965 and 1972. Smirnov emphasizes Gruzov’s professional skills, his talent for organization and his attractive personality.