Bellum Alexandrinum Cynthia Damon, et al. Society for Classical Studies TEI XML encoding: Samuel J. Huskey Programming for automatic generation of TEI XML: Virgina K. Felkner Coauthor of content related to section 2.5: Dallas Simons Coauthor of content related to sections 12.1–2 and 13.5: Tom Vozar Coauthor of content related to section 26.1–2: Marcie Persyn Coauthor of content related to sections 35.3 and 36.4–5: Maria Kovalchuk Coauthor of content related to sections 47.2, 49.1, and 49.2–3: Tim Warnock Coauthor of content related to section 60.2: Isabella Reinhardt Coauthor of content related to sections 63.5 and 66.3–4: Brian Credo Coauthor of content related to sections 67.1 and 68.1: Amelia Bensch-Schaus Coauthor of content related to sections 72.2–3 and 74.4: Wes Hanson First Edition The Digital Latin Library 650 Parrington Oval Carnegie Building 101 Norman OK 73071 USA The University of Oklahoma Norman, OK 2022 Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-SA 4.0) Library of Digital Latin Texts Edited by Samuel J. Huskey 1 Born digital. 2.5 Dallas Simons and Cynthia Damon Praeterea alias ambulatorias totidem tabulatorum confixerant subiectisque eas rotis funibus iumentisque obiectis derectis plateis in quamcumque erat uisum partem mouebant.“In addition, they had cobbled together moveable towers with the same number of stories (i.e., ten). After mounting these on rollers, with ropes and pack animals placed opposite, they would move them on level streets into whichever part (sc. of the city) they wanted.” confixerant MUSTV (cf. BG 3.13.4) | confecerant ϛ teste Oudendorp (cf. 13.4) | confinxerant Dauisius 1706 coll. Plin. Nat. 10.93 | an contexerant (cf. BC 2.10.5)? || †obiectis† scripsimus | obiectis MUSTV | seclusit Scaliger (cf. Prop. 4.11.51) | subiunctis Cornelissen coll. Col. 6.2.8 | adiectis Castiglioni (cf. 28.3) | obtectis dubitanter Klotz (cf. BC 3.19.7) | nisi mauis iunctis (cf. Vitr. 10.2.14) uel adiunctis (cf. Gel. 20.1.28) This sentence describes the last and most impressive of the defensive measures adopted by the Alexandrians against the newly arrived Caesar, namely, the construction of moveable siege towers. Obiectis is the principal problem in this passage: its authenticity has long been questioned, with Scaliger excising it and other critics offering emendations. Confixerant, too, has been suspected. 1) As transmitted, the verb used to report the towers’ construction is confixerant, “had cobbled together.” At its one other occurrence in the corpus in the context of construction the presence of an instrumental ablative shows the verb to be used more literally: BG 3.13.4 transtra ex pedalibus in altitudinem trabibus confixa (sc. erant) clauis ferris.Similar usages are attested in other authors (TLL 4.211.67–79 ‘figendo instruere’). Elsewhere in the corpus configere appears in the context of combat: BAlex 40.2 legio … confixa et oppressa est; BAfr 59.5 exercitum … iaculis configeret. Construction-related passages lacking the ablative can be found in, e.g., Vitruvius (10.6.3 tigna conlocantur in capitibus utraque parte habentia transuersaria confixa; cf. 10.9.6, 10.15.7; see further TLL 4.211.79–212.3 ‘figendo coniungere’). But nowhere is the reference of the prepositional prefix as vague as it is in our passage: what is being fastened to what? Accordingly, substitutes have been supplied, confecerant in the manuscript tradition itself, perhaps based on a later construction passage (13.4 paucis diebus contra omnium opinionem quadriremes XXII, quinqueremes V confecerunt), confinxerant by Dauisius, appealing to Pliny for support (Nat. 10.93 eadem materia confingunt nidas [sc. hirundines]). The latter verb, however, does not seem to be used for human construction projects (TLL 4.214.60–73), and the former, although apparently apt, does not impose itself: in chapter 13 the prefix denotes completion rather than assembly. A better repair might be contexerant, which Caesar uses in describing the protective coverings supplied for his mobile siege “tortoise” both with an instrumental ablative (BC 2.10.6 coria … centonibus conteguntur) and absolutely (BC 2.10.5 musculus ut ab igni … tutus esset contegitur).He also uses it in connection with boats that are supplied either with decks (BC 2.4.2) or with camouflage (BC 3.24.1). 2) Obiectis, which occurs later in the description of these moveable military towers, makes little sense in context: if pack animals are pulling the towers, it is hard to see the relevance of their having been “placed opposite,” “in front of,” or “in the way of” the towers. The parallelism between funibus and iumentis is also peculiar. Scaliger addressed both problems by excising obiectis, removing the reference to the animals’ position and construing funibus iumentisque as instrumental ablatives with mouebant. With this repair one can perhaps see obiectis as a garbled reprise of subiectis or a garbled anticipation of derectis. However, in the Caesarian corpus there is no other instance of an instrumental ablative with moueo: nobody ever moves an object by means of something else.The verb moueo in Caesar is most often used in the idiom mouere castra (BG 1.39.7, 2.2.6, etc.) or in similar phrases involving the movement of troops or the changing of location (BG 3.15.3, etc.). Often moueo is used in the passive voice, when someone is figuratively moved by something (BG 7.76.2, BC 1.4.2, etc.). This is a usage with few parallels in Latin more generally (see TLL 8.1540.47–60). In the passive moueo can be used with an ablative of manner (cf. Cic. Phil. 9.14, something moved nulla ui) or absolutely, as when towers are moved forward in sieges (cf. BG 2.31.1, Curt. 4.6.9). The best parallel for an active moueo with an object and an instrumental ablative — also a rope, as it turns out — comes from Propertius (4.11.51 tu, quae tardam mouisti fune Cybeben). Because of the absence of relevant parallels for this usage, it seems prudent to proceed with the assumption that a participle is needed where the text reads obiectis in order to form a second ablative absolute with funibus iumentisque.There is a comparable asyndetic pair of absolutes in a similar string of different sorts of ablatives at BAlex 11.6, which is also, incidentally, a passage about towing: Hac calamitate perterritis hostibus aduerso uento leniter flante naues onerarias Caesar remulco uictricibus suis nauibus Alexandriam deducit. The expression naues remulco uictricibus suis nauibus deducit is a decent structural parallel for Scaliger’s hypothesized eas … funibus iumentisque … mouebant, but both remulco and nauibus work reasonably well with deducit (cf. BC 3.40.1), whereas neither of our ablatives works well with mouebant. For other long strings of ablatives see 27.5 and 32.3. Castiglioni emended obiectis to adiectis, assuming a palaeographically plausible innovation. This gives the sense of “fastened upon” or “added to.” Forms of adicere occur ten times in the corpus, but it usually means to add on or adjoin something abstract or to describe geographical space (cf., e.g., 28.3 unum latus [sc. castrorum] erat adiectum flumini Nilo). Here it would imply that the animals are added on to a larger contraption, which does not yield perfect sense. Klotz proposed obtectis to describe the animals, which would be “covered” or “protected.” Caesar uses obtectus to refer to military protection, which would suggest that the pack animals are shielded from opposing attack (cf. BC 3.19.7 quae [sc. tela] ille obtectus armis militum uitauit and 3.54.1 uineis eam partem castrorum obtexit). The context of our sentence does not necessitate this idea, and the necessity of taking iumentis in tandem with funibus makes it unlikely. Contexts involving pack animals towing something frequently contain the verb iungere. There are two potential problems with an emendation based on iungere, however. First, iunctis is paleographically further removed from obiectis than either adiectis or obtectis. Second, iungere usually refers to joining animals to one another rather than to other objects. However, the verb does occur with the etymologically related iumentum (Nepos Timol. 4.2, Varro RR 1.52.1; cf. Var. LL 5.136) and in one passage of Vitruvius a yoked team of oxen pull a rope (Vitr. 10.2.14 bubus iunctis funem ducebant [sc. boues]). So iunctis is worth consideration here, even if funibus is a loose end. Compounds of iunctis are also worth considering. Cornelissen suggested subiunctis, making the ropes and pack animals “subjoined” to the towers. He cites as parallels a line from Columella in which bullocks are attached to a plow (Col. 6.2.8 uacuo plostro subiungendi) and a line from Virgil in which tigers are joined to a chariot (Virg. Ecl. 5.29 curru subiungere tigres). Neither passage offers a parallel for funibus, which sits oddly with the prefix sub-, and the verb itself appears nowhere else in the corpus. The form adiunctis, from a verb used eight times in the Bellum Alexandrinum and twenty-five times in the corpus overall, is perhaps a better repair. Aulus Gellius uses adiunctis absolutely with iumenta (Gel. 20.1.28 uectaculum … quod adiunctis pecoribus trahebatur), and Horace uses it jokingly to describe yoking mice to a cart (Hor. Sat. 2.3.247 plostello adiungere mures). However, nowhere in the corpus does adiungere describe affixing something to an object. It therefore seems best to leave obiectis in its imperfection with the understanding that the syntax and general sense are clear, even if the original verb is not.