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. 40.2 Cynthia Damon At Pontica ex altera parte legio, cum paulum aduersa hostibus cessisset, fossam autem circumire ac transcendere conata esset ut aperto latere aggrederetur hostem, in ipso transitu fossae confixa et oppressa est.“But on the other side the Pontic legion, when it had withdrawn a small distance facing the enemies but had tried to circumvent and get across the trench so that it could attack the enemy on its open flank, was stopped and overwhelmed in very act of crossing the trench.” aduersa Madvig(cf. 20.5 et u. infra) | auersa MUSTV (u. TLL 2.1323.63–66 ‘de fugientibus’) || circumire ac transcendere Nipperdey (cf. BC 3.46.3) | circumire acies secundo MUSTV | circumire acies secunda Lipsius teste Oudendorp, sensu et uerborum ordine repugnante | circumire acie secunda Madvig (u. TLL 1.409.41–81 ‘i. q. proelium’ ) | circumire acies secundo (sc. post recessum?) Gruterus | circumire acies secundo Dauisius 1727 ut glossema ineptum ad 40.1 (u. et infra) | transire ut secunda acies Ciacconius dubitanter, alii alia || transitu MUSTV | circuitu Dauisius 1727 (u. et supra) || aperto (cf. BG 1.25.6) | ab aperto (cf. BC 3.86.3) When Domitius and Pharnaces finally fought, the Romans were decisively defeated. Three of the four legions involved in the battle suffered catastrophic losses, and Domitius retreated to Asia Minor with the veteran Thirty-sixth and a few other survivors (40.4–5). The battle itself must have been chaotic, but Incertus seems to have been aiming for a narrative as clear as Caesar’s usually are. The battle lines are described in some detail (38.3–4, 39.2), then the events on the Roman right (40.1), then those on the left (40.2), then those in the middle of the line (40.2). After the Roman middle collapses, we return to the right wing (40.3) and finish with the “cost-of-battle” assessment (40.4–5). The framework is clear. But problems in the transmitted text prevent us from seeing exactly what happened on the Roman left: at Pontica ex altera parte legio cum paulum auersa hostibus cessisset fossam autem circumire acies secundo conata esset ut aperto latere aggrederetur hostem in ipso transitu fossae confixa et oppressa est. As Nipperdey says (1847, 197), “Verba ‘acies secundo’ quin corrupta essent, recte nemo dubitavit.” But those two words are not the only problems in this passage. Here is a fuller list: The unqualified reference to an acies here is baffling. The adverb secundo appears nowhere else in the corpus, and one would expect it to be preceded by primum (uel sim.). It is difficult to see which verbs go with which nominative. Word order suggests that legio is the subject of cessisset, acies the subject of the others, but since we learn later that the Pontic legion was almost completely annihilated in this battle (40.4 Pontica legione paene tota amissa) it seems likely that legio is the subject of confixa et oppressa est. However, since it is the acies, not the legio, that is mentioned in connection with the fossa, the relevance of in ipso transitu in that scenario is unclear. The term transitu is per se a puzzle, since Incertus has described the troop movement as “going around” (circumire) not “going across.” The expression fossam circumire is not only in conflict with in transitu but also hard to reconcile with the battlefield described here, where Pharnaces’ compact battle line is protected on the flanks by 4-foot trenches (38.3–4) and in the rear, as becomes clear from 40.1, by the walls of Nicopolis. How then could one go around the trench to attack the enemy from the rear? (See further below, under B). The context provides some parameters for solutions to these problems. According to 39.2, Domitius’ battle line consists of a right wing (the Thirty-six legion), a left wing (the “Pontic legion,” i.e., the unit newly recruited in Pontus [34.5]), and a media acies (two legions contributed to the Roman war effort by the Galatian king Deiotarus [34.4], separated by a narrow gap). Domitius also placed an unspecified number of cohorts in unspecified positions from which they could serve as reinforcements. The phrase at … ex altera parte sets the narrative of events on the left wing in antithesis to that of events on the right wing, where the attack of the Thirty-sixth proceeded as follows: the legion advanced outside the trench (extra fossam) on Pharnaces’ left, reached the city walls (moenibus oppidi succederet…), crossed the trench (fossamque transiret), and attacked the enemy from the rear (auersosque hostes adgrederentur). A battlefield success-story, as Incertus says (40.1 secundum proelium). In 40.2 both auersa and secundo echo words used in 40.1 (see B above). Lipsius, according to Oudendorp, addressed problems (1) and (2) as follows: … fossam autem circumire acies secunda conata esset … With acies secunda he created an antithesis for legio: the legion fled with its back to the enemy (legio cum … auersa cessisset), and a different unit, the acies secunda, boldly attempted to cross the trench and attack the enemy, as the Thirty-sixth legion had done on the right.Larsen (1886, 20) developed Lipsius’ emendation by (implausibly) addressing problems (4) and (5): … fossam autem circuitu transire acies secunda conata esset. But Domitius’ legions were not arranged with a second line, so far as we are told, and the only reinforcements we hear about are some unlocalized (for us) cohorts (39.2 reliquis cohortibus in subsidiisAccording to the archetype, they were placed in an ambush (in insidiis MUS : insidiis TV), but this seems unlikely, since Pharnaces chose the battlefield (38.3). conlocatis). The expression seems to be a recollection of the Caesarian acies triplex or duplex (BG 1.24.2, 1.49.1, 1.51.2, 3.24.1, 4.14.1; BC 1.41.2, 1.64.6, 1.83.1–2, 3.67.4), which often did occasion reference to the secunda acies (e.g., BG 1.25.7 prima et secunda acies, 1.49.2 primam et secundam aciem; BC 1.41.5 et prima et secunda acies).Andrieu prints Lipsius’ emendation, translating acies secunda as “sa seconde ligne,” i.e., the second line of the Pontic legion. The only passage in which the secunda acies appears without prior reference to the prima acies is BAfr 60.2 in secunda autem acie, but this phrase is preceded by a lacuna. The best parallel for the scenario we have here is BAfr 59.2, where Scipio places legions in fronte, and behind them, some Numidian troops in subsidiaria acie; the arrangement of the Alexandrian fleet at BAlex 14.3 is comparable, with 22 ships in fronte and the rest as reinforcements in secundo ordine. But our passage has no equivalent for in fronte, and the word order of acies secunda occurs only here. Furthermore, in this scenario paulum is puzzling, since it seems to indicate a change of course on the part of the legio itself: it retreated for a little while, then did something else. Ciacconius (cited from Jungermann 1606) addressed all five problems as follows: … fossam autem transire ut secunda acies conata esset … His secunda acies is the same unit as the legio, but it has experienced a change of heart and now returns to the fray ut secunda acies. We don’t need to find any new troops or any event prior to what comes secundo (problems 1 and 2), the legio is the subject of all of the verbs (problems 3 and 4), and it doesn’t go around the trench but crosses it (problems 4 and 5Dauisius took a different approach to problem 4, proposing circuitu in place of transitu. But this makes problem 5 worse.). He also makes sense of paulum: the legion retreated briefly, but (autem) renewed the attack, and restores the standard word order. However, the repetition of ut is rather awkward, and auersa is a discordant detail: one would like to know what turned the legion back around to face the enemy. In any case, given the complicated series of innovations that would have been required to get from this original to the transmitted text, Ciacconius is appropriately doubtful about the likelihood of his solution, especially since he also rewrote the first part of the sentence (cum paululum auersus hostis cessisset).“Nimia est licentia” says Dauisius (1727, ad loc). Klotz (1927, ad loc.) offers a tentative emendation, acriter secundo impetu facto, that is almost equally drastic and solves fewer problems. Madvig (1873, 283–284) created a similar scenario with a simpler repair: … fossam autem circumire acie secunda conata esset … His acie secunda expresses the change of heart without changing the word order or duplicating the ut, and he improved the passage further by emending auersa to aduersa: although under pressure, the legion faced the enemy, as Caesar’s troops had done in another chaotic scene at Alexandria (20.5 magnam uim telorum aduersi sustinerent). As was noted in (C) above, the prefix of auersa may repeat that of auersos in 40.1, and in any case the innovation aduersa =auersa is not implausible. This emendation thus addresses problems (1)–(3). And problems (4) and (5) solve themselves if we see circumire and in transitu as two stages of an single advance comparable to that described more methodically in 40.1. But acie secunda creates its own problems: the unusual word order may prompt the reader to see this acies not as a military formation (which would be odd with legio as the subject of conata esset) but as the more abstract “battle” (TLL 1.409.41–81, with no examples from the corpus Caesarianum), but in a context where military formations are so prevalent this seems unlikely.Variations on this approach depart further from the transmitted text: accessu secundo Hoffmann; acie excedendo Oehler (1852); consilio secundo Vielhaber (1869, 565). Excision has also been applied to the problems of this passage, without much plausibility since it is unclear what would motivate the addition of words so plainly alien to the context as acies and secundo. The efficiency of Nipperdey’s emendation, which like that of Ciacconius deals with all five problems at once, makes up for its lack of palaeographical plausibility: … fossam autem circumire ac transcendere conata esset … His ac transcendere crisply eliminates acies and secundo and justifies transitu. The verb is used of crossing trenches at BC 3.46.3 ut fossas transcenderent. In our view this is the best of the available repairs, particularly when combined with Madvig’s aduersa. If it is right, acies and secundo may be further persistence errors: forms of the former occur eight times in the preceding three paragraphs, and secundum, as was mentioned above, was used in 40.1, where it is preceded by the word adeo. But perhaps the problem lies deeper, as Klotz suggests by daggering the passage.