Thursday, August 11, 2016

Diskin Clay's Encounter with Oinoanda

I stumbled across what appears to be the unpublished correspondence of Diskin Clay, the American academic that wrote the extensive article in ANRW on Oinoanda.

The chapter on his encounter with the ruins in the early years of the revival of exploration of the site is worth repeating:

Oinoanda, 1975 & 1977

A brief memoir for Angelo Casanova
in Harmonia: Scritti di Filologia Classica in onore di Angelo Casanova
 (Florence 2012)

I was far from Fetiye and the Xanthos in Lycian Turkey when I first discovered Oinoanda.  In 1972, I was teaching at l’Université de Lille III (Charles de Gaulle) and directing a mémoire de maîtrise on the philosophical inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda.  Claire Millot and I were studying and perplexed by New Fragment 7 that Martin Ferguson Smith had published the year before (in the American Journal of Archaeology 74 [1971], 365-69), an issue in which he published twelve new fragments to bring the total of new fragments he had discovered since his second visit to the site in 1969 to sixteen.  New Fragment 7 comes from the Physics Treatise.  Smith first interpreted the text (of two columns and part of a third) to be a description of cosmogony based on the physics of Democritus.  By the unreliable luck of a philologist, I had just been reading Plutarch’s tract against Epicurus’ ethical philosophy with the provocative title, “That According to Epicurus the Pleasant life is not Even Possible.”  There I discovered a quotation from a letter Epicurus wrote to fellow Epicureans in Lampsakos describing a shipwreck he barely survived on his way to Lampsakos on the Asiatic coast of the Propontis (Moralia 1090E).  I wrote to Martin to report my discovery.  With his characteristic generosity and enthusiasm for Diogenes and his inscription he embraced the suggestion that I was soon to publish.

Eventually my discovery of Epicurus’ shipwreck led to my joining the Oinoanda Survey in the summers of 1975 and 1977.  Oinoanda is not easy to reach, but not as difficult as other parts of the Kibyratis described by George Bean in his Lycian Turkey (London 1978) 170-175.  Oinoanda is a mountain city dominating the high plain (yayla) of Seki and the sources of the Xanthos River.  In the early summer of 1975, I had been visiting Turkey with my friend Charles Kahn, and we had come down from Istambul and the Bosporus for a Presocratic tour of Ionia.  At the end of our Presocratic tour, I left Charles to catch a bus up to Izmir and I took a dolmush (a share taxi, meaning “it is said to be full”) to Fethiye.  The next day I took the yellow Ali Jet up to Seki where I was greeted by Martin Ferguson Smith, Alan Hall of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, and the architectural expert J. J. Coulton, who was to study the buildings and draw up a plan of the site.

The mountain of ancient Oinoanda is known locally as Asar Bel, “the ridge with the ruins.”  The ascent of the mountain begins at the small village of Incealiler at the foot of the mountain to the south.  It is not a steep climb and takes about forty-five minutes.   The climber has no sense that he is approaching an ancient city until he encounters the first limestone joints for the pipes that supplied the city with water carried by an aquaduct bringing water down to Oinoanda from a lake to the south.  The path leads to the impressive and well-preserved southern walls.  Beyond these lie the agora and a confusion of stone leading to “The Great Wall.”  This is a defensive wall to the north of the city constructed perhaps in the second century A.D. or later.  It is fertile with inscriptions from Diogenes’ stoa, some of which the French had pried out during their campaigns of 1884, 1885, and 1889.  Beyond to the north is the open space the French called l’Esplanade.  It too conceals Diogenes inscriptions, as has been demonstrated by excavations conducted in 2008 by Martin Smith and Jürgen Hammerstaedt.  Further north is the theater.  Its inscriptions are all civic.  The acropolis on the northern edge of the city is guarded by the vigilant lions on sarcophagus lids.  We would draw up rainwater from the sarcophagi for our squeezes, being careful to avoid snakes.

As luck would have it, on my first day at the site I discovered a new fragment on the wall enclosing the Esplanade to the east.  In it Diogenes explained how hail can form in the summer (New Fragment 82 = Fr. 99 of Smith’s The Epicurean Inscription).  This is in fact not a fragment but a “monolithic maxim.” 

At the beginning of our explorations in the summer of 1975, we and our young surveyors from the North London Polytechnic Institute camped out in tents at the top of the mountain.  We had three site guards.  All were armed with shotguns.  The fiercest of these was Mehmet.  Mehmet and I would hunt for oregano on the mountainside to season the omelets I would make for my colleagues and the starving surveyors.  Our sylvan life on the mountain was not to last long.  Late one afternoon a group of four or five armed men arrived at our camp.  With Turkish politeness we greeted them hosh geldinez (“you have come as a pleasure”).  The expected reply should have been hosh bulduk  (“we find you as a pleasure”).  We did not receive it.  We served tea and they sat with their guns pointed vaguely but significantly in our direction.  They were what the Italians would call tombaroli (tomb-robbers). That night there was gunfire that seemed to be directed towards our tents.   This brought our stay on the mountain to an end.  We moved down to Seki where we stayed in an austere schoolhouse whose only decoration was a large poster incongruously illustrating every variety of ocean fish.  The Mediterranean (or Ak Deniz, White Sea) was very far from us.

Seki and Incealiler held many charms.  On our way up the mountain we could sometimes hear the crippled shepherd Sami Bey playing his reed pipe.  Then on our way down in the late afternoon our site guards, Ali and his wife, would offer us ayran (yogurt mixed with cold water), a drink we relished at the end of a long hot day.  Ali’s wife was the only woman I actually looked at during my two seasons on the mountain above yayla.  The women with their children would work the fertile plain of Seki with their heads covered.  Sometimes we could sight camels down on the plain, or Ak Dag, the White Mountain, looming to the east of Seki.  Down on the coast not far south of Fetiye was the Olu Deniz (the Dead Sea) where we would swim and relax every two weeks.  There I came to understand the difference between the Turks of the Mediterranean and the Turks of the interior.

In 1975, I took a bus up to Smyrna where I stayed at the Grand Ephesos Hotel.  Before swimming in the hotel’s pool I took a much-needed bath.  As I washed I discovered a strange lump in my left armpit.  It was an engorged tick that I had transported from the mountain.  The pool, comfort, and food of the hotel restored me to civilization, yet I missed the mountain.  I flew up to Istanbul and from Istanbul to Athens and from Athens to what was then home, Portland, Oregon.  My second return from Turkey in 1977 (now to Baltimore, Maryland), was more sudden and abrupt.  Jim Coulton and I were down in Fetyie where we picked up a copy of the Jumhuryet (The Republic).  There we found the headline “Ankarada Kolera” (Colera in Ankara”).  We immediately returned to Seki, picked up our belongings, and hurried to Kushadashi for a boat to take us to Samos and then to the Peiraeus before the Greek authorities imposed a ban on travelers coming from Turkey.  The prevalent Imbat (a strong wind from the north, in Greek, the bãthw) was blasting the sea at 8 Beaufort and the scenes of seasickness were grisly.  I returned to Athens and America, never to return to Turkey again.  Martin Ferguson Smith still ranges the mountain of Oinoanda with his daughter and granddaughter, but less often.  He often works in Seki on the plain below. 
The count of new fragments discovered by 2010 came to 138; with the publication of the survey results for which the Austrian Institute in Ankara is now responsible, the total of new finds mounts to 190.  I dedicate these short memoirs of my two summers in Oinoanda to my colleague Angelo Casanova who in 1984 published his splendid edition of Diogenes, I Frammenti di Diogene d’Enoanda.  He has never been to Oinoanda, but there is a fine photograph of Martin Ferguson Smith, Angelo Casanova, and myself taken at the entrance of the archaeological site of Herculaneum.  He now has a print of it.       

            A last memory of mountains: On the Olympic peninsula on the northern shore of in Washington state, there is a nice path that leads to its western extremity.  There I found the town of Sappho.  I did not know then that I would get to know and write on her poetry or admire her statue on the main square of the capital of Lesbos.  On the Olympic peninsula I found a poster announcing a dance and assuring us that “Terpsichore will not be absent.”  Sometimes it is better to take the low road.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A BMCR Review - The Epicurean Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda: Ten Years of New Discoveries and Research

Jürgen Hammerstaedt, Martin Ferguson Smith, The Epicurean Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda: Ten Years of New Discoveries and Research.   Bonn:  Verlag Dr. Rudolf Habelt, 2014.  Pp. 288.  ISBN 9783774939271.  €69.00.   

Reviewed by Pamela Gordon, University of Kansas (

That Epicurus was such a prolific writer irked his ancient detractors. Epictetus thought that Epicurus’ efforts to compose and broadcast his texts contradicted his stance on friendship (Discourses 2.20.20), and Plutarch claimed that Epicurus’ energetic communications with an array of readers violated the “live unnoticed” precept attributed to him (Moralia 1128). Diogenes of Oinoanda would have caused similar consternation. Faced with human suffering, Diogenes considers it the responsibility of “any good man” (χρηστὸς τις ἀνήρ, fragment 2 II 11-12) to run to the aid of his contemporaries (an intervention he expresses with the pun ἐπικουρεῖν fragment 2 V 7).1 This philosophical rescue effort took place not just among small circles of like-minded friends, but on the walls of a stoa in the thick of things in urban Oinoanda (in southwest Asia Minor, now Turkey). Of all known inscriptions from Greek and Roman antiquity, Diogenes’ is the longest. According to the preface by Hammerstaedt and Smith, this limestone inscription of Roman imperial date (“probably the first half of the second century AD”) “may have occupied about 260 square metres of wall-space and contained about 25,000 words” (p. 1). Oenoanda had a rich epigraphic culture, and it seems highly relevant that Diogenes chose the medium favored by other wealthy elites and public benefactors, particularly in the Greek East.

It is fitting that such a generous, affable, and industrious Epicurean should have the expert support of Hammerstaedt and Smith, who have not only devoted considerable effort to the discovery and preservation of the fragments of Diogenes’ dismantled inscription, but who have also published the new fragments and new readings of rediscovered stones within months of their discovery (along with indispensable commentaries and translations). Smith has been the international leader of work on Diogenes of Oinoanda since 1968, and most of this volume presents the fruitful results of his collaboration with Hammerstaedt, a relative newcomer.

In 2007, a new survey-project in Oinoanda began under the directorship of Martin Bachmann, of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Istanbul. Between 2007 and 2012, 76 new fragments were discovered (some of them quite substantial). The editors are optimistic that more fragments will soon emerge, so this is not yet the time to produce a full, consolidated edition of the inscription. The present volume comprises seven previously published articles that present the Greek texts of these new fragments along with photographs, English translations and commentary, and abstracts in Turkish, all of which appeared in Anatolian Studies or Epigraphica Anatolica. In addition, there is a brief but informative preface, a crucial three-page section aptly titled “Finding and Citing the Latest Edition of a Diogenes Fragment,” a previously published article on the text (in German), and a new 25-page section that prints lists of corrections and additions, the “Theological Physics-sequence” as one continuous text (old and new fragments combined, with translation), and Greek indices of all of the fragments and new readings first published in 2003-2012. This new material will be essential to any scholarship on Diogenes, but even the (uncorrected) reprinted articles are valuable, as many university libraries do not subscribe to the journals. Moreover, Epigraphica Anatolica does not appear in the usual online databases and sometimes passes under the radar of Google Scholar. Here I will mention only a few of the new discoveries, and I will refer to the translations rather than to the Greek text.

New Fragment (henceforth NF) 157 and Hammerstaedt’s and Smith’s commentaries will be relevant to any discussion of Epicurean attitudes toward sexuality. In the new fragment, Diogenes seems to say that lovers (“those who are sick with the passion of love”) are not aware “that they derive pleasure to the highest degree from looking even without copulation” (p. 89). Here Hammerstaedt and Smith disagree about the significance of this text, which Smith takes as a statement of an orthodox position that both Epicurus and Lucretius would affirm. Hammerstaedt—rightly, in my opinion—finds Diogenes’ “positive attitude to the pleasure obtained from looking at an attractive person” (p. 90) at odds with Lucretius’ treatment of the connection between vision and erotic desire (Lucr. 4.1937- 1287). The inclusion of Hammerstaedt’s and Smith’s divergent views here will benefit future scholarly debate.

Refuting the notion of divine providence in NF 182, Diogenes refers to thunder, hail, violent winds, and other phenomena (including nighttime) that he pronounces “useless” or “even harmful” (p. 118). Hammerstaedt and Smith note incidentally that a violent storm that damaged the local apple crop coincided with the chance discovery of NF 182. Thus Diogenes’ interest in storms “would have seemed highly appropriate” to the inhabitants of his mountainous region (p. 118).

Also of particular importance is NF 186, which adds a small but significant piece of evidence for the existence of female students of Epicurean philosophy. This fragment “may or may not belong to Letter to Menneas,” one of the “Ten-Line-Column Writings” that may have been in the central course of the apparently seven-course inscription (p.129). Almost an entire column of NF 186 is well preserved, and one feminine pronoun and one feminine participle are clearly legible. Hammerstaedt and Smith translate: “… [I shall help them (?)] [in every] way, when I can. As you know, we do not have better things to offer them (N.B. ‘them’ is feminine) than our own good fare. For indeed they happen already to have done some tasting of the doctrines of Epicurus, but to be sure not in such a way that [the disturbances] that strike [them have been removed]” (p. 130). The commentary suggests plausibly that the addressee is “an Epicurean or Epicurean sympathizer” and that “our own good fare” may refer to Epicurean philosophy (p. 130). Sadly, the next column is too damaged to read more than a few characters. Perhaps future discoveries will reveal whether these women belonged to some sort of circle of seekers or students, or if they were simply two or more acquaintances or correspondents.

In NF 192, addressing “Zeno and Cleanthes, and you, Chrysippus,” Diogenes asserts that the Epicurean telos is not the pleasures of “the masses,” as the Stoics claim, but is like the Stoic telos, though the Stoics “hate the name of pleasure” (p. 153). Diogenes’ naming of Chrysippus, who is not mentioned in other fragments, will be of interest to scholars who think that Epicureanism continued to develop after the lifetime of Epicurus. Chrysippus (born c. 280 BCE) was only a boy when Epicurus died in 270 BCE.

This leads me to one aspect of the fine work of Hammerstaedt and Smith that is not to my taste, though it may bother only a minority of other scholars. I would have liked to see in the commentaries more attention to Diogenes’ particular context in the Epicurean tradition. While acknowledging that later Epicureans seem to have been eager to demonstrate their loyalty to the teachings of Epicurus or, more generally, to the teachings of “The Men” (Epicurus, Hermarchus, Metrodorus, and Polyaenus), I agree with Snyder that Epicurean texts were “not simply a static body of documents to be restored, but a sinuous, evolving entity.”2 Philodemus’ allegiance seems to be to “The Men,” but so far it appears that Diogenes saw himself as a follower solely of Epicurus, whom he mentions eight times in the known fragments if we count one certain and one uncertain reference to “son of Neocles” (the fragment numbers are listed on p. 131). And yet, Diogenes does not deliver wisdom straight from the books of Epicurus, as his inimitable voice and aspects such as his reference to Chrysippus make clear.

But Smith’s approach to these fragmentary texts often involves filling in lacunae with words imported from the texts of Epicurus, though Hammerstaedt and Smith do take care to remind readers that Smith’s restorations are merely suggestions. For example, in the notes on NF 156, they write: “S.’s restoration of the whole maxim…is closely based on the passages in which Epicurus (especially Hdt. 49-50) and Diogenes (especially fr. 9, 43) describe how the images cause vision, thought, and dreams, but of course he does not claim to show how the text went, only how it might have gone” (p. 59). Sometimes the editors have found that “how it might have gone” was clearly not how it went. NF 157 was discovered in 2008 (published expeditiously in 2008), but the full text on the stone was not uncovered until the following season (and then published in 2009). For the 2008 publication, Smith presented restorations and a translation of the text as it had so far been revealed (p. 60). But when the rest of the stone was uncovered a year later, Hammerstaedt and Smith discovered that half of that restored text and most of the translation were incorrect, as the full photograph, text, and translation demonstrate (p. 89). To their credit, Hammerstaedt and Smith call attention to the hazards of restoration by issuing “a mild ‘health warning’” (p. 3) and a list of updates (p. 5) for readers who would otherwise be unaware that a proposed restoration has become untenable.

This book will be essential for scholars and fans of Diogenes of Oinoanda, and the wealth of detail it contains about the extensive recovery, recording, and preservation efforts should make any reader optimistic that Diogenes has even more to tell us.

Table of Contents

Finding and Citing the Latest Edition of a Diogenes Fragment 
New Fragments (NF) 136-212, and Some Additions to “Old” Fragments 
1. MFS, In praise of the simple life: a new fragment of Diogenes of Oinoanda [= Anatolian studies 54 (2004) 35-46]
2. MFS, JH, The Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda: New Investigations and Discoveries (NF 137-141)." [= Epigraphica Anatolica 40 (2007) 1-12]
3. JH/ MFS, Diogenes of Oinoanda: The Discoveries of 2008 (NF 142-167) [= Epigraphica Anatolica 41 (2008) 1-37]
4. JH/ MFS, Diogenes of Oinoanda: The Discoveries of 2009 (NF 167-181)." [= Epigraphica Anatolica 42 (2009) 1-38]
5. Hammerstaedt, Jürgen, and M. F. Smith. "Diogenes of Oinoanda: The Discoveries of 2010 (NF 182-190)." [= Epigraphica Anatolica 43 (2010) 1-29]
6. Hammerstaedt, Jürgen, and M. F. Smith. "Diogenes of Oinoanda: The Discoveries of 2011 (NF 191-205, and Additions to NF 127 and 130)." [= Epigraphica Anatolica 44 (2011) 79-114]
7. Hammerstaedt, Jürgen, and Martin Ferguson Smith. "Diogenes of Oinoanda: new discoveries of 2012 (NF 206-212) and new light on" old" fragments." [= Epigraphica Anatolica 45 (2012) 1-37]
Further Contributions
8. JH, Zum Text der epikureischen Inschrift des Diogenes von Oinoanda [= Epigraphica Anatolica 39 (2006) 1-48]
9. JH / MFS, The Continuous “Theological Physics-sequence” (NF 167 + NF 126/127 + fr. 20 + NF 182)
10. JH / MFS, Additions and Corrections
11. JH / MFS, Greek Indices


1.   For the text of this and other fragments discovered before 1993 (through NF 124), see Martin Ferguson Smith, Diogenes of Oinoanda. The Epicurean Inscription, La scuola di Epicuro, Supplemento 1, Naples, Bibliopolis, 1993. Fragments discovered after that publication (through NF135) can be found in Martin Ferguson Smith, Supplement to Diogenes of Oinoanda, The Epicurean Inscription, La scuola di Epicuro, Supplemento 3, Naples, Bibliopolis, 1993. The publication under review here includes corrections to those editions. 
2.   H. Gregory Snyder, Teachers and Texts in the Ancient World (New York: Routledge, 2000), 53.