The Silent Prophet of the Muses: Text and Scene in Aesch. fr. 60 R.
Among the fragmentary plays of Aeschylus, the Lycurgeia has received particular attention from scholars in all periods, since it has been unanimously recognized as the literary archetype of the Dionysian tetralogy that inspired Euripides’ Bacchae. Handling the extant fragments nonetheless requires considerable effort, due to problems related to the citation technique employed by the testimonia as well as corruptions in the manuscript tradition over the course of the centuries. In this respect, one fragment (Aesch. fr. 60 R., test. schol. vet. Tr. Aristoph. Av. 276 a-b, II 3, 49 Holwerda + Suda μ1301 Adler) of Edonians, the first play of the tetralogy, is particularly difficult as a result of the apparently incurable corruption that afflicts it. Beginning from the textual assessment of Radt (TrGF III 181), the main purpose of this paper will be to shed new light on the editorial issues affecting this fragment, by offering both a fresh collation of the variant readings in the manuscripts of Aristophanes and a meticulous examination of the most significant conjectures by editors of Aeschylus. I offer a fresh critical text of the fragment, in an attempt to demonstrate how a more accurate evaluation of the manuscript tradition might help restore part of the (allegedly) genuine Aeschylean text. In addition, I undertake a broad examination of the most salient exegetical issues, along with a hypothetical reconstruction of the performance context of the fragment.