martedì 30 agosto 2016

Achille Tazio Leucippe e Clitofonte tra il II secolo d.C. e l'inizio del III COVER BOOK

Achille Tazio

Leucippe e Clitofonte
tra la metà del secondo secolo d.C. e l'inizio del successivo.

Il romanzo si apre con Achille Tazio che, giunto a Sidone in seguito ad una navigazione tempestosa, si ferma a contemplare un quadro raffigurante il ratto di Europa da parte di Zeus; qui incontra il giovane Clitofonte di Tiro, che gli narra la propria storia, quale esempio della potenza di Eros, che nel quadro è ritratto in groppa a Zeus trasformato in toro. Dopo essersi innamorato di Leucippe ed essere fuggito con lei, i due giovani fanno naufragio e vengono catturati da dei briganti. Sfuggiti dai briganti grazie all'intervento dei soldati e giunti ad Alessandria, Leucippe viene nuovamente rapita, questa volta dai pirati, e data per morta da Clitofonte. Col passare del tempo, il giovane sposa una vedova di Efeso di nome Melite, per scoprire in seguito che Leucippe aveva servito come schiava proprio da lei. Alla scoperta se ne aggiunge un'altra: il marito di Melite infatti non è morto, ma ritorna inaspettatamente a casa e, trovatovi Clitofonte come nuovo marito di sua moglie, lo imprigiona. Melite riesce a far fuggire Clitofonte, che però viene nuovamente arrestato. Nel frattempo Leucippe, che Clitofonte crede morta, si trova in realtà anch'essa ad Efeso e si rifugia nel tempio di Artemide, dove si svolge la conclusione del romanzo con la risoluzione dei conflitti: Leucippe dimostra la propria verginità e Melite la propria fedeltà al marito creduto morto, e i due giovani, finalmente riunitisi, possono sposarsi e tornare a Tiro.

Caratteristiche generali del romanzo

Il romanzo greco è in sé, almeno a giudicare dai cinque che ci sono stati conservati, un genere di produzione letteraria estremamente lineare e ripetitivo, e l'opera di Achille Tazio ne contiene tutti i caratteri propri, più altri che gli conferiscono tratti di originalità. La tematica, che mette in scena la storia d'amore tra Clitofonte e Leucippe e le loro peripezie ambientate in una terra esotica come la Fenicia, è quella tradizionale. Al livello dell'intreccio, la narrazione non si discosta dal quadro che è possibile delineare di questo genere di produzione, sia per quanto riguarda la struttura rocambolesca del contenuto (l'innamoramento, i continui naufragi - anche nella cornice narrativa, che si apre proprio col naufragio dell'autore -, le separazioni forzate dei due innamorati in seguito a rapimenti, le fughe e i ritrovamenti insperati costituiscono in linea di massima gli ingredienti principali di tutti i cinque romanzi pervenutici), sia per il procedimento sostanzialmente lineare della narrazione, non complicato (o comunque non ostacolato) da eccessive digressioni o flashback.
In questo quadro sostanzialmente stereotipato, si inseriscono alcune peculiarità presenti nel romanzo di Achille Tazio che non ritroviamo nelle altre opere conservate. In primo luogo, la vistosa attenzione che l'autore non disdegna di prestare agli aspetti più prettamente sensuali del rapporto tra Clitofonte e Melite, che viene consumato. Questo elemento costituisce una differenza notevole rispetto alle oltre opere del genere, che inscenavano storie d'amore contrastate, ma sempre pure, e che proprio per questo, con tutta probabilità, vennero selezionate e trasmesse in epoca bizantina. Inoltre, nel romanzo è riscontrabile un influsso delle dottrine neoplatoniche e mistiche, con espressioni prettamente giudiziali ed oratorie specie nella parte finale. La formazione di Achille Tazio si riflette nella sua compiaciuta cura di sottoporre l'opera ad un accurato procedimento di elaborazione stilistica e nello spazio che concede a digressioni erudite di vario genere. Degna di nota in questo senso la descrizione del quadro del ratto di Europa posta all'inizio del romanzo, che costituisce un procedimento (denominato in greco ekphrasis, appunto descrizione) particolarmente adottato dalla cosiddetta Seconda Sofistica, soprattutto da Filostrato e Luciano di Samosata.


Leucippe and Clitophon

The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon (in Greek τὰ κατὰ Λευκίππην καὶ Kλειτoφῶντα), written by Achilles Tatius, is one of the five surviving Ancient Greek romances, notable for its many similarities to Longus' Daphnis and Chloe, and its apparent mild parodic nature.

Plot summary

An unnamed narrator is approached by a young man called Clitophon who is induced to talk of his adventures. In Clitophon's story, his cousin Leucippe travels to his home in Tyre, at which point he falls in love with Leucippe, despite his already being promised in marriage to his half-sister Calligone. He seeks the advice of another cousin (Kleinias), already experienced in love (this latter's young male lover dies shortly after). After a number of attempts to woo her, Clitophon wins Leucippe's love, but his marriage to Calligone is fast approaching. However, the marriage is averted when Kallisthenes, a young man from Byzantium who has heard of Leucippe's beauty, comes to Tyre to kidnap her, but by mistake kidnaps Calligone.
Clitophon attempts to visit Leucippe at night in her room, but her mother is awakened by an ominous dream. Fearing reprisals, Clitophon and Leucippe elope and leave Tyre on a ship (where they meet another unhappy lover, Menelaos, responsible for his own boyfriend's death). Unfortunately, their ship is wrecked during a storm. They come to Egypt and are captured by Nile delta bandits. Clitophon is rescued, but the bandits sentence Leucippe to be sacrificed. Clitophon witnesses this supposed sacrifice and goes to commit suicide on Leucippe's grave, but it in fact turns out that she is still alive, the sacrifice having been staged by his captured friends using theatrical props.
The Egyptian army soon rescues the group, but the general leading them falls in love with Leucippe. Leucippe is stricken by a state of madness, the effect of a strange love potion given her by another rival, but is saved by an antidote given by the helpful stranger Chaireas. The bandits' camp is destroyed and the lovers and their friends make for Alexandria, but are again betrayed: Chaireas kidnaps Leucippe, taking her away on his boat. As Clitophon pursues them, Chaireas' men apparently chop off her head and throw her overboard.
Clitophon, distraught, returns to Alexandria. Melite, a widowed lady from Ephesus, falls in love with him and convinces him to marry her. Clitophon refuses to consummate the marriage before they arrive in Ephesus. Once there, he discovers Leucippe, who is still alive, another woman having been decapitated in her stead. It turns out that Melite's husband Thersandros is also still alive; he returns home and attempts to both rape Leucippe and frame Clitophon for adultery and murder.
Eventually, Clitophon's innocence is proven; Leucippe proves her virginity by entering the magical temple of Artemis; Leucippe's father (Sostratos) comes to Ephesus and reveals that Clitophon's father gives the lovers his blessing. Kallisthenes, Calligone's kidnapper, is also shown to have become a true and honest husband. The lovers can finally marry in Byzantium, Leucippe's town.

Analysis

The papyrus, and linguistic evidence demonstrate it was composed early in the 2nd century CE.
The first appraisal of this work comes from Photius' Bibliotheca, where we find: "the diction and composition are excellent, the style distinct, and the figures of speech, whenever they are employed, are well adapted to the purpose. The periods as a rule are aphoristic, clear and agreeable, and soothing to the ear". To this Photius added a moralistic bias that would long persecute the author: "the obscenity and impurity of sentiment impair his judgment, are prejudicial to seriousness, and make the story disgusting to read or something to be avoided altogether." Past scholars have passed scathing comments on the work, as in the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica which brands the novel's style artificial and labored, full of incidents "highly improbable", and whose characters "fail to enlist sympathy". Today's judgements tend to be more favorable, valuing the elements of originality that the author introduces in the genre of the romance.
The most striking of these elements may be the abandonment of the omniscient narrator, dominant in the ancient romance, for a first person narration. To this is added the use of ekphrasis: the novel opens with an admirable description of a painting of the rape of Europa, and also includes descriptions of other paintings such as Andromeda being saved by Perseus and Prometheus being liberated by Hercules. The story, we are told, is inspired by this image, but is not based on it, in contrast to Daphnis and Chloe, a romance which also opens with an ekphrasis, but instead of being inspired by the painting is in fact an interpretation of the painting, making the whole novel a form of ekphrasis.
Achilles Tatius takes pleasure in asides and digressions on mythology and the interpretation of omens, descriptions of exotic beasts (crocodiles, hippopotami) and sights (the Nile delta, Alexandria), and discussions of amorous matters (such as kisses, or whether women or boys make better lovers). His descriptions of confused and contradictory emotional states (fear, hope, shame, jealousy, and desire) are exemplary ("baroque" conceits such as these would be frequently imitated in the Renaissance). There are also several portrayals of almost sadistic cruelty (Leucippe's fake sacrifice and, later, decapitation; Clitophon chained in prison or beaten by Melite's husband) that share much with Hellenistic sculpture (such as the "Dying Gaul" or the "Laocoön and his Sons").

The romance's modern editions

The large number of existing manuscripts attests the novel's popularity. A part of it was first printed in a Latin translation by Annibal della Croce (Crucejus), in Lyon, 1544; his complete translation appeared in Basel in 1554. The first edition of the Greek original appeared in Heidelberg, 1601, printed together with similar works of Longus and Parthenius; another edition was published by Claudius Salmasius in Leiden, 1640, with commentary. The first important critical edition came out with Friedrich Jacobs in Leipzig, 1821.
There are translations in many languages. The first English translation was William Burton's The Most Delectable and Pleasaunt History of Clitiphon and Leucippe, first published in 1597 and reprinted in 1923, when only 394 copies were printed. it was followed by those of Anthony Hodges (1638), R. Smith (1855), Stephen Gaselee (1917), J. J. Winkler (1989), and Tim Whitmarsh (2001).
A first partial French translation (most likely based on the Latin edition) appeared in 1545 by Philibert de Vienne. The first complete French translation was published in 1568 by François de Belleforest.
In 2001, a Portuguese translation, Os Amores de Leucipe e Clitofonte, appeared in a Greek novels' series coordinated by Marília Pulquério Futre Pinheiro (full Professor of Greek at Lisbon University), called Labirintos de Eros. This first Portuguese translation was due to Abel Nascimento Pena, who is also currently a Professor at the same University.

Influence

Leucippe and Clitophon is the key source for The Story of Hysmine and Hysminias, by the 12t- century AD Greek author Eustathius Macrembolites (or Eumathius). This book was frequently translated in the Renaissance.
Leucippe and Clitophon is also imitated in Historia de los amores de Clareo y Florisea by the Spanish writer Alonso Nuñez de Reinoso (Venice, 1552). This novel was translated into French as Les Amours de Florisee et Clareo et de la peu fortunee Ysea by Jacques Vincent (Paris, 1554).
A French adaptation of Achilles Tatius' novel (with significant changes) was published as Les adventureuses et fortunees amours de Pandion et d’Yonice (1599) by Jean Herembert, sieur de la Rivière.

 

 “As soon as I had seen her, I was lost. For Beauty's wound is sharper than any weapon's, and it runs through the eyes down to the soul. It is through the eye that love's wound passes, and I now became a prey to a host of emotions...”
 Achilles Tatius


Mi possedeva ogni cosa insieme, lode, stupore, tremito, pudore, spudoratezza. Lodavo la grandezza, mi stupii della bellezza, tremavo nel cuore, guardavo senza pudore, avevo pudore di essere scoperto.



Perchè bellezza perfetta di donna è più acuta / di freccia alata per gli uomini; l’occhio / è la via, e scagliata dagli occhi
scivola / e si apre la strada fino al cuore dell’uomo.
/ Lo prese allora stupore, audacia, vergogna, tremito: /
tremore nel petto, vergogna di essere vinto



Hélas, Leucippé, combien de fois n'es-tu pas morte ? Ai-je jamais cessé de te pleurer ? Je te pleurerai donc toujours, puisque tes morts se succèdent. 


Voici le plaisir que procurent les femmes et il est de la même nature que celui que procurent les Sirènes ; c'est qu'elles aussi tuent par le plaisir de leur chant. 


Ô femmes qui avez toutes les audaces ! Si elles aiment, elle tuent ; si elles n'aiment pas, elles tuent ; [...]. 




Le roman de Leucippé et Clitophon d'Achille Tatius d'Alexandrie (IIe siècle de notre ère), est le seul roman grec classique que son auteur n'ait pas enfermé dans le passé: son intrigue est en effet censée être contemporaine du conteur, ce qui la rend extrêmement vivante et plus proche du lecteur. En écrivant son histoire, Achille Tatius, bien qu'utilisant les artifices traditionnels du roman d'amour et d'aventure, rend logiques ces épisodes - fausses morts, rapts, etc. - dans la trame du roman, grâce à un art consommé du "suspens" et des annonces. Loin d'être des pantins qui s'agitent devant nous, ses personnages sont de véritables êtres humains qui vivent devant nos yeux avec leurs caractères contrastés et nuancés: chez lui, le coeur le meilleur est parfois traversé de soupçons et l'âme la plus noire connaît quelque sentiment d'humanité.
 






Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon

Achilles Tatius

2ἐκτείνεται πόθῳ. καὶ τὸ ῥόδον διὰ τοῦτο τῶν ἄλλων εὐμορφότερόν ἐστι φυτῶν, ὅτι τὸ κάλλος αὐτοῦ φεύγει ταχύ. δύο γὰρ ἐγὼ νομίζω κατ᾿ ἀνθρώπους κάλλη πλανᾶσθαι, τὸ μὲν οὐράνιον, τὸ δὲ πάνδημον, [ὥσπερ τοῦ κάλλους οἱ χορηγοὶ 3θεαί].1 ἀλλὰ τὸ μὲν οὐράνιον ἄχθεται θνητῷ σκήνει2 δεδεμένον καὶ ζητεῖ πρὸς οὐρανὸν ταχὺ φεύγειν· τὸ δὲ πάνδημον ἔρριπται κάτω καὶ ἐγχρονίζει περὶ τοῖς σώμασιν. εἰ δὲ καὶ ποιητὴν δεῖ λαβεῖν μάρτυρα τῆς οὐρανίας τοῦ κάλλους ἀνόδου, ἄκουσον Ὁμήρου λέγοντος,
Τὸν καὶ ἀνηρείψαντο θεοὶ Διῒ οἰνοχοεύειν κάλλεος εἵνεκα οἷο, ἵν᾿ ἀθανάτοισι μετείη.
4
οὐδεμία δὲ ἀνέβη ποτὲ εἰς οὐρανὸν διὰ κάλλος γυνή (καὶ γὰρ γυναιξὶ κεκοινώνηκεν ὁ Ζεύς) ἀλλ᾿ Ἀλκμήνην μὲν ἔχει πένθος καὶ φυγή· Δανάην δὲ λάρναξ καὶ θάλασσα· Σεμέλη δὲ πυρὸς γέγονε τροφή. ἂν δὲ μειρακίου Φρυγὸς ἐρασθῇ, τὸν οὐρανὸν αὐτῷ δίδωσιν, ἵνα καὶ συνοικῇ καὶ οἰνοχόον ἔχῃ τοῦ νέκταρος· ἡ δὲ πρότερον
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Book II

increased in desire. This is why the rose is of all flowers the most beautiful, because its beauty is so fleeting. I hold that there are two different kinds of beauty conversant among men, the one heavenly, the other vulgar [presided over by their respective goddesses2]; the heavenly sort chafes at being fettered by its mortal habitation and is ever seeking to hurry back again to its heavenly home, while the vulgar kind is diffused on our earth below and stays long in association with human bodies. If one may quote a poet as a witness of the flight of beauty to heaven, listen to Homer, who tells how
The gods to be Jove’s cup-bearer in heaven him3 did take, To dwell immortal there with them, all for his beauty’s sake.
But no woman ever went up to heaven by reason of her beauty—yes, Zeus had dealings with women too—but the fate of Alcmene4 was sorrow and exile, of Danae5 an ark and the sea, while Semele6 became food for fire. But if his affections fall upon this Phrygian youth, he takes him to heaven to be with him and to pour his nectar for him; and she7 whose
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