Dictys Cretensis, Ephemeridos belli Troiani libri a Lucio Septimio in Latinum sermonem translati accedunt papyri Dictys Graeci in Aegypto inventae, edidit Werner Eisenhut, Lipsiae 19732 .
A typographical error present in this edition has been corrected at III.23: mulierem instead of mulieren.
Ephemeris belli Troiani is the name commonly used to designate a short work attributed to Dicts Cretensis. The title derives from the inscriptio found in the main manuscripts of the work, and in the prefatory Epistola, written by a not clearly identified Lucius Septimius (Champlin 1981 brilliantly suggested that the African poeta novellus Septimius Serenus, the author of the Res reconditae Serenus Sammonicus and our Septimius are the same person; the hypothesis is however based on fragile evidence). The Epistola is addressed to Quintus Aradius Rufinus (perhaps to be identified with the praefectus urbi of 376), the dedicatte of Lucius Septimius' Latin translation of the Greek diary of Dictys, a native of Cnossus and an eyewitness of the Trojan War; he allegedly took part in the war under Idomeneus' command. Septimius found by accident Dictys' diary (cum in mano forte libelli venissent, p.1,14-14 Eisenhut). He was eager to know the true history of the Trojan war, and translated the diary into Latin to banish laziness from his idle mind. The translator states that he did not limit himself to a mere translation, but epitomized part of the original: he kept the first five books in the Latin version, but reduced the remaining books de reditu Graecorum to a single one. A vexed question is the number of the books of the Greek version: the Greek sources (Suda and Eudocia) are at variance with the information present in the Epistola and the Prologus, whose text is apparently corrupt (see the apparatus of Eisenhut 1973 and contributions of Timpanaro 1987, Lapini 1992, Lapini 1997). The work is dated to the fourth century with some confidence (Eisenhut 1973). The narrative is organized in six books; in the first five books, it tackles events of the Trojan saga, starting from the division of Atreus' property, the abduction of Helen and the subsequent muster of the Greek army against the city of Troy, and ending with the capture of the city and the departure of Aeneas. The last book, however, introduced at the close of the fifth by a sort of sphraghìs from Dictys, narrates the nòstoi of the Greek heroes and their later destinies (Ajax son of Oileus, Diomedes, Agamemnon; the narration of the murder committed by Clytemnestra and Orestes' vengeance; Idomeneus; the contention between Neoptolemus and Orestes for the wedding with Hermione; the death of the son of Achilles; Odysseus returns home, but, troubled by dreams in which he see his son killing him, banishes Telemachus from Ithaca; Telegonus, born of the relationship between Ulysses and Circe, arrives in Ithaca; Telegonus does not recognize his father, wounds him to death during a fight; after three days, Ulysses dies). Some manuscripts hand down a prefatory Epistola as a prelude to the narrative itself; others include a Prologus, which is presented as a direct translation of the Greek original, which tells of the discovery by some shepherds of the tomb of Dictys at Cnossus, which also kept Dictys' diary, written in Phoenician alphabet. The tomb became visible after an earthquake during the thirteenth year of the reign of Nero. Through intermediaries, the text allegedly come into the hands of the emperor himself, who ordered it to be transliterated into Greek characters and deposited to the Greek library. The manuscript tradition is clearly divided into two families, which Eisenhut named γ(which includes 7 manuscripts, the oldest of which is the Sangallensis 197, IX / X century) and ε(which includes 7 codes, the oldest of which is the Aesinas, dating from the beginning of the ninth century). Family εtransmits the Epistola, not the Prologus; γtransmits the Prologus, not the Epistola. It is the modern editors who join the two introductory sections, and place them befor the text of the Ephemeris proper. Scholars are still debating whether our Latin version of Dares the Phrygina derives from a lost Greek original. There is no question of debating the existence of a Greek original in the case of Dictys since two Egyptian papyri – published in the appendix in Eisenhut 1973 – give us a Greek text that can be incontrovertibly traced back to our Latin Dictys. The Greek fragments are Pap.Tebt. 268 (published in 1907, on which see Ihm 1909, cf. Dict. Lat. IV 9-15) and Pap.Oxy. 2539 (published in 1966, on which see Eisenhut 1969, cf. Dict. Lat. IV 18). A comparison reveals that the Latin text by Septimius is almost a literal translation of the Greek original. Also worth mentioning is the recent publication (2009) of two other papyri, also found at Oxyrhynchus (4943 = Dict. Lat. II 30 and 4944 = Dict. Lat. V 15-17), on which see the two papers published by Luppe in 2010 . As for the content, the text offers yet another less known and less attested version of the Aeneas myth, as in the case of the text De excidio Troiae historia by Dares the Phrygian: Aeneas, helped by Antenor, betrays his country, handing it to the Greeks. In the Middle Ages, this short work constituted a privileged source for tknowledge of the facts of the Trojan War (perhaps less known and less widespread than that of Dares, cf. Petoletti 1999); we find traces of its use and reuse until the nineteenth century (Bessi 2004). [G. Bessi; tr. L. Battezzato]