[p. 253]


The Greek and Roman Parallel Stories (sometimes called the Parallela Minora) are a puzzle. The use of some strange and barbarous forms, the substitution of ‘the aforesaid’ 1 for the usual pronoun of reference (though this is, to be sure, a prominent characteristic of the work of Polybius), and above all the atrocious style in which the work is written make it impossible that this could reasonably be regarded as the work of Plutarch,2 though some scholars, fortunately unknown to Hartman, have actually regarded this work as one of the sins of Plutarch's otherwise stainless youth.

Yet a work of this name is included in Lamprias's list, No. 128 under the title Διηγήσεις Παράλληλοι Ἑλληνικαὶ καὶ Ῥωμαϊκαί and several of these tales are quoted in full3 in almost the exact words of our ms. text by Joannes Stobaeus. But the excessive ineptitude of the language quite excludes the possibility that the work before us can be Plutarch's, if indeed he ever wrote a book of this sort.

S. Luria,in Rheinisches Museum, lxxviii. (1929) p. 94, [p. 254] has suggested that the Parallela and the De Fluviis 4 are parodies after the manner of Lucian's True History; and both Hercher and Hartman have expressed the opinion that both works are by the same anonymous author, chiefly because it is difficult to imagine thato such fools as the author of each discloses himself to be could ever have lived ! The confusion that the author (ingeniously?) introduces, the forced simplicity of his glaring misnomers, his many references to authorities that Hercher5 has attempted to show never existed,6 all have been thought to suggest that the Parallela is a parody of the comparisons in the Lives ; but J. Schlereth, in his excellent dissertation De Plutarchi quae feruntur Parallela Minora (Freiburg, 1931), has with great learning and acumen attempted to disprove this thesis.7 His work may be consulted by anyone who may be curious about the sources, the language, or the purpose of the Parallela Minora.

Wilhelm Schmid (Philologische Wochenschrift 1932, coll. 625-634) has reviewed Schlereth's work with great care. Both Schmid and Nachstädt hold that the citations from otherwise unknown authors are [p. 255] genuine, not falsifications of the compiler. Nachstädt, accordingly in the Teubner edition of 1934, gives all the references, and also adds, for convenient comparison, the most important passages from Stobaeus, Lydus, and a gnomologicum Parisinum, published by Sternbach in 1893, which seem to have the same original as the text of the present work.

1 On προειρημένος see W. Schmid, Der Atticismus, iii. pp. 147 ff.

2 Contrariwise see Parthenius, translated by S. Gaselee, in the L.C.L. p. 289 note.

3 Only the first, however, is assigned to Plutarch.

4 Bernardakis's ed. vol. vii. pp. 282-328.

5 Plutarchi libellus de fluviis (Leipzig, 1851). Schlereth, however, has severely criticized Hercher's conclusions. On the sources of De Fluviis see Atenstädt, Hermes, lvii. pp. 219 ff.

6 Yet Müller receives them all as Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum. It has not been thought worth while to include in the notes the references to Müller, since no additional information is to be found there. All the references, however, will be found in the recent Teubner edition.

7 It must be noted that many of the points which Plutarch has selected for comparison in the Lives, that is, in the so-called Συγκρίσεις, are very tenuous, not to say inept. They would lend themselves readily to parody. On the Σύγκρισις see further F. Focke, Hermes, lviii. pp. 327 ff.

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