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WHETHER FIRE OR WATER IS MORE USEFUL (AQUANE AN IGNIS UTILIOR)[p. 288] There seems to be no reason to discuss this little work in detail, since F. H. Sandbach1 has shown conclusively that it cannot be genuine. Still more might be added to his proofs, sound and thorough as they are ; but this is not the place to slay the slain. It is the more to be regretted that Ziegler, in the article on Plutarch in Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclopädie, has not had access to Sandbach's work,2 though he does refer to Xylander's athetesis, only to reject it, and might have mentioned Meziriacus' as well. Sandbach well observes : ‘To write an exercise on the comparative utility of fire and water may seem so difficult to us moderns who do not have such tasks as part of our education, that we do not recognize how badly the topic is here handled. . . . While it is possible that Plutarch wrote this work as a parody, or when a schoolboy, or under some strange circumstances, yet . . . the most probable view is that a miserable sophistical exercise on the subject Whether fire or water is more useful was fathered on the author of a diversion entitled Whether land- or water-animals aire more intelligent, just as the Consolatio ad Apollonium [p. 289] was ascribed to the author of a consolation addressed to his wife, or the Lives of the Ten Orators to the author of some more famous biographies.’ The text is extremely bad, as may be seen by examining Wegehaupt's topheavy3 apparatus in Χάριτες für Friedrich Leo (Berlin, Weidmann, 1911)? pp. 158-169- It is possible, to be sure, that part at least of the difficulty of the text is due to the author. Less emendation than that admitted here might not seriously damage what is irreparable nonsense in any case. Some attempt has been made to reproduce the childish style of the original. The work is no. 206 in the catalogue of Lamprias.4
1 Class. Quart. xxxiii (1939), pp. 198-202. G. Kowolski, De Plut. scriptorum iuvenilium colore rhetorico, Cracow, 1918, pp. 258 ff., also denied the authenticity.
2 This is very puzzling since Ziegler later (936) cites the same article as authoritative on rhythmical matters.
3 Wegehaupt collated some 34 mss. for his edition, all of which he cites separately.
4 The new Teubner edition of this and the following essays appeared while this volume was in proof, so that only the most necessary changes and corrections could be made. In this essay (since Wegehaupt's edition was already available) they have not been so plentiful as in the subsequent ones, for which Hubert has now provided the first truly critical edition that these works have ever had.