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AEVUM 66, 1993

M a r i a n n e W i f s t r a n d S c h ie b e

TYRRHENUS THE DEGRADED HERO.


ON CHANGING CONCEPTS IN THE WORKS OF ANNIUS OF VITERBO

In his voluminous Antiquitates, printed for the first time in 1498, Annius of
Viterbo mentions a great number of other works by him, works which have not
come down to us (at any rate, they have not been found). On the other hand, he is
silent about three historical tracts of various length which have been preserved J.
These are the Viterbiae Historiae Epitoma, the very brief De marmoreis Volturrhenis
Tabulis 2 and the Alexandrina Lucubratio de origine Italiae 3. The fact that these
minor works are never mentioned in the Antiquitates has been observed by Baffioni:
in his introduction to his edition of the VHE, he states that in the Antiquitates An
nius forgets (dimentica) these earlier works 4.
Since Annius has evidently written a very large number of books we should
perhaps not expect to find every single title mentioned in the Antiquitates. I doubt,
though, that it is merely due to chance that he fails to refer precisely to these three
works. Annius seems to have had good reason for omitting every reference to these
earlier works. They all deal with the mythological history of Viterbo, which is also
explicitly or inexplicitly the main subject of most books of the Antiquitates.
In the course of the 1490s, Annius conception of the origins of Viterbo changes

1 A few other works by Annius that are not mentioned in the Antiquitates, have also been preser
ved. Most of them deal with astrological, theological, and alchemical matters. I shall not discuss these
works since they are not relevant to my subject. For further information, I refer to E. F u m a g a l l i , A ned
doti della vita di Annio da Viterbo O. P ., Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum, 52 (1982), 197-218. In ad
dition, a small number o f inscriptions collected and commented on by Annius are preserved in an unfini
shed and fragmentary copy by the hand o f Hartmann Schedel in a codex in Munich. It was edited in 1928
by O. A. D a n ie l ss q n , Etruskische Inschriften in handschriftlicher berlieferung fSkrifter utgivna av K.
Humanistiska Vetenskaps-Samfundet i Uppsala, 25:3). Cf. below, notes 9 and 11.
2 The MS o f the Viterbiae Historiae Epitoma henceforth referred to as VHE and the two
slightly divergent Mss of the De marmoreis Volturrhenis tabulis henceforth M V T all belong to the
Vatican Library. The VHE is part of Vat. Lat. 6263 (ff. 364r-371v). It has been edited by G. B a ffio n i in
Annio da Viterbo. Documenti e ricerche, Rome 1981 (Contributi alla storia degli studi Etruschi e Italici, 1).
The short tract M V T is preserved in MS Chigiano I.VI.204 (ff. 58r-62v), and in MS Chigiano I.V .168 (ff.
32v-39r). The text has been edited by R. W eis s , An Unknown Epigraphic Tract by Annius o f Viterbo, in
Italian Studies Presented to E. R. Vincent, eds. C.P. B r a n d -K . F o st e r -U . L im e n t a n i , Cambridge 1962,
101-120. I quote the VHE and the M V T according to the line numbering of B a ffio n i and W e is s .
3 M o d en a , B ib lio te c a E sten se , M Sy.Z.3.2. (C o d . C a m p o r i 2869); h e n c e fo r th q u o te d as A L . T h e M s
is still u n e d ited . I k n o w th e m an u scrip t th ro u g h a m ic ro film c o p y . T h e A L is q u o te d by re feren ce to the
m o d ern p a g in a tio n , an d sectio n an d ch a p ter o f th e M s. It c o n ta in s n in e tex t f o lio s (m o d ern p p . 1-18).
M a n y im p o rta n t o b se r v a tio n s con ce rn in g th e A L are to be fo u n d in E . F u m a g a l l i , Un falso tardo-quattro-
centesco: lo pseudo-Catone di Annio da Viterbo, in Vestigia. Studi in onore di Giuseppe Billanovich, ed s.
R . A v e s a n i -M . F e r r a r i -T . F o ffa n o -G . F r a sso -A . S o ttili , I, R o m e 1984 (S to ria e le ttera tu ra . R a c c o lta di
stu d i e testi, 162), 337-363.
4 B a f f io n i , Annio, 24, 26.
384 M. W IFSTRAND SCHIEBE

radically; the version of the Antiquitates differs fundamentally from that of the
VHE and is also at variance, though not as remarkably, with several important
points of the M V T and the A L . For certain reasons, the divergences must have been
potentially problematic to Annius. The problem was not so much the change itself;
the real problem was that Annius, well aware that he had to present some kind of
evidence about the provenance of the ancient texts included in the Antiquitates,
pretended to have known them, and thus the truth revealed by them about
Viterbo, Etruria, and their relation to world history, well before the time he wrote
the three shorter works 5. These are all more or less exactly dated: the VHE was
written some time between February, 1491, and July, 1492 6; the M V T must have
been written either in 1492 or in 1493. The A L is dated in its introductory epistula
May 20, 1495 7. Three of the ancient authors later to be included in the Antiqui
tates are referred to in the A L , Berosus, Cato, and Xenophon; on the whole, the
A L represents the same view on mythological history as the Antiquitates, but the
differences are still important enough to be at least occasionally striking. In view of
the fact that Annius would have had ample opportunity in the A L to refer to the
other authors included in the Antiquitates the very absence of such references suf
fices to arouse the suspicion that he had not yet produced these ancient texts
after all, Annius aim when forging his texts was to provide useful sources for his
own theories. Conclusive evidence comes from discrepancies between the A L and the
Antiquitates. Above all, it is undisputable that the text of the so-called Myrsilus did
not exist, for the main thesis of this very brief text (and its much more extensive
commentary) is contradictory to the corresponding parts of the A L , as I shall
demonstrate below 8. I have no doubt, then, that we can safely conclude that those
ancient authors not mentioned in the Antiquitates did not exist at the time when
the A L was written 9.
It is worth while examining in some detail various aspects of the development
of Annius ideas on ancient Viterbo from the VHE on to the final stage of the
Antiquitates. From the beginning, he is indebted to earlier chronicles of the city 10.

5 For details about the alleged provenance of the texts, cf. below, at the end, together with note 33.
6 B a f f io n i , Annio, 44.
7 For the date of the M V T, cf. W eiss , Un Unknown Tract, 102ff. As for the A L , there is a mani
festly erroneous date in the margin of p. 9. Beneath a textual correction by another hand, the following re
mark appears, written by the same hand as the text: Hec glosa manu propria autoris scripta est et non-
nulle alie per totum volumen hu(i)c similes me presente scripte sunt anno 1492. There is not the slightest
doubt that the date given in the epistula at the head of p. 1 (= 1495) is correct, since Alessandro Farnese,
to whom the AL is dedicated, is addressed there as legatus Patrimonii, a position he obtained only in
November, 1494. Neither can there be any question o f the epistula having been added later: apart from the
arguments given by F u m a g a l l i , Un falso, 345f., note 24, it is clear from the present paper that the A L can
hardly be dated as early as in 1492.
8 Thus P. M a t t ia n g e l i , Annio da Viterbo ispiratore di cicli pittorici, 255ff., is not right in asserting
that the A L riassume in breve il contenuto delle Antiquitates, and the A n tiquitates cannot have been fin
ished as early as in 1495, when the A L was written, as she believes. Mattiangelis study is the second part
of volume 1 o f the Contributi alla storia degli studi Etruschi e Italici, the first part of which is the edition
o f the VHE by G. Baffioni.
9 In the brief collection o f partly authentic, partly forged inscriptions edited by Danielsson, Annius
mentions that he has for some time been occupied in writing the commentary to Berosus de Originibus, but
he does not say anything about the other authors later to be incorporated into the Antiquitates. The
collection o f inscriptions can be dated fairly exactly to the end o f 1493 or somewhat later (D a n ie l ss o n ,
Etruskische Inschriften, 12f.). Cf. below, notes 11 and 17.
10 These are listed in Baffionis introduction to the VHE, 27, note 14. It is important to correct Baf
fionis statement (at the end o f the same note) that /7 mito noanico is attested in the earlier chronicles. By
saying so, he gives the impression that Annius has taken over his version about Noah and his descendants
TYRRHENUS THE DEGRADED HERO 385

From them he took over, e. g., Coritus, Iasius, Italus, and Hercules as founders of
Viterbo and surrounding villages. Annius elaborates and expands their version
through extensive and fanciful use of Greek and Latin authors; in the VHE,
above all Diodorus, Strabo, Varro, Livius, and Pliny have been used. The VHE
epitomizes a lost work by Annius in six books, but even in this abbreviated form it
is clear how extensively Annius has made use of classical authors. Even where his
own imagination has contributed most, as in the role Osiris plays, it operates in a
clearly Diodoran spirit. What is missing in the VHE is the strong influence of bibli
cal and orientalizing history so characteristic of the Antiquitates. Not even the one
detail of this kind that already appears in the chronicles of Viterbo, i.e. the tradition
of the founders of Viterbo being descendants of Japhet, has been adopted in the
VHE.
The M VT, however, written a year or two after the VHE, already contains the
outlines of the syncretistic version of the early history of Viterbo later fully
developed in the Antiquitates. Since the M V T is partially hardly more than a list of
names, 11 many details remain unclear; for instance, nothing is said about an iden
tification of Janus with Noah, and thus it is at least theoretically possible that this
identification was not made until in the A L 12. The extent of the influence of bibli
cal history on the M V T is difficult to define in detail, but Atlas Italus has by now
got his biblical cognomen Citeus (1. 42), and Gomerus (Gomerius, Rygomerus: 1. 42;
63; 163; 278), the hero derived from Genesis 10,2 (son of Japhet) appears for the
first time. However, no information, is given as to his relationship with Janus, nor is
this the case as regards Carneses (1. 37; 63), so that we cannot be certain whether he
is already identified with Ham son of Noah.
Annius' strong interest in Hebrew (or, as he sometimes says, Aramaic), is
familiar to everybody who has studied but two or three pages of the Antiquitates,
Before the M V T , however, Hebrew seems to have been of less importance to An
nius. There are a few Hebraizing etymologies in the VHE (1. 184; 188ff.; one of
them is said to be an Aegyptium nomen). Their source is exclusively Jerome, the

as founders of Viterbo from his predecessors. He has not, for what is told by them is simply that
descendants of Japhet finally (ultimamente) : which must be understood to mean generations after Noah
arrived in the area. Cf., also, below, note 12.
11 As a matter o f fact, the character of the M V T is similar to that of the VHE, since it is evidently
a kind of very brief summary of the contents of a larger work called X X ti Lucubrationes {M VT 1.
31; 100; 140; 170; 216). The main topic of the VHE is the discussion of a number of inscriptions forged by
Annius himself, e.g. the famous Decretum Desiderii regis. They were later discussed in the Antiquitates,
Institutiones Etruscae. Two o f them are also included in the collection edited by D a n ie l s s o n , Etruskische
Inschriften.
12 Presumably, the idea o f connecting Noah with Viterbo was suggested to Annius by the Graphia
aureae urbis Rom ae, or one or several of the many medieval chronicles influenced by it. According to the
Graphia, Noah had come to Italy in his old age and had founded a city near the site of Rome. He was ac
companied by his son, and by his grandson, son of Japhet, both called Janus. However, Annius was not
content with these Januses, but preferred to identify Janus with Noah himself (there are still, according to
the Antiquitates, two more heroes with the cognomen Janus in later generations). Annius starting-point
for the identification was the similarity of the name Janus to the Hebraic word iain, wine, on one hand,
and the tale about Noah laying out the first vineyard (Gn. 9,20) on the other, cf. Ant. f. Q 2r (third book
of Berosus), and A L p. 6, II 3. Thanks to the enormous influence o f the Antiquitates, Janus-Noah is
ubiquitous in the subsequent European tradition, eclipsing his two former close relatives, Janus, his fourth
son, and Janus, his grandson, son of Japhet. (The references from the Antiquitates are to the editio prin
ceps, Rome 1498). For a few remarks on the backgrounds, of these two Janus figures and the chronological
trouble caused by them to medieval chroniclers, see my own Annius von Viterbo und die schv
Historiographie des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts, Uppsala 1992 (Skrifter utgivna av K. Humanistiska Vet
skaps-Samfundet i Uppsala, 48), 50, note 64.
386 M. W IFSTRAND SCHIEBE

first reference to one of those helpful Talmudistae known from the Antiquitates ap
pearing for the first time in the M V T (1. 148). Etymology in the VHE is much more
orientated towards Greek than towards Semitic. On the whole the same holds true
of the A L , too, despite the fact that there biblical history plays a significant role
and the concept of the mythological history of Viterbo is essentially the same as in
the Antiquitates. Etymologically, the A L stands halfway between the VHE and the
Antiquitates. On one hand, e. g., the place derived from the Greek verb ouOuTeoo
{boves sacrifico) in the VHE 1. 192f., the regio Busseta, turns out to be Hebrew in
the A L (p. 11, II 10), and what was in the VHE the small oppidum Musamhera (1.
126), founded by Hera, is derived in the A L from the cognomen of Hercules,
Musarnus (p. 17, III 5), the Egyptian and Hebrew significance of which is explained
at length. On the other hand, there are a number of names still derived from the
Greek in the A L which later reappear as deriving from Hebrew in the Antiquitates.
In the following, I shall come back to some of these (Paratussa, Pons Hermulus,
and, above all, Volturrhena).
What I have said here gives cause for a few reflections on the famous miso-
hellenism of Annius. In the Antiquitates, Annius endlessly dwells upon how unreli
able and deceitful the Greek authors are and of how little importance what they tell.
They have stolen their tales about gods and heroes from older sources, adapting
them to fit a Greek context. In reality, so Annius tells us, the Greek language and
Greek literature are the youngest, i.e. least venerable of all 13. In his article Ioannes
Annius and Grecia mendax, 14 Tigerstedt even proposes to see in Annius utter con
tempt for everything Greek a kind of negative aim, i.e., one reason for Annius to
present his ancient texts was that he wanted to destroy the authority of the
Greeks. His own background was on the whole antihumanistic in spirit, centering on
the Bible, and he regarded the new fancy for Greek literature and Greek culture as a
threat to his own essentially medieval way of thinking 15. W.E.Stephens 16 has shown
that the defence of the Bible is not as primary to Annius aims as Tigerstedt thinks.
Stephens points out that the real model for Annius misohellenism is Josephus. Ac
cording to Josephus, the Greeks have no claim whatsoever to high age and ancient
wisdom, in fact they, and their whole culture, do not reach back beyond yesterday
or the day before (Josephus, c.Ap. 1,7), whereas other peoples such as the
Egyptians, the Chaldaeans, and of course above all the Jews, trace their origins
back to the first days of mankind and are thus the heirs of the wisdom and piety of
the most ancient times. Exactly this concept is taken over and developed by Annius.
What is more, Josephus, through his frequent quotations from Berosus and Mane-
tho, gave Annius the idea of forging his texts.
Stephens is probably right about the decisive role of Annius studies of Joseph
us, both for the forging as such, and for the idea of the misohellenism. It should be
stressed, though, that Annius negative attitude to the Greeks is in some sense a
secondary phenomenon, and not a program of principle from the very beginning, in

13 See, e.g., Ant. f. & lr {De Etrusca et Italica chronographia), O 2 (commentary to Berosus), L 3
(commentary to Sempronius), and, most monumental o f all relevant passages, the proemium of Cato, with
commentary (f. B 2).
14 E.N . T ig e r s t e d t , Ioannes Annius and Grecia mendax, in Classical, M ediaeval and Renaissance
Studies in H onor o f Berthold Louis Ullman, ed. C h . H e n d e r s o n , j r ., II, Rome 1964, 293-310.
15 T ig e r s t e d t , Ioannes Annius, 302 ff., esp. 309.
16 W .E. S t e p h e n s , The Etruscans and the Ancient Theology in Annius o f Viterbo, in Umanesimo a
Rom a nel quattrocento, A tti del Convegno, N ew York 1-4 dicembre 1981, eds. P . B r e z z i -M . D e P a n iz z a
L o r c h , Rome and New York, 309-322, esp. 315-318.
TYRRHENUS THE DEGRADED HERO 387

spired by his early studies and his educational background. The first sign of an anti-
Greek attitude does not occur until in the M VT, 1. 54f. Here Annius after a quick
survey of the founders and fathers of Viterbo refers the reader to his Lucubrationes
(cf. note 11) for more information. He goes on: ...in quibus (i.e. in the Lucu
brationes) etiam inexpugnabilibus argumentis probavimus historicos Graecos
mendaces fuisse de his principiis in historia. Since Annius takes another view of the
ancient history of Italy than do the Greek authors, of course they are wrong. One
of Annius later favourite passages, Juvenal 10,174f., supplies him with a convenient
formulation (quidquid Graecia mendax / audet in historia.... Of course Juvenal is
responsible for the superfluous in historia of Annius phrase).
In the VHE, however, the anti-Hellenic spirit is wholly absent. As I have stated
above, there Annius draws heavily upon Greek and Roman authors. This means that
Annius looked to the classical authors for inspiration about the origins of Viterbo
before he turned to Josephus and to the Bible. Thus, it is hard to believe that he
disapproved of Greek culture in those days. He even undertook to fabricate a long
and tedious Greek inscription which must have cost him blood, sweat and tears 17.
In the A L , the anti-Greek attitude is more emphasized than in the MVT. Still,
as compared to the Antiquitates, it is much less dominant. It is expressed, to begin
with, in a brief chapter already centering on later favourite passages, such as
Joseph, c. Ap. 1,16; 1,7, and Juv. sat. 10,174f., the source of Annius slogan Gre
cia mendax (cf. above) 18. Annius concludes that the Greek sources are only to be
accepted ubi ab aliis antiquioribus non dissident, a view later repeated in the
Antiquitates. The argument about the Greci mendaces is resumed in another form
on page 16 (III 4, at the end), where Orpheus is accused of having 'stolen tales and
teachings from the peoples visited by the Argonauts and of having falsely attributed
them to the Greeks. But apart from these passages, Annius in the A L appears on
the whole as a rather devoted pupil of Greek authors, once even confirming a
statement by a reference to Greci omnes (p. 8, II 6).
As I mentioned above, Berosus, Cato, and Xenophon must have been the first
forged texts to have been written. The fact that Josephus is dominant in the passage
from the A L quoted above speaks in favour of Stephens view that Annius miso
hellenism was inspired by Josephus, but I suspect that the concentrated work with
the records of Cato, the notorious enemy of the Greeks, may also have contributed
a great deal to the idea of developing the anti-Greek attitude into a kind of method
ological program, always at hand for arguments about the value of Greek texts,
Greek traditions etc. Annius frequent use of, e.g., Catos letter to his son quoted in
Plin. Nat. Hist. XXIX 13f., gives a hint of how important a,source o f inspiration
Cato could be for the most varying contexts. At any rate, the ostentatious contempt
for the Greeks became Annius standard method to blur the true relations of the
forgeries to the Greek authors, divergencies and coincidences alike 19. He chose from
the Greek authors what appealed to him and suited his ideas, rewrote it into the
corresponding original sources, and then said that here, and only here, the Greek

17 Included in the M V T and later discussed in the Institutiones Etruscae {Institutio de excisis
memoriis, tertia tabula), A n t. ff. d 2r-e 2v. It is also part of the small collection edited by D an ielsso n
(Etruskische Inschriften, XI).
18 A L p. 5, II 2: Quod non possunt [esse] auctores Greci nos erudire de Italica origine. '
19 Annius standard method in forging his texts is psychologically interesting since it is contrary to
what might be expected: instead o f trying to conceal his real sources, he quotes them expressly hundreds of
times in the commentaries, over and over again stressing the coincidences between the forged text which
is now of course the source and his actual source which is now the secondary text.
388 M. W IFSTRAND SCHIEBE

authors, though secondary, are reliable, since they are in accordance with their
older sources, whereas in everything that contradicts his chosen selection, they are
liars and frauds. Certainly there existed an anti-Greek, anti-humanistic reaction in
15th-century Italy, including Annius own order, the Dominicans, and Annius may
have thought it convenient that his adopted attitude was of a similar kind, but it is
important to know that it was not his from the beginning.
An interesting detail that throws light on Annius way of thinking and its
development is his treatment of the various names given to Viterbo, or, parts of
Viterbo. An analysis of Annius changing views on this topic, from the VHE on to
the Antiquitates, reveals new aspects about Annius reckless methods, both historical
and etymological. Certain important conclusions as to the relation of the earlier
works to the Antiquitates can be drawn from this topic, and though only a detail, it
shows that the existence of the shorter works was a potential danger to the success
of the Antiquitates. I shall, however, not enter upon a discussion about the various
etymological explanations of the name Viterb(i)um itself; for this, I refer to the A n
nia quaestio 16 of the Antiquitates (ff. g 5v-g 6) and to Fumagallis rem arks20.
I begin with a passage from the argumentum of the VHE, 1. 47ff.: 21

Eamdem (scii, hanc nostram urbem), ut diximus, Biturgion appellavit Osiris, Herbanum
a fundata arce Hercules, quam ampliatam et quam maxime munitam ab inventa hasta et pilo
Longulam cognominavit Tyrrhenus et a se fundatam circum urbem nominavit Tyrrhenam;
mox a sacrifico ritu et a multo ture ad aras cremato cognomentum accepit ab Etruscis Etura,
a Latinis Etruria, a Graecis Tuscae in plurali vel Tusca in singulari (54).

The name Biturgion (Viturgium, Viturgia sedes) for Viterbo occurs only in the
VHE. Annius wrote the VHE before one of his later favourite passages, Silius VIII
483ff. about the former importance of Vetulonia, had caught his attention and in
spired his imagination to identify Vetulonia with the ancient core of Viterbo 22. A
passage of the VHE (1. 47Iff.) shows with absolute certainty that in this work,
Viterbo and Vetulonia are still different places.
In the M V T (1. 115ff.) and in the Antiquitates (f. c 7v, Institutio de excisis
memoriis) Annius discusses the interpretation of an inscription which allegedly read
LIBISCILLA VITURGIA. In this connection he mentions a place Viturgia; accor
ding to the M VT, this Viturgia should be iuxta moenia nostra, although, due to
corruption by scribes, it is placed supra Ferentiam in Ptolemy and other
cosmographi. In the Institutio, it is said to be a villula Vetuloniae. It is clear that
the source is always Ptolemy (Geogr. Ill 1,43), since this author is referred to in all
three instances; typically enough, neither the M V T nor the Institutio mentions with
a word that Annius had once given a practically identical name to Viterbo itself.
The brief survey o f the VHE argumentum is expanded in the expositio by more
detailed information. From 1. 343 on, the text, strangely interwoven with remi-
niscenses from Verg. Aen. VII 174 and VIII 597ff., centers for a while around

20 F u m a g a l l i , Un falso, 346f. note 26.


21 For the sake o f convenience, I follow the (normalized) orthography of Baffionis edition.
22 ...Maeoniaequ&'decu1quondam Vetulonia gentis,
bis senos hacc nr ma dedit praecedere fasces
et iunxit totidem tacito terrore secures.
haec altas eboris decoravit honore curules.
O f course the place of origin o f the venerable signs o f consular power had to be identical with
Viterbo. For Annius argumentation on this topic see above all A L p. 2-4, I 3-5. For an instance in the
Antiquitates, see, e. g., Y:'t4r-(comm. to the fifth book o f Berosus).
TYRRHENUS THE DEGRADED HERO 389

Tyrrhenus and his deeds. In the following, I shall concentrate on the role of this
hero, son of Atys, brother of Lydus. According to a well-known tale recorded by,
among others, Strabo (V 219) and Dionysius Halicarnasseus (Ant. I 27), this
Tyrrhenus was forced by a famine to leave his native Maeonia (Lydia) together with
a large number of his people. They finally settled in Etruria which thus got the
name Tyrrhenia. I quote the VHE from 1. 394 on:

Ita opplet (scii. Tyrrhenus) urbem domibus et in duas partes eam dividit: quae namque
trans Urgionem est post Hermulum, Tyrrhenam Volturnam dicit, reliquam, cis Urgionem, ap
pellavit Palatuam lingua Etrusca, nam Latine Palatua Palatina dicitur, quia in ea ingens erat
regis lucumonum Palatium, cui effatum coniunxit sacellum deae Palatuae...(399).

That is, Tyrrhenus called the part of Viterbo situated to the north of the river
Urcionio Tyrrhena Volturna, whereas he gave the other part, to the south of the
Urcionio, the name Palatua. Ten lines further on, the district Tyrrhena Volturna is
subdivided into two sections (409):

Trans Hermulum partem bifariam partitus est (scii. Tyrrhenus), in Hermulam Atlan
ticam, quam cernimus, ab Urgione divae Rosae ad pontem Hermulum et inde ad portam
Vadimonam, quae a sacello proximo nunc Sanctae Luciae dicitur; rursum in fanum Volturnae,
id est fanum Tyrrhenae Sententiae, quod ibi tectum erat ingens et multis sublime columnis,
quod lucumonibus erat curia templum, ab eo loco, ubi nunc Volturnae vestales Virgini
serviunt, usque ad fanum Sancti Spiritus in Faulis initio, quo fanum erat Faluceris... (417. My
emphasis.)

That is, Her mula Atlantica corresponds to the northernmost part of the city
(northeast), whereas the Fanum Tyrrhenae Sententiae is, roughly, the western (north
western) part of Viterbo. Tyrrhena alone also represents the province, i.e., it was
originally a name of the city, but in the course of time it came to be used for the
province, too (1. 464f.). The same holds true of the names Tuscia and Etruria; they
either stand for the province as a whole, or for Viterbo (or a part of Viterbo), a
most ingenious trick that was later to prove invaluable to Annius because of the
flexibility of interpretation it allowed.
In the A L , apart from the name Viterbum itself, Tyrrhena, Ethruria, Tusca (or
Tuscia), Volturrhena (Volturrhna), and Vetulonia are used as names of the city. The
orthography of the A L varies in respect of the names Tyrrhenus and Tyrrhena
which are as often written Turrhenus and Turrhena. In direct quotations from the
A L , I follow the M S (as I do throughout); otherwise, I write Tyrrhenus and
Tyrrhena. The names Tyrrhena, Tusca, Volturrhena (Volturrhna), and Vetulonia are
used n o t'o n ly for the ' city but also for districts- of- i t . . -In addition,-- Tyrrhena,
Ethruria, and Tusca/Tuscia are used to represent the province, or a certain part of
the province. (According to p. 4, I 6, the provincia Tyrrhena is identical with the
Patrimonium, whereas Tuscia is not.)
The city of Viterbo as described in the A L differs in many respects from the
VHE. Above all, it has been equipped with a much more venerable history, going
back to the first generations after the Flood. Possibly, this is so already in the
M V T, although nothing is said about Noah there. However, several of the heroes
known from the VHE are still important as founders of parts of Viterbo or of
places near to it. Osiris is never mentioned, to be sure he is to reappear in the
Antiquitates but Hercules Libyus (or Aegyptius), Italus Atlas, Corythus, Iasius
and others are still leading figures, and so is Tyrrhenus. A new concept, occurring
390 M. W IFSTRAND SCHIEBE

in the A L for the first time, is the idea of the tetrapolis, a fairly mechanical concep
tion according to which the status of ancient cities (urbes) is linked with the number
of separate towns (oppida) they included. The strange idea, ultimately derived
from Cicero, Verr. V 118f., a passage which is expressly referred to on p. 13 of the
A L , unfortunately occurred to Annius too late to be included in the Decretum
Desiderii regis, which only lists three Viterbian oppida, one of which is identical
with the Tyrrhena Volturna of the VHE, the others being Longhola and Vetulonia.
The fourth oppidum of the later tetrapolis, Herbanum, is not mentioned in the
Decretum, but this is only logical, since at this stage Annius still considered
Herbanum to be part of Longhola, as is clear from the M V T 1. 95ff. Cf., also,
VHE 1. 47ff., quoted above. Annius never succeeded in giving a satisfactory expla
nation for the inconsistency between the Viterbo of the Decretum and the Viterbo of
the later texts, his own success being a dilemma for the Decretum was definite
and unchangeable, having practically become what Annius pretended it to be, i.e.,
an official document, and known to wide circles all over Italy. Despite Annius
pathetic attempts to smooth over the problem in the Antiquitatess Annia quaestio
16, f. g r, and Institutiones Etruscae, f. e 4v (in the commentary to the Decretum),
it remained unsolved so as to cause embarrassing problems to later editors 23. The
idea of the tetrapolis, repeated again and again in the Antiquitates, is set out in the
A L , p. 13 (III 1):

si unicum esset oppidum, id plebeium erat. Si duo mutua herebant, id opulentum et


civile existimabatur. Si tria, id provincie unius erat caput. Si vero quatuor, id omnium provin
ciarum ac totius (regni) regia metropolis erat.

I have supplied regni from the Antiquitates, Ann. qu. 23, f. h 3r, and from the
conclusion three lines further on in the AL: Ergo et urbs Ethruria XII populis ac
toti provincie regnoque Thuscie metropolis erat 24.
The quattuor oppida of Viterbo in the version of the A L include the tria op
pida of the Decretum Desiderii; Longhola is, however, more often called Tusca. The
fourth oppidum is Herbanum, appearing here for the first time as a main district of
Viterbo. Thus, in the A L the city is divided into the same oppida as in the Antiqui
tates. However, as we shall see, this does not mean strict identity between Viterbo
of the A L and Viterbo of the Antiquitates.

...Primum in ea (i.e. Umbria prisca or Umbria Ethrusca, which is a new conception, too)

23 F u m a g a l l i , Un falso, 339 f. note 7.


24 On p. 13 of the A L , there is a somewhat inprecise reference to Xenophon in this connection. In
the Annia quaestio 23, Ant. f. h 3r, there is another reference to Xenophon on the same topic, this time in
a more explicit form: Et de his Xenophon libro de Equivocis sic habet. Antiquitus Monopolis rustica erat,
Dipolis vero opulenta, Tripolis que provincie caput esset. Tetrapolis vero regia, quam toti regno ac XII
coloniis priscis principibus regni prefectam instituebant ut Samotratia.... Yet, interestingly enough, this
passage is not to be found in the text of Xenophon proper; instead, it is treated in the commentary,
where it is quoted with the reference Xenophon in quodam fragmento (Ant. f. I li) . I strongly suspect
that the passage was part o f Annius original Xenophon but was then for some reason sorted out. In fact,
of the two direct references to Xenophon in the A L (p. 5, II 3; p. 13, III 1), the first which is obvi
ously to be understood as a regular quotation does not appear in this form in the Antiquitates, and the
second does not appear at all. Thus, the text o f Xenophon must have been revised and modified before it
was included in the Antiquitates, just as was the case with the Fragmenta Catonis, as Fumagalli has shown
in his article dii Cato* (/ falso): '
TYRRHENUS THE DEGRADED HERO 391

domicilium edificavere (scii Umbri indigene 25) Ethruriam, id est fortem turritam villam divi
natricem, ut Aramei significant. Huic oppidulo lanus, Cameses, Gomerus, Umbrorum patres
et principes, quos Aramei et Hebrei Gallim sive Gallos id est inundatos vocitant, adiecere
Vetuloniam id est curulem urbem gubernatricem. Herbanum paulo post ad(d)idit Hercules
Egyptius, Tuscam Tuscus eius filius, Volturrhenam id est consularem Tyrrhenam Tyrrhenus
rex Meonum in Vetuloniam commigrantium. His oppidis sibi mutuo coherentibus comune fuit
nomen Ethruria ac post id Tuscia. (AL p. 1 argumentum).

And, a few lines further on:

Ita primi qui Italiam coluere originemque illi dederunt, fuere Ethrusci, prima vero
urbium fuit Ethruria, que et Herbanum, Tusca, Vetulonia et Voltyrrhena sive consultrix
Tyrrhena proxima Volsiniensibus...

What is left in the A L from the subdivision of the VHE is the northern district
alone, i.e., the Tyrrhena Volturna of the VHE is the Voltyrrhena or Volturrhena of
the A L , often written per sincopam Volturrhna. There is still a kind of further
subdivision of this district, since the fanum Volturrhne and the collis Volturrhenus
are described in two separate chapters (p. 14), whereas the other oppida, Vetulonia,
Tusca, and Herbanum are dealt with in single chapters (p. 15ff.); Hermula Atlan
tica, however, the eastern part of Tyrrhena Volturna according to the VHE, is omit
ted; it does not recur in the Antiquitates either. Pons Hermulus, on the other hand
(cf. VHE 1. 125 and 411) is still there: pons Hermulus Vetulonie, p. 9 at the end, re
miniscent of Hermes son of Maia, who of course was one of the daughters of
Atlas Italu s26.
The four oppida came into existence one after another, as we have seen, each
oppidum having its own founder, or, as in the case of Vetulonia, founders.
Tyrrhenus still plays a significant role. The eventual quadriurbs did not exist until
after the expulsion of the Pelasgi by Tyrrhenus and his companions, the Pelasgi
themselves having settled in the region after driving out the Umbri and their allies,
the Siculi (AL p. 14, III 2, at the end). Not until then was the last oppidum,
Volturrh(e)na, added.
Interestingly enough, the A L casts light on a detail of the VHE that would
otherwise have remained obscure. The name fanum Volturnae of the VHE is trans
lated, without further comment, by the phrase fanum Tyrrhenae Sententiae (VHE 1.
413). As we have seen above, the A L p. 1 speaks of Volturrhena id est consularis
Tyrrhena, and some lines beneath, still on p. 1, of Voltyrrhena si ve consultrix
Tyrrhena. The phrase consularis Tyrrhena reappears on p. 4 and p. 12, and there is
one sentence on p. 4 which gives the key to both translations (VHE and AL): Est
enim Volturrhena Grece quod Latine consularis Tyrrhena a volevo (i.e. ouXeua)),
quod est consulo, et duce Tyrrheno compositione Greca per sineresim dicta Volty
rrhena a Catone et Plinio, a Livio vero et Ethruscis per sincopam dicta Volturrhna.
Sic enim acceditur magis Grecanee prolationi.... There can be no doubt that the in
terpretation Volturna Tyrrhena Sententia of the VHE is a result of the prefix voi-

25 Cf. Plin. Nat. Hist. Ill 112: Umbrorum gens antiquissima Italiae existimatur, ut quos Ombrios a
Graecis putent dictos, quod in inundatione terrarum imbribus superfuissent.
26 Pons Hermulus is missing in the Antiquitates, or rather, it reappears in a Hebraized form, Pont
Remolus or Remoli, which agrees somewhat better with the vernacular name Ponte Tremoli (cf. A. S c r i a t -
TOLi, Viterbo nei suoi monumenti, Rome 1915-20, 320 et alibi). There is a detailed interpretation of the
various Hebrew constituents of the name in Ann. qu. 12 (Ant. f . g 2v, g 3r). As usual, Annius is silent a-
bout his former interpretation.
392 M. W IFSTRAND SCHIEBE

being derived from the same Greek stem. I take it for granted that the etymology
was discussed in the full-scale Viterbia Historia.
Turning to the Antiquitates, we find that the subdivision of Viterbo into oppida
is the same, although Herbanum is frequently called Arbanum. The old form is here
and there but not consistently said to be wrong (e.g. Ann. qu. 29, f. i Ir).
Nevertheless, careful reading reveals several topographical innovations. I shall not go
into detail here, but I should like to call attention to the transposition of Paratussa
from one main part of Viterbo to another, since here we have obviously an effect of
Annius changing ideas on etymology. In the A L , Annius conceives Paratussa as
part of Herbanum, and this placing was dictated by the prefix para being taken to
be identical with the Greek preposition Tuocpoe. Thus, Paratussa because of its sense
had to be situated alongside Tussa (Tusca), as is clear from a passage on p. 17
(III 6): Eius (i.e. Herbani) partes due sunt: anteriorem vocamus Paratussam, quia
ut oculis cernimus tota est iuxta Tuscam et illi her et, alteram posteriorem vocabulo
Egiptio dicimus Palobnam. (My em phasis.)27 But then, at some point while he was
working on the Antiquitates, Annius got the idea of identifying the prefix para with
a Semitic word denoting a lance or spear. Now the second name of the district
Tusca, Long(h)ola, had been derived from the Greek word 16yx% meaning also
lance or spear, as early as in the VHE (1. 364). Regardless of the explicit inform
ation given in the AL, Paratussa in the Antiquitates turns out to be identical with
Tusca/Longola, for it means hastata Tusca (hasta = X o y x n ) . Verbose discussions,
e.g. in the Annia quaestio 28 (Ant, f. h 6), or at the end of the commentary on Q.
Fabius Pictor (Ant. f. N 2v, N 3r) deal with these names as if their identity had al
ways been a matter of course 28*
But let us go on to examine what has become of Volturna and of our hero
Tyrrhenus in the Antiquitates. The Annia quaestio sexta (f. f 5r), a fairly short pas
sage dealing with the origins and the sense of the name Volturrena/Volturna, seems
to me to be unique in the whole production of Annius. The same matter, to be sure,
is discussed elsewhere in the Antiquitates, but what makes the Annia quaestio 6 ex
ceptional is the fact that Annius here, for once, enters upon a discussion however
short and superficial of his former views. There must have been some reason for
this sudden outburst of honesty. Presumably, his former version was, after all, well-
known enough to demand at least some kind of comment. But even so, Annius is
insincere, and anybody acquainted with the VHE or the A L might easily have con
victed him of manipulating the facts.

Queris quo pacto Volturrena sive Volturna urbs sit eadem ac Turrena, Annius begins,
as usual by turning directly to the dedicee, his cousin Thomas Annius. Then he goes on: Res
pondetur: Antea quam Mirsilum et Dionisium Halicarnasseum legerem, existimabam esse tam
orthographie quam originis Grece Volturrhenam et Turrhenam. Sed postquam eorum dictis
atque rationibus superior accessit ratio equidem destiti. Neque enim turpe est ad melius con
verti, sed in stultitia perseverare postquam semel aberratur, ut ait Lactantius. Itaque dicimus
Volturrenam esse orthographie simul et Etrusce originis et compositum nomen ab ol et Turre
na. Est autem ol tam Aramee quam Hebraice id quod latine priscum vel antiquissimum, ut

27 In the Antiquitates, Palobna has been changed to Calumbum, which however is spoken Palumba
by the Viterbians, of course corrupte. See, e.g., Ann. qu. 29 (f. i Ir). Both names are derived from Semitic
words (AL p. 17, III 6 Egiptio vocabulo, Ann. qu. 29 a calubu egyptia lingua aut melius a calumbo
Arameo vocabulo).
28 To make good what the quartum oppidum, Herbanum, had lost when surrendering Paratussa it
is compensated in the Antiquitates by the addition of the vicus Musarnus instead, which in turn had been
part o f Tusca/Longola in the A L (cf. AL p. 17, III 5, and A nt. Ann. qu. 29, f. i Ir). '
TYRRHENUS THE DEGRADED HERO 393

etiam divus leronimus exponit. Additur autem consonans de more vetusto, quo sepe
nominibus localibus et gentilibus teste Dionisio in primo libro additur consonans V T B (which
should be corrected into V F T B, as has also been done in later editions), ut Elia Esta Eneti
Hebris aedus dicitur Vesta Velia Veneti Febris fedus, ut ait Varro...

After a second series of such 'pairs (among which are mentioned the Volsci, to
be derived from Volosci, i.e. antiquissimi Osci!), the conclusion is drawn:

Similiter Volturnam aut sine sincopa Volturrenam intelligunt antiquissimam Turrenam


sacratam luco ingenti fanoque sedem prisci Coriti. Et ideo recte dixi (i.e. in the preceding
quaestio) quod prisci Coriti sacrata sedes fuit Volturna id est antiquissima Turrena, ad cuius
fanum indicebantur regia Etrurie concilia. Valet enim hec consequentia: est Volturna id est
antiquissima Turrena. Igitur Volturna est Turrena,

As we see, there is nothing about a Greek origin of the prefix, nothing about
the consularis or consultrix Tyrrhena. And how about our hero Tyrrhenus? Should
we suspect that Annius reinterpretation affects him in some way or other?
Certainly it does. The argumentation is carried on in the next quaestio: if
Turrena and Volturrena mean the same thing, why then was the prefix added at all?
In such a case, would not Turrena alone have been enough? No, it was not, An
nius answers: Oportuit id fieri ad distinctionem novarum Tyrrhenarum, quas Meon
Turrhenus postea condidit. Nam priscum et antiquissimum per distinctionem re
feruntur ad posterius atque iunius et recentius. Turrene autem urbes et nomen erant
in Thuscia antequam Turrhenus Meon esset natus. Et ideo ad distinctionem Etrusca
lingua dicuntur Volturrene sive Volturne id est prisce et ante alias Turrhenas
Lydorum, antiquissime (my emphasis),
What has happened, in short, is that Tyrrhenus has been deposed He is no
more the eponymous hero of the venerable Volturr(h)ena, nor is he the founder of
one of the main districts of the tetrapolis. In fact, it is a baffling move, and Annius
can hardly have been quite aware of what he did. For in reducing the importance of
poor Tyrrhenus he actually suspends one of his own holiest principles, the argu
mentum a nominibus vetustis gentium et locorum, according to which nomina
antiquitatis prisca locorum sunt argumenta infallibilia originis ipsorum {Ann. qu.
28, Ant. f. i Ir; cf., e.g. f. Q 5v, Q r, in the commentary to the fourth book of
Berosus, et alibi). That is, since it was the habit of the old heroes to found towns
and fortresses which they invariably named after themselves, or after their adven
tures at the place, or after their immediate relatives, there is no better clue to the
history of a region than its place-names. But here this general rule is suddenly over
thrown, for if only certain places called Turr(h)ena (and the like) allow the conclu
sion that they have been founded by or, perhaps, erected in honour of
Tyrrhenus, what about the infallibilitas of such arguments? Here Annius plays a
hazardous game, and it is of little help for him that he elsewhere (Ant. f. c 3v, in
the Institutio prima, s.v. Turrena), tries to get out of the problem by laying down
strict orthographic rules, hoping to clarify the case in this clumsy way. (The point
turns out to be that a Turrena without an h has nothing to do with Tyrrhenus
only those spelled with an h are really reminiscent of him. The spelling of Ann. qu.
6 and 7, parts of which were quoted above, is in accordance with this rule in the
editio princeps, though not always in later editions.)
As Annius himself hints at in the Annia quaestio 6, the so-called Myrsilus is the
most important 'source concerning the origins of Volturrena as conceived in the
Antiquitates. He got the idea of writing Myrsilus, the full title of which is Myrsilus
394 M. WIFSTRAND SCHIEBE

Lesbius de origine Italiae ac Turrenae, or Myrsili liber de bello Pelasgico (Ant. ff. A
1-B lv), from a reading of Dionysius Halicarnasseus, who mentions Myrsilus twice
in connection with discussions about the origins and ethnic relations of the
Etruscans (T\)ppr\joi) and the Pelasgians (lleXaayot). The Myrsilus is a brief text,
only eight short chapters. Doubtless, the real Myrsilus played a minor role as a
source for Dionysius, but Annius chooses freely from Dionysius text whatever suits
his ideas, confidently asserting that Dionysius in fact derived most of his infor
mation from Myrsilus: Ferme cuncta Dionysius in primo libro ab loco isto Myrsili
excerpsit, ut patet percurrenti primum librum Dionysii, in the commentary to the
caput sextum of Myrsilus (Ant. f. A 5v).
Annius seems to have written his Myrsilus precisely for the purpose of suppor
ting a revaluation of the role played by Tyrrhenus and his Lydians in the history of
Viterbo. A favourite passage used as an argument in this revaluation is the discus
sion about the origin of the word Tyrrhenoi in Dionysius I 26,2. Here we are told
that some say that the Tyrrhenoi were indigenous in Italy, whereas others believe
them to be immigrants. Those favouring their indigenous status derive their name
from the buildings they first built, for such fortified, closely-built structures are cal
led tyrseis by the Tyrrhenians, just as they are called by the Greeks. As a matter of
fact, Annius has discussed this theory before: in the A L , p. 12 (II 12), he reports,
with explicit reference to Dionysius, the opinion of 'quidam Grecorum that the
Tyrrhena urbs was founded by the Pelasgians and got its name non a Turrheno,
sed a tursibus sive turribus, but of course he rejects this view, the position of the
A L being that Tyrrhenus was the founder of Volturrhena and the eponyme of every
locality having a name more or less similar to his own. But now, when Annius needs
support for his new view of a more ancient name Tyrrena, the once dismissed
theory comes into favour again, disguised as 'Myrsilus, in a polemical and self-con
fident diction, just in the manner of someone who is eager to show that he has al
ways taken the view that did not occur to him until yesterday. Non est igitur ad
versariis ulla via qua probent eos Turrenos a filio Atus habere vel nomen vel origi
nem, sed id nomen desumpsisse a tursibus, quia ipsi Surses et Sursenas si sunt urbes
pontificie, et Turses ac Tur sena... (Myrsilus c. 7, A nt. f. A 6v 29).
Somehow it seems logical that the text of 'Myrsilus, just to complete the volte-
face, ends with the triumphant statement that in reality, it was not the Turreni who
were named after Tyrrhenus on the contrary, Tyrrhenus himself got his name (as
a cognomen) from the Turreni and from old Turrena, his real name being another
one: Quod si etiam ad hos venit To rebus filius Atus, utique non ab eo advena
nominati sunt Turreni indigene, sed e contrario ab eis Torebus fu it cognominatus
Turrenus a Grecis (c. 8, Ant. f. B lr; my emphasis).
According to Dionysius I 28,2, Torebus was a son of Atys in a diverging ver
sion of the tale. Torebus and his brother Lydus both remained in Lydia; thus, the
Tyrrhenoi have nothing to do with Lydian history. To say that Tyrrhenus and Tore-

29 The text o f the 7th chapter o f Myrsilus is corrupt in the editio princeps. The chapter ends with a
si immediately after the words quoted above. Presumably, Annius wanted to add another s/-clause to ex
plain the exact use o f Turses ac Tursenas. Later editions solved the problem in different ways: I have con
sulted the edition by J. S ic h a r d u s , Fragmenta vetustissimorum autorum, sum m o studio ac diligentia nunc
recognita. Myrsili Lesbii de origine Italiae..., Basle 1530, which prints a choice of the forged texts only
(together with Frontinus, De Aquaeductibus), and the edition from Lyon 1554, Berosi Chaldaei Sacerdotis
Reliquorumque consimilis argumenti autorum D e antiquitate Italiae.. . The text o f 1530 ends the clause with
the phrase sed id nomen desumpsisse a Tursibus (p. 3). The Lyon edition (vol. II, p. 90) goes on as far
as Turses ac Tursenas, omitting nothing but the si.
TYRRHENUS THE DEGRADED HERO 395

bus is one and the same man is thus in some sense a fiction of Annius. In fact the
alleged original name of Tyrrhenus is an old friend of Annius Desiderius in his
Decretum had ordered the Vetulonians ut suam Longulam non Longobardulam sed
cognomine sui ampliatoris Turreni Terbum vocent. Terbum, as we learn from A n
nia quaestio 16, A nt. f. g 5v, and from the Institutiones Etruscae, Ant. f. e 3v, is a
shorter form for Terobus, which is the same as Torebus, commutatis vocalibus.
Bad luck again: when Annius worked on the Decretum, he considered Tyrrhenus a
great hero; he had not the slightest idea that later on, he was to feel the need of
minimizing Tyrrhenus contribution to Viterbian history. Now Annius had to face
the manifest problem that the Decretum talks about Terbum as a derivation from
the cognomen Turreni, although Terobus/Torebus is by now said to be the heros
first name. There was, obviously, only one way out: Desiderius was wrong ...Sane
ut in commentariis super Myrsilum ostendimus, nomen proprium filii Atu s regis
Meonis fuit Torebus, et commutatis vocalibus Terobus. Porro cognomen illi
Turrhenus fuit ab urbe regia Volturrena, qua fuit decoratus. Sed hoc loco Desiderius
abutitur vocabulo nominis et cognominis... (f. e 3v, comm, to the Decretum in the
Institutiones Etruscae). Yet Terobus is occasionally still said to be a cognomen even
in the Antiquitates (e.g., Ann. qu. 16, f. g 5v), so that it is evident that Annius did
not quite succeed in revising the enormous bulk of text in accordance with his final
position 30.
Although it was not an elegant solution to accuse Desiderius, the eruditissimus
rex (Ant, f. e 4v), of being wrong, it was at least a kind of solution. But, conside
ring the chronological relation between the Antiquitates and the earlier works,
problems might easily have turned up where one suspects that Annius, however
smart he was, would after all have been at a loss for a way out. We have seen that
he pretends to have gained his new understanding of the etymology of Volturrena
from his reading of Myrsilus and Dionysius. Thus it is logical to ask: when, then,
did he read Myrsilus for the first time? Here we come to the crux of the matter.
Most authors of the Antiquitates, including, e.g., Myrsilus, are said to have
belonged to the property of a certain magister Guilelmus of Mantua, who lived in
the 14th century. Annius, so he tells us himself in his introductory epistula of the
Anniae quaestiones (f. 4r; cf. Ann. qu. 26, f. h 5r, and the introduction to the
Fragmenta Catonis, f. B Iv), brought them with him when he left Mantua together
with the cardinal Paolo Fregoso. This is a most interesting statement, for though we
are not exactly informed about when Annius visited Mantua, it must have been
before February, 1491 we know with certainty that by then he was back in
Viterbo, for how long we cannot say 31. Presumably, his visit to Mantua was in
1489, after leaving Genoa and before returning to Viterbo 32, Thus, if Annius is
honest on this point, we must assume that he kept those precious texts unread for
several years, for otherwise there is no reason why he should not have known, e.g.,

30 I doubt that it is possible to reconstruct the chronological order of the books of the Antiquitates.
The commentaries and Annius own works such as the Institutiones iuventutis Etruscae or the Anniae
quaestiones are so crowded with cross-references that they must have been constantly or at least repeatedly
revised. As far as the forged texts are concerned, it is clear from the A L that Cato, Berosus, and
Xenophon were the first to be written. However, Cato and Xenophon have been more or less reworked
before entering the Antiquitates, as was mentioned above, note 24. If the same holds true o f Berosus I
cannot say since I have not systematically checked the references to this text in the A L with the Berosus of
the Antiquitates.
31 F u m a g a lli , Un fa lso , 342 note 13.
32 P m a g l m , "Un fals, 3 4 1 .; '
396 M. W IFSTRAND SCHIEBE

the truth about Tyrrhenus and Volturrena in 1495, when he wrote the A L , or in
1491-1492, when he wrote the VHE. Still worse, in the VHE, he knows nothing ab
out Noah/Janus and Vesta and Gomerus and Carneses. Why had he not read
Berosus? Allegedly, this sensational find, a monumental text, dealing thoroughly
with the adventures of Noah/Janus and his descendants, was handed over to him by
two fellow Dominicans from Armenia, called frater Mathias and magister Gregorius.
This occurred while Annius was prior in Genoa, as he tells us in the commentary to
the third book of Berosus (Ant. f. P r). Now these Dominicans are real persons,
whose visit to Italy is attested officially. It occurred, as documents show, as early as
in the 1470s 33!
Against this background, it is fair to conclude that Annius has chosen quite
deliberately not to mention the VHE, the M VT, and the A L in the Antiquitates. He
risked enough of his credibility without drawing attention to them himself. He had
not forgotten them, as Baffioni believes, but he must have hoped that others had 34.

33 Cf. R. W e iss , Traccia per una biografia di Annio da Viterbo, Italia medioevale e umanistica, 5
(1962), 431; F u m a g a lli , Aneddoti, 21 If. Interestingly enough, Annius gives us no information concerning
the language of the manuscript given to him by the two Armenians. C f., on this question, C.R. L ig o t a ,
Annius o f Viterbo and Historical method, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 50 (1987),
55. Ligota hesitates to subscribe to the communis opinio that Annius has written all the forged texts him
self and thinks there may be a case for reopening the question (p. 56). Similar doubts were raised concer
ning Berosus by A. B o r st , D er Turmbau von Babel. Geschichte der Meinungen ber Ursprung und Vielfalt
der Sprachen und Vlker, Stuttgart 1957-1963, 975. Less optimistic than Ligota, Borst fears that the truth
about the genesis o f Berosus will never be revealed. However, the arguments brought forward above show
that there can hardly be any room for doubting that the current view is the correct one. Cf. my own A n
nius von Viterbo (above, note 12), 10, note 11.
34 Thanks are due to Dr. S.-J. Spnberg of the Department of English, Uppsala University, for revi
sing my English.

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