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The Rise of Semiotics and the Liberal Arts: Reading Martianus Capella's "The Marriage of

Philology and Mercury"
Author(s): Han-Liang Chang
Source: Mnemosyne, Fourth Series, Vol. 51, Fasc. 5 (Oct., 1998), pp. 538-553
Published by: BRILL
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The debate has been otherwise interpreted as that be- ) The author wishes to thank the National Science Council of Taiwan for sup- porting his research project on the history of semiotics and The University of Manchester's Department of English and American Studies for an Honorary Research Fellowship in 1997. One is reminded. and finally to the so-called encyclopedic semi- otic practices. Leiden.theories such as those of Augustine and Boethius. Mass. the revival of rhetoric. during which time the paper was written and pre- sented in the Postgraduate Seminar on 22 April 1997. Is Therea Text in This Class? The Authorityof Interpretive Communities (Cambridge. Fase. especially by American neo- pragmatists over the last two decades. has evoked once again a time- honoured debate between rhetoric and logic in the West. Koninklijke Brill NV. as outlined by Martianus Capella (fl. in relation to contemporary thinking of signs. 480-524). of the distinction between two critical models of demonstra- tion and persuasion which Stanley Fish makes in the tradition of the Sophists2). Meanwhile. Semwtics Unfolding:Proceedingsof the Second Congressof the InternationalAssociationfor SemwticsI (Berlin 1983). Proposahfor a H?tory of Semiotics. 1) Umberto Eco. 75-89. THE RISE OF SEMIOTICS AND THE LIBERAL ARTS: READING MARTIANUS CAPELLA'S THE MARRIAGE OF PHILOLOGY AND MERCURY*) BY HAN-LIANG CHANG Current interest in mediaeval trivium and the revival of rhetoric have led researchers to re-examine the implications liberal of the arts. among other things. where she argues that the system of the seven arts has its roots in Neoplatonism. 2) Stanley Fish. In his pro- posals for a history of semiotics1).in: Tasso Barb? (ed. His checklist runs the gamut from explicit of signs. such as early Christian symbology. Umberto Eco identifies three cat- egories of writers who can be said to have contributed to such a his- tory. 410-39) and Boethius (ca.Vol. LI. 1980). 5 . as it appears in Augustinus de Ordine. which can be traced back to Plato and Aristode. He gratefully acknowledges the learned comments of the journal's readers regarding the Latin quotations and a reference to the ideas of Ilsebraut Hadot in her Arts lib?rauxet phibsophie dans la pens?eantique(Paris 1984). through repressed theories abstractable from the writings of the Church Fathers who discuss language in general. 1998 Mnemosyne.).

and Proust (New Haven 1979). with the sig- nified truth bracketed. logic is closer than grammar and rhetoric to the quadrivium that accounts for the mediaeval scholar's knowledge of the world. and that rhetoric. as figurative language and as persuasion. Notwithstanding the seven arts' intransitivity. Meanwhile. in order to accommodate his metahis- tory of modern critical discourse since French 'semiology'. is formulated in the late Roman peri- od and the early Middle Ages. This opposition gets a linguistic turn in Paul de Man's celebrated essay Semiobgy and Rhetoric where the author casts light on the new issue by situating it in the mediaeval liberal arts education system and by introducing the role of the as-yet-non-existent discipline of semiotics. though traceable to classical antiquity. Compare its modern vari- ations in Kenneth Burke and Wayne Booth. among the three language-focused disciplines that constitute the trivium. the liberal education of seven arts. and the second kind to prag- matics. Thus the paradigm shift in literary linguistics around the early 1970s can be accounted for by the classical ten- sion between rhetoric and logic. De Man seems to be suggesting a new spectrum of relationships among the seven arts. grammar and logic. or the second semiotic order of communication. de Man's attempt at reconstructing semiology in the trivium has opened up a line of inquiry into the disciplinary ori- gin and history of semiotics. THE RISE OF SEMIOTICS AND THE LIBERAL ARTS 539 tween the two traditionally hostile disciplines of philosophy and rhetoric.Nietzsche. Rilke. one could argue that the relationships among the three units of the trivium have never remained stable and therefore call for radical historicization. which French semiologists such as Todorov and Genette have failed to no- tice. i. but moves to discuss the dis- crepancy between grammar and rhetoric. based on their truth-claims or their transitiv- ity to the world under investigation.e. is less 'transitive5 than any other discipline. by Martianus Capella 3) Paul de Man. In this metahistory the first kind of rhetoric is equivalent to the semantic (and syntactic) universe of the lit- erary text. . as revealed by their conflation of the trivium in such titles as Grammar of the Decameron and Figures III 3). or the first semiotic order of signification. De Man has himself conflated two kinds of rhetoric. Allegoriesof Reading:Figurai Languagein Rousseau. standing at one extreme of the spectrum. He does not bother to dwell on the tension between logic and rhetoric.. According to de Man. As is well-known now. in particular. Then this would be the problem of Charles Sanders Peirce too (see below). The same can be said of rhetoric. and you will see its wide semantic range.

e.ed. All the Latin quotations are from the Dick edition and herein- after cited as De Miptiis. not only is there an unbridgeable gap between the trivium and the quadrivium. 84). Euclid. i. Boethius:The Consolationsof Music. and music (the order being different in Mar- tianus and Boethius)?have their own distinct representational sys- tem which is non-verbally symbolic.and Phibsophy (Oxford 1981). Alison White. one finds all the four Pythagorean mathematical sciences?arithmetic. astronomy. and trans. ed. James Willis (Leipzig 1983). Henry Chadwick. 2 of Martianus CapeUaand the Seven LiberalArts (Records of Civilization: Sources and Studies. and the term 'trivium' is only a mediaeval derivation. vol. Michael Masi. If one examines the quadrivium.). . L. De InstitutioneArithmetica. for example.540 HAN-LIANG CHANG in his De Nupt?is Phihlogiae et Mercurii 4) and Boethius in his commen- taries on or adaptations of Aristotle. in: BoethianNumber Theory:A Translationof the De InstitutioneArithmetica (Studies in Classical Antiquity. in: Margaret Gibson (ed. 5) Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius. In the enclosed logocentric system. Nicomachus. William Harris Stahl (New York and Oxford 1977). Theobgy. B?rge. three paths leading to four paths? The answer seems to be both negative and positive.. Adolf Dick (Stuttgart 1969). Thoughtand Influence(Oxford 1981). see. Boethius in the Medieval (Quadrivium. Although Boethius coins only the term 'qua- drivium' in his De Insntutione Arithmetica. the signifier of quadrivium points 4) Minneus Felix Martianus Capeila. ed. De Nuptiis Phibbgiae et Mercurii(Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana).ed. Logic. is there transitivity between the two. 2 vols. The Marriage of Phibbgy and Mercury. but also there is another gap between the quadrivium as abstract speculations and the ab- solute knowledge in the incorporeal world to which they aspire. although neither Martianus nor Boethius can afford not to use language as a modelling and interpreting system. 69-188. because of the inconvertibility of systems. rev. 6) (Amsterdam 1983). A question can be raised here: Does the trivium's instrumentality serve the purpose of the quadrivium? Or. ed. For Boethius on the quadrivium.. nor does it need re-articulation in a metalanguage.trans. geometry. and all the English quotations are from the Stahl transla- tion and hereinafter cited as The Marriage. William Harris Stahl and Richard Johnson with E. Porphyry.Unless otherwise indicated. they are cited by verse numbers in the text rather than separately footnoted. it is essentially his structure of the seven arts that is to be followed throughout the Middle Ages5). 162- 205. Unlike what our authors and their commentators believe. De Nuptiis Phibbgiae et Mercurii. Boethius makes the distinction between 'trivium' and quadrivium already on the basis of the former's linguistic instrumentality as or- ganika and the latter's coverage of areas of speculative knowledge. Boethius:His Life. Ptolemy. and Cicero.

8) Charles Sanders Peirce.227. vols.. Moore et al. 310- 36. and Martianus Capella. but it can be expand- ed to deal with other representations. THE RISE OF SEMIOTICS AND THE LIBERAL ARTS 541 nostalgically but futilely towards the ultimate signified that is the har- monious order of divine creation. ed. where dialectic dominates the trivium. ob- The word quadrivium(early manuscripts show quadruvium)first appears in the Proemium of Book I of Boethius's De InstitutioneArithmeticawhere the author observes: 'Among all the men of ancient authority who. Alan R. First he explicitly equates semi- otic to logic6). I have not been able to locate the following article cited by Liszka. Macrobius. David Wagner (ed. (1984). The citation of Peirce here follows the standardized practice by referring to the volume number first and section number next. 7-8. ed. Transactions of the Charles S. 2. James Jak?b Liszka. Augustine. Or perhaps one should say: LOGIC as theory of signs covers the trivium. Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss. 5 vols. following the lead of Pythagoras. the author's indebtedness to scholasticism being already well-document- ed8). The CollectedPapers of CharlesS. and rhe- toric is even reduced to a branch of logic7). A GeneralIntroductionto the Semewticof Charles Sanders Parce (Bloomington and Indianapolis 1996). and pure rhetoric because every sign (representamen) is connected with three things?ground. The SevenLiberalArts in the Middle Ages (Bloomington 1983). such as the mathematical qua- drivium. semiotic contains three branches: pure grammar.. to date (Bloomington 1982-1993). the quadrivium. object. We could further infer that the general semiotic Peirce proposes is derived from the language-focused trivium. Edward C. Nominalismversus Realism. have flourished in the purer reasoning of the mind.Cruzeiro Semiotico 8 (1988). including logic proper. Credits must also be given to Boethius's predecessors. Rhetoric. such as Varr?. 7) Martin Camargo. It is no accident that Charles Sanders Peirce formulates his gen- erad semiotic in terms of the trivium. as long as its members fulfill the conditions of ground. 1- 6. semiotic as logic) subsumes the trivi- um. David Savan. Parce and the Trivium. This word-play is not so trivial as it first appears if seen in the light of the fortune of rhetoric in 12th. vol. ed.Early Nominalismand Realism. Logic as semi- otic (or the other way around. in: Writings of Charles S. Parce: A Chronobgual Edition.). Ockam. including logic itself. it is clearly obvious that hardly anyone has been able to reach the highest perfection of the disciplines of philosophy unless the nobility of such wisdom was investigated by him in a cer- tain four-part study. Arthur Burks (Cambridge. Mass. Peirce Society 25: 1 (1989). .'(71). 107-8. 6) Charles Sanders Peirce.. 144-54. and interpr?tant.8 vols. vols. and 13th-cen- tury scholasticism. Peirce. At this point we could surmise the Peircian semiotic's possible links with the trivium. 41-9. Peirce'sSemewticand ScholasticL?^:. which is not LOGIC proper. 50-6. logic proper. but in his characteristically cryptic argument for tri- ads. 1980). Perreiah.

In this sense. . Boethius:His ufe. ultimate goal is whose metaphysical contemplation. In fact. 22-35. Louise Duchesneau and Sid McLauchlan. but to Boethius logic is clearly more important than rhetoric. index. The Index Sign in Music. there is an ascending order towards abstraction. Boethius and the Study of L?gic. 269-306. Keith Sawyer.Semiotica 31:1/2 (1996). it is quite possible to recode the qua- drivium in terms of the tripartite icon. Peirce constantly refers to the sign nature of algebra though he seldom mentions music. However. with the Peircian on the rise because of the pragmatic aspect of indexicality. There is no question of one's modelling the other. in: Margaret Gibson (ed. and symbol9). and whose commentaries.542 HAN-UANG CHANG ject. i. A closer look will show their difference. The Semwtics of Improvisation:The Pragmatics of Musical and Verbal Performance. de Man's obser- vation is accurate when he says logic is closer to the quadrivium than the two other sister arts. two major trends can be iden- tified and respectively termed Peircian and Greimasian. For a recent review and prolegomena. Boethius is to translate and comment later? One say his interest in Peripatetic could logic lies primarily in its subservient function to truth. It seems that in both Martianus Capella and Boethius. Boethius expresses his ap- 9) The Boethian quadrivium is based on a metalanguage dealing with the mathematical concepts of multitude and magnitude. which can be adequately recast in Peircian terms. A com- prehension of both numerical and spatial quantities helps us to as- cend the lofty heights of philosophy. rhetoric and logic are combined studies. to magnitude (or spatial quantity). for instance. It should be noted that. 10) Jonathan Barnes. but the matter is much more complicated than it seems.). 73-89.e. trans. What about the quadrivium's relationship to the Aristotelian Or- ganon which. under the general rubric of organi- ka. in the growing interest in semiotics of music and the already substantial body of secondary literature. in De Consolatane Philosophiae. and interpr?tant. Pythagorian mathematics and Aristotelian logic are then the two systems which join to lay the foundation of metaphysics. Semiotica 66:1/3 (1987). represented by geometry and astronomy. represented by the twinning arithmetic and music. In his De Institutione Arithmetica Boethius proposes the quadrivium as speculative knowledge and asserts its mastery is a prerequisite for the philosopher. from multitude (or numerical quantity). see. However. In his hierarchy. especially regarding the functions of language. Thoughtand Influence(Oxford 1981). the math- ematical quadrivium is taken with higher regard than the 'trivial' language Organon. R.. in forming discov- eries (topics) and judgements (analytics)10). See Vladimir Karbusicky.

' 'nil mentiamur' inquit 'et uestiantur Artes. In the famous beginning of De Consolatone. an tu gregem sororum nudum dabis iugandis. 133. the genre itself. The picture is quite different in Martianus Capella. within the frame of which the seven bridesmaids expound the arts they govern. et sic petent Tonantis et caelitum senatum? aut si tacere cultum placet. With Boethius. the dying Boethius allows Philosophy to scold the poetical Muses as 'tragical harlots' who 'kill the fruitful crop of reason' (1. If we accept de Man's rather hasty but useful equation of literature to rhetoric? this is exactly what Martianus does in Book V?we will better appre- ciate Boethius's valorization of philosophy at the expense of poetry? maybe even music as performance. but book III opens with his questioning the Muse who insists on using embellishment. music as performance is not accepted as part of speculative philoso- phy. (1609). rev. 12) and rhetoricians' likelihood of forsaking philosophy's Ordinances' (II. trans.1).l)11). I. they have to be clothed and cannot be given 'naked to the bridal couple' (219-222). 'atquin prioris ille titulus monet libelli mythos ab ore pulsos Artesque uera fantes uoluminum sequentum praecepta comparare. the narrator says he will nunc ergomythosterminatur('put aside all fable') (220). The whole text of De Nuptiis is a highly embellished and often carnivalesque alle- gory. a point on which we will elaborate when analyzing Martianus's text. THE RISE OF SEMIOTICS AND THE LIBERAL ARTS 543 prehension about logicians' verbal games (III. even in the books dealing with the seven arts.The Consolationof Phibsophy. 129.F. 1). as if echoing Plato. Her argument is rather persuasive: although the Arts 'tell that which is the truth'. Towards the end of book II. and later in Book II he hears her identify Music as 'a little slave belonging to [her] house' (II. H. the poetic function is always foregrounded. The author utilizes poetic devices and rhetorical figures so profusely that he is even chided by Satura. for tu?ngere ludiera praestas/uiliaque astriloquae praefers commenta puellae! ('fashion [ing] cheap and silly fictions') (808) without true intellectual nourishment12). Stewart (The Loeb Classical Library) (London 1918).T. 12) Throughout the text. ordo quis probatur?' . There is a fascinating moment in the course of nar- 11) Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius.

or rather sub-species. as Martianus tells his son in the frame. regarding the functions of language in representing other semiotic systems. . Menippean satire and literary embellishments put aside. 15) In style.. De Nuptiis follows the tradition of Menippean satire attributed to Varr? in mixing prose and poetry. There are several occasions on which the narrator teas- es himself for his ignorance. Let us elaborate on this. at any rate call him vir Romanorumeruditissimus'1 (ibid. 13). See Northrop Frye. by piling up an enormous mass of erudition about his theme or in overwhelming his pedantic targets with an aval- anche of their own jargon. where subject matter is nine books. it would be more interesting to compare Martianus's and Boethius's ordering of the seven arts15). Frye observes. if not stare and gasp...crammed sacred matters into secu- lar. Martianus Capello:A Uterary Re-evaluation(M?nchener Beitr?ge zur Medi?vistik und Renaissance-Forschung.). though well versed in lyrics13) and mythical fabulization. We would like to comment. 7. a m?lange sportively composed by Satire under lamplight.commingled gods and the Muses. which takes place after the three Latin arts of language have been exposed and before the four Greek arts of mathematics are introduced. including punning on his own name as a cape lia1*). dealing with intellectual themes and atti- tudes. 'an old man's tale [senilemfabulam]. A species. See Fanny LeMoine. although in his discussion of the encyclopedic genre Martianus's work is strangely absent.544 HAN-LIANG CHANG ration. see ?. Anatomyof Criticism:Four Essays (Princeton 1957). The display of eru- dition had probably been associated with the Menippean tradition by Varr?.... The narrator Martianus. should fail to recognize Philosophia (phi- losophy) and Paedia (learning) despite hisenkyklopaedeia (all-round education).. shows his exuberance in intellectual ways.where people sit at a banquet and pour out a vast mass of erudition on every subject that might conceivably come up in a conversation. 10) (M?nchen 1972).. because we believe the topic will usher in the confrontation of opposing camps of semiotic thinkers of our time. thus fully displaying the generic trait of encyclopedic erudition.had uncouth figures prating in a rus- tic fiction about the encyclopedic arts [disciplinascyclicasY(997-999). it is a pro- thalamion followed by convivial treatises on the seven arts.. who was enough of a polymath to make Quintilian. of the form is the kind of encyclopedic farrago represented by Athenaeus' Deipnosophistsand Macrobius' Saturnalia. on their representations of music. "The Menippean satirist.. The work. in particular.. Earlier we mentioned Boethius's relegation of performing music to the servile division of footmen. 311. 14) LeMoine (1972: 132. With Boe- 13) Fanny LeMoine has identified fifteen different meters used by Martianus Capella.[where she has] heaped learned doctrines upon unlearned. It would be an example dear to Frye.. is 'a story which Satire [Satura] invented in the long winter nights' (2). and.

51. A true musician is 'one who has gained knowledge of making music by weighing (i. Speculum 12:2 (1942). A Carolingian exegete Remigius of Auxerre. the true musician is what we know today as the music critic. He mentions the first two types rather sketchily and is never to return to them as he promises. Lutz. This 'militantly theo- retical'17) position in favor of musica theorica has very little concern with performance.ed. 9. Eurydice represents musical theory while Orpheus performance. 5). 18) Roland Barthes. instru- mental music (musica Instrumentalis). and the musician's loss of his wife sym- bolizes the loss of his true art20). 2: 310. is. both representing magnitude or spatial quantity. 19) Boethius. Boethius distinguishes among three types of music: cosmic music (musica mundana) which is natural though imperceptible to human senses. how- ever. in Martianus Capella's order. which amounts to what we mean by music today. Cora E.. not through the servitude of work. Stephen Heath (New York 1977). AutissiodorensisCommentumin Martianum Capelloni. Boethius's concept is widely accepted throughout the Middle Ages. a type not mentioned by Boethius but worth our inquiry18). Manfred F. Remiga. 20) Remigius Autissiodorensis. FundarnentaL?of Musk. and as such is more basic if not lower than geome- try and astronomy. Bukofzer. and. or with what Roland Barthes has reinstated as musica practica. music comes after arithmetic as representing the more intelli- gible multitude. 17) Chadwick (1981: 85.e. see n. who is curi- ously denounced by Barthes for his linguistic mediation. the last and also the supreme one among the seven arts. . The ImaginaryMuseum of Musical Worh: An Essay in the Phibsophy of Musk (Oxford 1992). trans. This is among half a dozen of scho- 16) See Ancius Manlius Severinus Boethius. According to Remigius. Boethius looks down upon composers and per- formers because of the servile nature of their work. even applies it to glossing Martianus's allusion to Orpheus and Eurydice in Book DC of De Nuptiis. SpeculativeThinking in MedievalMusk. Lydia Goehr. FundarnentaL? of Music. In fact. Image?Musk?Text. THE RISE OF SEMIOTICS AND THE LIBERAL ARTS 545 thius. human music (musica humana) which deals with the microcosm of human body and its correspondence to soul. (Leiden 1962). 133-4. 165-80. trans. who has com- mented on both Boethius and Martianus Capella. forming judgement) with the reason. finally. Calvin Bower (New Haven and London 1989). the last book which deals with Harmony. but through the sovereignty of speculation'19). 2 vols. The last one. denounced by Boethius because it has recourse to the human body only andthus fails to be speculative16). In short.

id est copula.. syntax and proposition. sharing one distinctive semantic feature of 'link'. (3) musical. anachronistically. to gloss Martianus's 'Harmony' (ibid. for it is marital because it is legal. For our purpose. you are said to grace weddings with your song. . Thus. 13). especially within the context of Roman Law. 286. copula sacra deum. as other signifiers on the higher sentential and global discur- sive levels. and across semiotic systems. What is a copula if it is not a sign which makes possible aliquid stat pro 21) See LeMoine (1972: 22-5. quem matre Camena progenitum perhibent. closes on three signifieds. qui [in] dissimiles nbi ponti esse uidentur (? syzygy or copula is the joining of two feet that are seen to be dissimilar. in turn. in both its phonic and graphemic aspects. Why does Martianus put music at the end of a literary text? And how is Harmony represented? We must look into the narrator's invocation to Hymen in the very beginning of Book I. (2) rhetorical. The first meaning of marital copula is heavily invested with semantic value. What we have just provisionally termed rhetori- cal copula refers to the link in both grammar (cf. The same signifier of copula. (1) 'Sacred principle of unity amongst the gods. 334-357). perhaps more metalingual than denotative. and the musical copula refers to the link between two musical feet. Now this abstract Homeric epithet can cer- tainly generate a long process of semiosis.546 HAN-LIANG CHANG lia in which Remigius uses Boethius on music. With this instance. Tu quern psallentem thalamis. Copulatiuae. in both language and music. as Harmony defines it in Book IX: etenim syzygia. into one') (979)21). coniunctiones) and logic. This semiosis is in fact based on the sign function of copula. Here the linguistic function is purely denotative. The structural and metalingual functions of copula enable the rhetorical and musical signifieds to serve. or the other way round.' Here Hymen is addressed as copula sacra deum ('sacred principle of unity among the gods'). But the second and the third meanings are rather formal concepts than semantic concepts. viz. see n. three major semantic areas can be identified from the word copula: (1) mar- ital. we can now turn to Martianus Capella.. on you I call. duorum pedum in unum est ascripta conexio. the term copula is at once denotative and metalingual.

and to still another. such as marriage. his definition is rather based on linguistic opposition and equivalence. but also in logic and algebra. Parce: A Chronobgkal Edition. thus ad infinitum. a substance to a quality (or ground).e. object. such as equality. The French term 'renvof has been ren- dered as 'referral'. Proposalfor a History of Semiotics. with its variants and derivatives. recurs throughout the text. in short. and is faced with a dilemma which they are not: Whether to perform music or to talk about music? Or. attribution. Although Jakobson casually alludes to aliquid stat pro aliquo. Milan. not only within one system. not only in language. 7.Opening report at the First International Congress of Semiotics. i. a third sign which establishes the relation of renvoi or refer- ral between two signs. and Amsterdam 1985). Stephen Rudy (Berlin. vol. 517. predication and subsumption. June 2. Earlier we said Peirce has equated semiotic to logic. New York. and music.. Wntingsof CharlesS. Harmony is the last bridesmaid to address the bride Philology and the convivial Olympian company. copulatiuae coniunctione (286). a classical definition provided by Roman Ja- kobson and followed by Eco and others22)? There is no exaggeration in saying that Peirce has built his whole semiotic on that single ele- ment of copula. we are copulating (i. What he refers to is actually our faculty of reasoning from a single sign to other signs through the dynamic triangular relationship among ground. Regarding the text of Martianus Capella. ne. the question can be now boiled down to: "How does the copula function. She is charged with a more diffi- cult task than the other six maids. Therefore the semiotic function of referral should be operated intra-systemically rather than inter- systemically. I. one sign to another. into knowledge and fiction. and most conspicuously in the last book of Harmony. would be 'reciprocity' or 'double presuppo- sition'. THE RISE OF SEMIOTICS AND THE LIBERAL ARTS 547 aliquo. a text to a genre. then. copulam nuptialem (109). 1974. or even among all the seven siblings?" The word copula.77.. as Peirce already did in November 1866. using a sign to link) a subject to a predicate. A Glanceat theDevebpmentof Semwtics. like cum ita expers totius copulae censeatur.. vol. who has extensively discussed the sign functions of copula. "There is no griffin" and "A grif- fin is a winged quadruped". rhetoric.. 8 vols. in: SelectedWritings. copulis interesset (40). 7: 199- 218.When we say. 23) When we say De Nuptiis is a Menippean satire.e. . haec quippe et superum curas prae 22) Roman Jakobson. but across several systems. Isn't this exactly what Martianus does with his copulasacra deum? See Peirce. A better translation.. how not to perform music when her art and only her art entails performance? As Jupiter says. ed. we are using a copula to inquire into the actuality and possibility of being. and inter- pr?tant23). Eco.

It follows?and this is more intriguing?that before their marital copulation. Their marriage. because a solution has been already provided. is a handmaid whom Mercury presents to his human bride Philology. If she talks about music. (939). then she knows no music which she is supposed to master. in terms of time sequence) inquiries.. for his miraculous language competence and thus is linked to the myth- ic origin of hermeneutics. gladdening the heavens with her song and rhythms. her task is easy. There is no way to get around musi- ca practica.') (899).. there should be no connection whatsoever between trivium and quadrivium. ('She in- deed. corre- sponds to the order of curriculum known as Exangeltdcon or hermeneu- tikon (exposition) of a certain Lasus. Following Boethius's argument. among other things. .. Such an order of perfor- mance. As Harmony says: in quibus artis praecepta edissertare pro- hibitum ('[In] the star-studded spheres... together with the six others who have already lectured. has already forestalled this when she admonished Grammar in Book III not to usurp Music's office by talking about rhythm and meter or she will be torn apart (326). above all others.e. First there is a performance of instrumental music (organikon). none of which is speculative. How Mercury. signifies the union of speech (sermo) and reason (ratio): PhUologjta ergo ponitur in persona sapientiae et rationis.548 HAN-LIANG CHANG cunctis potent permulcere aethera cantibus numerisque laetifieans. if she is to perform music. and that only. Goddess of Wisdom. In short.C.. according to Harmony in her subsequent lecture. will be able to soothe the cares of the gods. Harmony. then she has to use language to interpret a system which is non-verbal. while symbolizing the three language arts of trivium. can present seven arts to Philology who is supposed to be already in possession of the four mathematical arts of quadrivium. as glossed by the afore- mentioned Remigius of Auxerre. does not need to bother us here although it is a tantalizing topic for logical and narratological (i. It will be interesting to see how Harmony is presented to the audi- ence before giving her speech. Harmony's mission impossible is to copulate language and music..I am forbidden to discourse on the precepts of my art') (921). albeit embedded in the semantic universe of the narrative. followed by vocal music (odikon) and then recitation (hypokritikon). Mercurius in similitudine facundiae et sermonis (66). who has been identified as Pin- dar's teacher in the sixth century B. Minerva. In a sense.. and Mercury or Hermes is noted.

quod quidem suis inuicem com- plexibus modulatum ex illis fidibus circulatis omnium modorum conci- nentiam personabat. No lyre or lute or tetrachord appeared on that circular shield. As soon as she entered the hall. and the strains that poured forth from her stringed instruments were no less sweet than the melody of her voice. yet the strains coming from that strange round- ed form surpassed those of all musical instruments... regarding the pains and labor involved in the production of that music.') (920). On both occasions. The encompassing circles of this shield were attuned to each other... began the following hymn.. loue admirante dis- quiritur.. After singing. ac tune uirgo. to which Jupiter listened with admira- tion. when Harmony perceived that those present were seek- ... he says: talibus Harmoniae carminibus oblectati omnes permulsique diui. Then.. denique mox ingressa atque eiusdem orbis sonuere concentus (909) In her right hand Harmony bore what appeared to be a shield. cum artis praecepta a se expeti examinandae eruditionis intentione conspiceret. paulum melicis temperans exhor- tante quoque Delio Palladeque sic coepit: (920) Hereupon a discussion ensued. THE RISE OF SEMIOTICS AND THE LIBERAL ARTS 549 dextra autem quoddam gyris multiplicibus circulatum et miris ductibus intertextum uelut clupeum gestitabat. sed ignota rotunditas omnium melod?as tran- scenderat organorum. Harmony turned to Jove and lending her voice to a new melody and meter. nee minor quippe ex fidibus suauitas quam uocis mo- dulamine resultabat ('Harmony's songs delighted and soothed the spir- its of all the gods. and from the circular chords there poured forth a concord of all the modes. with many inner circle. Harmony sings a hymn. ut in tarn dulcem eblanditam- que mollitiem intima mentium liquescat alfectio. a symphony swelled from the shield. Her songs are accompanied by the barbiton (and probably other instruments) because when the nar- rator resumes his report. After her appearance with instrumental music. the whole interwoven with remark- able configurations. Harmony changes her communication by giving in completely to language: denique qua industria comparatum quibusue assequendum ediscen- dumque opibus uigil cura repromittat.. Martianus lets Harmony forestall and displace Boethius's value hierarchy by performing her art. circu- lar overall. impossible to describe [by the story-teller]. uerum ille orbis non chelys nee barbiton nee tetrachordon apparebat.') (911).. tune egersimon ineffabile uirgo concludens ad Iouem reuersa aliis mo- dulis numerisque uoce etiam associata sic coepit ('Concluding this stirring symphony..

. there seems very lit- tle: one can do otherwise. . Harold S. where the regular mode of signification is the attri- 24) See. whose speech is reported. in quibus artis praecepta edissertare prohibitum ('[In heaven] I am forbidden to discourse on the precepts of my art. she and her music are encoded in the Latin language of Martianus Capella. to some musicologists no small resentment24). power and limits in representing music. Reinhard Schneider. she thus began her discourse. In the first case. The dispute can be settled only by a trans-systemic tertium which is a semiotics in itself.. what we have here is a textual construct to be dealt with not by semiotics of music. like the afore- mentioned semiotics of copula provided that it does not reduce and conflate all systems to symbolic logic at the expense of their textual- ity. 971). Fondamentsd'une s?miobgk de la musique(Paris 1975). One could say there are two roles played by Harmony. First she takes note. This can be glimpsed by Grammar's and Harmony's rivalry for the right to interpreting rhythm and tempus (326. a mun- cus. and then as a theorist. but by semiotics of language on music. she is the subject of the enunciated. Sibelius and Stravinsky(Approaches to Semiotics. Langage. No doubt. first as a performer.. Ethnomusicology 24 (1980). whose interpretations are always model-bound. which concludes the wedding pageantry within the frame. a cantor. 1-60. refraining somewhat from songs. Myth and Musk: A SemioticApproachto the Aestheticsof Myth in Music. Espeaally That of Wagner. Even in semiotics of music. which are indicated by two discursive registers. this will impose on the interpreter some limits. only language can be used in describing music. LanguageModeh and Musical Analysis. linguistic models are most commonly used. 550 HAN-LIANG CHANG ing the precepts of her art by way of putting her learning to test. at any event. Eero Tarasti.Munque. Powers. 51) (The Hague 1979). dramatized by the narrator Martianus.') (921). Nicholas Ruwet. or in Martianus' words. has challenged the consuming tradition of Western music criticism. I shall briefly discuss the first before dwelling on the second. What follows is a detailed exposition of the discipline she re- presents. However. Harmony's experience raises the problematics of language's legit- imacy. Jean- Jacques Nattiez. after his association with the Tel Quel group in the late sixties. homo grammaticus. but given the fact that inter- preters are homo loquens. Po?sie(Paris 1972). Whether enunciated or enunciating. the subject of enunciation. The later Barthes.. in the second. SemiotikderMusik: Darstellungund Kritik(M?nchen 1980). for example.

"an essentially mobile and extremely provisional articulation constituted by movements and their ephemeral stases [and]. 147-70. they evolved out of a proto-faculty which was pri- marily musical but ceased to be so when language discovered its double articulation28). Barthes calls for the liquidation of this type of music criticism because the music which one hears. Roudiez (New York 1984). quia per hoc spatium ante omnes prima uox quae juerit extenditur ('A tone is a magnitude of space. Musica Practica: The Social Practiceof WesternMusk from GregorianChant to Postmodernism (London 1994). which amounts to Peircian semiotic. and whether. it seems there is much negotiation to do between Peirce and the Tel Quel members like Barthes and Julia Kristeva. qui ideo tonus dictus. Semiotica. Non- redundancy because any sign is system-specific and semiotic systems 25) Note that the word ethos is Aristotelian. musica practica. Levman. and the discourse based on predication25). muscular. . (Compare this with Julia Kristeva's chora. 26) Julia Kristeva. thanks to the func- tion of copula. which the critic writes about. Barthes coins the expression 'grain of the voice' for songs. is manual. this materialistic view echos an idealistic. Ironically. trans. It is called a tone because the voice was the first of all sounds to be 'stretched' over this space') (960).trans.Ethnomusicology 36:2 (1992). a quality or character attributed to a tragedy or a work of art. and bodily. THE RISE OF SEMIOTICS AND THE LIBERAL ARTS 551 bution of a rhetorical ethos to a piece of performed music (1977: 181). as a recent study suggests. as the 'space' where language and music encounter (1977: 181)27). Special Supplement (1981). The Genesisof Musk and Language. phono- centric statement of Harmony: tonus est spatii magnitudo. is never the music which one plays.. Genette Ashby and Adelaide Russo. 25-7. depending on the way it is performed. Emile Benveniste has rightly pointed out the two principles regarding the relationships between semiotic sys- tems29).. 28) Bryant G. The first one is the principle of nonredundancy. The Semwbgy of Language. 5-23. 29) Emile Benveniste. And note further the act of attributing a quality to some- thing or the act of predicating a subject is a logical procedure. Revolutionin PoeticLanguage. The latter. Leon S. That ethos is often expressed by an adjective.) To displace the adjectival predicatory discourse of music criticism. but one may question whether this mortal coil is a sufficiently materialistic space as signi- fier where language and music encounter. analogous only to vocal and kinetic rhythm"26). 27) See also Michael Cha?an. and inscribed not in the symbolic order of language. On the sign function of music. Barthes's critique is well taken. In general.

If there were. specifically. the muted music cannot have an existence except in the semantic universe of the sec- ond signifying system. to read than Boethius. We take this to be a response to the Peircian copula and even the Jakobsonian referral. which follows from the first. say. One of the reasons is: it is a system of signifying units whereas other systems. see ?. The second principle. and then. It is not a perfect model and maybe a shaky link for the seven arts. If anything. That system is language. but only the semantic aspect of the former can be decoded to inform the audience of the stories of. an ekphrasis alluding perhaps to the shields of Achilles and Aeneas. Endymion and Phoebe. in the secondary sig- nifying system of genre. Martianus Capella's text is both difficult and easy. in Martianus and Boethius's world. . say. it would be a different kind. not known to us30). every nonlinguistic system must use language as the interpreting system. Going back to the representation of Harmony quoted above. What are precepts if not language? In a sense. more concerns our discussion here: The semiotic relationship between systems is expressed as the relationship between interpreting system and inter- preted system. not the other way around. such as music. synonymous or redun- dant" (Benveniste 1981: 12). That is. in this case. as a result. "Two systems can have the same sign in common without being. As Harmony's re- presentation demonstrates. or Orpheus and Eurydice because there is no semantic value in melody to transmit the story. but it is sufficient to undermine the disciplinary hierarchy and to interfere with the quadrivium's aspiration to transcendence. It is to be sure encoded both in lyrics and melody. is nonre- versible. are based on non-signifying units. and interpret other systems. There is only one semiotic system available. we see that as in all literary texts. the author has reinstated language's cen- 30) Powers (1980. Harmony complies with Jupiter's request to give her precepts which she was forbidden to do. The same is true with Harmony's song that immediately follows. the instrumental music from her multi-layered shield is doubly encoded.552 HAN-LIANG CHANG are therefore noninterchangeable. Finally. which can interpret itself by itself. The relationship between language and the other systems in a specific society. first in the primary signify- ing system of language. but certainly more interesting. 24).

5). mainly because of the literariness of his language expression. Let us conclude. but he is keenly aware of language's interference with other systems. One of his sources of music is Aristides Quintilianus. THE RISE OF SEMIOTICS AND THE LIBERAL ARTS 553 trai position in the seven arts by using it to model and interpret all of them. Martianus Capella has at his disposal a huge classical repertoire and therefore cannot claim originality in his knowledge of the seven arts. thus resulting in a multiply encod- ed mixed text. But on the other hand. though. his treatment is different from both31). 32) Peirce. whose function. including itself. His dis- cussion of propositional logic can be negotiated with Peirce (who incidentally acknowledges Martianus Capella in his 1867 Dictionary of Logic?a very rare reference indeed32). TAIPEI. 2. The text is in a different sense doubly encoded: first in the primary signifying system of language and then in the secondary system of literature. 108.vol. and even matrices are insert- ed into his language exposition. Taiwan. shapes and solids. first as a practitioner of literary semiotics. But here as elsewhere. probably the same as Boethius. . Peirce. Martianus Capella should have a place in two categories. which is very dif- ferent from Boethius on music and arithmetic where lots of number bases and patterns. Since all historians constantly invent ancestors. He may not have an explicit theory of language. With reference to Eco's proposals for a world history of semiotics. This is true of his account of all the math- ematical quadrivium. National Taiwan University 31) Chadwick (1981: 83-4. Martianus Capella's singularly encoded text is not so easy as it seems as far as the functions of language are concerned. might we do so by giving two examples to see his possible influence on later semioticians. see ?. and his formalization of Aristotelian categories of contradictories and contrarieties is the pro- totype of Algirdas-Julien Greimas's semiotic square?a topic yet unstudied but worthy our further inquiry. is purely referential. and then as a conscious thinker of signs. This makes his text difficult because he is said to have mobilized almost all known generic conventions and stylis- tic registers?whose appreciation will take the collaboration of a Latinist's linguistic competence and a semiotician's analytical rigor. Writingsof CharlesS. What we have is a singularly encoded text: exclusively in language except the semiotic square. Like all the other Latin encyclopedists.