For those not in the know (and there aren't not a huge amount of people who are, let's be honest), the date of the Batrachomyomachia (Bat.), a poem that parodies Homer, is a very thorny issue. Back in 1916, Wackernagel wrote a very detailed lexical examination of the poem to conclude that it was most likely written in the 1st century BC/early 1st century AD. And he has not often been questioned since, with perhaps the notable exception of Bliquez in a 1977 article. However, more recently there has appeared a new contender in the debate - Romain Garnier - and what I would like to do here is to address his article, which suggests that the poem was in fact written by Lucian.
First of all, I should outline his lines of argument, and I hope, despite not agreeing with them, that I shall not fail to do them justice in their own right. He says that the author of the Bat., whoe'er he be, is clear cognisant of Homeric language and of the Homeric Hymns; he also knows some Hesiod, Callimachus, and the enigmatic style of the Hellenistic Anthology. This, however, we all already know (I would explain but it would take too long).
This author also knows some Latin, as in the poem we find the use of pterna as meaning "ham" from the Latin perna, rather than the usual Greek meaning of talon. We also find what he calls "hebraisms", the use of the verb ischuô + infin. as well as the verb knaiô, which are found in the Septuagint.
Also to consider is the dominant Attic style of Greek, just like we find in Lucian, as well as references in the poem to Lucian's Dialogues of the gods, such as Athena's money problems, the headaches, and the general presentation of the gods is ridiculous. From all this evidence, he says, the author can be none other than Lucian himself ('pour toutes ces raisons, il n'est pas exclu de penser que l'auteur de la Batr. ne soit autre que Lucien lui-même').
With all that laid out, I suppose one or two of you (so most of you), will be wondering what my objections to these arguments are. Maybe not, but they are the point of my writing this blog, so tally ho. Of the first paragraph of arguments, all I can say is that we already knew the author was aware of these authors, and we have been for quite some time. Never before has it led us to conclude any differently from Wackernagel, as even the latest of these authors (Callimachus and the Anth.) are 3rd cent. BC.
Next up are the claims about the Latin and Hebrew connections. Unfortunately, and misleadingly, Garnier does not tell us much about the time periods of these connections. Taking perna first, I see no reason why its influence in constructing a new meaning for pterna takes the dating of the poem any further forward in time than Wackernagel's suggestion, as perna is widely found in the poetry of Plautus in the late 3rd cent. BC (Mil. Glor. A3S1.162, Stich. A2S2.36, Capt. A4S2.70, A4S3 3, 8, Pseud. A1S2.34, Pers. A1S3.25, Curc. A2S3.44, 88). As for the use of ischuô that evolved from the time of the Septuagint, I propose the same objection, as the Septuagint was written, at the very broadest dating, sometime between the end of the 3rd cent. and end of the 1st cent. BC (through the evidence of papyri and Aristeas). So neither of these proposals require us to date the poem any later than Wackernagel's suggestion.
All that remains is to discuss the Attic style and the "reference" to Lucian. First of all, there is no reason to suppose that an Attic style necessitates Lucianic authorship, since even Lucian's Attic style was adopted as a literary technique because Attic was considered "the most/best Greek", not to mention the possibility that it simply could have been written by an Athenian citizen/for an Athenian audience. This leaves me with the reference in the poem to Lucian's Dialogues of the gods. First of all, Garnier does not make it clear in his article why Lucian might choose to make almost precisely the same jokes as he had done in another text. Secondly, it strikes me that there is no good reason to suppose that the Bat. could not have been written in the 1st cent. BC/AD by person unknown, and subsequently referenced by Lucian in the 2nd Cent. AD.
That, I hope, deals with all of the arguments Garnier puts forward of his own accord as to why he believes Lucian to be the author of the Bat. Now, and finally, I want to put forward some evidence not cited by him - the external evidence for the poem. This evidence consists of references to the poem by Martial (Epig. 14.183 - perlege Maeonio cantatas carmine ranas), Statius (Praef. ad Silv. 1 - legimus... Batrachomachiam), and Ps.-Herodotus (Vit. Hom. 24), all of which were likely written before Lucian.
In conclusion, therefore, I suggest a date for when the Batrachomyomachia was not written - the second century AD - and that it was not written by Lucian.