Sunday, December 18, 2005


Knock, Knock

Rob Larity (via email) adds another parallel to the collection of classical analogues to Revelation 3:20, this one from Horace, Odes 1.4.13-14: "Pale Death knocks with indiscriminate foot at the hovels of the poor and the towers of kings." (pallida Mors aequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas / regumque turris).

Although possibly a personification here, Mors is listed as a goddess in Cicero, On the Nature of the Gods 3.44. Nisbet and Hubbard in their commentary on Horace's Odes cite further parallels:The passage from Callimachus seems like an especially good parallel, but I would like to see the context. I don't own a text of Callimachus and there are apparently no texts available on the Internet.

Dennis Mangan (also via email) draws my attention to Sto ad osium at the blog Compostela, where the myth of Philemon and Baucis is mentioned in this connection. The gods do visit an elderly couple and enter beneath their roof in that myth, but there is no knocking at the door, at least in Ovid's treatment of the tale. Compostela's post is well worth reading, though.

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