Saturday, September 30, 2006


Agathias Scholasticus on Latrines

Greek Anthology 9.642 (tr. W.R. Paton):
All the extravagance of mortals and their expensive dishes excreted here have lost their previous charm. The pheasants and fishes, and the mixtures pounded in the mortar, and all that variety of kickshaws, become here dung. The belly rids itself of all that the ravenous gullet took in, and at length a man sees that in the pride of his foolish heart he spent so much gold on nothing but dust.

Πᾶν τὸ βροτῶν σπατάλμα καὶ ἡ πολύολβος ἐδοδὴ
  ἐνθάδε κρινομένη τὴν πρὶν ὄλεσσε χάριν.
οἱ γὰρ φασιανοί τε καὶ ἰχθύες ἅ θ' ὑπὲρ ἴγδιν
  τρίψιες ἤ τε τόση βρωματομιξαπάτη
γίνεται ἐνθάδε κόπρος· ἀποσσεύει δ' ἄρα γαστήρ
  ὁππόσα πειναλέη δέξατο λαυκανίη.
ὀψὲ δὲ γινώσκει τις ὅτ' ἄφρονα μῆτιν ἀείρων
  χρυσοῦ τοσσατίου τὴν κόνιν ἐπρίατο.
Greek Anthology 9.643 (tr. Paton):
Why do you moan with the headache and groan bitterly for the heaviness you feel all over, and keep on smacking your belly, thinking to force out the work of your jaws? You would never have had all this trouble and labour if you had not largely exceeded yourself at table. When you are lying there guzzling you have a high opinion of yourself, and delight your palate with the viands, deeming that happiness. But here you are in distress, and your belly only gets many smacks to pay for the sins of your gullet.

Τί στενάχεις κεφαλὴν κεκακωμένος; ἐς τί δὲ πικρὰ
  οἰμώζεις, μελέων πάγχυ βαρυνομένων;
ἐς τί δὲ γαστέρα σεῖο ῥαπίσμασιν ἀμφιπατάσσεις,
  ἐκθλίψαι δοκέων μάστακος ἐργασίην;
μόχθων τοσσατίων οὔ σοι χρέος, εἰ παρὰ δαιτὶ
  μὴ τοῦ ἀναγκαίου πουλὺ παρεξετάθης.
ἀλλ' ἐπὶ μὲν στιβάδος φρονέεις μέγα καὶ στόμα τέρπεις
  βρώμασιν, εὐτυχίην κεῖνα λογιζόμενος·
ἐνθάδε δ' ἀσχάλλεις, μούνη δ' ἀλιτήματα λαιμοῦ
  ἡ γαστὴρ τίνει πολλάκι τυπτομένη.
Greek Anthology 9.644 (tr. Paton):
Blest are you, long-suffering labourer! You have only to put up, all your life, with the pains of hoeing and poverty. Simple are your meals, and you sleep in the woods, after satisfying your throat's vast thirst for water. Yet you are perfectly sound, and sitting here for a few moments lighten your belly. You don't rub down the lower part of your spine, or beat your thighs, but you get rid of the burden naturally. They are in evil case, the rich and those who associate with them, whom feasting pleases more than sound health.

Εὖγε, μάκαρ τλήθυμε γεωπόνε· σοὶ βίος αἰεὶ
  μίμνειν καὶ σκαπάνης ἄλγεα καὶ πενίης·
λιτὰ δέ σοι καὶ δεῖπνα καὶ ἐν ξυλόχοισι καθεύδεις,
  ὕδατος ἐμπλήσας λαιμὸν ἀμετροπότην.
ἔμπης ἀρτίπος ἐσσὶ καὶ ἐνθάδε βαιὰ καθεσθεὶς
  αὐτίκα γαστέρα σὴν θῆκας ἐλαφροτάτην·
οὐδὲ καταψήχεις ἱερὴν ῥάχιν οὐδέ τι μηροὺς
  τύπτεις, αὐτομάτως φόρτον ἀπωσάμενος.
τλήμονες οἱ πλουτοῦντες, <ἀεὶ> πυκινοῖσι συνόντες,
  οἷς πλέον ἀρτεμίης εὔαδεν εἰλαπίνη.
Greek Anthology 9.662 (tr. Paton):
I am a place formerly hideous, divided by brick walls, and here the bellies of strangers, natives, and countrymen thunderously relieved themselves. But Agathias, the father of the city, transformed me and made me distinguished instead of most ignoble.

Χῶρος ἐγὼ τὸ πρὶν μὲν ἔην στυγερωπὸς ἰδέσθαι,
  πηλοδόμοις τοίχοις ἀμφιμεριζόμενος.
ἐνθάδε δὲ ξείνων τε καὶ ἐνδαπίων καὶ ἀγροίκων
  νηδὺς ἐπεγδούπει λύματα χευομένη.
ἀλλὰ πατήρ με πόληος ἐναλλάξας Ἀγαθίας
  θῆκεν ἀρίζηλον τὸν πρὶν ἀτιμότατον.

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