Saturday, October 28, 2006


Averting Evil

Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica 1.1132-1134 (tr. E.V. Rieu):
Jason, pouring libations on the blazing sacrifice, earnestly besought the goddess to send the stormy winds elsewhere.

Πολλὰ δὲ τήν γε λιτῆισιν ἀποστρέψαι ἐριώλας
Αἰσονίδης γουνάζετ' ἐπιλλείβων ἱεροῖσιν
Jason didn't ask the goddess Rhea (aka Cybele or Dindymene) simply to make the winds subside. He asked her to turn the winds away (ἀποστρέφω), to send them in a different direction.

In Greek and Latin literature petitioners sometimes beg the gods not to eliminate an evil altogether, but rather to transfer it from one place to another, or from one person to another.

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