Friday, January 18, 2013


A Poem Addressed to Pan

C.F.H. Bruchmann, Epitheta Deorum quae apud Poetas Graecos Leguntur (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1893), has a few pages (pp. 185-189) devoted to Greek poetic epithets of Pan, but Latin epithets for the god fill less than one page in Jesse Benedict Carter, Epitheta Deorum quae apud Poetas Latinos Leguntur (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1902), p. 81.

The list of Latin epithets for Pan would be even shorter, if it weren't for the fact that most of them come from a single poem, in Poetae Latini Minores, ed. E. Baehrens, Vol. III (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1881), p. 170, also in Anthologia Latina, edd. F. Buecheler and A. Riese, Pars I, Fasc. II, 2nd ed. (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1906), p. 158 (no. 682). The poem consists entirely of a series of vocatives (48 in all) addressed to Pan:
Rustice lustrivage capripes cornute bimembris
Cinyphie hirpigena pernix caudite petulce
Saetiger indocilis agrestis barbare dure
Semicaper villose fugax periure biformis
Audax brute ferox pellite incondite mute        5
Silvicola instabilis saltator perdite mendax
Lubrice ventrisonax inflator stridule anhele
Hirte hirsute biceps fallax niger hispide sime
Scabrens ariole spurce bruticle fatucle!

2 hirpigena: hircigena dubitanter A. Riese
7 ventrisonax E. Baehrens: ventisonax codd.
8 hispide sime L. Mueller: hispidissime codd.
9 scabrens E. Baehrens: scrans codd.; ariole W.A.B. Hertzberg: aridus iole codd.; bruticle E. Baehrens: brutiole vel bruciole codd.; fatucle W.A.B. Hertzberg: fatude vel fataucle codd.
A tentative English translation:
Rustic, forest-wandering, goat-footed, horned, with two sets of limbs,
Cinyphian, wolf-born, quick, with a tail, butting with horns,
Bristle-bearing, untamed, wild, barbarous, hard,
Half-goat, shaggy, fleet, lying, two-shaped,
Bold, irrational, fierce, covered with a hide, uncouth, silent,        5
Forest-dwelling, changeable, leaping, wanton, untruthful,
Slippery, belly-speaking, cheek-puffing, whistling, wheezing,
Hairy, hirsute, two-headed, deceitful, black, prickly, snub-nosed,
Scabby, prophetic, unclean, brutish, fate-speaking!
A few remarks on this curious poem:

1 bimembris: Pan is said to have two sets of limbs, because he's half man, half goat in appearance. Cf. biformis (line 4) and perhaps also biceps (line 8).

2 Cinyphian means from the region of the river Cinyps in Libya. Vergil, Georgics 3.312, mentions the Cinyphians in connection with goats.

2 caudite: According to J.N. Adams, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982; rpt. 1993), pp. 35-37, cauda = penis is firmly attested only in Horace, and so Adams rejects a sexual meaning for codatus in Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum IV.6240, from Pompeii: Cn(aeum) Helvium / Sabinum aed(ilem) d(ignum) r(ei) p(ublicae) o(ro) v(os) f(aciatis) Masculus cum codatis ubiq(ue). But could caudite have such a meaning here? Pan was notoriously randy and was often pictured in art with his membrum virile showing. On the other hand, he was also pictured with a goat's tail.

2 hirpigena: The Sabine word for wolf is hirpus. By some accounts, Pan was descended from Lykaon ("Wolfman"). See Edwin L. Brown, "The Lycidas of Theocritus' Idyll 7," Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 85 (1981) 59-100 (at 66-68). If Riese's conjecture hircigena is adopted, it would mean goat-born. Cf. ignigena (fire-born, of Bacchus), nubigena (cloud-born, of the Centaurs), nymphigena (nymph-born, of Achilles), etc.

7 If Baehrens' ventrisonax is read, could it mean flatulent? Among gods known to have broken wind are Pan's father Hermes, Priapus, Dionysus, and Lamia: see Noctes Scatologicae: Divine Flatulence and Holy Ordures.

7 inflator stridule anhele: These epithets refer to Pan's playing on his musical instrument, the Pan pipes.

9 Servius on Vergil, Aeneid 7.47 (my translation): There is a certain god named Fatulcus, whose wife is Fatua. They are identical with Faunus and Fauna. Moreover, Faunus and Fauna are so called from prophesying, i.e. fate-speaking. From the same root we say that people are fatuous who speak thoughtlessly (quidam deus est Fatuclus. huius uxor est Fatua. idem Faunus et eadem Fauna. dicti autem sunt Faunus et Fauna a vaticinando, id est fando, unde et fatuos dicimus inconsiderate loquentes).

I don't have access to Gerald Kölblinger, "Versus Panos und De rustico," Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch 8 (1973) 7-27, or to Scevola Mariotti, "Versus Panos (Anth. Lat. 682 Riese), 9" in Mnemosynum. Studi in onore di Alfredo Ghiselli (Bologna: Patron, 1989), pp. 411-413.

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