Saturday, January 19, 2013



Inscriptiones Graecae II² 10998 = Carmina Epigraphica Graeca 489 Hansen = Griechische Vers-Inschriften 1637 Peek (Acharnae in Attica, early 4th century B.C.):
Ares loved the brave, Commendation esteemed them,
    and Youth did not hand them over to Old Age for maltreatment.
Among these was Glauciades: keeping foes away from his fatherland
    he came to Persephone's all-receiving chamber.

τὸς ἀγαθὸς ἔστερξεν Ἄρης, ἐφίλησε δ' ἔπαινος
    καὶ γήραι νεότης οὐ παρέδωχ' ὑβρίσαι·
ὧγ καὶ Γ[λ]αυκιάδης δηίος ἀπὸ πατρίδος ἔργων
    ἦλθ' ἐπ[ὶ] πάνδεκτον Φερσεφόνης θάλ<α>μον.
When Wilamowitz quoted this epigram (in his commentary on Euripides, Herakles, line 638), he capitalized Ἔπαινος, Γήρᾳ, and Νεότης, as if they were personifications of abstractions, and so I've capitalized them in my translation.

Maybe there's an explanation of the accusative plural forms τὸς ἀγαθὸς (line 1) and δηίος (line 3) in Leslie Threatte, The Grammar of Attic Inscriptions, II: Morphology (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1996), § 11.041 "ο ~ ου in Greek words" (pp. 218 ff.), but the book is unavailable to me.

There's a Latin translation of the epigram in Ed. Cougny, Epigrammatum Anthologia Palatina cum Planudeis et Appendice Nova Epigrammatum Veterum ex Libris et Marmoribus, Vol. III (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1890), p. 109 (no. 127):
Bonos dilexit Mars, amavitque laus
    et senectuti juventus non tradidit contumelia afficiendos:
unde et Glauciades hostes a patria arcens
    ivit in omnia-recipientem Proserpinae thalamum.
For a free rendering in English verse, see Arthur Pott (1865-1920), "War Songs Old and New," United Empire. The Royal Colonial Institute Journal VI.3 (March 1915) 196-205 (at 200):
Honour and War have ever sought
    To make the brave their own
Ere Time could set their might at nought
    Or youth be overthrown.

He fought to keep his country free
    And this his worth attests—
He dwells with dark Persephone
    Her of the many guests.
Mimnermus, fragment 1, lines 5-10 (tr. M.L. West) reminds us of the maltreatment that old age has in store for those who outlive their youth:
                                     But when painful age
    comes on, that makes a man loathsome and vile,
malignant troubles ever vex his heart;
    seeing the sunlight gives him joy no more.
He is abhorred by boys, by women scorned;
    so hard a thing God made old age to be.

                                      ἐπεὶ δ᾽ ὀδυνηρὸν ἐπέλθῃ
    γῆρας, ὅ τ᾽ αἰσχρὸν ὁμῶς καὶ κακὸν ἄνδρα τιθεῖ,
αἰεί μιν φρένας ἀμφὶ κακαὶ τείρουσι μέριμναι,
    οὐδ᾽ αὐγὰς προσορῶν τέρπεται ἠελίου,
ἀλλ᾽ ἐχθρὸς μὲν παισίν, ἀτίμαστος δὲ γυναιξίν·
    οὕτως ἄργαλέον γῆρας ἔθηκε θεός.

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