Thursday, March 07, 2013



Dear Mike,
Gilbert Bagnani (b. Rome, 1900) was evidently no Rhoman. His native city had been founded by Lomulus and Lemus.

I can imagine Palladas revelling in any levelling of words for 'lust' and 'rust'. In fact, his unchivalrous summing-up of a woman's two excellent seasons, ἐν θαλάμῳ / ἐν θανάτῳ ('in bed and dead') in PA XI, 381, does something similar. He also addressed the thin r/l divide in PA ΧΙ, 323:
Ῥῷ καὶ λάμβδα μόνον κόρακας κολάκων διορίζει·
    λοιπὸν ταὐτὸ κόραξ βωμολόχος τε κόλαξ.
τοὔνεκά μοι, βέλτιστε, τόδε ζῷον πεφύλαξο,
    εἰδὼς καὶ ζώντων τοὺς κόλακας κόρακας.
Alcibiades' lambdacism (Aristophanes' Wasps 44 ff.) must be in the background here, repeated in Plutarch's Life (1,4):
τῇ δὲ φωνῇ καὶ τὴν τραυλότητα συμπρέψαι λέγουσι καὶ τῷ λάλῳ πιθανότητα παρασχεῖν χάριν ἐπιτρέχουσαν. μέμνηται δὲ καὶ Ἀριστοφάνης αὐτοῦ τῆς τραυλότητος ἐν οἷς ἐπισκώπτει Θέωρον·

εἶτ᾽ Ἀλκιβιάδης εἶπε πρός με τραυλίσας·
"ὁλᾷς Θέωλον; τὴν κεφαλὴν κόλακος ἔχει."
ὀρθῶς γε τοῦτ᾽ Ἀλκιβιάδης ἐτραύλισεν.
Best wishes,
Eric Thomson

Translation of Palladas by W.R. Paton:
Corakes (crows) and colakes (flatterers) are only distinguished by Rho and Lambda. Therefore a crow and a lick-spittle flatterer are the same thing. So, my good sir, beware of this beast, knowing that flatterers are crows that pick the living too.
Translation of the excerpt from Plutarch's life of Alcibiades by Robin Waterfield:
Aristophanes also mentions this lisp of his, in the passage where he makes fun of Theorus by saying:

A. Then Alcibiades said to me in his lisping voice:
'Look at Theolus in a laven's head! What a thing to blandish!'
B. Yes, Theorus certainly blandishes! Alcibiades and his lisp have got that right!

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