Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Guest House

Sophocles, fragment 274 (tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones):
...the guesthouse that receives all...

πάνδοκος ξενόστασις
A.C. Pearson, The Fragments of Sophocles, Vol. I (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1917), p. 204, explains, "These words are simply the tragic periphrasis for an inn..." But they are sometimes understood to refer to Hades. With ξενόστασις in this sense compare Latin hospitium, and see Richmond Lattimore, Themes in Greek and Latin Epitaphs (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1962), p. 168, on "the notion that death or the tomb is an inn which receives all comers." Lattimore doesn't cite this fragment of Sophocles, but among his Latin examples is Carmina Epigraphica 1276 Buecheler, lines 7-8 (my translation):
Why are you in a hurry, stranger [or guest]? A familiar resting place has been prepared for you. This guest house is open to people everywhere at all times.

quid properas, [h]ospes? requies tibi nota parat[as]t,
  hospitium hoc populo semper ubique patet.

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