Sunday, September 06, 2015


Book Lovers

Julian, Letter 23 (To Ecdicius, Prefect of Egypt, 362 A.D., tr. Wilmer C. Wright):
Some men have a passion for horses, others for birds, others, again, for wild beasts; but I, from childhood, have been penetrated by a passionate longing to acquire books.

Ἄλλοι μὲν ἵππων, ἄλλοι δὲ ὀρνέων, ἄλλοι δὲ θηρίων ἐρῶσιν· ἐμοὶ δὲ βιβλίων κτήσεως ἐκ παιδαρίου δεινὸς ἐντέτηκε πόθος.
The sentence is a neat, concise example of a priamel. Julian doesn't seem to be mentioned in William H. Race, The Classical Priamel from Homer to Boethius (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1982).

Here is a picture of a book-loving wild beast, in this case a monkey, from Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, ms. 1581, fol. 349v:

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