Sunday, November 22, 2015


Beatus Vir

Euripides, Cyclops 495-502 (tr. David Kovacs):
Happy the man who shouts the Bacchic cry, off to the revel, the well-beloved juice of the vine putting the wind in his sails. His arm is around his trusty friend, and he has waiting for him the fresh, young body of his voluptuous mistress upon her bed, and with his locks gleaming with myrrh he says, "Who will open the door for me?"

μάκαρ ὅστις εὐιάζει        495
βοτρύων φίλαισι πηγαῖς
ἐπὶ κῶμον ἐκπετασθεὶς
φίλον ἄνδρ᾿ ὑπαγκαλίζων
ἐπὶ δεμνίοισί τ᾿ ἄνθος
χλιδανᾶς ἔχων ἑταίρας,        500
μυρόχριστον λιπαρὸς βό-
στρυχον, αὐδᾷ δέ· θύραν τίς οἴξει μοι;

495 μάκαρ Hermann: μακάριος L
497 ἐπὶ κῶμον L: ἐπίκωμος Wilamowitz
499 δεμνίοισί τ᾿ ἄνθος Meineke: δεμνίοις τε ξανθὸν L
500 χλιδανᾶς Diggle: χλιδανῆς L
501 μυρόχριστον Musgrave: μυρόχριστος L, λιπαρὸς L: λιπαρὸν Scaliger
I don't have access to Richard Seaford's commentary. Notes to myself:

497 ἐκπετασθεὶς: aorist passive participle of ἐκπετάννυμι = spread out, e.g. of a sail, scatter, here "wholly given up to the revel" (Liddell-Scott-Jones). Eric Thomson (via email) remarks on the nautical turn of phrase, "It reminded me of the idiom 'three sheets to the wind'."

501 μυρόχριστον: a hapax legomenon

502 θύραν: understood sensu obsceno by some, e.g. Jeffrey Henderson, The Maculate Muse: Obscene Language in Greek Comedy, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 245, but I think the exclusus amator is just asking the doorkeeper for admittance to the beloved's house. For commands to slaves expressed with the use of an indefinite or interrogative pronoun see Nisbet and Hubbard, commentary on Horace, Odes 2.11.18-20 (where this line from Euripides is cited).

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