Sunday, December 06, 2015


Sillier than Praxilla's Adonis

Praxilla, fragment 1, preserved in Zenobius, Proverbs 4.21 (i 89 Leutsch-Schneidewin; tr. David A. Campbell):
'Sillier than Praxilla's Adonis': used of stupid people. Praxilla of Sicyon was a lyric poetess, according to Polemon. In her hymn this Praxilla represents Adonis as being asked by those in the underworld what was the most beautiful thing he left behind when he came, and giving as his answer:
The most beautiful thing I leave behind is the sun's light;
second, the shining stars and the moon's face;
also ripe cucumbers and apples and pears.
For anyone who lists cucumbers and the rest alongside sun and moon can only be regarded as feeble-minded.

ἠλιθιώτερος τοῦ Πραξίλλης Ἀδώνιδος· ἐπὶ τῶν ἀνοήτων. Πράξιλλα Σικυωνία μελοποιὸς ἐγένετο, ὥς φησι Πολέμων· αὕτη ἡ Πράξιλλα τὸν Ἄδωνιν ἐν τοῖς ὕμνοις εἰσάγει ἐρωτώμενον ὑπὸ τῶν κάτω τί κάλλιστον καταλιπὼν ἐλήλυθεν, ἐκεῖνον δὲ λέγοντα οὕτως·
κάλλιστον μὲν ἐγὼ λείπω φάος ἠελίοιο,
δεύτερον ἄστρα φαεινὰ σεληναίης τε πρόσωπον
ἠδὲ καὶ ὡραίους σικύους καὶ μῆλα καὶ ὄγχνας.
εὐηθὴς γάρ τις ἴσως ὁ τῷ ἡλίῳ καὶ τῇ σελήνῃ τοὺς σικύους καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ συναριθμῶν.
I'm sillier than, or at least as silly as, Praxilla's Adonis. His words, I think, would make a good epitaph.

Some manuscripts have figs (σῦκα) instead of cucumbers (σικύους).

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