Sunday, January 17, 2016


Star Gazing

Aratus, Phaenomena 469-476 (tr. A.W. Mair):
If ever on a clear night, when Night in the heavens shows to men all her stars in their brightness and no star is borne faintly gleaming at the mid-month moon, but they all sharply pierce the darkness—if in such an hour wonder rises in thy heart to mark on every side the heaven cleft by a broad belt, or if someone at thy side point out that circle set with brilliants—that is what men call the Milky Way.

εἴ ποτέ τοι νυκτὸς καθαρῆς, ὅτε πάντας ἀγαυοὺς
ἀστέρας ἀνθρώποις ἐπιδείκνυται οὐρανίη Νύξ,        470
οὐδέ τις ἀδρανέων φέρεται διχόμηνι σελήνῃ,
ἀλλὰ τά γε κνέφαος διαφαίνεται ὀξέα πάντα—εἴ
ποτέ τοι τημόσδε περὶ φρένας ἵκετο θαῦμα,
σκεψαμένῳ πάντη κεκεασμένον εὐρέϊ κύκλῳ
οὐρανόν, ἢ καί τίς τοι ἐπιστὰς ἄλλος ἔδειξεν        475
κεῖνο περιγληνὲς τροχαλόν, Γάλα μιν καλέουσιν.

471 διχόμηνι A: νεόμηνι MES
My "lesse Greek" led me to scratch my head over πάντη in line 474, thinking it should be πάντῃ, with an iota subscript beneath the eta. Liddell-Scott-Jones, s.v. πάντῃ, don't give πάντη as an alternate spelling, but Pape-Sengesbusch-Benseler do: "πάντη, auch πάντῃ."

On these lines see Emanuele Dettori, "Arat. 469-476: Una Risposta a Il. 8,555-559?", Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 151 (2008) 426-429. Here are the lines from the Iliad (8.555-559; tr. A.T. Murray, rev. William F. Wyatt):
Just as in the sky about the gleaming moon the stars shine clear when the air is windless, and into view come all mountain peaks and high headlands and glades, and from heaven breaks open the infinite air, and all the stars are seen, and the shepherd rejoices in his heart...

ὡς δ᾽ ὅτ᾽ ἐν οὐρανῷ ἄστρα φαεινὴν ἀμφὶ σελήνην
φαίνετ᾽ ἀριπρεπέα, ὅτε τ᾽ ἔπλετο νήνεμος αἰθήρ·
ἔκ τ᾽ ἔφανεν πᾶσαι σκοπιαὶ καὶ πρώονες ἄκροι
καὶ νάπαι· οὐρανόθεν δ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ὑπερράγη ἄσπετος αἰθήρ,
πάντα δὲ εἴδεται ἄστρα, γέγηθε δέ τε φρένα ποιμήν

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