Tuesday, March 08, 2016


Hexameters Consisting Entirely of Words in Asyndeton: More Greek Examples

"Carmen Astrologicum," in Ernst Heitsch, ed., Die griechischen Dichterfragmente der römischen Kaiserzeit, Vol. II (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1964), pp. 43-44 (my rough translation; lines 7 and 9 consist entirely of nouns in asyndeton):
At the Olympian threshold seven far-roaming stars
revolve, and with them always Time comes round—
Moon shining by night, gloomy Kronos, sweet Sun,
Paphian goddess bearing the marriage bed, bold Ares, well-winged Hermes,
and chief progenitor Zeus, from whom Nature has sprung.        5
These same stars obtained as their portion the race of men, and in us are
Moon, Zeus, Ares, Paphian goddess, Kronos, Sun, Hermes;
therefore we have been assigned to draw in from upper air
tears, laughter, anger, birth, speech, sleep, desire.
Kronos is tears, Zeus is birth, Hermes is speech,        10
Ares is anger, Moon is sleep, Cytherea is desire,
and Sun is laughter; for rightly by him all
mortal understanding and the boundless universe laugh.

Ἑπτὰ πολυπλανέες κατ' ᾿Ολύμπιον ἀστέρες οὐδόν
εἱλεῦνται, μετὰ † τοῖσιν ἀεὶ δ᾿ ἐπινήσεται † αἰών.
νυκτιφανἠς Μήνη, στυγνὀς Κρόνος, Ἥλιος ἡδύς,
παστοφόρος Παφίη, θρασὺς Ἄρης, εὔπτερος Ἑρμῆς,
καἰ Ζεὺς ἀρχιγένεθλος, ἀφ' οὗ φύσις ἐβλάστησεν.        5
οἱ δ' αὐτοὶ μερόπων ἔλαχον γένος, ἔστι δ' ἐν ἡμῖν
Μήνη Ζεύς Ἄρης Παφίη Κρόνος Ἥλιος Έρμῆς·
τοὔνεκ' ἀπ' αἰθερίου μεμερίσμεθα πνεύματος ἕλκειν
δάκρυ γέλωτα χόλον γένεσιν λόγον ὕπνον ὄρεξιν.
δάκρυ μέν ἐστι Κρόνος, Ζεὺς <δ>' ἡ γένεσις, λόγος Ἑρμῆς,        10
θυμὸς Ἄρης, Μήνη δ' ἄρ' ὕπνος, Κυθέρεια δ' ὄρεξις,
Ἡέλιός τε γέλως· τούτῳ γὰρ ἅπασα δικαίως
καὶ θνητὴ διάνοια γελᾷ καὶ κόσμος ἀπείρων.
I translated Friedrich Jacobs' conjecture περινίσσεται in line 2; there may be a misprint in Heitsch's critical apparatus — for κακονιζεται I think κανονιζεται should be read instead (Heitsch in his apparatus seems to omit accents).

Ausonius 19.50 Peiper = 13.34 Green (on a marble statue of Corydon; my translation; the first line is a hexameter consisting entirely of nouns in asyndeton):
Goat, billy goat, bag, herdsman, staff-bearer, olive-tree—
one stone; from all of these am I, simple Corydon.

Αἲξ χίμαρος πήρη ποιμὴν ῥαβδοῦχος ἐλαίη
    εἷς λίθος· ἐκ πάντων λιτὸς ἐγὼ Κορύδων.
A charming miniature ekphrasis. In my mind's eye I see a statue (carved from a single block of marble) of a goat-herd, leaning on his staff, with a bag of food over his shoulder, and in his charge two goats, nibbling on wild olive. On εἷς λίθος cf. two anonymous monostichs in the Greek Anthology (9.759 and 9.760, tr. W.R. Paton):
Of one stone are chariot, charioteer, horses, yoke, reins, whip.

εἷς λίθος, ἅρμ᾿, ἐλατήρ, ἵπποι, ζυγόν, ἡνία, μάστιξ.

Of one stone are chariot, charioteer, horses, yoke, reins, and Victory.

εἷς λίθος, ἅρμ᾿, ἐλατήρ, πῶλοι, ζυγός, ἡνία, Νίκη.
There is a misprint in Hugh G. Evelyn-White's Loeb Classical Library edition of Ausonius, Vol. II (London: William Heinemann,1921), p. 186 (Greek for this poem) — in the first line the incorrect πήδη appears instead of πήρη. The mistake persists in the Digital Loeb Classical Library and in the Perseus Digital Library.

Greek Anthology 16.39 (by Arabius Scholasticus; tr. W.R. Paton; the first line is a hexameter consisting entirely of proper nouns in asyndeton):
The Nile, Persia, the Iberian, the Lycians, the West, Armenia, the Indians,
the Colchians near the crags of Caucasus,
and the burning plains of the widely-scattered Arabians,
are witnesses to the rapidly executed labours of Longinus;
and as he was on his journeys a swift minister of the Emperor,
so likewise was he swift in giving us peace which had lain in hiding.

Νεῖλος, Περσίς, Ἴβηρ, Σόλυμοι, Δύσις, Ἀρμενίς, Ἰνδοι,
    καὶ Κόλχοι σκοπέλων ἐγγύθι Καυκασιων,
καὶ πεδία ζείοντα πολυσπερέων Ἀγαρηνῶν
    Λογγίνου ταχινῶν μάρτυρές εἰσι πόνων,
ὡς δὲ ταχὺς βασιλῆϊ διάκτορος ἦεν ὁδεύων,        5
    καὶ ταχὺς εἰρήνην ὤπασε κευθομένην.

Thanks to Ian Jackson for sending me photocopies of the relevant pages in Heitsch's edition.

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