Friday, June 30, 2017
Blogging, looking sullen.—Vide supra, Apurt.Id., p. 34:
Apurt, sullen;—disdainfully silent, with a glouting look;—in a sour dogged disposition.Id., p. 39:
Glumping, looking sullen; dark and lowering, gloomy or glum.Id., p. 43:
Muggard and muggaty, sullen and displeased, at a real or supposed affront.Id., p. 45:
To Purt, Purtee, or be Apurt; to sit silent and sullen.I've been blogging most of my life, without even realizing it.
Hat tip: Eric Thomson.
Things That Make Life Worth Living
He lived 52 years. To the Spirits of the Dead of Tiberius Claudius Secundus. He has everything with him here in his tomb. Baths, wine, and sex corrupt our bodies, but baths, wine, and sex make life worth living. Merope, slave of the emperor, made this for her dear slave husband [contubernalis] as well as for herself and their descendants.The Latin:
V(ixit) an(nos) LIII don't have access to I. Kajanto, "Balnea Vina Venus," in Hommages à Marcel Renard, ed. Jacqueline Bibauw (Brussels: Latomus, 1969), vol. II, pp. 357-367.
Ti(beri) Claudi Secundi
hic secum habet omnia
balnea vina Venus
nostra se<t> vitam faciunt
b(alnea) v(ina) V(enus)
fec(it) Merope Caes(aris)
et sibi et suis p(osterisque) e(orum)
Related post: That's the Life.
It is a little bit tempting to represent him as a sort of proto-environmentalist. Certainly there is at points an unmistakeably green tinge to his ideas. He squarely accuses man of poisoning his environment. His contemplation of the variety of plants, their number, flowers, colours, scents, and juices, leads him to champion the cause of Nature. Are not poisons a design fault of Nature? But it is man who discovered poisons. Animals use their natural weapons (tusks, etc.), but only man uses poison. We poison our arrows, we poison our rivers and the very elements of nature, we turn the means of life to destruction (18.1-3). Even worse than the abuse of poison, in Pliny's view, is mining.
We excavate every fibre of the earth, and live above the cavities. Can we be surprised if it occasionally gapes open and quakes? As if this couldn't be a sign of indignation expressed by our sacred parent. (33.1)Or again, he contrasts the rest of the natural world, which has been created for the sake of man, with the mountains, which nature created for her own sake, as a framework to give solidity to the guts of the earth, and to control the force of rivers and seas. Yet man by mining quarries away this protective frame (36.1).
Environmentalism is a useful analogy. It serves to remind us that the issue of man's relationship with nature is one which may properly engage a scientist, and which may indeed fuel some of the passion behind his work. But the Plinian framework is different. Pollution is not the issue, the ozone layer is not under threat. And though in part the antitheses are the same, of the natural balance of a self-regulating ecological system versus human greed, profit-making, and abuse, the key element in Pliny's equation is one of little importance to us, namely luxury.
I Love a Chiruping Glass, Free from Incursions of State-Politicks
As Times go, I think it no great Crime to own, that now and then, when Business will permit, I love a chiruping Glass, in the Company of such Friends to whom my own may be acceptable; and the better to prevent all impertinent Chit Chat, and the little Feuds and Controversies that are too apt to arise, at present, about Dukes and Doctors, Dutch Memorials, the Changes of the Ministry, and many other epidemical Fanaticisms, that have wormeaten the Brains of the whole Nation, having a musical Genius, I am seldom unfurnish'd with some Madrigal or other, proper to preserve an innocent Mirth from the modish Incursions of State-Politicks, to which almost every Trading Citizen is become a noisy Pretender...
Thursday, June 29, 2017
An Unbridled Tongue
Proper correction will come from one "actuated by good will, devoting himself intelligently and diligently to philosophy, steadfast in principle, careless of what people think of him, immune from any tendency to demagoguery, free from spitefulness, saying only what fits the occasion, and not likely to be carried away so as to revile, jeer, belittle, injure feelings, or resort to tricks of wanton acquiescence or flattery (Ib, 2-13)." The opposite will be expected of one "with an unbridled tongue, prone to blame others, light-minded so as to be incensed at slight affronts, bickersome, truculent, or bitter (IIb, 1-7)."See also Philodemus, On Frank Criticism. Introduction, Translation, and Notes by David Konstan et al. (1998; rpt. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 2007), pp. 92-95.
A Significant Contribution to Human Happiness
[U]ntil Nero's time the only safe way to add water to wine was to add it recently boiled, still hot. The Romans knew this, although, unaware of microbes, they had no idea why it was. They liked to add ice to wine, and even carried snow to Rome and stored it there for the purpose, but they knew that it would sometimes make them ill. Nero's great idea was to boil water, to seal it in a jar, and then to embed the jar in snow. This produced ice-cold water that was more or less sterilized, to add to wine, and I think it will be agreed that it was a significant contribution to human happiness, or at least to the happiness of those in Rome who could afford large quantities of snow in summer.
I am not alone in believing this to be one of Nero’s greatest achievements. Nero himself thought as I do, to judge from the fact that his great invention was at the front of his mind on his very last day on Earth. Expecting to be captured at any moment, Nero was hiding alone in a garden not far from Rome. Lacking any other supplies, 'he scooped up water from a pool to drink from his cupped hands. "Here is Nero's very own iced water," he said' (Nero 48). Whatever Suetonius' immediate source, the story, if true, must come from the memories of the few slaves who had remained with Nero during his flight.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Plenty of Gold in Them Thar Hills
Finally, I want to express an opinion on a matter that I have heard discussed all my academic life. The fields of study in the classics, it is asserted, have been exhausted; there are no more worlds to conquer. Nothing could be less true. There is still plenty of gold in them thar hills, not to mention the newer metals more precious than gold. The fact is that there can be no exhaustion of material in the humanities, since their business is with values, which are not only enduring but many-faceted.
At daybreak, when loth to rise, have this thought ready in thy mind: I am rising for a man’s work. Am I then still peevish that I am going to do that for which I was born and for the sake of which I came into the world? Or was I made for this, that I should nuzzle under the bed-clothes and keep myself warm? But this is pleasanter. Hast thou been made then for pleasure?
Ὄρθρου ὅταν δυσόκνως ἐξεγείρῃ, πρόχειρον ἔστω, ὅτι "ἐπὶ ἀνθρώπου ἔργον ἐγείρομαι·" ἔτι οὖν δυσκολαίνω, εἰ πορεύομαι ἐπὶ τὸ ποιεῖν, ὧν ἕνεκεν γέγονα, καὶ ὧν χάριν προῆγμαι εἰς τὸν κόσμον; ἢ ἐπὶ τοῦτο κατεσκεύασμαι, ἵνα κατακείμενος ἐν στρωματίοις ἐμαυτὸν θάλπω; "Ἀλλὰ τοῦτο ἥδιον." πρὸς τὸ ἥδεσθαι οὖν γέγονας;
That idea is certainly seen on a smaller scale in a group of table settings from another house in the city: four elderly men, naked, with long dangling penises, each supporting a small tray, for holding appetisers, titbits or any dainty food (Plate 12). Part of this design has had a surprising afterlife: overlooking the dangling penises, a well-known Italian kitchenware company is now marketing an expensive mock-up of this very tray.
The four bronze statuettes are from the House of the Ephebe, I.vii.10-12, Pompeii (Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli, inv. 143760). For a detailed analysis see Sylvain Vanesse, "Between Street Vendors, Singing Slaves, and Envy," Chronika 6 (2016) 15-25.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Nothing Can Endure Forever
I add remarks on a few other inscriptions in Mr Lommatzsch's supplement to Buecheler.See also (apparently independently) F.A. Todd, "Two Pompeian Metrical Inscriptions," Classical Review 53.5/6 (November-December, 1939) 168-170 (at 170):
2292, p. 155, lately exhumed at Pompei.
nihil durare potest tempore perpetuo.Mr Lommatzsch appends this note:
cum bene sol nituit, redditur oceano.
decrescit Phoebe, quae modo plena fuit.
Venerum feritas saepe fit dura leuis.
'1 lege nil. u. 1-3 aliunde sumptos credas (ex poeta neoterico?), si reputes quam rudis iste fuerit poeta in u. 4. Veneres inuenit Catullus.'The first three verses show clearly how to correct the sense, language, and metre of the fourth. What the man meant to write was
uentorum feritas saepe fit aura leuis.
It is with no sinful pride in my sagacity that I offer the correctionThe graffito (now lost) is Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum IV 9123, translated by Kristina Milnor, Graffiti and the Literary Landscape in Roman Pompeii (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 69, as follows:
VENTORVM feritas saepe fit AVRA leuiswhich I made on first reading the inscription in Della Corte's New Excavations (p. 80).
Nothing is able to endure forever;Id., p. 70:
Once the sun has shone brightly, it returns to the ocean;
The moon grows smaller, who just now was full;
The savagery of the winds often becomes a light breeze.
I think that Marcello Gigante, "Cultura in Pompei antica," Cronache pompeiane 1 (1975) 25-47 (at ?), conjectured Austrorum as the first word of the fourth line. See also his Civiltà delle forme letterarie nell'antica Pompei (Naples: Bibliopolis, 1979), p. 238. Both are unavailable to me.
Two Crappy Poems
Simon Lemnius (1511-1550), "In M. Lutherum," lines 1-8, tr. Lyndal Roper, Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet (New York: Random House, 2017), p. 365:
You suffer yourself from dysentery and you scream when you shit, and that which you wished on others you now suffer yourself. You called others shitters, now you have become a shitter and are richly blessed with shit. Earlier anger opened your crooked mouth, now your arse opens the load of your stomach. Your anger didn't just come out of your mouth — now it flows from your backside.The entire Latin poem, from Lemnius' Epigrammaton Libri III (1538), unpaginated (line numbers added):
Ipse dysenteriam pateris clamasque cacando,
Quamque aliis optas euenit illa tibi.
Dumque cacatores clamas, tu nenpe cacator
Factus es, et merda diues es ipse tua.
Ante tibi rabies distorta resoluerat ora, 5
Et soluit culus iam tibi uentris onus.
Noluit haec tantum rabies e faucibus ire,
Nunc etiam natibus perfluit illa tuis.
Non poterat fundi pestis tibi tanta labellis,
Vnde tamen rumpat repperit illa uiam. 10
Sed puto rumpetur citius tibi uenter et exta,
Exeat e culo quam tibi tanta lues.
Since Roper didn't translate the last four lines (9-12), here's my rough rendering:
So great a plague couldn't be expelled from your lips, however it found a path from which it could break out. But I suppose your stomach and guts will burst before so great a pestilence exits from your arsehole.Here is Martin Luther's response, "Dysenteria Lutheri in Merdipoetam Lemchen," tr. Carl P.E. Springer, "Martin Luther, the Oreads of Wittenberg, and Sola Gratia," in Acta Conventus Neo-Latini Abulensis. Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies, Avila 4-9 August 1997 (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2000 = Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 207), pp. 611-618 (translation pp. 612-613, n. 8, Latin text p. 613; line numbers added to Latin text):
How well your cause and your poetry are matched, Lemchen! Your cause is manure, your poetry is manure. Lemchen, the man of manure, was worthy of a song of manure, for nothing but manure is fitting for a poet of manure. O unhappy the prince whom you praise with your song of manure, whom you yourself befoul with your manure. You press manure from your bowels and you would like to produce all on your own a large bowel movement, but you produce nothing, O poet of manure. But if a penalty worthy of your deserts follows you, your corpse will be a miserable pile of manure for the crows.This is a careful translation, although I might render res in the first two lines as as "subject matter" rather than "cause".
Quam bene conveniunt tibi res et carmina, Lemchen!
Merda tibi res est, carmina merda tibi.
Dignus erat Lemchen merdosus carmine merdae,
Nam vatem merdae nil nisi merda decet.
Infelix princeps, quem laudas carmine merdae! 5
Merdosum merda quem facis ipse tua.
Ventre urges merdam vellesque cacare libenter
Ingentem, facis at, merdipoeta, nihil.
At meritis si digna tuis te poena sequatur,
Tu miserum corvis merda cadaver eris. 10
Labels: noctes scatologicae
Path to Greatness
The only way for us to become great, and, if indeed it is possible, inimitable, is through the imitation of the ancients...
Der einzige Weg für uns, groß, ja, wenn es möglich ist, unnachahmlich zu werden, ist die Nachahmung der Alten...
Monday, June 26, 2017
Pliny the Elder
Not everybody shares my enthusiasm for the elder Pliny. We all have a nodding acquaintance with the Natural History, but few wish to pursue the relationship to the level of intimacy. Critics who care for the purity of Latin prose take a particularly dim view of him. Eduard Norden's verdict in Die antike Kunstprosa (i.314) is much cited: 'His work belongs, from the stylistic point of view, to the very worst which we have.' This negative judgement was firmly endorsed by Frank Goodyear in the Cambridge History of Latin Literature:
Pliny is one of the prodigies of Latin literature, boundlessly energetic and catastrophically indiscriminate, wide-ranging and narrow-minded, a pedant who wanted to be a popularizer, a sceptic infected by traditional sentiment, and an aspirant to style who can hardly frame a coherent sentence.Not that Goodyear would have us ignore him. On the contrary, he serves as a deterrent exemplum of all that is frightful in Latin prose:
Students of Latin language and style neglect Pliny at their peril. Here, better than in most other places, we may see the contortions and obscurities, the odd combinations of preciosity and baldness, and the pure vacuity to which rhetorical prose, handled by any but the most talented, could precipitously descend and would indeed often descend again.
What is more sacred, what more inviolably hedged about by every kind of sanctity, than the home of every individual citizen? Within its circle are his altars, his hearths, his household gods, his religion, his observances, his ritual; it is a sanctuary so holy in the eyes of all, that it were sacrilege to tear an owner therefrom.John Bodel, "Cicero's Minerva, Penates, and the Mother of the Lares: An Outline of Roman Domestic Religion," in Household and Family Religion in Antiquity, edd. John Bodel and Saul M. Olyan (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2008), pp. 248-275 (at p. 269, n. 14, with my correction):
quid est sanctius, quid omni religione munitius quam domus unius cuiusque civium? hic arae sunt, hic foci, hic di penates, hic sacra, religiones, caerimoniae continentur; hoc perfugium est ita sanctum omnibus ut inde abripi neminem fas sit.
A law code promulgated by the emperor Theodosius in 392 CE explicitly prohibited private veneration of the Lares, Penates, and the genius (of the head of the household): Codex Theodosianus 16.10.12. For earlier Christian polemic against traditional domestic worship, see, e.g., Tertullian, Apology, 13.4; Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 2.24.12–13; Jerome, Against Isiah [sic, should be Commentary on Isaiah], 16.57.7.Clyde Pharr's translation of the edict from the Theodosian Code, followed by the Latin:
No person at all, of any class or order whatsoever of men or of dignities, whether he occupies a position of power or has completed such honors, whether he is powerful by the lot of birth or is humble in lineage, legal status and fortune, shall sacrifice an innocent victim to senseless images in any place at all or in any city. He shall not, by more secret wickedness, venerate his lar with fire, his genius with wine, his penates with fragrant odors; he shall not burn lights to them, place incense before them, or suspend wreaths for them.
Nullus omnino ex quolibet genere ordine hominum dignitatum vel in potestate positus vel honore perfunctus, sive potens sorte nascendi seu humilis genere condicione fortuna in nullo penitus loco, in nulla urbe sensu carentibus simulacris vel insontem victimam caedat vel secretiore piaculo larem igne, mero genium, penates odore veneratus accendat lumina, inponat tura, serta suspendat.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Hexameters Consisting Entirely of Words in Asyndeton: A Horatian Example
custodes, lectica, ciniflones, parasitaeFor similar lines in Greek and Latin poetry see:
- Some Lines in Lucretius
- Asyndeton Filling Hexameters
- Asyndeton Filling Hexameters in Sidonius
- Verse-Filling Asyndeton
- Verse-Filling Asyndeton: Some Greek Examples
- Another Greek Example of Verse-Filling Asyndeton
- More Examples of Asyndeton Filling Hexameters
- Asyndeton Filling Hexameters in Corippus
- Twelve Gods
- Seven Cities
- A Hexameter Consisting of Nouns in Asyndeton
- More Hexameters Consisting of Words in Asyndeton
- Hexameters Consisting of Words in Asyndeton: Dracontius
- Zopyrus' Victims
- A Latin Hexameter Consisting of Adjectives in Asyndeton
- Hexameters Consisting Entirely of Words in Asyndeton: More Greek Examples
- A Sojourn in the Country
Different Kinds of Emendation
Now there are many different kinds of emendation, as many as there are different kinds of men — the emendations of inspiration, the emendations reached by logical deduction, and the emendations that do not emend. Some men are born emenders, others make themselves emenders — while the rest of us have emendations thrust upon us. Not that I do not believe in emendation, but I do believe that much of it is unnecessary and easily avoidable.Id. (at 27):
The work of others has proved that the references to MSS of Scaliger, Bosius, Cruquius, Barth and a host of others are full of fraud or carelessness, or both. I would suggest a canon of criticism that ought to be adopted by all textual critics: A scholar of the period between the 15th and 18th centuries who quotes readings from MSS is guilty of fraud or gross carelessness until he is proved innocent. If this principle were rigorously adhered to, it would be a great step in advance.
Preoccupation with the Classics
This preoccupation with the classics was the happiest thing that could have befallen me. It gave me a standard of values. To live for a time close to great minds is the best kind of education. That is why the Oxford school of classical 'Greats' seems to me so fruitful, for it compels a close study of one or two masters like Plato and Thucydides. The classics enjoined humility. The spectacle of such magnificence was a corrective to youthful immodesty, and, like Doctor Johnson, I lived 'entirely without my own approbation.' Again, they corrected a young man's passion for rhetoric. This was in the nineties, when the Corinthian manner was more in vogue than the Attic. Faulty though my own practice has always been, I learned sound doctrine — the virtue of a clean, bare style, of simplicity, of a hard substance and an austere pattern. Above all the Calvinism of my boyhood was broadened, mellowed, and also confirmed. For if the classics widened my sense of the joy of life they also taught its littleness and transience; if they exalted the dignity of human nature they insisted upon its frailties and the aidos with which the temporal must regard the eternal. I lost then any chance of being a rebel, for I became profoundly conscious of the dominion of unalterable law. Prometheus might be a fine fellow in his way, but Zeus was king of gods and men.
Indeed, I cannot imagine a more precious viaticum than the classics of Greece and Rome, or a happier fate than that one's youth should be intertwined with their world of clear, mellow lights, gracious images, and fruitful thoughts. They are especially valuable to those who believe that Time enshrines and does not destroy, and who do what I am attempting to do in these pages, and go back upon and interpret the past. No science or philosophy can give that colouring, for such provide a schematic, and not a living, breathing universe. And I do not think that the mastery of other literatures can give it in a like degree, for they do not furnish the same totality of life — a complete world recognisable as such, a humane world, yet one untouchable by decay and death —
Based on the crystalline sea
Of truth and its eternity.
Saturday, June 24, 2017
Don't you know what money is for, what end it serves?
You may buy bread, greens, a measure of wine, and
such other things as would mean pain to our human nature, if withheld.
nescis quo valeat nummus, quem praebeat usum?
panis ematur, holus, vini sextarius; adde
quis humana sibi doleat natura negatis.
The So-Called Refugee Cantata
Alfred Dürr, The Cantatas of J.S. Bach. Revised and translated by Richard D.P. Jones (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005; rpt. 2006), p. 394:
It is sometimes maintained that Bach composed his so-called 'Refugee Cantata' in 1732 for a service to celebrate the banished Protestants of Salzburg. This is no more than an agreeable legend, however, for research has established that the work was in fact written for 23 June 1726. It is, of course, possible that at a repeat performance six years later the cantata found a new purpose which had been anticipated by neither librettist nor composer, but whether this really happened we do not know.Mack Walker, The Salzburg Transaction: Expulsion and Redemption in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992), p. 102:
Probably the most widely distributed and reprinted contemporary account of the expulsion—also the earliest and in most respects quite accurate—was written by Christoph Sancke, pastor at the Thomaskirche at Leipzig (where J.S. Bach was musical director).39MGSL is Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Salzburger Landeskunde.
39 Characteristic of the legendary magnetism already gathering about the Salzburg emigration is the story that J.S. Bach's cantata "Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot, und die, so im Elend sind, führe ins Haus," called the "Flüchtlings-kantate," was inspired by the Salzburg expulsion and was introduced before an audience of emigrants by the Thomasschule choir at Leipzig in June 1732. This was not the case: S. Jost Casper, "Johann Sebastian Bach and die Salzburger Emigranten—eine unheilige Legende," MGSL 122 (1982), 341-70. I owe the reference to Tanya Kevorkian.
By chance yesterday I also read a newspaper article by Germany's chief promoter of refugee resettlement, Angela Merkel. The article is her answer to the question "Was ist deutsch?" and takes the form of an alphabetical list. The list is an idiosyncratic one, as such lists must be, and it contains what look to me like some evident contradictions (e.g. both Ordnung under O, and Unordnung under U). Among other items on the list are:
- Christlich-jüdische Tradition (Judaeo-Christian tradition), Chorgesang (choral singing)
- Flüchtlingshilfe (refugee aid)
- Lutherbibel (Luther's translation of the Bible)
- Muslime (Muslims)
- Migrationshintergrund (migrant background)
- Schwarz-Rot-Gold (Black, Red, and Gold, the colors of Germany's flag)
- Sicherheit des Staates (security of the state), Israel ist Staatsräson (Israel's right to exist)
- Vielfalt (diversity)
- Zusammenhalt (cohesion)
Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot und die, so im Elend sind, führe ins Haus! So du einen nacket siehest, so kleide ihn und entzeuch dich nicht von deinem Fleisch.As translated in Dürr, pp. 392-393:
Alsdenn wird dein Licht herfür brechen wie die Morgenröte, und deine Besserung wird schnell wachsen, und deine Gerechtigkeit wird für dir hergehen, und die Herrlichkeit des Herrn wird dich zu sich nehmen.
Break your bread with the hungry, and bring those who are in distress into your house! If you see someone naked, then clothe him, and do not avoid your own kin.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your improvement shall grow swiftly, and your righteousness shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall take you to His own home.
P.S. Some items on Merkel's list which I wholeheartedly embrace:
- Butterbrot, Bratwurst
- Frühstücksei, Federbett
- „Die Gedanken sind frei“
- Heimat, Handwerk, Hausmannskost
- Volkslied ...Vollkornbrot
- Weihnachtsgebäck, Windrad, Wandern, Wald
Nicknames and Caricatures
Luther playfully invented nicknames for his enemies. There was the plodding Hieronymus Düngersheim von Ochsenfahrt, who became "the ox"; Emser was dubbed the goat, Eck the fool, Alveld the donkey, Pope Leo "that wolf," and the theologians became the "asses" of Louvain and Cologne. He punned with the name of his adversary, Thomas Murner, christening him the "cat fool" (Mur means "tomcat" in German, and Narr means "fool"). It made excellent cartoon material, and soon their grotesque portraits decorated the cheap pamphlets. Turning one's opponents into animals denies them the status of worthy intellectual antagonists, and laughter removed some constraints on aggression — on both sides.Illustration, id., p. 143:
To my mind, the full name Hieronymus Düngersheim von Ochsenfahrt (usually without the umlaut) is funnier than the nickname, mostly because of the English homophones.
Friday, June 23, 2017
Four Ages of Man
Do you not see that even the cosmos is full of hatred for humanity? It has collected innumerable afflictions for them. Man is one complete illness from birth: while being nurtured he is useless and a suppliant for help; as he grows up he is presumptuous and a fool in his tutor's hands; in his prime he is reckless; when past it he is pitiable, with a crop of troubles brought on himself by his own witlessness. Such he is from when he sprang from the blood of his mother's womb.
οὐχ' ὁρῇς, ὅτι καὶ ὁ κόσμος μισανθρωπίης πεπλήρωται; ἄπειρα κατ' αὐτῶν πάθεα ξυνήθροικε. ὅλος ἄνθρωπος ἐκ γενετής νοῦσός ἐστι· τρεφόμενος ἄχρηστος, ἱκέτης βοηθείης· αὐξανόμενος ἀτάσθαλος, ἄφρων διὰ χειρὸς παιδαγωγίης· θρασὺς ἀκμάζων, παρακμάζων οἰκτρός, τοὺς ἰδίους πόνους ἀλογιστίῃ γεωργήσας· ἐκ μητρῴων γὰρ λύθρων ἐξέθορε τοιοῦτος.
A Good Death
For almost always on hearing that anyone had died swiftly and painlessly, he prayed that he and his might have a like euthanasia, for that was the term he was wont to use.
nam fere quotiens audisset cito ac nullo cruciatu defunctum quempiam, sibi et suis εὐθανασίαν similem—hoc enim et verbo uti solebat—precabatur.
Our barbarians have exchanged the animal pelts and spears of the past for designer suits and smartphones.Although I'm not a professor, I usually do try to follow "Common Rules of the Professors of Higher Faculties," § 8, Ratio Studiorum (tr. Allan P. Farrell):
It scarcely becomes the dignity of a professor to cite an authority whose works he himself has not read.I confess that I haven't read Dreher's book, except for excerpts in reviews.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
A Herm in the House of Caecilius Jucundus
In the atrium of the house, two squared pillars (or herms) were found, of a type commonly used in the Roman world to support marble or bronze portrait heads. In the case of male portraits, genitals would be attached half way down the herm, making what is, to be honest, a rather odd ensemble. On one of these pillars genitals and bronze head survived — a highly individualised portrait of a man, with thinning hair and a prominent wart on his left cheek (Ill. 68). Both pillars carry exactly the same inscription: 'Felix, ex-slave, set this up to the our Lucius'.There is obviously something amiss with "the our Lucius". The inscription (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum X 860) reads
Genio L(uci) nostri / Felix l(ibertus)and should be translated
Felix, ex-slave, set this up to the genius of our Lucius.Oxford Latin Dictionary, s.v. genius, sense 1.a:
The male spirit of a gens existing during his lifetime in the head of the family, and subsequently in the divine or spiritual part of each individual.Herm in the House of Caecilius Jucundus (V.i.26), Pompeii (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, inv. 110663):
Another misprint in Beard's book, p. 109:
At one point, in the middle of a marital row, Trimalchio takes a barbed potshot at his wife's lowly origins: 'If you're borne on a mezzanine, you don't sleep in a house.'For borne read born. The reference is to Petronius, Satyricon 74.14 (sed hic qui in pergula natus est aedes non somniatur).
Labels: typographical and other errors
Restrictions on Citizenship
Considering it also of great importance to keep the people pure and unsullied by any taint of foreign or servile blood, he was most chary of conferring Roman citizenship and set a limit to manumission. When Tiberius requested citizenship for a Grecian dependent of his, Augustus wrote in reply that he would not grant it unless the man appeared in person and convinced him that he had reasonable grounds for the request; and when Livia asked it for a Gaul from a tributary province, he refused, offering instead freedom from tribute, and declaring that he would more willingly suffer a loss to his privy purse than the prostitution of the honour of Roman citizenship.
magni praeterea existimans sincerum atque ab omni colluvione peregrini ac servilis sanguinis incorruptum servare populum, et civitates Romanas parcissime dedit et manumittendi modum terminavit. Tiberio pro cliente Graeco petenti rescripsit, non aliter se daturum, quam si praesens sibi persuasisset, quam iustas petendi causas haberet; et Liviae pro quodam tributario Gallo roganti civitatem negavit, immunitatem optulit affirmans facilius se passurum fisco detrahi aliquid, quam civitatis Romanae vulgari honorem.
How Could Anyone Ever Live Before This or That Invention?
If in time the invention, e.g., of lightning conductors (which now we must agree are hardly of much use), becomes more solidly based and extensive, more reliable, more worthy of attention, and more generally used; if aerostatic balloons, and aeronautics acquire a certain degree of science, and become more common, and utility becomes part of them (which now it is not), etc.; if so many other modern discoveries, like those of steam navigation, telegraphs, etc., find applications and improvements so as to change the face of civilized life, which does not seem unlikely; and if eventually other new discoveries compete to do that; then certainly men in a thousand years' time, will call the present age scarcely civilized, they will say that we were living in continual and extreme fear and hardship, they will find it hard to understand how people could lead and bear their lives being continually exposed to the danger of storms, lightning, etc., navigate at sea with such risk of sinking, trade  and communicate with distant lands when air navigation was unknown or imperfect, the use of telegraphs, etc., they will look in wonder at how slow our present means of communication are, how unreliable, etc. And yet we have no sense of, we are not aware of how impossible or difficult the life that will be attributed to us is; we think we have a fairly comfortable life, that we communicate with one another fairly easily and quickly, that we have plenty of comforts and pleasures, in fact that we live in a century of refinement and luxury. Now believe me that exactly the same thoughts were in the minds of those men who lived before the use of fire, navigation, etc. etc., those men that we, especially in this century, with our grandiose rhetorical arguments declare were exposed to continual danger, continual and immense discomfort, ferocious animals, bad weather, hunger, thirst; continually trembling and shaking with fear, and surrounded perpetually by suffering, etc. And believe me that what I reflect on above is the perfect solution to the ridiculous problem we make for ourselves—how could men ever live in that state; how could anyone ever live before this or that invention. (Bologna, 10 September, Sunday, 1826.)
Se una volta in processo di tempo l'invenzione per esempio dei parafulmini (che ora bisogna convenire esser di molto poca utilità), piglierà piú consistenza ed estensione, diverrà di uso piú sicuro, piú considerabile e piú generale; se i palloni aereostatici, e l'aeronautica acquisterà un grado di scienza, e l'uso ne diverrà comune, e la utilità (che ora è nessuna) vi si aggiungerà ec.; se tanti altri trovati moderni, come quei della navigazione a vapore, dei telegrafi ec. riceveranno applicazioni e perfezionamenti tali da cangiare in gran parte la faccia della vita civile, come non è inverisimile; e se in ultimo altri nuovi trovati concorreranno a questo effetto; certamente gli uomini che verranno di qua a mille anni, appena chiameranno civile la età presente, diranno che noi vivevamo in continui ed estremi timori e difficoltà, stenteranno a comprendere come si potesse menare e sopportar la vita essendo di continuo esposti ai pericoli delle tempeste, dei fulmini ec., navigare con tanto rischio di sommergersi, commerciare  e comunicar coi lontani essendo sconosciuta o imperfetta la navigazione aerea, l'uso dei telegrafi ec., considereranno con meraviglia la lentezza dei nostri presenti mezzi di comunicazione, la loro incertezza ec. Eppur noi non sentiamo, non ci accorgiamo di questa tanta impossibilità o difficoltà di vivere che ci verrà attribuita; ci par di fare una vita assai comoda, di comunicare insieme assai facilmente e speditamente, di abbondar di piaceri e di comodità, in fine di essere in un secolo raffinatissimo e lussurioso. Or credete pure a me che altrettanto pensavano quegli uomini che vivevano avanti l'uso del fuoco, della navigazione ec. ec. quegli uomini che noi, specialmente in questo secolo, con magnifiche dicerie rettoriche predichiamo come esposti a continui pericoli, continui ed immensi disagi, bestie feroci, intemperie, fame, sete; come continuamente palpitanti e tremanti dalla paura, e tra perpetui patimenti ec. E credete a me che la considerazione detta di sopra è una perfetta soluzione del ridicolo problema che noi ci facciamo: come potevano mai vivere gli uomini in quello stato; come si poteva mai vivere avanti la tale o la tal altra invenzione (Bologna. 10 settembre Domenica. 1826).
Pert Little Fellows
[W]e behold pert little fellows associating with the Romans as though they were their equals: and they root and burrow in the remains of the Greek poets as though these too were corpora for their dissection and were as vilia as their own literary corpora may be.
[K]leine vorlaute Burschen sehen wir mit den Römern umgehen, als wären diese ihres gleichen: und in den Überresten griechischer Dichter wühlen und graben sie, als ob auch diese corpora für ihre Sektion bereitlägen und vilia wären, was ihre eignen literarischen corpora sein mögen.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
The Thucydides Trap
Most Americans probably don't know Thucydides from Mephistopheles.
Addressing the Troops
In the assembly he addressed them not as "soldiers," but by the more flattering term "comrades"...Id. 70:
nec milites eos pro contione, sed blandiore nomine commilitones appellabat...
Again at Rome, when the men of the Tenth clamoured for their discharge and rewards with terrible threats and no little peril to the city, though the war in Africa was then raging, he did not hesitate to appear before them, against the advice of his friends, and to disband them. But with a single word, calling them "citizens," instead of "soldiers," he easily brought them round and bent them to his will; for they at once replied that they were his "soldiers" and insisted on following him to Africa, although he refused their service.Suetonius, Life of Augustus 25.1 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
Decimanos autem Romae cum ingentibus minis summoque etiam urbis periculo missionem et praemia flagitantes, ardente tunc in Africa bello, neque adire cunctatus est, quanquam deterrentibus amicis, neque dimittere; sed una voce, qua "Quirites" eos pro militibus appellarat, tam facile circumegit et flexit, ut ei milites esse confestim responderint et quamvis recusantem ultro in Africam sint secuti.
After the civil wars he never called any of the troops "comrades," either in the assembly or in an edict, but always "soldiers"; and he would not allow them to be addressed otherwise, even by those of his sons or stepsons who held military commands, thinking the former term too flattering for the requirements of discipline, the peaceful state of the times, and his own dignity and that of his household.See Suetonius, Divus Julius. Edited with Commentary by H.E. Butler & M. Cary with New Introduction, Bibliography and Additional Notes by G.B. Townend (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1982), p. 128, and Eleanor Dickey, Latin Forms of Address (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002; rpt. 2007), pp. 288-291.
neque post bella civilia aut in contione aut per edictum ullos militum commilitones appellabat, sed milites, ac ne a filiis quidem aut privignis suis imperio praeditis aliter appellari passus est, ambitiosius id existimans, quam aut ratio militaris aut temporum quies aut sua domusque suae maiestas postularet.
On the way back, the two Augustinians stopped at Augsburg, where, Luther recalled, he was taken to meet the holy Anna 'Laminit', or 'leave me not'. The daughter of simple craftspeople, she was believed to live miraculously without eating. This kind of religiosity — or what modern writers have termed 'holy anorexia' — was a powerful streak in late medieval devotion, encouraged by an extreme asceticism that regarded bodily appetites as inimical to religious perfection. Female saints in particular might fast to extremes and undergo mystical experiences. In a church which was deeply distrustful of women, asceticism offered them an avenue of expression and authority. Laminit reported visions of St Anna, her name saint and the saint to whom we know Luther himself was attached. Not only did she go without food, she was famed as passing neither water nor stools.Id., p. 53:
She was unmasked soon after by the duchess of Bavaria, who discovered her secret stash of luxury food, such as pepper-cakes and pears; it turned out that she emptied her stools out of the window.
Labels: noctes scatologicae
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Pleasure as a Central Value in Life
House of the Figured Capitals (VII.iv.57), Pompeii (maenad and satyr):
Paul Zanker, Pompeii: Public and Private Life, tr. Deborah Lucas Schneider (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), pp. 38-39:
On the capital to the right of the entrance the master of the house, naked to the waist, is shown at a banquet, together with his wife. Across from them are a drunken satyr and maenad. With this type of self-depiction the owner identified himself with the cult of Dionysus and the notion of pleasure as a central value in life.
Right and Wrong
I think if one were to bid all men to gather together what is wrong, according to their opinions, into one pile, and from this collection to take what is right, according to the views of each, not one thing <would> be left, but all would take all. For all do not have the same beliefs.
οἶμαι δ', αἴ τις τὰ αἰσχρὰ ἐς ἓν κελεύοι συνενεῖκαι πάντας ἀνθρώπως, ἃ ἕκαστοι νομίζοντι, καὶ πάλιν ἐξ ἀθρόων τούτων τὰ καλὰ λαβέν, ἃ ἕκαστοι ἅγηνται, οὐδὲ ἕν <κα> καλλειφθῆμεν, ἀλλὰ πάντας πάντα διαλαβέν. οὐ γὰρ πάντες ταὐτὰ νομίζοντι.
<κα> suppl. Weber
Recipe for a Happy Life
How happily would many a person live if he concerned himself as little about other people's affairs as about his own.Related posts:
Wie glücklich würde mancher leben, wenn er sich um anderer Leute Sachen so wenig bekümmerte, als um seine eigenen.
- Let's Stop Somebody from Doing Something!
- Right Thinkers
- Against Busybodies and Nosey Parkers
Monday, June 19, 2017
On this ground Erasmus set his face against every form of fanaticism, whether religious, national, or philosophical, considering it as the prime enemy to mutual understanding. He detested bigotry in all its manifestations; he loathed the stiffnecked and the biased, whether these wore a priestly cassock or a professorial gown; he hated those who put on blinkers, and the zealots of every class and race who demanded immediate acquiescence in their own opinions while looking upon the ideas that failed to correspond with theirs as rank heresy or rascality. Just as he himself never wished to impose his outlooks upon his neighbour, so in turn did he refuse to be burdened with the religious or political theories of others if these happened to be alien and unacceptable. He took it as a matter of course that a man had a right to his own opinions; absolute independence of mind was essential. Himself a free spirit, he looked upon it as a fettering of the delightful manifoldedness of the universe when, from pulpit or university chair, a man declared his truth to be the only truth, to be a special message which God had whispered into his ear and his ear alone.Id., p. 17:
To right of him was exaggeration and to left was exaggeration, to right he saw fanaticism and to left; and he, the intractable antifanatic, desired to serve neither one form of excess nor the other.Id., pp. 68-69:
But his favourite method of resistance was simply to withdraw into his shell like a snail whenever the tumult raged around him. The safest shelter, then, was his study, behind a barricade of books. Here he deemed himself really secure.Id., p. 233:
[N]one was willing to understand what his neighbour said, but instead each tried to impose his own pet belief, his particular doctrine, upon all the rest. Woe unto him who stood aside and took no part in the game! Twofold hatred was hurled against those who remained aloof. Those who live for the spirit are lonely indeed at times when passion rages. Who is there left to write for when ears are deafened with political yappings and yelpings?
Further, death is bad for those who die, but good for undertakers and makers of tombs.
ὁ τοίνυν θάνατος τοῖς μὲν ἀποθανοῦσι κακόν, τοῖς δ' ἐνταφιοπώλαις καὶ τυμβοποιοῖς ἀγαθόν.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Humanum Est Peccare
If at every human error Jupiter should hurl his thunderbolts, he would in a brief space be weaponless.
si, quotiens peccant homines, sua fulmina mittat
Iuppiter, exiguo tempore inermis erit.
The last thing in which the cultivated man can have community with the vulgar is their jocularity; and we can hardly exhibit more strikingly the wide gulf which separates him from them, than by comparing the object which shakes the diaphragm of a coal-heaver with the highly complex pleasure derived from a real witticism.I'm on the coal-heaver's side of the gulf.
Hierocles makes a most beautiful observation in De amore fraterno, in Stobaeus's discourse ὅτι κάλλιστον ἡ φιλαδελφία, etc. 84 Grotius, 82 Gessner: that as human life is like a continual war, in which we are attacked by external things (by nature and by fortune), our brothers, parents, relations are given to us as allies and supporters, etc. Finding myself far away from my family, although I was surrounded by kind people, and had no enemies, yet I recall how I lived in a kind of fear  or continual timidity, in the face of troubles not of human making, and as they came over me, they frightened me and wore me down, and afflicted my soul rather more than usual, for no other reason than because I felt myself alone amid enemies, that is, in the hands of hostile nature, without allies, because my family was far away; (Recanati, 16 Nov. 1826) and on the other hand how, when I went back to them, I felt a powerful and clear sense of security, courage, and peace of mind at the thought, anticipation, arrival of adversities, illnesses, etc.See Hierocles the Stoic: Elements of Ethics, Fragments, and Excerpts. By Ilaria Ramelli. Translated by David Konstan (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009), pp. 88 (Greek) and 89 (English):
Bellissima è l'osservazione di Hierocles, nel libro de Amore fraterno, ap. Stobeo serm. 82, ὅτι κάλλιστον ἡ φιλαδελφία etc. 84. Grot. 82. Gesner. che essendo la vita umana come una continua guerra, nella quale siamo combattuti dalle cose di fuori (dalla natura e dalla fortuna), i fratelli, i genitori, i parenti ci son dati come alleati e ausiliari ec. E io, trovandomi lontano dalla mia famiglia, benché circondato da persone benevole, e benché senza inimici, pur mi ricordo di esser vissuto in una specie di timore  o timidezza continua, rispetto ai mali indipendenti dagli uomini, e questi, sopravvenendomi, avermi spaventato, ed abbattuto e afflitto l'animo assai piú del solito, non per altro se non perché io mi sentiva essere come solo in mezzo a nemici, cioè in mano alla nemica natura, senza alleati, per la lontananza de' miei; (Recanati. 16 novembre 1826), e per lo contrario, ritornando fra loro, aver provato un vivo e manifesto senso di sicurezza, di coraggio, e di quiete d'animo, al pensiero, all'aspettativa, al sopravvenirmi di avversità, malattie ec.
In general, one must consider that life for us runs the risk of being a long and perennial battle, and this, on the one hand, because of the very nature of things, which have something contrary about them, and, on the other hand, because of the sudden and unexpected assaults of fortune, but most of all because of vice itself, which does not refrain from any kind of violence or treachery or evil schemes. Hence, nature has, as though it were not ignorant of why it creates us, nicely brought each of us into the world with, in a way, an ally. Thus, no one is alone, or born from an oak or a rock, but rather from parents and with brothers and relatives and other members of the household.
ὅλως δὲ ἐνθυμητέον ὡς ὁ βίος ἡμῖν κινδυνεύει μακρός τις εἶναι καὶ πολυετὴς πόλεμος, τοῦτο μὲν διὰ τὴν αὐτῶν τῶν πραγμάτων φύσιν ἐχόντων τι ἀντίτακτον, τοῦτο δὲ διὰ τὰς ἐξαιφνιδίους καὶ ἀπροσδοκήτους ἐπιδρομὰς τῆς τύχης, πολὺ δὲ μάλιστα δι' αὐτὴν τὴν κακίαν οὔτε βίας τινὸς ἀπεχομένην οὔτε δόλου καὶ κακῶν στρατηγημάτων. ὅθεν καλῶς ἡ φύσις, ὡς ἂν ἐφ' ἃ γεννᾷ μὴ ἀγνοοῦσα, παρήγαγεν ἡμῶν ἕκαστον τρόπον τινὰ μετὰ συμμαχίας. οὐδεὶς οὖν ἐστι μόνος οὐδ' ἀπὸ δρυὸς οὐδ' ἀπὸ πέτρης, ἀλλ' ἐκ γονέων καὶ μετ' ἀδελφῶν καὶ συγγενῶν καὶ ἄλλων οἰκείων.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Carmen et Error
perdiderint cum me duo crimina, carmen et error,Ovid, Tristia. Ex Ponto, tr. Arthur Leslie Wheeler, 2nd ed. rev. G.P. Goold (1988; "Reprinted with corrections" Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996 = Loeb Classical Library, 151), pp. 70-71 (Tristia 2.207-208; footnote omitted):
alterius facti culpa silenda mihi...
Though two crimes, a poem and a blunder have brought me ruin, of my fault in the one I must keep silent...
perdiderint cum me duo crimina, carmen et error,Sometime between 1939 and 1996 an error crept in—silena instead of the correct silenda. The Digital Loeb Classical Library has silenda.
alterius facti culpa silena mihi...
Though two crimes, a poem and a blunder have brought me ruin, of my fault in the one I must keep silent...
Labels: typographical and other errors
Who Were the Mugs?
"Leisure," he said. "If people only knew! It's the most priceless thing a man can have and they're such fools they don't even know it's something to aim at. Work? They work for work's sake. They haven't got the brains to realize that the only object of work is to obtain leisure."Id.:
"Then I read a sort of history book, by a man called Marion Crawford it was, and there was a story about Sybaris and Crotona. There were two cities; and in Sybaris they just enjoyed life and had a good time, and in Crotona they were hardy and industrious and all that. And one day the men of Crotona came over and wiped Sybaris out, and then after a while a lot of other fellows came over from somewhere else and wiped Crotona out. Nothing remains of Sybaris, not a stone, and all that's left of Crotona is just one column. That settled the matter for me."Hat tip: Eric Thomson.
"It came to the same in the end, didn't it? And when you look back now, who were the mugs?"
Take Nothing Seriously
Take nothing seriously: not yourself, nor others, nor anything in this world or in the next; — consider art (no capital A) to be neither a business (which is vile) nor a "priesthood" (which is naïve) but simply a pastime less absorbing than bridge, less demeaning than lotto: — aim to achieve perfection in things that are difficult and useless, remember that a writer will never be the equal of a clown, a juggler or a tightrope walker, and do not allow a day to pass without meditating on this declaration of our distant ancestor Malherbe: "A great poet is of no more use to the state than a good player at skittles" — spend as little time as possible with your contemporaries and try to live as comfortably as possible while working as little as possible. Take pains always to seem happy: this will annoy your friends.The quotation from Malherbe can be found in "Vie de Mr de Malherbe par Mr de Racan," in Oeuvres de Malherbe, ed. L. Lalanne, Tome I (Paris: Hachette, 1862), pp. lxiii-lxxxviii (at lxxvii).
Ne prends au sérieux ni toi ni les autres ni rien en ce monde ou dans l'autre; — ne vois dans l'art (sans A majuscule) ni un commerce ce qui est vil, ni un «sacerdoce» ce qui est niais mais simplement un jeu moins absorbant que le bridge moins abrutissant que le loto; — efforce-toi de faire dans la perfection des choses difficiles et inutiles, souviens-toi qu'un écrivain ne sera jamais l'égal d'un clown, d'un jongleur ou d'un équilibriste et ne laisse jamais passer un jour sans méditer cette sentence de notre vieil ancêtre Malherbe: «Un grand poète n'est pas plus utile à l'État qu'un très bon joueur de quilles»; — fréquente le moins possible tes contemporains et tâche de vivre le plus confortablement possible en travaillant le moins possible. Aie soin de paraître toujours heureux: cela vexera tes amis.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.
Friday, June 16, 2017
Letting It Out, versus Keeping It In
While it is the part of a man to endure misfortune bravely (Antiphanes fr. 278), women grieve, complain and weep readily: Alexis fr. 146. 10f., 'When there's nothing the matter with them at all, they always say they're sick'; Eur. Andr. 93-5, the natural inclination of a woman to express her grief and not contain it within herself; Eur. Hel. 991f; Eur. Med. 909, unrestrained anger; ibid. 928, tearfulness; Eur. Or. 1022, reproof of Elektra for her 'womanish lamentations'; Soph. Trach. 1071-5, Herakles, forced by terrible pain to 'weep like a girl', thus becomes 'female'. In Eur. Erechtheus fr. 53 (Austin) 33f. Erechtheus is ashamed to take too fond a farewell of his son, (literally) 'for a woman-hearted spirit is not of a sophos man'.The tug of war between putting one's emotions on display and keeping them hidden seems to be reflected in Plautus, Cistellaria 59-64 (Selenium and Gymnasium speaking; tr. Wolfgang de Melo):
SEL. I'm wretched and I'm being tortured, my dear Gymnasium: I'm feeling bad and I'm being tormented in a bad way.Walter Stockert doesn't discuss this in his commentary ad loc.—T. Maccius Plautus, Cistellaria: Einleitung, Text und Kommentar (Munich: C.H. Beck, 2012), pp. 102-105.
I feel pain in my heart, I feel pain in my eyes, I feel pain in my sorrow. 60
What should I say, except that I'm driven to sadness by my own silliness?
GYM. Mind that you make your silliness ready for burial in the place from which it originates.
SEL. What should I do? GYM. Hide it in the darkness in your inmost heart.
Make sure that you alone know your silliness without other witnesses.
SEL. misera excrucior, mea Gymnasium: male mihi est, male maceror;
doleo ab animo, doleo ab oculis, doleo ab aegritudine. 60
quid <ego> dicam nisi stultitia mea me in maerorem rapi?
GYM. indidem unde oritur facito ut facias stultitiam sepelibilem.
SEL. quid faciam? GYM. in latebras abscondas pectore penitissumo.
tuam stultitiam sola facito ut scias sine aliis arbitris.
61 <ego> suppl. Wachter; rapi Gulielmius: rapit P
- It is Unmanly to Complain
- On Keeping a Stiff Upper Lip
- Grosse Seelen Dulden Still
- Hiding Troubles
- Nietzsche on Emotional Incontinence
- Buckled Lips
- Emotional Incontinence
- Hostile Laughter
- Hostile Laughter in Euripides' Medea
- Icy Laughter
- Notes to Myself
- On Concealing One's Misfortunes
- Quotations about Complaints
Back to School
I have again begun my life of sterile monotony, unvarying labor, the dull return of dull exercises in dull uniformity of tediousness.
Women Eating Lunch Together
Mosaic, copy of original by Dioscourides of Samos, from Villa of Cicero, Pompeii (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, inv. 9987):
Mosaic from House of Zosimus, Zeugma (Gaziantep Museum of Archaeology, inv. no. 8177):
Mosaic from House of Menander, Mytilene (New Archaeological Museum of Mytilene):
Detail of mosaic from Daphne near Antioch (Hatay Archaeology Museum?):
See also Ioannis M. Konstantakos, "The Drinking Theatre: Staged Symposia in Greek Comedy," Mnemosyne 58.2 (2005) 183-217 (Menander, Synaristosai at 194-198), and Sebastiana Nervegna, "Menander at Dinner Parties," Menander in Antiquity: The Contexts of Reception (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 120-200.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
An Early Reader
From the time that he was three years old he read incessantly, for the most part lying on the rug before the fire, with his book on the ground, and a piece of bread and butter in his hand. A very clever woman who then lived in the house as a parlour-maid told how he used to sit in his nankeen frock, perched on the table by her as she was cleaning the plate, and expounding to her out of a volume as big as himself. He did not care for toys, but was very fond of taking his walk, when he would hold forth to his companion, whether nurse or mother, telling interminable stories out of his own head, or repeating what he had been reading in language far above his years. His memory retained without effort the phraseology of the book which he had been last engaged on, and he talked, as the maid said, "quite printed words," which produced an effect that appeared formal, and often, no doubt, exceedingly droll.
Recently I was reading some charming stories by Plautus for the sake of fleeing boredom and relaxing my mind, and thereby for a short moment with the help of the ancient poet avoided the heavy cares of life. It is certainly astonishing how many pleasant stories and elegant pieces I have found therein, and what trickery of servants, what old wives' tales, what flattery of harlots, what greed of panders, what voraciousness of parasites, what anxieties of old men, and what youthful loves.Venustissimi for vetustissimi crossed my mind, but there is no need to emend.
Nuper, dum fugiendi fastidii et relaxandi animi gratia lepidissimas fabellas apud Plautum legerem, curisque mordacibus tantillum temporis vetustissimi vatis auxilio cor furarer, mirum dictu quot ibi iocundas narrationes, quot elegantes nugas invenerim, quas serviles fallacias, quas aniles ineptias, quas meretricum blanditias, quam lenonis avaritiam, quam parasiti voraginem, quam senum solicitudinem, quos adolescentium amores.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
My darling, my pleasure, my life, my charm,On beestings see Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. beest:
apple of my eye, my lip, my salvation, my kiss,
my honey, my heart, my beestings, my soft little cheese.
mea voluptas, mea delicia, mea vita, mea amoenitas,
meus ocellus, meum labellum, mea salus, meum savium,
meum mel, meum cor, mea colustra, meus molliculus caseus.
The first milk drawn from a mammal, especially a cow, after parturition.Id., s.v. colostrum:
The milk secreted by a female mammal around the time of giving birth, which is a watery fluid with a high protein content, including maternal antibodies which provide passive immunity to the newborn. In early use also: the cream or coagulated protein of ordinary milk (obs.).Paul Nixon translates mea colustra as "my peaches and cream."
Eleanor Dickey, Latin Forms of Address (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002; rpt. 2007), pp. 156-157:
[A] string of endearments begins with perfectly plausible addresses such as mea voluptas 'my pleasure' and then progresses into absurdities such as mea colustra, meu' molliculus caseus 'my colostrum, my soft little cheese' for humorous effect (cf. Maurach 1988: 99). Like gallina 'chicken' in the Asinaria, these absurd terms are open to interpretation as less than fully complimentary, and it would be a mistake to assume on the basis of the Plautine evidence that they were ever used as endearments elsewhere in Latin.But cf. mea colustra as a term of endearment in Laberius, fragment 67: see Decimus Laberius, The Fragments. Edited with an Introduction, Translation, and Commentary by Costas Panayotakis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 392-393, 397-398. And as for bird names used as endearments, ducky (νηττάριον) is as old as Aristophanes (Wealth 1011) and Menander (fragment 652).
I don't have access to Gregor Maurach's commentary on the Poenulus.
Identification of fish on the mosaic, from Alison E. Cooley and M.G.L. Cooley, Pompeii and Herculaneum: A Sourcebook, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 2014), p. 246 (Figure 8.1):
See also Lello Capaldo and Ugo Moncharmont, "Animali di ambiente marino in due mosaici Pompeiani," Rivista di studi pompeiani 3 (1989) 53-68; David S. Reese, "Fish: Evidence from Specimens, Mosaics, Wall Paintings, and Roman Authors," in Wilhelmina Feemster Jashemski and Frederick G. Meyer, edd., The Natural History of Pompeii (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 274-291; and Reese, "Marine Invertebrates, Freshwater Shells, and Land Snails: Evidence from Specimens, Mosaics, Wall Paintings, Sculpture, Jewelry, and Roman Authors," id., pp. 292-314.
Fish for sale in Naples:
C. David Badham, Prose Halieutics: Or, Ancient and Modern Fish Tattle (London: John W. Parker and Son, 1854), p. 85:
[M]any an elaborate mosaic and brilliant little fresco of painted fish adorn the walls and flooring of the houses of Pompeii and Herculaneum, looking, after an eighteen hundred years' potting in a lava pie-crust, almost as fresh and ruddy as their readily recognized descendants in the Neapolitan pescherias.Thanks to my daughter for the photograph of the Naples fish market.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Defence Against an Attempted Home Invasion
When I ordered my friend Asinius Gallus of my retinue to examine by torture their slaves, who were accused in the charge, I learned that Philinus, son of Chrysippus, had gone for three successive nights to the dwelling of Eubulus, son of Anaxandrides, and Tryphera, crying out insults and threatening to break in by force. On the third night Philinus was joined in the attack by his brother Eubulus, son of Chrysippus. Eubulus, son of Anaxandrides, and Tryphera, the owners of the house, seeing that they neither had a quarrel with Philinus nor were able to find safety in their own home, though they barricaded themselves against their attacks, gave orders to one of their slaves not to commit murder, as perhaps one might be inclined with justifiable anger, but to repel them by pouring the contents of the chamber pots over their heads. But the slave—whether accidentally or intentionally, for he persisted in his denial—let go the pot with its contents, and Eubulus fell, though it would have been more in accordance with justice, if his brother had been killed instead.Gardy-loo!
Greek here (thanks to Joel Eidsath for the link).
Labels: noctes scatologicae
Things Worth Fighting For
With the care, therefore, and the courage that you have displayed from the beginning, take your decision upon the salvation of yourselves and of the Roman people, upon your wives and children, your altars and hearths, your shrines and temples, the buildings and homes of the entire city, your dominion and your freedom, the safety of Italy and upon the whole Republic.
quapropter de summa salute vestra populique Romani, de vestris coniugibus ac liberis, de aris ac focis, de fanis atque templis, de totius urbis tectis ac sedibus, de imperio ac libertate, de salute Italiae, de universa re publica decernite diligenter, ut instituistis, ac fortiter.
Destruction of Seamus Heaney's Chestnut Tree
In 1939, the year that Patrick Kavanagh arrived in Dublin, an aunt of mine planted a chestnut in a jam jar. When it began to sprout she broke the jar, made a hole and transplanted the thing under a hedge in front of the house. Over the years, the seedling shot up into a young tree that rose taller and taller above the boxwood hedge. And over the years I came to identify my own life with the life of the chestnut tree.
This was because everybody remembered and constantly repeated the fact that it had been planted the year I was born; also because I was something of a favourite with that particular aunt, so her affection came to be symbolized in the tree; and also perhaps because the chestnut was the one significant thing that grew as I grew. The rest of the trees and hedges round the house were all mature and appeared therefore like given features of the world: the chestnut tree, on the other hand, was young and was watched in much the same way as the other children and myself were watched and commented upon, fondly, frankly and unrelentingly.
When I was in my early teens, the family moved away from that house and the new owners of the place eventually cut down every tree around the yard and the lane and the garden, including the chestnut tree. We deplored all that, of course, but life went on satisfactorily enough where we resettled, and for years I gave no particular thought to the place we had left or to my tree which had been felled. Then, all of a sudden, a couple of years ago, I began to think of the space where the tree had been or would have been. In my mind’s eye I saw it as a kind of luminous emptiness, a warp and waver of light, and once again, in a way that I find hard to define, I began to identify with that space just as years before I had identified with the young tree.
Destruction of Boileau's Arbor
Quoique Boileau aimât toujours sa maison d'Auteuil, et n'eût aucun besoin d'argent, M. Le Verrier lui persuada de la lui vendre, en l'assurant qu'il y serait toujours également le maître, et lui faisant promettre qu'il s'y conserverait une chambre qu'il viendrait souvent occuper. Quinze jours après la vente, il y retourne, entre dans le jardin, et n'y trouvant plus un berceau sous lequel il avait coutume d'aller rêver, appelle Antoine, et lui demande ce qu'est devenu son berceau. Antoine lui répond qu'il a été détruit par ordre de M. Le Verrier. Boileau, après avoir rêvé un moment, remonte dans son carrosse en disant: «Puisque je ne suis plus le maître ici, qu'est-ce que j'y viens faire?» Il n'y revint plus.My translation:
Although Boileau always loved his house at Auteuil and had no need of money, M. Le Verrier persuaded him to sell it to him, assuring him that he would always be jointly in charge of it, and promising him that a room would be kept for him where he could often come to stay. Two weeks after the sale he returned and went into the garden. No longer finding an arbor beneath which he used to go to day-dream, he summoned [the gardener] Antoine, and asked him what had become of his arbor. Antoine replied that it had been destroyed on M. Le Verrier's instructions. Boileau, lost in thought for a moment, climbed back into his carriage with the words, "Since I'm no longer master, what am I doing here?" He never went back.Berceau must be understood in its horticultural meaning of arbor or bower (Trésor de la langue française informatisé, s.v., sense II.A.1):
Voûte de feuillage couvrant une allée, une tonnelle...Similarly Harrap's New Standard French and English Dictionary (London: Harrap, 1980), s.v., sense 2.c.
Cf. Les Satires de Boileau: commentées par lui-même et publiées avec des notes par Frédéric Lachèvre (Paris: Impr. de Vaugirard, 1906), p. x (footnotes omitted):
Le Verrier acheta à Boileau, en 1709, pour la somme de 8.000 livres payable le 26 janvier 1712, avec intérêts au denier vingt, et une pension viagère de 300 livres, sa maison d'Auteuil, y compris les meubles et tableaux, lui donnant l'assurance que, dans cette maison, il continuerait d'être chez lui. Peu de temps après la vente, Boileau retournant à Auteuil constata avec chagrin que son berceau préféré avait été abattu par son ex-jardinier Antoine sur l'ordre de Le Verrier. Dépité, il serait remonté dans sa voiture pour ne plus revenir. Si cette anecdote n'a pas été inventée à plaisir, il est certain que Boileau n'en garda nulle rancune à Le Verrier, car il entretint avec lui les meilleures relations jusqu'à sa mort arrivée le 13 avril 1711.Hat tip: Ian Jackson.
Monday, June 12, 2017
The Most Beautiful Spot on Earth
 The district of Campania is the fairest of all regions not only in Italy but in the whole world. Nothing can be softer than its climate: indeed it has spring and its flowers twice a year. Nowhere is the soil more fertile; for which reason it is said to have been an object of contention between Liber and Ceres.  Nowhere is the coast more hospitable, which contains the famous harbours of Caieta, Misenus, Baiae with its hot springs, and the Lucrine and Avernian Lakes where the sea seems to enjoy perpetual repose.  Here are the vine-clad mountains of Gaurus, Falernus and Massicus, and Vesuvius, the fairest of them all, which rivals the fires of Etna.  Towards the sea-coast lie the cities of Formiae, Cumae, Puteoli, Naples, Herculaneum and Pompeii, and Capua, queen among cities, formerly accounted among the three greatest in the world.
 omnium non modo Italiae, sed toto orbe terrarum pulcherrima Campaniae plaga est. nihil mollius caelo: denique bis floribus vernat. nihil uberius solo: ideo Liberi Cererisque certamen dicitur.  nihil hospitalius mari: hic illi nobiles portus Caieta, Misenus, tepentes fontibus Baiae, Lucrinus et Avernus, quaedam maris otia.  hic amicti vitibus montes Gaurus, Falernus, Massicus et pulcherrimus omnium Vesuvius, Aetnaei ignis imitator.  urbes ad mare Formiae, Cumae, Puteoli, Neapolis, Herculaneum, Pompei, et ipsa caput urbium Capua, quondam inter tres maximas [Romam Carthaginemque] numerata.
6 Romam Carthaginemque del. Haupt
Oh, Jupiter, who dost cherish and nurture the human race,A general purpose prayer up to this point. The rest of the prayer relates to Hanno's specific circumstances.
through whom we live and draw the breath of being,
in whom rest the hopes and lives of all mankind,
I beg thee grant that this day may prosper
that which I have in hand...
Iuppiter, qui genus colis alisque hominum,
per quem vivimus vitalem aevom,
quem penes spes vitae sunt hominum
omnium, da diem hunc sospitem, quaeso,
rebus meis agundis...
1189 rebus meis agundis del. Geppert, meis rebus agundis Mueller
How any editor of Plautus can become one of the slash-cut-and-carve critics I cannot understand. The fair garden-beds of Plautus are scored all over with the hoof-prints of the reckless emender.
Sunday, June 11, 2017
He Led an Unassuming Life
Near where the Cam its margin laves
Is laid the Reverend Mr Graves,
Whom students reckoned at St John's
Among the decent sort of Dons.
His pupils always found him kind
And to their faults a little blind.
To learning he made small pretence
But lectured plainly and with sense.
As preacher he his help would lend
Or read the prayers to serve a friend.
Contented, and not apt to blame,
He took things mostly as they came.
He led an unassuming life
And loved his children and his wife.
He liked a pipe and modest glass,
He liked to see a pretty lass.
He did no harm, and, when he could,
Maybe he did a little good.
Of life he had a lengthy lease:
Pray heaven his soul may rest in peace.
Advice I'm Unlikely to Follow
Away with thy books! Be no longer drawn aside by them: it is not allowed.Id., 2.3.3:
ἄφες τὰ βιβλία· μηκέτι σπῶ· οὐ δέδοται.
But away with thy thirst for books, that thou mayest die not murmuring but with a good grace, truly and from thy heart grateful to the Gods.
τὴν δὲ τῶν βιβλίων δίψαν ῥῖψον, ἵνα μὴ γογγύζων ἀποθάνῃς, ἀλλὰ ἵλεως, ἀληθῶς, καὶ ἀπὸ καρδίας εὐχάριστος τοῖς θεοῖς.
 I shall not mention what can be said at great length against drunkenness; how detestable, how dangerous, how sad an illness it is, and how much madness there is in skillfully drowning and killing off in a foaming glass one's reasoning powers with which nature has endowed man uniquely and specially. Through drink, one has no control over his feet, tongue, and mind; his head trembles as do his hands, his eyes tear, his body smells and the lingering traces of the previous day are offensive on the following day.  I will not mention the way in which the passions rule, the loss of control, the stories and laughter of the people, the hatred and contempt of good friends. I also pass over the sudden alteration in mood and the ignorance of even learned men and the childishness of the man of any age, a childishness exposed to the joking and deceit and mockery of everyone.  Nor shall I mention cracks in the mind crushed and weak because of a heavy burden, letting out secrets often harmful to one’s self or to others and the cause of actual death to many and of utmost misery. Furthermore there are the lamentations and the inane joy and struggles and quarrels and rifts and the heedless encounter of armed men with unarmed ones. All these things I pass over since they are known and common.Note the connection between the name of the rhetorical device (praeteritio = passing over) and the last word in the passage just quoted (pretereo = I pass over). I no longer have access to Lausberg's book, and I don't know if he cited this passage from Petrarch as an example. [Update: Ian Jackson sent me the relevant pages, in which Petrarch isn't cited.]
 Taceo que adversus ebrietatem copiosissime dici possunt; quam feda, quam periculosa, quam tristis egritudo est, quantusque furor scienter obruere atque enecare spumanti dolio rationem, quod singulare ac precipuum habet hominis natura; neque pedes, neque linguam, neque animum in potestate habere; tremulum caput, instabiles manus, stillantes oculos, gravem corporis odorem et pridiani meri reliquias crastino insultantes.  Taceo libidinis regnum, virtutis exilium, vulgi fabulam ac risum, bonorum odium atque contemptum; mutationem repentinam sileo et quamlibet doctorum inscitiam ac cuiuslibet etatis infantiam, omnium iocis ac fraudibus omniumque ludibrio expositam.  Rimulas quoque mentis oppresse ac futilis et gravi pondere fatiscentis, unde secreta effluunt sepe cum propria, sepe cum aliena pernicie, que multis mortis et extreme miserie causa fuit; luctum preterea et inane gaudium et contentiones et iurgia et precipitium et incautos congressus inermium cum armatis: hec ut nota, inquam, et vulgata pretereo.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
I'd Vote for Him
I beg you to elect Gaius Julius Polybius aedile. He brings good bread.
C(aium) Iulium Polybium / aed(ilem) o(ro) v(os) f(aciatis) panem bonum fert
On bread-making in Pompeii see Mary Beard, Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town (London: Profile Books, 2008), pp. 170-177.
A Joy and a Delight
There is not a single one of us for whom these temples, the sight of the city, the possession of liberty, the very light of day and the soil of the fatherland we all share are not only precious but a joy and a delight.
quis est enim cui non haec templa, aspectus urbis, possessio libertatis, lux denique haec ipsa et commune patriae solum cum sit carum tum vero dulce atque iucundum?