Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Elites versus Common People
And everywhere on earth the best element is opposed to democracy. For among the best people there is minimal wantonness and injustice but a maximum of scrupulous care for what is good, whereas among the people there is a maximum of ignorance, disorder, and wickedness; for poverty draws them rather to disgraceful actions, and because of a lack of money some men are uneducated and ignorant.
ἔστι δὲ πάσῃ γῇ τὸ βέλτιστον ἐναντίον τῇ δημοκρατίᾳ· ἐν γὰρ τοῖς βελτίστοις ἔνι ἀκολασία τε ὀλιγίστη καὶ ἀδικία, ἀκρίβεια δὲ πλείστη εἰς τὰ χρηστά, ἐν δὲ τῷ δήμῳ ἀμαθία τε πλείστη καὶ ἀταξία καὶ πονηρία· ἥ τε γὰρ πενία αὐτοὺς μᾶλλον ἄγει ἐπι τὰ αἰσχρά, καὶ ἡ ἀπαιδευσία καὶ ἡ ἀμαθία δι᾿ ἔνδειαν χρημάτων <ἔνι> ἐνίοις τῶν ἀνθρώπων.
ἔνι add. Christian
Taranto has a very interesting Museum. I went there with an introduction to the curator, who spared no trouble in pointing out to me all that was best worth seeing. He and I were alone in the little galleries; at a second or third visit I had the Museum to myself, save for an attendant who seemed to regard a visitor as a pleasant novelty, and bestirred himself for my comfort when I wanted to make sketches. Nothing is charged for admission, yet no one enters. Presumably, all the Tarentines who care for archaeology have already been here, and strangers are few.Thanks to Eric Thomson for the following photograph of one of these grotesque visages from the museum:
Upon the shelves are seen innumerable miniature busts, carved in some kind of stone; thought to be simply portraits of private persons. One peers into the faces of men, women, and children, vaguely conjecturing their date, their circumstances; some of them may have dwelt in the old time on this very spot of ground now covered by the Museum. Like other people who grow too rich and comfortable, the citizens of Tarentum loved mirth and mockery; their Greek theatre was remarkable for irreverent farce, for parodies of the great drama of Athens. And here is testimony to the fact: all manner of comic masks, of grotesque visages; mouths distorted into impossible grins, eyes leering and goggling, noses extravagant.
This is not unlike what I see when I look into a mirror.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Zeal of Learning
There must be several men of spirit and experiences akin to mine who remember that little book-shop opposite Portland Road Station. It had a peculiar character; the books were of a solid kind—chiefly theology and classics—and for the most part those old editions which are called worthless, which have no bibliopolic value, and have been supplanted for practical use by modern issues. The bookseller was very much a gentleman, and this singular fact, together with the extremely low prices at which his volumes were marked, sometimes inclined me to think that he kept the shop for mere love of letters. Things in my eyes inestimable I have purchased there for a few pence, and I don't think I ever gave more than a shilling for any volume. As I once had the opportunity of perceiving, a young man fresh from class-rooms could only look with wondering contempt on the antiquated stuff which it rejoiced me to gather from that kindly stall, or from the richer shelves within. My Cicero's Letters for instance: podgy volumes in parchment, with all the notes of Graevius, Gronovius, and I know not how many other old scholars. Pooh! Hopelessly out of date. But I could never feel that. I have a deep affection for Graevius and Gronovius and the rest, and if I knew as much as they did, I should be well satisfied to rest under the young man's disdain. The zeal of learning is never out of date; the example—were there no more—burns before one as a sacred fire, for ever unquenchable. In what modern editor shall I find such love and enthusiasm as glows in the annotations of old scholars?
Even the best editions of our day have so much of the mere school-book; you feel so often that the man does not regard his author as literature, but simply as text. Pedant for pedant, the old is better than the new.
Insults to Ambassadors
 Postumius was sent as ambassador to the Tarentines. As he was making an address to them, the Tarentines, far from paying heed to him or thinking seriously, as men should do who are sensible and are taking counsel for a state which is in peril, watched rather to see if he would make any slip in the finer points of the Greek language, and then laughed, became exasperated at his truculence, which they called barbarous, and finally were ready to drive him out of the theatre.  As the Romans were departing, one of the Tarentines standing beside the exit was a man named Philonides, a frivolous fellow who because of his besotted condition in which he passed his whole life was called Demijohn [Κοτύλη]; and this man, being still full of yesterday's wine, as soon as the ambassadors drew near, pulled up his garment, and assuming a posture most shameful to behold, bespattered the sacred robe of the ambassador with the filth that is indecent even to be uttered.Appian, Roman History 3.7.2 (tr. Brian McGing):
 When laughter burst out from the whole theatre and the most insolent clapped their hands, Postumius, looking at Philonides, said: "We shall accept the omen, you frivolous fellow, in the sense that you Tarentines give us what we do not ask for." Then he turned to the crowd and showed his defiled robe; but when he found that the laughter of everybody became even greater and heard the cries of some who were exulting over and praising the insult, he said:  "Laugh while you may, Tarentines! Laugh! For long will be the time that you will weep hereafter." When some became embittered at this threat, he added: "And that you may become yet more angry, we say this also to you, that you will wash out this robe with much blood."  The Roman ambassadors, having been insulted in this fashion by the Tarentines both privately and publicly and having uttered the prophetic words which I have reported, sailed away from their city.
The Tarentines made difficulties about admitting the embassy to their council at all, and when they had received them jeered at them whenever they made a slip in their Greek, and made fun of their togas and of the purple stripe on them. But a certain Philonides, a fellow fond of jest and ribaldry, going up to Postumius, the chief of the embassy, turned his back to him, drew up his dress and polluted him with filth. This spectacle was received with laughter by the bystanders. Postumius, holding out his soiled garment, said: "You will wash out this defilement with much blood—you who take pleasure in this kind of joke." As the Tarentines made no answer the embassy departed. Postumius carried the soiled garment just as it was, and showed it to the Romans.Dio Cassius, Roman History 9.39.6-8 (tr. Earnest Cary):
However, they despatched envoys, in order not to appear to have passed over the affair in silence and in that way render them more arrogant. But the Tarentines, so far from receiving them decently or even sending them back with an answer in any way suitable, at once, before so much as granting them an audience, made sport of their dress and general appearance. It was the city garb, which we use in the Forum; and this the envoys had put on, either for the sake of dignity or else by way of precaution, thinking that this at least would cause the foreigners to respect their position. Bands of revellers accordingly jeered at them—they were then also celebrating a festival, which, though they were at no time noted for temperate behaviour, rendered them still more wanton—and finally a man planted himself in the way of Postumius, and stooping over, relieved his bowels and soiled the envoy's clothing. At this an uproar arose from all the rest, who praised the fellow as if he had performed some remarkable deed, and they sang many scurrilous verses against the Romans, accompanied by applause and capering steps. But Postumius cried: "Laugh, laugh while you may! For long will be the period of your weeping, when you shall wash this garment clean with your blood."Cf. Strabo 8.6.23 (tr. Horace Leonard Jones):
The Corinthians, when they were subject to Philip, not only sided with him in his quarrel with the Romans, but individually behaved so contemptuously towards the Romans that certain persons ventured to pour down filth upon the Roman ambassadors when passing by their house. For this and other offences, however, they soon paid the penalty, for a considerable army was sent thither, and the city itself was razed to the ground by Leucius Mummius...
Labels: noctes scatologicae
Monday, August 28, 2017
Pull Down Thy Vanity
Learn not to give too much honour to anything that is human.
γίγνωσκε τἀνθρώπεια μὴ σέβειν ἄγαν.
Things Dear to You
Come, grantLloyd-Jones doesn't translate οἴκοθεν (or ἐκ σέθεν) in line 250. The list of four dear things seems odd. See J.C. Kamerbeek's commentary ad loc. (although his solution isn't convincing):
the unhoped-for favour,
I beseech you by whatever you hold dear,
be it a child or a wife or a possession or a god!
ἀλλ᾿ ἴτε, νεύσατε
τὰν ἀδόκητον χάριν,
πρός σ᾿ ὅ τι σοι φίλον οἴκοθεν ἄντομαι, 250
ἢ τέκνον, ἢ λέχος, ἢ χρέος, ἢ θεός.
250 οἴκοθεν Elmsley: ἐκ σέθεν Lrat
251 λέχος Reiske: λόγος codd.
Jebb ad loc.:
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Parvum Parva Decent
Small things befit small folk; my own delight to-day is not queenly Rome, but quiet Tibur or peaceful Tarentum.The same, tr. Colin Macleod:
parvum parva decent: mihi iam non regia Roma,
sed vacuum Tibur placet aut imbelle Tarentum.
The small scale fits small men: not mighty Rome
for me now, but leisured Tibur, or tame Tarentum.
The Measure of My Days
Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.
Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
The Good Book
I have looked in vain through the New Testament to descry even a single sympathetic feature: there is nothing in it that is free, gracious, candid, honest. Humaneness did not even make its first beginnings here—the instincts of cleanliness are lacking. There are only bad instincts in the New Testament, and not even the courage to have these bad instincts. Everything in it is cowardice, everything is shutting-one's-eyes and self-deception. Every book becomes clean just after one has read the New Testament: to give an example, it was with utter delight that, right after Paul, I read that most graceful, most prankish mocker Petronius, of whom one might say what Domenico Boccaccio wrote to the Duke of Parma about Cesare Borgia: è tutto festo—immortally healthy, immortally cheerful and well turned out.Related post: Two Books.
Ich habe vergebens im Neuen Testamente auch nur nach einem sympathischen Zuge ausgespäht; nichts ist darin, was frei, gütig, offenherzig, rechtschaffen wäre. Die Menschlichkeit hat hier noch nicht ihren ersten Anfang gemacht – die Instinkte der Reinlichkeit fehlen ... Es gibt nur schlechte Instinkte im Neuen Testament, es gibt keinen Mut selbst zu diesen schlechten Instinkten. Alles ist Feigheit, alles ist Augenschließen und Selbstbetrug darin. Jedes Buch wird reinlich, wenn man eben das Neue Testament gelesen hat: ich las, um ein Beispiel zu geben, mit Entzücken unmittelbar nach Paulus jenen anmutigsten, übermütigsten Spötter Petronius, von dem man sagen könnte, was Domenico Boccaccio über Cesare Borgia an den Herzog von Parma schrieb: »è tutto festo« – unsterblich gesund, unsterblich heiter und wohlgeraten.
A Man from Another Age
Villa Santa: This evening it seems to me, Flaiano, that you have opened yourself up as perhaps you have never done before, that you have revealed an anguish and above all a faith behind your humour. But this gives rise to the suspicion in me that at bottom you are a man from another period if not from another age altogether; is that an unfounded suspicion?The Italian:
Flaiano: It's a legitimate one. We don't know who we are, we are just so many passengers without baggage, we are born alone and we die alone. A writer once quoted me in a book of hers, and in the English translation the English writer translated my name as Ennius Flaianus, thinking that this Ennio Flaiano was some Latin author. A few months later we met each other in a restaurant in Rome and were introduced and, naturally, she experienced an awkward moment, for she didn't think that this ancient writer was still alive. However, we did agree that certain characteristics of my person, a certain style of life, indicated that she was right. I perhaps was not of this age, am not of this age. Perhaps I belong to another world: I feel myself more in harmony when I read Juvenal, Martial, Catullus. It's probable that I'm an ancient Roman who is still here, forgotten by history, to write about the things that the others wrote about far better than I — namely, let me repeat, Juvenal, Martial, Catullus.
Villa Santa: Questa sera, mi sembra, Flaiano, che Lei si sia aperto come forse non ha fatto mai; e che abbia rivelato un'angoscia e soprattutto una fede dietro il Suo umorismo. Ma questo mi fa nascere il sospetto, in conclusione, che Lei in fondo sia un uomo di un'altra epoca, se non di un'altra èra. È un sospetto infondato?Hat tip: Eric Thomson.
Flaiano: È un sospetto lecito. Noi non sappiamo chi siamo, siamo passeggeri senza bagagli, nasciamo soli e moriamo soli. Una volta, una scrittrice mi citò in un suo libro, e nella traduzione inglese lo scrittore inglese tradusse il mio nome in Ennius Flaianus, credendo che questo 'Ennio Flaiano' fosse uno scrittore latino. Dopo qualche mese c'incontrammo in una trattoria di Roma, ci presentammo e lui rimase molto male, naturalmente, perché non pensava che questo antico scrittore vivesse ancora. Tuttavia, fummo d'accordo che certi caratteri della mia persona, un certo modo di vivere, gli davano ragione. Io forse non era di quest'epoca, non sono di quest'epoca. Forse appartengo a un altro mondo: io mi sento più in armonia quando leggo Giovenale, Marziale, Catullo. È probabile che io sia un antico romano, che sta qui ancora, dimenticato dalla storia, a scrivere cose che gli altri hanno scritto molto meglio di me, cioè, Catullo, Marziale, Giovenale.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
There are days when I am afflicted with a feeling blacker than the blackest melancholy—contempt of man. And to leave no doubt concerning what I despise, whom I despise: it is the man of today, the man with whom I am fatefully contemporaneous. The man of today—I suffocate from his unclean breath.
Es gibt Tage, wo mich ein Gefühl heimsucht, schwärzer als die schwärzeste Melancholie—die Menschen-Verachtung. Und damit ich keinen Zweifel darüber lasse, was ich verachte, wen ich verachte: der Mensch von heute ist es, der Mensch, mit dem ich verhängnisvoll gleichzeitig bin. Der Mensch von heute—ich ersticke an seinem unreinen Atem.
Education, and particularly higher education, represents a danger for any established authority, and particularly so when it gives its pupils access to a long and distinguished intellectual tradition. The pupils of Plato are rarely conventional good citizens. And those who have learnt from Aristotle to analyse and to compare, tend to do so just when those in power least want them to.
'The statue somehow disappoints me,' observed his father, placidly.Suetonius, Life of Caesar 45.2 (tr. J.C. Rolfe):
'Oh, it isn't bad, I think,' returned the youth, in a voice not unlike his father's, save for a note of excessive self-confidence. He looked about eighteen; his comely countenance, with its air of robust health and habitual exhilaration, told of a boyhood passed amid free and joyous circumstances. It was the face of a young English plutocrat, with more of intellect than such visages are wont to betray; the native vigour of his temperament had probably assimilated something of the modern spirit. 'I'm glad,' he continued, 'that they haven't stuck him in a toga, or any humbug of that sort. The old fellow looks baggy, but so he was. They ought to have kept his chimney-pot, though. Better than giving him those scraps of hair, when everyone knows he was as bald as a beetle.'
'Sir Job should have been granted Caesar's privilege,' said Mr. Warricombe, with a pleasant twinkle in his eyes.
'What was that?' came from the son, with abrupt indifference.
'For shame, Buckland!'
'What do I care for Caesar's privileges? We can't burden our minds with that antiquated rubbish nowadays. You would despise it yourself, father, if it hadn't got packed into your head when you were young.'
The parent raised his eyebrows in a bantering smile.
'I have lived to hear classical learning called antiquated rubbish.'
He was somewhat overnice in the care of his person, being not only carefully trimmed and shaved, but even having superfluous hair plucked out, as some have charged; while his baldness was a disfigurement which troubled him greatly, since he found that it was often the subject of the gibes of his detractors. Because of it he used to comb forward his scanty locks from the crown of his head, and of all the honours voted him by the senate and people there was none which he received or made use of more gladly than the privilege of wearing a laurel wreath at all times.
circa corporis curam morosior, ut non solum tonderetur diligenter ac raderetur, sed velleretur etiam, ut quidam exprobraverunt, calvitii vero deformitatem iniquissime ferret, saepe obtrectatorum iocis obnoxiam expertus. ideoque et deficientem capillum revocare a vertice adsueverat et ex omnibus decretis sibi a senatu populoque honoribus non aliud aut recepit aut usurpavit libentius quam ius laureae coronae perpetuo gestandae.
Friday, August 25, 2017
Prayer of John Mauropus
If you are willing to spare any pagans from your punishment, my Christ, may you choose Plato and Plutarch for my sake. For both clung closely in word and in deed to your laws. If they did not know that you are Lord of all, only your charity is needed here, through which you are willing to save all men for nothing in return.The Greek, in Iohannis Euchaitorum Metropolitae Quae in Codice Vaticano Graeco 676 Supersunt, ed. Paul de Lagarde (Göttingen: Dieterich, 1882), p. 24, number 43:
Εἴπερ τινὰς βούλοιο τῶν ἀλλοτρίωνRelated posts:
τῆς σῆς ἀπειλῆς ἐξελέσθαι, Χριστέ μου,
Πλάτωνα καὶ Πλούταρχον ἐξέλοιό μοι·
ἄμφω γὰρ εἰσὶ καὶ λόγον καὶ τὸν τρόπον
τοῖς σοῖς νόμοις ἔγγιστα προσπεφυκότες.
εἰ δ' ἠγνόησαν ὡς Θεὸς σὺ τῶν ὅλων,
ἐνταῦθα τῆς σῆς χρηστότητος δεῖ μόνον,
δι' ἣν ἅπαντας δωρεὰν σῲζειν θέλεις.
This Is My Home
In vain I have pondered the Stoic virtues. I know that it is folly to fret about the spot of one's abode on this little earth.Related posts:
All places that the eye of heaven visitsBut I have always worshipped wisdom afar off. In the sonorous period of the philosopher, in the golden measure of the poet, I find it of all things lovely. To its possession I shall never attain. What will it serve me to pretend a virtue of which I am incapable? To me the place and manner of my abode is of supreme import; let it be confessed, and there an end of it. I am no cosmopolite. Were I to think that I should die away from England, the thought would be dreadful to me. And in England, this is the dwelling of my choice; this is my home.
Are to the wise man ports and happy havens.
- Near and Dear
- One World
- Local Attachment
- Le Patriotisme de Clocher
- Home Sweet Home
A Priceless Gift
Indeed he devoured books, and was single-minded in his taste, which was literary and historical. Nature had bestowed upon him the priceless gift of indifference to theology, philosophy, science, and politics — leaving him unimpeded in his scholastic passions.
A Difficult Line from Horace
(Corcoran Gallery, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
As Usually Happens
As usual, the bigger party triumphed over the better.The same (tr. Aubrey de Sélincourt):
As usually happens, wisdom was forced to yield to numbers.The Latin:
ut plerumque fit, maior pars meliorem vicit.
English translations of Arab poems differ widely and sometimes when reading several versions of a passage I have wondered if their translators were actually working on the same poem.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Enough Time to Learn Italian?
May I begin with a personal reminiscence? Fifty years ago, when I was just finishing my second year as a student at Cambridge, my teacher, B.L. Hallward, the author of the chapters on the Punic Wars in The Cambridge Ancient History, came to me and said: 'You have exactly two weeks free of work before the end of term. That will be enough to learn Italian. Then, next year, you can read De Sanctis.' As I soon discovered, he was too optimistic: two weeks is not enough to learn Italian! But I did learn sufficient to enable me (with the help of a dictionary) to read Volume III of the Storia dei Romani. It was a wonderful experience, which I have never forgotten.
Benjamin Oliver Foster
I was recently surprised to learn that classical scholar Benjamin Oliver Foster (1872-1938) was born in Bangor. The city should have a statue erected in his honor, or a street named after him. Here is the article on Foster (by Mortimer Chambers) in Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists, ed. Ward W. Briggs, Jr. (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1994), p. 192:
FOSTER, Benjamin Oliver. Born: 13 Aug. 1872, Bangor, ME, to George Winslow, a physician, & Charlotte Elizabeth Adams F. Married: Anna Lee. Education: A.B. Stanford, 1895; A.M. Harvard, 1897; Ph.D., 1899; Parker fell., Harvard, studying at ASCSR, 1899-1900. Prof Exp.: Teacher, Salt Lake City (UT) HS, 1890-2; actng prof. Lat. & Gk., State Normal College of Michigan, 1900-1; instr. to prof. Stanford, 1901-37; chair dept., 1933-7; vis. prof. U. Chicago, 1925-6; U. California, summer 1908, 1913; pres. PAPC, 1932-3. Died: 22 June 1938, Palo Alto, CA.Some more publications by Foster (not including book reviews):
Foster was one of the early Stanford alumni who returned to that university for their teaching careers after brief service elsewhere. His chief scholarly contribution was his translation of the first five volumes of Livy, through book 22, for the 14-volume Loeb edition. He based his text on Weissenborn-Müller but took account of the successive volumes of the Oxford text of Conway-Walters. His translation was found accurate and elegant, though W.H. Semple, in CR 43 (1929) 90, invited him to strive for more Livian rhetoric here and there. The fifth volume in particular goes beyond the usual Loeb format of the period by including both a long bibliography, with summaries of many of the papers cited, and useful maps taken from Kromayer's Schlachtenatlas. This latter feature was praised by the leading German scholar of Livy, Alfred Klotz, who declared that no other edition was so well equipped in this respect: PhW 50 (1930) 803.
Foster was known to Stanford undergraduates as an enormously popular teacher of courses in Roman literature of both Republic and Empire. He was an avid swimmer and tennis player and a gourmet cook who enjoyed preparing elaborate meals for colleagues.
DISSERTATION: "De quartae declinationis apud priscos Latinos usu" (Harvard, 1899).
PUBLICATIONS: "Notes on the Symbolism of the Apple in Classical Antiquity," HSCP 10 (1899) 39-55; "On Certain Euphonic Embellishments in the Verse of Propertius," TAPA 40 (1909) 31-62; "On Some Passages in Propertius," CP 2 (1907) 210-8; "The Duration of the Trojan War," AJP 35 (1914) 294-308; "The Latin Grammarians and the Latin Accent," CP 3 (1908) 201-3; "Livy VII.14.6-10," AJP 42 (1921) 174; "On the Force of Hominis in Caesar B.G. V.58.6," CJ 13 (1917-8) 277; "Propertius III 24," AJP 30 (1909) 54-60; "The Trojan War Again," AJP 36 (1915) 298-313; Livy (trans.), LCL (New York & London; vol. 1, 1919; vol. 2, 1922; vol. 3, 1924; vol. 4, 1926; vol. 5, 1929).
SOURCES: Harvard U. Archives; Stanford U. Archives.
- "Propertiana," Matzke Memorial Volume (Stanford University, 1911), pp. 100-110
- "Epitaph upon a Child That Died," Classical Weekly 4.22 (April 1, 1911) 175
- "Laus Fumandi," Classical Weekly 5.4 (October, 28, 1911) 31
- "Live Latin," Classical Journal 8.4 (January, 1913) 151-159
The title of his PhD dissertation was "De quartae declinationis apud priscos latinos usu" which translates to "About a quarter of the decline in the use of the old Latin."Screen capture, in case you think I'm kidding:
The correct translation is of course "On the use of the fourth declension in early Latin [writers]."
Labels: typographical and other errors
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Du Bellay to His Barber
You never see me, Pierre, without saying that I study too much, that I should make love, and that always having these books around makes for bleary eyes and a heavy head.1 die = dises
But you do not understand. For that illness comes not from too much reading or from sitting still too long, but from seeing to the office that is open for business every day. That, Pierre my friend, is the book I study.
Then say no more about it, if you wish to give me pleasure and not to annoy me. But while with a skillful hand
You wash my beard and cut my hair, to cheer me up, tell me, if you like, news of the pope and gossip of the town.
Tu ne me vois jamais (Pierre) que tu ne die
Que j'estudie trop, que je face l'amour,
Et que d'avoir tousjours ces livres à l'entour,
Rend les yeux esblouis, et la teste eslourdie.
Mais tu ne l'entens pas: car ceste maladie 5
Ne me vient du trop lire, ou du trop long sejour,
Ains de voir le bureau, qui se tient chascun jour:
C'est, Pierre mon amy, le livre où j'estudie.
Ne m'en parle donc plus, autant que tu as cher
De me donner plaisir, et de ne me fascher: 10
Mais bien en ce pendant que d'une main habile
Tu me laves la barbe, et me tonds les cheveulx,
Pour me desennuyer, conte moy si tu veulx,
Des nouvelles du Pape, et du bruit de la ville.
2 face = fasse
See Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, Part. I, Sec. 2, Mem. 3, Subs. 15: Love of Learning, or Overmuch Study.
Robert Darnton, The Kiss of Lamourette. Reflections in Cultural History (New York: W.W. Norton, 1990), pp. 171-172:
In a tract of 1795, J.G. Heinzmann listed the physical consequences of excessive reading: "susceptibility to colds, headaches, weakening of the eyes, heat rashes, gout, arthritis, hemorrhoids, asthma, apoplexy, pulmonary disease, indigestion, blocking of the bowels, nervous disorder, migraines, epilepsy, hypochondria, and melancholy."But Heinzmann (I think) was discussing not the simple physical consequences of too much reading, but rather the debilitating physical and psychical effects of reading the wrong kind of books. See Johann Georg Heinzmann, Über die Pest der deutschen Literatur (Bern, "auf Kosten des Verfassers," 1795), pp. 450-451:
Daher werden unsre Leidenschaften immer starker, immer unregelmäßiger, immer stürmischer. Nach der Erfahrung unserer Stadtärzte sind grosse Empfindlichkeit, leichte Erkältung, Kopfschmerzen, schwache Augen, Hitzblattern, Podagra, Gicht, Hämorrhoiden, Engbrüstigkeit, Schlagflüsse, Lungensnoten, geschwächte Verdauung, Verstopfung der Eingeweide, Nervenschwäche, Migräne, Epilepsie, Hypochondrie, Melankolie, die gewöhnlichsten Krankheiten; unsre Lebenssäfte stocken und faulen; häßliche Leidenschaften: Traurigkeit, Unwillen, Mißvergnügen, Eifersucht und Neid, Trotz und Eigendünkel; Müßiggang und Unzucht, findet man in Strohhütten wie in Pallästen.
Some people are toppled by their power, object of great envy, some are sunk by their long and glorious roll of honours. Down their statues come, dragged by a rope, then even the chariot's wheels are smashed and slashed by the axe, and the legs of the innocent nags are shattered. Now the flames are hissing, now that head idolised by the people is glowing from the bellows and furnace: huge Sejanus is crackling. Then the face that was number two in the whole world is turned into little jugs, basins, frying pans, and chamber pots.Edward Courtney ad loc. (Commentary, pp. 404-405):
Quosdam praecipitat subiecta potentia magnae
invidiae, mergit longa atque insignis honorum
pagina. descendunt statuae restemque secuntur,
ipsas deinde rotas bigarum inpacta securis
caedit et inmeritis franguntur crura caballis. 60
iam strident ignes, iam follibus atque caminis
ardet adoratum populo caput et crepat ingens
Seianus, deinde ex facie toto orbe secunda
fiunt urceoli, pelves, sartago, matellae.
56–7 For the INVIDIA to which power is subject cf. Lucr. 5.1126, Sen. Ep. 84.11 and Dial. 11.9.5; Juvenal seems to hint some sympathy for Sejanus.
MERGIT 'shipwrecks', cf. 13.8; Sen. Ep. 55.3 aliquos ... Seiani odium, deinde amor merserat (aeque enim offendisse illum quam amasse periculosum fuit).
PAGINA HONORUM A column of distinctions, i.e. tituli on statue bases (1.130, 8.69); pagina of the consular fasti Livy 9.18.12, Pliny Pan. 92.2.
58 Cf. 8.18 of imagines; Vittinghoff 13; SG 2.279, 286 = 3.59, 66. Juvenal will have seen such scenes after the death of Domitian (Suet. 23, Dio Cass. 68.1, Pliny Pan. 52), as we have in Budapest in 1956.
SECUNTUR Cf. 1.164; Pliny NH 35.4 ut frangat heres forisque detrahat laqueo (furisque ... laqueum or -us codd.); [Sen.] Oct. 794 sqq. for the RESTIS cf. Libanius Or. 20.4, 22.8.
59 Chariot statues 7.126, 8.3, SG 2.290 = 3.71; the characteristic triumphal type (Pliny NH 34.19). Though because of the links with the imperial cult the right of having statues was limited (Vittinghoff 14 n. 32), there were many of Sejanus.
IMMERITIS Cf. Thes. s.v. 456.55 and Juv. 13.156; others are more guilty than they are.
CABALLIS Cf. on 3.118; but here the word seems to suggest pity rather than contempt.
62 ADORATUM Dio 58.2.7–8, 4.3–4, 6.2, 8.4, 11.2; Tac. Ann. 4.2; Suet. Tib. 48.2, 65.
CAPUT ... FACIE The rest of the statue would have been left (Vittinghoff 14 n. 37).
64 Cf. Pliny quoted on 58.
URCEOLI 3.203; pitchers.
PELVES 3.277, 6.441; basins.
SARTAGO A saucepan, cf. Blümner1 157, Hilgers 269; one of silver is mentioned by Ulpian Dig. 126.96.36.199, but is merely ornamental. For the singular surrounded by plurals cf. 7.11, 9.109, 2.169 and the equally anomalous plural at 11.139.
MATELLAE Chamber-pots (RE s.v., Blümner1 147), a scabrous anti-climax; cf. Plut. Praec. Reip. Ger. 27.820e (statues of Demades), Diog. Laert. 5.77 and Strabo 188.8.131.528 (of Demetrius of Phalerum), Philo De Vita Contempl. 1.7.
The Negation of Europe
Not indeed that a vulgar cosmopolitan beatitude can inspire an honest man. To abandon one's patriotism, and to despise a frontier or a flag, is, we are agreed, the negation of Europe.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
See Isabelle C. Torrance, in Oaths and Swearing in Ancient Greece, edd. Alan H. Sommerstein and Isabelle C. Torrance (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013), p. 112:
[A] significant group of oaths exists in Greek literature where ostensibly non-divine entities are invoked as sanctifying witnesses. Such entities have normally been referred to in scholarly discussions as sacred oath-objects, sometimes designated by the German term Eideshorte.122The references are to Judith Fletcher, Performing Oaths in Classical Greek Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), p. 5:
122 Fletcher 2012, 5, S&B 4 n.3.
Occasionally an oath might be guaranteed by an Eideshort or a significant object.7 Achilles swears by his scepter that the Achaeans will miss him (Il. 1.233-46), and his oath is guaranteed by Zeus's nod after Thetis' supplication. In the ephebic oath sworn by all Athenian male citizens, eleven gods or heroes are invoked in addition to "the boundaries of my fatherland, Wheat, Barley, Vines, Olives and Figs" (Rhodes and Osborne 2003, GHI 88.5-16). Antigone swears "by iron" that if she is forced to marry she will become a Danaid (E., Phoen. 1677); in other words she will murder her husband. This unique Eideshort lends a special minatory relevance to her vow. Several of the dramas that we investigate suggest that oaths sworn by objects rather than gods have a subversive potential. Parthenopaeus, one of the seven attackers of Thebes, swore by his spear (ὄμνυσι δ᾿ αἰχμὴν ἣν ἔχει) "which, in his confidence, he honors more than the god and esteems more than his own eyes, that he would take Thebes against the will of Zeus" (A., Sept. 529-32). Aristophanes' Socrates flouts the Olympian gods in Clouds by invoking "Breath, Chaos and Air" (627-9).and A.H. Sommerstein and A.J. Bayliss, Oath and State in Ancient Greece (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013), p. 4, n. 3:
7 As Thür suggests (1997: 908), the object would have some prestige or special meaning to the oath-swearer. He gives the racehorses of Antilochus as an example (Il. 23.583-5). Benveniste (1969: 168) argues that horkos, is always to be conceived of as an object (this includes substances such as wine).
Normally these are divinities, heroes, etc., but sometimes we find sacred or cherished objects (often referred to by the German term Eideshorte) filling the corresponding place in oath-formulae (e.g. the speaker's staff in Iliad 1.233-39).The word occurs several times in Rudolf Hirzel, Der Eid: Ein Beitrag zu seiner Geschichte (Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1902).
A history of toppled monuments might be the most interesting of all, but very hard to tell, because often a studied effort removes the literary and pictorial traces as well as the masses of rock.
Nullius Addictus Iurare in Verba Magistri
These, I said, were the injunctions I received from my father, and I have observed them up to the present day. I did not proclaim myself a member of any of those sects of which, with all earnestness, I made a careful examination ...Related posts:
ταύτας, ἔφην ἐγὼ, παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς λαβὼν τὰς ἐντολὰς ἄχρι δεῦρο διαφυλάττω, μήτ' ἀφ' αἱρέσεώς τινος ἐμαυτὸν ἀναγορεύσας· ὧν σπουδῇ πάσῃ ἀκριβῆ τὴν ἐξέτασιν ἔχων ...
Friday, August 18, 2017
Happy the Man
Happy is the man who lives content with his family plot,
and is not always greedily after fearful riches.
This man is kept free from countless dangers
by safe repose; he quietly tends his rich fields.
He is not terrified by the nightmares of the stupid mob, 5
nor the stern ferryman or three-headed Dog,
but, with pure hands, approaches the holy altars,
and bends the Gods, favourable to his prayers.
Truly happy is he, then, and to be counted among the
Gods themselves, whom nurturing Wisdom keeps in her 10
soft bosom. Morel, she has raised you up from the idle
mob and, under her guidance, you seek the stars
with upturned gaze. She also enjoins you to seek the
origins of the vast universe and to raise your mind to
behold God. With her aid, you scorn the threats of sky, 15
land and sea, and control everything with your mighty
mind. Yet your concern is not to rest in idle shade,
or to surrender your heart to flabby sloth.
But since you take on all the duties of civil life
and no aspect is neglected in your functions, 20
you arrange your life to trust nothing to fickle
luck, or to let Fate control your affairs,
just like one who, from the safety of the shore,
looks out on a ship tossed about over the Ocean,
or untroubled looks down on flames from on high, 25
or from a cliff on the rush of raging waters.
Add to this sweet children and a modest wife,
and a home that everyone would rejoice to have.
Why recall the luxury and elegance of the furnishings,
your simple way of life, your faultless taste? 30
Dorat himself will admit how open your home is
to the Muses, he who plucks learned songs on his
golden lyre, so that our century rivals ancient times
equally in the Latin and Greek Muses, and grave
Ronsard, protected by a mighty champion, 35
who frees him at last from a long-standing grudge.
In short, your life is such that, though the Gods have
given you all a wise and sane man needs, no one
envies you and, welcomed by high and low,
you can rival mighty kings. 40
Alas, now, in exile, I am driven from my home
shores, totally unable to enjoy so sweet a life.
Foelix, qui patrio uiuit contentus agello,
Nec timidas captat semper auarus opes.
Hunc, hunc tuta quies ereptum mille periclis
Detinet; hic tacitus rura beata colit.
Non illum stulti terrent insomnia uulgi, 5
Nauita nec tristis, tergeminusue Canis:
Sed puris manibus sanctas accedit ad aras,
Et flectit facileis in sua uota Deos:
Vere igitur foelix, Diis & numerandus in ipsis,
Quem Sophia in molli detinet alma sinu. 10
Haec te, Morelli, populo subduxit inerti,
Hac duce sublimi sidera fronte petis.
Haec te eadem immensi causas perquirere mundi
Iussit, & erecta cernere mente Deum.
Hac fretus caelique minas, terraeque marisque 15
Despicis, & magno cuncta domas animo.
Nec tamen hoc studium est, uacua requiescere in umbra,
Tradere uel molli pectora desidiae:
Sed cum cuncta obeas ciuilis munera uitae,
Nec pars ulla tuo cesset in officio, 20
Sic uitam instituis, dubiae nil credere sorti,
Fortunam aut rebus praeposuisse tuis.
Non aliter, tuto quam qui de littore puppim
Iactari toto prospicit Oceano:
Aut flammam e specula securus despicit alta, 25
Aut cursum e summa rupe furentis aquae.
Huc dulces nati accedunt, coniuxque pudica,
Et quam quisque sibi gaudeat esse domum.
Qui memorem quam lauta tibi, quam munda supellex,
Quam cultus simplex, & sine labe decor? 30
Nam tua quam pateat Musis domus, ipse fatetur,
Qui ferit aurata carmina docta lyra:
Auratus Latiis pariter Graiisque Camoenis
Nostra aequans priscis secula temporibus,
Ronsardusque grauis, magno qui vindice tutus 35
A ueteri tandem se asserit inuidia.
Denique sic uita est, ut cum tibi praestiterint Dii,
Prudenti, & sano quod satis esse potest,
Inuideat nullus, summis sed gratus, & imis
Aequalis magnis Regibus esse queas. 40
Hei mihi, quod patriis dum nunc agor exul ab oris,
Tam dulci uita non licet usque frui.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
As for εὐνᾶν, it may be admitted that σ and ν have normally little resemblance; but it must also be admitted that the contour of a character traced by a fallible man, under a flickering light, with a reed pen and evanescent ink upon paper not imperishable, may after the lapse of fifteen centuries be deciphered erroneously, if at all, by a fellow creature working under like handicaps with like materials. The possibility is regrettable, and disconcerting to the friends and enemies alike of conjectural criticism in ancient texts, but it is necessary to remember it.
Lover of the Olden Days
He was a great imitator of the customs of the men of old and a lover of the early times.
moris etiam maiorum summus imitator fuit antiquitatisque amator.
Please Drop Those Subjects
Here there was first a little conversation, and that arising out of my asking whether Rome happened to have been doing anything new; and then Atticus said, "Do pray drop those subjects, about which we can neither ask questions nor hear the answers without distress ... "James S. Reid ad loc.:
hic pauca primo atque ea percontantibus nobis ecquid forte Roma novi; tum Atticus "omitte ista, quae nec percontari nec audire sine molestia possumus, quaeso," inquit ... "
Here we had first a little talk, merely such as sprang out of my question whether he had brought any news from Rome; then Atticus said: "A truce, pray, to the subject, for we cannot help feeling pain when we put questions about it and hear the answers ... "Reid cites Cicero, Brutus 42.157, on Atticus' tendency to avoid political discussion. See also Cicero, Brutus 3.11 (tr. G.L. Hendrickson):
Here Atticus broke in: "It was precisely our thought in coming, to avoid talk about public affairs ... "
tum Atticus: "eo, inquit, ad te animo venimus, ut de re publica esset silentium ... "
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
We may further regret not being told anything at all about ocular diseases, curative springs (pp. 182-3), Roman debt-collecting (p. 193), the general practice of attributing a vice to a whole community (p. 194), the prophetic mind (p. 205), Pompey's sexual proclivities (p. 210), sexually transmitted diseases (pp. 282-3), the smell of the billy-goat (p. 303), the buggery of the young bride (p. 313), ideas linking the marrow, sweat and semen (p. 421), premature baldness (p. 484).
Obesus: An Auto-Antonym
Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary, s.v. obedo (from an online version; I don't have the book):
ŏb-ĕdo, ēdi, ēsum, ĕre, to eat, eat away, devour (used only in the part. perf. and P. a.).—Trop.: nec obesa cavamine terra est, AUCT. AETN. 344.—Hence, P. a.: ŏbēsus, a, um.Félix Gaffiot, Le Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, s.v. obesus:
I. Wasted away, lean, meagre: corpore pectoreque undique obeso, Laev. ap. GELL. 19, 7, 3; and ap. NON. 361, 17: (obesum hic notavimus proprie magis quam usitate dictum pro exili atque gracilento, Gell. ib.: obesum gracile et exile, Non. l.l.).—
II. Mid., that has eaten itself fat; hence, in gen., fat, stout, plump: obesus pinguis quasi ob edendum factus, Paul. ex FEST. p. 188 Müll. (not in Cic.; perh. not ante-Aug.; syn.: opimus, pinguis): corpus neque gracile, neque obesum, CELS. 2, 1; cf. COL. 6, 2, 15: turdus, HOR. Ep. 1, 15, 40: sus, COL. 7, 10, 6: terga, VERG. G. 3, 80: cervix, SUET. Ner. 51.—Sup.: obesissimus venter, PLIN. 11, 37, 79, 200; SUET. Vit. 17; APP. M. 11, p. 263.—Poet.: fauces obesae, swollen, VERG. G. 3, 497.
Cut loose your thinking and refine it; examine the problem piece by piece, correctly sorting and investigating ... and if you hit a dead end with one of your ideas, toss it aside and abandon it, then later try putting it in play again with your mind and weigh it up.W.J. Verdenius, "Notes on Aristophanes' Clouds," Mnemosyne 6.3 (1953) 178-180 (at 179):
σχάσας τὴν φροντίδα 740
λεπτὴν κατὰ μικρὸν περιφρόνει τὰ πράγματα
ὀρθῶς διαιρῶν καὶ σκοπῶν ...
... κἂν ἀπορῇς τι τῶν νοημάτων,
ἀφεὶς ἄπελθε, κᾆτα τῇ γνώμῃ πάλιν
κίνησον αὖθις αὐτὸ καὶ ζυγώθρισον. 745
744 τῇ γνώμῃ Reiske: τὴν γνώμην codd.
740-1 σχάσας τὴν φροντίδα / λεπτὴν κατὰ μικρὸν περιφρόνει τὰ πράγματα: κατὰ μικρόν should not be connected with περιφρόνει, but with σχάσας. Socrates adds κατὰ μικρόν as an explanation of λεπτήν (which could be misunderstood as an apposition): "into small pieces". Cp. Xen. An. VII 3, 22 ἄρτους διέκλα κατὰ μικρόν.Liddell-Scott-Jones, s.v. ζυγωθρίζω:
weigh, examine, Ar. Nu. 745, acc. to Sch.: but acc. to Poll. 10.26 from ζύγωθρον (the bar of a door), lock up.On Socrates' suggestion to cut the problem into small pieces, cf. G. Polya, How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method, 2nd ed. (1957; rpt. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973), pp. 35-36:
If your problem is very complex you may distinguish "great" steps and "small" steps, each great step being composed of several small ones. Check first the great steps, and get down to the smaller ones afterwards....Consider the details of the solution and try to make them as simple as you can; survey more extensive parts of the solution and try to make them shorter; try to see the whole solution at a glance. Try to modify to their advantage smaller or larger parts of the solution, try to improve the whole solution, to make it intuitive, to fit it into your formerly acquired knowledge as naturally as possible. Scrutinize the method that led you to the solution, try to see its point, and try to make use of it for other problems. Scrutinize the result and try to make use of it for other problems.Cf. also id., pp. 75-85, on "Decomposing and Recombining."
On Socrates' suggestion to lay aside the problem until a later time, cf. Polya, op. cit., pp. 197-198:
Subconscious work. One evening I wished to discuss with a friend a certain author but I could not remember the author's name. I was annoyed, because I remembered fairly well one of his stories. I remembered also some story about the author himself which I wanted to tell; I remembered, in fact, everything except the name. Repeatedly, I tried to recollect that name but all in vain. The next morning, as soon as I thought of the annoyance of the evening before, the name occurred to me without any effort.
The reader, very likely, remembers some similar experience of his own. And, if he is a passionate problem-solver, he has probably had some similar experience with problems. It often happens that you have no success at all with a problem; you work very hard yet without finding anything. But when you come back to the problem after a night's rest, or a few days' interruption, a bright idea appears and you solve the problem easily. The nature of the problem matters little; a forgotten word, a difficult word from a crossword-puzzle, the beginning of an annoying letter, or the solution of a mathematical problem may occur in this way.
Such happenings give the impression of subconscious work. The fact is that a problem, after prolonged absence, may return into consciousness essentially clarified, much nearer to its solution than it was when it dropped out of consciousness. Who clarified it, who brought it nearer to the solution? Obviously, oneself, working at it subconsciously. It is difficult to give any other answer; although psychologists have discovered the beginnings of another answer which may turn out some day to be more satisfactory.
Whatever may or may not be the merits of the theory of subconscious work, it is certain that there is a limit beyond which we should not force the conscious reflection. There are certain moments in which it is better to leave the problem alone for a while. "Take counsel of your pillow" is an old piece of advice. Allowing an interval of rest to the problem and to ourselves, we may obtain more tomorrow with less effort. "If today will not, tomorrow may" is another old saying. But it is desirable not to set aside a problem to which we wish to come back later without the impression of some achievement; at least some littIe point should be settled, some aspect of the question somewhat elucidated when we quit working.
Only such problems come back improved whose solution we passionately desire, or for which we have worked with great tension; conscious effort and tension seem to be necessary to set the subconscious work going. At any rate, it would be too easy if it were not so; we could solve difficult problems just by sleeping and waiting for a bright idea.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
A Gloomy Milestone
I have always considered that the substitution of the internal combustion engine for the horse marked a very gloomy milestone in the progress of mankind.Winston Churchill, speech to the Royal College of Physicians (July 10, 1951):
It is arguable whether the human race have been gainers by the march of science beyond the steam engine. Electricity opens a field of infinite conveniences to ever greater numbers, but they may well have to pay dearly for them. But anyhow in my thought I stop short of the internal combustion engine which has made the world so much smaller. Still more must we fear the consequences of entrusting a human race so little different from their predecessors of the so-called barbarous ages such awful agencies as the atomic bomb. Give me the horse.Related posts:
Monday, August 14, 2017
These are sad times. Twenty times a day do we ask ourselves if it is worth while living to be present at the downfall of all that we have loved.
Les temps sont tristes. Vingt fois par jour nous nous demandons s'il vaut la peine de vivre pour assister à la ruine de tout ce que nous avons aimé.
You moron redolent of the Cronia,32 you mooncalf!K.J. Dover ad loc.:
32 A festival celebrating Zeus' father Cronus, who symbolized a bygone age.
ὦ μῶρε σὺ καὶ Κρονίων ὄζων καὶ βεκκεσέληνε.
This fellow's ignorant and barbaric!Id. 646:
ἅνθρωπος ἀμαθὴς οὑτοσὶ καὶ βάρβαρος.
You're a stupid clod.ἄγροικος = dwelling in the fields, rustic, boorish; δυσμαθής = slow at learning, dull
ὡς ἄγροικος εἶ καὶ δυσμαθής.
You're a brainless lout!ἀγρεῖος = of the field, rustic, boorish; σκαιός = lefthanded, awkward, clumsy, stupid
ἀγρεῖος εἶ καὶ σκαιός.
[T]he more "research" which I attempt to do, the more I feel doubt about its relative importance in the total scheme of cultural values. Treated as beautiful, stimulating, + meaningful for life and joy, Greek literature, thought and fine art are of transcendent value; but treated as mere materials for scientific research, and by that I mean linguistics, and grammatical statistics, studies of drain-pipes, shoestrings, door knobs, locations, trivial forms of social and political organization, and all the rest of the tripe and garbage that are dignified by the term "research," they seem hardly more important than mineralogy, or comparative anatomy, or even educational statistics—than which what can be more banal? Of course some knowledge of the material setting is useful as background and proportion and emphasis to the appreciation of better things. But I sometimes feel that too much attention to the sauce is apt to lose us the rabbit. When our subject ceases to mean anything important for our daily living, then it will go, and it ought to go, the way of all flesh.
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Such, brethren, is our life, we whose existence is so transitory. Such is the game we play upon earth: we do not exist and we are born, and being born we are dissolved. We are a fleeting dream, an apparition without substance, the flight of a bird that passes, a ship that leaves no trace upon the sea. We are dust, a vapor, the morning dew, a flower growing but a moment and withering in a moment.
τοιοῦτος ὁ βίος ἡμῶν, ἀδελφοί, τῶν ζώντων πρόσκαιρα· τοιοῦτο τὸ ἐπὶ γῆς παίγνιον· οὐκ ὄντας γενέσθαι, καὶ γενομένους ἀναλυθῆναι. ὄναρ ἐσμὲν οὐχ ἱστάμενον, φάσμα τι μὴ κρατούμενον, πτῆσις ὀρνέου παρερχομένου, ναῦς ἐπὶ θαλάσσης ἴχνος οὐκ ἔχουσα, κόνις, ἀτμίς, ἑωθινὴ δρόσος, ἄνθος καιρῷ φυόμενον καὶ καιρῷ λυόμενον.
My Old Hut
Paper windows bamboo walls hedge of hibiscus
when guests arrive wormwood soup serves as tea
the poor people I meet are mostly content
rare is the rich man who isn't vain or wasteful
I move my bookstand to read sutras by moonlight
I honor the buddhas with a vase of wild flowers
everyone says Tushita Heaven is fine
but how can it match this old hut of mine
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Here we have a classic dilemma. When faced with an anecdote that cannot be true in the form in which we have it, how far are we entitled to modify details to bring it into line with the historical record, and when should we just dismiss it as historically worthless? For example, if a historical character attracts improbable anecdotes illustrating his extravagance, we may feel that we can at any rate accept that he was extravagant; if an otherwise plausible anecdote places him in the wrong place at the wrong time, we may feel entitled to substitute a more appropriate time and place.
Your Opponent's Arguments
The greatest orator, save one, of antiquity, has left it on record that he always studied his adversary's case with as great, if not still greater, intensity than even his own. What Cicero practised as the means of forensic success requires to be imitated by all who study any subject in order to arrive at the truth. He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. The rational position for him would be suspension of judgment, and unless he contents himself with that, he is either led by authority, or adopts, like the generality of the world, the side to which he feels most inclination. Nor is it enough that he should hear the arguments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. That is not the way to do justice to the arguments, or bring them into real contact with his own mind. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them. He must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form; he must feel the whole force of the difficulty which the true view of the subject has to encounter and dispose of; else he will never really possess himself of the portion of truth which meets and removes that difficulty.Cicero, De Oratore 2.24.102 (tr. H. Rackham):
It is my own practice to take care that every client personally instructs me on his affairs, and that no one else shall be present, so that he may speak the more freely; and to argue his opponent's case to him, so that he may argue his own and openly declare whatever he has thought of his position. Then, when he has departed, in my own person and with perfect impartiality I play three characters, myself, my opponent and the arbitrator.Id. 3.21.80:
equidem soleo dare operam, ut de sua quisque re me ipse doceat et ut ne quis alius adsit, quo liberius loquatur, et agere adversarii causam, ut ille agat suam et, quidquid de sua re cogitarit, in medium proferat. itaque cum ille discessit, tres personas unus sustineo summa animi aequitate, meam, adversarii, iudicis.
Whereas if there has really ever been a person who was able in Aristotelian fashion to speak on both sides about every subject and by means of knowing Aristotle's rules to reel off two speeches on opposite sides on every case, or in the manner of Arcesilas and Carneades argue against every statement put forward, and who to that method adds the experience and practice in speaking indicated, he would be the one and only true and perfect orator.
sin aliquis exstiterit aliquando qui Aristotelio more de omnibus rebus in utramque sententiam possit dicere et in omni causa duas contrarias orationes praeceptis illius cognitis explicare, aut hoc Arcesilae modo et Carneadis contra omne quod propositum sit disserat, quique ad eam rationem adiungat hunc usum exercitationemque dicendi, is sit verus, is perfectus, is solus orator.
The complete repertories were called πίνακες (indexes); but there was no corresponding Greek or Latin word for the selective lists. In the year A.D. 1768 the term 'canon' was coined for them by David Ruhnken,1 when he wrote: 'Ex magna oratorum copia tamquam in canonem decem dumtaxat rettulerunt' (sc. Aristarchus et Aristophanes Byzantius). Then Ruhnken dropped the cautious 'tamquam' and went on calling all the selective lists 'canones'. His coinage met with worldwide and lasting success, as the term was found to be so convenient; one has the impression that most people who use it believe that this usage is of Greek origin. But κανών2 was never used in this sense, nor would this have been possible. From its frequent use in ethics κανών always retained the meaning of rule or model. Aristophanes' grammatical observations about analogy in declension could be called κανόνες, rules, or a certain author and his style could be described as κανών, a model or exemplar.3 So it was not by the ancient, but it could have been by the Biblical, tradition that the catachrestic use of canon was suggested to Ruhnken. Though the Biblical canon does not mean a list of writers, it does mean a list of books of the Bible accepted by the Christian church as genuine and inspired;4 and this usage was and is current in all the modern languages. The word 'canon' has been intentionally avoided in this chapter on Aristophanes; nevertheless, everyone is at liberty to speak of the Alexandrian canon of the nine lyric poets or the ten orators, since the expression is sanctioned by its age and convenience, and will, I am afraid, never disappear. But if one calls such lists 'canons', one should be aware that this is not the proper significance of the Greek κανών but a modern catachresis that originated in the eighteenth century.
1 D. Ruhnken, 'Historia critica oratorum Graecorum' in his edition of Rutilius Lupus 1768 and often reprinted: Opuscula I2 (1823) 386.
2 H. Oppel, 'Κανών. Zur Bedeutungsgeschichte des Wortes und seiner lateinischen Entsprechungen (regula-norma)' Philologus, Suppl. xxx 4 (1937) passim; on Ruhnken see p. 47. Cf. the review by K. v. Fritz, AJP 60 (1939) 112 ff.
3 See above, p. 202 (declension) and p. 206, n. 2 (Aeschines' λόγοι as κανών).
4 Euseb. hist. eccl. VI 25. 3 τὸν ἐκκλησιαστικὸν φυλάττων κανόνα, μόνα τέσσαρα εἰδέναι εὐαγγέλια μαρτύρεται (sc. Origen) seems to be the earliest evidence of the word for the canon of scripture; Oppel Κανών 70 f. and others refer to a passage of Athanasius, written about A.D. 350, at least twenty-five years after Euseb. hist. eccl., Athanas. 'de decr. Nic. syn.' 18 (Werke, hg. von der Preuß. Akad. d. Wiss. II 1, 1935, p. 15. 20) μὴ ὂν ἐκ τοῦ κανόνος (sc. Hermas).
Friday, August 11, 2017
At last, someone who shares my opinion of that political cur. It could only be you, friend of my heart. Etroniforme is a sublime word to classify that vegetable species Merdoïde.1From étron = matière fécale consistante et moulée de l'homme et de quelques animaux (Larousse). Cf. Dutch stront.
1. Term coined by Mme Sand: "Of the shit family." A friend suggests a link with cacafuego, listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, which cites a 1696 usage: "A Spanish word signifying Shitefire, and it is used for a bragging, vaporing fellow."
Enfin! voilà donc quelqu'un qui pense comme moi sur le compte de ce goujat politique. Ce ne pouvait être que toi, ami de mon coeur. Étroniformes est le mot sublime qui classe cette espèce de végétaux merdoïdes.
Labels: noctes scatologicae
Here comes Peter CottontailThere are several good renditions on YouTube.
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Hippity hoppin', Easter's on its way
Bringin' ev'ry girl and boy
Baskets full of Easter joy
Things to make your Easter bright and gay
He's got jelly beans for Tommy
Colored eggs for sister Sue
There's an orchid for your mommy
And an Easter bonnet too
Oh, here comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Hippity hoppity, Happy Easter Day
Here comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Hippity hoppin', Easter's on its way
Try to do the things you should
Maybe if you're extra good
He'll roll lots of Easter eggs your way
You'll wake up on Easter mornin'
And you'll know that he was there
When you find those choc'late bunnies
That he's hiding ev'rywhere
Oh, here comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Hippity hoppity, Happy Easter Day
Hippity hoppity, Happy Easter Day
Invitation to Eight Gods
The second section of the parabasis, the so-called epirrhematic syzygy, belongs entirely to the chorus. It consists of two metrically identical lyric parts, an ode and antode, that reflect the ancient form of a hymnic call for the gods (hymnos kletikos).Aristophanes, Clouds 563-574, 595-606 (tr. Jeffrey Henderson, with his notes):
High guardian of the gods,Athena is explicitly named in the Greek (602). Shouldn't she also be explicitly named in the translation? Two of the unnamed gods are identified by the translator's notes, but not Helios (571-574). See K.J. Dover in his commentary (1968; rpt. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003), p. 173:
Zeus the great chieftain,
I invite first to my dance;
and the hugely strong Keeper of the Trident,
of land and salty sea;48
and our own father of glorious name,
most august Empyrean,49 nourisher of all life;
and the Charioteer, who
covers the plain of earth
with dazzling rays, a mighty deity
among gods and mortals.
Join me as well, Phoebus, Lord
of Delos, who dwell on Cynthus'
sheer escarpment of rock;53
and you, blest Maiden, who dwell at Ephesus
in the golden house, where Lydian maidens
greatly revere you;54
and our own native goddess,
wielder of the aegis, guardian of the city;
and he who haunts Parnassus' rock
and glows in the light of pine torches,
eminent among Delphic bacchants,
the reveller Dionysus.
48 I.e. Poseidon.
49 Aether, a scientific entity; cf. 265.
53 I.e. Apollo.
54 I.e. Artemis.
ὑψιμέδοντα μὲν θεῶν
Ζῆνα τύραννον εἰς χορὸν
πρῶτα μέγαν κικλήσκω· 565
τόν τε μεγασθενῆ τριαίνης ταμίαν,
γῆς τε καὶ ἁλμυρᾶς θαλάσσης
καὶ μεγαλώνυμον ἡμέτερον πατέρ᾿
Αἰθέρα σεμνότατον, βιοθρέμμονα πάντων· 570
τόν θ᾿ ἱππονώμαν, ὃς ὑπερ-
λάμπροις ἀκτῖσιν κατέχει
γῆς πέδον, μέγας ἐν θεοῖς
ἐν θνητοῖσί τε δαίμων.
ἀμφί μοι αὖτε Φοῖβ᾿ ἄναξ 595
Δήλιε, Κυνθίαν ἔχων
ἥ τ᾿ Ἐφέσου μάκαιρα πάγχρυσον ἔχεις
οἶκον, ἐν ᾧ κόραι σε Λυ-
δῶν μεγάλως σέβουσιν· 600
ἥ τ᾿ ἐπιχώριος ἡμετέρα θεὸς
αἰγίδος ἡνίοχος, πολιοῦχος Ἀθάνα·
Παρνασσίαν θ᾿ ὃς κατέχων
πέτραν σὺν πεύκαις σελαγεῖ
Βάκχαις Δελφίσιν ἐμπρέπων 605
Poseidon, Helios, and Artemis are not named outright in this song, but are identified by their attributes. The names of Athena (604 [sic, read 602]) and Dionysos (606) are delayed until their characterizations are complete, and Zeus and Aither are partially characterized before they are named.See also Eduard Fraenkel, Beobachtungen zu Aristophanes (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1962), pp. 196-198, and L.P.E. Parker, The Songs of Aristophanes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), pp. 194-196.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Assumption of Infallibility
But I must be permitted to observe, that it is not the feeling sure of a doctrine (be it what it may) which I call an assumption of infallibility. It is the undertaking to decide that question for others, without allowing them to hear what can be said on the contrary side. And I denounce and reprobate this pretension not the less, if put forth on the side of my most solemn convictions.
He then asked me, with a curiously suspicious eye, and as though to put me to the test, if I liked reading dictionaries. The question was put with the calm manner he brings to all he says, and in a tone of voice someone else might have adopted to inquire whether I preferred reading travel books or fiction. Fortunately, I had been seized very young with lexicomania, and I saw that my stock had risen as a result of my reply. It was precisely with reference to dictionaries that he added that 'The writer incapable of expressing everything, caught on the wrong foot by an idea, be it never so strange or subtle, never so unexpected, falling like a stone from the moon, was no writer at all'.Related post: Reading the Dictionary.
Il me demanda ensuite, avec un oeil curieusement méfiant, et comme pour m'éprouver, si j'aimais à lire des dictionnaires. Il me dit cela d'ailleurs comme il dit toute chose, fort tranquillement, et du ton qu'un autre aurait pris pour s'informer si je préférais la lecture des voyages à celle des romans. Par bonheur, j'avais été pris très-jeune de lexicomanie, et je vis que ma réponse me gagnait de l'estime. Ce fut justement à propos des dictionnaires qu'il ajouta «que l'écrivain qui ne savait pas tout dire, celui qu'une idée si étrange, si subtile qu’on la supposât, si imprévue, tombant comme une pierre de la lune, prenait au dépourvu et sans matériel pour lui donner corps, n'était pas un écrivain.»
A Greek Verse Inscription
The stone (photograph from Epigraphischen Datenbank):
Text and apparatus adapted by me from Peek (subscript dots for uncertain letters omitted):
ὅσιον βίον ἀίξοντι·According to Stephan Busch, Versus Balnearum. Die antike Dichtung über Bäder und Baden im römischen Reich (Stuttgart: B.G. Teubner, 1999), pp. 530-531 (at 531), the Latin portion of the inscription has been expanded as follows:
ἀλλ' ὅτε Μοιράων ὁ τριπλοῦς μίτος ἐξεκενώθ[η]
καὶ λοιπὸν θανάτῳ μετὰ τοῦτο τὸ φῶς μετεβλή[θη],
ψυχὴ μὲν πρὸς Ὄλυμπον ἀνήλλατο, σῶμα δὲ πρὸ[ς γῆν]
καὶ λυθὲν ἐξεπόθη καὶ οὐδὲν ἔχω πλέον ὀστῶ[ν]. 5
ὡς οὖν καιρὸν ἔχεις, λοῦσαι, μύρισαι, σπατάλησον
καὶ χάρισαι, δαπάνησον ἅπερ δύνασαι· τίνι τηρεῖς;
M. Septimius Diocles fecit sibi et Iul. Ca — — | fi[liae]
3 μετεβλή[θη] J.L. Ussing, "Om nogle af Fr. Rostgaard efterladte Papirsaftryk af graeske og latinske Indskrifter," Oversigt over det Kongelige Danske videnskabernes selskabs forhandlinger (1866) 202-221 (204-205); μετέβαι[νον] Georg Kaibel, Epigrammata Graeca ex Lapidibus Conlecta (Berlin: G. Reimer, 1878), p. 529, no. 646a
M. Septimius Diocles fecit sibi et Iul. Ca[liste coniugi et Sept. Vibiae] fi[liae].Latin translation of the Greek (lines 2-7) from Ed. Cougny, Epigrammatum Anthologia Palatina cum Planudeis et Appendice Nova Epigrammatum Veterum ex Libris et Marmoribus Ductorum, Vol. III (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1890), p. 207, number 695:
sed ubi parcarum triplum stamen exinanitum estUnavailable to me:
et postremo ad mortem post hanc lucem transii,
anima quidem ad Olympum exsiluit, corpus autem terra
dissolutum exhaustum est, et nihil habeo praeter ossa.
Dum igitur tempus habes, balneis, unguentis deliciis utere,
et te amabilem-praebe, splendide-vive, quoad potes: cuinam servas?
- Josef Zingerle, "Zu griechischen Grabgedichten," Jahreshefte des Österreichischen Archäologischen Institutes in Wien 23 (1926) cols. 361-414 (at 389 ff.)
- Luisa del Barrio Vega, Epigramas funerarios griegos: traducción, introducción y notas (Madrid: Editorial Gredos, ©1992)
In the fragmentary first line, ὅσιον βίον is pious life (accusative), and ἀίξοντι seems to be aorist active participle (dative singular) of ᾄσσω (alt. ἀΐσσω) = shoot, dart, glance (intransitive) or put in motion (transitive). I can extract no sense from ὅσιον βίον as the object of ἀίξοντι.
In line 3 what is the subject of Ussing's supplement μετεβλήθη (3rd person singular aorist indicative passive of μεταβάλλω)? Presumably φῶς, but I take the entire phrase τοῦτο τὸ φῶς to be the object of the preposition μετὰ. The inscription is number 1329 in Luigi Moretti, Inscriptiones Graecae Urbis Romae, vol. III (Rome: Istituto italiano per la storia antica, 1978), p. 184. The book is unavailable to me, but I think he prints μετεβλήθην (1st person) instead of μετεβλήθη (3rd person). The 1st person makes more sense to me.
The first καὶ in line 5 also puzzles me. ψυχὴ μὲν πρὸς Ὄλυμπον ἀνήλλατο (4) should be balanced by σῶμα δὲ πρὸς γῆν / καὶ λυθὲν ἐξεπόθη (4-5), but καὶ seems to get in the way of that.
Here is my tentative translation of all but the first line:
But when the threefold thread of the Fates was spun outThanks very much to Ian Jackson for a photocopy of the relevant page of Peek's Griechische Vers-Inschriften.
and finally after this light I was thrown over to death,
my soul leaped up to Olympus, but my body to earth
wasted away and was drained, and I have nothing but bones.
So therefore, while you have time, bathe, anoint yourself with perfume, live indulgently,
and gratify yourself, spend all the money you can — for what are you keeping it?
Marcus Septimius Diocles made this for himself and his wife Julia Callista and his daughter Septimia Vibia.
Wednesday, August 09, 2017
τί γὰρ γέροντος ἀνδρὸς Εὐρυσθεῖ πλέονId., pp. 102-103 (Children of Heracles 969):
for what profit does Eurytheus have in the death of an old man?
χρῆν τόνδε μὴ ζῆν μηδ᾿ ἔτ᾿ εἰσορᾶν φάος.In both passages read Eurystheus, not Eurytheus. The typographical errors persist in the Digital Loeb Classical Library. In the Greek at line 969 Eurystheus isn't actually named (τόνδε = this one, this fellow).
Eurytheus ought not to live and look any more on the light of the sun.
Labels: typographical and other errors
I wander alone on the Latin shore, longing for France, and longing, too, for my old friends, my richest treasure, and for my pleasant Angevin home.La rive Latine is the bank of the Tiber, and mon fleuve is the Loire.
I miss the woods and the ripening fields, the vines, the gardens, and the meadows turning green through which my river runs...
Je me pourmene seul sur la rive Latine,
La France regretant, & regretant encor
Mes antiques amis, mon plus riche tresor,
Et le plaisant sejour de ma terre Angevine.
Je regrete les bois, & les champs blondissans,
Les vignes, les jardins, & les prez verdissans
Que mon fleuve traverse...