Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Promises of the Feathered Gods

Aristophanes, Birds 723-734 (tr. Jeffrey Henderson):
Well then, if you treat us as gods
you'll have the benefit of prophets, muses,
breezes, seasons—winter, mild summer,
stifling heat. And we won't run off and
sit up there preening among the clouds, like Zeus,
but ever at hand we'll bestow on you,
your children, and your children's children
healthy wealthiness, happiness, prosperity, peace,
youth, hilarity, dances, festivities,
and birds' milk.

ἢν οὖν ἡμᾶς νομίσητε θεούς,
ἕξετε χρῆσθαι μάντεσι, μούσαις,
αὔραις, ὥραις, χειμῶνι, θέρει        725
μετρίῳ, πνίγει· κοὐκ ἀποδράντες
καθεδούμεθ᾿ ἄνω σεμνυνόμενοι
παρὰ ταῖς νεφέλαις ὥσπερ χὠ Ζεύς·
ἀλλὰ παρόντες δώσομεν ὑμῖν
αὐτοῖς, παισίν, παίδων παισίν,        730
πλουθυγίειαν, βίον, εἰρήνην,
νεότητα, γέλωτα, χορούς, θαλίας
γάλα τ᾿ ὀρνίθων.
Text and translation from Aristophanes, Birds. Lysistrata. Women at the Thesmophoria. Edited and Translated by Jeffrey Henderson (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000 = Loeb Classical Library, 159), pp. 120-121 (the same in the Digital Loeb Classical Library; I split up the English to correspond roughly to the Greek lines). Henderson's "happiness" doesn't appear in the Greek as printed. He has translated a different text from the one he prints. In the Greek, he has adopted Hamaker's deletion of the manuscripts' εὐδαιμονίαν after πλουθυγίειαν, but he has translated the rejected word. The deletion isn't noted in the critical apparatus. It should be, and the translation should match the text.

Nan Dunbar ad loc. (student edition only — I don't have access to the full edition):


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