Thursday, November 15, 2018

 

Treatment of Illegal Aliens

Demosthenes, Against Eubulides 3 (tr. A.T. Murray):
In my opinion it is your duty to treat with severity those who are proved to be aliens, who without having either won your consent or asked for it, have by stealth and violence come to participate in your religious rites and your common privileges...

ἐγὼ γὰρ οἶμαι δεῖν ὑμᾶς τοῖς μὲν ἐξελεγχομένοις ξένοις οὖσιν χαλεπαίνειν, εἰ μήτε πείσαντες μήτε δεηθέντες ὑμῶν λάθρᾳ καὶ βίᾳ τῶν ὑμετέρων ἱερῶν καὶ κοινῶν μετεῖχον...

 

Cries for Help

Plautus, Rudens 615-626 (tr. Wolfgang de Melo):
Citizens of Cyrene! I implore your protection, you farmers and neighbors who are close to us here! Bring help to the helpless and bring this evil act to an evil end! Avenge wrongdoing so that the power of the wicked is not more powerful than that of the innocent, who don't want to become famous as victims of crime! Make an example of impudence, give decency its reward, make sure that one can live here by law rather than coerced by brute force! Rush here into the temple of Venus, I implore your protection again, you who are close by and can hear my shouting! Bring help to those who have entrusted their lives to Venus and the high priestess of Venus according to ancient custom! Wring the neck of injustice before it reaches you!

pro Cyrenenses populares! uostram ego imploro fidem,    615
agricolae, accolae propinqui qui estis his regionibus,
ferte opem inopiae atque exemplum pessumum pessum date.
uindicate, ne impiorum potior sit pollentia
quam innocentum, qui se scelere fieri nolunt nobilis.
statuite exemplum impudenti, date pudori praemium,    620
facite hic lege potius liceat quam ui uicto uiuere.
currite huc in Veneris fanum, uostram iterum imploro fidem,
qui prope hic adestis quique auditis clamorem meum,
ferte suppetias qui Veneri Veneriaeque antistitae
more antiquo in custodelam suom commiserunt caput,    625
praetorquete iniuriae prius collum quam ad uos peruenat.

626 peruen[i]at Guyet
Andreas Fountoulakis,"᾽Ω παρεόν[τεϛ in Herondas 8.61," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 131 (2000) 27-28:
Wilhelm Schulze in his seminal study "Beiträge zur Wort- und Sittengeschichte II" has demonstrated8 that in archaic, classical and post-classical times during a violent attack in a social context the injured party ought to cry for help9 so as to have immediate assistance as well as witnesses who could later testify on behalf of the victim if the case was brought to court.10 The need for witnesses is stressed by Eduard Fraenkel who notes that in descriptions of such incidents the verb usually employed is the verb μαρτύρεσθαι which reflects the consideration of those, who are present at a violent incident so as to help the victim, as witnesses.11

8 See W. Schulze, Beiträge zur Wort- und Sittengeschichte II, Sitzb. d. Preuss. Akad. d. Wiss. (1918), 481-511 = W. Schulze, Kleine Schriften, 2nd edn., Göttingen 1966, 160-189.

9 The cry could assume various forms and was usually described as βοή. See W. Schulze, op. cit., 181-187.

10 Cf. A. Lintott, Violence, Civil Strife and Revolution in the Classical City 750-330 BC, London and Canberra 1982, 18-21.

11 See e.g. Lysias 3.15 οὗτοι δὲ συνεισπεσόντες ἦγον αὐτὸν βίᾳ, βοῶντα καὶ κεκραγότα καὶ μαρτυρόμενον. συνδραμόντων δὲ ἀνθρώπων πολλῶν ...; Antiphon 1.29; Aristoph., Peace 1119; Ach. 926; Cl. 1297; Birds 1031; Men., Sam. 576; Lucian, Tim. 46; E. Fraenkel (ed.), Aeschylus: Agamemnon, vol. III, Oxford 1950, 614-615, ad Aesch., Ag. 1317.
Schulze's article can be found here (examples from Roman comedy on pp. 495-497). Eduard Fraenkel, "Wilhelm Schulze," Classical Review 49.6 (December, 1935) 217-219, said about the whole series of articles (at 218):
One cannot help feeling sorry for the many classical scholars who are still unfamiliar with the 'Beiträge zur Wort- und Sittengeschichte', published first in 1918 (now reprinted, p. 148 ff.).
In its Latin form, such a cry for help was known as quiritatio. See Amy Richlin, Slave Theater in the Roman Republic: Plautus and Popular Comedy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 181-183, who doesn't seem to mention Schulze (I don't have access to Richlin's entire book). Another example from Roman comedy is Terence, Adelphoe 155-156 (tr. John Barsby):
Fellow citizens, for goodness' sake come to the rescue of a poor innocent man. Help me! I’m defenceless!

obsecro, populares, ferte misero atque innocenti auxilium,
subvenite inopi.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

 

Work

Alan Watts (1915-1973), In My Own Way: An Autobiography 1915-1965 (1972; rpt. Novato: New World Library, 2007), p. 37:
It is in the same clock-mad spirit that we are all supposed to "work" from nine to five on such preposterous projects as accounting for what we have done upon billions of square miles of paper derived from devastated forests, frittering away our time upon such dreary gambling games as playing the stock market or selling insurance in drab offices, turning out drillions of lines of chatter for people whose minds cannot be at peace unless perpetually agitated with information and misinformation, and manufacturing, selling, and advertising bizarre, noisome, and pestilential automotive contraptions for taking us all to and from these same projects at the same hours—thereby blocking the roads and jangling our nerves, presumably to give ourselves the message that we really exist and are really important.
Colin Thubron, Journey into Cyprus (New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1976), p. 242 (quoting a Turkish soldier):
"I was four years in England," he said, "in a canning factory at Newton Abbot, twisting a knob day after day — twist, twist, twist. In the end I got fed up and came back home. What sort of life is that for a man — twist, twist, twist?"
William Morris (1836-1894), "Useful Work versus Useless Toil," Collected Works, Vol. XXII: Signs of Change. Lectures on Socialism (London: Longmans Green and Company, 1915), pp. 98-120 (at 118):
For a man to be the whole of his life hopelessly engaged in performing one repulsive and never-ending task, is an arrangement fit enough for the hell imagined by theologians, but scarcely fit for any other form of society.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), "Life Without Principle," Writings, Vol. X: Miscellanies (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1893), pp. 253-287 (at 256):
Most men would be insulted, if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now.

 

Athenian Gangs

Demosthenes, Against Conon 14 (Ariston is the plaintiff, and the action is for assault; tr. A.T. Murray, with his note):
He will tell you that there are many people in the city, sons of respectable persons, who in sport, after the manner of young men, have given themselves nicknames, such as Ithyphalli or Autolecythi,a and that some of them are infatuated with mistresses; that his own son [Ctesias] is one of these and has often given and received blows on account of some girl; and that things of this sort are natural for young men.

a These words are best left untranslated (Kennedy, following Auger, renders them "Priapi and Sileni"). The former suggests gross licentiousness, and the latter, for which various meanings have been proposed, has been plausibly interpreted by Sandys as indicating one who carried his own oil-flask (λήκυθος). He would thus dispense with the customary slave, and be freed from having even such an one as witness to his wanton doings.

καὶ ἐρεῖν ὡς εἰσὶν ἐν τῇ πόλει πολλοί, καλῶν κἀγαθῶν ἀνδρῶν υἱεῖς, οἳ παίζοντες οἷ᾿ ἄνθρωποι νέοι σφίσιν αὐτοῖς ἐπωνυμίας πεποίηνται, καὶ καλοῦσι τοὺς μὲν ἰθυφάλλους, τοὺς δ᾿ αὐτοληκύθους, ἐρῶσι δ᾿ ἐκ τούτων ἑταιρῶν τινές, καὶ δὴ καὶ τὸν υἱὸν τὸν ἑαυτοῦ εἶναι τούτων ἕνα, καὶ πολλάκις περὶ ἑταίρας καὶ εἰληφέναι καὶ δεδωκέναι πληγάς, καὶ ταῦτ᾿ εἶναι νέων ἀνθρώπων.
Id. 39:
The contempt, however, which this fellow feels for all sacred things I must tell you about; for I have been forced to make inquiry. For I hear, then, men of the jury, that a certain Bacchius, who was condemned to death in your court, and Aristocrates, the man with the bad eyes, and certain others of the same stamp, and with them this man Conon, were intimates when they were youths, and bore the nickname Triballia; and that these men used to devour the food set out for Hecatêb and to gather up on each occasion for their dinner with one another the testicles of the pigs which are offered for purification when the assembly convenes,c and that they thought less of swearing and perjuring themselves than of anything else in the world.

aThe Triballi were a wild Thracian people. Many parallels for the use of the name to denote a club of lawless youths at Athens might be cited. Sandys refers to the Mohock club of eighteenth century London.

bThe witch-goddess worshipped at cross roads. Portions of victims which had served for purification were set out for her. To take and eat this food might connote extreme poverty, but suggested also an utter disregard for sacred things.

cYoung pigs were sacrificed in a ceremonial purification of the place of meeting before the people entered the ἐκκλησία (the popular assembly).

τὴν δὲ τούτου πρὸς τὰ τοιαῦτ᾿ ὀλιγωρίαν ἐγὼ πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐρῶ· πέπυσμαι γὰρ ἐξ ἀνάγκης. ἀκούω γάρ, ὦ ἄνδρες δικασταί, Βάκχιόν τέ τινα, ὃς παρ᾿ ὑμῖν ἀπέθανε, καὶ Ἀριστοκράτην τὸν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς διεφθαρμένον καὶ τοιούτους ἑτέρους καὶ Κόνωνα τουτονί, ἑταίρους εἶναι μειράκι᾿ ὄντας καὶ Τριβαλλοὺς ἐπωνυμίαν ἔχειν· τούτους τά θ᾿ Ἑκαταῖα κατεσθίειν, καὶ τοὺς ὄρχεις τοὺς ἐκ τῶν χοίρων, οἷς καθαίρουσ᾿ ὅταν εἰσιέναι μέλλωσι, συλλέγοντας ἑκάστοτε συνδειπνεῖν ἀλλήλοις, καὶ ῥᾷον ὀμνύναι κἀπιορκεῖν ἢ ὁτιοῦν.
Lysias, fragment 53 Thalheim (tr. David A. Campbell):
Is this [Cinesias] not the man with whom Apollophanes and Mystalides and Lysitheus used to dine at one time, arranging their feast for one of the forbidden days and calling themselves not the New-mooners but the Fellowship of the Evil Spirit—a title that fitted their fortunes; not that they thought it up in the belief that they would bring this about: rather they were mocking the gods and your laws.

οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τοιαῦτα περὶ θεοὺς ἐξαμαρτάνων ἃ τοῖς μὲν ἄλλοις αἰσχρόν ἐστι καὶ λέγειν, τῶν κωμῳδοδιδασκάλων <δ᾿> ἀκούετε καθ᾿ ἕκαστον ἐνιαυτόν; οὐ μετὰ τούτου ποτὲ Ἀπολλοφάνης καὶ Μυσταλίδης καὶ Λυσίθεος συνειστιῶντο, μίαν ἡμέραν ταξάμενοι τῶν ἀποφράδων, ἀντὶ δὲ νουμηνιαστῶν κακοδαιμονιστὰς σφίσιν αὐτοῖς τοὔνομα θέμενοι, πρέπον μὲν ταῖς αὑτῶν τύχαις· οὐ μὴν ὡς τοῦτο διαπραξόμενοι τὴν διάνοιαν ἔσχον ἀλλ᾿ ὡς καταγελῶντες τῶν θεῶν καὶ τῶν νόμων τῶν ὑμετέρων.
See:

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

 

Mark Antony Goes Native

Dio Cassius 50.25.2-4 (Octavian speaking before the Battle of Actium; tr. Earnest Cary):
[2] Who would not weep when he hears and sees Antony himself, the man twice consul, often imperator, to whom was committed in common with me the management of the public business, who was entrusted with so many cities, so many legions — [3] when he sees that this man has now abandoned all his ancestors' habits of life, has emulated all alien and barbaric customs, that he pays no honour to us or to the laws or to his fathers' gods, but pays homage to that wench [Cleopatra] as if she were some Isis or Selene, calling her children Helios and Selene, [4] and finally taking for himself the title of Osiris or Dionysus, and, after all this, making presents of whole islands and parts of the continents, as though he were master of the whole earth and the whole sea?

[2] τίς δ᾿ οὐκ ἂν θρηνήσειε καὶ ἀκούων καὶ ὁρῶν αὐτὸν τὸν Ἀντώνιον τὸν δὶς ὕπατον, τὸν πολλάκις αὐτοκράτορα, τὸν τὴν προστασίαν μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ τῶν κοινῶν ἐπιτραπέντα, τὸν τοσαύτας μὲν πόλεις τοσαῦτα δὲ στρατόπεδα ἐγχειρισθέντα, [3] νῦν πάντα μὲν τὰ πάτρια τοῦ βίου ἤθη ἐκλελοιπότα, πάντα δὲ τἀλλότρια καὶ βαρβαρικὰ ἐζηλωκότα, καὶ ἡμῶν μὲν ἢ τῶν νόμων ἢ τῶν θεῶν τῶν προγονικῶν μηδὲν προτιμῶντα, τὴν δ᾿ ἄνθρωπον ἐκείνην καθάπερ τινὰ Ἶσιν ἢ Σελήνην προσκυνοῦντα, καὶ τούς τε παῖδας 4αὐτῆς Ἥλιον καὶ Σελήνην ὀνομάζοντα, [4] καὶ τὸ τελευταῖον καὶ ἑαυτὸν Ὄσιριν καὶ Διόνυσον ἐπικεκληκότα, κἀκ τούτων, καθάπερ πάσης μὲν τῆς γῆς πάσης δὲ τῆς θαλάσσης κυριεύοντα, καὶ νήσους ὅλας καὶ τῶν ἠπείρων τινὰ κεχαρισμένον;
Id. 50.28.3:
And yet I can tell you of no greater prize that is set before you than to maintain the renown of your forefathers, to preserve your own proud traditions, to take vengeance on those who are in revolt against us, to repel those who insult you, to conquer and rule all mankind, to allow no woman to make herself equal to a man.

καίτοι μεῖζον οὐδὲν ἂν ἄλλο φήσαιμι ὑμῖν προκεῖσθαι τοῦ τὸ ἀξίωμα τὸ τῶν προγόνων διασῶσαι, τοῦ τὸ φρόνημα τὸ οἰκεῖον φυλάξαι, τοῦ τοὺς ἀφεστηκότας ἀφ᾿ ἡμῶν τιμωρήσασθαι, τοῦ τοὺς ὑβρίζοντας ὑμᾶς ἀμύνασθαι, τοῦ πάντων ἀνθρώπων νικήσαντας ἄρχειν, τοῦ μηδεμίαν γυναῖκα περιορᾶν μηδενὶ ἀνδρὶ παρισουμένην.

 

Those Funny Squiggles

Ben Cooke, "Eric Griffiths obituary," The Times (November 13 2018):
Eric Griffiths, like Dante, believed the fraudulent belong in a lower circle of Hell than thieves, adulterers, heretics and murderers, as his more conceited students soon found out. Cutting through their grandiloquent chatter, their bons mots and pretensions to have read more than they actually had, he would take to his feet and expose, one by one, every error in their reasoning. He impressed on them that their oversight of a particular nuance in a poem was not only an intellectual failure, but a moral one, akin to ignoring what someone has to say.

[....]

Likewise he was banned from interviewing applicants to Trinity in 1998 after telling 17-year-old Tracy Playle not to bother with the ancient Greek in a line of TS Eliot because "being from Essex, you don't know what those funny squiggles are".
Hat tip: Alan Crease.

 

Literature

Alan Watts (1915-1973), In My Own Way: An Autobiography 1915-1965 (1972; rpt. Novato: New World Library, 2007), p. 82 (on Aldous Huxley):
[W]hen his tutor at Balliol College, Oxford, suggested that he consider the career of a professor of English literature, he remarked in his extraordinarily lilting voice, "I have never felt that literature was something to be studied, but rather something to be enjoyed."

 

Antiquity

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), Dictionary of Received Ideas (tr. A.J. Krailsheimer):
ANTIQUITY (AND EVERYTHING CONNECTED WITH IT) Dull and boring.

ANTIQUITÉ (ET TOUT CE QUI S'Y RAPPORTE) Poncif, embêtant.
Id.:
ETYMOLOGY The easiest thing in the world with the help of Latin and a little ingenuity.

ÉTYMOLOGIE Rien de plus facile à trouver avec le latin et un peu de réflexion.
Id.:
GRAMMARIANS All pedants.

GRAMMAIRIENS Tous pédants.
Id.:
IDIOTS Those who think differently from you.

IMBÉCILES Ceux qui ne pensent pas comme vous.
Id.:
LEARNING Despise it as the sign of a narrow mind.

ÉRUDITION La mépriser comme étant la marque d'un esprit étroit.

Monday, November 12, 2018

 

The Sweetest Thing, for a Misanthrope

Menander, Dyskolos 332-333 (tr. W. G. Arnott):
His greatest pleasure's seeing nobody.

ἥδιστόν ἐστ᾿ αὐτῷ γὰρ ἀνθρώπων ὁρᾶν
οὐδένα.

 

Travel Outfit

Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011), A Time of Gifts. On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube (1977; rpt. New York: New York Review Books, 2005), pp. 19-20:
During the last days, my outfit assembled fast. Most of it came from Millet's army surplus store in The Strand: an old Army greatcoat, different layers of jersey, grey flannel shirts, a couple of white linen ones for best, a soft leather windbreaker, puttees, nailed boots, a sleeping bag (to be lost within a month and neither missed nor replaced); notebooks and drawing blocks, rubbers, an aluminium cylinder full of Venus and Golden Sovereign pencils; an old Oxford Book of English Verse. (Lost likewise, and, to my surprise—it had been a sort of Bible—not missed much more than the sleeping bag.) The other half of my very conventional travelling library was the Loeb Horace, Vol. I, which my mother, after asking what I wanted, had bought and posted in Guildford. (She had written the translation of a short poem by Petronius on the flyleaf, chanced on and copied out, she told me later, from another volume on the same shelf: 'Leave thy home, O youth, and seek out alien shores ... Yield not to misfortune: the far-off Danube shall know thee, the cold North-wind and the untroubled kingdom of Canopus and the men who gaze on the new birth of Phoebus or upon his setting...' She was an enormous reader, but Petronius was not in her usual line of country and he had only recently entered mine. I was impressed and touched.

 

The Immense Fun of Eternity

Alan Watts (1915-1973), In My Own Way: An Autobiography 1915-1965 (1972; rpt. Novato: New World Library, 2007), pp. 35-36:
There was also that twisted-head idea of heaven which describes the immense fun of eternity as
Prostrate before Thy throne to lie,
And gaze and gaze on Thee.
Children notice these things and, though they may make jokes about them among themselves, are often seriously troubled by the apparent seriousness with which adults take them.

Children, as well as adults, make humorous, bantering, scurrilous, and abusive uses of the notion of hell as everlasting post-mortem damnation. But I was so appalled by this possibility that I would lie awake at night worrying about it, frightened of going to sleep because of the obvious analogy between sleep and death. People were always talking about someone or other who "died in his sleep." My mother tried to console me by quoting John 3:16, but there seemed to be no way of being really and truly sure that one actually and genuinely did believe in Jesus, or whether one had not inadvertently committed the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost by laughing at the limerick
Il y avait un jeune homme de Dijon
Qui n'amait pas la religion.
    Il dit, "O ma foi,
    Comme drôle sont ces trois:
Le Pere, et le Fils, et le Pigeon."
Which, I suppose could be translated into English as
There was a young fellow of Dijon,
Who took a dislike to religion.
    He said, "Oh my God,
    These three are so odd—
The Father, the Son, and the Pigeon."6
As one is tempted to fall over a precipice from vertigo, the child exposed to this grotesque Bible religion is apt to mutter compulsively under his breath, "Damn the Holy Ghost," and then suffer from paroxysms of guilt. Do the adults seriously mean that if you whisper this diabolic formula you will, when dead, squirm and scream in unquenchable fire forever and ever and ever, Amen? After all, a child is not theologically sophisticated, and takes this imagery literally.

6 Why translate it? Because most of my American readers, especially the younger, do not understand French, or any language other than their own. Strangely, from a European point of view, they may otherwise be amazingly intelligent people. Also, unless they come from a respectably churchly family (Episcopalian or Presbyterian) or from the Bible-crazed South, they will not have read the Bible at all, and thus will not understand the reference John 3:16, a verse from the Gospel of Saint John in which it is said that "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." Even then, an intelligent young American hasn't the faintest idea of what is meant by an "only-begotten Son" or by "eternal life."
Id., p. 47:
But these impoverished Christians do nothing in their religious observances except chatter. They tell God what he ought and ought not to do, and inform him of things of which he is already well aware, such as that they are miserable sinners, and proceed then to admonish one another to feel guilt and regret about abominable behavior which they have not the least intention of changing. If God were the sort of being most Christians suppose him to be, he would be beside himself with boredom listening to their whinings and flatteries, their redundant requests and admonitions, not to mention the asinine poems set to indifferent tunes which are solemnly addressed to him as hymns.
Id., pp. 70-71:
As I have said, I simply couldn’t get along with the Christian God. He was a bombastic bore, and not at all the sort of fellow you would want to entertain for dinner, because you would be sitting on the edge of your chair listening to his subtle attempts to undermine your existence and to probe the unauthentic nature of your life. He was like the school chaplain who took you aside for a VERY SERIOUS TALK. He had no gaieté d'esprit, no charm, no lilt, no laughter, and no sensual delight in the world of nature which he had supposedly created.

 

Lamps

Kyle Harper, From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013), pp. 67-68, with note on p. 272:
Given the vagaries of survival, the most representative artifact of Roman eroticism is the humble lamp. Small, ceramic, and produced in truly innumerable quantities, lamps survive across the centuries. The culture where sex was supposedly reduced to sexual fumbling in the dark is the same culture that has left, in rather startling abundance, lamps decorated with the most uninhibited exertions. Lamps assure us that erotic art was not the preserve of the elite alone. The sheer numbers and archaeological findspots of erotic-themed lamps, furthermore, militate against the suggestion that these artifacts were anything other than a basic and broadly diffused domestic instrument. Sex — along with mythology, the animal kingdom, and the world of public entertainments — provided one of the most inexhaustible sources of decoration; the standard study of the huge collection of Italian lamps in the British Museum suggests that sex may have provided the very most common theme. The range and inclusiveness of the erotic repertoire suggests that myth, fantasy, and farce were exuberantly mingled. Modern studies conventionally divide the erotic lamps into two classes: Erotes (depictions of Eros) and symplegmata ("embracings" — a sort of learned prudery). This division does not adequately capture the range and meaning of different erotic motifs. The figure of Eros himself, symbol of joy and life, was unfailingly popular; though our eyes may be desensitized to the power of such a mythological commonplace, in Roman culture, where sexual passion was an immanent divine force, the blending of spirituality and sensuality ought not be discounted. The symplegmata lamps present the most varied images. Some are mythological, such as Zeus (qua swan) and Leda. Others are perhaps allegorical, such as the scenes of women with horses (which, maybe, refer to the Ass legend; the scenes of men with donkeys are probably not so easily rescued into decency). Some have a theme that is perhaps comic, perhaps poignant, perhaps mocking: the popular motif of the old man watching a couple perform feats of love. There are some same-sex pairings, and some elaborate sexual positions, but these are all rare. Mostly what the lamps depict is one man and one woman on a bed — sometimes beneath a canopy, sometimes with a lamp in the background — joined in carnal embrace.89

89. In general, Clarke, Looking at Lovemaking, 250– 254; on the popularity of erotic themes, see, e.g., Donald M. Bailey, A Catalogue of Lamps in the British Museum, vol. 2 (London, 1980), 64; Annalis Leibundgut, Die römischen Lampen in der Schweiz: Eine Kultur- und handelsgeschichtliche Studie (Bern, 1977), for a focused study; for the relative rarity of same-sex conjunctions and oral sex, see Bailey, Catalogue, 64–65.

Lamp at Römisch-Germanische Museum, Cologne

Sunday, November 11, 2018

 

The Patriot


Andrew Wyeth, The Patriot

Raymond H. Geselbracht, "The Ghosts of Andrew Wyeth: The Meaning of Death in the Transcendental Myth of America," New England Quarterly 47.1 (March, 1974) 13-29 (at 20, footnotes omitted):
Like Thoreau, Wyeth thought it wiser to look west rather than east for inspiration. He is drawn neither to the city nor to Europe. "I'm just a country boy," he says. "I think I'll stay right here in Chadds Ford out of all the hullabaloo." He rejects the urgings of friends that he must go to Europe to find profound subjects. "To me that's inane," he answers. "If you want something profound, the American countryside is exactly the place." Europe, he feels, could only take something away. "I might lose something very important to my work," he says, "maybe innocence. And anyway, all those poops come back from Europe, I don't see where they're so damned deeper in what they do. Seems to me they get thinner." He holds up as an example of his meaning his picture The Patriot (1964) — "There's a certain awkward, primitive quality in that portrait," he maintains, "I feel could only have been done by an American." And, one might add, this portrait could only have been done by an American who does not live in the city. In New York City, for example, Wyeth finds only "a little bit of this and that ... a watered-down human being." The original of The Patriot, however — Ralph Cline of Cushing, Maine — is "an essence absolutely in a being," Wyeth says. "There's something about an apple that's pure McIntosh that hasn't been cross-bred with other apples."
All of the quotations come from Richard Meryman, "Andrew Wyeth," Life, LVIII, 116 (May 14, 1965).

 

Our Lady of the Stiletto

G.G. Coulton (1858-1947), Fourscore Years: An Autobiography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1943), pp. 232-233:
One of the greatest curiosities of Naples I discovered only on my return journey. A half-pay German officer from the war of 1870 had told me what to look for in the obscure church of St Agostino alla Zecca; and I found it plain enough. In front of one of the altars stands a very remarkable realistic figure, life-size, in glazed and coloured terra-cotta. I seem to remember that they told me it represented Sta Agata. She raises her outspread hands and is about to stagger backwards, while a dagger sticks to the hilt under her collar-bone and pierces to the heart. This realism comes home to the population of Naples, where stabbing affrays are far more frequent than in any other European city of similar population. This little church, therefore, has become consecrated in the popular mind to what we may call Our Lady of the Stiletto. The man who has a vendetta on hand vows it to this altar in case of success, just as the mother has vowed a head of wax (or silver, if she is rich enough) for her child's life, or the lover a heart for success in his love. Thus the altar is hung with dozens of triumphant stiletti; moreover, the boards erected to receive them show also a considerable number of empty nails, which tell an even more gruesome tale. For, here and there, some other man has vowed his own particular vendetta, and has reinforced the religious force of that vow by borrowing one of the consecrated stiletti to do the job with. He has never come back to replace it; and each empty nail stands for two murders at least. The objects speak plainly enough for themselves; but I took care to get full corroboration. The sacristan, questioned on the subject, admitted reluctantly that each of these daggers stood for a mala morte.

 

Translation or Nothing

Mary Stewart (1886-1943), Selections from Catullus (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1915), p. 9:
We may talk as we please about the beauty of the original and the impossibility of adequate translation, but the fact remains that for most of us it is translation or nothing.
On Stewart see D.W. Spangler, "Mary Stewart—Educator, Author, and Club Woman," Colorado Magazine 37 (1950) 218-225.

 

Forgotten, Spurned, Despised, and Ridiculed

Alfred Williams (1877-1930), A Wiltshire Village (London: Duckworth, 1912), p. 163:
The fact is, you are too full of thoughts of your own interest and advantage to care anything for us. One would think, to read the endless books and newspaper articles on matters and subjects relating to "industries" and "peoples," that there was nothing of these in existence outside the towns. Parliaments are elected for the towns; laws are passed for the towns; armies and navies are raised and built to protect the towns; wages, rights, privileges, arts and crafts, and everything else, are for the same. The dweller in the country—the humble agriculturist, the most honourable and most necessary of all workers, the alpha and omega, the beginning, end, and middle, the very backbone and support of every industry and all society, is forgotten, spurned, despised, and ridiculed. But the sun shines bright in the country; the birds sing, the flowers bloom, the trees cast their shadow, the wind breathes gently or pipes shrilly; here is simplicity, joy, and content, with no lust for more. In the towns are fever and fret, galled hearts and feelings, ceaseless agitation, classes and sects, furnaces and wheels, pushing and shoving, trampling under foot, very hell upon earth. Bravo for old Dudley Sansum and Jemmy Boulton, and the others who never knew the contagion! Freedom from it is like the primal state in the Garden of Eden, before Adam and Eve plucked the forbidden fruit.
Id., p. 284:
There is ten times greater slavery and bondage in towns and cities and manufactories than among the fields and hedgerows. That is where they cringe and fawn and grovel in servitude, and sigh and groan, shedding tears, and worshipping idols. Are the villagers really churlish and unsympathetic? Why, everyone speaks to everyone in country places, each to all, and all to each, strangers as well. That may be simplicity. I have heard it called extremely inconvenient, and a nuisance, which may be so, but it is the reverse of churlishness. No one speaks to you in the towns, on the other hand. There you may wander for hours, up and down, pushing and shoving with the crowd, or meeting with a sea of faces, but there is no greeting, no recognition, no smile of welcome; simply the cold stare, the vacant regard, the inquisitorial glance, or downright indifference.
Related posts:

Saturday, November 10, 2018

 

Architects of Our Own Sadness

Alain (1868-1951), On Happiness, III (tr. Jane E. Cottrell):
It is clear that in mulling over harsh judgments, sinister predictions, and bad memories, we fashion our own sadness; in a certain sense, we savor it.

Il est clair qu'à remâcher des jugements sévères, des prédictions sinistres, des souvenirs noirs, on se présente sa propre tristesse; on la déguste en quelque sorte.
Related posts:

 

The Power of Money

Euripides, Phoenician Women 438-440 (tr. David Kovacs):
It was said long ago, but I will say it nevertheless:
money is held in the highest esteem by mortals,
and of all that is in the world of men it has the greatest power.

πάλαι μὲν οὖν ὑμνηθέν, ἀλλ᾿ ὅμως ἐρῶ·
τὰ χρήματ᾿ ἀνθρώποισι τιμιώτατα
δύναμίν τε πλείστην τῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἔχει.


438-442 del. Hartung
Donald J. Mastronarde on lines 439-440:


 

Education

J. Enoch Powell (1912-1998), speech to the Working Men's College in St. Pancras (December 14, 1963):
The silliest and the most sinful of the many heresies of pseudo-democracy is to pretend that all studies and all learning are 'created equal'. They are not. It matters just as much to a person's education what he learns and is taught as it matters to his salvation what he believes. True education does not consist in being taught just anything, any more than true religion consists in believing just anything.

This, like most truths, is 'a hard saying'. It does not indeed oblige us to assert that in 1963, unlike 1300, theology is education and all else vanity. It does not even oblige us to assert that nothing but classics, or philosophy, or mathematics, or PPE is education. It does prevent us from assuming that students are being educated because they are at a university, irrespective of what their studies are. It does prevent us from daring to say that a subject becomes part of education because you teach it at a school, or at a CAT or in a university.

There are two aspects to education: one is the content, the subject matter itself; the other is the manner in which, and the purpose with which it is studied. 'All men,' said Aristotle, 'by nature desire to know.' The pursuit of truth, the effort to comprehend, arrange, interpret some aspect or other of the universe we perceive is an activity of humanity which justifies, rewards and motivates itself. The study of something for its own sake, for the sake of knowing, understanding, grasping it and for nothing else, is an essential characteristic of education, lower or higher, though more obviously of higher education.
PPE = Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
CAT = College of Advanced Technology

Harold Bloom, quoted in Ken Shulman, "Bloom and Doom," Newsweek, Vol. 124, No. 15 (October 10, 1994) 75:
At NYU I am surrounded by professors of hip-hop. At Yale, I am surrounded by professors far more interested in various articles on the compost heap of so-called popular culture than in Proust or Shakespeare or Tolstoy.

 

Alfred Williams

Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), p. 141, with notes on p. 483:
While working in the great railway factory at Swindon, Alfred Williams taught himself enough Greek and Latin to translate Ovid, Pindar, Sappho, Plato, Menander, and Horace. He mastered the Greek alphabet by chalking it up on machinery, and faced down a resentful supervisor who tried to make him erase it. In 1900 he began a Ruskin College correspondence course in English literature, beginning with Bede and ending with Wordsworth. It was an astonishing feat of self-education—and it left out the whole Victorian era. Even a reviewer for the WEA magazine, trying hard to be positive, advised him to write less anachronistic verses: "Poems where shepherds and shepherdesses are of Arcadia and not of Wiltshire, and rhymed translations of the classics, are part of a literary output which is necessarily and frankly imitative."106 But Williams stubbornly resisted the new. As he put it, W.B. Yeats, Robert Bridges, Thomas Hardy, Richard Le Gallienne all "produced in me a veritable disgust of modern 'tack.' FORTY LINES OF DRYDEN CONTAIN MORE POETRY THAN TWELVE LARGE VOLUMES OF THE MODERN MUDDLE. I cannot help it one bit, but I can get more pleasure out of a page of Ovid than out of a bundle of our moderns."107

106. K. T. Wallas, review of Alfred Williams, Songs of Wiltshire, Highway 2 (December 1909): 36–37.

107. Leonard Clark, Alfred Williams: His Life and Work (Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1969), 15–22, 28, 45.
Alfred Williams, Life in a Railway Factory (1915; rpt. London: Duckworth & Co., 1920), pp. 289-290:
At the forge, however, the steady persistence of my efforts towards self-improvement was not appreciated. Day after day the foreman of the shed came or sent someone with oil or grease to obliterate the few words of Latin or Greek which I had chalked upon the back of the sooty furnace in order to memorise them.

Alfred Williams (1877-1930)

Friday, November 09, 2018

 

A Harsh Necessity

Euripides, Phoenician Women 393 (tr. Robin Waterfield):
One has to put up with the idiocies of the powers that be.

τὰς τῶν κρατούντων ἀμαθίας φέρειν χρεών.

William Gropper, Politicos

Related post: Despair at the Current Political Scene.

 

A Peculiar Idiom

Jacob Wackernagel (1853-1938), Lectures on Syntax, tr. David Langslow (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 764-765:
[I]n Ajax's famous words in Sophocles' play, 665 ἐχθρῶν ἄδωρα δῶρα κοὐκ ὀνήσιμα ('the gifts of enemies are no gifts and of no benefit'), the privative ἄδωρα is to be taken as 'non-gifts', though etymologically it means 'not consisting of gifts' (see DEBRUNNER 1917: 58 §117). On this peculiar idiom, which can involve different stems (e.g. Soph. Phil. 534 ἄοικος οἴκησις 'a dwelling that is no dwelling'), see most recently Gustav MEYER's study of the stylistic use of nominal compounding in Greek (1923: 103–4). Latin writers who imitate this have to resort to privatives in -tus, as e.g. in Cicero, Philippics 1.5 insepulta sepultura for Gk τάφος ἄταφος ('a burial that was no burial'), or in an unknown Roman tragedian (fr. 42, v. 80 Ribbeck) innuptis nuptiis for Gk ἄγαμος γάμος ('a marriage that is no marriage').—In imitation of tragedy, where such privative compounds can stand even in a predicative relation to their simplex nouns (cf. Soph. Ajax 665, quoted above), the philosophers also ventured to use this sort of pattern. So, e.g. Plato, Laws 6, 766d πάσα ... πόλις ἄπολις ἂν γίγνοιτο 'the whole city would become a non-city', Aristotle, Physics 1. 8, 191b6 (ὁ ἰατρὸς) ἰατρεύει καὶ ἀνίατρος γίνεται ᾗ ἰατρός '(the doctor) practises as a doctor or becomes a non-doctor qua doctor', Theophrastus (in Plutarch, Lycurgus 10.2) τὸν πλοῦτον ἄζηλον καὶ ἄπλουτον ἀπεργάσασθαι 'he made wealth an object of no desire and even un-wealth', and so on. Another example is ἀπάθη in the sense of 'not real πάθη' in Antiphon the Sophist, B 5 (no. 87 DIELS & KRANZ). Compare Pausanias 6.22.3 ταύτας τὰς ὀλυμπιάδας 'ἀνολυμπιάδας' οἱ Ἠλεῖοι καλοῦντες οὐ σφᾶς ἐν καταλόγῳ τῶν ὀλυμπιάδων γράφουσιν 'the Eleans call these Olympiads non-Olympiads, and omit them from the list'.
W.S. Barrett on Euripides, Hippolytus 1144 (p. 376):


See also Detlev Fehling, "ΝϒΚΤΟΣ ΠΑΙΔΕΣ ΑΠΑΙΔΕΣ A. Eum. 1034 und das Sogenannte Oxymoron in der Tragödie," Hermes 96.2 (1968) 142-155.

 

Furors

Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, III: Schopenhauer as Educator, § 7 (tr. R.J. Hollingdale):
He who has the furor philosophicus within him will already no longer have time for the furor politicus and will wisely refrain from reading the newspapers every day, let alone working for a political party...

Der, welcher den furor philosophicus im Leibe hat, wird schon gar keine Zeit mehr für den furor politicus haben und sich weislich hüten, jeden Tag Zeitungen zu lesen oder gar einer Partei zu dienen...

Thursday, November 08, 2018

 

Refugees

David Frye, Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick (New York: Scribner, 2018), pp. 116-117:
In AD 376, a large body of Goths arrived at the Danube River, pleading to be allowed into the Empire as refugees. These were the same barbarians whose forefathers had slain an emperor, sacked Athens and Ephesus, and taunted the walled-in Romans for living like birds in a cage. They had recently received their comeuppance from the Huns and Alans—two nations then widely identified with Gog and Magog. The Goths had no answer to the tactics of the steppe men, and after a desultory attempt at building their own great wall, they decided that perhaps the Empire knew a thing or two about security after all.

The Romans would have been amply justified in turning away their old foes. The Goths certainly had it coming, and schadenfreude, after all, is a dish best served while watching one's archenemies scramble haplessly to construct a proper wall. But thousands of men, socialized from birth to be warriors, were seeking entrance into an Empire whose greatest problem remained how to recruit soldiers from a walled and unwarlike populace, and from a certain perspective the arrival of the Goths could be viewed as an opportunity. A bold and unfortunate idea presented itself. The Romans, eyeing the crowd of barbarians as just so many potential recruits, agreed to the Goths' request. Roman officers supplied vessels to transfer the Goths into the Empire, ferrying them across the Danube on boats, rafts, and canoes for several days and nights. At the time, it must have seemed like a clever and perhaps even generous move—good for both the Goths and the Romans—but this Gothic Dunkirk soon turned sour. For in the memorable phrase of the Roman historian Ammianus, Rome had just admitted its own ruin.

The refugees, unhappy in their new conditions, had hardly entered the Empire before they turned on their hosts, ambushed a Roman garrison, and began raiding cities and villas. According to Ammianus, the land was set on fire. Women watched while their husbands were murdered. The Goths tore babies from their mothers' breasts and dragged children over the dead bodies of their parents. They drew ever closer to Constantinople, the city that had only recently emerged as one of the dual capitals of a state that in those days typically had two emperors. The refugees had become invaders...
Ammianus Marcellinus 31.4.6 (tr J.C. Rolfe):
With such stormy eagerness on the part of insistent men was the ruin of the Roman world brought in.

ita turbido instantium studio orbis Romani pernicies ducebatur.

adducebatur Mommsen


As for recruiting foreigners to serve in the armed forces because citizens are too unwarlike and unwilling, cf. Dominic Nicholls, "Armed Forces open door to foreign recruits who have never lived in Britain," Telegraph (November 4, 2018):
Foreign nationals will be allowed to join the Armed Forces without having ever lived in Britain, ministers will announce on Monday, in a major move to address a deepening recruitment crisis.

The Ministry of Defence will drop a requirement for applicants from Commonwealth countries to have resided in Britain for five years, The Telegraph has learned.

Military leaders now hope to recruit 1,350 extra personnel from foreign countries every year to the navy, army and air force.

It comes amid a struggle to recruit enough servicemen and women which has left the army "disappearing before our eyes", according to MPs.

Under the new policy, applicants from countries including Australia, India, Canada, Kenya and Fiji will be considered for every role in the armed forces. The Royal Navy and RAF will begin recruitment procedures immediately, with Army applications opening in early 2019.

[....]

Giving evidence to the Commons Defence Select Committee recently Lieutenant General Sir Mark Poffley, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff for Military Capability, admitted the army had failed to hit recruitment targets in recent years.

From an annual requirement of around 10,000 recruits, the army has only had around 7,000 entrants for each of the last three years.

In the first quarter of 2018 only seven per cent of the required number of soldiers had been recruited. "They are going to miss the target by some margin," Lt Gen Poffley said.
Thanks to Jim K. for drawing my attention to the article in the Telegraph.

 

Gun Control

George Psychoundakis (1920-2006), The Cretan Runner: His Story of the German Occupation, tr. Patrick Leigh Fermor (1955; rpt. New York: NYRB Classics, 2015), page number unknown:
Not many days passed before four Germans arrived from Argyroupolis with an interpreter. They sat down at the coffee-shop, summoned the Mayor of the village, and at once began asking him questions. The first thing they asked was, had the villagers taken part in the battle against the parachutists? The Mayor answered that our village was so far away that we hardly knew that a battle had taken place. Then they asked if the village possessed any arms, but once more the Mayor said that the villages had given up all their arms to the country at the time of the Albanian war, and that only a fowling-piece or two still remained. The Germans said they must all be handed over, even fowling-pieces, and that for each gun that was withheld ten men would be shot and their houses burnt down.

'You must collect them all at the village police-station and the police will bring them to us at Argyroupolis,' they said 'and the wireless set must be handed over as well.' So the owner was called and told where and when it should be taken. Meanwhile some of the villagers had collected and were gazing at the Germans with curiosity. And the inquisitive ones were not a few, because many thought they were beholding some kind of strange animal.

The villagers thought it would be wise to hand over a few rotten and harmless guns — any old iron to deceive the Germans with — in case they had learnt that we possessed any arms. It would be best, they said, for the sporting-guns to be handed over as well lest the Germans should learn the owners' names from the list of licences in the records at Canea. So about a dozen sporting-guns were collected at the police-station, and about the same number of totally useless rifles. The good ones were hidden away as carefully as sacred relics — holy things to be used at the right time, when the signal of liberation should be given; and there were plenty, because, when the English retreated to Sphakia, even small boys had gone down to the seashore and the valleys bringing rifles back with them.

The days followed each other and news came from all over Crete of the daily brutalities committed by the Germans. Every day we learnt of new burnings and shootings and fear grew inside us but also strengthened the hatred in our souls.
From Simon Steyne's obituary of Psychoundakis:
But when I asked George why he had immediately joined the resistance in Crete, he looked at me as though I was from another planet and replied with one word: "philopatria" — love of my country.
Related posts:

 

English as a Dead Language

Sandra Kotta, "With Stories Like These, Who Needs Talent? Part II: English as a Dead Language," Quillette (March 20, 2018):
Poetry occupies a diminished status in 'high culture.' Very few educated people under seventy have been compelled to learn poems by heart at school; committing even stray lines of Shakespeare or Shelley to memory has become a rare, eccentric habit. This means that contemporary poets can rely on little or no shared poetic tradition with such readers as they have. There is little incentive for a public figure to quote 'famous' verses in a speech, because there are so few people, even with advanced academic degrees in literature, who would get what he is talking about or recognise the reference.

[....]

Over the past fifty years, pop music has come to replace most of the social functions of traditional poetry even among educated people. Nobody would think you strange if you could not recite lines from Milton's Paradise Lost; though you would seem an alien if you were unable to recognise and identify any of the pop songs which most people around you have passively absorbed, through mass media, widespread internet dissemination and use as background music in public places. If you refer to certain pop songs in public, you can take for granted that strangers will generally pick up the reference.
Related post: Wilderness Were Paradise Enow.

 

Invictus

Euripides, Heracles 1227-1228 (tr. E.P. Coleridge):
The gallant soul endures such blows as heaven deals and does not refuse them.

                                      ὅστις εὐγενὴς βροτῶν,
φέρει τά γ' ἐκ θεῶν πτώματ' οὐδ' ἀναίνεται.


τά γ' ἐκ θεῶν Headlam: τὰ τῶν θεῶν γε codd.

 

The Growth of Trees

G.G. Coulton (1858-1947), Fourscore Years: An Autobiography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1943), p. 172 (on John Owen, 1854-1926):
Therefore, much as he loved his native tongue, he favoured no violent efforts to revive it. He had begun with his own family. For the first two or three children, he made a point of bringing nursemaids down who spoke the Cymric pure and undefiled of Snowdonia. This had one curious and unexpected reaction. His eldest boy was only four or five when, one fine summer day, Owen told me of a dialogue in the garden before breakfast. 'It's a fine morning, Father.' 'Yes, my boy.' 'Trees growing fine.' 'Yes, my boy.' 'Jesus Christ makes them grow.' 'Well ... yes, my boy.' 'I know what he makes them grow for ... He wants them to burn people with.' The nursemaid from Snowdonia was, probably, a Calvinistic Methodist whose own rudimentary eschatology had been absorbed in a still cruder form by the child.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

 

Fate

Sophocles, Antigone 951-954 (tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones):
But the power of fate is strange; neither wealth nor martial valour, nor a wall, nor black ships crashing through the sea can escape it.

ἀλλ᾿ ἁ μοιριδία τις δύνασις δεινά·
οὔτ᾿ ἄν νιν ὄλβος οὔτ᾿ Ἄρης,
οὐ πύργος, οὐχ ἁλίκτυποι
κελαιναὶ νᾶες ἐκφύγοιεν.
Commentators compare Bacchylides, fragment 24 (tr. David A. Campbell):
But mortals are not free to choose prosperity nor stubborn war nor all-destroying civil strife: Destiny, giver of all things, moves a cloud now over this land, now over that.

θνατοῖσι δ᾿ οὐκ αὐθαίρετοι
οὔτ᾿ ὄλβος οὔτ᾿ ἄκναμπτος Ἄρης
οὔτε πάμφθερσις στάσις,
ἀλλ᾿ ἐπιχρίμπτει νέφος ἄλλοτ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἄλλαν
γαῖαν ἁ πάνδωρος Αἶσα.

 

The Departing Guest

Horace, Satires 1.1.117-119 (tr. John Davie):
And so it happens that we seldom can find a man who claims to have lived a happy life, who quits life in contentment when his time is up, like a guest who has dined well.

inde fit, ut raro, qui se vixisse beatum
dicat et exacto contentus tempore vita
cedat uti conviva satur, reperire queamus.
Lucretius 3.938-939 (tr. W.H.D. Rouse, rev. Martin F. Smith):
Why not, like a banqueter fed full of life, withdraw with contentment and rest in peace, you fool?

cur non ut plenus vitae conviva recedis
aequo animoque capis securam, stulte, quietem?
Lucretius 3.957-960:
But because you always crave what you have not, and contemn what you have, life has slipped by for you incomplete and ungratifying, and death stands by your head unexpected, before you can retire glutted and full of the feast.

sed quia semper aves quod abest, praesentia temnis,
inperfecta tibi elapsast ingrataque vita,
et nec opinanti mors ad caput adstitit ante
quam satur ac plenus possis discedere rerum.

 

Mankind

Mara, son of Serapion, excerpt from a letter to his son Serapion, tr. B.P. Pratten in Early Liturgies and Other Documents of the Ante-Nicene Period (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1872 = Ante-Nicene Christian Library, XXIV), pp. 110-111 (original in Syriac; square brackets omitted):
Moreover I, my son, have attentively observed mankind, in what a dismal state of ruin they are. And I have been amazed that they are not utterly prostrated by the calamities which surround them, and that even their wars are not enough for them, nor the pains they endure, nor the diseases, nor the death, nor the poverty; but that, like savage beasts, they must needs rush upon one another in their enmity, trying which of them shall inflict the greater mischief on his fellow. For they have broken away from the bounds of truth, and transgress all honest laws, because they are bent on fulfilling their selfish desires (for, whensoever a man is eagerly set on obtaining that which he desires, how is it possible that he should fitly do that which it behoves him to do?); and they acknowledge no restraint, and but seldom stretch out their hands towards truth and goodness, but in their manner of life behave like the deaf and the blind. Moreover, the wicked rejoice, and the righteous are disquieted. He that has, denies that he has; and he that has not, struggles to acquire. The poor seek help, and the rich hide their wealth, and every man laughs at his fellow. Those that are drunken are stupefied, and those that have recovered themselves are ashamed. Some weep, and some sing; and some laugh, and others are a prey to care. They rejoice in things evil, and a man that speaks the truth they despise.
See The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context. Proceedings of the Symposium Held at Utrecht University, 10–12 December 2009. Edited by Annette Merz and Teun Tieleman (Leiden: Brill, 2012).

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

 

Edward H. Spieker

There doesn't seem to be an entry for Edward H. Spieker in Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists, ed. Ward W. Briggs, Jr. (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1994), although I don't have access to the book and therefore can't be sure. Briggs does give a few details in his edition of The Letters of Basil Lanneau Gidersleeve (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), pp. 241-242, n. 1, including Spieker's cursus honorum at Johns Hopkins University:
Here is a necrology by Wilfred P. Mustard, "Edward Henry Spieker, '79, Ph.D., 1882," The Johns Hopkins Alumni Magazine 6.3 (March, 1918) 298:
Edward Henry Spieker, Collegiate Professor of Greek in the Johns Hopkins University, died at his home, 915 Edmondson Avenue, February 20. He was born in Baltimore, April 18, 1859, and educated at the Baltimore City College. He was a member of the Hopkins class of 1879, the first class which won the degree of A.B. in regular course. Entering the Graduate School, he was Fellow in Greek for two years, and was admitted to the degree of Ph.D. in 1882. He was at once appointed an Associate on the Classical staff, and continued in the service of the University until his death. His academic career thus coincides very closely with the actual life of the University itself. As a teacher of undergraduate Greek, he naturally had smaller classes than some of his colleagues, but his interest in University matters was not confined to his own students, or to his own department. As a member of the Committee on Academic Rules and Regulations and Chairman of the Committee on Scholarships and Honors, he had a very wide and intimate acquaintance with every side of our undergraduate life. For many years he rendered faithful and valuable service as Secretary of both the Board of University Studies and the Board of Collegiate Studies. And for thirty years he was Professor Gildersleeve's right-hand man in carrying on the work of the Johns Hopkins Philological Association. He was a very careful and accurate scholar, and his published contributions to the literature of his subject are all of permanent value. They are of the well-considered final kind which leaves little to add, and nothing to retract. In the earlier volumes of the American Journal of Philology he contributed two important studies in Greek Syntax: "Direct Speech Introduced by a Conjunction," and "The Genitive Absolute in the Attic Orators." In the Studies in Honor of Basil L. Gildersleeve he discussed "The Pentapody in Greek Poetry." And he was the author of the standard text-book for the United States on Greek Prose Composition. Professor Spieker was unusually happy in bis family life, and a devout and consistent churchman. He married, in 1891, Miss Adelaide Marie Maute, of Belmont, Nevada, and is survived by his wife, a son, and two daughters. His son, Edmund Maute (A.B., 1916) is now a graduate student in the University.
A list of Spieker's publications:
I think (but am not certain) that Spieker (dark beard, hat in hand) is at the far right in the front row of this photograph of Johns Hopkins University classics and comparative philology faculty members (Gildersleeve is unmistakable with his white beard in the middle of the front row):


 

Not the Semblance of a Comely Person

Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, ed. John T. Koch, Vol. I: A — Celti (Santa Barbara: ABC Clio, 2006), p. 46 (entry written by Koch for Amairgen mac Aithirni, quoting a story "Athairne and Amairgen" in the Book of Leinster):
His belly swelled until it was the size of a great house (?); and it was sinewy, grey and corpulent. Snot flowed from his nose into his mouth. His skin was black. His teeth were white. His face was livid. His calves and thighs were like the two spouts of a blacksmith’s bellows. His feet had crooked toes. His ankles were huge. His cheeks were very long and high. His eyes were sunken and dark red. He had long eyebrows. His hair was rough and prickly. His back was knobby, bony, rough with scabs. It was not the semblance of a comely person. He had for so long neglected to clean himself after defecating that his own excrement rose up to his buttocks. (Trans. J. Carey)
The source is Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe & Early Ireland & Wales, edd. John T. Koch and John Carey, 4th ed. (Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies, 2003), pp. 65–66 (unavailable to me).

Related post: A Disgusting Man.

 

Knives in School

"London violent crime could take 'a generation' to solve," BBC News (November 5, 2018):
The mayor said children as young as primary school age are now carrying knives and warned it could take "a generation" to solve the problem.

He added: "They saw in Scotland what we're seeing in London which is children in primary school thinking not only is it OK to carry a knife, but it gives them a sense of belonging..."
I carried a knife (a Cub Scout jackknife) to primary school, and so did almost all of my male classmates. We used the knives outdoors during recess, to play mumblety-peg. No one ever stabbed anyone else or cut himself. Our only fights were with fists.

On mumblety-peg, see D.C. Beard, The American Boy's Book of Sport: Outdoor Games for All Seasons (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1896), pp. 350-354 (where it is called mumbly peg). We played it, of course, only when the ground was unfrozen.

Some mumblety-peg knife-holds (Beard, p. 351):



We didn't learn to play mumblety-peg out of a book, but I remember these two particular knife-holds very well.


Winslow Homer, The Whittling Boy

Monday, November 05, 2018

 

What the Gods Care About

Tacitus, Histories 1.3.2 (tr. Clifford H. Moore):
For never was it more fully proved ... that the gods care not for our safety, but for our punishment.

nec enim umquam ... adprobatum est non esse curae deis securitatem nostram, esse ultionem.

 

A Conjecture of Schopenhauer in Hesiod

Hesiod, Theogony 226-232 (tr. Glenn W. Most):
And loathsome Strife bore painful Toil
and Forgetfulness and Hunger and tearful Pains,
and Combats and Battles and Murders and Slaughters,
and Strifes and Lies and Tales and Disputes,
and Lawlessness and Recklessness, much like one another,
and Oath, who indeed brings most woe upon human beings on the earth,
whenever someone willfully swears a false oath.

αὐτὰρ Ἔρις στυγερὴ τέκε μὲν Πόνον ἀλγινόεντα
Λήθην τε Λιμόν τε καὶ Ἄλγεα δακρυόεντα
Ὑσμίνας τε Μάχας τε Φόνους τ᾿ Ἀνδροκτασίας τε
Νείκεά τε Ψεύδεά τε Λόγους τ᾿ Ἀμφιλλογίας τε
Δυσνομίην τ᾿ Ἄτην τε, συνήθεας ἀλλήλῃσιν,        230
Ὅρκόν θ᾿, ὃς δὴ πλεῖστον ἐπιχθονίους ἀνθρώπους
πημαίνει, ὅτε κέν τις ἑκὼν ἐπίορκον ὀμόσσῃ.
Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga und Paralipomena, Bd. II, Kap. XVIII (Einige mythologische Betrachtungen), § 196, conjectured Λώβην (Schaden = Damage) for Λήθην (Forgetfulness) in line 227, on which see M.L. West in his commentary ad loc. (p. 231):
Various improbable conjectures have been made; to those recorded by Rzach, ed. mai., add Λώβην (Schopenhauer), Λύπην (A. Zimmermann), Δίψην (Sinko).
Rzach's critical apparatus:



Liddell-Scott-Jones s.v. τε:
τε may be used three or more times, ἔν τ' ἄρα οἱ φῦ χειρί, ἔπος τ' ἔφατ' ἔκ τ' ὀνόμαζεν Od.15.530, cf. Il.1.177, 2.58, A.Pr.89sq., B.17.19sq., Lys. 19.17, X.Cyr.3.3.36.
LSJ might have cited Hesiod, Theogony 228-230 (τε repeated ten times in three lines).

 

The Word Arboricide

James C. Humes, The Wit & Wisdom of Winston Churchill (New York: Harper Perennial, 1995), p. 140 (in the chapter titled "Coiner of Phrases"):
When his wife had chopped down a favorite elm tree at Chartwell, Churchill said to her, "Clemmie, you are guilty of arboricide!"
The implication is that Churchill coined the word. He did not.

Also incorrect is the claim in the New Republic magazine (May 19, 1997, p. 12) that August Heckscher (1913-1997) "coined the word 'arboricide' for the crime of killing trees."

The first citation (dated 1899) in the Oxford English Dictionary for the word is H.G. Graham, Social Life of Scotl. 18th Cent. I. v. 199: "This crime of arboricide was distressingly frequent."

But the word can be found more than half a century earlier. See Asa Gray, "The Longevity of Trees," North American Review, Vol. 59, No. 124 (July 1844) 189-238, rpt. in Scientific Papers of Asa Gray, Vol. II: Essays; Biographical Sketches: 1841-1886 (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1889), pp. 71-124 (at 84):
[T]he age may be directly ascertained by counting the annual rings on a cross section of the trunk. The record is sometimes illegible or nearly so, but it is perfectly authentic; and when fairly deciphered, we may rely on its correctness. But the venerable trunks, whose ages we are most interested in determining, are rarely sound to the centre; and if they were, even the paramount interests of science would seldom excuse the arboricide.


Humes, id., also falsely states that Churchill coined the word "benignant." I haven't bothered to check any of the other supposed coinages, but obviously Humes' claims must be taken magno cum grano salis.

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Sunday, November 04, 2018

 

Our Ancestors

Ernest Renan (1823-1892), "What Is a Nation?" Part III (tr. Ethan Rundell):
A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Two things which, properly speaking, are really one and the same constitute this soul, this spiritual principle. One is the past, the other is the present. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories; the other is present consent, the desire to live together, the desire to continue to invest in the heritage that we have jointly received. Messieurs, man does not improvise. The nation, like the individual, is the outcome of a long past of efforts, sacrifices, and devotions. Of all cults, that of the ancestors is the most legitimate: our ancestors have made us what we are.

Une nation est une âme, un principe spirituel. Deux choses qui, à vrai dire, n'en font qu'une, constituent cette âme, ce principe spirituel. L'une est dans le passé, l'autre dans le présent. L'une est la possession en commun d'un riche legs de souvenirs; l'autre est le consentement actuel, le désir de vivre ensemble, la volonté de continuer à faire valoir l'héritage qu'on a reçu indivis. L'homme, Messieurs, ne s'improvise pas. La nation, comme l'individu, est l'aboutissant d'un long passé d'efforts, de sacrifices et de dévouements. Le culte des ancêtres est de tous le plus légitime; les ancêtres nous ont faits ce que nous sommes.

 

The Longest-Running Con Game in History

Irvin D. Yalom, The Schopenhauer Cure: A Novel (New York: Harper, 2006), p. 9:
He had always despised the tools by which religions strip their followers of reason and freedom: the ceremonial robes, incense, holy books, mesmerizing Gregorian chants, prayer wheels, prayer rugs, shawls and skullcaps, bishop's miters and crosiers, holy wafers and wines, last rites, heads bobbing and bodies swaying to ancient chants—all of which he considered the paraphernalia of the most powerful and longest-running con game in history, a game which empowered the leaders and satisfied the congregation's lust for submission.

 

Heimat

Euripides, Phoenician Women 406-407 (tr. Robin Waterfield):
JOCASTA
It seems, then, that there is nothing more dear to people than the country of their birth.

POLYNICES
You couldn't even express how dear it is.

ΙΟΚΑΣΤΗ
ἡ πατρίς, ὡς ἔοικε, φίλτατον βροτοῖς.

ΠΟΛΥΝΕΙΚΗΣ
οὐδ᾿ ὀνομάσαι δύναι᾿ ἂν ὡς ἐστὶν φίλον.
Related posts:

 

The Text Must Come First

Martin Litchfield West (1937-2015), "Forward into the Past. Acceptance Speech for the Balzan Prize in Classical Antiquity, 2000," in Hesperos. Studies in Ancient Greek Poetry Presented to M.L. West on his Seventieth Birthday, edd. P.J. Finglass et al. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. xx-xxviii (at xxi):
'The text must come first', Fraenkel used to say, and discussion of textual problems constituted a major element in his seminars. In his youth he had been mortified by Leo's surprise on discovering that Fraenkel was reading Aristophanes without an apparatus criticus. Indeed it is an evident truth that (as Bruno Snell once put it) 'Philologie ohne Textkritik ist eine nichtige Spielerei'. If one takes the text on trust from whatever edition lies to hand, or (even worse) from whatever translation, one runs great danger of drawing conclusions or building constructions that are easily shown to be unsound.
Id. (at xxviii):
There is a view, fashionable in some quarters, that all interpretation of the past is necessarily subjective, that history is whatever you care to make of it, and that the very idea that there is such a thing as objective historical truth is a naive positivist error. If that were the case, scholarship would be little more than an intellectual game; and there are indeed those who seem to treat it as such. But such extreme relativism is nonsense. Of course many different types of equally valid history can be made by asking different sets of questions. But there are objective underlying facts, to which every construction must relate. They are not always attainable. But the scholar must try to attain them, or get as close to them as possible.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

 

I Give Up Newspapers

Thomas Jefferson, letter to David Howell (December 15, 1810):
I read one or two newspapers a week, but with reluctance give even that time from Tacitus and Horace, and so much other more agreeable reading; indeed, I give more time to exercise of the body than of the mind, believing it wholesome to both.
Id., letter to John Adams (January 21, 1812):
But whither is senile garrulity leading me? Into politics, of which I have taken final leave. I think little of them and say less. I have given up newspapers in exchange for Tacitus and Thucydides, for Newton and Euclid, and I find myself much the happier.
Id., letter to Charles Pinckney (February 2, 1812):
Age begins to press sensibly on me, and I leave politics to those of more vigor of body and mind. I give up newspapers for Horace and Tacitus, and withdraw my mind from contention of every kind...
Id., letter to Nathaniel Macon (January 12, 1819):
I read no newspaper now but Ritchie's, and in that chiefly the advertisements, for they contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper. I feel a much greater interest in knowing what has passed two or three thousand years ago, than in what is now passing. I read nothing, therefore, but of the heroes of Troy, of the wars of Lacedaemon and Athens, of Pompey and Caesar, and of Augustus too, the Bonaparte and parricide scoundrel of that day.
Despite strenuous efforts, I have not yet withdrawn my mind from contention, and so I take particular pleasure in quoting from Jefferson — some censorious prigs want to ban quotations from him at the university he founded, which is also my alma mater. See Derek Quizon, "Some students, staff want UVa to stop quoting Jefferson in campus communications," The Daily Progress (November 4, 2016).



Cf. Henry David Thoreau, letter to Parker Pillsbury (April 10, 1861):
Blessed are they who never read a newspaper, for they shall see Nature, and, through her, God.

 

Is Age Sixteen Too Late to Learn Greek?

John Conington (1825-1869), "A Liberal Education," Miscellaneous Writings, Vol. I (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1872), pp. 449-478 (at 457-458):
A dead language which is not learnt till the age of sixteen will, I fear, as a general rule, not be learnt at all. There is something in the mastering of grammar and dictionary difficulties which naturally belongs to the earliest stages of instruction, when learning is more or less compulsory. A boy who is conscious of making real progress in one or two languages (I speak from my own school experience) will be the very person to resent most the drudgery of having to carry on, pari passu, the low, childish taskwork of another tongue. And if this is true of any language, it is true of Greek in a very high degree. The mere strangeness of the character has something repellent in it, so that even one who can read Greek pretty fluently (I speak not merely of what I felt as a boy, but of what I feel to this day) will often prefer, in reading an unfamiliar author, to read him with the help of a Latin translation. Then, again, the fact, noticed by Mr. Sidgwick in another connexion, that Greek has influenced modern languages so little, renders it specially difficult, and by consequence specially repulsive. Who that has groaned under the unfamiliarity of the German prefixes an and mit, über and unter, ver and zer, the force of which it requires such an effort to calculate beforehand, can doubt what annoyance a clever boy of sixteen would feel in constantly having to turn to his lexicon to satisfy himself about the effect of ἀνά, κατά, μετά, and παρά in composition?
I.F. Stone (1907-1989), The Trial of Socrates (New York: Anchor Books, 1989), p. xi:
In my day, even in a country high school, one had four years of Latin to prepare for college, and Catullus and Lucretius were among my early enthusiasms. But I had only one semester of Greek in college before I dropped out in my junior year.

I decided in retirement to learn enough Greek to be able to grapple with conceptual terms for myself. I started on my own with a bilingual edition of the Gospel of St. John, then went to the first book of the Iliad. But the study of Greek soon led me far afield into the Greek poets and Greek literature generally. Their exploration continues to be a joy.
From I.F. Stone's interview of himself, New York Times (January 22, 1978):
I well remember that terrible morning in the basement stacks at American University, before I had acquired my office and title, when I discovered that Bishop Thirlwall, the great Whig historian of Greece, had already learned Greek at the age of 4. Luckily, I was not armed, or I would have shot myself there and then beside the shelves of classics. How could I dare, in my late 60's, to begin the long and rocky ascent to the distant peaks of that intricate language at my age?

I.F. Stone, shortly before his death

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Pick a Little, Talk a Little

Euripides, Phoenician Women 198-201 (tr. David Kovacs):
Women by nature love to criticize, and once they have found trifling reasons to find fault, they invent still more, such is the pleasure they take in speaking ill of one another.

φιλόψογον δὲ χρῆμα θηλειῶν ἔφυ,
σμικράς τ᾿ ἀφορμὰς ἢν λάβωσι τῶν λόγων
πλείους ἐπεσφέρουσιν· ἡδονὴ δέ τις        200
γυναιξὶ μηδὲν ὑγιὲς ἀλλήλας λέγειν.
In my experience, men are just as prone to fault-finding and gossip as women, maybe even more. The passage reminds me of that funny scene from The Music Man:
[ALMA]
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more.

[ALMA & ETHEL]
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more.

[ALL THE LADIES]
Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more.

[MAUD]
Professor, her kind of woman doesn't belong on any committee.
Of course I shouldn't tell you this, but she advocates dirty books.

[HAROLD]
Dirty books?

[ALMA]
Chaucer!

[MAUD]
Rabelais!

[EULALIE]
Balzac!

 

Why Do You Do It?

G.G. Coulton (1858-1947), Fourscore Years: An Autobiography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1943), p. 92:
A lady is said to have asked an architect blandly and persuasively, 'Do you see your own creations distinctly in your own mind when you draw up your plans and perspectives?' 'Oh yes, Madam.' 'You visualize them clearly from every side?' 'Oh indeed, yes.' 'Then why do you do it?'

Friday, November 02, 2018

 

A Noble Educational Aim

T. Robert S. Broughton, "Lily Ross Taylor," Gnomon 42.7 (November, 1970) 734-735 (at 735):
"My aim as a teacher," she used to say, "is to make my students feel that they are walking the streets of Rome, and seeing and thinking what Romans saw and thought."
Hanna Holborn Gray, An Academic Life: A Memoir (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018), pp. 109-110:
The apex of my undergraduate education was to study Tacitus, Livy, and Lucretius with Lily Ross Taylor. Every one of my teachers was highly competent, every one of them a scholar, each one knew his or her students and wanted to help them succeed. What set Lily Ross Taylor apart was a singular and vital connection to her subject, her distinctive breadth of intellectual curiosity, and her passionate, rigorous, and effective way of communicating the essence of Roman history and literature, and of demonstrating the relationships among seemingly disparate texts, subjects, and events. Our advanced Latin classes were small (I think six was the largest) and held in her apartment. At some point tea would be served. By the end, whenever that happened (time was not kept), the floor by Miss Taylor's armchair would be strewn with books she had pulled off her shelves in order to read out some favorite passage or answer some question or make some new observation that had just occurred to her. She taught us to read, which is to hear, Latin poetry as it should be read and heard, and had us memorize and recite quite a bit of Lucretius; those lines are still etched in my memory.

Miss Taylor's standards were formidable. Proud of a paper I had written, I looked eagerly for her comments and found only this: "I have checked all your footnotes and found them accurate." Crushed, I consulted another professor about what this indicated and was told it was actually a compliment. Some years later my husband and I had the great experience of visiting Miss Taylor when she served as director of the American Academy in Rome, and spending an entire day with her at the Forum—the most extraordinary passage into the ancient past one could imagine.
Thanks to Michael Johnson and Kevin Muse for drawing my attention to the passage from Gray's memoir.

 

No Common Ground

Euripides, Phoenician Women 499-502 (tr. Robin Waterfield):
If everyone found the same things acceptable and sensible, there would be no disputes. But as things are, nothing is similar or the same for people except at the verbal level, which does not correspond to reality.

εἰ πᾶσι ταὐτὸ καλὸν ἔφυ σοφόν θ᾿ ἅμα,
οὐκ ἦν ἂν ἀμφίλεκτος ἀνθρώποις ἔρις·        500
νῦν δ᾿ οὔθ᾿ ὅμοιον οὐδὲν οὔτ᾿ ἴσον βροτοῖς
πλὴν ὀνόμασιν· τὸ δ᾿ ἔργον οὐκ ἔστιν τόδε.


502 ὀνόμασιν Markland, Porson: ὀνομάσαι C
A.C. Pearson ad loc.:
There is no such thing as ὁμοιότης or ἰσότης: they are only ὀνόματα. In other words, there is no common standpoint to be found in human beliefs: any such principle of identity (τοὔργον τόδε) is non-existent. This is exactly the spirit of Antisthenes: see Zeller's Socrates etc. Eng. tr. p. 297 ff. The best commentary on the present passage is to be found in Herod. 3.38.
Herodotus 3.38 (tr. Robin Waterfield):
If one were to order all mankind to choose the best set of rules in the world, each group would, after due consideration, choose its own customs; each group regards its own as being by far the best. So it is unlikely that anyone except a madman would laugh at such things. There is plenty of other evidence to support the idea that this opinion of one's own customs is universal, but here is one instance. During Darius' reign, he invited some Greeks who were present to a conference, and asked them how much money it would take for them to be prepared to eat the corpses of their fathers; they replied that they would not do that for any amount of money. Next, Darius summoned some members of the Indian tribe known as Callatiae, who eat their parents, and asked them in the presence of the Greeks, with an interpreter present so that they could understand what was being said, how much money it would take for them to be willing to cremate their fathers' corpses; they cried out in horror and told him not to say such appalling things. So these practices have become enshrined as customs just as they are, and I think Pindar was right to have said in his poem that custom is king of all.
G.E.M. De Ste. Croix, "Herodotus," Greece & Rome 24.2 (October, 1977) 130-148 (at 133-134):
The Greeks, coming into contact through their commerce and colonization with many other peoples, all having different beliefs and institutions, began to realize—some of them began to realize—that the nomoi, the manners and customs and ideas and laws (the 'way of life', if you like) handed down to one by one's own ancestors are not necessarily the best of all possible ways of life, and that even if one eventually concludes they are, that is no reason for disregarding the ideas and institutions of other peoples, or regarding them with disgust or contempt. The perfect illustration of this is the little story told by Herodotus (3.38) to give point to his observation that everyone naturally prefers his own ancestral institutions, his own nomoi. (The tale was certainly made up by some other Greek.) King Darius of Persia, says Herodotus, asked some Greeks for how much money they would be prepared to eat their fathers' dead bodies. The Greeks, who of course burnt their dead, declared that nothing would induce them to do such a thing. Darius then turned to certain Indians called Kallatiai, who were accustomed to eat their dead, and asked them what they would take to burn the bodies of their fathers: they begged him not even to speak of such a horror. What is remarkable about this story is that it holds the scales evenly between Greeks and barbaroi: the moral which Herodotus proceeds to draw is not that there are non-Greeks who are disgusting enough to eat their dead, but that everyone will naturally prefer the customs in which he himself was brought up, however queer they may seem to other people. Just imagine how differently the authors of First and Second Kings would have treated such a story, if they had been telling it of the Israelites and the Philistines or the Phoenicians. What, eat your dead? Well, doesn't that just show that if you begin by worshipping Dagon or Baal instead of Yahweh, you end up with cannibalism?
Related post: Autre Pays, Autres Moeurs.

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