Friday, October 07, 2022
The Delian Epigram
The noblest thing is the most just; the best to be healthy;Very similar is Theognis 255-256:
Most pleasant of all, however, is to get what one loves.
κάλλιστον τὸ δικαιότατον, λῷστον δ᾽ ὑγιαίνειν,
πάντων ἥδιστον δ' οὗ τις ἐρᾷ τὸ τυχεῖν.
κάλλιστον τὸ δικαιότατον· λῶιστον δ' ὑγιαίνειν·Cf. Sophocles, fragment 356 Radt (from Creusa; tr. C.M. Bowra):
πρᾶγμα δὲ τερπνότατον, τοῦ τις ἐρᾷ, τὸ τυχεῖν.
The fairest thing of all is to be just;
The best to line without disease; most sweet
Power to win each day the heart's desire.
κάλλιστόν ἐστι τούνδικον πεφυκέναι,
λῷστον δὲ τὸ ζῆν ἄνοσον, ἥδιστον δ ̓ ὅτῳ
πάρεστι λῆψις ὧν ἐρᾷ καθ' ἡμέραν.
Epitaph of Symmachus
(i) Symmachos, son of Simon, from Chios.Also in Georg Kaibel, Epigrammata Graeca ex Lapidibus Conlecta (Berlin: Reimer, 1878), p. 29 (number 88), Werner Peek, Griechische Vers-Inschriften, Vol. I: Grab-Epigramme (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1955), p. 625 (number 1987), and Peter A. Hansen, Carmina Epigraphica Graeca Saeculi IV a. Chr. n. (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1989), p. 92 (number 606).
(ii) Symmachos, having rejoiced the most in his life and having experienced
the least of sadness, after arriving at the furthest end of old age,
of Chian offspring with respect to his family, his father (being) Simon,
he lies dead in Cecropian land.
Symmachos' fatherland is Chios, rejoicing
in the beautiful-foliage saplings of the vine that is full of grapes,
but it is Athens, most dear to both gods and men,
that has hidden your dead body in its lap.
(i) Σύμμαχος Σίμωνος Χῖος.
(ii) πλεῖστα μὲν εὐφρανθεὶς βιότωι, λύπαις δὲ ἐλαχίσταις
χρησάμενος, γήρως τέρμα μολὼν πρὸς ἄκρον,
Χῖος μὲν γενεὰν βλαστών, πατρὸς δὲ Σίμωνος,
Σύμμαχος ἐν δαπέδοις Κεκροπίας ἐκλίθην.
ἡ μὲν καλλικόμοις πτόρθοις βοτρυώδεος οἴνης 5
Χῖος ἀγαλλομένη Συμμάχωι ἐστὶ πατρίς.
αἱ δὲ θεοῖσι μάλιστα φίλαι θνητοῖσί τε Ἀθῆναι
σῶμα σὸν ἐγ κόλποις κρύψαν ἀποφθίμενον.
8 ἀποφθίμενον lapis: ἀποφθιμένου "melius dixisset poeta" Kaibel
Marco Fantuzzi, "Typologies of Variation on a Theme in Archaic and Classical Metrical Inscriptions," in Manuel Baumbach et al., edd., Archaic and Classical Greek Epigram (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 289-310 (at 304), regards it as two separate epigrams (1-4, 5-8, anticipated by Kaibel).
On naming both the homeland and the place of burial, see Alan H. Sommerstein, The Tangled Ways of Zeus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 196-197.
A Portable Kit
We may take our start from the basic fact that the fasces were not merely decorative or symbolic devices carried before magistrates in a parade of idle formalism. Rather, they constituted a portable kit for flogging and decapitation. Since they were so brutally functional, they not only served as ceremonial symbols of office but also carried the potential of violent repression and execution.
Slaves or free men unprotected by citizenship or special privilege were subject without appeal to the full powers of the imperium administered via the lictor's strong right arm. This might run to a few blows to control crowds or enforce respect for the magistrate at an assize-hearing, or it might extend to flogging with or without decapitation to follow. Although the virgae themselves were not intended for capital punishment, the fasces are sometimes termed "bloody" in our sources because of the terrible beating which the heavy rods inflicted; they could, and sometimes did, prove lethal. Of birch or elmwood and some one-and-a-half meters in length, they were considerably weightier than the centurion's vitis or "swagger-stick," (which it was permissible to apply to citizens' backs). The virgae could of course be used on non-Roman military personnel. The single-headed securis, regularly carried in the fasces extra urbem and seen as a component of the regalia of office, was employed for executions under the Republic, later replaced in the Principate by the sword. Condemned prisoners were not kept waiting after sentencing, and execution was carried out in full public view. When the magistrate bade the praeco pronounce the dread words age lege, the lictors would unstrap the red thongs of the fasces on the spot (virgas expedire).
Thursday, October 06, 2022
Inscription on a Gemstone
Leopard—drink, live in luxury, embrace!See the old Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum 7299: Searchable Greek Inscriptions. In translating, I would keep Pardalas as a proper name. I don't have access to Marianne Maaskant-Kleibrink, Catalogue of the Engraved Gems in the Royal Coin Cabinet, The Hague. The Greek, Etruscan and Roman Collections, 2 vols. (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1978).
You must die, for time is short.
May you live life to the full, O Greek!
Παρδαλᾶ, πεῖνε, τρύφα, περιλάμβανε. θανεῖν σε δεῖ· ὁ γὰρ χρόνος ὀλίγος. Ἀχαιὶ ζήσαις.
A photograph of the gemstone:
A Quotation from Lucan
The 32 life-size figures stand on an irregular octagonal base. The front (or south-facing side) of this base depicts the Great Seal of the Confederacy in low relief. In raised letters below the seal are the following words:CATON is Wikipedia's mistake for CATONI. Also, Wikipedia wrongly assigns PLACUIT to the bottom line (click once or twice to enlarge):TO OUR DEAD HEROES
THE UNITED DAUGHTERS
OF THE CONFEDERACY
VICTRIX CAUSA DIIS
PLACUIT SED VICTA CATON
The conquering cause pleased the Gods, but the conquered pleased Cato.
victrix causa deis placuit, sed victa Catoni.
Labels: typographical and other errors
Wednesday, October 05, 2022
A Long, Unhappy Life
After eating little and drinking little and suffering much sickness I lasted long, but at length I did die. A curse on you all!
βαιὰ φαγὼν καὶ βαιὰ πιὼν καὶ πολλὰ νοσήσας,
ὀψὲ μέν, ἀλλ᾽ ἔθανον. ἔρρετε πάντες ὁμοῦ.
La letra con sangre entra
I shall not try to excuse my mistakes. I confess publicly that for the ill success of my studies, I alone am responsible. My body occupied a place in the school rooms, but my mind wandered continually through the spaces of imagination. In vain the energetic exhortations of the teacher, accompanied by furious blows with the strap, recalled me to reality and fought to wrest me from my distractions; the blows sounded in my head like those of the door knocker in an empty house. All the efforts of Father Jacinto, who made my case a matter of personal pride, failed lamentably. Having made this confession, it may be permissible for me to declare also that to my dislike for study there contributed in considerable degree the system of teaching and of rewards and punishments employed by these Esculapian fathers. As the sole pedagogical method, pure memorization reigned supreme. Their aim was to create stored heads rather than thinking heads. To mold a mental individuality, to consent that the pupil, sacrificing the letter for the spirit, should be permitted to change the form of the recitations—that was not to be thought of. There, as still happens to-day in many school rooms, the only person who knew the lesson was he who recited it like a phonograph, that is to say, discharging it in a continuous stream with great vivacity and fidelity. The scholar who stopped the stream for a moment, or wavered in the expression, or changed the order of the statements, did not know it and was in consequence severely punished.Hat tip: Eric Thomson, who provided these notes:
As infallible stimulants for sluggish memories or backward intelligences, were employed the pointer, a strap, a cat-of-nine-tails, a prison, the reyes de gallos, and other coercive and outrageous methods.
As may be seen, the old adage that knowledge enters with pain, ruled unquestioned among those good fathers; but in my case, knowledge slipped through my head without engraving itself upon my brain. On the other hand, many pupils conceived a decided aversion for Latin literature and dislike for the masters. Thus there was lost entirely that cordial intimacy, a mingling of friendship and respect, between master and pupils without which the labor of the educator is the greatest of martyrdoms.
I should be committing a great injustice if I were to say that all the friars applied these pedagogical principles with equal rigor; we had some teachers who were excellent and even kind and sympathetic. But I did not have the happiness to come into contact with them because they took charge of the higher classes and I was obliged, for reasons which I shall explain shortly, to leave the Esculapian school when I was in the second grade. Among these amiable masters, I remember Father Juan, the teacher of geography and an excellent pedagogue. He did not whip the boys, but instead he knew how to arouse their curiosity and captivate their attention.
Following, doubtless, the principle of the skilful knife-sharpener, which is to grind the knife first with the coarsest whetstone and to finish it by further treatment with finer and softer ones, the cloister of Jaca very wisely entrusted the rough-hewing of the first-year students to the harshest breaker-in of intelligences. In fact, we poor wretches of the beginners' class in Latin were handled by the most severe of all the friars, Father Jacinto, of whom I have already spoken in the preceding chapter. He was a native of Egea and had the strength and aggressiveness of the imposing youths of the Five Towns. His huge and stentorian voice stunned the class, thundering in our ears like the roaring of a lion. Into the power of this Herod fell about forty of us unhappy lads, gathered from various mountain towns, and still homesick for the attention of our mothers. An elevated bench formed his throne; his scepter was the cat-of-nine-tails; his ministers were two favorite pupils who were entrusted with keeping watch on the others.
We were divided into two bands or groups, called Carthaginians and Romans, as was announced by placards posted on each side of the schoolroom. It fell to my lot to be a Carthaginian, and I soon came to merit the name, in that I was beaten by Scipio, that is to say by the formidable dominie, who was capable of destroying all the Carthaginians and Romans single handed. For me, then, Carthage fell every day without the triumphs of Hannibal ever being experienced, and still less the pleasures of Capua.
Cowed by this reign of terror, we entered the classroom trembling, and when the lessons commenced we felt such dread that we did not remember a single thing. Woe to him who got mixed in the conjugation of a verb or who stumbled in the declension of quisnam, quaenam, quodnam or of the no less peculiar quicumque! The blows of the strap rained upon him like a cloudburst, confusing him more and more and inhibiting his weak memory completely. When we left the schoolroom our faces shone with the boisterous joy of liberation; we did not stop to consider, poor children, that on the next day, the flogging would be renewed, and that our wrists, from which the swellings of the day before had not yet completely disappeared, would be delivered again to the terrible strapping of the master.
Reyes de Gallos: Rooster Kings. The author later describes being subjected to this humiliation of the dunces (p. 66): "I was decked out with a grotesque robe and crowned with an enormous mitre decorated with many-coloured feathers. I looked like a wild Indian. My cynical tranquility at being paraded among my comrades exasperated Father Jacinto, who added for good measure some blows with the fist and slaps on the neck. I looked at him with calm indignation without blinking an eyelid. My animosity or, if you prefer it, my outraged dignity would not let me cry. What better vengeance could I take against my oppressors?"
"The old adage, that knowledge enters with pain": La letra con sangre entra. Old enough to be quoted in Don Quijote (II, 36), it was the subject of a satirical painting of that title (1780-85) by Francisco de Goya, who like Father Jacinto was also a native of Aragón. Now in the Museo de Zaragoza:
- Plagosus Orbilius
- Inexpensive Instruments of Instruction
- A Close Connection Between the Skin and the Memory
- Et Nos Ergo Manum Ferulae Subduximus
- A Male Puberty Rite
- Anarchy Tempered by Despotism
- Punishment in School
- More Punishments in School
- Ordeals of a Schoolboy
- Grammar Lesson
- Teaching Tools
The selecting of those like to oneself somehow is most apt to bring unity out of life's blending.A.W. Gomme and F.H. Sandbach, Menander, A Commentary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973; rpt. 2003), p. 672:
ἡ τῶν ὁμοίων αἵρεσις μάλιστά πως
τὴν τοῦ βίου σύγκρασιν ὁμόνοιαν ποεῖ.
2 ὁμόνοιαν codd.: ὁμονοεῖν Usener
There is no good reason for supposing this fragment to be from Sikyonios. The verses are ascribed by Stobaios to Menander, but not to any play. The scholiast on Plato, Symp. 195 b says that in Sikyonios Menander referred to the proverb ὡϲ αἰεὶ τὸν ὁμοῖον ἄγει θεὸϲ ὡϲ τὸν ὁμοῖον. Nauck, Mélanges Gréco-Romains, vi.114, argued that the scholiast had these verses in mind. C.W. Müller, Rh. Mus. cvii (1964), 285, rightly maintains that this is not the most natural interpretation: 'God brings the like-minded together' and 'Choice of like-minded friends leads to harmony in life' are by no means the same sentiment.Related posts:
- Nothing in Common
- People of the Same Stock
- Mixed Marriages
- Birds of a Feather Flock Together
- Like Is Dear to Like
- Akin and Alike
- Oil and Vinegar
- Worlds Apart
- Flocking Together
The lower road is property of Titus Umbrenius, son of Gaius. Pedestrian traffic, by request only. No person to drive cattle or cart.Pedestrian, while implied, isn't in the Latin. I would translate "passage by permission".
T(iti) Umbreni C(ai) f(ilii)
R.S. Conway, The Italic Dialects, Vol. I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1897), p. 301 (number 273):
On a large stone which had rolled down the hillside on to the right bank of the Salte near the bridge of S. Martino below Capradosso (Cliternia).Cf. similar inscriptions in Hermann Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, Vol. II, Pars I (Berlin: Weidmann, 1902), p. 476: A Recluse.
Tuesday, October 04, 2022
Yet man is by nature a life-loving creature and even in the worst misfortunes does not despair of a change for the better, since the god who created men has implanted this illusion in all so that they should not run away from the misery of life.
φύσει δὲ φιλόζωόν ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος καὶ οὐδὲ ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις συμφοραῖς ἀπελπίζει τὴν πρὸς τὸ βέλτιον μεταβολήν, τοῦ δημιουργήσαντος θεοῦ τὸ σόφισμα τοῦτο πᾶσιν ἐγκατασπείραντος, ἵνα μὴ φύγωσι βίον ταλαίπωρον.
I ask the gods for release from these toils...The Greek is so simple that most commentaries have nothing to say about the line, apart from the μὲν solitarium. Note the double accusative after αἰτῶ (LSJ "c. acc. pers. [θεοὺς] et rei [ἀπαλλαγὴν], ask a person for a thing").
θεοὺς μὲν αἰτῶ τῶνδ' ἀπαλλαγὴν πόνων...
A Coin from Maroneia, Thrace
Obverse, showing head of Dionysus facing right, wearing an ivy wreath:
Maroneia was named after Dionysus' son Maron, on whom see W.H. Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, Bd. 2, Abt. 2: Laas-Myton (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1894-1897), cols. 2382-2384.
Map detail showing Maroneia, from Richard J.A. Talbert, ed., Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, Vol. 2 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), Map 51 (almost due north of the island of Samothrace on the full map):
Monday, October 03, 2022
The Crown of Scholarship?
One reason why so much endeavour is spent on conjectural emendation is because it is surrounded by an aura artificially created by its own practitioners. Those who think that it constitutes the crown and summit of all scholarship have only to glance in the following pages to see what drunken angles that crown can assume.
Vetulonia, Home of the Fasces
...and Vetulonia, once the pride of the Lydian race. From that city came the twelve bundles of rods that are borne before the consul, and also the twelve axes with their silent menace.Axe bound with iron rods, from the Tomb of the Lictor in Vetulonia (late 7th century BC):
...Maeoniaeque decus quondam Vetulonia gentis.
bissenos haec prima dedit praecedere fasces
et iunxit totidem tacito terrore securis.
The Short and the Long of It
Life is short,On δαίμονος αἶσαν cf. Homer, Odyssey 11.61 (δαίμονος αἶσα κακή) and Carmina Epigraphica Graeca 84, line 2 (δαίμονος αἶσα), with Christopher G. Brown's note in "The Stele of Mnesagora and Nikochares (CEG 84)," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 152 (2005) 1-5 (at 1, n. 3).
long is the time which we mortals finish under ground.
It is the portion of all to suffer destiny's
doom, whenever it catches up with us.
βραχὺς ὁ βίος, μακρὸν δέ
τὸν κατὰ γᾶς αἰῶνα τελευτῶμεν βροτοί·
πᾶσι δὲ μοῖρα φέρεσθαι δαίμονος
αἶσαν, ἅτις ἂν τύχῃ.
This is an inscription, but it doesn't seem to show up in Searchable Greek Inscriptions.
Sunday, October 02, 2022
An Etruscan God
dei crabouie: 'Jupiter Grabovius', voc. sing. It has been suggested, speculatively but intriguingly, that Grabovius is from Illyrian (presumably via Messapic, cp. § 20.21) and means 'of the oak', cp. Illyrian grabion 'oak wood', Polish grabowy 'made of white beechwood', Modern Greek (Epirotic) grabos 'type of oak'. Oak in various ancient IE societies is mythologically associated with the god of thunder (§ 2.21). Alternatively, connection with an Etruscan god with the unfortunate name Crap has also been suggested, but we know nothing about this deity — which might be a good thing.
Labels: noctes scatologicae
He Made His Students Cry
Arthur Gordon believed strongly in the importance of precise knowledge of Latin grammar, which was of course bound up with his epigraphical specialty; and he was legendary at Berkeley for his strict teaching, which reduced men as well as women to tears at times. Nevertheless, his students came to recognize the value of that precision and therefore were eventually grateful for his teaching.
Epitaph of Amymone
Here is buried Amymone, [wife] of Marcus, best and most beautiful, a worker-in-wool, devoted, modest, frugal, chaste, a stay-at-home [domiseda].1Franz Buecheler, Carmina Latina Epigraphica (Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1895), p. 112, number 237, thought that Amymone was Marcus' daughter, not his wife:
1 The adjective domiseda (meant as a compliment, of course) occurs only in one other place in the entire body of Latin texts, and that is in another inscription — an epitaph to, presumably, the same woman (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum 6.34045), and quite possibly a modern forgery: 'Here lies Amymone, wife of a barbarian, most beautiful, devoted, frugal, chaste, a worker-in-wool, a stay-at-home.'
Hic sita est Amymone Marci optima et pulcherrima,
lanifica pia pudica frugi casta domiseda.
Saturday, October 01, 2022
Nothing means anything now:Headstone of Sisson in Langport:
I am alone
— My mind a vacant space,
My heart of stone.
A tuneless thing I am,
A broken lyre.
I cannot even boast
A flameless fire.
There is the work I did
— Paper and ink —
I have no part in it:
There is no link
Between the man who wrote
— And more, was once alive,
And this relic for whom
The end does not arrive.
Although the life is gone
There is no corspe to show:
When others find it, I
Alone shall never know.
NORA SISSONHat tip: Eric Thomson.
CHARLES HUBERT SISSON
Don't Try This at Home
He had children by three of his wives: by Urgulanilla, Drusus and Claudia; by Paetina, Antonia; by Messalina, Octavia and a son, at first called Germanicus and later Britannicus. He lost Drusus just before he came to manhood, for he was strangled by a pear which he had thrown into the air in play and caught in his open mouth.D.L. Page, Further Greek Epigrams (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 99 (on Greek Anthology 9.488, by Tryphon):
liberos ex tribus uxoribus tulit: ex Vrgulanilla Drusum et Claudiam, ex Paetina Antoniam, ex Messalina Octaviam et quem primo Germanicum, mox Britannicum cognominavit. Drusum prope iam puberem amisit piro per lusum in sublime iactato et hiatu oris excepto strangulatum...
On the strange death of Terpes; somebody threw a fig which struck him in the mouth while he was singing; it choked him, and he died.
The story recalls the popular tale about Anacreon's death, that he was choked by a grape-pip, and it has something in common with Leonidas 7.504 = HE lxvi (imitated by Apollonides 7.702 = PG xii) on a fisherman choked by swallowing a fish. Peek 1322, an inscription dated II—III A.D., describes a similar death, choking by a fish, if the supplement is correct, [ἰχθυ]βόρος δ' ἀφάτως λαιμὸς ἔκλεισε πνοάς; but the closest parallel is the story told by Suetonius Claud. 27 about the death of Drusus, son of the emperor Claudius and Urgulanilla, Drusum...amisit, piro per lusum in sublime iactato et hiatu oris excepto strangulatum.