Monday, April 12, 2021

 

The Prime Motivator

Aristophanes, Wealth 181-183 (Chremylus to Wealth; tr. Benjamin Bickley Rogers):
Aye, everything that's done is done for thee.
Thou art alone, thyself alone, the source
Of all our fortunes, good and bad alike.

τὰ δὲ πράγματ᾿ οὐχὶ διὰ σὲ πάντα πράττεται;
μονώτατος γὰρ εἶ σὺ πάντων αἴτιος
καὶ τῶν κακῶν καὶ τῶν ἀγαθῶν, εὖ ἴσθ᾿ ὅτι.

 

Truth Overpowered

Sophocles, fragment 86, line 3 (tr. Hugh-Lloyd-Jones):
What people believe prevails over the truth.

τό τοι νομισθὲν τῆς ἀληθείας κρατεῖ.
A.C. Pearson ad loc.:

Sunday, April 11, 2021

 

Treasure Trove

Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829), Athenaeum Fragments, no. 151 (tr. Peter Firchow):
Up to now everyone has managed to find in the ancients what he needed or wished for: especially himself.

Jeder hat noch in den Alten gefunden, was er brauchte oder wünschte, vorzüglich sich selbst.

 

Unbearable

Sophocles, fragment 84 (tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones):
I do not know what I can say in reply to this, when good men are conquered by ignoble men. What city could put up with this?

κοὐκ οἶδ᾿ ὅτι χρὴ πρὸς ταῦτα λέγειν,
ὅταν οἵ γ᾿ ἀγαθοὶ πρὸς τῶν ἀγενῶν
κατανικῶνται·
ποία πόλις ἂν τάδ᾿ ἐνέγκοι;


3 κατανικῶνται codd.: πολὐ νικῶνται Blaydes, μέγα νικῶνται Herwerden
Liddell-Scott-Jones, s.v. κατανικάω:
strengthd. for νικάω, ὅταν οἵ γ᾽ ἀγαθοὶ πρὸς τῶν ἀγενῶν -νικῶνται S. Fr. 84, cf. J. AJ 3.2.2, PFlor. 338.11 (iii A. D.); ὑπὸ τῆς φθοροποιοῦ δυνάμεως Philum. Ven. 4.3.

 

Silence Has Many Beauties

Dear Mike,

Thanks for Silence (Wednesday 7/04), a subject dear to me — τι βαθὺ καὶ μυστηριῶδες ἡ σιγὴ saith Plutarch, in whose otherwise garrulous essay on prattlers appears the pleasingly succinct phrase: οὐδεὶς γὰρ οὕτω λόγος ὠφέλησε ῥηθεὶς ὡς πολλοὶ σιωπηθέντες (505F).

Here's another piece of Pindar:

Pindar, Nemean Odes 5.16-19 (tr. William H. Race):
I will halt, for not every exact truth
is better for showing its face,
and silence is often the wisest thing for a man to observe.

στάσομαι· οὔ τοι ἅπασα κερδίων
φαίνοισα πρόσωπον ἀλάθει᾿ ἀτρεκής·
καὶ τὸ σιγᾶν πολλάκις ἐστὶ σοφώτατον ἀνθρώπῳ νοῆσαι.
and a shard each from Aesch., Eur. and Soph.:

Aeschylus, fragment 188 (tr. A.H. Sommerstein):
For to many mortals silence is advantageous.

πολλοῖς γάρ ἐστι κέρδος ἡ σιγὴ βροτῶν.

Scholia (M B D) to Aelius Aristeides, Oration 3.97 (p. 190 Frommel; p. 501.17–18 Dindorf) (Αἰσχύλος . . . ἐν Προμηθεῖ δεσμώτῃ)
Euripides, fragment 219 (from Antiope; tr. Christopher Collard and Martin Cropp):
Silence is an ornament, a crown for a man without vice;
while chattering of this kind fastens upon pleasure,
and makes bad company, and is a weakness too for a city.

κόσμος δὲ σιγή, στέφανος ἀνδρὸς οὐ κακοῦ·
τὸ δ᾿ ἐκλαλοῦν τοῦθ᾿ ἡδονῆς μὲν ἅπτεται,
κακὸν δ᾿ ὁμίλημ᾿, ἀσθενὲς δὲ καὶ πόλει.


1 σιγή, στέφανος Ellis: σιγῆς στέφανος Stobaeus 3.36.10
Sophocles, fragment 81 (tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones):
My son, be silent! Silence has many beauties.

ὦ παῖ, σιώπα· πόλλ᾿ ἔχει σιγὴ καλά.

Stobaeus, Anthology 3, 33, 3 (3, 678, 10 Hense); Plutarch, Talkativeness 502E; Arsenius, Violarium, p. 488 Walz = Apostol. 18, 62a (CPG 2, 737, 9)
στάσομαι.

Best wishes,
Eric [Thomson]

Saturday, April 10, 2021

 

Books on Books

From a friend's collection (click once or twice to enlarge):
But for "on" meaning "on top of" see this photograph of another section of his flat:

Friday, April 09, 2021

 

Love Ye Therefore the Stranger, For Ye Were Strangers

Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus 562-568 (Theseus to Oedipus; tr. E.F. Watling):
I do not forget my own upbringing in exile,
like yours, and how many times I battled, alone,
with dangers to my life, in foreign lands.
I could not turn from any fellow-man,
coming as you come, or deny him help,
I know that I am man; in the day to come
my portion will be as yours, no more, no less.

... οἶδα γ᾽ αὐτὸς ὡς ἐπαιδεύθην ξένος,
ὥσπερ σύ, χὢς εἷς πλεῖστ᾽ ἀνὴρ ἐπὶ ξένης
ἤθλησα κινδυνεύματ᾽ ἐν τὠμῷ κάρᾳ·
ὥστε ξένον γ᾽ ἂν οὐδέν᾽ ὄνθ᾽, ὥσπερ σὺ νῦν,        565
ὑπεκτραποίμην μὴ οὐ συνεκσῴζειν· ἐπεὶ
ἔξοιδ᾽ ἀνὴρ ὢν χὤτι τῆς εἰς αὔριον
οὐδὲν πλέον μοι σοῦ μέτεστιν ἡμέρας.

 

Gods of the Hills

Guy Davenport (1927-2005), "Finding," The Geography of the Imagination (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1981), pp. 359-367 (at 364):
Some slackness of ritual, we are told, that hurt the feelings of the dii montes, the gnomes of the hills, allowed Rome to fall to the barbarians.
The phrase dii montes, two nominative plural nouns in apposition, looks odd to me. Did Davenport mean to write dii montium, as in 1 Kings 20.23?
dii montium sunt dii eorum. (Vulgate)

Their gods are gods of the hills. (KJV)
Or perhaps dii montani?

On the other hand cf. Lactantius, De mortibus persecutorum 11, which is ambiguous:
erat mater eius deorum montium cultrix.
Update from Eric Thomson:
Another possibility, a little closer to Davenport's 'montes' (if it is his and not a kind of haplographic misprint), would be 'montenses', as in ILS 3051, discussed in Robert E.A. Palmer, "Jupiter Blaze, Gods of the Hills, and the Roman Topography of CIL VI 377," American Journal of Archaeology 80.1 (Winter, 1976) 43-56.

 

You Can't Stand to Be Alone with Yourself

Horace, Satires 2.7.111-115 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough):
And again, you cannot yourself bear to be in your own company, you cannot employ your leisure aright, you shun yourself, a runaway and vagabond, seeking now with wine, and now with sleep, to baffle Care. In vain: that black consort dogs and follows your flight.

                                         adde, quod idem
non horam tecum esse potes, non otia recte
ponere, teque ipsum vitas fugitivus et erro,
iam vino quaerens, iam somno fallere Curam;
frustra: nam comes atra premit sequiturque fugacem.
The translation omits horam — for an hour.

Quintus Horatius Flaccus, Satiren. Erklärt von Adolf Kiessling. 5. Auflage erneuert von Richard Heinze (Berlin: Weidmann, 1921), pp. 333-334:
111. adde quod idem: der Gipfel ist, daß er, der unter der Herrschaft fremder Menschen und Dinge leidet, nicht einmal mit sich selbst im Einvernehmen ist, sondern sich zu entfhehen sucht wie der Sklave dem harten Herrn. — ponere anwenden, häufig von Zeitbegriffen, wie tempus meridianum in . . . cogitatione ponere Cic. de orat. III 17, totum diem in consideranda causa Brut. 87; übertragen vom Kapital, das zinstragend angelegt wird, ponitur ep. 2, 70; a. p. 421. — teque ipsum vitas: hoc se quisque modo fugitat, quem scilicet ut fit effugere haud potis est Lucr. III 1066. — fugitivus et erro, Bezeichnung des Sklaven: erronem sic definimus, qui non quidem fugit, sed frequenter sine causa vagatur et temporibus in res nugatorias consumptis serius domum redit Ulpian Dig. XXI 1, 17, 14: dagegen quid sit fugitivus Ofilius sie definit: fugitivus est qui extra domini domum fugae causa quo se a domino celaret mansit ebd. 1. — premit sequiturque: sie heftet sich dir an die Seite als leidiger Weggenosse und folgt dir, wenn du ihr zu entfliehen versuchst. Der Gedanke ist das Motiv zu od. III I, 37 fg. und hat dem berühmten post equitem sedet atra cura seine Farbe geliehen.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, IV: Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, § 5 (tr. R.J. Hollingdale):
Alone with themselves! — the idea of this makes modern souls quake, it is their kind of terror and fear of ghosts.

Mit sich selber! — dieser Gedanke schüttelt die modernen Seelen, das ist ihre Angst und Gespensterfurcht.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

 

A Flood of Noise

Guy Davenport (1927-2005), "Jonathan Williams," The Geography of the Imagination (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1981), pp. 180-189 (at 189):
Anything worth knowing passes from one person to another. The book is still a viable way of communicating, provided one has taught oneself to find the book one needs to read. It isn't easy. All the electronic media are a flood of noise.

 

Philology

Richard F. Thomas, "Past and Future in Classical Philology," Comparative Literature Studies 27.1 (1990) 66-74 (at 69, note omitted):
How then do we define philology? Perhaps we can do no more than define it by paraphrase of its constituent parts, that by philology is meant the conducting of a φιλία (philia) relationship (that is, in a relationship of "affection," "respect," and "close proximity") to the λόγος (logos) (that is, the "word," or the "text"). The end or goal of this relationship may be seen as the following: philology believes, or philologists believe, that there are historical, objective truths about language and literature, and that, however great the obstacles, these truths may be reached, or at least approached, through a wide variety of methods.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

 

Silence

Pindar, fragment 180 (tr. John Sandys):
Blurt not out unto all the word that is needless.
There are times when the path of silence is the safest,
while the word that is overbearing is a spur unto strife.

μὴ πρὸς ἅπαντας ἀναρρῆξαι τὸν ἀχρεῖον λόγον·
ἔσθ᾿ ὅτε πιστόταται σιγᾶς ὁδοί·
κέντρον δὲ μάχας ὁ κρατιστεύων λόγος.

 

Prayer

Horace, Carmen Saeculare 45-48 (tr. W.S. Marris):
Give righteousness to docile Youth
    And Age with peace and quiet bless,
Ye Gods! and grant the Nation growth
    And wealth and every happiness!

di, probos mores docili iuventae,
di, senectuti placidae quietem,
Romulae genti date remque prolemque
    et decus omne.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus, Oden und Epoden. Erklärt von Adolf Kiessling. 7. Auflage besorgt von Richard Heinze (Berlin: Weidmann, 1930), p. 479:
Die Periode ist kunstvoll gegliedert: wie die iuniores (45) und seniores (46) zusammen die Romula gens (47) bilden, so sind auch formell die beiden ersten Wünsche der Unterbau für den dritten: jene enthalten die Anrede di . . di, die auch beim dritten zu ergänzen ist, dieser das allen dreien gemeinsame Verbum date. — Das Gebet um probi mores der Jugend stellt H. voran: in ihnen die Grundlage des öffentlichen Wohles zu sehen, entsprach sowohl den Anschauungen des Augustus, die auch seine Gesetzgebung des Jahres 18 beherrschten (s. zu epp. II 1,1 cum . . res Italas . . moribus ornes, legibus emendes), wie der früher mehrfach von H. selbst gepredigten Lehre. Aber Sittlichkeit von den Göttern zu erflehen, widerspricht altrömischem, auch durch das stoische Dogma bekräftigten Empfinden: virtutem nemo umquam acceptam deo rettulit . . num quis, quod bonus vir esset, gratias dis egit umquam? Cic. nat. deor. III 86fg. Auch griechische Gebete um εὐνομία der Stadt oder καλοκἀγαθία der Bürger stehen nicht ganz auf gleicher Stufe. — Des Alters höchstes Glück ist die quies, deren Voraussetzung, Frieden und Eintracht im Lande, die Götter spenden mögen. — remque prolemque nimmt die Bitten des ersten Teils wieder auf, aber nun tritt als Drittes, gleich Wichtiges, decus hinzu: was damit gemeint ist, besagt die folgende Strophentrias.

 

A Solitary Man

Goethe, Torquato Tasso, Scene 1, Act 2, lines 243-249 (tr. Michael Hamburger):
It's an old fault in him that he seeks out
Solitude rather than society.
I pardon him for fleeing motley crowds,
Preferring to converse with his own mind
Freely in private, but I can not approve
When he avoids the circle of his friends.

Es ist ein alter Fehler daß er mehr
Die Einsamkeit als die Gesellschaft sucht.
Verzeih' ich ihm, wenn er den bunten Schwarm
Der Menschen flieht, und lieber frei im Stillen
Mit seinem Geist sich unterhalten mag;
So kann ich doch nicht loben, daß er selbst
Den Kreis vermeidet den die Freunde schließen.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

 

Ludi Saeculares

Zosimus, New History. A Translation with Commentary by Ronald T. Ridley (Canberra: Australian Association for Byzantine Studies, 1982 = Byzantina Australiensia, 2), pp. 26-28 (2.5-7):
5. This is how we are told the festival was celebrated. Heralds go about summoning everyone to attend a spectacle they have never seen before and will never see again. In summer, a few days before it begins,the Quindecemviri sit in the Capitol and in the Palatine temple11 on a tribunal and distribute purifying agents, such as torches, brimstone and pitch, to the people; slaves do not participate in this, only freemen. (2) When all the people assemble in the above-mentioned places and in the temple of Diana on the Aventine, each one bringing wheat, barley and beans, they keep the all-night vigils to the Fates with great solemnity for nights. Then when the time arrives for the festival, which is celebrated for three days and three nights in the Campus Martius, the victims are dedicated on the bank of the Tiber at Tarentum. They sacrifice to Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, Latona, Diana, and also to the Fates, Lucina, Ceres, Dis and Proserpine. (3) On the first night of the spectacle, at the second hour, the emperor with the Quindecemviri sacrifices three lambs on three altars on the river bank, and sprinkling the altars with blood, he offers up the victims burnt whole. After preparing a stage like that in a theatre, they light torches and a fire, sing a newly composed song, and present sacred spectacles. (4) Those who participate are rewarded with the first fruits of the wheat, barley and beans, for they are distributed to all the people, as I said. The next day they go up to the Capitol where they offer the usual sacrifices, and thence to the theatre where games to Apollo and Diana are celebrated. On the second day noble ladies, gathering at the Capitol at the place specified by the oracle, pray to and sing the praises of the goddess, as is right. (5) On the third day in the temple of Apollo on the Palatine, twenty seven outstanding boys and as many girls, all of whom have two living parents, sing hymns and victory songs in both Greek and Latin for the preservation of the Roman empire.

There were other celebrations as well, in accordance with the gods' direction, and as long as they were all observed, the Roman empire remained intact. To convince us of the truth in these matters, I will add the Sibyl's oracle although others before me12 have already referred to it.

6. "When the longest span of human life has elapsed,
And the cycle of years comes round to one hundred and ten,
Remember Romans, especially if you are forgetful,
Remember all this, to the immortal gods
Sacrifice in the plain by the Tiber's boundless stream,
Where it is narrowest, when night comes over the earth,
And the sun hides its light. Sacrifice
To the all-engendering Fates, lambs and black she-goats.
Conciliate the Eleithuiai, who bring
Children to birth, at altars smoking with incense, as is proper.
To Earth sacrifice a pregnant black sow,
But let milky-white bulls be brought to Zeus' altar
By day, not at night. For to the heavenly deities
The way to sacrifice is in the day-time.
A young heifer with unblemished skin
Let Hera's temple receive from you. And Phoebus Apollo,
Also called Helios, should receive the same sacrifices,
Being Leta's son. Let Latin paeans
Sung by boys and girls fill the temple
Of the gods. Let the girls have their own separate chorus
And the boys stand apart, and each
Must have two living parents.
Let women subject to the bonds of marriage on that day
Kneel at the famous altar of Hera
And pray to the goddess. Purification will be given to all,
Both men and women, but especially to women.
Let everyone bring from their homes whatever is fit
To be brought by mortals offering first fruits
As propitiation to the infernal gods and the blessed gods
In heaven. Let everything be heaped up there,
In order that to provide for the men and women
Seated there you may be mindful. In the days
And nights that follow let the seats of the gods
Be thronged with people, and seriousness be mixed with laughter.
Remember these things, keep them always in mind,
And the whole land of Italy and the whole of Latium
Will wear a yoke fitting their necks beneath your sceptre."

7. Therefore, as the oracle truly says, while all this was observed according to direction, the Roman empire was safe and Rome remained in control of virtually all the inhabited world,13 but once this festival was neglected after Diocletian's abdication, the empire gradually collapsed and was imperceptibly barbarised.
Id., pp. 149-150:
1. This long digression on the ludi saeculares was apparently occasioned by Maximianus' plan to hold them in 303 (note history resumes in 305 in 8.1). It is commonly assumed that Zosimus' source here was someone like Phlegon who wrote a work in three books on Roman festivals — the oracle (chap. 6) appears in his Macrobioi (v. O. Keller, Rerum natural. script. gr. min., 1877, 57f) — or Verrius Flaccus through Phlegon. Sources for the secular games are the Augustan and Severan acta (CIL 6 32323, 32326-36), Horace, Carmen Saeculare, coins of Domitian (RIC 2.153), Censorinus, de die natali 17, Phlegon, Peri Makrobion (Jacoby FGH 2.257).

[....]

11. In the temples of the Capitoline triad and of Apollo, respectively.

12. v. note 1.

13. The oracle promises Rome rule only in Italy, but Zos. extends it to the whole world.

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