Friday, June 05, 2020

 

A Unique Gift

Paul, Letter to the Romans 12.6 (NIV):
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.
Historia Monachorum in Aegypto 20.12 (tr. Norman Russell):
We saw there a father called Didymus, a man of advanced years with a charming countenance. He used to kill scorpions, horned vipers and asps with his bare feet. Nobody else dared do this. Many others who thought they could do the same were killed by the creatures as soon as they touched them.

Εἴδομεν δὲ ἐκεῖ ἄνδρα ὀνόματι ∆ίδυμον, πρεσβύτην τῇ ἡλικίᾳ, ἀστεῖον τῇ ὁράσει, ὃς τοὺς σκορπίους καὶ κεράστας καὶ ἀσπίδας τοῖς τοῖς οἰκείοις ποσὶν ἀπέκτεννεν, μηδενὸς ἑτέρου τολμῶντος τοῦτο ποιεῖν· ἀλλὰ γὰρ καὶ πολλοὶ ἕτεροι τῶν δοκούντων ὑπ' αὐτῶν ἀνῃρέθησαν τῶν θηρίων μόνον ἁψάμενοι.

 

Why Are You Weeping?

Homer, Odyssey 8.577-586 (tr. E.V. Rieu):
Explain to us also what sorrow makes you weep as you listen to the tragic story of the Argives and the fall of Troy. The gods were responsible for that, weaving catastrophe into men's lives to make a song for future generations. Perhaps one of your kinsmen by marriage fell before Ilium, a brave man, your son-in-law possibly or your father-in-law, who are nearest after one's own flesh and blood? Or perhaps some true friend, a kindred spirit? For a friend with an understanding heart can be quite as dear as a brother.

εἰπὲ δ᾽ ὅ τι κλαίεις καὶ ὀδύρεαι ἔνδοθι θυμῷ
Ἀργείων Δαναῶν ἠδ᾽ Ἰλίου οἶτον ἀκούων.
τὸν δὲ θεοὶ μὲν τεῦξαν, ἐπεκλώσαντο δ᾽ ὄλεθρον
ἀνθρώποις, ἵνα ᾖσι καὶ ἐσσομένοισιν ἀοιδή.        580
ἦ τίς τοι καὶ πηὸς ἀπέφθιτο Ἰλιόθι πρὸ
ἐσθλὸς ἐών, γαμβρὸς ἢ πενθερός, οἵ τε μάλιστα
κήδιστοι τελέθουσι μεθ᾽ αἷμά τε καὶ γένος αὐτῶν;
ἦ τίς που καὶ ἑταῖρος ἀνὴρ κεχαρισμένα εἰδώς,
ἐσθλός; ἐπεὶ οὐ μέν τι κασιγνήτοιο χερείων        585
γίγνεται, ὅς κεν ἑταῖρος ἐὼν πεπνυμένα εἰδῇ.

 

Public Disorder

Thucydides 3.84.2-3 (tr. Rex Warner; "c. 84 damnaverunt grammatici apud Schol." according to Hude's Oxford Classical Text edition):
Then, with the ordinary conventions of civilized life thrown into confusion, human nature, always ready to offend even where laws exist, showed itself proudly in its true colours, as something incapable of controlling passion, insubordinate to the idea of justice, the enemy to anything superior to itself; for, if it had not been for the pernicious power of envy, men would not so have exalted vengeance above innocence and profit above justice. Indeed, it is true that in these acts of revenge on others men take it upon themselves to begin the process of repealing those general laws of humanity which are there to give a hope of salvation to all who are in distress, instead of leaving those laws in existence, remembering that there may come a time when they, too, will be in danger and will need their protection.

ξυνταραχθέντος τε τοῦ βίου ἐς τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον τῇ πόλει καὶ τῶν νόμων κρατήσασα ἡ ἀνθρωπεία φύσις, εἰωθυῖα καὶ παρὰ τοὺς νόμους ἀδικεῖν, ἀσμένη ἐδήλωσεν ἀκρατὴς μὲν ὀργῆς οὖσα, κρείσσων δὲ τοῦ δικαίου, πολεμία δὲ τοῦ προύχοντος. οὐ γὰρ ἂν τοῦ τε ὁσίου τὸ τιμωρεῖσθαι προυτίθεσαν τοῦ τε μὴ ἀδικεῖν τὸ κερδαίνειν, ἐν ᾧ μὴ βλάπτουσαν ἰσχὺν εἶχε τὸ φθονεῖν. ἀξιοῦσί τε τοὺς κοινοὺς περὶ τῶν τοιούτων οἱ ἄνθρωποι νόμους, ἀφ᾿ ὧν ἅπασιν ἐλπὶς ὑπόκειται σφαλεῖσι κἂν αὐτοὺς διασῴζεσθαι, ἐν ἄλλων τιμωρίαις προκαταλύειν καὶ μὴ ὑπολείπεσθαι, εἴ ποτε ἄρα τις κινδυνεύσας τινὸς δεήσεται αὐτῶν.
Richard Crawley's translation:
In the confusion into which life was now thrown in the cities, human nature, always rebelling against the law and now its master, gladly showed itself ungoverned in passion, above respect for justice, and the enemy of all superiority; since revenge would not have been set above religion, and gain above justice, had it not been for the fatal power of envy. Indeed men too often take upon themselves in the prosecution of their revenge to set the example of doing away with those general laws to which all alike can look for salvation in adversity, instead of allowing them to subsist against the day of danger when their aid may be required.
Latin translation by Friedrich Haase:
Atque quum perturbata esset id temporis vita omnis in illa urbe, et natura humana legum vim fregisset, quae solet vel praeter leges injuste facere, lubenter declaravit, se irae quidem impotentem, at jure potentiorem, omnisque ejus, quod emineret, hostem esse. Aliter enim profecto homines pietati vindictam non anteponerent, neque innocentiae quaestum, si quando non nocentem potentiam haberet invidia. Et volunt homines communes leges de talibus rebus latas, in quibus spes omnibus est reposita, si ipsi in calamitates aliquas inciderint, fore ut et ipsi conserventur, in vindicandis aliis ante evertere, nec relinquere, si quis forte in periculum adductus aliqua illarum indigeat.
See Matthew R. Christ, "The Authenticity of Thucydides 3.84," Transactions of the American Philological Association 119 (1989) 137-148, not mentioned by Simon Hornblower in his commentary.


 

The Most Necessary Things

Polybius 2.61.10 (tr. Robin Waterfield):
[A]nd finally, when against all the odds they were unexpectedly offered the opportunity to recover it [their land] intact, they preferred to sacrifice it, along with their tombs, sanctuaries, homeland, and possessions—in short, everything men hold most dear—rather than betray the pledge they had given their allies.

τὸ δὲ τελευταῖον, δοθείσης ἀνελπίστως καὶ παραδόξως αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίας ἀβλαβῆ ταύτην ἀπολαβεῖν, προείλαντο στέρεσθαι χώρας, τάφων, ἱερῶν, πατρίδος, τῶν ὑπαρχόντων, ἁπάντων συλλήβδην τῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἀναγκαιοτάτων χάριν τοῦ μὴ προδοῦναι τὴν πρὸς τοὺς συμμάχους πίστιν.
Territory, tombs, sanctuaries, homeland, possessions.

 

Advice

Apophthegmata Patrum, Matoes 11; (excerpt; tr. John Wortley):
If somebody speaks to you about any matter whatsoever, do not argue with him. If he speaks well, say, 'Yes.' If he speaks badly, say, 'You know what you are talking about,' and do not contend with him about what he says; then your mind will be at peace.

Καὶ ἐάν τις λαλήσῃ μετὰ σοῦ περὶ πράγματος οἱουδήποτε μὴ φιλονείκει μετ' αὐτοῦ, ἀλλ' ἐὰν καλῶς λέγει, εἰπέ· Ναί, ἐὰν δὲ κακῶς, εἰπέ· Σὺ οἶδας πῶς λαλεῖς, καὶ μὴ ἔριζε μετ' αὐτοῦ περὶ ὧν ἐλάλησεν. Καὶ τότε εἰρηνεύσει σου ὁ λογισμός.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

 

Worse Than Swift

James Boswell (1740-1795), The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (September 14, 1773):
Lady M'Leod asked, if no man was naturally good? JOHNSON. 'No, Madam, no more than a wolf.' BOSWELL. 'Nor no woman, Sir?' JOHNSON. 'No, Sir.' Lady M'Leod started at this, saying, in a low voice, 'This is worse than Swift.'

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

 

Prayer for Concord

Dio Chrysostom, Discourses 39.8 ("On Concord in Nicaea;" tr. H. Lamar Crosby):
Accordingly I pray to Dionysus the progenitor of this city, to Heracles its founder, to Zeus Guardian of Cities, to Athena, to Aphrodite Fosterer of Friendship, to Harmony, and Nemesis, and all the other gods, that from this day forth they may implant in this city a yearning for itself, a passionate love, a singleness of purpose, a unity of wish and thought; and, on the other hand, that they may cast out strife and contentiousness and jealousy, so that this city may be numbered among the most prosperous and the noblest for all time to come.

εὔχομαι δὴ τῷ τε Διονύσῳ τῷ προπάτορι τῆσδε τῆς πόλεως καὶ Ἡρακλεῖ τῷ κτίσαντι τήνδε τὴν πόλιν καὶ Διὶ Πολιεῖ καὶ Ἀθηνᾷ καὶ Ἀφροδίτῃ Φιλίᾳ καὶ Ὁμονοίᾳ καὶ Νεμέσει καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις θεοῖς ἀπὸ τῆσδε τῆς ἡμέρας τῇδε τῇ πόλει πόθον ἑαυτῆς ἐμβαλεῖν καὶ ἔρωτα καὶ μίαν γνώμην καὶ ταὐτὰ βούλεσθαι καὶ φρονεῖν, στάσιν δὲ καὶ ἔριδα καὶ φιλονικίαν ἐκβαλεῖν, ὡς ἂν ἐν ταῖς εὐδαιμονεστάταις καὶ ἀρίσταις ᾖ πόλεσι τὸ λοιπόν.

 

Country Gentlemen

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1869), The History of England from the Accession of James II, Chapter III:
It was very seldom that the country gentleman caught glimpses of the great world; and what he saw of it tended rather to confuse than to enlighten his understanding. His opinions respecting religion, government, foreign countries and former times, having been derived, not from study, from observation, or from conversation with enlightened companions, but from such traditions as were current in his own small circle, were the opinions of a child. He adhered to them, however, with the obstinacy which is generally found in ignorant men accustomed to be fed with flattery. His animosities were numerous and bitter. He hated Frenchmen and Italians, Scotchmen and Irishmen, Papists and Presbyterians, Independents and Baptists, Quakers and Jews. Towards London and Londoners he felt an aversion which more than once produced important political effects. His wife and daughter were in tastes and acquirements below a housekeeper or a stillroom maid of the present day. They stitched and spun, brewed gooseberry wine, cured marigolds, and made the crust for the venison pasty.

From this description it might be supposed that the English esquire of the seventeenth century did not materially differ from a rustic miller or alehouse keeper of our time. There are, however, some important parts of his character still to be noted, which will greatly modify this estimate. Unlettered as he was and unpolished, he was still in some most important points a gentleman. He was a member of a proud and powerful aristocracy, and was distinguished by many both of the good and of the bad qualities which belong to aristocrats. His family pride was beyond that of a Talbot or a Howard. He knew the genealogies and coats of arms of all his neighbours, and could tell which of them had assumed supporters without any right, and which of them were so unfortunate as to be great grandsons of aldermen. He was a magistrate, and, as such, administered gratuitously to those who dwelt around him a rude patriarchal justice, which, in spite of innumerable blunders and of occasional acts of tyranny, was yet better than no justice at all. He was an officer of the trainbands; and his military dignity, though it might move the mirth of gallants who had served a campaign in Flanders, raised his character in his own eyes and in the eyes of his neighbours. Nor indeed was his soldiership justly a subject of derision. In every county there were elderly gentlemen who had seen service which was no child's play. One had been knighted by Charles the First, after the battle of Edgehill. Another still wore a patch over the scar which he had received at Naseby. A third had defended his old house till Fairfax had blown in the door with a petard. The presence of these old Cavaliers, with their old swords and holsters, and with their old stories about Goring and Lunsford, gave to the musters of militia an earnest and warlike aspect which would otherwise have been wanting. Even those country gentlemen who were too young to have themselves exchanged blows with the cuirassiers of the Parliament had, from childhood, been surrounded by the traces of recent war, and fed with stories of the martial exploits of their fathers and uncles. Thus the character of the English esquire of the seventeenth century was compounded of two elements which we seldom or never find united. His ignorance and uncouthness, his low tastes and gross phrases, would, in our time, be considered as indicating a nature and a breeding thoroughly plebeian. Yet he was essentially a patrician, and had, in large measure both the virtues and the vices which flourish among men set from their birth in high place, and used to respect themselves and to be respected by others. It is not easy for a generation accustomed to find chivalrous sentiments only in company with liberal studies and polished manners to image to itself a man with the deportment, the vocabulary, and the accent of a carter, yet punctilious on matters of genealogy and precedence, and ready to risk his life rather than see a stain cast on the honour of his house. It is however only by thus joining together things seldom or never found together in our own experience, that we can form a just idea of that rustic aristocracy which constituted the main strength of the armies of Charles the First, and which long supported, with strange fidelity, the interest of his descendants.

The gross, uneducated, untravelled country gentleman was commonly a Tory; but, though devotedly attached to hereditary monarchy, he had no partiality for courtiers and ministers. He thought, not without reason, that Whitehall was filled with the most corrupt of mankind, and that of the great sums which the House of Commons had voted to the crown since the Restoration part had been embezzled by cunning politicians, and part squandered on buffoons and foreign courtesans. His stout English heart swelled with indignation at the thought that the government of his country should be subject to French dictation. Being himself generally an old Cavalier, or the son of an old Cavalier, he reflected with bitter resentment on the ingratitude with which the Stuarts had requited their best friends. Those who heard him grumble at the neglect with which he was treated, and at the profusion with which wealth was lavished on the bastards of Nell Gwynn and Madam Carwell, would have supposed him ripe for rebellion. But all this ill humour lasted only till the throne was really in danger. It was precisely when those whom the sovereign had loaded with wealth and honours shrank from his side that the country gentlemen, so surly and mutinous in the season of his prosperity, rallied round him in a body. Thus, after murmuring twenty years at the misgovernment of Charles the Second, they came to his rescue in his extremity, when his own Secretaries of State and the Lords of his own Treasury had deserted him, and enabled him to gain a complete victory over the opposition; nor can there be any doubt that they would have shown equal loyalty to his brother James, if James would, even at the last moment, have refrained from outraging their strongest feeling. For there was one institution, and one only, which they prized even more than hereditary monarchy; and that institution was the Church of England. Their love of the Church was not, indeed, the effect of study or meditation. Few among them could have given any reason, drawn from Scripture or ecclesiastical history, for adhering to her doctrines, her ritual, and her polity; nor were they, as a class, by any means strict observers of that code of morality which is common to all Christian sects. But the experience of many ages proves that men may be ready to fight to the death, and to persecute without pity, for a religion whose creed they do not understand, and whose precepts they habitually disobey.

 

Plea for Peace

Tacitus, Histories 3.81 (tr. Kenneth Wellesley):
Among these envoys was Musonius Rufus, a knight and a keen student of philosophy and the principles of Stoicism. Mixing with the troops in their companies, he now proceeded to lecture armed men about the benefits of peace and the dangers of war. Many of them laughed in his face, more still found him boring, and a few were even ready to knock him over and trample on him, but luckily the warnings of the most obedient men and the threats of the rest made him abandon his untimely moralizing.

miscuerat se legatis Musonius Rufus equestris ordinis, studium philosophiae et placita Stoicorum aemulatus; coeptabatque permixtus manipulis, bona pacis ac belli discrimina disserens, armatos monere. id plerisque ludibrio, pluribus taedio: nec deerant qui propellerent proculcarentque, ni admonitu modestissimi cuiusque et aliis minitantibus omisisset intempestivam sapientiam.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

 

The Bird That Fouls Its Nest

I don't have access to John G. Kunstmann, "The Bird That Fouls Its Nest," Southern Folklore Quarterly 3 (1939) 75–91, rpt. in Wolfgang Mieder and Alan Dundes, edd., The Wisdom of Many: Essays on the Proverb (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1994, ©1981), pp. 190–210, but the essay starts out thus:
As far as is known, the proverb, "It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest," was first recorded in Latin by Egbert von Lüttich in verse 148 of his Fecunda Ratis. There it reads: nidos commaculans immundus habebitur ales.
Nor do I have access to Egbert of Liège, The Well-Laden Ship, tr. Robert Gary Babcock (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013 = Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, 25), but I would translate the line as follows:
A bird fouling its nest will be considered unclean.
The reason for the accusative plural nidos is unclear to me, because the singular nidum would scan just as well, unless the meaning is that the bird does this repeatedly, fouling one nest after another.

The line occurs in Egbert von Lüttich, Fecunda Ratis, ed. Ernst Voigt (Halle a. S.: Max Niemeyer, 1889), p. 36, with the following note:


See also Friedrich Seiler, Deutsche Sprichwörterkunde (Munich: Beck, 1922), p. 91:


Hans Walther, Proverbia Sententiaeque Latinitatis Medii Aevi, 9 vols. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1963-1986), is unavailable to me.

One way birds do keep their nests clean is by means of fecal sacs. My son, Laudator Junior, has observed this, captured it on video, and commemorated it in rhyming quatrains addressed to an ornithologist friend.

 

Urns and Ashes

Aeschylus, Agamemnon 432-444 (tr. Richmond Lattimore):
Many are they who are touched at the heart by these things.
Those they sent forth they knew;
now, in place of the young men
urns and ashes are carried home
to the houses of the fighters.
The god of war, money changer of dead bodies,
held the balance of his spear in the fighting,
and from the corpse-fires at Ilium
sent to their dearest the dust
heavy and bitter with tears shed
packing smooth the urns with
ashes that once were men.

πολλὰ γοῦν θιγγάνει πρὸς ἧπαρ·
οὓς μὲν γάρ <τις> ἔπεμψεν
οἶδεν, ἀντὶ δὲ φωτῶν
τεύχη καὶ σποδὸς εἰς ἑκάσ-        435
του δόμους ἀφικνεῖται.
ὁ χρυσαμοιβὸς δ' Ἄρης σωμάτων
καὶ ταλαντοῦχος ἐν μάχῃ δορὸς
πυρωθὲν ἐξ Ἰλίου        440
φίλοισι πέμπει βαρὺ
ψῆγμα δυσδάκρυτον, ἀν-
τήνορος σποδοῦ γεμί-
ζων λέβητας εὐθέτους.


432 γοῦν codd.: δ' οὖν M.L. West
433 τις suppl. Porson
441 βαρὺ codd.: βραχὺ Schütz
444 εὐθέτους Auratus: εὐθέτου codd.
"Many are they who are touched at the heart by these things" is a bit misleading — πολλὰ is the subject of θιγγάνει, i.e. "many things touch," etc.

David Raeburn and Oliver Thomas, The Agamemnon of Aeschylus: A Commentary for Students (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 116-117:
432. γοῦν: the particle introduces a piece of evidence for the claims of the preceding statement (Denniston 451). There is certainly much cause for distress: an urn containing ashes is all that comes home from the war. θιγγάνει πρὸς ἧπαρ: 'touch right to the liver', i.e. cause bitter grief.

433–4. οὓς μὲν γάρ <τις> ἔπεμψεν οἶδεν: 'For people know those whom they sent out', but cannot recognize them when they return as ashes; (ἐκείνους) οὓς ἔπεμψεν is a relative clause, not an indirect question.

434–6. τεύχη 'urn' (LSJ s.v. II) is plural for singular. The practice of returning the ashes of Athenian soldiers killed in battle after their bodies had been cremated seems to have been introduced within the decade before the Oresteia; by contrast, in the Iliad (except for 7.332–8 and 16.678–83, the latter being quite exceptional) the warriors' bones are generally burnt in a common pyre, and the ashes buried at Troy. Besides this specific contemporary reference, the whole following passage would have resonated powerfully with Athenians who had suffered heavy casualties on multiple fronts in 460–59 BC (see Intro. § 2).

437–44. In a striking image, War is presented as a 'gold-trader of bodies, who carries his weighing-scales amid a spear-battle'. The idea modifies the scales of the Iliad in which the heroes' fates are weighed in order to indicate who will die (e.g. 22.209–13). Here Ares takes a corpse and offers in exchange a weight of πυρωθὲν ψῆγμα, 'refined gold-dust' in the terms of the metaphor and 'cremated ash' in actuality. This dust is βαρύ—simultaneously 'weighty' on Ares' scales and a 'heavy' burden to the dead man's relatives. The ash is ἀντήνωρ—a fair exchange for a man according to Ares' scales, yet quite the opposite in the eyes of the bereaved. In 444, read εὐθέτους to provide a more even distribution of adjectives among the nouns: 'loading easily-stowed urns with ash' (genitive after the idea 'fill').

 

A Wimp

Orosius 4 praef. 7-10 (tr. A.T. Fear):
7. In the same way, if someone were to get out of his soft bed in a comfortable bedroom one morning and, on going outside and seeing pools frozen over after an icy night and plants white with hoarfrost, exclaim, when confronted this unexpected sight, 'It's cold today', I would not think his attitude at all reprehensible, for he would be speaking as men normally do and with the common sense of these words.

8. But if he were to rush panic-stricken back to his bedroom, cover himself with his blankets or hide himself all the more deeply under the bed-clothes, shouting out that there had never been such cold as this not even in the Apennines when Hannibal was cut off by the snow and lost his elephants, horses, and most of his army,

9. I would not endure his talking such puerile drivel, but, indeed, would drag him from under his sheets, the evidence of his idleness, out into the crowd in a public place, and, having got him out of doors, show him the children playing in the frost, and because of it enjoying themselves and sweating.

10. In this way our wordy fuss-pot, corrupted by his delicate upbringing, would learn that his troubles came not from the violence of his times, but from his own idleness, and that, when we judge these matters, it is not that his ancestors endured a small amount of suffering, but rather that he is unable to endure even a small amount.



7. quemadmodum si quis e mollissimis stratis cubiculoque percommodo matutinus egrediens nocturno gelu lacunarum dorsa obriguisse herbasque incanuisse prospiceret et inopinato visu admonitus diceret 'frigus est hodie': hic mihi nequaquam reprehendendus videretur, quia vel communi usu vel proprio sensu locutus esset.

8. at si trepidus in cubiculum recurrens stratisque sese adoperiens vel magis abdens clamaret, tantum omnino frigus esse quantum nec in Appennino aliquando fuerit, cum Hannibal elephantos equos plurimamque exercitus sui partem nivibus clausus atque oppressus amisit:

9. hunc ego puerilibus licentiis nausiantem non modo dicentem ista non ferrem, sed etiam ab ipsis stratis, otii sui testibus, in populum publicumque protraherem, eique foras producto infantes in eo atque ex eo gelu ludentes iucundantes sudantesque monstrarem,

10. ut verbosa nugacitas delicatis vitiata nutrimentis non in tempore violentiam sed in se esse segnitiam doceretur et in conparatione rerum diiudicanda non maiores parva tolerasse sed se nec parva tolerare sufficere probaretur.

 

Runts

Livy 38.17.16 (tr. Evan T. Sage):
Do you believe that these are the same men that their fathers and their grandfathers were?

eosdemne hos creditis esse, qui patres eorum avique fuerunt?

 

Men Stir Up Strife Unopposed

The Admonitions of Ipuwer (Papyrus Leiden 344), VII, tr. Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol. I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975), p. 156, with note on p. 162:
Men stir up strife unopposed.
See, the land is tied up in gangs,
The coward is emboldened to seize his goods.17

17. I.e., to acquire goods for himself by robbing.

Monday, June 01, 2020

 

Oil and Vinegar

Aeschylus, Agamemnon 322-323 (tr. Alan H. Sommerstein):
If you pour vinegar and olive oil into the same vessel,
they'll keep apart and you'll call them very unfriendly.

ὄξος τ' ἄλειφά τ' ἐγχέας ταὐτῷ κύτει
διχοστατοῦντ' ἂν οὐ φίλω προσεννέποις.


ἐγχέας Canter: ἐκχέας codd.
φίλω Portus: φίλως codd.
Charles de Gaulle, quoted in Alain Peyrefitte, C'était de Gaulle, I: La France redevient la France (Paris: Gallimard, 1994), p. 65 (March 5, 1959; my translation):
Those who advocate integration have a hummingbird's brain, even if they are very learned. Try integrating oil and vinegar. Shake the bottle. After a while, they will separate again.

Ceux qui prônent l'intégration ont une cervelle de colibri, même s'ils sont très savants. Essayez d'intégrer de l'huile et du vinaigre. Agitez la bouteille. Au bout d'un moment, ils se sépareront de nouveau.

 

View From a Distance

Orosius 3.23.2 (tr. A.T. Fear):
I seem to look down on the tempestuous times of these men as if I were to look down by night on a vast camp from the top of a mountain, and see nothing on the expanse of that great plain but innumerable specks of fire.

quorum ego tumultuosissimum tempus ita mihi spectare videor, quasi aliqua immensa castra per noctem de specula montis adspectans, nihil in magno campi spatio praeter innumeros focos cernam.

 

A Miserable Medley of Tribes

Benjamin Isaac, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), pp. 397-398:
A remarkable piece of rhetoric is the speech which Tacitus attributes to Cn Piso, visiting Athens in A.D. 18. It is, of course, impossible to say whether Piso said anything like this, or whether Tacitus merely thought he might have spoken like that, which in itself would not diminish its significance. Piso was aggravated at Germanicus's courtesy towards Athens—"not the people of Athens, who indeed had been exterminated by repeated disasters, but a miserable medley of tribes."95 Here then an absolute distinction is made between historical Athens and the contemporary people of Athens which was but a medley, an "impure mixture" as the dictionary of Lewis and Short translates conluvies. Another point of interest in this passage: there is no doubt regarding the immediate association of this description for any Roman well read in Greek literature, and for Piso's Athenian audience. The old Athenians were autochthones, of pure lineage, but the city population in the first century was a mixture, a rabble of good-for-nothings.

95 Tacitus, Ann. 2.55: At Cn. Piso . . . civitatem Atheniensium turbido incessu exterritam oratione saeva increpat, oblique Germanicum perstringens, quod contra decus Romani nominis non Athenienses tot cladibus extinctios, sed conluviem illam nationum comitate nimia coluisset . . .
The quotation from Tacitus in n. 95 is faulty: For extinctios read extinctos. Here is an image of the footnote:

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Roman and Greek Historians Compared

Strabo 3.4.19 (tr. Horace Leonard Jones):
Now although the Roman historians are imitators of the Greeks, they do not carry their imitation very far; for what they relate they merely translate from the Greeks, while the fondness for knowledge that they of themselves bring to their histories is inconsiderable; hence, whenever the Greeks leave gaps, all the filling in that is done by the other set of writers is inconsiderable—especially since most of the very famous names are Greek.

οἱ δὲ τῶν Ῥωμαίων συγγραφεῖς μιμοῦνται μὲν τοὺς Ἕλληνας, ἀλλ᾿ οὐκ ἐπὶ πολύ· καὶ γὰρ ἃ λέγουσι παρὰ τῶν Ἑλλήνων μεταφέρουσιν, ἐξ ἑαυτῶν δ᾿ οὐ πολὺ μὲν προσφέρονται τὸ φιλείδημον, ὥσθ᾿, ὁπόταν ἔλλειψις γένηται παρ᾿ ἐκείνων, οὐκ ἔστι πολὺ τὸ ἀναπληρούμενον ὑπὸ τῶν ἑτέρων, ἄλλως τε καὶ τῶν ὀνομάτων, ὅσα ἐνδοξότατα, τῶν πλείστων ὄντων Ἑλληνικῶν.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

 

Disaster

Hesiod, Works and Days 242-243 (tr. M.L. West):
From heaven Kronos' son brings disaster upon them,
famine and with it plague, and the people waste away.

τοῖσιν δ' οὐρανόθεν μέγ' ἐπήγαγε πῆμα Κρονίων
λιμὸν ὁμοῦ καὶ λοιμόν· ἀποφθινύθουσι δὲ λαοί.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

 

Causes of Sedition

Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter X:
But the people of Alexandria, a various mixture of nations, united the vanity and inconstancy of the Greeks with the superstition and obstinacy of the Egyptians. The most trifling occasion, a transient scarcity of flesh or lentils, the neglect of an accustomed salutation, a mistake of precedency in the public baths, or even a religious dispute, were at any time sufficient to kindle a sedition among that vast multitude, whose resentments were furious and implacable.

 

Gods of the City

Aeschylus, Agamemnon 88-91 (tr. Herbert Weir Smyth, revised by me):
For all the gods protecting our city,
the gods above, the gods below,
the gods of the doors and of the marketplace,
have their altars ablaze with offerings...

πάντων δὲ θεῶν τῶν ἀστυνόμων,
ὑπάτων, χθονίων,
τῶν τε θυραίων τῶν τ' ἀγοραίων,        90
βωμοὶ δώροισι φλέγονται...


90 τε θυραίων Robert Enger: τ' οὐρανίων codd.

 

Inexhaustible

James Boswell (1740-1795), The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (August 31, 1773):
One day, when we were dining at General Oglethorpe's, where we had many a valuable day, I ventured to interrogate him, "But, sir, is it not somewhat singular that you should happen to have Cocker's Arithmetick about you on your journey? What made you buy such a book at Inverness?" — He gave me a very sufficient answer. "Why, sir, if you are to have but one book with you upon a Journey, let it be a book of science. When you have read through a book of entertainment, you know it, and it can do no more for you; but a book of science is inexhaustible."

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