Wednesday, December 01, 2021


My Scraps and Rags of Greek

John Jay Chapman, letter to Leonard L. Mackall (January 20, 1924), in "A Sampling of Letters and Obiter Dicta," Arion 2.2/3 (Spring, 1992 - Fall, 1993) 33-65 (at 42-43):
I shall let these heathen rage furiously and imagine a vain thing, and meantime I have been keeping up my scraps and rags of Greek — which I have on ice for the last stage of slippered pantaloon. The consolation is that nobody knows Greek. Those who devote their entire time to it have a further insight — no doubt than the triflers like myself. But they get entrapped in grammatical and psychological questions. It's a grand fairy land. Homer is the easiest — and yet you will find that no one knows the exact meaning of any word in Homer — e.g., Here's a word that means either "very early in the morning" or else "raise high in air." So all the words — and most picturesque they are — describing effects of light or sound mean — darkly gleaming, or brightly blazing, a flame or a spark — or O hang it — something about fire and brightness — plain enough. They are only explained by each other — and occur nowhere else than in Homer, so you must read the whole Iliad for a hint on any one of them. So of the word expressing irritation, wrath, rage, annoyance. It's perfectly plain that some fellow is displeased — but just to what extent nobody knows. That's the charm of Homer. The classic Greeks didn't understand exactly and often made up sham Homeric words to suit the text (as they thought). But I get more out of him every time I read — the fluency and enormousness being the main point and in the later cantos the tragic glory. I don't want to let go of it, and whenever there's a lull in my occupations or I feel désoeuvré, I plunge for a week or a day....
Psalms 2.1 (KJV):
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
William Shakespeare, As You Like It 2.7.157-158:
The sixth age shifts / Into the lean and slippered pantaloon...
Greek ἠέριος = with early morn, or high in air.


This Dear, Dear Land

William Shakespeare, Richard II, Act II, Scene 1, lines 57-60:
This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out — I die pronouncing it —
Like to a tenement or pelting farm.
pelting = paltry, petty


The Buzzard and the Hawk

A fable by John of Schepey, in Ben Edwin Perry, Babrius and Phaedrus (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965), pp. 562-563 (Appendix, number 644):
A buzzard put one of her eggs in a hawk's nest, and the hawk hatched it and nursed the buzzard chick along with her own brood. The hawk's nestlings cast their excrements outside the nest, but the buzzard's chick befouled it. On seeing this, the hawk asked, "Which one of you is it that befouls the nest like this?" And they all answered, "Not I." Finally, after further investigation, the hawk's young ones found it necessary, in self defence, to reveal the truth, and they said, pointing to the young buzzard, "It's that one with the big head." On learning this, the hawk in great indignation seized the young buzzard by the head and threw him out of the nest, saying, " I managed to bring you up from the egg, but I couldn't get you beyond your nature." For, as Horace says, Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.—TMI Q432.1.
TMI = Stith Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature.

I don't have access to Perry's Aesopica, but I found the original in Léopold Hervieux, Les fabulistes latins, IV: Études de Cheriton et ses dérivés (Paris: Didot, 1896), pp. 437-438:
Busardus proiecit in nidum Accipitris ouum suum. Accipiter autem, credens ouum suum esse, cubauit super illud una cum ouis suis, et creatus (est) inde pullus quem nutriuit Accipiter tanquam suum. Pulli vero Accipitris proiecerunt fimum suum extra nidum; pullus maculauit nidum. Quod aduertens, Accipiter ait: Quis vestrum est qui sic maculat nidum suum? Et omnes dixerunt: Non ego, domine. Tandem facta pleniori inquisicione, oportebat eos pro sui liberacione prodere veritatem, et dixerunt: Domine, iste est cum magno capite, ostenso filio Busardi. Quem Accipiter, cum magna indignacione, per capud arripiens, proiecit extra nidum, dicens: De ouo te produxi; extra naturam non potui.

Quia, vt dicit Oratius (1):
Naturam expellas furta (sic); tamen vsque recurret.
(1) Ép., I, x, 24.
De nobis fabula.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021


Gone to Pot

John Jay Chapman, letter to Robert and Nora Nichols (December 23, 1925), in "A Sampling of Letters and Obiter Dicta," Arion 2.2/3 (Spring, 1992 - Fall, 1993) 33-65 (at 43):
It looks on all the surfaces as if the intellect of this country had gone to pot through the operation of the natural laws of wealth and prosperity — (and one sees no end or limit to them). I read Horace all the time and see much likeness between the luxury, riot, and folly that went on in the proconsular era, and our own epoch, but nothing of the blaze of intellect that accompanied the breakdown of the old Roman institutions and left behind it a shelf of books.
Hat tip: Isaac Waisberg.



Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow, The Story of French (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2006), pp. 65-66:
Malherbe was quite possibly the biggest and most brazen language snob the world has ever seen. Biographers describe him as a fretful fault-finder who spent his life attacking, both verbally and in writing, every mistake—or what he regarded as mistakes—he could find and anyone who made one. He wanted to banish the word vent (wind) because it was a synonym for fart, and pouls (pulse) because it sounded like pou (louse). He feared no one, and even reproached King Henri's son, the future Louis XIII, for signing his name as "Loys" rather than "Louys," an inconsistency that many courtiers would not have dared point out had they noticed it. Malherbe hated regionalisms to the point that, when asked whether the best word for "spent" was dépensé or dépendu, he replied that the former was more French, because pendu (which also means "hanged") sounded like Gascon, a dialect of southern France. Malherbe once refused to be treated by a certain Doctor Guénebeau because "his name sounded like a dog's name." On his deathbed he was still correcting the language of the woman who was looking after him.
Id., p. 81:
Although the French Academy is almost always presented as Richelieu's brainchild, Conrart and his friends actually drafted its charter on their own. True to the spirit of Malherbe, they defined its purpose as "nettoyer la langue des ordures qu'elle avait contractées, ou dans la bouche du peuple, ou dans la foule du palais et dans les impuretés de la chicane, ou par le mauvais usage des courtisans" ("to clean the language of all the filth it has caught, either from the mouth of the people or in the crowd of the court and tribunal or in the bad speech of ignorant courtiers").

Monday, November 29, 2021


Sympathy for the Dead

Adam Smith (1723-1790), The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. Knud Haakonssen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 16:
We sympathize even with the dead, and overlooking what is of real importance in their situation, that awful futurity which awaits them, we are chiefly affected by those circumstances which strike our senses, but can have no influence upon their happiness. It is miserable, we think, to be deprived of the light of the sun; to be shut out from life and conversation; to be laid in the cold grave, a prey to corruption and the reptiles of the earth; to be no more thought of in this world, but to be obliterated, in a little time, from the affections, and almost from the memory, of their dearest friends and relations. Surely, we imagine, we can never feel too much for those who have suffered so dreadful a calamity. The tribute of our fellow-feeling seems doubly due to them now, when they are in danger of being forgot by every body; and, by the vain honours which we pay to their memory, we endeavour, for our own misery, artificially to keep alive our melancholy remembrance of their misfortune. That our sympathy can afford them no consolation seems to be an addition to their calamity; and to think that all we can do is unavailing, and that, what alleviates all other distress, the regret, the love, and the lamentations of their friends, can yield no comfort to them, serves only to exasperate our sense of their misery.



Cicero, In Defence of Cluentius 14.41 (tr. H. Grose Hodge):
No one thought that it was decent to call upon him, to meet him in society, to converse with him, or to ask him to dinner. Everyone shrank from him, everyone loathed him, everyone avoided him as a savage and dangerous brute, a very scourge.

nemo illum aditu, nemo congressione, nemo sermone, nemo convivio dignum iudicabat; omnes aspernabantur, omnes abhorrebant, omnes ut aliquam immanem ac perniciosam bestiam pestemque fugiebant.

Sunday, November 28, 2021



Robert A. Kaster, The Appian Way: Ghost Road, Queen of Roads (2012; rpt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), pp. 37-38:
The first Licinius to be called Crassus was evidently chubby, for that is what crassus means: like so many of the nicknames that the Romans liked to hang on each other—and keep!—it picks out an unflattering physical trait.
Related posts:


Vowel Man

Hans Dieter Betz, ed., The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 18 (III.170-174):


The Ultimate in False Values

Bryan Magee (1930-2019), The Tristan Chord: Wagner and Philosophy (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000), p. 357:
No one who experiences Wagner's art as some of the very greatest that there is could possibly choose to dissociate himself from it on the ground that its creator was a social bigot. Only someone to whom the art itself did not mean all that much could react in such a way — the sort of people who deny Rudyard Kipling's genius because he was an old-fashioned imperialist, or who deny the transcendent quality of Evelyn Waugh's prose because he was a snob, or who refuse to attend superb performances of great operas in places like Salzburg and Glyndebourne because they have strong feelings of class prejudice against other members of the audience. Such people often congratulate themselves on their social awareness, but their attitude represents the ultimate in false values.



Homer, Iliad 18.115-116 = 22.365-366 (tr. Richmond Lattimore):
Then I will accept my own death, at whatever
time Zeus wishes to bring it about, and the other immortals.

         κῆρα δ᾽ ἐγὼ τότε δέξομαι ὁππότε κεν δὴ
Ζεὺς ἐθέλῃ τελέσαι ἠδ᾽ ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι.

Saturday, November 27, 2021


Mountebanks, Quacksalvers, Empiricks

Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, Part. 2, Sect. 1, Memb. IV, Subsect. I:
It is not therefore to be doubted, that if we seek a physician as we ought, we may be eased of our infirmities — such a one, I mean, as is sufficient, and worthily so called; for there be many mountebanks, quacksalvers, empiricks, in every street almost, and in every village, that take upon them this name, make this noble and profitable art to be evil spoken of and contemned, by reason of these base and illiterate artificers: but such a physician I speak of, as is approved, learned, skilful, honest...


A Bad Mind and a Bad Death

Sarah Veale, "Defixiones and the Temple Locus: The Power of Place in the Curse Tablets at Mainz," Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 12.3 (Winter 2017) 279-313 (at 288, translation of Defixionum Tabellae Mogontiacenses #5):
Blessed and good lord Attis, be present, come angrily to Liberalus. I ask you through all things, lord, by your [gods] Castor and Pollux, by the innermost boxes, that you give him a bad mind and a bad death. As long as his life may exist, may he see himself die in his entire body before his eyes. // Let him not be able to redeem himself with any money, nor any deed, nor by you, nor by another god unless he dies badly. Do this, I ask you by your power.
Liberalus in Veale's translation is a mistake for Liberalis. Thanks to Kenneth Haynes for pointing this out.

Cf. the translation by Stuart McKie in his PhD thesis The Social Significance of Curse Tablets in the North-Western Provinces of the Roman Empire (The Open University, 2017), p. 554:
Good holy Att(h)is, Lord, help (me), come to Liberalis in anger. I ask you by everything, Lord, by your Castor (and) Pollux, by the boxes of the sanctuary, give him a bad mind, a bad death, so long as he lives, so he may see himself dying all over his body, except the eyes // and that he cannot redeem himself with money or anything else, neither from you nor from some other god, except with a bad death. Grant this, I ask you by your majesty.
The Latin (Veale, p. 310, simplified by the omission of line breaks and numbers):
Bone sancte Atthis Tyranne, adsi(s), aduenias Liberali iratus. Per omnia te rogo, domine, per tuum Castorem, Pollucem, per cistas penetrales, des ei malam mentem, malum exitum, quandius uita uixerit, ut omni corpore uideat se emori praeter oculos // neque se possit redimere nulla pe{r}cunia nullaque re neq(ue) abs te neque ab ullo deo nisi ut exitum malum. Hoc praesta, rogo te per maiestatem tuam.
quandius = quamdiu.

On this curse tablet see Jürgen Blänsdorf, "The Defixiones from the Sanctuary of Isis and Magna Mater in Mainz," in Richard L. Gordon and Francisco Marco Simón, edd., Magical Practice in the Latin West: Papers from the International Conference held at the University of Zaragoza, 30 Sept.-1 Oct. 2005 (Leiden: Brill, 2010), pp. 141–189 (at 147-150, 166-168).



Rancid Oil

Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human II and Unpublished Fragments from the Period of Human, All Too Human II (Spring 1878-Fall 1879), tr. Gary Handwerk (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013), p. 397 (Notebook 41[32], July 1879):
The comforting remedies of Christianity will soon be an antiquity; an oil that has begun to stink. Then the comforting remedies of classical philosophy step forth once again, newly shining — and our new kind of comforting remedies is added, the historical kind.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Nachgelassene Fragmente 1875-1879, edd. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1988 = Kritische Studienausgabe, Bd. 8), p. 588:
Die Trostmittel des Christenthums sind bald eine Antiquität; ein Oel, das sich verrochen hat. Dann treten die Trostmittel der antiken Philosophie wieder hervor, in neuem Glanze — und unsere neue Trostmittelgattung kommt hinzu, die historische.

Friday, November 26, 2021


Agriculture, Mother and Nurse of the Other Arts

Xenophon, Oeconomicus 5.1-17 (tr. E.C. Marchant):
[1] "Now I tell you this," continued Socrates, "because even the wealthiest cannot hold aloof from husbandry. For the pursuit of it is in some sense a luxury as well as a means of increasing one's estate and of training the body in all that a free man should be able to do. [2] For, in the first place, the earth yields to cultivators the food by which men live; she yields besides the luxuries they enjoy. [3] Secondly, she supplies all the things with which they decorate altars and statues and themselves, along with most pleasant sights and scents. Thirdly, she produces or feeds the ingredients of many delicate dishes; for the art of breeding stock is closely linked with husbandry; so that men have victims for propitiating the gods with sacrifice and cattle for their own use. [4] And though she supplies good things in abundance, she suffers them not to be won without toil, but accustoms men to endure winter's cold and summer's heat. She gives increased strength through exercise to the men that labour with their own hands, and hardens the overseers of the work by rousing them early and forcing them to move about briskly. For on a farm no less than in a town the most important operations have their fixed times. [5] Again, if a man wants to serve in the cavalry, farming is his most efficient partner in furnishing keep for his horse; if on foot, it makes his body brisk. And the land helps in some measure to arouse a liking for the toil of hunting, since it affords facilities for keeping hounds and at the same time supplies food for the wild game thay preys on the land. [6] And if husbandry benefits horses and hounds, they benefit the farm no less, the horses by carrying the overseer early to the scene of his duties and enabling him to leave it late, the hounds by keeping the wild animals from injuring crops and sheep, and by helping to give safety to solitude. [7] The land also stimulates armed protection of the country on the part of the husbandmen, by nourishing her crops in the open for the strongest to take. [8] And what art produces better runners, throwers and jumpers than husbandry? What art rewards the labourer more generously? What art welcomes her follower more gladly, inviting him to come and take whatever he wants? What art entertains strangers more generously? [9] Where is there greater facility for passing the winter comforted by generous fire and warm baths, than on a farm? Where is it pleasanter to spend the summer enjoying the cool waters and breezes and shade, than in the country? [10] What other art yields more seemly first-fruits for the gods, or gives occasion for more crowded festivals? What art is dearer to servants, or pleasanter to a wife, or more delightful to children, or more agreeable to friends? [11] To me indeed it seems strange, if any free man has come by a possession pleasanter than this, or has found out an occupation pleasanter than this or more useful for winning a livelihood.

[12] "Yet again, the earth willingly teaches righteousness to those who can learn; for the better she is served, the more good things she gives in return. [13] And if haply those who are occupied in farming, and 13 are receiving a rigorous and manly teaching, are forced at any time to quit their lands by great armies, they, as men well-found in mind and in body, can enter the country of those who hinder them, and take sufficient for their support. Often in time of war it is safer to go armed in search of food than to gather it with farming implements.

[14] Moreover, husbandry helps to train men for corporate effort. For men are essential to an expedition against an enemy, and the cultivation of the soil demands the aid of men. [15] Therefore nobody can be a good farmer unless he makes his labourers both eager and obedient; and the captain who leads men against an enemy must contrive to secure the same results by rewarding those who act as brave men should act and punishing the disobedient. [16] And it is no less necessary for a farmer to encourage his labourers often, than for a general to encourage his men. And slaves need the stimulus of good hopes no less, nay, even more than free men, to make them steadfast. [17] It has been nobly said that husbandry is the mother and nurse of the other arts. For when husbandry flourishes, all the other arts are in good fettle; but whenever the land is compelled to lie waste, the other arts of landsmen and mariners alike well-nigh perish."

[1] ταῦτα δέ, ὦ Κριτόβουλε, ἐγὼ διηγοῦμαι, ἔφη ὁ Σωκράτης, ὅτι τῆς γεωργίας οὐδ᾿ οἱ πάνυ μακάριοι δύνανται ἀπέχεσθαι. ἔοικε γὰρ ἡ ἐπιμέλεια αὐτῆς εἶναι ἅμα τε ἡδυπάθειά τις καὶ οἴκου αὔξησις καὶ σωμάτων ἄσκησις εἰς τὸ δύνασθαι ὅσα ἀνδρὶ ἐλευθέρῳ προσήκει. [2] πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ ἀφ᾿ ὧν ζώσιν οἱ ἄνθρωποι, ταῦτα ἡ γῆ φέρει ἐργαζομένοις, καὶ ἀφ᾿ ὧν τοίνυν ἡδυπαθοῦσι προσεπιφέρει· [3] ἔπειτα δὲ ὅσοις κοσμοῦσι βωμοὺς καὶ ἀγάλματα καὶ οἷς αὐτοὶ κοσμοῦνται, καὶ ταῦτα μετὰ ἡδίστων ὀσμῶν καὶ θεαμάτων παρέχει· ἔπειτα δὲ ὄψα πολλὰ τὰ μὲν φύει, τὰ δὲ τρέφει· καὶ γὰρ ἡ προβατευτικὴ τέχνη συνῆπται τῇ γεωργίᾳ, ὥστε ἔχειν καὶ θεοὺς ἐξαρέσκεσθαι θύοντας καὶ αὐτοὺς χρῆσθαι. [4] παρέχουσα δ᾿ ἀφθονώτατα τἀγαθὰ οὐκ ἐᾷ ταῦτα μετὰ μαλακίας λαμβάνειν, ἀλλὰ ψύχη τε χειμῶνος καὶ θάλπη θέρους ἐθίζει καρτερεῖν. καὶ τοὺς μὲν αὐτουργοὺς διὰ τῶν χειρῶν γυμνάζουσα ἰσχὺν αὐτοῖς προστίθησι, τοῦς δὲ τῇ ἐπιμελείᾳ γεωργοῦντας ἀνδρίζει πρωί τε ἐγείρουσα καὶ πορεύεσθαι σφοδρῶς ἀναγκάζουσα. καὶ γὰρ ἐν τῷ χώρῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ ἄστει ἀεὶ ἐν ὥρᾳ αἱ ἐπικαιριώταται πράξεις εἰσίν. [5] ἔπειτα ἤν τε σὺν ἵππῳ ἀρήγειν τις τῇ πόλει βούληται, τὸν ἵππον ἱκανωτάτη ἡ γεωργία συντρέφειν, ἤν τε πεζῇ, σφοδρὸν τὸ σῶμα παρέχει· θήραις τε ἐπιφιλοπονεῖσθαι συνεπαίρει τι ἡ γῆ καὶ κυσὶν εὐπέτειαν τροφῆς παρέχουσα καὶ θηρία συμπαρατρέφουσα. [6] ὠφελούμενοι δὲ καὶ οἱ ἵπποι καὶ αἱ κύνες ἀπὸ τῆς γεωργίας ἀντωφελοῦσι τὸν χῶρον, ὁ μὲν ἵππος πρωί τε κομίζων τὸν κηδόμενον εἰς τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν καὶ ἐξουσίαν παρέχων ὀψὲ ἀπιέναι, αἰ δὲ κύνες τά τε θηρία ἀπερύκουσαι ἀπὸ λύμης καρπῶν καὶ προβάτων καὶ τῇ ἐρημίᾳ τὴν ἀσφάλειαν συμπαρέχουσαι. [7] παρορμᾷ δέ τι καὶ εἰς τὸ ἀρήγειν σὺν ὅπλοις τῇ χώρᾳ καὶ ἡ γῆ τοὺς γεωργοὺς ἐν τῷ μέσῳ τοὺς καρποὺς τρέφουσα τῷ κρατοῦντι λαμβάνειν. [8] καὶ δραμεῖν δὲ καὶ βαλεῖν καὶ πηδῆσαι τίς ἱκανωτέρους τέχνη γεωργίας παρέχεται; τίς δὲ τοῖς ἐργαζομένοις πλείω τέχνη ἀντιχαρίζεται; τίς δὲ ἥδιον τὸν ἐπιμελόμενον δέχεται, προτείνουσα προσιόντι λαβεῖν ὅ τι χρῄζει; τίς δὲ ξένους ἀφθονώτερον δέχεται; [9] χειμάσαι δὲ πυρὶ ἀφθόνῳ καὶ θερμοῖς λουτροῖς ποῦ πλείων εὐμάρεια ἢ ἐν χώρῳ τῳ; ποῦ δὲ ἥδιον θερίσαι ὕδασί τε καὶ πνεύμασι καὶ σκιαῖς ἢ κατ᾿ ἀγρόν; [10] τίς δὲ ἄλλη θεοῖς ἀπαρχὰς πρεπωδεστέρας παρέχει ἢ ἑορτὰς πληρεστέρας ἀποδεικνύει; τίς δὲ οἰκέταις προσφιλεστέρα ἢ γυναικὶ ἡδίων ἢ τέκνοις ποθεινοτέρα ἢ φίλοις εὐχαριστοτέρα; [11] ἐμοὶ μὲν θαυμαστὸν δοκεῖ εἶναι, εἴ τις ἐλεύθερος ἄνθρωπος ἢ κτῆμά τι τούτου ἥδιον κέκτηται ἢ ἐπιμέλειαν ἡδίω τινὰ ταύτης εὕρηκεν ἢ ὠφελιμωτέραν εἰς τὸν βίον.

[12] ἔτι δὲ ἡ γῆ θεὸς οὖσα τοὺς δυναμένους καταμανθάνειν καὶ δικαιοσύνην διδάσκει· τοὺς γὰρ ἄριστα θεραπεύοντας αὐτὴν πλεῖστα ἀγαθὰ ἀντιποιεῖ. [13] ἐὰν δ᾿ ἄρα καὶ ὑπὸ πλήθους ποτὲ στρατευμάτων τῶν ἔργων στερηθῶσιν οἱ ἐν τῇ γεωργίᾳ ἀναστρεφόμενοι καὶ σφοδρῶς καὶ ἀνδρικῶς παιδευόμενοι, οὗτοι εὖ παρεσκευασμένοι καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς καὶ τὰ σώματα, ἢν μὴ θεὸς ἀποκωλύῃ, δύνανται ἰόντες εἰς τὰς τῶν ἀποκωλυόντων λαμβάνειν ἀφ᾿ ὧν θρέψονται. πολλάκις δ᾿ ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ καὶ ἀσφαλέστερόν ἐστι σὺν τοῖς ὅπλοις τὴν τροφὴν μαστεύειν ἢ σὺν τοῖς γεωργικοῖς ὀργάνοις.

[14] συμπαιδεύει δὲ καὶ εἰς τὸ ἐπαρκεῖν ἀλλήλοις ἡ γεωργία. ἐπί τε γὰρ τοὺς πολεμίους σὺν ἀνθρώποις δεῖ ἰέναι τῆς τε γῆς σὺν ἀνθρώποις ἐστὶν ἡ ἐργασία. [15] τὸν οὖν μέλλοντα εὖ γεωργήσειν δεῖ τοὺς ἐργαστῆρας καὶ προθύμους παρασκευάζειν καὶ πείθεσθαι θέλοντας· τὸν δὲ ἐπὶ πολεμίους ἄγοντα ταὐτὰ δεῖ μηχανᾶσθαι δωρούμενόν τε τοῖς ποιοῦσιν ἃ δεῖ ποιεῖν τοὺς ἀγαθοὺς καὶ κολάζοντα τοὺς ἀτακτοῦντας. [16] καὶ παρακελεύεσθαι δὲ πολλάκις οὐδὲν ἧττον δεῖ τοῖς ἐργάταις τὸν γεωργὸν ἢ τὸν στρατηγὸν τοῖς στρατιώταις· καὶ ἐλπίδων δὲ ἀγαθῶν οὐδὲν ἧττον οἱ δοῦλοι τῶν ἐλευθέρων δέονται, ἀλλὰ καὶ μᾶλλον, ὅπως μένειν ἐθέλωσι. [17] καλῶς δὲ κἀκεῖνος εἶπεν, ὃς ἔφη τὴν γεωργίαν τῶν ἄλλων τεχνῶν μητέρα καὶ τροφὸν εἶναι. εὖ μὲν γὰρ φερομένης τῆς γεωργίας ἔρρωνται καὶ αἱ ἄλλαι τέχναι ἅπασαι, ὅπου δ᾿ ἂν ἀναγκασθῇ ἡ γῆ χερσεύειν, ἀποσβέννυνται καὶ αἱ ἄλλαι τέχναι σχεδόν τι καὶ κατὰ γῆν καὶ κατὰ θάλατταν.
Marchant didn't translate the vocative ὦ Κριτόβουλε in section 1.

Sarah B. Pomeroy ad loc.:
Because agriculture was fundamental to Greek life, it is often mentioned in poetry and is the focus of Hesiod's Works and Days. However, it appears that c. v is the earliest extensive eulogy of rural life in Greek prose. Xenophon's perspective on farming differs from Hesiod's pessimistic view: in the Works and Days the earth does not easily relinquish her produce and the farmer must warily watch the celestial signs lest all his work be destroyed. Furthermore, human justice does not flourish in the country any more than it does in an urban environment. Only in the Golden Age (WD 116-20) before the introduction of agricultural labour was the earth generous with her gifts. In contrast, Xenophon's view is that of an aristocrat who, like the Persian king in c. iv, works only when he so chooses, and who expects to reap a reward from the land and to enjoy himself while doing so. Xenophon was not alone in considering farming as the basis of the economy and the source of virtue for men.120 In c. v agriculture is praised for providing pleasure, profit, opportunities for piety, and a proper training for free men. The images of domestic comfort and happiness in c. v prefigure the description of the household of Ischomachus and his wife in cc. vii-x.

The abundance and generosity of nature is reflected in the richness of Xenophon's prose. The rhetorical structure is Gorgianic, employed so lavishly as to create a 'purple patch'. (For another see on viii. 8 and see further Ch. 2.) For example, note the parallel arrangement and rhyme in § 1 αὔξησις ... ἄσκησις; isocola in § 6; personification of Earth, and the series of rhetorical questions, in §§ 8-11. Many of Xenophon's statements became topoi in later adaptations of the theme.121 Xenophon sets forth the subjects of the eulogy principally in dualities that are sometimes repeated:
pleasure and utility (1, 2, 11)
sight and smell (3)
gods and men (3, 10)
nature and nurture (4)
animal husbandry and agriculture (3, 6)
winter and summer (4, 9)
country and city (4)
war and peace (5).
Within this conventional thought-pattern expressed in traditional rhetorical language reiterating the pleasures of country life, Xenophon intrudes references to war (5, 7, 13-16) that shatter the idyll. The family farm must be defended: the value of the land and its products makes it attractive to the enemy.

120 See further Ch. 5 and K.J. Dover, Greek Popular Morality, 114.

121 For rural encomia, most of which were written in Latin, see H. Kier, De Laudibus Vitae Rusticae ( diss. Marburg, 1933).

Thursday, November 25, 2021


Orderliness and Its Opposite

Hesiod, Works and Days 471-472 (tr. M.L. West):
Good order is best for mortal men, and bad order is worst.

                                          ἐυθημοσύνη γὰρ ἀρίστη
θνητοῖς ἀνθρώποις, κακοθημοσύνη δὲ κακίστη.
κακοθημοσύνη is a hapax legomenon. Homer has ὑποθημοσύνη = advice, counsel, warning. The nouns all come from τίθημι.



Plutarch, Sayings of Kings and Commanders: Hegesippus (Moralia 187 E; tr. Frank Cole Babbitt, with his note):
Hegesippus, nicknamed 'Topknot,'c in a public address was inciting the Athenians against Philip, when someone in the Assembly commented audibly, "You are bringing on war." "Yes, by Heaven, I am," said he, "and black clothes and public funerals and orations over the graves of the dead, if we intend to live as free men, and not to do what is enjoined upon us by the Macedonians."

c Because of his affectation in wearing his hair in a knot on the top of his head, in the very old-fashioned manner. Aeschines the orator regularly uses this name in speaking of him. For the "crobylus" see F. Studniczka, in the Appendix to Classen's edition of Thucydides, i. 6. 3.

Ἡγησίππου τοῦ Κρωβύλου προσαγορευομένου παροξύνοντος τοὺς Ἀθηναίους ἐπὶ Φίλιππον, ὑπεφώνησέ τις ἐκ τῆς ἐκκλησίας, "πόλεμον εἰσηγῇ;" "ναὶ μὰ Δία," εἶπε, "καὶ μέλανα ἱμάτια καὶ δημοσίας ἐκφορὰς καὶ λόγους ἐπιταφίους, εἰ μέλλομεν ἐλεύθεροι βιώσεσθαι καὶ μὴ ποιήσειν τὸ προσταττόμενον Μακεδόσι."
Babbitt's reference is to Franz Studniczka, "Die altattische Haartracht," in Thukydides erklärt von J. Classen. Erster Band. Einleitung. Erstes Buch. Vierte Auflage bearbeitet von J. Steup (Berlin: Weidmann, 1897), pp. 330-340. See also Franz Studniczka, "Krobylos und Tettiges: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der altgriechischen Tracht," Jahrbuch des Kaiserlich Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 11 (1896) 248-291.

Hegesippus was a war hawk, an acerrimus belli concitator (Tacitus, Histories 3.2, of Antonius Primus).


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