Sunday, October 29, 2006


Walking on Water Again

Thanks to C.J. Canton, who supplements yesterday's post with two parallels from Lucian.

Lucian, A True Story 2.4 (tr. H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler):
After spending five days there we started again with a gentle breeze and a rippling sea. A few days later, when we had emerged from the milk into blue salt water, we saw numbers of men walking on the sea [ἐπὶ τοῦ πελάγους διαθέοντας]; they were like ourselves in shape and stature, with the one exception of the feet, which were of cork; whence, no doubt, their name of Corksoles [Φελλόποδες]. It struck us as curious that they did not sink in, but travelled quite comfortably clear of the water. Some of them came up and hailed us in Greek, saying that they were making their way to their native land of Cork. They ran alongside for some distance, and then turned off and went their own way, wishing us a pleasant voyage. A little further we saw several islands; close to us on the left was Cork, our friends' destination, consisting of a city founded on a vast round cork; at a greater distance, and a little to the right, were five others of considerable size and high out of the water, with great flames rising from them.
Lucian, The Lover of Lies 13 (tr. H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler):
'Ah, you will have your joke,' Cleodemus put in; 'I was an unbeliever myself once -- worse than you; in fact I considered it absolutely impossible to give credit to such things. I held out for a long time, but all my scruples were overcome the first time I saw the Flying Stranger; a Hyperborean, he was; I have his own word for it. There was no more to be said after that: there was he travelling through the air in broad daylight, walking on the water [ἐφ᾽ ὕδατος βαδίζοντα], or strolling through fire, perfectly at his ease!' 'What,' I exclaimed,' you saw this Hyperborean actually flying and walking on water [ἐπὶ τοῦ ὕδατος βεβηκότα]?' 'I did; he wore brogues [καρβατίνας], as the Hyperboreans usually do.'

Also, Javier Álvarez at Edad de Oro cites Vergil, Aeneid 7.803-811 (here in H. Rushton Fairclough's translation):
To crown the array comes Camilla, of Volscian race, leading her troop of horse, and squadrons gay with brass, — a warrior-maid, never having trained her woman's hands to Minerva's distaff or basket of wool, but hardy to bear the battle-brunt and in speed of foot to outstrip the winds. She might have flown o'er the topmost blades of unmown corn, nor in her course bruised the tender ears; or sped her way o'er mid sea, poised above the swelling wave, nor dipped her swift feet in the flood.

hos super advenit Volsca de gente Camilla
agmen agens equitum et florentis aere catervas,
bellatrix, non illa colo calathisve Minervae
femineas adsueta manus, sed proelia virgo
dura pati cursuque pedum praevertere ventos.
illa vel intactae segetis per summa volaret
gramina nec teneras cursu laesisset aristas,
vel mare per medium fluctu suspensa tumenti
ferret iter celeris nec tingeret aequore plantas.

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