Friday, February 20, 2015


Zopyrus' Victims

Greek Anthology 11.124 (by Nicarchus; tr. W.R. Paton, with his notes):
A. Stranger, what dost thou seek to know? B. Who are here in earth under these tombs?
A. All those whom Zopyrus robbed of the sweet daylight,
Damis, Aristoteles, Demetrius, Arcesilaus,
Sostratus, and the next ones so far as Paraetonium.1
For with a wooden herald's staff and counterfeit sandals,2
like Hermes, he leads down his patients to Hell.

1 On the Egyptian coast a considerable distance west of Alexandria. The cemetery of Alexandria did not of course extend so far.
2 Attributes of Hermes Psychopompus; but there is some point here which eludes us.

α. ξεῖνε, τί μὰν πεύθῃ; β. τίνες ἐν χθονὶ τοῖσδ᾽ ὑπὸ τύμβοις;
    α. οὓς γλυκεροῦ φέγγους Ζώπυρος ἐστέρισεν,
Δᾶμις, Ἀριστοτέλης, Δημήτριος, Ἀρκεσίλαος,
    Σώστρατος, οἵ τ᾽ ὀπίσω μέχρι Παραιτονίου.
κηρύκιον γὰρ ἔχων ξύλινον, καὶ πλαστὰ πέδιλα,
    ὡς Ἑρμῆς, κατάγει τοὺς θεραπευομένους.
Zopyrus is of course a physician. The third line of the epigram is a hexameter consisting entirely of proper names in asyndeton. For similar lines see:

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