Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Epitaph of Hecataeus

Corpus Inscriptionum Regni Bosporani 121 (1st century B.C., from ancient Panticapaeum = modern Kerch), tr. E. Bikerman, "The Orphic Blessing," Journal of the Warburg Institute, 2.4 (April, 1939) 368-374 (at 373):
Thou hast won the reputation of wisdom not by words but by the manner of thy life. Thou hast mastered the holy principles without assistance of any man. So sleep quietly, Hekataios, carried off by Fate as a man of middle age. Know that by this untimely death thou hast sooner escaped from the cycle of dire calamities.
The same, tr. Arthur Darby Nock, "Orphism or Popular Philosophy?" Harvard Theological Review 33.4 (October, 1940) 301-315 (at 306):
You copied the glory of wisdom not in words but in life, having mastered holy judgments with none other to teach you. So Hecataeus, now that you sleep, cut off in middle years, know that you have the more quickly escaped the round of painful labors.
The Greek:
οὐ λόγον, ἀλλὰ βίον σοφίης ἐτυπώσαο δόξαν
αὐτοδαὴς ἱερῶν γινόμενος κριμάτων.
εὕδων οὖν, Ἑκαταῖε, μεσόχρονος, ἴσθ' ὅτι θᾶσσον
κύκλον ἀνιηρῶν ἐξέφυγες καμάτων.
I find μεσοχρόνιος in Liddell-Scott-Jones, but not μεσόχρονος (line 3). See Marcus N. Tod, "Lexicographical Notes," Hermathena 60 (1942) 16-37 (at 19), who seems to regard them as merely spelling variants. I don't see "carried off by Fate" (Bikerman) or "cut off" (Nock) in the Greek.

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