Saturday, April 23, 2016


Sappho, Fragment 2, Line 9

Sappho, fragment 2, tr. C.M. Bowra, in his Greek Lyric Poetry from Alcman to Simonides, 2nd rev. ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961), p. 197 (emphasis added):
Come hither from Crete to this holy temple, where is your graceful grove of apple-trees, and altars smoking with frankincense. In it cool water sounds through apple-boughs; all the place is shadowed with roses, and from the quivering leaves sleep comes down. In it a meadow blossoms with spring flowers, where horses pasture, and there the breezes breathe sweetly....There, Cyprian, take chaplets and pour softly in gold cups nectar mingled with our feasting.
The Greek:
δεῦρύ μ᾿ ἐκ Κρήτας ἐπ[ὶ τόνδ]ε ναῦον
ἄγνον, ὄππ[ᾳ τοι] χάριεν μὲν ἄλσος
μαλί[αν], βῶμοι δὲ τεθυμιάμε-
νοι [λι]βανώτῳ·
ἐν δ᾿ ὔδωρ ψῦχρον κελάδει δι᾿ ὔσδων        5
μαλίνων, βρόδοισι δὲ παῖς ὀ χῶρος
ἐσκίαστ᾿, αἰθυσσομένων δὲ φύλλων
κῶμα κατέρρει·
ἐν δὲ λείμων ἰππόβοτος τέθαλεν
ἠρίνοισιν ἄνθεσιν, αἰ δ᾿ ἄηται        10
μέλλιχα πνέοισιν [
[ ]
ἔνθα δὴ σὺ . . . . έλοισα Κύπρι
χρυσίαισιν ἐν κυλίκεσσιν ἄβρως
ὀμμεμείχμενον θαλίαισι νέκταρ        15
The only commentary on this fragment in my personal library is David A. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry: A Selection of Early Greek Lyric, Elegiac and Iambic Poetry (1982; rpt. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1998), pp. 267-268, whose note on ἰππόβοτος (grazed by horses, line 9) simply discusses the word's Homeric antecedents.

The meadow (λείμων, line 9) is apparently within Aphrodite's sanctuary. It's a bit surprising, therefore, to see it described as a place "where horses pasture." See F. Sokolowski, "On the Episode of Onchestus in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo," Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 91 (1960) 376-380 (at 378):
It was a constant concern of the religious and state authorities to preserve trees, bushes and lawns around temples. The destruction of greenery, the grazing, stationing and quartering animals on sacred ground were rigorously prohibited.
See also Matthew P.J. Dillon, "The Ecology of the Greek Sanctuary," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 118 (1997) 113-127 (at 118, 120-122).

One piece of evidence adduced by Sokolowski (p. 379) and Dillon (p. 118) is somewhat problematic, however. They both cite a fragmentary set of rules for the sanctuary of Apollo Lycaeus at Argos—Inscriptiones Graecae IV 557 = F. Sokolowski, Lois sacrées des cités grecques (Paris: Éditions E. de Boccard, 1969), no. 57, p. 110 (the stone is now lost). At line 3 of that inscription there is a prohibition against ἱππεύεσθαι (horse-riding). But Adolf Wilhelm, "Zu griechischen Inschriften," Archäologisch-Epigraphische Mittheilungen aus Oesterreich-Ungarn 20 (1897) 50-96 (at 88-89) conjectured ἰπ<ν>εύεσθαι (baking), comparing Inscriptiones Graecae I³ 4, line B.15 = Lois sacrées des cités grecques, no. 3, pp. 4-6 (Athens, 485/4 B.C., regulations protecting temples on the Acropolis). Wilhelm's conjecture is adopted in the version of Inscriptiones Graecae IV 557 found in the Packard Humanities Institute's Searchable Greek Inscriptions. The same rare verb ἰπνεύω (bake) is also restored in Inscriptiones Graecae XII,5 126, line 5 = Lois sacrées des cités grecques, no. 112, p. 206 (Paros, 2nd century B.C., from the sanctuary of Asclepius). The purpose of the prohibition against baking in these "sacred laws" was to protect temples against fire.

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