Monday, March 27, 2017


Epitaph of Diogenes

Inscriptiones Graecae XII, 9 (Inscriptiones Euboeae Insulae, ed. Erich Ziebarth [Berlin, 1915]) 290 = Werner Peek, Griechische Vers-Inschriften (Berlin, 1955), number 1126 (Eretria, 3rd century B.C.):
[χαῖρ]ε, Διοδώρου Δι[όγε]νες, φὺς δίκαιος καὶ εὐσεβής.
[ε]ἰ θεός ἐσθ' ἡ γῆ, κἀγὼ θεός εἰμι δικαίως·
ἐκ γῆς γὰρ βλαστὼν γενόμην νεκρός, ἐκ δὲ νεκροῦ γῆ.
My translation:
Hail, Diogenes, son of Diodorus. You were just and pious.
— If the earth is a god, I too am rightly a god;
for, sprung from earth, I became a corpse, and from a corpse, earth.
Both Ziebarth and Peek are unavailable to me. I think that in line 1, Ziebarth supplied [κοῦρ]ε, Peek [χαῖρ]ε. I do have access to Werner Peek, Griechische Grabgedichte. Griechisch und Deutsch (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1966), where the Greek (without brackets or apparatus) appears on p. 144 (number 220), and Peek's German translation on p. 145:
Gruß dir, Diogenes, Diodors Sohn. Rechtlich warst du und fromm. —Wenn die Erde eine Gottheit ist, so heiße mit Recht auch ich eine Gottheit. Denn der Erde entsprossen, bin ich ein Leichnam geworden und aus dem Leichnam wieder Erde. — Diogenes.
There are two speakers — the passerby or visitor to the grave in line 1, the dead man in lines 2-3. Earth was a goddess in ancient Greece.

Related post: Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust.

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