Friday, August 11, 2017


Invitation to Eight Gods

Bernhard Zimmerman, "Structure and Meter," Brill's Companion to the Study of Greek Comedy, ed. Gregory W. Dobrov (Leiden: Brill, 2010), pp. 455-469 (at 458):
The second section of the parabasis, the so-called epirrhematic syzygy, belongs entirely to the chorus. It consists of two metrically identical lyric parts, an ode and antode, that reflect the ancient form of a hymnic call for the gods (hymnos kletikos).
Aristophanes, Clouds 563-574, 595-606 (tr. Jeffrey Henderson, with his notes):
High guardian of the gods,
Zeus the great chieftain,
I invite first to my dance;
and the hugely strong Keeper of the Trident,
wild upheaver
of land and salty sea;48
and our own father of glorious name,
most august Empyrean,49 nourisher of all life;
and the Charioteer, who
covers the plain of earth
with dazzling rays, a mighty deity
among gods and mortals.


Join me as well, Phoebus, Lord
of Delos, who dwell on Cynthus'
sheer escarpment of rock;53
and you, blest Maiden, who dwell at Ephesus
in the golden house, where Lydian maidens
greatly revere you;54
and our own native goddess,
wielder of the aegis, guardian of the city;
and he who haunts Parnassus' rock
and glows in the light of pine torches,
eminent among Delphic bacchants,
the reveller Dionysus.

48 I.e. Poseidon.
49 Aether, a scientific entity; cf. 265.
53 I.e. Apollo.
54 I.e. Artemis.

ὑψιμέδοντα μὲν θεῶν
    Ζῆνα τύραννον εἰς χορὸν
    πρῶτα μέγαν κικλήσκω·        565
τόν τε μεγασθενῆ τριαίνης ταμίαν,
    γῆς τε καὶ ἁλμυρᾶς θαλάσσης
    ἄγριον μοχλευτήν·
καὶ μεγαλώνυμον ἡμέτερον πατέρ᾿
    Αἰθέρα σεμνότατον, βιοθρέμμονα πάντων·        570
τόν θ᾿ ἱππονώμαν, ὃς ὑπερ-
    λάμπροις ἀκτῖσιν κατέχει
    γῆς πέδον, μέγας ἐν θεοῖς
    ἐν θνητοῖσί τε δαίμων.


ἀμφί μοι αὖτε Φοῖβ᾿ ἄναξ        595
    Δήλιε, Κυνθίαν ἔχων
    ὑψικέρατα πέτραν·
ἥ τ᾿ Ἐφέσου μάκαιρα πάγχρυσον ἔχεις
    οἶκον, ἐν ᾧ κόραι σε Λυ-
    δῶν μεγάλως σέβουσιν·        600
ἥ τ᾿ ἐπιχώριος ἡμετέρα θεὸς
    αἰγίδος ἡνίοχος, πολιοῦχος Ἀθάνα·
Παρνασσίαν θ᾿ ὃς κατέχων
    πέτραν σὺν πεύκαις σελαγεῖ
    Βάκχαις Δελφίσιν ἐμπρέπων        605
    κωμαστὴς Διόνυσος.
Athena is explicitly named in the Greek (602). Shouldn't she also be explicitly named in the translation? Two of the unnamed gods are identified by the translator's notes, but not Helios (571-574). See K.J. Dover in his commentary (1968; rpt. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003), p. 173:
Poseidon, Helios, and Artemis are not named outright in this song, but are identified by their attributes. The names of Athena (604 [sic, read 602]) and Dionysos (606) are delayed until their characterizations are complete, and Zeus and Aither are partially characterized before they are named.
See also Eduard Fraenkel, Beobachtungen zu Aristophanes (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1962), pp. 196-198, and L.P.E. Parker, The Songs of Aristophanes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), pp. 194-196.

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