Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Beatus Vir

Euripides, Bacchae 72-87 (tr. David Kovacs):
O blessed the man who,
happy in knowing the gods' rites,
makes his life pure
and joins his soul to the worshipful band,
performing bacchic rites upon the mountains,
with cleansings the gods approve:
he performs the sacred mysteries
of Mother Cybele of the mountains,
and shaking the bacchic wand up and down,
his head crowned with ivy,
he serves Dionysus.
On bacchants, on you bacchants!
Bring the roaring
son of a god, Dionysus,
from Phrygia's mountains to Hellas' streets,
broad for dancing! Bring Bromios!

ὦ μάκαρ, ὅστις εὐδαί-
μων τελετὰς θεῶν εἰ-
δὼς βιοτὰν ἁγιστεύει
καὶ θιασεύεται ψυ-        75
χὰν ἐν ὄρεσσι βακχεύ-
ων ὁσίοις καθαρμοῖσιν,
τά τε ματρὸς μεγάλας ὄρ-
για Κυβέλας θεμιτεύων
ἀνὰ θύρσον τε τινάσσων        80
κισσῷ τε στεφανωθεὶς
Διόνυσον θεραπεύει.
ἴτε βάκχαι, ἴτε βάκχαι,
Βρόμιον παῖδα θεὸν θεοῦ
Διόνυσον κατάγουσαι        85
Φρυγίων ἐξ ὀρέων Ἑλλάδος εἰς εὐ-
ρυχόρους ἀγυιάς, τὸν Βρόμιον.
I have two nit-picking comments on the translation. First, in lines 78-79, I don't see "Mother Cybele of the mountains" but rather "great Mother Cybele," i.e. Magna Mater. Second, at line 84, θεὸν is left untranslated — the Greek signifies not just "son of a god," but "god, son of a god."

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