Thursday, May 30, 2019


Long, Long Ago

Aristophanes, Wasps 1060-1070 (tr. Jeffrey Henderson with his note):
Ah, once upon a time we were valiant in choruses,
and valiant in battle,
and above all most valiant where this is concerned.64
But that's long, long ago,
all gone now, and these locks of mine
bloom whiter than a swan.
But even from these ruins we must
summon up youthful strength,
for I think that my
old age outdoes the ringlets, the getups, and the wide-arsedness
of today's young men.

64 Indicating their phalli.

ὦ πάλαι ποτ᾽ ὄντες ἡμεῖς ἄλκιμοι μὲν ἐν χοροῖς,        1060
ἄλκιμοι δ᾽ ἐν μάχαις,
καὶ κατ᾽ αὐτὸ δὴ τοῦτο μόνον
ἄνδρες ἀλκιμώτατοι·
πρίν ποτ᾽ ἦν πρὶν ταῦτα, νῦν δ᾽
οἴχεται, κύκνου τ᾽ πολι-
ώτεραι δὴ αἵδ᾽ ἐπανθοῦσιν τρίχες.        1065
ἀλλὰ κἀκ τῶν λειψάνων δεῖ τῶνδε ῥώμην
νεανικὴν σχεῖν· ὡς ἐγὼ τοὐμὸν νομίζω
γῆρας εἶναι κρεῖττον ἢ πολλῶν κικίννους
νεανιῶν καὶ σχῆμα κεὐρυπρωκτίαν.        1070

1063 ἀλκιμώτατοι Bentley: μαχιμώτατοι codd.
1067 σχεῖν Reisig: ἔχειν codd.
1070 κεὐρυπρωκτίαν Kuster: κηὐρυπρωκτίαν codd.
See Martin Revermann, Comic Business: Theatricality, Dramatic Technique, and Performance Contexts of Aristophanic Comedy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 156-157, on whether the chorus actually wore phalli as part of their costume.

I wonder if χοροῖς (1060) could be simply dances.

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