Saturday, June 08, 2019


Gifts of Peace

Aristophanes, Peace 571-581 (tr. Jeffrey Henderson):
Now, gentlemen, recall the old way of life this goddess once afforded us—those pressed figs and fresh figs, the myrtle berries, the sweet new wine, the bed of violets by the well, the olive trees that we long for—and for these now voice your thanks to this goddess.

ἀλλ᾿ ἀναμνησθέντες, ὦνδρες,
τῆς διαίτης τῆς παλαιᾶς,
ἣν παρεῖχ᾿ αὕτη ποθ᾿ ἡμῖν,
τῶν τε παλασίων ἐκείνων
τῶν τε σύκων, τῶν τε μύρτων,        575
τῆς τρυγός τε τῆς γλυκείας
τῆς ἰωνιᾶς τε τῆς πρὸς
τῷ φρέατι, τῶν τ᾿ ἐλαῶν,
ὧν ποθοῦμεν,
ἀντὶ τούτων τήνδε νυνὶ        580
τὴν θεὸν προσείπατε.
John Addington Symonds (1840-1893), Studies of the Greek Poets, 3rd ed., Vol. II (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1902), p. 171:
Those who from their recollection of southern scenery can summon up the picture, who know how cool and shady are those wells, mirroring maiden-hair in their black depth—how fragrant and dewy are the beds of tangled violets—how dreamy are the olive-trees, aerial, mistlike, robed with light, will understand the peculiar longing of these lines.
I had to look up παλασίων = παλαθίων, diminutive of παλάθη = cake of preserved fruit. Robert Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Vol. II (Leiden: Brill, 2010), p. 1144, s.v. παλάθη, rejects the connection with πλάσσω = knead.

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