Wednesday, June 26, 2019


Lucian, Dialogues of the Courtesans 9.4

Lucian. With an English Translation by M.D. Macleod, Vol. VII (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1961 = Loeb Classical Library, 431), pp. 414-415 (Dialogues of the Courtesans 9.4; the soldier Polemo is speaking):
...ἐραστὴς Παννυχίδος, ὅτε ᾤμην ἔτι ἀνθρώπινα φρονεῖν αὐτήν. who loved Pannychis, while I believed she was still content with mortal thoughts.
Likewise Evan Hayes and Stephen Nimis, Lucian's Dialogues of the Courtesans. An Intermediate Greek Reader. Greek Text with Running Vocabulary and Commentary (Oxford, Ohio: Faenum Publishing, Ltd., 2015), p. 66:
ἀνθρώπινα: neut. pl. acc., "that she thought mortal (thoughts)" i.e. as opposed to divine ones.
This makes no sense to me. Polemo loved Pannychis so long as she was nice to him. I would translate ἀνθρώπινα here as humane, or gentle, or kind. Cf. Demosthenes, Against Aristocrates 70 (tr. J.H. Vince, emphasis added):
They who originally ordained these customs, whoever they were, heroes or gods, did not treat evil fortune with severity, but humanely alleviated its calamities, so far as they honestly could.

οἱ ταῦτ᾿ ἐξ ἀρχῆς τὰ νόμιμα διαθέντες, οἵτινές ποτ᾿ ἦσαν, εἴθ᾿ ἥρωες εἴτε θεοί, οὐκ ἐπέθεντο τοῖς ἀτυχήμασιν, ἀλλ᾿ ἀνθρωπίνως ἐπεκούφισαν, εἰς ὅσον εἶχε καλῶς, τὰς συμφοράς.
and Demosthenes, Against Meidias 41 (tr. J.H. Vince, emphasis added):
For what sort of pretext, what decent and moderate excuse, can he show for his conduct?

ποία γὰρ πρόφασις, τίς ἀνθρωπίνη καὶ μετρία σκῆψις φανεῖται τῶν πεπραγμένων αὐτῷ;
The rendering in The Works of Lucian of Samosata. Translated by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler, Vol. IV (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1905), p. 66, makes even less sense to me:
...Pannychis's lover, so long as he supposed a mere man was good enough for her.
Some other translations:

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