Tuesday, July 14, 2020
An Early Greek Epitaph
This monument by the road shall be called Procleida's, who died fighting for his own land.αὐτῶ = αὐτοῦ, βαρνάμενος = μαρνάμενος. On phrases resembling θάνε βαρνάμενος see Nathan T. Arrington, "Inscribing Defeat: The Commemorative Dynamics of the Athenian Casualty Lists," Classical Antiquity 30.2 (October, 2011) 179-212 (at 187-188, esp. 188):
Προκλείδας τόδε σᾶμα κεκλήσεται ἐνγὺς ὁδοῖο,
ὃς περὶ τᾶς αὐτῶ γᾶς θάνε βαρνάμενος.
In each case the present participle marnamenoi is coupled with a verb for dying in the aorist to describe how the men died: with courage. The value placed on fighting until the very end of one's life recalls the rhetoric of manhood evoked in epic poetry, such as Kallinos' admonition, "Let each one, with his last breath, hurl his spear."62Peter Allan Hansen, ed., Carmina Epigraphica Graeca Saeculorum VIII–V a. Chr. n., (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1983), pp. 77-78:
62 Kallin. fr. 1 (West), 5: καί τις ἀποθνήσκων ὕστατ᾿ ἀκοντισάτω.
See also Jesper Svenbro, Phrasikleia: An Anthropology of Reading in Ancient Greece, tr. Janet Lloyd (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), pp. 36-37.