Tuesday, July 14, 2020


An Early Greek Epitaph

Inscriptiones Graecae IX,1 521 (Acarnania, possibly Anactorium, 6th century B.C.?), tr. Paul Friedländer and Herbert B. Hoffleit, Epigrammata: Greek Inscriptions in Verse from the Beginnings to the Persian Wars (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1948), p. 74 (number 64, Greek as printed there):
This monument by the road shall be called Procleida's, who died fighting for his own land.

Προκλείδας τόδε σᾶμα κεκλήσεται ἐνγὺς ὁδοῖο,
   ὃς περὶ τᾶς αὐτῶ γᾶς θάνε βαρνάμενος.
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):
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."62

62 Kallin. fr. 1 (West), 5: καί τις ἀποθνήσκων ὕστατ᾿ ἀκοντισάτω.
Peter Allan Hansen, ed., Carmina Epigraphica Graeca Saeculorum VIII–V a. Chr. n., (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1983), pp. 77-78:

See also Jesper Svenbro, Phrasikleia: An Anthropology of Reading in Ancient Greece, tr. Janet Lloyd (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), pp. 36-37.

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