Sunday, May 16, 2021

 

Fate of the Tattle-Tales

Plutarch, Life of Dion 28.1-2 (tr. Bernadotte Perrin):
As for the Syracusans in the city, the men of note and cultivation, in fresh apparel, went to meet them at the gates, while the multitude set upon the tyrant's friends and seized those called tale-bearers, wicked men whom the gods hated, who went up and down in the city busily mingling with the Syracusans and reporting to the tyrant the sentiments and utterances of every one. These, then, were the first to suffer retribution, being beaten to death by those who came upon them...

τῶν δ᾽ ἐν τῇ πόλει Συρακουσίων οἱ μὲν γνώριμοι καὶ χαρίεντες ἐσθῆτα καθαρὰν ἔχοντες ἀπήντων ἐπὶ τάς πύλας, οἱ δὲ πολλοὶ τοῖς τυράννου φίλοις ἐπετίθεντο καὶ συνήρπαζον τοὺς καλουμένους προσαγωγίδας, ἀνθρώπους ἀνοσίους καὶ θεοῖς ἐχθρούς, οἳ περιενόστουν ἐν τῇ πόλει καταμεμιγμένοι τοῖς Συρακουσίοις πολυπραγμονοῦντες καὶ διαγγέλλοντες τῷ τυράννῳ τάς τε διανοίας καὶ τάς φωνὰς ἑκάστων. οὗτοι μὲν οὖν πρῶτοι δίκην ἐδίδοσαν ὑπὸ τῶν προστυγχανόντων ἀποτυμπανιζόμενοι...

 

On Reflection

Tacitus, Annals 3.18.4 (tr. Cynthia Damon):
But the more I reflect on events recent and past, the more I am struck by the element of the absurd in everything humans do.

mihi, quanto plura recentium seu veterum revolvo, tanto magis ludibria rerum mortalium cunctis in negotiis obversantur.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

 

Coin in My Pouch

Poem by Robert Burns:
Contented wi' little, and cantie wi' mair,
Whene'er I forgather wi' Sorrow and Care,
I gie them a skelp as they're creeping alang,
Wi' a cog o' gude swats and an auld Scottish sang.

I whiles claw the elbow o' troublesome thought;        5
But Man is a soger, and Life is a faught;
My mirth and gude humour are coin in my pouch,
And my Freedom's my Lairdship nae monarch dare touch.

A towmond o' trouble, should that be my fa',
A night o' gude fellowship sowthers it a':        10
When at the blythe end o' our journey at last,
Wha the deil ever thinks o' the road he has past?

Blind Chance, let her snapper and stoyte on her way;
Be't to me, be't frae me, e'en let the jade gae:
Come Ease, or come Travail, come Pleasure or Pain,        15
My warst word is: "Welcome, and welcome again!"
Glosses borrowed from The Northern Muse: An Anthology of Scots Vernacular Poetry, ed. John Buchan (1924; rpt. London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd., 1947), p. 208:
1 cantie: jolly
3 skelp: whack
4 cog o' gude swats: a pot of good new ale
5 claw: scratch
6 soger: soldier; faught: fight
9 towmond: twelvemonth; fa': lot
10 sowthers: solders [or rather mitigates, alleviates?]
13 snapper and stoyte: stumble and stagger

 

The Lure of the Forbidden

Tacitus, Annals 13.12.2 (tr. John Jackson):
The illicit is stronger than the licit.

praevalent inlicita.
The same, tr. J.C. Yardley:
The illicit is always more appealing.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.20-21 (tr. Frank Justus Miller):
                               I see the better and approve it,
but I follow the worse.

                             video meliora proboque,
deteriora sequor.

Friday, May 14, 2021

 

Confusion

Euripides, Electra 367-372 (tr. E.P. Coleridge):
There is no exact way to test a man's worth;
for human nature has confusion in it.
I have seen before now the son of a noble father
worth nothing, and good children from evil parents;
famine in a rich man's spirit,
and a mighty soul in a poor man's body.

οὐκ ἔστ' ἀκριβὲς οὐδὲν εἰς εὐανδρίαν·
ἔχουσι γὰρ ταραγμὸν αἱ φύσεις βροτῶν.
ἤδη γὰρ εἶδον ἄνδρα γενναίου πατρὸς
τὸ μηδὲν ὄντα, χρηστά τ' ἐκ κακῶν τέκνα,
λιμόν τ' ἐν ἀνδρὸς πλουσίου φρονήματι,
γνώμην τε μεγάλην ἐν πένητι σώματι.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

 

Teaching Caesar's Gallic War

Bijan Omrani, Caesar's Footprints. A Cultural Excursion to Ancient France: Journeys Through Roman Gaul (New York: Pegasus Books, 2017), pp. 3-5 (footnote omitted):
It was a Wednesday morning deep in the winter term, period two. I was conducting a Latin language session with a bright but not especially motivated lower sixth. The unfortunate fodder for this exercise was the fifth book of Julius Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War, describing his conquest of Gaul between 58 and 50 BC.

There was something almost ritualized about the pupils' misery during these sessions. The use of Caesar as fodder for teenage children to take their first steps in translating 'real' Latin, after leaving behind the safety of language textbooks, is an ancient tradition. Say 'Caesar' to anyone who has been subjected to an education containing a classical component, and there are two likely reactions. One the one hand, a cheerful reminiscence of how good Caesar was for them: how wonderfully hard his writing worked their brain, as if his dialogues were specifically designed — like some formidable fibre-laced breakfast cereal — to improve their cerebral motions. On the other, a cross-eyed stab of agony, like thinking back to a mental version of the Somme, where all was muddy quagmire and barbed-wire entanglements formed of indirect statements enmeshed with ablative absolutes and gerundives of obligation. My lower sixth form class was very much in the latter camp.

I hated it that, for generations of schoolchildren, this was the miserable end to which Caesar's account of the Gallic Wars was put. During that lesson, as someone, floundering in a particularly long and vicious stretch of oratio obliqua, paused and expressed his total disgust for Caesar, The Gallic Wars and the whole exercise, I felt compelled to pause and make a defence, if not of using Caesar for grammar bashing, then at least of Caesar's writing. It was, I pleaded, rather more than a random tale of legions being marched and legates being dispatched. The text stood as an extraordinary account of the very foundation of modern Europe: for it was by taking the heartlands of Gaul under their control that the Romans introduced the culture of the Latin Mediterranean to the European north. Without this conquest — which was not a historical inevitability, and which was undertaken on the spur of the moment because of Caesar's own political circumstances and all-consuming ambition — the Roman empire would likely never have had the reach or staying power that it attained. The modern languages of Europe would probably have been more Celtic than Latinate in nature. The literary classics of Virgil, Cicero and Ovid, and the masterpieces of ancient Greek literature that influenced them, might not have had such a profound impact on the Western tradition. The same is the case for classical ideas of philosophy, law, rhetoric, music and architecture. Christianity likewise would perhaps never have penetrated Europe as deeply as would prove to be the case. Without Caesar's conquest of Gaul, the map of modern Europe would look entirely different. There would have been no European neurosis springing from the memory of the barbarian invasions across the Rhine in the fifth century AD; no Charlemagne; no modern state of France; no Renaissance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries — and very little likelihood that we would have been sitting in that classroom reading a classic work of Latin literature on a cold Wednesday morning.

I expressed myself largely and eloquently. My class essentially told me to sod off.

 

Earning a Living

Tacitus, Germania 14.4 (tr. Anthony R. Birley):
You cannot so easily persuade them to plough the soil or to wait for the harvest as to challenge an enemy and earn wounds as a reward. Indeed, they think it tame and spiritless to accumulate slowly by sweat what they can get quickly by losing some blood.

nec arare terram aut exspectare annum tam facile persuaseris quam vocare hostem et vulnera mereri. pigrum quin immo et iners videtur sudore adquirere quod possis sanguine parare.
Slowly and quickly don't appear in the Latin.

J.B. Rives ad loc.:
This may have been a commonplace in descriptions of northern barbarians: five hundred years earlier Herodotus (5.6.2) had observed that the Thracians regarded agricultural work as dishonourable, and considered plunder and war the most onourable sources of livelihood. For Tacitus this observation serves as a contrast with the Roman ideal of the farmer-soldier, who embodied the Roman military values of steadfastness, discipline, and hard work. Virgil, for example, describes how the hardy youth of ancient times could both tame the earth with hoes and storm citadels in war (Aen. 9.607– 8); Vegetius (Mil. 1.3) says that in the past the same men were both warriors and farmers, changing only their type of arms; the elder Cato could still assert that 'the bravest men and most energetic soldiers are made from farmers' (Agr. praef. 4). Roman tradition emphasized that many of the city's early heroes were both farmers and soldiers, like Cincinnatus who was summoned from his plough to lead the army (Cic. Sen. 56, Livy 3.13.36, Colum. Rust. praef. 13–14).
Some commentators also compare Caesar, Gallic War 6.23.6 (tr. James J. O'Donnell):
Brigandage beyond the boundary of a nation is not disreputable, indeed they commend it as training the young and suppressing laziness.

latrocinia nullam habent infamiam, quae extra fines cuiusque civitatis fiunt, atque ea iuventutis exercendae ac desidiae minuendae causa fieri praedicant.

 

Faithful to Our Native Land

Pierre-Jean de Béranger (1780-1857), "Le Bon Français," 1st stanza, tr. William Young, Songs of Béranger Done Into English Verse (Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1878), p. 42:
I like a Russian to be Russian;
   The Englishman should English be;
And if in Prussia men are Prussian,
   Frenchmen in France be we!
Whilst here our hearts are gushing o'er,
And can but count "one Frenchman more,"
Friends, friends, oh, faithful let us stand;
Aye faithful to our native land!
The French, from his Chansons, t. I (Paris: Perrotin, 1829), p. 108:
J'aime qu'un Russe soit Russe,
Et qu'un Anglais soit Anglais.
Si l'on est Prussien en Prusse,
En France, soyons Français.
Lorsqu'ici nos coeurs émus
Comptent des Français de plus,
Mes amis, mes amis,
Soyons de notre pays,
Oui, soyons de notre pays.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

 

A Rumor Debunked

Tacitus, Annals 4.11.3 (on the rumor that Tiberius killed Drusus; tr. Michael Grant):
My own motive in mentioning and refuting the rumour has been to illustrate by one conspicuous instance the falsity of hearsay gossip, and to urge those who read this book not to prefer incredible tales — however widely current and readily accepted — to the truth unblemished by marvels.

mihi tradendi arguendique rumoris causa fuit, ut claro sub exemplo falsas auditiones depellerem peteremque ab iis, quorum in manus cura nostra venerit, <ne> divulgata atque incredibilia avide accepta veris neque in miraculum corruptis antehabeant.

ne suppl. Rhenanus

 

Be Merry

Menander, The Shield 247-249 (tr. W.G. Arnott):
Approaching here, I see—some men, quite drunk.
You're sensible. What fortune brings is all
Uncertain. Take your pleasure while you can!

ὄχλον ἄλλον ἀνθρώπων προσιόντα τουτονὶ
ὁρῶ μεθυόντων. νοῦν ἔχετε· τὸ τῆς τύχης
ἄδηλον· εὐφραίνεσθ᾿ ὃν ἔξεστιν χρόνον.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

 

The Hour of Rest

Prudentius, Liber Cathemerinon, no. 6 (Hymnus ante Somnum), lines 9-20 (tr. H.J. Thomson):
The day's toil is past and the hour of rest comes again; caressing slumber in its turn relaxes our tired limbs.

The mind storm-tossed and careworn drinks deep the cup of forgetfulness.

Oblivion steals over all the body and lets no sense of soreness abide with the afflicted.

fluxit labor diei,
redit et quietis hora,        10
blandus sopor vicissim
fessos relaxat artus.

mens aestuans procellis,
curisque sauciata,
totis bibit medullis        15
obliviale poclum.

serpit per omne corpus
Lethaea vis, nec ullum
miseris doloris aegri
patitur manere sensum.        20
See Willy Evenepoel, Explanatory and Literary Notes on Prudentius' Hymnus ante somnum," Revue belge de Philologie et d'Histoire 56.1 (1978) 55-70 (at 57-58, 64).

Related posts:

 

Shepherds and Yokels

Alfred Zimmern, The Greek Commonwealth, 5th ed. (1931; rpt. New York: Oxford University Press, 1961), p. 230:
It is not our cloistered Hellenists and city-dwellers but our shepherds and yokels who, in their daily occupations and habits of housekeeping, touch most nearly the ancient Greek — not merely the Greek of the unsettled early days and of the quiet Middle Ages, but the alert and enterprising citizen of fifth-century Athens.
Id., translating from Henri Francotte, L'industrie dans la Grèce ancienne, t. II (Brussels: Société belge de librairie, 1901), p. 53:
'Go today into the recesses of the Ardennes and you will still find some of these children of the soil. You will meet the old-fashioned peasant, systematically ignorant of everything connected with commerce and industry, an aristocrat and a conservative in his own peculiar way, protesting against every novelty, and adding year by year to his ancestral store. An Athenian of two thousand years ago would have understood him: today he is but the last survivor of a vanishing race.'

 

A Faithful Friend

Euripides, Orestes 727-728 (tr. E.P. Coleridge):
A man who can be trusted in troubles is a better sight than a calm to sailors.

                                πιστὸς ἐν κακοῖς ἀνὴρ
κρείσσων γαλήνης ναυτίλοισιν εἰσορᾶν.

Monday, May 10, 2021

 

How to Become a General

Polybius 11.8.1-3 (tr. W.R. Paton):
There are three ways in which those who aim at acquiring the art of generalship may reasonably hope to do so, first by studying histories and availing themselves of the lessons contained in them, secondly by following the systematic instruction of experienced men, and thirdly by the habit and experience acquired in actual practice, and in all three the present Achaean strategi were absolutely unversed.

Ὅτι τριῶν ὄντων τρόπων, καθ᾿ οὓς ἐφίενται πάντες στρατηγίας οἱ κατὰ λόγον αὐτῇ προσιόντες, πρώτου μὲν διὰ τῶν ὑπομνημάτων καὶ τῆς ἐκ τούτων κατασκευῆς, ἑτέρου δὲ τοῦ μεθοδικοῦ καὶ τῆς παρὰ τῶν ἐμπείρων ἀνδρῶν παραδόσεως, τρίτου δὲ τοῦ διὰ τῆς ἐπ᾿ αὐτῶν τῶν πραγμάτων ἕξεως καὶ τριβῆς, πάντων ἦσαν τούτων ἀνεννόητοι οἱ τῶν Ἀχαιῶν στρατηγοὶ ἁπλῶς.
This passage is cited by W. Kendrick Pritchett, "Greek Military Training," The Greek State at War, Part II (1974; rpt. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), pp. 208-231 (at 212, n. 17).

 

Inattentiveness

Clive James (1939-2019), "Georg Christoph Lichtenberg," Cultural Amnesia (2007; rpt. London: Picador, 2012), pp. 379-405 (at 381):
Competent writers always examine what they have put down. Better than competent writers — good writers — examine their effects before they put them down: they think that way all the time. Bad writers never examine anything. Their inattentiveness to the detail of their prose is part and parcel of their inattentiveness to the detail of the outside world.

 

To Little Purpose and With Small Profit

Robert Burton (1577-1640), "Democritus Junior to the Reader," Anatomy of Melancholy:
I have read many books, but to little purpose, for want of good method, I have confusedly tumbled over divers authors in our Libraries, with small profit for want of art, order, memory, judgement.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

 

Tit for Tat

Jerome, Against Rufinus 3.42 (tr. John N. Hritzu):
You shall hear nothing more on this subject except a proverb borrowed from the streets: 'When you say what you want to say, you shall hear what you do not want to hear.'

nihilque super hoc amplius audies nisi illud de trivio: cum dixeris quod vis, audies quod non vis.
Cf. Terence, Andria 920 (tr. John Sargeaunt):
If he persists in saying just what he likes, he shall hear what he won't like.

si mihi perget quae volt dicere, ea quae non volt audiet.
For more parallels see Erasmus, Adages I i 1 to I v 100, translated by Margaret Mann Phillips, annotated by R.A.B. Mynors (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988), pp. 74-76 (I i 27: Qui quae vult dicit, quae non vult audiet).

 

Cui Bono?

Cameron Hilditch, "How Critical Race Theory Works," National Review (May 8, 2021):
The most important question to the critical theorist is therefore Cicero's famous "Cui bono?" — "Who benefits?"
Cicero himself attributed the phrase to Cassius Longinus. See Robert Ogilvie, Horae Latinae: Studies in Synonyms and Syntax (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1901), p. 76:
"Cui bono?" is the well-known test of Cassius Longinus (Consul, B.C. 127) for discovering the author of a secret crime, — to whom is it for a benefit? who is the gainer by it? cui being the person, and bono the thing. The phrase is often misquoted, as if cui agreed with bono — to what good end? what purpose does it serve?

Rosc. A. 30 L. Cassius ille identidem in causis quaerere solebat, cui bono fuisset.
Rosc. A. 5 accusant ii quibus occidi patrem Sex. Rosci bono fuit.
Rosc. A. is Cicero's speech Pro Roscio Amerino. Cf. also his speech Pro Milone 32.3 (... illud Cassianum 'cui bono fuerit?' ...)

On the double dative see Charles E. Bennett, A Latin Grammar, rev. ed. (1908; rpt. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1913), p. 133 (§ 191, 2, a):
The Dative of Purpose or Tendency designates the end toward which an action is directed or the direction in which it tends. It is used—

    [....]

    Much more frequently in connection with another Dative of the person:—

      Especially with some form of esse; as,—

        fortunae tuae mihi curae sunt, your fortunes are a care to me (lit. for a care);

        nobis sunt odio, they are an object of hatred to us;

        cui bono? to whom is it of advantage?

Saturday, May 08, 2021

 

The Ancient Greek Landscape

Oliver Rackham, "Landscape," in Graham Speake, ed., Encyclopedia of Greece and the Hellenic Tradition, Vol. 2 (London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000), pp. 919-920 (at 919):
The best description of what the ancient Greek landscape looked like is the vision of the 12 mountains of Arcadia in the early Christian prophecy of Hermas, an Arcadian shepherd.
Shepherd of Hermas 78.4-10 (tr. Michael W. Holmes):
4 And he led me away to Arcadia, to a certain rounded mountain, and seated me οn top of the mountain, and showed me a great plain, and around the plain twelve mountains, and each mountain had a different appearance. 5 The first was black as soot, and the second was bare, without any vegetation, and the third was full of thorns and briars. 6 The fourth had half-withered vegetation; the tops of the plants were green, but the part by the roots was dry. And some of the plants were withering when the sun scorched them. 7 The fifth mountain had green grass and was very rugged, and the sixth mountain was all full of ravines, some small and some large, and the raνines had vegetation, but the vegetation was not very flourishing, but looked rather withered. 8 The seventh mountain had blooming vegetation, and the whole mountain was thriving, and cattle and birds of every kind were feeding οn the mountain; and the more the cattle and the birds ate, the more and more the vegetation of that mountain flourished. The eighth mountain was full of springs, and every species of the Lord's creation drank from the springs οη that mountain. 9 The ninth mountain had nο water at all, and was completely desolate; it had wild beasts and deadly reptiles that destroyed people. The tenth mountain had very large trees and was completely shaded, and beneath the shade sheep lay resting and chewing their cud. 10 The eleventh mountain was thickly wooded all over, and these trees were very productive, each adorned with various kinds of fruit, so that anyone who saw them wanted to eat of their fruit. And the twelfth mountain was completely white, and its appearance was very bright, and the mountain in and of itself was extraordinarily beautiful.

 

Götter im Wald

Maynard Solomon, "The Quest for Faith," Beethoven Essays (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988; rpt. 1996), pp. 216-229 (at 219, notes omitted):
There seems little doubt that Beethoven's worship of nature had deeply religious overtones. This worship went far beyond the conventional pastoral and arcadian evocations characteristic of the followers of Rousseau and Schiller to border upon religious fervor: "Every tree in the countryside said to me: 'Holy! Holy!' In the forest, enchantment! Who can express it all?" Even more explicit is the passage on a leaf of sketches: "Almighty in the forest! I am happy, blissful in the forest: every tree speaks through you, O God! What splendor! In such a woodland scene, on the heights there is calm, calm in which to serve Him."
Seneca, Letters to Lucilius 41.3 (tr. Richard M. Gummere):
If ever you have come upon a grove that is full of ancient trees which have grown to an unusual height, shutting out a view of the sky by a veil of pleached and intertwining branches, then the loftiness of the forest, the seclusion of the spot, and your marvel at the thick unbroken shade in the midst of the open spaces, will prove to you the presence of deity.

si tibi occurrerit vetustis arboribus et solitam altitudinem egressis frequens lucus et conspectum caeli densitate ramorum aliorum alios protegentium summovens, illa proceritas silvae et secretum loci et admiratio umbrae in aperto tam densae atque continuae fidem tibi numinis faciet.
John Milton, Elegy 5.131-134 (tr. Walter MacKellar):
The gods themselves are not slow to prefer the forests of earth to heaven,
and every grove has its own deity.
Long let each grove have its deity!
Leave not, O gods, your homes amid the trees.

Dii quoque non dubitant caelo praeponere silvas,
   Et sua quisque sibi numina lucus habet.
Et sua quisque diu sibi numina lucus habeto,
   Nec vos arborea, dii, precor, ite domo.
Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), Waldinneres bei Mondschein
(Berlin, Alte Nationalgalerie, accession number NG 12/92)

Thursday, May 06, 2021

 

Choice

Cicero, De Finibus 1.10.33 (tr. H. Rackham):
In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammelled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided.

nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio cumque nihil impedit quo minus id quod maxime placeat facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus.

Thomas Couture (1815-1879), Romains de la décadence
(Paris, Musée d'Orsay, inv. 3451)

 

Germany and Greece

A sonnet by August von Platen (1796-1835), tr. Reginald B. Cooke:
What have you by your Rhine and Ister here
That may enthrone you with the ancient Greek?
The newspaper, the journal, the critique,
Ministers of police — tobacco — beer!

You who have never known those sisters dear,
Freedom and Art, who, girdled, there would seek
To place upon their heads crowns which bespeak
Perfection — would you pedants Greeks appear?

Nay, all your efforts are but mockeries.
For Greece knew how to spread th' eternal sheen
Of beauty over everything. What is

The art of which your boasts have ever been?
In a great ocean of absurdities
A few ingenious swimmers may be seen!



Was habt ihr denn an euerm Rhein und Ister,
Um neben dem Hellenenvolk zu thronen?
Journale, Zeitungsblätter, Rezensionen,
Tabak und Bier und Polizeiminister!

Die nie ihr kanntet jene zwei Geschwister,
Freiheit und Kunst, die dort in schönern Zonen
Auf's Haupt sich setzen der Vollendung Kronen,
Ihr haltet euch für Griechen, ihr Philister?

Gestümpert habt ihr bloß nach vielen Seiten,
Da Griechenland der Schönheit ewigen Schimmer
Auf alles Seiende gewußt zu breiten.

Was ist die Kunst, mit der ihr prahlet immer?
In einem Ozean von Albernheiten
Erscheinen einige geniale Schwimmer!
My knowledge of German is meager but I wonder about "girdled" as a rendering of "in schönern Zonen". Zonen here seems to mean not belts or girdles but rather areas or regions. Could the poet mean that the Greek landscape, where the sisters Freedom and Art live, is more beautiful than the landscape by the Rhine and Danube rivers in Germany?

 

Afraid of Flies

Aristotle, Politics 7.1.4 (1323a; tr. C.D.C. Reeve):
For no one would call a person blessedly happy who has no shred of courage, temperance, justice, or practical wisdom, but is afraid of the flies buzzing around him, stops at nothing to gratify his appetite for food or drink, betrays his dearest friends for a pittance, and has a mind as foolish and prone to error as a child's or a madman's.

οὐδεὶς γὰρ ἂν φαίη μακάριον τὸν μηθὲν μόριον ἔχοντα ἀνδρείας μηδὲ σωφροσύνης μηδὲ δικαιοσύνης μηδὲ φρονήσεως, ἀλλὰ δεδιότα μὲν τὰς παραπετομένας μυίας, ἀπεχόμενον δὲ μηθενός, ἂν ἐπιθυμήσῃ τοῦ φαγεῖν ἢ πιεῖν, τῶν ἐσχάτων, ἕνεκα δὲ τεταρτημορίου διαφθείροντα τοὺς φιλτάτους φίλους, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὰ περὶ τὴν διάνοιαν οὕτως ἄφρονα καὶ διεψευσμένον ὥσπερ τι παιδίον ἢ μαινόμενον.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

 

A Misprint

W.J. Watts, "Race Prejudice in the Satires of Juvenal," Acta Classica 19 (1976) 83-104 (at 84):
The satirist undoubtedly grouped mankind into three categories:
                                                    ad hoc se
Romanus Gaiusque et barbarus induperator
erexit.                                           (X 137-9)
For Gaiusque read Graiusque.

Labels:


 

The Drudgery of the Pedagogue

H.T. Riley, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Quotations, Proverbs, Maxims, and Mottos (London: George Bell & Sons, 1891), p. 543:
Οἱ αὐτοὶ περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν αὐτοῖς τὰ αὐτά.—"The same persons saying the same things to the same persons, about the same things." A proverbial saying quoted by Grangaeus, a commentator on Juvenal, illustrative of the drudgery of the pedagogue. Observe the declension of αὐτός in the Nominative, Genitive, Dative, and Accusative cases.
I don't have access to Grangaeus' commentary on Juvenal (Paris, 1614), but see Isaac Casaubon, ed., D. Iunii Iuvenalis Aquinatis Satyrae... (Leiden: Apud Petrum Vander, 1695), p. 208 (on Juvenal 7.153 eadem cantabit versibus isdem), where this Greek sentence is quoted out of Grangaeus.

 

Delicta Maiorum Immeritus Lues, Guglielme

Robert Tombs, "The daftest lecture in wokery yet: Iconic Prime Minister William Gladstone loathed slavery. But because his father once owned them, Liverpool University has replaced his name on a building with a communist activist," Daily Mail (May 4, 2021).

Cf. Horace, Odes 3.6.1 (tr. Niall Rudd):
Though guiltless, you will continue to pay for the sins of your forefathers...

Delicta maiorum immeritus lues...
Or, in Gladstone's own translation:
Thy father's crimes, though guiltless, thou shalt rue...
Hat tip: A friend.

 

Motto

Vergil, Aeneid 7.56 (avis atavisque potens) might make a good family motto, unless one considers that the hero to whom it refers, Turnus, came to a bad end. Translators seem reluctant to render it literally, e.g. Theodore C. Williams (of a line of mighty sires), H. Rushton Fairclough (of long and lofty ancestry), J.W. Mackail (of long and lordly ancestry), Robert Fagles (strong in his noble birth and breeding), Nicholas Horsfall (strong in his line of forbears [sic, read forebears]).

Allen Mandelbaum comes closer (he had mighty grandfathers and great-grandfathers), although he transfers the adjective away from Turnus to his ancestors. Although atavus (whence English atavism, atavistic) can mean any remote ancestor (Oxford Latin Dictionary, sense 2, citing Vergil's phrase), strictly speaking it means great-great-great-grandfather (id., sense 1), and so I would translate the phrase, in my pedantic fashion, as mighty in his grandfathers and great-great-great-grandfathers.

See the list of ancestral kinship terms in Plautus, Persa 57 (tr. Paul Nixon):
My father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, great- great-great-grandfather, and his father, too...

pater, avos, proavos, abavos, atavos, tritavos...
On this line from Plautus see Alessandro Buccheri, "The metaphorical structuring of kinship in Latin," in William Michael Short, ed., Embodiment in Latin Semantics (Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2016), pp. 141-175 (at 155-160).

With Vergil's combination avis atavisque compare Varro, Menippean Satires, fragment 63 Astbury = 69 Cèbe (avi et atavi nostri...).

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

 

Beyond the Grave

Pindar, Olympian Odes 8.77-80 (tr. Anthony Verity):
Even the dead have a share
in duly enacted rites,
and the dust does not hide from them
their kinsmen's prized success.

ἔστι δὲ καί τι θανόντεσσιν μέρος
κὰν νόμον ἐρδομένων·
κατακρύπτει δ᾽ οὐ κόνις
συγγόνων κεδνὰν χάριν.
The same, tr. Richmond Lattimore:
Even they that are dead have some share
of things done in the true way;
nor does the dust obscure
the grace of their kinsmen's virtue.
Basil L. Gildersleeve ad loc.:
78. κάν = κατά. ἐρδομένων: The MSS. have ἐρδομένον, which is harsh. The expression κατὰ νόμον ἔρδειν is sacrificial. So Ηes. Theog. 416: καὶ γὰρ νῦν, ὅτε πού τις ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων | ἔρδων ἱερὰ καλὰ κατὰ νόμον ἱλάσκηται. τὰ νόμιμα, iusta, often of funeral rites.—79. οὐ κόνις: On the free position of the neg., see O. 1, 81.—80. συγγόνων κεδνὰν χάριν: The dust does not hide (from the dead) the noble grace of (their living) kinsmen. As the dead are not insensible of rites paid in their honor, so they are not blind to the glory gained by their kindred.

Monday, May 03, 2021

 

Marathon

Simonides (?), fragment 4a (tr. David Sider):
The Athenians, first among the Greek fighters at Marathon,
laid low the might of the Medes in their golden apparel.

Ἑλλήνων προμαχοῦντες Ἀθηναῖοι Μαραθῶνι
   χρυσοφόρων Μήδων ἐστόρεσαν δύναμιν.
ἐστόρεσαν: see Liddell-Scott-Jones (9th ed., p. 1650), s.v. στόρνυμι, sense 2b: level, lay low. The word is cognate with Latin sterno, English strew.

See D.L. Page, Further Greek Epigrams (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 226-231.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

 

Misrule

Sophocles, fragment 683 (tr. A.C. Pearson):
That city can never attain to safety, in which justice and virtue are trampled under heel; while a babbler directs the state, with the goad of mischief in his hands.

οὐ γάρ ποτ' ἂν γένοιτ' ἂν ἀσφαλὴς πόλις
ἐν ᾗ τὰ μὲν δίκαια καὶ τὰ σώφρονα
λάγδην πατεῖται, κωτίλος δ᾿ ἀνὴρ λαβὼν
πανοῦργα χερσὶ κέντρα κηδεύει πόλιν.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

 

Almonaster la Real

A friend just emerged from four months of lockdown. He sent me these photographs from his first post-lockdown trip, to Almonaster la Real:

 

Allies

Homer, Iliad 9.613-615 (tr. Richmond Lattimore):
                                                        It does not become you
to love this man, for fear you turn hateful to me, who love you.
It should be your pride with me to hurt whoever shall hurt me.

                                                   οὐδέ τί σε χρὴ
τὸν φιλέειν, ἵνα μή μοι ἀπέχθηαι φιλέοντι.
καλόν τοι σὺν ἐμοὶ τὸν κήδειν ὅς κ᾽ ἐμὲ κήδῃ.
Bryan Hainsworth on line 615:
The verse has a proverbial and 'Hesiodic' ring (cf. Erga 353-4 τὸν φιλέοντα φιλεῖν, καὶ τῷ προσιόντι προσεῖναι | καὶ δόμεν ὅς κεν δῷ, καὶ μὴ δόμεν ὅς κεν μὴ δῷ), but cannot be proverbial as it stands, for καλός is unusual in the epic as a moral term, cf. Adkins, Merit and Responsibility 43-4.
Hesiod, Works and Days 353-354 (tr. Glenn W. Most):
Be friendly to your friend, and go visit those who visit you.
And give to him who gives and do not give to him who does not give.

 

Gone

Goethe, Faust, Part II, lines 11336-11337 (tr. David Luke):
Something lovely to behold
Has vanished like an old tale told.

Was sich sonst dem Blick empfohlen,
Mit Jahrhunderten ist hin.
Literally:
That which once recommended itself to the gaze
With the centuries is gone.
Calvin Thomas glosses mit Jahrhunderten as Jahrhunderte lang, in which case mit Jahrhunderten ist hin = has been gone for centuries.

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