Wednesday, January 31, 2024


Seek and Ye Shall Find

Chaeremon, fragment 21 (tr. Thomas Sims):
There is nothing among mankind that
is not found out in time by those who search for it.

οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδὲν τῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποις, ὅ τι
οὐκ ἐν χρόνῳ ζητοῦσι γ’ ἐξευρίσκεται.
Terence, Heauton Timorumenos 675 (tr. John Barsby):
There's nothing so hard to find that it can't be tracked down if you look for it.

nil tam difficilest quin quaerendo investigari possiet.

Looking further, I find the following collection of parallels in A.C. Pearson, ed., The Fragments of Sophocles, Vol. III (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1917), p. 56:



Homer, Odyssey 7.307 (tr. Emily Wilson):
We humans on this earth / are apt to be suspicious.

δύσζηλοι γάρ τ᾽ εἰμὲν ἐπὶ χθονὶ φῦλ᾽ ἀνθρώπων.
Cambridge Greek Lexicon s.v. δύσζηλος, sense 1:
(of persons) perh., apt to put a bad construction on things, suspicious Od.
A.T. Murray translates δύσζηλοι as quick to anger. Likewise W. Walter Merry and James Riddell in their commentary. The word occurs only here in Homer.

A.F Garvie ad loc.:
The epithet does not become common until late Greek. Even ζῆλος and ζηλόω are not used in Il. or Od. LSJ translate 'exceeding jealous', which corresponds with the meaning of ζῆλος (-όω) after H.; cf. h. Dem. 168, 223, h. Ap. 100. But jealousy hardly fits the context of Alcinous' anger at his daughter's breach of propriety. If ζηλόω and φθονέω (for which see 6.68n.) are already synonymous, 'grudging' is a better translation. Cf. 5.118 ζηλήμονες, the only other occurrence in H. of a word from this family, where Calypso complains that the gods grudge (ἀγάασσθε) that goddesses should sleep with men. Merry and Riddell explain '(-ζέω), quick to anger, touchy', and it may have been thus understood by A.R. 4.1089 λίην γὰρ δύσζηλοι ἑαῖς ἐπὶ παισὶ τοκῆες. But the derivation from ζέω, 'boil', 'seethe', is dubious.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024


My Current Mood

William Billings (1746-1800), "Chester," The Singing Master's Assistant, or, Key to Practical Music (Boston: Draper and Folsom, 1778), number 12 (click once or twice to enlarge):
Let tyrants shake their iron rod,
And Slav’ry clank her galling chains,
We fear them not, we trust in God,
New England’s God forever reigns.

Howe and Burgoyne and Clinton too,
With Prescot and Cornwallis join’d,
Together plot our Overthrow,
In one Infernal league combin’d.

When God inspir’d us for the fight,
Their ranks were broke, their lines were forc’d,
Their ships were Shatter’d in our sight,
Or swiftly driven from our Coast.

The Foe comes on with haughty Stride;
Our troops advance with martial noise,
Their Vet’rans flee before our Youth,
And Gen’rals yield to beardless Boys.

What grateful Off’ring shall we bring?
What shall we render to the Lord?
Loud Halleluiahs let us Sing,
And praise his name on ev’ry Chord.

A spirited rendering:


I Will Belch Forth Things That Have Been Hidden

Psalms 78:2, from
Brown-Driver-Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (1953; rpt. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962), p. 615, s.v. נָבַע, sense 3 (with Psalm 78:2 listed under this meaning on p. 616):
fig., usually of speech, pour forth, emit, belch forth.
LXX Ps 77(78):2:
ἀνοίξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὸ στόμα μου,
φθέγξομαι προβλήματα ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς.
Vulgate Ps 77(78):2:
aperiam in parabula os meum,
loquar enigmata antiqua.
Matthew 13:35 (KJV):
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
I will open my mouth in parables;
I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

ὅπως πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος·
Ἀνοίξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὸ στόμα μου,
ἐρεύξομαι κεκρυμμένα ἀπὸ καταβολῆς [κόσμου].
Matthew 13:35 (Vulgate):
ut impleretur quod dictum erat per prophetam dicentem:
Aperiam in parabolis os meum;
eructabo abscondita a constitutione mundi.
Robert H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), p. 270:
In the second line of the quotation we read ἐρεύξομαι, "I will belch forth" (a figure for verbal utterance), instead of φθέγξομαι, "I will utter" (so the LXX). Matthew's is a literal translation of אַבִּ֥יעָה and a closer parallel to the opening of the mouth in the preceding line.
Hat tip: Joel Eidsath, who notes: "Glancing at modern translations, I see that only Jerome has had the courage to translate Matthew literally with 'eructabo'."

Thanks to Eric Thomson for pointing out that eructabo and variants already occur in the Itala. See Adolf Jülicher, Itala: das Neue Testament in altlateinischer Überlieferung, Bd. I: Matthäus-Evangelium (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1938), p. 90:
Related posts:

Monday, January 29, 2024



Terence, Andria 425-427 (tr. John Barsby):
You can't trust anyone in anything!
It's quite true what they say:
every man looks to his own interest rather than his neighbour's.

nullane in re esse quoiquam homini fidem!
verum illud verbumst, volgo quod dici solet,
omnis sibi malle melius esse quam alteri.
Euripides, Medea 86 (tr. David Kovacs):
Each man loves himself more than his neighbor.

πᾶς τις αὑτὸν τοῦ πέλας μᾶλλον φιλεῖ.
Menandri Sententiae 814, p. 80 Jaekel (my translation):
No one loves another more than himself.

φιλεῖ δ ̓ ἑαυτοῦ πλεῖον οὐδεὶς οὐδένα.
See W.A. Heidel, "Charity That Begins at Home," American Journal of Philology 30.2 (1909) 196-198, to which I owe the Greek parallels. See also P.R. Coleman-Norton, "Philosophical Aspects of Early Roman Drama," Classical Philology 31.4 (October, 1936) 320-337 (self-interest on p. 333).

Related posts:


Copying as an Aid to Understanding

Joseph Edward Harry (1863-1949), Greek Tragedy: Emendations, Interpretations and Critical Notes, Vol. I: Aeschylus and Sophocles (New York: Columbia University Press, 1933), p. xii:
The greatest encouragement I received from Gilbert Murray and from my friends and colleagues at the Sorbonne—Croiset, Girard, and Haussoullier. To their kind words and heartening letters I owe more than to anything else, for they stimulated me to continue in the delicate but gigantic task of constituting the text of the "Great Three" and of publishing an annotated edition of the supreme dramatic artists of the world. To do this properly, I was obliged to transcribe the thirty-three plays in my own handwriting, so as to become more familiar with the style, syntax, and vocabulary of each, and to leave ample space for my corrections of the text and for marginal notes. That Demosthenes copied Thucydides eight times is probably fiction; but we know that Charles Nodier copied the whole of Rabelais three times in manuscript, in order to learn something about the use of his native tongue.
Id., p. xv:
The sharp criticism of those working in the same field and the biting sarcasm, not to say snappishness, in which a few of the viri docti eique haud ignobiles in England and Germany, and sometimes in America, are wont to indulge, is out of place in the sphere of classical scholarship; it savors too much of the savants that Rabelais liked to satirize: "Dost thou think thou'rt in the wilderness of your foolish university, wrangling and bawling among the idle wandering searchers and hunters after truth?" Courage of conviction is not incompatible with urbanity of good breeding.

Sunday, January 28, 2024


Who Are We to Demur?

Augustine, Sermons 112.7 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 647; tr. Edmund Hill, with his notes):
We for our part have perceived nothing about the Lord at all through these outer senses; we have heard with our hearing, and believed with our hearts;15 and what we have heard didn't come from his own mouth but from the mouths of his preachers, from the mouths of those who were already dining with him, and inviting us to join them by belching their appreciation.16

15. See Rom 10:8.17.

16. So if Augustine liked to think of his own preaching as a kind of belching, who are we to demur?

Nos nihil istis exterioribus sensibus a Domino percepimus; auditu audivimus, corde credidimus; et ipsum auditum non ab illius ore, sed ab ore praedicatorum eius, ab ore illorum qui iam cœnabant et nos ructando invitabant.
Cf. LXX Ps. 44(45).1 ἐξηρεύξατο ἡ καρδία μου λόγον ἀγαθόν (Vulg. eructavit cor meum verbum bonum), and Alexander Souter, A Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1949), p. 128:
eruct(u)o (= κατασκεδάννυμι), give forth, bring forth; utter, declare.
Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, s.v. eructo (5,2.827):
Related posts:


An Unwelcome Lesson

Sophocles, Electra 395-396 (tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones):
Do not try to teach me to be disloyal to my own!
It is not that that I am trying to teach you, but to yield to those in power.

μή μ᾿ ἐκδίδασκε τοῖς φίλοις εἶναι κακήν.
ἀλλ᾿ οὐ διδάσκω· τοῖς κρατοῦσι δ᾿ εἰκαθεῖν.

396 εἰκαθεῖν Elmsley: εἰκάθειν codd.
Note the compound/simplex verbal iteration (ἐκδίδασκε...διδάσκω), unmentioned by P.J. Finglass and J.C. Kamerbeek in their commentaries. See


The Glorious Gifts of the Gods

Homer, Odyssey 7.112-132 (tr. A.T. Murray):
But without the courtyard, hard by the door, is a great orchard
of four acres, and a hedge runs about it on either side.
Therein grow trees, tall and luxuriant,
pears and pomegranates and apple-trees with their bright fruit,         115
and sweet figs, and luxuriant olives.
Of these the fruit perishes not nor fails
in winter or in summer, but lasts throughout the year; and ever
does the west wind, as it blows, quicken to life some fruits, and ripen others;
pear upon pear waxes ripe, apple upon apple,         120
cluster upon cluster, and fig upon fig.
There, too, is his fruitful vineyard planted,
one part of which, a warm spot on level ground,
is being dried in the sun, while other grapes men are gathering,
and others, too, they are treading; but in front are unripe grapes        125
that are shedding the blossom, and others that are turning purple.
There again, by the last row of the vines, grow trim garden beds
of every sort, blooming the year through,
and therein are two springs, one of which sends its water throughout all the garden, while the other, over against it, flows beneath the threshold of the court         130
toward the high house; from this the townsfolk drew their water.
Such were the glorious gifts of the gods in the palace of Alcinous.

ἔκτοσθεν δ᾽ αὐλῆς μέγας ὄρχατος ἄγχι θυράων
τετράγυος· περὶ δ᾽ ἕρκος ἐλήλαται ἀμφοτέρωθεν.
ἔνθα δὲ δένδρεα μακρὰ πεφύκασι τηλεθόωντα,
ὄγχναι καὶ ῥοιαὶ καὶ μηλέαι ἀγλαόκαρποι        115
συκέαι τε γλυκεραὶ καὶ ἐλαῖαι τηλεθόωσαι.
τάων οὔ ποτε καρπὸς ἀπόλλυται οὐδ᾽ ἀπολείπει
χείματος οὐδὲ θέρευς, ἐπετήσιος· ἀλλὰ μάλ᾽ αἰεὶ
Ζεφυρίη πνείουσα τὰ μὲν φύει, ἄλλα δὲ πέσσει.
ὄγχνη ἐπ᾽ ὄγχνῃ γηράσκει, μῆλον δ᾽ ἐπὶ μήλῳ,        120
αὐτὰρ ἐπὶ σταφυλῇ σταφυλή, σῦκον δ᾽ ἐπὶ σύκῳ.
ἔνθα δέ οἱ πολύκαρπος ἀλωὴ ἐρρίζωται,
τῆς ἕτερον μὲν θειλόπεδον λευρῷ ἐνὶ χώρῳ
τέρσεται ἠελίῳ, ἑτέρας δ᾽ ἄρα τε τρυγόωσιν,
ἄλλας δὲ τραπέουσι· πάροιθε δέ τ᾽ ὄμφακές εἰσιν        125
ἄνθος ἀφιεῖσαι, ἕτεραι δ᾽ ὑποπερκάζουσιν.
ἔνθα δὲ κοσμηταὶ πρασιαὶ παρὰ νείατον ὄρχον
παντοῖαι πεφύασιν, ἐπηετανὸν γανόωσαι·
ἐν δὲ δύω κρῆναι ἡ μέν τ᾽ ἀνὰ κῆπον ἅπαντα
σκίδναται, ἡ δ᾽ ἑτέρωθεν ὑπ᾽ αὐλῆς οὐδὸν ἵησι        130
πρὸς δόμον ὑψηλόν, ὅθεν ὑδρεύοντο πολῖται.
τοῖ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἐν Ἀλκινόοιο θεῶν ἔσαν ἀγλαὰ δῶρα.



Joshua T. Katz, "The importance of Homer," The New Criterion (February 2024):
I believe in reading original texts when possible—please, go learn Greek and Latin and other foreign languages if you don't already know them—but there is no doubt that a good translation, with just the right turn of phrase, can be illuminating even to someone who does not need it.

Saturday, January 27, 2024


An Ox on My Tongue Revisited

Aeschylus, Agamemnon 36-39 (tr. Herbert Weir Smyth):
For the rest I'm dumb; a great ox stands upon my tongue—yet the house itself, could it but speak, might tell a tale full plain; since, for my part, of mine own choice I have words for such as know, and to those who know not I've lost my memory.

τὰ δ' ἀλλὰ σιγῶ· βοῦς ἐπὶ γλώσσῃ μέγας
βέβηκεν· οἶκος δ' αὐτός, εἰ φθογγὴν λάβοι,
σαφέστατ' ἂν λέξειεν· ὡς ἑκὼν ἐγὼ
μαθοῦσιν αὐδῶ κοὐ μαθοῦσι λήθομαι.
John Ferguson, A Companion to Greek Tragedy (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1972; rpt. 1973), pp. 76-77:
He says, in picturesque language (36), "There's an ox on my tongue." He means, as the Greek commentator Zenobius tells us, that, as money talks, so also money (stamped with the image of the ox that represented wealth, as the Latin pecunia) can buy silence.
John Ferguson, Aeschylus, The Oresteia (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1979), p. 26:
A Greek commentator tells us that the ox signifies money. stamped with the image of the ox which represented wealth, i.e. money makes him hold his tongue. The English word 'pecuniary' comes from a Latin word of similar derivation. (I personally trust the Greek commentator against those modern scholars who reject his evidence and think that it is a homely proverb.)
In his sneer against "modern scholars" Ferguson probably had in mind Eduard Fraenkel, who in his commentary on Agamemnon (vol. II, p. 23) said:
The attempt at an explanation (βοῦς = money) found in Pollux 9.61, in the Paroemiographi (Diogenianus 3.48, i.223 Leutsch-Schneidcwin; cf. the passage quoted in their note), in Hesychius s.v. βοῦς ἐπὶ γλώσσηι (in the second place), and in Schol. BD on Homer Φ 79, is fatuous.
Likewise Liddell-Scott-Jones, s.v. , sense VIII:
wrongly expld. by Zen. 2.70, etc., of bribery with coins bearing type of ox.
Related post: An Ox on My Tongue.

Hat tip: Carl-Robert Boström.

Friday, January 26, 2024


A Teaching Technique

Roger Shattuck, "Starting from Scratch," The American Scholar 69.4 (Autumn 2000) 47-56 (at 51-52):
It has taken me forty-plus years of teaching to discover that the best way for me to begin a literature course, undergraduate or graduate, is to have the students copy a passage (or take it from dictation), read it aloud, paraphrase it, and then read the paraphrase aloud.



Homer, Odyssey 7.32-33 (tr. A.T. Murray):
For the men here endure not stranger-folk,
nor do they give kindly welcome to him who comes from another land.

οὐ γὰρ ξείνους οἵδε μάλ᾽ ἀνθρώπους ἀνέχονται,
οὐδ᾽ ἀγαπαζόμενοι φιλέουσ᾽ ὅς κ᾽ ἄλλοθεν ἔλθῃ.


The Five Senses

Augustine, Sermons 112.3 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, cols. 644-645; tr. Edmund Hill):
Now there are people, far removed from the faith, given to earthly concerns, of a materialistic cast of mind; they refuse to believe anything but what they can perceive with these five senses of the body. Indeed it is in its senses that they posit the standards for all truth. "I," he says, "don't believe anything except what I can see. There you have the sum of my knowledge, there you have my science. It's white, it's black. It's round, it's square, it's this or that color; I perceive it, I know it, I grasp it; nature herself teaches me. It's a voice, my senses tell me it's a voice. It sings well, sings badly, is pleasant, is hoarse. I perceive it, I know it, it has reached me. It smells nice, smells nasty; I sense it, I know it. This is sweet, this is bitter, this salty, this insipid; what more you can tell me, I don't know. I perceive by touch what is hard, what is soft, what is smooth, what is rough, what's hot, what's cold. What more are you going to show me?"

Sunt autem homines remoti a fide, terrenis dediti, carnalibus occupati; nolunt credere aliquid, nisi quod isto sensu corporis quinquepartito percipiunt. In eius vero sensibus totius veritatis sibi regulas ponunt. Non, inquit, credo ego, nisi quod video; ecce quod novi, ecce quod scio. Album est, nigrum est, rotundum est, quadrum est, sic vel sic coloratum est; novi, scio, teneo; natura ipsa me docet. Non cogor credere, quod mihi non potest ostendere. Vox est: sentio, quia vox est; bene cantat, male cantat, suavis est, raucus est; novi, scio, pervenit ad me. Bene olet, male olet: sentio, scio. Hoc dulce est, hoc amarum; hoc salsum, hoc fatuum est; quid mihi plus dicas, nescio. Tangendo novi, quid durum sit, quid molle sit, quid lene sit, quid asperum sit, quid caleat, quid frigeat; quid mihi plus demonstraturus es?
Related post: No, Plato, No.

Thursday, January 25, 2024


Away With Strife

James Hankins, Political Meritocracy in Renaissance Italy: The Virtuous Republic of Francesco Patrizi of Siena (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2023), p. 34, with note on p. 354:
Around this time, when he was still living in Tranchedini’s villa, Patrizi wrote a poem expressing his desire for a quiet life and an end to political involvements. The poem, entitled “De vita quieta,” was dedicated to Goro Lolli, now Pius II’s private secretary.
Este procul, miserae ciuilis praelia rixae,
urbibus exitium magnis extremaque labes!
Sit procul ambitio rabidaeque insomnia mentis,
dum studet optatos tribuat plebecula fasces
atque soporiferae per saeua silentia noctis
murmure sollicito repetit discrimina rerum.

Away with the strife of wretched civic quarrels,
The ultimate corruption and ruin of great cities!
Away with ambition and the nightmares of a rabid mind
Scheming for the rabble to give it the power it longs for,
And through the fierce stillness of sleep-bearing night
Seeks crisis after crisis, driven by their agitated cries.50
50. Poem. 3.3; the text is in Avesani 1968, 63.
Avesani = Avesani, Rino. 1968. “Epaeneticorum ad Pium II Pont: Max. libri V.” In Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Papa Pio II: Atti del convegno per il quinto centenario della morte, e altri scritti, edited by Domenico Maffei, 15–97. Siena: Accademia Senese degli Intronati.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024


Clutter and Memory

James J. O'Donnell, Avatars of the Word: From Papyrus to Cyberspace (1998; rpt. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), pp. 4-5:
Jerome once ran across a Greek word in a text, and wrote to a friend that he remembered seeing that word only twice elsewhere, once in scripture, once in an apocryphal religious work. As it happens, he was correct: the three passages he knew are the only places (still) where we know that word to have been used in the written legacy of Greek literature. Hearing that story, I marvel at the powers of Jerome's memory, knowing that as a modern scholar with some similar interests in scripture and translation, I would never dare to say such a thing. I attribute this to the distractedness of my education, as well as my inability to read and retain everything that I would like to, but, at bottom, I have a suspicion that in those days people trained their memories to be better than ours are and that weakling reliance on the printed word has sapped our powers of memory.

Another way of looking at it is to say that Jerome's advantage over me lies in the emptiness of his textual memory, not its fullness. He did not have whole ranges of synapses cluttered with lyrics from popular songs of thirty years ago, and other ranges filled with the commands needed to use word processing software already a decade old and obsolete, nor yet again banks of memory taken up with a flood of paperback fiction and nonfiction read on trains, in bed, and on idle Sunday afternoons. If you have read many fewer words in your life, and perhaps read those fewer words over and over again, surely it is easier to remember more of them.
William M. Calder III, "C.M. Bowra on W.S. Barrett: An Unpublished Testimonium," Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 45 (2005) 213–217, at n. 6 on p. 215, quoting a remark by Joshua Whatmough to his students in a class on Greek dialectal inscriptions:
Forgive me if I do not remember your names. To remember them would cause me to forget something more important.



Sophocles, Electra 339-340 (Chrysothemis to her sister Electra; tr. Richard C. Jebb):
But if I am to live in freedom, our rulers must be obeyed in all things.

                                       εἰ δ᾽ ἐλευθέραν με δεῖ
ζῆν, τῶν κρατούντων ἐστὶ πάντ᾽ ἀκουστέα.
J.C. Kamerbeek ad loc.:
ἐλευθέραν implies that in her opinion Electra lives the life of a δούλη (which outwardly she does); her notion of ἐλευθερία is limited to the possibility of enjoying the material advantages of a princess.
Cf. Epictetus, Discourses 4.1.1 (tr. W.A. Oldfather):
He is free who lives as he wills, who is subject neither to compulsion, nor hindrance, nor force, whose choices are unhampered, whose desires attain their end, whose aversions do not fall into what they would avoid.

ἐλεύθερός ἐστιν ὁ ζῶν ὡς βούλεται, ὃν οὔτ᾽ ἀναγκάσαι ἔστιν οὔτε κωλῦσαι οὔτε βιάσασθαι, οὗ αἱ ὁρμαὶ ἀνεμπόδιστοι, αἱ ὀρέξεις ἐπιτευκτικαί, αἱ ἐκκλίσεις ἀπερίπτωτοι.
P.J. Finglass on Chrysothemis' words:

Tuesday, January 23, 2024


More Fragile Than Glass

Augustine, Sermons 109.1 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 636; tr. Edmund Hill):
We are at constant risk from accidents. We would have less to fear from accidents if we were made of glass. What could be more fragile than a glass vessel? And yet it can be preserved and last for centuries. Glass, after all, even though it is liable to accidents, doesn't have to fear old age and fever. So we are even more fragile and weak; because on the one hand our fragility is threatened every day by the accidents which never stop happening in human affairs; and on the other hand, even if no accidents occur, time marches on; you may avoid a fatal blow, will you avoid your final exit? You may avoid things happening to you from without, can you fend off what starts from within? In a word, now your innards may breed tapeworms, now any kind of disease may suddenly attack you; finally, however long you may be spared, old age comes along eventually, and there is nowhere to shunt it off to.

Inter casus ambulamus. Si vitrei essemus, minus casus timeremus. Quid fragilius vase vitreo? Et tamen servatur, et durat per saecula. Etsi enim casus vitreo vasi timentur, senectus ei et febris non timetur. Nos ergo fragiliores et infirmiores sumus: quia et casus omnes qui non cessant in rebus humanis, fragilitate utique nostra quotidie formidamus; et si ipsi casus non accedant, tempus ambulat: vitat homo ictum, numquid vitat exitum? vitat quae extrinsecus eveniunt, numquid quod intus nascitur pellitur? Denique nunc lumbricos gignunt interiora, nunc morbus quilibet subito occupat: postremo quantumvis homini parcatur, novissime senectus cum venerit, non est quo differatur.
Roman glass cup (Turin, Museo di Antichità, no. 3302)


Mourning Becomes Electra

Sophocles, Electra 236-250 (Electra speaking; tr. David Grene):
What is the natural measure of my sorrow?
Come, how when the dead are in question
can it be honorable to forget?
In what human being is this instinctive?
Never may I have honor among such people,
nor, if I encounter any good thing,
may I live at ease with it, by restraining
the wings of shrill lament to my father's dishonor!
For if he that is dead
is earth and nothing,
lying in misery,
and they shall never in their turn
pay death for murderous death,
then shall all shame be dead
and all men's piety.

καὶ τί μέτρον κακότατος ἔφυ; φέρε,
πῶς ἐπὶ τοῖς φθιμένοις ἀμελεῖν καλόν;
ἐν τίνι τοῦτ᾽ ἔβλαστ᾽ ἀνθρώπων;
μήτ᾽ εἴην ἔντιμος τούτοις
μήτ᾽, εἴ τῳ πρόσκειμαι χρηστῷ,        240
ξυνναίοιμ᾽ εὔκηλος, γονέων
ἐκτίμους ἴσχουσα πτέρυγας
ὀξυτόνων γόων.
εἰ γὰρ ὁ μὲν θανὼν γᾶ τε καὶ οὐδὲν ὢν         245
κείσεται τάλας,
οἱ δὲ μὴ πάλιν
δώσουσ᾽ ἀντιφόνους δίκας,
ἔρροι τ᾽ ἂν αἰδὼς
ἁπάντων τ᾽ εὐσέβεια θνατῶν.        250

241 γονέων codd.: γονέως Morstadt
249 τ᾽ ἂν codd.: τἂν (i.e. τοι + ἂν per crasin) Martin
Hugh Lloyd-Jones and Nigel G. Wilson, Sophocles: Second Thoughts (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1997 = Hypomnemata, 100), p. 32:
In 241 Morstadt conjectured γονέως, feeling that only one of Electra's parents could be in question. But the generalising plural can be defended; Blaydes (on p.284 of his edition of 1873) cited 146, and E., Hec. 403, where Polyxena says to Odysseus, with reference to her mother, χάλα τοκεῦσιν εἰκότως θυμουμένοις. Still, Electra's relations with her two parents are so diverse that Morstadt's conjecture has to be considered.

Monday, January 22, 2024



Jacob Burckhardt, The Age of Constantine the Great, tr. Moses Hadas (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Limited, 1949), p. 240:
Did not antiquity exaggerate the importance of education in discourse and writing? Would it not have done better to fill the heads of boys and young men with useful realities? The answer is that we have no right to make a decision as long as formlessness in discourse and writing persists among us everywhere, as long as perhaps barely one of a hundred of our educated men possesses any notion of the true art of periodic structure. To the ancients, rhetoric and its collateral sciences were the indispensable complement to their norm of beautiful and free existence, to their arts and their poetry. Modern life has higher principles and aims in some respects, but it is uneven and disharmonious. What is most beautiful and delicate in it is found alongside the crudest barbarism. And our multitudinous preoccupations do not leave us leisure to take offense at the contradictions.



Galen, Quod Animi Mores Corporis Temperamenta Sequantur (The Faculties of the Soul follow the Mixtures of the Body), Kühn, vol. IV, p. 822 (tr. John E.B. Mayor):
Among the Scythians there arose one philosopher, at Athens many; on the other hand at Abdera there are many fools, but few at Athens.

ἐν Σκύθαις μὲν γὰρ εἷς ἀνὴρ ἐγένετο φιλόσοφος, Ἀθήνῃσι δὲ πολλοὶ τοιοῦτοι. πάλιν δ’ ἐν Ἀβδήροις ἀσύνετοι πολλοὶ, τοιοῦτοι δ’ Ἀθήνῃσιν ὀλίγοι.
The Scythian philosopher was Anacharsis.



Paintings by Georg Friedrich Kersting (1785-1847):

Reinhardts Studierstube (Berlin, Alte Nationalgalerie, id. no. NG 27/63):
Lesender Mann beim Lampenlicht (Winterthur, Kunst Museum, acc. no. 232):
Der elegante Leser (Weimar, Schlossmuseum, inv. no. G 50 b):
Faust im Studierzimmer (Berlin, private collection):

Sunday, January 21, 2024


A Rare Latin Diminutive

The Latin word sumpticulus doesn't occur in Lewis & Short, A Latin Dictionary. Here is the entry in Alexander Souter, A Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1949), p. 400:
sumpticulus, ~i, small funds (CYPR. epist. 13. 7 Bayard [cf. Hartel app. crit.]; AVG. serm. 356. 10).
To Souter's examples add the version of Augustine's sermon 101 published by A. Wilmart, "Le sermon de Saint Augustin sur les prédicateurs de l'Évangile," Revue Bénédictine 42 (1930) 301-315 (at 310, from section 5):
Portamus sacculum — fatemur — quando iter agimus; sumticulos in uia portamus.
Is it by chance that all three examples come from African writers?

Don't be misled by the example in C. Munier, ed., Concilia Africae A. 345 - A. 525 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1974 = Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina, 149), p. 280 — it's simply a quotation from Augustine's sermon 356 (cited by Souter).



Terence, Andria 305-306 (my translation):
Since what you want can't happen,
want what can.

quoniam non potest id fieri quod vis,
id velis quod possit.
Sidney G. Ashmore ad loc. compares a French saying:
Si on n'a pas ce que l'on aime, il faut aimer ce que l'on a.


A Necessary Tool

Ernst Robert Curtius (1886-1956), European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, tr. Willard E. Trask (1953; rpt. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), pp. 14-15:
But a book, apart from everything else, is a "text." One understands it or one does not understand it. Perhaps it contains "difficult" passages. One needs a technique to unravel them. Its name is philology. Since Literaturwissenschaft has to deal with texts, it is helpless without philology. No intuition and "essence-intuition" can supply the want of it.

Saturday, January 20, 2024


Human Flourishing

James Hankins, Political Meritocracy in Renaissance Italy: The Virtuous Republic of Francesco Patrizi of Siena (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2023), p. 3:
Patrizi's way of justifying rulership—as was only natural in an age of governments with weak claims to legitimacy—focused on achieving the ends of political power. The principal end of political power for Italian humanists was human flourishing and the goods associated with it. These included liberty, civil peace and order, security from foreign threats, material prosperity, and above all, virtue, meaning the full flourishing, physical and spiritual, of human beings.
Id., p. 4:
For Renaissance literati the greatest obstacle to full flourishing in political communities was the corruption of human nature and culture that had occurred after the fall of ancient Rome. In decayed modern times, power was too often found in the hands of persons driven by lust for wealth and status, men who abused their inherited power or diverted the shared resources of the community to benefit themselves at the expense of their fellow citizens.


A Beautiful Book

Augustine, Sermons 98.3 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 592; tr. Edmund Hill):
It's like people seeing the letters in a beautifully written codex, and unable to read; they are indeed full of praise for the copyist's hand and the beauty of the letters; but they haven't the slightest idea what those letters mean, what they have to say; they are admiring with their eyes, ignorant in their minds. Others, though, both praise the scribe's artistry and grasp the meaning—namely those who are able not only to see what is available to all, but also to read, which those who haven't learned how to can't do.

Quemadmodum qui videt litteras in codice optime scripto, et non novit legere, laudat quidem antiquarii manum admirans apicum pulchritudinem; sed quid sibi velint, quid indicent illi apices nescit; et est oculis laudator, mente non cognitor: alius autem et laudat artificium, et capit intellectum; ille utique qui non solum videre quod commune est omnibus potest, sed etiam legere; quod qui non didicit, non potest.
Oxford Latin Dictionary, s.v. apex, sense 5:
A mark placed over a vowel to show that it is long; the tip or angle forming part of a letter.
Lewis & Short, A Latin Dictionary, s.v. apex, sense D.2:
The forms or outlines of the letters.


A Stranger in a Strange Land

Homer, Odyssey 7.24-26 (tr. A.T. Murray):
For I am come hither a stranger sore-tried
from afar, from a distant country; wherefore I know no one
of the people who possess this city and land.

καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ ξεῖνος ταλαπείριος ἐνθάδ᾽ ἱκάνω
τηλόθεν ἐξ ἀπίης γαίης· τῷ οὔ τινα οἶδα        25
ἀνθρώπων, οἳ τήνδε πόλιν καὶ γαῖαν ἔχουσιν.

Friday, January 19, 2024



Seneca, Letters to Lucilius 26.1 (tr. Richard M. Gummere):
I was just lately telling you that I was within sight of old age. I am now afraid that I have left old age behind me. For some other word would now apply to my years, or at any rate to my body; since old age means a time of life that is weary rather than crushed. You may rate me in the worn-out class—of those who are nearing the end.

Modo dicebam tibi, in conspectu esse me senectutis; iam vereor, ne senectutem post me reliquerim. aliud iam his annis, certe huic corpori, vocabulum convenit, quoniam quidem senectus lassae aetatis, non fractae, nomen est; inter decrepitos me numera et extrema tangentis.
J.N. Adams, An Anthology of Informal Latin, 200 BC - AD 900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 231-233 (on decrepitus in Seneca, Letters to Lucilius 12.3):
[T]he adjective, of disputed etymology (see de Vaan 2008: 164), is applied particularly to old men (and sometimes women): see TLL V.1.218.14ff. It is found in both Plautus and Terence, and occasionally in literature over a long period, but does not survive in the Romance languages. It looks like an emotive, sometimes (as here) disparaging, term of the literary language.

Decrepitus is used five times of old men in Plautus, three times in asyndeton bimembre with uetus or uetulus, combinations that look stylised or ‘proverbial’ (see Preuss 1881: 9): Epid. 666 nos uetulos, decrepitos duos, Merc. 291 senex uetus, decrepitus, Merc. 314 uetulus, decrepitus senex. There are also two instances of decrepitus in Terence. The word occurs just once in the whole of Cicero (Tusc. 1.94), where he has it in reference to certain creatures (bestiolas quasdam) which according to Aristotle live for just one day. A creature which has lived to the eighth hour, prouecta aetate mortua est. One which lives until sunset, is decrepita. It is a stronger term than prouecta aetate here, and presumably than uetus/uetulus, expressing extreme decrepitude: in the three asyndeta above it follows uetus/uetulus, and the asyndeta are of that type in which the second term intensifies the first. Timpanaro (1978: 172) refers to the type as ‘asindeto accrescitivo’, as at Lucr. 1.557–8 longa diei | infinita aetas, ‘lunga, (anzi) infinita’, ‘the long, nay infinite, age of days’. The second term means much the same as the first but is stronger, almost a correction. Cf. Plaut. Bacch. 732 quid si potius morbum mortem scribat?, ‘What if he’s writing a greeting of illness and death to him instead?’ (de Melo, Loeb). Mortem caps morbum, though alternatively here there may be a sequential relationship, with death following disease (for this pair see Wölfflin 1933: 267).

Though decrepitus faded from literature, it was always available as a means of stressing extreme old age and/or unfitness for some task. It is even used (with the latter function) by Echion in Petronius in a notoriously substandard speech (45.11 dedit gladiatores sestertiarios iam decrepitos, quos si sufflasses cecidissent), which undermines any idea that the word was ‘archaic’ or the like.

At Aug. Conf. 9.8.17 there is the phrase famulae cuiusdam decrepitae, of an old slave of Augustine’s mother Monica. Burton (2007: 53) comments: ‘The old woman is broken down, decrepitus, an adjective in classical Latin rare outside comedy; there is some evidence of its revival in post-classical Latin, but it is likely to have remained in part at least a conscious archaism’ (cf. Summers 1910: 169 ‘a colloquial, probably old-fashioned word’). In a footnote (53 n. 33) Burton adds: ‘Plautus and Terence together provide seven of the eight Perseus instances. Most of the later examples in TLL 5.1.217–8 are from Christian authors, but Apuleius and Symmachus also feature.’

The phraseology in Seneca is not at all suggestive of the language of comedy, or of deliberate archaising. Seneca himself has a few other instances of decrepitus. Note first Dial. 10.11.1 decrepiti senes paucorum annorum accessionem uotis mendicant: minores natu se ipsos esse fingunt. At Epist. 26.1 he explains the point of the word. He fears that he has now left old age behind. Senectus is the name of a weary age, not a broken one, and a different word is needed for his own state, decrepitus, ‘in reach of the end’: modo dicebam tibi in conspectu esse me senectutis: iam uereor ne senectutem post me reliquerim. aliud iam his annis, certe huic corpori, uocabulum conuenit, quoniam quidem senectus lassae aetatis, non fractae nomen est: inter decrepitos me numera et extrema tangentis. For Seneca decrepitus is a word adopted for its semantics (‘on his last legs’), not for its earlier stylistic associations. See also frg. 36.10 Archimimus, senex iam decrepitus. Seneca’s explanation above matches the use of the word at Jerome, Vita Malchi 2.2 (of a woman): ualde decrepita et iam morti proxima. The example in our letter has exactly that meaning.
Michiel de Vaan, Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages (Leiden: Brill, 2008), p. 164:
Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, s.v. decrepitus:

Thursday, January 18, 2024


Radbod of Frisia

Life of Wulfram, chapter 9, tr. Rob Meens, "With one foot in the font. The failed baptism of the Frisian king Radbod and the eighth century discussion about the fate of unbaptized forefathers," in Pádraic Moran and Immo Warntjes, edd., Early Medieval Ireland and Europe: Chronology, Contacts, Scholarship: A Festschrift for Dáibhí Ó Cróinín (Brepols: Turnhout, 2015), pp. 577-596 (at 579):
When the named King Radbod was to be immersed in order to receive baptism from the holy Bishop Wulfram, he hesitated and asked him (Wulfram), meanwhile binding him through an oath in the name of the Lord, where the greater part of the kings, princes, and nobles of the Frisian people were: in the celestial realm that Wulfram had promised him to be shown if he believed and would be baptized, or in that region that he called the Tartarus of damnation. Whereupon the blessed Wulfram responded: ‘Don’t be mistaken, glorious prince, there is a certain amount of the elect with God. For it is certain that your predecessors as princes of the people of the Frisians, who have departed without the sacrament of baptism, have received a sentence of damnation. But he who from this moment believes and is baptized, will enjoy eternal bliss with Christ.’ When the still pagan duke—pagan, because he was still on his way to the baptismal font—heard this, he, as they tell, withdrew his foot from the font declaring that he could not go without the company of his predecessors, the princes of the Frisians, to reside with a small number of the poor in that celestial kingdom.



Ernst Robert Curtius (1886-1956), European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, tr. Willard E. Trask (1953; rpt. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), p. 51, n. 43:
The first author read is Caesar—particularly adapted to disgust a twelve-year-old boy with Latin.
Related post: Caesar's Bellum Gallicum.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024


An Ideal Location

Homer, Odyssey 6.204-205 (tr. Peter Green):
Remote is our dwelling, far off in the surging deep;
none further distant, other mortals don’t mix with us.

οἰκέομεν δ᾽ ἀπάνευθε πολυκλύστῳ ἐνὶ πόντῳ,
ἔσχατοι, οὐδέ τις ἄμμι βροτῶν ἐπιμίσγεται ἄλλος.


Unclean Spirits

Felix's Life of Saint Guthlac. Introduction, Text, Translation and Notes by Bertram Colgrave (1956; rpt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 103, 102 (from Chapter XXXI):
For they were ferocious in appearance, terrible in shape with great heads, long necks, thin faces, yellow complexions, filthy beards, shaggy ears, wild foreheads, fierce eyes, foul mouths, horses’ teeth, throats vomiting flames, twisted jaws, thick lips, strident voices, singed hair, fat cheeks, pigeons’ breasts, scabby thighs, knotty knees, crooked legs, swollen ankles, splay feet, spreading mouths, raucous cries. For they grew so terrible to hear with their mighty shriekings that they filled almost the whole intervening space between earth and heaven with their discordant bellowings.

Erant enim aspectu truces, forma terribiles, capitibus magnis, collis longis, macilenta facie, lurido vultu, squalida barba, auribus hispidis, fronte torva, trucibus oculis, ore foetido, dentibus equineis, gutture flammivomo, faucibus tortis, labro lato, vocibus horrisonis, comis obustis, buccula crassa, pectore arduo, femoribus scabris, genibus nodatis, cruribus uncis, talo tumido, plantis aversis, ore patulo, clamoribus raucisonis. Ita enim inmensis vagitibus horrescere audiebantur, ut totam paene a caelo in terram intercapedinem clangisonis boatibus inplerent.


The Only Certainty

Augustine, Sermons 97.3 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 590; tr. Edmund Hill):
All our other goods and ills are uncertain; death is the only certainty. What am I saying? A child is conceived; perhaps it's born, perhaps it miscarries. Thus it's uncertain. Perhaps it grows up, perhaps it doesn't; perhaps it reaches a ripe old age, perhaps it doesn't. Perhaps it will be rich, perhaps poor; perhaps it will be honored, perhaps humiliated; perhaps it will have children, perhaps it won't; perhaps it will marry a wife, perhaps it won't; and anything else you like to mention among possible good things. Take a look too at the bad things. Perhaps it's sickly, perhaps it isn't; perhaps it's bitten by a snake, perhaps it isn't; perhaps it's devoured by a wild animal, perhaps it isn't. And take a look at all conceivable ills; in every case, perhaps it will happen, perhaps it won't. But can you say, "Perhaps he'll die, perhaps he won't"? It's like doctors, when they examine an illness, and realize it's mortal, they make this sort of pronouncement: "He's dying, he can't avoid it." From the moment you're born, it has to be said, "You can't avoid it." No sooner born, than you begin to be ill. When you're dead, that's the end of the illness; but you don't know whether you are getting into a worse one.

Cetera nostra et bona et mala incerta sunt; sola mors certa est. Quid est quod dico? Conceptus est puer; forte nascitur, forte aborsum facit. Ita incertum est: forte crescit, forte non crescit; forte senescit, forte non senescit; forte dives erit, forte pauper; forte honoratus, forte humiliatus; forte habebit filios, forte non habebit; forte ducet uxorem, forte non ducet; et quidquid aliud nominaveris in bonis. Respice et ad mala: forte aegrotat, forte non aegrotat; forte a serpente percutitur, forte non percutitur; forte a bestia devoratur, forte non devoratur. Et respice omnia mala: ubique est, forte erit, forte non erit. Numquid potes dicere: Forte moritur, forte non moritur? Quomodo medici, quando inspexerint valetudinem, et mortiferam esse cognoverint, hoc pronuntiant: Moritur, inde non evadit. Ex quo nascitur homo, dicendum est: Non evadit. Quando natus est, aegrotare coepit. Quando mortuus fuerit, finit quidem aegritudinem; sed nescit utrum pergat in peiorem.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024


A Compromise

J.P. Postgate, Translation and Translations: Theory and Practice (London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd., 1922), p. vi:
Translation is in essence a compromise, and its course a zigzag. Its deviations from the straight the Translator with singleness of purpose will reduce to a minimum, while the free 'Verter' with one eye on the reader and the other more than half on himself will be tempted to extend them till they correspond to the large vistas of Beauty and Truth that these obliquities of vision can command. Such a one may 'vert' as much and as freely as he pleases; but if he seeks the humble title. of a 'translator' he must change his methods or renounce his claim.
Id., p. 3:
By general consent, though not by universal practice, the prime merit of a translation proper is Faithfulness, and he is the best translator whose work is nearest to his original.



Euripides, Orestes 1115 (my translation):
The slavish race is nothing compared to the unslavish race.

οὐδὲν τὸ δοῦλον πρὸς τὸ μὴ δοῦλον γένος.
M.L. West ad loc.:
genos can mean "class" with no genetic implication. But here there is a suggestion that barbarians are naturally slaves and Greeks naturally free, for which cf. Telephus fr. 127 Austin, Andr. 665 f., Hel. 276, IA 1402. The reason is that barbarians live under monarchs (Hel. l.c.). But slave characteristics can be Inherited, according to Thgn. 535-8. Elsewhere in Euripides (e.g. Ion 854-6, frr. 511, 831) more enlightened ideas about slaves are expressed.

Monday, January 15, 2024



Jeremiah 17:5 (KJV):
Cursed be the man that trusteth in man...


I Will

Vergil, Aeneid 10.855-856 (Mezentius speaking; tr. H. Rushton Fairclough):
Now I live on, and leave not yet daylight and mankind;
but leave I will.

nunc vivo neque adhuc homines lucemque relinquo.
sed linquam.
relinquo...linquam is an example of compound-simplex verbal iteration, where the simplex verb has the meaning of the preceding compound verb, on which see e.g.:


The Burden of Grammar

Thomas Elyot (1496-1546), The Governour, Book I, Chapter X:
Grammer beinge but an introduction to the understanding of autors, if it be made to longe or exquisite to the lerner, hit in a maner mortifieth his corage: And by that time he cometh to the most swete and pleasant redinge of olde autours, the sparkes of feruent desire of lernynge is extincte with the burdone of grammer, lyke as a lyttel fyre is sone quenched with a great heape of small stickes: so that it can neuer come to the principall logges where it shuld longe bourne in a great pleasaunt fire.


Feet on the Hob Emendation

W.M. Lindsay (1858-1937), Palaeographia Latina, Part II (London: Humphrey Milford, 1923 = St. Andrews University Publications, XVI), p. 53:
Those classical scholars who occupy themselves with what is called 'feet on the hob' emendation have a poor opinion of the extant MSS. They sit by the fire with Virgil in one hand and a pencil in the other and jot down in the margin any alteration of a word or line which caprice suggests. When this marginal litter has accumulated they send it, under the misleading title 'Emendations', to an indulgent magazine-editor. If any one thinks it worth while to censure them, they justify their action by some argument like this: 'The transmission of Latin texts was wholly capricious and wholly ignorant; one can have no confidence that the traditional form in which we ourselves re-write the passage was what the author wrote; the form in which we ourselves re-write the passage is just as likely to have been the author's form.'

Sunday, January 14, 2024


Some Insults

Plautus, Poenulus 1309-1314 (tr. Wolfgang de Melo):
You shoelace, go and be hanged!
Do you dare to be a lover here, you dregs of a man,
or to touch what men love?
You skinned sprat, Persian tunic, mantle,
sheepskin coat, salt market, crushed olive, and more stuffed with
common and Phoenician garlic than Roman rowers!

                   ligula, i in malam crucem!
tune hic amator audes esse, hallex viri,        1310
aut contrectare quod mares homines amant?
deglupta maena, sarrapis, sementium,
manstruca, halagora, sampsa, tum autem plenior
ali ulpicique quam Romani remiges.
Critical apparatus from the edition of Goetz and Loewe:


A Sign of Appreciation

Augustine, Sermons 95.1 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 581; tr. Edmund Hill, with his note):
When I expound the holy scriptures to you, it's as though I were breaking bread to you. For your part, receive it hungrily, and belch out a fat praise from your hearts;2...

2. Not a vulgarity in those days, as we have noted before, but an acceptable sign of appreciation from guests.

Scripturas sanctas exponentes vobis, quasi panes frangimus vobis. Vos esurientes accipite, et saginam laudis corde eructuate...
Related post: Belching.


Captatio Benevolentiae

Homer, Odyssey 6.149-161 (Odysseus to Nausicaa; tr. Richmond Lattimore):
I am at your knees, O queen. But are you mortal or goddess?
If indeed you are one of the gods who hold wide heaven,        150
then I must find in you the nearest likeness to Artemis
the daughter of great Zeus, for beauty, figure, and stature.
But if you are one among those mortals who live in this country,
three times blessed are your father and the lady your mother,
and three times blessed your brothers too, and I know their spirits        155
are warmed forever with happiness at the thought of you, seeing
such a slip of beauty taking her place in the chorus of dancers;
but blessed at the heart, even beyond these others, is that one
who, after loading you down with gifts, leads you as his bride
home. I have never with these eyes seen anything like you,        160
neither man nor woman. Wonder takes me as I look on you.

γουνοῦμαί σε, ἄνασσα· θεός νύ τις, ἦ βροτός ἐσσι;
εἰ μέν τις θεός ἐσσι, τοὶ οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἔχουσιν,        150
Ἀρτέμιδί σε ἐγώ γε, Διὸς κούρῃ μεγάλοιο,
εἶδός τε μέγεθός τε φυήν τ᾽ ἄγχιστα ἐίσκω·
εἰ δέ τίς ἐσσι βροτῶν, τοὶ ἐπὶ χθονὶ ναιετάουσιν,
τρὶς μάκαρες μὲν σοί γε πατὴρ καὶ πότνια μήτηρ,
τρὶς μάκαρες δὲ κασίγνητοι· μάλα πού σφισι θυμὸς        155
αἰὲν ἐυφροσύνῃσιν ἰαίνεται εἵνεκα σεῖο,
λευσσόντων τοιόνδε θάλος χορὸν εἰσοιχνεῦσαν.
κεῖνος δ᾽ αὖ περὶ κῆρι μακάρτατος ἔξοχον ἄλλων,
ὅς κέ σ᾽ ἐέδνοισι βρίσας οἶκόνδ᾽ ἀγάγηται.
οὐ γάρ πω τοιοῦτον ἴδον βροτὸν ὀφθαλμοῖσιν,        160
οὔτ᾽ ἄνδρ᾽ οὔτε γυναῖκα: σέβας μ᾽ ἔχει εἰσορόωντα.

Saturday, January 13, 2024


Delight in Rustic Life

M.L. West, The Making of the Odyssey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 52:
Q dwells lovingly on details of rustic living. We have the feeling that this is more than the townsman’s romantic taste for the bucolic, that this is a man who has lived on the land and knows it at first hand.9 He gives a graphic picture of the interior of Polyphemos’ cave with its racks of cheeses, its pails of whey, and its ordered sheep-pens, with the technical terms for the three age-classes of lamb (ι 219-23); the whole episode presents a professional picture of the ogre’s pasturing and milking routines. When Odysseus approaches Eumaios’ piggery we get an expansive account of what he finds there, of how the place is constructed and run (ξ 5-22). As with the scene paintings cited above, the picture is deftly enhanced by subsequent details in the narrative. Eumaios is found making sandals for himself from cowhide (23 f.). He puts down brushwood and a shaggy goat-skin for his visitor to sit on (49-51, cf. π 47). He lights a fire in the morning to prepare breakfast (π 2), and when Telemachos arrives unexpectedly, he serves up some of the previous night’s leftovers (π 49 f.). Again when Odysseus goes to find his father, Laertes’ house-hold arrangements are first described (ω 205-12), and then, as the old man is not at home, further picturesque images are evoked as Odysseus goes to look for him: the dry-stone wall that Dolios and his sons have gone to make (223-5), and then Laertes himself found digging round a plant in his old mended smock and his leather leggings, gloves, and hat (226-33). This is followed up by references to the various fruit trees in the orchard (234, 246 f., 336-44).

9 Cf. Wilamowitz 1927: 160, ‘Ihn reizte das Leben, auch das der niederen Stände, das Bukolische; der späte Kunstausdruck wird es am kürzesten sagen. . . . Die Darstellung ist so breit, das die Handlung in dem ξ, das einen Tag füllt, keinen Schritt weiter kommt’; Merkelbach 235 f.


Wealth in Cattle

Tacitus, Germania 5.1 (tr. Anthony R. Birley):
The land may vary a certain amount in its appearance, but in general it either bristles with forests or festers with marshes. It is wetter on the side facing the Gauls, windier opposite Noricum and Pannonia. It is fertile for sown crops but will not grow fruit-trees. It is rich in livestock, but these are mostly undersized. Even on their foreheads the cattle lack their proper distinction and glory. The people take pride in their quantity, for cattle are their sole, greatly prized wealth.

terra etsi aliquanto specie differt, in universum tamen aut silvis horrida aut paludibus foeda, umidior qua Gallias, ventosior qua Noricum ac Pannoniam adspicit; satis ferax, frugiferarum arborum impatiens, pecorum fecunda, sed plerumque improcera. ne armentis quidem suus honor aut gloria frontis: numero gaudent, eaeque solae et gratissimae opes sunt.
J.B. Rives ad loc.:
The equation of cattle with wealth seems to have left its traces in the language. Most of the early Germanic languages have a word that means variously 'cattle', 'property', or 'money': Old English feoh, Old Saxon fehu, Old High German fihu or fehu (whence modern German Vieh), Old Norse (whence Danish ). Presumably the original Germanic root *fehu– had the same range of meanings, and possibly even its Indo-European root *peku–: we find the same variation in the Latin cognates pecus, 'cattle', and pecunia, 'money'.
Cf. modern English fee. Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg has rediscovered the equation of cattle with wealth. See Harriet Alexander, "Mark Zuckerberg turns to FARMING as tech titan buys herd of cattle for his $270M 'Bond villain' Hawaii compound where he'll produce Wagyu and Angus steaks," Daily Mail (January 10, 2024).


Housman in a Spanish Edition

Thanks to Eric Thomson for what follows.

More out of idle, if not morbid, curiosity than anything else, I've been dipping into A.E. Housman, 50 Poemas translated by Juan Bonilla (Renacimiento, 2006)....[N]ot even the original text is to be trusted, hence the intemperate emendation.
Spanish 'reinos' suggests English 'reigns' or 'realms' but has nothing to do with any of the homonyms of  'rein'. Literary translators should all be compelled to read the KJV. From Psalms alone:
7.9: Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: For the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.

16.7: I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: My reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

26.2: Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; Try my reins and my heart.

73.21: Thus my heart was grieved, And I was pricked in my reins.

139.13: For thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
The word also turns up in Leviticus, Job, Isaiah, Jeramiah and Revelation. Anyone who knew Housman as a Latinist would in any case think of 'renes' and derive the 'kidneys' sense intended.

Incidentally, the illegitimate reading 'veins' is rife on the Web. 'Odi profanum vulgus et arceo' mutters the shade of A.E. H.

A prime source for the diffusion of the error was no doubt the nameless textbook alluded to by its contrite author in the last paragraph of Laurence Perrine, "Housman's 'Others, I am not the first'," Victorian Poetry 28.3/4 (Autumn-Winter, 1990) 135-138:
Before writing finis to this article, let me loose one more critical shaft — this time against myself. For years, without ever consulting a dictionary, I regarded the word "reins" (l. 7), as an obvious misprint for "veins," and in a textbook I authored I silently "corrected" the mistake. Imagine my chagrin when I later learned (A) that "reins" is listed in the dictionary (as archaic to be sure) with the meanings of (1) the kidneys, and (2) the seat of the feelings, passions, and affections, formerly regarded as located in the kidneys or loins, and (B) that the word is used in this latter sense more than a dozen times in the Bible.




Ælfric, Colloquy, ed. G.N. Garmonsway (Exeter: University of Exeter, 1978), p. 47 (my translation of the Latin):
Teacher: And what do you drink?
Student: Beer, if I have it, or water if I don't have beer.
Teacher: Don't you drink wine?
Student: I'm not so rich that I can buy myself wine; and wine isn't a drink of boys or fools, but of old men and wise men.
Magister: Et quid bibis?
Discipulus: Ceruisam, si habeo, uel aquam si non habeo ceruisam.
Magister: Nonne bibis uinum?
Discipulus: Non sum tam diues ut possim emere mihi uinum; et uinum non est potus puerorum siue stultorum, sed senum et sapientium.
Old English:
M: & hwæt drincst þu?
D: Ealu, gif ic hæbbe, oþþe wæter gif ic næbbe ealu.
M: Ne drincst þu win?
D: Ic ne eom swa spedig þæt ic mæge bicgean me win; & win nys drenc cilda ne dysgra, ac ealdra & wisra.

Friday, January 12, 2024


This Wretched Life

Augustine, Sermons 84.1 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 519; tr. Edmund Hill):
So you love this life, do you, in which you struggle, and run around, and bustle about and gasp for breath; and you can scarcely count the things that have to be done in this wretched life: sowing, plowing, planting, sailing, grinding, cooking, weaving. And after all this, your life has got to end anyhow. Look at all the things you put up with in this wretched life you love so; and do you imagine you are going to live for ever and never die? Temples, great blocks of stone and marble, reinforced with steel and lead—yet they fall into ruin; and does mere man think he's never going to die?

Amas ergo istam vitam, ubi tantum laboras, curris, satagis, anhelas; et vix enumerantur quae necessaria sunt in misera vita; seminare, arare, novellare, navigare, molere, coquere, texere: et post haec omnia finire habes vitam. Ecce quae pateris in misera ista quam diligis vita: et putas te semper victurum, et numquam moriturum? Templa, saxa, marmora, ferro plumboque consolidata, tamen cadunt: et homo numquam se putat moriturum?
With curris, satagis cf. Petronius, Satyricon 58.9 (my translation):
You run, you're bewildered, you scurry about, like a mouse in a chamber pot.

curris, stupes, satagis, tamquam mus in matella.


Old Age

Euripides, Orestes 490 (Menelaus to Tyndareus; tr. Edward P. Coleridge):
Yes, for you are angry, and also old age is not wise.

ὀργὴ γὰρ ἅμα σου καὶ τὸ γῆρας οὐ σοφόν.

σοφόν codd.: καλόν Paley

Thursday, January 11, 2024


The Fatherland

Euripides, fragment 817 Kannicht (from Phoenix; my translation):
And you, ancestral land of my forefathers,
hail! For to a man, even if he is overcome by troubles,
there is no ground sweeter than that which nourished him.

σὺ δ’, ὦ πατρῴα χθὼν ἐμῶν γεννητόρων,
χαῖρ’· ἀνδρὶ γάρ τοι, κἂν ὑπερβάλλῃ κακοῖς,
οὐκ ἔστι τοῦ θρέψαντος ἥδιον πέδον.


Intermixture of Peoples

Tacitus, Germania 4.1 (tr. Anthony R. Birley):
I myself accept the view of those who judge that the peoples of Germany have never been contaminated by intermarriage with other nations and that the race remains unique, pure, and unlike any other.

ipse eorum opinionibus accedo, qui Germaniae populos nullis aliis aliarum nationum conubiis infectos propriam et sinceram et tantum sui similem gentem exstitisse arbitrantur.
J.B. Rives ad loc.:
The idea that the intermixture of peoples entailed degeneration was not unknown to the Romans: see the negative comments in Livy about the Galatians or, as the Romans called them, the Gallo-Greeks (38.17.9-13 and 46.1), or the emperor Claudius' remarks on the 'polluted blood' of Tarquinius Priscus, born from a Greek father and an Etruscan mother (ILS 212.i.12). Tacitus takes up this notion again at 46.1, in connection with the Peucini.
"38.17.9-13 and 46.1," i.e. Livy 38.17.9-13 and 38.46.1.

Herbert W. Benario ad loc.:
The first sentence of this chapter has perhaps had more effect upon the history of a modern people than any other from classical literature.
See Benjamin Isaac, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity (2004; rpt. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), pp. 137-148.

Related posts on intermarriage:

Wednesday, January 10, 2024


Growing Old

Augustine, Sermons 81.8 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 504; tr. Edmund Hill):
Are you astonished at the world going to pieces? You might as well be astonished that the world has grown old. The world's like a man; he's born, he grows up, he grows old. Old age is full of complaints: coughing, phlegm, bleary eyes, aches and pains, weariness, it's all there. So, a man has grown old; he's full of complaints. The world has grown old; it's full of troubles and pressures.

Miraris quia deficit mundus? mirare quia senuit mundus. Homo est, nascitur, crescit, senescit. Querelae multae in senecta: tussis, pituita, lippitudo, anxietudo, lassitudo inest. Ergo senuit homo; querelis plenus est: senuit mundus; pressuris plenus est.



In Renzo Tosi, Dictionnaire des sentences latines et grecques, tr. Rebecca Lenoir (Grenoble: Jérôme Millon, 2010), a reference work abbreviated "Liebs" is often cited, e.g. on p. 708, § 949 (Audiatur et altera pars). But there is no entry for Liebs in the bibliography. From Tosi's Italian original I find that Liebs is Detlef Liebs, Lateinische Rechtsregeln und Rechtssprichwörter, available in many editions, e.g., München: C.H. Beck, 2007.


Tuesday, January 09, 2024


The Wisdom of Our Forefathers

Euripides, Orestes 512 (tr. Edward P. Coleridge):
Our forefathers settled these matters the right way.

καλῶς ἔθεντο ταῦτα πατέρες οἱ πάλαι.



Walter Scott (1771-1832), The Doom of Devorgoil, Act II, Scene II:
Away to the hills, to the caves, to the rocks —
Ere I own an usurper, I'll couch with the fox...


At the Feast

Beowulf 2105-2117 (tr. E. Talbot Donaldson):
There was song and mirth. The old Scylding, who has learned many things, spoke of times far-off. At times a brave one in bat­tle touched the glad wood, the harp's joy; at times he told tales, true and sad; at times he related strange stories according to right custom; at times, again, the great-hearted king, bound with age, the old warrior, would begin to speak of his youth, his battle-strength. His heart welled within when, old and wise, he thought of his many winters. Thus we took pleasure there the livelong day until another night came to men.

Þær wæs gidd ond gleo.    Gomela Scilding,        2105
felafricgende,    feorran rehte;
hwilum hildedeor    hearpan wynne,
gomenwudu grette,    hwilum gyd awræc
soð ond sarlic,    hwilum syllic spell
rehte æfter rihte    rumheort cyning.        2110
Hwilum eft ongan,    eldo gebunden,
gomel guðwiga    gioguðe cwiðan,
hildestrengo;    hreðer inne weoll,
þonne he wintrum frod    worn gemunde.
Swa we þær inne    ondlangne dæg        2115
niode naman,    oððæt niht becwom
oðer to yldum.
George Jack, Beowulf. A Student Edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), p. 151:



The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot, Vol. 7: A European Society, 1947-1953 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019), p. 126 (from a speech at Aix-en-Provence on receiving an honorary degree, April, 1948):
The crisis of our time may thus be viewed in the aspect of a crisis of language. One great division between men is that between those who use words with respect for the meaning and the history of every word, and those who employ language primarily for base uses — for its immediate emotional effect either upon themselves or upon an audience which suffers passions but does not think. The pressure towards the use of language as a means of manipulating collective passion, rather than for persuading the individual reason, is strongest upon those who engage in public affairs whether in speech or in print; but it touches also those whose concern is with ideas or with literary art. So far as studies of language and literature are concerned, it is of course the function of humane scholarship in every great university to preserve, to organise, and to increase understanding of the records of the past; but the influence of such scholarship should extend far beyond the university itself, and should indirectly discipline the thinking and writing of those who have never enjoyed its direct benefits. It should be an influence in society.

Monday, January 08, 2024



Augustine, Sermons 77B.7 (Patrologiae Latinae Supplementum, vol. 2, col. 704; tr. Edmund Hill):
Not even slight sins are to be treated lightly. They are nothing very big, of course, but they do pile up, they make a heap; they pile up and make a lump. Don't shrug than aside because they are tiny, but be apprehensive if they are many. What could be tinier than drops of rain? And in quantity they soak the fields, they fill the rivers. Don't shrug your slight and tiny sins aside, or they may form a heap and crush you.

Nec ipsa levia peccata contemnenda sunt; quamvis enim non sint grandia, congeruntur, acervum faciunt; congeruntur et massam faciunt. Nolite contemnere, quia minuta sunt, sed timete, si multa sunt. Quid minutius guttis pluviae? Et his multis agri satiantur, flumina implentur. Nolite contemnere peccata vestra levia et minuta, ne acervo facto premant vos.

Sunday, January 07, 2024



Euripides, Orestes 488 (tr. M.L. West, with his note):
Everything based on compulsion is held slavish among the intelligent.

πᾶν τοὐξ ἀνάγκης δοῦλόν ἐστ᾽ ἐν τοῖς σοφοῖς.

as hinted by "among the intelligent", this echoes contemporary sophists' arguments. Cf. Democr. DK 68 B 181 (conviction a better guarantor of morality than law /compulsion; cf. Critias TrGF 43 F 11, 19.5 ff.); Pl. Gorg. 483b ff. (law an artificial curb on nature); Rep. 338e ff., Xen. Mem. 1.2.40-6 (law = compulsion by the stronger).


The Dark Ages

Tom Shippey, Beowulf and the North before the Vikings (Leeds: ARC Humanities Press, 2022), p. 26:
Modern historians do not like the term “Dark Ages” for the post-Roman centuries. Oxford University Press has even banned its authors from using the phrase, presumably because it seems disrespectful. There are two good reasons for keeping it, however. One is that it’s dark to us. We know very little about the post-Roman period in western Europe: one of the first casualties of the failure of empire was widespread literacy.

The other is that it must have felt pretty dark for many people, as the result of—to quote Professor Ward-Perkins of Oxford’s book The Fall of Rome—“a startling decline in western standards of living during the fifth to seventh centuries.”9 Many voices will be raised immediately, pointing for instance to the discoveries at Sutton Hoo, and saying, “how can you say such a thing? Look at all that lovely jewellery!” Ward-Perkins’s point, however, is that civilization does not depend on an ability to produce aristocratic luxury items, but on low-cost, high-utility items like pots, tiles, nails, and, of course, coins—all of them familiar in the Roman world but scarce, poor-quality, or non-existent in places like Britain for centuries after.

9 Bryan Ward-Perkins, The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 87.


Overbearing Speech

Homer, Odyssey 4.774-775 (tr. A.T. Murray):
...shun haughty speech of every kind alike...

...μύθους μὲν ὑπερφιάλους ἀλέασθε
πάντας ὁμῶς...

775 πάντας Nicanor Ω: πάντες Υ

Saturday, January 06, 2024


Unit of Hate for a Writer

Zachary Leader, The Life of Kingsley Amis (2006; rpt. New York: Pantheon Books, 2009), pp. 192-193:
[H]e had very little to say in favour of any author on the English syllabus. In a letter to Larkin of 18 March 1946, he writes of an impending college examination on that ‘fine old relic of Anglo-Saxon culture; that remarkable survival of that civilization from which our own, in however indirect a fashion, is derived; I refer of course to the anonymous, crass, purblind, infantile, featureless HEAP OF GANGRENED ELEPHANT'S SPUTUM, “Barewolf”’. Two months later he composes a poem entitled ‘Beowulf', a revised version of which appears in Bright November. Its last stanza reads:
Someone has told us this man was a hero.
But what have we to learn in following
His tedious journey to his ancestors
(An instance of Old English harking back)?
On 23 August 1947, in response to a letter praising the study of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, in the periodical Time and Tide, Amis wrote an anonymous reply (his first published letter) arguing that the subject was ‘void of appeal’ to many undergraduates and only on the syllabus because it was easy to mark. As for Anglo-Saxon literature: ‘the prose is admitted even by initiates to be stumbling and graceless; the verse is shackled by continual repetition of idea’. The heroic content of the verse, moreover, is barbarous:
The warriors and broken-down retainers who strut bawling across its pages repel by their childish fits of self-glorification and self-pity; exploits stated but not shown to be glorious are shown but not stated to derive from self-interest dressed up as duty and lust for renown masquerading as nobility, the whole interleaved with natural descriptions in which every poetic opportunity is missed and moral maxims of an indescribable triteness.
Medieval literature is almost as bad. Though Leishman ‘pronounced himself “very pleased” with my essay on the levels of Cah warrggh Chaucer's fart’, this was because Amis hid what he really thought. As he writes to Larkin on 15 May 1946: ‘If I say, that I am of the opinion, that the levels, of his art, anywhere, are all, of the same level, as the level, of the big pipe, that takes away, the waste matter, from a public lavatory … then, I am sure, the man, who teaches me, will, be quite sure, that I am, trying to be funny, and will not, like it, at all, THE SODDING OLD FOOL.’ A year later Amis has a new antipathy, worse even than Chaucer (though still not as bad as Beowulf): Dryden. On 26 March 1947 he suggests to Larkin a new scale for assessing literary merit: ‘I think “one dryden” ought to be a sort of unit of hate for a writer — only D. achieves 1.00, elsewhere the figure is always less than one, eg, —
Johnson .5 dryden                        Jonson .85 dryden
Keats .5        "                              Shelley .85    "
Milton .9       "                              Chaucer .9    "
                                                   (i.e. ‘tends to’ 1 dryd.)

Friday, January 05, 2024


A Welsh Proverb

T.R. Roberts, The Proverbs of Wales (London: Francis Griffiths, 1909), p. 29:
Cas gwr na charo'r wlad a'i maco.

Odious is the man who does not love the country in which he was reared.


An Obstacle to Scholarly Progress

Dorothy Whitelock (1901-1982), The Audience of Beowulf (1951; rpt. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), p. 1:
It sometimes happens that a well-argued theory, with the authority of a great scholar behind it, will, after a series of progressive repetitions by others who ignore the safeguards and reservations of the original propounder, acquire an axiomatic quality which that propounder would have been the first to deplore; and then, being handed on as incontrovertible fact, which it is not, it may block the line of advance and stand in the way of the true assessment of new evidence as this comes to light.
Related posts:


A Greek Elegy Celebrating Cheerful Living

Martin West, "A Fragment of an Early Sympotic Elegy?" Eikasmós 23 (2012) 11-14 (at 13):
In the present case the source poem would not have been an epic, but it might very well have been a sympotic elegy. Elegy was a well established genre before the time of the Odyssey. Many passages in the Iliad seem to show the influence of martial protreptic elegy of the kind represented by Callinus and Tyrtaeus6. Elegy celebrating cheerful living will have been no less familiar to the Homeric poets, even if it less often provided them with verbal inspiration. It is not difficult to imagine a short poem on these lines:
οὐκ ἔραμαι πλουτεῖν, οὐ χρήματ᾽ ἔχειν ὅσα Γύγης
    ἢ Κινύρης· ἀρκεῖ κτῆσις ἐμοί γ᾽ ὀλίγη.
ὅσσ᾽ ἔφαγόν τ᾽ ἔπιόν τε καὶ αἰδοίοισιν ἔδωκα,
    ταῦτ᾽ ἄφενος τίθεμαι· τἄλλ᾽ ἀνέμοισιν ἐῶ.
I take οὐκ ἔραμαι πλουτεῖν from Theogn. 1155, Gyges from Archil. fr. 19 W.2, Cinyras from Tyrt. fr. 12,6 W.2, ταῦτ᾽ ἄφενος from Solon fr. 24,7 W.2

6 See my Hellenica I, Oxford 2011, 209-213, 226-232.
Here is my translation of West's verses:
I don't want to be rich or to have as much money as Gyges
or Cinyras; few possessions are enough for me.
As much as I have eaten and drunk and given to my genitals,
that I consider wealth; let me dismiss the rest to the winds.
West is discussing the source of Homer, Odyssey 15.373 (tr. A.T. Murray):
Therefrom have I eaten and drunk, and given to reverend strangers.

τῶν ἔφαγόν τ᾽ ἔπιόν τε καὶ αἰδοίοισιν ἔδωκα.
See also M.L. West, The Making of the Odyssey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 34-35, on other supposed borrowings from elegy and iambus.

Related posts:

Thursday, January 04, 2024


Names of Unfamiliar Peoples

Tom Shippey, Beowulf and the North before the Vikings (Leeds: ARC Humanities Press, 2022), pp. 10-11:
There is a strong tendency for unfamiliar peoples to be lumped together under the name of the ones who first became familiar. Thus the Romans called all seaborne raiders Saxones, and the Celts of Britain followed suit—as they do to this day, the Welsh calling the English Saeson and the Scots Sassenach. (Harassed provincials were unlikely to hang around questioning whether the thugs who had just landed were indeed Saxons, or Angles, or Jutes, or anyone else: “Saxons” would do for all of them.)

In just the same way, “Danes” became a catch-all term. The first report of a Viking Age disturbance in England makes the point. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 789 recording an event at Portland in Dorset, reads:
three ships of Northmen first came from Hordaland. The king’s reeve rode there and wanted to compel them to go to the king’s town because he did not know what they were, and they killed him. These were the first ships of the Danish men which sought out the land of the English18.
The Chronicler knew quite well that the malefactors were “Northmen,” i.e., Norwegians, and even that they came from Horthaland, the area round Bergen, far to the north of even the northern tip of Denmark. Still, as far as he was concerned, all seaborne nuisances were the same: they were all “Danes,” and all as bad as each other.

18 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, trans. Michael Swanton (London: Phoenix, 2000), 54: MS A 787 (for 789).

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