Friday, July 1, 2022

W/W: A Bittersweet Farewell, Sappho 94

τεθνάκην δ’ ἀδόλως θέλω·

ἄ με ψισδομένα κατελίμπανεν

πόλλα καὶ τόδ’ ἔειπέ̣ [μοι·

̔ ὤιμ’ ὠς δεῖνα πεπ[όνθ]αμεν,

Ψάπφ’, ἦ μάν σ’ ἀέκοισ΄ ἀπυλιμπάνω.’

τὰν δ’ ἔγω τάδ’ ἀμειβόμαν·

̔ χαίροισ’ ἔρχεο κἄμεθεν

μέμναισ’, οἶσθα γὰρ ὤς σε πεδήπομεν·

αἰ δὲ μή, ἀλλά σ’ ἔγω θέλω

ὄμναισαι [. . . .] . [. . .] . .αι

. . [            ] καὶ κάλ’ ἐπάσχομεν·

πο̣[λλοις γὰρ στεφάν]οις ἴων

καὶ βρ[όδων κρο]κ̣ίων τ’ ὔμοι

κα . .[           ] πὰρ ἔμοι περεθήκαο,

 καὶ πό̣[λλαις ὐπα]θύμιδας

πλέκ[ταις ἀμφ’ ἀ]πάλᾳ δέρᾳ

ἀνθέων ἔ̣[βαλες] πεποημμέναις,

καὶ πο̣λ̣λ̣ῳ[             ] . μύρῳ

βρενθείῳ . [            ]ρ̣υ[ . . ]ν

ἐξαλείψαο κα̣[ὶ βασ]ι̣ληίῳ,

καὶ στρώμν[αν ἐ]πὶ μολθάκαν

ἀπάλαν πα . [         ] . . .ων

ἐξίης πόθο̣[ν           ] . νίδων

* A note about the text: this is a poem found in fragmentary state. The brackets represent gaps of text that were unreadable or damaged. The last six lines of this poem are so fragmentary that they are unintelligible and not published here. 

"O utinam mortuam essem!"

Hoc multis cum lacrimis dicto,

illa me relinquit, multa

de terribilis quae passae sumus

querens, "O Psappham!" 

Illa mi dicit,

se non sua sponte me relinquere.

Sed ego contra:

“Valeas, et quantum te coluerim

in animo habeto.

Aut, si hoc nequeas,

Velim, si te omnia bona 

quae inter nos fieri soleant, memineris.

Coronas violarum 

rosarumque 

crocorumque multas 

mecum gerebas

Et serta floribus multa

in collo tenero 

te ornabant,

et tibi tempora multo regibus decente nardo destillabant,

et in lecto molle 

tibi desiderium tuum allevabas.

***Help make LGBT Meets SPQR better! If you can create a metrically accurate translation of this poem in Latin, we would gladly publish it on this blog!***


--Sappho fr. 94; Translated into Latin by Kris Masters


“I wish I were dead,” she wept as she left me.

She said this to me and more.

Lamenting the terrible things that we’ve suffered, 

she said, “O Sapph’! I am not leaving you willingly!”

But I replied:

“Go forth, and keep in mind how much I have cherished you.

Or if you can’t, I want you to remember all of the good things that we had, too.

You were wearing crowns of violets and roses and crocuses by my side,

You were wearing perfume fit for a queen;

Upon a soft bed

You were satisfying

The yearnings of your heart.


SAPPHO

MAP:

Name:  Σαπφώ / Sappho

Date:  630 – 570 BCE

Works:  <lost: only fragments remain>

 

REGION  5

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

Sappho was universally applauded by the ancient world as the “Tenth Muse.” Because she was one of the earliest Greek lyric poets, there is very little definitive information on Sappho’s life.  It is generally agreed that Sappho was a wealthy noblewoman from the island of Lesbos who had three brothers and a daughter named Kleis. She used her prominent social position to support a cohort of other women artists, and composed many poems about them, expressing her love for them, praising their beauty, and celebrating their marriages. Whereas earlier Greek poetry was epic poetry with serious themes of gods, warfare, and the state, Sappho’s lyric poetry is emotional, intimate and personal. Her poetry centers around womanhood and womanly love, providing rare insight into social mores of the time period. The modern term “lesbian” (a woman who is attracted to another woman) reveals the longevity of her impact upon western culture [NOTE: Although “lesbian” is the accepted term in modern English, authors in the ancient world used a different word for a homosexual woman, and only occasionally used the term “lesbian” euphemistically]. Unfortunately, although her poetry was universally revered by the Greeks and Romans alike, Sappho’s works only exist as fragments, adding mysterious allure to her larger-than-life status but unfortunately hindering our understanding of her life and thoughts.

 Archaic Greek

ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)




Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Tomb of Hyacinthos: Pausanias, Desc. Graec. 3.19

τοῦ δὲ ἀγάλματος τὸ βάθρον παρέχεται μὲν βωμοῦ σχῆμα, τεθάφθαι δὲ τὸν Ὑάκινθον λέγουσιν ἐν αὐτῷ, καὶ Ὑακινθίοις πρὸ τῆς τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος θυσίας ἐς τοῦτον Ὑακίνθῳ τὸν βωμὸν διὰ θύρας χαλκῆς ἐναγίζουσιν: ἐν ἀριστερᾷ δέ ἐστιν ἡ θύρα τοῦ βωμοῦ. ἐπείργασται δὲ τῷ βωμῷ τοῦτο μὲν ἄγαλμα Βίριδος, τοῦτο δὲ Ἀμφιτρίτης καὶ Ποσειδῶνος: Διὸς δὲ καὶ Ἑρμοῦ διαλεγομένων ἀλλήλοις πλησίον Διόνυσος ἑστήκασι καὶ Σεμέλη, παρὰ δὲ αὐτὴν Ἰνώ. πεποίηται δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ βωμοῦ καὶ ἡ Δημήτηρ καὶ Κόρη καὶ Πλούτων, ἐπὶ δὲ αὐτοῖς Μοῖραί τε καὶ Ὧραι, σὺν δέ σφισιν Ἀφροδίτη καὶ Ἀθηνᾶ τε καὶ Ἄρτεμις: κομίζουσι δ᾽ ἐς οὐρανὸν Ὑάκινθον καὶ Πολύβοιαν, Ὑακίνθου καθὰ λέγουσιν ἀδελφὴν ἀποθανοῦσαν ἔτι παρθένον. τοῦτο μὲν οὖν τοῦ Ὑακίνθου τὸ ἄγαλμα ἔχον ἐστὶν ἤδη γένεια, Νικίας δὲ ὁ Νικομήδους περισσῶς δή τι ἔγραψεν αὐτὸν ὡραῖον, τὸν ἐπὶ Ὑακίνθῳ λεγόμενον Ἀπόλλωνος ἔρωτα ὑποσημαίνων.  πεποίηται δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ βωμοῦ καὶ Ἡρακλῆς ὑπὸ Ἀθηνᾶς καὶ θεῶν τῶν ἄλλων καὶ οὗτος ἀγόμενος ἐς οὐρανόν. εἰσὶ δὲ καὶ αἱ Θεστίου θυγατέρες ἐπὶ τῷ βωμῷ, καὶ Μοῦσαί τε καὶ Ὧραι. περὶ δὲ ἀνέμου Ζεφύρου, καὶ ὡς ὑπὸ τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος Ὑάκινθος ἀπέθανεν ἄκοντος, καὶ τὰ ἐς τὸ ἄνθος εἰρημένα τάχα μὲν ἂν ἔχοι καὶ ἄλλως, δοκείτω δὲ ᾗ λέγεται. 

Simulacri basis arae formam habet. in ea Hyacinthum sepultum tradunt. & in Hyacinthiorum celebritate, prius quam sacrum Apollini faciant, in aram istam per aeneum ostiolum, quod in arae laeva parte est, inferias Hyacintho mittunt. In ara illa insculpta sunt, hic Biridis, illic Amphitrites & Neptuni signa: tum vero Iupiter & Mercurius inter se colloquentes. Prope adsistunt Liber pater, & Semele: hui proxima Ino. Sunt in eadem sivi basi, sive ara, Ceres, Proserpina, Pluto: una cum his Parcae & Horae; & illis adiunctae Venus, Minerva, Diana: in caelum autem hae tollunt Hyacinthum & sororem eius Polyboean, quam e vita virginem decessisse narrant. Atque illud quidem Hyacinthi signum cum barbula est. Nicomedensis Nicias eximia illum forma fuisse scriptum reliquit, quum de APollinis in illum amore quiddam innueret. In ea ipsa ara Herculem quoque Minerva & ceteri Di in caelum deducunt. Ibidem & Thestii filiae sunt, Musae & Horae. De Zephyro vero, & quemadmodum ab Apolline fit Hyacinthus imprudenter peremptus, de flore item, longe se fortasse aliter quam uti exponitur res habet: perinde vero fuisse censeatur, ac vulgatum est.

--Pausanias, Descriptio Graecae 3.19; Translated into Latin by Romulus Amasaeus (1696)


 

The base of the shrine has the shape of an altar. Hyacinthus’ remains are supposedly inside it, and before they offer sacrifices to Apollo, they provide funerary offerings to Hyacinthus through a bronze trap door on the left side of the altar. The altar has carved images of Biris, Poseidon and his wife Amphitrite; Zeus and Hermes are also there, talking amongst themselves. Dionysus is next to them, along with his mother Semele, and Ino is with them, too. The shrine also has Demeter, Persephone, and Hades, along with the Fates and the Hours; Aphrodite, Athena, and Artemis are with them. They carry Hyacinthus and his sister Polyboea (who died a maiden) with them into heaven. Hyacinthus is depicted wearing a beard, but Nicias of Nicomedes portrayed him at the peak of his youthful beauty, nodding to Apollo’s love for him. On this same altar, they depict Athena and the other gods also bringing Hercules up into heaven. The daughters of Thestius [Leda] are also there, along with the Muses and the Hours. But regarding Zephyrus, the story of how Apollo accidentally killed Hyacinthus, and his transformation into a flower, is a story for another time.

 

PAUSANIAS

MAP:

Name:  Pausanias

Date:  110 – 180 CE

Works:  Description of Greece

 

REGION  5

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Pausanias was a Greek writer who lived during the era of the “Five Good Emperors.” His work, the Description of Greece, is an important source for geographical, historical, archaeological, and cultural information about ancient Greece.

 ROMAN GREEK

ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Arethusa, an ace nymph; Pausanias, Desc. Graec. 5.7.2

 Content Warning: sexual assault


de quo vulgata est fabula, virum illum [Alphaeum] fuisse venatorem, Arethusam amasse, & ipsam venandi studiosam. Quae quum illius nuptias recusasset, in insulam, cui Ortygiae nomen fuit, prope Syracusas, dicitur transmisse, atque ibi in fontem conversam: ipsi etiam Alpheo accidisse, ut prae amore in amnem mutaretur.

λέγεται δὲ καὶ ἄλλα τοιάδε ἐς τὸν Ἀλφειόν, ὡς ἀνὴρ εἴη θηρευτής, ἐρασθῆναι δὲ αὐτὸν Ἀρεθούσης, κυνηγετεῖν δὲ καὶ ταύτην. καὶ Ἀρέθουσαν μὲν οὐκ ἀρεσκομένην γήμασθαι περαιωθῆναί φασιν ἐς νῆσον τὴν κατὰ Συρακούσας, καλουμένην δὲ Ὀρτυγίαν, καὶ ἐνταῦθα ἐξ ἀνθρώπου γενέσθαι πηγήν: συμβῆναι δὲ ὑπὸ τοῦ ἔρωτος καὶ Ἀλφειῷ τὴν ἀλλαγὴν ἐς τὸν ποταμόν.

 

--Pausanias, Descriptio Graecae 5.7.2; Translated into Latin by Romulus Amasaeus (1696)

It is said that Alphaeus was a hunter who loved Arethusa (who also was a hunter). Since Arethusa rejected the idea of marriage, she fled to the island next to Syracuse called Ortygia, and transformed into a spring. Alphaeus did the same thing: he transformed himself into a river out of love for her.


 

PAUSANIAS

MAP:

Name:  Pausanias

Date:  110 – 180 CE

Works:  Description of Greece

 

REGION  5

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Pausanias was a Greek writer who lived during the era of the “Five Good Emperors.” His work, the Description of Greece, is an important source for geographical, historical, archaeological, and cultural information about ancient Greece.

 ROMAN GREEK

ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)


 


Trans Ally and Momma Bear, Callimachus, Greek Anthology 7.728

 The following is an epitaph of a priestess who served many goddesses throughout her life, including Cybele. As a priestess of Cybele, she was a protector and mentor of the galli, (trans woman followers of this goddess).

Ἱερέη Δήμητρος ἐγώ ποτε, καὶ πάλιν Καβείρων,

ὦνερ, καὶ μετέπειτα Δινδυμήνης,

ἡ γρηῢς γενόμην, ἡ νῦν κόνις, ἡνο ...

πολλῶν προστασίη νέων γυναικῶν. καί μοι τέκν᾽ ἐγένοντο δύ᾽ ἄρσενα, κἠπέμυς1᾽ ἐκείνων

εὐγήρως ἐνὶ χερσίν. ἕρπε χαίρων.


Virgo sacerdos Cereris ego olim, et rursus Cabirorum,

o homo, et deinde Dindymenae,

anus fui, quae nunc sum cinis

multarum patrocinium iuvenum mulierum.

Et mihi pueri fuerunt duo mares, et oculos clausi illorum

grandaeva in manibus. Repta gaudens.

--Callimachus, Greek Anthology 7.728; Translated into Latin by Hugo Grotius


I was once the sacred priestess of Demeter, then the Cabeiri,

O traveler, and then I served Cybele.

Then I became an old woman, and now I’m ashes; 

I was a momma bear for many young ladies. 

I had two male children, and I closed my eyes a final time in their arms. 

Go on your merry way.

CALLIMACHUS / Καλλίμαχος

MAP:

Name:  Callimachus

Date:  305 – 240 BCE

Works:  Aitia (Causes)

              Hymns

             Pinakes (Table of Contents)

REGION  3 / 4

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Callimachus is often regarded as one of the best Alexandrian [Greek] poets. Born in raised in Cyrene, Libya, he spent a majority of his career at the famous Library of Alexandria, where he used the resources there to create refined, artful poetry. Although much of his poetry is lost, the fragments that remain are a testament to both his talent as an artist and his erudition as a scholar.

HELLENISTIC AGE

ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)


RIP: Too Young to be a Bride: Greek Anthology 7.604

There is a special spot of sadness in Greek and Roman literature for girls who died unmarried, as every woman was expected to marry and provide their husbands with legitimate offspring (with very few exceptions). Notice that more attention is placed on this young girl's wedding in this poem than her own death.


 

λέκτρα σοι ἀντὶ γάμων ἐπιτύμβια, παρθένε κούρη,

ἐστόρεσαν παλάμαις πενθαλέαις γενέται.

καὶ σὺ μὲν ἀμπλακίας βιότου καὶ μόχθον Ἐλευθοῦς

ἔκφυγες: οἱ δὲ γόων πικρὸν ἔχουσι νέφος.

δωδεκέτιν γὰρ μοῖρα, Μακηδονίη, σε καλύπτει,

κάλλεσιν ὁπλοτέρην, ἤθεσι γηραλέην.

 

Lectum tibi pro nuptiis sepulcralem, o virgo puella,

straverunt palmis luctuosis parentes.

Et tu quidem errores vitae et laborem Ilithyiae

effugisti: illi autem luctuum amaram habent nubem.

Duodecennem enim fatum, o Macedonia, te sepelit,

veneribus iuvenem, moribus grandaevam.


--Paulus Silentiarius, Greek Anthology 7.604; Translated into Latin by Hugo Grottius



O young lady, your funeral is being prepared,

Not your wedding.

Instead of a bridal bouquet, you get a funeral wreath.

You will miss the hardships of life and the pain of childbirth;

Your survivors have a bitter veil of grief.

Macedonia, the Fates have buried you at twelve years old,

At the peak of beauty, but with old school customs.

 

Paulus Silentiarius

MAP:

Name:  Paulus Silentiarius

Date:  6th century CE

Works:  [poetry]

REGION  5

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Paulus Silentiarius was a bureaucrat in the court of the Roman Emperor Justinian I in Constantinople. Dozens of his poems are preserved in the Greek Anthology.

 BYZANTINE / LATE GREEK

ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)



Gendered Curses: Aulus Gellius, Att. Noct. 11.6

Quod mulieres Romae per Herculem non iuraverint neque viri per Castorem.

In veteribus scriptis neque mulieres Romanae per Herculem deiurant neque viri per Castorem.  Sed cur illae non iuraverint Herculem non obscurum est, nam Herculaneo sacrificio abstinent. Cur autem viri Castorem iurantes non appellaverint non facile dictu est. Nusquam igitur scriptum invenire est, apud idoneos quidem scriptores, aut “me hercle” feminam dicere aut “me castor” virum;“edepol” autem, quod iusiurandum per Pollucem est, et viro et feminae commune est. Sed M. Varro adseverat antiquissimos viros neque per Castorem neque per Pollucem deiurare solitos, sed id iusiurandum fuisse tantum feminarum, ex initiis Eleusinis acceptum; paulatim tamen inscitia antiquitatis viros dicere “edepol” coepisse factumque esse ita dicendi morem, sed “me castor” a viro dici in nullo vetere scripto inveniri.

 

--Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 11.6

 

That Roman Women Never Swear to Hercules, and that Roman Men Never Swear to Castor*

In ancient texts, Roman women never swear to Hercules, and Roman men never swear to Castor. It’s not surprising that women never swear to Hercules, for they are forbidden to sacrifice to him. It’s not as easy to figure out why men do not swear to Castor. But it’s found nowhere in literature where a woman says “By Hercules!” or a man says, “By Castor!”  Edepol” (swearing by Pollux’s name) is common among men and women. But M. Varro asserts that ancient men used to use neither Castor nor Pollux’s name in vain, but that it was just used by women (and used in the Eleusinian mysteries). Over time, that gender role was forgotten, and men began to say edepol, and so the custom changed. But “By Castor!” is still never found said by a man in any ancient text.

* Castor and Pollux / Polydeuces were twin demigod sons of Zeus and Leda, and siblings of Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra. They are memorialized in the Zodiac constellation Gemini


AULUS GELLIUS

MAP:

Name:  Aulus Gellius

Date:  2nd. c. CE

Works:  Attic Nights

 

REGION  UNKNOWN

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Aulus Gellius lived during the 2nd century CE. His work, the Attic Nights, are a collection of anecdotes about literature, history, and grammar.  From internal evidence, we can deduce that he was in the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ social circle, having close friendships with Herodes Atticus and Fronto.

 SILVER AGE LATIN

 

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE

 

 

M/M: Two Poems on the Myth of Hyacinthus: Anthologia Latina 167-168

Discrimen vitae, ludit dum forte, Hyacinthus

Incurrit, disco tempora fissa gerens.

Non potuit Phoebus fato subducere amatum,

Sed cruor extincti florea rura replet.

--167

Dispersit remeans ludentis tempora discus

Et dira pulcher morte Hyacinthus obit.

Gratia magna tamen solatur morte peremtum:

Semper Apollineus flore resurgit amor.

--168

 

--Anthologia Latina / Codex Salmasianus 167 -168

While practicing discus, Hyacinthus encountered a life-altering event;

The discus he’d thrown struck and split open his temples.

Apollo was not able to save his beloved;

But now Hyacinthus' blood fills up the countryside with blossoms.

 

A wayward discus struck his temples while he was practicing

And so beautiful Hyacinthus died a terrible death.

An immense blessing consoles the fallen youth:

Apollo’s love blossoms every season.  

CODEX SALMASIANUS

MAP:

Name:  Codex Salmasianus

Date:  6th Century CE

Works:  ---

 

REGION  3

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 The Codex Salmasianus is a manuscript of Latin poetry that preserves poetry from 6th century CE and earlier. It was named after Claude de Saumaise, a 17th century scholar who owned the manuscript.

 BYZANTINE / LATE LATIN

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE