Saturday, January 28, 2023

Twice the Man You'll Ever Be: The Story of Hippolytus and Virbius, Serv. In Aen. 7.761

7.[761] IBAT ET HIPPOLYTI PROLES PULCHERRIMA BELLO VIRBIUS: Theseus mortua Hippolyte Phaedram, Minois et Pasiphaae filiam, superduxit Hippolyto. qui cum illam de stupro interpellantem contempsisset, falso delatus ad patrem est, quod ei vim voluisset inferre. ille Aegeum patrem rogavit ut se ulcisceretur. qui agitanti currus Hippolyto inmisit focam, qua equi territi eum traxerunt. tunc Diana eius castitate commota revocavit eum in vitam per Aesculapium, filium Apollinis et Coronidis, qui natus erat exsecto matris ventre, ideo quod, cum Apollo audisset a corvo, eius custode, eam adulterium committere, iratus Coronidem maturo iam partu confixit sagittis—corvum vero nigrum fecit ex albo—et exsecto ventre Coronidis produxit ita Aesculapium, qui factus est medicinae peritus. hunc postea Iuppiter propter revocatum Hippolytum interemit: unde Apollo iratus Cyclopas fabricatores fulminum confixit sagittis: ob quam rem a Iove iussus est Admeti regis novem annis apud Amphrysum armenta pascere divinitate deposita. sed Diana Hippolytum, revocatum ab inferis, in Aricia nymphae commendavit Egeriae et eum Virbium, quasi bis virum, iussit vocari. cuius nunc filium cognominem dicit in bellum venire: adeo omnia ista fabulosa sunt. nam cum castus ubique inductus sit et qui semper solus habitaverit, habuisse tamen fingitur filium. re vera autem, ut et supra diximus, Virbius est numen coniunctum Dianae, ut matri deum Attis, Minervae Erichthonius, Veneri Adonis.

--Servius, In Aen.7.761  

And Virbius, the beautiful child of Hippolytus, came for war:

When Hippolyte died, Theseus put his son Hippolytus in the care of [his new wife] Phaedra. When Hippolytus rejected Phaedra’s sexual advances, she lied and told Theseus that he had tried to rape her. Theseus sought vengeance from his father Aegeus. When Hippolytus was driving his chariot, Aegeus* sent a seal to spook the horses, and the chariot crashed. Then Diana, moved by Hippolytus’ chastity, brought him back to life through the work of Aesculapius. 

[Aesculapius was the child of Apollo and Coronis, who was cut from his dying mother’s womb. It happened when Apollo heard from the crow he’d sent to spy on Coronis that she had cheated on him. Angered, he killed the heavily pregnant Coronis with his arrows, changed the crow’s color from white to black, and cut Aesculapius from Coronis’ womb. Aesculapius grew up and  became skilled in medicine. Later on, Jupiter killed him because he’d restored Hippolytus to life. And because of that, Apollo got angry and killed Jupiter’s ironworking cyclopes with his arrows. And because of that, Jupiter stripped Apollo of his divine powers and made him a shepherd of King Admetus’ flocks for nine years.]

Once Hippolytus was restored to life, Diana entrusted him to the nymph Aricia, and ordered him to now be called Virbius [‘twice a man’]. Now his son, called the same name, comes to battle: but this is really unbelievable. For Hippolytus was chaste, and always lived alone, but somehow has a son? Actually, as I said previously, Virbius is the name of a divinity linked with Diana, just like Cybele is linked with Attis, Minerva is linked with Erichthonis, and Venus is linked with Adonis.

SERVIUS

MAP:

Name:  Maurus Servius Honoratus

Date:  4th – 5th c. CE (???)

Works:  In Vergilii carmina comentarii

 

REGION  1

 

 

BIO:

Timeline:

 Little is known about the author or manuscript tradition for the grammatical commentary of Vergil’s Aeneid.

 BYZANTINE / LATE LATIN

 

 

 

 


Friday, January 27, 2023

Dangerous Beauty: The Abduction of Pelops, Pindar, Olympian 1.23-27;36-45

 It is important to note that the common denominator in abduction myths is not the victim's gender, but their beauty


 λάμπει δέ οἱ κλέος

ἐν εὐάνορι Λυδοῦ Πέλοπος ἀποικίᾳ:

τοῦ μεγασθενὴς ἐράσσατο γαιάοχος

Ποσειδᾶν, ἐπεί νιν καθαροῦ λέβητος ἔξελε Κλωθὼ

ἐλέφαντι φαίδιμον ὦμον κεκαδμένον.

 

υἱὲ Ταντάλου, σὲ δ᾽, ἀντία προτέρων, φθέγξομαι,

ὁπότ᾽ ἐκάλεσε πατὴρ τὸν εὐνομώτατον

ἐς ἔρανον φίλαν τε Σίπυλον,

ἀμοιβαῖα θεοῖσι δεῖπνα παρέχων,

τότ᾽ Ἀγλαοτρίαιναν ἁρπάσαι

δαμέντα φρένας ἱμέρῳ χρυσέαισί τ᾽ ἀν᾽ ἵπποις

ὕπατον εὐρυτίμου ποτὶ δῶμα Διὸς μεταβᾶσαι,

ἔνθα δευτέρῳ χρόνῳ

 ἦλθε καὶ Γανυμήδης

Ζηνὶ τωὔτ᾽ ἐπὶ χρέος.

     

 Cui gloria splendet apud praestantem viris Lydi Pelopis coloniam, quem praepotens amavit terram cingens Neptunus, postquam eum splendido lebete exemerat Clotho, ebore in nitido humero ornatum.

 

Fili Tantali, te vero contra quam superiores dicam, quando pater ad probissimas epulas et dilectam Sipylum vocavit, vicissim diis coenas praebens, tunc tridente inclutum deum rapuisse Domitum praecordia amore, ut aureo in curro ad supremam late venerandi Iovis domum te transferret, quo insequenti tempore venit etiam Ganymedes Iovi eundem ad usum.   

--Pindar, Olympian 1.23-27; 36-45; Translated into Latin by Augustus Boeckhius, 1821


...Your fame stands out

Among your peers in the famous colony of Lydian Pelops

The way that Pelops’ ivory shoulder did 

as Klotho rescued him from the glimmering stewpot*

When the mighty, all-encompassing Poseidon 

fell in love with him.

 

O Pelops, son of Tantalus, 

I’ll tell you a tale different 

than what earlier accounts tell of you.

When your father invited the gods to a feast at his dear Sipylus, 

the trident-bearing god [Poseidon],

 burning with love, 

seized you

And with a chariot drawn by golden horses

Led you to the highest house of Zeus himself,

Where at a later time

Zeus would do the same

With Ganymede.


* According to myth, Sisyphus dismembered and fed his son Pelops' body to the gods in order to test them. Pelops was brought back to life and the missing flesh was replaced with a prosthetic ivory shoulder. The gods punished Sisyphus for this action by making him suffer eternal punishment in Tartarus.

 

 

PINDAR

MAP:

Name: Pindar

Date:   518 – 438 BCE

Works:   Odes

 

REGION  5

 

 

 

BIO:

Timeline:

  Pindar is a famous Greek poet from Boeotia (modern Greece) known for his victory odes. These odes, for victors of Pythian, Nemean, and Olympic games, are rich in mythological imagery, and help us understand the relationships of the ancient Greeks to their cultural heritage and their understanding of the past. 

 GOLDEN AGE GREECE

 

 


Friday, January 20, 2023

M/M: Achilles Mourns Patroclus; Dictys Cretensis 3.14

Isque [Achilles] vino multo sopita iam favilla reliquias [Patrocli] in urnam collegerat, decretum quippe animo gerebat, secum in patrium solum uti adveheret vel, si fortuna in se casum mutaret, una aqtue eadem sepultura cum carissimo sibi omnium contegi.

--Dictys Cretensis, De Bello Troiano 3.14

 

Achilles extinguished Patroclus’ ashes with wine and collected his remains in an urn. He had decided to bring Patroclus’ ashes back home with him, or, if his fortune changed, to be buried in the same tomb with the one he loved most of all.

 

 

DICTYS CRETENSIS

MAP:

Name: Dictys Cretensis

Date:  1st – 4th century CE

Works:  De Bello Troiano

REGION  UNKNOWN

 

BIO:

Timeline:

Little is known about the author or circumstances of this work. De Bello Troiano is written in the perspective of Dictys, a Cretan veteran of the Trojan War. The version we have today is a Latin translation based on a Greek original from the 1st to 4th century CE. This work heavily influenced Medieval literature and later Latin accounts of the Trojan War.

 AGE OF CONFLICT

 

 

 

  

 

 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Pelopidas, the Leader of the Sacred Band of Thebes: Cornelius Nepos 4

Hoc tam turbido tempore, sicut supra docuimus, Epaminondas quoad cum civibus dimicatum est, domi quietus fuit. Itaque haec liberandarum Thebarum propria laus est Pelopidae: ceterae fere communes cum Epaminonda. 2 Namque in Leuctrica pugna imperatore Epaminonda hic fuit dux delectae manus, quae prima phalangem prostravit Laconum. 3 Omnibus praeterea periculis adfuit - sicut, Spartam cum oppugnavit, alterum tenuit cornu -, quoque Messena celerius restitueretur, legatus in Persas est profectus. Denique haec fuit altera persona Thebis, sed tamen secunda ita, ut proxima esset Epaminondae.

--Cornelius Nepos, Vita Pelopidae 4.1-3

 

Throughout this turbulent time period, Epaminondas spent his time at home away from the political drama, so the honor of being the liberator of Thebes belongs to Pelopidas alone. There are many other accolades, however, that he shared with Epaminondas.  For although Epaminondas was in charge during the battle of Leuctra,  it was Pelopidas who was the leader of the Sacred Band that first broke apart the Spartan battle lines. Pelopidas was there for all of these dangers, and even led a wing of the army during the attack on Sparta. He was sent as an ambassador to Persia in order to restore control of Messena. And so Pelopidas was one of the most important men of Thebes, but he still was second to Epaminondas in fame.

 

 

 

CORNELIUS NEPOS

MAP:

Name: Cornelius Nepos

Date:  110 - 25 BCE

Works:  De Viris Illustribus

REGION  1

 

BIO:

Timeline:

Cornelius Nepos was a Roman author who was born in Cisalpine Gaul (now Northern Italy). He is best known for a series of biographies of great men of Greece and Rome.

 Golden Age Rome

 

 

 

  

 

  

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Paternity isn't Patriotism: I Do Not Owe the State Children, Nepos, Epaminondas 10.1-2

10] Hic uxorem numquam duxit. In quo cum reprehenderetur, quod liberos non relinqueret, a Pelopida, qui filium habebat infamem, maleque eum in eo patriae consulere diceret, 'Vide', inquit 'ne tu peius consulas, qui talem ex te natum relicturus sis. Neque vero stirps potest mihi deesse. 2 Namque ex me natam relinquo pugnam Leuctricam, quae non modo mihi superstes, sed etiam immortalis sit necesse est.' 


-Cornelius Nepos, EPAMINONDAS 10.1-2

 

[Epaminondas] never got married. When Pelopidas criticized him for not having children, he reproached Pelopidas back for having a son with a bad reputation, saying it was worse to leave behind such a kid as an heir. “For,” he continued, “I leave behind a daughter: the Battle of Leuctra, which will not only outlive me, but will also live forever.”

 



 

CORNELIUS NEPOS

MAP:

Name: Cornelius Nepos

Date:  110 - 25 BCE

Works:  De Viris Illustribus

REGION  1

 

BIO:

Timeline:

Cornelius Nepos was a Roman author who was born in Cisalpine Gaul (now Northern Italy). He is best known for a series of biographies of great men of Greece and Rome.

 Golden Age Rome

 

 

 

  

 

  

Saturday, December 31, 2022

W/W: Beloved by the Nymphs: Dryope, Antoninus Liberalis Met. 32

Content Warning: rape

Unlike similar stories involving Artemis /Diana (including Callisto, Aura, Atalanta, etc.), this rape myth does not include any victim blaming or shaming. The hamadryads do not punish or shame Dryope for being attacked, but instead wait until her child is grown before transforming her into a nymph, allowing her to raise her child and experience motherhood.


Dryops Sperchii fluvii Filius ex Polydora, una Danai filiarum, regnum obtinuit in Oeta: unicamque habuit filiam Dryopen, quae patris greges pascebat. Sed cum eam summo opere amarent Hamadryades nymphae, suorumque locorum sociam adscivisset, docuissentque carminibus deos celebrare, et choros ducere: Apollo ea visa, concubitus cum ea ardor ipsum incessit. Itaque primum se in testudinem convertis: quam cum, ut rem ludicram, Dryope Nymphaeque tractarent, Dryope eam etiam in sinum conderet, de testudine Apollo in anguem transiit: itaque eam Nymphae territae desuerunt, Apollo cum Dryopa rem habet. Ea autem metus plena in domum patris confugit, nihilque parentibus ea de re indicavit. Post cum eam Andraemon Oxyli filius duxisset, puerum ex Apolline conceptum parit, Amphissum. Hic cum virilem aetatem attigisset, omnibus praevaluit. urbemque ad Oetam condidit, monti isti cognominem, ibique regnavit. Posuit eta Apollini in Dryopide regione templum: in quod cum se contulisset Dryope, Hamadryades benevolentia impulsae ea rapuerunt, et in silva occultarunt, loco eius alno excitata, ac pone alnum fonte. At Dryope, naturae mutatione de mortali facta est nympha. Amphissus, pro meritis Nympharum in matrem, templum ipsis condidit, primusque cursus certamen confecit: quod incolae hoc quoque nostro tempore curant. Mulierem eo accedere nefas est, quod Dryopen a Nymphis sublatam duae virgines incolis indicarunt: quas indignatione motae Nymphae, in abietes mutarunt.

 --Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 32, translated by Xylander 1832 (Greek text forthcoming) 

Dryops (the son of the river god Sperchius and the Danaid Polydora) became ruler in Oeta. He had one daughter named Dryope, who took care of her father’s flocks.

The hamadryad nymphs loved her greatly. They made her their companion wherever they went, and taught her how to sing hymns to the gods, as well as lead the sacred dances.  

When Apollo spotted her, he burned for desire to sleep with her. He transformed himself into a turtle. Dryope picked it up and kept it as a pet. When she had put him in her lap, Apollo transformed from a turtle into a snake. This terrified the nymphs, and they fled, leaving Dryope to her fate. Apollo attacked her.

Terrified of what her father would think, Dryope fled home, but told him nothing about the attack. Later on, she was married to Andraemon (the son of Oxylus), but she had already conceived a child with Apollo. Her son, Amphissus, grew up a well-rounded young man. He established the city Oeta (named after the mountain) and ruled there. He created a temple to Apollo in Dryopis there.

When Dyrope went to the temple, the hamadryad nymphs took her with them, moved by their kind feelings for her.  They hid her in the forest, leaving a poplar tree in her place. In this way Dryope was transformed into a nymph.

Out of respect for the nymphs’ treatment of his mother, Amphissus created a temple for them, and established an annual footrace dedicated to them; these races occur even today. Women are banned from this place, since two maidens told the villagers of Dryope’s whereabouts. This angered the nymphs, and they transformed these maidens into pine trees.


 

ANTONINUS LIBERALIS

MAP:

Name: Antoninus Liberalis  

Date:  2nd – 3rd c. CE

Works:  Metamorphoses*

REGION  UNKNOWN

 

BIO:

Timeline:

 Little is known about the life of the Greek author Antoninus Liberalis. His work, Metamorphoses, is similar to the works of Hyginus in that they provide brief summaries of Greek and Roman myths.

 ROMAN GREECE

 

 

 

  

 


Tuesday, December 27, 2022

M/M: A Toxic Relationship: Cygnus & Phylius, Antoninus Liberalis Met. 12

Content Warning: animal abuse, suicide, toxic relationship / abuse

12: Cygnus. Apollini e Thyria Amphinomi filia natus est Cygnus, facie formosa, moribus inelegantibus et agrestibus, nimio studio venationibus deditus. habitabat ruri inte Pleuronem et Calydonem. Multos habuit ob pulchritudinem amatores: quorum cum prae superbia admitteret neminem: mox omnibus invisus, ab iisque est desertus, solo Phylio apud ipsum perseverante. quanquam hunc quoque non mediocribus affecit contumeliis. Extiterat sub id tempus apud Aetolos ingens leo, qui et in ipsos et in pecus grassabatur. hunc Cygnus iussit Phylium sine ferro interficere. idque is in se recepit, leonemque tali necavit astu. Cum sciret qua hora leo esset superventurus, ventrem implevit multo cibo ac vino. cumque bellum appropinquaret, ea evomit. quae leo famelicus devorans, vini vi est stupido sopore obrutus. et Phylius brachio, cui vestem suam circumvolverat, in os inserto leonem suffocavit: sublatumque in humeros, ad Cygnum attulit. nomenque apud homines illustre eo facinore sibi paravit. Sed Cygnus alium adhuc difficiliorem ei laborem iniunxit. Erant ea in regione vultures monstrosae magnitudinis, qui multos homines interficiebant. hos eum vivos capere, et ad se perducere quavis ratione iussit. Dubitante Phylio quomodo hoc mandatum conficeret, divinitus evenit, ut aquila raptum leporem, semianimemque eodem deiiceret, non perlatum ad nidum. Phylius direpto lepore, sanguine eius se implevit, et humi procubuit. itaque vultures ad eum ut mortuum devolarunt: quorum ille duos pedibus arreptos tenuit, atque ad Cygnum pertulit. Tertium ei hic, prioribus adhuc magis arduum, imposuit laborem: taurum ab armento iubens manu abducere ad aram Jovis. Phylius cum perficiendae huius rei rationem nullam inveniret, Herculis auxilium imploravit. Voto facto, duo ei tauri apparuerunt, qui propter vaccam, quam uterque ardebat, pugnantes cornibus se mutuo in terram prosternebant. cumque elanguisset, Phylius alterum pede correptum ad aram usque attraxit. Voluntate autem Heruclis ....negligere mandata pueri. Accidit hoc gravissimum Cygno, quod se, quod minime opinatus erat fore, contemtum videret. itaque prae maerore animi seipsum abiecit in Conopam lacum, videri inter homines desiit. Eodemque etiam se Thyria mater, filii mortem non ferens, praecipitavit: amboque in aves mutati sunt in lacu, Apollinis nutu. Ab iis quoque lacus Cygnea appellata est; ac tempore arationis multi ibi visuntur olores. Prope extat etiam Phylii monimentum.

 

--Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 12; Translated by Xylander 1832 [Greek text forthcoming]

Cygnus. Apollo and Amphinomus' daughter Thyria had a son named Cygnus. He had a pretty face, but he had terrible manners, and spent too much time hunting.  He dwelled in the countryside between Pleuron and Calydon.  His looks earned him a lot of suitors,  but his arrogance drove them all off. Soon nobody liked him, and everybody stopped asking him out except for one man: Phylius.  But even this one suitor Cygnus treated harshly.

At that time a huge lion was menacing Aetolia that kept attacking both people and livestock. Cygnus ordered Phylius to kill this lion without the use of a weapon. Phylius agreed, and set out to do so. Right before he went to meet the lion, he binged on food and wine. When Phylius approached the lion, he vomited it all up. The lion ate his vomit and quickly succumbed to the affects of the wine. Phylius wrapped his arm in his clothing and shoved it down the animal's throat, suffocating it. He carried the lion's body on his shoulders, and brought it to Cygnus, and became famous for this feat.

But Cygnus wasn't done: he challenged Phylius with an even more difficult task. There were gigantic vultures in the area that kept killing people. Cygnus ordered Phylius to capture them alive, and to bring them to him.

While Phylius was trying to figure out how to accomplish this, he received divine inspiration; he saw an eagle dropping a half-dead rabbit that it had caught. Phylius grabbed the rabbit and smeared himself with its blood, then lay on the ground, pretending to be dead. When the vultures swooped down to devour him, he pinned them down in a chokehold with his legs, and brought them to Cygnus.

Cygnus ordered Phylius to perform a third, and even more impossible, task. He ordered him to take a bull from his flock and bring it to the altar of Jupiter, with nothing but his bare hands. When Phylius couldn’t think of a way to accomplish this, he prayed to Hercules for help. As soon as he had finished praying, two bulls appeared by his side. They had fought over a cow and had their horns locked, trapped on the ground. Phylius grabbed one and dragged it to the altar. But, by the grace of Hercules, Phylius stopped paying attention to Cygnus.

This devastated Cygnus, as he realized that Phylius no longer cared for him. He threw himself into Lake Copona in despair, and disappeared from the eyes of men. Unable to cope with the loss of her son, Cygnus’ mother Thyria also threw herself into the lake and drowned. By the grace of Apollo, both were transformed into birds. This is why the lake is now called Swan Lake; during migration times, many swans are seen in the area.

 

 

 

ANTONINUS LIBERALIS

MAP:

Name: Antoninus Liberalis  

Date:  2nd – 3rd c. CE

Works:  Metamorphoses*

REGION  UNKNOWN

 

BIO:

Timeline:

 Little is known about the life of the Greek author Antoninus Liberalis. His work, Metamorphoses, is similar to the works of Hyginus in that they provide brief summaries of Greek and Roman myths.

 ROMAN GREECE