Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Amazons, As Explained by a Christian Writer: Orosius, Historia 1.15

Medio autem tempore apud Scythas duo regii iuvenes Plynos et Scolopetius, per factionem optimatium domo pulsi, ingentem iuventutem secum traxere et in Cappadociae Ponticae ora iuxta amnem Thermodontem consederunt campis Themiscyriis sibi subiectis; ubi diu proxima quaeque populati conspiratione finitimorum per insidias trucidantur. Horum uxores exilio ac viduitate permotae arma sumunt et, ut omnibus par ex simili condicione animus fieret, viros qui superfuerant interficiunt atque accensae in hostem sanguine suo ultionem caesorum coniugum finitimorum excidio consequuntur. Tunc pace armis quaesita externos concubitus ineunt, editos mares mox enecant, feminas studiose nutriunt inustis infantium dexterioribus mammillis, ne sagittarum iactus impedirentur; unde "Amazones" dictae. Harum duae fuere reginae, Marpesia et Lampeto, quae agmine diuiso in duas partes vicissim curam belli et domus custodiam sortiebantur. Igitur cum Europam maxima e parte domuissent, Asiae vero aliquantis ciuitatibus captis, ipsae autem Ephesum aliasque urbes condidissent, praecipuam exercitus sui partem onustam opulentissima praeda domum reuocant, reliquae ad tuendum Asiae imperium relictae cum Marpesia regina concursu hostium trucidantur. Huius locum Sinope filia capessit, quae singularem virtutis gloriam perpetua uirginitate cumulauit. Hac fama excitas gentes tanta admiratio et formido invaserat, ut Hercules quoque cum iussus fuisset a domino suo exhibere arma reginae quasi ad ineuitabile periculum destinatus, universam Graeciae lectam ac nobilem iuventutem contraxerit, nouem longas naues praepararit, nec tamen contentus examine virium ex inprouiso adgredi et insperatas circumuenire maluerit.Duae tunc sorores regno praeerant, Antiope et Orithyia. Hercules mari advectus incautas inermesque et pacis incuria desides oppressit. Inter caesas captasque complurimas duae sorores Antiopae, Melanippe ab Hercule, Hippolyte a Theseo retentae. Sed Theseus Hippolyten matrimonio adscivit, Hercules Melanippen sorori reddidit et arma reginae pretio redemptionis accepit. Post Orithyiam Penthesilea regno potita est, cuius Troiano bello clarissima inter viros documenta virtutis accepimus.

--Orosius, Historia Adversum Paganos 1.15 

While all that was happening, this was happening in Scythia: there were two princes named Plynos and Scolopetius who were expelled from their throne by a coup of the nobles. They migrated with a large group of youths to the shores of Cappadocia on the Black Sea by the Thermodon River. They conquered the territory of Themiscyra and settled there. They stayed there until ultimately being killed by treachery by their neighboring countries.

Moved by exile and their widowhood, their wives took up arms and, in order to rival their husbands’ courage, killed the remaining men in their group and repaid their enemy neighbors in blood for the blood of their slaughtered husbands. Then, after imposing peace through threat of violence, they used their neighbors for breeding purposes, killing the boys they birthed, and nursing their girls with their right breast [for they burn off their left breast in order to shoot arrows unimpeded]. This is why they are called ‘breastless,’ [A-mazons].

Of these Amazons, there were two queens, Marpesia and Lampeto, who divided the group into two parts: one group would take care of war, while the other group would stay home to guard their home. When they had conquered a great part of Europe, even capturing some nations in Asia, they founded the city of Ephesos and other cities.

While a large part of the army was returning home with splendid treasure, and the rest of the army remaining behind to guard their territory in Asia, Queen Marpesia was killed in a skirmish with the enemy. Her daughter, Sinope, who cherished her lifelong chastity, took control of this region.

There was so much admiration and respect for these Amazons that even Hercules, when he was ordered by his lord* to bring back the armor of the Amazon queen, realized the terrible danger he was in. He assembled all of the nobles of Greece, prepared nine longboats, yet still was unimpressed with his swarm of men warriors, and instead strategized to catch the Amazons off guard. At that time, two sisters were in power named Antiope and Orithya. Hercules came ashore, and caught the Amazons off guard, attacking them unarmed, and without a thought to diplomacy. Among these casualties who were captured and killed were two sisters of Antiope. Melanippe was captured by Hercules, and Hippolyte was captured by Theseus. Theseus married his captive Hippolyte, but Hercules returned Melanippe to her sister, ransoming her for the queen’s armor.

Penthesilea ruled after Orithyia [died], and we all know the story of her glorious deeds during the Trojan War.

 


* Referring to his famous Twelve Labors

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

M/M: I Love Those Who Love You, Fronto, Ad M. Caes. 4.1

Sed meliora, quaeso, fabulemur. Amo Julianum (inde enim hic sermo defluxit), amo omnis, qui te diligunt, amo deos, qui te tutantur, amo vitam propter te, amo litteras tecum: Inprimis eis mihi amorem tui ingurgito.

--Marcus Aurelius to Fronto. Fronto, ad Caesarem 4.1


But I beg you, let us talk about better things. I love Julianus (the reason we started this conversation). I love everyone who loves you, I love the gods who protect you, I love life because of you, I love our letters together: especially in the ones where I gush my love for you.



FRONTO

MAP:

Name:  Marcus Cornelius Fronto  

Date:  100 – 160 CE

Works: Letters

 

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:

Fronto was a Roman statesman born in Cirta (Numidia, located in northern Africa) whose rhetorical and literary abilities earned him the nickname “Second Cicero.” He was tutor and mentor to the future Roman emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus; his correspondence with them provides unique insight into the personal lives of much of the Antonine dynasty.

 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





Tuesday, May 14, 2024

M/M: United in Death: Carpos & Calamos

 

[48] nec calamis s. aeq. s. v. m. videtur allegoria quasi ad Theocritum et Vergilium respicere: hinc est 'tu nunc eris alter ab illo'. fabula de calamo talis est: veteres Zephyro vento unam ex horis coniugem adsignant, ex qua et Zephyro Carpon filium pulcherrimi corporis editum dicunt. quem cum Calamus, Maeandri fluvii filius, amaret, a Carpo mutua vice etiam ipse adamatus est. sed Carpos cum in Maeandrum fluvium cadens esset extinctus, Calamus, patrem propter hoc scelus aversatus, aufugit rogavitque Iovem, ut finem suis luctibus daret sibique mortem praestaret, ut amato post obitum iungeretur. quem miseratione Iuppiter ductus in harundinales calamos verti iussit, qui semper circa oras fluminum nasci solent, Carpon vero in fructus rerum omnium vertit, ut semper renasceretur.

 --Servius, In Ecl. 5.48Nor did Calamus...

Seems to be an allegory referring to Theocritus & Vergil repeats, like “you will now be another of him.” The story of Calamos is as follows: ancient authors say that the wind Zephyr married one of the Hours, and had a very handsome son named Carpos. Calamos, the son of the river god Meander, fell in love with him, and they loved each other intensely. However, when Carpos fell into the Meander river and drowned, Calamos was horrified by his father’s deed and ran away. He begged Jupiter to end his grief and let him die as well, so that he could join his beloved in death. Moved to pity, Jupiter ordered Calamos to be transformed into a reed, which is accustomed to bloom around riverbanks, and transformed Carpos into the fruit of all things, so he could always be reborn.

 

 

 



SERVIUS
MAP:
Name:  Maurus Servius Honoratus
Date:  4th – 5th c. CE (???)
Works:  In Vergilii carmina comentarii

REGION  1
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:
 Little is known about the author or manuscript tradition for the grammatical commentary of Vergil’s Aeneid.
 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




Thursday, May 2, 2024

M/M: Addressing a Toxic Relationship, Martial 2.55

Sextus, you want to be worshipped;

But I wanted to love you.

You have to be obeyed—or else!

Because you tell me to, I’ll comply,

But if I have to worship you, I won't--I can't--feel love for you.

--Martial, Epigrams 2.55 

Vis te, Sexte, coli: volebam amare.

Parendum est tibi: quod iubes, coleris;

Sed si te colo, Sexte, non amabo.


MARTIAL
MAP:
Name: Marcus Valerius Martialis
Date:  40 CE – 104 CE
Works:  Epigrammaton Libri XV*
               De Spectaculis

REGION  2 (Hispania)
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:
Originally from Bilbilis, Hispania, the poet Martial moved to Rome in the 60s CE to advance his career. His two extant works include de Spectaculis, a collection of poems written to commemorate the opening of the Colosseum, and a fifteen volume collection of epigrams. These epigrams provide valuable insight into the mores and private lives of men and women from all of the city’s social classes.     
 SILVER AGE ROME
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



Saturday, April 20, 2024

Find Me Somebody to Love: A 12th century Love Poem

Tela, Cupido, tene, quoniam non ille nec illa

sustinet esse meus, vel mea. Tele tene,

tela tene! Quid amo? Quod amat? Non absit. At huius

quod fugit, huius ero? Non ero. Tele tene,

tela tene! Quia non teneo quod amo tenuisse.

An dixi quod amo? Non amo! Tela tene,

tela tene, vel tange parem. Nec feceris imo,

dico tibi, sine! Vel tange, Cupido, parem.

--Ellis, R. Epigrammata Codicis Bodleiani Rawl. BN 109 #2. Published in Anecdota Oxoniensia Vol 1, Part 5.  (1885) p. 17.

 

 

Cupid, hold your fire!

For neither my boyfriend

Nor my girlfriend

stays true to me.

Hold your fire, hold your fire!

What’s my type? A person who loves!

May I find one soon.

But should I date someone

Who ghosts me? NOPE!

Hold your fire, hold your fire!

For I will not cherish a person

who I’d “love that I had dated once.”

Did I just say “a person I love”?

Nope! I’m not in love.

Hold your fire,  hold your fire,

Or find me an equal.

Please don’t do this—I’m telling you—please stop!

Or, Cupid,

 find me an equal.

  


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Friends Till The End: Martial 1.93

Roman men often had deep, loving and affectionate friendships with their peers. There was no shame or stigma in expressing love and support to one another.

Fabricio iunctus fido requiescit Aquinus,

qui prior Elysias gaudet adisse domos.

Ara duplex primi testatur munera pili:

plus tamen est, titulo quod breviore legis:

"iunctus uterque sacro laudatae foedere vitae,

famaque quod raro novit: amicus erat." 

--Martial, Epigrams 1.93 

Aquinus is buried next to his faithful Fabricius,

Who happily entered Heaven before him.

A double tombstone attests that both attained primus pilus [head centurion]

But, what’s more, is the inscription:

“Both are joined in a sacred relationship of a blessed life,

And something even more blessed: they were friends.”

 

MARTIAL

MAP:

Name: Marcus Valerius Martialis

Date:  40 CE – 104 CE

Works:  Epigrammaton Libri XV*

               De Spectaculis

 

REGION  2 (Hispania)

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Northern Africa, including Carthage; Region 4: Egypt and the Middle East; Region 5: Peninsular Greece and the coast of Turkey


 

BIO:

Timeline:

Originally from Bilbilis, Hispania, the poet Martial moved to Rome in the 60s CE to advance his career. His two extant works include de Spectaculis, a collection of poems written to commemorate the opening of the Colosseum, and a fifteen volume collection of epigrams. These epigrams provide valuable insight into the mores and private lives of men and women from all of the city’s social classes.     

 SILVER AGE ROME

Silver Age: 18 - 150 CE


 


Sunday, April 7, 2024

W/W: Remember Me, Delicate Rose: A Medieval Love Poem

G unicae suae rosae

A vinculum dilectionis preciosae.

Quae est fortitudo mea, ut sustineam,

ut in tuo discessu pacientiam habeam?

Numqud fortitudo mea fortitudo est lapidum,

ut tuum esspectem reditum?

Quae nocte et die non cesso dolere,

velut qui caret manu et pede.

Omne quod iocundum est et delectabile

absque te habetur ut lutum pedum calcabile,

pro gaudere duco fletus

numquam animus meus apparet laetus.

Dum recordor quae dedisti oscula,

et quam iocundis verbis refrigerasti pectuscula,

mori libet

quod te videre non licet.

quid faciam miserrima?

quo me vertam paurperrima?

o si corpus meum terrae fuisset creditum

usque ad optatum tuum reditum,

aut si translatio mihi occederet Abaccuc

ut semel venissem illluc,

ut vultum amantis inspexissem,

et tunc non curarem si ipsa hora mortua fuissem!

nam in mundo non est nata

quae tam amabilis sit et grata,

et quae sine simulatione

tam intima me diligat dilectione.

unde sine fine non cesso dolere

donec te merear videre.

revera iuxta quendam sapientem magna miseria est hominis,

cum illo non esse

sine quo non potest esse.

dum constat orbis

numquam deleberis de medio mei cordis.

quid multis moror?

redi, dulcis amor!

noli iter tuum longius differe,

scias me absentiam tuam diutius non posse suffere.

vale,

meique memorare. 


--[quoted in] Dronke, Peter. Medieval Latin and the Rise of European Love Lyric, Vol  2.479; and Piechl,Helmut and Bergmann, Werner. Die Tegernseer Briefsammlung des 12. Jahrhunderts, p. 356


To her unique rose G,

From A, the bond of precious love.

How can I be strong enough

To endure your leaving?

Isn’t my strength the strength of stone

To wait for your return?

Night and day, I can’t stop grieving

When you’re gone, it feels like I’ve lost a hand and a foot.

When you’re gone, everything that is pleasant and delightful

Is like mud trod upon by my foot.

I turn to weeping instead of joy,

My heart is never happy.

When I recall the kisses you’ve given me,

And how you restored my heart with your happy words,

I’d rather die

Than not see you again.

What will wretched ol’ me do?

Where will poor li’l ol’ me turn?

If only my body were laid to earth

Until your longed-for return occurs,

Or if I could make a trip like Habakkuk

To go where you are,

To see the face of my lover—just once!--

I’d be content to die right then and there.

For no other woman was born in the universe

Who is so lovely and pleasant

Without any fake or pretend aspects

Who loves me with such deep intimacy.

 So I’ll never stop grieving

Until I’m worthy of seeing you again.

According to a certain Wise One,

Mankind’s great Sorrow is to be kept from

The one person you cannot live without.

As long as the world still stands

You will never be taken from the bottom of my heart.

Why do I delay any further?

Return,  sweet love!

Don’t put off your travels any longer,

Remember that I cannot endure your absence any longer,

Goodbye,

Remember me.