Sunday, June 13, 2021

Thalestris, the Amazon Queen: Curtius Rufus, Hist. Alex. Magn. VI.v.24-32

Trigger Warning: This passage provides an example of xenophobia and misogyny, as historical Amazons here are glamorized and sexualized by the author's deliberate digression into their "lurid" habits. 

Erat, ut supra dictum est, Hyrcaniae finitima gens Amazonum, circa Thermodonta amnem Themiscyrae incolentium campos. Reginam habebant Thalestrin, omnibus inter Caucasum montem et Phasin amnem imperitantem. Haec cupidine visendi regis accensa finibus regni sui excessit et, cum haud procul abesset, praemisit indicantes venisse reginam adeundi eius cognoscendique avidam. Protinus facta potestate veniendi, ceteris iussis subsistere trecentis feminarum comitata processit, atque, ut primum rex in conspectu fuit, equo ipsa desiluit duas lanceas dextera praeferens. Vestis non toto Amazonum corpori obducitur: nam laeva pars ad pectus est nuda, cetera deinde velantur. Nec tamen sinus vestis, quem nodo colligunt, infra genua descendit. Altera papilla intacta servatur, qua muliebris sexus liberos alant: aduritur dextera, ut arcus facilius intendant et tela vibrent. Interrito vultu regem Thalestris invebatur, habitum eius haudquaquam rerum famae parem oculis perlustrans: quippe omnibus Barbaris in corporum maiestate veneratio est, magnorumque operum non alios capaces putant quam quos eximia specie donare natura dignata est. Ceterum interrogata num aliquid petere vellet, haud dubitavit fateri ad communicandos cum rege liberos se venisse, dignam, ex qua ipse regni generaret heredes; feminini sexus se retenturam, marem reddituram patri. Alexander, an cum ipso militare vellet, interrogat: et illa causata sine custode regnum reliquisse petere perseverabat ne se inritam spei pateretur abire. Acrior ad venerem feminae cupido quam regis; ac, ut paucos dies subsisteret, perpulit: XIII dies in obsequium desiderii eius absumpti sunt. Tum illa regnum suum, rex Parthienen petiverunt.

 --Quintus Curtius Rufus, Historia Alexandri Magni, VI.iv.24-32

As I mentioned earlier, there was a race of Amazons that neighbored Hyrcania; their territory lay on the plains surrounding the Thermodon River. Their queen was Thalestris, who ruled over everyone from the Caucasus mountains to the Phasis River. The queen, burning with a desire to see King Alexander, left her kingdom; when she was not too far from his camp, she sent ambassadors to let him know that she was coming and wanted to meet him. 

When she was granted a meeting, Thalestris sent away the remainder of her retinue except for a body guard of three hundred women. She trotted up to the king, and leapt down from her horse, carrying two lances in her right hand.

Amazons do not go about fully clothed. Their left side remains bare, including their breast, but they cover up the rest of their body. The rest of their outfit (which they tie up in a knot) does not cover their knees. They keep their left breast intact so they can nurse their daughters, but they burn off their right breasts, so that they can more easily draw their bows and shoot their spears.

Thalestris greeted Alexander with a scowl, for his looks did not live up to his royal status. (As you know, all barbarians venerate the majesty of royal bodies, and consider other bodies not as worthy of great deeds as the body of kings).

When asked what she wanted, Thalestris immediately confessed that she wanted to create children with the king, stating that she was worthy to create his heirs; if she bore a daughter, she would keep it; if she bore a son, she would return it to him. Then Alexander asked her if she wished to go on campaign with him; she replied that she could not leave her kingdom without a ruler, but instead insisted that she not leave with her request unfulfilled.  The queen’s desire for love overrode the king’s [desire for a military ally]; and so he tarried with her for a few days. They spent thirteen days together fulfilling the queen’s request. Then the queen returned home, and the king returned to Parthia.

QUINTUS CURTIUS RUFUS

MAP:

Name:  Quintus Curtius Rufus

Date:  1st c. CE

Works:  History of Alexander the Great

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:

 Quintus Curtius Rufus was a Roman statesman and author who lived during the reign of the Julio-Claudian emperors. Although much of his work is lost, the remaining fragments of his History of Alexander the Great provide insight into the life of the great hero.

 GOLDEN 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



Far from the Crimes of Man: Astraea, Seneca, Octavia, 397 - 424

 

Tunc illa virgo, numinis magni dea,
Iustitia, caelo missa cum sancta Fide
terra regebat mitis humanum genus.
non bella norant, non tubae fremitus truces
,
non arma gentes, cingere assuerant suas
muris nec urbes: per
vium cunctis iter,
communis usus omnium rerum fuit;
et ipsa Tellus laeta fecundos sinus
pandebat ultro, tam piis felix parens                          
et tuta alumnis. Alia sed suboles minus
conspecta mitis * * *
* * * Tertium sollers genus                   
no
vas ad artes extitit, sanctum tamen,
mox inquietum quod sequi cursu feras
auderet acres, fluctibus tectos graui         
extrahere pisces rete uel calamo le
vi,
decipere
volucres crate * * *
tenere laqueo, premere subiectos iugo  
tauros feroces,
vomere immunem prius
sulcare terram, laesa quae fruges suas

interior, alte condidit sacro sinu.
     Sed in parentis
viscera intravit suae
deterior aetas; eruit ferrum gra
ve
aurumque, sae
vas mox et armavit manus;
partita fines regna constituit, no
vas
exstruxit urbes, tecta defendit sua 
aliena telis aut petit praedae imminens.
neglecta terras fugit et mores feros
hominum, cruenta caede pollutas manus
Astraea
virgo, siderum magnum decus.

--Seneca the Younger, Octavia 397 – 424

Then Justice, the great-souled virgin goddess,

Sent down from heaven,

Ruled over the human race throughout the earth

With sacred faith.

At that time, mankind knew not the name of war,

Nor the shrill trumpet cry of reveille, nor of warfare;

Cities were not accustomed to build up defensive walls,

Travel was open for all;

All property was held in common.

The earth herself, Mother and Guardian,

gladly produced her bountiful crops for her children.

But the next age was less luxurious; . . .

The third age of mankind expanded with new technology,

Still a pious generation, but restless.

They dared to hunt down wild beasts,

Drag fish from the waves with their nets,

Use snares for birds and other animals,

Tame oxen with yoke,

Slash open the untouched earth with their ploughs.

And now, wounded, the earth hid her fruits

More deeply in her bosom.

But that age violated their sacred Mother’s loins,

Plucking out iron and gold

Put weapons in their savage hands,

Established borders for their kingdoms,

Built up new empires,

Defended their own homes with weapons,

Or sought out new homes for booty.

Neglected, the virgin goddess Astraea

Fled the earth and savage ways of man,

Fled those hands polluted with bloody murder

And sought the great glory of stars.

 

SENECA THE YOUNGER

MAP:

Name:  Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Date:  4 BCE – 65 CE

Works:  Epistulae Morales*

               De Clementia

               Phaedra, etc.

 

REGION  2

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 Corduba, Hispania, Seneca the Younger was a Roman statesman with a tumultuous career. First exiled to the island of Corsica by the emperor Claudius, he was later recalled and became the emperor Nero’s mentor and tutor. Seneca wrote prolifically in several genres, including Stoic philosophy and Roman tragedies. He was ultimately put to death by the emperor Nero for his participation in the Pisonian Conspiracy of 65 CE.

 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



Wednesday, June 9, 2021

W/W: Happily Ever After: Berenice and Mesopotamia, Iamblichus' Babyloniaca

 The Christian author Photius preserved a summary of Iamblichus' novel Babyloniaca, a novel whose secondary romance plot involves the women Berenice and Mesopotamia. The relevant passages are listed here, but the entirety of the text (only a few pages long) is freely available elsewhere online. 

Cast of Characters:

Berenice, Princess [later Pharoah] of Egypt, and lover of Mesopotamia

Dama, a royal eunuch and Garmos' henchman

Euphrates, brother of Mesopotamia and who looks like Rhodanes

Garmos, King of Babylon, the antagonist

Mesopotamia, lover of Berenice

Rhodanes, Sinonis' lover and protagonist

Saca, a royal eunuch and Garmos' henchman

Sinonis, Rhodanes' lover and protagonist

Tigris, dead brother of Euphrates and Mesopotamia 

Zobara, Garmos' royal eunuch who rescues Mesopotamia

1. Personae ergo dramatis inducuntur Sinonis et Rhodanes, pulchra uterque forma et coniugii lege ut copulati, sic etiam invicem amantes. Garmus Babyloniae rex, amissa coniuge, Sinonidis captus amore, uxorem eam udcere maturabat: renuente vero Sinonide, aureo illa torque vincta est, et Rhodanes propterea (Damae et Sacae eunuchis regiis comisso negotio) tollendus in crucum erat. Verum studio Sinonidis inde liberatus, effugit uterque hic crucem, illa nuptias.

Εἰσὶ δὲ αὐτῷ πεποιημένα τοῦ δράματος πρόσωπα Σινωνὶς καὶ Ῥοδάνης, καλὴ καὶ καλὸς τὴν ὄψιν, νόμῳ γάμου ἐρῶντες ἀλλήλων καὶ δὴ καὶ ζευγνύμενοι,   καὶ Γάρμος βασιλεὺς Βαβυλῶνος τῆς αὐτοῦ γυναικὸς θανούσης εἰς ἔρωτα ἀναπτόμενος Σινωνίδος, καὶ πρὸς γάμον ἄγειν ἐπειγόμενος. Ἀνάνευσις Σινωνίδος καὶ δεσμὰ χρυσῷ τῆς ἁλύσεως διαπεπλεγμένης, καὶ Ῥοδάνης διὰ τοῦτο, Δάμα καὶ Σάκα τῶν βασιλικῶν εὐνούχων τὴν πρᾶξιν ἐπιτραπέντων, ἐπὶ σταυροῦ ἀναρτώμενος. Ἀλλ´ ἐκεῖθεν καθαιρεῖται σπουδῇ Σινωνίδος, καὶ φεύγουσιν ἄμφω, ὁ μὲν τὸν σταυρόν, ἡ δὲ τὸν γάμον

2. Narrat porro a re proposita nonnihil digrediens, de delubro illo, atqu insula, quam Euphrates et Tigris circumfluentes efficiant. Veneris ibi sacerdotis feminae tres fuisse liberos Euphratem, Tigrim et Mesopotamiam: vultu quidem hanc deformem genitam, sed a Venere post donatam venustate (tanta), ut de ips etiam lis exorta tres inter amantes fuerit, decretumque iudicium Bobocho, sive Borycho arbitro, qui suo saeculo diudicum praestantissimus habebatur. Addit contendisse hos res, iudiciumque subiisse, propterea quod huic quidem Mesopotamia cyathum, unde bibere solita, praebuerat; alteri deinde direptum capiti suo floridum sertum circumposuierat; tertio vero osculum tulerat: qui sane tertius iudicio victor cum esset, nihilominus contentionem viguisse, dum certantes mutuis se vulneribus confecissent.

Ὡς ἐν παρεκβολῇ δὲ διηγεῖται καὶ τὰ περὶ τοῦ ἱεροῦ καὶ τῆς νησῖδος, καὶ ὅτι ὁ Εὐφράτης καὶ ὁ Τίγρις περιρρέοντες αὐτὴν ποιοῦσι νησῖδα, καὶ ὅτι ἡ τῆς ἐνταῦθα Ἀφροδίτης ἱέρεια τρεῖς ἔσχε παῖδας, Εὐφράτην καὶ Τίγριν καὶ Μεσοποταμίαν, αἰσχρὰν τὴν ὄψιν ἀπὸ γενέσεως, ὑπὸ δὲ τῆς Ἀφροδίτης εἰς κάλλος μετασκευασθεῖσαν. Δι´ ἣν καὶ ἔρις τριῶν ἐραστῶν γίνεται, καὶ κρίσις ἐπ´ αὐτούς. Βόροχος ἢ Βόχορος ὁ κρίνων ἦν, κριτῶν τῶν κατ´ ἐκείνους καιροὺς ἄριστος. Ἐκρίνοντο δὲ καὶ ἤριζον οἱ τρεῖς, ὅτι τῷ μὲν ἡ Μεσοποταμία τὴν φιάλην ἐξ ἧς ἔπιεν ἔδωκε, τῷ δὲ τὸν ἀπὸ τῆς κεφαλῆς ἐξ ἀνθέων ἀφελομένη στέφανον περιέθηκε, τὸν δὲ ἐφίλησε. Καὶ τοῦ φιληθέντος κρίσει νικήσαντος οὐδὲν ἔλαττον αὐτοῖς ἡ ἔρις ἤκμαζεν, ἕως ἀλλήλους ἀνεῖλον ἐρίζοντες

3.      Tigris et Euphrates [sacerdotis illius] filii, persimiles invicem erant, et Rhodanes utrosque forma referebat. Post alterum igitur illum filium, per rosam, uti diximus, enectum, Rhodanes in insulam una cum Sinonide traiecit: et mater Rhodanem aspiciens, inclamat natum suum exstinctum revixisse, filiamque pone subsequi eum iubet. Dissimulat haec Rhodanes, insulaorum simplicitatem ludificans. 

Ἀλλ´ ὅ γε Τίγρις καὶ Εὐφράτης οἱ παῖδες ἐμφερεῖς ἀλλήλοις ἦσαν, καὶ Ῥοδάνης ἀμφοτέροις. Τοῦ δὲ παιδός, ὥσπερ ἔφημεν, τῷ ῥόδῳ τελειωθέντος Ῥοδάνης πρὸς τὴν νησῖδα ἅμα Σινωνίδι περαιοῦται, καὶ βοᾷ ἡ μήτηρ τὸν τεθνηκότα αὐτῆς υἱὸν ἀναβιῶναι, εἰς τὸν Ῥοδάνην ὁρῶσα, καὶ Κόρην αὐτῷ ἐκεῖθεν ἕπεσθαι· συνυποκρίνεται Ῥοδάνης ταῦτα, τῆς τῶν νησιωτῶν κατεντρυφῶν εὐηθείας.

4.    Pater, idemque sacerdos Euphratem pro Rhodane habet appellatque. Fugit et soror Euphratis Mesopotamia. Dein ad Sacan Euphrates ipse adducitur, interrogaturque de Sinonide: pro Rhodane enim habebatur, atque examinabatur. Indicat ergo Sacas Garmo regi captum esse Rhodanem, captandam quoque propediem Sinonidem. Euphrates enim quasi Rhodanes esset, in iudicio respondet, Sinonida, dum ipse caperetur, fuguisse. Coactus nimirum et ipse Sinonida appellare sororem suam Mesopotamiam.

Συλλαμβάνεται Εὐφράτης, ὅτι ὁ πατὴρ καὶ ἱερεύς, ὡς Ῥοδάνην αὐτὸν ὑπολαβών, οὕτως ἐπεκάλει· καὶ φεύγει Μεσοποταμία ἡ ἀδελφή. Καὶ πρὸς τὸν Σάκαν ἀπάγεται Εὐφράτης, καὶ ἀνακρίνεται περὶ Σινωνίδος· ὡς γὰρ Ῥοδάνης ἠτάζετο. Ἀποστέλλει Σάκας πρὸς Γάρμον ὅτι Ῥοδάνης συνείληπται καὶ Σινωνὶς συλληφθήσεται· ὁ γὰρ Εὐφράτης, ὡς Ῥοδάνης κρινόμενος ἔφη, τὴν Σινωνίδα συλλαμβανομένου αὐτοῦ πεφευγέναι, Σινωνίδα καλεῖν κἀκεῖνος ἐκβιαζόμενος τὴν ἀδελφὴν Μεσοποταμίαν.

5. Narratio deinde instituitur de Berenice Aegyptiorum regis filia, deque immani eius et infando amore, utque ad huius Mesopotamia colloquium ac familiaritatem pervenerit. Capta itaque post haec Mesopotamia a Saca, cum fratre suo Euphrate ad Garmum adducitur, qui, litteris aurifabri certior factus aufugisse Sinonida, et illum interfici, et omnes ad hanc custodiendam, atque adducendam lictores missos, una cum uxoribus ac liberis, defodi vivos iubet

Διάληψις περὶ Βερενίκης, ἥτις ἦν θυγάτηρ τοῦ βασιλέως Αἰγυπτίων, καὶ τῶν ἀγρίων αὐτῆς καὶ ἐκθέσμων ἐρώτων· καὶ ὅπως Μεσοποταμίᾳ τε συνεγίνετο, καὶ ὡς ὕστερον ὑπὸ Σάκα συνελήφθη Μεσοποταμία, καὶ πρὸς Γάρμον ἅμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ Εὐφράτῃ ἀπάγεται. Γράμμα δεξάμενος Γάρμος παρὰ τοῦ χρυσοχόου ὡς Σινωνὶς διαπέφευγε, προστάσσει ἐκεῖνόν τε ἀναιρεθῆναι καὶ τοὺς ἐπὶ φυλακῇ ταύτης καὶ ἀγωγῇ σταλέντας αὐταῖς γυναιξὶ καὶ τέκνοις ζῶντας κατορυχθῆναι.

6. Interea Euphrates ad Garmum ducitur, quasi Rhodanes esset, et pro Sinonide Mesopotamia. Ducitur et Soraechus, verusque Rhodanes. Verum cognito Garmus Mesopotamiam non esse veram Sinonida, Zobarae eam tradidit, ad Euphratem fluvium capite truncandam, ne qua, inquit, alia Sinonidis nomen, eius exemplo, falso usurpet. Zobaras tamen Mesopotamiae possessus amore, servavit eam, et ad Berenicen Aegypti, iam patre exstincto, reginam unde ipse olim abductus fuerat, adducit, et Mesopotamiae nuptias Berenice facit. Qua etiam de causa bellum invicem Garmus et Berenice minantur.

Ἄγεται πρὸς Γάρμον Εὐφράτης ὡς Ῥοδάνης, καὶ ὡς Σινωνὶς Μεσοποταμία· ἄγεται καὶ Σόραιχος καὶ ὁ ἀληθὴς Ῥοδάνης. Καὶ διαγνοὺς ὁ Γάρμος μὴ εἶναι Σινωνίδα τὴν Μεσοποταμίαν, δίδωσι Ζοβάρᾳ παρὰ ποταμὸν Εὐφράτην καρατομῆσαι ἵνα μή, φησί, καὶ ἑτέρα τις τοῦ τῆς Σινωνίδος ἐπιβατεύσῃ ὀνόματος. Ὁ δὲ Ζοβάρας ἀπὸ πηγῆς ἐρωτικῆς πιὼν καὶ τῷ Μεσοποταμίας ἔρωτι σχεθείς, σῴζει τε ταύτην καὶ πρὸς Βερενίκην Αἰγυπτίων ἤδη, ἅτε τοῦ πατρὸς τελευτήσαντος βασιλεύουσαν, ἐξ ἧς ἦν καὶ ἀφελόμενος, ἄγει· καὶ γάμους Μεσοποταμίας ἡ Βερενίκη ποιεῖται, καὶ πόλεμος δι´ αὐτὴν Γάρμῳ καὶ Βερενίκῃ διαπειλεῖται.

--Photius, Bibliotheka, I.94 Translated into Latin by Christian Wolf et al. (1860)

1. The characters of the story are Sinonis & Rhodanes; they are a beautiful couple who love each other and are bound together in marriage.

When his wife died, King Garmos of Babylon catches sight of Sinonis, falls in love with her, and decides to marry her.  Sinonis does not consent to this, so she is bound in golden chains. Rhodanes is sent away to be crucified; the royal eunuchs Dama and Saca are hired to do the deed, but Rhodanes is freed through Sinonis’ quick thinking. Together they escape; she flees the marriage, he flees the cross…

[The lovers have various adventures; then Sinonis, thinking that they have been captured, stabs herself and needs medical care.  The couple decides to go to the Temple of Aphrodite to seek medical treatment.]

2. Then in a digression, the author describes the Temple of Aphrodite and the island it is situated on, which lies between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. One of Aphrodite’s priestesses there has three children: Euphrates, Tigris, and Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia was born very ugly, but transformed into a beautiful person by Aphrodite. Because of her beauty, a conflict arose between three of her suitors, and Borychus presided as judge over the outcome.  One argued that Mesopotamia had given him the goblet that she drank from; the other argued that she crowned him with a flower crown that she was wearing; the third argued that she kissed him. Even though the one she kissed was declared the winner, it did nothing to stop the suitors’ quarrel, and ultimately, they killed each other...

3. The priestess’ sons Tigris and Euphrates looked alike, and Rhodanes looked like them, too. Tigris had been killed by [a poisoned] rose; when his mother saw Rhodanes arriving at the island with Sinonis, she shrieked and declared that her dead son had returned to life, with Persephone by his side. Rhodanes went along with this, mocking the islanders’ backwards ways…

[Trouble lurks around the corner: Dama, King Garmos’ henchman, arrives at the temple in pursuit of the lovers…]

4. Euphrates’ father the priest calls his son Rhodanes by mistake, and so Euphrates is captured. His sister Mesopotamia flees. Being mistaken for Rhodanes, Euphrates is sent to Saca, and they interrogate him about Sinonis. Saca sends word to Garmos that Rhodanes has been captured, and that Sinonis has escaped. And Euphrates, still being treated like he’s Rhodanes, responds that Sinonis—really his sister Mesopotamia—fled when he was captured…

[More misadventures occur involving a goldsmith and his daughter…]

5. Then there’s the story of Princess Berenice of Egypt, and her wild and unseemly love affairs, including her “closeness” to Mesopotamia. And when Mesopotamia is captured by Saca, she is sent back to Garmos along with her brother Euphrates. Garmos, receiving a letter by a goldsmith that Sinonis had fled, orders that that man [Euphrates] be killed, and that the fake Sinonis [Mesopotamia] be buried alive with the women and children of the men guarding her.

[Another misadventure involving Sinonis trying to kill a day laborer’s daughter in a fit of jealousy.]

6. Euphrates (still thought to be Rhodanes) and Mesopotamia (still thought to be Sinonis) are brought to King Garmos. Soraechus is also brought in, as well as the true Rhodanes. Garmos realizes that Mesopotamia is not Sinonis, and hands her over to Zobara to be executed on the banks of the Euphrates river, to make an of example of her lest anyone else pretend to be Sinonis.   But Zobara, drunk on desire for Mesopotamia and in love with her, saves her and brings her back to Queen Berenice, (where she had been taken from). Now that her father is dead, Berenice is the new Pharoah of Egypt; she marries Mesopotamia, and threatens war against Garmos.

IAMBLICHUS

MAP:

Name:  Iamblichus

Date:  2nd century CE

Works:  Babyloniaca

 

REGION  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:

 Iamblichus was a Greek novelist who lived in Roman Syria during the 2nd century CE. His novel, the Babyloniaca, only exists in epitome form.

 ROMAN GREEK LITERATURE

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)


 

PHOTIUS

MAP:

Name:  

Date:  9th century CE

Works:  Bibliotheka

 

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:

 Nobleman, clergyman and author Photius led the Eastern Orthodox Church in Constantinople during the 9th century CE. His impact on Church history and literature is immense; he was canonized as a saint in both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches. His work, the Bibliotheka, preserves epitomes of works that are no longer extant.

 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)





Saturday, June 5, 2021

Some Poems on Love from the Codex Salmasianus

 263. De Hippolyto et Phaedra

Vincere falsa pudor poterat; sed castus et insons

Erubuit Phaedrae vincere falsa pudor.


Pudor* can prevail over lies;

But even chaste and innocent blushing

Blushed at Phaedra’s lies.

[*Pudor is a complex term that is difficult to translate. It is anything from a person's sense of self worth and self respect, a person's physical chastity, or an emotional response to impiety (e.g., blushing)]

264. De tumulo Achillis

Iurgia conflat amor, ut blandius urat amantes,

Ad cumulum fidei iurgia conflat amor.

Love kindles strife

To burn lovers more enticingly

To [reach] the ultimate sign of devotion.


265. De Niso & Euryalo

Nomen amicitiae magna pietate colendum est

Maxima pars vitae est nomen amicitiae.

The name of friendship must be cherished with great responsibility;

The greatest part of life is the name of friendship.


266. Item, unde supra

Mens, ubi amaris, ama; rarum est agnoscere amicos;

rarum servare <est>. Mens, ubi amaris, ama.

Dear mind, when you are loved, love back!

It is rare to find friends,

It is rare to keep them.

Dear mind, when you are loved, love back.

--Codex Salmasianus #263 - 266

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



M/M: Love in these Trying Times, Ovid, Tristia I.ix.23-36

sed tamen in duris remanentem rebus amicum

     quamlibet inviso Caesar in hoste probat,

nec solet irasci—neque enim moderatior alter—

     cum quis in adversis, siquid amavit, amat.

de comite Argolici postquam cognovit Orestae,

     narratur Pyladen ipse probasse Thoas.

quae fuit Actoridae cum magno semper Achille,

     laudari solita est Hectoris ore fides.

quod pius ad Manes Theseus comes iret amico,

     Tartareum dicunt indoluisse deum.

Euryali Nisique fide tibi, Turne, relata

     credibile est lacrimis inmaduisse genas.

est etiam in miseris pietas, et in hoste probatur.

     ei mihi, quam paucos haec mea dicta movent! 

--Ovid, Tristia I.ix.23-36

Caesar doesn’t mind a person staying true to their friend in troubled times, even if you’re a friend to his enemy. He won’t even get mad—his self-control is beyond compare—at someone in trying times who loves whatever it is he loved before.

Thoas himself is said to have approved of Pylades after he heard the story of Orestes’ companion.

From Hector’s mouth came praises of the loyalty of Patroclus for his great Achilles.  

When “pious” Theseus went with his friend Pirithous to the Underworld, they say that the god of the Tartarus himself grieved for him.

One can believe that when the tale of Nisus’ & Euryalus’ faith were told to you, Turnus, your cheeks were wet with tears.

 
There is piety among the wretched, and it is valued even among the enemy.

But oh my, how few men are moved by my words!

OVID

MAP:

Name: Publius Ovidius Naso  

Date:  43 BCE – 18 CE

Works:  Ars Amatoria

               Metamorphoses*

              Tristia, etc.

 

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:

Ovid was one of the most famous love poets of Rome’s Golden Age. His most famous work, the Metamorphoses, provides a history of the world through a series of interwoven myths. Most of his poetry is erotic in nature; for this reason, he fell into trouble during the conservative social reforms under the reign of the emperor Augustus. In 8 CE he was banished to Bithynia, where he spent the remainder of his life pining for his native homeland.

 GOLDEN 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


Shipwrecked, but building an empire: Clete, Lycophron, Alexandra 992ff.

 Alii (Graeci) montes inviosTullesios,

Linique maritime iugosum promontorium

Amazonis haereditariam terram conscendent,

Servae mulieris excipients iugum

Quam baltheo cincte aeneo famulam impigrae puellae

Erronem ducet unda in externam terram:

Cuius ultimum expirantis perfossus oculus

Mortem simiformi perniciosam Aetolo

Adferet, hasta cruenta secto.

At Crotoniatae urbem populabuntur quondam

Amazonis, intrepida interfecta virgine

Clete, patriae cognominis regina.

Multi tamen prius terram ab illa mordicus

Mordebunt praecipitati, neque impune

Turres vastabunt Laures filii.


ἄλλοι δὲ πρῶνας δυσβάτους Τυλησίους

λίνου θ᾽ ἁλισμήκτοιο δειραίαν ἄκραν

Ἀμαζόνος σύγκληρον ἄρσονται πέδον,

δούλης γυναικὸς ζεῦγλαν ἐνδεδεγμένοι,

ἣν χαλκομίτρου θῆσσαν ὀτρηρῆς κόρης

πλανῆτιν ἄξει κῦμα πρὸς ξένην χθόνα.

ἧς ἐκπνεούσης λοῖσθον ὀφθαλμὸς τυπεὶς

πιθηκομόρφῳ πότμον Αἰτωλῷ φθόρῳ

τεύξει τράφηκι φοινίῳ τετμημένῳ.

Κροτωνιᾶται δ᾽ ἄστυ πέρσουσίν ποτε

Ἀμαζόνος, φθέρσαντες ἄτρομον κόρην

Κλήτην, ἄνασσαν τῆς ἐπωνύμου πάτρας.

πολλοὶ δὲ πρόσθεν γαῖαν ἐκ κείνης ὀδὰξ

δάψουσι πρηνιχθέντες, οὐδ᾽ ἄτερ πόνων

πύργους διαρραίσουσι Λαυρήτης γόνοι.

--Lycophron, Alexandra / Cassandra 992ff, translated into Latin by Guillermus Canterus (1566)

And others will visit the impassable Tylesian hills,

Or the ocean-washed cliffs of Linos

that neighbors the territory of the Amazon.

The territory that took the yoke of slavery to a slave—

A slave of the bronze-belted Amazon woman* 

[*Penthesilea: As she lets out her last breath,

the loss of her eye, cut by a bloody spear

will bring death to apelike Thersites!].

The sea led Clete astray into a foreign land.

Yet the inhabitants of Croton will destroy the Amazon’s city, 

and that fearless woman will be killed: 

Clete, a kingdom named after its queen. 

But before that happens, many will bite the dust by her hand, 

nor will the Lauretans destroy her citadel easily.

 

Annotatio [Guilelmi Canteri]: Cletes, quae cum Penthesileam heram, quae heic impigra puella vocatur, per mare quaereret, in Italiam tempestate delata, Cletem urbem conditur, cuius reginae dinceps omnes Cletes nomen teunerunt.

NB: Clete, who crossed the sea to follow her lady Penthesilea [who in the text is called “impigra puella,” the swift maiden], but was brought to Italy in a storm, founded a city named Clete, and everyone thereafter took her name.

 

LYCOPHRON

MAP:

Name:  Lycophron

Date:  4th century BCE

Works:  Alexandra

 

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:

 Lycophron was a famous Alexandrian author whose works include poetry and tragedies, most of which are unfortunately lost. His poem, the Alexandra [Cassandra], imagines the Trojan prophet Cassandra’s prophecy to Agamemnon about the events that will occur after the fall of Troy.

 HELLENISTIC 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)