Saturday, October 1, 2022

Alas, Camilla! Vergil, Aeneid

 vellem haud correpta fuisset

militia tali conata lacessere Teucros:               585

cara mihi comitumque foret nunc una mearum.

verum age, quandoquidem fatis urgetur acerbis,

labere, nympha, polo finisque invise Latinos,

tristis ubi infausto committitur omine pugna.

haec cape et ultricem pharetra deprome sagittam:               590

hac, quicumque sacrum violarit vulnere corpus,

Tros Italusque, mihi pariter det sanguine poenas.

post ego nube cava miserandae corpus et arma

inspoliata feram tumulo patriaeque reponam.'

dixit, at illa levis caeli delapsa per auras               595

insonuit nigro circumdata turbine corpus.

 --Vergil, Aeneid 11.584--596

"I wish [Camilla] weren’t swept up in this attempt to tackle the Trojans:

She is dear to me and, of all my companions, she’d be my only [dear].

Since she is compelled by cruel fate, go on, then, nymph, 

Slip down unnoticed to Earth, go to where the doomed Latins are fighting.

Take this quiver and grab an avenging arrow

And with it strike down whoever harms the blessed body of Camilla,  

Whether they are Trojan or Italian, they’ll pay the penalty with their blood.

Afterwards, I will keep her body from being stripped of armor,

And I will carry her back to her homeland for burial.”

Diana spoke, and [Opis] gracefully soared through the breeze

Cloaking her body in a dark whirlwind.


VERGIL / VIRGIL

MAP:

Name:  Publius Vergilius Maro

Date:  70 BCE – 21 BCE

Works:  Aeneid*

              Eclogues

             Georgics

 

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:

Vergil was born in Mantua (Cisalpine Gaul, located in northern Italy) and lived during the tumultuous transition of Roman government from republic to monarchy. His masterpiece, the Aeneid, tells the story of Aeneas’ migration from Troy to Italy; it was used for centuries as the pinnacle of Roman literature.

 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


Sunday, September 25, 2022

M/M: Alas, Hyacinthus: Ovid, Met. 10.162-219

 'Te quoque, Amyclide, posuisset in aethere Phoebus,     10.162

tristia si spatium ponendi fata dedissent.             

qua licet, aeternus tamen es, quotiensque repellit           

ver hiemem, Piscique Aries succedit aquoso,       165

tu totiens oreris viridique in caespite flores.        

te meus ante omnes genitor dilexit, et orbe        

in medio positi caruerunt praeside Delphi,           

dum deus Eurotan inmunitamque frequentat    

Sparten, nec citharae nec sunt in honore sagittae:             170

inmemor ipse sui non retia ferre recusat,             

non tenuisse canes, non per iuga montis iniqui   

ire comes, longaque alit adsuetudine flammas. 

iamque fere medius Titan venientis et actae       

noctis erat spatioque pari distabat utrimque,      175

corpora veste levant et suco pinguis olivi              

splendescunt latique ineunt certamina disci.       

quem prius aerias libratum Phoebus in auras      

misit et oppositas disiecit pondere nubes;           

reccidit in solidam longo post tempore terram    180

pondus et exhibuit iunctam cum viribus artem.  

protinus inprudens actusque cupidine lusus        

tollere Taenarides orbem properabat, at illum    

dura repercusso subiecit verbere tellus 

in vultus, Hyacinthe, tuos. expalluit aeque            185

quam puer ipse deus conlapsosque excipit artus,              

et modo te refovet, modo tristia vulnera siccat, 

nunc animam admotis fugientem sustinet herbis.             

nil prosunt artes: erat inmedicabile vulnus.         

ut, siquis violas rigidumve papaver in horto          190

liliaque infringat fulvis horrentia linguis,

marcida demittant subito caput illa vietum          

nec se sustineant spectentque cacumine terram:             

sic vultus moriens iacet et defecta vigore             

ipsa sibi est oneri cervix umeroque recumbit.      195

"laberis, Oebalide, prima fraudate iuventa,"       

Phoebus ait "videoque tuum, mea crimina, vulnus.          

tu dolor es facinusque meum: mea dextera leto

inscribenda tuo est. ego sum tibi funeris auctor.

quae mea culpa tamen, nisi si lusisse vocari          200

culpa potest, nisi culpa potest et amasse vocari?

atque utinam tecumque mori vitamque liceret   

reddere! quod quoniam fatali lege tenemur,      

semper eris mecum memorique haerebis in ore.

te lyra pulsa manu, te carmina nostra sonabunt, 205

flosque novus scripto gemitus imitabere nostros.             

tempus et illud erit, quo se fortissimus heros      

addat in hunc florem folioque legatur eodem." 

talia dum vero memorantur Apollinis ore,            

ecce cruor, qui fusus humo signaverat herbas,    210

desinit esse cruor, Tyrioque nitentior ostro          

flos oritur formamque capit, quam lilia, si non    

purpureus color his, argenteus esset in illis.         

non satis hoc Phoebo est (is enim fuit auctor honoris):   

ipse suos gemitus foliis inscribit, et AI AI 215

flos habet inscriptum, funestaque littera ducta est.          

nec genuisse pudet Sparten Hyacinthon: honorque         

durat in hoc aevi, celebrandaque more priorum

annua praelata redeunt Hyacinthia pompa.         

--Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.161--219


You, too, Hyacinthus, would have joined Phoebus in heaven

If Destiny had allowed you to overturn your sad fate.

But nevertheless you are eternal, sort of,

Whenever spring chases off winter,

Whenever Aries rises over the rainy season of Pisces,

You return as a flower upon the green fields.  

My father loved you more than everyone else.

Delphi, the hub of the world, had no ruler,

While its patron god [Apollo] traveled to open-gated land of Sparta,

He doesn’t care about his lyre or his archery anymore;

And, out of character, he doesn’t mind taking up the hunting-net

He doesn’t mind walking his hunting dogs,

He doesn’t mind trekking the mountains as Hyacinthus’ companion [comes],

And this time together fans the flames of his love.

It was high noon when Apollo and Hyacinthus got ready for a workout,

They shed their clothes and anointed themselves,*

And entered the field for a friendly game of discus.

Phoebus [Apollo] had the first throw. The discus

Sliced through the air, then after a while, it fell back to the ground,

displaying Apollo’s talent with its course.

Straightaway, Hyacinthus foolishly rushed to catch it, trying to show off,

But the discus ricocheted off of the ground and hit Hyacinthus in the face.

Apollo went pale, as pale as his boyfriend was!

He cradled Hyacinthus’ unconscious form,

Trying to revive you, trying to staunch the blood of your wounds,

Trying to save your life with herbs.

His skills could not save you: the wound was a fatal one.

Just like when someone plucks

a violet or a poppy or a lily from its stem,

It hangs its wilted head

Unable to hold its blossom,

it droops to the ground

your head drooped forward against your shoulder

as you died. Apollo cried,

“Oh Hyacinthus, you perish, cheated out of your youth.

As I look at your wound, I blame myself.

You are my grief and my guilt:

I have your blood on my hands.

I am the reason that you died.

But what did I do wrong? Was it a crime

To exercise together?

Was it a crime to love you?

If only I could die with you, or

If only you could return to life!

Although you are mortal and must die,

You will always be with me,

I will always have you in my heart.

I shall sing of you with my lyre

And with my voice,

And a new flower will cry out for you in imitation of my grief.

There will be a time, when a brave hero

Will also be associated with this flower, and recognized by its petals.”

 As Apollo was speaking, the youth’s blood

which spread upon the ground

 was blood no longer! Prettier than Tyrian purple

 a flower bloomed and took a shape like a lily

except this was purple, and that was silvery.

But Apollo wasn’t done—upon its petals he wrote

His own lament, and the petals now have the words “ALAS! ALAS!”

And Sparta isn’t ashamed of Hyacinthus:

He is honored even today, and every year

They celebrate a festival in his honor.

* in the absence of elastic waistbands, ancient Greeks and Romans would exercise nude. They used olive oil as a form of antiperspirant / deodorant.


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

 

 

 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Dangerous Beauty: The Abduction of Ganymede, Ovid, Met. 10.155-161

Content Warning: Abduction, human trafficking

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

 

'Rex superum Phrygii quondam Ganymedis amore         155

arsit, et inventum est aliquid, quod Iuppiter esse,             

quam quod erat, mallet. nulla tamen alite verti  

dignatur, nisi quae posset sua fulmina ferre.       

nec mora, percusso mendacibus aere pennis      

abripit Iliaden; qui nunc quoque pocula miscet   160

invitaque Iovi nectar Iunone ministrat.

--Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.155-161

The king of the gods [Jupiter] once burned for love of Trojan Ganymede.

He transformed himself into something the youth preferred more

than Jupiter himself—an eagle!  He couldn’t transform himself

into just any random bird,

No—he needed one that could handle his lightning bolts.

Immediately Jupiter took to the air on his costume wings

And kidnapped the Trojan youth.

Now the youth serves wine to Jupiter

And Juno’s not happy about it.

 

 

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

 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

New Body, New Name, Same Me: The Rebirth of Hippolytus as Virbius, Lact. Plac. Narr.15.45

Hippolytus cum propter novercale odium propulsus esset patria et Troezan proficisceretur ex inproviso mari elatus taurus, sicut parens optaverat, gravissimum ei obiecit timorem. Exasperatis equis tractus interiit. Quem Aesculapus Dianae voluntate, cuius initio comes fuerat, reduxit ad superos. Hinc eiusdem deae revocatus in nemus Aricinum mortalitatem exuit. A converso itaque nomine deus Virbius est nominatus. 

--Lactantius Placidus, Qui dicitur Narrationes Fabularum Ovidiarum Liber 15 fabula 45


When Hippolytus was exiled from his homeland due to his stepmother’s hostility,* he set out for Troezen. Suddenly, a bull rose up from the sea (just as his father had prayed for**), and gave him a fright. It spooked his horses; they trampled him and he died.  Since he had been a longtime companion of Diana, the goddess saw to it that Asclepius revived him. Brought back to life by the goddess, he gave up his mortal life and remained in the Arician grove as a god with a new name: Virbius.

 

 * Because Hippolytus was devoted to Artemis and rejected Aphrodite (i.e., he was asexual), Aphrodite cursed him by making his stepmother Phaedra fall violently in love with him. When he rejected her advances, she took her own life, leaving behind a letter that accused Hippolytus of assaulting her.

**Believing his wife's false accusations against his son Hippolytus, Theseus prayed to his father Poseidon to cause the youth's death.


LACTANTIUS PLACIDUS

MAP:

Name:  Lactantius Placidus

Date:  5th or 6th century CE

Works:  Abridgement of Ovids’ Metamorphoses

Commentary on Statius’ Thebaid

 

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:

 Little is known about this Christian author, but he is known for his commentary on Statius’ Thebaid and an abridgement of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

 LATE LATIN / BYZANTINE

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, September 10, 2022

Motherless Birth: Bacchus' Fiery and Tragic Origin Story, Lactantius Placidus, Narr. 3.3

Iuno suspectam Semelen, Cadmi et Harmoniae filiam, cum haberet, quod cum Iove concubuisset, in anum conversa est, ut se fallacia sine invidia cuiusquam ulcisceretur; ad eam venit persuadetque ei, ne alio Iovem apparatu recipiat ad cubile, quam solitus sit apparere Iunoni, quo ut illius auctoritas gravis, proinde ipsius concubitus insignis esset. quod cum impetravisset a cupiente, deus instructus tonitribus ac fulminibus domum Semeles ingressus est: tecta eius deceptae optatis flammis adurit Liberumque conceptum utero gravidae incendio eripit ac femore insuit suo. postea conpletis mensibus nymphis, quae Nysam montem Indiae perfrequentaret, clam tradidit nutriendum. 

--Lactantius Placidus, Qui dicitur Narrationes Fabularum Ovidiarum Liber 3 fabula 3


When Juno suspected that Semele [the daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia] was having an affair with Jupiter, she tried to get revenge without getting her own hands dirty. She turned into an old woman, went up to Semele and persuaded her to get Jupiter to visit her in the same form that he used whenever he visited Juno.

When Semele got Jupiter to do so, Jupiter entered Semele’s home with thunder and lightning. The poor girl got what she wanted, and her home went up in smoke. Jupiter took the unborn child [Bacchus / Liber / Dionysus] from her charred womb and sewed it into his own thigh. When it was time for Bacchus to be born, Jupiter secretly handed him over to the nymphs that hung out in the Indian Mt. Nysa so they could raise him.

LACTANTIUS PLACIDUS

MAP:

Name:  Lactantius Placidus

Date:  5th or 6th century CE

Works:  Abridgement of Ovids’ Metamorphoses

Commentary on Statius’ Thebaid

 

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:

 Little is known about this Christian author, but he is known for his commentary on Statius’ Thebaid and an abridgement of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

 LATE LATIN / BYZANTINE

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



Sunday, September 4, 2022

From Man to Woman and Back Again: Tiresias, Lactantius Placidus, Narr. 3.5

[Tiresias] qui utramque naturam maris ac feminae fuerat expertus. nam quodam tempore cum serpentes concubitu haerentes baculo percussisset, in mulierem conversus fuerat ac rursus proximo vere eadem usus ratione ac tactu in virum cesserat. 

--Lactantius Placidus, Qui dicitur Narrationes Fabularum Ovidiarum Liber 3 fabula 5

Tiresias had experienced the nature of being a man and a woman. For at some point in his life he had transformed into a woman when he had struck a pair of mating serpents with a stick. He changed back into a man the following spring the same way.

LACTANTIUS PLACIDUS

MAP:

Name:  Lactantius Placidus

Date:  5th or 6th century CE

Works:  Abridgement of Ovids’ Metamorphoses

Commentary on Statius’ Thebaid

 

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:

 Little is known about this Christian author, but he is known for his commentary on Statius’ Thebaid and an abridgement of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

 LATE LATIN / BYZANTINE

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


 



Friday, September 2, 2022

Dangerous Beauty: Caeneus vs the Centaurs, Lactantius Placidus, Narr. 12.4

 CONTENT WARNING: rape, attempted rape, warfare

[Nestor] rettulit enim sua aetate Caenin Elati filiam fuisse, quae propter pulchritudinem a Neptuno conpressa sit data venia ob iniuriam, ut in virum mutata nullo telo interfici possit. huic cum Pirithous Ixionis filius...nuptui interesset ducta Hippodamia et Eurytus inter Centauros vino incitatus in nuptam novam impetum fecisset, ceteri prosiluere Lapithae atque Centauri nuptias frequentantes. ideoque caedes cum maxima esset exorta plurimique ex utraque parte ob raptum matronarum concidissent et quod inviolabilis ille restaret, ab universis, qui ex caede reliqui fuerunt, novissime impetu facto congestisque in eum arborum truncis spiritum reddere coactum. tamen non immemor deus Neptunu, a quo specisum munus acceperat, supradictum in volucrem nominis sui transfiguravit. 


--Lactantius Placidus, Qui dicitur Narrationes Fabularum Ovidiarum liber 12 fab.4

Nestor told a story of a person from his generation. He said that Caenis was once the daughter of Elatus, who was assaulted by Neptune because of their beauty, and when given a gift in restitution, they were transformed into a man who could not be killed by any weapon.

Caeneus was present when Pirithous, the son of Ixion got married to Hippodamia. Eurytus, along with other centaurs, got drunk and tried to assault the bride, and all of the centaurs and Lapiths started fighting. When everyone was getting killed and a lot of people from both sides had died because of this abduction attempt, Caeneus alone remained standing, unharmed. The rest of the [centaur] survivors ganged up on him, heaping tree trunks upon him to smother him. Neptune did not forget him or his gift; he turned him into a bird that shared his name.

LACTANTIUS PLACIDUS

MAP:

Name:  Lactantius Placidus

Date:  5th or 6th century CE

Works:  Abridgement of Ovids’ Metamorphoses

Commentary on Statius’ Thebaid

 

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:

 Little is known about this Christian author, but he is known for his commentary on Statius’ Thebaid and an abridgement of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

 LATE LATIN / BYZANTINE

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