Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Daughter of Simon (or Eumenus or Eerigytius or Ecyrtus or Semus): Sappho, Suda S.107

It is important to note how the author of the Suda defines Sappho by the men she is connected to (her father, her brothers, her husband, and her peers); her achievements are added as an afterthought. Although this article provides information from lost sources about the poet's life, it is important to note that it was written over a thousand years after Sappho's lifetime by a Christian scholar who may have deliberately suppressed information on Sappho's life in order for her to align with the mores of his contemporary readers.


Sappho: Simonis filia: vel ut alii, Eunomini: ut alii Eerigyi: ut alii Ecryti: ut alii Semi: ut alii Camonis: ut alii Etarchi: ut alii Scamandronymi. Matrem habuit Clidem: fuitque Lesbia, Eresso oriunda & Lyrica. Vixit Olympiade XLII quo tempore & Alcaeus & Stesichorus & Pittacus floruerunt. Fratres eius tres fuerunt, Larychus, Charaxus, Eurygius. Nupsit cuidam Cercolae, viro ditissimo, Andrio; ex quo suscepit filiam, quae Clis vocabatur. Sodales eius & amicae fuerunt tres, Atthis, Telesippa, Megara: cum quibus etiam turpem consuetudinem habuisse dicebatur. Discipulae eius fuerunt Anagora Milesia, Gongyla Colophonia, Eunica Salaminia. Scripsit carminum Lyricorum libros IX & prima plectrum invenit. Scripsit etiam Epigrammata & Elegias & Iambos & Monodias.

Σαπφώ, Σίμωνος, οἱ δὲ Εὐμήνου, οἱ δὲ Ἠεριγύου, οἱ δὲ Ἐκρύτου, οἱ δὲ Σήμου, οἱ δὲ Κάμωνος, οἱ δὲ Ἐτάρχου, οἱ δὲ Σκαμανδρωνύμου: μητρὸς δὲ Κλειδός: Λεσβία ἐξ Ἐρεσσοῦ, λυρική, γεγονυῖα κατὰ τὴν μβ# Ὀλυμπιάδα, ὅτε καὶ Ἀλκαῖος ἦν καὶ Στησίχορος καὶ Πιττακός. ἦσαν δὲ αὐτῇ καὶ ἀδελφοὶ τρεῖς, Λάριχος, Χάραξος, Εὐρύγιος. ἐγαμήθη δὲ ἀνδρὶ Κερκύλᾳ πλουσιωτάτῳ, ὁρμωμένῳ ἀπὸ Ἄνδρου, καὶ θυγατέρα ἐποιήσατο ἐξ αὐτοῦ, ἣ Κλεὶς ὠνομάσθη. ἑταῖραι δὲ αὐτῆς καὶ φίλαι γεγόνασι τρεῖς, Ἀτθίς, Τελεσίππα, Μεγάρα: πρὸς ἃς καὶ διαβολὴν ἔσχεν αἰσχρᾶς φιλίας. μαθήτριαι δὲ αὐτῆς Ἀναγόρα Μιλησία, Γογγύλα Κολοφωνία, Εὐνείκα Σαλαμινία. ἔγραψε δὲ μελῶν λυρικῶν βιβλία θ#. καὶ πρώτη πλῆκτρον εὗρεν. ἔγραψε δὲ καὶ ἐπιγράμματα καὶ ἐλεγεῖα καὶ ἰάμβους καὶ μονῳδίας.

--Suda S.107, Translated into Latin by Christian Wolf. 

Sappho: The daughter of Simon (or, as others assert: the daughter of Eunominus, or Eertius, or Semus, or Camon, or Etarchus, or Scamandronymus). Her mother’s name was Cleis. She was from the island of Lesbos, born in Eressus, and was a lyric poet. She lived during the 42nd Olympiad, and was a contemporary of Alcaeus, Stesichorus, and Pittacus. She had three brothers: Larychus, Charaxus, and Eurygius. She married a man named Cercylas, a very wealthy man from the island of Andros; together they had a daughter named Cleis. She had three “friends”: Atthis, Telesippa, and Megara. It is said that she had an affair with them. Anagora of Miletis, Gongyla of Colophon, and Eunica of Salamis were her students. She wrote nine books of lyric poetry, and invented the plectrum*. She also wrote epigrams, elegies, iambic poetry, and monodies. 


* The plectrum is similar to a guitar pick.

SAPPHO

MAP:

Name:  Σαπφώ / Sappho

Date:  630 – 570 BCE

Works:  <lost: only fragments remain>

 

REGION  5

Map of Roman Empire Divided into Regions


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

Timeline of Greek Literature with "ARCHAIC" era hightlighted


SUDA

MAP:

Name:  ???

Date:  10th c. CE

Works:  Suda

 

REGION  UNKNOWN

Map of Roman Empire Divided into Regions


BIO:

Timeline:

 The Suda is a literary encyclopedia created in the 10th century CE by an anonymous Byzantine scholar.

 BYZANTINE GREEK

Timeline of Greek Literature with "BYZANTINE / LATE" era highlighted



Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Challenging Gender Roles: Corinna, Greek Poet: Suda K.2087

Corinna, Achelodori & Procratiae filia, Thebana vel Tanagrea, discipula Myrtidis, Myia cognominata: Lyrica. Quinquies, ut ferunt, Pindarum vicit. Scripsit (carminum) libros V. itemque epigrammata & cantica lyrica.

Κορίννα, Ἀχελῳοδώρου καὶ Προκρατίας, Θηβαία ἢ Ταναγραία, μαθήτρια Μύρτιδος: ἐπωνόμαστο δὲ Μυῖα: λυρική. ἐνίκησε δὲ πεντάκις ὡς λόγος Πίνδαρον. ἔγραψε βιβλία ε#, καὶ ἐπιγράμματα καὶ νόμους λυρικούς.

--Suda K.2087. Translated into Latin by Christian Wolf.

 

Corinna: The daughter of Achelodorus & Procratia. She was either Theban or Tanagrean. She was a student of Myrtis. Her nickname was Myia (“the fly”). She was a lyric poet. It is said that she beat the poet Pindar five times in a competition. She wrote five books of poetry, both of epigrams and pastoral poems.


SUDA

MAP:

Name:  ???

Date:  10th c. CE

Works:  Suda

 

REGION  UNKNOWN

Map of Roman Empire Divided into Regions



BIO:

Timeline:

 The Suda is a literary encyclopedia created in the 10th century CE by an anonymous Byzantine scholar.

 BYZANTINE GREEK

Timeline of Greek Literature with "BYZANTINE / LATE" era highlighted



Thursday, August 6, 2020

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Cicero's view on "ominous" births: Cicero, de Div. 2.xxviii.60


XXVIII 60 An vero illa nos terrent, si quando aliqua portentosa aut ex pecude aut ex homine nata dicuntur? Quorum omnium, ne sim longior, una ratio est. Quicquid enim oritur, qualecumque est, causam habeat a natura necesse est, ut, etiamsi praeter consuetudinem exstiterit, praeter naturam tamen non possit exsistere. Causam igitur investigato in re nova atque admirabili, si poteris; si nullam reperies, illud tamen exploratum habeto, nihil fieri potuisse sine causa, eumque terrorem, quem tibi rei novitas adtulerit, naturae ratione depellito. Ita te nec terrae fremitus nec caeli discessus nec lapideus aut sanguineus imber nec traiectio stellae nec faces visae terrebunt. 


--Cicero, de Divinatione II.xxviii.60


 Are you really frightened by “omens” of unusual animal or human births? Long story short: all of these occur for one reason, and one reason only. Anything that is born, whatever it is, is caused naturally; even if it happens to be unusual (praeter consuetudinem), it cannot occur “unnaturally” (praeter naturam). Whenever something new and rare occurs, go ahead and investigate the cause, if you can. Even if you analyze the facts and still cannot find the reason, remember that nothing can occur without reason, and put aside the kneejerk panic that the novelty of the occurrence gave you.  Once you do this, nothing will frighten you: not earthquakes, not weather patterns, not rain showers of blood or stones, not falling stars, nor will-‘o-the-wisps.

CICERO
MAP:
Name:  Marcus Tullius Cicero
Date:  106 BCE – 43 BCE
Works: de Amicitia
               de Divinatione*
               Epistles
               In Catilinam
              Pro Archiam, 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:
 Cicero was an Italian-born Roman statesman and author who lived during the complexities of Rome’s transition from Republic to monarchy. Cicero spent most of his life in service of his country, serving as both a lawyer, senator, and even consul [Roman equivalent of president]. He is known for his suppression of the failed governmental coup in 63 BCE known as the Catilinarian conspiracy that occurred during his consulship. After the rise of Octavian [later known as the first Roman emperor Augustus], his views fell out of favor and he was eventually put to death during the proscriptions under the Second Triumvirate (Octavian, Marc Antony and Lepidus). He was a prolific author with a wide range in genres, and his literary style was adopted by Petrarch as the default model for the Latin language.
 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: after 410 CE

Thursday, July 30, 2020

M/M: A List of "Really Good Friends": Hyginus, Fab. 257


Qui inter se amicitia iunctissimi fuerunt:
  • ·         Pylades Strophill filius cum Oreste Agamemnonis filio.
  • ·         Pirithous Ixionis filius cum Theseo Aegei filio.
  • ·         Achilles Pelei filius cum Patroclo Menoettii filio.
  • ·         Diomedes Tydei filius cum Sthenelo Capanei filio.
  • ·         Peleus Aeaci filius cum Phoenice Amyntoris filio.
  • ·         Hercules Iovis filius cum Philoctete Poeanis filio
  • ·         Harmodius et Aristogiton [more fraterno]
  • ·         In Sicilia [Dionysius] tyrannus crudelissimus cum esset suosque cives cruciatibus interficeret, Moeros tyrannum voluit interficere. Quem satellites cum deprehendissent armatum, ad regem perduxerunt. Qui interrogatus respondit se regem voluisse interficere. Quem rex iussit cruci figi, a quo Moerus petit tridui commeatum ut sororem suam nuptui collocaret et daret yranno Selinuntium amicum suum et sodalem qui sponderet eum tertio die venturum Cui rex indulsit commeatum ad sororem collocandam, dicitque rex Selinuntio, ut nisi ad diem Moerus veniret eum eandem poenam passurum, et dimittit Morerum. Qui collocata sorore cum reverteretur, repente tempestate et pluvia orta flumen ita increvit ut nec transiri nec transnatari posset. ad cuius ripam Moerus consedit et flere coepit ne amicus pro se periret. [Tyrannus] autem Selinuntium cruci figi cum iuberet ideo, quod horae sex tertii iam diei essent ne veniret Moerus, cui Selinuntius respondit diem adhuc non praeteriisse. cumque iam et horae novem essent, rex iubet duci Selinuntium in crucem. Qui cum duceretur vix tandem Moerus liberato flumine consequitur carnificem exclamatque a longe: sustine carnifex adsum quem spopondit. Quod factum regi nunciatur. Quos rex ad se iussit perduci rogavitque eos ut se in amicitiam reperent, vitamque Moero concessit.
  • ·         Harmodius et Aristogiton, idem in Sicilia eundem Phalarim Harmodius cum vellet interficere simulationis causa scrofa porcellos habentem occidit et venit ad Aristogitonem amicum suum esse sanguinolento dicitque se matrem interfecisse rogatque eum ut se celaret. qui cum ab eo celaretur rogavit Aristogitonem ut progrederetur rumoresque qui essent de matre sibi renunciaret. ... nullos esse rumores. qui vespere ita litem contraxeruntut alius alio potiora ingererent. nec ideo Aristogiton voluit obiicere eum matrem interfecisse. cui Harmodius patefecit se scrofam porcellos habentem interfecisse, et ideo 'matrem' dixisse. cui indicat se regem velle interficere rogatque eum, ut sibi adiutorio esset. qui cum ad regem interficiendum venissent deprehensi sunt a satellitibus armati; et cum perducerentur ad tyrannum, Aristogiton a satellitibus effugit. Harmodius autem solus cum perductus esset ad regem, quaererentque ab eo quis ei fuisset comes, ille ne amicum proderet, linguam dentibus sibi praecidit eamque regis in faciem inspuit.
  • ·         Nisus cum Euryalo suo pro quo et mortuus est.



--Hyginus, Fabulae 257


People who were really good “friends”:
  • Strophilius’ son Pylades was “really good friends” with Agamemnon’s son Orestes
  • Ixion’s son Pirithous was “really good friends” with Theseus
  • Peleus’ son Achilles was “really good friends” with Menoetes’ son Patroclus
  • Tydeus’ son Diomedes was “really good friends” with Capaneus’ son Sthenelus
  • Aeacus’ son Peleus was “really good friends” with Amyntor’s son Phoenix
  • Jupiter’s son Hercules was “really good friends” with Poeas’ son Philoctetes
  • Harmodius and Aristogiton [loved each other] like brothers
  • [Problematic manuscript here: this is the myth of Pythias & Damon] In Sicily, there was this very cruel tyrant named Dionysius whom Moeros wanted to kill because he was torturing and killing his own citizens. Guards caught him in the act and brought him to the king. When he was interrogated, he confessed that he wanted to kill the king. Naturally, the king ordered him to die by crucifixion; Moerus asked for a three day extension so that he could arrange his sister’s wedding. He offered the tyrant his friend and companion Selinuntius, who would serve as collateral of his pledge to return on the third day.  The king granted his request, and told Selinuntius that he would suffer the same punishment (i.e., crucifixion) if Moerus didn’t return on the proper day, then let Moerus go.


Once he arranged his sister’s affairs, Moerus started his journey back, but a sudden rainstorm occurred and raised the river so much that he could neither ford nor swim across it. Moerus sat upon the river bank and began to weep, saddened that his friend would have to die for him.

Therefore when the tyrant* ordered the crucifixion of Selinuntius, since it was already noon on the third day and Moerus had not yet arrived, Selinuntius responded that the day was not yet over.
In the middle of the afternoon, the king ordered Selinuntius’ execution. No sooner had he been led to the cross when Moerus, having crossed the river, ran up to the executioner and shouted as he neared: 
“Hold up! I’m here—release my friend!”

Once this was done, this news was relayed back to the king. The king ordered both men to be brought before him and told them that since they had proven their friendship to each other, he would spare Moerus’ life.

  • [Problematic manuscript here: this story should occur in Athens. The role of Harmodius and Leaena are conflated; Phalaris and Dionysius are used interchangeably as the name of the tyrant] Harmodius and Aristogiton: they also lived in under the same tyrant, Phalaris.* When Harmodius wanted to kill the tyrant, he created a ruse and killed a pregnant sow. He went to his friend Aristogiton while covered in its blood and told him that he had killed his own mother, and asked him to harbor him.  Once Aristogiton hid him,  Harmodius asked him to go about town and report back to him all of the rumors about his mother’s death—but there were no rumors. That evening, their bond grew even stronger, for Aristogiton didn’t want to expose his friend for killing his mother. Harmodius revealed to Aristogiton that he had killed a pregnant sow, and had called it his “mother.” Then he told him that he wanted to kill the king, and asked him if he would be willing to help him.  When they went up to the king to kill him, they were caught in the act by the guards; but as they were brought before the tyrant, Aristogiton was able to escape custody.

When Harmodius was brought before the king, they asked him who his accomplice was, but he would not betray his friend. Instead he bit off his own tongue and spat it out in the king’s face.

  • Also, Nisus was “really good friends” with Euryalus, and died for him. 

HYGINUS
MAP:
Name: Gaius Julius Hyginus
Date: 64 BCE – 17 CE
Works: Fabulae*
               De Astronomica

REGION 1 / 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:
Hyginus was a freedman of the Roman emperor Augustus who was in charge of the Imperial library on the Palatine Hill in Rome. His work, the Fabulae, are a sourcebook for Greek and Roman myths. Although there is quite a bit of overlap between his writings and his contemporary and friend Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Hyginus’ works are much more succinct.
GOLDEN AGE ROME

* There is evidence that Hyginus may have been from Alexandria, Egypt (Suetonius, de Gramm. 20)

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

W/W: Bassa's Riddle, Martial 1.90.1-6

Quod numquam maribus iunctam te, Bassa, videbam
     quodque tibi moechum fabula nulla dabat,
omne sed officium circa te semper obibat
     turba tui sexus, non adeunte viro,
esse videbaris, fateor, Lucretia* nobis:              5
     at tu, pro facinus, Bassa, [incasta] eras!


--Martial, Epig. I.90.1-6, 9-10

Bassa,
Because I never saw you in any man's arms,
Because I never heard a rumor about you cheating,
Because no man ever dated you,
Because you were content
with the swarm of women always at your side,
you seemed to be an ideal of chastity to me.
But dang it, Bassa, all this time you’ve been dating them!

* Lucretia was a role model of chastity in early Roman history.


Disclaimer: This text has been modified to fit the scope of this blog. The nominative predicate in line six has been changed into a less severe alternative. Considering the scarcity of women's perspectives in Latin literature, I felt it was important to include this passage despite the language it uses.



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: after 410 CE


Friday, July 17, 2020

W/W: Love, You Bittersweet Beast! Sappho fr. 38

Amor autem me artuum dissolutor versat, 
dulciamara [belva] inexpugnabilis.

Ἕροσ δαὖτέ μ᾽ ὀ λυσιμέλεσ δόνει,
γλυκύπικρον ἀμάχανον ὄρπετον.

--Sappho fr. 38

Limb-shredding Love has turned against me,
Love, you invincible & bittersweet beast!

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); ALEXANDRIAN: (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)