Saturday, June 3, 2023

Apollo and Venus, United in Grief: a poem by Faustus Sabaeus

Dum Venus in Cypro, & Phoebus per prata vagantes

F1orida: habere solum* sidera picta vident:

Dumque Hyacinthus ibi, atque rubens occurrit Adonis:

Pulcher uterque suo funere, Phoebus ait:

Dic soror, haec nostris num exultat amoribus istis?

An luctu & nostro terra dolore gemit?

Hic meus, iste tuus dolor, & gratissimus ignis:

Ille Hyacinthus erat: alter Adonis erat.


* solum, i: soil (not from solus, a, um)

----Faustus Sabaeus, Picta Poesis Ovidiana (1580)  

While Venus and Apollo were wandering through the blossoming fields on Cyprus,

They noticed that the soil had vibrant stars*.

And over here they ran into the Hyacinth flower,

And over there they spotted the red Adonis flower,

Each one beautiful even in death.

Apollo said, “Tell me, sister,  does this land

Gloat over the death of our boyfriends,

Or is the earth weeping alongside us in pain?

This star is my grief, and that star is yours;

This one was Hyacinth, the other was Adonis.”


* a metaphor for flower





Saturday, May 27, 2023

Saving the Life of a Friend: David & Jonathan, 1 Samuel 20

 Content Warning: domestic violence, slavery

1. Fugit autem David de Nahioth quae erat in Rama veniensque locutus est coram Jonathan quid feci quae est iniquitas mea et quod peccatum meum in patrem tuum quia quaerit animam meam?


David fled from Nahioth (a region which is in Rama). He came to Jonathan and said, "What have I done wrong? What wrong have I committed against your father that he is trying to kill me?"

2. qui dixit ei absit non morieris neque enim faciet pater meus quicquam grande vel parvum nisi prius indicaverit mihi hunc ergo celavit me pater meus sermonem tantummodo nequaquam erit istud


And Jonathan said to David: "No--you will not die. My father won't do anything, large or small, without telling me first. Has my father then hidden this plan from me? No, it cannot be."


3. et iuravit rursum David et ille ait scit profecto pater tuus quia inveni gratiam in oculis tuis et dicet nesciat hoc Jonathan ne forte tristetur quinimmo vivit Dominus et vivit anima tua quia uno tantum ut ita dicam gradu ego morsque dividimur


And once again Jonathan swore an oath to David. And David said "Well, of course your father knows that you look upon me fondly, and he will say, 'Let's keep Jonathan in the dark about this so he won't be upset.' But surely as the Lord lives, and as surely as your soul lives, I tell you what, there is only one step between me and death."


4. et ait Jonathan ad David quodcumque dixerit mihi anima tua faciam tibi

And Jonathan said to David, "Whatever your soul asks of me,  I will provide."


5. dixit autem David at Jonathan ecce kalendae sunt crastino et ego ex more sedere soleo iuxta regem ad vescendum dimitte ergo me ut abscondar in agro usque ad vesperam diei tertiae

David told Jonathan, "Look, tomorrow is the first of the month, and I usually sit beside the king at dinner (as royal custom dictates). Let me go and instead I'm going to hide in the countryside until the evening of the third day.”


6. si requisierit me pater tuus respondebis ei rogavit me David ut iret celeriter in Bethleem civitatem suam quia victimae sollemnes ibi sunt universis contribulibus eius


“If your father asks where I am, tell him that I asked you to go to my hometown Bethlehem for religious reasons.


7. Si dixerit bene pax erit servo tuo si autem fuerit iratus scito quia conpleta est malitia eius

...If he is okay with it, I'm safe, but if he's angry about it, then you’ll know the extent of his ill will towards me.


8. Fac ergo misericordiam in servum tuum quia foedus Domini me famulum tuum tecum inire fecisti si autem est in me aliqua iniquitas tu me interfice et ad patrem tuum ne introducas me

"…Have mercy upon me, your servant, for you have entered a covenant of the Lord with me. If, however, I have done any wrong, then kill me instead of bringing me to your father."


9. et ait Jonathan absit hoc a te neque enim fieri potest ut si certo cognovero conpletam patris mei esse malitiam contra te non adnuntiem tibi.

And Jonathan replied, "Of course you haven't done me any wrong. If I find out that my father is plotting evil against you, of course I'll tell you."

10. responditque David ad Jonathan quis nuntiabit mihi si quid forte responderit tibi pater tuus dure

David asked Jonathan, "Who will tell me if your father makes threats against me?"

11. et ait Jonathan ad David veni egrediamur in agrum cumque exissent ambo in agrum

And Jonathan told David,  "Come on, let's go to the countryside." And when they both went to the countryside...

12. ait Jonathan ad David Domine Deus Israhel si investigavero sententiam patris mei crastino vel perendie et aliquid boni fuerit super David et non statim misero ad te et notum tibi fecero

Jonathan told David, "I swear to God, if I figure out what my father has planned, either tomorrow, or the next day,  and if he has good intentions for David, but I don't immediately send for you and let you know,  

13. haec faciat Dominus Jonathan et haec augeat si autem perseveraverit patris mei malitia adversum te revelabo aurem tuam et dimittam te ut vadas in pace et sit Dominus tecum sicut fuit cum patre meo

"...then let the Lord curse Jonathan, and even worse! But if my father's malice against you continues, I will tell you, and I will send you away in peace. And the Lord may be with you as He has been with my father.

14. et si vixero facies mihi misericordiam Domini si vero mortuus fuero

"...and if I live, may the Lord have mercy upon me, but if I die, ...

15. non auferas misericordiam tuam a domo mea usque in sempiternum quando eradicaverit Dominus inimicos David ununquemque de terra

"May the Lord not take away His mercy from my house forever, just as the Lord has obliterated the enemies of David from the face of the earth.

16. pepigit ergo foedus Jonathan cum domo David et requisivit Dominus de manu inimicorum David

And so Jonathan made an oath with the house of David,  and the Lord fulfilled it against the hands of the enemies of David 

17. et addidit Jonathan deierare David eo quod diligeret illum sicut animam enim suam ita diligebat eum

And Jonathan renewed his oath to David, for he cherished him as much as he did for his own soul

18. dixitque ad eum Jonathan cras kalendae sunt et requireris

Jonathan said to David, "Tomorrow is the first of the month, and your absence will be noticed.

19. requiretur enim sessio tua usque perendie descendes ergo festinus et venies in locum ubi celandus es in die qua operari licet et sedebis iuxta lapidem cui est nomen Ezel

You need to be absent before tomorrow. So leave quickly to your hiding spot. On the very next workday, settle down by the rock called Ezel

20. et ego tres sagittas mittam iuxta eum et iaciam quasi exercens me ad signum

"...and I will shoot three arrows next to it, pretending to use the rock as target practice…

21. mittam quoque et puerum dicens ei vade et adfer mihi sagittas

“…I will send a slave to fetch the arrows back.

22. si dixero puero ecce sagittae intra te sunt tolle eas tu veni ad me quia pax tibi est et mihil est mali vivit Dominus si autem sic locutus fuero puero ecce sagittae ultra te sunt vade quia dimisit te Dominus

If I tell the slave, 'Hey, the arrows are close to you,' then pick them up and approach me, for you're safe and there is no plot against you (as the Lord lives). But if I tell the slave,  'hey, the arrows are far away,' then run for your life, for the Lord has sent you from this place.

23. de verbo autem quod locuti fuimus ego et tu sit Dominus inter me et te usque in sempiternum

"...Regarding the oath we spoke together, may the Lord be beside you and me forever & always."

24. absconditus est ergo David in agro et venerunt kalendae et sedit rex ad comedendum panem

So David hid in the countryside, and the first of the month came, and King Saul sat down for the feast…

25. cumque sedisset rex super cathedram suam secundum consuetudinem quae erat iuxta parietem surrexit Jonathan et sedit Abner ex latere Saul vacuusque apparuit locus David

And when King Saul sat down on his throne by the wall (as was his custom), Jonathan rose up and Abner sat down beside the king, and David's spot was empty.

26. et non est locutus Saul quicquam in die illa cogitabat enim quod forte evenisset ei ut non esset mundus nec purificatus

And Saul didn't say anything, for he thought something might have happened to David, that he was impure or needed a purification ritual.

27. cumque inluxisset dies secunda post kalendas rursum vacuus apparuit locus David dixitque Saul ad Jonathan filium suum cur non venit filius Isai nec heri nec hodie ad vescendum

And on the next day,  when David was still missing, Saul asked Jonathan why David, the son of Isai was absent for dinner both yesterday and today .

28. et respondit Jonathan Suli rogavit me obnixe ut iret in Bethleem

And Jonathan replied to Saul, "He asked me to leave for Bethlehem.

29. et ait dimitte me quoniam sacrificium sollemne est in civitate unus de fratribus meis accersivit me nunc ergo si inveni gratiam in oculis tuis vadam cito et videbo fratres meos ob hanc causam non venit ad mensam regis.

"...and he told me, 'Please let me go, for there is a holy sacrifice ritual in my hometown. One of my brothers has come and invited me to it. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me go quickly and visit my brothers.' And that's the reason why he's not at the royal feast.”

30. iratus autem Saul adversus Jonathan dixit ei fili mulieris virum ultro rapientis numquid ignoro quia diligis filium Isai in confusionem tuam et in confusionem ignominiosae matris tuae

Saul was angry, and lashed out against Jonathan.  He said, "Son of a rapist mother, you think I don't know that you love David to the point of shamefulness, and to the point of your mother's shame?

31. omnibus enim diebus quibus filius Isai vixerit super terram non stabilieris tu neque regnum tuum itaque iam nunc mitte et adduc eum ad me quia filius mortis est

"...For as long as the son of Isai [David] lives on the earth, your life will not be set firm, nor will your kingdom. So go fetch him, for he is the son of death." 

32. respondens autem Jonathan Sauli patri suo ait quare moritur quid fecit

Jonathan replied to his father Saul, "Why should he die? What has he done?"

33. et arripuit Saul lanceam ut percuteret eum et intellexit Jonathan quod definitum esset patri suo ut interficeret David

And Saul snatched up a spear to strike him down, and Jonathan realized that his father had his heart set on killing David.

34. surrexit ergo Jonathan a mensa in ira furoris et non comedit in die kalendarum secunda panem contristatus est enim super David eo quod confudisset eum pater suus.

Jonathan got up and angrily left the table. He did not eat bread on the second day of the month, worried for David and upset because of his father[‘s actions].

35. cumque inluxisset mane venit Jonathan in agrum iuxta placitum David et puer parvulus cum eo

The next day, Jonathan went out to the countryside in the spot he and David had agreed to meet.  He brought a young slave boy with him.

36. et ait ad puerum suum vade et adfer mihi sagittas quas ego iacio cumque puer cucurrisset iecit aliam sagittam trans puerum

And he told the slave, "Go and fetch  my arrows as I shoot them.' As the boy ran, the shot an arrow past the boy.

37. venit itaque puer ad locum iaculi quod miserat Jonathan et clamavit Jonathan post tergum pueri et ait ecce ibi est sagitta porro ultra te

The boy came to the place where Jonathan shot the arrow and Jonathan shouted to the boy, "Hey, the arrow is past you!"

38. clamavit Jonathan post tergum pueri festina velociter ne steteris collegit autem puer Jonathae sagittas et adtulit ad dominum suum

Jonathan shouted out to the boy, 'Hurry up, don't just wait around!" The slave collected Jonathan's arrows and brought them back to his master.

39. et quid ageretur penitus ignorabat tantummodo enim Jonathan et David rem noverant

The slave didn't know the meaning of this; only Jonathan and David knew the secret message .

40. dedit igitur Jonathan arma sua puero et dixit ei vade defer in civitatem

Jonathan gave his armor to the slave, and told him to bring them back to the city.

41. cumque abisset puer surrexit David de loco qui vergebat ad austrum et cadens pronus in terram adoravit tertio et osculanted alterutrum fleverunt pariter David autem amplius

When the slave was gone, David left his hiding place (which was to the south), and falling on the ground, he knelt at Jonathan's feet three times. Both kissed one another and wept. But David wept more.

42. dixit ergo Jonathan ad David vade in pace quaecumque iuravimus ambo in nomine Domine dicentes Dominus sit inter me et te et inter semen meum et semen tuum usque in sempiternum.

Jonathan told David, "Go in peace. Let our covenant which we swore in the name of the Lord between you and me remain for us and our descendants forever."

43. et surrexit et abiit sed et Jonathan ingressus est civitatem

And David got up and left. And Jonathan returned to the city.

--1  Samuel 20:1-43

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Avis Resurgens: A Latin Novella About Caeneus

 Avis Resurgens: Fabula de Caeneo is a 250-word first person short story in Latin on the life and adventures of the trans warrior Caeneus.  The PDF is formatted into booklet form using only two printed pages, and it is intended as a supplemental reading for a level 2 Latin class. It is a story of triumph and trans joy, written in the attempt to not only address LGBTQIA+ erasure from Classical mythology in modern classrooms, but to also reinforce that trans stories--just like our trans students--belong in our classroom.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Found Family: David & Jonathan, part 1 [1 Samuel 18:1-6]

The exchange of clothing between Jonathan and David is similar to the Greek custom of xenia, in which gifts are exchanged to solidify a bond of guest-friendship.  Note that men across multiple cultures in the ancient world often had deep, loving and affectionate friendships with their peers. There was no shame or stigma in expressing love and support to one another. 

et factum est cum conplesset loqui ad Saul 
anima Ionathan conligata est animae David 
et dilexit eum Ionathan quasi animam suam
 tulitque eum Saul in die illa 
et non concessit ei ut reverteretur in domum patris sui 
inierunt autem Ionathan et David foedus 
diligebat enim eum quasi animam suam 
nam expoliavit se Ionathan tunicam qua erat vestitus et dedit eam David 
et reliqua vestimenta sua usque ad gladium et arcum suum et usque ad balteum
egrediebatur quoque David ad omnia quaecumque misisset eum Saul 
et prudenter se agebat 
posuitque eum Saul super viros belli et 
acceptus erat in oculis universi populi maximeque in conspectu famulorum Saul.

--1 Samuel 19:1-6

And it happened that when David had finished speaking with King Saul, Jonathan’s soul united with the soul of David, and Jonathan cherished him as if he were his own soul. On that day, King Saul took in David and did not allow him to return to his father’s household. Jonathan and David entered into a bond, for he loved him as if he were his own soul. And Jonathan took off his own shirt he was wearing and gave it to David, and clothed him in his own clothes, even his own sword and bow and war belt. And David went out wherever Saul sent him, and David performed his tasks wisely, and Saul gave him management over his warriors. David was well respected in the eyes of the entire nation, especially in the servants of Saul’s own household.


Saturday, May 6, 2023

M/M: In Honor of Cyparissus; Faustus Sabaeus

Ad Solem.

Hanc tibi, quam cernis, radiantem floribus oram,

propter aquae fluvium lucidioris habe.

Consecro, cunctorum o genitor, quae circuit orbis:

quae fati, et variant conscia signa poli.

Solstitiis utrisque, precor defende Cupressum;

ne noceant aestus, ne glacialis hiemis.

arbor enim Chariti nostrae dilecta perennet:

quondam cura tui, nunc mage cura mei.

----Faustus Sabaeus, Picta Poesis Ovidiana (1580) 

To the Sun:

Cherish this tree you see before you

upon this shore blossoming with flowers

beside these clear waters.

O Creator of All Things,

Who Knows What Fate holds,

Who Moves the Heavens of each solstice,

I consecrate this tree.

I beg you to defend the Cypress [Cyparissus] 

let neither the heat of summer

nor the ice of winter harm him.

May this beloved tree endure

formerly cherished by you, now even more so cherished by me. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

The Lifestyle of Vestal Virgins, Plutarch, Numa 10.1-3

Praescripsit autem rex Vestalibus triginta annorum castimoniam. Primo decennio discunt ea quae sint sui officii, altero ea exercent, tertio alias ipsae eadem docent. Secundum hoc tempus permissum est illis, quae velint, deposito sacerdotio nubere, aut aliud vitae genus diligere; non multas tamen narrant hac licentia usas et iis, quae eam amplexae fuissent, adversas res evenisse, poenitentiaque et maestitia reliquum vitae tempus vexatas, reliquas in eam superstitionem adduxisse, ut ad senectutem potitus exitumque vitae virginitatem conservarent. Magnos honores his sacerdotibus tribuit Numa, e quorum numero est, quod licebat vivo adhuc patre testamentum condere, quod sine tutore omnia agere poterant, haud secus quam ius trium liberorum adeptae. Cum in publicum progrediuntur, lictores secum habent, ac si tum forte ad capitale supplicium aliquis ducatur, is non necatur; iusiurandum tamen ab ipsis exigitur, forte fortuna se, non data opera, intervenisse. Porro autem qui subit lecticae,qua ipsae vehuntur, moritur. 

ὡρίσθη δὲ ταῖς ἱεραῖς παρθένοις ὑπὸ τοῦ βασιλέως ἁγνεία τριακονταέτις, ἐν ᾗ τὴν μὲν πρώτην δεκαετίαν ἃ χρὴ δρᾶν μανθάνουσι, τὴν δὲ μέσην ἃ μεμαθήκασι δρῶσι, τὴν δὲ τρίτην ἑτέρας αὐταὶ διδάσκουσιν. εἶτα ἀνεῖται τῇ βουλομένῃ μετὰ τὸν χρόνον τοῦτον ἤδη καὶ γάμου μεταλαμβάνειν καὶ πρὸς ἕτερον τραπέσθαι βίον, ἀπαλλαγείσῃ τῆς ἱερουργίας, λέγονται δὲ οὐ πολλαὶ ταύτην ἀσπάσασθαι τὴν ἄδειαν, οὐδὲ ἀσπασαμέναις χρηστὰ πράγματα συντυχεῖν, ἀλλὰ μετανοίᾳ καὶ κατηφείᾳ συνοῦσαι τὸν λοιπὸν βίον ἐμβαλεῖν τὰς ἄλλας εἰς δεισιδαιμονίαν, ὥστε μέχρι γήρως καὶ θανάτου διατελεῖν ἐγκαρτερούσας καὶ παρθενευομένας.

τιμὰς δὲ μεγάλας ἀπέδωκεν αὐταῖς, ὧν ἔστι καὶ τὸ διαθέσθαι ζῶντος ἐξεῖναι πατρὸς καὶ τἆλλα πράττειν ἄνευ προστάτου διαγούσας, ὥσπερ αἱ τρίπαιδες. ῥαβδουχοῦνται δὲ προϊοῦσαι: κἂν ἀγομένῳ τινὶ πρὸς θάνατον αὐτομάτως συντύχωσιν, οὐκ ἀναιρεῖται, δεῖ δὲ ἀπομόσαι τὴν παρθένον ἀκούσιον καὶ τυχαίαν καὶ οὐκ ἐξεπίτηδες γεγονέναι τὴν ἀπάντησιν

--Plutarch, Vita Numae 10.1-3, Translated into Latin by Theodore Doener (1857)

[Numa] determined the term of the Vestal Virgins would be thirty years long. In the first decade, Vestal Virgins learn about their duties; in the second decade, they practice them, and in their third, they teach them. After that time, they are allowed to get married, and start whatever lifestyle they choose. They say that not many women choose to do so, and those that do, do not end up happy, but are full of regret and sorrow. Therefore the bulk of Vestals retain their chaste lifestyle for the rest of their life.

Numa bestowed great honors to the Vestal Virgins. They are allowed to create their own wills independent of their fathers. They are allowed to manage their own household without a male guardian (just like those who have mothered three children). When Vestals go out in public, they have lictors [an honor guard] with them. If someone on death row is brought to their presence, they are not killed, provided that they can make an oath that the meeting was an accident and not actively planned. Moreover, if someone bumps into their vehicle, they are put to death.



Name:  Plutarch

Date:  46 – 119 CE

Works:  Parallel Lives







 Plutarch was a Greek author and Roman citizen who lived during the 1st century CE. He had minor governmental and religious administrative roles during his lifetime, but he is best known for his writings. He has numerous philosophical and historical works still extant, including the Parallel Lives, in which he compares the lives of a Roman and Greek statesman for moralistic purposes.


Thursday, April 20, 2023

M/M: Apollo Mourns Hyacinthus, Faustus Sabaeus

Invita dum caede manus lavat amne cruentas

tristis Apollo: quibus perdidit Oebaliden:

fata suorum animo evolvens crudelia amorum

protulit in casus talia verba truces

iam creuere meo nemora alta cruore: et eodem

vulnere nunc humus est florida, et unda rubet.

----Faustus Sabaeus, Picta Poesis Ovidiana (1580) 

While Apollo mournfully washed the blood off his hands

From the tragic accident and death of Hyacinthus,

The cruel loss of his loved one kept running in a loop through his mind.

He groaned the following words about such an awful loss:

“Already these lofty groves have grown, fertilized by the blood of my loved one,

And now the earth blossoms from a repeated loss,

and the river runs red with blood.”