Friday, February 16, 2024

Caeneus in the Underworld: Aeneid 6.440-449

nec procul hinc partem fusi monstrantur in omnem  

Lugentes campi; sic illos nomine dicunt.

hic quos durus amor crudeli tabe peredit

secreti celant calles et myrtea circum

silva tegit; curae non ipsa in morte relinquunt.

his Phaedram Procrinque locis maestamque Eriphylen  

crudelis nati monstrantem vulnera cernit,

Evadnenque et Pasiphaen; his Laodamia

it comes et iuvenis quondam, nunc femina, Caeneus

rursus et in veterem fato revoluta figuram.

--Vergil, Aeneid 6.440-449



Not far from here, spread out all around in every direction were the Mourning Fields; that’s what they’re called. This is where people affected by cursed love waste away. They hide in the narrow foot paths covered in a myrtle forest; even death itself cannot remove their pain. This is where he sees Phaedra, Procris, sad Eriphylis who bears the wounds of her cruel son, as well as Evandne and Pasiphae. Laodamia wanders here as companion to Caeneus—he had been a young man, but now returned by Fate to his previous shape as a woman.


NOTES:

·        Phaedra was cursed by Aphrodite to fall in love with her stepson Hippolytus

·        Procris, afraid her husband was unfaithful to her, followed him while he went out hunting and was accidentally killed by him.

·        Eriphylis betrayed her husband’s whereabouts while he was hiding during the Theban War and was swallowed by the earth

·        Evadne loved her husband so much that she threw herself on her husband’s funeral pyre

·        Pasiphae was cursed by Poseidon to fall in love with a bull after her husband Minos refused to offer him appropriate sacrifices

·        Laodamia loved her husband Protesilaus so much that she threw herself on his funeral pyre

·        What is Caeneus’ durus amor? Is it being the target of Poseidon’s attention and subsequent attack? Although Caeneus has a son (Coronus), there is no mention in extant myths about any love interest / marriage.

 

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, February 11, 2024

Caeneus in the Underworld: Servius In Aen. 6.445

Vergil conflates the transformation myths of Tiresias (whose body reverts back to his original form) and Caeneus.

 

NUNC FEMINA CAENEUS Caenis virgo fuit, quae a Neptuno pro stupri praemio meruit sexus mutationem. fuit etiam invulnerabilis. qui pugnando pro Lapithis contra Centauros crebris ictibus fustium paulatim fixus in terra est, post mortem tamen in sexum rediit. hoc autem dicto ostendit Platonicum illud vel Aristotelium, animas μετεμψύχωσιν sexum plerumque mutare.

 

--Servius,  In Aen.6.445

 

CAENEUS, NOW A WOMAN: Caenis was a maiden who earned a change of gender as payment for Neptune’s assault against her. He was also invincible. He was driven into the earth by an overwhelming attack of spears while fighting centaurs on behalf of the Lapiths; however, upon his death, his body changed back. In using this myth, Vergil shows the Platonic (or maybe Aristotelian?) concept of the transmigration of souls, that souls commonly change their gender.

 





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, February 1, 2024

Married to Her Passion: the Ace Roman Painter Iaia, Pliny the Elder Nat. Hist. 35.147-148

Pinxere et mulieres: Timarete, Miconis filia, Dianam, quae in tabula Ephesi est antiquissimae picturae; Irene, Cratini pictoris filia et discipula, puellam, quae est Eleusine, Calypso, senem et praestigiatorem Theodorum, Alcisthenen saltatorem; Aristarete, Nearchi filia et discipula, Aesculapium. Iaia Cyzicena, perpetua virgo, M. Varronis iuventa Romae et penicillo pinxit et cestro in ebore imagines mulierum maxime et Neapoli anum in grandi tabula, suam quoque imaginem ad speculum. nec ullius velocior in pictura manus fuit, artis vero tantum, ut multum manipretiis antecederet celeberrimos eadem aetate imaginum pictores Sopolim et Dionysium, quorum tabulae pinacothecas inplent. pinxit et quaedam Olympias, de qua hoc solum memoratur, discipulum eius fuisse Autobulum.



--Pliny the Elder, Nat. Hist. 35.147-148

There were also women painters:

  • Timarete, the daughter of Micon, [the creator of] Diana, a painting in Ephesus that is among the oldest
  • Irene, the daughter and protégé of the painter Cratinus, [the creator of] The Girl / Proserpina / Kore (which is on display at Eleusis), as well as a painting of Calypso, an old man, and the juggler Theodorus, as well as the dancer Alcisthenes
  • Aristarete, the daughter and protégé of Nearchus, [the creator of] Aesculapius.
  • Iaia of Cyzicus, who never married, was a painter at Rome during the time of Marcus Varro’s youth, did both paintings and engravings in ivory. Her specialty was portraits of women, the most famous of which is on display at Naples, a huge portrait of an old woman, as well as a self portrait in a mirror. No painter was faster at the art, and she was so skilled that her works were more valuable than even very famous artists of the time period, Sopolis and Dionysius, whose paintings litter our modern museums.
  • Some woman named Olympias, but the only thing we really still know about her was that she had a protégé named Autobulus.

PLINY THE ELDER

MAP:

Name:  Gaius Plinius Secundus

Date:  23 – 79 CE

Works:  Naturalis Historia*

 

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:

 Pliny was an Italian-born Roman statesman and author who lived during the reigns of the early Roman emperors. He spent most of his life in service of his country; he ultimately gave his life in arranging the evacuation of the regions devastated by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE. His work, the Natural History, is a 37-volume collection of art, history, and science of the ancient world.

 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, January 28, 2024

Dangerous Beauty: Christianizing the Abduction of Ganymede, Fulgentius Myth. 1.25

Et raptum Ganymeden aquila non vere volucris, sed bellica praeda. Jupiter enim, ut Anacreon antiquissimus auctor scripsit, dum adverius Titanas, id est Titani filios (qui frater Saturni fuerat) bellum adsumeret, et sacrificium Coelo fecisset, in victoriae auspicium, aquilae sibi adesse prosperum vidit volatum. pro quo tam felici omine, praesertim quia & victoria consecuta est, in signis bellicis sibi aquilam auream fecit, tutelaeque suae virtuti dedicavit. Unde & apud Romanos huiuscemodi signa tracta sunt. Ganymedem vero bellando his signis praeeuntibus rapuit...

--Fulgentius, Myth. 1.25


Ganymede was not abducted by an eagle, but rather was taken as a war prize. For when Jupiter (according to the ancient author Anacreon) was waging war against the Titans (or rather, the sons of Titan, who was the brother of Saturn), he made a sacrifice to Heaven. He saw an eagle flying and took it as a good omen, and after he emerged victorious, created a golden eagle standard and dedicated it as a signal of his divine protection. [This is also the origin of the Roman eagle standard]. Under this banner, Jupiter captured Ganymede as a war prize. 

FULGENTIUS
MAP:
Name:  Fabius Planciades Fulgentius
Date:  5h – 6th c. CE
Works:  Expositio Sermonum Antiquorum                  Expositio Virgilianae
               Mythology*
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:
Little is known about the life of Fulgentius, but his writing style and internal evidence from his texts suggest that he was North African. In his three volume work Mythology, he analyzes common Greco-Roman myths, identifying allegorical, rational, or didactical purposes for each myth.
 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


Saturday, January 20, 2024

Blessed Are those in love! Bion fr. 8

Beati sunt qui amant, quum pariter redamantur. 

beatus erat Theseus, quum Pirithous adesset,

etsi descendit in implacabilis Plutonis domum.

beatus erat inter asperos barbaros Orestes,

quoties cum eo communia Pylades susceperat itinerat.

erat felix Aeacides socio vivente Achilles

beatus erat moriens, quod ei mortem infeliecem ulciscebatur.


Ὄλβιοι οἱ φιλέοντες, ἐπὴν ἴσον ἀντεράωνται.

ὄλβιος ἦν Θησεὺς τῶ Πειριθόω παρεόντος,

εἰ καὶ ἀμειλίκτοιο κατήλυθεν εἰς Ἀΐδαο.

ὄλβιος ἦν χαλεποῖσιν ἐν Ἀξείνοισιν Ὀρέστας,

5ὥνεκά οἱ ξυνὰς Πυλάδας ᾄρητο κελεύθως.

ἦν μάκαρ Αἰακίδας ἑτάρω ζώοντος Ἀχιλλεύς:

ὄλβιος ἦν θνᾴσκων, ὅτι οἱ μόρον αἰνὸν ἄμυνεν.


--Bion, Fragment 8, Translated into Latin by F.S. Lehrs and Fr. Duebner (1846)


Blessed are those who are in love, especially when it is returned in measure.

Theseus was happy with Pirithous by his side,

Even when he descended into the inescapable halls of Hades.

Orestes was blessed even in the harsh land of his enemies

As long as Pylades was traveling by his side.

Achilles was blessed for as long as his companion Patroclus lived;

And once he died, he resumed his blessed state,

for he used his death to avenge his lover’s.


Friday, January 12, 2024

Athena, Unswayed by Aphrodite. Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 7 - 15

 Verum tres sunt deae, quarum animum flectere, suaque; fraude convellere haudquaquam potis est: nempe caesiam Minervam Iovis Filiam. Non enim illi aureae Veneris placuere opera: sed bella semper ac Martis opera grata sunt, praeliaque et pugnae, acres tractare splendidas. Prima enim artifices in terra docuit viros scuta construere, variosque ferro currus. Haec quoque teneras virgines intra limen docuit praeclara illa opera conficere, unicuique inflammans animum.

τρισσὰς δ᾽ οὐ δύναται πεπιθεῖν φρένας οὐδ᾽ ἀπατῆσαι:

κούρην τ᾽ αἰγιόχοιο Διός, γλαυκῶπιν Ἀθήνην:

οὐ γὰρ οἱ εὔαδεν ἔργα πολυχρύσου Ἀφροδίτης,

ἀλλ᾽ ἄρα οἱ πόλεμοί τε ἅδον καὶ ἔργον Ἄρηος

ὑσμῖναί τε μάχαι τε καὶ ἀγλαὰ ἔργ᾽ ἀλεγύνειν.

πρώτη τέκτονας ἄνδρας ἐπιχθονίους ἐδίδαξε

ποιῆσαι σατίνας τε καὶ ἅρματα ποικίλα χαλκῷ.

ἣ δέ τε παρθενικὰς ἁπαλόχροας ἐν μεγάροισιν

ἀγλαὰ ἔργ᾽ ἐδίδαξεν ἐπὶ φρεσὶ θεῖσα ἑκάστῃ.

----Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, 7- 15 Translated into Latin by Raphael Regio Volterranus (1541)


 But Aphrodite is not able to persuade three goddesses, nor can she beguile them.

One is the aegis-wearing daughter of Zeus, the bright-eyed Athena.

She doesn’t enjoy the works of golden Aphrodite;

Instead she runs after battles and Ares’ sphere of influence--

Conflicts and skirmishes and the equipment that goes with it.

She was the first to teach men the art of woodcraft outdoors,

And how to make chariots and carriages out of different types of metal.

Yet she also taught tender maidens splendid works indoors,

Granting a different type of knowledge to each person.


Saturday, January 6, 2024

Artemis: Unswayed by Aphrodite's Power, Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 15-20

Neque unquam venatoriam atque aureo insignem arcu Dianae in amore domat ridens Venus. Etenim hanc iuvat arcus montesque ferarum caede inficere, et citharae choreaeque atque sublati clamores, et opaca nemora, et iustis civitas virorum.  

οὐδέ ποτ᾽ Ἀρτέμιδα χρυσηλάκατον, κελαδεινὴν

δάμναται ἐν φιλότητι φιλομμειδὴς Ἀφροδίτη.

καὶ γὰρ τῇ ἅδε τόξα καὶ οὔρεσι θῆρας ἐναίρειν,

φόρμιγγές τε χοροί τε διαπρύσιοί τ᾽ ὀλολυγαὶ

ἄλσεά τε σκιόεντα δικαίων τε πτόλις ἀνδρῶν.

--Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, 14-20 Translated into Latin by Raphael Regio Volterranus (1541)


 

 …Furthermore, laughter-loving Aphrodite has never made golden-arrowed Artemis settle down in love. For she loves her bow and slaying beasts in the mountains, the lyre and dancing and war cries, shady groves and cities of just men.