Sunday, November 3, 2019

From Man to Woman And Back Again: Tiresias, Hyginus Fab. 75

In monte Cyllenio Tiresias Eueris filius pastor dracones venerantes dicitur baculo percussisse alias calcasse. Ob id in mulieris figuram est conversus. Postea monitus a sortibus in eodem loco dracones cum calcasset redit in pristinam speciem.

--Hyginus, Fabulae 75

It is said that when the shepherd Tiresias saw two snakes mating, he struck one with a stick [others, however, say he kicked them]. Because of this, he was turned into a woman (in mulieris figuram). Later on, obeying a prophecy, he kicked mating snakes in the same place and returned to his original form.

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

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.

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

* There is evidence that suggests Hyginus was originally from Alexandria, Egypt (Suetonius, de Gramm. 20)