Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Just Say No: The Heavenly Example of Artemis, Apollodorus Lib.I.4

Trigger Warning: Rape


Ceterum de Coei filiabus Asteria fugiens Iovis complexum in coturnicem mutata seipsam demisit in mare, quae ab ea urbs Asteria appellata fuit, quae postea Delos nomen accepit. Siquidem Latonam ab Iove compressam per universum terrarum orbem Juno insectata est, donec Delum pervenit, atque ibi Dianam prius peperit: qua obstetrice adiuta mater Apollinem deinceps edidit. Enimvero Diana venationis studio delectata, virgo permansit: Apollo autem divinandi facultatem edoctus a Pane Iovis & Contumeliae filio, Delphos, quo tempore Themis illic oracula dabat, se contulit.

--Apollodorus, Bibliothekes I.IV.4,  translated into Latin by Thomas Gale (1675)



One of the daughters of Coeus, Asteria, transformed herself into a quail and jumped into the sea in order to escape Jupiter’s assault, and so they named the city Asteria after her for it. Later the city was renamed Delos. When Jupiter raped Latona and Juno pursued her in vengeance, this is where Latona ended up giving birth to Artemis [Diana]. Artemis [Diana] then acted as a midwife to help her mother give birth to her twin brother Apollo. Because Artemis [Diana] loved hunting, she remained a virgin; but Apollo, learning the art of divination from Pan, and went to Delphi, where Themis was giving prophecies.

Just Say Yes: Conquering An Asexual, Martial, Epig. XIV.203

Trigger Warning: mocking of an asexual person
As with previous posts, seducing an asexual person ("Hippolytus") was unfortunately seen as a conquest.
CCIII       Puella Gaditana.
Tam tremulum crisat, tam blandum prurit, ut ipsum
      [amatorem] fecerit Hippolytum.

---Martial, Epig. XIV.203

The way the slave dancer shakes her booty, she'd make even Hippolytus want her!


Disclaimer: this text has been modified to fit the scope of this blog. The accusative noun in the second line has been changed into a less severe alternative. Considering the scarcity of asexual visibility in Latin literature, I felt it was important to include this passage despite the language it uses.









Just Say Yes: A Woman's Passion vs. an Asexual Man, Propertius, IV.5.1-10

Trigger Warning: inappropriate sexual behavior, shaming a woman for her sexual behavior, inappropriate sexual behavior with an asexual person

In this poem, Propertius insults an unnamed woman for her manipulative and lusty behavior. Note that her asexual and unwilling target [coded with the mythological name Hippolytus] is seen as a conquest:


terra tuum spinis obducat, lena, sepulcrum,
    et tua, quod non uis, sentiat umbra sitim;
nec sedeant cineri Manes, et Cerberus ultor
    turpia ieiuno terreat ossa sono!
docta uel Hippolytum Veneri mollire negantem,
    concordique toro pessima semper auis,
Penelopen quoque neglecto rumore mariti
    nubere lasciuo cogeret Antinoo.
illa uelit, poterit magnes non ducere ferrum,
    et uolucris nidis esse nouerca suis.


--Propertius, Eleg.IV.5.1-10


May thorns cover your grave, you little hussy,

And may your ghost still feel insatiable lust:

May your spirit never be at rest, and

May Cerberus rattle your wicked bones with his unending barking!

You who knew how to seduce a chaste Hippolytus,

You who loom ominously over consenting lovers,

Who would even force Penelope to abandon hopes of her husband’s return

And marry the lusty Antinoos.

If she wanted to, this woman could make a magnet not attract iron,

And make a winged mother bird abandon her nest.



Thursday, April 23, 2020

M/M: Dionysus & Ampelos: Unspoken Fears, Unspoken Vows: Nonnus, Dion. X.278-287

In a Dream, Dionysus Imagines a Rival Trying to Seduce Ampelos:

"Humanae mentis dispensatrix amabilis Suada

solus mihi hic puer amabilis clemens sit.

Et ipsum haberet tanquam Bacchus contubernalem:  non cupio

Aethera inhabitare exsul. Non Deus esse

Volui, non Sol lucem praebens hominibus. Non potum traho

Nectaris, ambrosiaque, haud careo, non curo

Ampelus si amat me, et me odio habeat Saturnius!"

--Nonnus, Dionysiaca X.278-287; translated from the Greek by Christian Wulfius


"Persuasion, blessed goddess who manages human minds,
May this young man be attracted to me alone!
If he may love me the way he loves Bacchus,
I would give up Mt. Olympus,
I would give up my godhood,
I would be no Sun, bearing light to mortals.
I wouldn’t need to drink nectar or ambrosia,
I woudn’t miss it, I wouldn’t need it, I wouldn’t care!
If only Ampelos would love me, Jupiter himself can hate me, for all I care!"

Friday, April 17, 2020

M/M: Dangerous Beauty: Dionysus' fears over Ampelos, Nonnus, Dion. X.250-264

Trigger Warning: Violence, Rape

Verum ubi thyrsum sustulit contra rabiosam ursam
aut forti virga iaculatus esset Leanam
in occasum oculos intendit, in aera oblique cernens
Ne Zephyri spiraret iterum mortifere venatio.
Quemadmodum prius adolescentem occiderat gravis ventus
discum iaculatorem convertens Hyacinthi.
Timebat ne Saturnii venator avis amorum
inprovisus incomprehensibilis super Tmolo appareret
recentibus? potentibus unguibus in aere puerum attollens
Troium ut puerum suorum pincernam poculorum.
Formidabat etiam infelicem in amore rectorem maris
ne post Tantalidem aureorum conscensorem curruum
ne cursum aeriuagum duens alatum vehiculum
Ampelum raperet amore furiosus Neptunus. 


--Nonnus, Dionysiaca, X.250-264


Whenever Bacchus raised his thyrsus against a raging she-bear,
or tossed his wooden spear against a lioness,
he kept his eyes to the west, watching the skies,
lest once again the death-bringing West-Wind Zephyr blow again,
as it had killed Hyacinthus by changing the course of a discus.
And he used to fear that Jupiter would come flying over Tmolus as a lovesick bird,
snatching his lover away with his
gentle claws and carrying him off to heaven to be his new cupbearer,
the way he did with Trojan Ganymede.
And he was afraid that the unlucky-in-love ruler of the waves Neptune would grab up the youth in his winged chariot,
seizing Ampelos the way he did to Pelops. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A Woman's Longing: Sappho, fr. 11 (48)

Occidit quidem Luna
et Pleiades; mediae autem sunt iam
noctes, praeteritque hora;
ego vero sola dormio.

Δέδυκε μεν ἀ σελάννα
καὶ Πληΐαδεσ, μέσαι δὲ
νύκτεσ πάρα δ᾽ ἔρχετ᾽ ὤρα,
ἔγω δὲ μόνα κατεύδω.

--Sappho, fr. 11 (48). Translated from the Greek by Johannis Christianus Wolfius

The moon has set,
the Pleiades have, too;
it is now the middle of the night,
time is passing,
and I sleep alone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

W/W: Equal to the Gods, Sappho, Fr. 2

Ad mulierem adamatam.
Videtur ille mihi par Divis 
vir esse, qui adversus te
sedet, & propius dulce profantem 
te auscultat
et ridentem amabiliter, quod mihi
cor in pectoribus obstupescit;
ut enim vidi te, in fauces mihi vocis
nihil amplius venit.
Imo quidem lingua fracta est, & per tenuem
Protinus cutem ignis demanavit;
oculisque nihil video; bombitantque 
mihi aures.
Et gelidus sudor defluit; tremorque
occupant totam, pallidiorque herba
sum: a moriendo paululum absens
videor exanimis.
Sed quidvis audendum est, quia egentem...

[Compare with Catullus 51: 
Ille mi par esse deo videtur,
ille, si fas est, superare divos,
qui sedens adversus identidem te
     spectat et audit
dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis
eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,
Lesbia, aspexi, nihil est super mi
     * * * * * * * *
lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus
flamma demanat, sonitu suopte
tintinant aures gemina, teguntur
     lumina nocte.
otium, Catulle, tibi molestum est:
otio exsultas nimiumque gestis:
otium et reges prius et beatas
     perdidit urbes. ]

φάινεταί μοι κῆνοσ ἴσοσ τηέοισιν
ἔμμεν ὤνερ ὄστισ ἐναντίοσ τοι
ἰζάνει καὶ πλασίον ἀδυ
     φωνεύσασ ὐπακούει

καὶ γαλαίσασ ἰμμερόεν τὸ δὴ ᾽μάν
καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόασεν,
ὠσ γὰρ εὔιδον βροχέωσ σε, φώνασ
     οὐδὲν ἔτ᾽ ἔικει,

ἀλλὰ κάμ μὲν γλῳσσα ϝέαγε, λέπτον
δ᾽ αὔτικα χρῷ πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμακεν,
ὀππάτεσσι δ᾽ οὐδὲν ορημ᾽,
     ἐπιρρόμβεισι δ᾽ ἄκουαι.

ἀ δέ μ᾽ ί᾽δρωσ κακχέεται, τρόμοσ δὲ
παῖσαν ἄγρει χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίασ
ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ᾽ ὀλιγω ᾽πιδεύϝην
     φαίνομαι [ἄλλα].

πᾶν τόλματον [......]

--Sappho, Fr. 2. Translated into Latin from the Greek by Johannis Christian Wolfius

To a Woman Loved by Sappho:
That man seems to me
to be equal to the gods
who gets to sit across from you
and hear you flirting and laughing sweetly.
When I see you,
the heart in my chest gets thrown out of whack,
my voice gets stuck in my throat,
I can't talk.
I'm tongue-tied,
a hot flash flows through my skin,
my eyes stop working,
and humming fills up my ears.
Cold sweat overtakes me,
my entire body shakes,
I get greener than grass;
I'm not far from death, I seem to be dying.

But I gotta shoot my shot, because wretched...

Monday, April 13, 2020

M/M: Be My King: Dionysus & Ampelos, Nonnos, Dion. X.193-216


Hunc quidem habens Bacchus consobrinum mollis ludens

querebat admirantem profundens ob pulchritudinem, vocem

tamquam mortalis: immortale v. dolosus abscondebat formam:

"Quis te pater plantavit? Quis caelestis (te) genuit venter?

Que Charitum te enixa? quis (te) aravit pulcher Apollo?

Dic amice, non absconde tuum genus. Siquidem venis

non alatus alter Cupido, telis sine, absque pharetra.

quis deorum te plantavit concumbens cum Venere?

namque ego formido tuam matrem, Cyprin dicere.

Ne genitorem Vulcanum aut Martem tuum dicam, 
sin vero tu, quem vocant ab aethere venisti Mercurius,

ostende mihi pennas leves, et vinas alas talarlium

qui habes intonsam sublimem super cervice comam

nisi mihi ipse veneris sine cithara. sine arcu

phoebus intonsus demissos cincinnos vibrans.

Si vero Saturnius me plantavit. Tu vero terrestri agenere

boum cornua habentium Satyrorum brevis qui sanguine fers,

aequaliter mihi regna deo mortalis, non enim arguet 
caelestem tuam imaginem caelestis sanguis Bacchi

sed quid voco te ex exigua aliqua familia.

Cognosco tuum sanguinem, quamvis tegere studes.

solite peperit concumbens Luna,

Narcisso gratioso prorsus similem. Caelestem enim

consimilem imaginem habes cornutae simulacrum lunae.

tale verbum dixit.
--Nonnus, Dionysiaca, X.193-216- Translated into Latin from the Greek by Eilhard Lubin

Bacchus hid his immortal form from the youth
And approached him as a mortal, flirting with him
with these words: “Who’s your father?
What immortal womb gave you life?
What Grace raised you? Admit it—Apollo’s your father!
Tell me, darling (amice), don’t hide your lineage.
You act like you’re some wingless Cupid, but without weapons and a bow.
What god courted Venus to create you?
For I hesitate to call Venus your mother,
Since Vulcan or Mars can’t be your father.
Or are you the god they call Mercury?
Then show me your feathers, and the wings on your ankles.
Your long hair flows down your neck, but you don’t have a cithara.
Are you Phoebus, shaking his long wavy hair—but without your signature bow?
If Jupiter is my father, but you are mortal-born,
A short-lived satyr with cow-like horns,
Be king alongside me, equal to equal, a god and a mortal together,
For no one would question your godhood
While you were by my side.
Oh! I recognize your lineage—the one you’re trying to hide!
The Moon herself is your mother, having united with the Sun,
You’re as beautiful as Narcissus. For you have the same
Heavenly form as the moon—you both have horns!”


Saturday, April 11, 2020

M/M: Ascanius & Atys, Vergil, Aen. V.568-572

alter Atys, genus unde Atii duxere Latini,
paruus Atys pueroque puer dilectus Iulo.
extremus formaque ante omnis pulcher Iulus               570
Sidonio est invectus equo, quem candida Dido
esse sui dederat monimentum et pignus amoris.


--Vergil, Aeneid V.568-572


[The Trojan youth parade includes...] and Atys,
the eponymous leader of the Latin Atii,
a boy beloved by the boy Iulus.
And next to him was pretty Iulus,
the prettiest and handsomest of all the boys,
riding a horse which Sidonian Dido gave to him as an emblem of love.

Friday, April 3, 2020

M/M: Blessed pair! Nisus & Euryalus 3: Vergil, Aen. IX.384-449

TRIGGER WARNING: violence, war

While on a secret mission, Nisus and Euryalus are detected by Rutulian scouts. They flee, but are separated from each other:



Euryalum tenebrae ramorum onerosaque praeda

impediunt, fallitque timor regione viarum.               385

Nisus abit; iamque imprudens evaserat hostis

atque locos qui post Albae de nomine dicti

Albani (tum rex stabula alta Latinus habebat),

ut stetit et frustra absentem respexit amicum:

'Euryale infelix, qua te regione reliqui?               390

quave sequar?' rursus perplexum iter omne revolvens

fallacis silvae simul et vestigia retro

observata legit dumisque silentibus errat.

audit equos, audit strepitus et signa sequentum;

nec longum in medio tempus, cum clamor ad auris               395

pervenit ac videt Euryalum, quem iam manus omnis

fraude loci et noctis, subito turbante tumultu,

oppressum rapit et conantem plurima frustra.

quid faciat? qua vi iuvenem, quibus audeat armis

eripere? an sese medios moriturus in enses               400

inferat et pulchram properet per vulnera mortem?

ocius adducto torquet hastile lacerto

suspiciens altam Lunam et sic voce precatur:

'tu, dea, tu praesens nostro succurre labori,

astrorum decus et nemorum Latonia custos.               405

si qua tuis umquam pro me pater Hyrtacus aris

dona tulit, si qua ipse meis venatibus auxi

suspendive tholo aut sacra ad fastigia fixi,

hunc sine me turbare globum et rege tela per auras.'

dixerat et toto conixus corpore ferrum               410

conicit. hasta volans noctis diverberat umbras

et venit aversi in tergum Sulmonis ibique

frangitur, ac fisso transit praecordia ligno.

volvitur ille vomens calidum de pectore flumen

frigidus et longis singultibus ilia pulsat.               415

diversi circumspiciunt. hoc acrior idem

ecce aliud summa telum librabat ab aure.

dum trepidant, it hasta Tago per tempus utrumque

stridens traiectoque haesit tepefacta cerebro.

saevit atrox Volcens nec teli conspicit usquam               420

auctorem nec quo se ardens immittere possit.

'tu tamen interea calido mihi sanguine poenas

persolves amborum' inquit; simul ense recluso

ibat in Euryalum. tum vero exterritus, amens,

conclamat Nisus nec se celare tenebris               425

amplius aut tantum potuit perferre dolorem:

'me, me, adsum qui feci, in me convertite ferrum,

o Rutuli! mea fraus omnis, nihil iste nec ausus

nec potuit; caelum hoc et conscia sidera testor;

tantum infelicem nimium dilexit amicum.'               430

talia dicta dabat, sed viribus ensis adactus

transadigit costas et candida pectora rumpit.

volvitur Euryalus leto, pulchrosque per artus

it cruor inque umeros cervix conlapsa recumbit:

purpureus veluti cum flos succisus aratro               435

languescit moriens, lassove papavera collo

demisere caput pluvia cum forte gravantur.

at Nisus ruit in medios solumque per omnis

Volcentem petit, in solo Volcente moratur.

quem circum glomerati hostes hinc comminus atque hinc               440

proturbant. instat non setius ac rotat ensem

fulmineum, donec Rutuli clamantis in ore

condidit adverso et moriens animam abstulit hosti.

tum super exanimum sese proiecit amicum

confossus, placidaque ibi demum morte quievit.               445

Fortunati ambo! si quid mea carmina possunt,

nulla dies umquam memori vos eximet aevo,

dum domus Aeneae Capitoli immobile saxum

accolet imperiumque pater Romanus habebit.

--Vergil, Aeneid IX.371-449




Euryalus, overcome by brambles and fear, is trapped!

But Nisus already fled; by dumb luck, he escaped the enemy through the territory that will later be named “Alba.” He looks around, and cannot find his companion (amicum). He calls,  “Unlucky [infelix] Euryalus, where are you? Did I leave you behind? Where can I follow you?”

He goes in circles through the forest, looking for traces of his friend in the underbrush. Then he hears hoofbeats, he hears the riders approach; soon after he hears a shout and he sees Euryalus surrounded by a band of Rutulians but vainly trying to defend himself.

What should Nisus do? What resources does he have to rescue the youth from his attackers? Should he jump into the fight, rushing to his own doom, to endure an “honorable” death?

Aiming his weapon, he catches sight of the moon and voices this prayer:  “Divine daughter of Leto, glory of the stars and protector of this grove, help me in my task! If my father Hyrtacus’ offerings to you ever meant something, if my thanksgiving offerings from my hunting trips ever meant anything to you, if my offerings of incense or other holy offerings ever touched you, please, allow me to take on these men and send this spear through the air towards them!”

He prayed, and hurled his spear with all his might. It flies through the night and arrives in Sulmo’s chest, its wooden shaft shattering, sending splinters ricocheting through the Rutulian’s midriff.

Warm blood pulses from the wound in his chest, his body grows cold as his life oozes out in gasps.

The Rutulians looks around, alert. Nisus aims another spear and sends it into their midst. It shoots through the air and pierces Tagus’ temples; his brains splurt from the wound.

The Rutulian leader Volcens roars in anger. He cannot see who threw the spear, so he takes out his anger on Euryalus. “You shall pay the penalty for both of these men…in blood!” Volcens said, attacking the Trojan youth with his sword.

Then, terrified, Nisus shouted from the distance, betraying his hiding-place, trying to stop his greatest nightmare from happening: “It was me! It was me! I did it! Stab me instead, oh Rutulians! This was my fault, it wasn’t him! I swear by the heavens, and the stars are my witness! The only thing he did wrong was love his cursed [infelix] friend [amicum] too much!”

So Nisus spoke, but a sword pierces his friend’s chest, crushing Euryalus’ delicate ribcage.

Euryalus swoons in death, and gore spreads across the lad’s pretty limbs.  His head flops forward, just like when a purple flower dies, cut by a tractor’s plow, or when a poppy droops when it is weighed down by heavy raindrops.

But Nisus rushes into the midst of the enemy, seeking vengeance upon Volcens. Volcens alone is his goal.

Although surrounded, Nisus puts up a good fight. His sword gleams in the starlight as he slashes against his foe, and it plunges into his enemy’s shrieking face, killing the man who stabs him in return.

Then, dying, Nisus threw himself atop his slain friend (amicum), and succumbed to dreamless sleep.

Fortunate pair! If my epic means anything, no day shall ever erase you from history, as long as Aeneas’ Capitol still stands, as long as father Rome reigns supreme.






Thursday, April 2, 2020

M/M: Nisus & Euryalus: Part 2 (Vergil, Aen 9.184-223)

Nisus ait: 'dine hunc ardorem mentibus addunt,
Euryale, an sua cuique deus fit dira cupido?               185
aut pugnam aut aliquid iamdudum invadere magnum
mens agitat mihi, nec placida contenta quiete est.
cernis quae Rutulos habeat fiducia rerum:
lumina rara micant, somno vinoque soluti
procubuere, silent late loca. percipe porro               190
quid dubitem et quae nunc animo sententia surgat.
Aenean acciri omnes, populusque patresque,
exposcunt, mittique viros qui certa reportent.
si tibi quae posco promittunt (nam mihi facti
fama sat est), tumulo videor reperire sub illo               195
posse viam ad muros et moenia Pallantea.'
obstipuit magno laudum percussus amore
Euryalus, simul his ardentem adfatur amicum:
'mene igitur socium summis adiungere rebus,
Nise, fugis? solum te in tanta pericula mittam?               200
non ita me genitor, bellis adsuetus Opheltes,
Argolicum terrorem inter Troiaeque labores
sublatum erudiit, nec tecum talia gessi
magnanimum Aenean et fata extrema secutus:
est hic, est animus lucis contemptor et istum               205
qui vita bene credat emi, quo tendis, honorem.'
Nisus ad haec: 'equidem de te nil tale verebar,
nec fas; non ita me referat tibi magnus ovantem
Iuppiter aut quicumque oculis haec aspicit aequis.
sed si quis (quae multa vides discrimine tali)                210
si quis in adversum rapiat casusve deusve,
te superesse velim, tua vita dignior aetas.
sit qui me raptum pugna pretiove redemptum
mandet humo, solita aut si qua id Fortuna vetabit,
absenti ferat inferias decoretque sepulcro.               215
neu matri miserae tanti sim causa doloris,
quae te sola, puer, multis e matribus ausa
persequitur, magni nec moenia curat Acestae.'
ille autem: 'causas nequiquam nectis inanis
nec mea iam mutata loco sententia cedit.               220
acceleremus' ait, vigiles simul excitat. illi
succedunt servantque vices; statione relicta
ipse comes Niso graditur regemque requirunt. 


---Vergil, Aeneid IX.184-223

Nisus said "Do the gods inspire you to seek glory, or does your own desire drive you? For I need to fight--or do some big gesture--I'm not content to just sit around here. You know how cocky our Rutulian enemy is. Their watch fires are scattered, spluttering out, and their watchmen are sleeping or drunk. They're not vigilant at all.

Look at how confident I am in this plan, and what I've devised based on these facts. Everyone (the Trojan leaders and menfolk alike) are clamoring for Aeneas to return. They're looking for volunteers to come fetch him, even offering a reward. I think I can find a way to him through that heap of enemies--a path to our ally Pallas' city walls."

Euryalus, inspired by a love of praise, spoke to his friend (amicum): "Nisus, do you shirk from letting me join you on the most important time of all? Will I send you off--alone--into such danger? Listen, I no longer have a father. My dad Opheletes fell by the Greeks in Troy's fateful struggle. But he raised me better than that! And Aeneas, the man I followed to our ultimate destiny--he raised me better than this, too! I didn't come all this way, doing all these adventures with you otherwise. What life is there for me, if I only had life, and not honor?"

Nisus responds: "No, it isn't right. I would never think that of you. But Jupiter, I pray to god (or whatever god it is), look on me with kindness, to bring me back to you, while you're there, waiting to cheer me on from the sidelines. You see how the situation is. If some enemy or act of god should take me away from you, I want you to live on. You're too young to die. Let it be you who brings my body back from the battlefield and lays it to rest in my tomb. Or, if Fortune does not permit even that, honor me with an empty grave. I do not want to break your mother's heart. Of all the Trojan women, she alone left the safety of Acestes' walls to follow you here."

Euryalus said: "Stop being such a worrywart; my mind is made up. Come on, let's go." Together, they woke up the next shift of watchmen. They leave their posts in the hands of competent replacements, and together with his comes Nisus, they head for the king's headquarters.