Wednesday, May 13, 2020

M/M: A Little Cygnet: Cupavo, Vergil, Aen. 10.185-195


Non ego te, Ligurum ductor fortissime bello,               185

transierim, Cynare, et paucis comitate Cupavo,

cuius olorinae surgunt de vertice pennae

(crimen, Amor, vestrum) formaeque insigne paternae.

namque ferunt luctu Cycnum Phaethontis amati,

populeas inter frondes umbramque sororum               190

dum canit et maestum Musa solatur amorem,

canentem molli pluma duxisse senectam

linquentem terras et sidera voce sequentem.

filius aequalis comitatus classe catervas

ingentem remis Centaurum promovet:                    195

---Vergil, Aeneid X.185-195



And I won’t fail to mention you, 
brave leader of the Ligures, Cynaris,

or you, Cupavo, with your small band of warriors.

Cupavo, whose helmet crest had swan feathers

In defiance of Love, and to honor his father.

For they say his father Cygnus, out of love for his beloved Phaethon

While singing in the leafy shade of his lover’s sisters*

And consoling himself for his lost love (maestum amorem) with music

His gray hairs turned to soft feathers

And leaving behind the earth as a singing swan

He sought the stars.

His son Cupavo, accompanied by a troop of his peers

Steers the huge ship Centaur with its oars…

* According to myth, Phaethon's sisters, the Heliades, grieved so much that they were transformed into poplar trees; their tears became amber.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

M/M: In Honor of Their Love & Service: Harmodius & Aristogeiton, Val. Max. II.10.ext.1


Harmodii et Aristogitonis, qui Athenas tyrannide liberare conati sunt, effigies aeneas Xerxes ea urbe devicta in regnum suum transtulit. Longo deinde interiecto tempore Seleucus in pristinam sedem reportandas curavit. Rhodii quoque eas urbi suae appulsas, cum in hospitium publice invitassent, sacris etiam in pulvinaribus collocaverunt. Nihil hac memoria felicius, quae tantum venerationis in tam parvulo aere possidet.

--Valerius Maximus, Fact. Mem. II.10.ext.1


When Xerxes captured Athens, he removed the bronze statues of Harmodius and Aristogeiton (who tried to liberate the city from a tyrant) and brought them back to his kingdom. After a long time had passed, Seleucus returned them to their original location. On the statues’ way back to Athens, the townspeople of Rhodes invited them to be public guests, and displayed them on their sacred couches*. There is nothing more blessed than this memory: that such reverence was held for such a meager amount of bronze.


*During festivals, cult statues would be removed from temples and put on display in special litter-like "couches" and paraded throughout the city.

Friday, May 8, 2020

M/M: Love and Alliance, Vergil, Aen. VIII.154-171

Evander Explains Why He Will Join Aeneas' Side:

ut te, fortissime Teucrum,
accipio agnoscoque libens! ut verba parentis               155
et vocem Anchisae magni vultumque recordor!
nam memini Hesionae visentem regna sororis
Laomedontiaden Priamum Salamina petentem
protinus Arcadiae gelidos invisere finis.
tum mihi prima genas vestibat flore iuventas,               160
mirabarque duces Teucros, mirabar et ipsum
Laomedontiaden; sed cunctis altior ibat
Anchises. mihi mens iuvenali ardebat amore
compellare virum et dextrae coniungere dextram;
accessi et cupidus Phenei sub moenia duxi.               165
ille mihi insignem pharetram Lyciasque sagittas
discedens chlamydemque auro dedit intertextam,
frenaque bina meus quae nunc habet aurea Pallas.
ergo et quam petitis iuncta est mihi foedere dextra,
et lux cum primum terris se crastina reddet,               170
auxilio laetos dimittam opibusque iuvabo.
--Vergil, Aeneid VIII.154-177


"How happily I welcome you, bravest of Trojans!

How happily I see your father Anchises’ words and mannerisms in you!

For I remember Priam visited me in Arcadia

When he went to visit his sister Hesione in Salamis.

At that time I was still young—just entering my teens—

And I was amazed by the Trojan leaders, even Priam himself;

But Anchises was the best of all.

I had a giant crush on him [mihi mens iuvenali ardebat amore]

And I was dying to have him talk to me, or to give me a handshake,

I went up to him and took him on a tour of the city of Pheneum.

When he went back to Troy, he gave me

a wonderful quiver full of Lycian arrows

a beautiful cloak embroidered with golden thread

and the two horse bits and bridles

that I’ve given to my son Pallas to use.

So I will gladly join hands in treaty with you,

And at daybreak, I will happily give you troops and supplies.”

Monday, May 4, 2020

Challenging Gender Roles: the Mythical Amazons, Apollodorus Bibl.II.iv.9

Haec gens erat bello gerendo praestantissima, quippe quae viriliter fortuitudinem exercebant: ac si quando viris admistae peperissent, partus femineos educabant. Dextras ad haec mammas, ne iaculis emittendis impedimento forent, exterebant; laevas autem alendi filiorum gratia sucrescere patiebantur. 

--Apollodorus, Bibliothekes II.iv.9,  translated into Latin by Thomas Gale (1675)

The Amazons excelled in waging war, and  trained in all of the "manly" arts. And if they conceived a child from their dalliances with men, they only raised their female offspring. They would remove their right breast so that it wouldn't interfere with their spear throwing ability, but left their left breast alone, so they could still be able to nurse their children.

SUGGESTED READING: This is an account of the mythical race of Amazons. For a detailed and factual analysis of the people who inspired this myth, I encourage you to read Adrienne Mayor's The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World. This book is targeted for an adult audience, so younger readers might find this book difficult to read.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

From Man to Woman and Back Again: Tiresias, Apollodorus, Bibl.III.vi.7

Hesiodus autem enarravit, conspicatum aliquando Tiresiam non procul a Cyllene coeuntes angues baculo cecidisse, eumque de viro in mulierem mutatum fuisse, et rursus ita coeuntes eosdem serpentes observasse, et in priorem viri formam rediisse.

--Apollodorus, Bibliothekes III.vi.7,  translated into Latin by Thomas Gale (1675)

According to Hesiod, Tiresias caught sight of two mating snakes near Mt. Cyllene, and when he struck them with his walking stick, he transformed from a man to a woman. When he observed those same two snakes mating again a little later, he returned to his original manly form.