Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Story of Tiresias: Phlegon of Tralles, De Mirab. 4

Iam Hesiodus, Dicaearchus, Clitarchus, Callimachus, aliique nonnulli, de Tiresia haec narrant. Tiresiam, Eumaris, filium, in Arcadia cum esset mas in monte Cyllene, serpentum, quos coire videbat, alterum vulnerasse: illicoque, mutato sexu, in feminam mutatum esse, ac cum viro concubuisse. Monitum autem oraculo Apollinis, ut, cum coeuntes serpentes iterum deprehendisset, alterum itidem sauciaret, ita enim in pristinum sexum rediturum, observata opportunitate, consilio dei fuisse obsecutum, itaque recuperasse pristinam naturam.


Iστερεί δε και Ησιοδος και Δικαίαρχος και Κλείταρχος και Καλλίμαχος  και άλλοι τινές περι Τειρεσίου τάδε. Τειρεσίαν τον Fυμάρους και εν Αρκαδία άνδρα οντα, εν τω ορει τω εν Κυλλήνη όφεις ιδόντα έχεύοντας τρωσαι τον έτερον και παραχρήμα μεταβαλείν την ιδέαν Γενέσθαι γαρ εξ ανδρος γυναίκα και μιχθήναι ανδρί. Του δε Απόλλωνος αυτώ χρήσαντος, ως εαν τηρήσας έχεύοντας ομοίως τρώση τον ένα έσται οίος ήν παραφυλάξαντα τον Τειρέσιαν ποιήσαι τα υπό του θεού ρηθέντα και ούτως κομίσασθαι την αρχαίαν φύσιν.

--Phlegon of Tralles, De Mirabilibus IV., Translated into Latin by Wilhelm Xylander

Hesiod, Dicaearchus, Clitarchus, Callimachus, and many others have this to say about Tiresias:

When Tiresias, the son of Eumaris, was a man, he saw serpents mating on Mt. Cyllene in Arcadia and wounded one of them. From that point on,  his sex was changed and he was turned into a woman--even slept with a man!

The Oracle of Apollo advised Tiresias that the next time they caught sight of serpents mating, they should wound the other one, and then they would return to their original gender. Finding an opportunity to do so, they obeyed the god's words and returned to their original state.

Phlegon of Tralles


Name:  Phlegon

Date: 2nd century CE

Works:  On Marvels



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



According to the Suda [φ527], Phlegon of Tralles was a freedman of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. He wrote numerous works in Greek that are now lost, including the Olympiads and Roman festivals. His work, On Marvels, is a collection of extraordinary occurrences throughout history.


 Roman Greek Literature

ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)


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