Saturday, January 30, 2021

Two Men Giving Birth: Phlegon of Tralles, De Mirab. 26-27

TRIGGER WARNING: human trafficking

26. Dorotheus medicus in Commentarios suos retulit, Alexandreae in Aegypto cinaedum peperisse: foetum conditum, miraculi causa, asservari.

27. In Germania, in exercitu Romano, quem T. Curtilius Mancias duxit servus militis peperit: Athenis Conone praeside, Romae Q. Volusio Saturnino, et P. Cornelio Scipione consulibus.

26. Δωρόθεος δέ φησιν ο ιατρός εν Υπομνήμασιν έν Αλεξανδρεία τη κατ Αίγυπτον κίναιδον τεκεϊν. το δε βρέφος ταριχευθέν χάριν του παραδόξου φυλάττεσθαι

27. Έν Γερμανία εν τω στρατω των Ρωμαίων ός ήν υπό Τίτα Κουρτιλίω Μα γκία, το αυτό τούτο έγένετο. Δούλος γαρ στρατιώτου έτεκεν άρχοντος Αθήνησιν Κόνωνος. υπατευόντων έν Ρώμη Κλίντου Ούλουσίου Σατορνίνου και Ποπλίου Κορνηλίου Σκιπίωνος.

--Phlegon of Tralles, De Mirabilia 26-27, Translated into Latin by Wilhelm Xylander

26. In his Commentaries, Dorotheus the Physician reports that in Alexandria in Egypt, a man* gave birth. The fetus was preserved and displayed on account of the marvel.

27. While on campaign in Germany, among the Roman army led by T. Curtilius Mancias, a slave of a soldier also gave birth. This happened when Conon was in charge of Athes, and when Quintus Volusius Saturninus and Publius Cornelius Scipio were consuls of Rome. 

* Phlegon uses the term κίναιδος here to explain the man’s pregnancy. Although this term was often used pejoratively in the ancient world, Phlegon uses it neutrally here.

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); ALEXANDRIAN: (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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