Saturday, February 20, 2021

M/M: I'm Not Jealous, But... Catullus 81

 

Nemone in tanto potuit populo esse, Iuventi,
     bellus homo, quem tu diligere inciperes.
praeterquam iste tuus moribunda ab sede Pisauri
     hospes inaurata pall
idior statua,

qui tibi nunc cordi est, quem tu praeponere nobis
     audes, et nescis quod facinus facias?

---Catullus LXXXI

So, Juventius,  there’s no one in the whole world

No handsome guy

Whom you’d begin to have feelings for

Except THAT guy from Pisaurum (a dying town for sure),

a guy paler than a gilded statue…

That’s the man in your heart?

You dare to prefer him over ME?

Don’t you know what a terrible mistake you’re making?

CATULLUS

MAP:

Name:  Gaius Valerius Catullus

Date:  84 – 54 BCE

Works:  Poems

 

REGION  1

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


BIO:

Timeline:

Catullus was a Roman statesman born in Verona  (Cisalpine Gaul, located in northern Italy) who lived during the tumultuous last days of the Roman Republic.  His poetry offers rare insight into the mores of the time period. Like Propertius and Tibullus, Catullus used a pseudonym for the objects of his attention; many of his love poems were addressed to either “Lesbia” or “Juventius.”

 GOLDEN AGE

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




Sunday, February 14, 2021

Just Say No: Sinope, Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica V.109-112

 

Assyrios complexa sinus stat opima Sinope,
nympha prius blandosque Iovis quae luserat ignes

caelicolis immota procis: deceptus amatae
fraude deae nec solus Halys nec solus Apollo.

---Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica V.109--112


Presiding over Assyrian bays was victorious Sinope,

A nymph who outfoxed Jupiter’s seductive charms.

She was unimpressed by her immortal suitors;

Apollo was not alone in being outwitted by the goddess he wooed,

Nor was the river god Halys, either.

VALERIUS FLACCUS

MAP:

Name:  Gaius Valerius Flaccus

Date:  1st c. CE

Works:  Argonautica

 

REGION  1

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


BIO:

Timeline:

Gaius Valerius Flaccus was a Latin poet who flourished during the Flavian dynasty. Only portions of his epic poem, the Argonautica, have survived.

 SILVER AGE

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


Just Say No: Sinope, Apollonius Rhodes Argonautica II.948ff

Continuo autem Assyriam venerunt in terram, quo Sinopam

Asopi filiam collocarat, & ei dederat

virginitatem ipse Iupiter pollicitis deceptus.

Ille enim amorem petebat, annuebatque ei

Illud se daturum, in quod ferretur vehementiore desiderio.

Haec autem virginitatem rogavit astutia sua.

Similiter etiam Apollini fraudem fecit, concumbere

volenti; fluvioque post hos Halyi; nec virorum aliquis

hanc inter ulnas amatorias fecerat mulierem.


αὐτίκα δ᾽ Ἀσσυρίης ἐπέβαν χθονός, ἔνθα Σινώπην,

θυγατέρ᾽ Ἀσωποῖο, καθίσσατο, καί οἱ ὄπασσεν

παρθενίην Ζεὺς αὐτός, ὑποσχεσίῃσι δολωθείς.

δὴ γὰρ ὁ μὲν φιλότητος ἐέλδετο: νεῦσε δ᾽ ὅγ᾽ αὐτῇ

δωσέμεναι, ὅ κεν ᾗσι μετὰ φρεσὶν ἰθύσειεν.

ἡ δέ ἑ παρθενίην ᾐτήσατο κερδοσύνῃσιν.

ὧς δὲ καὶ Ἀπόλλωνα παρήπαφεν εὐνηθῆναι

ἱέμενον, ποταμόν τ᾽ ἐπὶ τοῖς Ἅλυν: οὐδὲ μὲν ἀνδρῶν

τήνγε τις ἱμερτῇσιν ἐν ἀγκοίνῃσι δάμασσεν.

--Apollonius Rhodius Argonauticorum 2. 948, Translated into Latin by Joannes Shaw (1777) 


Then they landed in Assyria, where Jupiter came upon

Sinope, the daughter of Asopus, and being outfoxed,

 granted the nymph her own virginity.

For he sought her in bed, and in his zeal, vowed that he would give her

Whatever she wished.

And she—clever girl!—asked for her own virginity preserved.

She did the same to Apollo, who also wished to sleep with her,

And did the same to the river god Halys, too,

Nor did any man take her into his loving arms.

APOLLONIUS OF RHODES

MAP:

Name:  Apollonius of Rhodes

Date:  3rd century BCE

Works:  Argonautica

 

REGION  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


BIO:

Timeline:

 Little is known of this Hellenistic poet, but what is clear is that his surviving epic, the Argonautica, was wildly influential to later epic poets. According to the Suda, he was the Director of the Library of Alexandria and was a contemporary of the poet Callimachus (α.4319).

 HELLENISTIC GREEK

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)



Sunday, February 7, 2021

Two Letters of Pliny About Childbirth, Epist. 4.21 and 8.10

 Trigger Warning: death, miscarriage, victim blaming

The letters of Pliny the Younger provide insight into the dangers of childbirth, as well as the age of these mothers. 

4.21

C. PLINIUS VELIO CERIALI SUO S.

1 Tristem et acerbum casum Helvidiarum sororum! Utraque a partu, utraque filiam enixa decessit. 2 Afficior dolore, nec tamen supra modum doleo: ita mihi luctuosum videtur, quod puellas honestissimas in flore primo fecunditas abstulit. Angor infantium sorte, quae sunt parentibus statim et dum nascuntur orbatae, angor optimorum maritorum, angor etiam meo nomine. 3 Nam patrem illarum defunctum quoque perseverantissime diligo, ut actione mea librisque testatum est; cui nunc unus ex tribus liberis superest, domumque pluribus adminiculis paulo ante fundatam desolatus fulcit ac sustinet. 4 Magno tamen fomento dolor meus acquiescit, si hunc saltem fortem et incolumem, paremque illi patri illi avo fortuna servaverit. Cuius ego pro salute pro moribus, hoc sum magis anxius quod unicus factus est. 5 Nosti in amore mollitiam animi mei, nosti metus; quo minus te mirari oportebit, quod plurimum timeam, de quo plurimum spero. Vale.

From: Pliny

To: Velius Cerialis

(1) What a terrible thing happened to the Helvidian sisters! Both died giving birth to daughters. (2) I am overcome with grief, but I try to be brave. But I grieve because childbirth has taken away two supremely honorable girls in the flower of their youth. I’m upset for their babies, who lost their mothers as soon as they were born. I’m upset for the women’s noble spouses.

I’m also upset for personal reasons. (3) For even though he has passed, I deeply cherish (perseverantissime diligo) their father, as you can see in my works and in my deeds. Now only one of his three children is left alive—one son alone continues the family tree that only a short while ago had many branches.

(4) It will be a great balm for my grief, if fate keeps this one remaining child—a son—strong and healthy, and if he becomes equal to his father and grandfather [in character].  Now that he is an only child, I am even more worried about his health and character. (5) You know what a softy I am to those I care about, and you know how much I worry for them. It shouldn’t surprise you, then, how much I worry about the one I have the most hope for. Goodbye.

*****

8.10

C. PLINIUS FABATO PROSOCERO SUO S.

1 Quo magis cupis ex nobis pronepotes videre, hoc tristior audies neptem tuam abortum fecisse, dum se praegnantem esse puellariter nescit, ac per hoc quaedam custodienda praegnantibus omittit, facit omittenda. Quem errorem magnis documentis expiavit, in summum periculum adducta. 2 Igitur, ut necesse est graviter accipias senectutem tuam quasi paratis posteris destitutam, sic debes agere dis gratias, quod ita tibi in praesentia pronepotes negaverunt, ut servarent neptem, illos reddituri, quorum nobis spem certiorem haec ipsa quamquam parum prospere explorata fecunditas facit. 3 Isdem nunc ego te quibus ipsum me hortor moneo confirmo. Neque enim ardentius tu pronepotes quam ego liberos cupio, quibus videor a meo tuoque latere pronum ad honores iter et audita latius nomina et non subitas imagines relicturus. Nascantur modo et hunc nostrum dolorem gaudio mutent. Vale.

8.10

From: Pliny

To: Fabatus, my grandfather-in-law

(1) The heights of your desire to see us give you great-grandchildren will make you even more devastated to hear that your granddaughter has had a miscarriage. She girlishly (puellariter) did not know that she was pregnant, and failed to do things that would protect pregnancy, as well as did some things she shouldn’t have. But she has paid for her sin in spades; she put herself in grave danger.

(2) Although you are upset that in your old age you have been bereft of potential great-grandchildren, you ought to still thank the gods that they spared the life of your granddaughter, and they will soon give us another chance. For although this one didn’t work out, her pregnancy gives us hope for another.

(3) And so now I’ll tell you the same thing I’m telling myself—things I’m reminding myself, things I’m saying in encouragement. For your desire for great-grandchildren is no less ardent than my desire for children, and these children, I reckon, will have a clear path to political office, thanks to you and me. Their names will be proclaimed far and wide, they will walk in their ancestor’s footsteps. If only they would be born soon and change our grief into joy. Farewell.

--Pliny the Younger Epist. 4.21 and 8.10

PLINY THE YOUNGER

MAP:

Name: Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus  

Date:  61 BCE – 113 CE

Works:  Letters

 

REGION  1

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


BIO:

Timeline:

 Pliny the Younger was an Italian born noble and nephew of the famous natural historian Pliny the Elder. He is best known for publishing his private correspondence, in which he flouts his connections with other illustrious Romans (including the Emperor Trajan and the author Tacitus). Two of the most famous examples of these are his “eyewitness” account of the explosion of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE and his letter to the emperor Trajan regarding the treatment of Christians.

 SILVER AGE LATIN

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





M/M: When No One Wants To Be Your Patroclus... Herodian, Hist. IV.8

 TRIGGER WARNING: slavery, murder

His igitur actis, atque urbibus prout quanque potuerat ordinatis, Pergamum adit, Asiae civitatem, ut Aesculapii curationibus uteretur. Quo postquam pervenit somniis quamdiu voluit captatis Ilium mox petiit, & cunctis urbis reliquiis collustratis, ad Achillis tumulum processit. Eoque coronis, floribusque magnifice exornato rursus imitari Achillem coepit. Sed Patroclum desideras alique, quippia huiusmodi fecit, libertorum omnium carissimus Festus, a memoria, dum ad Ilium moratur, vita defunctus est, veneno (ut quidam aiebant) extinctus, quo scilicet Patrocli more sepeliretur (ut alii affirmant) morbo interceptus. Huius igitur cadaver efferi iussit, compluribus lignis rogum strui. Dein imposito in medium, mactatisque omne genus animalibus subiecit ignem, phialamqye manu tenens,vinumque libans, ventos precebatur. Cumque esset raro capillo et crinem quaereret, ut imponeret ignibus deridiculo erat omnibus, caeterum quos habuit capillos, tamen totondit. Laudabat autem ex omnibus ducibus, praecipue Syllam Romanum et Afrum Annibalem: quibus etiam statuas atque imagines excitavit.

ταύτα δε ποιήσας τά τε εν ταϊς πόλεσι διοικήσας ως ενεδέχετο ήπείχθη ες Πέργαμον της Ασίας χρήσασθαι βουλόμενος θεραπείαις του Ασκληπιού. άφικόμενος δή εκεί και ες όσον ήθελε των όνειράτων έμφορηθείς ήκεν ες Ιλιον. επελθών δε πάντα τα της πόλεως λείψανα ήκεν επί τον Αχιλλέως τάφον στεφάνοις τε κοσμήσας και ανθεσι πολυτελώς πάλιν Αχιλλέα εμιμείτο. ζητών τε και Πάτροκλόν τινα έποίησέ τι τοιούτον. ήν αυτώ τις των απελευθέρων φίλτατος Φηστος μεν όνομα της δε βασιλείου μνήμης προεστώς. ούτος όντος αυτού εν Ιλίω ετελεύτησεν ως μέν τινες έλεγον φαρμάκω αναιρεθείς ίν ως Πάτροκλος ταφή ως δε έτεροι έφασκoν νόσω διαφθαρείς. τούτου κομισθήναι κελεύει τον νέκυν ξύλων τε πολλών άθροισθήναι πυράν επιθείς τε αυτόν εν μέσω και παντοδαπά ζώα κατασφάξας υφήψέ τε και φιάλην λαβών σπένδων τε τοις ανέμοις εύχετο. πάνυ τε ών ψιλοκόρσης πλόκαμον επιθεϊναι το πυρί ζητων εγελάτο πλήν ων είχε τριχών απεκείρατο επήνει δε και στρατηγών μάλιστα Σύλλαν τε τον και Αννίβαν τον Λίβυν ανδριάντας τε αυτών και είκόνας ανέστησεν.

--Herodian Historiae IV.8, Translated into Latin by Angel Politianus, 1627

Once he did this, and arranged the infrastructure of the cities to the best of his abilities, Caracalla went to Pergamum [a city in Asia], to take advantage of the medical attention of the Temple of Asclepius. Having obtained the visions he was seeking there, he then headed to Ilium [Troy].  After taking a tour of its ruins, he then proceeded to the tomb of Achilles. Once he was there, he decked it with wreaths and flowers, and then began to imitate Achilles. Yearning for a Patroclus, he made do with what was available, and offed Festus—the dearest of all of his freedmen, one of his personal secretaries.  While they were staying at Ilium, Festus had died—by poison (as some alleged; others say he died of disease), so of course, now Caracalla could bury him in the manner of Patroclus. Caracalla ordered Festus’ body to be put on display, then arranged a funeral pyre with a large amount of firewood. Then, placing the corpse in the middle of the pyre, and slaughtering all sorts of animals in sacrifice, he set the pyre on fire, and pouring a libation with by his own hand, he prayed to the winds. And when he tried to take a lock of his already balding hair to offer on the pyre, he was mocked, but he nevertheless cut what little hair he had.

HERODIAN

MAP:

Name:  Herodian

Date:  170 – 240 CE

Works:  History from the Death of Marcus Aurelius

REGION  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


BIO:

Timeline:

 Little is known about this later Roman historian except that he was from Syria and that he wrote about events that occurred during his lifetime. His Histories consist of eight books documenting Roman History from the time of the death of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius until the ascension of Gordian III (from 180 – 238 CE).

 ROMAN GREEK

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)