Sunday, February 7, 2021

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.



Name:  Herodian

Date:  170 – 240 CE

Works:  History from the Death of Marcus Aurelius


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



 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).


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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