Saturday, December 11, 2021

M/M: In Love With Love: Charinus the Iambic Poet, Photius, Bibl. 153b

 Trigger Warning: slavery, suicide

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Charinus quoque iamborum scriptor, eunuchum quemdem Erota, Eupatoris pincernam, perdite amavit, fabulaeque de petra illa fidem habens, praecipitavit et ille. At cum ex lapsu crure fracto, doloris iam vi exspiraret, hos versus iambicos effudit:

"Fallax peri, peri, mala o Leucas petra;

Charinon, heu, heu, me poetam iambicum

Spei adussisti inanibus quae fabulis.

In tantum Erota, o! Eupator si diligat.

Χαρίνος δε ίαμβογράφος ηράσθη Έρωτος ευνούχου του Ευπάτορος οινοχόου και πιστεύσας τω πέρι της πέτρας λόγω κατέβαλεν εαυτόν. έπει δε κατεβαλων το σκέλος κατεάγη και υπό οδύνης ετελευτα, απέρριψε τάδε τα ιαμβεία:


 Έρροις πλανήτη και κακή πέτρη Λευκάς. 

Χαρίνον, αί αϊ, την ιαμβικήν Μούσαν, 

Κατηθάλωσας ελπίδος κενοίς μύθοις: 

Τοιαύτ Ερωτος Ευπάτωρ ερασθείη.

--Photius, Bibliotheca 153B,  Translated into Latin by Christian Wolf et al. (1860)

Charinus was an iambic poet who loved Eupator’s eunuch cupbearer Erotos [Love] to the point of desperation. Relying on the power of the Leucadian Rocks*, he leapt from them and broke his leg. As he was dying from the pain, he composed the following poem:

“Leucadian Rock, you deceiving villain,


You have drowned Charinus the Iambic poet,

He believed in your myth[ical power].

May Eupator’s love for Love also die.

* According to legend, a person could be cured of their love for a person if they leapt from the Leucadian Rocks and survive. Sappho is said to have leapt from these rocks to rid herself of her love of Phaon.





Date:  9th century CE

Works:  Bibliotheka





 Nobleman, clergyman and author Photius led the Eastern Orthodox Church in Constantinople during the 9th century CE. His impact on Church history and literature is immense; he was canonized as a saint in both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic churches. His work, the Bibliotheka, preserves epitomes of works that are no longer extant.


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