Saturday, February 12, 2022

Dangerous Beauty: the Punishment of Narcissus, Conon Narr. XXIV


In this version of the myth, Narcissus is punished for not being receptive to erotic love. 

In Boetia civitate Thespeia, quae non longe ab Helicone sita est, puer natus Narissus, pulcher admodum, sed amoris amatorumque contemptor. Quare alii quidem despondere animum amantes coeperunt: Aminiasque tantum assiduus erat, & pertinax precator. At cum neque hunc audiret ille, sed gladium insuper mitteret, se ipse pro Narcissi foribus occidit, dum vehementer precatus, ultor sibi ut fieret. Narcissus igitur vultum aliquando suum contemplatus, formaeque simulacrum in aqua fontis apparens, & solus & primus incipit [suum amatorem fieri]. Ergo consilii tandem inops, & iustas sese dare poenas arbitratus, quod AMiniam amatorem iniuria laesisset, mortem sibi conscivit. Ex eo, responso dato, ut amor magis honoraretur, colereturque, praeter communem cultum, privatim quoque sacrificare decreverunt. Ea autem incolarum opinio est, primum ex illa terra extitisse Narcissum florem, in quam effusus Narcissi sanguis fuisset.

Εν Θεσπεία της Βοιωτίας, έστι δ η πόλις ουχ έκας του Ελικώνος παίς έφυ Νάρκισσος πάνυ καλος, και υπερόπτης έρωτός τε και εραστών. και οι μεν άλλοι των εραστών έρώντες απαγορεύθησαν. Αμεινίας δε πολύς ην επιμένων και δεόμενος. Ως δ ου προσίετο, άλλα και ξίφος προσέπεμψεν, εαυτον προ των θυρών Ναρκίσσου διαχειρίζεται, πολλα καθικετεύσας τιμωρόν οι γενέσθαι τον θεόν. Ο δε Νάρκισσος ιδων αυτού την όψιν, και την μορφήν επί κρήνης ινδαλλομένην τω ύδατι, και μόνος και πρώτος εαυτού γίγνεται άτοπος εραστής. τέλος αμηχανών, και δίκαια πάσχειν οιηθείς, ανθ ών Αμεινίου εξύβρισε τους έρωτας, εαυτόν διαχράτα. και εξ εκείνου Θεσπιείς μάλλον τιμάν και γεραίρειν τον έρωτα, προς ταϊς κοιναϊς θεραπείαις, και ιδία θύειν έγνωσαν. Δοκούσι δ' οι επιχώριοι τον Νάρκισσον το άνθος εξ εκείνης πρώτον της γης ανασχεϊν, εις ήν εξεχύθη το του Ναρκίσσου αίμα.

--Conon, Narratio XXIV.

In Thespia, a town in Boeotia not far from Helicon, the child Narcissus was born. He was exceedingly pretty, but he despised love* and boyfriends. Many of his suitors fell into despair; Amainas was particularly eager and lovesick. But when Narcissus didn’t pay attention to him, and even sent him a sword [to kill himself with], he killed himself outside of Narcissus’ front door and begged that the gods would avenge him. Then Narcissus, having caught sight of his own face as it was reflected in the water, became the first and only lover of himself. Finally, in despair, he realized he was being punished for rejecting his lovers, he killed himself. From that time on, Thespians especially honor and revere love, not only in public, but they also make sacrifices in private to love, too. The Thespians also think that the Narcissus flower first rose up in this place, where Narcissus’ blood fell.

*eros / ἔρως: erotic love.



Name:  Conon

Date:  1st c. BCE – 1st c. CE

Works:  Διηγήσεις / Narrationes





 Conon was a Greek mythographer who lived during the reign of Augustus. Although his work, the Narrations, is lost, a summary of it was preserved by the Greek author Photius.




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