Galli were worshippers of the goddess Cybele who renounced their masculinity by voluntarily undergoing castration. They lived as women, and held a separate legal status from men in ancient Rome. In this poem, the protagonist gallus is dedicating their religious trappings upon their retirement from the fervor of the bacchic rituals.
Gallus capillatus, in iuventute exsectus, de Tmolo
Lydius saltator longum ululas,
accolenti Sangarium haec Matri tympana venerandae
posuit, et flagellum multiiugis-talis-tessellatum,
et haec ex-orichalco garrula cymbala, et fragrantem
cincinnum, furore recens deposito.
Γάλλος ὁ χαιτάεις, ὁ νεήτομος, ὡπὸ Τυμώλου
Λύδιος ὀρχηστὰς μάκρ᾽ ὀλολυζόμενος,
τᾷ παρὰ Σαγγαρίῳ τάδε Ματέρι τύμπαν᾽ ἀγαυᾷ
θήκατο, καὶ μάστιν τὰν πολυαστράγαλον,
ταῦτὰ τ᾽ ὀρειχάλκου λάλα κύμβαλα, καὶ μυρόεντα
βόστρυχον, ἐκ λύσσας ἄρτια παυσάμενος.
--Erycius, Greek Anthology, 6.234; Translated into Latin by Hugo Grotius
At the end of the rave
A long haired gallus, castrated in my youth,
A dancer on the Lydian shore of the Tmolus River,
Who chanted beautifully,
Now grown older,
dedicates to the revered Bithynian Mother
A whip with many tassels
A set of clanging cymbals made of orichalcum
A fragrant lock of hair.
Works: Greek Anthology; Anthologia Graeca; Florilegii Graecii
The Greek Anthology is a modern collection of Greek lyric poetry compiled from various sources over the course of Greco-Roman literature. The current collection was created from two major sources, one from the 10th century CE and one from the 14th century CE. The anthology contains authors spanning the entirety of Greek literature, from archaic poets to Byzantine Christian poets.
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