Thursday, July 7, 2022

M/M: My Love Will Protect You...from a Dragon! Pausanias, Desc. Graec. 9.26.7-8

 Θεσπιεῦσι δὲ ἐν τῇ πόλει Σαώτου Διός ἐστι χαλκοῦν ἄγαλμα: ἐπιλέγουσι δὲ ὡς λυμαινομένου τὴν πόλιν ποτὲ αὐτοῖς δράκοντος προστάξειεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κλήρῳ τῶν ἐφήβων κατὰ ἔτος ἕκαστον λαχόντα δίδοσθαι τῷ θηρίῳ. τῶν μὲν δὴ διαφθαρέντων μνημονεύειν τὰ ὀνόματα οὔ φασιν: ἐπὶ δὲ Κλεοστράτῳ λαχόντι τὸν ἐραστὴν αὐτοῦ Μενέστρατον λέγουσιν ἐπιτεχνήσασθαι. [8] χαλκοῦν θώρακα ἐποιήσατο ἔχοντα ἐπὶ ἑκάστῃ τῶν φολίδων ἄγκιστρον ἐς τὸ ἄνω νεῦον: τοῦτον τὸν θώρακα ἐνδὺς παρέδωκε τῷ δράκοντι ἑκουσίως αὑτόν, παραδοὺς δὲ ἀπολεῖσθαί τε καὶ αὐτὸς ἀπολεῖν ἔμελλε τὸ θηρίον. ἀντὶ τούτου μὲν τῷ Διὶ γέγονεν ἐπίκλησις Σαώτης

Est adhuc in oppido aeneum Saotae (id est, Servatoris) Iovis signum. Inde ortum habuit religio, quod quum in cives insigni feritate draco saeviret, deus imperaverit ephebos quotannis singulos sorte ductos ferae exponi: et ceterorum quidem qui periere nomina exoleverunt: eorum uni Cleostrato amatorem Menestratum loricam aeneam faciundam curasse, resupinatis extrorsum hamis consertam: eam loricam puer indutus, quum ultro draconi occurrisset, mortem quidem oppetiit, sed ipsam etiam feram exanimavit. Ex eo rei inventu Iovi Servatori cognomen extitit.

--Pausanias, Descriptio Graeciae 9.26.7-8; Translated into Latin by Romulus Amasaeus (1696) 

In the town of Thespiae, there is a bronze statue of Zeus Soter (the Savior). They say that when a dragon was ravaging the town, the god ordered for a youth to be selected each year to be sacrificed to it. The names of the other youths chosen have been blotted out forever, but one of them was Cleostratus; his lover Menestratus invented a way to save him. He made a bronze breastplate equipped with spiked scales that were barbed. Menestratus put on the armor and offered himself to the dragon; he may have died doing so, but then again, so did the beast.  And so Zeus earned the nickname “Savior.”




Name:  Pausanias

Date:  110 – 180 CE

Works:  Description of Greece



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



 Pausanias was a Greek writer who lived during the era of the “Five Good Emperors.” His work, the Description of Greece, is an important source for geographical, historical, archaeological, and cultural information about ancient Greece.


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)

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