Saturday, June 15, 2024

Hippolytus Reborn: A Christian Author's Account of Hippolytus

Hippolytus perished by the savage accusation of his stepmother

& was ripped to shreds by his own chariot

When sea monsters were stirring up the waves.

Diana’s wrath refused to tolerate the assault on his purity*;  

She brought Hippolytus back from the dead,

But now he exists with the name Virbius.


  -- Theodolus, Eclogue 125-128 [dated to the 10th century CE]


* pudicitia refers both to his physical chastity as well as his reputation.


Hippolytus saeva perit accusante noverca

Discerptus bigis, focas agitantibus undis.

Damna pudicitiae non pertulit ira Dianae:

Hippolytum revocat; modo nomine Virbius extat.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Two Inscriptions On the Worship of Antinous

#32 

ANTINOΣ ΣΥΝΘΡΟΝΩ ΤΩΝ ΕΝ ΑΙΓΥΠΤΩ ΘΕΩΝ Μ ΟΥΛΠΙOC AΠΟΛΛΩNIOΣ ПРОФТНС

Antinoi, pariter-regnans apud Aegyptios deos, M. Oulpios Apollonius Sacerdos

To Antinous, equal-throned among the Egyptian gods, Marcus Oulpius Apollonius Sacerdos Dedicates This...

#31

ANTINOΣ ΣΥΝΘΡΟΝΩ ΤΩΝ ΕΝ ΑΙΓΥ...

Antinoi, pariter-regnans apud Aegy...

To Antinous, equal-throned among the Egy...


--Cagnat, R., ed. Inscriptiones Graecae ad Res Romanas Pertinentes, Vol 1.31-32 (1911)


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

How Many Kisses, Catullus? Catullus 7

 

Lesbia, you ask me how many kisses

I want—and how many are too many for me.

I want as great a number as sands in the Saharan desert

Between the Oracle of Ammon

And the sacred tomb of ol’ Battus.

As great a number of stars in the dead of night

That watch over the meetings of secret lovers.

That’s the number of kisses your Catullus wants to kiss,

Enough kisses that nosy people cannot count

Nor evil tongues can curse.

--Catullus 7


 Quaeris, quot mihi basiationes

tuae, Lesbia, sint satis superque.

quam magnus numerus Libyssae harenae

lasarpiciferis iacet Cyrenis

oraclum Iovis inter aestuosi

et Batti veteris sacrum sepulcrum;

aut quam sidera multa, cum tacet nox,

furtivos hominum vident amores:

tam te basia multa basiare

vesano satis et super Catullo est,

quae nec pernumerare curiosi

possint nec mala fascinare lingua.



CATULLUS

MAP:

Name:  Gaius Valerius Catullus

Date:  84 – 54 BCE

Works:  Poems

 

REGION  1

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


BIO:

Timeline:

Catullus was a Roman statesman born in Verona  (Cisalpine Gaul, located in northern Italy) who lived during the tumultuous last days of the Roman Republic.  His poetry offers rare insight into the mores of the time period. Like Propertius and Tibullus, Catullus used a pseudonym for the objects of his attention; many of his love poems were addressed to either “Lesbia” or “Juventius.”

 GOLDEN AGE

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE



Monday, May 27, 2024

A Christian View Against the Deification of Antinous: Tatian, Against the Greeks 10

NOTE: Tatian's argument here is not against Antinous being Hadrian's lover, but only that his worship was idolatry against God.

Habent illi fatum suum: ego stellas erraticas adorare nolo. Quid est quod de crine Berenices traditur? Aut ubi stellae illius erant, antequam ipsa moreretur? Quomodo item Antinous speciosus adolescens in Luna collatus est? Aut quis eum eo levavit? Aliquis scilicet Deos irridens, hunc etiam in caelum ascendisse fingendo, sicut Reges olim quosdam mercede nimiurum conductus & pejerans, homines qui id crederent invenit, & Homericam Theologiam imitatus, honore muneribusque affectus est. Cur estis in Deum sacrilegi? Cur eiusdem opus ignominiose tractatis? Tu mactas ovem & eandem adoras. Taurus in caelo est, tu simile ei animal obtruncas.

Ἐχέτωσαν οὗτοι τὴν εἱμαρμένην· τοὺς πλανήτας προσκυνεῖν οὐ βούλομαι. Τίς ἐστιν ὁ Βερενίκης πλόκαμος; Ποῦ δὲ οἱ ἀστέρες αὐτῆς πρὶν τὴν προειρημένηνἀποθανεῖν; Πῶς δὲ ὁ τεθνεὼς Ἀντίνοος μειράκιον ἐν τῇ σελήνῃ ὡραῖον καθίδρυται; Τίς ὁ ἀναβιβάσας αὐτόν, εἰ μή τις καὶ τοῦτον, ὡς τοὺς βασιλέας μισθοῦ δι ἐπιορκίας τις, τοὺς θεοὺς καταγελῶν, εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀνεληλυθέναι φήσας πεπίστευται, κατὰ τὸ ὅμοιον θεολογήσας τιμῆς καὶ δωρεᾶς ἠξίωται; Τί μοι τὸν θεον σεσυλήκατε; Τί δὲ αὐτοῦ τὴν ποίησιν ἀτιμάζετε; Θύεις πρόβατον, τὸ δ αὐτὸ προσκυνεῖς· ταῦρός ἐστιν ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ τὴν εἰκόνα σφάττεις αὐτοῦ. 

--Tatian, Oratio Contra Graecos 10, (1700) ed. Wilhelmus Worth

Others have their own choice: but I refuse to worship constellations. What is it they say about the Lock of Berenice? Or, rather, where were those stars, before Berenice died? How did the marvelous youth Antinous wind up on the moon? Who brought him there? Unless, instead, it was someone who scoffs at the gods, who lied under the prospect of financial reward and said Antinous ascended to heaven, just like they made kings into gods in ancient times? Why are you being so wicked against God? Why do you slander His works? You kill a sheep, but worship another [in the sky]. There’s a bull in the sky, but you kill another one like him [in sacrifice].

Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Amazons, As Explained by a Christian Writer: Orosius, Historia 1.15

Medio autem tempore apud Scythas duo regii iuvenes Plynos et Scolopetius, per factionem optimatium domo pulsi, ingentem iuventutem secum traxere et in Cappadociae Ponticae ora iuxta amnem Thermodontem consederunt campis Themiscyriis sibi subiectis; ubi diu proxima quaeque populati conspiratione finitimorum per insidias trucidantur. Horum uxores exilio ac viduitate permotae arma sumunt et, ut omnibus par ex simili condicione animus fieret, viros qui superfuerant interficiunt atque accensae in hostem sanguine suo ultionem caesorum coniugum finitimorum excidio consequuntur. Tunc pace armis quaesita externos concubitus ineunt, editos mares mox enecant, feminas studiose nutriunt inustis infantium dexterioribus mammillis, ne sagittarum iactus impedirentur; unde "Amazones" dictae. Harum duae fuere reginae, Marpesia et Lampeto, quae agmine diuiso in duas partes vicissim curam belli et domus custodiam sortiebantur. Igitur cum Europam maxima e parte domuissent, Asiae vero aliquantis ciuitatibus captis, ipsae autem Ephesum aliasque urbes condidissent, praecipuam exercitus sui partem onustam opulentissima praeda domum reuocant, reliquae ad tuendum Asiae imperium relictae cum Marpesia regina concursu hostium trucidantur. Huius locum Sinope filia capessit, quae singularem virtutis gloriam perpetua uirginitate cumulauit. Hac fama excitas gentes tanta admiratio et formido invaserat, ut Hercules quoque cum iussus fuisset a domino suo exhibere arma reginae quasi ad ineuitabile periculum destinatus, universam Graeciae lectam ac nobilem iuventutem contraxerit, nouem longas naues praepararit, nec tamen contentus examine virium ex inprouiso adgredi et insperatas circumuenire maluerit.Duae tunc sorores regno praeerant, Antiope et Orithyia. Hercules mari advectus incautas inermesque et pacis incuria desides oppressit. Inter caesas captasque complurimas duae sorores Antiopae, Melanippe ab Hercule, Hippolyte a Theseo retentae. Sed Theseus Hippolyten matrimonio adscivit, Hercules Melanippen sorori reddidit et arma reginae pretio redemptionis accepit. Post Orithyiam Penthesilea regno potita est, cuius Troiano bello clarissima inter viros documenta virtutis accepimus.

--Orosius, Historia Adversum Paganos 1.15 

While all that was happening, this was happening in Scythia: there were two princes named Plynos and Scolopetius who were expelled from their throne by a coup of the nobles. They migrated with a large group of youths to the shores of Cappadocia on the Black Sea by the Thermodon River. They conquered the territory of Themiscyra and settled there. They stayed there until ultimately being killed by treachery by their neighboring countries.

Moved by exile and their widowhood, their wives took up arms and, in order to rival their husbands’ courage, killed the remaining men in their group and repaid their enemy neighbors in blood for the blood of their slaughtered husbands. Then, after imposing peace through threat of violence, they used their neighbors for breeding purposes, killing the boys they birthed, and nursing their girls with their right breast [for they burn off their left breast in order to shoot arrows unimpeded]. This is why they are called ‘breastless,’ [A-mazons].

Of these Amazons, there were two queens, Marpesia and Lampeto, who divided the group into two parts: one group would take care of war, while the other group would stay home to guard their home. When they had conquered a great part of Europe, even capturing some nations in Asia, they founded the city of Ephesos and other cities.

While a large part of the army was returning home with splendid treasure, and the rest of the army remaining behind to guard their territory in Asia, Queen Marpesia was killed in a skirmish with the enemy. Her daughter, Sinope, who cherished her lifelong chastity, took control of this region.

There was so much admiration and respect for these Amazons that even Hercules, when he was ordered by his lord* to bring back the armor of the Amazon queen, realized the terrible danger he was in. He assembled all of the nobles of Greece, prepared nine longboats, yet still was unimpressed with his swarm of men warriors, and instead strategized to catch the Amazons off guard. At that time, two sisters were in power named Antiope and Orithya. Hercules came ashore, and caught the Amazons off guard, attacking them unarmed, and without a thought to diplomacy. Among these casualties who were captured and killed were two sisters of Antiope. Melanippe was captured by Hercules, and Hippolyte was captured by Theseus. Theseus married his captive Hippolyte, but Hercules returned Melanippe to her sister, ransoming her for the queen’s armor.

Penthesilea ruled after Orithyia [died], and we all know the story of her glorious deeds during the Trojan War.

 


* Referring to his famous Twelve Labors

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

M/M: I Love Those Who Love You, Fronto, Ad M. Caes. 4.1

Sed meliora, quaeso, fabulemur. Amo Julianum (inde enim hic sermo defluxit), amo omnis, qui te diligunt, amo deos, qui te tutantur, amo vitam propter te, amo litteras tecum: Inprimis eis mihi amorem tui ingurgito.

--Marcus Aurelius to Fronto. Fronto, ad Caesarem 4.1


But I beg you, let us talk about better things. I love Julianus (the reason we started this conversation). I love everyone who loves you, I love the gods who protect you, I love life because of you, I love our letters together: especially in the ones where I gush my love for you.



FRONTO

MAP:

Name:  Marcus Cornelius Fronto  

Date:  100 – 160 CE

Works: Letters

 

REGION  3

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


BIO:

Timeline:

Fronto was a Roman statesman born in Cirta (Numidia, located in northern Africa) whose rhetorical and literary abilities earned him the nickname “Second Cicero.” He was tutor and mentor to the future Roman emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus; his correspondence with them provides unique insight into the personal lives of much of the Antonine dynasty.

 SILVER AGE LATIN

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE





Tuesday, May 14, 2024

M/M: United in Death: Carpos & Calamos

 

[48] nec calamis s. aeq. s. v. m. videtur allegoria quasi ad Theocritum et Vergilium respicere: hinc est 'tu nunc eris alter ab illo'. fabula de calamo talis est: veteres Zephyro vento unam ex horis coniugem adsignant, ex qua et Zephyro Carpon filium pulcherrimi corporis editum dicunt. quem cum Calamus, Maeandri fluvii filius, amaret, a Carpo mutua vice etiam ipse adamatus est. sed Carpos cum in Maeandrum fluvium cadens esset extinctus, Calamus, patrem propter hoc scelus aversatus, aufugit rogavitque Iovem, ut finem suis luctibus daret sibique mortem praestaret, ut amato post obitum iungeretur. quem miseratione Iuppiter ductus in harundinales calamos verti iussit, qui semper circa oras fluminum nasci solent, Carpon vero in fructus rerum omnium vertit, ut semper renasceretur.

 --Servius, In Ecl. 5.48Nor did Calamus...

Seems to be an allegory referring to Theocritus & Vergil repeats, like “you will now be another of him.” The story of Calamos is as follows: ancient authors say that the wind Zephyr married one of the Hours, and had a very handsome son named Carpos. Calamos, the son of the river god Meander, fell in love with him, and they loved each other intensely. However, when Carpos fell into the Meander river and drowned, Calamos was horrified by his father’s deed and ran away. He begged Jupiter to end his grief and let him die as well, so that he could join his beloved in death. Moved to pity, Jupiter ordered Calamos to be transformed into a reed, which is accustomed to bloom around riverbanks, and transformed Carpos into the fruit of all things, so he could always be reborn.

 

 

 



SERVIUS
MAP:
Name:  Maurus Servius Honoratus
Date:  4th – 5th c. CE (???)
Works:  In Vergilii carmina comentarii

REGION  1
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

BIO:
Timeline:
 Little is known about the author or manuscript tradition for the grammatical commentary of Vergil’s Aeneid.
 BYZANTINE / LATE LATIN
Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE




Thursday, May 2, 2024

M/M: Addressing a Toxic Relationship, Martial 2.55

Sextus, you want to be worshipped;

But I wanted to love you.

You have to be obeyed—or else!

Because you tell me to, I’ll comply,

But if I have to worship you, I won't--I can't--feel love for you.

--Martial, Epigrams 2.55 

Vis te, Sexte, coli: volebam amare.

Parendum est tibi: quod iubes, coleris;

Sed si te colo, Sexte, non amabo.


MARTIAL
MAP:
Name: Marcus Valerius Martialis
Date:  40 CE – 104 CE
Works:  Epigrammaton Libri XV*
               De Spectaculis

REGION  2 (Hispania)
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

BIO:
Timeline:
Originally from Bilbilis, Hispania, the poet Martial moved to Rome in the 60s CE to advance his career. His two extant works include de Spectaculis, a collection of poems written to commemorate the opening of the Colosseum, and a fifteen volume collection of epigrams. These epigrams provide valuable insight into the mores and private lives of men and women from all of the city’s social classes.     
 SILVER AGE ROME
Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE



Saturday, April 20, 2024

Find Me Somebody to Love: A 12th century Love Poem

Tela, Cupido, tene, quoniam non ille nec illa

sustinet esse meus, vel mea. Tele tene,

tela tene! Quid amo? Quod amat? Non absit. At huius

quod fugit, huius ero? Non ero. Tele tene,

tela tene! Quia non teneo quod amo tenuisse.

An dixi quod amo? Non amo! Tela tene,

tela tene, vel tange parem. Nec feceris imo,

dico tibi, sine! Vel tange, Cupido, parem.

--Ellis, R. Epigrammata Codicis Bodleiani Rawl. BN 109 #2. Published in Anecdota Oxoniensia Vol 1, Part 5.  (1885) p. 17.

 

 

Cupid, hold your fire!

For neither my boyfriend

Nor my girlfriend

stays true to me.

Hold your fire, hold your fire!

What’s my type? A person who loves!

May I find one soon.

But should I date someone

Who ghosts me? NOPE!

Hold your fire, hold your fire!

For I will not cherish a person

who I’d “love that I had dated once.”

Did I just say “a person I love”?

Nope! I’m not in love.

Hold your fire,  hold your fire,

Or find me an equal.

Please don’t do this—I’m telling you—please stop!

Or, Cupid,

 find me an equal.

  


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Friends Till The End: Martial 1.93

Roman men often had deep, loving and affectionate friendships with their peers. There was no shame or stigma in expressing love and support to one another.

Fabricio iunctus fido requiescit Aquinus,

qui prior Elysias gaudet adisse domos.

Ara duplex primi testatur munera pili:

plus tamen est, titulo quod breviore legis:

"iunctus uterque sacro laudatae foedere vitae,

famaque quod raro novit: amicus erat." 

--Martial, Epigrams 1.93 

Aquinus is buried next to his faithful Fabricius,

Who happily entered Heaven before him.

A double tombstone attests that both attained primus pilus [head centurion]

But, what’s more, is the inscription:

“Both are joined in a sacred relationship of a blessed life,

And something even more blessed: they were friends.”

 

MARTIAL

MAP:

Name: Marcus Valerius Martialis

Date:  40 CE – 104 CE

Works:  Epigrammaton Libri XV*

               De Spectaculis

 

REGION  2 (Hispania)

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Northern Africa, including Carthage; Region 4: Egypt and the Middle East; Region 5: Peninsular Greece and the coast of Turkey


 

BIO:

Timeline:

Originally from Bilbilis, Hispania, the poet Martial moved to Rome in the 60s CE to advance his career. His two extant works include de Spectaculis, a collection of poems written to commemorate the opening of the Colosseum, and a fifteen volume collection of epigrams. These epigrams provide valuable insight into the mores and private lives of men and women from all of the city’s social classes.     

 SILVER AGE ROME

Silver Age: 18 - 150 CE


 


Sunday, April 7, 2024

W/W: Remember Me, Delicate Rose: A Medieval Love Poem

G unicae suae rosae

A vinculum dilectionis preciosae.

Quae est fortitudo mea, ut sustineam,

ut in tuo discessu pacientiam habeam?

Numqud fortitudo mea fortitudo est lapidum,

ut tuum esspectem reditum?

Quae nocte et die non cesso dolere,

velut qui caret manu et pede.

Omne quod iocundum est et delectabile

absque te habetur ut lutum pedum calcabile,

pro gaudere duco fletus

numquam animus meus apparet laetus.

Dum recordor quae dedisti oscula,

et quam iocundis verbis refrigerasti pectuscula,

mori libet

quod te videre non licet.

quid faciam miserrima?

quo me vertam paurperrima?

o si corpus meum terrae fuisset creditum

usque ad optatum tuum reditum,

aut si translatio mihi occederet Abaccuc

ut semel venissem illluc,

ut vultum amantis inspexissem,

et tunc non curarem si ipsa hora mortua fuissem!

nam in mundo non est nata

quae tam amabilis sit et grata,

et quae sine simulatione

tam intima me diligat dilectione.

unde sine fine non cesso dolere

donec te merear videre.

revera iuxta quendam sapientem magna miseria est hominis,

cum illo non esse

sine quo non potest esse.

dum constat orbis

numquam deleberis de medio mei cordis.

quid multis moror?

redi, dulcis amor!

noli iter tuum longius differe,

scias me absentiam tuam diutius non posse suffere.

vale,

meique memorare. 


--[quoted in] Dronke, Peter. Medieval Latin and the Rise of European Love Lyric, Vol  2.479; and Piechl,Helmut and Bergmann, Werner. Die Tegernseer Briefsammlung des 12. Jahrhunderts, p. 356


To her unique rose G,

From A, the bond of precious love.

How can I be strong enough

To endure your leaving?

Isn’t my strength the strength of stone

To wait for your return?

Night and day, I can’t stop grieving

When you’re gone, it feels like I’ve lost a hand and a foot.

When you’re gone, everything that is pleasant and delightful

Is like mud trod upon by my foot.

I turn to weeping instead of joy,

My heart is never happy.

When I recall the kisses you’ve given me,

And how you restored my heart with your happy words,

I’d rather die

Than not see you again.

What will wretched ol’ me do?

Where will poor li’l ol’ me turn?

If only my body were laid to earth

Until your longed-for return occurs,

Or if I could make a trip like Habakkuk

To go where you are,

To see the face of my lover—just once!--

I’d be content to die right then and there.

For no other woman was born in the universe

Who is so lovely and pleasant

Without any fake or pretend aspects

Who loves me with such deep intimacy.

 So I’ll never stop grieving

Until I’m worthy of seeing you again.

According to a certain Wise One,

Mankind’s great Sorrow is to be kept from

The one person you cannot live without.

As long as the world still stands

You will never be taken from the bottom of my heart.

Why do I delay any further?

Return,  sweet love!

Don’t put off your travels any longer,

Remember that I cannot endure your absence any longer,

Goodbye,

Remember me.

 

 

Thursday, April 4, 2024

W/W: Sweeter Than Honey: A Medieval Love Letter

C super mel et favum dulciori

B. quidquid amor amori.

O unica et specialis,

cur tamdiu in longinquo moraris?

Cur unicam tuam perire vis,

quae anima et corpore te diligit, ut ipsa scis?

et quea more aviculi esurientis

te suspirat omnibus horis atque momentis.

ex quo enim dulcissima tua presentia contigit me carere

nolui hominem ulterius audire nec videre

sed quasi tutur, perdito masculo

semper in arido residet ramusculo

ita lamentor sine fine

donec iterum fruar tua fide.

circumpspicio et non invenio amantem

ne in uno verbo me consolantem

dum enim iocundissime

allocutionis ac visionis tuae

dulcedinem revolvo in animo

dolore comprimor nimio

nam nil invenio tale.

Quid velim tuae dilectioni comparare,

Quae super mel at favum dulcescit

Et in cuius comparatione auri et argenti nitor vilescit?

quid ultra? in te omnis suavitas et virtus:

idcirco de absentia tua meus semper languet sipirtus.

omnis perfide cares felle

dulcior es lacte et melle

electa es ex milibus

te diligo prae omnibus

tu sola amor et desiderium

tu dulce animi mei refrigerium

nil mihi absque te iocundi.

omne quod tecum erat mihi suave

sine te laboriosum est et grave.

unde dicere volo veraciter

si fieri posset quod vitae pretio te emerem--non segniter.

quia sola es quam elegi secundum cor meum.

idcirco semper obsecro Deum

ne prius me mors preveniat amara

quam visione tua fruar optata et care.

vale

quae sunt omnia fidei et dilectionis de me habe.

quem transmitto accipe stilum

et adhuc animum meum fidum.


--[quoted in] Dronke, Peter. Medieval Latin and the Rise of European Love Lyric, Vol  2.478; and Piechl,Helmut and Bergmann, Werner. Die Tegernseer Briefsammlung des 12. Jahrhunderts, p. 354.


To C, beyond sweeter than honey and honeycomb

From B, whatever love means to a lover.

O unique and special girl,

Why do you stay so far away, and for so long?

Why do you wish for your one & only love to perish,

Who loves you (as you already know) body & soul?

Who longs for you, like a parched little bird

Hopes for you at all hours?

From the moment when I was apart from your sweetest presence

I didn’t want to see or hear another person,

But instead, like a turtledove, when its mate was dead,

Remains perched forever upon a barren branch.

Like this sad little bird, I’ll lament without end

Until once more I can enjoy your company.

I look around, and cannot find my lover

Or any word of consolation.

Instead, I happily run through my mind

The sweetness of your words and beauty,

Undone by my grief,

For I cannot find any such relief.

What can I compare to your love?

It is sweeter than honey and honeycomb,

Even gold and silver is dull in comparison!

Why go on?

In you, is every sweetness and kindness,

And so my spirit wanes in your absence.

You lack even an ounce of the bitterness of infidelity,

You are sweeter than milk and honey.

You are the one I’ve chosen out of thousands of others—

I love you more than everyone!

You alone are my love and my desire

You are the sweet refuge of my soul,

I find no enjoyment in anything else without you.

Everything that is sweet for me by your side

Is tedious and terrible without you here.

And so I want to tell you candidly,

If it were possible for me to afford a life by your side, I wouldn’t hesitate to do so.

Because you alone are the woman I chose in my heart.

And so, I pray to God,

May bitter death not take me away

Before I may enjoy looking at you,

My beloved and dearest one.

Goodbye,

Hold dear the faith and love I bear you,

And accept these words which I write to you,

As well as my still-loyal heart.

 

 

 

 


Sunday, March 17, 2024

M/M: I Miss You, Buddy: Ausonius to Paulinus 1.16-19

In a letter to Paulinus, Ausonius complains about his absence by comparing their relationship to other great relationships of mythology:

Impie, Pirithoo disiungere Thesea posses,

Euryalumque suo socium secernere Niso!

Te suadente fugam, Pylades liquisset Orestem,

Nec custodisset Siculus vadimonia Damon!


--Ausonius, Ep. Ausonius Paulino 1.16-19

Faithless one! You’d really break up Pirithous and Theseus?

Separate Euryalus from his Nisus?

You’d convince Pylades to abandon Orestes?

And keep the Sicilian Damon from pledging for Pythias’ escape?






AUSONIUS

MAP:

Name:  Decimius Magnus Ausonius

Date:  4th century CE

Works:  Letters, Mosella

 

REGION  2

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


BIO:

Timeline:

 Ausonius was a Roman poet from Aquitania, Gaul [modern France] who lived during the 4th century CE. He is best known for his epic poem Mosella, which describes the Moselle River, and his Epistles, a series of literary poems between himself and the Christian poet Paulinus.

 AGE OF CONFLICT

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE


 


Friday, March 8, 2024

Saying Farewell to a Friend: Anth. Lat. 445

Roman men often had deep, loving and affectionate friendships with their peers. There was no shame or stigma in expressing love and support to one another.

 

Ablatus mihi Crispus est, amici

pro quo si pretium dari liceret

nostros dividerem libenter annos.

Nunc pars optima me mei reliquit

Crispus, praesidium meum, voluptas,

pectus, deliciae: nihil sine illo

laetum mens mea iam putabit esse.

Consumptus male debilisque vivam:

plus quam dimidium mei recessit.

 

--Anthologia Latina 445


Friends, my Crispus was taken away from me

If I could give anything to bring him back

I would gladly give half of my life.

Now the best part of me has abandoned me.

Crispus, you were my support, my joy,

My heart, my delight:  

Without him, my mind cannot find anything enjoyable.

I will spend the rest of my life worn out and defeated

Since more than half of me has gone.



Tuesday, March 5, 2024

M/M: A Medieval version of the Hyacinthus myth, Hildebert of Levardin XIV

et deus et medicus et amans, rescindere frustra

tentans Aebalidae funera, Phoebus ait;

"parcite, di, puero, si non moriatur uterque;

malo sequi puerum quam superesse deum.

Si prohibetis et hoc, sit pars utriusque superstes,

par cadit, ignoscens sic minor esse deo.

Quisque feret laetus propriae dispendia partis,

dum pars ad manes, pars est ad superos."

--Hildebart of Levardin #IV, Phoebus de Interitu Hyacinthi

 

Phoebus, being

A god

A healer

And a lover,

Trying in vain to stop Hyacinth from dying, said,

“Gods, please spare my boyfriend!

If we cannot both die,

I’d rather follow him in death

Than remain living as a god.

If you won’t allow this,

Let part of both of us remain together

And part of us die together,

And I will come to terms with losing my godhood.

Both of us will happily adjust to losing part of ourselves,

While part of us falls to the underworld together,

The other part of us flying hand-in-hands to the stars.”

 


Friday, February 16, 2024

Caeneus in the Underworld: Aeneid 6.440-449

nec procul hinc partem fusi monstrantur in omnem  

Lugentes campi; sic illos nomine dicunt.

hic quos durus amor crudeli tabe peredit

secreti celant calles et myrtea circum

silva tegit; curae non ipsa in morte relinquunt.

his Phaedram Procrinque locis maestamque Eriphylen  

crudelis nati monstrantem vulnera cernit,

Evadnenque et Pasiphaen; his Laodamia

it comes et iuvenis quondam, nunc femina, Caeneus

rursus et in veterem fato revoluta figuram.

--Vergil, Aeneid 6.440-449



Not far from here, spread out all around in every direction were the Mourning Fields; that’s what they’re called. This is where people affected by cursed love waste away. They hide in the narrow foot paths covered in a myrtle forest; even death itself cannot remove their pain. This is where he sees Phaedra, Procris, sad Eriphylis who bears the wounds of her cruel son, as well as Evandne and Pasiphae. Laodamia wanders here as companion to Caeneus—he had been a young man, but now returned by Fate to his previous shape as a woman.


NOTES:

·        Phaedra was cursed by Aphrodite to fall in love with her stepson Hippolytus

·        Procris, afraid her husband was unfaithful to her, followed him while he went out hunting and was accidentally killed by him.

·        Eriphylis betrayed her husband’s whereabouts while he was hiding during the Theban War and was swallowed by the earth

·        Evadne loved her husband so much that she threw herself on her husband’s funeral pyre

·        Pasiphae was cursed by Poseidon to fall in love with a bull after her husband Minos refused to offer him appropriate sacrifices

·        Laodamia loved her husband Protesilaus so much that she threw herself on his funeral pyre

·        What is Caeneus’ durus amor? Is it being the target of Poseidon’s attention and subsequent attack? Although Caeneus has a son (Coronus), there is no mention in extant myths about any love interest / marriage.

 

VERGIL / VIRGIL

MAP:

Name:  Publius Vergilius Maro

Date:  70 BCE – 21 BCE

Works:  Aeneid*

              Eclogues

             Georgics

 

REGION  1

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


BIO:

Timeline:

Vergil was born in Mantua (Cisalpine Gaul, located in northern Italy) and lived during the tumultuous transition of Roman government from republic to monarchy. His masterpiece, the Aeneid, tells the story of Aeneas’ migration from Troy to Italy; it was used for centuries as the pinnacle of Roman literature.

 GOLDEN AGE ROME

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE