Sunday, January 28, 2024

Dangerous Beauty: Christianizing the Abduction of Ganymede, Fulgentius Myth. 1.25

Et raptum Ganymeden aquila non vere volucris, sed bellica praeda. Jupiter enim, ut Anacreon antiquissimus auctor scripsit, dum adverius Titanas, id est Titani filios (qui frater Saturni fuerat) bellum adsumeret, et sacrificium Coelo fecisset, in victoriae auspicium, aquilae sibi adesse prosperum vidit volatum. pro quo tam felici omine, praesertim quia & victoria consecuta est, in signis bellicis sibi aquilam auream fecit, tutelaeque suae virtuti dedicavit. Unde & apud Romanos huiuscemodi signa tracta sunt. Ganymedem vero bellando his signis praeeuntibus rapuit...

--Fulgentius, Myth. 1.25

Ganymede was not abducted by an eagle, but rather was taken as a war prize. For when Jupiter (according to the ancient author Anacreon) was waging war against the Titans (or rather, the sons of Titan, who was the brother of Saturn), he made a sacrifice to Heaven. He saw an eagle flying and took it as a good omen, and after he emerged victorious, created a golden eagle standard and dedicated it as a signal of his divine protection. [This is also the origin of the Roman eagle standard]. Under this banner, Jupiter captured Ganymede as a war prize. 

Name:  Fabius Planciades Fulgentius
Date:  5h – 6th c. CE
Works:  Expositio Sermonum Antiquorum                  Expositio Virgilianae
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

Little is known about the life of Fulgentius, but his writing style and internal evidence from his texts suggest that he was North African. In his three volume work Mythology, he analyzes common Greco-Roman myths, identifying allegorical, rational, or didactical purposes for each myth.
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

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