aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Lucian, Gout 252-262

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An excerpt from Lucian’s parodic ‘tragedy’ on the subject of gout. Here the goddess Gout claims (a little implausibly) to have afflicted many mythological characters.

Πρίαμος Ποδάρκης ποδαγρὸς ὢν ἐκλῇζετο·
ἔθανε δ’ Ἀχιλλεὺς ποδαγρὸς ὢν ὁ Πηλέως·
ὁ Βελλεροφόντης ποδαγρὸς ὢν ἐκαρτέρει·
Θηβῶν δυνάστης Οἰδίπους ποδαγρὸς ἦν·
ἐκ τῶν Πελοπιδῶν ποδαγρὸς ἦν ὁ Πλεισθένης·
Ποίαντος υἱος ποδαγρὸς ὢν ἦρχεν στόλου·
ἄλλος Ποδάρκης Θεσσαλῶν ἦν ἡγέμών,
ὅς, ἐπείπερ ἔπεσε Πρωτεσίλαος ἐν μάχῃ,
ὅμως ποδαγρὸς ὢν καὶ πονῶν ἦρχεν στόλου·
Ἰθάκης ἄνακτα Λαρτιάδην Ὀδυσσέα
ἐγὲ κατέπεφνον, οὐκ ἄνανκτα τρυγόνος.

Priam, called Swift-of-foot, had gout; Achilles, Peleus’ son, had gout and died; Bellerophon had gout and bore with it; the Theban ruler Oedipus had gout; Plisthenes, of the sons of Pelops, had gout; Poeas’ son [Philoctetes] had gout and led an army; another Swift-of-foot was the Thessalians’ leader (and when Protesilaus had fallen in battle, he led the army despite having gout and being in pain); Ithaca’s king Odysseus I myself slew, not the spine of a fish.

There is of course some logic to this list: the characters either have names associated with feet (e.g. Priam’s original name Podarces meant Swift-of-foot), or had experiences related to their feet (e.g. Achilles’ heel, Philoctetes’ foot bitten by a snake), or both (Oedipus = ‘Swollen-foot’, from damage sustained to his bound feet when he was exposed to the elements as a baby).

Written by aleatorclassicus

September 17, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Lucian

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