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Archive for June 2011

Suetonius, The Deified Julius 85

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Here’s the sad end of Cinna the poet at the hands of a mob, famous from Act III Scene iii of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

plebs statim a funere ad domum Bruti et Cassi cum facibus tetendit atque aegre repulsa obvium sibi Helvium Cinnam per errorem nominis, quasi Cornelius is esset, quem graviter pridie contionatum de Caesare requirebat, occidit caputque eius praefixum hastae circumtulit.

The common people proceeded with torches straight from the funeral to the house of Brutus and Cassius. After being driven away with difficulty they met Helvius Cinna and, because of a mistake over his name, they killed him – they thought that he was the Cornelius whom they were looking for because of the disagreeable speech about Caesar which he had made the previous day – and they carried his head around impaled on the end of a spear.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 30, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Suetonius

Homer, Odyssey 12.39-46

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Circe warns Odysseus about the Sirens.

Σειρῆνας μὲν πρῶτον ἀφίξεαι, αἵ ῥά τε πάντας
ἀνθρώπους θέλγουσιν, ὅτις σφεας εἰσαφίκηται.
ὅς τις ἀιδρείῃ πελάσῃ καὶ φθόγγον ἀκούσῃ
Σειρήνων, τῷ δ᾽ οὔ τι γυνὴ καὶ νήπια τέκνα
οἴκαδε νοστήσαντι παρίσταται οὐδὲ γάνυνται,
ἀλλά τε Σειρῆνες λιγυρῇ θέλγουσιν ἀοιδῇ
ἥμεναι ἐν λειμῶνι, πολὺς δ᾽ ἀμφ᾽ ὀστεόφιν θὶς
ἀνδρῶν πυθομένων, περὶ δὲ ῥινοὶ μινύθουσι.

First you will come to the Sirens, who beguile all men who approach them. Whoever, through ignorance, comes near them and hears their voice, that man does not have his wife and little children stand by him and rejoice that he has returned home; instead the Sirens beguile him with their clear-voiced song, as they sit in a meadow, surrounded by a great heap of the bones of mouldering men with their skin shrinking round them.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 29, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Homer

Tacitus, Annals 1.1

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The famous opening of Tacitus’ Annals: the first clause forms a hexameter.

urbem Romam a principio reges habuere; libertatem et consulatum L. Brutus instituit.

From the beginning Rome was under the control of kings; Lucius Brutus established liberty and the consulship.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 28, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Tacitus

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers 10.22

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Epicurus writes a letter on his deathbed.

ἤδη δὲ τελευτῶν γράφει πρὸς Ἰδομενέα τήνδε ἐπιστολήν· “τὴν μακαρίαν ἄγοντες καὶ ἅμα τελευταίαν ἡμέραν τοῦ βίου ἐγράφομεν ὑμῖν ταυτί. στραγγουρικά τε παρηκολούθει καὶ δυσεντερικὰ πάθη ὑπερβολὴν οὐκ ἀπολείποντα τοῦ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς μεγέθους. ἀντιπαρετάττετο δὲ πᾶσι τούτοις τὸ κατὰ ψυχὴν χαῖρον ἐπὶ τῇ τῶν γεγονότων ἡμῖν διαλογισμῶν μνήμῃ. σὺ δ’ ἀξίως τῆς ἐκ μειρακίου παραστάσεως πρὸς ἐμὲ καὶ φιλοσοφίαν ἐπιμελοῦ τῶν παίδων Μητροδώρου.”

When he was already dying he wrote the following letter to Idomeneus: “Living this blessed and also final day of my life I write this to you. Sufferings from strangury and dysentery are continually with me, and there is no way in which there could be any increase in their magnitude. Yet against them all I set the joy of my soul at the remembrance of our past conversations. But as for you: as befits your support of me and of philosophy since your youth, take care of Metrodorus’ children.” 

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Diogenes Laertius

Cicero, For Murena 36

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nihil est incertius volgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more uncertain than the public, nothing more obscure than men’s will, nothing more deceptive than the whole business of elections.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 18, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Cicero

Athenaeus, Sophists at Dinner 6.261d-e

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Τιρυνθίους δέ φησι Θεόφραστος ἐν τῷ περὶ κωμῳδίας φιλόγελως ὄντας, ἀχρείους δὲ πρὸς τὰ σπουδαιότερα τῶν πραγμάτων καταφυγεῖν ἐπὶ τὸ ἐν Δελφοῖς μαντεῖον ἀπαλλαγῆναι βουλομένους τοῦ πάθους, καὶ τὸν θεὸν ἀνελεῖν αὐτοῖς, ἢν θύοντες τῷ Ποσειδῶνι ταῦρον ἀγελαστὶ τοῦτον ἐμβάλωσιν εἰς τὴν θάλατταν, παύσεσθαι. οἳ δὲ δεδιότες μὴ διαμάρτωσι τοῦ λογίου τοὺς παῖδας ἐκώλυσαν παρεῖναι τῇ θυσίᾳ. μαθὼν οὖν εἷς καὶ συγκαταμιχθείς, ἐπείπερ ἐβόων ἀπελαύνοντες αὐτόν, “τί δῆτ’;” ἔφη· “δεδοίκατε μὴ τὸ σφάγιον ὑμῶν ἀνατρέψω;” γελασάντων δὲ ἔμαθον ἔργῳ τὸν θεὸν δείξαντα ὡς ἄρα τὸ πολυχρόνιον ἦθος ἀμήχανόν ἐστι θεραπευθῆναι.

Theophrastus says, in his book On Comedy, that the people of Tiryns were fond of laughter and that they were no use in more serious matters; wishing to rid themselves of this unfortunate problem, they appealed to the oracle at Delphi, and the god gave them the answer that the problem would stop if they sacrificed a bull to Poseidon, by casting it into the sea, without laughing. They were afraid that they might fail to fulfill the oracle, so they forbade their children to be present at the sacrifice. But one boy found out what was happening and mingled with the crowd. Just as they were shouting at him and driving him away he said, ‘What’s the matter? Are you afraid I’ll upset your victim?’ They laughed, and found out in actual fact that the god had been showing them how it is impossible to cure a disposition of long standing.

= Theophrastus fr. 124 Wimmer.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 16, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Athenaeus, Theophrastus

Ovid, Loves 1.14.1-2

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She’s had an unfortunate accident with the hair dye…

dicebam 'medicare tuos desiste capillos';
  tingere quam possis, iam tibi nulla coma est.

I kept saying ‘Stop dying your hair!’. Now you have no hair left to dye.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 15, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Ovid

Heraclitus, fr. DK B13

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ὕες βορβόρῳ ἥδονται μᾶλλον ἢ καθαρῷ ὕδατι.

Pigs take more pleasure in a mire than in clean water.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 8, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Heraclitus