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Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Archive for February 2012

Ovid, Art of Love 2.107

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ut ameris amabilis esto.

If you want to be loved – be loveable!

Written by aleatorclassicus

February 18, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Ovid

Homer, Iliad 18.18-21

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Antilochus reports the death of Patroclus to Achilles.

ὤ μοι Πηλέος υἱὲ δαΐφρονος ἦ μάλα λυγρῆς
πεύσεαι ἀγγελίης, ἣ μὴ ὤφελλε γενέσθαι.
κεῖται Πάτροκλος, νέκυος δὲ δὴ ἀμφιμάχονται
γυμνοῦ· ἀτὰρ τά γε τεύχε’ ἔχει κορυθαίολος Ἕκτωρ.

Ah, son of warlike Peleus, you are to learn of news that is truly woeful, which I wish had never been: Patroclus lies dead, and they are fighting around his naked body. But as for his armour, flashing-helmeted Hector holds it.

Written by aleatorclassicus

February 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Homer

Juvenal, Satires 10.1-4

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omnibus in terris, quae sunt a Gadibus usque
Auroram et Gangen, pauci dinoscere possunt
vera bona atque illis multum diversa, remota
erroris nebula.

In all the lands from Gades to Aurora and the Ganges, few people are able to put aside the mists of error and distinguish true good things from their complete opposites. 

Written by aleatorclassicus

February 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Juvenal

Albinus of Smyrna, Introduction to Plato’s Dialogues 1

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τῶν κυριωτάτων Πλάτωνος δογμάτων τοιαύτη τις ἂν διδασκαλία γένοιτο. φιλοσοφία ἐστὶν ὄρεξις σοφίας, ἢ λύσις καὶ περιαγωγὴ ψυχῆς ἀπὸ σώματος, ἐπὶ τὰ νοητὰ ἡμῶν τρεπομένων καὶ τὰ κατ’ ἀλήθειαν ὄντα. σοφία δ’ ἐστὶν ἐπιστήμη θείων καὶ ἀνθρωπίνων πραγμάτων. φιλόσοφος δ’ ἐστὶν ὁ παρωνύμως ὠνομασμένος ἀπὸ τῆς φιλοσοφίας, ὡς ὁ μουσικὸς ἀπὸ τῆς μουσικῆς.

A rehearsal of the chiefest of Plato’s doctrines would be of the following sort. Philosophy is the striving for wisdom, or the freeing and moving around of the soul separately from the body, as we take ourselves in search of those things which concern the mind and are in accordance with truth. Wisdom is the understanding of divine and human matters. A ‘philosopher’ has a name derived from ‘philosophy’, just as a ‘musician’ takes his name from ‘music’.

Written by aleatorclassicus

February 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Albinus

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius 58.1

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Seneca makes the familiar complaint of philosophical Romans that the Latin language just isn’t up to expressing the ideas of Greek philosophers.

quanta verborum nobis paupertas, immo egestas sit, numquam magis quam hodierno die intellexi. mille res inciderunt, cum forte de Platone loqueremur, quae nomina desiderarent nec haberent, quaedam vero <quae> cum habuissent fastidio nostro perdidissent. quis autem ferat in egestate fastidium?

Never have I understood more than today how great is the poverty – or rather destitution! – of our vocabulary. When we happened to be conversing about Plato, a thousand things cropped up which needed names but didn’t have them; indeed there were some which, although they did used to have names, had lost them through our fastidiousness. But who would put up with fastidiousness in destitution?

Written by aleatorclassicus

February 14, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Seneca the Younger

Ctesias, Assyrian History fr. 1b (=Diodorus Siculus 2.3.1)

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Ninus, king of the Assyrians, plans the foundation of the city of Nineveh.

ἐπιφανεστάτας γὰρ πράξεις τῶν πρὸ αὐτοῦ κατειργασμένος, ἔσπευδε τηλικαύτην κτίσαι τὸ μέγεθος πόλιν, ὥστε μὴ μόνον αὐτὴν εἶναι μεγίστην τῶν τότε οὐσῶν κατὰ πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην, ἀλλὰ μηδὲ τῶν μεταγενεστέρων ἕτερον ἐπιβαλλόμενον ῥᾳδίως ἂν ὑπερθέσθαι.

Although he had performed deeds more remarkable than those of the men who came before him, he was keen to found a city of such size that not only would it be the greatest of the cities that then existed anywhere in the inhabited world, but also no one in later ages would easily surpass it. 

Written by aleatorclassicus

February 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM