aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Archive for June 2012

Sophocles, Acrisius fr. 63

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δῆλον γάρ· ἐν δεσμοῖσι δραπέτης ἀνὴρ
κῶλον ποδισθεὶς πᾶν πρὸς ἡδονὴν λέγει.

It’s clear! A runaway who’s in chains and has fetters on his feet says everything to humour you.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Sophocles

Ampelius, Aide-mémoire 1.1-2

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mundus est universitas rerum, in quo omnia sunt et extra quem nihil; qui Graece dicitur κόσμος. elementa mundi quattuor: ignis ex quo est caelum, aqua ex qua mare Oceanum, aer ex quo venti et tempestates, terra quam propter formam eius orbem terrarum appellamus.

The universe is the entirety of things, in which are all things and outside of which is nothing. In Greek it is called the ‘cosmos’. There are four elements in the world: fire, of which the sky is made; water, of which the sea Ocean is made; air, of which winds and tempests are made; and earth, which on account of its shape we call the ‘circle of the lands’.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 26, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Ampelius

Aristophanes, Wasps 39-41

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Sosias recounts an unpleasant dream-vision.

ΣΩΣΙΑΣ
εἶθ’ ἡ μιαρὰ φάλαιν’ ἔχουσα τρυτάνην
ἵστη βόειον δημόν.

ΞΑΝΘΙΑΣ
οἴμοι δείλαιος·
τὸν δῆμον ἡμῶν βούλεται διιστάναι.

SOSIAS: 
And then the repulsive whale had a pair of scales and it was weighing portions of fat from an ox.

XANTHIAS:
Oh goodness me, he wants to portion out the populace!

A pun on δημόν (fat) and δῆμον (populace): ‘Dividing up the body politic’, as Barrett’s translation nicely renders it.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Aristophanes

Valerius Maximus, Memorable Deeds and Sayings 2.7.init.

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venio nunc ad praecipuum decus et ad stabilimentum Romani imperii, salutari perseverantia ad hoc tempus sincerum et incolume servatum, militaris disciplinae tenacissimum vinculum, in cuius sinu ac tutela serenus tranquillusque beatae pacis status adquiescit.

I now come to the Roman Empire’s chief glory and mainstay, which has been preserved entire and unharmed, through beneficial steadfastness, to the present time, namely the firmest bond of military discipline: in its bosom and under its protection rests the fair and tranquil state of blessed peace.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 18, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Valerius Maximus

Euripides, Bacchae 1388

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A favourite line of Euripides, which also appears at the end of three other plays.

πολλαὶ μορφαὶ τῶν δαιμονίων.

Many are the shapes of divinities.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Euripides

Virgil, Georgics 1.100-102

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umida solstitia atque hiemes orate serenas,
agricolae: hiberno laetissima pulvere farra,
laetus ager.

Pray for wet summers and fair winters, farmers! The grain is most abundant, the field fertile, with the dust of winter.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Virgil