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Archive for October 2012

Lucian, Lover of Lies 26

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A slightly spooky one for Halloween. The speaker is a doctor by the name of Antigonus.

ἐγὼ γὰρ οἶδά τινα μετὰ εἰκοστὴν ἡμέραν ἧς ἐτάφη ἀναστάντα, θεραπεύσας καὶ πρὸ τοῦ θανάτου καὶ ἐπεὶ ἀνέστη τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

I know of a man who came to life twenty days after he was buried; I was his doctor both before his death and after he came back to life.

Written by aleatorclassicus

October 31, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Lucian

[Sallust], Speech to Caesar on the Republic 1.2

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sed res docuit id verum esse quod in carminibus Appius ait: fabrum esse suae quemque fortunae.

But experience has taught us the truth of what Appius said in his poems, that ‘Every man is the craftsman of his own fortune’.

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October 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in anonymi, Sallust

Aristotle, Rhetoric 1419b

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περὶ δὲ τῶν γελοίων, ἐπειδή τινα δοκεῖ χρῆσιν ἔχειν ἐν τοῖς ἀγῶσι, καὶ δεῖν ἔφη Γοργίας τὴν μὲν σπουδὴν διαφθείρειν τῶν ἐναντίων γέλωτι τὸν δὲ γέλωτα σπουδῇ, ὀρθῶς λέγων, εἴρηται πόσα εἴδη γελοίων ἔστιν ἐν τοῖς περὶ ποιητικῆς, ὧν τὸ μὲν ἁρμόττει ἐλευθέρῳ τὸ δ’ οὔ, ὅπως τὸ ἁρμόττον αὑτῷ λήψεται. ἔστι δ’ ἡ εἰρωνεία τῆς βωμολοχίας ἐλευθεριώτερον· ὁ μὲν γὰρ αὑτοῦ ἕνεκα ποιεῖ τὸ γελοῖον, ὁ δὲ βωμολόχος ἑτέρου.

And concerning jokes: since they can be of some use in debates, Gorgias said (and he spoke correctly) that one should destroy the laughter of one’s opponents with seriousness, and their seriousness with laughter. How many kinds of jokes there are has been discussed in my books On Poetics. Among these there are some which are suitable for a gentleman, but others which are unsuitable, so that you should select those which suit you. Irony is more appropriate to a gentleman than ribaldry, as the former causes laughter at one’s own expense, but ribaldry causes laughter at someone else’s expense.

Written by aleatorclassicus

October 26, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Aristotle

Fortunatianus, Art of Rhetoric 1.1

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Fortunatianus‘ 3-volume handbook of rhetoric proceeds by means of a long catechism: these are the first questions and answers.

quid est rhetorica? bene dicendi scientia.
quid est orator? vir bonus dicendi peritus.
quod est oratoris officium? bene dicere in civilibus quaestionibus.
qui finis? persuadere quatenus rerum et personarum condicio patiatur in civilibus quaestionibus.

What is rhetoric? The skill of speaking well.
What is an orator? A good man skilled in speaking.
What is the job of the orator? To speak well in public debates.
What is his aim? To persuade, to the extent that the situation of the affairs and persons allows, in public debates.

Written by aleatorclassicus

October 25, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Fortunatianus

Callimachus, Iambus 13, fr. 203.30-33 (Pf.)

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τίς εἶπεν αυτ̣[….]λ̣ε..ρ.[….].
“σὺ πεντάμετρα συντίθει, σὺ δ̣’ ἡ̣[ρῷο]ν,
σὺ δὲ τραγῳδε̣[ῖν] ἐκ θεῶν ἐκληρώσω̣”;
δοκέω μὲν οὐδείς.

Who said […], ‘You – compose elegiac verses; you – heroic verse; and you – the gods have assigned you the writing of tragedy’? No one, I think!

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October 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Callimachus

Terence, The Lady from Andros 126

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A much-quoted phrase (begetter of more than 20,000 Google results).

hinc illae lacrimae.

Hence those tears.

Written by aleatorclassicus

October 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Terence

Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon 7.4.3-6

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A little psychological reflection.

ἦλθε δέ μοι τότε δάκρυα καὶ τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς τὴν λύπην ἀπεδίδουν. ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐν ταῖς τοῦ σώματος πληγαῖς οὐκ εὐθὺς ἡ σμῶδιξ ἐπανίσταται, ἀλλὰ παραχρῆμα μὲν οὐκ ἔχει τὸ ἄνθος ἡ πληγή, μετὰ μικρὸν δὲ ἀνέθορε, καὶ ὀδόντι συός τις παταχθεὶς εὐθὺς μὲν ζητεῖ τὸ τραῦμα καὶ οὐκ οἶδεν εὑρεῖν, τὸ δὲ ἔτι δέδυκε καὶ κέκρυπται κατειργασμένον σχολῇ τῆς πληγῆς τὴν τομήν, μετὰ ταῦτα δὲ ἐξαίφνης λευκή τις ἀνέτειλε γραμμή, πρόδρομος τοῦ αἵματος, σχολὴν δὲ ὀλίγην λαβὸν ἔρχεται καὶ ἀθρόον ἐπιρρεῖ, οὕτω καὶ ψυχὴ παταχθεῖσα τῷ τῆς λύπης βέλει τοξεύσαντος λόγου τέτρωται μὲν ἤδη καὶ ἔχει τὴν τομήν, ἀλλὰ τὸ τάχος τοῦ βλήματος οὐκ ἀνέῳξεν οὔπω τὸ τραῦμα, τὰ δὲ δάκρυα ἐδίωξε τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν μακράν· δάκρυον γὰρ αἷμα τραύματος ψυχῆς. ὅταν ὁ τῆς λύπης ὀδοὺς κατὰ μικρὸν τὴν καρδίαν ἐκφάγῃ, κατέρρηκται μὲν τῆς ψυχῆς τὸ τραῦμα, ἀνέῳκται δὲ τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡ τῶν δακρύων θύρα, τὰ δὲ μετὰ μικρὸν τῆς ἀνοίξεως ἐξεπήδησεν. οὕτω κἀμὲ τὰ μὲν πρῶτα τῆς ἀκροάσεως τῇ ψυχῇ προσπεσόντα καθάπερ τοξεύματα κατεσίγασε καὶ τῶν δακρύων ἀπέφραξε τὴν πηγήν, μετὰ ταῦτα δὲ ἔρρει, σχολασάσης τῆς ψυχῆς τῷ κακῷ.

Then my tears came and granted grief to my eyes. For, just as, when the body has been hit, a bruise does not immediately rise up, but the blow doesn’t get its bloom straight away, then after a little while rises up – and just as when someone who’s been slashed by a boar’s tusk looks at once for the wound but cannot find it (for it has gone down deep and it effects the cutting of the blow undercover and at its leisure), and afterwards a white line suddenly appears, the harbinger of blood, and following a short pause the blood comes and flows in abundance – so too the soul, when struck by the dart of grief that has been dispatched from a story, is wounded and already carries the cut; but because of its speed the injury has not yet opened up the wound, and the tears from the eyes follow a long way behind. For tears are the blood of a wounded soul. When the tusk of grief eats away, little by little, at the heart, the soul’s wound bursts open, the door of tears opens in the eyes, and shortly afterwards they escape through the opening. In such a way in my case too, my first hearing of the story fell upon my soul just like arrows, leaving me silent and blocked off the source of my tears; but afterwards they flowed, when my soul had respite from its trouble.

Written by aleatorclassicus

October 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Achilles Tatius

Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 13.11.1-2

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lepidissimus liber est M. Varronis ex satiris Menippeis qui inscribitur ‘nescis quid vesper serus vehat’, in quo diserit de apto convivarum numero deque ipsius convivii habitu cultuque. dicit autem convivarum numerum incipere oportere a Gratiarum numero et progredi ad Musarum, id est proficisci a tribus et consistere in novem, ut cum paucissimi convivae sunt non pauciores sint quam tres, cum plurimi non plures quam novem.

The book of Marcus Varro, from his Menippean satires, which is entitled ‘You don’t know what the late evening might bring’, is most charming; in it he discusses the appropriate number of dinner-guests and the ordering and arrangement of the dinner-party itself. He says that the number of guests ought to begin from the number of the Graces and go on until that of the Muses – in other words, it should start out from three and stop at nine, so that when the guests are fewest they are not fewer than three, and when they are most in number they are not more than nine.

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October 18, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Aulus Gellius, Varro

Plutarch, Epicurus makes a pleasant life impossible 1093c

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Is reading about women better than sleeping with them? (This passage might not be entirely without irony.)

τίς δ’ ἂν ἡσθείη συναναπαυσάμενος τῇ καλλίστῃ γυναικὶ μᾶλλον ἢ προσαγρυπνήσας οἷς γέγραφε περὶ Πανθείας Ξενοφῶν ἢ περὶ Τιμοκλείας Ἀριστόβουλος ἢ Θήβης Θεόπομπος;

Who would take more pleasure in sleeping with the most beautiful woman than in sitting up with what Xenophon wrote about Pantheia, or Aristobulus about Timocleia, or Theopompus about Thebe?

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October 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Plutarch

Anonymous, CIL VIII 17938

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venari, lavari,
ludere, ridere,
occest vivere.

Hunting, bathing, playing, laughing – that’s living!

Roman gaming boards were often inscribed with such sets of 6 x 6-letter words. You can see this one illustrated here.

Written by aleatorclassicus

October 14, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in anonymi