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Archive for November 2012

Euripides, Medea 618

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κακοῦ γὰρ ἀνδρὸς δῶρ’ ὄνησιν οὐκ ἔχει.

Gifts from a bad man do not bring any profit.

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Euripides

Tacitus, Dialogue on Orators 41.5

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nemo eodem tempore adsequi potest magnam famam et magnam quietem.

No one can simultaneously achieve great renown and great tranquillity.

A nice aphorism, extracted from a longer sentence.

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 27, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Tacitus

Galen, On the Composition of Drugs according to Kind 1.1

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Galen’s surviving work is vast, and there was once even more of it. Here he learns the hard way about the importance of keeping a backup copy…

ἤδη μοι καὶ πρόσθεν ἐγέγραπτο πραγματεία, δυοῖν μὲν ἐξ αὐτῆς τῶν πρώτων βιβλίων ἐκδοθέντων, ἐγκαταλειφθέντων δὲ ἐν τῇ κατὰ τὴν ἱερὰν ὁδὸν ἀποθήκῃ μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων, ἡνίκα τὸ τῆς Εἰρήνης τέμενος ὅλον ἐκαύθη, καὶ κατὰ τὸ παλάτιον αἱ μεγάλαι βιβλιοθῆκαι. τηνικαῦτα γὰρ ἑτέρων τε πολλῶν ἀπώλοντο βιβλία καὶ τῶν ἐμῶν ὅσα κατὰ τὴν ἀποθήκην ἐκείνην ἔκειτο, μηδενὸς τῶν ἐν Ῥώμῃ φίλων ἔχειν ὁμολογοῦντος ἀντίγραφα τῶν πρώτων δυοῖν. ἐγκειμένων οὖν τῶν ἑταίρων αὖθίς με γράψαι τὴν αὐτὴν πραγματείαν, ἀναγκαῖον ἔδοξέ μοι δηλῶσαι περὶ τῶν προεκδοθέντων, ὅπως μή τις προεντυχὼν αὐτοῖς ποτε ζητοίη τὴν αἰτίαν τοῦ δίς με περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν πραγματεύσασθαι.

I had previously written this treatise, and published the first two books of it, leaving them in the warehouse on the Sacred Way with the other books, when the Temple of Peace was entirely destroyed by fire, along with the great libraries on the Palatine. At that time the books of many other people, and my own, which were in storage in that warehouse, were all destroyed, and none of my friends in Rome said that they had copies of those first two books. So, as my pupils have been asking me to write the same treatise anew, I thought that I must explain about the first edition, so that no one who happens upon those books will ask the reason for my having treated the same subjects twice over.

This fire in the area of Rome around the Temple of Peace took place in AD 192.

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 25, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Galen

Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 6.6.1-2

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ex quinque his sensibus quos animantibus natura tribuit – visu, auditu, gustu, tactu, odoratu – quas Graeci αἰσθήσεις appellant, quaedam animalium alia alio carent et aut caeca natura gignuntur aut inodora inauritave. nullum autem ullum gigni animal Aristoteles dicit, quod aut gustus sensu careat aut tactus.

Of these four senses which nature has given to animals – sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell – and which the Greeks call aistheseis, some animals lack one and others lack another, and are born naturally without sight, or without smell or hearing. But Aristotle says that no animal is ever born without either the sense of taste or touch.

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Aulus Gellius

[Aristotle], On Wondrous Things 177 (847b)

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τοὺς ἐλέφαντάς φασι κύειν ἔτη δύο, οἱ δὲ μῆνας ὀκτωκαίδεκα· ἐν δὲ τῇ ἐκτέξει δυστοκεῖν.

They say that elephants are pregnant for two years (but others say eighteen months), and that they have difficulty in giving birth.

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in anonymi, Aristotle

Nepos, Lives of Excellent Commanders Preface 3-4

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Those who complain about Nepos including supposedly trivial details of Greek commanders’ lives actually reveal their own lack of understanding about Greek customs!

hi si didicerint non eadem omnibus esse honesta atque turpia, sed omnia maiorum institutis iudicari, non admirabuntur nos in Graiorum virtutibus exponendis mores eorum secutos. neque enim Cimoni fuit turpe, Atheniensium summo viro, sororem germanam habere in matrimonio, quippe cum cives eius eodem uterentur instituto. at id quidem nostris moribus nefas habetur.

If these people will learn that the same things are not honourable or dishonourable among all people, but that all things are judged according to one’s forefathers’ ordinances, they will not wonder that we, in setting out the virtues of Greek men, have followed the Greeks’ customs. For it was not a disgrace for Cimon (an eminent man among the Athenians) to marry his half-sister by the same father, since his fellow-citizens followed the same practice. But that would be considered an impious sin according to our customs. 

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 22, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Nepos

Hesiod, Works and Days 760-764

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ὧδ’ ἔρδειν· δεινὴν δὲ βροτῶν ὑπαλεύεο φήμην.
φήμη γάρ τε κακὴ πέλεται, κούφη μὲν ἀεῖραι
ῥεῖα μάλ’, ἀργαλέη δὲ φέρειν, χαλεπὴ δ’ ἀποθέσθαι.
φήμη δ’ οὔτις πάμπαν ἀπόλλυται, ἥν τινα πολλοὶ
λαοὶ φημίξωσι· θεός νύ τίς ἐστι καὶ αὐτή.

Act in this way; and avoid gossip, which is terrible for mortals. For gossip is bad; it’s light and all too easy to start up, but vexatious to put up with, and difficult to get rid of. A bit of gossip is never quite killed off once many people voice it; gossip is even a kind of god these days.

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 21, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Hesiod

Solinus, On the world’s wonders 32.22

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crocodilus malum quadrupes et in terra et in flumine pariter valet; linguam non habet; maxillam movet superiorem.

The crocodile, an evil four-footed animal, is equally strong on land and in a river. It has no tongue; it moves its upper jaw.

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Solinus

Plutarch, Life of Cicero 1.3-5

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ὁ μέντοι πρῶτος ἐκ τοῦ γένους Κικέρων ἐπονομασθεὶς ἄξιος λόγου δοκεῖ γενέσθαι διὸ τὴν ἐπίκλησιν οὐκ ἀπέρριψαν οἱ μετ’ αὐτόν, ἀλλ’ ἠσπάσαντο, καίπερ ὑπὸ πολλῶν χλευαζομένην. κίκερ γὰρ οἱ Λατῖνοι τὸν ἐρέβινθον καλοῦσι, κἀκεῖνος ἐν τῷ πέρατι τῆς ῥινὸς διαστολὴν ὡς ἔοικεν ἀμβλεῖαν εἶχεν ὥσπερ ἐρεβίνθου διαφυήν, ἀφ’ ἧς ἐκτήσατο τὴν ἐπωνυμίαν. αὐτός γε μὴν Κικέρων, ὑπὲρ οὗ τάδε γέγραπται, τῶν φίλων αὐτὸν οἰομένων δεῖν, ὅτε πρῶτον ἀρχὴν μετῄει καὶ πολιτείας ἥπτετο, φυγεῖν τοὔνομα καὶ μεταθέσθαι, λέγεται νεανιευσάμενος εἰπεῖν, ὡς ἀγωνιεῖται τὸν Κικέρωνα τῶν Σκαύρων καὶ τῶν Κάτλων ἐνδοξότερον ἀποδεῖξαι.

The first member of the family who had the nickname ‘Cicero’ seems to have been worthy of note, because his descendants did not cast off the nickname, but were fond of it, even though it was ridiculed by many people. For Latin speakers call the chickpea ‘cicer’, and that ancestor, it seems, had a slight notch in the end of his nose, like the cleft in a chickpea, so from this he acquired the nickname. And when Cicero (the one about whom I am writing this biography) first began his public life and took up public office, his friends thought that he ought to drop or change his name, but he is said to have said, with youthful high spirits, that he would strive to make the name Cicero more renowned than Scaurus [‘Bulging-ankles’] and Catulus [‘Puppy’].

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Plutarch

Cassiodorus, Variae 1.27.5

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mores autem graves in spectaculis quis requirat? ad circum nesciunt convenire Catones. quicquid illic a gaudenti populo dicitur, iniuria non putatur. locus est qui defendit excessum. quorum garrulitas si patienter accipitur, ipsos quoque principes ornare monstratur.

But who looks for serious characters at public shows? People like Cato are unfamiliar with meeting up at the racetrack! Whatever is said there by the populace while they are having fun is not considered an injury; it’s a place which supports excess. If their chatter is accepted with patience, it is proven also to be of credit to princes themselves.

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 18, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Cassiodorus