aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Dictys, Diary of the Trojan War, epistle

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In the manner of literary hoaxers and forgers down the centuries, the author provides a very dodgy-looking account of how this text – which purports to have been written by an actual participant in the Trojan War – was rediscovered.

ephemeridem belli Troiani Dictys Cretensis, qui in ea militia cum Idomeneo meruit, primo conscripsit litteris Punicis, quae tum Cadmo et Agenore auctoribus per Graeciam frequentabantur. deinde post multa saecula, collapso per vetustatem apud Gnoson, olim Cretensis regni sedem, sepulchro eius, pastores cum eo devenissent, forte inter ceteram ruinam loculum stagno affabre clausum offendere, ac thesaurum rati, mox dissolvunt; non aurum, neque aliud quidquam praedae, sed libros ex philyra in lucem prodituri.

Dictys of Crete, who served in the Trojan War, originally wrote his ‘Diary of the Trojan War’ in Phoenician letters, which were then common throughout Greece, having been introduced by Cadmus and Agenor. Then, after many centuries, his tomb in Cnossos (once the seat of the Cretan king) collapsed through age; when some shepherds came to the place, among the ruins they stumbled upon a small box which was cunningly closed up with tin, and, thinking it might contain treasure, they soon broke it apart. But they brought forth into the light neither gold nor any other kind of plunder, but books made of linden-bark.

Written by aleatorclassicus

December 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Dictys

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