aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Archive for April 2013

Bacchylides, Victory Odes 1.62-67

leave a comment »

ἶσον ὅ τ᾽ ἀφνεὸς ἱ-
μείρει μεγάλων ὅ τε μείων
παυροτέρων· τὸ δὲ πάν-
των εὐμαρεῖν οὐδὲν γλυκὺ
θνατοῖσιν, ἀλλ’ αἰεὶ τὰ φεύ-
γοντα δίζηνται κιχεῖν.

The rich man longs for great things, and the poorer man for less. Yet there is nothing sweet for mortals in having abundance; instead they are always seeking to reach things that flee from them.

Written by aleatorclassicus

April 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Bacchylides

Lucretius, On the Nature of Things 3.995-1002

leave a comment »

Sisyphus in vita quoque nobis ante oculos est,
qui petere a populo fasces saevasque secures
imbibit et semper victus tristisque recedit.
nam petere imperium, quod inanest nec datur umquam,
atque in eo semper durum sufferre laborem,
hoc est adverso nixantem trudere monte
saxum, quod tamen e summo iam vertice rusum
volvitur et plani raptim petit aequora campi.

Sisyphus is also before our eyes during our lives – he’s a man who resolves to seek from the populace the fasces and the savage axes, and who always withdraws defeated and dejected. For to seek power (which is an empty name and is never granted), and for that purpose always to bear with hard toil, is to lean on a rock and shove it up an adverse hill; but then it’s already rolling back from the highest peak and making hurriedly for the flat ground’s plain.

Written by aleatorclassicus

April 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Lucretius

Diogenianus, Proverbs 1.29

leave a comment »

Ἀρκάδας μιμούμενος· ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλως πονούντων. πολλὰ γὰρ οἱ Ἀρκάδες πολεμήσαντες οὐδεμίαν νίκην ἰδίαν πώποτε ἔσχον.

“Imitating the Arcadians”: used of those who toil in vain. For the Arcadians made war a lot, but never won any victory for themselves.

Written by aleatorclassicus

April 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Diogenianus

Seneca the Younger, On Anger 1.1.2

leave a comment »

quidam itaque e sapientibus viris iram dixerunt brevem insaniam.

So some of the wise men have said that anger is a ‘brief madness’.

Written by aleatorclassicus

April 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Seneca the Younger

Ptolemy, Tetrabiblios 1.3

leave a comment »

ἥ τε σελήνη πλείστην, ὡς περιγειοτάτη, διαδίδωσιν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν ἀπόρροιαν, συμπαθούντων αὐτῇ καὶ συντρεπομένων τῶν πλείστων καὶ ἀψύχων καὶ ἐμψύχων, καὶ ποταμῶν μὲν συναυξόντων καὶ συμμειούντων τοῖς φωσὶν αὐτῆς τὰ ῥεύματα. θαλαττῶν δὲ συντρεπουσῶν ταῖς ἀνατολαῖς καὶ ταῖς δύσεσι τὰς ἰδίας ὁρμάς, φυτῶν δὲ καὶ ζῴων ἢ ὅλων ἢ κατά τινα μέρη συμπληρουμένων τε αὐτῇ καὶ συμμειουμένων.

And the moon, being nearest the earth, bestows its most abundant influence upon the earth. Most things, both animate and inanimate, are sympathetic to the moon and change along with it: rivers increase and reduce their streams along with the moon’s light, the seas turn their tides in accordance with the moon’s rising and setting, and plants and animals (either fully or in some part) wax and wane along with the moon.

Written by aleatorclassicus

April 11, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Ptolemy

Cicero, Letters to his Friends 12.2.1

leave a comment »

Cicero writes to Cassius shortly after delivering his First ‘Philippic’ in 44 BC.

vehementer laetor tibi probari sententiam et orationem meam; qua si saepius uti liceret, nihil esset negotii libertatem et rem publicam reciperare.

I am extremely happy that my opinion and my speech meet with your approval; if it were allowed me to make such speeches more often, it would be no trouble to restore freedom and civil affairs.

Written by aleatorclassicus

April 9, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Cicero

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers 8.57

leave a comment »

A fragment from a lost work of Aristotle.

Ἀριστοτέλης δ’ ἐν τῷ σοφιστῇ φησὶ πρῶτον Ἐμπεδοκλέα ῥητορικὴν εὑρεῖν, Ζήνωνα δὲ διαλεκτικήν.

Aristotle says in his Sophist that Empedocles was the first to discover rhetoric, and Zeno dialectic.

Written by aleatorclassicus

April 5, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Diogenes Laertius

Naevius, fr. 64 (Morel)

leave a comment »

Naevius’ epitaph for himself.

inmortales mortales si foret fas flere,
flerent divae Camenae Naevium poetam.
itaque postquamst Orchi traditus thesauro,
obliti sunt Romae loquier Latina lingua.

If it were permitted for immortals to weep for mortals, the divine Camenae would weep for Naevius the poet. This is why, after he has been handed over to the treasury of Orcus, people at Rome have forgotten how to speak the Latin tongue.

Written by aleatorclassicus

April 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Naevius