Wednesday: November 17, 2010
Laudator Temporis Acti quotes Basil L. Gildersleeve:
Platonic scholars, with rare exceptions, are roughly to be divided into two classes, those who can understand the thought but not the Greek and those who can read the Greek but cannot understand the thought . . .
According to Palladas (A.P. 11.305) there is, or was in his day, a third kind, who belongs to neither class but pretends to belong to both:
Child of shamelessness, most ignorant, foster-child of stupidity, tell me, why do you hold your head high, though you know nothing? Among the grammarians you are a Platonist, but if someone asks about Plato’s teachings, you are once again a grammarian. You flee from the one to the other, but neither do you know the grammatical art nor are you a Platonist.
Here is the Greek:
Τέκνον ἀναιδείης, ἀμαθέστατε, θρέμμα μορίης,
εἰπέ, τί βρενθύηι μηδὲν ἐπιστάμενος;
ἐν μὲν γραμματικοῖς ὁ Πλατωνικός· ἂν δὲ Πλάτωνος
δόγματά τις ζητῆι, γραμματικὸς σὺ πάλιν.
ἐξ ἑτέρου φεύγεις ἐπὶ θάτερον· οὔτε δὲ τέχνην
οἶσθα γραμματικήν, οὔτε Πλατωνικὸς εἶ.
If the Greek text is unintelligible, try the PDF version at my long-abandoned Ioci Antiqui page: scroll down to Joke 43 on page 13 (December 13th, 2000).
I wonder if Gildersleeve was thinking of Palladas: he does write “roughly”.
Monday: November 5, 2007
Too bad they don’t cancel out.
1. The index of Albrecht Dihle’s Greek and Latin Literature of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Justinian (Routledge, 1994) includes one entry for Lucilius and one for Lukillios. Too bad they are actually three different people: five of the six page references under ‘Lucilius’ refer to the founder of Roman satire, while the sixth (page 93) refers to the addressee of Seneca’s letters, who lived (if he is not a fiction of Seneca) two centuries later. And shouldn’t the name of the Greek epigrammatist be spelled ‘Loukillios’ if it’s not Latinized as Lucillius? ‘Lukillios’ seems to fall between two stools.
2. The index of Brill’s Companion to Hellenistic Epigram, edited by Peter Bing and Jon Steffen Bruss (Leiden, 2007) includes two entries for Argentarius and three for Marcus Argentarius (under M, not A). Too bad they are the same person. There may in fact be two different writers named Marcus Argentarius, but if so one is an orator, frequently quoted by the Elder Seneca, the other a Greek epigrammatist, and all the Brill references are to the latter. The next entry after Marcus Argentarius is also disconcerting: ‘Mark Anthony’ is a spelling worthy of Catullus’ acquaintance Arrius. I was also disappointed to see that the discussion of poets of the Garland of Philip who were of “high standing and fame in their time’ (160-61) does not mention Marcus Argentarius. He most likely was an eminent orator as well as a poet: the name is rare, the dates match, and the “pointed and sardonic style” of the poet “well suits the irreverent cynic”, the orator. He also may well have been Lucan’s grandfather-in-law, as argued by R. G. M. Nisbet, whose words I quote. See “Felicitas at Surrentum (Statius, Silvae 2. 2)”, JRS 68 (1978) 1-11, reprinted in Collected Papers on Latin Literature, 29-46.
Thursday: March 1, 2007
. . . and probably influenced by it. This scoptic epitaph is entitled “De Erastenes, Medico” in the cheap paperback edition in which I found it (Rimas de Lope de Vega, ed. Gerardo Diego, Madrid, 1979), “De Erásthenes Medico (with an H) on the Virtual Cervantes site. I wonder if the name should be Eratost(h)enes. Either way, the title requires no gloss. Here is the text, with a rough translation:
Enseñé, no me escucharon;
escribí, no me leyeron;
curé mal, no me entendieron;
maté, no me castigaron;
Ya con morir satisfice;
oh muerte, quiero quejarme,
bien pudieras perdonarme
por servicios que te hice.
I lectured, they did not listen to me;
I wrote, they did not read me;
I ministered badly, they did not understand;
I killed, they did not punish me;
Now, by dying, I have paid in full.
Death, I wish to lodge a complaint:
you might well have pardoned me
for my services to you.
I suppose I should leaf through Book XI of the Anthology to see whether this is modeled on some particular epigram or just written in the same spirit as quite a few of them.
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