Friday, March 20, 2009

Kappadokia and Roma with Joan Lewis

Today 'Joan's Rome' blog was added to our Links. Excellent pictures of the rugged terrain of Cappadocia with its many caves, crags [some resembling that "monstrous marvel" Polyphemous of Homer's Odyssey, IX:190ff] and the fairy chimneys are to be found in her 19 March post as well as the latest 'news of the Holy See'.

Explication of fairy chimneys:

Holy See, Batman??

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Menander Monostichon 422

Ὁ μὴ δαρεὶς ἄνθρωπος οὐ παιδεύεται seems to get translated usually as "Male eruditur ille, qui non vapulat". I don't think that translation reflects the original Greek syntax very well. Smyth describes this syntax in his Greek Grammar (Harvard University Press, 1920) Sections 2280 and 2286. μὴ is used in the protasis because the "clause expresses something that is conceived or imagined ... the principle clause [apodosis] states the conclusion as a fact on the supposition that the protasis is true...."p.513

In light of his explanation, I render the monostichon in English as "If the man was not beaten, he is not educated" or "The man, who was not paddled, is not educated."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Isidore of Seville (560-636 A.D.)

Saint Isidore is one of the greatest cultural lamps of the dark ages, preserving the light of knowledge from ancient Greece and Rome.

A great encyclopaedist, scholar, and sage, his major treatise is The Etymologies, also known as The Origins.

Prayer before logging onto the Internet:

Saturday, March 07, 2009

George Herbert (1593 - 1633)


"Who says that fictions only and false hair

Become a verse? Is there no truth in beauty?

Is all good structure in a winding stair?

May no lines pass, except they do their duty

Not to a true, but a painted chair?

"Is it no verse, except enchanted groves

And sudden arbors shadow coarse-spun lines?

Must purling streams refresh a lover's loves?

Must all be veiled while he that reads divines,

Catching the sense at two removes?

"Shepherds are honest people: let them sing:

Riddle who list, for me, and pull for prime:

I envy no man's nightingale nor spring;

Nor let them punish me with loss of rhyme,

Who plainly say, My God, My King."

-- by George Herbert, 1593 - 1633


"How soon doth man decay!
When clothes are taken from a chest of sheets
To swaddle infants, whose young breath
Scarce knows the way ;
Those clouts are little winding sheets, [as in breech clouts]
Which do consign and send them unto death.

"When boyes go first to bed,
They step into their solitary graves;
Sleep binds them fast ; only their breath
Makes them not dead.
Successive nights, like rolling waves,
Convey them quickly, who are bound for death.

"When youth is frank and free,
And calls for musick, while his veins do swell,
All day exchanging mirth and breath
In company ;
That music ruminons to the knell, [ruminates? summons?]
Which shall befriend him at the houle of death.

"When man grows staid and wise,
Getting a houle and home, where he may move [house?]
Within the circle of his breath,
Schooling his eyes;
That dumb inclosure maketh love
Unto the coffin, that attends his death.

"When age grows low and weak,
Marking his grave, and thawing every year,
Till all do melt, and drown his breath
When he would speak ;
A chair or litter shows the biere [foreshadows or prefigures?]
Which shall convey him to the houle of death.

"Man, ere he is aware,
Hath put together a solemnity,
And drest his hearse, while he has breath
As yet to spare.
Yea, Lord, instruct us so to die
That all these dyings may be life in death."

-- by George Herbert, 1593 - 1633

also cf.:

Dast anyone say 'dast'?

Dast anyone say 'dast'?

Yes indeed we do dast.

Let dastards blast, all

Though down we be cast

Nekkid to write this dast.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Howse 'at, Barak Obama?

Observations from across great waters:

"Quid enim est stultius quam incerta pro certis habere, falsa pro veris?"
Marcus Tullius Cicero: Cato Maior de Senectute, 19.68