Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Notes about the BEES of Rilke & Balthus

"The word beauty is coming back into style, after having been under something of a cloud all during the twentieth century. . . . ' We are the bees of the invisible,' Rilke wrote to a friend in November, 1925: ' . . . our task is to impress this preliminary; transient earth upon ourselves with so much suffering and so passionately that its nature rises up again ‘invisibly' within us. . . . We ceaselessly gather the honey of the visible, to store it up in the great golden beehive of the Invisible.'" Louise Cowan, Ph.D. http://dallasinstitute.org/listenandview_read_thefrailstrengthofbeauty.html

"Everything beckons to us to perceive it,
murmurs at every turn, 'Remember me!'
A day we passed, too busy to receive it,
will yet unlock us all in its treasury.

"Who shall compute our harvest? Who shall bar
us from the former years the long-departed?
What have we learned from living since we started,
except to find in others what we are?

"Except to re-enkindle commonplace?
O house, O sloping field, O setting Sun!
Your features form into a face, you run,
you cling to us, returning our embrace!

"One space spreads through all creatures equally --
inner-world-space. Birds quietly flying go
flying through us. O, I that want to grow!
The tree I see outside it's growing in me!

"I have a house within when I need care.
I have a guard within when I need rest.
The love that I have had! -- Upon my breast
the beauty of the world clings, to weep there." Rainer Maria Rilke

"Balthus' adolescents are Rilke's 'bees of the invisible,' taking in from books, from daydreaming, from as yet ambiguous longing, from staring out windows at trees, sustenances that will be available in time as Proustian ripenesses, necessities of the heart.... Where in Greek writing you always find a running account of all the senses in intimate contact with the world, in Latin you find instead a pedantry accustomed to substituting some rhetorical convention for honest and immediate perception. Balthus has Greek wholeness." Guy Davenport, "Balthus" in 'Every Force Evolves A Form', North Point Press, San Francisco, 1987.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

ANACREONTA #12 : my translation

[ pro comiti mihi amicoque, SamWise ]


Folks say the girly Attis went
mad, howling in the highlands
after his lovely Kybaby; folks
drink the prophesying waters
of laureled god Phoibos Apollo
along Claros' slopes, go mad
and shout prophecy. I want to
get loose wi' the Loosener god.
Satiated with the sweets of my
girlfriend, I want more madness!

Greek Text:

οἱ μὲν καλὴν Κυβήβην
τὸν ἡμίθηλυν Ἄττιν
ἐν οὔρεσιν βοῶντα
λέγουσιν ἐκμανῆναι.
οἱ δὲ Κλάρουπαρ' ὄχθαις
δαφνηφόροιο Φοίβου
λάλον πιόντες ὕδωρ
μεμηνότες βοῶσιν.
ἐγὼ δὲ τοῦ Λυαίου
καὶ τοῦ μύρου κορεσθεὶς
καὶ τῆς ἐμῆς ἑταίρης
θέλω, θέλω μανῆναι.



Sunday, December 20, 2009

ANACREONTA #53 : my translation

Dedicated to my friends Paul Erdunast and Thomas Copley Catterall,
upon the occasion of their receiving accepts from the Worcester
and St. Anne's Colleges of the University of Oxford.

When I push my way into a throng of young men,
my youthful vigor returns, and then, I must dance;
although an old man, I turn into a bird on the wing;
then I am totally crazy; I am in an euphoric frenzy:
Hand me a garland! I want to be clad in a beast pelt!
Grey old age is at this moment far from me,
and I shall dance as a youth among youths.
Some one bring me the harvest wine of Bacchus,
so the god may see for himself the strong old man:
who has learned to celebrate;
who has learned to carouse;
who has learned to gracefully be mad.

Greek Text:
ὅτ ἐγὼ 'ς νέων ὅμιλον
ἐσορῶ, πάρεστιν ἥβα.
τότε δή, τότ' ἐς χορείην
ὁ γέρων ἐγὼ πτεροῦμαι,
παραμαίνομαι, κυβηβῶ.
παράδος· θέλω στεφέσθαι.
πολιὸν δ' ἑκὰς τὸ γῆρας·
νέος ἐν νέοις χορεύσω,
Διονυσίης δέ μοί τις
φερέτω ῥοὰν ὀπώρης,
ἵν ἴδῃ γέροντος ἀλκὴν
δεδαηκότος μὲν εἰπεῖν,
δεδαηκότος δὲ πίνειν,
χαριέντως τε μανῆναι.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Aphrodite Anadyomene

A First Century mural in Pompei thought to be a copy of Apelles' painting, with Campaspe, sexual initiator of Alexander the Great, as model. Alexander is said to have liked the painting so well that he gifted ( μπαξίσι ) Apelles with Campaspe.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Seize the Day! EPODE XIII & ODE XI, L.1 of Horace

[ 'EPODE' conveys the sense of 'an enchantment' with special rhythm and repetition schemes (Xenophon & Plato), emerging participially from ἐπαείδω (Attic ἐπᾴδω ), future ἐπάσσομαι, meaning "to sing as an incantation"{Xen,Plat.) and later, "to sing to/in accompaniment"(Herodotus,Euripides). Absolutely, ἐπαείδων = "by means of charms"; 'ODE' derives from the Ancient Greek word for 'a song', and is a lyric, usually marked by exaltation of feeling and style.]


Horrida tempestas caelum contraxit et imbres
nivesque deducunt Iovem; nunc mare, nunc siluae
Threicio Aquilone sonant. rapiamus, amici,
Occasionem de die dumque virent genua
et decet, obducta solvatur fronte senectus.
tu vina Torquato move consule pressa meo.
cetera mitte loqui: deus haec fortasse benigna
reducet in sedem vice. nunc et Achaemenio
perfundi nardo iuvat et fide Cyllenea
levare diris pectora Sollicitudinibus,
nobilis ut grandi cecinit Centaurus alumno:
'invicte, mortalis dea nate puer Thetide,
te manet Assaraci tellus, quam frigida parvi
findunt Scamandri flumina lubricus et Simois,
unde tibi reditum certo Subtemine Parcae
rupere, nec mater domum caerula te revehet.
illic omne malum vino cantuque levato,
deformis aegrimoniae dulcibus adloquiis.

ODE XI, Liber 1

Tu ne quaesieris (scire nefas) quem mihi,quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. Ut melius quicquid erit pati!
Seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppsitis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum, sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur fugerit invida
aetas : carpe diem quam minimum credula postero.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Dangerous Experiment translated from the Latin of Fabulae Faciles

RUFUS Latin Fables Translation Group

This week’s participants are . . .

DJS David
DLP Diana
KAC Kathryn
LXD Lorcan
MJM Mark
YG Yaroslav


December 7 Collation
A Dangerous Experiment

TR 1 .. Dum fIliae rEgis hoc mIrAculum stupentEs intuentur, MEdEa ita
locUta est: "VidEtis quantum valeat medicIna.
TR 1 DJS As the king’s daughters observed this miracle, Medea spoke
thus : « Do you see how powerful this medicine is?
TR 1 DLP While the king’s daughters were looking upon this miracle in
astonishment, Medea said: “You see how powerful the art of healing
TR 1 KAC While the daughters of the king, astounded, regarded this
miracle, Medea spoke thus: “You see how strong the medicine is.
TR 1 LXD While the king's daughters, being astounded, are staring in
wonder at this prodigy, Medea spoke thus, "You are seeing how powerful
this medicine is. (Rev.ed. ars magica - magic)
TR 1 MJM While the King’s astounded daughters were intently watching
this wonder, Medea said this: “You all see how he may be healthy
through this medicine.
TR 1 YG While king’s daughters looked at this miracle in amazement,
Medea said so: “You see how strong medicine is.
NOTE: The editor of the edition in Gutenberg, Kirtland, made a few
minor changes in the text. That’s an interesting one. That Medea
uses herbs seems more in line with ‘medicina,’ but her results seem
more like ‘ars magica’; but then I’d expect eye of newt and toad

TR 2 .. VOs igitur, sI vultis patrem vestrum in adulEscentiam
redUcere, id quod fEcI ipsae faciEtis.
TR 2 DJS So if you want your father to be brought back to his youth,
do the same things I have done.
TR 2 DLP So, if you wish your father to be restored to youth, you
yourselves will do that which I have done.
TR 2 KAC You therefore, if you wish your father to turn back into a
young man, should do that which I did yourselves
TR 2 LXD So y'all, if you wish to take your father back to his
adolescence, you will do the same things that I did.
TR 2 MJM Therefore, if you want your father to be restored to youth,
that which I did you all may yourselves do.
TR 2 YG Therefore, if you want to bring your father back to youth, you
will do yourself what I have done.

TR 3 .. VOs patris membra in vAs conicite; ego herbAs magicAs praebEbO."
TR 3 DJS Throw your father’s members into the vessel; I shall furnish
the magic herbs.
TR 3 DLP You, toss your father’s’s limbs in a cauldron; I will provide
the magic herbs.”
TR 3 KAC Throw the limbs of your father into a vessel; I will provide
the magic herbs.
TR 3 LXD Put your father's limbs into the kettle; I shall supply the
magic herbs.
TR 3 MJM Pile your father’s limbs together into a vase; I will provide
the magical herbs.
TR 3 YG Throw limbs of your father into the vase; I shall supply magical herbs.

TR 4 .. Quod ubi audItum est, fIliae rEgis cOnsilium quod dedisset
MEdEa nOn omittendum putAvErunt.
TR 4 DJS When they heard this, the king’s daughters thought that the
advice which Medea had given them should not be disregarded.
TR 4 DLP When they heard this, the king’s daughters believed that
Medea’s instructions must be followed to the letter.
TR 4 KAC When they had heard this, the king’s daughters did not think
they should disregard the plan which Media had given them.
TR 4 LXD Which, when it was heard, the daughters of the king had
thought they should disregard what Medea would give them.
TR 4 MJM When this was heard, the King’s daughters decided not to
neglect the advice which Medea had offered.
TR 4 YG Once this was heard, king’s daughters thought that the advice
which Medea gave should not be neglected.

TR 5 .. Patrem igitur Peliam necAvErunt et membra eius in vAs aEneum
coniEcErunt; nihil autem dubitAbant quIn hoc maximE eI prOfutUrum
TR 5 DJS So they killed their father Pelias and threw his body into
the vessel; and they had no doubt but that this was going to be of
great advantage to him.
TR 5 DLP Therefore, they killed their father, Pelias, and threw his
limbs into a copper cauldron; for they had no doubt at all that this
would benefit him greatly.
TR 5 KAC Therefore they killed their father Pelias and threw his limbs
into a bronze vessel; however they doubted not that this would be of
great benefit to him.
TR 5 LXD So they killed their father Pelias and threw his limbs into
the copper kettle, for they didn't doubt that this would be very
beneficial for him.
TR 5 MJM Therefore they killed their father Pelias and piled his limbs
together into a bronze vase; moreover they did not doubt in any way
that this would be the greatest benefit for him.
TR 5 YG So they killed their father Pelias and threw his limbs into a
bronze vase; moreover, they didn’t doubt that by doing this they
helped him greatly.

TR 6 .. At rEs omnInO aliter EvEnit ac spErAverant, MEdEa enim nOn
eAsdem herbAs dedit quibus ipsa Usa erat.
TR 6 DJS But the king turned out completely otherwise from what they
were expecting, for Medea did not give them the same herbs which she
herself had used.
TR 6 DLP But the affair turned out altogether differently than they
had hoped; for Medea did not administer the same herbs which she had
used before.
TR 6 KAC But the matter came out entirely otherwise than they had
hoped, for Medea did not give them the same herbs as those which she
had used herself.
TR 6 LXD But it turned out altogether otherwise than they had hoped,
for Medea didn't give them the herbs which she had used.
TR 6 MJM But the affair turned out entirely otherwise then they had
hoped, for Medea did not give them the same herbs which she herself
had used.
TR 6 YG But things came out wholly different than they hoped, for
Medea didn’t give the same herbs that she had used herself.

TR 7 .. Itaque postquam diU frUstrA exspectAvErunt, patrem suum rE
vErA mortuum esse intellExErunt.
TR 7 DJS And so, after they had waited for a long time, they realized
that their father has in fact died.
TR 7 DLP And so, after they had waited a long time in vain, they
realized that their father was, in fact, dead.
TR 7 KAC And so after they had waited in vain for a long time, they
realized that their father was truly dead.
TR 7 LXD So they waited in vain for a long time afterwards, before
they knew for a fact that their father was truly dead.
TR 7 MJM Therefore after they waited for a long time in vain, they
realized that their father was really dead.
TR 7 YG And so after they waited in vain for a long time, they
understood that their father was really dead.

TR 8 .. HIs rEbus gestIs MEdEa sE cum coniuge suO rEgnum acceptUram
esse spErAbat; sed cIvEs cum intellegerent quO modO PeliAs periisset,
tantum scelus aegrE tulErunt.
TR 8 DJS Having accomplished all this, Medea was expecting that she,
together with her spouse would receive the throne; but when the
subject heard how Pelias had perished, they were greatly indignant.
TR 8 DLP With these deeds accomplished, Medea hoped that she would
receive the crown with her husband; but his subjects knew how Pelias
had perished, and they were indignant at so evil a crime.
TR 8 KAC Having managed this situation, Medea hoped that she would
seize the kingdom with her husband, but when the citizens understood
in what way Pelias had perished, they could scarcely bear such
TR 8 LXD After these deeds were carried out, Medea was hoping that she
was going to receive the royal authority along with her spouse, but
the citizens, when they learned how the king had been destroyed, took
such wickedness ill.
TR 8 MJM While these things were happening, Medea was hoping that she
along with her husband would receive royal power; but the citizens,
when they understood in what manner Pelias had perished, bore so great
a crime with difficulty.
TR 8 YG After these things carried out, Medea hoped that she and her
husband would receive the throne; but citizens, when they learned how
Pelias had perished, were indignant at such great crime.

TR 9 .. Itaque IAsone et MEdEA E rEgnO expulsIs Acastum rEgem creAvErunt.
TR 9 DJS And so with Jason and Medea expelled from the realm, they
made Acastus king.
TR 9 DLP Accordingly, they banished Jason and Medea from the realm,
and made Acastus king.
TR 9 KAC And so, with Jason and Media expelled from the kingdom, they
made Acastus king.
TR 9 LXD And so they made Acastus king, after Jason and Medea were driven out.
TR 9 MJM Therefore, when Jason and Medea were banished from the
kingdom, they appointed Acastus king.
TR 9 YG And after they banished Jason and Medea from the kingdom, they
made Acastus the king.

If interested in joining us in this or another Latin or Greek study group, see:


Exhibition on love in antiquity opens in Athens, Greece

Exhibition on love in antiquity opens in Athens


ATHENS, Greece — When it came to endearments, Philonides wasn't a man of subtlety.
The lid of a small 5th century B.C. Greek vase, intended as a gift to a
flute-player named Anemone, bore a picture of male and female genitalia. To avoid any
misunderstanding, Philonides and Anemone's names were inscribed next to the appropriate parts.

The 2,500-year-old find, from a Greek museum's collection, is part of a groundbreaking new exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens dedicated to the ancient Greek god of love Eros.

What organizers say is the biggest-ever display of its kind brings together more than 270 artifacts from Greek and international museums, spanning a millennium from the 6th century B.C. to early Christian times.

Exhibits, representing the sacred and profane, the graphic and mundane, range from a 2,500-year-old love note and a spurned lover's deadly curse to a recreation of a Roman brothel.

"It is very easy to write about love, to read about love, even easier perhaps to fall in love, but it is extremely difficult to convey love through art," Cycladic Museum director Nikos Stampolidis said Wednesday,"Which is why there have been very few (archaeological) exhibitions about love."

"We tried to look at it not only as an abstract force of fertility or a god
as represented in ancient sculpture or painting, but also as a human value and a daily act," Stampolidis said.

Most exhibits make for easy family viewing, including marble masterpieces such as the Louvre's winged Eros stringing his bow — a Roman copy of a late classical bronze — and the 2nd century A.D. complex of Eros kissing goddess of the soul, Psyche, from Rome's Capitoline Museums.

Early Greek writers refer to Eros, whom the Romans called Cupid, as a primordial force second only to Chaos and Earth in the order of creation. Others see him as a lesser divinity whose mother was Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty.

"Ancient writers used hundreds of adjectives for love," Stampolidis said.
"Invincible, immortal, uncertain, sleepless, thief of reason, sweet but also bitter, running swiftly on a path of fire."

The display unblushingly looks into love in religion and marriage, the status of women in ancient society, homosexuality and prostitution.

First comes Aphrodite suckling the baby Eros, a theme reflected in Christian
representations of the Virgin and Child, aiming his darts and even as an allegory of death.

The baroque affairs of the ancient gods are followed by love in everyday life: Demure vase paintings of marriage in classical Greece; a love note from one Arkesimos bidding his girlfriend Eumelis to come "with as much haste as possible;"
a curse on a lead tablet from a woman wishing a deadly fever on a certain Hermias who spurned her affections.

The earthier section is upstairs, where museum officials advise parents
accompany children under 16. There's a recreation of a room from a Roman brothel excavated in Pompeii, vase paintings with 'graphic sex scenes involving all imaginable combinations — what Stampolidis called "a kind of Kama Sutra" — even a stone altar shaped as a giant phallus.

"Nothing was obscene for the ancients," Stampolidis said. "We must look at things in an open way, and we wanted to present the beauty (of love) through the aesthetics of ancient Greek and Roman art so as to gain a different reading of the ancient world."

"Eros, from Hesiod's Theogony to late antiquity" opens Thursday and runs until April 5.

On the Net:


Σαλούστιος, Salustus the Philosopher

"The world, one may say, is a Myth in which bodies and things are visible; but souls and minds, hidden." Σαλούστιος, 'Sallustius the philosopher", or Sallust, a Fourth Century A.D. philosopher and a friend of the Roman (and Byzantine) Emperor Julian, wrote the treatise 'On the Gods and the Cosmos', which has been called a catechism of Fourth Century GrecoRoman Pagans. Sallustius' work owes much to Iamblichus of Chalcis, who synthesized Platonism with Pythagoreanism and theurgy, and also to the Emperor Julian's philosophical writings.




Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης (Diodorus Siculus)

Diodorus Siculus, whose name I first encountered this morning in Gregory Nagy's 'Greek Mythology and Poetics'is known for his universal history, 'Bibliotheca historica', which seems to have been the equivalent of an NYT bestseller among the literati of the GrecoRoman world around the time of Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar and Jesus Christ.

One can get a taste of this important work at: