Zoilos the Jealous Zealot: Aelian on a World-Class Hater

Tags

, , , , , , ,

11.10

 

Zôilos of Amphipolos, who wrote against Homer, Plato and others, was in attendance at a speech of Polycrates. Polycrates wrote a diatribe against Socrates. Zôilos himself used to be called the rhetorical Dog, and he was this kind of man: he had a beard though he shaved his head and he wore a coat above his knee. He loved to carp in public and he spent his time picking fights with many men: he was a complaining, mean-spirited man. When some educated man asked him why he spoke poorly of everyone, he said: “I cannot do them harm when I want to.”

Ζωίλος ὁ ᾿Αμφιπολίτης ὁ καὶ ἐς ῞Ομηρον γράψας καὶ ἐς Πλάτωνα καὶ ἐς ἄλλους, Πολυκράτους μὲν ἀκουστὴς ἐγένετο· οὗτος δὲ ὁ Πολυκράτης καὶ τὴν κατηγορίαν ἔγραψε τὴν κατὰ Σωκράτους. ἐκαλεῖτο δ’ ὁ Ζωίλος οὗτος Κύων ῥητορικός. ἦν δὲ τοιοῦτος. τὸ μὲν γένειον αὐτῷ καθεῖτο, κέκαρτο δὲ ἐν χρῷ τὴν κεφαλήν, καὶ θοιμάτιον ὑπὲρ τὸ γόνυ ἦν. ἤρα δὲ ἀγορεύειν κακῶς, καὶ ἀπεχθάνεσθαι πολλοῖς σχολὴν εἶχε, καὶ ψογερὸς ἦν ὁ κακοδαίμων. ἤρετο οὖν αὐτόν τις τῶν πεπαιδευμένων διὰ τί κακῶς λέγει πάντας· ὃ δὲ ‘ποιῆσαι γὰρ κακῶς βουλόμενος οὐ δύναμαι.’

A Commentary on the Homeric Batrakhomuomakhia, Part 16: 226-259

Tags

, , , , , ,

This is the sixteenth installment of our commentary on the Homeric “Battle of Frogs and Mice”.

226 ῾Υδρόχαρις δ’ ἔπεφνεν Πτερνοφάγον βασιλῆα,
227 Λιτραῖον δ’ ἀρ’ ἔπεφνεν ἀμύμων Βορβοροκοίτης,
228 χερμαδίῳ πλήξας κατὰ βρέγματος· ἐγκέφαλος δὲ
229 ἐκ ῥινῶν ἔσταξε, παλάσσετο δ’ αἵματι γαῖα.
230 Λειχοπίναξ δ’ ἔκτεινεν ἀμύμονα Βορβοροκοίτην,
231 ἔγχει ἐπαΐξας· τὸν δὲ σκότος ὄσσε κάλυψεν.
232 Πρασσαῖος δὲ ἰδὼν ποδὸς εἵλκυσε Κνισσοδιώκτην ,
233 ἐν λίμνῃ δ’ ἀπέπνιξε κρατήσας χειρὶ τένοντα.
234 Ψιχάρπαξ δ’ ἤμυν’ ἑτάρου περὶ τεθνειῶτος
235 καὶ βάλε Πρασσαῖον κατὰ νηδύος ἐς μέσον ἧπαρ,
236 πῖπτε δέ οἱ πρόσθεν, ψυχὴ δ’ ᾿Αϊδόσδε βεβήκει.
237 Κραμβοβάτης δὲ ἰδὼν πηλοῦ δράκα ῥίψεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν,
238 καὶ τὸ μέτωπον ἔχρισε καὶ ἐξετύφλου παρὰ μικρόν.
239 ὠργίσθη δ’ ἄρ’ ἐκεῖνος, ἑλὼν δ’ ἄρα χειρὶ παχείῃ
240 κείμενον ἐν δαπέδῳ λίθον ὄβριμον, ἄχθος ἀρούρης,
241 τῷ βάλε Κραμβοβάτην ὑπὸ γούνατα· πᾶσα δ’ ἐκλάσθη
242 κνήμη δεξιτερή, πέσε δ’ ὕπτιος ἐν κονίῃσι.
243 Κραυγασίδης δ’ ἤμυνε καὶ αὖθις βαῖνεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν,
244 τύψε δέ οἱ μέσσην κατὰ γαστέρα· πᾶς δέ οἱ εἴσω
245 ὀξύσχοινος ἔδυνε, χαμαὶ δ’ ἔκχυντο ἅπαντα
246 ἔγκατ’ ἐφελκομένῳ ὑπὸ δούρατι χειρὶ παχείῃ·
247 Τρωγλοδύτης δ’ ὡς εἶδεν ἐπ’ ὄχθῃσιν ποταμοῖο,
248 σκάζων ἐκ πολέμου ἀνεχάζετο, τείρετο δ’ αἰνῶς·
249 ἥλατο δ’ ἐς τάφρους, ὅππως φύγῃ αἰπὺν ὄλεθρον.
250 Τρωξάρτης δ’ ἔβαλεν Φυσίγναθον ἐς ποδὸς ἄκρον.
251 ἔσχατος δ’ ἐκ λίμνης ἀνεδύσετο, τείρετο δ’ αἰνῶς
252 Πρασσαῖος δ’ ὡς εἶδεν ἔθ’ ἡμίπνουν προπεσόντα,
253 ἦλθε διὰ προμάχων καὶ ἀκόντισεν ὀξύσχοινον·
254 οὐδ’ ἔρρηξε σάκος, σχέτο δ’ αὐτοῦ δουρὸς ἀκωκή·
255 οὐδ’ ἔβαλε τρυφάλειαν ἀμύμονα καὶ τετράχυτρον
256 δῖος ᾿Οριγανίων, μιμούμενος αὐτὸν ῎Αρηα,
257 ὃς μόνος ἐν βατράχοισιν ἀρίστευεν καθ’ ὅμιλον·
258 ὥρμησεν δ’ ἄρ’ ἐπ’ αὐτόν· ὁ δ’ ὡς ἴδεν οὐχ ὑπέμεινεν
ἥρωας κρατερούς, ἀλλ’ ἔδυνε βένθεσι λίμνης

Continue reading

Three Sophoklean Fragments on Old Age

Tags

, , , ,

Acrisus

62

“No lie lasts through old age”

ἀλλ’ οὐδὲν ἕρπει ψεῦδος εἰς γῆρας χρόνου

65

“No one loves living as much as a man growing old”

τοῦ ζῆν γὰρ οὐδεὶς ὡς ὁ γηράσκων ἐρᾷ

260 (Thyestes)

“Even though I am an old man. But a sound mind
Likes to accompany old age with the ability to devise what is necessary.”

καίπερ γέρων ὤν• ἀλλὰ τῷ γήρᾳ φιλεῖ
χὠ νοῦς ὁμαρτεῖν καὶ τὸ βουλεύειν ἃ δεῖ

To Have Sex or Eat Mice? Aesop, Fable 50

“A weasel, smitten by desire for a beautiful young man, prayed to Aphrodite and asked to be transformed into a woman. The goddess took pity on her and changed her into a beautiful maiden. When the young man saw her, he was seized with desire and brought her home. When they took their places in the bedroom, Aphrodite wondered wither the weasel, having changed its form, had also changed its way of life. So, she set a mouse between the lovers. The girl, forgetting everything present, stood up from the bed and chased after the mouse with the aim of eating it. The goddess was irritated by this, so she caused the girl to revert to her old form as a weasel.”

γαλῆ ἐρασθεῖσα νεανίσκου εὐπρεποῦς ηὔξατο τῇ ᾿Αφροδίτῃ, ὅπως αὐτὴν μεταμορφώσῃ εἰς γυναῖκα. καὶ ἡ θεὸς ἐλεήσασα αὐτῆς τὸ πάθος μετετύπωσεν αὐτὴν εἰς κόρην εὐειδῆ. καὶ οὕτως ὁ νεανίσκος θεασάμενος αὐτὴν καὶ ἐρασθεὶς οἴκαδε ὡς ἑαυτὸν ἀπήγαγε. καθημένων δ’ αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ θαλάμῳ ἡ ᾿Αφροδίτη γνῶναι βουλομένη, εἰ μεταβαλοῦσα τὸ σῶμα ἡ γαλῆ καὶ τὸν τρόπον ἤλλαξε, μῦν εἰς τὸ μέσονκαθῆκεν. ἡ δὲ ἐπιλαθομένη τῶν παρόντων ἐξαναστᾶσα ἀπὸ τῆς κοίτης τὸν μῦν ἐδίωκε καταφαγεῖν ἐθέλουσα. καὶ ἡ θεὸς ἀγανακτήσασα κατ’ αὐτῆς πάλιν αὐτὴν εἰς τὴν ἀρχαίαν φύσιν ἀποκατέστησεν.

Wine for the Frogs: Diogenianus Explains Some Bizarre Sayings

“‘Pouring wine out for frogs': this saying is about people offering things to people who, if they were to accept them, could make no use of them. It is much like saying, ‘You’re bringing owls to Athens.’

‘Water for a frog! or Fat for a weasel!’ : These sayings are about those who give things to people who delight in receiving those things.”

Βατράχοις οἰνοχοεῖς: πρὸς τοὺς ταῦτα παρ-

έχοντας, ὧν οὐ χρῄζουσιν οἱ λαμβάνοντες. ῞Ομοιον·

Γλαῦκας εἰς ᾿Αθήνας ἄγεις.

Βατράχῳ ὕδωρ, καὶ, γαλῇ στέαρ: ἐπὶ τῶν

ταῦτα διδόντων, οἷς οἱ λαμβάνοντες χαίρουσιν.

-From Diogenianus, Paroimiai 3.57-8

The Frogs Demand a King! (Aesop, Fable 44)

“The frogs, distressed by the anarchy prevailing among them, sent ambassadors to Zeus asking him to give them a king. He took note of their silliness and threw down a piece of wood into the pond. The frogs, terrified at first by the loud sound, submerged themselves in the depths of the pond. Later, when the piece of wood was still, they came back up and rose to such a height of insolence that they mounted the wood and perched upon it. Deeming this king unworthy of them, they sent messengers to Zeus, asking him to change their king, because the first one was too lazy. Zeus was irritated by this, so he sent them a snake as king, by whom they were all snatched up and eaten.”

βάτραχοι λυπούμενοι ἐπὶ τῇ ἑαυτῶν ἀναρχίᾳ πρέσβεις ἔπεμψαν πρὸς τὸν Δία δεόμενοι βασιλέα αὐτοῖς παρασχεῖν. ὁ δὲ συνιδὼν αὐτῶν τὴν εὐήθειαν ξύλον εἰς τὴν λίμνην  καθῆκε. καὶ οἱ βάτραχοι τὸ μὲν πρῶτον καταπλαγέντες τὸν ψόφον εἰς τὰ βάθη τῆς λίμνης ἐνέδυσαν, ὕστερον δέ, ὡς ἀκίνητον ἦν τὸ ξύλον, ἀναδύντες εἰς τοσοῦτο καταφρονήσεως ἦλθον ὡς καὶ ἐπιβαίνοντες αὐτῷ ἐπικαθέζεσθαι. ἀναξιοπαθοῦντες δὲ τοιοῦτον ἔχειν βασιλέα ἧκον ἐκ δευτέρου πρὸς τὸν Δία καὶ τοῦτον παρεκάλουν ἀλλάξαι αὐτοῖς τὸν ἄρχοντα. τὸν γὰρ πρῶτον λίαν εἶναι νωχελῆ. καὶ ὁ Ζεὺς ἀγανακτήσας κατ’ αὐτῶν ὕδραν αὐτοῖς ἔπεμψεν, ὑφ’ ἧς συλλαμβανόμενοι κατησθίοντο.

Seriphian Frogs Don’t Croak

“Seriphian Frog: This is said of mutes. For, the frogs in Seriphos don’t croak.”

Βάτραχος Σερίφιος: ἐπὶ τῶν ἀφώνων. Οἱ γὰρ ἐν Σερίφῳ βάτραχοι οὐ φθέγγονται.

-Diogenianus, Paroimiae 3.45

Editorial Note: I wish that the frogs where I live would take a hint from their Seriphian cousins!

The Secrets Hidden In Poetry: Varro, On the Latin Language VII 1.2

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

“Even though one adds these devices for the sake of divining the intent of the author, many other things still remain secret. But if poetic form, which has preserved in song many ancient words which still survive, had also preserved why they are, poems would be able to bear more fertile fruit. As in prose so too in poetry not all words can be said to possess their most ancient forms, and there are not many which one can read unless he spends his nights in deep study.”

Cum haec amminicula addas ad eruendum voluntatem impositoris, tamen latent multa. Quod si poetice quae in carminibus servavit multa prisca quae essent, sic etiam cur essent posuisset, fecundius poemata ferrent fructum; sed ut in soluta oratione sic in poematis verba non omnia quae habent etuma possunt dici, neque multa ab eo, quem non erunt in lucubratione litterae prosecutae, multum licet legeret.

A Commentary on the Homeric Batrakhomuomakhia, Part 15: Lines 198-225

Tags

, , , , , , ,

This is the fifteenth installment of our commentary on the Homeric “Battle of Frogs and Mice”.

198 πάντες δ’ αὖτ’ εἰσῆλθον ἀολλέες εἰς ἕνα χῶρον.
199 καὶ τότε κώνωπες μεγάλας σάλπιγγας ἔχοντες
200 δεινὸν ἐσάλπιγξαν πολέμου κτύπον· οὐρανόθεν δὲ
201 Ζεὺς Κρονίδης βρόντησε, τέρας πολέμοιο κακοῖο.
202 Πρῶτος δ’ ῾Υψιβόας Λειχήνορα οὔτασε δουρὶ
203 ἑσταότ’ ἐν προμάχοις κατὰ γαστέρα ἐς μέσον ἧπαρ·
204 κὰδ δ’ ἔπεσεν πρηνής, ἁπαλὰς δ’ ἐκόνισεν ἐθείρας.
205 δούπησεν δὲ πεσών, ἀράβησε δὲ τεύχε’ ἐπ’ αὐτῷ.
206 Τρωγλοδύτης δὲ μετ’ αὐτὸν ἀκόντισε Πηλείωνος,
207 πῆξεν δ’ ἐν στέρνῳ στιβαρὸν δόρυ· τὸν δὲ πεσόντα
208 εἷλε μέλας θάνατος, ψυχὴ δ’ ἐκ σώματος ἔπτη.
209 Σευτλαῖον δ’ ἂρ ἔπεφνε βαλὼν κέαρ ᾿Εμβασίχυτρος,
210 ᾿Αρτοφάγος δὲ Πολύφωνον κατὰ γαστέρα τύψε·
211 ἤριπε δὲ πρηνής, ψυχὴ δὲ μελέων ἐξέπτη.
212 Λιμνόχαρις δ’ ὡς εἶδεν ἀπολλύμενον Πολύφωνον,
213 Τρωγλοδύτην ἁπαλοῖο δι’ αὐχένος τρῶσεν ἐπιφθὰς
214a πέτρῳ μυλοειδέϊ· τὸν δὲ σκότος ὄσσε κάλυψε·
214 ᾿Ωκιμίδην δ’ ἄχος εἷλε καὶ ἤλασεν ὀξέϊ σχοίνῳ
215 οὐδ’ ἐξέσπασεν ἔγχος ἐναντίον· ὡς δ’ ἐνόησε
216 Λειχήνωρ δ’ αὐτοῖο τιτύσκετο δουρὶ φαεινῷ
217 καὶ βάλεν, οὐδ’ ἀφάμαρτε καθ’ ἧπαρ· ὡς δ’ ἐνόησε
218 Κοστοφάγον φεύγοντα βαθείαις ἔμπεσεν ὄχθαις.
219 ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ὣς ἀπέληγε μάχης ἀλλ’ ἤλασεν αὐτόν·
220 κάππεσε δ’, οὐκ ἀνένευσεν, ἐβάπτετο δ’ αἵματι λίμνη
221 πορφυρέῳ, αὐτὸς δὲ παρ’ ἠιόν’ ἐξετανύσθη,
222 χορδῇσιν λιπαρῇσί τ’ ἐπορνύμενος λαγόνεσσιν.
223 Τυροφάγον δ’ αὐτῇσιν ἐπ’ ὄχθαις ἐξενάριξεν.
224 Πτερνογλύφον δὲ ἰδὼν Καλαμίνθιος ἐς φόβον ἦλθεν,
225 ἥλατο δ’ ἐς λίμνην φεύγων τὴν ἀσπίδα ῥίψας.

198-259 The gods gather to watch the clash of the armies and, as they often do in the Iliad and Odyssey. They direct the audience’s attention and act as an internal audience gazing upon the slaughter of war. The parodist makes this even more explicit after the gods move together as a crowd thronging into a theater for a spectacle. For the gods as an audience in Homer, see Griffin 1980, 179-201. For a more theoretical treatment, see Pucci 2002, 21. What the gods gaze upon is a rather confusing and hectic series of deaths swinging between both sides of the battle. The text has problems throughout and gets quite confusing. The last 100 lines of the poem are more formulaic and “Homeric” than the first two-thirds. This formulaic section presents action that is not altogether clear with prominent characters who die only to appear again later. Typically, scholars have interpreted the confusion as resulting from a combination of poor poetic skill and textual corruption. Following Kelly’s argument (2009) that the confusion and lack of clarity is an intentional act of parody of Homeric style (thus also revealing the parodist’s deep knowledge of Homeric style) we can view this section as a generic critique. It is clear from the manuscript tradition that there are significant confusions from textual transmission; on the other hand, the sophistication of the poem from the beginning to this point should make us wary of dismissing Kelly’s suggestion to take the parody seriously. It is quite possible to accomodate both the conventional and the theoretical interpretations of the poem.

198 ἀολλέες: “in throngs, gathered together”, a common Homeric term.
εἰς ἕνα χῶρον: cf. line 133.

199 καὶ τότε: a common phrase in Homer coordinating action among different characters as at Il. 1.92 when it provides a transition from the end of Achilles’
encouragement to the beginning of Calchas’ speech (Καὶ τότε δὴ θάρσησε καὶ ηὔδα μάντις ἀμύμων) .

κώνωπες: from κώνωψ, “gnat, mosquito”. Here, probably “mosquitoes”. The σάλπιγξ was a war trumpet. According to Aristotle (de Mundo 399b), the σάλπιγξ was sounded prior to the soldiers’ assumption of their arms. Presumably, the mosquitoes were bearing these trumpets for the mice, as it seems unlikely that they would serve the frogs in any function other than a source of sustenance.

200 ἐσάλπιγξαν: Denominative verb from σάλπιγξ

δεινὸν… κτύπον: This might typically signal a percussive sound, whereas in Homer trumpets ‘scream’ (ὡς δ’ ὅτ’ ἀριζήλη φωνή, ὅτε τ’ ἴαχε σάλπιγξ, 18.219) and the sky itself trumpets (ἀμφὶ δὲ σάλπιγξεν μέγας οὐρανός. ἄϊε δὲ Ζεὺς, 21.388).

201 Ζεὺς Κρονίδης βρόντησε, τέρας πολέμοιο κακοῖο. Cf. Il. 20.56 (δεινὸν δὲ βρόντησε πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε) and 17.548 (Ζεὺς ἐξ οὐρανόθεν τέρας ἔμμεναι ἢ πολέμοιο). For πολέμοιο κακοῖο (the Homeric genitives) see 1.284 (ἕρκος ᾿Αχαιοῖσιν πέλεται πολέμοιο κακοῖο). The appositive use of τέρας—which is generally associated with Zeus—is a bit odd, but see 5.741-2 (“on it was the Gorgon-head of the terrible monster, dread and terrifying, a symbol of Aegis-bearing Zeus”; ἐν δέ τε Γοργείη κεφαλὴ δεινοῖο πελώρου / δεινή τε σμερδνή τε, Διὸς τέρας αἰγιόχοιο).

202 Πρῶτος δ': δὲ πρῶτος: often starts sequences of action. The δὲ is not adversative but instead copulative.

Λειχήνορα: “Man-licker”. Cf. line 216 below.

῾Υψιβόας: “Shouts-on-high”.

οὔτασε δουρὶ : A common sequence in the Iliad, cf. Il. 5.56 and 7.258

203 ἑσταότ': Perfect passive particple of ἵστημι. ἑσταότ’ is common at the beginning of lines (e.g. Il. 4.366).

κατὰ γαστέρα : Some MSS have κατὰ γαστέρος instead of the accusative, meaning “through the stomach, he struck the middle of the liver with the spear”. The accusative with κατὰ (meaning “down into” or simply “into”) is Homeric (16.465) but the accumulation here of “down into the stomach into the liver” seems a bit strained. κατὰ γαστέρος does not occur in Homer but does occur earlier in this poem, 71. See also line 235 below. Both are likely literary adaptations, see Camerotto (1995, 12).

ἐς μέσον ἧπαρ·: “in the middle of the liver” doesn’t occur in Homeric battle scenes (middle of the stomach, e.g. ῾Ιπποθόῳ περιβάντα μέσην κατὰ γαστέρα τύψε, 17.313), but instead when Hecuba wishes she could eat Achilles’ liver (…τοῦ ἐγὼ μέσον ἧπαρ ἔχοιμι / ἐσθέμεναι προσφῦσα…, 24.212-213).

204 κὰδ: κατὰ, a common assimilation with δ’ ἔπεσεν see Il. 11.676: δ’ ἔπεσεν πρηνής: “He fell down face forward. In battle language, πρηνής (related to the late verb πρανίζω) contrasts with ὕπτιος, on one’s back

ἁπαλὰς δ’ ἐκόνισεν ἐθείρας: For κονίω as a transitive, see Il.21.207. For falling in dust, cf. 16.469: κὰδ δ’ ἔπεσ’ ἐν κονίῃσι μακών, ἀπὸ δ’ ἔπτατο θυμός.

205 δούπησεν δὲ πεσών: very Homeric, see Il. 16.599.

ἀράβησε δὲ τεύχε’ ἐπ’ αὐτῷ: this whole line is Homeric, see Il. 5.42.

206 Τρωγλοδύτης δὲ μετ’ αὐτὸν ἀκόντισε Πηλείωνος: The verb here can take the genitive, but some MSS have the accusative πηλείωνα. The addition of μετ’ αὐτὸν obscures the matter a bit. For the general sense, perhaps take μετ’ αὐτὸν merely temporally (i.e. “after that/him Hole-dweller hurled at the son of Peleus and his strong spear stuck in his chest”)

Πηλείωνος: “The son of Peleus”. Since he has receded into the action, Physignathos, the frog at the center of the war, dies an understated death here (if, in fact, this patronymic indicates the same frog). On the name, see Physignathos’ speech above at line 19. Note, however, that Physignathos is alive to be struck on the foot at line 250. The dead mouse-prince, Psikharpaks, appears alive too at line 234.

207 πῆξεν: Unaugmented aorist of πήγνυμι; στιβαρὸν δόρυ is the subject
τὸν δὲ πεσόντα: object of εἷλε.

208 εἷλε μέλας θάνατος: “black death” occurs at line 16.687 the phrase is closely based on the common κῆρα μέλαιναν (e.g. 21.66). Cf. Camerotto (1993, 16) and line 236 below.

ἔπτη: The syncopated, defective aorist of πέτομαι does not appear until after the Hellenistic period

209 ᾿Εμβασίχυτρος: “someone who enters dishes”; he is the herald who announces the war to the frogs at line 127.

Σευτλαῖον: from τεῦτλον, “beet”

ἔπεφνε: See on 141

210 ᾿Αρτοφάγος: “Bread-eater” from ἄρτος “loaf” and φαγέω, used not as a present but as a second aorist of ἐσθίω

Πολύφωνον: “of much voice” e.g. Noisy, Chatterer; see the note on the variant at line 12.

κατὰ γαστέρα: See discussion on 203

τύψε: unaugmented, 3rd person singular

210-222: In his edition, Allen suggests that 210, 213a and 217 are “clearly Byzantine” and, moreover, that the other lines “stand with them” and should therefore be rejected. West 2003 cuts out some of the lines but preserves most. Glei preserves the bulk while Ludwig agrees that 213, 213a are out of place (not present in the best manuscript tradition. 216 and 217 are also absent in some manuscripts.

211 ἤριπε δὲ πρηνής, ψυχὴ δὲ μελέων ἐξέπτη: This line is similar to 204 (κὰδ δ’ ἔπεσεν πρηνής) and 208 (ψυχὴ δ’ ἐκ σώματος ἔπτη).The first half is similar to Il.5.58 (ἤριπε δὲ πρηνής, ἀράβησε δὲ τεύχε’ ἐπ’ αὐτῷ.) For the notion is similar to Il. 23.880 (ὠκὺς δ’ ἐκ μελέων θυμὸς πτάτο, τῆλε δ’ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ).

μελέων: Uncontracted genitive plural of μέλος, μέλεος (“limb”)

ἐξέπτη: See on line 208

212 Λιμνόχαρις: “Delights in the Pond”
ὡς εἶδεν: “When he saw that”; ὡς often follows the clause’s subject.

ἀπολλύμενον: Note the present tense of the participle, this gives the phrase a progressive force, i.e. “When he saw that Polyphônos was being destroyed.”

213 Τρωγλοδύτην ἁπαλοῖο δι’ αὐχένος τρῶσεν ἐπιφθὰς: There are two lines included in this section in some MSS.

213a πέτρῳ μυλοειδέϊ· τὸν δὲ σκότος ὄσσε κάλυψε· πέτρῳ μυλοειδέϊ: this appears in the Iliad (7.270: εἴσω δ’ ἀσπίδ’ ἔαξε βαλὼν μυλοειδέϊ πέτρῳ) during the dual of Ajax and Hektor. τὸν δὲ σκότος ὄσσε κάλυψε: A common Homeric formula, e.g. Il. 6.11; see line 231 below

213b Τρωγλήτης δ᾿ ἄῤ ἔπεφνε Βρεκαίκιγα ἐσθλὸν ἀίξας
This line also has largely formulaic aspects. On ἔπεφνε see 141, 209.

Βρεκαίκιγα ἐσθλὸν: The novel compound here may be an echo of Aristophanes’ frog call (brekekkex koax koax; Βρεκεκεκεξ κοαξ κοαξ from the Frogs) or it may be a compound of the root βρέχω (“to moisten, or to be wet”) and ἀίσσω (“to leap”) giving a meaning something like “Water-Darter”. The force of such a compound may be reflected as well in the line-ending participle ἀίξας which, by modifying the mouse, not the frog, engages in a bit of linguistic play. For the call brekekkex koax koax, see Dover 1993, 219 who draws on Campbell 1984 in proposing that the frog species in question in the Marsh Frog, Rana ridibunda.

214 εἷλε: Aorist of αίρέω

ἤλασεν ὀξέϊ σχοίνῳ: “with a sharp reed”. The final two words are an adaptation of a common Homeric line-final adjective-noun pairing: ὀξέϊ χαλκῷ (e.g. Il. 10.35), ὀξέϊ δουρὶ (e.g. Il. 11.95) and ὀξέϊ λᾶϊ (once, 16.739). The humorous adaptation of the common epithet and position from Heroic bronze and spear to the reed would certainly be clear to an audience familiar with Homeric poetry.

214a ἀλλ᾿ ὁ μὲν ἔσπασεν ἔγκος. ἐφωρμήθησαν δ᾿ ἐκ αὐτῶ̣
ἐφωρμήθησαν δ᾿ ἐκ αὐτῶ̣: This aorist passive exists nowhere else in Greek literature. The singular appears in the Odyssey (4.713).

ἀλλ᾿ ὁ μὲν ἔσπασεν ἔγκος: This line is similar to the first half of 215

213 Τρωγλίτην ἁπαλοῖο δι’ αὐχένος ἤριπε δ᾿ εὐθύς, 208-209 repeated
ἁπαλοῖο δι’ αὐχένος: See on 213 above.

215 ἐξέσπασεν: from σπάω, “to draw out”.

216 Λειχήνωρ δ’ αὐτοῖο τιτύσκετο δουρὶ φαεινῷ: This line is almost identical to Il. 13.159 (Μηριόνης δ’ αὐτοῖο τιτύσκετο δουρὶ φαεινῷ). A “Man-Licker” was killed as one of the first casualties at line 202. With the apparent resurrections of Physignathus and Psikharpaks, the return of the same Leikhênôr may contribute to the parody.

τιτύσκετο: from τιτύσκομαι which can mean “obtain or hit” like τεύχω, τυγχάνω with the genitive object.

217 καὶ βάλεν, οὐδ’ ἀφάμαρτε καθ’ ἧπαρ· ὡς δ’ ἐνόησε: The combination appears in Il. 11.350 (καὶ βάλεν, οὐδ’ ἀφάμαρτε τιτυσκόμενος κεφαλῆφιν, 11.350). The tautology of “hitting” and “not missing”, then is somewhat formulaic.

ἀφάμαρτε: second aorist of ἀφαρματάνω: “to miss”.

ὡς δ’ ἐνόησε: This is repeated throughout this section as a transition from one action to another. This is not an infrequent occurence in Homer (e.g. Il. 11.248; Od. 24.232) but not in this combination at the end of the line.

218 Κοστοφάγον: “Spice-eater”; the lexicographer Hesychius glosses κόστος as εἶδος ἀρώματος.
ἔμπεσεν: aorist from ἐμπίπτω. The subject is still Λειχήνωρ, but the sequence of finite verbs with the same subject is rather un-Homeric.

219 ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ὣς ἀπέληγε μάχης ἀλλ’ ἤλασεν αὐτόν: The first part of this line is identical to a repeated line in the Iliad (e.g. ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ὧς ἀπέληγε μάχης κορυθαίολος ῞Εκτωρ, 7.263). The vast majority of occurences of ἀλλά in Homer come at the beginning of the line. But it does appear the second position in this line over a dozen times in the Iliad. Nevertheless, the doubling of ἀλλά in the line is completely un-Homeric.

ἀπέληγε: from ἀπολήγω, “to leave off”, takes a genitive object.

ἤλασεν: Aorist of ἐλαύνω which can mean “to cut and wound” instead of simply “to drive”.

220 κάππεσε: syncope for καταπίπτω.

ἐβάπτετο: βάπτω, “to dip, to dye”. In tragedy, this verb is commonly used for scenes of slaughter (e.g. Aesch. Pr 863). With the pond as subject, however, the image is clear but strange. It seems that in the effort to incorporate tragic imagery, hyperbole, if not absurdity, results.

221 πορφυρέῳ: “dark red”; purple.

παρ’ ἠιόν': “along the shore”.

ἐξετανύσθη: This form occurs in the Iliad (7.271: βλάψε δέ οἱ φίλα γούναθ’· ὃ δ’ ὕπτιος ἐξετανύσθη). From ἐκτανύω “to stretch out”

222 χορδῇσιν λιπαρῇσί: “trailing intestines”.

ἐπορνύμενος: some MSS have the genitive ἐπορνύμενου instead. In both cases the lines are hard to construe. The nominative here works better. The subject changes at αὐτὸς δὲ. Kostophagos is trying to rise up again as his intestines trail out of him. West (2003) believes this line is out of place.

λαγόνεσσιν: “loins”.

223 Τυροφάγον δ’ αὐτῇσιν ἐπ’ ὄχθαις ἐξενάριξεν: For this line to make sense, the subject would have to be Platelicker again, but that also presents the difficulty of having a mouse kill another mouse (unless this is a frog with a murine name).

Τυροφάγον: “Cheese-eater”, a name appropriate for a mouse. Cf. English tyrophile (“cheese-lover”).

ἐξενάριξεν: “to despoil” from ἐξεναρίζω, a common verb ending the line in Homer (e.g. Il. 5.151).

αὐτῇσιν ἐπ’ ὄχθαις: “the same or very banks”

224 Πτερνογλύφον: “Ham-borer”.

Καλαμίνθιος: “Mr. Reed”.

ἰδὼν: aorist participle of ὁράω.

ἦλθεν: aorist of ἔρχομαι.

225 ἥλατο δ’ ἐς λίμνην φεύγων τὴν ἀσπίδα ῥίψας.

ἥλατο: Aorist passive of ἐλαύνω.

τὴν ἀσπίδα ῥίψας: “after abandoning the shield”. The shield-abandoning poem is a motif in early Greek literature, and this line seems to draw on lyric fragments (cf. Anacreon fr. 36b ἀσπίδα ῥίψας ποταμοῦ καλλιρόου παρ’ ὄχθας,). The most famous articulation of this anti-heroic sentiment is Archilochus fr. 5.1-4

“Some Saian delights in the shield, the blameless one,
I left unwillingly next to a bush.
But I saved myself. Why should I care about that shield?
Screw it. I will get another one, no worse.”

ἀσπίδι μὲν Σαΐων τις ἀγάλλεται, ἣν παρὰ θάμνωι,
ἔντος ἀμώμητον, κάλλιπον οὐκ ἐθέλων·
αὐτὸν δ’ ἐξεσάωσα. τί μοι μέλει ἀσπὶς ἐκείνη;
ἐρρέτω· ἐξαῦτις κτήσομαι οὐ κακίω.

The Greatest Service to Education Today

“In those days a boy on the classical side officially did almost nothing but classics. I think this was wise; the greatest service we can do to education today is to teach fewer subjects. No one has time to do more than a very few things well before he is twenty, and when we force a boy to be a mediocrity in a dozen subjects we destroy his standards, perhaps for life. Smewgy taught us Latin and Greek, but everything else came in incidentally. The books I liked best under his teaching were Horace’s Odes, Aeneid IV, and Euripides’ Bacchae. I had always in one sense ‘liked’ my classical work, but hitherto this had been the pleasure that everyone feels in mastering a craft. Now I tasted the classics as poetry.”

-C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy, (New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcout) pp.101-2

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,468 other followers