Classics [Itself] Is Not Classist

Grace Bertelli’s article, The Classics Major is Classist has been a controversial topic among Classicists lately. While the iron is hot, I will explain why I, as someone outside of academia, sympathize but ultimately disagree with Bertelli’s conclusion that Classics is uniquely classist.

I attended a middling state university with a tiny Classics department, and until my sophomore year, it had never really occurred to me that people made a living reading ancient languages. Indeed, I only took my Introduction to Classical Literature survey course that year because the books were cheap, and I began the study of ancient languages only in my junior year. Poverty led me to Classics. I almost never admit publicly that I dropped out of school in 7th grade. My admission to college was based largely on a wide bit of discursive reading I did when I was 15, so I had substantial gaps in my education and feel, to this day, that I am always racing to remedy some of my more grievous educational deficiencies. In sum, I am not the ‘model’ Classics student, who arrives as an undergraduate with grounding in Latin, (maybe) Greek, and (possibly) French or German. My introductory Latin classes were self-paced (University jargon for ‘self-taught’), and all I learned of Greek in a formal setting was the declensions, and a few tenses of the verb. I encountered several people who had experience with Latin from high school (some had a full four years), but this did not make for an unbridgeable gap. I have a fairly middling intellect, but at that time, I realized that I wanted to know ancient languages more than anything in the world.

Any serious academic discipline will require substantial amounts of labor and soul-crushing toil. A student who wants to major in Physics will be expected to have a thoroughgoing grasp of Calculus before taking even an introductory physics course. Many of my pre-med friends were told, in Introduction to Biology, that if they didn’t already know most of the material in the course before enrolling, then they were already hopelessly behind and unlikely to succeed in medicine or the biosciences. There may be no posted/formal prerequisites for majoring in English or History, but a high degree of literacy and writing ability are presupposed, and it is likely that for every reefer-addled burnout who ostentatiously reads On the Road on the campus lawn, there is also a student who more or less knows all of Shakespeare by heart by the time she takes Introduction to British Literature in freshman year. (These are examples I draw people I knew, not idle fabrications.) My Latin professor once told me that he felt almost impossibly inferior to his roommate in college who, under the old British model, had been doing Latin and Greek prose composition since his early boyhood. In sum, it is not enough simply to point to the existence of prerequisites and better-prepared students if you wish to prove that Classics as a whole is classist, because these are problems which affect every academic discipline. Every serious discipline has apparently insurmountable hoops to jump over, and every serious discipline has its hyper-advanced students.

Classics itself is not classist – America is. [I write this from an American perspective.] The class system in this country is so vicious because it is not couched in all of the old Medieval trappings of the landed aristocracy. We never call anyone (except Jesus!) ‘Lord’ in America, but the sycophantic deference paid to those with access to capital here surely trumps any honorific titles. One’s socioeconomic fate is in most cases determined by the time of conception, but because access to the upper classes is not restricted by blood, each person here can theoretically become a flake on the old upper crust. In practice, this rarely happens. In practice, a student born into a low-income family in an impoverished neighborhood will attend underfunded schools, limiting their enrichment opportunities all through life, and will consequently have more limited options for college. I teach at a public high school which offers Latin, but another high school campus in the same school district – only five miles away – does not. What is the difference? Money – just money. In America, we don’t have barons, earls, and dukes – we have millionaires, multi-millionaires, and billionaires.

My campus has substantially more enrichment opportunities in the form of AP classes, dual credit courses, and fully fleshed-out music and arts programs, and they have had access to this kind of thing throughout their lives. Many students do not get to experience this because of their zip code. Most of the top-10 of our graduating class were admitted to Ivy League schools last year. Sure, my students would be better prepared for a Classics degree than other students might be, but this is only because they are better-prepared for everything at a university, and some of them go to college with a solid year’s worth of credit awarded to them. The solution to this problem should not involve abandoning academic rigour at the university level; rather, we should aim to provide a more substantial education with a full suite of enrichment opportunities to all children equally.

Students with wealthy parents may be more likely to pursue Classics because they do not feel the dire constraint of making substantial salaries immediately out of school. Yet, by this standard, almost all of the humanities and any other subject without immediate remunerative possibilities would need to be ranked as ‘classist’. There is nothing inherently classist about the study of antiquity or the discipline surrounding it, but the pernicious class structure in our society has created a field largely occupied by people with privileged backgrounds. Yet, this is also true of almost every other professional or white-collar professional field, whether academic or not.

Classics may not be uniquely classist, but there can be little doubt that it is elitist, and the discipline is full of insufferable assholes. But what field isn’t? The petty human tendency to despise others as inferior to oneself is deeply rooted, and may be wholly ineradicable in some people. Even a pack of imbecilic losers (basement-based internet trolls?) can develop a sense of ‘elitism’ – there is no minnow pond without its own Triton. Scientists despise engineers as blockheads, engineers think that literary studies are little more than idle hand-wringing, artists think that engineers are uncultured philistines, and so on. My physicist friends would rail on about how easy all of the other sciences are in comparison to physics (not enough math) in much the same way that my Classicist friends would rail on about how easy the rest of the humanities are (not enough language classes). To be sure, elitism is a problem; but it is a human problem, and not a burden which Classics bears alone. I suspect that we in Classics feel the problem rather acutely because (perhaps as a result of the existential threats facing Classics as a discipline) we spend a substantial amount of time thinking about the discipline and its structural/institutional problems.

Though I disagree with Grace Bertelli about Classics being specifically classist, I deeply sympathize with her struggles, and concede that there is a certain reverence bordering on terror which the guardians of the discipline strive to maintain. I dreamed of going to graduate school, but I knew that a transcript devoid of Greek from a middling state school would automatically disbar me from admission to most Ph.D programs. In fact, I was so terrified by each school’s posted requirements and the general talk of my professors about the perils of academic life that I did not even apply. Abject cowardice. I still wrestle with the heady cocktail of regret and relief which this decision causes. For years, I have regretted not pursuing a Ph.D, and occasionally think wistfully on what could have been in those hallowed halls of academe. Then I remember that all of that is (probably) horseshit, and that, playing the odds, I would be lucky to secure a position as an adjunct in a place I would rather not even visit. (I always found that reading the comments Famae Volent was a good remedy against regret.)

Perhaps, though, all of that terror is for the best. It is a rough discipline – academically rigorous, and under constant existential threat. I remember hearing my pre-med friend’s Microbiology teacher telling her, explicitly, “This course is designed to break pre-med students. You’re supposed to feel like shit after this, and to give up all hope. Only those who really want it keep going.” I despise this mode of teaching as a gauntlet, but it is important to remember that every rigorous discipline has its apparently insurmountable hurdles. Everyone should study Classics if they can, and we ought to make the field as open and inviting as possible. But the terror serves a purpose. With so few positions available for professional Classicists, undergraduates should know that they will have to make Classics their life if they want to succeed, as they would if they wanted to be professional basketball players or musicians. For the rest of us, there is no terror anymore: I love Classics, it is my life, yet I will always look upon the ivory tower with a backward glance.

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A Saying for Windbags, Chatterers, Praters, etc. etc. etc.

Erasmus, Adagia 1.1.7:

“Δωδωναῖον χαλκεῖον, that is, a Dodonaean cymbal or bell. This is usually said against someone of improper or unsuitable loquacity. Zenodotus cites it from the Ariphorus of Menander. He says however that in Dodona there were two lofty columns; on one of these was placed a bronze basin, and on the other a hanging image of a boy holding a bronze scourge in his hand. Whenever the wind blew violently, it would happen that the whip would strike the basin, which in turn would give out a sound that lasted for a long time. Some refer the saying back to Corinthian bronze, which sounds more clearly than other types of bronze. Stephanus, is his entry for Dodona, mentions this saying. Juvenal seems to have alluded to the saying when he wrote,

‘You would think that so many basins, so many bells had been struck at once

when writing against feminine garrulity. Suidas [the Suda] applies a different interpretation of the saying from the Daemon. He says that there was once an oracle of Zeus in Dodona which was surrounded on all sides by bronze kettles, arranged so that they would all touch each other in turn. So, it necessarily happened that when one was struck, all of them would resound through contact, with the note proceeding from each to the others. That ringing noise lasted for a long time, with the sound going round in a circle. He thinks that it is a proverb spoken against those despicable people who complain about even the smallest thing. Yet Aristotle rejects this idea, and brings to bear a different interpretation, which I have just related, about the two columns and the statue of the boy. Plutarch, in his commentary On Chattering, writes that there was in Olympia a certain portico built with mathematical proportions in such a way that it would echo one voice as many, and on that account was called the Seven-Sounder. He compares excessively loquacious people to this portico, because if you touch them with one little verb, they will immediately pour out such a volume of words that there will not be any total end to their insipid chatter. Julius Pollux mentions this saying in his sixth book, in the chapter about chatty people, by using these words: the bronze from Dodona.”

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Dodonaeum aes.vii

Δωδωναῖον χαλκεῖον, id est Dodonaeum cymbalum aut tintinnabulum. In hominem dici consuevit improbae atque importunae loquacitatis. Zenodotus citat ex Ariphoro Menandri. Tradit autem in Dodona duas fuisse sublimes columnas, in altera positam pelvim aeream, in altera pensile pueri simulachrum flagellum aereum manu tollentis, quoties autem ventus vehementius flauerit, fieri ut scutica impulsa crebrius lebetem feriat isque percussus tinnitum reddat ad multum etiam temporis resonantem. Alii referunt ad aera Corinthia, quae prae caeteris clarius tinniant. Meminit hujus adagii Stephanus in dictione Dodone. Juvenalis ad adagium allusisse videtur, cum ait :

Tot pariter pelves, tot tintinnabula credas

Pulsari,

muliebrem garrulitatem taxans. Suidas diversam adagii adfert interpretationem ex Daemone. Ait enim oraculum Jovis quod olim erat in Dodona, lebetibus aereis undique cinctum fuisse, ita ut inuicem sese contingerent. Itaque necessum erat fieri, ut uno quopiam pulsato vicissim et omneis resonarent sonitu per contactum ab aliis ad alios succedente. Durabatque in longum tempus tinnitus ille, videlicet in orbem redeunte sono. Putatque paroemiam dictam in sordidos et quantumvis pusilla de re querulos. Verum Aristoteles hoc commentum ut ficticium refellit adferens aliud interpretamentum, quod modo retulimus, de columnis duabus et simulachro pueri. Plutarchus in commentario Περὶ τῆς ἀδολεσχίας indicat in Olympia porticum quandam fuisse ratione mathematica ita compositam, ut pro una voce multas redderet, atque ob id ἑπτάφωνον appellatam. Cumque hac confert homines impendio loquaces, quos si verbulo tangas, continuo referunt tantum verborum, ut nullus omnino sit garriendi finis. Meminit hujus adagionis et Iulius Pollux libro sexto, capite de loquacibus, his verbis : τὸ ἐκ Δωδώνης χαλκεῖον.

Heroes, Isolation, and Madness

The notion of the depressive and insane artist (etc.) is an ancient one. In this passage it is also related to the stories of heroes. The different symptoms of madness Aristotle offers here are interesting. For instance, Bellerophon’s avoidance of other humans is seen as a symptom rather than a cause of his madness.

Aristotle, Problems 30

“What reason is it that all those men who are preeminent in philosophy or politics or poetry or the other arts are clearly melancholic and are so much so that they are also overcome by the afflictions from the black bile, as is implied in the tales of Herakles of the heroes? For that figure seems to be of this nature and because of this the ancients called the illnesses of epilepsy a sacred disease after him. And his madness toward his children and the outbreak of open sores before he vanished on Mt. Oitê make this clear. For this comes to many because of the black bile. These sores developed on the Spartan Lysander before his death.

In addition to this there are tales about Ajax and Bellerophon. The first of them was completely mad; but the second pursued isolated places, which is how Homer depicts him as “when that man was hated by all the gods / then he wandered alone on the Alêian plain / consuming his heart and avoiding the path of other people.”

And many others of the heroes seem to have shared afflictions with these men. In later times, Empedocles, Plato, Socrates and many other famous people [suffered] too. In addition, most of those who worked at poetry [suffered]/ In many people likes this the diseases develop from a kind of mixture in the body while in others there is a clear nature predisposing them to these maladies. But all, to put it simply, as has been said, are this way somehow because of nature.”

1. Διὰ τί πάντες ὅσοι περιττοὶ γεγόνασιν ἄνδρες ἢ κατὰ φιλοσοφίαν ἢ πολιτικὴν ἢ ποίησιν ἢ τέχνας φαίνονται μελαγχολικοὶ ὄντες, καὶ οἱ μὲν οὕτως ὥστε καὶ λαμβάνεσθαι τοῖς ἀπὸ μελαίνης χολῆς ἀρρωστήμασιν, οἷον λέγεται τῶν [τε] ἡρωϊκῶν τὰ περὶ τὸν Ἡρακλέα; καὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖνος ἔοικε | γενέσθαι ταύτης τῆς φύσεως, διὸ καὶ τὰ ἀρρωστήματα τῶν ἐπιληπτικῶν ἀπ᾿ ἐκείνου προσηγόρευον οἱ ἀρχαῖοι ἱερὰν νόσον. καὶ ἡ περὶ τοὺς παῖδας ἔκστασις καὶ ἡ πρὸ τῆς ἀφανίσεως ἐν Οἴτῃ τῶν ἑλκῶν ἔκφυσις γενομένη τοῦτο δηλοῖ· καὶ γὰρ τοῦτο γίνεται πολλοῖς ἀπὸ μελαίνης χολῆς. συνέβη δὲ καὶ | Λυσάνδρῳ τῷ Λάκωνι πρὸ τῆς τελευτῆς γενέσθαι τὰ ἕλκη ταῦτα. ἔτι δὲ τὰ περὶ Αἴαντα καὶ Βελλεροφόντην, ὧν ὁ μὲν ἐκστατικὸς ἐγένετο παντελῶς, ὁ δὲ τὰς ἐρημίας ἐδίωκεν, διὸ οὕτως ἐποίησεν Ὅμηρος

αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ καὶ κεῖνος ἀπήχθετο πᾶσι θεοῖσιν,
ἤτοι ὁ κὰπ πεδίον τὸ Ἀλήϊον οἶος ἀλᾶτο
ὃν | θυμὸν κατέδων, πάτον ἀνθρώπων ἀλεείνων.

καὶ ἄλλοι δὲ πολλοὶ τῶν ἡρώων ὁμοιοπαθεῖς φαίνονται τούτοις. τῶν δὲ ὕστερον Ἐμπεδοκλῆς καὶ Πλάτων καὶ Σωκράτης καὶ ἕτεροι συχνοὶ τῶν γνωρίμων. ἔτι δὲ τῶν περὶ τὴν ποίησιν οἱ πλεῖστοι. πολλοῖς μὲν γὰρ τῶν τοιούτων γίνεται νοσήματα ἀπὸ | τῆς τοιαύτης κράσεως τῷ σώματι, τοῖς δὲ ἡ φύσις δήλη ῥέπουσα πρὸς τὰ πάθη. πάντες δ᾿ οὖν ὡς εἰπεῖν ἁπλῶς εἰσί, καθάπερ ἐλέχθη, τοιοῦτοι τὴν φύσιν.

Another figure often seen as less than sane is Philoktetes who his described as (2.721)

“He lies there on the island suffering strong pains
In fertile Lemnos where the sons of the Achaeans left him
Suffering with an evil wound from a murderous watersnake.”

ἀλλ’ ὃ μὲν ἐν νήσῳ κεῖτο κρατέρ’ ἄλγεα πάσχων
Λήμνῳ ἐν ἠγαθέῃ, ὅθι μιν λίπον υἷες ᾿Αχαιῶν
ἕλκεϊ μοχθίζοντα κακῷ ὀλοόφρονος ὕδρου·

When Odysseus is described in book 5 of the Odyssey, his first line is identical with Philoktetes’ (Od. 5.13-15):

“He lies there on the island suffering strong pains
In the halls of Kalypso the nymph who holds him
By necessity. He is not able of returning to his paternal land.”

ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἐν νήσῳ κεῖται κρατέρ’ ἄλγεα πάσχων,
νύμφης ἐν μεγάροισι Καλυψοῦς, ἥ μιν ἀνάγκῃ
ἴσχει· ὁ δ’ οὐ δύναται ἣν πατρίδα γαῖαν ἱκέσθαι·

If we can imagine an “abnormal mental state” for these figures, the implication is the inverse, perhaps, of what Aristotle indicates for Bellerophon. Their madness is caused by isolation rather than causing it. When commenting upon Odysseus’ first appearance in book 5, an ancient scholar records Aristonicus’ comment that the language is more fit (οἰκειότερον ἐν ᾿Ιλιάδι) for the Iliad at 2.721 where Philoktetes is described. He adds that it would be right for him instead to be “tortured in his heart” (νῦν δὲ ἔδει τετιημένος ἦτορ εἶναι, Schol. H ad Od. 5.13).

Psychologists have studied the emotional and physical effects of isolation over the past few generations. These studies reinforce important themes of the Odyssey, namely that individual identity is constitutive of social relationships without which we cease to be ourselves. Modern studies of isolated individuals have shown that limited social engagements have deleterious emotional effects including a rise in fear and paranoia and a decrease in self-esteem. Some have even argued that over time, the brain of an isolated person has fewer neural connections and a thinner cerebral cortex. Inmates have difficulties with memory, distorted perceptions of reality, and display a deterioration of language function. Isolation’s biological changes affect the very parts of the brain that facilitate social interaction, higher order analytical thinking, and the ability to plan and act in the world.

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David T. Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder. Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependency of Discourse. Ann Arbor. 2000.

39: “Beginning with ancient Greece, Thiher’s study demonstrates that literary stories of mental discordance have provided the foundation for scientific explanations of cognitive deviance. Rather than view this historical material as superficial and primitive, Thiher argues for a historical vision of madness as that which could productively give voice to the existence of disparate, and even antithetical, “realities”.

Some inspirations

Andersen, H. S., Sestoft, D. D., Lillebæk, T. T., Gabrielsen, G. G., Hemmingsen, R. R., & Kramp, P. P. (2000), ―”A Longitudinal Study of Prisoners on Remand: Psychiatric Prevalence, Incidence and Psychopathology in Solitary vs.Non-Solitary Confinement.‖ , 102(1), 19.

Betty Gilmore and Nanon M. Williams. The Darkest Hour: Shedding Light on the Impact of Isolation and Death Row in Texas Prisons. Dallas 2014.

Fatos Kaba, Andrea Lewis, Sarah Glowa-Kollisch, James Hadler, David Lee, Howard Alper, Daniel Selling, Ross MacDonald, Angela Solimo, Amanda Parsons, and Homer Venters.  “Solitary Confinement and Risk of Self-Harm Among Jail Inmates.” American Journal of Public Health: March 2014, Vol. 104, No. 3, pp. 442-447.

Shruti Ravindran. “Twilight in the Box.” Aeon 27 February 2014.

Thiher, Allen. 1999. Revels in Madness: Insanity in Medicine and Literature. Ann Arbor.

 

Don’t Worry, I Read it For You

Macrobius, Saturnalia (Preface) 1-4

“My child Eustathius: nature has imbued our life with many different instincts, but none is greater than the force which binds us to our own children. She has made our need to educate you and raise you so powerful that parents can gain no greater pleasure–if everything goes according to plan–and feel no more savage sorrow, than when they fail. For this reason I have valued nothing more than your education and, because I believe that focused work should be preferred to prolonged diversion–I am intolerant of delays: I cannot wait for you to advance through only the studies you make tirelessly on your own, so I have also made an effort to read for you and to put together whatever I have read spread out among various volumes of Greek and Latin, before and since you were born as a total supplement of knowledge. And, just as if from your own pantry of culture, whenever you need some fact from history which evades other men by hiding in books, or you need to remember some famous deed or saying, it will be easy and efficient for you to find it.”

Multas variasque res in hac vita nobis, Eustachi fili, natura conciliavit: sed nulla nos magis quam eorum qui e nobis essent procreati caritate devinxit, eamque nostram in his educandis atque erudiendis curam esse voluit, ut parentes neque, si id quod cuperent ex sententia cederet, tantum ulla alia ex re voluptatis, neque, si contra eveniret, tantum maeroris capere possent.Hinc est quod mihi quoque institutione tua nihil antiquius aestimatur, ad cuius perfectionem compendia longis amfractibus anteponenda ducens moraeque omnis inpatiens non opperior ut per haec sola promoveas quibus ediscendis naviter ipse invigilas, sed ago ut ego quoque tibi legerim, et quicquid mihi, vel te iam in lucem edito vel antequam nascereris, in diversis seu Graecae seu Romanae linguae voluminibus elaboratum est, id totum sit tibi scientiae supellex, et quasi de quodam litterarum peno, si quando usus venerit aut historiae quae in librorum strue latens clam vulgo est aut dicti factive memorabilis reminiscendi, facile id tibi inventu atque depromptu sit.

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Reception of Homer by the Tragedians

J.E. Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship Vol. I:

The Tragic Poets

“The influence of the Homeric poems on the tragic poets of Athens was very considerable. Notwithstanding Aristotle’s statement that ‘the Iliad and the Odyssey each furnish the theme of one tragedy, or of two, at the most’, we find that they supplied Aeschylus with the theme of at least six tragedies and one satyric drama, Sophocles with that of three tragedies (Nausicaa, and the Phaeacians, and possibly the Phrygians), and Euripides with that of one satyric drama, the Cyclops. The unknown author of the Rhesus derived his theme from the Iliad; and Achilles and Hector, with Laertes, Penelope and her Suitors, were among the themes of the minor tragic poets of the fifth and fourth centuries. Aristotle’s statement is practically true of Sophocles and Euripides, but not of Aeschylus, whom he almost ignores in his treatise on Poetry. It is however the fact that, among the tragic poets in general, a far larger number of their subjects were suggested by other poems of the Epic Cycle, namely the Cypria, the Aethiopis, the Little Iliad, the Iliupersis, the Nostoi and the Telegonia.

Aeschylus

Aeschylus himself probably regarded ‘Homer’ as the author of all the poems of the Epic Cycle, when he descnbed his dramas as ‘slices from the great banquets of Homer’. In the Frogs of Aristophanes, he is made to confess that it was from ‘Homer the divine’ that his mind took the impress of noble characters like those of the ‘lion-hearted’ heroes, Teucer and Patroclus. The influence of Homer shows itself in many of his picturesque epithets, and in the use of not a few archaic nouns and verbs, as well as in Homeric phrases and expressions, and Homeric similes and metaphors.

Sophocles

Sophocles is described by Greek critics as the only true disciple of Homer, as the ‘tragic Homer’, and as the admirer of the Epic poet. His verbal indebtedness to Homer is less than that of Aeschylus, though, like other dramatists, he borrows certain epic forms and epithets, as well as certain phrases and similes. His dramas reproduce the Homeric spirit. He is also Homeric in the ideal, yet human, conception of his characters, and in the calm self-control, which characterises him even in scenes of violent excitement. Here, as elsewhere, ‘he has caught the impress of Homers charm’. While very few of his dramas were directly suggested by the Iliad or Odyssey, he is described as ‘delighting in the Epic Cycle’. The extant plays connected with that Cycle are the Ajax and Philoctetes.

Euripides

Of the extant plays of Euripides, the Cyclops alone is directly taken from Homer’s Odyssey, while the Epic Cycle is represented by the Iphigeneia in Aulide, Hecuba, Troades, Andromache, Helen, Electra, Iphigeneia in Tauris and Orestes. The plot of no extant play that was certainly written by Euripides is inspired by the Iliad, but the opening scene of the Phoenissae, where Antigone and her aged attendant view from the palace-roof the movements of the Argive host outside the walls of Thebes, is clearly a reminiscence of the memorable scene in the Iliad, where Helen and Priam watch the Greek heroes from the walls of Troy.”

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Improving on Antiquity

Coluccio Salutati, de Laboribus Herculis 1.7.11

“The investigations of any science would quickly dry up if posterity had accepted each field’s principles with such simplicity that it thought nothing therein worth inquiring after but what the original thinkers either could or would make known. Indeed, our sciences have grown mature by successive and continual gradations; and, by the force of new and daily considerations, many things have been discovered which not only could escape, but in fact did escape the notice of the first thinkers.”

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Nimis etenim arida foret cuiuslibet artis speculatio si que ex arte dicta sunt adeo simpliciter posteritas recepisset quod nichil in eis duceret speculandum nisi quod inventores ipsi potuerint vel voluerint declarare. Adoleverunt equidem artes successivis et continuis incrementis, et novis in dies considerationibus multa sunt deprehensa que priscos illos nedum latere potuerunt sed sine dubio latuerunt.

Scamming on Skammonia

I have a graduate student working on spices in the ancient world. Expect random posts this semester.

Hesychius

“Skilla: skammônia, it brings death to mice.”

σκίλλα· σκαμμωνία, θανατηφόρος μυῶν

Suda

“Skammônia: a type of plant.”

Σκαμμωνία: εἶδος βοτάνης.

Convolvulvus Scammonia

Galen De Theriaca ad Pisonem 14.223

“just as scammony appears to treat yellow bile”

ὥσπερ ἡ σκαμμωνία ξανθὴν χολὴν ἕλκουσα φαίνεται.

Aetius, Med. 3.25.2

“Scammony: Scammony especially treats yellow bile. But it causes cardiac distress,  a bad smell, melancholy, and it makes people really thirsty,”

῀Σκαμμωνία. ῾Η δὲ ϲκαμμωνία ἄγει μάλιϲτα χολὴν ξανθήν· καρδιαλγὴϲ δέ ἐϲτι καὶ δύϲοϲμοϲ καὶ ἀτερπὴϲ καὶ ἄγαν διψώδηϲ.

 

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