Two Types of Fantasy: Laughing Insanely and Other People’s Ships

From Zenobius’ collection of proverbs

“An Ajaxian laugh”: This is a proverb applied to those who laugh insanely. For Ajax was sick with derangement and went crazy because Odysseus was honored more in the allotment of Achilles’ armor, he rushed against the Greeks with sword-in-hand and thanks to the forethought of the gods, went murdering herd animals as if they were Achaians. Once he captured the two biggest rams and tied them up as if they were Agamemnon and Menelaos, he whipped them and laughed at them, insane. When he was more clear-minded later, he killed himself.”

Αἰάντειος γέλως: ἐπὶ τῶν παραφρόνως γελώντων. ῾Ο Αἴας γὰρ παραφροσύνην νοσήσας καὶ μανεὶς διὰ τὸ προτιμηθῆναι τὸν ᾿Οδυσσέα εἰς τὴν τῶν ᾿Αχιλλείων ὅπλων κατοχὴν, κατὰ τῶν ῾Ελλήνων ξιφήρης ὥρμησε καὶ κατὰ τῶν βοσκημάτων προνοίᾳ θεῶν τραπεὶς ὡς ᾿Αχαιοὺς ταῦτα φονεύει. Δύο δὲ μεγίστους κριοὺς κατασχὼν ὡς ᾿Αγαμέμνονα καὶ Μενέλαον δέσμευσας ἐμάστιξε καὶ κατεγέλα τούτων μαινόμενος. ῞Υστερον δὲ σωφρονήσας ἑαυτὸν κτείνει.

Image result for ajax insane ancient greek

Aelian 4.25

“Thrasyllos from the deme Aiksône endured an incredible and novel madness. For he left the city and went to the Peiraia and stayed there. He believed that all the ships that sailed in were his and he wrote down their names, checked the list when they left and rejoiced when they returned safely to the harbor again. He spent many years living with this sickness. When his brother returned from Sicily, he took him to a doctor for treatment and he freed him from that sickness. But he often remembered the avocation of his sickness and used to say that he was never as happy as when he took pleasure at the sight of ships that weren’t his returning safely.”

Θράσυλλος ὁ Αἰξωνεὺς παράδοξον καὶ καινὴν ἐνόσησε μανίαν. ἀπολιπὼν γὰρ τὸ ἄστυ καὶ κατελθὼν ἐς τὸν Πειραιᾶ καὶ ἐνταῦθα οἰκῶν τὰ πλοῖα τὰ καταίροντα ἐν αὐτῷ πάντα ἑαυτοῦ ἐνόμιζεν εἶναι, καὶ ἀπεγράφετο αὐτὰ καὶ αὖ πάλιν ἐξέπεμπε καὶ τοῖς περισωζομένοις καὶ ἐσιοῦσιν ἐς τὸν λιμένα ὑπερέχαιρε· χρόνους δὲ διετέλεσε πολλοὺς συνοικῶν τῷ ἀρρωστήματι τούτῳ. ἐκ Σικελίας δὲ ἀναχθεὶς ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ παρέδωκεν αὐτὸν ἰατρῷ ἰάσασθαι, καὶ ἔπαυσεν αὐτὸν τῆς νόσου οὗτος. ἐμέμνητο δὲ πολλάκις τῆς ἐν μανίᾳ διατριβῆς, καὶ ἔλεγε μηδέποτε ἡσθῆναι τοσοῦτον, ὅσον τότε ἥδετο ἐπὶ ταῖς μηδὲν αὐτῷ προσηκούσαις ναυσὶν

Leave a Reply