Snow-Struck: Ancient Greek for Our Current Pain

νιφοβλής, “snow-struck”
νιφοκτύπος, “snow-hammered”
νιφάς, ή: “snow, snow flake”
νιφετώδης: “snowy, like snow”
νιφοβολία: “snowstorm”
νιφοστιβής: “snow-covered”
νιφοψυχής: “snow cold”

Thucydides 4.103

“It was winter and it was snowing”

χειμὼν δὲ ἦν καὶ ὑπένειφεν…

Homer, Il. 3.222-3

“Yet, then a great voice came from his chest And [Odysseus’] words were like snowy storms”

ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ ὄπα τε μεγάλην ἐκ στήθεος εἵη καὶ ἔπεα νιφάδεσσιν ἐοικότα χειμερίῃσιν,

Homer, Il. 13.754

“And then Hector surged up like a snowy mountain”

῏Η ῥα, καὶ ὁρμήθη ὄρεϊ νιφόεντι ἐοικὼς

Simonides, Gr. Anth. 6.217

“Once he avoided the winter onslaught of the snow..”

Χειμερίην νιφετοῖο κατήλυσιν ἡνίκ᾿ ἀλύξας

Od. 4.565-66

“There humans have the easiest life indeed—
There is no snow, nor storms, nor ever too much rain…”

τῇ περ ῥηΐστη βιοτὴ πέλει ἀνθρώποισιν·
οὐ νιφετός, οὔτ’ ἂρ χειμὼν πολὺς οὔτε ποτ’ ὄμβρος…

Euteknios Sophista, 18.15

“Then the snow must be eaten again.”

τοτὲ χιονοφαγητέον δ’ αὖ

Pherecrates 24 (from harpokration

“Whenever you have the time, make it snow…”

ὁπόταν σχολάζῃς, νεῖψον

Pindar, Paean 9 fr. 52K

“…or the indescribable power of the snowstorm…”

ἢ νιφετοῦ σθένος / ὑπέρφατον,

Antipater, 6. 19 (Greek Anthology)

“Driven by Zeus’ limb-freezing snow…”

Ζανὸς ἐλαστρησθεὶς γυιοπαγεῖ νιφάδι

Leonidas 6.222 (Greek Anthology)

“Fleeing the snow and chilling frost…”

καὶ νιφετὸν φεύγων καὶ κρυόεντα πάγον

Ok. Some Latin too…

Plautus, Stichus 648

“The day is melting like snow…”

quasi nix tabescit dies.

Seneca, De Beneficiis 4

“I will go to dinner just as I promised, even if it is cold. But I certainly will not if it begins to snow.”

Ad cenam, quia promisi, ibo, etiam si frigus erit; non quidem, si nives cadent.

χιών, ὁ: “snow”
χιονόβατος: “snow-path” (“where one walks in snow”)
χιονοβλέφαρος: “with a dazzling white eye”
χιονόβλητος: “snow-struck”
χιονοθρέμμων, ὁ: “snow-nourishing”
χιονόκτυπος: “snow-beaten”
χιονόμελι: “snow-honey”
χιονόπεπλος, “robe of snow”
χιονωπός: “snow-white”
χιονωτός: “snow-beaten”

Longus, Daphnis and Chloe 3.3.1

“A winter more bitter than war fell upon Daphnis and Chloe: for a great snowstorm descended suddenly and blocked all the roads, closing off all the farmers.”

Γίνεται δὲ χειμὼν Δάφνιδι καὶ Χλόῃ τοῦ πολέμου πικρότερος: ἐξαίφνης γὰρ περιπεσοῦσα χιὼν πολλὴ πάσας μὲν ἀπέκλεισε τὰς ὁδούς, πάντας δὲ κατέκλεισε τοὺς γεωργούς.

Solon, fr.9 1-4

“The fury of snow and hail comes from a cloud
and thunder comes from bright lightning.
A city is destroyed by great men and the people fall
into the slavery of monarchy thanks to ignorance.”

ἐκ νεφέλης πέλεται χιόνος μένος ἠδὲ χαλάζης,
βροντὴ δ’ ἐκ λαμπρῆς γίγνεται ἀστεροπῆς·
ἀνδρῶν δ’ ἐκ μεγάλων πόλις ὄλλυται, ἐς δὲ μονάρχου
δῆμος ἀϊδρίηι δουλοσύνην ἔπεσεν.

Diogenes Laertius 6.34.4 (on Diogenes)

“He used to walk in the snow with bare feet…”

γυμνοῖς ποσὶ χίονα ἐπάτει….

Image result for Ancient Greek snow

Suda, s.v. niphetos

Niphetos: This denotes thin, falling snow. There are four results of water condensing in the air. High, above the earth, the lesser type is snow and the greater force is hail. Below on the land, the lesser type is hoar-frost and the greater part is frost. But snow falling [niphetos] is not a specific type of condensing, instead it is just a different type of appearance. “When the Skythian land is blanketed in show, they cannot live without freezing weather” [Men. Fr. 10.10. And elsewhere: “Queen, even a snow storm brings you fruit as you are” [Gr. Anth. 6.242].

Νιφετός: ἡ κατάλεπτος καταφερομένη χιών. τέσσαρές εἰσι πήξεις τῆς ἐν τῷ ἀέρι ὑδατώδους πήξεως ὑγρότητος: ὑπὲρ γῆν μὲν ἄνω, ἐπ’ ἔλαττον μὲν χιών, ἐπὶ πλέον δὲ χάλαζα: ἐπὶ γῆς δὲ κάτω, ἐπ’ ἔλαττον μὲν πάχνη, ἐπὶ πλέον δὲ κρύσταλος: ὁ δὲ νιφετὸς πῆξις οὐκ ἔστιν, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον περὶ τὴν ἀλλοίαν χροιὰν ἡ ποιότης αὕτη. ἅτε τῆς χώρας τῶν Σκυθῶν θαμὰ νιφετῷ παλυνομένης, καὶ ἀδύνατον ὂν αὐτοῖς ἄνευ κρυμώδους καταστήματος βιοτεύειν. καὶ αὖθις: ἐς δέ σ’, ἄνασσα, τοίην χὠ νιφόεις κρυμὸς ὀπωροφορεῖ.

This is how the narrative describes Penelope and Odysseus during their encounter while Odysseus is in disguise.

Odyssey 19.204–212

‘As she was listening her tears began to flow and her skin’s color receded
As when snow melts on the highest mountaintops,
The snow the east wind melts after the west wind piles it up,
And rivers grow full and flow from the thaw—
That’s how her beautiful cheeks melted, pouring tears
As she wept for her own husband even as he sat there. But Odysseus
Pitied his wife as she mourned in his heart—
But his eyes stood motionless like horn or iron
Under his brows as he cloaked his tears with a trick.”

τῆς δ’ ἄρ’ ἀκουούσης ῥέε δάκρυα, τήκετο δὲ χρώς.
ὡς δὲ χιὼν κατατήκετ’ ἐν ἀκροπόλοισιν ὄρεσσιν,
ἥν τ’ εὖρος κατέτηξεν, ἐπὴν ζέφυρος καταχεύῃ,
τηκομένης δ’ ἄρα τῆς ποταμοὶ πλήθουσι ῥέοντες·
ὣς τῆς τήκετο καλὰ παρήϊα δάκρυ χεούσης,
κλαιούσης ἑὸν ἄνδρα, παρήμενον. αὐτὰρ ᾿Οδυσσεὺς
θυμῷ μὲν γοόωσαν ἑὴν ἐλέαιρε γυναῖκα,
ὀφθαλμοὶ δ’ ὡς εἰ κέρα ἕστασαν ἠὲ σίδηρος
ἀτρέμας ἐν βλεφάροισι· δόλῳ δ’ ὅ γε δάκρυα κεῦθεν.

Related image
Penelope and Odysseus, by Johann Heinrich Tischbein

Cicero, in Catilinam 2.23

“How will they bear the Appenines covered in frosts and snow? Maybe they think that they can tolerate the cold, because they learned to dance naked at dinner parties.”

Quo autem pacto illi Appeninum atque illas pruinas ac nivis perferent? Nisi idcirco se facilius hiemem toleraturos putant, quod nudi in conviviis saltare didicerunt.

2 thoughts on “Snow-Struck: Ancient Greek for Our Current Pain

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s