Wednesday’s Wondrous Water

The Paradoxagraphus Florentinus: Mirabilia de aquis is a text of “amazing stories” about bodies of water. [Here’s a site that seems to have stalled out but whose aim was to translate the remaining paradoxes]. Little is known about its authorship or audience. There are 43 sections. Here are the first 11. Some of the language is odd and I made no effort to look up the place names. So, if you have any corrections or suggestions, please share them.

1 “There is a spring in Potnia near Thebes and when horses drink from it they go insane, as Isigonos claims in the second book of his On Unbelievable Things

Κρήνη ἐν Ποτνίαις περὶ Θήβας, ἐξ ἧς οἱ ἵπποι πίνοντες μαίνονται, ὡς ἱστορεῖ ᾿Ισίγονος ἐν δευτέρῳ ἀπίστων.

2 “In Clazomenae, as that aforementioned Isigonos records, there is a spring which changes the color of the hair of all the animals who drink of it.”

Κρήνη ἐν Κλαζομεναῖς, ἀφ’ ἧς τὰ θρέμματα πίνοντα τὴν ἐρέαν χρωματίνην ποιεῖ, ὡς ἱστορεῖ ὁ προειρημένος ᾿Ισίγονος.

3 “There is a spring in India which spits up anyone who swims into it onto the land as if from a machine, according to the historian Ktêsias.”

Κρήνη ἐν ᾿Ινδοῖς, ἣ τοὺς κολυμβῶντας ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἐκβάλλει ὡς ἀπ’ ὀργάνου, ὡς ἱστορεῖ Κτησίας.

4 “In Krete there is a channel for water and when people cross it even though it is raining they make it through without getting wet for the entire distance which the channel extends.”

᾿Εν Κρήτῃ ὀχετὸς ὕδατός ἐστιν, ὃν οἱ διαβαίνοντες ὕοντος τοῦ Διὸς ἄβροχοι διαβαίνουσιν, ἐφ’ ὅσον ἐν τῷ ὀχετῷ εἰσιν.

5 “Among the Persians they claim that a spring filled with olive oil appeared suddenly to Alexander.”

᾿Εν Πέρσαις φασὶν ᾿Αλεξάνδρῳ φανῆναι κρήνην ἐλαίου πληρουμένην αὐτομάτως.

6 “Near Kilikia there is a certain pooling of water in which birds and unthinking animals who are soaked in it and drowned come back to life again.”

Παρὰ Κιλικίᾳ φασὶν ὕδατος εἶναι σύστημά τι ἐν ᾧ τὰ πεπνιγμένα τῶν ὀρνέων καὶ τῶν ἀλόγων ζῴων ἐμβραχέντα ἀναζῆν.

7 “Along a road in Syracuse there is a stream which is neither large nor carries a lot of water; but when a great mob comes to the place and there is a great sound it provides endless water, as Aristotle says.”

᾿Εν τῇ ἐπὶ Συρακουσῶν ὁδῷ κρήνη ἐστὶν οὐ μεγάλη οὐδὲ ὕδωρ πολὺ ἔχουσα· ὄχλου δὲ ἐπελθόντος εἰς τὸν τόπον καὶ ψόφου γινομένου παρέχει ὕδωρ ἄφθονον, ὥς φησιν ᾿Αριστοτέλης.

8 “In Paliakoi there is a spring which hurls water up six cubits high, making an impression that it is about to wash over the bordering places. But on the whole it doesn’t splash over anything. The people who live there swear their greatest oaths on this spring, as Isigonos records in the second book of his On Unbelievable Things.”

Κρήνη ἐν Παλικοῖς, ἥτις εἰς ὕψος ἀναρρίπτει τὸ ὕδωρ πηχέων ἕξ, ἔμφασιν ποιοῦσα μέλλειν κατακλύζειν τοὺς ὑποκειμένους τόπους· καθόλου δὲ οὐχ ὑπερεκχεῖται οὐδέν. ἐπὶ ταύτης οἱ ἐπιχώριοι τοὺς ὑπὲρ τῶν μεγίστων ὅρκους ποιοῦνται, ὡς ἱστορεῖ ᾿Ισίγονος ἐν δευτέρῳ ἀπίστων.

9 “Around the Skotoussa in Thessaly there is a little thing of a spring which heals all the wounds of unthinking animals. If someone breaks wood a little and throws it in after splitting it, it will be repaired. Thus the water is like glue, as Isigonos claims.”

Περὶ Σκοτοῦσσαν τῆς Θεσσαλίας κρηνίδιόν ἐστι μικρόν, ὃ τὰ ἕλκη πάντα θεραπεύει καὶ τῶν ἀλόγων ζῴων· εἰς ὃ ἐάν τις ξύλον μὴ λίαν συντρίψας, ἀλλὰ σχίσας ἐμβάλῃ, ἀποκαθίσταται· οὕτως κολλῶδες ἔχει τὸ ὕδωρ, ὥς φησιν ᾿Ισίγονος.

10 “Among the Lousoi in Arkadia Aristotle says that there is a certain spring in which mice are indigenous and they make their life there by swimming in it.”

᾿Εν Λούσοις τῆς ᾿Αρκαδίας φησὶν ᾿Αριστοτέλης κρήνην τινὰ εἶναι, ἐν ᾗ μῦς χερσαίους γίνεσθαι, καὶ τούτους κολυμβᾶν ἐν ἐκείνῃ τὴν δίαιταν ποιουμένους.

11 “Isigonos claims that there is a spring in Athamia from which the water is cold but on its top is so hot that if someone were to pour it over kindling it would immediately catch on fire”

Φησὶν ᾿Ισίγονος ἐν ᾿Αθαμᾶσι κρήνην εἶναι, ἧς τὸ μὲν ὕδωρ ψυχρὸν ὑπάρχειν, τὸ δ’ ὑπὲρ αὐτὸ οὕτως θερμὸν ὑπάρχειν, ὥστε, ἄν τις ὑπερθῇ φρύγανα, παραχρῆμα ἐξάπτεσθαι.

Yates Thompson MS 10, f. 11r (detail), France (Paris), 1370-1390

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