The Fat Dog and Its Collar: A Fable for Our times

Babrius, Fable 100

A super fat dog and a wolf once met
Who was asking him where he was fed
To become a dog so big and filled with grease.
“It is a rich man” he said, “who is feeding me”.
“But,” asked the wolf, “why is your neck so bare?”
“there’s an iron collar which wears my skin there,
A collar which my feeder forged and placed.”
The wolf laughed at him and said to his face:
“I say this kind of luxury can go to heck,
The kind of life where iron wears down my neck.”

Λύκῳ συνήντα πιμελὴς κύων λίην.
ὁ δ᾿ αὐτὸν ἐξήταζε, ποῦ τραφεὶς οὕτως
μέγας κύων ἐγένετο καὶ λίπους πλήρης.
“ἄνθρωπος” εἶπε “δαψιλής με σιτεύει.”
“ὁ δέ σοι τράχηλος” εἶπε “πῶς ἐλευκώθη;”
“κλοιῷ τέτριπται σάρκα τῷ σιδηρείῳ,
ὃν ὁ τροφεύς μοι περιτέθεικε χαλκεύσας.”
λύκος δ᾿ ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ καγχάσας “ἐγὼ τοίνυν
χαίρειν κελεύω” φησί “τῇ τρυφῇ ταύτῃ,
δι᾿ ἣν σίδηρος τὸν ἐμὸν αὐχένα τρίψει.”

Wondrous Wednesday: Partridges, Sheep-gut, And Lands Free of Snakes and Boars

Antigonus Paradoxographus, Hist. Mirab. 6-11

6 “This genre of list-making might touch upon those partridges which are described in Attica and Boiotia. Some of them are melodious, while some of them are agreed to be completely weak-voiced.”

Πίπτοι δ’ ἂν τὸ γένος τῆς ἐκλογῆς εἰς τοὺς λεγομένους ἐν τῇ ᾿Αττικῇ καὶ Βοιωτίᾳ πέρδικας, ὧν τοὺς μὲν εὐφώνους, τοὺς δὲ τελείως ἰσχνοφώνους ὁμολογεῖται γίγνεσθαι.

7 “There is a particular thing about sheep intestines—those of rams are silent, but those of females are euphonious. Some suppose this is why that poet—who is a busybody and way too specific—wrote “he stretched the seven strings of female sheep.”

῎Ιδιον δὲ καὶ τὸ περὶ τὰ ἔντερα τῶν προβάτων· τὰ μὲν γὰρ τῶν κριῶν ἐστιν ἄφωνα, τὰ δὲ τῶν θηλέων εὔφωνα. ὅθεν καὶ τὸν ποιητὴν ὑπολάβοι τις εἰρηκέναι, πολυπράγμονα πανταχοῦ καὶ περιττὸν ὄντα, ἑπτὰ δὲ θηλυτέρων ὀΐων ἐτανύσσατο χορδάς.

8 “No less amazing than this but a little more well known concerns the thorn in Sicily which is called kaktos. Whenever a deer stumbles onto it and is wounded, its bones become soundless and useless for flutes. This is how Philêtas also has explained it when he said “The fawn could sing once it loses its life / if it has guarded against the strike of the sharp kaktos.”

8 Οὐχ ἧττον δὲ τούτου θαυμαστόν, καθωμιλημένον δὲ μᾶλλον τὸ περὶ τὴν ἐν τῇ Σικελίᾳ ἄκανθαν τὴν καλουμένην κάκτον· εἰς ἣν ὅταν ἔλαφος ἐμβῇ καὶ τραυματισθῇ, τὰ ὀστᾶ ἄφωνα καὶ ἄχρηστα πρὸς αὐλοὺς ἴσχει.  ὅθεν καὶ ὁ Φιλητᾶς  ἐξηγήσατο περὶ αὐτῆς εἴπας·

          γηρύσαιτο δὲ νεβρὸς ἀπὸ ζωὴν ὀλέσασα, / ὀξείης κάκτου τύμμα φυλαξαμένη.

9 “In the Islands of the Lemnians, which are called the Neai, there are no partridges and if anyone brings some, they die. Some report a situation more ominous than this—that [they die] when they see the land.”

9᾿Εν δὲ ταῖς τῶν Λημνίων νήσοις ταῖς καλουμέναις Νέαις πέρδικες οὐ γίνονται, ἀλλὰ κἂν κομίσῃ τις ἀπόλλυνται. ἔνιοι δὲ τούτου τερατωδέστερον ἱστοροῦσιν, ὅτι κἂν ἴδωσιν τὴν χώραν.

10“Even though Boiotia possesses a multitude of molerats, this animal is absent only in Korôneia and it dies if it is brought in. It is the same way with wolves and owls in Crete, a place where they say the land will not abide any deadly animals.”

10 Τῆς δὲ Βοιωτίας ἐχούσης πλήθει πολλοὺς ἀσπάλακας, ἐν τῇ Κορωνικῇ μόνῃ οὐ γίνεσθαι τοῦτο τὸ ζῷον, ἀλλὰ κἂν εἰσαχθῇ τελευτᾶν. καθάπερ οἱ <λύκοι καὶ αἱ> γλαῦκες ἐν Κρήτῃ, ἐν ᾗ λέγουσιν οὐδὲ ζῷον θανάσιμον οὐδὲν τὴν χώραν φέρειν.

11 “In Astupalaia there are no snakes, nor hares in Ithaka, nor a wild boar in Libya nor deer, nor is there a weasel in Rheneia near Delos, nor is there a guinea-fowl to be seen anywhere on Leros.”

 ᾿Εν ᾿Αστυπαλαίᾳ δὲ ὄφεις οὐ γίνονται, οὐδὲ ἐν ᾿Ιθάκῃ λαγῶς, οὐδὲ ἐν Λιβύῃ ὗς ἀγρία οὐδὲ ἔλαφοι, οὐδ’ ἐν ῾Ρηνείᾳ τῇ πρὸς Δήλῳ γαλῆ, οὐδὲ μελεαγρὶς οὐδαμοῦ ἄλλῃ <ἢ ἐν Λέρῳ> ὁρᾶται.

Betrayed by Men; Saved By Dolphins–The Story of Arion

Herodotus 1.35

“Periander was ruling Korinth as a tyrant. For the Korinthians claim (and the Lesbians agree with them) that the most wonderful thing happened in his life: Arion of Methymna was carried to Tainaron on a dolphin. He was a kithara player second to none at that time and the first man we know of who composed, named and taught the dithyramb at Corinth.

They say that this Arion spent much time at Periander’s palace but desired to sail to Italy and Sicily. After he made a lot of money there, he wanted to return to Korinth again. He left from Tarentum and hired a ship of Korinthian men because he trusted no one more than Korinthians. But once on the sea, they conspired to throw Arion out to keep his money. After he learned this, he was begging, offering money to them, trying to bargain for his life. But he was not able to persuade him—the sailors commanded him either to do himself in, so that he might have a burial on ground, or to leap into the sea as soon as possible.

When Arion realized he was at the end, he asked, since it might seem right to them, that he appear in full dress standing on the benches singing. And he promised to kill himself after singing. This came as a delight to them if they could hear the best mortal singer at work. They retreated to the middle of the ship from the stern and he donned all his equipment and took up the kithara. While standing on the benches he sang the entire Orthian nome. When he was done with it, he threw himself into the sea in full costume.

They sailed back to Korinth but people claim a dolphin picked him up and took him to Tainaros. Once he got to land, he went to Koronth with all his stuff and when he got there told the whole story. Since Periander distrusted him, he held Arion under guard, separated from everyone. He waited for the sailors. When they were present, they were asked if they could say anything about Arion. When they were claiming that they left him safe somewhere in Italy and he was doing well in Tarentum, he appeared to them looking just like he did when he leaped out of the boat. The sailors were shocked and were not able to deny it since they had been completely refuted. The Korinthians and Lesbians say these things. And there is a bronze dedication of Arion in Tarentum, not very large: a man riding a dolphin.”

ἐτυράννευε δὲ ὁ Περίανδρος Κορίνθου· τῷ δὴ λέγουσι Κορίνθιοι (ὁμολογέουσι δέ σφι Λέσβιοι) ἐν τῷ βίῳ θῶμα μέγιστον παραστῆναι, Ἀρίονα τὸν Μηθυμναῖον ἐπὶ δελφῖνος ἐξενειχθέντα ἐπὶ Ταίναρον, ἐόντα κιθαρῳδὸν τῶν τότε ἐόντων οὐδενὸς δεύτερον, καὶ διθύραμβον πρῶτον ἀνθρώπων τῶν ἡμεῖς ἴδμεν ποιήσαντά τε καὶ ὀνομάσαντα καὶ διδάξαντα ἐν Κορίνθῳ. τοῦτον τὸν Ἀρίονα λέγουσι, τὸν πολλὸν τοῦ χρόνου διατρίβοντα παρὰ Περιάνδρῳ, ἐπιθυμῆσαι πλῶσαι ἐς Ἰταλίην τε καὶ Σικελίην, ἐργασάμενον δὲ χρήματα μεγάλα θελῆσαι ὀπίσω ἐς Κόρινθον ἀπικέσθαι. ὁρμᾶσθαι μέν νυν ἐκ Τάραντος, πιστεύοντα δὲ οὐδαμοῖσι μᾶλλον ἢ Κορινθίοισι μισθώσασθαι πλοῖον ἀνδρῶν Κορινθίων· τοὺς δὲ ἐν τῷ πελάγει ἐπιβουλεύειν τὸν Ἀρίονα ἐκβαλόντας ἔχειν τὰ χρήματα· τὸν δὲ συνέντα τοῦτο λίσσεσθαι, χρήματα μέν σφι προϊέντα, ψυχὴν δὲ παραιτεόμενον. οὐκ ὦν δὴ πείθειν αὐτὸν τούτοισι, ἀλλὰ κελεύειν τοὺς πορθμέας ἢ αὐτὸν διαχρᾶσθαί μιν, ὡς ἂν ταφῆς ἐν γῇ τύχῃ, ἢ ἐκπηδᾶν ἐς τὴν θάλασσαν τὴν ταχίστην. ἀπειληθέντα δὲ τὸν Ἀρίονα ἐς ἀπορίην παραιτήσασθαι, ἐπειδή σφι οὕτω δοκέοι, περιιδεῖν αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ σκευῇ πάσῃ στάντα ἐν τοῖσι ἑδωλίοισι ἀεῖσαι· ἀείσας δὲ ὑπεδέκετο ἑωυτὸν κατεργάσεσθαι. καὶ τοῖσι ἐσελθεῖν γὰρ ἡδονὴν εἰ μέλλοιεν ἀκούσεσθαι τοῦ ἀρίστου ἀνθρώπων ἀοιδοῦ, ἀναχωρῆσαι ἐκ τῆς πρύμνης ἐς μέσην νέα. τὸν δὲ ἐνδύντα τε πᾶσαν τὴν σκευὴν καὶ λαβόντα τὴν κιθάρην, στάντα ἐν τοῖσι ἑδωλίοισι διεξελθεῖν νόμον τὸν ὄρθιον, τελευτῶντος δὲ τοῦ νόμου ῥῖψαί μιν ἐς τὴν θάλασσαν ἑωυτὸν ὡς εἶχε σὺν τῇ σκευῇ πάσῃ. καὶ τοὺς μὲν ἀποπλέειν ἐς Κόρινθον, τὸν δὲ δελφῖνα λέγουσι ὑπολαβόντα ἐξενεῖκαι ἐπὶ Ταίναρον. ἀποβάντα δὲ αὐτὸν χωρέειν ἐς Κόρινθον σὺν τῇ σκευῇ καὶ ἀπικόμενον ἀπηγέεσθαι πᾶν τὸ γεγονός. Περίανδρον δὲ ὑπὸ ἀπιστίης Ἀρίονα μὲν ἐν φυλακῇ ἔχειν οὐδαμῇ μετιέντα, ἀνακῶς δὲ ἔχειν τῶν πορθμέων· ὡς δὲ ἄρα παρεῖναι αὐτούς, κληθέντας ἱστορέεσθαι εἴ τι λέγοιεν περὶ Ἀρίονος. φαμένων δὲ ἐκείνων ὡς εἴη τε σῶς περὶ Ἰταλίην καί μιν εὖ πρήσσοντα λίποιεν ἐν Τάραντι, ἐπιφανῆναί σφι τὸν Ἀρίονα ὥσπερ ἔχων ἐξεπήδησε· καὶ τοὺς ἐκπλαγέντας οὐκ ἔχειν ἔτι ἐλεγχομένους ἀρνέεσθαι. ταῦτα μέν νυν Κορίνθιοί τε καὶ Λέσβιοι λέγουσι, καὶ Ἀρίονος ἔστι ἀνάθημα χάλκεον οὐ μέγα ἐπὶ Ταινάρῳ, ἐπὶ δελφῖνος ἐπεὼν ἄνθρωπος.

 

Fantastic Friday 3: Waters with Anaesthetic, Aphrodisiac, and Life-Changing Powers

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 33-38

33 “Aristôn the Peripatetic says that on the island Kios there is a spring of water and when people drink from it they lose all perception.”

᾿Αρίστων ὁ περιπατητικὸς ἐν τῇ νήσῳ Κία πηγήν φησιν ὕδατος εἶναι, ἀφ’ ἧς τοὺς πιόντας ἀναισθήτους γίνεσθαι.

 

34 “Near India there is a lake which admits everything except for gold and silver”

Περὶ τὴν ᾿Ινδικὴν ἔστι λίμνη, ἥτις πάντα †δέχεται† πλὴν χρυσοῦ καὶ ἀργύρου.

 

35 “Hellanikos says that among the Indians there is a spring called Sila from which even the lightest things are hurled back” [?]

῾Ελλάνικος ἐν ᾿Ινδοῖς εἶναί φησι κρήνην Σίλαν καλουμένην, ἐφ’ ἧς καὶ τὰ ἐλαφρότατα καταποντίζεται.

 

36 “In Hierapolis there is a place called Kharônios in which no animal walks at all. For, they immediately fall [there]”

᾿Εν ῾Ιεραπόλει τόπος ἐστὶ Χαρώνιος λεγόμενος, ἐν ᾧ οὐδὲν ζῷον δῆτα βαίνει· πίπτει γὰρ παραυτίκα.

 

37 “The river Selemnos flows through Arkadia and its water is an aphrodisiac.”

Σέλεμνος ποταμὸς ῥέει διὰ τῆς ᾿Αρκαδίας, καὶ ἔστι τὸ ὕδωρ αὐτοῦ ἔρωτος φάρμακον.

 

38 “Theopompos says that there is a spring in Thrace and those who have bathed in it change their life.”

Θεόπομπος κρήνην ἐν Θρᾴκῃ λέγει εἶναι, ἐξ ἧς οἱ λουσάμενοι μεταλλάττουσι τὸν βίον.

Fantastic Friday: Singing Statues and Food For Dogs

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 14, 23, 29, 30

14 “In a certain part of Olympos near Prousa they record that Daphne was overcome as she was pursued by a lusting Apollo. And even to this day, the leaves of laurel can be found mixed among those rocks.”

Κατὰ μέρος τι τοῦ κατὰ Προῦσαν ᾿Ολύμπου ἱστοροῦσι τὴν Δάφνην καταπεπόσθαι διωκομένην ὑπὸ ᾿Απόλλωνος ἐρῶντος· καὶ ἕως τοῦ νῦν πέταλα δάφνης ἐν τοῖς λίθοις ἀναμεμιγμένα εὑρίσκεσθαι.

[15-17: Some Miraculous Misogyny]

[18-22: River Stories]

23 “In Egypt, there is a statue of Memnon, which sings when the sun rises just as if it were addressing it.”

Κατὰ τῆν Αἴγυπτον ἀνδριὰς ἵσταται Μέμνονος, ὃς ἀνατέλλοντος τοῦ ἡλίου ᾄδει οἱονεὶ προσαγορεύων αὐτόν.

[24: More Misogyny]

[25-28: Marriage Customs]

29 “The Persians give meat to their household dogs as they would to wealthy and famous people.”

Πέρσαι τοῖς οἰκείοις κυσὶ βοράν, <οἵαν> τοῖς πλουσίοις καὶ ἐνδόξοις, τιθέασιν.

30 “Pherecydes of Syros became extremely prophetic after drinking water from a certain spring on the island of Syros. He then predicted some earthquakes and other things.”

Φερεκύδης ὁ Σύριος ἀπό τινος ἐν Σύρῳ τῇ νήσῳ πηγῆς ὕδωρ πιὼν μαντικώτατος γέγονε καί τινας προεμήνυσε σεισμοὺς καὶ ἄλλα.

Late 13C France U 964 Biblia Porta Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire

Late 13C France U 964 Biblia Porta Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire

 

Crane Tricks and Tortoise Homes

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 1-2 A few of these are really rough because the Greek does not make sense to me. Any suggestions are welcome

1 “Hegesias the Megarian says that there are cranes and whenever they are about to leave from Thrace, they are all sprinkled by one in a circle [?]. And then, whenever that one cries out, one is selected out as if a command were issued, and, after cleansing, it remains there. When they cross the sea, two stretch out their wings, but one goes beneath takes a break while resting upon them.”

῾Αγησίας ὁ Μεγαρεὺς τὰς γεράνους φησίν, ὅταν ἐκ τῆς Θρᾴκης ἀπαίρειν μέλλωσιν, ὑπὸ μιᾶς περιρραίνεσθαι κύκλῳ πάσας· εἶθ’ ὅταν βοήσῃ ἐκείνη, τὴς μὲν ἐξαίρειν καθαπερεὶ κελευστοῦ παραγγείλαντος, τὴν δ’ ἁγνίσασαν καταμένειν αὐτοῦ. ὅταν δὲ τὸ πέλαγος διαπεραιῶνται, δύο μὲν ἐκτείνειν τὰς πτέρυγας, τὴν δὲ γινομένην ὑπόκοπον ἐπὶ τούτων ἐφίζουσαν ἀναπαύεσθαι.

2 [Krokotta]

 3 “Politês says that damp-mud [pêla-muda] is made from mud in the Black sea. For this reason, he explains, it also has that name.”

Πολίτης τὴν πηλαμύδα ἐν τῷ Πόντῳ ἐκ πηλοῦ γίνεσθαί φησι· διὸ καὶ ταύτης τυχεῖν τῆς προσηγορίας λέγει.

 9“Polykleitos says that there are tortoises in the Ganges whose shell is just short of five measures large. Agatharkhides [claims] that they use these shells as as roofs for huts.”

Πολύκλειτος χελώνας γίνεσθαί φησιν κἂν τῷ Γάγγῃ, ὧν τὸ χελώνιον μεδίμνας χωρεῖν πέντε. ὁ ᾿Αγαθαρχίδης δὲ τοῖς χελωνίοις χρῆσθαι †πλήοις† ὡς ὀροφώμασι τῶν καλυβῶν.

 

 

For the Love of…A Goose?

Everyone has heard about Leda and the swan. But have you heard about Amphilokhos and his gift-giving goose?

Aelian, De Natura Animalium 5.29

“In Aigion, in Akhaia, a goose was in love with a handsome boy, an Ôlenian named Amphilokhos. Theophrastus tells this story. The boy was under guard with the Olenian exiles in Aigion—there, the goose used to bring him gifts. In Khios, too, there was an especially beautiful woman named Glaukê, a harp player, and many men lusted after her—which is nothing big. But a ram and a goose loved her too, as I have heard.”

Ἐν Αἰγίῳ τῆς Ἀχαίας ὡραίου παιδός, Ὠλενίου τὸ γένος, ὄνομα Ἀμφιλόχου, ἤρα χήν. Θεόφραστος λέγει τοῦτο. σὺν τοῖς Ὠλενίων δὲ φυγάσιν ἐφρουρεῖτο ἐν Αἰγίῳ ὁ παῖς. οὐκοῦν ὁ χὴν αὐτῷ δῶρα ἔφερε. καὶ ἐν Χίῳ Γλαύκης τῆς κιθαρῳδοῦ ὡραιοτάτης οὔσης εἰ μὲν ἤρων ἄνθρωποι, μέγα οὐδέπω· ἠράσθησαν δὲ καὶ κριὸς καὶ χήν, ὡς ἀκούω, τῆς αὐτῆς.

File:Ammannati - Leda and the Swan.jpg

Fantastic Friday 2: “Lady-Killers” and Bee Funerals

Apollonios the Paradoxographer is credited with a text of 51 anecdotes usually dated to the 3rd or 2nd century BCE.  Some of these translations are pretty rough, so suggestions and corrections are welcome.

40 “Aristoxenos the scholar writes in his Life of Telestes (a very man he happened to meet in Italy) that he was undergoing sufferings at the time. Of these there was one as well which was the strangest event and it transpired concerning  the women.

For these women were ecstatic to the point that once they were sitting and dining because they were heeding someone who was bidding them, but then they leapt up and became unconquerable and ran out of the city.

To the Locrians and the Rhegians seeking a prophecy about the resolution of this sickness the god said that they had to sing the spring paeans for twelve days. For this reason there are many Paean-writers in Italy.”

40 ᾿Αριστόξενος ὁ μουσικὸς ἐν τῷ Τελέστου βίῳ φησίν, ᾧπερ ἐν ᾿Ιταλίᾳ συνεκύρησεν, ὑπὸ τὸν αὐτὸν καιρὸν γίγνεσθαι πάθη, ὧν ἓν εἶναι καὶ τὸ περὶ τὰς γυναῖκας γενόμενον ἄτοπον· ἐκστάσεις γὰρ γίγνεσθαι τοιαύτας, ὥστε ἐνίοτε καθημένας καὶ δειπνούσας ὡς καλοῦντός τινος ὑπακούειν, εἶτα ἐκπηδᾶν ἀκατασχέτους γινομένας καὶ τρέχειν ἐκτὸς τῆς πόλεως.

μαντευομένοις δὲ τοῖς Λοκροῖς καὶ ῾Ρηγίνοις περὶ τῆς ἀπαλ-λαγῆς τοῦ πάθους εἰπεῖν τὸν θεόν, παιᾶνας ᾄδειν ἐαρινοὺς [δωδεκάτης] ἡμέρας ξ′. ὅθεν πολλοὺς γενέσθαι παιανογράφους ἐν τῇ ᾿Ιταλίᾳ.

41 “Theophrastos says in the eighth book of his On Plants that the grass scorpion—which people call the lady-killer—attacks scorpions to drain them completely.”

41 Θεόφραστος, ἐν τῷ η′ περὶ φυτῶν, τὸ σκορπίον βοτάνιον —οἱ δὲ θηλυφόνον καλοῦσιν—ἐπιτιθέμενον τοῖς σκορπίοις ξηραίνειν αὐτοὺς εὐθέως.

42 “From what has been observed the wounds which scar the least happen to those who are pregnant, splenetic, or have enlarged veins and women who have white veins around their thighs.”

42 Τῶν παρατετηρημένων ἐστὶ τὸ δυσκατούλωτα ἕλκη γίγνεσθαι ταῖς τε κυούσαις καὶ σπληνικοῖς καὶ τοῖς κιρσοὺς ἔχουσιν καὶ ταῖς γυναιξίν, ὅσαις ἰξίαι περὶ τοὺς μηροὺς ἄν εἰσιν.

44 “Theophrastos in his work On Plants records about the Soloi of Kilikia near a river which is called the Pinaros where there was a battle of Alexander against Dareios, poppies grow without seeds. And, in general in Egypt, pomegranate seeds have the smell of wine.”

43 Θεόφραστος ἐν τῷ περὶ φυτῶν· περὶ Σόλους τῆς Κιλικίας παρὰ τὸν ποταμὸν τὸν λεγόμενον Πίναρον, οὗ ἡ μάχη ᾿Αλεξάνδρου πρὸς Δαρεῖον ἐγένετο, αἱ ῥόαι ἀπύρηνοι γίγνονται· δι’ ὅλου δ’ ἐ<ν Αἰγύπτῳ> οἱ κόκκοι τὸ οἰνίζον ἔχουσιν.

44 “In his books About Animals, Aristotle remarks that the bee dies after shedding its stinger. And then the bees carry it out of the beehive.”

44᾿Αριστοτέλης ἐν τοῖς περὶ ζῴων· ἡ μέλισσα, φησίν, ἀποβάλλουσα τὸ κεντρίον ἀποθνῄσκει, αἱ δὲ βαστάζουσιν ἔξω τοῦ σμηνιῶνος.

45 “From the observed things, there is also the burning of wicks on white flowers or wreaths so that these remain unfaded right up to dawn. And the garland-weavers make it.”

45 Τῶν παρατετηρημένων ἐστὶν καὶ τὸ τοῖς λευκοΐοις ἄνθεσιν ἢ στεφάνοις διὰ νυκτὸς λύχνους παρακαίεσθαι, ἵνα εἰς τὴν πρωίαν ταῦτα παραμένει ἀμάραντα. ποιοῦσι δὲ τοῦτο οἱ στεφανηπλόκοι.

Image result for medieval manuscript scorpion

Image taken from this site.

 

Fantastic Friday: Magic Stones and Human Honey

Apollonios the Paradoxographer is credited with a text of 51 anecdotes usually dated to the 3rd or 2nd century BCE.  Some of these translations are pretty rough, so suggestions and corrections are welcome.

36 “Sotakos in his book On Stones records that there is a stone which is called Karystios which has outgrowths which are woolly and downy—from these hand-cloths are woven and spun. They also braid from these lampwicks which burn brightly and without burning out completely. The washing of these hand-cloths happens when they are covered in dirt and not in water, and then brush is burned and the cloth is placed on them. Then they become white and clean thanks to fire and are returned for use to the same women [?]. The candle wicks remain incompletely used up for all time as long as they are burned with olive oil.

The smell of the candlewicks as they burn makes people think they are about to fall. That stone is also in Karystos and took is name from the place, but there are many in Kypros [for those going up from the Gerander, as if  towards those traveling on the left of Elmaios below the cliffs. [Solous?]. This stone also increases during the full-moon and diminishes again as the moon wanes.”

36 Σώτακος ἐν τῷ περὶ λίθων· ὁ Καρύστιος, φησίν, λεγόμενος λίθος ἐπιφύσεις ἔχει ἐριώδεις καὶ χνοώδεις, ἐξ οὗ νήθεται καὶ ὑφαίνεται χειρεκμαγεῖα. στρέφουσι δὲ ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐλλύχνια, καὶ ἔστιν καιόμενα λαμπρὰ καὶ ἀκατάκαυστα. τῶν δὲ ἐκμαγείων τῶν ῥυπαινομένων ἡ πλύσις γίγνεται οὐ δι’ ὕδατος, ἀλλὰ κληματὶς κάεται καὶ τότε τὸ ἐκμαγεῖον ἐπιτίθεται, καὶ ὁ μὲν ῥύπος ἀπορρεῖ, αὐτὸ δὲ λευκὸν καὶ καθαρὸν γίνεται ὑπὸ τοῦ πυρὸς καὶ πάλιν εἰς τὰς αὐτὰς ἐγχρήζει χρείας.  τὰ δ’ ἐλλύχνια μένει τὸν ἅπαντα χρόνον ἀκατάσβεστα καιόμενα μετ’ ἐλαίου.

δοκιμάζει δὲ καὶ τοὺς πτωματιζομένους ἡ ὀσμὴ τοῦ ἐλλυχνίου καιομένου.γίγνεται δὲ ὁ λίθος οὗτος καὶ ἐν Καρυστῷ μέν, ἀφ’ οὗ καὶ τοὔνομα ἔλαβεν, πολὺς δὲ ἐν Κύπρῳ, [καταβαινόντων] ἀπὸ τοῦ Γεράνδρου ὡς ἐπὶ Σόλους πορευομένοις ἐν ἀριστερᾷ <τῶν> τοῦ ᾿Ελμαίου ὑποκάτω πετρῶν. καὶ κατὰ τὸ πανσέληνον αὔξεται καὶ πάλιν φθίνοντος τοῦ σεληνίου μειοῦται καὶ ὁ λίθος.

37 “Aristotle in his natural problems writes: the respiration of [humpbacks?] goes heavily through the mouth. He also provides a reason for why this happens.”

37᾿Αριστοτέλης ἐν φυσικοῖς προβλήμασιν· τῶν κυρτῶν βαρεῖα ἡ ἀναπνοὴ διὰ τοῦ στόματος ἐξέρχεται. ἀποδέδωκεν δὲ καὶ τοῦ γιγνομένου τὴν αἰτίαν.

38 “Eudoxos the Knidian in the seventh book of his Circuit of the Earth [writes] there is a certain tribe in most of Libya which lies down beyond the Syrteoi and the Carthaginians near the West; these people are called the Guzantes. They practice a skill [whereby] they gather flowers in their regions to make honey so great and of such a kind that it is similar to that which is made by bees.”

38 Εὔδοξος δὲ ὁ Κνίδιος ἐν τῷ ζ′ γῆς περιόδου· ἔστιν ἐπὶ πλεῖστον ἐν Λιβύῃ τι ἔθνος, [ὃ] ὑπεράνω Σύρτεων τε καὶ Καρχηδόνος πρὸς ἀνατολὰς κείμενον, οἳ καλοῦνται Γύζαντες· οἵτινες τέχνην ἐπιτηδεύουσιν τὰ ἄνθη συλλέγοντες τὰ ἐν τοῖς τόποις μέλι ποιεῖν τοσοῦτον καὶ τοιοῦτον, ὥστε γίγνεσθαι οἷον τὸ ὑπὸ τῶν μελισσῶν γιγνόμενον.

39 “Aristotle writes in his Selections of Anatomies that there was a snake observed in Paphos with two feet similar to a land crocodile.”

39᾿Αριστοτέλης ἐν ταῖς ἐκλογαῖς τῶν ἀνατομῶν φησιν· ὄφις ὤφθη ἐν Πάφῳ πόδας ἔχων δύο ὁμοίους χερσαίῳ κροκοδείλῳ.

Image result for medieval manuscripts human bees

from The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, c.1440.

An Elephant’s Love for a Child

When I first started translating this I did not consider it allegory from a slightly different reality.

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, 13.85, 606F–607A [BNJ 81 F36]

“The same Phylarkhos also reports in his twentieth book how great a love an elephant once had for a child. He writes this: “There was a female elephant which was tended with that elephant, and they used to call her Nikaia. When the wife of the Indian who cared for her was dying, she handed her child who was 30 days old to her.

After she died, the animal’s love for the child was striking. It could not endure the child being separated from her; and whenever she did not see the child, she despaired. When the nurse fed the child milk, she put it in a cradle in the middle of the animal’s feet. If she failed to do this, the elephant would refuse to eat. After this, all day long the elephant would take reeds from the nearby grasses and chase away flies while the child was sleeping. Whenever the child cried, the elephant would move the cradle with her trunk and help him sleep. The male elephant often did the same thing.”

ὁ δὲ αὐτὸς ἱστορεῖ Φύλαρχος διὰ τῆς εἰκοστῆς ὅσην ἐλέφας τὸ ζῶιον φιλοστοργίαν ἔσχεν εἰς παιδίον. γράφει δὲ οὕτως· «τούτωι δὲ τῶι ἐλέφαντι συνετρέφετο θήλεια ἐλέφας, ἣν Νίκαιαν ἐκάλουν· ἧι τελευτῶσα ἡ τοῦ τρέφοντος ᾽Ινδοῦ γυνὴ παιδίον αὑτῆς τριακοσταῖον παρακατέθετο. ἀποθανούσης δὲ τῆς ἀνθρώπου δεινή τις φιλοστοργία γέγονε τοῦ θηρίου πρὸς τὸ παιδίον· οὐτε γὰρ ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ χωριζόμενον τὸ βρέφος ὑπέμενεν, τὸ δὲ εἰ μὴ βλέποι τὸ παιδίον ἤσχαλλεν. ὅτ᾽ οὖν ἡ τροφὸς ἐμπλήσειεν αὐτὸ τοῦ γάλακτος, ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν ποδῶν τοῦ θηρίου ἐτίθει αὐτὸ ἐν σκάφηι. εἰ δὲ μὴ τοῦτο πεποιήκοι, τροφὴν οὐκ ἐλάμβανεν ἡ ἐλέφας. καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα δι᾽ ὅλης τῆς ἡμέρας [τοὺς] καλάμους λαμβάνων ἐκ τῶν παρατιθεμένων χορτασμάτων καθεύδοντος τοῦ βρέφους τὰς μυίας ἀπεσόβει· ὅτε δὲ κλαίοι, τῆι προβοσκίδι τὴν σκάφην ἐκίνει καὶ κατεκοίμιζεν αὐτό. τὸ δ᾽ αὐτὸ ἐποίει καὶ ὁ ἄρρην ἐλέφας πολλάκις.»

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