Fish-Snacks, Burning-Stones and Deadly Fruit: Another Wondrous Wednesday

Here is the second half of the Paradoxographus Palatinus: Admiranda. This collection is extremely difficult to date and may hail from Byzantine Greece. As with some of the other paradoxographoi these are new translations, so corrections or questions are welcome.

11 “Artemidoros says that among the Liparitanoi fish are found by digging and that the people there use the dug fish unsparingly for snacking.”

᾿Αρτεμίδωρός φησιν ἐν Λιπαριτανοῖς ἰχθύας ὀρυκτοὺς εὑρίσκεσθαι, καὶ τῷ ὀρυκτῷ ἰχθύι ἀφθόνως τοὺς ἐκεῖ ὡς ἐπὶ τραγήματα χρῆσθαι.

12 “Andronikos says that in Hispania in some place pebbles are found strewn about with many angles, grown on their own—some are white and others are wax-colored; they give birth to pebbles like them.

I also used to have one of these for testing which was produced at my home which showed that the story was not a lie. He also says that there is a certain spring in Hispania which has water which is sweet and potable. If someone puts his hands in the water and holds them their for a short time he will find white salt embedded around his hands.”

᾿Ανδρόνικός φησιν ἐν ᾿Ισπανίᾳ ἔν τινι τόπῳ λιθάρια εὑρίσκεσθαι περιερριμμένα πολύγωνα αὐτοφυῆ, ἃ μὲν λευκά, ἃ δὲ κηροειδῆ, ἃ καὶ κύει ὅμοια ἑαυτοῖς λιθάρια· τούτων δὴ καὶ ἐγὼ ἒν πείρας ἕνεκα ἔσχον, ὃ δὴ ἔτεκε παρ’ ἐμοί, ὥστε τὸ ῥῆμα μὴ εἶναι ψεῦδος. εἶναι δὲ καὶ πηγήν τινα ἐν ῾Ισπανίᾳ, ἣν γλυκὺ ἔχειν ὕδωρ καὶ πότιμον· εἰ δέ τις ἐμβάλοι εἰς τὸ ὕδωρ τὰς χεῖρας καὶ μικρὸν χρόνον ἐάσειε, ἅλας εὑρίσκειν λευκὸν περιπεπηγὸς ταῖς χερσί.

13 “Timaios says that the Krathis river in Italy lightens the hair of those who bathe in it.”

Τίμαιός φησι τὸν κατὰ τὴν ᾿Ιταλίαν ποταμὸν τὸν Κρᾶθιν τῶν ἐν αὐτῷ λουομένων ξανθίζειν τὰς τρίχας.

14 “In Selasphoros an herb is found which when people use it in the spring there they rid themselves of yellow bile, but in the spring black bile, and phlegm if they use it in the winter. It leads out the portion of those which is unmixed of every other. [?]”

᾿Εν Σελασφόρῳ βοτάνη εὑρίσκεται, ᾗ χρώμενοι οἱ ἐκεῖ ἔαρος μὲν κένωσιν ξανθῆς χολῆς ποιοῦνται, φθινοπώρου δὲ μελαίνης χολῆς, ἐν δὲ χειμῶνι φλέγματος· ἐξάγει δὲ τὸ καθὲν τούτων ἀμιγὲς παντὸς ἑτέρου.

15 “Kallimachus says that in Thrace there are two rivers named Keron and Neleus. He adds that flocks who are there for grazing turn white from the Neleus, but those who take from both waters become multi-colored.”

Καλλίμαχός φησιν ἐν Θρᾴκῃ δύο ποταμοὺς εἶναι Κέρωνα καὶ Νηλέα ὀνομαζομένους· τῶν δὲ προβάτων περὶ τὸ συλλαμβάνειν ὄντων τὰ μὲν ἀπὸ τοῦ Νηλέως λευκούς, τὰ δὲ ἀπ’ ἀμφοτέρων τῶν ὑδάτων ποικίλους.

16 “Polykleitos says that there is a river Liparis among the Soloi which oils up those who bathe in it so that they don’t need anointing.”

Πολύκλειτός φησιν ἐν Σόλοις ποταμὸν Λίπαριν εἶναι, ὃν δὴ λιπαίνειν τοὺς λουομένους, ὥστε χρίσματος μὴ δεῖσθαι.

17 “The same author claims that the river Mouabis in Pamphylia turns a bush that dips into it to stone.”

῾Ο αὐτός φησι τὸν ἐν Παμφυλίᾳ ποταμὸν Μούαβιν ἀπολιθοῦν τὴν ἐμβληθεῖσαν στοιβήν.

18 “Athenaios says that there is a tree among the Persians which bears some kind of deadly fruit, which the Persians, when Kambyses led his army against Egypt, took to Egypt and planted in many places so that the Egyptians died when they encountered the fruit. The tree transforms the earth to endure the fruit unharmed and they call it Persaia because it was planted by the Persians”

᾿Αθήναιός φησιν ἐν Πέρσαις εἶναι δένδρον τι θανάσιμον τὸν καρπὸν φέρον, ὃ τοὺς πέρσας, ὅτε Καμβύσης ἐπ’ Αἴγυπτον ἐστράτευσε, κομίσαι εἰς Αἴγυπτον καὶ ἐν πολλοῖς φυτεῦσαι τόποις, ὅπως οἱ Αἰγύπτιοι τὸν καρπὸν προσφερόμενοι διαφθαρῶσι· τὸ δὲ δένδρον μεταβαλὸν τὴν γῆν ἀπαθῆ τὸν καρπὸν ἐξενεγκεῖν, καὶ περσαίαν τ’ ὀνομάζεσθαι διὰ τὸ ὑπὸ Περσῶν φυτευθῆναι.

19 “Theopompos says that in the land of the Agrioi of Thrace there is a river called Pontos which carries burning stones. When these are lit they do not burn as they are turned under the rapids but when they appear from under the water they reignite. Nothing that moves can endure the smell of these stones.”

Θεόπομπός φησιν ἐν τῇ τῶν ᾿Αγριέων Θρᾳκῶν χώρᾳ ποταμὸν εἶναι ὀνομαζόμενον Πόντον, ὃν καταφέρειν λίθους ἀνθρακώδεις· τούτους δὲ ἀναφθέντας ὑπὸ μὲν τῶν ῥιπιδίων ῥιπιζομένους <οὐ> καίεσθαι, ὑπὸ δὲ ὕδατος ῥαινομένους ἀνα-λάμπειν. οὐδὲν δὲ ἑρπετὸν τὴν ὀσμὴν αὐτῶν ὑπομένειν.

20 “Antigonos says [of sheep intestines] that those of rams are voiceless, but those from females can sing. This fact has not escaped the poet, for he says “He stretching the seven strings from female sheep.”

Επὶ τῶν <ἐντέρων τῶν> προβάτων φησὶν ᾿Αντίγονος τὰ μὲν τῶν κριῶν ἄφωνα εἶναι, τὰ δὲ τῶν θηλέων ἔμφωνα· οὐ λεληθέναι δὲ τοῦτο τὸν ποιητήν. φησὶ γάρ·
ἑπτὰ δὲ θηλυτέρων οἴων ἐτανύσσατο χορδάς.

This last line is a variant for the Homeric Hymn to Hermes 51

“He stretched out seven symphonious sheep-gut strings”
ἑπτὰ δὲ συμφώνους ὀΐων ἐτανύσσατο χορδάς.

21 “Katôn says that Ktisis, there are white birds in the Alpeioi, mice 12-liters in size, boars with single-lips, hairy dogs, and hornless bulls.”

Κάτων φησίν, ἐν ταῖς Κτίσεσιν, ἐπὶ τῶν ῎Αλπεων λευκοὺς μὲν λαγωοὺς γίνεσθαι, μῦς δ’ ἐνδεκαλίτρους, ὗς δὲ μονοχήλους καὶ κύνας δασεῖς καὶ βόας ἀκεράτους.

Image result for medieval manuscript lipless boar

Koninklijke Bibliotheek, KB, KA 16, Folio 45v (From the Medieval Bestiary)

Fantastic Friday: Rivers of Wine and Prophetic Crows

Here is the first half of the Paradoxographus Palatinus: Admiranda. This collection is extremely difficult to date and may hail from Byzantine Greece. As with some of the other paradoxographoi these are new translations, so corrections or questions are welcome.

1 “After an eagle got sick he ate a tortoise and was healed. Then he drank the blood.”

Νοσήσας ἀετὸς χελώνην ἐσθίει καὶ ἰᾶται· αἷμα δὲ πίνει.

2 “Owls, because they wish to keep ants from their young, put the heart of a bat in a temple noticed that the ants would leave the young too if someone set out the heart of a bat for them”

Αἱ γλαῦκες τῶν ἰδίων νεοττῶν τοὺς μύρμηκας κωλύειν βουλόμεναι ἐν τῇ καλιᾷ καρδίαν νυκτερίδος τιθέασιν, ὡς τῶν μυρμήκων καὶ τοὺς φωλεοὺς ἀπολιπεῖν βουλομένων εἰ νυκτερίδος καρδίαν ἐπ’ αὐτοῖς τις θείη.

3 “One animal is named jaundice because of its skin. Which, if someone predisposed to this ailment sees this he reverts straightaway to the diseas.e”

῎Ικτερος ζῷον λέγεται ἀπὸ τῆς χροιᾶς· ὃν εἰ τῷ πάθει τούτῳ τις ἐνεχόμενος ἴδοι, φευξεῖται εὐθὺς τὴν νόσον. [the translation for this one is not good]

4 “Crows don’t have sex with the females of their species before they sing some song to them just like at weddings. And the lady crows, persuaded in this way, sleep with them”

Οὐ μίγνυνται οἱ κόρακες ταῖς θηλείαις πρίν τινα ᾠδὴν αὐταῖς παρακρώξαιεν ὥσπερ γαμήλια· αἱ δὲ πεισθεῖσαι οὕτω συνουσιάζουσι.

5“There is a spring in Kleitori which if someone drinks from he will reject and hate drinking wine.”

Τῆς ἐν Κλείτορι κρήνης ἄν τις πίῃ τοῦ ὕδατος, ἀποστρέφεται καὶ μισεῖ τὴν τοῦ οἴνου πόσιν.

6 “Among the Kannini pitchers are distributed with wet pitch. In the hot season, the morning dew is like pitch.”

᾿Εν Καννίνοις πίττης ὑγρᾶς κρατῆρες ἀναδίδονται· ἐν δὲ θερείᾳ ὥρᾳ ἡ ἑωθινὴ δρόσος πίσσῃ παρείκασται.

7 “In Naxos Aglaosthenês says that wine bubbles up on its own for the earth and when it goes into rivers it does not mix with water. The person who tastes it goes crazy”

Εν Νάξῳ φησὶν ᾿Αγλαοσθένης οἶνον ἐκ τῆς γῆς ἀναβλύζειν αὐτόματον καὶ διὰ ποταμοῦ φερόμενον μὴ συμμίσγεσθαι ὕδατι. τὸν δὲ γευσάμενον αὐτοῦ παραφρονεῖν.

8 “In Pernikos rocks are found when the earth is dug up which, when the sun warms them until they are like burning coals, cook meat and anything else which is placed on top of them.”

᾿Εν †Περνίκῳ† λίθοι εὑρίσκονται ὀρυσσομένης τῆς γῆς, οὓς ἐπειδὰν διαθερμάνῃ ὁ ἥλιος ἐξανθρακοῦνται, ὥσ<τε> καὶ κρέα ἕψειν καὶ ἄλλ’ ἅττα τοὺς ἐκεῖ χύτρας ἐπιτιθέντας.

9 “In the city Selasphoros a spring flows cold and clear, it has an olive oil-like appearance, but it makes bodies and hair smooth and stops headaches. If someone touches it with burning wax, the water catches on fire from it and throws off sparks until it nears different water. And it is also free of every scent of other waters.”

᾿Εν τῇ πόλει τῇ Σελασφόρῳ πηγὴ ἀναδίδοται ψυχρὰ καὶ διειδής, ἐλαιώδη τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν ἔχουσα, λεῖα τὰ σώματα καὶ τὰς τρίχας ποιοῦσα καὶ κεφαλῆς ἀλγηδόνα παύουσα. ταύτῃ εἰ προσαγάγοι τις κηρὸν ἡμμένον, ὑφάπτεται τὸ ὕδωρ ἐκ τούτου καὶ σπινθῆρας ἀφίησι, ἄχρις ἂν πελάσῃ ἑτέρῳ ὕδατι. ἔστι δὲ τῶν ἄλλων ὑδάτων διειδέστερον τὸ ὕδωρ ἐκεῖνο
ὀδμῆς τε πάσης ἐλεύθερον.

10 “Aristotle says that in Keltikê two crows always appear which prophesy to the people there in this way. When the people are differing about some meaning they come to a preordained place and after making bread they place it on perches. The crows break up the bread of the wrong-doing person with their feet and they eat the bread of the one who acts justly.”

᾿Αριστοτέλης φησὶν ἐν τῇ Κελτικῇ δύο κόρακας ἀεὶ φαίνεσθαι, οὓς δὴ καὶ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις μαντεύεσθαι τόνδε <τὸν> τρόπον· τοὺς διαφερομένους περί τινος συμβολαίου ἔρχεσθαι ἐπὶ τὸν εἰρημένον τόπον καὶ μάζας ποιήσαντας ἐπί τινων πεταύρων τιθέναι· τοὺς δὲ κόρακας τὴν μὲν τοῦ ἀδικοπραγοῦντος μάζαν τοῖς ποσὶ συντρίβειν, τὴν δὲ τοῦ δικαιοπραγοῦντας ἐσθίειν.

Bartholomaeus Anglicus  Livre des proprietes des choses (Le)  1447  Corbeaux nourrissant ses petits

Bartholomaeus Anglicus Livre des proprietes des choses (Le) 1447 Corbeaux nourrissant ses petits

Wednesday’s Wondrous Water 3

This is the third installment of the Paradoxagraphus Florentinus, a text which provides a list of miraculous waters from the ancient world. Here’s the first, and the second.

 27 “In Alliphanos in Italy there is a deep reservoir from which water is seen but if someone lets a line down into it, he does not touch the water but is hindered by some divine force, as Isigonos records.”

᾿Εν δὲ ᾿Αλλιφάνῳ τῆς ᾿Ιταλίας φρεάτιόν ἐστι βαθύ, οὗ τὸ μὲν ὕδωρ βλέπεται, ἡλίκον δὲ ἄν τις χαλάσῃ σχοινίον, οὐκ ἐφάπτεται τοῦ ὕδατος, ἀλλ’ ὑπό τινος θείου κωλύεται, ὥς φησιν ᾿Ισίγονος.

28 There is a pond in Italy near Cumae and when the leaves or fruit from the trees that are nearby fall they immediately become invisible while they shrink.”

῎Αουερνός ἐστι λίμνη ἐν ᾿Ιταλίᾳ περὶ Κούμας, εἰς ἣν τὰ ἐκ τῆς περικειμένης ὕλης ἐμπίπτοντα φύλλα ἢ κάρφη ἀφανῆ γίνεται βυθιζόμενα παραχρῆμα.

29 “Aristotle records that in Carthage there is a spring gentler than olive oil. They hide it so that no one may secretly approach it.”

᾿Αριστοτέλης ἱστορεῖ κατὰ Καρχηδόνα κρήνην εἶναι ἐλαίου προσηνεστέραν· ἂν δὲ μή τις ἁγνὸς προσίῃ, ἐκλείπειν αὐτήν.

30 “Near Gela in Sicily there is a lake called Silla, extremely small, which hurls those who bathe in it onto dry land as if from an instrument, as Aristotle says.”

Περὶ Γέλαν τῆς Σικελίας ἔστι λίμνη Σίλλα καλουμένη, ἐλαχίστη τὸ μέγεθος, ἥτις τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ λουομένους εἰς τὸ ξηρὸν ἐκρίπτει ὡς ἀπ’ ὀργάνου τινός, ὥς φησιν ᾿Αριστοτέλης.

31 “Along the Eridanos river there is a pond around the Elektryan islands which has warm water but has a heavy smell and no animal will taste from it.”

Παρὰ τὸν ᾿Ηριδανὸν ποταμὸν ἔστι λίμνη κατὰ τὰς ᾿Ηλεκτρίδας νήσους, ὕδωρ ἔχουσα θερμόν, ὀσμὴν δὲ βαρεῖαν, ἀφ’ ἧς οὐδὲν ζῷον γεύεται.

32 “The lake near Abdêra which is called Kusteiros is one which they claim that Xerxes’ army drank dry.”

Τὴν κατὰ ῎Αβδηρα λίμνην Κύστειρον καλουμένην φασὶ τὸ Χέρξου στράτευμα πῖνον ἀναξηρᾶναι.

33 “Hieronymos records that in the land of the Nabataians of Arabia there is a bitter lake in which there are no fish and no other of the animals who live under water. Bricks of asphalt are taken from it by the people who live nearby.”

῾Ιερώνυμος ἱστόρησεν ἐν τῇ Ναβαταίων χώρᾳ τῶν ᾿Αράβων εἶναι λίμνην πικράν, ἐν ᾗ οὔτε ἰχθῦς οὔτε ἄλλο τι τῶν ἐνύδρων ζῴων γίνεσθαι· ἀσφάλτου δὲ πλίνθους ἐξ αὐτῆς αἴρεσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἐπιχωρίων.

34 “Puthermos claims, if someone hurls a cup into the eddies of the Strumôn river, then he will find it in the lake near Apollonia

Πύθερμός φησιν, ἐάν τις σκύφον εἰς τὰς τοῦ Στρυμόνος ποταμοῦ δίνας ἐμβάλῃ, τοῦτον εὑρήσειν ἐν τῇ περὶ ᾿Απολλωνίαν λίμνῃ.

35 “Phaethôn says that there is a river on the Bosporos that is so cold that none of the animals are able to abide its chill.”

†Φαέθων† φησὶ τὸν ἐν Βοσπόρῳ ποταμὸν οὕτως εἶναι ψυχρόν, ὥστε μηδὲν τῶν ζῴων ὑπομένειν αὐτοῦ τὴν ψυχρότητα.

%d bloggers like this: