For the Solstice: Which Season is Sweetest?

Bion, fr. 2 (preserved in Stobaeus 1.8.39)

Kleodamos

Myrsôn, what do you find sweet in the spring,
The winter, fall, or summer? Which do you pray for the most?
Is it summer when everything we have worked for is done,
Or is fall sweeter, when hunger is light for men,
Or is it winter, bad for work, when because of the season
Many warm themselves delighting in laziness and relaxation—
Or, surely, is it noble spring which pleases you more?
Tell me what’s on your mind, since leisure has allowed us to chat.

Myrsos

It is not right for mortals to judge divine deeds—
For all these things are sacred and sweet. But for you, Kleodamos,
I will confess what seems sweeter to me than the rest.
I do not wish for the summer, since the sun cooks me then.
I do not wish for the Fall, since that season brings disease.
The Winter brings ruinous snow—and I have chilling fear.
I long for  Spring three times as much for the whole year,
When neither the cold nor the heat weigh upon me.
Everything is pregnant in the spring, everything grows sweet in springtime
When humans have nights and days as equal, nearly the same.”

ΚΛΕΟΔΑΜΟΣ
Εἴαρος, ὦ Μύρσων, ἢ χείματος ἢ φθινοπώρω
ἢ θέρεος τί τοι ἁδύ; τί δὲ πλέον εὔχεαι ἐλθεῖν;
ἦ θέρος, ἁνίκα πάντα τελείεται ὅσσα μογεῦμες,
ἢ γλυκερὸν φθινόπωρον, ὅκ’ ἀνδράσι λιμὸς ἐλαφρά,
ἢ καὶ χεῖμα δύσεργον—ἐπεὶ καὶ χείματι πολλοί
θαλπόμενοι θέλγονται ἀεργίᾳ τε καὶ ὄκνῳ—
ἤ τοι καλὸν ἔαρ πλέον εὔαδεν; εἰπὲ τί τοι φρήν
αἱρεῖται, λαλέειν γὰρ ἐπέτραπεν ἁ σχολὰ ἄμμιν.

ΜΥΡΣΩΝ
κρίνειν οὐκ ἐπέοικε θεήια ἔργα βροτοῖσι,
πάντα γὰρ ἱερὰ ταῦτα καὶ ἁδέα· σεῦ δὲ ἕκατι
ἐξερέω, Κλεόδαμε, τό μοι πέλεν ἅδιον ἄλλων.
οὐκ ἐθέλω θέρος ἦμεν, ἐπεὶ τόκα μ’ ἅλιος ὀπτῇ·
οὐκ ἐθέλω φθινόπωρον, ἐπεὶ νόσον ὥρια τίκτει.
οὖλον χεῖμα φέρει νιφετόν, κρυμὼς δὲ φοβεῦμαι.
εἶαρ ἐμοὶ τριπόθητον ὅλῳ λυκάβαντι παρείη,
ἁνίκα μήτε κρύος μήθ’ ἅλιος ἄμμε βαρύνει.
εἴαρι πάντα κύει, πάντ’ εἴαρος ἁδέα βλαστεῖ,
χἀ νὺξ ἀνθρώποισιν ἴσα καὶ ὁμοίιος ἀώς.

Season Words

Spring: ἔαρ, τὸ: from IE *ves-r, cf. vernal.

Summer: θέρος, τὸ: from a root meaning “warm, heat”

Winter: χεῖμα, τὸ (ancient word for winter)

Fall: φθινόπωρον, τό:  from φθιν (φθίω “decay, waste, dwindle”)+ ὀπώρα (“end of summer, harvest”)

Ecclesiastes, 3 Latin Vulgate

omnia tempus habent et suis spatiis transeunt universa sub caelo
tempus nascendi et tempus moriendi tempus plantandi
et tempus evellendi quod plantatum est

 

London, British Library, MS Sloane 2435, f. 23r.

Hey D, Where Does Punctuation Come From?

Demetrius, On Style 11

“Aristotle defines the period in this way: The period is a statement which has beginning and an end. He has defined it very well and properly. For, saying the word “period” emphasizes that it begins in a place and ends in a place and is moving toward some goal, like runners once they take off, since the end of the race is already clear to them from the beginning.

This is where the name “period” comes from, an analogy from the circular paths which wind around to an end. Generally speaking, a period is nothing other than a certain kind of composition of words. If you take away its arrangement and circular nature, the subjects remain the same but it is no longer a period.”

(11) Ἀριστοτέλης δὲ ὁρίζεται τὴν περίοδον οὕτως, “περίοδός ἐστι λέξις ἀρχὴν ἔχουσα καὶ τελευτήν,” μάλα καλῶς καὶ πρεπόντως ὁρισάμενος· εὐθὺς γὰρ ὁ τὴν περίοδον λέγων ἐμφαίνει, ὅτι ἦρκταί ποθεν καὶ ἀποτελευτήσει ποι καὶ ἐπείγεται εἴς τι τέλος, ὥσπερ οἱ δρομεῖς ἀφεθέντες· καὶ γὰρ ἐκείνων συνεμφαίνεται τῇ ἀρχῇ τοῦ δρόμου τὸ τέλος. ἔνθεν καὶ περίοδος ὠνομάσθη, ἀπεικασθεῖσα ταῖς ὁδοῖς ταῖς κυκλοειδέσι καὶ περιωδευμέναις. καὶ καθόλου οὐδὲν ἡ περίοδός ἐστι πλὴν ποιὰ σύνθεσις. εἰ γοῦν λυθείη αὐτῆς τὸ περιωδευμένον καὶ μετασυντεθείη, τὰ μὲν πράγματα μένει τὰ αὐτά, περίοδος δὲ οὐκ ἔσται

I was today years old when I realized that our words period, colon, and comma are just Greek words for lengths of clauses used as signs for those things in English. From the Oxford English Dictionary.

Comma Colon Period

Colon

Demetrius, On Style 1

“…So too do things called kôla divide and clarify the language of prose”

οὕτω καὶ τὴν ἑρμηνείαν τὴν λογικὴν διαιρεῖ καὶ διακρίνει τὰ καλούμενα κῶλα

mood mind blown GIF

Comma

Demetrius, On Style 9

“This kind of brevity of speech in writing is called a komma. A komma is defined as shorter than a kôlon.”

ἡ δὲ τοιαύτη βραχύτης κατὰ τὴν σύνθεσιν κόμμα ὀνομάζεται. ὁρίζονται δ᾿ αὐτὸ ὧδε, κόμμα ἐστὶν τὸ κώλου ἔλαττον

teenage mutant ninja turtles mind blown GIF

Autocorrect came for Armand’s grave and made it acute.

Here’s Archolochus fr. 120… συγκεραυνωθεὶς φρένας.

PSA: Colon (punctuation) vs. Colon (Intestine)

Greek kôlon (κῶλον) can mean body part (as in segment, member), so isocolonic can mean having equal-lengthed phrases or equal-lengthed limbs. But our colon (as in the segment between intestines and anus) comes from Greek kolon (κόλον). To make matters more confusing, later Greek, influenced by the closeness of the two, does present kôlon for the body part.

Here’s Beekes Etymological Dictionary 2010 on each:

kolonkwlon

Soul. Cold.

ψυχή, ἡ: soul, life

ψύχωσις: life-giving/generating

ψυχοανακάλυπτος: soul-baring, revealing

ψυχοκλέπτης: soul-thief

ψυχοκτόνος:soul-killing

ψυχοπλανής: soul-wandering

ψυχοπότης: soul drinker (drinking of life, i.e. blood)

 

ψῦχος, τό: cold

ψυχρία: cold

ψυχοκρασία: growing cold

ψυχολογία: frigid talking

ψυχροποιός: making cold

ψυχροπότης: cold drinker (one who drinks cold water)

ψυχρόσαρκος: with cold flesh

soulCOld1

cold 2

Snowy Mountain

Blessed Isles and Denial: Some Etymological Notes

Photios, Lexikon, Μακάρων νῆσος

“the Isle of the Blessed. The Acropolis of Boiotian Thebes in ancient times, according to Armenidas.”

Μακάρων νῆσος· ἡ ἀκρόπολις τῶν ἐν Βοιωτίαι Θηβῶν τὸ παλαιόν, ὡς ᾽Αρμεν<ί>δας.

Hesychius s.v. βουλεψίη

“Boulepsiê: This word is in Xanthos. For he says that when they give birth to a male, they gouge out his eyes with their own hands.”

βουλεψίη· ἡ λέξις παρὰ Ξάνθωι. λέγει δὲ τὰς ᾽Αμαζόνας ἐπειδὰν τέκωσιν ἄρρεν, ἐξορύσσειν αὐτοῦ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοχειρίαι.

BNJ 453 F 1a (=Etym. Magn. S.v. ῞Αρνη)

“Arnê: A nymph and nurse of Poseidon. The nymph Sinoessa is also named Arnê, reportedly, because when she received Poseidon from Rhea to raise him, she denied it (aparnêsato) when Kronos came asking about him. For this she was called Arnê [denial]. That’s the account of Theseus in the third book of his Korinthian Affairs.”

῎Αρνη· νύμφη, τροφὸς Ποσειδῶνος. εἴρηται δὲ καὶ ῎Αρνη ἡ νύμφη Σινόεσσα καλουμένη, ὅτι τὸν Ποσειδῶνα λαβοῦσα παρὰ τῆς ῾Ρέας ἐκτρέφειν, πρὸς τὸν Κρόνον ζητοῦντα ἀπηρνήσατο, καὶ ἐντεῦθεν ῎Αρνη ὠνομάσθη. οὕτω Θησεὺς ἐν Κορινθιακῶν τρίτωι.

Hieronymus Löschenkohl Joseph II. im Elysium.jpg
Hieronymus Löschenkohl (1753–1807): Ankunft Josephs II. in Elysium, kolorierter Stich, 1790

A Sweet Evil: Schadenfreude in Ancient Greek

From the Suda

Epikhairekakía: is pleasure at someone else’s troubles”

ἐπιχαιρεκακία δὲ ἡδονὴ ἐπ’ ἀλλοτρίοις κακοῖς

Diogenes Laertius, Vita Philosophorum 7. 114

“Pleasure is irrational excitement at gaining what seems to be needed. As a subset of pleasure, are elation, pleasure at someone else’s pain (epikhairekakía) and delight, which is similar to turning (trepsis), a mind’s inclination to weakness. The embrace of pleasure is the surrender of virtue.”

῾Ηδονὴ δέ ἐστιν ἄλογος ἔπαρσις ἐφ’ αἱρετῷ δοκοῦντι ὑπάρχειν, ὑφ’ ἣν τάττεται κήλησις, ἐπιχαιρεκακία, τέρψις, διάχυσις. κήλησις μὲν οὖν ἐστιν ἡδονὴ δι’ ὤτων κατακηλοῦσα· ἐπιχαιρεκακία δὲ ἡδονὴ ἐπ’ ἀλλοτρίοις κακοῖς· τέρψις δέ, οἷον τρέψις, προτροπή τις ψυχῆς ἐπὶ τὸ ἀνειμένον· διάχυσις δ’ ἀνάλυσις ἀρετῆς.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1107a 8-11

“There are some vices whose names are cloaked with evil, for instance, pleasure at evils [epikhairekakía], shamelessness, and envy; and there are deeds too: adultery, theft, and manslaughter. All these things and those of this sort are called evil on their own, it is not an indulgence in them or an improper use that is wrong.”

ἔνια γὰρ εὐθὺς ὠνόμασται συνειλημμένα μετὰ τῆς φαυλότητος, οἷον ἐπιχαιρεκακία
ἀναισχυντία φθόνος, καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν πράξεων μοιχεία κλοπὴ ἀνδροφονία· πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα λέγεται τῷ αὐτὰ φαῦλα εἶναι, ἀλλ’ οὐχ αἱ ὑπερβολαὶ αὐτῶν οὐδ’ αἱ ἐλλείψεις.

Image result for Ancient Greek Vase party

Tawdry Tuesday: A Poem to a Rear-End and Some Etymologies

 

Greek Anthology, 12.38, attributed to Rhianos

“The Seasons and the Graces have poured sweet oil on you,
Butt. And you do not allow even old men to nap.
Tell me, whose sweetheart are you and which boy
Do you decorate? The Butt said “Menecrates’ “

Ὧραί σοι Χάριτές τε κατὰ γλυκὺ χεῦαν ἔλαιον,
ὦ πυγά· κνώσσειν δ᾿ οὐδὲ γέροντας ἐᾷς.
λέξον μοι τίνος ἐσσὶ μάκαιρα τύ, καὶ τίνα παίδων
κοσμεῖς; ἁ πυγὰ δ᾿ εἶπε· “Μενεκράτεος.”

Words not to confuse:

πυγαλγίας, ὁ: “having ass-pain”
πύγαργος, ὁ: “white-assed”
πυγή, ἡ: “buttocks, rump, rear-end, ass”
πυγίδιον: “small-rumped”
πυγίζω: “to penetrate anally”

πυγμαχία, ἡ: “fist fight”
πυγμάχος, ὁ: “boxer”
πυγμή: “fist, fist-fight”
πυγοσύνη: “science of boxing”

πυγοστόλος: “ass-adorning”
δωσίπυγος: “ass-giving”
δασύπυγος: “hairy-assed”
καλλίπυγος: “with beautiful buttocks”
λεπτόπυγος: “fine-assed”
λισπόπυγος: “smooth-assed”

πυγή: Beekes writes that this “has no convincing etymology” (Chantraine: “Pas d’étymologie assurée…”)

πυγμή: Cf. Latin pugnare, pugna. *pug-[Beekes is uncertain]. Chantraine presents the interseting suggestion from Van Brock that in the ancient background of πύξ might lurk the combination of πᾶς (“all”) and the numeral πέντε (“five”) to signal “fist”.

Image result for aphrodite kallipygos

Which Season is Sweetest?

Bion, fr. 2 (preserved in Stobaeus 1.8.39)

Kleodamos

Myrsôn, what do you find sweet in the spring,
The winter, fall, or summer? Which do you pray for the most?
Is it summer when everything we have worked for is done,
Or is fall sweeter, when hunger is light for men,
Or is it winter, bad for work, when because of the season
Many warm themselves delighting in laziness and relaxation—
Or, surely, is it noble spring which pleases you more?
Tell me what’s on your mind, since leisure has allowed us to chat.

Myrsos

It is not right for mortals to judge divine deeds—
For all these things are sacred and sweet. But for you, Kleodamos,
I will confess what seems sweeter to me than the rest.
I do not wish for the summer, since the sun cooks me then.
I do not wish for the Fall, since that season brings disease.
The Winter brings ruinous snow—and I have chilling fear.
I long for  Spring three times as much for the whole year,
When neither the cold nor the heat weigh upon me.
Everything is pregnant in the spring, everything grows sweet in springtime
When humans have nights and days as equal, nearly the same.”

ΚΛΕΟΔΑΜΟΣ
Εἴαρος, ὦ Μύρσων, ἢ χείματος ἢ φθινοπώρω
ἢ θέρεος τί τοι ἁδύ; τί δὲ πλέον εὔχεαι ἐλθεῖν;
ἦ θέρος, ἁνίκα πάντα τελείεται ὅσσα μογεῦμες,
ἢ γλυκερὸν φθινόπωρον, ὅκ’ ἀνδράσι λιμὸς ἐλαφρά,
ἢ καὶ χεῖμα δύσεργον—ἐπεὶ καὶ χείματι πολλοί
θαλπόμενοι θέλγονται ἀεργίᾳ τε καὶ ὄκνῳ—
ἤ τοι καλὸν ἔαρ πλέον εὔαδεν; εἰπὲ τί τοι φρήν
αἱρεῖται, λαλέειν γὰρ ἐπέτραπεν ἁ σχολὰ ἄμμιν.

ΜΥΡΣΩΝ
κρίνειν οὐκ ἐπέοικε θεήια ἔργα βροτοῖσι,
πάντα γὰρ ἱερὰ ταῦτα καὶ ἁδέα· σεῦ δὲ ἕκατι
ἐξερέω, Κλεόδαμε, τό μοι πέλεν ἅδιον ἄλλων.
οὐκ ἐθέλω θέρος ἦμεν, ἐπεὶ τόκα μ’ ἅλιος ὀπτῇ·
οὐκ ἐθέλω φθινόπωρον, ἐπεὶ νόσον ὥρια τίκτει.
οὖλον χεῖμα φέρει νιφετόν, κρυμὼς δὲ φοβεῦμαι.
εἶαρ ἐμοὶ τριπόθητον ὅλῳ λυκάβαντι παρείη,
ἁνίκα μήτε κρύος μήθ’ ἅλιος ἄμμε βαρύνει.
εἴαρι πάντα κύει, πάντ’ εἴαρος ἁδέα βλαστεῖ,
χἀ νὺξ ἀνθρώποισιν ἴσα καὶ ὁμοίιος ἀώς.

Season Words

Spring: ἔαρ, τὸ: from IE *ves-r, cf. vernal.

Summer: θέρος, τὸ: from a root meaning “warm, heat”

Winter: χεῖμα, τὸ (ancient word for winter)

Fall: φθινόπωρον, τό:  from φθιν (φθίω “decay, waste, dwindle”)+ ὀπώρα (“end of summer, harvest”)

Ecclesiastes, 3 Latin Vulgate

omnia tempus habent et suis spatiis transeunt universa sub caelo
tempus nascendi et tempus moriendi tempus plantandi
et tempus evellendi quod plantatum est

 

London, British Library, MS Sloane 2435, f. 23r.