Like Father, Like Son? A Taboo Love and a Wasting Sickness

Valerius Maximus, 5.7 ext. 1

“Let’s turn to somethings more pleasant to think about. Antiochus, the son of king Seleucus, was overcome with endless love for his stepmother Stratonice. Because he knew he was burning with taboo passions, he was hiding the wound of his wicked heart with dutiful dissimulation.

These warring emotions which were shut up in the same organs—the most pressing desire and the deepest shame—tortured him, causing his body to waste away. He used to stretch out in bed like a dying man and his close friends were lamenting. His father, laid out by grief, was thinking of the death of his only son and his own terrible loss. The whole house was funereal instead of royal.

But the wisdom of Leptines the Astrologer or Erisastratos the physician as some claim dispelled the cloud of sorrow. While sitting next to Antiochus, he noticed that the boy’s complexion grew ruddy and his breath hastened when Stratonice entered. And he got to the truth itself with a more investigative observation. While Stratonice was entering and the exciting again, he quietly grasped the young man’s arm and figured out what kind of sickness this was by the increase or decrease of his pulse.

He told Seleucus right away and Seleucus wasted no time in giving his wife who was most dear to him over to his son. For he believed that Fate caused his son to fall in love but that honor had prepared him to hide that love to death itself. Think for yourself of that old king, a lover. For it will soon be clear how many difficult troubles came when a father’s indulgence reigned supreme.”

Ceterum ut ad iucundiora cognitu veniamus, Seleuci regis filius Antiochus, novercae Stratonices infinito amore correptus, memor quam improbis facibus arderet, impium pectoris vulnus pia dissimulatione contegebat. itaque diversi adfectus iisdem visceribus ac medullis inclusi, summa cupiditas et maxima verecundia, ad ultimam tabem corpus eius redegerunt. iacebat ipse in lectulo moribundo similis, lamentabantur necessarii, pater maerore prostratus de obitu unici filii deque sua miserrima orbitate cogitabat, totius domus funebris magis quam regius erat vultus.

sed hanc tristitiae nubem Leptinis mathematici vel, ut quidam tradunt, Erasistrati medici providentia discussit: iuxta enim Antiochum sedens, ut eum ad introitum Stratonices rubore perfundi et spiritu increbrescere, eaque egrediente pallescere et excitatiorem anhelitum subinde recuperare animadvertit, curiosiore observatione ad ipsam veritatem penetravit: intrante enim Stratonice et rursus abeunte bracchium adulescentis dissimulanter apprehendendo modo vegetiore, modo languidiore pulsu venarum comperit cuius morbi aeger esset, protinusque id Seleuco exposuit. qui carissima sibi coniuge filio cedere non dubitavit, quod in amorem incidisset Fortunae acceptum referens, quod dissimulare eum ad mortem usque paratus esset ipsius pudori imputans. subiciatur animis senex rex amans: iam patebit quam multa quamque difficilia paterni adfectus indulgentia superavit.

Stratonice, a Macedonian noble and granddaughter of Antipater (who held Macedonia as regent when Alexander went on his campaign in 331 BCE) was married to Seleucus in 300 BCE at age 17 and then his son Antiochus in 294 BCE. Her daughter with Seleucus (Phila) went on to marry Antigonus II Gonatas, who ruled Macedonia. One son with Antiochus, a second Seleucus, was executed. But her other son, Antiochus II Theos, ruled the Seleucid empire after the first Antiochus. Another daughter, Apama II, married Magas of Cyrene and was mother of Berenice II.

There should be a miniseries about Stratonice.

David-Antiochus et Stratonice.jpg
Antiochus and Stratonice by Jacques-Louis David, 1774

Cicero Says Something Nice to His Son

From the Fragments of Cicero’s Letters (=Augustin. c. Iul. op. imperf. 6.22)

9. “What? Didn’t Cicero send the words from the guts of every father with this line to his son, writing to him: I wish you alone of all people in the world would do better than me in all things’

9. Quid? illam vocem nonne de visceribus cunctorum patrum Cicero emisit ad filium, ad quem scribens ait: solus es omnium a quo me in omnibus vinci velim?

Of course, since this is Cicero, this is partly about himself, but it is still rather sweet, especially when compared to fathers like Odysseus

Image result for Ancient Roman father and son
Roman Sarcophagus with father and child

 

A Follower In A Son’s Triumph

Valerius Maximus, 5.7.1

“Fabius Rullianus who served as consul five times and  had exemplified every feature of virtue and life, was not reluctant to go as legate to his own son Fabius Gurges in carrying out a dangerous and difficult war. Indeed, he went to war as nearly only a mind without a body since he was readier for a rest in bed than the work of battles. But because he considered it a great pleasure to follow a son’s triumph on horse when he had carried him as a little boy in his own triumphs, he seemed to be not a simple follower in that glorious parade but its author.”

Fabius Rullianus, quinque consulatibus summa cum gloria peractis omnibusque et virtutis et vitae <e>meritis stipendiis, legatus ire Fabio Gurgiti filio ad bellum difficile et periculosum conficiendum gravatus non est, paene ipso per se dumtaxat animo sine corpore militaturus, utpote propter ultimam senectutem lectuli otio quam labori proeliorum habilior. idem triumphantem equo insidens sequi, quem ipse parvulum triumphis suis gestaverat, in maxima voluptate posuit, nec accessio gloriosae illius pompae sed auctor spectatus est.

Reconstructed Relief from the Arch of Titus

Like Father, Like Son? A Taboo Love and a Wasting Sickness

Valerius Maximus, 5.7 ext. 1

“Let’s turn to somethings more pleasant to think about. Antiochus, the son of king Seleucus, was overcome with endless love for his stepmother Stratonice. Because he knew he was burning with taboo passions, he was hiding the wound of his wicked heart with dutiful dissimulation.

These warring emotions which were shut up in the same organs—the most pressing desire and the deepest shame—tortured him, causing his body to waste away. He used to stretch out in bed like a dying man and his close friends were lamenting. His father, laid out by grief, was thinking of the death of his only son and his own terrible loss. The whole house was funereal instead of royal.

But the wisdom of Leptines the Astrologer or Erisastratos the physician as some claim dispelled the cloud of sorrow. While sitting next to Antiochus, he noticed that the boy’s complexion grew ruddy and his breath hastened when Stratonice entered. And he got to the truth itself with a more investigative observation. While Stratonice was entering and the exciting again, he quietly grasped the young man’s arm and figured out what kind of sickness this was by the increase or decrease of his pulse.

He told Seleucus right away and Seleucus wasted no time in giving his wife who was most dear to him over to his son. For he believed that Fate caused his son to fall in love but that honor had prepared him to hide that love to death itself. Think for yourself of that old king, a lover. For it will soon be clear how many difficult troubles came when a father’s indulgence reigned supreme.”

Ceterum ut ad iucundiora cognitu veniamus, Seleuci regis filius Antiochus, novercae Stratonices infinito amore correptus, memor quam improbis facibus arderet, impium pectoris vulnus pia dissimulatione contegebat. itaque diversi adfectus iisdem visceribus ac medullis inclusi, summa cupiditas et maxima verecundia, ad ultimam tabem corpus eius redegerunt. iacebat ipse in lectulo moribundo similis, lamentabantur necessarii, pater maerore prostratus de obitu unici filii deque sua miserrima orbitate cogitabat, totius domus funebris magis quam regius erat vultus.

sed hanc tristitiae nubem Leptinis mathematici vel, ut quidam tradunt, Erasistrati medici providentia discussit: iuxta enim Antiochum sedens, ut eum ad introitum Stratonices rubore perfundi et spiritu increbrescere, eaque egrediente pallescere et excitatiorem anhelitum subinde recuperare animadvertit, curiosiore observatione ad ipsam veritatem penetravit: intrante enim Stratonice et rursus abeunte bracchium adulescentis dissimulanter apprehendendo modo vegetiore, modo languidiore pulsu venarum comperit cuius morbi aeger esset, protinusque id Seleuco exposuit. qui carissima sibi coniuge filio cedere non dubitavit, quod in amorem incidisset Fortunae acceptum referens, quod dissimulare eum ad mortem usque paratus esset ipsius pudori imputans. subiciatur animis senex rex amans: iam patebit quam multa quamque difficilia paterni adfectus indulgentia superavit.

Stratonice, a Macedonian noble and granddaughter of Antipater (who held Macedonia as regent when Alexander went on his campaign in 331 BCE) was married to Seleucus in 300 BCE at age 17 and then his son Antiochus in 294 BCE. Her daughter with Seleucus (Phila) went on to marry Antigonus II Gonatas, who ruled Macedonia. One son with Antiochus, a second Seleucus, was executed. But her other son, Antiochus II Theos, ruled the Seleucid empire after the first Antiochus. Another daughter, Apama II, married Magas of Cyrene and was mother of Berenice II.

There should be a miniseries about Stratonice.

David-Antiochus et Stratonice.jpg
Antiochus and Stratonice by Jacques-Louis David, 1774

Education and Easy Burials: Two Socratic Anecdotes

Both of these anecdotes appear in Stobaeus where they are attributed to Aelian

Stob. 4.55.10

When Socrates was about to drink the hemlock, and those accompanying Crito asked him how he wished to be buried, he answered “however is easiest for you.”

ὁ Σωκράτης ἐπεὶ τὸ κώνειον ἔμελλε πίεσθαι, τῶν ἀμφὶ τὸν Κρίτωνα ἐρομένων αὐτὸν τίνα τρόπον ταφῆναι θέλει, “ὅπως ἂν ὑμῖν” ἀπεκρίνατο “ᾖ ῥᾷστον.”

Stob. 2.31.38

“Noble Socrates reproached fathers who did not teach their sons and then, when they were destitute, took their sons to court and sued them as ungrateful because they did not support their parents. He said that the fathers were expecting something impossible: those who have not learned just actions are incapable of performing them”

Σωκράτης ὁ γενναῖος ᾐτιᾶτο τῶν πατέρων ἐκείνους, ὅσοι <μὴ> παιδεύσαντες αὑτῶν τοὺς υἱεῖς, εἶτα ἀπορούμενοι ἦγον ἐπὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς τοὺς νεανίσκους καὶ ἔκρινον αὐτοὺς ἀχαριστίας, ὅτι οὐ τρέφονται ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν. εἶπε γὰρ ἀδύνατον ἀξιοῦν τοὺς πατέρας· μὴ γὰρ οἵους τε εἶναι τοὺς μὴ μαθόντας τὰ δίκαια ποιεῖν αὐτά.

 

Image result for Ancient Greek Socrates

Cicero Says Something Nice to His Son

From the Fragments of Cicero’s Letters (=Augustin. c. Iul. op. imperf. 6.22)

9. “What? Didn’t Cicero send the words from the guts of every father with this line to his son, writing to him: I wish you alone of all people in the world would do better than me in all things’

9. Quid? illam vocem nonne de visceribus cunctorum patrum Cicero emisit ad filium, ad quem scribens ait: solus es omnium a quo me in omnibus vinci velim?

Of course, since this is Cicero, this is partly about himself, but it is still rather sweet, especially when compared to fathers like Odysseus

Image result for Ancient Roman father and son
Roman Sarcophagus with father and child

 

The Sons of Odysseus, Part 3: Kirke’s Children (except for Telegonos)

In earlier posts I went over the seventeen named sons of Odysseus and then laid out a plan to start figuring out where and when they come from, organizing the discussion around the mother. Last week, I focused on the named children of Penelope—everyone knows that she gave birth to Telemakhos. Less well known: a son born after Odysseus’ return, named Arkesilaos or Ptoliporthes.

After children with Penelope, most common in the tradition, however, are children ascribed to Odysseus and Kirkê. The earliest mention of this comes from Hesiod’s Works and Days (1011-1017):

“Kirkê, the daughter of Helios, Hyperion’s son,
After having sex with Odysseus, gave birth to
Agrios and Latînos, blameless and strong.

And she also gave birth to Telegonos thanks to golden Aphrodite.
Her sons rule far away in the recess of the holy islands
Among the glorious Tursênians.”

 

Κίρκη δ’ ᾿Ηελίου θυγάτηρ ῾Υπεριονίδαο
γείνατ’ ᾿Οδυσσῆος ταλασίφρονος ἐν φιλότητι
῎Αγριον ἠδὲ Λατῖνον ἀμύμονά τε κρατερόν τε·
[Τηλέγονον δὲ ἔτικτε διὰ χρυσῆν ᾿Αφροδίτην·]
οἳ δή τοι μάλα τῆλε μυχῷ νήσων ἱεράων
πᾶσιν Τυρσηνοῖσιν ἀγακλειτοῖσιν ἄνασσον.

 
Continue reading “The Sons of Odysseus, Part 3: Kirke’s Children (except for Telegonos)”

Homer, Odyssey 16.147-149

“It is rather painful–but let’s let it be, even though it hurts us.
For, if it were at all possible for men to choose all things,
the first thing we would choose is the homecoming day of our father”

 
ἄλγιον, ἀλλ’ ἔμπης μιν ἐάσομεν, ἀχνύμενοί περ.
εἰ γὰρ πως εἴη αὐτάγρετα πάντα βροτοῖσι,
πρῶτόν κεν τοῦ πατρὸς ἑλοίμεθα νόστιμον ἦμαρ

 

Thus Telemachus says to the swineherd in front of his father in disguise.

 

 

Homer, Odyssey 2.276-7

 

 

“Few children are the same as their father—many are worse, and a few are better.”

 

παῦροι γάρ τοι παῖδες ὁμοῖοι πατρὶ πέλονται,

οἱ πλέονες κακίους, παῦροι δέ τε πατρὸς ἀρείους.

 

This is true for most of us, but especially so for Telemachus in the Odyssey.