Tawdry Tuesday Bonus: An Epigram About Sharing

This poem is erotic, in that it is about love and sex. It is tawdry, only if you read ito it.

5.158 Asclepiades

Once I was messing around with compelling Hermione
Who had a girdle decorated with flowers, Paphian goddess,
And inscribed with golden letters. This was written:

‘Love me to completion
And don’t be annoyed if another has me.’

Ἑρμιόνῃ πιθανῇ ποτ᾽ ἐγὼ συνέπαιζον, ἐχούσῃ
ζωνίον ἐξ ἀνθέων ποικίλον, ὦ Παφίη,
χρύσεα γράμματ᾽ ἔχον· “διόλου” δ᾽ ἐγέγραπτο “φίλει με,
καὶ μὴ λυπηθῇς ἤν τις ἔχῃ μ᾽ ἕτερος.”

AN APHRODITE WITH PRIAPOS H. 5.9 cm. Bone Greek, Hellenistic, 3rd-1st cent. B.C. The goddess stands in a relaxed pose, a mantle draped around her waist on a rectangular base. She leans with the left arm on her son Priapos, who is characteristically depicted with an erect phallus and fruit. The precise and detailed rendition show that this is a high-quality piece. Head and right arm of Aphrodite lost.

Statue of Aphrodite with Priapos

Epitaphs for Legendary Poets

Greek Anthology 7.7

“Here lies Homer who sang of all Greece,
Born and bred in hundred-gated Thebes”

᾿Ενθάδε θεῖος ῞Ομηρος, ὃς ῾Ελλάδα πᾶσαν ἄεισε,
Θήβης ἐκγεγαὼς τῆς ἑκατονταπύλου.

Greek Anthology 7.8

“Orpheus, you will no longer lead away oaks or stones
Bewitched by your song, or the leaderless herds of beasts.
You will no longer sing the howl of the wind or the hail to sleep
Or calm blizzards of snow or the roaring of the sea.
For you have died. The daughters of memory mourn you
Much, and especially your mother Kalliope.
Why do we weep over our dead sons when not even the gods
Can ward Hades from their children?”

Οὐκέτι θελγομένας, ᾿Ορφεῦ, δρύας, οὐκέτι πέτρας
ἄξεις, οὐ θηρῶν αὐτονόμους ἀγέλας·
οὐκέτι κοιμάσεις ἀνέμων βρόμον, οὐχὶ χάλαζαν,
οὐ νιφετῶν συρμούς, οὐ παταγεῦσαν ἅλα.
ὤλεο γάρ· σὲ δὲ πολλὰ κατωδύραντο θύγατρες
Μναμοσύνας, μάτηρ δ’ ἔξοχα Καλλιόπα.
τί φθιμένοις στοναχεῦμεν ἐφ’ υἱάσιν, ἁνίκ’ ἀλαλκεῖν
τῶν παίδων ᾿Αίδαν οὐδὲ θεοῖς δύναμις.

Image result for ancient greek orpheus

Two For Tawdry Tuesday: A Mom Joke and Salacious Salutations

A girlfriend’s mom joke

Greek Anthology 5.127 (Attributed to Marcus Argentarius)

I was really in love with the maiden Alkippê and once
I persuaded her I took her secretly to bed.
Our chests were pounding over anyone entering—
That someone might see the secrets of excessive desire.
The bed’s chatter didn’t get by her mother— she looked in
And suddenly said: “Daughter, Hermes is shared””

Παρθένον Ἀλκίππην ἐφίλουν μέγα, καί ποτε πείσας
αὐτὴν λαθριδίως εἶχον ἐπὶ κλισίῃ.
ἀμφοτέρων δὲ στέρνον ἐπάλλετο, μή τις ἐπέλθῃ,
μή τις ἴδῃ τὰ πόθων κρυπτὰ περισσοτέρων.
μητέρα δ᾽ οὐκ ἔλαθεν κλίνης λάλον· ἀλλ᾽ ἐσιδοῦσα
ἐξαπίνης· “Ἑρμῆς κοινός,” ἔφη, “θύγατερ.”

A weird salutation of body parts that takes a surprising racist turn

Greek Anthology, 5.132 (Attributed to Philodemus)

“Hello foot and calves, and oh—I should be dying here—thighs
Oh buttocks, Oh pussy, hey ass—
Oh shoulders, Oh breasts, what the slender neck,
The hands, oh—seriously I am losing my mind—eyes,
Oh bedeviled-craft of movement, Oh luxurious
Lickings, oh—come on, kill me now—the sounds from her mouth.
Even if she is Oscan and her name is Phlora and she doesn’t know Sappho,
Well, even Perseus loved Indian Andromeda.”

Ὢ ποδός, ὢ κνήμης, ὢ τῶν (ἀπόλωλα δικαίως)
μηρῶν, ὢ γλουτῶν, ὢ κτενός, ὢ λαγόνων,
ὢ ὤμοιν, ὢ μαστῶν, ὢ τοῦ ῥαδινοῖο τραχήλου,
ὢ χειρῶν, ὢ τῶν (μαίνομαι) ὀμματίων,
ὢ κακοτεχνοτάτου κινήματος, ὢ περιάλλων
γλωττισμῶν, ὢ τῶν (θῦέ με) φωναρίων.
εἰ δ᾽ Ὀπικὴ καὶ Φλῶρα καὶ οὐκ ᾄδουσα τὰ Σαπφοῦς,
καὶ Περσεὺς Ἰνδῆς ἠράσατ᾽ Ἀνδρομέδης.

Image result for Ancient Greek satyr

Four More Funerary Epigrams


“You’re dragging your feet past the grave of Callimachus
He knew: how to sing well and the right time to laugh well over wine.”

Βαττιάδεω παρὰ σῆμα φέρεις πόδας, εὖ μὲν ἀοιδὴν
εἰδότος, εὖ δ᾿ οἴνῳ καίρια συγγελάσαι.


“The stranger was short, his poem is too: so I will not speak long.
Thêris the son of Aristaios was from Crete, for me, a long enough song.”

Σύντομος ἦν ὁ ξεῖνος· ὃ καὶ στίχος· οὐ μακρὰ λέξω·
“Θῆρις Ἀρισταίου, Κρὴς” ἐπ᾿ ἐμοὶ δόλιχος.


“Here Akanthios Dikôn’s son sleeps his sacred sleep.
Don’t say that good men die.”

Τᾷδε Σάων ὁ Δίκωνος Ἀκάνθιος ἱερὸν ὕπνον
κοιμᾶται. θνάσκειν μὴ λέγε τοὺς ἀγαθούς.


“Ye who pass me by, remember Euboulos the wise.
Let’s drink. For Hades is our common harbor.”

Μεμνησθ᾿ Εὐβούλοιο σαόφρονος, ὦ παριόντες.
πίνωμεν· κοινὸς πᾶσι λιμὴν Ἀΐδης.

Image result for funerary epigrams greek

Taken from archaeology.wiki

“The Rest Can Go to Hell”: Some Funerary Epigrams

Before New Year’s Eve, Palaiophron tweeted the following from Simonides:

In desperation and joy, I scoured book seven of the Greek Anthology looking for more. I did not find any the equal of Simonides’ genius above, but here are some others.

Julian 33

“You died from drinking too much, Anacreon.”
“Yes, it was fun! You’ll die too, even though you didn’t drink”

Πολλὰ πιὼν τέθνηκας, Ἀνάκρεον. β. Ἀλλὰ
τρυφήσας· καὶ σὺ δὲ μὴ πίνων ἵξεαι εἰς Ἀΐδην.


“I have sung this much and I will sing it from eternal rest:
Drink before you don this dusty dress!”

Πολλάκι μὲν τόδ᾿ ἄεισα, καὶ ἐκ τύμβου δὲ βοήσω·
“Πίνετε, πρὶν ταύτην ἀμφιβάλησθε κόνιν

Antipater 15

“My name is Sappho—and I surpassed women in song
As much as Homer did the men.”

Οὔνομά μευ Σαπφώ. τόσσον δ᾿ ὑπερέσχον ἀοιδὰν
θηλειᾶν, ἀνδρῶν ὅσσον ὁ Μαιονίδας.

Anonymous, 28

‘Stranger going by this tomb of Anakreon,
Pour me some wine as you pass by. For I am a drinker.”

Ὦ ξένε, τόνδε τάφον τὸν Ἀνακρείοντος ἀμείβων,
σπεῖσόν μοι παριών· εἰμὶ γὰρ οἰνοπότης.

Anonymous 63 

“Ferryman of the corpses, take me, the dog Diogenes
Who exposed all of life’s affectations.”

Τὸν κύνα Διογένη, νεκυοστόλε, δέξο με, πορθμεῦ,
γυμνώσαντα βίου παντὸς ἐπισκύνιον.

Anonymous  84

“This grave is small, but its fame is equal to heaven
For this is the memorial of the brilliant Thales”

Ἦ ὀλίγον τόδε σᾶμα, τὸ δὲ κλέος οὐρανόμηκες
τοῦ πολυφροντίστου τοῦτο Θάλητος ὅρη.

Anonymous  134

“Here lies the head of the Cynic Gorgias,
No longer coughing or blowing my nose”

Ἐνθάδε Γοργίου ἡ κεφαλὴ κυνικοῦ κατάκειμαι,
οὐκέτι χρεμπτομένη, οὔτ᾿ ἀπομυσσομένη.

Anonymous 348

“After eating little, drinking little, and being sick a lot
Eventually I died. Go to hell the rest of you too!”

Βαιὰ φαγὼν καὶ βαιὰ πιὼν καὶ πολλὰ νοσήσας,
ὀψὲ μέν, ἀλλ᾿ ἔθανον. ἔρρετε πάντες ὁμοῦ.

Image result for Ancient Greek epitaph

Erycius 377

“Even though he lies in the ground, pour out pitch
In the filthy mouth of Parthenius
Because he puked meaningless myriad floods on the muses
And his refuse of his repugnant poems.
”He was so absolutely crazy that he called
The Odyssey mud and the Iliad a mess.
That’s why he is chained by the dusky Furies
In the middle of hell with a dog collar on his neck”

Εἰ καὶ ὑπὸ χθονὶ κεῖται, ὅμως ἔτι καὶ κατὰ πίσσαν
τοῦ μιαρογλώσσου χεύατε Παρθενίου,
οὕνεκα Πιερίδεσσιν ἐνήμεσε μυρία κεῖνα
φλέγματα καὶ μυσαρῶν ἀπλυσίην ἐλέγων.
ἤλασε καὶ μανίης ἐπὶ δὴ τόσον, ὥστ᾿ ἀγορεῦσαι
πηλὸν Ὀδυσσείην καὶ βάτον Ἰλιάδα.
τοιγὰρ ὑπὸ ζοφίαισιν Ἐρινύσιν ἀμμέσον ἧπται
Κωκυτοῦ κλοιῷ λαιμὸν ἀπαγχόμενος.




Somebody to Drink With: Anacreon’s Epitaph and Some Poems

Greek Anthology 7.26, Antipater of Sidon

“Stranger passing by the humble grave of Anakreon,
If my books were of any use to you,
Pour some wine on my ashes, pour it out in drops
So that my bones can smile, refreshed a bit by wine,
so I, who loved the shouting raves of Dionysus,
so I, who was a partner of music matched to drink,
may not lie dead apart from Bacchus in this place below,
the land which all the race of mortals one day must know.”

Ξεῖνε, τάφον παρὰ λιτὸν ᾿Ανακρείοντος ἀμείβων,
εἴ τί τοι ἐκ βίβλων ἦλθεν ἐμῶν ὄφελος,
σπεῖσον ἐμῇ σποδιῇ, σπεῖσον γάνος, ὄφρα κεν οἴνῳ
ὀστέα γηθήσῃ τἀμὰ νοτιζόμενα,
ὡς ὁ Διωνύσου μεμελημένος εὐάσι κώμοις,
ὡς ὁ φιλακρήτου σύντροφος ἁρμονίης
μηδὲ καταφθίμενος Βάκχου δίχα τοῦτον ὑποίσω
τὸν γενεῇ μερόπων χῶρον ὀφειλόμενον.

Fr. 395

“Hades’ hall is horrifying
And the passage there is hard.
Worse: it is decided that
who ventures there does not return.”

Ἀίδεω γάρ ἐστι δεινὸς
μυχός, ἀργαλῆ δ᾿ ες αὐτὸν
κάτοδος. και γὰρ ἐτοῖμον
καταβάντι μὴ ἀναβῆναι

Anacreon. Marble. Roman copy of the 2nd century A.D. after a Greek original of the 5th century B.C. Inv. No. 491. Copenhagen, New Carlsberg Glyptotek.

Anacreon fr. 2

“I don’t love the man who while drinking next to a full cup
Talks about conflicts and lamentable war.
But whoever mixes the shining gifts of Aphrodite and the Muses
Let him keep in mind loving, good cheer.”

οὐ φιλέω, ὃς κρητῆρι παρὰ πλέωι οἰνοποτάζων
νείκεα καὶ πόλεμον δακρυόεντα λέγει,
ἀλλ’ ὅστις Μουσέων τε καὶ ἀγλαὰ δῶρ’ ᾿Αφροδίτης
συμμίσγων ἐρατῆς μνήσκεται εὐφροσύνης.

Fr. 428

“I love and again do not love
I am insane and yet sane too”

ἐρέω τε δηὖτε κοὐκ ἐρέω
καὶ μαίνομαι κοὐ μαίνομαι

This last fragment recalls (the much later) Carmen 85 of Catullus:

“I hate and I love: you might ask why I do this–
I don’t know, but I see it happen and it’s killing me.

Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

Fragmentary Friday: Have We All Forgotten that Life is Short?

We have a small group of fragments attributed to the Hellenistic poet Bion. Here are a few.

Bion, fr. 3 [- Stobaeus 1.9.3]

“Let love call the Muses; let the Muses carry love.
May the Muses always give me a song in my longing,
A sweet song—no treatment is more pleasing than this.”

Μοίσας Ἔρως καλέοι, Μοῖσαι τὸν Ἔρωτα φέροιεν.
μολπὰν ταὶ Μοῖσαί μοι ἀεὶ ποθέοντι διδοῖεν,
τὰν γλυκερὰν μολπάν, τᾶς φάρμακον ἅδιον οὐδέν.

Bion fr. 7 [=Stobaeus 4.16.14]

“I don’t know and it does not seem right to labor over things we haven’t learned”

Οὐκ οἶδ’, οὐδ’ ἐπέοικεν ἃ μὴ μάθομες πονέεσθαι.

Bion fr. 8 [=Stobaeus 4.16.15]

“If my songs are good, then these few
Fate has granted as a safeguard for what I have done.
If they are not pleasing, why should I toil any longer?
If Kronos’ son or devious Fate had granted to us
Two lifetimes, so that we could dedicate
The first to happiness and pleasure and the second to work,
Then it would be right to work first and sample happiness later.
But since the gods have decreed that one time come
For human life and that this is brief and minor too,
How long, wretches, should we toil tirelessly at work.
How long will we throw our soul and hearts into
Profit and skill, longing always for more and greater wealth?
Truly, have we all forgotten that we are mortal?
Have we all forgotten our lifetime is brief?”

Εἴ μευ καλὰ πέλει τὰ μελύδρια, καὶ τάδε μῶνα
κῦδος ἐμοὶ θήσοντι τά μοι πάρος ὤπασε Μοῖσα·
εἰ δ’ οὐχ ἁδέα ταῦτα, τί μοι πολὺ πλείονα μοχθεῖν;
εἰ μὲν γὰρ βιότω διπλόον χρόνον ἄμμιν ἔδωκεν
ἢ Κρονίδας ἢ Μοῖρα πολύτροπος, ὥστ’ ἀνύεσθαι
τὸν μὲν ἐς εὐφροσύναν καὶ χάρματα τὸν δ’ ἐπὶ μόχθῳ,
ἦν τάχα μοχθήσαντι ποθ’ ὕστερον ἐσθλὰ δέχεσθαι.
εἰ δὲ θεοὶ κατένευσαν ἕνα χρόνον ἐς βίον ἐλθεῖν
ἀνθρώποις, καὶ τόνδε βραχὺν καὶ μείονα πάντων,
ἐς πόσον, ἆ δειλοί, καμάτως κεἰς ἔργα πονεῦμες,
ψυχὰν δ’ ἄχρι τίνος ποτὶ κέρδεα καὶ ποτὶ τέχνας
βάλλομες ἱμείροντες ἀεὶ πολὺ πλείονος ὄλβω;
λαθόμεθ’ ἦ ἄρα πάντες ὅτι θνατοὶ γενόμεσθα,
χὠς βραχὺν ἐκ Μοίρας λάχομες χρόνον;

Bion, fr. 16 [=4.46.17]

“But I will take my own path down the hill
Toward the sandy shore, murmuring my song to
plead with harsh Galatea. I will not give up sweet hope
Even at the last steps of old age.”

Αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν βασεῦμαι ἐμὰν ὁδὸν ἐς τὸ κάταντες
τῆνο ποτὶ ψάμαθόν τε καὶ ἀιόνα ψιθυρίσδων,
λισσόμενος Γαλάτειαν ἀπηνέα· τὰς δὲ γλυκείας
ἐλπίδας ὑστατίω μέχρι γήραος οὐκ ἀπολειψῶ.


Image result for Ancient Greek Eros vase

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