Tell Me Ancient Sages: Should I Take a Nap?

Democritus D183 [(B212) Stob. 3.6.27]

“Sleeping in the day is a sign of trouble in the body or else anxiety, laziness or ignorance of the soul”

ἡμερήσιοι ὕπνοι σώματος ὄχλησιν ἢ ψυχῆς ἀδημοσύνην ἢ ἀργίην ἢ ἀπαιδευσίην σημαίνουσι.

 

But Cicero did it!

Cicero, De Divinatione 2. 142

“With the exception of that dream about Marius, I don’t remember any one clearly. How many of the nights during my long life have been useless! Now too, thanks to a break in my political work, I have stopped studying at night and I have added daytime napping—which I never used to do at all. But I am neither bothered by any dream in so much sleep—and certainly not concerning these great affairs, and nor do I ever think more to myself that must be dreaming when I actually see the magistrates in the forum and the senators in the senate.”

Mihi quidem praeter hoc Marianum nihil sane, quod meminerim. Frustra igitur consumptae tot noctes tam longa in aetate! Nunc quidem propter intermissionem forensis operae et lucubrationes detraxi et meridiationes addidi, quibus uti antea non solebam, nec tam multum dormiens ullo somnio sum admonitus, tantis praesertim de rebus, nec mihi magis umquam videor, quam cum aut in foro magistratus aut in curia senatum video, somniare.

Theocritus, Epigram 19

“Be bold and sit down—if you want, take a nap”

θαρσέων καθίζευ, κἢν θέλῃς ἀπόβριξον

Philostratus, Heroicus 16

“For he happened to be sleeping there at midday…”

ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἔτυχε καθεύδων μεσημβρίας ἐνταῦθα

 

Warning…

Apuleius, Metamorphoses 4.27

“To start with, only false dreams accompany naps during the day and, in addition, even nighttime dreams often prophesy the opposite facts. For example, crying, being beaten or even sometimes having your throat slit in dreams actually predicts profitable or prosperous futures. Laughing or scarfing down honey-sweet treats or having sex, on the contrary, will foretell someone being troubled by depression, physical exhaustion and other kinds of curses.”

Nam praeter quod diurnae quietis imagines falsae perhibentur, tunc etiam nocturnae visiones contrarios eventus nonnumquam pronuntiant. Denique flere et vapulare et nonnumquam iugulari lucrosum prosperumque proventum nuntiant; contra ridere et mellitis dulciolis ventrem saginare vel in voluptatem Veneriam convenire tristitie animi, languore corporis, damnisque ceteris vexatum iri praedicabunt.

 

Martial, Epigram 3.44.16

“Exhausted, I am trying to sleep—you keep waking me when I lie down.”

lassus dormio: suscitas iacentem.

Lucian, A True Story 2. 26

“I was not there for I happened to be taking a nap at the dinner party”

ἐγὼ μὲν οὐ παρῆν· ἐτύγχανον γὰρ ἐν τῷ συμποσίῳ κοιμώμενος

 

Varro did it too!

Varro, On Agriculture 2.6

“I would not be able to live here, where the night and day return and depart in equal turn, if I did not split the difference with my customary midday nap.”

Ego hic, ubi nox et dies modice redit et abit, tamen aestivo die, si non diffinderem meo insiticio somno meridie, vivere non possum. Illic in semenstri die aut nocte quem ad modum quicquam seri aut alescere aut meti possit?

 

Give me a verdict, Horace….

Horace, Epistle 2.31-36

“Come now, what disturbs the sound of our shared song?
One who once wore finely made and beautiful hair
One you know was pleasing to thirsty Cinara,
And who would drink bright Falernian in the middle of the day,
Now a small meal pleases him followed by a nap in the soft plants by a river–
It is not shameful to have been a fool, but only not to stop being one.”

Nunc age, quid nostrum concentum dividat audi.
quem tenues decuere togae nitidique capilli,
quem scis immunem Cinarae placuisse rapaci,
quem bibulum liquidi media de luce Falerni,
cena brevis iuvat et prope rivum somnus in herba;
nec lusisse pudet, sed non incidere ludum.

Image result for medieval monk napping
British Library Royal 10 E IV f. 221

Tell Me Ancient Sages: Should I Take a Nap?

Democritus D183 [(B212) Stob. 3.6.27]

“Sleeping in the day is a sign of trouble in the body or else anxiety, laziness or ignorance of the soul”

ἡμερήσιοι ὕπνοι σώματος ὄχλησιν ἢ ψυχῆς ἀδημοσύνην ἢ ἀργίην ἢ ἀπαιδευσίην σημαίνουσι.

 

But Cicero did it!

Cicero, De Divinatione 2. 142

“With the exception of that dream about Marius, I don’t remember any one clearly. How many of the nights during my long life have been useless! Now too, thanks to a break in my political work, I have stopped studying at night and I have added daytime napping—which I never used to do at all. But I am neither bothered by any dream in so much sleep—and certainly not concerning these great affairs, and nor do I ever think more to myself that must be dreaming when I actually see the magistrates in the forum and the senators in the senate.”

Mihi quidem praeter hoc Marianum nihil sane, quod meminerim. Frustra igitur consumptae tot noctes tam longa in aetate! Nunc quidem propter intermissionem forensis operae et lucubrationes detraxi et meridiationes addidi, quibus uti antea non solebam, nec tam multum dormiens ullo somnio sum admonitus, tantis praesertim de rebus, nec mihi magis umquam videor, quam cum aut in foro magistratus aut in curia senatum video, somniare.

Theocritus, Epigram 19

“Be bold and sit down—if you want, take a nap”

θαρσέων καθίζευ, κἢν θέλῃς ἀπόβριξον

Philostratus, Heroicus 16

“For he happened to be sleeping there at midday…”

ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἔτυχε καθεύδων μεσημβρίας ἐνταῦθα

 

Warning…

Apuleius, Metamorphoses 4.27

“To start with, only false dreams accompany naps during the day and, in addition, even nighttime dreams often prophesy the opposite facts. For example, crying, being beaten or even sometimes having your throat slit in dreams actually predicts profitable or prosperous futures. Laughing or scarfing down honey-sweet treats or having sex, on the contrary, will foretell someone being troubled by depression, physical exhaustion and other kinds of curses.”

Nam praeter quod diurnae quietis imagines falsae perhibentur, tunc etiam nocturnae visiones contrarios eventus nonnumquam pronuntiant. Denique flere et vapulare et nonnumquam iugulari lucrosum prosperumque proventum nuntiant; contra ridere et mellitis dulciolis ventrem saginare vel in voluptatem Veneriam convenire tristitie animi, languore corporis, damnisque ceteris vexatum iri praedicabunt.

 

Martial, Epigram 3.44.16

“Exhausted, I am trying to sleep—you keep wake me when I lie down.”

lassus dormio: suscitas iacentem.

Lucian, A True Story 2. 26

“I was not there for I happened to be taking a nap at the dinner party”

ἐγὼ μὲν οὐ παρῆν· ἐτύγχανον γὰρ ἐν τῷ συμποσίῳ κοιμώμενος

 

Varro did it too!

Varro, On Agriculture 2.6

“I would not be able to live here, where the night and day return and depart in equal turn, if I did not split the difference with my customary midday nap.”

Ego hic, ubi nox et dies modice redit et abit, tamen aestivo die, si non diffinderem meo insiticio somno meridie, vivere non possum. Illic in semenstri die aut nocte quem ad modum quicquam seri aut alescere aut meti possit?

 

Give me a verdict, Horace….

Horace, Epistle 2.31-36

“Come now, what disturbs the sound of our shared song?
One who once wore finely made and beautiful hair
One you know was pleasing to thirsty Cinara,
And who would drink bright Falernian in the middle of the day,
Now a small meal pleases him followed by a nap in the soft plants by a river–
It is not shameful to have been a fool, but only not to stop being one.”

Nunc age, quid nostrum concentum dividat audi.
quem tenues decuere togae nitidique capilli,
quem scis immunem Cinarae placuisse rapaci,
quem bibulum liquidi media de luce Falerni,
cena brevis iuvat et prope rivum somnus in herba;
nec lusisse pudet, sed non incidere ludum.

Image result for medieval monk napping
British Library Royal 10 E IV f. 221

Back to Bed: Some Compounds for a Sleepy Saturday

Updated with some new words. As always, inspired by Paul Holdengraber’s tweet:

http://twitter.com/holdengraber/status/741972797380034560

κλινήρης: klinêrês, “bed-ridden”

κλινοβατία: klinobatia, “confinement to bed”, lit. “bed-wandering/walking”

κλινοκαθέδριον: klinokathedrion, “easy-chair”, lit. “bed-chair”

κλινοπάλη: klinopalê, “bed-wrestling”

κλινοπηγία: klinopêgia, “bed-making”

κλινοποιός: klinopoios, “bed-maker”

κλινοχαρής:  klinokharês, “one who delights in bed”

κοιτωνοφύλαξ: koitônophulaks, “guardian of the bed-chamber”

κοῖτος: koitos, “bed”

κοιτίς: koitis, “casket”

κοιτίδιον: koitidion: “a little bed or little casket”

κοιτάζω: koitazô, “to put to bed”

κοιταῖος: koitaios, “lying abed”

κλινίδιον: klinidion, “a little bed”

κλινοχαρής: klinokharês, “delighting in bed”

κλινηφόρος: klinêphoros, “bed-carrier”

λέκτριος: lektrios, “lying abed”

λεκτροκλόπος: lektroklopos, “bed thief, i.e. adulterer

Alexis, fr. 287

“Yesterday you drank too much and now you’re hungover.
Take a nap—this will help it. Then let someone give you
Cabbage, boiled.”

ἐχθὲς ὑπέπινες, εἶτα νυνὶ κραιπαλᾷς.
κατανύστασον· παύσῃ γάρ. εἶτά σοι δότω
ῥάφανόν τις ἑφθήν.

νύσταγμα: nustagma, “nap”

νυσταγμός: nustagmos “drowsy”

νυστάζω: nustagô, “to nap, nod off”

νυσταλέος: nustaleos, “drowsy”

νυσταλογερόντιον:  nustalogerontion, “sleepy old man”

Even on weekdays, I get ornery without a nap. Although, to be fair, I worry that this is partly because I am like the bard Ion

Plato, Ion 532c

‘What then is the reason, Socrates, that I can’t pay attention or say anything worthy of account but simply fall asleep whenever someone talks about any other poet while, when anyone talks about Homer, I spring awake, I focus sharply, and I have an abundance of things to say?”

 ΙΩΝ. Τί οὖν ποτε τὸ αἴτιον, ὦ Σώκρατες, ὅτι ἐγώ, ὅταν μέν τις περὶ ἄλλου του ποιητοῦ διαλέγηται, οὔτε προσέχω τὸν νοῦν ἀδυνατῶ τε καὶ ὁτιοῦν συμβαλέσθαι λόγου ἄξιον, ἀλλ’ ἀτεχνῶς νυστάζω, ἐπειδὰν δέ τις περὶ ῾Ομήρου μνησθῇ, εὐθύς τε ἐγρήγορα καὶ προσέχω τὸν νοῦν καὶ εὐπορῶ ὅτι λέγω;

Image result for ancient greek bed vase

My five-year old son talks in his sleep. And I don’t mean that he merely makes sounds–he holds entire conversations with himself. Sometimes there are arguments. As I discovered this morning, however, there is no Ancient Greek word for “sleeping-talkng” or “sleep walking”.

Based on the compound “walking on air” (ἀεροβατεῖν) I propose ὑπνολέγειν (“sleep-talking”) and ὑπνοβατεῖν (“sleep-talking”). But I must admit that my faith is a bit rattled. So, here are some sleep-compounds from ancient Greek.

ὑπνομαχέω: (hupnomakheô) “fight against sleep”

ὑπνοποιός: (hupnopoios) “sleep-making”

ὑπνάπατης: (hupnapatês) “cheating of sleep”

ὑπνοφόβης: (hupnophobês) “frightening in sleep”

ὑπνοφόρος: (hupnophoros) “sleep-bringing”

ὑπνοδεσμήτος: (hupnodesmêtos) “bound-by-sleep”

ὑπνοτραπἑζος: (hupnotrapezos) “table-sleeper” (an epithet for a parasite)

Gorgias on Sleep and His Brother (Aelian, Varia Historiia 2.30)

“When Gorgias of Leontini was at the end of his life and, extremely old, he was over taken by a certain weakness, he stretched out in his bed slipping off to sleep. When one of his attendants who was looking over him asked how he was doing, Gorgias replied “Sleep is now starting to hand me over to his brother.””

Γοργίας ὁ Λεοντῖνος ἐπὶ τέρματι ὢν τοῦ βίου καὶ γεγηρακὼς εὖ μάλα ὑπό τινος ἀσθενείας καταληφθείς, κατ’ ὀλίγον ἐς ὕπνον ὑπολισθάνων ἔκειτο. ἐπεὶ δέ τις αὐτὸν παρῆλθε τῶν ἐπιτηδείων ἐπισκοπούμενος καὶ ἤρετο ὅ τι πράττοι, ὁ Γοργίας ἀπεκρίνατο ‘ἤδη με ὁ ὕπνος ἄρχεται παρακατατίθεσθαι τἀδελφῷ.’

Gorgias of Leontini was an orator who lived nearly one hundred years. In Greek myth, Sleep (Hypnos) and Death (Thanatos) are brothers. Here’s the Euphronios Krater that shows the pair carrying off the mortally wounded Sarpedon.

Euphronios_krater_side_A_MET_L.2006.10