Quick, Make that River Illegal!

Ps.Plutarch On Rivers, 18.2

“the Inakhos is a river in Argos…near it grows a plant called kunoura [‘dog’s tail] which is similar to rue and which women, when they want to abort a fetus without danger, steep in wine and then place on their navels.”

(1) ῎Ιναχος ποταμός ἐστι τῆς ᾽Αργείας χώρας … (2) γεννᾶται δ᾽ ἐν αὐτῶι βοτάνη κύνουρα καλουμένη, πηγάνῳ παρόμοιος, ἣν αἱ γυναῖκες, ὅταν ἀκινδύνως ἐκτρῶσαι θελήσωσιν, ἐν οἴνωι βεβρεγμένην τοῖς ὀμφαλοῖς ἐπιτιθέασιν.

 

Suda

“Moly: an antidote; Or, a plant which wards off evil, and also, wild rue.”

Μῶλυ: ἀντιπάθιον· ἢ βοτάνη ἀλεξιφάρμακος, ἤτοι πήγανον ἄγριον.

Image result for medieval manuscript river with women
British Library: Yates_thompson_ms_10_f011r

Wondrous Wednesday: Some Wicked Waters

We posted previously about paradoxographical records of magical waters. Here are some more.

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 10-13

10 “The Skamandros [river] makes hair light colored. This is why it is called Xanthus in Homer.”

῾Ο Σκάμανδρος ξανθὰς ποιεῖ τὰς τρίχας· ὅθεν καὶ Ξάνθος παρ’ ῾Ομήρῳ προσηγορεύθη.

11 “Antigonos says that the warm water in Hierapolis turns everything into stone—and when the water itself [ripens] it also becomes stone.”

᾿Αντίγονος τὸ μὲν ἐν ῾Ιεραπόλει θερμὸν ὕδωρ πάντα ἀπολιθοῦν φησι, καὶ αὐτὸ δὲ πέσσεσθαι καὶ λίθον γίνεσθαι.

12 “Theopompos says that among the Lungkêstai there is a certain bitter water which makes those who drink it drunk.”

Θεόπομπος ἐν Λυγκήσταις φησίν τι εἶναι ὕδωρ ὀξύ, ὃ τοὺς πίνοντας μεθύσκει.

13 “Herakleides says that there is a lake among the Sauromati which does not support any birds; any bird which approaches dies because of a smell. For this reason, indeed, [other lakes?] seem to be birdless throughout Italy.”

῾Ηρακλείδης [φησὶ] τὴν ἐν Σαυρομάταις λίμνην οὐδὲν τῶν ὀρνέων ὑπεραίρειν φησί, τὸ δὲ προσελθὸν ὑπὸ τῆς ὀσμῆς τελευτᾶν. ὃ δὴ καὶ περὶ τὴν ἄορνιν κατὰ τὴν ᾿Ιταλίαν δοκεῖ γίνεσθαι.

File:Piri Reis - Map of the River Nile From Its Estuary South - Google Art Project.jpg
Map of the River Nile from the Walters Art Museum

Wednesday’s Wondrous Waters: Rivers from the Paradoxographus Vaticanus

Paradoxographus Vaticanus, 18-22

18 “There is a river Perinthos in Thrace where the city Perinthos is too. If anyone drinks from it, their internal organs swell [or develop tumors?]. The reason for this is that the drops from the Gorgon’s head flowed into it after it was carried off by Perseus.”

 ποταμὸς ἐν Θρᾴκῃ, ὅθεν καὶ Πέρινθος ἡ πόλις· ἐκ τούτου εἰ πίοι τις, τὰ σπλάγχνα ἐξογκοῦται. ῾Η δ’ αἰτία, ὅτι σταγόνες ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς Γοργόνος ἐν τούτῳ ἐρρύησαν βασταζομένης ὑπὸ Περσέως.

19 “Among the Kelainai of Phrygia there is a river Marsyas. When that one somehow hears an aulos, it crashes greatly; if it is a kithara, it flows in silence, since the the aulos-player Marsyas drowned in it.”

᾿Εν Κελαιναῖς τῆς Φρυγίας ποταμός ἐστι Μαρσύας· οὗτος ἔν πως αὐλοῦ ἀκούσῃ, βομβεῖ μέγα, ἢν δὲ κιθάρας, μετὰ σιγῆς ῥεῖ, ἀποπνιγέντος ἐν αὐτῷ Μαρσύου τοῦ αὐλητοῦ.

20 “The river Tauromenios is in Sicily near the city of the same name. When that river hears thunder, it is frightened and retreats into the earth; but when the thunder stops, it rushes back from the earth again like a spring.”

Ταυρομένιος ποταμός ἐστιν ἐν Σικελίᾳ παρὰ τὴν ὁμώνυμον πόλιν· οὗτος βροντῆς ἀκούων φοβεῖται καὶ καταδύεται εἰς τὴν γῆν, ἢν δὲ παύσηται ἡ βροντή, πάλιν ἄνεισιν ἐκ τῆς γῆς καθάπερ πηγή.

21 “A cold river named Akis flows through Sicily. It has muddy water during the summer, but during the winter it is fine and clear.”

Ποταμὸς ψυχρὸς ὄνομα <῎Ακις> διὰ τῆς Σικελίας ῥεῖ· οὗτος τοῦ μὲν θέρους ἰλυῶδες ἔχει ὕδωρ, τοῦ δὲ χειμῶνος καλόν τε καὶ διαυγές.

22 “Among the Lungkêsktai there is a spring. If anyone drinks from it, they get drunk.”

᾿Εν Λυγκήσταις κρήνη ἐστίν, ἀφ’ ἧς ἐάν τις πίῃ, μεθύσκεται.

 

Wednesday’s Wondrous Water, 2

The second part of translations from the Paradoxographus Florentinus: Mirabilia de aquis

12 “Among the Kleitorians [Isigonos] says there is a spring and whenever anyone drinks its water, he cannot bear the smell of wine.”

Παρὰ Κλειτορίοις ὁ αὐτός φησιν εἶναι κρήνην, ἧς ὅταν τις τοῦ ὕδατος πίῃ, τοῦ οἴνου τὴν ὀσμὴν οὐ φέρει.

13 “The same author says that in Italy, in the Rheatinon plain, there is a stream called the Mentes which is similar to the one just mentioned.”

῾Ο αὐτός φησιν ἐν ᾿Ιταλίᾳ, ἐν τῷ ῾Ρεατίνῳ ἀγρῷ, κρήνην εἶναι Μέντην ὀνομαζομένην ὁμοίαν τῇ προειρημένῃ.

14 “Similarly, near Kosê there is a spring which, if you place a container filled with wine in it until it covers the mouth then it is more bitter than vinegar right away according to the same author.”

῾Ομοίως ἐγγὺς Κόσης ἔστι κρήνη, εἰς ἣν ἐὰν θῇς κεράμιον οἴνου γέμον, ὥστε ὑπερχεῖν τὸ στόμα, παντὸς ὄξους εἶναι δριμύτερον παραχρῆμα, ὡς ἱστορεῖ ὁ αὐτός.

15 “Theopompos records that there is a spring in Kingkhrôps in Thrace from which those who bathe in it are immediately transformed.”

Θεόπομπος ἱστορεῖ κρήνην ἐν Κίγχρωψι τῆς Θρᾴκης, ἐξ ἧς τοὺς λουσαμένους παραχρῆμα μεταλλάσσειν.

16 “Hellanikos says that near Magnesia there is a spring in Sipylos and when people drink from it their bowels turn to stone.”

῾Ελλάνικός φησι περὶ Μαγνησίαν τὴν ἐπὶ Σιπύλου πηγὴν εἶναι, ἀφ’ ἧς τοὺς πίνοντας <τὰς> κοιλίας ἀπολιθοῦσθαι.

17 “Ktêsias records that in Aithiopia there is a stream which is similar in color to cinnamon. When people drink from it they change their minds so much that they admit to things which were done secretly.”

Κτησίας δὲ ἐν Αἰθιοπίᾳ κρήνην ἱστορεῖ τῷ χρώματι κιννάβαρι παραπλησίαν· τοὺς δὲ πίνοντας ἀπ’ αὐτῆς παραλλάττειν τὴν διάνοιαν, ὥστε καὶ τὰ κρυφίως πεπραγμένα ὁμολογεῖν.

18 “In Arabia there is the spring of Isis, which, once a cup of wine has been moistened with it, also makes the drink more tempered, as Amômêtos says.”

᾿Εν ᾿Αραβίᾳ ἔστιν ῎Ισιδος κρήνη, ἥτις κοτύλης οἴνου ἐμβληθείσης κίρναται καὶ πρὸς τὴν πόσιν εὔκρατος γίνεται, ὥς φησιν ᾿Αμώμητος.

19 “Aristotle says that the spring of Ammon, whose water at midday and midnight is hot, is by nature the coldest.”

᾿Αριστοτέλης ῎Αμμωνος κρήνην εἶναί φησιν, ἧς τὸ ὕδωρ μεσημβρίας καὶ μεσονύκτου γίνεσθαι θερμόν, ὂν φύσει ψυχρότατον.

20 “Theopompos says that in Lugkêstai there is a spring which tastes like vinegar but when people drink it they get drunk as is from wine.”

Θεόπομπος ἐν Λυγκήσταις φησὶ πηγὴν εἶναι τῇ μὲν γεύσει ὀξίζουσαν, τοὺς δὲ πίνοντας μεθύσκεσθαι ὡς ἀπὸ οἴνου.

21 “Among the Sukaminai the city has a pond and when people either bathe in it or drink from it their hair falls off and hooves of senseless animals fall off, as Isigonos records.”

᾿Εν Συκαμίναις πόλει λίμνη ἐστίν, ἧς τῷ ὕδατι οἱ λουσάμενοι ἢ πιόντες ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ μαδῶσι τὰς τρίχας, τῶν δὲ ἀλόγων ζῴων αἱ ὁπλαὶ ἀποπίπτουσιν, ὡς ἱστορεῖ ᾿Ισίγονος.

22 “Herakleides of Pontus says that there is a pond among the Sauromati and any birds who have flown over it fall into it”

῾Ηρακλείδης ὁ Ποντικὸς λίμνην ἐν Σαυρομάταις φησὶν εἶναι, περὶ ἣν τὰ πετασθέντα τῶν ὀρνέων εἰς αὐτὴν πίπτειν.

22 “Herodotus records that there is a spring among the Macrobian Aithiopians from which people anoint themselves after they bathe.”

῾Ηρόδοτος ἐν Μακροβίοις Αἰθίοψι κρήνην ἱστορεῖ, ἀφ’ ἧς τοὺς λουσαμένους λιπαίνεσθαι.

[Note: the Greek in the epigram below is a little strange. I am not sure I have it right.]

24 “Among the Kleitorians of Arkadia they say there is a spring and when people drink from it they hate wine. Next to this this kind of epigram is placed

Hick, with flocks, at midday thirst weighs down on you
As you come through the farthest part of Kleitoros;
Take a drink from this spring. And rest your whole flock
Among the water nymphs here.
But don’t put your skin to bathe, so that the smell
might not cause you pain when you are in drunken pleasure.

Avoid my vine-hating spring where Melampous*,
Once he washed of the madness of harsh Proitos**
Cut off every disgrace in secret, when they came from Argos
to the mountains of steep Arkadia.”

᾿Εν Κλειτορίοις δὲ τῆς ᾿Αρκαδίας κρήνην φασὶν εἶναι, ἀφ’ ἧς τοὺς πίνοντας μισεῖν τὸν οἶνον· ἐπικεχάρακται δὲ ἐπ’ αὐτῆς ἐπίγραμμα τοιόνδε·

ἀγρότα, σὺν ποίμναις, τὸ μεσημβρινὸν ἤν σε βαρύνῃ
δίψος ἀν’ ἐσχατιὰς Κλείτορος ἐρχόμενον,
τῆς μὲν ἀπὸ κρήνης ἄρυσαι πόμα· καὶ παρὰ νύμφαις
ὑδριάσι στῆσον πᾶν τὸ σὸν αἰπόλιον.
ἀλλὰ σὺ μήτ’ ἐπὶ λουτρὰ βάλῃς χροΐ, μή σε καὶ αὔρη
πημήνῃ τερπνῆς ἐντὸς ἐόντα μέθης.
φεῦγε δ’ ἐμὴν πηγὴν μισάμπελον, ἔνθα Μελάμπους
λουσάμενος λύσσης Προιτίδος ἀργαλέης
πάντα καθαρμὸν ἔκοψεν ἀπόκρυφον· †αγαρ† ἀπ’ ῎Αργους
οὔρεα τρηχείης ἤλυθον ᾿Αρκαδίης.

Textual variations:   ἀρτεμέας for ἀργαλέης; for ἔβαψεν for ἔκοψεν

*Melampous was a seer who dealt with the king Proitos in either Argos or Pylos. The references to “vine-hating” and “washing” recall the story of Melampous cleansing the women of the city of madness inspired by Dionysus. Hence, the water makes people hate wine. This epigram appears in a supplement to the Greek Anthology and Vitruvius

25 “Aristôn the peripatetic philosopher says that there is a spring of water in Kios and when people drink from it they lose their senses in their mind. And he adds that there is this kind of an epigram for it.

“Sweet is the offering of the cool drink which this spring
Offers up. But whoever drinks of it is a stone in his mind.”

᾿Αρίστων δὲ ὁ περιπατητικὸς φιλόσοφος ἐν τῇ Κίῳ πηγήν φησιν ὕδατος εἶναι, ἀφ’ ἧς τοὺς πίνοντας ἀναισθήτους γίνεσθαι ταῖς ψυχαῖς· εἶναι δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτης ἐπίγραμμα τοιόνδε·

ἡδεῖα ψυχροῖο ποτοῦ λιβάς, ἣν ἀναβάλλει
πηγή· ἀλλὰ νόῳ πέτρος ὁ τῆσδε πιών.

Image result for medieval manuscript water
France ca. 1310 BnF, Français 12400, fol. 6r 

On Rivers and Poets: Quintilian And Callimachus

Quintilian, An Orator’s Education 10.1.47

“Hence, as Aratus believes that we must begin with Zeus, we think that it is right to begin with Homer. For, truly, just as what he says about the ocean, which he says is the source and the force of every river and stream, so too does Homer furnish the model and origin for every type of eloquence. No one has exceeded him for sublimity in the large themes or quiet sense in the personal ones. At the same time he is ebullient and terse, joyful and severe, a source of wonder for his expansions and his brevity—preeminent by far for both his poetic and rhetorical mastery.”

Igitur, ut Aratus ab Iove incipiendum putat, ita nos rite coepturi ab Homero videmur. Hic enim, quem ad modum ex Oceano dicit ipse 〈omnium〉 amnium fontiumque cursus initium capere, omnibus eloquentiae partibus exemplum et ortum dedit. Hunc nemo in magnis rebus sublimitate, in parvis proprietate superaverit. Idem laetus ac pressus, iucundus et gravis, tum copia tum brevitate mirabilis, nec poetica modo sed oratoria virtute eminentissimus.

Callimachus, Hymn to Apollo 2.108-112

“Envy spoke surreptitiously into Apollo’s ears:
“I don’t love the singer who doesn’t sing as wide as the sea”
Apollo then kicked Envy with his foot and said this:
“The flowing of the Assyrian river is huge, but it carries a great deal
Of trash from the earth and hauls garbage with its water.
The bees do not carry water from just anywhere to Demeter
But only that which is clean and unmixed and flows down
From a sacred fountain, a little stream from a high peak.”

ὁ Φθόνος ᾿Απόλλωνος ἐπ’ οὔατα λάθριος εἶπεν·
‘οὐκ ἄγαμαι τὸν ἀοιδὸν ὃς οὐδ’ ὅσα πόντος ἀείδει.’
τὸν Φθόνον ὡπόλλων ποδί τ’ ἤλασεν ὧδέ τ’ ἔειπεν·
‘᾿Ασσυρίου ποταμοῖο μέγας ῥόος, ἀλλὰ τὰ πολλά
λύματα γῆς καὶ πολλὸν ἐφ’ ὕδατι συρφετὸν ἕλκει.
Δηοῖ δ’ οὐκ ἀπὸ παντὸς ὕδωρ φορέουσι μέλισσαι,
ἀλλ’ ἥτις καθαρή τε καὶ ἀχράαντος ἀνέρπει
πίδακος ἐξ ἱερῆς ὀλίγη λιβὰς ἄκρον ἄωτον.’

Image result for Okeanos ancient Greek