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

A Comic Scene for Parents and Small Children

Plautus, Curculio, 182-184

Ph. Shhhhh.
Pal: Why? I am being quiet. Why don’t you go back to sleep?
Ph. I am sleeping. Don’t yell.
Pal. But you are awake.
Ph. No. I am sleeping the way I do. This is how I sleep!

Phae: tace.
Pal: quid, taceam? quin tu is dormitum?
Phae: dormio, ne occlamites.
Pal: tuquidem uigilas.
Phae: at meo more dormio: hic somnust mihi.

Image result for Ancient Roman Sleeping

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

Seneca’s Fugue State

Seneca Moral Epistle 83. 5-7

“Not much of my strength remains for a bath. Then, after I do bathe, I have some dry bread, breakfast without a table. Hands don’t need to be washed after such a meal. After that, I nap for a bit. You are familiar with my custom: I take the shortest bit of sleep, as if just releasing myself from the yoke. It is enough for me to stop staying awake. At times, I know I have slept; at others, I only suspect it.”

 Non multum mihi  balneum superest. Panis deinde siccus et sine mensa prandium, post quod non sunt lavandae manus. Dormio minimum. Consuetudinem meam nosti: brevissimo somno utor et quasi interiungo. Satis est mihi vigilare desisse. Aliquando dormisse me scio, aliquando suspicor.

A sleeping man in a medieval manuscript - from British Library Royal 19 D III f. 458
British Library Royal 19 D III f. 458

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

The Roman Comic Scene Parents Act Out with Their Children

Plautus, Curculio, 182-184

It is as if Plautus wrote for a parent and a young child. Phaedromus = Me; Palinurus = Either child.

Ph. Shhhhh.
Pal: Why? I am being quiet. Why don’t you go back to sleep?
Ph. I am sleeping. Don’t yell.
Pal. But you are awake.
Ph. No. I am sleeping the way I do. This is how I sleep!

Phae: tace.
Pal: quid, taceam? quin tu is dormitum?
Phae: dormio, ne occlamites.
Pal: tuquidem uigilas.
Phae: at meo more dormio: hic somnust mihi.

Image result for Ancient Roman Sleeping

In Sleep, Dreams Seem Real; Awake…

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 4.453-461

“And when sleep has bound our limbs with sweet
slumber and the whole body lies in deep repose,
we still seem to ourselves to be awake and to move
our limbs—in the obscure darkness of night.
We think that we see the sun and the light of day;
we seem to trade a closed room or the sky, sea,
rivers and mountains—-we cross fields on our feet.
We hear sounds when the heavy quiet of night
hangs over everything; we utter words while staying silent.”

Image result for Ancient Roman art dreams

Denique cum suavi devinxit membra sopore
somnus et in summa corpus iacet omne quiete,
tum vigilare tamen nobis et membra movere
nostra videmur, et in noctis caligine caeca
cernere censemus solem lumenque diurnum,
conclusoque loco caelum mare flumina montis
mutare et campos pedibus transire videmur,
et sonitus audire, severa silentia noctis
undique cum constent, et reddere dicta tacentes.

Shakespeare, Hamlet

To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.

An Exhortation to Drink Instead of Sleeping

Apollonides, Greek Anthology 15.25

“You are sleeping, friend, but the cup itself calls:
“Wake and do not indulge in mortal fear!”
Don’t abstain, Diodoros! Slip deep into wine,
Drink it unmixed until your knees are weak.
There will be a day when we do not drink, many of them.
Come on: wisdom is touching our temples now.”

῾Υπνώεις, ὠταῖρε· τὸ δὲ σκύφος αὐτὸ βοᾷ σε·
„῎Εγρεο, μὴ τέρπου μοιριδίῃ μελέτῃ.”
μὴ φείσῃ, Διόδωρε· λάβρος δ’ εἰς Βάκχον ὀλισθὼν
ἄχρις ἐπὶ σφαλεροῦ ζωροπότει γόνατος.
ἔσσεθ’, ὅτ’ οὐ πιόμεσθα, πολὺς πολύς· ἀλλ’ ἄγ’ ἐπείγου·
ἡ συνετὴ κροτάφων ἅπτεται ἡμετέρων.

 

grapes

In Sleep Our Dreams Seem Real

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 4.453-461

“And when sleep has bound our limbs with sweet
slumber and the whole body lies in deep repose,
we still seem to ourselves to be awake and to move
our limbs—in the obscure darkness of night.
We think that we see the sun and the light of day;
we seem to trade a closed room or the sky, sea,
rivers and mountains—-we cross fields on our feet.
We hear sounds when the heavy quiet of night
hangs over everything; we utter words while staying silent.”

Denique cum suavi devinxit membra sopore
somnus et in summa corpus iacet omne quiete,
tum vigilare tamen nobis et membra movere
nostra videmur, et in noctis caligine caeca
cernere censemus solem lumenque diurnum,
conclusoque loco caelum mare flumina montis
mutare et campos pedibus transire videmur,
et sonitus audire, severa silentia noctis
undique cum constent, et reddere dicta tacentes.

Aye. but our waking troubles plague us in sleep too!

Accius, Brutus 29-38

“King, it is not at all a surprise that the things men do in life, what they think
Worry over, see, what they do and pursue while awake, should plague each man
While sleeping too. But in this one, the gods present you something quite unexpected.
Be on guard that the many you consider an imbecile just like a sheep
Might actually possess a heart especially safeguarded with wisdom.
He may supplant you in this kingdom: for the sign which comes to you from the sun
Foretells of a great change in the near future for your people.
May these things actually be a good change for the people.
For, since the most powerful sign moved from left to right in the sky,
It has prophesied that the Roman Republic would reign on high.”

Rex, quae in vita usurpant homines, cogitant curant vident
Quaeque agunt vigilantes agitantque ea si cui in somno accidunt
Minus mirum est, sed di in re tanta haut temere inprovisa offerunt.
Proin vide ne quem tu esse hebetem deputes aeque ac pecus
Is sapientia munitum pectus egregie gerat,
Teque regno expellat; nam id quod de sole ostentum est tibi
Populo conmutationem rerum portendit fore
Perpropinquam. Haec bene verruncent populo! Nam quod ad dexteram
Cepit cursum ab laeva signum praepotens, pulcherrume
Auguratum est rem Romanam publicam summam fore

Aelian, Varia Historia 3.1

“The Peripatetics say that at day the soul is a slave encased by the body and it is not able to see the truth clearly. At night, it is freed from its service and, after takes the shape of a sphere in the area around the chest, it becomes somewhat prophetic: this is where dreams come from.”

Οἱ περιπατητικοί φασι μεθ’ ἡμέραν θητεύουσαν τὴν ψυχὴν τῷ σώματι περιπλέκεσθαι καὶ μὴ δύνασθαι καθαρῶς τὴν ἀλήθειαν θεωρεῖν• νύκτωρ δὲ διαλυθεῖσαν τῆς περὶ τοῦτο λειτουργίας καὶ σφαιρωθεῖσαν ἐν τῷ περὶ τὸν θώρακα τόπῳ μαντικωτέραν γίνεσθαι, ἐξ ὧν τὰ ἐνύπνια.

Bed and Sleep Compounds in Ancient Greek

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”

 

Sleep

My four-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