Sunday, October 22, 2017


Punishment in School

Mandell Creighton, quoted in Life and Letters of Mandell Creighton, D.D. Oxon. and Cam., Sometime Bishop of London. By His Wife, Vol. I (Longmans, Green and Co., 1906), p. 14:
As regards punishment, I strongly recommend giving a fellow a thrashing, the fellows like it best themselves—better than setting impositions or reporting. Setting impositions is essentially weak, and shams master too much: I should only recommend it in the case of fellows so little, or so weak, you did not like to thrash them, or as an addition to a thrashing when you felt the latter was not enough. For drunkenness and beastliness (also for bullying and stealing, of course) thrash a fellow at once, as hard as ever you like—you cannot give him too much; but let me recommend that no fellow be thrashed by any of you hastily or in a passion, but that before thrashing a fellow you consult some of your brother monitors. Remember, never thrash a fellow a little, always hard: and it is always well that he be thrashed by more than one of the monitors.
If this were a classical text, I might obelize "shams master," as I suspect it is corrupt.

[From Joel Eidsath:
I would have to protest your obelization. "Shams" could be the verb "to sham" in the sense of "to sham illness". The advice is given to a monitor, and the Bishop refers to, I believe, an action that savors of a monitor acting as a sham master towards the other boys.]
When I was in seventh grade, a teacher slammed me against a locker in the hallway. I hadn't done anything wrong, but I didn't protest because:
1) On many other occasions I had done something wrong, without being caught.

2) If I had complained to my parents, they would have punished me a second time. Teachers, in the opinion of my parents, were always in the right.

Dear Mike,

Ouch! It was as bad at home. Here is a passage from the memoirs of Creighton's wife:
I do not think that I had much difficulty in managing the children, though of course there was a good deal of quarrelling & temper at times. I tried to make punishments fit the offense as Herbert Spencer enjoined, & I always objected to anything of the nature of a judicial punishment. Some of my punishments may be considered brutal by some people. Cuthbert was a very mischievous boy, & used to play with fire & cut things with knives, so when he played with fire I held his finger on the bar of the grate for a minute that he might feel how fire burnt, & when he cut woodwork with his knife I gave his fingers a little cut. I never whipt any child.
Memoirs of a Victorian Woman: Reflections of Louise Creighton, 1850-1936, edited with introduction and annotation by James Thayne Covert (Indiana University Press, 1994), p.72.

As ever,

Ian [Jackson]

Related posts:


The Learned and the Foolish

Quintilian 10.7.22 (tr. Donald A. Russell):
Those who want to seem learned to the foolish seem fools to the learned.

qui stultis videri eruditi volunt, stulti eruditis videntur.
The Latin is mangled in Jon R. Stone, The Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations: The Illiterati's Guide to Latin Maxims, Mottoes, Proverbs, and Sayings (New York: Routledge, 2005), p. 97:

If you quote this saying of Quintilian as it appears in the Routledge Dictionary, you will truly be exposed as illiterate.



One of Life's Pleasures

Dean Inge, quoted by Geoffrey Madan, Notebooks: A Selection, edd. J.A. Gere and John Sparrow (1981; rpt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 135:
Perhaps the most lasting pleasure in life is the pleasure of not going to church.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Carpe Diem

Theognis 983–988 (tr. Douglas E. Gerber):
Let us give up our hearts to festivity, while they can still sustain pleasure's lovely activities. For the splendour of youth passes by as quickly as a thought. Not so swift are charging horses which, delighting in the wheat-bearing plain, carry their spear-wielding master furiously to the battle toil of men.

ἡμεῖς δ᾿ ἐν θαλίῃσι φίλον καταθώμεθα θυμόν,
    ὄφρ᾿ ἔτι τερπωλῆς ἔργ᾿ ἐρατεινὰ φέρῃ.
αἶψα γὰρ ὥστε νόημα παρέρχεται ἀγλαὸς ἥβη·        985
    οὐδ᾿ ἵππων ὁρμὴ γίνεται ὠκυτέρη,
αἵ τε ἄνακτα φέρουσι δορυσσόον ἐς πόνον ἀνδρῶν
    λάβρως, πυροφόρῳ τερπόμεναι πεδίῳ.
The same, tr. Andrew M. Miller:
Let us devote our hearts to merriment and feasting
    while the enjoyment of delights still brings pleasure.
For quick as thought does radiant youth pass by,
    nor does the rush of horses prove to be swifter
when carrying their master to the labor of men's spears
    with furious energy, taking joy in the plain that brings forth wheat.
I'm not sure who translated these lines in The Cambridge History of Classical Literature, I: Greek Literature, edd. P.E. Easterling and B.M.W. Knox (Cambridge: Cambridge Univerity Press, 1985; rpt. 2003), pp. 141-142:
As for us, let us devote our hearts to feast and celebration, while they can still feel the joy of pleasure's motions. For glorious youth passes by swift as a thought, swifter than the burst of speed shown by horses as they take a chieftain and his spear to the battle line, galloping furiously as they take their joy in the flatness of the wheatfields.
T. Hudson-Williams ad loc.:

Friday, October 20, 2017


The Future, Accurately Predicted

G.K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News (December 16, 1911):
If I wrote a romance about the future (which Heaven avert!), I should describe a state in which the big shops and businesses had become almost independent kingdoms or clans, the power of the employer over clerks and shopmen enormous; the power of the State over the employer comparatively slight.
G.K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News (June 9, 1934):
I have not the slightest difficulty in imagining the world of the future taking a turn which would bring back the fact, if not the form, of witch-hunting and slavery and the persecution of heresies.


Leave the Rest to Fate

Greek Anthology 11.62 (by Palladas, tr. Tony Harrison):
Death's a debt that everybody owes,
and if you'll last the night out no-one knows.

Learn your lesson then, and thank your stars
for wine and company and all-night bars.

Life careers gravewards at a breakneck rate,
so drink and love, and leave the rest to Fate.

πᾶσι θανεῖν μερόπεσσιν ὀφείλεται, οὐδέ τις ἐστὶν
    αὔριον εἰ ζήσει θνητὸς ἐπιστάμενος.
τοῦτο σαφῶς, ἄνθρωπε, μαθὼν εὔφραινε σεαυτόν,
    λήθην τοῦ θανάτου τὸν Βρόμιον κατέχων.
τέρπεο καὶ Παφίῃ, τὸν ἐφημέριον βίον ἕλκων·
    τἄλλα δὲ πάντα Τύχῃ πράγματα δὸς διέπειν.
R. Kassel, "Dichterspiele," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 42 (1981) 11-20 (at 17, n. 34), regards this as a paraphrase of Euripides, Alcestis 782-789, here in the translation of Moses Hadas and John McLean:
All men have to pay the debt of death,
and there is not a mortal who knows
whether he is going to be alive on the morrow.
The outcome of things that depend on fortune cannot be foreseen;
they can neither be learnt nor discovered by any art.
Hearken to this and learn of me,
cheer up, drink, reckon the days
yours as you live them; the rest belongs to fortune.

βροτοῖς ἅπασι κατθανεῖν ὀφείλεται,
κοὐκ ἔστι θνητῶν ὅστις ἐξεπίσταται
τὴν αὔριον μέλλουσαν εἰ βιώσεται·
τὸ τῆς τύχης γὰρ ἀφανὲς οἷ προβήσεται,        785
κἄστ᾿ οὐ διδακτὸν οὐδ᾿ ἁλίσκεται τέχνῃ.
ταῦτ᾿ οὖν ἀκούσας καὶ μαθὼν ἐμοῦ πάρα
εὔφραινε σαυτόν, πῖνε, τὸν καθ᾿ ἡμέραν
βίον λογίζου σόν, τὰ δ᾿ ἄλλα τῆς τύχης.
The similarity was also noticed by others, e.g. Bruno Lier, "Topica carminum sepulcralium latinorum. Pars II," Philologus 62 (1903) 563-603 (at 582-583).

Related post: Make Thee Merry.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Two Pains

Greek Anthology 12.172 (by Euenus; tr. W.R. Paton):
If to hate is pain and to love is pain, of the two evils
I choose the smart of kind pain.

εἰ μισεῖν πόνος ἐστί, φιλεῖν πόνος, ἐκ δύο λυγρῶν
    αἱροῦμαι χρηστῆς ἕλκος ἔχειν ὀδύνης.
Greek ἕλκος is cognate with Latin ulcus, -eris.

The same, tr. Alistair Elliot:
If hate is painful and if love's a pain,
I'll choose the wound that is not quite in vain.
The same, tr. Daryl Hine:
Since hating's a bore and loving is a bore,
I like the nicer of two boredoms more.


People in Greece and Rome

The Way It Wasn't: From the Files of James Laughlin (New York: New Directions, 2006), p. 36 (under the heading "Brown University"):
My students range from tops to, well, what do you think of this little miss, who ended her paper: "We cannot say that Pound's 'Mauberley' is a work of art because he writes about so many people in Greece and Rome who nobody knows anything about any more. Pound could not have written this poem without Froula's guide."
"Froula's guide" = Christine Froula, A Guide to Ezra Pound's Selected Poems (New York: New Directions, 1983)!


Nocturnal Misadventure

Martin L. West (1937-2015), Greek Elegy and Iambus (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1974), p. 172 (on [Homer,] Margites, fragment 7 = P.Oxy. 2309):
The verses describe a comic nocturnal misadventure — no doubt of Margites — conceived in a spirit of Hipponactean farce. (Line 3 indeed parallels Hippon. 92.6.) I take the narrative to run as follows. Needing to empty his bladder (1?), he pushes the appropriate organ into a vessel, and finds he is stuck, hand and all (1-5). In this predicament he promptly passes water (6). Now he has another idea. He leaves his bed and rushes out into the night, looking for means to free his hand (7-11). It is pitch dark; he has no torch (12-13). Encountering the unlucky head of some other person, he takes it for a stone, and with one hefty blow he smashes the pot over it (14-17), thus administering at once a painful crack on the pate and a sour douche.


Son Criticizes Father's Appearance

Homer, Odyssey 24.248-250 (Odysseus to Laertes; tr. Richmond Lattimore):
But I will also tell you this; do not take it as cause for
anger. You yourself are ill cared for; together with dismal
old age, which is yours, you are squalid and wear foul clothing upon you.

ἄλλο δέ τοι ἐρέω, σὺ δὲ μὴ χόλον ἔνθεο θυμῷ·
αὐτόν σ᾿ οὐκ ἀγαθὴ κομιδὴ ἔχει, ἀλλ᾿ ἅμα γῆρας
λυγρὸν ἔχεις αὐχμεῖς τε κακῶς καὶ ἀεικέα ἕσσαι.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Fate of Scholarly Journals

The Way It Wasn't: From the Files of James Laughlin (New York: New Directions, 2006), p. 36:
Do you know Kenneth Burke? We went out there to interview him for the WCW dokuku. 88 and all bent over but what an ouragon of passion for ideas and language. He's lived on the same farm in New Jersey for over 60 years. His daughters made him put in plumbing but he still uses the old privy in summer. Pages from learned journals for bumwad. And I have shat / where that great mind sat.
WCW = William Carlos Williams
dokuku = documentary (see below)
ouragon = hurricane

Dear Mike,

My guess is that "dokuku" is Laughlinese for "documentary". You'll note from his Paris Review interview (1983) that he was involved with the series of documentaries on American poets produced by the New York Center for Visual History:

At that point they were concerned with Ezra Pound, but the entire series of "Voices & Visions" did eventually air on PBS in 1988. The 13th and last programme was devoted to William Carlos Williams. I've not seen it, though it can be watched online at no charge on the Annenberg Foundation website:

If it includes Laughlin interviewing Kenneth Burke, which (if Burke was 88) must have been in 1985, I'd say the case is closed, and even if not, JL and KB could have been left on the cutting room floor.

As ever,

Ian [Jackson]

Related posts:
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.



Rum Thing

Peter Brown, "Dialogue With God," New York Review of Books (October 26, 2017), a review of Sarah Ruden's translation of Augustine, Confessions:
He spends a large part of book two (nine entire pages) examining his motives for robbing a pear tree. Modern readers chafe. "Rum thing," wrote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes to Harold Laski in 1921, "to see a man making a mountain out of robbing a pear tree in his teens."

But Holmes was wrong to be impatient. Only by winnowing every motive that played into that obscure act of small-town vandalism was Augustine able to isolate the very smallest, the most toxic concentrate of all—the chilling possibility that he had acted gratuitously, simply to show that he (like God, and then like Adam) could do whatever he wished. The publishers were right to put on the jacket of this book, which contains a succession of sins, each reduced to chillingly minute proportions, the image of a half-eaten pear.


Cause for Rejoicing

Homer, Odyssey 23.47-48 (Eurycleia to Penelope, "him" = Odysseus; tr. A.T. Murray, rev. George E. Dimock):
The sight of him would have warmed your heart with cheer,
all befouled with blood and filth like a lion.

                                          ἰδοῦσά κε θυμὸν ἰάνθης
αἵματι καὶ λύθρῳ πεπαλαγμένον, ὥς τε λέοντα.
λύθρον isn't filth in general but rather "defilement from blood, gore" (Liddell-Scott-Jones).

Alfred Heubeck in his commentary on line 48:
= xxii 402. This line, omitted in many MSS, is considered by a number of editors and critics (among them Ameis-Hentze-Cauer; von der Mühll, Odyssee, col, 761; W. Schadewaldt, op. cit. (Introd.), 15 n. 9) to be a late interpolation, largely on account of its 'unseemliness', which may already have led to its athetesis by the Alexandrian critics (which then influenced the MS tradition). Such purely subjective arguments can, however, lead to false conclusions. Here it must be borne in mind that the speaker is Eurycleia who earlier had herself been moved to jubilation by the sight of the dead suitors (xxii 407 ff.: ἴθυσέν ῥ' όλολύξαι). For the authenticity of the line cf. Stanford, ad loc.; van der Valk, Textual Criticism, 271; G. Scheibner, DLZ lxxxii (1961), col. 622 ('xxiii 48 recalls once again the description of xxii 204 [sic, read 402] ff.').
I'm also reminded of Hector's prayer for his son (Homer, Iliad 6.480-481, tr. Richmond Lattimore):
                                                             ... and let him kill his enemy
and bring home the blooded spoils, and delight the heart of his mother.

                                 φέροι δ᾽ ἔναρα βροτόεντα
κτείνας δήϊον ἄνδρα, χαρείη δὲ φρένα μήτηρ.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


You Young Puppies!

The Way It Wasn't: From the Files of James Laughlin (New York: New Directions, 2006), p. 86:
Were it not for Dudley Fitts, my English master at Choate, I would never have become a scribbler, nor for that matter a publisher. For it was Fitts, in correspondence with Pound, who arranged for me to study at the "Ezuversity" in Rapallo. And Pound, descrying no talent for poetry, ordained that I become a publisher.

Fitts was a handsome but slightly odd-looking man. He couldn't see much without his horn-rimmed glasses, but that wasn't it. Finally, as I observed him in class, it came to me. His forehead. His brow was higher by three eighths of an inch than that of anyone else in the room. He was indeed a highbrow.

My first brief conversation with him is forever etched, as they say, on the plate of memory. As an underformer I had seen him around, but had never been assigned — we were rotated every two weeks — to his table in the dining hall. One day when I was rushing up the stairs from the mail room and he was coming down wearing the black Dracula cape which he affected, I bumped into him and knocked him half down. The irate gaze of Hermes was fixed upon me and he uttered: "You young puppies who haven't even read Thucydides!" And the God continued on his errand.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.


How Few Boys Relish Latin and Greek Lessons!

Benjamin Rush (1746-1813), "Observations upon the study of the Latin and Greek languages, as a branch of liberal education, with hints of a plan of liberal instruction, without them, accommodated to the present state of society, manners, and government in the United States," Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: Thomas and William Bradford, 1806), pp. 21-56 (at 23):
The famous Busby is said to have died of "bad Latin;" that is, the ungrammatical versions of his scholars broke his heart. How few boys relish Latin and Greek lessons! The pleasure they sometimes discover in learning them, is derived either from the tales they read, or from a competition, which awakens a love of honour, and which might be displayed upon a hundred more useful subjects; or it may arise from a desire of gaining the good will of their masters or parents. Where these incentives are wanting, how bitter does the study of languages render that innocent period of life, which seems exclusively intended for happiness! "I wish I had never been born," said a boy of eleven years old, to his mother: "Why, my son?" said his mother. "Because I am born into a world of trouble." "What trouble," said his mother smiling, "have you known, my son?" — "Trouble enough, mamma," said he, "two Latin lessons to get, every day."
Id. (at 24):
The study of some of the Latin and Greek classics is unfavourable to morals and religion. Indelicate amours, and shocking vices both of gods and men, fill many parts of them. Hence an early and dangerous acquaintance with vice; and hence, from an association of ideas, a diminished respect for the unity and perfection of the true God.
Id. (at 34):
Happy will it be for the present and future generations, if an ignorance of the Latin and Greek languages, should banish from modern poetry, those disgraceful invocations of heathen gods, which indicate no less a want of genius, than a want of reverence for the true God.
Id. (at 39):
We occupy a new country. Our principal business should be to explore and apply its resources, all of which press us to enterprize and haste. Under these circumstances, to spend four or five years in learning two dead languages, is to turn our backs upon a gold mine, in order to amuse ourselves in catching butterflies.
Id. (at 43, discussing "the advantages [that] would immediately attend the rejection of the Latin and Greek languages as branches of a liberal education"):
It would be the means of banishing pride from our seminaries of public education. Men are generally most proud of those things that do not contribute to the happiness of themselves, or others. Useful knowledge generally humbles the mind, but learning, like fine clothes, feeds pride, and thereby hardens the human heart.


Song of Benediction

Friedrich Solmsen, "Aeschylus: The Eumenides," Hesiod and Aeschylus (1949; rpt. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), pp. 178-224 (at 211-212, footnotes omitted):
The song of benediction is one of the old forms of religious poetry which Aeschylus embodied in his tragedy. Like the hymns, γόοι and θρῆνοι, it is a 'ritual' feature, a reminder to us of the fundamentally religious character of tragedy which to its first great poet was still a vividly felt reality. For the spectators of the original performance the songs and blessings pronounced in such a solemn form and on such a solemn occasion must have carried a strong conviction of fulfillment.

The first stanza promises in general terms 'helpful wavelets of livelihood gushing forth,' a boon which is made specific by the wish that the shining light of the Sun will produce them from the earth. Thus we know to what kind of wealth allusion is made. The next stanza elaborates this source of blessing, announcing absence of anything that may harm the plants, promising prosperity of the flocks and rich gifts from the mines. The Furies also banish from Attic territory sickness and disease that may intercept the youth in their growth to manhood and maturity, and for the maidens in particular they desire that they shall reach their natural goal of marriage. The last stanza alone has a bearing upon the political situation. It promises that civic strife and the slaughter and bloodshed that accompany it will not visit Athens and hopes that the citizens will be united in their loves and hatreds. Evidently it would be utopian, and it would perhaps never occur to Aeschylus, to expect that hatred might altogether be extirpated in the community. Like fear and awe it is a part of the material that the lawgiver or statesman has to fashion, and the best that he can hope to achieve is to give their loves and hatreds identical objects or directions.
D.S. Carne-Ross, "The Beastly House of Atreus," Kenyon Review 3.2 (Spring, 1981) 20-60 (at 54):
Through the words of the Furies' final song of blessing, all that remains of a greater whole, there breathes a note of solemn and yet festive joy as of a Bach chorale.
Aeschylus, Eumenides 902-909 (tr. Alan H. Sommerstein):
So what blessings do you bid me invoke upon this land?
Such as are appropriate to an honourable victory, coming moreover both from the earth, and from the waters of the sea, and from the heavens; and for the gales of wind to come over the land breathing the air of bright sunshine; and for the fruitfulness of the citizens' land and livestock to thrive in abundance, and not to fail with the passage of time; and for the preservation of human seed.

τί οὖν μ᾿ ἄνωγας τῇδ᾿ ἐφυμνῆσαι χθονί;
ὁποῖα νίκης μὴ κακῆς ἐπίσκοπα,
καὶ ταῦτα γῆθεν ἔκ τε ποντίας δρόσου
ἐξ οὐρανοῦ τε· κἀνέμων ἀήματα        905
εὐηλίως πνέοντ᾿ ἐπιστείχειν χθόνα·
καρπόν τε γαίας καὶ βοτῶν ἐπίρρυτον
ἀστοῖσιν εὐθενοῦντα μὴ κάμνειν χρόνῳ·
καὶ τῶν βροτείων σπερμάτων σωτηρίαν.
Id. 922-926:
For which city I pray,
and prophesy with kind intent,
that the bright light of the sun
may cause blessings beneficial to her life
to burst forth in profusion from the earth.

ᾇ τ᾿ ἐγὼ κατεύχομαι
θεσπίσασα πρευμενῶς
ἐπισσύτους βίου τύχας ὀνησίμους
γαίας ἐξαμβρῦσαι        925
φαιδρὸν ἁλίου σέλας.
Id. 938-948:
And may no wind bringing harm to trees —
I declare my own gracious gift —
blow scorching heat that robs plants of their buds:
let that not pass the borders of the land.
Nor let any grievous, crop-destroying
plague come upon them;
may their flocks flourish, and may Pan
rear them to bear twin young
at the appointed time; and may their offspring always
have riches in their soil, and repay
the lucky find granted them by the gods.

δενδροπήμων δὲ μὴ πνέοι βλάβα —
τὰν ἐμὰν χάριν λέγω —
φλογμοὺς ὀμματοστερεῖς φυτῶν,        940
τὸ μὴ περᾶν ὅρον τόπων·
μηδ᾿ ἄκαρπος αἰα-
νὴς ἐφερπέτω νόσος·
μῆλα δ᾿ εὐθενοῦντα Πὰν
ξὺν διπλοῖσιν ἐμβρύοις        945
τρέφοι χρόνῳ τεταγμένῳ· γόνος <δ᾿ ἀεὶ>
πλουτόχθων ἑρμαίαν
δαιμόνων δόσιν τίνοι.
Id. 977-987:
I pray that civil strife,
insatiate of evil,
may never rage in this city;
and may the dust not drink up the dark blood of the citizens
and then, out of lust for revenge,
eagerly welcome the city's ruin
through retaliatory murder;
rather may they give happiness in return for happiness,
resolved to be united in their friendship
and unanimous in their enmity;
for this is a cure for many ills among men.

τὰν δ᾿ ἄπληστον κακῶν
μήποτ᾿ ἐν πόλει στάσιν
τᾷδ᾿ ἐπεύχομαι βρέμειν,
μηδὲ πιοῦσα κόνις μέλαν αἷμα πολιτᾶν        980
δι᾿ ὀργὰν ποινᾶς
ἀντιφόνους ἄτας
ἁρπαλίσαι πόλεως·
χάρματα δ᾿ ἀντιδιδοῖεν
κοινοφιλεῖ διανοίᾳ        985
καὶ στυγεῖν μιᾷ φρενί·
πολλῶν γὰρ τόδ᾿ ἐν βροτοῖς ἄκος.

Monday, October 16, 2017


Four-Fold Remedies

The Epicureans had their four-fold remedy, their τετραφάρμακος (tetrapharmakos):
Not to be feared—god,
not to be viewed with apprehension—death;
and on the one hand, the good—easily acquired,
on the other hand, the terrible—easily endured.

ἄφοβον ὁ θεός,
ἀνύποπτον ὁ θάνατος,
καὶ τἀγαθὸν μὲν εὔκτητον,
τὸ δὲ δεινὸν εὐεκκαρτέρητον.
Less spiritual, but still fortifying the inner man, was the dish called tetrapharmacum (Historia Augusta, 1: Life of Hadrian 21.4, tr. David Magie):
As an article of food he was singularly fond of tetrapharmacum, which consisted of pheasant, sow's udders, ham, and pastry.

inter cibos unice amavit tetrapharmacum, quod erat de phasiano sumine perna et crustulo.
Cf. Historia Augusta, 2: Life of Aelius 5.4-5 (tr. David Magie):
For it is Verus who is said to have been the inventor of the tetrapharmacum, or rather pentapharmacum, of which Hadrian was thereafter always fond, namely, a mixture of sows' udders, pheasant, peacock, ham in pastry and wild boar. Of this article of food Marius Maximus gives a different account, for he calls it, not pentapharmacum, but tetrapharmacum, as we have ourselves described it in our biography of Hadrian.

nam tetrapharmacum, seu potius pentapharmacum, quo postea semper Hadrianus est usus, ipse dicitur repperisse, hoc est sumen phasianum pavonem pernam crustulatam et aprunam. de quo genere cibi aliter refert Marius Maximus, non pentapharmacum sed tetrapharmacum appellans, ut et nos ipsi in eius vita persecuti sumus.
and Historia Augusta, 18: Life of Severus Alexander 30.6 (tr. David Magie):
And he often partook of Hadrian's tetrapharmacum, which Marius Maximus describes in his work on the life of Hadrian.

ususque est Hadriani tetrapharmaco frequenter, de quo in libris suis Marius Maximus loquitur, cum Hadriani disserit vitam.
In the Digital Loeb Classical Library, this last passage is corrupt (Maximum instead of Maximus), both in the Latin and the English (the printed book is correct):

I haven't seen Ignazio Cazzaniga, "Il tetrapharmacum cibo adrianeo (H.A. Spart., Vit. Hadr. 21, 4, Vit. Ael. 5, 4 e Philod. P. Herc. 1005, IV, 10). Esegesi e critica testuale," in Poesia latina in frammenti (Genoa: Università di Genova, Facoltà di lettere, Istituto di filologia classica e medievale, 1974), pp. 359-366.

Celsus in his treatise on medicine (5.19.9) mentions a plaster made of four ingredients (wax, pitch, resin, and beef suet) "called by the Greeks tetrapharmacon."

A friend of mine calls the Historia Augusta the ancient equivalent of "fake news," but I'm finding it interesting reading, when taken with a grain of salt. I wonder if anyone in modern times has cooked and eaten pheasant, sow's udders, and ham en croûte.

Related post: The Epicurean Tetrapharmakos.



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