Saturday, June 25, 2016


Real Men versus Sissies

Vergil, Aeneid 9.603-620 (Numanus Remulus speaking; tr. Frederick Ahl):
We are a species tough from the roots. We carry our new-borns
Straight to the rivers to toughen them up in the cold and the water.
Boyhood means staying awake to go hunting, exhausting the forests.        605
Playtime is breaking in horses and firing off shafts with a horn bow.
Youth means dealing with work, getting used to a bare-bones existence,
Taming the earth with a rake or shaking up towns in a battle.
Steel grinds our life's every stage; our prod for the ox's
Back when it's tired is our spear-shaft reversed. Old age, as it slows us,        610
Can't either lessen our strength or diminish our vigour of spirit.
We hide our grey hairs with our helmets, delight in importing,
Even then, fresh fruits of our hunts, and in living on plunder.
You, with your needleworked saffron and gleamingly purpled apparel,
You take delight in inertia, indulging yourselves in your dances.        615
Tunics for you come with sleeves, and your bonnets have nice little ribbons.
Phrygian women, not Phrygian men, go to Dindyma's highlands,
Skip to where your double woodwinds please local ears. Up on Ida,
Mother is calling you now with her soft Berecyntian boxwood
Pipes and her timbrels. Stop playing with steel. Leave arms to the real men.        620

durum a stirpe genus natos ad flumina primum
deferimus saevoque gelu duramus et undis;
venatu invigilant pueri silvasque fatigant,        605
flectere ludus equos et spicula tendere cornu.
at patiens operum parvoque adsueta iuventus
aut rastris terram domat aut quatit oppida bello.
omne aevum ferro teritur, versaque iuvencum
terga fatigamus hasta, nec tarda senectus        610
debilitat viris animi mutatque vigorem:
canitiem galea premimus, semperque recentis
comportare iuvat praedas et vivere rapto.
vobis picta croco et fulgenti murice vestis,
desidiae cordi, iuvat indulgere choreis,        615
et tunicae manicas et habent redimicula mitrae.
o vere Phrygiae, neque enim Phryges, ite per alta
Dindyma, ubi adsuetis biforem dat tibia cantum.
tympana vos buxusque vocat Berecyntia Matris
Idaeae; sinite arma viris et cedite ferro.        620
See Nicholas Horsfall, "Numanus Remulus: Ethnography and Propaganda in Aen., ix, 598 f.," Latomus 30.4 (Oct.-Dec. 1971) 1108-1116.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Modern Medicine

Maynard Mack (1909-2001), Alexander Pope: A Life (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1986), p. 333:
The sense of relative security that modern medicine has induced is best appreciated by reading a seventeenth- or eighteenth-century correspondence, where the minor or chronic discomfort of one letter may be succeeded in the next, as if magically, by what we now know must have been some version of coronary or pulmonary failure, an internal hemorrhage, a burst appendix, septicemia, acute uremia, or any of the thousand and one viral and bacterial killers for which today we always have names, frequently have lenitives, and sometimes have cures.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


None Is Happy But a Glutton

John Lyly (1553-1606), Campaspe 1.88-103, in The Complete Works of John Lyly, ed. R. Warwick Bond, Vol. II (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1902), p. 322:
Gran. O for a Bowle of fatt Canary,
Rich Palermo, sparkling Sherry,
Some Nectar else, from Iuno's Daiery,        90
O these draughts would make vs merry.

Psyllus. O for a wench, (I deale in faces,
And in other dayntier things,)
Tickled am I with her Embraces,
Fine dancing in such Fairy Ringes.        95

Manes. O for a plump fat leg of Mutton,
Veale, Lambe, Capon, Pigge, & Conney,
None is happy but a Glutton,
None an Asse but who wants money.

Chor. Wines (indeed,) & Girles are good,        100
But braue victuals feast the bloud,
For wenches, wine, and Lusty cheere,
Ioue would leape down to surfet heere.



Ammianus Marcellinus 15.5.4, in a list of supposed co-conspirators in Dynamius' plot against Silvanus, includes:
Eusebius, former keeper of the privy purse, who had been nicknamed Mattyocopus...

Eusebio ex comite rei privatae, cui cognomentum erat inditum Mattyocopi...
Translation and text are from John C. Rolfe's Loeb Classical Library edition. He explains the nickname as follows:
"Glutton," from ҝοπέω, "cut," and ματτύα, "delicacies," "delicate food."
P. de Jonge in his commentary:
Mattyocopi. Word of unknown meaning. Some take it as: epicure, others as: miser, skinflint. At any rate the word is of Greek origin. Cf. Vales. in edit. Wagner II p. 128; Petavius ad Themist. orat. 4 (ed. A.D. 1684 p. 523 sq., most excellent and elaborate); Aristoph. Nubes 451 c. annot. v. Leeuwen.
In Ammianum Marcellinum Notae Integrae Frid. Lindenbrogii, Henr. et Hadr. Valesiorum et Iac. Gronovii quibus Thom. Reinesii quasdam et suas adiecit Io. Augustin. Wagner. Editionem absolvit ac notas passim addidit Car. Gottlob Aug. Erfurdt. Tomus Prior ad Libr. XIV - XXII (Leipzig: Weidemann, 1808), p. 125:

Themistii Orationes XXXIII. E quibus tredecim nunc primum in lucem editae. Dionusius Petavius e Societate Jesu Latine plerasque reddidit, ac fere vicenas Notis illustravit (Paris: Sebastianus Mabre-Cramoisy, 1684), pp. 523-524:

Aristophanis Nubes. Cum prolegomenis et commentariis edidit J. van Leeuwen (Leiden: A.W. Sijthoff, 1898), p. 81:

Liddell-Scott-Jones, s.v. ματτυοκόπης:
a nickname, = ματτυολοιχός, AMM.MARC.15.5.4.
Id., s.v. ματιολοιχός:
AR.Nu.451, expld. as = κρουσιμέτρης, from μάτιον, τό, trifle, scrap, by loc.: ματαιολοιχός: ὁ περὶ τὰ μικρὰ πανοῦργος καὶ λίχνος, Hsch.:—
Bentley cj. ματτυολοιχός (in both places), v. ματτύη.
Id., s.v. κρουσιμέτρης:
false measurer, cheat, Sch.AR.Nu.450.
Id., s.v. ματτύη:
a rich, highly-flavoured dish, made of hashed meat, poultry, and herbs, and served cold as a dessert, of Macedonian or Thessalian origin, cf. POLL.6.70 (ματύλλη codd.).—
Especially freq. in the New Comedy acc. to ATH.14.662f: but ματτυολοιχός is prob. cj. for ματιολοιχός (q.v.).
The -λοιχός in Bentley's conjecture ματτυολοιχός is from λείχω = lick.

See also Pierre Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque, III (Paris: Klincksieck, 1974), s.v. ματτύη, p. 672.

Thanks to Ian Jackson for help.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016



Celsus, On Medicine 7.16.1 (tr. W.G. Spencer):
...a doubtful hope is preferable to certain despair...

...dubia spes certa desperatione sit potior...
Ammianus Marcellinus 15.3.9 (tr. John C. Rolfe):
...more strongly desirous of things forbidden, as is the way of mankind...

...vetita ex more humano validius cupiens...
Ammianus Marcellinus 16.8.6 (tr. John C. Rolfe): when the affair had been exaggerated, after the standard of the times...

...exaggerato itaque negotio ad arbitrium temporum...



Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, 2.499-512:
'Tis mirth that fils the veines with bloud,
More then wine, or sleepe, or food.        500
Let each man keepe his heart at ease,
No man dies of that disease.
He that would his body keepe
From diseases, must not weepe,
But who euer laughes and sings,        505
Neuer he his body brings
Into feuers, gouts, or rhumes,
Or lingringly his longs consumes:
Or meets with aches in the bone,
Or Catharhes, or griping stone:        510
But contented liues for aye,
The more he laughes, the more he may.
508 longs: lungs

Monday, June 20, 2016



Ammianus Marcellinus 14.11.25-26 (tr. John C. Rolfe):
[25] These and innumerable other instances of the kind are sometimes (and would that it were always so!) the work of Adrastia, the chastiser of evil deeds and the rewarder of good actions, whom we also call by the second name of Nemesis. She is, as it were, the sublime jurisdiction of an efficient divine power, dwelling, as men think, above the orbit of the moon; or as others define her, an actual guardian presiding with universal sway over the destinies of individual men. The ancient theologians, regarding her as the daughter of Justice, say that from an unknown eternity she looks down upon all the creatures of earth.

[26] She, as queen of causes and arbiter and judge of events, controls the urn with its lots and causes the changes of fortune, and sometimes she gives our plans a different result than that at which we aimed, changing and confounding many actions. She too, binding the vainly swelling pride of mortals with the indissoluble bond of fate, and tilting changeably, as she knows how to do, the balance of gain and loss, now bends and weakens the uplifted necks of the proud, and now, raising the good from the lowest estate, lifts them to a happy life. Moreover, the storied past has given her wings in order that she might be thought to come to all with swift speed; and it has given her a helm to hold and has put a wheel beneath her feet, in order that none may fail to know that she runs through all the elements and rules the universe.

[25] Haec et huius modi quaedam innumerabilia ultrix facinorum impiorum, bonorumque praemiatrix, aliquotiens operatur Adrastia, (atque utinam semper!): quam vocabulo duplici etiam Nemesim appellamus: ius quoddam sublime numinis efficacis, humanarum mentium opinione lunari circulo superpositum, vel ut definiunt alii, substantialis tutela generali potentia partilibus praesidens fatis, quam theologi veteres fingentes Iustitiae filiam, ex abdita quadam aeternitate tradunt omnia despectare terrena.

[26] Haec ut regina causarum, et arbitra rerum ac disceptatrix, urnam sortium temperat, accidentium vices alternans, voluntatumque nostrarum exorsa interdum alio quam quo contendebant exitu terminans, multiplices actus permutando convolvit. Eademque necessitatis insolubili retinaculo mortalitatis vinciens fastus, tumentes in cassum, et incrementorum detrimentorumque momenta versabilis librans (ut novit), nunc erectas eminentium cervices opprimit et enervat, nunc bonos ab imo suscitans ad bene vivendum extollit. Pinnas autem ideo illi fabulosa vetustas aptavit, ut adesse velocitate volucri cunctis existimetur, et praetendere gubernaculum dedit, eique subdidit rotam, ut universitatem regere per elementa discurrens omnia non ignoretur.
Text and translation come from the Digital Loeb Classical Library, except that I corrected crunctis in the last sentence to cunctis. Here is a screen capture of the error:

The physical book (I checked the 1935 edition, p. 104, but not later impressions) doesn't have this misprint.


Sunday, June 19, 2016


Choosing One's Father

Primo Levi (1919-1987), The Voice of Memory: Interviews, 1961-1987, tr. Robert Gordon (New York: The New Press, 2001), p. 101:
Even my love for Rabelais is apparently inexplicable, and yet he is the one I feel closest to of all, almost like a son. If I could I would choose Rabelais as a father.



Thomas Babington Macaulay, letter to his sisters Fanny and Selina (September 11, 1837), quoted in George Otto Trevelyan, The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1881), p. 307:
I have no words to tell you how I pine for England, or how intensely bitter exile has been to me, though I hope that I have borne it well. I feel as if I had no other wish than to see my country again, and die. Let me assure you that banishment is no light matter. No person can judge of it who has not experienced it. A complete revolution in all the habits of life; an estrangement from almost every old friend and acquaintance; fifteen thousand miles of ocean between the exile, and everything that he cares for; all this is, to me at least, very trying. There is no temptation of wealth, or power, which would induce me to go through it again.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Five Ages of Professors

Charles Issawi, quoted in Bernard Lewis, Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian (New York: Viking, 2012), p. 279:
There are five ages of professors—tireless, tiring, tiresome, tired and retired...


A Thought Experiment

John Chrysostom, Homilies on I Corinthians, 34.5 (tr. Hubert Kestell Cornish and John Medley):
And that thou mayest see it more clearly, let us suppose, if it seem good, two cities, the one of rich only, but the other of poor; and neither in that of the rich let there be any poor man, nor in that of the poor any rich; but let us purge out both of the two thoroughly, and see which will be the more able to support itself. For if we find that of the poor able, it is evident that the rich will more stand in need of them.

Now then, in that city of the affluent there will be no manufacturer, no builder, no carpenter, no shoe-maker, no baker, no husbandman, no brazier, no rope-maker, nor any other such trade. For who among the rich would ever choose to follow these crafts, seeing that the very men who take them in hand, when they become rich, endure no longer the discomfort caused by these works? How then shall this our city stand? "The rich," it is replied, "giving money, will buy these things of the poor." Well then, they will not be sufficient for themselves, their needing the others proves that. But how will they build houses? Will they purchase this too? But the nature of things cannot admit this. Therefore they must needs invite the artificers thither, and destroy the law, which we made at first, when we were founding the city. For you remember, that we said, "let there be no poor man within it." But, lo, necessity, even against our will, has invited and brought them in. Whence it is evident, that it is impossible without poor for a city to subsist: since if the city were to continue refusing to admit any of these, it will be no longer a city but will perish. Plainly then it will not support itself, unless it shall collect the poor as a kind of preservers, to be within itself.

But let us look also upon the city of the poor, whether this too will be in a like needy condition, on being deprived of the rich. And first let us in our discourse thoroughly clear the nature of riches, and point them out plainly. What then may riches be? Gold, and silver, and precious stones, and garments silken, purple, and embroidered with gold. Now then that we have seen what riches are, let us drive them away from our city of the poor: and if we are to make it purely a city of poor persons, let not any gold appear there, no not in a dream, nor garments of such quality; and if you will, neither silver, nor vessels of silver. What then? Because of this will that city and its concerns live in want, tell me? Not at all. For suppose first there should be need to build; one does not want gold and silver and pearls, but skill, and hands, and hands not of any kind, but such as have become callous, and fingers hardened, and great strength, and wood, and stones: suppose again one would weave a garment, neither here have we need of gold and silver, but, as before, of hands, and skill, and women to work. And what if one require husbandry, and digging the ground? Is it rich men who are wanted, or poor? It is evident to every one, poor. And when iron too is to be wrought, or any such thing to be done, this is the race of men whereof we most stand in need.

What respect then remains wherein we may stand in need of the rich? Except the thing required be, to pull down this city. For should that sort of people make an entrance, and these philosophers, for (for I call them philosophers, who seek after nothing superfluous,) should fall to desiring gold and jewels, giving themselves up to idleness and luxury; they will ruin everything from that day forward.

Καὶ ἵνα τοῦτο σαφέστερον ἴδῃς, ποιήσωμεν, εἰ δοκεῖ, δύο πόλεις, τὴν μὲν πλουσίων μόνον, τὴν δὲ πενήτων· καὶ μήτε ἐν τῇ τῶν πλουτούντων ἔστω τις πένης, μήτε ἐν τῇ τῶν πενήτων ἔστω τις πλούσιος ἀνὴρ, ἀλλ' ἐκκαθάρωμεν ἀκριβῶς ἑκατέρας, καὶ ἴδωμεν ποία μᾶλλον ἀρκέσαι ἑαυτῇ δυνήσεται. Ἐὰν γὰρ εὕρωμεν τὴν τῶν πενήτων δυναμένην, εὔδηλον ὅτι οἱ πλούσιοι τούτων μᾶλλον δεήσονται.

Οὐκοῦν ἐν μὲν ἐκείνῃ τῇ τῶν εὐπόρων οὐδεὶς ἔσται δημιουργὸς, οὐκ οἰκοδόμος, οὐ τέκτων, οὐχ ὑποδηματοῤῥάφος, οὐκ ἀρτοποιὸς, οὐ γεωργὸς, οὐ χαλκοτύπος, οὐ σχοινοστρόφος, οὐκ ἄλλο τῶν τοιούτων οὐδέν. Τίς γὰρ ἂν ἕλοιτο τῶν πλουτούντων ταῦτα μετιέναι ποτὲ, ὅπου γε καὶ αὐτοὶ οἱ ταῦτα μεταχειρίζοντες, ὅταν εὐπορήσωσιν, οὐκ ἀνέχονται τῆς ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων τούτων ταλαιπωρίας; Πῶς οὖν ἡμῖν ἡ πόλις στήσεται αὕτη; ∆όντες, φησὶν, ἀργύριον οἱ πλουτοῦντες, ταῦτα ὠνήσονται παρὰ τῶν πενήτων. Οὐκοῦν οὐκ ἀρκέσουσιν ἑαυτοῖς, εἴ γε ἐκείνων δέονται. Πῶς δὲ οἰκίας οἰκοδομήσονται; ἢ καὶ τοῦτο ὠνήσονται; ἀλλ' οὐκ ἂν ἔχοι τοῦτο φύσις. Οὐκοῦν ἀνάγκη τοὺς τεχνίτας ἐκεῖ καλεῖν, καὶ διαφθείρειν τὸν νόμον, ὃν ἐθήκαμεν ἐξ ἀρχῆς τὴν πόλιν οἰκίζοντες· μέμνησθε γὰρ, ὅτε ἐλέγομεν, μηδεὶς ἔστω πένης ἔνδον. Ἀλλ' ἰδοὺ ἡ χρεία, καὶ μὴ βουλομένων ἡμῶν, ἐκάλεσεν αὐτοὺς καὶ εἰσήγαγεν. Ὅθεν δῆλον, ὡς ἀδύνατον χωρὶς πενήτων συστῆναι πόλιν. Εἰ γὰρ μένοι ἡ πόλις μηδένα παραδεχομένη τούτων, οὐκέτι ἔσται πόλις, ἀλλ' ἀπολεῖται. Οὐκοῦν οὐκ ἀρκέσει ἑαυτῇ, εἰ μὴ καθάπερ τινὰς σωτῆρας τοὺς πένητας παρ' ἑαυτῇ συναγάγοι.

Ἴδωμεν δὲ καὶ τὴν τῶν πενήτων πόλιν, εἰ καὶ αὕτη ὁμοίως ἐνδεῶς διακείσεται τῶν πλουτούντων ἐστερημένη. Καὶ πρότερον διακαθάρωμεν τῷ λόγῳ τὸν πλοῦτον, καὶ δείξωμεν αὐτὸν σαφῶς. Τί ποτ' οὖν ἐστι πλοῦτος; Χρυσὸς καὶ ἄργυρος, καὶ λίθοι τίμιοι, καὶ ἱμάτια σηρικὰ καὶ ἁλουργὰ καὶ διάχρυσα. Ἐπεὶ οὖν ἐφάνη τί ποτέ ἐστιν ὁ πλοῦτος, ἀπελάσωμεν αὐτὸν τῆς τῶν πενήτων πόλεως, εἰ μέλλοιμεν καθαρῶς πόλιν πενήτων ποιεῖν, καὶ μηδὲ ὄναρ ἐκεῖ φαινέσθω χρυσίον, μηδὲ ἱμάτια τοιαῦτα· εἰ δὲ βούλει, μηδὲ ἄργυρος, μηδὲ τὰ ἐξ ἀργύρου σκεύη. Τί οὖν; παρὰ τοῦτο ἐνδεῶς ζήσεται τὰ τῆς πόλεως ταύτης, εἰπέ μοι; Οὐδέν. Ἄν τε γὰρ οἰκοδομεῖν δέῃ, οὐ χρυσοῦ καὶ ἀργύρου δεῖ καὶ μαργαριτῶν, ἀλλὰ τέχνης καὶ χειρῶν, χειρῶν δὲ οὐχ ἁπλῶς, ἀλλὰ τετυλωμένων, καὶ δακτύλων ἀπεσκληκότων, καὶ ἰσχύος πολλῆς, καὶ ξύλων καὶ λίθων· ἄν τε ὑφαίνειν πάλιν ἱμάτιον, οὐ χρυσοῦ πάλιν ἡμῖν δὲ καὶ ἀργύρου, ἀλλὰ χειρῶν πάλιν καὶ τέχνης καὶ γυναικῶν ἐργαζομένων. Τί δὲ, ἐὰν γεωργεῖν δέῃ καὶ σκάπτειν τὴν γῆν; πλουτούντων ἢ πενομένων χρεία; Παντί που δῆλον, ὅτι πενήτων. Καὶ σίδηρον δὲ ὅταν δέῃ χαλκεύειν, καὶ ἄλλο τι τῶν τοιούτων ποιεῖν, τοῦ δήμου τούτου μάλιστα ἡμῖν δεῖ.

Ποῦ οὖν δεησόμεθα τῶν πλουτούντων λοιπόν· πλὴν εἰ μὴ καθελεῖν δέον τὴν πόλιν ταύτην; Εἰ γὰρ ἐπεισελθόντων ἐκείνων εἰς τὴν τοῦ χρυσίου καὶ τὴν τῶν μαργαριτῶν ἐμπέσοιεν ἐπιθυμίαν, οὗτοι οἱ φιλόσοφοι (φιλοσόφους γὰρ ἐγὼ καλῶ τοὺς οὐδὲν περιττὸν ἐπιζητοῦντας), ἀργίᾳ δόντες ἑαυτοὺς καὶ τρυφῇ, πάντα ἀπολοῦσι λοιπόν.


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