Tuesday, May 03, 2016



D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930), Kangaroo, chapter 1:
But there you are, in a free country, it's the man who makes you pay who is free — free to charge you what he likes, and you're forced to pay it. That's what freedom amounts to. They're free to charge, and you are forced to pay.


Worship Silver and Gold

Menander, fragment 838 (my translation):
Epicharmus says that the gods are
winds, water, earth, sun, fire, stars;
but I supposed that useful gods
for us were silver and gold alone.
Set them up in your house        5
and pray for what you want; you'll have everything—
farm, houses, servants, silver plate,
friends, judges, witnesses. Only give;
for you'll have the gods themselves as servants.

ὁ μὲν Ἐπίχαρμος τοὺς θεοὺς εἶναι λέγει
ἀνέμους, ὕδωρ, γῆν, ἥλιον, πῦρ, ἀστέρας·
ἐγὼ δ' ὑπέλαβον χρησίμους εἶναι θεοὺς
τἀργύριον ήμῖν καὶ τὸ χρυσίον μόνους.
ἱδρυσάµενος τούτους γὰρ εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν,        5
εὖξαι τί βούλει· πάντα σοι γενήσεται,
ἀγρός, οἰκίαι, θεράποντες, ἀργυρώµατα,
φίλοι, δικασταί, µάρτυρες. μόνον δίδου·
αυτούς γάρ έξεις τούς θεούς ύπηρέτας.
Text and apparatus from R. Kassel and C. Austin, edd., Poetae Comici Graeci, VI.2: Menander, Testimonia et Fragmenta apud scriptores servata (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1998), p. 397:

For the nature gods listed in line 2, cf. Herodotus 1.131.2 (on the Persians; my translation):
They sacrifice to sun and moon and earth and fire and water and winds.

θύουσι δὲ ἡλίῳ τε καὶ σελήνῃ καὶ γῇ καὶ πυρὶ καὶ ὕδατι καὶ ἀνέμοισι.
In line 9 at first I thought μόνον δίδου (only give) meant something like "pay money down" for the things that you want. But the passages cited in the Testimonialapparat of Kassel and Austin suggest that the phrase instead means "make offerings to the two gods silver and gold" so that they will be propitious. See Euripides, Medea 964 (cited but not quoted by Kassel and Austin; my translation):
They say that gifts persuade even gods.

πείθειν δῶρα καὶ θεοὺς λόγος.

Related posts:

Monday, May 02, 2016



Livy 43.13.2 (my translation):
When I write about old-fashioned things, my mind somehow or other becomes old-fashioned.

mihi vetustas res scribenti nescio quo pacto antiquus fit animus.


The Old Goat-Legged Gentleman from Greece

D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930), "Pan in America," Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D.H. Lawrence (London: William Heinemann, 1936), rpt. in The Green Studies Reader: From Romanticism to Ecocriticism, ed. Laurence Coupe (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 70-72:
At the beginning of the Christian era, voices were heard off the coasts of Greece, out to sea, on the Mediterranean, wailing: 'Pan is dead! Great Pan is dead!'

The father of fauns and nymphs, satyrs and dryads and naiads was dead, with only the voices in the air to lament him. Humanity hardly noticed.

But who was he, really? Down the long lanes and overgrown ridings of history we catch odd glimpses of a lurking rustic god with a goat's white lightning in his eyes. A sort of fugitive, hidden among leaves, and laughing with the uncanny derision of one who feels himself defeated by something lesser than himself.

An outlaw, even in the early days of the gods. A sort of Ishmael among the bushes.

Yet always his lingering title: The Great God Pan. As if he was, or had been, the greatest.

Lurking among the leafy recesses, he was almost more demon than god. To be feared, not loved or approached. A man who should see Pan by daylight fell dead, as if blasted by lightning.

Yet you might dimly see him in the night, a dark body within the darkness. And then, it was a vision filling the limbs and the trunk of a man with power, as with new, strong-mounting sap. The Pan-power! You went on your way in the darkness secretly and subtly elated with blind energy, and you could cast a spell, by your mere presence, on women and on men. But particularly on women.

In the woods and the remote places ran the children of Pan, all the nymphs and fauns of the forest and the spring and the river and the rocks. These, too, it was dangerous to see by day. The man who looked up to see the white arms of a nymph flash as she darted behind the thick wild laurels away from him followed helplessly. He was a nympholept. Fascinated by the swift limbs and the wild, fresh sides of the nymph, he followed for ever, for ever, in the endless monotony of his desire. Unless came some wise being who could absolve him from the spell.

But the nymphs, running among the trees and curling to sleep under the bushes, made the myrtles blossom more gaily, and the spring bubble up with greater urge, and the birds splash with a strength of life. And the lithe flanks of the Faun gave life to the oak-groves, the vast trees hummed with energy. And the wheat sprouted like green rain returning out of the ground, in the little fields, and the vine hung its black drops in abundance, urging a secret.

Gradually men moved into cities. And they loved the display of people better than the display of a tree. They liked the glory they got of overpowering one another in war. And, above all, they loved the vainglory of their own words, the pomp of argument and the vanity of ideas.

So Pan became old and grey-bearded and goat-legged, and his passion was degraded with the lust of senility. His power to blast and to brighten dwindled. His nymphs became coarse and vulgar.

Till at last the old Pan died, and was turned into the devil of the Christians. The old god Pan became the Christian devil, with the down hoofs and the horns, the tail, and the laugh of derision. Old Nick, the Old Gentleman who is responsible for all our wickednesses, but especially our sensual excesses — this is all that is left of the Great God Pan.

It is strange. It is a most strange ending for a god with such a name. Pan! All! That which is everything has goat's feet and a tail! With a black face!

This really is curious.

Yet this was all that remained of Pan, except that he acquired brimstone and hell-fire, for many, many centuries. The nymphs turned into the nasty-smelling witches of a Walpurgis night, and the fauns that danced became sorcerers riding the air, or fairies no bigger than your thumb.

But Pan keeps on being reborn, in all kinds of strange shapes. There he was, at the Renaissance. And in the eighteenth century he had quite a vogue. He gave rise to an 'ism', and there were many pantheists, Wordsworth one of the first. They worshipped Nature in her sweet-and-pure aspect, her Lucy Gray aspect.

'Oft have I heard of Lucy Gray,' the school-child began to recite, on examination-day.

'So have I,' interrupted the bored inspector.

Lucy Gray, alas, was the form that William Wordsworth thought fit to give to the Great God Pan.

And then he crossed over to the young United States: I mean Pan did. Suddenly he gets a new name. He becomes the Oversoul, the Allness of everything. To this new Lucifer Gray of a Pan Whitman sings the famous Song of Myself. 'I am All, and All is Me.' That is: 'I am Pan, and Pan is me.'

The old goat-legged gentleman from Greece thoughtfully strokes his beard, and answers: 'All A is B, but all B is not A.' Aristotle did not live for nothing. All Walt is Pan, but all Pan is not Walt.

This, even to Whitman, is incontrovertible. So the new American pantheism collapses.

Then the poets dress up a few fauns and nymphs, to let them run riskily — oh, would there were any risk! — in their private 'grounds'. But, alas, these tame guinea-pigs soon became boring. Change the game.

We still pretend to believe that there is One mysterious Something-or-other back of Everything, ordaining all things for the ultimate good of humanity. It wasn't back of the Germans in 1914, of course, and whether it's back of the bolshevist is still a grave question. But still, it's back of us, so that's all right.

Alas, poor Pan! Is this what you've come to? Legless, hornless, faceless, even smileless, you are less than everything or anything, except a lie.

And yet here, in America, the oldest of all, old Pan is still alive. When Pan was greatest, he was not even Pan. He was nameless and unconceived, mentally. Just as a small baby new from the womb may say Mama! Dada! whereas in the womb it said nothing; so humanity, in the womb of Pan, said nought. But when humanity was born into a separate idea of itself, it said Pan.

In the days before man got too much separated off from the universe, he was Pan, along with all the rest.

As a tree still is. A strong-willed, powerful thing-in-itself, reaching up and reaching down. With a powerful will of its own it thrusts green hands and huge limbs at the light above, and sends huge legs and gripping toes down, down between the earth and rocks, to the earth's middle....

This is the might of Pan, and the power of Pan.

And still, in America, among the Indians, the oldest Pan is alive. But here, also, dying fast.

It is useless to glorify the savage. For he will kill Pan with his own hands, for the sake of a motor-car. And a bored savage, for whom Pan is dead, is the stupefied image of all boredom.

And we cannot return to the primitive life to live in tepees and hunt with bows and arrows.

Yet live we must. And once life has been conquered, it is pretty difficult to live. What are we going to do, with a conquered universe? The Pan relationship, which the world of man once had with all the world, was better than anything man has now. The savage, today, if you give him the chance, will become more mechanical and unliving than any civilized man. But civilized man, having conquered the universe, may as well leave off bossing it. Because, when all is said and done, life itself consists in a live relatedness between man and his universe: sun, moon, stars, earth, trees, flowers, birds, animals, men, everything — and not in a 'conquest' of anything by anything. Even the conquest of the air makes the world smaller, tighter, and more airless.

And whether we are a store-clerk or a bus-conductor, we can still choose between the living universe of Pan, and the mechanical conquered universe of modern humanity. The machine has no windows. But even the most mechanized human being has only got his windows nailed up, or bricked in.

Statue of Pan in the Museo Arqueológico Nacional (Madrid)

Related posts:


On the Margins

Richard Jenkyns, Virgil's Experience. Nature and History: Times, Names, and Places (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 104:
We commonly observe those on the edge of a group or community feeling the pride of belonging most keenly, and patriotism is often strongest among those who in one sense or another are at the margins of their country.
Id., p. 105:
Sentiment, as well as anxiety, enlarges the patriotism of frontier zones. Indeed, national heroes have quite often come from the edges, or from beyond the edges, of the countries they have inspired. Napoleon was Italian; Garibaldi, a Savoyard born in Nice, was almost French; De Valera was born in New York, the son of a Spaniard, and escaped execution after the Easter Rising because he was American. Churchill had an American mother, as did Parnell; Lloyd George, the Welsh wizard, was born plain George in Manchester; Dufour, Switzerland's national hero, was born in Germany; Joan of Arc and De Gaulle (that poet of 'la France profonde') were the children of border lands. The two monsters of European nationalism also fit the pattern: the Austrian Hitler and the Georgian Stalin. A similar moral may sometimes be drawn from literature, high and low. Possibly the most eloquent expressions of Englishry in the last century and in this were produced by Americans: Henry James and T.S. Eliot. Conversely, the author of 'God bless America' was a native of Siberia. As for Ireland, it is the Anglo-Saxons who have drifted entranced through the Celtic twilight, while the native Irishry have kept their hard, satiric eye. These phenomena are not deeply surprising: the national feeling is likely to be especially strong among those in whom it is an achieved thing, not mere instinct; who have pondered it, chosen it, perhaps striven for it.


Protest against Uniformity

Alfred Austin (1835-1913), Haunts of Ancient Peace (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1908), pp. 21-22:
One cannot well drive about England with one's eyes open, without observing indication after indication of the strong, independent individuality of the English character, which may yet prove our best safeguard against that exotic 'Collectivism' of which we hear so much. The very landscape, its shapeless fields, its irregular hedgerows, its winding and wayward roads, its accidental copses, its arbitrariness of form and feature, are a silent but living protest against uniformity and preconceived or mechanical views of life. Who divided these fields? Who marked out these roads? No one did. They divided and marked out themselves just as strong characters divide and sever themselves from others, settle their own boundaries, and define irregularly their own place and position. A square field you will no more find in an English landscape than a round one. They are all informal, swerving and sweeping in and out in a manner unaccountable, which endows each of them with life and a kind of personality. The very lanes meander and zigzag so, you might almost think their course had been decided by the steps of some of our deeply-drinking Saxon ancestors, whose legs were more or less unsteady as they wended homeward after a day's thatching or threshing. That this irregularity of the landscape, so delightful to look on, is accompanied by a good deal of waste, from the economist's point of view, may be true enough. We are a thriftless people. But is not our unthriftiness part of our masculinity, part of the negligent bigness in the national character, which feels it can afford to be heedless of trifles and details, and in any case will on no account be reduced to slavish formality? Like the poet, England was born, not made, and has grown in its own lavish, wide-spreading fashion.

Sunday, May 01, 2016


Haunts of Ancient Peace

Alfred Austin (1835-1913), Haunts of Ancient Peace (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1908), pp. 17-19:
'I shall be taken nowhere, see nothing, and converse with nobody, that is not ancient. I wish to see Old England, or so much of it as is left.'

'Yet,' I ventured to plead, for this particular conversation was between Lamia and me only, 'is there not much in it that is more or less new, well worth seeing, and strongly appealing to the intelligent mind?'

'That may or may not be. Not being myself intelligent, but radically, or should I not rather say conservatively, stupid, I cannot say. But there is one thing I do know, which is known but to few, especially to few women, I know what I want; and I do not want paper-mills with the newest machinery for turning the pages of yesterday's immortal works into fresh paper on which to print the equally enduring works of to-morrow. I can equally dispense with tubular bridges, whatever they may happen to be, the latest thing in motor-cars, model farms, and elementary schools conducted on an entirely novel system, in which everything is taught except the elements of sound morals and good manners, and the rudiments of universal knowledge are instilled, which resolutely refuse to take root in the mind of the bucolic British boy. May I hope, too, that now Peace has happily been restored throughout His Majesty's dominions, we may see no newspapers older than Addison's Spectator?'

We had got down to gather a hedge posy, and at this point of the conversation Veronica and the Poet, who had been similarly employed not far off, joined us; when Lamia, not changing the theme, but somewhat altering its tone, continued:

'I confess I crave for the urbanity of the Past, for feminine serviceableness, for washing-days, home-made jams, lavender bags, recitation of Gray's Elegy, and morning and evening prayers. One is offered, in place of them, ungraceful hurry and worry, perpetual postman's knocks, an intermittent shower of telegrams, reply not paid, dithyrambic vulgarity or life-not-worth-living lamentations, and individual infallibility accompanied by universal incredulity. Look round at this rustic old-world scene. Work is going on everywhere, but how quietly, how undemonstratively! Tell me, Veronica, we shall stay nowhere except at old inns, shall we, or with old people, and give utterance to none but the very oldest and most out-of-fashion ideas.'
The phrase "no newspapers older than Addison's Spectator" puzzles me. I would have expected "no newspapers newer than Addison's Spectator" or "only newspapers older than Addison's Spectator."

Dear Mike,

Here's a simple emendation of "no newspapers older than Addison's Spectator" that should appeal to a classical philologist. "Older" is a compositor's misreading of Austin's handwritten "other".

As ever,

Ian [Jackson]


Two Fatherlands

Cicero, Laws 2.5 (tr. Clinton W. Keyes):
Surely I think that he and all natives of Italian towns have two fatherlands, one by nature and the other by citizenship. Cato, for example, though born in Tusculum, received citizenship in Rome, and so, as he was a Tusculan by birth and a Roman by citizenship, had one fatherland which was the place of his birth, and another by law; just as the people of your beloved Attica, before Theseus commanded them all to leave the country and move into the city (the astu, as it is called), were at the same time citizens of their own towns and of Attica, so we consider both the place where we were born our fatherland, and also the city into which we have been adopted. But that fatherland must stand first in our affection in which the name of republic signifies the common citizenship of all of us. For her it is our duty to die, to her to give ourselves entirely, to place on her altar, and, as it were, to dedicate to her service, all that we possess. But the fatherland which was our parent is not much less dear to us than the one which adopted us.

ego mehercule et illi et omnibus municipibus duas esse censeo patrias, unam naturae, alteram civitatis, ut ille Cato, cum esset Tusculi natus, in populi Romani civitatem susceptus est; ita, cum ortu Tusculanus esset, civitate Romanus, habuit alteram loci patriam, alteram iuris; ut vestri Attici, prius quam Theseus eos demigrare ex agris et in astu, quod appellatur, omnis se conferre iussit, et sui erant iidem et Attici, sic nos et eam patriam ducimus, ubi nati, et illam, a qua excepti sumus. sed necesse est caritate eam praestare, qua rei publicae nomen universae civitatis est; pro qua mori et cui nos totos dedere et in qua nostra omnia ponere et quasi consecrare debemus. dulcis autem non multo secus est ea, quae genuit, quam illa, quae excepit.
My two fatherlands are Brunswick, Maine, and the United States of America. Do I consider myself a global citizen, a cosmopolitan? No.

Related post: Le Patriotisme de Clocher.


An Outsider

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), The Woodlanders, chapter XVII:
Winter in a solitary house in the country, without society, is tolerable, nay, even enjoyable and delightful, given certain conditions; but these are not the conditions which attach to the life of a professional man who drops down into such a place by mere accident. They were present to the lives of Winterborne, Melbury, and Grace; but not to the doctor's. They are old association—an almost exhaustive biographical or historical acquaintance with every object, animate and inanimate, within the observer's horizon. He must know all about those invisible ones of the days gone by, whose feet have traversed the fields which look so grey from his windows; recall whose creaking plough has turned those sods from time to time; whose hands planted the trees that form a crest to the opposite hill; whose horses and hounds have torn through that underwood; what birds affect that particular brake; what bygone domestic dramas of love, jealousy, revenge, or disappointment have been enacted in the cottages, the mansion, the street or on the green. The spot may have beauty, grandeur, salubrity, convenience; but if it lack memories it will ultimately pall upon him who settles there without opportunity of intercourse with his kind.


A Double Standard

Walter Kaufmann (1921-1980), The Faith of a Heretic (1961; rpt. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015), p. 104:
[T]heology depends on a double standard. One set of standards is employed for reading and interpreting one's own tradition and its texts; another, for the texts and traditions of all other. Here, one is committed not only to make sense of everything but to make everything come out superior, profound, and beautiful; there, one is not averse to finding fault and even emphasizing all that is inferior to one's own tradition.
Id., p. 105:
Theology is antithetic not only to the Sermon on the Mount but to the most elementary standards of fairness. It involves a deliberate blindness to most points of view other than one's own, a refusal to see others as they see themselves and to see oneself as one appears to others—a radical insistence on applying different standards to oneself and others.

Saturday, April 30, 2016


Is Latin Sudus an Auto-Antonym?

An auto-antonym is a word that can mean the opposite of itself. According to Lewis and Short, sudus can mean both dry and damp:
sūdus, a, um, adj. [se-udus; cf.: sudum siccum quasi seudum id est sine udo, Fest. pp. 294 and 295 Müll.], without moisture, dry....

II. Somewhat moist = subudus; "ardentia viscera adhuc suda de sanguine", ARN. 7, 3.
But Reifferscheid in his edition of Arnobius' Adversus Nationes (Vienna, 1875 = Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum, IV), p. 239, adopts Sigismund Gelenius' conjecture uda for the manuscript's suda at 7.3. On the manuscript variants udis and sudis at Apuleius, Metamorphoses 11.2, see Apuleius of Madauros, The Isis-Book (Metamorphoses, Book XI). Edited with an Introduction, Translation and Commentary by J. Gwyn Griffiths (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1975), pp. 70 (text and apparatus) and 119 (commentary).

On the other hand, Arnobius isn't the only evidence for the meaning "somewhat moist." See the data collected by Henry Nettleship, "Nonius Marcellinus," Lectures and Essays (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1885), pp. 277-321 (at 305):



College Students

Mark Pattison (1813-1884), Memoirs (London: Macmillan and Co., 1885), pp. 52-54:
Another contrast which staggered me between myself and others was their attitude to the studies of the place. I had come up all eagerness to learn. Having had next to no teaching at home, I exaggerated in imagination what a teacher could do for me. I thought that now at last I should be in the company of an ardent band of fellow-students, only desirous of rivalling each other in the initiation which the tutors were to lead into the mysteries of scholarship, of composition, of rhetoric, logic, and all the arts of literature. Philosophy did not come within my purview. I did not know there was such a thing.

I was soon disillusioned. I found lectures regarded as a joke or a bore, contemned by the more advanced, shirked by the backward; Latin and Greek regarded as useless, except for the purpose of getting a degree; and as for modern literature, the very idea of its existence had never dawned upon these youths, none of whom knew any language but English. Such was my simplicity that I had believed that no one went to college but those who were qualified, and anxious, to study. Nor was the difference between the passman and the honourman a sufficient clearing up of the paradox, for such it seemed to me, that men should flock to a university not to study. It fairly puzzled me to find that even William Froude, whom his elder brother was compelling to read for classical honours, "hated Sophocles"—so he once told me—and regarded the whole job as a disgusting grind.


Time Travel

A.N. Wilson, The Victorians (2002; rpt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2003), pp. 307-308:
Returning to the nineteenth century in a time-machine, the twenty-first-century traveller would notice immediately dozens of differences between our world and theirs: the smells of horse-dung and straw in the streets, and, even in the grander houses, the sweaty smell of the servants who had no baths – just the kitchen tap, very often; the darkness at night without electricity; the gas-flares against the sooty skies; the fatty food and 'smell of steaks in passageways'; the beautifully made hats, worn by all social classes, and the properly tailored clothes, even on window-cleaners or factory-hands; the continued acceptance of social hierarchy and, with the obvious perky exception, the underlying deference; the racial coherence – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, we recall, found the sight of a slave boy in London exotic – no one in today's London would find anything odd about seeing a little black boy in the street; the superiority to ours of the postal service – four or five swift deliveries per day – and the splendour – red coats and gold or blue piping – of the postman's uniform; the excellence of the rail services; the truly terrifying inadequacy of dentistry and medicine – and with these, the toothache, the halitosis; the generalized acceptance of infant mortality, the familiarity of children's coffins being trundled in glass-sided hearses down cobbled streets; the poverty of the children who survived, the ragamuffins who swept crossings and still, in spite of Lord Shaftesbury's reforms, continued to work, and run about at large, in the alarming, overcrowded cities – all these things and more would assail the eye, heart and nostril and make us know that the Victorian world was utterly different from our own.
Id., p. 383:
[R]ich and poor were kept apart in Victorian England to an unimaginable extent. The poor simply were not allowed into Piccadilly. Even quite bourgeois streets and squares were gated and barred against proletarian ingress. The moneyed classes were well-policed and well-armed.

Friday, April 29, 2016


The Land of the Cyclopes

Homer, Odyssey 106-115 (tr. A.T. Murray, rev. George E. Dimock):
We came to the land of the Cyclopes, an insolent and lawless folk,
who, trusting in the immortal gods,
plant nothing with their hands, nor plow;
but all these things spring up for them without sowing or plowing,
wheat, and barley, and vines, which bear        110
the rich clusters of wine, and Zeus's rain makes these grow for them.
Neither assemblies for council have they, nor appointed laws,
but they dwell on the peaks of mountains
in hollow caves, and each one is lawgiver
to his children and his wives, and they have no regard for one another.        115

Κυκλώπων δ᾿ ἐς γαῖαν ὑπερφιάλων ἀθεμίστων
ἱκόμεθ᾿, οἵ ῥα θεοῖσι πεποιθότες ἀθανάτοισιν
οὔτε φυτεύουσιν χερσὶν φυτὸν οὔτ᾿ ἀρόωσιν,
ἀλλὰ τά γ᾿ ἄσπαρτα καὶ ἀνήροτα πάντα φύονται,
πυροὶ καὶ κριθαὶ ἠδ᾿ ἄμπελοι, αἵ τε φέρουσιν        110
οἶνον ἐριστάφυλον, καί σφιν Διὸς ὄμβρος ἀέξει.
τοῖσιν δ᾿ οὔτ᾿ ἀγοραὶ βουληφόροι οὔτε θέμιστες,
ἀλλ᾿ οἵ γ᾿ ὑψηλῶν ὀρέων ναίουσι κάρηνα
ἐν σπέσσι γλαφυροῖσι, θεμιστεύει δὲ ἕκαστος
παίδων ἠδ᾿ ἀλόχων, οὐδ᾿ ἀλλήλων ἀλέγουσιν.        115
In line 113, ὑψηλῶν (high, lofty, modifying mountains) doesn't appear in the translation.

Alfred Heubeck ad loc.:
The sociological implications are clear: the poet has painted a picture of a people on the lowest cultural level, devoid of all that gives human life its distinctive quality. The Cyclopes know nothing of life in a community ordered by laws and decrees, of piety and morality, or of nature made to serve man by 'ratio' and τέχνη (agriculture, building, and seafaring). They are a negation of human values, and a negative counterpart to the Phaeacians who enjoy all the benefits of civilization; they are the embodiment of the non-human.


In the Muck

G.G. Coulton (1858-1947), Father Rhine (London: Dent, 1899), p. 53:
He could not believe that so sensible a man as Schultz evidently was would ever venture into a foreign land without having first learnt the language. "Sehen sie 'mal:—wenn Einer die Sprache nicht kann, da sitzt er wie im Dreck,"1—a form of locution which amused me immensely, though it appealed less to my friend.

1 "Look here—if a man can't talk the language, he has to sit in the muck, so to speak."
Id., pp. 202-203 (quoting an Englishman resident in Argentina):
"Father don't talk Spanish; I don't neither, except you must know a word or two for the cowboys and that sort of thing. Mother, she talks a little; but when they come to us, they talk English fast enough; they always can if they like, so why the Dickens should we go and take the trouble to learn theirs? That's what I always say to the Spanish chaps, and they can't find anything to say agen it. . . . Look at that fellow in the office here; what did you get out of him with your German? No, they understand English, they do; they know that means business. I've been about a good deal these three months, and I never cared a blow about any foreign language except once, and that was in Paris. . . ."


The Rule of Equivalence

Frederic W. Farrar (1831-1903), History of Interpretation: Eight Lectures Preached Before the University of Oxford (London: Macmillan and Co., 1886), p. 19 (discussing Hillel's seven rules):
The second, the rule of "equivalence," infers a relation between two subjects from the occurrence of identical expressions.
Id., pp. 21-22:
This rule of "equivalence" has always been prevalent in scholastic systems. It means the isolation of phrases, the misapplication of parallel passages, the false emphasising of accidental words, the total neglect of the context, "the ever-widening spiral ergo from the narrow aperture of single texts." It is just as prominent, and quite as mischievous, in Hilary and Augustine, in Albert and Aquinas, in Gerhard and Calovius, as in Hillel or Ishmael.
For the quotation, see Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Aids to Reflection in the Formation of a Manly Character (London: Taylor and Hessey, 1825), p. 357:
I have, I confess, no eye for these smoke-like Wreaths of Inference, this ever-widening spiral Ergo from the narrow aperture of perhaps a single Text: or rather an interpretation forced into it by construing an idiomatic phrase in an artless Narrative with the same absoluteness, as if it had formed part of a mathematical problem!



Richard Jenkyns, Virgil's Experience. Nature and History: Times, Names, and Places (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 60:
In the Aeneid the landscape is more deeply embedded in the poem than it has ever been in narrative verse before. Among the poem's themes is man's need to fix himself; to be rooted, to be based solidly on some particular portion of the earth.
Id., p. 62 (footnotes omitted):
For several reasons, therefore, the first landfall in the poem is an essential moment. We expect Aeneas' men to be full of gladness, and sure enough they possess the beach 'magna telluris amore'. That is one of those simple Virgilian phrases that seem pregnant with a deeper significance. Its immediate sense is that the Trojans are overjoyed to be on dry land again, but behind this we hear once more that larger theme: a man's 'great love of the earth' is a fundamental part of his humanity, and goes beyond simple relief at escaping from a watery grave.



J.L. Austin (1911–1960), "A Plea for Excuses," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 57 (1956-1957) 1-30 (at 7-8):
First, words are our tools, and, as a minimum, we should use clean tools: we should know what we mean and what we do not, and we must forearm ourselves against the traps that language sets us. Secondly, words are not (except in their own little corner) facts or things: we need therefore to prise them off the world, to hold them apart from and against it, so that we can realise their inadequacies and arbitrarinesses, and can re-look at the world without blinkers. Thirdly, and more hopefully, our common stock of words embodies all the distinctions men have found worth drawing, and the connexions they have found worth marking, in the lifetimes of many generations: these surely are likely to be more numerous, more sound, since they have stood up to the long test of the survival of the fittest, and more subtle, at least in all ordinary and reasonably practical matters, than any that you or I are likely to think up in our armchairs of an afternoon—the most favoured alternative method.
Id., pp. 27-28:
[A] word never—well, hardly ever—shakes off its etymology and its formation. In spite of all changes in and extensions of and additions to its meanings, and indeed rather pervading and governing these, there will still persist the old idea. In an accident something befalls: by mistake you take the wrong one: in error you stray: when you act deliberately you act after weighing it up (not after thinking out ways and means). It is worth asking ourselves whether we know the etymology of "result" or of "spontaneously", and worth remembering that "unwillingly" and "involuntarily" come from very different sources.

Thursday, April 28, 2016



Walt Whitman (1819-1892), "By Blue Ontario's Shore," lines 36-38:
I am he who walks the States with a barb'd tongue, questioning every one I meet,
Who are you that wanted only to be told what you knew before?
Who are you that wanted only a book to join you in your nonsense?


More Examples of Asyndetic, Privative Adjectives

Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 149-153 (tr. Alan H. Sommerstein):
Let her, the Untamed One,
become the rescuer of us the untamed ones,
so that the offspring of a most august mother
may escape the beds of men—ah, ah!—
unwedded and unsubdued.

ἀδμῆτος ἀδμήτα
ῥύσιος γενέσθω·        150
σπέρμα σεμνᾶς μέγα ματρὸς εὐνὰς
ἀνδρῶν, ἒ ἔ,
ἄγαμον ἀδάματον ἐκφυγεῖν.
Note the pair of asyndetic, privative adjectives ἄγαμον ἀδάματον (unwedded, unsubdued) in line 153. The asyndeton is obscured by Sommerstein's addition of the conjunction "and."

Demosthenes, 3rd Philippic 40 = Orations 8.40 (tr. J.H. Vince):
But all our resources are rendered useless, powerless, worthless by these traffickers.

ἀλλὰ ταῦτ᾿ ἄχρηστα, ἄπρακτα, ἀνόνητα ὑπὸ τῶν πωλούντων γίγνεται.



You Might Have Seen the Gods There

John Ruskin (1819-1900), Fors Clavigera: Letters to the Workmen and Labourers of Great Britain, Letter V (May 1, 1871):
There was a rocky valley between Buxton and Bakewell, once upon a time, divine as the vale of Tempe; you might have seen the Gods there morning and evening,—Apollo and all the sweet Muses of the light,—walking in fair procession on the lawns of it, and to and fro among the pinnacles of its crags. You cared neither for Gods nor grass, but for cash (which you did not know the way to get). You thought you could get it by what the Times calls "Railroad Enterprise." You Enterprised a railroad through the valley—you blasted its rocks away, heaped thousands of tons of shale into its lovely stream. The valley is gone, and the Gods with it; and now, every fool in Buxton can be at Bakewell in half an hour, and every fool in Bakewell at Buxton; which you think a lucrative process of exchange—you Fools everywhere!


Hellenistic Curiosity

Richard Jenkyns, Virgil's Experience. Nature and History: Times, Names, and Places (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 57:
It is a mistake to separate too far the 'bookishness' which some people complain of finding in the Hellenistic world from their energy and invention in such fields as medicine, astronomy, hydraulics, and mathematics. The desire to list the origins of cults, unearth obscure myths, or describe the oddities of distant lands and peoples is part of a great impulse of curiosity to learn all that can be known, an impulse which finds another outlet in attempts to measure the diameter of the earth or explain the movements of the heavens.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Prayer to Isis

Apuleius, Metamorphoses 11.2 (tr. J. Arthur Hanson):
O queen of heaven—whether you are bountiful Ceres, the primal mother of crops, who in joy at the recovery of your daughter took away from men their primeval animal fodder of acorns and showed them gentler nourishment, and now dwell in the land of Eleusis; or heavenly Venus, who at the first foundation of the universe united the diversity of the sexes by creating Love and propagated the human race through ever-recurring progeny, and now are worshipped in the island sanctuary of Paphos; or Phoebus' sister, who brought forth populous multitudes by relieving the delivery of offspring with your soothing remedies, and now are venerated at the illustrious shrine of Ephesus; or dreaded Proserpina of the nocturnal howls, who in triple form repress the attacks of ghosts and keep the gates to earth closed fast, roam through widely scattered groves and are propitiated by diverse rites—you who illumine every city with your womanly light, nourish the joyous seeds with your moist fires, and dispense beams of fluctuating radiance according to the convolutions of the Sun—by whatever name, with whatever rite, in whatever image it is meet to invoke you: defend me now in the uttermost extremes of tribulation, strengthen my fallen fortune, grant me rest and peace from the cruel mischances I have endured. Let this be enough toil, enough danger. Rid me of this dreadful four-footed form, restore me to the sight of my own people, restore me to the Lucius I was. But if some divine power that I have offended is harassing me with inexorable savagery, at least let me die, if I may not live.

Regina caeli—sive tu Ceres alma frugum parens originalis, quae, repertu laetata filiae, vetustae glandis ferino remoto pabulo, miti commonstrato cibo, nunc Eleusiniam glebam percolis; seu tu caelestis Venus, quae primis rerum exordiis sexuum diversitatem generato Amore sociasti et aeterna subole humano genere propagato nunc circumfluo Paphi sacrario coleris; seu Phoebi soror, quae partu fetarum medelis lenientibus recreato populos tantos educasti praeclarisque nunc veneraris delubris Ephesi; seu nocturnis ululatibus horrenda Proserpina, triformi facie larvales impetus comprimens, terraeque claustra cohibens, lucos diversos inerrans vario cultu propitiaris—ista luce feminea collustrans cuncta moenia, et udis ignibus nutriens laeta semina, et Solis ambagibus dispensans incerta lumina; quoquo nomine, quoquo ritu, quaqua facie te fas est invocare: tu meis iam nunc extremis aerumnis subsiste, tu fortunam collapsam affirma, tu saevis exanclatis casibus pausam pacemque tribue. Sit satis laborum, sit satis periculorum. Depelle quadripedis diram faciem, redde me conspectui meorum, redde me meo Lucio. Ac si quod offensum numen inexorabili me saevitia premit, mori saltem liceat, si non licet vivere.
Apuleius of Madauros, The Isis-Book (Metamorphoses, Book XI). Edited with an Introduction, Translation and Commentary by J. Gwyn Griffiths (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1975), pp. 120-121:

The reference is to Joseph Berreth, Studien zum Isisbuch in Apuleius' Metamorphosen (Ellwangen, 1931), which I haven't seen. Should there be more numbers than 1 under K?

Update from Ian Jackson:
I checked Berreth today at the library. K1 is correct: there is no K2. But as you may have noted, Gwyn Griffiths lists a second series of Ds, which should be Fs...
Related posts:


Venus Rings

I wasn't aware of the term until I read this definition of "Venus rings" in Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway, Fifth Century Styles in Greek Sculpture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), p. xix (Glossary):
The lines incised on the necks of figures, especially young females, to suggest the softness of the flesh, or plumpness. Thought to occur only on voluptuous women (like a necklace of beauty—hence the name), it has now been noted also on children and young men.
Examples in her book are the female figures on the Didyma column drums and the head of Athena from the west pediment of the Parthenon (p. 53), the "Stumbling Niobid" in the Terme, from the Gardens of Sallust (p. 56), and the Erechtheion Karyatids (p. 108).

Related post: Ventral Wrinkles.


It is All Plato's Fault

Friedrich Nietzsche, letter to Franz Overbeck (January 9, 1887; tr. Christopher Middleton):
It is a hard winter here too; instead of snow, we have had whole days of rain — the foothills have for some time been white (which looks like coquetry on nature's part, in a landscape so drenched in a variety of colors). This variety includes my blue fingers, as usual, likewise my black thoughts. I have just been reading, with thoughts of that kind, Simplicius's commentary on Epictetus; here one can see clearly before one the whole philosophical scheme in which Christianity became imbedded, so that this "pagan" philosopher's book makes the most Christian impression imaginable (except that the whole world of Christian emotion and pathology is missing — "love," as Paul speaks of it, "fear of God," and so on). The falsifying of everything actual by morality stands there in fullest array: wretched psychology, the "philosopher" reduced to the stature of "country parson." And it is all Plato's fault! He is still Europe's greatest misfortune!

Der Winter ist hart, auch hier; statt Schnee haben wir tagelangen Regen, die näheren Berge sind seit längerer Zeit weiß (was in der bunten und farbensatten Landschaft wie eine Koketterie der Natur aussieht –). Zu dieser "Buntheit" gehören auch meine blauen Finger, nach wie vor, insgleichen meine schwarzen Gedanken. Eben lese ich, mit solcherlei Gedanken, den Kommentar des Simplicius zu Epiktet: man hat in ihm das ganze philosophische Schema klar vor sich, auf welches sich das Christentum eingezeichnet hat: so daß dies Buch eines "heidnischen" Philosophen den denkbar christlichsten Eindruck macht (abgerechnet, daß die ganze christliche Affekten-Welt und Pathologie fehlt, "Liebe," wie Paulus von ihr redet, "Furcht vor Gott" usw.). Die Fälschung alles Tatsächlichen durch Moral steht da in vollster Pracht; erbärmliche Psychologie; der Philosoph auf den "Landpfarrer" reduziert. — Und an alledem ist Plato schuld! er bleibt das größte Malheur Europas!


A Board for Wasting Public Money

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859), quoted in John William Kaye, The Administration of the East India Company; A History of Indian Progress, 2nd ed. (London: Richard Bentley, 1853), p. 597, footnote:
I believe that the present system tends not to accelerate the progress of truth but to delay the natural death of expiring errors. I conceive that we have at present no right to the respectable name of a Board of Public Instruction. We are a board for wasting public money, for printing books which are of less value than the paper on which they are printed was while it was blank; for giving artificial encouragement to absurd history, absurd metaphysics, absurd physics, absurd theology; for raising up a breed of scholars who find their scholarship an encumbrance and a blemish, who live on the public while they are receiving their education, and whose education is so utterly useless to them that, when they have received it, they must either starve or live on the public all the rest of their lives.
No, he's not talking about the Texas State Board of Education.


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