ricardienne: (york)
I'm really anxious about a lot of things (lack of dissertation topic, conference paper to write, bad teaching last week), but here are some bits of gnomic wisdom from Pindar:
Nemean 11
ll. 13-16
εἰ δέ τις ὄλβον ἔχων μορφᾷ παραμεύσεται ἄλλους,
ἔν τ᾽ ἀέθλοισιν ἀριστεύων ἐπέδειξεν βίαν,
θνατὰ μεμνάσθω περιστέλλων μέλη,
καὶ τελευτὰν ἁπάντων γᾶν ἐπιεσσόμενος:

If someone has wealth and outpaces everyone else in beauty, and showed his strength by excelling in competitions, let him remember that he decks out mortal limbs and will put on everyone's last garment of earth.

ll.39-48
ἐν σχερῷ δ᾽ οὔτ᾽ ὦν μέλαιναι καρπὸν ἔδωκαν ἄρουραι,
δένδρεά τ᾽ οὐκ ἐθέλει πάσαις ἐτέων περόδοις
ἄνθος εὐῶδες φέρειν πλούτῳ ἴσον,
ἀλλ᾽ ἐν ἀμείβοντι. καὶ θνατὸν οὕτως ἔθνος ἄγει
μοῖρα. τὸ δ᾽ ἐκ Διὸς ἀνθρώποις σαφὲς οὐχ ἕπεται
τέκμαρ: ἀλλ᾽ ἔμπαν μεγαλανορίαις ἐμβαίνομεν,
ἔργα τε πολλὰ μενοινῶντες: δέδεται γὰρ ἀναιδεῖ
ἐλπίδι γυῖα: προμαθείας δ᾽ ἀπόκεινται ῥοαί.
κερδέων δὲ χρὴ μέτρον θηρευέμεν:
ἀπροσίκτων δ᾽ ἐρώτων ὀξύτεραι μανίαι.

Since, you know, black fields don't give fruit in a row, and branches don't tend to bear at all the turns of the years a fragrant flower that is equally rich; but they alternate. Fate leads the mortal race, too, this way, and clear signs do not come from Zeus to humankind. But all the same we embark on proud ambitions, eager to do many deeds. For our limbs are fettered to unrestrainable hope, and Foreknowledge's streams are not nearby. But one must hunt out moderation in gain; and unattainable passions come with bitterer obsession.

5 things

Nov. 12th, 2012 08:01 pm
ricardienne: (chord)
1. I'm afraid that I'm annoying and talk to much, and am That Person (who never shuts up).

2. I'm co-reading the chorus with another grad-student for Troades dramatic reading. We have insane ideas for choruses in Greek, choruses chanted with drum or cymbal or tambourine accompaniment, choruses in with some Greek interspersed into the English, choruses in dialogue, ALL THE CHORUSES, basically. When are we going to have time for this, you ask? UNCLEAR.

3. Still need to come up with a second angle for translating the parodos of the Agamemnon by Friday (I'm working on one in anapests (monometers, because dimeters are way to long in English) that goes for brevity and no "stupid words." Should probably try a version that is actually comprehensible?

4. What if I do talk to much? I'm kind of afraid that Professor W. thinks I talk too much.

5. Thanksgiving is next week? How can Thanksgiving be next week? WHEN WILL I DO ALL THE WORK?
ricardienne: (chord)
I'm pretty sure this was a scene from Conrad's Fate, or Christopher wishes it had been!:

From Heliodorus's Aethiopica (7.27): the hero Theagenes has been enslaved by the wicked Persian princess Arsace (she wants to sleep with him; he wants to save himself for eventual marriage to the heroine), and has been entrusted to trusted slave Achaemenes for training:
Καὶ τοῦ Ἀχαιμένους ἀποδεικνύναι τι καὶ ὑφηγεῖσθαι τῶν οἰνοχοϊκῶν πειρωμένου προσδραμὼν ὁ Θεαγένης ἑνὶ τῶν κυλικοφόρων τριπόδων καὶ φιάλην τῶν πολυτίμων ἀνελόμενος «Οὐδὲν» ἔφη «δέομαι διδασκάλων, ἀλλ´ αὐτοδίδακτος ὑπουργήσω τῇ δεσποίνῃ τὰ οὕτω ῥᾷστα μὴ θρυπτόμενος· σὲ μὲν γάρ, ὦ βέλτιστε, ἡ τύχη εἰδέναι τὰ τοιαῦτα καταναγκάζει, ἐμοὶ δὲ ἡ φύσις τὰ πρακτέα καὶ ὁ καιρὸς ὑπαγορεύει.» Καὶ ἅμα προσέφερε τῇ Ἀρσάκῃ προσηνὲς κερασάμενος εὔρυθμόν τέ τι καὶ ἄκροις τοῖς δακτύλοις ἐποχῶν τὴν φιάλην.

When Achaemenes tried to demonstrate and instruct him in the arts of a wine-pourer, Theagenes, running up to one of the stands that held the cups and taking up one of the most valuable vessels, said, "I need no lessons, but I shall serve my mistress self-taught, not prancing around for such an easy task as this. For you, my good fellow, have been forced by your fortune to learn such things, but my nature and the moment instruct me in what has to be done." And at once he mixed an appropriate drink and carried it to Arsake, bearing the vessel in a rather graceful manner and in the tips of his fingers.
ricardienne: (heiro)
This is not about the fact that I have been embarrassing myself when I have to translate in seminar, and have been giving the impression all week that I don't know either Greek or Latin and am not preparing for class at all (none of those things are true).

This is about my niggling obsession with forms of address and social distinctions that are expressed in language. Or aren't expressed (really obviously) in language, as seems to be the case.

So here is an example of what is bothering me today.

A contemporary translation of a bit of Achilles Tatius; Melite, a wealthy woman of Ephesus, is inspecting her estate when a slave woman in chains falls at her feet and makes a plea:
"Have mercy on me, m'lady, as one woman to another. I am free by birth, though now a slave, as Fortune chooses." And so saying, she fell silent.

Melite said: "Stand up, woman. Tell me your name and country and who put these shackles on you. Even in fallen circumstances, your beauty proclaims you a person of no mean birth."

"It was the bailiff," the woman replied, "because I would not submit to his lechery. Lakaina is my name, ma'am, born in Thessaly. I humbly beg your generous ladyship, free me from this awful condition, keep me somewhere safe until I can pay back the two thousand gold pieces that Sosthenes gave the pirates for me. I'll pay if off quick, I promise you. Else I'll wait on you hand and foot, m'lady. Just look here, now, how he's been swinging his lash at my poor back!" And she slipped down part of her dress to show her back cruelly striped with welts.
Meanderings about status-markers and vocatives and translation )

[whine]

Jan. 24th, 2011 08:38 pm
ricardienne: (heiro)
Pretty much the only way I am ready for this week is in my expertise on vocative δέσποτα and captive women in Greek tragedy -- too bad it's slim to nothing odds that it will even come up in class tomorrow.
ricardienne: (christine)
One of the first epic "adult" fantasy series I read was Katherine Kurtz's Deryni trilogies. I confess to owning a rather embarrassing number of the novels, and I have, in fact, read every novel and just about every short story she has written. Her last few have been mind-bogglingly bad, but I am sure I will read the next one when it comes out, just for old time's sake.

The point of the reminiscence is this: if anyone has read any Kurtz, you may remember that at least once or twice a book, one or another of the deryni heroes gets on his soapbox to announce that magic is just another talent that can be used for good or evil, not inherently a bad thing & certainly not deserving of persecution and witch-hunts, etc. etc.

I'm fairly certain that this is a common trope in fantasy novels. I should have made this connection before, naturally, but here's Isocrates defending rhetoric:
τοῦ μὲν γὰρ γενέσθαι προέχοντα τῶν ἄλλων ἢ περὶ τοὺς λόγους ἢ περὶ τὰς πράξεις εἰκότως ἄν τις τὴν τύχην αἰτιάσαιτο, τοῦ δὲ καλῶς καὶ μετρίως κεχρῆσθαι τῇ φύσει δικαίως ἂν ἅπαντες τὸν τρόπον τὸν ἐμὸν ἐπαινέσειαν.

For one might logically charge Fortune with making me superior to others either in words or deeds, but everyone would justly praise my character for having used my nature nobly and moderately.
Antipodosis 36
I'm thinking about fantasy novels here: plausible AU 5th century Athens where sophists are teaching the alluring but alarming art of harnessing the magical power of words? (Oh wait...) Cato the Elder on that dubious Greekish magic thing: "a wizard is a good man skilled in magic"?

So many fantasy authors take the "words of power" approach to magic that there must be someone who has taken the rhetoric = magic notion and run with it, right?
ricardienne: (tacitus)
I don't want to be that person who quotes Thucydides and makes a facile allusion to the present...

Oh heck, I guess I actually do (substituting "the economic downturn" for "war"):

ἐν μὲν γὰρ εἰρήνῃ καὶ ἀγαθοῖς πράγμασιν αἵ τε πόλεις καὶ οἱ ἰδιῶται ἀμείνους τὰς γνώμας ἔχουσι διὰ τὸ μὴ ἐς ἀκουσίους ἀνάγκας πίπτειν: ὁ δὲ πόλεμος ὑφελὼν τὴν εὐπορίαν τοῦ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν βίαιος διδάσκαλος καὶ πρὸς τὰ παρόντα τὰς ὀργὰς τῶν πολλῶν ὁμοιοῖ.

In peacetime and prosperity, both cities and individuals have superior sensibilities, because they aren't encountering ugly necessities; war, removing the security of day-to-day life, teaches by force and assimilates the passions of the populace to their circumstances. (3.82)



(Dear Fellow Citizens: why did you give me such a horrible birthday present?)
ricardienne: (library)
νῦν δ᾽ ἄγ᾽ ἀείδοντες παιήονα κοῦροι Ἀχαιῶν
νηυσὶν ἔπι γλαφυρῇσι νεώμεθα, τόνδε δ᾽ ἄγωμεν.
ἠράμεθα μέγα κῦδος: ἐπέφνομεν Ἕκτορα δῖον

But come now, Achaean youths, singing the paeon
let us go to the hollow ships, let us convey him.
We achieved great glory: we slew divine Hektor
(Il. 22.391-3)

This means that according to Achilles' command the warriors are to bring the slain enemy to the camp in a victory procession and with a victory-song. With line 393, Achilles gives them the theme for their song, that is, they are to sing, at his pleasure, something like what some non-combatant back home could have said during the World War: we have conquered the Russians at Tannenberg, we took prisoners, he have brought enemies, guns, etc. to nought, and so on. Here, as in the lines of Homer, the speaking person or persons are not actively, but only emotionally sharking in the action. Due to shared communal feeling, which here bids together army and home, there prince and warriors, it situates itself sociatively. But a special refinement seems to me to lie in that the hero, who completed the deed alone, calls on his men to sing in the sociative mode; this especially shows us Achilles as a collectivist and socially-conscious man...
ricardienne: (Default)
1. There's something about discussions of animals in antiquity that always makes me giggle, but here, the earnestness about the precise dates of the discoveries is particularly wonderful.

For example, until 1948 or soon after it was believed that Polybius was quite wrong with regard to his view of the differences between Indian and African elephants. It was then demonstrated, in 1948, that Polybius was perfectly right after all, because Africa possessed, and still possesses, two types of pachyderm, and the Ptolomies and Carthaginians used the smaller, more docile forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis). Further, it now appears conceivable that they may at times have been able to acquire hybrid elephants in North Africa.
-- Eric Marsden, "Polybius as Military Historian" in Entretiens XXI: Polybe, ed. E. Gasba, 1974, p. 270

Also: hybrid elephants! Like the Prius of the ancient world!

2. This quote from Theopompus on the nasty doings of Phillip of Macedon's so-called "companions": ἀνδροφόνοι γὰρ τὴν φύσιν ὄντες ἀνδρόπορνοι τὸν τρόπον ἦσαν [man-killers by nature, they were in practice man-whores]. I probably should not find ancient sexual invective as funny as I do.
ricardienne: (library)
A.R. Benner's gloss of δαιμόνι᾽ in Iliad II.190: 'sir! your conduct is unacountable!'
ricardienne: (heiro)
So while I have been delaying thoughts of how to choose for next fall (and beyond) what will make me satisfied, happy, and successful, I've been thinking about Homeric hexameters & the Queen's Thief books.

It started a while ago, actually, when I realized that "Eugenides" and "Atreides" are homometric, and mentally started hearing "Εὐγενίδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν..." instead of "Ἀτρεΐδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς" (Iliad 1.7). I've been trying to fill in the line for a while, and have finally (in light of CoK) produced a 3-line mini catalog of monarchs from the Megan Whaler Turner books that may be slightly spoilery for A Conspiracy of Kings. I think that the meter all works (while it takes advantage of weak position rather egregiously on occasion), and I *think* I even have the accents in the right places.

fr. A 1-3 )

ETA 9/4/10: minor revision of the translation, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] anna_wing
ricardienne: (heiro)
So I was reading Persians this afternoon (as one does). And between the meters (The first chorus in IONICS and I love ionics!) and trying to puzzle out what the heck was going on, it becomes easy to forget how weird Aeschylus is. That is to say, A.E. Houseman wasn't making it up at all. (You should really click that link, by the way).

Exhibit A: (Department of Redundancy, and this translation is actually a little close to the original word order)

κυάνεον δ᾽ ὄμμασι λεύσσων
φονίου δέργμα δράκοντος,

(a Blue-black [glance] with his eyes gazing,
a bloody snake's look)

Exhibit B: (Or: why I hate spatiality in classical poetry -- can you guess what this refers to?)

τὸν ἀμφίζευκτον ἐξαμείψας
ἀμφοτέρας ἅλιον
πρῶνα κοινὸν αἴας

(Crossing over the yoked-on-both-sides outcrop into the sea common to both lands)

Exhibit C:

πότερον τόξου ῥῦμα τὸ νικῶν,
ἢ δορικράνου
λόγχης ἰσχὺς κεκράτηκεν.

(Whether victory is {in} the drawing back of the bow, or whether the strong point of the spear-helmet will prevail.)
ricardienne: (Default)
ἄναξ may strike us as formal, but the που and the καί in κἀγω lend a softening mildness to Jocasta's words as she expresses a wish to share her husband's burdens. The γ᾽ in τά γ᾽ ἐν σοί is the lightest of light brush-strokes, hinting at the idea, since they are your concerns they must be mine. Oedipus responds to her gentle approach with a touch of human warmth not often found in Greek tragedy, although by the standards of modern literature it might appear much under-pitched.


The passage in question goes like this:
ΙΟ ἀξία δέ που μαθεῖν
κἀγω τά γ᾽ ἐν σοὶ δυσφόρως ἔχοντ᾽ ἄναξ.
ΟΙ κοὐ μὴ στερηθῃς γ᾽ ἐς τοσοῦτον ἐλπιδων
ἐμου βεβῶτος. τῷ γὰρ ἅν καὶ μείζονι
λέξαιμ᾽ ἅν ἥ σοὶ διὰ τύχης τοιᾶσδ᾽ ἰών;
Jocasta: And I too deserve to know what's on your mind, since it stands so distressing, my lord.
Oedipus: And you at least shall not be deprived of it, as I have come to such a point of anxiety. For to whom should I speak more important than you, passing through such misfortune?


Very tender I am sure. How unfortunate that it's Oedipus and his mother wife we're talking about.
ricardienne: (Default)
this is really addictive. I've spent ~1 hour on the first three lines (particularly the third, but I got it in the end!).

Today, rearranging stupid sentences about the deeds of a good woman; in a long time tomorrow translating Shakespeare!

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