Hoc denique inter nos et ceteros interest qui Deum nesciunt, quod illi in adversis queruntur et murmurant, nos adversa non avocant a virtutis et fidei veritate, sed corroborant in dolore. hoc quod nunc corporis vires solutus in fluxum venter eviscerat, quod in faucium vulnera conceptus medullitus ignis exaestuat, quod assiduo vomitu intestina quatiuntur, quod oculi vi sanguinis inardescunt, quod quorundam vel pedes vel aliquae membrorum partes contagio morbidae putredinis amputantur, quod per iacturas et damna corporum prorumpente languore vel debilitatur incessus, vel auditus obstruitur, vel caecatur aspectus, ad documentum proficit fidei. contra tot impetus vastitatis et mortis inconcussi animi virtutibus congredi quanta pectoris magnitudo est? quanta sublimitas inter ruinas generis humani stare erectum, nec cum eis, quibus spes in Deum nulla est, iacere prostratum? gratulari magis oportet et temporis munus amplecti, quod, dum nostram fidem fortiter promimus, et labore tolerato ad Christum per angustam Christi viam pergimus, praemium vitae eius et fidei ipso iudicante capiamus.
(Cyprian, De Mortalitate 10)

This, in short, is the difference between us and others who know not God, that in misfortune they complain and murmur, while adversity does not call us away from the truth of virtue and faith, but strengthens us by its suffering. This trial, that now the bowels, relaxed into a constant flux, discharge the bodily strength; that a fire originated in the marrow ferments into wounds of the fauces; that the intestines are shaken with a continual vomiting; that the eyes are on fire with the injected blood; that in some cases the feet or some parts of the limbs are taken off by the contagion of diseased putrefaction; that from the weakness arising by the maiming and loss of the body, either the gait is enfeebled, or the hearing is obstructed, or the sight darkened;—is profitable as a proof of faith. What a grandeur of spirit it is to struggle with all the powers of an unshaken mind against so many onsets of devastation and death! what sublimity, to stand erect amid the desolation of the human race, and not to lie prostrate with those who have no hope in God; but rather to rejoice, and to embrace the benefit of the occasion; that in thus bravely showing forth our faith, and by suffering endured, going forward to Christ by the narrow way that Christ trod, we may receive the reward of His life and faith according to His own judgment!  (tr. Ernest Wallis)



Quid ergo? Nos soli ignoramus, nescimus, quisnam sit animarum conditor, quisnam constitutor, quae causa hominem finxerit, mala unde proruperint, vel cur ea rex summus et esse patiatur et confici neque ab rebus propellat humanis? vos enim horum quicquam exploratum habetis et cognitum? si suspicionum exponere volueritis audaciam, potestis explicare ac promere, mundus iste qui nos habet utrumne sit ingenitus an tempore in aliquo constitutus? si constitutus et factus est, quonam operis genere aut rei cuius ob causam? potestis inducere atque expedire rationem, cur non fixus atque immobilis maneat sed orbito semper circumferatur in motus sua ipse se sponte et voluntate circumagat an virtutis alicuius inpulsionibus torqueatur? locus ipse ac spatium, in quo situs est ac volutatur, quid sit? infinitus, finitus, inanis an solidus? quis eum sustineat extremis cardinibus nitens an ipse se potius vi propria sufferat et spiritu interiore suspendat? potestis interrogati planum facere scientissimeque monstrare, quid nivem in plumeas subaperiat crustulas? quidnam fuerit rationis et causae, ut non ab occiduis partibus dies primus exsurgeret et lucem in oriente finiret? quemadmodum sol ipse uno eodemque contactu tam varias res efficiat, quinimmo contrarias? quid sit luna? quid stellae? cur una specie aut illa non maneat, aut per omne mundi corpus frustilla haec ignea convenerit atque oportuerit figi? cur alia ex his parva, ampliora et maiora sint alia, obtunsi haec luminis, acutioris illa et fulgidae claritatis?
(Arnobius, Adversus Nationes 2.58)

What, then, are we alone ignorant? Do we alone not know who is the creator, who the former of souls, what cause fashioned man, whence ills have broken forth, or why the Supreme Ruler allows them both to exist and be perpetrated, and does not drive them from the world? Have you, indeed, ascertained and learned any of these things with certainty? If you chose to lay aside audacious conjectures, can you unfold and disclose whether this world in which we dwell was created or founded at some time? If it was founded and made, by what kind of work, pray, or for what purpose? Can you bring forward and disclose the reason why it does not remain fixed and immoveable, but is ever being carried round in a circular motion? Whether it revolves of its own will and choice, or is turned by the influence of some power? What the place, too, and space is in which it is set and revolves, boundless, bounded, hollow, or solid? Whether it is supported by an axis resting on sockets at its extremities, or rather itself sustains by its own power, and by the spirit within it upholds itself? Can you, if asked, make it clear, and show most skilfully, what opens out the snow into feathery flakes? What was the reason and cause that day did not, in dawning, arise in the west, and veil its light in the east? How the sun, too, by one and the same influence, produces results so different, nay, even so opposite? What the moon is, what the stars? Why, on the one hand, it does not remain of the same shape, or why it was right and necessary that these particles of fire should be set all over the world? Why some of them are small, others large and greater,—these have a dim light, those a more vivid and shining brightness? (tr. Hamilton Bryce & Hugh Campbell)



Καρχηδονίοις δὲ μετὰ τὴν κατάληψιν τοῦ προαστείου καὶ τὴν σύλησιν τοῦ τε τῆς Δήμητρος καὶ Κόρης ἱεροῦ ἐνέπεσεν εἰς τὸ στράτευμα νόσος· συνεπελάβετο δὲ καὶ τῇ τοῦ δαιμονίου συμφορᾷ τὸ μυριάδας εἰς ταὐτὸ συναθροισθῆναι καὶ τὸ τῆς ὥρας εἶναι πρὸς τὰς νόσους ἐνεργότατον, ἔτι δὲ τὸ ἔχειν ἐκεῖνο τὸ θέρος καύματα παρηλλαγμένα. ἔοικε δὲ καὶ ὁ τόπος αἴτιος γεγονέναι πρὸς τὴν ὑπερβολὴν τῆς συμφορᾶς· καὶ γὰρ Ἀθηναῖοι πρότερον τὴν αὐτὴν ἔχοντες παρεμβολὴν πολλοὶ διεφθάρησαν ὑπὸ τῆς νόσου, ἑλώδους ὄντος τοῦ τόπου καὶ κοίλου. πρῶτον μὲν πρὶν ἥλιον ἀνατεῖλαι διὰ τὴν ψυχρότητα τὴν ἐκ τῆς αὔρας τῶν ὑδάτων φρίκη κατεῖχε τὰ σώματα: κατὰ δὲ τὴν μεσημβρίαν ἡ θερμότης ἔπνιγεν, ὡς ἂν τοσούτου πλήθους ἐν στενῷ τόπῳ συνηθροισμένου. ἥψατο μὲν οὖν ἡ νόσος πρῶτον τῶν Λιβύων, ἐξ ὧν πολλῶν ἀποθνησκόντων τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ἔθαπτον τοὺς τετελευτηκότας, μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα διά τε τὸ πλῆθος τῶν νεκρῶν καὶ διὰ τὸ τοὺς νοσοκομοῦντας ὑπὸ τῆς νόσου διαρπάζεσθαι, οὐδεὶς ἐτόλμα προσιέναι τοῖς κάμνουσιν. παραιρεθείσης οὖν καὶ τῆς θεραπείας ἀβοήθητος ἦν ἡ συμφορά. διὰ γὰρ τὴν τῶν ἀθάπτων δυσωδίαν καὶ τὴν ἀπὸ τῶν ἑλῶν σηπεδόνα πρῶτον μὲν ἤρχετο τῆς νόσου κατάρρους, μετὰ δὲ ταῦτ᾽ ἐγίνετο περὶ τὸν τράχηλον οἰδήματα· ἐκ δὲ τοῦ κατ᾽ ὀλίγον ἠκολούθουν πυρετοὶ καὶ περὶ τὴν ῥάχιν νεύρων πόνοι καὶ τῶν σκελῶν βαρύτητες· εἶτ’ ἐπεγίνοντο δυσεντερία καὶ φλύκταιναι περὶ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν ὅλην τοῦ σώματος. τοῖς μὲν οὖν πλείστοις τοιοῦτον ἦν τὸ πάθος, τινὲς δ’ εἰς μανίαν καὶ λήθην τῶν ἁπάντων ἔπιπτον, οἳ περιπορευόμενοι τὴν παρεμβολὴν ἐξεστῶτες τοῦ φρονεῖν ἔτυπτον τοὺς ἀπαντῶντας. καθόλου δὲ συνέβη καὶ τὴν ἀπὸ τῶν ἰατρῶν βοήθειαν ἄπρακτον εἶναι καὶ διὰ τὸ μέγεθος τοῦ πάθους καὶ τὴν ὀξύτητα τοῦ θανάτου· πεμπταῖοι γὰρ ἢ τὸ πλεῖστον ἑκταῖοι μετήλλαττον, δεινὰς ὑπομένοντες τιμωρίας, ὥσθ’ ὑπὸ πάντων μακαρίζεσθαι τοὺς ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ τετελευτηκότας. καὶ γὰρ οἱ τοῖς κάμνουσι παρεδρεύοντες ἐνέπιπτον εἰς τὴν νόσον ἅπαντες, ὥστε δεινὴν εἶναι τὴν συμφορὰν τῶν ἀρρωστούντων, μηδενὸς θέλοντος ὑπηρετεῖν τοῖς ἀτυχοῦσιν. οὐ γὰρ μόνον οἱ μηδὲν προσήκοντες ἀλλήλους ἐγκατέλειπον, ἀλλ’ ἀδελφοὶ μὲν ἀδελφούς, φίλοι δὲ τοὺς συνήθεις ἠναγκάζοντο προΐεσθαι διὰ τὸν ὑπὲρ αὑτῶν φόβον.
(Diodorus Siculus, Hist. 14.70.4-71.4)

After the Carthaginians had seized the suburb and pillaged the temple of Demeter and Corê, a plague struck the army. Over and above the disaster sent by influence of the city, there were contributing causes: that myriads of people were gathered together, that it was the time of year which is most productive of plagues, and that the particular summer had brought unusually hot weather. It also seems likely that the place itself was responsible for the excessive extent of the disaster; for on a former occasion the Athenians too, who occupied the same camp, had perished in great numbers from the plague, since the terrain was marshy and in a hollow. First, before sunrise, because of the cold from the breeze over the waters, their bodies were struck with chills, but in the middle of the day the heat was stifling, as must be the case when so great a multitude is gathered together in a narrow place. Now the plague first attacked the Libyans, and, as many of them perished, at first they buried the dead, but later, both because of the multitude of corpses and because those who tended the sick were seized by the plague, no one dared approach the suffering. When even nursing was thus omitted, there was no remedy for the disaster. For by reason of the stench of the unburied and the miasma from the marshes, the plague began with a catarrh; then came a swelling in the throat; gradually burning sensations ensued, pains in the sinews of the back, and a heavy feeling in the limbs; then dysentery supervened and pustules upon the whole surface of the body. In most cases this was the course of the disease; but some became mad and totally lost their memory; they circulated through the camp, out of their mind, and struck at anyone they met. In general, as it turned out, even help by physicians was of no avail both because of the severity of the disease and the swiftness of the death; for death came on the fifth day or on the sixth at the latest, amidst such terrible tortures that all looked upon those who had fallen in the war as blessed. In fact all who watched beside the sick were struck by the plague, and thus the lot of the ill was miserable, since no one was willing to minister to the unfortunate. For not only did any not akin abandon one another, but even brothers were forced to desert brothers, friends to sacrifice friends out of fear for their own lives. (tr. Charles Henry Oldfather)



Παράκειται δὲ τούτοις τὸ πρὸς πυγὴν ἅλλεσθαι, ᾧ καὶ αἱ Λάκαιναι γυναῖκες τὸ πρόσθεν ἐχρῶντο· τοῦτο δ’ ἐστὶν ἄφαλσις, καμπτομένων τῶν σκελῶν, ὥστε τὰς πτέρνας τῶν πυγῶν προσάπτεσθαι, ποτὲ μὲν ἐναλλὰξ τῶν σκελῶν ἀναλακτιζόντων, ποτὲ δ’ ἀμφοτέρων ἅμα.
(Oribasius, Coll. Med. 6.31.1-3)

There are also jumps where they hit the buttocks, like Spartan women used to perform. This is a jump where the legs are bent in such a way as to make the heels touch the buttocks. In this exercise the legs are kicked up either in alternation or both at the same time. (tr. David Bauwens)


Antonio Verrio, Un assemblea degli Dei sull'Olimpo
Antonio Verrio, Un assemblea degli dei sull’Olimpo (ca. 1696)

Μουσάων Ἑλικωνιάδων ἀρχώμεθ’ ἀείδειν,
αἵ θ’ Ἑλικῶνος ἔχουσιν ὄρος μέγα τε ζάθεόν τε
καί τε περὶ κρήνην ἰοειδέα πόσσ᾽ ἁπαλοῖσιν
ὀρχεῦνται καὶ βωμὸν ἐρισθενέος Κρονίωνος·
καί τε λοεσσάμεναι τέρενα χρόα Περμησσοῖο
ἠ’ Ἵππου κρήνης ἠ’ Ὀλμειοῦ ζαθέοιο
ἀκροτάτῳ Ἑλικῶνι χοροὺς ἐνεποιήσαντο
καλούς ἱμερόεντας, ἐπερρώσαντο δὲ ποσσίν.
ἔνθεν ἀπορνύμεναι κεκαλυμμέναι ἠέρι πολλῷ
ἐννύχιαι στεῖχον περικαλλέα ὄσσαν ἱεῖσαι,
ὑμνεῦσαι Δία τ’ αἰγίοχον καὶ πότνιαν Ἥρην
Ἀργείην, χρυσέοισι πεδίλοις ἐμβεβαυῖαν,
κούρην τ’ αἰγιόχοιο Διὸς γλαυκῶπιν Ἀθήνην
Φοῖβόν τ’ Ἀπόλλωνα καὶ Ἄρτεμιν ἰοχέαιραν
ἠδὲ Ποσειδάωνα γαιήοχον ἐννοσίγαιον
καὶ Θέμιν αἰδοίην ἑλικοβλέφαρόν τ’ Ἀφροδίτην
Ἥβην τε χρυσοστέφανον καλήν τε Διώνην
Λητώ τ’ Ἰαπετόν τε ἰδὲ Κρόνον ἀγκυλομήτην
Ἠῶ τ’ Ἠέλιόν τε μέγαν λαμπράν τε Σελήνην
Γαῖάν τ’ Ὠκεανόν τε μέγαν καὶ Νύκτα μέλαιναν
ἄλλων τ’ ἀθανάτων ἱερὸν γένος αἰὲν ἐόντων.
(Hesiod, Theog. 1-21)

Let us begin to sing from the Heliconian Muses, who possess the great and holy mountain of Helicon and dance on their soft feet around the violet -dark fountain and the altar of Cronus’ mighty son. And after they have washed their tender skin in Permessus or Hippocrene or holy Olmeius, they perform choral dances on highest Helicon, beautiful, lovely ones, and move nimbly with their feet. Starting out from there, shrouded in thick invisibility, by night they walk, sending forth their very beautiful voice, singing of aegis-holding Zeus, and queenly Hera of Argos, who walks in golden sandals, and the daughter of aegis-holding Zeus, bright-eyed Athena, and Phoebus Apollo, and arrow-shooting Artemis, and earth-holding, earth-shaking Poseidon, and venerated Themis (Justice) and quick-glancing Aphrodite, and golden-crowned Hebe (Youth) and beautiful Dione, and Leto and Iapetus and crooked-counseled Cronus, and Eos (Dawn) and great Helius (Sun) and gleaming Selene (Moon), and Earth and great Ocean and black Night, and the holy race of the other immortals who always are. (tr. Glenn W. Most)


Carl Schleicher, Der Bücherwurm
Carl Schleicher, Der Bücherwurm

Parcus amator opum, blandorum victor honorum
hic studia et Musis otia amica colo
Iunius Ausoniae notus testudinis ales,
quodque voluptati est, hinc capio atque fruor:
rura, domus, rigui genuinis fontibus horti
dulciaque imparium marmora Pieridum.
vivere sic placidamque iuvat proferre senectam,
docta revolventem scripta virum veterum.
(Junius Naucellius, Epigrammata Bobiensia 5)

A frugal lover of wealth, a despiser of seductive honors,
here I pursue my studies and leisure dear to the Muses,
I, Junius, acclaimed warbler of Ausonian song.
From here I take and enjoy whatever delights me:
the countryside, my house, gardens watered by natural springs,
and charming statues of the odd-numbered Muses.
Thus it is pleasing to live, and to extend my quiet old age,
reading the learned writings of men long dead.
(tr. Michael Gilleland)