Gloriola

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This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Atque hoc praestantius mihi fuerit et ad laetitiam animi et ad memoriae dignitatem si in tua scripta pervenero, quam si in ceterorum, quod non ingenium mihi solum suppeditatum fuerit tuum, sicut Timoleonti a Timaeo aut ab Herodoto Themistocli, sed etiam auctoritas clarissimi et spectatissimi viri et in rei publicae maximis gravissimisque causis cogniti atque in primis probati, ut mihi non solum praeconium, quod, cum in Sigeum venisset, Alexander ab Homero Achilli tributum esse dixit, sed etiam grave testimonium impertitum clari hominis magnique videatur; placet enim Hector ille mihi Naevianus, qui non tantum “laudari” se laetatur, sed addit etiam “a laudato viro.” quod si a te non impetraro, hoc est, si quae te res impedierit (neque enim fas esse arbitror quidquam me rogantem abs te non impetrare), cogar fortasse facere quod non nulli saepe reprehendunt: scribam ipse de me, multorum tamen exemplo et clarorum virorum. sed, quod te non fugit, haec sunt in hoc genere vitia: et verecundius ipsi de sese scribant necesse est, si quid est laudandum, et praetereant, si quid reprehendendum est; accedit etiam, ut minor sit fides, minor auctoritas, multi denique reprehendant et dicant verecundiores esse praecones ludorum gymnicorum, qui cum ceteris coronas imposuerint victoribus eorumque nomina magna voce pronuntiarint, cum ipsi ante ludorum missionem corona donentur, alium praeconem adhibeant, ne sua voce se ipsi victores esse praedicent. haec nos vitare cupimus et, si recipis causam nostram, vitabimus, idque ut facias, rogamus. ac, ne forte mirere, cur, cum mihi saepe ostenderis te accuratissime nostrorum temporum consilia atque eventus litteris mandaturum, a te id nunc tanto opere et tam multis verbis petamus, illa nos cupiditas incendit, de qua initio scripsi, festinationis, quod alacres animo sumus, ut et ceteri viventibus nobis ex libris tuis nos cognoscant et nosmet ipsi vivi gloriola nostra perfruamur. his de rebus quid acturus sis, si tibi non est molestum, rescribas mihi velim; si enim suscipis causam, conficiam commentarios rerum omnium, sin autem differs me in tempus aliud, coram tecum loquar. tu interea non cessabis et ea, quae habes instituta, perpolies nosque diliges.
(Cicero, Ep. ad Fam. 22(=5.12).7-10)

There is a further reason why a place in your works as compared with those of other writers will bring my mind a more lively satisfaction and my memory more signal honour. You will confer upon me the benefit not only of your literary skill, as Timaeus did upon Timoleon or Herodotus upon Themistocles, but of your authority as a famed and admired public man, tried and notably approved in public affairs of the greatest moment. Not only shall I gain a herald, such as Alexander when he visited Sigeum said Homer was to Achilles, but a witness—the weighty testimony of a great and famous man. For I am of one mind with Naevius’ Hector, who delights, not in praise merely, but, he adds, ‘from one that praisèd is.’ Suppose, however, I am refused; that is to say, suppose something hinders you (for I feel it would be against nature for you to refuse any request of mine), I shall perhaps be driven to a course often censured by some, namely to write about myself—and yet I shall have many illustrious precedents. But I need not point out to you that this genre has certain disadvantages. An autobiographer must needs write over modestly where praise is due and pass over anything that calls for censure. Moreover, his credit and authority are less, and many will blame him and say that heralds at athletic contests show more delicacy, in that after placing garlands on the heads of the winners and loudly proclaiming their names, they call in another herald when it is their turn to be crowned at the end of the games, in order to avoid announcing their own victory with their own lips. I am anxious to escape these drawbacks, as I shall, if you take my case. I beg you to do so. In case it may surprise you that I urge you so earnestly and at such length now, when you have repeatedly promised me that you will compose the record of my public career, its policies and events, and spare no pains, my motive is, as I wrote in the first place, impatience. I cannot wait to see the world learning about me in my lifetime from your books and to enjoy my modicum of glory myself before I die. If it is not troubling you too much, please write back and tell me what you intend to do. If you undertake the case, I will prepare notes on all pints. If you put me off to a later date, I shall talk to you personally. Meanwhile, do not be idle: Give a thorough polish to the work you have in hand. And love me well. (tr. David Roy Shackleton-Bailey)

Vicissitudines

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This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Quod si te adducemus ut hoc suscipias, erit, ut mihi persuadeo, materies digna facultate et copia tua. a principio enim coniurationis usque ad reditum nostrum videtur mihi modicum quoddam corpus confici posse, in quo et illa poteris uti civilium commutationum scientia vel in explicandis causis rerum novarum vel in remediis incommodorum, cum et reprehendes ea, quae vituperanda duces, et, quae placebunt, exponendis rationibus comprobabis, et, si liberius, ut consuesti, agendum putabis, multorum in nos perfidiam, insidias, proditionem notabis. multam etiam casus nostri varietatem tibi in scribendo suppeditabunt plenam cuiusdam voluptatis, quae vehementer animos hominum in legendo tuo scripto retinere possit. nihil est enim aptius ad delectationem lectoris quam temporum varietates fortunaeque vicissitudines: quae etsi nobis optabiles in experiendo non fuerunt, in legendo tamen erunt iucundae, habet enim praeteriti doloris secura recordatio delectationem; ceteris vero nulla perfunctis propria molestia, casus autem alienos sine ullo dolore intuentibus etiam ipsa misericordia est iucunda. quem enim nostrum ille moriens apud Mantineam Epaminondas non cum quadam miseratione delectat? qui tum denique sibi evelli iubet spiculum, posteaquam ei percontanti dictum est clipeum esse salvum, ut etiam in vulneris dolore aequo animo cum laude moreretur. cuius studium in legendo non erectum Themistocli fuga interituque retinetur? etenim ordo ipse annalium mediocriter nos retinet quasi enumeratione fastorum: at viri saepe excellentis ancipites variique casus habent admirationem exspectationem, laetitiam molestiam, spem timorem; si vero exitu notabili concluduntur, expletur animus iucundissima lectionis voluptate. quo mihi acciderit optatius, si in hac sententia fueris, ut a continentibus tuis scriptis, in quibus perpetuam rerum gestarum historiam complecteris, secernas hanc quasi fabulam rerum eventorumque nostrorum; habet enim varios actus multasque mutationes et consiliorum et temporum. ac non vereor, ne assentatiuncula quadam aucupari tuam gratiam videar, cum hoc demonstrem, me a te potissimum ornari celebrarique velle; neque enim tu is es, qui, qui sis, nescias et qui non eos magis, qui te non admirentur, invidos quam eos, qui laudent, assentatores arbitrere, neque autem ego sum ita demens, ut me sempiternae gloriae per eum commendari velim, qui non ipse quoque in me commendando propriam ingenii gloriam consequatur. neque enim Alexander ille gratiae causa ab Apelle potissimum pingi et a Lysippo fingi volebat, sed quod illorum artem cum ipsis, tum etiam sibi gloriae fore putabat. atque illi artifices corporis simulacra ignotis nota faciebant, quae vel si nulla sint, nihilo sint tamen obscuriores clari viri. nec minus est Spartiates Agesilaus mihi perhibendus, qui neque pictam neque fictam imaginem suam passus est esse, quam qui in eo genere laborarunt; unus enim Xenophontis libellus in eo rege laudando facile omnes imagines omnium statuasque superavit.
(Cicero, Ep. ad Fam. 22(=5.12).4-7)

If I prevail upon you to undertake the task, I persuade myself that the material will be worthy of your ready and skilful pen. I fancy a work of moderate length could be made up, from the beginning of the plot down to my return from exile. In it you will also be able to make use of your special knowledge of political changes, in explaining the origins of the revolutionary movement and suggesting remedies for things awry. You will blame what you judge deserving of reproof and give reasons for commending what you approve; and if, according to your usual practice, you think proper to deal pretty freely, you will hold up to censure the perfidy, artifice, and betrayal of which many were guilty towards me. Moreover, my experiences will give plenty of variety to your narrative, full of a certain kind of delectation to enthrall the minds of those who read, when you are the writer. Nothing tends more to the reader’s enjoyment than varieties of circumstance and vicissitudes of fortune. For myself, though far from desirable in the living, they will be pleasant in the reading; for there is something agreeable in the secure recollection of bygone unhappiness. For others, who went through no personal distress and painlessly survey misfortunes not their own, even the emotion of pity is enjoyable. Which of us is not affected pleasurably, along with a sentiment of compassion, at the story of the dying Epaminondas on the field of Mantinea, ordering the javelin to be plucked from his body only after he had been told in answer to his question that his shield was safe, so that even in the agony of his wound he could meet an honourable death with mind at ease? Whose sympathies are not aroused and held as he reads of Themistocles’ flight and death? The actual chronological record of events exercises no very powerful fascination upon us; it is like the recital of an almanac. But in the doubtful and various fortunes of an outstanding individual we often find surprise and suspense, joy and distress, hope and fear; and if they are rounded off by a notable conclusion, our minds as we read are filled with the liveliest gratification. So I shall be especially delighted if you find it best to set my story apart from the main stream of your work, in which you embrace events in their historical sequence—this drama, one may call it, of what I did and experienced; for it contains various ‘acts,’ and many changes of plan and circumstance. Nor am I apprehensive of appearing to angle for your favour with the bait of a little flattery when I declare that you of all others are the writer by whom I desire my praises to be sung. After all, you are not ignorant of your own worth; a man like you knows better than to see sycophancy in admiration rather than jealousy in its absence. Nor am I myself so foolish as to ask any author to immortalize my name in glory but one who in so doing will gain glory for his own genius. Alexander the Great did not ask Apelles to paint his portrait and Lysippus to sculpt his statue in order to curry favour with these artists, but because he believed the work would redound to his own fame as well as theirs. Those artists, however, only made a physical likeness known to people unacquainted with the original; and even in default of such memorials famous men would lose none of their celebrity. Agesilaus of Sparta, who would not allow representations of himself in paintings or sculpture, is no less pertinent to my case (?) than those who took pains over the matter. Xenophon’s own little volume in eulogy of that king has achieved far more than all the portraits and statues under the sun. (tr. David Roy Shackleton-Bailey)

Ornes

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This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Coram me tecum eadem haec agere saepe conantem deterruit pudor quidam paene subrusticus, quae nunc expromam absens audacius, epistula enim non erubescit. ardeo cupiditate incredibili neque, ut ego arbitror, reprehendenda, nomen ut nostrum scriptis illustretur et celebretur tuis; quod etsi mihi saepe ostendisti te esse facturum, tamen ignoscas velim huic festinationi meae; genus enim scriptorum tuorum etsi erat semper a me vehementer exspectatum, tamen vicit opinionem meam meque ita vel cepit vel incendit, ut cuperem quam celerrime res nostras monumentis commendari tuis; neque enim me solum commemoratio posteritatis ac spes quaedam immortalitatis rapit, sed etiam illa cupiditas, ut vel auctoritate testimonii tui vel indicio benevolentiae vel suavitate ingenii vivi perfruamur. neque tamen, haec cum scribebam, eram nescius, quantis oneribus premerere susceptarum rerum et iam institutarum; sed, quia videbam Italici belli et civilis historiam iam a te paene esse perfectam, dixeras autem mihi te reliquas res ordiri, deesse mihi nolui, quin te admonerem, ut cogitares, coniunctene malles cum reliquis rebus nostra contexere an, ut multi Graeci fecerunt, Callisthenes Phocicum bellum, Timaeus Pyrrhi, Polybius Numantinum, qui omnes a perpetuis suis historiis ea, quae dixi, bella separaverunt, tu quoque item civilem coniurationem ab hostilibus externisque bellis seiungeres. equidem ad nostram laudem non multum video interesse, sed ad properationem meam quiddam interest non te exspectare, dum ad locum venias, ac statim causam illam totam et tempus arripere, et simul, si uno in argumento unaque in persona mens tua tota versabitur, cerno iam animo, quanto omnia uberiora atque ornatiora futura sint. neque tamen ignoro, quam impudenter faciam qui primum tibi tantum oneris imponam (potest enim mihi denegare occupatio tua), deinde etiam ut ornes me postulem. quid si illa tibi non tanto opere videntur ornanda? sed tamen, qui semel verecundiae fines transierit, eum bene et naviter oportet esse impudentem. itaque te plane etiam atque etiam rogo, ut et ornes ea vehementius etiam, quam fortasse sentis, et in eo leges historiae negligas gratiamque illam, de qua suavissime quodam in prooemio scripsisti, a qua te flecti non magis potuisse demonstras quam Herculem Xenophontium illum a Voluptate, eam, si me tibi vehementius commendabit, ne aspernere amorique nostro plusculum etiam, quam concedet veritas, largiare.
(Cicero, Ep. ad Fam. 22(=5.12).1-4)

Although I have more than once attempted to take up my present topic with you face to face, a sort of shyness, almost awkwardness, has held me back. Away from your presence, I shall set it out with less trepidation. A letter has no blushes. I have a burning desire, of a strength you will hardly credit but ought not, I think, to blame, that my name should gain lustre and celebrity through your works. You have often promised me, it is true, that you will comply with my wish; but I ask you to forgive my impatience. The quality of your literary performances, eagerly as I have always awaited them, has surpassed my expectation. I am captivated and enkindled. I want to see my achievements enshrined in your compositions with the minimum of delay. The thought that posterity will talk of me and the hope, one might say, of immortality hurries me on, but so too does the desire to enjoy in my lifetime the support of your weighty testimony, the evidence of your good will, and the charm of your literary talent. As I write these words, I am not unaware of the heavy burden weighing upon you of projects undertaken and already commenced. But seeing that you have almost finished your account of the Italian War and the Civil War, and remembering that you told me you were embarking on subsequent events, I feel I should be failing myself if I did not suggest two alternatives for your consideration. Would you prefer to weave my affairs along with those of the rest of the period into a single narrative, or might you not rather follow many Greek precedents, as Callisthenes with the Phocian War, Timaeus with the War of Pyrrhus, and Polybius with that of Numantia, all of whom detached their accounts of these particular wars from their continuous histories? Just so, you might deal with the domestic conspiracy apart from wars against external enemies. From my point of view there seems little to choose, so far as my credit is concerned. But there is my impatience to be considered; and here it does make a difference, if, instead of waiting until you reach the place, you immediately seize upon that entire subject and period. Furthermore, if your whole mind is directed upon a single theme and a single figure, I can already envisage the great gain in general richness and splendour. Not that I am unconscious of the effrontery of what I am about, first in laying such a burden upon you (pressure of work may refuse me), and secondly in asking you to write about me eulogistically. What if the record does not appear to you so eminently deserving of eulogy? But the bounds of delicacy once passed, it is best to be frankly and thoroughly brazen. Therefore I ask you again, not mincing my words, to write of this theme more enthusiastically than perhaps you feel. Waive the laws of history for this once. Do not scorn personal bias, if it urge you strongly in my favour—that sentiment of which you wrote very charmingly in one of your prefaces, declaring that you could no more be swayed thereby than Xenophon’s Hercules by Pleasure. Concede to the affection between us just a little more even than the truth will license. (tr. David Roy Shackleton-Bailey)

Ritus

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Suus enim cuique mos, suus cuique ritus est. varios custodes urbibus cultus mens divina distribuit. ut animae nascentibus, ita populis fatales genii dividuntur. accedit utilitas, quae maxime homini deos adserit. nam cum ratio omnis in operto sit, unde rectius quam de memoria atque documentis rerum secundarum cognitio venit numinum? iam si longa aetas auctoritatem religionibus faciat, servanda est tot saeculis fides et sequendi sunt nobis parentes, qui secuti sunt feliciter suos. Romam nunc putemus adsistere atque his vobiscum agere sermonibus: “optimi principum, patres patriae, reveremini annos meos, in quos me pius ritus adduxit! Utar caerimoniis avitis; neque enim paenitet. vivam meo more, quia libera sum! hic cultus in leges meas orbem redegit, haec sacra Hannibalem a moenibus, a Capitolio Senonas reppulerunt. ad hoc ergo servata sum, ut longaeva reprehendar? videro, quale sit, quod instituendum putatur; sera tamen et contumeliosa emendatio senectutis.” ergo diis patriis, diis indigetibus pacem rogamus. aequum est, quidquid omnes colunt, unum putari. eadem spectamus astra, commune caelum est, idem nos mundus involvit. quid interest, qua quisque prudentia verum requirat? uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum. sed haec otiosorum disputatio est. nunc preces, non certamina offerimus.
(Symmachus, Rel. 3.8-10)

…for everyone has his own customs, everyone his own rites. The divine Mind has distributed different guardians and different cults to different cities. As souls are separately given to infants as they are born, so to peoples the genius of their destiny. Here comes in the proof from advantage, which most of all vouches to man for the gods. For, since our reason is wholly clouded, whence does the knowledge of the gods more rightly come to us, than from the memory and evidence of prosperity? Now if a long period gives authority to religious customs, we ought to keep faith with so many centuries, and to follow our ancestors, as they happily followed theirs. Let us now suppose that Rome is present and addresses you in these words: “Excellent princes, fathers of your country, respect my years to which pious rites have brought me. Let me use the ancestral ceremonies, for I do not repent of them. Let me live after my own fashion, for I am free. This worship subdued the world to my laws, these sacred rites repelled Hannibal from the walls, and the Senones from the capitol. Have I been reserved for this, that in my old age I should be blamed? I will consider what it is thought should be set in order, but tardy and discreditable is the reformation of old age.” We ask, then, for peace for the gods of our fathers and of our country. It is just that all worship should be considered as one. We look on the same stars, the sky is common, the same world surrounds us. What difference does it make by what pains each seeks the truth? We cannot attain to so great a secret by one road; but this discussion is rather for persons at ease, we offer now prayers, not conflict. (tr. Philip Shaff?)

Choreusō

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Ἐγὼ γέρων μέν εἰμι,
νέων πλέον δὲ πίνω·
κἂν δεήσῃ με χορεύειν,
Σειληνὸν ἐν μέσοισι
μιμούμενος χορεύσω
σκῆπτρον ἔχων τὸν ἀσκόν·
ὁ νάρθηξ δ’ οὐδέν ἐστιν.
ὁ μὲν θέλων μάχεσθαι
παρέστω καὶ μαχέσθω.
ἐμοὶ κύπελλον, ὦ παῖ,
μελίχρουν οἶνον ἡδὺν
ἐγκεράσας φόρησον.
ἐγὼ γέρων μέν εἰμι,
<νέων πλέον δὲ πίνω>
(Anacreontea 47)

I am an old man, but I drink more than the youngsters; and if I have to dance, I shall imitate Silenus and dance in the middle of the ring, with my wine-flask as my support since my fennel-stick is useless. If anyone wants a fight, let him come over here and fight. Mix the sweet honied wine and bring me the cup, boy. I am an old man, but I drink more than the youngsters. (tr. David A. Campbell)

Pareamus

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Quid abdicatas in meam curam, pater,
redire Musas praecipis?
negant Camenis, nec patent Apollini
dicata Christo pectora.
fuit ista quondam non ope, sed studio pari
tecum mihi concordia
ciere surdum Delphica Phoebum specu,
vocare Musas numina
fandique munus munere indultum Dei
petere e nemoribus aut iugis.
nunc alia mentem vis agit, maior deus,
aliosque mores postulat,
sibi reposcens ab homine munus suum,
vivamus ut vitae patri.
vacare vanis, otio aut negotio,
et fabulosis litteris
vetat, suis ut pareamus legibus
lucemque cernamus suam,
quam vis sophorum callida arsque rhetorum et
figmenta vatum nubilant,
qui corda falsis atque vanis imbuunt
tantumque linguas instruunt,
nihil ferentes, ut salutem conferant
aut veritate nos tegant.
quod enim tenere vel bonum aut verum queant,
qui non tenent summae caput,
veri bonique fomitem et fontem deum,
quem nemo nisi in Christo videt?
(Paulinus of Nola, Carm. 10.19-46)

Why, father, do you bid the deposed Muses return to my charge? Hearts dedicated to Christ reject the Latin Muses and exclude Apollo. Of old you and I shared common cause (our zeal was equal if our poetic resources were not) in summoning deaf Apollo from his cave at Delphi, invoking the Muses as deities, seeking from groves or mountain ridges that gift of utterance bestowed by divine gift. But now another power, a greater God, inspires my mind and demands another way of life. He asks back from man His own gift, so that we may live for the Father of life. He bids us not spend our days in the emptiness of leisure and business, or on the fictions of literature, so that we may obey His laws and behold His light which is clouded by the clever powers of philosophers, the skill of rhetoricians, and the inventions of poets. These men steep our hearts in what is false and empty. They form only men’s tongues, and bring nothing to bestow salvation or to clothe us in the truth. What good, what truth can they possess who do not have the Head of all, God who is the Kindling and the Source of truth and goodness, whom no man sees except in Christ? (tr. Patrick Gerard Walsh)

Osphun

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Οἷον ἡμῶν ἐγένετο τὸ συμπόσιον—τί γὰρ οὐχ ἅψομαί σου τῆς καρδίας;—ὅσων χαρίτων πλῆρες. ᾠδαὶ, σκώμματα, πότος εἰς ἀλεκτρυόνων, ᾠδὰς, μύρα, στέφανοι, τραγήματα. ὑπόσκιός τισι δάφναις ἦν ἡ κατάκλισις· ἓν μόνον ἡμῖν ἔλιπε, σύ, τὰ δ’ ἄλλα οὔ. πολλάκις ἐκραιπαλήσαμεν, οὕτω δὲ ἡδέως ὀλιγάκις. τὸ γοῦν πλείστην ἡμῖν παρασκευάσαν τέρψιν, δεινή τις φιλονεικία κατέσχε Θρυαλλίδα καὶ Μυρρίνην ὑπὲρ τῆς πυγῆς ποτέρα κρείττω καὶ ἁπαλωτέραν ἐπιδείξει. καὶ πρώτη Μυρρίνη τὸ ζώνιον λύσασα—βόμβυξ δ’ ἦν τὸ χιτώνιον—δι’ αὐτοῦ τρέμουσαν οἷόν τι μελίπηκτον γάλα τὴν ὀσφῦν ἀνεσάλευσεν, ὑποβλέπουσα εἰς τοὐπίσω πρὸς τὰ κινήματα τῆς πυγῆς· ἠρέμα δ’ οἷον ἐνεργοῦσά τι ἐρωτικὸν ὑπεστέναξεν, ὥστε ἐμέ, νὴ τὴν Ἀφροδίτην, καταπλαγῆναι. οὐ μὴν ἀπεῖπέ γε ἡ Θρυαλλίς, ἀλλὰ τῇ ἀκολασίᾳ παρευδοκίμησεν αὐτήν· “οὐ γὰρ διὰ παραπετασμάτων ἐγώ” φησίν “ἀγωνίσομαι, οὐδὲ ἀκκιζομένη, ἀλλ’ οἷον ἐν γυμνικῷ· καὶ γὰρ οὐ φιλεῖ προφάσεις  γών.” ἀπεδύσατο τὸ χιτώνιον καὶ μικρὸν ὑποσιμώσασα τὴν ὀσφῦν “ἰδού, σκόπει τὸ χρῶμα” φησίν “ὡς ἀκριβῶς, Μυρρίνη, ὡς ἀκήρατον, ὡς καθαρόν, τὰ παραπόρφυρα τῶν ἰσχίων ταυτί, τὴν ἐπὶ τοὺς μηροὺς ἔγκλισιν, τὸ μήτε ὑπέρογκον αὐτῶν μήτε ἄσαρκον, τοὺς γελασίνους ἐπ’ ἄκρων· ἀλλ’ οὐ τρέμει, νὴ Δία,”—ἅμ’ ὑπομειδιῶσα—”ὥσπερ ἡ Μυρρίνης”. καὶ τοσοῦτον παλμὸν ἐξειργάσατο τῆς πυγῆς, καὶ ἅπασαν αὐτὴν ὑπὲρ τὴν ὀσφῦν τῇδε καὶ τῇδε ὥσπερ ῥέουσαν περιεδίνησεν, ὥστε ἀνακροτῆσαι πάσας καὶ νίκην  ἀποφήνασθαι τῆς Θρυαλλίδος.
(Alciphron, Epist. 4.14.3-6)

What a drinking party we had—why shouldn’t I make you regretful?—full of great delights! Songs, jokes, drinking till cockcrow, perfumes, garlands and sweetmeats. Our place of reclining was shaded by some laurels. Only one thing was missing: you, but nothing else. We have often caroused but rarely with this much pleasure. But what gave us the most delight was that a fierce quarrel arose between Thryallis and Myrrhine concerning which of them had the most beautiful and smooth buttocks. And Myrrhine, having first loosened her girdle—her dress was made of silk—swayed her hips which quivered like junkets through the dress, while she was looking back at the movements of her buttocks. Then she sighed gently like she was making love so that, by Aphrodite, I was astounded. Thryallis, however, didn’t give up, but outdid Myrrhine in shamelessness. “I shall not compete behind curtains”, she said, “nor play coy, but as in a gymnastic contest; for a contest doesn’t like excuses.” She took off her dress, tightened her buttocks and said, “there, look carefully at the skin, Myrrhine, how pure, how spotless; look here at the purple lining of the hips, the slope towards the thighs, which are neither too fat nor too lean, and the dimples at the sides; but, by Zeus, they don’t quiver”—and at the same time she smiled—”like Myrrhine’s”. And then she made her buttocks quiver so much, and she whirled the whole thing around, to and fro, over her loins, like it was flowing, so that we all applauded and declared that the victory belonged to Thryallis. (tr. Patrik Granholm)