Leo quoque Nonantulanus abbas ad memoriam redit, qui dum clericalem adhuc speciem gereret, iamque devotione peracta, ab Hierosolymis remeasset, sic vitam suam instituit, ut nil aliud praeter unum dumtaxat asinum possideret. cum hoc quotidie saltus et pascua circumquaque perlustrans materias congerebat, quibus ad requisita naturae necessaria fratribus anitergia ministraret. peracto itaque glorifico huiusmodi opere manuum, psalterioque cum ipsa simul exercitatione decurso protinus ad offerenda Deo sacra mysteria non sine multis lacrimis sanctus presbyter accedebat. postmodum vero ad monasterii regimen violenter attractus, aiebat, quod infelix frequenter et ipse deploro, ‘Iesum’ inquiens ‘per pedes tenui, et nunc miser et caecus saeculi molas volvo.’ vixque peracto biennio in manum Ottonis, qui tunc imperii sceptra regebat, pastoralem baculum reddidit, deinde apud sanctum Bonifacium intra Romana moenia perseverans, ex omni, quod sibi vitae huius residuum fuit, nil aliud quam aeternae vitae sibi stipendia procuravit. ad cuius postmodum sepulturam caecus veniens, luci pristinae asseritur restitutus.
(Petrus Damiani, Epist. 72.65)

Leo, the abbot of Nonantula, also comes to mind. While he was still a cleric and, having satisfied his devotion, was returning from Jerusalem, he began his career possessed of nothing else but a donkey. With it he wandered about every day in the woodlands and fields, gathering material that would serve the brethren to wipe themselves after they had taken care of the needs of nature. Having performed manual tasks of this kind that were to his glory while practicing saying the psalter, he at length was promoted as a holy priest to offering the sacred mysteries to God with many tears. Later, however, when he was compelled to accept the government of the monastery, he stated that he was frequently unhappy. “Jesus, I beg you,” he said, “I grasp your feet and, now miserable and blind, I turn the mills of the world.” Scarcely two years had passed when he restored his pastoral staff to the hands of Otto who was then ruling the empire. Then while staying at St. Boniface in Rome, he kept busy for the rest of his days with nothing but what would win him a reward in eternal life. Afterwards, a blind man came to his tomb and, as is claimed, his sight was restored. (tr. Owen Blum)



Multa diuque tuli; vitiis patientia victa est;
cede fatigato pectore, turpis amor!
scilicet adserui iam me fugique catenas,
et quae non puduit ferre, tulisse pudet.
vicimus et domitum pedibus calcamus amorem;
venerunt capiti cornua sera meo.
perfer et obdura! dolor hic tibi proderit olim;
saepe tulit lassis sucus amarus opem.
ergo ego sustinui, foribus tam saepe repulsus,
ingenuum dura ponere corpus humo?
ergo ego nescio cui, quem tu conplexa tenebas,
excubui clausam servus ut ante domum?
vidi, cum foribus lassus prodiret amator,
invalidum referens emeritumque latus;
hoc tamen est levius, quam quod sum visus ab illo—
eveniat nostris hostibus ille pudor!
quando ego non fixus lateri patienter adhaesi,
ipse tuus custos, ipse vir, ipse comes?
scilicet et populo per me comitata placebas;
causa fuit multis noster amoris amor.
turpia quid referam vanae mendacia linguae
et periuratos in mea damna deos?
quid iuvenum tacitos inter convivia nutus
verbaque conpositis dissimulata notis?
dicta erat aegra mihi—praeceps amensque cucurri;
veni, et rivali non erat aegra meo!
his et quae taceo duravi saepe ferendis;
quaere alium pro me, qui queat ista pati.
iam mea votiva puppis redimita corona
lenta tumescentes aequoris audit aquas.
desine blanditias et verba, potentia quondam,
perdere—non ego nunc stultus, ut ante fui!
(Ovid, Am. 3.11a)

I’ve endured too much, too long: my patience is defeated
by her offences: heart dead with weariness, vile love!
There’s no doubt I’m free now and have slipped my chain,
and what I wasn’t ashamed to bear, I’m ashamed I bore.
I’ve won and love is tamed, trampled under my feet:
at last true horns have appeared on my head.
Endure it and stand firm! This pain in the end will help you:
often bitter medicine brings strength to the weary.
So why did I endure it, so often shut out from your gate,
laying my delicate body on the hard floor?
So why did I keep watch, for him you held in your arms,
like a slave outside your closed door?
I saw, when your lover appeared weary, at your door,
found wanting, and his body all exhausted:
but it’s still worse that I was seen by him—
let that shame happen to my enemies!
When did I not cling patiently to your side,
your true guardian, your lover, friend?
And of course you pleased people through my friendship:
my love was the reason for your many lovers.
What, shall I say now, of your vile lies, your idle tongue,
and the gods perjured to harm me?
What of the silent nods of youths at parties,
and the deceptive words of secret messages?
They told me she’s ill—I ran, in a hurry, a madman:
I arrived, and she wasn’t too ill for my rival!
I’m hardened by this: by things unsaid I’ve often suffered:
find someone instead of me, who can endure it.
Now my vessel’s crowned with votive wreaths
calmly braving the ocean’s swelling waves.
Leave off your flatteries and your once powerful words,
forget them—now I’m not the fool I used to be!
(tr. Tony Kline)



Ἐνδόντος δὲ τοῦ πνεύματος φερόμενος νήσοις τισὶν ἐναυλίζεται σποράσιν ἀνύδροις· κἀκεῖθεν ἄρας καὶ διεκβαλὼν τὸν Γαδειραῖον πορθμόν ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῖς ἐκτὸς ἐπιβάλλει τῆς Ἰβηρίας, μικρὸν ὑπὲρ τῶν τοῦ Βαίτιος ἐκβολῶν, ὃς εἰς τὴν Ἀτλαντικὴν ἐκφερόμενος θάλατταν ὄνομα τῇ περὶ αὐτὸν Ἰβηρίᾳ, παρέσχεν. ἐνταῦθα ναῦταί τινες ἐντυγχάνουσιν αὐτῷ νέον ἐκ τῶν Ἀτλαντικῶν νήσων ἀναπεπλευκότες, αἳ δύο μέν εἰσι λεπτῷ παντάπασι πορθμῷ διαιρούμεναι, μυρίους δ᾽ ἀπέχουσι Λιβύης σταδίους καὶ ὀνομάζονται Μακάρων. ὄμβροις δὲ χρώμεναι μετρίοις σπανίως, τὰ δὲ πλεῖστα πνεύμασι μαλακοῖς καὶ δροσοβόλοις, οὐ μόνον ἀροῦν καὶ φυτεύειν παρέχουσιν ἀγαθὴν καὶ πίονα χώραν, ἀλλὰ καὶ καρπὸν αὐτοφυῆ φέρουσιν ἀποχρῶντα πλήθει καὶ γλυκύτητι βόσκειν ἄνευ πόνων καὶ πραγματείας σχολάζοντα δῆμον. ἀὴρ δὲ ἄλυπος ὡρῶν τε κράσει καὶ μεταβολῆς μετριότητι κατέχει τὰς νήσους, οἱ μέν γὰρ ἐνθένδε τῆς γῆς ἀποπνέοντες ἔξω βορέαι καὶ ἀπηλιῶται διὰ μῆκος ἐκπεσόντες εἰς τόπον ἀχανῆ διασπείρονται καὶ προαπολείπουσι, πελάγιοι δὲ περιρρέοντες ἀργέσται καὶ ζέφυροι βληχροὺς μέν ὑετοὺς καὶ σποράδας ἐκ θαλάττης ἐπάγοντες, τὰ δὲ πολλὰ νοτεραῖς αἰθρίαις ἐπιψύχοντες ἡσυχῇ τρέφουσιν, ὥστε μέχρι τῶν βαρβάρων διῖχθαι πίστιν ἰσχυράν αὐτόθι τὸ Ἠλύσιον εἶναι πεδίον καὶ τὴν τῶν εὐδαιμόνων οἴκησιν, ἣν Ὅμηρος ὕμνησε.
(Plutarch, Bios Sertōriou 8)

But the wind subsided and he was borne along to certain scattered and waterless islands, where he spent the night; then, setting out from there, and passing through the strait of Cadiz, he kept the outer coast of Spain on the right and landed a little above the mouths of the river Baetis, which empties into the Atlantic sea and has given its name to the adjacent parts of Spain. Here he fell in with some sailors who had recently come back from the Atlantic Islands*. These are two in number, separated by a very narrow strait; they are ten thousand furlongs distant from Africa, and are called the Islands of the Blest. They enjoy moderate rains at long intervals, and winds which for the most part are soft and precipitate dews, so that the islands not only have a rich soil which is excellent for plowing and planting, but also produce a natural fruit that is plentiful and wholesome enough to feed, without toil or trouble, a leisured folk. Moreover, an air that is salubrious, owing to the climate and the moderate changes in the seasons, prevails on the islands. For the north and east winds which blow out from our part of the world plunge into fathomless space, and, owing to the distance, dissipate themselves and lose their power before they reach the islands; while the south and west winds that envelope the islands from the sea sometimes bring in their train soft and intermittent showers, but for the most part cool them with moist breezes and gently nourish the soil. Therefore a firm belief has made its way, even to the Barbarians, that here is the Elysian Field and the abode of the blessed, of which Homer sang**.

* Perhaps Madeira and Porto Santo, though these are forty miles apart. Features of the Canary Islands have doubtless crept into the description.
** Odyssey, iv. 563-568.

(tr. Bernadotte Perrin, with her notes)




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

Ὣς Τρῶες, ἐπεὶ κλύον αἰ-
χματὰν Ἀχιλλέα
μίμνοντ’ ἐν κλισίαισιν
εἵνεκεν ξανθᾶς γυναικός,
Βρισηΐδος ἱμερογυίου,
θεοῖσιν ἄντειναν χέρας,
φοιβὰν ἐσιδόντες ὑπαὶ
χειμῶνος αἴγλαν·
πασσυδίᾳ δὲ λιπόντες
τείχεα Λαομέδοντος
ἐς πεδίον κρατερὰν
ἄϊξαν ὑσμίναν φέροντες·

ὦρσάν τε φόβον Δαναοῖς·
ὤτρυνε δ’ Ἄρης
εὐεγχής, Λυκίων τε
Λοξίας ἄναξ Ἀπόλλων·
ἷξόν τ’ ἐπὶ θῖνα θαλάσσας·
ναυσὶ δ’ εὐπρύμνοις παραὶ
μάρναντ’, ἐναριζομένων
δ’ ἔρευθε φώτων
αἵματι γαῖα μέλαινα
Ἑκτορέας ὑπὸ χειρός,
ἦν δὲ μέγ’ ἡμιθέοις
ὄνααρ ἰσόθεον δι’ ὁρμάν.

ἆ δύσφρονες, ἦ μεγάλαισιν ἐλπίσιν
πνείοντες ὑπερφίαλόν
θ’ ἱέντες αὐδὰν
Τρῶες ἱππευταὶ κυανώπιδας ἐκ-
πέρσαντες ᾤσθεν νέας
νεῖσθαι πάλιν εἰλαπίνας τ’ ἐν
λαοφόροις ἕξειν θεόδματον πόλιν.
μέλλον ἄρα πρότερον δι-
νᾶντα φοινίξειν Σκάμανδρον,
θνᾴσκοντες ὑπ’ Αἰακίδαις
(Bacchylides, Epin. 13.133-169)

So when the Trojans heard that the spearman Achilles was remaining in his tent on account of the blonde woman, lovely-limbed Briseis, they stretched up their hands to the gods, since they saw the bright gleam under the stormcloud; leaving Laomedon’s walls* with all speed they rushed into the plain bringing violent battle, and they roused fear in the Danaans: Ares of the mighty spear urged them on, and Loxias Apollo, lord of the Lycians, and they reached the shore of the sea; and by the strong-sterned ships they fought, and the black earth grew red with the blood of men slain by Hector’s hand, for he was a great (boon) to the demi-gods in his godlike charge. Misguided ones! High-spirited in their great hopes and uttering arrogant shouts those Trojan horsemen (thought that they would lay waste) the dark-eyed ships (and return home again) and that their god-built city would hold feasts in (its streets?). In truth they were destined first to crimson the eddying Scamander as they died at the hands of the tower-wrecking Aeacidae**.

* Troy: Laomedon was Priam’s father.
** Achilles and Ajax.

(tr. David A. Campbell, with his notes)


John Flaxman, Ajax defending the Greek Ships against the Trojans
John Flaxman, Ajax defending the Greek Ships against the Trojans

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

Τῶν υἷας ἀερσιμάχας
ταχύν τ’ Ἀχιλλέα
εὐειδέος τ’ Ἐριβοίας
παῖδ’ ὑπέρθυμον βοάσω
Αἴαντα σακεσφόρον ἥρω,
ὅστ’ ἐπὶ πρύμνᾳ σταθεὶς
ἔσχεν θρασυκάρδιον ὁρ-
μαίνοντα νᾶας
θεσπεσίῳ πυρὶ καῦσαι
Ἕκτορα χαλκοκορυστάν,
ὁππότε Πηλεΐδας
τραχεῖαν ἐν στήθεσσι μᾶνιν

ὠρίνατο, Δαρδανίδας
τ’ ἔλυσεν ἄτας·
οἳ πρὶν μὲν πολύπυργον
Ἰλίου θαητὸν ἄστυ
οὐ λεῖπον, ἀτυζόμενοι δέ
πτᾶσσον ὀξεῖαν μάχαν,
εὖτ’ ἐν πεδίῳ κλονέων
μαίνοιτ’ Ἀχιλλεύς,
λαοφόνον δόρυ σείον·
ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ πολέμοιο
λῆξεν ἰοστεφάνου
Νηρῆϊδος ἀτρόμητος υὶός,

ὥστ’ ἐν κυανανθέϊ θυμὸν ἀνέρων
πόντῳ Βορέας ὑπὸ κύ-
μασιν δαΐζει,
νυκτὸς ἀντάσας ἀνατελλομένας,
λῆξεν δὲ σὺν φαεσιμβρότῳ
Ἀοῖ, στόρεσεν δέ τε πόντον
οὐρία· Νότου δὲ κόλπωσαν πνοᾷ
ἱστίον ἁρπαλέως τ’ ἄ-
ελπτον ἐξίκοντο χέρσον·
(Bacchylides, Epin. 13.100-132)

Of their battle-shouldering sons I shall shout aloud, swift Achilles and the high-spirited child of fair Eriboea, Ajax, shield-bearing hero, who stood on the stern and kept off bold-hearted bronze-helmeted Hector as he strove to burn the ships anger (in his breast) and freed the Dardanids from their bewilderment: previously they would not leave from the marvellous (many-towered) city of Ilium, but in bewilderment cowered in fear of the keen fighting, whenever Achilles went on his furious rampage in the plain, brandishing his murderous spear; but when the fearless son of the violet-crowned Nereid* ceased from the fight,—as on a dark-blossoming sea Boreas rends men’s hearts with the billows, coming face to face with them as night rises up, but ceases on the arrival of Dawn who gives light to mortals, and a gentle breeze levels the sea, and they belly out their sail before the south wind’s breath and eagerly reach the dry land which they had despaired of seeing again;…

* Thetis, mother of Achilles.

(tr. David A. Campbell, with his note)




Huius temporibus in provincia praecipue Liguriae maxima pestilentia exorta est. subito enim apparebant quaedam signacula per domos, ostia, vasa vel vestimenta, quae si quis voluisset abluere, magis magisque apparebant. post annum vero expletum coeperunt nasci in inguinibus hominum vel in aliis delicatioribus locis glandulae in modum nucis seu dactuli, quas mox subsequebatur febrium intolerabilis aestus, ita ut in triduo homo extingueretur. sin vero aliquis triduum transegisset, habebat spem vivendi. erant autem ubique luctus, ubique lacrimae. nam, ut vulgi rumor habebat, fugientes cladem vitare, relinquebantur domus desertae habitatoribus, solis catulis domum servantibus. peculia sola remanebant in pascuis, nullo adstante pastore. cerneres pridem villas seu castra repleta agminibus hominum, postero vero die universis fugientibus cuncta esse in summo silentio. fugiebant filii, cadavera insepulta parentum relinquentes, parentes obliti pietatis viscera natos relinquebant aestuantes. si quem forte antiqua pietas perstringebat, ut vellet sepelire proximum, restabat ipse insepultus; et dum obsequebatur, perimebatur, dum funeri obsequium praebebat, ipsius funus sine obsequio manebat. videres saeculum in antiquum redactum silentium: nulla vox in rure, nullus pastorum sibilus, nullae insidiae bestiarum in pecudibus, nulla damna in domesticis volucribus. sata transgressa metendi tempus intacta expectabant messorem; vinea amissis foliis radiantibus uvis inlaesa manebat hieme propinquante. nocturnis seu diurnis horis personabat tuba bellantium, audiebatur a pluribus quasi murmur exercitus. nulla erant vestigia commeantium, nullus cernebatur percussor, et tamen visus oculorum superabant cadavera mortuorum. pastoralia loca versa fuerant in sepulturam hominum, et habitacula humana facta fuerant confugia bestiarum. et haec quidem mala intra Italiam tantum usque ad fines gentium Alamannorum et Baioariorum solis Romanis acciderunt.
(Paulus Diaconus, De Gestis Langobardorum 2.4)

In the times of this man a very great pestilence broke out, particularly in the province of Liguria*. For suddenly there appeared certain marks among the dwellings, doors, utensils, and clothes, which, if any one wished to wash away, became more and more apparent. After the lapse of a year indeed there began to appear in the groins of men and in other rather delicate places, a swelling of the glands, after the manner of a nut or a date, presently followed by an unbearable fever, so that upon the third day the man died. But if any one should pass over the third day he had a hope of living. Everywhere there was grief and everywhere tears. For as common report had it that those who fled would avoid the plague, the dwellings were left deserted by their inhabitants, and the dogs only kept house. The flocks remained alone in the pastures with no shepherd at hand. You might see villas or fortified places lately filled with crowds of men, and on the next day, all had departed and everything was in utter silence. Sons fled, leaving the corpses of their parents unburied; parents forgetful of their duty abandoned their children in raging fever. If by chance long-standing affection constrained any one to bury his near relative, he remained himself unburied, and while he was performing the funeral rites he perished; while he offered obsequies to the dead, his own corpse remained without obsequies. You might see the world brought back to its ancient silence: no voice in the field; no whistling of shepherds; no lying in wait of wild beasts among the cattle; no harm to domestic fowls. The crops, outliving the time of the harvest, awaited the reaper untouched; the vineyard with its fallen leaves and its shining grapes remained undisturbed while winter came on; a trumpet as of warriors resounded through the hours of the night and day; something like the murmur of an army was heard by many; there were no footsteps of passers by, no murderer was seen, yet the corpses of the dead were more than the eyes could discern; pastoral places had been turned into a sepulchre for men, and human habitations had become places of refuge for wild beasts.

* Probably A.D. 566.

(tr. William Dudley Foulke, with his note)



Quis rude et abscisum miseris animantibus aequor
fecit iter solidaeque pios telluris alumnos
expulit in fluctus pelagoque immisit hianti,
audax ingenii? nec enim temeraria virtus
illa magis, summae gelidum quae Pelion Ossae,
iunxit anhelantemque iugis bis pressit Olympum.
usque adeone parum lentas transire paludes
stagnaque et angustos submittere pontibus amnes?
imus in abruptum gentilesque undique terras
fugimus exigua clausi trabe et aëre nudo.
inde furor ventis indignataeque procellae
et caeli fremitus et fulmina plura Tonanti.
ante rates pigro torpebant aequora somno,
nec spumare Thetis nec spargere nubila fluctus
gaudebant. visis tumuerunt puppibus undae,
inque hominem surrexit hiems. tunc nubila Plias
Oleniumque pecus, solito tunc peior Orion.
(Statius, Silv. 3.2.61-77)

Who made the sea, untried and sundered, into a highway for hapless mankind, driving the loyal foster sons of solid earth into the waves, hurling them into the ocean’s jaws? Bold of spirit was he! Not more venturesome the courage that joined snowy Pelion to Ossa’s peak and crushed panting Olympus under two mountains. Was it not enough to cross sluggish swamps and meres and set straitened rivers under bridges? We go into the abyss, fleeing our native lands in all directions, confined by a small plank and the open air. Hence raging winds and indignant tempests and a roaring sky and more lightning for the Thunderer. Before ships were, the sea lay plunged in torpid slumber. Thetis did not joy to foam nor billows to splash the clouds. Waves swelled at sight of ships and tempest rose against man. ‘Twas then that Pleiad and Olenian Goat were clouded and Orion worse than his wont. (tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey)


Fritz Ebel

Est nemus aërium, trabibus quo frigida quernis
submovet umbra diem; non illic aura, nec aestus,
non gregis aut hominum vernos premit ungula flores;
fontibus aversis circum duo flumina surgunt,
hoc secat Etruscos, petit illud gurgite Romam:
hic, quasi venturi praesagus, tristia mecum
plurima volvebam, flebam quoque; vidit ab alto
Daedalus annosas inter considere fagos;
accessit, citharamque ferens ‘puer, accipe,’ dixit
‘hac casus solare tuos, hac falle laborem.’
(Petrarca, Buc. 4.13-22)

There is a lofty wood where the cool shades drive off daylight from the oak trunks. No breeze nor heat are there, and neither the herd’s hooves nor human feet trample the flowers. Round about two streams emerge from their sources; one flows through Etruscan land, the other rolls its waters towards Rome. Here, as if foreboding what was to come, I would often think unhappy thoughts and weep. But from on high Daedalus saw me sit there amongst the old beech trees; he approached me, lyre in hand, and said: ‘Here, boy, take this. With this instrument soothe your gloom and cheat your woes.’ (tr. David Bauwens)



Morbis quoque enim quasdam leges natura posuit: quadrini circuitus febrem numquam bruma, numquam hibernis mensibus incipere, quosdam post sexagensimum vitae spatium non accedere; aliis pubertate deponi, feminis praecipue; senes minime sentire pestilentiam. namque et universis gentibus ingruunt morbi et generatim modo servitiis, modo procerum ordini aliosque per gradus. qua in re observatum a meridianis partibus ad occasum solis pestilentiam semper ire nec umquam aliter fere, non hieme, nec ut ternos excedat menses.
(Pliny the Elder, Nat. Hist. 7.170)

For nature has imposed certain laws even upon diseases: a four-day-period fever never begins at mid-winter or in the winter months, and some people are not attacked by it when over the age of 60, while with others, particularly women, it is discarded at puberty; and old men are least susceptible to the plague. For diseases attack not only entire nations but also particular classes, sometimes the slaves, sometimes the nobility, and so through other grades. In this respect it has been observed that plague always travels from southern quarters westward and almost never otherwise, and that it does not spread in winter, nor during a period exceeding three months. (tr. Harris Rackham)



corona belgaimage-160923520-full

Nimietatem frigoris aut caloris vel umoris vel siccitatis pestilentias gignere philosophi et illustres medici tradiderunt. unde accolentes loca palustria vel humecta tusses et oculares casus et similia perferunt, contra confines caloribus tepore febrium arescunt. sed quanto ignis materies ceteris est efficacior, tanto ad perimendum celerior siccitas. hinc cum decennali bello Graecia desudaret ne peregrinus poenas dissociati regalis matrimonii lucraretur, huius modi grassante pernicie telis Apollinis periere complures, qui sol aestimatur. atque ut Thucydides exponit, clades illa, quae in Peloponnesiaci belli principiis Athenienses acerbo genere morbi vexavit, ab usque ferventi Aethiopiae plaga paulatim proserpens Atticam occupavit. aliis placet auras, ut solent, aquasque vitiatas faetore cadaverum vel similibus salubritatis violare maximam partem, vel certe aeris permutationem subitam aegritudines parere leviores. affirmant etiam aliqui terrarum halitu densiore crassatum aera emittendis corporis spiraminibus resistentem necare non nullos, qua causa animalia praeter homines cetera iugiter prona Homero auctore et experimentis deinceps multis, cum talis incesserit labes, ante novimus interire. et prima species luis pandemus adpellatur, quae efficit in aridioribus locis agentes caloribus crebris interpellari, secunda epidemus, quae tempore ingruens acies hebetat luminum et concitat periculosos humores, tertia loemodes, quae itidem temporaria est sed volucri velocitate letabilis.
(Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae 19.4.2-7)

Philosophers and eminent physicians have told us that an excess of cold or heat, or of moisture or dryness, produces plagues. Hence those who dwell in marshy or damp places suffer from coughs, from affections of the eyes, and from similar complaints; on the other hand, the inhabitants of hot climates dry up with the heat of fever. But by as much as the substance of fire is fiercer and more effective than the other elements, by so much is drought the swifter to kill. Therefore when Greece was toiling in a ten years’ war in order that a foreigner* might not evade the penalty for separating a royal pair, a scourge of this kind raged and many men perished by the darts of Apollo**, who is regarded as the sun. And, as Thucydides shows***, that calamity which, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, harassed the Athenians with a grievous kind of sickness, gradually crept all the way from the torrid region of Africa and laid hold upon Attica. Others believe that when the air, as often happens, and the waters are polluted by the stench of corpses or the like, the greater part of their healthfulness is spoiled, or at any rate that a sudden change of air causes minor ailments. Some also assert that when the air is made heavy by grosser exhalations from the earth, it checks the secretions that should be expelled from the body, and is fatal to some; and it is for that reason, as we know on the authority of Homer**** as well as from many later experiences, that when such a pestilence has appeared, the other animals besides man, which constantly look downward, are the first to perish. Now the first kind of plague is called endemic, and causes those who live in places that are too dry to be cut off by frequent fevers. The second is epidemic, which breaks out at certain seasons of the year, dimming the sight of the eyes and causing a dangerous flow of moisture. The third is loemodes*****, which is also periodic, but deadly from its winged speed.

* Paris, the cause of the Trojan War.
** See Iliad, i. 9 ff. and 43 ff. Apollo was angry because the request of his priest was denied. Ammianus rationalizes the myth, attributing the pestilence to the heat of the sun, and likening its rays to the arrows of the god.
*** Cf. Thuc. ii. 4, 7.
**** Iliad, i. 50, οὐρῆας μὲν πρῶτον ἐπῴχετο καὶ κύνας ἀργούς.
***** Pestilential.

(tr. John C. Rolfe, with his notes)