Sanida

heraclius

Χρόνου δὲ διελθόντος νόσῳ ὑδερικῇ περιπίπτει, καὶ ὁρῶν τὸ πάθος δυσίατον – ἐπὶ τοσοῦτο γὰρ ἐπετείνετο ὡς καὶ ἡνίκα ἀπουρεῖν ἤμελλε σανίδα κατὰ τοῦ ἤτρου ἐπετίθει· ἐστρέφετο γὰρ αὐτοῦ τὸ αἰδοῖον καὶ κατὰ τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ τὰ οὖρα ἔπεμπεν. ἔλεγχος δὲ ἦν τοῦτο τῆς παρανομίας τῆς ἑαυτοῦ, ὑπὲρ ἧς ταύτην δίκην ὑστάτην ἐξέτισε τοῦ εἰς τὴν ἀνεψίαν τὴν οἰκείαν γάμου. διαθήκας οὖν ἐξετίθει, ὥστε Κωνσταντῖνον καὶ Ἡράκλειον τοὺς υἱοὺς αὐτοῦ βασιλεῖς ἰσοτίμους εἶναι, καὶ Μαρτῖναν τὴν αὐτοῦ γυναῖκα τιμᾶστθαι παρ’ αὐτῶν ὡς μητέρα καὶ βασίλισσαν. ἐκ τούτου λοιπὸν ἐτελεύτα ζήσας ἔτη ἓξ καὶ ἑξήκοντα, ἐν δὲ τῇ βασιλείᾳ διανύσας ἔτη τριάκοντα μῆνας τέσσαρας ἡμέρας ἕξ.
(St Nicephorus, Breviarium 27)

Sometime later he* fell ill with the dropsy and realized that his disease was difficult to cure, for it grew to such an extent that when he was about to urinate, he would place a board against his abdomen: <otherwise> his private parts turned round and discharged the urine in his face. This was in reproof of his transgression (namely, his marriage to his own niece) on account of which he suffered this ultimate punishment. He set forth a testament whereby his sons Constantine and Herakleios were to be emperors of equal rank and his wife Martina was to be honored by them as mother and empress. So he died of this <disease> at the age of sixty-six after a reign of thirty years, four months and six days. (tr. Cyril A. Mango)

* Byzantine emperor Heraclius.

Deradit

head-lettering-tattoo

Est et alia in monumentis rerum Graecarum profunda quaedam et inopinabilis latebra barbarico astu excogitata. Histiaeus nomine fuit, loco natus in terra Asia non ignobili. Asiam tunc tenebat imperio rex Darius. is Histiaeus, cum in Persis apud Darium esset, Aristagorae cuipiam res quasdam occultas nuntiare furtivo scripto volebat. comminiscitur opertum hoc litterarum admirandum. servo suo diu oculos aegros habenti capillum ex capite omni tamquam medendi gratia deradit caputque eius leve in litterarum formas compungit. his litteris quae voluerat perscripsit, hominem postea quoad capillus adolesceret domo continuit. ubi id factum est, ire ad Aristagoran iubet et “cum ad eum,” inquit, “veneris, mandasse me dicito ut caput tuum, sicut nuper egomet feci, deradat.” servus, ut imperatum erat, ad Aristagoran venit mandatumque domini adfert. atque ille id non esse frustra ratus, quod erat mandatum, fecit. ita litterae perlatae sunt.
(Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 17.18-27)

There is also in the records of Grecian history another profound and difficult method of concealment, devised by a barbarian’s cunning. He was called Histiaeus and was born in the land of Asia in no mean station. At that time king Darius held sway in Asia. This Histiaeus, being in Persia with Darius, wished to send a confidential message to a certain Aristagoras in a secret manner. He devised this remarkable method of concealing a letter. He shaved all the hair from the head of a slave of his who had long suffered from weak eyes, as if for the purpose of treatment. Then he tattooed the forms of the letters on his smooth head. When in this way he had written what he wisehd, he kept the man at home for a time, until his hair grew out. When this happened, he ordered him to go to Aristagoras, adding: “When you come to him, say that I told him to shave your head, as I did a little while ago.” The slave, as he was bidden, came to Aristagoras and delivered his master’s order. Aristagoras, thinking that the command must have some reason, did as he was directed. And thus the letter reached its destination. (tr. John C. Rolfe)

Beatulus

johnston311

“‘Inspice, nescio quid trepidat mihi pectus et aegris
faucibus exsuperat gravis halitus, inspice sodes’
qui dicit medico, iussus requiescere, postquam
tertia compositas vidit nox currere venas,
de maiore domo modice sitiente lagoena
lenia loturo sibi Surrentina rogabit.
‘heus bone, tu palles.’ ‘nihil est.’ ‘videas tamen istuc,
quidquid id est. surgit tacite tibi lutea pellis.’
‘at tu deterius palles, ne sis mihi tutor.
iam pridem hunc sepeli; tu restas.’ ‘perge, tacebo.’
turgidus hic epulis atque albo ventre lavatur,
gutture sulpureas lente exhalante mefites.
sed tremor inter vina subit calidumque trientem
excutit e manibus, dentes crepuere retecti,
uncta cadunt laxis tunc pulmentaria labris.
hinc tuba, candelae, tandemque beatulus alto
compositus lecto crassisque lutatus amomis
in portam rigidas calces extendit. at illum
hesterni capite induto subiere Quirites.”
(Persius, Sat. 3.88-106)

“‘Examine me. I’ve got strange palpitations in my chest, a sore throat, and my breathing comes hard. Please examine me.’ That’s what he says to his doctor. He’s ordered to take it easy, but when the third night sees his veins running steady, he’ll be round at a rich friend’s house with a pretty thirsty flagon, asking for mild Sorrentine1 to drink at the baths. ‘Hey, you’re looking pale, my friend.’ ‘It’s nothing.’ ‘Well, you should see to it, whatever it is. Your hide’s going puffy and yellow on you.’ ‘Well, ‘I’m not as pale as you. Don’t play the guardian. I buried mine a long time ago, but you’re still here.’ ‘OK, carry on, I’ll shut up.’ Stuffed from his feast this one goes to bathe, his belly white, his throat emitting long sulphurous stenches. But as he drinks, a fit of shivers comes over him and knocks the hot glass out of his hands, his bared teeth chatter, then the lavish flavourings slide from his slack lips. Then come the trumpet and candles, and finally the dear deceased, laid out on a high bier and plastered thick with perfumed balm, sticks out his stiff heels towards the door. And it’s yesterday’s new citizens2 wearing their new hats that carry him out.”

1 A light wine from Sorrento, recommended for invalids.
2 I.e. the slaves given their freedom and citizenship in the dead man’s will. They wear the cap of liberty (pilleum), cf. 5.82

(tr. Susanna Morton Braund, with her notes)

Officiosi

Quintus_Haterius

The Elder Seneca on the orator Quintus Haterius:

Ille in hoc scholasticis morem gerebat, ne verbis calcatis et obsoletis uteretur; sed quaedam antiqua et a Cicerone dicta, a ceteris deinde deserta dicebat, quae ne ille quidem orationis citatissimae cursus poterat abscondere: adeo quidquid insolitum est etiam in turba notabile est. hoc exempto nemo erat scholasticis nec aptior nec similior, sed, dum nihil vult nisi culte, nisi splendide dicere, saepe incidebat in ea quae derisum effugere non possent. memini illum, cum libertinum reum defenderet, cui obiciebatur quod patroni concubinus fuisset, dixisse: “Impudicitia in ingenuo crimen est, in servo necessitas, in liberto officium.” res in iocos abiit: “non facis mihi officium” et “multum ille huic in officiis versatur.” ex eo impudici et obsceni aliquamdiu officiosi vocitati sunt.
(Seneca the Elder, Controversiae 4 Pr. 9-10)

With this exception, no-one was better adapted to the schoolmen or more like them; but in his anxiety to say nothing that was not elegant and brilliant, he often fell into expressions that could not escape derision. I recall that he said, while defending a freedman who was charged with being his patron’s lover: “Losing one’s virtue is a crime in the freeborn, a necessity in a slave, a duty for the freedman.” The idea became a handle for jokes, like “you aren’t doing your duty by me” and “he gets in a lot of duty for him.” As a result the unchaste and obscene got called “dutiful” for some while afterwards. (tr. Michael Winterbottom)

Elustheis

fondazione-torlonia-onlus
Fondazione Torlonia

Τρεῖς δὲ ἕκαστον φῶτ’ ὄιες φέρον· αὐτὰρ ἐγώ γε –
ἀρνειὸς γὰρ ἔην μήλων ὄχ’ ἄριστος ἁπάντων,
τοῦ κατὰ νῶτα λαβών, λασίην ὑπὸ γαστέρ’ ἐλυσθεὶς
κείμην· αὐτὰρ χερσὶν ἀώτου θεσπεσίοιο
νωλεμέως στρεφθεὶς ἐχόμην τετληότι θυμῷ.
ὣς τότε μὲν στενάχοντες ἐμείναμεν Ἠῶ δῖαν.
(Homer, Od. 9.431-5)

So there was a man to every three sheep. As for me I took the pick of the flock, and curled below his shaggy belly, gripped his back and lay there face upwards, patiently gripping his fine fleece tight in my hands. Then, sighing, we waited for the light. (tr. A.S. Kline)

Onomata

roma-amor

Τῇ πρὸ δεκαμιᾶς Καλενδῶν Μαΐων ὁ Ῥωμύλος τὴν Ῥώμην ἐπόλισε, πάντας τοὺς πλησιοχώρους συγκαλεσάμενος ἐντειλάμενός τε αὐτοῖς ἐκ τῆς ἑαυτῶν χώρας βῶλον ἐπικομίσασθαι, ταύτῃ πάσης χώρας δεσπόσαι τὴν Ῥώμην οἰωνιζόμενος· αὐτός τε ἱερατικὴν σάλπιγγα ἀναλαβών (λίτουον δ’ αὐτὴν πατρίως Ῥωμαίοις ἔθος καλεῖν ἀπὸ τῆς λιτῆς) ἐξεφώνησε τὸ τῆς πόλεως ὄνομα, πάσης ἱερατικῆς τελετῆς ἡγησάμενος. Ὀνόματα δὲ τῇ πόλει τρία, τελεστικὸν ἱερατικὸν πολιτικόν· τελεστικὸν μὲν <Amor> οἱονεὶ Ἔρως, ὥστε πάντας ἔρωτι θείῳ περὶ τὴν πόλιν κατέχεσθαι, διὸ καὶ Ἀμαρυλλίδα τὴν πόλιν ὁ ποιητὴς αἰνιγματωδῶς βουκολιάζων καλεῖ· ἱερατικὸν δὲ Φλῶρα οἱονεὶ ἄνθουσα, ὅθεν κατὰ ταύτην ἡ τῶν Ἀνθεστηρίων ἑορτή· πολιτικὸν δὲ Ῥῶμα. καὶ τὸ μὲν ἱερατικὸν πᾶσιν ἦν δῆλον καὶ  δεῶς ἐξεφέρετο, τὸ δὲ τελεστικὸν μόνοις τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν ἐξάγειν ἐπὶ τῶν ἱερῶν ἐπετέτραπτο· καὶ λόγος, ποινὰς ὑποσχεῖν τινα τῶν ἐν τέλει ποτέ, ἀνθ’ ὧν ἐπὶ τοῦ πλήθους τὸ τελεστικὸν ὄνομα τῆς πόλεως ἀναφανδὸν ἐθάρρησεν ἐξειπεῖν. μετὰ δὲ τὴν ἐπὶ τῇ ἀναγορεύσει τῆς πόλεως τελετὴν ζεύξας ταῦρον μετὰ δαμάλεως περιῆλθε τὸ τεῖχος, τὸν μὲν ἄρρενα ἐπὶ τὴν τοῦ πεδίου πλευρὰν ζεύξας, τὴν δὲ θήλειαν ἐπὶ τὸ τῆς πόλεως μέρος, ὥστε τοὺς μὲν ἄρρενας τοῖς ἔξω γίνεσθαι φοβερούς, τὰς δὲ θηλείας τοῖς ἔνδον γονίμους· καὶ λαβὼν βῶλον ἐκ τῶν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως μερῶν σὺν καὶ ταῖς πρὸς τῶν ἄλλων ἐπικομιζομέναις ἐπὶ τὴν πόλιν ἠκόντιζε, ταύτῃ οἰωνισάμενος, διὰ παντὸς αὐτὴν ἐκ τῆς τῶν ἔξωθεν ἐπαυξηθῆναι συνδόσεως.
(Joannes Lydus, De Mensibus 4.73)

On the 11th day before the Kalends of May, Romulus founded Rome, calling together all the neighboring people and bidding them to bring a lump of earth from their own territory, thus presaging that Rome would be master over every region. He himself, taking up the sacred trumpet — in their language the Romans customarily called it a lituus, from litê [“prayer”] — proclaimed the name of the city, taking the lead in the whole sacred initiation. And the city had three names: an initiatory [name], a sacred [name], and a political [name]. The initiatory [name] was Amor, that is, Love [Erôs], so that all were held fast around the city by divine love — and for this reason, the poet enigmatically calls the city Amaryllis in his bucolic poetry. The sacred [name was] Flora, that is, “Flowering” [Anthousa] — hence the festival of Anthesteria [was named] in accordance with it. The political [name was] Rome. Now, the sacred name was manifest to all, and was pronounced without fear, but the initiatory [name] was entrusted to the high priests alone to pronounce at the sacred rites. And it is said that one of the magistrates once paid the penalty because he had dared to pronounce the initiatory name of the city openly, before the people. And after the initiation at the public proclamation of the city, he [i.e., Romulus] yoked a bull with a heifer and made the circuit of the walls, putting the male on the side of the plain, the female in the direction of the city, so that the males became terrifying to those outside, the females fertile for those inside. And taking a clod of earth from the region outside the city together with those that had been brought by the others, he hurled them at the city, thus presaging that it would forever increase by the contributions of those outside it. (tr. Mischa Hooker)