Paidikon

Gaykisst

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

Καὶ ὁ Μενέλαος, “ἀλλὰ σύ μοι δοκεῖς,” ἔφη, “μὴ πρωτόπειρος ἀλλὰ γέρων εἰς Ἀφροδίτην τυγχάνειν, τοσαύτας ἡμῖν καταχέας γυναικῶν περιεργίας. ἐν μέρει δὲ καὶ τὰ τῶν παίδων ἀντάκουσον. γυναικὶ μὲν γὰρ πάντα ἐπίπλαστα, καὶ τὰ ῥήματα καὶ τὰ σχήματα· κἂν εἶναι δόξῃ καλή, τῶν ἀλειμμάτων ἡ πολυπράγμων μηχανή. καὶ ἔστιν αὐτῆς τὸ κάλλος ἢ μύρων, ἢ τριχῶν βαφῆς, ἢ καὶ φιλημάτων· ἂν δὲ τῶν πολλῶν τούτων γυμνώσῃς δόλων, ἔοικε κολοιῷ γεγυμνωμένῳ τῶν τοῦ μύθου πτερῶν. τὸ δὲ κάλλος τὸ παιδικὸν οὐκ ἀρδεύεται μύρων ὀσφραῖς οὐδὲ δολεραῖς καὶ ἀλλοτρίαις ὀσμαῖς, πάσης δὲ γυναικῶν μυραλοιφίας ἥδιον ὄδωδεν ὁ τῶν παίδων ἱδρώς. ἔξεστι δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ πρὸ τῆς ἐν Ἀφροδίτῃ συμπλοκῆς καὶ ἐν παλαίστρᾳ συμπεσεῖν καὶ φανερῶς περιχυθῆναι, καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν αἰσχύνην αἱ περιπλοκαί· καὶ οὐ μαλθάσσει τὰς ἐν Ἀφροδίτῃ περιπλοκὰς ὑγρότητι σαρκῶν, ἀλλ’ ἀντιτυπεῖ πρὸς ἄλληλα τὰ σώματα καὶ περὶ τῆς ἡδονῆς ἀθλεῖ. τὰ δὲ φιλήματα σοφίαν μὲν οὐκ ἔχει γυναικείαν, οὐδὲ μαγγανεύει τοῖς χείλεσι σινάμωρον ἀπάτην, ὡς δὲ οἶδε φιλεῖ, καὶ οὐκ ἔστι τέχνης ἀλλὰ τῆς φύσεως τὰ φιλήματα. αὕτη δὲ παιδὸς φιλήματος εἰκών· εἰ νέκταρ ἐπήγνυτο καὶ χεῖλος ἐγίνετο, τοιαῦτα ἂν ἔσχες τὰ φιλήματα. φιλῶν δὲ οὐκ ἂν ἔχοις κόρον, ἀλλ’ ὅσον ἐμφορῇ, διψῇς ἔτι φιλεῖν, καὶ οὐκ ἂν ἀποσπάσειας τὸ στόμα, μέχρις ἂν ὑφ’ ἡδονῆς ἐκφύγῃς τὰ φιλήματα.”
(Achilles Tatius, Leukippē & Kleitophōn 2.38)

Menelaus replied: ‘Well, as far as I can tell, you are no inexperienced youngster but an old hand in Aphrodite’s game! What an array of minutiae about women you have showered upon us! But now it is your turn to listen, to the boys’ case. With women, all is artificial, be it pillow-speak or technique. Even if she looks beautiful, there is some multi-talented dexterity with make-up behind it. Her beauty consists in perfumes, hair-dye, or even in kissing: strip her of most of these tricks and she looks like the jackdaw stripped of his wings in the fable*. Boys’ beauty, though, is not tended by watering it with the fragrances of perfumes, nor by any deceitful and alien odours: the sweat of boys smells sweeter than any female perfume. Even before Aphrodite’s bouts begini, he can go to the wrestling-gym to join with another and interlace bodies openly: such embraces carry no shame. What is more, a boy’s sexual clinches are not softened by doughy flesh. Bodies rub firmly against one another in these athletics of pleasure. Yes, a boy’s kisses lack the ingenuity of a woman’s. He does not trump up some lascivious deceit with his lips but kisses in the way he knows: his kisses spring not from art but from nature. Here is an image of a boy’s kiss: if nectar were to solidify and take the form of a lip, you would receive such kisses as this. Your kissing would never be satisfied: no matter how much you swallowed you would still thirst for kisses, and you would not withdraw your mouth untill the very pleasure drove you to flee from those kisses.’

* The reference is to one of Aesop’s fables (fable 103 Hausrath). The jackdaw stuck on some feathers in order to try to pass himself off as a peacock; the peacocks, however, pecked at his plumage so much that they ruined his own feathers, and he was excluded by the jackdaws too.

(tr. Tim Whitmarsh, with his note)

Philēmata

happy-kiss-day-2012-fresh-status-quotes-and-wallpapers8

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

“Εἰ δὲ δεῖ μεθέντα τὰς μυθολογίας αὐτὴν εἰπεῖν τὴν ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις ἡδονήν, ἐγὼ μὲν πρωτόπειρος ὢν εἰς γυναῖκας, ὅσον ὁμιλῆσαι ταῖς εἰς Ἀφροδίτην πωλουμέναις· ἄλλος γὰρ ἂν ἴσως εἰπεῖν τι καὶ πλέον ἔχοι μεμυημένος· εἰρήσεται δέ μοι, κἂν μετρίως ἔχω πείρας. γυναικὶ μὲν οὖν ὑγρὸν μὲν τὸ σῶμα ἐν ταῖς συμπλοκαῖς, μαλθακὰ δὲ τὰ χείλη πρὸς τὰ φιλήματα. καὶ διὰ τοῦτο μὲν ἔχει τὸ σῶμα ἐν τοῖς ἀγκαλίσμασιν, ἐν δὲ ταῖς σαρξὶν ὅλως ἐνηρμοσμένον, καὶ ὁ συγγινόμενος περιβάλλεται ἡδονῇ. ἐγγίζει δὲ τοῖς χείλεσιν ὥσπερ σφραγῖδας τὰ φιλήματα, φιλεῖ δὲ τέχνῃ καὶ σκευάζει τὸ φίλημα γλυκύτερον. οὐ γὰρ μόνον ἐθέλει φιλεῖν τοῖς χείλεσιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς ὀδοῦσι συμβάλλεται καὶ περὶ τὸ τοῦ φιλοῦντος στόμα βόσκεται καὶ δάκνει τὰ φιλήματα. ἔχει δέ τινα καὶ μαστὸς ἐπαφώμενος ἰδίαν ἡδονήν. ἐν δὲ τῇ τῆς Ἀφροδίτης ἀκμῇ οἰστρεῖ μὲν ὑφ’ ἡδονῆς, περικέχηνε δὲ φιλοῦσα καὶ μαίνεται. αἱ δὲ γλῶτται τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον φοιτῶσιν ἀλλήλαις εἰς ὁμιλίαν καὶ ὡς δύνανται βιάζονται κἀκεῖναι φιλεῖν· σὺ δὲ μείζονα ποιεῖς τὴν ἡδονὴν ἀνοίγων τὰ φιλήματα. πρὸς δὲ τὸ τέρμα αὐτὸ τῆς Ἀφροδίτης ἡ γυνὴ γενομένη πέφυκεν ἀσθμαίνειν ὑπὸ καυματώδους ἡδονῆς, τὸ δὲ ἄσθμα σὺν πνεύματι ἐρωτικῷ μέχρι τῶν τοῦ στόματος χειλέων ἀναθορὸν συντυγχάνει πλανωμένῳ τῷ φιλήματι καὶ ζητοῦντι καταβῆναι κάτω, ἀναστρέφον τε σὺν τῷ ἄσθματι τὸ φίλημα καὶ μιχθὲν ἕπεται καὶ βάλλει τὴν καρδίαν· ἡ δὲ ταραχθεῖσα τῷ φιλήματι πάλλεται. εἰ δὲ μὴ τοῖς σπλάγχνοις ἦν δεδεμένη, ἠκολούθησεν ἂν καὶ ἀνείλκυσεν αὑτὴν ἄνω τοῖς φιλήμασι. παίδων δὲ φιλήματα μὲν ἀπαίδευτα, περιπλοκαὶ δὲ ἀμαθεῖς, Ἀφροδίτη δὲ ἀργή, ἡδονῆς δὲ οὐδέν.”
(Achilles Tatius, Leukippē & Kleitophōn 2.37.5-10)

‘Now, if we must leave the realm of mythology and speak of the very pleasure of the act—well, my own experience with women is limited*, extending only to intimacy with those who put Aphrodite up for sale. Perhaps someone else who has been initiated might be able to comment in somewhat greater detail; but I shall speak nevertheless, moderate though my experience be. A woman’s body is doughy when you embrace it, her lips soft when you kiss them. This is why she can hold her companion’s body perfectly enfolded in her embraces, in her very flesh, and he is enveloped by pleasure. She places kisses onto your lips like the imprint of a seal. She kisses with art, and her techniques sweeten the kiss: for she is not content to kiss with her lips alone, but attacks with her teeth as well, nibbling around her lover’s mouth and kissing with bites. A hand on the breast, too, has its own particular pleasure. When Aphrodite’s peak is reached, the pleasure stings her into a frenzy: she goes crazy, her mouth gaping wide as she kisses. All this time tongues have been weaving in and out of one another,and they too are pressed into the job of kissing, in so far as they can: your job, meanwhile, is to increase the pleasure by opening your mouth. And as she comes in sight of Aphrodite’s own finishing-post the woman naturally pants with blazing pleasure: when her gasp is driven up by erotic exhalation as far as the lips of the mouth, it meets with the roaming kiss as it seeks to penetrate down below; the kiss is whirled around and blended with the gasp, then it follows it back down and strikes a blow to the heart, which is convulsed by the kiss and begins to palpitate. Were the heart not bound to the innards, it would pursue the kisses and tear itself upwards. Boy’s kisses, though, are immature and uneducated; their embraces are unlearned, Aphrodite works lazily with them, there is no pleasure to be had.’

* An ironic variation on the standard rhetorical captatio benevolentiae ‘unaccostumed as I am to public speaking…’

(tr. Tim Whitmarsh, with his note)

Ouranion

Damiano Mazza, Il ratto di Ganimede, 1611-12
Damiano Mazza, Il ratto di Ganimede (1612)

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

Ὑπολαβὼν οὖν ἐγώ, “καὶ μὴν οὐράνιον,” ἔφην, “ἔοικεν εἶναι τὸ τῶν γυναικῶν κάλλος, ὅσον μὴ ταχὺ φθείρεται· ἐγγὺς γὰρ τοῦ θείου τὸ ἄφθαρτον. τὸ δὲ κινούμενον ἐν φθορᾷ θνητὴν φύσιν μιμούμενον, οὐκ οὐράνιόν ἐστιν ἀλλὰ πάνδημον. ἠράσθη μειρακίου Φρυγός, ἀνήγαγεν εἰς οὐρανοὺς τὸν Φρύγα· τὸ δὲ κάλλος τῶν γυναικῶν αὐτὸν τὸν Δία κατήγαγεν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ. διὰ γυναῖκά ποτε Ζεὺς ἐμυκήσατο, διὰ γυναῖκά ποτε Σάτυρον ὠρχήσατο, καὶ χρυσὸν πεποίηκεν ἑαυτὸν ἄλλῃ γυναικί. οἰνοχοείτω μὲν Γανυμήδης, μετὰ δὲ τῶν θεῶν Ἥρα πινέτω, ἵνα ἔχῃ μειράκιον διάκονον γυνή. ἐλεῶ δὲ αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν ἁρπαγήν· ὄρνις ἐπ’ αὐτὸν κατέβη ὠμηστής, ὁ δὲ ἀνάρπαστος γενόμενος ὑβρίζεται καὶ ἔοικεν τυραννουμένῳ. καὶ τὸ θέαμά ἐστιν αἴσχιστον, μειράκιον ἐξ ὀνύχων κρεμάμενον. Σεμέλην δὲ εἰς οὐρανοὺς ἀνήγαγεν οὐκ ὄρνις ὠμηστής, ἀλλὰ πῦρ. καὶ μὴ θαυμάσῃς, εἰ διὰ πυρός τις ἀναβαίνει εἰς οὐρανόν· οὕτως ἀνέβη Ἡρακλῆς. εἰ δὲ Δανάης τὴν λάρνακα γελᾷς, πῶς τὸν Περσέα σιωπᾷς; Ἀλκμήνῃ δὲ τοῦτο μόνον δῶρον ἀρκεῖ, ὅτι δι’ αὐτὴν ἔκλεψεν ὁ Ζεὺς τρεῖς ὅλους ἡλίους.”
(Achilles Tatius, Leukippē & Kleitophōn 2.37.1-4)

‘But surely,’ I interjected, ‘women’s beauty would seem to be heavenly precisely in that it does not dissolve quickly: indestructibility and divinity, after all, are closely linked. Anything that moves in the realm of the perishable, in imitation of mortal nature, is not heavenly but vulgar. Yes, Zeus desired a Phrygian boy and took this Phrygian up to heaven; but the beauty of women brought Zeus himself down from heaven. It was for a woman’s sake that Zeus once lowed*, for a woman that he once performed a satyr’s dance**; for another woman, he even converted himself into gold***! I grant you, Ganymede may play wine-waiter to the gods; but you should remember that Hera also drinks with the gods, so Zeus’ wife has the boy as her servant. As for the manner of his rape, I pity that too: a flesh-eating bird swooped down upon him,and he was kidnapped and violated like a tyrant’s victim. A most disgraceful spectacle this, a lad hanging from the bird’s claws. Now as for Semele, it was no flesh-eating bird that snatched her up to heaven, but fire. You should not be too quick to disbelieve that someone could ascend to heaven through fire: that is how Heracles ascended****. And if you mock Danaë’s imprisonment in a chest, why so silent about Perseus*****? And as for Alcmene, well, Zeus’ gift to her (for her sake he robbed the world of three days******) was in itself enough to make her happy.

* I.e. turned into a bull, alluding to Zeus’ metamorphosis into a bull in the story of his rape of Europa.
** Zeus approached the Theban Antiope in the guise of a satyr (a comical rustic divinity, half-human and half-goat, usually depicted drunk and sexually aroused).
*** Zeus impregnated Danaë by covering her with a shower of gold.
**** According to one version of the myth (best-known through Sophocles’ Women of Trachis), Heracles was cremated on Mt. Oeta.
***** Perseus was also locked in the chest, so (Clitophon concludes) Zeus’ actions were not aimed specifically at the female.
****** Zeus was enjoying himself so much he prevented the sun from rising for three days, according to one version (Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 4.9.2; Apollodorus, Library 2.4.8).

(tr. Tim Whitmarsh, with his notes)

 

Nuktōr

dreaming

Φιλεῖ δὲ τὸ δαιμόνιον τὸ μέλλον ἀνθρώποις νύκτωρ πολλάκις λαλεῖν· οὐχ ἵνα φυλάξωνται μὴ παθεῖν (οὐ γὰρ εἱμαρμένης δύνανται κρατεῖν) ἀλλ’ ἵνα κουφότερον πάσχοντες φέρωσι. τὸ μὲν γὰρ᾿ ἐξαίφνης ἀθρόον καὶ ἀπροσδόκητον ἐκπλήσσει τὴν ψυχὴν ἄφνω προσπεσὸν καὶ κατεβάπτισε, τὸ δὲ πρὸ τοῦ παθεῖν προσδοκώμενον προκατηνάλωσε κατὰ μικρὸν μελετώμενον τοῦ πάθους τὴν ἀκμήν.
(Achilles Tatius, Leukippē & Kleitophōn 1.3.2-3)

The divine power often wishes to whisper about the future to human beings in the night, not in order to protect them from a tragic event (because fate cannot be controlled), but to help them accept such an event when it occurs. For when disasters come all at once, unexpectedly, they produce a sudden shock and overwhelm us totally, but if people are prepared for them and can think about them beforehand, it dulls a little the sharp edge of pain. (tr. Georg Luck)