Kuniskos

untitled.bmp

Ἦν τίς ποθ’ ἡμῖν ἐν πόλει θηλυδρίας,
Αἰγύπτιον φάντασμα, λυσσῶδες κακόν,
κύων, κυνίσκος, ἀμφόδων ὑπηρέτης,
ἄρις, ἄφωνον πῆμα, κητῶδες τέρας,
ξανθὸς μελάνθριξ, οὖλος ἁπλοῦς τὴν τρίχα—
τὰ μὲν παλαιά, τὰ δ’ ἀρτίως εὑρημένα·
τέχνη γάρ ἐστι δημιουργὸς δευτέρα.
πλεῖστον γυναικῶν ἔργον, εἴτ’ οὖν ἀρρένων,
χρυσοῦν, ἑλίσσειν τὴν φιλόσοφον σισόην.
τὰ τῶν γυναικῶν ἐν προσώποις φάρμακα
σοφοὶ φερόντων· εἰς τί γὰρ μόναι σοφαί
τὴν ἀπρεπῆ τε καὶ κακὴν εὐμορφίαν,
ἣ πρόγραμμ’ ἐστὶ καὶ σιωπῶν τοῦ τρόπου,
ὡς οὐκ ἐχόντων Μαξίμους καὶ ἀρρένων;
ἡ κουρὰ τοῦτ’ ἔδειξε λανθάνον τέως.
τοιαῦτα θαύμαθ’ ἡμὶν ἐκ τῶν νῦν σοφῶν,
διπλοῦν τιν’ εἶναι τὴν φύσιν τὸ σχῆμά τε
ἀμφοῖν μερίζειν τοῖν γενοῖν τρισαθλίως,
κόμην γυναιξίν, ἀνδράσιν βακτηρίαν.
ἐξ ὧν ἐκόμπαζ’ ὥς τι τῇ πόλει δοκῶν,
ὤμους σκιάζων βοστρύχοις ἀεὶ φίλοις,
πέμπων λογισμοὺς σφενδονωμέναις κόμαις,
πᾶσαν φέρων παίδευσιν ἐν τῷ σώματι.
(Gregory of Nazianzus, Poëm. 2.1.1.750-772)

There was amongst us in the city at that time an effeminate creature,
a phantom from Egypt, a pestilential fanatic,
a dog*, a puppy, a street-walker,
a disaster with no sense of smell, no bark, a great hulking monster,
a raven-haired blond, his hair both straight and curled,
(the one his original state, the other recently acquired,
for art is a second creator).
To dye the philosopher’s curls gold and curl them
is usually women’s work, but now it became men’s.
Let these wise men wear women’s cosmetics
on their faces, for why should wise women alone
possess this unseemly and foul beauty
(which offers a silent indication of their character),
as if men did not have their Maximuses too?
This was revealed by his curls, hitherto concealed.
Such are the wonders we owe to our present-day sages—
that a person is ambiguous as to nature and shape,
having thrice-wretchedly a share of both sexes,
in hairstyle like women but like men in carrying a staff**.
He liked to show these things off, as if he were of some importance in the city,
with his darling curls falling over his shoulders,
shooting forth his clever ideas with swinging locks
and wearing all his learning on his body.

* This term of abuse is also a reference to Maximus’ Cynic beliefs, for the term Cynic was derived from this adjective meaning ‘dog-like’. In the following passage Gregory plays constantly with this double meaning.
** This was one of the marks of a Cynic.

(tr. Caroline Whitte)

Arkusi

Χριστὲ ἄναξ, τί με σαρκὸς ἐν ἄρκυσι ταῖσδε ἐνέδησας;
τίπτε με τῷδε βίῳ θῆκας ὑπ’ ἀντιπάλῳ;
πατρὸς μὲν γενόμην θεοειδέος, οὐκ ὀλίγης δὲ
μητέρος· ἐς δὲ φάος ἤλυθον εὐξαμένης.
ηὔξατο, καὶ μ’ ἀνέθηκε θεῷ βρέφος· ἀφθορίης δὲ
θερμὸν ἔρωτα χέεν ὄψις ἐμοὶ νυχίη.
Χριστὸς μὲν δὴ τοῖα· τὰ δ’ ὕστατα κύμασι βράσθην,
ἁρπαλέαις παλάμαις ἤρκεσα, σῶμα λύθην,
ποιμέσιν οὐ φιλίοισι συνέδραμον, ηὗρον ἄπιστα,
χηρώθην τεκέων, πήμασι χασσάμενος.
οὗτος Γρηγορίοιο βίος· τὰ δ’ ἔπειτα μελήσει
Χριστῷ ζωοδότῃ. γράψατε ταῦτα λίθοις.
(Gregory of Nazianzus, Carm. 2.1.92)

Lord Christ, why have you bound me in these toils of the flesh?
Why have you subjected me to this painful life?
Of a godlike father I was born and of a mother who was not
insignificant. As a result of her prayers I came into the light.
She prayed and dedicated me as a child of God.
A nocturnal vision instilled in me a burning desire for purity.
Christ was responsible for all this, but later I was dashed by the waves,
snatched by greedy hands, my body crushed.
I fell among uncaring shepherds and experienced treachery.
I was deprived of my children and overwhelmed by misfortune.
Such has been the life of Gregory: what remains will be the concern
of Christ the giver of life. Inscribe these words on my tombstone.
(tr. Carolinne White)