Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sillier than Zenobius

Here are three hexameter lines from the otherwise lost hymn to Adonis by Praxilla, lyric poetess of the fifth century from Sicyon:

κάλλιστον μὲν ἐγὼ λείπω φάος ἠελίοιο,
δεύτερον ἄστρα φαεινὰ σεληναίης τε πρόσωπον
ἠδὲ καὶ ὡραίους σικύους καὶ μῆλα καὶ ὄγχνας

[The most beautiful thing I leave behind is the light of the sun, the second the shining stars and the face of the moon, and also the ripe cucumbers and apples and pears.]

We have this fragment through Zenobius, 2nd century AD, who cites it to explain the saying, sillier than Adonis, because A. counts cucumbers and fruits along with the celestial bodies as the most beautiful things in the world:

ἠλιθιώτερος τοῦ Πραξίλλης Ἀδώνιδος· ἐπὶ τῶν ἀνοήτων. Πράξιλλα Σικυωνία μελοποιὸς ἐγένετο, ὥς φησι Πολέμων· αὕτη ἡ Πράξιλλα τὸν Ἄδωνιν ἐν τοῖς ὕμνοις εἰσάγει ἐρωτώμενον ὑπὸ τῶν κάτω τί κάλλιστον καταλιπὼν ἐλήλυθεν, ἐκεῖνον δὲ λέγοντα οὕτως· "κάλλιστον μὲν ἐγὼ λείπω φάος ἠελίοιο, δεύτερον ἄστρα φαεινὰ σεληναίης τε πρόσωπον, ἠδὲ καὶ ὡραίους σικύους καὶ μῆλα καὶ ὄγχνας·" εὐηθὴς γάρ τις ἴσως ὁ τῷ ἡλίῳ καὶ τῇ σελήνῃ τοὺς σικύους καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ συναριθμῶν.

[Sillier than Praxilla's Adonis: on the foolish. Praxilla the Sicyonian was a lyric poet, according to Polemon. This Praxilla introduces Adonis in the hymn, being asked by those below what is the lovliest thing to leave behind, having gone, and he says: "the most beautiful thing I leave behind is the light of the sun, the second the shining stars and the face of the moon, and also the ripe cucumbers and apples and pears." For he is simple who considers cucumbers, and similar things, equal to the sun and the moon.]

I am also one of those simple people who cherish the delicious fruits of this earth. But thanks anyway, Z., for the verses.

1 Comments:

Blogger Μιχάλης Καρδαμάκης said...

Exactly!
Like the "Leafs of Grass"

1:27 PM  

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