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Puerilities: Erotic Epigrams of "The Greek Anthology"

Puerilities: Erotic Epigrams of "The Greek Anthology"

Copyright Date: July 2009
Pages: 128
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  • Book Info
    Puerilities: Erotic Epigrams of "The Greek Anthology"
    Book Description:

    Elegiac lyrics celebrating the love of boys, which the translator terms Puerilities, comprise most of the twelfth book of The Greek Anthology. That book, the so-called Musa Puerilis, is brilliantly translated in this, the first complete verse version in English. It is a delightful eroticopia of short poems by great and lesser-known Greek poets, spanning hundreds of years, from ancient times to the late Christian era.

    The epigrams--wry, wistful, lighthearted, libidinous, and sometimes bawdy--revel in the beauty and fickle affection of boys and young men and in the fleeting joys of older men in loving them. Some, doubtless bandied about in the lax and refined setting of banquets, are translated as limericks. Also included are a few fine and often funny poems about girls and women.

    Fashion changes in morality as well as in poetry. The sort of attachment that inspired these verses was considered perfectly normal and respectable for over a thousand years. Some of the very best Greek poets--including Strato of Sardis, Theocritus, and Meleager of Gadara--are to be found in these pages. The more than two hundred fifty poems range from the lovely to the playful to the ribald, but all are, as an epigram should be, polished and elegant. The Greek originals face the translations, enhancing the volume's charm.

    A friend of Youth, I have no youth in mind, For each has beauties, of a different kind. --Strato I've had enough to drink; my heart and soul As well as tongue are losing self-control. The lamp flame bifurcates; I multiply The dinner guests by two each time I try. Not only shaken up by the wine-waiter, I ogle too the boy who pours the water. --Strato Venus, denying Cupid is her son, Finds in Antiochus a better one. This is the boy to be enamored of, Boys, a new love superior to Love. --Meleager

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2408-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xx)

    The twelfth book of The Greek Anthology compiled at the court of Hadrian in the second century a.d. by a poetaster Straton, who like most anthologists included an immodest number of his own poems, is itself a part of a larger collection of short poems dating from the dawn of Greek lyric poetry (Alcaeus) down to its last florescence, which survived two Byzantine recensions to end up in a single manuscript in the library of the Count Palatine in Heidelberg—hence its alternative title, The Palatine Anthology, usually abbreviated to Anth. Pal. This particular, indeed special, collection contained in Book...

    (pp. 2-122)

    Ἐκ Διòς ἀρχώμεσθα, καθὼς εἴρηκεν Ἄρατος·

    ὑμι̑ν δ᾽, ω̑̓ Μου̑σαι, σήμερον οὐκ ἐνοχλω̑.

    εἰ γὰρ ἐγὼ παι̑δάς τε ϕιλω̑ καὶ παισὶν ὁμιλω̑,

    του̑το τι πρòς Μούσας τὰς Ἑλικωνιάδας;

    Μὴ ζήτει δέλτοισιν ἐμαι̑ς Πρίαμον παρὰ βωμοι̑ς,

    μηδὲ τὰ Μηδείης πένθεα καὶ Νιόβης,

    μηδ’ ’ʹIτυν ἐν θαλάμοις, καὶ ἀηδóνας ἐν πετάλοισιν·

    ταυ̑τα γὰρ οἱ πρóτεροι πάντα χύδην ἔγραϕον·

    ἀλλ᾽ ἱλαραι̑ς Χαρίτεσσι μεμιγμένον ἡδὺν Ἔρωτα,

    καὶ Βρóμιον· τούτοις δ᾽ ὀϕρύες οὐκ ἔπρεπον.

    Τω̑ν παίδων, Διóδωρε, τὰ προσθέματ᾽ εἰς τρία πίπτει

    σχήματα, καὶ τούτων μάνθαν᾽ ἐπωνυμίας.

    τὴν ἔτι μὲν γὰρ ἄθικτον ἀκμὴν λάλου ὀνóμαζε,

    κωκὼ τὴν ϕυσᾳ̑ν ἄρτι καταρχομένην·

    τὴν δ᾽ ἤδη πρòς χει̑ρα...

    (pp. 123-124)
  6. Back Matter
    (pp. 125-127)