Tag Archives: ancient Greek

Lichen or the Dementors

In Harry Potter, the Dementors suck the joy out of their victims. As J.K.Rowling had studied classics, I imagine that the source of Dementors were the furies or Eumenides. In this passage from Aeschylus, the Eumenides say what will happen … Continue reading

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The man who farted

Mary Beard is a well known classicist who did an excellent TV series on Rome. Recently she has made an ancient joke book more well known – that of Philogelos who compiled this book in the third or fourth century AD. The … Continue reading

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Through the ambrosial night

Ambrosia, as we all know, is the food of the gods and its derivation is obvious at first glance. It comes from the Greek α-βροτος = not mortal or immortal. However it would seem that this derivation and meaning is … Continue reading

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Slaves and torture in Athens

My edition of Plato’s republic dates from 1904 and is edited by James Adam. I was a bit surprised to see his comment on this passage. καλῶς, ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ, λέγεις. τί δέ; εἴ τις θεῶν ἄνδρα ἕνα, ὅτῳ ἔστιν ἀνδράποδα πεντήκοντα ἢ καὶ πλείω, ἄρας ἐκ τῆς πόλεως αὐτόν τε καὶ γυναῖκα καὶ παῖδας θείη εἰς ἐρημίαν μετὰ τῆς ἄλλης οὐσίας τε καὶ τῶν οἰκετῶν, ὅπου αὐτῷ μηδεὶς τῶν ἐλευθέρων μέλλοι βοηθήσειν, ἐν ποίῳ ἄν τινι καὶ ὁπόσῳ φόβῳ οἴει γενέσθαι αὐτὸν περί τε αὑτοῦ καὶ παίδων καὶ γυναικός, μὴ ἀπόλοιντο ὑπὸ τῶν οἰκετῶν; That’s well said, I said but what about this? Supposing there was man … Continue reading

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A mortal blow

Alas I have been struck a mortal blow within. ὤμοι, πέπληγμαι καιρίαν πληγὴν ἔσω. These are the words that Agmemnon utters in Aeschylus’ play as he is murdered in his bath. The murder took place off stage so the audience … Continue reading

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Temples and gods

Heraclitus had a few words to say about his fellow Ephesians’ attitudes to the gods. καὶ τοῖς ἀγάλμασι δὲ τουτέοισιν εὔχονται, ὁκοῖον εἴ τις τοῖς δόμοισι λεσχηνεύοιτο, οὔ τι γινώσκων θεοὺς οὐδ’ ἥρωας οἵτινές εἰσι And they pray to these … Continue reading

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The moon has set

Δέδυκε μὲν ἀ σελάννα καὶ Πληΐαδες, μέσαι δέ νύκτες, πάρα δ‘ ἔρχετ‘ ὤρα, ἔγω δὲ μόνα κατεύδω. The moon has set and the Pleiades, It is the middle of the night Time passes by And I sleep alone. This fragment … Continue reading

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