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ILLUSTRATION OF A PASSAGE
In the fifth book of Athenæus, (p. 293. ed. Schw.) we find an extract from a work of Callixenus respecting the ship of extraordinary dimensions, built by Ptolemy Philopator. The following passage, describing the form of the columns with which part of the vessel was ornamented, has not received any explanation from Stephens, Casaubon, or Schweighaeuser. We shall subjoin the original text, and then add a literal version of each sentence, and accompany it by such remarks, as will illustrate the meaning of the author.
οι γεγονότες αυτόθι κιόνες ανήγοντο στρογγύλοι, διαλλάττοντες τους σπονδύλους, του μεν μέλανος, του δε λευκού, παράλληλα τιθεμένων. εισί δ' αυτών και αι κεφαλαι τω σχήματι περιφερείς, ών η μεν όλη περιγραφή παραπλησία ρόδοις επί μικρον αναπεπταμένοις εστίν. περί δε τον προσαγορευόμενον κάλαθον, ουχ έλικες, καθάπερ επί των Ελληνικών, και φύλλα τραχέα περίκειται λωτων δε ποταμίων κάλυκες και φοινίκων αρτιβλάστων καρπός έστι δ' ότε και πλειόνων άλλων ανθέων γέγλυπται γένη. το δ' υπό την ρίζαν, ο δή το συνάπτοντι προς την κεφαλήν επίκειται σπονδύλω, κιβωρίων άνθεσι και φύλλοις ώσανεί καταπεπλεγμένοις ομοίαν είχε την διάθεσιν.
αυ. κ. α. σ. " The columns which were erected were round.” The form of the columns is specified, to shew that they were not Pilasters or Antæ. If the writer had intended to express round pillars, in the sense of unfluted, the word á páßowTOL would have been used. διαλλάττοντες τ. σ. τ. μ. μ. τ.
They were varied with vertebræ alternately black and white, parallel to each other.” Schweigheuser supposes, that by the word σπονδύλους, those parts of the column are pointed out, which are called in French Tambours ; namely, the cylindrical pieces raised one
δ. λ. π. τ.
upon the other. The interpretation we are inclined to adopt is the following. On many Egyptian pillars are found rings or bands, to the number of three, four, or five, parallel to each other; they surround the column just above the base, about the centre, and immediately under the capital. They are represented on the columns of the portico of Ashmounein, and on those of Carnac and Luxerein. We should translate the word therefore, by “belts of parallel rings." Callixenus mentions, that they were coloured. Some of the pillars in Egypt still bear the remains of the colours with which they were painted.
eioi d. aú. k. ai k. T. 0.7.-“ The capitals of them were round, and their whole appearance was similar to budding roses." The round capital is found among architectural remains in Egypt, presenting the form of a bulb.
nepi dè. k. T. 1. “ about that part, called the Calathus, there are no volutes, as in Greek buildings, or leaves like those of the acanthus, and similar plants; but there may be seen the Calyces of the Lotus of the river, and the fruit of the Palm; other kinds of flowers are also sculptured on some of them." The Lotus here mentioned, is the Nymphæa Lotus, the wròs Aiyóttios of Dioscorides (B. 4.) It is painted in the procession on the walls at Eleithias ; it is represented on many Egyptian figures, sometimes budding, sometimes borne as a Sceptre. The flowers of it are observed projecting from the Rhyton or Cornucopia, on a coin of Ptolemy the eightb.
The fruit of the Palm is here said to be sculptured on the Capitals; some remaining in Egypt are ornamented with branches of this tree. Herodotus (L. 2.) mentions columns at Sais of the form of the Palm. The other kinds of flowers alluded to by the author, are the Persea, the arum Colocassia, and the Thebaic Palm, or Domm Tree. The first was consecrated to Isis ; the flowers of the Colocassia are seen on the heads of some of the figures of Harpocrates : and the Thebaic Palm, as well as the common Palm, is sculptured on the capitals of part of the great temple at Philæ.
το δ' υπό λ. “ The lower part of the capital resting upon one of the Vertebræ which is attached to it, has a distribution of ornaments similar to the leaves and fruits of the Ægyptian Bean, twisted together."
The Kißusprov according to Strabo, (L. 17.) is produced
from the Ægyptian bean'; according to Diodorus Siculus (L. 1. p. 40.) and Dioscorides, it produces the Egyptian bean : το τε κιβώριον φέρει τον καλούμενον Αιγύπτιων κύαμον. . Notwithstanding this disagreement, we are able to pronounce the plant mentioned in the text to be the Nymphea Nelumbo, or Cyamus, according to the more classical name given it by the President of the Linnean Society. The plant was well known to Herodotus, to Theophrastus, who calls it simply kúamos, (L. 4. 10.) and to Dioscorides, who says it was a native of Asia Proper, and Cilicia. It was found formerly in Egypt, but it is remarkable, that no modern traveller has discovered it in that country. It is a native of the East Indies, where it has been always considered as a sacred plant.
To the EDITOR of the MUSEUM CRITICUM.
My Dear Sir,
I PROPose to fulfil the promise which you obligingly exacted from me, by sending a few pages relative to a supposed discovery in Homer, which had been before communicated to you, and which I would wish you to make use of in any way which may appear most proper in your own judgnient, and in that of your critical friends.
The subject relates to what I shall venture to call by anticipation, the Lay of Meleager ; namely, the narrative respecting that Hero, which occurs in the speech of Phænix, in the ninth Book of the Iliad.
Agamemnon has deputed Phønix, Ulysses, and Ajax, to prevail upon Achilles to return to the War. They find him sitting before his tent, amusing himself with his lyre; and here a singular passage occurs : (II. I. 189.)
Τη όγε θυμόν έτερπεν, άειδε δ' άρα κλέα ανδρων.
1. και ο κύαμος Αιγύπτιος εξ ου το κιβώριον. VOL. II. NO. 6.
literally, He (Achilles) was singing the Fames of the Heroes. Phenix, in his endeavours to mollify the resentment of his pupil, with great propriety, as I apprehend, both as an argumentum ad hominem, and in reference to the ideas which (from the amusement in which they found him engaged) he might suppose to be uppermost in his mind, urges upon him the example of the heroes of whom we have heard the Fames; Ούτω και των πρόσθεν επευθόμεθα κλέα ανδρων Ηρώων. (II. I. 520.) kéos, like its corresponding word Fame in English, is one of those to which, from the nature of their signification, the plural number is not applicable, and I am not aware that it occurs elsewhere, except in the Odyssey, where it is applied to the song of Demodocus, (Odyss. 0. 73.)
Μουσ' άρ' αοιδον ανήκεν αειδέμεναι κλέα ανδρων,
Οίμης, της τότ' άρα κλέος ουρανόν εύρυν ίκανε. O'inn being in this instance understood to signify such a portion of a long poem, as might be recited without a pause by one sustained effort, and corresponding in its signification and origin to the old minstrel term Fit, which though apparently vague and undetermined, (inasmuch as the oiun, i, e. Enthusiastic impulse or Fit of recitation would necessarily vary according to the natural powers and animation of different reciters,) came nevertheless to be adopted as a precise and technical term, to denote the regular divisions or cantos (as we should call them in reference to an etymology vot very different,) into which the ancient minstrel poems were divided. The words oίμης, , tñs tór', &c. therefore (signifying that Fit or section of the poein) imply a distinct and specific reference, which must of course presuppose the existence of the thing referred to; and our conclusion must be, that the song of Demodocus was not a poeni in nubibus, like the song of Iopas in the Eneid, or that of Mopas in Prince Arthur, but a poem actually known, and popular at the time when the description of it in the Odyssey was composed.
The origin of the term kléa avòpwv, as applied to any particular species of poetic composition, I apprehend to be this ; there were then in existence a set of lays or short poems, each of which might be called very properly and appositely, from the name of the Hero who was the subject of it, Kéos Tudéos, Κλέος Βελλεροφόντου, Κλέος Ιολάου, or as in the present instance Κλέος Μελεάγρου : as we had formerly the Lay of Lanval, the Lay of Tristram, the Lay of Lancelot, and others. These poems, when mentioned collectively, would of course be called in the plural number Κλέα or Κλέα ανδρών. From this origin, the term kléa avdpwv appears to have migrated into the more extended sense, in which we find it employed in the Odyssey, where it is evidently applied to a long poem divided into distinct portions, and comprehending a complicated series of action, in the course of which many heroes must have had their share of celebration.
In the passage of the Iliad which is before us, the term appears more distinctly connected with the origin which we have assigned to it. Achilles is represented as singing the aléa dvdpôv, and Phænix in reference to them, as was before remarked, relates a short narrative of which Meleager is the principal personage, and which might properly enough have been called Κλέος Μελεάγρου, according to the supposed etymology before stated; and it would then be understood, that the poems with which Achilles was amusing himself, were similar to that which Phenix recites, i. e. short narratives, or detached pieces (like the Spanish romances, each of which was a brief independent narrative of some heroic adventure,) a species of composition which should seem best calculated to occupy the temporary attention of an hero, whose habits do not appear to have been of a sedentary nature.
And here let me remark, that the comparison which I have made of these supposed poems to the old metrical Romances of Spain, affords a parallel likewise in the application of a plural to a word naturally singular; for Romance, in its primary sense, meant the Roman language or ordinary dialect commonly spoken in the provinces of the Empire, in contradistinction to the correct and classical Latin. In Spain the term was made use of afterwards, to designate the common speech of the country, as distinguished from that species of Latinity which was still the language of the Church and of the Law. Hence, a poem composed in the common language of the country, was called a Romance, to distinguish it from the Hymns of the Church, and the metrical Latin songs of the Monks; and the word in this sense became capable of a plural, as we have supposed the case to have been in the transition from κλέος tο κλέα.