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three pairs of lovers with space

MISCELLANEOUS EPIGRAMS IN THE GARLAND OF PHILIP

 

The Garland of Philip was an anthology of Greek epigrams compiled in Rome in the middle of the 1st century AD, and one of the main sources for The Greek Anthology put together by Konstantinos Kephalas in the 10th century. It is so called because it was put together by Philippos of Thessalonike, using his own epigrams and those of other poets in the preceding century and a half since the compilation of Meleagros of Gadara’s anthology. Although these epigrams were Greek, the background in which they were written often belonged more to the Roman world.

The selection presented here is miscellaneous in that it consists of epigrams by poets who authored only one each on Greek love, and it therefore excludes those by Alkaios, Antipatros of Sidon and Statilius Flaccus, which are presented separately.

The translations are by W. R. Paton in The Greek Anthology, Volumes II-IV: Loeb Classical Library Vols. LXVII and LXXXIV-LXXXVI (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1916-8). The only amendments are to undo his Latinisation of Greek names in favour of more literal transliteration of the Greek.

 

Addaios

At least two poets called Addaios Ἀδδαῖος were the authors of a total of eleven epigrams in The Greek Anthology, of whom at least five seem to have been by a Macedonian living in 323 BC. The following one might have been by him too, but is more likely later.

X (The Hortatory and Admonitory Epigrams) 20

If you see a beauty, strike while the iron is hot. Say what you mean, grab his testicles full-handed. But if you say “I reverence you and will be like a brother,” shame will close your road to accomplishment.   Ἤν τινα καλὸν ἴδῃς, εὐθὺς τὸ πρῆγμα κροτείσθω·
     βάζ᾿ ἃ φρονεῖς· ὄρχεων δράσσεο χερσὶν ὅλαις·
ἢν δ᾿ εἴπῃς, “Τίω σε, καὶ ἔσσομαι οἷά τ᾿ ἀδελφός,”
     αἰδώς σου κλείσει τὴν ἐπὶ τοὔργον ὁδόν.
 

 

Grabbing his testicles full-handed

 

Alpheios of Mytilene

Alpheios Ἀλφείος of Mytilene in Lesbos wrote probably during the reign of Augustus (27 BC-AD 14) and certainly no earlier.

XII (The Boyish Muse) 18

Unhappy they whose life is loveless; for without love it is not easy to do aught or to say aught. I, for example, am now all too slow, but were I to catch sight of Xenophilos I would fly swifter than lightning. Therefore I bid all men not to shun but to pursue sweet desire; Love is the whetstone of the soul.  Τλήμονες, οἷς ἀνέραστος ἔφυ βίος· οὔτε γὰρ ἔρξαι
     εὐμαρές, οὔτ᾿ εἰπεῖν ἐστί τι νόσφι πόθων.
καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ νῦν εἰμὶ λίην βραδύς· εἰ δ᾿ ἐπίδοιμι
     Ξεινόφιλον, στεροπῆς πτήσομαι ὀξύτερος.
τοὔνεκεν οὐ φεύγειν γλυκὺν ἵμερον, ἀλλὰ διώκειν,
     πᾶσι λέγω. ψυχῆς ἐστὶν Ἔρως ἀκόνη.
 


Antipatros of Thessalonike

Antipatros Ἀντίπατρος of Thessalonike in Macdon was a prolific writer of epigrams towards the end of the 1st century BC.

IX (The Declamatory Epigrams) 77

Hera, tortured by the beauty of Ganymede, and with the soul-consuming sting of jealousy in her heart, once spoke thus: “Troy gave birth to a male flame for Zeus; therefore I will send a flame to fall on Troy, Paris the bringer of woe. No eagle shall come again to the Trojans, but vultures to the feast, the day that the Danai gather the spoils of their labour.”[1] Πριομένα κάλλει Γανυμήδεος εἶπέ ποθ᾿ Ἥρα,
     θυμοβόρον ζάλου κέντρον ἔχουσα νόῳ·
“Ἄρσεν πῦρ ἔτεκεν Τροία Διΐ· τοιγὰρ ἐγὼ πῦρ
     πέμψω ἐπὶ Τροίᾳ, πῆμα φέροντα Πάριν·
ἥξει δ᾿ Ἰλιάδαις οὐκ ἀετός, ἀλλ᾿ ἐπὶ θοίναν
     γῦπες, ὅταν Δαναοὶ σκῦλα φέρωσι πόνων.”
 
Zeus as an eagle and Ganymede by Bertel Thorvaldsen, 1833

 

Automedon

Automedon (Αὐτομέδων), mentioned by Philippos in the proem of his anthology and sometimes described as of Kyzikos (though not in The Greek Anthology itself), wrote in the 1st century BC or first three-fifths of the next century.

XII (The Boyish Muse) 34

Yesterday I supped with the boys’ trainer, Demetrios, the most blessed of all men. One lay on his lap, one stooped over his shoulder, one brought him the dishes, and another served him with drink—the admirable quartette. I said to him in fun, “Do you, my dear friend, work the boys at night too?” Πρὸς τὸν παιδοτρίβην Δημήτριον ἐχθὲς ἐδείπνουν,
     πάντων ἀνθρώπων τὸν μακαριστότατον.
εἷς αὐτοῦ κατέκειθ᾿ ὑποκόλπιος, εἷς ὑπὲρ ὦμον,
     εἷς ἔφερεν τὸ φαγεῖν, εἷς δὲ πιεῖν ἐδίδου·
ἡ τετρὰς ἡ περίβλεπτος. ἐγὼ παίζων δὲ πρὸς αὐτὸν
     φημὶ “Σὺ καὶ νύκτωρ, φίλτατε, παιδοτριβεῖς;”
 

 

Boys boxing, watched by their trainer on the left and another boy on the right (Attic kylix of ca. 485 BC, Boston Museum of Fine Arts)

Diodoros

Diodoros Διόδωρος was probably of Sardis and writing in the latish 1st century BC to early 1st century AD (as was an undoubted epigramist of his name).

V (Erotic Epigrams by Various Poets) 122

Warnings against love

Son of illustrious Megistokles, do not—not even if he seems to you more precious than your own two eyes, even if he gleams from the bath of the Graces—do not buzz about the lovely boy. He is neither gentle nor innocent, but courted by many, and no novice in love. Beware, my friend, and do not fan the flame.

 

ἐπἔρωτι παραινέσεις

Μὴ σύ γε, μηδ᾽ εἴ τοι πολὺ φέρτερος εἴδεται ὄσσων
     ἀμφοτέρων, κλεινοῦ κοῦρε, Μεγιστοκλέους,
κἢν στίλβῃ Χαρίτεσσι λελουμένος, ἀμφιδονοίης
     τὸν καλόν· οὐ γὰρ ὁ παῖς ἤπιος οὐδ᾽ ἄκακος,
ἀλλὰ μέλων πολλοῖσι καὶ οὐκ ἀδίδακτος ἐρώτων.
     τὴν φλόγα ῥιπίζειν δείδιθι, δαιμόνιε.

 


Diokles

If, as is quite likely, this Diokles (Διοκλς) was the author of all four epigrams by a Diokles in The Greek Anthology, then he was Julius Diokles, a rhetorician early in the 1st century AD.

XII (The Boyish Muse) 35

One thus addressed a boy who did not say good day: “And so Damon, who excels in beauty, does not even say good-day now! A time will come that will take vengeance for this. Then, grown all rough and hairy, you will give good-day first to those who do not give it you back." Χαῖρέ ποτ᾿ οὐκ εἰπόντα προσεῖπέ τις· “Ἀλλ᾿ ὁ περισσὸς
     κάλλεϊ νῦν Δάμων οὐδὲ τὸ χαῖρε λέγει.
ἥξει τις τούτου χρόνος ἔκδικος· εἶτα δασυνθεὶς
     ἄρξῃ χαῖρε λέγειν οὐκ ἀποκρινομένοις.”
 

 

Krinagoras

Krinagoras (Κριναγόρας) of Mytilene in Lesbos (ca. 70-18+ BC) wrote in the latter part of his life as a court poet in Rome.

VII (Sepulchral Epigrams) 628

Other islands ere this have rejected their inglorious names and named themselves after men. Be called Erotides (Love islands), ye Oxeiai (Sharp islands); it is no shame for you to change; for Eros himself gave both his name and his beauty to the boy whom Dies laid here beneath a heap of clods. O earth, crowded with tombs, and sea that washest on the shore, do thou lie light on the boy, and thou lie hushed for his sake.  Ἠρνήσαντο καὶ ἄλλαι ἑὸν πάρος οὔνομα νῆσοι
     ἀκλεές, ἐς δ᾿ ἀνδρῶν ἦλθον ὁμωνυμίην·
κληθείητε καὶ ὔμμες Ἐρωτίδες· οὐ νέμεσίς τοι,
     Ὀξεῖαι, ταύτην κλῆσιν ἀμειψαμέναις.
παιδὶ γάρ, ὃν τύμβῳ Δίης ὑπεθήκατο βώλου,
     οὔνομα καὶ μορφὴν αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν Ἔρως.
ὦ χθὼν σηματόεσσα, καὶ ἡ παρὰ θινὶ θάλασσα,
     παιδὶ σὺ μὲν κούφη κεῖσο, σὺ δ᾿ ἡσυχίη.
Eros catching a boy by the painter Douris, ca. 465 BC (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)

 

Laureas

Laureas was almost certainly the Tullius Laureas of other epigrams, and probably a freedman epigramist of that name of the orator Cicero, and therefore 1st century BC.

XII (The Boyish Muse) 24

If my Polemon return welcome and safe, as he was, Lord of Delos, when we sent him on his way, I do not refuse to sacrifice by thy altar the bird, herald of the dawn, that I promised in my prayers to thee. But if he come possessing either more or less of anything than he had then, I am released from my promise.—But he came with a beard. If he himself prayed for this as a thing dear to him, exact the sacrifice from him who made the prayer.   Εἴ μοι χαρτὸς ἐμὸς Πολέμων καὶ σῶος ἀνέλθοι,
     οἷος α . . Δήλου κοίρανε, πεμπόμενος,
ῥέξειν οὐκ ἀπόφημι τὸν ὀρθροβόην παρὰ βωμοῖς
     ὄρνιν, ὃν εὐχωλαῖς ὡμολόγησα τεαῖς·
εἰ δέ τι τῶν ὄντων τότε οἱ πλέον ἢ καὶ ἔλασσον
     ἔλθοι ἔχων, λέλυται τοὐμὸν ὑποσχέσιον.
ἦλθε δὲ σὺν πώγωνι. τόδ᾿ εἰ φίλον αὐτὸς ἑαυτῷ
     εὔξατο, τὴν θυσίην πρᾶσσε τὸν εὐξάμενον.
 

 

Marcus Argentarius

Marcus Argentarius (Marcus the Banker; Greek Μάρκος Ἀργεντάριος;), probably a Roman rhetorician of that name, wrote sometime in the first three fifths of the 1st century AD.

V (Erotic Epigrams by Various Poets) 116

A love poem: that love for women is harmonious in nature but love for men is disharmonious and impious

Love of women is best among mortals who have a serious mind for love. But if you take pleasure in male love too, I can teach you a remedy for this illness of unfortunate love. Just turn around Menophila of the pretty loins and imagine that you hold him in your embrace as a male Menophilos.[2]

ἐρωτικόν· ὅτι ὁ θῆλυς ἔρως εὐάρμοστον τῇ φύσει, ὁ δἄρρην ἀνάρμοστον καἀσεβές

Θῆλυς ἔρως κάλλιστος ἐνὶ θνητοῖσι τέτυκται
     ὅσσοις ἐς φιλίην σεμνὸς ἔνεστι νόος.
εἰ δὲ καὶ ἀρσενικὸν στέργεις πόθον, οἶδα διδάξαι
     φάρμακον ᾧ παύσεις τὴν δυσέρωτα νόσον·
στρέψας Μηνοφίλαν εὐίσχιον ἐν φρεσὶν ἔλπου
     αὐτὸν ἔχειν κόλποις ἄρσενα Μηνόφιλον.

A man humping a woman as if she were a boy, kylix of ca. 485 BC (Museo Archeologico, Florence)


 Philippos of Thessalonike

Philippos Φίλιππος of Thessalonike in Macedon, who lived in Rome in the mid-1st century AD, was the compiler of the anthology that is the subject of this webpage and which included eighty-nine of his own epigrams.

XI (The Convivial and Satirical Epigrams) 36

When you were pretty, Archestratos, and the hearts of the young men were burnt for your wine-red cheeks, there was no talk of friendship with me, but sporting with others you spoilt your prime like a rose.[3] Now, however, when you begin to blacken with horrid hair, you would force me to be your friend, offering me the straw after giving the harvest to others.   Ἡνίκα μὲν καλὸς ἦς, Ἀρχέστρατε, κἀμφὶ παρειαῖς
     οἰνωπαῖς ψυχὰς ἔφλεγες ἠϊθέων,
ἡμετέρης φιλίης οὐδεὶς λόγος· ἀλλὰ μετ᾿ ἄλλων
     παίζων, τὴν ἀκμὴν ὡς ῥόδον ἠφάνισας.
ὡς δ᾿ ἐπιπερκάζεις μιαρῇ τριχί, νῦν φίλον ἕλκων,
     τὴν καλάμην δωρῇ, δοὺς ἑτέροις τὸ θέρος.
 


[1] Ganymede, loved boy of Zeus, and Paris, whose abduction of Helen led to the Trojan War and the fall of Troy at the hands of the Danai (Greeks), were both younger sons of Kings of Troy, the first being great-great-uncle of the last.

[2] Or, “that you hold him as Menophilus—a male, as far as orifices are concerned.” [Translator’s note]

[3] “The phrase is over-compressed and the thought seems confused; it combines two ideas, (a) ‘you wasted your beauty on others’ and (b) ‘your beauty has faded like a rose’. (A. S. F. Gow & D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology. The Garland of Philip and some contemporary epigrams, Cambridge, 1968, II 362).

 

Comments

Comments of general interest will be collected at Letters To The Editor (some editing may be involved)

The Boyish Ruse,  8 May 2022

I think it likely Addaios penned his haunting epigram MUCH later. Like, yesterday. It might be the best answer yet to that much unasked question of history: "Whatever happened to pederasty?"