2019 Reading More: November

Completed reads for November:

  • Conversations of Socrates, by Xenophon
  • Lysistrata; The Acharnians; The Clouds, by Aristophanes
  • The Iliad, by Homer
  • The Odyssey, by Homer
  • The Aeneid, by Virgil
  • The Theogony, by Hesiod
  • Work and Days, by Hesiod
  • Fragments of Sappho, by Sappho
  • The Argonautica, by Apollonius Rhodius
  • The Conquest of Gaul, by Julius Caesar

Conversations of Socrates (Tredennick/Waterfield translation) contains Xenophon’s four Socratic works: Socrates’ Defence, Memoirs of Socrates, The Dinner Party, and The Estate-Manager. Aristophanes is Sommerstein’s translation. The Iliad is Rieu’s prose translation. The Odyssey is Shewring’s prose translation. The Aeneid is Day Lewis’ verse translation. The Theogony and Work and Days are Evelyn-White’s translations. Sappho’s Fragments is Dubnoff’s translation. The Argonautica is Seaton’s translation. The Conquest of Gaul is Handford’s translation.

A bit of a classics binge this month. In fact, the most modern text was Virgil’s Aeneid, which is some 2,038 years old.

2 thoughts on “2019 Reading More: November

  1. Here is my entry for worst Virgil translation. It is John Dryden’s go at the famous “sunt lacrimae” (these are tears) passage, Aeneid I.462ff.

    In newly-built Carthage Aeneas with his companion, the faithful Achates, view friezes depicting the fall of Troy, from which they are refugees

    He saw, in order painted on the wall,
    Whatever did unhappy Troy befall :
    The wars that fame around the world had blown
    All to the life, and every leader known
    There Agamemnon, Priam here, he spies
    And fierce Achilles, who both kings defies,
    He stopped, and weeping said: ‘ O friend, e’en here
    The monuments of Trojan woes appear !
    Our known disasters fill e’en foreign lands :
    See there, where old unhappy Priam stands !
    E’en the mute wall relate the warrior’s fame,
    And Trojan griefs the Tyrians’ pity claim.’
    He said — (his tears a ready passage find)
    Devouring what he saw so well designed ;

    Virgil wrote

    Constitit et lacrimans, ‘Quis iam locus,’ inquit, ‘Achate,
    Quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris?
    En Priamus! Sunt hic etiam sua praemia laudi;
    Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.’

    My translation is

    He stood and weeping asked ‘What place now, Achates,
    What land of Earth hath not a surfeit of our toils?
    Lo Priam! Here too are his rewards for glory;
    Here are tears for all that mortality touches.’

    The repetition of sunt (‘these are’) links praemia (‘rewards’) with lacrimae (‘tears’). Aeneas is pointing to his tears, as well as the friezes, as the ‘rewards’.

    The last line is famously obscure. I prefer to read rerum et mentem (‘matters and minds’) as a single phrase, admittedly without being able to account for the difference in grammatical case rather than split the line in two as most translators do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Even Willy Nods: The Worst Shakespeare Plays | A Phuulish Fellow

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