Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Epigrams at the Thermopylae

Short intro
Long ago, I self-taught Ancient Greek. After a number of translations of texts from my textbook into Latin, a number of translations the other way of texts taken from my Latin textbook, and a few translations of authors, in the summer of 2009 I found an appendix on dialects at the end of a textbook, and decided to translate something from each dialect. I started with loads of Herodotus for his Herodotean dialect, to then tackle Homeric with a few passages from the Iliad (less than I had planned, because then school started), which will be posted here very far in the future, and then for Aeolic, based on the false premise of easily recovering the texts from Greek Wikisource, I chose to translate all of Sappho (and yes, you will see a lot of Sappho posts in the future; be ready :)), and then I was fed up, let Doric frick itself, and moved on to Japanese and Chinese. Anyways, in the middle of Herodotus there is this passage with the epigrams of the famous soldiers of the Thermopylae (the 300 and those fighting with them), which are elegiac couplets, so of course I made them elegiac couplets in Latin too. And that was in that summer. Later on, in Sep 17-18 of probably 2010 but possibly 2009, for some reason I translated them to rhyming couplets of hendecasyllabics in Italian. So let's get into them, shall w… wait. Isn't something missing? A post in English with an Italian translation and no English? Well, this was originally planned before the last post, so I wanted to get back to English, so I translated the couplets into rhyming couplets of hendecasyllabics in English in a Facebook post dated around midnight of June 4, 2017. The prose part will be translated today, because that is supposed to be a quick and easy task. So now we can finally get to it. One last thing: Herodotus requires no critical note at the end. Only Sappho needs that.

ΣΚΗ. Θαφθεῖσι δέ σφι αὐτοῦ ταύτῃ
τῇ περ ἔπεσον, καὶ τοῖσι πρότερον
τελευτήσασι ἢ ὑπὸ Λεωνίδεω ἀποπεμφθέντας
οἴχεσθαι, ἐπιγέγραπται γράμματα λέγοντα τάδε·

Μυριάσιν ποτὲ τῇδε τριηκοσίαις ἐμάχοντο
Ἐκ Πελοποννάσου χιλιάδες τέτορες.

Ταῦτα μὲν δὴ τοῖσι πᾶσι ἐπιγέγραπται,
τοῖσι δὲ Σπαρτιήτῃσι ἰδίῃ·

Ὦ ξεῖν’, ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε
Κείμεθα τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι.

Λακεδαιμονίοισι μὲν δὴ τοῦτο, τῷ δὲ μάντι τόδε·

Μνῆμα τόδε κλεινοῖο Μεγιστία, ὅν ποτε Μῆδοι
Σπερχειὸν ποταμὸν κτεῖναν ἀμειψάμενοι,
Μάντιος, ὃς τότε κῆρας ἐπερχομένας σάφα εἰδώς
Οὐκ ἔτλη Σπάρτης ἡγεμόνας προλιπεῖν.

Ἐπιγράμμασι μέν νυν καὶ στήλῃσι,
ἔξω ἢ τὸ τοῦ μάντιος ἐπίγραμμα,
Ἀμφικτύονες εἰσί σφεας οἱ ἐπικοσμήσαντες·
τὸ δὲ τοῦ μάντιος Μεγιστίεω Σιμωνίδης
ὁ Λεωπρέπεός ἐστι κατὰ ξεινίην
ὁ ἐπιγράψας.

228. E a loro, sepolti nello stesso luogo
ov’erano caduti{, e a quelli che caddero
prima di andare mandati da Leonida,}
fu scritto un epigramma che diceva questo:

Qui con trenta milioni combattêro
Peloponnesî quattromila invero.

Questo invero è stato scritto per tutti,
d’altro lato apposta per gli Spartani:

O forestiero, agli Spartani di’
Ch’obbedïendo a lor morimmo qui.

Agli Spartani dunque questo, al profeta invece:

Quest’è a memoria dell’illustre vate
Che i Medi ucciser oltre lo Spercheo:
Vedendo ben Chere a lui preparate
D’abbandonare il duce non fu reo.
Di Sparta il generale non tradì
Megistia: fra’ nemici ben morì.

Con gli epigrammi e con le steli,
salvo l’epigramma del profeta,
li celebrarono gli Amfictioni;
[dell’epigramma] del profeta Megistia
invece è autore Simonide di Leoprepe
per un vincolo d'ospitalità.
CCXXVIII. Sepultisque iis ibidem loci
ubi ceciderant, et illis qui antequam
a Leonida missi ivissent cecidere,
scriptum est epigramma dicens hæc:

Pū́gnārū́nt strĕnŭḗ || ŏlĭm ī́n trĭă mī́lĭă mī́li͞um
Ḗx Pĕlŏpṓnnēsṓ || mī́lĭă quā́ttŭŏr hī́c.

Hæc cum quidem omnibus scripta,
tum Lacedæmoniis præcipus:

Nṓs Lăcĕdǽ̄mŏnĭī́s || nūnti͞á, ēxtḗrne, ͜ ŏlĭm ṓmnēs
Dī́ctīs á͞udi͞entḗs || hī́c iăcŭī́ssĕ ĕû́̆m.

Lacedæmoniis cum quidem hoc, prophetæ autem hoc:

Ī́llūstrī́s || mĕmŏrí͞a vātī́s, || quī tḗmpŏrĕ ī́llō
Trā́nsītṓ Spērché͞o || hṓstĭbŭs ā́bcĕcĭdĭ́t,
Quī́ tūm, vī́dīssḗt || cūm vḗntūrā́m bĕnĕ mṓrtēm
Līnquĭ Mĕgī́sti͞a Spā́rtæ || há͞ud tĕtŭlī́t căpĭtắ.

Epigrammatibus et stelis,
extra prophetæ epigrammate,
Amphictyones eos celebrare;
prophetæ autem Megistiæ [epigrammatis]
Simonides Leoprepis est
secundum hospitalitatem inscriptor.

228. To them buried in the same place
they had died, and to those who fell
before they were sent by Leonidas,
there was written an epigram saying this:

Against three million Persians, long ago,
3000 Greeks did here to battle go.

This indeed was written for them all,
on the other hand just for the Spartans:

O stranger, tell the Spartans that we died
As we here by their orders did abide.

This then to the Spartans, to the prophet instead:

This is the memory of the renowned
Prophet Megistïa, whom the Medës found
And killed when the Spercheus they had just crossed.
While he knew well that he would then be tossed
Into the arms of death, he still did not
Abandon Spartan leaders to their lot.

With the epigrams and with the steles,
save for the epigram for the prophet,
the Amphyctions celebrated them;
[of the epigram] for the prophet Megistia
the author is instead Simonid of Leoprepe
for a bond of hospitality.

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