Monday, 22 October 2018

A libation and a prayer: religious stuff from Sappho

Keeping the religion theme from last post, but going back a couple millennia, we meet two religious fragments by Sappho.
  • The first one is Edmonds 7+8, Lobel-Page 40 + inc. 13, Campbell 40 + inc. 13, and Bergk 8 + 9. I don't know why I put them together when all my editions of Sappho separate them, it's probably Greek Wikisource's fault. Truth be told, Edmonds also puts them together, albeit numbering them differently, and the same goes for Bergk – and Voigt too. Both quotes are from Apollonius Dyscolus's treatise on pronouns. The passage goes like this: «σοί· Ἀττικῶς. Ἴωνες, Αἰολεῖς ὁμοίως· σοὶ δ' ἔγω λεύκας ἐπιδωμον αἶγος Σαπφώ. Καὶ τὸ κατὰ ἀπόλυτον διὰ τοῦ 'τ'· κἀπιλείψω τοι». The intro to quote 1 reads «σοί, "to you": the Attic form. It's also used in Ionic and Aeolic: Sappho writes [quote 1]». Amending to ἀπόλυσιν, the intro to quote 2 is «And the independent form with the τ». Ahrens first amended ἐπιδωμον to ἐπὶ βῶμον, and was followed by Campbell and Bergk, while Lobel-Page keeps it as a locus desperatus and Edmonds amends it to ἐπὶ δᾶμον, which sounds out of place to me here, where Sappho is probably offering a sacrifice for a friend… though perhaps the "you" is a goddess and so it's a sacrifice "for the people", who knows. In fact, «agi de sacrificio Veneri oblato vid[it] Bergk» (Bergk saw this refers to a sacrifice to Venus), says Voigt. Quote 2 is uncontroversial in its text, but the separators (Campbell and Lobel-Page) are unsure whether it's actually Sappho, as is normally believed. It is also ambiguous in meaning: is it the future tense of ἐπιλείβω, «to libate», or of ἐπιλείπω, «to leave behind»? I think I chose the former on account of The Complete Poems of Sappho, which did have the merit of letting me realize the goat is not an absolute genitive but a possession genitive. By the way, Bergk for some reason amends αἶγος to αἴγοις, no idea why. I mean, this means λεύκας can't go with it, since the accusative would be λεύκαις, so if anything you'd have to amend that too, but still why? To have an object here? Meh… Line 2 is totally my invention, originally «τέκνον εἰσάξω…» from The Complete Poems of Sappho's guess, and then what you will see thanks to Campbell's «presumably for a sacrifice». I must admit though that Edmonds' «Πίονα καύσω» sounds much better, but what can I do, the translations don't reflect that.
  • The second one is Edmonds 9, Lobel-Page 33, Campbell 33, and Bergk 10. It's a quote from Apollonius Dyscolus's treatise on syntax, introduced by «Ἐστὶν τὰ τῆς εὐχῆς ἐπιρρήματα παραστατικά, αἴθ' ἔγω, χρυσόστεφαν' Ἀφρόδιτα, τόνδε τὸν πάλον λαχοίην», «There are the adverbs indicating prayer, [quote]». There is a lot of oscillation in the tradition regarding χρυσόστεφαν', which is either χρυσὸς αἴθ' οὔτως, γενοίμην χρυσὸς αἴθ', or the generally accepted correct version found in the "optimus liber", as Bergk calls it. The final verb sometimes appears with no final ν. For metrical reasons, we have two teams: team λαχόην, started by Bergk and joined by Edmonds, which amends the verb to be an anapest and fit where it is, and team ...λαχοίην, started by Bekker and joined by Lobel-Page and Campbell, which keeps the verb as is and suggests a lacuna right before it, filled e.g. by Bekker's ἐρατὸν. Wait. Bekker isn't reported to have suggested the filling, and I honestly have no clue who did. Moreover, Campbell and Lobel-Page didn't join the team, but left the inmetricality as is without cruces, I really have no arguments pro or contra any of them. I ended up joining team ...λαχοίην, probably for completeness of the line.
Let's see these!


Σοὶ δ' ἔγω λεύκας ἐπὶ βῶμον αἶγος
[Τέκνον ἐς μὲν ἄξ’ ἐπὶ θῦμα τωὔτω],
κἀπιλείψω τοι…


Per te di bianca capra sull’altare
[Condurrò prole, sacrificio͜ a fare,]
E liberò per te…




Αἴθ' ἔγω, χρυσοστέφαν' Ἀφρόδιτα,
τόνδε τὸν πάλον ‹γ’ ἔρατον› λαχοίην.


Afrodite d’oro incoronata,
Ch’esta ‹buona› sorte mi venga data!
Cāpr’ ăt ālbǣ [dūcăm] ăd ārăm īpsă
[Prōgĕni͞em] tĭb’, [ōffĕrăm ūt dĕ’ īpsăm],
Ēt tĭbī lībāb’…


To you of white goat on the altar I
[Offspring will lead, and sacrifice it, aye,]
And I’ll libate for you…




Sōrt’ ĕg’ hāncĕ īps’ ŭtĭnām tĕne͞am mī,
Āphrŏdītă qu’ a͞urĕ’ hăbēs cŏrōnăm!


O Aphrodite that golden crown do own,
May that ‹wonderful› fate become mine own!

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