Saturday, 22 April 2017

A beautiful thing

#matthew26 #greeknewtestament #biblestudy

In #Matthew26 the disciples complain about a woman coming into the dining room and pouring expensive scented oil over Jesus' head. Its very expensive oil "barutimou" in an alabaster which is white marble jar. They felt it should have been sold for charity.

Unspoken however may have been a concern that the Temple officials would be further provoked by this action as it could have been seen as consecrating Jesus as a ruler!

Some people wonder if  the woman was Mary Madgalene.

Let us focus on Jesus' response.

He calls her action beautiful! "kalon ergon"becuse she did it for him"eis eme"  not for herself!

Some scholars write about the "the poor will always be with you" but I want to draw your attention to the chilling words further along,

"for this woman by throwing this ointment/oil upon my body for entombment made me ready"

More prophecies fulfilled.

Extravagant acts of generosity are okay but so are regular acts of charity.

Perhaps we should balance both?

Remember Jesus approved of this because the act benefited another.

Also it was a party? A time and place for everything!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Harpies as young Girls

#harpies #Birds #goddesses

The Harpies literally the Snatchers are the daughters of Thaumas son of Pontos and Gaia and the Oceanid Electra. Apollonios Rhodios in his Argonautica describes them as monsters

They are said to have lived in a cave on Mt Dicte on the island of Thrace and had the role to sinning those who sinned against the gods.

Other artists had different ideas. The Harpies shown here appear to be young girls though the position and shape  of the wings suggest that maybe young boy dancers in costume for a play are being depicted? Also there are 3 Harpies not two.

Their older sister was Iris goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the gods in the oldest epics.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Chi Rho Symbol

Something simple today. A png to download. #chirho #easter #christ #typography

I was tempted to do an elaborate Celtic style construct of spirals within spirals and knots but opted for minimalism instead. Enjoy. Use it as a capital or whatever.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Artemis or Aphrodite with Bird you decide

This image could been Artemis as lady of the Beasts or Aphrodite with a dove.

In the Archaic period Artemis wasn't always depicted as a huntress with bow and arrow.

While it was found near a temple to Artemis that site is noted for a diversity of art depicting a variety of gods so its not impossible that a statute of Aphrodite might be on the precincts of the temple to another deity. This happens at several sites.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Why its PALM Sunday

#palmsunday #GospelofJohn #greeknewtestament #bibletrivia
 Lets face it Easter in its current state is a horrid muddle or folk pagan seculary myths and commericalizations and a few actual Christian traditions. However it is PALM SUNDAY


We don't know the exact date but have a statement by John 12:1 it was 6 days before Passover.
 Bear in mind for centuries in Europe Sundays were one of the few days off people had from work.

John is also the only Gospel writer who clearly states cut branches of date palms were used.

John 12:13 baia toon phoinikoon "Phoenician" palm branches ... the date palm.

Matthew 21:8 says cut branches ekopton klados
Mark 11:8 uses stibados kopsantes which could also be rushes grasses or other plants
Luke 19 only mentions clothes.

Now in some countries where date or other palm branches are not available different spring plants are used but many churches try to ship in date palm branches for authenticity.

While there was other palm species the date palm was the most common in the first century and this century.

Possibly John stresses the use of date palms because they were a scared symbol throughout the Middle East and linked to royalty.

You might want to read down to verse 16 where John says that the disciples did not understand egnoosan  this as first to prooton but later remembered the events though Johns reference to things that had been written makes me wonder if he was thinking of not just Old testament prophecy but also Marks gospel which may have been written before John's. Or some kind of protogospel was circulating and various people were creating their own versions. Of the four gospel writers Mark and Luke were not eyewitnesses but Matthew and John would have been there.

So John is our witness that the branches were palms and hence Palm Sunday!

Next week since its Easter some GREEK Byzantine Christian art though a goddess NOT Ostara may make an appearance in the mid week post!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Consider the Quail

Consider the #Quail

Ever wonder what ancient cooks used for eggs before the jungle fowl was domesticated?

Or ducks or geese?

For most of us Quail eggs and meat are luxury items.

Ever wonder why there are no references to sweet cakes or omelettes or other deserts in Homer and why they don't start getting mentioned until Aristophanes?

No or few eggs for cooking! Duck and geese eggs would have been seasonal.

Quail however are small birds that can be trapped with nets and raised for both eggs and meat.

However you still would have had to have spare grain to feed them!

While they will eat a variety of grain ... you have to have surplus to feed them hence quail eggs and meat as a luxury item , hunted or farmed, in ancient Greece and Europe.

They can't thrive on table scraps like some chickens.

Thats why many scholars think references to cakes in lyric poetry were references to cakes of pressed dried fruit .

See my previous post and the notes and  translation of the swallow song.

Saturday, 1 April 2017



No bible study today I'm recovering from a stomach bug!
Instead  a little something extra for Easter

The Greek letters Chi and Rho the first letters of Christ often appear in Christian art even in areas and eras where Latin had replaced Greek.Here's my rough attempt at a ChiRho. You're welcome to play with it further! I'm attempted to draw a more detailed Celtic spiral one but that could take hours!

Swallow Song Two Notes and Draft

#swallowsong #greeklyricpoetry

Next installment a more polished version!

This is a rough DRAFT with Notes


Source Lyra Graeca and other D. Campbell texts
Recorded byAthenaeus in Doctors at dinner
citing a book by Theognis on Rhodian Festivals

Note Dialect is Doric

λθ̓ λθ̓ χελιδὼν (she) comes comes aorist swallow

καλς ρας γουσα, fine seasons / hours times – as ending doric bringing

καλος νιαυτούς, fine years plural returning again ?

ἐπὶ γαστέρα λευκά, upon stomach belly white

ἐπὶ νῶτα μέλαινα. upon back black (swallows b+w)

παλάθαν σπροκύκλει cakes you roll out
prob preserved pressed fig or dried fruits
ἐκ πίονος οκου out of ??? house
pionos fat oily rich in slang ?

ονου τε δέπαστρον of wine and cup/ and cup of wine
depastron < depas
τυροῦ τε κάνυστρον. Of cheese and basket a basket of cheese
usually a not u cane / wicker baskets
καὶ πύρνα χελιδὼν and wheat loaves (for) swallow

καὶ λεκιθίταν and pulse “bread'” some kind of bean cake
or porridge served cooked in pan

οὐκ ἀπωθεται. πότεῤπίωμες λαβώμεθα;

not you it drive away apootheoo whether or not will we get
  • mes ending doric apeimi nor will we go away

εἰ μέν τι δώσεις. εἰ δὲ μή, οὐκ ἐάσομες.

If any u give if and not we will not relaese let go

τὰν θύραν ϕέρωμες ἢ τὸ ὑπέρθυμρον

neither or the door we will carry away subjunctive / future or the lintel?

τὰν γυνακα τὰν ἔσω καθημέναν.

Or the woman wife inside sitting ?

μικρμέν ἐστι, ῥᾳδίως νιν οσομες.

Small little she is easily nin =ionic min it her him enclitic form autos
fut form of pheroo we will carry away

ἄν δὴ φέρῃς τι, μέγα δή τι φέροις.

anything whatever you bear to us let it be big

ἄνοιγ̓ ἄνοιγε τὰν θύραν χελιδόνι.

Open open fut form The door to swallow

οὐ γὰρ γέροντές ἐσμεν, ἀλλὰ παιδία.

Not for elders we are but children

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

#Swallowsong #greekfolksong #lyric

For those of you who may not have a copy of Campbell or Loeb's Lyra Graeca or Trypanis
here is the SWALLOW SONG in a slightly larger font size and double spaced

This should print out or save to one a4 page


λθ̓ λθ̓ χελιδὼν

καλς ρας γουσα,

καλος νιαυτούς,

ἐπὶ γαστέρα λευκά,

ἐπὶ νῶτα μέλαινα.

παλάθαν σπροκύκλει

ἐκ πίονος οκου

ονου τε δέπαστρον

τυροῦ τε κάνυστρον.
καὶ πύρνα χελιδὼν

καὶ λεκιθίταν

οὐκ ἀπωθεται. πότεῤπίωμες λαβώμεθα;

εἰ μέν τι δώσεις. εἰ δὲ μή, οὐκ ἐάσομες.

τὰν θύραν ϕέρωμες ἢ τὸ ὑπέρθυμρον

τὰν γυνακα τὰν ἔσω καθημέναν.

μικρμέν ἐστι, ῥᾳδίως νιν οσομες.

ἄν δὴ φέρῃς τι, μέγα δή τι φέροις.

ἄνοιγ̓ ἄνοιγε τὰν θύραν χελιδόνι.

οὐ γὰρ γέροντές ἐσμεν, ἀλλὰ παιδία.

Notes and translations in next post

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Visit and Help

More on people misreading Matthew 25 #biblestudy #greeknewtestament

VISIT THE SICK doesn't just mean get well messages.

Yes VISIT is the simplest translation but lets take a look at the Greek Verb used in Verses 36 and 43.

EPISKEPSASTHE is an aorist middle form of EPISKOPEOO.

Yes its related to the same word we get BISHOP from!!!

So it is visiting but visiting with thoughtful regard to look into or at a situation.

If you have access to a Liddell and Scott  in any format online or print look at the entry for EPISKOPEOO.

Ah you say maybe I'm reading too much into the verb!?

Think about the rest of the passage. Its about helping people!

You visit the sick to help them with food or treats or making sure they have adequate medical care or helping change bandages or checking they can cover their bills or need a lift to the hospital or doctor or clinic.

You visit to help. 

Even if how you can do is pass on health care tips online thats still helping though probably best to that if its something you have personally experienced for seen work for another.

You could also help the sick by doing first aid training and by supporting private charities or public health plans.

And do please look up the verb at Perseus or elsewhere or in your library!

LSJ Liddell Scott and Jones

and before anyone asks what I do or have done ... by odd coincidence I am now working in health care only part time and limited hours since I have health issues myself ... and yes I have first aid training!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Another Eagle Coin

I'm still working on the Swallow Song notes and translation so here's another #eagle #coin

This one is Hellenistic and was issued by one of the Ptolemies. Note the lettering and that the eagle is holding Zeus' thunderbolts. The Greeks excelled at Sculpture on a small scale as well as large!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The least of these and Strangers too.

#biblestudy #greeknewtestament

Yesterday there was a brief twitter storm over some media pundit who claimed to understand Greek stating two verses in Matthew referred to helping the Christian poor only.


Verse 28  talks about taking away from someone for not using the money they were given.

However even a single talant would have a small fortune by the standards of that time.

Verses 35 to 36 The Son of man enthroned as King welcomes those who fed the hungry gave drink to the thirsty and welcomed a stranger and clothed the naked, comforted the sick and visited prisoners.

Now Xenos can mean Stranger or Guest but once a Xenos has received hospitality and entered a household then he or she is a guest with certain rights  and the verse talks about welcoming strangers without specifiying anything about their background, rich, poor, Jewish, Greek, Roman.

Then Verse 40 the words of my brothers the least of these are used and again in 45 the words least of these are used. The word for least is elakhistos the very smallest a superlative form of micros.

Finally anyone who thinks brethren means fellow Christians only urgently needs to reread the story of the Good Samaritan or Peters Vision in Acts.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Minoan Swallow Vessel

#minoan #ceramics

Our next bird will be the #Swallow

This ceramic vessel shows the Hellenic admiration for the grace and beauty of swallows dates back to the beginnings of the culture and isn't just limited to the Thera frescoes.

Note how effectively the decoration makes use of a three color system of slips,
 yellow ochre, iron red and iron black.

Saturday, 11 March 2017


#biblestudy #anaginooskoon #noeoo

Matthew 24:15 ends with a clause probably inserted by a later editor but the insertion is a very sensible piece of advice whether one is reading biblical or classical greek or other ethical texts.



ho anaginooskoon noeitoo

Present Active participle followed by a Present Imperative

Anaginooskoo - to know something and think about it also to read in NT  greek and note it is followed for emphasize by an Imperative form of NOEOO to see something and and think before taking action.

READ the TEXT Biblical or other THOUGHTFULLY and THINK about it as well as ACT.

Bible or other study is NOT how much text you read but knowing and understanding the text and taking action. Since the two chapters are linked you might want to take a look at the end of Chapter 25?

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Sicilian Eagle Coin

#greekcoinage #greekcoins #eagle

In  keeping with our #bird theme here is a particularly beautiful #Sicilian #coin depicting two eagles from one of the Greek Colonies on that island . I have no why a grasshopper is in the background! Note that the prey is an HARE not a rabbit!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Leavetaking and the Rapture

#rapture #biblestudy #paralambano

Matthew 24 is rather disturbing and trickier than it looks in English because of the constant shifting of tenses.

At first Jesus seems to be talking about the destruction of the Temple during the Jewish Wars then he seems to be forecasting future persecutions and the Second Coming but than he returns to stating these things will happen very soon Verse 34
'that not will pass the generation this until heoos in greek all these things have happened"Now that seems to fit the destruction caused by the Jewish Wars also forecast in verse 2!?

However disturbing has those forecasts are I want to draw your attention to two verses used to support a belief in the Rapture and depictions of the Righteous being raised into heaven.

In some unknown day and hour in the future (see verse 36 ) two men may be working side by side in a field

tote duo esontai en tooi agrooi

one will be taken as one left

likewise of two women working in a mill the

The verbs are  paralambano and  aphieemi in presnet passive forms.

There's nothing there about an ascent into heaven ???

Paralambano is take along receive or accept

Aphieemi can mean forgive or remit debts or sins , be let go, or left behind,

so a disturbing thought to me ... 
what its the sinners who get taken away for judgement 
and the forgiven who are left behind ?

Meanwhile we must Verse 13 endure to the end  hupomeinas eis telos and performing good works to demonstrate faith?

Skip ahead to the end of 25 and read and  remember what we have to do!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Zeus and his Eagle

#eagle #zeus #greek #ceramics #archaic #naucratispainter

Naucratis Painter 560 BCE Zeus and his eagle

Zeus is depicted as a male aristo with long hair and a cloak with elaborate patterning.

The consensus or Majority opinion is that his eagle was a Golden Eagle seen as the King of the birds because it was one of the largest bird species known to the Greeks.

A note on technique. The reds and blacks are a clay slip of iron oxides. The higher the iron content the darker the slip. The yellow ochre lines are a technique called sgraffito of making lines by scratching thru the slips down to the base clay with some kind of stylus.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

PRESSURE or why we use Tribulation to translate thlipsis


Why is #tribulation used to translate #thlipsis?

#wordstudy #biblestudy #greeknewtestament

The word thlipsis appears three times in Matthew 24 and Paul uses it 3 times in Romans and once in Thessalonicans 1: Chapter 3 - 4

Now Thlipsis and the related verb Thliboo mean to to press hard or rub something so it gets translated as Affliction Suffering Oppression and frequently as TRIBULATION.

Tribulation is cognate to thlibow its stem is tribo rub and its easy to see how t in Latin corresponds to th in Greek and the r to the l.

Consider the relationship of the VULGATE to the King James Version

The Vulgate usually translates thlibo and thlipsis to tribulatio.

The translators of the KJV probably learnt and used Latin far more frequently than Greek and would have grown up with the Latin Vulgate version.

Tribulatio would have been an obvious choice.

However the translators of the RSV and other later versions in English wanted to respect the traditional familiar KJV yet also reflect the Greek texts more accurately than the KJV too so in the RSV we see afflictions oppressions and suffering  used as well as tribulations.

Finally in Latin a tribula or tribulum is a sledge used for crushing the husks off wheat and other grains so a negative pressure a crushing.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

To Greece to Italy - Classical Influences on Later Art

#greeksculpture #lysippus #manneristpainting #parmigianino

Below is an example of how Greek Classical culture influenced the Renaissance and how one medium sculpture can effect another painting.

Compare these two images

The first is one of several Roman copies of a sculpture by the late Classical Sculptor #Lysippus.

This is a Mannerist 16th century painting by Parmigianino 

Anyone know if he had access to the Villa D'Este copy before it was moved to the Vatican Museum?

Saturday, 18 February 2017


Matthew 24 #biblestudy  #rapture #greeknewtestament  #tribulation #signs #omens

A lot of people obsess on Matthew 24 because of Jesus talking about signs and omens and think it refers to the Apocalypse. However many scholars also think it refers to the Jewish wars or the persecution of the early Church and then there's the people fixated on the "RAPTURE"

I think people should start any study of this chapter by looking at the GREEK verbs and their tense and Aspect and especially at VERSE 6

for it must happen but NOT YET is the end

NOT YET translates oupoo and note the use of estin - present and genesthai Aorist Middle

Its not a definite fixed event  YET

and note verse 14 and then will come the end

and then will have to come  / it will have come to the point

the verb is HEEKOO Future heeksei

then verse 34 this generation will not pass away Autee this

and verse 36 but of that day and hour no one knows oudies oiden

and 37 EVEN JESUS the SON does not know

There seems to be NO fixed date for the Apocalypse?

Many general signs and omens but no fixed detailed prophecies?

But but Revelations you say ...
 yes but JESUS HIMSELF states what is more important is how we behave
we can't use it as an excuse for sin

BUT NOT YET IS THE END may be the key to this chapter

next time some more in depth discussion of Matthew 24

Please read the LSJ entries on HEEKOO and consider the mixture of verbal tenses not just the signs and omens when reading this chapter ?

Tuesday, 14 February 2017


#eros #myth #aristophanes #hesiod

EROS was originally depicted as a young man or a teenager.
The depictions of Eros as a child or baby start appearing in the Hellenistic era.

The myth about his origins seems to have changed sometime in the Classical or Hellenistic era.

People writing about him in Greek and Latin started describing him as the Child of Aphrodite and Ares but in older texts he is a PRIMORDIAL being predating the Olympians.

Hesiod Lines 116 Theogony describes Chaos as being the first being and then Earth line 120-22 Tartaros and EROS "most beautiful among the immortal gods"

One fragment of Parmenides writings also refers to EROS as the first born

Aristophanes uses a variant of  this older myth to support the idea the Birds are the oldest of beings .

Lines 696 >> Eros is the first being to be born from an egg with golden wings and Line 703 hence the Birds are the children of love since they fly ...

Aristophanes version came form the Orphic mysteries but all these writers Hesiod, Parmenides and Aristophanes and the Orphics agree EROS is something primordial and ever young.

Saturday, 11 February 2017


With Valentine's day this Teusday I'm doing a hybrid post today comparing Classical and NT Greek usage.

#classicalgreek #eros #newtestamentgreek #agape #philia

One of the most striking differences between Classical Greek and New Testament Greek is the preference for AGAPE over EROS and PHILIA.

In Classical Greek Prose and Poetry, Drama and Comedy, Eros and Philia are the verbs most frequently loved to describe relationships of desire,  love and friendship, and familial affection is rarely discussed.

However in the NEW Testament GOD IS LOVE - AGAPE

Now one idea I have seen is that AGAPE is actually a loan word based on the AfroAsiatic HBB stem and given how the Greeks altered  other loan words from Egyptian and Phoenician that seems possible but I think another reason was cultural. The NT writers wanted to distance themselves at first from Greek philosophers' ideas about love, Platonic or other.

Eros even in its widest meanings refers to passionate love usually with  sexual or romantic element.

Philia is friendship

Storge Affection.

HBB / Agape covers all those things and more though we should bear in mind Aramaic also used other words.

A possible issue is people using Greek as a second language. Look at the differences between the declensions of EROS and Agape and their connected Verbs. People learn the simplest forms first.

With Latin usage starting to spread into the Eastern empire Philia could have caused confusion as the Romans had filius and filius to describe children  and since neither Greek or Aramaic used a F sound in the initial position  at that time period that I know of ...

Agapaa agape agapoo easy to pronounce and write and read no need to remmeber eroos has a T in other cases than nominative and the initial Consonant cluster in STORGEE plus an R next to a G .

AGAPE WINS! with so many advantages over other words, philosophical, semantic, theological, cultural, sociolinguistic, and artistic. The return of Eros to Western art though is a subject best discussed over on my Glyphika blog.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Aristophanes - The Hoopoe Serenade Part Two

#aristophanes #greekcomedy #hoopoe #song

In the previous post I gave you the Greek text and a transliteration into English so non Greek readers had some idea of how the song may have sounded

This time first a word for word paraphrase with notes then a cleaned up version.

Most of the lines in the serenade are 11 syllables long and in a meter that's not really suitable for English verse and then there's the poetic syntax problem

I've tried to keep as close as possible to the original line breaks but sometimes ...

Line One Age is an imperative given the rest of the line Awaken is acceptable

sunnome means mate consort partner moi to for me pausai future infinitive however its  NEAR future event so cease and sleep hupnou is genitive from sleep

Line 2 luson release free loosen and nomous herds laws normally the idea seems to be multiple lines of song hence strains of song in many translations I'm going to add soon justifying it by the future infinitive in the first line

line 3 hous dia theiou stomatos threeneis which by/ thru divine lips mouth you lament

Dative tois sois for for mine (own) and yrs much wept for Itys (their son)

elelizomenee is often translated as trills but she is literallly quivering trembling with song liquid fresh  dierois song melesin

Yes theres no up in original but its bird song rising up see next stanza

Proceeding or advancing thru leafy curls  and i have moved up smilakos and moved down kathara

Dios equals Zeus though divine could also be used

hina so that the goldhaird Phoibos = apollo hearing
ack one long sentence with verb stuck in middle !

yes elegy is a greek word antiphalloon to play a stringed instrument as a response or accompaniment
it being Apollos phormigga or lyre with ivory inlay

i had to merge and shift two lines next

histeesi should be causes to stand up (to sing) but that just does not work in english

Xumphonos is probably used here cos the attic dialect form fits the metre better or for euphony with khoorei  or both

there are 2 genitives in greek  but of harmony of unison in english .... no

ololugee can be cries of both sorrow and joy ?  if i use both it echoes the original metre ?

Awaken Consort for me Cease from Sleep

And Loosen Soon Odes of sacred song

Which through your divine mouth you make lament

For mine and your son much wept for Itys

Trembling with liquid song

Up From your tawny throat

Proceeding thru leafy curls of woodbine

A pure sound echoing towards Zeus' seat

So that golden haired Phoibos  listening

to your elegies responds (then) with song

 ivory inlaid lyre stirring  godly choirs

and thru immortal lips comes a harmony

of sound divine blessed cries of sorrow and joy

I have tried to balance echoes of the original structure and metre with the need to reflect the actual meaning and the need to have a loose but poetic translation that could perhaps actually be set to music in English and I hope  hasn't become BAD free verse?

If you can figure out a way to get this into an English friendly metric scheme that even rhymes do share or comment please?

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Aristophanes - The Hoopoe Serenade Part One

#aristophanes #greekcomedy #song #hoopoe

This post has 2 parts first the Greek Text with a transliterations into
and then next part translation and notes
The transliteration is there to give non Greek readers a rough idea of how it sounds!
Bear in mind that th kh and ph are aspiratd t k and p not fricatives!
 Meter in Greek mean the lines do not have to have an equal length of syllables, and vowel length and pitch are factors too!

Aristophanes' Birds

The Hoopoe's Serenade Lls 209-222

γε σύννομέ μοι πασαι μὲν ὕπνου,

age sunnome moi pausai men hupnou

λσον δὲ νόμουςερῶν ὕμνων,

luson de nomous hieroon 

οὓς διθείου στόματος θρηνεῖς,

hous dia theiou stomatos threeneis 

τὸν ἐμὸν καὶ σὸν πολύδακρυν Ἴτυν

ton emon kai son poludakrun itun 

λελιζομένη διεροῖς μέλεσιν

elelisdomenee dierois melesin 

γένυος ξουθῆς.

genuos ksouthees

καθαρχωρεῖ διφυλλοκόμου

kathara khoorei dia phullokomou 

σμίλακος ἠχὼ πρὸς Διὸς ἕδρας,

smilakos eekhoo pros dios hedras 

ν̓ χρυσοκόμας Φοβοςκούων

hin ho khrusokomas phoibos akouoon 

τοῖς σοῖς ἐλέγοιςντιψάλλων

tois sois elegois antiphalloon

λεφαντόδετον φόρμιγγα θεῶν

elephantodeton phormigga theoon 

στησι χορούς. διὰ δ᾿ ἀθανάτων

histeesi khorous dia d'athanatoon 

στομάτον χωρεῖ ξύμφωνοςμοῦ

stomaton khoorei ksumphoonos homou 

θεα μακάρων λολυγή.

theia makaroon ololugee

The Ancient scholia imply the background music to this includes at least one flute perhaps more?

Next time the translation !

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Pharisees Scribes and Hypocrites Part Two

Let's compile a list of what the Pharisees and Scribes are condemned for in Matthew 23

NUMERO UNO Being Hypocrites

So what is a Hypocrite or what was the word used to describe in Jesus' time?

A HYPOCRITE was literally a mask wearer an actor

Most forms of acting comedy farce or tragedy and possibly the Pantomimes which may have been more like ballet involved wearing masks.

An word originally used for the theatre came to mean a pretender or liar in common usage.

While the Greek and Roman Colonists probably had minimal interactions with the local rural population in Galilee urban Jews in larger towns would have been aware or maybe even snuck in to see plays that were staged in public.

So the Pharisees "love the place of honor" and wearing decorated robes and mission work, making proslytes, converts to Judaism, taxing market goods like herbs, overlooking corruption, and in
Verses 29-30 they are condemned for honoring prophets but not fully acknowledging the sins of their ancestors and still killing, crucifying, and scourging dissenters.

Physical force towards dissenters is condemned.

Basically they are saying one thing and doing another, more concerned with appearances than truly righteous actions.

Some people particularly the Puritans have used this verse to condemn acting as a profession but remember its the actions not the profession that is condemned.

They seem to have been more concerned with the appearance of law and order than actual justice and righteousness.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Aristophanes Three - the Median Bird.

#aristophanes #birds #greekcomedy #chickens #roosters

Aristophanes is one of the first if not the first Western writers to mention Roosters.

Line 275

EEE Zeus another truly outlandish bird is here
the next line about muse-prophet summit travelling bird is probably a parody of an other dramatist

Chickens were relatively new to Greece, not quite as exotic as peacocks but still regarded as ...foreign.

The Hoopoe King calls him a Median bird. Median was used interchangeably with Persian.

Chickens had already reached Egypt and the Near East.

Lines 482 >>

One character argues that Persians were ruled by Roosters and compares the King of Kings tiara to a roosters crest ...also that the Rooster was one of the Birds that once ruled the world and further proof is still the roosters morning song awakes workers, smiths, potters, and others.

Do try to look up the greek text, maybe in a Loeb, if your Greek is limited, and sound out the text.

It sounds so much more poetic in Greek !

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Aristophanes Birds Two - Why a Hoopoe?

#aristophanes #birds #greek comedy #hoopoe

So Why is a Hoopoe one of the leading Characters in the Birds?

Personal Photo of an Old Hans Hvass illustration
Since the book its in was printed in the 1960s it may or may not be public domain?

Note the Hoopoe a bird with a large reddish crest and also the subject of a play by Sophocles no longer extant.

Note the scholia by the ancients claims Aristophanes was referring to a play by Sophocles called the Tereus.

Line 93 o heracles what kind of beast is this here? and what plumage what style of triple cresting?

then Line 100  Sophocles play is mentioned and the humans ask where are your feathers.

It looks like Sophocles actor worn a costume with crested headgear and beaked mask but no feathers elsewhere 

I suspect Aristophanes had his costumiers create an exaggerated copy of this as in line 102 Terues is asked if he's a bird or peacock and Tereus explains all his feathers apart from his crest have moulted.

I wonder if Aristophanes got a hold of some moulted peacock feathers and used them in the play as part of the triple crest?

However another reason for using a Hoopoe is the Greek myth that his wife was turned into a nightingale giving us the beautiful Serenade to the Nightingale Lines 209 >>
which will be a subject for another post.

Since we normally read ancient plays we forget the playwrights were usually also the directors and were awarded for a combination of set design lyrics dances music dialogue and costume!

Next time Median birds 

Saturday, 28 January 2017


More about Aristophanes next week #tax #tithe #herbs #aphieemi #biblestudy #greeknewtestament

Today TAXING HERBS and don't scroll on cos its bible study ... there are some language notes that apply to Classical Greek as well!

Matthew 23:23

Ou is how Greeks wrote W sounds in other languages so Ouai = Wai

WAI to you sccribes and pharisees hypokrites that tithe
note construction of  apodekate away ten  how greek uses a compound verb rather than a separate preposition

that tithe the mint (literally pleasant smell) ...and the dill and the cumin

cumin is mentioned as kumino on linear B tablets !

and apheekate is the aorist of aphieemi apo+ hieemi ignore neglect let go

and let go the heavier things of the law

the judgement and the mercy and the faith

The Scribes and Pharisees were tithing common herbs getting a sales tax at the markets ?

Jesus' point is not that taxes or tithes are wrong but that they should be

"making these things (continuously note imperfect form of dei) and not the other things letting go"

not focusing on minor things and not giving equal attention to justice mercy and faith

Mid week back to Aristophanes' Birds !

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Aristophanes Birds ONE

#aristophanes #bird #rooster

Did you know Aristophanes was probably the first dramatist to mention roosters in literature?

While roosters and chickens had probably been imported into Greece for at least a century or longer judging from paintings on amphoras and other ceramics like this one from Corinth they were still seen as being some what exotic and when Aristophanes talks about the Median Bird its chickens and roosters he's referring too! His listing of actual Persian names makes me wonder if the Persians were offering visiting embassies roosters as gifts? 

The roosters would have much smaller yet more colorful being closer genetically to the ancestral Indian jungle fowl.

More on birds in Greek art and Aristophanes play next time!


Saturday, 21 January 2017

Masters and Servants

#bible study #greeknewtestament #matthew #gospel

MATTHEW 23: 11-12

He who is greater than or greatest of you will be of you a servant.

and whoever makes higher himself will be humbled
and whoever humbles himself will be raised up higher.

hupoosei is usually translated exalted but it is literally  raise up or make higher in position and status

note that both verbs are future or future passives - ending in theesetai

Are these two verses a request or a description of the ideal for Christian or any other forms of leadership?

Next week something lighter for the midweek posts BIRDS

Have you read Aristophanes play with this title?

Read it and Matthew 23 please

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Meleager's Cicada Poem

#poem  #meleager #Greekanthology #cicada #greekpoetry 

Meleager's Cicada Poem
Written in the frist Century BCE

χηεις τέττιξ, δροσεραῖς σταγόνεσσι μεθυσθείς,

γρονόμαν μέλπεις μοῦσαν ἐρημολάλον.

κρα δ᾿ ἐφεζόμενος πετάλοις, πριονώδεσι κώλοις.

αἰθίοπι κλάζεις χρωτμέλισμαλύρας.

ἀλλά, φλος, θθέγγου τι νέον δενδρώδεσι

παίγνιον,ντῳδὸν Πανκρέκων κέλαδον,

φρα φυγὼν τὸν Ἔρωτα, μεσηβρινὸν ὕπνον

ἐνθάδ᾿ ὑπὸ σκιερκεκλιμένος πλατάν

Clear sounding Cicada drunken with dewy drops
Rural music you sing chattering in the wilderness
and sitting upon on the edge of leaves with saw shaped limbs
with your sunburnt body you shriek lyre like melody
but friend speak some new song for the woodland spirits
a response to pan's striking noise
that fleeing Eros noon tide sleep I will catch 
here under the shade of the elm lying down.

As well as being a lovely poem there is a beautiful variety of dative forms from all declensions in this poem and note that it is also a request for the Cicada to sing so that the woodland spirits will protect him from Pan .

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Pharisees Scribes and Hypocrites Part One

We've reached Matthew Chapter 23 !
#bible study #greeknewtestament

Note that many of these observations by Jesus could be applied to certain politicians.

"Upon Moses' seat sat the Scribes and the Pharisees"

Two majority factions within the Temple theocracy

"all therefore whatever they (should) say to you you should do and observe but the works of themnot do. thye talk for and not do."

Listen to the teachers and theologians and Temple and watch and observe teereoo

There are 3 things we are meant to do and observe teachings teachers and their actions

Note what Jesus condemns the Scribes and Pharisees for on the next verse.

Making the Law a heavy burden, performing in public pious actions and rituals, wearing extravagant versions of priestly robes, being honored guests and treated like celebrities at parties and being called RABBI or Master.

You might want to open your bibles and check Deuternomy 22:12

You shall make for yourselves tassels on the four corners of your cloak

then look at Numbers 15:38
the purpose of the tassels is "to look upon and remember the all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, ...

perhaps there were 10 strands in each tassel?

Note Jesus condemns them for having "mega" kraspeda making hems larger
so its not following Mosaic Laws that are the problems but adding to them with unnecessary personal ornamentation.

Please read the whole chapter before next weekend as there is one continuous theme throughout it.

Next time we look at Jesus' description of what a religious leader should be.

Also note that Rabbi can mean master as well as teacher .

He's criticizing those who are LEADERS

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Divine Cicada Anacreontea 34

#anacreontea #cicada #poem

Its Cicada Season in Sydney so

ANACREONTEA 34 The cicada

μακαρίζομέν σε, τέττιξ,

ὅτε δενδρέων ἐπ̓ ἄκρων

ὀλίγην δρόσον πεπωκὸς

βασιλεὺς ὅπως ἀείδεις.

σὰ γάρ ἐστι κεῖνα πάντα,

ὁπόσα βλέπεις ἐν ἀγροῖς

χὠπόσα φέρουσιν ὗλαι.

σὺ δὲ φιλία γεωργῶν,

ἀπὸ μηδενός τι βλάπτων.

σὺ δὲ τίμιος βροτοῖσιν

θέρεος γλυκὺς προφήτης.

Φιλέουσι μέν σε Μοῦσαι,

Φιλέει δὲ Φοῖβος αὐτός,

λιγυρὴν δ̛ ἔδωκεν οἴμην.

τὸ δὲ γῆρας οὔ σε τείρει,

σοφέ, γηγενής, φίλυμνε.

ἀπαθής, ἀναιμόσαρκε,

σχεδὸν εἶ θεοῖς ὅμοιος.


we bless you cicada / when of trees from tops / small (amount of) dew having drunk / a king like you sing /  you yourself sa may be soos or su ? for are everything own these everything / whatever you see in the fields /and whatever they bear woodlands/ you and friendship for farmers (have)/ nothing in no way harming (them) / you and honored by mortals / summer sweet prophet / they love you (the) Muses/ he loves and Phoebus himself  ( the Muses and Apollo love you )/ clear and he give you song / the and aging not you wears out / wise earth born songlover / unsuffering unbloodflesh / nearly you are gods like