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 

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Two Great Commandments

Lets start a new year of working our way through the #gospel of #Matthew with the Two Great Commandments.

Matthew 22:34-40  Jesus's response to the Pharisees and Sadducees was to quote 2 Old Testament verses.

Love your lord god with the whole of your heart and the whole of your soul and he adds on and with your mind!

That's from Det. 6.5 and yes EN can mean with Do check Liddell and Scott's entry on this !

Then he states

second and like this

Love the one nearby of you as yourself.

Which comes from Lv. 19:18

Note how he emphasizes practical action!

and then in verse 40 he finishes by stating

on these two commandments / laws whole the law hangs and the prophets

Hang is used as it is sometimes in English also to mean DEPEND SUSPEND.

I wonder if decorated parchment scrolls of the Ten Commandments or other Old Testament quotes were popular cheap wall hangings?

Remember throughout this new year that Love is something we do.

Do something practical whether its a minor or major action.

And Happy Epiphany and Christmas again if you're Orthodox to all my readers!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

3 Visitors a report

You've read the Gospels but here's my imagining of how a local bureaucrat might have reported the visit of the Three Wise Men
#epiphany #bureaucracy #3wisemen

The 12 days of Christmas are nearly over.
Next week back to Bible study on Weekends and the Classics midweek.
I may however bump a few of your favorites from this year.