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 !