Switch to Dual Emblem Display

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P3r p229]

In Stesichorum.[1]

On Stesichorus.

De mulieribus, neque bene neque malè
loquendum esse.

That you should speak neither good or ill of women.

Stesichore, offensi quae tandem numinis irae
Imprudenti oculos eripuere tibi?
An quòd Ledeae decus immortale puellae[2]
Ausus es insanis laedere carminibus?
Mitte levis peragat Milesia vellera[3] virgo,
Et neat obscuro culta puella foco.
Non est digna tuae quae sentiat arma Camoenae,[4]
Quaeque Licambaeis concidat acta notis.[5]

For heaven’s sake, Stesichorus, what god have you foolishly offended, that they have torn out your eyes in their anger? Was it because you dared, you madman, to slight the undying beauty of the Ledaean girl in your poetry? Tell how the maiden nimbly works the Milesian fleece, And the civilised girl spins in a dark [or humble] home [or fireside]. The sort of woman who has experience of battle isn’t worthy of your poetic Muse, Nor is the sort who is destroyed by Lycambean satire [lit. writings].

Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P3v p230]

NARRATIO PHILOSOPHICA.

STesichorum poëtam, cùm in eius aetatem
iam ingravescentem misera caecitatis fortuna
incurrisset, merito illo supplicio à diis immorta-
libus affectum fabulae crediderunt, quòd parum
honorificè de Helenae pulchritudine & elegantia
cecinisset. Quod etsi naturae potius aut senectu-
tis vitio quàm aliqua deorum offensione illi acci
disse credendum est: non est tamen opinor extra no
xam, qui muliebria illa ad otium stylumque suum
voluerit pertinere. Nam Thucidides non solùm do-
ctrinae gloria, sed genere quoque princeps civita-
tis suae, existimavit de mulieribus neque bene ne-
que malè loquendum esse: & quemadmodum na-
tura, ea quae in hominum corporibus deformem
aspectum habent, longè amandavit ab oculis: ita
earum animantium memoriam, quae cogitationem
angusti & infirmi animi legentibus esset allatura,
in tenebris latere homo prudentissimus voluit. Ne
que enim ea exempla ad memoriae diuturnitatem
valent, quorum imitatio periculosa esse potest. Ac
ut magnorum virorum res gestae monumentis pro
ditae, multis saepissimè ad eandem gloriam stimu-
los addiderunt: ita certè fatendum est, nonnullos
ex flagitii aut rei turpiter gestae historia ad omnem
sceleris indignitatem incitatiores esse factos. Un-
de & sapientissimus legislator Solon de parricidis
legem non tulit, ne antea inauditum crimem potius
docere quàm vetare videretur. Sed quia in foemi-
narum genere nonnulla egregiè facta extiterunt,
digna certè quae & testimonio hominum & lite-
Link to an image of this page  Link to an image of this page  [P4r p231]ris nostris illustrentur, non existimârunt Roma-
ni
alienum à dignitate civitatis suae, si honestissi-
mae matronae postquam ex vita migravissent, lau-
darentur: Marcoque Antonio summo oratori lau
di datum est, quòd Popiliam matrem foeminam
primariam novo exemplo apud populum lau-
davisset. Habet enim commendatio-
nem, cùm in animo muliebri
plane virilis fortitudo
& virtus elu-
cescit.

Notes:

1.  A Greek lyric poet, probably 6th century BC. For the story of his sudden blindness after writing an attack upon Helen, and recovering his sight when he had composed a Palinodia, see Pausanias, 3.19.11.

2.  Helen of Troy, daughter of Zeus and Leda.

3.  Miletus was a city in Asia Minor. Milesian sheep were prized in the Classical world.

4.  The Camenae (or Camoenae) were Roman prophetic nymphs (related to the word carmen), equated with the Muses.

5.  The reference is to Lycambes, who promised his daughter to the poet Archilochus, and then withdrew his promise; the poet attacked him with such virulent satire that he eventually committed suicide, and killed his daughter with him (or she, Neobule, committed suicide). The verses can be thought of as ‘Lycambaean’ rather than ‘Archilochean’ on analogy with, e.g. Demosthenes’ satirical attacks on Philip, which are known as ‘Philippics’. It is not clear, however, that Lycambus’ daughter was in any way at fault.



Iconclass Keywords

Relating to the image:

Relating to the text:


Hint: You can turn translations and name underlining on or off using the preferences page.

 

Back to top