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APOLLONIDES : EPIGRAMS

Apollonides was a Greek poet who lived in the early part of the 1st century A.D.

All of his surviving epigrams are shown here, in the order that they appear scattered throughout the Greek Anthology. The labels in red at the start of each epigram are their numbers within the Anthology. The labels in green are the numbers assigned to the epigrams in the edition by A.S.F.Gow & D.L.Page, "The Greek Anthology: The Garland of Philip and Some Contemporary Epigrams".

The translations are taken from the edition by W.R.Paton (1916-18), but have been modified to remove some of the archaic language. The translator's notes are shown in green.   Click on G to go to the Greek text of each epigram.




[6.105]   { G-P 1 }   G

I, Menis the net-fisher, give to you, Artemis of the harbour, a grilled red-mullet and a hake, a cup of wine filled to the brim with a piece of dry bread broken into it, a poor sacrifice, in return for which grant that my nets may be always full of fish ; for all nets, gracious goddess, are given to your keeping.


[6.238]   { G-P 2 }   G

I, old Euphron, farm no many-furrowed plain or vineyard rich in wine, but I plough a little shallow soil just scraped by the share, and I get but the juice that flows from a few grapes. From my little my gift can be but little, but if, kind god, you give me more, you shall have the first fruits of my plenty likewise.


[6.239]   { G-P 3 }   G

Old Cleiton, the bee-keeper, cut me out, the sweet harvest of his swarm, and instead of a victim from the herd offers me, pressing much honey from the ambrosial combs of the spring, the gift of his unshepherded far-flying flock. But make his swarm-bearing company innumerable and fill full the wax-built cells with sweetest nectar.


[7.180]   { G-P 4 }   G

The doom of death hath been transferred, and in your place, master, I, your slave, fill the hateful grave. When I was building your tearful chamber underground to lay your body in after death, the earth around slid and covered me. Hades is not grievous to me. I shall dwell under your sun. *  

*   i.e. as long as you think kindly of me Hades will be sunlit to me.


[7.233]   { G-P 20 }   G

Aelius, the Roman captain, whose armed neck was loaded with golden torques, when he fell into his last illness and saw the end was inevitable, remembered *   his own valour and driving his sword into his vitals, said as he was dying "I am vanquished of my own will, lest Disease boast of the deed."

*   That this is the sense required is shown by 7.234 (Philippus).


[7.378]   { G-P 5 }   G

Heliodorus went first, and in even less than an hour his wife, Diogeneia, followed her dear husband. Both, even as they dwelt together, are interred under one stone, happy to share one tomb, as before to share one chamber.


[7.389]   { G-P 6 }   G

Who is there that has not suffered the extremity of woe, weeping for a son ? But the house of Poseidippus buried all four, taken from him in four days by death, that cut short all his hopes of them. The father's mourning eyes drenched with tears have lost their sight, and one may say that a common night now holds them all.


[7.631]   { G-P 7 }   G

If you come to Apollo's harbour at Miletus, give to Diogenes the mournful message that his shipwrecked son Diphilus lies in the soil of Andros, having drunk the water of the Aegean Sea.


[7.642]   { G-P 8 }   G

Between Syros and Delos the waves engulfed Menoetes of Samos, son of Diaphanes, together with his cargo. For a pious purpose was he hurrying home, but the sea is the enemy even of those who are hastening to be with their fathers in sickness.


[7.693]   { G-P 9 }   G

I, the heap of stones by the shore, cover Glenis, who was swept away by the cruel swirl of a wave as he was angling from a steep projecting rock. All his fellow fishermen raised me. Save them, Poseidon, and grant ever to all casters of the line a calm shore.


[7.702]   { G-P 12 }   G

The victim of his rod, pulled out of the sea by the six-stranded hair line, was fatal to the fisherman Menestratus ; then, when the red phycis, gaping at the errant bait of the murderous hook, swallowed greedily the sharp fraud, as he was cracking its skull with its teeth, it slew him, taking a violent leap and slipping down his throat. *  

*   cp. 7.504 (Leonidas).


[7.742]   { G-P 13 }   G

{Not Sepulchral}

No longer, Timocleia, have you lost the light of your eyes, now you have given birth to twin boys, but you are now more perfect than you ever were, looking with more than two eyes on the burning Chariot of the Sun.


[9.228]   { G-P 14 }   G

Meliteia received the unlooked for news that her son, with his cargo, had been engulfed in the waves, and seeing the symbol of her own misfortune in the corpse of another which the sea had washed up on the beach, the unhappy woman gave it burial as if it were her son's. But Dion, his ship undamaged, returned in safety from a voyage that had met all his hopes. What diverse fortune befell the two mothers ! The one holds alive the son she never hoped to see, the other shall not even see her son dead.


[9.243]   { G-P 15 }   G

The parents of Aristippus both rejoiced and wept for their son, and one day saw both his good and evil fate. When he had escaped from the burning house, straightway Zeus launched at his head the all-powerful name of his thunderbolt. Then those who bewailed the dead spoke this word : "Unhappy boy, reserved by Fate for the fire of Heaven ! "


[9.244]   { G-P 16 }   G

A timid troop of horned deer, when the frozen mountain tops were covered by the snow clouds, sought refuge, poor creatures, in the river, setting off there in the hope of warming their swift limbs in the moist exhalations of the stream. But the unkind stream, shutting them in all of a sudden, imprisoned them in odious fetters of wintry ice. A crowd of countrymen feasted on the unsnared game that had often escaped the net and its stakes.


[9.257]   { G-P 17 }   G

I, the Pure Fountain (for that is the name the Nymphs bestowed on me above all other springs), when the robber had slain the men who were reclining beside me, and washed his bloody hands in my sacred water, turned back that sweet stream, and no longer gush for travellers ; for who will call me "The Pure" any longer?


[9.264]   { G-P 18 }   G

-- By APOLLONIDES or PHILIPPUS

The cicada used to sit on the highest boughs of the shrubs, and in the burning noon-tide sun, beating its belly with its wings, by the sweet variations of its self-wrought strains filled all the wilderness with music. But Criton of Pialia, the fowler who disdains no kind of game, caught this fleshless thing by its back with his limed twig. But he suffered punishment ; for his daily craft now plays him false, and he wanders about not catching even a feather.


[9.265]   { G-P 19 }   G

-- By APOLLONIDES or PHILIPPUS

The bird of Zeus, pierced by an arrow, avenged himself on the Cretan for his archery, returning arrow for arrow from heaven. With the returning shaft it slew the slayer at once from the sky, and falling, killed as it died. No longer boast, you Cretans, of your unerring arrows ; let the deadly aim of Zeus, too, be celebrated.


[9.271]   { G-P 10 }   G

And when then, tell me, Sea, shall you give safe passage to ships, if we are to weep even in the days of the halcyons, the halcyons for whom the deep has ever lulled the waves to so steady a calm that they deem it more trustworthy than the land ? *   Even now, when you boast of being a nurse stilling the pangs of child-birth, you have sunk Aristomenes with his cargo.

*   The halcyon days were fourteen days near the winter solstice which were supposed to be always calm and in which the halcyon was supposed to build its nest on the waves.


[9.280]   { G-P 21 }   G

Laelius the distinguished Roman consul said, looking at the Eurotas, "Hail ! Sparta's stream, of rivers noblest far." Having thus set his hand to the erudite book of the Muses, he saw over his head a token of learning. The magpies, birds that imitate human life, were calling from the leafy dells in all their various tongues. By them he was encouraged ; and how can the labour not be enviable if even the birds desire [to find expression for their thoughts] ? *  

*   I suppose that by uttering or citing a fragment of Greek verse Laelius gave an indication of his taste for study in which the magpies encouraged him to persevere. But not too much reliance should be placed on this interpretation of the obscure epigram.


[9.281]   { G-P 22 }   G

When all Asia witnessed the common marvel, the colt furious to feed on flesh of men, the grey-grown legend of the Thracian stable *   came before my eyes. I am in search of a second Heracles.

*   The horses of Diomedes, King of Thrace, which he used to feed on human flesh. They were carried off by Heracles.


[9.287]   { G-P 23 }   G

I, the holy bird, who had never set foot in Rhodes, the eagle who was but a fable to the people of Cercaphus, came borne through the vast heaven by my high-flying wings, at the time when Tiberius was in the island of the Sun. In his house I rested, at the beck of my master's hand, not shrinking from the future Zeus. *  

*   Just before Tiberius' recall from Rhodes (A.D. 2) an eagle was said to have perched on the roof of his house (Suet. Tib. c. 14).


[9.296]   { G-P 24 }   G

Scyllus, when Xerxes' huge fleet was driving all Greece before it, invented submarine warfare. Descending into the hidden depths of the realm of Nereus, he cut the cables of the ships' anchors. *   The Persian vessels, with all their crews, glided ashore and silently perished - the first achievement of Themistocles.

*   Scyllus and his daughter are said to have performed this exploit when the Persian fleet was off Mt. Pelion (Paus. x. 19, 2).


[9.422]   { G-P 11 }   G

"By our children," she said, "I implore you, if you lay me out dead, enter not a second time into the loving bond of wedlock." She spoke, but he hastened to take another wife. Yet Philinna, even dead, punished Diogenes for forgetting her. For on the first night the wrath from which there is no escape laid their chamber in ruins, so that the sun never shone on his second marriage.


[9.791]   { G-P 25 }   G

On a Temple of Aphrodite built in the Sea

Cythereia, who have established in the depths of the flood the foundations of the sanctuary encircled by your mother the sea, around you the sea rejoices, its blue surface smiling gently under the breeze of Zephyr. Because of this act of piety, and your temple which Postumus erected, you shall boast yourself more than because of Paphos. *  

*   The poem is very corrupt.


[10.19]   { G-P 26 }   G

Shear on this day, Gaius, the first sweet harvest of your cheeks and the young curls on your chin. Your father Lucius will take in his hand what he had prayed to see, the down of one who shall grow to look on many suns. Other give golden presents, but I joyful verses; for indeed the Muse is not inferior to wealth.


[11.25]   { G-P 27 }   G

You are asleep, my friend, but the cup itself is calling to you : "Awake, and entertain not yourself with this meditation on death." Spare not, Diodorus, but slipping greedily into wine, drink it unmixed until your knees give way. The time shall come when we shall not drink - a long, long time ; but come, make haste; the age of wisdom is beginning to tint our temples.


[16.49]   { G-P 28 }   G

The olden time admired Cinyras or both the Phrygians, *   but we, Leon, will sing your beauty, O renowned son of Cercaphus. Most blessed of islands, then, is Rhodes, on which such a sun shines.

*   Paris and Ganymedes.


[16.50]   { G-P 29 }   G

If such a Leon {lion} had chanced to face Heracles, this would not have been his twelfth labour.


[16.235]   { G-P 31 }   G

On a Statue of Pan

I am the country-folk's god. Why do you shed for me offerings from cups of gold, and pour me out strong Italian wine, and bind to the stone the curved necks of bulls ? Spare your pains ; I take no pleasure in such sacrifices. I, Pan, the dweller on the mountains, carved from a tree-trunk, am a feaster on mutton, and drink my must from a bowl of clay.


[16.239]   { G-P 30 }   G

On a Statue of Priapus

Anaxagoras set me up here, a Priapus not standing on my feet, but resting both knees on the ground. Phylomachus made me ; but seeing lovely Charito *   standing beside me, you will wonder no longer why I fell on my knees.

*   A statue of a lady of this name.


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