Leonidas of Tarentum : Epigrams

Leonidas of Tarentum was a poet who lived in the first half of the 3rd century B.C., and about a hundred of his epigrams have been preserved in the Greek Anthology. Most of his poems adhere to the traditional subjects of epigrams - epitaphs and dedications - and unlike Meleager he seems to have written very few love poems. For more information on Leonidas, see the introduction to "Asclepiades of Samos and Leonidas of Tarentum" by Jerry Clack ( Google Books ).

All of his surviving epigrams are shown here, in the order that they appear scattered throughout the 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: Hellenistic Epigrams". To go to a specific epigram in the Gow-Page edition, type the number in the box below, and hit [go].
  → (in range 1 - 103):  

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.

[5.188]   { G-P 92 }   G

It is not I who wrong Love. I am gentle, I call Cypris to witness ; but he shot me from a treacherous bow, and I am all being consumed to ashes. One burning arrow after another he speeds at me and not for a moment does his fire slacken. Now I, a mortal, shall avenge myself on the transgressor though the god be winged. Can I be blamed for self-defence ?

[5.206]   { G-P 43 }   G

Melo and Satyra, the daughters of Antigenides, now advanced in age, the willing work-women of the Muses, dedicate to the Pimpleian Muses, the one her swift-lipped flute and this its box-wood case, and Satyra, the friend of love, her pipe that she joined with wax, the evening companion of banqueters, the sweet whistler, with which all night long she waited to see the day dawn, fretting not because the portals would not open. *  

*   I suppose this is the meaning. She was hired by time and gained by the exclusion of the man who hired her

[6.4]   { G-P 52 }   G

Diophantus the fisherman, as is fit, dedicates to the patron of his craft these relics of his old calling: his hook, easily gulped down, his long poles, his line, his creels, this weel, device of sea-faring net-fishers, his sharp trident, weapon of Poseidon, and the two oars of his boat.

[6.13]   { G-P 46 }   G

Huntsman Pan, the three brothers dedicated these nets to you, each from a different chase : Pigres these from fowl, Damis these from beast, and Cleitor his from the denizens of the deep. In return for which, may you send them easily caught game, to the first through the air, to the second through the woods, and to the third through the shore-water.

[6.35]   { G-P 47 }   G

This skin did Teleson stretch on the woodland plane-tree, an offering to goat-hoofed Pan the goat-treader, and the crutched, well-pointed staff, with which he used to bring down red-eyed wolves, the cheese-pails, too, and the leash and collars of his keen-scented hounds.

[6.44]   { G-P 94 }   G

To the must-drinking Satyrs and to Bacchus the planter of the vine did Heronax consecrate these three casks of fresh wine filled from three vineyards, the first-fruits of his planting. We, having first poured what is right from them to purple Bacchus and the Satyrs, will drink more than the Satyrs.

[6.110]   { G-P 96 }   G


Cleolaus killed with his sharp spear, from his ambush under the hill, this hind by the winding water of Maeander, and nailed to the lofty pine the eight-pointed defence of its forehead.

[6.120]   { G-P 91 }   G

Not only do I know how to sing perched in the high trees, warm in the midsummer heat, making music for the wayfarer without payment, and feasting on delicate dew, but you shall see me too, the cicada, seated on helmeted Athene's spear. For as much as the Muses love me, I love Athene ; she, the maiden, is the author of the flute.

[6.129]   { G-P 34 }   G

Eight shields, *   eight helmets, eight woven coats of mail and as many blood-stained axes, these are the arms, spoil of the Lucanians, that Hagnon, son of Euanthes, the doughty fighter, dedicated to Coryphasian Athene.

*   θυρεοί were long oblong shields.

[6.130]   { G-P 95 }   G

The shields, spoils of the brave Gauls, did Molossian Pyrrhus hang here as a gift to Itonian Athene, after destroying the whole army of Antigonus. *   It is no great wonder ! Now, as of old, the sons of Aeacus are warriors.

*   See Plut:Pyrrh_26.

[6.131]   { G-P 35 }   G

These great shields won from the Lucanians, and the row of bridles, and the polished double-pointed spears are suspended here to Pallas, missing the horses and the men their masters ; but them black death hath devoured.

[6.154]   { G-P 97 }   G


Old Biton of Arcadia dedicated these things to rustic Pan, and Bacchus the reveller, and the Nymphs ; to Pan a newly born kid, its mother's play-fellow, to Bacchus a branch of vagrant ivy, to the Nymphs the varied bloom of shady Autumn and blood-red roses in full flower. In return for which, bless the old man's house with abundance - the Nymphs, of water, and Pan, of milk, and Bacchus, of grapes.

[6.188]   { G-P 4 }   G

Therimachus the Cretan suspended these his hare-staves to Lycaean Pan on the Arcadian cliff. But may you, country god, in return for his gift, direct aright the archer's hand in battle, and in the forest dells stand beside him on his right hand, giving him supremacy in the chase and supremacy over his foes.

[6.200]   { G-P 38 }   G

Eileithyia, at your glorious feet Ambrosia, saved from the bitter pangs of labour, laid her head-bands and her robe; because in the tenth month she brought forth the double fruit of her womb.

[6.202]   { G-P 1 }   G

Atthis hung over your virginal portals, O daughter of Leto, her tasselled girdle and this her frock, when you delivered her heavy womb of a live child.

[6.204]   { G-P 7 }   G

Theris, the cunning worker, on abandoning his craft, dedicates to Pallas his straight cubit-rule, his stiff saw with curved handle, his bright axe and plane, and his revolving gimlet.

[6.205]   { G-P 8 }   G

These are the tools of the carpenter Leontichus, the grooved file, the plane, rapid devourer of wood, the line and ochre-box, the hammer lying next them that strikes with both ends, the rule stained with ochre, the drill-bow and rasp, and this heavy axe with its handle, the president of the craft ; his revolving augers and quick gimlets too, and these four screwdrivers and his double-edged adze - all these on ceasing from his calling he dedicated to Athene who gives grace to work.

[6.211]   { G-P 2 }   G

Callicleia, her wish having been granted, dedicates in your porch, true Cypris, the silver statuette of Love, her anklet, the purple caul of her Lesbian hair, *   her pale-blue bosom-band, her bronze mirror, and the broad box-wood comb that gathered in her locks.

*   She was presumably from Lesbos. Its women were celebrated for their hair.

[6.221]   { G-P 53 }   G

Through the wintry night and driving hail, flying from the snow and bitter frost, a lion old and solitary and indeed stricken in all its limbs came to the fold of the goat-herds who haunt the cliffs. They, no longer anxious for their goats, but for themselves, sat calling on Zeus the Saviour. But the beast, the beast of the night, waiting till the storm was past, went away from the fold without hurting man or beast. To Pan the god of the mountain peaks they dedicated on this thick-stemmed oak this well-drawn picture of what befell them.

[6.226]   { G-P 87 }   G

This is Cleiton's little cottage, this his little strip of land to sow, and the scanty vineyard hard by, this is his patch of brushwood, but here Cleiton passed eighty years.

[6.262]   { G-P 48 }   G

The beast which wrought havoc on the flock and the cattle-pen and the herdsmen, and feared not the loud noise of the dogs, Eualces the Cretan slew while shepherding his flock at night, and hung on this pine.

[6.263]   { G-P 49 }   G

Sosus, rich in cattle, flayed this tawny lion, which he slew with his spear just as it had begun to devour the suckling calf, nor went it back from the sheep-fold to the wood. To the calf the brute transpierced paid blood for blood, and sorrowful to it was the murder it wrought.

[6.281]   { G-P 44 }   G

Great Mother, who watches over Dindyma and the hills of Burnt Phrygia, *   bring, O sovereign lady, little Aristodicē, Seilene's daughter, up to an age ripe for marriage and the hymn of Hymen, the due end of girlhood. For this, dancing at many a festival held in your courts and before your altar, she tossed this way and that her virgin hair.

*   A part of Phrygia with many vestiges of volcanic action was so called.

[6.286]   { G-P 40 }   G

The right end of the border, measuring a span and a whole palm, is the work of Bitto ; the other extremity was added by Antianeira, while Bitiē worked the girls and the Maeander *   in the middle. Artemis, fairest of the daughters of Zeus, take to your heart this piece of woven work which the three vied in making.

*   The actual river, not the pattern so called. See the next epigram.

[6.288]   { G-P 41 }   G

We, the industrious daughters of Lycomedes, Atheno, Meliteia, Phinto, and Glēnis, offer from the tithe of our work, as a gift to please you, a little part of the little we have in our poverty, the laborious spindle, the weaving-comb that passes between the threads of the warp, sweet songster of the loom, our round spools, our . . ., and our heavy weaving-blade. Fill our hands, Athene, ever after, and make us rich in meal instead of poor in meal.

[6.289]   { G-P 42 }   G

Autonoma, Melite, and Boïsciŏn, the three Cretan daughters of Philolaides and Nico, dedicated in this temple, O stranger, as a gift to Athene of the spool on ceasing from the labours of Athene, the first her thread-making ever-twirling spindle, the second her wool-basket that loves the night, and the third her weaving-comb, the industrious creator of raiment, that watched over the bed of Penelope.

[6.293]   { G-P 54 }   G

The staff and these slippers hang here, Cypris, the spoils won from Sochares the cynic ; his grimy oil-flask, too, and the remains of his wallet all in holes, stuffed full of ancient wisdom. They were dedicated here, on your begarlanded porch, by comely Rhodon, when he caught the all-wise greybeard.

[6.296]   { G-P 50 }   G

Sosippus gives to Hermes, now that he has swum through the greater part of his active life and the feebleness of old age fetters him, his securely fixed trap, his cane snares, his nets, this curved hare-club, his quiver, this quail-call, and the well-woven net for throwing over wild fowl.

[6.298]   { G-P 55 }   G

A wallet, a hard untanned goat-skin, this walking-stick, an oil-flask never scraped clean, a dog-skin purse without a copper in it, and the hat, the covering of his impious head, these are the spoils of Sochares that Famine hung on a tamarisk bush when he died.

[6.300]   { G-P 36 }   G

cp. Nos. 190, 191

Lathrian goddess, *   accept these offerings from Leonidas the wanderer, the pauper, the flour-less : rich barley-cakes, olives easy to store, and this green fig from the tree. Take, too, lady, these five grapes picked from a rich cluster, and this libation of the dregs of the cup. But if, as you have saved me from sickness so you save me from hateful penury, await a sacrifice of a kid.

*   Aphrodite is meant, as Nos. 190, 191 show, but the epithet is otherwise unknown.

[6.302]   { G-P 37 }   G

Out of my hut, O mice that love the dark ! Leonidas' poor meal-tub has not wherewith to feed mice. The old man is contented if he has salt and two barley-cakes. This is the life I have learnt to acquiesce in from my fathers. So why do you dig for treasure in that corner, you glutton, where you shall not taste even of the leavings of my dinner ? Haste and be off to other houses (here is but scanty fare), where you shall win greater store.

[6.305]   { G-P 56 }   G

To Gluttony and Voracity, the deities who love well flavoured sauces, did Dorieus who stinks of . . . dedicate these enormous Larissean boiling cauldrons, the pots and the wide-gaping cup, the well-wrought curved flesh-hook, the cheese-scraper, and the soup-stirrer. Gluttony, receive these evil gifts of an evil giver, and never grant him temperance.

[6.309]   { G-P 45 }   G

To Hermes Philocles here hangs up these toys of his boyhood : his noiseless ball, this lively boxwood rattle, his knuckle-bones he had such a mania for, and his spinning-top.

[6.334]   { G-P 3 }   G

Caves and holy hill of the Nymphs, and springs at the rock's foot, and you pine that stands by the water ; you square Hermes, *   son of Maia, guardian of the sheep, and you, Pan, lord of the peak where the goats pasture, graciously receive these cakes and the cup full of wine, the gifts of Neoptolemus of the race of Aeacus.

*   One of the well-known sculptures, consisting of a head on a rectangular base.

[6.355]   { G-P 39 }   G

His mother, being poor, gives Micythus' picture to Bacchus, poorly painted indeed. Bacchus, I pray you, exalt Micythus ; even if the gift be trumpery, it is all that simple poverty can offer.

[7.13]   { G-P 98 }   G


On Erinna

As Erinna, the maiden honey-bee, the new singer in the poets' choir, was gathering the flowers of the Muses, Hades carried her off to wed her. That was a true word, indeed, the girl spoke when she lived : "Hades, you are an envious god."

[7.19]   { G-P 57 }   G

On Alcman

Alcman the graceful, the swan-singer of wedding hymns, who made music worthy of the Muses, lieth in this tomb, a great ornament to Sparta, or perhaps at the last he threw off his burden and went to Hades. *

*   The last couplet is quite obscure as it stands.

[7.35]   { G-P 99 }   G

On Pindar

Congenial to strangers and dear to his countrymen was this man, Pindar, the servant of the sweet-voiced Muses.

[7.67]   { G-P 59 }   G

On Diogenes

Mournful servant of Hades, who traverse in your dark boat this water of Acheron, receive me, Diogenes the Dog, even though your gruesome vessel is overloaded with spirits of the dead. My luggage is but a flask, and a wallet, and my old cloak, and the obol that pays the passage of the departed. All that was mine in life I bring with me to Hades, and have left nothing beneath the sun.

[7.163]   { G-P 70 }   G

A. "Who are you, who is your father, O lady lying under the column of Parian marble ? "   B. " Praxo, daughter of Calliteles." A. "And your country?"   B. "Samos." A. "Who laid you to rest?".   B. "Theocritus to whom my parents gave me in marriage." A. "And how did you die?"   B. "In childbirth." A. "How old?"   B. "Twenty-two." A. "Childless then?"   B. "No! I left behind my three year old Calliteles." A. "May he live and reach a ripe old age."   B. "And to you, stranger, may Fortune give all good things."

[7.173]   ; { G-P Diotimus_10 }   G


Of themselves in the evening the cattle came home to byre from the hill through the heavy snow. But Therimachus, alas ! sleeps the long sleep under the oak. The fire of heaven laid him to rest.

[7.190]   ; { G-P Anyte_20 }   G


For her locust, the nightingale of the fields, and her cicada that rests on the trees one tomb hath little Myro made, shedding girlish tears ; for inexorable Hades hath carried off her two pets.

[7.198]   { G-P 21 }   G

Wayfarer, though the tombstone that surmounts my grave seems small and almost on the ground, blame not Philaenis. Me, her singing locust, that used to walk on thistles, a thing that looked like a straw, she loved and cherished for two years, because I made a melodious noise. And even when I was dead she cast me not away, but built this little monument of my varied talent.

[7.264]   { G-P 60 }   G

A good voyage to all who travel on the sea ; but let him who looses his cable from my tomb, if the storm carries him like me to the haven of Hades, blame not the inhospitable deep, but his own daring.

[7.266]   { G-P 61 }   G

I am the tomb of the shipwrecked Diocles. Alas for the daring of those who start from here, loosing their cable from me !

[7.273]   { G-P 62 }   G

The fierce and sudden squall of the south-east wind, and the night and the waves that Orion at his dark setting *   arouses were my ruin, and I, Callaeschrus, glided out of life as I sailed the middle of the Libyan deep. I myself am lost, whirled hither and thither in the sea a prey to fishes, and it is a liar, this stone that rests on my grave.

*   Early in November.

[7.283]   { G-P 63 }   G

Why, roaring sea, did you not cast me up, Phyleus, son of Amphimenes, when I came to a sad end, far away from the bare beach, so that even wrapped in the evil mist of Hades I might not be near to you ?

[7.295]   { G-P 20 }   G

Theris, the old man who got his living from his lucky weels, who rode on the sea more than a gull, the preyer on fishes, the seine-hauler, the prober of crevices in the rocks, who sailed not on a many-oared ship, in spite of all did not owe his end to Arcturus, *   nor did any tempest drive to death his many decades, but he died in his reed hut, going out like a lamp of his own accord owing to his length of years. This tomb was not set up by his children or wife, but by the guild of his fellow fishermen.

*   i.e. the season of Arcturus' setting, September.

[7.316]   { G-P 100 }   G


Pass by my monument, neither greeting me, nor asking who I am and whose son. Otherwise may you never reach the end of the journey you are on, and if you pass by in silence, not even then may you reach the journey's end.

[7.408]   { G-P 58 }   G

Go quietly by the tomb, lest ye awake the malignant wasp that lies asleep ; for only just has it been laid to rest, the spite of Hipponax that snarled even at his parents. Have a care then ; for his verses, red from the fire, have power to hurt even in Hades.

[7.422]   { G-P 22 }   G

What shall we conjecture about you, Peisistratus, when we see a Chian die carved on your tomb? *   Shall we not say that you were a Chian? That seems probable. Or shall we say that you were a gamester and not a particularly lucky one, my friend ? Or are we still far from the truth, and was your life's light put out by Chian wine ? Yes, I think now we are near it.

*   The worst cast of the dice was called Chian.

[7.440]   { G-P 11 }   G

O tomb, what a man was he, the dead whose bones you hide in the night : O earth, what a head you have engulfed ! Very pleasing was Aristocrates to the flaxen-haired Graces ; much is his memory treasured by all. Aristocrates could converse sweetly, [without a frown, and over the wine] *   he could guide well the convivial flow of talk; and well he knew how to confer kindness on compatriots and strangers. Such, beloved earth, is the dead whom you hold.

*   The bracketed verses which I render only summarily are supplied by Planudes and probably not genuine.

[7.448]   { G-P 12 }   G

The tomb is that of Protalidas of Lycastus who was supreme in love, war, the chase and the dance. Ye judges of the underworld, yourselves Cretans, you have taken the Cretan to your company.

[7.449]   { G-P 13 }   G

-- Anonymous   {perhaps by Leonidas}

Love gave to Protalidas success in the pursuit of his boy loves, Artemis in the chase, the Muse in the dance and Ares in war. Must we not call him blest, the Lycastian supreme in love and song, with the spear and the hunting-net!

[7.452]   { G-P 67 }   G

Remember temperate Eubulus, ye passers-by. Let us drink, we all end in the haven of Hades.

[7.455]   { G-P 68 }   G

Wine-bibbing old Maronis, the jar-drier, lies here, and on her tomb, clear to all, stands an Attic cup. She laments beneath the earth not for her husband and children whom she left in indigence, but solely because the cup is empty.

[7.463]   { G-P 69 }   G

This is Timocleia, this is Philo, this is Aristo, this is Timaetho, the daughters of Aristodicus, all dead in childbirth. Their father Aristodicus died after erecting this monument to them.

[7.466]   { G-P 71 }   G

O unhappy Anticles, and I most unhappy who have laid on the pyre my only son in the bloom of his youth ! At eighteen you did perish, my child, and I weep and bewail my old age bereft of you. Would 1 could go to the shadowy house of Hades ! Nor dawn nor the rays of the swift sun are sweet to me. Unhappy Anticles, gone to your doom, be the healer of my mourning by taking me away from life to you.

[7.472]   { G-P 77 }   G

O man, infinite was the time before you came to the light, and infinite will be the time to come in Hades. What is the portion of life that remains to you, but a pin-prick, or if there be aught tinier than a pin-prick? A little life and a sorrowful is yours ; for even that little is not sweet, but more odious than death the enemy. Men built as you are, of such a frame of bones, why do you lift yourselves up to the air and the clouds? See, man, how little use it is ; for at the end of the thread, a worm seated on the loosely woven vesture reduces it to a thing like a skeleton leaf, a thing more hateful than a cobweb. *   Enquire of yourself at the dawn of every day, O man, what your strength is and learn to lie low, content with a simple life; ever remembering in your heart, as long as you dwell among the living, from what stalks of straw you are pieced together.

*   The epigram was doubtless written under a figure of a skeleton. Lines 11, 12 are corrupt and the sense uncertain.

[7.472b]   { G-P 76 }   G

Avoid the storms of life and come to the haven, to Hades, as I, Pheidon the son of Critas, did.

[7.478]   { G-P 73 }   G

Whoever can you be ? Whose poor bones are these that remain exposed beside the road in a coffin half open to the light, the mean tomb and monument ever scraped by the axle and wheel of the traveller's coach ? Soon the carriages will crush your ribs, poor wretch, and none to shed a tear for you.

[7.480]   { G-P 74 }   G

Already, Sir, my bones and the slab that lies on my skeleton are exposed and crushed, already the worms are visible, looking out of my coffin. What avails it to clothe ourselves with earth ; for men travelling over my head have opened here a road untrodden before. But I conjure you by the infernal powers, Pluto, Hermes and Night, keep clear of this path.

[7.503]   { G-P 64 }   G

A. "O stone standing a burden on the ancient beach, tell me whom you hold, whose son and whence."   B. " Phinton the son of Bathycles of Hermione, who perished in the heavy sea, encountering the blast of Arcturus." *  

*   i.e. a September gale.

[7.504]   { G-P 66 }   G

Parmis, Callignotus' son, the shore-fisher, a first class hand at catching wrasse and scarus and the perch, greedy seizer of the bait, and all fish that live in crevices and on rocky bottoms, met his death by biting a rock-dwelling iulis *   from his first catch of the day, a fish he lifted from the sea for his destruction ; for slipping from his fingers, it went wriggling down his narrow gullet. So breathed he his last, rolling over in agony, near his lines, rod, and hooks, fulfilling the doom the destinies spun for him, and Gripon the fisherman built him this tomb.

*   Now called yilos, not a wrasse, but a small, rather prickly rock-fish.

[7.506]   { G-P 65 }   G

I am buried both on land and in the sea ; this is the exceptional fate of Tharsys, son of Charmides. For diving to loosen the anchor, which had become fixed, I descended into the Ionian sea ; the anchor I saved, but as I was returning from the depths and already reaching out my hands to the sailors, I was eaten ; so terrible and great a monster of the deep came and gulped me down as far as the navel. The half of me, a cold burden, the sailors drew from the sea, but the shark bit off the other half. On this beach, good Sir, they buried the vile remains of Tharsys, and I never came home to my country.

[7.648]   { G-P 10 }   G

Good Aristocrates, as he was taking ship for Acheron, resting his doomed head on his hand, said: "Let every man seek to have children and get him a wife, even if miserable poverty pinch him. Let him support his life with pillars ; a house without pillars is ill to look on. Nay ! what is best, may the room where his hearth is have many fair columns, and shining with the luxury of many lights, illumine the log that burns on the hearth." *   Aristocrates knew what was best, but, O man, he hated the evil-mindedness of women.

*   Lines 6-8 are somewhat obscure. Children seem to be meant by the lights as well as by the pillars or columns.

[7.652]   { G-P 15 }   G

O booming sea, why did you rise in angry storm, and striking with a huge wave send headlong to the deep, cargo and all, Teleutagoras, son of Timares, as he sailed in his little ship? He, lying somewhere dead on the broad beach, is bewailed over by terns and fish-eating gulls, and Timares, looking on his son's empty tear-bedewed tomb, weeps for his child Teleutagoras.

[7.654]   { G-P 16 }   G

The Cretans are ever brigands and pirates, and never just; who ever heard of the justice of a Cretan? So they were Cretans who threw me unhappy Timolytus into the sea, when I was travelling with no very rich cargo. I am bewailed by the seagulls, and there is no Timolytus in this tomb.

[7.655]   { G-P 17 }   G

A little dust of the earth is enough for me, and may a rich and useless monument, a weight hard for the dead to bear, crush some other man in his rest. What is that to Alexander, son of Calliteles, if they know who I am or not, now that I am dead ?

[7.656]   { G-P 18 }   G

Salute, Sir, this little mound and modest monument of hapless Alcimenes, though it be all overgrown by the sharp buckthorn and brambles on which I, Alcimenes, once waged war.

[7.657]   { G-P 19 }   G

O shepherds, who roam over this mountain ridge feeding your goats and fleecy sheep, do, in the name of Earth, a little kindness, but a pleasant one, to Cleitagoras, for the sake of Persephone underground. May the sheep bleat to me, and the shepherd seated on the unhewn rock pipe soft notes to them as they feed, and may the villager in early spring gather meadow flowers and lay a garland on my grave. May one of you bedew it with the milk of a ewe, mother of pretty lambs, holding her udder up and wetting the edge of the tomb. There are ways, I assure you, even among the dead of returning a favour done to the departed.

[7.658]   { G-P Theocritus_7 }   G


I shall discover, wayfarer, if you honour more the good, or if a worthless man is equally esteemed by you. In the first case you will say, "All hail to this tomb because it lies light on the holy head of Eurymedon."

[7.660]   { G-P Theocritus_12 }   G

Stranger, a Syracusan named Orthon gives you this warning : "Never go out drunk on a winter night." For that was what caused my death, and instead of resting in my ample country I lie clothed in foreign soil.

[7.661]   { G-P Theocritus_10 }   G

The tomb is that of Eusthenes the sophist, who was a reader of character, skilled in discovering our thought from our eyes. Well did his companions bury him, a stranger in a strange land, and among them was a poet marvellously dear to him. So the sophist, although he was feeble, had those who took care that he should have on his death all proper honour.

[7.662]   { G-P Theocritus_9 }   G

The girl is gone to Hades before her time in her seventh year, before all her many playmates, hapless child, longing for her little brother, who twenty months old tasted of loveless death. Alas Peristera *   for your sad fate ! How Heaven has decreed that the very path of men should be sown with calamities !

*   "Little dove".

[7.663]   { G-P Theocritus_11 }   G

Little Medeus made this tomb by the wayside for his Thracian nurse, and inscribed it with the name of Cleita. She will have her reward for nursing the boy Why ? She is still called "useful" ! *  

*   This epithet is occasionally found on the tombs of slaves.

[7.665]   { G-P 14 }   G

Trust not in the length or depth of the ship you voyage in ; one wind lords it over every keel. One blast destroyed Promachus, and one huge wave dashed him into the trough of the sea. Yet Heaven was not entirely unkind to him, but he got funeral and a tomb in his own country by the hands of his own people, since the rude sea cast out his body on the expanse of the beach.

[7.715]   { G-P 93 }   G

Far from the Italian land I lie, far from my country Tarentum, and this is bitterer to me than death. Such is the life of wanderers, ill to live; but the Muses loved me and instead of sourness sweets are mine. The name of Leonidas hath not sunk into oblivion, but the gifts of the Muses proclaim it to the end of days.

[7.719]   { G-P 9 }   G

I am the tomb of Tellen, *   and under ground I hold the old man, who was the first to learn how to compose comic songs.

*   Tellen (4th century B.C.) was by profession a flute-player. Of his comic productions we know nothing.

[7.726]   { G-P 72 }   G

Old Platthis often repelled from herself her evening and morning sleep, keeping poverty away, and near the door of grey old age used to sing a tune to her spindle and familiar distaff. Still by the loom until the dawn she revolved in company with the Graces that long task of Pallas, or, a loveable figure, smoothed with her wrinkled hand on her wrinkled knee the thread sufficient for the loom. Aged eighty years comely Platthis who wove so well set eyes on the lake of Acheron.

[7.731]   { G-P 78 }   G

"I am already supported only on a stick, like a vine on a stake ; Death calls me to Hades. Stop not your ears, Gorgus. What further pleasure do you have in basking in the sun yet for three or four summers ?" So speaking in no braggart strain the old man cast away his life and settled in the abode of the greater number.

[7.736]   { G-P 33 }   G

Vex not yourself, O man, leading a vagrant life, rolled from one land to another. Do not vex yourself if you have a little hut to cover you, warmed by a little fire, if you have a poor cake of no fine meal kneaded by your hands in a stone trough, if you have mint or thyme for a relish or even coarse salt not unsweetened.

[7.740]   { G-P 75 }   G

I am the stone that rests on Crethon and makes known his name, but Crethon is ashes underground, he who once vied with Gyges in wealth, who was lord of many herds and flocks, who was - why need I say more ? he who was blessed by all. Alas, what a little share of his vast lands is his !

[9.24]   { G-P 30 }   G

As the burning sun, rolling his chariot-wheels, dims the stars and the holy circle of the moon, so Homer, holding on high the Muses' brightest torch, makes faint the glory of all the flock of singers.

[9.25]   { G-P 101 }   G

This is the book of learned Aratus, whose subtle mind explored the long-lived stars, both the fixed stars and the planets with which the bright revolving heaven is set. Let us praise him for the great task at which he toiled ; let us count him second to Zeus, in that he made the stars brighter.

[9.99]   { G-P 32 }   G

The nanny-goat's nimble, bearded spouse once in a vineyard nibbled all the tender leaves of a vine. The vine spoke thus to him from the ground : " Cut close with your jaws, accursed beast, my fruitful branches ; my stem is entire, and shall again send forth sweet nectar enough to serve as a libation for you, goat, when you are sacrificed." *  

*   cp. No. 75.

[9.179]   { G-P 28 }   G


Who carved of frankincense the bowman Love, him who of old spared not Zeus himself? At length he stands a mark for Hephaestus, *   Love who ne'er deserved to be seen suffering aught else but consumption in the flames.

*   i.e. he runs the risk of being burnt as frankincense.

[9.316]   { G-P 27 }   G

O you who pass along this road, whether you are going from town to the fields or returning to the city from the country, we two gods here are the guardians of the boundary. I, as you see me, am Hermes, and this other fellow is Heracles. *   We both are gracious to mortals, but to each other - save the mark ! If anyone offers a dish of wild pears to both of us, he bolts them. Yes, and indeed, likewise grapes ; whether they are ripe ones or any quantity of sour ones, he stows them away. I detest this method of going shares, and get no pleasure from it. Let whoever brings us anything serve it separately to each of us and not to both, saying, "This is for you, Heracles," and again, "This is for Hermes." So he might make up our quarrel.

*   The "term" set up on the boundary of the city and country (cp. Plat. Hipparch. 228 d.) had on one side the face of Hermes and on the other that of Heracles.

[9.318]   { G-P 80 }   G

Dear Hermes, whose are this hillside rich in fennel and chervil, and this goat-pasture ? Be kind both to the gatherer of herbs and to the goatherd, and you shall have your share of both the herbs and the milk.

[9.320]   { G-P 24 }   G

Eurotas said once to Cypris, " Either arm yourself or go out of Sparta. The town has a craze for arms." She smiled gently and replied, " I will both remain always unarmed and continue to dwell in the land of Lacedaemon." Our Cypris is unarmed as elsewhere, and these are shameless writers who declare that with us even the goddess bears arms. *  

*   There undoubtedly was an armed Aphrodite at Sparta, and it is difficult to see the exact point of this epigram.

[9.322]   { G-P 25 }   G

These spoils are not mine. Who hung this unwelcome gift on the walls of Ares ? Undamaged are the helmets, unstained by blood the polished shields, and unbroken the frail spears. My whole face reddens with shame, and the sweat, gushing from my forehead, bedews my breast. Such ornaments are for a lady's bower, or a banqueting-hall, or a court, or a bridal chamber. But blood-stained be the charioteer's spoils that deck the temple of Ares ; in those I take delight.

[9.326]   { G-P 5 }   G

Hail, O cold stream that leaps down from the cloven rock, and you images of the Nymphs carved by a shepherd's hand ! Hail, O drinking troughs and your thousand little dolls, *   you Maidens of the spring, that lie drenched in its waters ! All hail ! And I, Aristocles the wayfarer, give you this cup which I dipped in your stream to quench my thirst.

*   Otherwise called korokosmia, votive images of the Nymphs. cp. Plat. Phaedr. 230 b.

[9.329]   { G-P 6 }   G

O water Nymphs, children of Dorus, water diligently this garden of Timocles, for to you, Maidens, doth the gardener Timocles bring ever in their season gifts from this garden.

[9.335]   { G-P 26 }   G

The two statues, wayfarer, are the gift of the woodman Miccalion ; but look, Hermes, how the excellent woodman from his wretched calling yet managed to give gifts. The good man is always good.

[9.337]   { G-P 29 }   G

Good sport ! you who come to the foot of this two-peaked hill, whether hunting the hare or in pursuit of winged game. Call on me, Pan the ranger of this forest, from the rock, for I help both hounds and limed reeds to capture.

[9.563]   { G-P 102 }   G

If you find anywhere Democritus the lover of fruit, give him, Sir, this light message : that this is my season, the white-fruited fig-tree, and I bear for him the bread that wants no baking. Let him make haste, for my position is not secure, if he would pluck the fruit from my branches before they are stoned.

[9.719]   { G-P 88 }   G

On Myron's Statue of a Heifer

Myron did not mould me ; he lied ; but driving me from the herd where I was feeding, he fixed me to a stone base.

[9.744]   { G-P 82 }   G

The goatherds Soson and Simalus, rich in goats, stranger, seeing that they come from . . . dense with lentiscs, dedicated here to Hermes, the giver of cheeses and milk, this brazen, bearded goat, the lord of the flock.

[10.1]   { G-P 85 }   G

It is the season for sailing ; already the chattering swallow has come, and the pleasant Zephyr, and the meadows bloom, and the sea with its boiling waves lashed by the rough winds has sunk to silence. Weigh the anchors and loose the hawsers, mariner, and sail with every stitch of canvas set. This, O man, I, Priapus, the god of the harbour, bid you do so that you may sail for all kinds of merchandise.

[16.171]   { G-P 103 }   G


On Armed Aphrodite

Why, Cythereia, have you put on these arms of Ares, bearing this useless weight ? For when you were naked you disarmed Ares himself, and if a god has been vanquished by you it is in vain that you take up arms against mortals.

[16.182]   { G-P 23 }   G

On the Aphrodite Anadyomene of Apelles

Apelles having seen Cypris, the giver of marriage blessing, just escaped from her mother's bosom and still wet with bubbling foam, figured her in her most delightful loveliness, not painted, but alive. With beautiful grace doth she wring out her hair with her finger-tips, beautifully does calm love flash from her eyes, and her breasts, the heralds of her prime, are firm as quinces. Athena herself and the consort of Zeus shall say, "O Zeus, we are worsted in the judgment."

[16.190]   { G-P 81 }   G

On a Statue of Hermes

Morichus the goatherd set me up, Hermes the overseer, to be the approved guardian of his fold. But, O nannies who have taken your fill of green herbage on the mountains, do not have any care now about the ravening wolf.

[16.206]   { G-P 89 }   G


On the Eros of Praxiteles

The Thespians venerate Love, the son of Cythereia, alone amongst the gods, and not Love copied from any other model, but the god whom Praxiteles knew, seeing whom in Phryne he gave him to her as the ransom of his desire.

[16.230]   { G-P 86 }   G

Traveller, drink not here in the solitude this warm water so full of mud from the torrent, but go a little farther over this hill whereon the heifers are grazing, and by the shepherds' pine there you will find a fountain bubbling up through the generous rock, colder than the snow from the north.

[16.236]   { G-P 83 }   G

On a Statue of Priapus

Here on the garden wall did Dinomenes set me up, wakeful Priapus, to guard his greens. But look, thief, how excited I am. And is this, you say, all for the sake of a few greens? For the sake of these few.

[16.261]   { G-P 84 }   G

On Priapus

I, Priapus, stand as a guardian at the meeting of the roads, my club standing straight out from my thighs. For Theocritus set me up to serve him faithfully. But keep your distance, Sir thief, lest you weep, receiving the thing you see.

[16.306]   { G-P 31 }   G

On a Statue of Anacreon

Look at old Anacreon, loaded profusely with wine, in a distorted attitude on the rounded basis. See how the greybeard, with a swimming leer in his amorous eyes, trails the robe that descends to his ankles. As one stricken by wine he has lost one of his two shoes, but in the other his wrinkled foot is fast. He is singing either of lovely Bathyllus or of Megisteus, holding uplifted in his hand his lovelorn lyre. But, father Dionysus, guard him ; it is not right that the servant of Bacchus should fall by the hand of Bacchus.

[16.307]   { G-P 90 }   G

On the Same

Look how old Anacreon stumbles from drunkenness and trails the mantle that falls down to his feet. In spite of all he keeps one of his slippers on, but has lost the other. Striking his lyre, he sings either of Bathyllus or beautiful Megisteus. Save the old man, Bacchus, from falling.

[ - ]   { G-P 51 }

Ἀκρωρίτᾳ Πανὶ καὶ ἐνπα . . . Νύμφαις
Γλῆνις ὁ συνγείτνων δῶρα κυνηγεσίης
ταύτην τε προτομὰν καὶ . . .
βύρσαν καὶ ῥοθίους τούσδ' ἀνέθηκε πόδας.
Πὰν ὦ καὶ Νύμφαι, τὸν . . . ἀγρευτῆρα
Γλῆνιν ἀεξήσαιθ' ἀιεδ . . .

Translated by D.L.Page:

To Pan of Acroria and the . . Nymphs, neighbour Glenis dedicated gifts from the chase:- this head and . . . hide and these swift feet. O Pan, O Nymphs, prosper the clever hunter Glenis . . . !

[ - ]   { G-P 79 }

εὔθυμος ὢν ἔρεσσε τὴν ἐπ' Ἄιδος
ἀταρπὸν ἕρπον, οὐ γάρ ἐστι δύσβατος
οὐδὲ σκαληνὸς οὐδ' ἐνίπλειος πλάνης,
ἰθεῖα δ' ᾗ μάλιστα καὶ κατακλινής
ἅπασα, κἠκ μεμυκότων ὁδεύεται.

Translated by J.Whitall:

Take gladly the path that leads to Hades, for it is not hard to follow, being neither uneven nor winding, but straight throughout and sloping all the way; it may even be travelled with the eyes shut.

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