From my diary

I’ve been trying to think of an Arabic text which would be suitable for a beginner to translate.  No luck so far, mainly because I am so busy.

An email tells me that the old translation of Macrobius, Saturnalia has arrived at my local library.  I look forward to perusing that!

I’ve written to Francesca Schironi, author of To Mega Biblion, which I discussed last week, asking if she has any ideas about papyri that preserve the start and end of books of the multi-volume Greek histories.  Those would surely be interesting to see.

A little time this evening I spent reading chunks of the Fabulae of Hyginus (late 1st century BC), a schoolboy abbreviation of the original, which gives us much on Greek myth.  An English translation may be found here, although the level of interest is low.  One of the more interesting entries is 221, on the Seven Sages:

[221] CCXXI. SEVEN WISE MEN

Pittacus of Mitylene, Periander of Corinth, Thales of Miletus, Solon of Athens, Chilon of Sparta, Cleobulus of Lindus, Bias of Priene. Their sayings are as follows:
Moderation is best, says Cleobulus of Lindus;
Everything should be carefully studied, comes from Periander of Ephyre;
Know thy opportunity, says Pittacus of Mitylene;
Bias, he of Priene, avers that most men are bad:
and Thales of Miletus says: Suretyship is the precursor of ruin;
Know thyself, says Chilon, sprung from Lacedaemon;
and Cecropian Solon enjoins: Nothing in excess.

The association of these people with sayings, even at this date, is interesting.  Sayings literature blossoms during the imperial and Byzantine periods, and legends of the Seven Sages with it.

I gather that this text is yet another one that only just survived.  Apparently a single manuscript made it to the renaissance, only to be dismembered at the printer.

It’s a busy time of year.  Expect sporadic posting!

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