A daguerreotype of the Roman forum from 1842

A kind correspondent has drawn my attention to an article in the New York Times, on an exhibition of daguerreotypes.  These were early photographs which possessed a 3-D quality hard to reproduce today.  The Metropolitan Museum in New York possesses a collection taken by Frenchman Girault de Prangey (1804-1892).  They were all taken in 1842, shortly after Daguerre invented photography, and must be some of the first photographs of everything they depict.  All are of great value.  For instance they include a photograph of the old palace of the Tuileries, destroyed in 1870.

The image that concerns us here is possibly the first photograph of what it depicts.  It’s the Roman forum, viewed from the Palatine hill.  Is that the Arch of Septimus Severus there in centre right?  I wish we had the same view in a modern photograph, for comparison!  (I looked but was unsuccessful).

Here it is:

Marvelous to see this!  Of course this is Papal Rome.  The Victor Emmanuel monument has yet to be built.  The demolitions of Mussolini have yet to take place.

The NYT article is well worth a read.

UPDATE:  A kind correspondent has pointed out that the NY Times has printed the image back to front!  Flipped it looks like this:

with the ramp up to the capitoline in the left.  He also sent in a Google maps view:

My mistake!

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 1 (part 6)

Continuing…

13. At that time people spoke only one language and one dialect.  Some say that they spoke Syriac, others instead that they spoke Hebrew, and others that they spoke Greek. For me the latter are more reliable, because the Greek language is much more vigorous, richer and more varied than both Syriac and Hebrew (44). Seventy-two of them gathered together and said: “Let us build a city and gird it with walls, and erect in it a tower that reaches up to heaven, because if one day there is a flood we will be protected”.  For three years they made crude bricks and put them to bake.  Each brick was thirteen cubits long, ten wide and five high.  Then they built a city between Sūr and Bābil.  The city was three hundred and thirteen bā‘ long (45) and it was a hundred and fifty-one bā‘ wide.  The height of the wall was five thousand five hundred and thirty-three bā‘ and its thickness thirty-three bā‘.  The tower was ten thousand bā‘ tall.  They built it in forty years.  While they were still intent on building, God sent them an angel (46) from heaven who confused their tongues and altered their language, so that when one spoke to another he could not understand what he was saying.  That place was called Babil because it was there that the languages ​​became confused, and it was from there that they spread out across the land.  Forty-six years had passed since the birth of Fāliq.

Of those seventy-two men, twenty-five belonged to the Banū Sām.  They lived from the Euphrates and Mosul as far as the Far East, and from them came the Syrians, the inhabitants of Diyār Rabī‘a and Mesopotamia, the Garāmiqa, the Chaldeans, i.e. the inhabitants of Bābil, those of Fāris, of Khurāsān, of Farghāna, of  Sind, of India, of the peninsula as-Sin, the Hebrews, the inhabitants of Yemen, of at-Tā’if, of al-Yamāma, of Bahrayn and the different Arab lineages.  They have eight forms of writing: Hebrew, Syriac, Persian, Indian, Chaldean, which is the Babylonian writing, Chinese, Himyarite and Arabic. The Sāmites touched, out of the great watercourses, the Euphrates and the Balikh river.

Of those [seventy-two men], thirty-two belonged to the Banū Hām.  They inhabited Syria – also called the land of Kan‘ān because Hām had a son named Kan‘ān – up to the extreme West and there are derived from them the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Egyptians, the Copts, the Mans (47), the lineages of Sūdān, Abyssinia, Nubia, the Bugāhs (48), the Zang, the Zutt, the inhabitants of Qarrān, the Samaritans, the Zābig, the Maghrebins and the Berbers.  They have twenty-six islands, including Sardinia (49), Malta and Crete, and a part of the island of Cyprus and others. They have six forms of writing: Egyptian, Nubian, Ethiopian, farangis (50), Punic and qunquli (51).  The Hāmites touched,  out of the great watercourses, the Nile.

Of those [seventy-two men], fifteen belonged to the Banū Yāfit.[1]  They lived from the Tigris to the far north and there are derived from them the Turks, the Bağnāk, the Tugharghar, the Tubt, the inhabitants of Yāğūg, of Māğūğ, of Khazar, of Lān, the Anğāz, the Sanābirah (52), the inhabitants of Ğarzān, the inhabitants of Great and Little Armenia, of Hawrān, of Antioch, of al-Khālidiyyah, of Paphlagonia, of Cappadocia, of Kharshana, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Russians, the Daylamites, the Bulgarians, the Slavs, the Lombards, the Franks, the Galsatīn and the Spaniards. They have twelve islands, including Rhodes, Sicily, Cyprus, Samos and others. They have six forms of writing: Greek, Roman, Armenian, Spanish, Frankish and ğurzāni. Of the great watercourses, the Yāfitites touched the Tigris.  From the deluge to the construction of the tower and the confusion of languages five hundred and seventy-eight years had passed, and from Adam to the construction of the tower two thousand eight hundred and thirty-four.

14. At one hundred and thirty Fāliq had Rāghū (53) and he was thirty when Qīnān died in the month of Ab, i.e. Misrà, at the age of four hundred and thirty years.  Fāliq lived in all three hundred and thirty-nine years.  At the age of one hundred and thirty two years Rāghū had Shārū‘ (54). In his day men worshiped idols and everyone worshiped and venerated what he liked (55). Some worshiped the sky, others worshiped the sun, others the moon, others the stars, others the birds, others the earth, others the beasts, others the rivers, others the trees and others the mountains (56).  There were those who made themselves an idol in the likeness of their father, mother and those whom they loved more than others and filled with favours, and when one of them died, they adored him and made him a god (57).  Others made idols of gold, silver, stone, or wood.  The inhabitants of Egypt, Bāhil, and Ifrangis and the inhabitants of the coasts began to do this.  In another text they are said to be only imitators.  It is also said that the origin of the worship of idols goes back to the custom that they had, of placing on the tomb of a dead person an idol similar to him so that they did not forget his memory. So it was that the earth was filled with idols made in the image of men, women and children (58).  At that time a rich man died, having a son who made an idol in the image of his father and placed it on his grave, placing his servant as guardian.  But the thieves came and stole everything the young man had at home.  The young man rushed to his father’s grave and began to cry and moan at that golden idol just as if he was complaining to his father. The devil spoke to him from the belly of the idol and said to him: “Do not cry. Instead, bring your youngest child here and offer him as a sacrifice. Then bathe in his blood and I will give you back everything you had”.  The young man left and returned with his son, slaughtered him in front of the idol and bathed in his blood. The demon then came out of the idol and entered the young man and taught him magic and incantations.  It was from that time that men began to sacrifice their children to demons and to practice magic (59).

 

 

  1. [1]i.e. Japeth, obviously.

A couple of thoughts on translations of Juvenal

A kind correspondent sent me the introduction to the 2004 new Loeb edition of Juvenal.  I warmed to the translator (Susanna Braund) on the first page of the preface:

My aim in translating the Satires of Juvenal and Persius for the Loeb Classical Library has been to produce a translation that is vivid and vigorous and accessible, without compromising accuracy to the Latin text.  Ramsay’s 1918 Loeb translation has lasted remarkably well, but it is clearly time to update it and to incorporate advances in scholarship since then.

One central difficulty of preparing a translation which is designed for a long shelf life is that of contemporary idiom. There is no doubt that when we look back at translations of Juvenal that were in vogue in the 1960s, such as those of Rolfe Humphries (1958), Hubert Creekmore (1963), Jerome Mazzaro (1965), Charles Plumb (1968), and above all Peter Green’s 1967 Penguin, they seem very dated, not just because of their covers, but because they indulge too much in ephemeral expressions.

I have tried to strike a balance between their strategy of trendiness and the clumsiness that results from trying to reproduce the structures of an inflected language like Latin in a largely uninflected language like English.

The praise of Ramsay indicates good taste.

I also possess two modern translations; that of Rudd, and that of Green.  The comment on Green’s Penguin translation explained much that repelled me about it.

A little further on she says:

My aim has been to produce the most plausible text and translation of Persius and Juvenal, while making it possible for the reader to identify textual cruces that might affect interpretation.

In terms of translations, there were four stalwarts beside me throughout my work on Juvenal Ramsay ‘s 1918 Loeb, Niall Rudd’s translation for Oxford World’s Classics (1991), Steven Robinson’s idiosyncratic 1983 translation from Carcanet Press, and an old and lasting favourite of mine, the Rev. J. D. Lewis’ prose translation of 1873, my copy of which I purchased in 1975, just after I completed my BA, at a bookshop in Hay-on-Wye. John Henderson’s lively rendition of Satire 8 (1997) also proved provocative.

Both the Penguin and the OWC translations are still available.  Both feature repellent covers.  Penguin print an image from Pompeii of a sad-faced woman being groped, while OWC go a stage further with a truly loathsome Aubrey Beardsley drawing.  I was glad to remove both from my shelves.

The Green translation preface opens in the following remarkable way:

It is almost exactly thirty years since I finished the original edition of this book. That is a good life for the average translation. Times change, as the old anonymous tag reminds us, and we certainly change with them. I have a vivid memory of working on Juvenal’s later satires in smoky winter tavernas on Lesbos, or between spells of Aegean spear-fishing: my old tattered sandy-brown copy of Knoche’s 1950 text still carries a faint tang of sea-salt, faded stains of country wine and what was once the best olive-oil in Europe. By lucky accident my family and I missed the Anglo-American Sixties, and got by far the better of the bargain. I was then a free-lance writer and translator. I was also thin, deeply tanned, muscular, and as healthy as I have ever been. My classical training at Cambridge had put down roots in the here-and-now of Hellenic soil, and was infinitely improved by the change. A natural outsider, I had found my proper fulcrum, and was ready to shift the world. Juvenal – another outsider – and I got together at just the right time. My translation was energetic, impertinent, modernist, and took risks I would never have taken, then, as an academic.

It was also, of course, despite our being out of the Anglo-American loop, a quintessentially Sixties version: I might not be around any more in London or Cambridge, but the books kept flowing in, and without even realizing it I picked up a good many of the ideas and mannerisms of the era. In Athens I was also lured back into part-time academic teaching at university level. Fate was getting ready to hand me a special line in irony. Four years later I left Greece, and my free-lance existence, as it turned out, for ever: new job, new marriage, new life…. etc etc.

This is a bit much.  A blogger may talk about himself, and his long-suffering readers will put up with it.  No man pays for blog content, or rather no wise man does.  A purchaser of a book will feel annoyed at such things which have no place in the book.

The self-indulgent attitude does bleed into the translation too.  Looking at the opening lines of Green and Rudd suggests that a sober approach to the text works much better.  Here they are:

Green:

Must I always be stuck in the audience, never get my own back for all the times I’ve been bored by that ranting Theseid of Cordus? Shall X go free after killing me with his farces or Y with his elegies? No come-back for whole days wasted on a bloated Telephus, or Orestes crammed in the margins, spilling over on to the verso, and still not finished?

Rudd:

Must I be always a listener only, never hit back, although so often assailed by the hoarse Theseid of Codrus? Never obtain revenge when X has read me his comedies, Y his elegies? No revenge when my day has been wasted by mightyTelephus or by Orestcs who, having covered the final margin, extends to the back, and still isn’t finished?

Braund’s new Loeb is superior, I think:

Semper ego auditor tantum? numquamne reponam
vexatus totiens rauci Theseide Cordi?
inpune ergo mihi recitaverit ille togatas,
hic elegos? inpune diem consumpserit ingens
Telephus aut summi plena iam margine libri
scriptus et in tergo necdum finitus Orestes?

Shall I always be stuck in the audience? Never retaliate for being tortured so often by hoarse Cordus’ Song of Theseus? Let them get away with it, then?—this one reciting to me his Roman comedies and that one his love elegies? Let them get away with wasting my whole day on an enormous Telephus, or an Orestes written on the back when the margin at the end of the book is already full—and still not finished?

At least Braund doesn’t introduce the charmless “X” and “Y” in Green and Rudd?

We may look at Ramsay’s old Loeb translation too:

What? Am I to be a listener only all my days? Am I never to get my word in—-I that have been so often bored by the Theseid of the ranting Cordus? Shall this one have spouted to me his comedies, and that one his love ditties, and I be unavenged? Shall I have no revenge on one who has taken up the whole day with an interminable Telephus, or with an Orestes, which, after filling the margin at the top of the roll and the back as well, hasn’t even yet come to an end?

I suppose translations of Juvenal will continue to proliferate.  How much improvement each represents may be unclear.  But surely more can wait until progress has been made on the vast corpus of untranslated Latin texts – texts not even translated once?

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 1 (part 5)

Continuing with Eutychius’ rewrite of Genesis and the Cave of Treasures.

9. When they went out [from the ark] they built a city and called it Thamanīn (29), from their number, which means “We are eight”.  God – powerful and exalted – then said to Noah: “There will not be another flood in future”.  God then made a covenant with Noah, which is the rainbow that appears in the clouds, telling him: “When you see this rainbow, it will be the sign of the covenant”.  Then the sons of Noah planted a vineyard and, having squeezed a new beverage, they gave it to Noah, their father, who drank and got drunk.  While he was asleep, his genitals were exposed.  Sām and Yāfit then took a cloth and placed it over him and walked backwards so as not to see their father’s genitals. That was how they covered their father’s genitals.  When Noah awakened from sleep, his wife informed him of what had happened.  He was angry with his son Hām and cursed him saying: “Cursed be Hām and may he be a servant of his brothers” (30).  Later Hām adopted all the instruments of entertainment and was also cursed for that.  He became a servant of his brothers, he and his descendants, i.e. the Copts, those of the Sūdān, of Abyssinia and of Nubia, also called Berbers.

10. Two years after the flood, Sām had Arfakhshād at the age of one hundred and two years.  Noah lived, after the flood, three hundred and fifty years.  Feeling close to death, he spoke secretly to his son Sām telling him: “Take the body of Adam out of the ark without anyone seeing you and take bread and wine with you to help you along the way.  Take Malshīsādāq, son of Fāliq, with you and go and lay it down where the angel of God shows you.  Then order Malshīsādāq to stay in that place without taking a wife and to live there religiously for the rest of his life, because God has chosen him to be a servant in his presence.  He will not build a house or shed the blood of wild beasts or birds or any other animal there. He will not offer any other sacrifice to God other than bread and wine.  He will dress in animal skins, he will not shave his hair or trim his nails, and he will remain alone, because he is the priest of God Most High.  The angel of God will precede you until you have come to the place to bury the body of Adam.  Know that this place is the centre of the earth”.  After giving these instructions to Sām, Noah died on Wednesday, at two in the morning, on the 2nd of Ayyār, i.e. Bashans (31).  Noah had lived in all nine hundred and fifty years, and died when Sām was four hundred and fifty.  His sons Sām, Hām and Yāfit embalmed the body, buried it and mourned him for forty days.  Sām lived in all six hundred years, one hundred before the flood and five hundred after the flood.

11. At the age of one hundred and thirty-five years Arfakhshād had Qīnān (32). Arfakhshād lived in all four hundred and sixty-five years.  At one hundred and thirty years Qīnān had Shālakh. Qīnān lived in all four hundred and thirty years.  At one hundred and thirty years Shālakh had ‘Abir. Shālakh lived in all four hundred and sixty years.(33).  ‘Abir is the father of the Jews and the Arabs call him Hūd (34).  At one hundred and thirty-four years ‘Abir had Fāliq (35) who was called this way because in his time the earth was divided (36).  After Fāliq, ‘Abir had Qahtān (37) who is the father of the Arabs.  In his day people used to paint the images of every person renowned for his courage or his beauty or for his wisdom and for his illustrious fame and worship them.  The cause of their cult of images dates back to the fact that before the death of a man of great prudence or wisdom or courage, they set up the image in the halls where they used to gather.  When an affliction hit them and they sought relief, they would gather before that image and consult with it, as if the same image were to take part with them in their search for wisdom; they took the utmost care not to exclude, in this difficulty, the memory of any of those who had preceded them.  And so, continuing in their custom, they ended up worshiping images.  From the deluge to the birth of Fāliq five hundred and thirty-one years had passed away, and from Adam to the birth of Fāliq two thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven years.

12. From Fāliq was born Malshīsādāq, the priest (38). As for Sām, he did what his father Noah had advised him.  He entered the ark at night and took Adam’s body away without anyone noticing.  He then called his brothers and told them: “My father advised me, when he was dying, to walk the earth until reaching the sea and see how the earth is, its rivers and its valleys, then return to you.  I entrust to you my wife and my children: watch over them until I return.” Sām then said to Fāliq: “Give me your son Malshīsādāq, so that he may help me along the way”. Sām then took the body of Adam and Malshīsādāq with him, went out and met the angel of God, who walked before them until he brought them to the centre of the earth and showed them the place.  When they had set down the body of Adam, the place opened.  Sām and Malshīsādāq deposited the body of Adam in the place that had opened to them and it closed.  That place is called al-Gulgula, or al-Iqrāniyūn (39). Then Sām instructed Malshīsādāq [to do] all that Noah had advised him and told him: “Stay here and be a priest of God, because God has chosen you to serve in his presence. This is the angel of God, who will come to you at all times”. Then Sām returned to his brothers and Fāliq said to him: “Where is young Malshīsādāq?” Sām replied: “He died on the way and I buried him”. And they felt great pain for him.  ‘Ābir was seventy years old when Arfakhshād died in the month of Nīsān, i.e. Barmūdah (40): he had lived all four hundred and sixty-five years.  In the one hundred and third year of the life of ‘Abir, there died Sām, son of Noah, on the Friday of the month of Aylūl, i.e. Tūt (41): he had lived for six hundred years (42).  ‘Àbir lived in all four hundred and sixty-four years.(43)

An ancient life of Juvenal

Little is known about the satirist Juvenal, other than what can be gleaned from his works. There are ancient scholia, but these are plainly the product of Late Antiquity.

Reading the old 1913 Loeb edition of Juvenal, my eye was drawn to mention of an ancient biography of Juvenal, of dubious veracity.  The editor gave the Latin text of it, in the preface, but strangely not an English translation:

Vita D. Junii Juvenalis.—Iunius Iuvenalis, libertini locupletis incertum est filius an alumnus, ad mediam fere aetatem declamavit animi magis causa quam quod se scholae aut foro praepararet. Deinde paucorum versuum satyra non absurde composita in Paridem pantomimum poetamque [eius] semenstribus militiolis [1] tumentem [hoc ?] genus scripturae industriose excoluit. Et tamen diu ne modico quidem auditorio quicquam committere est ausus. Mox magna frequentia magnoque successu bis ac ter auditus est, id ea quoque quae prima fecerat inferciret novis scriptis:

Quod non dant proceres, dabit histrio. Tu Camerinos
Et Bareas, tu nobilium magna atria curas?
Praefectos Pelopea facit, Philomela tribunos.  (vii. 90-92)

Erat tum in deliciis aulae histrio multique fautorum eius cottidie provehebantur. Venit ergo Iuvenalis in suspicionem, quasi tempora figurate notasset, ac statim per honorem militiae quamquam octogenarius urbe summotus est missusque ad praefecturam cohortis in extrema parte tendentis Aegypti. Id supplicii genus placuit, ut levi atque joculari delicto par esset.  Verum intra brevissimum tempus angore et taedio periit.[2]

I found this 1857 translation online, by Maclaine:

Junius Juvenalis, the son or the alumnus (it is uncertain which) of a rich freedman, practised declamation till near middle life, more for amusement than by way of preparing himself for school or forum. Afterwards, having written a clever satire of a few verses on Paris the pantomimus, and a poet of his, who was puffed up with his paltry six months’ military rank, he took pains to perfect himself in this kind of writing. And yet for a very long time he did not venture to trust any thing even to a small audience. But after a while he was heard by great crowds, and with great success, several times: so that he was led to insert in his new writings those verses which he had written first:

What our great men won’t give you, the actor will.  Why
frequent the high antechambers of the Camerini and Bareae?
It is the Pelopea that appoints our Prefects, and the Philomela our Tribunes. (vii. 90-92)[3]

The player was at that time one of the favourites at court, and many of his supporters were daily promoted. Juvenal, therefore, fell under suspicion as one who had covertly censured the times; and forthwith under colour of military promotion, though he was eighty years of age, he was removed from the city, and sent to be praefectus of a cohort on its way to the farthest part of Egypt. That sort of punishment was determined upon as being suited to a light and jocular offence. Within a very short time he died of vexation and disgust.”[4]

The remarks about this text in the Loeb are frustratingly vague.  Maclaine also is vague, but he tells us a little more.  There are, it seems, a number of these biographies, attached to various manuscripts, and he dismisses the lot.  He continues:

Another of these notices states that Juvenal was born at Aquinum, in the reign of Claudius; that he returned from exile, survived the reign of Trajan, and finally died of old age in a fit of coughing.

In a third we are told that when he returned to Rome, finding his friend Martial was dead, he died of grief in his eighty-first year.

A fourth says it was Domitian who exiled him; that he never returned, but that after correcting and adding to hi. Satires in Egypt, he died there of old age in the reign of Antoninus Pius.

From a fifth we learn that he was advanced to the equestrian rank through his own merit; that the place of his honourable exile was Scotland, and that the motive was that he might be killed in battle; that the emperor in a despatch addressed to him with the army, wrote these words, “et te Philomela promovit ” (alluding to his own epigram), and that, learning from this the anger of the emperor, he died of a broken heart.

The sixth memoir makes Trajan the emperor, Paris being still the hero of the epigram, and agrees with the fifth about Scotland.

A seventh agrees substantially with the first, except that the emperor is said to have been Nero.

These seven are published at the end of Jahn’s edition.

Jahn’s 1851 edition does indeed contain this material, together with the ancient scholia.[5]  It tells us that this first biography was edited by Lorenzo Valla, no less, as by “Probus”, and that it appears at the end of codex “P”, the Pithoeanus, now Ms. Montpellier 125 (9th c.), in a “more recent hand”; plus three other manuscripts from the 10th-13th centuries.

The other six biographies seem to be taken from a range of individual manuscripts, described vaguely, which we may guess to be late, and mostly at second-hand.

It’s good to have this material, but Jahn is now an exceedingly long time ago.  A. E. Housman’s 1905 edition is online here, with its mighty and often amusing preface, which I first read reprinted among that great poet and author’s literary works.  But he does not print the scholia or the vitae.

Fortunately I was able to locate a bibliography online in preview, from which I learn that the standard edition today is that of W. V. Clausen, A. Persi Flacci et D. Iuni Iuuenalis satura, Oxford, 1992. This “includes the ancient biography”.  The new Loeb is even more recent.  Sadly I have no access to either.

Is it really the case that Jahn is the most recent edition of much of this biographical material?  Truly?

  1. [1]The allusion is to honorary appointments to the military tribunate (imaginariae militiae genus, Suet. Claud. 25), a system instituted by Claudius in order that the holder might obtain equestrian rank. The word militiola means “a trumpery period of military service.”
  2. [2]Text from Juvenal and Persius, with an English translation by G. G. Ramsay, Litt.D., 1913, p.xvii-xviii.
  3. [3]The Pelopea and Philomela are stage-plays.
  4. [4]A. J. Macleane, Decii Junii Juvenalis et A. Persii Flacci Satirae, London, 1857, p.xiii-xiv.  Online here.  Macleane gave the quotation in Latin; I have replaced this with my own version of the Loeb translation.
  5. [5]Otto Iahn, D. Iunii Iuvenalis Saturarum: Libri V cum scholiis veteribus, Berlin, 1851. This may be found online here.  The scholia vetera start on p.169, the vitae on p.386.

Terrence B. McMullen: a name on a fly-leaf comes alive

I’m still purging books.  This afternoon I shredded two modern paperback translations of Juvenal and turned them into PDFs.  Both were new, and both are disposable.

But I’ve been caught out slightly.  The next volume was a battered old copy of J. C. Pollock’s A Cambridge Movement (1953), in blue cloth cover.  It’s a history of Christianity at Cambridge.  As I was finishing, I noticed that a name on the fly-leaf was unclear, so I rescanned the page.  The name seemed to read “Terrence B. McMullen.  July 1953”.

Idly I googled the name – and found an obituary in the Times!  It’s behind a paywall so I can’t see much of it, but it sounds like our man:

September 7 2004, 1:00am

Terrence McMullen
Prep-school headmaster who set an example of practical Christian living

TERRENCE McMULLEN was Headmaster of Elstree School for 26 years. He was one of the outstanding prep school headmasters of his generation. He planned and led a period of significant growth in many aspects of the life of the school, and is remembered with affection and respect as a faithful, caring and diligent teacher and administrator.

Terrence Brian McMullen was born on November 11, 1932, in Quetta, India, where his father, Colonel Denis McMullen, CBE, was serving with the British Army. Following the family’s return to England in 1939, he was educated at Cheltenham College and, after National Service in the Royal Engineers, at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He was proud of his membership of 131 Parachute Engineer Regiment (Territorial Army) in 1952-67, for which…

He lived a valuable life, it seems.  A soldier, a Christian, who became a very respected headmaster.

In the Daily Telegraph an announcement:

McMullen.  Terrence Brian, TD, MA on 26th July 2004, aged 71; peacefully at home after a short illness borne faithfully, courageously, calmly. Dearly loved; husband of Margaret, father of Mark, Jonnie, Rachel and Debs, grandfather of Daisy, Willa, Felix, Grace and Eliza, brother of Morrice, Susan and Norman, and of many friends. Much respected Headmaster of Elstree School (1969-95). Private family funeral at St. Peter’s, Woolhampton. Thanksgiving Service, Thursday, 19th August 2004 at 2.30 p.m. St. Mary’s, Funtington (dress cheerful). No flowers please. Donations, if desired, for St. Mary’s Funtington Extension Appeal or Tear Fund, sent to Edward White & Son, 74-77 St. Pancras, Chichester.

Tear Fund is The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund, so this too is right.

McMullen was evidently at Cambridge as an undergraduate in 1953 when the book appeared, and had lived through some of the events described.  He was one of us.  It sat on his shelves all his life, and was disposed of with his books in 2004.  Some years later it came to me, and has probably sat on my shelves for a decade.  Now it’s a PDF.

I wish that I had known this.  I would have preserved his book, battered as it was.  In future I must be more careful.

A fuller extract from Gregory of Nyssa on the evils of slavery

A few years ago I found online an extract from Gregory of Nyssa against slavery which I wrote about here.  Today I came across the full text of the translation, and the passage is rather longer than I had thought, and well worth giving in full.

The passage appears in the Homilies on Ecclesiastes, homily 4.  Gregory is working his way through the text of Ecclesiastes, and the various ways in which Solomon attempted to fill his life with stuff, rather than with God.  In Ecclesiastes 2:7 he starts listing his possessions, which include slaves.

Note that the biblical Greek text on which Gregory commented is sensibly translated at the head of the passage, as it is not always the same as our modern texts which are based on the Hebrew.

Ecclesiastes 2:7 –

I got me slaves and slave-girls,
and homebred slaves were born for me,
and much property in cattle and sheep became mine,
above all who had been
before me in Jerusalem.

334.5. We still find the occasion for confession controlling the argument. The one who gives an account of his doings relates one after another almost all the things through which the futility of the activities of this life is recognized. But now he reaches as it were a more serious indictment of things he has done, as a result of which one is accused of the feeling of Pride. For what is such a gross example of arrogance in the matters enumerated above – an opulent house. and an abundance of vines, and ripeness in vegetable-plots, and collecting waters in pools and channelling them in gardens – as for a human being to think himself the master of his own kind? I got me slaves and slave-girls, he says, and homebred slaves were born for me.

Do you notice the enormity of the boast? This kind of language is raised up as a challenge to God. For we hear from prophecy that all things are the slaves of the power that transcends all (Ps 119/118,91). So, when someone [p335] turns the property of God into his own property and arrogates dominion to his own kind, so as to think himself the owner of men and women, what is he doing but overstepping his own nature through pride, regarding himself as something different from his subordinates?

335,5. I got me slaves and slave-girls. What do you mean? You condemn man to slavery, when his nature is free and possesses free will, and you legislate in competition with God, overturning his law for the human species. The one made on the specific terms that he should be the owner of the earth, and appointed to government by the Creator – him you bring under the yoke of slavery, as though defying and fighting against the divine decree.

335,11. You have forgotten the limits of your authority, and that your rule is confined to control over things without reason. For it says Let them rule over winged creatures and fishes and four-footed things and creeping things (Gen, 1,26). Why do you go beyond what is subject to you and raise yourself up against the very species which is free, counting your own kind on a level with four-footed things and even footless things? You have subjected all things to man, declares the word through the prophecy, and in the text it lists the things subject, cattle and oxen and sheep (Ps 8,7- 8). Surely [p336] human beings have not been produced from your cattle? Surely cows have not conceived human stock? Irrational beasts are the only slaves of mankind. But to you these things are of small account. Raising fodder for the cattle, and green plants for the slaves of men, it says (Ps 1041 103,14). But by dividing the human species in two with ‘slavery’ and ‘ownership’ you have caused it to be enslaved to itself, and to be the owner of itself.

336,6.  I got me slaves and slave-girls. For what price, tell me? What did you find in existence worth as much as this human nature? What price did you put on rationality? How many obols did you reckon the equivalent of the likeness of God? How many staters did you get for selling the being shaped by God? God said, Let us make man in our own image and likeness (Gen 1,26). If he is in the likeness of God, and rules the whole earth, and has been granted authority over everything on earth from God, who is his buyer, tell me? who is his seller? To God alone belongs this power; or rather, not even to God himself. For his gracious gifts, it says, are irrevocable (Rom 11,29). God would not therefore reduce the human race to slavery, since he himself, when we had been enslaved to sin, spontaneously recalled us to freedom. But if God does not enslave what is free, who is he that sets his own power above God’s?

336,20. How too shall the ruler of the whole earth and all earthly things be put up for sale? [p337] For the property of the person sold is bound to be sold with him, too. So how much do we think the whole earth is worth? And how much all the things on the earth (Gen 1,26)? If they are priceless, what price is the one above them worth, tell me? Though you were to say the whole world, even so you have not found the price he is worth (Mat 16,26; Mk 8,36). He who knew the nature of mankind rightly said that the whole world was not worth giving in exchange for a human soul. Whenever a human being is for sale, therefore, nothing less than the owner of the earth is led into the sale-room. Presumably, then, the property belonging to him is up for auction too.  That means the earth, the islands, the sea, and all that is in them. What will the buyer pay, and what will the vendor accept, considering how much property is entailed in the deal?

337,13. But has the scrap of paper, and the written contract, and the counting out of obols deceived you into thinking yourself the master of the image of God? What folly! If the contract were lost, if the writing were eaten away by worms, if a drop of water should somehow seep in and obliterate it, what guarantee have you of their slavery? what have you to sustain your title as owner? I see no superiority over the subordinate [p338] accruing to you from the title other than the mere title. What does this power contribute to you as a person? not longevity, nor beauty, nor good health, nor superiority in virtue. Your origin is from the same ancestors, your life is of the same kind, sufferings of soul and body prevail alike over you who own him and over the one who is subject to your ownership – pains and pleasures, merriment and distress, sorrows and delights, rages and terrors, sickness and death. Is there any difference in these things between the slave and his owner? Do they not draw in the same air as they breathe? Do they not see the sun in the same way? Do they not alike sustain their being by consuming food? Is not the arrangement of their guts the same? Are not the two one dust after death? Is there not one judgment for them? a common Kingdom, and a common Gehenna?

338,14. If you are equal in all these ways, therefore, in what respect have you something extra, tell me, that you who are human think yourself the master of a human being, and say, I got me slaves and slave-girls, like herds of goats or pigs. For when he said, I got me slaves and slave-girls, he added that abundance in flocks of sheep and cattle came to him. For he says, and much property in cattle and sheep became mine, as though both cattle and slaves were subject to his authority to an equal degree.

The Greek text translated is that in the modern Gregorii Nysseni Opera (GNO) series, (volume 5), and page and line numbers are indicated.

The translation itself is by the excellent Stuart G. Hall, and Rachel Moriarty.[1]  The latter contributes a preface indicating that unfortunately the translation has been tampered with in order to make it “gender neutral”.  The translation of the homilies is followed by a series of useful studies, and I could wish that others adopted such a format.

It’s obvious, in context, that Gregory is not preaching an abolitionist sermon, but an expository one.  He’s not calling for the institution of slavery to be abolished.  Indeed his hearers might not have been prepared for anything that radical.  But Gregory is worrying away at the idea.  The germ of the idea that led to abolition is present.

Useful to have this, and it is perhaps not as well-known as it might be.

  1. [1]S. G. Hall, Gregory of Nyssa: Homilies on Ecclesiastes. An English Version with Supporting Studies. Proceedings of the Seventh International Colloquium on Gregory of Nyssa. (St Andrews, 8 -10 September 1990).  De Gruyter, 1993, pp.72-4.

From my diary

I’m busy still with translating Eutychius.  We’re nearly at the end of the raw translation work.  Once that is done, then I need to go through the material, add a minimum number of footnotes, assemble it into a single file and write some kind of introduction.  I also need to indicate the relationship to a manuscript which may be the autograph, discovered in Sinai some years ago.

I’ve been purging my books.  This evening I discovered one of the hazards of this.  I wanted to consult Albrecht Berger’s Accounts of Medieval Constantinople: The Patria.  I couldn’t remember the name or title.  It did not seem to be on my shelves, although I knew that I had once owned a copy.  Nor could I find it on my disk.  Nor could I even find the book using Google, nor was it in Wikipedia.  Eventually I found it in Amazon, and, once I knew what the cover looked like, I saw it in a pile of books intended for disposal to charity.  I have no idea why it was there.

It would be more useful in PDF form, in truth.  I wanted to search through it for references to a statue of Hera that once stood in the Forum of Constantine, and was melted down for cash by the renegade army originally hired for the Fourth Crusade.  But in paper form this is impossible.

I still have lots of books that I never read.  Novels that once meant much, but that now I may never read again.  I can’t dispose of them – especially those I knew as a child – but I don’t need to fill my shelves with them.  I shall store them in a cupboard, I think.

I’ve also been taking part in some discussions on the date of Minucius Felix in the comments for a blog, of a kind that hardly exists any more.  This has been very pleasant to do, even if many of the other commenters are somewhat eccentric.  It has been interesting to discover that a German monograph in 1967 has completely settled the date as post-dating Tertullian.  I ought to write all this up some time.

Two translation projects are still happening, somewhere.  Some selections from Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms are nearly done.  A translation of an early Life of St George is still in progress.  I have had no time to attend to either, however.

Onward!

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 1 (part 4)

Now the flood…

7.  The corruption was now great upon the earth, for the sons of Shīt had intermingled with the sons of Cain, the accursed, performing sins and every sort of immorality and giving themselves only to entertainment, so God spoke to Noah and said to him: “I will send the flood upon the earth and I will exterminate everything on it”.  He then ordered him to come down from the holy mountain, he, his sons, his wife and the wives of his children.  He also ordered him to build a square-shaped wooden ark.  Some have said that it was of Indian oak.  The length of the ark had to be three hundred cubits, the width was fifty and the height was thirty.  He had to smear it, inside and out, with tar and pitch, and setting up three floors: the lower floor for the wild beasts and for the quadrupeds; the middle floor for the birds and the upper floor for himself and his children.  He ordered him to make the door on the eastern side, to provide receptacles for water and one for food.  Noah entered the Cave of Treasures, kissed the bodies of Shīt, of Anūsh, of Qīnān, of Mahlali’īl, of Yārid, of Mātūshālikh, and of Lāmikh and took with him the body of Adam and the offerings.  Sām took in his turn the gold, Hām the myrrh and Yāfit the incense.  As they descended from the holy mountain, they had one last look at the holy paradise and wept saying: “Goodbye, holy paradise!” and they kissed the rocks and hugged the trees.  Then they came down from the holy mountain and Noah began to build the ark.  God told him to make a nāqūs[1] of Indian oak three cubits long and a cubit and a half wide; the clapper had to be of the same wood. He sounded it three times a day: in the morning, to summon the workers; at noon, for the meal and in the evening for the end of the work.  [God] again told him: ‘When they hear you play the nāqūs and they ask: “What are you doing?” say to them: “God will send the flood”‘.  Noah did everything that God had commanded him to do.  God sent him all kinds of animals, sheep, birds, wild beasts and reptiles and told him: “Of these animals, of those which are pure and clean [species], let seven couples, that is seven males and seven females, enter with you; of the unclean, two couples, male and female”.

8. Noah entered the ark with his wife, his sons, and his sons’ wives.  Noah brought the body of Adam with him and placed it in the centre of the ark, placing the offerings on it.  Noah and his sons settled down in the eastern part of the ark, while his wife and the wives of his sons settled in the western part of the ark so that then men would not approach the women, or the women the men.  Noah had brought with him everything that God had ordered him to bring.  God then opened the springs of the waters, the earth flooded and the seas flowed into each other and God made the waters of the sky rain down.  Noah was six hundred years old when the flood occurred and his son Sām a hundred. Water spurted from the earth and the rains fell for forty days and forty nights.  The waters covered the surface of the earth, exceeding the highest mountain by fifteen cubits and remained high upon the earth for one hundred and fifty days.  On the earth there remained no animal nor was there any plant that did not die.  From Adam to the flood passed two thousand, two hundred and sixty-five years.  One hundred and fifty days after the flood, God sent a wind that blew upon the earth and the waters subsided, the springs ceased to flow and the rain stopped.  The waters began to run away, to decrease and to fall until the seventh month.  On the 17th day of the seventh month after the flood, that is the month of Aylūl, or Tūt, the ark grounded on a mountain called Arārāt, which is Mount al-Gūdī (22) near Mosul (23), in the region of Diyār Rabī`a (24), in a village called Fardā (25), today known as the region of Thamanīn (26) and Gazīrat Banī ‘Umar (27). The waters continued to lessen and drain away until the tenth month.  On the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains were seen.  Forty days later, Noah opened the door of the ark and sent the crow out to see if the waters had disappeared from the earth.  The crow flew away but did not return.  He then sent out the dove, which came back soon after with wet feet.  Noah understood then that the waters still covered the surface of the earth.  Seven days later he sent out the dove again, which returned in the evening, carrying an olive leaf in its beak.  Noah waited some more days, then sent out the dove, which went away without returning.  Noah waited another seven days, then opened the door of the ark and looked out: the earth was green and the water was gone.  Then Noah came out of the ark together with his sons Sām, Hām and Yāfit, together with his wife and the wives of his sons and with all the animals that were with him in the ark, after a year and two months, on the 17th of the second month, that is Nīsān, or Barmūdah (28).

  1. [1](21) The nāqūs was usually a wooden board or tablet which was struck with a wooden stick or a hammer to make a noise. For Eutychius’ source for this story, cf. Koran, Sura VII.

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 1 (part 3)

Continuing…. Part of the fun in this is trying to recognise the familiar biblical characters behind their unfamiliar Arabic names!

5. When Yārid felt near death, he called to him his son Akhnūkh, and Mātūshālikh, son of Akhnūkh, Lāmikh, son of Mātūshālikh and Nūh, son of Lāmikh, and said to them: “Do not let any of you come down from this holy mountain.  Your children have already fallen and are lost, and I know that God – powerful and exalted – will not let you remain on this holy mountain.  But whoever of you will come out of this place, let him take with him the body of Adam and these offerings and take them where God will command him”.  Yārid lived in all nine hundred and sixty-two years.

Akhnūkh had had Mātūshālikh at the age of one hundred and sixty-five years.  He was twenty when Shīt died, on Tuesday, at the ninth hour of the day, on the 27th of the month of Āb, that is, of Misra (11).  He lived in all nine hundred and twelve years.  Anūsh, his son, embalmed the body with myrrh, incense and cinnamon and buried it in the Cave of the Treasures together with Adam, and he mourned him for forty days.

At the age of one hundred and eighty-seven Mātūshālikh had Lāmikh.  Mātūshālikh lived in all nine hundred and sixty-nine years.  When Mātūshālikh was fifty-three, Anūsh died on Saturday, at the setting of the sun, on the third of the month of Tìshrīn al-Awwal, or Bābih (12).  He had lived in all nine hundred and five years.  His son Qīnān embalmed his body with myrrh, incense and cinnamon, buried it in the Cave of the Treasures and mourned him for forty days.

6. At the age of one hundred and eighty-two Lāmikh had Nūh.  Lāmikh lived in all seven hundred and seventy-seven years.  Lāmikh was thirteen when God selected Akhnūkh and raised him to himself.  The Arabs call him Idrīs (13).  Akhnūkh was three hundred and sixty-five years old when God raised him to himself.  At that time the sons of Cain, the accursed, and the sons of Shīt who had come down among them worshiped whatever they liked and that the soul desired and sought.  Qīnān died when Lāmikh was sixty-one, on Wednesday, at noon, on the 13th of Hazīrān, or Bābih (14).  His son Mahlali’īl embalmed his body with myrrh, incense and cinnamon, buried it in the Cave of the Treasures and mourned him for forty days.  Qīnān had lived in all nine hundred and ten years.

After five hundred years, Noah had three children.  He called the first Sām, the second Yām and the third Yāfit.  He lived in all nine hundred and fifty years.  Noah was thirty-four years old when Mahlali’īl died, on Sunday, at the third hour of the day, on the 2nd of Nīsān, or Barmūdah (15).  His son Yārid embalmed his body with myrrh, incense and cinnamon, buried it in the Cave of the Treasures and mourned for forty days.  Mahlali’īl lived in all eight hundred and ninety-five years.

Yārid died when Noah was two hundred and six years old, on Fridays, at sunset, 13 of Adhār, or Baramhāt (16).  His son Mātūshālikh, Lāmikh and Noah embalmed his body and buried him in the Cave of the Treasures, mourning his death for forty days.  Yārid lived in all nine hundred and sixty-two years.

Noah was five hundred and ninety-five years old when his father Lāmikh died.  Before he died, Lāmikh called his son Noah and said to him: “God – powerful and exalted – will not leave you [to live] on this mountain.  When you go down, take the body of Adam with you and bring the three offerings with you, namely gold, myrrh and incense (17).  Recommend also to your son that, after your death, he take with him the body of Adam, our father, and place him in the centre of the earth, placing at his service his son who shall spend his whole life there, in religion: he will not marry or shed blood; he will not offer either birds or beasts in sacrifice, but only bread and wine, because from that place will come the salvation of Adam.  He will dress in the skins of animals, he will not cut his hair or trim his nails.  He will be alone, because he will be called a priest of God.  You know well that I am referring to Malshīsādāq”.

When Lāmikh had finished recommending these things to his son Noah, he died on Sunday at sunset, 19 of Adhār, or Baramhāt (18).  Noah embalmed his body and buried it in the Cave of the Treasures and mourned him for forty days.  Lāmikh lived in all seven hundred and seventy-seven years.  Noah was six hundred years old when Mātūshālakh died on Friday, at noon, on the 21st of the month of Aylūl, or Tūt (19).  Noah and Sām embalmed the body and buried it in the Cave of the Treasures and mourned him for forty days.  Matūshālakh lived in all nine hundred and sixty-nine years.  On the holy mountain there only remained Noah, his wife Haykal, daughter of Nāmūsa, son of Akhnūkh, and his three sons Sām, Hām and Yāfit with their three wives, daughters of Mātūshālakh.  Sām’s wife was called Salii, Hām’s wife was called Nahlat, and Yāfit’s wife was called Arīsīnah (20).