A pair of Italian leaves of the 16-17th century, a prospect of Rome, and the Baths of Constantine

A correspondent writes to tell us all about an item sold at Sothebys on 12 April 2016, in its sale of the “European Decorative Arts From Caramoor Center For Music And The Arts”.  Lot 168 (online here) is “A pair of Italian leaves with scenes of Venus in her chariot and a sacrifice. 16/17th century.”  The right hand leaf gives a panorama of Rome.

I’ve added a couple of bits of text to allow people to orient themselves.

Lot 168. A PAIR OF ITALIAN LEAVES WITH SCENES OF VENUS IN HER CHARIOT AND A SACRIFICE 16th/17th century. Sothebys, 12 April 2016. European Decorative Arts From Caramoor Center For Music And The Arts.

At the top of the picture is Old St Peter’s basilica.  The road leads down to the Castell Sant Angelo.  The Colosseum and Pantheon are clearly visible.  On the left are two triumphal arches, rather out of place, which I suspect are intended for the forum.

Other items will be familiar to those who read my post, Early 16th century maps of Rome and the Baths of Constantine.  The two horses rearing are the Dioscuri, who still stand on the Quirinal hill, although today they face the Quirinal palace, rather than the city.  The reclining figure behind it is the river god now in the Capitoline Museum, thought to have come from the Baths of Constantine.

To the left are two rotundas.  These are mysterious, but as my other post showed, seem to have been in the area of the Baths of Constantine.  To the left of them is a roofless building with a ruined vault at the end, which resembles some of the depictions of the Baths of Constantine in my post.

Every depiction is useful, so it is nice to have another!


The Confession and Martyrdom of Cyprian of Antioch – translated by Anthony Alcock

Anthony Alcock is continuing his series of translations of Coptic texts.  He has sent in a translation of a hagiographical text, the Confession and Martyrdom of Cyprian of Antioch, and provided a short introduction.  The text is translated from manuscript.

The story is known to 4th century authors but is purely fictional, and perhaps based on earlier pagan stories including Lucian.  The saint is also known as Cyprian the Magician, and he is described as a pagan magician who converts to Christ.  The Wikipedia article on Cyprian and Justina is here.  It has been suggested that the text may have inspired the modern legend of Faust, the man who sold his soul to the devil.  A blog article here gives some interesting information about the text and its transmission in Greek from L. Radermacher, Griechische Quellen Zur Faustsage. Der Zauberer Cyprianus. Die Erzählung Des Helladius. Theophilus. (Anthemius.), 1927.  Unfortunately I have no time to go into any of this now.

Here is the translation of the Coptic texts:

Thank you, Dr Alcock.


Some memories of Steven Ring, Syriacist Extraordinaire

Yesterday I learned by accident of the death of Steven Ring, one of the first enthusiasts online to promote Syriac studies.  He died on March 28th 2021 of cancer.  He had been ill for the previous four years, during which time he undertook and completed a PhD at SOAS.

I’m not sure when I first met Steven online, for it was very long ago.  My email box tells me that we were already well-known to each other in 2006, when I was working on the works of Severus Sebokht and trying to get microfilms from the Bibliothèque Nationale Francais. We swapped war-stories of archives; of who would allow this, or would obstruct that.  We wrote hopefully of how user photography might become something other than a pipe-dream.

But we had come across each other earlier, possibly as early as 2000.  In those days his website “Scholar’s corner: Syriac and Aramaic New Testament studies” – now vanished – was at http://www.srr.axbridge.org.uk/syriac_home.html and this is archived in the Wayback Machine at Archive.org.  A 2006 snapshot is here.

In those days he was an electrical engineer, working for the IEEE, and using his work email address to swap information about Syriac manuscripts.  They were fun, and always to the point.  He was very interested in original language Syriac and Aramaic original material.  One of his emails tells me that he had no interest in the English translations, although this was a bit of an overstatement.

Naturally he made a wide circle of friends and contacts, both among the scholars of our time, and also in the native Syriac community, from Syria out as far as India.  I remember when we first met, in December 2006.  Erica C. D. Hunter ran a short but intensive course on Syriac language at SOAS in London on 4 Saturdays, once a month.  A fair number of people with jobs turned up.  (I must have had lots more energy in those days, to do it after a week in a hotel!)  We stayed in regular touch thereafter.  I helped him to get a reader’s card for the Bodleian in Oxford, which was nearer to his base in Bristol.

He could be somewhat eccentric.  He was an autodidact, and some of his views were distinctly out of the mainstream.  He believed, for instance, that the gospels were originally written in Aramaic.  It was likewise perhaps inevitable that he would adopt Covid-scepticism.  But these quirks did not mar him, or distract from his genuine interest in every area of Syriac studies.  He was a Christian.

Steven Ring, visiting Oxford in 2010.

The last time that I met him in person was on Saturday 10th August, 2013.  We met in the reader admissions at the British Library in London – both of our cards were out of date – and we went up to the Oriental manuscripts room to look at BL Additional 12150.  This is one of the manuscripts from the Nitrian desert, and was written in 411 AD (!)  It had a modern binding, and the librarian handed this 16-century-old item over with barely a glance.  I’d asked him along to help with reading the Syriac.  I was mainly interested in chapter titles and running headers and the like.

It was impossible to mistake his genuine enthusiasm and determination to do scholarship.  He was very much a layman, as I am, but the kind of supporter that every discipline needs.  I was pained to hear from him, while we sat in the cafe having lunch, that some nameless academic at a conference had told him “Remember that you’re only here on sufferance”.  I can  imagine that his enthusiasm could draw such a response from someone for whom academia had become just a job.  This set-down seemed to discourage him, and it gave him a distaste for what he was doing.  I noticed that his pace of work palled for two or three years.  He had also left the IEEE in this time, and attempted to start his own business, although I’m not sure that it was very successful.  Fortunately his 2013 encounter with the British Library manuscripts seems to have reinvigorated him, and he decided that he would do a doctorate.   His long-term enthusiasm for the Diatessaron was poured into his thesis.

Steven Ring – Facebook portrait photo

A few years later I learned that he was unwell, but it did not seem likely to be fatal.  He proceeded with his PhD.  He was still posting about Covid on Facebook in February.

On April 3 2021 this notice appeared on Steven’s facebook page:

To all Steven Ring’s friends, colleagues and associates

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of his recent passing on the 29th of March.

He had battled cancer for over four years, but had deteriorated rapidly in recent months. He’s now at rest and with the Lord.

Amazingly, in his last few weeks he was able to not only finish his PhD studies, pass his Viva, and be awarded his degree. He also managed to publish much of the last 23 years of his research online (via ResearchGate), so that others might carry on from where he left-off.

We will provide details of his funeral arrangements in due course for those wishing to attend his memorial service remotely.

Lesley Ring

Sadly I only saw this a few days ago.  I was shocked, for I had no idea that his life was in danger.  I suspect that he was in his late 50s, but I don’t know his exact age.

On the hugoye-list here on March 31 Erica Hunter posted this obituary:

Dear Hugoye members,

it is with great sadness that I announce the recent death (on March 28th) of Steven Ring who often contributed to this group under the pseudonym: Estephanos Anglishiya.

Steven was a doctoral student in the Dept. of History, Religions and Philosophies, but had originally completed an M.A. in Electronics and Communications Engineering at the University of Birmingham in 1981.

Syriac Christianity was a life-long passion and after initial studies in Syriac, in 2016 he embarked on a doctoral programme at SOAS under the supervision of Dr. Erica C. D. Hunter.

His thesis, “The post fifth-century use and dissemination of the Syriac Diatessaron with new perspectives on its origins”, created important new understanding re its transmission which he showed continued up to the ninth century, particularly in the East Syriac tradition.

Examined by Emeritus Prof. Nicholas Sims-Williams FBA and Emeritus Prof. John Healey FBA, the thesis was awarded the degree of PhD, just a couple of days before he died.

Steven was a prodigious scholar who had already authored several articles and was planning to write volumes more. He will be sorely missed.

Dr. Erica C D Hunter
Senior Lecturer in Eastern Christianity, Emerita

Rest in peace, old friend, and rise in glory.


The “hugoye-list” for Syriac Studies -now at groups.io

Syriac Studies online has long relied on the Hugoye-list, at Yahoo Groups, formerly at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hugoye-list/.  But this closed in 2018.  This evening I was looking for the new location, and Google really was not that helpful.

In fact the new location was announced on Twitter by @bethmardutho here:

Important announcement: for 20 years, we have hosted an email listserv on Yahoo Groups. As of this month, we are transitioning to a new listserv format. You can find our new home at: https://groups.io/g/hugoye-list

We’ve made this decision because the Yahoo groups format has become increasingly unreliable. Some messages aren’t getting through to the list at all, and we’ve always had some difficulty with some email addresses not being added.

The groups.io format allowed us to automatically transfer our whole member list and the database of messages (over 4600+ threads!).

If you aren’t already a member of the listserv, and you’d like to join, just send an email to: hugoye-list+subscribe@groups.io.

Note: as a transition period, we will keep the old Yahoo group open through the end of 2018, but all messages will be automatically moderated. Then, at the end of the year, we will shut down the yahoo group completely.

So that’s that.  Find the new group here:



Throwing dice to generate oracles in Roman times

My last post here looked at some examples of Roman 20-sided dice with numerals on them, almost certainly used to create oracles, to discover the future.  There is some literary evidence of this sort of practice, and I want to review it here.

In Pausanias’ Description of Greece 7.25.10, written in the 2nd century AD, we have an account of how a temple would use a random number generator, plus a list of oracular replies, to allow an enquiry of the god.  Here is the passage, which I take from F. Graf, “Rolling the dice for an answer” in S. I. Johnston & P. T. Struck, Mantikê: Studies in Ancient Divination, Brill (2005), p.51-97; p.62.  Graf rightly observes that this approach cannot have been all that common, because Pausanias has to explain the procedure:

When one descends from Bura [in Achaea] towards the sea, there is the Buraikos river and a not large image of Herakles in a grotto; he too is called Buraikos, and he offers an oracle from a list (pinax) and from astragaloi. Whoever intends to consult the divinity, prays in front of the image, and after the prayer, he takes up four astragaloi (plenty of them are lying around Herakles) and rolls them on the table. For any combination of the astragaloi, the inscription in the list gives an easily accessible explanation of the combination.

astragali are literally knucklebones, perhaps with numbers inscribed on the sides, but no doubt dice could be and were used in the same way.  The astragalos was thrown, and a number from 1 to 6 produced.  Graf adds:

This description contains the two main elements that make this type of oracle function: astragaloi, and a list of answers.

Pausanias’ list is lost, but in the Anatolian inscriptions, we possess an entire set of them; we just have to add the several astragaloi that were thrown, the combination of which led to the answer.

The monuments referred to by Graf are the main subject of his excellent if rather dense paper.  They is a set of 17 “large and impressive” inscriptions on stone blocks, about six-foot tall and two-foot wide, in Lycia.  The ruins of Termessos contain a number of these texts.  The inscriptions consist of lists of answers, arranged in ascending order.  Graf gives one example.  The enquirer asks about a voyage that he is intending.  The priest throws the astragalos 5 times.  Here is one of the possible results:

Three “chians” and a six and the fifth a four: Sail wherever you wish; you will return full of joy, for you have found and accomplished everything that you are cherishing in your mind. Cypris likes you, the daughter of Zeus who likes to smile.

The “chios” is the technical term for throwing a “1” with an astragalos, so the text means that, if you throw three ones, a six, and a four, then this answer is the one.

Graf’s paper includes an appendix with a translation of the main text preserved on these inscriptions.  There are various resources around the web on astragalomancy.

So these two sources indicate the approach: throw the dice, or knucklebones, and look up the result in the tables of answers.  A table, perhaps of stone, with the knucklebones on it sat in front of the stones with the answers.

A further literary source for this is a scholion on Pindar, Pythian Odes, poem 4, line 337.[1]  Mopsus is “drawing lots” to find out the “will of heaven”.  Here is the text of the ode, for context:

But, when the flower of the seamen came down to the shore of Iolcus, Jason numbered them and praised them, every one; and, to aid him, Mopsus, after inquiring the will of heaven by noting the flight of birds and by drawing lots (κλάροισιν), right gladly gave the host the signal to set forth.

The scholia are at Perseus here.  As with Pausanias, this refers to a “holy table” in the temple, on which the astragali lay, ready to be used.  Graf again helpfully gives a translation of the key bits:

a. …καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς ἀστράγαλοι κεῖνται, οἷς διαμαντεύονται βάλλοντες αὐτούς.

there are astragaloi in the sanctuaries with which they take oracles by throwing them

b. κλάροισιν: ἰστέον ὅτι κλήροις τοπρὶν ἐμαντεύοντο, καὶ ἦσαν ἐπὶ τῶν ἱερῶν τραπεζῶν ἀστράγαλοι, οἷς ῥίπτοντες ἐμαντεύοντο.

… “there were astragaloi on the sacred tables with which they used to take oracles by throwing them”;

So this confirms the picture that we have already formed.

The inscriptions from Lycia make clear that several throws of the dice or knucklebones are combined in order to get the god’s answer.  The 20-sided Roman dice in the last post would look much more impressive than a few knucklebones, while providing the same function.  The large size and impressive appearance of these dice may be important.  Divination is a form of charlatanry, aimed at convincing the client of something that the diviner knows that he does not know.  So it is important for the diviner to appear impressive.  In the same way the use of 20-sided dice in modern Dungeons and Dragons is not just for convenience; the same end could be produced by several 6-sided ordinary dice. But using these unusual dice does give an air of something special and different.

This is not just my imagination.  The divination process could indeed be deliberately dressed up to be more complex than it needed to be, as is clear from the way that another ancient oracle handbook, the Sortes Astrampyschi is structured.  There the name of a deity is associated with the outcome, but by an unnecessarily complex series of dice throws.

Impressive-seeming objects from Egypt, used to communicate with the gods, immediately reminds us of the magical papyri.  It may be asked whether there is any connection.

A collection of papyrus books, some in demotic, some in Greek, containing magic spells and rituals was uncovered somehow at Luxor in the 1820s and passed into the hands of an Armenian adventurer calling himself Jean d’Anastasi.  No doubt the books came from the tomb of some Graeco-Egyptian priest.  Egypt was famous in antiquity for its magicians.  The existence of dice, also in both languages, combined with our literary testimony above, suggests that the 20-sided dice were not made for games of chance, but rather for use as tools in  ancient magical procedures, such as divination.

We do not possess any oracle book that expects the use of one or more 20-sided dice.  But we have seen at the Anatolian temple an example where the oracles needed to combine one or more dice to get a wider range of results.  Twenty-sided dice are another way to achieve the same end.

Other books of divination using lots or random numbers also exist.  In his 1913 book, Greek divination; a study of its methods and principles, (online here) W. Halliday discusses a great number of them, running into the middle ages.  I won’t go into any of these here.

It is interesting to reflect that these oracular books, and these 20-sided dice, may have been part of the professional equipment of a temple, or possibly the toolkit of an ancient magician.

  1. [1]In the Loeb this is p.218-9 – find it at Loebolus here.

Some more Roman polyhedral dice

A little while ago I wrote here about a Roman crystal twenty-sided dice in the Louvre, and about one ancient oracle book here, the Homeromanteion, which might have been used with it in order to predict the future.  Since then I have come across some images of other ancient twenty-sided dice.  As before, they seem to be used for sortilege, throwing the lots, a form of divination where the diviner predicts the future by throwing dice or other items producing a random result.

Three more such dice are in the possession in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  All of them have Greek numerals – letters used as numbers – on each of their 20 sides.  It is not certain how old they are: they could be Ptolemaic or Roman.  They were acquired in Egypt during the 1920s, and they all look very similar and perhaps came from the same source.  The catalogue of the Museum here (with three images) adds, interestingly:

Nothing specific about the use of these polyhedra is preserved, so theories are built on clues provided by some variant examples. One unusual example uses Greek words, a few of which resemble those associated with throws of the astragals (knucklebones), and this has led to suggestions they were used for games. Another remarkable example discovered in Dakhleh Oasis in Egypt in the 1980s records an Egyptian god’s name in Demotic (the Egyptian script of these late periods) on each face. Divination – seeking advice about the unknown from the supernatural – seems to be the most likely purpose for the Dakhleh die: the polyhedron might have been thrown in order to determine a god who might assist the practitioner. Indeed, even the dice with simple letters might relate to divination: a Greek oracle book composed in in the 2nd or 3rd century A.D. refers to throwing lots to obtain a number that would, through certain algorithms, lead to ready-prepared oracle questions and responses.

Here is an image of one of the museum’s 20-sided ancient dice, accession no 10.130.1158:

20-sided dice. Metropolitan Museum, inv. 10.130.1158 (300 BC-400 AD), serpentinite.  Height: 3.2 x L: 3.8 x W: 3.4 cm.

The other two dice are very similar.  One is also made of serpentinite, the other of faience, are here: 10.130.1159 and 10.130.1157.

Another 20-sided dice, two inches high and made of glass, was sold at Christies in 2003.  Their rather meagre auction page is here, and suggests that it is Roman and 2nd century AD.  On what this is based is unclear.

Ancient 20-sided dice sold at Christies in 2003. 5.2 cm high.

The Met Museum catalogue mentioned a unique 20-sided dice, which has the name of a deity written in demotic on each face.  This was found at the Dakhleh Oasis in Egypt, and is now housed in the New Valley Museum at Kharga. This was published by M. Minas-Nerpel, “A Demotic Inscribed Icosahedron from Dakhleh Oasis”, in: Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 93 (2007), 137-48, with photographs, who ascribes it to the 1st century AD.    An amateur page has the images, a transcription, and the hieroglyphs explained here.

Ancient 20-sided dice from the Dakhla Oasis, with demotic name of a god on each face.

It is difficult to imagine that this was NOT used for divination.

There is some literary testimony on how such items were used.  I will discuss this in my next post, here.


From my diary

I’ve not written any blog posts for a while, but this is because I have been working seriously on the QuickLatin code base.  The successes and failures of that effort are not of interest to others really.

One thing that I have done is to write a couple of web pages on my pages at Tertullian.org on working with legacy Ada code.  Ada is a very minority interest, and even basic things cannot be found by a Google search.  So I have written up a couple of discoveries.  It is always useful to do so.  Such bits of random information can have quite a long useful life.  For instance I was slightly bemused this evening to find that one of the most popular pages at Tertullian.org this week is a long-forgotten page on how to run the long obsolete Visual Basic 6 on Windows 10.

Microsoft do treat their developers badly.  Code written using their tools simply ceases to work after an upgrade or two.  Backward compatibility is never taken seriously.  This I have long known. I remember, years ago, writing some fairly elementary Microsoft C.  I then left it for a few years, and, when I came back to it, it did not even compile with the newer compiler.  But this fact has struck me again in the last week.

Meanwhile, the days are long and the heat is increasing.  It feels wrong, somehow, to sit at the computer all day.  As the cafes reopen, I intend to visit some of them.

A week ago my neighbour of ten years moved out .  He is to be replaced by someone new.  First signs are not encouraging.  But encouraging or not, the task of adapting to someone new, and their habits and noise and nuisance, will have to be undertaken.   I never liked this feeling of intrusion into my safe space, even in the days when I spent my weeks in hotels and naturally had random strangers in adjoining rooms.   How many of us like unwanted change?  Few, I would guess.  Yet change is the only certainty in life.  If only we all had country estates, with wide parkland around!  Yet even then, at breakfast the butler would surely bring us the news that our favourite footman was to leave, that there was blight in the oaks, flooding in the meadows, a leak in the roof, and so forth.  Change is inevitable, even if our capacity to cope with it varies.  I shall have to take time to adjust.

Meanwhile the disruption of all our lives, caused by Covid-19, grinds away at us all, 24/7. We’re all going about our business, but we do so as if we’re carrying a sack of rocks everywhere. Even little things like masks wear away at our energy. I try to remind myself that I am not able to give 100% with all this going on. That it is important not to try. That busy people risk burn-out. That I need to allow for the strain, to schedule downtime, to consciously offload, to ask “is this chore really essential right now?” To breathe, to drift, to accept that it’s ok to do less or nothing right now, and defer stuff to better days.

Anyway, it’s summer.  Shouldn’t we all try to get outdoors before the days draw in?  Of course we should!


Online and downloadable: the 5th century Oxford manuscript of Jerome

We take for granted so much these days.  The web has transformed the life of the researcher.  But sometimes we see something and we just marvel; because we remember how things once were, only a few years ago.

Long ago, maybe almost twenty years ago, I led a collaborative project online to translate the Chronicle of Jerome.  The work ends with the disaster of Adrianople in 378, and was written a year later, when everything was still in confusion.

We worked from a printed Latin text, which I scanned and placed online in a custom editor.

But it became clear, during the project, that the original work was colour coded.  Headings and columns were put in red.  There seemed no reason for our online edition not to show those colours.  But the printed text did not report this information.

Even then, the possibilities of online access were clear to some.  The Bodleian Library had a few manuscripts online, which was very unusual.  So we had access to a 9th century manuscript at Merton College Oxford.  But this was four colour, while Jerome’s preface only mentioned two.

However, at Oxford, in the Bodleian Library, there is a manuscript written around 450 AD.  It was written within a couple of decades of Jerome’s death, which is quite amazing.  The shelfmark is Ms. Auct. T. 2. 26.  As it happens, I have a reader’s card for the Bodleian, thanks to my student days.  So without much hope, in much  fear and trembling, I wrote to them and asked if I might examine it.

A gracious reply was forthcoming.  So soon after, I printed out the draft translation on paper, took my pencils, and drove to Oxford.  There I was received kindly in Duke Humphries Library, and the volume was brought out.  The librarian actually said that they were glad of an opportunity to bring it out of the vault.  And there I sat, little old me, marking up the print-out with the colours from a manuscript that had known the days of imperial Rome.

I had already laid out the complicated text in HTML, and I had made mistakes along the way.  I was amused, as I worked through the manuscript, to discover that the scribe had evidently made some of the same mistakes.  You always tended to write the year numbers first; and sometimes you kept writing them too long.  His erasures made clear that he had done the same.

At the time I had no real idea of just how valuable this item was, or how decent the librarians were being in letting a random chap rock up and handle it.   It is probably priceless.  It is an actual ancient book, written when there was still a western Roman emperor on the throne in Rome.  The first hundred pages are modern, relatively – 15th century, replacing lost original pages.  But then the stiff old parchment appears of the old book.  The book also contains the only copy of the Chronicle of Marcellinus, which is a continuation of Jerome.

These memories came back to me today when I discovered that, at the Digital Bodleian site, the whole manuscript is online, and can be downloaded in full colour in PDF form.  The permalink to the manuscript is https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/71e1863f-9c42-4461-b948-393cd976765a/.  In fact I had a problem with the download, and the Digital Bodleian staff quickly fixed it (thanks Tim!).

Here is part of a random page (f.110v).  The left hand numbers are the years of the ruler “of the Romans”, the right hand “of the Jews”.  Tiberius appears, and the regnal years reset to 1.  The Olympiad is shown also.  The work is in columns on two pages, but this is the left side.

Bodleian Library MS. Auct. T.2.26, Jerome’s Chronicle, f110v (top)

I can say, from my own memory, just how amazing this is.  When I remember, less than twenty years ago, that access to this volume was basically impossible.  Nobody ever saw it.  But now… anybody can consult it, anywhere in the world.

It is hard to find words to say just how wonderful this is, and how overwhelming it feels, to see the PDF appear on my PC.  Unbelievable; and so very, very marvellous.


A quotation from Augustine: “God doesn’t love you as you are; he hates you as you are.”

A tweet this evening:

God doesn’t love you as you are; he hates you as you are.


“You must be born again.”

But is it from Augustine?

In fact it is taken from M. C. Hollingworth, “Grace, confession, and the Pilgrim City: the political significance of St.Augustine of Hippo’s creation narratives”, Durham University thesis (2008), vol. 2, p.225, n.22, which is online here, but I will quote because such things vanish:

22 … Cf. Serm., IX, 9: ‘[God] doesn’t love you as you are, He hates you as you are. That’s why He is sorry for you, because He hates you as you are, and wants to make you as you are not yet., This thinking is presumably the background to Augustine’s exegesis of Matthew 7: 3-5, which features in a number of places in his writings.

Dr H. tells us that this is his own translation.

But of course we all want to check!  Augustine is a voluminous writer, so something just called “Sermons” tends to make the heart sink.  The bibliographical information refers to the Città Nuova collected edition of his works (contents here), to which nobody has access.  (I wonder whether Italians have collections of PDFs of these things?  I bet they do!)

Fortunately “Sermones” is listed in the Clavis Patrum Latinorum, as item 284, referencing the Patrologia Latina vols. 38 and 39.  And so when we look at the PL38, column 82, we find sermon 9, chapter 8, and the words:

Placeat tibi Deus qualis est, ama qualis est: non te ipse amat qualis es, sed odit te qualis es.

Which is our source.  The Latin for the whole sermon is online at The Latin LIbrary here.

Rather to my surprise, I find that I have on disk a copy of the English translation of this sermon, made by the “New City Press”, as part of their series, The Works of Saint Augustine: A translation for the 21st Century.  This volume has the title: Sermons, (1-19) on the Old Testament. Volume III/1. It was translated from the Italian edition above by Edmund Hill, OP, and appeared in 1990.  The sermon is entitled “Discourse on the ten strings of the harp”, preached in 420.  The division of the chapters presumably also from the Citta Nuova edition, and disagrees with the PL text.  Here is a chunk of it, talking about “Put off the old man and put on the new man”.  Page 267:

Such people are often tripped by thoughts like this, and they say to themselves, “If it were possible to do this, God would not be threatening us, he would not say all those things through the prophets to discourage people, but he would have come to be indulgent to everybody and pardon everybody, and after he came he wouldn’t send anyone to hell.” Now because he is unjust he wants to make God unjust too. God wants to make you like him, and you are trying to make God like you. Be satisfied with God as he is, not as you would like him to be. You are all twisted, and you want God to be like what you are, not like what he is. But if you are satisfied with him as he is, then you will correct yourself and align your heart along that straight rule from which you are now all warped and twisted. Be satisfied with God as he is, love him as he is.

He doesn’t love you as you are, he hates you as you are. That’s why he is sorry for you, because he hates you as you are, and wants to make you as you are not yet. Let him make you, I said, the sort of person you are not yet. What he did not promise you, you know, is to make you what he is. Oh yes, you shall be what he is, after a fashion, that is to say, an imitator of God like an image, but not the kind of image that the son is. After all there are different kinds of images even among men. A man’s son bears the image of his father, and is what his father is, because he is a man like his father. But your image in a mirror is not what you are. Your image is in your son in one way, in quite a different way in the mirror. Your image is in your son by way of equality of nature, but in the mirror how far it is from your nature! And yet it is a kind of image of you, though not like the one in your son which is identical in nature.