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Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

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Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby jeidsath » Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:58 pm

This was posted at Laudator Temporis Acti

Παρθένος ἀργυρόπεζος ἐλούετο, χρύσεα μαζῶν
χρωτὶ γαλακτοπαγεῖ μῆλα διαινομένη·
πυγαὶ δ᾽ ἀλλήλαις περιηγέες εἱλίσσοντο,
ὕδατος ὑγροτέρῳ χρωτὶ σαλευόμεναι·
τὸν δ᾽ ὑπεροιδαίνοντα κατέσκεπε πεπταμένη χεὶρ
οὐχ ὅλον Εὐρώταν, ἀλλ᾽ ὅσον ἠδύνατο.

Like everybody else, I guess, I was puzzled by Εὐρώταν. But maybe Denys Page says everything that can be said about it:

Image
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:07 pm

I think this tells us a couple of things:

1) Authors are not restricted to our expectations. They can say all sorts of funkydoodle things as their literary spirit directs them. Did you expect me to use the adjective "funkydoodle?" Yet you probably had no problem divining the sense, any more than Rufinus' audience did with his unusual usage, or as the commentator notes "the meaning is obvious."

2) Was the usage quite so unusual? with 1-2% of literary Greek remaining to us from the ancient world, there may have been more parallels than remain to us.

3) (I know, that's more than a couple). I sometimes think that at times learned commentary, while quite valuable, overthinks these things. Is there really that big a difference between pubes and pudenda? And while the imagery comparing her private area to a swelling river might be a bit...unusual, it is certainly vivid, and is perhaps meant to reflect the state of mind of the viewer coming up on such a sight.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby mwh » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:40 am

Sounds like masturbation to me. Nude contact with the flowing water turned her on. Of course it's voyeuristic—this is erotic epigram, after all, home of the male gaze. Her spread hand covered the area not for concealment but for stimulation (a nice variatio of the usual trope). Why the Eurotas? Ευρ- suggests breadth; and the Eurotas swelled after rains, overflowed and became swampy. Need I say more?
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby jeidsath » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:27 pm

Barry's "perhaps meant to reflect the state of mind of the viewer coming up on such a sight" could be achieved by changing Εὐρώταν to Εὐρώτας (personified and anthropomorphous).

Denys Page writes that "Lamentable conjectures for ἀλλήλαις are assembled by Sternbach (ἀλλήλως, ἀλλάγδην, and worse)." I couldn't find this in Sternbach's Meletemata Graeca or his other online works at Hathi Trust.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:57 pm

jeidsath wrote:Barry's "perhaps meant to reflect the state of mind of the viewer coming up on such a sight" could be achieved by changing Εὐρώταν to Εὐρώτας (personified and anthropomorphous).



How would changing it to the nominative make it "personified and anthropomorpous" other than to make the Greek ungrammatical?
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby jeidsath » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:10 pm

Sorry, that declines Εὐρώτου for genitive doesn't it? The χείρ and τὸν ὑπεροιδαίνοντα doesn't have to be hers. It was meant to be a bad joke rather than a serious suggestion.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:44 pm

jeidsath wrote:Sorry, that declines Εὐρώτου for genitive doesn't it? The χείρ and τὸν ὑπεροιδαίνοντα doesn't have to be hers. It was meant to be a bad joke rather than a serious suggestion.


Oh, okay, πολὺ γελῶ μετὰ σοῦ, οὐ δὲ κατὰ σοῦ.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby mwh » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:32 pm

When offering my interpretation (on which I’d welcome feedback) I ignored Barry’s first post as being unhelpful, and I don’t think anything is to be gained by following up on it. No-one could accuse him of “overthinking” things. What we need is something even remotely approaching Page’s literary sensibility and his intimate familiarity with the post-classical Greek epigrammatic tradition. Anything else is just noise.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby jeidsath » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:06 pm

Is an οἰδαίνουσα θάλασσα a foaming sea or just a wavy sea?
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby dikaiopolis » Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:55 am

The interpretation found in the Suda is notably odd (Page no doubt glosses over it because it’s obviously wrong). The Eurotas is taken as male genitals, probably from its description as ὑπεροιδαίνοντα. So the scene is transformed into a rape, like Leda by the banks of the Eurotas:

Εὐρώταν· ἐν Ἐπιγράμμασι· τὸν δ’ ὑπεροιδαίνοντα κατέσκεπε πταμένη χείρ, οὐχ ὅλον Εὐρώταν, ἀλλ’ ὅσον ἠδύνατο. περὶ αἰδοίου ἀνδρὸς ὁ λόγος. καὶ αὖθίς φησι Λάκαινα πρὸς τὸν ἴδιον υἱόν· λεῖπε τὸν Εὐρώταν, ἴθι Τάρταρον, ἡνίκα δειλὴν οἶσθα φυγὴν τελέθειν, οὔτ’ ἐμὸς οὔτε Λάκων.

The second epigram quoted doesn’t have anything to do with genitals—something has gone wrong here. [Edit: In fact they're just connected because of the use of Eurotas ἐν Ἐπιγράμμασι. See discussion below.]

mwh wrote:Sounds like masturbation to me. Nude contact with the flowing water turned her on. Of course it's voyeuristic—this is erotic epigram, after all, home of the male gaze. Her spread hand covered the area not for concealment but for stimulation (a nice variatio of the usual trope). Why the Eurotas? Ευρ- suggests breadth; and the Eurotas swelled after rains, overflowed and became swampy. Need I say more?


I also don’t see a problem with an association with breadth and moist, swelling rivers—Page is really stretching [sorry…] to get around it. (Incidentally, does εὐρυτιάω occur anywhere other than the Jacobs quote?). Reading the epigram made me think of ἐξ εὐρυπρωκτων from the Νεφελαι. And creative, dirty play with mythological names is characteristic of erotic epigram. Like the “Meriones” contest earlier in AP 5, also attributed to Rufinus:

Ἤρισαν ἀλλήλαις Ῥοδόπη, Μελίτη, Ῥοδόκλεια,
  τῶν τρισσῶν τίς ἔχει κρείσσονα Μηριόνην,
καί με κριτὴν εἵλοντο· καὶ ὡς θεαὶ αἱ περίβλεπτοι
  ἔστησαν γυμναί, νέκταρι λειβόμεναι.
καὶ Ῥοδόπης μὲν ἔλαμπε μέσος μηρῶν πολύτιμος
  οἷα ῥοδὼν πολλῷ σχιζόμενος ζεφύρῳ ... 
τῆς δὲ Ῥοδοκλείης ὑάλῳ ἴσος ὑγρομέτωπος 
  οἷα καὶ ἐν νηῷ πρωτογλυφὲς ξόανον. 
ἀλλὰ σαφῶς, ἃ πέπονθε Πάρις διὰ τὴν κρίσιν, εἰδὼς
  τὰς τρεῖς ἀθανάτας εὐθὺ συνεστεφάνουν.

Back to 5.60, I read it as masturbation too, but I’m not entirely sure that she’s covering her Eurotas for stimulation instead of concealment. Could it even be both? She found that the flowing water was stimulating her, so she started to block it with her hand, but not completely…

In any case, the epigram invites such voyeuristic speculation from its viewers, who participate by vividly imagining new scenarios (cp. reconstructions of the Archilochus Cologne epode). Like the girl’s hand, its ambiguity conceals, but not completely.
Last edited by dikaiopolis on Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby mwh » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:01 am

Joel, It’s a swelling sea. Don’t go scientific on me. In Aratus’ Weather Signs (Diosemeiai, part of the Phaenomena) it’s a sign of wind. (Incidentally, the Diosemeiai was very interestingly used by Vergil in his Georgics.) But girls bathe not in the sea but in springs or rivers, so in the epigram it’s not the sea that’s swelling. And I think ὑπερ- is significant.

dikaiopolis, I'm glad of your support on masturbation. I’m not just a dirty old man then, or not the only one.

Well well. I hadn’t looked up the Suda entry, but the thought had occurred to me that υπεροιδαινοντα would of itself make good sense applied to a male voyeur ejaculating (as in the Archiochus epode, as you mention). But obviously it can’t be right, and περὶ αἰδοίου ἀνδρὸς ὁ λόγος looks like an understandable but rather stupid guess based on the decontextualized couplet, which doesn’t reveal the gender. The girl, the exclusive object of attention, is the only actor in the epigram. I don’t see that anything “has gone wrong” in the second half of the Suda entry, though. It just adds another quotation for Ευρωταν, the headword, quite unconnected with the first—a variant on the famous With your shield or on it. That too could well be a later add-on. We can dismiss the Suda.

I don’t know about ευρυτιαω. I haven’t checked the TLG, or done any research at all.

Oddly enough, I too thought of ευρυπρωκτος (not only in the Clouds). With our maiden the width is at the front end.

Good point about the Meriones name-play in the (much feebler) Contest epigram.

For the final couplet it seems to me that it’s an either/or choice between stimulation and concealment, and that concealment is too innocent and too weak. In real-life terms it could of course be both, but not in epigram where we’re meant to get the point. Or that’s how I see it.
Last edited by mwh on Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:19 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby jeidsath » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:10 am

Εὐρώταν· ἐν Ἐπιγράμμασι· τὸν δ’ ὑπεροιδαίνοντα κατέσκεπε πταμένη χείρ, οὐχ ὅλον Εὐρώταν, ἀλλ’ ὅσον ἠδύνατο. περὶ αἰδοίου ἀνδρὸς ὁ λόγος. καὶ αὖθίς φησι Λάκαινα πρὸς τὸν ἴδιον υἱόν· λεῖπε τὸν Εὐρώταν, ἴθι Τάρταρον, ἡνίκα δειλὴν οἶσθα φυγὴν τελέθειν, οὔτ’ ἐμὸς οὔτε Λάκων.

The second epigram quoted doesn’t have anything to do with genitals—something has gone wrong here.


Or has it? If ποεῖν/ἱέναι τὸν Εὐρώταν was slang for "to ejaculate from masturbation" much would become clear. "Not entirely Εὐρώταν, but as much as she was able." And then coarse words from a Spartan mother.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby mwh » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:45 am

No nothing’s gone wrong, as I explained. The two quotes are quite unconnected, or connected only by the fact that they each include the word Ευρωταν. And Joel, forgive me, but your idea is just crazy. There’s nothing coarse in the Spartan mother’s words. I’m afraid you’ve quite missed the point.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby dikaiopolis » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:11 am

Yes, you're right on the second (irrelevant) part of the Suda entry—I was just careless. They are connected only because of the use of Eurotas ἐν Ἐπιγράμμασι.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby jeidsath » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:44 am

I think that I did understand it: "Quit the Eurotas (the iconic Spartan river), and get to Tartarus, when you know yourself to be a coward fugitive, neither of me, nor of Sparta."

However, I looked through a number of TLG occurrences of Eurotas and couldn't find a single double entendre, so I'm sure you're right. The closest I got to anything that could be relevant to this was from a commentary on Plato's Alcibiades:

ἀλλὰ καὶ φιλογυμναστίαν ἤσκουν παρὰ τὸν Εὐρώταν, ὥς φησιν ὁ Εὐριπίδης, κοινῶς ἄνδρες καὶ <γυναῖκες> γυμναζόμενοι

Could it suggest a setting for Rufinus' epigram?

Here's Eustathius on the opening lines of Odyssey δ. I'm only including him because it looked like "εἰ δὲ καί" might express some uncertainty.

τινὲς δὲ ὧν καὶ Ζηνόδοτος, καιετάεσσαν γράφουσιν. ὅθεν παρὰ Καλλιμάχῳ τὸ, ἵππους καιετάεντας ἀπ’ Εὐρώταο κομίσεαι. ποταμὸς δὲ Λακωνικὸς ὁ Εὐρώτας ὡς καὶ ὁ περιηγητὴς δηλοῖ. εἰ δὲ καί τι μόριον σώματος εὐρώτας λέγεται, δηλοῖ ὁ γράψας ἐλεγεῖον τὸ, οὐχ’ ὅλον εὐρώταν ἀλλ’ ὅσον ἠδύνατο. φασὶ δὲ λέγεσθαι καιετάεσσαν, τὴν καλαμινθώδη, ἢ τὴν πολλοὺς ἔχουσαν καιετοὺς, ὅ ἐστι σχισμὰς καὶ ῥωχμοὺς ἀπὸ σεισμῶν. εὔσειστος γὰρ ἡ Λακωνική.

But why does he bring up Εὐρώτας at all here? A commentary on the Callimachus quote?
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby RandyGibbons » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:03 pm

Sounds like masturbation to me. Nude contact with the flowing water turned her on. Of course it's voyeuristic—this is erotic epigram, after all, home of the male gaze. Her spread hand covered the area not for concealment but for stimulation (a nice variatio of the usual trope). Why the Eurotas? Ευρ- suggests breadth; and the Eurotas swelled after rains, overflowed and became swampy. Need I say more?

The poem definitely has a masturbatory feel to it (and I'm not trying to be cute - in discussions like this it is hard to say anything that doesn't sound like a double entendre). But I'm on the fence. Certainly ὑπεροιδαίνοντα suggests that (both the ὑπερ and the οιδαίνοντα). But I'm skeptical that κατέσκεπε πεπταμένη χεὶρ does; κατέσκεπε unambiguously means to protect or conceal, and I don't picture female masturbation being done with a fully (all five fingers) extended hand.

Two other possible interpretations occur to me. Being extremely nubile, maybe she already had an (perhaps even involuntary) orgasm from the jiggling contact with the water, and now she's trying to cover up the evidence. Or, set masturbation aside, maybe the poet is just jokingly saying the virgin was endowed with exceptionally wide pudenda (in an erotic poem, I don't feel Page's need to distinguish pubes from pudenda), but granted that allows for only a weak interpretation of the strikingly emphatic ὑπεροιδαίνοντα.

Textkit seems to be an almost all male thing. I must say I'd like a female perspective here.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby mwh » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:06 pm

dikaiop. Thanks, glad you agree.

Joel, I’m not sure you entirely grasp the meaning of that epigram, but no matter. The important thing is that there’s no sexual entendre there.

Eustathius’ gargantuan Homer commentaries include all sorts of irrelevant stuff. Just coming across this unique use of ευρωτας would have been enough for him to dump it in.

Randy, Fair enough, but κατεσκεπε doesn’t imply concealment as such (it’s not κατεκρυπτε) but merely covering, most often but not necessarily for protection. Perhaps I shouldn’t exclude concealment, if we are to assume shame or modesty. The splayed hand may not be fully realistic but this is a male image and necessary for the point of this closing couplet.

Of your two alternative interpretations, the first seems implausible to me, and I’m wondering what evidence she would be covering up. The second seems too feeble, and as you acknowledge takes inadequate account of υπεροιδαινοντα.

More women would most definitely be welcome on Textkit, but I’m not surprised if they don’t want to be subject to mansplaining. We are a deplorably male bunch, and it shows. I suspect a female perspective would be Yuck. I had feminist critiques in mind when I mentioned the male gaze.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby jeidsath » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:41 pm

mwh wrote:More women would most definitely be welcome on Textkit, but I’m not surprised if they don’t want to be subject to mansplaining. We are a deplorably male bunch, and it shows. I suspect a female perspective would be Yuck. I had feminist critiques in mind when I mentioned the male gaze.


Μῆνιν ἄειδε μαθὼν καὶ Μῆνιν ἄειδε διδάξας
οὐλομένην, γαμετὴν ἠγαγόμην ὁ τάλας·
πᾶν δ’ ἧμαρ μάχεται, καὶ παννυχίη πολεμίζει,
ὡς παρὰ τῆς μητρὸς προῖκα λαβοῦσα μάχην.
ἢν δὲ θέλω σιγᾷν, καὶ μαρναμένῃ ὑποείκειν,
ὅττι περ οὐ μάχομαι, τοῦδ’ ἕνεκεν μάχεται.

(I discovered this while searching -- in vain -- for Sternbach's discussion on the Rufinus epigram.)
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby RandyGibbons » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:58 pm

Well, if one is going to perpetuate the stereotype, at least do it cleverly :lol: .
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:14 pm

mwh wrote:When offering my interpretation (on which I’d welcome feedback) I ignored Barry’s first post as being unhelpful, and I don’t think anything is to be gained by following up on it. No-one could accuse him of “overthinking” things. What we need is something even remotely approaching Page’s literary sensibility and his intimate familiarity with the post-classical Greek epigrammatic tradition. Anything else is just noise.


I'm glad that I can't be accused of overthinking things -- μήποτε γένοιτο! I sincerely apologize for my failure to be helpful in my response, but as a certain σοφὸς ἄνθρωπος -- or would that be σοφιστής? -- recently remarked in another thread, we are all at different stages, and we are supposed to be helping one another along the way.

Speaking of σοφία:

dikaiopolis wrote: In any case, the epigram invites such voyeuristic speculation from its viewers, who participate by vividly imagining new scenarios (cp. reconstructions of the Archilochus Cologne epode). Like the girl’s hand, its ambiguity conceals, but not completely.


I'm glad that somebody really gets it.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby mwh » Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:15 am

Barry, I’m sorry my earlier post stung you so, as you now reveal. I was explaining why I had not engaged with your post, which I could have done more tactfully. But I do like posts either to advance the matter in hand (no pun intended) or to ask sensible questions, and so many of yours just don’t. I’m afraid this latest one is another such instance. But then so is this one, so let’s forget it. I think some good things have come out of this thread. Stay glad.
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Re: Εὐρώταν Greek Anthology 5.60

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:13 am

mwh wrote:Barry, I’m sorry my earlier post stung you so, as you now reveal. I was explaining why I had not engaged with your post, which I could have done more tactfully. But I do like posts either to advance the matter in hand (no pun intended) or to ask sensible questions, and so many of yours just don’t. I’m afraid this latest one is another such instance. But then so is this one, so let’s forget it. I think some good things have come out of this thread. Stay glad.


ὃ μεθερμηνευόμενον means that I said nothing of interest to you. It was at least mildly interesting to someone else. When I think a post has nothing to offer me, I simply ignore it. I don't call it out. If I disagree with someone, I try to do it in a manner which fosters discussion, not shuts it down. You have the ability to be of great help to many people, and you might want to think of better ways to encourage rather than discourage.
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