Ov.Met. 8.727

Discuss meter, interpretation, and all things Latin Poetry
Post Reply
User avatar
Barry Hofstetter
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1252
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:22 pm

Ov.Met. 8.727

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:09 pm

cura deum di sint et qui coluere colantur.

Translations of this vary quite a bit. I think I get it, but I'd like to hear a good explanation of the sense and syntax, if anyone would like to do so.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Aetos
Textkit Enthusiast
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Re: Ov.Met. 8.727

Post by Aetos » Thu Mar 19, 2020 7:27 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:09 pm
cura deum di sint et qui coluere colantur
May gods be the concern of the gods and those who worshipped them be worshipped as gods. - or - :
May those who are the concern of the gods be gods and they who worshipped gods be themselves worshipped as gods.
I'm leaning towards the second translation, because in the versions I've looked at, this line is enclosed in quotation marks, which indicate Direct Discourse and the subjunctive is being used to express a wish; however, if you remove the quotation marks, then you would have:
serta super ramos, ponensque recentia dixi
cura deum di sint et qui coluere colantur

I believe this would be indirect discourse and would explain the use of the subjunctive.

Cura deum : deum is a subjective genitive
The second half is pretty straightforward. It's the first bit that's a bit challenging. I take cura to mean "an object of care", rather than simply "care" or "concern". As an "object of care" it's not much more of a stretch to get "Those who are an object of care of the gods are gods ( or, may they be gods)

I found an alternative reading of this line:
cura pii dis sunt, et qui coluere, coluntur

It may be an adaptation. Of course, the general idea is that because of their piety, Philemon and Baucis were changed into intertwined trees when they died and were worshipped thereafter as gods and as such their transformation is one of the many metamorpheses of the poem.

Barry, you're probably miles ahead of me. I'm just trying to think along with you.

mwh
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 3424
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Ov.Met. 8.727

Post by mwh » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:09 pm

The way I read it, the riddling first half of the line is solved by the second half, which recasts it in plainer terms.
Baucis and Phil took care of the gods; they were effectively the cura deum—deum being understood as objective gen. Ordinarily, of course, cura deum would be a subjective gen. (as e.g. at 1.48), and the gods would effectively be the subject, but that makes nonsense of di sint and of the moral of the tale. Ovid is having fun.
To decode, rather crudely: May those who care for the gods be gods, and those who revere the gods be revered. The metamorphosis effects the deification and veneration.

But this may be an unorthodox interpretation. I should probably look at a commentary (but some Ovidian commentators can be very dim).

Anyhow, the Baucis tale is reminiscent of Callimachus’ similarly detailed tale of Molorchus, the poor peasant who gave hospitality to the unrecognized Heracles in bk.3 of the Aetia as Heracles set out on the famous lion hunt. It’s characteristic of Callimachus to shift the focus onto the lowly Molorchus instead of Heracles and the lion hunt. His mini-epic Hekale shows the same kind of revisionist sensibilities.

Aetos
Textkit Enthusiast
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat May 19, 2018 6:04 pm

Re: Ov.Met. 8.727

Post by Aetos » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:25 pm

Thanks, Michael. Your interpretation certainly is more in keeping with the spirit of the story and I definitely can see Ovid having a little fun with us! I found the reference to deum as being a subjective genitive in an old textbook by Charles Knapp.
Here's what he had to say:
Cura deum, The concern of the gods, those about whom the gods were concerned. deum: subjective genitive; cf. God in "the love of God to us ward." … qui coluere colantur = qui deos coluerunt ipsi dei ('as gods') colantur.

Ah, Callimachus. He is still far away in my hopefully distant future. Tomorrow I start Book XXIV of the Iliad.
P.S. I hope you're feeling better!

User avatar
seneca2008
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 906
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:48 pm
Location: Londinium

Re: Ov.Met. 8.727

Post by seneca2008 » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:44 am

"Let those beloved of the gods be gods; let those who have worshipped be worshipped.’”

is how the Loeb has it. Line 724 rather than 727.

Anderson says " cura deum those beloved of the gods. Vergil uses the same phrase for Anchises in Aen. 3.476. Lelex in his brief prayer so artfully contrived for him ..develops a word play first with the juxtaposed deum di then with the active-passive forms of colere. The ultimate reward of pietas is then to be given a kind of immortality - if trees can be immortal - and to become an object of worship, a god."

Its a wonderful line which in its very structure and manipulation of words demonstrates the theme of metamorphoses.

I hope Michael you are feeling better and that everyone is taking measures to protect themselves as best they can. I have not seen Hylander on line for a while I hope he is well.

User avatar
Barry Hofstetter
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1252
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:22 pm

Re: Ov.Met. 8.727

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Fri Mar 20, 2020 1:14 pm

Maximas, tutelae, vobis gratias. When reading this with my students, I had to give an explanation, and didn't have a commentary on Ovid to consult. I regularly read Pyramus and Thisbe and Baucis and Philemon with my senior Latin literature class, but haven't until this point included those final lines of the poem. I explained it pretty much in the same way as Michael, and then went checking and realized others read it differently.

One of the students in the class shared a picture of two fused tree trunks in their backyard. The trees had been cut down years ago for growing too large, but he said that he and his sister (also in the class), now refer it as "B&P..."

Seneca, thanks for the parallel in the Aeneid. Marvelous.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

mwh
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 3424
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Ov.Met. 8.727

Post by mwh » Fri Mar 20, 2020 5:56 pm

I have great respect for Bill Anderson but here, in simply going along with what I said cura deum would ordinarily mean, I think he missed a trick. Ovid has inverted the ordinary relationship of gods and mortals (whereby it’s the gods who care for mortals rather than vice versa), in accordance with the circumstances of the story: B&P took care of the gods. It’s true that the gods then took care of them in turn, by way of their metamorphic apotheosis. Xenia is a reciprocal relationship, after all. But it was B&P who by their own cura deum initiated the sequence of events.
So I’m suggesting that Ovid’s use of cura deum here is itself a metamorphosis in miniature, wittily exploiting the formal ambiguity of the phrase.
What do people think?

As for myself, as far as I can tell I have not yet fallen prey to the plague, only to something disconcertingly similar to it. I do appreciate your good wishes, and sincerely reciprocate them.

Hylander
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1958
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm

Re: Ov.Met. 8.727

Post by Hylander » Sat Mar 21, 2020 1:55 pm

For what it's worth:

Tarrant (line 724): cura deum di sunt, et qui coluere coluntur. He cites ms. authority among the primary mss. for this, but sunt and coluntur are from different groups of mss.

Tarrant also cites a conjecture from Heinsius' notes that is not printed in Heinsius' text: cura pii dis sunt and adds in parentheses recte?. He marks pii as a reading reported by earlier editors from the recentiores (later mss.) which he was unable to track down.

Tarrant's reading seems too straightforward to be right, but what do I know? It's not inconsistent with Michael's interpretation. I'd like to know how Tarrant interprets the line.

mwh
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 3424
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Ov.Met. 8.727

Post by mwh » Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:22 pm

Hmm. I’d have thought the subjunctives distinctly preferable. The indicatives strike me as banalization. But what do I know? The interpretation remains basically the same.

I certainly wouldn’t trust pii, which reads like a gloss or a simplification of the moral.

It’s very good to see Hylander surface!

Hylander
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1958
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:16 pm

Re: Ov.Met. 8.727

Post by Hylander » Sun Mar 22, 2020 7:22 pm

pii sounds like a conjecture from the Christian era. The word is of course ancient, but the idea of a community of the pious seems very Christian to me.

Post Reply