Moses and Pharaoh's Crown, Jan Steen, ca. 1670
Hayatake Torakichi, Kuniyoshi, 1857
Homeric Hymn 15, "To Lion-Hearted Heracles"
Heracles shall I sing, Zeus’ son,
Whom Alcmene bore as best
Of men on Earth by far
In Thebes fair for dancing,
When she had mingled with
The dark-cloud-wrapped son of Cronus.
Before, he wandered
Over the boundless earth and sea
On missions for King Eurystheus --
Many reckless deeds he did
And suffered many. But now,
At last, he dwells in delight
In snowy Olympus’ splendid seat,
And has as his wife
Hebe of the lovely ankles.
Hail, lord, Zeus’ son,
And go on granting
Virtue and wealth alike.
Ἡρακλέα, Διὸς υἱόν, ἀείσομαι, ὃν μέγ᾽ ἄριστον
γείνατ᾽ ἐπιχθονίων Θήβῃς ἔνι καλλιχόροισιν
Ἀλκμήνη μιχθεῖσα κελαινεφέι Κρονίωνι:
ὃς πρὶν μὲν κατὰ γαῖαν ἀθέσφατον ἠδὲ θάλασσαν
πλαζόμενος πομπῇσιν ὕπ᾽ Εὐρυσθῆος ἄνακτος
πολλὰ μὲν αὐτὸς ἔρεξεν ἀτάσθαλα, πολλὰ δ᾽ ἀνέτλη:
νῦν δ᾽ ἤδη κατὰ καλὸν ἕδος νιφόεντος Ὀλύμπου
ναίει τερπόμενος καὶ ἔχει καλλίσφυρον Ἥβην.
χαῖρε, ἄναξ, Διὸς υἱέ: δίδου δ᾽ ἀρετήν τε καὶ ὄλβον.
The gods welcome Heracles to Mount Olympus. Side A of an Attic red-figure bell-krater, name-vase of the Painter of Louvre G 508; ca. 400-375 BCE. Perhaps from Naples; now in the Louvre. Photo credit: © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.5.
Mozart K.466 Piano Concerto #20 in D minor 2nd mov. Romance
Happy birthday to the incomparable Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Jan. 27, 1756 - Dec. 5, 1791).
A Monk with a Book, Titian, ca. 1550
Bronze statuette of Aphrodite; Roman-era copy after an original by Praxiteles. Now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mew-Hew-She-Kaw, The White Cloud, Chief of the Inoways, George Catlin (1796-1782)
Kobeshimi (Noh mask depicting a demon). Artist unknown; 18th century. Now in the Tokyo National Museum. Photo credit: ColBase: 国立博物館所蔵品統合検索システム (Integrated Collections Database of the National Museums, Japan).
Happy birthday to Antônio Carlos Jobim, “Father of Bossa Nova” (Jan. 25, 1927 - Dec. 8, 1994).
Alnitak and the Flame Nebula : What lights up the Flame Nebula? Fifteen hundred light years away towards the constellation of Orion lies a nebula which, from its glow and dark dust lanes, appears, on the left, like a billowing fire. But fire, the rapid acquisition of oxygen, is not what makes this Flame glow. Rather the bright star Alnitak, the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion visible on the far left, shines energetic light into the Flame that knocks electrons away from the great clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there. Much of the glow results when the electrons and ionized hydrogen recombine. The featured picture of the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) was taken across three visible color bands with detail added by a long duration exposure taken in light emitted only by hydrogen. The Flame Nebula is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, a star-forming region that includes the famous Horsehead Nebula. via NASA
Homeric Hymn 13, "To Demeter"
Demeter I begin to sing –
Comely-haired, reverend goddess –
Herself and her daughter,
Persephone of surpassing beauty.
Hail, goddess, and safeguard this city –
Be, too, leader of my song.
Δήμητρ᾽ ἠύκομον, σεμνὴν θεάν, ἄρχομ᾽ ἀείδειν,
αὐτὴν καὶ κούρην, περικαλλέα Περσεφόνειαν.
χαῖρε, θεά, καὶ τήνδε σάου πόλιν: ἄρχε δ᾽ ἀοιδῆς.
Head of a marble statue of Demeter. Artist unknown; 2nd cent. CE. Found at Sagalassos, near modern Burdur, Turkey; now in the Burdur Archaeological Museum. Photo credit: Bodrumlu55/Wikimedia Commons.
Having completed the last of his Twelve Labors, Heracles shows the captive Cerberus to a terrified King Eurystheus, who hides in a storage jar. (...Again.) Side A of a black-figure hydria (water-jar), attributed to the Eagle Painter; ca. 525 BCE. Made at Caere (modern Cerveteri), Etruria, Italy; now in the Louvre.
Pandora's Box, René Magritte, 1951
It's been a long time -- too long, in fact -- since I've had occasion to do anything substantial with Latin literature, but I'm thinking that after I finish with Bacchae I might try my hand at translating one of Seneca's tragedies into modern verse. The Agamemnon, perhaps.
Homeric Hymn 16, "To Asclepius"
I begin my song with Asclepius, healer of illness –
Apollo’s son, whom shining Coronis, the daughter
Of King Phlegyas, bore on Dotion’s plain:
For mortals a source of great joy,
A charmer-away of evil pains.
Thus I bid you hail, my lord; with this song I entreat you.
ἰητῆρα νόσων Ἀσκληπιὸν ἄρχομ᾽ ἀείδειν,
υἱὸν Ἀπόλλωνος, τὸν ἐγείνατο δῖα Κορωνὶς
Δωτίῳ ἐν πεδίῳ, κούρη Φλεγύου βασιλῆος,
χάρμα μέγ᾽ ἀνθρώποισι, κακῶν θελκτῆρ᾽ ὀδυνάων.
καὶ σὺ μὲν οὕτω χαῖρε, ἄναξ: λίτομαι δέ σ᾽ ἀοιδῇ.
Bronze coin dating to the joint reign of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus (161-169 CE), depicting Asclepius (right) and his mother Coronis. Now in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin. Photo credit: © Hartmann Linge, Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-sa 3.0.
Miracle of the Bread and Fish, Giovanni Lanfranco, between 1620 and 1623
Argenteuil, Édouard Manet, 1874
Happy birthday, Édouard Manet (Jan. 23, 1832 - April 30, 1883).