This week’s funny word is βρεκεκεκὲξ, a sound meant to imitate that of the frogs in Aristophanes’ “Frogs.” It is followed by “κοὰξ κοάξ” (ln. 209).
The chorus of the frogs is:
βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ
βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ
λιμναῖα κρηνῶν τέκνα,
ξύναυλον ὕμνων βοὰν
φθεγξώμεθ’, εὔγηρυν ἐμὰν ἀοιδάν,
ἥν ἀμφὶ Νυσήιον
Διὸς Διόνυσον ἐν
ἡνίχ’ ὁ κραιπαλόκωμος
τοῖς ἱεροῖσι Χύτροισι
χωρεῖ κατ’ ἐμὸν τέμενος λαῶν ὄχλος.
βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ.
Brekekekex Koax Koax
Brekekekex Koax Koax
Marshy children of the water
Harmonious crying of hymns
Let us sing, my sweet sounding song,
which we roared for Nymphian
Dionysus of Zeus
When the crowd drunk in revelry
During the holy feast of pots
Comes to my precinct
Brekekekex Koax Koax
I have just placed my order on Amazon.com for Brant Pitre‘s second book, “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist.” I’ve read Dr. Pitre’s first book, “Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of Exile” which I said should cause a major paradigm shift in how we view “exile” in the New Testament. I’m looking forward to digging into this second book and will blog about it after I’ve read it.
This Friday’s funny word is my favorite Latin word: pullarius or “chicken master.” Cicero in his De Divinitate (On Divination) talks about the duties of the pullarius and his skepticism concerning the efficacy of their omens. In the morning, a pullarius would go out to feed the chickens in silence. If the chickens ate with fervor, it was a good omen. If not, it was received as a bad omen. One of the most famous instances of this type of augury in antiquity was when Publius Claudius Pulcher, during the First Punic war (mid-3rd century BC), sailed out against the Carthaginians even though the chickens did not eat with vigor that morning. He lost the battle (probably because the men were so frightened they were incapable of fighting well) and was subsequently exiled for his sacrilege.
Tum ille: “Dicito, si pascentur.” “Pascuntur”. Quae aves? Aut ubi? Attulit, inquit, in cavea pullos is, qui ex eo ipso nominatur pullarius. Haec sunt igitur aves internuntiae Iovis! Quae pascantur necne, quid refert? Nihil ad auspicia; sed quia, cum pascuntur, necesse est aliquid ex ore cadere et terram pavire (terripavium primo, post terripudium dictum est; hoc quidem iam tripudium dicitur) – cum igitur offa cecidit ex ore pulli, tum auspicanti tripudium solistimum nuntiatur. Ergo hoc auspicium divini quicquam habere potest, quod tam sit coactum et expressum?
My translation is thus:
Then he said: “Tell me if they eat.” “They are eating” responds the Augur. “What birds? And where?” He says, “A man brings the chickens into the birdcage and on account of this is called the chicken master (pullarius).” These chickens are therefore the mediators of Jove! And whether they eat or not, what does it matter? Nothing to the auspices; but because, if they eat, it is necessary that something will fall from their beak and strike the ground (this was at first called terripavium, afterwards called terripudium, and now it is indeed called tripudium [a favorable omen when chickens eat greedily]) – therefore when the food falls from the beak of the chicken, then it is said that the most perfect chicken omen has begun. Therefore how is this omen able to have anything divine, which is so forced and strained?
Come to think of it, tripudium solistimum (the most perfect chicken omen) is pretty funny too.
Thanks to Brian LePort and Jim West for bringing this article to my attention. I really laughed at Brian LePort’s title: “Bart Ehrman has a magical time machine!” While I respect Ehrman’s work on a lot of different issues and I think he’s a serious academic, this quote is silly:
“The authors intended to deceive their readers, and their readers were all too easily deceived,” Ehrman writes. “The use of deception to promote the truth may well be considered one of the most unsettling ironies of the early Christian tradition.”
Not only did he zip back 2000 years, but he read the minds of those who were writing the Gospels.
Thanks to Francis Beckwith for pointing this out. For the low, low price of 149.00, you can enjoy 50 hours of Norman Geisler’s teaching in your own ‘Seminary in a Box.’
Today’s “Perfect Example Of” comes once again from Thucydides’ Book II of The Peloponnesian War. This comes from an indirect speech of Pericles recorded by Thucydides. Thucydides likes to place between a preposition and its genitive another dependent genitive.
…λέγων τὴν ἰσχὺν αὐτοῖς ἀπὸ τούτων εἶναι τῶν χρημάτων τῆς προσόδου…
…saying to them that their strength was in the offering of monies….
So here’s a visual of what’s going on:
Thucydides does this elsewhere in Book I.32 where he has a preposition separated from its genitive by another dependent genitive:
μετὰ τῆς ξυμμαχίας τῆς αἰτήσεως
Which I translate as:
After the request of their ally…
Also, notice that Thucydides often uses ξ instead of σ in words like συν and compounds that have that as a prefix.
An article in the Christian Science monitor:
The Byzantine church located southwest of Jerusalem, excavated over the last two months, will be visible only for another week before archaeologists cover it again with soil for its own protection.
The small basilica with an exquisitely decorated floor was active between the fifth and seventh centuries A.D., said the dig’s leader, Amir Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority. He said the floor was “one of the most beautiful mosaics to be uncovered in Israel in recent years.”
Thanks to Darrell Pursiful who thanks the author at Rogue Classicism (an excellent blog!) for pointing out this great article on why it’s a good thing to learn Latin.
A friend of mine in my program has put together this great program of reading the Bible. We’re reading through the OT every 6 months, the NT in English every 2 months, the NT in Greek every year, the Catechism once a year, and I’m adding a Psalm in Latin every day. Tonight’s NT reading came from Romans and I read something I’ve never paid attention to:
τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ ὑμᾶς στηρίξαι κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου καὶ τὸ κήρυγμα Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν μυστηρίου χρόνοις αἰωνίοις σεσιγημένου,  φανερωθέντος δὲ νῦν διά τε γραφῶν προφητικῶν κατ’ ἐπιταγὴν τοῦ αἰωνίου θεοῦ εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη γνωρισθέντος….
My translation is:
To the one who is able to support you according to my Gospel and the preaching of Christ, according to the unveiling of the mystery having been hidden for a long time but now is made manifest through prophetic writings according to the command of the Eternal God, who has been made known, for the sake of obedience of faith among all nations…
The last bit there kind of stinks and I’d polish it up, but my main concern is what I underlined. The “mystery” about which Paul speaks – what is it? And, more interestingly, what “prophetic writings” does Paul here have in mind? Are the prophetic writings the Hebrew Bible and now, because of Christ’s teaching, we can see what was hidden there for ages? Or, was there a mystery there that is now revealed in new writings? I’m going to have to check some commentaries tomorrow to see what the deal is here. Any suggestions are welcome, of course.
I’m re-reading Joseph Ratzinger’s “Jesus of Nazareth” in anticipation for the second volume in March. A friend of mine and I are going to read it together and discuss it every week (over beer and wings, no less) so that when the second volume comes out, we can continue reading that. I read this sentence tonight and thought about how great it is that Ratzinger sees Jesus/Jonah in other ways than just the “three days and three nights.” The quote is:
…Jesus loaded the burden of all mankind’s guilt upon his shoulders; he bore it down into the depths of the Jordan. He inaugurated his public activity by stepping into the place of sinners. His inaugural gesture is an anticipation of the Cross. He is, as it were, the true Jonah who said to the crew of the ship, “Take me and throw me into the sea” (Jon 1.12). Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth (p. 18)