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Aratus and the Astronomical Tradition$

Emma Gee

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199781683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199781683.001.0001

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(p.232) (p.233) (p.234) (p.235) (p.236) (p.237) (p.238) (p.239) Appendix C Text and Translations of Aratus’ Proem and Avienus’ Proem

(p.232) (p.233) (p.234) (p.235) (p.236) (p.237) (p.238) (p.239) Appendix C Text and Translations of Aratus’ Proem and Avienus’ Proem

Source:
Aratus and the Astronomical Tradition
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

Aratus, Proem (ed. Kidd)

Translation (Kidd)

Avienus, Proem (ed. Soubiran)

Translation (my own)

ἐκ Διὸς ἀρχώμεσθα, τὸν οὐδέποτ᾽ ἄνδρες ἐῶμεν

ἄρρητον. μεσταὶ δὲ Διὸς πᾶσαι μὲν ἀγυιαί,

πᾶσαι δ᾽ ἀνθρώπων ἀγοραί, μεστὴ δὲ θάλασσα

καὶ λιμένες· πάντη δὲ Διὸς κεχρήμεθα πάντες.

τοῦ γὰρ καὶ γένος εἰμέν· ὁ δ᾽ ἤπιος ἀνθρώποισι 5

δεξιὰ σημαίνει, λαοὺς δ᾽ ἐπὶ ἔργον ἐγείρει

μιμνήσκων βιότοιο, λέγει δ᾽ ὅτε βῶλος ἀρίστη

βουσί τε καὶ μακέλῃσι, λέγει δ᾽ ὅτε δεξιαὶ ὧραι

καὶ φυτὰ γυρῶσαι καὶ σπέρματα πάντα βαλέσθαι.

αὐτὸς γὰρ τά γε σήματ᾽ ἐν οὐρανῷ ἐστήριξεν 10

ἄστρα διακρίνας, ἐσκέψατο δ᾽ εἰς ἐνιαυτὸν

ἀστέρας οἵ κε μάλιστα τετυγμένα σημαίνοιεν

ἀνδράσιν ὡράων, ὄφρ᾽ ἔμπεδα πάντα φύωνται.

τῷ μιν ἀεὶ πρῶτόν τε καὶ ὕστατον ἱλάσκονται.

χαῖρε, πάτερ, μέγα θαῦμα, μέγ᾽ ἀνθρώποισιν ὄνειαρ, 15

αὐτὸς καὶ προτέρη γενεή. χαίροιτε δὲ Mοῦσαι,

μειλίχιαι μάλα πᾶσαι· ἐμοί γε μὲν ἀστέρας εἰπεῖν

ᾗ θέμις εὐχομένῳ τεκμήρατε πᾶσαν ἀοιδήν.

The Layout of the Universe

oἱ μὲν ὁμῶς πολέες τε καὶ ἄλλυδις ἄλλοι ἐόντες

οὐρανῷ ἕλκονται πάντ’ ἤματα συνεχὲς αἰεί· 20

αὐτὰρ ὅ γ’ οὐδ’ ὀλίγον μετανίσσεται, ἀλλὰ μάλ’ αὕτως

ἄξων αἰὲν ἄρηρεν, ἔχει δ’ ἀτάλαντον ἁπάντη

μεσσηγὺς γαῖαν, περὶ δ’ οὐρανὸν αὐτὸν ἀγινεῖ.

καί μιν πειραίνουσι δύω πόλοι ἀμφοτέρωθεν·

ἀλλ᾽ ὁ μὲν οὐκ ἐπίοπτος, ὁ δ᾽ ἀντίος ἐκ βορέαο 25

ὑψόθεν ὠκεανοῖο.

‘Let us begin with Zeus, whom we men

never leave unspoken. Filled with Zeus

are all highways and all meeting-places of

people, fi lled are the sea and the

harbours; in all circumstances we are all

dependent on Zeus. [5] For we are also

his children, and he benignly gives

helpful signs to men, and rouses people to

work, reminding them of their livelihood,

tells when the soil is best for oxen and

mattocks, and tells when the seasons are

right both for planting trees and for

sowing every kind of seed. [10] For it was

Zeus himself who fi xed the signs in the

sky, making them into distinct

constellations, and organised stars for the

year to give the most clearly defi ned

signs of the seasonal round to men, so

that everything may grow without fail.

That is why men always pay homage to

him fi rst and last. [15] Hail, Father, great

wonder, great boon to men, yourself and

the earlier race! And hail, Muses, all most

gracious! In answer to my prayer to tell

of the stars in so far as I may, guide all my

singing.

The Layout of the Universe

The numerous stars, scattered in

different directions, [20] sweep all alike across the sky every day continuously for

ever. The axis, however, does not move

even slightly from its place, but just stays

forever fi xed, holds the earth in the

centre evenly balanced, and rotates the

sky itself. Two poles terminate it at the

two ends; [25] but one is not visible, while

the opposite one in the North is high

above the horizon.

Carminis incentor mihi Iuppiter: auspice terras

linquo Iove, excelsam reserat dux Iuppiter aethram,

imus in astra Iovis monitu, Iovis omine caelum

et Iovis imperio mortalibus aethera pando.

hic statio, hic sedes primi patris. iste paterni 5

principium motus, vis fulminis iste corusci,

vita elementorum, mundi calor, aetheris ignis

astrorumque vigor, perpes substantia lucis

et numerus celsi modulaminis. hic tener aer

materiaeque gravis concretio, sucus ab alto 10

corporibus caelo, cunctarum alimonia rerum,

fl os et fl amma animae: qui discurrente meatu

molis primigenae penetralia dura resolvens

implevit largo venas operatus amore,

ordinis ut proprii foedus daret. iste calorem 15

quo digesta capax solidaret semina mundus

inseruit. rite hunc primum, medium atque secundum

vox secreta canit: sibi nam permixtus utrimque

et fultus sese geminum latus, unus et idem est

auctor agendorum propriique patrator amoris 20

et mundi vere sanctus pater. hic chaos altum

lumine perrupit, tenebrarum hic vincula primus

solvit et ipse parens rerum fl uvitantia fi xit;

hic dispersa locis statuit primordia iustis,

hic digestorum speciem dedit; iste colorem 25

imposuit rebus, sexuque immixtus utroque

atque aevi pariter gemini simul omnia lustrans,

suffi cit alterno res semine. rerum opifex hic,

hic altor rerum, rex mundi, celsa potestas

aetheris atque Erebi, pigra inclinatio nodi, 30

insocabilium discretio iusta deorum,

cuius et extremum tellus opus, ignea cuius

lumina sunt late, sol et soror, ille diei

tendat ut infusi rutilum iubar, altera noctis

ut face fl ammanti tenebrosos rumpat amictus. 35

nec defi t genitis pater ullo in tempore rebus:

istius ille anni pulcher chorus, alta ut hebescat

terra gelu, ver ut blandis adrideat arvis,

pulverulenta siti tellurem ut torreat aestas

et gravis autumni redeat fetura parentis. 40

hoc duce per tumidi ferimur freta gurgitis, isto

praeceptore solum gravibus versamus aratris.

iste modum statuit signis, hic rebus honorem

infudit; tenebris hic interlabitur aethrae

viscera et aeternos animat genitalibus artus. 45

denique ne longum marcentia corda iacerent

mundanique ortus mens immemor omnia sensim

vilia conciperet neque se subduceret umquam

fontis in aeterni primordia, quo, velut amnis

quem festina citis urget natura fl uentis, 50

lapsa continuo ruiturae in corpora nostra

prorumpunt animae seriemque per aethera nectunt,

hic primum Cnidii radium senis intulit astris

mortalemque loqui docuit convexa deorum:

cur Hyperionis Nepa circumfl ecteret ignes 55

autumni reditu, cur sub gelido Capricorno

bruma pruinosi iuga tristia solveret anni,

cur spatium lucis, madidae cur tempora noctis

Libra celerique Aries dimenso pondere Olympi

aequarent, qua parte polus sublimior alto 60

cardine caeruleas Thetidis non tangeret undas,

quis polus umbrifero lateat declivis in axe

et vaga palanti cur signa errore ferantur.

que rursum ingenio numerisque Solensibus idem

Iuppiter efferri melius dedit, incola Tauri 65

Musa ut Cecropios raperetur et Aonas agros.

me quoque nunc similis stimulat favor edere versu

tempora cum duris versare ligonibus arva

conveniat, cum velivolo dare carbasa ponto

et cum viticomo crinem tondere Lyaeo. 70

O mihi nota adyti iam numina Parnasei!

O per multa operum mea semper cura, Camenae!

iam placet in superum visus sustollere caelum

atque oculis reserare viam per sidera. maior,

maior agit mentem solito deus, ampla patescit 75

Cirrha mihi et totis Helicon inspirat ab antris.

The Layout of the Universe

omnia quae fl ammis pingunt radiantibus aethram

nox agit et verso ceu fi xa trahuntur Olympo.

at non cuncta tamen signorum in lege putanda:

pars numeris et honore caret. micat omnibus ignis 80

et rutilo cunctis fl agrat coma fl ammea crine,

sed quia non certa formarum in luce notantur

omnia, sideribus cassum fi t cetera volgus.

mobilis en etiam mundi se machina versat,

ponderis et proprii trahit inclinatio caelum. 85

sed non axis item curvi vertigine fertur

aetheris, ut stilus instabili convolvitur orbi:

iuge manet, tenuisque procul sacra viscera caeli

perforat et mediae molem terrae tenet. illum

non prolixa dies, non incumbentis Olympi 90

cursus agit motatve loco labor, ut semel haerens

constitit et ferri se circum cuncta remisit.

nec minus extremo dispar polus: Oceano pars

sublime erigitur, subit altera, mersa sub undas,

pars Erebum et nigri iacet haec ut conscia Ditis. 95

hic Notus, horriferis Aquilonibus illa rigescunt,

ac teres in gemina stridit vertigine cardo.

alter in obtutum facilis, latet alter et alto

deprimitur barathro.

‘Jupiter inspires my poem. Under the

prophetic guidance of Jupiter I leave the

earth, Jupiter as leader unlocks the lofty

ether, we enter the stars under instruction

from Jupiter, under the omen and the

order of Jupiter I lay open the ether to

mankind. [5] This is the guardpost, this

the seat of the First Father. He is the

beginning of generative motion, he the

power of the scintillating lightning bolt,

the life-force of the elements, warmth of

the world, strength of the etherial fi re and

of the stars, the never-ending material

of light, and the number of celestial harmony.

He is the gauzy air and the weighty

coagulation of matter [10], he is moisture

for bodies from the high heaven, nutriment

of all things, fl ower and fl ame of the

soul. Dissolving the solid inner parts of

the primeval mass by running through it

on his path, he did the work of fi lling its

veins with broad-spreading love, [15] in

order to confer the treaty of initial order.

He himself instilled the heat by means of

which the world, full of potential, might

amass the disjunct seeds of things. It is

right that the awed voice sings him fi rst,

middle and following. For combining with

himself on one side and the other, and supporting himself on both fl anks, one

and the same [20] he is the instigator of

things to be done, and the accomplisher of

his own love, indeed the holy father of the

universe. He exploded deep chaos with his

light, he is was who fi rst loosed the chains

of darkness, and, in his own generative

role stabilized what was in fl ux; he set the

scattered particles in their right places, [25]

he gave shape to what had been separated;

he conferred colour on things, and,

containing an admixture of the two sexes

and encompassing all matters of double

generation equally at the one time, he was

capable of creating the universe from the

seeds of both.1 He is the craftsman of the

universe, the one who brings it to fruition,

king of the world, supreme power [30]

of both the ether and the underworld,

the gentle incline of the ecliptic,2 the just

mediator between warring gods. The earth

was his fi nal work, lit far and wide by its fi -

ery lights, the sun and his sister, so that the

former should proffer the ruddy beam of

outfl owing day, [35] while the latter should

rip the shadowy cape of night with her

fl aring torch. Nor does the Father desert

his creation at any time. His is the beautiful

dance of the year, which brings it about

that the deep loam grows stiff with frost,

that gentle spring laughs upon the fi elds,

that dusty summer parches the earth with

thirst [40] and the heavy offspring of fruitful

autumn returns. Under his guidance

we are borne across the straights of the

swelling sea, under his instruction we turn

the earth with resilient ploughs. He placed

a limit on the signs, he imbued everything

with its own status, he interweaves his

shadowy form into the innards of the

ether and vivifi es its everlasting limbs as

a creative force. [45] Finally, so that our

hearts should not lie in a long sleep and

our mind, forgetful of its celestial origin,

conceive unworthy things, and thus never

approach the source of the eternal spring,

by means of which, just like a river [50]

which impatient nature drives forth in

rapid jets, souls burst forth in a continuous

stream, intending to fl ow into our bodies,

and line up in the ether – he fi rst directed

the instrument of Eudoxus to the stars and

taught him, though mortal, to describe the

vaults of the gods: [55] why Cancer turns

the beams of the sun around at the return

of autumn, why under chilly Capricorn

the winter solstice relieves the frosty year

of its gloomy yoke; why Libra and swift

Aries, dividing the weight of heaven, make

equal the portion of day and the time of

dewy night; [60] in what part the more

lofty pole with its high turning-point

fails to touch the indigo waters of Thetis;

which pole lies hidden way down on the

axis out of sight, and why the roaming

stars are carried about in their wandering

meander. [65] That same Jupiter, in turn,

gave greater facility in telling these things

to the intelligent verses of Aratus, so that the

Muse who lives in the Taurus Mountains

should speed across the fi elds of Aonian

and Athenian poetry. Likewise his indulgence

now drives me to set forth in verse

the times when it is proper to turn the

earth with hardy mattocks, when to raise

the canvas to the sea apt for sails, [70] and

when to trim the hair of vine-bearing Bacchus.

O deities of the Parnassan grotto,

already known to me! Muses, always my

concern throughout many works! Now

I am pleased to raise my gaze to highest

heaven and lay bare with my eyes a path

through the stars! [75] A greater – yes, a

greater – god than usual galvanizes my mind,

broad Cirrha is open to me, and Helicon

breathes upon me from all its caves.

The Layout of the Universe

Night drives all those stars which decorate

the ether with their fl ickering fl ames, and

they are dragged along by the sky as it

turns, as though fi xed to it. However,

not all of the heavenly bodies should be

thought of as under the rule of law: [80]

part lacks rhyme and reason. In every one

of the stars the fi re fl ickers, and on all of

them a fi ery coif fl ames with reddish hair,

but because they can’t all be recorded using

the indisputable elucidation of fi gures,

a crowd devoid of constellations becomes

the remainder. Look how the mobile

mechanism of the sky turns itself, and the

momentum of its own weight drags the

heaven. But the axis is not similarly carried

along by the turning of the concave ether,

as a shaft is turned by an unstable disk:

it remains constant, and though slender,

runs though the holy entrails of heaven

from top to bottom and holds the mass of

the earth in the middle. [90] Neither longdrawn-

out time nor the movement of the

sky resting upon it, or effort, can push it or

shift it from its place: it stands as though

stuck once and for all, and permits everything

to be carried around it. The poles at

its extremities could not be more diverse:

one is lifted high up from Ocean, [95]

this other one lies underneath, subsumed

under the waters, as though an associate

of Erebos and dusky Dis. On the one hand

is the South wind, on the other, they grow

stiff with the shivery North wind, and the

smooth pivot rings in its twin turningpoint.

One is easy to see, the other lies

hidden, weighed down in the deep abyss.

(p.240)

Notes:

(1) . This expression is extremely obscure. I have taken it to follow from the reference to the two sexes in line 26, and translated ‘aevum’ as ‘generation’. The interpretation of Soubiran (p.273) (1981): n. ad loc. is different. He says ‘… geminum aevum ne peut signifier que le passé et l’avenir’ (‘geminum aevum can only signify the past and the future’). On this reading, which I find attractive in itself, you might translate line 27 ‘and perceiving at the one time equally everything pertaining to past and future …’ I did not eventually adopt this interpretation, however, because it seems to me to square less well with what immediately precedes and follows, i.e., the references to Jupiter’s ability to reproduce alone because of his bisexual nature.

(2) . See Ch. 6, pp. 158–60, for my comments on this reading of pigra inclinatio nodi. (p.274)