Author Archives: Steve Jenkin

Velleius Paterculus, ‘Scipio destroys Carthage’ (contributed by Terry Walsh)

Velleius’ history is an epitome, or summary, and necessarily clipped at times, but it has an unpretentious and sonorous simplicity. The apparently clumsy contrast here is between the qualities of Scipio and the swift inexorability of his campaign; I have tried to bring this out in my translation. Terry Walsh Et sub idem tempus, magis […]

Virgil Aeneid 9.314-50 (contributed by Caroline Lawrence)

I’ve been reading book 9 of the Aeneid. Not often studied, it is the book with the most battles in it. Aeneas has gone off to recruit help and left his band of Trojans holed up in a fort under the leadership of his son Ascanius who is probably only about 13 years old. When […]

Ibycus | Fragment 6 (contributed by Mariangela Labate)

Fr. 6 D. = 286 P. Mariangela Labate Head of Classics ἦρι μὲν αἵ τε Κυδώνιαι μαλίδεϛ ἀρδόμεναι ῥόαι τʹ ἐκ ποταμῶν, ἵνα Παρθένων κᾶποϛ ἀκήρατος, αἵ τ’ οἰνανθίδες αὐξόμεναι σκιεροῖσιν ὑφ’ ἕρνεσιν οἰναρέοιϛ θαλήθοισιν. ἐμοὶ δ’Ἔρος οὐδεμίαν κατάκοιτος ὥραν· ‹ἀλλ’ ἅ› θ’ὑπὸ στεροπᾶϛ φλέγων Θρηΐκιοϛ βόρεαϛ αἴσ- -σων παρὰ Κύπριδοϛ ἀζαλέαιϛ μανί- -αισιν ἐρεμνὸϛ […]

Ficino | Philosophy and Philosophers

When translating this commentary three or four years ago, the first sentence of this passage filled me with such wonder that it was not possible to proceed with the work until two hours had passed. This sentence is a quintessential definition of philosophy and philosophers. Arthur Farndell   Argumentum Marsilii Ficini in septimum librum de […]

Ficino | Human Nature. Inspiration for Botticelli’s Venus?

This exquisite description paints an image in the heart which reminds us of the innate beauty of the human being. Were it not for the sweet grace of love, its kinship, gentleness and magnanimity, human life would be bereft of all harmony, majesty and honour It has been suggested that this passage may have inspired Botticelli […]

Ficino | Letter to Lorenzo Lippi (Contributed by Jane Mason)

After my first year studying Classics at university I found that the life seemed to have gone out of it because it had all become a mere intellectual exercise. Luckily I was able to spend time that summer studying Plato on a philosophy retreat with a group of teachers and it all came back to […]

Martial: Greek Mythology in Roman Spectacle

The following are selections from Martial’s De Spectaculis Liber. I have selected according to the theme “Greek Mythology in Roman Spectacle”, including epigrams that contain reference to display of a particular myth as a spectacular display in the Amphitheatre. The text of the De Spectaculis Liber is slightly fragmented, creating some confusion in the numbering […]

Sappho and the Moon (contributed by Terry Walsh)

Sappho, the mystical poetess of the 7th century BC, has some beautiful lyrics about the night. The Moon was believed by the ancients to be the controller of all things feminine. These may be fragments, but they are striking and beautiful nonetheless, as when one comes upon an unexpected ruin on a small Greek island. […]

Sappho Fragment 31 (contributed by Mariangela Labate)

This is one of the most appreciated poems of classical antiquity; in fact it has been imitated and revised by many poets (see Catullus, Carmina 51). The first lines of the poem represent an intimate conversation between a girl and a man; in the second part Sappho describes the devastating effects of love. We don’t […]

Aeschylus Agamemnon 72-82 (contributed by Zachary McGar)

“Gorgeous” is not likely to be the first adjective that one would use to describe either Aeschylus or his work, but his writing exhibits a staggering, almost uncalled-for beauty. If I were to judge a competition between him and Euripides, Euripides wouldn’t make it past the first round. In this passage the old men of […]