This fragment from Sappho is an epithalamium, a poem for a bride on her wedding-day, to be sung praise of her by the bridesmaids. οἶον τὸ γλυκύμαλον ἐρεύθεται ἄκρῳ ἐπ’ ὔσδῳ, ἄκρον ἐπ’ ἀκροτάτῳ· λελάθοντο δὲ μαλοδρόπηες, οὐ μὰν ἐκλελάθοντ’, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐδύναντ’ ἐπίκεσθαι. 1 οἶον = οἷον—γλυκύ|μᾱλον ‘sweet apple’ (Ionic-Attic μῆλον, Latin mālum ‘apple’)—ἐρεύθομαι … Continue reading an apple on a high branch (Sappho)
At·tá ben is' tír, ní·eiprimm a hainm, maidid eissi a deilm amal chloich a tailm. 1 at·tá H1 3 sg 'be' (cf. modern Ir tá), here with existential sense, 'there is'—ben nom sg 'woman' (cf. modern Ir bean, Gk γυνή, Eng queen)—is' = isin = i 'in' + definite article—tír neut s dat 'land, … Continue reading An Old Irish fart poem
People of all walks of life in Ancient Greek civilization(s) were fond of predicting the future by any means necessary. Sometimes this was a structured, purposeful process where a knowledgeable seer would set up an experiment, as it were, and use animal entrails or the flights of birds or random lines of literature. But sometimes … Continue reading An ominous sneeze (Od. 17.534–547)
J.R.R. Tolkien's adventures in language creation are well known and do not need elaboration here. But, in addition to his conlanging projects, he also composed an original 18-line poem in the Gothic language, the best-attested member of the extinct East Germanic language family. The bulk of the Gothic corpus is the Codex Argenteus, which contains … Continue reading Bagmē Blōma “Flower of the Trees”: Tolkien’s Gothic poem
Please forgive my frivolous title. For some time now I have semi-jocularly been saying that the Cyrillic alphabet (particularly its Russian incarnation), what with its innate capability of marking palatalization, would be better suited to write Irish and Scottish Gaelic than the Latin alphabet. I will look at Irish alone, although most of this has … Continue reading Дп Updдтэ foг Iгish Sрэlliпg?
A curious idiom that shows up a number of times in both the Iliad and the Odyssey means literally "take the ground with one's teeth"; figuratively, it means "die." The idiom bite the dust, or something like it, is found in a handful of modern European languages: Dutch: in het zand/gras bijten 'bite into the … Continue reading Another “One Bites the Dust”
I stumbled across this line in the Iliad that I think is noteworthy from a poetic perspective. Agamemnon is making a list of all the gifts (mostly furniture and servants) he will offer Achilles to entice him to return to the battlefront, and concludes it thus: "τὰς μέν οἱ δώσω, μετὰ δ᾽ ἔσσεται ἣν τότ᾽ ἀπηύρων … Continue reading A Rhyming Line in Iliad 9