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This translation of the Βερενίκης Πλόκαμος of Callimachus, a few fragments of which are extant, is quite possibly the poem sent to Hortensius with Catul. 65.1ff. It is complex and artificial, and, indeed, if the translation was made when Catullus was burdened with grief for the loss of his brother, it is not strange that his native genius shows so little through it. Whether the obscurity of some passages in it is due to lack of care on the part of the translator, or to an excessive fidelity to the original, cannot be determined; but the general characteristics of Alexandrian poetry would lead us to refer the fault to Callimachus himself. The theme, a compound of court tradition and of astronomical knowledge, is as follows: Berenice, daughter of Magas, king of Cyrene, and wife of her cousin Ptolemy Euergetes (reigned 247-222 B.C.), king of Egypt, had for her husband's safety vowed to the gods a lock of her hair, when, shortly after his accession to the throne and marriage, the king was setting out on an expedition against Syria. Upon his safe return the vow was paid, and the tress deposited in the temple of the deified Arsinoe on the promontory of Zephyrion. Next morning, however, it had disappeared; but the anger of the king was appeased by the court astronomer, Conon, who said that he had descried it among the stars, where it must have been placed by divine agency. To verify his words Conon pointed out the hitherto undistinguished minor constellation which is now known as Coma Berenices.—Date, about 59 B.C. (cf. introductory note to c. 65).

omnia qui: the antecedent clause begins in v. 7.

dispexit: descried; as distinguishing in the darkness, or amid the multitude of other stars.

mundi: the firmament; as in Catul. 64.206; but with a different meaning in Catul. 47.2.

[3] rapidi: scorching, as the words flammeus nitor clearly indicate; cf. Verg. G. 1.92rapidi potentia solis acrior” ; Verg. G. 4.425rapidus torrens sitientis Sirius Indos” .

[3] obscuretur: sc. in an eclipse; cf. Plin. NH 11.47nullum aliud sidus eodem modo obscuretur” .

[4] ut cedant: etc., in v. 2 the reference is to the apparent daily motion of the stars, due to the revolution of the earth on its axis; in v. 4, to their yearly motion with reference to the apparent position of the sun, due to the revolution of the earth about the sun.

[5] Triviam: cf. Catul. 34.15n.

[5] Latmia saxa: Selene was wont to meet secretly upon Mt. Latmus in Caria the beautiful shepherd Endymion, with whom she had fallen in love (cf. Paus. 5.1); sub saxa = in antrum.

[6] aerio: so Horace of the heavens, Hor. Carm. 1.28.5aerias temptasse domos” .

[7] me: the poem is a monologue spoken by the lock (v. 51) of Berenice's hair itself.

[7] ille: i.e. the person referred to in v. 1ff., me ille Conon corresponding to omnia qui.

[7] Conon: the astronomer-royal of Ptolemy, a native of Samos, and friend of Archimedes. He wrote some astronomical treatises, which, however, have not been preserved; cf.

Conon et quis fuit alter
descripsit radio totum qui gentibus orbem,
tempora quae messor, quae curvus arator haberet?

[7-10] Cf. Callim. Frag. 34 με Κόνων ἔβλεψεν ἐν ἤερι τὸν Βερενίκης βόστρυχον, ὃν κείνη πᾶσιν ἔθηκε θεοῖς.

[9] cunctis deorum: cf. v. 33 cunctis divis, and Call. l.c.

[10] levia bracchia: cf. Catul. 64.332.

[10] protendens: standing in the attitude of prayer, with arms outstretched and lifted, and palms turned upward.

[11] auctus hymenaeo: cf. Catul. 64.25taedis felicibus aucte” . On the hiatus novo auctus in thesis and the lengthening of the short syllable before hymenaeo see Intr. 86d, Intr. 86g.

[12] Assyrios: for Syrios; cf. Catul. 68.144; Verg. G. 2.465; Hor. Carm. 2.11.16, etc. The war was to avenge the murder of Berenice, sister of Ptolemy Euergetes and widow of Antiochus Theos, by her step-son Seleucus Callinicus, who had in 246 B.C. succeeded his father on the throne of Syria.

[15] parentum gaudia: i.e. in their hope of descendants; cf. Catul. 64.379 f.

[18] ita me divi iverint: cf. Catul. 61.196; Catul. 97.1; and with the hyperbaton, Catul. 44.9. With the syncopation of the consonant v in the verb cf. Enn. Ann. 339 Vahl. (ap. Cic. De Sen. init.) adivero.

[20] invisente: apparently unique in the sense of active participation in an affair.

[21] at: introducing a possible protest of Berenice against the charge of inconsistency.

[21] luxti: for luxisti; see Catul. 14.14n. misti.

[22] fratris: Berenice was the first cousin of Ptolemy (III.) Euergetes, both being grandchildren on the father's side of Ptolemy I. But frater may be used here, like the Gr. ἀδελφός, of this relationship (cf. Catul. 3.4n.); or, more likely, it represents the way in which Ptolemy and Berenice were usually spoken of; for the custom in the Egyptian royal house of marriage between brother and sister is well known; cf. the decree of Canopus 1.7 βασιλεὺς Πτολεμαῖοςκαὶ βασίλισσα Βερενίκη ἀδελφὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ γυνή θεοὶ εὐεργέται.

[23] quam: etc. beginning the triumphant rejoinder to the protest in vv. 21 and 22; sisters show no such extremity of grief over separation from brothers.

[23] penitus exedit medullas: cf. Catul. 35.15n.; Verg. A. 4.66est mollis flamma medullas.

[25] sensibus ereptis: cf. Catul. 51.5misere quod omnis eripit sensus mihi” .

[27] 27 f.. Hyginus (Hyg. Astr. 2.24), evidently referring to this passage, says that Berenice (whom he calls the daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus) once saved her father's life by mounting a horse and rallying his wavering troops. But this would not have won her husband. The reference is doubtless to the story told by Justin (Just. 26.3) that Berenice's mother was opposed to her betrothal to Ptolemy, and desired to marry her rather to Demetrius, brother of Antigonus, king of Macedonia. Demetrius, however, formed a criminal connection with the mother, and was assassinated by a band of conspirators, at whose head stood Berenice, who thereby was enabled to fulfil her former engagement.

[28] coniugium = maritum; cf. Catul. 68.107; Tac. Ann. 2.13.3matrimonia ac pecunias hostium praedae destinare” .

[28] quodalis: i.e. a deed which none other would dare, and prove himself thereby the braver. Ellis compares Hor. Carm. 3.23.18non sumptuosa blandior hostia mollivit aversos Penates” .

[28] alis: cf. Catul. 29.15n. alid.

[29] tum: directing the thought once more to the later period and greater fear.

[29] mittens: cf. Catul. 96.4n. missas.

[30] Iuppiter: cf. Catul. 1.7n.

[30] tristi: cf. v. 21 luxti; Catul. 14.14n. misti. The action was, of course, that of dashing the tears away.

[31] an: etc. i.e. (utrum deus te mutavit an eo factum est quod, etc.

[33] cunctis divis: but cf. v. 9 cunctis deorum.

[34] taurino sanguine: the sacrifices of cattle may have been in acknowledgment ot past favors, while the new vow was made for the future; or they may have been part of the vow to be paid in the future; cf. in either case the votorum nuncupatio of the Roman consuls at their entry upon office, and Hannibal's offering (Liv. 21.21.9).

[35] tetulisset: see Catul. 34.8n.

[36] Asiam: Ptolemy ravaged Asia Minor and the eastern districts, at least as far as the Euphrates; cf. Inscr. of Adule; Just. 27.3.

[37] caelesti reddita coetu: the lock speaks from its final resting-place among the stars, passing over the brief interval of deposit in the temple of Zephyritis. On the form coetu see Catul. 34.8n.

[38] pristina: of the past.

[38] novo: of the present; the lock has but lately reached its present seat, and is explaining to its mistress the cause of its mysterious disappearance.

[38] dissolvo: on the diaeresis see Intr. 86b.

[39] invita: etc. cf. Verg. A. 6.460invitus, regina, tuo de litore cessi” .

[40] adiuro: etc., cf. Callim. Frag. 35bσήν τε καρὴν ὤμοσα σόν τε βίον” ; oaths are sworn by that which is dearest, especially, then, by the life or head of the person himself or of his nearest friend. So with especial fitness the lock swears by the head from which it was severed; cf. Verg. A. 4.492testor te, germana, tuumque dulce caput” ; Verg. A. 9.300per caput hoc iuro per quod pater ante solebat” ; Ov. Trist. 5.4.45per caput ipse suum solitus iurare tuumque” ; Plin. Ep. 2.20.6 (of the perjury of Regulus by the head of his son). In direct imitation of Callimachus (l. c.) Catullus uses the accusative with adiuro in this sense, a construction which appears next in the Augustan age; cf. Verg. A. 12.816adiuro Stygii caput implacabile fontis” .

[43] maximum: cf. Strab. 331 fr. 33ὑψηλότατον” (of Mt. Athos).

[43] in oris: not restrictive of maximum, but modifying quem directly (= in litore stantem), ‘that most mighty promontory-mountain.’

[44] progenies Thiae: i.e. the sun; Hesiod (Hes. Theog. 371) says that Thia bore Helios and Selene to Hyperion; cf. Pind. I. 4.1.

[45] 45 f.. The cutting by Xerxes of a ship-canal through the isthmus of Athos is described in Hdt. 7.24.

[47] quid facient … cum … cedant: cf. the inverse construction of moods in Verg. Ecl. 3.16quid domini faciant, audent cum talia fures?

[48] Chalybon: etc. cf. Callim. Frag. 35eΧαλύβων ὡς ἀπόλοιτο γένος, γειόθεν ἀντέλλοντα κακὸν φυτὸν οἵ μιν ἔφηναν” ; Hor. S. 2.1.42o pater et rex Iuppiter, ut pereat positum robigine telum” . The Chalybes here referred to are undoubtedly not those of Spain, but the tribe of iron-workers in Pontus; cf. Xen. Anab. 5.5.1 ἀφικνοῦνται εἰς Χάλυβας. οὗτοι ὀλίγοι τε ἦσαν καὶ βιός ἦν τοῖς πλείστοις αὐτῶν ἀπὸ σιδηρείας.

[50] fingere: the verb, usually applied to easily worked substances (such as wax and clay), is strongly contrasted with duritiem; the Chalybes worked against nature in learning to dig iron from the concealing earth, and to mould its hardness so wonderfully into form.

[51] With this verse begins a passage of peculiar and probably unsurmountable difficulty.

[51] abiunctae (sc. a me), bereaved; modifying comae. The lock had been severed but a short time from its sister-locks on the head of Berenice, and their sorrow was still fresh (lugebant), when it was snatched from the temple and carried to heaven.

[53] unigena: born of the same parents, the brother (cf. Catul. 64.300); i.e. Emathion (cf. Apollod. 3.12.4Τιθωνὸν μὲν οὖν Ἠὼς ἁρπάσασα δι᾽ ἔρωτα εἰς Αἰθιοπίαν κομίζει, κἀκεῖ συνελθοῦσα γεϝϝᾷ παῖδας Ἠμαθίωνα καὶ Μέμνονα” , who was apparently identified mythically with the ostrich (cf. v. 54) as was Memnon himself with a certain species of black hawk (cf. Ov. Met. 13.600ff.).

[54] Arsinoes: Arsinoe was the sister-wife of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and was worshiped under the attributes of Aphrodite in a temple erected to her honor on the promontory of Zephyrion, between Alexandria and Canopus, whence she was called Zephyritis.

No satisfactcry emendation of elocridicos has yet been proposed.

[54] ales equus: according to Pausanias Arsinoe was represented riding upon an ostrich; Paus. 9.31.1τὴν δὲ Ἀρσινόην στρουθὸς φέρει καλχῆ τῶν ἀπτήνων” .

[55] aetherias umbras: it was in the night that the lock disappeared. With aetherias in the sense of aerias cf. Lucr. 4.182clamor in aetheriis dispersus nubibus austri” ; Ov. Fast. 1.682aetheria spargite semen aqua.

[55] avolat: though the ostrich does not fly, yet his exceedingly swift running when aided by his wings was enough like flight to satisfy the poet.

[56] Veneris: i.e. Arsinoes; cf. v. 54 n. Arsinoes.

[57] famulum: as the ostrich is called the famulus of Arsinoe, so the hind is the famula of Diana in Silius Italicus ( Sil. 13.124numen erat iam cerva loci, famulamque Dianae credebant” ), and the lion the famulus of Cybele in Manilius ( Manil. 4.760Idaeae matris famulus” ).

[58] Graia: as the daughter of Ptolemy I., Arsinoe was of Greek descent.

[58] Canopiis: i.e. Egyptian; cf. Luc. Phar. 10.64imbelli Canopo” ; Verg. G. 4.287Pellaei gens fortunata Canopi.

[58] incola litoribus: cf. Catul. 64.300cultricem montibus” .

[59] See Crit. App.

[61] corona: the wedding-wreath of Ariadne, given by Dionysus upon her marriage with him, was placed among the stars; cf. Ov. Met. 8.177ff.utque perenni sidere clara foret, sumptam de fronte [Ariadnae] coronam immisit caelo” ; German. Phaen. 71clara Ariadnaeo sacrata e crine corona” .

[61] nos: perhaps plural under the influence of exuviae (v. 62)

[62] flavi: so of Ariadne's hair in Catul. 64.63flavo vertice” .

[62] exuviae: since the lock had yielded only to force cf. v. 39 ff.

[63] uvidulam a fletu: the lock does not cease to emphasize its own unwillingness to leave its mistress, the words refer to v. 51 f.

[65] virginis: according to the older account she was Astraea, the daughter of the Titan Astraeus, who fought against the gods. She, however, descended to earth and dwelt among men, and was the last of the immortals to leave earth when the brazen age came on; cf. Hyg. Astr. 2.25; Ov. Met. 1.149virgo caede madentes, ultima caelestum, terras Astraea reliquit.” According to another tradition Virgo was Erigone, who hanged herself through grief at the murder of her father, Icarius, by shepherds to whom he had for the first time in their lives given wine to drink, and who supposed themselves poisoned by him; cf. Apollod. 3.14.7; Hyg. F. 130; Hyg. Astr. 2.4.

[65] namque: postpositive, as in Catul. 64.384; but nowhere else before Vergil does it stand after so many words in its clause; cf. Draeger Hist. Synt. 2.2 p. 162.

[65] Leonis: according to Hyg. Astr. 2.24 the Nemean lion slain by Heracles.

[66] Callisto: dative; she was the daughter of the Arcadian Lycaon, and an attendant of the huntress Artemis; but being ravished by Zeus and banished from the presence of her mistress, she was changed by Hera into a bear, and later, on being slain by her own son Arcas, was placed among the stars as the constellation Ursa Major or Helice; cf. Ov. Met. 2.401ff.; Ov. Fast. 2.153ff.

[67] Booten: said by some to be Icarius (cf. v. 65 n.); by others, to be Arcas (v. 66 n.) or Lycaon; cf. Ov. Fast. 6.235 f.

[68] vix sero: etc. this was a traditional characteristic of Bootes from the time of Homer (cf. Hom. Od. 5.272ὀψὲ δύοντα Βοώτην” ) and is explained by Sir Geo. C. Lewis (Astron. of the Anc., p. 59 ap. Ellis) as derived from the fact that Bootes rises in a horizontal, but sets in a vertical, attitude.

[69] sed quamquam: etc. i.e. although I am one of the stars, and keep company with the gods; cf. Arat. 339θεῶν ὑπὸ ποσσὶ φορεῖται” ; Verg. Ecl. 5.57sub pedibus videt nubes et sidera Daphnis.

[70] lux: etc. i.e. at the approach of dawn I set beneath the western wave.

[70] Tethyi: (= mari) cf. Catul. 88.5. and with the Greek dative, Catul. 64.247.

[71] Rhamnusia virgo: Nemesis (cf. Catul. 64.395n.; Catul. 68.77) might punish the arrogance that exalted in estimation things human above things divine.

[73] nec: apparently the first instance of the use of nec in the sense of ne quidem.

[73] discerpent: perhaps the only instance of the figurative use of this word in the sense of revile; cf. however carpo and concerpo.

[74] quin: depending on non tegam, v. 73 being parenthetical.

[74] evoluam: on the diaeresis see Intr. 86b.

[75] Observe the epanalepsis with inversion in me aforeafore me.

[77] The sense is, ‘I shared, to be sure, the simple life of my mistress before her marriage; but since that time have lived a life of indulgent luxury for which my present position is not a gratifying exchange. I miss my costly ointments; therefore do you, who, like her, are chaste and happy brides, offer me that gift upon your marriage.’

[77] quicum: feminine, as in Catul. 69.8, but rare in this gender.

[77] expers: modifies ego and una goes with quicum.

[79] optato lumine: cf. Catul. 64.31optatae luces” ; with lumine = die cf. v. 90.

[80] non: instead of ne, as belonging more closely to prius than to the clause as a whole.

[80] priusquam mihi: (v. 82) cf. Callim. Frag. 35dπρὶν ἀστέρι τῷ Βερενίκης.

[80] unanimis: cf. Catul. 9.4n.; Catul. 30.1.

[82] onyx: i.e. the alabaster box in which ointment was kept; cf. Prop. 3.13.30cum dabitur Syrio munere plenus onyx” .

[83] vester: restrictive, as defined by the quae-clause.

[83] iura: used absolutely as contrasted with illicita (i.e. adulteria).

[85] ah: here expressing strong reprobation; cf. Catul. 60.5; Catul. 64.135.

[85] bibat pulvis: cf. Ov. Fast. 3.472en iterum lacrimas accipe, harena, meas” ; Prop. 4.11.6nempe tuas lacrimas litora surda bibent” .

[87] sed magis: cf. Catul. 73.4immo etiam magis” ; Catul. 68.30n. magis.

[90] festis luminibus: cf. Catul. 64.388festis diebus” .

[91] unguinis: etc., i. e. do not suppose me happy beyond limit now, and so subject me to the same privations that I suffered before you became queen (v. 77).

[91] non: not infrequent in poetry and post-Augustan prose instead of ne in prohibitions, in spite of Quintilian's censure; Quint. 1.5.50 qui tamen dicat pro illo ne feceris, non feceris, in idem incidat vitium [soloecismum], quia alterum negandi est, alterum vetandi.

[91] tuam: Hor. Carm. 1.25.7me tuo pereunte” ; Ov. Her. 10.75vivimus, et non sum, Theseu, tua” ; Prop. 1.9.22et nihil iratae posse negare tuae” .

[94] proximus: etc. the sense is, ‘All I care for is to return to my former station; then the stars might do whatever they liked for all of me.’

[94] Hydrochni: dative, as from ὑδροχοεύς; cf. Catul. 64.382n. Pelei. The constellation, called by the Romans Aquarius, extends over a space from 90 degrees to 140 degrees distant from Orion.

[94] fulgeret: from fulge^re, an ante-classical and poetical variant for fulge_re. The imperfect subjunctive follows naturally upon an easily understood protasis like si modo hoc fieret.

[94] Oarion: from the Greek Ὠαρίων.

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