Poor beer-drinkers we are.

Reading The Georgics is like reading Aeschylus; one is constantly looking up words on which the lexicon reports: “word, meaning, V.” No citations. I.e., this word is pretty much only found in classical Latin in this particular place where you are seeing it.

The difference, and the reason why, no, you cannot read Aeschylus, is that in Vergil the words refer to things that people have seen and touched and held and eaten before.

Aeschylus is just making stuff up. I think Aeschylus was actually a 19th-century German classicist.

More on The Georgics, of course, later, but for now the best thing I read today was in Sir Roger Mynors’ supremely learned commentary on that poem, a sine qua non for any would-be reader of the pagan prophet’s didactic epic on farming. Mynors was just about finished with his commentary when he died in a car, at the age of 86, in 1989. So of the guilt of the very many ugly and infelicitous misprints and typographical errors in the Oxford-published commentary that bears his name, we must absolve him.

On 1.210 we have: “hordea: barley, one of the staple cereals of Antiquity, as with us, though the Ancients (except in Egypt) were not reduced, as we are, to making drink out of it; […]”

Classic classicist.


About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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