Un’intervista con Omero – Luciano di Samosata

Non erano ancora passati due o tre giorni [dall’arrivo sull’Isola] quando mi accostai al poeta Omero, dato che entrambi avevamo un po’ di tempo libero. Tra le altre cose, gli domandai anche da dove venisse, dicendo che questa è una questione molto dibattuta a tutt’oggi dalle nostre parti. Quello mi rispose che non ignorava che alcuni lo ritengono di Chio, altri di Smirne, molti di Colofone. Era però, mi disse, babilonese, e presso i suoi concittadini era chiamato non Omero ma Tigrane; aveva cambiato nome in seguito, dopo esser stato mandato come ostaggio [homēros] presso i Greci. Gli domandai anche dei versi espunti, se fossero stati scritti da lui: quello rispose che erano tutti suoi. Allora riconobbi l’immensa stupidità dei grammatici della scuola di Zenodoto e Aristarco. Dopo che mi ebbe risposto in modo soddisfacente su queste questioni, tornai a chiedergli perché mai avesse iniziato con la parola mēnis; e quello mi rispose che gli era venuto in mente così, senza stare a pensarci troppo. Allora volli sapere anche questo, se avesse scritto prima l’Odissea dell’Iliade, come dice la maggior parte degli studiosi; quello rispose di no. Che non fosse neppure cieco, un’altra cosa che si racconta su di lui, lo seppi subito: ci vedeva, quindi non ebbi neanche bisogno di chiedere. E continuai a fare questo molte volte, se mai lo vedevo libero da impegni: mi avvicinavo e gli chiedevo qualcosa, e quello mi dava volentieri tutte le risposte, soprattutto dopo il processo, dopo che ebbe vinto la causa. C’era stata infatti un’azione giudiziaria a suo danno, un’accusa di violenza da parte di Tersite per gli insulti che gli aveva inflitto nella sua poesia; e Omero la vinse, con Odisseo come oratore a supporto.

[Luciano, Storia Vera, 2.20]

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SB Gilgamesh, Tablet XI 199-230: “Who would gather the gods for you?”

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Enlil went up inside the boat,
(200) he took my hand and brought me out,
he brought out my wife, made her kneel at my side.
He touched our forehead and stood between us, he gave us a blessing:
“In the past Ūta-napišti was a human being,
but now Ūta-napišti and his wife shall become like us, the gods!
(205) Ūta-napišti shall dwell in the distance, at the mouth of the rivers.”
They took me and they settled me in the distance, at the mouth of the rivers.
But for you now, who would gather the gods for you,
so that you may find the life you seek?
Come, now, do not sleep for six days and seven nights.’
(210) As soon as he sat down crouching,
sleep, like mist, breathed over him.
Ūta-napišti said to her, to his wife:
‘Look at the young man who demanded life:
sleep is breathing over him like mist.’
(215) His wife said to him, to Ūta-napišti the distant:
‘Touch the man, let him wake up!
By the way through which he came may him return in safety,
by the gate through which he left may he return to his land.’
Ūta-napišti said to her, to his wife:
(220) ‘Mankind is deceitful, it will deceive you.
Come, now, bake his daily loaves, set them in a row by his head,
and mark the days through which he slept on the wall.’
She baked his daily loaves, set them in a row by his head,
And on the wall she let him know the days through which he slept.
(225) The first of his daily loaves had dried up,
the second had gone leathery, the third damp,
the fourth of his bread-loaves was white,
the fifth had gone discoloured,* (229) the sixth had finished cooking,
(230) the seventh was in the oven; he touched the man, he woke him up.

* l. 228, as printed by George, does not end in the customary trochee, and is transmitted by two manuscripts together with 229.

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SB Gilgamesh, Tablet XI 161-198: “Enlil shall not come to the offering.”

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The gods smelled the sweet fragrance,
the gods smelled the pleasant, sweet fragrance,
the gods, like flies, gathered above the libation-pourer.
At the very moment of Bēlet-ilī’s arrival
(165) she lifted the great flies that Anu had made in his courting:
“Let these gods be the lapis lazuli of my necklace,
let me remember these days forever, may I not forget them.
Let the gods come to the offering;
but Enlil shall not come to the offering,
(170) because he did not consider (things fully) and brought the Deluge,
and consigned my people to the catastrophe.”
At the very moment of Enlil’s arrival
Enlil saw the boat and became enraged;
he was filled with anger towards the Igigû-gods:
(175) “Whence did (this) living being escape?
No man should have survived the catastrophe.”
Ninurta opened his mouth and said,
he spoke to Enlil, the hero:
“Whoever but Ea can accomplish this matter?
(180) And Ea knew the whole plan!”
Ea opened his mouth and said,
he spoke to Enlil, the hero:
“You, wise among the gods, o hero,
how, how did you not consider (things fully), how did you bring the Deluge?
(185) On the culprit impose his penalty,
on the sinner impose his sin;
let go, lest it be snapped; pull taut, lest it go slack.
Rather than you causing the Deluge,
may a lion arise and cut down the people;
(190) rather than you causing the Deluge,
may a wolf arise and cut down the people.
Rather than you causing the Deluge,
may a famine be brought about and ravage the land;
rather than you causing the Deluge,
(195) may Erra arise and ravage the land.
As for me, I did not release the secret of the great gods;
I showed Atra-ḫasīs a dream and he heard the secret of the gods.
Now, you take counsel about him.”

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SB Gilgamesh, Tablet XI 128-160: “I looked at the day: silence was set.”

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For six days and seven nights
(129) went on the wind, the downpour, the storm, the Deluge;
(129b) went on the wind, the Deluge; the storm flattened the land.*
(130) Upon the arrival of the seventh day,
(131) the storm relented…
(131b) that Deluge was relenting in respect to battle;*
the sea that had struggled like a woman in labour quieted down,
the storm fell still, the Deluge held back.
I looked at the day: silence was set,
(135) and the whole of humanity had turned to clay.
The river-valley was level like a roof.
I opened the hatch and a bright light fell upon my cheeks;
I fell to my knees and stayed there, I wept;
upon my cheeks two streams of tears flowed.
(140) I looked at the horizon, at the edge of the sea:
in fourteen directions land-masses rose.
On Mount Nimuš the boat came ashore,
Mount Nimuš grasped the boat and did not let it budge.
For one day, for the second day, Mount Nimuš [as above**];
(145) for the third day, for the fourth day, Mount Nimuš [as above];
for a fifth, a sixth, Mount Nimuš [as above].
At the arrival of the seventh day,
I fetched a dove and  released it.
The dove went, it searched for food [?***];
(150) there was no perch for it, (so) it came back.
I fetched a swallow and I released it.
The swallow went, it searched for food [?***];
there was no perch for it, (so) it came back.
I fetched a raven and I released it.
(155) The raven went and it found a place where the waters had retreated;
it was eating, it bobbed its head and tail [??***], it did not come back.
I fetched a libation for the four winds, I poured it out;
I placed a strewn offering on the top of the mountain-temple.
I set in place seven and then seven libation-vessels;
(160) at their feet I poured out reeds, cedar and myrtle.

* Variant line for the previous one.

** The sign KIMIN at the end of these three lines means that the previous line must be repeated.

*** The meaning of the verb(s) is unclear.

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SB Gilgamesh, Tablet XI 97-127: “The days of yore, to clay they have returned.”

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At the very first light of dawn
a dark cloud went round from the horizon.
In its heart Adad was roaring unceasingly,
(100) and Šullat and Ḫaniš went before him,
they marched, the throne-bearers, over mountain and land.
Errakal tore out the wooden poles;
Ninurta went, made the barrages overflow.
The Anunnaki raised the torches,
(105) in their radiance they burned up the land.
The stillness of Adad went across the sky;
everything that was bright was sent back to darkness.
He trampled the land like an ox, […] he cracked (it) open.
For one day the storm…
(110) Quickly it rose, and the Deluge […] the mountains (or: the East wind);
like a battle the catastrophe passed over the people.
Brother could not find brother,
the people could not be recognized in the cataclysm.
The gods were scared of the Deluge!
(115) They withdrew, they climbed up towards the sky of Anu.
The gods, like dogs, were curled up, stooping, in the open.
The goddess wailed like a woman in childbirth,
she screeched, pleasant-voiced Bēlet-ilī:
“The days of yore, to clay they have returned,
(120) because I spoke evil in the assembly of the gods!
How did I speak evil in the assembly of the gods?
I spoke a battle to destroy my people!
It was I who gave birth (to them), they are my people!
Like the progeny of fish they fill the sea!”
(125) The gods, them, the Anunnaki wept with her,
(126a) humble, the gods stayed in mourning,
(126b) dissolving in tears, they wept with her,*
their lips were parched, taken by fever.

* Variant line for the previous one.

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SB Gilgamesh, Tablet XI 76-96: “Everything I had, I loaded onto it.”

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When the sun rose I set my hand to the anointing;
before the Sun grew big, the boat was completed.
[…] with great labour,
and we kept carrying the wooden ramp front and back
(80) until … its two thirds went.
Everything I had, I loaded onto it,
everything I had, all the silver, I loaded onto it,
everything I had, all the gold, I loaded onto it,
everything I had, the seed of all life, I loaded onto it.
(85) I embarked inside the boat all my family and clan,
the animals of the desert, the beasts of the desert, the craftsmen all I embarked.
A fixed moment the Sun had set:
“Cakes in the morning he will rain down, a shower of wheat in the evening:
go inside the boat and shut your door.”
(90) That fixed moment has arrived:
Cakes in the morning he rains down, a shower of wheat in the evening.*
I have looked at the face of the day:
the day was fearsome when I looked at it.
I went inside the boat and shut my door.
(95) To the one who sealed the boat, the sailor Puzur-Ellil,
I gave the palace with its riches.

* Note that, as opposed to the editor, I do not take this line as being direct speech.

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SB Gilgamesh, Tablet XI 32-75: “He will rain down plenty on you!”

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‘I understood and spoke to Ea, my lord:
“I agree, my lord, to the terms of what you said;
I will observe it strictly, I will do it.
(35) (But) how shall I answer to the city, to the crowd and the elders?”
Ea opened his mouth and said,
he spoke to his servant, to me:
“Then you will tell them thus:
‘Surely Enlil hates me!
(40) I shall not dwell in your city!
In the land of Enlil I cannot set my foot!
I shall go down to the Apsû, with Ea, my lord, I will dwell.
He will rain down plenty on you.
An abundance of birds, a secret [sic] of fish,
(45) and […] harvest-born riches,
and cakes in the morning,
in the evening he will shower you with wheat.’”
At the very first light of dawn
at the door of Atra-ḫasīs the land was gathering:
(50) the carpenter was bearing his axe,
the reed-craftsman was bearing his stone,
[… was bearing?] his agasilikku axe;
the young men…
the old men were carrying ropes of palm-fibre;
(55) the wealthy was carrying pitch,
the poor … he brought supplies.
On the fifth day I set its outward appearance:
one ikû was its perimeter, its sides rose for ten rods,
ten rods were the edges of its roof, all equal to each other.
(60) I set its shape, I designed it:
I put six storeys on it,
I divided it in seven parts,
its interior I divided into nine.
Then I drove the water pegs into its middle;
(65) I found a punting pole and I prepared the supplies.
Three times 3,600 (containers of) pitch I poured into the oven,
three times 3,600 (containers of) asphalt […] in the center,
three times 3,600 (containers of) oil that the porters had carried;
I set aside 3,600 (containers of) oil that libation had detained;
(70) (there remained) two times 3,600 (containers of) oil that the sailor put away.
For the workers I had oxen slaughtered,
I killed sheep daily,
and beer, ale, oil and wine
to the crowd I gave to drink, like the water of the river.
(75) They were feasting like on the day of the akītu.

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SB Gilgamesh, Tablet XI.1-31: “Destroy the house, build a boat!”

Gilgāmeš spoke to him, to Ūta-napišti the distant:
‘I look at you, Ūta-napišti,
and your limbs are not different, you are like me,
and you are not different, you are like me.
(5) My heart was set on making battle with you,
[but now] my arm is idle in your presence.
How did you stand in the assembly of the gods and found life?’
Ūta-napišti spoke to him, to Gilgāmeš:
‘I shall reveal to you, Gilgāmeš, the word of the secret,
(10) and the secrets of the gods I shall tell you.
The city of Šuruppak – you know it,
the city that lies on the bank of Euphrates:
that city is old, and the gods were in it;
their heart, the heart of the great gods, brought them to cause the Deluge.
(15) Their father, Anu, swore an oath,
and their councillor, Ellil, the hero,
their throne-bearer, Ninurta,
their irrigation controller, Ennugi.
Ea Ninšīku was sworn along with them,
(20) but their words he reported to the reed-fence:
“Reed-fence, reed-fence, wall, wall!
Reed-fence, listen, and you, wall, remember!
Man of Šuruppak, son of Ubār-Tutu,
destroy the house, build a boat,
(25) let go of your riches and seek out life,
spurn your riches and save life!
Embark the seed of all life inside the boat.
The boat that you will build,
let its dimensions be balanced,
(30) let its width and length correspond to each other,
like the Apsû roof it over.”

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Europa e il Toro – Pseudo-Apollodoro

about 100 BC, from Gortyna's amphitheatre, British Museum

Europa and the Bull, from Gortyna’s amphitheatre, about 100BC, British Museum.

 

Ora che, passando in rassegna la stirpe di Inaco, abbiamo esposto i suoi discendenti da Belo fino agli Eraclidi, continuiamo parlando anche di Agenore. Come abbiamo detto, infatti, Libia generò da Posidone due figli, Belo e Agenore. Belo, che regnò sugli Egizi, generò i figli di cui abbiamo già parlato; Agenore, invece, recatosi in Fenicia, sposa Telefassa e genera una figlia, Europa, e tre figli, Cadmo, Fenice e Cìlice. Alcuni, però, dicono che Europa non era figlia di Agenore, ma di Fenice. Di lei si innamorò Zeus, il quale, trasformatosi in un toro mansueto che odorava di rose, la fece montare su di sé e la portò attraverso il mare fino a Creta. Là si congiunse a lei, che generò Minosse, Sarpedone e Radamanto; secondo Omero, però, Sarpedone era figlio di Zeus e di Laodamia, figlia di Bellerofonte. Quando Europa scomparve, suo padre Agenore inviò i figli a cercarla, dicendo loro di non ritornare prima di aver ritrovato Europa. Partì alla ricerca della fanciulla anche Telefassa, la madre, e Taso, figlio di Posidone, o, come dice Ferecide, di Cìlice. Poiché, pur facendo ricerche in lungo e in largo, non riuscivano a trovare Europa, rinunciando a ritornare a casa si stabilirono chi in un luogo chi in un altro: Fenice in Fenicia; Cìlice vicino alla Fenicia, e tutto il territorio a lui soggetto nei pressi del fiume Piramo, lo chiamò Cilicia; Cadmo e Telefassa si stabilirono in Tracia. Ugualmente anche Taso si stabilì in Tracia, fondandovi la città di Taso.

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