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three pairs of lovers with space



Statilius Flaccus, “of whom we know nothing, except what his name implies, that he was a Roman,"[1] was the author of fourteen epigrams in The Greek Anthology, where his name was written Στατύλλιος Φλάκκος (literal transliteration: Statyllios Phlakkos). He lived in the 1st century BC or early in the next century and may have been Statilius, the Epicurean friend of Brutus killed at the battle of Philippi in 42 BC.

Presented here are his four epigrams on the love of boys, all to be found in the specifically pederastic twelfth book of the Greek Anthology known as the Boyish Muse. All of them are about youths who have lost their sexual appeal due to the appearance of facial hair, and handle the topic in a way similar to several other epigrams in the Anthology. Three of them simply lament it, but the first notes how it has brought a cruel boy his come-uppance, which ties in with another common theme of Greek pederastic verse: warnings to boys that they should welcome men courting them before it is too late.

The translations are by W. R. Paton in The Greek Anthology, Volume IV: Loeb Classical Library Vol. LXXXV (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1918). The only amendments are to undo his Latinisation of names in favour of more literal transliteration of the Greek.


The Boyish Muse


Just as he is getting his beard, Ladon, the fair youth, cruel to lovers, is in love with a boy. Nemesis is swift.   Ἄρτι γενειάζων ὁ καλὸς καὶ στερρὸς ἐρασταῖς
     παιδὸς ἐρᾷ Λάδων. σύντομος ἡ Νέμεσις.
A youth entreats an unresponsive boy (kylix in the Museo Civico Archeologico, Bologna)


When I bade farewell to Polemon I prayed for him to return safe and sound to me, Apollo, promising a sacrifice of a fowl. But Polemon came to me with a hairy chin. No, Phoibos, I swear it by thyself, he came not to me, but fled from me with cruel fleetness, I no longer sacrifice the cock to thee. Think not to cheat me, returning me for full ears empty chaff.  Σῶόν μοι Πολέμωνα μολεῖν, ὅτ᾿ ἔπεμπον, Ἀπόλλω
     ᾐτούμην, θυσίην ὄρνιν ὑποσχόμενος.
ἦλθε δέ μοι Πολέμων λάσιος γένυν. οὐ μὰ σέ, Φοῖβε,
     ἦλθεν ἐμοί, πικρῷ δ᾿ ἐξέφυγέν με τάχει.
οὐκέτι σοι θύω τὸν ἀλέκτορα. μή με σοφίζου,
     κωφήν μοι σταχύων ἀντιδιδοὺς καλάμην.


If the Polemon I parted from came back to me in safety, I promised to sacrifice to thee. But now Polemon is saved for himself. It is no longer he who has come back to me, Phoibos, and arriving with a beard, he is no longer saved for me. He perhaps prayed himself for his chin to be darkened. Let him then make the sacrifice himself, as he prayed for what was contrary to all my hopes.   Εἴ μοι σωζόμενος Πολέμων ὃν ἔπεμπον ἀνέλθοι
     φοινίξειν βωμοὺς ὡμολόγησα τεούς.
νῦν θ᾿ αὑτῷ Πολέμων ἀνασώζεται· οὐκέτ᾿ ἀφῖκται,
     Φοῖβε, δασὺς δ᾿ ἥκων οὐκέτι σῶος ἐμοί.
αὐτὸς ἴσως σκιάσαι γένυν εὔξατο· θυέτω αὐτός,
     ἀντία ταῖσιν ἐμαῖς ἐλπίσιν εὐξάμενος.
Sacrifice to Apollo: an early 2nd century AD Roman relief in the tradition of Hellenistic art on the Arch of Constantine, Rome


When I saw Polemon off, his cheeks like thine, Apollo, I promised to sacrifice a fowl if he came back. I do not accept him now his spiteful cheeks are bristly. Luckless wretch that I was to make a vow for the sake of such a man! It is not fair for the innocent fowl to be plucked in vain, or let Polemon be plucked, too, Lord of Delos.   Σαῖς ἴκελον προὔπεμπον ἐγὼ Πολέμωνα παρειαῖς,
     ἢν ἔλθῃ, θύσειν ὄρνιν ὑποσχόμενος·
οὐ δέχομαι φθονεροῖς, Παιάν, φρισσοντα γενείοις,
     τοιούτου τλήμων εἵνεκεν εὐξάμενος.
οὐδὲ μάτην τίλλεσθαι ἀναίτιον ὄρνιν ἔοικεν,
     ἢ συντιλλέσθω, Δήλιε, καὶ Πολέμων.


[1] William Smith. Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology (1867) II 157.



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