Wednesday, January 7, 2009

In Historiam Apolloni Regis Tyri

In Historia Apolloni Regis Tyri
In hac hiemi, librum auctoris anonymi de tristi historia et peregrinationibus Apolloni legi. Omnia accidit Apollonio. Primum rex Antiochae (qui incidens in furorem nodum virginitatis filiae suae eripuerat), cuius filiam in matrimonium quaestionem suam respondendo petiverat, conatus est eum occidere. Postea, Apollonio effugito a malignitate regis naufragium accedit. Deinde Apollonius naufragus ad regiam Archistrati advenit, ibi filia regis ob sapientiam artium omnium adamoravit et patrem petivit ut Apollonius coniunx suus sit.

The Latin summary is unfinished, but I'll hopefully get to it soon.

I finally finished tonight the anonymous romance in Latin entitled Historia Apolloni Regis Tyri. The proposed author is Xenophon of Ephesus, which I agree with because that is where Apollonius recognizes his wife, first taking her for the goddess Diana and his stories seem to revolve around Ephesus especially Habrokome and Anthia. They also show how the goddess Diana reunites lovers. This would make it a translation into Latin from the Greek. Regardless of its authorship, it served its purpose for me. I learned a bit of Latin and as a teenager it soothed my love hungry heart as Nonnus in his pastoral Daphnis and Choe says a story of love can for the young.

What impressed me the most in the story was the importance placed on virginity, which is definitely lacking in our American society and makes me think that is why medieval western monks let it slide (Unfortunately for this reason, we have none of the more racy novels that must have existed:) as well as the total lack of it. The men take glee in breaking in a prostitute and getting her to cry, though luckily they don’t succeed with Tharsia. Also the eye for eye mentality is strange, For example the greedy brothel owner (leno) gets burned alive for trying to make men pierce Tharia’s nodus virginitatis, which is disgusting, but being burned alive!? Also the violent deaths of Dionysias and Stranguillionis for saying Tharsia was dead seem unmerited to my twenty-first century eyes, though Dionysias like the Wicked Queen in Snow White tried to have her done in.

As an adventure/love story for me this one was entertaining but not as compelling (or repetitive) as Habrokome and Anthia, though it had the divided lovers meeting again and living happily ever after. I guess what did it for me in that story was the fisherman Aigaleus who mummified his recently dead wife so that they could still be together. It is twisted, but love endures ὅτι ἔρως ἀληθινὸς ὅρον ἡλικίας οὐκ ἔχει. The Latin story doesn’t have this sort of moral to it, which is why it does not work as well for me. Next I have to finish Harry Potter in Latin for which we’ll have our comments.

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