Classical Texts Library >> Tzetzes, Chiliades >> Book 11




The vessels in the seas and very much in the winter
Supported by many anchors and irons,
And just strong enough to flee the waves of winter
Yet just like a ship is moored on one anchor,
Brings much difficulty to be saved in the winter,
Having confidence on this single anchor of hope
And to be the anchor of hope does it mean for me
The one bigger than other anchors, the one for dire straits?
It is the last one to be deployed for the ship’s salvation.


[20] Tzetzes is a taker of no gifts, by emulation of the ancients,
Of Epaminondas, of Cato, and of others of their kind,
Whether from rulers, common fellows, middle classes or lower,
Not wanting to take gifts, from givers of any amount whatsoever,
And thus in the greatest hunger, of the first among holders of glory
Of the one willing to bring allowance therefrom to slaves
To say of him as such to him; you would’ve found carers of the elderly,
And Tzetzes is not fit to live as one who tends the elderly.
For he feared his deeds are harmful like how nature mangled them,
Making them lame and blind, crooked and maimed,
[30] For he feared gifts looking like provision of necessities.
And yet by way of his own interpretation he does not take gold
But only food and drink, summer’s crops and the like.
And his own writings they wish to rewrite
And only just by a few bits and by some scrutiny
With enough gold he yielded to alter his works
As did Plato, his predecessor, to his dialogues.

But Plato indeed made his dialogues for sale
A flatterer and a butcher he is, and forces everything together
To him necessities be given, his books to purchase
[40] For hundreds of mina and many more; like that of Philolaus
Dion did purchase from the latter and that of Sophron too.
Tzetzes indeed unwillingly accepted the gifts
For him prepared by Augusta. He felt that it’s burdensome.
He rejoiced toiling and writing, if only he got rewards,
From her singular venerable rulership. And one without salary
He, of all mankind, rejoices in receiving gifts.


To me, holiday means relaxation and lack of work,
Of holding, retaining, and stopping by the hand
In movement of labour. Any day that holds this cessation
[50] Is “choliday”, indeed holiday.
According to Aeolians and Ionians of the chi converted
Into writing the unaspirated kappa. For they are of the non-aspiraters
While seldom do the Attics read the aspirates unaspiratedly,
As like this and also others. And altogether are few,
As like hostel, but also any that are of good rhythm too.
For they more often change the non-aspirates into aspirates.
“Hequally”, not equally. And “shmooth” not smooth.
Thus they read with rough breathing, not with smooth harmony.
And they aspirate everything. So what have we discussed so far?
[60] Smooth are those possessing fleshless rumps.
Thus they pronounce all unaspirated like Attics do, as it seems,
Both hostel and holiday too
And those very few others also of good rhythm
According to Aeolians and Ionians, they read unaspirated.


Pythagoras, the wise man of Samos was from the stock
Of Pythais of Samos indeed, seasonable beyond nature,
And son of Mnesarchus. Mnesarchus was
a follower of the art of ring carving.
This Pythagoras was indeed ripe for the goddess.
[70] A contemporary also of King Polycrates of Samos,
Of The Pharaoh of Egypt, Ahmose by name,
And of the King of the Persians, Cyrus The Great,
Who fought and defeated Croesus, and destroyed Sardis.
Of their contemporaries was this Pythagoras born,
With Thales did he came down to Pherecydes of Syros,
Also the first of all who could be called “philosophers”.
And afraid of instructing Polycrates in Samos,
By what malicious blame was he charged, I keep it a secret,
Departing to Italy, thereto he came to teach.
[80] Then, being hated by them, was set ablaze with firewood,
Indeed, in the city of Croton was the house of Milo,
Of Milo the wrestler, he of a household name.
With many of his students he was set ablaze together.
That is why some say that he was burned.
Some others say he was carried away from the blaze,
The hastier students took him away,
Lo, he let them spread to cast themselves as bridges over fire,
And across them for him escaping the fire.
Did he escape the fire in that manner as they claim? Maybe,
[90] And fleeing to Metapontum, in the temple of the Muses,
And being hidden there, unable to eat bread,
After forty whole days, he passed away in hunger,
Having lived one hundred years, minus one year only.


Stasicrates, the bronze worker, was a Bithynian by birth.
And you have the history on the present tablet,
The one hundred and ninety nine.


The great king Alexander Son of Philip,
Is reputed by all to have one eye blue
And the other one dark. In his very eyes.
[100] He had a concave neck, it was also one-sided.
So as to contemplate the sky, to set his gaze upon it.
And Lysippos did depict him as that in bronze.
And Alexander took pleasure in his depiction,
In the false figure by Stasicrates, demented ones.
Because Alexander was in such form,
And the inscription shows, what it is,
“The bronze statue resembled the one saying, while gazing upon Zeus,
I lay the earth under me, Oh Zeus, you who have Olympus in possession.”


The book the rhetorical one, save those of the lecturing
[110] Rhetors (advocating indeed sixty books)
Is a Pentabiblos indeed, it is divided in five
Into the pre-exercise, the issues, the inventions and,
Into the styles which itself is the fourth booklet
Into the one about method also, the fifth.

And indeed the pre-exercises according to Hermogenes
By number into twelve in quantity succeeds,
Refutation, confirmation, in one instruction,
Constructs both encomium and invective alike.
Hermogenes did taught so. As Aphthonius did later,
[120] Made the twelve into fourteen,
Refutation on its own, and confirmation on its own;
Likewise, encomium on its own as also the invective.
And not mentioning them collectively, as Hermogenes;
Whence from twelve he created fourteen.
And needing to show me the designated names of items;
Fable and narrative, and anecdote and also maxim,
Refutation, confirmation, or the commonplace,
Encomium and invective too, and comparison along with them.
Personification, description, theses and law introduction.
[130] The book of pre-exercises does list these.

Indeed Hermogenes instructed to produce the fable
Sweet, plain and brief and persuasive in using them
Aphthonius indeed wrote about fable not just once,
That it becomes fitting for such topics,
But also handed down his fable of the “Ant and the Cicada”,
It is not at all a fable, but a kind of epicheirema,
At least from the analogy of the cicadas and ants.
Ah, the commentators say about this,
It is plain nonsense of non-rhetorical men.
[140] You heard about the fable, how does this need writing?
Although Aphthonius allowed it according to both.

But six of these accompany the narrative;
Person, deed, time, place, manner and cause,
These are four virtues of narratives:
Clear, magnificent, brief and plausible.
The new among rhetors speak of Hellenism.
Not magnificence, according to rhetors past.
Although they do show exactly what I say, these styles.
Seven items in those same four are united.
[150] Clarity, grandeur, beauty and rapidity
And with them also character, sincerity and force,
They form four virtues, those of the story.
Indeed the clear clarity, and the magnificent
Itself exhibits magnificence, rapidity does to brevity,
The character and sincerity do to the plausibility.

Lo, to have spoken of the four virtues of a story
To be produced, as I explained, using the five styles.
The beauty, this style together with force
Signify nothing else than the virtue of the story,
[160] Clear, magnificent, brief and plausible,
And that beauty needs to have the force of the story
That is to say beautiful language, in rhetorical speech,
And with it, force indeed management,
Thus all reasonably to say, nothing is fruitless and in vain.

The anecdote and maxim in the topics eight
With these they are furnished, hear their names.
First with an encomiastic and paraphrastic,
Then with the rationale and from the opposite,
With analogy thereafter and with example,
[170] And with testimony of the ancients, and brief epilogue.

Bring the older testimony of the ancients
Of those saying the anecdote, either indeed also the maxim,
Or indeed of the newer ones, and the much older ones.
Or if you were unable to bear a testimony of the ancients,
Consult the invoked manner according to tradition.
Indeed speaking about anecdote and about maxim with you.
Topics of refutation and of confirmation are also eight.
A charge of refutation of the person speaking,
And exhibition of the deed, the very thing you refuted.
[180] The unclarity, the impossibility and the forcelessness, with these.
It is the anacoluthon and the impropriety in like manner,
And lastly the inexpediency. And by the opposite
of the refutation the same topics are;
Approval of the speaker and an exhibition of the deeds
Clarity, plausibility, and force together with these,
Acoluthon and propriety together with profitability.
Why do I keep rambling on things already understood? Shall I waste my papers?
Even now one must say the principal things with intelligible reasoning.

The book, as we have said, of the sophist rhetors
[190] Pentabiblos it was, it is divided into five,
Into the pre-exercises, the issues, the inventions,
The styles and into the method of force along with them.

Indeed the book of pre-exercises teaches these,
Thus pre-exercises are four plus ten,
As too each of these needs to be written skilfully.

And the issues do teach thirteen issues.
First indeed the conjecture, secondly the definition,
And third the pragmatic, fourthly the counter-claim,
Counter-stance, counter-charge, transference, pardon,
[200] Letter and spirit of the law, and also inference,
Conflict of laws, and then the legal ambiguity.
And the counter-plea along with them forms thirteen.
And then the topics of each is reckoned.
And you have the qualities of the booklet of issues.

Now learn of the booklet about inventions.
Indeed the booklet is portioned into four sections;
And indeed the first teaches thoroughly on introductions,
It set down the four kinds of introductions;
The one from the supposition of persons and deeds,
[210] From supposition and from superfluity,
Out of season, the fourth. These are of the first portion.
The second portion of the booklet teaches,
Not to describe straight after the introduction,
(It deems and says that such a thing is unskilful)
And to employ a preparation, and with preliminary narration,
Then, they say, to proceed towards narration.

The stupid, non-rhetorical Tzetzes to the eparch
The Pansebastos of the Camaterus family by birth
“As he summoned that rhetor in his noble houses
[220] with high ties of the ethereal Daedalus
That gaping-shoe wearer, that cobbler, that wooden awler,
That buffalo, that orchid daddy, that rural hick, that black felt shoe wearer,
“hat jar, that mallow basket and that stony form,
That shadowy idol of a nightly demon.
Does not heaven groan and earth itself spacious?”

“And do I not kindle splendours of ethereal fire?
The sea does not make gushes, and washes the earth with waves,
I saw a buffalo within the royal court,
Offering the disgrace of our city.”

[230] This is the eparch’s Tzetzes, the non-rhetorical one
The one heralding a rhetor as a kind of buffalo,
Into that which is about inventions in the second section
Off of Hermogenes saying with these very words, he teaches,
Not to describe straight after the introduction,
He says this is indeed unskilful and a mark of people non-rhetorical,
And to employ a preparation, and with preliminary narration,
And then to proceed towards narration, just as he teaches to;
This is Tzetzes the one who contradicts you saying twice,
Saying, the preparation and preliminary narration
[240] And they say, as you do now, “allusion to things done before”
Comprehensively, they say to have spoken of things to come,
You must surely speak of a kind of pre-confirmation.
But not, he says, it is ever appropriate nor skilful,
As you say, as did Hermogenes, to employ a preparation.
In some places indeed it is skilful to employ introductions,
With one, two, three or four, or many more;
Then again, somewhere else, not to employ even one;
And elsewhere yet it is natural for thee to be skilful, he says,
Not only indeed to employ, as you say, preliminary narration,
[250] But also not to lay down narration all together;
As elsewhere it is fitting not to employ assemblies,
In others, again, it is fitting not to say an epilogue.

But the stupid one of the eparch managed to confound you,
The reasoner of the ancients, not a book through lampoons,
Of the logisms, grammarians, rhetors, philosophers,
Of the metricians, historians, mechanics and others.
But just as that one Achilles struck Telephus’ wounds
He himself will cure thy confusions clear.
Pentabiblos, as I said, the book of rhetors,
[260] And it instructs the booklet of pre-exercises,
It does also the booklet of issues, that we taught before.

The one about inventions has four sections;
The first teaches about its introductions.
There are four kinds of introductions,
The one from the supposition of persons and deeds,
The one from the supposition and from superfluity,
Out of season, the fourth. These are of the first portion.
And yet the introduction, not as far as it needs elaborating.

The second portion of the booklet teaches,
[270] Not to describe straight after the introduction,
It deems and says that such a thing is unskilful;
And to employ a preparation and with preliminary narration,
Then, they say, to proceed towards narration.
We came to trial examining them in breadth.

And it says a need to amplify the narration with its manners.
And it teaches thee the three manners of narrations,
Simple, confirmatory and elaborate,
As well as where to properly employ each of the three.
These are what the second section thereof teaches you.

[280] The third section thereof is about inventions.
It teaches you introductions and dissolutions of topics,
Since your topics do need to be appositely introduced,
Unique, beautiful is the deed that you wish to achieve.
Even if you were to aptly introduce, it needs to be done as this:
First with epicheirema, and then with ergasia,
And thirdly, with enthymeme. And this is conclusion.
And with its epenthymeme, sometimes also with the plaston.
Indeed, it teaches to introduce your topics in such a manner.

Then again, to dissolve the topics of your opponent in suit,
[290] First, I lay it down for you with these very same four,
With protasis and hypophora, with antiprotasis and dissolution.
Beside these four, he also said to employ a thesis,
Its arsis, not the thesis, says this stupid one to you;
Indeed, this is not a necessity, nor be elegant through anything.
And with the epicheirema, then with the ergasia,
Then with the enthymeme, this section concludes them.
And if you will, with enthymeme and plaston,
The third section of inventions, does he teach to you.

The fourth section thereof is about inventions,
[300] It teaches fourteen schemes of the assemblies,
Tzetzes himself says it be according to hypothesis,
The very one mistakenly naming antitheton.
In it, he explains about method of shrewdness,
Talking about antitheton on one hand, as he mistook it here.
And Tzetzes is inclined to be such, proves to the wise ones.
But on the other hand, learn the fourteen schemes thereof.
Antitheton, period, pneuma and the acme too,
Tasis, dilemmaton, parechesis and cycle,
The epiphonema, the trope and solemnity of speech,
[310] And then bad taste and covert allusion,
And he brings forward the final comparison of problems.
Now you have all four sections of inventions.

The book of styles is divided into two.
And the first, he says to you, seven styles in the following manner,
Clarity, grandeur, beauty and rapidity
And with the above: character, sincerity and force too,
He teaches that naturally there are three principal ones thereof
Clarity and grandeur along with character,
Saying to you that out of the rest of the styles, they are together;
[320] That there are the remaining four thereof
The beauty, the rapidity, and the sincerity,
And the force itself, he says to you, is with the other three.
Thus the aforementioned, he says, they are the seven,
Then the forgetful one to say those seven things,
He gives in such a way six;
Styles of poetic clarity, indeed he says,
It is the lucidity along with the limpidity.
Again, there are six of grandeur, these are their names:
Solemnity and amplification, ruggedness and brilliance,
[330] Along with them, the fifth is strength, the sixth is vehemence.

The poetic of character are four, these are their names:
Reasonability, simplicity, sincerity, gravity.
And yet the gravity can not unite by itself.
From the reasonability, it and simplicity
You should now see the truth, how it forms in the character,
And the seven thereof he said before, how they’re six now off one.

And then eight elements of styles of each,
Of the specifics, not of the principal, learn thou these, says he.
Thought, approach, diction, schemes, and also clauses,
[340] Word order and cadence, and with them the rhythm too.
And in the first section of the styles he indeed teaches,
From the seven-six styles, around three and one,
About the clarity, magnificence and about the beauty.
In the second section too he says the four-three,
Vehemence, character, sincerity, and force with them.
The four styles of character he taught you.
He said, the first of them is sincerity.
In the second section indeed he teaches about them.
And naturally there is a need for a kind of judicial oration,
[350] A panegyric kind, and a kind of debate.
And then types of sophisticated orations, he teaches,
And he finishes the book of styles for the rest.

In the booklet regarding method of force,
Writing not one worthy thing of method of force
Teaching five and thirty ways alone,
And other than them obscurely, as the first has,
Others falsely, unskilfully too, did Tzetzes teach.
Again elsewhere other rhetors, philosophers,
And pursuing the art of logic in whole superficially.
[360] Certainly the whole book has been written by Tzetzes, he of logisms,
The unlearned one heralds to the august eparch.
Who is really the father, the most clever of the most clever ones,
Teaching all these, Hermogenes ceased writing,
And concluded the art of the rhetors,
In the booklet regarding method of force to you in it.


The Illisus, as we said before, was a river,
Flowing in that of Athens. Mount Hymettus,
On which the sweetest honey of any kind of honey.
A mark of this Hymettian honey,
[370] That flies do not touch upon it, nor settle thereon.
It is thought thyme is the cause for this.
Hymettus produces herbs, by the name of thyme,
From which the honey is produced by the local bees,
Wherefore flies flee, due to the pungency of thyme.


You have this history most beauteously in its entirety,
Written by me in number two hundred fifty three.


Two histories indeed, being written as if one,
And others elsewhere, being said thereof by me.
In the Iliad by Homer Aphrodite is told,
[380] Wounded in the arm by Diomedes using a spear,
And telling Zeus of her wound in the battle.
And Zeus told her, keep away from those in battle,
“This is taken care of by the swift Ares and Athena.”
You already have one finished story.

Hear now this other one, by the one speaking to you.
The western Galatians, not the eastern ones,
Of Brennus their sovereign at the time,
Many myriads crossed over the Rhenus,
They ran over plundering all near Greece.
[390] Now they made camp near the Delphic land,
Intending to plunder the temple of Apollo,
To the oracles of Delphi for fear of them
A prophetic response came down in iambic metre.
“This matter of ours will be taken care of, and by fair maidens.”
She mentioned fair maidens: Athena and Artemis.
Then from approved places and hard to reach places
Only the holy people were set against all at once
Killing many away from them, and many with the wounded ones
And they terribly wounded Brennus along with them.
[400] The precise number of those wounded, I do not know
It was by as many as four hundred thousand,
Or really forty thousand alike.

Then Brennus saying that they butchered all at once
And along with the others him not to interfere with them,
Then he persuaded them to go onwards.
Going into Byzantium, and thence passed through
(Whence and where the location of Byzantium is said to be
From their ferrying across) the Galatians
by Cappadocia and again by the Halys River.
[410] The one beyond them to the east is called Galatia,
Of those settling, they are there divided in three
Indeed as the oracle says, ours by fair maidens.
I myself saying, as I wrote this, fair maidens
As my thoughts, I skilfully craft the words thus.


Two histories indeed they are,
Written as one, and others elsewhere,
How with equivalence the double-tripled.
And indeed the first about nectar is told to me.
The myths speak of ambrosia, food of the gods,
[420] And nectar is their drink, these are made.
Wanting to show the gods unlike the mortals,
Not to get something perishable. They made as I said.
Food unlike that of mortals, like the ambrosia.
And nectar a drink, imperishable. For to slay is indeed kill.
Thus is the story regarding nectar.

Hear now the story of “who is no god to you”.
Homer presented Odysseus in Odyssey
Rag-wearing, poor, like a wandering beggar,
To come to Eumaeus into his hands.
[430] And then he laid upon Telemachus out of Sparta
To come to Eumaeus into their hands.
And there to look down upon his father, Odysseus.
Old and poor and wearing rags too,
And to not know who he is and whether of the same land.
And then to Penelope his mother
Telemachus sent off Eumaeus to come,
Odysseus wanting to make himself known by Telemachus,
The rags took off a bit going out and away
And he put away his fabricated old age.
[440] By Athena’s plaits, his rejuvenation!
Suddenly Telemachus seeing him changed
Astounded he first diverted his eyes,
Nay, what god has come down, that is, wise and magical.
And he shouted loud and clear thus speaking to him,
“Different to me, you seem younger than before.
Since, before you seemed old, poor and with worn-out clothes.
Now, from the gods, who reside in Olympus, that is from the stars.
Nay, a god, where you came, that is, wise and magical.”
Odysseus said to Telemachus refuting these:
[450] “Not any god to you am I, whom, nay, you compared to the immortals.”


At Athens, the nine-headed Callirhoe flows,
The comedian, Cratinus, said something thereon;
“Lord Apollo, of the oracles, of the streams;
To the noisy fount; twelve-headed fountain;
Ilissus in a throat; what am I to say?”


In the Indian sea, in the island of Perimoude,
And the island of Elura too, and other islands besides,
And in the clear and also shallow sea
“Oyster” being a word, those that produce “pearls”
[460] Both words, they say of pearl-producers
For they say of them they are made of lightning,
Then again, they say to me, they are hand-made.

And myself, the first time I hear pearls of lightning.
Some say, these oysters are the ones of pearls,
Opening its folds, staying open.
Lightning having struck the middle of those folds,
(The sea seems to be shallow)
The pearl closing itself up at once down these oysters
And they say there is a king of those oysters,
[470] And it produces the biggest and most beautiful pearl.
And the rest in order. These to me over those.
And learn now the crafted ones, the hand-made ones.
Which is iron figurine into spheres of pearl
And a strong skewer, that hunts pearls,
Enters and sets nearer to the oyster
The iron figurine, and with the skewer pierces
The oyster, and a substance like juices flow out of it.
And it, smelted and moulded, bears the solidity of the pearl
These are what the writers say regarding pearls.
[480] I myself do not conceal the physical explanation for the lightning,
Then again, I suppose it is nearer to myths that those are from juices.
I say that the sea over there is clear-watered
And the pebbles thither create the colour silver.
And the scale of the oysters and of the pearls
Are silver in colour, and the colour of the pearls.
How great the colours turn out to be within the oysters,
Become more radiant than shells in smoothness
And they emit their shine, and are called pearls.
And the strongest of all pearls are from India.
[490] Extremely white and glittering, being fair and round.
In Brittany and in other places
How pale, how orangey and how badly rounded.

And I know excellent pearls among pearls.
Small pearls shatter and loose in quality
They are rounded bigger. These regarding pearls.
I now call wordy oysters the books.
At any rate, pearl from them, I think, you noticed the words.


Euphrates and Tigris and Indus and Susa,
The rivers of the Chaldeans and of India,
[500] Other ones and rivers of the different places,
And more the mountain torrents and flowing at winter,
In the crevices of the rocks which lie by them,
They produce translucent stones, stones of the precious ones,
Lychnites, amethysts, sapphires, hyacinths,
And all other substance of precious stones.

Thus, originating in rocks are the stones.
Other stones also take place at the deepest chasm,
Into depth at the deepest, but also of the impassable ones.
And extraordinary ones of precious stones lie in there.
[510] Since it is impossible to reach down there,
Newly slaughtered, newly flayed living flesh nearby
There they throw down into the chasm of the stones.
Some stones are stuck together with flesh by the present heat.
The eagles at these places looking down upon the carcasses,
Spreading over them, carrying those up.
The stones drop down the rest of the carcasses,
At the top of the rocks and in the places there.
Those rock huntings finally watching the eagles
They bring the most beautiful hunt, there assembled.


[520] Encyclical learning, the lyrics properly speaking,
And also properly the very first bearing this name
From the circle, the choir the lyric standing,
Being of fifty men, singing the melody.
Encyclical learning, the lyrics to be properly speaking,

Secondly, the encyclical learning is called
The cycle, the conclusion of all learning,
Grammar, rhetoric, philosophy itself,
And of the four arts under it laid,
Arithmetic, music and geometry
[530] And traversing heaven of this astronomy.
General education, secondly, are all these.
As Porphyry wrote in the lives of philosophers,
And countless other men of those eloquent.
And now general grammatical education
I said, by excessive use, not in a word powerful.


They say the proverb, your eyes are running in pumpkins
And the visible for them is altogether unperceived.
Far from the blind ones with the biggest sore eyes
The proverb is said as a hyperbole.
[540] Perhaps what is mucus is the same as pumpkins?
Aristophanes mentioned this in The Clouds;
Brings the speaking Socrates to Sidesteps,
Look to the image of ladies going to the clouds
He says to Socrates that they see not the first ones.
Then he says, indeed only just, nevertheless he sees them
And then nearer than the same phenomena
Again Socrates says to him, Strepsiades,
Unless bleary-eyed with pumpkins, already to me you behold them.


The Athenian, Daedalus, for Minos in Crete
[550] The arrangement, a fort much-convoluted, spiralling
And hard to get out of, he did build, a labyrinth by name.
In which is the Minotaur, the bull-man beast.
Many also confined within, they were disposed thither
Subjected to the Minotaur indeed, as it pleases him.
And to Euripides to him in the drama Theseus.
According to some others with hard to unravel turns.
And as Theseus with six other lads of the same age
And with seven maidens did send off to Crete
(Due to famine and plague arising in Athens,
[560] Against the same that Androgeus Minos’ soldier
The Athenians slew in those place there,
Every year six of Athenians were sent to Crete
Seven maidens and seven lads with them
Thus they were to be eaten by the beast, suffering to cease)
And as Theseus was sent there with lads and maidens,
Ariadne, being Minos’ daughter,
Bearing Theseus’ love gives him a thread.
Theseus having tied his thread at the opening of the prison
Holding fast the other part with his own hands,
[570] Going into the Labyrinth, he slays the Minotaur,
He runs out the gathering by the thread with the youths.
That Labyrinth is the one at Crete,
The arrangement, a fort much-convoluted, spiralling.
And I with cleverness of figurative rhetors
Now, I said, hard to unravel thoughts are labyrinths.


Wryneck, the bird, the little grebe, moves its tail,
And we call it by the name little tail-wiggler,
It is a helper in love. It is much of use.
And since specifically its feathers by the tail
[580] Give the greatest benefit, specifically bone,
Is inserted by the chest, the position lambdoid,
On the charioteers’ spur, the same by their heel.
And the neck of the animal gives benefits to all.
And the entire animal is entirely for love,
Stretched out by the feathers upon some wheel
And turned with and upon it in the name of love.
Exactly they knew this to be wryneck.
Others say the weapon, just as Lycophron does.
Some say harmonious harp, others say anything charming.
[590] Whence they say all, as Tzetzes teaches you,
Among the birds, the wryneck, they say, but I said not.
For it exerts magic as for love and stern-heartedness.


Geometry is useful for building machines,
For drawing up, bringing, releasing weights
Ravaging stone-conductors and other machines,
And for the blazing fire from mirrors
And various maintenance engineering of many things.
Profitable for bridges and harbour construction,
And for machines, which create marvelling in life,
[600] Like those of copper, wood, iron and others
Being dirty, being moved, creaking, and those others,
And the measuring of stadia and seas by machines,
And the earth by odometers and myriad others
Works of geometry begot the most ingenious of crafts.

Five powers they are, by which all are produced.
The wedge and the compound pulleys, lever and screw,
And with them the axle with wheel.
Weight-rollers of frame something needing me to delineate
Mining frame and frames of arms
[610] And the light mantlets, called frames,
And every other machine from the ravaging ones.
And the lifters of weights, one-limbed stands,
Two-limbed and three-limbed too, and also four-limbed,
And vital quadrant machines, the stone-throwers so to speak,
And all catapults of the missiles, and crossbows,
And the ravaging rams and the walls of the cities,
Ladders and cranes and siege towers on wheels,
And every other machine what needs to be delineated?
And how building bridge over sea and how need be over rivers,
[620] And how the boxes, and of some kinds in the arrangement
Needing to be equipped things of the construction of harbours,
And the clearings and booms of the harbours;
Geometry is the mother of all these of them and the rest.

And optics completes geometry
With many and varied machines and with the art of painters
And with arts of images and with sculpture.
For there’s need to comprehend the heights, lengths, weights,
Strength and fitting tools would create by the height,
By the length and by the weight similarly proportionate,
[630] And the forms of the paintings and of the statues alike.
The proportionate height lacks other tools,
And likewise the length and weight a thing of the same measure,
The longer of some, the shorter of others,
Similarly with paintings and sculptures.
Indeed how as near as possible to the earth they must be to bear building,
All these are clearly seen to have the proportionate forms,
How greatly it should need to be raised proportionate to lifting,
And needing to create fuller forms of these things.
How greatly in height it is likely to be transplanted high,
[640] If needing to shape the form of these disproportionate ones,
As then the standing ones take up the proportion in height;
For the height is wont to capture the perception.
If you should make the image proportionately to those down,
Then you should look up at it erected, being closed.
And if you should shape the form disproportionately to those down,
The proportionate height, again, shows the image.
Thus geometry is useful for many,
And optics, along with it, are very much useful for paintings.


Isocrates the rhetor was indeed an Athenian by birth,
[650] A son he was of Theodorus, the crafty flute-maker,
Of the owner of slaves who are employed to make flutes.
This rhetor wrote a book, the art of rhetoric
And with other writings, and with the composition to this
He consulted with the three forms of oratory.
For he wrote lawyer-like words, not very succinct at all.
To Euagoras he wrote, king of the Cypriots
Praises and counsels too for Nicocles
Of the late Euagoras, he wrote to his child
Demonicus is the name, many exhortations.
[660] And indeed he wrote panegyric words and still others,
And the greatest speech during the Panathenaean festival,
Aristides did not strip off the whole mind.
Isocrates is most vile of all mankind,
As not to interpret two students together,
To say to one from them, today I shall say to this,
And again tomorrow, I shall say to you something perilous.
And for some time, I know not how long, he wrote his books.
For Lysias says about him, for ten whole years.
To scarcely finish the speech at the Panathenaean.
[670] The rhetor Alcidamas draws this in others.
Others say jointly. And this shows,
The Athenians are bound to fight a battle with Philip,
Being aware of the battle, to tell Isocrates of such,
To seal a message of agreement to Philip.
Of them initiating both battle and war,
And of going to treaty to him, Philip.
Not yet finishing it, he wrote to the Athenians:
“I being for this and indeed the writing of this,
You should first come to Philip to have peace.”

[680] And Lysias with many rhetors of old
After a long time, they arranged the composition thereof.
For Lysias and the others alike said
I myself do not wish to organize hastily.
And Aristides, the rhetor from Smyrna said,
“We are not of vomited words, but of precise wording”.
Thus all those rhetors wrote for some time.
And Isocrates beat them all in slowness.
As therefore to say about him people among the handsome,
We knew a bald man, but again so large,
[690] Insofar as the brain be seen in the baldness.
He seems to everyone sensible to be of those sufficiently foul.


How Cato educated his son in everything
He teaching precisely and advising about everything,
You have the entire history precisely in breadth
Laid into the seventieth topic in the first book.


The inferior word is the weaker.
And many times the lying and not truthful word,
Indeed another is weaker in this respect, the craftsman rhetor,
Readily accepting this worse than the words,
[700] Wanting to show the strength of the craftsmen rhetors,
Either prevailing over the holders the stronger ones than words,
The strong ones and truthful, or the well-matched
The weak and deceitful, proven by the strong ones.

They say discoverer of this one stronger than words
Those more unreflecting to become Plato
Refuting them in the brightly translucent word
Tzetzes, indeed shows Aristophanes over Plato
Consulting the weaker word more skilfully.
And Socrates, Plato’s teacher, finishing
[710] Surely leads to anywhere created remembrance of his words,
Many other not just a few rhetors, philosophers,
As Protagoras the most wise found the inferior word.
And more moderately refutes those beguiling ones
Saying Homer over all, but quickly without a hint,
To become a father of this inferior word,
Of countless other wise and crafty lessons.
Shows you lower with regards to the inferior word
How in many places Homer consults the Iliad.


Indeed Michael Psellos sings a eulogy for a fly,
[720] A hundred of years before our flourishing in life
He creates this by emulation of Lucian the Syrian.
For Lucian wrote a eulogy for a fly,
As later Synesius did a eulogy for baldness.
Against them Dio Chrysostom of Prusa,
Much far more ancient than Synesius,
Rhetorically composed a lampoon against baldness.
And others of others composed eulogies and lampoons;
As Plato wrote a lampoon on the art of the rhetors,
Calling someone an image of a part of citizenry.
[730] The greater number say Plato has created this,
And much those driving headlong the art of philosophy
Practising to declare publicly the inferior word.

Tzetzes more lie-loving than all mankind,
Who, hating truth, you set to death,
He calls and names these words as foolery.
He says, according to rhetors, that Plato wrote these,
Burdened by much ill-will. For, in the centre of Plato’s
Heart did this take hold of; For Plato did see
The youth escaping the chatter of philosophers
[740] And their empty discourse perfectly,
Lessons being taught useless for life,
The schools of the rhetors being filled by the youth,
Useful for life the lessons taught by them.

Many write those eulogies and lampoons;
As Alcidamas wrote a eulogy for death,
Elaites, being at the same era as Isocrates.
And Tzetzes the same as Alcidamas and Elaites,
And wrote and still writes and says each
Eulogies in death thousands above all,
[750] Indeed having known many words of Alcidamas well,
And not acquainted with his eulogy for death.

And others wrote eulogies and lampoons of others
Aristophanes wrote a eulogy for poverty,
And stronger than wealth he shows poverty to be,
And much does he show poverty more forceful than wealth.
Homer more than all rhetors, philosophers,
Spoke of Diomedes along the entire Iliad
And Odyssey with it as well as in the Iliad,
And a whole book he wrote a eulogy in it,
[760] He named it the Odyssey based on it.
The great Ajax and the siege-tower of the Achaeans,
And Nestor the adviser, him the honeyed one.
As the advantage in the army of the Hellenes
The faint-hearted natures of those without sense knew;
In fact, the most terrible of all the rhetors in life
Keep silent and accompany forcefulness of the words,
Saying the one or two contents alone in these,
Books to fill in these adequate words.
For the weak lacks many interpretations;
[770] The true and powerful does not lack diversity.
Whence he lavishes superfluous words by these,
Saying with his words lavishes upon them.
“You would not know Tydides, whether of the two he should belong in,
Either he should join with the Trojans, or with the Achaeans.
For he raged into the field, looking like a full river;”
He says: such did he lead down the bridges, defences, everything;
And how great writes he elsewhere also regarding the Odyssey,
How great he says in two words he should say in books.
He kept Ajax a secret, he says disclosing in one,
[780] “This Ajax is a hero, the Achaeans’ line of defence.”
And from their deeds, again, in other words,
Somewhere indeed Diomedes, the river above mentioned,
Who bearing the bridges and defences with the currents,
He likens Hector to a man among the helpless,
Going back in the rear and encouraging the others,
Like a river, Hector seeming to boil and roar;
He portrays Ajax going in the middle of this,
By spear to kill Amphius, the son of Selagus,
There in Ajax the spears of the Trojans,
[790] To throw dense hail, were brought by condensation
“Sharp and bright, the defence received many of them.”
Thus Diomedes says in his many words,
With two words he depicted the great Ajax.

In all booklets of tales of Odysseus
With two words, again, he depicted Nestor.
Indeed did he not say the alpha somewhere in the book,
“Speech sweeter than honey flowed from the tongue.”
And which in beta his oath for his king
Not to Odysseus, not to any other being vowed to,
[800] As to have ten Nestors as counsellors there,
Quickly Troy would be destroyed with their counsel.
Thus these many words in this tale.
With Ajax and Nestor in briefer words
Conquers the small words of these, except imperceptibly.

To praise these, fleas, baldness, flies,
And to lampoon the rhetorical and to praise the dead,
To tell of the wealth showing forth this poverty,
And to tell of Diomedes and him, Odysseus
Above the great Ajax and that Nestor,
[810] If Homer were to compare these skilfully,
And every word and praise in such fashion,
Writing things clearly contrary to the manifest,
The stock of philosophers says an inferior word
As Aristophanes shows with The Clouds,
To make fun with it. For he misleads Socrates Strepsiades,
Saying with this, instructing my child the words,
“That is the stronger and that the inferior.”
Why yes, the stronger of words prevails over the inferior,
Therefore philosophers call this, inferior word.
[820] And rhetors of eulogies on forms of problems
They say that there are four all together
The doubtful, incredible, probable along with the improbable;
Indeed improbable is a eulogy for a prostitute and or drunkenness,
Probable is for solemnity and all kinds of excellence,
Doubtful, to praise the deed of those most average,
The very one who seems laudable to some, blameworthy to others;
Incredible eulogy to me seems to be of those beauteous,
The one beyond the assumption, expectation and judgement
Of everyone and still more, it is said to be,
[830] As to praise poverty, death and baldness,
And everything of the fashion contrary to the others.


The tenthredo is a small animal resembling a bee.
Cleitarchus writes about the tenthredo,
You will find in the hundredth account of these.
And read, turning to the place thither.


That regarding Phidias and that regarding Alcamenes
You will find in breadth turning back the writings
In the one hundredth and ninety third.


The Seres and the Tocharians, nations near India,
[840] Weave the most beautiful robes of all,
And much more revered by the ancients of years,
And the Iberians at eventide and Coraxians likewise,
Are weavers of wool into the most beautiful robes.
Now, much used, just as the commons, to say,
That from Thebes, from Serica, not mistakenly as others.


Different arts of Hermes, both words and schools
And commerce and the rest and theft along with these,
To say here whether theft is now the art of Hermes.


Aristotle the wiseman, the child of Nicomachus
[850] From the city of Stagira it was of Olynthia.
Plato the philosopher certainly Athenian by birth,
According to some, Theban, from a district of Thebes,
A district bearing the name Cynocephalus,
Son he was of Ariston, named Aristocles.
Due to being broad in the body
He bore the name Plato from Aristocles;
Just as Theophrastus, more latterly than Plato,
Formerly called Tyrtamas, he then was called Theophrastus
Due to being the best at speaking and teaching.


[860] The Book of Leviticus teaches it clearly,
As Israel undertook a war with Moabites.
The Moabites were defeated, they did something like this.
Giving harlot women fair clothes gracefully,
In this way they won over the people of Israel by ruse.
For, while they having intercourse with the women by intermingling
Was taken down and destroyed, creating a great wreck.
And Phineas son of him, Eleazar,
Eleazar is son of that Aaron,
Seeing so great a destruction wrought upon the army,
[870] Finding Zambri and Chasbi, a Moabite woman,
Having intercourse, piercing with a spear he killed them,
And again, victory was fulfilled by the Israelites.


Indeed Hesiod said in the Works and Days,
“Indeed earth is full of vices, and full also is the sea”.
This according to rhetors is called a parody.
For, that indeed earth is full of wise men, and full also is the sea.
The poets say that emendation is the form,
To be proclaimed by them by way of force.


The males of the race of oxen are called bulls.
[880] It is also a Scythian race, which has disappeared since.
More plainly I explained that the tauri are called the rhos,
In which whether you will call bull sculpture as rhososculpture,
As I interpret for you what are the tauri.


Daedalus, child of Eupalamus or Metion,
Was an Attic architect and a sculptor,
He made such things, all the history thereof
Shall you see in number nineteen of the histories.
It bears the writing on the bull of Minos.


The entire history of Tantalus in detail
[890] You shall see in number ten of the histories.


It is known that the Mysia regions are two;
One Mysia near by Caicus and Olympus,
The other Mysia, it is known, to be the Hungary,
And the one by the Danube, as I believe,
And Ptolemy wrote obscurely on a description,
As I paraphrase them in iambic verses.

Now, learn the boundaries over Mysia.
Boundary from the west indeed races of Dalmatae
From the diversion of the Sava river indeed of their currents
[900] As far as one does not reach the ridges of the Shar Mountains.
Boundary which advances from the south
As far as this is the land of the Macedonians,
Beside Mount Orbelos indeed where the foot lies.
Boundary from the east the Thracian race
As far as the Cebrus river down the Mysian streams,
As far as Cebrus unites with the Danube.
Boundary from the north a portion of the Sava River
As far as their streams of the Danube.
Near the Cebrus dwells the Mysian race,
[910] And the Dardanians towards Macedonian land.

Singidunum is a Mysian city,
Very much near the streams of the Danube.
Tricornium towards the stream of Muschius,
Dorticum and along with Viminacium.
Orrea onwards from the Danube,
Not Vendenis and some other cities.
Ulpianum together with Arribantium,
Skopje and Nish, and cities of Mysia.
Of the nation of Dardanians and of the boundaries,
[920] Paraphrasing these indeed, to mention again.
And now down the Mysia it behoves me to describe.
Towards the west indeed the current of Cebrus flows.
A portion of Thrace is from the south,
Then from Cebrus and towards the foot of Mount Haemus,
And as far as the Pontic limit of Ermenum.
From the north of the Danube, from Cebrus
As far as towards that city of Axiopolis,
From which the name Danube becomes Istrum,
And of the streams of Danube as far as the sea.

[930] Again and once more, the eastern side of Mysia
Bounded it is by the shore stream
Five mouthed is Istrus, it flows to the sea.
Besides which, there was the Thracian mountain ranges.
There live down the setting of the Mysia
The race of Triballi. Two islands of Mysia
Located by that sea flow,
The Island of Achilles, indeed the white one.
Borysthenes also the other second island.
Opposite the Danube a nation of the Goths,
[940] Indeed I said according to a paraphrasis of Thracia.

For the rest the arrangement of Thracia is to be defined.
The northern Mysia lower indeed.
From the west position of upper Mysia,
That of Macedonians rocks before Orbelus,
As far as the mentioned end of the mountain.
Behind some, no possession of rows,
Such they are in this paraphrasing.

Over the south indeed the city of the Mysians
Near the sea, not some city among the obscure ones.
[950] And I spoke about the boundaries of the land of Macedonians.

Now it behoves me to describe the borders of the Macedonians.
Boundary for them from the northerly portions
The Dalmatian side and a side again
Upper Mysian land along with Thrace.
The western position is the Adriatic sea,
From Dyrrachium and as far as Celydnum
Another again, but about the Mysia.
Claudius wrote it confoundedly,
So I from him in paraphrase.
[960] Of the Mysia and of the one off Hellespont
Of small sorted Mysia the name to bear,
As towards the middle of the mainland, the city of Scepsis,
And the sacred city of Germe alongside it.
The land of the Phrygians, of whom Troy is a city,
The Ilium being towards the middle of the land.
Learn you again the cities of greatest Mysia.
The first Daguta, which is the city of Apollo,
Located very near to the river Ryndacos,
Then a city which is named after Trajan,
[970] Allyda and Prepenesus, alias Pergamos.
Lands of the Mysians indeed to the northern position,
How great they live at the foot of Olympius.
The Grimenothurites, again, to the west,
Their city is the city of Trajan.
The Pentademites towards the south,
Of those in the midst of Mysoemmacedoces.

Mixed such as this, he says, in many places,
Saying indeed as the Mysians nearest to the Dacians
And by the raised banks of Istrus and river Danube,
[980] And as he says, thus he writes as such.
In other places of the writing, he says, differently.
And I myself with him organize into iambic metres,
Turning and twisting to compose with contraries.

Consider that we call Mysians, Ungari.
Writing such and such books,
(Even if they were not transcribed, consider thou in these places,
First riddles lay mixed)
To senators I seemed, and to which kinds,
In these words they complete, at least not of barbarians,
[990] “Worse” or “of sow”, they distinguished by these very words.
Over against them, city queen of the towns,
Pitiably double and triple I lament you.
For I feared, I feared, by any means not to barbarians
You would be handed over, captured, you would become barbarous,
An ass and a sow would feed of you then,
Them you did honour, I did not understand how.

From my iambic verses you had heard,
A race of Mysians of the writing by Claudius,
And cities thereof, even if he spoke confusedly.
[1000] The rest allows the new Geographer.
[1] For the marks say not any one of the Mysians,
Countries, cities, mountains, and flow of streams,
And in every way he creates composing this.
For, while saying one thing, he omits myriads.