Athenaeus Online

FISH: Roman mosaic, Emporiae

Yesterday, having an 83-year-old friend to lunch, I had the opportunity to do a thorough scrub of my downstairs guest bathroom. Now I’m not overly addicted to cleaning house; I do it once a year on December 31st, whether it needs it or not, and usually catch a few nests of dog fur and a pocket or two of old catfood or spilled coffee. Nevertheless, yesterday I spent an hour at it in that one little room, spraying everything with bleach, scrubbing such things as the upper, lower, and hinge-side edges of the door just like I was back at the U. S. Air Force Academy many years ago (failing inspections, by the way, no matter what I did). Dunno how good it all was, but I did get the house to smell like a public swimming pool.

Yet finally I was surprised to find it was satisfying: I could see the result. Cleaning a whole house, on the other hand, is deadly: it’s just too much.

Inspired, I went on and cleaned one small room of a huge project long underway at LacusCurtius – to put onsite the complete Loeb edition’s English translation of the Deipnosophistae by Athenaeus: several thousand pages of Greek blather, mostly about FISH; although here and there he also talks about Homer, wine, whores, fish, music, religion, fish, the palaestra, literary conundrums, India, fish, spices, plants, etc. It’s a whole depressing houseful, and it’s been hanging undone for years, on my site, but not quite. I don’t normally like doling things out piecemeal, but in this particular case if I follow my usual practice and prepare all of it together, it’ll never get done at all. So now, then, one little room of it is done, and any ichthyophilous octogenarian out there with a hankering to read this stuff can now at least get a start: Book 1, in three webpages. The other 14 Books will stagger in over time, competing with other smaller and thus more satisfying projects, like tuna fighting the currents in the Bosporus.

3 Responses to Athenaeus Online

  1. zoi1 says:

    …….ichthyophilous octogenarian, conundrums….
    Beautiful words..

  2. Thanks so much for putting this up on your site. I’m one of those weird people who really adores Athenaios. Not just for the awesome collection of valuable ancient sources that he preserves – though that’s certainly a huge part of his draw – but for the humor, the love of culture and learning, and the artistry with which he relates their dinner conversation. So thanks for making this more readily available.

  3. Bill Thayer says:

    Glad both the words and Athenaeus himself are found appealing; the sesquipedalian vocabulary of course in the baroque spirit of that impossible author. There are some fun things in there, and if only we know how to mine him, lots of information too. Anyhoo, Book 2 is now clean, as of today. It’s gonna be a long, slow haul, though.

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