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Its been a long time since I read any Ovid  . I did recently and was reminded why I like it so much , so I have started  at 'the beginning'


Here is an example from the section on The Great Flood ;



[283] And Neptune with his trident smote the Earth, which trembling with unwonted throes heaved up the sources of her waters bare; and through her open plains the rapid rivers rushed resistless, onward bearing the waving grain, the budding groves, the houses, sheep and men,—and holy temples, and their sacred urns. The mansions that remained, resisting vast and total ruin, deepening waves concealed and whelmed their tottering turrets in the flood and whirling gulf. And now one vast expanse, the land and sea were mingled in the waste of endless waves—a sea without a shore.


[293] One desperate man seized on the nearest hill; another sitting in his curved boat, plied the long oar where he was wont to plow; another sailed above his grain, above his hidden dwelling; and another hooked a fish that sported in a leafy elm. Perchance an anchor dropped in verdant fields, or curving keels were pushed through tangled vines; and where the gracile goat enjoyed the green, unsightly seals reposed. Beneath the waves were wondering Nereids, viewing cities, groves and houses. Dolphins darting mid the trees, meshed in the twisted branches, beat against the shaken oak trees. There the sheep, affrayed, swim with the frightened wolf, the surging waves float tigers and lions: availeth naught his lightning shock the wild boar, nor avails the stag's fleet footed speed. The wandering bird, seeking umbrageous groves and hidden vales, with wearied pinion droops into the sea. The waves increasing surge above the hills, and rising waters dash on mountain tops. ..... "





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Is that the Arthur Golding translation? Quite lovely.


Edit: Of course it's not Golding, no rhyming couplings, durr

Edited by SirPalomides
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Brookes More   -     Its from the rather excellent Theoi site . I also contains stuff on the  A.D Melville translation.



The four ages of man is interesting , from an historical and anthropological perspective. I was recently  discussing (elsewhere)   the old societies ( eg  'Old Europe'  - see 



hunter gatherers, development of  farming communities, spread of IE, and replacement of such by 'warlord' cultures'  'what went wrong'  , etc .


Ovid's  'outline ' ;


" First was the Golden Age. Then rectitude spontaneous in the heart prevailed, and faith. Avengers were not seen, for laws unframed were all unknown and needless. Punishment and fear of penalties existed not. No harsh decrees were fixed on brazen plates. No suppliant multitude the countenance of Justice feared, averting, for they dwelt without a judge in peace. Descended not the steeps, shorn from its height, the lofty pine, cleaving the trackless waves of alien shores, nor distant realms were known to wandering men. The towns were not entrenched for time of war; they had no brazen trumpets, straight, nor horns of curving brass, nor helmets, shields nor swords. There was no thought of martial pomp—secure a happy multitude enjoyed repose. Then of her own accord the earth produced a store of every fruit. The harrow touched her not, nor did the plowshare wound her fields. And man content with given food, and none compelling, gathered arbute fruits and wild strawberries on the mountain sides, and ripe blackberries clinging to the bush, and corners and sweet acorns on the ground, down fallen from the spreading tree of Jove. Eternal Spring! Soft breathing zephyrs soothed and warmly cherished buds and blooms, produced without a seed. The valleys though unplowed gave many fruits; the fields though not renewed white glistened with the heavy bearded wheat: rivers flowed milk and nectar, and the trees, the very oak trees, then gave honey of themselves."


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Much of early Australian history (during the interface of first colonialism ) describes such an environment , with 'healthy specimens' living in egalitarian societies .


Then we fell into ;


" the Silver Age, though not so good as gold but still surpassing yellow brass, prevailed. Jove first reduced to years the Primal Spring, by him divided into periods four, unequal,—summer, autumn, winter, spring.—then glowed with tawny heat the parched air, or pendent icicles in winter froze and man stopped crouching in crude caverns, while he built his homes of tree rods, bark entwined. Then were the cereals planted in long rows, and bullocks groaned beneath the heavy yoke "


It seems to be the first beginnings of agriculture , egalitarianism  not yet corrupted by  elitism ... but animal husbandry is evolving  and as i have written before , it would not be long before someone thought  ; ' If I can get an animal to be by slave and do certain hard work ... why not get other people to be my slave and do nearly all of it !  "   So then we fell further into ...


" The Age of Bronze, when cruel people were inclined to arms but not to impious crimes. And last of all the ruthless and hard Age of Iron prevailed, from which malignant vein great evil sprung; and modesty and faith and truth took flight, and in their stead deceits and snares and frauds and violence and wicked love of gain, succeeded.—Then the sailor spread his sails to winds unknown, and keels that long had stood on lofty mountains pierced uncharted waves. Surveyors anxious marked with metes and bounds the lands, created free as light and air: nor need the rich ground furnish only crops, and give due nourishment by right required,—they penetrated to the bowels of earth and dug up wealth, bad cause of all our ills,—rich ores which long ago the earth had hid and deep removed to gloomy Stygian caves: and soon destructive iron and harmful gold were brought to light; and War, which uses both, came forth and shook with sanguinary grip his clashing arms. Rapacity broke forth—the guest was not protected from his host, the father in law from his own son in law; even brothers seldom could abide in peace. The husband threatened to destroy his wife, and she her husband: horrid step dames mixed the deadly henbane: eager sons inquired their fathers, ages. Piety was slain: and last of all the virgin deity, Astraea vanished from the blood-stained earth."


Impious crimes .  I've discussed this before; sure, the Australian Aboriginals had war  with each other ,  but they never committed genocide, destruction of the others environment , killing the women and children , etc etc . that later societies did . That all seemed to come after the IE invasions . My theory is that once fast escape was possible ( horse, sailing boat )  responsibility was forfeited .


It would be an unthinkable crime in Aboriginal society becasue everything is linked together , some of the people in the opposing tribe would have been relatives , 'their' land  and resources would, at times be available to you , an arrangement necessary for each ones survival. If people broke these laws, they would be punished .   Its a bit hard to punish someone running away on horses, or sailing away on boats . After time the impetus became too great, there was no ore running away , just a continuous rolling forward in destruction, raiding and resettlemt . Which of course led them open to the same  -  hence history 'evolved'  ... " piety  was slain "  and "Astraea     vanished from the blood-stained earth."


[ Her name meant "star-maiden" and she was on the earth alongside humans during the Golden Age of Man. When the Iron Age dawned, bringing along misery and wickedness, Astraea abandoned the earth and went to the skies where she transformed into the constellation Virgo. She was closely linked to the goddess Dike, protector of fair judgment; this relationship was also identified on the sky, where Libra, the symbolic representation of Dike, lies nearby Virgo. According to the myth, when Astraea returns to Earth one day, she will once again bring the utopia that was during the Golden Age, bringing an end to human suffering.\

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