Presentation: Callimachus and Callimacheanism in the Epigrams of Gregory of Nazianzus
USP 2017: Callimachean poetics and its influence on epigrammatic poetry
During September of 2017 I'm taking part in a conference at the Universidade de São Paulo on Callimachean poetics and its influence on epigrammatic poetry. I will present a portion of my dissertation, entitled "Callimachus and Callimacheanism in the Epigrams of Gregory of Nazianzus."
The handout may be found here:
I've included also a rough translation of the epigrams I treat (along with a few others) below. The numeration is to Waltz edition of book 8 of the Palatine Anthology.
After offering up her possessions, her flesh, and every bone to Christ, Gorgonion left out only her husband, but she did not leave even him behind for long, but she also snatched suddenly, the noble Alupios. O you wealthy husband of a most wealthy wife, after putting off your sings in washing1 you live born anew.
Whoever bears his foot beside my tomb, know that I have suffered unjustly at the hands of a new heir.2 For I did not have gold or silver, but was merely thought to, as I gleamed with such beauty on my sides.
Here I, the mortal frame of Gregory take my sweet sleep, one hundred years old, with forty years of life in the Spirit and the Bishop’s throne; gentle, sweet of speech, a gleaming spokesman of the Trinity. My soul has take God as its portion. Now, you priests, as you did show him revernce then, show now respect for his tomb.
The mighty God did call me from a wild olive-grove and set one who was not even the least of the sheep as leader of the flock, and then imparted great wealth from a God-fearing rib.3 Together we both reached a rich old-age. The meekest of my children is a priest; if I have borne my mortal end, it is no surprise. I was a mortal.
If ever upon the mount was Moses an initiate of the holy voice, so too was the mind of great Gregory, whom once while far off did Grace make a great high priest. Now near, he has a share of the holy Trinity.
Myself I built a temple for God and gave as priest Gregory, who shines for the pure trinity, a resounding messenger of truth, a shepherd of the peoples, a youthful master of both kinds of wisdom.
My child, in all else may you be even better than your father, but in meekness may you be the same. It is not right to pray for more. May you, O happy one, also reach the depths of old age having found this sort of care-giver.
Once not a sheep, but then by far the best of all the sheep, and then a shepherd, and finally a father and judge of judges. Here I, Gregory, father of Gregory lie, who united mortals with great immortal God. Wealthy, long of life, rich with children I have died, a high-priest4 and father of the same, Gregory. What more is there?
I did not go early into the fertile vineyard. Nevertheless, I, Gregory, have a greater reward than earlier workers. As a good shepherd I nourished a greater flock with gentle ways.
I was not the scion of a holy root, but the head of a holy marriage and a trinity of children. I ruled a united flock, and thence departed full of earthly and heavenly years.
Gregory (the marvel!), as he rose on high, cast down the grace and gleam of the Spirit on his own child.
Small is the pearl, but she reigns among the gems. Small too is Bethlehem, but she is the bearer of Christ. In the same way I took a small but excellent flock as my lot, which I pray thee lead, my son.
I, Gregory, have placed the bucolic syrinx in your hands. For me, my child, explain with knowledge,5 cast open the doors of life for all, and come to the tomb of your father at the proper time.
Lightening flashed on those for whom Christ was once transformed upon the mountain. Lightening flashed too on the mind of Gregory the pure, when he fled from the darkness of idols. Just so was he purified, and continues to lead his flock even now through his rites.