Posted by: aediculaantinoi | November 21, 2012

Jubilation in Egypt

Has a hero ever been so generous to an Emperor and his Wife?

And has so Great a Lady ever been so generous to her poetess?

Of my many verses, which they sing in Corinth and in Neapolis alike,
these few commemorating these days of awe and wonder
are turned from sound to stone–and how fitting,
since the stone itself sounded for the Emperor and Empress.

My verses for the new god Antinous have pleased both,
and are sweet on the lips of Greek and Egyptian,
Thracian and Syrian, boatman and praetorian guard,
rough Gauls and Britons and Macedonian fops, Phrygian eunuchs,
and even the onion-seller who in Hermopolis sang through tears
of Heka, Hekate, and of Antinous as well.

He was young, but having died, now he will be immortal;
these verses are new, but they will live on as long as he.
Rough words cut into stone shanks of statues long defaced
will not ring out the fame of she who has made them–
but instead, memory and song and speech will keep them alive.

Alexander, Seleucus, and Ptolemy have graced my verses
as often as they have graced my dreams and my bloodlines,
and my relatives in Greece–Herodes and Herculanus–
have started their own shrines to the new god,
though Herodes is only slightly older than the boy become divine.

Claudia Damo has a tasteful ear for the line,
and her singing voice is like strings of gold on a kithara of bronze–
may her fame be as great as mine, and greater still!

We dance and sing and shout for joy on this night,
just as the Egyptian god Bes and the goddess Hathor
deign to take delight in our doing so, and much more…

Never will a hero’s agalma again see an Emperor
and his queen by his side and sing for the joy of the sight!


If you didn’t understand this post, nor the two before it, perhaps this and this will help.


  1. […] about this occasion’s particular significance in the posts from past years (2010, 2011, and 2012), as we move on to highlighting the poetry–even less of it surviving than of Julia […]

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