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Subject:The PINN Code
Time:04:11 pm
Pindarum quisquis studet aemulari,
Iulle, ceratis ope Daedalea
nititur pinnis, uitreo daturus
     nomina ponto.
(Horace, Odes 4.2.1-4)
[All those, Iullus, who aim to rival Pindar,
are struggling on feathers waxed by the art
of Daedalus, and will give their names
     to the glassy sea. - D. West.]

As John Henderson notes per litteras, there seems to be play with names and partial acrostics: The opening PINDARUM begins to generate an acrostic (PIN, of the type most famous at Arat. Phaen. 783-7 λεπτη / ΛΕΠΤΗ), but instead creates incomplete PINN-, an iconic image of what is going on in the lines, the crash of Icarus into the sea. nititur pinnis at the start of 3 descends in the next line to nomina ponto, with nomina drawing attention to the play. In this context ope Daedalea may point to Virg. Aen. 6.28-33, where Daedalus' artwork participates in the narrative it creates (28-30 regens...resoluit) and where Icarus is denied participation in the Daedalian artwork (31 opere in tanto) as not he, but rather the hands of his father, fall, the ecphrasis ending in mid-line (33), as H.'s acrostic does in mid-word. Pindar himself does the falling, as a stream from a mountain, in the lines that follow. - Richard F. Thomas, "Odes IV and Carmen Saeculare" (Cambridge, 2011)

I'm impressed. And slightly envious - that's an idea I would have liked to have had myself.
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Time:2013-04-15 01:14 pm (UTC)
I buy it...

Three tentative further suggestions:

(1) 'nititur pinnis, uitreo daturus' also conceals Pindar's name ('nomina') - PINnis, uitreo DAtuRUS. (For a possible parallel to this kind of word play cf. Prop. 1.22.1-2 'Qualis et unde genus, qui sint mihi, Tulle, Penates / quaeris PRO nostra semPER amiciTIa.' - noted by Heyworth ('Cynthia') ad loc. who is not able to remember who drew this to his attention (Henderson again, perhaps...??!).

(2) Here is Aratus 780-7 (with the famous acrostic highlighted)

   Σκέπτεο δὲ πρῶτον κεράων ἑκάτερθε σελήνην.
Ἄλλοτε γάρ τ' ἄλλῃ μιν ἐπιγράφει ἕσπερος αἴγλῃ,
ἄλλοτε δ' ἀλλοῖαι μορφαὶ κερόωσι σελήνην
εὐθὺς ἀεξομένην, αἱ μὲν τρίτῃ, αἱ δὲ τετάρτῃ·
τάων καὶ περὶ μηνὸς ἐφεσταότος κε πύθοιο.
Λεπτὴ μὲν καθαρή τε περὶ τρίτον ἦμαρ ἐοῦσα
εὔδιός κ' εἴη, λεπτὴ δὲ καὶ εὖ μάλ' ἐρευθὴς
πνευματίη· παχίων δὲ καὶ ἀμβλείῃσι κεραίαις
τέτρατον ἐκ τριτάτοιο φόως ἀμενηνὸν ἔχουσα
ὲ νότου ἀμβλύνετ' ἢ ὕδατος ἐγγὺς ἐόντος.

The acrostic is of a particular type - with LEPTH being read both horizontally and vertically. I think it has been noted before (but if so I forget by whom) that the intention may be to mimic the shape of the crescent moon which is described. I.e. each LEPTH is a horn of the crescent moon (cf. 'ἀμβλείῃσι κεραίαις' - and especially 'Σκέπτεο δὲ πρῶτον κεράων ἑκάτερθε σελήνην' (780) - i.e. pointing to where the acrostic is to be found, πρῶτον indicating that one should be looking at the first letters). This suggests to me that Horace may be up to something similar - i.e. the shape of the acrostic mimics Icarus' pair of wings, with their extremities already having melted in the sun.

(3) Following on from (2) above - it strikes me as possible that Horace makes an arch nod to the most famous of such acrostics with his 'ceratis' - i.e. a bilingual play 'cera' ~ 'κερας' (the latter being Aratus' 'marker' for the acrostic). I am slightly fortified in this very tentative suggestion by the fact that Vergil too seems too appreciate the key significance of 'κερας' in the Aratus acrostic - since when he adapts this passage and seemingly includes his own reverse skipped-line acrostic (PUblius VErgililius MAro), he also uses CORNU to signify where the acrostic is to be found (NB 'revertentis (i.e. backwards) ... 'primum' i.e. first letter(s); 'obscuro ... cornu' and 'obtunsis ... cornibus' i.e. foreshortened words / horn?).

luna reuertentis cum primum colligit ignis,
si nigrum obscuro comprenderit aëra cornu,
MAximus agricolis pelagoque parabitur imber;
at si uirgineum suffuderit ore ruborem, 430
VEntus erit: uento semper rubet aurea Phoebe.
sin ortu quarto (namque is certissimus auctor)
PUra neque obtunsis per caelum cornibus ibit,

Of course one has to be very careful pressing this sort of thing too far. After all, we would hope that the 'acrostic' at Verg. Ecl. 4.47-52 was not intentional!

Concordes stabili fatorum numine Parcae.
Adgredere o magnos (aderit iam tempus) honores,
Cara deum suboles, magnum Iouis incrementum!
Aspice conuexo nutantem pondere mundum, 50
Terrasque tractusque maris caelumque profundum;
Aspice, uenturo laetentur ut omnia saeclo!

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Time:2013-04-15 05:29 pm (UTC)
Intriguing! I buy it as well.

And, clearly, Eclogues 4.47-52 allude to Catullus 36 "Annales Volusi, cacata carta"?
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