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Sagae Thessalae TRANSLATION
iuvenis ego Mileto profectus ad spectaculum Olympicum,
When I was a young man I set out from Miletus to see the Olympic Games,
cum haec etiam loca provinciae clarae visitare cuperem,
Since I also wanted to visit this part of the famous province,
peragrata tota Thessalia Larissam perveni.
I travelled through the whole of Thessaly and then reached Larissa.
ac dum urbem pererrans tenuato viatico paupertati meae fomenta quaero,
And, while wandering around the city, I looked for a remedy for my poverty, for my
travelling allowance was nearly used up.
medio in foro senem conspicio. insistebat lapidem magnaque voce praedicabat, si quis
mortuum custodire vellet, magnum praemium accepturum esse.
In the middle of the forum I caught sight of an old man. He was standing on a stone and
proclaiming, in a loud voice, that there was a big reward that someone who would guard a
dead body could receive.
et cuidam pratereunti `quid hoc' inquam `audio? hic mortui solent aufugere?'
I said to someone passing by, " What's this I hear? Do dead men usually run away round
`tace,' respondit ille. `nam puer et satis peregrinus es, meritoque nescis in Thessalia te
esse, ubi sagae ora mortuorum semper demorsicant, quae sunt illis artis magicae
" Quiet," he replied. " For you are a boy and a mere foreigner. And, naturally, you don't
realise that you are in Thessaly where witches are always biting pieces out of the faces of
dead bodies; they use these bitten off pieces as extra ingredients in their magical art."
contra ego `quali custodela inquam `opus est?'
I said back to him, "What sort of guarding is needed?"
`iam primum' respondit ille `totam noctem eximie vigilandum est apertis et inconvis oculis
semper in cadaver intentis, necacies usquam devertenda est, cum illae pessimae sagae
latenter arrepant, forma in quodvis animal conversa. nam et aves et canes et mures, immo
vero etiam muscas, induunt.'
He replied, "First of all, you must stay perfectly awake throughout the whole night with
your open, sleepless eyes always focussed on the corpse', your glance must not look away
in any direction, for those terrible creatures creep up unseen, having changed their
appearance to that of any kind of animal. Indeed, they disguise themselves as birds, dogs,
mice, even flies."
his cognitis animum meum commasculo et statim accedens senem
After I heard these things, I plucked up my courage and immediately went up to the old
`clamare' inquam' iam desine. adest custos paratus.'
I said to him, "Stop your loud announcements now. Your guard is here and ready."
vix finieram et statim me perducit ad domum quandam, ubi demonstrate matronam
flebilem fuscis vestimentis contectam.
I had scarcely finished when he led me at once to the house in question; there, he showed
me a weeping woman wrapped in dark clothes.
illa surrexit et ad cubiculum me induxit.
She got up and led me to a bedroom.
ibi corpus splendentibus linteis coopertum manu revelavit.
There she uncovered with her hand a body wrapped in shining white sheets.
ubi singular anxie demonstravit, exiit.
She anxiously pointed out to me its individual features and then she left.
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And so, left on my own to console a corpse, I rubbed my eyes and got them ready for guard
dum animum meum permulcebam cantationibus, usque ad mediam nocterm pervigilabam.
While I soothed my mind with songs, I stayed awake until the middle of the night.
tum autem mihi formido cumulatior cum repente introrepens mustela contra me constitit
oculosque in me fixit.…read more
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I pushed myself forwards into the crowd and standing on a rock behind the bier I watched
the whole thing with curious eyes.
iam tumore pectus cadaveris extolli, iam spiritu corpus impleri.
Now the corpse's chest was raised up with a swelling, now his body was filled with breath.
et surgit cadaver et profatur; `cur, oro, me post Lethaea pocula iam Stygiis paludibus
innatantem ad momentariae vitae officia reducitis? desine iam, precor, desine, ac me in
meam quietem permitte.…read more
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Then the witches attached to his face wax shaped like the ears which had been cut off, and
fitted on a nose like the one cut off. And now the poor man stands here, having earned the
reward not for his hard work but for his mutilation."
his dictis perterritus temptare formam incipio.
I was terrified by these words and began to check my face.
manu nasum prehendo: sequitur; aures pertracto: deruunt.…read more