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Thread: Two poems by Constantin Cavafy

  1. #1
    Executioner, protect me Kyriakos's Avatar
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    Two poems by Constantin Cavafy

    I hope you won't mind the Greek accent (after all, Cavafy himself was Greek ^_^ ). The translations are my own as well. Any feedback would be welcome

    1. Poseidonians



    Poseidonians*


    The Greek language was forgotten by the Poseidonians
    as they mingled for so many centuries


    with Tyrrhenians, and Latins, and other foreigners.
    The only thing they had left from the forefathers
    was a Greek festival, with beautiful rites,
    lyres and flutes, games and wreaths.
    And they were of the habit, each time the festival was reaching an end,
    to narrate their old customs,
    and to speak once again the Greek names,
    those names that by now only few could understand.
    And their festival would always end with melancholy.
    For they recalled that they too had been Greeks --
    They came to Italy as colonists;
    and how had they fallen now, how did they become this,
    living and speaking barbarically,
    disastrously displaced from Hellenism.


    *Poseidonia was the old, Greek name, replaced with "Paestum" when the city was incorporated into non-Greek dominions.
    Last edited by Kyriakos; 08-27-2020 at 12:38 AM.
    βῆ δ᾿ ἀκέων παρὰ θῖνα πολυφλοίσϐοιο θαλάσσης·
    (he walked silently on the edge of the loudly heard wave-breaking sea)
    Iliad A:34
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  2. #2
    Executioner, protect me Kyriakos's Avatar
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    2. Julian's Initiation Ritual



    Julian's Initiation Ritual

    But as the youth ventured into the darkness of the terrible subterranean depths, accompanied by Greek heathens, and saw those incorporeal Forms appearing in front of him in an outburst of light, surrounded by halos, he did experience fear for a moment and the instinct of his pious years resurfaced, bidding him to make the sign of the cross.

    The Forms instantly vanished, so did the halos and the lights. The Greeks exchanged looks, minding not to be seen. And the youth said: “Did you witness the miracle? My dear companions, I am afraid. I am afraid, my friends, and wish to leave. Didn’t you notice how those demons immediately dispersed when they saw I made the holly sign of the cross?”

    The Greeks laughed heartily; “It is shameful to say such things to us sophists and philosophers. If you have to share thoughts of this variety you can always go to the bishop of Nicomedea or his clergy. The greatest gods of our glorious Greece appeared before you. And if they left, don’t think at all that a hand gesture scared them.

    It’s only that when they saw you make the vilest, pitifully vulgar sign, their noble nature was repulsed, and to signal their contempt, they left”.

    Thus they argued, and so the boorish youth forgot about his holly and blessed instinctive fear, and was convinced by the pagan words of the Greeks.

    translated from the Greek, by Kyriakos Chalkopoulos
    βῆ δ᾿ ἀκέων παρὰ θῖνα πολυφλοίσϐοιο θαλάσσης·
    (he walked silently on the edge of the loudly heard wave-breaking sea)
    Iliad A:34
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  3. #3
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I love this accent. Greek is the only language I know where the word "cosmos" sounds really cosmic.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  4. #4
    Executioner, protect me Kyriakos's Avatar
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    ^_^

    It is a very euphonic term. Generally ancient greek terms have less consonants than most other languages, so at times sound ethereal.
    βῆ δ᾿ ἀκέων παρὰ θῖνα πολυφλοίσϐοιο θαλάσσης·
    (he walked silently on the edge of the loudly heard wave-breaking sea)
    Iliad A:34
    Read articles in my Patreon
    Watch videos in my Youtube

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