Epistola Puteani Filiis a Scaligero scripta

This verse epistle appears at the beginning of Scaliger’s 1605 edition of the Disticha Catonis. In the nine-line poem written in both Greek and Latin, Scaliger makes some bold claims about his Greek translation, namely that he is establishing the definitive edition of the distichs to replace an existing (and inferior) edition of Planudes. (I discussed this “polemical retranslation” in a conference paper at CUNY earlier this year and hope to write up a proper article soon.) As I have not come across an English translation of the letter, I have included my own at the end of the post.

Ω Παῖδες γλυκὺ πατρὸς ἀμωμήτοιο γένεθλον,
Ἐλλογίμοιο σοφοῦ τόδε βιβλίον εὔφρονι θυμῷ
Δέχθε, παλαιὸν ὁμοῦ τε καὶ ἀρτιγενές. Τὸ γὰρ ἡμεῖς
Τοῖς Ιταλοῖς γνωστὸν, τοῖς δ’ Ελλήνεσσιν ἄγνωστον,
(Μὰψ γὰρ ἐγνώριζεν τοῖς δ’ Ελλήνεσσι Πλανούδης)
Υμῖν ἦρα φέροντες, ἐς Ελλάδα γαῖαν ἱκέσθαι
Εξ Ιταλῶν κελόμεσθα, καὶ Ελλαδα γῆρυν ἰάλλειν,
Εὐεπίης σοφίης τε κλυτὸν πόνον, ὄφρα δαῆτε
Αμφότερον, συνετῶς τε λαλεῖν, πινυτῶς τε φρονῆσαι.

O Pueri, patris laudati blanda propago,
Doctoris clari tranquilla mente volumen
Excipite hoc, vetus atque novellum: quippe quod olim
Solis notum Italis, Graecae ignorabile genti,
(Nam frustra Graecis voluit vulgare Planudes)
Ut vobis faveamus, in oras pergere Graecas
Iussimus ex Italis, & Graecam fundere vocem.
Facundum simul, & sapiens opus: unde paretur
Utrumque, eloquium, atque animi sapientia, vobis.

[O Children, lovely offspring of a praiseworthy father, accept this brilliant teacher’s volume, old and new, with mind at ease: since once it was known only to Italians alone, not known to the Greek people—because Planudes wished in vain to circulate it among the Greeks—I have commanded, as a favor to you, that it travel from Italian to Greek shores and establish the Greek edition. The work is both witty and wise, which is why both—eloquence and intellectual wisdom—will be available to you.]

From Scaliger’s 1605 Opuscula Diversa, Graeca et Latina. p. 1 (http://bit.ly/1bFHtAx)

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