The Birth of a Sage? Circumstance.
Real change? Defining.
Justice, relationships, good conduct and intent determining, stabilizing, establishing and resolving refreshed aims, standard, criteria, integrity and temperance? Giving birth to the propitious, efficacious, favourable and protective. The noble, venerable, holy or sacred? Being born. Backbone, spirit, integrity, drive, ambition and temperance? The aim, standard and criterion – bindu (बिंदु [the optimal potential in each emerging moment]). Reform? True, genuine and honest intent, good conduct, relationships and justice. Christmas? A celebration. The optimal potential? Renewal, explanation, action, clarity, precision, deciding, expressing our essential nature and sharp demarcation of outer limits.
ΤΡΟΦΗ ΔΙΑ ΤΑ ΧΡΗΣΤΩΣ ΚΑΙ ΤΑ ΨΥΧΕΣ
(Food for those that are good and their minds)
Some ancient texts are more difficult to decipher than others. One relevant factor is that, often, varying meanings may be applied to words or phrases that can radically alter a ‘reading’. There is, too, the matter of the influence of prevailing expectations— including those that might be reasonably ascribed to dogma. To illustrate those points, when reading a traditional English translation of Martial (XI: 56), it would be easy to receive that material as a satirical epigram of the male Alexandrian Stoic, Chaeremon. Reading the Latin, however, particularly appreciating how Koine Greek terms were rendered by authors writing in Latin might well turn such a translation on its head. For starters, many relevant terms used by Martial are set with a feminine inflection— indicating that the action relates to a woman. That is reinforced by the use of the term hanc (an accusative feminine singular construction meaning ‘her’) in respect of Chaeremon. A little later on, the term nigrō is used— which could imply the intended communication is, “I am black”, but it is also— potentially— substituted by “wan”, “bad”, “evil” or “ill-omened”. One might also observe that ‘Chaeremon’ could be a Latinised variation of an ancient Greek word— Χαιρήμων— that can be read as “The Χαίρω” (“The Joyful”) … and perhaps even ☧. Regardless, the closing passage— at least as far as my translation goes— seems eternally relevant: The good-natured, yielding and courteous feed on deeds against constriction and fore-shortened lives … they disparage and humble— strongly, powerfully, bravely and boldly— those seeking to facilitate what is wretched, worthless, tragic, sick or tormented.
©2022 Douglas Colston
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…has played in Ska bands, picked up university degrees, supported his parents during terminal illnesses, experienced chronic mental and physical illnesses consequential to workplace harassment, married his love, transitioned into Counselling as a vocation, fathered two great children and had his inheritance embezzled. Now, among other things, he is pursuing a PhD.