Thursday, 1 June 2017

Footnotes Wanted

[50] The nature of the plague, as an occurrence beyond all accounting, not only in other respects affected each person more harshly than is humanly bearable but also showed itself in the following way above all to be something completely different from the familiar diseases: all the birds and animals that feed on man either did not approach, even though there were many unburied, or died if they tasted them. And as proof: the absence of birds of this type was unmistakable, and they were seen neither elsewhere nor in this context; dogs, on the other hand, made it more possible to notice the results because they live with men.

"All the birds": the argument is not quite clear; apparently Thucydides means the corpses were toxic enough to kill scavengers, which could be more directly observed of dogs, and inferred of birds by their absence - in which case it is strange that none were seen "in this context," i.e., eating the dead.

[51] The plague, then - to omit many other peculiarities in the way it happened to occur somewhat differently for one person compared with another - was like this in overall character. And during this time none of the usual diseases troubled them, or even if any did it ended in this. Some died in neglect, others, when they had been given a great deal of attention. And no single cure was established, practically speaking, whose application could bring relief; for what had helped one person actually harmed someone else.

"No single cure": It is remarkable that no single cure is described here.

Thucydides The Pelopponesian War Book Two, trans S Lattimore (1998), p99

For myself, I am not quite clear why the argument in [50] is not quite clear or what is strange about a precise claim that Thucydides does not seem anyway to be making; nor why it is remarkable that not one cure is described here when all have variously failed.

But that is one of the joys of a really first-rate edition [insert plug for Hackett Classics ed]: footnotes at the foot of the page which demand footnotes.

Monday, 29 May 2017

The King of Mercia

 
                                 VIII

The mad are predators. Too often lately they harbour
       against us. A novel heresy exculpates all maimed
       souls. Abjure it! I am the King of Mercia, and
       I know.

Theatened by phone-calls at midnight, venemout let-
       ters, forewarned I have thwarted their imminent
       devices.

Today I name them; tomorrow I shall express the new
       law. I dedicate my awakening to this matter.

Geoffrey Hill, Mercian Hymns (1971)

Now that's my kind of King of Mercia.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Get Used To It


I can't even say we're getting dangerously close to fascism, because... We're there.
Thus one Gregory Locke, confirming the stereotype of Americans as the sort who, for instance, supported the invasion of Iraq because they thought it was a bad place just off Florida and thus a direct threat to the citizens of Knucklehead GA.

Are these shit-for-brains too ignorant to be even faintly aware of the possibility of their own ignorance?

Readers: Yes.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Shite Shock

Unlike your average eruption, tornado or all-out nuclear war, the Trumpy McHitlerBrexitface tsunami'o'effluent shows no signs of abating.

I have given up thinking for instance "another BBC news story? well, that'll be another sluicing of slurry; better find out what, if anything, is really at the bottom lol of this."

Now seems a good time to take up the sousaphone.