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Translations of Three Callimachus Epigrams (Epigrams 44, 59 and 42)

  • Author(s): Goodwin, Arthur
  • et al.

Having first come across the name Callimachus in the opening line of Ezra Pound’s ‘Homage to Sextus Propertius’, I became enticed by the so called ‘shades of Callimachus’ described therein.  His work carries such variety within it, from odes and hymns to critical discussions and the epigrams which are of particular interest to me, that I was surprised that nothing of his had ever invaded the prescribed texts in the course of my study of Classical literature.  Here, I submit translations of Epigrams 41, 43 and 58 (as numbered by Pfeiffer).  This small selection, to my mind at least, captures some of the tone and beauty of language evident in the sixty-four epigrams that are extant (the Byzantine encyclopaedia, Suda, numbers his epigrammatical works in the region of 800).  What attracts me to these short writings, and to these particular three, is the atmospheric tone and substance of feeling created in such a brief number of lines, the essence of which one can only hope to communicate in some measure through an English translation.

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