The Eclogue of Theodulus (Ecloga Theoduli), ninth-tenth century, is a debate between pagan classical myth and Christian biblical truth, which (not surprisingly) is won by Christianity. It is presented as a verse contest between Falsehood (Pseustis) and Truth (Alethia), presided over by Wisdom (Phronesis). Falsehood relates a story from classical legend and Truth responds with one from the Old Testament, until Truth says that she will rely on the Gospels, at which point Falsehood acknowledges his defeat and yields. Wisdom asks Truth to be merciful her victory.
The setting (1-36) is pastoral, modelled on Vergil's Eclogues, especially in Ecl. 3, in which two quarrelsome herdsmen engage in a song contest for a prize with a judge as arbitrator. The metre is dactylic hexameters with monosyllabic rhyme between the penthemimeral caesura and the end of the line (Leonine rhyme).
In the debate (37-336) the contestants speak in quatrains, the scheme used by Prudentius (4th-5th century) in his Dittochaeon (Tituli), which summarizes episodes from the Old and New Testaments. The Ecloga was written no later than the tenth century (the date of the oldest manuscript, Eton College, L.6.5) but after the establishment of regular Leonine rhyme, and so probably in the ninth or early tenth century. Its classicism suggests a connexion with the Carolingian court, but most of the major Carolingian poets avoid rhyme. Its placing of the stories of Judith and Esther (274-6, 281-4) after Susanna (265-8) argues for the Alcuinian or Theodulfian biblical arrangement. (I owe this information to Dr. Greti Dinkova-Bruun.)
Nothing is known of its author. His name is Greek, like that of his protagonists and means 'servant of God'. In German this would translate as Gottes-schalke, and attempts have been made to identify him with the Carolingian poet Gottschalk (ninth century, died before 870), but the identification has been contested for metrical reasons.
The Ecloga combines the classicism of a Vergilian setting and of pagan mythology with a survey of major Old Testament stories and a clear win for Christianity. Consequently its pedagogic value was quickly recognized; in the early, twelfth century it was included by Conrad of Hirsau in his Dialogus super auctores (a list of texts suitable for instruction), alongside Donatus, the Distichi Catonis, 'Aesop', Avianus, Sedulius, Juvencus, Prosper of Aquitaine, Arator, Prudentius, and classical poets. After this its place in the curriculum of easy reading was assured until Humanism and the Renaissance, and it frequently keeps company with other 'libri Catoniani.' Hans Walther (Initia No. 664) says that there are countless (zahllose) manuscripts.
The stories, both pagan and biblical, are so well known that it is impossible to pin down sources with any certainty. The biblical stories are all in the Vulgate (see above on the order). The classical myths are usually ,but not always, found in Ovid's Metamorphoses or in Vergil, but sometimes Ovid and Vergil are allusive and do not give the whole story. Sometimes Theodulus may have used Servius commentary on Vergil directly (as at 198, 277-80), but more probably through an intermediary. He did not use the myth-collections of Hyginus or Fulgentius, but most of his stories are found in the First Vatican Mythographer (MV1), a collection dating from the tenth century or earlier, sometimes associated with the name of Remigius of Auxerre; once or twice the telling of a story is closer to that in the Second Vatican Mythographer, and although this itself is too late for Theodulus, there may have been an earlier collection (a kind of expanded MV1) on which MV 2 was based. He has clear references to Martianus Capella (35-36, 320), who supplied him with the character Wisdom (Phronesis). Sometimes a story in Theodulus is matched most closely in Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae, though he could also have known Isidore through Raban Maur's De Universo which often copies Isidore directly (53-56, 133-40, 201, 324).
In his Quos auctores Latinos et sacrorum Bibliorum locos Theodulus imitatus esse videatur (Urfahr, 1907), J. Osternacher painstakingly lists all the literary echoes he has found (including Greek ones !), though in his Preface he admits that Theodulus did not use all of them. As many (particularly from the Christian poets) are probably no more than coincidental echoes, I have not listed them, but one is virtually certain: 83-84 (on Noah's dove) ore columba suo ramum viridantibus intro / Detulerat foliis closely resembles Prudentius' Dittochaeon 10 ore columba refert ramum viridantis olivae. Theodulus was clearly well-read and it is likely that he knew many of the major Christian Latin poets, such as Avitus, Prudentius, Venantius Fortunatus, Dracontius, etc. Usually there is a clear thematic link between the pairs of stanzas, but I cannot see any clear one at 93-100, 197-204, or 261-8. On two occasions there seems to be a link that is not stated in the poem: 133-40 Cadmus and Moses both invented alphabets, and 277-84 both victorious sides refused to use the property of their defeated enemies; at 85-92 the stated link is attempts to reach heaven, but an extra unstated one may be that the biblical Nimrod was a giant, like those in the pagan gigantomachia. It is possible that at 213-8 Theodulus confused Perseus and Bellerophon; although the lines could be read differently, an error is quite likely, as MV1 made the same one. One the other hand, at 87 all sources agree that it was Jupiter that struck down the giants; the received text of the poem, however, reads Mulciber here (usually an epithet of Vulcan). In Auctores (1907) Osternacher adopted the variant Juppiter from two MSS, one of which is the oldest; nevertheless whatever Theodulus actually wrote, generations of schoolboys inherited a tradition in which it was Mulciber who overthrew the giants, and it seemed wiser to retain it.
This translation is based on the edition by J. Osternacher (Urfahr, 1902), which made use of twenty-four manuscripts. I have repunctuated his text at 133-5, 205, 217-20, and 279, and have adopted the variant patiantur (for patiatur) at 136. I have not adopted his (1907) emendations of Chaonia at 205 or (as noted) Juppiter at 87.
The Eclogue of Theodulius
The summer's heat, like Africa's. scorched all the earth,
The time the sun's gold orb revolves in Cancer's sign.
A shepherd born in Athens - Falsehood was his name -
Had brought his herd of goats beneath the lime tree's shade.
5 A spotted panther skin he'd wrapped around himself;
A pipe puffed out his stiffened cheeks, emitting sounds
Of many notes, dispelled from out a thousand holes.
Just by the spring the maiden Truth gave sheep their food,
A lovely girl, descended from King David's line
10 Whose harp she held and played it by the river's stream.
The river paused, held captive by so sweet a sound,
And seemed to listen to the plectrum's pleasant songs:
The very flock of bleating sheep forgot to eat.
This Falsehood could not bear: stirred up by envy's bile
15 He shouted from the other shore, safe on a mound:
'Why, Truth, you silly fool, do you address dumb things ?
If conquest's what you seek, the chance to strive is here.
If you should win, my flute will then be yours, but if
You lose, I'll win your harp: let's settle on this deal.'
20 'Your words,' said Truth, 'don't move me, nor do the rewards
Appeal to me, since I am gnawed by just one doubt:
However things turn out, without a careful witness here,
If you should lose, you won't admit that I have won.
But since we cannot change the plan we've now begun,
25 Look, Wisdom comes, our friend, to bring the flock to drink
And seeking shade from heat. Let her preside as judge.'
Then Falsehood said, 'I see that chance has brought her here.
Come, Wisdom, now - the day has many hours to run
For you to put your work aside to join our game.'
30 Then Mother Wisdom spoke: 'Although my parents said
That when my flock was watered, I should hurry home
And not forget the punishment if I were late,
I'll gladly bear it, sensing fun in such a fight!
Now, Falsehood, you go first, since you're a man. She'll
35 Next match you in zeal. You'll speak in fours: Pythagoras
Decreed this number's role. May Sun increase our time!'
From Cretan shores came Saturn; he was first of all
And then he spread the age of gold throughout the earth.
He had no sire: no one preceded him in time;
40 The noble race of gods enjoys descent from him.
The first man dwelt and lived in verdant paradise
Until, persuaded by his wife, the serpent's draught
He drank and mixed the cup of death for all mankind.
We offspring feel today what once our parents did.
45 Jove could not bear the brilliance of all this gold;
He took up arms and, cruel, drove his father out.
Then silver came and changed the colour of the world:
The court of gods gave Jupiter the primacy.
From kindly place exiled, the first-made was expelled
50 And, dust-to-dust, foresakes the honour Nature gave.
Lest we be tempted by the age-old apple's stock,
A flaming sword forbids all those that would approach.
To splendid Cecrops sacrificial rites are owed:
He first took knife to search the entrails of a bull;
55 The cult of Jove he wrought, which later men obeyed.
He founded Athens; Pallas aided with her name.
Cain made his offering to God from seeds of crops;
His righteous brother Abel gave a fitting gift
By offering a lamb, acceptable to Christ.
60 He fell by brother's sword, but after death he spoke!
Once Lycaon of Arcady earned heaven's wrath
In trying to deceive Jove's deity when he,
As guest, came to Lycaon's home. For this he lost
His human form. Now wolf, he rages in the wild.
65 Enoch, who honoured justice in a tarnished world,
Was snatched from earth and never seen by man again.
Believing in the second coming of the judge,
He'll fight Leviathan, Elias by his side.
From Ocean came the tempest, sinking everything;
70 The dry gave way to wet, and all that lived now died.
Not one survived but Pyrrha and Deucalion,
Her spouse, who threw some stones and so restored mankind.
God's righteous vengeance loosed the fountains of the deep,
Protecting Noah - eight there were - inside the ark.
That no disaster should befall the world again,
The rainbow gleams for men to see, spread through the clouds.
Young Ganymede was hunting hares on Ida, where
Jove's armour-bearer seized him, bearing him aloft.
The council of the gods gave to the kidnapee
80 The title 'butler': Hebe first had had this rank.
All animals condemned the crow for treachery:
It would not bring salvific news to those enclosed.
The dove brought in her beak a branch of verdant leaves
Inside; Armenia still witnesses the tale.
85 Men born from Mother Earth rose up; the common will
Of all was to expel the heaven-dwelling gods.
They heaped the mountains up, but Mulciber cast down
The foe by bolt, and thrust them into Vulcan's cave.
In Babel's lofty citadel a tower was built
90 By Adam's race: its top, they hoped, would reach the sky.
God's wrath was roused: confusion fell upon their tongues
And they were scattered, but the city's name survives.
At Jupiter's command the Cyclopes made bolts;
When Paeon fell, Apollo sentenced them to death.
95 The wrathful gods deprived him of divinity:
His job became the tending o€ Admetus' flock.
Compelled to leave his father's country, Abram took
In marriage Sarah, far too old to bear a child.
To them, worn out in age, at last was born a son
100 Of rank; his mother, though weighed down by years, gave milk.
With fitted feathers Daedalus cuts through the air;
His son comes too, but feeble wax is liquefied
And he falls to the sea: the wave groaned at his weight.
The father, still intact, attained the frozen North.
105 The patriarch was not restrained by Isaac's form
From slaying him, had not a voice from up above
Told him to spare. A ram, whose horns stuck in a bush,
Was seized instead. The son walks in his father's steps.
oppressed by weighty love for proud Demophoon,
110 Sad Phyllis changed her body for a cork tree's bark.
Returning, he stooped down and bathed the trunk with tears;
As if she felt his kiss, she greeted him with leaves.
God renders Sodom into dust. For Abram's sake
He plans to save just Lot, who's safe in Segor's walls.
115 Lot's faithless wife becomes a statuette of salt,
And animals still come to lick her tasty rock.
The goddess Venus fights against the Argive ranks
But gets a grievous wound from Diomede's hands.
His comrades mourn the sins the crazy leader did:
120 Turned into birds, they sharpen claws instead of teeth.
His wrestling at length with God made Jacob lose
The muscles in his thigh, since he refused to yield.
As if lamenting for the wound their father felt,
Descendants still don't eat the tendon of the thigh.
125 Hippolytus, accused by cruel Phaedra, died
Torn by his chariot, when waves brought seals ashore.
Diana's wrath abhorred the loss to chastity
And called him back to life. He's now named Virbius.
Sold as a slave by brothers' malice, Joseph spurned
130 His mistress's desire and threats. Confined
In chains he analyzed the Pharoah's dreams, and so
The kingdoms of all Egypt were assigned to him.
of Greeks, first Cadmus found and searched the alphabet,
When he had sown the seven-folded dragon's teeth.
135 Lest those whom Fortune had not sunk in deadly fate
Endure the same, he hissed and took on serpent form.
From waters rescued, Moses thwarted magic arts:
All regions round the river Nile held him in awe.
He led his people out and drowned his enemies;
140 The Red Sea testifies today to Egypt's death.
Europa's splendid shape stirred Jupiter's warm blood
And turned the godhead's outer robe to that of bull.
The maiden raped, he feared the arms of Agenor
And named her as the third part of the earth is named.
145 In Aaron's fingers fire and gold conspired and made
A wondrous calf; the mob rebelled and went insane.
The stock of Levi soothed the wrath of God; on them
The priestly mitre was bestowed for ever more.
Priest Amphiaraus, your wife, inflamed by greed
150 For gleaming necklace, made you pay for what she urged:
A cave from Acheron's great depth soon swallows you.
Your orphaned child's right hand dispatches her to hell.
Poor Corah's death warns us to heed superiors,
For those the dry earth swallows up are sent to hell,
155 But God himself in secret buried Moses deep:
No mortal was allowed by God to find his tomb.
Grim Juno's gadfly tortures Io, now adorned
With horns, and Argus is appointed as her guard.
Encompassed with stiff hairs, she doesn't speak but moos
160 Till her return, transformed into her former shape.
Obstructed, Balaam spurred his she-ass with his heels;
An angel blocked his way and forced the beast to stop.
A dreadful thing occurred: the ass's voice was loosed
And spoke with words that humans normally employed.
165 To fill Amphitryon's love-bed, Jove needed time;
Bright Phoebe multiplied that pleasant night by two.
Alcmena bore great Hercules despite the wrath
Of Juno; then he slew the snakes that she had sent.
Lest Gibeon's once shining martial spirit fail
170 The fighting people in their victory, the sun -
At Joshua's command - stopped in its path on high.
Let all now learn the gifts that come from holy faith!
The club of Hercules despoiled the dragon's watch;
He stole Geryon's pride and killed the Hydra dead;
175 To him fell Cacus and the janitor of Hell.
His mistress Deianeira burned him in the end.
His limbs enclosed in lion's skins, great Samson slew
A thousand men; with foxes he burned up the fields.
He took the city's locks and broke the sinew bonds.
180 Delilah cut his hair, her final treachery.
You, names of many thousand gods, defend your bard!
You worshippers of Dis, of starry realms above,
Of corners of the world, of pools of booming depths,
You, names of many thousand gods, defend your bard !
185 One God, the same, majestic, strong and glorious,
What was and is and shall be serves and honours you:
You have three names, three persons, and you have no end
Nor starting point. Command us to defeat the False !
The rowans bowed their leaves and followed Orpheus
190 With zeal, while he sang tuneful songs throughout the woods.
Hell's rulers were entranced: Prosperpina decreed
Euridice be given back - the terms were hard !
195 Lest hostile robber vex the body of the king,
The youthful harpist aided with his tuneful sound.
He whose appointed task was shearing wool from sheep
In course of time succeeded to the royal throne.
The great Cyllenian mixed juices from his herbs
And with his wand recalled the lightless from the shades.
His skill was such that you would think that all would grant
200 His step-mother had suckled Maia's child.
on Idida, who asked for wisdom's gifts, the Lord
Bestowed so much that he surpassed what's natural.
His wisdom built the temple to adorn the walls.
For all his wealth, the love of women cast him down.
205 Dodona's shaken oaks gave little fruit. In Crete
The lavish mother Ceres pitied those that starved
And sent Triptolemus to earth, with snake as aid:
He first showed to the world the promise held in grain.
Elijah, by his prayers, tied up the heaven's clouds
210 To stop the dripping rain from growing any grass.
Expelled from home, the prophet drank the river's stream;
A servant crow supplied him with sufficient food.
The image of the Gorgon changes human shape,
For those who looked on it grew stiff and turned to stone.
215 Wise Pallas helped. Bellerophon destroyed the beast;
He fixed his horse's wings and took off in the air.
220 Elijah's flight from home was blocked by Jezabel.
When fiery chariot, by horses pulled, appeared,
The flaming cart arrived and raised the prophet up.
For love his heir received his master's spirit twice.
Aurora graced Tithonus with her marriage bed;
She stretched his life and turned him into cricket's shape.
She buried Memnon, who was killed in distant Troy;
Each year in throngs the birds give honour to his feast.
225 Condemned to death, King Hezekiah soaked his face
With saving tears and so put off the fatal hour.
Lest he should doubt that he had merited his health,
The panting sun reined back his horses in their course.
The man that first began the games below the peak
230 Of Mount Olympus far outran all human praise.
The lofty laurel crowned the hair of those that won
And triumph led them home; the vanquished suffered shame.
The towns of Juda mourned Josias' fatal fall;
The spring and tree of Magedo deplore those fields.
235 The laws and splendid Passover deplore his death,
And every age since then, but Jeremiah most.
When Salmon simulated thunder, hurling bolts,
And ran through fields of Elis, spreading fear with torch,
Then Jupiter could not endure his rival's arms
240 Upon the bridge and threw him down with fearful fire.
Assyria's proud king thought only he was God;
For seven harvests he endured the dew and rain,
A man made beast. His history persuades us all
To learn to be content with nature's gifts of strength.
245 What makes the horses of the sun delay their course?
The world will once again feel Phaeton's fearful fall!
Why, sunset, do you pause? The goats have had their fill
And every beast digests the cud. The sun can't move!
The sun's illumination serves the sight of men,
250 Fixed in the course that first creation made for it.
Why call back night? What's your intent? Your tricks are clear:
Your strength is weakening - your sighs show that it's so!
Acrisius, afraid his only daughter's charms
Might be abused, blocked up the tower's doors with bars,
255 But whoring Jove, up on the roof, dripped rain inside T
he maiden's lap: thus gold corrupted Danae.
The wrath of lions, famished though they were, did not
Harm Daniel within the cage: his guard was God!
The doors were locked, but Habbakuk brought food inside,
260 Transported by a single hair across the realm.
'Burn incense on your hearths, if you would keep alive
Your children' - so Diana bade, Latona's child.
A thousand darts, a thousand strings, hung from her arm
To take revenge on Niobe for boastful words.
265 The elders' passion could not be restrained by their
Old age nor by the virtue of the matron's sex.
Although she saw that deadly fates were aimed at her,
Susannah overcame the law that nature gave.
A man's firm mind is felled by women's waywardness:
270 They handle potions, bloodying their limbs by taste.
A woman's strength is known to Tereus' bitter house;
Medea knows: she killed her young in hateful death.
Lest such abuses taint the air, let them now cease!
Duke Holofernes feared a woman's might:
275 That splendid widow snared him in a crazy love.
Assyrians lament his trust in woman's word.
For marriage Scylla burned, since Minos racked her heart.
She robbed her aging father of his purple hair,
But spurned by Minos, she in haste took wings; with beak
280 Her father pestered her. The air resounds with claws.
The king of Medes and Persians, vexed at Vashti's proud
Response, was moved by Esther's beauty. Esther earned,
Though she was captive, to be placed on Vashti's throne
And to deflect the doom the king planned for her folk.
285 The fields are green, the woods in leaf, and all things smile.
Send Muses, Helicon, and nymphs, 0 Proteus,
Especially those - if they tend flowery Tempe too -
Whom Ennius includes within his distich verse.
Misguided thoughts like these are feigned by lust and fear.
290 If deities are found in sky and in the depths,
If world and sea each has its gods, what still remains?
Unless you grant as many gods as you have limbs!
The bulls are keen and eager to return back home;
The evening drives the sheep from clover, goats from elm;
295 If you don't come back soon, the wolf will hunt the lambs.
Depart the sky, 0 day; this maiden will not yield !
If wolf should scare you, sheep, returning to your fold,
Lift up your horns, my little ones, and aim at him!
The kindly Easter lamb once crushed him guilelessly.
300 Slow down your course, 0 day, lest Truth should lose her prize !
For sailors, Helen's sight among the stars is sad;
For crops, the blight is sad; for field, the serpent's hiss;
The mole digs up the plants, the nettle stings the hand.
Which of the gods contrived this universal strife ?
305 For man, a maid is sweet, for bone-dry field a shower;
For sterile, mandrake; for the thirsty farmer, drink.
But best of all, when souls have shed the body's clothes
Is that we should placate the anger of the Judge.
What fell desire distracts the heaven's denizens?
310 Has that majestic order left the Zodiac?
They sleep or snore or sup from Lethe's drowsy draught.
Depart the sky, 0 day: this maiden will not yield!
The heights of heaven, all that's nourished by the earth
And all the deeps produce, is under constant watch
315 By him who knows no sleep and made all by his hand.
Slow down your course, 0 day, lest Truth should lose her prize!
When Proserpine went down to gloomy hell, a law
Was given Ceres for her daughter's safe return.
Now say who first, in treachery, revealed her meal,
320 And you'll be praised for knowing Troy's great mystery.
When sea's beneath the world and world beneath the sky
And hanging air is always inbetween, now say
When earth will rise above the sky's light air. Guess this
And I will grant you'll say God's tetragrammaton!
325 If she surpasses me today with all her tricks,
I'll mourn like Calchas after Mopsus won the prize.
But I won't let myself be crushed by girlish fraud:
A thousand fights I'll fight, unless the evening comes !
0 Thales, falsehood's feigner, would that you were here!
330 I'll trust the four evangelists and their great books,
Which tell how God took on our human body from
A maid: the effort will not trouble me at all !
I beg you, Wisdom, - for the love of Mercury
To whom, by power from the gods, you joined your child,
335 As Martianus tells - restrain your sister's turn
Of speech. I yield, and won't deny I've lost the game.
What every mortal yearns to gain and doesn't care
About the risk to life, if they achieve the prize,
The Lord, unhoped, has granted you of his own will.
340 Your rival, conquered, begs that you should now desist.
The Thracian bard, with thumb on harp, moved shades long dead,
So now let tears move you! The moon lifts up her horns,
The sun sinks in the sea, and chilly dark comes next.
Now don't say any more, lest desperation hurt.
Epilogue (probably spurious)
345 Her foe now vanquished, Truth, upon her kindly harp,
Began to sing, devoting pious songs to God;
'Kind God, threefold, almighty, merciful and One,
Who duly govern heaven, earth, the sea and hell,
And you who rule all things beneath your only power,
Raise up your subjects, one and all, and crush the proud.
To you be virtue, praise, peace, glory evermore.
Eternal rule befits you, endless, for all time.'
1-36 The prologue, the setting for the debate, is skilfully woven from elements in Vergil's Eclogues - themselves often poetry contests - and the overall theme of Falsehood's paganism and Truth's Christianity. See notes to 3-10, 29, 30-33, and especially 34.
3-10 Note the contrasts: Falsehood comes from Athens, centre of pagan learning, Truth from the line of King David. Falsehood plays the flute, but Truth the harp, David's instrument. Falsehood drives goats, Truth sheep: cf. Matt. 25: 32-33 (et congregabuntur ante eum omnes gentes, et separabit eos ab invicem, sicut pastor segregat oves ab haedis, et statuet oves quidem a dextris suis, haedos autem a sinistris). There is also, however, a Vergilian basis: Ecl. 1. 8, 12-13 (Tityrus has sheep and Meliboeus goats) and Ecl. 7, where Thyrsis drives sheep and Corydon goats.
7 'a thousand holes': Ovid Met. 12. 44 (on the House of Rumour).
11 Vergil Ecl. 8. 4: et mutata suos requierunt flumina cursus.
13 Vergil Ecl. 8. 2: immemor herbarum ... iuuenca.
29 Vergil Ecl. 7. 16-17: Et certamen erat, Corydon cum Thyrside, magnum: Posthabui tamen illorum mea seria ludo. Cf. Pseudo-Alcuin, Conflictus Veris et Hiemis 8: Hiis certamen erat cuculi de carmine grande.
30-33 Compare Vergil, Ecl. 3. 32-34, where the fear of parents who count the flock at night prevents the wager of a kid (derived from Theocritus Idyll 8). Wisdom's fear (which is contextually absurd) is closer to the situation in the later pastourelles, where the seduced girl fears a beating at home, as in Walter of Chatillon's 'Sole regente lora' and Carmina Burana No. 158 'Vere dulci mediante' (conveniently together in Oxford Book of Medieval Latin Verse, Nos. 195 and 218).
34 'since you're a man': additional reasons for Falsehood to begin the debate are: (i) the challenger usually begins in, a song-contest, as in Vergil Ecl. 3, in which Damoetas, who challenged in 28, begins the singing; (ii) it is necessary that Truth sing in second place to refute Falsehood, and Truth follows the biblical order of narratives.
35-36 Vergil Ecl. 3. 59 alternis dicetis: amant alterna Camenae, and Ecl. 7. 18-19. Vergil employs tetrads in Ecl. 7; compare also Prudentius' Dittochaeon (whose content is similar to Truth's) and Sedulius Scotus' Lily and Rose debate.
Pythagoras: the primacy of the number 4 (which makes up the decad, i.e. 1+2+3+4 = 10) is a commonplace in ancient philosophy, e.g. Martianus Capella II. 106-8:
nam quaternarius suis partibus complet decadis ipsius potestatem ideoque perfectus est et habetur quadratus, ut ipse Cyllenius, cui quatuor anni tempora, caeli climata mundique elementa conveniunt. An aliud illa senis (= Pythagoras) deieratio, qui [GREEK] non tacuit, confiteatur nisi perfectae rationis numerum ?
'By the tetrad' was the normal Pythagorean oath.
37-44 Thematic link: first god and first man and their expulsion.
37-40 Vergil, Aen. 8. 314-36, where Evander describes the arrival of Saturn in Italy after his expulsion by Jupiter. 8.319 (primus ab aetherio venit Saturnus Olympo) has been combined with Aen. 3.117 to produce Theodulus' first line. Servius comments on the Vergilian passage:
'Ab Aetherio venit Saturnus Olympo': hoc dicit secundum poeticum morem; nam Saturnus rex fuit Cretae, quem Juppiter filius bello pepulit. Hic fugiens ab Iano rege, qui urbem habuit, ubi nunc Ianiculum, est susceptus, qui regnabat in Italia.
Jupiter introduced the Golden Age. See also Ovid, Metam. 1.89-106. The story was told in England by Aelfric, Homily xxi 'De falsis deis' (ed. Pope, ii. 676-724), followed by Wulfstan (Bethurum, p. 222).
41-44 Gen. 1-3: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and their fall from grace. For the 'cup of death', see Carleton Brown, Speculum 15 (1940), 189-99.
45-52 Thematic link: expulsions of Saturn and of Adam and Eve.
45-48 For sources, see above on 37-40, with Ovid Metam. 1.113-5:
Postquam, Saturno tenebrosa in Tartara misso,
sub Iove mundus erat, subiit argentea proles
auro deterior, fulvo pretiosior aere.
See also MV 1 102-5.
51-52 Gen. 3: 22-24 (where God's motive is to prevent Adam's acquiring immortality)
53-60 Thematic link: the first sacrifice.
53-56 Cecrops made the first sacrifice and founded Athens. See Isidore, Etym. VIII.11.9-10:
Apud Graecos autem Cecrops, sub quo primum in arce oliva orta est et Atheniensium urbs ex Minervae appellatione nomen sortita est, hic primus omnium Jovem appellavit, simulacra repperit, aras statuit, victimas inmolavit, nequamquam istiusmodi rebus in Graecia umquam visis.
This passage is quoted by Raban Maur De universo (PL 111 c. 423), whose whole section 'de this gentium' is from Isidore.
57-60 Gen. 4: Abel and Cain sacrifice to God, and Cain kills Abel whose blood cried out: vox sanguinis fratris tui clamat ad me de terra.(4.10).
61-68 Thematic link: divine punishment and reward.
61-64 Lycaon, king of Arcady, aroused the anger of the gods because he used to kill and eat his guests. Jupiter visited him, but Lycaon was undeterred; he planned to kill Jupiter and served him with human food to test his divinity. Jupiter turned him into a wolf. Ovid, Metam. 1. 209-43, and MV1 17:
Juppiter, humani sceleris impatiens, simulata hominis specie ad Lycaonem, regem Arcadiae, venit, qui ipsi, quasi mortali, praeparans mortem, humana membra devoranda apposuit. Quae postquam Juppiter sensit, non eum penitus interemit; sed, ne supplicii amitteret sensum, lupi eum in formam convertit, qui adhuc et mores in rabie et nomen Lycaonis in appellatione servat.
65-68 Gen. 5: 18-24. Enoch, son of Jared, walked with God and was seen no more; this is interpreted (Heb. 11: 5) as a reward for his faith; his name means 'dedicatio' (Isidore, Etym. VII.6.11). For his sermon on justice (65), see Jude 14-16. Neither Enoch nor Elias died; they were doomed to die in the final fight against Antichrist (Leviathan): see M.R. James, Apocryphal New Testament, p. 140.
69-76 Thematic link: floods.
69-72 Because of human crimes, particularly Lycaon's, Jupiter drowned humankind in a flood, preserving only the just Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha. They were told to throw the bones of their mother (i.e. the stones of mother earth) over their shoulder; those thrown by Deucalion became men, those thrown by Pyrrha women. The story was often told, as by Ovid, Metam. 1. 262-415, and in MV1 189 (MV2 73).
73-76 Gen. 6:1 - 9.17. For the eight in the ark, see I Pet. 3:20 and II Pet. 2:.5 and also Isidore Etym. VII.6.13.
rainbow (iris) : in Gen. 9:16 the word is arcus, but iris is biblical (Apoc. 4: 3; 10: 1).
77-84 Thematic link: birds.
77-80 The handsome Trojan Ganymede was loved by Jupiter; while hunting he was snatched up to heaven by Jupiter's eagle; there he became cupbearer to the gods, an office formerly held by Hebe. Ovid, Metam. 10: 155-62, Vergil Aen. 5. 252-7, but the account closest to Theodulus is MV1 184 (MV 2 198):
Ganymedes filius Troili, filii Priami, quum prima forma ceteris Trojanis praeferretur et assiduis venationibus in Idae silva exerceretur, ab armigero Jovis, scilicet aquila, quae quondam illi fulmina offerebat, in caelum raptus est, et factus est pincerna deorum; quod officium prius occupaverat Hebe, filia Minois, filii Jovis.
Ovid does not mention that Ganymede was hunting, and in his account Jupiter himself turns into an eagle. Vergil does not mention that Ganymede became the gods' cupbearer, though this is in Servius on Aen. 1.28:
'Ganymedes honores' - Troi, regis Troianorum, filii. 'honores' autem dixit vel propter ministerium poculorum, quod exhibuit diis remota Hebe, Junonis filia, vel quod inter sidera conlocatus aquarii nomen accepit.
In Vergil Ganymede is hunting cervos (deer); Theodulus' lepores 'hares' may arise from confusion with lepõres 'charms'.
81-84 Gen. 8: 6-13: Noah sent out a raven from the ark, which did not return; he then sent a dove, which returned emptyhanded; the second dove returned with green leaves, showing that the lands were dry.
84 Gen. 8: 4.
85-92 Thematic link: attempts to scale heaven. (An unexpressed link may also be the fact that Nimrod was a giant).
85-88 The giants piled mountain on mountain to reach and assail heaven; Jupiter overthrew them with a thunderbolt. Vergil, Geo. 1. 278-83; Ovid, Metam. 1. 151-62. See also MV1 11:
Titanas et Gigantes Terra, id est Ceres, irata ob sui atque Tantali derisionem genuit ex se contra Saturnum, et postea contra Jovem, sed et ad omnes deos expellendos, in eius ultionem. Qui montium supra montes aggestu et congerie in caelum voluerunt ascendere et deos inde propellere. Ad quos oppugnandos Juppiter omnes deos convocavit; et venerunt inter ceteros Liber pater, Vulcanus, Satyri ... Juppiter autem auxilio aquilae, quae fulmina sibi portans minstrabat, eos devicit et in Aetna conclusit, absque uno Titane Sole.
All these sources state that it was Jupiter who overthrew the giants; Theodulus credits Mulciber (which is normally an epithet for Vulcan) and it is possible that he was misled (perhaps by a misplaced gloss) into thinking that Vulcan and Mulciber were two different gods, and that Mulciberwas a name for Jupiter. Osternacher (Auctores 1907) adopted the variant Juppiter found in two manuscripts (including the oldest); on the other hand, it is hard to see how Mulciber became so deeply entrenched in the textual tradition, and in any case this is what schoolboys read for several hundred years, so I have (with apologies to Theodulus) retained it.
89-92 Gen. 11: 1-9. The monolingual descendants of Noah built a tower named Babel (Babylon) in the land of Senaar, intending to climb to heaven. God interrupted the work by causing them all to speak in different tongues. Isidore, Etym. XV.1.4 says that the founder of Babylon was the giant Nimrod, perhaps providing a source for the link with the classical gigantomachia story.
93-100 Thematic link uncertain: perhaps Apollo's loss of divinity (deitate sua spoliatus) and Abram's leaving his home (limite iussus ... discedere), or the unnaturalness of the (unstated) restoration of Hippolytus' life and of Sarah's conception of Isaac in old age.
93-96 The story is that Theseus, son of Poseidon (or Aegeus) and father of Hippolytus (by Hippolyta), took a new wife, Phaedra; she tried to seduce her stepson Hippolytus, but when he rejected her, she accused him to Theseus of attempted rape. Theseus appealed to his father (Poseidon, or Aegeus in Servius, below) for revenge. Poseidon, god of the sea, sent a sea-monster to upset Hippolytus' chariot while he was riding by the shore. He died, and Diana, out of admiration for his chastity, restored him to life with the aid of Aesculapius, the healer, son of Apollo. Jupiter killed Aesculapius with a thunderbolt for defying divine will. In turn, Apollo killed the Cyclopes who had made the thunderbolts. Jupiter punished Apollo by depriving him of his divinity and making him tend the herds of Admetus for nine years. Diana summoned Hippolytus back from the shades and ordered him to be called Virbius (bis virum).
The story is told partly by Ovid, Metam. 15. 497-546 and by Vergil, Aen. 7. 761-82, but the account with most of the details in Theodulus is by Servius on Aen. 7.761 (followed by MV1 46 and MV 2 128):
Theseus mortua Hippolyte Phaedram, Minois et Pasiphae filiam, superduxit Hippolyto. Qui cum illam de stupro interpellantem contempsisset, falso delatus ad patrem est, quod ei vim voluisset inferre. Ille Aegeum patrem rogavit ut se ulcisceretur. Qui agitanti currus Hippolyto inmisit focam, qua equi territi eum traxerunt. Tune Diana eius castitate commota revocavit eum in vitam per Aesculapium, f ilium Apollonis et Coronidis ... Aesculapius qui factus est medicinae peritus. Hunc postea Juppiter propter revocatum Hippolytum interemit; unde Apollo iratus Cyclopas fabricatores fulminum confixit sagittis; ob quam rem a Iove iussus est Admeti regis novem annis apud Amphrysum armenta pascere, divinitate deposita Sed Diana Hippolytum, revocatum ab inferis, in Aricia nymphae commendavit Egeriae et eum Virbium, quasi bis virum, iussit vocari.
94 Paeon: i.e. Aesculapius.
97-100 Gen. 12:1; 16: 1-15; 17: 15-20; 21: 1-8: at God's command Abram leaves home and marries Sarah; when she produces no children, Abram begets Ishmael on Agar; later, despite her great age, Sarah gives birth to Isaac.
100 of rank (erilis): in contrast to the illegitimate Ishmael.
101-8 Thematic link: father and the death or near-death of a son.
101-4 Daedalus, with his son Icarus, was imprisoned by Minos in the labyrinth in Crete; he made wings from wax and feathers for their escape, but Icarus flew too close to the sun and his wings melted and he was drowned. See Ovid, Metam. 8. 152-235. The story is in Servius (on Aen. 6.14), quoted by MV 1 43 (extracts MV 2 125).
104 This seems to be from Aen. 6: 16: (Daedalus) insuetum per iter gelidas enavit ad Arctos.
105-8 Gen. 22: 1-14. At God's command, Abram is willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, but is spared and a ram is found for sacrifice in the bushes.
109-16 Thematic link: transformation of a human into an inanimate object.
109-112 Phyllis, despairing of Demophoon's return, hangs herself and is turned into a cork-tree; when Demophoon arrives and kisses the tree, it responds by putting out leaves. The story (up to Phyllis's death) is in Ovid, Her. 2. the full story is given by Servius on Vergil Ecl. 5. 10:
Phyllis, Sithonis filia, regina Thracum fuit. Haec Demophoontem, Thesei filium, regem Atheniensium, redeuntem de Troiano proelio, dilexit et in coniugium suum rogavit. Ille ait, ante se ordinaturum rem suam et sic ad eius nuptias reversurum. Profectus itaque cum tardaret, Phyllis et amoris impatientia et doloris impulsu, quod se spretam esse credebat, laqueo vitam f inivit et converses est in arborem amygdalum sine foliis. Postea reversus Demophoon, cognita re, eius amplexus est truncum, qui velut sponsi sentiret adventum, folia emisit: unde etiam [GREEK] sunt dicta a Phyllide, quae antea [GREEK]. dicebantur.
Repeated from here by MV1 159 and MV2 214.
110 cork-tree (suber): this substitution for amygdalum 'almond' I have seen only here.
113-6 Gen. 19: 1-27. In the destruction of Sodom, God spares Lot because of his pact with his brother Abram (Gen. 18: 2-33). When Lot's wife looked back on the destruction contrary to God's command, she was turned into a pillar of salt.
114 Segor: the village in which Lot escaped.
117-24 Thematic link: mortal struggles with god.
117-20 There are two stories here, though it is not clear if Theodulus kept them distinct:
117-8 Venus, protecting her son Aeneas during the Trojan War, was wounded by Diomedes. This is alluded to by Ovid, Metam. 14. 477-8 (in a long account, 457-511, of the sufferings of Diomedes' companions ) and is told succinctly by MV2 229 (differing from MV1 141):
Quum essent Graeci in obsidione Troiae, contigit ut fieret pugna inter Diomedem et Aeneam; quumque diu dimicassent, Diomedes Aeneam percussit ingenti saxo et prostravit. Quod widens Venus, mater eius, nube ipsum protexit. Ille vero irrumpens in nubem, Venerem vulneravit. Unde ipsa post Troiae destructuram eum cum suis sociis in mari fatigavit et socios vertit in aves.
119-20 Acmon, a follower of Diomedes, challenged Venus and he and all his companions were changed into birds: Ovid, Metam. 14: 457-511, Vergil Aen. 11. 271-7. This is alluded to by MV1 143 (derived from Servius on Aen. 11. 271):
Diomedis socios constat in aves esse conversos post ducis sui interitum, quem extinctum impatienter dolebant.
No prose story that I have seen summarizes the story as Theodulus does (e.g. Hyginus or Fulgentius).
119 leader (ducis); it is possible that Theodulus thought that this was Diomedes.
121-4 Gen. 32: 24-32. Jacob struggles with an angel and the tendon of his thigh is withered; the Hebrews thereafter will not eat this part of the body.
125-32 Thematic link: chaste man resists seduction.
125-8 For the story of Hippolytus, Phaedra, Diana, and 'Virbius', see above on 93-96 and the citations from Ovid, Vergil, Servius, and MO and MV 2.
126 seals (focas): only one foca is mentioned by Servius, etc. and by Ovid 15: 511); the plural may have been caused by Vergil, Aen. 7. 780 (monstris marinis) or by the needs of the metre.
129-32 After being sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers (Gen. 37: 12-36), Joseph rejects the advances of Potiphar's wife (Gen. 39: 1-20). He interprets Pharoah's dreams (Gen. 40-41) and is made ruler of all Egypt (Gen. 41: 40-49).
133-40 Thematic link: inventors of alphabets, unstated in the case of Moses, but see Isidore Etym. I. 3.5:
Hebraeorum litteras a Lege coepisse per Moysem; Syrorum autem et Chaldaeorum per Abraham (followed by Cadmus).
133 . Isidore Etym. I. 3.6:
Cadmus Agenoris filius Graecas litteras a Phoenice in Graeciam decem et septem primus attulit.
134 After failing to find his sister Europa (see below 141-4), Cadmus journeyed to Boeotia, where he killed a serpent; as instructed by Phoebus he killed it and sowed its teeth in the ground; from these sprung up men who began to fight each other; the survivors founded Thebes. The story is in Ovid, Metam. 3. 1-137 and more briefly in MV 1 149 (MV 2 77):
(Cadmus) parentis praecepto in eam terram devenit, quae postea Boeotia dicta est. Hic quum ad fontem Martis socios aquatum misisset, invenit eos a dracone consumtos. Quod ubi vidit, serpentem interemit, et dentes eius evulsos sevit; ex quibus multitudo armatorum gignitur, quae inter se domestico bello confligens concidit; ita ut ex ea multitudine quinque tantum viri relinquerentur qui a Minervae voluntate condendae urbi Thebarum Cadmo socii additi sunt.
135-6 I adopt the reading patiantur (patiatur Osternacher). In order to expiate any guilt he might have brought on Thebes by killing the serpent, Cadmus asked to be transformed into a serpent himself: Ovid, Metam. 4. 563-603, particularly 574-5:
quem si cura deum tam certa vindicat ira,
ipse, precor, serpens in longam porrigar alvum.
The story (but not the expiation motive) is in MV 1 150.
137 Moses was exposed in the waters and rescued: Exod. 2: 1-10.
137-8 thwarted magic arts: Exod. 7: 8-25.
139--40 He led his people through the Red Sea, which then drowned Pharaoh and his army: Exod. 14-15.
141-8 Thematic link: bull and calf.
141-4 Jupiter took the form of a bull in order to woo Europa, daughter of Agenor: Ovid, Metam. 2. 833-75. Agenor's anger, leading to the story of Cadmus (134 above), is evident in Metam. 3.1-5. The story is succinctly given by Isidore, Etym. XIV. 4.1:
Europa quippe Agenoris regis Libyae filia fuit, quam Iovis ab Africa raptam Cretam advexit, et partem tertiam orbis ex eius nomine appellavit.
MV2 76 is close, but MV1 148 has only the seduction, not the naming of the continent. Theodulus seems to be unique in saying that Jupiter named the girl after the continent.
145-8 Exod. 32-33. Under the direction of Aaron, the Israelites made a golden calf, but God was placated. For the role of Levi and the priesthood, see especially Num. 8: 5-23 and Num. 18.
149-56 Thematic link: humans swallowed up by the earth.
149-52 Amphiaraus knew that he would die if he joined the Seven against Thebes, so he stayed at home. His wife Eriphyle was bribed by Argia, wife of Polynices, by the gift of the splendid necklace of Hermione, wife of Cadmus, to persuade Amphiaraus to join the army (Statius, Theb. 4. 187-213). He was swallowed up by the earth (Theb. 7. 794-823; 8. 1-122); his son Alcmaeon killed Eriphyle in revenge. The story is briefly recounted by Servius on Aen. 6. 445 (maestamque Eriphylen), but the fullest account is in MVl 152 (MV2 78):
Amphiaraus autem mortem omens in domo latuit. Quare Eriphyla, uxor eius, accepto monili ab Argia, uxore Polynicis, quod Vulcanus Hermionae, privignae suae, fabricavit, eum prodidit. Postea a Polynice ductus ad bellum, terra deglutiente, ad inferos vivus cum curru suo devectus est. Alcmaeon, filius eius, volens ulcisci patrem, interfecit matrem, ut Orestes.
153-4 Num. 16: 1-35: Core, Dathan, Abiron and Hon tried to stir the people up against Moses, and the earth swallowed them:
... dirupta est terra sub pedibus eorum. Et aperiens os suum devoravit illos cum tabernaculis suis et universa substantia eorum, descenderuntque vivi in infernum operti humo, et perierunt de medio multitudinis.
155-6 Deut. 34: 6: Moses' body was never found:
Et (Deus) sepelivit eum in valle terrae Moab contra Phogor; et non cognovit homo sepulcrum eius usque in praesentem diem.
157-64 Thematic link: human turned into cow; ass speaks like a man.
157-60 Ovid, Metam. 1. 588-746. Io was turned into a heifer by Jupiter to conceal her from Juno; he was forced to surrender the 'cow' to Juno who handed her over to Argus to keep watch on her. Jupiter had Argus killed but Juno sent a fury to torment Io. Eventually Juno relented and Io resumed her former shape. Servius adds the detail of the gadfly (oestrum) on Geo. 3. 153:
Ionem dicit, Inachi filiam, quam in bovem conversam (Iuno) percussisse dicitur. Illa se in mare praecipitavit.
The story is related in MV 1 18 (with furiis instead of the gadfly) but at the end lo turns into the goddess Isis (cf. Metam. 1. 747).
161-4 Num. 22: 22-33. Balaam's ass refuses to pass an angel blocking its way and speaks to Balaam.
165-72 Thematic link: time slowed down by divine intervention.
165-8 Jupiter loved Alcmena, wife of Amphitryon; in order to increase the pleasure of the conception, the night was doubled. Hercules was born and Juno sent two serpents to kill him, but the newly born Hercules strangled them both.
The story is alluded to frequently in Seneca's tragedies Hercules furens and Hercules Oetaeus: see the Index to the Loeb edition by F.J. Miller (London, 1917). Many details are in Ovid, Metam. 9. 1-272. The most succinct account is in MV 2 148:
Juppiter quum Amphitryonis uxorem amasset, et ad eam corrumpendam mutatus in Amphitryonis speciem venisset in Tyrinthia civitate; ne adventu diei amoris minueretur voluptas, jussit Juppiter illam triplicem esse noctem, sic ut quadruplices cursus luna peregisset. Ex quo complexu Alcumenae conceptus est Hercules. Hercules autem natus est cum Iphicle, Amphitryonis f ilio. Sed quum Juno omnes a Jove natos odio haberet praeter Mercurium, duos serpentes immisit Herculi. Iphicles, cunis terrore lapsus, suo vagitu excitavit parentes. Qui quum surrexissent, viderunt Herculem angues tenentem manibus, immissos ei novercalibus odiis.
In MO 50 the motive for lengthening the night is to conceal the birth from Juno.
169-72 Jos. 10: 1-14: after relieving the siege of Gibeon (Gabaon), Joshua asked God to delay the sun's progress so that he would have time to complete his vengeance.
173-80 Thematic link: strong man finally destroyed by a woman.
173-6 The Labours of Hercules were so widely known that no single source need be sought. All those listed here except Cacus are mentioned in Ovid, Metam. 9: 176-204, together with his death. I also list the occurrences in MV1.
173 Hercules slew the dragon and stole the apples of the Hesperides: Metam. 9. 190; MV1 38.
174 Hercules killed Geryon and stole his cattle: Metam. 9. 184-5, MV 1 68; he killed the serpent Hydra: Metam. 9. 192-3, MV 1 62.
175 The story of Cacus is told in Vergil, Aen. 8. 190-275, MV1 66; he tried to steal the cattle of Geryon from Hercules and was killed by him. Hercules bound Cerberus, the dog that guarded Hades: Metam. 9. 185, MV1 57.
176 As Nessus died, slain by Hercules, he gave Deianeira a poisoned shirt which he said would increase Hercules' love for her; fearing that Hercules was unfaithful, she sent him the shirt: Metam. 9. 132-210, MV1 58.
177-80 Judic. 14-15: Samson's victories and death caused by Delilah.
177-8 in lion's skins: this is not in the Vulgate Bible. Judic. 14: 5-6 Samson kills a lion and eats the honey from the body.
slays a thousand men: at Judic. 14: 19 he killed thirty men, but at Judic. 15:15 he kills a thousand with the jawbone of an ass.
179 city's locks: Judic. 16: 3.
broke the sinew bonds: Judie. 15: 3-4, or 16: 8-9, 10-12. 180
Delilah cut his hair: 16: 17-31.
181-8 These two appeals for divine aid come symmetrically in the middle of the debate section, between 37-180 and 189-332.
189-96 Thematic link: soothing effect of harp-playing.
189-92 Orpheus used his harp in Hades to try to recover his dead wife Eurydice; she was allowed to return as long as she did not look back, a test which she failed. The story is often told: Ovid, Metam. 10. 1-71; Vergil, Geo. 4. 452-527; Seneca, Hercules Oetaeus 1061-99, Hercules furens 569-91; Boethius, Cons. Phil. III m.12; Fulgentius, Mythol. III.10; MV 1 76; etc.
193-6 I Reg. 16: 23; Saul was afflicted by an evil spirit and was soothed by David's harp-playing; David later became king (II Reg. 1-2).
195 David as shepherd: I Reg. 17: 15.
197-204 The thematic link is uncertain; it may simply be Mercury's (unstated) eloquence or his powers to summon back the dead and Solomon's divinely inspired wisdom. Mention of Solomon's entanglement with women (204) is reminiscent of the link at 173-80.
197 Cyllenian: Mercury.
mixed juices from his herbs: Theodulus seems to assume that Mercury's wand was somehow associated with witchcraft, but see below on 200.
198 This refers to Mercury's role as psychopomp, guide of the souls in Hades. Cf. Vergil, Aen. 4. 242-4:
tum virgam capit: hac animas ille evocat Orco pallentis, alias sub Tartara tristia mittit, dat somnos adimitque, et lumina morte resignat,
and Servius ad loc.
200 stepmother: Juno. Mercury's real mother was Maia, but Juno suckled him. Cf . MV 1 119:
Juppiter iacuit in Cyllene monte cum Maia, et habuit f ilium Mercurium, quem Juno ita dilexit, quod propria mamma eum lactavit, et artem medicam insinuavit.
201 Idida: Solomon. Isidore, Etym. VII. 6.65:
Salomon tribus nominibus fuisse perhibetur. Primum vocabulum eius Salomon dicitur, id est pacificus, eo quod in regno eius pax fuerit. Secundum nomen Ididia, eo quod fuerit dilectus et amabilis Domino (= II Reg. 12: 25).
wisdom's gifts: III Reg. 3: 9-12.
203 built the temple: III Reg. 5: 5; 6: 1 - 8; 30, etc.
204 love of women: III Reg. 11: 1-8.
205-12 Thematic link: feeding by divine aid.
205-8 Ceres, in grief at the loss of her daughter Proserpina, brought famine to the world; later she relented and sent Triptolemus round the world in a snake-drawn chariot to teach men agriculture. The full story is in Ovid, Metam. 5. 341-5, 385-408, 438-550, 642-61, and Fasti 4. 393-620; also in Claudian, De raptu Proserpinae. For the abandonment of acorns in favour of corn, cf. De raptu, 1. 30-31:
Unde datae populis leges et glande relicta Cesserit inventis Dodonia quercus aristis,
and Vergil, Geo. 1. 7-8:
Liber et alma Ceres, vestro si munere tellus Chaoniam pingui glandem mutavit arista.
205 In Crete (Gnosia): Osternacher (Auctores) wanted to emend this to Chonia (= Chaonia), so that it could go with Dodona, but punctuation with a comma after Gnosia allows us to take it with mater. For the association of Ceres with Crete, see Ovid, Amores III. 10.
207-8 The story of Triptolemus is also briefly narrated in MO 8, with no mention of the famine.
209-12 III Reg. 17: 1-7: Elijah prevents the fall of rain, and he himself drinks from the brook and is fed by ravens.
213-20 Thematic link: Pegasus, the winged horse, and the fiery airborne chariot.
213 ide ('image') = idea (Osternacher).
213-6 The two couplets reflect different stories:
213-4 The petrifying effect of the head of the Gorgon Medusa. This is told at length by Ovid, Metam. 4.604-786, on the story of Perseus who killed Medusa (4. 722-86), from whose blood sprang the winged horse Pegasus; Perseus used the head to turn Atlas into a mountain (4.655-62) and to petrify Phineus and his companions (5. 177-23). The stories are also in MV 1 130, the slaying of the Gorgons with Minerva's aid (adiutorio Minervae) and MV 1 73 (Phineus).
215-6 The slaying of the Chimaera by Bellerephon riding on Pegasus. This is told by Servius on Aen. 5.118:
... novissime missus adversus Chimaeram, triplex monstrum, siquidem prima pars eius leo erat, posterior draco, in medio caput caprae, quod ignes efflabat. Hanc ille vectus Pegaso, equo qui volabat, occidit.
and is also in Fulgentius, Myth. 3. 1, and MV 1 71-72.
It is possible to take the two couplets separately, as Perseus is not named, but it is likely that Theodulus confused Perseus and Bellerephon. This error is seen in MV1 71 (Bellerephon, qui et Perseus) and 157, where Perseus is sent to kill the Chimaera, Gorgon and Medusa. Also the phrase 'wise Pallas helped' (cum Palladis arte) echoes MO 130, where Perseus kills the three Gorgons adiutorio Minervae.
217-20 This should be punctuated so that 218 goes with 219, not with 217 (as Osternacher has it).
217 III Reg. 19: 1-8: Elijah flees from Jezabel into Bersabee.
218-20 IV Reg. 2: 1-12: Elijah is taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot, after Elisha (Eliseus) has begged that the spirit of Elijah be doubled in him (Obsecro ut fiat in me duplex spiritus tuus).
221-8 Thematic link: deferral of date of death.
221-4 Tithonus was loved by Aurora (Dawn) and asked her for long life, but neglected to ask for eternal. youth; he was finally turned into a cricket. Their son Memnon was killed at Troy, and birds attended his feast annually. The Trojan part of the story is in Ovid, Metam. 13. 600-22, but the whole story is in MV1 139:
Tithonus fuit frater Laomedontis, regis Troianorum. Qui cum adamatus fuisset ab Aurora, petiit ab ea longitudinem vitae. Unde tamdiu vixit, donec prae nimia senectute versus est in cicadam. Hic filium suum Memnonem, ex ipsa progenitum, ad Troiae misit auxilia. Niger autem dictus et Aethiops, quia, ubi prima surgit aurora, dubia lux est. Huius apud Troiam extincti et sepulti tumulum aves annuo volatu conventu officiose celebrant.
Both elements are briefly mentioned by Servius (Aen. 4: 858; Aen. 1.489).
225-8 IV Reg. 20: 1-11: Ezechias' death was certain, but by his tears he obtained a postponement from God for fifteen years; as a token, the shadow of the sun was turned back ten degrees.
229-36 Thematic link: founding of festivals.
229-32 The account of the Olympic Games could come from anywhere. In MV1 192 the institution of the games is ascribed to Hercules:
Hercules et milites eius pugnaverunt primitus super equos iuxta Olympum montem. Quos videntes hostes a longe super equos, crediderunt Centauros esse, et stupefacti in fugam versi sunt. Et ideo Hercules ibi ludos instituit.
233-6 II Paral. 35: 1-18 Josias ordered Pascha to be celebrated; 22-25 Josias was killed at Mageddo and mourned by all:
et universus Juda et Jerusalem luxerunt, Jeremias maxime, cuius omnes cantores et cantatrices usque in praesentem diem Lamentationes super Iosiam replicant.
237-44 Thematic link: human king deposed for pretending to be God, or for pride.
237-40 Salmoneus, king of Elis (Theodulus seems to be unique in calling him Salmon), built a bronze bridge and imitated Jupiter, for which he was dispatched to Hades. Vergil, Aen. 6. 585-94:
vidi et crudeles dantem Salmonea poenas,
dum flammas Iovis et sonitus imitatur Olympi.
Quattuor hic invectus equis et lampada quassans
per Graium populos mediaeque per Elidis urbem
ibat ovans, divumque sibi poscebat honorem,
demens, qui nimbos et non imitabile fulmen
aere et cornipedum pulsu simularet equorum.
At pater omnipotens densa inter nubila telum
contorsit, non ille faces nec fumea taedis
lumina, praecipitemque immani turbine adegit.
See also Servius ad loc., but MO 82 (MV 2 56) is fuller:
Salmoneus Elidis rex fait, qui nimia felicitate elatus, suos cives sacerdotes et sacra Iovis ad se transferre iussit, sibique religiones illius et sacra impendere. Hic, vectus per aereum pontem curru, imitabatur tonitrua, et faces in modum fulminis iaculabatur. At Juppiter, verum fulmen torquens, praecipitem in Tartara adegit.
241-4 Dan. 4: as foretold in the King's dream interpreted by Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar lived for seven years like a beast, eating grass.
245-52 Thematic link: Falsehood pleads for the day to end, but Truth rejects this.
246 Phaeton: son of Apollo, the sun, whose chariot he insisted to driving; he could not control it , and the sun fell towards the earth until Jupiter struck him down with a thunderbolt. The story is told in Ovid, Metam. 2. 1-339; cf. MV1 118 (MV2 57):
Apollo, qui et Sol, cum Clymene nympha rem habens, Phaetonta, sive Eridanum, dicitur genuisse, qui suscitavit Hippolytum occisum precatu patris et Dianae. Hic a patre impetrato curru, agitare non potuit; et quum eius errore mundus arderet, fulminatus a love in fluvium Italiae cecidit, et tunc a luce ardoris sui Phaeton appellatus est, et proprium nomen fluvio dedit. (Perhaps confusing Phaeton and Paean).
253-60 Thematic link: supernatural penetration of locked room / lions' den.
253-6 Acrisius, fearing that his daughter Danae would be violated, locked her in a bronze tower; Jupiter transformed himself into a shower of gold and impregnated her. There are many allusions to the well-known story (e.g. Ovid, Metam. 610-1, 697-8). The most succinct account is in MV 1 157:
Acrisius, rex Argivorum, f iliam nomine Danaen habuit mirae elegantiae. Ex cuius prole quum se oraculo perire posse cognovisset, aeneam turrim fecit, et filiam suam intra clausit, crebris excubiis eam custodiri praecipiens. Tunc in aureum Juppiter imbrem mutatus, cum ea rem habuit, per tectum delapsus in gremium virginis. Ex quo connubio Perseus dicitur esse natus.
256 The story is usually interpreted as one of bribery, of the guards (as in MV1 157) or of Danae herself, e.g. Isidore, Etym. VIII. xi.35:
ubi intellegitur pudicitiam mulieris ab auro fuisse corruptam.
257-60 Dan. 14: 27-38: Daniel was thrown into a lions' den; an angelcarried the prophet Habacuc across the land capillo capitis sui to bring food to Daniel.
261-8 A thematic link between these stanzas is hard to discover, unless it is simply the just judgments inflicted on Niobe and (unstated) on Susanna's accusers.
261-4 Niobe scorned Latona, goddess of childbirth, who had only two children (Apollo and Diana the huntress), whereas Niobe herself had seven sons and seven daughters. Apollo and Diana killed all the children. The story is told in full in Ovid, Metam. 6. 146-312, which gave Theodulus a detail not in the prose sources (next note). The prose version in MV2 71 (slightly closer than that in MV1 156) is succinct:
Niobe, Tantali vel Pelopis filia, uxor Amphionis, ob insolentiam partus, Apollinis ac Dianae numen experta est. Nam quum ex Amphione septem f iliis totidemque virginibus editis comitata gauderet, et quodam tempore Manto, Tiresiae filia, ex responso Thebanos monuisset, ut Latonae et filiis eius, Apollini et Dianae, preces ferrent, illa sacrificiis interesse noluit, praedicans, se potentiorem numine Latonae ac filiis eius esse. Hoc quum Latona filiis conquereretur, Apollo et Diana, tecti nubibus, Thebas venerunt, ac Nioben cum
filiis filiabusque necaverunt. Peremtos autem apud Thebas liberos Niobe ad patriam, Sipylon scilicet montem, dicitur reduxisse , ipsaque ibidem in saxum mutata induruisse.
261-2 Based on the speech by the seer Manto (not by Latonia proles, as Theodulus has it) in Metam. 6: 159-62,. urging that honour be paid to Latona:
'Ismenides, ite frequentes
et date Latonae Latonigenisque duobus
cum prece tura pia lauroque innectite crinem,
ore meo Latona iubet.'
In Ovid, Niobe urges the people to ignore Latona and to honour Niobe herself.
263-4 In Theodulus, it seems that only Diana (called Trivia, as in MV 1 156) killed the children. In Ovid, Diana and Apollo go together on their mission of vengeance, but it is not specified which of them did the killing. Juvenal, Sat. 6. 172-3, names both of them when the children's father Amphion begs:
parse precor Paean, et to dea, pone sagittas;
nil pueri faciunt, ipsam configite matrem.
265-8 Dan. 13: two elders fell in love with the virtuous Susanna; they threatened to accuse her of adultery if she refused to sleep with them. She refused and was condemned to death, but Daniel saved her by demonstrating the false testimony of the elders.
267 Cf. Dan. 13: 41.
268 The law that nature gave: this may simply refer to the assumption that Susanna would naturally yield to their demands to avoid death, but it might also allude to the paradoxical inevitability outlined by Susanna in 13: 22-23:
Angustiae sunt mihi undique; si enim hoc egero mors mihi est; si autem non egero, non effugiam manus vestras. Sed melius est mihi absque opere incidere in manus vestras, quam peccare in conspectu Domini.
269-76 Thematic link: fierce women.
269 Examples might include Hercules, but the sentiment is probably general.
270 The Latin (Ypomanes tractant gustu sua membra cruentant) could be taken in two ways, construing gustu with tractant or with cruentant: 'they deal with hippomanes by tasting; they bloody their own limbs' or 'they handle hippomanes; they bloody their limbs by tasting.'
The first part of the line concerns witchcraft: hippomanes (horse-frenzy) means either (a) the growth on the forelock of a newly born foal: Vergil, Aen. 4. 515-6 (see R.G. Austin's note, Oxford, 1955), and Pliny NH VIII.165; or (b) the thick fluid that flows from the loins of a mare in heat: Vergil, Geo. 3. 280-3 and Servius ad loc.; Ovid, Am. I. 8.1-8; Tibullus II. 4. 57-58. The allusion in Juvenal Sat. 6. 133-5 could be to either; both types of hippomanes were used by witches, as poisons, aphrodisiacs, or in charms. Theodulus may not have known what it meant.
They bloody their limbs (with tasting ?): this could allude to almost any female massacre; one thinks of the Bacchantes who killed Orpheus in Ovid, Metam. 11. 1-43 (especially 11.23 inde cruentatis vertuntur in Orphea dextris) or of the Lemnian woman who slaughtered their husbands: Statius, Theb. 5. 129-264, etc.
271-2 Ovid, Am. II. 14. 29-30 links Medea (respersam puerorum sanguine) and Procne as child-killers.
271 Tereus' bitter house: Tereus, husband of Procne, raped her sister Philomena and cut out her tongue; in revenge they killed his son Itys and served him up to Tereus to eat: Ovid, Metam. 6. 424-674; MV 1 4, MV 2 217.
272 Medea: she killed her children by Jason out of revenge: Ovid, Metam. 7. 396-7, Seneca, Medea 922-1027; MV 2 138 mentions briefly that she killed her children.
274-6 Judith 7-13: The Assyrian leader Holof ernes was besieging the Hebrew town of Bethulia. The beautiful widow Judith offered to betray the city to him; he was attracted by her; she had dinner with him and cut off his head.
277-84 Thematic link: possibly simply the betrayal of. her father by Scylla and the disobedience of Vashti to her husband Assuerus. There may, however, be a more subtle link: Minos refused to take possession of Nisus' city because of his disgust at the way Scylla had betrayed it (Ovid, Metam. 8. 95-103), and the Jews would not take any of the goods of their slain enemies (Esth. 9: 10, 15-16).
277-80 Minos was besieging a Megaran city ruled by Nisus, who was protected by a purple lock of hair; Nisus' daughter Scylla fell in love with Minos and cut off her father's lock, but she was rejected by Minos who sailed away; she swam after his ship but was pursued by her father who had turned into a hawk; she too was turned into a bird. The story is told by Ovid, Metam. 8. 6-157, Vergil Ciris, MV 1 3 (without the pursuit at sea) and MV 2 123 (pursuit, but not at sea). Servius on Vergil Ecl. 6.74 writes:
Altera vero Scylla fuit Nisi, Megarensium regis, f ilia. Contra quos dum devictis Atheniensibus, pugnaret propter f ilii Androgei interitum, quem Athenienses et Megarenses necaverunt, adamatus a Scylla est, Nisi filia, quae ut hosti posset placere, comam purpuream parenti abscissam ei obtulit, quam Nisus ita habuerat consecratam ut tamdiu regno potiretur, quamdiu illam habuisset intactam. Postea et Scylla, a Minoe contempta, vel dolore quod contempta esset vel quod quasi parricida a Minoe ad puppim religata tracta sit, in avem Cirim conversa est, et Nisus extinctus deorum m seratione in axis mutatus est formam: quae aves hodie, ut ipse in Georgicis (= 1.404) docet, flagrant inter se magna discordia.
279 1 have repunctuated Osternacher, so that rostro goes with vexat 280.
281-3 Esth. 1: 10-22; 2: 9-10, 17: Vashti, wife of King Assuerus, refuses to attend his feast; he was moved by the beauty of Edissa (= Esther) and put her on Vashti's throne.
284 Esth. 3-9: Aman, offended at Mardochai, Esther's adoptive father, planned to put all the Jews to death; Esther thwarts his plans and the enemies of the Jews (including Aman) are slaughtered.
285-92 Thematic link: Falsehood's appeal to pagan Muses and nymphs is mocked for its polytheism by Truth. There is an element of parody, in that Falsehood's invocation is being made near the end of the poem.
286 nymphs, 0 Proteus (Proteuu mitte Napaeas); Vergil, Geo. 4. 315-558, tells the story of Aristaeus, who has lost his swarm of bees. Proteus, the shape-shifting sea-god, explains that Aristaeus is being punished because it was while fleeing his unwelcome advances that Eurydice was bitten by a snake and died (leading to Orpheus' unsuccessful attempt to bring her back from Hades: see above on 189-92). Aristaeus is told to revere the Napaean nymphs who had been dancing with Eurydice at the time (facilis venerare Napaeas, Geo. 4. 535). Theodulus seems to have interpreted this to mean that Proteus was in charge of the Napaean nymphs.
287-8 those ... whom Ennius includes: Osternacher (Auctores, ad loc.) refers this allusion to Martianus Capella, 1.42, who refers to the gods who accompany Jupiter:
... collegae Jovis, qui bisseni cum eodem Tonante numerantur quosque distichon complectitur Ennianum: Juno, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, Diana, Venus, Mars, Mercurius, Jovi, Neptunus, Vulcanus, Apollo.
Surprisingly, Osternacher seems to have missed the Napaean nymphs of 286.
289 feigned by lust and fear this is a commonplace of ancient and medieval scepticism, as in Statius, Theb. 3. 661 Primus in orbe deos fecit timor.
293-300 Thematic link: Falsehood tries to persuade Truth that it is time to stop. The final lines of these stanzas are used again similarly in 309-16.
301-8 Thematic link: discord and concord in nature. The topos of sad and sweet
things is based on Vergil, Ecl. 3. 80-83:
Triste lupus stabulis, maturis frugibus imbres,
arboribus venti, nobis Amaryllidis irae.
Dulce satis umor, depulsis arbutus haedis,
lenta salix feto pecori, mihi solus Amyntas.
301 The sight of the constellation Helena was a sign of bad weather: cf. Statius, Silvae III. 2. 11-12:
Iliacae longe nimbosa sororis
astra fugate, precor, totoque excludite caelo,
and Theb. 7. 792-3.
306 For sterile, mandrake: Gen. 30: 14, where Ruben goes out to collect mandrakes for his mother Lia, to help her to conceive again.
309-16 Thematic link: again, Falsehood complains that the day is passing too slowly and the gods must be asleep; Truth replies that God never sleeps. For the refrain, see above 293-300.
317-24 Thematic link: riddles. The model for these is in Vergil, Ecl. 3. 104-7,
similarly placed near the end of the song contest: Dic quibus in terris (et eris mihi magnus Apollo)
tris pateat caeli spatium non amplius ulnas.
Dic quibus in terris inscripti nomina regum
nascantur flores, et Phyllida solus habeto. (to which the answers are Coelius and Hyacinth).
317-9 When Ceres was searching for her lost daughter Proserpina (see above on 205-8), she was told that she could be released from Hades if she had not eaten anything there; Ascalaphus revealed that she had eaten grains from a pomegranate, for which he was turned into an owl. See Ovid, Metam. 5. 513-50, and the prose summary by MVl 7 (MV2 100), based on Servius on Vergil, Geo. 1. 139 and Aen. 4. 462:
Ceres quum raptam a Plutone Proserpinam diu quaesisset, tandem aliquando eam esse apud inferos comperit. Pro qua re quum Jovis implorasset auxilium, ille respondit posse eam reverti, si nihil apud inferos gustasset. Illa autem punici mali in Elysio grana gustaverat. Quam rem Ascalaphus, Stygis filius, prodidit. Ideo Proserpina ad superos remeare non potuit. (MV2 100 Indignata Ceres convertit Ascalaphum in bubonem).
320 Troyts great mystery (Troianum secretum): the Palladium, an image of Pallas Athene sent from heaven to Troy to protect the city, stolen by Ulysses and Diomede (Vergil, Aen. 2. 163-75 fatale Palladium). Its identity with the Troianum secretum is evident from Martianus Capella, De nuptiis Mercurii et Philologiae, II. 114, where Phronesis (Wisdom) is adorning her daughter Philology:
dehinc apponit vertici diadema virginale, quod maxime medialis gemmae lumine praenitebat, ex qua galeata quadam obtectaque vultum virgo instar secreti Troiani penitus incisa resplenduit.
I have only seen the phrase used of the Palladium once elsewhere, in Thomas of Walsingham's fourteenth-century Arcana Deorum (ed. R. Van Kluyve, 1968, p. 189), on Book XIV. ch. x:
Et sciendum quod Troiani reges in suo diadema de (?diademate) iaspidem gemmam ferre solebant, in qua Palladium, id est simulacrum Palladis, insculptum erat, et hoc habebant pre ceteris regibus speciale. Aliud vero Palladium quod pro misterio habebant Troiani vocabatur secretum Troianum, in quo fatum imperii illorum fuit, quod a nullis nisi a paucis sacerdotibus videri licebat. Nam illud quod videbatur simulacrum Palladis ligneum erat et maximum erat. Illud autem verum Palladium breve, ut dictum est, quod agnoscebatur et torvitate, id est terribilitate luminum et haste mobilitate.
Walsingham may depend on Martianus, but there are evident differences. It is striking that Falsehood refers to the Trojan secret just before Wisdom reappears in the Ecloga at 333-44.
321-3 The answer is probably the Ascension of Christ: Marc. 16: 19; Luc. 24: 51; Act. 1: 9.
324 God's tetragrammaton: The ninth Hebrew name of God; see Isidore, Etym.
Nonum Tetragrammaton, hoc est quattuor litterarum, quod proprie apud Hebraeos in Deo ponitur, iod, he, iod, he, id est duobus ia, quae duplicata (= IAIA) ineffabile illud et gloriosum Dei nomen eff iciunt.
Also in Raban Maur, De Universo, PL 111, Col. 15.
325-32 Thematic link: the final victory of Truth, relying on the four gospels.
326 Calchas and Mopsus had a contest about the number of apples on a tree; Calchas was defeated and died of grief: MV1 194 (MV2 224):
Calchas et Mopsus de peritia divinandi dicuntur habuisse inter se certamen; et quum de pomorum cuiusdam arboris contenderent numero, stet it gloria Mops i; cuius rei dolore Calchas interiit.
329 Thales: Truth would have beaten even a learned pagan philosopher. There is a variant Ulixes which is equally satisfactory.
333-5 Wisdom (Phronesis) married her daughter Philologia to Mercury, god of eloquence, as celebrated in Martianus Capella's De nuptiis Mercurii et Philologiae. See also above on 320.
340 The Thracian bard: in his effort to secure Eurydice's release from Hades, Orpheus moved the spirits of the underworld to pity; see above on 189-92.
344 desperation: this plea may have topical reference to the need for moderation in dealing with converted heathens.
345-52 These lines are not found in any manuscript before the twelfth century known to Osternacher, and he assumes that they were added then. (See his addendum in Auctores, p. 50, and his Appendix p. 52, where he lists Prag MS 1625, s. xii).