Sunday, February 17, 2008

At S.Maria Maggiore

During the week, I blogged about the tomb of Bartolomeo Sacchi, also known as Platina and asked for help in translating the Greek inscription. Anyway, I've taken another picture of the Greek (click to enlarge) which should help any friendly 'Grecian' (thanks Petellius!) to translate it.

I also thought I'd share with you this marble relief (Lirioni, c.1730) which is on one's left as one enters the Basilica.
It commemorates the attempted assassination of Pope Marinus I (882-884) during Mass. However, as soon as the assassin crossed the threshold of the church he was stricken blind and rendered incapable of fulfilling his task.


Gregor Kollmorgen said...

My Greek is a bit rusty, but I would say: "Trust, brother, (that) he who dies well is (born) anew."

Petellius said...

I largely agree, though I had been taking the "kalo:s" with the "tharson" rather than with the "thne:sko:n", thus: "Be of good confidence (that) he who dies is born again." Since the "that" isn't expressed in the Greek, you could take it either way.

On a side note, the first word, "tharson," is not a real Greek form, as far as I know. The imperative of "tharseo:" should be "tharsei" or "tharse:son". Perhaps it's a later form, though. (If anyone else has any theories, I'd be happy to hear them.)

Zadok the Roman said...

One should never exclude the possibility of a spelling mistake. These are, sometimes, immortalised in stone.

Gregor Kollmorgen said...

At the risk of demonstrating that my Greek is really rusty: isn't "tharson" the regular imperativus aoristi of "tharseo:"?

Petellius said...


"tharseo:" follows the typical pattern of principal parts for epsilon-contracts: "tharseo:, tharse:so:, etharse:sa, tetharse:ka," etc. (In Attic, of course, the "-rs" in the middle becomes "-rr-", so "tharreo:" and so forth.) Thus, the aorist imperative should be "tharse:son".

Classical Greek uses only the present imperative ("tharsei"), but in koine the aorist imperative is attested a number of times as "tharse:son". There are no attestations of an imperative "tharson" in the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (I checked, just to be sure.) Anyway, I'm willing to write this off as coming from a variant aorist stem ("etharsa" for the regular "etharse:sa"), and just call it a peculiar form of the aorist imperative, since I don't see what else it could be.

Sorry to clog up the com-box with all this dreary philology.

Gary said...

Could it be the vocative of a name Tharson (omega in nominative, omicron in the vocaztive)? Dunno if koine preserves this distinction.

gary said...

Sorry--now that I've seen the context further down, what I said is irrelevant.