Below is Professor A. George Rigg's translation of a ninth- or tenth-century "debate" between classical myth and Christian biblical truth.
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The Eclogue of Theodulus: A Translation
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,
Epilogue (probably spurious)
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.
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,
See also MV 1 102-5.
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.
69-72 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.
85-88 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.
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.
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.
(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,
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.
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).
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.
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.
179 city's locks: Judic. 16: 3.
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.
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.
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 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.
237-40 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,
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):
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
'Ismenides, ite frequentes
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;
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).
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.
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.
... 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
301 The sight of the constellation Helena was a sign of bad weather: cf. Statius, Silvae III. 2. 11-12:
Iliacae longe nimbosa sororis
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)
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).
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.
324 God's tetragrammaton: The ninth Hebrew name of God; see Isidore, Etym.
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).