Use tears to correct every request, as the Lord takes great delight in receiving a prayer born of tears.
Even if you pour out streams of tears in your prayer, you should never become conceited, as though you were superior to others. After all, your prayer has simply received additional support so that through tears you can more freely confess your sins and find reconciliation with God. Therefore, do not turn into a compulsion what should be a fortress against compulsion. Otherwise you’ll anger further the One who has bestowed on you this gift.
The world hardly needs another English translation of this lovely little work of the fourth century monastic theologian Evagrius, but its maxims are so lovely and useful for meditation that I’ve decided to render it, at least in part, into English for my own edification. I may eventually use the translation in an iOS app devoted to centering prayer, though one never knows to what extent one’s schemes will materialize. I’ve used Paul Gehin’s excellent new edition as my base text.1 In the translation I aim to make it practical for prayer, rather than aiming for perfect formal precision. Here are the first few “chapters”:
If you wish to prepare a “fragrant offering,” you should combine in equal measure diaphanous frankincense, cassia, the aroma onyx, and myrrh, just as the law requires— these are the four virtues. For when these are perfected and present in equal measure, your mind will not be betrayed to the enemy.
A soul purified through the fullness of the virtues makes the rule of the mind in the body and soul secure, thereby making it receptive to the state it seeks.
Prayer is the mind’s conversation with God. If the mind is going to be able to direct itself without distraction towards its Lord and converse with him directly, what state it must receive!
(Evagrius. Chapitres sur la prière. Sources chrétiennes 589. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 2017) ↩
I like to commemorate special occasions with epigrams in Greek or Latin. Here’s the epigram I wrote to commemorate my daughter’s birth.
Gregorio nostro quid dulcius inter amoena? at nunc Gregorius par sibi laetus habet. O mea Alexandria, feres tu nomina patrum, cara, tegas omnes quos tibi dat Dominus.
My friend Kathleen Kirsch has produced this excellent prose rendering:
Amongst all charms, what is sweeter than our Gregory? But now happy Gregory is gaining an equal. O my Alexandria, the names of your forefathers you will bear; My dear, may you shelter all whom the Lord gives you.
He took the rib from Adam’s side and made
the wife. He mixed desire in their breasts
and bid them bear themselves to one another,
but not at all without discrimination.
He placed a limit on their loves, what we
call marriage, bridle for unmeasured matter,
lest it go mad, convulsing endlessly,
like animals that read’ly mate in herds,
and wreck the holy race of men through love
unbounded, lest desire unrestrained
should raise up wars and senseless quarrels for all.
It is not clear how to construe this line; it may be corrupt. ↩
Basil’s Homily 10 is devoted to combatting anger, and theme Gregory took up later even more extensively in his carm. 1.2.25 Adv. iram. As Oberhaus has noted,1 the parallels between Gregory’s poem and Basil’s homily are particularly strong in the respective ekphrases of an angry person (Gr. Naz. Adv. iram 85-110 and Basil Hom. 10.2). I offer here the Greek text and my English translations of both passages.
For their normal and customary visage becomes unrecognizable. The eye goes askance with a fiery blaze and they sharpen their teeth like boars that advance on one another. The face becomes livid and bloodshot; the whole girth of the body swells; veins nearly break from the internal squall, while the breathing rushes wildly. The voice becomes exceedingly high and tense, while speech becomes inarticulate and falls forth to no end, proceeding without proportion, measure, or seemliness. (Basil of Caesarea, Hom. 10.2 PG 31.356–57)
If you should see one caught in passion’s grip 
you know quite clearly what it is I say
and what my poem shall at once describe.
One ought to place a mirror before the angry,
that they may see and after just a bit
of rage, the passion glimpsed, restrain their soul
before their figure’s silent accusation. 
Or if you find yourself at ease, your foe
may serve the same end as the polished glass,
for one disease has symptoms shared by all:
The eyes are shot with blood and out of place,
the hair is bristling, jaws are wet with spit; 
The cheeks are pale— the very look of death.
some parts red, and some a leaden blue
as though the face had got its hues from painters
who knew no skill but only how to drink.
The neck swells; veins distend and curve away. 
The breath then cuts and strangles off the speech;
the breathing’s manic; thence, unseemly snorts.
The nose grows broad, replete with insolence.
The hands and feet begin to leap and spring;
they stoop and strain, turn, mock and sweat. 
and who’s to blame? none but this demon foe.
Their jaws move up and down without a word;
their cheeks inflate, emitting senseless sounds
as flutists’ do. The hands, balled into fists,5
become a threat and precursor of more.  (Gr. Naz. adv. iram 85–110)6
Crimi, C. 2018. “Nazianzenica XXII. Variazioni sull’ira in Gregorio (carm. I.2.25; or. 18).” In Cipolla, P.B.ed., Metodo e passione. Atti dell’incontro di studi in onore di Giuseppina Basta Donzelli, 131–44. Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert.
Geffcken, J. 1909. Kynika und Verwandtes. Heidelberg: C. Winters Universitätsbuchhandlung.
Oberhaus, M. 1991. Gregor von Nazianz. Gegen den Zorn : (carmen 1, 2, 25) : Einleitung und Kommentar. Paderborn: Schöningh.
Wagner, S.M.M. 1950. Basil the Great. Ascetical Works. Fathers of the Church 9. Catholic University of America Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctt32b2kz.
The sense of παιομένηδακτύλοις is obscure. I have followed the paraphrase Geffcken 1909 30, who interprets the phrase as a circumlocution for “balled fists.” Oberhaus 1991ad loc. rejects this in favor of menacing hand gestures. See also discussion in Crimi 2018.↩
In translating Gregory’s verse, I have chosen to employ English iambic pentameter to render both iambic trimeter and dactylic hexameter, as iambic pentameter is the primary meter of both English epic (Milton) and drama (Shakespeare). I differentiate between the two by permitting more archaic forms in English when rendering hexameter, since the diction of hexametric poetry, particularly in Gregory’s day, was much more removed from contemporary speech than that of iambic trimeter.↩
In carm. 1.1.11, Gregory attacks the “impious verbosity” of Apollinarians, who asserted that Christ did not assume a full humanity in the incarnation, but that the divine Logos replaced his human mind (νοῦς). Below I’ve printed the text from the PG, my verse translation, and some comments adapted from the present dissertation chapter:
Foolish who worships not th’ eternal Word
as equal to the high Father in heaven.
Foolish who worships not th’ incarnate Word,
as equal to the heavenly Word on High,
but cuts from Father’s might His Word, or else
doth cut the Word from human shape, our breadth.
The Father’s Word was God, but made our man
so that, with mortals mixed, He’d mix in God.
A single god comprising both: a man,
to make man into gods: have mercy, thou
who art above the Wounded Word on high.
For you, no more– why seek from me the knowledge
of that ineffable and holy mixture.
Oh mortals, mind the boundaries your speech.
Should I persuade thee, that is all the better;
yet if you stain your page with myriad lines
come here and I will scratch these letters few
onto your books, with pen that bears no stain.
Gregory begins with learned etymological word-play. The Homeric adjective νήπιος (“childish” or “foolish”) was derived in several ways. The prefix νη– generally negated what followed, but some ancient writers speculated that νη could also be an intensifier (cf. the affirmative particle ναί, still used for “yes” in Modern Greek). Clement of Alexandria, for instance, argued that the νη– in νήπιος should not be understood as a privative (κατὰστέρησιν), but an intensifier.1 He thereby argued that νήπιος mean “extremely gentle” (cf. ἤπιος, “gentle”) rather than “witless.”2 Gregory here employs the νη in an intensifying manner, but derives the compound νήπιος from νη and ἔπος (“word” or “verse”). Instead of Clement’s “extremely gentle,” Gregory suggests the heretics are extremely verbose. Gregory thus subtly introduces a theme that runs through the poem: the verbosity of heretics and the limits of human speech.
Gregory’s theme, proper brevity in speech, makes allusions to Callimachus appropriate. These he delays these until the end, but there makes them quite explicit. If the heretics fail to respect the limits of human speech, they will go on “blackening their pages with many thousands of lines” (πολλαῖςχιλιάσινἐπέων), with which Gregory alludes to Aet. fr. 1.4 (ἐνπολλαῖςἤνυσαχιλιάσιν “[because I have not written one song] in many thousands of lines”). The adjective ὀλιγόστιχα (1.1.11 15) occurs several lines later in the Aetia prologue (fr. 1.9), also before the bucolic diaeresis.
Though Gregory delays the Callimachean allusions until the end of the poem, the work contains Callimachean stylistic elements throughout. One might compare the striking anaphora of the two opening couplets (νήπιοςὅστιςἄνακτα in 1 and 3, οὐσεβετ’ ἰσοθεῶς in 2 and 4) with hZeus 86–87, which both begin and end with ἑσπέριος … νοήσῃ. Moreover, Gregory employs a number of juxtaposed prosodic variants, a favorite technique of Callimachus.3 Some he achieves through position, that is, by placing a word ending with a closed short syllable before a word beginning vowel and then repeating it before a word beginning with a consonant, thus lengthening the syllable. So λόγον (“Word”) in line one is scanned as a pyrrhus ( ˘ ˘), but in line three it is scanned as an iamb (˘ ¯) because its final syllable is lengthened by the following word βρότον (“person”). He also exploits the flexibility afforded by consonant clusters composed of mutes and liquids, which optionally lengthen a preceding short vowel. So πατρὸς is scanned as a trochee in line 2 (¯ ˘) but a pyrrhus in line 4 ( ˘ ˘). He combines the two methods in line 7, where πατρὸς again appears, but now scans as a spondee (¯ ¯), since it is followed by a word beginning with a consonant. Finally, Gregory exploits bi-forms of the same word. In lines 9 and and 11, he places τόσον, ὅσσον, and τόσσον in close proximity. The prosodic variation here is made possible by the option of dropping a sigma in the pronouns τόσσος and ὅσσος.
Gregory’s etymological word play continues in line 7, where he writes that “the Word of the Father was made our man (φώς).” He here exploits the homophones φώς (man) and φῶς (light). By Gregory’s period the difference original difference in tonal accentuation would scarcely have been heard.4 Gregory certainly intends us to hear John 1 in the background, where Jesus as the Word (λόγος) is described as “the light of men” (τὸφῶςτῶνἀνθρώπων Jn 1:4) and “the true light that illumines every human being” (τὸφῶςτὸἀληθινόνὃφωτίζειπάνταἄνθρωπον Jn 1:9), and where the Logos is said to “become flesh and dwell among us” (Καὶὁλόγοςσὰρξἐγένετοκαὶἐσκήνωσενἐνἡμῖν Jn 1:14).
After a few lines dealing with Jesus’ incarnation, he bids his imagined to be satisfied with his extremely brief account of the incarnation (11). Instead of probing things that are, strictly speaking, ineffable (ἄφραστον), Gregory tells them to “respect the limits of speech” (12). Gregory here again plays on the polyvalence of the word μέτρον (“limit” or “measure”). The more significant point is a theological one: the nature of the Incarnation is ultimately beyond the human being’s capacity to capture in words. Yet Gregory playfully takes it also to the more banal reality of the length of a literary work, effectively what we would call word or page count. The last few lines of the poem link this theological error (failing to respect the limits of human speech) to an aesthetic error (writing endlessly with so sense of proper length). Gregory characterized his own reply as unstained in both senses: it is true theologically and written in a concise style. The stylistic concerns are here foregrounded by the allusions to Callimachus already mentioned, and by the striking ending to the poem, where Gregory promises to write his works with a “pen that bears no stain” (line 16). He is, once more, delighting in paradox, for we could equally translate the line “a pen that has no ink.” Gregory here uses γραφίς (“pen”) in a metaphorical sense similar to the Latin stilus.5 His theological insight finds expression in a “spotless” style.
Chantraine, P. 1968. Dictionnaire étymologique de la lange Grecque. Paris.
Hopkinson, N. 1982. “Juxtaposed Prosodic Variants in Greek and Latin Poetry.” Glotta: Zeitschrift Für Griechische Und Lateinische Sprache 60: 162–77.
καὶγὰροὐδὲἔστιτὸὄνοματοῦνηπίουκατὰστέρησινἡμῖννοούμενον, ἐπεὶτὸνηστερητικὸνγραμματικῶννομοθετοῦσινπαῖδες (Clem. of Al. Paed. 1.20).↩
Chantraine 1968s.v. rejects an etymology from νη– and ἔπος.↩
The term refers to the juxtaposition of the same or similar words with prosodic variation. For instance, Call. hZeus 55: καλὰμὲνἠἐξευ, καλὰδ’ἔτραφες, οὐράνιεΖεῦ (“Well you grew, and well you were raised, heavenly Zeus”). The first καλὰ must be scanned as a trochee (¯ ˘), the second as a pyrrhus (˘ ˘).
For a typology and examples, see Hopkinson 1982. In his partial catalogue, he lists several examples from Gregory, but none from this poem.↩
This is, as it happens, another coincidence on which Clement of Alexandria commented (Paed. 1.6.28). He suggested that because the redeemed person is “light in the Lord” (φῶςἐνκυρίῳ, from Eph 5:8), the human being was rightly called a φώς by the ancients.↩
This is the only passage of which I am aware where an author uses γραφίς in this metaphorical sense.↩
After a year or two at Squarespace, I’ve decided to return to WordPress. This blog largely contains material from before I started my graduate work at Catholic 6.5 years ago, but I’ve decided to revive this blog rather than beginning something new. I’ve transferred my domain here, so what was mapoulos.wordpress.com is now simply alexpoulos.com. I’ve rechristened the site “equulus” (κῦδος to the one who parses that). The content that was at the Squarespace site will be moved over here in due course.
Within the next couple of months I’ll be finishing and defending my dissertation on the poetry of Gregory of Nazianzus. After that, I’m planning to resume work in software development and pursue scholarship outside of work. This will afford me more flexibility in what I undertake research-wise and, paradoxically, more time to blog here. We’ll see what comes of it.
This post contains a walkthrough for creating a simple critical edition in the Classical Text Editor (CTE). For my example, I’ve chosen a text that I’m reading at the moment, Demosthenes’ Philippic I. I’ve reproduced much of the information for the first three sections of Dilts’ edition . His edition includes the Greek text, and apparatus criticus, and an apparatus of later sources. All of the steps of this tutorial should be doable with the demo version of the CTE, with the exception that the demo version does not produce non-watermarked output.
You may go through the tutorial with your own text, or you may use the same portion of Demosthenes that I did. If you choose to use Demosthenes, you may make use of the following: – The main text (an RTF file). – The final PDF (from which you may take the variant readings).
I’ve also uploaded my final CTE file. I wouldn’t open it unless you get stuck. It’s easy to get confused in the CTE if you have multiple files open.
If you discover any of the links have broken, please let me know at once!
I’m not a CTE expert by any means, and I can’t say that I’ll be able to answer your questions, particularly if they don’t relate to the steps below. That said, feel free to leave comments, questions, corrections, or suggestions below. I’ll do my best to answer.
If you’d be interested in seeing tutorials for other sorts of editions (like an a text with parallel translation), do let me know.
Creating the file and preparing the main text
Upon launching the CTE, one is greeted with the following blank page:
The first step is to create a new file (File –> New).
At this point, one should decide the number of apparatus and notes’ files needed. By default, the CTE creates one critical apparatus and one “notes” section. This is satisfactory for this particular text, but it’s conceivable one would want to add more (for instance, if you needed a critical apparatus, source apparatus, and explanatory footnotes). Be careful to note that when the CTE says “apparatus” is generally means “critical apparatus” (i.e. apparatus of variant readings). Though we might speak more loosely of an “apparatus of sources,” in CTE parlance this is called a “Notes.” The dialog for specifying the number of Apparatus and Notes windows is found at Format –> Number of Notes/Apparatus…
At this point, we should also clearly tell the CTE that our apparatus is an apparatus of variant readings: – Bring up the apparatus window (Ctrl+A or Windows –> Apparatus) – Click on Format –> Apparatus Settings
At this point, we may enter the main text into our “Text Window.” For this example, I copied in the text from Perseus and then changed it to match Dilts’ text. Next, we may introduce the section divisions into the text. The CTE provides a number of ways of doing this; by far the easiest is simple paragraph numbers. To enable features like automatic referencing by section and line number, we need to tell the CTE where are sections begin. To do this, one highlights the number (note, only highlight the number, not the following punctuation) and then clicks Insert –> Chapter Identifier:
After this, the number should now be highlighted yellow, which indicates that the CTE recognizes it as the start of a new section. Go ahead and repeat this step for each section.
Creating the Sigla At this point, you should have input the main body of the text and marked the sections. We may now input the sigla into the CTE. Note that for simple output, this is not strictly necessary. You may simply type out your sigla manually when inputting textual variants. Using the CTE facilities for sigla, however, does offer several advantages. For instance, it makes it very easy to change a siglum if you need to do so later. It also makes it easy to modify the formatting automatically, for instance, if one always wants to have bolded sigla, or italicized sigla, in the apparatus. Finally, the CTE also allows creating mss groups, a feature I won’t explore here.
Sigla are managed from the sigla window, which one accesses at Format –> Sigla…
The “New Button” allows one to create a new siglum. The CTE keeps track of mss by number. We don’t have any ms groups, so for our purposes, each siglum gets a unique numerical identifier (in the above picture, the “1”) and a visible identifier that will appear in the apparatus (in the above picture, S). After inputting the two identifiers, make sure to click Apply. Note that italics, bold, etc. are all permitted for sigla. I start at 1 and simply increment the ms number by 1 as I add mss, but what matters most is that each siglum as a unique number. After adding all of the sigla, they should be visible at the left side of the dialog.
Inputting variant readings At this point, we have everything we need to begin inputting variant readings into the critical apparatus. To do this, one highlights the affected text in the Text window, and then selects References –> Apparatus Reference (Or press F5). Note that if the variant only affects a single word, you can simply place the cursor after that word. For one of our readings, for instance, one ms reads καὶ αὐτὸς instead of simply αὐτὸς. To input this, we place our cursor after αὐτὸς: Clicking References –> Apparatus Reference (or pressing F5) brings up the apparatus window:
In the scheme I’ve chosen, we then input the reading of the other ms(s).
We may then use the Sigla dialog to input add the sigla to our apparatus to specify that this reading belongs to A. To do this, click Insert –> Siglum…
A box then comes up with a list of sigla:
Double clicking the proper siglum then adds it to the entry (it should appear in yellow).
If one has multiple variants at a single location, the default way to do this is to separate entries by a colon (see, for instance, the variant for τοι εἰ above). If the reading affects multiple words, make sure to highlight the entire phrase. For instance, A transposes the phrase ὑμεῖς ἐπράξατε τῆς πόλεως into τῆς πόλεως ὑμεῖς ἐπράξατε. To input this variant, we highlight the phrase and then type out the entire phrase in our entry as it appears in A:
Adding Notes Adding notes works much the same way as adding variant readings. However, you need to decide first what sort of referencing system you wish to use for the notes. The default choice uses line numbers (the same system used for variant readings). Another popular system is footnotes. As far as I’m aware, you can’t switch between the two systems on the fly. If you decide later to change your mind, you’ll need to go back through the text and re-add the references.
To choose your setting, open the Notes window (Windows –> Notes, or press Ctrl+N). Then select, Format –> Notes Settings.
“Text Reference” is the default, which uses line numbers (either section line numbers or page line numbesr). “Footnote numbers” will instead introduce running footnotes into the text (like this file).
After one has decided what system to use, you may then input notes almost exactly like critical apparatus entries. Select the relevant location in the main text (either a range, or a location), and then click References –> Notes Entry, or use Shift+F5. This will then bring up the Notes window and allow you to input the relevant information. Repeat for as many notes as you have.
Varia At this point, you should have your notes and apparatus entries added to the text. You’re now able to run print-preview (File –> Print Preview, or Ctrl+J) and see your text (perhaps heavily watermarked if you’re using the demo version). The main work is now done, and all that remains are formatting tweaks.
Line Numbers By default, the CTE prints line numbers for both the sections and the page. I find two sets of line numbers confusing and displeasing to the eye. To change this, one goes to Format –> Document and then go to the Margins tab.
As you can see, the default puts “Page line numbers” in the inner margin and “Chapter Line numbers” in the outer margin. I’d recommend choosing one and making the other “None.” Note you can also use this dialog to change the frequency of line numbers.
Changing the separator in Chapter+Line references By default, the CTE uses a comma as its separator in references. Thus, if a variant shows up on the 3rd line of the 2nd section, this shows up in the apparatus as 2, 3 (As I understand it, this is the typical European practice). Americans much prefer to use a period here, so that it’s printed as 2.3. To change this, go to Format –> Document and then navigate to the Notes tab.
Changing the character in the field “Between Chapter and Line” from a comma to a period will produce 2.3 instead of 2, 3.
That’s all for now. As mentioned above, if you have any suggestions, comments, or questions, please let me know in the comments!