Sunday, May 25, 2008

Perry 46: Wind and Sun (Avianus)

As I'm gearing up for the publication of Aesop’s Fables in Latin: Ancient Wit and Wisdom from the Animal Kingdom (coming soon from Bolchazy-Carducci!), I'm reviewing the different Perry numbers that will be included in that book. For each of the fables, I'm posting here a Latin version of the fable along with an illustration that can be compared/contrasted with the version in Barlow's book.

Today's fable is Perry #46, the story of how the Sun defeated the North Wind, with warmth overcoming bluster. At the Aesopus wiki, you can see a complete list of the versions of this fable that I have collected.This is a fable that is attested in Avianus, but it not one of the fables of Avianus that was included in Steinhowel.

Here is the version in Avianus:

Immitis Boreas placidusque ad sidera Phoebus
Iurgia cum magno conseruere Iove,
Quis prior inceptum peragat: mediumque per orbem
Carpebat solitum forte viator iter.
Convenit hanc potius liti praefigere causam,
Pallia nudato decutienda viro.
Protinus impulsus ventis circumtonat aether
Et gelidus nimias depluit imber aquas:
Ille magis lateri duplicem circumdat amictum,
Turbida submotos quod trahit aura sinus.
Sed tenues radios paulatim increscere Phoebus
Iusserat, ut nimio surgeret igne iubar,
donec lassa volens requiescere membra, viator
deposita fessus veste sederet humi.
tunc victor docuit praesentia numina Titan,
Nullum praemissis vincere posse minis.

Here it is written out in segmented style to make it easier to follow, rearranging the Latin word as necessary to make the syntax more clear:

immitis Boreas et placidus Phoebus
conseruere iurgia ad sidera,
cum magno Iove,
quis prior inceptum peragat -
et forte carpebat viator
solitum iter
per medium orbem.
convenit potius
praefigere hanc causam liti:
pallia decutienda
nudato viro.
circumtonat aether
impulsus ventis
et gelidus imber
depluit nimias aquas:
ille magis
duplicem amictum circumdat lateri,
quod turbida aura trahit submotos sinus.
Phoebus iusserat
tenues radios paulatim increscere
ut iubar surgeret nimio igne,
donec viator,
lassa membra volens requiescere,
deposita veste,
fessus sederet humi.
tunc Titan victor
docuit praesentia numina
nullum vincere posse
praemissis minis.

Avianus's version is remarkable for depicting the contest between the Sun and the Wind as something staged in the presence of the other gods, Jupiter included.

For an illustration, here is an image from Walter Crane's Aesop which puts the fable in the form of a limerick:

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