Antická inspirace středověkých zoologických popisů : Memnonidae - Memnonovi ptáci

Variant title
Ancient inspiration of zoological descriptions in Middle Ages
Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2009, vol. 14, iss. 1-2, pp. [93]-111
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
Memnonidae - Memnon's Birds: Magister Pavel Zídek (Paulus de Praga, Paulerinus) wrote a massive encyclopedia Liber viginti arcium (The book of twenty arts) for the Czech King Georg of Poděbrady about 1460. Today the book is kept in Cracow, BJ 257. The editions of several parts of encyclopedia were published recently (on artisans, cf. HADRAVOVÁ 1997; on zoology, cf. HADRAVOVÁ 2008; on astronomical tables, cf. HADRAVOVÁ-HADRAVA 2007 and 2008). The present work is based on Paulerinus' item Menonites, i.e. Memnonidae, "Memnon's birds", extracted from the zoological part of his encyclopedia (fol. 174va), and deals with its literary sources. I write this my contribution in Czech with an intention to cite chosen corresponding extracts from numerous Czech translations of classical Latin and Greek literature, which were published in our country last century, and thereby to pay tribute to them.
Hero of Trojan War: Ethiopian King Memnon, the son of Eos, the goddess of dawn, was one of the heroes of Trojan war, an ally of Trojans. He was slain by Achilleus. His mother Eos asked for him from Zeus a special sign at least: from the smoke of Memnon's funeral pyre had risen birds which fought against each other and then they fell down on the pyre as a sacrifice on Memnon s honour. Memnon is mentioned in many works of ancient Greek and Latin literature, e.g. Ovidius, Metamorphoses 13,576-619; Hyginus, Fabulae 112 and 223; Lucius Ampelius, Liber memorialis, cap. 8; Cassiodorus, Variae, lib. 7; Herodotos, Historiai 5,53-54 and 7,151; Diodoros Siculus, Bibliothéké 2,22; Ovidius, Fasti 4,714; Ovidius, Amores / 8,4; Homer, Odysseia 4,185-18 7; Dictys Cretensis, Ephemeris belli Tro-iani 4,4-8 and 6,10; Dares Phrygius, De excidio Troiae historia 18, 24, 25; Hesiodos, Theogonia 984-985; Vergilius, Aeneis 1,488-489; Horatius, Epistulae 1,10,36; Lucanus, Pharsalia 3,284-286; Pausanias, Periégésis tés Hellados 3,3; 3,18; 5,19 a 5,22; Seneca, Troades I and 229. He was also frequently depicted in fine arts - see, e.g.,fig. 1: "Memnon spiet".
Memnon's Colossi in Egypt: Memnon became a subject of a cult promoted by Ptolemaie dynasty, which ruled in Egypt in the Hellenistic period and spread the Greek culture there. Two sitting statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III (18th dynasty) at Thebes built originally as a part ofhis sanctuary are called "Memnon's Colossi" from the end of the Hellenistic period. The northern one was damaged by earth quake in the year 27 B.C. and from that time the statue sounded in the morning due to drying of humidity with the rise of temperature. This sound was explained as Memnon's singing by which he greets his mother Eos (Dawn). The Emperor Hadrian visited this place in 130A.D. and he still heard "singing colossus".Septimius Severus let to repair the colossi at the end of the 2nd century, and from that time the statue ceased to sing. See allusions in Plinius, Naturalis historia 36,58; Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, Satirae 15,5-6; Pausanias, Periégésis tés Hellados 1,42; Strabón, Geógrafika 17,42 and 17,46; Tacitus, Annales 2,61; Dion Chrysostomos, Discourses 31,92; Rufus Festus Avienus, Periégésis seu Descriptio orbis terrarum 363-365; Aelius Spartianus, Septimius Severus (Scriptores Historiae Augustaej 17,4.
Memnon's birds: Memnons birds are mentioned e.g. by the following authors: Moschos, Epitafios Biónos 3,37; Ovidius, Amores /13,3-4; Plinius, Naturalis historia 10,74; Solinus, Collectanea rerum memorabilium 40,19; Claudius Aelianus, De nátura animalium 5,1; Quintus Smyrnaeus, Ta meth' Homéron 2,642-655; Pausanias, Periégésis tés Hellados 10,31. See alsofig. 2-4: Greek vases with the motive of the fight between Achilleus and Memnon or with mother Eos mourning or removing the dead body ofher son Memnon from the battle-field, is often accompanied by a bird flying above (Memnon s bird?).
Memnon's birds in Middle Ages: Medieval excerptors extracted the story on birds from ancient literature and put it to a new context, to catalogues of animals, which are in a sense a precursor of today's zoological literature. See Isidor of Seville (6-7 cent.), Etymologiae XZf 7,30; Thomas Cantimpratensis (13th cent.), Liber de natura rerum 5,83; Vincentius Bellovacensis (13th cent.), Speculum naturale 17,104; Albertus Magnus (13th cent.), De animalibus 23,75. Czech scholar Magister Bartholomaeus ofChlumec, named Claretus (14th cent.), wrote so called Glossarium, a bilingual Latin-Czech list of items excerpted from some - today unknown - medieval encyclopedia. On the relationship of Claretus' works and Paulerinus' encyclopedia cf. HADRAVOVA (2008: 55-64 and 522-523). The birds on Memnon s tomb can be seen onfig. 6 (Thomas Cantimpratensis, Liber de natura rerum. Ms. Prague, National Li-brary, XIV A 15,fol. 77va. Czech provenience, c. 1375-1440). The influence of ancient roots and their modification in medieval knowledge can be illustrated by the Paulerinus s description in his encyclopedia (Jol. 174va): "Memnons birds (Menonites) are Egyptian birds, a somewhat bigger than ducks. They move mostly around the Memnon s tomb. They fly in flocks and sometimes they encounter for three days in so acute and furious fight that inhabitants of that place fill carriages by killed birds. Their young meat prepared in different ways is suitable for eating, the old one, however, is useless unless it is pickled in honey as the meat of ensnared field birds."
  • Obsahuje části: Hrdina od Tróje -- Memnonovy kolosy -- Memnonovi ptáci -- Memnonovi ptáci ve středověku
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