Libertas, quae sera tamen respexit inertem,
candidior postquam tondenti barba cadebat,
respexit tamen et longo post tempore uenit,
postquam nos Amaryllis habet, Galatea reliquit.
namque (fatebor enim) dum me Galatea tenebat,
nec spes libertatis erat nec cura peculi.
quamuis multa meis exiret uictima saeptis,
pinguis et ingratae premeretur caseus urbi,
non umquam grauis aere domum mihi dextra redibat.
(Virg. Ecl. 1.27-35)
Freedom, which had regard for me in my idleness, late though it was,
when my beard was falling whiter as it was cut;
nevertheless it had regard for me and came after a long time,
now that Amaryllis has taken hold of me and Galatea has left me.
For while Galatea had control over me, I confess,
there was never a hope of freedom or thought of saving.
Though many victims left my sheepfold
and a lot of rich cheese was pressed for the ungrateful town,
my hand never came home filled with coins.
- 1 Paschalis 1997, 264.
- 2 Maltby 1999, 232-237. The only other reference to cheese-making in Virgil occurs in Georg. 3.400-40 (...)
- 3 On the technical aspect of Corydon’s claim cf. Du Quesnay 1979, 65.
1In these lines of Eclogue 1 Tityrus explains to Meliboeus that in the past he had been unable to buy his freedom and that he managed to do so only now that he became an older man. One reason for the delay was the extravagance of Galatea, his former companion. Another was the ungrateful townspeople who paid him too little for the animals and the cheese he sold them. My starting point for re-examining these lines was the association between Galatea and caseus (‘cheese’) which I had noted in passing elsewhere.1 The ‘white’ beauty of ‘milky’ Galatea acquired fame in ancient literature thanks to the compliment which the Cyclops Polyphemus pays to her in Theocr. Id. 11.19-20. In the Virgilian passage there is no reference to Galatea’s beauty but, as I argue below, in other passages of Theocritus 11 the name suggests ‘milk’ without pointing to ‘whiteness’. Another thing that struck me is that in Virgil’s Eclogues it is only Tityrus that makes cheese. This is remarkable also because cheese-making is not an activity frequently mentioned in Augustan poetry and in addition the noun caseus is rare in verse.2 It is worthy of note that in adapting Theocritus 11 in Eclogue 2 Virgil conspicuously avoids the mention of cheese. In the Theocritean Idyll the Cyclops boasts to Galatea of his herd of a thousand cattle, the fine milk he produces from them, and his constant supply of cheese in summer, autumn and winter (11.34-37); but in Ecl. 2.19-22 Corydon proudly talks of his thousand female lambs and the constant supply of milk in summer and winter.3 Is it a mere coincidence that in the Eclogues only Tityrus boasts of having an abundant supply of cheese (pressi copia lactis, 1.81), in what is apparently a re-writing of the above-mentioned Theocritean passage? A third point is that in ancient bucolic and other pastoral literature Tityrus and Galatea form a pair only in this passage. In the subtle literary world of the Eclogues these details could be significant. Therefore I decided to explore further the semantic relationship between ‘Tityrus’ and ‘Galatea’.
- 4 See Wüst 1937; Smith 1970; Lipka 2001, 182-183; Diggle 2004, 239-241.
2Several meanings of Τίτυρος / τίτυρος have come down to us. Most of them are conveniently collected in Σ Theocr. Id. 3.2 Wendel: “It is said that the Siceliots call so [Τίτυροι] the Silens (τοὺς Σειληνούς), others the he-goats (τοὺς τράγους), others the Satyrs (τοὺς Σατύρους), others a city of Crete, others the servants of gods (τοὺς προπόλους τῶν θεῶν), while some call so a reed (κάλαμος)”. Other ancient sources indicate that ‘τίτυρος’ was also a kind of bird (Hesychius s.v.) or ape (Theophr. Char. 5.9).4
- 5 See the collected evidence in Lipka 2001, 182; for τίτυρος as αὐλός see Smith 1970.
- 6 Cairns 1999a; Van Sickle 2004; cf. Van Sickle 2000.
3Attention to the meaning ‘reed’ or ‘pipe’5 was recently drawn by Francis Cairns. He re-iterated the view that avena in Virg. Ecl. 1.2 may point to it and, combining literary evidence from other sources, argued that the opening lines characterize Virgil’s work as “Italian Doric” and thus “signal Virgil’s Theocritean programme”. The article provoked an illuminating reaction by John Van Sickle.6
- 7 Coleman 1977, 71; Wright 1983, 108; Smith 1970, 506-507; see also Skutsch 1956, 200; Schmidt 1987, (...)
- 8 Cairns 1999b, 104.
4Virgilian scholars have repeatedly noted the sounds of ‘Tityrus’ in the opening lines, with or without reference to the meaning ‘pipe’ of ‘τίτυρος’. It is what Coleman calls the “suggestion of piping” in ‘Tityre, tu … tu, Tityre’, who also compares the repetition of i and u in Th. Id. 1.1-3 and 7.88-89. Wright believes that these sounds must have been “the crucial motivation for the choice of Tityrus” and, following Smith, points out the “happy conceit to have the shepherd playing his eponymous instrument”.7 The probable onomatopoeic character of ‘Tityrus’ in these lines has a parallel in the etymology of Τίτυροιfound in Aelian, VH 3.40. He reports that “the Satyroi, Dionysus’ dancing companions, were by some called Τίτυροι, a name derived ἀπὸ τῶν τερετισμάτων (‘from the trills’) which the Satyrs enjoy”. In addition to the linkage of Virgil’s ‘Tityrus’ with the meaning ‘reed’ (‘pipe’) in the opening lines of Eclogue 1, other recorded meanings have been associated with the text of the Eclogues. For instance, Cairns believes that Ecl. 1.12-13 and 9.24-25 suggest the meaning ‘he-goat’, and that Ecl. 1.17-18 may allude to ‘Tityrus’ as ‘an attendant of the gods’.8
- 9 I have selected the most conspicuous cases for my argument. For Galatea in Ovid’s Metamorphoses see (...)
5As I noted above, Tityrus and Galatea are brought together only in Virgil, Eclogue 1. Below I argue that they form a ‘significant’ couple. I build my argument progressively, arriving at Virgil through Theocritus, Lucian and the Alexander Romance.9 I conclude with a discussion of the name ‘Tityros’ found in Nikos Kazantzakis’ autobiography entitled Report to Greco and in his novel KapetánMichális (Freedomor Death).
- 10 FGrHist 76 F 58. On Philoxenus see immediately below.
- 11 See Hordern 1999, 447.
- 12 Hordern 1999 and 2004. Cf. Hordern 2002, 106-110 on Timotheus’ Cyclops (the fragment that survives (...)
6Though Galatea appears already in Homer (Il. 18.45) and Hesiod (Theog. 250), the earliest near-explicit etymology of the name appears much later. According to the historian Douris Polyphemus set up a shrine to Galatea near Etna to honor her for the “abundance of milk” (διὰ τὴν … τοῦ γάλακτος πολυπλήθειαν) and this would have inspired Philoxenus of Cythera, when he visited the place, to invent the story of Polyphemus’ love for Galatea (FGrHist 76 F 58).10 The story is justifiably rejected as an example of the rationalization of myths,11 but precisely this feature would make it the first near-explicit etymology of Galatea. The first explicit occurrence appears in the 12th century A.D. It is found in Eustathius’ commentary on the above-mentioned Homeric passage (vol. 4, page 135.12-15 Van der Valk). Eustathius mentions that the Nereid Γαλάτεια was so called from “the milk-colored foams of the sea-waves” (διὰ τοὺς τῶν κυμάτων γαλαταχρόους ἀφρούς). We do not know how far back this etymology goes. According to the evidence we possess, literary (implied) etymologies of Galatea appear first in Hellenistic poetry and specifically in Theocritus, though he was not the first poet to introduce the Polyphemus-Galatea story but probably Philoxenus of Cythera. The theme was also treated by Callimachus and Bion.12 In Hellenistic literature poetry and philology are perfectly coordinated and hence Theocritus’ literary etymologies are at the same time the testimony of his erudition. Context, however, makes a great difference in poetry: names acquire or change meaning according to it, with dynamic flexibility and allusiveness that defeat the static and explicit word of philological etymologizing.
7Theocritus treated the story of Polyphemus and Galatea in Idylls 6 and 11. The poems suggest different etymologies of the Nereid’s name. I start with the latter, which is the better-known of the two:
Ὧ λευκὰ Γαλάτεια, τί τὸν φιλέοντ’ ἀποβάλλῃ,
λευκοτέρα πακτᾶς ποτιδεῖν, ἁπαλωτέρα ἀρνός …
O white Galatea, why do you spurn my love?
whiter than cream cheese, softer than a lamb…
ἐξένθοις, Γαλάτεια, καὶ ἐξενθοῖσα λάθοιο,
ὥσπερ ἐγὼ νῦν ὧδε καθήμενος, οἴκαδ’ ἀπενθεῖν·
ποιμαίνειν δ’ ἐθέλοις σὺν ἐμὶν ἅμα καὶ γάλ’ ἀμέλγειν
καὶ τυρὸν πᾶξαιτάμισον δριμεῖαν ἐνεῖσα.
Why don’t you come out, Galatea, and when you come out forget,
like me who is sitting here, to go back home?
May you be willing to tend the sheep with me and milk them
and set the cheese putting in sharp rennet.
ὦ Κύκλωψ Κύκλωψ, πᾷ τὰς φρένας ἐκπεπότασαι;
αἴ κ’ ἐνθὼν ταλάρως τε πλέκοις καὶ θαλλὸν ἀμάσας
ταῖς ἄρνεσσι φέροις, τάχα κα πολὺ μᾶλλον ἔχοις νῶν.
τὰν παρεοῖσαν ἄμελγε· τí τὸν φεύγοντα διώκεις;
εὑρησεῖς Γαλάτειαν ἴσως καὶ καλλίον’ ἄλλαν.
O Cyclops, Cyclops! Where is your sound mind gone?
If you went to weave your baskets or gather shoots
for the lambs, you would show more sense.
Milk the ewe that you have; why chase one that flees from you?
Perhaps you will find another Galatea, even fairer.
- 13 On the meaning of πακτά see Gow 1952, ad loc.
- 14 Frisk and Chantraine, the two major etymological dictionaries of Ancient Greek, do not discuss the (...)
- 15 See in general Paschalis 1997, Introduction.
- 16 A later form of the stem γάλακτ- is γάλατ-, which has survived in Modern Greek. On ‘segment’ as an (...)
8As a rule attention is paid only to the first passage, which opens the Cyclops’ song. Polyphemus addresses the Nereid as “white Galatea” and compliments her further by calling her “whiter than cream cheese (?)”.13 By modern standards Γαλάτεια is a semantically ‘opaque’ name.14 Ancient standards did not, however, obey the strict linguistic rules of today. Besides, the use of names in literature has always had its own ‘arbitrary’ rules. The most accurate thing we can say about the use of Γαλάτεια in this poem is that it acquires meaning by virtue of its combination with other semantic units.15 In other words, the combination of the name with ‘cheese’ and ‘whiteness’ causes the segment Γαλά(τ)-16 to suggest ‘γάλα’ (‘milk’).
- 17 Hunter 1999, 230.
- 18 On proper names as substitutable semantic units see Paschalis 1997, 4.
- 19 Paschalis 1997, 5; cf. Paschalis 2002.
- 20 On the technical terms see Gow 1952 and Hunter 1999, ad loc.
9Richard Hunter wonders if “Polyphemus did not realise the meaning of Galateia’s name, as he did not understand Odysseus’ disguise as Outis”,17implying that the Cyclops compares Galatea with cheese while her name suggests milk. In order to clarify this point it is necessary to look at the other occurrences of the name in the poem. It is extremely important that all three occurrences of ‘Γαλάτεια’ in the Cyclops’ song insert the name in the semantic field of ‘milk’ (‘whiteness’, ‘milking’) and ‘cheese’ (‘whiteness’, ‘cheese-making’). In passage 1 λευκά Γαλάτεια combines with λευκοτέρα πακτᾶς: here the name Γαλάτεια substitutes for γάλα.18 In passage 2 Γαλάτεια forms a semantic cluster19 with γάλ’ ἀμέλγειν and τυρὸν πᾶξαι τάμισον δριμεῖαν ἐνεῖσα (‘cheese-making’): the cluster includes both Γαλάτεια and γάλα. Finally, in passage 3 ταλάρως stands for ‘cheese-making’ (it was a receptacle where milk intended for cheese-making was placed) and combines with ἄμελγε (‘milking’) and Γαλάτειαν: here Γαλάτειαν again substitutes for γάλα.20
10If, therefore, Γαλάτειαν is consistently exploited in the Cyclops’ song to create semantic pairs with ‘cheese’, this would suggest, in my view, that the Cyclops is aware of the meaning of the name. In Theocritus 11 the Cyclops constructs a ‘Γαλάτειαν’ perfectly adapted to his main activity as a shepherd: she is whiter than his dairy products; she is invited to tend the sheep, milk the ewes and make cheese; he would have liked to ‘milk’ her like a ‘ewe’, but she is unwilling and so he will have to content himself with ‘milking the ewe that he has’, one of the girls that have taken a fancy to him. The specific semantic associations of ‘Γαλάτειαν’ occur only in the Cyclops’ song and not in the opening section addressed by the poet to Nikias (8, 13). Finally, the examination of these passages has confirmed that in all cases the essential semantic pair is ‘milk / Γαλάτειαν and cheese’. When the pair is thematized, it adapts to different contexts and suggests different things. ‘Whiteness’ is just one of them.
11In Theocritus 6 the name is differently contextualized. Here is the passage:
καὶ γάρ θην οὐδ’ εἶδος ἔχω κακὸν ὥς με λέγοντι.
ἦ γὰρ πρᾶν ἐς πόντον ἐσέβλεπον, ἦς δὲ γαλάνα,
καὶ καλὰ μὲν τὰ γένεια, καλὰ δέ μευ ἁ μία κώρα,
ὡς παρ’ ἐμὶν κέκριται, κατεφαίνετο, τῶν δέ τ’ ὀδόντων
λευκοτέραν αὐγὰν Παρίας ὑπεφαίνετο λίθοιο.
For in truth, I am not as ugly as they say.
Only lately I was looking into the sea, when all was calm,
and I thought my beard looked beautiful, and so did my one eye,
while my teeth gleamed whiter than Parian marble.
12As noted above, in literature the meaning of names is not static but dynamic; it may change within a collection of poems or within the same poem. Richard Hunter sums up the semantics of the present passage as follows: “Whereas in Idyll 11 Polyphemos gazed ἐς πόντον in the hope of seeing the beloved Galateia (18), here he looks ἐς πόντον and sees his own beloved self: instead of Γαλάτεια, there is γαλάνα …, instead of a girl (κώρα, cf. 1.82), there is his eye, κώρα … In Idyll 11 whiteness was on the side of ‘Miss Milky’; now the Cyclops has it”.21 One has to be reminded that we never hear the voice of Galatea but only the voice of the Cyclops. In other words her name acquires meaning only through him and according to his viewpoint. In Idyll 11 he sees ‘γάλα’ in her name; here he sees ‘γαλάνα’, ‘calm of the sea’, because it is what suits him and specifically what permits him to see his own reflection in the water. Theocritean Γαλάτεια is a purely mental construction. In other words her name exists only in the Cyclops’ fantasy and is shaped according to his mood and love passion or strategy. This is the ground where poetry challenges philology.
13Worthy of note is Lucian’s commentary on the semantics of ‘Γαλάτεια’ in Theocritus 11 and 6. In one of his Marine Dialogues (1.2.11-3.6) the Nereid Doris, who is talking to Galatea, makes the following biting comment about Polyphemus’ attraction to her sister: “What could he see in you but your white skin (τὸ λευκὸν μόνον)? And this because all he knows is cheese and milk (ὅτι συνήθης ἐστὶ τυρῷ καὶ γάλακτι) and he considers everything pretty that is like them. If you want to find out what you really look like, go sit on a rock when the weather is calm (εἴ ποτε γαλήνη εἴη), lean over the water and look at yourself: just a bit of white skin, that is all (οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἢ χροίαν λευκὴν ἀκριβῶς). Who will care for it without a touch of red (τὸ ἐρύθημα)?” Initially Lucian identifies the ‘milky’ whiteness of Γαλάτεια as a construction of the Cyclops’ mind. He next adapts the Cyclops’ ‘gaze in the calm water’ (γαλήνη) in order to render the viewpoint of a third party (Doris). The Attic Greek (γαλήνη) makes the play on γαλάνα / Γαλάτεια less obvious, but the mirror works anyway as in Theocritus 6. Doris assumes that Γαλάτεια will see in the calm water ‘plain whiteness’, while in the Cyclops’ eyes his own teeth ‘shone with a gleam whiter than Parian marble’. The Parian marble comparison would have suited Galatea’s body much better than the Cyclops’ teeth, but Doris is wicked and makes things worse by adding that white skin alone is not to be appreciated unless accompanied with ‘a touch of red’. Galatea’s reply is sarcastic: “Well, I may be all white as you say (Καὶ μὴν ἐγὼ ἡ ἀκράτως λευκή), but at least I have a lover, while you have none: not a shepherd, not a sailor, not a ferryman”. Galatea neither confirms nor denies her sister’s earlier comments; she merely accepts, for the sake of argument, her last disparaging comment about the ‘pure whiteness’ of her skin and strikes back. Thus Lucian’s humorous commentary ends up doing the same thing as the text of Theocritus: it elucidates it and at the same time provides further viewpoints on the ‘whiteness’ of Γαλάτεια, which remains invariably context-bound.
14I argued above that in Theocritus 11 the essential semantic pair is ‘milk / Γαλάτεια and cheese’. We can now look at a passage where the second member of the pair (‘cheese’) is also replaced by a proper name. In Lucian’s True History the narrator and his companions sail to a sea of milk and an island of cheese. The vines on the island produce milk instead of wine; it has a temple dedicated to Galatea and is ruled by Queen Tyro. Here is the ancient passage followed by an English translation:
Μετ’ οὐ πολὺ δὲ εἰς πέλαγος ἐνεβαίνομεν, οὐχ ὕδατος, ἀλλὰ γάλακτος· καὶ νῆσος ἐν αὐτῷ ἐφαίνετο λευκὴ πλήρης ἀμπέλων. ἦν δὲ ἡ νῆσος τυρὸς μέγιστος συμπεπηγώς, ὡς ὕστερον ἐμφαγόντες ἐμάθομεν, σταδίων εἴκοσι πέντε τὸ περίμετρον· αἱ δὲ ἄμπελοι βοτρύων πλήρεις, οὐ μέντοι οἶνον, ἀλλὰ γάλα ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποθλίβοντες ἐπίνομεν. ἱερὸν δὲ ἐν μέσῃ τῇ νήσῳ ἀνῳκοδόμητο Γαλατείας τῆς Νηρηΐδος, ὡς ἐδήλου τὸ ἐπίγραμμα. ὅσον οὖν χρόνον ἐκεῖ ἐμείναμεν, ὄψον μὲν ἡμῖν καὶ σιτίον ἡ γῆ ὑπῆρχεν, ποτὸν δὲ τὸ γάλα τὸ ἐκ τῶν βοτρύων. βασιλεύειν δὲ τῶν χωρίων τούτων ἐλέγετο Τυρὼ ἡ Σαλμωνέως, μετὰ τὴν ἐντεῦθεν ἀπαλλαγὴν ταύτην παρὰ τοῦ Ποσειδῶνος λαβοῦσα τὴν τιμήν.
Soon we entered a sea not of water but of milk, in which there was an island, white in color and full of vines. The island was a huge piece of hard cheese, as we later found out by eating it. Its perimeter was twenty-five stades long. The vines were covered with grapes, but when we pressed them we drank not wine but milk. In the middle of the island there was a temple of Galatea the Nereid, as the inscription on it indicated. During the time we stayed there, the ground itself was our bread and meat, and the vine-milk was our drink. We heard that the queen of the place was Tyro, the daughter of Salmoneus, and that Poseidon had given her this honor after death.
- 22 Cf. also ∑ Hom. Od. 11.235.
15The Lucianic passage is sometimes used in combination with the passage from Douris quoted earlier about the shrine Polyphemus dedicated to Galatea (FGrHist 76 F 58), in order to support the existence of a local cult of Galatea. What concerns me in this fantastic description is the pair of significant names Γαλάτεια and Τυρώ. Obviously Lucian looked for a name that would represent the second member of the semantic pair ‘milk and cheese’ and found it in Tyro. According to Diodorus Siculus (6.6.5) her name derives from τυρός (‘cheese’) and she received it “because of the whiteness and softness of her body” (διὰ τὴν λευκότητα καὶ τὴν τοῦ σώματος μαλακότητα).22
16In chapter 35 of book 1 the Alexander Romance narrates Alexander’s difficult conquest of Tyre. The account contains an oracle and two dreams that foresee the destruction of the city. The second dream has a bearing on this discussion, because it contains an etymology of Σάτυρος:
‘O δὲἈλέξανδρος μαθὼν ἐζήτει, πῶς καταλάβῃ Τυρίους· ἄλογον γὰρ <παρ’> αὐτῶν ἡγεῖτο <τὴν ἧτταν>. ὁρᾷ δὲ κατὰ τοὺς ὕπνους ἕνα τῶν τοῦ Διονύσου προπόλων Σάτυρον ἐπιδιδόντα αὐτῷ τυρόν, αὑτὸν δὲ λαβόντα τοῖς ποσὶν αὐτὸν συμπατεῖν. ἀναστὰς δὲ διηγήσατό τινι ὀνειροπόλῳ· ὁ δὲ εἷπε· «βασιλεῦἈλέξανδρε, σοὶ Τύρος γίνεται ὑποχείριος διὰ τό σε τυρὸν τοῖς ποσὶ καταπεπατηκέναι». οὕτως μὲν οὖν ἔκρινε τὸὄνειρον ὁὀνειροπόλος.
A 1.35.7-8 Stoneman
«βασιλεύσεις Τύρου ὅλης καὶὑποχείριός σοι γενήσεται διὰ τὸ τὸν Σάτυρόν σοι δεδωκέναι τυρόν, σὺ δὲ τοῖς ποσί σου αὐτὸν καταπατῆσαι».
Recension β 1.35.7-8 Stoneman
17When Alexander heard the news, he began to look for a way to conquer the Tyrians, for he regarded his defeat by them as inconceivable. Then he had a dream: a satyr, one of the attendants of Dionysus was giving him a piece of cheese; he took it and trampled it underfoot. When he awoke, he narrated his dream to an interpreter, who told him: “King Alexander, you will bring Tyre under your control, because you trampled the piece of cheese underfoot” [Recension β: “You will rule over all Tyre and bring it under your control, because the satyr gave you the piece of cheese and you trampled it underfoot”].
18As noted by Stoneman,23 in antiquity there were two versions of Alexander’s dream. One version ‘divided’ the name Σάτυρος into two significant segments (Σά-τυρος), and interpreted it as ‘σὰ [γενήσεται] Τύρος’, ‘Tyre is [will be] yours’ (Plut. Alex. 24.8-9; Artemidorus, Oneirocritica 4.24.18-25). The version of the Alexander Romance associates the names Τύρος and Σάτυροςwith τυρός (‘cheese’). In other words it recognizes only the second segment of Σάτυρος as etymologically significant.
- 24 Recent mentions are found in Wiseman 1988, 10; Feldherr and James 2004, 81.
19The fact that Tityrus, the name of the character mentioned first in Virgil’s Eclogues, was in antiquity identified with a species of Satyr has been noted more than once and brought in connection with the prominent role of Silenus in Eclogue 6 and the ‘dancing Satyrs’ (saltantis Satyros) in Eclogue 5.73.24 If an ancient reader was able to recognize τυρός in Σάτυρος, as the discussion of the Alexander Romance passages has shown, he would have obviously been able to do the same in the case of Tityrus. What matters each time is the context in which a proper name is inserted. In my analysis of Polyphemus’ song in Theocritus 11 I concluded that the essential semantic pair in the passages where Galatea is mentioned is ‘milk and cheese’; that on two occasions Γαλάτεια substitutes for γάλα; and that milk and cheese are not employed only as emblems of whiteness. Furthermore, it was seen above that in the Lucianic passage the pair ‘milk and cheese’ is rendered not only through γάλα and τυρός but also through two significant names: Γαλάτεια finds a semantic partner in Τυρώ.
20In the context of Eclogue 1.27-35 the semantic pair ‘milk and cheese’ takes the form ‘Galatea / caseus’. Here the female proper name substitutes for ‘milk’ (lac), exactly as in Theocritus. But this is only the more obvious expression of the pair. Given that the speaker of the lines in question is the only character in the Eclogues that makes cheese (cf. the Introduction above) and that his name could have suggested τυρός, as Σάτυροςdoes in the Alexander Romance, the reader cannot but make the semantic connection between Tityrus (‘cheese’) and Galatea (‘milk’). Thus in its full development the semantic pair ‘milk and cheese’ would turn out to be ‘Galatea and caseus / Tityrus’.
- 25 On this point see Wright 1983, 132-133.
21From a semantic viewpoint the relationship between Tityrus and Galatea is therefore an expected one. But from an intertextual viewpoint it is one that cannot last, because it is the Virgilian re-writing of the impossible Cyclops-Galatea relationship in Theocritus 11. ‘Milk and cheese’ play a vital role in both relationships: disdainful Γαλάτεια will not milk the ewes, will not make cheese, will not be ‘milked’; enchanting but extravagant Galatea will cause Tityrus to become iners25 and will squander the little money he earns by making cheese (no doubt without her help) and selling it to the ungrateful consumers of the neighboring town. Galatea is somehow inserted in the tension between ‘town and country’, which adapts the sea-land contrast in Theocritus. Virgil’s Galatea may have had connections with the town herself (where did the money go?). Thus, the difficult Tityrus-Galatea relationship would anticipate the impossible relationship of the next Eclogue, the most famous literary descendant of Theocritus 11.
22One final detail concerns the epithet pinguis (‘fat’) in Ecl. 1.34.Servius thought that it better suited victima in the previous line than caseus; Coleman and others apply it to caseus and understand ‘fat cheese’ as ‘cream-cheese’; Clausen refers it to both ‘victim’ and ‘cheese’: “many a fat victim and much fat cheese”. There is only one other passage in the Eclogues where pinguis is applied to a ‘fat’ animal. It occurs in the famous lines of Callimachean inspiration which Apollo addresses to Tityrus in 6.4-5:
‘pastorem, Tityre, pinguis
pascere oportet ovis, deductum dicere carmen’
- 26 Paschalis 1997, 4-5.
- 27 Solmsen 1912, 34; cf. Wüst 1937, 1609.
23The passage constitutes a striking semantic parallel of 1.33-34: pinguis modifies ‘sheep’ (ovis), which are prospective (sacrificial) victims as in Eclogue 1; but it simultaneously evokes the meaning τυρός in Tityre, forming with the segment –tyre the Greek equivalent (cf. Theocr. Id. 25.106 πίονα τυρόν) of the Latin pinguis … caseus. One could see in this passage a subtextual variation of the ἀπὸ κοινοῦ figure as in Clausen’s double application of pinguis in Eclogue 1, but semantic clusters function anyway independently of grammar and syntax.26 As regards the semantics of pinguis in its relation with Tityre, I would like to add, purely for the sake of information, that Friedrich Solmsen identified in ‘τίτυρος’ the root meaning ‘fat’, the same as in τυρός, and offered various interpretations of the name.27
- 28 The cluster ‘responds’ to lactis … marmoreum … aureus (7.33-36, lines spoken by Thyrsis), which con (...)
- 29 Cf. Celoria 1992, 152.
24Virgil did not return to the semantics of ‘milk and cheese’ in the Eclogues. But the memory of Galatea’s ‘whiteness’ survived in chromatically significant semantic clusters: Galatea … candidior … alba (7.37-38);28 and Galatea … purpureum … varios … flores … candida populus … umbracula (9.39-42). Since Galatea is in both cases a Nereid, it is possible that her ‘whiteness’ is also in some way connected with Eustathius’ derivation of the name from ‘the milk-colored foams of the sea-waves’. Outside the pastoral world the name ‘Galatea’ may suggest ‘shining whiteness’ without any obvious reference to ‘milk’: in Antoninus Liberalis 17 another Γαλάτεια figures as the wife of ‘bright’ Λάμπρος and gives birth to Λεύκιππος, in what is a Greek version of Ovid’s story of Iphis (Met. 9.665-796).29
- 30 Paschalis 1997, 308 and 377-379.
25In connection with the etymological association of Γαλάτεια with sea-foam Richard Hunter observes that “Callimachus uses milk and sea-foam together as examples of pure whiteness” (fr. 260.57 Pfeiffer=Hecale fr. 74.16 Hollis καὶ γάλακτι χροιὴν καὶ κύματος ἄντρῳ ἀώτῳ This is precisely the etymology of ‘Galatea’ evoked in Aeneid 9.102-103: the Nereids Doto and Galatea cleave the ‘foaming’ waves with their ‘breasts’ (qualis Nereia Doto / and Galatea secant spumantem pectore pontum). I discussed this semantic cluster in my monograph on Virgil’s names, in connection with the milk-producing female breast but also in connection with the transformation of the ships into sea-nymphs: the name Galatea reminds the reader that the besieged Trojans were previously compared to sheep and that Cybele protected the ships like a mother-ewe.30
26In another chapter of my book entitled the ‘Pastoral World of Galaesus, Tyrrhus and Almo’ I discussed the pivotal significance of names in the pastoral community of Virgil’s Latium (7.531-539). The stag torn from his mother’s breast is nurtured by Tyrrhus and his two sons, Almo and Galaesus. Tyrrhus is in charge of the king’s herds and manages the royal land; Galaesus is the wealthiest man in sheep, cattle, and land in Latium. In a detailed discussion I explained that the name ‘Galaesus’ suggests γάλα (‘milk’) not only in Horace, Odes 2.6.10 (noted by Nisbet-Hubbard, ad loc.) but also in Virgil, Georgics 4.126 and in several passages of Martial (11.22.1, 12.63.3, 5.37.1-2, 4.28.1-4). In the context of Aeneid 7 the ‘nurturing’ of the stag, the possession of ‘cattle’ and ‘sheep’ and other details suggest for ‘Almo’ and ‘Tyrrhus’ respectivelythe meanings ‘nourishing’ (almus, alo) and ‘cheese’ (τυρός).31
27In chapter 5 of his autobiography (Report to Greco) that records his memories from the elementary school,Nikos Kazantzakis introduces Títyros, his second grade teacher:
Títyros reigned over the second grade; he reigned, poor fellow, but did not govern. He was pale, with small eye-glasses, starched shirt, pointed patent leather shoes worn down at heel, a big hairy nose, and slender fingers yellowed from tobacco. His real name was not Títyros; it was Papadákis. But one day his father, who was a priest, brought him from the village a large head of cheese as a present. “What cheese [Τί τυρός] is this, father?” asked the son. A neighbor who happened to be at the house heard the question and spread the news. The townspeople began to poke fun at him and gave him the nickname Τίτυρος”.
- 32 Stamatiou 1983, 48-51, 63; cf. 138, 203.
- 33 Paschalis 2007.
28Kazantzakis was a man of vast learning. He probably became acquainted with Latin in the École Commerciale Sainte Croix on the island of Naxos (1897-1899), studied it in the Herakleion Gymnasion (1899-1902) and kept in contact with it as a student at the School of Law of Athens University. As regards Virgil, he was taught the Aeneid in the Gymmasion. His library contains two editions of Virgil’s works: C. H. Weise’s, Leipzig 1887; and Otto Ribbeck’s, in usum scholarum, Leipzig 1889. He probably possessed another copy of Virgil, which he sent to his friend and biographer Pandelís Prevelákis in 1938 but the book never reached him. His letters contain quotations from Virgil, Horace, and other Latin authors.32 His deeper acquaintance with the importance of Virgil probably came during the years he was translating Dante’s Divine Comedy into Modern Greek. As I have shown elsewhere, the shaping of Alexis Zorbas as a ‘guide’ of the narrator in Kazantzakis’ most famous novel betrays a debt to the figure of Virgil as Dante’s afterlife guide in canto 1 of the Inferno.33
- 34 Stamatiou 1983, 56, 66.
- 35 The novel (1953) precedes the Report to Greco, which was published posthumously (1960).
29No copy of Theocritus exists in Kazantzakis’ library but in a letter from Vienna he had asked his first wife to send him the Idylls. The library contains, however, a copy of Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe.34 Kazantzakis was, therefore, undoubtedly aware that Tityrus was a pastoral character and most probably knew it from Virgil’s Eclogues. Indirect evidence of his awareness comes from his novel Kapetán Michális (Freedom or Death). In this novel Títyros appears as a fictional character, the brother of Kapetán Michális and a teacher. In chapter 1 the narrator tells briefly the above-mentioned story of the origin of his nickname, which here he attributes to the three malicious spinster sisters of the novel.35 In the immediately preceding paragraph he mentions that the same sisters gave Kapetán Michális, the hero of the novel, the nickname “Wild Boar” (Κάπρος).
30We cannot say if Kazantzakis knew that τίτυρος means ‘he-goat’. Raising goats for their milk, cheese and meat is very common in Cretan rural communities. So if Kazantzakis knew the meaning ‘he-goat’, this would make the association of the name with the ‘cheese from the village’, the pastoral inspiration, and the contrast between ‘domestic’ (Títyros) and ‘wild’ (Kapetán Michális) more telling. Whatever the case, in Virgil’s Eclogues wild boars stand at the other end of Tityrus’ civilized world, dedicated to music-playing, song-making and love. They represent the wild and they are hunted (3.75, 5.76, 7.29, 5.76). Corydon sees in them chaotic nature invading his ordered bucolic life (2.59 liquidis immisi fontibus apros). In pastoral myth the wild boar is primarily known for killing Adonis, whose death is lamented in Theocritus and Bion.
- 36 Beaton 1998, 208 observes that the two bullets that are shot respectively through Kapetán Michális’ (...)
31In the novel the characters of Kapetán Michális and Títyros represent extreme opposites. In the opening paragraph Kapetán Michális is said to resemble a wild boar in every respect: the round dark eyes, the protruding canine tooth, his short rigid neck, his heavy, big-boned strength, and above all his rage that knows no barrier. He is a giant in size, feared and respected by Greeks and Turks alike, of unpredictable mood, and unable to control his passions; but he is also a formidable fighter, struggling for the liberation of Crete as well as for personal salvation. These conflicting features make him a highly complex character. In the last paragraph of the book he is found on the mountains of Selena. All his companions have been killed and he is surrounded by the Turks. A Turk throws over to him his nephew’s cut off head. He raises it high, having a wild gleam on his face. Then two bullets cut short his cry ‘Freedom or [death]’.36 He dies as he lived, ‘a creature of the wild’ (κάπρος), refusing to yield to the surrender offers of the Turks and to the Greeks who advise him ‘in the interest of Crete’.
- 37 Compare the description given above of the real Títyros in the Report to Greco.
- 38 I skip the part that has to do with the development of the character of Títyros in the novel.
32Kapetán Michális despises learning and education, raises his son with the very same ideals, and feels contempt for men of letters, in particular his brother Títyros and his nephew Kosmás (the latter eventually joins him in the mountains and dies at his side; cf. above). Thus though Títyros is no less devoted to the cause of Cretan liberation than all the others, he is the object of general contempt for the fact of being a teacher (δάσκαλος). In appearance also he is the exact opposite of the novel’s hero: ugly, with a deformed body, and of weak constitution.37 He is deeply despised even by the spinster he marries, who prefers the ‘company’ of her brother. In the course of the narrative Kapetán Polyksíngis turns the popular association of ‘Títyros’ with ‘cheese’ into an emblematic image of the man. According to him, the teacher and Idomenéas (the alter ego of Títyros in the novel) gnaw a hole into their books and nibble, looking like two mice nibbling on cheese, like two Títyroi (τρυπώνουν … σαν ποντικοί στο τυρί, Τίτυροι κι οι δυó, και μασουλίζουν …).38
33The fact that Kazantzakis gave a fictional projection to the popular story about ‘Τίτυρος’ meaning ‘What cheese?’ may owe nothing to the semantics of Virgil’s ‘Tityrus’ which I presented above. But it nonetheless reveals the vitality of the Greek language and the power of context to generate (new) meaning which science will not see or will not recognize. The competent and experienced reader will no doubt make the connection of Kazantzakis’ Τίτυρος with the Σάτυρος of the Alexander Romance, and he may in the end even become willing to recognize ‘cheese and milk’ in the Virgilian relationship between ‘Tityrus and Galatea’.