I do not care about the wealth of Gyges

One of the Anacreonta (number 8 in the Loeb Greek Lyric 2 volume by David Campbell).  They’re marginally prettier in Greek than English and better in both for the atmospheric ethos than expression.  This one’s opening pulls from Archilochus 19 (οὔ μοι τὰ Γύγεω τοῦ πολυχρύσου μέλει).

οὔ μοι μέλει τὰ Γύγεω,
τοῦ Σάρδεων ἄνακτος·
οὐδ᾿ εἷλέ πώ με ζῆλος,
οὐδὲ φθονῶ τυράννοις.
ἐμοὶ μέλει μύροισιν
καταβρέχειν ὑπήνην,
ἐμοὶ μέλει ῥόδοισιν
καταστέφειν κάρηνα·
τὸ σήμερον μέλει μοι,
τὸ δ᾿ αὔριον τίς οἶδεν;
ὡς οὖν ἔτ᾿ εὔδι᾿ ἔστιν,
καὶ πῖνε καὶ κύβευε
καὶ σπένδε τῷ Λυαίῳ,
μὴ νοῦσος, ἤν τις ἔλθῃ,
λέγῃ, ‘σὲ μὴ δεῖ πίνειν.’

I do not care about the wealth of Gyges, lord of Sardis: I have never envied him, and I have no grudge against tyrants. I care about drenching my beard with perfumes, I care about garlanding my head with roses; I care about today: who knows tomorrow? So while skies are still cloudless drink, play dice and pour libation to Lyaeus, lest some disease come and say, ‘You must not drink.’

That disease for me is called high blood pressure.

Putting on the corslet

Reminds me of English ‘tie one on’ which I’ve learned in the last few minutes has a disputed origin.  I thought there was an even closer idiom – ‘lace one up’ – but either I’m inventing it or it’s in another language.

477 Schol. Ar. Ach. 1133a (p. 141 Wilson)

διὰ τὸ θερμαίνειν οὖν τὸ στῆθος

θωρήσσειν

λέγουσι τὸ μεθύειν καὶ <ἀκρο>θώρακας τοὺς ἀκρομεθύσους ἐκάλουν. κέχρηται δὲ τῇ λέξει καὶ Ἀνακρέων. ἐστὶ δὲ Ἀττική.

cf. Sud. Θ 441 (ii 724 Adler), Zonar. 1068s.


477 Scholiast on Aristophanes, Acharnians

So since being drunk heats the breast they call it

putting on the corslet;

and they used to call the slightly drunk ‘top-corsleted’. Anacreon uses the expression, and it is Attic.

A Turtle, a Horse, and a Courtesan Walk into a Bar

And all in the same way

Homeric Hymn to Hermes lines 25-28:

Ἑρμῆς τοι πρώτιστα χέλυν τεκτήνατ᾽ ἀοιδόν:
ἥ ῥά οἱ ἀντεβόλησεν ἐπ᾽ αὐλείῃσι θύρῃσι
βοσκομένη προπάροιθε δόμων ἐριθηλέα ποίην,
σαῦλα ποσὶν βαίνουσα:

For it was Hermes who first made the tortoise a singer. The creature fell in his way at the courtyard gate, where it was feeding on the rich grass before the dwelling, waddling along. (Hugh Evelyn-White translation)

Hermes it was who first crafted the singing tortoise. He encountered it at the yard entrance as it grazed on the lush grass in front of the dwelling, sidling along on its legs. (M.L. West translation)

Semonides 18 :

Etymologicum Genuinum

διασαυλούμενος: putting on airs and having an affected manner . . . from σαῦλος which means effeminate and haughty. Cf. Semonides in iambics:

with mincing gait and arched neck like a horse’s


διασαυλούμενος· ἁβρυνόμενος καὶ διαθρυπτόμενος . . . παρὰ τὸν σαῦλον τὸν τρυφερὸν καὶ γαῦρον. Σιμωνίδης ἐν ἰάμβοις·

καὶ σαῦλα βαίνων ἵππος ὣς †κορωνίτης. (David Campbell translation)

Anacreon 168:

Διονύσου σαῦλαι Βασσαρίδες

The hip-swaying Bassarids of Dionysus (David Campbell translation)