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THE ANCIENT GREEK MONTH.
I BELIEVE it will be necessary, for the better understanding the following table, to set in a clear light the ancient Greek month, as we may reasonably conclude it stood in the days of Hesiod; confining ourselves to the last book of his Works and Days.' The poet makes the month contain thirty days, which thirty days he divides into three parts: the first he calls ισταμενε, or ισταμενω μηνος, in the genitive case, because of some other word which is commonly joined requiring it to be of that case; the root of which solul or tolaw, signifies, 'I erect, I set up, I settle,' &c. and Henry Stephens interprets the words olaμev8 μnvos, ineunte mense, the entrance of the month, in which sense the poet uses them; which entrance is the first decade, or first ten days. The second he calls μεσεντος, which is from μεσοω, 6 I am in the midst,' meaning the middle decade of the month. The third part he calls φθονοντις, from φθινω, which is from iw, or few, I waste away,' meaning the decline, or last decade of the month. Sometimes these words are used in the nominative case.
Before I leave these remarks, I shall show the manner of expression of one day in each decade,
from the last book of our poet, which will give a clear idea of all
Εκλη δ' η μεοσση μαλ' ασύμφορος εςι φυτοισιν.
The middle sixth is unprofitable to plants.'
'Keep in your mind to shun the fourth of the entrance and end' of the month. That is, the fourth of the entrance or first decade, and the fourth of the end or last decade.
It is proper to observe, that those days which are blanks, are by our poet called indifferent days, days of no importance, either good or bad. It is likewise remarkable, that he makes some days both holidays and working days, as the fourth, fourteenth, and twentieth; but, to clear this, Le Clerc tells us, from our learned countryman, Selden, that ispov uap, though literally a holiday,' does not always signify a festival, but often a day propitious to us in our undertakings.
THE ANCIENT GREEK MONTH,
AS IN THE LAST BOOK OF THE
WORKS AND DAYS OF HESIOD.
1. Day of Decade 1. Holiday.
4. Holiday. Propitious for marriage, and for repairing ships. A day of troubles.
5. In which the furies take their round.
6. Unhappy for the birth of women. Propitious for the birth of men, for gelding the kid and the ram, and for penning the sheep.
7. The birthday of Apollo. A holiday.
8. Geld the goat and the steer. 9. Propitious quite through.
Happy for the birth of both sexes. A day to plant in. 10. Propitious to the birth of men.
1. Day of Decade 11. or 11th of the month. To
2. For women to ply the loom; for the men to shear the sheep and geld the mule.
3. A day to plant in, and not to sow. 4. Propitious for the birth of women. mule and the ox. Teach your dog and your sheep to know you. Pierce the cask. A ho
6. A day unlucky for the marriage and birth of Propitious for the birth of men, and
7. Thrash the corn, and fell the wood.
9. Luckiest in the afternoon.
10. Happy for the birth of men. the morning.
Most propitious in
1. Day of Decade 111. or 21st of the month.
9. Yoke the ox, the mule, and the horse. Fill the vessels. Launch the ship.
10. Look over the business of the whole month; and pay the servants their wages.
THE WORKS AND DAYS.
SECTION 1. The Introduction.
Now we have gone through the Works and Days,' it may possibly contribute in some degree to the profit and delight of the reader, to take a view of the poem, as we have it delivered down to us. I shall first consider it as an ancient piece, and, in that light, enter into the merit and esteem that it reasonably obtained among the ancients : the authors who have been lavish in their commendations of it are many; the greatest of the Roman writers in prose, Cicero, has more than once expressed his admiration for the system of morality contained in it; and the deference the greatest Latin poet has paid to it, I shall show in my comparison of the Works and Days with the Latin Georgic; nor is the encomium paid by Ovid to our poet to be passed over.
Vivet et Ascræus, dum mustis uva tumebit,
While swelling clusters shall the vintage stain,
Eleg. xv. Book i.