Syntychia

Themes

Quotations from Charalambides have been translated by M. Pavlou

*We keep the Greek title “Συντυχία” as it could be interpreted in two different ways; on the one hand it means ‘Coincidence’, on the other, it bears the meaning ‘Conversation’. The poem under discussion is both: it refers to a coincidental event (an interesting comment that Charalambides comes across in Seferis’ notes), while at the same time it is a ‘conversation’ with Seferis.

 

Lines 13-17

Remember of the performance of Euripides:

Whilst the Parthians were staging the Bacchae

suddenly intrudes into their theatre

a lame messenger holding

Crassus’ head and hand.

The poem is a homage to George Seferis, a poet who visited and loved Cyprus, and devoted his Logbook III to the island’s history, traditions, and lore. Near the end of the poem Charalambides makes a cursory reference to the Bacchae of Euripides, in relation to an event that took place in the 1st century AD between the Romans and the Parthians, and which is attested by Plutarch (Crass. 33.3). In his notes on the poem Charalambides informs us that he derived this piece of information from Seferis’ correspondence with George Theotokas. According to Plutarch, who reports the event, when the Roman general Marcus Crassus was killed during the expedition against the Parthians, the latter cut his head and brought it to their king, who during that time was watching with his courtier an actor performing various scenes from Euripides’ Bacchae. When the soldiers entered the room with Crassus’ head, the actor took the head and pompously performed the scene where Agave receives Pentheus’ cut head.

Language

Characters

Bibliography

 Μ. Tsianikas, “Hμερολόγιο Καταστρώματος Δ ή Κέστος της Μεσαρκάς”, Porphyras 124 (Jul. – Sept. 2007) 243-54 [Read the article here]

 

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