Friday, May 25

Names from the Poetry Basket

Rome poems

I love it when making a small, easy change to your living space changes the way you interact with your Stuff-with-a-capital-S. My husband and I have a ton of books and a small apartment, so we've had to get creative about where we keep them. The non-fiction section's in the kitchen, books on religion & spirituality (we have a lot for an atheist and agnostic) are in a hutch in the living room, Roman and Russian history have recently been relegated to the storage closet and fiction fills an entire wall in our bedroom and all the gaps everywhere else. 

A recent spring-cleaning induced alphabetization further organized things and brought to light something I wasn't even really aware of  — we have a lot of poetry books. I wanted to group them together, but with no spare shelf space, I decided to throw them all in a friendly little woven basket from Japan. The basket's at the top of the stairs and props open the baby gate when we aren't using it. 

Since making this change I've found myself grabbing a poetry book before I hop in the bath or run errands  or, like last night, just grabbing the whole thing and leafing through them. A lot of them are my husband's, and I've never even cracked them open. 

I read some of The Last Poets of Imperial Rome, and much to my naming delight there was a handy list of people, places and useful vocab words at the end. Here are some of my favorite finds — 

Achan — member of Joshua's party; brought disaster by his sin against God's mysterious law; after his death divine wrath was turned aside 
Aethon — literally "burning," one of Pluto's horses
Alastor — another of Pluto's horses (guess the guy had a few)
Amalek — leader of the Amalekites, hereditary enemies of the Israelites
Arcadius — son of Theodosius; became Augustus in AD 382 
Attalus — became a puppet emperor under the Goths  
Brennus — leader of the Gauls who defeated the Romans
Coeus — a titan; father of Latona 
Crocus — a youth who became a saffron blossom   
Cynthus — mountain in Delos; birthplace of Diana & Apollo 
Daphnis — son of Mercury and a Sicilian shepherdess 
Ebro — river in northeast Spain
Elz — river in Belgic Gaul
Eryx — mountain in northwest Sicily
Faun — a woodland deity
Geryon — a three-headed monster 
Hyperion — a titan; either the sun or its father 
Lucillus — father of Decius, a Roman hero and statesman; a satirist
Munio — Italian river south of Graviscae
Neckar — river in Germany
Nims — river in Belgic Gaul
Quintilian — surname of Marcus Fabius Quintilian, famous rhetorician
Ruwar — tributary of the Moselle
Sauer — river flowing to the Moselle
Senate — Rome's legislative body
Sidon — coast city in Phoenicia
Tarn — river in Gaul
Toulouse — city in south of France
Trier — city on the Moselle
Turnus — Roman satirist during the time of Domitian

Aganippe — a fountain on Mt Helicon; sacred to the muses of poetical inspiration 
Aisne — river in northwest France 
Amyclae — town in Sparta; residence of Tyndarus; birthplace of Castor & Pollux; renowned for its temple and Colossus of Apollo 
Bellona — Roman goddess of war
Bissula — servant girl in the house of Ausonius, she had a nice poem: "Bissula, gentle girl with the rustic name" 
Caere — Etrurian town originally called Agylla 
Camerina  — town on the border of Picenum
Canace — daughter of Aeolus 
Caspia — area on the Caspian sea   
Charante — river in France
Cosa — ancient Etrurian town near the coast 
Cybele — originally a Phrygian goddess; later worshipped at Rome by priests called galli  
Dione — mother of Venus
Dirce — a spring in Boeotia; also a Theban princess 
Electra — daughter of Pleione and Atlas; mother of Dardanus by Jupiter; one of the seven Pleiades; Prosperine's nurse
Faleria — for Falese, in Italy 
Garonne — river in southwest France
Gela — city on south coast of Sicily 
Henna — ancient city on Sicily from which Pluto carried off Prosperine
Ida — range of mountains in south of Phyrgia 
Ilva — island in the Mediterranean (modern Elba)
Io — daughter of Inachus, King of Argus; Zeus fell in love with her and changed her into a cow 
Moselle — river in northeast France 
Mylae — port city of northeast Sicily 
Nava —German river
Prüm — river in Belgic Gaul 
Psamathe — a spring or fountain; a sea nymph
Rhodope — Thessalian mountain range
Semele — daughter of Cadmus; mother of Dionysus
Tethys — titaness; wife of Oceanus
Themis — titaness; mother of Prometheus, the seasons and the fates 
Thessally — area of east central Greece
Truth — a divine title


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