Flood Narratives

Winter                                                          Seed Catalog Moon

Hmmm.  I do like it when I’m scratching my head and I turn to the commentary to find, “Medieval and modern Latinists could make nothing of this.”  Ah. At least I’m not alone.

Today I’ve started in the tale of Deucalion and Pyrrha.  This is an ancient flood narrative with parallels in Greek authors.  In Ovid Deucalion and Pyrrha end up on the top of Mt. Parnassus and have to rebuild the human race after the flood.  Right now Ovid is still describing the earth as the sea and extensive plains suddenly become water.

I don’t remember if I mentioned yesterday the image of dolphins swimming among the trees.  Nice.  Ships scrape their keels along the tops of hardy oak and mountain peaks.

There is controversial, but not crazy geological evidence for a flood in ancient, ancient times involving the Black Sea, sometime around 5,600 b.c.e.  That’s this corner of the world and, of course, the Middle East is nearby, too.

Interestingly, in earlier translation work I ran across the Latin word, ararat.  This is the pluperfect singular of a verb which means to plough or to till.  It can also mean to cultivate land.  Could the “flood” have been a period of wandering due to some natural disaster, maybe a flood, that resulted in Jews ending up on new land to farm?  Don’t recall enough of my studies in Genesis to know if this is probable or not, but the Latin is suggestive.

I don’t know enough about the hebrew word or the Latin translation of it either.  This is probably a coincidence, but it’s a weird one if it is.

This entry was posted in Latin, Literature, Myth and Story, Translating Metamorphoses, Weather +Climate, World History. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.