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Caput Nonum:
pp. 119-123
pp. 116-119

Caput Octavum:
pp. 112-115
pp. 109-111
pp. 106-108


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Strix and Ovid's Fasti

From Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary:

strix , strĭgis (on the ĭ cf. Lachm. [p. 1767] Lucr. II. p. 36), f., = stri/gc [from stri/zw, tri/zw, the screecher], a screech-owl, which, according to the belief of the ancients, sucked the blood of young children, Plaut. Ps. 3, 2, 31; Ov. F. 6, 133 sq.; Plin. 11, 39, 95, § 232; Tib. 1, 5, 52; Ov. M. 7, 269; Prop. 4 (5), 5, 17; 3 (4, 5), 6, 29; Petr. 134, 1; cf. Fest. p. 314, 33.

This is where the Italian word for witch, strega, comes from.

Ovid's Fasti, Book VI: June Translated by A. S. Kline ©2004

Prima dies tibi, Carna, datur. dea cardinis haec est:
numine clausa aperit, claudit aperta suo.
unde datas habeat vires, obscurior aevo
fama; sed e nostro carmine certus eris.
adiacet antiquus Tiberino lucus Alerni:
pontifices illuc nunc quoque sacra ferunt.

Carna , the first day's yours. Goddess of the hinge:
She opens the closed, by her power, closes the open.
The story of how she gained the powers she has is obscured
By time, but you'll still learn of it from my verse.
There's an ancient grove of Alernus near the Tiber :
And the priests still make sacrifices there.

inde sata est nymphe (Cranaen dixere priores)
nequiquam multis saepe petita procis.
rura sequi iaculisque feras agitare solebat,
[110] nodosasque cava tendere valle plagas;
non habuit pharetram, Phoebi tamen esse sororem
credebant, nec erat, Phoebe, pudenda tibi.
huic aliquis iuvenum dixisset amantia verba,
reddebat tales protinus illa sonos:
'haec loca lucis habent nimis, et cum luce pudoris:
si secreta magis ducis in antra, sequor.'
credulus ante ut iit, frutices haec nacta resistit,
et latet et nullo est invenienda modo.
viderat hanc Ianus, visaeque cupidine captus
[120] ad duram verbis mollibus usus erat.
nympha iubet quaeri de more remotius antrum,
utque comes sequitur, destituitque ducem.
stulta! videt Ianus quae post sua terga gerantur:
nil agis, et latebras respicit ille tuas.
nil agis, en! dixi: nam te sub rupe latentem
occupat amplexu, speque potitus ait
'ius pro concubitu nostro tibi cardinis esto:
hoc pretium positae virginitatis habe.'
sic fatus spinam, qua tristes pellere posset
[130] a foribus noxas (haec erat alba) dedit.
A nymph was born there (men of old called her Cranaë )
Who was often sought in vain by many suitors.
She used to hunt the land, chasing wild beasts with spears,
Stretching her woven nets in the hollow valleys.
She'd no quiver, yet considered herself Apollo's
Sister: nor need you, Apollo, have been ashamed of her.
If any youth spoke words of love to her,
She gave him this answer right away:
'There's too much light here, it's too shameful
In the light: if you'll lead to a darker cave, I'll follow.'
While he went in front, credulously, she no sooner reached
The bushes than she hid: and was nowhere to be found.
Janus saw her, and the sight raised his passion.
He used soft words to the hard-hearted nymph.
She told him to find a more private cave,
Followed him closely: then deserted her leader.
Foolish child! Janus can see what happens behind him:
You gain nothing: he looks back at your hiding place.
Nothing gained, as I said, you see! He caught you, hidden
Behind a rock, clasped you, worked his will, then said:
'In return for our union, the hinges belong to you:
Have them as recompense for your maidenhead.'
So saying he gave her a thorn (it was white-thorn)
With which to drive away evil from the threshold.
sunt avidae volucres, non quae Phineia mensis
guttura fraudabant, sed genus inde trahunt:
grande caput, stantes oculi, rostra apta rapinis;
canities pennis, unguibus hamus inest;
nocte volant puerosque petunt nutricis egentes,
et vitiant cunis corpora rapta suis;
carpere dicuntur lactentia viscera rostris,
et plenum poto sanguine guttur habent.
est illis strigibus nomen; sed nominis huius
[140] causa quod horrenda stridere nocte solent.
sive igitur nascuntur aves, seu carmine fiunt
neniaque in volucres Marsa figurat anus,
in thalamos venere Procae: Proca natus in illis
praeda recens avium quinque diebus erat,
pectoraque exsorbent avidis infantia linguis;
at puer infelix vagit opemque petit.
territa voce sui nutrix accurrit alumni,
et rigido sectas invenit ungue genas.
quid faceret? color oris erat qui frondibus olim
[150] esse solet seris, quas nova laesit hiems.
There are some greedy birds, not those that cheated
Phineus of his meal, though descended from that race:
Their heads are large, their eyes stick out, their beaks
Fit for tearing, their feathers are grey, their claws hooked.
They fly by night, attacking children with absent nurses,
And defiling their bodies, snatched from the cradle.
They're said to rend the flesh of infants with their beaks,
And their throats are full of the blood they drink.
They're called screech-owls, and the reason for the name
Is the horrible screeching they usually make at night.
Whether they're born as birds, or whether they're made so
By spells, old women transformed to birds by Marsian magic,
They still entered Proca 's bedroom. Proca was fresh
Prey for the birds, a child of five days old.
They sucked at the infant's chest, with greedy tongues:
And the wretched child screamed for help.
Scared at his cry, the nurse ran to her ward,
And found his cheeks slashed by their sharp claws.
What could she do? The colour of the child's face
Was that of late leaves nipped by an early frost.
pervenit ad Cranaen, et rem docet. illa 'timorem
pone: tuus sospes' dixit 'alumnus erit.'
venerat ad cunas; flebant materque paterque:
'sistite vos lacrimas, ipsa medebor' ait.
protinus arbutea postes ter in ordine tangit
fronde, ter arbutea limina fronde notat,
spargit aquis aditus (et aquae medicamen habebant)
extaque de porca cruda bimenstre tenet,
atque ita 'noctis aves, extis puerilibus' inquit
[160] 'parcite: pro parvo victima parva cadit.
cor pro corde, precor, pro fibris sumite fibras:
hanc animam vobis pro meliore damus.'
sic ubi libavit, prosecta sub aethere ponit,
quique adsint sacris respicere illa vetat:
virgaque Ianalis de spina subditur alba,
qua lumen thalamis parva fenestra dabat.
post illud nec aves cunas violasse feruntur,
et rediit puero qui fuit ante color.
She went to Cranaë and told her: Cranaë said:
'Don't be afraid: your little ward will be safe.'
She approached the cradle: the parents wept:
'Restrain your tears,' she said, 'I'll heal him.'
Quickly she touched the doorposts, one after the other,
Three times, with arbutus leaves, three times with arbutus
Marked the threshold: sprinkled the entrance with water,
Medicinal water, while holding the entrails of a two-month sow:
And said: 'Birds of night, spare his entrails:
A small victim's offered here for a small child.
Take a heart for a heart, I beg, flesh for flesh,
This life we give you for a dearer life.'
When she'd sacrificed, she placed the severed flesh
In the open air, and forbade those there to look at it.
A 'rod of Janus ', taken from a whitethorn, was set
Where a little window shed light into the room.
After that, they say, the birds avoided the cradle,
And the boy recovered the colour he'd had before.