he seems to me the equal of a god / by Anthony Gibbins

Here are the first four and a half lines of Sappho 31, written around 600 BC. Sappho was born on the island of Lesbos, and her appreciation of women is the origin of our word lesbian.

φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν

ἔμμεν' ὤνηρ, ὄττις ἐνάντιός τοι

ἰσδάνει καὶ πλάσιον ἆδυ φωνεί-

σας ὐπακούει

καὶ γελαίσας ἰμέροεν

to me he seems to be equal to the gods,

that man who sits near you, facing you

and hears you

speaking sweetly

laughing delightfully…

Here are the first four and a half lines of Catullus 51. Catullus was born in northern Italy six centuries after the birth of Sappho, and shared his time on the planet with Julius Caesar and Marcus Tullius Cicero.

ille mi par esse deo videtur,

ille, si fas est, superare divos,

qui sedens adversus identidem te

spectat et audit

ducle ridentem…

he seems to me to be equal to a god

he – if I may utter it – surpasses the gods,

he who sits facing you always

and sees and hears you

sweetly laughing…

Catullus’ poem, as you have no doubt gathered, is a translation from an (even then) ancient Greek into Latin. That, of course, is cool in and of itself and requires no further comment. But I was caused to consider it by the use of visum est it seemed on today’s page. visum est is the Perfect Tense of videtur he/she/it seems, that appears in Catullus 51. videtur is the Passive form of videt he/she/it sees. So, ille videtur can mean either that guy seems or that guy is seen. And that is kinda interesting, no? It is a rather strained link for a post, but it’s better - I hope - than no link at all. pax.

'I also,' Claudia responds, 'for I was missing you.' Miranda smiles. 'Your letter pleased me very much. Your journey seemed excellent to me.' 'It was magnificent,' Claudia says.