ΦΙΛΟΣΤΡΑΤΟΥ ΕΠΙΣΤΟΛΑΙ ΕΡΩΤΙΚΑΙ1
Τὰ ῥόδα ὥσπερ πτεροῖς τοῖς φύλλοις ἐποχούμενα ἐλθεῖν παρὰ σὲ σπουδὴν ἐποιήσατο.3 ὑπόδεξαι αὐτὰ εὐμενῶς, ἢ ὡς Ἀδώνιδος ὑπομνήματα ἢ ὡς Ἀφροδίτης βαφὴν ἢ ὡς γῆς ὄμματα. ἀθλητῇ μὲν οὖν κότινος πρέπει καὶ βασιλεῖ μεγάλῳ ὀρθὴ ἡ4 τιάρα καὶ στρατιώτῃ λόφος, καλῷ δὲ μειρακίῳ
- 1Φιλοστράτου ἐπιστολαὶ ἐρωτικαί 2, two mss. of second group of 1, Φιλοστράτου Ἀθηναίου ἐπιστολαί first group of 1, one ms. of second group of 1. The third group of 1 divides the letters into two sections (28–39; 34, 46–47, 50, 54–56, 58–64), entitling the first section Φιλοστράτου Ἀθηναίου ἐπιστολαί and the second section Φιλοστράτου ἐπιστολαὶ ἑταιρικαί (see above, p. 396). Suidas, s.v. Φιλόστρατος, gives the title as Ἐπιστολαὶ ἐρωτικαί.
- 2These vague inscriptions are generally thought to be late additions. This letter is a companion piece to Letter 2 (cf. Münscher, pp. 528–536).
- 3ἐποιήσαντο 1, one ms. of 2.
- 4ὀρθὴ ἡ Bentley: ποθητὴ 1, πορθητῇ 2.
Love Letters of Philostratus
The roses, borne on their leaves as on wings, have made haste to come to you. Receive them kindly, either as mementos of Adonisa or as tinct of Aphroditêb or as eyesc of the earth. Yes, a wreath of wild olive becomes an athlete, a tiara worn upright the Great King,d and a helmet crest a soldier; but roses become a beautiful boy, both because of
- aRoses sprang from the blood of Adonis (Bion i. 64–66). It is probable that most of the cultivated roses of the Greeks were red; see Olck in RE s. v. Gartenbau, Sp. 778.
- bThe red rose owed its colour to the blood of Aphrodite, who pricked her feet on rose thorns as she ran frantically about after learning of Adonis’ death (Tzetzes on Lycophron 831). Cf. below, Letter 4.
- cI.e. “chief adornments.”
- dNo one else was permitted to wear the tiara upright (Xenophon, Anabasis ii. 5. 23).