November 21, 2019

Cretensis mare

Ὁ Κρὴς τὴν θάλασσαν: "A Cretan to the sea," i.e., unfamiliar with the sea or fearful of it. Strabo gives this proverb in Geography, book 10, explaining that in ancient times, the people of Crete were unsurpassed in navigation and other maritime matters through their long experience. And so "The Cretan knows nothing of the sea" became proverbial for people who feign ignorance of something they know extremely well. For Cretans are islanders. The sea girds them on every side. How could they be ignorant of it?

An alternate form of this expression is Ὁ Κρὴς [δὴ] τὸν πόντον. Aristides uses it in regard to Pericles, and Zenodotus (sic) writes that it is somewhere in Alcaeus. An analogous expression is found in Horace's epistle to Octavian: "I, who pretend not to be composing verses, / am more deceptive than a Parthian in my designs." This is because the Parthians would launch their fiercest attacks by pretending to run away.

Erasmus, Adages

November 15, 2019

If on Astor Place

Flyer by Jay Grabowski

November 7, 2019

ِA loom seen in a dream

Weaving means travel. The preacher Abu Sa‘id [al-Khargushi] said: "Who dreams of spinning and weaving something to its completion will die." Al-Kirmani said: "Who dreams of weaving a robe to completion will go on a long journey with a successful outcome. To dream of a robe left incomplete means the opposite. To dream of weaving a robe and cutting it in a way that mars its border means an abrupt end to some affair." Al-Salimi said: "The interpretation of weaving is anxiety and mental effort, but if the weaving is completed it means an end to all of that. To dream of a group of weavers in one's home means a legal battle against multiple contestants, possibly one's own relations."
        A dream of fabric has multiple interpretations. Who dreams of folding cloth or buying it or receiving it as a gift will go on a long journey. This is due to [homonymy: al-shuqqa means "fabric," but also "journey" as in] the Qur'anic verse (9:24): "But distant to them was the journey." Al-Kirmani said: "A dream of green fabric means safe travels. A dream of yellow fabric means travel with a bad outcome. White fabric means safety and health, and blue and black fabric mean travel that is dispraised." And according to some interpreters, a dream of receiving woven fabric as a gift from someone means that friendship will develop with that person.

From A Digest of Pronunciations on the Exegesis of Dreams
by pseudo-Ibn Sirin (on the margin)
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Weaving in a dream is a sign of passing out of life, or the nearness of the end to one's allotted days. It may also signify a middling condition, or [alternating periods] of tension and relaxation in worldly matters. To dream of setting up a warp means to decide on travel, and to dream of weaving a robe means actual travel. If one dreams of cutting fabric after weaving it, then some case in which the dreamer is a contestant will come to an end, either in the dreamer's favor or contrary to it. Whether one dreams of weaving the robe from cotton, wool, the hair or down of goats, or silk or anything else, it all means the same. To dream of a folded robe means travel, and to unfurl a robe means that something absent will become present. To command that a robe be woven from goat's down signifies a matter of domestic help, possibly involving sexual intercourse.

From Perfuming Humankind with Dream Interpretation
by ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi (in the frame)

November 1, 2019

November memories

Columbus, OH, 2015