Apart from the work on the translation of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, according to the words of E. Sprostranov, today there are certain indications that Prlichev also worked on the translation of a hymn by Callimachus[1]. The result of this undertaking of his was considered irreversibly lost in our science for a long time until Georgi Stalev made the assumption that the verses entitled Hymn to Callimachus, (Гимнъ Каллимаха) was a translation of “one of the versions of the hymn to Demeter”.[2] The inspection of the manuscript showed that the work of Callimachus, on which Prlichev worked and which Sprostranov reports on, is, in fact, a translation of the hymn To Demeter by the Hellenistic poet Callimachus, written in the poetics of the hymnal songs as a dedication to the goddess Demeter.

From the inspection of this manuscript, which today is kept in DARM (State Archive of the Republic of Macedonia) under no. 1.831.1.8/307, it can be concluded that Prlichev made the translation during his teaching in Thessaloniki in 1889, in the so-called general Slavic language with a very pronounced presence of Russisms. The text is written in purple ink on both sides of a sheet of paper in the format 21 cm x 28 cm. On the front of the sheet, in addition to the date and place of the translation, Prlichev gives the information on the literary type of the work and its author: Hymn by Callimachus, (Гимнъ Каллимаха), and immediately afterwards the title of the work is given, which Prlichev cites according to both literary traditions, as To Demeter (Димитра), the Hellenic goddess of wheat, abundance and fertility, and as To Ceres (Церера), according to the equivalent of this deity in Roman mythology.

What is very interesting to mention is that this manuscript was published in our country by Naum Celakoski in 1993, in a selection of previously unpublished works and materials by Grigor Prlichev, on the occasion of the centenary of his death[3]. In the notes to this publication, Celakoski, in addition to numerous explanations about the deities, also refers to the rich literary tradition dedicated to Demeter and expresses the conviction that “Prlichev probably had the opportunity, based on the work of Callimachus, to compose this poem.”[4] This unequivocally points to the conclusion that the editor, in reading the text and translating the verse into literary Macedonian language, in which, as it is stated in one of the notes, he was assisted by Pande Kostadinovski, approached this work as an original text, which Prlichev created deeply inspired by the themes from ancient mythology.

A comparative analysis of Prlichev’s translation of Callimachus’ hymn To Demeter shows major deviations from the original. They apply equally to both abbreviations, as well as versification in translating. Out of the total of 138 verses, as the original text of this hymn contains in the heroic dactyl hexameter, Prlichev translated the work with a volume of 76 verses composed in iambic pentameter. However, the performance of the translation in terms of poetic images, and according to the lexical material as well, leaves the impression that Prlichev managed to capture the effect of the ancient poem, which Callimachus composed according to the pattern of Homeric hymns.

[*] The text is an excerpt from the monograph Дарин Ангеловски, Античката литература во македонската културна средина (културно општествени и преводни аспекти), (Darin Angelovski, Ancient Literature in the Macedonian Cultural Environment (Cultural, Social and Translation Aspects), Institute of Macedonian Literature, Skopje, 2020, 165-168.

[1] Callimachus (Kallímachos), born in Cyrene, North Africa, circa 305-240 BC was a Hellenic poet and philologist. As one of the most influential poets and philologists of the ancient world, he exerted a substantial influence not only on the later development of ancient (Hellenic and Roman) literature, but also on the European literary tradition. The works of this remarkable literary author from the Hellenistic period contain such literary insights that today can rightly be considered as a kind of literary-critical views on ancient literature and its history. Among them, the attitudes with which Callimachus gives preference to the short poetic works created on the basis of Hesiod’s didactic works attract attention, thus rejecting the inclination towards the great epic works composed in the poetics of the Cyclic poets or towards Homer’s epics.

Callimachus composed the hymn To Demeter during the reign of Ptolemy II and it is considered one of the earliest hymns that this poet wrote in honour of various deities and places. The hymn was written with a touch of the Doric dialect of the Hellenic language in the rhythm of the heroic dactyl hexameter characteristic of the ancient Hellenic epic poetry.

[2] Георги Сталев, Творечкиот лик на Григор Прличев, ИМЛ, Скопје, 2005, 133.

[3] Григор Прличев, Водач ме праќа татковината, избор, поговор и коментари д-р Наум Целакоски, Скопје, Матица македонска, 1993, 41–44.

[4] Ibid, 41.

AuthorDarin Angelovski
2021-08-17T20:59:14+00:00 August 15th, 2021|Categories: Essays, Literature, Blesok no. 138 - 139|0 Comments