Technically it’s Pagan Values Blogging Month, which I’m not officially doing this year. My friend Niki has been going through some of the Delphic Maxims over on her blog (which, if you don’t read, you really should!!) for quite a while, as have some other pagan bloggers, and I’ve thought about doing it — but it wasn’t until I found myself digging out my old Greek dictionary and textbook from college to look at the original of the maxim she did last Monday that I realized no, I really do want to do this. Me and my decade-old Classical Greek are gonna take a stab at first translating/analyzing the words of the maxims and then reacting to them. (If you find my comment on her entry you’ll see I disagree with the translation provided for the maxim she was looking at)
So here we go!
The first maxim in the list here (which is the one I’m using) is: Επου θεω. Loosely transliterated, that’s epoo theaw.
Now, θεω is easy – that’s the dative singular form of θεον, which is “god.”
Επου is the present imperative of the verb επομαι — which means “follow” and is related to the verb επω, be engaged, attend, obey, understand. So, “Follow god” is a decent translation, I’d say.
But what does that mean? The ancient Greeks had multiple gods, for one thing, but this just means “a god.” NOT “God,” in a monotheistic sense. I might actually say the meaning is more “engage with the divine” or “follow the divine,” which is definitely a sentiment I can get behind. I have multiple shrines in my home for various deities. I say prayers and make offerings to them, and generally try to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship with them.
I’d say that having a relationship with (a) god, however one perceives him/her/it to be, is a good thing. I am down with this maxim, for sure.