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Phaenomena

By Aratus
Translated by Aaron Poochigian

After the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Phaenomena was the most widely read poem in the ancient world. Its fame was immediate. It was translated into Latin by Ovid and Cicero and quoted by St. Paul in the New Testament, and it was one of the few Greek poems translated into Arabic.

Aratus’ Phaenomena is a didactic poem—a practical manual in verse that teaches the reader to identify constellations and predict weather. The poem also explains the relationship between celestial phenomena and such human affairs as agriculture and navigation.

Despite the historical and pedagogical importance of the poem, no English edition suitable for students and general readers has been available for decades. Aaron Poochigian’s lively translation makes accessible one of the most influential poets of antiquity. Poochigian's interpretation of the Phaenomena reestablishes the ancient link between poetry and science and demonstrates that verse is an effective medium for instruction.

Featuring references to Classical mythology and science, star charts of the northern and southern skies, extensive notes, and an introduction to the work’s stylistic features and literary reception, this dynamic work will appeal to students of Ancient Greece who want to deepen their understanding of the Classical world.

About the Authors

Aaron Poochigian is an adjunct professor of languages and literature at Brooklyn College.

Reviews

Those who always wanted to read the Phaenomena in translation, but never came round to doing it will be pleased with this accessible, nimble translation in flowing English couplets, which conveys the pleasure of Aratus well. Both the introduction and the notes are up-to-date, clear, and useful.

- Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Endorsement

The translation is full of linguistic verve and lively intelligence—thoroughly attractive and rewarding to read. The concise and helpful commentary is a further boon.

- John Fitch, University of Victoria

Poochigian here gives us an Aratus for our own time, turned in witty heroic couplets which fittingly recall Pope's didactic poems, decently faithful to the original, and helpfully introduced and annotated... This lively and polished version illuminates why this potentially austere cataloguepoem was so enthusiastically read for so many centuries, and it is to be warmly welcomed.

- Times Literary Supplement

Poochigan won't be beat for readability.

- Daryn Lehoux - Journal of BJHS
Johns Hopkins University Press
Johns Hopkins New Translations from Antiquity
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