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Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
Join Date: 07 Jul 2003
Location: Béziers, France
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Ross G Caldwell 

Francesco Filelfo also makes use of Horapollo in his commentary on Petrarch's sonnets and canzoni.

In his commentary on Sonnet 8 - "A pie de colli: ove la bella vesta" - he gets into a discussion of lust at the end: "Partridges are lustful birds, not only in the manner of the male with the female, but, according to what the naturalists write, these males instead together perform the vice against nature. For this reason the Egyptians, before letters were discovered, when they wanted to represent such a vice, figured two such partridges." (Le pernice sono animali luxuriosi in modo che non solamente il maschia usa la femina: ma etiamdio, secondo che scriveno i naturali, essi maschi essendo invechiati usano insieme nel vicio contra natura. Et per questa cagione gli Egyptii prima che le lettere trovate fusseno volendo significare tale vicio figuravano due si facte pernice)

(for an old translation of part of this sonnet, see - )

The mention of Egyptians made me suspect Horapollo. Googling "Horapollo" and "partridge" brought up a result with explained both "the naturalists" and "the Egyptians": "'Pliny says 'in no other animal [the partridge] is there such susceptibility in the sexual feelings', and that when the female is sittting on her eggs the cocks relieve their emotions by practising sodomy'. Although Horapollo 106 confirms this homosexuality, his explanation differs: 'when these birds lose their mates, they abuse each other.'" (Williams quoting Graves here)

(link to page 999, s.v. "Partridge", in Gordon Williams, A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature - )

Okay. Editions seem to differ on numbering, but searching "when these birds lose their mates" in Google Books brought up a translation (George Boas, 1950) where it is Horapollo bk. II, number 95: "PEDERASTY. When they wish to indicate pederasty, they draw two partridges. For when these birds lose their mates, they abuse each other."

(Link to George Boas translation of the Hieroglyphics - )

The 1840 translation by Alexander Turner Cory, presented at Sacred Texts .com, at least translates the delicate subject matter into Latin rather than bowdlerizing the book entirely: "XCV. QUOMODO PAEDICATIONEM. [Pos Paiderastian] Pĉdicationem designantes, geminas perdices pingunt: quĉ cum viduĉ sunt, se invicem abutuntur." (note it is also chapter 95 - where did Graves get 106 from?)
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