Patching up the New Naso

The first Antigone competition: now closed (good luck!)

We here at Antigone have always planned to host competitions covering all possible subjects relating to the Ancient Greek and Roman worlds. What we had not planned, if we are honest, is that our first competition would be about a text that the world had never seen before not seen for some two millennia. We speak, of course, of the Giggleswick Fragment, now known among academic circles and in the popular press as the “New Naso“.

All of the team who were consulted about the discovery took the significance of the fragment very seriously indeed from day one; a few dozen, in fact, were keen to write to Mr António Guterres in the hope that he could make Giggleswick-Settle a UNESCO World Heritage Site by fiat. In the end, wiser counsel prevailed, and we instead commissioned a series of scholarly articles on the fragment, along with a critical text, introduction (translated here) and critical apparatus. Having made these early inroads, we believe that we now have most of the academic community behind us, but there of course remain the predictable sceptics.


To help advance our researches, we would like to invite the wider Antigone community to “patch up” the start of the New Naso. You will recall that, according to Ralph’s apparently faithful transcription, the twenty complete lines of Ovid are preceded by the closing words of a couplet which seem to speak of a god-warding gourd: <c>ucumi terrificante deos, ‘with a cucumber terrifying the gods [?]’. It is entirely unclear whether Ovid is broaching this unusual subject directly or speaking with the poetic privilege of metaphor. So please help us:

Write the four couplets (eight lines) that Ovid very probably wrote before the start of the New Naso fragment, so as to end with this curiously cucumbric close.


Entries are accepted, from anyone anywhere in the world, in two categories:

(i) Latin elegiacs in the “textbook” style of the New Naso fragment (i.e. Ovid)

or

(ii) Rhyming English verse in the style of the “Skylark of Oxford”, whose translation appears here.

The winning entries will lead plausibly and seemlessly into the rest of the New Naso, and thus be eligible for professional acceptance as the work of Naso / Alaudangor. Each of the winners will have their poem published on this site and (thanks to the generosity of a devoted reader) will also win £200, thus getting their monumentum aesque perennius.


If you wish to have a crack, please do us the honour of emailing your entry to competition@antigonejournal.com by the end of Sunday 25 April (2021!). The judges, drawn from the cutting edge of our New Naso panel, will review the entries anonymously and announce the winners on Friday 30 April. We will publish a selection of the best efforts on the site, so do brace yourself for stardom before you press ‘Send’.