Guy Davenport to James Laughlin, Halloween 1995:



Autumn evenings, reading Strabo. There's a Greek verb for "sailing in and out of the sinuosities of gulfs" (for the kind of sailing in small boats that doesn't dare lose sight of land). And an adverb for "avoiding most telling a lie." The verbal components fit gtogether like watchworks.

...At Delphi there was an orchestra of lyres and flutes, with singers, that did what sounds like a symphony in seven movements. Nothing is as lost as ancient music.

The Spartans had a marching band of FIFTY silver trumpets.

By Strabo's day (he died when Jesus was 27) the Romans were already carting off all the art they could get their hands on. Strabo always says not "Romans" but "Roman soldiers".

The wonderful old English word for sticks picked up in the wood is estovers.

Philologically,
GUY