aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Phaedrus, Fables 3.11

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eunuchus litigabat cum quodam improbo,
qui super obscena dicta et petulans iurgium
damnum insectatus est amissi corporis.
‘en’ ait ‘hoc unum est cur laborem validius,
integritatis testes quia desunt mihi.
sed quid Fortunae, stulte, delictum arguis?
id demum est homini turpe quod meruit pati.’

A eunuch was suing an impudent man who, as well as obscene remarks and insolent abuse, cast insults at him because of the loss his body had suffered. ‘Hey!’ said the eunuch, ‘The only reason why I’m labouring rather hard is that I lack witnesses to my integrity. But why, you idiot, do you reprove me for the fault of Fortune? It is only shameful for a man if his suffering is well deserved.’

The point of this tale is that there’s a none-too-subtle pun on ‘integritatis testes’ – which can also mean ‘the testicles that would make me complete’.

Written by aleatorclassicus

December 9, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Phaedrus

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