aleator classicus

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Archive for January 2013

Catullus, 52

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quid est, Catulle? quid moraris emori?
sella in curuli Struma Nonius sedet,
per consulatum peierat Vatinius:
quid est, Catulle? quid moraris emori?

What is it, Catullus? Why are you putting off dying? Nonius Struma is sitting in the curule chair, Vatinius is perjuring himself by the consulship. What is it, Catullus? Why are you putting off dying?

There’s word-play in moraris emori, and the name Stroma also means ‘tumour’.

Written by aleatorclassicus

January 31, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Catullus

Archilochus, fr.133

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οὔτις αἰδοῖος μετ’ ἀστῶν καὶ περίφημος θανὼν
γίνεται· χάριν δὲ μᾶλλον τοῦ ζοοῦ διώκομεν
οἱ ζοοί, κάκιστα δ’ αἰεὶ τῷ θανόντι γίνεται.

No one is respected among the citizens when he is dead, not even if he is well known. But rather we living curry the favour of the living, and things are always worst for the dead.

Written by aleatorclassicus

January 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Archilochus

Horace, Art of Poetry 390

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Horace urges authors to avoid publishing their work too precipitately.

nescit vox missa reverti.

A word once uttered cannot be recalled.

Written by aleatorclassicus

January 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Horace

[Homer], Margites fr.2

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The comic epic Margites was often attributed to Homer, probably wrongly (although, to be fair, attributing anything to a single person called ‘Homer’ probably doesn’t make much sense anyway…). As we learn here, the poem’s hero was the very opposite of the cunning Odysseus ‘of many wiles’:

τὸν δ’ οὔτ’ ἂρ σκαπτῆρα θεοὶ θέσαν οὔτ’ ἀροτῆρα,
οὔτ’ ἄλλως τι σοφόν· πάσης δ’ ἠμάρτανε τέχνης.

The gods did not make him a digger or a ploughman, or wise at all in anything else: he failed at every skill.

Written by aleatorclassicus

January 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in anonymi, Homer

Tacitus, Annals 15.22

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Bad omens in the later part of Nero’s reign.

isdem consulibus gymnasium ictu fulminibus conflagravit, effigies in eo Neronis ad informe aes liquefacta. et motu terrae celebre Campaniae oppidum Pompei magna ex parte proruit; defunctaque virgo Vestalis Laelia, in cuius locum Cornelia ex familia Cossorum capta est.

While the same consuls were in office [i.e. AD 62], a gymnasium was struck by lightning and burned down, and a statue of Nero which was in it melted into a shapeless lump of bronze. And Pompeii, a populous town in Campania, largely collapsed in an earthquake. And Laelia, a Vestal Virgin, died; in her place Cornelia, from the family of the Cossi, was chosen.

Written by aleatorclassicus

January 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Tacitus