aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Petronius, Satyrica 34.6

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statim allatae sunt amphorae vitreae diligenter gypsatae, quarum in cervicibus pittacia erant affixa cum hoc titulo: FALERNVM OPIMIANVM ANNORVM CENTVM. dum titulos perlegimus, complosit Trimalchio manus et: ‘eheu,’ inquit, ‘ergo diutius vivit vinum quam homuncio. quare tangomenas faciamus. vita vinum est. verum Opimianum praesto. heri non tam bonum posui, et multo honestiores cenabant.’

At the same moment glass wine-jars were brought in, carefully stopped up with gypsum. On their necks there were tags, with the following label: ‘Falernian. Opimian vintage. One hundred years old.’ While we were reading the labels, Trimalchio clapped his hands together and said, ‘Alas! So wine lives longer than a humanillo. Let’s have a good booze-up then. Wine is life itself. It’s a genuine Opimian, I can vouch for it; I didn’t bring out such a good one yesterday, and there was a much better class of people dining with me.’

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 2, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Petronius

One Response

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  1. As far as I’m aware, no one has ever worked out what ‘tangomenas’ actually means, but I think the general sense is fairly clear. As ‘homuncio’ (a diminutive form of ‘homo’, which I’ve translated ‘a humanillo’) shows, Trimalchio speaks a rather strange idiolect, and this may well be another example of that.


    November 2, 2013 at 10:48 PM

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