aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Martial, Epigrams 12.69

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sic tanquam tabulas scyphosque, Paule,
omnes archetypos habes amicos.

You think all your friends are the genuine article, Paulus, just like your paintings and cups.

Paulus, then, has been taken in not only by ‘friends’ who are just after his money – he’s clearly rich – but also by people selling him dodgy antiques. But if one understands ‘habes’ in the more straightforward sense ‘have’, I think it’s equally possible to read this as complimentary, which of course adds to the humour of the obvious ironical intention: ‘You have friends who [really] are all genuine, just like your [really genuine] antiques.’ So Martial is himself playing with his addressee’s gullibility.

Written by aleatorclassicus

November 5, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Martial

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