Hie New Eroticism

from Quintus Lutätius Catulus (pronounced Cätulus) (c. 150-87 b.c.), an aristocrat who was both a politician and a general, we have two poems that represent a new trend in Latin literature. Roman poets of this time looked for models to contemporary fashions in Greek poetry, which had begun a century and a half earlier with Callimachus and his contemporaries. One popular genre was the erotic epigram, as exemplified here.

a Aufugit mi animus; credo, ut solet, ad Hieotimum devenit. sic est, perfugium illud habet, quid, si non interdixem, ne illunc fugitivum mitteret ad se intro, sed magis eiceret? ibimus quaesitum. verum, ne ipsi teneamur 5

formido. quid ago? da, Venus, consilium.

text The Fragmentary Latin Poets, E. Courtney

(Oxford University Press, 2003) meter elegiac couplet [§ma]

aufii|git m(i) ani|mus || cred(o) | ut solet | ad The6|timum deve|nit sic | est || perfugi(um) | lllud ha|bet a if. The author speaks of his animus (trans, soul or heart) as a runaway slave; aufugit 3 sg. perf. ind. act. aufugio -ere run away; mi (shorter form of mihi) dat. of possessor [§G3o]; ut solet as it is accustomed [to do]; devenit + ad lit., has gone [to stay with], trans, gone off to; Theotlmus -I m. Greek name—both epigrams have a homosexual theme, which was common in Greek poetry of the time; sic est so it is, i.e., this must be what has happened; perfugium -(i)i n. refuge; habet lit., has, trans, avails itself of. 3f. quid, si non interdixem (= interdixissem; interdlco -ere),..! lit., what, [as] if I hadn't forbidden ' (non interdixem is contrary to what happened and hence the subj. is used), i.e., didn't I forbid ...?; what was forbidden is expressed by the indirect command [§G9i] ne illunc (= ilium) ... intro (that he (i.e., Theotimus) should not admit (intro mitto -ere) that runaway (fugitivus -i m.) into his house (ad se lit., to himself—se is used because it refers to the subject of mitteret)); sed magis eiceret but instead (magis) [hadn't I given orders that] he should throw [it] out (after magis we must understand non iussissem ut...), trans, didn't I tell Theotimus not to admit that runaway into his house, but, on the contrary, to throw it out? si. Ibimus and teneamur both pi. for sg. [§G53]; quaesitum sup. to express purpose [§g82]; verum but; ne ipsi teneamur noun clause [§g89] after formido, I am afraid (formido -are) lest I myself may be caught (lit., held); quid ago? idiomatic for what am I to do?, which would normally be quid agam? (deliberative subj. [§G7o]); Venus Veneris e. goddess of love.

b Constiteram exorientem Auroram forte salutans, cum súbito a laeva Roscius exoritur. pace mihi liceat, caelestes, dicere vestra: mortalis visus pulchrior esse deo.

b if. Constiteram ... forte ... cum by chance I had stood (consisto -ere) ... when—the chance was that both events happened at the same time; exorior -iri rise; Aurora -ae f. goddess of the dawn—the practice of addressing the dawn or morning sun is attested elsewhere; súbito suddenly; a laevá [manü] on the left— for a Roman augur, omens such as lightning that appeared on the left were regarded as favorable; Roscius was a contemporary of Catulus and is known from other sources; exoritur historic pres. [§g6o], lit., rises, trans, came into view—for Catulus, the appearance of Roscius was comparable to that of the dawn.

3 pace... vestrá abl. of attendant circumstances [§g45] by your leave, i.e., without offending you; liceat subj. to express a wish [§g67] may it be allowed; caelestes voc. pi. O heavenly beings (caelestis = deus)—the Romans were always careful to avoid offending the gods in word or deed.

4 mortalis (mortalis m.) the mortal, i.e., Roscius; visus [est] seemed; deó abl. of comparison [§G4a] than a god.

proverbia be proscaenio i-

Proverbs abound in the plays of Plautus and Terence.

Dictum sapieriti sat est, Plautus Versa 729

Terence Phormid 541

A word to the wise is sufficient.

Nihil homini amico est opportuno amicius.

Plautus Epidicus 425

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

(lit., Nothing is friendlier to a person than a friend

[who is] available when wanted.)

Flamma fumo est proxima. Plautus Curculid 53

Where there's smoke, there's fire. ■ (lit., Flamefollows very closely on (i.e., is next to) smoke.)

Quod tuom est meum estj omne meum est autem tuom.

, Plautus Trinummus 329 What's yours is mine, and what's mine is yours. (lit.iWhat's yoursis mine, and indeed all of what's mine is yours.)

^ ' --■■'■■ - ■ ' ■ ■■'■'-■.■ ■■ _r

For more proverbs from the plays of Plautus and Terence, see pages 26 and 36.

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