Saturday, January 22, 2022

Primary Sources on Vestal Virgins: Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. I.12

XII. Virgo Vestae quid aetatis et ex quali familia et quo ritu quibusque caerimoniis ac religionibus ac quo nomine a pontifice maximo capiatur et quo statim iure esse incipiat, simul atque capta est; quodque, ut Labeo dicit, nec intestato cuiquam nec eius intestatae quisquam iure heres est.

 1 Qui de virgine capienda scripserunt, quorum diligentissime scripsit Labeo Antistius, minorem quam annos sex, maiorem quam annos decem natam negaverunt capi fas esse; 2 item quae non sit patrima et matrima; 3 item quae lingua debili sensuve aurium deminuta aliave qua corporis labe insignita sit; 4 item quae ipsa aut cuius pater emancipatus sit, etiamsi vivo patre in avi potestate sit; 5 item cuius parentes alter ambove servitutem servierunt aut in negotiis sordidis versantur. 6 Sed et eam, cuius soror ad id sacerdotium lecta est, excusationem mereri aiunt; item cuius pater flamen aut augur aut quindecimvirum sacris faciundis aut septemvirum epulonum aut Salius est. 7 Sponsae quoque pontificis et tubicinis sacrorum filiae vacatio a sacerdotio isto tribui solet. 8 Praeterea Capito Ateius scriptum reliquit neque eius legendam filiam, qui domicilium in Italia non haberet, et excusandam eius, qui liberos tres haberet. 9 Virgo autem Vestalis, simul est capta atque in atrium Vestae deducta et pontificibus tradita est, eo statim tempore sine emancipatione ac sine capitis minutione e patris potestate exit et ius testamenti faciundi adipiscitur. 10 De more autem rituque capiundae virginis litterae quidem antiquiores non exstant, nisi, quae capta prima e t, a Numa rege esse captam. 11 Sed Papiam legem invenimus, qua cavetur, ut pontificis maximi arbitratu virgines e populo viginti legantur sortitioque in contione ex eo numero fiat et, cuius virginis ducta erit, ut eam pontifex maximus capiat eaque Vestae fiat. 12 Sed ea sortitio ex lege Papia non necessaria nunc videri solet. Nam si quis honesto loco natus adeat pontificem maximum atque offerat ad sacerdotium filiam suam, cuius dumtaxat salvis religionum observationibus ratio haberi possit, gratia Papiae legis per senatum fit. 13 "Capi" autem virgo propterea dici videtur, quia pontificis maximi manu prensa ab eo parente, in cuius potestate est, veluti bello capta abducitur. 14 In libro primo Fabii Pictoris, quae verba pontificem maximum dicere oporteat, cum virginem capiat, scriptum est. Ea verba haec sunt: "Sacerdotem Vestalem, quae sacra faciat, quae ius siet sacerdotem Vestalem facere pro populo Romano Quiritibus, uti quae optima lege fuit, ita te, Amata, capio." 15 Plerique autem "capi" virginem solam debere dici putant. Sed flamines quoque Diales, item pontifices et augures "capi" dicebantur. 16 L. Sulla rerum gestarum libro secundo ita scripsit: "P. Cornelius, cui primum cognomen Sullae impositum est, flamen Dialis captus." 17 M. Cato de Lusitanis, cum Servium Galbam accusavit: "Tamen dicunt deficere voluisse. Ego me nunc volo ius pontificium optime scire; iamne ea causa pontifex capiar? si volo augurium optime tenere, ecquis me ob eam rem augurem capiat?" 18 Praeterea in commentariis Labeonis, quae ad duodecim tabulas composuit, ita scriptum est: "Virgo Vestalis neque heres est cuiquam intestato, neque intestatae quisquam, sed bona eius in publicum redigi aiunt. Id quo iure fiat, quaeritur." 19 "Amata" inter capiendum a pontifice maximo appellatur, quoniam, quae prima capta est, hoc fuisse nomen traditum est.

---Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae I.12

Regarding Vestal Virgins: On the Appropriate Age, Family Background, Initiation Ceremony, How They are Claimed by the Pontifex Maximus, How they Take their Oath & Become “Taken” ; Also How, as Labeo says, They Can neither Inherit nor Bequeath Property in their Will

1) Those who describe the “taking” of a Vestal Virgin, (and Labeo Antistius describes this the most elaborately), state that it is inappropriate to take one younger than 6 years old, or one that is older than 10; 2) nor if she has lost her mother or father; 3) nor if she has a speech impediment or is hard of hearing, or any other disability; 4) or if either she or her father is emancipated, even if her father is alive, but her grandfather is her patriarch; 5) or if either (or both) parents are currently a slave, or are involved in shady business practices. 6) Furthermore, it is also noted that she is exempt if her sister has been chosen for a priesthood; she is similarly exempt if her father is a flamen augur, a Salian priest, one of the fifteen overseers of the Sibylline books, or one of the seven overseers of the holy banquets. 7) Other exemptions include if she is engaged to a priest [pontifex], as well as if she is a daughter of the sacred Trumpeters.

8) Moreover, in his writings Capito Ateius stated that a daughter should not be selected from a family that does not have residency in Italy, as well as a family that has three children.

9) Once a Vestal Virgin is chosen, she is led to the Temple of Vesta and handed over to its priests. As soon as that happens, she is immediately freed from her patriarch’s control without an official emancipation declaration and without losing control of her rights; she is also able to make her own will.

10) There are no ancient sources on the selection of a Vestal Virgin, but [it is known] that the first ones were selected by King Numa. 11) I have, however, found the Papian Law that twenty maidens are selected from the general population under the oversight of the Chief Priest, and from that number, a lottery is held, the women selected by the Chief Priest becomes a Vestal Virgin. 12). Nowadays, this lottery set up by the Papian Law is no longer necessary. If someone of noble birth approaches the Chief Priest and offers his daughter to the priesthood, provided that religious observances are maintained, he can be exempt from the Papian Law.

13) A Vestal Virgin is said to be “taken,” because she is taken by the hand of the Chief Priest from the control of her parents, the way that a hostage is taken in wartime. 14) In book 1 of his work on history, Fabius Pictor preserves the oath that a Chief Priest is supposed to say when he “takes” a Vestal Virgin.  This is the oath: “Beloved one, I hereby seize you as one worthy to be a Vestal Virgin, who shall perform rites on behalf of the Roman people.” 

15) Many people think that the word “taken” should only apply to Vestal Virgins, however, Flamen Dialis, priests, and augurs are also said to be “taken.” 16) In the second book of his history, L. Sulla wrote: “P. Cornelius, the first to be named Sulla,  was taken as a Flamen Dialis.” 17) When M. Cato accused Servius Galba, he said the following about the Lusitanians: “They say that they wanted to rebel. I really want to know the priestly ways, so does that mean I can be made a pontifex? If I really wanted to know augury, does that mean I can be an augur?”  18) Moreover, in Labeo’s commentaries On the Twelve Tables, the following quote exists: “A Vestal Virgin nether an heir to anyone intestate, nor does her property go to another; instead, her property is liquidated by the state.”

19) She is called “Beloved,” [Amata] when she is taken by the Chief Priest because that was the name of the first Vestal Virgin taken.


AULUS GELLIUS

MAP:

Name:  Aulus Gellius

Date:  2nd. c. CE

Works:  Attic Nights

 

REGION  UNKNOWN

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Aulus Gellius lived during the 2nd century CE. His work, the Attic Nights, are a collection of anecdotes about literature, history, and grammar.  From internal evidence, we can deduce that he was in the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ social circle, having close friendships with Herodes Atticus and Fronto.

 SILVER AGE LATIN

 

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Challenging Gender Roles: The Philosopher Hipparchia, Greek Anthology VII.413

In the following poem, Antipater memorializes the famous philosopher Hipparchia: 

Nondum profundas zonas habentium Hipparchia opera mulierum,

Cynicorum vero elegi virile vitam.

Nequi mihi fibulata indumenta, nec laxa palla

Facilis, non nitidum placuit reticulum

Humus vero baculo comes & conveniens

Duplicate vestis, & cubilis casus humilis.

Nobis vero Maenaliae melior vita erat Atalantae,

Tantum, quantum sapientia melior venatione.


οὐχὶ βαθυστόλμων Ἱππαρχία ἔργα γυναικῶν,

τῶν δὲ Κυνῶν ἑλόμαν ῥωμαλέον βίοτον

οὐδέ μοι ἀμπεχόναι περονήτιδες, οὐ βαθύπελμος

εὔμαρις, οὐ λιπόων εὔαδε κεκρύφαλος:

οὐλὰς δὲ σκίπωνι συνέμπορος, ἅ τε συνῳδὸς

δίπλαξ, καὶ κοίτας βλῆμα χαμαιλεχέος.

ἄμμι δὲ Μαιναλίας κάρρων ἄμιν Ἀταλάντας

τόσσον, ὅσον σοφία κρέσσον ὀριδρομίας. 


--Antipater, Greek Anthology VII.413, Translated into Latin by Io. Christian Wolfius

 

No longer dwelling in the lifestyle of the wide-belted ladies,

I, Hipparchia, have chosen the manly life of a Cynic.

Pretty robes & stylish shoes no longer work for me;

Neither do pretty hair-nets.

A rugged staff is my companion, as well as a double-layered cloak,

The rough ground is my home.

To me, my life is better than Atalanta’s,

Since wisdom is so much better than jogging.

  

ANTIPATER of SIDON

MAP:

Name:  Antipater of Sidon

Date:  2nd century BCE

Works:  <fragments>

 

REGION  4

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



BIO:

Timeline:

 Antipater of Sidon was a Greek poet who lived during the 2nd century BCE.  Little is known about him, and only a handful of his poetry was preserved in the Greek Anthology.

 HELLENISTIC GREEK

ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)


HIPPARCHIA

MAP:

Name:  Hipparchia

Date:  350 BCE – 280 BCE

Works:  [fragments]

 

REGION  5

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Hipparchia was a famous Cynic philosopher who lived during the late 4th / early 3rd century BCE. According to tradition, Hipparchia rejected her role as an Athenian noblewoman to marry the famous Cynic philosopher Crates, and spent the remainder of her life following the ascetic lifestyle of a Cynic. Although she was a prolific author, only fragments of her writing remain.

 HELLENISTIC GREEK

ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)


 


Sunday, January 9, 2022

I'll Be Your Anything: The Genderfluid God Vertumnus, Propertius, E. IV.2


Quid mirare meas tot in uno corpore formas,

    accipe Vertumni signa paterna dei.

Tuscus ego Tuscis orior, nec paenitet inter

    proelia Volsinios deseruisse focos.

Haec me turba iuuat, nec templo laetor eburno:

    Romanum satis est posse videre Forum.

Hac quondam Tiberinus iter faciebat, et aiunt

    remorum auditos per vada pulsa sonos:

at postquam ille suis tantum concessit alumnis,

    Vertumnus verso dicor ab amne deus.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Seu, quia vertentis fructum praecepimus anni,

    Vertumni rursus credidit esse sacrum.

Prima mihi variat liventibus uva racemis,

    et coma lactenti spicea fruge tumet;

hic dulcis cerasos, hic autumnalia pruna

    cernis et aestiuo mora rubere die;

insitor hic soluit pomosa vota corona,

    cum pirus invito stipite mala tulit.

Mendax fama, noces: alius mihi nominis index:

    de se narranti tu modo crede deo.

Opportuna mea est cunctis natura figuris:

    in quamcumque voles verte, decorus ero.

Indue me Cois, fiam non dura puella:

    meque virum sumpta quis neget esse toga?

da falcem et torto frontem mihi comprime faeno:

    iurabis nostra gramina secta manu.

Arma tuli quondam et, memini, laudabar in illis:

    corbis et imposito pondere messor eram.

Sobrius ad lites: at cum est imposta corona,

    clamabis capiti vina subisse meo.

Cinge caput mitra, speciem furabor Iacchi;

    furabor Phoebi, si modo plectra dabis.

Cassibus impositis venor: sed harundine sumpta

    fautor plumoso sum deus aucupio.

est etiam aurigae species Vertumnus et eius

    traicit alterno qui leve pondus equo.

Suppetat hic, piscis calamo praedabor, et ibo

    mundus demissis institor in tunicis.

Pastorem ad baculum possum curvare vel idem

    sirpiculis medio pulvere ferre rosam.

Nam quid ego adiciam, de quo mihi maxima fama est,

    hortorum in manibus dona probata meis?

Caeruleus cucumis tumidoque cucurbita ventre

    me notat et iunco brassica vincta levi;

nec flos ullus hiat pratis, quin ille decenter

    impositus fronti langueat ante meae.

at mihi, quod formas unus vertebar in omnis,

    nomen ab eventu patria lingua dedit;

et tu, Roma, meis tribuisti praemia Tuscis,

    (unde hodie Vicus nomina Tuscus habet),

tempore quo sociis venit Lycomedius armis

    atque Sabina feri contudit arma Tati.

Vidi ego labentis acies et tela caduca,

    atque hostis turpi terga dedisse fugae.

Sed facias, diuum Sator, ut Romana per aeuum

    transeat ante meos turba togata pedes.

Sex superant versus: te, qui ad vadimonia curris,

    non moror: haec spatiis ultima creta meis.

Stipes acernus eram, properanti falce dolatus,

    ante Numam grata pauper in urbe deus.

At tibi, Mamurri, formae caelator aenae,

    tellus artifices ne terat Osca manus,

qui me tam docilis potuisti fundere in usus.

    Unum opus est, operi non datur unus honos.  

--Propertius El. IV.2

 Why are you surprised by my many shapes in my one body? 

Just accept that I, Vertumnus, am a god.

I’m Tuscan born, and I’m native of Tuscany,

And I’m not ashamed to have abandoned the Volsinian side in battle.

This is my kind of crowd; I’m not too fond of ivory temples,

I’m ok with just watching over the Roman Forum.

This is where the Tiber River once made its way;

It is said that the sound of oars was heard splashing here.

And after Father Tiber granted this land to his offspring, 

I, Vertumnus was named after the “Bend in the Stream.” [pun on his name]

 Or, maybe I’m named that way because I receive first fruits after the “turning of the year,”

 [another pun] and you believe this is sacred rite to Vertumnus.

The grape in its cluster ripens for me; the wheat heads grow heavy;

In me, you see the sweet cherry, the autumn plums, and the mulberry deepen in color on a summer day.

You see the grafter dedicate a crown of fruit to me, after an unwilling pear tree begins to sprout apples.

Ok, stop talking about me: there’s another reason to my name.

Believe me, a god, as I tell you about myself:

Nature made me fit for every figure,

I can change into any shape you want.

Clothe me in Coan clothes and I’ll be a flirty girl;

If I put on a toga, who will deny that I’m a man?

Give me a scythe and put a knot of hay upon my forehead, and you’d swear I was the reaper who cut the grain myself.

 There was I time that I remember when I took up arms, and I was renowned for it; and I was a reaper bearing a load of baskets.

I’m serious as a lawyer, but if you put a garland on my head, you’d swear I was a drunkard.  Put a Phrygian cap on my head, and I will rave like a bacchant; I’ll play Apollo, if you give me a lyre. Give me hunting supplies, and I’ll be a hunter; but, with other supplies, I’ll only hunt birds.

And I’ve also been a charioteer, as well as a warrior who can leap from horse to horse. Give me a rod, and I’ll be a fisherman; or give me a long tunic, and I’ll be a fastidious merchant. I can pose like a shepherd with his crook; I can carry a basket of roses through the dusty streets.

What else should I add to heighten my fame, that puts the first fruits of the garden into my hands? Dark cucumbers and fat gourds and cabbages tied with a garland of rushes give away my identity; no flower blossoms in the fields that doesn’t also rest upon my forehead.

But since I alone can change into every shape, I was named for this in my country’s language. [yet another pun on his name]

You, Rome, have given tribute to my Tuscans (this is where the Tuscan Way got its name), when Lycomedius came with armed reinforcement, when he defeated cruel Tatius’ Sabine forces.  I myself saw the broken ranks, the falling weapons, the enemy forced into a shameful retreat.

Blessed Jupiter, see to it that the toga wearing race of Rome stay in my sight forever.

Only six lines left: you are off to court, go on your way, I won’t keep you, don’t bother to read the rest.

I used to be a trunk of a maple tree,

But then I was carved by an ax.

Before Numa’s reign, I was a humble god in a humble city.

But Mamurrius, the artist sculpted me in bronze,

May the Oscan earth never harm your hands, Mammurius,

since you created me for such a pleasant purpose!

There is only one sculpture of me, but more than one honors for such a sculpture.


PROPERTIUS

MAP:

Name:  Sextus Propertius

Date:  50 – 15 BCE

Works:  Elegies

 

REGION  1

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Propertius was an Italian-born Roman lyric poet whose love poetry provides insight into the mores of Augustan Rome. Like Catullus and Tibullus, Propertius used a pseudonym for the object of his attention; many of his love poems were addressed to “Cynthia.”

 GOLDEN AGE ROME

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE



Amazons Can Fight, Why Can't I? Propertius IV.4.43-50

 In this poem, the poet Propertius takes on the persona of Arethusa while she laments the absence of her absent husband Lycotas. Once again Propertius makes a stark contrast between gender roles for Roman women and women from other cultures.


Felix Hippolyte! Nuda tulit arma papilla
    et texit galea barbara molle caput.
Romanis utinam patuissent castra puellis!
    Essem militiae sarcina fida tuae,
Nec me tardarent Scythiae iuga, cum Pater altas
    Africus in glaciem frigore nectit aquas.
Omnis amor magnus, sed aperto in coniuge maior:
    hanc Venus, ut vivat, ventilat ipsa facem.

--Propertius, El. IV.3.43-50

Blessed Hippolyte! With naked breast she took up arms and covered her pretty little face with a barbaric helmet.

If only Romans allowed women to fight!

I would be a faithful follower of your camp; I wouldn’t be discouraged by the Scythian mountains, where the south wind freezes the water into ice.

All love is great, but it is even more potent in a spouse;

Venus herself nourishes this flame with her breath.

PROPERTIUS

MAP:

Name:  Sextus Propertius

Date:  50 – 15 BCE

Works:  Elegies

 

REGION  1

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Propertius was an Italian-born Roman lyric poet whose love poetry provides insight into the mores of Augustan Rome. Like Catullus and Tibullus, Propertius used a pseudonym for the object of his attention; many of his love poems were addressed to “Cynthia.”

 GOLDEN AGE ROME

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE


 


Challenging Gender Roles: Fulvia , Velleius Paterculus II.74

Trigger Warning: suicide

[74] Fractis Brutianis Cassianisque partibus Antonius transmarinas obiturus provincias substitit. Caesar in Italiam se recepit eamque longe quam speraverat tumultuosiorem repperit. Quippe L. Antonius consul, 2 vitiorum fratris sui consors, sed virtutum, quae interdum in illo erant, expers, modo apud veteranos criminatus Caesarem, modo eos, qui iussa divisione praediorum nominatisque coloniis agros amiserant, ad arma conciens magnum exercitum conflaverat. Ex altera parte uxor Antonii Fulvia, nihil muliebre praeter corpus gerens, ornnia armis tumultuque miscebat. 3 Haec belli sedem Praeneste ceperat; Antonius pulsus undique viribus Caesaris Perusiam se contulerat: Plancus, Antonianarum adiutor partium, spem magis ostenderat auxilii, quam opem ferebat Antonio. 4 Usus Caesar virtute et fortuna sua Perusiam expugnavit. Antonium inviolatum dimisit, in Perusinos magis ira militum quam voluntate saevitum ducis: urbs incensa, cuius initium incendii princeps eius loci fecit Macedonicus, qui subiecto rebus ac penatibus suis igni transfixum se gladio flammae intulit.

--Velleius Paterculus II.74

Once the factions of Brutus and Cassius were suppressed, Mark Antony stayed behind to look after the overseas provinces. [Octavian] Caesar returned to Italy and found it worse off than he had hoped. The consul Lucius Antonius, who was aligned with brother’s motives but had none of his virtues, not only brought charges against Caesar in the presence of his own men, but also incited rebellion among those who were displaced when Caesar’s colony was made. In addition to this, Mark Antony’s wife Fulvia, who was in no way lady-like except for looking like one [nihil muliebre praeter corpus gerens ], was stirring up trouble and armed conflict.  She made Praeneste the seat of conflict; when Antony was routed by Caesar’s forces, he made his way to Perusia. Plancus, another one of Antony’s cronies, offered the hope of assistance, but did not actually provide any. Relying on his military prowess and his good fortune, Caesar besieged Perusia. He released Antony unharmed, and the city’s fate was more due to the soldiers’ fury than his own. The city was burned to ashes by its own leader Macedonicus, who, despairing of punishment, set his own property on fire and killed himself with a sword.

VELLEIUS PATERCULUS

MAP:

Name:  Velleius Paterculus

Date:  19 BCE – 31 CE

Works:  Roman History

 

REGION  1

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Velleius Paterculus was an Italian-born Roman statesman and author. Writing a generation after the publication of Livy’s massive history, Velleius reinvented the genre by creating a succinct abbreviated text that fits all of Roman history, from Aeneas’ flight from Troy to the reign of Augustus, into two volumes.

 SILVER AGE ROME

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE



Saturday, January 8, 2022

The Funerary Inscription of Allia Potestas, CIL VI.37965

The following is the epitaph of Allia Potestas, a Roman freedwoman who lived during what is believed to be the 3rd century CE. This funerary inscription is important for numerous reasons. The length of the inscription reveals the wealth and status of her patron, as well as her impact on her community. The compliments written on her behalf reveal gender roles that were in place at the time period. Furthermore, the open admission of her polyamorous relationship reveals social acceptance within her community. 

Note: One and a half lines of this inscription are omitted here [excessive physical description that may not be suitable for the classroom]


DM

Alliae A. L. Potestatis

Hic Perusina sita est, qua non pretiosior ulla

femina de multis vix una aut altera, visa.

Sedula seriola parva tam magna teneris.

Crudelis fati rector duraque Persiphone,

quid bona diripitis exuperantque mala? [5]

Quaeritur a cunctis, iam respondere fatigor:

dant lacrimas animi signa benigna sui.

Fortis sancta, tenax, insons, fidissima custos,

munda domi, sat munda foras, notissima volgo,

sola erat ut posset factis occurrere cunctis [10].

Exiguo sermone inreprehensa manebat.

Prima toro delapsa fuit, eadem ultima lecto

se tulit ad quietem positis ex ordine rebus,

lana cui manibus numquam sine causa recessit,

opsequioque prior nulla moresque salubres. [15]

Haec sibi non placuit, numquam sibi libera visa.

Candida, luminibus pulchris, aurata capillis,

et nitor in facie permansit eburneus illae,

qualem mortalem nullam habuisse ferunt; [19]

...

Quid crura? Atalantes status illi comicus ipse. [21]

Anxia non mansit, sed corpore pulchra benigno

levia membra tulit

Quod manibus duris fuerit, culpabere forsan;

nil illi placuit nisi quod per se sibi fecerat ipsa. [25]

Nosse fuit nullum studium, sibi se satis esse putabat.

Mansit et infamis, quia nil admiserat umquam.

Haec duo dum vixit iuvenes ita rexit amantes,

exemplo ut fierent similes Pyladisque et Orestae;

una domus capiebat eos unusque et spiritus illis. [30]

Post hanc nunc idem diversi sibi quisq. senescunt;

femina quod struxit talis, nunc puncta lacessunt.

Aspicite ad Troiam, quid femina fecerit olim!

Sit precor hoc iustum, exemplis in parvo grandibus uti.

Hos tibi dat versus lacrimans sine fine patronus [35]

muneris amissae,  cui nuncquam es pectore adempta,

quae putat amissis munera grata dari,

nulla cui post te femina visa proba est:

qui sine te vivit, cernit sua funera vivos.

Auro tuum nomen fert ille refertque lacerto [40]

qua retinere potest: auro conlata potestas.

Quantumcumque tamen praeconia nostra valebunt,

versiculis vives quandiucuque meis.

Effigiem pro te teneo solacia nostri,

qua colimus sancte sertaque ulta datur, [45]

cumque at te veniam, mecum comitata sequetur.

Sed tamen infelix cui tam sollemnia mandem?

Si tamen extiterit, cui tantum credere possim,

hoc unum felix amissa te mihi forsan ero.

Ei Mihi! Vicisti: sors mea facta tua est. [50]

Laedere qui hoc poterit, ausus quoque laedere divos.

Haec titulo insignis credite numen habet. 

 

--CIL VI.37965


To the Shade of Allia Potestas, freed slave of Allius:

 Here lies the lady of Perusia;

No other woman is as precious as this one;

 Out of the multitude of women, maybe one or two could be better than her.

Such a busy lady held in such a tiny urn!

Persephone, cruel and harsh mistress of fate,

Why do you take away good people and leave the bad ones alone? [5]

Everybody asks about her, and I’m tired of telling them of her death;

Their tears are evidence of her good heart.

She was strong.

She was pious.

She was courageous.

She was faultless.

She was the most faithful housewife,

Efficient at home,

Efficient enough in public,

Well loved by everybody,

She was the only one who could meet any challenge. [10]

She kept her mouth shut & stayed blameless.

She was the first one out of bed,

She was the last one to go to bed, & only when everything was done.

She kept her hands busy with her wool-working, never putting it off with an excuse,

No one surpassed her in character & work ethic. [15]

She never got cocky, never took time for herself to relax.

She was pretty, --pretty to look at—with golden hair,

The ivory-smoothness of her face remained ‘till the end,

The kind that they say doesn’t happen among mortal women…

What about her legs? She looked like an actor playing Atalanta*.[21]

She didn’t worry about her beauty, but Mother Nature was kind to her body…

Perhaps you could criticize her rough hands,

But she wasn’t satisfied unless she did the work herself. [25]

She wasn’t an extrovert, but thought her own company was enough.

 No one really talked about her, because she didn’t do anything to make attention for herself.

As long as she lived, she lived with her two lovers in such a way

That they were like the relationship of Pylades & Orestes**

They shared a single home

And a single heart. [30]

But after her death, they have grown apart, and now they grow old apart;

What one woman has built, was destroyed in a brief moment.

Look at the example of Troy***, to see what a woman can do!

Let this big example showcase a smaller one.

Your patron, who has ever kept you in his heart,

 gives this poem in never-ending tears [35]

As a gift to the deceased woman,

Who will appreciate this gift.

Your patron will never find another woman pleasing now that you’re gone;

He lives without you, and now suffers a living death.

He carries your name, carved in gold, and looks to it often, as much as he can,

Preserving Ability / Potestas  [pun on her name] in gold.

As long as my influence lasts,

You will live on in my words.

I hold your image as a comfort for my grief,

Which I treasure, and adorn it with wreaths, [45]

And whenever I visit your tomb, I will bring it with me.

But, overcome in such misery, can I properly grieve you with the proper ceremony?

If I can find another to entrust this ceremony,

Perhaps I can be happy in this one thing after losing you.

Oh no! You have won! My fate has become yours [50].

If someone is capable of harming this memorial, 

they are also capable of harming holy ground.

Believe that this tomb also contains a god.

 

* Atalanta: According to Greek myth, Atalanta was the fastest runner of her generation

** Pylades and Orestes  shared a deep and loving bond that some authors saw as friendship and others saw as a romantic relationship

***this is a reference to Helen of Troy as a cause of the Trojan War


<Anonymous> CIL

MAP:

Name:  Allius

Date:  3rd Century CE

Works:  Funerary Inscription of Allia Potestas

 

REGION  1

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Little is known about the author of this poem, but the inscription was found in Perusia, Italy and is thought to be from the 3rd century CE.

 AGE OF CONFLICT

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE



Monday, January 3, 2022

An Intersex Scholar Tackles The Term "Effeminate," Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. III.1

In this conversation, the famous intersex scholar Favorinus uses Socratic-style questioning techniques to discuss the meaning of the word effeminari, ["to make womanly,"]. It is interesting to note Favorinus' use of homo, person, instead of vir, man, in this conversation, as well as how he uses the passage to explore his colleagues' perspectives of gender and gender roles.

Quaesitum atque tractatum, quam ob causam Sallustius avaritiam dixerit non animum modo virilem, sed corpus quoque ipsum effeminare. 

1 Hieme iam decedente apud balneas Titias in area subcalido sole cum Favorino philosopho ambulabamus, atque ibi inter ambulandum legebatur Catilina Sallustii, quem in manu amici conspectum legi iusserat. 

2 Cumque haec verba ex eo libro lecta essent: "Avaritia pecuniae studium habet, quam nemo sapiens concupivit; ea quasi venenis malis inbuta corpus animumque virilem effeminat, semper infinita et insatiabilis est, neque copia neque inopia minuitur", 

tum Favorinus me aspiciens "quo" inquit "pacto corpus hominis avaritia effeminat? 3 quid enim istuc sit, quod animum virilem ab ea effeminari dixit, videor ferme assequi; set quonam modo corpus quoque hominis effeminet, nondum reperio." 

4 "Et ego" inquam "longe iamdiu in eo ipse quaerendo fui ac, nisi tu occupasses, ultro te hoc rogassem." 

5 Vix ego haec dixeram cunctabundus, atque inibi quispiam de sectatoribus Favorini, qui videbatur esse in litteris veterator, "Valerium" inquit "Probum audivi hoc dicere: usum esse Sallustium circumlocutione quadam poetica et, cum dicere vellet hominem avaritia corrumpi, corpus et animum dixisse, quae duae res hominem demonstrarent; namque homo ex animo et corpore est." 

6 "Numquam," inquit Favorinus "quod equidem scio, tam inportuna tamque audaci argutia fuit noster Probus, ut Sallustium, vel subtilissimum brevitatis artificem, periphrasis poetarum facere diceret." 

7 Erat tum nobiscum in eodem ambulacro homo quispiam sane doctus. 8 Is quoque a Favorino rogatus, ecquid haberet super ea re dicere, huiuscemodi verbis usus est: 9 "Quorum" inquit "avaritia mentem tenuit et corrupit quique sese quaerundae undique pecuniae dediderunt, eos plerosque tali genere vitae occupatos videmus, ut sicuti alia in his omnia prae pecunia, ita labor quoque virilis exercendique corporis studium relictui sit. 10 Negotiis enim se plerumque umbraticis et sellulariis quaestibus intentos habent, in quibus omnis eorum vigor animi corporisque elanguescit et, quod Sallustius ait, "effeminatur"." 

11 Tum Favorinus legi denuo verba eadem Sallustii iubet atque, ubi lecta sunt, "quid igitur" inquit "dicimus, quod multos videre est pecuniae cupidos et eosdem tamen corpore esse vegeto ac valenti?" 

12 Tum ille ita respondit non hercle inscite. "Quisquis" inquit "est pecuniae cupiens et corpore tamen est bene habito ac strenuo, aliarum quoque rerum vel studio vel exercitio eum teneri necessum est atque in sese colendo non aeque esse parcum. 13 Nam si avaritia sola summa omnes hominis partes affectionesque occupet et si ad incuriam usque corporis grassetur, ut per illam unam neque virtutis neque virium neque corporis neque animi cura adsit, tum denique id vere dici potest effeminando esse et animo et corpori, qui neque sese neque aliud curent, nisi pecuniam." 

14 Tum Favorinus: "aut hoc," inquit "quod dixisti, probabile est, aut Sallustius odio avaritiae plus, quam oportuit, eam criminatus est."

--Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae III.1

A Discussion on Sallust’s Quote that Greed “Effeminates” Both a Man’s Soul and his Body

1) At the end of winter, when we were strolling outside of the Titian baths with Favorinus the philosopher, he saw that his friend had a copy of Sallust’s Catiline and asked that he read it aloud.

2) He got to the following passage: “Greed has a lust for money, which no wise man desires; greed, dripping with poison, effeminates both a man’s body and mind. It is never-ending and unquenchable, and it never goes away, regardless of wealth or poverty.”

Turning to me, Favorinus asked, “how can greed ‘effeminate’ a person’s body? 3) I understand what he says about greed turning a man’s mind womanly, but I don’t know how it can change a person’s body.”

4)  “Yeah, I’ve thought about that as well for a while, and I would have asked the same thing myself, if you hadn’t brought it up.”

5) As soon as I spoke this, one of Favorinus’ more erudite followers replied,  “I heard Valerius Probus say that Sallust used a certain poetic rhetorical device here. Since he wanted to say that a person was corrupted by vice, he said “body and soul,” which are the two things that make up a person, for a person is a body and a soul.”

6) Favorinus replied, “I have never known our Probus to be as foolish as to think that Sallust, the most concise author, would use poetic embellishments.”

At this point another learned scholar from the courtyard entered the conversation.  8) Favorinus also asked him what he thought of this quote.  He replied, 9) “Greed controls and corrupts their minds and they dedicate their entire being to seeking out more money. We see many examples of this kind of person whose entire lives are so dedicated to greed that every ounce of their energy is devoted to getting more money, and they neglect exercising their body as well as other things to keep them strong. All of this indoor, sedentary business takes up all of their time, and so the strength of their body and mind goes numb, or ‘effeminate,’ as Sallust says.”

11) Then Favorinus asked for the Sallust quote to be repeated, and then said, “What then, can we say about the many people who are greedy for money, but have strong and healthy bodies?”

12) Then he responded “Geez, I don’t know. I guess whoever has a greed for money as well as a strong body must also have an equal desire to maintain their healthy body. For if greed alone is a person's prime motivator, to the point that it makes a person careless about their health, and all they care about is money, then that must be what is means to “effeminate” a mind and body."

Then Favorinus replied “Either what you say is correct, or Sallust was heavy-handed in his hatred of greed.”

AULUS GELLIUS

MAP:

Name:  Aulus Gellius

Date:  2nd. c. CE

Works:  Attic Nights

 

REGION  UNKNOWN

Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans


BIO:

Timeline:

 Aulus Gellius lived during the 2nd century CE. His work, the Attic Nights, are a collection of anecdotes about literature, history, and grammar.  From internal evidence, we can deduce that he was in the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ social circle, having close friendships with Herodes Atticus and Fronto.

 SILVER AGE LATIN

 

Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE