Wednesday, November 13, 2019

M/M: Counting Kisses: Martial, Epig. 6.34

Basia da nobis, Diadumene, pressa. "Quot?" inquis.
Oceani fluctus me numerare iubes
et maris Aegaei sparsas per litora conchas
et quae Cecropio monte vagantur apes,
quaeque sonant pleno vocesque manusque theatro
cum populus subiti Caesaris ora videt.
Nolo quot arguto dedit exorata Catullo
Lesbia: pauca cupit qui numerare potest.

--Martial, Epig. 6.34

Diadumenus, give me rapid-fire kisses. How many, you ask?
You order me to count the waves of the Ocean,
and the number of shells scattered on the Aegean beaches
and the number of bees wandering over the Athenian mount,
and the number of voices and applause heard in an amphitheater whenever Caesar suddenly appears.
I don't want the amount that Lesbia gave to her Catullus, who made a similar request:
a number of kisses that can be counted is too few.

Name: Marcus Valerius Martialis
Date:  40 CE – 104 CE
Works:  Epigrammaton Libri XV*
               De Spectaculis

REGION  2 (Hispania)
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

Originally from Bilbilis, Hispania, the poet Martial moved to Rome in the 60s CE to advance his career. His two extant works include de Spectaculis, a collection of poems written to commemorate the opening of the Colosseum, and a fifteen volume collection of epigrams. These epigrams provide valuable insight into the mores and private lives of men and women from all of the city’s social classes.     
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: after 410 CE