Monday, December 30, 2019

Just Say Yes: Heckling an Asexual Woman, Luxorius LXXVIII

TRIGGER WARNING: A major theme of Roman lyric poetry was pursuing reluctant or unwilling partners; many poets even boasted about "converting" those castior Hippolyto ("more chaste than Hippolytus," Martial Epig. VIII.46) into sexually receptive partners. In this poem, the author Luxorius is aggressively denouncing the addressee for being "too beautiful to be chaste."

Pulcrior et nivei cum sit tibi forma coloris,
cuncta pudicitiae iura tenere cupis.
Mirandum est quali naturam laude gubernes
moribus ut Pallas, corpore Cypris eas.
Te neque coniugii libet excepisse levamen;
saepius exoptas nolle videre mares.
Haec tamen est animo quamvis exosa voluptas:
numquid non mulier conparis esse potes?

--Luxorius LXXVIII.

Although your complexion is as clear as fresh-fallen snow,
you want to cling to the laws of chastity-- all of them.
And I think it's super cute that you can deny your nature
and strut about with Pallas' [Athena'] self-control
in a body that rivals Venus'.
You wouldn't even "put out" for a husband, either--
you don't even want to look at men.
But when that detestable lust creeps into your soul,
couldn't you share it with someone as a wife?

Name:  Luxorius
Date:  6th c. CE
Works:  <Poems>

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

Little is known about the life of the Roman poet Luxorius except that he lived in Carthage (modern Tunisia, northern Africa) and that his poetry was popular in the court of the Vandal kings. His poetry provides us with rare insight into the changing customs as the Roman Empire transitioned from a polytheistic to a monotheistic society.
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