Saturday, August 22, 2020

Love Me Like You Do: Fronto, Ad Ant. Imp. I.3 & 1.4

Although modern concepts of masculinity tend to discourage affection between men, this was not the case in ancient Rome. The correspondence between the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and his mentor Marcus Cornelius Fronto reveals intimate details of their loving, supportive friendship.

Domino meo Antonino Augusto Fronto. 
1 Vidi pullulos tuos, quod quidem libentissime in vita mea viderim, tam simili facie tibi, ut nihil sit hoc simili similius. Feci prorsus compendium itineris Lorium usque, compendium viae lubricae, compendium clivorum arduorum. Tamen vidi te non exadversum modo, sed locupletius sive me ad dexteram sive ad sinistram convertissem. 2 Sunt autem dis juvantibus colore satis salubri, clamore forti. Panem alter tenebat bene candidum, ut puer regius, alter autem cibarium, plane ut a patre philosopho prognatus. Deos quaeso sit salvus sator, salva sint sata, salva seges sit, quae tam similes procreat. Nam etiam voculas quoque eorum audivi tam dulcis, tam venustas, ut orationis tuae lepidum illum et liquidum sonum nescio quo pacto in utriusque pipulo adgnoscerem. Jam tu igitur, nisi caves, superbiorem aliquanto me experiere: Habeo enim, quos pro te non oculis modo amem, sed etiam auribus. 

 Magistro meo salutem.
1 Vidi filiolos meos, cum eos tu vidisti; vidi et te, cum litteras tuas legerem. Oro te, mi magister, ama me, ut amas; ama me sic etiam quomodo istos parvolos nostros amas; nondum omne dixi, quod volo: Ama me, quomodo amasti*. 2 Haec ut scriberem, tuarum litterarum mira jucunditas produxit; nam de elegantia quid dicam, nisi te Latine loqui, nos ceteros neque Graece neque Latine. Domino meo fratri peto scriptites. Valde vult, ut hoc a te impetrem; desideria autem illius intemperantem me et violentum faciunt. Vale, mi jucundissime magister. nepotem tuum saluta. 
*amasti: ama[vi]sti 

--Fronto, Ad Anton. Imp. I.3, I.4 

  I, Fronto, greet my lord the Emperor Antoninus: 
I saw your little chickadees—the best sight I could ever see, since they look so much like you! It isn’t possible for there to be anything else closer to how you look. I took a shortcut on my way to Lorium, but it was slippery and a rough climb. I didn’t see you face-to-face, but I did see you every time I turned my head. The gods have blessed [your children] with healthy coloring and healthy lungs. One of your kids was holding a piece of white bread like the little princeling that he is; the other one held peasant bread, perfect for a philosopher’s son. God bless the farmer [Marcus], the field [his wife Faustina], and the harvest [their kids] he reaped so similar to himself. I even heard their little voices so sweet and charming, and somehow I recognized the charm of your mannerisms and the cadence of your voice coming from their little mouths. You’d better watch out, or you’ll find me even more boastful; for now I have little ones that I love as much as you, whom I love with not only my eyes, but with my ears as well. 

Hi to my mentor! 
Reading your letter, I could picture my little children as you saw them; I even saw you, too. I beg you, my mentor, love me as you do; love me as you love my little kids; I haven’t finished what I want to say: love me, as you have loved me. The utter joy of reading your letter has made me write this to you. For what can I say about the elegance of your letter, except that you are speaking Latin, but the rest of us speak neither Latin nor Greek. Please keep writing to my lord brother [Lucius Verus]. He wanted me to ask you, and his constant begging is making me aggravated and moody. Farewell, my most delightful mentor. Say hi to your grandson for me.



Name:  Marcus Cornelius Fronto  

Date:  100 – 160 CE

Works: Letters



Map of Roman Empire Divided into Regions



Fronto was a Roman statesman born in Cirta (Numidia, located in northern Africa) whose rhetorical and literary abilities earned him the nickname “Second Cicero.” He was tutor and mentor to the future Roman emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus; his correspondence with them provides unique insight into the personal lives of much of the Antonine dynasty.


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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.