Key to Extra Reading: Units 21 - 25

Main Index
Further Study

Extra Reading Key 16-20

Extra Reading Key 26-31

Extra Reading 21-25

  1. What madness drives you by turns to shed blood and to approach a sceptre by crime? You, eager for citadels (the arx was the most secure part of a city and the natural residence of a king or tyrant; here it symbolises supreme power), do not know in what place a kingdom lies. A king is made not by wealth, not by the colour of Tyrian garment, not by the mark of a regal forehead, not by beams gleaming with gold. A king is one who has laid aside the fears and evils of a foul heart, one who is not moved by uncontrollable ambition and the never-constant favour of the impetuous mob, [or] whatever the West digs up (the reference is to Spanish gold-mines) or the Tagus carries down on its bright bed with golden wave (the River Tagus in the Iberian peninsula was famous for its alluvial gold); one whom the falling path of slanting thunder-bolt will not smite, or (lit. not) Eurus snatching up the sea or the raging swell of the Adriatic with its fierce waters (Hadria is masculine); one who, placed in a safe position, sees everything beneath him and willing[ly] meets his fate and does not protest at dying (the long series of adjectival clauses are joined in various ways for variety but can be rendered into English as above; the true king is a Stoic philosopher, who rules over himself). (Seneca, Thyestes, 339-368 with omissions)

  2. If a painter wanted to join a horse's neck to a human head and to bring in different [sorts of] feathers on limbs put together from everywhere so that [what was] a beautiful woman above ended horribly in a black fish, would you, my friends, when admitted to view, restrain your laughter? (Horace, Ars Poetica, 1-5)

  3. The colony of Hippo [Diarrhytus] is in Africa, very close to the sea. A navigable lagoon lies nearby. From this comes a tidal opening resembling a river, which alternately, as the tide either restrains or impels it, now flows into the sea, now returns to the lagoon. Here every age is devoted to (lit. is held by) the pursuit[s] of fishing, sailing, and also of swimming, particularly the boys, whom leisure and [love of] sport encourage. For these (his dative of reference 28.1/1f) it is glory and merit to carried out furthest [into the sea]; the winner is the one who goes furthest from both the shore and his fellow swimmers (lit. [those] swimming at the same time; ut . . .ita lit. as . . .so). In this contest a certain boy, bolder than the rest, went further [out]. A dolphin met [him] and now went ahead of the boy, now followed, now went round [him], finally took [him] on his back (lit. went underneath), put [him] down, took [him] on his back again and carried the terrified child on to the high sea, then turned to the shore and gave [him] back to the land and his companions. (Pliny, Epistles, IX, 33, 2-4)

  4. In the past it was the custom for senators at Rome to enter the Senate-house with their adolescent sons (on the full meaning of praetextatus see note on 23.13 above). At that time (tum) when a particular important matter was debated and postponed to the next day, the decision was made (placuit) that no-one should disclose the matter over which they had deliberated before it had been concluded. The mother of a boy, Papirius, who had been in the Senate-house with his father, asked her son what the senators (patres) had done in the senate. The boy replied that [the matter] was to be kept secret and that it was not allowed that it be mentioned. The woman became more anxious to hear. The secrecy of the matter and the boy's silence stirred her to inquire [further]. And so she sought more persistently and aggressively. Then the boy, pressed by his mother, formed a plan involving a witty and amusing lie. He said that it had been debated (actum [esse]) in the senate whether it seemed more useful and to the advantage of (ex) the state that one man should have two wives or that one woman should be married to two men. When the woman heard this her mind grew afraid, she went from the house in a panic, [and] took [the news] to the other matrons. On the next day a crowd of mothers of families (familias this old form of the genitive singular of the first declension only survives in expressions such as pater/mater familias) came to the senate. Crying and beseeching, they begged that one woman should be (lit. become) married to two men rather than two women to one man. The senators, [as they were] entering the Senate-house, wondered what this outrageous behaviour (lit. that excess) of the women [was] and what this request meant (sibi vellet lit. wanted for itself). The boy Papirius, going to the middle of the Senate-house, told the story in full (rem . . . denarrat) as it had happened (lit. had been), [viz] what his mother had insisted on hearing [and] what he himself had told his mother. The senate admired the trustworthiness and intelligence of the boy [but] passed a decree that, in future, boys should not come into the Senate-house with their fathers, except that one Papirius; and afterwards, to honour him (lit. for the sake of honour), the cognomen Praetextatus was bestowed on the boy because of his wisdom in keeping silent and in speaking while he was an adolescent (lit. in the age of the [toga] praetexta; with inditum supply est). (Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, I, 23, 4-13)

__________ ____________ _____________ ____________________ _____________ ____________ _____________ _______________ ___________ __________ __________ __________ _____________ ________ __ _
(c) Gavin Betts 2000