What Menophila’s Universe Contains: Tawdry Tuesday Returns (NSFW)

I was alerted to this poem by a friend. I won’t out him to the world. This is some tasteless stuff.

Greek Anthology 5.105 [Attributed to Marcus Argentarius]

 “The lusty ladies claim that Menophila’s universe is different,
Since it contains a taste of every kind of vice.
Come here and check her out, Astrologers, for her sky
Can fit both the dog and the twins inside.”

῎Αλλος ὁ Μηνοφίλας λέγεται παρὰ μαχλάσι κόσμος,
ἄλλος, ἐπεὶ πάσης γεύεται ἀκρασίης.
ἀλλ’ ἴτε, Χαλδαῖοι, κείνης πέλας· ἦ γὰρ ὁ ταύτης
οὐρανὸς ἐντὸς ἔχει καὶ κύνα καὶ διδύμους.

The joke (and the filth) depends on a double entendre. The Dog and the Twins are celestial bodies [Sirius, the Dog-star and Gemini, the twins]. But “dog” (κύων) and “twins” (διδύμοι) can also mean “cock and balls”. ὄρχεις is the more clinical word for “testicles”.  The “sky” here may be euphemistic for Menophila’s mouth (As our friend below notes, “Aristotle (at least) uses “ouranos” for “the roof of the mouth,” so this is definitely about fellatio.”)

A Facebook correspondent (S. C. Stroup) has suggested some useful improvements to this post. First, “the name “Menophila” (Μηνοφίλα) can be read as “month” / “moon” lover (from μήνη, “moon”); so her name is an astronomical pun, as well.” This adds a nice, though mind-bending visual possibility, which Stroup picks up on:

“I would render the second line as “Hers is different, as it tastes of all mixtures.” The joke, I think, is that the Twins and the Dog—Gemini and Sirius—don’t appear right next to each other. So she mixes it up.”

So, here is Stroup’s full translation:

“Ladies of luxury claim that Moongirl’s delights are different;
Different (they say) because she enjoys all mixtures.
Come, Astrologers: and check her out:
Her vault of heaven holds both cock and balls.”

Image result for ancient Greek brothels

One thought on “What Menophila’s Universe Contains: Tawdry Tuesday Returns (NSFW)

  1. >>As our friend below notes, “Aristotle (at least) uses “ouranos” for “the roof of the mouth,” so this is definitely about fellatio.”

    Uh, I beg to differ. It’s a straightforward pun that has nothing to do with fellatio.

    Didn’t anybody remember that οὐρά = αἰδοῖον, according to Liddell & Scott? And it’s primary meaning works as sexual slang in English too. So….the feminine dative singular would be written οὐρᾷ. Meanwhile ᾽ν is a perfectly fine way to elide ἐν, a preposition which is capable of standing between a noun and modifying adjective. In this case the adjective is ὅσ᾽, an attested apocope for ὅσος in the feminine dative singular, meaning “so great a” or “so large a”.

    It’s a perfect pun, since nobody is pronouncing an iota subscript by the time of Marcus Argentarius. So you’d pronounce these exactly the same way:

    οὐρανός = heaven
    οὐρᾷ ᾽ν ὅσ᾽ = in such a great piece of tail.

    (Or maybe “so large” is the better translation, because apparently you can fit κύνα καὶ διδύμους inside.)

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