A Prayer for Caesar

Martial, Epigrams 7.60.

Reverend sovereign of the Tarpeian palace
Whom we recognize as the Thunderer
By our leader’s safekeeping:
Everyone importunes you with prayers for himself,
And asks that you do what you gods can do.
But don’t be vexed with me, Jupiter,
As if I too were impertinent:
I ask nothing for myself.
It’s for Caesar I must petition you.
Then for myself, it’s Caesar I must petition.

Tarpeiae venerande rector aulae,
Quem salvo duce credimus Tonantem,
Cum votis sibi quisque te fatiget
Et poscat dare, quae dei potestis:
Nil pro me mihi, Iuppiter, petenti
Ne suscensueris velut superbo.
Te pro Caesare debeo rogare:
Pro me debeo Caesarem rogare.

color photography of a small bronze statue of Jupiter. He is raising his left hand as if holding a thunderbolt. He is nude with a cloak draped over his upraised arm
Bronze statuette of Jupiter
with a thunderbolt in the left hand.
Late 1st century CE.
Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at featsofgreek.blogspot.com.