The Lost De Imaginibus Verendorum

A pamphlet was recently discovered along with the fragments of Bellum Incivile, a text tentatively attributed to Caesar. De Imaginibus Verendorum was almost certainly not written by Caesar, but was very possibly distributed to his troops.* Edited by Dani Bostick

“All people arrive into the world nude on the day of their birth, but many men as adults want to show off their unclothed private parts very often. They have a frightful custom of making images of their private parts, which can also be called dick pics, penis pictures, and members at mast, and sending them to women. These men are very different with respect to dignity and virtue from men who are in the habit of keeping their private parts covered unless someone says she wants to see them.

When the eyes of women are too far away or when there is a concern about breaking the law– for it is not OK to expose bystanders to penises when you are outside– inflamed by a desire to show his private parts, a man of this kind creates an image of them, which you would believe to be real, but would not in any way want to look at. He marvels at this, but it is not enough for him to see it. Even if women have already said they do not want to see any private parts, he thinks the image must be seen by as many women as possible.

For this reason the man sends this image to one woman, then to two women, then to five; then to another ten. “Careful,” he says to himself as he sends the picture through the ether. “Don’t send it to your mom or sisters by accident.” In this way, he believes he is operating with restraint and modesty.

At last, many women see the image of the private parts and seeing it, they are horrified, but the man, proud of his private parts and the picture of them, happily awaits the replies of the women. “How lucky these women are! How beautiful are my private parts!” But the women do not respond.

Although he is happy with himself, he lacks friends and dignity, but he does not want to change because he thinks he is the best.  Catullus once said, “Each of us has a flaw, but we cannot see what is in our own backpacks.”  

I will make this very clear to you. It is the greatest flaw to send pictures of your private parts to women who absolutely do not want to see them.

Men, having read these words, may you recognize this flaw and stop it!

Homines die natali nudi nati sunt, sed multi viri adulti verenda exerta saepissime ostendere volunt. His mos terribilis est imagines verendorum, quae appellari etiam pictura passeris, simulacrum siculae, vincens verpa possunt, facere ac ad feminas mittere.  Hi sunt dignitate et virtute disimiles viris qui verenda operire solent, nisi quis ea videre velle dicat.

Vir huius generis cum aut oculi feminarum longius absit aut leges violare timeat– nam verendis foris circumstantes obiecere est nefas– inflammato verendorum ostendendorum cupidine imaginem, quam vivere credas, sed haud spectare velis, facit. miratur, sed non est satis eam videre. etiamsi feminae se verenda videre nolle iam dixerunt, imaginem quam plurimis feminis videndam existimat.

Qua de causa vir hanc imaginem ad unam feminam mittit; deinde ad duas feminas; deinde ad quinque; dein ad decem alteras. “Cave,” mittenti per caelum imaginem sibi ait. “Noli ad matrem aut ad sorores peperam mittere.” ad hunc modum se caute et pudenter agere credit.

Tandem multae feminae imaginem verendam vident et videntes horrescunt; verum vir suis verendis ac imagine eorum superbiens responsa feminarum laete expectat. “Quam beatae hae feminae! Quam pulchra mea verenda!”  sed feminae nihil respondent.

quamvis se ipso contentus sit, amicae dignitasque ei desunt, sed mutari non vult, quia se optimum esse credit.  “Suus cuique attributus est error,” scripsit Catullus. “sed non videmus manticae quod in tergo est.”

Hoc vobis manifestissimum faciam. Est maximus error imagines verendorum ad feminas, quae ea videre minime velint, mittere.  

Viri, his verbis acceptis, videatis errorem et desinatis!

 

Caesar

[*N.B. This is satire. This Latin is not from antiquity]

Lyric Love, Translation and Transformation

Sappho fr. 31

“That man seems like the gods
To me—the one who sits facing
You and nearby listens as you
sweetly speak—

and he hears your lovely laugh—this then
makes the heart in my breast stutter,
when I glance even briefly, it is no longer possible
for me to speak—

but my tongue sticks in silence
and immediately a slender flame runs under my skin.
I cannot see with my eyes, I hear
A rush in my ears—

A cold sweat breaks over me, a tremble
Takes hold of me. Then paler than grass,
I think that I have died
Just a little.”

φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν
ἔμμεν’ ὤνηρ, ὄττις ἐνάντιός τοι
ἰσδάνει καὶ πλάσιον ἆδυ φωνεί-
σας ὐπακούει

καὶ γελαίσας ἰμέροεν, τό μ’ ἦ μὰν
καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόαισεν,
ὠς γὰρ ἔς σ’ ἴδω βρόχε’ ὤς με φώναι-
σ’ οὐδ’ ἒν ἔτ’ εἴκει,

ἀλλ’ ἄκαν μὲν γλῶσσα †ἔαγε λέπτον
δ’ αὔτικα χρῶι πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμηκεν,
ὀππάτεσσι δ’ οὐδ’ ἒν ὄρημμ’, ἐπιρρόμ-
βεισι δ’ ἄκουαι,

†έκαδε μ’ ἴδρως ψῦχρος κακχέεται† τρόμος δὲ
παῖσαν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας
ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ’ ὀλίγω ‘πιδεύης
φαίνομ’ ἔμ’ αὔται·

As many know and many love, Catullus 51 is a ‘translation’. This poem brought my first exposure to Sappho at the tender age of 16. I can translate it almost without looking at it.

“That man seems to me equal to a gods,
that man, if it is right, surpasses the gods
as he sits opposite you
seeing and hearing you

sweetly laughing; every sense escapes
miserable me: for the same time I see you
Lesbia, nothing is left for me

my tongue grows heavy, and a tender flame
flickers under my limbs, and twin ears
ring with their own sound, my eyes
are shaded by night.

Leisure, Catullus, is your problem:
you revel in leisure and you have done too much.
Leisure has brought kings low,
and destroyed cities once rich.”

Ille mi par esse deo videtur,
ille, si fas est, superare divos,
qui sedens adversus identidem te
spectat et audit
dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis
eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,
Lesbia, aspexi, nihil est super mi
* * * * * * * *

lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus
flamma demanat, sonitu suopte
tintinant aures gemina, teguntur
lumina nocte.

otium, Catulle, tibi molestum est:
otio exsultas nimiumque gestis:
otium et reges prius et beatas
perdidit urbes.

Sappho is pretty amazing. I also love this anecdote from Aelian:

Aelian, Fragment 187/190 (from Stobaeus 3.29.58)

“Solon the Athenian, the son of Eksêkestides, when his nephew sang some song of Sappho at a drinking party, took pleasure in it and asked the young man to teach it to him. When someone asked why he was eager to learn it, he responded: “So, once I learn it, I may die.”

Σόλων ὁ ᾿Αθηναῖος ᾿Εξηκεστίδου παρὰ πότον τοῦ ἀδελφιδοῦ αὐτοῦ μέλος τι Σαπφοῦς ᾄσαντος, ἥσθη τῷ μέλει καὶ προσέταξε τῷ μειρακίῳ διδάξει αὐτόν. ἐρωτήσαντος δέ τινος διὰ ποίαν αἰτίαν τοῦτο σπουδάσειεν, ὃ δὲ ἔφη ‘ἵνα μαθὼν αὐτὸ ἀποθάνω.’

Image result for medieval manuscript sappho
Boccacio, de mulieribus claris/Le livre de femmes nobles et renomées (trad. anonyme), 15-16th century, France (Cognac). Bibliothèque Nationale MS Français 599 fol. 42

One Perpetual Sleep for Love Week: From Catullus to Marvell

Catullus, Carm. 5

“My Lesbia, let’s live and let’s love,
Let all the rumors of harsh old men
count for only a penny.
Suns can set and rise again:
but when our brief light sets
we must sleep a lonely endless night.
Give me a thousand kisses and then a hundred,
then another thousand and a second hundred,
And even then another thousand, a hundred more.
When we’ve had so many thousands,
we will mix them together so we don’t know,
so that no wicked man can feel envy
when he knows what a number of kisses there’ve been.”

Vivamus mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumoresque senum severiorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!
soles occidere et redire possunt:
nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,
aut ne quis malus invidere possit,
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.

Image result for medieval manuscript  love
From here

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One Without a Greedy Heart: Horace’s Minor Madness

Horace, Epistles 2.118-125

“This mistake, this minor madness, still possesses
This many advantages—consider them. The poet is
Not one with a greedy heart. He loves his lines, and desires
This alone. He mocks lost money, the flight of slaves and fires
There’s no thought of fraud against his friend or his ward
He lives as well as thin gruel and dry bread can afford.
Although he’s slow and a bad soldier, he’s still of use,
If you believe this: that grand affairs are helped by small matters too.

Hic error tamen et levis haec insania quantas
virtutes habeat, sic collige. vatis avarus
non temere est animus; versus amat, hoc studet unum;
detrimenta, fugas servorum, incendia ridet;
non fraudem socio puerove incogitat ullam
pupillo; vivit siliquis et pane secundo;
militiae quamquam piger et malus, utilis urbi,
si das hoc, parvis quoque rebus magna iuvari.

Horace reads before Maecenas, by Fyodor Bronnikov

Quomodo Dicitur “State of the Union Address”?

The amazing Dani Bostick (@danibostick) live tweeted the State of the Union Address tonight in Latin. For those off twitter (or off TV), here are her tweets.

 

 

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