Sunt quidam, qui me dicunt non esse poëtam,
et verum dicunt. cur? quia vera loquor.
(John Owen, De seipso)

Some say I am no Poet, ’tis no lye:
For I write nothing else than verity.
(tr. Thomas Harvey)



Urna loquor: cinis est infans, infantula mecum est,
vernula nata domi, nata gemella patri.
hanc mater mihi commendat post funera et inquit:
“ipsa tibi hanc peperi, nata futura tua est.”
hanc alui in tenebris; nutrix nox; ubera suxit
noctis, et infanti lac fuit ipse sopor.
nec fatur; verum somno testata perenni,
quam nasci satius vos docet esse mori.
hanc nullae torquent curae, non matris in ore est,
non lana in digitis comminuenda datur;
continuas ducit noctes; lux nulla, nec ulli
sunt vitae sensus, munera nulla premunt.
dumque haec ipsa loquor, secura infantula dormit;
illam perpetuo somnus ab imbre rigat.
nomen erat quod fecit herus Massila; Camoenae
ornarunt domini pro pietate locum.
hic dormit Massila; sopor lac, ubera praebet
nox ipsa, at cunas et tenebrae et loculi.
(Giovanni Pontano, De Tumulis 1.39)

I, urn of cremation, speak. The ash is a baby. A slave-girl lies in me, born in her home, her father’s twin child. After she died, her mother entrusted her to me, and told me “I bore her myself for you, your daughter to be.” Her in the dark I nourished. Night was her nurse. At the breasts of night she sucked. The breastmilk was sleep itself. She does not speak. Yet bearing witness in sleep everlasting she teaches us how birth is worse than death. Not one whirled care now wracks her, she’s not on the lips of her mother. No wool is put in her fingers to pull apart. She leads an eternal dead of night, without light, without living feeling. Life’s obsequies can’t oppress her now. And while I speak myself, this little baby keeps sleeping untroubled. Slumber bathes her in constant rain. Massila was the name her master gave her. The Muses adorned this place through duteous love of her lord. Here rests Massila. Sleep is the milk she sucks from the breasts of night. But dark and the coffin are her cradles. (tr. Alex Z. Foreman)



Huc usque, me miseram!
rem bene celaveram
et amavi callide.
res mea tandem patuit,
nam venter intumuit,
partus instat gravide.
hinc mater me verberat,
hinc pater improperat,
ambo tractant aspere.
sola domi sedeo,
egredi non audeo
nec inpalam ludere.
cum foris egredior,
a cunctis inspicior,
quasi monstrum fuerim.
cum vident hunc uterum,
alter pulsat alterum,
silent, dum transierim.
semper pulsant cubito,
me designant digito,
ac si mirum fecerim.
nutibus me indicant,
dignam rogo iudicant,
quod semel peccaverim.
quid percurram singula?
ego sum in fabulo
et in ore omnium.
ex eo vim patior,
iam dolore morior,
semper sum in lacrimis.
hoc dolorem cumulat,
quod amicus exulat
propter illud paululum.
ob patris sevitiam
recessit in Franciam
a finibus ultimis.
sum in tristitia
de eius absentia
in doloris cumulum.

(Carmina Burana 126)

Until now, poor wretched me,
I’d concealed things well,
and loved cunningly.
Finally, my secret’s out,
for my belly’s swollen up,
showing I’m pregnant and soon due.
On one side my mother beats me,
on the other my father yells at me,
both of them are hard on me.
All alone I sit at home;
I daren’t go out
and amuse myself in public.
If I go outdoors,
everybody looks at me
as if I were a monster.
When they see my belly,
one pokes the other,
and they’re silent till I’ve gone past.
People always nudge each other,
point at me with a finger
as if I’d performed a marvel;
Criticize me with nodding heads,
think I should be burnt on the pyre,
just because I’ve sinned once.
Why should I tell each little thing?
I’m the subject of a story;
I’m in everybody’s mouth.
Because of him I suffer this abuse.
I’m so miserable I’m dying.
I’m always in tears.
And this adds to my troubles,
that my lover’s gone off
because of that trifle.
On account of his father’s rage,
he’s taken off to France
right out of the country.
I’m lonesome
because of his absence.
What a pile of trouble I’ve had!
(tr. Anne L. Klinck)



Cernis ut orba meis, hospes, monumenta locavi
et tristis senior natos miseranda requiro.
exemplis referenda mea est deserta senectus
ut steriles vere possint gaudere maritae.
(Papiria Tertia, CIL V.2435 = CLE 369)

Stranger, you see how, a woman bereft of my own [dear ones],
I had monuments erected
and sad, elderly, pitiable, I miss my children.
My isolated old age should be added to the exemplary proofs
that barren wives may count themselves truly happy!
(tr. Jane Stevenson)



Oraque magnanimum spirantia paene virorum
in rostris iacuere suis, sed enim abstulit omnis,
tamquam sola foret, rapti Ciceronis imago.
tunc redeunt animis ingentia consulis acta
iurataeque manus deprensaque foedera noxae
patriciumque nefas exstinctum; poena Cethegi
deiectusque redit votis Catilina nefandis.
quid favor aut coetus, pleni quid honoribus anni
profuerant, sacris exculta quid artibus aetas?
abstulit una dies aevi decus, ictaque luctu
conticuit Latiae tristis facundia linguae.
unica sollicitis quondam tutela salusque,
egregium semper patriae caput, ille senatus
vindex, ille fori, legum ritusque togaeque
publica vox saevis aeternum obmutuit armis.
informes vultus sparsamque cruore nefando
canitiem sacrasque manus operumque ministras
tantorum pedibus civis proiecta superbis
proculcavit ovans nec lubrica fata deosque
respexit. nullo luet hoc Antonius aevo.
hoc nec in Emathio mitis victoria Perse
nec te, dire Syphax, non fecit in hoste Philippo,
inque triumphato ludibria cuncta Iugurtha
afuerunt, nostraeque cadens ferus Hannibal irae
membra tamen Stygias tulit inviolata sub umbras.
(Cornelius Severus, fr. 13)

The heads of great-hearted men, still almost breathing, lay on the rostra which had been theirs, but the sight of ravaged Cicero, as if he were the only one, drew away the attention of all. Then the mighty deeds which he performed as consul come back to their minds: the bands of conspirators, the detection of criminal compacts and the blotting out of aristocratic wickedness; they remember too Cethegus’ punishment and Catiline cast down from his abominable ambitions. What good had the people’s support and his public meetings done to him, or the sacred arts with which he adorned his life? A single day snatched away the glory of the age, and, struck by grief, the eloquence of the Latin tongue sadly fell silent. He who was previously the supreme protector and saviour of the distressed, always the outstanding head of his country, he the champion of the Senate, the public mouthpiece of the laws, religion, and civil life, for ever grew dumb through cruel arms. A fellow citizen cast down and joyfully trampled with arrogant feet the disfigured face, the white hair foully spattered with blood, those sacred hands which had helped to produce such great works, taking no thought for the slippery fates or the gods. No amount of time will suffice for Antony to expiate this deed. Our gentle victory did not behave thus in the case of Macedonian Perseus or in yours, dread Syphax, nor in dealing with our enemy Philip; when we triumphed over Jugurtha no humiliation occurred, and when cruel Hannibal succumbed to our wrath, nonetheless he took down his limbs unmutilated to the Stygian shades. (tr. Adrian S. Hollis)



Αὐτίκα γοῦν μάλα ὅσον οὐδέπω παραστήσομεν ὡς ἄρα μετὰ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ καὶ θάνατοι τῶν δαιμόνων ἱστορήθησαν καὶ τὰ θαυμαστὰ καὶ πάλαι βοώμενα χρηστήρια διαλελοίπασιν. ἤδη δὲ καὶ πρότερον ἀποδέδεικται ὅτι δὴ παῦλαν κακῶν οὐδ’ ἄλλοτέ πω πρότερον ἢ μετὰ τὴν εὐαγγελικὴν διδασκαλίαν εἰλήφασιν αἱ παρὰ πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὠμῶς καὶ ἀνηλεῶς ἐπιτελούμεναι τὸ πρὶν ἀνθρωποθυσίαι· οἷς ἐπὶ τοῦ παρόντος προσθεῖναι καλὸν ὅτι μὴ μόνον ἐξ ἐκείνου τὰ τῆς δαιμονικῆς ἀπέσβη δεισιδαιμονίας, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ τῆς τῶν ἐθνῶν πολυαρχίας. σχεδὸν γὰρ κατὰ πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ κώμην βασιλεῖς καὶ τυράννους τοπάρχας τε καὶ δυνάστας τὸ παλαιὸν ἦν ὁρᾶν ἐθναρχίας τε καὶ πολυαρχίας, δι’ ἃς ἐπὶ τοὺς κατ’ ἀλλήλων πολέμους συνεχῶς ὁρμῶντες δῃώσεις χωρῶν καὶ πόλεων πολιορκίας ἀνδραποδισμούς τε καὶ αἰχμαλωσίας τῶν πλησιοχώρων ἀεὶ καὶ διὰ παντὸς ἐνήργουν, πρὸς τῶν οἰκείων δαιμόνων ἐπὶ τὸν κατ’ ἀλλήλων πόλεμον ἐξοιστρούμενοι. ὧν οὕτως ἐχόντων ἐν ὁποίᾳ τότε συγχύσει κακῶν συμφορῶν τε ἐπαλλήλων ὁ πᾶς ἐνίσχητο βίος καὶ αὐτῷ σοι καταλείπω σκοπεῖν. Τούτων δὴ οὖν ἀθρόως ἁπάντων ὁμοῦ σὺν τῇ πολυθέῳ πλάνῃ ἐκποδὼν μεταστάντων οὐκ ἄλλοτε ἢ μετὰ τὴν τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν εἰς ἀνθρώπους ἐπιδημίαν, πῶς οὐ χρὴ τὸ μέγα μυστήριον τῆς ἀληθῶς σωτηρίου καὶ εὐαγγελικῆς ἀποδείξεως ὑπερθαυμάζειν, δι’ ἧς ἀθρόως κατὰ πᾶσαν τὴν τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἰκουμένην προσευκτήρια καὶ ναοὶ τῷ παμβασιλεῖ καὶ δημιουργῷ τῶν ἁπάντων καὶ μόνῳ θεῷ ἔν τε πόλεσι καὶ κώμαις βαρβάρων τε ἐθνῶν ἐν ἐρημίαις ἀφιερωμένα συνέστη, βίβλοι τε καὶ ἀναγνώσματα μαθήματά τε παντοῖα καὶ διδασκαλίαι, περὶ τῆς εἰς ἄκρον ἀρετῆς καὶ τρόπου τοῦ κατὰ τὴν ἀληθῆ θεοσέβειαν παραγγέλματα περιέχουσαι, ἀνδράσιν ὁμοῦ καὶ γυναιξὶ καὶ παισὶν εἰς ἐπήκοον παραδέδονται, νεκρὰ δὲ τὰ ἀπὸ δαιμόνων πάντα χρηστήριά τε καὶ μαντεύματα; οὐδέ τις εἰς τοσοῦτον ἀνθρώπων μέμηνεν νῦν, ἐξ οὗπερ εἰς πάντας φωτὸς δίκην ἐξέλαμψεν ἡ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ἔνθεος καὶ εὐαγγελικὴ δύναμις, ὡς τολμᾶν τῷ τοῦ φιλτάτου φόνῳ καὶ ταῖς δι’ ἀνθρωποθυσιῶν σφαγαῖς τὰ φονικὰ καὶ φίλαιμα μισάνθρωπά τε καὶ ἀπάνθρωπα δαιμόνια ἐξιλεοῦσθαι, οἷα πράττειν τοῖς πάλαι σοφοῖς καὶ βασιλεῦσι δαιμονῶσιν ὡς ἀληθῶς φίλον ἦν. περὶ δὲ τοῦ μηκέτι δύνασθαί τι κατισχύειν τοὺς φαύλους δαίμονας μετὰ τὴν τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν εἰς ἀνθρώπους πάροδον καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ καθ´ ἡμᾶς τῶν δαιμόνων προήγορος ἐν τῇ καθ’ ἡμῶν συσκευῇ τοῦτόν που λέγων μαρτυρεῖ τὸν τρόπον·
“Νυνὶ δὲ θαυμάζουσιν εἰ τοσοῦτον ἐτῶν κατείληφεν ἡ νόσος τὴν πόλιν, Ἀσκληπιοῦ μὲν ἐπιδημίας καὶ τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν μηκέτι οὔσης. Ἰησοῦ γὰρ τιμωμένου οὐδεμιᾶς δημοσίας τις θεῶν ὠφελείας ᾔσθετο.” [Porphyry, Adv. Chr. fr. ‎80 Harnack = fr. 17 Ramos Jurado]
ταῦτα ῥήμασιν αὐτοῖς ὁ Πορφύριος. Εἰ δὴ οὖν κατὰ τήνδε τὴν ὁμολογίαν Ἰησοῦ τιμωμένου οὐδεμιᾶς τις θεῶν δημοσίας ὠφελείας ᾔσθετο, μηκέτ’ οὔσης μήτε Ἀσκληπιοῦ ἐπιδημίας μήτε τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν, πόθεν δὴ λοιπὸν τὸ ὡς περὶ θεῶν καὶ ἡρώων δόγμα; τί γὰρ οὐχὶ μᾶλλον τὰ τῶν θεῶν καὶ τὰ Ἀσκληπιοῦ κρατεῖ τῆς Ἰησοῦ δυνάμεως;
(Eusebius, Praep. Ev. 5.1.3-12)

We shall show then almost immediately that very soon after His manifestation there came stories of the deaths of daemons, and that the wonderful oracles so celebrated of old have ceased. But already it has been proved above that, until after the teaching of the Gospel, the human sacrifices which were formerly so cruelly and ruthlessly perpetrated among all the heathen have never admitted any cessation of evils: and on the present occasion it is a good thing to add to this that not only the superstitious worship of daemons but also the multitude of ruling powers among the heathen became from that time extinct. For almost in every city and village you might in old times see kings, and tyrants, and local governors, and lords, and ethnarchies and multitudes of rulers, by reason of which they were continually rushing into wars against one another, and ever perpetually at work in raiding country districts, and besieging cities, and making slaves and captives of their neighbours, being wildly driven by their local daemons into mutual wars. Which being so, I leave it to you to consider for yourself in what kind of confusion of mutual evils and misfortunes the whole of life was entangled. Since then it was only after the time of our Saviour’s abode among men that these troubles together with the delusion of polytheism were removed all at once out of the way, must we not wonder exceedingly at the great mystery of the exhibition of true salvation in the Gospel? For thereby all at once in the whole world inhabited by man houses of prayer and temples were set up and consecrated, in cities and villages and in the deserts of barbarous nations, to the sovereign Ruler and Creator of all things and the only God; and books and lectures, and all kinds of learning, and instructions containing exhortations concerning the highest virtue and the mode of life accordant with true godliness, have been delivered in the hearing of men and women and children alike, while all the oracles and divinations of daemons are dead. Nor, since the divine power of our Saviour in the Gospel shone forth like light upon all men, is any man now so mad as to dare to propitiate the murderous and bloodthirsty and misanthropic and inhuman daemons by the murder of his best-beloved, and by the slaughter of men in sacrifices, such as the sages and kings of old, being verily possessed by daemons, loved to practise. But with regard to the fact that the evil daemons no longer have any power to prevail since our Saviour’s advent among men, the very same author who is the advocate of the daemons in our time, in his compilation against us, bears witness by speaking in the following manner:
‘And now they wonder that for so many years the plague has attacked the city, Asclepius and the other gods being no longer resident among us. For since Jesus began to be honoured, no one ever heard of any public assistance from the gods.’
This is Porphyry’s statement in his very words. If then, according to this confession, ‘since Jesus began to be honoured no one ever heard of any public assistance from the gods, because neither Asclepius nor the other gods were any longer resident,’ what ground is there henceforth for the opinion that they are gods and heroes? For why do not rather the gods and Asclepius prevail over the power of Jesus? If indeed, as they would say, He is a mortal man—perhaps they would even say that He is a deceiver—while they are gods and saviours, why then have they all fled in a body, Asclepius and all, having turned their backs to this mortal, and given over all humanity forthwith into the power of Him who, as they would say, is no longer living? (tr. Edwin Hamilton Gifford)



ηὔδα δὲ λυδίζουσα· “βασκ. . . κρολεα.”
πυγιστί· “τὸν πυγεῶνα παρ[
καί μοι τὸν ὄρχιν τῆς φαλ
κ]ράδηι συνηλοίησεν ὥσπ[ερ φαρμακῶι,
.].τοις διοζίοισιν ἐμπεδ[
καὶ δὴ δυοῖσιν ἐν πόνοισ[ι
ἥ τε κράδη με τοὐτέρωθ[εν
ἄνωθεν ἐμπίπτουσα, κ[
παραψιδάζων βολβίτωι [
ὦζεν δὲ λαύρη· κάνθαρο[ι δὲ ῥοιζέοντες
ἦλθον κατ’ ὀδμήν πλέονες ἤ πεντήκοντα·
τῶν οἱ μέν ἐμπίπτοντε[ς
κατέβαλον, οἱ δέ τοὺς ὀδ..[
οἱ δ’ ἐμπεσόντες τὰς θύρα[ς
τοῦ Πυγέλησι[. . . . .]. .[
. .]ρυσσον οἱα[. . . .]αροιμο[
. .]ω δ’ ἐς υμν[
(Hipponax, fr. 91)

She spoke in Lydian: Faskati krolel.
(speaking) Assian: “your ass…
and the balls of my (prick?)…
she whipped with a fig branch as [if for a scapegoat
securely with a forks (of wood?)
and in doubled pain
on the one side the fig branch (did something) to me, and from the other
falling from above,…
spattering with shit…
and the hole stank. Dung beetles buzzing
came to the smell, more than fifty.
Of them some falling in
attacked, and others the…
Those having fallen in the doors
of Ass-ville…
(3 lines too fragmentary to translate)
(tr. Kirk Ormand)