Virtutem

Roman_Military_Statue

This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

“Ceterum homines superbissimi procul errant. maiores eorum omnia quae licebat illis reliquere, divitias, imagines, memoriam sui praeclaram; virtutem non reliquere, neque poterant: ea sola neque datur dono neque accipitur. sordidum me et incultis moribus aiunt, quia parum scite convivium exorno neque histrionem ullum neque pluris preti coquom quam vilicum habeo. quae mihi lubet confiteri, Quirites; nam ex parente meo et ex aliis sanctis viris ita accepi, munditias mulieribus, viris laborem convenire, omnibusque bonis oportere plus gloriae quam divitiarum esse; arma, non supellectilem decori esse. quin ergo, quod iuvat, quod carum aestumant, id semper faciant: ament, potent; ubi adulescentiam habuere, ibi senectutem agant, in conviviis, dediti ventri et turpissumae parti corporis; sudorem, pulverem et alia talia relinquant nobis, quibus illa epulis iucundiora sunt. verum non ita est. nam ubi se flagitiis dedecoravere turpissimi viri, bonorum praemia ereptum eunt. ita iniustissume luxuria et ignavia, pessumae artes, illis qui coluere eas nihil officiunt, rei publicae innoxiae cladi sunt.”
(Sallust, Bell. Iug. 85.38-43)

But these men are filled with arrogance and they are very wrong. Their ancestors left them all that they could leave: wealth, family portraits, the glorious memory of their own actions; they did not leave them virtue, nor could they. That is the only thing that cannot be given or received as a gift. They say I am vulgar and uneducated because I do know how to set an elegant dinner table and I do not have an actor or a cook worth more than my foreman. But I’m pleased to confess that this is true, citizens. For I have learned from my parents and other righteous men that elegance is for women, labour is for men; that good men ought to have more glory than wealth; that armour is the true ornament, not furniture. Well, then, let them always do what they enjoy, what they consider valuable: let them fall in love, get drunk, continue to do in old age what they did as young men—attend banquets, remain dedicated to their belly and the shameful parts of their body. Let them leave to us the sweat and the dust and other such things; to us these things are sweeter than banquets. But, it doesn’t happen like that. For when these most disgraceful men have debased themselves with their own dereliction, they set out to steal the rewards due to good men. And so it is most unjust that these most wicked practices, extravagant wastefulness and cowardly indolence, do no damage to those who adopt
them, but they are the ruin of the innocent Republic. (tr. William W. Batstone)

Imagines

Togatus Barberini

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

“Equidem ego non ignoro, si iam mihi respondere velint, abunde illis facundam et compositam orationem fore. sed in maxumo vostro beneficio cum omnibus locis meque vosque maledictis lacerent, non placuit reticere, ne quis modestiam in conscientiam duceret. nam me quidem ex animi mei sententia nulla oratio laedere potest; quippe vera necesse est bene praedicent, falsa vita moresque mei superant. sed quoniam vostra consilia accusantur, qui mihi summum honorem et maxumum negotium imposuistis, etiam atque etiam reputate, num eorum paenitendum sit. non possum fidei causa imagines neque triumphos aut consulatus maiorum meorum ostentare, at, si res postulet, hastas, vexillum, phaleras, alia militaria dona, praeterea cicatrices advorso corpore. hae sunt meae imagines, haec nobilitas, non hereditate relicta, ut illa illis, sed quae ego meis plurumis laboribus et periculis quaesivi. non sunt composita verba mea; parvi id facio. ipsa se virtus satis ostendit; illis artificio opus est, ut turpia facta oratione tegant. neque litteras Graecas didici; parum placebat eas discere, quippe quae ad virtutem doctoribus nihil profuerant. at illa multo optima rei publicae doctus sum: hostem ferire, praesidia agitare, nihil metuere nisi turpem famam, hiemem et aestatem iuxta pati, humi requiescere, eodem tempore inopiam et laborem tolerare. his ego praeceptis milites hortabor; neque illos arte colam, me opulenter, neque gloriam meam, laborem illorum faciam. hoc est utile, hoc civile imperium. namque cum tute per mollitiem agas, exercitum supplicio cogere, id est dominum, non imperatorem esse. haec atque alia talia maiores vostri faciundo seque remque publicam celebravere. quis nobilitas freta, ipsa dissimilis moribus, nos illorum aemulos contemnit et omnis honores non ex merito, sed quasi debitos a vobis repetit.”
(Sallust, Bell. Iug. 85.26-37)

I am fully aware that if they wanted to respond to me now, they would deliver a very eloquent and crafted oration. But on the occasion of the very great kindness you have bestowed, since they cut me and you at every opportunity with insults, I did not want to be silent. I did not want modesty to be construed as a guilty conscience. In fact, it is my heartfelt opinion that no speech can damage me: the truth necessarily speaks well for me; lies are refuted by my life and character. But it is your judgement that is denounced, you who gave me the greatest office and the most important mission, and so you must consider again and again whether your action is to be regretted. I cannot justify your confidence by bringing forth the portraits or triumphs or consulships of my ancestors; but, if circumstances demand, I can bring forth spears, a banner, medallions, other military honours, and in addition the scars on the front of my body. These are my family portraits, my nobility, not an inheritance bequeathed to me, as theirs is, but won by my own many labours and dangers. My words are not well crafted; I care little for that. Manly virtue can present itself well enough; they are the ones who need artifice to hide their shameful deeds with a speech. And I have not learned Greek: I had no desire to learn that which of course was of no help in teaching the teachers virtue. But I have learned those things that are most important to the state: to strike the enemy, to defend a position, to fear nothing but a disgraceful report, to endure alike the cold of winter and the heat of summer, to sleep on the ground, to sustain hunger and hard work at the same time. These are the lessons I urge upon my soldiers. And I am not stingy with them while being lavish with myself; I do not give them the labour and take glory for myself. This is effective, this is civic command. For when you live a soft life of safety, but coerce an army with threats of punishment, that is to be a slave-owner, not a commander. It was by doing these and other similar things that your ancestors glorified themselves and their state. But the aristocrats, relying on that glory, while being themselves of a very different character, hold us in contempt, though we emulate their ancestors. And then they seek from you all the political offices, not because they deserve them, but as if they were entitled to them. (tr. William W. Batstone)

Nobilitas

Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius

This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

“Comparate nunc, Quirites, cum illorum superbia me hominem novom. Quae illi audire aut legere solent, eorum partem vidi, alia egomet gessi; quae illi litteris, ea ego militando didici. nunc vos existumate facta an dicta pluris sint. contemnunt novitatem meam, ego illorum ignaviam; mihi fortuna, illis probra obiectantur. quamquam ego naturam unam et communem omnium existumo, sed fortissimum quemque generosissimum. ac si iam ex patribus Albini aut Bestiae quaeri posset, mene an illos ex se gigni maluerint, quid responsuros creditis, nisi sese liberos quam optumos voluisse? quod si iure me despiciunt, faciant item maioribus suis, quibus, uti mihi, ex virtute nobilitas coepit. invident honori meo; ergo invideant labori, innocentiae, periculis etiam meis, quoniam per haec illum cepi. verum homines corrupti superbia ita aetatem agunt, quasi vestros honores contemnant; ita hos petunt, quasi honeste vixerint. ne illi falsi sunt, qui divorsissumas res pariter exspectant, ignaviae voluptatem et praemia virtutis. atque etiam, cum apud vos aut in senatu verba faciunt, pleraque oratione maiores suos extollunt, eorum fortia facta memorando clariores sese putant. quod contra est. nam quanto vita illorum praeclarior, tanto horum socordia flagitiosior. et profecto ita se res habet: maiorum gloria posteris quasi lumen est, neque bona neque mala eorum in occulto patitur. huiusce rei ego inopiam fateor, Quirites, verum, id quod multo praeclarius est, meamet facta mihi dicere licet. nunc videte quam iniqui sint. quod ex aliena virtute sibi arrogant, id mihi ex mea non concedunt, scilicet quia imagines non habeo et quia mihi nova nobilitas est, quam certe peperisse melius est quam acceptam corrupisse.”
(Sallust, Bell. Iug. 85.13-25)

“Compare, now, citizens, those men, their arrogance, with me, a “new man”. The things that they heard or read about, some of them were things I saw, the rest were things I did. What they learned from books, I learned being a soldier. Now you must judge whether deeds or words are of more value. They scorn my status as a “new man”, I scorn their cowardice; I am taunted for my station in life, they for their shameful activities. I believe that we all have a single common nature, but that the bravest man is the most noble. And, if the fathers of Albinus or Bestia could be asked whether they would rather have a son like me or like the nobles, what do you think they would say except that they wanted the best possible children? On the other hand, if it is right for them to look down on me, they should look down on their own ancestors too, men whose nobility, like mine, began in manly virtue. They are jealous of my office; therefore, let them be jealous of my hard work, my integrity, even the dangers I have faced, since it was through these that I have gained that office. But these men, vitiated by arrogance, pass their lives as if they despised the honours you can give, but seek those honours as if they had lived an honourable life. Surely they are deceived if they expect to enjoy the pleasures of indolence and the rewards of manliness, two contradictory things. Furthermore, when they speak before you or in the Senate, most of their speech is taken up with praising their ancestors: they think that by recalling those brave deeds they themselves become more glorious. But the converse is true. For the more glorious the life of their ancestors is, the more shameful their own cowardice becomes. Certainly this is the truth of the matter: the glory of their ancestors is like a light which does not allow their virtues or faults to be hidden. I confess, citizens, that I have no advantages of this kind, but I have that which is much more glorious: I can talk about my own deeds. Now consider how unfair they are. They do not grant to me from my own virtue the very thing they arrogate to themselves from the virtue of others—of course it is because I do not have family portraits and my nobility is recent. But surely it is better to have created nobility than to have received and corrupted it.” (tr. William W. Batstone)

Puleium

puleium

Non patitur cunctas angustia carminis huius
pulei virtutes celeri comprendere versu.
hoc apud Indorum tanti constare peritos
fertur, apud Gallos quanti valet Indica nigri
congeries piperis. quis iam dubitare sinetur
hac herba plures leniri posse labores,
quam pretiis inhianter emit ditissima tantis
gens, hebenoque auroque fluens et mira volenti
quaeque ferens mundo. o magna laudanda tonantis
virtus et ratio, nullis quae munera terris
larga suae non pandit opis! quae rara sub isto
axe videre soles, aliis in partibus horum
copia tanta iacet, quantum vilissima tecum
efficiunt: rursus quaedam quae spreta videntur
forte tibi, magno mercantur ditia regna,
altera ut alterius potiatur foenore tellus,
orbis et in toto per partes una domus sit.
puleium quoque decoctum curabit, amice,
et potu et fotu stomachum, mihi crede, morantem.
dum canimus quae certa gravi ratione tenemus,
quaedam audita etiam vero miscere coturno
fas ususque sinit: ramum coniungito pulei
auriculae, ne forte caput turbaverit aestus
solis in aerio si te perflarit aperto.
quod nisi me currens deponere vela Thalia
cogeret ac tandem portus intrare moneret,
hinc tibi multiplices poteram decerpere flores.
(Walahfrid Strabo, De Cultura Hortorum 300-326)

The narrow limitations of my song will not
permit me to embrace all the virtues of pennyroyal
in these ephemeral verses. It is reportedly
valued as highly by the physicians of India
as a whole sack of black Indian pepper
amongst the Gauls. Who could doubt that this herb
can relieve numerous sufferings, since that
worthy folk eagerly pays such a high price for it.
Possessing so much ebony and gold, they
are in a position to provide the greedy world
with all kinds of valuable things. How praiseworthy
are the power and wisdom of the thundering god
who bestows his helpful gifts so bountifully!
For whatever is seldom seen under one part of the sky
is readily available in other parts of the earth,
in such quantity there as the cheapest things are here.
Prosperous kingdoms abroad pay good money
for articles which may appear to us valueless.
Thus one country profits from another,
and the whole world in all its parts constitutes
a single household.
Believe me, my friend, an extract of pennyroyal,
taken as a drink or applied as a poultice,
will cure a sluggish stomach.
Normally we report only what we regard as certain,
but in this case custom and usage will allow us
to inject a bit of hearsay into our poem:
If you stick a twing of pennyroyal behind your ear,
then the sun’s heat won’t make you dizzy
when it beats down upon you in the open.
If Thalia weren’t urgently warning me
to take in sail and head for the harbor,
I could pick many more flowers for you here.
(tr. James Mitchell)

Poenigenam

Asclepius taken from The Womb of Coronis. Wood carving, 1549 edition of Alessandro Benedetti_s De Re Medica.

Apollo, cum Coronidem gravidam fecisset, corvum ei custodem apposuit, ne quis ad eam occulte temerator accederet. cum hac Lycus occulte concubuit, quem fulmine Iuppiter exstinxit. ipsam Coronidem Apollo sagittis occidit, cuius mortuae exsecto utero Aesculapium produxit in lucem. unde Vergilius: ‘fulmine poenigenam Stygias detrusit ad undas’ [Aen. 7.773], id est per poenam matris natum.
(Lactantius Placidus, Comm. in Stat. Theb. 3.506)

When Apollo had made Coronis pregnant, he assigned a raven as a guardian over her lest any rash person should secretly approach her. With her by stealth lay Lycus whom Jupiter destroyed with a thunderbolt. Coronis herself Apolo slew with his arrows; from her womb, cut open when she was dead, he brought forth Asclepius into the light of day. Wherefore Vergil says: ‘with his thunderbolt he [sc. Jupiter] hurled down to the Stygian waters ‘poenigenam’, that means him who was born through the punishment of his mother. (tr. Emma & Ludwig Edelstein)

 

Kuoun

preggers

“Κυοῦσιν γάρ,” ἔφη, “ὦ Σώκρατες, πάντες ἄνθρωποι καὶ κατὰ τὸ σῶμα καὶ κατὰ τὴν ψυχήν, καὶ ἐπειδὰν ἔν τινι ἡλικίᾳ γένωνται, τίκτειν ἐπιθυμεῖ ἡμῶν ἡ φύσις. τίκτειν δὲ ἐν μὲν αἰσχρῷ οὐ δύναται, ἐν δὲ τῷ καλῷ. ἡ γὰρ ἀνδρὸς καὶ γυναικὸς συνουσία τόκος ἐστίν. ἔστι δὲ τοῦτο θεῖον τὸ πρᾶγμα, καὶ τοῦτο ἐν θνητῷ ὄντι τῷ ζῴῳ ἀθάνατον ἔνεστιν, ἡ κύησις καὶ ἡ γέννησις. τὰ δὲ ἐν τῷ ἀναρμόστῳ ἀδύνατον γενέσθαι. ἀνάρμοστον δ’ ἐστὶ τὸ αἰσχρὸν παντὶ τῷ θείῳ, τὸ δὲ καλὸν ἁρμόττον. Μοῖρα οὖν καὶ Εἰλείθυια ἡ Καλλονή ἐστι τῇ γενέσει. διὰ ταῦτα ὅταν μὲν καλῷ προσπελάζῃ τὸ κυοῦν, ἵλεών τε γίγνεται καὶ εὐφραινόμενον διαχεῖται καὶ τίκτει τε καὶ γεννᾷ· ὅταν δὲ αἰσχρῷ, σκυθρωπόν τε καὶ λυπούμενον συσπειρᾶται καὶ ἀποτρέπεται καὶ ἀνείλλεται καὶ οὐ γεννᾷ, ἀλλὰ ἴσχον τὸ κύημα χαλεπῶς φέρει. ὅθεν δὴ τῷ κυοῦντί τε καὶ ἤδη σπαργῶντι πολλὴ ἡ πτοίησις γέγονε
περὶ τὸ καλὸν διὰ τὸ μεγάλης ὠδῖνος ἀπολύειν τὸν ἔχοντα. ἔστιν γάρ, ὦ Σώκρατες,” ἔφη, “οὐ τοῦ καλοῦ ὁ ἔρως, ὡς σὺ οἴει.”
“ἀλλὰ τί μήν;”
“τῆς γεννήσεως καὶ τοῦ τόκου ἐν τῷ καλῷ.”
“εἶεν,” ἦν δ’ ἐγώ.
“πάνυ μὲν οὖν,” ἔφη. “τί δὴ οὖν τῆς γεννήσεως; ὅτι ἀειγενές ἐστι καὶ ἀθάνατον ὡς θνητῷ ἡ γέννησις. ἀθανασίας δὲ ἀναγκαῖον ἐπιθυμεῖν μετὰ ἀγαθοῦ ἐκ τῶν ὡμολογημένων, εἴπερ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ἑαυτῷ εἶναι ἀεὶ ἔρως ἐστίν. ἀναγκαῖον δὴ ἐκ τούτου τοῦ λόγου καὶ τῆς ἀθανασίας τὸν ἔρωτα εἶναι.”
(Plato, Symp. 206c-207a)

“All human beings are pregnant, Socrates, in body and in soul, and when we reach maturity it is natural that we desire to give birth. It is not possible to give birth in what is ugly, only in the beautiful. I say that because the intercourse of a man and a woman is a kind of giving birth. It is something divine, this process of pregnancy and procreation. It is an aspect of immortality in the otherwise mortal creature, and it cannot take place in what is discordant. Now, the ugly is not in accord with anything divine, whereas the beautiful accords well. So at this birth Beauty takes on the roles of Fate and Eileithyia. For this reason,whenever the pregnant being approaches the beautiful, it is in favourable mood. It melts with joy, gives birth and procreates. In the face of ugliness, however, it frowns and contracts with pain, and shrivelling up it fails to procreate, and it holds back its offspring in great suffering. This is the reason why, for a pregnant being now ready to give birth, there is much excitement at the presence of the beautiful because its possessor will deliver the pregnant one from great pain. For the object of love, Socrates”, she said, “is not, as you think, simply the beautiful.”
“What, then?”
“It is procreating and giving birth in the beautiful.”
“All right”, I said.
“It certainly is”, she replied. “But why is the object of love procreation? Because procreation is a kind of everlastingness and immortality for the mortal creature, as far as anything can be. If the object of love is indeed everlasting possession of the good, as we have already agreed, it is immortality together with the good that must necessarily be desired. Hence it must follow that the object of love is also immortality.” (tr. Margaret C. Howatson)

Aischunē

blush

In problematis Aristotelis philosophi ita scriptum est: Διὰ τί οἱ μὲν αἰσχυνόμενοι ὠχριῶσιν, παραπλησίων τῶν παθῶν ὄντων; ὅτι τῶν μὲν αἰσχυνομένων διαχεῖται τὸ αἷμα ἐκ τῆς καρδίας εἰς ἅπαντα τὰ μέρη τοῦ σώματος, ὥστε ἐπιπολάζειν· τοῖς δὲ φοβηθεῖσιν συντρέχει εἰς τὴν καρδίαν, ὥστε ἐκλείπειν ἐκ τῶν ἄλλων μερῶν [fr. 243 R3]. hoc ego Athenis cum Tauro nostro legissem percontatusque essem, quid de ratione ista reddita sentiret, “dixit quidem” inquit “probe et vere, quid accideret diffuso sanguine aut contracto, sed cur ita fieret, non dixit. adhuc enim quaeri potest, quam ob causam pudor sanguinem diffundat, timor contrahat, cum sit pudor species timoris atque ita definiatur: ‘timor iustae reprehensionis’. ita enim philosophi definiunt: αἰσχύνη ἐστὶν φόβος δικαίου ψόγου.”
(Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 19.6)

In the Problems of the philosopher Aristotle is the following passage: “Why do men who are ashamed turn red and those who fear grow pale; although these emotions are similar? Because the blood of those who feel shame flows from the heart to all parts of the body, and therefore comes to the surface; but the blood of those who fear rushes to the heart, and consequently leaves all the other parts of the body.” When I had read this at Athens with our friend Taurus and had asked him what he thought about that reason which had been assigned, he answered: “He has told us properly and truly what happens when the blood is diffused or concentrated, but he has not told us why this takes place. For the question may still be asked why it is that shame diffuses the blood and fear contracts it, when shame is a kind of fear and is defined by the philosophers as ‘the fear of just censure.’ For they say: αἰσχύνη ἐστὶν φόβος δικαίου ψόγου [shame is the fear of just censure].” (tr. John C. Rolfe)