Monstra

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Hic quoque monstra domat, rutili quibus arce cerebri
ad frontem coma tracta iacet nudataque cervix
saetarum per damna nitet, tum lumine glauco
albet aquosa acies ac vultibus undique rasis
pro barba tenues perarantur pectine cristae.
strictius assutae vestes procera cohercent
membra virum, patet his altato tegmine poples,
latus et angustam suspendit balteus alvum.
excusisse citas vastum per inane bipennes
et plagae praescisse locum clipeosque rotare
ludus et intortas praecedere saltibus hastas
inque hostem venisse prius; puerilibus annis
est belli maturus amor.
(Sidonius Apollinaris, Panegyricus Maiorani 238-250)

…for this youth* likewise subdues monsters, on the crown of whose red pates lies the hair that has been drawn towards the front, while the neck, exposed by the loss of its covering, shows bright. Their eyes are faint and pale, with a glimmer of greyish blue. Their faces are shaven all round, and instead of beards they have thin moustaches which they run through with a comb. Close-fitting garments confine the tall limbs of the men; they are drawn up high so as to expose the knees, and a broad belt supports their narrow middle. It is their sport to send axes hurtling through the vast void and know beforehand where the blow will fall, to whirl their shields, to outstrip with leaps and bounds the spears they have hurled and reach the enemy first. Even in boyhood’s years the love of fighting is full-grown.

* Emperor Maiorianus

(tr. William Blair Anderson)

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