Graeculus

AC294

Quae nunc divitibus gens acceptissima nostris
et quos praecipue fugiam, properabo fateri,
nec pudor obstabit. non possum ferre, Quirites,
Graecam urbem. quamvis quota portio faecis Achaei?
iam pridem Syrus in Tiberim defluxit Orontes
et linguam et mores et cum tibicine chordas
obliquas nec non gentilia tympana secum
vexit et ad circum iussas prostare puellas.
ite, quibus grata est picta lupa barbara mitra.
rusticus ille tuus sumit trechedipna, Quirine,
et ceromatico fert niceteria collo.
hic alta Sicyone, ast hic Amydone relicta,
hic Andro, ille Samo, hic Trallibus aut Alabandis,
Esquilias dictumque petunt a vimine collem,
viscera magnarum domuum dominique futuri.
ingenium velox, audacia perdita, sermo
promptus et Isaeo torrentior: ede quid illum
esse velis. quemvis hominem secum attulit ad nos:
grammaticus, rhetor, geometres, pictor, aliptes,
augur, schoenobates, medicus, magus, omnia novit
Graeculus esuriens: in caelum iusseris ibit.
in summa non Maurus erat neque Sarmata nec Thrax
qui sumpsit pinnas, mediis sed natus Athenis.
(Juvenal, Sat. 3.58-80)

The race that’s now most popular with wealthy Romans—the people I want especially to get away from—I’ll name them right away, without any embarrassment. My fellow- citizens, I cannot stand a Greekified Rome. Yet how few of our dregs are Achaeans? The Syrian Orontes has for a long time now been polluting the Tiber, bringing with it its language and customs, its slanting strings along with pipers, its native tom-toms too, and the girls who are told to offer themselves for sale at the Circus. Off you go, if your taste is a foreign whore in her bright headdress. Ah, Quirinus, that supposed rustic of yours is putting on his chaussures grecques and wearing his médaillons grecs on his neck parfumé a la grecque. They come—this one leaving the heights of Sicyon, this other from Amydon, this one from Andros, that one from Samos, this one from Tralles or Alabanda—heading for the Esquiline and the hill named from the willow, to become the innards and the masters of our great houses. They have quicksilver wit, shameless presumption, words at the ready, more gushing than Isaeus. Say what you want him to be. In his own person he has brought anyone you like: school teacher, rhetorician, geometrician, painter, masseur, prophet, funambulist, physician, magician—your hungry Greekling has every talent. Tell him to go to heaven and he will. In short, it wasn’t a Moroccan or a Sarmatian or a Thracian who sprouted wings, but a man born in the centre of Athens. (tr. Susanna Morton Braund)

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