evasi effugi

D.M.S.* L. Annius Octavius Valerianus

evasi, effugi. Spes et Fortuna, valete!
nil mihi voviscum* est, ludificate alios!

* D.M.S. = Dis Manibus Sacris (sacred/dedicated to the spirit-gods). Voviscum is a spelling error for vobiscum. There are several variations on this epitaph.
(CIL VI.11743 = CLE 1498)

I have come through, escaped. Hope and Fortune, farewell. I have no more to do with you; trifle with others. (tr. Archie Burnett)



Is cui os oleat an sanus sit quaesitum est: Trebatius ait non esse morbosum os alicui olere, veluti hircosum, strabonem: hoc enim ex illuvie oris accidere solere. Si tamen ex corporis vitio id accidit, veluti quod iecur, quod pulmo aut aliud quid similiter dolet, morbosus est.
(Ulpian, Digesta

The question arose whether a slave who has a bad breath is sound. Trebatius says that a person whose breath smells is not diseased any more than one who smells like a goat, or who squints; for this may happen to anyone on account of a filthy mouth. But, however, where this occurs through some bodily defect, for example, from the liver or the lungs, or from any other similar cause, the slave is diseased. (tr. Samuel P. Scott)



Περιστάσης δὲ τῆς πάσης εἰς μόνον Κωσταντῖνον ἀρχῆς, οὐκέτι λοιπὸν τὴν κατὰ φύσιν ἐνοῦσαν αὐτῷ κακοήθειαν ἔκρυπτεν, ἀλλὰ ἐνεδίδου τῷ κατ’ ἐξουσίαν ἅπαντα πράττειν. ἐχρῆτο δὲ ἔτι καὶ τοῖς πατρίοις ἱεροῖς, οὐ τιμῆς ἕνεκα μᾶλλον ἢ χρείας· ᾗ καὶ μάντεσιν ἐπείθετο, πεπειραμένος ὡς ἀληθῆ προεῖπον ἐπὶ πᾶσι τοῖς κατωρθωμένοις αὐτῷ. ἐπεὶ δ’ εἰς τὴν Ῥώμην ἀφίκετο μεστὸς πάσης ἀλαζονείας, ἀφ’ ἑστίας ᾠήθη δεῖν ἄρξασθαι τῆς ἀσεβείας. Κρίσπον γὰρ παῖδα τῆς τοῦ Καίσαρος, ὡς εἴρηταί μοι πρότερον, ἀξιωθέντα τιμῆς, εἰς ὑποψίαν ἐλθόντα τοῦ Φαύστῃ τῇ μητρυιᾷ συνεῖναι, τοῦ τῆς φύσεως θεσμοῦ μηδένα λόγον ποιησάμενος ἀνεῖλεν. τῆς δὲ Κωσταντίνου μητρὸς Ἑλένης ἐπὶ τῷ τηλικούτῳ πάθει δυσχεραινούσης καὶ ἀσχέτως τὴν ἀναίρεσιν τοῦ νέου φερούσης, παραμυθούμενος ὥσπερ αὐτὴν ὁ Κωσταντῖνος κακῷ τὸ κακὸν ἰάσατο μείζονι· βαλανεῖον γὰρ ὑπὲρ τὸ μέτρον ἐκπυρωθῆναι κελεύσας καὶ τούτῳ τὴν Φαῦσταν ἐναποθέμενος ἐξήγαγεν νεκρὰν γενομένην.
(Zosimus, Historia Nova 2.29.1-2)

Now that the whole empire had fallen into the hands of Constantine, he no longer concealed his evil disposition and vicious inclinations, but acted as he pleased, without controul. He indeed used the ancient worship of his country; though not so much out of honour or veneration as of necessity. Therefore he believed the soothsayers, who were expert in their art, as men who predicted the truth concerning all the great actions which he ever performed. But when he came to Rome, he was filled with pride and arrogance. He resolved to begin his impious actions at home. For he put to death his son Crispus, stiled (as I mentioned) Caesar, on suspicion of debauching his mother-in-law Fausta, without any regard to the ties of nature. And when his own mother Helena expressed much sorrow for this atrocity, lamenting the young man’s death with great bitterness, Constantine under pretence of comforting her, applied a remedy worse than the disease. For causing a bath to be heated to an extraordinary degree, he shut up Fausta in it, and a short time after took her out dead.
(tr. W. Green & T. Chaplin)


Smyrna Cinyrae Assyriorum regis et Cenchreidis filia, cuius mater Cenchreis superbius locuta quod filiae suae formam Veneri anteposuerat. Venus matris poenas exsequens Smyrnae infandum amorem obiecit, adeo ut patrem suum amaret. quae ne suspendio se necaret nutrix intervenit et patre nesciente per nutricem cum eo concubuit, ex quo concepit, idque ne palam fieret, pudore stimulata in silvis se abdidit. cui Venus postea miserta est et in speciem arboris eam commutavit unde myrrha fluit, ex qua natus est Adonis, qui matris poenas a Venere est insecutus.
(Hyginus, Fab. 58.1-3)

Smyrna was the daughter of Cinyras, King of the Assyrians, and Cenchreis. Her mother Cenchreis boasted proudly that her daughter excelled Venus in beauty. Venus [Aphrodite], to punish the mother, sent forbidden love to Smyrna so that she loved her own father. The nurse prevented her from hanging herself, and without knowledge of her father, helped her lie with him. She conceived, and goaded by shame, in order not to reveal her fault, hid in the woods. Venus later pitied her, and changed her into a kind of tree from which myrrh flows; Adonis, born from it, exacted punishment for his mother’s sake from Venus.
(tr. Mary Grant)



TOX.                                   Ex tuo, inquam, usu est: eme hanc.
DOR.      edepol qui quom hanc magis contemplo, magis placet.
TOX.                                                                              si hanc emeris –
di immortales! – nullus leno te alter erit opulentior.
evortes tuo arbitratu homines fundis, familiis;
cum optumis viris rem habebis, gratiam cupient tuam:
venient ad te comissatum.
DOR.                                                 at ego intro mitti votuero.
TOX.      at enim illi noctu occentabunt ostium, exurent fores:
proin tu tibi iubeas concludi aedis foribus ferreis,
ferreas aedis commutes, limina indas ferrea,
ferream seram atque anellum; ne sis ferro parseris:
ferreas tute tibi impingi iubeas crassas compedis.
DOR.      i in malum cruciatum.
TOX.                                                 i sane tu… hanc eme; ausculta mihi.
(Plautus, Persa 563-574)

TOX.      It’s to your advantage, I tell you: buy her.
DOR.      Indeed, the more I look at her, the more I like her.
TOX.    If you buy her – immortal gods! – no pimp will be better off than you. You’ll turn men out of their estates and households as you please; you’ll have dealings with men of the highest rank, they’ll be keen on your favor and come to you for their drinks parties.
DOR.    Well, I won’t let them in.
TOX.    Well, they’ll serenade your door at night and burn down its panels. So you should have your house closed with an iron door, you should change your house to an iron one, put in an iron lintel and threshold and an iron bar and door ring. Please don’t be economical with iron: you should have heavy iron shackles put on yourself.
DOR.    Go and be hanged.
TOX.    No, you go… and buy her; listen to me.
(tr. Wolfgang De Melo)


Ante omnia futurus orator, cui in maxima celebritate et in media rei publicae luce vivendum est, adsuescat iam a tenero non reformidare homines neque illa solitaria et velut umbratica vita pallescere. excitanda mens et attollenda semper est, quae in eius modi secretis aut languescit et quendam velut in opaco situm ducit, aut contra tumescit inani persuasione: necesse est enim nimium tribuat sibi, qui se nemini comparat.
(Quintilian, Inst. Or. 1.2.18)

It is above all things necessary that our future orator, who will have to live in the utmost publicity and in the broad daylight of public life, should become accustomed from his childhood to move in society without fear and habituated to a life far removed from that of the pale student, the solitary and recluse. His mind requires constant stimulus and excitement, whereas retirement such as has just been mentioned induces languor and the mind becomes mildewed like things that are left in the dark, or else flies to the opposite extreme and becomes puffed up with empty conceit; for he who has no standard of comparison by which to judge his own powers will necessarily rate them too high. (tr. H.E. Butler)



Ingens exinde verberonem corripit trepidatio et in vicem humani coloris succedit pallor infernus, perque universa membra frigidus sudor emanabat. tunc pedes incertis alternationibus commovere, modo hanc modo illam capitis partem scalpere, et ore semiclauso balbutiens nescio quas afannas effutire, ut eum nemo prorsus a culpa vacuum merito crederet.
(Apuleius, Met. 10.10.1-2)

At this point a mighty fit of trembling seized the scoundrel, a deathly pallor took the place of his normal complexion, and cold sweat flowed over hir entire body. He shuffled his feet unsteadily, scratched first one part of his head and then another, and muttered with his mouth half-closed, babbling some sort of nonsense. Absolutely no one could reasonably believe that he was free of guilt. (tr. John Arthur Hanson)


Igitur rex Theodericus illiteratus erat et sic obtuso sensu, ut in decem annos regni sui quattuor litteras subscriptionis edicti sui discere nullatenus potuisset. de qua re laminam auream iussit interrasilem fieri, quattuor litteras “legi”* habentem; unde si subscribere voluisset, posita lamina super chartam, per eam pennam ducebat, ut subscriptio eius tantum videretur.
(Excerpta Valesiana 79)

Now King Theodoric was without training in letters, and of such dull comprehension that for ten years of his reign he had been wholly unable to learn the four letters necessary for endorsing his edicts. For that reason he had a golden plate with slits made, containing the four letters “legi”*; then, if he wished to endorse anything, he placed the plate over the paper and drew his pen through the slits, so that only this subscription of his was seen.
* “I have read (it).” Or perhaps ΘΕΟΔ.

(tr. John C. Rolfe, with his note)

Ὅπως δὲ μαρτυρίαν τῆς βασιλέως χειρὸς ἔχοιεν, οἷς δὴ ἐπίκειται τὸ ἔργον τοῦτο, ἐπενοήθη τάδε. ξύλῳ εἰργασμένῳ βραχεῖ ἐγκολάψαντες μορφήν τινα γραμμάτων τεττάρων, ἅπερ ἀναγνῶναι τῇ Λατίνων φωνῇ δύναται, γραφίδα τε βαφῇ βάψαντες, ᾗ βασιλεῖς γράφειν εἰώθασιν, ἐνεχειρίζοντο τῷ βασιλεῖ τούτῳ. καὶ τὸ ξύλον, οὗπερ ἐμνήσθην, τῷ βιβλίῳ ἐνθέμενοι, λαβόμενοί τε τῆς βασιλέως χειρὸς, περιῆγον μὲν ξὺν τῇ γραφίδι ἐς τῶν τεττάρων γραμμάτων τὸν τύπον, ἐς πάσας τε τὰς τοῦ ξύλου αὐτὴν περιελίξαντες ἐντομὰς οὕτω δὴ ἀπηλλάσσοντο, τοιαῦτα βασιλέως γράμματα φέροντες.
(Procopius, Anecd. 6.14-16)

But in order to obtain formal ratification by the imperial hand*, those who supervise this matter devised the following scheme. Onto a small strip of polished wood they carved the shape of four letters that spelled, in the Latin language, the word “I have read.” They dipped the pen into the special ink that is used for imperial subscriptions and put it into the hands of this emperor*. Then they placed the slat of wood that I mentioned upon the document and, holding the emperor’s hand, traced the pattern of the four letters with the pen, following the curving lines that were cut into the wood. And so, they would complete their business with the emperor in this way, having obtained his handwritten letters, such as they were. (tr. Anthony Kaldellis)

* Justin I.


Turner - Hannibal
Snow Storm: Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps (J.M.W. Turner, 1812)

Τῇ δ’ ἐπαύριον ἀναζεύξας ἐνήρχετο τῆς καταβάσεως. ἐν ᾗ πολεμίοις μὲν οὐκέτι περιέτυχε πλὴν τῶν λάθρᾳ κακοποιούντων, ὑπὸ δὲ τῶν τόπων καὶ τῆς χιόνος οὐ πολλῷ λείποντας ἀπέβαλε τῶν κατὰ τὴν ἀνάβασιν φθαρέντων. οὔσης γὰρ στενῆς καὶ κατωφεροῦς τῆς καταβάσεως, τῆς δὲ χιόνος ἄδηλον ποιούσης ἑκάστοις τὴν ἐπίβασιν, πᾶν τὸ παραπεσὸν τῆς ὁδοῦ καὶ σφαλὲν ἐφέρετο κατὰ τῶν κρημνῶν.
(Polybius, Hist. 3.54.4-5)

Next day he broke up his camp and began the descent. During this he encountered no enemy, except a few skulking marauders, but owing to the difficulties of the ground and the snow his losses were nearly as heavy as on the ascent. The descending path was very narrow and steep, and as both men and beasts could not tell on what they were treading owing to the snow, all that stepped wide of the path or stumbled were dashed down the precipice. (tr. W.R. Paton)