Omnia mihi studia, omnes curas, omnia avocamenta exemit excussit eripuit dolor, quem ex morte Iuni Aviti gravissimum cepi. latum clavum in domo mea induerat, suffragio meo adiutus in petendis honoribus fuerat; ad hoc ita me diligebat, ita verebatur, ut me formatore morum, me quasi magistro uteretur. rarum hoc in adulescentibus nostris. nam quotus quisque vel aetati alterius vel auctoritati ut minor cedit? statim sapiunt, statim sciunt omnia, neminem verentur, neminem imitantur, atque ipsi sibi exempla sunt. sed non Avitus, cuius haec praecipua prudentia, quod alios prudentiores arbitrabatur, haec praecipua eruditio quod discere volebat.
(Pliny Minor, Epist. 8.23.1-3)
Work, cares and distractions – all are interrupted, cut short, and driven out of my mind, for the death of Junius Avitus has been a terrible blow. He had assumed the broad stripe of the senator in my house and had my support when standing for office, and such moreover was his affectionate regard for me that he took me for his moral guide and mentor. This is rare in the young people of today, few of whom will yield to age or authority as being their superior. They are born with knowledge and understanding of everything; they show neither respect nor desire to imitate, and set their own standards. Avitus was not like this. His wisdom consisted in his belief that others were wiser than himself, his learning in his readiness to be taught. (tr. Betty Radice)
Et quis hanc mihi solitudinem imposuit? adulescens omni libidine impurus et sua quoque confessione dignus exilio, stupro liber, stupro ingenuus, cuius anni ad tesseram venierunt, quem tamquam puellam conduxit etiam etiam qui virum putavit. quid ille alter? qui die togae virilis stolam sumpsit, qui ne vir esset a matre persuasus est, qui opus muliebre in ergastulo fecit, qui postquam conturbavit et libidinis suae solum vertit, reliquit veteris amicitiae nomen et, pro pudor, tamquam mulier secutuleia unius noctis tactu omnia vendidit. iacent nunc amatores adligati noctibus totis, et forsitan mutuis libidinibus attriti derident solitudinem meam.
(Petronius, Sat. 81.3-6)
And who put this loneliness on me? A guy who’s filthy with every form of lust, who’s worthy of exile by his own confession; free by means of sex crime, freeborn by means of sex crime; whose youth was sold by a roll of the dice; people rented him as a girl even when they knew he was a man. And what about the other one? On the day he was supposed to put on the man’s toga, he put on a woman’s dress; he was talked out of becoming a man by his own mother; he did woman’s work in the slave prison; and after he went broke and lit out for a new territory of lust, he abandoned the name of his old friendship and, for shame, sold everything for the touch of a single night, like some groupie. And now they lie, the lovers, entwined all night, and maybe when they’re worn out by their mutual lusts they laugh at my loneliness. (tr. Amy Richlin)
You who go along this road, if you should notice this memorial, I beg you, do not laugh because this is a dog’s grave. I was lamented; the hands of my master heaped dust over me, and he inscribed these words into my gravestone. (tr. David Bauwens)
For in my heart and soul I also know this well:
the day will come when sacred Troy must die,
Priam must die and all his people with him,
Priam who hurls the strong ash spear…
it is less the pain of the Trojans still to come
that weighs me down, not even of Hecuba herself
or King Priam, or the thought that my own brothers
in all their numbers, all their gallant courage,
may tumble in the dust, crushed by enemies –
That is nothing, nothing beside your agony
when some brazen Argive hales you off in tears,
wrenching away your day of light and freedom! (tr. Robert Fagles)
One of them was lying there, putting her pale breast
on display in the moonlight, since her dress had slipped down,
while the dancing had exposed the left hip
of another. Exposed to open view,
it made a living image visible, and its white tint
balanced the effect of the shadowy darkness on my eyes.
A third exposed her forearms and lovely hands,
wrapping them around the female neck of another girl.
This one allowed a glimpse of her thigh beneath the folds
of her shredded robes, and hopeless longing
for her radiant beauty impressed itself upon me.
They sprawled out asleep on calamint,
and had woven black-flowered violet-petals together
with crocus, which wiped a shade
that resembled sunlight onto their woven robes.
And dew-swollen marjoram that had grown
in the marshes extended its tender stalks. (tr. S. Douglas Olson)
Neque ea solum quae talibus disciplinis continentur, sed magis etiam, quae sunt tradita antiquitus dicta ac facta praeclare, et nosse et animo semper agitare conveniet. quae profecto nusquam plura maioraque quam in nostrae civitatis monumentis reperientur. an fortitudinem, iustitiam, fidem, continentiam, frugalitatem, contemptum doloris ac mortis melius alii docebunt quam Fabricii, Curii, Reguli, Decii, Mucii aliique innumerabiles? quantum enim Graeci praeceptis valent, tantum Romani, quod est maius, exemplis.
(Quintilian, Inst. Or. 12.2.29-30)
But it is desirable that we should not restrict our study to the precepts of philosophy alone. It is still more important that we should know and ponder continually all the noblest sayings and deeds that have been handed down to us from ancient times. And assuredly we shall nowhere find a larger or more remarkable store of these than in the records of our own country. Who will teach courage, justice, loyalty, self-control, simplicity, and contempt of grief and pain better than men like Fabricius, Curius, Regulus, Decius, Mucius and countless others? For if the Greeks bear away the palm for moral precepts, Rome can produce more striking examples of moral performance, which is a far greater thing. (tr. Harold Edgewort Butler)
One should know that Aristotle says that the cause of the change to water is the cooling only; but Theophrastus says that not only cooling is the cause of the coming-to-be of the water, but also compression. For consider; there is no cooling in Ethiopia, but nevertheless rain falls because of compression. For he says that there are very high mountains there, against which the clouds strike, and then in this way rain bursts out because of the compression that takes place. Moreover, in the case of cauldrons too moisture, he says, runs down again, and also in the case of the domed rooms in baths, where there is no cooling, this clearly coming about because of the compression. (tr. William W. Fortenbaugh, Pamela M. Huby and/or Robert W. Sharples)