Crede mihi, distant mores a carmine nostro –
vita verecunda est, Musa iocosa mea –
magnaque pars mendax operum est et ficta meorum;
plus sibi permisit compositore suo.
(Ovid, Tristia 2.353-356)

I assure you, my character differs from my verse (my life is moral, my muse is gay), and most of my work, unreal and fictitious, has allowed itself more licence than its author has had. (tr. Arthur Leslie Wheeler)


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)