Urbanitas

cicero1

In consulatu Vatinii, quem paucis diebus gessit, notabilis Ciceronis urbanitas circumferebatur. “Magnum ostentum” inquit “anno Vatinii factum est, quod illo consule nec bruma nec ver nec aestas nec autumnus fuit. [Cicero, Dicta 31]” querenti deinde Vatinio quod gravatus esset domum ad se infirmatum venire, respondit, “volui in consulatu tuo venire, sed nox me comprehendit. [Dicta 32]” ulcisci autem se Cicero videbatur, ut qui respondisse sibi Vatinium meminerat, cum umeris se rei publicae de exilio reportatum gloriaretur, “Unde ergo tibi varices?”
(Macrobius, Sat. 2.3.5)

In Vatinius’ consulship, which he held for only a few days, one of Cicero’s noteworthy mots was in circulation: “A great marvel,” he said, “came to pass in the year of Vatinius, when there was neither winter nor spring nor summer nor fall while he was consul.” When Vatinius complained that Cicero had found it a bother to pay him a sick-call at home, Cicero replied, “I wanted to come during your consulship, but nightfall overtook me.” Cicero appeared to be getting his own back, since he recalled that when he boasted how he had been borne back from exile on the shoulders of the commonwealth, Vatinius had said, “How did you get those varicose veins, then?” (tr. Robert A. Kaster)

Centum

Homeri est:
‘οὐδ’ εἴ μοι δέκα μὲν γλῶσσαι δέκα δὲ στόματ’ εἶεν…’
hunc secutus Hostius poeta in libro secundo belli Histrici ait:
‘non si mihi linguae
centum atque ora sient totidem vocesque liquatae…’
hinc Vergilius ait:
‘non mihi si linguae centum sint oraque centum…’
(Macrobius, Sat. 6.3.6)

Homer’s line is (Il. 2.489):
Not if I had ten tongues, ten mouths…
The poet Hostius followed Homer in Book 2 of his Histria War (fr. 3 FPL³):
Not if I had one hundred tongues and as many mouths and a clear-sounding voice…
Hence Virgil says (A. 6.625):
Not if I should have one hundred tongues, one hundred mouths…
(tr. Robert A. Kaster)

Intemperantes

Sed quia voluptatum fecimus mentionem, docet Aristoteles a quibus voluptatibus sit cavendum. quinque enim sunt hominum sensus, quos Graeci αἰσθήσεις appellant, per quos voluptas animo aut corpori quaeri videtur, tactus gustus odoratus visus auditus. ex his omnibus voluptas quae immodice capitur ea turpis atque improba est. sed enim quae nimia ex gustu atque tactu est, ea igitur gemina voluptas, sicut sapientes viri censuerunt, omnium rerum foedissima est eosque maxime qui sese duabus istis voluptatibus dediderunt gravissimi vitii vocabulis Graeci appellaverunt vel ἀκρατεῖς vel ἀκολάστους, nos eos vel incontinentes dicimus vel intemperantes. istas autem voluptates duas, gustus atque tactus, id est cibi et veneris, solas hominibus communes videmus esse cum beluis, et idcirco in pecudum ferorumque animalium numero habetur quisquis est his ferarum voluptatibus occupatus; ceterae ex tribus aliis sensibus proficiscentes hominum tantum propriae sunt.
(Macrobius, Sat. 8.10-12)

But since the topic of pleasure has come up, Aristotle teaches us which pleasures we have to guard against. Human beings have five senses, which the Greeks call aisthêseis, and these – touch, taste, smell, slight, hearing – are the pathways by which the body ad mind seek pleasure. Pleasure derived immoderately from all these senses is base and wicked, but excessive pleasure derived from taste and touch – a compound pleasure, as wise men have judged it – is the most disgusting of all: to those, especially, who surrendered to these pleasures the Greeks applied the terms for the most serious of vices, calling them akratês or akolastoi, or as we say, “incontinent” or “uncontrolled.” We understand that the two pleasures of taste and touch – that is, food and sex – are the only ones that human beings share with the beasts, and that’s why anyone wholly in the grip of these pleasure is counted among the animals of the fields and the wilds; all other pleasures, which derive from the three remaining senses, are peculiar to human beings. (tr. Robert A. Kaster)