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C. TREBATIUS TESTA was a jurisconsult of eminence, and a man of honor. He was in the confidence of Augustus, and was consulted by him on legal matters. Horace seems to have been well acquainted with him, though he was many years younger than Trebatius.
Horace pretends to lay before the old lawyer a case for his opinion, and asks what he had better do to meet the malevolence of his enemies. Trebatius advises him to cease from writing, which Horace says is impossible. He was born to write, and must do it. He has no capacity for heroic subjects, and has a passion for imitating Lucilius, to whom he pays a graceful compliment by the way. Trebatius warns him that he runs the risk of being frozen to death by his great friends, or of legal penalties for libel. But, trusting in the goodness of his cause, he sets these dangers at defiance, and resolves to indulge his inclination.
1. Sunt quibus — videor] Horace had undoubtedly in his mind those particular opponents, on some of whom he had retorted in S. 10 of the last book, and, this being the case, the indicative mood is wanted, rather than the subjunctive, after 'sunt quibus' (see C. i. 1. 3, n., and compare S. i. 4. 24). By tendere opus' Horace means he is charged with carrying his work, or straining it, beyond the license properly allowed to satire. Sine nervis' means without vigor.' As to 'deduci,' see S. i. 10. 44, n.
4. Trebati,] See Introduction.
7. Optimum erat:] Here as below (v. 16) the imperfect indicative is used where the subjunctive might be expected. The Grecks in similar cases sometimes used the imperfect indicative without av, where the usual construction required that word.
Ter uncti Transnanto Tiberim] See S. i. 6. 123, n. The language is a little in the style of a 'lex.' 'Sub noctem , means immediately after nightfall. See Epod. ii. 44, n. S. ii. 7. 109. Epp. ii. 2. 169. It appears from Cicero's letters to Trebatius that he was a great swimmer, and Cicero de scribes himself as having gone home from his house one night "bene potus seroque" (Ad Fam vii. 22). He may therefore have lived pretty freely. 10. rapit] There is force in this word, hurries you on like a torrent.' 13. quivis] This corresponds to ó Tʊxwv in Greek.
14. fracta pereuntes cuspide] Plutarch, in his Life of Marius (c. 25), relates how, on the occasion of a battle with the Cimbri, he altered the spears of the soldiers in such a way that they could not be of use to the enemy. He says that the spear-heads were formerly fastened to the shaft by two iron nails, and that Marius, removing one, substituted for it a wooden peg, which would give way when the spear struck the shield, where it would stick and drag along the ground. From the year B. c. 39 to 31, Augustus was engaged at different times in subduing the Gauls, and he included his victories over them in the first of his three days' triumphs, in B. C. 29. (See C. i. 2. 49, n.)
15. Aut labentis equo] The Parthians falling under blows inflicted by the arms of Augustus, is a picture he draws from his own imagination, in antici
pation of future triumphs. But Augustus never engaged the Parthians in the field. On labentis equo,' see C. i. 2. 39, n.
16. poteras] See above, v. 7. As to 'fortem,' see what is said of 'Fortitudo' on C. S. 57. Trebatius says, if Horace cannot write of the victories of Augustus, he may of his virtues, his justice, and moral courage.
17. Scipiadam ut sapiens Lucilius] Virgil uses this form (Georg. ii. 170), Scipiadas duros bello." As the elder Scipio had Ennius to praise him (see C. iv. 8), so the younger had Lucilius, who was his intimate friend, and who served under him in the Numantian war. There is no necessity for supposing that Lucilius wrote a separate poem on the exploits of Scipio, though it is not improbable that he did so. Sapiens' is applied to the poet as 'doctus' is elsewhere. See note on C. i. 1, 29. "Haud mihi deero' Horace uses
above, S. i. 9. 56.
18. dextro tempore] See below, S. 4. 4: "Cum te sic tempore laevo Interpellarim."
20. Cui male si palpere] If you stroke him clumsily, he kicks out, and protects himself on every side.
21. Quanto rectius hoc] Horace says that he may attempt those subjects, but he must wait for an opportunity. And Trebatius continues, 'How much better is this, than with bitter verses to offend such wretched creatures as Pantolabus and Nomentanus, by which he only excites the fears and hatred of every one!'
22. Pantolabum] S. i. 8. 11.
24. Quid faciam?] What am I to do?' says Horace. his taste, and mine is to string verses together like Lucilius.'
Every man has
Milonius,] This man is said to have been a 'scurra,' a parasite, a low fellow who has no respect for himself, who lets himself out, at the price of a dinner, to entertain rich people and their guests with buffoonery and small talk. Milonius, as soon as the wine got into his head, would get up and dance before the company, the lowest proceeding in the eyes of a Roman that could be imagined. Ieto,' in this sense of wine-struck,' does not occur elsewhere It is a Greek notion.
26. Castor gaudet equis,] This difference in the tastes of Castor and his brother is expressed in one line of the Iliad (iii. 237), Káσropá 0' iññóðаμоν καὶ πὺξ ἀγαθὸν Πολυδεύκεα.
27. quot capitum vivunt,] Compare "Quot homines tot sententiae: suus cuique mos (Phormio, ii. 4 14.)
28. claudere] See S. i. 10. 59.
31. neque si male cesserat]
Never resorting to anything else, whether matters had gone ill with him or well."
33. Votiva -tabella] On the practice of hanging up a picture in the temples to commemorate escape from shipwreck, see C i. 5. 12, n. It was probably not confined to sailors.
34. Vita senis.] Lucilius, the date of whose death is not certain, but who is said to have died in his forty-sixth year, B. c. 103, is here called old only in point of time, as in Epp. ii. 1, 56, “Aufert Pacuvius docti famam senis Accius alti"; and above (S. i. 10. 67), "poëtarum seniorum turba"; and as Aristophanes is called by Persius (i. 124), “praegrandis senex
Lucanus an Apulus anceps: See C. iii. 4. 9, n. 'Anceps' is neuter. Sub' signifies close up to,' where sub' has its original meaning up,' and the sense of 'to' belongs to the accusative termination, not to the preposition" As to 'colonus,' see C. ii. 14. 12, n. 'Romano' is used for the Romans, as in Epod. vii. 6, and Tac. Ann xii. 58.
The colony of Venusia was formed in B. c. 291, the last year of the third Samnite war, when L. Postumius Megellus and C. Junius Brutus Bubulcus were consuls The town, which was on the borders of Lucania and Apulia,
Belonged to the Samnites, from whom it was taken by Q. Fabius. (Sabelli was the name given by the Romans to all the tribes which issued from the Sabine stock, of whom the Samnites were one) Apulia and Lucania were, at the beginning of this war, independent states in close alliance with the Samnites, but after the first year they found it for their interest to desert those allies, and joined the Romans, with whom they continued to unite their forces till the end of the war. Horace's supposition that one or other of those states was meditating or carrying on war with Rome, is not, therefore, strictly accurate; but they were always very doubtful allies, and were glad to assist their old enemies the Greek cities in their resistance to Rome, when they called in the help of Pyrrhus; and it was not till the fall of Tarentum, B. C. 272, that these, in common with the other southern states of Italy, finally acknowledged the supremacy of Rome, and accepted their freedom from her. It was in consequence of the commanding position of Venusia, in reference to the three nations of the Samnites, Apulians, and Lucanians, that the Romans sent there in the above year (B. c. 291) a colony of twenty thousand persons. This place was of great use to the Romans in the war with Pyrrhus. After their reverse at the battle of Heraclea, A. U. c. 474, the remnant of their army retreated to Venusia, and here many found refuge after the defeat of Cannæ. The quantity of the second syllable in Venusinus, Horace makes short here, and in C. i. 28. 26. Juvenal lengthens it (vi. 167): "Malo Venusinam quam te, Cornelia, mater Gracchorum," where, as here, the humble inhabitant of Venusia is contrasted with the proud matron of Rome. 'Quo ne' (v. 37) is an unusual expression, in which 'quo' is redundant.
39. Sed hic stilus haud petet ultro] On this use of 'sed,' see C. iv. 4 22, n. 'Ultro" means here 'wantonly,' without provocation or cause. See C. iv.
4. 51, n. 43. ut pereat Ut' is an imitation of the Greek use of os, expressing a wish. He hopes that his adversaries will let him alone, and leave his sword (that is, his pen) to rust. From 'at ille' the construction is a little irregular, but the abruptness of the several clauses is well suited to the occasion: but for that man that provokes me, he had better not touch me, I cry; he 'll suffer if he does,' &c.
47. Cervius iratus-urnam,] Cervius appears to have been an informer. He is not the man mentioned in S. ii. 6. 77. Urnam' means either the urn into which the judices put their tablets, or that into which their names were put for drawing the jury. Either way it is equivalent to ‘judicium.'
48. Canidia Albuti quibus] Albutius was perhaps a person notorious for having poisoned somebody, and Albuti venenum' may have become proverbial. We meet with an Albutius below (S. 2. 67), who, from his character, may have been the same as this.
49. Grande malum Turius,] Of this person we know nothing. He threatens his adversary with an adverse judgment if he ever has a private suit tried before him.
50. Ut quo quisque valet] In what follows it is Horace's purpose to show that it is a law of nature that every one should use the means of defence that are given him, and he is only acting on this law when he employs satire in self-defence.Unde' in v. 52 belongs to 'monstratum,' as, in the next Satire, v. 31," Unde datum sentis," by what suggested if not from within?' Of Scæva we know nothing. What Horace says is, that he would, like other animals, resort to the means most natural to him, which were not violence, to which cowards have an aversion, but poison.
54. Mirum, Ut neque]
kick, nor the ox bite.'
Strange! yes, as strange as that the wolf does not
58. seu Mors atris circumvolat alis,] This representation of death hovering over a man with dark wings, may have been taken from a painting.
60. Quisquis erit vitae scribam color.] This loose collocation of words is not uncommon in Horace. It ought not to be imitated.
O puer, ut sis] See Introduction. This sentence illustrates the rule respecting verbs of fearing, that they "have the subjunctive with 'ne' if the object be not desired, with 'ut' if it be desired" (Key's L. G. 1186), to which the note is "Observe that the Latin inserts a negative where the English has none, and vice versa
64 Detrahere et pellem,] Compare Epp. i 16. 44. Each of the Scipiones had a Lælius for his intimate companion. This is C. Laelius Sapiens, the friend of P. Scipio Africanus Minor, and well known through Cicero's treatises De Senectute' and 'De Amicitia,' in the former of which he is a listener, in the latter the principal speaker. As to the following verse, see C. iv. 8. 18, n. Lucilius was on terms of close intimacy with these two friends.
67. Metello] Q Cæcilius Metellus had the cognomen Macedonicus given him, for his successes against Andriscus, the pretender to the throne of Perseus, king of Macedonia. Horace means to say that Scipio and Lælius were not offended at the wit of Lucilius, nor feared it might turn upon themselves, when they saw him attack Metellus. Why he did so is uncertain.
68. Lupo] Who Lupus was is not certain. His name appears in many of the fragments of Lucilius. The most probable person is L. Cornelius Lentulus Lupus, who was consul B. c. 156. What he had done to provoke Lucilius's satire we do not know, but Cicero (De Nat. Deor. i. 23) has preserved a verse of his in which Lupus is classed with the perjured and profligate.
Atqui Primores populi] Atqui,' which is a form of 'at quin,' means 'but he did, did he not? Tributim,' throughout all the tribes he attacked the optimates and plebeians, and all without distinction. As to the tribes, see Epp. i. 6. 52, n. Aequus' means 'favorable to.'
72. Virtus Scipiadae] On this form, see above, v. 17. See also S. i. 2. 32, n., on the expression virtus Scipiadae.' Lælius, as above mentioned, had the cognomen Sapiens given him, and any one who reads Cicero's treatise that bears his name will understand Horace's epithet 'mitis.' One of the Scholiasts relates a story of Lælius running round the dinner-table, and Lucilius pursuing him with a napkin, to flog him. Lucilius was born B. C. 148, and Scipio died B. c. 129. He was therefore but a boy when he thus played with these friends; and if, as Horace's language implies, he wrote satires in Scipio's lifetime, they were probably the mere intemperate sallies of youth. But Horace may be mistaken. The fare of these great men was of the simplest kind. (See note on S. i. 6. 115.)
75. Infra Lucili censum] Horace had before intimated (v. 34, n.) that he, a poor man's son, born in a provincial town, was not to be compared with Lucilius, a Roman citizen, who was rich, and had a fine house in the Forum. 78. nisi quid tu,] This is equivalent to saying, This is what I think, Trebatius; but I shall be glad to defer to your opinion if you differ from me.' 79 nihil hinc diffindere possum.] The meaning of 'diffindere' is not quite clear. Perhaps it has the same sense as 'secare' above (S. i. 10. 15, and Epp. i. 16. 42); that is, 'to decide.' If so, Trebatius says he cannot decide the question from the premises Horace has put before him (hine ').
80. Sed tamen] By the XII. Tables, the writing of scurrilous verses was among the few offences that were punishable with death. See Dict. Antt, Art. Injuria,' and compare Epp. ii. 1. 153. There was a 'lex Cornelia de injuriis,' which probably included the offence of writing scurrilous verses. When Trebatius says there is 'jus judiciumque,' he means that there is law, and also there are legal proceedings, for this case. C. iv. 9, 1, where see note, and compare Epp. i. 'Sanctarum' is a participle, quae sanciuntur.' affix the penalty to a 'lex,' and so give it effect.
'Ne forte' is used as in 1. 13; 18.58; ii. 1. 208. Sancire legem' was to See Cic. de Am. c. 12.
85. lantraverit,] 'Latro' is used as a transitive verb in Epod. v. 58, and Epp. i. 2. 66, and so it is here, 'What if one barks at a man who deserves rebuke, he himself being untainted?'
86. Solventur risu tabulae,] The 'tabulae' are the tablets ('tabellae judiciariae') by which the judices declared their votes, and Trebatius probably means to say, that the votes of the judices will be decided by the amusement of the scene, or else that the severity of their votes will be melted by it; is, that the matter will be treated as unworthy of serious consideration; the judices will laugh at the joke, and acquit the defendant.
THE object of this Satire is to teach the advantages of moderate eating. Of Ofella, the person into whose mouth Horace puts the chief part of his precepts, we know no more than we may gather from the Satire itself, in Horace's youth he was the owner of an estate near Venusia, and that his property was taken from him and made over to one of the veteran soldiers, named Umbrenus (v. 133), and that he afterwards rented, as 'colonus,' a farm on that estate which was once his own. This transfer took place, in all probability, when the troops returned to Italy after the battle of Philippi, B. C. 42, at which time (among several other districts) the Venusinus ager was distributed among the soldiers. It has been supposed that Horace visited his native place, and renewed his acquaintance with Ofella, on his return from Brundisium. (See Introduction to S. i. 5, sub fin.) The old man, unchanged by the reverses of fortune, industrious and uncomplaining, exhorting his sons to frugality and contentment, is a pleasant picture, and helps by contrast to illustrate the gluttonous and luxurious habits of the city.
2. quae praecepit Ofella] See Introduction.
3. abnormis sapiens, crassaque Minerva,] A man wise without rule, and of plain mother wit. Cicero (De Amicit. c. 5) uses the expression "agamus pingui Minerva" as a proverbial one. Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, and crassa Minerva' therefore means, proverbially, a coarse kind of wisdom. 4. inter lances mensasque nitentes] The wealthy Romans had already learned to fill their rooms with costly furniture, and to make a display of their plate, whether in the shape of useful or ornamental vessels. plate thus displayed was of foreign manufacture, and very costly, and much Very much of the of it was of great antiquity, and a good deal taken from Greek and Asiatic temples, and brought to Rome by various conquerors (Marcellus and Mummius in particular), by extortionate governors, or by the travelling 'mercatores,' who thus brought home the proceeds of the goods they took abroad. The dishes of the rich were very generally of silver, so that the 'lances' here mentioned would be, not only those which appeared for show, but those also in which the viands were served. 'Lances' is here used as a generic name for dishes; but there were particular names, as 'patina,'' catinus,' 'scutula,' 'gabata,' 'paropsis,' all of different shapes and for different uses.
There appears to have been no article in which the Romans showed more extravagance than their tables; and Pliny relates of Cicero that he gave a million sesterces for a table of the sort called 'orbes.' These consisted of single slabs, sometimes of great diameter.
9. Corruptus juder.] Horace likens the man whose judgment is biassed by a fine table and good dinner, to a judex who has been tampered with. (See C. iv. 9. 39, n.)