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meaning, perhaps, that when this wind ('scirocco ') was blowing hard, the meat would soon spoil, if he had any meaning at all. But it was probably
some notion of his own.
10. His ubi sublatis] The narrator is inclined to make a short business of the viands, but he is brought back to them afterwards. The meat being removed, (and though he only mentions one course here, we may gather from what comes presently that there was no lack of dishes, and therefore, probably, there were the usual courses,) a slave, with his clothes well tucked up, 'succinctus' (see S. 6. 107, n.), came and wiped the table with a handsome purple towel, and another gathered up whatever had fallen or had been thrown on the floor, which at the same time he strewed with saw-dust, perhaps scented (see S. ii. 4. 81). Gausape, -is' (other forms of which are gausapa,' gausape, -es,' 'gausapum') was a woollen cloth of foreign manufacture. The table was of maple wood (see S. 2. 4, n.).
13. ut Attica virgo] When the litter is cleared away and the table wiped, two slaves, one from the East and named after his native river, the other a Greek, walk in with two amphora, one of Cæcuban, the other of Chian wine. They are represented as coming in in a solemn and stately manner, like the Kavηpópoι who carried the baskets in procession at the festival of Ceres. See S. i. 3. 11, n.
15. Chium maris expers.] Salt-water was mixed with the sweet wines imported from the Greek isles. Whether Horace refers to this practice, and means that the wine had not been prepared, and was of inferior quality, or whether he means that this pretended Chian had in fact never crossed the seas, but had been concocted at home, is doubted. Orelli and most of the commentators adopt the first opinion, after the Scholiasts. I am more inclined to the latter. Compare Persius (vi. 39):
"Postquam sapere urbi
Cum pipere et palmis venit nostrum hoc maris expers," where he means a learning bred not in Grecce, but at home.
18. Divitias miseras!] This exclamation is drawn from Horace by his friend's description. It was money that had brought the man out of his proper obscurity, and caused him all the petty shifts and anxieties that wait upon the position he tried to maintain.
19. pulchre fuerit] See above, v. 4, “Nunquam In vita fuerit melius.” As to Fundanius, see Introduction. 'Laboro' is an amusing exaggeration, 'I am in pain to know.'
20. Summus ego] The company consisted, as was usual, of nine persons, who reclined on three couches. These were arranged so as to form three sides of a square, with the table in the middle, the fourth end being open, as shown in the accompanying diagram.
On each couch were three persons. On the 'summus,' Fundanius says he himself, Viscus, and Varius reclined. On the medius lectus' were Mæcenas and the two uninvited friends he brought with him, Servilius Balatro, and Vibidius. On the middle seat of the 'imus lectus' lay Nasidienus, above him Nomentanus, who acted as nomenclator (see Epp. i. 6. 50, n.), and below him Porcius, another of his parasites. The place of honor was the corner-seat of the 'medius lectus,' and next to that, on the first seat of the 'imus,' was usually the place of the host. But it appears that Nasidienus resigned that place to Nomentanus, probably because he supposed him better able to entertain his guests than himself. The host usually reserved the 'imus lectus' for himself and his family. If they were not present, their places were usually occupied by dependents of the host (parasites), who filled up the table, and helped to flatter the host and entertain the company. This explains Epp. i. 18. 10, "imi Derisor lecti." Sometimes these places were occupied by umbrae,' brought by the invited guests. By 'summus ego'
Fundanius means that he occupied the farthest seat on the 'summus lectus.' The slaves in helping the wine began from this point, and went round till they came to the imus,' or third place in the 'imus lectus.'
Viscus Thurinus] See S. i. 9. 22, n.; 10. 83, n. He appears to have been a native of Thurii, in Lucania, which was made a Latin colony (B. C. 195), and received the name of Copiæ. But its old name, given at its foundation by the Athenians (B. C. 444), continued to be used as well as the new. Viscus was highly esteemed by Horace. As to Varius, sec S. i. 5. 40, n. Nothing whatever is known of Servilius Balatro or Vibidius. The second syllable of Servilius appears from inscriptions to be long; the third, therefore, coalesces with the last. Maecenas had taken them with him as 'umbrae,' which means persons taken by guests without special invitation from the host. See Epp. i. 5. 28, n.
23. super ipsum,] This means on the seat above the host (see note on v. 20). As to Nomentanus, see S. i. 1. 102. Porcius seems to have been a notorious parasite. Here he seems to be occupied chiefly about filling his own belly, while the host and his other parasite are looking after the guests and doing the honors of the table.
24. obsorbere placentas:] honey. See Epp. i. 10. 11. 25. Nomentanus ad hoc, qui] Nomentanus was there for this purpose, that he might' His business was that of nomenclator, to direct the attention of the guests to any dainties they might have overlooked, and to explain to them the mystery of each dish; for, as Fundanius says, the commonest viands were so dressed up with sauces that they could hardly be recognized, or new sorts of dishes were put on the table, such as the entrails of different fish, turbot and plaice, for instance.
Placenta' were cakes, usually sweetened with
26. Indice monstraret digito:] Indice digito' is the forefinger: the middle
finger was called 'famosus.' This name is given to it as the finger of scorn. The third finger was called 'medicus or medicinalis,' for the same reason probably that got it the name 'annularis,' its supposed anatomical connection with the heart. By 'cetera turba' Fundanius means the uninitiated, Mecenas and his party.
29. Ut vel continuo patuit,] The nature and importance of the duties of Nomentanus were shown on that occasion, when he handed Fundanius a dainty he had never tasted before, or perhaps heard of, and yet these gentlemen knew what good living was.
passeris] Passer' was a flat fish, and is generally supposed to be the plaice.
31. melimela] These were a sweet sort of rosy apple. The derivation of the name sufficiently marks their flavor. That they had a higher color when gathered at the wane of the moon, is an invention of the nomenclator. His reasoning on the subject was so abstruse, that Fundanius does not pretend to be able to recollect it.
34. Nos nisi damnose bibimus] See Terence (Heaut. v. 4. 9):"Ch. At ego si me metuis mores cave esse in te istos sentiam.
Cl. Quos? Ch. Si scire vis ego dicam: gerro, iners, fraus, helluo, Ganco, damnosus."
Vibidius means, that if this stupid dinner is to be the death of them, they had better have their revenge beforehand, and drink ruinously of the host's wine: if they do not, they will die unavenged. 'Moriemur inulti' is borrowed from the Epic style. See Aen. ii. 670; iv. 659.
35. Vertere pallor Tum parochi faciem] Fundanius gives two reasons why the host turned pale when he heard his guests call for larger cups: because when men have drank well they give a loose rein to their tongues, and because wine spoils the palate by destroying the delicacy of its taste. He might probably have added a third, for it seems that in the midst of his ostentation the man was a niggard. As to 'parochi,' see S. i. 5. 46. The host is so called as the man "qui praebet aquam (S. i. 4. 88).
39. Invertunt Allifanis vinaria tota] Allifae was a town of Samnium. From the text we are led to suppose that cups were made there. Vinaria' is properly an adjective, and agrees with 'vasa' understood. It means here the lagena' or 'amphora,' which differed in shape, but not in use. Both were vessels either of clay, or sometimes latterly of glass, in which the wine was kept. Their contents were usually poured into a crater' for the purpose of being mixed with water. These persons helped themselves from the lagena,' and all followed their example, except the master and his two parasites (see above, v. 20). There was no 'magister bibendi,' and the guests drank as they pleased.
42. squillas inter muraena natantes] As to 'squillas,' see S. ii. 4. 58. Muraena was a lamprey, and accounted a great delicacy by the Romans, who appear to have sometimes kept them tame. They were brought chiefly from the coast of Sicily. The prawns were swimming in sauce, the composition of which the host goes on to describe himself, as a matter of too much consequence to be left to the explanation of his nomenclator. The materials were Venafrian olive-oil (C. ii. 6. 16. n.); 'garum,' a sauce made of the entrails and blood of fish, and here made from the scomber, perhaps the mackerel, caught in greatest abundance off the coast of Spain; some Italian wine added while it was making, and some Chian when it was made; white pepper (see above, 4. 74, n.), and vinegar made from sour Lesbian wine (C. i. 17. 21). Of the other ingredients Nasidienus boasts of having invented two himself; one was the 'eruca,' which we call the rocket, and the 'inula campana,' 'elecampane,' a plant that grows in meadows and damp ground. It is used medicinally as a bitter. The last ingredient was the 'echinus,' a prickly
shell-fish, thrown in without being washed, for the benefit of its saline quali ties; for which addition to the sauce he gives credit to one Curtillus, whoever he may have been. The superiority of the 'cchinus' to 'muria' (see S. ii. 4. 65, n.) is here said to consist in the fact of the former coming fresh from the sea, and furnishing a more perfect brine.
54. aulaea] See C. iii. 29. 15, n. The host's dissertation was brought to a sudden close by the falling of the tapestry from the ceiling, bringing down among the dishes an immense cloud of dust. The guests fancy the house is coming down, but when they find the extent of the damage, they recover themselves ('erigimur'). Rufus (Nasidienus) was so disturbed by this untoward accident, that he put down his head and began to shed tears. Nomentanus comforts him with an apostrophe to Fortune, complaining of her caprices, the solemn hypocrisy of which makes Varius laugh so immoderately, that he is obliged to stuff his napkin into his mouth to check himself. Balatro, who has a sneer always ready (μvкTηpiwv, see S. i. 6. 5), begins a long sympathetic and flattering speech, with which Nasidienus is highly pleased and comforted under his misfortune. A brilliant thought suddenly strikes him, and he calls for his shoes and goes out, on which the guests begin to titter and to whisper to one another, not wishing to give offence, or to speak out before the parasites and the slaves (54 -78).
72. agaso.] This was a groom or mule-driver, or otherwise connected with the stables. Balatro intends a sneer at the establishment, the out-door slaves being had in to wait at table and swell the number of attendants.
77. Et soleus poscit.] See S. i. 3. 127. The sandals were taken off before they sat down to dinner, for which therefore solcas demere, deponere,' were common expressions, as soleas poscere' was for getting up. The Greeks had the same custom and the same way of expressing themselves.
78. Stridere secreta] In this line an attempt seems to have been made to convey the notion of whispering by the sound of the s repeated.
83. Ridetur fictis rerum] They pretend to be laughing at something else when Nasidienus comes in. As to fictis rerum,' see C. iv. 12. 19, n. 'Balatrone secundo' means that Balatro played devrepaywnσrns, who supported the principal actor, but was not so prominent. (See Epp. i. 18. 14.) Balatro was a wit and sarcastic. He supplied jokes and the others laughed.
86. Mazonomo] This was a large round dish, properly one from which grain (uála) was distributed.
87. Membra gruis] Cranes became a fashionable dish with the Romans, but not till after this time, when storks were preferred (see S. 2. 50, n.).
88. jecur anseris albae] The liver of a white goose fattened on figs, the legs of a hare served up separately, as being (according to the host) better flavored when dressed without the loins, blackbirds burnt in roasting, and wood-pigeons with the hinder parts, which were most sought after, removed (perhaps from the ignorance of the host, who thought novelty was the best recommendation of his dishes), these composed the last ferculum,' brought in as special delicacies to make up for the late catastrophe. But the officiousness of the host destroyed the relish of his dishes, such as they were, and the guests took their revenge by tasting nothing that he put before them, and presently taking their leave.
95. Canidia afflasset] Here is this woman again, the last time we meet with her. See Epodes iii., v., and xvii., and S. i. 8.
EPISTLES.- -BOOK I.
SOME time after Horace had published his three books of Odes, and had, as it appears, laid aside that sort of writing, it seems that Mæcenas, and probably his other friends, begged him to return to it. That is the obvious meaning of the remonstrance with which the Epistle opens. He expresses an earnest wish to retire into privacy, to abandon poetry, and to devote himself to the study of philosophy and virtue, which he recommends as the only true wisdom
1. Prima dicte mihi,] This is an affectionate way of speaking. It has no particular reference to anything Horace had written. It is like Virgil's address to Pollio (Ec. viii. 11): "A te principium, tibi desinet"; or Nestor's to Agamemnon (Il. ix. 96):
̓Ατρείδη κύδιστε, ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν ̓Αγάμεμνον,
Ἐν σοὶ μὲν λήξω, σέο δ ̓ ἄρξομαι.
2. Spectatum satis et donatum jam rude] When gladiators received their discharge, they were presented by the 'lanista,' or the 'editor spectaculorum,' who owned or hired them, with a 'rudis,' which was a blunt wooden instrument, some say a sword, others a cudgel. The name may have belonged to any weapon used in the 'praclusio,' or sham fight that generally preceded the real battle with sharp swords. The gladiators thus discharged were called 'rudiarii,' and, if they were freemen, 'exauctorati.' 'Spectatum' is a technical term. Tickets, with the letters SP upon them, were given to gladiators who had distinguished themselves. 'Ludus' means the place where the training took place, and the gladiators were kept. (See A. P. 32, n.)
4. Veianius armis Herculis ad postem] Veianius was a 'rudiarius,' and when he was discharged, he hung up his weapons in the temple of Hercules, just as the man is made to hang up the arms of love in the temple of Venus, when they had ceased to profit him, in C. iii. 26. 3; or as the slave hung up his chain to the Lares (see S. i. 5. 65, n.), to whom also boys dedicated their 'bulla' when they assumed the 'toga virilis'; and, generally, those who gave up any trade or calling dedicated the instruments with which they had followed it to the gods, and to that god, in particular, under whose patronage they had placed themselves. Hercules would naturally be chosen by a gladiator, or by a soldier.
6. Ne populum extrema] The gladiatorial shows at this time were exhibited in the Circus. The arena was separated from the seats, which went round the building, by a wall called the podium,' near which a gladiator would station himself to appeal to the compassion of the people, at whose request it usually was that they got their freedom and the rudis.' We learn from Juvenal, that the persons of highest condition sat by the podium,' and to their influence the appeal would be more immediately made. Veianius, Horace says, retired into the country to escape the temptation to engage himself again, and to place himself in the position he had so often occupied, of a suppliant for the people's favor. When they liked a man, they were not easily persuaded to ask for his discharge.
7. Est mihi purgatam] He has a voice within him, he says, the office of