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Wordle: Martial VI 



It was a game to deceive the wedlocks of the sacred torch,

     And it was a game to have cut away the underserved males.

You forbid both, Caesar, and you help generations about to be,

     Whom you order  to be born without deceit.

Now nobody will be either a eunuch or an adulterer with you the protector:

     But previously—Oh morals!—even a eunuch was an adulterer.

II meter: Elegiac Couplet

Lū sŭs ĕ|rāt sāc|rǣ cō|nū bĭă| fāl lĕ rĕ| tǣ dǣ,

  Lū sŭs ĕt| īn mĕ rĭ|tōs|| ē xĕ cŭ|īs sĕ mă|rēs.

Ūt ră quĕ| tū prŏ hĭ|bēs, Cǣ|sār, pŏ pŭ|līs quĕ fŭ|tū rīs

  Sūc cūr|rīs, nās|cī||quōs sĭ nĕ| fraū dĕ iŭ|bēs.

Nēc spă dŏ| iām nēc|moē chŭs ĕ|rīt tē|prǣ sĭ dĕ|quīs quăm:

  āt prĭ ŭs| – Ō mō|rēs!|| – ēt spă dŏ|moē chŭs ĕ|răt.




Immediately after beginning his sixth book, Martial includes this epigram, which praises the lex Iulia of Augustus, which Domitian renewed. Martial does not waste any more time with the dedication of this book to Julius Martialis, which was the focus of the first epigram; rather, he immediately begins his praise of Domitian. Martial shows his concern for the preservation of family values in this epigram. These values were integrated into the lex Iulia, which Martial seems to be a fan of. He supports Domitian's laws against castration and male prostitution (McGinn). Domitian's reinforcement of these laws will help future generations, which will be born honestly, as opposed to the present immoral generation. Martial concludes that there will be no more eunuchs or adulterers under Domitian and that previously even eunuchs had been adulterers. This exaggerated statement has been exaggerated on purpose to say that it seemed as if everyone had been committing adultery, even castrated eunuchs, which would be impossible. Martial uses this hyperbole to prove the immorality of previous generations, before Domitian used his power to enforce the lex Iulia once again (Stewart).

McGinn, Thomas A. J. "Concubinage and the Lex Iulia on Adultery."
Transactions of the American Philological Association (1974-), Vol. 121 (1991), pp. 335-375

Stewart, Roberta. "Domitian and Roman Religion: Juvenal, Satires Two and Four". Transactions of the American Philological Association
(1974-), Vol. 124 (1994), pp. 309-332

K. Renner