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Wordle: Martial VI 



Your cock is so large, Papylus, as large as your nose,
for whenever you are aroused, you are able to smell (it).

XXXVI Meter: Elegiac Couplet

Mēn tŭ lă|tām māg|nā ͜e̸st quān|tūs tĭ bĭ,|Pā pŭ lĕ,|nā sŭs,
      ūt pōs|sīs, quŏ tĭ|ēns||ār rĭ gĭs,|ōl fă cĕr|ĕ.



In this epigram, M. pokes fun at the large-nosed (tam nasus) and well-endowed (magna mentula) Papylus, ultimately claiming that, because both are so large, he can sniff his own erection. Papylus appears five times in the Epigrammata, twice in the fourth book (IV.48; IV.69), here, and twice in the seventh book (VII.78; 7.94) (Shackleton Bailey (1993) 373). Regarding other appearances of Papylus, we know from IV.48 that he was into sodomy, but cries when it is over. M. asks: cur…facta doles?; fles desieris?

The two words of importance here are nasus and mentula. Howell writes, “the nose was the organ of criticism” (Howell (1995) 99). Although it can be said that Romans noticed a similarity between the penis and the nose, nasus is used more in reference to the clitoris (Adams (1982) 98). That being said, it seems oddly juxtaposed with mentuala. If indeed M. is using nasus as a euphemism (e.g. for cunnus), then perhaps the situation is this: by his mentula being so close to his nasus, Papylus can self-procreate.

Further reading: Howell (1995), Adams (1982), Shackleton Bailey (1993)

Howell, Peter (1995) Martial: Epigrams, Book V. Warminster, England

Adams, J.N. (1982) The Latin Sexual Vocabulary. Baltimore

Shackleton Bailey, D.R. (1993) Martial Epigrams. Loeb Classical Library

S. Campbell