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Wordle: Martial VI 



Do you see how little not yet three full years old
Regulus himself having listened also praises his father?
With his father having been seen, he abandons his maternal bosom
and senses that his father’s praises are his own.
Already applause and the hundred men and the dense crowd in a circle
and the Julian building (Basilica Julia) please this infant.
Thus the offspring of a furious horse rejoices in the noble dust,
thus a bull-calf still with a tender forehead longs for battles.
I entreat you gods: pay attention to their prayers for both his mother and his father,
that Regulus may hear his son, and she both.

XXXVIII Meter: Elegaic Couplet

Ās pĭ cĭs|ūt pār|vūs// nĕc ăd|hūc trĭ ĕ|tē rĭ dĕ|plē nā
      Rē gŭ lŭs|aū dī|tūm||laū dĕt ĕt| īp sĕ păt|rēm

Mā tēr|nōs quĕ sĭ|nūs// vī|sō gĕ nĭ|tō rĕ rĕ| līn quăt
      ēt pă trĭ|ās laū |dēs||sēn tĭ ăt|ēs sĕ sŭ|ās?
Iām clā|mōr cēn|tūm quĕ vĭ| rī// dēn|sūm quĕ cŏ|rō nā
      vōl gŭs ĕt|īn fān|tī||Iū lĭ ă|tēc tă plă|cēnt.
Āc rĭs ĕ|quī sŭ bŏ|lēs// māg|nō sīc|pūl vĕ rĕ|gaū dēt,
      sīc vĭ tŭ|lūs mōl|lī ||proē lĭ ă|frōn tĕ cŭ|pīt.
Dī, sēr|vā tĕ, prĕ|cōr,// māt|rī sŭ ă|vō tă păt|rī quĕ,
      aū dĭ ăt| ūt nā|tūm||Rē gŭ lŭs,|īl lă dŭ|ōs.



In this epigram, M. calls to attention the early-aged glory of the son of M. Aquilius Regulus (parvus Regulus). He notes that the infant (infanti) already has recognized his father’s glory and is reverent toward him, even in his young age. Little Regulus leaves his mother’s lap at the sight of his father (relinquat maternos sinus). The child is amused by the applause of the hundred judges (centum viri) and the crowd surrounding the Julian temple (tecta Julia). At the poem's end, M. entreats the gods to listen to the prayers of Regulus and his wife, so that some day parvus Regulus can delight in even greater glory as his father (audiat natum Regulus). It is known that Regulus was a longtime patron of M., and consequently he had fifteen epigrams dedicated to him and his family (Sullivan (1991) 17). In 1.12, M. praises Regulus, claiming that he is under the special providence of the gods, and that this proves the gods’ existinces. A loyalist to Nero and Domitian, Regulus was well known for prosecuting people for treason, much like a first century Joseph McCarthy (Sullivan 17).
Regulus began his career by prosecuting three noblemen at the end of Nero’s reign, and was rewarded by the emperor (Howell (1995) 86). The conservative Regulus even served as a consul in the 80s (Howell 86).

Unfortunately, parvus Regulus died very early in life, which forever changed his father. Pliny the Younger remarks on Regulus’ craziness after the death of his son. His opinion of Regulus is one of hostility (Pliny lt. II.9), particularly regarding his religiousness: he tells a story in which Regulus sacrificially slaughters his dead son’s pets in a moment of old-fashioned ritualism (Howell 86). Additionally, according to Pliny, Regulus was a lecacy hunter and he continued to commit crimes under Domitian as bad as those he committed under Nero but they were better hidden (Howell 86).

Further reading: Sullivan (1991), Howell (1995), Pliny the Younger (II.9)

Sullivan, J.P. (1991) Martial: The Unexpected Classic. Cambridge

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

Melmoth, William (1998) Ancient History Sourcebook: Pliny the Younger (61/62-113 CE): Selected Letters c. 100 CE. Fordham University, NY.

S. Campbell