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EPIGRAMMATA VI
 
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Wordle: Martial VI 
 

 
  • LATIN
  • ENGLISH
  • METRICS

40

No woman was able to be preferred to you, Lycoris

No woman is able to be preferred to Glycera

She will be this which you (are): You are not able to be what she is

What the times do! I want her, I used to want you.

XL meter: Elegiac Couplet

Fē mĭ nă|praē fēr|rī pŏ tŭ|īt tĭ bĭ|nūl lă, Ly̆|cō rī:

Praē fēr|rī Gly̆ cĕ|raē ||fē mĭ nă|nūl lă pŏ|tēst.

Haēc ĕ rĭt|hōc quōd|tū: tū|nōn pŏ tĕ|s ēs sĕ quŏd|haēc ēst

Tēm pŏ ră|quīd fă cĭ|ūnt!||hānc vŏ lŏ,|tē vŏ lŭ|ī.


 
EPIGRAM VI.40

 

SUMMARY
Poor Lycoris and Glycera, they found the love of Martial.  Lycoris was loved by Martial, but is no longer.  Glycera is his new flavor of the week.  This implies to the reader that like Lycoris, Glycera will be only a passing infatuation.  Martial rarely speaks of women he wants.  The most part of his poems center on undesirable women.  This may be because epigrams are meant to be humorous, so writing about undying love for a normal woman is not exactly hilarious.  There may however, be another reason.  Martial’s love life was and still is controversial.  Was he married? Was he homosexual?  These questions remain unanswered.  So does Martial write about ugly women because he has no taste for women?   Either way, it is an overwhelming difference between the number of women that he actually likes and those that disgust him. 

The name Lycoris originates in the poetry of Gallus and the name Glycera is born in Tibullus.  What is amusing is the connection between the two.  Horace and Tibullus were friends.  They even wrote letters to each other.  The name Lycoris is also used in Vergil’s Eclogue 10.  In Vergil she is characterized as faithless and wandering.  This is humorous considering that in this poem Martial is the faithless and wandering one.  In this poem, we are supposed to see the fleeting infatuation Martial has with these women.  The pun lies in the tenses of the poem.  The poem is addressed at Lycoris as a sort of break up message.  He plays with the present and perfect tenses to make clear that he used to be with Lycoris and now he is with Glycera.  (McIntosh, Gillian Elizabeth. "HAEC EST ILLA MES MULTUM CANTATA LIBELLIS: An Investigation of Female Personae in the Epigrams of Martial." A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Classics Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada August 1997 5 Apr 2009.)

McIntosh, Gillian Elizabeth. "HAEC EST ILLA MES MULTUM CANTATA LIBELLIS: An Investigation of Female Personae in the Epigrams of Martial." A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Classics Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada August 1997 5 Apr 2009.

E. Craig


 
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