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Wordle: Martial VI 



You have had your frolic, it is enough: marry, you wanton cunts

Save only virtuous love was permitted for you.

Is this virtuous love? Laetoria marries Lygdus

As wife she will be more unseemly than she was recently as mistress.

XLV Meter: Elegiac Couplet   

Lū sī|stīs, să tĭs| ēst: lās|scī vī |nū  bĭ tĕ|cūn nī:

    Pēr mīs|sā ͜e̸st vō|bīs||nōn nĭ sĭ|cās tă Vĕ|nūs.

Hǣc ēst|cās tă Vĕ|nūs? Nū|bīt Lǣ|tō rĭ ă|Lȳg dō:

   Tūr pĭ ŭs|ū xŏr ĕ|rīt ,||quām mŏ dŏ|mœ̄ chă fŭ|ĭt.




The gist of this poem is that Laetoria and Lygdus were having an affair.  They had all kinds of love except for the virtuous kind (marital love).  The funny part of this poem is that Laetoria was not a good mistress, so that means she will not be a good wife either.

In Martial’s society, adultery was a serious crime.  He encourages the two to marry because that would have been the law in those times.  There was a great incentive given to those who married and produced children.  Martial himself wrote a poem addressed to Domitian asking for the right of three children so that he could have the special privileges that it entailed including tax breaks.  If one was convicted of committing adultery, the man could be disfigured and both of them could be exiled.  In another of Martial’s poems, he talks of a man who had his nose cut off for committing adultery.  (Edwards)

Edwards, Catherine. The Politics of Immorality in Ancient Rome. 1st. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.







E. Craig