Header image  
EPIGRAMMATA VI
 
line decor
  
line decor


 
Wordle: Martial VI 
 

 
  • LATIN
  • ENGLISH
  • METRICS

50

While poor, Telesinus could have cultivated clean friends,
    He, dirty, was wandering in an ice-cold little toga:
From which (time) he begins to care for filthy sodomites,
    He alone buys silver, tables, and farms.
You wish to become rich, Bithynicus? You will be an accessory:
    Pure kisses will give nothing or very little to you.

L Meter: Elegiac Couplet

Cūm cŏ lĕ|rēt pū|rōs paū|pēr Tĕ lĕ|sī nŭs ă|mī cōs,
      Ēr rā|bāt gĕ lĭ|dā||sōr dĭ dŭs|īn tŏ gŭ|lā:
Ōb scē|nōs ēx|quō cœ̄|pīt cū|rā rĕ cĭ|nǣ dōs,
      Ār gēn|tūm, mēn|sās,||praē dĭ ă|sō lŭs ĕm|īt.
Vīs fĭ ĕ|rī dī|vēs, Bī|thȳ nĭ cĕ?|cōn scĭ ŭs|ēs tō:
      Nīl tĭ bĭ|vēl mĭ nĭ|mūm||bā sĭ ă|pū ră dă|būnt.


 
EPIGRAM VI.50

 

SUMMARY
Through the struggles faced by poor Telesinus, he finds pleasure living a life with dirty (non moral people) instead of the clean (moral, worthy people).  The use of the word sordidus not only acts as an adjective to describe Telesinus but to foreshadow the people he will be hanging around with, as mentioned in line 3 (cinaedos).  Through his expedition to become wealthy, he begins to care for Sodomites.  

                On the other hand, Martial displays strong animosity toward
                lesbians, toward what he calls tribades, just as he is equally
                against the idea that anal sodomy with a female...
                could be a substitute for active...
                pederasty. (Martial, J. P. Sullivan, and Peter Whigham. Epigrams of Martial. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. pp 19)

Not being fond of sodomy, it seems that sodomy and Sodomites seem to people found on the path to becoming a dirty (yet wealth) person.  In his disgusting unmoral lifestyle, Telesinus becomes very rich and is able to buy such items as Argentum, mensas, praedia (silver, tables, farms).  These items are some of the many marks of having money.  

Bithynicus is then entered into the equation as one who wishes to become rich just as Telesinus has.  Bithynicus is a young man who does not seem to be interested in getting rich in the same way Telesinus has.  The last line of the poem, Nil tibi vel minimum basia pura dabunt, ends the poem with a shocking line.  The line is an explanation to Bithynicus.  Telesinus explains to Bithynicus that you cannot make money with 'pure kisses'.  Honestly and purity will not make Bithynicus, so he must resort to becoming dirty.

C. McClean


 
GLOSSARY/PARSING (LATIN)

 

COMMENTARY (ENGLISH)