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EPIGRAMMATA VI
 
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Wordle: Martial VI 
 

 
  • LATIN
  • ENGLISH
  • METRICS

55

Because you always smell like the lead Nicerotian things
With the cinnamon tree and
black in a nest of the proud bird,
You laugh at us, Coracinus, smelling of nothing:
I prefer to smell of nothing than to smell cheaply.

LV Meter: Hendecasyllabic

Quōd sēm|pēr că sĭ|ā quĕ|cīn nă|mō quĕ
Ēt nī|dō nĭ gĕr|ā lĭ|tīs sŭ|pēr bǣ
Frāg rās|plūm bĕ ă|Nī cĕ|rō tĭ|ā nă,
Rī dēs|nōs, Cŏ ră|cī nĕ,|nīl ŏ|lēn tīs:
Mā lō,|quām bĕ ne̸͜ ŏ|lē rĕ,| nīl ŏ|lē rĕ.


 
EPIGRAM VI.55

 

SUMMARY
The poem starts out with the indroduction of many different scents that Coracinus has on his body.  These sents combine to become an aroma which the main character, Coracinus, uses.  The first of the fragrances mentioned is cassia.  Cassia is a tree bark, like cinnamon, that is stronger and darker than cinnamon, and has a very nutty nature (Cassia." Encyclopedia of Spices. 2003. The Epicentre. 26 Apr. 2009 <http://www.theepicentre.com>).  

The second spice that is mentioned is cinnamon (cinnamo) this is a spice that is like Cassia in many ways, but is still less fragrant and lighter than cassia.  

The last item mentioned in the production of this fragrance is the 'black' in the nest of the bird.  With the use of the adjectives, this nest appears to be the nest of the Phoenix.  The Phoenix is a bird that in ancient culture is known for its ability to ignite on fire at the end of its life and then be reborn from the ashes.  The Phoenix uses myrrh branches to construct its nest and then one at the end of its life, the great bird ignites and the bird and the myrrh branches ignite ("Phoenix (mythology)." New World Encyclopedia. 2007. New World Encyclopedia.26Apr. 2009 <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Phoenix_(mythology)#Greek>.)  The smell that would be produced in the burning of the myrrh branches is the last smell noted by the other party in the poem.

The poem introduces the smells and then in line 4 the subject changes to Coracinus laughing at the other party because he/she does not smell of anything.  The last line of the poem goes in crude and helpful in explaining the insult.  The smells that Coracinus uses are very cheap and do not cost much to produce.  So the other party explains that he/she would rather smell of nothing than to smell of the cheap scents Coracinus is wearing.

C.McLean


 
GLOSSARY/PARSING (LATIN)

 

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