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Wordle: Martial VI 



You ask why your Caelia only has eunuchs,
Pannychus? Caelia wishes to be fucked but not to give birth.

LXVII meter: Elegiac Couplet

Cūr tān|tu̸m̸ ͜eū nū|chōs hă bĕ|āt tŭ ă |Cǣ lĭ ă,|quǣ rīs,
     Pān ny̆ chĕ?|Vōlt fŭ tŭ|ī
//Cǣ lĭ ă|nēc pă rĕ|rĕ.



This two line epigram beings off with a question as Martial addresses a man named Pannychus. Of course, Martial does not intend Pannychus to respond, as he quickly gives him the answer. The tone is sort of “matter of fact” and a bit snappy. Rich classifies it as “gossipy interchange, without explicitly condemning the situation” (Richlin 134). It is ironic that Pannychus’s name means “all-night” implying his own sexual stamina, especially since his wife apparently has eunuchs to satisfy her. In addition, the other men she sleeps with are unable to produce children; therefore the only conclusion is that she is cheating for the sole purpose of having sex. This alludes to Caelia’s excessive sex drive and therein lies the reason for this epigram. Martial “frequently censures women for excessive sexual desire and lack of respect for the chasteness which should characterize the Roman matron.” (Vioque 214) In addition to that, she is having sex with slaves and crossing class lines as she is assumed to be aristocracy.  In epigram 7.30 it is seen that she is quite indiscriminate as to the class or nationality of the male she is having sex with. It is curious that her husband has a Greek name while she is Roman, perhaps why this situation occurred and perhaps why she doesn’t mind men other “lesser” nationalities. In epigram 2.89 the theme of a woman using a eunuch for sex because the worries about pregnancy are relieved is displayed. This is a theme which Martial repeatedly criticizes (Vioque).  

Richlin, Amy. "The garden of Priapus." 1992. Oxford University Press US. Web. <http://books.google.com/books?id=KBoEG6GJlMcC&pg=PA134&dq=Caelia+martial#PPA134,M1>.

Vioque, Guillermo . Translated by 
J. J. Zoltowski "Martial, book VII: a commentary." 2002. BRILL. Web.<http://books.google.com/books?id=QTfjPEC4g6UC>.

C. McGee