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EPIGRAMMATA VI
 
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Wordle: Martial VI 
 

 
  • LATIN
  • ENGLISH
  • METRICS

85

Behold! The sixth book of mine is published without you, Camonius Rufus,

  Nor can it hope for you as a reader, my friend:

The impious earth of the Cappadocian was seen by you with the divinity harmful,

  And it returns the ashes and bones to your father.

Shed tears, Bononia, bereft of your Rufus,

  And let the wailing resound on all of the Aemilia:

Alas, what kind of piety, alas how short a life has ended!

  He had seen only five games of Alpheius

You, accustomed to narrate from a remembering heart our amusements,

  You, Rufus, accustomed to get all our jokes,

Accept this short song with tears of your sorrowful friend

  And consider this to have been the incense from one far away.

LXXXV meter: Elegiac Couplet

Ē dĭ tŭr|ēn sēx|tūs sĭ nĕ| tē mĭ hĭ,|Rū fĕ Că|mō nī,

  Nēc tē|lēc tōr|ēm||spē răt, ă|mī cĕ, lĭ|bĕr:

Īm pĭ ă| Cāp pă dŏ|cūm tēl|lūs ēt|nū mĭ nĕ|lǣ vō

  Vī să tĭ|bī cĭ nĕ|rēs||rēd dĭt ĕt |ōs să pă|trī.

Fūn dĕ tŭ|ō lă crĭ|mās ōr|bā tă Bŏ|nō nĭ ă|Rū fō,

  Ēt rĕ sŏn|ēt tō|tā|| plān ctŭs ĭn|Ǣ mĭ lĭ|ā:

Heū quā|līs pĭ ĕ|tās, heū|quām brĕ vĭs|ōc cĭ dĭt|ǣ tăs!

  Vī dĕ răt |Ăl phē|ī||prǣ mĭ ă|quīn tă mŏ|dŏ.

Pēc tŏ rĕ|tū mĕ mŏ|rī nōs|trōs ē|vōl vĕrĕ| lūsūs,

  Tū sŏ lĭ|tūs tō|tōs,||Rū fĕ, tĕ|nē rĕ iŏ|cōs,

Āc cĭ pĕ|cūm flē|tū mǣ|stī brĕ vĕ|cār mĕn ă|mī cī

  Āt  que ̷͜hǣc |āb sēn| tīs||tū ră fŭ|īs sĕ pŭ|tā.


 
EPIGRAM VI.85

 

SUMMARY
Camonius Rufus was one of Martial’s patrons, and as a dutiful client, he is writing a praising poem after Rufus’ death. The poem praises him, as well as showing how many people will grieve because of his untimely death. He was young when he died and some sources indicate this poem was for the mourning father of Rufus (Bridge). Martial mentions the “ashes and bones” of his son being returned to the father.

The way the poem was written indicates Rufus was not just a patron, but a friend as well. He asks him to accept his “tears of you sorrowful friend”. They seemed to be close friends, considering how Martial mentions that Rufus is accustomed to knowing their jokes, like what would be called “inside jokes” today.

It was only his ashes and bones returned to the father because cremation was extremely popular in ancient Rome (Parkin). Martial also mentions the incense of an absent friend. Incense was burned during Roman funerals (Parkin). This implies Martial could not attend the funeral. This could be a way for Martial to apologize to Rufus’ family for not being able to be at the funeral. He is expressing his true sorrow over the death of his friend and for being absent at his funeral.

Bridge, Reginald Turle. Select Epigrams of Martial. London: Clarendon Press, 1908.

Parkin, Tim G. et al. Roman Social History: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge, 2007

Watson, Patricia and Lindsay. Martial: Selected Epigrams. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003


S. Elliott-Traficante


 
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