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Neronem. This does not fix the date of the satire. Nero is used for any emperor, perhaps for Domitian. Conf. Sat. iv. 38.
171. haec aetas, i.e. of Lateranus.
Mitte Ostia, send your general to Ostia, i.e. the port at the mouth of the Tiber from which a fleet would start.
172. legatum, the governors of imperial provinces, i.e. those especially on the frontiers which needed a legionary force, were
legati Augusti pro praetore”; the governors of all senatorial provinces were proconsuls.
174. fugitivis, runaway slaves. See Sat. iv. 50.
175. carnifices, literally “executioners,” but used generally as a term of reproach, especially to slaves, “rascals.”
sandapilarum, cheap biers on which the poor were carried out to burial. It was considered degrading to contract for public funerals at all, Sat. iii. 32 ; how much more so actually to make the coffins !
176. resupinati ... Galli—“of a priest of Cybele stretched on his back.
and image of Cybele, the mother of the gods, was introduced to Rome from Galatia. Conf. note on Sat. iii. 138. Her priests were called Corybantes (see Sat. v. 25), or, from the original seat of the worship, Galli. tympana, cymbals. Conf. Hor. Od. i. 16, 8,
non acuta sic geminant Corybantes aera. 177. lectus non alius cuiquam, no special couch for any
For the arrangement of the triclinium and the usual places of honour, see note on Sat. v. 17.
178. mensa remotior ulli, nor has any one a table placed aloof,” i.e. from the commoner sort of guests.
180. Nempe, why, of course. Conf. supra, line 164.
in Lucanos, sc. agros colendos. Slaves, as a punishment, were made to work in the country. Conf. Ter. Phorm. 250, where Davus says, “molendumst in pistrino, vapulandum .. opus ruri faciundum.'
Tusca ergastula. The ergastula were buildings in the country, often underground, where the gangs slaves were shut up at night, who by day worked in the fields chained together on their masters' latifundia. This was especially the case in Etruria. Conf. Mart. ix. 23, “Et sonet innumera compede Tuscus ager”; Sat. xi. 80, “in magna · • compede fossor,” and xiv. 24; and Tac. Ann. iv. 27.
182. Cerdoni. See notes on Sat. iv, 13 and 153.
Volesos. The Volesi were a Sabine family who came to Rome with T. Tatius. Livy mentions a Volesus who was father of P. Valerius Publicola.
Brutum. Junius Brutus, the expeller of Tarquin.
185. Damasippe, some spendthrift noble reduced to act on the stage. The name is probably taken from Hor. Sat. ii. 3.
locasti sipario, “let your voice on hire to the mimic stage.” siparium was the curtain used in mimes, on which see Sat. v. 157. The more general name for the stage curtain was aulacum.
186. clamosum ageres ut Phasma Catulli. Catullus was a writer of mimes under Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, and is mentioned again in Sat. xiii. 111. Phasma was the title of one of his mimes. The ghost was perhaps represented as shrieking or gibbering, which would explain the epithet clamosum.
187. Laureolum, the title of another and very well known mimic piece, also by Catullus. Laureolus was a slave, or, as others say, the captain of a gang of robbers, and was crucified on the stage. On one occasion a condemned criminal was made to play the part and was really crucified. Conf. Mart. Spect. vii., “Non falsa pendens in cruce Laureolus.” The piece was acted on the day of Caligula's murder, on which occasion the blood was imitated with horrible realism. Joseph. Ant. Iud. 19, 1, and Suet. Calig. 57. Lentulus, another noble.
188. dignus vera cruce, because it was disgraceful for a noble to act on the stage, especially in such a piece and under such a character.
189. populi frons durior. It ought to cause the people more shame than these degenerate nobles, but it causes them less. durior, “more brazen-faced still.”
190. triscurria patriciorum, the low buffooneries of the patricians. The prefix tri is intensive, as in the words trifur, trifurcifer, triveni fica, trismegistus, etc.
191. planipedes audit Fabios. In the mimes the actors wore neither the cothurnus of tragedy, nor the soccus of comedy, but appeared barefooted. This is what is meant by planipedes. See Dio Cass. 61, 17, and Tac. Hist. iii. 62, where Fabius Valens “sponte mimos actitavit.”
192. Mamercorum. The Mamerci were said to be derived from Mamercus, a son of Numa Pompilius ; they belonged to the Aemilian gens.
alapas. The Mamerci, acting as the stupidi (buffoons) of the mime, would be treated as such. Conf. note on Sat. v. 171, and Mart. v. 61, "o quam dignus eras alapis, Mariane, Latini.”
Quanti sua funera vendant, "at what price they sell their lives.” It is evidently the same thing to say that a person sells his death or sells his life.
193. nullo cogente Nerone. Suetonius, Ner. 12, relates that on one occasion Nero compelled 400 senators and 600 equites to contend in the arena. See also Tac. Ann. xiv. 14. In Juvenal's time, however, the nobles did it for the love of the thing, which had become a depraved taste.
194. nec dubitant celsi praetoris vendere ludis. There is a difficulty here, because the praetors only presided at the ludi Circenses, see Sat. x. 36 foll., whereas the context proves that Juvenal is here alluding to gladiatorial shows, and the only magistrates who were bound to give these were the quaestors. See Suet. Claud. 21; Tac. Ann. xi. 22. As, however, the cura ludorum generally was handed over to the praetors (Dio Cass. 54, 2), and as the ludi Circenses were much more frequent than the gladiatorial shows, Juvenal's inaccuracy may easily be explained.
195. Finge tamen, etc. is opposed to nullo cogente Nerone ; but supposing that there is compulsion, who ought to hesitate to prefer death to dishonour ?
gladios of course are the swords of the tyrant, with which he threatens death to the disobedient.
196. quid satius ; quid–utrum. 197. zelotypus Thymeles, the jealous husband of Thymele, who was a mima, and mentioned in Sat. i. 36. Her husband was Latinus ; but the jealous husband here is one of the characters of the mime, which often had for its plot the relations between husband and wife. Conf. Mart. i. 92, “nec me zelotypum nec dixeris esse malignum.”
stupidi. The stupidus, or clown, was a stock character in the mime. Corinthus was a mimus who took this part.
198. citharoedo principe, with special reference to Nero. See Suet. Ner. 20, etc. Juvenal, according to his custom, reflects on former times, or uses them as screens behind which to attack the present state of things. See note on line 148.
mimus. See note on Sat. v. 157.
199. quid erit nisi ludus, “what will there be except the gladiatorial school ?”. There was ludus literarius, and also ludus gladiatorius. The disgrace of appearing in the arena was even greater than that of acting in a mime, and yet Gracchus incurs even that. Mr. Macleane mistakes the passage and translates, “After this what shall we have at Rome but shows ?”
Et illic dedecus nobis habes," and there (i.e. in the ludus) you have the disgrace of the city.”
200. murmillonis in armis. The Murmillones were nearly identical with the Galli, and were gladiators heavily armed, like the Gallic warriors. They were usually opposed to the retiarius, who aimed his net at the fish fixed on the helmet of the murmillo, from which his name is probably derived. If Gracchus had been armed as a murmillo, he at least would not have been so easily recognised.
201. nec clipeo . . . pugnantem. This refers to the Samnites, who carried a large oblong shield, as well as a short straight sword, and a helmet with lofty plume. See note on Sat. iii. 158. The Samnite was also opposed to the retiarius, hence called pinnirapus.
aut falce supina. This "scimitar” was the distinguishing mark of the Thraces, who also carried a small round shield (parma).
202. [et damnat et odit . . . abscondit.] I put these words in brackets because, in addition to the weakness of "et damnat et odit,” the following words seem only a repetition. These different kinds of gladiators have been referred to by “murmillonis in armis," or clipeo,” or “falce supina,” but the helmet was common to all these.
203. movet ecce tridentem, i.e. he appeared as a retiarius, who wore a short tunic only, a belt (balteus), and for arms carried a trident or fuscina, and a net (rete), whence his name. His mode of fighting was to attempt to throw the net over the helmet of his opponent, the Murmillo or Samnite ; if he succeeded he despatched him with the trident; if he failed he ran round the arena, followed by his adversary, until he could collect the net for another throw.
204. librata dextra, “with his right hand poised on high.”
205. ad spectacula, to the spectators : erigit, because they were raised in tiers of seats high above the arena.
207. Credamus, tunicae de faucibus, etc. “Let us believe our eyes, since from the throat of the tunic,” etc. The tunica, a sort of close-fitting vest, was one of the distinguishing marks of the retiarius. Conf. Suet. Calig. 30, “retiarii tunicati.” Others put the comma after tunicae. Conf. Sat. ii. 143 seq., “Vicit et hoc monstrum tunicati fuscina Gracchi, lustravitque fuga mediam gladiator arenam.
spira was a kind of lasso-in Gracchus's case adorned with gold lace—which was hung from the left arm, on which was the
galerus, and then passed over breast and back to the right side, where it was connected with the net, which it served both to throw and to collect again.
208. longo iactetur galero, flies loose from the long galerus, ¿.e. is attached to the left arm.
galero. This was probably a leather armlet put on the left arm to serve for a shield, and extending over the left shoulder. For the details of the equipment of the retiarius, see Friedländer, vol. ii. pp. 511, 513.
209. ignominiam. It was a disgrace to a gladiator to have to fight with so degenerate a noble.
210. cum Graccho is used contemptuously.
secutor. Perhaps used generally for the opponent of the retiarius, from the mode of fighting described above ; but the secutores proper differed in some respects from the Samnites or Thraces. They carried a sword and shield, and wore a helmet with vizor, and greaves for the thigh. So in inscriptions the secutor is called “contra rete,” see Wilmanns, 2605.
212. Senecam praeferre Neroni. For Seneca the Stoic philosopher and tutor to Nero, see note on Sat. v. 108. He was put to death for supposed complicity in Piso's conspiracy, the object of which Tacitus (Ann. xv. 65) states to have been to put Seneca on the throne after removing both Nero and Piso.
213. non debuit una parari simia. The punishment of parricides, or of those who murdered any near relation, was to be shut up in a sack with an ape, a viper, a cock, and a dog, and to be thrown into the sea, in order, as Cicero says, "ut repente caelo, sole, aqua terraque privarentur.” See also Dig. 48, 9, 9. The animals chosen were those regarded as most unnatural to their kind. Nero not only murdered his mother Agrippina after several unsuccessful attempts, but his wife Poppaea Sabina, his stepbrother Britannicus, and his aunt Domitia, and so deserved the punishment over and over again.
215. Agamemnonidae—of Orestes, who killed his mother Clytemnestra. So Dio Cassius makes Vindex compare Nero to Thyestes, Oedipus, Alcmaeon, and Orestes, toutos yàp imoκρίνεται.
The reason was that she and Aegisthus had treacherously murdered his father Agamemnon.
217. caesi media inter pocula. The account of Aeschylus is that he was killed while in his bath, but see Hom. Od. xi. 410, which more agrees with this.
218. Electrae, the sister of Orestes. Conf. Hor. Sat. ii. 3, 139, Orestes non Pyladen ferro violare aususve sororem est Electram.” This glances at the murder of Britannicus.
Spartani. coniugii. Orestes married Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus and Helen. Nero killed his first wife Octavia, and also caused the death of Poppaea Sabina by his brutality.