Apr. 22nd, 2013

starlady: A typewriter.  (tool of the trade)
I am reading the epigrams of Martial for research for a fic (the XMFC Roman AU, to be precise). Martial is really not that great a poet. He keeps comparing himself to Catullus and implying he's better; he isn't. But the poems are a wealth of sociological and topographical information about Rome, Roman habits, and particularly Roman sexual habits and mores. So far the second half of book III, in which the poet is unabashedly dirty, is my favorite.

I'm reading the most recent Loeb edition because it's bilingual, and I've gotten to the point where I very much distrust not being able to compare the actual text with the translation. Bowdlerization is a longstanding problem in classics, and continues via the watering-down of the standard lexicons (i.e. Liddell for Greek and Lewis & Short for Latin) and even many contemporary translations--most of my dirty Latin I learned from my student's Catullus, and thank goodness for that.

So, here's what may be my favorite poem of them all thus far: 

Ut faciam breviora mones epigrammata, Corde.
"fac mihi quod Chione": non potui brevius. (III.83)
 
Cut for some rather NSFW translations and Latin )

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