quia: you do not Maecenas, because, etc.; this
is not the common construction of non quia (not
because. . .but), as the mood of est shows,
but the negative belongs to suspendis, but is placed
in this emphatic position to show that the reason for which Maecenas
might have scorned humbler men did not cause him to do so.
Satire is addressed to Maecenas, both as a compliment to him and to
give additional weight from the authority of so great a man.
genitive with quicquid, a colloquial and archaic
form of speech, though common in all styles. quicquid
would have for its antecedent an omnium or the like,
a partitive genitive after nemo. The Etrurians were
supposed to have come originally from Lydia. Their origin is still
a mystery, but the old tradition is as likely to be true as any other
Maecenas was descended from the Cilnii, a noble family of Etruria.
used loosely for bodies of troops in general.
etc.: i.e. turn up your nose at.
etc.: when you say that it makes no difference, etc., you
are convinced, and rightly so, that, etc.
the inevitable taint of slavery was still regarded as a disqualification
for social advancement, even by men as large-minded as Maecenas and
Horace; but the son of a freedman was free from that taint.
Servius Tullius was supposed to have been a slave. The whole idea
is, that the view of Maecenas is correct, which makes virtue and not
mere birth the criterion of nobility.
etc.: i.e. that this has always been the case from the first,
though the other cases have not come down to us.
i.e. honors conferred by the people, offices.
introducing the opposite case of a worthless noble.
particular individual is unknown, but there were many famous members
of this branch of the Valerian family. This one is no doubt one of
the stock, who was a candidate for office, but failed to be elected
on account of his worthless character, as sometimes happened even
in Rome. Valeri:
Marcus Valerius Poplicola, the associate of Brutus in the expulsion
of the Tarquins. The gens Valeria was one of the oldest and most distinguished
of the great Roman families, and had many branches, all counting distinguished
men among their number. genus:
cf. Od. I.3.27, and Virg. Æn. IV.12.
unde = a quo.
depending on pretio.
went for, a jocose expression for was worth, as
if he had been offered for what he would bring.
notante: alluding to
the censorial nota, or mark set by the censor against any
name on the list to exclude the person from the order or tribe.
etc., i.e. in the critical estimation of the people.
quo: for quem,
attracted by populo. See A & G Grammar § 200.b.
i.e. even the people, who are led astray by the glamour of
rank, know better than to choose a Laevinus.
i.e. of one's ancestors who were famous, though their descendant
et imaginibus: any person who had held a curule office
left to his descendants the right to put up in their houses the wax
mask of their ancestor, with an inscription bearing his name and honors.
Such masks and lists of honor were therefore a sign of nobility.
etc.: i.e. if the foolish crowd have right ideas, how much
more ought we to have right ideas who are far better educated.
esto, etc., for after all suppose that, etc.;
i.e. even if the people preferred a Laevinus to an obscure
worthy man (which, as he has just said, they do not), it would be
justified in doing so; and the man of low birth would have no reason
to complain, because he has no right to get out of his place. The
logical connection is: "We ought to hold virtue higher and birth
lower than they, for even if they didi prefer the high-born to the
worthy in this particular case (of political preferment), they would
be justified; hence, as they do not, their example is all the more
forcible for us." It must be remembered that after all Horace
is dealing with social relations, which fact he always keeps in mind,
underlying the whole. mallet:
a condition without si, suppose they did prefer.
P. Decius, a plebeian consul who devoted himself to death for the
success of the Roman arms in the Latin War, B.C. 340; and his son,
of the same name, imitated his father's example in B.C. 295.
novo: a person
whose ancestors had held no curule office was a novus homo.
turn out of the senate, as Appius Claudius Pulcher in his censorship,
50 B.C., did all sons of freedmen. essem:
the general idea is represented by Horace's own case, though he had
never been in the senate. As he was, however, the son of a freedman,
his case would be like the one referred to if he had, and the mention
of a special person makes the whole more vivid.
merito: sc. moveret, though
both cases are really meant. in
propria pelle, i.e. his proper position. (An
allusion to the fable of "The Ass in the Lion's Skin.")
but though the people would be right in the case supposed, and such
men have no claims, yet the ambition of the humble will not be quenched
as it ought to be by that fact. trahit,
i.e. leads captive, the figure being drawn from the triumph,
which the captives accompanied in chains, just before the conqueror's
chariot, possible originally chained to it. gloria,
the nobly born: in prose, quam generosos.
to what end? hence, of what use?
Tilli: a Tillius
said to have been removed from the senate, who, as was customary in
such cases, began anew to seek the senatorial rank. He was doubtless
the single broad stripe of red down the front of the tunic which was
the sign of magisterial and senatorial dignity.
tribunus militum, since the tribune of the people appears
not to have any insignia as such, though the office would entitle
him to be enrolled in the senate, and so afterwards to receive the
insignia mentioned. Some of the tribunes of the soldiers wore the
laticlave, and were chosen into the senate, a custom introduced by
i.e. with ambition. nigris:
the senatorial shoe was tied with four black thongs (corrigiae).
fellow, implying a certain degree of contempt.
i.e. inordinate vanity.
pretending to be a handsome man, he attracts attention and criticism
of details which would otherwise pass unnoticed. The same is the case
with the amibitious man.
etc.: perhaps taken from the official oath of the magistrates generally
without particular reference to any one.
etc.: common slaves' names, indicating that the man was the son of
throwing from the Tarpeian Rock was the old punishment for many offenses.
The man's functions as magistrate would include the condemnation of
evidently an executioner.
perhaps chosen by Horace as formed from novus.
sedet: in allusion
to the graded seats of the theatre, where the senators sat in the
orchestra and the equites in fourteen rows of seats behind them. The
ambitious upstart claims that he is of better family than his colleague,
for he is only a freedman, while the speaker was born free at any
tibi: The people answer, "Do you plume yourself
so much on that, that you think you belong to one of the old families,
the Æmilii (Paulus) or the Valerii (Messala)?"
These are indicated by common family names in those clans.
42. at hic:
Horace, with that double meaning which is characteristic of him, justifies
the advancement olf the freedman colleague by stating a quality of
his which weighs much in the minds of the people, but which you feel
sure at the same time Horace himself despises. "The man is a
blatant popular speaker, and has at least that claim to the favor
of the people." plaustra:
the heavy carrying wagon of the Romans, noted, and probably named,
for its creaking (plaudo).
the funeral procession was accompanied with music.
taken with funera, as only a great funeral would
be noisy; but as magna sonare is a standing phrase,
it is better to take it so here (cf. I.4.44),
making magna an adverb.
the antecedent id would be a cognate accusative.
curved brass horns. tuba,
a straight trumpet.
ad me, etc.: after showing the folly of political
ambition, he now comes back to the main idea of personal
and social dignity as independent of birth, defending himself
against the slurs of his vulgar detractors.
disparage (gnaw like rats). libertino,
etc.: the repetition indicates a direct quotation from his detractors,
just as they keep repeating it.
the subjunctive as usual puts the words into the mouth of the detractors.
notice that this indicates only a social advancement as the friend
of Maecenas, not a political preferment, which he claims no right
see life of Horace. Sixteen (or twenty-four) tribunes were elected
by the people, and were real magistrates, but others could be chosen
by the generals, and were called rufuli. This advancement
was a matter rather of favor than of merit, and was certainly so in
here is brought out more fully the distinction which underlies the
whole. The tribunate is an official honor, to which a low-born man
had perhaps no claim; but the friendship of Maecenas nobody has a
right to envy him, because that is a matter of personal worthiness.
only found here, but no doubt another of Horace's colloquialisms.
Maecenas' reputation for selecting only the worthy, and those not
from motives of ambition (i.e. to increase his political
influence and gain supporters), makes his friendship still more a
tribute to worth than the friendship of others might be.
(referring to Maecenas). Every means of adding to one's influence,
and every attempt to get on in the political career, the object of
both high and low, was among the Romans called ambitio.
Especially so was any attempt to gain favor either by the powerful
or the humble. felicem:
i.e. because that implies good luck, an idea which is repeated
in casu and sortitus (sc.
sim), and again in fors, etc.
the poet Virgil, who, like most of the writers of talent at the time,
was an intimate friend of Maecenas, whose generous patronage of literature
has become a proverb. Varius:
his character and talents.
56. ut veni
coram: at his first introduction.
singultim. . .locutus,
stammering out, or speaking incoherently.
in its original sense of speechless; here, of course, applied
to pudor as making a man so.
ego: i.e. I did not pretend, as many do, to
be a man of consequence from some provincial city, nor that my father
had great estates at Tarentum.
said by a scholiast to be from Satureia, a name of Tarentum; at any
rate it was in the vicinity, and indicates estates in Southern Italy.
apparently the popular word (cf. the Romance words).
eram: we should expect in Latin an indirect question
(cf. v. 55), but here it is "the position, etc., that I held."
honestum: strictly the neuter forms; turpe and
honestum, the technical Stoic names for virtue and vice,
but here used to include persons (cf. I.3.42,
note, and Ep. I.9.5).
i.e. though I claim no proud descent from my father, yet
it is to him that I owe whatever I am. mediocribus:
i.e. only such. Cf. I.4.130.
in form generally, but slightly disfigured by insignificant moles,
this word, connected by the conjunctions with what follows, and separated
from avaritiam, must refer to vulgar tastes and habits.
dens of vice.
et insons: take with carus after si.
neuter, i.e. his rebus.
a local schoolmaster in Venusia, to whom the young natives went.
both referring to size, but perhaps with a reference to their excess
of muscle over brain. Horace himself was small of person.
as Venusia was a colony, the citizens would be retired soldiers. In
the ancient method of fighting bodily strength counted for more than
with us, and a centurion who had risen from the ranks would be one
of the stoutest of his class.
(depending on suspensi taken in a middle sense, probably
a Grecism), answering to the satchel of modern times.
to the slate, the ordinary writing material of the Romans, a thin
board covered with wax.
sc. asses, implied in aeris,
a method of stating sums of money not uncommon with the Romans; about
ten cents. A cheap school, of course, is intended. The distributive
means every month. idibus:
apparently a common time for monthly payments.
carrying the pay themselves also indicated a humble kind of persons.
i.e. while still a boy.
see Grammar § 239.c. Rem. eques
atque senator: i.e. this mode of education was
much above his station.
servosque: i.e. he dressed his son and gave
him a style of appearance that would indicate inherited wealth.
populo, i.e. in the crowd of a great city, as
opposed to a little provincial town. Cf. Postremo in magno populo
mulierem inclutam / Amare oportet omnis qui quod dent habent.
Plaut. Truc. I.1.55. ut:
as is natural, or expected. vidisset.
. .crederet, see Grammar § 308.a.
it was customary to send boys in charge of a trustworthy slave (paedagogus),
as nowadays girls in charge of a nurse. This office the father performed
multa: sc. dicam, i.e.
why should I say more on a point that everyone understands?
ornament; purity of morals would be the first and highest
. .opprobrio: sc. he not only committed no impropriety,
but gave no handle for slander.
timuit: i.e. he did not refrain from giving
me this education for fear any one should complain that he was educating
his son above his station, even if the son rose no higher than he
verteret, charge it as a fault; see Grammar
a crier, an auctioneer, a very common humble occupation.
a collector, of taxes and the like.
the wages of a humble profession. essem
questus: i.e. if it had turned out so, I should
not have found fault with him for unfitting me for that humble life.
In this sentence the close connection between the 'future condition'
and the 'contrary to fact construction' is very apparent, sequerer
being a future condition in an indirect form changed to past time,
but it also answers for the condition contrary to fact of essem
on this account, i.e. because he did so educate
now, as it is.
etc., could I regret having had such a father? i.e. under
any supposable circumstances, an apodosis with an indefinite protasis
omitted. The whole idea is, that while others might be ashamed of
their fathers if they were of low birth, he had no such feeling.
etc.: i.e. most persons would apologize for such a father,
saying that it was not their fault that that they had such, while
admitting that it was a dishonor.
masc. and dative.
way of thinking. si
iuberet: i.e. if it were the course of nature
that a man after a certain age might choose his own father and expunge
his previous life, Horace says he would not change.
acc. after remeare, like navigare mare,
and the like.
95. ad fastum,
to suit his pride.
(the means of honestos), namely, curule offices,
of which the lictor's rods and the curule chair were the symbols.
Maecenas had himself refused to be advanced in official station, no
doubt for the reason Horace assigns, his dislike to the burdensome
state and social duties required of the great.
a larger property would be necessary to support the dignity of his
the salutatio, or morning visit of humbler persons to the
great, was a prominent feature in Roman social life.
persons had to take with them a retinue of companions, like princes
in modern times.
ne: apparently an expression more common in early Latin
in purpose clauses, not different essentially from ne.
The clause is here treated as a purpose, but in English we may translate
so as not to, etc., or so that I could not, etc.
etc.: all these would be necessary for the proper state of such a
must be kept. ducenda,
taken in my train. petorrita
(a Gallic word), a four-wheeled travelling carriage, the exact form
of which is not known, but it must have been more bulky and roomy
than other forms. nunc,
etc. (cf. v. 87): the advantages of his present humble position.
little, only referring to the size as suited to his dignity.
i.e. the whole length and breadth of Italy.
i.e. with no train nor baggage except a pair of saddlebags
behind him on the same mule.
etc.: i.e. such a proceeding would not in Horace indicate
stinginess (sordes), as it would in the case of Tillius
(probably the same mentioned in v. 24).
via, a frequented road, and only a short distance, where
one would expect him to appear properly. praetorem:
as a magistrate a man ought to keep up a still more brilliant state.
a small number even for an ordinary gentleman. Cf. 3.11.
his kettle for cooking his meals along the road, instead of stopping
at a tavern, or receiving hospitality which he would not like to return.
wine-basket, carried in the same manner as the kettle.
(neuter), in this respect. tu:
without special reference, but making the whole vivid by singling
out some one person, as it were.
see notes on vs. 101 seq. An example of the thousand other
i.e. he strolls about the market, and acts as a humble citizen
pricing his own provisions.
circum: the region of the Circus Maximus (the valley
where was the early commercial forum) seems to have the resort of
all kinds of loose characters. Shops occupied the outer walls of the
subconstructions of the building. Horace doubtless refers to sharpers,
confidence men, and the like, who always ply their trade in the lower
parts of a city. vespertinum:
i.e. when the refuse of the people were out, as in any great
fortune-tellers, astrologers, and the like. inde:
from his stroll.
etc.: as a simple repast without dainties, but of course not to be
taken too literally. laganum,
a sort of pancake.
of course a small number for the Romans. pueris:
the poetic (and colloquial?) use of the dative to express the agent.
albus: only white marble, not the variegated and costly
duo: for wine and water, which the Romans generally mixed.
the little ladle for measuring the quantities in mixing.
echinus, an unknown
utensil in the shape of a sea-urchin. It seems as if it must be a
salt-cellar, the most necessary utensil, and not elsewhere mentioned,
and if so, it perhaps should not be taken as earthen like the patera.
(Cf. Od. II.16.14.)
patera guttus: for libations, a platter, and a narrow-necked
pitcher, of common earthenware (Campana), not necessarily
mean, but not silver or gold or bronze.
i.e. early. obeundus
Marsya: i.e. go to the forum. (See note
on verse 122.) In the forum stood a statue of Marsyas. The precise
action of the statue to which Horace refers to is uncertain. Perhaps
the agony in his face, or possibly the fact merely that his back was
turned, is jocosely assumed by Horace to indicate his dislike of Novius,
evidently a usurer who had his money-changer's table in the vicinity.
shows that a definite person is meant, the younger of two of the same
name. The whole reference is unnecessary, but Horace likes to give
a side thrust whenever he can.
quartam: the privilege of lying abed till ten was not
possessed by the great, who must receive the salutatio
at sunrise, and be escorted to the forum. vagor:
i.e. he takes a stroll (cf. 9.1),
or stays at home, and reads or writes in solitude (tacitum)
till the hour for exercise comes.
the ancients prepared themselves for exercise by stripping and anointing
themselves with oil.
another side thrust, indicating the parsimony of the unknown person.
careless of his person, as a miser. lucernis:
of course only the poorest of oil was used for burning, and this Natta
uses for his body.
acrior: about noon. lavatum:
next the bath, and then the European breakfast or lunch; the first
meal (ientaculum) not being a formal meal, just as now in
Europe, has not been mentioned at all.
lusumque trigonem: another reading is, rabiosi
tempora signi. Both readings are so old that the passage
would seem to have been altered by Horace himself, a thing which happens
sometimes with modern poets. If so, one cannot help thinking he wrote
the one in the text last. Campum: the Campus Martius,
where such exercises took place. trigonem: used in
apposition with the force of an adjective, a not uncommon construction.
The ancient had several games of ball, but apparently without the
use of the bat. In this particular game three persons threw to each
other, but in what the skill consisted is uncertain. (See Becker's
Gallus Exc. II.). [rabiosi, etc.: put loosely
for the extreme heat of midday, though it should mean the heat of
the dogdays, when the sun is in the Dog, but there is Horace's favorite
confusion of ideas, between the mad dog and the raging heat. Cf. Ep.
I.10.16, Od. I.17.17.]
etc.: only a light breakfast, at about two, to stay his stomach till
dinner, the hour of which was rather late with him. Cf. 113. The dinner
hour varied, as with us, from say three o'clock till seven.
neuter, and depending as an ablative of manner on victurum.
the lowest of the offices is put for them all. His reason for preferring
the lowest is not clear. Perhaps it is one of his unexpected turns,
coming in as a jest upon himself, as it were.