Liber Latinus

Latin in translation

Cicero, Pro Murena 70: At sectabantur multi

At sectabantur multi. Doce mercede; concedam esse crimen. Hoc quidem remoto quid reprendis? ‘Quid opus est’ inquit ‘sectatoribus?’ A me tu id quaeris, quid opus sit eo quo semper usi sumus? Homines tenues unum habent in nostrum ordinem aut promerendi aut referendi benefici locum, hanc in nostris petitionibus operam atque adsectationem. Neque enim fieri potest neque postulandum est a nobis aut ab equitibus Romanis ut suos necessarios candidatos adsectentur totos dies; a quibus si domus nostra celebratur, si interdum ad forum deducimur, si uno basilicae spatio honestamur, diligenter observari videmur et coli; tenuiorum amicorum et non occupatorum est ista adsiduitas, quorum copia bonis viris et beneficis deesse non solet.

“But many people were following him around,” you say. Prove that they were hired, and I will admit that it is a crime. Aside from that, what are you grasping at? “What need is there for followers,” you ask. Are you asking me why he needs something we have always made use of? Men of low rank have only one opportunity by which to earn favours amongst men of our station, or repay our services: namely, this close attendance and effort in our electioneering. For it is neither possible, nor something to be requested by us or the equites, that they follow their patron candidates for whole days at a time. If they gather at our house, if we are sometimes escorted to the forum, if we are dignified by them attending for the distance of one basilica, then we seem to have been respected and honoured faithfully. Our lesser friends provide this constant attendance. They do not need to deal with official business and they are not accustomed to lacking good gentlemen and their favours.


Plautus, Aulularia, 3.5.502ff

Megadorus: ‘Nunc quoquo venias plus plaustrorum in
aedibus videas quam ruri, quando ad villam
veneris. sed hoc etiam pulchrum est
praequam ubi sumptus petunt. stat fullo,
phyrgio, aurifex, lanarius; caupones
patagiarii, indusiarii, flammarii, violarii,
carinarii; stant manulearii, stant
murobatharii, propolae linteones,
calceolarii; sedentarii sutores diabathrarii,
solearii astant, astant molocinarii,
petunt fullones, sarcinatores petunt;
strophiarii astant, astant semul sonarii. iam
hosce absolutos censeas: cedunt, petunt
treceni, cum stant thylacistae in atriis
textores limbularii, arcularii. ducuntur,
datur aes. iam absolutos censeas, cum
incedunt infectores corcotarii, aut aliqua
mala crux semper est, quae aliquid petat.’

Megadorus: ‘Wherever you go these days, you see more carriages among city houses than in the country, when you visit a farm. But even this is just fine compared to when they come for their allowances! There stands the fuller, the embroiderer, the goldsmith, the soapwort, those who deal in flounces and underclothes, those who deal in red dyes, violet dyes, dyes of waxen-yellow; there stand the muff-makers, there stand the perfumers, wholesale linendrapers, shoemakers, squatting cobblers, the sandalmakers stand about, the mallow-dyers stand about, the fullers make their demands and the botchers make their demands, the lingerie dealers and belt-makers. Now you would think you have them all paid off; these depart, and three hundred others make their demands like jailors in your hall — the weavers, the lace-makers, the cabinet-makers. You bring them in, the cash is paid. Everything’s paid off now, you think, just as the fellows who do saffron dyes come along — it’s always some pest who wants something.’

Mart. 10.47: Vitam quae faciant beatiorem

Vitam quae faciant beatiorem,
iucundissime Martialis, haec sunt:
res non parta labore, sed relicta;
non ingratus ager, focus perennis;
lis numquam, toga rara, mens quieta;
vires ingenuae, salubre corpus;
prudens simplicitas, pares amici;
convictus facilis, sine arte mensa;
nox non ebria, sed soluta curis;
non tristis torus, et tamen pudicus;
somnus, qui faciat breves tenebras:
quod sis, esse velis nihilque malis;
summum nec metuas diem nec optes.

The things that make a life of happiness,
most delightful Martial, are these:
property not produced by labour, but bequeathed;
a field that is not unyielding, a perennial fire;
never a lawsuit, a toga rarely worn, a mind at peace;
the strength of a gentleman, a healthy body;
sensible candour, well-matched friends;
easy company, a table without ornament;
a night not drunken, but free from cares;
a bed not sorrowful, but nevertheless chaste;
sleep, so as to make the night short:
wish to be what you are, and prefer nothing;
do not fear the final day, and do not long for it.

Hadrian’s Deathbed Poem, Hist. Aug. 25.9f: animula, vagula, blandula

et moriens quidem hos versus fecisse dicitur:

Animula vagula blandula
Hospes comesque corporis
Quae nunc abibis in loca
Pallidula rigida nudula,
Nec, ut soles, dabis iocos.

My little soul, my wandering charm,
My body’s guest and friend:
Wherever are you off to now?
A bleak and naked end.
And I’ll not have those wonted jokes
You always used to lend.

Livy XXV. 1. 6-12: quo diutius trahebatur bellum

quo diutius trahebatur bellum et variabant secundae adversaeque res non fortunam magis quam animos hominum, tanta religio, et ea magna ex parte externa, civitatem incessit ut aut homines aut dei repente alii viderentur facti. nec iam in secreto modo atque intra parietes abolebantur Romani ritus, sed in publico etiam ac foro Capitolioque mulierum turba erat nec sacrificantium nec precantium deos patrio more. sacrificuli ac vates ceperant hominum mentes, quorum numerum auxit rustica plebs, ex incultis diutino bello infestisque agris egestate et metu in urbem conpulsa, et quaestus ex alieno errore facilis, quem velut concessae artis usu exercebant.

primo secretae bonorum indignationes exaudiebantur; deinde ad patres et iam ad publicam querimoniam excessit res. incusati graviter ab senatu aediles triumvirique capitales quod non prohiberent, cum emovere eam multitudinem e foro ac disicere adparatus sacrorum conati essent, haud procul afuit quin violarentur. ubi potentius iam esse id malum apparuit quam ut minores per magistratus sedaretur, M. Aemilio praetori urbano negotium ab senatu datum est ut eis religionibus populum liberaret. is et in contione senatus consultum recitavit et edixit ut quicumque libros vaticinos precationesve aut artem sacrificandi conscriptam haberet, eos libros omnis litterasque ad se ante kal. apriles deferret, neu quis in publico sacrove loco novo aut externo ritu sacrificaret.

The war dragged on, and people’s sentiments and circumstances vacillated with fortunes and misfortunes. The longer this went on, the more it was that so many superstitious rituals — largely foreign — befell the state, that all of a sudden, either men or the gods seemed to have been rendered different. And now the Roman rites were abolished not only in secret and behind closed doors, but also in public. In the forum and the capitol there was a crowd of women whose sacrifices and prayers to gods neglected the custom of their forefathers. Prophets and priests had captured the minds of men. The number of these increased with rural people forced by need and terror from their fields, which lay untilled and unsafe due to the long war, and due to the easy profit to be had in the delusions of others (which they plied as if it were a sanctioned trade).

At first, good men aired their objections in private. Then the matter came before the senate and became a public complaint. The aediles and triumviri capitales were strongly reprimanded by the Senate for not preventing this; when they tried to expel the crowd from the forum and to disperse the ritual objects, they narrowly escaped injury. Now that the disorder appeared too strong to be quelled by lower magistrates, the matter was given over to Marcus Aemilius, the praetor urbanus, so that he could free the people from these superstitions. He both read a senatorial decree at a public assembly and issued an edict that whosoever had books of divination, or prayer-books, or instructions for sacral rites, was to deliver all such books and writings to him before the first of April, and that nobody was to sacrifice in a public or consecrated space according to new or foreign rites.

Vergil, Eclogue 1.6-36: O Meliboee, deus nobis haec otia fecit

O Meliboee, deus nobis haec otia fecit:
namque erit ille mihi semper deus; illius aram
saepe tener nostris ab ovilibus imbuet agnus.
Ille meas errare boves, ut cernis, et ipsum
ludere, quae vellem, calamo permisit agresti.

Non equidem invideo; miror magis: undique totis
usque adeo turbatur agris. En, ipse capellas
protinus aeger ago; hanc etiam vix, Tityre, duco:
hic inter densas corylos modo namque gemellos,
spem gregis, ah, silice in nuda conixa reliquit. 
Saepe malum hoc nobis, si mens non laeva fuisset,
de caelo tactas memini praedicere quercus:—
saepe sinistra cava praedixit ab ilice cornix.
Sed tamen, iste deus qui sit, da, Tityre, nobis.

Urbem, quam dicunt Romam, Meliboee, putavi
stultus ego huic nostrae similem, quo saepe solemus
pastores ovium teneros depellere fetus:
sic canibus catulos similis, sic matribus haedos
noram, sic parvis componere magna solebam:
verum haec tantum alias inter caput extulit urbes,
quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi.

Et quae tanta fuit Romam tibi causa videndi?

Libertas; quae sera, tamen respexit inertem,
candidior postquam tondenti barba cadebat;
respexit tamen, et longo post tempore venit,
postquam nos Amaryllis habet, Galatea reliquit:
namque, fatebor enim, dum me Galatea tenebat,
nec spes libertatis erat, nec cura peculi:
quamvis multa meis exiret victima saeptis,
pinguis et ingratae premeretur caseus urbi,
non umquam gravis aere domum mihi dextra redibat.

O Melibous, a god wrought for us this leisure:
for he shall forever be a god for me;
often shall a lamb from our pens drench his altar.
He lets my cattle roam, as you can see,
and lets me play what I will on my rustic pipe.

Well I, for one, do not envy you; I marvel all the more:
all around, there is so much unrest in the fields.
I drive my goats onward sorrowfully; behold, Tityrus, here is one I can scarcely even lead forth:
For here just now, amongst the dense hazels, under strain of exertion,
she bore twins, the hope of the flock, — alas! onto the bare flint.
I recall that this mishap was often foretold me
by oaks struck from heaven, had my mind not been so foolish.
But tell, I pray: who is this god of yours, Tityrus?

I thought, stupid as I am, that it was like one of ours:
the city they call Rome, wherefrom we shepherds
are used to often driving out the tender young:
thus I knew that puppies are like dogs, that young goats are like their mothers,
thus I used to compare great things with small:
but this one has raised her head as high through other cities
as cypresses are wont to do among pliant wayfaring trees.

And what was your grand reason to see Rome?

Freedom which, although late, nevertheless had regard for me as I lay idle,
when my beard grew white after being cut;
it nevertheless had regard for me, and came a long time afterwards —
after Galatea left me and Amaryllis held me:
for, I will admit, while Galatea ruled me,
I had neither hope of freedom nor concern for my savings.
Though very many sacrifices left my stalls,
and very much rich cheese was pressed for the thankless town,
never would my hand come home laden with money.

Pliny Epistulae 2.8

Studes an piscaris an venaris an simul omnia? Possunt enim omnia simul fieri ad Larium nostrum. Nam lacus piscem, feras silvae quibus lacus cingitur, studia altissimus iste secessus affatim suggerunt.
2 Sed sive omnia simul siue aliquid facis, non possum dicere “inuideo’; angor tamen non et mihi licere, qui sic concupisco ut aegri vinum balinea fontes. Numquamne hos artissimos laqueos, si soluere negatur, abrumpam? Numquam, puto.
3 Nam veteribus negotiis nova accrescunt, nec tamen priora peraguntur: tot nexibus, tot quasi catenis maius in dies occupationum agmen extenditur. Vale.

1 Do you read or fish or hunt or all of them at the same time? As all of them all can be at once done at our Larium. For the lakes provide fish, and the woods, which surround the lake, provide wild beasts, and that deep solitude of yours abundantly provides for study.
2 But whether you do all of these things or anything, I can’t say I envy you; I am troubled only they are denied to me, for I long for them as sick men long for wine, baths, springs. Will I never be able to sever these constricting snares, if it is refused that I loosen them? Never, I think.
3 For new business grows onto the old business, and nevertheless the earlier matters are not completed, as though the course of my public office is extended each day by so many links to so many more chains. Farewell.

Martial 14.37-41: Apophoreta

XXXVII — Scrinium

Constrictos nisi das mihi libellos,
Admittam tineas trucesque blattas.

XXXVIII — Fasces calamorum

Dat chartis habiles calamos Memphitica tellus;
Texantur reliqua tecta palude tibi.

XXXIX — Lucerna cubicularis

Dulcis conscia lectuli lucerna,
Quidquid vis facias licet, tacebo.

XL — Cicindela

Ancillam tibi sors dedit lucernae,
Totas quae vigil exigit tenebras.

XLI — Lucerna polymyxos

Inlustrem cum tota meis convivia flammis
Totque geram myxos, una lucerna vocor.

37 — Bookcase

If you don’t give me tightly-packed books,
I’ll let gnawing worms and savage moths in.

38 — Bundles of pens

The land of Memphis gives reed-pens handy on paper;
Let your roof be thatched from other swamp-reed.

39 — Bedroom lamp

I am a lamp, privy to your sweet bed.
You may do whatever you like; I shall hold my peace.

40 — Candle

The lot has granted you a handmaid to your lamp;
she stays awake right through the dark hours.

41 — Lamp with many wicks

Even though I illuminate whole dinner parties with my flames
and bear so many wicks, I am still called a single lamp.

Vergil, Aeneid 4.173-190: Extemplo Libyae magnas it Fama

Extemplo Libyae magnas it Fama per urbes—
Fama, malum qua non aliud velocius ullum;
mobilitate viget, viresque adquirit eundo,
parva metu primo, mox sese attollit in auras,
ingrediturque solo, et caput inter nubila condit.
Illam Terra parens, ira inritata deorum,
extremam (ut perhibent) Coeo Enceladoque sororem
progenuit, pedibus celerem et pernicibus alis,
monstrum horrendum, ingens, cui, quot sunt corpore plumae
tot vigiles oculi subter, mirabile dictu,
tot linguae, totidem ora sonant, tot subrigit aures.
Nocte volat caeli medio terraeque per umbram,
stridens, nec dulci declinat lumina somno;
luce sedet custos aut summi culmine tecti,
turribus aut altis, et magnas territat urbes;
tam ficti pravique tenax, quam nuntia veri.
Haec tum multiplici populos sermone replebat
gaudens, et pariter facta atque infecta canebat.

Rumour goes forthwith through the great cities of Libya—
Rumour: that evil which nothing else is swifter than;
it thrives with quickness, and gains strength by travelling;
at first, it is small with dread; it soon lifts itself into the winds,
and proceeds along the ground, and then puts its head in clouds.
The earth as its parent, vexed by anger towards the gods,
bore the last (as they say) sister for Coeus and Enceladeus,
swift of foot and nimble of wing,
a dreadful monster, enormous, who has just as many feathers on its body
as it has unsleeping eyes beneath them, amazing to describe,
so many uttering tongues, so many mouths, so many pricked ears.
By night, it flies through darkness between earth and heaven,
hissing, and does not close its eyes for sweet sleep.
By daylight, it is sentinel, either on the uppermost roof gable,
or the summits of towers, and terrorises great cities;
it clings to crooked falsehoods as much as to messages of truth.
Now it delights to fill the people with winding gossip,
singing equally of things done, and of things not done.

Caesar, De Bello Gallico, 1.1.1f

Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur. Hi omnes lingua, institutis, legibus inter se differunt.

Gaul is a whole divided in three, one of which is inhabited by the Belgae, another by the Aquitani, and the third by those called the Celts in their language, and the Gauls in ours. All these differ from one another with respect to their languages, institutions, and laws.


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