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novit loturos Dasius numerare: poposcit
mammosam Spatelen pro tribus; illa dedit. Martial II.52

That Dasius counts all his bathers
when charging amounts for his favors
demanding for fees--three--
from double D Spatty;
she paid him requiring no waivers.
I've actually had fun looking at limericks, and learning more specifically about its two possible meters (anapaest/antidacylus and amphibrachic) and have decided to try another epigram translation. (amphibrachic)

petit Gemellus nuptias Maronillae
et cupit et instat et precatur et donat.
adeone pulchra est? immo foedius nil est.
quid ergo in illa petitur et placet? tussit. I.10

Gemellus seeks nuptials with Mary;
He begs her with all he can carry.
Is she so divine? No,
Too ugly I find though
because of a cough she won't tarry.
April 12, 2007 I was messing with this epigram:
dic mihi, quem portas volucrem regina? "Tonantem"
nulla manu quare fulmina gestat? "amat"
quo calet igne deus? "pueri." cur mitis aperto
inspicis ore Iovem? "de Ganymede loquor."

Flappity flappity
queen of the birds (eagle)--
whom are you carrying?
Why does he burn?
"Jove, known as Thunderer,
Burns for Ganymede
As you discern)."

I remember asking about this epigram on the classics list after I wrote this. Apparently this was a poem written about a picture, as if the speaker is talking to the picture.

Then V.59:

cras te victurum cras dicis, Postume, semper
dic mihi, cras istud, Postume, quando venit?
quam longe cras istud! ubi est? aut unde petendum?
numquid apud Parthos Armeniosque latet?
iam cras istud habet Priami vel Nestoris annos.
cras istud quanti, dic mihi, possit emi?
cras vives? hodie iam vivere, Postume, serum est:
ille sapit quisquis, Postume, vixit heri.

The double dactyl is

"Postumously Undone"

'crastinate, 'crastinate
off-putting Postumus,
Tell me just when you are
going to live?
Late is today when you
Look for tomorrow; the
Already lived.

Weird word: prehesternationist. This is the great thing about double dactyls--you can make up words.

Irasci nostro non debes, Cerdo, libello:
ars tua, non vita, est carmine laesa meo.
Innocuos permitte sales. Cur ludere nobis
non liceat, licuit si iugulare tibi?

"Irasci nostro libello"

Gripity, Snipity
Cerdo the Cobbler, you
Ought not to take great of-
fence at my wit;
You are permitted your
leave me my bit!
I'm in the process of putting together materials (revising them, really) for a translation project for the Latin 3's. Nothing taxing: just translating a Martial Epigram or two into double dactyls or limericks. I have found my oldest ones, but cannot figure out WHERE I posted/typed in ones I've written/translated in more recent years. (I must check my various journals, I suppose.)

For my own amusement (and anyone out there who still reads this usually sleeping blog), here are the poems in question:

Martial VII.3
Cur non mitto meos tibi, Pontiliane, libellos?
Ne mihi tu mittas, Pontiliane, tuos.

Fear of Reciprocity

Higgledy Piggledy
Pontilianus, ac-
quaintance of Martial and
Rather a pest:
"Send me your book!" M said
"Risk reciprocity?
Surely you jest!"

Si memini, fuerant tibi quattuor, Aelia, dentes:
expulit una duos tussis et una duos.
Iam secura potes totis tussire diebus:
nil istic quod agat tertia tussis habet.

Free to Cough

Higgledy Piggledy
Elderly Aelia,
Subject of Martial's po-
etical jeer,
Lost her teeth (four) in two
Fits; from a third fit she
now has no fear.


Here's my problem: if I were to grade these using the rubric I've just created I doubt I could get above a 90--because my translations are loose. I'm trying to make a truly detailed rubric so that my expectations are TOTALLY CLEAR but I fear that it has problems. Here's what I've got so far:


Project Appearance:
__10 pts: typed (any typeface—feel free to be artistic and have fun)
__10 pts: name / header at the top
__10 pts: original title for your poem/translation
__10 pts: your poem/translation in the form of a limerick, double dactyl or some other rhythmic, rhyming format
__10 pts: Latin epigram, properly formatted, with its proper citation beneath your poem.

The Poem:
poetic qualities
__20 pts: translation accurately fits the poetic structure of a lymerick or double dactyl
__15 pts: translation is in the form of a lymerick or double dactyl but is somewhat imperfect in its execution
__15 pts: translation uses a simpler poetic, rhyming form
__10 pts: translation is in the form of a lymerick or double dactyl but has serious flaws in its execution
__10 pts: translation uses a simpler poetic, rhyming form that is somewhat imperfect in its execution
__5 pts: translation uses a simpler poetic, rhyming form that has serious flaws in its execution
translation qualities
__20 pts: translation captures the essense of Martial’s original poem, follows the grammar closely without being pedantic, and thus is cleverly translated
__15 pts: translation captures the essense of Martial’s original, is clever, but is too losely translated
__10 pts: translation more or less captures the essense of Martial’s original, but is not very clever or is too losely translated
__5 pts: the translation demonstrates familiarity with the poem
__10 pts: poem is free from typos, misspellings, and other errors
__5 pts: poem has some typos, misspellings, or other errors but they are not too distracting

___________ Total Points Earned

Any thoughts or comments?
I answered a 10 question interview last night and got permission to post it here.


> Here goes with the 10 questions...hope they're to your liking.
> There's no rush on getting back with the responses...we have almost a
> month until deadline. I am looking forward to reading what you have
> to say! - Jacque
> What inspired you to start playing cards in Latin, and what benefits
> have you and your students realized from it?

I grew up playing cards with my grandmother and great aunts, not to mention siblings and cousins. Now that I have children of my own, I have used playing cards to work on social skills as well as to have something fun to do for the whole family that does not involve the television set or the computer.

I started researching card playing in Latin when it occurred to me that cardinal numbers are adjectives, but the numbers on cards are not. We say, "I have 3 kings" as well as "I have 3 tens." The numbers, in this case, are nouns. From there I began to do a little digging and discovered the Ludus Chartarum colloquia by Ioannes Lodovicus Vives, written in the 1500s.

I based many but not all of the card names/numbers from vocabulary in this dialogue, which can be found at I dropped the Greek words, added appropriate Latin equivalents, and made it user-friendly with a few handouts which can be found at

I have used playing cards in Latin for a Latin club activity, which many enjoy. I have also used it for ALL LATIN days during Latin week. In class I introduce it when we hit accusative plurals in CLC because it is a great way to hear/use those accusative plurals. You are constantly saying things like, "habesne ullos biniones?" or "habesne ullas reginas?" You also get practice with changing your verb to agree with you or the person you're speaking two. For instance, "habesne ullos septeniones?" "non habeo. i piscatum!"

I personally believe that the more you speak Latin and use Latin, the better you'll be at reading it. With that said, trying to have a Latin conversation is often daunting, if not impossible. It's hard to find something meaningful to say, let alone intelligent. BUT if you are playing cards and have your basic card-playing vocabulary handy, you have a built in comfort zone. As a beginner, you can just stick to the script--asking for cards, replying when asked, etc. Once you feel more confident, you can stretch yourself a bit to announce when you have a book of four cards: "ego librum reginarum habeo!" aut "tu librum regum habes." You can work on tenses: "duas reginas habebam; nunc tu tres reginas habes."

I could go on. In fact, there's no reason why a clever teacher couldn't script additional phrases to target certain grammatical concepts. Surely an ablative absolute or two could be worked in, or perhaps a purpose or result clause? The possibilities are endless--and it makes for a great break from regular book work.

> Other than playing cards, what's your favorite activity to do with
> students?

I love to read to them and with them. I love to teach reading skills and how to read like a Roman. And then I want to read to them again. I am a dramatic fool, no question, and that probably goes back to my JCL days. (National champ in dramatic interpretation for 3 years straight in the 1980s.)

One of my best days with my Latin 2/3 split level class last year was when we hit Catullus 13. Here it is:

Cenabis bene, mi Fabulle, apud me
paucis, si tibi di favent, diebus,
si tecum attuleris bonam atque magnam
cenam, non sine candida puella
et vino et sale et omnibus cachinnis.
haec si, inquam, attuleris, venuste noster cenabis bene;
nam tui Catulli plenus sacculus est aranearum.
sed contra accipies meros amores
seu quid suavius elegantiusve est:
nam unguentum dabo, quod meae puellae
donarunt Veneres Cupidinesque,
quod tu cum olfacies, deos rogabis
totum ut te faciant, Fabulle, nasum.

I knew the Latin 3's had already "covered" the poem with their previous teacher, but assumed that they had just been told to "translate it." So I invited them to join us and revisit the poem.

First I read the poem to them, then I had them read it with me. I asked them whether they had picked up much. (No.) So I read the first line again, and we translated it. Then we read it again and added the 2nd line, and translated that. Again we reread what we had "translated" in the Latin and added the next line, always being mindful of the word order, of emphasis, etc. Each time we'd reread the Latin, I encouraged them to read it expressively, especially since they now understood what the words meant. And so we continued until done with the poem.

On the next day the students had to transcribe the poem onto an unlined sheet of paper using Roman graffiti/cursive script (I use the Pompeii Graffiti booklet from ACL) BUT with at least THREE CHANGES in the poem. This is sort of a controlled composition project and perhaps not as challenging as it could have been, but I was new to these students and they were new to me. Many students changed the name (Fabullus) for someone else (usually in the class), what that person was bringing (I believe one had orders to bring a brawny young man), and what the sacculus was full of--things like that.

It was a fun project that had a two-fold result: 1) I had student work to put on my walls, and 2) the students virtually had the poem memorized by the time we were finished with it--memorized IN LATIN, not in English.

This last was very important to me. I don't want my Latin students to spout English translations of poetry; I want them spouting the Latin!

> You have made some lovely posters and other items for Latin teachers.
> How did you get started with that?

Several things just happened to fall into place. First, I had spent several years doing desktop publishing work in an office (unrelated to teaching) that gave me some basic skills. Second, Santa brought me a large color printer one year for Christmas. One thing just led to another. Once I had developed posters and things for myself, I had to share them with others. It's what we Latin teachers do. And besides, I was tired of there being very little in the way of classroom decorations for Latin. If I had more time, I would design more--tons more. It just takes thumbing through a catalog of Spanish and French posters to realize what I could make for Latin. Perhaps if I had a clone?

> If you had to choose, what would be your favorite piece of Latin
> literature?

Wow. That is so difficult. And it so depends upon my mood. I am very fond of Martial, who I think is underestimated by many. I highly recommend a new book, _Martial: The World of Epigram_ by William Fitzgerald, which demonstrates how rich and complex Martial's books of epigrams were. I have been known to find an epigram that I like and to rewrite it (much like the Catullus poem above) to suit my mood or current life issue. Or, I'll spend time writing a double dactyl translation. Let me give you an example:

Martial I. 64

Bella es, nouimus, et puella, uerum est, et diues, quis enim potest negare?
Sed cum te nimium, Fabulla, laudas,
nec diues neque bella nec puella es.

Higgledy Piggledy
Cutie Fabulla, you're
Obviously beautiful
Rich, too, we see;
But when you praise yourself
Rich, young and beautiful
Hardly you be.

Martial can be fun; he can be a great break from the serious world. He's also great to read when you're angry at someone because while we are fairly well-behaved, Martial will say what's on his mind.

But sometimes Catullus speaks volumes to me, the romantic; and then I might read some Ovid with a student and rediscover how much I love Ovid. I read Cicero's Pro Archia summer before last for the first time and found it truly enjoyable. Then I look up at the teenagers in my room and start reciting "odi et amo" in my head....

So don't make me choose, please, because if I had to tell you what bit of Latin has been going through my head today, I'd have to confess it's "olim lacus colueram...." (from the Carmina Burana, and yes, I'm singing it in my head).

> What people have had the greatest influence on your decision to become
> a Latin teacher, and on how you teach Latin?

My decision to become a Latin teacher was greatly influenced by the two teachers I worked with in high school. Doris Kays was my Latin teacher, friend, and mentor. I lost my mater secunda when she passed away last year and I miss her. The other teacher who greatly influenced my decision to become a teacher is Bob Hicks. He's now a lawyer in San Antonio, but he was the person who worked with me on my dramatic interpretations for JCL competitions. I would not be in the classroom today if it were not for these two people. But I have to also pay my dues to Dexter Hoyos and the correspondence we had in the mid 1990s about reading versus decoding. I wasn't teaching at the time (and had only taught for one year some half dozen years before that and had run away screaming). Our conversations led me to identify what I felt I had done wrong in my own education. If I had had his book, _Latin: How to Read it Fluently_ (from CANE), perhaps I would have gone on to graduate school. Quite honestly, I didn't think I was gifted enough with Latin at the time to cut it in graduate school, and since no one told me otherwise I assumed I was right. And sadly, all I needed was this book.

> You taught middle school for several years, and have recently moved to
> high school. How have you found the transition?

I have found it challenging in regards to the demands on my time. People used to always ask me how I got so many things done. It was easy: I was teaching part-time (not even full time) at a middle school: exploratory Latin, Latin 1a, and Latin 1b. Nothing terribly demanding. Now I have 3 Latin 1 classes, a split level Latin 2/3 with an independent study Latin 4, plus 2 sections of sophomore English. It's a full time job 30 minutes away from my house. I never get ANYTHING done now! (And lots of people are upset with me because of it!) I tell myself that each year will be a little easier once I get used to teaching high school.

I truly love teaching at Dripping Springs. Drippin', as we call it, is a town southwest of Austin, soon to be overrun (sadly) by Austin. There's still a lot of small town feeling out there, but there's also a demand for the best that education can offer. The students in Drippin' are high achievers and go-getters; the administration is fantastic as are the people in central office. I highly respect our superintendent too. How many teachers can say that? This year will be our first contest year--and I'd be surprised if students didn't bring back ribbons and trophies. These kids inspire me to be better for them. They are amazing.

> You're also teaching English now, right? Has working in another
> subject influenced the way you approach your Latin classes?

English hasn't truly influenced how I teach Latin or vice versa, really. I feel barely competent at teaching English and barely one step ahead. But I have a knack for breaking things down so that *anyone* can understand it. We use a style of writing based on the Jane Schaeffer Writing Program, I believe, that utilizes "one-chunks" for short answer essays. Apparently I am really good at explaining how to write this beast referred to as the "one-chunk" and have had students tell me that they understood what to do for the first time after I explained it.

When I attended an AP workshop this summer, I remember thinking how I could potentially start working in short answer essays in Latin 3 to prepare for AP Latin, and that I could teach students to write them as one-chunks (at least to begin with).

But I confess, I am looking forward to not having English classes, and if my program continues to grow, I shouldn't be teaching Latin next year. Last year when I came to Drippin', I had 13 students in Latin 1. Currently I have 75. That's a huge leap.

> If you could have a lasting effect on one aspect of how Latin is
> taught, what would it be?

That's an easy question. (However, is this one aspect?)

First, all college Latin programs would require that all undergrads take a Reading Latin Lab 101 course--a one hour a week course to teach reading skills and pronunciation. Orberg's _Lingua Latina_ would be the text (at least to begin with), and students would learn to let go of the dictionary and the grammar text and just READ from left to right as well as to read EXTENSIVELY (instead of just inclusively). Students would practice accurate pronunciation via reading out loud, learning how to question and reply in Latin, etc.

This step alone should make reading large amounts of Latin manageable and enjoyable, instead of smaller doses, parsed to death. This would also prepare the future teacher to deal with whatever is lacking in his/her degree coursework.

Universities cannot limit their course offerings to what we teach in high school. It would be dull and I would want no part of it. On the other hand, we have future teachers who graduate with a degree in Latin having never read one or more of the major authors taught in AP Latin. I propose that all declared future teachers should be required to purchase a set of all the AP authors. Then, with advice from the current instructor, the future teacher should complement his/her current Latin course with an appropriate AP author. Papers for the course could be focused on a comparison/contrast sort of thing. Reading the extra lines outside of class shouldn't be a major problem after the reading lab 101 course.

Thus no future teacher would graduate unprepared to step into an AP class; no future teacher would graduate who could not properly pronounce Latin (one of my pet peeves, admittedly). It's time we stop sending unprepared teachers out into the classroom, even if unintentionally.

> Do you have a favorite archaeological site in the ancient world?

I haven't seen enough yet. I've been to Pompeii, Ostia, Rome, and Capri. I thoroughly enjoyed Pompeii and would have liked another day or two to explore it. I also thought I would happily live on Capri if I had a good internet connection. And if Vesuvius erupted during my life (as surely it will), so be it! FATO, as the people of Naples say. I have also been to ruins in England--London, Bath, Fishbourne Palace, and Hadrian's Wall. Each offers something unique, but if I had to pick one, put me in Pompeii.

> Teaching, family life, making posters and T-shirts, JCL...How do you
> find time for it all?!

I don't. I truly don't. I drop the ball on one thing to do whatever currently has my attention. I enjoy writing to unwind, so tonight I'm doing this interview. I should be grading. I multitask to the point of absurdity--but surely other mothers out there understand grading papers while at a child's tennis lessons or speech therapy? This summer I worked on some detailed vocab flashcards for my split level Latin class while watching my youngest play his favorite new computer game. I was able to spend time with him and get some work done. But of course, sometimes I chuck it all and just join in the game he's playing.

My friend and favorite author, Lindsey Davis, once said (JOKINGLY!) that to be a successful author you need to kill off your family. No one else should suffer for your art! I sometimes think I could do truly brilliant things in the classroom if I didn't have my family. But of course, I wouldn't trade my husband and two boys, Jonathan and Tobin, for anything. And to have both worlds there have to be sacrifices. Luckily, I think I have enough passion in me for both Latin and family, and if I drop the ball on the rest, I'm guessing all the other parents out there will understand.

I then sent her a post script:


When I was talking about Martial, I was thinking about one poem I had copied and revised to suit my mood. You needn't include this, but it was bugging me because I wasn't sure what spiral I had written it in. I found it:

Martial III.2.7

Numquam me revocas, venias cum saepe vocatus.
Ignosco, nullo si modo, Galle, vocas
Invitus alios: vitium est utriusque. "quod?" inquis
et mihi cor non est et tibi, Galle, pudor.

So Martial was griping about not being invited for dinner when he invites Gallus. I was a bit upset by a friend who wasn't replying to my emails much at the time, so wrote this:

Numquam rescribis scribas cum quaerere quidquid
ignosco, nullo si modo rescribis
Respondes aliis: vitium est utriusque. "quod?" inquis.
Et mihi cor non est et tibi, Mute, pudor.

Anyway. That's the sort of composition--modifying the original and demonstrating an understanding of grammar and meter when revising--that I want the students to do, if for no other reason than you stay in the Latin.

It's a goal. It's not the reality of the classroom yet.

Now to grade some English essays....

Oh, and the PRIMA website is

If I haven't mentioned the Martial book I'm reading by William Fitzgerald, I need to. It's great.  It's for those of us who have secretly loved Martial over the years but were told in one way or another that he was not worth serious study.

ANYWAY.  Down to real business.

(In other words, a diversion from the things I MUST work on....)

I'm prepping some Martial for my Latin 3's.  A few things have come up.  First:

Martial II.38
Quid mihi reddat ager quaeris, Line, Nōmentānus?
     Hoc mihi reddit ager: tē, Line, nōn videō. 

(gee, will those macrons show up?)

So, what gives?  A spondee in the penultimate foot in the first line?  

ALSO, how do you really explain the word order?  Or take a look at this:

Martial II.78
Aestīvō servēs ubi piscem tempore, quaeris?
     In thermīs servā, Caeciliāne, tuīs. 

Now, when I say how do you explain the word order, I'm not an idiot. I like word order; I like poetic word order.  I like nesting. I've got good explanations for the framing of things.

But especially in this second one, consider how far in UBI is...  it's setting up the indirect question--punctuation certainly helps on that.  But if you were to show this to a student, how do you get them to see... well... I guess the word order isn't all that crazy.  After all, it's like the wording is framing the fish in a fish bowl.  The fish in the summer time -- literally inside that phrase-- and Caecilianus in his baths.

Of course, WHY would Martial be keeping fish???

He wouldn't.  I should see what poems are on either side of this nothing worth mentioning. II.77 is about Cosconius complaining about the length of the epigrams, and II.79 is aobut Nasica only inviting M to dinner when M has already invited people over and thus would have to beg to be excused.  Can't see the relationship, unless it's just about the nature of relationships, and how people treat others.

I'm tired; I'm rambling.

I wish I were going to be teaching this to the III's in person. Alas, they will be reading these on their own.  Just not enough hours in the day. God knows I will be wasted tomorrow night from exhaustion.  (* = a digression on parenting and the inability to get school work done when kid's homework intervenes.)

I like Martial. I like the poems I'm picking out. We have examples in tomorrow's selection, titled "Did You Dis Me or Did I Dis You?," of purpose clauses, indirect questions, and indirect commands.  All stuff we've just finished with.

I better get back to it.
Ok, let's revisit V.55

Dic mihi, quem portas, volucrum regina? "Tonantem."
       nulla manu quare fulmina gestat? "amat."
Quo calet igne deus? "pueri." cur mitis aperto
       respicis ore Iovem? "de Ganymede loquor." 

A kind reader of my blog has pointed out several things.  My romantic inclination was imagining that Martial was talking to some old bird lady carrying the eagle.  But now I understand the footnote given: we are to imagine him talking to a painting or other artwork picturing an eagle with Jupiter on his back.  Volucrum regina = aquila.  This interpretation, supported by some googled art (see other entry), makes better sense of such words as mitis--the eagle has a gentle mouth (as one might say of a hunting dog that doesn't bite into the prey it's fetched) because it isn't hunting.

Now I'm wondering how many other passages Martial has like this, talking to art.

If I do put together a unit of Martial for my students, I was thinking of grouping themes.  There are numerous ones about writing and reciting poetry (both by M and by others, esp others ruining his poetry).  There are the insults/the comic put-downs making fun of the average person. There are the gentle, heart-felt ones, like Erotion's death.  Of course the Saturnalian ones, ones honoring the games/kiss-ups to the emperor, etc--but those latter ones don't interest me much.

So, does he talk to art much??  

I don't know.  I never took a course in Martial.  But these are questions I'm willing to ponder.

I know there are names that repeat, people he constantly talks to/about.  I want to look into that some more too.  But sadly... I know my days for playing with this are numbered. It's Thursday; I haven't graded a thing and spring break is about to end.

Time to do a little googling for stuff on Martial....
Martialis V. 58

cras te victurum, cras dicis, Postume, semper
     dic mihi, cras istud, Postume, quando venit?
quam longe cras istud, ubi est? aut unde petendum?
     numquid apud Parthos Armeniosque latet?
iam cras istud habet Priami vel Nestoris annos
     cras istud quanti, dic mihi, possit emi?
cras vives? hodie iam vivere, Postume, tardum est.
     ille sapit quisquis, Postume, vixit heri.

The translation from the Loeb:

You say you will live tomorrow, Postumus, always tomorrow. Tell me, that tomorrow, Postumus, when is it coming? How far off is that tomorrow? where is it, or where will you go to get it?  Is it hiding in Parthia or Armenia?  That tomorrow of yours is already as old as Priam or Nestor. How much, tell me, would that tomorrow cost to buy?  Will you live tomorrow? It's already overlate, Postumus, to live today. He is wise, Postumus, who lived yesterday.


Who are these Romans that we study?  Who is Martial?  He was raunchy, outspoken, and clever.  He apparently had a wife, but seemed keen on boys as well.  He could say the meanest, vilest things about people, poke fun at others' misfortunes... and here he is, with the ultimate of truths.

You can't live for tomorrow.  Carpe diem, fine, but Horace is a bit challenging and too lofty for the average reader/listener perhaps. But here it is for anyone to get, using the name Postumus--how apt.   And not even live for today, but pointing out that whoever has lived YESTERDAY is wise.

We don't know what will happen to us.  We can't say we're going to do X tomorrow or next year and know that can happen.  This year I've seen the worst of car crashes, cancer, and heart disease.  You only get older and your body betrays you.  Live for today, not tomorrow.

This is why I read Martial.

Si quando leporem mittis mihi, Gellia, dicis
       formosus septem, Marce, diebus eris.
Si non derides, si verum, lux mea, narras
       edisti numquam, Gellia, tu leporem.

From the Loeb:

If ever you send me a hare, Gellia, you say: "Marcus, you will be handsome for a week." If you are not making fun of me, if what you say is true, my joy, you, Gellia, never ate a hare.

So I'm reading the Latin and asking myself a few questions. For instance, is "si quando" can mean "if ever" (and quando does have an indefinite meaning after si), could you also just say "whenever"? (Quick check in Traupman says whenever is quandocumque...ok, interesting, I'll file that away somewhere.)

Also, I didn't know that lux mea was a term of endearment, but not a surprise.

But of course, the humor here is the superstition that eating a hare will make you beautiful. And I have to ask myself, do we have anything like that? Well, eating oysters is supposed to be an aphrodisiac. But eating a hare will make you beautiful? WHY????

Ok, let's move on... V.55

Dic mihi, quem portas, volucrum regina? "Tonantem."
       nulla manu quare fulmina gestat? "amat."
Quo calet igne deus? "pueri." cur mitis aperto
       respicis ore Iovem? "de Ganymede loquor."

There was a footnote on this. "A statue or painting of Jupiter and his eagle is in mind."

Here's the translation from the Loeb:

Tell me, whom are you carrying, queen of birds? "The Thunderer." Why is he not bearing thunderbolts in his hand? "He's in love." With what flame does the god burn? "For a boy." Why do you look back at Jove softly with open mouth? "I speak of Ganymede."

Ok. Here's my question (and I'm sure there's an article somewhere that has answered this): who is this volucrum regina? If Martial's calling her queen of the birds, why? Does this woman specialize in bird statues? Is he just joking because she's carrying a big eagle, which = king of the gods? Why? And as long as I'm asking why, why is she so in awe of Jupiter being in love with Ganymede? Why mitis? Is there fondness about her thinking of the young boy being stolen away to be the cupbearer?

Is it simply the story she's using to SELL the statue? It's a nice statue of an eagle, right, but it doesn't have ANYTHING about it to make it Jupiter, does it? And is Martial using a woman as the seller and yet having it be a homosexual couple (so to speak)--is he trying to make this bit of romance appeal to anyone?

So what a telling little poem this is... And Martial is helping her to sell this eagle, isn't he? Made it about love, passion, desire, not just a symbol of power! (But why doesn't he name the seller? Is this pure fiction?)

I like the raunchy epigrams as much as anyone else, and the saucy ones with the stingers are good, but isn't this one overlooked? I don't recall ever seeing this one in a textbook.... But look at how interesting it is! What it says about Roman life?! Can you imagine a woman with a booth selling bird statues? Or--wait--she's carrying this statue? Where is she carrying it to??? Is she just showing it around the market? Can you imagine what she'd do with a statue of a peacock? Doves?


PLUS look at the language, the natural, conversational language! When we ask ourselves what we should be doing in class, what conversational skills our students should be able to perform, why, it's all here in this!!!!

Right. I've blown an hour watching Grey's Anatomy and writing up this. Time to be domestic.
Ok, I have a TON of grading. So I graded some vocab quizzes and some other minor things and have earned a break. I am working on a double dactyl for this epigram....

numquam me revocas, venias cum saepe vocatus:
    ignosco, nullum si modo, Galle, vocas.
invitas alios: vitium est utriusque. “quod?” inquis.
    et mihi cor non est et tibi, Galle, pudor.

You never invite me back, though you often come to dinner at my invitation.
I forgive you, Gallus, if only you invite nobody. But you invite others.
Both of us have a fault. “What fault?” say you. I have no sense and you, Gallus, have no sense of decency. (Shackleton)

This still needs work, but....

Higgledy Piggledy
Gallus--you bastard!--you
Never invite me though
    I invite you;
Lacks reciprocity:
YOU have no shame for this/
    I've not a clue.

Yeah, well, doesn't quite get the sense of "lacking common sense" (mihi cor non est)... I like that phrase in Latin because it shows how we've shifted in understanding or considering COR. We think of it as heart, but for them it had more to do with common sense. So then is common sense in the heart? But I can appreciate the meaning here, when you stare long and hard at the Latin.

This DD also lacks the expression that they--Gallus and Martial--have something in common: a lack of something--one lacking the sense to stop inviting the idiot, the other lacking the shame to turn down an invite from someone he'd never invite over to his own house for dinner.

Maybe it's back to the drawing board. You may have noted that the hexasyllabic word is in the 5th line but I believe I read that you can move it a bit if really necessary. Or I need to rewrite it.

Now THIS is what translation should be about--true WORD choice. Translation should not be transcribing into another language. There should be an interpretation quality to it.

Damned be the AP exam folks that demand LITERAL translations instead of wanting something that FLOWS or is IDIOMATIC. But they have to make sure the student truly understands all aspect of the grammar and vocab. I can understand; but it is a real shame to turn the reading of real Latin into something that can be dissected.
Know anything about double dactyls?

Well, before I lose the ones that I wrote back in the late 1990s (and a few others since), I thought I'd post them here for your amusement. But note that Double Dactyls and haiku (more on those in another note, perhaps) are great ways to translate things like Martial's epigrams.

Martial VII.3
Cur non mitto meos tibi, Pontiliane, libellos?
    Ne mihi tu mittas, Pontiliane, tuos.

Fear of Reciprocity

Higgledy Piggledy
Pontilianus, ac-
quaintance of Martial and
    Rather a pest:
"Send me your book!" M said
"Risk reciprocity?
    Surely you jest!"

Si memini, fuerant tibi quattuor, Aelia, dentes:
    expulit una duos tussis et una duos.
Iam secura potes totis tussire diebus:
    nil istic quod agat tertia tussis habet.

Free to Cough

Higgledy Piggledy
Elderly Aelia,
Subject of Martial's po-
    etical jeer,
Lost her teeth (four) in two
Fits; from a third fit she
    now has no fear.

Women Peacekeepers (from a passage in Livy)

Higgledy Piggledy
Woman of Sabine, who
Rushed into battle 'twixt
    Husband and dad,
Though their own rapes started
Dropped the bomb: PREGNANCY--
    No one left sad.

Haunted House (from a passage in Pliny)

Clinkity Clankety
AthenoDOrus, phi-
losopher, purchasing
    Cheap real estate,
Faced up to hauntings with
buried the bones--now he's
    Lost his roommate.

Here's one that isn't a translation but is just about Claudius:

Luck of the Dice

Whammity, Whackity
Emperor Claudius
Suffered from passions--yea
Gambled on marriages
Bettered his chances by
    Playing at dice.

(Ludifututio is a Latin term coined by the illustrious Peter Green. It means
"f***king game," as in Nil nisi ludifututio--it's just a f***ing game.)

Ah, well, gotta run. We can discuss double dactyls later. For the results from a contest that Doug Parker at UT ran a decade ago, please go to: