| Maximus Claudius,
members of the council, I was quite certain and took it as true that
Sicinius Aemilianus, an old man of notorious recklessness, faced with a
lack of crimes, was about to use nothing but noise to fill an accusation
of me which he began before he thought it over. Obviously, anyone innocent
can be accused falsely, but he can't lose the case unless he's guilty.
|| Certus equidem eram proque uero
obtinebam, Maxime Cl(audi) quique in consilio estis, Sicinium Aemilianum,
senem notissimae temeritatis, accusationem mei prius apud te coeptam quam
apud se cogitatam penuria criminum solis conuiciis impleturum; quippe
insimulari quiuis innocens potest, reuinci nisi nocens non potest. |
|For this one reason, I'm confident and, by the gods, I'm
glad that with you as the judge I have the ways and means to clear
philosophy's name before the ignorant and to prove myself, even though
these pathetic slanders were serious at first glance, making a quick
defense difficult. For, as you remember, five or six days ago, when I had
begun to press a case about an agreement against the Granii on behalf of
my wife Pudentilla, his supporters began to stalk me with slander while I
was otherwise occupied and accuse me of black magic and (last but not
least) the murder of my stepson Pontianus.
||quo ego uno praecipue confisus gratulor medius fidius, quod mihi copia
et facultas te iudice optigit purgandae apud imperitos philosophiae et
probandi mei; quanquam istae calumniae ut prima specie graues, ita ad
difficultatem defensionis repentinae fuere. nam, ut meministi, dies abhinc
quintus an sextus est, cum me causam pro uxore mea Pudentilla aduersus
Granios agere aggressum de composito necopinantem patroni eius incessere
maledictis et insimulare magicorum maleficiorum ac denique necis Pontiani
priuigni mei coepere. |
|When I realized that these were brought out not so much as
crimes for a trial, but as slurs for a quarrel, I urged them with frequent
demands to go further and make the accusation. But then, when Aemelianus
saw that you were also keenly interested and that the matter depended on
his own words, he timidly began to seek cover for his recklessness.  Then after he was forced to write
it down, it immediately slipped his mind that, not too long ago, he'd been
making a lot of noise, shouting that I'd killed Pontianus, the son of his
own brother. All of a sudden, he was silent about the death of his young
||quae ego cum intellegerem non tam crimina iudicio quam obiectamenta
iurgio prolata, ultro eos ad accusandum crebris flagitationibus prouocaui.
ibi uero Aemilianus cum te quoque acrius motum et ex uerbis rem factam
uideret, quaerere occepit ex diffidentia latibulum aliquod temeritati.
 igitur Pontianum fratris sui filium, quem
paulo prius occisum a me clamitarat, postquam ad subscribendum
compellitur, ilico oblitus est; de morte cognati adolescentis subito
|He seemed to give up completely on his description of such
a great crime, and the charge of magic, more easily shown to be
disgraceful than respectable was the only one he chose to bring against
me. And even this he wouldn't dare to state openly, but in fact, the next
day he makes this accusation in the name of my stepson Sicinius Pudens,
still a boy, and adds that he himself is going to assist, in this new
fashion of challenging through another. Clearly, this is so that under the
pretext of the boy's young age, he himself would not be punished for false
accusation. And when you so skillfully noticed what he was doing and so
ordered him to bring the announced accusation once again in his own name,
he promised he would make it impossible to strike him down up close, but
even now against you he stubbornly makes little attacks from a distance.
||tanti criminis descriptione [ne] tamen omnino desistere uideretur,
calumnia[m] magiae, quae facilius infamatur quam probatur, eam solum sibi
delegit ad accusandum. ac ne id quidem de professo audet, uerum postera
die dat libellum nomine priuigni mei Sicini Pudentis admodum pueri et
adscribit se ei assistere, nouo more per alium lacessendi, scilicet ut
optentu eius aetatulae ipse insimulationis falsae non plecteretur. quod tu
cum sollertissime animaduertisses et iccirco eum denuo iussisses proprio
nomine accusationem delatam sustinere, pollicitus ita facturum ne sic
quidem quitus est ut comminus ageret percelli, sed iam et aduersum te
contumaciter eminus calumniis uelitatur. |
|So the one who has, over and over again, run from the
danger of accusing, sticks with the indulgence of assisting.
||ita totiens ab accusandi periculo profugus in assistendi uenia
|Therefore, even before he pleaded the case, it was easy for
anyone with half a brain to understand just what kind of case it was going
to be; the expert and devisor was afraid to be the official author of the
charge. And this is Sicinius Aemilianus we're talking about, who, if he
had found something true against me, never would've hesitated so much in
accusing a stranger of so many great crimes: Aemilianus disgraced as false
his uncle's will, which he knew to be a true one. In fact, he's so
stubborn that, when Lollius Urbicus, a most renowned man, had proclaimed
that the will seemed genuine and that he ought to agree with the meeting
of the consulars, that idiot -- I mean, man -- still swore, against that
renowned voice, that the will was nevertheless a fake, so much so that
Lollius Urbicus had a tough time keeping himself from blasting Aemilianus.
||igitur et priusquam causa ageretur, facile intellectu cuiuis fuit,
qualisnam accusatio futura esset, cuius qui fuerat professor et machinator
idem fieri auctor timeret, ac praesertim Sicinius Aemilianus, qui si
quippiam ueri in me explorasset, nunquam profecto tam cunctanter hominem
extraneum tot tantorumque criminum postulasset, qui auunculi sui
testamentum quod uerum sciebat pro falso infamarit, tanta quidem
pertinacia, ut, cum Lollius Vrbicus V. C. uerum uideri et ratum esse
debere de consilio consularium uirorum pronuntiasset, contra clarissimam
uocem iurauerit uecordissimus iste, tamen illud testamentum fictum esse,
adeo ut aegre Lollius Vrbicus ab eius pernicie temperarit. |
| Relying both on
your fairness and on my innocence, I hope that Lollius's voice will burst
forth in this court, too, since this guy, knowing I'm innocent, accuses me
pretty damned easily. After all, as I've said, he was convicted of perjury
before the prefect of the city in this very prominent case.
|| quam quidem uocem et tua aequitate et
mea innocentia fretus spero in hoc quoque iudicio erupturam, quippe qui
sciens innocentem criminatur eo sane facilius, quod iam, ut dixi, mentiens
apud praefectum urbi in amplissima causa conuictus est. |
|For in fact, just as a good man is more careful and is on
guard against wrongdoing after it happens once, in the same way, a man who
has a bad nature renews more boldly his bad deeds and now the more often
he does wrong, the more openly he does it. In fact, shame is just like
clothing: the older it gets, the less you care about wearing it. So I
judge it necessary on behalf of the integrity of my sense of honor to
refute all the malicious nonsense before I approach the real accusation.
For, I undertake not only my defense, but also a defense of Philosophy,
whose greatness spurns even the least blame as if it were the greatest
||namque peccatum semel ut bonus quisque postea sollicitius cauet, ita
qui ingenio malo est confidentius integrat ac iam de cetero quo saepius,
eo apertius delinquit. pudor enim ueluti uestis quanto obsole[n]tior est,
tanto incuriosius habetur. et ideo necessarium arbitror pro integritate
pudoris mei, priusquam ad rem aggrediar, male dicta omnia refutare.
sustineo enim non modo meam, uerum etiam philosophiae defensionem, cuia
magnitudo uel minimam reprehensionem pro [ma]ximo crimine aspernatur,
|On account of this, not long ago, Aemilianus's supporters
spread around with hired talkativeness many things they just made up, some
especially against me and other matters generally hurled against
philosophers by the uninitiated. Although what these guys have said can
usefully be considered babblings for a bribe, paid for with wages of
impudence, now, since it is an admitted custom of noisy lawyers, this is
the type of affair in which their tongues are used to heaping slime for
another's grief. Nevertheless, their tongues must be refuted with a few
words. I work hard not to admit any blemish or lie against myself, and in
this way, if I skip something from these worthless matters, I won't seem
to have acknowledged it rather than to have ignored it. For it's normal
for a modest and honorable soul, if you ask me, to find false accusations
severe, considering that even people who've done something bad to anyone,
nevertheless, are moved very much when they hear rumors, and grow angry,
although from then on, as they start to do evil deeds, they also get used
to hearing about them. Because, even if others are silent, these guys
themselves are still conscious that they are at fault. But every good and
innocent person, having sensitive ears not used to hearing mean things,
being used to praise, not abuse, is heavy-hearted to hear such things said
about him undeservedly--these things which this innocent man could easily
hurl at others.
||propter quod paulo prius patroni Aemiliani multa in me proprie
conficta et alia communiter in philosophos sueta ab imperitis mercennaria
loquacitate effutierunt. quae etsi possunt ab his utiliter blaterata ob
mercedem et auctoramento impudentiae depensa haberi, iam concesso quodam
more rabulis id genus, quo ferme solent linguae suae uirus alieno dolori
locare, tamen uel mea causa paucis refellenda sunt, ne is, qui sedulo
laboro ut ne quid maculae aut inhonestamenti in me admittam, uidear
cuipiam, si quid ex friuolis praeteriero, id agnouisse potius quam
contempsisse. est enim pudentis animi et uerecundi, ut mea opinio fert,
uel falsas uitu[pe]rationes grauari, cum etiam hi, qui sibi delicti
alicuius conscii sunt, tamen, cum male audiunt, impendio commoueantur et
obirascantur, quamquam, exinde ut male facere coeperunt, consueuerint male
audire, quod, si a ceteris silentium est, tamen ipsi sibimet conscii sunt
posse se merito increpari; enimuero bonus et innoxius quisque rudis et
imperitas auris ad male audiendum habens et laudis assuetudine contumeliae
insolens multo tanta ex animo laborat ea sibi immerito dici, quae ipse
possit aliis uere obiectare. |
|But, if I seem to want to argue against foolish and
frivolous fluff publicly, this ought to be blamed on those for whom it is
a disgrace to have hurled these things, not on me, for whom it will be
honorable to have dismantled these charges.
||quod si forte inepta uidebor et oppido friuola uelle defendere, illis
debet ea res uitio uorti, quibus turpe est etiam haec obiectasse, non mihi
culpae dari, cui honestum erit etiam haec diluisse. |
| You heard this
said a little earlier, at the beginning of the accusation:
||Audisti ergo paulo prius in principio
accusationis ita dici: |
"We accuse before you a philosopher, handsome and as fluent
in Greek as in Latin."
'accusamus apud te philosophum formonsum et tam Graece quam
What a crime!
pro nefas - 'disertissimum'.
|For unless I'm mistaken, with these very words Tannonius
Pudens, not a terribly well-educated man, began accusing me. If only such
horrible crimes of beauty and eloquence had been true, I'd have easily
said to him what Homer's Paris says to Hector:
||nisi fallor enim, his ipsis uerbis accusationem mei ingressus est
Tannonius Pudens, homo uere ille quidem non disertissimus. quod utinam tam
grauia formae et facundiae crimina uere mihi opprobrasset; non difficile
ei respondissem quod [H]omericus Alexander Hectori: |
The glorious gifts of the gods are not to be treated as
a willing person can't just take such things as they give
OU)/ TOI A)PO/BLHT' E)STI\ QEW=N E)RIKUDE/A DW=RA, O(/SSA
KEN AU)TOI\ DW=SIN, E(KW\N D' OU)K A)/N TIS E(/LOITO,
|"The most glorious gifts of the gods must by no means be
spurned; nevertheless, the things which the gods generally give don't just
happen for the many people who want them."
||munera deum gloriosissima nequaquam aspernanda; quae tamen ab ipsis
tribui sueta multis uolentibus non obtingunt. |
|I would answer these things, concerning beauty.
||haec ego de forma respondissem. |
|Furthermore: philosophers are allowed to have handsome
faces. Pythagoras, who announced publicly that he was the first
philosopher, was the most outstanding handsome guy of his time. Similarly,
it is agreed that Zeno, that ancient one arising from Velia, who was the
first to discover a refutation by a most clever method, this Zeno was also
the most beautiful man by far, as Plato asserts. Similarly, many
philosophers are spoken of, a most respectable group, who used to adorn
||praeterea: licere etiam philosophis esse uoltu liberali; Pythagoram,
qui primum se esse philosophum nuncuparit, eum sui saeculi excellentissima
forma fuisse; item Zenonem illum antiquum Velia oriundum, qui primus
omnium $A)PORI/AS& sollertissimo artificio ambifariam dissoluerit, eum
quoque Zenonem longe decorissimum fuisse, ut Plato autumat; itemque multos
philosophos ab ore honestissimos memoriae prodi, qui gratiam corporis
morum honestamentis ornauerint. |
|But this defense, as I have said, has very little to do
with me, since (in addition to the mediocrity of my beauty) my constant
study wipes away every grace from my body, weakens my bearing, sucks out
my lifeblood, blots out my color, knocks out my strength. This hair, which
these opponents, in such an open lie, say I have allowed to grow to be an
allurement of beauty -- you see how beautiful and delicate it is, how
horribly entwined and tangled it is, similar to flaxen pillow-stuffings,
and unbrushed, heaped up and forever knotted by my long neglect, not only
in arranging, but in detangling! And thus, I think, the charge concerning
hair, over which they tried to prove I deserved to lose my head, is
||sed haec defensio, ut dixi, aliquam multum a me remota est, cui
praeter formae mediocritatem continuatio etiam litterati laboris omnem
gratiam corpore deterget, habitudinem tenuat, sucum exsorbet, colorem
obliterat, uigorem debilitat. capillus ipse, quem isti aperto mendacio ad
lenocinium decoris promissum dixere, uides quam sit amoenus ac delicatus,
horrore implexus atque impeditus, stuppeo tomento adsimilis et
inaequaliter hirtus et globosus et congestus, prorsum inenodabilis diutina
incuria non modo comendi, sed saltem expediendi et discriminandi: satis ut
puto crinium crimen, quod illi quasi capitale intenderunt, refutatur.
| In fact,
concerning eloquence: if I had any, it shouldn't seem shocking or enviable
if from my youth I dedicated myself only to literary studies with the best
men, with all other desires spurned, or if more than other men, I sought
eloquence with considerable labor both day and night, with a downward view
and at the cost of good health.
|| De eloquentia uero, si qua mihi
fuisset, neque mirum neque inuidiosum deberet uideri, si ab ineunte aeuo
unis studiis litterarum ex summis uiribus deditus omnibus aliis spretis
uoluptatibus ad hoc aeui haud sciam anne super omnis homines impenso
labore diuque noctuque cum despectu et dispendio bonae valetudinis eam
|But they really should fear nothing from eloquence, which
(if I've done anything at all) I aspire to rather than display. If what
they say Statius Caecilius wrote in his poems is true, that innocence is
eloquence, I confess to eloquence by this reasoning and I assert that I'll
concede to no one concerning eloquence. For who would live more eloquently
than I on this scale, I who certainly have never thought anything which I
wouldn't dare express? I say I'm the most eloquent, since I've always
considered every wrongdoing unspeakable. I'm the most eloquent, since
there's no bad deed or word of mine which I wouldn't thus be able to
discuss in public, just as now I'll discuss the verses which I wrote and
which they brought forth as if they were shameful. You've noticed me
growing angry with a laugh, since these guys announce themselves
inconsistently and ignorantly.
||sed nihil ab eloquentia metuant, quam ego, si quid omnino promoui,
potius spero quam praesto. sane quidem, si uerum est quod Statium
Caecilium in suis poematibus scripsisse dicunt, innocentiam eloquentiam
esse, ego uero profiteor ista ratione ac praefero me nemini omnium de
eloquentia concessurum. quis enim me hoc quidem pacto eloquentior uiuat,
quippe qui nihil unquam cogitaui quod eloqui non auderem? eundem me aio
facundissimum esse, nam omne peccatum semper nefas habui; eundem
disertissimum, quod nullum meum factum uel dictum extet, de quo
di[s]serere publice non possim ita, ut iam de uorsibus di[s]sertabo quos a
me factos quasi pudendos protulerunt, cum quidem me animaduertisti cum
risu illis suscensentem, quod eos absone et indocte pronuntiarent. |
| Therefore, first
they read, from my performances, a note concerning toothpaste, written to
a certain Calpurnianus. In his desire to harm me, he didn't see that, when
he produced these letters against me, if I'd committed a crime, he's got a
share of it, too. For the poem shows that he'd asked me for something to
clean his teeth with:
|| Primo igitur legerunt e ludicris meis
epistolium de dentifricio uersibus scriptum ad quendam Calpurnianum, qui
cum aduersum me eas litteras promeret, non uidit profecto cupiditate
laedendi, si quid mihi ex illis fieret criminosum, id mihi secum esse
commune. nam petisse eum a me aliquid tersui dentibus uersus testantur:
Calpurnianus, this verse to you I write
And send you,
since your mouth could use some cleaning,
Arabian spice to make your
whole mouth bright,
An honest powder (if you catch my meaning).
To give your swollen gums a better bite,
And lose the food that
may be intervening,
Just use this well: you'll be secure hereafter,
In case you bare your teeth (or gums) in laughter.
'Calpurniane, salue properis uersibus.
misi, ut petisti,
[tibi] munditias dentium,
nitelas oris ex Arabicis frugibus,
tenuem, candificum, nobilem puluisculum,
conuerritorem pridianae reliquiae,
ne qua uisatur
tetra labes sordium,
restrictis forte si labellis riseris.'
|Now, I ask you: What in these verses do they consider
shameful either in word or in deed? What's in there that a philosopher
wouldn't entirely want to own up to?
||quaeso, quid habent isti uersus re aut uerbo pudendum, quid omnino
quod philosophus suum nolit uideri? |
|Unless, perhaps, I'm to be censured for this, because I
sent Calpurnianus the powder of Arabian fruits, which was a lot better for
him than the filthy practice of the Iberians,who, as Catullus says, with
their own urine "polish their teeth and red gums."
||nisi forte in eo reprehendendus sum, quod Calpurniano puluisculum ex
Arabicis frugibus miserim, quem multo aequius erat spurcissimo ritu
Hiberorum, ut ait Catullus, sua sibi urina 'dentem atque russam pumicare
| I just saw some
of you barely holding back laughter, when that orator harshly brought a
charge of Oral Hygiene and publicly condemned the tooth powder with more
indignation than anyone would a poison. And why? A philosopher must not
disregard the charge -- that he allows nothing dirty on himself, endures
nothing at all unlovely or unclean on the bare body -- especially the
mouth, used most often, publicly and conspicuously, whether it kisses
someone or converses with someone or dissertates in a hall of justice or
commissions prayers in a sacred precinct.
|| uidi ego dudum uix risum quosdam
tenentis, cum munditias oris uidelicet orator ille aspere accusaret et
dentifricium tanta indignatione pronuntiaret, quanta nemo quisquam
uenenum. quidni? crimen haud contemnendum philosopho, nihil in se sordidum
sinere, nihil uspiam corporis aperti immundum pati ac fetulentum,
praesertim os, cuius in propatulo et conspicuo usus homini creberrimus,
siue ille cuipiam osculum ferat seu cum qui[c]quam sermocinetur siue in
auditorio dissertet siue in templo preces alleget: |
|Yes, speech comes before every act of man, and, as the
premiere poet says, it rises from a wall of teeth. Now take someone
speaking loftily: he would've said in his own way that for great men who
care at all about speaking, the mouth should be cared for more than the
rest of the body. After all, it's the antechamber of the mind and the
portal of oratory and the assembly place of thoughts. In fact, if you ask
me, I'd say that nothing's worse than for the filthy mouth and the
gentlemanly free man to meet. For this part of a man is in a lofty place,
seen immediately, and fluent in use; for in wild beasts and braying
animals the humble mouth is pointed downwards toward their feet, close to
food and footsteps, hardly ever seen, unless the animal is dead or raring
to bite someone: but there's nothing more apparent in a silent man and
nothing more noticeable in a speaking one, than the mouth.
||omnem quippe hominis actum sermo praeit, qui, ut ait poeta praecipuus,
dentium muro proficiscitur. dares nunc aliquem similiter grandiloquum:
diceret suo more, cum primis cui ulla fandi cura sit impensius cetero
corpore os colendum, quod esset animi uestibulum et orationis ianua et
cogitationum comitium; ego certe pro meo captu dixerim nihil minus quam
oris illuuiem libero et liberali uiro competere. est enim ea pars hominis
loco celsa, uisu prompta, usu facunda; nam quidem feris et pecudibus os
humile et deorsum ad pedes deiectum, uestigio et pabulo proximum, nunquam
ferme nisi mortuis aut ad morsum exasperatis conspicitur: hominis uero
nihil prius tacentis, nihil saepius loquentis contemplere. |
|Therefore, I'd be pleased if my "judge," Aemilianus, would
respond by telling me, please, if he normally washes his feet; if he
doesn't deny it, I wonder if he'd say that you've got to care more for
your feet than for your teeth. Of course, if someone's like you,
Aemilianus, and hardly ever opens his mouth except for bad words and
slander, I'd think that he shouldn't care about his mouth or clean his
teeth with exotic powder. It would make more sense for him to crumble coal
from a funeral pyre on them, and he definitely shouldn't clean them with
common water, but his guilty tongue, the accomplice of lies and
bitterness, should always lie in its own stinking rankness. Because what's
the point in having a neat and sparkly tongue but a black and filthy
voice? Why puff black venom with snowy teeth, like a viper?
||uelim igitur censor meus Aemilianus respondeat, unquamne ipse soleat
pedes lauare; uel, si id non negat, contendat maiorem curam munditiarum
pedibus quam dentibus inpertiendam. plane quidem, si quis ita ut tu,
Aemiliane, nunquam ferme os suum nisi maledictis et calumniis aperiat,
censeo ne ulla cura os percolat neque ille exotico puluere dentis
emaculet, quos iustius carbone de rogo obteruerit, neque saltem communi
aqua perluat: quin ei nocens lingua mendaciorum et amaritudinum
praeministra semper in fetutinis et olenticetis suis iaceat. nam quae
malum ratio est linguam mundam et laetam, uocem contra spurcam et tetram
possidere, uiperae ritu niueo denticulo atrum uenenum inspirare? |
| As for everyone
else, though, whoever knows that he's going to give a speech neither
inappropriate nor unpleasant, accordingly washes his mouth beforehand,
like a cup before a good drink.
|| ceterum qui sese sciat [o]rationem
prompturum neque inutilem neque iniucundam, eius merito os, ut bono potui
poculum, praelauitur. |
|But why should I go on about humans? The crocodile, that
enormous beast which comes from the Nile, gapes harmlessly and offers its
teeth to be cleaned. Because its huge mouth has no tongue and is usually
submerged under water, many leeches get caught in its teeth. And when the
crocodile creeps onto the river bank, a friendly bird plucks these out
with its beak without any danger of injury.
||et quid ego de homine nato diutius? belua immanis, crocodillus ille
qui in Nilo gignitur, ea quoque, ut comperior, purgandos sibi dentis
innoxio hiatu praebet. nam quod est ore amplo, set elingui et plerumque in
aqua recluso, multae hiru[n]dines dentibus implectuntur; eas illi, cum
egressus in praeripia fluminis hiauit, una ex auibus fluuialibus amica
auis iniecto rostro sine noxae periculo exculpit. |
| But enough of
this. Let's look at some other verses. Now, they call these verses erotic,
but they've read them so crudely that of course anyone would hate them.
||Mitto haec. uenio ad ceteros uorsus ut
illi uocant amatorios, quos tamen tam dure et rustice legere, ut odium
|And yet, what's so magical or evil about praising the boys
of Scribonus Laetus with a poem? I'm a poet. This makes me a magician?
||sed quid ad magica maleficia, quod ego pueros Scriboni Laeti, amici
mei, carmine laudaui? an ideo magus, quia poeta? |
|Has there ever been so likely a suspicion, so suitable a
conjecture, or such a close-hitting charge as "Apuleius composed verses"?
If they're bad, now, that's a crime: not of a philosopher, but of a poet.
And if they're good, why do you accuse me?
||quis unquam fando audiuit tam [ueri]similem suspicionem, tam aptam
coniecturam, tam proxumum argumentum? 'fecit uorsus Apuleius'. si malos,
crimen est, nec id tamen philosophi, sed poetae; sin bonos, quid accusas?
"In fact, the verses he created are playful and amorous."
'at enim ludicros et amatorios fecit'.
|So this is my crime -- and you mistake the charge, and
have me indicted for magic?
||num ergo haec sunt crimina mea et nomine erratis, qui me magiae
|You don't seem to realize that there have been others who
committed such crimes: among the Greeks were a certain Teian, and a
Spartan, and a Cean, along with countless others. There was also the
Lesbian woman, who wrote lustfully but with such grace that the sweetness
of her songs overwhelmed the extravagance of her language. And in fact,
among us there have been Aedituus, Porcius, and Catulus -- and these were
also in the company of many others.
||fecere tamen et alii talia, etsi uos ignoratis: apud Graecos Teius
quidam et Lacedaemonius et Ciu[i]s cum aliis innumeris, etiam mulier
Lesbia, lasciue illa quidem tantaque gratia, ut nobis insolentiam linguae
suae dulcedine carminum commendet, apud nos uero Aedituus et Porcius et
Catulus, isti quoque cum aliis innumeris. |
"But they weren't philosophers."
'at philosophi non fuere'.
|Consequently, will you also deny that Solon was a serious
man and a philosopher? After all, he wrote this licentious verse:
"Yearning after your thighs and sweet mouth" Can all my
verses put together contain anything as lewd as this one alone?
||num igitur etiam Solonem fuisse serium uirum et philosophum negabis,
cuius ille lasciuissimus uersus est: $MHRW=N I(MEI/RWN KAI\ $GLUKEROU=
STO/MATOS&? et quid tam petulans habent omnes uersus mei, si cum isto
uno contendantur? |
|Why mention the writings of Diogenes the Cynic and Zeno
the Stoic, the founder of his school, and so many others? Instead, let me
recite my own verses again, so that they'll know that I'm not ashamed of
||ut taceam scripta Diogenis Cynici et Zenonis Stoicae sectae conditoris
id genus plurima. recitem denuo, ut sciant me eorum non pigere: |
Critias is my love, and you my salvation, Charinus.
In my love, a part of my life is yours.
fear: let fires burn where they will --
flames, as I live, I will endure.
May I always be to you what you
are to yourselves,
And you will be to me as are two
'et Critias mea delicia est et salua, Charine,
pars in amore meo, uita, tibi remanet;
nam me ignis et ignis torreat ut uult,
flammas, dum potiar, patiar.
hoc modo sim uobis, unus sibi quisque
quod ipse est:
hoc mihi uos eritis, quod duo sunt
|Now let me also recite the other verses, which they read
last of all, as though these were the most unrestrained:
||recitem nunc et alios, quos illi quasi intemperantissimos postremum
Garlands, sweetness and these songs I give to you.
give you songs as garlands for your spirit,
I give you songs to
celebrate this wondrous light
That comes to shine throughout your
I give you garlands, that your brow may bloom
And adorn with flowers the flower of your youth.
You give to me your spring in return for a spring flower,
with gifts you may oustrip my gifts;
For woven garlands, you will
give your body in embrace,
The kisses of your rosy mouth, for roses.
But if your reed excites my soul, my songs will yield,
by your sweetly singing pipe.
'florea serta, meum mel, et haec tibi carmina dono.
carmina dono tibi, serta tuo genio,
Critia, lux haec optata canatur,
quae bis septeno uere
serta autem, ut laeto tibi tempore tempora uernent,
aetatis florem floribus ut decores.
tu mihi das
contra pro uerno flore tuum uer,
ut nostra exuperes
pro implexis sertis complexum corpore redde[s],
proque rosis oris sauia purpurei.
quod si animam
inspires donaci, iam carmina nostra
cedent uicta tuo
| Here you have
my crime, Maximus, as if it were all about the wreaths and tunes of a
dissipated party animal.
|| Habes crimen meum, Maxime, quasi
improbi comisatoris de sertis et canticis compositum. |
|You've also observed that I'm blamed because I name the
boys Charinus and Critias, and other names for the boys should really be
given. This sort of thinking, though, would incriminate the works of
others: Catullus, because he named her Lesbia instead of Clodia; Ticidus,
because who he wrote as Perilla was actually Metella; Propertius, who says
Cynthia to disguise Hostia; Tibullus, because she is Plania, yet his
verses say Delia.
||hic illud etiam reprehendi animaduertisti, quod, cum aliis nominibus
pueri uocentur, ego eos Charinum et Critian appellitarim. eadem igitur
opera accusent C. Catul[l]um, quod Lesbiam pro Clodia nominarit, et
Ticidam similiter, quod quae Metella erat Perillam scripserit, et
Propertium, qui Cunthiam dicat, Hostiam dissimulet, et Tibullum, quod ei
sit Plania in animo, Delia in uersu. |
|I would condemn C. Lucilius, however, although he's a
satirist, because he defiled the boys Gentius and Macedo by using their
actual names in his poem. And finally, the Mantuan poet was even more
modest: like me, he praised the child of his friend Pollio in his
light-hearted bucolic, but refrained from actual names and called himself
Cordon and the boy Alexis.
||e[t]quidem C. Lucilium, quanquam sit iambicus, tamen improbarim, quod
Gentium et Macedonem pueros directis nominibus carmine suo prostituerit.
quanto modestius tandem Mantuanus poeta, qui itidem ut ego puerum amici
sui Pollionis bucolico ludicro laudans et abstinens nominum sese quidem
Corydonem, puerum uero Alexin uocat. |
|Yet Aemilianus -- a barbarous man whose coarseness
outstrips Virgilian shepherds and herdsmen; a man more austere by a long
shot (or so he thinks), than Serranus, Curius and Fabricius -- says that
this sort of verse doesn't suit a Platonic philosopher. But would you say
the same thing, Aemilianus, if I teach you sample works of Plato himself?
None of his poems survive except love elegies; all the others he fed to
the fire, because, I gather, they weren't as fine as these. So learn the
lines of the philosopher Plato to the boy Aster, if in fact you can still
study letters at your age:
||sed Aemilianus, uir ultra Virgilianos opiliones et busequas
rusticanus, agrestis quidem semper et barbarus, uerum longe austerior ut
putat Serranis et Curiis et Fabriciis, negat id genus uersus Platonico
philosopho competere. etiamne, Aemiliane, si Platonis ipsius exemplo doceo
factos? cuius nulla carmina extant nisi amoris elegia; nam cetera omnia,
credo quod tam lepida non erant, igni deussit. disce igitur uersus
Platonis philosophi in puerum Astera, si tamen tantus natu potes litteras
Aster, you used to shine, a Morning Star among the
living; Now perished, an Evening Star, you shine among the dead.
$A)STH\R PRI\N ME\N E)/LAMPES E)NI\ CWOI=SIN *(EW=|OS: $NU=N
DE\ QANW\N LA/MPEIS *(/ESPEROS E)N FQIME/NOIS.
|A similar poem was composed by this same Plato for the
boys Alexis and Phaedrus:
Just now when I said nothing but that Alexis was
beautiful He was viewed and gazed upon from all sides by all. My heart,
why reveal a bone to dogs? tomorrow he will repent. Is this not how I
lost Phaedrus? So that I don't spend too much
time in recollection, I'll finish by reciting his most extreme verse about
Dion of Syracuse:
"Dion, you drive my heart mad with love."
|item eiusdem Platonis in Alexin Phaedrumque pueros coniuncto carmine:
$NU=N O(/TE MHDE\N *)/ALECIS O(/SON MO/NON EI)=F' O(/TI
KALO/S, $W)=PTAI KAI\ PA/NTH| PA=SI PERIBLE/PETAI.& $QUME/,&
[$TI/&] $MHNU/EIS KUSI\N O)STE/ON&; $EI)=T' A)NIH/SEI
$U(/STERON. OU)X OU(/TW *FAI=DRON A)PWLE/SAMEN; ne pluris
commemorem, nouissimum uersum eius de Dione Syracusano si dixero, finem
$W)= E)MO\N E)KMH/NAS QUMO\N $E)/RWTI *DI/WN&.
| But am I not
being silly, addressing these matters before the court? Or is it rather
you slanderers who are the fools, who drag these things into the charge,
as if playing with verses were any indication of the strength of my
character? Haven't you read how Catullus responded to his enemies?
|| Sed sumne ego ineptus, qui haec etiam
in iudicio? an uos potius calumniosi, qui etiam haec in accusatione, quasi
ullum specimen morum sit uersibus ludere? Catullum ita respondentem
maliuolis non legistis: |
'The poet, rightly, should be chaste and decent
verse may show a cast more . . . recent.'
'nam castum esse decet pium poetam
nihil necesse est'?
|The Divine Hadrian, when he was honoring the sepulchral
mound of his friend Voconius the poet, inscribed upon it "You were
lascivious in verse, but chaste in thought," which he would never have
said if such delightful poems had been cosidered immodest. I also remember
reading many poems of this genre by the Divine Hadrian himself. Dare if
you would, Aemelianus, to claim that what the imperator and censor created
and left behind as a token of his memory, was badly made!
||Diuus Adrianus cum Voconi amici sui poetae tumulum uorsibus
muneraretur, ita scripsit: 'lasciuus uersu, mente pudicus eras', quod
nunquam ita dixisset, si forent lepidiora carmina argumentum impudicitiae
habenda. ipsius etiam diui Adriani multa id genus legere me memini. aude
sis, Aemiliane, dicere male id fieri, quod imperator et censor diuus
Adrianus fecit et factum memoriae reliquit. |
|Moreover, do you think that Maximus will condemn anything
that he knows I created with Plato for my model? For his verses, which I
have just now gone through, are as pure as they are lucid, as chaste as
they are simple in composition. For disguising works of this genre brings
offense, and reciting them in public brings merriment. Indeed, nature has
given a voice to the innocent, but only silence to the wicked.
||ceterum Maximum quicquam putas culpaturum, quod sciat Platonis exemplo
a me factum? cuius uersus quos nunc percensui tanto sanctiores sunt,
quanto apertiores, tanto pudicius compositi, quanto simplicius professi;
namque haec et id genus omnia dissimulare et occultare peccantis,
profiteri et promulgare ludentis est; quippe natura uox innocentiae,
silentium maleficio distributa. |
| And so, I'm
not going to discuss those lofty and divine Platonic writings, which no
one knows about but a few very pious people. They say that the goddess
Venus actually has a dual nature, and each part has different powers over
lovers and a particular area of love. One part is the popular goddess, the
one who is roused by common love to make the souls of men and beasts alike
feel desire. She binds together the servile souls of smitten animals in an
embrace with violent and immoderate force.
||mitto enim dicere alta illa et diuina
Platonica, rarissimo cuique piorum ignara, ceterum omnibus profanis
incognita: geminam esse Venerem deam, proprio quamque amore et diuersis
amatoribus pollentis; earum alteram uulgariam, quae sit percita populari
amore, non modo humanis animis, uerum etiam pecuinis et ferinis ad
libidinem imperitare ui immodica trucique perculsorum animalium serua
corpora complexu uincientem: |
|The other goddess, of course, is the heavenly Venus, who
has the duty of tending to the noblest love, which is only for men -- and
only a few of them, at that. She subjects none of her followers to torment
or shameful lures; in fact, her love is not fun and frolicsome. No, it's
serious stuff, and the beauty of its dignity sends her lovers to virtue.
And if she ever commends attractive bodies, she scares them away from
disgrace. And they shouldn't take pleasure in the body's form, except in
that it calls to mind the memory of her beauty, which they saw earlier,
pure and true, among the gods.
||alteram uero caelitem Venerem, praeditam [quae sit] optimati amore,
solis hominibus et eorum paucis curare, nullis ad turpitudinem stimulis
uel illecebris sectatores suos percellentem; quippe amorem eius non
amoenum et lasciuum, sed contra incom[i]tum et serium pulchritudine
honestatis uirtutes amatoribus suis conciliare, et si quando decora
corpora co[m]mendet, a contumelia eorum procul absterrere; neque enim
quicquam aliud in corporum forma diligendum quam quod ammoneant diuinos
animos eius pulchritudinis, quam prius ueram et sinceram inter deos
|On this account Afranius wrote with his customary
elegance: "The wise will love, all others will desire." Nevertheless, if
you would have the truth, Aemilianus (if you can possibly understand such
things), the wise man does not love as much as he remembers.
||quapropter, ut semper, eleganter Afranius hoc scriptum relinquat:
'amabit sapiens, cupient ceteri', tamen si uerum uelis, Aemiliane, uel si
haec intellegere unquam potes, non tam amat sapiens quam recordatur.
| Then grant
some indulgence to the philosopher Plato for his love poems, so that I
won't be violating the sentiment of Neoptolemus in Ennianus by
philosophizing too much. Because if you don't do this, I'll willingly open
myself up to being criticized for writing verses of this kind along with
|| da igitur ueniam Platoni philosopho
uersuum eius de amore, ne ego necesse habeam contra sententiam Neoptolemi
Enniani pluribus philosophari; uel si tu id non facis, ego me facile
patiar in huiuscemodi uersibus culpari cum Platone. |
|But as for you, Maximus, I'm grateful to you for listening
so attentively. These digressions in my speech are necessary because they
respond to the accusation. And so, I beg that you'll still listen to me
willingly and diligently, as you've done until now, while I discuss what's
left of these charges.
||tibi autem, Maxime, habeo gratiam propensam, cum has quoque appendices
defensionis meae iccirco necessarias, quia accusationi rependuntur, tam
attente audis. et ideo hoc etiam peto, quod mihi ante ipsa crimina
superest audias, ut adhuc fecisti, libenter et diligenter.