Category Archives: Curculio

Statius, Thebaid 1.250: Conjecturing an Intertext

    Juno’s first words in the Thebaid (1.248-51) come in reply to Jupiter’s announcement (214-47) of his plan to punish both Argives and Thebans for their various sins:     Sic pater omnipotens. ast illi saucia dictis flammato uersans inopinum corde dolorem talia … Continue reading

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A Tactful Cue (and Non-Q) in Horace (Ep. 1.13.17)

    The last four lines of the epistle to Vinnius, on his way to deliver a copy of Horace’s Carmina to Augustus, are clear enough, but one of the conjunctions seems dubious (16-19): neu uolgo narres te sudauisse ferendo carmina quae … Continue reading

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Vigils and Strigils: Juvenal 3.262

    The man crushed by a collapsing stone-wagon never comes home, and his household, though still unaware of his death, finally gives up waiting for him (260-63):         obtritum uulgo perit omne cadauer more animae. domus interea secura patellas iam lauat et … Continue reading

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Marring Marlowe: A Low Pun in Edward II?

    Contemporary humanists often seem to operate on the principle that any possible pun in Shakespeare and his contemporaries is real or intended (loaded word!) or somehow present to the alert reader, inevitably adding to the meaning of the passage. It … Continue reading

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Mood and Voice: A Footnote on Horace, Epode 10

    In their commentaries on the Epodes, both D. Mankin (Cambridge, 1995) and L. C. Watson (Oxford, 2003) note the appropriateness of the name Inachia in 12.17:     “Inachia langues minus ac me; Inachiam ter nocte potes, mihi semper ad unum     mollis … Continue reading

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Catullus 41: Is the Line-Order as Screwed Up as the Subject?

    I quote the whole poem, since it is so short, with Mynors’ apparatus, which is conveniently sized for my purposes:(1) Anneiana puella defututa, tota milia me decem poposcit, ista turpiculo puella naso, decoctoris amica Formiani. propinqui, quibus est puella curae, … Continue reading

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Two Conjectures on Horace’s 16th Epode

    Horace introduces his proposed solution for the corruption of contemporary Rome with a Greek precedent (17-22):(1) nulla sit hac potior sententia: Phocaeorum     velut profugit exsecrata civitas agros atque Lares patrios habitandaque fana     apris reliquit et rapacibus lupis,        20 ire pedes quocumque … Continue reading

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Two Kinds of Crux, neither of them Christian (Maecenas, Fr. 4.4)

    Thousands of lines of excellent verse dedicated to Maecenas survive, but only a few precious bits of his own – precious in more ways than one. Seneca (E.M. 101.10-12) preserves, and comments on, one of the most interesting (Fr. 4 … Continue reading

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Iccius’ Socratic Domus: Horace, C. 1.29.14

    The last stanza of Horace’s Ode to Iccius (1.29.13-16) follows some adynata – ‘Who will deny that anything is possible . . .’(1) cum tu coemptos undique nobilis libros Panaeti Socraticam et domum     mutare loricis Hiberís,         pollicitus meliora, tendis? Commentators … Continue reading

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No Adduction Needed: A Tense Problem in Persius 4.2

    Persius opens his fourth satire with an obscene double entendre and a couple of historical presents:(1) ‘Rem populi tractas?’ (barbatum haec crede magistrum dicere, sorbitio tollit quem dura cicutae) ‘quo fretus? dic hoc, magni pupille Pericli. 2 dura αGL : … Continue reading

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Not Just Any Old Things: Horace, Ep. 1.2.57

    Forms of res are found three times in eight lines in Horace’s second epistle: rebus in 50, res (singular) in 51, rebus again in 57. This seems excessive, and the last instance is dubious in itself.(1) The context is clear … Continue reading

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A Minimal Solution for a Ruined Punchline: Martial 12.50.2

    Martial describes a selfish rich man’s estate (12.50):(1) Daphnonas, platanonas et aerios pityonas     et non unius balnea solus habes, et tibi centenis stat porticus alta columnis,     calcatusque tuo sub pede lucet onyx, pulvereumque fugax hippodromon ungula plaudit,     et pereuntis aquae … Continue reading

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Plain and Simple: Marcus Argentarius IV G-P (A.P. 5.89)

(Note: I hope someone will let me know if the Greek comes out wrong, and if so what browser and operating system were in use. On my screen, it looks fine except that acute accents not combined with breathings are … Continue reading

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Chicken (Pliny, Ep. 7.21)

(Note: a general bibliography for this and my other Pliniana will soon be uploaded and linked, and this note removed.)     Pliny’s Epistle 7.21 seems trivial at first. It is short enough to quote in full:(1) C. Plinius Cornuto suo s. … Continue reading

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“We’ve Made It Legal, but We Can’t Make It Right” (Martial 5.75)

    Any problems in this little poem are exegetical – there are no significant variants: Quae legis causa nupsit tibi Laelia, Quinte,     uxorem potes hanc dicere legitimam. As a punch-line, the pentameter, particularly the last word, seems rather flat. I suspect … Continue reading

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A Different Kind of Astronomical Conjunction (Pliny, Ep. 1.3.1)

    Pliny opens the third letter of his collection, to Caninius Rufus, with a series of questions about the latter’s luxurious villa in Comum – I mark the clauses I am most interested in (1.3.1):(1) Quid agit Comum, tuae meaeque deliciae? … Continue reading

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Female Turpitude Meets Male Torpitude (Catullus 11.18)

    Daniél Kiss’s Catullus Online: An Online Repertory of Conjectures on Catullus is a wonderful resource, which I have found complete and accurate in whatever I have checked, but rather depressing viewed at length. Only six of the sixty-eight lines in … Continue reading

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“I’ll put her to her pension”: A Mad World, My Masters I.ii.66

One of the more difficult passages in Middleton’s play is the soliloquy of Harebrain (aka Shortrod) as the “pure virgin” (actually a courtesan) fetches his wife (I.ii.62-69): This is the course I take; I’ll teach the married man A new … Continue reading

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A Dumb Question about Animals (Pliny, Ep. 1.20.5)

    In the course of a long discussion of rhetoric addressed to Tacitus, Pliny argues that size matters in judging orations, with an extended analogy from living creatures (Epistulae 1.20.4-5):(1) Et hercule ut aliae bonae res ita bonus liber melior est … Continue reading

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Curculio 6: Two Adjectives in Seneca’s Agamemnon

How’s that for a boring title? As a continuation of my experiment with publishing original scholarship on this site, I have just uploaded an eight-page PDF containing two conjectures on the text of Seneca’s Agamemnon, titled as above (link). (I … Continue reading

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