Persius, Prologus 10-11: a Bit of Nachleben

An amusing bit of Nachleben seems worth mentioning here. In his Südelbucher, G. C. Lichtenberg wrote (L 315):

Ein Stoß auf den Magen beraubt alles Bewußtseins nicht den Magen sondern den Kopf selbst. Überhaupt wird immer von Kopf und Herz geredet und viel zu wenig vom Magen, vermutlich, weil er in den Souterrains logiert ist, aber die Alten verstunden es besser. Persius kreierte ihn bekanntlich schon zum Magister Artium, und in den 1700 (?) Jahren kann er doch wohl etwas hinzu gelernt haben.

A punch in the stomach deprives of all consciousness not the stomach but the head itself. In general, people are always talking about head and heart, and far too little about the stomach, probably because it lodges in the basement, but the ancients understood it better. As is well known, Persius awarded it the Master of Arts, and in 1700 (?) years it may surely have become more learned.

Of course, Lichtenberg cheats a bit by taking Persius’ magister artis is if it were magister artium. I do not know what the parenthesized question mark after 1700 is supposed to mean. Lichtenberg was writing in 1796, which was 1734 years after the death of Persius, so 1700 is a good round figure for the number of years the stomach had had to for further education. Did Lichtenberg himself add the query because he was unsure of Persius’ dates?

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