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 opus. pereat male, quae te
Lesbia quaerenti taurum monstrauit inertem”
 
15

As Mankin puts it: “The reference to Io, the ‘Inachian heifer’, is more pointed here with H. about to be described as a ‘bull’ (17).”

    Neither editor mentions a similar subtlety a few pages or columns before (10.15-20):

o quantus instat nauitis sudor tuis
    tibique pallor luteus
et illa non uirilis eiulatio
    preces et auersum ad Iouem,
Ionius udo cum remugiens sinus
    Noto carinam ruperit!
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More obviously than Inachia, the Ionian Sea is named after the cow-girl Io. It is therefore a nice touch that it ‘moos back’ at Maevius and his storm-tossed crew. It seems to me that the participle remugiens is not just ‘bellowing’ (Watson) like any angry mammal, but more specifically ‘mooing’. Though mugire and remugire are used of a wide variety of animals and natural phenomena, and even a Sibyl (Vergil, Aeneid 6.99), mugire is the vox propria (not the name, but the voice) of cows and bulls, as seen in (e.g.) Livy 1.7, Juvenal 14.286, and (very significantly) Epode 2.11-12, where mugientium . . . errantis greges, with the mooing creatures not further specified, is generally taken to refer to cattle.

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