Scholastic Humor

In Martial: Select Epigrams (Cambridge ‘green and gold’, 2003), Lindsay and Patricia Watson include 4.87 (71 in their numeration):

Infantem secum semper tua Bassa, Fabulle,
    conlocat et lusus deliciasque uocat,
et, quo mireris magis, infantaria non est.
    ergo quid in causa est? pedere Bassa solet.

For a text with apparatus, go here and scroll down to the third-to-last epigram. The Watsons’ paraphrase:

Your acquaintance Bassa, Fabullus, is forever cuddling a baby and calling it her darling. The odd thing is that she is not baby-minded. The reason? She is given to farting.

The scholastic humor is in the notes, where the Watsons write “the topic receives an airing in other comic writers” and “[t]he inveterate farter is a butt of comedy”.

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One Response to Scholastic Humor

  1. Marcello says:

    Reading Watson-Watson I noticed the first joke, on “air”, but not the second. It’s more than evident, though!

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