Saturday, September 20, 2014


Questions for a Rich Man

Horace, Satires 2.2.103-105 (tr. H. Rushton Fairclough):
Why is any worthy man in want, while you are rich? Why are the ancient temples of the gods in ruin? Why, shameless man, do you not measure out something from that great heap for your dear country?

cur eget indignus quisquam, te divite? quare
templa ruunt antiqua deum? cur, improbe, carae
non aliquid patriae tanto emetiris acervo?
The first two definitions of indignus in the Oxford Latin Dictionary (OLD) are:
  1. Not deserving some honour, favour, or sim. specified or implied, unworthy
  2. Not deserving some misfortune, punishment, or sim. specified or implied, guiltless
The OLD cites this passage from Horace to illustrate the second definition.

On the second question, commentators compare Horace, Odes 3.6.1-4 (tr. Niall Rudd):
Though guiltless, you will continue to pay for the sins of your forefathers, Roman, until you repair the crumbling temples and shrines of the gods, and the statues that are begrimed with black smoke.

Delicta maiorum immeritus lues,
Romane, donec templa refeceris
    aedisque labentis deorum et
      foeda nigro simulacra fumo.

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