Sunday, September 04, 2016


The Pleasures of the Lowly

Plautus, Stichus 693-695 (tr. Wolfgang de Melo):
What each man's station allows him suits him best. Those who have wealth at home, drink from good beakers, tankards, and goblets, but we, from our little Samian cups; all the same, we do drink, all the same, we do perform our functions as our means allow.

suom quemque decet: quibus divitiae domi sunt, scaphiis, cantharis,
batiocis bibunt, at nos nostro Samiolo poterio:
tamen bibimus nos, tamen efficimus pro opibus nostra moenia.

695 bibimus Ritschl: vivimus codd.
Wolfgang de Melo interprets moenia (line 695) as an archaic spelling of munia = duties, functions, rather than as moenia = walls. If walls were understood, the translation would be "We build our walls as our means allow." Erasmus, Adages I vii 62, quotes the last part of line 695 as "efficimus pro nostris opibus moenia."

Rereading this play in the Loeb Classical Library edition, I see that de Melo adopted my conjectural restoration of a lacuna in line 617. This is my sole contribution to classical scholarship. If I'm remembered for anything, it will be for this.

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