Sunday, August 20, 2017


Descendunt Statuae

Juvenal 10.56-64 (tr. Susanna Morton Braund):
Some people are toppled by their power, object of great envy, some are sunk by their long and glorious roll of honours. Down their statues come, dragged by a rope, then even the chariot's wheels are smashed and slashed by the axe, and the legs of the innocent nags are shattered. Now the flames are hissing, now that head idolised by the people is glowing from the bellows and furnace: huge Sejanus is crackling. Then the face that was number two in the whole world is turned into little jugs, basins, frying pans, and chamber pots.

Quosdam praecipitat subiecta potentia magnae
invidiae, mergit longa atque insignis honorum
pagina. descendunt statuae restemque secuntur,
ipsas deinde rotas bigarum inpacta securis
caedit et inmeritis franguntur crura caballis.        60
iam strident ignes, iam follibus atque caminis
ardet adoratum populo caput et crepat ingens
Seianus, deinde ex facie toto orbe secunda
fiunt urceoli, pelves, sartago, matellae.
Edward Courtney ad loc. (Commentary, pp. 404-405):
    56–7 For the INVIDIA to which power is subject cf. Lucr. 5.1126, Sen. Ep. 84.11 and Dial. 11.9.5; Juvenal seems to hint some sympathy for Sejanus.
    MERGIT 'shipwrecks', cf. 13.8; Sen. Ep. 55.3 aliquos ... Seiani odium, deinde amor merserat (aeque enim offendisse illum quam amasse periculosum fuit).
    PAGINA HONORUM A column of distinctions, i.e. tituli on statue bases (1.130, 8.69); pagina of the consular fasti Livy 9.18.12, Pliny Pan. 92.2.
    58 Cf. 8.18 of imagines; Vittinghoff 13; SG 2.279, 286 = 3.59, 66. Juvenal will have seen such scenes after the death of Domitian (Suet. 23, Dio Cass. 68.1, Pliny Pan. 52), as we have in Budapest in 1956.
    DESCENDUNT 14.61.
    SECUNTUR Cf. 1.164; Pliny NH 35.4 ut frangat heres forisque detrahat laqueo (furisque ... laqueum or -us codd.); [Sen.] Oct. 794 sqq. for the RESTIS cf. Libanius Or. 20.4, 22.8.
    59 Chariot statues 7.126, 8.3, SG 2.290 = 3.71; the characteristic triumphal type (Pliny NH 34.19). Though because of the links with the imperial cult the right of having statues was limited (Vittinghoff 14 n. 32), there were many of Sejanus.
    IMMERITIS Cf. Thes. s.v. 456.55 and Juv. 13.156; others are more guilty than they are.
    CABALLIS Cf. on 3.118; but here the word seems to suggest pity rather than contempt.
    62 ADORATUM Dio 58.2.7–8, 4.3–4, 6.2, 8.4, 11.2; Tac. Ann. 4.2; Suet. Tib. 48.2, 65.
    CAPUT ... FACIE The rest of the statue would have been left (Vittinghoff 14 n. 37).
    64 Cf. Pliny quoted on 58.
    URCEOLI 3.203; pitchers.
    PELVES 3.277, 6.441; basins.
    SARTAGO A saucepan, cf. Blümner1 157, Hilgers 269; one of silver is mentioned by Ulpian Dig., but is merely ornamental. For the singular surrounded by plurals cf. 7.11, 9.109, 2.169 and the equally anomalous plural at 11.139.
    MATELLAE Chamber-pots (RE s.v., Blümner1 147), a scabrous anti-climax; cf. Plut. Praec. Reip. Ger. 27.820e (statues of Demades), Diog. Laert. 5.77 and Strabo (of Demetrius of Phalerum), Philo De Vita Contempl. 1.7.

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