Sunday, September 17, 2017
A Petronian Tobspruch
tanto magis expedit inguina quam ingenia fricare.In Michael Heseltine's original translation of Petronius for the Loeb Classical Library series (1913), this was left untranslated. In E.H. Warmington's revision (1969), it was translated (with footnote) thus:
expedit Dousa: impedit codd.: impendit: Erhard
So much the greater gain is it to rub groins than geniuses.1Some have attempted to reproduce the word-play, e.g. J.P. Sullivan:
1 The meaning seems to be that it is more important to stir up one's sexual than one's mental powers.
A polished wick is much more profitable than a polished wit.Cf. Erich Segal, "Arbitrary Satyricon: Petronius & Fellini," Diacritics 1.1 (Autumn, 1971) 54-57 (at 55):
In life you make it better with a stroke of "penius" than a stroke of genius.On fricare see J.N. Adams, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982; rpt. 1993), p. 184.