Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Manilius and Seneca

Manilius 4.86-88 (tr. G.P. Goold):
Not every age has produced men like the Decii and Camillus, or a Cato with a spirit unconquered in defeat: more than enough material exists to accomplish such an end, but resists through fate's decree.

quod Decios non omne tulit, non omne Camillos
tempus et invicta devictum mente Catonem,
materies in rem superat sed lege repugnat.
This recalls Seneca, Letters to Lucilius 97.10:
Every age will produce men like Clodius, not every age will produce men like Cato.

omne tempus Clodios, non omne Catones feret.
I once pointed this parallel out to Goold in a letter and enclosed an article I had written on a crux in Plautus. He replied with a courteous and encouraging letter, showing far more courtesy and encouragement than I had ever received from certain graduate school faculty members when I was a student. Goold was a gentleman as well as a scholar. Not every age produces men like G.P. Goold.

Update. Cf. Plutarch, Life of Cato 19.5 (tr. Ian Scott-Kilvert):
On the other hand, we should recognize that no man ever did more to heap praises upon himself. Cato tells us for example that when men were reproved for misconduct of one kind or another, they would say: 'It is not fair to blame us; we are not all Catos.'

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