Wednesday, July 07, 2021


Country versus City Life

Martial 1.55 (tr. Walter C.A. Ker):
If you wish briefly to learn your Marcus' wishes, Fronto, bright ornament of war and of the gown, he seeks this — to be tiller of land that is his own, though not large; and rough ease he delights in amid small means. Does any man court halls gaudy and chill with Spartan stone, and bring with him — O fool! —the morning salute, who, blest with spoils of wood and field, can before his hearth open his crowded nets, and draw with trembling line the leaping fish, and bring forth from the red jar his golden honey? For whom the bailiff's portly dame loads his rickety table, and charcoal unbought cooks his home-laid eggs? May he, I pray, who loves not me love not this, and live, pale-faced, amid the duties of the town.

Vota tui breviter si vis cognoscere Marci,
   clarum militiae, Fronto, togaeque decus,
hoc petit, esse sui nec magni ruris arator,
   sordidaque in parvis otia rebus amat.
quisquam picta colit Spartani frigora saxi        5
   et matutinum portat ineptus have,
cui licet exuviis nemoris rurisque beato
   ante focum plenas explicuisse plagas
et piscem tremula salientem ducere saeta
   flavaque de rubro promere mella cado?        10
pinguis inaequales onerat cui vilica mensas
   et sua non emptus praeparat ova cinis?
non amet hanc vitam quisquis me non amat, opto,
   vivat et urbanis albus in officiis.
Ludwig Friedlaender ad loc. (SG = his Sittengeschichte Roms):
2. Fronto. Welcher Fronto hier gemeint ist, lässt sieh nicht bestimmen. Borghesi hielt ihn für S. Octavius Fronto, cos. 86, Statthalter von Mösien 92, oder für Q. Pactumeius Fronto, cos. 80. Oeuvres III 3S2, SG III 432. Mommsen (Ind. Plin.) hat an T. Catius (Caesius) Fronto, cos. 96 (10. Oktober) gedacht.

3. M. besass jedoch damals bereits sein Nomentanum (XIII 42 XIII 119). Aber es war zu dürftig, um ihn zu ernähren, SG III 397, 4.

4. Sordida. Zu I 49, 28.

5. picta Spartani frigora saxi d. h. ein mit Säulen und Wänden von grünem lakonischen Marmor (Serpentin, Marquardt Prl. 603, 13) prangendes vornehmes Atrium.

6. d. h. stattet als Client den vorgeschriebenen Morgenbesuch (salutatio) bei dem Patron ab.

ineptus. Weil diese Bemühungen für die Patrone lästig waren, überdies meist erfolglos blieben. SG I 3H8 ff.

9. tremula — saeta. Saeta für Angelschnur auch X 30, 16. Tremula linea III 58, 27.

14. albus. Von der ungesunden Blässe der Städter. SG I 32 und zu III 58, 24. Bei urbana officia ist vorzugsweise au Clientendienste zu denken.
On the identity of Fronto here see Juan Fernández Valverde in Rosario Moreno Soldevila et al., A Prosopography to Martial's Epigrams (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019), pp. 239-240:

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