Sunday, September 12, 2021


A God in Human Form

Plautus, Curculio 167-168 (the young man Phaedromus and his slave Palinurus; tr. Paul Nixon):
PH. She's delicious. PA. (sour) Too delicious. PH. Oh, I'm a god. PA. You aren't, you're a man, of precious poor quality.
PH. What did you see, what will you ever see, more comparable to the gods than I am?

PH. est lepida. PA. nimi' lepida. PH. sum deus. PA. immo homo hau magni preti.
PH. quid vidisti aut quid videbis magi' dis aequiparabile?

168 Lindsay in apparatu critico: vel mage
I don't have access to any of the following modern editions or commentaries: These lines remind me of Catullus 51.1-5 (itself an imitation of Sappho, fragment 31 Voigt; tr. F.W. Cornish):
He seems to me to be equal to a god, he, if it may be, seems to surpass the very gods, who sitting opposite you again and again gazes at you and hears you sweetly laughing...

Ille mi par esse deo videtur,
ille, si fas est, superare divos,
qui sedens adversus identidem te
   spectat et audit
dulce ridentem...
I'm sure others must have noticed the similarity, although influence is of course out of the question. On the comparison of the lover to a god or the beloved to a goddess, a common trope, see e.g. Volkmar Hoelzer, De Poesi Amatoria a Comicis Atticis Exculta, ab Elegiacis Imitatione Expressa (diss. Marburg, 1899), pp. 21-23.

I now see that Luigia Cappiello, Un Commento al Curculio di Plauto (vv.1-370) (diss. Salerno, 2015), p. 140, mentions the similarity between Plautus and Catullus.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?