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Greasy, Vile Romans

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Greasy, Vile Romans

Postby thesaurus » Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:17 pm

So in his secund oration against Catiline, Cicero uses the word "unguentis" twice in a disparaging context.

5. "Hos, quos video volitare in foro, quos stare ad curiam, quos etiam in senatum venire, qui nitent unguentis, qui fulgent purpura, mallem secum suos milites eduxisset; qui si hic permanent, mementote non tam exercitum illum esse nobis quam hos, qui exercitum deseruerunt, pertimescendos."

[10] "qui mihi accubantes in conviviis conplexi mulieres inpudicas vino languidi, conferti cibo, sertis redimiti, unguentis obliti, debilitati stupris eructant sermonibus suis caedem bonorum atque urbis incendia."

Besides the fact that these are some awesome pasages, what does he mean for some loathsome person to "shine" and be rendered forgetful by "oil/grease"? In the first instance it seems to be connected with oppulence and status. In the second it's definitely an aspect of dissolution. I like to think of someone slathered in grease and rendered useless from feasting. Or did Romans slather themselves in grease for softening lotion, which would be the preserve of the wealthy/debauched?
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Postby Kyneto Valesio » Tue Mar 11, 2008 7:15 pm

salve comes

Though not a scholar I understand that in general the use of oil, especially the perfumed variety, is a symbol for the Romans either of consummate sophistication or oriental degradation. So if you are poet and ready to party, having your hair shining with oil is goes right along with all the other nice touches such as the youthful serving lads, the hot strumpets and the gourmet wines. But if you were a stern upholder of the of the Roman virtues of hard work, doing one's duty and serving the state the use of perfumed oils would be a symbol of everything you despise. Oils are associated with oriental luxury. When you are in the mood, they are good; otherwise only degenerates use them.

Cicero has long been held to be a model for those striving to attain eloquence in latin composition. Si hujus generis auctoris sententias sine multo laboris solvere potes non dubito quin antiquorum facundia a te impetrari possit. Iamne nomen misisti ut socius gregis latine loquentium fias?
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Postby thesaurus » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:15 pm

Ah, so it seems that some things stay the same. Perhaps we may attribute the same phenomenon through Oscar Wilde and perfumed Victorian dandies up to the so called 'metrosexual' of today. Omnes ungentis fulgant alliciuntque. Semper quid ab maioribus despectus est, ab iuvenibus praelatus.

Kynete amice, valde mihi talis gregis socius me fieri placeat. Ciceronis aliaeque scriptorum legendum leniter facilior per temporem fit, etenim scribendum paululum meum (mirabile dictu) meliorat. Tandem, postquam tam multa temporis discendum regulae alienaque lingua certandum, latine fruor utorque! Vereor me adhuc imperitum esse si hunc forum talemque auxilum non invenisse. Quomodo illam praeclaram gregis societatem cognoscem, atqui quo in modo tantam epistularum quantitatem, ut ita mihi videatur, quae quotidiane thecam cursorialum confercit, administras? Postremus, benignine socii huius fori sunt? Pertimesco pravam latinam, quoniam nuper ad latinam veniam, coram doctissimis peritissimisque hominibus scribere.
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Postby Interaxus » Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:20 am

(Please excuse English) :oops:

Unguentis obliti … ??? That really threw me. Obliviscor takes the GENITIVE – that’s one thing my current Assimil course has fixed in my memory (eg verborum oblitus sum).

A hunt through various dictionaries revealed the truth. The kindest of them (not the mighty O.L.D. sad to say) list both oblîtus (from oblîvîscor) and oblitus (from oblino).

Oblino, -linere, -lêvî, - litum (unmarked vowels are SHORT; stress forms accordingly) = smear, daub, cover (with paint, mud, etc).

If only those macrons Kynetus laments the lack of in another thread had been set out where appropriate, we'd have known it wasn't oblîtî. Yes...?

Check out the opening of Horatii Ode 1,5 for some gracile greasiness (Milton's version: 'bedewed with liquid odours'). And later in the poem there's a scathing use of the verb niteo by the 'dumped lover' of the poem.

Cheers,
Int
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Postby thesaurus » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:05 pm

Awesome clarification, Interaxus! Just when I thought I could ignore macrons...

And as long as we're on the decadant Roman theme, here's my new favorite quote:

In Catilinam 2.23:

Quo autem pacto illi Appenninum atque illas pruinas ac nives perferent? nisi idcirco se facilius hiemem toleraturos putant, quod nudi in conviviis saltare didicerunt. 8)

And by what means would those effete young men bear that frost and snow on Mount Appennius? Unless, perhaps, by that fact they think that they will more easily tolerate the winter, because they had learned to dance naked at parties.


I get the sense that Cicero didn't have a lot of hope in the upcoming generation. I want to compile some sort of book of Latin invectives/insults, along the lines of those 'Shakespearean Insults' you see. I could call it "Ciceronian Smackdowns."

Damn punk kids and their baggy jeans! I wonder what the Roman equivalent of rap music was.

quos pexo capillo nitidos aut inberbis aut bene barbatos videtis, manicatis et talaribus tunicis velis amictos, non togis; quorum omnis industria vitae et vigilandi labor in antelucanis cenis expromitur.
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