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REVERENTIAM IN MATRIMO
NIO REQUIRI .

Respect is required in marriage

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Cum furit in Venerem, pelagi se in littore sistit,
Vipera, & ab stomacho dira venena vomit.
Murenamque ciens ingentia sybila tollit,
At subito amplexus appetit illa viri.[1]
Maxima debetur thalamo reverentia, coniunx,
Alterum debet coniugi & obsequium.

When the viper is sexually aroused, it stations itself on the seashore and ejects the dread poisons from its gut. To summon the moray eel, it raises a loud hissing, and suddenly she comes to the embrace of her mate. - Great reverence is owed to the marriage bed, and the partners owe each other mutual respect.

Notes:

1.  For the mating of the viper with the moray eel, see Pliny, Natural History 9.39.76; Aelian, De natura animalium 1.50; 9.66. The viper spits out the poison in order to be gentle and safe for the union.


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IN VICTORIAM DOLO
PARTAM.

On victory won by guile.

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Aiacis tumulum[1] ego perluo virtus,[2]
Heu misera albentes dilacerata comas.
Scilicet hoc restabat adhuc, ut iudice graeco[3],
Vincerer, & causa stet potiore dolus.[4]

I, Virtue, bedew with tears the tomb of Ajax, tearing, alas, in my grief my whitening hairs. This was all it needed - that I should be worsted with a Greek as judge, and that guile should appear to have the better cause.

Notes:

1.  This neither makes sense nor scans without lacrimis, cf. other editions.

2.  The quotation marks at the beginning presumably signify that the verse is in the first person.

3.  The Greek assembly awarded the arms of the dead Achilles to the cunning and eloquent Ulysses, not the brave and straight-forward Ajax. For Ajax’ subsequent suicide, [A34a039].

4.  See Anthologia graeca 7.145.


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