Martial, Epigrams, Volume III

LCL 480: 332-333

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But dry as it might be, at least in summer, there would be some rain.

13.118 Tarraco, Campano tantum cessura Lyaeo, haec genuit Tuscis aemula vina cadis.

Tuscan wines get a bad rating in 1.26.6, where they are coupled with Paelignian, which were only fit for freedmen (13.121). Tarraco wines, on the other hand, are praised by Pliny (N.H. 14.71) as famous for their elegance, comparable to the finest Italian. Friedländer was right to obelize Tuscis, except that he and the rest of us should have accepted Gilbert’s Latiis, which seems authenticated by the echo in Sil. 3.369 dat Tarraco pubem / vitifera et Latio tantum cessura Lyaeo. In both Latius = “Italian.” This echo has been previously unnoticed, it would seem. At any rate it is not mentioned in Gilbert’s edition or Friedländer’s. Since v. 617 of Silius’ third Book refers to Domitian’s Sarmatian war of 92, whereas the Xenia are assigned to 84 or 85 (see Friedländer, pp. 51f), Silius appears to be the borrower.

A combination of haplography and dittography may have produced tiistis = tuscis.

Appendix B The Fictitious Names

Martial’s epigrams are usually addressed to a named individual, real or imaginary, and other individuals are mentioned in the third person. Not seldom the addressee has no apparent connection with the subject in hand, e.g. Maximus in 1.69 or Flaccus in 1.98.

Many epigrams are offensive or defamatory. We have Martial’s word for it in the prefatory letter to Book I and often elsewhere that in these he did not use real names nor aim at real people under pseudonyms; and in fact the insults are often too general to be recognized as applying to anybody in particular. The invented names may be Roman, whether praenomina like Quintus or Sextus or nomina or cognomina, or Greek. Boy slaves (often sexobjects), “loose women,” and doctors generally have Greek names, though there are exceptions, like the boy Secundus in 12.75 or the doctor Fannius in 10.56. Some of the boys were real, like Voconius Victor’s Thestylus in 7.29 and 8.63. Others may have been. Spendophorus of 9.56 has the appearance of actuality, but the name recurs in 10.83 in company with Telesphorus, who may be real there and in 11.26 but surely not in 11.58. It is quite possible that a real boy’s name was applied to a figment, just as names of Martial’s real friends and addressees are also used of imaginary figures