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Nobiscum: da Prætori, da deinde Tribunò. i
come and scramble, as it were, among the poor, for a part of the sportula. The word ipsos makes the sarcasm the stronger.'
100. Molest the threshold.] Crowd about it, and are very trou. blesome. So Hor. lib. i. sat. viii. l. 18.-hunc vexare locum. 101. With us.] Avec nous autres- -as the French say.
Give to the Prætor.] In Juvenal's time this was a title of a chief magistrate, something like the lord-mayor of London-He was called Prætor Urbanus, and had power to judge matters of law between citizen and citizen. This seems to be the officer here meant —but for a further account of the Prætor, see Ainsw..Prætor.
101. The Tribune.] A chief officer in Rome.-The tribunes, at their first institution, were two, afterwards came to be ten-they were keepers of the liberties of the people, against the encroachments of the senate. They were called tribunes, because at first set over the three tribes of the people. See AINSW.—Tribunusand Tribus.
Juvenal satirically represents some of the chief magistrates and officers of the city, as bawling out to be first served out of the sportula.
102. The libertine.] An enfranchised slave. There were many of these in Rome, who were very rich, and very insolent; of one of these we have an example here.
-Is first, &c.] “ Hold,” says this upstart, " a freedman, rich as “ I am, is before the prætor; besides I came first, and I'll be first 66 served.”
103. Why should I fear, &c.] i.e. I'm neither afraid nor ashamed to challenge the first place.--I'll not give it up to any body.
103—4. Altho' born at the Euphrates.] He owns that he was born of servile condition, and came from a part of the world from whence many were sold as slaves. The river Euphrates took its rise in Armenia, and ran through the city of Babylon, which it divided in the midst.
104. The soft holes, &c.] The ears of all slaves in the East were bored, as a mark of their servitude. They wore bits of gold by way of ear-rings; which custom is still in the East Indies, and in other parts, even for whole nations; who bore prodigious holes in their cars, and wear vast weights at them. DRYDEN. PLIN. lib. xi. c. 37.
The epithet molles may, perhaps, intimate, that this custom was looked upon at Rome (as among us) as a mark of effeminacy. Or
Together with us: “Give to the Prætor--then give to the
105. Five houses.] Tabernæ here may be understood to mean
106. Procure 400.] In reckoning by sesterces, the Romans had an art which may be understood by these three rules :
First: If a numeral noun agree in number, case, and gender, with sestertius, then it denotes so many sestertii-as decem sestertii.
Secondly: If a numeral noun of another case be joined with the genitive plural of sestertius it denotes so many thousand, as decern sestertiúm signifies 10,000 sestertii.
Thirdly: If the adverb numeral be joined, it denotes so many 100,000: as decies sestertiâm signifies ten hundred thousand sestertii. Or if the numeral adverb be put by itself, the signification is the same: decies or vigesies stand for so many 100,000: sestertii, or, as they say, so many hundred sestertia.
The sestertium contained a thousand sestertii,, and amounted to about 171.'16s. 3d. of onr money. KENNETT, Ant. 374, 5.
After 400-quadringenta-sestertia must be understood, according to the third rule above.
The freedman brags, that the rents of his houses brought him in 400 sestertia, which was a knight's estate.
What does the purple, &c.] The robes of the nobility and magistrates were decorated with purple. He means, that, though he can't deny that he was born a slave, and came to Rome as such, (and if he were to deny it, the holes in his ears would prove it,) yet, he was now a free citizen of Rome, possessed of a larger pri. vate fortune than the prætor or the tribune.- What can even a patrician wish for more? Indeed, " when I see a nobleman re
duced to keep sheep for his livelihood, I can't perceive any great
advantage he derives from his nobility; what can it, at best, con“ fer, beyond what I possess ?”
107. Corvinus.] One of the noble family of the Corvini, but so reduced, that he was obliged to keep sheep, as an hired shepherd, near Laurentum, in his own native country. Laurentum is a city of Italy, now called Santo Lorenzo.
109. Pallas.) A freedman of Claudius.
Vincant divitiæ ; sacro nec cedat honori
Sed cum summus honor tinito computet anno,
109. The Licini.] The name of several rich men, particularly of a freedman of Augustus; and of Licinius Crassus, who was surnamed Dives.
110. Let riches prevail.] Vincant-overcomem-defeat all other pretentions.
-Sacred honour.] Meaning the tribunes, whose office was held so sacred, that if any one hurt a tribune, his life was devoted to Jupiter, and his family was to be sold at the temple of Ceres.
111. With zehite fect.] It was the custom, when foreign slaves were exposed to sale, to whiten over their naked feet with chalk. This was the token by which they were known.
112. The majesty of riches.] Intimating their great and universal sway among men, particularly at Rome, in its corrupt state, where every thing was venal, which made them reverenced, and almost adored. This intimates too, the command and dominion which the rich assumed over others, and the self-importance which they assumed to themselves-a notable instance of which appears in this impudent freedman.
113. Bakeful moncy.] i. e. Destructive--the occasion of many cruel, and ruinous deeds.
114. Altars of money.] i. e. No temple dedicated, no altars called aræ nummorum, as having sacrifices offered on them to riches, as there were to peace, faith, concord, &c.
116. Which chatters, &c.] Crepito here signifies to chatter like a bird. The temple of Concord, at Rome, was erected by Tiberius, at the request of his mother Livia. About this, birds, such as choughs, storks, and the like, used to build their nests. What the poet says, alludes to the chattering, noise made by these birds, parti. cularly when the old ones revisited their nests, after having been out to seek food for their young. See Ainsw.–Salutatus, No. 2.
117. The highest honour, &c.] i. e. People of the first rank and dignity:
Let riches prevail : nor let him yield to the sacred honour, 110
finished, What the sportula brings in, how much it adds to its accounts, What will the attendants do, to whom from hence is a gown, from hence a shoe,
[120 And bread, and smoke of the house? A thick crowd of litters An hundred farthings seek; and the wife follows the husband, And, sick or pregnant, is led about. This asks for the absent, cunning in a known art, Shewing the empty and shut-up sedan instead of the wife. [125 “ It is my Galla,” says he, “ dismiss her quickly: do you delay?” “ Galla put out your head”. -“ don't vex her-she is asleep.”
117. Can compute, &c.] i. e. Can be so sunk into the most sordid and meanest avarice, as to be reckoning, at the year's end, what they have gained out of these doles which were provided for the poor.
119. The attendants, &c.] The poor clients and followers, who, by these doles, 'are, or ought to be, supplied with clothes, meat, and fire. What will these do, when the means of their support is thus taken from them by great people?
From hence.] i. e. By what they receive from the dole-basket.
A shoe.] Shoes to their feet—as we say. 120. Smoke of the house.] Wood, or other fewel for firing-or firing, as we say. The effect, smoke-for the cause, fire. Meton.
Crowd of litters.] The word densissima here denotes-a very great number, a thick crowd of people carried in litters.
121. An hundred farthings.] The quadrans was a Roman coin, the fourth part of an as, in value not quite an halfpenny of our money. An hundred of these were put into the sportula, or dolebasket : and for a share in this paltry sum, did the people of fashion (for such were carried in litters) seek in so eager a manner, as that they crowded the very door up, to get at the sportula.
122. Is led about.] The husband lugs about his sick or breeding wife in a litter, and claims her dole.
123. This asks for the absent.] Another brings an empty litter, pretending his wife is in it.
Cunning in a known art.] i.e. He had often practised this trick with success.
125. It is my Galla.] The supposed name of his wife.
126. Put out your head.) i. e. Out of the litter, that I may see you are there, - says the dispenser of the dole.
Ipse dies pulchro distinguitur ordine rerum eft
126. Don't vex her.] “ Don't disturb her,” replies the husband ; 66 don't disquiet her, she is not very well, and is taking a nap.” By these methods he' imposes, on the dispenser, and gets a dole for his absent wife; though, usually, none was given but to those who came in person-and in order to this, the greatest caution was commonly used. See l. 97, 8.
The violent hurry which this impostor appears to be in (1. 125.) was, no doubt, occasioned by his fear of a discovery, if he staid too long.
Thus doth our poet satirize, not only the meanness of the rich in coming to the sportula, but the tricks and shifts which they made use of to get at the contents of it.
127. The day itself, &c.] The poct having satirized the mean avarice of the higher sort, now proceeds to ridicule their idle ran. ner of spending time.
128. The sportula.] See before, l. 95. The day began with attending on this.
The forum.] The common place where courts of justice were kept, and matters of judgment pleaded. Hither they next resorted to entertain themselves with hearing the causes which were there debated.
-Apollo learned in the law.] Augustus built and dedicated a temple and library to Apollo, in his palace on mount Palatine; in which were large collections of law-books, as well as the works of all the famous authors in Rome. Hor. lib. i. epist. iii. 1. 16, 17, mentions this
Et tangere vitat Scripta Palatinus quæcunque recepit Apollo. But I should rather think, that the poet means here the forum which Augustus built, where, it is said, there was an ivory statue of Apollo, which Juvenal represents as learned in the law, from the constant pleadings of the lawyers in that place. Here idle people used to lounge away their time.
129. The triumphals.] The statues of heroes, and kings, and other great men who had triumphed over the enemies of the state. These were placed in great numbers in the forum of Augustus, and in other public parts of the city.
An Ægyptian, &c.] Some obscure low wretch, who for no desert, but only on account of his wealth, had his statue placed there.
130. An Arabian præfect.] Arabarches—So Pompey is called by