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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



6704
Horace, Odes, 3.29


nanFORTUNE Maecenas, son of Etruscan kings, a jar of mellow wine, that nobody’s touched, awaits you, at my house, and with rose-petals, and balsam, for your hair, squeezed from the press. Escape from what delays you: don’t always be thinking of moist Tibur, and of Aefula’s sloping fields, and of the towering heights of Telegonus, who killed his father. Forget the fastidiousness of riches, and those efforts to climb to the lofty clouds, stop being so amazed by the smoke, and the wealth, and the noise, of thriving Rome. A change usually pleases the rich: a meal that’s simple beneath a poor man’s humble roof, without the tapestries and purple, smooths the furrows on a wrinkled forehead. Already Cepheus, Andromeda’s bright father, shows his hidden fires, and now Procyonrages, and Leo’s furious stars, as the sun returns with his parching days: Now the shepherd, with his listless flock, searches for the shade, and the stream and the thickets of shaggy Silvanus, the silent banks lack even the breath of a wandering breeze. You’re worrying about state politics, and, anxious about the City, you’re fretting what the Seres, and Bactra, Cyrusonce ruled, and troublesome Don, are plotting. The wise god buries the future’s outcome deep in shadowy night, and smiles at those mortals who are agitated far beyond what’s sensible. Remember, with calmness, reconcile yourself to what is: the rest is carried along like a river, gliding now, peacefully, in mid-stream, and down to the Tuscan Sea, now rolling around polished stones, uprooted trees, the flocks, and homes together, with the echoes from the mountains, and the neighbouring woods, while the wild deluge stirs the peaceful tributaries. He’s happy, he’s his own master, who can say each day: ‘I’ve lived: tomorrow, the Father may fill the heavens with darkening cloud, or fill the sky with radiant sunshine: yet he can’t render whatever is past as null and void, he can never seek to alter, or return and undo, whatever the fleeting moment tosses behind it. Fortune takes delight in her cruel business, determined to play her extravagant games, and she alters her fickle esteem, now kind to me, and, now, to some other. I praise her while she’s here: but if she flutters her swift wings, I resign the gifts she gave, wrap myself in virtue, and woo honest Poverty, even though she’s no dowry. When the masts are groaning in African gales, it’s not for me to ask in wretched prayer, that my Cyprian and Tyrianwares should be saved entire not add new wealth to the greedy sea: and then the light breezes, Pollux, and Castor his brother, carry me safely through the stormy Aegean, all with the aid of my double-oared skiff.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

13 results
1. Cicero, Letters To His Friends, 5.12.4 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2. Polybius, Histories, 2.56 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

2.56. 1.  Since, among those authors who were contemporaries of Aratus, Phylarchus, who on many points is at variance and in contradiction with him, is by some received as trustworthy,,2.  it will be useful or rather necessary for me, as I have chosen to rely on Aratus' narrative for the history of the Cleomenic war, not to leave the question of their relative credibility undiscussed, so that truth and falsehood in their writings may no longer be of equal authority.,3.  In general Phylarchus through his whole work makes many random and careless statements;,4.  but while perhaps it is not necessary for me at present to criticize in detail the rest of these, I must minutely examine such as relate to events occurring in the period with which I am now dealing, that of the Cleomenic war.,5.  This partial examination will however be quite sufficient to convey an idea of the general purpose and character of his work.,6.  Wishing, for instance, to insist on the cruelty of Antigonus and the Macedonians and also on that of Aratus and the Achaeans, he tells us that the Mantineans, when they surrendered, were exposed to terrible sufferings and that such were the misfortunes that overtook this, the most ancient and greatest city in Arcadia, as to impress deeply and move to tears all the Greeks.,7.  In his eagerness to arouse the pity and attention of his readers he treats us to a picture of clinging women with their hair dishevelled and their breasts bare, or again of crowds of both sexes together with their children and aged parents weeping and lamenting as they are led away to slavery.,8.  This sort of thing he keeps up throughout his history, always trying to bring horrors vividly before our eyes.,9.  Leaving aside the ignoble and womanish character of such a treatment of his subject, let us consider how far it is proper or serviceable to history.,10.  A historical author should not try to thrill his readers by such exaggerated pictures, nor should he, like a tragic poet, try to imagine the probable utterances of his characters or reckon up all the consequences probably incidental to the occurrences with which he deals, but simply record what really happened and what really was said, however commonplace.,11.  For the object of tragedy is not the same as that of history but quite the opposite. The tragic poet should thrill and charm his audience for the moment by the verisimilitude of the words he puts into his characters' mouths, but it is the task of the historian to instruct and convince for all time serious students by the truth of the facts and the speeches he narrates,,12.  since in the one case it is the probable that takes precedence, even if it be untrue, in the other it is the truth, the purpose being to confer benefit on learners.,13.  Apart from this, Phylarchus simply narrates most of such catastrophes and does not even suggest their causes or the nature of these causes, without which it is impossible in any case to feel either legitimate pity or proper anger.,14.  Who, for instance, does not think it an outrage for a free man to be beaten? but if this happen to one who was the first to resort to violence, we consider that he got only his desert, while where it is done for the purpose of correction or discipline, those who strike free men are not only excused but deemed worthy of thanks and praise.,15.  Again, to kill a citizen is considered the greatest of crimes and that deserving the highest penalty, but obviously he who kills a thief or adulterer is left untouched, and the slayer of a traitor or tyrant everywhere meets with honour and distinction.,16.  So in every such case the final criterion of good and evil lies not in what is done, but in the different reasons and different purposes of the doer.
3. Anon., Rhetorica Ad Herennium, 4.51 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4.51.  Vivid Description is the name for the figure which contains a clear, lucid, and impressive exposition of the consequences of an act, as follows: "But, men of the jury, if by your votes you free this defendant, immediately, like a lion released from his cage, or some foul beast loosed from his chains, he will slink and prowl about in the forum, sharpening his teeth to attack every one's property, assaulting every man, friend and enemy, known to him or unknown, now despoiling a good name, now attacking a life, now bringing ruin upon a house and its entire household, shaking the republic from its foundations. Therefore, men of the jury, cast him out from the state, free every one from fear, and finally, think of yourselves. For if you release this creature without punishment, believe me, gentlemen, it is against yourselves that you will have let loose a wild and savage beast." Again: "For if you inflict a heavy penalty upon the defendant, men of the jury, you will at once by a single judgement have taken many lives. His aged father, who has set the entire hope of his last years on this young man, will have no reason for wishing to stay alive. His small children, deprived of their father's aid, will be exposed as objects of scorn and contempt to their father's enemies. His entire household will collapse under this undeserved calamity. But his enemies, when once they have won the bloody palm by the most cruel of victories, will exult over the miseries of these unfortunates, and will be found insolent on the score of deeds as well as of words." Again: "For none of you, fellow citizens, fails to see what miseries usually follow upon the capture of a city. Those who have borne arms against the victors are forthwith slain with extreme cruelty. of the rest, those who by reason of youth and strength can endure hard labour are carried off into slavery, and those who cannot are deprived of life. In short, at one and the same time a house blazes up by the enemy's torch, and they whom nature or free choice has joined in the bonds of kinship or of sympathy are dragged apart. of the children, some are torn from their parents' arms, others murdered on their parents' bosom, still others violated at their parents' feet. No one, men of the jury, can, by words, do justice to the deed, nor reproduce in language the magnitude of the disaster." With this kind of figure either indignation or pity can be aroused, when the consequences of an act, taken together as a whole, are concisely set forth in a clear style.
4. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 17.13, 19.6-19.8, 20.71 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

17.13. 1.  So while the city was being taken, many and varied were the scenes of destruction within the walls. Enraged by the arrogance of the Theban proclamation, the Macedonians pressed upon them more furiously than is usual in war, and shrieking curses flung themselves on the wretched people, slaying all whom they met without sparing any.,2.  The Thebans, for their part, clinging desperately to their forlorn hope of victory, counted their lives as nothing and when they met a foeman, grappled with him and drew his blows upon themselves. In the capture of the city, no Theban was seen begging the Macedonians to spare his life, nor did they in ignoble fashion fall and cling to the knees of their conquerors.,3.  But neither did the agony of courage elicit pity from the foe nor did the day's length suffice for the cruelty of their vengeance. All the city was pillaged. Everywhere boys and girls were dragged into captivity as they wailed piteously the names of their mothers. In sum, households were seized with all their members, and the city's enslavement was complete.,4.  of the men who remained, some, wounded and dying, grappled with the foe and were slain themselves as they destroyed their enemy; others, supported only by a shattered spear, went to meet their assailants and, in their supreme struggle, held freedom dearer than life.,5.  As the slaughter mounted and every corner of the city was piled high with corpses, no one could have failed to pity the plight of the unfortunates. For even Greeks — Thespians, Plataeans and Orchomenians and some others hostile to the Thebans who had joined the king in the campaign — invaded the city along with him and now demonstrated their own hatred amid the calamities of the unfortunate victims.,6.  So it was that many terrible things befell the city. Greeks were mercilessly slain by Greeks, relatives were butchered by their own relatives, and even a common dialect induced no pity. In the end, when night finally intervened, the houses had been plundered and children and women and aged persons who had fled into the temples were torn from sanctuary and subjected to outrage without limit. 19.6. 1.  Agathocles, who was greedy for power, had many advantages for the accomplishment of his design. Not only as general was he in command of the army, but moreover, when news came that some rebels were assembling an army in the interior near Erbita, without rousing suspicion he obtained authority to enrol as soldiers what men he chose.,2.  Thus by feigning a campaign against Erbita he enrolled in the army the men of Morgantina and the other cities of the interior who had previously served with him against the Carthaginians.,3.  All these were very firmly attached to Agathocles, having received many benefits from him during the campaigns, but they were unceasingly hostile to the Six Hundred, who had been magistrates of the oligarchy in Syracuse, and hated the populace in general because they were forced to carry out its orders. These soldiers numbered about three thousand, being both by inclination and by deliberate choice most suitable tools for the overthrow of the democracy. To them he added those of the citizens who because of poverty and envy were hostile to the pretensions of the powerful.,4.  As soon as he had everything ready, he ordered the soldiers to report at daybreak at the Timoleontium; and he himself summoned Peisarchus and Diocles, who were regarded as the leaders of the society of the Six Hundred, as if he wished to consult them on some matter of common interest. When they had come bringing with them some forty of their friends, Agathocles, pretending that he himself was being plotted against, arrested all of them, accused them before the soldiers, saying that he was being seized by the Six Hundred because of his sympathy for the common people, and bewailed his fate.,5.  When, however, the mob was aroused and with a shout urged him not to delay but to inflict the just penalty on the wrongdoers out of hand, he gave orders to the trumpeters to give the signal for battle and to the soldiers to kill the guilty persons and to plunder the property of the Six Hundred and their supporters.,6.  All rushed out to take part in the plunder, and the city was filled with confusion and great calamity; for the members of the aristocratic class, not knowing the destruction that had been ordained for them, were dashing out of their homes into the streets in their eagerness to learn the cause of the tumult, and the soldiers, made savage both by greed and by anger, kept killing these men who, in their ignorance of the situation, were presenting their bodies bare of any arms that would protect them. 19.7. 1.  The narrow passages were severally occupied by soldiers, and the victims were murdered, some in the streets, some in their houses. Many, too, against whom there had been no charge whatever, were slain when they sought to learn the cause of the massacre. For the armed mob having seized power did not distinguish between friend and foe, but the man from whom it had concluded most profit was to be gained, him it regarded as an enemy.,2.  Therefore one could see the whole city filled with outrage, slaughter, and all manner of lawlessness. For some men because of long-existing hatred abstained from no form of insult against the objects of their enmity now that they had the opportunity to accomplish whatever seemed to gratify their rage; others, thinking by the slaughter of the wealthy to redress their own poverty, left no means untried for their destruction.,3.  Some broke down the doors of houses, others mounted to the housetops on ladders, still others struggled against men who were defending themselves from the roofs; not even to those who fled into the temples did their prayers to the gods bring safety, but reverence due the gods was overthrown by men.,4.  In time of peace and in their own city Greeks dared commit these crimes against Greeks, relatives against kinsfolk, respecting neither common humanity nor solemn compacts nor gods, crimes such that there is no one — I do not say no friend but not even any deadly enemy if he but have a spark of compassion in his soul — who would not pity the fate of the victims. 19.8. 1.  All the gates of the city were closed, and more than four thousand persons were slain on that day whose only crime was to be of gentler birth than the others. of those who fled, some who rushed for the gates were arrested, while others who cast themselves from the walls escaped to the neighbouring cities; some, however, who in panic cast themselves down before they looked, crashed headlong to their doom.,2.  The number of those who were driven from their native city was more than six thousand, most of whom fled to the people of Acragas where they were accorded proper care.,3.  The party of Agathocles spent the day in the murder of their fellow citizens, nor did they abstain from outrage and crime against women, but they thought that those who had escaped death would be sufficiently punished by the violation of their kindred. For it was reasonable to suppose that the husbands and fathers would suffer something worse than death when they thought of the violence done their wives and the shame inflicted upon their unmarried daughters.,4.  We must keep our accounts of these events free from the artificially tragic tone that is habitual with historians, chiefly because of our pity for the victims, but also because no one of our readers has a desire to hear all the details when his own understanding can readily supply them.,5.  For men who by day in the streets and throughout the market place were bold to butcher those who had done no harm need no writer to set forth what they did at night when by themselves in the homes, and how they conducted themselves toward orphaned maidens and toward women who were bereft of any to defend them and had fallen into the absolute power of their direst enemies.,6.  As for Agathocles, when two days had passed, since he was now sated with the slaughter of his fellow citizens, after gathering together the prisoners, he let Deinocrates go because of their former friendship, but of the others he killed those who were most bitterly hostile and exiled the rest. 20.71. 1.  When with all speed Agathocles had crossed from Libya into Sicily, he summoned a part of his army and went to the city of Segesta, which was an ally. Because he was in need of money, he forced the well-to‑do to deliver to him the greater part of their property, the city at that time having a population of about ten thousand.,2.  Since many were angry at this and were holding meetings, he charged the people of Segesta with conspiring against him and visited the city with terrible disasters. For instance, the poorest of the people he brought to a place outside the city beside the river Scamander and slaughtered them; but those who were believed to have more property he examined under torture and compelled each to tell him how much wealth he had; and some of them he broke on the wheel, others he placed bound in the catapults and shot forth, and by applying knucklebones with violence to some, he caused them severe pain.,3.  He also invented another torture similar to the bull of Phalaris: that is, he prepared a brazen bed that had the form of a human body and was surrounded on every side by bars; on this he fixed those who were being tortured and roasted them alive, the contrivance being superior to the bull in this respect, that those who perishing in anguish were visible.,4.  As for the wealthy women, he tortured some of them by crushing their ankles with iron pincers, he cut off the breasts of others, and by placing bricks on the lower part of the backs of those who were pregt, he forced the expulsion of the foetus by the pressure. While the tyrant in this way was seeking all the wealth, great panic prevailed throughout the city, some burning themselves up along with their houses, and others gaining release from life by hanging.,5.  Thus Segesta, encountering a single day of disaster, suffered the loss of all her men from youth upward. Agathocles then took the maidens and children across to Italy and sold them to the Bruttians, leaving not even the name of the city; but he changed the name to Dicaeopolis and gave it as dwelling to the deserters.
5. Horace, Odes, 1.17, 2.13, 3.16, 4.11 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.17. 6. To write concerning the Antiquities of the Jews, who they were [originally], and how they revolted from the Egyptians, and what country they traveled over, and what countries they seized upon afterward, and how they were removed out of them, I think this not to be a fit opportunity, and, on other accounts, also superfluous; and this because many Jews before me have composed the histories of our ancestors very exactly; as have some of the Greeks done it also, and have translated our histories into their own tongue, and have not much mistaken the truth in their histories. 1.17. He also parted the whole nation into five conventions, assigning one portion to Jerusalem, another to Gadara, that another should belong to Amathus, a fourth to Jericho, and to the fifth division was allotted Sepphoris, a city of Galilee. So the people were glad to be thus freed from monarchical government, and were governed for the future by an aristocracy. 2.13. who, falling upon them on the sudden, as they were offering their sacrifices, destroyed about three thousand of them; but the rest of the multitude were dispersed upon the adjoining mountains: these were followed by Archelaus’s heralds, who commanded every one to retire to their own homes, whither they all went, and left the festival. 2.13. and quietly set themselves down; upon which the baker lays them loaves in order; the cook also brings a single plate of one sort of food, and sets it before every one of them; 3.16. The city is covered all round with other mountains, and can no way be seen till a man comes just upon it. And this was the strong situation of Jotapata. 3.16. So they were easily beaten; for as soon as ever their first ranks were once in disorder, they were put to flight by the enemy’s cavalry, and those of them that came behind such as crowded to the wall fell upon their own party’s weapons, and became one another’s enemies; and this so long till they were all forced to give way to the attacks of the horsemen, and were dispersed all the plain over, which plain was wide, and all fit for the horsemen; 4.11. 3. But Vespasian removed from Emmaus, where he had last pitched his camp before the city Tiberias (now Emmaus, if it be interpreted, may be rendered “a warm bath,” for therein is a spring of warm water, useful for healing) and came to Gamala; 4.11. And indeed there was a miserable destruction made of the women and children; while some of them took courage to call their husbands and kinsmen back, and to beseech them, with the bitterest lamentations, to stay for them;
6. Martial, Epigrams, 3.58, 4.64, 10.30 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7. Martial, Epigrams, 3.58, 4.64, 10.30 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

8. Quintilian, Institutes of Oratory, 8.3.67-8.3.69 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

8.3.67.  What more would any man have seen who had actually entered the room? So, too, we may move our hearers to tears by the picture of a captured town. For the mere statement that the town was stormed, while no doubt it embraces all that such a calamity involves, has all the curtness of a dispatch, and fails to penetrate to the emotions of the hearer. 8.3.68.  But if we expand all that the one word "stormed" includes, we shall see the flames pouring from house and temple, and hear the crash of falling roofs and one confused clamour blent of many cries: we shall behold some in doubt whither to fly, others clinging to their nearest and dearest in one last embrace, while the wailing of women and children and the laments of old men that the cruelty of fate should have spared them to see that day will strike upon our ears. 8.3.69.  Then will come the pillage of treasure sacred and profane, the hurrying to and fro of the plunderers as they carry off their booty or return to seek for more, the prisoners driven each before his own inhuman captor, the mother struggling to keep her child, and the victors fighting over the richest of the spoil. For though, as I have already said, the sack of a city includes all these things, it is less effective to tell the whole news at once than to recount it detail by detail.
9. Seneca The Younger, Letters, 12 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

10. Statius, Siluae, None (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

11. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 2.17, 5.6. (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

2.17. To Gallus. You are surprised, you say, at my infatuation for my Laurentine estate, or Laurentian if you prefer it so. * You will cease to wonder when you are told the charms of the villa, the handiness of its site, and the stretch of shore it commands. It is seventeen miles distant from Rome, so that after getting through all your business, and without loss or curtailment of your working hours, you can go and stay there. It can be reached by more than one route, for the roads to Laurentum and Ostia both lead in the same direction, but you must branch off on the former at the eleventh, and on the latter at the fourteenth milestone. From both of these points onward the road is for the most part rather sandy, which makes it a tedious and lengthy journey if you drive, but if you ride it is easy going and quickly covered. The scenery on either hand is full of variety. At places the path is a narrow one with woods running down to it on both sides, at other points it passes through spreading meadows and is wide and open. You will see abundant flocks of sheep and many herds of cattle and horses, which are driven down from the high ground in the winter and grow sleek in a pasturage and a temperature like those of spring. The villa is large enough for all requirements, and is not expensive to keep in repair. At its entrance there is a modest but by no means mean-looking hall; then come the cloisters, which are rounded into the likeness of the letter D, and these enclose a smallish but handsome courtyard. They make a fine place of refuge in a storm, for they are protected by glazed windows and deep overhanging eaves. Facing the middle of the cloisters is a cheerful inner court, then comes a dining-room running down towards the shore, which is handsome enough for any one, and when the sea is disturbed by the south-west wind the room is just flecked by the spray of the spent waves. There are folding doors on all sides of it, or windows that are quite as large as such doors, and so from the two sides and the front it commands a prospect as it were of three seas, while at the back one can see through the inner court, the cloisters, the courtyard, then more cloisters and the hall, and through them the woods and the distant hills. A little farther back, on the left-hand side, is a spacious chamber; then a smaller one which admits the rising sun by one window and by another enjoys his last lingering rays as he sets, and this room also commands a view of the sea that lies beneath it, at a longer but more secure distance. An angle is formed by this chamber and the dining-room, which catches and concentrates the purest rays of the sun. This forms the winter apartments and exercise ground for my household. No wind penetrates thither except those which bring up rain-clouds and only prevent the place being used when they take away the fine weather. Adjoining this angle is a chamber with one wall rounded like a bay, which catches the sun on all its windows as he moves through the heavens. In the wall of this room I have had shelves placed like a library, which contains the volumes which I not only read, but read over and over again. Next to it is a sleeping chamber, through a passage supported by pillars and fitted with pipes which catch the hot air and circulate it from place to place, keeping the rooms at a healthy temperature. The remaining part of this side of the villa is appropriated to the use of my slaves and freedmen, most of the rooms being sufficiently well furnished for the reception of guests. On the other side of the building there is a nicely decorated chamber, then another room which would serve either as a large bed-chamber or a moderate sized dining-room, as it enjoys plenty of sunshine and an extensive sea-view. Behind this is an apartment with an ante-room, suitable for summer use because of its height, and for winter use owing to it sheltered position, for it is out of reach of all winds. Another room with an ante-room is joined to this by a common wall. Next to it is the cold bath room, a spacious and wide chamber, with two curved swimming baths thrown out as it were from opposite sides of the room and facing one another. They hold plenty of water if you consider how close the sea is. ** Adjoining this room is the anointing room, then the sweating room, and then the heating room, from which you pass to two chambers of graceful rather than sumptuous proportions. Attached to these is a warm swimming bath which everybody admires, and from it those who are taking a swim can command a view of the sea. Close by is the ball court, which receives the warmest rays of the afternoon sun; on one side a tower has been built with two sitting rooms on the ground floor, two more on the first floor, and above them a dining-room commanding a wide expanse of sea, a long stretch of shore, and the pleasantest villas of the neighbourhood. There is also a second tower, containing a bedroom which gets the sun morning and evening, and a spacious wine cellar and store-room at the back of it. On the floor beneath is a sitting-room where, even when the sea is stormy, you hear the roar and thunder only in subdued and dying murmurs. It looks out upon the exercise ground, which runs round the garden. This exercise ground has a border of boxwood, or rosemary where the box does not grow well - for box thrives admirably when it is sheltered by buildings, but where it is fully exposed to wind and weather and to the spray of the sea, though it stands at a great distance therefrom, it is apt to shrivel. On the inside ring of the exercise ground is a pretty and shady alley of vines, which is soft and yielding even to the bare foot. The garden itself is clad with a number of mulberry and fig-trees, the soil being especially suitable for the former trees, though it is not so kindly to the others. On this side, the dining-room away from the sea commands as fine a view as that of the sea itself. It is closed in behind by two day-rooms, from the windows of which can be seen the entrance to the villa from the road and another garden as rich as the first one but not so ornamental. Along its side stretches a covered portico, almost long enough for a public building. It has windows on both sides, most of them facing the sea; those looking on the garden are single ones, and less numerous than those on the other side, as every alternate window was left out. All these are kept open when it is a fine day and there is no wind; when the wind is high, the windows only on the sheltered side are opened and no harm is done. † In front of the portico is a terrace walk that is fragrant with violets. The portico increases the warmth of the sun by radiation, and retains the heat just as it keeps off and breaks the force of the north wind. Hence it is as warm in front as it is cool behind. In the same way it checks the south-west winds, and similarly with all winds from whatever quarter they blow - it tempers them and stops them dead. This is its charm in winter, but in summer it is even greater, for in the mornings its shade tempers the heat of the terrace walk, and in the afternoon the heat of the exercise ground and the nearest part of the garden, the shadows falling longer and shorter on the two sides respectively as the sun rises to his meridian and sinks to his setting. Indeed, the portico has least sunshine when the sun is blazing down upon its roof. Consequently it receives the west winds through its open windows and circulates them through the building, and so never becomes oppressive through the stuffy air remaining within it. At the head of the terrace and portico successively is a garden suite of rooms, my favourite spot and well worthy of being so. I had them built myself. In this is a sunny chamber which commands the terrace on one side, the sea on another, and the sun on both; besides an apartment which looks on the portico through folding doors and on the sea through a window. In the middle of the wall is a neat recess, which by means of glazed windows and curtains can either be thrown into the adjoining room or be cut off from it. It holds a couch and two easy-chairs, and as you lie on the couch you have the sea at your feet, the villa at your back, and the woods at your head, and all these views may be looked at separately from each window or blended into one prospect. Adjoining is a chamber for passing the night in or taking a nap, and unless the windows are open, you do not hear a sound either of your slaves talking, or the murmur of the sea, or the raging of the storms; nor do you see the flashes of the lightning or know that it is day. This deep seclusion and remoteness is due to the fact that an intervening passage separates the wall of the chamber from that of the garden, and so all the sound is dissipated in the empty space between. A very small heating apparatus has been fitted to the room, which, by means of a narrow trap-door, either diffuses or retains the hot air as may be required. Adjoining it is an ante-room and a chamber projected towards the sun, which the latter room catches immediately upon his rising, and retains his rays beyond mid-day though they fall aslant upon it. When I betake myself into this sitting-room, I seem to be quite away even from my villa, and I find it delightful to sit there, especially during the Saturnalia, when all the rest of the house rings with the merriment and shouts of the festival-makers; for then I do not interfere with their amusements, and they do not distract me from my studies. The convenience and charm of the situation of my villa have one drawback in that it contains no running water, but I draw my supply from wells or rather fountains, for they are situated at a high level. Indeed, it is one of the curious characteristics of the shore here that wherever you dig you find moisture ready to hand, and the water is quite fresh and not even brackish in the slightest degree, though the sea is so close by. The neighbouring woods furnish us with abundance of fuel, and other supplies we get from the colony of Ostia. The village, which is separated only by one residence from my own, supplies my modest wants; it boasts of three public baths, which are a great convenience, when you do not feel inclined to heat your own bath at home, if you arrive unexpectedly or wish to save time. The shore is beautified by a most pleasing variety of villa buildings, some of which are close together, while others have great intervals between them. They give the appearance of a number of cities, whether you view them from the sea or from the shore itself, and the sands of the latter are sometimes loosened by a long spell of quiet weather, or - as more often happens - are hardened by the constant beating of the waves. The sea does not indeed abound with fish of any value, but it yields excellent soles and prawns. Yet our villa provides us with plenty of inland produce and especially milk, for the herds come down to us from the pastures whenever they seek water or shade. Well, do you think that I have just reasons for living here, for passing my time here, and for loving a retreat for which your mouth must be watering, unless you are a confirmed town-bird? I wish that your mouth did water! If it did, the many great charms of my little villa would be enhanced in the highest degree by your company. Farewell.
12. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 2.17, 5.6. (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

2.17. To Gallus. You are surprised, you say, at my infatuation for my Laurentine estate, or Laurentian if you prefer it so. * You will cease to wonder when you are told the charms of the villa, the handiness of its site, and the stretch of shore it commands. It is seventeen miles distant from Rome, so that after getting through all your business, and without loss or curtailment of your working hours, you can go and stay there. It can be reached by more than one route, for the roads to Laurentum and Ostia both lead in the same direction, but you must branch off on the former at the eleventh, and on the latter at the fourteenth milestone. From both of these points onward the road is for the most part rather sandy, which makes it a tedious and lengthy journey if you drive, but if you ride it is easy going and quickly covered. The scenery on either hand is full of variety. At places the path is a narrow one with woods running down to it on both sides, at other points it passes through spreading meadows and is wide and open. You will see abundant flocks of sheep and many herds of cattle and horses, which are driven down from the high ground in the winter and grow sleek in a pasturage and a temperature like those of spring. The villa is large enough for all requirements, and is not expensive to keep in repair. At its entrance there is a modest but by no means mean-looking hall; then come the cloisters, which are rounded into the likeness of the letter D, and these enclose a smallish but handsome courtyard. They make a fine place of refuge in a storm, for they are protected by glazed windows and deep overhanging eaves. Facing the middle of the cloisters is a cheerful inner court, then comes a dining-room running down towards the shore, which is handsome enough for any one, and when the sea is disturbed by the south-west wind the room is just flecked by the spray of the spent waves. There are folding doors on all sides of it, or windows that are quite as large as such doors, and so from the two sides and the front it commands a prospect as it were of three seas, while at the back one can see through the inner court, the cloisters, the courtyard, then more cloisters and the hall, and through them the woods and the distant hills. A little farther back, on the left-hand side, is a spacious chamber; then a smaller one which admits the rising sun by one window and by another enjoys his last lingering rays as he sets, and this room also commands a view of the sea that lies beneath it, at a longer but more secure distance. An angle is formed by this chamber and the dining-room, which catches and concentrates the purest rays of the sun. This forms the winter apartments and exercise ground for my household. No wind penetrates thither except those which bring up rain-clouds and only prevent the place being used when they take away the fine weather. Adjoining this angle is a chamber with one wall rounded like a bay, which catches the sun on all its windows as he moves through the heavens. In the wall of this room I have had shelves placed like a library, which contains the volumes which I not only read, but read over and over again. Next to it is a sleeping chamber, through a passage supported by pillars and fitted with pipes which catch the hot air and circulate it from place to place, keeping the rooms at a healthy temperature. The remaining part of this side of the villa is appropriated to the use of my slaves and freedmen, most of the rooms being sufficiently well furnished for the reception of guests. On the other side of the building there is a nicely decorated chamber, then another room which would serve either as a large bed-chamber or a moderate sized dining-room, as it enjoys plenty of sunshine and an extensive sea-view. Behind this is an apartment with an ante-room, suitable for summer use because of its height, and for winter use owing to it sheltered position, for it is out of reach of all winds. Another room with an ante-room is joined to this by a common wall. Next to it is the cold bath room, a spacious and wide chamber, with two curved swimming baths thrown out as it were from opposite sides of the room and facing one another. They hold plenty of water if you consider how close the sea is. ** Adjoining this room is the anointing room, then the sweating room, and then the heating room, from which you pass to two chambers of graceful rather than sumptuous proportions. Attached to these is a warm swimming bath which everybody admires, and from it those who are taking a swim can command a view of the sea. Close by is the ball court, which receives the warmest rays of the afternoon sun; on one side a tower has been built with two sitting rooms on the ground floor, two more on the first floor, and above them a dining-room commanding a wide expanse of sea, a long stretch of shore, and the pleasantest villas of the neighbourhood. There is also a second tower, containing a bedroom which gets the sun morning and evening, and a spacious wine cellar and store-room at the back of it. On the floor beneath is a sitting-room where, even when the sea is stormy, you hear the roar and thunder only in subdued and dying murmurs. It looks out upon the exercise ground, which runs round the garden. This exercise ground has a border of boxwood, or rosemary where the box does not grow well - for box thrives admirably when it is sheltered by buildings, but where it is fully exposed to wind and weather and to the spray of the sea, though it stands at a great distance therefrom, it is apt to shrivel. On the inside ring of the exercise ground is a pretty and shady alley of vines, which is soft and yielding even to the bare foot. The garden itself is clad with a number of mulberry and fig-trees, the soil being especially suitable for the former trees, though it is not so kindly to the others. On this side, the dining-room away from the sea commands as fine a view as that of the sea itself. It is closed in behind by two day-rooms, from the windows of which can be seen the entrance to the villa from the road and another garden as rich as the first one but not so ornamental. Along its side stretches a covered portico, almost long enough for a public building. It has windows on both sides, most of them facing the sea; those looking on the garden are single ones, and less numerous than those on the other side, as every alternate window was left out. All these are kept open when it is a fine day and there is no wind; when the wind is high, the windows only on the sheltered side are opened and no harm is done. † In front of the portico is a terrace walk that is fragrant with violets. The portico increases the warmth of the sun by radiation, and retains the heat just as it keeps off and breaks the force of the north wind. Hence it is as warm in front as it is cool behind. In the same way it checks the south-west winds, and similarly with all winds from whatever quarter they blow - it tempers them and stops them dead. This is its charm in winter, but in summer it is even greater, for in the mornings its shade tempers the heat of the terrace walk, and in the afternoon the heat of the exercise ground and the nearest part of the garden, the shadows falling longer and shorter on the two sides respectively as the sun rises to his meridian and sinks to his setting. Indeed, the portico has least sunshine when the sun is blazing down upon its roof. Consequently it receives the west winds through its open windows and circulates them through the building, and so never becomes oppressive through the stuffy air remaining within it. At the head of the terrace and portico successively is a garden suite of rooms, my favourite spot and well worthy of being so. I had them built myself. In this is a sunny chamber which commands the terrace on one side, the sea on another, and the sun on both; besides an apartment which looks on the portico through folding doors and on the sea through a window. In the middle of the wall is a neat recess, which by means of glazed windows and curtains can either be thrown into the adjoining room or be cut off from it. It holds a couch and two easy-chairs, and as you lie on the couch you have the sea at your feet, the villa at your back, and the woods at your head, and all these views may be looked at separately from each window or blended into one prospect. Adjoining is a chamber for passing the night in or taking a nap, and unless the windows are open, you do not hear a sound either of your slaves talking, or the murmur of the sea, or the raging of the storms; nor do you see the flashes of the lightning or know that it is day. This deep seclusion and remoteness is due to the fact that an intervening passage separates the wall of the chamber from that of the garden, and so all the sound is dissipated in the empty space between. A very small heating apparatus has been fitted to the room, which, by means of a narrow trap-door, either diffuses or retains the hot air as may be required. Adjoining it is an ante-room and a chamber projected towards the sun, which the latter room catches immediately upon his rising, and retains his rays beyond mid-day though they fall aslant upon it. When I betake myself into this sitting-room, I seem to be quite away even from my villa, and I find it delightful to sit there, especially during the Saturnalia, when all the rest of the house rings with the merriment and shouts of the festival-makers; for then I do not interfere with their amusements, and they do not distract me from my studies. The convenience and charm of the situation of my villa have one drawback in that it contains no running water, but I draw my supply from wells or rather fountains, for they are situated at a high level. Indeed, it is one of the curious characteristics of the shore here that wherever you dig you find moisture ready to hand, and the water is quite fresh and not even brackish in the slightest degree, though the sea is so close by. The neighbouring woods furnish us with abundance of fuel, and other supplies we get from the colony of Ostia. The village, which is separated only by one residence from my own, supplies my modest wants; it boasts of three public baths, which are a great convenience, when you do not feel inclined to heat your own bath at home, if you arrive unexpectedly or wish to save time. The shore is beautified by a most pleasing variety of villa buildings, some of which are close together, while others have great intervals between them. They give the appearance of a number of cities, whether you view them from the sea or from the shore itself, and the sands of the latter are sometimes loosened by a long spell of quiet weather, or - as more often happens - are hardened by the constant beating of the waves. The sea does not indeed abound with fish of any value, but it yields excellent soles and prawns. Yet our villa provides us with plenty of inland produce and especially milk, for the herds come down to us from the pastures whenever they seek water or shade. Well, do you think that I have just reasons for living here, for passing my time here, and for loving a retreat for which your mouth must be watering, unless you are a confirmed town-bird? I wish that your mouth did water! If it did, the many great charms of my little villa would be enhanced in the highest degree by your company. Farewell.
13. Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters, 2.2, 2.9 (5th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
ammianus marcellinus Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
apollinaris (uncle) Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 27; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 27
audience, twofold, of the epistles Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 161
augustine, st, city of god Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
augustine, st, on rhetoric Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
epicureanism, and self-sufficiency Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 161
epistles i, publication date of Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 162
epistles i Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 161, 162
expiation, as purification Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 162
ferreolus Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 27; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 27
four empire theory Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 146
horace Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 27; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 27
maecenas, invitations to Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 162
maecenas, relationship with horace Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 161, 162
marble Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 27; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 27
martial Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 27; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 27
otium' Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 27
otium Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 27
pax augusta Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 162
pax deorum, and the pax augusta Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 162
providence Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
recusatio, epistolary Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 162
rhetoric, of expenditure Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 162
sabine farm, the, as metaphor Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 162
second sophistic Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
seneca Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 27; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 27
statius Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 27; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 27
suetonius, biography of horace Bowditch, Cicero on the Philosophy of Religion: On the Nature of the Gods and On Divination (2001) 162
varius rufus Konstan and Garani, The Philosophizing Muse: The Influence of Greek Philosophy on Roman Poetry (2014) 97
vergil, aeneid Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
vergil Van Nuffelen, Orosius and the Rhetoric of History (2012) 11
virtue, (personified) virtue Konstan and Garani, The Philosophizing Muse: The Influence of Greek Philosophy on Roman Poetry (2014) 97