Opus Aldonis

New Member

I recently read the Spanish version of Marguerite Yourcenar’s Mémoires d’Hadrian and I ran into the translation of Hadrian’s famous epitaph. Unlike the Spanish translation, I think that PALLIDULA RIGIDA NUDULA refer to the soul and not to the LOCA. In my own analysis I don’t find any (grammatical) reason why I couldn´t be so. Actually, I find more reasons to think that these words refer to the soul and not otherwise:

Animula vagula blandula
Hospes comesque corporis
Quae nunc abibis in loca
Pallidula rigida nudula
Nec ut soles dabis iocos.

A. The epitaph’s composition
1 2 3
1 2 3

B. To my limited understanding of the Latin language, it makes somehow more sense that the soul goes to places in the state of being pale, hard and nude/bare and not that the soul goes to places that are pale, hard and nude/bare themselves.

Am I missing something? Is there something in the grammar that wouldn’t allow this interpretation?

Thank you all for your feedback. I am a new member.

@Pacifica: In an earlier post, you mentioned this possibility as well:

Etaoin Shrdlu

I think what goes against your interpretation is that it leaves loca looking a bit pointless.
Quae nunc in Abibis loca is a question? I.e Into what place will you now go? i.e where will you go?

With this interpretation pallidula rigidula nudula does go with animula.
With that interpretation the following nec clause looks odd.
It's a continuation of the question.

Little wandering gentle soul
Guest and companion of body
Where will you go now? (That you are)
Pale hard and nude.
And will you not make jokes as usual?

Biggest problem I can see is "nunc" if he's addressing his soul he is still alive, unless he's addressing the soul at the moment of departure from the body.

Might be clutching at straws here.


Civis Illustris
I think what goes against your interpretation is that it leaves loca looking a bit pointless.
Consentio tecum. Mihi quoque persuasum est adiectiva PALLIDULA RIGIDA NUDULA attribuenda esse verbo "LOCA"; nam loca si attributis illis adiectivis carerent, incerta et inania viderentur. Ecce exemplum (Cic. Tusc. 1, 48):
Acherusia templa alta Orci, pallida leti, obnubila tenebris loca