Horace Odes 3.5

Phoebus Apollo

Civis Illustris
milesne Crassi coniuge barbara
turpis maritus vixit et hostium -
pro curia inversique mores! -
consenuit socerorum in armis

sub rege Medo Marsus et Apulus,
anciliorum et nominis et togae
oblitus aeternaeque Vestae,
incolumi Iove et urbe Roma?

I'm struggling to see how 'Marsus et Apulus' is supposed to be interpreted. So far my translation is:

'Has the soldier of Crassus lived as a disgraced husband with a barbarian wife and - shame on the senate-house and its perverted ways! -...'

After this, I am note sure what is the subject of consenuit - is it the 'miles' or is it 'Marsus et Apulus'? Also I am unclear whether Marsus and Apulus are to be taken separately from the miles or whether they are in fact adjectives describing the miles ('Marsian and Apulian')?

David West's translation is throwing me off and I haven't found any others which elucidate the grammar. He translates:

'Has the soldier of Crassus lived in disgrace as the husband of a barbarian wife, and have Marsian and Apulian grown old - shame on the Senate and our changed ways - serving the kind of the Medes, bearing arms for their enemies, their fathers-in-law...'

I'm not sure whether I'm really missing the point, but West's translation of 'Marsus et Apulus' doesn't make sense to me. I can only deduce that he's taken them as adjectives which describe the miles? ie 'and have the Marsian (soldier) and the Apulian (soldier) grown old...'. Does anyone know if this is correct?

Thank you in advance!

Edit: I can also think of one other explanation - perhaps it is 'and has he (the soldier), like the Marsians and Apulians (lit: 'like a Marsian (soldier) and Apulian (soldier)'), grown old under the King of the Medes, in the service of their (his?) enemies, their (his?) fathers-in-law...'
 

Dantius

Homo Sapiens
Staff member
I think milesne Crassi is the subject of vixit, and Marsus et Apulus is the subject of consenuit. All 3 nouns are used collectively through a poetic construction ("the soldiers", "the Marsians" and "the Apulians") and technically all refer to the same group (the Italian soldiers serving under Crassus). The passage is referring to the fact that after Crassus was defeated by the Parthians at Carrhae, 10,000 Romans/Italians were taken alive and married Parthian women.

The sense is "Have the soldiers of Crassus lived as disgraced husbands with barbarian wives, and have Marsians and Apulians grown old under a Medan (i.e. Parthian) king in the service of hostile/enemy fathers-in-law?" (fathers-in-law, since the Italians married the Parthian daughters).
Technically, the sense would be essentially the same without Marsus et Apulus, but those words are mainly included to make the juxtaposition between the Parthians (Medo) and the Italians (Marsus et Apulus) more powerful.
 
Top