Reading Martial (general thread)

Serenus

legātus armisonus
I wasn't sure where to post this, but I figured I wouldn't want to post it in that wonderful thread of vowel length minimal pairs, so I opened this general thread for Martial.
pedes 'on foot', 'foot soldier' (nom. sg.; gen. peditis)
pedēs 'feet' (nom. pl. of pēs, pedis); 'lice' (from pedis, pedis); 2sg. subj. of pedō, -āre 'furnish with feet' (rare)
pēdēs 2sg. fut. of pēdō, pepēdi, pēditum 'fart'

cf. also peda 'footstep' (rare), pedō, -ōnis 'someone with broad feet' (also a surname), pedum, -ī 'shepherd's crook', Pedum, -ī (name of a town), which lead to:
pedis ('of the foot')
pēdis ('you sg. fart')
pedīs (dat./abl. pl. 'with footsteps', dat./abl. pl. 'with shepherd's crooks', acc. pl. 'lice')

peda 'footstep' vs. pēdā 'fart!'

pedō 'to/with a shepherd's crook', 'flat-footed' (or from the place name), 'I furnish with feet' vs. pēdō 'I fart'

and so on... whew.
I thought of this post of yours today when I came across Martial's Epigram 12.40, clearly attesting pēdis 'you fart':

Mentīris, crēdō. Recitās mala carmina, laudō.
 Cantās, cantŏ. Bibis, / Pontiliāne, bibō.
Pēdis, dissimulō. Gemmā vīs lūdere, vincor.
 Rēs ūna est sine mē / quam facis, et taceō.
Nīl tamen omnīnō praestās mihi. "Mortuus", inquis,
 "accipiam bene tē". / Nīl volŏ, sed morere.

Also, in theory, a pentametre can have a light syllable at the end, even if it's very uncommon... I'm sitting here wondering whether Martial may have written Nīl volŏ, sed morier, though. That is, not "I want nothing; just die", but rather, "I want nothing except death" (because you don't reciprocate the kindness I give you).
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Also, in theory, a pentametre can have a light syllable at the end, even if it's very uncommon
Not *very* uncommon ... there just aren't to many words that don't finish in a long vowel or a closed short syllable.
Ovid finished quite a few of his pentameters in pede as far as I remember.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

Civis Illustris
I'm sitting here wondering whether Martial may have written Nīl volŏ, sed morier, though. That is, not "I want nothing; just die", but rather, "I want nothing except death" (because you don't reciprocate the kindness I give you).
That reading seems much less pointed to me. My interpretation of the poem is that it's written from the point of view of someone who puts up with a completely one-sided friendship because they're hoping to inherit something from the bastard. Consequently, the one thing they really want is for them to die. I suppose I might be reading too much into this, though. What do others think?
 

rothbard

Civis Illustris
Staff member
That reading seems much less pointed to me. My interpretation of the poem is that it's written from the point of view of someone who puts up with a completely one-sided friendship because they're hoping to inherit something from the bastard. Consequently, the one thing they really want is for them to die. I suppose I might be reading too much into this, though. What do others think?
The edition "in usum Delphini" agrees with your interpretation:

1602326863605.png
 

Serenus

legātus armisonus
Not *very* uncommon ... there just aren't to many words that don't finish in a long vowel or a closed short syllable.
Ovid finished quite a few of his pentameters in pede as far as I remember.
I see!

That reading seems much less pointed to me.
Yeah, that is a problem. The morere reading is also much more in line with what Martial's poetry is usualy like. :mrgreen:
 
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