DBG VI:21 -- how could they tell?

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Caesar writes:

Germani multum ab hac consuetudine differunt...Qui diutissime impuberes permanserunt, maximam inter suos ferunt laudem: hoc ali staturam, ali vires nervosque confirmari putant. Intra annum vero vicesimum feminae notitiam habuisse in turpissimis habent rebus; cuius rei nulla est occultatio, quod et promiscue in fluminibus perluuntur et pellibus aut parvis renonum tegimentis utuntur magna corporis parte nuda.

How could they possibly tell from bathing together and having most of their body nude whether one of them has had sex or not? :puzzled:
 
The key, I think, is promiscue, that the men & women bathe together (not that it's clear even then). I imagine that in this romp the women are tickling/fondling somewhere in the realm of the Lysistrata (cf. ἇιπερ ἱερεῖόν τοί μ' ὑποψάλασσετε) & able to observe the state of the hymen?

But in case the idea is that it refers to the young men who have spent their manliness prematurely, maybe they're supposed to be less muscular & full of, hem, verve?
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
The key, I think, is promiscue, that the men & women bathe together (not that it's clear even then). I imagine that in this romp the women are tickling/fondling somewhere in the realm of the Lysistrata (cf. ἇιπερ ἱερεῖόν τοί μ' ὑποψάλασσετε) & able to observe the state of the hymen?

But in case the idea is that it refers to the young men who have spent their manliness prematurely, maybe they're supposed to be less muscular & full of, hem, verve?
That's quite an, er, intense variety of fondling... :oops:

The passage seems to be mostly referring to men. Perhaps you're right that the less robust men were just assumed to have had sex and that this is why they were weaker, though that hardly seems a fair assumption to our way of thinking today.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I think cuius rei can just mean something different than "having had sex", as you interpret it.
 
That's quite an, er, intense variety of fondling... :oops:
That's just how those old beer-swilling soap-peddlers did it, I guess.
The passage seems to be mostly referring to men.
True. Really, the reason I mention it is because this passage is featured in Lewis & Short under promiscuus, & they give it as understood:
(mares et feminae) promiscue in fluminibus perluuntur
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I saw a German interpretation of that which sort of took it as a private vs. public distinction: It's shameful to "have seen a woman naked" privately, even though it's no big secret what they look like naked because they bathe together publicly.
 
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Astute.
 
For that matter, does the 'know someone (carnally)' phrase predate the Vulgate?
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
It's in the Old Testament, isn't it?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
For that matter, does the 'know someone (carnally)' phrase predate the Vulgate?
Yes. There are a few examples in the OLD's cognosco entry.

Well, in addition to Caesar's similar notitiam habuisse above.
 
Well, in addition to Caesar's similar notitiam habuisse above.
Well, this is why I ask. I thought maybe here it could be more innocent, 'know (the form) of a woman'. But that would be contradictory, given they bathe together.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris


 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Well, this is why I ask. I thought maybe here it could be more innocent, 'know (the form) of a woman'. But that would be contradictory, given they bathe together.
Ah. I wasn't sure whether you were actually doubting the meaning of notitiam habuisse here.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Here's another tiny (but annoying) little thing: I don't see what the que is doing here.

Est bos cervi figura, cuius a media fronte inter aures unum cornu exsistit excelsius magisque directum his, quae nobis nota sunt, cornibus: ab eius summo sicut palmae ramique late diffunduntur.

"From its top, [things?] like palms and branches spread out widely..."

?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
That's correct.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Ah, good. I wasn't quite sure whether sicut could imply "things like..." in this way.
 
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