18 December 2008

Call me Philo (or Pseudolus)

On Monday, a colleague of mine mentioned to me the NY Times Book Review piece on the new translation of the often bawdy but ever-entertaining Roman epigrammatist Martial by Garry Wills, Martial's Epigrams: A Selection (Viking 2008).

It got me to perusing my own copy of Martial's poems (Loeb Classical Library, 1979)

The epigram below struck me as particularly relevant because one of my staffers brings in great food every day to share with the department and is patently unhappy if I don't eat.

"Boss, LUNCH," she cries.

I obey.

Her generosity is a wonderful perk, I cannot deny it, but it is problematic. In those rare instances when she isn't around, I'm truly at a loss for what I'm supposed to do. I've become one of the local geese who's grown so used to being fed by park-goers that, on those rare days when people actually obey the posted "No Feeding" signs, he just goes hungry.

Or, on a more literary note, I've become a Roman stereotype: the sponger!*


Numquam se cenasse domi Philo iurat, et hoc est:
non cenat, quotiens nemo vocavit eum.

Philo swears he has never dined at home, and that's right!
He doesn't eat if no one invites him.

*See also the title character of Plautus' Pseudolus.

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