Ad Alpēs/XIII

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Fairytale left blue.png Caput XII Caput XIV Fairytale right blue.png
CAPUT XIII

Paulō post, cum iterum eōdem convēnissent, Pūbliō Cornēlius: “Modo dīcēbās,” inquit, “Stasimum nostrum coquum lūdificāsse. Quid, obsecrō, factum est?”

“Coquus,” inquit Pūblius, “piscēs in aquā condiderat, ut eōs refrīgerāret.[1] Stasimus autem, coquō nesciō,[2] piscēs dētrāxit, et quōsdam cancrōs vīvōs intrōdūxit. Cumque coquus imprūdēns manūs in aquam iniēcisset, cancer subitō eius digitum arripuit. Quō vīsō, Stasimus in cachinnōs maximōs effūsus est, coquus autem īrā commōtus cultrum[3] manū rapuit; ac vērō paulum āfuit quīn hominem occīderet. Sed ego opportūnē proelium dirēmī.”[4]

“Aliquandō istum scelestum impudentiae suae paenitēbit,” inquit Cornēlius. “Sed iam adest Onēsimus. Quid novī, Onēsime?”

“Per portum tōtum ambulāvī nāvēsque adiī omnēs,” inquit Onēsimus, “neque ūllam invenīre potuī, quae nūper Syrācūsīs solūta erat. Sed dīcēbant[5] crās duās inde exspectārī.”

Tum Cornēlius: “Etsī multō māne hinc abīre in animō habuī,” inquit, “manendum est, cēnseō; nam iam diū est factum,[6] cum litterae nūllae Syrācūsīs mihi adlātae sunt.”

Itaque omnēs, usque ad cēnae tempus modīs dīversīs sē oblectāvērunt. Cum autem mēnsae remōtae essent, patrī Sextus: “Modo maximē dēlectātus sum eīs,”[7] inquit, “quae dē imperātōre Nerōne dīxistī. Nōnne vīs alia similia nunc nōbīs nārrāre?”

Ac pater: “Nerō imperātor puer[8] arte mūsicā imbūtus[9] est; cumque sē satis exercuisse exīstimāret, in scaenam prodīre cupiit, etsī nōn modo imperātōrī sed etiam senātōrī hoc indecōrum habēbātur. Et prōdiit vērō, Neāpolī[10] prīmum; ubi nē concussō quidem mōtū terrae theātrō[11] prius cantāre dēstitit, quam omnia rīte cōnfecta sunt.

“Posteā, cum magnī[12] putāret sē ostentāre etiam inter peregrīnōs, in Achaiam iter fēcit; ubi mūsica certāmina omnia obiit.[13] Comitātī sunt eum prīncipēs cīvitātis, in quibus erat Vespasiānus, is quī posteā imperātor factus est.”

“Cum imperātor[14] Nerō fuerit,” inquit Cornēlia, “crēdō eum optimē omnium cantāsse.”

“Errās, fīlia mea, cum ita exīstīmās,”[15] inquit Cornēlius. “Corōnae scīlicet omnēs eī dēlātae sunt. Sed vōx eius parva erat et fusca,[16] nec quisquam eam cum voluptāte audiēbat; atque etiam dīcitur Vespasiānus, quī perinvītus imperātōrem comitābātur, saepe eō canente obdormīvisse; unde offēnsam[17] gravissimam contrāxit.

“Quīn etiam, cum canēbat imperātor, nē necessāriā[18] quidem causā cuiquam theātrō excēdere licuit. Quārē, clausīs portīs, multī audiendī taediō[19] fūrtim dē mūrō dēsiluērunt aut morte simulātā fūnere[20] ēlātī sunt.”

“Vix crēdibilia haec videntur,” inquit Drūsilla. “Sed nōnne sunt alia aequē mīranda, quae dē Caligulā imperātōre nārrantur?”

“Sunt vērō,” inquit Cornēlius. “Sed, Sexte, hoc prīmum mihi respondē. Scīsne unde imperātor illud cognōmen[21] trāxerit? Nam prīmō Gāius Caesar appellātus est.” “Cognōmen Caligulae, crēdō, ē ‘caliga’[22] ductum[23] est,” inquit Sextus; “nesciō autem quō modō factum sit, ut imperātōrī inderētur.”

Tum Cornēlius: “Cognōmen Caligulae ē castrēnsī[24] iocō ille trāxit. Nam in paternīs castrīs ēducātus[25] est, eumque adhūc parvulum māter manipulārī[26] habitū vestiēbat; et, ut scīs, mīlitibus gregāriīs[27] calceāmentum[28] est caliga.”

“Facile conicere possum,” inquit Cornēlia, “quantā fuerit fēstīvitāte[29] puer, cum ita vestītus esset. Nōnne mīlitēs eum maximō studiō colēbant?”[30]

“Ita profectō,” inquit pater; ac ōlim, cum inter Germānicās[31] legiōnēs sēditiō maxima coorta esset, ac māter trīstis cum fīliō parvulō ē castrīs in proximam cīvitātem abīret, quō[32] mūnītiōre locō puer habērētur, tum mīlitēs, subitō ad paenitentiam[33] versī, vehiculum manibus retinuērunt, ōrantēs nē sibi tanta invidia impōnerētur, ut ducis fīlius alibī quam[34] in castrīs suīs vidērētur tūtior.”

“Crēdō,” inquit Cornēlia, “illum saltem optimum fuisse imperātōrem, quī puer tam amābilis fuisset.”

At pater: “Haec opīniō tē multum fallit, fīlia mea. Nam postquam imperātor factus est, multa ille commīsit tam absurda et mīranda, ut plērīsque plānē furiōsus[35] vidērētur.

“Velut cum, maximīs cōpiīs coāctīs, expedītiōnem in Britanniam simulāsset, in lītore Ōceanī[36] mīlitēs īnstrūxit ballistāsque disposuit. Nēmō quid tum āctūrus esset conicere poterat; at repente mīlitibus imperāvit ut conchās legerent galeāsque[37] complērent, cum glōriārētur haec esse ‘spolia[38] Ōceanī’ et ‘Capitōliō[39] dēbita.’

Quīn etiam in indicium[40] huius ‘victōriae’ altissimum turrim exstrūxit, unde (ut fit Brundisiī) noctū ad regendōs nāvium cursūs ignēs ēmicārent.

Tum Pūblius: “Haud mihi mīrandum vidētur eum in Britanniam nōn trānsīsse. Nam trāditur, ut meminī, tam ignāvus[41] fuisse , ut ad[42] minima fulgura[43] caput tegere atque etiam sub lectum sē condere solēret.”

“Pāpae!” inquit Sextus. “Mē pudet tālī imperātōrī populum Rōmānum umquam pāruisse.”

“Dē eius equō quoque quaedam dīcenda sunt,” inquit Cornēlius. “Nam lūdīs circēnsibus[44] maximē studēbat imperātor ac prasinae factionī[45] tam erat dēditus, ut saepe in stabulō cēnāret.

“Equō illī erat nōmen ‘Incitātus’;[46] quī nē inquiētārētur, prīdiē lūdōs vīcīniae[47] silentium per mīlitēs imperātor indīcere[48] solēbat.

“Praetereā stabulum marmoreum[49] exstrūxit, equōque familiam et supellectilem dedit, quō lautius[50] eius nōmine ad cēnam invītātī acciperentur. Et vērō eī cōnsulātum quoque trādere dīcitur dēstināsse.”

“Hui!” inquit Sextus. “Ērubēscō audiēns. Spērō illum hōc[51] nihil peius commīsisse.”

“Pecūniae cupiditāte maximē incēnsus,” inquit pater, “cum immēnsōs aureōrum acervōs congessisset, per eōs nūdīs pedibus ambulāre solēbat, et nōn numquam tōtō corpore volūtātus[52] est.” At iam māter: “Duae horae sunt, cum[53] Anna et Lūcius discessērunt; et tempus est, līberī, vōs quoque cubitum īre. Nam crās iter rūrsus est ingrediendum.”

Cornēlia autem: “Sine[54] maneāmus, sīs,” inquit, “dum pater aliquid amplius nārret. Nam haec omnia libentissimē audīvimus.”

“Ūnum modo addam,” inquit Cornēlius. “Tum vōbīs discēdendum erit; nam ego ratiōnēs quāsdam cum Onēsimō cōnficere volō:

“Quaestūs[55] cuiusvīs avidus, Caligula reliquiās omnium spectāculōrum per praecōnem[56] vēndidit; ac vērō usque eō[57] extendēbat[58] pretium, ut nōnnūllī, nūgās[59] immēnsō[60] emere coāctī, bonīs suīs[61] exuerentur[62] vēnāsque sibi aperīrent.

“Ōlim, cum auctiō tālis habērētur, quīdam Apōnius Saturnīnus in subselliīs obdormīvit. Quō animadversō, imperātor praecōnem monuit nē virum crēbrō capitis mōtū sibi nūtantem praeterīret; nec licendī[63] gladiātōrēs vīlissimī sēstertium[64] nōnāgiēs[65] addictī[66] sunt.”

“Hahahae!” inquiunt līberī, quī iam aequō animō cubitum iērunt.

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References
  1. refrīgerō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus, tr., cool.
  2. coquō nesciō: abl. absol.
  3. culter, -trī, m., butcher-knife.
  4. dirimō, -imere, -ēmī, -ēmptus, tr., stop.
  5. dīcēbant, they said.
  6. est factum: from fīo. Trans. the phrase, ‘a long time has elapsed (in which).
  7. eīs (abl.), the things.
  8. puer, (as) a lad.
  9. imbuō, -buere, -buī, -būtus, tr., train.
  10. Neāpolī: loc. of Neapolis.
  11. concussō … theātrō: abl. absol.
  12. magnī: gen. of value.
  13. obeō, -īre, -iī, -itus, tr. and intr., enter.
  14. imperātor: pred. nom.
  15. cum ita exīstimās, in thinking so.
  16. fuscus, -a, -um, adj., husky.
  17. offēnsa, -ae, f., displeasure.
  18. necessārius, -a, -um, adj, pressing.
  19. taedium, -ī, n., weariness.
  20. fūnere, in a funeral train.
  21. cognōmen, -inis, n., nickname.
  22. caliga, -ae, f., half-boot.
  23. ductum, derived.
  24. castrēnsis, -e, adj., of the camp.
  25. ēducō -āre -āvī, -ātus, tr., bring up.
  26. manipulāris, -e, adj., of the rank and file.
  27. gregārius, -a, -um, adj., common.
  28. calceāmentum, -ī, n., footwear.
  29. fēstīvitās, -ātis, f., charm.
  30. colō, -ere, coluī, cultus, tr., regard.
  31. Germānicās, in Germany.
  32. quō: purpose.
  33. paenitentia, -ae, f., repentance.
  34. quam, than.
  35. furiōsus, -a, -um, adj., insane.
  36. Ōceanī: the English Channel.
  37. galea, -ae, f., helmet.
  38. spolium, -ī, n. spoils.
  39. Capitōliō: to which triumphal processions led.
  40. in indicium, freely, as a token.
  41. ignāvus, -a, -um, adj., timid.
  42. ad, at.
  43. fulgur, -uris, n., lightning.
  44. circēnsis, -e, adj. ., in the circus; dat. case in text.
  45. prasinae factiōnī, the green.
  46. Incitātus, Flyer.
  47. vīcīnia, -ae, f., neighborhood; dat. case in text.
  48. indīcō, -dīcere, -dīxī, -dictus, tr., order, enjoin.
  49. marmoreus, -a, -um, adj., of marble.
  50. lautē, adv., stylishly.
  51. hōc: abl. with comp.
  52. volūtō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus, tr. and intr.; pass., wallow.
  53. cum, freely; since; but cf. note on XIII, 19.
  54. Sine: imper., governing following verb.
  55. quaestus, -ūs, m., income, profit.
  56. praecō, -ōnis, m., auctioneer; per praecōnem, at auction.
  57. usque eō, to such a point.
  58. extendō, tendere, -tendī, -tentus, tr., advance.
  59. nūgae, -ārum, f., trumpery, trifles.
  60. immēnsō: abl. of price.
  61. bonīs suīs: abl. of separ.
  62. exuō, -uere, -uī, -ūtus, tr., strip.
  63. liceor, -ērī, -itus sum, tr. and intr., bid; do not confuse with the with the impers. licet.tredecim, indecl. num., thirteen.
  64. sēstertius, -ī, m., sesterce (value about four cents); gen. pl. in text.
  65. nōnāgiēs, adv., ninety times; with sēstertium, centēnis mīlibus (‘hundreds of thousands’) is understood. The amount then is 9,000,000 sesterces, or nearly $400,000.
  66. addīcō, -dīcere, -dīxī, -dictus, tr., knock down (at auction).
Fairytale left blue.png Caput XII Caput XIV Fairytale right blue.png