Ad Alpēs/XXII

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Fairytale left blue.png Caput XXI Caput XXIII Fairytale right blue.png
CAPUT XXII

Posterō diē ante hōram quārtam Ānxur facile perventum est; quō in oppidō viātōrēs paulisper cōnstitērunt, ut cibum caperent; nam līberī etiam tum ēsuriēbant.

Cum omnia iterum parāta essent ad iter faciendum, Sextus nusquam reperīrī poterat, dōnec eum aspexit Stasimus in āreā, ubi cupidē audiēbat servōs duōs, quī inter sē loquēbantur.

Puerō revocātō, ex oppidō statim profectī sunt. Ac cum iam lēniter raedīs veherentur, Sextō Cornēlius: “Quid,” inquit, “inter sē loquēbantur illī servī duo, quōs in āreā audiēbās.

At Sextus: “Ūnus erat homō senectūte[1] iam cōnfectus, alter autem admodum[2] iuvenis. Senior dīxit sē modo Appī Forō advēnisse.”

“Illud est oppidum,” inquit Cornēlius, “ubi hanc[3] noctem āctūrī sumus. Sed quid posteā dictum est?”

“Prīmō,” inquit Sextus, “pauca alia inter sē locūtī sunt; tum ille senior dē temporibus dīcere coepit, cum ipse puer[4] esset.”

“Quid puer fēcit?” inquit Cornēlia.

At Sextus: “Dīxit sē ipsum adfuisse, cum quīdam vir sānctus, Paulus nōmine, Rōmam iter faciēns et catēnīs vīnctus, Appī Forī cōnstitisset.

“Cum hoc tantum[5] dictum esset, ā Stasimō arcessītus sum; quārē nec quis esset ille Paulus, nec cūr eum catēnīs vīnxissent,[6] cognōscere potuī.” “Suspicor,” inquit Pūblius, “hōs servōs Chrīstiānōs esse; ac vērī simile est istum Paulum fuisse adfīnem[7] eiusdem superstitiōnis, quī imāginem imperātōris adōrāre nōluisset.”

“Quālēs hominēs sunt Chrīstiānī, pater?” inquit Cornēlia. “Hoc nōmen saepe audīvī, neque umquam quid significāret[8] intellēxī.’’

“Dē nātūrā huius superstitiōnis,” inquit pater, “nihil satis compertum est; etsī orbis terrārum nūllus nunc est locus, ubi istī Chrīstiānī nōn reperiantur.

“Sed Plīnius ille, quī dē monte Vesuviō ad Tacitum litterās mīsit, multīs annīs post[9] avunculī mortem prōvinciae Bīthȳniae praepositus, cum incolās plūrimōs Chrīstiānōs esse cognōvisset, dē eīs ad imperātōrem Traiānum accūrātius[10] scrīpsit.

“At haec, crēdō, Pūblius noster nūper lēgit. Quārē ille vōbīs expōnet quō modō Plīnius cum Chrīstiānīs ēgerit.”[11]

Pūblius, tālī cohortātiōne inductus: “Plīnius,” inquit, “hōc modō rem trānsēgit: Eōs, quī ad eum dēferēbantur, interrogābat essentne Chrīstiānī. Sī ita cōnfitēbantur, iterum ac tertiō[12] interrogābat, supplicium[13] quoque minātus.

“Sī etiam tum obstinātā mente idem dīcere persevērābant, ad supplicium dūcī iubēbat (nam, ut ipse dīcit, tālis pertinācia[14] saltem pūnienda[15] erat). Sed eōs, quī cīvēs Rōmānī erant, ad urbem remīsit;[16] cuius generis[17] fortasse erat ille Paulus, dē quō modo loquēbāmur.

“Aliōs, quī negāvērunt[18] sē esse Chrīstiānōs, dīmittēbat, postquam imāginem adōrāverant imperātōris, et Chrīstō male dīxerant (quōrum neutrum[19] facere cōgī posse dīcuntur eī, quī rē vērā Chrīstiānī sunt); ac parī clēmentiā etiam eōs tractāvit, quī dīxērunt sē ōlim Chrīstiānōs fuisse, sed paucīs ante annīs dēstitisse.”

“Quam ob rem ad Traiānum haec omnia scrīpsit Plīnius?” inquit, Sextus.

At Pūblius: “Ipse dīxit sē numquam Rōmae causīs[20] Chrīstiānōrum interfuisse, nec scīre quō modō eī tractandī essent. Itaque litterās Rōmam mīsit, ut cognōsceret omniane ā sē rīte agerentur.”

“Saepe audīvī,” inquit Drūsilla, “Chrīstiānōs maleficōs[21] esse hominēs, quī in sē scelera maxima admīsissent.”[22]

“Hoc quidem,” inquit Cornēlius, “vix adfirmāre audeō. Īdem[23] enim Plīnius scrībit sē ex duābus ancillīs etiam tormentīs[24] quaesīvisse, in hīs rūmōribus quid vērī esset.

“Omnium testimōniō comprobātum[25] est Chrīstiānōs certō diē ante lūcem solēre convenīre carmenque Chrīstō quasi deō inter sē dīcere; praetereā sacrāmentō[26] eōs sē nōn in[27] scelus aliquod obligāre, sed nē fūrta[28] facerent, nē fidem fallerent, nē dēpositum[29] abiūrārent,[30] et eius modī alia.”

“Sī haec vēra sunt,” inquit Drūsilla, “nōn intellegō quō modō illī tantam in īnfāmiam[31] pervēnerint.’’

“At,” inquit Cornēlius, “Chrīstum plūris faciunt, quam aut Caesarem aut imperium Rōmānum. Praetereā hetaeriās[32] amant, quās imperātōrēs propter perīculum coniūrātiōnis prohibēre coāctī sunt.”

“Quid rescrīpsit[33] Traiānus,” inquit Sextus, “cum Plīnī litterae ed eum adlātae essent?” “Respondit ille,” inquit pater, “nōn esse exquīrendōs Chrīstiānōs; eōs porrō, quī dēferrentur, dīmittendōs esse, sī negāssent sē esse Chrīstiānōs et id fēcissent manifestum deōsque[34] nostrōs adōrāssent.”

“Nisi fallor,” inquit Pūblius, “multīs ante annīs Nerō imperātor cum Chrīstiānīs multō acerbius[35] ēgerat.”[36]

“Rēctē dīcis,” inquit pater. “Cum enim magna pars urbis incendiō dēlēta esset multīque suspicārentur incendium iussū[37] imperātōris ipsīus factum esse, ille, ut[38] ā sē hanc suspīciōnem[39] āverteret, damnum illud ā Chrīstiānīs esse inlātum cōnfirmāre nōn dubitāvit.

“Quārē illī miserī, pellibus[40] ferārum indūtī, canibus saevīs dīlaniandī[41] sunt obiectī, aut, crucibus adfīxī ac oleō[42] perfūsī, cum diēs dēfēcisset, concremātī[43] sunt, ut lūmen nocturnum[44] imperātōrī praebērent.”

“Horrēscō audiēns,” inquit Drūsilla. “Etsī Chrīstiānōs parvī faciō, tamen mihi quidem nefās esse vidētur eōs tantā saevitiā[45] tractāre. Ac cum tālia audiō, interdum paulum abest quīn velim nōs aliō aevō vīxisse. Nam antīquitus prīncipēs civitātis virī erant, quī iūre apud[46] bonōs omnēs summō in honōre habērentur.”

“Crēdō dē Rēgulō et eius[47] similibus tē cōgitāre,” inquit Cornēlius.

“Quis erat ille Rēgulus?” inquit Cornēlia.

Quō modō chrīstiānī rōmae sepultī sunt
quō modō chrīstiānī rōmae sepultī sunt
“Rēgulus erat imperātor Rōmānus,” inquit pater, “quī in Āfricā serpentem illam ingentem occīdit. Posteā ā Carthāginiēnsibus captus, Rōmam eā lēge remissus est, ut in Āfricam reverterētur, nisi persuāsisset senātōribus ut captīvōs quōsdam commūtārent.[48]

“Ille autem, cum Rōmam pervēnisset, senātuī persuāsit, nē hanc condiciōnem acciperet; ac tum aequō animō in Āfricam revertit, nē fidem falleret, etsī plānē sciēbat hostēs summā crūdēlitāte supplicium dē sē sūmptūrōs.”

“Haec,” inquit, Pūblius, “mē admonent, dē quibusdam versibus eximiī poētae Horātiī Flaccī:

“‘Virtūs[49] repulsae[50] nescia sordidae
Intāminātīs[51] fulget honōribus,
Nec sūmit aut pōnit[52] secūrīs[53]
Arbitriō populāris[54] aurae.[55]
Virtūs reclūdēns[56] immeritīs[57] morī
Caelum, negātā[58] temptat iter viā,
Coetūsque[59] vulgārīs[60] et ūdam[61]
Spernit humum fugiente pennā.’”[62]

Ac pater: “Et aliō locō poēta īdem verba dīcit, quae Rēgulō dignissima sint:

“‘Sī frāctus inlābātur[63] orbis,[64]
Impavidum ferient[65] ruīnae.’”

Sed iam Sextus, quī haud attentē haec audierat: “Magnam fossam[66] aquae plēnam haud procul ā viā videō. Quid est, obsecrō, pater?”

“Hic est eurīpus,”[67] inquit Cornēlius, “quō viātōrēs noctū nāvibus vehī solent. Quīn etiam ipse[68] poēta, cuius versūs modo audīvistī, ōlim Appī Forō hōc modō usque ad fontem Fērōniae vectus est, cum Rōmā profectus Brundisium iter faceret.”

“Nōs certē nāvī satis superque[69] vectī sumus,” inquit Drūsilla. “Nunc viā strātā raedīs prōgredī periūcundum[70] est.”

Ita tempus terēbant, ac dēnique circiter hōrā decimā Appī Forum pervēnērunt, dēfessī. Posterō diē Arīciam usque contendērunt.

Eurīpus
Photograph by Katherine Allen
eurīpus
——————————
References
  1. senectūs, -ūtis, f., old age.
  2. admodum, (a) mere.
  3. hanc, this (coming).
  4. puer, (when) a boy.
  5. tantum: adv.
  6. vīnxissent: subj. indef.
  7. adfīnem, adherent.
  8. significāret, freely, stand for.
  9. post: prep.
  10. accūrātē, adv., in detail.
  11. ēgerit, dealt.
  12. tertiō, adv., a third time.
  13. supplicium: i.e., execution.
  14. pertinācia, -ae, f., obstinacy.
  15. pūniō, -īre, -īvī, -ītus, tr., punish
  16. ad urbem remīsit, remanded to Rome.
  17. cuius generis: gen. of quality.
  18. negāvērunt: cf. XVII, 17.
  19. neuter, -tra, -trum, adj., neither; quōrum neutrum, neither of which (things).
  20. causīs, trials; dat. case.
  21. maleficus, -a, -um, adij., evil.
  22. in sē … admīsissent, had committed.
  23. Īdem, cf. XXI, 17.
  24. tormentum, -ī, n.; pl., torture.
  25. comprobātum est: impers.
  26. sacrāmentum, -ī, n., oath.
  27. in, for.
  28. fūrtum, -ī, n., theft.
  29. dēpositum, -ī, n., deposit.
  30. abiūrō, -are, -āvī, -ātus, tr., deny knowledge of (i.e., when claimed by depositor).
  31. infāmia, -ae, f., ill repute.
  32. hetaeria, -ae, f., secret association.
  33. rescrībō, -scrībere, -scrīpsī, -scrīptus, tr., write in reply.
  34. -que: freely, that is.
  35. acerbē, adv., severely.
  36. ēgerat: cf. ēgerit, line 40.
  37. iussū (no nom.), m., order.
  38. ut: purp.; dept. on foll. clause.
  39. suspiciō, -ōnis, f., suspicion.
  40. pellis, -is, f., skin.
  41. dīlaniandī: purp.
  42. oleum, -ī, n., oil.
  43. concremō, -āre,-āvī, -ātus, tr., burn up.
  44. nocturnus, -a, -um, adj., night.
  45. saevitia, -ae, f., cruelty, barbarity.
  46. apud, freely, by.
  47. eius: with similibus.
  48. commūtō, -āre, -āvī, -ātus, tr., exchange.
  49. Virtūs, true worth; described, in the remainder of the stanza, in terms applicable to a statesman.
  50. repulsa, -ae, f., defeat; obj. gen. in text.
  51. intāminātus, -a, -um, adj, undimmed.
  52. pōnit, lays aside.
  53. secūris, -is, f., ax; symbol of the power of higher officials.
  54. populāris, -e, adj.; popular.
  55. aurae, favor.
  56. reclūdō, -clūdere, -clūsī, -clūsus, tr., open, unlock.
  57. immeritus, -a, -um, adj., not deserving. The dat. in the text replaces a rel. clause, and governs foll. infin.
  58. negātā, (usually) closed.
  59. coetus, -ūs, m., throng.
  60. vulgāris, -e, adj., common.
  61. ūdus, -a, -um, adj., dank.
  62. penna, -ae, f., pinion.
  63. inlābor, -lābī, -lāpsus sum, intr., fall in.
  64. orbis, firmament.
  65. ferient: sc. eum.
  66. fossa, -ae, f., ditch.
  67. eurīpus, -i, m., canal.
  68. ipse, the very.
  69. superque, and more (than enough).
  70. periūcundus, -a, -um, adj, very agreeable.
Fairytale left blue.png Caput XXI Caput XXIII Fairytale right blue.png