A d F o n t e s

(Latin: "to the sources")

More on Latin Tattoos

 Keeping with my recent discussion of tattoos, last week we took our colloquium presenter–a very smart and cool guy–out to dinner, and the subject turned to tattoos.  It turns out he got a gigantic chameleon needled on his back, which is not something one would expect from a classicist, which made it all the more cool.  A friend of mine present also happens to have Catullus’ words “odi et amo,” “I hated and I love,” on his shoulder. 

This got me thinking about what would I get if I were to have a tattoo?  One idea came to mind from a recent poem we read in class–it comes from Juvenile’s first satire:  “difficile est saturam non scribere.”  It means “…it is difficult not to write a satire.”  It’s one of those lines that needs its context to explain it.  In Juvenile, it’s one of several lines that just jumps off the page.  In this satire Juvenile is programmatically explaining why it is he feels so compelled to write–and write satire in particular, as opposed to any other poetry.  His answer is basically:  there’s lots of crap going on in the world–and particularly in his midst.  Everything from eunuchs scandalously getting married to young prodigals wasting their fortunes and then hoping for command of an army to men who sleep their way to the top of the social pecking order. 

Juvenile’s response:  difficile est saturam non scribere. 

Oddly enough, this idea hit me while clothes shopping in a overpriced store with lots of gaudy crap on 34th street.  I’m sure that had something to do with

October 20, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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