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2 Trebatius. This is C. Trebatius Testa, the most celebrated lawyer of that age, as is evident from the letters which Cicero wrote to him. He was greatly in favor both with Julius Caesar and Augustus. As he accompanied the first in his wars in Gaul, thirty years before this Satire was written, he must, by this time, have been of an advanced age. Horace applies to him as one of great authority, on account of his age and skill in the law. He was further a good judge of raillery, and had often used it with delicacy and success.
3 The Gauls of Aquitain having rebelled 726, Octavius sent Messala, with the title of governor of the province, to reduce them to his obedience. He conquered them in the year following, and had the honor of a triumph the 25th of September.
4 When the Romans mentioned a man of great reputation, and whose example had a sort of authority, their usual expression in conversation. was, Who is far better, and more valuable than you or me.
5 A criminal was acquitted or condemned by the number of votes, which the judges threw into a judiciary urn. Virgil tells us this custom was observed among the dead, “quaesitor Minos urnam movet.” (Aen. 6.432")
6 Horace's weapon is satire. This he will use against his enemies, just as every one, “quo valet, suspectos terret” , and according to the dictates of nature, which prompt her creatures to make use of the arms which she has given them, i. e. “ne longum faciam”, he will write.“Mirum”, etc. Ironically said, for it is not “mirum ut neque calce lupus quemquam neque dente petat bos” , for “dente lupus, cornu taurus petit” . Horace means that Scaeva's not polluting his right hand with the blood of his mother is no more wonderful than that a wolf does not attack a person calce, or an ox, dente. Bentley's conjecture mirum si is specious. Similarly we have Terent. Andr. iv. 4, 16; “Mirum vero, impudentur mulier si facit meretrix.”
7 i. e. "lest some one of your powerful friends conceive a coldness toward you, and deprive you of his friendship." So
9 The great men, and people of whatever tribe. It is plain from what remains to us of Lucilius, that he did not spare the great. Besides Metellus and Lupus already mentioned, he attacked also Mutius Scaevola, Titus Albutius, Torquatus, Marcus Carbo, Lucius Tubulus, Publius Gallonins, Caius Cassius, Lucius Cotta, Clodius Asellus, Quintus Opimius, Nomentanus, Caius Cecilius Index, Trebellius, Publius Pavus Tuditanus. And not satisfied with this, he run through all the thirty-five tribes. one after another.
10 In allusion to the fable of the serpent and the file.
11 “Si mala condiderit.” Trebatius with much solemnity cites the laws of the twelve tables as his last argument. A lawyer could produce nothing more strong, and Horace being unable to defend himself by a direct answer, finds a way of getting out of the difficulty by playing on the words malum carmen, and giving them a different sense from what they had in the text of the law..
12 Tabulae are the process and information laid before the judge, which, says the poet, shall be torn in pieces. Dacier observes, that this line is an imitation of Aristophanes, where a father dissuades his son from an excess of wine, by representing to him a thousand disorders which it occasions; quarreling, breaking houses open. No, says the son, this never happens when we converse with men of honor; for either they will satisfy the people whom they have offended, or turn the affair into ridicule, and by some happy jest make the judges, and even the prosecutors, laugh. The process is dismissed, and you escape without being punished.(Wasps 1251ff)
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