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[9arg] The meaning of the expression susque deque, which occurs frequently in the books of early writers.


SUSQUE dequefero, susque deque sum, or susque deque habeo 1 —for all these forms occur, meaning “it's all [p. 165] one to me”—is an expression used in the everyday language of cultivated men. It occurs frequently in poems too and in the letters of the early writers; but you will more readily find persons who flaunt the phrase than who understand it. So true is it that many of us hasten to use out-of-the-way words that we have stumbled upon, but not to learn their meaning. Now susque deque ferre means to be indifferent and not to lay much stress upon anything that happens; sometimes it means to neglect and despise, having about the force of the Greek word ἀδιαφορεῖν. Laberius says in his Compitalia: 2
Now you are dull, now 'tis all one to you (susque deque fers);
Your wife sits by you on the marriage bed, 3
A penny slave unseemly language dares.
Marcus Varro in his Sisenna, or On History says: 4 “But if all these things did not have similar beginnings and sequels, it would be all one (susque deque esset).” So Lucilius in his third book writes: 5
All this was sport, to us it was all one (susque deque fierunt),
All one it was, I say, all sport and play;
That was hard toil, when we gained Setia's bourne:
Goat-traversed heights, Aetnas, rough Athoses.

[p. 167]

1 Susque deque, “both up and down,” is an expression denoting indifference. It occurs without a verb in Cic. ad Att. xiv. 6. 1, de Octavio susque deque. See Paul. Fest. p. 271 Linds., susque deque significat plus minusve.

2 v. 29, Ribbeck3.

3 The marriage bed in the early Roman house stood in the atrium, opposite the door, whence it was called lectus adversus; in later times a symbolic bed stood in the sane place.

4 256, Riese.

5 110 ff., Marx.

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