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There is also another imitator of the same wisdom, [p. 163] Pompeianus the Philadelphian; a man not destitute of shrewdness, but still a terrible wordcatcher: and he, conversing with his servant, calling him by name with a loud voice, said—“Strombichides, bring me to the gymnasium those intolerable slippers (he used the word ἀφορήτους, intending it to mean what he had never worn) and my useless (he used the word ἄχρηστος, by which he meant which he had never used) cloak. For I, as soon as I have bound up my beard, shall address my friends. For I have got some roast fish. And bring me a cruet of oil. For first of all we will be crushed (he used the word συντριβησόμεθον, meaning to say we will rub ourselves well), and then we will be utterly destroyed (his word was ἀπολούμεθον, and he meant to say we will have a bath).” And this same sophist, in the month of February, as the Romans call it, (and Juba the Mauritanian says that this month has its name1 from the terrors caused by the spirits under the earth, and from the means used to get rid of those fears, at which season the greatest severity of winter occurs, and it is the custom of them to offer libations for many days to those who are dead:) in the month of February, I say, he said to one of his friends—“It is a long time since you have seen me, because of the heat.” And when the festival of the Panathenæa was being celebrated, during which the courts of justice do not assemble, he said— “This is the birthday of the virgin goddess Minerva,” (but he pronounced the word ἀλέκτορος, as if he had meant of the cock of Minerva,) “and this day is unjust,” (for he [p. 164] called it ἄδικος, though he meant the word to have the sense of being a holiday for the courts of law). And once he called a companion of ours who came back from Delphi without having received an answer from the god, ἄχρηστον, (which never means anything but useless, but he used the word for unanswered). And once when he was making a public display of his eloquence, and going through a long panegyric on the Queen of cities, he said, Most admirable is the Roman dominion, and ἀνυπόστατος (he meant irresistible).2
Ovid gives the following derivation of the name February:—Ov. Fasti, ii. 19. (See Ovid, vol. i. p. 46, Bohn's Classical Library.)
Februa Romani dixere piamina patres,
Nunc quoque dant verbo plurima signa fidem
Pontifices ab rege petunt et Flamine lanas,
Queis veteri lingua Februa nomen erat.
Quæque capit lictor domibus purgamina certis
Torrida cum mica farra vocantur idem.
Nomen idem ramo qui casus ab arbore purâ
Casta sacerdotum tempora fronde tegit.
Ipse ego Flaminicam poscentem Februa vidi;
Februa poscenti pinea virga data est.
Denique quodcunque est quo pectora nostra piamur
Hoc apud intonsos nomen habebat avos.
Mensis ab his dictus, secta quia pelle Luperci
Omne solum lustrant, idque piamen habent.
Aut quia placatis sunt tempora pura sepulchris.
Tunc cum ferales præteriere dies.
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