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1 Literally, "from the egg to the apples," for eggs were served first, and fruit last.
2 The four strings of this instrument were called by the Greeks ὑπάτη (subsuma), παρυπάτη (subsuma), παρανήτη (pene ima), and νήτη (ima). Thus the summa vox, which answers to the highest string, summa chorda, must signify the bass, and ima vox, that strikes the same tone with ima chorda, must signify the treble. Summa should be joined with chorda, not voce.“Citaret” . Bentley remarks that this is a forensic word, and can not be put for recitaret, besides that citare Io Bacche is not Latin. He reads iteraret. The Librarians wrote ter, cer, and ler, in a compendious form thus ~ over its natural place, thus the word ÎTARET, with a circumflex over I, and hence CITARET.
3 This grave and solemn march, although a religious ceremony in its place, yet, when improperly used, is affectation and impertinence. The solemnity of this procession became a proverb, Ἡραῖον βαδίζειν, to walk like Juno.
4 The sestertium among the Romans was about 7l. 16s. of our money, and contained a thousand sestertii. Their manner of reckoning was this: when a numeral noun agreed in gender and number with sestertius, it denoted precisely so many sestertii, as decem sestertii, just so many; but if the noun was joined to the genitive plural of sestertius, it signified so many thousands; as decem sestertium, ten thousand sestertii. If the adverb numeral was joined to the genitive plural, it denoted so many hundred thousand, as decies sestertium, ten hundred thousand sestertii. Sometimes they put the adverb by itself, and sometimes added the numeral noun to it; as in this place “decies centena” , ten hundred sestertia, or ten hundred thousand sestertii. WATSON.
6 Sisyphus. The dwarf of Mark Antony the triumvir. He was of a diminutive stature, scarcely two feet high, but of a very acute wit; whence he got the name of Sisyphus; for Sisyphus was so remarkable for his dexterity and cunning, that Sisyphi artes came to be a proverb.
7 “Balbutit Scaurum” . Rutgersius informs us that all these names, Strabo, Paetus, Pullus, Varus, and Scaurus, are surnames of illustrious Roman families, from whence fathers gave them to their children, to cover their defornlties with names of dignity. This is one of many beauties in the original, which it is impossible to preserve in a translation.
9 “Communi sensu plane caret” . He wants an understanding that distinguishes the common decencies to be observed in addressing the great. Such was the Communis sensus among the Romans, for which we have no expression in English. “Sit in beneficio sensus communis: tempus, locum, personas observer”. Seneca. “Quae versantur in consuetudine rei publicae; in sensu hominum communi, in natura, in moribus, comprehendenda esse oratori puto”. Cicero de Oratore. Lord Shaftesbury explains the sensus communis in Juvenal, that sense which regards the common good, the public welfare. A sense, according to the ingenious author, seldom found among the great. “Raro enim ferme sensus communis in illa | Fortuna”.
12 “Labeone insanior” . The Scholiasts, commentators, and interpreters tell us, that Horace means Marcus Antistius Labeo, who, in the spirit of liberty, frequently opposed Augustus in the senate, when he attempted any alterations in the state. “Agitabat eum libertas nimia et vecors”, says Seneca; which might justly render him odious to Augustus. But whatever respect our poet had for his emperor, yet we never find that he treats the patrons of liberty with outrage. Nor can we well imagine that he dare thus cruelly brand a man of Labeo's abilities, riches, power, and employments in the state; to whom Augustus himself offered the consulship. Probably the person here intended was publicly known to have been guilty of some folly not unlike what our poet mentions. Dr. Bentley hath found a Labienus in the time of Augustus, whose character fits this passage extremely well; and whom he therefore recommends to a place in the text.
13 The alternative with Ruso was either ruin from extortion, or misery from listening to his writings. If his wretched creditors could not pay him, then they were condemned to hear him read his works. Perhaps some might prefer considering historias used in the sense of "tedious narration," and refer it to the long schedule of the items in his account. Audit. Asinius Pollio first introduced the custom of reciting one's own compositions at Rome.
14 “Evandri manibus tritum” . — Tornatum, caelatum, fabricatum. “Hinc radios trivere rotis”, Virgil. “Vitrum aliud flatu figuratur, aliud torno teritur”, Pliny. But as the Latins used the word toreumata to signify any works, either turned or wrought by the chisel, because they were made by the same workmen, Sanadon thinks the poet probably means, that this plate was engraved with an instrument. The Scholiast tells us, that this Evander was carried from Athens to Rome by Mark Antony, and that he excelled in sculpture and engraving. They who believe that Horace means king Evander, would not only persuade us that this plate must have been preserved so many ages by some uncommon good fortune, but have unluckily placed a vessel so valuable on a monarch's table, whose palace was a cottage, his throne a chair of ordinary wood, his beds made of leaves or rushes, and his tapestry the skins of beasts. Res inopes Evandrus habebat. Dr. Bentley denies that the Latins ever used tritum to signify caelatum, perfectum, and he therefore recommends tortum to us, on the authority of an ancient manuscript.
15 Horace endeavors to prove, according to the doctrine of Epicurus, that justice and injustice arise only from laws, and that laws have no other foundation than public utility, by which he means the happiness of civil society. On the contrary, the Stoics asserted, that justice and injustice have their first principles in nature itself, and the first appearance of reason in the mind of man.
16 “Cum prorepserunt” . This expression is extremely proper for the system of Epicurus, who believed that the first race of men rose out of the earth, in which they were formed by a mixture of heat and moisture.
17 Chrysippus is here pleasantly called father, because he was the first who explained, in this absurd manner, these excellent precepts of Zeno which teach us, that wisdom sets above kings; and that the throne she offers to us is preferable to that of the greatest monarchs.
18 Alfenus Varus, a shoemaker of Cremona, who, growing out of conceit with his employment, quitted it, and came to Rome; where attending the lectures of Servius Sulpicius, a celebrated professor of law, he made so great proficience in that science, that he soon came to be esteemed one of the ablest lawyers of his time, and his name often occurs in the Pandects. He was afterward advanced to the highest honors of the empire; for we find him consul in the year of the city 755.
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