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who from him are styled 'Mercuriales viri.' Hor. Od. 2. 17, 29. See also ()d. 2. 7, 13.
Nitida. This epithet refers to the shining skin of the athletes, who were always rubbed over with oil before they commenced their exercises. Compare Ov. Her. 19. II
*Aut fora vos retinent, aut unctae dona palaestrae,' and Lucan 9. 661, who speaks of Mercury as
· Arcados auctoris citharae liquidaeque palaestrae.' 6. Culte...loqui, 'to speak with polished grace.'
7. Templa, &c. Livy 2. 21 (498 B.C.) Aedes Mercurii dedicata est Idibus Maiis;' and again 2. 27 • Certamen consulibus inciderat uter dedicaret Mercurii aedem. Senatus a se rem ad populum reiecit: utri eorum dedicatio iussu populi data esset, eum praeesse annonae, mercatorum collegium instituere.'
The members of the corporation of merchants were called 'Mercuriales,' as we learn from Cic. Q. Fr. 2. 5 ' Mercuriales Furium de collegio eiecerunt.'
8. Ex illo, sc. 'tempore.' Haec...dies. The Ides of May.
11. Aqua Mercurii. We hear nothing of this elsewhere.
Capenae. The ‘Porta Capena' was the gate at which the Via Appia, the great south road, commenced. Its site is now marked by the Porta S. Sebastiano.
12. Numen habet. Possesses a divine virtue—the power of purifying, &c.
13. Incinctus tunicas. Cingulo; e quo marsupium auri monetalis propendebat. Hic vetus mercatorum habitus' Neapolis. 14. Suffita.
See note, p. 235. Quam ferat, which he intends to carry away for the purpose of sprinkling his wares.
18. Preces. The terms of the prayer, and the expression solita fallere voce,' indicate very clearly that the honesty of the Roman shopkeepers was not rated high by their country
The whole of the passage seems to be imitated from Hor. Ep. 1. 16, 57
Vir bonus, omne forum quem spectat et omne tribunal,
lane pater, clare, clare quum dixit, Apollo,
Noctem peccatis et fraudibus obiice nubem.' 22. Non audituri, “who will turn a deaf ear.' The future participle here expresses the bope of the merchant.
23. Prudens, 'designedly.'
Musis amicus tristitiam et metus
Portare ventis, and Tibull. 1. 4, 21
“Nec iurare time: Veneris periuria venti
Irrita per terras et freta summa ferunt.' Et pereant, i. e. 'non puniantur.' The reading 'pateant' is well worthy of attention, 'let new opportunities of falsehood be granted with the coming day. We shall thus avoid the repetition of the sentiment expressed in lines 19, 20.
28. Verba dedisse. The phrase 'dare verba’ is very common in the comic writers. It always signifies to cheat,' properly, with fair words.
30. Ortygias boves. The cows of Apollo. Ortygia was one of the many names of Delos, the birthplace of the god. This exploit of Mercury is narrated at great length in the Homeric Hymn, and in Ovid, Met. 2. 676. Horace in the Ode already quoted, alludes to the same tale,
"Te, boves olim nisi reddidisses
FAS. V, 183.
THE worship of Flora, the Goddess of Blossoms, may be said to have been coeval with the city itself, since we are told that she was an ancient Sabine goddess, established at Rome by Titus Tatius, the colleague of Romulus, and that a peculiar priest or flamen was assigned to her by Numa'. The games,
1 Varro L, L. 5. 10; 7. 3.
however, called · Floralia,' were not instituted until 238 B.C.', and were celebrated, it would seem, in the Circus Florae, which was situated at the foot of the Quirinal. There were also dramatic exhibitions. The festival commenced on IV. Kal. Mai. (28th of April), and continued until the ist of May, inclusive.
1-4. Compare the conclusion of the fourth book of the Fasti, devoted to the month of April, v. 945
Mille venit variis florum Dea nexa coronis;
Scena ioci morem liberioris habet.
Tunc repetam : nunc me grandius urget opus.' 1. Ludis...iocosis, alluding to the peculiar licentiousness which characterised the games of Flora.
2. Partes, when construed with a personal or possessive pronoun, usually signifies the office, duty, or occupation of the person to whom the pronoun applies, a meaning derived from the dramatic use of partes' in the sense of the part or character assigned to an actor. Thus Cicero Ep. ad Attic. 7. ep. ult. “Sin erit bellum partes meae non desiderabuntur ;' and again Ep. Fam. 11. 5 "Tuum est hoc munus, tuae partes.' In the passage before us, however, 'tuas partes' must mean either
my duty towards you,' or 'the portion of my work which belongs to you. The various reading laudes' is manifestly a gloss.
7. Circus in hunc exit, sc. 'mensem.' The games are continued on to this month. They do not conclude with April.
Clamata que palma, signifies simply the rewards bestowed on favourite actors in the shape of applause.
8. 'Let my song be an offering to thee along with the shows of the Circus. Munus, strictly, is applicable to gladiatorial exhibitions only.
13, 14. Ovid is determined to make Flora a Grecian Nymph, and therefore derives her name from x1wpòs, green.
Campi felicis. Ovid seems here to allude not to the Elysian Plain of Homer (Ηλύσιον πεδιόν), but to the μακάρων vnooi, Islands of the Blest, described by Hesiod as the happy abode of the champions of the heroic age. Op. et Dies, 169.
Pliny H. N. 18. 29, referred to above, p. 229.
Pindar, in his second Olympic Ode, describes the Island of the Blest in a magnificent strain of glowing poetry, and Horace has availed himself of the same idea
“Nos manet Oceanus circumvagus, arva, beata
Petamus arva, divites et insulas,
Et imputata floret usque vinea, &c. Epod. 16. 41. 17, 18. Flora modestly declines to expatiate on her own beauty, but bids her auditor draw his conclusion from the fact that it gained her mother a god for a son-in-law.
19, 20. She gives an account of her first meeting with Zephyrus, who proved a rough wooer.
21, 22. Boreas seized and bore away Orithyia, daughter of Erectheus king of Attica. The principal authorities are Appolonius Rhod. 1. 211, and Scholiast. Ov. Met. 6. 678. See also notes of Heyne upon Apollodorus 3. 15, 2.
24. Querela. “Douza observat, allusisse poetam ad formulam in epitaphiis obviam VIXERVNT SINE QVERELA' (G.).
25, 26. In these two lines Flora describes the happiness of her own abode. 'I enjoy perpetual spring; for me each season beams with beauty; for me the trees are ever green with foliage ; for me the earth is ever clothed with herbage. The reading 'veri,' instead of 'semper,' which is a conj. of Heinsius (two MSS. have “vere'), is well worthy of attention.
27. Dotalibus...agris. Dotalis' is the epithet applied to anything which a wife brings to her husband as a marriage portion. So in Met. 14. 459, it is said of Diomede,
• Ille quidem sub lapyge maxima Dauno Moenia condiderat, dotaliaque arva tenebat,' and so 'Dotales aedes'in Plaut. Mil. Glor. 4. 4, 30.
30. Arbitrium, i. e. ' power,'dominion.' 31. Digestos. See note on 9. 1.
Horae. The Seasons. These allegorical personages, who are mentioned by Homer', are by Hesiod called the daughters of Zeus and Themis, three in number, Eůvouía, aíkn, and blooming Eiphun, significant names, 'Order,' “Justice,’ ‘Peace.'
33. Charites. The Graces also are noticed by Homer. Hesiod makes them daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, three
* Il. 5. 749; 8. 393 ; 21. 450.
in number, 'Αγλαία, Ευφροσύνη, and lovely θαλία ; “Splendour,' 'Gaiety,' • Bloom.'
41, 42. Therapnaeus is here equivalent to 'Laconian,' the epithet being derived from 'Therapnae,' a town on the Eurotas, a little to the south of Sparta. The person alluded to is Hyacinthus, a beautiful youth of Amyclae, beloved by Apollo, by whom he was slain accidentally with a quoit ?, or, according to other accounts, the fatal discus was directed by the breath of jealous Zephyrus 3. He was buried beneath the base of the statue of Amyclaean Apollo 4, with whom he shared the honours of the great national festival of the Hyacinthia 5. A flower sprung from his blood, on whose petals words of lamentation were inscribed 6. Ovid tells the tale at full length in Met. 10. 162, seqq.
The same flower is said by the same poet (Met. 13. 396) to have sprung from the blood of Ajax.
Some botanists imagine that they have detected these marks on a species of dark purple Iris, which they have named the 'Delphinium Ajacis; others believe the Lilium Martagon floribus reflexis' to be the flower in question. Remark that Ovid terms Hyacinthus ‘Amyclides,' from 'Amyclae;' and 'Oebalides,' from a mythic hero Oebalus,' after whom Laconia was named 'Oebalia.' But 'Oebalidae,' (Fast. 5. 705) are Castor and Pollux ; 'Oebalis Nympha’ (Her. 16. 126) is Helen; ‘Oebalides matres' (Fast. 3. 230) are the Sabine women, because the Sabines pretended to deduce their origin from the Spartans.
42, 43. Narcissus of Thespiae, a town in Boeotia, near the foot of Mount Helicon, was the son of Liriope and the river Cephisus; he beheld his image in a fountain, became enamoured of his own beauty, and pining away, fell a sacrifice to his hopeless love. The Nymphs prepared a bier and reared a pyre, but when they came to bear his body forth found nothing but a flower.
Palaephat. 47, Claud. R. P. 2. 133. Amyclae was on the right bank of the Eurotas, nearly opposite to Therapnae.
? Apollod. 1. 3, 3; 3. 10, 3.
5 The student will find some ingenious speculations on the Hyacinthia in Muller's Dorians, 1. p. 373 of English Translation. There is also an essay on Hyacinthus by Heyne in his Antiquarische Aufsatze, P. 1.
6' Hence called å ypantà řákivoos (the inscribed hyacinthus), by Theocrit. 10. 28.