‘Satire belongs entirely to us’: Quintilian (Inst. 10.1.93) proudly claims for the Romans the invention of a literary form unprecedented and unparalleled in Greek literature. The pioneer of the new genre was Quintus Ennius, who called satura his medley of poems in various metres and subject-matter; but it was an aristocratic friend of Scipio Aemilianus who was later to create the independent and aggressive genre we still call satire. Gaius Lucilius, born of a wealthy equestrian family from Suessa Aurunca in the Southern Italian region of Campania, wrote thirty books of verse satires, complete collections of which were still circulating in imperial times. At the end of the 2nd c. A.D. the public allegedly had a preference for Lucilius over other Roman satirists, in fact over all other Latin writers as well. Critics, however, were not equally keen. While paying due respect to his predecessor, Horace objected to Lucilius’ lack of linguistic refinement, and a major point of Horace’s criticism was Lucilius’ peculiar mixture of Latin and Greek (Hor. Sat. 1.10.20-35):
‘at magnum fecit, quod uerbis Graeca Latinis 20
miscuit’. O seri studiorum, quine putetis
difficile et mirum, Rhodio quod Pitholeonti
contigit? ‘at sermo lingua concinnus utraque
suauior, ut Chio nota si comminxta Falerni est’.
Cum uersus facies, te ipsum percontor, an et cum 25
Dura tibi peragenda rei sit causa Petilli?
scilicet oblitus patriaeque patrisque Latini,
cum Pedius causas exsudet Publicola atque
Coruinus, patriis intermiscere petita
uerba foris malis, Canusini more bilinguis. 30
Atque ego cum Graecos facerem, natus mare citra,
uersiculus, uetuit me tali uoce Quirinus
post mediam noctem uisus, cum somnia uera:
‘in siluam non ligna feras insanius ac si
magnas Graecorum malis implere cateruas.’ 35
‘but his (Lucilius’s) was a great achievement, in combining Greek words with Latin.’ You late learners! Do you really think it difficult to match Pitholeon of Rhodes in his happy knack? ‘But a style which nicely blends each tongue is more pleasing, as when the Falernian brand is mixed with Chian.’ When you’re writing verses I put it to you directly or when you have to negotiate a difficult case for a defendant like Petillius? No doubt you’d prefer, whereas Pedius Publicola and Corvinus sweat out their cases, to forget your native land and father Latinus and to adulterate your native speech with foreign importations, like a bilingual from Canusium! Indeed, when I, though born on this side of the ocean, was writing some little verses in Greek, Quirinus appeared to me after midnight, when dreams are true, and forbade me in tones like these: ‘Carrying timber to a forest would be no crazier than your choosing to swell the packed ranks of the Greeks’ (Transl. P.M. Brown).
A ‘wholly Roman’ literary form, Roman satire yet originally spoke Greek, in a manner that offended Horace’s selective notion of poetic language. In the passage quoted above, Horace introduces an admirer of Lucilius praising the linguistic mixture of the early satirist, only to dismiss the enthusiastic remark as a clear sign of naivety and provincialism. A poet who picks such language Horace insists is no less to blame than a lawyer who is prepared to jeopardise his professional credibility: a Roman poet, just like a Roman citizen acting in the forum, has nothing to gain from demoting himself to the rank of a bilingual Apulian (the natives of Canusium spoke Oscan and Greek). It is significant that Quirinus himself, the Roman god identified with the founder of the city, should be the one to advise Horace against writing Greek verse. The parallel established between forensic activity and poetic discourse is also significant, as pointed out in a recent study:
‘The erasure of the distinction between legal and poetic discourse suggests that the poet ... is henceforth to be judged by the same criteria as the orator whose place is at the very center of Roman political activity. Hence the admixture of Graecisms, often perceived as a mark of refinement and cultivation, is here categorised as déclassé, a betrayal of provincialism characteristic of the “bilingual Canusian”, the native of Horace’s own Apulia who is not yet fully and thoroughly Roman’ (Oliensis 1998: 40).
Far from being merely a poet’s business, the matter of linguistic correctness (Latinitas) involves broader issues of national and cultural identity. In Horace’s perception of it, Lucilius’ ‘mixture of Greek and Latin’ is simply a despicable hybrid, just as hybrida (‘crossbreed’) is the word Horace chooses to designate with contempt the Italian-born, but naturalized Greek banker Persius in Satire 1.7.2. An ancient note on this passage remarks on the man’s ‘mixed language’ interpreting Horace’s criticism in terms of contaminated ‘Romanness’: quasi semiromanus ‘half-Roman, as it were’.
Interestingly, Lucilius calls himself a ‘half-Greek’ (semigraecus, cf. 391 W. = 379 M.). Unlike semiromanus, the term semigraecus does not necessarily have derogatory undertones. Suetonius uses it in complimentary reference to the early Latin poets Livius Andronicus and Ennius, the former a Greek, the latter a trilingual native of Southern Italy. Varro calls semigraeci those contemporaries who spent so much time in Greece to become worthy of such a name and deserving of humorous Homeric-style addresses (see below, III.1).
Greek language and literature were a prominent part of the education of the Roman upper classes. It is a generally accepted view that Lucilius, like Cicero in his letters, uses Greek as an element of private, colloquial speech, free from the constraints of official/formal communication. This is certainly true, and in this respect Horace was right in viewing the work of his predecessor as a form of self-portraiture, i.e. the reflection of a personality who would ‘confide intimate facts to his books, which he trusted like friends; … so the whole of the old man’s life is laid before us as if it were painted on a votive tablet’ (Sat. 2.1.30-34, transl. N. Rudd). More directly rooted in reality that any other literary genre, satire depicts the world from a single point of view: the author’s. To do so, Lucilius often picked the language of the Greek-educated Roman man he was. I shall briefly illustrate this point below, offering a few remarks on the practices of imperfect bilingualism among the Romans in the last two centuries of the Republic (III.1 and IV).
The notion of Greek as ‘language of intimacy’, however, tells only part of the story. In some cases, change of language implies mockery, contempt and even hostility in other words, distance. In these cases change of language seems to mark the switch to a different speaking voice in the poem. On such passages I shall mainly concentrate, arguing that Greek in Lucilius may serve a purpose of characterisation, i.e. the author is appropriating someone else’s language, reproducing it in a humorous and often malicious manner (III.3).
This interpretation holds true also for those terms for which no Latin term was immediately available and have long been explained as a necessity (I am referring in particular to technical terminology: see III.2). The view of Greek employed as an ‘attempt to make up for some of the deficiencies of the Latin language’ in defining things unknown to the Romans before their contact with Greek culture does not do justice to the poetry of Lucilius, whose extensive usage of Greek must be a deliberate choice. Quite appropriately Lucilius called his poems ‘talks’ (sermones, cf. 1039 W. = 1039 M.). Language choice is then closely related to the definition of the genre.
I believe that this approach may help a better appreciation of Lucilius’ text, which has come down to us in a fragmentary form, with hardly any indication as to the context and narrative of the original poems. This paper aims to illustrate the distribution and function of Greek in Lucilius, through the discussion of a few select examples from the text. I shall begin with a preliminary statement on the scope of my inquiry, distinguishing Lucilius’ technique (‘code-switching’) from the general linguistic phenomenon of lexical borrowing (II). I am interested in Greek utterances in Lucilius’ poetic discourse rather than in his extensive usage of Greek-based Latin words. The list of occurrences I give in my ‘Appendix’ is compiled accordingly.
ii. greek & latin in contact: code-switching v lexical borrowing.
Lucilius’ fragments lines, half-lines, sometimes even just single words amount to some thirteen hundred. Approximately fifty of these fragments contain Greek words, however variously altered or transliterated, if not already hopelessly corrupted, by the variously competent scribes who found quotations from Lucilius in the author they were copying. It is an established scholarly practice to label all Greek words, and words with Greek etymological connection, to be found in Latin writers as ‘Grecisms’. The term, convenient as it may be, is in fact a rather misleading one, because it inevitably blurs the boundaries between distinct linguistic phenomena. The result is a number of otherwise valuable studies on the subject which, however, often offer a merely descriptive survey of the various ‘registers’ of Greek (poetic, colloquial, etc.), with little attempt to motivate the choice itself. Why does Lucilius, like indeed many other Latin writers, introduce Greek in his Latin discourse? Surely not simply because the Latin language incorporates a great number of Greek loanwords. Lucilius uses countless words of Greek origin which by his time appear already ‘normalised’, i.e. integrated in the Latin phonological, morphological, syntactical system. This type lies in the area of lexical borrowing and perhaps speaks more of the history of the Latin language than of the author’s poetic discourse. Just one example:
(1) Lucil. 597 f. W. (= 515 f. M.)
‘paenula, si quaeris, cantherius, seruus, segestre
utilior mihi quam sapiens’
‘if you want to know, a cloak, a worn-out horse, a slave, a wrapper any of these is more useful to me than a philosopher’
When Lucilius uses the word paenula ‘cloak’, the original Greek phainoles or, more precisely, the feminine variety phainola attested in the Doric Greek spoken in Southern Italy has already become, through loss of aspiration and change of vowel sound, a new, different, Latin word. Plautus knew it already, and well enough to use it figuratively (Most. 991); so will Cicero in a letter to Atticus (13.33a.1). Parallels like these indicate that the word was probably a colloquial one; register, however, has very little to do with the origin of the word. In a case like this one of many Lucilius’ choice of a Greek-based word is by no means remarkable, unless we are prepared to regard as particularly significant any English utterance of e.g. ‘mutton’ (a French loanword).
The practice known in socio-linguistics as ‘code-switching’ is an altogether different matter. It consists of a temporary change of language answering either functional or stylistic demands, e.g. explicitness, quotation, creation of a particular tone. It should not be implied, of course, that non-integration (in our case, failure to Latinise the word) should be adopted as a ‘guide to the status of a form as a code-switch or a borrowing’. Common sense suggests the opposite (consider e.g. bona fide, rendez-vous, and similar non-naturalised expressions used in English). Frequency of occurrence is a far sounder guiding rule. Isolated utterances are more likely to be individual switches than widely accepted loanwords. Many Greek expressions in Lucilius are of this type. They are unparalleled in extant literary Latin, and sometimes unparalleled in extant literary Greek too.
For example, it is easy to see the difference between (1) and the following passages from an erotic poem in Book 8:
(2) Lucil. 331-2 W. (= 303-4 M.)
‘cum poclo bibo eodem, amplector, labra labellis
fictricis compono, hoc est cum psolocopoumai’
‘when I drink from her same cup, hold her in my arms, lay my lips to her little ones (the scheming jade!) this is when I am racked with tension.’
(3) Lucil. 333 and 334 W. (= 305 and 306 M.)
‘tum latus componit lateri et cum pectore pectus …
et cruribus crura diallaxon’
‘then she lays side to side and joins breast with breast …
and I, about to cross legs with legs’
At (2) a seemingly elegiac tone (cf. the diminutive labellis) abruptly turns into an obscene Priapic image. The verb psōlocopoumai graphically describes the state of a sexually aroused man; Horace says the same in Latin: tentigine rumpi (Sat. 1.2.118, ‘I burst with lust’, transl. P.M. Brown). The only other instance of the verb is in the active form (psōlocopeo) and with causative sense, taking ‘the reader’ (ton anagignōskonta) as a direct object (PLond. 3.604 B 174). Lucilius has recourse to Greek, and not only do we fail to see why, but we are at a loss for an adequate rendering of both the language change and the crude connotation of the word. I translate psolocopumai following Rudd (1986: 166); Warmington’s translation sounds excessively euphemistic (‘I am lustful’).
In passage (3), the last word of the second line is a form (probably a future participle) of the Greek verb diallasso indicating the action of the ‘crossing’, or ‘interlocking’ of legs. The polyptoton is reminiscent of famous passages in early Greek poetry, esp. Archilochus 119 W. ‘and pressing tum to tummy and thighs to thighs’ (transl. M.L. West). Lucilius in turn is a model for Horace, Sat. 1.2.125 haec ubi supposuit dextro corpus mihi laeuum / Ilia et Egeria est ‘when a girl like this has tucked her left side under my right, she is like Ilia and Egeria’ (transl. P.M. Brown). Horace’s Satire 1.2 displays a markedly Lucilian character, and the very passage mentioned above prompted the quotation from Lucilius by an ancient commentator of Horace. This is the literary context of the passage, which however leaves the unexpected Greek form unexplained.
The form diallaxon is neither recorded elsewhere in Latin nor exactly paralleled in extant literary Greek, where diallasso normally means ‘to change’ or ‘to differ from’. The expected Greek verb, if any, is ep-allasso, which in fact indicates precisely the action of interlocking legs in the description of a non-metaphorical battle (Eur. Heracl. 836). Particles, though, are tricky little words. It may be suggested that the speaker in Lucilius had enough Greek to know that the prefix for ‘across’ was dia-, but failed to realise that the compound verb diallasso meant something completely different. Lucilius would then be characterising the affectation of someone striving to speaking Greek and succeeding only in betraying his inadequate competence. Why this character should wish to express himself in Greek during intercourse is another matter (see below, III.3).
III. DISTRIBUTION, TYPOLOGY AND FUNCTION OF GREEK IN LUCILIUS
Practices of code-switching, a recurring feature of spoken language, are not easy to detect and analyse in a corpus language such as Latin. The fragmentary state of Lucilius’ text does not make the task any easier. In literary Latin the phenomenon is identifiable in a significant degree in Plautus, Lucilius, Varro, Cicero’s letters (in apparent contradiction with Cicero’s own public statements and practice), Seneca’s Apocolycontosis, Petronius, Pliny the Younger. We also have examples from love poetry and sarcastic representations of erotic contexts in Lucretius, Catullus, Martial, Juvenal.
When listing all Greek words and phrases in Lucilius’ remains, one discovers that many belong to the language of typically Greek disciplines (philosophy, rhetoric, medicine); others are quotations from Homer and mostly incomplete; finally, others have nothing in common except for their virtual non-existence in surviving Greek literature; they possibly reproduce the Greek idiom spoken, either by Greeks or Romans, in Lucilius’ time. I give a list of passages in the ‘Appendix’, where Lucilius’ Greek lexicon is arranged according to this typology. We shall see, however, that the relation between such categories and the function of Greek in the context of the poems is by no means univocal.
A considerable number of fragments contain quotations from Homer (see ‘Appendix’ I for all references). I am not thinking, of course, of the numerous allusions we read in a sophisticated ‘Alexandrian’ poet as Lucilius was; I am referring to verbatim quotations in the original Greek. A dozen of fragments contain poetic words, phrases, lines from Homer altered to fit into a new, possibly inappropriate context. The result is the clever and comic displacement of the well-known epic voice.
A fragment from Lucilius’ Book 6 repeats a line-ending from a memorable scene in the Iliad, in which Phoebus ‘snatched’ Hector from a crucial clash with Achilles (Iliad 20.443):
(4) Lucil. 267-8 W. (= 231-2 M.)
‘<nil> ut discrepet ac ton d’exe¯rpaxen Apollo¯n
‘so that it may be all the same and become a case of “and him Apollo rescued”’ (Transl. E.H. Warmington).
No information is available on the subject of Lucilius’ poem, and we are therefore in no position to establish exactly the point of the Homeric insertion. The function, however, seems clear enough: the author catches the audience’s interest by using a familiar phrase, and expects a response to the witty re-contextualisation of it. It is worth noting that Lucilius’ choice of Greek is a deliberate one here, as allusive technique does not necessarily have to be performed in the original language. At the end of his famous satire on the ‘bore’ Horace translates the very same Homeric line-ending as Lucilius in (4), adapting it to his own context (Sat. 1.9.77 sic me seruauit Apollo). In so doing, Horace is absolutely consistent with his notion of what is proper in Latin poetry and what is not. At the same time Horace is more demanding of his readers, inviting them to recognise the Homeric allusion in its translated form, the Lucilian precedent, and Horace’s own reasons implied in the translation (‘Quirinus forbade me to write little verses in Greek’, Sat. 1.10.32 above). This technique is certainly not restricted to the present example. Varro, Men. 460 omnes irritans uentos omnesque procellas (‘rousing all winds and all storms’) is a translation of Hom. Od. 5.292-3, and given that the satire is called Sesqueulixes (‘A Ulysses and a Half’), it was presumably intended to be recognised as such. Again in Men. 529 Varro translates a passage from Attic comedy (Diph. PCG IV 31.25-6), although it is less clear there that recognition of the source would be expected. Also, one of the speakers in Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations recognises from a Latin translation a line of Epicharmus (Tusc. 1.15).
Lucilius exploits the Greek poetic tradition as a source of literary tags, in an intellectual game between author and reader. Well-read Romans are occasionally reported to do the same in conversation. In relating an encounter between friends, Varro combines a Homeric phrase, a Greek greeting, and a humorous Greek-based neologism (RR 2.5.1):
‘At this point the senator Q. Lucienus, a gentleman of extreme refinement and great humour with whom we are all well acquainted, came in and said: ‘how do you do (chaerete), my fellow Epirots (Synepirotae), for Scrofa, and our friend Varro, “shepherd of the people” (poimena lao¯n), I saw and greeted early this morning’ (Transl. L. Storr-Best).
Atticus and Cossinius, like Varro himself, had estates in Epirus: this explains the compound Syn-epirotae. At the time of the dialogue Varro was in command of the fleet between Delos and Sicily: this motivates the address in the form of a phrase which Homer applies to Agamemnon and other generals and kings (e.g. Iliad 1.263). The Homeric tag is an indication of solidarity and of identity of cultural background.
Elsewhere the language of Homer is introduced to produce a distancing effect:
(5) Lucil. 567-73 W. (= 540-6 M.)
‘num censes calliplocamon callisphyron ullam
non licitum esse uterum atque etiam inguina tangere mammis,
conpernem aut uaram fuisse Amphitryonis acoetin
Alcmenam, atque alias, <He>lenam ipsam denique nolo
dicere: tute uide atque disyllabon elige quoduis
coure¯n eupatereiam aliquam rem insignem habuisse,
uerrucam naeuum punctum dentem eminulum unum?’
‘Any woman with “beautiful tresses” and “beautiful ankles” could have had breasts touching her womb and even her crotch; Alcmena “Amphitryon’s spouse” could have been knock-kneed or bandy, others too, perhaps Helen herself, that (better not say it, decide for yourself and choose whatever dysillable is proper) that “daughter of noble sire” could have had some obvious blemish wart, pock-mark, or mole, or slightly prominent tooth.’ (Transl. N. Rudd)
In this unusually long fragment from Book 17, Homeric epithets and formulas serve the purpose of contrasting idealised femininity with the shortcomings of the real thing. It has been noted that ‘the point is sharpened by using Greek for the ladies’ perfections and Latin for their defects.’ The Homeric allusion is not so marked here as the distinction drawn between the two languages with related sets of values (see again III.3). Greek here clearly denotes distance.
III.2. TECHNICAL TERMS OF GREEK DISCIPLINES
It would be out of place here to give even a brief outline of the process of lexical borrowing in the semantic area of Greek disciplines (medicine, rhetoric, philosophy). Suffice it to say that at various stages of the long process of the Roman ‘translation’ of Greek culture and in various degrees, this technical terminology was either normalised as Latin or altogether replaced by Latin words (calques). Medical language is a peculiar case, in that medicine, unlike other artes, mostly remained the prerogative of Greek professionals. This means that while the Romans succeeded to import and to some extent ‘translate’ the vocabulary of Greek philosophy and rhetoric, the development of medical language apparently moved to the opposite direction, i.e. the use of Greek terminology increased in time. Greek was, as it were, the professional voice of medicine. Pliny the Elder maintains that medicine either speaks Greek, or it is not taken seriously (Nat. Hist. 29.17):
‘Medicine alone of the Greek arts we serious Romans have not yet practiced; in spite of its great profit only a very few of our citizens have touched upon it, and even these were at once deserters to the Greek; nay, if medical treatises are written in a language other than Greek they have no prestige even among unlearned men ignorant of Greek, and if any should understand them they have less faith in what concerns their own health.’ (Transl. W.S. Jones)
However extreme this assertion might be, it is revealing of a general attitude towards medicine and its related vocabulary. This attitude a mixture of awe and contempt would have been even more justifiable two hundred years earlier. Against this background we may set Lucilius’ apepsia, ‘indigestion’ (976 W. = 923 M.) and arthriticos, ‘gouty, affected by rheumatism’ (355 W. = 331 M.). Effort at brevity and exactness may be combined with euphemism, as in some of the numerous examples offered by Cicero in his correspondence. The number of terms of this type in Lucilius is however insufficient to conduct a significant discussion, and I quickly move on to explore the more substantial areas of philosophical and rhetorical language.
It would appear that when Lucilius mentions Greek philosophical terms, he is not speaking in his authorial voice. An iambic senarius from Book 28 contains two technical terms of Epicurean philosophy, ‘images’ and ‘atoms’:
(6) Lucil. 820 W. (= 753 M.)
‘eidola atque atomus uincere Epicuri uolam’
‘I should like to defeat Epicurus’ “images and atoms”’
Commentators say that Lucilius is here introducing two new ‘Grecisms’ (eidolum and atomus) into Latin. This is certainly a possibility (though unverifiable, given the fragmentary form of much Republican literature). In any case, one fails to see how this mere acknowledgement might contribute to a better understanding of the fragment. Also, did these words ever really enter the Latin language, in the same way as paenula did [cf. (1) above]? Both terms belong to the atomistic theory which Epicureans borrowed from Democritus: Cic. Fin. 1.21 ‘for those concepts which Epicurus adopts, the credit belongs entirely to Democritus the atoms (atomi), the void (inane), the images (imagines), or, as they call them, ‘eidola’. The Greek word eidōlon did not become a Latin word until much later (and then it would mostly mean ‘ghost’); for the philosophical term Cicero and Lucretius found convenient substitutes in imago and simulacrum. The word atomus did enter the Latin vocabulary, but not when or where we would have expected, that is not in Lucretius, who produced a variety of Latin calques to indicate the ‘first elements’ in nature, explaining the differentiation early in the poem (1.58-61). When Cicero used the Greek Epicurean term atomus besides Latin equivalents, he unfailingly pointed out that he is reporting someone else’s theory, i.e. quoting (e.g. Att. 2.23.2, Fin. 1.17, Nat. Deor. 1.73). Even long after the Latin word corpusculum ‘little body’ had been established as a standard Latin equivalent, Seneca still felt he ought to specify that atomus was the original Democritean term (Nat. Quaest. 5.2.1).
Are we truly entitled to call these terms ‘Grecisms’ then? They remained what they were simply Greek words for a long time. In Lucilius there is no attempt at normalising them in any way: in our passage eidōla and atomus, both accusative plural forms, would have been vocalised in Greek, and probably written in Greek letters too. The two words are not integrated into the text and sound like a quotation. If truly the fragment belonged to the picture of a banquet of Academic philosophers (as Marx suggested), Lucilius might have put the two words into the mouth of a hostile Academic who would scornfully remark: ‘those ‘images’ and ‘atoms’ your Epicurus goes on about’. Or perhaps it is simply a joke in philosophical terms, a humorous way of saying e.g. ‘I’d like to smash your face and tear you to pieces, to put it with Epicurus’. This suggestion sounds fanciful indeed, and yet a philosophical pun of this kind would not be isolated in Lucilius. Another extract from Lucilius’ book 28, transmitted by a Virgil commentator (Prob. Virg. Ecl. 6.31, p. 340-1 Hagen), contains a description of the possible outcome of a trial:
(7) Lucil. 805-811 W. (= 784-90 M.)
‘hoc cum feceris,
cum ceteris reus una tradetur Lupo.
non aderit: archais hominem et stoicheiois simul
priuabit. Igni cum et aqua interdixerit,
duo habet stoicheia. adfuerit: anima et corpore
(ge¯ corpus, anima est pneuma), posterioribus
stoicheios, si id maluerit, priuabit tamen.’
‘when you have done this, he will be handed over together with the others to Lupus. Suppose he does not appear in court. Lupus will deprive the man of the “first beginnings” and “elements’ too. When he has forbidden him the use of “fire” and “water”, he has still two elements. Supposing he does appear in court, nonetheless Lupus will deprive him of the latter elements, body and soul (body is “earth”, soul is “air”), if that’s what he prefers.’
We know from other sources that the presiding magistrate is L. Cornelius Lentulus Lupus, a man who was surprisingly appointed princeps senatus at the end of a dubious career marred by a trial de repetundis in 154 B.C. The scene depicts him presenting the defendant with a far from enviable choice, for if the man fails to appear in court, he will be banished; if he does appear, he will be sentenced to death: either way, the man will be deprived of all means of life. The philosophical terms for ‘elements’ and ‘first principles’ are then the ingredients of a nasty joke. The context is clearly a law-court; one wonders what the reason may be to bring in Greek philosophy at all. Besides, all Greek words are simply Greek words rather than ‘Grecisms’. Although stoicheion is Latinised by some editors as stoechion and recorded as a loanword in Latin dictionaries, probably it never was. This word alone is transliterated (stoechiis, stoechia) in the transmission of the quoting source, and the editors of Probus convincingly restore the Greek spelling, as it seems implausible that Lucilius wrote three words in Greek and normalised the fourth. The only other instance of stoicheion in Latin texts occurs in a much later treatise on metre, and there too is probably a Greek word (Ter. Maur. 1168). The regular Latin term is elementa. At any rate, none of this explains Lucilius’ joke, which could only be funny if the satirist were mocking the magistrate’s real, and notorious, Hellenising affectations. The Greek words would then reproduce an imaginary verdict ‘in the manner of Lupus’. Although there is no evidence to suggest for Lupus an obsession with Greek philosophy, the idea may find indirect support otherwise. Of this man we know that he too was an associate of Scipio Aemilianus, and we also know that the satirist greeted his passing away with a poem ‘On the death of Lupus’, otherwise known in antiquity as ‘The Council of the Gods’ (Book 1 of Lucilius’ second collection). Eight out of thirty-five fragments attributed to this book contain references to the corruption of Roman sobriety as a result of Greek influence (see below, III.3). Some readers have sensed such a discrepancy between this moralising theme and the mock-heroic subject of the satire, to go as far as postulate that the book must have contained two distinct poems. Unnecessarily so, if we imagine that the protagonist the late senatorial Lupus had possessed qualities that would motivate both the divine parliament framework (the man had been president of the Roman senate) and the Roman-versus-Greek diatribe (the man was inclined to Hellenising manners).
The area of literary criticism also offers examples of rhetorical terms employed as characterising code-switches rather than referential loanwords. A nice example is given in the opening section of a verse epistle from Book 5:
(8) Lucil. 186-93 W. (= 181-8 M.)
‘quo me habeam pacto, tam etsi non quaeris, docebo,
quando in eo numero mansi quo in maxima non est
pars hominum <neque enim tam te mihi credo inimicum>
ut periisse uelis, quem uisere nolueris, cum
debueris. Hoc ‘nolueris’ et ‘debueris’ te 190
si minus delectat, quod atechnon et Isocration
lerodesque simul totum ac sit meiraciodes,
non operam perdo, si tu hic.’
‘Although you do not ask how I am, I shall tell you, since I have kept my residence whence the greater part of humanity have departed. (For I do not think you are so hostile to me) that you wish the death of me, though refusing to see me, as your duty ought to be. If you have no taste for my rhyme “no technique, jingles à la Isocrates, and at the same time totally silly and naïve stuff” I don’t waste my time, if you are like this.’
Gellius (18.8.2) quotes the passage to prove his point about ridiculous excesses of inflated Isocratean style, and informs us that Lucilius is here speaking in propria persona to a friend who failed to visit him when he was ill. The poet’s little revenge is on the rhetorical plane. Lucilius states his intention to supply his friend with a full narration of his condition, beginning with a long-winded metaphor simply to say ‘I am still alive’ (187-8 quando hominum). Lucilius then goes on to inflict an irritating jingle upon his friend (nolueris/debueris) and to imagine the man’s reaction, mimicking his pedantic voice (191-2 W. quod meiraciodes); finally, Lucilius dismisses him as a waste of time. Lines 191-2 W. contain Greek rhetorical terminology: atechnon = ‘inartistic’ (and consequently ineffective); Isocration = ‘in the manner of Isocrates’, a contemptuous reference to the pretentious mannerism of those who pay excessive attention to sound effects; lērōdes = ‘frivolous, silly’ talk (e.g. Arist. Rh. 1414b15); meiraciōdes = ‘childish’, but also, in literary criticism, ‘affected, foppish style’ (e.g. Dion. Hal. Isocr. 12.3-4). Should we be tempted to think that Lucilius is giving us a lecture on Greek rhetoric, Gellius is there to remind us that the satirist is writing playfully to a friend (facetissime … festiuiter). All Greek terms belong to the quod-clause, which contains the stylistic objections raised by the addressee of Lucilius’ epistle: ‘on the grounds that in your view/you say that my rhyme is silly, etc.’ The author switches into Greek to characterise his friend’s critical discourse. An entirely similar case is in Book 2, where Albucius’ pretentious ‘word mosaics’ are defined as lexeis: see below, IV.