Seneca on Authority

How difficult it is to bend a mind away from anger
Once aroused to it, and how royal anyone thinks it is,
After he has moved his proud hands to the scepter,
To go on as he began, I have learned in my royal home.

Difficile quam sit animum ab ira flectere
iam concitatum quamque regale hoc putet
sceptris superbas quisquis admouit manus,
qua coepit ire, regia didici mea.

—Seneca, Medea 203–206

Claudian on Spain

Let distant Spain hear—
Where the origin of the court flows from,
Where a home filled with laurels,
Pregnant with empire,
Can scarcely number its triumphs.
The husband’s father is from here,
The wife’s mother is from here,
And from both sides, the pedigree
Of the Caesars runs back,
Led to the river’s source.
Let the grasslands adorn Baetica,
Let the Tagus swell with gold,
And let the ancestor of their race,
Ocean, revel
In his crystal grottoes.

procul audiant Hiberi,
fluit unde semen aulae,
ubi plena laurearum
imperio feta domus
vix numerat triumphos.
habet hinc patrem maritus,
habet hinc puella matrem
geminaque parte ductum
Caesareum flumineo
stemma recurrit ortu.
decorent virecta Baetim,
Tagus intumescat auro
generisque procreator
sub vitreis Oceanus
luxurietur antris.

—Claudian, Fescennina de Nuptiis Honorii Augusti 2.22–36

Scipio after Midnight

There is no reason to hesitate in saying this, too, which those people that I named earlier wrote down. Scipio Africanus was accustomed to go into the Capitolium really late at night, before daylight shone. He would order that the shrine of Jupiter be opened and would linger there by himself for a long time, as though he were consulting with Jupiter about the Republic. The custodians of that temple were often amazed that when he approached the Capitolium alone at that particular time, the dogs that went wild against others would neither bark at him or run up to him.

Id etiam dicere haut piget, quod idem illi, quos supra nominavi, litteris mandaverint Scipionem hunc Africanum solitavisse noctis extremo, priusquam dilucularet, in Capitolium ventitare ac iubere aperiri cellam Iovis atque ibi solum diu demorari quasi consultantem de republica cum Iove, aeditumosque eius templi saepe esse demiratos, quod solum id temporis in Capitolium ingredientem canes semper in alios saevientes neque latrarent eum neque incurrerent.

—Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae 6.1.6

Constantine II Dies

Not long after this, Constantine the younger, who was the brother of Emperor Constantius and was named after their father, invaded the territory of his younger brother Constans and engaged with his soldiers. He was killed by them in the consulship of Akindynos and Proklos [340 C.E.].

Μετ΄ οὐ πολὺ δὲ ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως Κωνσταντίου ἀδελφὸς ὃς ἦν ὁμώνυμος τῷ πατρὶ͵ ὁ νέος Κωνσταντῖνος͵ ἐπιὼν τοῖς μέρεσι τοῦ νέου ἀδελφοῦ Κώνσταντος͵ συμβαλών τε τοῖς στρατιώταις αὐτοῦ͵ ἀναιρεῖται ὑπ΄ αὐτῶν ἐν ὑπατείᾳ Ἀκινδύνου καὶ Πρόκλου.

—Socrates Scholasticus, Historia ecclesiastica 2.5

Interesting to specify the soldiers in particular; Constantine died in a minor action outside Aquileia, not a pitched battle between armies, and his body was thrown into the nearby Alsa River.

The Party Begins

And so, however our weariness was cast aside, we retrieved our dinner clothes and were led into the next room. In it, three couches were laid out and the remaining preparation for magnificent things was most splendidly on show. So after we were asked to, we lied down, and after a marvelous first course started, we were flooded by wine—and it was Falernian.

Vtcunque ergo lassitudine abiecta cenatoria repetimus et in proximam cellam ducti sumus, in qua tres lecti strati erant et reliquus lautitiarum apparatus splendidissime expositus. Iussi ergo discubuimus, et gustatione mirifica initiati vino etiam Falerno inundamur.

—Petronius, Satyricon 21

Arnobius on the Gods

The reaper’s scythe, for instance, which is attributed to Saturn—that had been something to inspire fear in mortals, that they should prefer to live peaceably and cast off their malicious desires; and Janus, with his doubled head, or that toothy key by which he is distinguished; Jupiter, with a cloak and beard, holding in his right hand a piece of kindling fashioned like a lightning bolt; that gauntlet of Juno, or the little girl lurking under a soldier’s helmet; the mother of the Gods, with her drum; the muses, with their flute sand with their lutes; winged Mercury; shining Asclepius, with his serpent-bearing staff; Ceres, with her large breasts, or the drinking cup hanging in Liber’s right hand; Mulciber, with his craftsman’s clothes, or Fortune, with her horn filled with apples, figs, and autumn’s bounty; Diana, with her thighs half-covered, or Venus, naked and stirring up desire; Anubis, with his dog face, or Priapus, less important than his own genitals.

Falx messoria scilicet, quae est attributa Saturno, metum fuerat iniectura mortalibus, vitam vellent ut pacificam degere ac malitiosas abicere voluntates, fronte Ianus ancipiti aut dentata illa qua insignitus est clavis, riciniatus Iuppiter atque barbatus, dextra fomitem sustinens perdolatum in fulminis morem, Iunonius ille caestus, aut militari sub galea puellula delitiscens, deum Mater <cum> tympano, cum tibiis et cum psalteriis Musae, Mercurius pinnatus, anguifero nitens Aesculapius baculo, Caeres mammis cum grandibus aut in Liberi dextera pendens potorius cantharus, Mulciber fabrili cum habitu aut Fortuna cum cornu pomis ficis aut frugibus autumnalibus pleno, semitectis femoribus Diana aut ad libidinem concitans Venus nuda, Anubis canina cum facie aut genitalibus propriis inferior Priapus.

—Arnobius, Adversus nationes 6.25.1

Another Latin author specifying Liber (and Mulciber!) instead of Dionysus/Bacchus; see the post on Jerome here. I also love how the fear-inspiring attributes get less and less fear-inspiring as the passage goes on, right up until the kicker.

Theodahad on Roman Exports

After the commencement of our rule was happily announced to you, conscript fathers, an agreeable occasion for discussion fell to us: that you acknowledge that we have chosen a judge whose speaking might adorn us. For the glory of the Republic lies in an eloquent quaestor who seems in our opinion to be the best at communicating and who keeps the laws of our forebears with firm resolve.

This is Patricius, honored already by words themselves, for he delights in perpetual praise given that his name is honorable. His studies at Rome produced his flowing way of speaking; he shows that his skills are deserving of the place’s value. For whoever has been able to learn there has earned praise everywhere: there, the Latin language is pure; there, sparkling words are learned with complete elegance. Other regions send out their lively balms and fragrant incense; Rome sends out eloquence, and nothing sweeter has been heard.

Post primordia nostri imperii vobis feliciter nuntiata congrua nobis contigit, patres conscripti, causa sermonis ut iudicem nos cognoscatis elegisse, cuius nos lingua possit ornare. quaestor enim eloquens rei publicae decus est, qui et vota nostra optime videatur edicere et antiquorum iura firmo consilio custodire.

Hic est enim Patricius suis iam vocabulis honoratus: nam perpetua fruitur laude, cui est honor in nomine: cuius affluentem facundiam studia Romana genuerunt: ostentans merito de loci dignitate peritiam. nam qui illic potuit imbui, meruit ubique laudari: ibi defaecatus sermo Latinus est: ibi discuntur verba toto nitore lucentia. aliae regiones viva balsama et olentia tura transmittant: Roma tradit eloquium, quo suavius nil sit auditum.

—Cassiodorus, Variae 10.7