Sunday, November 23, 2008

Catullus 16

"Kisses from Catullus" bead-and-wire necklace, by Lydia Gerbig-Fast, found at Bead Arts, and chosen with Lady Penelope in mind (because of the beading).

Really, why am I bothering with boring old Virgil?
The naughty boy of Roman poets, Catullus, is so much juicier!
As Wikipedia notes re Catullus 16: "Latin is an exact language for obscene acts," and Catullus pulled out all stops, as it were, in this Rude Person poem.

I have such fond memories of a college class in which we translated Catullus out loud, line-by-line. The teacher, who was rather a dear dumpling, tried to remain cool when we got to no. 16; but when someone asked him what "pedicabo" actually meant, he blushed furiously and gave a biologically correct reply, rather than a modern-day equivalent. (An insult, in this case, something like "I want to give it to you where the sun don't shine," to be euphemistic.)

Ever after, my Latin buddy Chuck and I used to greet each other on campus by calling out "pedicabo," hoping in our juvenile way that some Classicist was wandering by...

But of course, this is exactly why I'm using Virgil instead:
I'm going for parody, and sidling up to naughtiness is much funnier than openly declaring your intentions to insert Tab A into Slot B.

["Kisses from Catullus" earrings, right, by same artist as above.]


Krista said...

ZOMG. Those earrings ain't quite my style, but I so want them just because of the way they're named.

Where *is* my copy of Catullus, anyway? Excuse me. I must go fetch it.

deanna said...

Beautiful jewelry. My daughter read a lot of Catullus during her four years of high school Latin. I know the class didn't read everything, so probably not 16. But they got the idea of his *interesting* life and times.

Lady P said...

This makes me so happy! I want that necklace! I'd wear it on my like a Dantesque wreath.

The word verification is "minker". Honestly, nowhere else in the entire intertubing are there such superb captchas. Did you order them speically? I think I'm going to start noting them down for definition.

Lady P said...

(Uh, the missing word above is "head". I'd wear it on my HEAD. Not, for instance, on my minker. Other than on very special occasions.)

fresca said...

Actually, Catullus composes my word verifications.
*sneaky little smile*

Anonymous said...

Hey! I'm procrastinating the long-overdue pre-Thanksgiving Day houseclean and sneaked upstairs to catch some Fresca-whimsy! Love them woids and never studied Latin, but to my unschooled ears "pedicabo" sounds like a foot cape--as in "pedicure" and Cabo del Fuego or some place--so were the ancient Romans running around sticking feet in butts? (sometimes , where there's a cape there's a port!?) And then the "minker" sounds like a euphemism for fuzzy, furry private areas...Hmmmm.. think I've just "invented" "procrasto-porn"...

And, of course, Catullus is messin' with this verification word, which is "aptiate"--how apt!

Love and Happy Cozy Times Wearing Whatever Accessories Speak to Ya!


Manfred Allseasons said...

Ok, this is probably apocryphal, but....

My tutor at Hull was Dr TTB Ryder, who was taking a class on Catullus 16, which I didnt attend. The class was using the penguin translation which begins with the untranslated 'Pedicabo et irrumabo'.

Dr Ryder was asked to translate, (but everyone had sort of worked it out from 'ped')...Dr Ryder said of course, but he didnt want to embarrass anyone with its vulgarity.

Anyway, to spare the ladies blushes, Dr Ryder wrote down the translation and asked for it to be passed round. His translation went something like this: ' I shall sodomise you and you shall pleasure me orally'.

The note went round (with a little giggling) until it reached Marc, a trendy goth type, at the aisle. Across the aisle sat Perry, a big rather posh gentleman farmers son, who was plainly asleep. Marc nudged him awake and passed him the note.

Perry unfolded his glasses and read the note. He then pulled the note down onto his lap out of sight, and read it again. Finally, he wrote something on the reverse and passed it back to Marc.

He wrote 'Thanks all the same, but I've booked a squash court for this afternoon. Regards - Perry'.

Perry works for Coutts now, bankers to the Queen!

fresca said...

STEF: "Procasto-porn" sounds as good as "multi-shirking" (as opposed to multi-tasking, of course). Sign me up for aptiating too!

MANFRED: I almost choked on my pumpkin pie (a staple, you know, during Thanksgiving season)--that story fulfilled all my daily-required-minimum-laughs quota at once.

Alas, my poor Catullus prof was a sincere Midwesterner who had no such tales at his disposal nor the imagination to create them himself...

(I think the first note I left on TTJ was on the "Catullus 5" post.)