Burn Like a Roman

by - 4:52 PM

When my Grandpa was in hospital last week, I had to do something, anything, to keep myself from worrying. With reading impossible and writing pointless, I decided to do some cleaning up in my room. This was also a hopeless case, since I found a beautiful piece of high school memorabilia: my old notebooks from my Latin classes!
Pretty soon I was reading all the stories and poems I'd translated. And as I read some of the poems by a guy called Martialis, I could almost hear Kelso (any That 70's Show fans out there?) yell over and over again: 'BURN!'

Martialis lived between 40 and 100 AD and was the Roman Master of Burns. He was not as much of a pervert as Catullus, but he loved making fun of others' private parts and appearance in a subtle and sneaky way.
Want to know how to Burn like a Roman? You'll pick it up in no time with this selection of mean poetry!

'Quintus loves Thaïs.'
'Which Thaïs?'
'Thaïs with one eye.'
Thaïs misses one eye, he both.

Here we immediately see what a friendly chap Martialis is. Not only does he make fun someone with just one eye, he also adds a little 'you're so ugly' to the mix. Quintus is not blind, you see. As with a lot of people in his poetry, Martialis only says this about him to make fun of Quintus bad taste and Thaïs ugliness in one go. And that in four neat lines!

Poet without reader
It's said that Cinna's writing poems against me
The person whose work no one reads, doesn't write

Now that's what I call a burn: 2000 years old and still useful! This one actually hurt my feelings, Martialis. Not cool, bro! 
The meaning of this poem is clear: you can write all you want, but you're not a real writer until people read you work. We're obviously not talking about Cinna from The Hunger Games, but this Cinna must have had a special talent too. However, he wasn't as talented as Martialis, so fewer people read his poetry and thus Martialis burned Cinna with a huge dose of Roman arrogance. And in doing so, he also hurt the feelings of a sixteen-year-old Envy who didn't dare let anyone read her work... 

Two professions
Recently Dialus was a doctor, now he's a corpse deliverer
What he does as a corpse deliverer, is what he did as a doctor too

Ouch. That must have hurt.
Before I rant on, I have to see that these poems where translated from Latin to Dutch to English. 'Corpse deliverer' isn't an actual profession or word as far as I know, but the Romans had so many corpses lying around that they needed someone to bring the right body to the right family and thus they needed a word for this profession.
Back to Dialus: he was a doctor, but apparently not a very talented one. All his patients came back to their families perfectly fine. Just dead. So a small career switch later, we see Dialus do exactly the same, but without treating people as a doctor. Also, this time round, the whole Roman empire can laugh at him because of this poem. Dialus, you've been burned.

A kiss or a hand
Some you give kisses, Postumus, others the right hand
You say: 'Which one do you prefer? Choose.'
I prefer the hand

If Martialis could've included the smell of Postumus breath in the paper he wrote his poems on, he would've done it. We have to thank this friendly men for reminding generation after generation of high school kids of the faul smell that came from Postumus breath. Just what I wanted to know about the Roman times...
Also, I'm not going to say this is a burn. With that smell, there's a fair change things will go up in flames by mere mention of the word 'burn'.

Flaccus, if you have heard applause in some thermae
You should know that Maro's cock was there

If you think Maro took his rooster to the bathing house, you're too young for this one. First of all, roosters were not allowed in the thermae. Second, every rooster on the streets of ancient Rome would've been eaten within minutes.
There's no burn in this one. I just added it to show you that even Roman assholes were nice sometimes. Better be positive, right?

So now you know what I learned in Latin class. The difference between accusativus and nominativus, also a lot about Roman everyday life and... how to hurt people's feelings in a sneaky but totally effective way!
Stay Awesome!

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10 Fellow Ramblers

  1. This guy should've added disclaimer "Apply cold water on burned area" before his poems :P XD
    As we say in our language "Le li iski" :P (rough translation he rendered him speechless with the burns) :P
    So basically they teach Sarcasm in Latin ? >U< :P

    1. Haha, he totally should've done that. Half of his books were lost throughout time, so maybe he had such a disclaimer somewhere. I like to believe that ^.^
      You're language looks beautiful and complicated at the same time!
      And yeah, Latin was about sarcasm, drawing X's in your notebook (long story) and being melodramatic. It was awesome!

    2. Hey I just used one of these quote in my post..don't worry I've given due credit to you also linked it back here :) :P

    3. Not worried at all:) Very kind of you to notify and credit me :)

  2. Romans sure know there stuff. XD

    xoxo Morning

    1. They sure did. Sneaky little bastards were way ahead of their time when it comes to both architecture and burns :P

  3. Now I know what to say when people annoy me! Really cool! :D

    1. Thanks :)
      People will be all like: what?! if you burn them like this :P

  4. Wow, I need to join this Roman Burn Class xD I couldn't burn someone if you put a torch in my hand (I'd probably run at them and trip and the torch would be extinguished by a convenient puddle on the sidewalk).
    Amusing post- definitely found it funny :D

    1. Your comment made my day, I totally saw that happening with the torch and the puddle. It would've made a great cartoon :P
      Thank you for the kind comment :) I could teach you how to burn the Roman style, but I'd rather not; I learned it a bit too well and now I'm accidentally burning people every now and then. That's not fun :(


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