Inscriptions from the time of the Roman Republic, translated by E.H.Warmington (1940). The numbers in red refer to the Latin text in the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum.
[i] Believe you that what has once been made crooked can hardly now be made straight.
[ii] Believe you what they say? Affairs are not so. Don't be a fool.
[iii] If you are wise, about uncertainty beware lest things become certain.
[iv] Don't let falsehoods arise from truth by being a false judge.
[v] That horse is a very fine one, but you can't ride him.
[vi] It's an uphill road; you are not empowered to follow by the road you want to.
[vii] He fears all men; it is better to chase what he is afraid of.
[viii] Many men are liars. Don't believe them.
[ix] An untrustworthy foe will arise from a trustworthy man, unless you take care.
[x] I command it, and if he does it for him, he will be glad for ever.
[xi] Seek you joyfully and willingly, and you will be glad for ever, because of what shall be given.
[xii] We are not the liars you said. You ask advice like a fool.
[xiii] Is it now you keep asking me, it is now you seek advice? It is too late by now.
[xiv] Very many do I help. When I have helped, no one thanks me.
[xv] After all your hopes have fallen do you really ask my advice?
[xvi] Spurn not what you flee, what you toss aside, I mean what is granted you.
[xvii] Why do you seek advice after the occasion? What you ask does not exist.
Oracular replies found on a bronze tablet at Forum Novum. Written in prose. First century B.C.?
[i] Why do you now seek my advice? Be at rest and enjoy life.
You have death far from you. Death cannot be fastened on you before the doom is come.
A great illness is revealed.
The other two are much mutilated:
[ii] He got his profit by fraud.
. . . it holds out mighty turmoil.
. . . and you shall always escape from it.
[iii] She who was barren will bear a child.
Song of the Twelve Arval brothers, perhaps of the sixth century B.C. Processional Hymn? It has metrical groups, including Saturnian rhythms.
Marble tablet of A.D. 218 found at Rome. The records of a meeting of the brethren in that year.
Then the priests, the doors being closed, girt up their robes, took the books, and dividing up danced and sang a song to the following words:
Oh! Help us, you Household Gods! Oh! help us, you Household Gods! Oh! help us, you Household Gods!
And let not bane and bale, O Marmar, assail more folk. And let not bane and bale, O Marmar, assail more folk. And let not bane and bale, O Marmar, assail more folk.
Be full satisfied, fierce Mars. Leap the threshold! Halt! Beat the ground! Be full satisfied, fierce Mars. Leap the threshold! Halt! Beat the ground! Be full satisfied, fierce Mars. Leap the threshold! Halt! Beat the ground!
By turns address you all the Gods of Sowing. By turns address you all the Gods of Sowing. By turns address you all the Gods of Sowing.
Oh! Help us, Marmor! Oh! Help us, Marmor! Oh! Help us, Marmor! Bound, bound, and bound again, bound and bound again!
After the dance, at a given signal, public slaves came in and took away the books.
(i) A round tablet of lead found apparently at Cumae. Mixed Latin and Oscan. Interpretation of the names, etc., is not certain.
Lucius Harines, son of Herius Maturus, Gaius Eburius, Pomponius, Marcus Caedicius son of Marcus, Numerius Andripius, son of Numerius. May the . . . of the whole lot of them stand upright! May their breath be dry!
(ii) A small bronze plate found in a sepulchre at Cumae.
Summoned to Hell's court: Naevia Secunda, freedwoman of Lucius, or whatever other name she goes by.
(iii) A curse by enchantment. Lead plate. Found at Rome? Now at the Johns Hopkins University. First century B.C., not later than about the year 40.
O wife of Pluto, good and beautiful Proserpina (unless I ought to call thee Salvia), pray tear away from Plotius health, body, complexion, strength, faculties. Consign him to Pluto thy husband. May he be unable to avoid this by devices of his. Consign that man to the fourth-day, the third-day, the every-day fever. May they wrestle and wrestle it out with him, overcome and overwhelm him unceasingly until they tear away his life. So I consign him as victim to thee, Proserpina, unless o Proserpina, unless I ought to call thee Goddess of the Lower World. Send, I pray, someone to call up the three-headed dog with request that he may tear out Plotius' heart. Promise Cerberus that you will give him three offerings - dates, dried figs, and a black pig - if he has fulfilled his task before the month of March. All these, Proserpina Salvia, will I give you when you have made me master of my wish. I give you the head of Plotius, slave of Avonia. O Proserpina Salvia, I give you Plotius' forehead. Proserpina Salvia, I give you Plotius' eyebrows, Proserpina Salvia, I give you Plotius' eyelids. Proserpina Salvia, I give you Plotius' eye-pupils. Proserpina Salvia, I give you Plotius' nostrils, lips, ears, nose, and his tongue and teeth so that Plotius may not be able to utter what it is that gives him pain; his neck, shoulders, arms, fingers, so that he may not be able to help himself at all; his chest, liver, heart, lungs, so that he may not be able to feet what gives him pain; his abdomen, belly, navel, sides so that he may not be able to sleep: his shoulder-blades, so that he may not be able to sleep well; his sacred part, so that he may not be able to make water; his buttocks, vent, thighs, knees, legs, shins, feet, ankles, soles, toes, nails, that he may not be able to stand by his own aid. Should there so exist any written curse, great or small - in what manner Plotius has, according to the laws of magic, composed any curse and entrusted it to writing, in such manner I consign and hand him over to thee, so that you may consign and hand over that fellow, in the month of February. Blast him! damn him I blast him utterly! Hand him over, consign him, that he may not be able to behold, see, and contemplate any month further!
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