Monday, February 27, 2012

Artis Phidiacae...

Here is today's distich by Martial, 3.35. Phidias was one of the most famous artists of classical Greece. None of his original works seems to have survived, but there are Roman copies of works attributed to Phidias, along with many references to Phidias and his works in the literature of both Greece and Rome, as here in Martial's poem.

Artis Phidiacae toreuma clarum
pisces aspicis: adde aquam, natabunt.

So graved to th' life by Phidias' art, you'ld swear
The fish would swimme, were butt the water there.
- Anon. 16th cent.

Here is the vocabulary:

ars - art, skill
Phidiacus - belonging to Phidias
toreuma - carving, sculpted relief
clarus - clear, illustrious, famous
piscis - fish
aspicio - look upon, behold, consider
addo - add, give in addition
aqua - water
nato - swim