Thursday, 15 July 2010

That Naughty Verres, and A Certain Mr Satoshi

I was reading some Cicero the other day, in particular his superlatively nasty speech against the general Verres, on trial for extortion and being the worst possible governor of Sicily ever. He used to swan around in a litter filled with rose petals, and set up an enormous tent to which were brought various ladies of ill (and worse) repute. Here is a description of one of his parties:

'itaque erant exitus eius modi ut alius inter manus e convivio tamquam e proelio auferretur, alius tamquam occisus relinqueretur, plerique ut fusi sine mente ac sine ullo sensu iacerent.'

Which translates (in rather bad English, but you get the drift) as:

'And so, there were exits (to the party) of such a kind that some would be carried out in the arms (of the other guests) as if from a battle; others would be left as if for dead; most would sprawl on the ground without any idea or sense of where they lay.'

Now I don't know about you, but all this sounds like it could be rather fun. It looks like Verres was heartily enjoining the worship of Bacchus. I wonder if Cicero was just jealous because he never got invited and was too busy writing epic poems about himself?

I attended a party (which didn't end like that) for the launch of Jonathan Lee's Who is Mr Satoshi?, which is his debut novel and looks intriguing. The party was in a pub in Islington; as far as I know nobody was carried out as if from a battle, but it was certainly enormously enjoyable.

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