The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Shorter Notes

Horace, Satires 2.4.61

S. J. Harrisona1

a1 Corpus Christi College, Oxford

Here Horace's Catius lists restorative foods for drinkers. There seem to be two stages of drinking and two corresponding restoratives: the ‘marcens’ or drooping imbiber may be revived for more by prawns and snails, but not by lettuce, bad for the acidic and vinous stomach, while the man who is further gone needs ham and sausages or anything of that sort from the cook-shops. ‘Immorsus’ causes some difficulty here. It is usually taken with an understood ‘stomachus’ and translated ‘roused’ or ‘excited’ (with wine), but it is surely better to understand not ‘stomachus’ but ‘potor’, giving the elegant balance ‘marcentem…recreabis…potorem…[potor] flagitat immorsus refici’, with both verbs of restoration having the drinker for object. The sense usually given to ‘immorsus’ also seems doubtful: ‘immordeo’ is found only twice in classical Latin and only here in this metaphorical sense, and ‘mordeo’ in such contexts means not to rouse the stomach but to cause it to smart or sting, hardly the effect of wine – cf. Scribonius Largus 188 ‘[aconita] mordet autem stomachum et cor adficit’, Pliny, Nat. 27.133 ‘[radix] gustu acri mordet’.