Now it's time to turn to the letters of Pudentilla, or rather to go a little further back in the sequence of events. This way
it may be crystal clear to all that I, whom they accuse of invading Pudentilla's house because of my greed for gains, if I
thought of any gain, should have fled from that house at every opportunity. Because that marriage is so unprosperous in
other ways that it would be harmful to me if the woman herself did not compensate through her own virtues for so many
Nunc tempus est ad epistulas Pudentillae praeuerti, uel adeo totius rei ordinem paulo altius petere, ut omnibus
manifestissime pateat me, quem lucri cupiditate inuasisse Pudentillae domum dictitant, si ullum lucrum cogitarem, fugere
semper a domo ista debuisse, quin et in ceteris causis minime prosperum matrimonium, -- nisi ipsa mulier tot incommoda
uirtutibus suis repensaret, inimicum.
For no other cause (except for blind jealousy) can be found which could have kindled this lawsuit (and many previous
dangers throughout my life) against me. Otherwise why would Aemilianus be stirred up? Even if he had really ascertained
that I was a magician, a man whom I haven't harmed by any deed or even so much as a word -- why would he think he
attacks me deservedly, for the sake of vengeance? Furthermore, he doesn't accuse me for the sake of fame, as
Marcus Antonius accused Gnaeus Carbo,
Gaius Mucius accused Aulus Albucius,
Publius Sulpicius accused Gnaeus Norbanus,
Gaius Furius accused Manius Aquilius,
and Gaius Curio accused Quintus Metellus.
Of course, these very learned young men first took on the study of forensic rhetoric in pursuit of praise, so that they might
be recognized by their fellow citizens for some famous lawsuit. This custom, which the ancients allowed to adolescents so
they might demonstrate the flower of their genius, has been obsolete for a long time. But even if it were current today, it
would nevertheless be alien to Aemilianus. For the display of eloquence doesn't suit one so coarse and uneducated, and the
desire for glory doesn't suit a country hick or an uncultivated man, and beginning to practice the art of advocacy doesn't suit
a coffin-bound curmudgeon.
Neque enim ulla alia causa praeter cassam inuidiam repperiri potest, quae iudicium istud mihi et multa antea pericula uitae
conflauerit. ceterum cur Aemilianus commoueretur, etsi uere magum me comperisset, qui non modo ullo facto, sed ne
tantulo quidem dicto meo laesus est, ut uideretur se merito ultum ire? neque autem gloriae causa me accusat, ut M. Antonius
Cn. Carbonem, C. Mucius A. Albucium, P. Sulpicius Cn. Norbanum, C. Furius M' Aquilium, C. Curio Q. Metellum.
quippe homines eruditissimi iuuenes laudis gratia primum hoc rudimentum forensis operae subibant, ut aliquo insigni iudicio
ciuibus suis noscerentur. qui mos incipientibus adulescentulis ad illustrandum ingenii florem apud antiquos concessus diu
exoleuit. quod si nunc quoque frequens esset, tamen ab hoc procul abfuisset; nam neque facundiae ostentatio rudi et
indocto neque gloriae cupido rustico et barbaro neque inceptio patrociniorum capulari seni congruisset;
Unless by chance Aemilianus has given an example of his austerity and, hostile to evildoers, has taken up this accusation for
the integrity of his character. But I would hardly believe this even of another Aemilianus, not this African here, but of that
man who conquered Africa and Numantia, and, moreover, was a censor. And I couldn't believe that in the mind of this
blockhead there is not only the hatred of crimes, but even so much as ignorance of them.
nisi forte Aemilianus
pro sua seueritate exemplum dedit et ipsis maleficiis infensus accusationem istam pro morum integritate suscepit. at hoc ego
Aemiliano, non huic Afro, sed illi Africano et Numantino et praeterea Censorio uix credidissem: ne huic frutici credam non
modo odium peccatorum, sed saltem. intellectum inesse.
 So what is it, then? It is so clear to anyone that nothing other than jealousy provoked this man and Herennius Rufus,
the instigator, about whom I shall soon speak, and other enemies of mine to invent the false accusations of magic. There are
five charges which I must refute. For if I remember correctly, those that pertain to Pudentilla are as follows:
Quid igitur est? cuiuis clarius dilucet aliam rem inuidia nullam esse quae hunc et Herennium Rufinum, impulsorem huius, de
quo mox dicam, ceterosque inimicos meos ad nectendas magiae calumnias prouocarit. quin[que] igitur res sunt, quas me
oportet disputare. nam si probe memini, quod ad Pudentillam attinet, haec obiecere:
*The first charge, so they said, is that she never wanted to marry after her former husband died, but was
enchanted by my spells.
una res est, quod numquam eam
uoluisse nubere post priorem maritum, sed meis carminibus coactam dixere;
*Another charge concerns her letters, which they think are an acknowledgement of my magic.
altera res est de epistulis eius, quam
confessionem magiae putant;
*The third and fourth are that she married from desire at the age of sixty, and that the nuptial contracts were
signed in the villa and not in the town.
deinde sexagesimo anno aetatis ad lubidinem nubsisse, et quod in uilla ac non in oppido tabulae nubtiales sint consignatae, tertio et quarto loco obiecere;
*The last and most invidious accusation was about the dowry. Here they strive with all their force to spread
the poison, here they were most greatly threatened, so they said that I extorted an enormous dowry soon after
the beginning of the union with my loving wife, who was at the villa, far removed from counsel.
nouissima et eadem inuidiosissima criminatio de dote fuit.
ibi omne uirus totis uiribus adnixi effundere, ibi maxime angebantur, atque ita dixere me grandem dotem mox in principio
coniunctionis nostrae mulieri amanti remotis arbitris in uilla extorsisse.
I shall now show that all these charges are so false, so empty, and so senseless, and I shall refute them so easily and without
any contradiction, that, by the gods, Maximus and you who sit in council, I fear that you may think I secretly incited my
unassuming accuser, so that I'd have an opportunity to quash all resentment of me openly. Believe now what will soon be
understood: it will be a lot of work for me to prevent you from thinking that such a weak accusation was arranged cleverly
by me rather than stupidly by my enemies.
quae omnia tam falsa, tam nihili, tam inania ostendam
adeoque facile et sine ulla controuersia refutabo, ut medius fidius uerear, Maxime quique in consilio estis, ne demissum et
subornatum a me accusatorem putetis, ut inuidiam meam reperta occasione palam restinguerem. mihi credite, quod reabse
intelle[ge]tur: oppido quam mihi laborandum est, ne tam friuolam accusationem me potius callide excogitasse quam illos
stulte suscepisse existimetis.
 Now I'll briefly run through the sequence of events and, once the matter is
understood, I'll make this Aemilianus think he has to confess that he was induced mistakenly to be jealous of me and has
wandered far from the truth. While I do so, I ask that you, as you have done so far, to attend unfailingly -- even more
attentively if you are able -- to the very source and foundation of this case.
Nunc dum ordinem rei breuiter persequor et efficio, ut ipse Aemilianus re cognita falso se ad inuidiam meam inductum et
longe a vero aberrasse necesse habeat confiteri, quaeso, uti adhuc fecistis uel si quo magis etiam potestis, ipsum fontem et
fundamentum iudicii huiusce diligentissime cognoscatis.
Aemilia Pudentilla, now my wife, bore to a certain Sicinius Amicus, to whom she was formerly married, the boys Pontianus
and Pudens. For almost 14 years with memorable dutifulness she diligently nurtured those orphans who had been left in the
power of their paternal grandfather -- for Amicus had died while his father was still alive -- yet, in the very flower of her
age, she remained a widow for so long unwillingly. But the grandfather of the boys wanted to marry her to his son Sicinius
Clarus (though she was unwilling), and frightened other suitors away. Meanwhile he threatened that if she married someone
unrelated, he would leave her children none of their father's possessions. When this wise woman of exceptional dutifulness
saw that this condition was being obstinately enforced, she drew up a marital agreement with the man whom she was
ordered to marry, Sicinius Clarus, so she wouldn't inconvenience her children, but she avoided the wedding by means of
various frustrations until the grandfather of the boys yielded to his fate and left the boys their inheritance. Pontianus, who
was older, became the guardian of his brother.
Aemilia Pudentilla, quae nunc mihi uxor est, ex quodam Sicinio Amico, quicum antea nubta fuerat, Pontianum et Pudentem
filios genuit eosque pupillos relictos in potestate paterni aui -- nam superstite patre Amicus decesserat -- per annos ferme
quattuordecim memorabili pietate sedulo aluit, non tamen libenter in ipso aetatis suae flore tam diu uidua. sed puerorum
auus inuita[m] eam conciliare studebat [in] ceterum filio[s] suo[s] Sicinio Claro eoque ceteros procos absterrebat; et
praeterea minabatur, si extrario nubsisse[t], nihil se filiis eius ex paternis eorum bonis testamento relicturum. quam
condicione[m] cum obstinate propositam uideret mulier sapiens et egregie pia, ne quid filiis suis eo nomine incommodaret,
facit quidem tabulas nubtiales cum quo iubebatur, cum Sicinio Claro, uerum enimuero uariis frustrationibus nuptias eludit eo
ad, dum puerorum auus fato concessit relictis filiis eius heredibus ita, ut Pontianus, qui maior natu erat, fratri suo tutor esset.
 Once freed from this concern, since her hand was sought by the most important men, she resolved that she wouldn't
remain a widow any longer. She might be able to bear the tedium of solitude, but she was unable to endure her bodily
suffering. A woman of blessed chastity, after so many years of widowhood without fault or gossip, languishing without
conjugal care and made ill by the long inactivity of her organs -- the insides of her uterus were damaged -- she was
exhausted by sudden pains, often to the very edge of death. The doctors agreed with the midwives that the cause of the
disease could be found in the absence of a marriage, that the evil would grow day by day, and the suffering would get
worse. While any health remained, her health was to be healed by marriage.
eo scrupulo liberata cum a principibus uiris in matrimonium peteretur, decreuit sibi diutius in uiduitate non permanendum;
quippe ut solitudinis taedium perpeti posset, tamen aegritudine[m] corporis ferre non poterat. mulier sancte pudica, tot annis
uiduitatis sine culpa, sine fabula, assuetudine coniugis torpens et diutino situ uiscerum saucia, uitiatis intimis uteri saepe ad
extremum uitae discrimen doloribus obortis exanimabatur. medici cum obstetricibus consentiebant penuria matrimonii
morbum quaesitum, malum in dies augeri, aegritudinem ingrauescere; dum aetatis aliquid supersit, nubtiis ualitudinem
Others approved of this decision, and so did this Aemilianus himself, most emphatically, who a little earlier in the brashest
lie asserted that Pudentilla never thought about marriage before I bewitched her with evil magic and that I was the only one
to be found who violated her widowhood (as if it were some kind of virginity) with incantations and poisons. I've often
heard it said -- and not for nothing, either -- that a liar should have a good memory. But evidently it didn't cross your mind,
Aemilianus, that before I came to Oea you wrote some letters to her son Pontianus, who was then an adult and spending
time in Rome, suggesting that she should marry. Give me the letter, or rather, give it to him to read it, so that in his own
voice and with his own words he may convict himself.
consilium istud cum alii approbant, tum maxime Aemilianus iste, qui paulo prius confidentissimo mendacio
adseuerabat numquam de nubtiis Pudentillam cogitasse, priusquam foret magicis maleficiis a me coacta, me solum repertum,
qui uiduitatis eius uelut quandam uirginitatem carminibus et uenenis uiolarem. saepe audiui non de nihilo dici mendacem
memorem esse oportere; at tibi, Aemiliane, non uenit in mentem, priusquam ego Oeam uenirem, te litteras etiam, uti
nuberet, scribsisse ad filium eius Pontianum, qui tum adultus Romae agebat. cedo tu epistolam uel potius da ipsi: legat, sua
sibi uoce suisque uerbis sese reuincat.
******* **** ******** ******** ****** .....
******* **** ******** ******** ****** .....
Is this your letter? Why did you turn pale? Because you are unable to blush. Is this your signature? I ask that you read it out
more clearly, so that all may understand how much his tongue disagrees with his hand, how much smaller his disagreement
is with me than with himself.
Estne haec tua epistola? quid palluisti? nam erubescere tu quidem non potes. estne tua ista subscribtio? -- recita quaeso
clarius, ut omnes intellegant, quantum lingua eius manu discrepet, quantumque minor illi[s] sit mecum quam secum dissensio
******* **** ********* ******** ******* ....
******* **** ********* ******** ******* ....
 Did you, Aemilianus, write these things which have just been read? "I know she wants to and ought to marry, but I don't know whom she will choose." You were right: you didn't know. For Pudentilla, who knew your dangerous
malevolence back to front, said only so much concerning this matter, but nothing concerning her suitor. But you -- while
you thought that she was even then about to marry your brother Sicinius Clarus -- led on by false hope you made her son
Pontianus agree as well. So if she had married Clarus, a decrepit old bumpkin, you would then have said that she had
married him by her own free will, without any magic. But since she chose a young man such as you describe, you allege that
she was forced and, in addition, that she always refused marriage. You didn't know, you wicked man, that your letter on
this matter was saved, you didn't know that you would be refuted by your very own testimony. But Pudentilla wanted to
hold on to that letter as a witness and a sign of your will, rather than to send it on, because she knew that you are as flighty
and fickle as you are deceitful and shameless.
Scripsistine haec, Aemiliane, quae lecta sunt? 'nubere illam uelle et debere scio, sed quem eligat nescio.' recte tu quidem:
nesciebas; Pudentilla enim tibi, cuius infesta[m] malignitatem probe norat, de ipsa re tantum, ceterum de petitore nihil
fatebatur. at tu dum eam putas etiamnum Claro fratri tuo denubturam, falsa spe inductus filio quoque eius Pontiano auctor
adsentiendi fuisti. igitur si Claro nubsisset, homini rusticano et decrepito seni, sponte eam diceres sine ulla magia iam olim
nubturisse: quoniam iuuenem talem qualem dicitis elegit, coactam fecisse ais, ceterum semper nubtias aspernatam. nescisti,
improbe, epistulam tuam de ista re teneri, nescisti te tuomet testimonio conuictum iri. quam tamen epistolam Pudentilla
testem et indicem tuae uoluntatis, ut quae te leuem et mutabilem nec minus mendacem et inpudentem scire[t], maluit retinere
At any rate, she wrote about it to her son Pontianus in Rome, she even listed fully the reasons for her plan. She said
everything about her health: there was no further reason why she ought to hold out any longer, she had kept hold of his
grandfather's inheritance by her long widowhood to the detriment of her own health, she had augmented that same
inheritance by the greatest diligence. Now, by the will of the gods, he was himself ready for a wife and his brother ready to
receive the toga virilis. Finally, she asked them to deign to relieve her loneliness and ill-health at some point. Moreover, they
had nothing to fear regarding her loyalty and judgement. She would be such a woman when married as she had been as a
widow. I will order a passage from the letter sent to her son to be read:
ceterum ipsa de ea re Pontiano suo Romam scripsit, etiam causas consilii sui plene allegauit. dixit illa omnia
de ualetudine: nihil praeterea esse, cur amplius deberet obdurare, hereditatem auitam longa uiduitate cum despectu salutis
suae quaesisse, eandem summa industria auxisse; iam deum uoluntate ipsum uxori, fratrem eius uirili togae idoneos esse;
tandem aliquando se quoque paterentur solitudini[s] suae et aegritudini subuenire; ceterum de pietate sua et supremo iudicio
nihil metuerent; qualis uidua eis fuerit, talem nuptam futuram. recitari iubebo exemplum epistolae huius ad filium missae. --
******* ***** ********** ******* *********** **** *****
******* ***** ********** ******* *********** **** *****
 I think it's quite possible from that letter for anyone to see that Pudentilla wasn't driven from a resolute widowhood by
my incantations, but that she, at no point ever being hostile to marriage, chose to marry me of her own free will, perhaps
over others. I don't understand why the choice of such a dignified woman must be brought against me as a charge rather
than as an honor. But I'm still amazed at the fact that Aemilianus and Rufinus bear the judgment of this woman badly,
although these men who sought Pudentilla's hand in marriage bear calmly her preference for me.
Satis puto ex [h]istis posse cuiuis liquere Pudentillam non meis carminibus ab obstinata uiduitate compulsam, sed olim sua
sponte a nubendo non alienam [uti]quam me fortasse prae ceteris maluisse. quae electio tam grauis feminae cur mihi crimini
potius quam honori danda sit, non reperio, nisi tamen miror quod Aemilianus et Rufinus id iudicium mulieris aegre ferant,
cum hi, qui Pudentillam in matrimonium petiuerunt, aequo animo patiantur me sibi praelatum.
The fact is that she did this complying with her son's wishes rather than with her feelings. Aemilianus can't deny that this is
true. For Pontianus, after he recieved his mother's letter, immediately sped off from Rome, fearing that if she chose some
greedy man, she would bring all her possessions to her husband's house, as often happens. This anxiety was tormenting him
immoderately, because all hope of riches for himself and his brother depended on the resources of his mother. Their
grandfather had left a little bit, but their mother had four million sesterces, out of which she owed a sum of money to her
sons guaranteed not in writing, but merely by her word, as was fair. He bore this fear in silence; he did not dare to resist
openly lest he seem to distrust her.
quod quidem illa ut faceret,
filio suo potius quam animo obsecuta est. ita factum nec Aemilianus poterit negare. nam Pontianus acceptis litteris matris
confestim Roma[m] aduolauit metuens, ne si quem auarum uirum nacta esset, omnia, ut saepe fit, in mariti domum conferret.
ea sollicitudo non mediocriter animum angebat, omnes illi fratrique diuitiarum spes in faculta[ti]bus matris sitae erant. auus
modicum reliquerat, mater sestertium quadragies po[s]sidebat, ex quo sane aliquantam pecuniam nullis tabulis, sed, ut
aequum erat, mera fide acceptam filiis debebat. hunc ille timorem mus[s]itabat; a[d]uersari propalam non audebat, ne
 When the matter was in this state between the decision of the mother and the fear of the son, by chance or by fate I
arrived there on my way to Alexandria. By Hercules, I would have said "would that it had never happened," if respect for
my wife did not prevent me from doing so. It was winter. Exhausted by the harshness of my journey, I was resting for a few
days at the home of my friends the Appii, whom I name out of personal affection and to do them honor. Pontianus came to
me there, for a few years earlier in Athens we had met through certain mutual friends, and afterwards we had become
intimate by close association. He paid me every attention, inquiring anxiously about my health and cleverly bringing up the
subject of love. In fact, it seemed to him that he had found an extremely suitable husband for his mother, to whom with
slight risk he could entrust the entire fortune of his house. At first he tested my desires in a roundabout manner, since he saw
that I wanted to return to the road and that I was not inclined towards marriage. He asked me to remain there for a little
while, saying that he wanted to set out with me. Since illness had deprived me of the current winter, he continued, I would
have to wait for the next on account of the heat of the Gulf of Sidra and the wild animals. With many entreaties to my
friends the Apii, he took me off to shift me to his mother's house. It would be a healthier place for me to stay. In addition,
from there I could more freely enjoy a view of the sea, which was most welcome to me.
Cum in hoc statu res esset inter procationem matris et metum fili, fortene an fato ego aduenio pergens Alexandream.
dixissem hercule 'quod utinam numquam euenisset', ni me uxoris meae respectus prohiberet. hiemps anni erat. ego ex
fatigatione itineris aduectus apud Appios i[s]tos amicos meos, quos honoris et amoris gratia nomino, aliquam multis diebus
decumbo. eo uenit ad me Pontianus; nam fuerat mihi non ita pridem ante multos annos Athenis per quosdam communis
amicos conciliatus et arto postea contubernio intime iunctus. facit omnia circa ho[no]rem meum obseruanter, circa salutem
sollicite, circa amorem callide; quippe etenim uidebatur sibi peridoneum maritum matri repperisse, cui bono periculo totam
domus fortunam concrederet. ac primo quidem uoluntatem meam uerbis inuersis periclitabundus, quoniam me uiae cupidum
et conuersum ab uxoria re uidebat, orat, saltem paulisper manerem: uelle se mecum proficisci. hiemem alteram propter
Syrtis aestus et bestias opperiendam, quod illam mihi infirmitas exemisset. multis etiam precibus meis Appiis aufert, ut ad
sese in domum matris suae transferar; salubriorem mihi habitationem futuram; praeterea prospectum maris, qui mihi
gratissimus est, liberius me ex ea fruiturum.
 Relying on all of these arguments with earnest zeal, he pursuaded me and recommended to me his mother and his
brother, that boy there. I helped them a little with our common studies and our friendship increased significantly.
Meanwhile, I recuperated. Because my friends requested it, I gave a public speech. All those who were present thronging
the basilica that was serving as an auditorium in a huge crowd shouted among other things with a unanimous voice
"excellently done," asking that I stay there and become an Oean citizen.
Haec omnia adnixus impenso studio persuadet, matrem suam suumque fratrem, puerum istum, mihi commendat. non nihil a
me in communibus studiis adiuuantur, augetur oppido familiaritas. interibi reualesco; dissero aliquid postulantibus amicis
publice; omnes qui aderant ingenti celebritate basilicam, qui locus auditorii erat, complentes inter alia pleraque
congruentissima uoce 'insigniter' adclamant petentes, ut remanerem, fierem ciuis Oeensium.
Soon after the audience had left, Pontianus approached me and first interpreted the decision of the public as a divine
auspice and then he revealed his plan. If I was not unwilling, he would marry his mother (whom many coveted) to me. For
he said he trusted me and relied on me alone in all these matters. If I didn't accept this burden (since it was not some
beautiful orphan, but a plain-faced mother of children he offered to me) -- if in considering these matters, for the sake of
beauty and riches, I was saving myself for another arrangement, I wouldn't be acting as a friend or a philosopher.
mox auditorio misso Pontianus
eo principio me adortus consensum publicae uocis pro diuino auspicio interpretatur aperitque consilium sibi esse, si ego non
nolim, matrem suam, cui plurimi inhient, mecum coniungere (mihi quoniam soli ait rerum omnium confidere sese et credere);
ni id onus recipiam, (quoniam non formosa pupilla, sed mediocri facie mater liberorum mihi offeratur) -- si haec reputans
formae et diuitiarum gratia me ad aliam condicionem reseruarem, neque pro amico neque pro philosopho facturum.
The conversation was too long, even if I wished to recount how I responded to him, for how long and how many times
there were exchanges between us, with how many and what sort of prayers he entreated me. He didn't stop before he
finally succeeded. I had observed Pudentilla well in the past year's closeness and I had noted the gifts of her virtues, but, be
that as it may, I was reluctant to take on the encumbrance of marriage, because of my longing for travel. But soon I began
to love this woman no less passionately than if I had sought her in marriage of my own accord. Pontianus had persuaded his
mother in the same way, so that she preferred me to all others and with unbelievable eagerness she longed to complete the
matter as soon as possible. We barely obtained a slight delay from Pontianus while he himself first took a wife and his
brother put on the toga virilis. Next we would be married.
multa oratio est, si uelim memorare, quae ego contra responderim, quam diu et quotiens inter nos uerbigeratum sit, quot et
qualibus precibus me adgressus haud prius omiserit quam de[ni]que impetrarit, non quin ego Pudentillam iam anno perpeti
adsiduo conuictu probe spectassem et uirtutium eius dotes explorassem, sed utpote peregrinationis cupiens impedimentum
matrimoni aliquantisper recusaueram. mox tamen talem feminam nihilo segnius uolui quam si ultro appetissem. persuaserat
idem Pontianus matri suae, ut me aliis omnibus mallet, et quam primum hoc perficere incredibili studio auebat. uix ab eo
tantulam moram impetramus, dum prius ipse uxorem duceret, frater eius uirilis togae usum auspicaretur: tunc deinde ut nos
 By Hercules, I wish I could skip over what has to be said now without serious cost to my case, so that I wouldn't
seem to be reproaching Pontianus's fickleness. (I unconditionally forgave him, you know, when he begged pardon for his
error.) For I confess, because this was an accusation against me, that after he took a wife, Pontianus suddenly switched his
loyalties and changed his mind. The thing which earlier he'd urged on too eagerly, he now fought against against just as
stubbornly. In the end, he was prepared to do anything and endure anything to keep our marriage from taking place.
Vtinam hercule possem quae deinde dicenda sunt sine maximo causae dispendio tran[s]gredi, ne Pontiano, cui [h]errorem
suum deprecanti simpliciter ignoui, uidear nunc leuitatem exprobrare. confiteor enim, quod mihi obiectum est, eum,
postquam uxorem duxerit, a compecti fide desciuisse ac derepente animi mutatum quod antea nimio studio festinarat pari
pertinacia prohibitum isse, denique ne matrimonium nostrum coalesceret, quiduis pati, quiduis facere paratum fuisse,
Nevertheless, this despicable change of heart and the feud (which we know about) with his mother shouldn't be blamed on
him, but on his father-in-law, who's here today: Herrenius Rufinus -- there's no one in this land more evil, more wicked, or
more unjust than him. In a few words, as modestly as I can, I'll say what I have to about this man, so that, if I'm generally
silent about him, he will not have wasted the pains he took and incredible strength he used to bring this matter against me.
quamquam omnis illa tam foeda animi mutatio et suscepta contra matrem simultas non ipsi uitio uortenda sit, sed socero eius
eccilli Herennio Rufino, qui unum neminem in terris uiliorem se aut improbiorem aut inquinatiorem reliquit. paucis hominem,
quam modestissime potero, necessario demonstrabo, ne, si omnino de eo reticuero, operam perdiderit, quod negotium
istud mihi ex summis uiribus conflauit.
For this man instigated the little boy, originated the accusation,
guided the lawyers, procured his witnesses, forged of the entire slander;
served as Aemilianus's torch and whip, and he boasted rather excessively
in front of everyone that I've been accused because of his devices. And in fact,
he's got something he can pat himself on the back for here: he is the
overseer of all the lawsuits, the inventor of all the lies,
the engineer of all the pretexts, the breeding-ground of all the evils.
Hic est enim pueruli huius instigator, hic accusationis auctor, hic aduocatorum conductor, hic testium coemptor, hic totius
calumniae fornacula, hic Aemiliani huius fax et flagellum, idque apud omnis intemperantissime gloriatur, me suo machinatu
reum postulatum. et sane habet in [h]istis quod sibi plaudat. est enim omnium litium depector, omnium falsorum
commentator, omnium simulationum architectus, omnium malorum seminarium,
Similarly, his house is a haunt!
nec non idem libidinum ganearumque locus,
of lust and prostitution. Already from an early age he was widely known for all sorts of wickedness: first in his youth, before
he was disfigured by baldness, he cheerfully went for unspeakable things thanks to his ***johns. Then in his adolescence,
he had a weakness for dancing, plays, and other soft activities, but , as I hear it, he was untaught and crudely effeminate.
For it is said that he had none of an actor's qualities except shamelessness.
iam inde ab ineunte aeuo cunctis probris palam notus, olim in pueritia, priusquam isto caluitio deformaretur,
emasculatoribus suis ad omnia infanda morigerus, mox in iuuentute saltandis fabulis exossis plane et eneruis, sed, ut audio,
indocta et rudi mollitia; negatur enim quicquam histrionis habuisse praeter impudicitiam.
 Even at his current age -- may the gods ruin him! (and may your ears excuse me) -- his house is Pimp Central, his
whole family is diseased! He himself is a disgrace, his wife is a whore, and their children are much the same. Day and night
he's made an ass of***:
his door is smashed with young men's kicks,
his windows are beseiged by the sounds of singers,
his couches buzz with wild revelry,
his bedroom is the Route 66 of adulterers: no one's afraid to go in, unless he doesn't pay his toll to the husband.
in hac etiam aetate qua nunc est --
qui istum di perduint! multus honos auribus praefandus est -- domus eius tota lenonia, tota familia contaminata: ipse
propudiosus, uxor lupa, filii similes: prorsus diebus ac noctibus ludibrio iuuentutis ianua calcibus propulsata, fenestrae
canticis circumstrepitae, triclinium comisatoribus inquietum, cubiculum adulteris peruium; neque enim ulli ad introeundum
metus est, nisi qui pretium marito non attulit.
So this is how an insult to his own bed earns this guy money. Once he earned it skillfully with his own body; now he
brazenly earns it with his wife's. I kid you not: many people bargain with him -- with that man, I'm telling you -- for nights
with his wife. Now, this was the tacit understanding between the husband and his notorious wife: if you bring a healthy fee
to the woman, no one will bother you, and you can come and go as you please. But if you arrive empty-handed, you'll be
arrested for adultery at a pre-arranged signal -- and as if you were in school, you can't leave without writing out a little
ita ei lecti sui contumelia uectigalis est. olim sollers suo, nunc coniugis corpore
uulgo meret; cum ipso plerique, nec mentior, cum ipso, inquam, de uxoris noctibus paciscuntur. iam illa inter uirum et
uxorem no[n]ta[m] conlusio: qui amplam stipem mulieri detulerunt, nemo eos obseruat, suo arbitratu discedunt; qui inaniores
uenere, signo dato pro adulteris deprehenduntur, et quasi ad discendum uenerint, non prius abeunt quam aliquid scripserint.
What, after all, could the wretched man do, since after he had lost his nice little*** fortune which anyhow he'd gotten
through his father's deceit? His father, who'd borrowed money from many creditors, preferred money to self-respect: when
IOU's rained down on him, money was demanded from him from every side. He was seized by everyone he met as if he
were a madman. But his answer was "take it easy" and said he couldn't pay. But he disposed of his gold rings and other
marks of nobility, and settled with his creditors.
quid enim faciat homo miser ampliuscula fortuna deuolutus, quam tamen fraude patris ex inopinato inuenerat? pater eius
plurimis creditoribus defaeneratus maluit pecuniam quam pudorem; nam cum undique uersum tabulis flagitaretur et quasi
insanus ab omnibus obuiis teneretur, 'pax' inquit, negat posse dissoluere, anulos aureos et omnia insignia dignitatis abicit,
cum creditoribus depaciscitur.
But then, in an wickedly clever fraud, he transferred a healthy chunk of his family property into his wife's name. Rufinus,
needy, naked, and protected by his own disgrace left for himself 3,000,000 sesterces -- no kidding -- to be squandered.
This amount came to him free and clear, from the property of his mother -- in addition what which his wife gave him in her
garden-variety dowry. But nevertheless, this glutton has diligently deposited all this into his belly in a few years and has
digested it with all sorts of gluttonizations.
pleraque tamen rei familiaris in nomen uxoris callidissima fraude confert: ipse egens, nudus et
ignominia sua tutus reliquit Rufino huic, non mentior, sestertium deuorandum; tantum enim ad eum ex bonis matris liberum
uenit praeter quod ei uxor sua cotidianis dotibus quaesiuit. quae tamen omnia in paucis annis ita hic degulator studiose in
uentrem condidit et omnimodis conlurchinationibus dilapidauit,
You might think that his father's deceit makes him afraid to keep anything, in case it might occur to someone that he bears
a bit of his father's fraud.
ut crederes metuere, ne quid habere ex fraude paterna diceretur;
This just man of upstanding character made sure that what was ill-gotten would be ill-spent, and that there'd be nothing left
of that great fortune beyond a wretched display and a huge gut.
homo iustus et morum dedit operam, quod male partum erat ut male periret, nec quicquam ei relictum est ex
largiore fortuna praeter ambitionem miseram et profundam gulam.
 At any rate, his wife, who was weak and already an old woman, shied away from so many insults against the house,
but then her daughter was brought around to all the rich young men, at her mother's invitation -- but in vain. Although she
was sent to certain suitors for a trial run, she might have sat at home, a widow before ever being a bride, if she had not
come upon the opportunity of Pontianus. Although we tried a great deal to dissuade him, he gave her the fairy-tale-false title
of "bride," though he knew that previously, she'd been abandoned with disgust by a certain respectable young man of a
good family whom she had been engaged to, and who'd had enough of her.
Ceterum uxor iam propemodum uetula et effeta totam domum contumeliis
[alere] abnuit; filia autem per adulescentulos ditiores inuitamento matris
suae nequicquam circumlata, quibusdam etiam procis ad experiundum
permissa, nisi in facilitatem Pontiani incidisset, fortasse an adhuc uidua
ante quam nubta domi sedisset. Pontianus ei multum quidem dehortantibus
nobis nuptiarum titulum falsum et imaginarium donauit, non nescius eam
paulo ante, quam duceret, a quodam honestissimo iuuene, cui prius pacta
fuerat, post satietatem derelictam.
So Pontianus's new bride came to him calm and fearless, with her chastity
ruined, her maidenhood broken in, her bridal veil worn out, an "innocent
girl" again after a recent divorce, with the name, not the bloom, of a
maiden. She was carried by eight slaves, and you who were present clearly
saw how wickedly she leered at all the youths. How brazenly she displayed
herself! Who wouldn't recognize her as a student of her mother's teaching,
when he saw her made-up mouth, painted cheeks, and seductive eyes? The
whole dowry, down to the last penny, was borrowed from a creditor the day
before, and in fact, it was much greater than would be demanded from a
house so drained of money and so full of children.
uenit igitur ad eum noua nupta secura et intrepida, pudore
dispoliato, flore exsoleto, flammeo obsoleto, uirgo rursum post recens
repudium, nomen potius adferens puellae quam integritatem. uectabatur
octaphoro, uidistis profecto qui adfuistis, quam improba iuuenum
circumspectatrix, quam inmodica sui ostentatrix. quis non disciplina[m]
matris agnouit, cum in puella uideret i[m]medicatum os et purpurissatas
genas et inlices oculos. dos erat a creditore omnis ad terruncium pridie
sumpta et quidem grandior quam domus exhausta et plena liberis postulabat.
 But although that man is modest in his
means, he's immodest in his expectations. With equal greed and need he'd
devoured the 4,000,000 sesterces of Pudentilla with vain presumption.
Figuring that I had to be disposed of, so that he could take advantage of
Pontianus's good nature and Pudentilla's loneliness more easily, he began
to scold his son-in-law for having betrothed his mother to me. He advised
him to get himself out of this danger as quickly as possible, while he
still could, and hold on to his mother's property rather than knowingly
transfer it to some stranger. The old fox threatened the young lover: if
Pontianus wouldn't do this, Rufinus would take back his daughter.
 Sed enim iste, ut est rei modicus, spei
immodicus, pari auaritia et egestate totum Pudentillae quadragiens
praesumptione cassa deuorarat eoque me amoliendum ratus, quo facilius
Pontiani facilitatem, Pudentillae solitudinem circumueniret, infit generum
suum obiurgare, quod matrem suam mihi desponderat; suadet, quam primum ex
tanto periculo, dum licet, pedem referat, rem matris ipse potius habeat
quam homini extrario sciens transmittat; ni ita faciat, inicit scrupulum
amanti adulescentulo ueterator, minatur se filiam abducturum.
What more is there? Rufinus took a naive young man, one who was captured by the attractions of a new wife, and turned
him from his path and decision. He went to his mother with Rufinus's words, but in vain, since the dignified woman chided
him for fickleness and inconsistency. He brought no soft words back to his father-in-law: thanks to his demands, his mother
was beside herself with anger, who was resolute beyond her easy-going nature, and it would be a fair encouragement to her
stubbornness. Finally, she answered that it was no secret that this claim was made through Rufinus -- which meant that she
had to help her husband even more against the hopeless greed of that man.
quid multis? iuuenem simplicem, praeterea nouae nuptae inlecebris
obfrenatum suo arbitratu de uia deflectit. it ille ad matrem uerborum
Rufini gerulus, sed nequicquam temptata eius grauitate ultro ipse
leuitatis et inconstantiae increpitus reportat ad socerum haud mollia:
matri suae praeter ingenium placidissimum immobili iram quoque sua
expostulatione accessisse, non mediocre pertinaciae adiumentum;
respondisse eam denique non clam se esse Rufini exoratione secum
expostulari; eo uel magis sibi auxilium mariti aduersum eius desperatam
Annoyed at what he heard, Rufinus swelled up so much with anger and burned
with such rage that he said things more fit for his own bedroom to my most
innocent and chaste wife in the presence of her own son -- Rufinus, a man
who prostitutes his own wife. He declared in the presence of many people
(and I'll name them, if you like) that she's a slut and that I'm a
magician and a poisoner, and that he would deal my death with his own
hands. By Hercules! I can hardly control my rage, my head is swimming with
anger. You girl, do you threaten any man with death by your hand? And
pray, what hand would that be? The hand of Philomela, or Medea, or
Clytemnestra? After all, when you play these parts, you perform without a
blade, since you're so weak-spirited and terribly afraid of swords.
Hisce auditis exacerbatus aquariolus iste uxoris suae ita ira extumuit,
ita exarsit furore, ut in feminam sanctissimam et pudicissimam praesente
filio eius digna cubiculo suo diceret, amatricem eam, me magum et
ueneficum clamitaret multis audientibus (quos, si uoles, nominabo): se
mihi sua manu mortem allaturum. uix hercule possum irae moderari, ingens
indignatio animo oboritur. tune, effeminatissime, tua manu cuiquam uiro
mortem minitari[s]? at qua tandem manu? Philomelae an Medeae an
Clyteme[n]strae? quas tamen cum saltas -- tanta mo[l]litia animi, tanta
formido ferri est -- , sine cludine saltas.