Nihil Humano Me Alienum Puto, or, "Parental Advisory: Naked People in Close Proximity!"
On account of no one is wearing a stitch of clothing, I guess I ought to say something erudite.
Romans had strict ideas of modesty and propriety, but they tended to be happily naked quite a biteither in an intimate situation, or at the public baths, or out doing construction work or playing sports in a tiny slip of fabric wrapped around the uppers and nethers (though most athletes wore more clothing and gear than those crazy nekkid Greeks). And of course, nude statues and fescoes, painted in lifelike colours, abounded in public places and private homes. Not to mention the lamps and doorbells shaped like boy parts, and a phallus on every oven to ensure the bread would rise. But, I feel compelled to add a note about today's comic, because to my knowledge my readership is primarily in the U.S., and, well, you know how we are. Sometimes one just doesn't expect to get naked people in the morning breakfast cereal, or in the daily webcomic.
Oh, and Happy Fornacalia. Yes, it's spelled correctlyit's the festival of ovens and baking. I hope everyone got a piece of King Cake yesterday, or a nice nondemoninational muffin.
(Still a little shaky from a stomach bug-thing, but I'm back at the drawing board.)
Helvius (teacher, midnight medic, and philosopher) is reciting lines from the poet Lucan, who wrote rather goth epics in the court of Nero. His uncle was the equally goth, Stephen King-esque poet/playwright/makeover-expert Seneca, best known for his grand-guignol version of Medea.
Nero was about as good for their family as Domitian has been to Felix's.
Notes on today's comic:
- My Etruscan language skills are minimal (well, aren't everyone's?), and my reference books on the language are trapped in a box somewhere, I'm not even sure in which state.
- Etruscan and Samnian were the Cornish and Welsh of Rome, losing native speakers to aggressive Latinisation. Herculaneum and Pompeii were major strongholds of Samnian culture (the "Samnite House" in Herculaneum has graffiti in the language). But within a generation, there would be no more native speakers of Etruscan. Today much of what we know of the language comes from funerary inscriptions.
- The "Sabine women" of early Roman history were Samnites.
- If anything else in the girls' conversation seems unclear, perhaps the second half of the conversation will clarify.