Robert E. Lee on eBay (After Juvenal)

I saw this item for auction on eBay, and it made me think of a passage from Juvenal’s Tenth Satire.  In the original Latin poem, Juvenal speaks about Hannibal, the Carthaginian leader who crossed the Alps to invade Italy. When Samuel Johnson imitated the satire in 1749, calling it “The Vanity of Human Wishes,” he updated the reference so that the passage dealt with Charles V of Sweden.  I don’t imagine Juvenal would mind my imitation too much.

Robert E Lee and Civil War Soldier and horses 15 Plastic figures toy playset (Bidding starts at $14.99)

But ponder Gen’ral Lee, whose noble face
and deeds are known to ev’ry Southern boy.
He charged on Gettysburg, but now he sits
upon a tabletop, a plastic toy.

Juvenal, Satire 10.147-167
Expende Hannibalem: quot libras in duce summo
inuenies? …
… i, demens, et saeuas curre per Alpes
ut pueris placeas et declamatio fias.

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About Uncomely and Broken

I teach Latin and Greek at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.
This entry was posted in Classics, Poetry, Sports & Games, The South, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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