A Woman's View

“Olim erat elepantus,
Qui temptavit uti telepanto.
An minime!  Erat eleponicum,
Qui temptavit uti teleponico.
Mehercule! Non certa sum
Si haberem rectum an non.
Sed, tamen is truncam torsit
linea teleponico.
Plus temptavit liberari,
Plus stridit teleponici!
Carmen deponam, fortasse–
Elepopi teleponicique.”
This little known Latin poem is the work of a woman scholars know only as Laurina.  We know little of her life, or even when she lived, but her poetry has been found quoted by many authors, especially those of the Renaissance.  Her interesting rhyming verse has garnered attention, and has led scholars to suspect that she wrote her poetry for children, possibly her own.
Reading poetry from little known authors with students is a great way to get different views on Rome, Romans, and Ancient culture–views that we don’t normally see.  Here, a woman shares with us a truly silly poem for children–or perhaps for tipsy party-goers.  Scholars have indeed wondered whether Laurina was an educated slave and whether her poem was used to test whether a commissatio attendee was inebriated.  Now, you can tell your students that the Romans had sobriety tests as well!
APRIL FOOLS!  🙂  This is a Latin translation of a silly poem called Eletelephony, by Laura E. Richards. (However, having students translate modern poetry so that it scans is a great grammar exercise!!)

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