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Epistula 2

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2023

Judith Hindermann
Affiliation:
Universität Basel, Switzerland
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Summary

Introduction

Summary

While Sidonius is in the countryside, the addressee, Domitius, is still in the city. Sidonius describes the hot climate that prevails in the area at the moment. Sidonius taunts Domitius by imagining his tiring life as a teacher in the heat of the city. After praising the climate in the countryside and inviting Domitius to join him, Sidonius describes his estate, Avitacum, beginning with the baths, that is, the hot room, the room for applying oil and the cool room. Sidonius praises the lack of immoral pictures on its walls. A description of the swimming pool and its water supply follows. The stream that pours into the pool is so noisy that you cannot understand a word if you talk nearby. Next, Sidonius describes his wife's dining room, a weaving room, a store room, a portico with a wonderful view over the lake. He praises the quality of the cool drinks one can enjoy there while watching the fishermen on the lake. There follows a description of the guest room and the pleasant animal sounds that will be heard there. Sidonius describes a shady place where he plays ball and dice with his brother-in-law Ecdicius, and the nearby lake, its dimensions, tributary river, fish population, banks, colour, and surroundings. There is even an island in the middle of the lake where boat races are held in imitation of Vergil's Aeneid. Finally, Sidonius again asks the addressee Domitius to hurry and visit him and he apologises for the undue length of the letter.

Addressee

The addressee, Domitius, is a teacher (probably located in Clermont) whom Sidonius also mentions in Carm. 24.10–15 as a severe critic, whose judgement he values. Based on Domitius’ association with the Muses (Carm. 24.10) Mathisen (2020a) 90 thinks that Domitius is a teacher of rhetoric for older students (rhetor) rather than for basic studies (grammaticus), as he appears to be in this letter. Domitius, with his interest in literature, is a fitting addressee for one of Sidonius’ most elaborate letters, full of literary allusions. Sidonius certainly also chooses him because he reminds him of Pliny's friend Domitius Apollinaris, the addressee of one of Pliny's famous villa letters (Plin. Ep. 5.6); Harries (1994) 10, Mratschek (2008) 373–4, Gibson (2013b) 345–6, Mratschek (2017) 311–13.

Type
Chapter
Information
Sidonius Apollinaris' Letters, Book 2
Text, Translation and Commentary
, pp. 82 - 177
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Epistula 2
  • Judith Hindermann, Universität Basel, Switzerland
  • Book: Sidonius Apollinaris' Letters, Book 2
  • Online publication: 14 July 2023
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  • Epistula 2
  • Judith Hindermann, Universität Basel, Switzerland
  • Book: Sidonius Apollinaris' Letters, Book 2
  • Online publication: 14 July 2023
Available formats
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  • Epistula 2
  • Judith Hindermann, Universität Basel, Switzerland
  • Book: Sidonius Apollinaris' Letters, Book 2
  • Online publication: 14 July 2023
Available formats
×