Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by kiddo73, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. kiddo73 Member

    Hello everybody, I've had difficulties with the word impudicus. Here's the sentence:
    "To be impudicus (That is passive) is disgraceful for a free man"
    Taken from "Sexuality", by Jeffery Weeks

    Well, I wonder if the explanation in parentheses has anything to do with the meaning of the word. Does this mean that "impudicus" is grammatically passive? Any ideas?
    Thanks in advance!
  2. FDu Member

    French, France
    The explanation in parentheses says that impudicus means passive sexually, not grammatically.
  3. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    "impudicus" actually means "shameless, unchaste, immodest" and can refer both to men and to women. The translation offered above is too narrow.
  4. Quiviscumque

    Quiviscumque Moderator

    Ciudad del paraíso
    I didn't know, but a quick search shows that "impudicus" was used in the sense of "sodomized":

    si fur veneris, impudicus ibis (Priapeia, cited in L&S)

    Satisque constat, duos solos e notioribus venia donatos, tribunum laticlavium et centurionem, qui se, quo facilius expertes culpae ostenderet, impudicos probaverant et ob id neque apud ducem neque apud milites ullius momenti esse potuisse. (Suetonius, Domitianus, X)
  5. asanga Member

    Yes, that quote by Suetonius does suggest that an impudicus was considered too unmanly to lead troops, so in this usage it seems to refer specifically to someone taking the passive/submissive/feminine role in sex, rather than unchasteness/shamelessness in general.

    The quote in the OP is a rephrasing of Seneca (Contr. iv pr.), who is in turn quoting Quintus Haterius Antoninus, a famous orator/lawyer under Tiberius:

    memini illum, cum libertinum reum defenderet, cui obiciebatur, quod patroni concubinus fuisset, dixisse: 'impudicitia in ingenuo crimen est, in servo necessitas, in liberto officium.

    I recall he said, when defending a freedman who had been charged with acting as a concubine for his patron, "Shamelessness (impudicitia) is a crime for a free-born man, a necessity for a slave, and a duty for a freedman."

    Wikipedia has a good article on sexual attitudes in Ancient Rome, see the section on roles and impudicitia:

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