no fable: Thais showed men’s propensity to believe women

Thais exploiting Damasius

The courtesan Thais regularly had sex with Alexander the Great’s leading general Ptolemy. Moreover, when it came to decisive action, Thais led Alexander the Great like slave girls ruled all-powerful caliphs in the ancient Islamic world. Thais became renowned for inducing Alexander to burn the Persian capital city of Persepolis in 330 BGC.

About two millennia ago, the Latin writer Phaedrus described how women like Thais dominate men despite men’s understanding of their deceptions. Phaedrus put forward this astonishing effect in the form of a fable:

A prostitute and a young man

With enticements a dishonest prostitute baited a young man,
and he gave himself to her frequently with much injury to himself.
Just as many easy women have presented themselves,
so this insidious being said: “Although all men with gifts
contend for my consent, I do you before everyone else.”
Recalling how often she had deceived him,
he said, “Gladly so, shining light. I hear your voice,
not that I believe it, but it makes me happy.”

{ Meretrix et iuvenis

Cum blandiretur iuveni meretrix perfida,
Et ille laesus multis saepe iniuriis
Tamen praeberet sese facilem mulieri,
Sic insidiatrix: Omnes muneribus licet
Contendant, ego te plurimi facio tamen.
Iuvenis recordans quotiens deceptus foret:
Libenter, inquit, mea lux, hanc vocem audio,
Non quod fidelis, sed quod iucunda est mihi. } [1]

That’s the pathetic spirit that prompts husbands to accept being cuckolded. In the twelfth century, Gualterus Anglicus expanded upon Phaedrus’s fable:

On the young man and Thais

By her cunning Thais ensnares young men; she feigns
Love, and from feigned love comes profit.
From many suitors she receives many things; from all she chooses
One youth, and to him she promises the riches of true love.
“I am yours, and may you be mine. I want you alone more than all,
But I do not want to have your gift.”
He perceives her tricks and returns words such as he has received:
“I am yours, and may you be mine; equal love becomes us.
I would not wish to live unless you wish to live with me.
You are my only salvation, you are my only repose.”

{ De iuvene et Thaide

Arte sua Thais iuvenes irretit: amorem
Fingit et ex ficto fructus amore venit.
A multis fert multa procis; ex omnibus unum
Eligit, huic veri spondet amoris opes.
“Sum tua sisque meus cupio; plus omnibus unum
Te volo, sed nolo munus habere tuum.”
Percipit ille dolos et reddit qualia sumpsit:
“Sis mea simque tuus. Nos decet equus amor;
Vivere non vellem nisi mecum vivere velles:
Tu mihi sola salus, tu mihi sola quies;
Sed falli timeo, quia me tua lingua fefellit.
Preteriti ratio scire futura facit. } [2]

The phrases “the riches of true love {veri amoris opes}” and “equal love {equus amor}” point to the twelfth-century backlash against men-subordinating courtly love. With medieval Latin freedom of speech, Gualterus Anglicus even dared to criticize women; specifically, women who deceive men and who use men as a means for freely acquiring material goods. Turning against the young man’s passive acceptance of being exploited in Phaedrus’s fable, Gualterus Anglicus offered men wisdom for pragmatic action:

A bee avoids the yew-tree which it has often tested by tasting.
If any woman deceived yesterday, she wants to deceive today.
If anyone loves Thais, let him believe that his goods are loved, not himself:
Thais lacks love, but loves the lover’s gift.

{ Vitat avis taxum quam, gustu teste, probavit.
Fallere vult hodie, si qua fefellit heri.
Thaida si quis amat, sua, non se, credat amari:
Thais amore caret, munus amantis amat. } [3]

In his pioneering printing of fables translated into English, William of Caxton in 1484 put the matter more generally:

For the love of a promiscuous woman is not to be trusted,
for you should know and think for yourself
that the promiscuous and foolish woman loves you not,
but she loves your money.

{ For the loue of a comyn woman is not to be trusted
For thow oughtest to knowe and thynk within thy self
that the comyn and folyssh woman loue the not
but she loueth thy syluer. } [4]

Men eagerly and foolish believe that women are like goddesses. But women, like men, can be inveterate liars and deceivers. Men should listen and believe women no more than they listen and believe men.

Instantaneous feelings of happiness are no substitute for truth and reason. Given that men have no reproductive rights and men are readily lynched as rapists, men should consider carefully before they engage in pleasurable sex with women. Rather than trading goods for sex with women, men should insist on the value of their intrinsic virtue.

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[1] From Phaedrus’s Latin verse rendition of Aesop’s fables. This fable is from Perotti’s addition to the collection of Phaedrus, Appendix 29. The Latin text is available from Aesopica and Perseus. The English translation is mine, drawing up that of Laura Gibbs and that of Ben Edwin Perry, Loeb Classical Library 436 (1965). The subsequent quote is similarly from this fable. In Perotti’s manuscript, the fable includes a promythium:

Many things that bring us happiness are at the same time troublesome

{ Multa esse nobis iocunda quae tamen sunt incommoda }

Like the fable itself, this promythium provides a keen psychological observation without any ethical imperative.

Baeza-Angulo (2013) provides detailed philological analysis of this fable, along with a superficial analysis of its relation to Roman amatory elegy. The gender conservatism and complacency of his analysis is appalling. Consider:

We find in the words of the young man not only the tolerance that is born with  humanitas {civilization}, but also a serene acceptance of the compromises that help a man to live. He knows perfectly well that the modus uiuendi {way of life} of his beloved prevents her from being faithful and, therefore, she is content to tell him that he is the preferred one, although the others can give her expensive gifts. Satisfying his manly pride, this gives him exactly that moment of sweet happiness that will allow him to bear new betrayals.

{ Encontramos en las palabras del joven no solo la tolerancia que nace con la humanitas, sino también una serena aceptación de los compromisos que ayudan a vivir. Él sabe perfectamente que el modus uiuendi de su amada le impide serle fiel y, por ello, se contenta con que le diga que es el preferido, aunque los otros puedan hacerle ricos regalos. Esto le da justamente, satisfaciendo su orgullo varonil, aquel momento de dulce felicidad que le permitirá soportar las nuevas traiciones. }

Baeza-Angulo (2013) p. 15. Like almost all literary scholarship, Baeza-Angulo’s analysis lacks any critical perspective on men’s social position under gynocentrism. One result is men being brutally exploited. More generally, such intellectual failures contribute to totalitarian criminalization of men. That’s now well-underway in Spain.

[2] From Gualterus Anglicus’s collection of Aesop’s fables {Aesopi Fabellae}. The Latin text is online thanks to Laura Gibbs; the English translation is from Pepin (1999) p. 204. The subsequent quote is similarly from id. Another version of this fable is known as Of Thais and Damasius {De Thaida et Damasio}. Gualterus Anglicus’s fable collection was the most widely transmitted fable collection in medieval Europe. It has survived in about two hundred manuscripts and about thirty-four print editions from before 1501. Wright (1997) p. 3. Many manuscripts of Gualterus Anglicus’s fables contain extensive glosses, commentaries, and allegorical epimyths. Id. p. 4.

[3] Yew trees have been long known to present serious risks of poisoning. Most Latin texts include the first two lines above as quoted words of the young man. Those quotation marks are editorial (twelfth-century texts didn’t include quotations marks). While promythia for Gualterus Anglicus’s fables typically are couplets, the promythium for De iuvene et Thaide seems to me to be best interpreted as a quatrain.

The moral for the medieval Romulus Anglicus is similarly pointed:

Moral: we are thus warned not to believe readily the words of women when, although they have many lovers, they say they are content with one.

{ Moralitas. Sec monemur non facile verbis credere mulierum, quia, cum multos habeant amatores, uno se dicunt contentas. }

Latin text via Laura Gibbs, my English translation. On the complex manuscript tradition of the medieval Romulus collection of Aesop’s fables, Vámos (2013).

[4] William Caxton, Aesop’s Fables 3.10 (“Of the yonge man and of the comyn woman”), via Laura Gibbs. Here’s the full text of Caxton’s work.

[image] Of the prostitute and the young man {De meretrice et iuvene}. Image on p. 104 of Esopi appologi sive mythologi: cum quibusdam carminum et fabularum additionibus Sebastiani Brant (Basel: Jacob von Pfortzheim, 1501).


Baeza-Angulo, Eulogio. 2013. “Una fábula elegíaca: Comentario a Fedro, App 29.” MAIA-Rivista Di Letterature Classiche. 65 (1): 3-16.

Pepin, Ronald E. 1999. An English translation of Auctores octo, a medieval reader. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press.

Vámos, Hanna. 2013. “The Medieval Tradition of the Fables of Romulus.” Graeco-Latina Brunensia 18 (1): 185-197.

Wright, Aaron E. 1997. The fables of “Walter of England”. Toronto: Pontifical Inst. of Mediaeval Press.

contemptus mundi: MGTOW rebellion against gynocentric world

contemptus mundi, MGTOW paradise

Medieval Europe, like most human societies, was profoundly gynocentric. Yet medieval Europe was relatively tolerant of dissent compared to codes of conduct now pervasive in the U.S. and similar societies. Medieval forefathers of today’s MGTOWs wrote explicit statements of contemptus mundi (contempt for the gynocentric world) in which they sharply criticized women and urged men to withdraw from the gynocentric world.

Christianity in medieval Europe was interpreted gynocentrically. Consider a brief account of Christian salvation history:

A woman was the cause of human ruin,
Of humanity’s redemption, woman was the cause.
A woman was the cause of humanity’s fall from Paradise,
Of humanity’s return to life, woman was the cause.
A woman, the first mother, made angry Him,
Who made merciful a woman, the virgin mother.
Eve was the means that separated humanity from its protector,
The virgin was the means by which God would become a man.

{ Foemina causa fuit humanae perditionis,
Qua reparatur homo foemina causa fuit.
Foemina causa fuit cur homo ruit a paradiso,
Qua redit ad uitam foemina causa fuit.
Foemina prima parens iterum reddit illum
Quem facit esse pium foemina uirgo parens.
Eua fuit medium quod homo foret absque patrono,
Virgo fuit medium quod Deus esset homo. } [1]

In gynocentric society, whatever matters is all about women. In medieval gynocentric society, woman were understood to cause all evil and all good. In modern gynocentric society, women cause all good; all evil, which men cause, hurts only women; and all of a husband’s success should be credited to his wife.

Beneath superficial titles, women in actual practice are the leaders in gynocentric society. Men follow women and obey them. So it was with Eve and Adam in medieval Christian understanding:

But Eve was destruction to him whom she ought to have helped,
And having sunk first, she sank her spouse in the depths.
And, since deceptive words of a deceptive wife tend to deceive,
she willingly deceived hers in this way.
A wicked enemy makes the woman wicked, and the man by the woman.
Each believes the wicked one and each is made wicked.
The enemy deceives him through her while destroying them.
He takes both from God; he gives both to himself.
The enemy tempts, the woman delights, the man obeys,
And because of this triple wound of death, humanity sins. [2]

{ Sed fuit exitium cui debuit auxiliari
Et submersa prius mersit ad ima parem.
Et, quia fallacis fallacia fallere sponsum
Verba solent, sponte fallit et ipsa suum.
Hoste malo mala fit mulier uir per mulierem.
Credit uterque malo factus uterque malus.
Hostis eum fallit per eam, set eos perimendo.
Tollit utrunque Deo donat utrunque sibi.
Hostis foemina uir temptat laetatur obedit
Et trino mortis uulnere peccat homo. }

Both the woman and the man sin. But the man sins through obeying the woman. With men subservient to women in gynocentric society, sin is thus prevalent.

Perceiving grave gender injustices and righteously angry, medieval MGTOWs advised men to protect their lives by fleeing from women. Medieval MGTOWs refused to idolize women, and they frankly acknowledged women’s power over even the strongest men:

Listen to my teaching if you want to avoid ruin.
Woman is a fragile thing, a slippery thing, a childish thing;
fickle, wilful, with nothing in her but quarrel.
She snatches your heart and takes it away and softens chests of iron.
The first woman cast the first man down to the bottom.
Woman vanquished Samson, David, and Solomon.
You are not greater than Samson, David, and Solomon.
Woman deceived our trusting, first parent.
If you seek the Lord, flee from conversation with women.
Their conversation is nothing but bitter venom.

{ Audi doctrinam, si uis uitare ruinam.
Foemina res fragilis, res lubrica, res puerilis,
Mobilis, indocilis, nil in ea nisi lis.
Cor rapit et tollit et ferrea pectora mollit.
Prima uirum primum mulier deiecit ad imum.
Foemina Sansonem fregit, Dauid et Salomonem.
Non est Sansone maior Dauid et Salomone.
Foemina credentem decepit prothoparentem.
Si Dominum quaeris, fuge colloquium mulieris;
Colloquium quarum nihil est nisi uirus amarum. } [3]

Medieval MGTOWs recognized men’s psychological weaknesses, affirmed men’s value as beloved children of God, and urged men to act decently rather than insanely pursuing Venus (sex):

Shun flighty Venus, flee the enticing woman,
a despised thing, a changing thing, a hurtful thing.
In every way she is a thing full of knots,
a poisonous thing, a worthless thing, a wicked thing.
No one imbued with love can maintain moderation,
and he thinks what harms him can be delightful.
Since you are an image of God, an illustrious thing worthy of victory,
an heir of heaven, a companion and jewel of the saints,
despise her glittering apparel and deceitful face.
The shining beauty outside is inwardly full of sorrow,
shit, and muck, very much like a beast of the herd.
Despise the stench of Venus, follow Decency.
The first makes the mind insane, breaks the body, and empties it.
The other causes the mind to flourish along with the body.

{ Sperne uagam Venerem, fuge blandiloquam mulierem,
Rem despectiuam, rem fluxam remque nociuam.
Omnibus illa modis res est plenissima nodis,
Resque uentosa, res uilis, res uitiosa.
Nemo modum seruare potest imbutus amore
Et quaecumque iuuat posse iuuare putat.
Cum sis imago Dei, res inclita digna trophei,
Haeres coelorum, comes et gemma deorum,
Fulgentem cultum, fallacem despice uultum.
Forma decora foris intus est plena doloris,
Stercoris atque luti pecorisque simillima bruti.
Despice foetorem Veneris, sectare pudorem.
Haec mens insanit, haec corpus frangit, inanit.
Altera florentem reddit cum corpore mentem. }

Biological evolution has made males and females for each other. Most men don’t regard women as a fish regards a bicycle. Yet under oppressive gynocentrism, men may rationally choose to go their own way in relation to women. Men can develop their minds and bodies and be decent persons without women.

The literature of contemptus mundi makes clear that men don’t govern the world. According to today’s orthodoxy, men throughout history have subjugated women under patriarchy and treated women as men’s property. Why then did some men express contemptus mundi and seek to flee from women? One might speculate that they realized that women hate men. That’s no more plausible than believing that men hate women. The vigorous voices of men’s sexed protest throughout history are best understood as men ineffectively crying out under gynocentric oppression.

The literature of contemptus mundi rejects worldly values, vigorously declares that worldly pleasures and worldly honors soon pass away, and urges men to seek eternal goodness. Its message is blunt and forceful:

What is flesh? Vile earth. What is the glory of the flesh? Smoke.
Every honor is fleeting, excess of possessions perishes instantly.

{ Quid caro? Vilis humus. Quid carnis gloria? Fumus.
Omnis honor fluxus, rerum perit illico luxus. }

Yet it also shows personal sympathy for men and considerable psychological insight:

Wretched me, what shall I do? I carry a wound under my chest,
a wound of stinking, inveterate sin,
as if I were carrying death under the same chest.
As often as I have cleansed it and applied plasters,
so often has the healing burst from corruption.
I have put on a thousand bandages of no value.
The skin is always burst, there is never hope of deliverance.
Every hour this soul of mine is full of sorrow.

{ Me miserum, quid agam? Porto sub pectore plagam,
Plagam peccati ferientis et inueterati,
Tanquam si portem sub eodem pectore mortem.
Quem quoties laui, toties amplustra ligaui,
A corruptela toties est rupta medela.
Mille ligaturas ammoui nil ualituras.
Semper rupta cutis, semper spes nulla salutis.
Sic totis horis mea mens est plena doloris. }

In medieval Europe, Cupid, serving the goddess Venus, was known to shoot men in the chest with arrows to cause them to suffer love madness. From a modern, scientific perspective, desire for women is deeply rooted in men’s human nature. Having to flee women and the gynocentric world is a bitter pill for men to swallow. Yet compared to the more enlightened Middle Ages, within today’s reign of ignorance, anti-men bigotry, and superstition, more men with better reason have contempt for the world.

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[1] Chartula contemptus mundi ll. ll. 735-42, Latin text from Gutiérrez (2009) p. 266, English translation my adaptation of Pepin (1999) pp. 73-4. In adapting Pepin’s translation, I’ve removed the de-gendering of male human beings through generic references to homo / man. Following the above quote, the next two lines provide a further gynocentric contrast:

A woman, the first mother, was hateful, malicious, and proud;
A woman, the virgin mother, was chaste, kind, and gentle.

{ Foemina prima parens exosa maligna superba;
Foemina uirgo parens casta benigna pia. }

Building upon the pairing of Eve and Mary, scholars have made broad claims about a virgin / whore binary in characterizing women. Those claims are far over-blown. However, within gynocentric society, characterizing women is much more prevalent and important than characterizing men.

Chartula contemptus mundi was composed in the second half of the twelfth century. Pepin (1999) p. 55. It characteristically begins “This page of ours sends greetings to you, Beloved {Chartula nostra tibi mandat Dilecte salutes}.” Only the first 374 lines of Chartula contemptus mundi are included in some manuscripts. That shortened version is sometimes entitled “Poem of Exhortation {Carmen Paraeneticum}.” It is sometimes addressed specifically to “Rainald” rather than “Beloved”. Id.

Chartula contemptus mundi is associated with contemptus mundi literature that was widely disseminated in medieval Europe. Bernard of Cluny in the twelfth century wrote a much longer poem, De contemptu mundi. Before becoming Pope Innocent III in 1198, Cardinal Lotario dei Segni wrote a similarly themed poem entitled On the misery of the human condition {De miseria humanae conditionis}. Chartula contemptus mundi came to be included in the Eight moral authors {Auctores octo morales} that formed the core of late-medieval school instruction in Latin.

A comprehensive critical edition of Chartula contemptus mundi isn’t available. Pepin (1999) translated Chartula contemptus mundi according to the text printed by Matthias Bonhomme at Lyon in 1538, as represented by the copy in the Beinecke Library, Yale University. Gutiérrez (2009) provides the Latin text in the Libri minores of Antonio de Nebrija, probably from 1511. Schroeder (1910), freely available online, also provides a Latin text. Printed editions of Auctores octo morales from the late fiftheenth and early sixteenth centuries include the Latin text of Chartula contemptus mundi. Here’s an online example from 1538. In adapting Pepin’s translation, I’ve followed Gutiérrez’s Latin text.

Subsequent quotes from Chartula contemptus mundi are similarly adapted from Pepin’s English translation and provide Gutiérrez’s Latin text. They are (by Latin line number in Gutiérrez’s text): ll. 717-26 (But Eve was destruction…), 477-86 (Listen to my teaching…), 797-810 (Shun flighty Venus…), 400-1 (What is flesh?…), 615-22 (Wretched me…).

[2] Pepin translated peccat homo as “the man sins.” Pepin (1999) p. 73. That seems to me a significant mis-translation in the context of trino mortis uulnere and the prior verse.

[3] Pepin’s translation omits l. 379.

[image] A smiling monk in a lush garden writes an edition of Contemptus mundi. Title page of Contemptus mundi. Hecho por Juan Gerson Chanciller de Paris. Toledo: Juan de Villaquiran, 1523. Image via the Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University. This book is actually an edition of Imitatio Christi by Thomas à Kempis. The smiling monk, the lush garden that includes flowers, trees, birds, rabbits, and a monkey, and the surrounding floral border suggests that medieval intellectuals didn’t interpret Contemptus mundi in the dour, narrow-minded way in which modern scholars typically read it.


Gutiérrez Galindo, Marco Antonio. 2009. Antonio de Nebrija. Libri minores. Salamanca: Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca.

Pepin, Ronald E. 1999. An English translation of Auctores octo, a medieval reader. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press.

Schroeder, Edward. 1910. “Ein niederrheinischer De Contemptus mundi und seine Quelle.” Pp. 335-374 in Nachrichten von der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Philologisch-historische Klasse aus dem Jahre 1910. Berlin: Weidmannsche.

making men into gynocentric drones: an example of medieval education

medieval education

Central to the late-medieval European school curriculum was Eight moral authors {Auctores octo morales}. With these authors and also Ovid, the great medieval teacher of love, medieval European education embraced diversity of thought to an extent inconceivable in today’s Western universities. Auctores octo morales provided young men with blunt advice in relation to the gynocentric world and subtle critique of the ruling order. Yet like Egbert of Liège’s early-eleventh-century schoolbook, Auctores octo morales also taught the gynocentric ideology that keeps men subservient to women.

Facetus, a twelfth-century book of manners included in Auctores octo morales, taught men to respect and upheld women’s privileged position in gynocentric society. Among its rhymed distichs of advice to young men is this:

Never say bad things about the female sex,
but to whatever woman you see, defer as much as possible.

{ Femineo nunquam de sexu prava loquaris,
sed, quamcumque vides, pro posse tuo verearis. } [1]

Another distich of advice from Facetus shamed men who might consider violating gynocentric norms and criticizing a woman:

An uncivilized man is truly he who says foul things about a woman;
for truly we are all from woman.

{ Rusticus est vere qui turpia de muliere
Dicit; nam vere sumus omnes de muliere. }

This advice functions to prevent and silence voices of men’s sexed protest. It’s a forefather of the “listen and believe women” doctrine that today is being pervasively disseminated through the organs of public propaganda.

Facetus at least shows some regard for husbands’ welfare in relation to their wives. It advises against allowing wives to dominate their husbands, and it recognizes the existence of wicked wives:

If you have a wife always ready to obey,
honor and adore her with your grateful goodwill.

{ Si tibi sit coniux semper parere parata,
excolat hanc, veneretur eam tua gratia grata. }

If you have a wife who is rebellious in word and deed,
so as not to be doomed, repel her according to the law.

{ Si nequam tibi sit linguaque manuque rebellis,
ne secum damneris, eam di iure repellis. }

From smoke, a dripping house, a wicked woman
remove yourself; these three things typically do much harm.

{ A fumo, stillante domo, nequam muliere
te remove; tria namque solent haec saepe nocere. }

The idea of wives obeying their husbands was treated as a farce in medieval literature. At the same time, medieval theology rejected men-abasing courtly love and declared that marriage should be an equal partnership. Few persons like to spend much time with another who is recalcitrant, stubborn, and annoying. Young men surely don’t need to be instructed to favor agreeable wives over disagreeable wives.

The Distichs of Cato {Disticha Catonis}, another work in Auctores octo morales, provided similar advice to Facetus, but with broader concerns. Disticha Catonis taught that being good to one’s father necessarily implied not offending one’s mother (even a vicious mother):

Love with unrestrained affection your dear parents.
Do not offend your mother while you wish to good to your father.

{ Dilige non aegra caros pietate parentes.
Nec matrem offendas, dum vis bonus esse parenti. } [2]

Disticha Catonis doesn’t urge the corresponding implied respect for fathers. It also advised tolerating verbal abuse from a wife out of respect for financial prudence:

Remember to endure your wife’s tongue, if she is frugal,
For it’s wrong not to be willing to suffer or to be silent.

{ Uxoris linguam, si frugi est, ferre memento,
Namque malum est, non velle pati nec posse tacere. }

At the same time, Disticha Catonis counseled young men against advancing their financial interests through marriage:

Avoid taking a wife for the sake of a dowry,
And do not wish to keep her if she begins to be troublesome. [3]

{ Uxorem fuge ne ducas sub nomine dotis,
Nec retinere velis, si coeperit esse molesta. }

Men historically have shouldered the burden of providing material goods for women. Why shouldn’t men look for women who can provide them with material goods? Disticha Catonis refers to men being ruined through their wife’s adultery and subsequent divorce:

The wife who tricks her husband wrecks the home.

{ Naufragium rerum est mulier male fida marito. }

When you have a wife, so as not to imperil your property and reputation,
make the name of your friend an enemy to be avoided.

{ Cum tibi sit coniux, ne res et fama laboret,
Vitandum ducas inimicum nomen amici. }

Being forced to reject male friends to avoid wives having occasions to commit adultery socially isolates husbands. Being isolated from male friends hurts husbands. Men should not merely accept that deprivation.[4] One alternative is to refuse to marry.

The eminent medieval woman leader and scholar Hildegard of Bingen described the twelfth-century Europe in which she lived as a “womanly time {muliebre tempus}.”[5] Auctores octo morales provided to schoolboys education that helped to sustain the muliebre tempus. Men’s subservience to women and gynocentrism have only intensified since then. Now more than ever, boys and young men need manly education.

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[1] Facetus 99, Latin text from Schroeder (1911) p. 21, English translation adapted from that of Pepin (1999) p. 46. The order of the distichs are different between Schroeder’s and Pepin’s edition of Facetus. I cite the number in Schroeder’s edition.

The Facetus cited here begins with “Cum nichil utilius” or “Est nichil utilius.” Its introduction describes the work as a supplement to “the teaching of the wise Cato {morosum dogma Catonis}”, meaning Disticha Catonis. See subsequent text and notes. A different twelfth-century Facetus begins with “Moribus et vita.” Here are manuscripts of Facetus.

The subsequent quotes from Facetus are (by number in Schroeder and page in Pepin): 186, p. 46 (An uncivilized man…); 100, p. 46 (If you have a wife always ready to obey..l); 101, p. 47 (If you have a wife who is rebellious…); 35, p. 48 (From smoke…). On Facetus 35, cf. Proverbs 25:24, 27:15-15.

[2] Disticha Catonis 3.24, Latin text from the Latin Library, English translation adapted from Peppin (1999) p. 19. Wayland Johnson Chase (1922) provides an alternate Latin text and English translation, as does James Marchand and Duff & Duff (1934).

Subsequent quotes from Disticha Catonis are sourced similarly, with one exception. The quotes above are: 3.23 (Remember to endure your wife’s tongue…), 3.12 (Avoid taking a wife…), 4.47 (When you have a wife…). The line “The wife who tricks her husband wrecks the home” is from Duff & Duff (1934), Dicta Catonis, Collectio Monostichorum 6, p. 625.

Disticha Catonis is also called Dicta Catonis, Liber Catonis, and Ethica Catonis. Medieval authorities thought that it was authored by Cato the Elder / Cato the Censor, but scholars now believe that most of the sayings were authored in the second or third century GC. Disticha Catonis was established as a primary school text in Europe by the ninth century. The famous teacher Remigius of Auxerre then produced glosses on it. Disticha Catonis was highly influential in teaching elite young men for the next millennium. Peppin (1999) pp. 5-6.

Disticha Catonis wisely urged upon young men reading and learning. Among short, imperative monostichs in its prologue:

Study literature. {Litteras disce.}
Read books. {Libros lege.}
Remember what you read. {Quae legeris, memento.}

Men seeking a good education should read, among other works, important works of Ovid, Virgil, Juvenal, and Lucretius.

One distich in Disticha Catonis appears to be related to Jerome’s advice in his fabrication of Theophrastus’s Golden Book on Marriage. Disticha Catonis 1.8 declares:

Do not rashly believe a wife who complains about her servants;
for often a woman hates the person whom her spouse loves.

{ Nil temere uxori de servis crede querenti;
Saepe enim mulier, quem coniux diligit, odit. }

Jerome’s text states:

She {the wife} suspects that his {her husband’s} love goes the same way as her hate.

{ Alterius amorem suum odium supicatur. }

Jerome, Adversus Jovinianum 1.47, Latin text from Patrologia Latina 23.289, my English translation.

[3] Given the anti-men bias in today’s family courts as well as the enormous cost of divorce litigation, the current prevailing wisdom with respect to a troublesome wife is that “it’s cheaper to keep her.” In contrast, Disticha Catonis 4.47 (quoted above) warns of a wife squandering her husband’s property in an adulterous affair.

[4] While urging husbands to accept major deprivations to lessen their wives’ opportunities for adultery, Disticha Catonis urges fidelity upon husbands:

Love your wife. {Coniugem ama.}
Flee the prostitute. {Meretricem fuge.}
Sin not when you may safely sin. {Non pecces tunc cum peccare impune licebit.}

The first two imperatives are from the prologue of Disticha Catonis. The third is from a collection of monostichs attributed to Cato. See Duff & Duff (1934) Collectio Monostichorum 76, p. 629.

Disticha Catonis has a gender-conservative, gynocentric orientation that remains common today. Not surprisingly, Disticha Catonis instructs young men:

Fight for your country. {Pugna pro patria.}

Gender conservatives understand men’s primary purpose in life as providing money for women and children and fighting for their country. Amid great public concern to promote gender equality in the U.S., men there remain subject to sexist Selective Service registration. Moreover, men are being killed in U.S. military service more than forty times more frequently than women are.

Dicta Catonis provides some advice particularly relevant today. One monostich declares:

Speak the truth freely, though the truth be harsh.
{ Vera libens dicas, quamquam sint aspera dictu. }

Duff & Duff (1934) Collectio Monostichorum 64, p. 629. More persons today should follow that teaching with respect to gender equality.

[5] Hildegard of Bingen, Prooemium Vitae S. Disibodi 5. Hildegard had great appreciation for men’s sexuality and fatherhood.

[image] Portrait of the famous Nuremberg teacher Johann Neudörffer and a student, 1561. Item Gm1836 in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum,


Duff, J. Wight and Arnold M. Duff, ed. and trans. 1934. Minor Latin Poets. Vol. 2. Loeb Classical Library 434. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1934.

Pepin, Ronald E. 1999. An English translation of Auctores octo, a medieval reader. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press.

Schroeder, Carl. 1911. Der deutsche Facetus. Berlin: Mayer & Müller.

husbands, believe your eyes if you see yourself being cuckolded

eyes seeing adultery

Many husbands deeply believe that their wives are immaculate goddesses. Many husbands also credit all their success to their wives. In such circumstances, husbands can relatively easily be induced to disbelieve that they saw their wives cuckolding them. A thirteenth-century handbook for preachers sets out an example of the problem.

This medieval example shows that men are easily led to listen and believe women in the most outrageous situations. Consistent with the anti-men bias in criminal punishment, punishment for adultery throughout history has been biased toward punishing men. In this case, a man having sex with a married woman was culpably labeled an adulterer. Her husband plotted to harm him, but not her:

Several times I heard about a certain wife. She had with her an adulterer, and her husband saw them in bed. He went out to ambush the adulterer at a spot where he must pass in leaving the house.

{ De quadam iterum muliere audivi quod, cum haberet secum quemdam adulterum, et maritus vidisset eum in lecto, exiens insidiabatur ei in tali loco quod per alium non poterat transire. }

The story presumes that the wife had no responsibility for engaging in adultery. The wife, however, acted shrewdly out of concern about impending harm to her lover, the young man called an adulterer:

The wife sent for a certain truly sinister old woman, who was very crafty and had great understanding, in order to help her at this pressing time. The old woman told her to hide the young man and then went herself to the husband and said: “The Lord be with you, and with your companion.” He replied, “What are you saying, old woman? I am alone.” She replied, “Sir, forgive me, for there is a certain hour of the day when eyes are so changed that they see one person as if there were two.” Then he began to think that possibly this had happened to him when he saw his wife, and he went to check if it were so. When he saw his wife alone, he begged for forgiveness from her for having believed ill of her.

{ Mulier vero misit ad quamdam vetulam levam, valde maliciosam, que multa sciebat, ut in hoc articulo juvaret eam. Que mandavit ei ut absconderet juvenem et transiens vetula coram marito ait: ” Dominus sit tecum et cum sociis tuis.” At ille: ” Quid dicis, vetula? solus sum.” At illa: “Domino, ignoscite mihi quia aliqua est hora diei in qua oculi ita solent transmutari quod de una persona creditor quod sint due.” Tunc cepit ille cogitare quod forte ita accidit ei quando vidit uxorem, at ivit ut probaret si ita esset, et cum videret uxorem solam peciit ab ea veniam quod malum credidisset ab ea. }

Men are earnestly instructed to listen and believe women. That a woman would lie and deceive is nearly impermissible for any man to think within gynocentric society. Thus men become subject to institutionalized cuckolding and live as persons whose thoughts and feelings matter little relative to those of women. In this story, the young man prudently had sex with a married woman and thus avoided the risk of being made to pay “child support”. At least he didn’t have to face that harm.

Don’t listen and believe women any more than you would listen and believe men. Moreover, if you see your wife cuckolding you, don’t disbelieve your eyes. Despite the availability of DNA paternity testing, many men continue to be cuckolded.

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The story above is exemplum 251 in the preaching handbook Sermones Vulgares of the early thirteenth-century European church leader Jacques de Vitry.  The Latin text is from Crane (1890) p. 106. The English translation is mine, drawing upon the English paraphrase of id. p. 240.

Another version from no later than the late-fifteenth century turns on an herb rather than a particular time of day:

When a certain wife with her lover was discovered by her husband, she took counsel with a certain old woman. She discovered that her husband had eaten a herb commonly called Keruele. When she encountered the husband in the street, she said: “God save you both.”  The husband responded, “What are you talking about, since I’m alone?” Then wiping her eyes, she said: “This is a curse of the herb Keruele, which when eaten, always makes one look like two.” Remembering what he had eaten in the evening and believing in the truth of what the old woman had said, he excused his wife.

{ Cum quaedam mulier à marito suo cum amasio inventa fuisset, illa habito consilio cum quadam vetula, invenit quod vir herbam Keruele vulgariter nominatam comedisset, et cum viro in platea occurrisset, ait: “Deus salve vos ambos.” Cui vir, “Quomodo sic dicis, cum sim solus?” Ipsa extergens oculos, ait: “Ista maledicta herba Keruele, quam comedi, semper facit unum videri pro duobus.” Recordatus quod in sero illam comederat, credens verum dictum vetulae, habuit uxorem excusatam. }

Latin text from Mensa Philosophica (1603), p. 234, reprinted in Crane (1890) p. 106; my English translation. Mensa Philosophica was first printed about 1470. A best-seller of the late-fifteenth century, at least fifteen editions of Mensa Philosophica were printed between 1480 and 1525. Bowen (1988) p. 20. Here’s an edition from about 1482.

[image] Image derived from an image of a despairing face available on Max Pixel under a CC0 Public Domain license.


Bowen, Barbara C. 1988. One hundred Renaissance jokes: an anthology. Birmingham: Summa.

Crane, Thomas Frederick. 1890. The exampla or illustrative stories from the Sermones vulgares of Jacques de Vitry. London: David Nutt.

fear of pregnancy in the classical Arabic poetry of Abu Nuwas

I remember a night that I passed, given wine,
Whose intensity drove away care,
By a beautiful girl in traditional blouse
Who has tresses of long, flowing hair.

She would wiggle her bottom to give me a thrill,
(Quite voluptuous, covered in lace);
Every part of her body had power to seduce
And beauty stood still on her face.

As she served me a red that I reckoned was pressed
On her cheeks, as it was so refined,
She would whore with her eyes, make me sick with desire
For her eyes were by magic designed.

Now, a toast to those days which have long passed away;
I can no more enjoy the sweet fare
Of that bold, country lass with the well-rounded ass
But the memory soothes my despair. [1]

Abu Nuwas (Abū Nuwās al-Ḥasan ibn Hānī al-Ḥakamī) is commonly regarded as a great, and by some the greatest, classical Arabic poet. Living in Baghdad late in the eighth century, Abu Nuwas relished wine and carnal relations, both of which he closely associated in his poetry.

For carnal relations, Abu Nuwas considered the merits of women relative to “beardless youth.” In a poem that appears under the heading “Of the libertine / dissolute poem {majūn} of Abu Nuwas in praise of women, and the ugliness of beardless boys,” Abu Nuwas wrote:

Many a poet does not awaken from the glow of his idle talk; by his ignorance he is led astray.
In his poems he gives precedence to beardless youths; I am astounded by his poetry and by anyone like him.
He asserts that any young man is filled to the brim with coquettishness, but safeguarded from menstruation and pregnancy.
Hey you; you abandon beautiful women and find satisfaction in a beardless youth who looks like someone else as he gets going. [2]

In comments on another poem, Abu Nuwas quoted Abū l-ʻAnbas on the advantages of young men relative to women as sexual partners:

The youth is easier to sustain and of more assistance to you, while you are safeguarded from his uncleanness and from his pregnancy, and you need not fear any punishment by cutting and stoning if you are arrested when you are with him. When you feel isolated he is family; and when you are with drinkers he is a fellow drinker; and on the road he is a companion. [3]

Relative to men in the medieval Islamic world, men in western countries today face greater risks of punishment not just for having sex with women, but also for interacting with women in way that could be interpreted as involving unwelcomed sexual interest. Punishment for adultery has always been biased toward punishing men. Punishment of men for pregnancy that results in a child has increased greatly as a result of state-mandated sex payments (“child support”) enforced with incarceration for non-payment. Apart from felony criminal punishment for pederasty, men today have greater incentives to pursue relationships with beardless youths rather than with women.

Judging by his poetry, Abu Nuwas strongly preferred having sex with men, particularly beardless youth. In one poem, Abu Nuwas again referred to the problem of pregnancy:

How often has a brother come to me most generously
and yet avoided pregnancy or giving birth! [4]

In another poem, Abu Nuwas proclaimed:

My wish, my demand and my pursuit is only a lad
A ripe woman was longing for me, but many a hoping person is frustrated!
I said when I saw her: “Go away sister, and depart.
Find me a servant and go away, make yourself a prostitute.”
As long as I live I will not put my finger in the hole of a scorpion. [5]

Abu Nuwas recognized women’s beauty. Yet he also seems to have feared a woman becoming pregnant, as commonly happens through uncontracepted sex of reproductive type. Abu Nuwas described in poems his outrageous and brutal sexual desire.[6] His apparent fear of pregnancy, in contrast, is a reasonable facet of his sexual desire.

wine and love in Persia

Men’s sexual desire is malleable to some extent. If having sex with women becomes more costly, dangerous, or unsatisfying for men, more men will turn to other sexual outlets.[7]

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[1] Abu Nuwas, Dīwān 3.12, from Arabic trans. Colville (2005) p. 9. I cite Abu Nuwas’s poems by volume and number in Wagner (1958-2006). Abu Nuwas lived from 756 to 814 GC.

[2] Abu Nuwas, Dīwān 5.121, trans. Smoor (2014) p. 28. The question of the relative merits of boys and women as lovers is addressed in Achilles Tatius’s Leucippe and Clitophon 2.37-8. Leucippe and Clitophon is a Greek novel probably written in the late second or third century GC.

[3] Abu Nuwas, Dīwān, commentary preceding 5.153, trans. Smoor (2014) p. 31.

[4] Abu Nuwas, Dīwān 5.197, trans. Kennedy (1997) p. 75.

[5] Abu Nuwas, Dīwān 5.8, trans. Schippers (2014) p. 86. Sexual allure gave women high status and social power. Abu Nuwas satirized women’s high sexual value in a poem in which four female prostitutes each sang the praises of her vagina. For example, one sang, “My vagina is like a split pomegranate and smells of ground amber. How lucky the one who gets me when I’ve shaved!” Trans. Kennedy (2005) p. 37.

Arabic men poets were concerned about gender equality in sexuality. Al-Aʻsā imagined a woman’s sexual initiative and her sexual effort on behalf of the poet:

When we met at her door and
she beckoned to me to join her
I expressed what I felt for her and she responded kindly
so as to indulge me,
Sometimes she was as bedding for me and other times I was
the same for her, with her on top.

Trans. Kennedy (1997) p. 62.

[6] Abu Nuwas wrote a poem in which he raped a group of young men:

I served them without respite wine mixed with water
— It was as warming and bright as kindled fire —
Until I noticed their heads incline,
Bent and crooked with drunkenness
And their tongues tied and heavy,
They now either slept or reclined;
I got up trembling to have sex with them
(All those who creep stealthily tremble at the thought!);
Their trouser-bands stymied my pleasure at first
But then, with subtle art, I untied them
To reveal each man’s quivering backside
Oscillating supply like a green bough.
O for this night which I spent enraptured
In continual enjoyment and excess,
Making from this to that man,
Screwing whomever I could find in the house
Until the first one awoke and got up
Feeling bruised at the thighs;
Then I rose with fear to wake up the others,
Saying: “Do you feel the same thing as me?
Is this sweat we’ve all been stained with?”
They said: “It looks more like butter.”
And when I saw them now alert
I went off to relieve myself

Trans. Kennedy (2005) pp. 41-2. In another poem, Abu Nuwas told that he raped a young adolescent male with whom he got drunk:

And he left, dragging his delightful robes which
I had touched with my iniquitous behavior,
Saying, “O woe!” as tears overcame him, “You have torn away
from me the dignity I had preserved.”
I replied, “A lion saw a gazelle and lunged at it; such is the variety
of Fate’s vicissitudes!”

Dīwān 3.323-5, trans. Kennedy (1997) p. 67, adapted slightly for readability. See similarly Dīwān 3.106, 108, trans. Colville (2005) pp. 58, 60-1. Rape of men remains about as prevalent as rape of women, yet rape of men is commonly denied, trivialized, or treated as a joke.

Imposing reasonable bounds on men’s sexuality isn’t the same as eliminating masculine sexuality. In a poignant, mournful poem, Abu Nuwas declared:

I am struggling against my eyes,
my heart and my penis;
Would that for these eyes I had others
and another heart in place of my own,
and instead of my penis that of an old man
who can remember the days of ʻAd.

Arabic text in Wagner (1958-2006) vol. 5, p. 20; trans. Kennedy (2005) pp. 49-50. ʻAd was a pre-Islamic Arabian tribe. Abu Nuwas is thus wishing that he were a very old man who surely would be impotent. Making men impotent isn’t good social regulation of men’s sexuality.

[7] Classical Arabic poetry includes accounts of men having sex with melons:

I saw once a sheikh from among the monks who was alone without a companion and it was necessary for him to pierce a melon and to cause his penis to penetrate into the hole. He raised his voice and cried: “I’ll screw and screw; until I ejaculate in this melon!”

Abu Nuwas quoting Abū l-ʻAnbas, Dīwān, commentary preceding 5.153, trans. Smoor (2014) p. 30.

Abu Nuwas reportedly attempted to seduce the singing slave-girl ʻInan. She told him, ” Be off with you! Go and masturbate!” He responded, “If I do this I fear / You’ll be jealous of my hand!” Trans. Kennedy (2005) p. 37.

[image] Persian miniature from the seventeenth century. The image is available on the web, but not well-sourced. If you have a precise source, please say so in the comments.


Colville, Jim, trans. 2005. Poems of wine & revelry: the khamriyyat of Abu Nuwas. London: Kegan Paul.

Kennedy, Philip F. 1997. The wine song in classical Arabic poetry: Abū Nuwās and the literary tradition. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Kennedy, Philip F. 2005. Abu Nuwas: a genius of poetry. Oxford: Oneworld.

Schippers, Arie. 2014. “The Mujūn Genre by Abū Nuwās and by Ibn Quzmān: A Comparison.” Ch. 5 (pp. 80-100) in Talib, Hammond & Schippers (2014).

Smoor, Pieter. 2014. “A Suspicion of Excessive Frankness.” Ch. 3 (pp. 24-65) in Talib, Hammond & Schippers (2014).

Talib, Adam, Hammond, Marlé and Schippers, Arie, eds. 2014. The Rude, the Bad and the Bawdy: Essays in honour of Professor Geert Jan van Gelder. Warminster: Gibb Memorial Trust.

Wagner, Ewald, with Gregor Schoeler, eds. 1958-2006. Dīwān Abī Nuwās. Wiesbaden: In Kommission bei Franz Steiner Verlag.

Ecbasis captivi: no escape for man from gynocentric yearnings

Tell these things to one who has deaf ears,
For the loins of an ass will be joined to the tail of the calf;
Thus Mother Nature has bidden us to pass our days.

{ Hec illi narres, qui surdas possidet aures,
Nam caude vituli iungetur lumbus aselli;
Sic natura parens iussit discurrere soles. } [1]

feast of Ecbasis captivi

The eleventh-century Latin beast epic Ecbasis captivi subtly critiques men’s gynocentric yearnings. The narrator-monk figured himself as a calf. That calf chafed under his father’s discipline and yearned to suck at his mother’s breasts. His insufficient respect for father and excessive attachment to mother propelled the calf into grave risk of being raped, killed, and eaten. Ecbasis captivi superficially dramatizes paschal redemption while depicting men’s failure to transcend gynocentrism.

Ecbasis captivi begins with the narrator-monk looking back and lamenting his childish error. He doesn’t describe specifically what that error was:

Planning nothing sensible, scorning the company of my brothers,
I was involved in puerile follies because I was wholly given to such trifles

{ Nil cogitans sanum, tempnens consortia fratrum
Nectebar neniis, nugis quia totus in illis }

His error caused him to be set apart from men’s fruitful work:

Now on a certain day I was sitting in my accustomed manner.
I saw some taking general care
To gather the fruit of the wheat in large barns,
Others, after the grain, to tend to the choice grapes,
Others, to show skill in transporting what had been collected,
Not for the monks alone who serve the mysteries of law,
No, also for the pilgrims, beggars and orphans.
The others were all pursuing the tasks assigned to them,
While I alone was idle, shut up in my cloistered prison.

Like a sterile trunk, I resembled charred wood.
And like a wretched calf bound to a stake functioning as a fence,
I was restrained by the reins of the fathers.
I shall weave the story into a woof that is not without complexity.

{ Namque die quadam consueto rriore sedebam,
Inspexi quosdam generalem sumere curam,
Grandia triticeum cumulare per horrea fructum;
Illos post segetes dilectas visere vites,
Illos collectis sollertes esse vehendis
Non solis monachis, qui servant mistica legis,
Immo peregrinis, mendicis atque pupillis;
Per sibi commissas reliquos discurrere curas,
Me vero vacuo, claustrali carcere septo.

Ceu truncus sterilis lignis ęquabar adustis
Ac misero vitulo sudibus quam sepe ligato:
Illi consimilis patrum frenatus habenis,
Cuius et historiam non simplo stamine texam. }

The calf above all yearned to be with his mother:

The calf is shut in at home, grieving that his neck is tied.
There is no joy outdoors, within there is pressure of grief.
And what is even worse, the companionship of his mother is missing.
Sadly he lamented awhile and drew heart-felt sighs.
He lifts his face toward heaven and invokes Jesus,
Calls with tears twofold and even twentyfold
For the stableman to take his chains from his neck,
So that he may enjoy the pleasures of milk from his mother’s breast. [2]

{ Clauditur ille domi lugens sibi colla ligari;
Gaudia nulla foris, intus pressura doloris,
Et quod plus istis, absunt consorcia matris.
Triste sat ingemuit, cordis suspiria traxit,
Erigit ad celum facies atque invocat Iesum.
Conclamat lacrimis binis pariterque vicenis,
Vt custos stabuli solvat sibi vincula colli,
Vbere de matris quo gustet gaudia lactis. }

Men’s excessive yearning to be with mother and to please mother leads them to disaster. So it was for the calf. The calf bit free from the restraints of the fathers and bolted into the woods. There a wolf captured him.

The calf in the wolf’s captivity represents ordinary men’s lives. The wolf was a male leader of an animal society. Men leaders exploit ordinary men. The wolf naturalized raping ordinary men in a figure of an ass joining his loins to the tail of a calf. Even worse, the wolf planned to kill and eat the calf. As a result of political intrigue, another force of animals, led by a crafty female fox, liberated the calf from the wolf’s captivity and killed the wolf. As always, most males are pawns in female-controlled social action, and males, not females, are killed.

Freed from the wolf, the calf again preferred his mother. The calf recognized both his father and mother, but the maternal breasts privileged the mother:

And thus the calf runs out, seeks his father and mother,
And when he suckled his mother’s breasts, he clung happily to her.

{ Sic foras exiliit, matrem cum patre reposcit,
Vbera cum suxit, matri letatus inhesit. }

The calf figures a monk, a grown man. Even grown men yearn to suckle at mother’s breasts. His mother asked what the wolf had done to him. The calf refused to say, perhaps from shame. But the calf spoke warmly of the brotherly care he had received from an otter and a badger. Ordinary men care for each other as best they can. Nonetheless, the calf in conclusion offered a prayer of thanksgivings for being re-united with his mother:

Praise be the Lord who saved me from the teeth of the wolf!
I am brought hale and safe to the arms of my mother.
May the holy name of Christ the Lord be blessed!

{ Laus domino, qui me salvarat dente lupino!
Sanus et incolumis maternis deferor ulnis.
Sit nomen sanctum Christi domini benedictum! }

Medieval Christians lived within a gynocentric society in which the Church was figured as mother to all. Yet excessive yearning to be with mother had propelled the calf into the wolf’s captivity. Despite structuring Christian themes of the Easter season and the Harrowing of Hell, the calf in the end isn’t redeemed from the childish error of gynocentrism.[3]

The subtle men’s protest of Ecbasis captivi became more vigorous and more overt in subsequent medieval Latin beast literature. The massive, twelfth-century Latin beast epic Ysengrimus extravagantly portrayed castration culture. The subsequent twelfth-century Latin beast poem Speculum stultorum addressed men’s lack of masculine self-esteem and the effects of mothers’ emotional abuse on their sons. The twelfth-century poem De pulice in turn offered a profound critique of the beastializing men’s sexuality. Those who study great medieval Latin literature with reason and imagination can escape from gynocentrism.

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[1] Escape of a certain captive told in a figurative manner {Ecbasis cuiusdam captivi per tropologiam} 315-7, Latin text and English translation from Zeydel (1964). Ziolkowski states that these lines “might be an obscene allusion,” but are an “exceptionally enigmatic passage.” Ziolkowski (1993) p. 174. Recognizing gynocentrism and rape of men helps to clarify these lines.

Ecbasis captivi has 1229 verses that are “mostly leonine hexameters.” Its author is unknown, but the text associates the narrator with Vosges, the monastery of Saint-Evre in Toul, and Trier. The poem has survived in two manuscripts: Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale Ms 10615-729 and MS. 9799-809. The first, the earlier one, was probably written about the middle of the twelfth century at the monastery St. Eucharius-Matthias in Trier. Ziolkowski (1993) p. 153.

Ecbasis captivi is structured as a beast fable within a beast fable. The inner fable is a “sick lion” tale. On the history of that tale, id. pp. 61-6.

Ecbasis captivi is also densely constructed from quotations that indirectly provide a gloss on the narrative:

over 250 lines and phrases quoted or adapted from Horace; about a hundred from Prudentius and fifty from Vergil; over twenty lines apiece from Juvencus, Sedulius, and Venantius Fortunatus; and eight lines each from Ovid and Arator.

Id. p. 154.

Subsequent quotes above of Ecbasis captivi are similarly from Zeydel (1964). They are (cited by Latin line number) : 3-4 (Planning nothing…); 50-8, 65-8 (Now on a certain day…); 78-85 (The calf is shut in…); 1159-60 (And thus the calf runs…); 1221-3 (Praise be the Lord…). I have made a few minor changes to Zeydel’s translation for clarity. Bibliotheca Augustana provides a Latin text of Ecbasis captivi online.

[2] In medieval Europe, monks were forbidden milk products during Lent. Ziolkowski (1993) pp. 164, 194. Id. sees the calf-monk’s desire for milk during Lent as sinful. The desire for mother’s milk seems to me to function more significantly at a higher level of abstraction.

[3] On the themes of Easter and the Harrowing of Hell in Ecbasis captiva, Ziolkowski (1993) Ch. 6.

[image] Anthropomorphic animals feasting, plausibly a scene from Ecbasis captivi. Manuscript illumination from the 13th-century manuscript Milano, Bibl. Ambrosiana, B. 32. inf., fol. 136. Thanks to Bibliotheca Augustana.


Zeydel, Edwin H., ed. and trans. 1964. Ecbasis cuiusdam captivi per tropologian: Escape of a certain captive told in a figurative manner: an eleventh-century Latin beast epic; introduction, text, translation, commentary and an appendix. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. 

Ziolkowski, Jan M. 1993. Talking animals: medieval Latin beast poetry, 750-1150. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

husbands care for their wives’ sexual well-being: two case studies

board: not to be used for protection during sex

Taking upon themselves a crushing burden of performance, husbands typically strive to support their wives’ sexual well-being. Especially with today’s ideal of woman-on-top, husbands feeling the weight of their responsibilities need helpful resources. The following two case studies can help husbands to understand how to do what they must do. Men with courage and endurance have worked strenuous jobs throughout history. Men today should have confidence that, with even just a minimal amount of encouragement, they can do likewise.

The first case study is about a medieval man earning a meager living ferrying persons across a river in his small boat. At the end of a long day in which he had found no customers, one appeared. The ferryman carried him across the river and sought his carriage fee. The man said that he had no money. The man offered instead advice:

“Never,” he said, “transport anyone else unless your fee has been received in advance; and never tell your wife that anyone has a larger penis than you have.”

{ “Ut numquam,” ait, “quempiam transportes de caetero, nisi prius pecunia recepta; tum ut nunquam dicas uxori cuiquam majus genitale membrum quam tibi esse.” } [1]

That’s advice that no man should need. Yet, through faulty education and poor role models, many men today lack such basic wisdom.

The ferryman lacked respect for learning. When he arrived home, his wife pressed him about his earnings. He acknowledged that he had earned nothing. He didn’t ask her in turn how much she had earned. Instead, he told her the advice that he had received:

When the woman heard about the genitals, she asked: “Is is possible, my dear husband, that they’re not all the same size?”

{Mulier, cum ad genitale aurem erexisset : “Numquid, mi vir,” inquit, “non omnes aequa mensura estis?” }

The husband had learned nothing from carrying the passenger without being paid. Wrongly understanding the medieval ideal of conjugal partnership, he responded to his wife as he would to a good male friend:

“Bah!” he responded, “Great are the differences among us. Actually, our priest exceeds all of us by almost half,” and he extended his arms to describe the length.

{ “Vah!” respondit, “magna est inter nos differentia. Nam sacerdos noster dimidio ferme nos omnes excedit,” et brachium extendens mensuram descripsit. }

The husband’s foolishness immediately disturbed his wife:

She immediately burned with desire for the priest, and she didn’t cease until she had experientially verified what her husband had said.

{ Illa statim in sacerdotem accensa, nunquam destitit quoad, vir an vere dixisset, quam primum experiretur. }

Cuckolds historically have been regarded as pathetically stupid. Husbands should learn from the vast, historical literature describing them. Husbands should not belittle their own sexuality.

The second case study concerns Guglielmo. He was a carpenter in the Italian town of Terranuova early in the fifteenth century. Guglielmo had a beautiful penis as large as that of Priapus.[2] His wife told her female neighbors about her husband’s great endowment. After she died, Guglielmo married a young, simple woman named Antonia. She had heard gossip of her husband’s “manly spear {viri telum}”. That gossip initially caused distance in their relationship:

The first night she slept with her husband, she, trembling, refused to embrace her husband and would not permit sexual intercourse.

{ nocte primo cum viro concubuit, tremebunda nolebat herere viro, neque coitum pati. }

Young, simple medieval women were strong and independent enough to refuse to have sex, even with their husbands on their wedding nights. This medieval woman, like most other medieval women, didn’t desire a sexless marriage. Slowly rising, Guglielmo eventually felt her concern:

The man eventually perceived what was frightening the maturing woman.  In order to comfort her, he told her that what she had heard was true, but that he had two penises, a small one and a larger one. “Now not to hurt you,” he said, “I will use tonight this small one, which cannot harm you; later, the larger one, if you see fit.” Consenting, the young woman yielded to her husband, without any shrieking or any harm at all.

{ Sensit vir tandem quid timeret adolescentula, consolatusque illam, verum esse quod audierat, ait, sed duas se mentulas habere, parvam ac majorem quamdam. “Ne te ergo offendam,” ait, “utar hac nocte parva, quae tibi minime nocebit ; postea majori, si tibi videbitur.” Consentiens puella obsecuta est viro, absque clamore aut nocumento aliquo. } [3]

Men throughout history have acted with loving concern for their sexual partners. The same is true for male primates in general. While men only recently have been subject to tyrannical laws of affirmative, enthusiastic (only for women) consent, most men have always sought to have consensual sex according to a reasonable understanding and practice of consent. Such was the case with Guglielmo and his young wife Antonia.

Antonia and Guglielmo enjoyed a passionate sexual relationship as a married couple. Antonia was by no means a passive participant. She freely expressed her own sexual interests:

After a month’s time, her deeds became even freer and bolder. One night, she coaxed her husband, “My man,” she said, “if it’s pleasing, you would use that larger one for us together.”

{ Post mensem vero facta liberior atque audentior, cum noctu viro suo blandiretur: “Mi vir,” inquit, “si libet, majore jam illo socio utaris.” }

Guglielmo had a penis that rivaled in size that of a donkey. Antonia had come to understand that, among its other functions, a penis is an instrument for giving pleasure.

Husbands’ care for their wives’ sexual well-being should encompass care for their own bodies. Men shouldn’t regard their own genitals as junk. Men should see the men-oppressing implications in figuring men’s penises like weapons such as spears. A man shouldn’t belittle his own penis or seek to acquire a longer one. Above all, men must understand that they live in an age of ignorance, anti-men bigotry, and superstition far worse than that which supported Antonia’s initial fear of her husband’s penis. Men need to cultivate an ability to respond with imaginative creativity just as Guglielmo did.

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[1] Poggio Bracciolini, Facetiae 175, “Of a pauper who earned his living as a ferryman {De paupere qui navicula victum quaerebat},” Latin text from Poggio (1879) vol. 2, pp. 86-8. The quotes above provide my English translations, drawing upon that of id., but tracking the Latin more closely.  The subsequent four quotes are similarly from id.

A wife may know from her own experience that others have larger penises her husband. This can present particular problems as a result of the female gaze. Nonetheless, a husband maintaining his sexual self-esteem is vital for his wife’s sexual well-being.

[2] This story is from Poggio, Facetiae 62, “Of Guglielmo (William) who had a beautiful Priapean apparatus {De Guilhelmo qui habebat Priapeam supellectilem formosam},” Latin text from Poggio (1879) vol. 1, pp. 102-4, my English translation. The text of the story refers to Guglielmo as having a “Priapean apparatus sufficiently copious {Priapea supellectile satis copiosus}.” The subsequent quotes above are from id.

Terranuova was where in 1380 the great medieval churchman Poggio Bracciolini was born. Poggio, not surprisingly, associated his hometown with a man who had a magnificently large penis. In honor of Poggio, Terranuova in 1862 renamed itself Terranuova Bracciolini.

[3] Men who have used less literary approaches have encountered considerable pain. Consider the monk Lupo, who lived about 1400 in Piceno in a town called Jesi. He was passionately in love with a young virgin woman. She was afraid. He attempted to allay her fear:

The monk said that he would thrust his spear into a hole in a wooden board place placed between them. Then he sought out a fir board, which was very thin, and soon perforated it. He secretly went to the young woman, having placed in the hole {in the board under his vestment} his Priapus. It was still dormant. When he gently kissed the young woman and sought for the desired nourishment, his vestment began to rise. Soon his rod, so aroused by the charm of her mouth and touching of the lower parts, started to swell completely beyond the size of the hole so that it was greatly constricted. The thing was held so tightly, that it could neither go in nor out without experiencing great suffering. The expected pleasure was converted into suffering, and the monk began to scream and groan, extremely afflicted with torture.  The thoroughly-scared young woman with kisses attempted to comfort the man and push toward the desired end. But this relief of pain only increased the torment, for action that made his rod swell, more tightly constricted it.

{ Monachus tabulam ligneam, per cujus foramen telum mitteretur, intermediam se positurum dixit. Dehinc tabula abiegna, quae pertenuis erat, quaesita ac paulum perforata, ad puellam clanculum adiit, missoque per foramen Priapo, qui adhuc dormiebat, cum puellam deosculari suaviter coepisset, sublatis vestibus cibum concupitum quaerebat. Virga vero, suavitate oris et inferioris partis tactu expergefacta, coepit admodum et praeter mensuram foraminis tumescere, adeo ut valde constricta teneretur. Res ita in arcto erat, ut neque ingredi, neque egredi absque magno dolore posset. Versa in dolorem voluptate, clamare et gemere Monachus coepit nimio vexatus cruciatu. Exterrita puella, cum osculo solari hominem vellet, et rem optatam perficere, in doloris levamen, tormentum augebat; nam cum ea ex re virga tumentior fieret, eo arctius torquebatur. }

Poggio, Facetiae 170, “Of a monk who thrust his Priapus into a hole in a board {De monacho qui misit per foramen tabulae priapum},” Latin text from Poggio (1879) vol. 1, pp. 102-4, my English translation. The monk’s penis eventually was rescued through the action of cold water.

[image] Fir board with hole. Image adapted from photo of a Douglas Fir cutting board. Jameson Fink generously released that photo on flickr under a Creative Commons By 2.0 license.


Poggio. 1879. Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini. The facetiae or jocose tales of Poggio, now first translated into English with the Latin text. Paris: Isidore Liseux (vol. 1, vol. 2).

Swift shows social failures of men’s literature & enlightenment

Strephon and Chloe

Drawing upon a highly respected epic of the ancient Roman poet-scholar Lucretius, Jonathan Swift early in the eighteenth century continued the long literary effort to enlighten men. Swift wrote poems about Cassinus and Peter, and Strephon and Chloe. Though brilliant, they were social failures.

Cassinus and Peter were sophomores at the University of Cambridge. Witty young men steeped in classical learning, they enjoyed idle friendship, playing flutes and smoking pipes with each other in their rooms and discussing beloved women. One day Peter found Cassinus disheveled and distraught. With deep concern, Peter sympathetically inquired about Cassinus’s troubles. Cassinus explained that his beloved Caelia had betrayed him:

Oh Peter! Beauty’s but a Varnish,
Which Time and Accidents will tarnish:
But, Caelia has contriv’d to blast
Those Beauties that might ever last.
Nor can Imagination guess,
Nor Eloquence Divine express,
How that ungrateful charming Maid,
My purest Passion has betray’d.
Conceive the most invenom’d Dart,
To pierce an injur’d Lover’s Heart. [1]

Cassinus was preparing to die from Caelia’s betrayal:

Yet, kind Arcadians, on my Urn
These Elegies and Sonnets burn,
And on the Marble grave these Rhimes,
A Monument to after-Times:
“Here Cassy lies, by Caelia slain,
And dying, never told his Pain.”

Before telling of his pain, Cassinus adjured Peter to the most solemn confidence:

The Secret thou shalt ne’er impart;
Not to the Nymph that keeps thy Heart;
(How would her Virgin Soul bemoan
A Crime to all her Sex unknown!)
Nor whisper to the tattling Reeds,
The blackest of all Female Deeds.
Nor blab it on the lonely Rocks,
Where Echo sits, and list’ning mocks.
Nor let the Zephyr’s treach’rous Gale
Through Cambridge waft the direful Tale.
Nor to the chatt’ring feather’d Race,
Discover Caelia’s foul Disgrace.
But, if you fail, my Spectre dread
Attending nightly round your Bed

Then Cassinus boldly revealed the secret that made him mortally deranged:

And yet, I dare confide in you;
So, take my Secret, and adieu.

Nor wonder how I lost my Wits;
Oh! Caelia, Caelia Caelia sh——. [2]

In other words, Caelia was a human being who performed the same bodily function that men and other animals do. She was not actually a goddess. For ignorant and benighted men and women, the revelation that women are not better than men shakes them to the core of their understanding.

Misunderstanding the nature of women and men destroys marriages. Consider the marriage of Strephon and Chloe. Chloe was widely regarded as a woman-goddess:

Of Chloe all the town has rung,
By ev’ry size of poets sung:
So beautiful a nymph appears
But once in twenty thousand years;
By Nature form’d with nicest care,
And faultless to a single hair.
Her graceful mien, her shape, and face,
Confess’d her of no mortal race [3]

As men historically have been compelled to do, Strephon won Chloe’s hand with the promise of providing material resources to her:

He blew a Settlement along:
And, bravely drove his Rivals down
With Coach and Six, and House in Town. [4]

That’s all that was known about Strephon before he married Chloe. Chloe, in contrast, attracted public attention even with intimate details of her life. That’s how gynocentrism functions.

Strephon was anxious about his performance on their wedding night. They had arranged for Chloe a lavish, expensive wedding fit for a goddess. Could he subsequently fulfill her?

Strephon had long perplex’d his Brains,
How with so high a Nymph he might
Demean himself the Wedding-Night:
For, as he view’d his Person round,
Meer mortal Flesh was all he found:
His Hand, his Neck, his Mouth, and Feet
Were duly washt to keep ’em sweet;
(With other Parts that shall be nameless,
The Ladies else might think me shameless.)

Like many men, Strephon under-valued his penis. He imagined that his body was impure and detestable relative to his wife’s body:

Can such a Deity endure
A mortal human Touch impure?
How did the humbled Swain detest
His prickled Beard, and hairy Breast!

A woman isn’t a deity. Masculinity isn’t toxic. Men are wonderful. That includes men with beards and men with hair on their chests. Yet men struggle with men’s sexual obligations combined with criminalization of men’s sexuality and pervasive misandry:

Strephon, who had been often told,
That Fortune still assists the bold,
Resolv’d to make his first Attack:
But, Chloe drove him fiercely back.
How could a Nymph so chaste as Chloe,
With Constitution cold and snowy,
Permit a brutish Man to touch her?
Ev’n Lambs by Instinct fly the Butcher. [5]

Men are socially constructed as “brutish.” Men’s sexually is socially constructed as an “attack” like that of the butcher cutting up lambs. Is it any wonder that many women spend many nights in the company of only their cats?

Chloe, a woman strong and independent enough to say no to her fiancé, had good reason for declining to have sex. She had drunk twelve cups of tea shortly before retiring to their wedding bed:

Twelve Cups of Tea, (with Grief I speak)
Had now constrain’d the Nymph to leak.
This Point must needs be settled first;
The Bride must either void or burst.

She reached out and brought a piss-pot into their bed. Then she used it as it’s meant to be used:

Strephon who heard the fuming Rill
As from a mossy Cliff distill;
Cry’d out, ye Gods, what Sound is this?
Can Chloe, heav’nly Chloe ——?
But, when he smelt a noysom Steam
Which oft attends that luke-warm Stream;
(Salerno both together joins
As sov’reign Med’cines for the Loins)
And, though contriv’d, we may suppose
To slip his Ears, yet struck his Nose:
He found her, while the Scent increas’d,
As mortal as himself at least. [6]

Women piss and fart just like men do, except for a slightly less convenient and less vulnerable apparatus for the former. Men should be taught these facts of life from an early age. Kept in ignorance under the veil of gynocentrism, Strephon learned true facts of gender equality only in his marriage bed:

But, soon with like Occasions prest,
He boldly sent his Hand in quest,
(Inspir’d with Courage from his Bride,)
To reach the Pot on t’other Side.
And as he fill’d the reeking Vase,
Let fly a Rouzer in her Face. [7]

Men who finally learn the truth about women will fart in the face of gynocentrism.

The lesson for Strephon and for all is fundamentally gender equality. Woman and men must have a shared view of a shared privy:

O Strephon, e’er that fatal Day
When Chloe stole your Heart away,
Had you but through a Cranny spy’d
On House of Ease your future Bride,
In all the Postures of her Face,
Which Nature gives in such a Case;
Distortions, Groanings, Strainings, Heavings;
‘Twere better you had lickt her Leavings,
Than from Experience find too late
Your Goddess grown a filthy Mate.
Your Fancy then had always dwelt
On what you saw, and what you smelt;
Would still the same Ideas give ye,
As when you spy’d her on the Privy. [8]

As a high-school student working a summer job at IBM, I remember being awe-struck by the protruding feminine beauties of a young, revealingly dressed secretary. An old hand in the department, noticing that I was being sexually harassed, said to me, “I bet she doesn’t look so hot bent over taking a shit!” Only much later in life did I realize what a learned man he was.

Jonathan Swift understood Lucretius’s De rerum natura {On the nature of things} far better than most scholars in today’s age of ignorance, anti-men bigotry, and superstition. Lucretius, an Epicurean, rejected the view that mortal women were immortal goddesses. Lucretius urged men to avoid being enthralled in erotic subservience to women. He instead favored a Epicurean life of tranquil friendship. In Swift’s story of Cassinus and Peter, when Cassinus was deeply disturbed with the reality of Caelia defecating, Peter failed to pull his friend Cassinus away from ignorant turmoil. Instead, Peter offered to join Cassinus in that turmoil:

But now, by Friendship’s sacred Laws,
I here conjure thee, tell the Cause;
And Caelia’s horrid Fact relate;
Thy Friend would gladly share thy Fate. [9]

In the story of Strephon and Chloe, Jonathan Swift in his authorial voice offered much better advice:

On Sense and Wit your Passion found,
By Decency cemented round;
Let Prudence with Good Nature strive,
To keep Esteem and Love alive.
Then come old Age whene’er it will,
Your Friendship shall continue still:
And thus a mutual gentle Fire,
Shall never but with Life expire.

Men should study and learn Jonathan Swift’s Epicurean wisdom. Most men haven’t done so. That reflects the success of gynocentrism and the social failure of men’s literature.

Men on bended knees asking women to marry them, men opening doors for women, men last into life-boats, to say nothing of men’s enormous gender protrusion in violent death and incarceration, and keeping silent about men totally lacking reproductive rights — the present testifies to the social failure of men’s literature. More than two millennia ago, the learned poet-scholar Lucretius satirized love-besotted men ignorantly abasing themselves to their beloved human goddesses. Despite much additional, brilliant literature of men’s sexed protest since Lucretius’s time, men continue to be subservient to women. The past was female. The present is female. Female supremacists prominently proclaim that the future is female. If nothing changes, they will be right. That would continue a colossal failure of enlightenment.

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[1] Jonathan Swift, Cassinus and Peter: A Tragical Elegy ll. 51-60, from Jack Lynch’s online edition. Subsequent quotes from Cassinus and Peter are from that edition. Swift wrote this poem in 1734.

[2] For those unable to complete the rhyme, the final word in the above quote is “shits”. Gilmore rightly recognized:

Cassy is a comic gem, flawless in fecklessness, “confirm’d,” like Dryden’s Shadwell, “in full stupidity.”

Gilmore (1976) p. 39. Gilmore didn’t recognize the extent to which gynocentric society urges upon men’s Cassy’s stupidity.

[3] Jonathan Swift, Strephon and Chloe ll. 1-8, from Jack Lynch’s online edition. Subsequent quotes from Strephon and Chloe are from that edition. A quarto pamphlet that Roberts published in London in 1734 was titled, A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed. Written for the Honour of the Fair Sex. To which are added, Strephon and Chloe. And Cassinus and Peter. Schakel (1978) p. 137. That’s the first known publication of all three poems. The description “Written for the Honour of the Fair Sex” may allude to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu vicious attack on Swift in her poem, The Reasons that Induced Dr. S. to Write a Poem Call’d the Lady’s Dressing Room. Montagu’s poem follows the conventional anti-meninist line of attempting to silence men through ad hominem accusations of sexual desperation, sexual impotence, and sexual frustration.

[4] Lynch notes, “Coach and Six, a coach drawn by six horses, used only by the very rich; House in Town, a London house, again available only to the rich.”

[5] “audentes Fortuna iuva {Fortune favors the bold}” occurs in Virgil, Aeneid 10.284.

[6] For those unable to complete the rhyme, the line “Can Chloe, heav’nly Chloe ——?” is “Can Chloe, heav’nly Chloe piss?” Swift noted, “Vide Schol. Salern. Rules of Health, written by the School of Salernum. Mingere cum bumbis res est saluberrima lumbis {to piss while farting is very healthy for the loins}”. Medieval Latin literature had a relatively liberal approach to describing bodily functions.

Men throughout history have commonly believed that idealized women don’t fart. See, e.g., the early fifteenth-century story, De mercatore qui, laudando uxorem suam, asserebat eam munquam crepitum edidesse {Of a merchant who, in lauding his wife, asserted that she never farted}, Poggio Bracciolini, Facetiae 184, in Poggio (1879) vol. 2, p. 99.

[7] A “Rouzer” is a fart.

[8] In Jonathan Swift’s poem, A Panegyrick on the D–n, in the Person of a Lady in the North, a lady praises Swift (Dean of St. Patrick’s Church in Dublin) for building privies. The criminalization of men’s gaze is an obstacle to following Swift’s privy wisdom for loving. The Lady’s Dressing Room ll. 119-20 declared:

Vengeance, Goddess never sleeping
Soon punish’d Strephon for his Peeping

Strephon in this poem was peeping into the stinking mess of a lady’s dressing room. The first published version of this poem (1732) included the line, “Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!” Swift’s A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed (1734) is similar in theme to The Lady’s Dressing Room, but the former is completely gynocentric.

[9] Swift was familiar with Epicurius and Lucretius. Swift’s A Panegyrick on the D–n, in the Person of a Lady in the North declares:

Good lord! what can my lady mean,
Conversing with that rusty Dean!
She’s grown so nice, and so penurious,
With Socrates and Epicurius!

Brown judges that Lucretius’s De rerum natura 4.1171-91 undoubtedly inspired Swift in Cassinus and Peter, The Lady’s Dressing Room, and particularly Strephon and Chloe. Brown (2017) pp. 37, 39-40. In addition, an allusion to De rerum natura 1.86 exists in a note glossing The Lady’s Dressing l. 56 as “Prima Vivorum.” An allusion to Lucretius also exists in The Journal of a Dublin Lady ll. 184-5. Karian (2016) p. 48, n. 32.

[image] Strephon and Chloe, captioned “Sentimental Courtship”. Engraving by W.H. Bunbury, July 1, 1801. Via Wikimedia Commons.


Brown, Robert D. 2017. “Lucretius’ malodorous mistress (De rerum natura 4.1175).” Classical Journal. 113 (1): 26-43.

Gilmore, Thomas B. 1976. “The Comedy of Swift’s Scatological Poems.” PMLA. 91 (1): 33-43.

Karian, Stephen. 2016. “Swift as a manuscript poet.” Ch. 1 (pp. 31-50) in Bullard, Paddy and James McLaverty, eds. 2016. Jonathan swift and the eighteenth-century book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Poggio. 1879. Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini. The facetiae or jocose tales of Poggio, now first translated into English with the Latin text. Paris: Isidore Liseux (vol. 1, vol. 2).

Schakel, Peter J. 1978. “Swift’s Remedy for Love: The ‘Scatological’ Poems.” Papers on Language and Literature. 14 (2): 137-147.