Friday, August 20, 2004

The Allegrezza Ficcione, Part 8 - a note on Caius Septimus

In Book VI of
De bello Gallico
there is a passage
where Julius Caesar relates
how, on the way
to his third war
with the Gauls, he
stopped over at the
villa of Caius Septimus,
a citizen who "lived
closer to Gaul than
to Rome" & spent
part of a relaxed evening
listening to his host recite
Terra Inculta, a sequence
of poems about the ten
months of the year. A scribe
of a slightly later time
records how when
Vercingetorix was
paraded in chains
though the streets of Rome
as the prize exhibit in
Caesar's triumph, he was
guarded not by soldiers
but by the retainers of
Caius, "friend of Caesar".
The poems may have
survived. Amongst the
von Holstein collection
in the library of
the University of Heidelberg
there is a 'Commentary
on the Poetry of Caius
Septimus' though some
modern scholars posit
this may be a ficcione
by the Count & point out
that Allegrezza does
does not record anything
by Caius in his definitive
recreation of the catalogue of
the Library of Alexandria. One
final point of interest. In their
investigation into a fire
at the home of an Anglophile
poet of some renown
(whose name still cannot be
mentioned for fear of a
libel action) police reported
that the blaze appeared to
have been started by the
deliberate destruction of documents
setting a rat's nest alight. All
they could find of the original
fire was a small piece of
scorched parchment on which
were written the words mensis
Aprilis mensium primori atrox est

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