Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Livy n Yvil, sorry, Evil.
Did Livy really say Notissimum malum maxime tolerabile? ['The best known evil is the most tolerable'; or 'Those ills are easiest to bear with which we are most familiar'] That seems to be quite the wrong way about: the evils we know the most intimately, and which happen the most often -- particularly physical pain, bereavement and depression -- are precisely the hardest to bear. Perhaps seeing things too studiedly from the p.o.v. of the urbs distorts Livy's sense of what actually counts as an evil.