A nice little jest courtesy of Ancient History at About.com
Was Defenestration Acceptable Roman Party Behavior?
Wednesday March 4, 2009
The 17th century Praxis Grammatica contains a series of anecdotes about Augustus. One of them deals with appalling party behavior and a pun on the word for ‘send’ (mitto):
[ 605 ] Curtius eques Romanus delitiis diffluens, quum apud Caesarem coenaret, macrum turdum sustulit e patina, eumque tenens, interrogavit Caesarem, liceretne mittere; quumque is respondisset, quidni liceat? Ille protinus avem misit per fenestram, iocum arripiens ex ambiguitate verbi. Nam apud Romanos erat solenne cibum e convivio dono amicis mittere.
Try to translate it and then check below:
[ 605 ] When Curtius, a Roman knight dissipating himself in his enjoyments, was dining at Caesar’s, he picked up a skimpy thrush from the serving-pan and holding it, asked Caesar if he could send it. When he had replied, “Why not?”, he immediately threw [misit] the bird through the window, getting a joke out of the double-meaning of the word. For is is a custom among the Romans to send food from a party to friends as a gift.
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