hazardous martials

Drunkenness Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Martial, Epigrams XI.82

Notes: Sinuessa: a city in Campania famed for its hot springs and popular among vacationing Romans.  Elpenor: one of Odysseus’ crew in the
Odyssey, he fell to his death from a roof while intoxicated.

Philostratus, returning at night’s command
To his rented house after banqueting
Amidst the waters of Sinuessa,
Nearly imitated Elpenor and perished
By a cruel fate, as he plunged headlong
All the way down a long flight of steps.
O Nymphs, he wouldn’t have suffered
Such great dangers if he had drunk
Your waters instead!

A Sinuessanis conviva Philostratus undis
  conductum repetens nocte jubente larem
paene imitatus obit saevis Elpenora fatis,
  praeceps per longos dum ruit usque gradus.
Non esset, Nymphae, tam magna pericula passus
  si potius vestras ille bibisset aquas.

Odysseus encounters Elpenor in the Underworld.  Detail of an Attic red-figure pelike, attributed to the Lycaon Painter; ca. 440 BCE.  Now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.