Chapter 01 – Omnes Omnia Bona Dicere

June 14th, 2011 § 0 comments

Omnes omnia bona dicere

The title of this chapter can be literally translated as “all people to say all good things.”  This is a quotation from Terence’s Andria, a Roman comedy.  The plot of Terence’s play revolves around a father, Simo, who wants his son to marry his neighbor’s daughter.  Unfortunately his son, Pamphilus, promises to marry another woman–Glycerium–after impregnating her.  Simo becomes concerned that Pamphilus might have entered into a relationship with yet a different woman named Chrysis.  While discussing the matter with his most trusted freedman, Simo describes how, despite his worries, his son seemed to behave well and have a fine reputation.  In the translation by Henry Thomas Riley, Simo says “this pleased me, and everybody with one voice began to say all kinds of flattering things and to extol my good fortune, in having a son endowed with such a disposition.”  When Trollope entitles this chapter “Omnes Omnia Bona Dicere,” he is saying that people are saying good things about Mark Robarts.  However, in his associations with Mr. Sowerby Mark falls shy of the praise lavished on him, much as Pamphilus fell short of the praise lavished on him.  This reference to the Andria foreshadows Mark’s signing of Mr. Sowerby’s bill, an act which fails to meet with the high expectations for a young clergyman.  [TH 2005]

Sources:  Terence, Andria 96-97.  Link to Riley’s translation of the Andria at Perseus.

 

Hyperion

Hyperion was a Titan and the son of both Uranus and Gaia.  He was the father of Helios, Selene, and Eos (sun, moon, and dawn respectively).  Hyperion is often confused with the sun in classical sources.  For that reason, Trollope may intend to say that Mark is an Apollo, another god associated with the sun.  The use of a classical name to describe Mark elevates him in our eyes.  The association of Mark Robarts with the sun reinforces the image of him as a man rising in the world.  [TH 2005]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.

 

a tergo

A Latin phrase meaning “from behind.”  [TH 2005]

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