in Bertrams

Chapter 08 – Sir Lionel Bertram

ars celare artem

“It is art to conceal art.”  This phrase is often attributed to Ovid.  Though it is not found verbatim in Ovid’s works, Ovid does express a similar sentiment in his poetry:  si latet, ars prodest (“if it is hidden, art is useful” in the Ars Amatoria) and ars…latet arte sua (“art is hidden by its own artfulness” in the Metamorphoses).  Sir Lionel lives out this aesthetic directive by cultivating a personal appearance which does not seem to be the result of extensive care.  [KS & RR 2012]

Sources:  Ovid, Ars Amatoria 2.313.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.252.


expediency was his god

In the description of Sir Lionel’s character Trollope states that “expediency was his god.”  Expediency is personified as a divinity, which was very common in Classical antiquity; an example would be Fortuna, who was the embodiment of fortune.  Since we first meet Sir Lionel in the holy city of Jerusalem, this characterization implicitly paints him as a kind of heretic or apostate.  [KS & RR 2012]