Loeb loving on the road to Bilbilis

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling a little unwell, and I looked around my shelves for something undemanding which would take my attention off things.  My eye fell on the old (1920-ish) Loeb Martial, and I pulled down a volume.  There is something very soothing about these old volumes, the genteel English, and the notes, cultivated and inoffensive.  Juvenal has long been a friend in these circumstances; Martial now joins him.

Martial was a Spaniard who came from Bilbilis.  Today I saw some photos online of excavations at Bilbilis, here.  Unfortunately the blog is in Spanish — I expect Google translator would make a reasonable effort at this, if I had time to try. [Note: it really does!]  The photos are worth a look, tho.

Thinking of Martial reminds me of a book plate in the second volume.  The volume itself was a handsome example of its kind.  The plate showed that the book was a gift to Glasgow University Library, long ago, by the Church of Scotland no less.  But the book plate was carelessly cancelled with a stamp; the library doubtless sold it, when a new edition appeared.  I bought it from an online dealer, all unknowing. 

Perhaps when we finish our earthly course, many wonder whether we might donate our libraries to some deserving university.  Alas, not even thus may one procure a little immortality!


Leave a Reply