20 August 2007

Intactus, -a, -um

Also in conversation with Philalethe, I rather pompously used the term intactus in reference to a male virgin. I hardly imagined that this was particularly novel, but (had I bothered to think about it) I should have thought that the term would probably not have been used with a male personal referent in the Classical period, given the Romans' disinclination (to say the least) for even verbal sexual egalitarianism. But is this so? The examples in Lewis and Short all have virgo, puella, or such as the antecedent; however, I now remember that Catullus uses integer in an essentially synonymous sense in reference both to men and women:
Dianae sumus in fide
puellae et pueri integri
Dianam pueri integri
puellaeque canamus

No comments: