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Appendix 11. Iuno, Venus et gallina


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 539.


Cum castitatem Iuno laudaret suam,

iocunditatis causa non renuit Venus,

nullamque ut affirmaret esse illi parem

interrogasse sic gallinam dicitur:

"Dic, sodes, quanto possis satiari cibo?"

Respondit illa "Quidquid dederis, satis erit,

sic ut concedas pedibus aliquid scalpere."

"Ne scalpas" inquit "satis est modius tritici?

"Plane, immo nimium est, sed permitte scalpere."

"Ex toto ne quid scalpas, quid desideras?"

Tum denique illa fassa est naturae malum:

"Licet horreum mi pateat, ego scalpam tamen."

Risisse Iuno dicitur Veneris iocos,

quia per gallinam denotauit feminas.


Here is the poem in a more prose-like word order for easy reading:


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Here is the poem with meter marks:


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When Juno boasted of her chastity, Venus didn't want to quarrel with her so she did not dispute what Juno said, but in order to show that no other woman was as chaste as Juno she reportedly asked some questions of a hen. 'So,' Venus said to the hen, 'could you please tell me how much food it would take to satisfy you?' The hen answered, 'Whatever you give me will be enough, as long as you let me use my feet to scratch for something more.' 'What about a peck of wheat: would that be enough to keep you from scratching?' 'Oh my, that is more than enough food, of course, but please let me go on scratching.' Venus asked, 'Then what do you want to completely give up scratching?' At that point the hen finally confessed her natural-born weakness and said, 'Even if I had access to a whole barn full of grain, I would still just keep on scratching.' Juno is said to have laughed at Venus's joke, because by means of that hen the goddess had made an indictment of women in general.




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