n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Symphosius' mobile snail : note

Volume 50, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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M. Bergamin, who argues that Symphosius was, if not a Christian, at any rate familiar with Christian culture, defends , which she takes in the Lucretian sense of 'aggregation, union', referring to the bond between the snail's shell and flesh, but also capable of being interpreted as referring to the union between man's body and soul made possible by the Divine will. Here, says Bergamin, Symphosius is deliberately trying to distract the reader from the riddle's right answer, 'Snail', by playfully suggesting a wrong but plausible answer, 'Soul', while simultaneously hinting at the right answer, inasmuch as sounds like , which is a marine snail! But this far-fetched and convoluted exegesis is unlikely to convince many.

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