André Alexis in My Vagina has a footnote that runs across the fold to occupy the space of two pages roughly in the centre of the essay. In this extended note, Alexis repeats the claim that in Latin the names for the clitoris were so vulgar that not even Martial or Catullus ever refer to landica. Wikipedia seems to be the crib for Alexis’s note. But it is worth remarking that deductions are based on extant sources. What survives may not reveal the whole picture. Consider that the Wikipedia entry reporting the indecency of the term for clitoris references the work of J.N. Adams, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary and, for me, alerts us to a possible disjunction between linguistic form and discursive function:
The function of the clitoris (landica) was “well understood”. In classical Latin, landica was a highly indecorous obscenity found in graffiti and the Priapea; the clitoris was usually referred to with a metaphor, such as Juvenal’s crista (“crest”).
We see that frankness does not always frequent frequency. And frequency itself is open to interpretation.
And so for day 2303