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Quam super haut ullae poterant inpune volantes
Tendere iter pinnis: talis sese halitus atris
Faucibus effundens supera ad convexa ferebat:
[Unde locum Grai dixerunt nomine Avernum.]
Quattuor hic primum nigrantis terga iuvencos
Constituit frontique invergit vina sacerdos,
Et summas carpens media inter cornua saetas

239.] Translated from Apoll. R. 4. 601, ovdé Tis üdwρ keïvo (the lake of the Eridanus) διὰ πτερά κούφα τανύσσας Οἰωνὸς dúvarai Baλéew Unep. With the whole passage comp. Lucr. 6. 740 foll.:

"Principio, quod Averna vocantur no-
mine, id ab re
Inpositumst, quia sunt avibus contraria

E regione ea quod loca cum venere vo-

Remigii oblitae pinnarum vela remit


Praecipitesque cadunt molli cervice pro


In terram, si forte ita fert natura lo

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242.] This line is wanting in fragm. Vat. and others, and is added in Med. by a later hand. Rom. however has it. Serv. does not explain it, nor does Non. quote it p. 14 s. v. Avernus,' as he might have been expected to do. There is a similar line in the Periegesis of Dionysius, ν. 1151, τοὔνεκά μιν φωτὲς ἐπικλείουσιν "Aopvov, rendered by Priscian, Perieg. 1056, "Unde locis Grai posuerunt nomen Aornin." Heyne thinks it a gloss, and Wagn, and Ribbeck remove it from the text. There is nothing un-Virgilian about it: Virg. is fond of talking of



the names of places, as Henry remarks
(comp. e. g. 3. 693): he refers to a Greek
name G. 3. 148 (a common habit with
his master Lucr.): and the expression
'nomine dicere,' to which Wagn. objects,
is found v. 441 below, as is observed by
Forb. On the other hand the external
evidence is such as to leave the question
doubtful, so I have placed the line in
brackets. There is a further question
whether Aornon' or ' Avernum' ought
to be read. The MSS. which retain the
line would seem generally in favour of
it would seem
this latter, which I have adopted: but
more likely that Virg.
would use the Greek word than the
Latin transformation of it, which hides
the etymology. Is it certain that Lucr.
in talking of the etymology of' Avernus'
did not mean to derive it from "avis?”
Possibly however Virg. may have so far
complied with the Latin form as to give
Aornum,' the reading of Gud. and
others, adopted by Heins.

243.] Comp. G. 4. 538 foll., where four bulls and four heifers are sacrificed to the Manes of Orpheus and Eurydice. "Nigrantis terga iuvencos" 5. 97. Black was the colour of the victims sacrificed to the shades, v. 153 above, Od. 10. 523 -527.

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244.] 'Constituit' 5. 237. Frontique invergit vina:' comp. 4. 61 note. Plaut. Curc. 1. 2. 12 has "Invergere in me liquores tuos sino ductim." Serv. draws a distinction between 'fundere' and 'vergere in sacrifices: "Fundere' est supina manu libare, quod fit in sacris supernis; 'vergere' autem est conversa in sinistram partem manu ita fundere ut patera convertatur: quod in infernis sacris fit." "Invergo' however is used by Val. Fl. 2. 611 of pouring sacrificial wine into the sea.

245.] The plucking of hairs from the head of the victim and the throwing of them into the fire as àrapxaí is a Homeric custom, Od. 3. 445, moλλà 8' 'A0ývy Εὔχετ' ἀπαρχόμενος, κεφαλῆς τρίχας ἐν Tupi Báλλwv, from which we see also

Ignibus inponit sacris, libamina prima,

Voce vocans Hecaten, Caeloque Ereboque potentem.
Supponunt alii cultros, tepidumque cruorem
Succipiunt pateris. Ipse atri velleris agnam
Aeneas matri Eumenidum magnaeque sorori

that prayers were made during the process, as in v. 247. 'Saetae' of the hair of oxen 7. 790.


246.] Libamina prima,' àrapxaí, as 'libare' is used of pouring out or taking away the first part of anything. Gell. in his preface says, " Primitias quasdam et quasi libamenta ingenuarum artium dedimus." Stat. Theb. 6. 224 has "raptumque suis libamen ab armis Quisque iacit," of offerings on a funeral pile, each one giving as it were a taste or specimen of his weapons. Inponit' is frequently used of offerings 1. 49., 4. 453. [Imponit' Rom.-H. N.]

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247.] See on v. 245. The line is imitated from Apoll. R. 3. 1209, è dè μιγάδας χέε λοιβὰς Βριμώ κικλήσκων Εκάτην ἐπαρωγὸν ἀέθλων. Voce vocans' 4. 680 note. For Hecate's attributes see on 4. 510. Caelo potentem' less strong than Caeli potentem,' implying not sovereignty over a place, but power in it. Caeloque Ereboque' 7.


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248.] Cerda, followed by Heyne and Forb., explains supponunt cultros' of the custom of sacrificing victims to the gods below with their heads downwards, those devoted to the gods above being sacrificed with their heads upturned, the að épvσav of Hom. For this he quotes Myrsilus De Rebus Lesbiacis 2 (? the passage does not occur in the remains of Myrsilus in Müller's Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum), eiúbaow oi iepeis Tà ἔντομα τοῖς κάτω θεοῖς ἐναγιζόμενα ἐν τῇ γῇ ἀποτέμνεσθαι τὰς κεφαλάς· οὕτω γὰρ θύουσι τοῖς ὑποχθονίοις· τοῖς δὲ οὐρανίοις ἄνω ἀναστρέφουσι τῶν ἱερείων τὸν τράχηλον opa Covτes. The same words however have already met us in G. 3. 492, where we cannot suppose that a sacrifice to the infernal gods is specially meant. All that is said is that the throat is cut from beneath, and this might be done equally well whether the victims' heads were turned up or down-more easily indeed in the former case. It is more probable that the special reference, if any, is to another (Roman?) sacrificial custom mentioned by Cerda in the same note, that


of first striking the victims down with an axe or club, afterwards cutting their throats, a process which seems to have required two persons, according to a passage from Dionys. Hal. 7. 72, quoted by Cerda, θύειν τότε τοῖς ὑπηρέταις αὐτὰ ἐκέλευον. τῶν δὲ οἱ μὲν, ἑστῶτος ἔτι τοῦ θύματος, σκυτάλῃ τοὺς κροτάφους ἔπαιον. oi de TínтOVTOS ÙTETίOEσav Tàs σpayidas. Serv. says that 'supponere' was a sacrificial word, being of neutral signification and consequently avoiding a bad omen: and the three last words in the passage of Dionys. confirm the statement, as they would hardly have been translated from an expression found only in the poets. 'Tepidum cruorem' 8. 106.

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249.] The form 'succipiunt' is supported by Pal. and fragm. Vat., Gud. a m. s. &c., and expressly recognized by Serv., who says antique: nam modo suscipiunt' dicunt:" it has accordingly been restored by Wagn. in later edd., here and 1. 175. [See on 4. 391.-H. N.] The object of catching the blood is said by Ti. Donatus to be "ne iam sacratus in terram cadat." The Greek feeling would seem to have been just the reverse, as what was poured on the earth was supposed to reach the powers below. Od. 11. 35 Ulysses cuts the throats of the sheep into a trench, that the shades may flock round it. Virg. however seems to mean that the blood is caught in bowls that it may be afterwards poured out, apparently on the ground (3. 67, 5. 78). Perhaps we may say then that this mode of offering was adopted as giving more solemnity to the act, and involving as it were a separate consecration of the blood apart from that of the victims. 'Ipse:' Aeneas also acts as sacrificer, in the Homeric fashion. Stat. Theb. 4. 445 has "Velleris obscuri pecudes."

250.] The mother of the Eumenides was Night (7. 331., 12. 846, Aesch. Eum. 416 &c.), her great sister Earth, both being daughters of Chaos. Comp. Hes. Theog. 116 foll., where however the birth of Gaea from Chaos is not expressly stated.

Ense ferit, sterilemque tibi, Proserpina, vaccam.
Tum Stygio regi nocturnas incohat aras,
Et solida imponit taurorum viscera flammis,
Pingue super oleum fundens ardentibus extis.
Ecce autem, primi sub lumina solis et ortus
Sub pedibus mugire solum, et iuga coepta moveri

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251.] So Od. 11. 30 Ulysses vows that on his return to Ithaca he will sacrifice to the shades, στεῖραν βοῦν ἥτις ἀρίστη. Lersch quotes from Arnob. 7. 21, "Bos si sterilis [caedatur] Unxiae, quam Proserpinae tribuitis." Ense ferit' may possibly be referred to striking down the victim, according to the distinction taken on v. 248. Serv. has a notion that the sword was used rather than any other weapon because, having been consecrated by the act, it became available for keeping the shades at a distance. Ense ferit' 12. 458.


252.] Stygio regi' of Pluto, like "Iovi Stygio" 4. 638. 'Nocturnas:' sacrifices to the infernal gods were performed by night, which is now going on, as we see from v. 255. Cerda refers to Turnebus V. L. 28. 44. [Incohat' Pal., 'inchoat' Med. and fragm. Vat., 'incoat' Rom. originally, inchoat' corrected. 'Incohat' is probably right: see Diomedes, p. 365 (Keil), who quotes Verrius Flaccus, and Suetonius in favour of this spelling: Probus Cath. p. 38 (Keil) is on the same side. The spelling inchoat was probably due to a fancied etymology from "chaos:" see Diomedes 1. c. and Paulus p. 107 (Müller). The word is often applied to the sketching out and commencement of buildings, and not seldom to temples (e. g. Cic. de Domo 51): hence perhaps Serv.'s remark "est verbum sacrorum." Begins to build, or, as Henry says, builds roughly and incompletely.-H. N.]

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253.]Solida' = "integra as in 2. 639: see Forc., where this sense is abundantly illustrated. Holocausts were offered to the infernal gods, Apoll. R. 3. 1033. For viscera' see on G. 3. 559., 4. 302. It is on this line that Serv. gives the explanation there cited. 'Imponere' above v. 246. [Inponit' Pal.H. N.]

254.] Modelled on Il. 11. 775, onévdwv αἴθοπα οἶνον ἐπ' αιθομένοις ἱεροῖσιν. All Ribbeck's MSS. give 'superque :''super' is found in a few copies mentioned by Heyne, and in the Canon. and Balliol

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MSS. The 'que' seems to have been added as a support to the verse, as apparently in 1. 668, where it is similarly found in the best MSS. [Ribbeck, reading superque,' supposes a verse to have dropped out between this and the next line.-H. N.] Between' infundens' (Med.) and 'fundens' (fragm. Vat., Pal., Rom., Gud., &c.) there is little or nothing to choose, except on external grounds. Both 'superfundo' and superinfundo' are found in composition, though the latter appears to have no higher authority than Celsus. Comp. however "superimponere." Exta' are the entrails proper as distinguished from "viscera." Comp. Aesch. Ag. 1221. oùy vrÉPOIS TE σnλάyx'. Oil was one of the offerings to the dead (see on v. 225), but it may have been intended merely to feed the fire. Emmen. refers to Schedius de Dis German. c. 29 for the statement that oil was used for wine in sacrifices to Pluto.

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255.] Primi sub lumina solis et ortus," ev dià dvoiv. 'Primi' = 'prima,' and prima lumina = 'ortus.' "Lumina solis" 8. 69, Lucr. 1. 5. Comp. also 7. 130, "primo cum lumine solis." Med. and some others have limina,' an impossible reading here, as Burm. remarks, though it might stand in a passage where place, not time, was spoken of. The description here, like parts of that which has preceeded, is modelled on Jason's invocation of Hecate Apoll. R. 3. 11911223, where the time and circumstances of the approach of the goddess are the same as here.

256.] Comp. 4. 490, "mugire videbis Sub pedibus terram, et descendere montibus omnos." See also on E. 4. 50. пioea δ' ἔτρεμε πάντα κατὰ στίβου Apoll. R. 3. 1217. Iuga silvarum:' the ridges are regarded as belonging to the woods which grow on them rather than vice versa. So

inga nemorum" 11. 545, "dorso nemoris" G. 3. 436, comp. by Forb. Seneca, Nat. Q. 6. 13, quotes the words with "inga celsa," which might stand, ‘visa' being understood from the next line.

Silvarum, visaeque canes ululare per umbram,
Adventante dea. Procul o, produl este, profani,
Conclamat vates, totoque absistite luco;
Tuque invade viam, vaginaque eripe ferrum;
Nunc animis opus, Aenea, nunc pectore firmo.
Tantum effata, furens antro se immisit aperto;
Ille ducem haut timidis vadentem passibus aequat.


Di, quibus imperium est animarum, Umbraeque silentes,
Et Chaos, et Phlegethon, loca nocte tacentia late, 265
Sit mihi fas audita loqui; sit numine vestro
Pandere res alta terra et caligine mersas.

257.] àμpl de Tv ye (Hecate) 'Orein ὑλακῇ χθόνιοι κύνες ἐφθέγγοντο, Apoll. R. 3. 1216, which shows that the dogs here are infernal hounds accompanying Hecate. Many MSS. have visi;' but the fem. is more usual in a context like this: comp. G. 1. 470. Ululare' of dogs, as of wolves 7. 18, G. 1. 486. Comp. vλdow. So possibly 4. 609 (note), “Nocturnisque Hecate triviis ululata per urbes."

258.] Procul o, procul este, profani' is perhaps a translation of Callim. Hymn to Apollo v. 2, ékás, ékás, őσTIS ȧxTpós. The uninitiated were warned off at the commencement of the mysterics: comp. Hor. 3 Od. 1. 1, and see Lobeck's Aglaophamus, vol. 1, pp. 450 foll. If the words have any distinct reference here, it must be, as Wagn. points out, to the companions of Aeneas, who were not to undertake the journey with him. With procul este,' as used rather than "procul ite," comp. the use of abesse,' àéîvai.

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260.] "Invadere viam,' exactly the opp. of evadere viam' 2. 731, is to enter upon a journey, set out," Henry. Why Aeneas is told to draw his sword does not appear. Ulysses does so, Od. 11. 48 foll., as commanded by Circe, and thereby prevents the ghosts from drinking the blood before he chooses that they should do so: but when Aeneas uses his sword vv. 290 foll. below, he is warned by the Sibyl that he can do them no harm. "Vaginaque eripit ensem" 4. 579.

262.] Furens:' the arrival of Hecate and the greatness of the undertaking having brought back the afflatus. [Inmisit' Rom-H. N.]

263.]Aequare' of keeping pace with, 3. 671. ['Haud' Pal. and fragm. Vat. --H. N.]

264-267.] 'Give me leave, powers of

the dead, to tell the tale of what they saw.

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264.] The interposition of a special invocation is modelled on Hom.'s practice, e. g. before the catalogue of the ships.. As the commentators have remarked, it greatly enhances the solemnity of the present passage. "Di, quibus imperium pelagi est" 5. 235. Umbrae-late' are vocatives co-ordinate with Di,' not, as they might possibly be, nominatives coordinate with imperium,' though 'loca' is perhaps rather awkward of things addressed as persons. Umbrae' are the ghosts, who are called "silentes" below v. 432 without a substantive.

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265.] Chaos' is classed with Erebus 4. 510, as here with Phlegethon' (vv. 550 foll.), singled out from the infernal rivers as the most terrible of all. Mythologically Night and Erebus were children of Chaos, which represents the formless void out of which things come and into which they were resolved. Loca nocte tacentin late,' as the infernal regions are called "loca senta situ" below v. 462, "loca turbida" v. 534. Tacentia' was restored by Heins. from Med., Rom., and fragm. Vat. for the common reading 'silentia,' which is found in the margin of Med.

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266.] Virg. professes to have obtained his information from tradition, like Hom. I. 2. 486, ἡμεῖς δὲ κλέος οἷον ἀκούομεν, ovdé Ti ídμev. The second 'sit' is for 'liceat," as in E. 10. 46, though it would be possible to understand 'fas.' 'Numine,' as in 1. 133, 2. 777 &c., seems to have its etymological sense of 'consent' or permission,' though it might also mean aid' or 'influence.'

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267.]To disclose the secrets of the world below.' So the Sibyl in Sil. 13.

Ibant obscuri sola sub nocte per umbram,
Perque domos Ditis vacuas et inania regna:
Quale per incertam lunam sub luce maligna
Est iter in silvis, ubi caelum condidit umbra
Iuppiter, et rebus nox abstulit atra colorem.
Vestibulum ante ipsum primisque in faucibus Orci

790 says of Homer that he revealed to
the earth all that goes on in the shades
before he had seen it, "haec cuncta, prius
quam cerneret, ordine terris Prodidit."


268-294.] As they went on in the twilight, they saw terrible monsters at the infernal gate, phantoms of all things that on earth make man's life wretched. There is also a giant elm where dreams congregate, and about the door Gorgons and Hydras and Chimaeras dire. Aeneas would have struck at him with his sword, had not the Sibyl told him they were mere spectres.'

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268.] A few MSS. (including Gud. a m. p.) give obscura soli,' which, as Heyne remarks, would be the more ordinary distribution of the epithets. 'Obscurus' of persons concealed 2. 135, G. 4. 424. For solus' applied to things where persons are really thought of, comp. G. 3. 249; though in each case there is of course a certain propriety in the epithet as applied to the thing. Heins. restored umbram' for umbras' (Gud. a m. s. &c.).

269.] Vacuas' and 'inania' both give the notion of empty space, indicating that the mansions of the dead are capable of receiving all comers, and that their present inmates are unsubstantial, so that earthly travellers there would feel a sense of desolation, the same which has been already expressed by sola sub nocte.' Hom. makes the unburied Patroclus say ἀλλ ̓ αὕτως ἀλάλημαι ἀν ̓ εὐρυπυλὲς ̓́Αϊδος da, Il. 23. 74. With inania regna' Taubm. well comp. "domus exilis Plutonia" Hor. 1 Od. 4. 17. "Locus inanis is applied to Avernus by Lucr. 6. 822 in a different sense, the inability of the birds to exist there being accounted for by the supposition that there is no atmosphere.

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270.] 'Per incertam lunam' answers to 'per umbram,' v. 268, 'sub luce maligna' to sola sub nocte.' The moonlight is looked upon as a medium through which they pass. Comp. 2. 255, "per amica silentia lunae," ib. 340 "oblati per lunam," though in both cases the expression is somewhat less harsh: see also G.


4. 59, "nare per aestatem liquidam." Henry is rather hypercritical in objecting to the ordinary view of 'incertam lunam' as "the struggling moonbeam's misty light," like "incertos soles" 3. 203, though the epithet doubtless includes the sense which he maintains, unsure, not to be depended on,' a general attribute of moonlight as compared with sunlight. Serv. mentions a reading inceptam,' still found in some MSS., and apparently supported by Ti. Donatus, who explains" in ipsis initiis positam," though Serv. thinks the two words mean the same thing, as it must be the new moon that is spoken of. Maligna' churlish or niggardly, as in G. 2. 179.

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271.] In silvis,' quae etiam exiguum illud lucis sua densitate possunt eripere." Ti. Donatus. There is also of course a reference to the difficulty of picking one's way where there is no road. Comp. the description of Nisus and Euryalus 9. 381 foll.: also Hor. 2. S. 3. 48, "velut silvis, ubi passim Palantis error certo de tramite pellit."

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272.] Iuppiter,' as the god of the sky, E. 7. 60. Colorem: the early commentators discuss this doctrine of the removal of colour by night. Serv. says 'Hoc et videmus, et tractatur ab Epicureis, rebus tollere noctem colorum varietatem : unde et apud inferos omnia nigra esse dicuntur. Contra hos Academici una repugnant: nam squamas piscium lucere per noctem comprobatur.” Comp. the exposition of Lucr. 2. 730— 841.

273.] "Vestibulum ante ipsum primoque in limine" 2. 469, where see note on the meaning of 'vestibulum.' [The 'fauces' in a house were the narrow passage to the right of the "tablinum," leading into the peristylium. Virg., as Sulpicius Apollinaris (ap. Gell. 16. 5) remarked, uses the word here metaphorically for the passage leading to the ‘vestibulum.' 'Primis in faucibus' Pal., and so Ribbeck.-H. N.] Comp. G. 4. 467, "Taenarias fauces, alta ostia Ditis." Orcus, the god of the dead, is here as

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