« PreviousContinue »
P. VERGILI MARONIS
THE subject of the Aeneid, as propounded in the opening lines, is the settlement of Aeneas in Italy, after years of wandering, and a short but sharp final struggle. It is however only of the events preceding the settlement that the poet really treats,-of the wanderings and the war. Accordingly, the poem divides itself into two parts, the wanderings being embraced by the first, the Italian war by the second. But the two parts naturally involve different modes of treatment, comprehending as they do periods of time widely differing in length, the one seven years, the other apparently a few days. The long period of wanderings is taken at a point not far from its conclusion; enough is told in detail to serve as a specimen of the whole, and the rest is related more summarily by the help of an obvious expedient, the hero being made to narrate his past adventures to the person whose relation to him is all the time forming one adventure more. Horace has recommended some expedient of the sort to writers of Epics generally, A. P. 146 foll. It is easy to see that the peculiar style of Homer's narrative is followed, though in no slavish spirit of imitation.
The First Book of the Aeneid may be said to perform well the objects which it was no doubt intended to accomplish,-those of interesting us in the hero and introducing the story. After a brief statement of the subject, we have a view of the supernatural machinery by which it is to be worked out: and this is skilfully contrived so as to throw a light on the subsequent history of the Roman descendants of Aeneas, by the mention, even at that early time, of their great enemy, Carthage. Like Ulysses, Aeneas is shipwrecked in the voyage which was to have been his last, but, unlike Ulysses, is still accompanied by those who followed his fortunes from Troy. The re maining incidents of the First Book need not detain us much longer. As a general rule, they are, as we have said, borrowed from Homer; but we may admire the skill with which Virgil has introduced varieties of detail, as where Ulysses, listening to songs about Troy, re ppears in Aeneas looking at sculptures or paintings of Trojan subjects, and the art with which a new
Impression is produced by a combination of old materials, in making the friendly power that receives Aeneas unite the blandishments of Calypso with the hospitality of Alcinous, and so engrafting a tale of passion on a narrative of ordinary adventure.
ARMA virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
Multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem,
Musa, mihi caussas memora, quo numine laeso,
They are absent from all the best MSS., and are objectionable on internal grounds, because they are feeble in themselves, dividing the attention between the author and the hero; and they destroy the resemblance obviously intended by Virgil between 'arma virumque' and the opening of the Odyssey, as well as that between the opening of the Aeneid and those of the later Roman Epics, which were imitated from it. Ovid, Persius, and Martial quote 'arma virumque' in a way which seems to show they regarded them as the prominent words in the passage. At the same time the lines are doubtless ancient, as Servius has a story that Tucca and Varius expunged them. 'Primus:' Antenor had previously landed in Venetia (242), but he founded no Italian empire, as Aeneas did.
2.] Fato,' a mixture of modal and instrum. abl., as in 4. 696., 6. 449, 466, &c. Here it seems to go with profugus,' though it might go with venit:' comp. 10. 67. Perhaps the force may be "profugus quidem, sed fato profugus," a glorious and heavensent fugitive. For the poetic accus. 'Italiam-Lavina litora,' without the preposition, see Madv. § 232, obs. 4.
4.] Vi superum' expresses the general agency, like 'fato profugus,' though Juno was his only personal Livy 9. 29, "Traditur censorem etiam enemy. For 'memorem iram comp. Appium memori Deum ira post aliquot annos luminibus captum." So Aesch. Ag. 155, prav vs.
5.] Quoque' and 'et' of course form a pleonasm, though the former appears to be connected with 'multa,' and the latter with 'bello.' 'Dum conderet' like "dum fugeret," G. 4. 457, where see note. Here we might render 'in the struggle to build his city.'
6.3 "Victosque Penatis inferre," 8. 11. Unde' may be taken either as 'qua ex re,' or as 'a quo,' as in v. 568., 6. 766, &c. The latter seems more probable. Genus Latinum," Albani patres,' 'altae moenia Romae,' denote the three ascending stages of the empire which sprang from Aeneas, Lavinium, Alba, and Rome. Comp. 12. 823, foll., which is a good commentary on the present passage. 'Albani patres' probably means not 'our Alban ancestors,' but the senate, or rather the noble houses of Alba, of which the Julii were one.
Quo numine laeso,' "what
Quidve dolens, regina deum tot volvere casus
Urbs antiqua fuit, Tyrii tenuere coloni,
majesty of hers having been outraged,' a peculiar Latin idiom by which Virg. does not imply that Juno could have had more than one majesty, but simply wishes to ask in what respect had her majesty been outraged. So in v. 181, "Anthea si quem," he does not mean that there was more than one person named Antheus, but that Aeneas was anxious to explore if he could see Antheus any where. Comp. the expression 'nullus dubito,' which means, "I do not doubt at all."
9.] Volvere:' see G. 2. 295.
10.] 'Pietas' includes the performance of all duties to gods, parents, kinsmen, friends, and country. "Adire periculum" is not uncommon in Cicero.
12.] 'Urbs antiqua,' said with reference to Virg.'s own age. For the parenthetical construction Tyrii tenuere coloni,' comp. v. 530 below,
Est locus, Hesperiam Graii cog nomine dicunt." "Tyrii coloni,' 'settlers from Tyre,' as "Dardaniis colonis," 7. 422, are settlers from Troy.
13.] Longe,' as contrasted with the adjacent islands. The sense is clear: "Against the Tiber's mouth, but far away," Dryden. The choice seems to lie between connecting 'longe' with 'contra,' and making it an adverbial adjunct of ostia,' i. q. 'longe distantia.' The latter is a Grecism, but may perhaps be sup
19.] 'Sed enim,' 2. 164, &c. adλà yáp, 'however,' or 'nevertheless.' The present infinitive, duci,' denotes the event as at that very time existing in the designs of fate. Duci,' as in 10.145.
20.] Quae verteret,' as usual in such forms, to be translated 'to overturn.' Vertere,' as in 2. 652, &c.
21.] Late regem,' comp.eupuкpeiwv, and late tyrannus," Hor. 3 Od. 17. 9. 'Populus' is a personification
ported by the use of "super" 3. 489,
16.] Coluisse,' as dweller in the temple. Comp. v. 447. "Pallas quas condidit arces Ipsa colat," E. 6. 61.
17.] Regnum gentibus,' 'the capital of the nations,' instead of Rome. For the pronoun taking the gender of the following substantive, see Madv. § 313.
18.] Si qua' is similarly used 6. 882. "Fata sinebant," 4. 652., 11. 701. Iam tum,' even in that early age, long before it became the actual rival of Rome. Tendit' determines the construction, the infinitive being the object of both verbs. Two constructions are united, the sentence 'hocesse' standing in the relation of an ordinary infinitive to 'tendit,' and of an accusative to 'fovet.'
Venturum exscidio Libyae: sic volvere Parcas.
and therefore takes the epithet 'rex.'
23.] Veteris and 'prima' are applied to the Trojan war, as contrasted with this new antipathy of Juno to the Trojans, caused by her anxiety for Carthage, as the former had been caused by her love for Argos. 'Prima,' adverbially, as in G. 1. 12.
25.] The words from necdum' to 'honores' are parenthetical. These causae irarum' are distinguished from the 'vetus bellum,' in other words, from the 'irae' themselves, the bitterness displayed in or produced by the war.
27.] The injury which consisted in her beauty being scorned,' explaining the 'iudicium Paridis.'
28.] Genus invisum,' the hated stock,' referring to the birth of Dardanus, who was the son of Jupiter by Electra, daughter of Atlas. The carrying off of Ganymede, who be
longed to a later generation of the royal house of Troy, was a further provocation.
29.] The construction is resumed after the parenthesis with some variation, his accensa super' referring to the subject-matter of the parenthesis. Super' for insuper,' 2. 71, &c. 'Iactatos arcebat equivalent to 'iactabat et arcebat,' or 'iactando arcebat.'
30.] Reliquias Danaum,' who had been left by the Greeks. Comp. Cic. de Sen. 6. 19, "ut avi reliquias (i. e. Karthaginem ab avo relictam ") persequare."
32.] Acti fatis,' inasmuch as their destiny forbids them to rest. Comp. "fato profugus," v. 2.
33.] Tantae molis ' for 'tanti moliminis,' as in Livy 25. 11.
34.] The departure from Sicily closes Aeneas's narrative, 3. 715. Forb. takes 'e conspectu Siculae telluris' to mean 'out of sight from Sicily,' or of those who were in Sicily, comparing 11.903, "Vix e conspectu exierat;" but there the sense is determined by the context: and the common rendering, 'out of sight of Sicily,' is_more natural, and equally good Latin. Comp. e. g. "urbis conspectu frui," Cic. Sull. 9, and our common expression out of sight of land.'
35.] 'Ruebant,' 'were driving be fore them;' see G. 1. 105. "Campos salis aere secabant," 10. 214. Spumat sale " (" sale," neut. nom.) occure Enn. A. 14. 1.
Cum Iuno, aeternum servans sub pectore volnus,
Talia flammato secum dea corde volutans
37.]Secum: "sine conscio," says Serv., comparing v. 225 below, and 2. 93. Mene-desistere:' for this use of the accus. and infin. to denote indignation or surprise, see Madv. § 399. 'Victam,' baffled.' For one aspect of the word we may comp. 7. 310,"Vincor ab Aenea;" for another, Hor. 1 Ep. 13. 11, "Victor propositi."
38.] Avertere,' G. 2. 172, means not merely to turn away, but to turn back.
39.] Quippe' always gives a reason, sometimes with irony, and here with indignation.-The use of 'ne,' which implies a negative answer, expresses incredulity that Pallas should have done what Juno cannot.
40.] Ipsos, Argivos,' the crews, as distinguished from the ships.
41.] It is desirable to place a comma at 'noxam,' to show that 'unius' is not to be taken with 'Aiacis Oilei,' but that the second clause is distinct from and epexegetic of the first. Comp. v. 251 below, "unius ob iram." 'Furias,' the infatuation which impels to crime. 'Oilei' is not an adjective, but a patronymic genitive, like ̓Οϊλῆος ταχὺς Αἴας.
42.] "Pallas fulminatrix," and the owl grasping a thunderbolt, are found on coins. Iovis ignem' is of course merely a periphrasis for the lightning.
45.] Turbine' is the wind or force of the thunderbolt, as in 6. 594. also 2. 649.
46.] Incedo,' poetically substituted for the simple copula 'sum;" with an allusion, of course, to the majesty of Juno's gait: 'tread the halls of heaven.'
47.] κασιγνήτην ἄλοχόν τε, ΙΙ. 16.
48.] Et quisquam adorat,' 'can it be that any one is adoring.' In some editions inponet' is found, and is justified by saying 'praeterea adorat virtually "adorabit.' But 'praeterea' expresses not so much sequence in time, as in thought, a logical relation like enerα. We may still however comp." praeterea vidit," G. 4. 502.
50.] Talia secum volutans:' these words refer to the thought rather than to the expression: but that they are not incompatible with an actual soliloquy, appears from 4. 533, compared with ib. 553, and 6. 185, 186, compared with ib. 190.
51.] Patriam' gives a poetical hint of the personality of the storms: comp. v. 540 below, G.1. 52. note; Ov.3 Am. 6. 40, "Nilus Qui patriam tantae tam bene celat aquae." The notion of generation is carried still further in feta.' "The home of the stormcloud, the teeming womb of raging southern blasts.'