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On the shield was represented the various scenes in the life of the Roman nation: Romulus and Remus with the wolf, the rape of the Sabines with the consequent war and treaty, the punishment of Mettus Fuffetius, Porsenna baffled by Cocles and Cloelia, Manlius on the Capitol surprised by the Gauls, the religious ceremonials of the city, Catiline in Tartarus and Cato in Elysium, the sea and the battle of Actium, the rout, and the triumph.
The introduction of Apollo as a combatant is in the Homeric spirit, and perhaps actually suggested, as Heyne thinks, by Il. 16. 700 foll., where however Apollo has no weapon but a shield. Propertius in his poem on the battle of Actium (El. 5. 6) makes Apollo the priucipal figure, which is itself a compliment to Augustus, who wished to be considered the som of the god. It is needless to say that such a deux ex machina is much more in place in a quasi-symbolical picture than in a narrative poem: still, we may question the propriety of making Apollo at once decide a battle where the other Olympian deities were already engaged on the side of Rome.
Desuper, either from the sky or from his temple on the promontory of Actium. Eo terrore like quo motu G. 1. 329, hoc metu 12. 468 note. Aegyptos Pal. (originally), Rom. corrected, which it seems worth while to adopt, for the sake of uniformity with G. 4. 210.
Betwixt the quarters flows a golden sea; But foaming surges there in silver play. The dancing dolphins with their tails divide The glitt'ring waves, and cut the precious tide. Amid the main, two mighty fleets engage Their brazen beaks, oppos'd with equal rage. Actium surveys the well-disputed prize; Leucate's wat'ry plain with foamy billows fries. Young Caesar, on the stern, in armor bright, Here leads the Romans and their gods to fight: His beamy temples shoot their flames afar, And o'er his head is hung the Julian star. Agrippa seconds him, with prosp'rous gales, And, with propitious gods, his foes assails: A naval crown, that binds his manly brows, The happy fortune of the fight foreshows. Rang'd on the line oppos'd, Antonius brings Barbarian aids, and troops of Eastern kings; Th' Arabians near, and Bactrians from afar, Of tongues discordant, and a mingled war: And, rich in gaudy robes, amidst the strife, His ill fate follows him—th' Egyptian wife. Moving they fight; with oars and f
So, safe at land, our hopeless peril past, we offered thanks to Jove, and kindled high his altars with our feast and sacrifice; then, gathering on Actium's holy shore, made fair solemnities of pomp and game. My youth, anointing their smooth, naked limbs, wrestled our wonted way. For glad were we, who past so many isles of Greece had sped and 'scaped our circling foes. Now had the sun rolled through the year's full circle, and the waves were rough with icy winter's northern gales. I hung for trophy on that temple door a swelling shield of brass (which once was worn by mighty Abas) graven with this line: SPOIL OF AENEAS FROM TRIUMPHANT FOES. Then from that haven I command them forth; my good crews take the thwarts, smiting the sea with rival strokes, and skim the level main. Soon sank Phaeacia's wind-swept citadels out of our view; we skirted the bold shores of proud Epirus, in Chaonian land, and made Buthrotum's port and towering town.
Encircled by these pictures ran the waves of vast, unrestful seas in flowing gold, where seemed along the azure crests to fly the hoary foam, and in a silver ring the tails of swift, emerging dolphins lashed the waters bright, and clove the tumbling brine. For the shield's central glory could be seen great fleets of brazen galleys, and the fight at Actium; where, ablaze with war's array, Leucate's peak glowed o'er the golden tide. Caesar Augustus led Italia's sons to battle: at his side concordant moved Senate and Roman People, with their gods of hearth and home, and all Olympian Powers. Uplifted on his ship he stands; his brows beneath a double glory smile, and bright over his forehead beams the Julian star. in neighboring region great Agrippa leads, by favor of fair winds and friendly Heaven, his squadron forth: upon his brows he wears the peerless emblem of his rostral crown. Opposing, in barbaric splendor shine the arms of Antony: in victor's garb from nations in the land of morn h