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Med., Pal., and Gud. originally, have signant, which Heins. preferred and Wagn. now adopts. But though signare nomen might possibly mean to impress a name, signat, the reading of Rom. and most MSS., is far more natural, and the confusion of sing. and pl. by transcribers is common enough. Signare then will mean to commemorate, as in 3. 287. Tac. Germ. 28, perhaps imitating this passage, has nomen signat loci memoriam. Wagn. seems right in his former explanation of the words the name of a city and promontory in Italy is your epitaph, Hesperia in magna going rather closely with nomen. Comp. 6. 776, Haec tum nomina erunt. Hesperia in magna 1. 569. Si qua est ea gloria as equivalent to quae magna est gloria, just as we might say if the glory of sepulture in a great country be more than a dream. Serv. and Don. think there is a reference to the insensibility of the dead, which is not improbable, on comParison of 10. 828.
Aeneas had been warned by Creusa (2. 781) that his destination was Italy, ubi Lydius arva Inter opima virum leni fluit agmine Thybris: and he says himself 3. 500, Si quando Thybrim vicinaque Thybridos arva Intrarim gentique meae data moenia cernam; 5. 83, Ausonium quicunque est, quaerere Thybrim. Flecte viam 5. 28, said by Aeneas to the pilot. Terris advertere proram G. 4. 117.
This invocation marks a great epoch in the poem, and the commencement of a new class of characters and legends. The first words are from Apoll. R. 3. 1, *ei) d' a)/ge nu=n, *)eratw/, para/ q' i(/staso, kai/ moi e)/nispe. But Erato, as the Muse of Love, is more appropriately invoked to rehearse the loves of Jason and Medea than the present theme, though Germ. thinks that the war in Italy may be said to have been kindled by the love of Lavinia's suitors, tanquam flabello. Virg., by the help of the Muse, will describe the posture of affairs (tempora rerum) and the condition of Latium (quis Latio antiquo fuerit status) when Aeneas arrived, and will trace the origin of the war between Aeneas and the Latins (primae revocabo exordia pugnae). Qui reges seems to be said generally, including Latinus and his ancestors, Turnus, and perhaps the other Italian princes. With tempora rerum comp. the expression reipublicae tempus, which occurs more than once in Cic. (Off. 3. 24 &c.), though tempora he
In 8. 314 the Fauns and Nymphs are the indigenous race that inhabited Italy when Saturn came down to civilize it. Laurens is properly the name of that territory and tribe whose capital was Laurentum: but Virg. uses it as a synonym of Latinus. Thus Turnus the Rutulian is called Laurens below v. 650. Latium in its latest and widest signification would include Minturnae on the Liris.
Mephitin was the old reading. Mephitim was restored by Heins. from Med. &c. Mephitis was worshipped as a deity in various parts of Italy, as at Amsanctus (see v. 564 below), Pliny 2. 93 (95), at Cremona, Tac. H. 3. 33. It had a temple and grove at Rome on the Esquiline, Varro L. L. 5. 49, Festus s. v. Septimontis. Serv. says some made it a male power, connected with Leucothea like Virbius with Diana, which may possibly account for saevum, the reading of Med. Comp. generally 6. 240. Saevam like saevior pestis 3. 214. Virg. may have thought of Apoll. R. 4. 599, li/mnhs ei)s proxoa\s polubenqe/os: h(\ d' e)/ti nu=n per *trau/matos ai)qome/noio baru\n a)nakhki/ei a)tmo/n.
There were many oracles of this kind in Greece, generally in caves, as that of Trophonius at Lebadea and that of Amphiaraus at Thebes and Oropus. Virg. seems to have transferred the custom to Italy. Heyne remarks that Tiburtus, the founder of Tibur (mentioned below v. 670), was the son of Amphiaraus. This again tends to prove that the oracle mentioned by Virg. was at or near Tibur. Serv. observes that incubare is the proper term for this mode of consultation, answering to e)gkoima=sqai: comp. Plaut. Curc. 2. 2. 16, Cic. Div. 1. 43. Rams were sacrificed, and the worshipper slept in their skins, Pausan. 1. 34 (of Amphiaraus), Strabo 6. p. 284 (of Calchas in Daunia).
Nunc repeto 3. 184. Anchises introduces a difficulty. Celaeno (3. 255) prophesies that they should be driven to eat their tables, and Helenus (ib. 394) confirms it, with an assurance that the fates should find a solution. The words of Celaeno, ambesas subigat malis absumere mensas, are almost exactly the same as those which are here ascribed to Anchises, and she connects the incident with the foundation of the city, though she does not make it a token that they have found their home. The discrepancy is only one out of several which exist between the Third Book and other parts of the poem. Some have fancied that this was one of the things revealed by Anchises to Aeneas in Elysium (6. 890 foll.), but reliquit points to predictions delivered in life, perhaps altered or bequeathed on the deathbed. Ignota ad litora is again inconsistent with the speech of Celaeno, who expressly mentions Italy. Fatorum arcana 1. 262, apparently = arcana fata.
Ex ordine, in a row, between the pillars of the portico. They are not in the order of succession. See vv. 45 foll. Professor Seeley, Introduction to Livy p. 19, notices this passage as a remarkable instance of Euhemerism: the gods of Italy being identified with ancient kings.