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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. In that, as in other things, he follows Homer, who does not show us Ulysses “an idle king, matched with an aged wife, meting laws to a savage race,” but leaves him fresh from the slaughter of the suitors, from the first embrace of his wife and father, and from the conquest of his disaffected subjects. 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. Here again the example of Homer is followed. 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. This peculiarity of the Homeric story is noticed by Horace in a well-known passage of his Art of Poetry (vv. 146 foll.), and recommended to the adoption of Epic writers generally; but he does not clearly indicate the reason of it, which doubtless is the wish to avoid that fatal dryness which seems to be inseparable from all narratives where the events of many years are told continuously in a short compass.

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, though imitated from Homer, where the solitary rancour of Poseidon against Ulysses answers to the solitary rancour of Juno against Aeneas, 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. It is probable, as I have said in the general Introduction to the Aeneid, that the merit of this thought may be due to Naevius, who seems to have been the first to commit the felicitous anachronism of bringing Aeneas and Dido together; but it must be allowed to be in strict accordance with the spirit of Virgil's poem, which is throughout that of historical anticipation. Like Ulysses, Aeneas is shipwrecked in the voyage which was to have been his last, the main difference being that the Grecian hero is solitary, having long since lost all his companions, while the Trojan is still accompanied by those who followed his fortunes from Troy. The machinery by which the storm is allayed is perhaps managed more adroitly by Virgil than by Homer, as there seems to be more propriety in representing the inferior god of the winds as counteracted by the superior god of the sea, than in making a sea nymph rescue one whom the god of the sea is seeking to destroy. But if Virgil has obtained an advantage over Homer, it is with the help of Homer's weapons, as the interview between Juno and Aeolus obviously owes its existence to the interview between Here and the God of Sleep. The dialogue of Venus and Jupiter appears to be another appropriation from Naevius; but, as in the former case, Virgil seems to have established his right to what he has borrowed by the perfect fitness with which a prophecy of the destiny of Rome is introduced at the commencement of a poem intended to be a monument of Roman greatness. The remaining incidents of the First Book need not detain us much longer. As a general rule, they are 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, reappears 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 blaudishments of Calypso with the hospitality of Alcinous, and so engrafting a tale of passion on a narrative of ordinary adventure. The suggestion of the employment of Cupid by Venus was evidently taken from the loan of Aphrodite's cestus in Homer and the assistance rendered by the God of Love in Apollonius; but the treatment of the thought is original and happy; and the few lines which describe the removal of Ascanius to Idalia might themselves suggest a subject for poetry to some Keats or Shelley, in whose mind the seed casually dropped by Virgil should expand and germinate.

[1-7] ‘I sing the hero who founded the Trojan kingdom in Italy, his voyages and his wars.’

This line is preceded in some MSS. by the following verses, “Ille ego, qui quondam gracili modulatus avena
Carmen et egressus silvis vicina coegi
Ut quamvis avido parerent arva colono,
Gratum opus agricolis: at nunc horrentia Martis.

They are not found in Med., Rom., Gud., or the Verona fragments (Pal. and the fragments of Vat. and St. Gall seem to fail here), and the only MS. in Ribbeck's list which contains them (the Berne MS. No. 172) has them written in the margin by a later hand. They appear to have existed in the time of Servius and of the Pseudo-Donatus, who say that Nisus the grammarian had heard a story of their having been expunged by Tueca and Varius; on which Heyne remarks, “Si res ita se habet, acutior sane Varius Vergilio fuit.” The external evidence of such a story it is impossible to estimate, but its existence suspiciously indicates that the lines were felt to require apology. Those who speak of them as an introduction to the poem, forget that if genuine they are an integral part of the first sentence; and that it is, to say the least, remarkable that the exordium should be so constructed as to be at once interwoven with the context, and yet capable of removal without detriment to the construction, just at the point which forms a much better commencement. The words ‘arma virumque’ are quoted by Martial, 8. 56., 19. 14., 185. 2, and Auson. Epig. 137. 1, evidently as a real commencement of the Aeneid; while Ovid, Trist. 2. 533, and Persius, 1. 96, quote ‘arma virumque,’ or ‘arma virum,’ as important and independent words, which they cease to be the moment ‘arma’ is viewed in connexion with the words supposed to precede it. Virg. himself, 9. 777, has (of the poet Clytins) “Semper equos atque arma virum pugnasque canebat.” Comp. also Ov. 1 Amor. 15. 25, Prop. 3. 26. 63, which point the same way. Macrob. Sat. 5. 2. quotes ‘Troiae qui primus ab oris’ as part of the first verse of the Aeneid. On the other hand Priscian 910 P cites ‘Ille ego qui quondam gracili modulatus avena’ as Virg.'s. Henry's view that ‘arma Martis’ is happily contrasted with ‘arma agricolae’ (comp. G. 1. 160) seems to be favoured by the structure of the sentence, and may very possibly have been present to the mind of the author of these lines; but it clearly was not present to the minds of those who quoted ‘arma’ by itself as war. Tastes may differ as to the rival commencements, on which see Henry in loco, and on 2. 247; but it may be suggested that Virg. would scarcely in his first sentence have divided the attention of the reader between himself and his hero by saying, in effect, that the poet who wrote the Eclogues and the Georgics, sings the hero who founded Rome. Wagn. and Forb., however, as well as Henry, consider the lines as genuine; and they have been imitated by Spenser in the opening of the Faery Queene, and Milton in the opening of Paradise Regained.

Arma virumque: this is an imitation of the opening of the Odyssey, a)/ndra moi e)/nnepe k.t.l. It may also be taken from the first line of the Cyclic poem of the Epigoni, preserved by the Schol. on Aristoph. Peace 1270, *nu=n au)=q' u(ploterwn a)ndrw=n a)rxw/meqa, *mou=sai. It is followed by all the other Roman writers of epic poetry, Lucan, Flaccus, Statius, and, above all, Silius, the most faithful copier of Virg., with a unanimity which strongly supports the view taken in the preceding note. The words are not a hendiadys, but give first the character of the subject and then the subject itself. ‘Arma’ may have been intended to suggest, though it does not express, a contrast between this and Virg.'s previous poems.—In commencing with ‘cano’ he has followed his own example in the Georgics, rather than that of Homer, who at once invokes the Muse; and the Latin Epic writers have followed Virg. The earlier commentators have found a difficulty in reconciling ‘primus’ with Antenor's previous migration (below, vv. 242 foll.), and suggest that Aeneas had first reached Italy proper, though Antenor had previously reached Venetia. On the other hand, Heyne and Wagn. make ‘primus’ equivalent to ‘olim,’ thus weakening a word which from its position and its occurrence in the first line of the poem must be emphatic. The more obvious sense is that Aeneas is so called without reference to Antenor, as the founder of the great Trojan empire in Italy.

[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 heaven-sent fugitive. So Livy I. 1., comp. by Weidner, “Aenean ab simili clade domo profugum sed ad maiora rerum initia ducentibus fatis.” For the poetic accus. ‘Italiam—Lavina litora,’ without the preposition, see Madv. § 232, obs. 4. The MSS. are divided between ‘Lavinaque,’ ‘Laviniaque,’ and perhaps ‘Lavinia.’ The last, however, though adopted by Burm. and Heyne, and approved by Heins., seems to rest solely on the authority of Med., which has ‘Lavinia’ (corrected into ‘Lavina’), with a mark of erasure after the word. ‘Laviniaque’ is found in the Verona fragm., and is supported by quotations in Terentianus Maurus and Diomedes, and in single MSS. of Priscian, Censorinus, and Servius in artem Donati. ‘Lavinaque’ is found in Rom., Gud., and probably most other MSS., and is supported by quotations in Macrobius, Gellius, Marius Victorinus, Pompeius, the Schol. on Lucan, most MSS. of Priscian, and one of Censorinus. Servius mentions both readings, saying, “Lavina legendum est, non Lavinia.” ‘Lavinia’ is supported by 4. 236: but the synizesis, though not unexampled (comp. 5. 269., 6. 33, and see on G. 4. 243), is perhaps awkward, especially in the second line of the poem, and the imitation in Prop. 3. 26. 64, “Iactaque Lavinis moenia litoribus,” is in favour of the form ‘Lavina.’ Juv. 12. 71 has “novercali sedes praelata Lavino,” though there as in Prop. the quadrisyllabic form might be introduced and explained by synizesis. On the whole, I have preferred ‘Lavinaque,’ believing the form to be possible in itself (comp. “Campanus,” “Lucanus,” “Appulus,” &c.), and more probable in this instance; the modern editors however are generally for ‘Laviniaque.’ Lachmann on Lucr. 2.719 speaks doubtfully. The epithet which belonged to the place after the foundation of the city by Aeneas is given to it here, as in 4. 236, by a natural anticipation at the time of his landing.

[3] The imitation of the exordium of the Odyssey continues, ‘multum ille iactatus . . multa quoque passus,’ being modelled on polla\ pla/gxqh . . polla\ de\ o(/ge . . pa/qen: ‘ille,’ as so often in Virg., standing for the Homeric o(/ge. ‘Multum,’ &c., used to be pointed as a separate sentence; it is however evidently constructed with ‘venit,’ so that ‘ille’ is virtually pleonastic. Comp. 5. 457., 6. 593., 9. 479. Here it appears rhetorically to be equal to ‘quidem.’ ‘Iactatus’ is naturally transferred from wanderings by sea to wanderings by land. In such passages as vv. 332, 668, we see the point of transition. So 5. 627, “cum freta, cum terras omnis . . ferimur.

[4] Vi superum expresses the general agency, like ‘fato profugus,’ though Juno was his only personal enemy. Gossrau's fancy that ‘vi superum’ = bi/a| qew=n, ‘in spite of heaven,’ has no authority. For ‘memorem iram’ comp. Livy 9. 29,Traditur censorem etiam Appium memori Deum ira post aliquot annos luminibus captum.” So Aesch. Ag. 155,mna/mwn mh=nis”. ‘Ob iram,’ below, v. 251, ‘to sate the wrath.’

[5] Passus, constructed like ‘iactatus.’ ‘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.’ So Hom. Od. 1. 4. foll., polla\ pa/qen . . a)rnu/menos k.t.l. The clause belongs to ‘multa bello passus,’ rather than to ‘iactatus.

[6] “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.

[8-11] ‘Why was it, Muse, that Juno so persecuted so pious a hero?’

[8] Caussae is not unfrequently used where we should be content with the sing., e. g. v. 414., 2. 105., 3. 32., 6. 710, the last of which will illustrate the epexegetical clause ‘quo—inpulerit.’ ‘Memora’ is appropriate, as the Muses were connected with memory: comp. 7. 645, and see note on E. 7. 19.—There are various ways of taking ‘quo numine laeso.’ Some think there is a change of construction, and that “inpulsus fuerit,” or something like it, should have followed; so that Virgil should have imitated Homer, Il. 1. 8, ti/s t' a)/r sfwe qew=n e)/ridi cune/hke ma/xesqai; But this, as Heyne remarks, though not unexampled, would be a singular piece of loose writing so early in the poem, and would moreover involve the inconsistency of first saying that it was Juno, ‘saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram,’ and then asking the Muse what god it was. Others make ‘numine’ nearly equivalent to ‘voluntate,’ citing 2. 123, “quae sint ea numina divom;” but even supposing that ‘numen’ in this sense might be taken distributively, which the passage above quoted does not prove, ‘laeso’ would scarcely be appropriate to ‘numine’ in this sense, while the words frequently occur in conjunction in the sense of outraged majesty. Comp. 2. 183, Hor. Epod. 15. 3, and Macleane's note. Heyne accepts Serv.'s proposal of separating ‘quo’ from ‘numine,’ and taking it in the sense of “qua re,” “qua caussa,” which would be extremely harsh. It remains then, with Wagn., to regard the expression as equivalent to “quam ob laesionem numinis sui;” referring it to the cases already noticed on E. 1. 53, where the pronoun or pronominal adjective stands for its corresponding adverb. Thus the negative answer to ‘quo numine laeso’ would be “nullum numen Iunonis laesit.” Or we may say that ‘numen laesum’ alone would stand for “laesio numinis” (see Madv. § 426), and that in such a construction the question could hardly be asked otherwise than by making the interrogative pronoun agree with the noun. No charge of impiety strictly could be brought against Aeneas, but there might be ‘dolores,’ such as are mentioned vv. 23—28, which impelled Juno to persecute even one renowned for piety.

[9] Volvere: see on G. 2. 295, “Multa virum volvens durando saecula vincit.” The misfortunes are regarded as a destined circle which Aeneas goes through.

[10] Insignem pietate (6. 403) characterizes the hero, as polu/tropon does Ulysses in the commencement of the Odyssey. The contrast, however, between piety and sufferings is made in the case of Ulysses himself, Od. 1. 60 foll., 66 foll. ‘Pietas’ includes the performance of all duties to gods, parents, kinsmen, friends, and country. “Adire periculum” is not uncommon in Cicero; see Forc.

[11] It is difficult to say whether ‘animis caelestibus’ is a dat. with an ellipsis of the verb substantive or the ablative.

[12-33] ‘Juno was patroness of Carthage, which, she had heard, was destined one day to be crushed by a nation of Trojan descent. Hence she persecuted the Trojans, who were already her enemies, and kept them away from Italy.’

[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 cognomine 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), though it is not easy to determine the exact grammatical position of ‘longe.’ The choice seems to lie between connecting it with ‘contra’ and making it an adverbial adjunct of ‘ostia,’ i. q. ‘longe distantia.’ The latter is a Grecism (Wund. comp. “tou= *telamw=nos thlo/qen oi)/kou,Soph. Aj. 204), but may perhaps be supported by the use of “super” 3. 489, note. It appears that some in the time of Serv. actually took ‘longe’ with ‘dives.

[14] Dives opum, 2. 22. ‘Opum’ includes all sources of power. ‘Asperrima’ is the epithet of war (9. 667., 11. 635., 12. 124) applied to the warlike nation. ‘Given to the stern pursuits of war.’ “Ad bella studium,G. 3. 179.

[15] Germ. comp. Od. 8. 284, h(/ oi( gaia/wn polu\ filta/th e)sti\n a(pase/wn. ‘Unam magis omnibus coluisse’ = “unam omnium maxime coluisse.” The Astarte of the Phoenicians is identified, in the loose way common among the ancients, with Juno. On the temple of Hera at Samos, see Hdt. 3. 60.

[16] Coluisse, as dweller in the temple. Comp. v. 447. “Pallas quas condidit arces Ipsa colat,

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