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[438] Ingentem pugnam with ‘cernimus.’ Aeneas says the struggle was so extensive and deadly, that you would thin there were none left to fight in the rest of Troy, none to be killed. This accounts for ‘cetera,’—‘all the other conflicts that were going on in the town,’ ‘all the rest of the war then waging.’ Virg. has evidently imitated Od. 8. 519, where in the minstrel's song about the capture of Troy it is said that the fiercest struggle went on at the house of Deiphobus, κεῖθι δὴ αἰνότατον πόλεμον φάτο τολμήσαντα. Burm. comp. Stat. Theb. 3. 122, “ceu nulla prius lalamenta nec atri Manassent imbres, sic ore miserrimus uno Exoritur fragor,” which shows that ‘sic,’ v. 440, is meant to answer to ‘ceu’ here. Virg. in fact writes loosely, at first apparently intending to confine the comparison indicated by ‘ceu’ to ‘ingentem pugnam,’ and then going on to draw it out in the lines that follow as if ‘ingentem pugnam’ had not preceded.

[441] Wund. remarks that two struggles were going on between the assailants and defenders, one about scaling the walls of the palace, the other about forcing an entrance through the doors (vv. 449, 450). The progress of the one is described vv. 452—468, that of the other vv. 469 foll. The ‘testudo’ here intended is probably not the machine so called, but the συνασπισμός. Quinct. Smyrnaeus, following, it is supposed, the early Cyclic writers, represents the Greeks as attacking Troy in this manner, in a passage, part of which may be worth quoting (11. 358 foll.): “Καὶ τότ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἀμφ᾽ Ὀδυσῆα δαΐφρονα κύδιμοι ἄνδρες
κείνου τεχνήεντι νόῳ ποτὶ μῶλον Ἄρηος
ἀσπίδας ἐντύναντο, βάλον δ᾽ ἐφύπερθε καρήνων,
θέντες ἐπ᾽ ἀλλήλῃσι: μίη δ᾽ ἅπαν ἥρμοσεν ἅρμη.
Φαίης κεν μεγάροιο κατηρεφὲς ἔμμεναι ἕρκος
πυκνόν, οὔτ᾽ ἀνέμοιο διέρχεται ὑγρὸν ἀέντος
ῥιπὴ ἀπειρεσίη, οὔτ᾽ ἐκ Διὸς ἄσπετος ὄμβρος:
τοῖαι Ἀργείων πεπυκασμέναι ἀμφὶ βοείαις
καρτύναντο φάλαγγες: ἔχον δ᾽ ἕνα θυμὸν ἐς ἀλκήν,
εἰς ἓν ἀρηράμεναι: καθύπερθε δὲ Τρώϊοι υἷες
βάλλον χερμαδίοισι: τὰ δ᾽ ὡς στυφελῆς ἀπὸ πέτρης
γαῖαν ἐπὶ τραφερὴν ἐκυλίνδετο.

Comp. also Virg.'s own description 9. 505 foll., which in some respects is fuller than the present, and Livy 34. 39, cited by Weidner. ‘Acta testudine’ is repeated 9. 505. “Agere,” like “ducere,” is used of drawing a line, as in G. 3. 87, A. 10. 514 (comp. ἐλαύνειν in ἐλαύνειν τεῖχος); and this seems to be the notion here, the formation of a column of shields, which is driven up to the wall.

[442] Haerent, in prose “admotae sunt,” Heyne. Scaling ladders are part of the Roman (as of the later Greek) apparatus for an assault, which Virg. has transferred to epic times. ‘Postisque sub ipsos,’ the ladders are planted at the very posts of the doors, ‘ipsos’ perhaps pointing to the daring which approaches where the defence would naturally be strongest.

[443] Gradibus of the ladders, not, as Cerda thought, of the doors. ‘Clipeos —obiiciunt’ describes the ‘testudo.’ For ‘ad tela’ Med., Gud., and others give ‘ac tela,’ a reading mentioned by Serv., but rightly rejected by him, and evidently due to ‘ac tecta’ v. 445. A different error, ‘ad tecta,’ has crept into some copies.

[444] Wund. remarks that ‘protecti’ is added ex abundanti, as participles are sometimes added by the Greek poets, e. g. Soph. Ant. 23. Whether ‘fastigia’ means the actual roof, or is used loosely for the projecting battlements, is not easy to say, and perhaps does not much signify.

[445] Serv. mentions a reading ‘tota domorum,’ which is found also in some MSS. ‘Tecta culmina’ may serve to illustrate the use of ‘tectum’ as a substantive. Some have suggested ‘culmine’ for ‘culmina,’ so as to leave ‘tecta domorum’ by itself, as in 8. 98., 12. 132 (see on G. 4. 159).

[446] ‘His telis,’ with these javelins, with these as javelins. ‘Quando,’ ‘since,’ as in 1. 261, &c. ‘Ultima’ as in such phrases as “ultima pati,” “experiri,” so that it is virtually equivalent to ‘extrema iam in morte.

[448] The commentators remark on the pathetic situation, the Trojans being forced to destroy their most precious things in self-defence. Cerda quotes on the preceding line a passage from Quinct. Declam. 368: “Ipsorum sepulchrorum ruina, si possem, hostem repellerem: tecta in subeuntis, et sacra, quin etiam templorum fastigia, desperantium tela sunt: certum est omnia licere pro patria,” apparently an allusion to Virg., and on the present line one from Tac. H. 3. 71, “Ambustasque Capitolii fores penetrassent, ni Sabinus revulsas undique statuas, decora maiorum, in ipso aditu vice muri obiecisset.” ‘Decora alta’ as in 1. 429. Here ‘alta’ is omitted or erased in two or three MSS., while others, including fragm. Vat., have a various reading ‘illa,’ which is the text of Pal., and adopted by Ribbeck. It has very considerable probability, as ‘alta’ may very well have arisen from a recollection of the passage in A. 1 (see on 1. 668., 4. 564., 6. 808, where as here Med. supports the reading which is apparently due to recollection): but the words of Stat. Theb. 5. 424, cited by Forb., “Magnorum decora alta patrum,” look as if he had read ‘alta:’ and so it is quoted by Priscian, p. 772 P.

[449] Heyne remarks that the defenders of the doors seem to have stood within, comp. v. 485. ‘Imas,’ opposed to what was going on upon the roof.

[451] Aeneas' first thought had been to make for the citadel (v. 315); he had afterwards become more desperate (vv. 336 foll.); now he seems to return to the hope of making a regular defence. ‘Succurrere’ = “ad succurrendum.” See on G. 1. 213.

[452] Auxilio levare 4. 538. ‘Vim’ seems to keep its ordinary sense of ‘violence,’ ‘power of offence,’ so that the expression is not quite = “viris addere.” Dryden has imitated it happily in his modernization of Chaucer's Knight's Tale, “And force is added to the fainting crew.”

[453-468] ‘I resolve to join the defenders on the roof, which I accomplish by means of a secret door. We hurl down a turret on the enemy; but the assault is not abated.’

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