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[469] Lersch remarks that the ancients themselves were not agreed whether the vestibule was the same as the ‘atrium,’ or merely a space before the door forming a passage to the street. From Virg.'s language here and elsewhere he argues that he must have supposed it to be part of the house. “Vestibulum ante ipsum primisque in faucibus Orci” 6. 273.

[470] Heyne removed the comma which used to be placed after ‘telis.’ ‘Telis et luce aena’ is evidently a hendiadys. ‘Luce aena’ is from Il. 13. 340, αὐγὴ χαλκείη. ‘Exsultat’ may either indicate motion of the body, or that Pyrrhus, as we should say, is in his glory, or both. Gellius (2. 3) says he once saw a most ancient copy of the second book, supposed to have been Virg.'s own, in which the spelling ‘aena’ was corrected into ‘ahena.

[471] The following simile is modelled, in parts almost verbally, on one in Il. 22. 93 foll., where Hector is compared to a deadly serpent stirring itself up for battle. The point however is not the same: Hector is waiting for an attack, while Pyrrhus is himself the assailant, and the bodily motion of the serpent, which in the Homeric image merely implies readiness for conflict, is combined by Virg. with its having renewed its youth, so as to make it a fit symbol of the ‘new warrior’ (νεοπτόλεμος), who, as Henry remarks, appears on the scene at the end of the siege and fleshes his maiden sword during the last days of Troy. Henry refers to a similar comparison in Sil. 12. 6 foll. of Hannibal breaking his winter quarters to a serpent emerging from its winter sleep. ‘In lucem’ has rather perplexed the commentators, some of whom wish to alter it, while others, rightly constructing it with ‘convolvit,’ complain of the awkwardness of the separation of the words and of the tautology with ‘ad solem.’ Virg. however is fond of throwing in a word at the beginning of a simile to indicate as it were the main point and apply generally to what follows (comp. 1. 148 “Ac veluti magno in populo,” 6. 707 “Ac velut in pratis,” 12. 908 “Ac velut in somnis”), and we may say here that ‘in lucem’ does the duty of a verb, which is consequently not needed till v. 474. On the alleged tautology Forb. well remarks that ‘in lucem’ includes the light as opposed to underground darkness as well as the actual sunshine. ‘Mala gramina pastus’ is Homer's βεβρωκὼς κακὰ φάρμακ᾽. ‘Mala’ as in “malus anguisG. 3. 425. Henry quotes Pliny 8. 59 to show that the ancients thought the serpent was poisonless during the winter (contrast however Seneca, Epist. 42), and acquired its venom from the food it ate on reviving in spring. Statius, Theb. 4. 95 (also quoted by Henry), seems to speak as if there were something peculiarly deadly in its first venom.

[472] Tumidus is not uncommonly applied to serpents (Forb. refers to Ov. M. 1. 460., 10. 313), but it seems scarcely to agree with the state of torpor here mentioned, so that if we do not suppose Virg. to have written loosely, we must assume either that he wishes us to think of the natural violence of the serpent as scarcely subdued by its winter seclusion, or that, unlike Pliny, he holds that the poison is brewing during the winter.

[473-475] Comp. G. 3. 437 foll. (notes), where part of this passage is anticipated. ‘Arduus ad solem’ = “erectus ad solem.

[476] Periphas is a Greek warrior, the bravest of the Aetolians, in Hom. (Il. 5. 842), where however he is killed by Ares. He is called πελώριος, which answers to ‘ingens’ here. Automedon is mentioned repeatedly in the Iliad as Achilles' charioteer. ‘Equorum agitator,ἱππηλάτης. ‘Agitator’ alone is a common word for a charioteer: see Forcell. ‘Achillis,’ note on G. 3. 91.

[477] Serv. thinks that Automedon had changed his function, and become Pyrrhus' armour-bearer; but he may have been both: see on 6. 485. Elsewhere (9. 648., 11. 32) the armour-bearer of one generation becomes the companion, “comes,” of another. ‘Scyria:’ Pyrrhus had come from Scyros, the kingdom of his maternal grandfather Lycomedes.

[478] “‘Succedunt tecto:’ h. e. ‘fores adoriuntur’” Heyne. It would seem rather as if ‘tecto’ were to be taken strictly of the roof, Pyrrhus' comrades attempting to scale the walls while Pyrrhus himself is making an impression on the door. In other passages, such as 1. 627, ‘succedere tecto’ or ‘tectis’ is used of entering the house.

[479] Ipse of Pyrrhus as distinguished from his comrades. ‘Limina’ are the doors, as ‘dura’ shows. Pyrrhus is battering and hewing the doors with his axe, bursting them through and making them start from their hinges, till at last he cuts out a plank or panel. The presents, ‘perrumpit’ and ‘vellit,’ describing the general effect of the blows, a process still going on, contrast with ‘cavavit’ and ‘dedit,’ which express a single completed act. This seems a truer view of the passage than to say with Henry that the successful forcing of the door is first mentioned all at once, and then its various stages (vv. 480, 481, 491—493) and its consequences (vv. 483—490) enumerated more at leisure. We must remember that Aeneas describes what he saw, and that Pyrrhus would appear to him from the first to be breaking the door through, even before any actual impression had been made.

[481] “‘Aeratos’—‘robora.’ Observe the effect of these words, placed each in the emphatic position at the commencement of the verse, and separated from the sequel by a pause. ‘Vellit aeratos,’ tears them down although plated with bronze: ‘cavavit robora,’ scooped out an opening in the door although made of the hardest wood.” Henry. The ‘postes,’ as he observes, are here the door itself, though he can scarcely be right in supposing that to be the natural and ordinary meaning of the word: see Dict. A. ‘Cardo.

[482] Fenestra of any window-like opening, as ‘os’ is used of any mouth-like opening. So Juvenal's “molles in aure fenestrae” (1. 104) of holes for earrings. ‘Dedit fenestram’ like “dedit ruinam” v. 310.

[483] Through the aperture thus made they see into the “atrium,” the arrangement of a Roman house being still followed. Henry however seems to aim at too much exactness when he attempts to distinguish the scene in the ‘domus intus’ or ‘atrium’ from the scene in the ‘domus interior’ or ‘cavaedium,’ as even if the ‘atrium’ and ‘cavaedium’ are to be considered as different (on which see Dict. A. ‘Ianua’), the word ‘penetralia’ seems to refer to the innermost chambers, and the language seems to show that the distinction intended is rather between two aspects of the same thing, the house within regarded as a royal privacy unveiled, and the house within regarded with reference to the terror of its inmates.

[484] Penetralia seems used vaguely, not with the same definite reference as μύχος, though in general the words correspond well enough. ‘Veterum regum’ of course adds to the pathos. The august privacy which had been preserved inviolate for generations is broken all at once.

[485] The ‘armati’ are those already mentioned vv. 449, 450. These defenders of the door would naturally be the first objects seen, but not the first thought of.

[486-505] ‘Then followed a scene of wailing and confusion. It was soon over: the door finally gives way; the Greeks rush in like a torrent; I saw their chiefs triumphant, and mine murdered, and the whole splendid palace destroyed.’

[486] “De Albano excidio translatus est hic locus” (Serv.), i. e., as it is supposed, from the description of the sack of Alba in Ennius' Annals. Livy's account (1. 29) has something that may remind us of Virg., but not more than might be expected in any similar narrative. ‘At domus interior,’ 1. 637, where, as here, the “atrium” or “cavaedium” is intended.

[487] Cavae is doubtless used with reference to sound (comp. v. 53), as Forb. remarks; but this does not exclude a reference to the “cavaedium.”

[488] Ululant is transferred from the women to the walls which echo their shrieks, as Lucr. 1.256 talks of the woods as singing with birds. “‘Aurea sideramulti ad laquearia referunt, quod stultum est.” Serv. It must be admitted perhaps that the epithet (which recurs 11. 832) comes in poorly here.

[490] The kisses are farewell kisses, like Dido's to the nuptial couch, 4. 659. Serv. comp. Apoll. R. 4. 26῾οφ μεδεα᾽ς δεπαρτυρἐ, κύσσε δ᾽ ἑόν τε λέχος καὶ δικλίδας ἀμφοτέρωθε Σταθμούς, καὶ τοίχων ἐπαφήσατο”. Virg. probably thought of Lucr. 4. 1178, “postisque superbos Unguit amaracino et foribus miser oscula figit.

[491] Heyne comp. Quinct. Smyrn. 13. 219, πατρὸς ἑοῦ καταειμένος ἀλκήν (also of Pyrrhus). Forb. cites a characteristic passage from Sen. Tro. 250, “Aetatis alios fervor hic primae rapit, Pyrrhum paternus.

[492] The ‘custodes’ are the ‘armati’ just mentioned. The object of ‘sufferre’ appears to be ‘vim.’ It is questioned whether ‘aricte’ means a battering ram proper, or merely the battering of Pyrrhus' axe. The former seems more natural, and the anachronism is quite in Virg.'s manner. ‘Crebro,’ as Forb. remarks, implies not that there were more than one ‘aries,’ but that its strokes were many.

[493] Non. p. 202 quotes this line to show that ‘cardo’ is masc., so that he must have read ‘emoto:’ Gerlach and Roth however print ‘emoti’ with no various reading.

[494] The repetition of sound in ‘via vi’ adds energy to the line. Such jingles are common in early Roman poetry, both tragic and comic, being apparently regarded in the case of the former as pieces of artistic symmetry, in the case of the latter as jokes. The present passage seems to be imitated by Livy 4. 38 (comp. by Taubm.), “quacunque incedunt vi viam faciunt.” ‘Rumpunt aditus:’ a sufficiently common use of “rumpere,” the accusative expressing not what is burst, but what is produced by bursting—having in short a kind of cognate force. So “rumpere vocem,” “questus,” &c.

[495] Milite conplent, v. 20.

[496] Another simile from a torrent, which however is compared to the rush of men, not, as in vv. 305 foll., to the spread of a blaze. Comp. the description Lucr. 1.281 foll., which Virg. seems to have had in his mind. ‘Non sic’ indicates that the illustration is an inadequate one. Comp. 5. 144 foll., G. 4. 81.

[497] Exiit, G. 1. 116. For the quantity of the final vowel see Excursus on G. 2. 81 (2nd ed.). ‘Oppositas evicit moles’ seems to be a repetition of ‘aggeribus ruptis exiit.

[498] Fertur and ‘trahit’ are the principal verbs. ‘Cumulo,’ 1. 105. ‘Campostrahit,G. 1. 482.

[499] Vidi ipse: the following passage, to the end of the paragraph, is evidently modelled on a celebrated fragment of Ennius (Andr. fr. 9), which has already been partially imitated v. 241: “O pater! O patria! O Priami domus!
* * * * * * *
Vidi ego te, adstante ope barbarica,
Tectis caelatis, laqueatis,
Auro, ebore instructum regifice.
Haec omnia vidi inflammari,
Priamo vi vitam evitari,
Iovis aram sanguine turpari.

Wagn. questions whether Virg. ought to have represented Aeneas as an eye-witness of all this. The words are doubtless more natural in the mouth of one who, like Andromache, could only look on without any power of resisting; but Aeneas has told us that he bore his part in all the struggles during the last act of the tragedy (vv. 6, 431 foll.), and so he may fairly speak of what he was compelled to witness in spite of himself, as in fact he has already done v. 5. For ‘furentem’ one copy has ‘frementem,’ which Heyne prefers, on account of ‘furens’ so closely preceding; but ‘furentem’ is the better word here, and if the repetition is not intentional, as Jahn thinks, at any rate it may be excused in a passage where the feeling is so highly wrought, as showing a ‘brave neglect.’

[500] ‘In limine’ goes with ‘Neoptolemum,’ as well as with ‘Atridas,’ but ‘furentem caede’ had perhaps better be confined to the former, just as ‘foedantem,’ v. 502, is not to be extended to ‘Hecubam centumque nurus.

[501] ‘Centumque nurus’ perplexes Serv., who proposes five solutions—that a definite number is used hyperbolically for an indefinite—that Priam's fifty sons, being barbarians, would have more than one wife each—that ‘nurus’ merely means women —that it means brides, the daughters-inlaw of some one, but not necessarily of Hecuba—and that ‘centum’ is to be taken with ‘aras,’ though he admits that a single person could hardly be slain over a hundred altars. Later commentators have seen that the number one hundred is made up by adding Priam's fifty daughters to his fifty daughters-in-law. ‘Per aras,’ ‘among the altars,’ referring probably to the manner in which he was put to death, being dragged to the altar, as it were from altar to altar, v. 550.

[502] Foedantem is the ‘turpari’ of Ennius.

[503] This does not quite agree with Hom., who (Il. 6. 243 foll.) speaks of fifty chambers for the sons, twelve for the daughters and their husbands. ‘Spes tanta nepotum’ is said with reference to Priam and Hecuba, on the dashing of whose hopes the poet now wishes us to dwell. Pal. and Gud. originally have ‘spes ampla,’ which Ladewig and Ribbeck adopt; but the word scarcely seems so good. Virg. doubtless thought of Il. 22. 63, where Priam looks forward to seeing θαλάμους κεραϊζομένους at the taking of the city.

[504] Postes is put in a vague apposition to ‘thalami,’ the part to the whole, as in v. 348, E. 2. 3, note. ‘Procubuere’ properly applies only to ‘postes.’ ‘Barbarico auro’ is Phrygian gold, Aeneas forgetting himself, like Andromache in Ennius l. c., and speaking as the later Greek poets had taught the Romans to do, as Horace (1 Ep. 2. 7) talks of “Graecia Barbariae lento collisa duello.” Peerlkamp's notion, which Forb. adopts, that Virg. means the gold which the Trojans had taken from other Asiatics, is less likely, though ‘auro spoliisque’ might very well be a hendiadys. For the fastening of spoils on door-posts or doors comp. 3. 287., 7. 183: for spoils in private houses, 5. 393. Weidner cites Livy 38. 43, “spolia eius urbis ante currum laturus et fixurus in postibus suis.

[505] Tenent seems to refer to ‘thalamos.’ “Inruerant Danai, et tectum omne tenebant,” v. 757.

[506-525] ‘Priam, seeing all was lost, was arming in feeble desperation, when Hecuba, who with her daughters had taken refuge at the family altar, drew him to her, and made him rest there.’

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