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[680] For ‘subitum’ Med., Pal., and others have ‘subito,’ as also in 5. 522. Here however ‘subitum’ is found in fragm. Vat. and recognized by Serv., and seems almost required by the grammar, as ‘subito’ could not in strictness be united by ‘que’ to ‘dictu mirabile,’ the latter constituting an ordinary epithet, not an adverbial part of the sentence; though such a coupling of two not strictly co-ordinate expressions might perhaps be paralleled on the one hand by passages like v. 86 (note), on the other by those of which 5. 447, G. 2. 428 may be taken as specimens. ‘Subitum’ too seems to be the universal reading of the MSS. in the two very similar passages 8. 81, G. 4. 554.

[681] So in 5. 525 the description of the prodigy is introduced by ‘namque.’ ‘Manus inter’ 9. 502. Creusa had Ascanius in her arms and was pressing him upon Aeneas. ‘Inter ora’ seems a kind of zeugma, as we should rather have expected “ante;” but the meaning may be ‘while we were holding Ascanius in our arms and pressing his lips to ours.’

[683] It is not easy to say whether ‘apex’ is to be taken with Cerda and most of the later commentators of a pointed tongue of flame, or with Henry of the crown or topmost point (a tuft of hair, as he suggests with reference to ‘levis’) of Ascanius' head. The latter would be supported by 10. 270, “ardet apex capiti,” the ‘apox’ there being the crest of the helmet which Aeneas happened to be wearing: the former has the authority of Ovid, who three times (F. 6. 636, M. 10. 279, Pont. 4. 9. 54) uses ‘apex’ of a point or spire of flame, and agrees with Val. Fl. 3. 188, where “frontis apex” seems to mean a luminous halo or star on the brow of Castor. This evidence in favour of a special use is to a certain extent confirmed by the language of the present passage, by the epithet ‘levis’ and the words ‘summo de vertice,’ which do not agree equally well with Henry's view, as in that case ‘apex’ and ‘Iuli’ could hardly be separated. The tautology between ‘fundere lumen apex’ (as explained of the flame) and ‘lambere flamma comas,’ of which he complains, is not unVirgilian. It is singular that there should be two passages in later poets, one (Claud. 4 Cons. Hon. 192 foll.) alluding to, the other (Sil. 16. 119 foll.) modelled on, the present, in both of which the same doubt might be raised as here. A third interpretation, dating from Serv. and adopted by Burm., and more recently by Schirach, supposes the ‘apex’ to be the Phrygian cap or mitre which Ascanius may have worn, as it is specially used of the cap worn by the “flamines” and “salii” at Rome (see 8. 664, and Dict. A. ‘Apex’), which Serv. says Ascanius himself was the first to introduce at Alba: but the whole description seems to show that at this time at least his head was bare. The parallel instance in Roman legend, which doubtless was in Virg.'s mind, is the blazing of the hair of Servius Tullius when a boy, for which see Livy 1. 39. The appearance, wherever it was seen, was supposed to be an omen of future greatness, perhaps of royal dignity, so that here it points out Ascanius as a future king, and shows that the house of Aeneas is destined to survive. Virg. also had in view Apoll. R. 3. 1017,τοῖος ἀπὸ ξανθοῖο καρήατος Αἰσονίδαο Στράπτεν Ἔρως ἡδεῖαν ἀπὸ φλόγα”. — ‘Tactu innoxia’ seems to be a variety for “tactu innoxio,” a form of expression of which Persius is particularly fond. “Mala tactu,G. 3. 416, which Wund. and Jahn comp., is not parallel, as ‘tactu’ there is the passive supine. ‘Tractu’ was adopted by Burm. from a few MSS.; but Virg. is not now thinking of a trail of light. ‘Mollis’ is the reading of the great majority of MSS., and is doubtless right, though ‘molli,’ the reading before Heyne, has some plausibility. It has been questioned whether ‘mollis’ belongs to ‘flamma’ or to ‘comas.’ The imitation in Sil. l. c., where “mitis flamma” occurs, may seem to point to the former, and so perhaps ἡδεῖαν in Apoll. l. c.: but the concurrence of the two epithets ‘innoxia’ and ‘mollis’ is a decided objection to it. The wavy, curling appearance of Ascanius' locks forms a natural object in the picture, and is in keeping with the character of the flames which play among them.

[684] Pasci must not be pressed, as the harmlessness of the flame would of course require that it should burn without nutriment.

[685] It matters little whether ‘metu’ be taken with ‘trepidare,’ or, as Wakefield on Lucr. 2.44 and Wagn. wish, with ‘pavidi.

[686] Crinem flagrantem excutere is expressed more ordinarily by Ovid (M. 12. 280), “avidum de crinibus ignem Excutit.” “‘Sanctos’ . . . non quos tunc sacros sciebant, sed quos mox probaturi sunt.” Serv. ‘Fontibus,’ spring-water, G. 4. 376 note.

[687] Anchises was supposed to have received the gift of divination from Venus, according to Enn. A. 1, fr. 17, “Doctusque Anchisa, Venus quem pulcherrima dium Fata docet fari, divinum ut pectus haberet” (as corrected by Fleckeisen and Bernays). So Naevius Bell. P. 1, fr. 2, “Postquam aves aspexit in templo Anchisa.” He exercises it again 3. 539.

[688] See on vv. 378, 405. ‘Caclo’ E. 2. 30 note.

[689] For the use of ‘si’ in adjurations comp. G. 1. 7, 17, and for the form of the prayer generally A. 5. 687 foll.

[690] Wagn.'s ‘aspice nos hoc tantum,τξῦτο μόνον ἡμᾶς ἐπίβλεψον, is very tempting, as the cognate accusative would be sufficiently idiomatic: but “hoc primum” v. 79 is strongly in favour of taking ‘hoc tantum’ separately, whether we make it the accusative after some such verb as ‘rogo,’ or the nominative, supplying ‘fiat.’ Burm. comp. Statius Theb. 9. 192, “Hoc tantum, et natae melius connubia iungas,” and Claudian, Rape of Proserpine 3. 298, “liceat cognoscere sortem: Hoc tantum: liceat certos habuisse dolores,” which seems at any rate to show how they understood Virg. Comp. also Prop. 5. 6. 64, “Illa petit Nilum cymba male nixa fugaci, Hoc unum, iusso non moritura die.” Gossrau's punctuation, connecting ‘hoc tantum’ with what follows, is less likely than either.

[691] Deinde seems to be used after ‘si,’ like ἔπειτα after εἰ, to mark the consequence. See Hand Turs. ‘Deinde’ § 4, where however the instances given are of the use of ‘deinde’ in independent sentences. Probus 14. 10 K. quotes the line with ‘augurium,’ a reading the existence of which had been inferred from a note of Pomponius Sabinus: “Probus aitatque haecomina firma,nisi enim petiisset omina, nunquam confirmari optasset. Et Apronianusauxiliumlegit, ut sitDa deinde auxilium, pater, et firma omina.” ‘Augurium’ is adopted by Peerlkamp, Ladewig, and Ribbeck; but its origin is easily accounted for by 3. 89, “Da, pater, augurium.” ‘Auxilium’ is found in all extant MSS., and is supported by Boethius de interpret. ed. sec. p. 291 (ed. Basil. 1546). With ‘omina firma’ comp. 8. 78, “Adsis o tantum et propius tua numina firmes.” It is singular that both “omen” and “numen” are also used by Virg. as instrumental ablatives with “firmo,” “omine quo firmans animumG. 4. 386, “di numine firment” A. 12. 188. Serv. says that it was usual for the Romans to ask for a second omen confirming the first, as, if a second omen appeared of a different kind, the first was neutralized: but the fact is scarcely supported by the instance he gives, “Unde est, ‘quantum Chaonias aquila veniente columbas’ [E. 9. 13]. Nam aquila sine dubio columbis plus potest.

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