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[264] The interposition of a special invocation is modelled on Hom.'s practice, e. g. before the catalogue of the ships. As the commentators have remarked, it greatly enhances the solemnity of the present passage. “Di, quibus inperium pelagi est” 5. 235. ‘Umbraelate’ are vocatives co-ordinate with ‘Di,’ not, as they might possibly be, nominatives coordinate with ‘inperium,’ though ‘loca’ is perhaps rather awkward of things addressed as persons. ‘Umbrae’ are the ghosts, who are called “silentes” below v. 432 without a substantive.

[265] ‘Chaos’ is classed with Erebus 4. 510, as here with ‘Phlegethon’ (vv. 550 foll.), singled out from the infernal rivers as the most terrible of all. Mythologically Night and Erebus were children of Chaos, which represents the formless void out of which things came and into which they were resolved. ‘Loca nocte tacentia late,’ as the infernal regions are called “loca senta situ” below v. 462, “loca turbida” v. 534. ‘Tacentia’ was restored by Heins. from Med., Rom., and fragm. Vat. for the common reading ‘silentia,’ which is found in the margin of Med.

[266] Virg. professes to have obtained his information from tradition, like Hom. Il. 2. 486, ἡμεῖς δὲ κλέος οἶον ἀκούομεν, οὐδέ τι ἴδμεν. The second ‘sit’ is for ‘liceat,’ as in E. 10. 46, though it would be possible to understand ‘fas.’ ‘Numine,’ as in 1. 133., 2. 777 &c., seems to have its etymological sense of ‘consent’ or ‘permission,’ though it might also mean ‘aid’ or ‘influence.’

[267] ‘To disclose the secrets of the world below.’ So the Sibyl in Sil. 13. 790 says of Homer that he revealed to the earth all that goes on in the shades before he had seen it, “haec cuncta, prius quam cerneret, ordine terris Prodidit.

[268-294] ‘As they went on in the twilight, they saw terrible monsters at the infernal gate, phantoms of all things that on earth make man's life wretched. There is also a giant elm where dreams congregate, and about the door Gorgons and Hydras and Chimaeras dire. Aeneas would have struck at them with his sword, had not the Sibyl told him they were mere spectres.’

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