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[691] Messapus was the eponymous hero of Messapia or Iapygia, and was claimed by Ennius as his progenitor. Why Virg. connects him with a different part of Italy does not appear. This line is repeated 9. 523. See also v. 189 above.

[692] This property of invulnerability Virg. may have borrowed from the legend of Cycnus, who was a son of Poseidon (Dict. M. ‘Cycnus’). Incombustibility, as Serv. says, would naturally be ascribed to the offspring of the god of Ocean. Gossrau comp. 11. 787, where the worshippers of Apollo of Soracte are said to walk through embers unhurt. ‘Sternere’ then will be joined with ‘ferro’ by zeugma. Forb. however interprets ‘igni’ of missile fire (8. 694 &c.). Some of Pierius' copies had ‘sistere.

[693] Partly taken from 1. 722, “Iam pridem resides animos desuetaque corda.” Comp. also 6. 813 foll., “Otia qui rumpet patriae residesque movebit Tullus in arma viros et iam desueta triumphis Agmina.” For this quiescence of the Italian populations comp. v. 46 above, and see on v. 423.

[694] Retractat, handles again after disuse. Emm. comp. Hor. 2 Od. 1. 38, “Ceae retractes munera neniae.” “Ferrumque retractant” 10. 396 (note) in a different sense.

[695] Acies is connected with ‘habent’ by a harsh zeugma, which may be a sign that the passage is unfinished. There is no reason however for assuming a lacuna with Ribbeck, still less for altering the text and transposing this and the preceding lines with Ladewig. For the connexion between Fescennium and Falerii see Dict. G., ‘Fescennium’ and ‘Falerii,’ as also the latter article for the different views that have been held about the ‘Aequi Falisci.’ Serv. took ‘aequos’ as an ordinary adj., explaining it by the statement that the Romans derived the “iura fetialia” and other laws from the Faliscans: others however, and Serv. himself on 10. 14, say that these were brought from the Aequiculi.

[696] Arces of mountain heights G. 2. 535 &c. ‘Habent’ here = “habitant,” as in v. 131 above. ‘Flavinia arva’ from Flavina or Flavinium, a town only known from the imitation of this passage in Sil. 8. 490 and Serv.'s note here (Dict. G. s. v.). In Pal. ‘Flavinia’ is altered into ‘Flaminia.’ Here as elsewhere I have not noticed the MS. varieties of the proper names, which even in the best copies are apt to be grossly corrupted.

[697] Besides the lake and mountain of Ciminus, there was also a forest, which was regarded with special awe in the early history of Rome, so that the Senate once forbade a consul to lead his army through it: he had however passed it in safety before the order reached him, Livy 9. 36 foll. See Dict. G., where also the features of the country are described. ‘Lucos Capenos’ would naturally refer to Feronia, though that is mentioned by name in a different connexion v. 800 below.

[698] Aequati numero would naturally mean in bands of equal numbers (“Conpositi numero in turmas” 11. 599), as Serv. and most editors have taken it. Yet the context is strongly in favour of another interpretation mentioned, though rejected by Heyne, marching in measured time; and a passage in Sil. (3. 345 foll., also referred to by Heyne), looks as if he may so have understood it. The words will then go closely with ‘ibant,’ which they qualify like an adverb. Another writer might have written “aequato numero” or “aequatum in numerum:” but Virg. characteristically prefers the more artificial expression. ‘Regem:’ Messapus' indestructibility would doubtless make him the theme of many heroic stories, so that we need not wonder with Heyne that his followers sing of their living chief rather than of mere legendary worthies.

[699] From Il. 2. 459 foll., Apoll. 4. 1298 foll., though in the former passage the birds are not represented as singing. ‘Quondam’ in comParisons like “saepe,G. 4. 261 note. For ‘nubila’ Pal. and Gud. have ‘flumina,’ the latter with a variant ‘nubila,’ and so Ribbeck: but ‘nubila’ is more likely to have been altered into ‘flumina’ than vice versa, and the mention of the river in Hom. and Apoll. proves little, as Virg. may have purposely deferred it till v. 701. ‘Liquida inter nubila’ like “liquidis in nubibus” 5. 525.

[700] ‘E pastu’ G. 1. 381., 4. 186. ‘Longa colla’ is from Hom. l. c., κύκνων δουλιχοδείρων. Serv. says “Secundum Plinium, qui ait in Naturali Historia cycnos ideo suavius canere quia colla longa et inflexa habent: et necesse est eluctantem vocem per longum et flexuosum varias reddere modulationes.” The words are printed as Pliny's in the editions of Serv.; but the copious Delphin and Variorum Index to Pliny supplies no clue to them, so that it would seem that Serv. has merely given Pliny's sense in the first clause, and that the words “et necesse estmodulationes” are his own. The songs of swans have already been mentioned 1. 398, E. 8. 55., 9. 29, 36.

[701] Amnis: Cayster, as ‘Asia palus’ shows: comp. Hom. l. c., G. 1. 383, 384.

[702] Pulsa: by the sound, E. 6. 84.

[703] From Apoll. R. 4. 238 foll.,οὐδέ κε φαίης Τόσσον νηΐτην στόλον ἔμμεναι, ἀλλ᾽ οἰωνῶν Ἰλαδὸν ἄσπετον ἔθνος ἐπιβρομέειν πελάγεσσιν”. Virg. may also have thought of Il. 4. 429, 430, though the resemblance is verbal only. The comParison here differs from that which has just preceded: there the song of the troops was compared to that of swans; here the troops are regarded from a distance, and the confused noise of the mass suggests the parallel of a flight of birds from over the sea. Ribbeck places these lines after v. 697, without reason. ‘Ex agmine tanto’ seems to go with ‘misceri,’ to be made up, or massed, out of that great multitude: a poetical variety for “hoc agmen tantum aeratas acies esse.” Not unlike is “adverso glomerati ex agmine Graii,” 2. 727. “Aeratas acies” 9. 463.

[704] Misceri of thronging G. 4. 76. There seems to be no notion of joining in battle, as Heyne and others have thought. ‘Aeriam,’ flying through the air, like “aeriae fugere gruesG. 1. 375 note. Virg. may have thought of the Homeric ἠέριαι Il. 3. 7. “Ad terram gurgite ab alto Quam multae glomerantur aves” 6. 310.

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