previous next

[280] Devexo Olympo may either be explained of the revolution of the sky (comp. 2. 250., 11. 202), or of the downward slopes of heaven which the sun approaches at evening, there being a confusion between “Sol” and ‘Vesper.’ ‘Devexus’ is found as a synonyme of “declivis” Caes. B. G. 7. 88 &c., and a fragment of Cic. quoted by Macrob. Sat. 6. 4 has “Sol paulum devexus a meridie.” The adjectival use of ‘devexus’ is at any rate more usual, and it is in favour of the latter interpretation.

[282] The passage is rendered obscure by our ignorance of the exact nature of the rites performed at the Ara Maxuma. The language seems to indicate that this is a torch-bearing procession, not simply that the priests applied the fire to the altars, which would hardly have been specified. Torch-light too agrees with the approach of evening. Rom. has ‘flammam.

[283] Mensae grata secundae Dona ferunt, if said of later times, would mean ‘they bring delicacies for the dessert’ (comp. G. 2. 101): but, being said of heroic times, it can scarcely be taken as anything but another expression for ‘instaurant epulas,’ a renewal of the sacred banquet. For a similar uncertainty see on 7. 134. The Salii had a rich entertainment (“dapes Saliares” Hor. 1 Od. 37. 2 foll.) at the temple of Mars after the ceremony of the day. Heyne thinks this and the following line spurious, one good MS., the first Menagian, placing them after v. 286. But Wagn. rightly remarks that there is nothing unnatural in a second sacrificial meal. They were spending the whole day in sacrifice, and so took their evening meal at the altar as they had taken their mid-day meal.

[284] Comp. G. 2. 194, “Lancibus et pandis fumantia reddimus exta.” ‘Dona ferunt’ seems to oscillate between the original meaning of offering in sacrifice and the transferred one of serving up dainties.

[285] Macrob. Sat. 3. 12 inquires why the Salii, priests of Mars, are introduced in connexion with Hercules: a question which he answers by saying that the two gods were identified by the pontiffs and by Varro in his Satura Menippea entitled ἄλλος οὗτος Ἡρακλῆς, appealing also to a treatise “de sacris Saliaribus Tiburtium” by Octavius Hersennius, and to a work on the meaning of the word “festra” by Antonius Gnipho, a learned man whose lectures Cicero used to attend. ‘Tum,’ as Wagn. remarks, indicates a new point in a description: see G. 2. 296. ‘Ad cantus’ with ‘adsunt:’ we may comp. however “servi ad remum,” “homines ad lecticam,” &c.

[286] “Evincti tempora taenis,” 5. 267, which is actually found here in one MS., and as a variant in Gud. Rom. and others have ‘etvincti,’ i. e. as Ribbeck says, ‘ecvincti.’

[287] We do not learn elsewhere that there were two choruses of Salii, one of old men, the other of young; though there was the elder College of Mars, and the younger College of Quirinus (see Dict. A. Salii): possibly Virg. may, for a poetical purpose, have turned elder and younger in one sense into old and young in the other. There were Carmina Saliaria remaining, but unintelligible, in the time of Horace: see 2 Ep. 1. 86, and the commentators there. Virg.'s hymn is clearly an improved copy of the hymn to Apollo in Apoll. R. 2. 704. He perhaps thought also of the singing of the Paean in Il. 1. 472 foll. The contents of the hymn are the common Greek fables about Hercules; and therefore it seems rash to suppose, as some do, that they are taken from an old poem in Saturnian verse. For ‘laudes’ see on v. 273, though here it may have its ordinary sense.

[288] Heins. read ‘ferant,’ which is the second reading of Med. Wagn. remarks that the purpose is already expressed in ‘ad cantus.’ ‘Prima’ is in sense adverbial. ‘Novercae’ with ‘monstra,’ the snakes having been sent by Juno.

[289] Eliserit v. 261 above. ‘Monstra geminosque anguisἓν διὰ δυοῖν.

[290] Some MSS. (including one of Ribbeck's cursives) have ‘deiecerit;’ but ‘disiecerit’ signifies laid in ruins: comp. v. 355 below, Hor. 2 Od. 19. 15. ‘Bello’ prob. with ‘disiecerit,’ showing that another class of his exploits is spoken of, those in war; but there would be force in taking it with ‘egregias,’ and we have already had the combination 1. 444.

[291] Perhaps the celebration of Hercules' victory over Troy is a little inopportone: but we may suppose that due honour was paid to the strength of the city. For ‘ut’ Rom. and others have ‘et.

[292] See on 1. 668. ‘Fatis’ prob. means decree or will; but it may refer to the fatal power which Juno had over Hercules, to make him toil at the bidding of Eurystheus, ‘fata Iunonis’ being the claim or advantage which fate gave to Juno: comp. 7. 293, “fatis contraria nostris Fata Phrygum.” Perhaps both meanings are included. “Fata Iovis” and “fata deum” seem hardly parallel, expressing as they do not the privilege of any one god, but destiny as wielded by the gods in concert, or by Jupiter as their sovereign. Cerda comp. Hor. 2 Ep. 1. 11, of Hercules, “Notaque fatali portenta labore subegit.

[293] This admired turn from the third person to the second is borrowed, though with improvement, from Apoll. R. l. c. It is imitated by Milton, P. L. 4. 724. ‘Nubigenas’ 7. 674. Macrob. Sat. 6. 5 says that the poet Cornificius first coined the word ‘bimembris.

[294] The destruction of Hylaeus and Pholus at the battle of the Lapithae and the Centaurs has been alluded to G. 2. 456, 457. Other stories make Pholus killed by Theseus. ‘Cresia prodigia’ (i. q. “Cresia monstra”) the wild bull that devastated Crete. In making Hercules kill the bull (‘mactas’) Virg. departs from the common fable, which was that he brought it alive to Eurystheus. The present ‘mactas’ may be explained by saying that Hercules' actions are supposed to be ever continuing, as they are being ever made the subjects of song. So probably Persius 4. 2, “sorbitio tollit quem dira cicutae,” kills in the Phaedo.

[295] Nemea, from Νέμεος, is the reading of Rom., Pal. (corrected), and Gud. ‘Nemeae,’ the reading before Heyne, is the original reading of Pal., and apparently acknowledged by Serv. ‘Nemaea,’ the reading of Med., may point either way. ‘Sub rupe’ i. q. “in antro.”

[296] “Te liquidi flevere lacus” 7. 760. ‘Ianitor Orci’ 6. 400.

[297] For Wagn.'s orthography ‘semiesa’ see on 3. 244. “Adverso recubans inmanis in antro” 6. 418, also of Cerberus. It does not appear on what flesh or bones Cerberus could have preyed, unless it were of men who attempted to penetrate the lower world: but the picture is natural enough. Serv. derives Cerberus from κρεοβόρος.

[298] The ‘facies’ are taken to be those which Hercules saw in Tartarus, including Typhoeus. But Typhoeus thrust down to Tartarus or buried under Aetna can hardly be called ‘arduus arma tenens.’ There must be an allusion to some conflict between Hercules and Typhoeus not elsewhere mentioned, or a different view of the state of Typhoeus in Tartarus. Possibly Virg. means to represent Hercules as having taken part in the combat of the gods and the giants: comp. Eur. H. F. 178, τοῖσι γῆς βλαστήμασι Γίγασι πλευροῖς πτήν᾽ ἐναρμόσας βέλη Τὸν καλλίνικον μετὰ Θεῶν ἐκώμασε. (See Preller, Griechische Mythologie 1, p. 58 foll.) He may have thought of Horace's hymn to Bacchus, 2 Od. 19, where Bacchus' influence over Cerberus is mentioned just after his prowess against the giants: comp. the word “disiectae” quoted on v. 290. Serv. accepts the reference to the combat with the giants, but, being perplexed by the anachronism, interprets ‘terruit’ as i. q. “terreret” or “terruisset.” ‘Arduus’ is adverbial as in 5. 478., 10. 196: and Wagn. rightly removes the comma after it.

[299] Thou wast not panic-stricken when the Hydra surrounded thee with its crowd of heads. ‘Rationis egentem:’ comp. note on 5. 363. The words are from Lucr. 4.502.

[301] Vera Iovis proles: see on 6. 322, and comp. 4. 12, 13. ‘Decus addite divis’ like “canibus date praeda” 9. 485. One MS. has “deus addite.” Cerda comp. Hor. 2 Od. 19. 13, “beatae coniugis additum Stellis honorem,” perhaps a further evidence that Virg. had that ode in his mind.

[302] “Phrygibusque adsis pede, diva, secundo” 10. 255. Comp. Hor. 3 Od. 18. 3, “lenis incedas;” Aesch. Ag. 511, ᾖσθ᾽ ἀνάρσιος (Herm.'s conj. for ἦλθες).

[303] Talia may refer to ‘facta:’ but ‘carminibus celebrant’ virtually = ‘canunt,’ or we may distinguish the celebration by hymns from the rest of the ceremony, to which ‘celebrare’ would be equally applied. ‘Super omnia,’ to crown all. Comp. ἐπιμέλπειν of a concluding song Aesch. Theb. 869.

[304] Spirantem ignibus a variety for “spirantem ignis.” ‘Ipsum’ distinguished from his cave, as in 1. 40 &c.

[305] ‘Collesque resultant’ 5. 150.

[306-336] ‘Evander takes Aeneas to the city, and explains the vicissitudes through which the country has passed.’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Troy (Turkey) (1)
Crete (Greece) (1)
Aetna (Italy) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: