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Aurorae. Memnon, prince of the Ethiopians, son of Aurora and of Tithonus, half-brother of Priam, fought at Troy in arms procured from Vulcan by his mother ( Virg. Aen.VIII. 384), and was slain by Achilles, an incident not recorded in Homer. Ovid has several allusions to his colour, as Ex Pont. III. iii. 96, Memnonio cycnos esse colore putem. His story was the subject of the “Αἰθιοπίς” ascribed to Arctinus, and also of a play of Sophocles.
lutea, “κροκόπεπλος”, ‘saffron-kirtled,’ Il.VIII. 1.The same colour is given to her chariot in III. 150, “croceis invecta rotis Aurora”. Her horses are rose-red, and the two colours are combined in Virg. Aen.VII. 26, Aurora in roseis fulgebat lutea bigis.
palluerat, ‘grew instant pale,’ the instantaneousness of the act being expressed by describing the succeeding state as already existing. Cf. III. 330, Liv.i. XII. 10, Prop.iv. XVIII. 15(where see Postgate), and the following passages in Virgil, Aen.VIII. 219 Aen., IX. 799 Aen., X. 546 Aen., XII. 430, and especially II. 257, where Conington refers to an exactly parallel use of the perfect in X. 262. A similar parallel to the present passage is XI. 110 (in the story of Midas), “tollit humo saxum: saxum quoque palluit auro”. Roby notices the use of the perfect only, § 1477. aether, ‘the sky.’ Cf. 110 n. I. 26, “ignea convexi vis et sine pondere caeli...proximus est aer illi levitate locoque”, XIV. 846. For parallels to the darkening of the sky cf. II. 329, XI. 570.
supremis ignibus, ‘funeral fires,’ as in II. 620, an expression somewhat like “fata novissima” 478, III. 137, “suprema funera”. A more remarkable use is in V. 246, “suprema iacentes lumina versarunt”.
parens, ‘the mother,’ with an emphasis due to the position of the word at the end of the clause. For the expression cf. G. IV. 477, “impositique rogis iuvenes ante ora parentum”.
sicut erat, ‘just as she was.’ So of Diana and her nymphs surprised by Actaeon (iii. 178), Arethusa by Alpheus (v. 601). Pausanias (v. 22, § 2) describes a sculptured group at Olympia representing Achilles and Memnon about to engage, with Thetis and Aurora supplicating Jupiter for their respective sons. 587. So Thetis says in her supplication, Il.1. 516, “ὄφρ᾽ εὖ εἰδῶ ὅσσον ἐγὼ μετὰ πᾶσιν ἀτιμοτάτη θεός εἰμι”.
The goddess of dawn worshipped at Rome was Mater Matuta (cf. Lucr. v. 656, “tempore item certo roseam Matuta per orbem auroram differt”), identified in later times with the Greek Ino or Leucothea. Cf. 919 n., Milton, P.l. XI. 134, ‘to resalute the world with sacred light Leucothea waked, and with fresh dews imbalmed the earth.’ Her festival was the Matralia, June 11th ( Fast.VI. 473-562). Livy mentions a temple dedicated to her at Rome, built by Servius Tullius, and restored by Camillus (v. XIX. 6, ib. XXIII. 7), afterwards burned down and again rebuilt, and also one at Satricum (vi. XXXIII. 4). Cf. Mommsen, vol. I. p. 181.
femina, ‘though but a goddess,’ and not a god. The word has not necessarily any association with humanity. Cf. Cic. de nat. Deor. I. xxxiv. 95, “nam quod et mares deos et feminas esse dicitis, quid sequatur videtis”.
noctis . . . servo, ‘I guard the marches of the night,’ preventing encroachment from either side, just as twilight is called ‘short arbiter 'twixt day and night,’ Milt. P.l. IX. 50. Cf. VII. 706, “teneat lucis, teneat confinia noctis”. So of the feast of Flora, which lasted from April 28th to May 1st ( Fast.V. 187), “cum tua sint cedantque tibi confinia mensum”. For a similar expression cf. Lucr. i. 23, “in luminis oras exoritur” (where see Munro), Milton, P.l. II. 958 ‘which way the nearest coast of darkness lies bordering on light.’
ea, hic. See Roby, § 1068, R. § 451, and Halm and Mayor on Cic. Phil.II. xxii.§ 54. neque . . . honores, ‘nor is Aurora now in case to require her meed of honour.’
primis sub annis, in early youth, like Milton's expression, ‘Ceres in her prime’ (P.l. IX. 395).
a forti Achille. See Roby, §§ 1810-2, and cf. 105 n., 720 n. vos, explained by the other reading di. By this reminder Aurora at once vindicates Memnon's prowess, and claims a favourable answer.
adnuerat . . . corruit, Roby, § 1733, R. § 735. The tense of adnuerat has reference to corruit.
infecere diem, ‘darkened the light of day.’ So of reddening clouds, III. 183, “qui color infectis adversi solis ab ictu nubious esse solet”. natas, ‘rising,’ the action of the verb and participle being simultaneous and identical. Cf. 412 n., III. 76, “vitiatas inficit auras”, V. 596 (of a swimmer), “excussaque brachia iacto”, Georg. i. 319, “segetem...sublimem expulsam eruerent”.
sol . . . infra. See a similar description in I. 602, where Juno sees the mists from above, “sub nitido die”. The same image of rising mists is used by Lucretius to illustrate the ascent of the element of fire (v. 460).
glomerata, ‘gathering.’ Cf. Virg. Aen.III. 576(of Aetnain eruption) “liquefactaque saxa sub auras cum gemitu glomerat”, where Dr. Henry explains ‘throws up rapidly one after the other, so rapidly that the objects thrown up seem to be added to each other so as to form one body, the essential notion of glomerare being to form into one by successive addition,’ as in glomerant gressus, Sil.xii. 518, ‘to take a great number of steps in succession,’ and in XIV. 212. So it is used of the heavy particles sinking to the centre in the resolution of Chaos, Manil. Astr.I. 159, “ultima subsedit glomerato pondere tellus”.
levitas . . . alas, not like our metaphorical expression ‘to lend wings’ (Milt. P.l. I. 674, ‘winged with speed’), as the alas are the actual wings in which the lightness of the ashes takes form.
insonuit pennis, ‘flapped noisy wings.’ Cf. XI. 161, “calamis agrestibus insonat ille”.
clangor. ‘Clang’ is used by Milton in the same sense, P.l. VII. 422, ‘with clang despised the ground,’ XI. 835, ‘the haunt of seals and orcs and seamews' clang.’ seducunt castra, ‘form opposing bands,’ castra appropriately introducing their warfare.
populi, ‘hosts.’ Cf. XII. 499, “populus superamur ab uno”.
cadunt, ‘die.’ Cf. 495 n. cineri, constructed “ἀπὸ κοινοῦ” with inferiae and cognata.
viro forti, and therefore fight to the death.
praepetibus subitis, ‘birds of miracle.’ Cf. XIV. 508. Ovid uses the word very frequently thus of the sudden creation or metamorphosis of living beings; thus it is used of Lampetie turned to a tree, II. 349, “conata venire candida Lampetie subita radice retenta est”, of the ‘dragon warriors from Cadmean teeth,’ III. 123, “subiti fratres” (so Her.XII. 98), of drowning sailors transformed to dolphins, ib. 723, “subitos pisces Tyrrhenaque monstra”, of Cycnus transformed in mid-air to a swan Her., VII. 372, “subitus olor”, of the fall of Daedalion stayed “subitis alis” (xi. 341, and with Alcyone, Ibis, 276, “cui sunt subitae frater et uxor aves”), and of Tereus and Philomela, Trist. ii. 389, “fecit amor subitas volucres cum pellice regem”. So it is used of ‘hasty’ work sent as an instalment, Ibis, 639, “haec tibi tantisper subito sint missa libello”. Cf. Milton, P.l. VIII. 354, ‘with such knowledge God indued my sudden apprehension,’ and the use of novus, 406 n., XIV. 499.
Memnonides. An account of these birds is given by Aelian (de Anim. Nat., V. 1), who calls them “Μέμνονες”. He says that the Troad is visited every autumn from Parium and Cyzicus by a flock of black birds resembling hawks, but not flesh-eaters. These divide into two bodies at the cenotaph of Memnon (his body was carried by his mother to Susa, the city built by his father Tithonus), and there fight until the half of them are killed, when the rest depart as they came. Pliny (H. N. X. xxvi. 74) gives a similar account, except that the birds are said to come from Ethiopia, where every fifth year they behave in the same way at the palace of Memnon. According to another version of the story, it was Memnon's companions, who, in their grief for his loss, were turned to birds. See Sir G. W. Cox, Introduction to Mythology and Folklore, for an explanation of the story, in connection with which it is to be remembered that the Ethiopians are often mentioned as an Asiatic people. Memnon in some accounts brings an army from India.
parentali . . . more, ‘to die in honour of the dead,’ after the fashion of the Roman Parentalia or festival of the dead, Feb. 18th—21st, the last day of which was called Feralia. Cf. Amor. I. xiii. 3, “sic Memnonis umbris annua sollemni caede parentet avis”. It was an ancient belief that the spirits of the dead were appeased or gratified by bloodshed (cf. 457 n., Virg. Aen.III. 66), and to this belief is traced the origin of gladiatorial shows. Cf. Servius on Virg. Aen.X. 519, “moris erat in sepulcris virorum fortium captivos necari: quod postquam crudele visum est, placuit gladiatores ante sepulcra dimicare, qui a busti cineribus bustuarii dicti”. So Tertull. de Spectac. xii., “captivos vel malo ingenio servos in exsequiis immolabant. Postea placuit impietatem voluptate adumbrare...Ita mortem homicidiis consolabantur”. From the reading of M uoce Merkel conjectures luce, which is in point as defining the day as well as the month of the commemoration.
ergo. The whole story has been introduced to explain why Aurora could not join in the general grief for Hecuba. The narrative of the downfall of Troy being thus resumed, tamen of 623 introduces the new fortunes of its survivors. Cf. the way in which the story of Scylla is begun and ended, 728, XIV. 72. aliis, emphatic. This clause is co-ordinated with the next, though the latter only depends in sense upon ergo. English idiom would subordinate it (‘while etc.’). Cf. 10 n. latrasse, i.e. to have become a dog, as in VIII. 412, latrans is poetically used for canis. Cf. VIII. 715, “frondere Philemona Baucis conspexit, Her.” XIV. 87 (of Io), “satis est poenae teneram mugisse puellam”. Dymantida. Hecuba was daughter of Dymas, Il.XVI. 718, or as in Euripides of Cisseus ( Hec.3, cf. Virg. Aen.X. 705).
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