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convexum periter, ‘on their upward way,’ ‘as they climbed the steep.’ But while the English only expresses the inclination of the ground, convexus (conveho) has also the idea of circularity ‘converging on all sides to a centre,’ and so is applied equally to things which we should call respectively ‘concave’ (as here to a volcanic crater) and ‘convex’ (as in XIII. 911, to a mountain cone), though in both cases it happens that the circumference is looked at from the central point, and so the translation must represent the ascent from the lake and the descent from the mountain. See a discussion of the word in Henry, Aeneidea, vol. I. pp. 784-7. It is to be remembered that they are issuing not from the Sibyl's cave of 104, the antrum of Virg. Aen.VI. 11 and 42, but from spelunca of ib. 236, which was situated by the side of the lake Avernus, and to reach which Aeneas and the Sibyl alike had to descend the sides of the crater, just as Hannibal did in order to offer sacrifice by the lake; ad lacum Averni per speciem sacrificandi . . . descendit, Liv.xxiv. XII. 4.By local tradition the two were subsequently confused, and the name Grotta della Sibilla is still given to an excavation by the lake, probably the opening of an unfinished tunnel. Cf. Milt. P. l. II. 434, ‘our prison strong, this huge convex of fire.’
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