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[546] Lucr. 5.857, “quaecumque vides vesci vitalibus auris.” Lachm. on Lucr. 3.405 objects to the combination “aetheriae” or “aetheris aurae” or “aura,” on the ground that “aurae” belong to the “aer,” not to the “aether;” accordingly, wherever the words occur, he would alter “aetherius” into “aerius,” as here and 6. 762, or “aurae” into “orae,” as in 4. 445., 7. 557, G. 2. 292. Both changes are natural enough; “aetherius” and “aerius” are confused in the MSS. 5. 518, 520., 8. 221; in G. 2. 47 Med. has “auras” for “oras.” But whatever may be the case with Lucr. (and I am glad to see that Prof. Munro rejects his predecessor's view), there seems on the one hand no reason why Virg. may not have used “aether” loosely in this connexion, as equivalent to “caelum” (a word with which “aurae” is not unfrequently joined, 6. 363., 7. 543, 768., 11. 595), while on the other “aura” at any rate is found in Virg. in a sense in which it is peculiarly appropriate to “aether,” if not actually synonymous with it, “Aetherium sensum atque aurai simplicis ignem,” 6. 747. This is probably its sense here, as Henry suggests,—the same mixture of the notions of light and air which we find G. 2. 340, “lucem hausere.” Henry comp. Stat. Theb. 1. 237 (of the blind Oedipus), “Proiecitque diem nec iam amplius aethere nostro Vescitur,” on which Lachm. merely remarks, “Statio licuit improprie loqui.” Elsewhere Virg. connects “aether” with life, 6. 436., 11. 104. Heyne remarks that Virg. was probably thinking of such passages as Od. 20. 207 foll., εἴ που ἔτι ζώει καὶ ὁρᾷ φάος ἠελίοιο: Εἰ δ᾽ ἤδη τέθνηκε καὶ εἰν Ἀΐδαο δόμοισιν, a supposition which may perhaps be thought to confirm the view of ‘aura aetheria’ just maintained.

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  • Commentary references from this page (5):
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.292
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.340
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.47
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, 3.405
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, 5.857
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