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[166] Prima seems rightly explained by Henry, after Taubmann, of the Earth as the oldest of the deities, comp. “primam deorum Tellurem” 7. 136, πρεσβεύω θεῶν τὴν πρωτόμαντιν Γαῖαν Aesch. Eum. 1, 2. The ‘pronuba’ was a matron who had only been married to one husband, and her function was to conduct the bride to the “lectus genialis” (Dict. A. Marriage, Roman). Juno performs this office here, as in Ov. Her. 6. 43: but we may doubt with Keightley (Myth. p. 454, ed. 3) whether it was ever one of her regular titles. The whole description is rightly regarded by Henry as one not of an inauspicious but of an auspicious marriage, in which the gods take the parts ordinarily performed by mortals; the various phenomena of the storm being in fact regarded by Virg. as representing the various parts of the wedding solemnity, the lightning the holding up of the torches, the sounds of waters or woods the nuptial ὀλολυγμός. But he goes too far when he supposes the descent of rain upon the earth to be itself a symbolical marriage union between two great parts of nature. Such a notion is found in other passages of the classics (e. g. G. 2. 325), but there is nothing to show that it is intended here.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.325
    • Ovid, Epistulae, 6
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