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[896-898] This passage is modelled partly on Il. 21. 403 foll. (of Athene in the battle of the gods), δ᾽ ἀναχασσαμένη λίθον εἵλετο χειρὶ παχείῃ Κείμενον ἐν πεδίῳ, μέλανα, τρηχύν τε μέγαν τε, Τόν ῤ̔ ἄνδρες πρότεροι θέσαν ἔμμεναι οὖρον ἀρούρης: partly on Il. 12. 445 foll., where Hector easily brandishes a stone which two men of a later age could hardly lift on to a waggon. Comp. Il. 5. 303 foll., where this language is slightly varied. Wagn. was inclined to object to the repetition of ‘ingens,’ which is however by no means pointless. In v. 897 Goth. pr. and some inferior copies have ‘qui,’ and so apparently Serv., who quotes from Sallust (Cat. 55),locus in carcere quod Tullianum appellatur.” Heins. first restored ‘quod,’ which has both authority and grammar in its favour. Med. a m. p. gives ‘q.,’ a m. s. ‘quod.’ ‘Litem ut discerneret arvis’ is difficult, as ‘discernere’ does not often bear the sense of ‘decernere.’ Forc. quotes Calp. Ecl. 2. 27, “Nec mora, discernunt digitis, prior incipit Idas:” and Nemes. Ecl. 1 (or Calp. 8). 52, “ruricolum discernere lites.” ‘Arvis’ might be taken either as dative (‘for’ = ‘concerning’) or as abl. (‘in’). It is quite possible that Virg., after his fashion, meant to suggest two phrases, “decernere litem” and “discernere arva.

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    • Sallust, Catilinae Coniuratio, 55
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