This invocation marks a great epoch in the poem, and the commencement of a new class of characters and legends. The first words are from Apoll. R. 3. 1, “Εἰ δ᾽ ἄγε νῦν, Ἐρατώ, παρά θ᾽ ἵστασο, καί μοι ἔνισπε”. But Erato, as the Muse of Love, is more appropriately invoked to rehearse the loves of Jason and Medea than the present theme, though Germ. thinks that the war in Italy may be said to have been kindled by the love of Lavinia's suitors, “tanquam flabello.” Virg., by the help of the Muse, will describe the posture of affairs (‘tempora rerum’) and the condition of Latium (‘quis Latio antiquo fuerit status’) when Aeneas arrived, and will trace the origin of the war between Aeneas and the Latins (‘primae revocabo exordia pugnae’). ‘Qui reges’ seems to be said generally, including Latinus and his ancestors, Turnus, and perhaps the other Italian princes. With ‘tempora rerum’ comp. the expression “reipublicae tempus,” which occurs more than once in Cic. (Off. 3. 24 &c.), though ‘tempora’ here means ‘times’ rather than ‘emergencies.’ Virg. has said ‘the times of affairs’ where we should rather talk of ‘the circumstances of the time.’ Serv. explains the words philosophically, “quia, secundum Lucretium, tempora nisi ex rebus colligantur, per se nulla sunt.” Peerlkamp connects ‘rerum’ with ‘status,’ very improbably.
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