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Tartareas etiam sedes, alta ostia Ditis,
Ipsa videbatur ventis regina vocatis
[1–17. The war begins : Latium is in uproar : embassy is sent to Argyripa to request aid of Diomedes.]
I. *Ut, when': temporal ut with the indic. always. belli signum...extulit, hung out the flag of war'.
Laurenti, Laurentum (ancient Latin town on the sea, south of Ostia), the capital of king Latinus, who had retired from the war against Aeneas (see vii. 600), foreseeing its inutility. Turnus, king of the Rutuli (see Introduction), takes the leadership.
3. concussit, lit. "shook': i.e. stirred ?:
4. tumultus, 'rising': generally used in Latin of a rebellion in the home-provinces of Italy or Gaul.
5. iuventus, according to the regular Latin usage, 'the warriors', iuvenes being men of military age, from 17 to 46.
6. Messapus (VII. 691), 'tamer of horses, son of Neptune', is leader of some clans from the upper Tiber : Ufens (VII. 745), leader of the Aequians.
8. Mezentius, the brutal ruler of the Tuscans in Agylla or Caere: see inf. 479.
8. vastant...agros, .make bare the wide fields of the husbandmen', rob them of', cultoribus being the ablative of separation, a natural extension of usage.
9. Argyripa or Arpi, in Apulia, is the city of Great Diomede', he, according to the legend, having settled there after the Trojan war, with some of his Argive followers.
10. petat, final subj. after qui.
II. classi, older form of abl. in -i stems, usually weakened to e, surviving in vis always, navis and puppis sometimes, &c.
13. multas gentes, we have not yet heard of any allies : the Latins naturally exaggerate the peril.
14. Dardanio, Trojan', from Dardanus, son of Zeus, mythical ancestor of the Trojans : he was supposed (111. 167) to have come originally from Latium, so the gathering of allies to the 'Dardanian chieftain' is plausible.
15. striat (indirect quest., and therefore subj.), a Vergilian unusual word for purposes ', schemes'.
16. ipsi, as far as grammar goes, may mean Aeneas or Diomede. It is generally taken in the latter way, what he is scheming you know
better than we', as an old enemy of his. But the former is perhaps more natural, 'what he is scheming he knows better than we', a rather ironical way of saying 'we can't conceive': and the irony is helped by the rather baldly formal line which follows.
[18–65. Aeneas, wavering like a ray of light from water, lies down to sleep: Father Tiber appears to him, to tell him he has reached his destined home, and gives the sign of the sow's litter. Further he is to join alliance with the Arcadian Euander, who dwells up the Tiber.]
18. Laomedontius, one of the stately epithets for Aeneas : Laomedon being father of Priam king of Troy.'
20. A line which recurs in Vergil (IV. 285), and expresses the toand-fro movement of distracted thought in the very sound of the words.
21. "and shifts it diverse ways and turns it over all'.
23. sole repercussum, 'mirrored by the sun'. This is the simplest way of taking it : strictly speaking of course the water reflects the light: but the sun as the source of the light is an agent in the process. Conington's idea, of the light sent from sun to water, water to sun, and again from sun to water, is surely over subtle.
In the second half of the line he varies the expression (after his complicated manner) and makes the light reflected by the image of the moon; the moon in the water sending back the light.
24. sub auras, 'up into the air, a common meaning of sub with acc. For the simile see Introd.
27. alituum, curious resolved gen. for alitum, used by Vergil in imitation of Lucretius.
29. tristi bello, "anxious war' (C): the epithet transferred, as so often (hypallage).
30. dedit per membra, ‘let it steal o'er his limbs', a fanciful and pretty variation.
31. fluvio T. amoeno, as in vii. 30, best taken abl. of quality or description, ‘Tiber of the pleasant stream': in vii. 30 it is awkward to take it any other way.
33. glaucus, 'blue-grey' or 'grey', always applied to dress of water-gods and water itself. The colour may be inferred from its being used for horses, eyes, willow leaves, and sedge and reeds. So the nymphs (XII. 885) have 'glaucum amictum', the river Mincius (x. 205) is covered 'arundine glauca'.
35. adfari, the historic inf. gives the action without time: it is often used accordingly of feelings, confused scenes, rapid action where the time is not definite or important. Here in the vision the time of the action is naturally left vague. [Others take it after visus; less likely.]
37. revehis nobis, 'bringest back to us', because of Dardanus' extraction (14).
aeterna, for ever', the proleptic use of the adj., describing the effect of the verb (like 'I drank it dry').
Pergama, Greek name of the citadel of Troy.
40.tumor et irae, 'swelling wrath', two points instead of one (hendiadys).
41. concessere, 'is abated'. These half lines which occur throughout the Aeneid, and never in
the Georgics, are evidences of the unfinished state in which the great poem was left.
42. vana haec fingere somnum, 'the empty coinage of a dream'.
The prophecy which follows has been much commented on. It has already been given to Aeneas (111. 388–392) by the seer Helenus, as the sign of the place where the town (Lavinium, whence thirty years later they were to move to Alba] was to be built. Here it is Tiber who gives it, the name (Alba) and the number of the litter (triginta) have a new significance given them.
Heyne and others think the whole passage (42-incerta cano 48) interpolated. But there seems no need to alter the text : Vergil may have developed the idea of book II: such slight variations are not unexampled, and the mention of the omen is necessary in view of its fulfilment (81).
There are stronger arguments for 46 being interpolated (see Con.). For in Helenus' prophecy it is the point of the omen, whereas here the Alba and triginta are the important things. Also since litoreis clearly means the river bank (see 83. and 111. 389) the indication of place is very vague, Lavinium being seventeen miles from the river; and now that Aeneas is in Italy, that seems a long distance. But after all Vergil may prefer to repeat the earlier prophecy whole.
44. triginta capitum fetus enixa, 'with a litter of thirty young'.
47. ex quo, 'whence', i.e. from which place. If with C. we strike out 46, ex quo will be ' wherefore '.
48. ‘Alba, of noble name', was on the edge of the Alban lake, about as far from Rome as Lavinium.
49. qua ratione expedias, "how you may despatch' (L.). The subjunctive is of course indirect dubitative: see scheme.
51. Pallas was an old Arcadian hero ; his descendant was Euander, who with his followers settled on the site of Rome, and called their city (Palatine hill) Pallanteum, from the old Arcadian city of that name. The origin of this myth is probably the resemblance of the names.
55. ducunt, 'drag out'.
57. ripis et recto flumine, 'between my banks, straight up my stream', rather a strained and bold use of the local ablative.
58. that thy oars may win against the tide their upward way'.
60. iramque minasque, because Iuno all along favoured the Greeks in the Trojan war, and was hostile to the Trojan fortunes.
64. caeruleus, 'blue', regular epithet of water and water-gods, singularly inapplicable to the yellow-brown Tiber.
65. Can be taken two ways: (1) .here is my great home: my source rises from among mighty cities'; where the second clause seems rather inappropriate in sense.
(2) "here rises my great home, the head of mighty cities': which gives rather a strained meaning to exit, but is certainly better on the whole. The 'great home' will then be Rome, or (as Con.) the river. god's palace under the water : but the former more probably.
[66–80. Aeneas wakes and prays to Nymphs and Tiber, vowing eternal honour.]
66. lacu, 'pool', slightly unusual word.