The Aeneid


The Aeneid

by Virgil

translated by A. S. Kline

Book 1

I sing of arms and the man, he who, exiled by fate, first came from the coast of Troy to Italy, and to Lavinian shores – hurled about endlessly by land and sea, by the will of the gods, by cruel Juno’s remorseless anger, long suffering also in war, until he founded a city and brought his gods to Latium: from that the Latin people came, the lords of Alba Longa, the walls of noble Rome. Muse, tell me the cause: how was she offended in her divinity, how was she grieved, the Queen of Heaven, to drive a man, noted for virtue, to endure such dangers, to face so many trials? Can there be such anger in the minds of the gods?

There was an ancient city, Carthage (held by colonists from Tyre), opposite Italy, and the far-off mouths of the Tiber, rich in wealth, and very savage in pursuit of war. They say Juno loved this one land above all others, even neglecting Samos: here were her weapons and her chariot, even then the goddess worked at, and cherished, the idea that it should have supremacy over the nations, if only the fates allowed. Yet she’d heard of offspring, derived from Trojan blood, that would one day overthrow the Tyrian stronghold: that from them a people would come, wide-ruling, and proud in war, to Libya’s ruin: so the Fates ordained. Fearing this, and remembering the ancient war she had fought before, at Troy, for her dear Argos, (and the cause of her anger and bitter sorrows had not yet passed from her mind: the distant judgement of Paris stayed deep in her heart, the injury to her scorned beauty, her hatred of the race, and abducted Ganymede’s honours) the daughter of Saturn, incited further by this, hurled the Trojans, the Greeks and pitiless Achilles had left, round the whole ocean, keeping them far from Latium: they wandered for many years, driven by fate over all the seas. Such an effort it was to found the Roman people.

They were hardly out of sight of Sicily’s isle, in deeper water, joyfully spreading sail, bronze keel ploughing the brine, when Juno, nursing the eternal wound in her breast, spoke to herself: ‘Am I to abandon my purpose, conquered, unable to turn the Teucrian king away from Italy! Why, the fates forbid it. Wasn’t Pallas able to burn the Argive fleet, to sink it in the sea, because of the guilt and madness of one single man, Ajax, son of Oileus? She herself hurled Jupiter’s swift fire from the clouds, scattered the ships, and made the sea boil with storms: She caught him up in a water-spout, as he breathed flame from his pierced chest, and pinned him to a sharp rock: yet I, who walk about as queen of the gods, wife and sister of Jove, wage war on a whole race, for so many years. Indeed, will anyone worship Juno’s power from now on, or place offerings, humbly, on her altars?’

So debating with herself, her heart inflamed, the goddess came to Aeolia, to the country of storms, the place of wild gales. Here in his vast cave, King Aeolus, keeps the writhing winds, and the roaring tempests, under control, curbs them with chains and imprisonment. They moan angrily at the doors, with a mountain’s vast murmurs: Aeolus sits, holding his sceptre, in his high stronghold, softening their passions, tempering their rage: if not, they’d surely carry off seas and lands and the highest heavens, with them, in rapid flight, and sweep them through the air. But the all-powerful Father, fearing this, hid them in dark caves, and piled a high mountain mass over them and gave them a king, who by fixed agreement, would know how to give the order to tighten or slacken the reins. Juno now offered these words to him, humbly: ‘Aeolus, since the Father of gods, and king of men, gave you the power to quell, and raise, the waves with the winds, there is a people I hate sailing the Tyrrhenian Sea, bringing Troy’s conquered gods to Italy: Add power to the winds, and sink their wrecked boats, or drive them apart, and scatter their bodies over the sea. I have fourteen Nymphs of outstanding beauty: of whom I’ll name Deiopea, the loveliest in looks, joined in eternal marriage, and yours for ever, so that, for such service to me as yours, she’ll spend all her years with you, and make you the father of lovely children.’

Aeolus replied: ‘Your task, O queen, is to decide what you wish: my duty is to fulfil your orders. You brought about all this kingdom of mine, the sceptre, Jove’s favour, you gave me a seat at the feasts of the gods, and you made me lord of the storms and the tempests.’

When he had spoken, he reversed his trident and struck the hollow mountain on the side: and the winds, formed ranks, rushed out by the door he’d made, and whirled across the earth. They settle on the sea, East and West wind, and the wind from Africa, together, thick with storms, stir it all from its furthest deeps, and roll vast waves to shore: follows a cry of men and a creaking of cables. Suddenly clouds take sky and day away from the Trojan’s eyes: dark night rests on the sea. It thunders from the pole, and the aether flashes thick fire, and all things threaten immediate death to men. Instantly Aeneas groans, his limbs slack with cold: stretching his two hands towards the heavens, he cries out in this voice: ‘Oh, three, four times fortunate were those who chanced to die in front of their father’s eyes under Troy’s high walls! O Diomede, son of Tydeus bravest of Greeks! Why could I not have fallen, at your hand, in the fields of Ilium, and poured out my spirit, where fierce Hector lies, beneath Achilles’s spear, and mighty Sarpedon: where Simois rolls, and sweeps away so many shields, helmets, brave bodies, of men, in its waves!’

Hurling these words out, a howling blast from the north, strikes square on the sail, and lifts the seas to heaven: the oars break: then the prow swings round and offers the beam to the waves: a steep mountain of water follows in a mass. Some ships hang on the breaker’s crest: to others the yawning deep shows land between the waves: the surge rages with sand. The south wind catches three, and whirls them onto hidden rocks (rocks the Italians call the Altars, in mid-ocean, a vast reef on the surface of the sea) three the east wind drives from the deep, to the shallows and quick-sands (a pitiful sight), dashes them against the bottom, covers them with a gravel mound. A huge wave, toppling, strikes one astern, in front of his very eyes, one carrying faithful Orontes and the Lycians. The steersman’s thrown out and hurled headlong, face down: but the sea turns the ship three times, driving her round, in place, and the swift vortex swallows her in the deep. Swimmers appear here and there in the vast waste, men’s weapons, planking, Trojan treasure in the waves. Now the storm conquers Iloneus’s tough ship, now Achates, now that in which Abas sailed, and old Aletes’s: their timbers sprung in their sides, all the ships let in the hostile tide, and split open at the seams.

Neptune, meanwhile, greatly troubled, saw that the sea was churned with vast murmur, and the storm was loose and the still waters welled from their deepest levels: he raised his calm face from the waves, gazing over the deep. He sees Aeneas’s fleet scattered all over the ocean, the Trojans crushed by the breakers, and the plummeting sky. And Juno’s anger, and her stratagems, do not escape her brother. He calls the East and West winds to him, and then says: ‘Does confidence in your birth fill you so? Winds, do you dare, without my intent, to mix earth with sky, and cause such trouble, now? You whom I – ! But it’s better to calm the running waves: you’ll answer to me later for this misfortune, with a different punishment. Hurry, fly now, and say this to your king: control of the ocean, and the fierce trident, were given to me, by lot, and not to him. He owns the wild rocks, home to you, and yours, East Wind: let Aeolus officiate in his palace, and be king in the closed prison of the winds.’

So he speaks, and swifter than his speech, he calms the swollen sea, scatters the gathered cloud, and brings back the sun. Cymothoë and Triton, working together, thrust the ships from the sharp reef: Neptune himself raises them with his trident, parts the vast quicksand, tempers the flood, and glides on weightless wheels, over the tops of the waves. As often, when rebellion breaks out in a great nation, and the common rabble rage with passion, and soon stones and fiery torches fly (frenzy supplying weapons), if they then see a man of great virtue, and weighty service, they are silent, and stand there listening attentively: he sways their passions with his words and soothes their hearts: so all the uproar of the ocean died, as soon as their father, gazing over the water, carried through the clear sky, wheeled his horses, and gave them their head, flying behind in his chariot. The weary followers of Aeneas made efforts to set a course for the nearest land, and tacked towards the Libyan coast. There is a place there in a deep inlet: an island forms a harbour with the barrier of its bulk, on which every wave from the deep breaks, and divides into diminishing ripples. On this side and that, vast cliffs and twin crags loom in the sky, under whose summits the whole sea is calm, far and wide: then, above that, is a scene of glittering woods, and a dark grove overhangs the water, with leafy shade: under the headland opposite is a cave, curtained with rock, inside it, fresh water, and seats of natural stone, the home of Nymphs. No hawsers moor the weary ships here, no anchor, with its hooked flukes, fastens them. Aeneas takes shelter here with seven ships gathered from the fleet, and the Trojans, with a passion for dry land, disembarking, take possession of the sands they longed for, and stretch their brine-caked bodies on the shore. At once Achates strikes a spark from his flint, catches the fire in the leaves, places dry fuel round it, and quickly has flames among the kindling. Then, wearied by events, they take out wheat, damaged by the sea, and implements of Ceres, and prepare to parch the grain over the flames, and grind it on stone. Aeneas climbs a crag meanwhile, and searches the whole prospect far and wide over the sea, looking if he can see anything of Antheus and his storm-tossed Phrygian galleys, or Capys, or Caicus’s arms blazoned on a high stern. There’s no ship in sight: he sees three stags wandering on the shore: whole herds of deer follow at their back, and graze in long lines along the valley. He halts at this, and grasps in his hand his bow and swift arrows, shafts that loyal Achates carries, and first he shoots the leaders themselves, their heads, with branching antlers, held high, then the mass, with his shafts, and drives the whole crowd in confusion among the leaves: The conqueror does not stop until he’s scattered seven huge carcasses on the ground, equal in number to his ships. Then he seeks the harbour, and divides them among all his friends. Next he shares out the wine that the good Acestes had stowed in jars, on the Trinacrian coast, and that hero had given them on leaving: and speaking to them, calmed their sad hearts: ‘O friends (well, we were not unknown to trouble before) O you who’ve endured worse, the god will grant an end to this too. You’ve faced rabid Scylla, and her deep-sounding cliffs: and you’ve experienced the Cyclopes’s rocks: remember your courage and chase away gloomy fears: perhaps one day you’ll even delight in remembering this. Through all these misfortunes, these dangerous times, we head for Latium, where the fates hold peaceful lives for us: there Troy’s kingdom can rise again. Endure, and preserve yourselves for happier days.’ So his voice utters, and sick with the weight of care, he pretends hope, in his look, and stifles the pain deep in his heart. They make ready the game, and the future feast: they flay the hides from the ribs and lay the flesh bare: some cut it in pieces, quivering, and fix it on spits, others place cauldrons on the beach, and feed them with flames. Then they revive their strength with food, stretched on the grass, and fill themselves with rich venison and old wine. When hunger is quenched by the feast, and the remnants cleared, deep in conversation, they discuss their missing friends, and, between hope and fear, question whether they live, or whether they’ve suffered death and no longer hear their name. Aeneas, the virtuous, above all mourns the lot of fierce Orontes, then that of Amycus, together with Lycus’s cruel fate, and those of brave Gyus, and brave Cloanthus. Now, all was complete, when Jupiter, from the heights of the air, looked down on the sea with its flying sails, and the broad lands, and the coasts, and the people far and wide, and paused, at the summit of heaven, and fixed his eyes on the Libyan kingdom. And as he weighed such cares as he had in his heart, Venus spoke to him, sadder still, her bright eyes brimming with tears: ‘Oh you who rule things human, and divine, with eternal law, and who terrify them all with your lightning-bolt, what can my Aeneas have done to you that’s so serious, what have the Trojans done, who’ve suffered so much destruction, to whom the whole world’s closed, because of the Italian lands? Surely you promised that at some point, as the years rolled by, the Romans would rise from them, leaders would rise, restored from Teucer’s blood, who would hold power over the sea, and all the lands. Father, what thought has changed your mind? It consoled me for the fall of Troy, and its sad ruin, weighing one destiny, indeed, against opposing destinies: now the same misfortune follows these men driven on by such disasters. Great king, what end to their efforts will you give? Antenor could escape through the thick of the Greek army, and safely enter the Illyrian gulfs, and deep into the realms of the Liburnians, and pass the founts of Timavus, from which the river bursts, with a huge mountainous roar, through nine mouths, and buries the fields under its noisy flood. Here, nonetheless, he sited the city of Padua, and homes for Teucrians, and gave the people a name, and hung up the arms of Troy: now he’s calmly settled, in tranquil peace. But we, your race, to whom you permit the heights of heaven, lose our ships (shameful!), betrayed, because of one person’s anger, and kept far away from the shores of Italy. Is this the prize for virtue? Is this how you restore our rule? The father of men and gods, smiled at her with that look with which he clears the sky of storms, kissed his daughter’s lips, and then said this: ‘Don’t be afraid, Cytherea, your child’s fate remains unaltered: You’ll see the city of Lavinium, and the walls I promised, and you’ll raise great-hearted Aeneas high, to the starry sky: No thought has changed my mind. This son of yours (since this trouble gnaws at my heart, I’ll speak, and unroll the secret scroll of destiny) will wage a mighty war in Italy, destroy proud peoples, and establish laws, and city walls, for his warriors, until a third summer sees his reign in Latium, and three winter camps pass since the Rutulians were beaten. But the boy Ascanius, surnamed Iulus now (He was Ilus while the Ilian kingdom was a reality) will imperially complete thirty great circles of the turning months, and transfer his throne from its site at Lavinium, and mighty in power, will build the walls of Alba Longa. Here kings of Hector’s race will reign now for three hundred years complete, until a royal priestess, Ilia, heavy with child, shall bear Mars twins. Then Romulus will further the race, proud in his nurse the she-wolf’s tawny pelt, and found the walls of Mars, and call the people Romans, from his own name. I’ve fixed no limits or duration to their possessions: I’ve given them empire without end. Why, harsh Juno who now torments land, and sea and sky with fear, will respond to better judgement, and favour the Romans, masters of the world, and people of the toga, with me. So it is decreed. A time will come, as the years glide by, when the Trojan house of Assaracus will force Phthia into slavery, and be lords of beaten Argos. From this glorious source a Trojan Caesar will be born, who will bound the empire with Ocean, his fame with the stars, Augustus, a Julius, his name descended from the great Iulus. You, no longer anxious, will receive him one day in heaven, burdened with Eastern spoils: he’ll be called to in prayer. Then with wars abandoned, the harsh ages will grow mild: White haired Trust, and Vesta, Quirinus with his brother Remus will make the laws: the gates of War, grim with iron, and narrowed by bars, will be closed: inside impious Rage will roar frighteningly from blood-stained mouth, seated on savage weapons, hands tied behind his back, with a hundred knots of bronze.’ Saying this, he sends Mercury, Maia’s son, down from heaven, so that the country and strongholds of this new Carthage would open to the Trojans, as guests, and Dido, unaware of fate, would not keep them from her territory. He flies through the air with a beating of mighty wings and quickly lands on Libyan shore. And soon does as commanded, and the Phoenicians set aside their savage instincts, by the god’s will: the queen above all adopts calm feelings, and kind thoughts, towards the Trojans. But Aeneas, the virtuous, turning things over all night, decides, as soon as kindly dawn appears, to go out and explore the place, to find what shores he has reached, on the wind, who owns them (since he sees desert) man or beast, and bring back the details to his friends. He conceals the boats in over-hanging woods under an arching cliff, enclosed by trees and leafy shadows: accompanied only by Achetes, he goes, swinging two broad-bladed spears in his hand. His mother met him herself, among the trees, with the face and appearance of a virgin, and a virgin’s weapons, a Spartan girl, or such as Harpalyce of Thrace, who wearies horses, and outdoes winged Hebrus in flight. For she’d slung her bow from her shoulders, at the ready, like a huntress, and loosed her hair for the wind to scatter, her knees bare, and her flowing tunic gathered up in a knot. And she cried first: ‘Hello, you young men, tell me, if you’ve seen my sister wandering here by any chance, wearing a quiver, and the hide of a dappled lynx, or shouting, hot on the track of a slavering boar?’ So Venus: and so Venus’s son began in answer: ‘I’ve not seen or heard any of your sisters, O Virgin – or how should I name you? Since your looks are not mortal and your voice is more than human: oh, a goddess for certain! Or Phoebus’s sister? Or one of the race of Nymphs? Be kind, whoever you may be, and lighten our labour, and tell us only what sky we’re under, and what shores we’ve landed on: we’re adrift here, driven by wind and vast seas, knowing nothing of the people or the country: many a sacrifice to you will fall at the altars, under our hand.’ Then Venus said: ‘I don’t think myself worthy of such honours: it’s the custom of Tyrian girls to carry a quiver, and lace our calves high up, over red hunting boots. You see the kingdom of Carthage, Tyrians, Agenor’s city: but bordered by Libyans, a people formidable in war. Dido rules this empire, having set out from Tyre, fleeing her brother. It’s a long tale of wrong, with many windings: but I’ll trace the main chapters of the story. Sychaeus was her husband, wealthiest, in land, of Phoenicians and loved with a great love by the wretched girl, whose father gave her as a virgin to him, and wed them with great solemnity. But her brother Pygmalion, savage in wickedness beyond all others, held the kingdom of Tyre. Madness came between them. The king, blinded by greed for gold, killed the unwary Sychaeus, secretly, with a knife, impiously, in front of the altars, indifferent to his sister’s affections. He concealed his actions for a while, deceived the lovesick girl, with empty hopes, and many evil pretences. But the ghost of her unburied husband came to her in dream: lifting his pale head in a strange manner, he laid bare the cruelty at the altars, and his heart pierced by the knife, and unveiled all the secret wickedness of that house. Then he urged her to leave quickly and abandon her country, and, to help her journey, revealed an ancient treasure under the earth, an unknown weight of gold and silver. Shaken by all this, Dido prepared her flight and her friends. Those who had fierce hatred of the tyrant or bitter fear, gathered together: they seized some ships that by chance were ready, and loaded the gold: greedy Pygmalion’s riches are carried overseas: a woman leads the enterprise. The came to this place, and bought land, where you now see the vast walls, and resurgent stronghold, of new Carthage, as much as they could enclose with the strips of hide from a single bull, and from that they called it Byrsa. But who then are you? What shores do you come from? What course do you take?’ He sighed as she questioned him, and drawing the words from deep in his heart he replied: ‘O goddess, if I were to start my tale at the very beginning, and you had time to hear the story of our misfortunes, Vesper would have shut day away in the closed heavens. A storm drove us at whim to Libya’s shores, sailing the many seas from ancient Troy, if by chance the name of Troy has come to your hearing. I am that Aeneas, the virtuous, who carries my household gods in my ship with me, having snatched them from the enemy, my name is known beyond the sky. I seek my country Italy, and a people born of Jupiter on high. I embarked on the Phrygian sea with twenty ships, following my given fate, my mother, a goddess, showing the way: barely seven are left, wrenched from the wind and waves. I myself wander, destitute and unknown, in the Libyan desert, driven from Europe and Asia.’ Venus did not wait for further complaint but broke in on his lament like this: ‘Whoever you are I don’t think you draw the breath of life while hated by the gods, you who’ve reached a city of Tyre. Only go on from here, and take yourself to the queen’s threshold, since I bring you news that your friends are restored, and your ships recalled, driven to safety by the shifting winds, unless my parents taught me false prophecies, in vain. See, those twelve swans in exultant line, that an eagle, Jupiter’s bird, swooping from the heavens, was troubling in the clear sky: now, in a long file, they seem to have settled, or be gazing down now at those who already have. As, returning, their wings beat in play, and they circle the zenith in a crowd, and give their cry, so your ships and your people are in harbour, or near its entrance under full sail. Only go on, turn your steps where the path takes you.’ She spoke, and turning away she reflected the light from her rose-tinted neck, and breathed a divine perfume from her ambrosial hair: her robes trailed down to her feet, and, in her step, showed her a true goddess. He recognised his mother, and as she vanished followed her with his voice: ‘You too are cruel, why do you taunt your son with false phantoms? Why am I not allowed to join hand with hand, and speak and hear true words?’ So he accuses her, and turns his steps towards the city. But Venus veiled them with a dark mist as they walked, and, as a goddess, spread a thick covering of cloud around them, so that no one could see them, or touch them, or cause them delay, or ask them where they were going. She herself soars high in the air, to Paphos, and returns to her home with delight, where her temple and its hundred altars steam with Sabean incense, fragrant with fresh garlands. Meanwhile they’ve tackled the route the path revealed. And soon they climbed the hill that looms high over the city, and looks down from above on the towers that face it. Aeneas marvels at the mass of buildings, once huts, marvels at the gates, the noise, the paved roads. The eager Tyrians are busy, some building walls, and raising the citadel, rolling up stones by hand, some choosing the site for a house, and marking a furrow: they make magistrates and laws, and a sacred senate: here some are digging a harbour: others lay down the deep foundations of a theatre, and carve huge columns from the cliff, tall adornments for the future stage. Just as bees in early summer carry out their tasks among the flowery fields, in the sun, when they lead out the adolescent young of their race, or cram the cells with liquid honey, and swell them with sweet nectar, or receive the incoming burdens, or forming lines drive the lazy herd of drones from their hives: the work glows, and the fragrant honey’s sweet with thyme. ‘O fortunate those whose walls already rise!’ Aeneas cries, and admires the summits of the city. He enters among them, veiled in mist (marvellous to tell) and mingles with the people seen by no one. There was a grove in the centre of the city, delightful with shade, where the wave and storm-tossed Phoenicians first uncovered the head of a fierce horse, that regal Juno showed them: so the race would be noted in war, and rich in substance throughout the ages. Here Sidonian Dido was establishing a great temple to Juno, rich with gifts and divine presence, with bronze entrances rising from stairways, and beams jointed with bronze, and hinges creaking on bronze doors. Here in the grove something new appeared that calmed his fears for the first time, here for the first time Aeneas dared to hope for safety, and to put greater trust in his afflicted fortunes. While, waiting for the queen, in the vast temple, he looks at each thing: while he marvels at the city’s wealth, the skill of their artistry, and the products of their labours, he sees the battles at Troy in their correct order, the War, known through its fame to the whole world, the sons of Atreus, of Priam, and Achilles angered with both. He halted, and said, with tears: ‘What place is there, Achates, what region of earth not full of our hardships? See, Priam! Here too virtue has its rewards, here too there are tears for events, and mortal things touch the heart. Lose your fears: this fame will bring you benefit.’ So he speaks, and feeds his spirit with the insubstantial frieze, sighing often, and his face wet with the streaming tears. For he saw how, here, the Greeks fled, as they fought round Troy, chased by the Trojan youth, and, there, the Trojans fled, with plumed Achilles pressing them close in his chariot. Not far away, through his tears, he recognises Rhesus’s white-canvassed tents, that blood-stained Diomede, Tydeus’s son, laid waste with great slaughter, betrayed in their first sleep, diverting the fiery horses to his camp, before they could eat Trojan fodder, or drink from the river Xanthus. Elsewhere Troilus, his weapons discarded in flight, unhappy boy, unequally matched in his battle with Achilles, is dragged by his horses, clinging face-up to the empty chariot, still clutching the reins: his neck and hair trailing on the ground, and his spear reversed furrowing the dust. Meanwhile the Trojan women with loose hair, walked to unjust Pallas’s temple carrying the sacred robe, mourning humbly, and beating their breasts with their hands. The goddess was turned away, her eyes fixed on the ground. Three times had Achilles dragged Hector round the walls of Troy, and now was selling the lifeless corpse for gold. Then Aeneas truly heaves a deep sigh, from the depths of his heart, as he views the spoils, the chariot, the very body of his friend, and Priam stretching out his unwarlike hands. He recognised himself as well, fighting the Greek princes, and the Ethiopian ranks and black Memnon’s armour. Raging Penthesilea leads the file of Amazons, with crescent shields, and shines out among her thousands, her golden girdle fastened beneath her exposed breasts, a virgin warrior daring to fight with men. While these wonderful sights are viewed by Trojan Aeneas, while amazed he hangs there, rapt, with fixed gaze, Queen Dido, of loveliest form, reached the temple, with a great crowd of youths accompanying her. Just as Diana leads her dancing throng on Eurotas’s banks, or along the ridges of Cynthus, and, following her, a thousand mountain-nymphs gather on either side: and she carries a quiver on her shoulder, and overtops all the other goddesses as she walks: and delight seizes her mother Latona’s silent heart: such was Dido, so she carried herself, joyfully, amongst them, furthering the work, and her rising kingdom. Then, fenced with weapons, and resting on a high throne, she took her seat, at the goddess’s doorway, under the central vault. She was giving out laws and statutes to the people, and sharing the workers labour out in fair proportions, or assigning it by lot: when Aeneas suddenly saw Antheus, and Sergestus, and brave Cloanthus, approaching, among a large crowd, with others of the Trojans whom the black storm-clouds had scattered over the sea and carried far off to other shores. He was stunned, and Achates was stunned as well with joy and fear: they burned with eagerness to clasp hands, but the unexpected event confused their minds. They stay concealed and, veiled in the deep mist, they watch to see what happens to their friends, what shore they have left the fleet on, and why they are here: the elect of every ship came begging favour, and made for the temple among the shouting. When they’d entered, and freedom to speak in person had been granted, Ilioneus, the eldest, began calmly: ‘O queen, whom Jupiter grants the right to found a new city, and curb proud tribes with your justice, we unlucky Trojans, driven by the winds over every sea, pray to you: keep the terror of fire away from our ships, spare a virtuous race and look more kindly on our fate. We have not come to despoil Libyan homes with the sword, or to carry off stolen plunder to the shore: that violence is not in our minds, the conquered have not such pride. There’s a place called Hesperia by the Greeks, an ancient land, strong in men, with a rich soil: There the Oenotrians lived: now rumour has it that a later people has called it Italy, after their leader. We had set our course there when stormy Orion, rising with the tide, carried us onto hidden shoals, and fierce winds scattered us far, with the overwhelming surge, over the waves among uninhabitable rocks: we few have drifted here to your shores. What race of men is this? What land is so barbaric as to allow this custom, that we’re denied the hospitality of the sands? They stir up war, and prevent us setting foot on dry land. If you despise the human race and mortal weapons, still trust that the gods remember right and wrong. Aeneas was our king, no one more just than him in his duty, or greater in war and weaponry. If fate still protects the man, if he still enjoys the ethereal air, if he doesn’t yet rest among the cruel shades, there’s nothing to fear, and you’d not repent of vying with him first in kindness. Then there are cities and fields too in the region of Sicily, and famous Acestes, of Trojan blood. Allow us to beach our fleet, damaged by the storms, and cut planks from trees, and shape oars, so if our king’s restored and our friends are found we can head for Italy, gladly seek Italy and Latium: and if our saviour’s lost, and the Libyan seas hold you, Troy’s most virtuous father, if no hope now remains from Iulus, let us seek the Sicilian straits, from which we were driven, and the home prepared for us, and a king, Acestes.’ So Ilioneus spoke: and the Trojans all shouted with one voice. Then, Dido, spoke briefly, with lowered eyes: ‘Trojans, free your hearts of fear: dispel your cares. Harsh events and the newness of the kingdom force me to effect such things, and protect my borders with guards on all sides. Who doesn’t know of Aeneas’s race, and the city of Troy, the bravery, the men, or so great a blaze of warfare, indeed, we Phoenicians don’t possess unfeeling hearts, the sun doesn’t harness his horses that far from this Tyrian city. Whether you opt for mighty Hesperia, and Saturn’s fields, or the summit of Eryx, and Acestes for king, I’ll see you safely escorted, and help you with my wealth. Or do you wish to settle here with me, as equals in my kingdom? The city I build is yours: beach your ships: Trojans and Tyrians will be treated by me without distinction. I wish your king Aeneas himself were here, driven by that same storm! Indeed, I’ll send reliable men along the coast, and order them to travel the length of Libya, in case he’s driven aground, and wandering the woods and towns.’ Brave Achetes, and our forefather Aeneas, their spirits raised by these words, had been burning to break free of the mist. Achates was first to speak, saying to Aeneas: ‘Son of the goddess, what intention springs to your mind? You see all’s safe, the fleet and our friends have been restored to us. Only one is missing, whom we saw plunged in the waves: all else is in accord with your mother’s words.’ He’d scarcely spoken when the mist surrounding them suddenly parted, and vanished in the clear air. Aeneas stood there, shining in the bright daylight, like a god in shoulders and face: since his mother had herself imparted to her son beauty to his hair, a glow of youth, and a joyful charm to his eyes: like the glory art can give to ivory, or as when silver, or Parian marble, is surrounded by gold. Then he addressed the queen, suddenly, surprising them all, saying: ‘I am here in person, Aeneas the Trojan, him whom you seek, saved from the Libyan waves. O Dido, it is not in our power, nor those of our Trojan race, wherever they may be, scattered through the wide world, to pay you sufficient thanks, you who alone have pitied Troy’s unspeakable miseries, and share your city and home with us, the remnant left by the Greeks, wearied by every mischance, on land and sea, and lacking everything. May the gods, and the mind itself conscious of right, bring you a just reward, if the gods respect the virtuous, if there is justice anywhere. What happy age gave birth to you? What parents produced such a child? Your honour, name and praise will endure forever, whatever lands may summon me, while rivers run to the sea, while shadows cross mountain slopes, while the sky nourishes the stars.’ So saying he grasps his friend Iloneus by the right hand, Serestus with the left, then others, brave Gyus and brave Cloanthus. Sidonian Dido was first amazed at the hero’s looks then at his great misfortunes, and she spoke, saying: ‘Son of a goddess, what fate pursues you through all these dangers? What force drives you to these barbarous shores? Are you truly that Aeneas whom kindly Venus bore to Trojan Anchises, by the waters of Phrygian Simois? Indeed, I myself remember Teucer coming to Sidon, exiled from his country’s borders, seeking a new kingdom with Belus’s help: Belus, my father, was laying waste rich Cyprus, and, as victor, held it by his authority. Since then the fall of the Trojan city is known to me, and your name, and those of the Greek kings. Even their enemy granted the Teucrians high praise, maintaining they were born of the ancient Teucrian stock. So come, young lords, and enter our palace. Fortune, pursuing me too, through many similar troubles, willed that I would find peace at last in this land. Not being unknown to evil, I’ve learned to aid the unhappy.’ So she speaks, and leads Aeneas into the royal house, and proclaims, as well, offerings at the god’s temples. She sends no less than twenty bulls to his friends on the shore, and a hundred of her largest pigs with bristling backs, a hundred fat lambs with the ewes, and joyful gifts of wine, but the interior of the palace is laid out with royal luxury, and they prepare a feast in the centre of the palace: covers worked skilfully in princely purple, massive silverware on the tables, and her forefathers’ heroic deeds engraved in gold, a long series of exploits traced through many heroes, since the ancient origins of her people. Aeneas quickly sends Achates to the ships to carry the news to Ascanius (since a father’s love won’t let his mind rest) and bring him to the city: on Ascanius all the care of a fond parent is fixed. He commands him to bring gifts too, snatched from the ruins of Troy, a figured robe stiff with gold, and a cloak fringed with yellow acanthus, worn by Helen of Argos, brought from Mycenae when she sailed to Troy and her unlawful marriage, a wonderful gift from her mother Leda: and the sceptre that Ilione, Priam’s eldest daughter, once carried, and a necklace of pearls, and a double-coronet of jewels and gold. Achates, hastening to fulfil these commands, took his way towards the ships. But Venus was planning new wiles and stratagems in her heart: how Cupid, altered in looks, might arrive in place of sweet Ascanius, and arouse the passionate queen by his gifts, and entwine the fire in her bones: truly she fears the unreliability of this house, and the duplicitous Tyrians: unyielding Juno angers her, and her worries increase with nightfall. So she speaks these words to winged Cupid: ‘My son, you who alone are my great strength, my power, a son who scorns mighty Jupiter’s Typhoean thunderbolts, I ask your help, and humbly call on your divine will. It’s known to you how Aeneas, your brother, is driven over the sea, round all the shores, by bitter Juno’s hatred, and you have often grieved with my grief. Phoenician Dido holds him there, delaying him with flattery, and I fear what may come of Juno’s hospitality: at such a critical turn of events she’ll not be idle. So I intend to deceive the queen with guile, and encircle her with passion, so that no divine will can rescue her, but she’ll be seized, with me, by deep love for Aeneas. Now listen to my thoughts on how you can achieve this. Summoned by his dear father, the royal child, my greatest concern, prepares to go to the Sidonian city, carrying gifts that survived the sea, and the flames of Troy. I’ll lull him to sleep and hide him in my sacred shrine on the heights of Cythera or Idalium, so he can know nothing of my deceptions, or interrupt them mid-way. For no more than a single night imitate his looks by art, and, a boy yourself, take on the known face of a boy, so that when Dido takes you to her breast, joyfully, amongst the royal feast, and the flowing wine, when she embraces you, and plants sweet kisses on you, you’ll breathe hidden fire into her, deceive her with your poison.’ Cupid obeys his dear mother’s words, sets aside his wings, and laughingly trips along with Iulus’s step. But Venus pours gentle sleep over Ascanius’s limbs, and warming him in her breast, carries him, with divine power, to Idalia’s high groves, where soft marjoram smothers him in flowers, and the breath of its sweet shade. Now, obedient to her orders, delighting in Achetes as guide, Cupid goes off carrying royal gifts for the Tyrians. When he arrives the queen has already settled herself in the centre, on her golden couch under royal canopies. Now our forefather Aeneas and the youth of Troy gather there, and recline on cloths of purple. Servants pour water over their hands: serve bread from baskets: and bring napkins of smooth cloth. Inside there are fifty female servants, in a long line, whose task it is to prepare the meal, and tend the hearth fires: a hundred more, and as many pages of like age, to load the tables with food, and fill the cups. And the Tyrians too are gathered in crowds through the festive halls, summoned to recline on the embroidered couches. They marvel at Aeneas’s gifts, marvel at Iulus, the god’s brilliant appearance, and deceptive words, at the robe, and the cloak embroidered with yellow acanthus. The unfortunate Phoenician above all, doomed to future ruin, cannot pacify her feelings, and catches fire with gazing, stirred equally by the child and by the gifts. He, having hung in an embrace round Aeneas’s neck, and sated the deceived father’s great love, seeks out the queen. Dido, clings to him with her eyes and with her heart, taking him now and then on her lap, unaware how great a god is entering her, to her sorrow. But he, remembering his Cyprian mother’s wishes, begins gradually to erase all thought of Sychaeus, and works at seducing her mind, so long unstirred, and her heart unused to love, with living passion. At the first lull in the feasting, the tables were cleared, and they set out vast bowls, and wreathed the wine with garlands. Noise filled the palace, and voices rolled out across the wide halls: bright lamps hung from the golden ceilings, and blazing candles dispelled the night. Then the queen asked for a drinking-cup, heavy with gold and jewels, that Belus and all Belus’s line were accustomed to use, and filled it with wine. Then the halls were silent. She spoke: ‘Jupiter, since they say you’re the one who creates the laws of hospitality, let this be a happy day for the Tyrians and those from Troy, and let it be remembered by our children. Let Bacchus, the joy-bringer, and kind Juno be present, and you, O Phoenicians, make this gathering festive.’ She spoke and poured an offering of wine onto the table, and after the libation was the first to touch the bowl to her lips, then she gave it to Bitias, challenging him: he briskly drained the brimming cup, drenching himself in its golden fullness, then other princes drank. Iolas, the long-haired, made his golden lyre resound, he whom great Atlas taught. He sang of the wandering moon and the sun’s labours, where men and beasts came from, and rain and fire, of Arcturus, the rainy Hyades, the two Bears: why the winter suns rush to dip themselves in the sea, and what delay makes the slow nights linger. The Tyrians redoubled their applause, the Trojans too. And unfortunate Dido, she too spent the night in conversation, and drank deep of her passion, asking endlessly about Priam and Hector: now about the armour that Memnon, son of the Dawn, came with to Troy, what kind were Diomed’s horses, how great was Achilles. ‘But come, my guest, tell us from the start all the Greek trickery, your men’s mishaps, and your wanderings: since it’s the seventh summer now that brings you here, in your journey, over every land and sea.’

Book 2

They were all silent, and turned their faces towards him intently. Then from his high couch our forefather Aeneas began: ‘O queen, you command me to renew unspeakable grief, how the Greeks destroyed the riches of Troy, and the sorrowful kingdom, miseries I saw myself, and in which I played a great part. What Myrmidon, or Dolopian, or warrior of fierce Ulysses, could keep from tears in telling such a story? Now the dew-filled night is dropping from the sky, and the setting stars urge sleep. But if you have such desire to learn of our misfortunes, and briefly hear of Troy’s last agonies, though my mind shudders at the memory, and recoils in sorrow, I’ll begin. ‘After many years have slipped by, the leaders of the Greeks, opposed by the Fates, and damaged by the war, build a horse of mountainous size, through Pallas’s divine art, and weave planks of fir over its ribs: they pretend it’s a votive offering: this rumour spreads. They secretly hide a picked body of men, chosen by lot, there, in the dark body, filling the belly and the huge cavernous insides with armed warriors. Tenedos is within sight, an island known to fame, rich in wealth when Priam’s kingdom remained, now just a bay and an unsafe anchorage for boats: they sail there, and hide themselves, on the lonely shore. We thought they had gone, and were seeking Mycenae with the wind. So all the Trojan land was free of its long sorrow. The gates were opened: it was a joy to go and see the Greek camp, the deserted site and the abandoned shore. Here the Dolopians stayed, here cruel Achilles, here lay the fleet, here they used to meet us in battle. Some were amazed at virgin Minerva’s fatal gift, and marvel at the horse’s size: and at first Thymoetes, whether through treachery, or because Troy’s fate was certain, urged that it be dragged inside the walls and placed on the citadel. But Capys, and those of wiser judgement, commanded us to either hurl this deceit of the Greeks, this suspect gift, into the sea, or set fire to it from beneath, or pierce its hollow belly, and probe for hiding places. The crowd, uncertain, was split by opposing opinions. Then Laocoön rushes down eagerly from the heights of the citadel, to confront them all, a large crowd with him, and shouts from far off: ‘O unhappy citizens, what madness? Do you think the enemy’s sailed away? Or do you think any Greek gift’s free of treachery? Is that Ulysses’s reputation? Either there are Greeks in hiding, concealed by the wood, or it’s been built as a machine to use against our walls, or spy on our homes, or fall on the city from above, or it hides some other trick: Trojans, don’t trust this horse. Whatever it is, I’m afraid of Greeks even those bearing gifts.’ So saying he hurled his great spear, with extreme force, at the creature’s side, and into the frame of the curved belly. The spear stuck quivering, and at the womb’s reverberation the cavity rang hollow and gave out a groan. And if the gods’ fate, if our minds, had not been ill-omened, he’d have incited us to mar the Greeks hiding-place with steel: Troy would still stand: and you, high tower of Priam would remain. See, meanwhile, some Trojan shepherds, shouting loudly, dragging a youth, his hands tied behind his back, to the king. In order to contrive this, and lay Troy open to the Greeks, he had placed himself in their path, calm in mind, and ready for either course: to engage in deception, or find certain death. The Trojan youth run, crowding round, from all sides, to see him, and compete in mocking the captive. Listen now to Greek treachery, and learn of all their crimes from just this one. Since, as he stood, looking troubled, unarmed, amongst the gazing crowd, and cast his eyes around the Phrygian ranks, he said: ‘Ah! What land, what seas would accept me now? What’s left for me at the last in my misery, I who have no place among the Greeks, when the hostile Trojans, themselves, demand my punishment and my blood? At this the mood changed and all violence was checked. We urged him to say what blood he was sprung from, and why he suffered: and tell us what trust could be placed in him as a captive. Setting fear aside at last he speaks: “O king, I’ll tell you the whole truth, whatever happens, and indeed I’ll not deny that I’m of Argive birth: this first of all: if Fortune has made me wretched, she’ll not also wrongly make me false and a liar. If by any chance some mention of Palamedes’s name has reached your ears, son of Belus, and talk of his glorious fame, he whom the Pelasgians, on false charges of treason, by atrocious perjury, because he opposed the war, sent innocent to his death, and who they mourn, now he’s taken from the light: well my father, being poor, sent me here to the war when I was young, as his friend, as we were blood relatives. While Palamades was safe in power, and prospered in the kings’ council, I also had some name and respect. But when he passed from this world above, through the jealousy of plausible Ulysses (the tale’s not unknown) I was ruined, and spent my life in obscurity and grief, inwardly angry at the fate of my innocent friend. Maddened I could not be silent, and I promised, if chance allowed, and if I ever returned as a victor to my native Argos, to avenge him, and with my words stirred bitter hatred. The first hint of trouble came to me from this, because of it Ulysses was always frightening me with new accusations, spreading veiled rumours among the people, and guiltily seeking to defend himself. He would not rest till, with Calchas as his instrument – but why I do unfold this unwelcome story? Why hinder you? If you consider all Greeks the same, and that’s sufficient, take your vengeance now: that’s what the Ithacan wants, and the sons of Atreus would pay dearly for.” Then indeed we were on fire to ask, and seek the cause, ignorant of such wickedness and Pelasgian trickery. Trembling with fictitious feelings he continued, saying: “The Greeks, weary with the long war, often longed to leave Troy and execute a retreat: if only they had! Often a fierce storm from the sea land-locked them, and the gale terrified them from leaving: once that horse, made of maple-beams, stood there, especially then, storm-clouds thundered in the sky. Anxious, we send Eurypylus to consult Phoebus’s oracle, and he brings back these dark words from the sanctuary: ‘With blood, and a virgin sacrifice, you calmed the winds, O Greeks, when you first came to these Trojan shores, seek your return in blood, and the well-omened sacrifice of an Argive life.’ When this reached the ears of the crowd, their minds were stunned, and an icy shudder ran to their deepest marrow: who readies this fate, whom does Apollo choose? At this the Ithacan thrust the seer, Calchas, into their midst, demanding to know what the god’s will might be, among the uproar. Many were already cruelly prophesying that ingenious man’s wickedness towards me, and silently saw what was coming. For ten days the seer kept silence, refusing to reveal the secret by his words, or condemn anyone to death. But at last, urged on by Ulysses’s loud clamour, he broke into speech as agreed, and doomed me to the altar. All acclaimed it, and what each feared himself, they endured when directed, alas, towards one man’s destruction. Now the terrible day arrived, the rites were being prepared for me, the salted grain, and the headbands for my forehead. I confess I saved myself from death, burst my bonds, and all that night hid by a muddy lake among the reeds, till they set sail, if as it happened they did. And now I’ve no hope of seeing my old country again, or my sweet children or the father I long for: perhaps they’ll seek to punish them for my flight, and avenge my crime through the death of these unfortunates. But I beg you, by the gods, by divine power that knows the truth, by whatever honour anywhere remains pure among men, have pity on such troubles, pity the soul that endures undeserved suffering.” With these tears we grant him his life, and also pity him. Priam himself is the first to order his manacles and tight bonds removed, and speaks these words of kindness to him: “From now on, whoever you are, forget the Greeks, lost to you: you’ll be one of us. And explain to me truly what I ask: Why have they built this huge hulk of a horse? Who created it? What do they aim at? What religious object or war machine is it?” He spoke: the other, schooled in Pelasgian art and trickery, raised his unbound palms towards the stars, saying: “You, eternal fires, in your invulnerable power, be witness, you altars and impious swords I escaped, you sacrificial ribbons of the gods that I wore as victim: with right I break the Greek’s solemn oaths, with right I hate them, and if things are hidden bring them to light: I’m bound by no laws of their country. Only, Troy, maintain your assurances, if I speak truth, if I repay you handsomely: kept intact yourself, keep your promises intact. All the hopes of the Greeks and their confidence to begin the war always depended on Pallas’s aid. But from that moment when the impious son of Tydeus, Diomede, and Ulysses inventor of wickedness, approached the fateful Palladium to snatch it from its sacred temple, killing the guards on the citadel’s heights, and dared to seize the holy statue, and touch the sacred ribbons of the goddess with blood-soaked hands: from that moment the hopes of the Greeks receded, and slipping backwards ebbed: their power fragmented, and the mind of the goddess opposed them. Pallas gave sign of this, and not with dubious portents, for scarcely was the statue set up in camp, when glittering flames shone from the upturned eyes, a salt sweat ran over its limbs, and (wonderful to tell) she herself darted from the ground with shield on her arm, and spear quivering. Calchas immediately proclaimed that the flight by sea must be attempted, and that Troy cannot be uprooted by Argive weapons, unless they renew the omens at Argos, and take the goddess home, whom they have indeed taken by sea in their curved ships. And now they are heading for their native Mycenae with the wind, obtaining weapons and the friendship of the gods, re-crossing the sea to arrive unexpectedly, So Calchas reads the omens. Warned by him, they’ve set up this statue of a horse for the wounded goddess, instead of the Palladium, to atone severely for their sin. And Calchas ordered them to raise the huge mass of woven timbers, raised to the sky, so the gates would not take it, nor could it be dragged inside the walls, or watch over the people in their ancient rites. Since if your hands violated Minerva’s gift, then utter ruin (may the gods first turn that prediction on themselves!) would come to Priam and the Trojans: yet if it ascended into your citadel, dragged by your hands, Asia would come to the very walls of Pelops, in mighty war, and a like fate would await our children.” Through these tricks and the skill of perjured Sinon, the thing was credited, and we were trapped, by his wiliness, and false tears, we, who were not conquered by Diomede, or Larissan Achilles, nor by the ten years of war, nor those thousand ships. Then something greater and more terrible befalls us wretches, and stirs our unsuspecting souls. Laocoön, chosen by lot as priest of Neptune, was sacrificing a huge bull at the customary altar. See, a pair of serpents with huge coils, snaking over the sea from Tenedos through the tranquil deep (I shudder to tell it), and heading for the shore side by side: their fronts lift high over the tide, and their blood-red crests top the waves, the rest of their body slides through the ocean behind, and their huge backs arch in voluminous folds. There’s a roar from the foaming sea: now they reach the shore, and with burning eyes suffused with blood and fire, lick at their hissing jaws with flickering tongues. Blanching at the sight we scatter. They move on a set course towards Laocoön: and first each serpent entwines the slender bodies of his two sons, and biting at them, devours their wretched limbs: then as he comes to their aid, weapons in hand, they seize him too, and wreathe him in massive coils: now encircling his waist twice, twice winding their scaly folds around his throat, their high necks and heads tower above him. He strains to burst the knots with his hands, his sacred headband drenched in blood and dark venom, while he sends terrible shouts up to the heavens, like the bellowing of a bull that has fled wounded, from the altar, shaking the useless axe from its neck. But the serpent pair escape, slithering away to the high temple, and seek the stronghold of fierce Pallas, to hide there under the goddess’s feet, and the circle of her shield. Then in truth a strange terror steals through each shuddering heart, and they say that Laocoön has justly suffered for his crime in wounding the sacred oak-tree with his spear, by hurling its wicked shaft into the trunk. “Pull the statue to her house”, they shout, “and offer prayers to the goddess’s divinity.” We breached the wall, and opened up the defences of the city. All prepare themselves for the work and they set up wheels allowing movement under its feet, and stretch hemp ropes round its neck. That engine of fate mounts our walls pregnant with armed men. Around it boys, and virgin girls, sing sacred songs, and delight in touching their hands to the ropes: Up it glides and rolls threateningly into the midst of the city. O my country, O Ilium house of the gods, and you, Trojan walls famous in war! Four times it sticks at the threshold of the gates, and four times the weapons clash in its belly: yet we press on regardless, blind with frenzy, and site the accursed creature on top of our sacred citadel. Even then Cassandra, who, by the god’s decree, is never to be believed by Trojans, reveals our future fate with her lips. We unfortunate ones, for whom that day is our last, clothe the gods’ temples, throughout the city, with festive branches. Meanwhile the heavens turn, and night rushes from the Ocean, wrapping the earth, and sky, and the Myrmidons’ tricks, in its vast shadow: through the city the Trojans fall silent: sleep enfolds their weary limbs. And now the Greek phalanx of battle-ready ships sailed from Tenedos, in the benign stillness of the silent moon, seeking the known shore, when the royal galley raised a torch, and Sinon, protected by the gods’ unjust doom, sets free the Greeks imprisoned by planks of pine, in the horses’ belly. Opened, it releases them to the air, and sliding down a lowered rope, Thessandrus, and Sthenelus, the leaders, and fatal Ulysses, emerge joyfully from their wooden cave, with Acamas, Thoas, Peleus’s son Neoptolemus, the noble Machaon, Menelaus, and Epeus who himself devised this trick. They invade the city that’s drowned in sleep and wine, kill the watchmen, welcome their comrades at the open gates, and link their clandestine ranks. It was the hour when first sleep begins for weary mortals, and steals over them as the sweetest gift of the gods. See, in dream, before my eyes, Hector seemed to stand there, saddest of all and pouring out great tears, torn by the chariot, as once he was, black with bloody dust, and his swollen feet pierced by the thongs. Ah, how he looked! How changed he was from that Hector who returned wearing Achilles’s armour, or who set Trojan flames to the Greek ships! His beard was ragged, his hair matted with blood, bearing those many wounds he received dragged around the walls of his city. And I seemed to weep myself, calling out to him, and speaking to him in words of sorrow: “Oh light of the Troad, surest hope of the Trojans, what has so delayed you? What shore do you come from Hector, the long-awaited? Weary from the many troubles of our people and our city I see you, oh, after the death of so many of your kin! What shameful events have marred that clear face? And why do I see these wounds?’ He does not reply, nor does he wait on my idle questions, but dragging heavy sighs from the depths of his heart, he says: “Ah! Son of the goddess, fly, tear yourself from the flames. The enemy has taken the walls: Troy falls from her high place. Enough has been given to Priam and your country: if Pergama could be saved by any hand, it would have been saved by this. Troy entrusts her sacred relics and household gods to you: take them as friends of your fate, seek mighty walls for them, those you will found at last when you have wandered the seas.” So he speaks, and brings the sacred headbands in his hands from the innermost shrine, potent Vesta, and the undying flame. Meanwhile the city is confused with grief, on every side, and though my father Anchises’s house is remote, secluded and hidden by trees, the sounds grow clearer and clearer, and the terror of war sweeps upon it. I shake off sleep, and climb to the highest roof-top, and stand there with ears strained: as when fire attacks a wheat-field when the south-wind rages, or the rushing torrent from a mountain stream covers the fields, drowns the ripe crops, the labour of oxen, and brings down the trees headlong, and the dazed shepherd, unaware, hears the echo from a high rocky peak. Now the truth is obvious, and the Greek plot revealed. Now the vast hall of Deiphobus is given to ruin the fire over it: now Ucalegon’s nearby blazes: the wide Sigean straits throw back the glare. Then the clamour of men and the blare of trumpets rises. Frantically I seize weapons: not because there is much use for weapons, but my spirit burns to gather men for battle and race to the citadel with my friends: madness and anger hurl my mind headlong, and I think it beautiful to die fighting. Now, see, Panthus escaping the Greek spears, Panthus, son of Othrys, Apollo’s priest on the citadel, dragging along with his own hands the sacred relics, the conquered gods, his little grandchild, running frantically to my door: “Where’s the best advantage, Panthus, what position should we take?” I’d barely spoken, when he answered with a groan: “The last day comes, Troy’s inescapable hour. Troy is past, Ilium is past, and the great glory of the Trojans: Jupiter carries all to Argos: the Greeks are lords of the burning city. The horse, standing high on the ramparts, pours out warriors, and Sinon the conqueror exultantly stirs the flames. Others are at the wide-open gates, as many thousands as ever came from great Mycenae: more have blocked the narrow streets with hostile weapons: a line of standing steel with naked flickering blades is ready for the slaughter: barely the first few guards at the gates attempt to fight, and they resist in blind conflict.” By these words from Othrys’ son, and divine will, I’m thrust amongst the weapons and the flames, where the dismal Fury sounds, and the roar, and the clamour rising to the sky. Friends joined me, visible in the moonlight, Ripheus, and Epytus, mighty in battle, Hypanis and Dymas, gathered to my side, and young Coroebus, Mygdon’s son: by chance he’d arrived in Troy at that time, burning with mad love for Cassandra, and brought help, as a potential son-in-law, to Priam, and the Trojans, unlucky man, who didn’t listen to the prophecy of his frenzied bride! When I saw them crowded there eager for battle, I began as follows: “Warriors, bravest of frustrated spirits, if your ardent desire is fixed on following me to the end, you can see our cause’s fate. All the gods by whom this empire was supported have departed, leaving behind their temples and their altars: you aid a burning city: let us die and rush into battle. The beaten have one refuge, to have no hope of refuge.” So their young spirits were roused to fury. Then, like ravaging wolves in a dark mist, driven blindly by the cruel rage of their bellies, leaving their young waiting with thirsty jaws, we pass through our enemies, to certain death, and make our way to the heart of the city: dark night envelops us in deep shadow. Who could tell of that destruction in words, or equal our pain with tears? The ancient city falls, she who ruled for so many years: crowds of dead bodies lie here and there in the streets, among the houses, and on the sacred thresholds of the gods. Nor is it Trojans alone who pay the penalty with their blood: courage returns at times to the hearts of the defeated and the Greek conquerors die. Cruel mourning is everywhere, everywhere there is panic, and many a form of death. First, Androgeos, meets us, with a great crowd of Greeks around him, unknowingly thinking us allied troops, and calls to us in friendly speech as well: “Hurry, men! What sluggishness makes you delay so? The others are raping and plundering burning Troy: are you only now arriving from the tall ships?” He spoke, and straight away (since no reply given was credible enough) he knew he’d fallen into the enemy fold. He was stunned, drew back, and stifled his voice. Like a man who unexpectedly treads on a snake in rough briars, as he strides over the ground, and shrinks back in sudden fear as it rears in anger and swells its dark-green neck, so Androgeos, shuddering at the sight of us, drew back. We charge forward and surround them closely with weapons, and ignorant of the place, seized by terror, as they are, we slaughter them wholesale. Fortune favours our first efforts. And at this Coroebus, exultant with courage and success, cries: “Oh my friends, where fortune first points out the path to safety, and shows herself a friend, let us follow. Let’s change our shields adopt Greek emblems. Courage or deceit: who’ll question it in war? They’ll arm us themselves.” With these words, he takes up Androgeos’s plumed helmet, his shield with its noble markings, and straps the Greek’s sword to his side. Ripheus does likewise, Dymas too, and all the warriors delight in it. Each man arms himself with the fresh spoils. We pass on mingling with the Greeks, with gods that are not our known, and clash, in many an armed encounter, in the blind night, and we send many a Greek down to Orcus. Some scatter to the ships, and run for safer shores, some, in humiliated terror, climb the vast horse again and hide in the womb they know. “Ah, put no faith in anything the will of the gods opposes! See, Priam’s virgin daughter dragged, with streaming hair, from the sanctuary and temple of Minerva, lifting her burning eyes to heaven in vain: her eyes, since cords restrained her gentle hands. Coroebus could not stand the sight, maddened in mind, and hurled himself among the ranks, seeking death. We follow him, and, weapons locked, charge together. Here, at first, we were overwhelmed by Trojan spears, hurled from the high summit of the temple, and wretched slaughter was caused by the look of our armour, and the confusion arising from our Greek crests. Then the Danaans, gathering from all sides, groaning with anger at the girl being pulled away from them, rush us, Ajax the fiercest, the two Atrides, all the Greek host: just as, at the onset of a tempest, conflicting winds clash, the west, the south, and the east that joys in the horses of dawn: the forest roars, brine-wet Nereus rages with his trident, and stirs the waters from their lowest depths. Even those we have scattered by a ruse, in the dark of night, and driven right through the city, re-appear: for the first time they recognise our shields and deceitful weapons, and realise our speech differs in sound to theirs. In a moment we’re overwhelmed by weight of numbers: first Coroebus falls, by the armed goddess’s altar, at the hands of Peneleus: and Ripheus, who was the most just of all the Trojans, and keenest for what was right (the gods’ vision was otherwise): Hypanis and Dymas die at the hands of allies: and your great piety, Panthus, and Apollo’s sacred headband can not defend you in your downfall. Ashes of Ilium, death flames of my people, be witness that, at your ruin, I did not evade the Danaan weapons, nor the risks, and, if it had been my fate to die, I earned it with my sword. Then we are separated, Iphitus and Pelias with me, Iphitus weighed down by the years, and Pelias, slow-footed, wounded by Ulysses: immediately we’re summoned to Priam’s palace by the clamour. Here’s a great battle indeed, as if the rest of the war were nothing, as if others were not dying throughout the whole city, so we see wild War and the Greeks rushing to the palace, and the entrance filled with a press of shields. Ladders cling to the walls: men climb the stairs under the very doorposts, with their left hands holding defensive shields against the spears, grasping the sloping stone with their right. In turn, the Trojans pull down the turrets and roof-tiles of the halls, prepared to defend themselves even in death, seeing the end near them, with these as weapons: and send the gilded roof-beams down, the glory of their ancient fathers. Others with naked swords block the inner doors: these they defend in massed ranks. Our spirits were reinspired, to bring help to the king’s palace, to relieve our warriors with our aid, and add power to the beaten. There was an entrance with hidden doors, and a passage in use between Priam’s halls, and a secluded gateway beyond, which the unfortunate Andromache, while the kingdom stood, often used to traverse, going, unattended, to her husband’s parents, taking the little Astyanax to his grandfather. I reached the topmost heights of the pediment from which the wretched Trojans were hurling their missiles in vain. A turret standing on the sloping edge, and rising from the roof to the sky, was one from which all Troy could be seen, the Danaan ships, and the Greek camp: and attacking its edges with our swords, where the upper levels offered weaker mortar, we wrenched it from its high place, and sent it flying: falling suddenly it dragged all to ruin with a roar, and shattered far and wide over the Greek ranks. But more arrived, and meanwhile neither the stones nor any of the various missiles ceased to fly. In front of the courtyard itself, in the very doorway of the palace, Pyrrhus exults, glittering with the sheen of bronze: like a snake, fed on poisonous herbs, in the light, that cold winter has held, swollen, under the ground, and now, gleaming with youth, its skin sloughed, ripples its slimy back, lifts its front high towards the sun, and darts its triple-forked tongue from its jaws. Huge Periphas, and Automedon the armour-bearer, driver of Achilles’s team, and all the Scyrian youths, advance on the palace together and hurl firebrands onto the roof. Pyrrhus himself among the front ranks, clutching a double-axe, breaks through the stubborn gate, and pulls the bronze doors from their hinges: and now, hewing out the timber, he breaches the solid oak and opens a huge window with a gaping mouth. The palace within appears, and the long halls are revealed: the inner sanctums of Priam, and the ancient kings, appear, and armed men are seen standing on the very threshold. But, inside the palace, groans mingle with sad confusion, and, deep within, the hollow halls howl with women’s cries: the clamour strikes the golden stars. Trembling mothers wander the vast building, clasping the doorposts, and placing kisses on them. Pyrrhus drives forward, with his father Achilles’s strength, no barricades nor the guards themselves can stop him: the door collapses under the ram’s blows, and the posts collapse, wrenched from their sockets. Strength makes a road: the Greeks, pour through, force a passage, slaughter the front ranks, and fill the wide space with their men. A foaming river is not so furious, when it floods, bursting its banks, overwhelms the barriers against it, and rages in a mass through the fields, sweeping cattle and stables across the whole plain. I saw Pyrrhus myself, on the threshold, mad with slaughter, and the two sons of Atreus: I saw Hecuba, her hundred women, and Priam at the altars, polluting with blood the flames that he himself had sanctified. Those fifty chambers, the promise of so many offspring, the doorposts, rich with spoils of barbarian gold, crash down: the Greeks possess what the fire spares. And maybe you ask, what was Priam’s fate. When he saw the end of the captive city, the palace doors wrenched away, and the enemy among the inner rooms, the aged man clasped his long-neglected armour on his old, trembling shoulders, and fastened on his useless sword, and hurried into the thick of the enemy seeking death. In the centre of the halls, and under the sky’s naked arch, was a large altar, with an ancient laurel nearby, that leant on the altar, and clothed the household gods with shade. Here Hecuba, and her daughters, like doves driven by a dark storm, crouched uselessly by the shrines, huddled together, clutching at the statues of the gods. And when she saw Priam himself dressed in youthful armour she cried: “What mad thought, poor husband, urges you to fasten on these weapons? Where do you run? The hour demands no such help, nor defences such as these, not if my own Hector were here himself. Here, I beg you, this altar will protect us all or we’ll die together.” So she spoke and drew the old man towards her, and set him down on the sacred steps. See, Polites, one of Priam’s sons, escaping Pyrrhus’s slaughter, runs down the long hallways, through enemies and spears, and, wounded, crosses the empty courts. Pyrrhus chases after him, eager to strike him, and grasps at him now, and now, with his hand, at spear-point. When finally he reached the eyes and gaze of his parents, he fell, and poured out his life in a river of blood. Priam, though even now in death’s clutches, did not spare his voice at this, or hold back his anger: “If there is any justice in heaven, that cares about such things, may the gods repay you with fit thanks, and due reward for your wickedness, for such acts, you who have made me see my own son’s death in front of my face, and defiled a father’s sight with murder. Yet Achilles, whose son you falsely claim to be, was no such enemy to Priam: he respected the suppliant’s rights, and honour, and returned Hector’s bloodless corpse to its sepulchre, and sent me home to my kingdom.” So the old man spoke, and threw his ineffectual spear without strength, which immediately spun from the clanging bronze and hung uselessly from the centre of the shield’s boss. Pyrrhus spoke to him: “Then you can be messenger, carry the news to my father, to Peleus’s son: remember to tell him of degenerate Pyrrhus, and of my sad actions: now die.” Saying this he dragged him, trembling, and slithering in the pool of his son’s blood, to the very altar, and twined his left hand in his hair, raised the glittering sword in his right, and buried it to the hilt in his side. This was the end of Priam’s life: this was the death that fell to him by lot, seeing Troy ablaze and its citadel toppled, he who was once the magnificent ruler of so many Asian lands and peoples. A once mighty body lies on the shore, the head shorn from its shoulders, a corpse without a name. Then for the first time a wild terror gripped me. I stood amazed: my dear father’s image rose before me as I saw a king, of like age, with a cruel wound, breathing his life away: and my Creusa, forlorn, and the ransacked house, and the fate of little Iulus. I looked back, and considered the troops that were round me. They had all left me, wearied, and hurled their bodies to earth, or sick with misery dropped into the flames. So I was alone now, when I saw the daughter of Tyndareus, Helen, close to Vesta’s portal, hiding silently in the secret shrine: the bright flames gave me light, as I wandered, gazing everywhere, randomly. Afraid of Trojans angered at the fall of Troy, Greek vengeance, and the fury of a husband she deserted, she, the mutual curse of Troy and her own country, had concealed herself and crouched, a hated thing, by the altars. Fire blazed in my spirit: anger rose to avenge my fallen land, and to exact the punishment for her wickedness. “Shall she, unharmed, see Sparta again and her native Mycenae, and see her house and husband, parents and children, and go in the triumphant role of a queen, attended by a crowd of Trojan women and Phrygian servants? When Priam has been put to the sword? Troy consumed with fire? The Dardanian shore soaked again and again with blood? No. Though there’s no great glory in a woman’s punishment, and such a conquest wins no praise, still I will be praised for extinguishing wickedness and exacting well-earned punishment, and I’ll delight in having filled my soul with the flame of revenge, and appeased my people’s ashes.” I blurted out these words, and was rushing on with raging mind, when my dear mother came to my vision, never before so bright to my eyes, shining with pure light in the night, goddess for sure, such as she may be seen by the gods, and taking me by the right hand, stopped me, and, then, imparted these words to me from her rose-tinted lips: “My son, what pain stirs such uncontrollable anger? Why this rage? Where has your care for what is ours vanished? First will you not see whether Creusa, your wife, and your child Ascanius still live, and where you have left your father Anchises worn-out with age? The Greek ranks surround them on all sides, and if my love did not protect them, the flames would have caught them before now, and the enemy swords drunk of their blood. You do not hate the face of the Spartan daughter of Tyndareus, nor is Paris to blame: the ruthlessness of the gods, of the gods, brought down this power, and toppled Troy from its heights. See (for I’ll tear away all the mist that now, shrouding your sight, dims your mortal vision, and darkens everything with moisture: don’t be afraid of what your mother commands, or refuse to obey her wisdom): here, where you see shattered heaps of stone torn from stone, and smoke billowing mixed with dust, Neptune is shaking the walls, and the foundations, stirred by his mighty trident, and tearing the whole city up by it roots. There, Juno, the fiercest, is first to take the Scaean Gate, and, sword at her side, calls on her troops from the ships, in rage. Now, see, Tritonian Pallas, standing on the highest towers, sending lightning from the storm-cloud, and her grim Gorgon breastplate. Father Jupiter himself supplies the Greeks with courage, and fortunate strength, himself excites the gods against the Trojan army. Hurry your departure, son, and put an end to your efforts. I will not leave you, and I will place you safe at your father’s door.” She spoke, and hid herself in the dense shadows of night. Dreadful shapes appeared, and the vast powers of gods opposed to Troy. Then in truth all Ilium seemed to me to sink in flames, and Neptune’s Troy was toppled from her base: just as when foresters on the mountain heights compete to uproot an ancient ash tree, struck time and again by axe and blade, it threatens continually to fall, with trembling foliage and shivering crown, till gradually vanquished by the blows it groans at last, and torn from the ridge, crashes down in ruin. I descend, and, led by a goddess, am freed from flames and enemies: the spears give way, and the flames recede. And now, when I reached the threshold of my father’s house, and my former home, my father, whom it was my first desire to carry into the high mountains, and whom I first sought out, refused to extend his life or endure exile, since Troy had fallen. “Oh, you,” he cried, “whose blood has the vigour of youth, and whose power is unimpaired in its force, it’s for you to take flight. As for me, if the gods had wished to lengthen the thread of my life, they’d have spared my house. It is more than enough that I saw one destruction, and survived one taking of the city. Depart, saying farewell to my body lying here so, yes so. I shall find death with my own hand: the enemy will pity me, and look for plunder. The loss of my burial is nothing. Clinging to old age for so long, I am useless, and hated by the gods, ever since the father of the gods and ruler of men breathed the winds of his lightning-bolt onto me, and touched me with fire.” So he persisted in saying, and remained adamant. We, on our side, Creusa, my wife, and Ascanius, all our household, weeping bitterly, determined that he should not destroy everything along with himself, and crush us by urging our doom. He refused and clung to his place and his purpose. I hurried to my weapons again, and, miserably, longed for death, since what tactic or opportunity was open to us now? “Did you think I could leave you, father, and depart? Did such sinful words fall from your lips? If it pleases the gods to leave nothing of our great city standing, if this is set in your mind, if it delights you to add yourself and all that’s yours to the ruins of Troy, the door is open to that death: soon Pyrrhus comes, drenched in Priam’s blood, he who butchers the son in front of the father, the father at the altar. Kind mother, did you rescue me from fire and sword for this, to see the enemy in the depths of my house, and Ascanius, and my father, and Creusa, slaughtered, thrown together in a heap, in one another’s blood? Weapons men, bring weapons: the last day calls to the defeated. Lead me to the Greeks again: let me revisit the battle anew. This day we shall not all perish unavenged.” So, again, I fasten on my sword, slip my left arm into the shield’s strap, adjust it, and rush from the house. But see, my wife clings to the threshold, clasps my foot, and holds little Iulus up towards his father: “If you go to die, take us with you too, at all costs: but if as you’ve proved you trust in the weapons you wear, defend this house first. To whom do you abandon little Iulus, and your father, and me, I who was once spoken of as your wife?” Crying out like this she filled the whole house with her groans, when suddenly a wonder, marvellous to speak of, occurred. See, between the hands and faces of his grieving parents, a gentle light seemed to shine from the crown of Iulus’s head, and a soft flame, harmless in its touch, licked at his hair, and grazed his forehead. Trembling with fear, we hurry to flick away the blazing strands, and extinguish the sacred fires with water. But Anchises, my father, lifts his eyes to the heavens, in delight, and raises his hands and voice to the sky: “All-powerful Jupiter, if you’re moved by any prayers, see us, and, grant but this: if we are worthy through our virtue, show us a sign of it, Father, and confirm your omen.” The old man had barely spoken when, with a sudden crash, it thundered on the left, and a star, through the darkness, slid from the sky, and flew, trailing fire, in a burst of light. We watched it glide over the highest rooftops, and bury its brightness, and the sign of its passage, in the forests of Mount Ida: then the furrow of its long track gave out a glow, and, all around, the place smoked with sulphur. At this my father, truly overcome, raised himself towards the sky, and spoke to the gods, and proclaimed the sacred star. “Now no delay: I follow, and where you lead, there am I. Gods of my fathers, save my line, save my grandson. This omen is yours, and Troy is in your divine power. I accept, my son, and I will not refuse to go with you.” He speaks, and now the fire is more audible, through the city, and the blaze rolls its tide nearer. “Come then, dear father, clasp my neck: I will carry you on my shoulders: that task won’t weigh on me. Whatever may happen, it will be for us both, the same shared risk, and the same salvation. Let little Iulus come with me, and let my wife follow our footsteps at a distance. You servants, give your attention to what I’m saying. At the entrance to the city there’s a mound, an ancient temple of forsaken Ceres, and a venerable cypress nearby, protected through the years by the reverence of our fathers: let’s head to that one place by diverse paths. You, father, take the sacred objects, and our country’s gods, in your hands: until I’ve washed in running water, it would be a sin for me, coming from such fighting and recent slaughter, to touch them.” So saying, bowing my neck, I spread a cloak made of a tawny lion’s hide over my broad shoulders, and bend to the task: little Iulus clasps his hand in mine, and follows his father’s longer strides. My wife walks behind. We walk on through the shadows of places, and I whom till then no shower of spears, nor crowd of Greeks in hostile array, could move, now I’m terrified by every breeze, and startled by every noise, anxious, and fearful equally for my companion and my burden. And now I was near the gates, and thought I had completed my journey, when suddenly the sound of approaching feet filled my hearing, and, peering through the darkness, my father cried: “My son, run my son, they are near us: I see their glittering shields and gleaming bronze.” Some hostile power, at this, scattered my muddled wits. for while I was following alleyways, and straying from the region of streets we knew, did my wife Creusa halt, snatched away from me by wretched fate? Or did she wander from the path or collapse with weariness? Who knows? She was never restored to our sight, nor did I look back for my lost one, or cast a thought behind me, until we came to the mound, and ancient Ceres’s sacred place. Here when all were gathered together at last, one was missing, and had escaped the notice of friends, child and husband. What man or god did I not accuse in my madness: what did I know of in the city’s fall crueller than this? I place Ascanius, and my father Anchises, and the gods of Troy, in my companions’ care, and conceal them in a winding valley: I myself seek the city once more, and take up my shining armour. I’m determined to incur every risk again, and retrace all Troy, and once more expose my life to danger. First I look for the wall, and the dark threshold of the gate from which my path led, and I retrace the landmarks of my course in the night, scanning them with my eye. Everywhere the terror in my heart, and the silence itself, dismay me. Then I take myself homewards, in case by chance, by some chance, she has made her way there. The Greeks have invaded, and occupied, the whole house. Suddenly eager fire, rolls over the rooftop, in the wind: the flames take hold, the blaze rages to the heavens. I pass by and see again Priam’s palace and the citadel. Now Phoenix, and fatal Ulysses, the chosen guards, watch over the spoils, in the empty courts of Juno’s sanctuary. Here the Trojan treasures are gathered from every part, ripped from the blazing shrines, tables of the gods, solid gold bowls, and plundered robes. Mothers and trembling sons stand round in long ranks. I even dared to hurl my shouts through the shadows, filling the streets with my clamour, and in my misery, redoubling my useless cries, again and again. Searching, and raging endlessly among the city roofs, the unhappy ghost and true shadow of Creusa appeared before my eyes, in a form greater than I’d known. I was dumbfounded, my hair stood on end, and my voice stuck in my throat. Then she spoke and with these words mitigated my distress: “Oh sweet husband, what use is it to indulge in such mad grief? This has not happened without the divine will: neither its laws nor the ruler of great Olympus let you take Creusa with you, away from here. Yours is long exile, you must plough a vast reach of sea: and you will come to Hesperia’s land, where Lydian Tiber flows in gentle course among the farmers’ rich fields. There, happiness, kingship and a royal wife will be yours. Banish these tears for your beloved Creusa. I, a Trojan woman, and daughter-in-law to divine Venus, shall never see the noble halls of the Dolopians, or Myrmidons, or go as slave to some Greek wife: instead the great mother of the gods keeps me on this shore. Now farewell, and preserve your love for the son we share.” When she had spoken these words, leaving me weeping and wanting to say so many things, she faded into thin air. Three times I tried to throw my arms about her neck: three times her form fled my hands, clasped in vain, like the light breeze, most of all like a winged dream. So at last when night was done, I returned to my friends. And here, amazed, I found that a great number of new companions had streamed in, women and men, a crowd gathering for exile, a wretched throng. They had come from all sides, ready, with courage and wealth, for whatever land I wished to lead them to, across the seas. And now Lucifer was rising above the heights of Ida, bringing the dawn, and the Greeks held the barricaded entrances to the gates, nor was there any hope of rescue. I desisted, and, carrying my father, took to the hills.

Book 3


After the gods had seen fit to destroy Asia’s power and Priam’s innocent people, and proud Ilium had fallen, and all of Neptune’s Troy breathed smoke from the soil, we were driven by the gods’ prophecies to search out distant exile, and deserted lands, and we built a fleet below Antandros and the peaks of Phrygian Ida, unsure where fate would carry us, or where we’d be allowed to settle, and we gathered our forces together. Summer had barely begun, when Anchises, my father, ordered us to set sail with destiny: I left my native shore with tears, the harbour and the fields where Troy once stood. I travelled the deep, an exile, with my friends and my son, and the great gods of our house. Far off is a land of vast plains where Mars is worshipped (worked by the Thracians) once ruled by fierce Lycurgus, a friend of Troy in the past, and with gods who were allies, while fortune lasted. I went there, and founded my first city named Aeneadae from my name, on the shore in the curving bay, beginning it despite fate’s adversity. I was making a sacrifice to the gods, and my mother Venus, Dione’s daughter, with auspices for the work begun, and had killed a fine bull on the shore, for the supreme king of the sky-lords. By chance, there was a mound nearby, crowned with cornel bushes, and bristling with dense spikes of myrtle. I went near, and trying to tear up green wood from the soil to decorate the altar with leafy branches, I saw a wonder, dreadful and marvellous to tell of. From the first bush, its broken roots torn from the ground, drops of dark blood dripped, and stained the earth with fluid. An icy shiver gripped my limbs, and my blood chilled with terror. Again I went on to pluck a stubborn shoot from another, probing the hidden cause within: and dark blood flowed from the bark of the second. Troubled greatly in spirit, I prayed to the Nymphs of the wild, and father Gradivus, who rules the Thracian fields, to look with due kindness on this vision, and lessen its significance. But when I attacked the third with greater effort, straining with my knees against the sand (to speak or be silent?), a mournful groan was audible from deep in the mound, and a voice came to my ears: “Why do you wound a poor wretch, Aeneas? Spare me now in my tomb, don’t stain your virtuous hands, Troy bore me, who am no stranger to you, nor does this blood flow from some dull block. Oh, leave this cruel land: leave this shore of greed. For I am Polydorus. Here a crop of iron spears carpeted my transfixed corpse, and has ripened into sharp spines.” Then truly I was stunned, my mind crushed by anxious dread, my hair stood up on end, and my voice stuck in my throat. Priam, the unfortunate, seeing the city encircled by the siege, and despairing of Trojan arms, once sent this Polydorus, secretly, with a great weight of gold, to be raised, by the Thracian king. When the power of Troy was broken, and her fortunes ebbed, the Thracian broke every divine law, to follow Agamemnon’s cause, and his victorious army, murders Polydorus, and takes the gold by force. Accursed hunger for gold, to what do you not drive human hearts! When terror had left my bones I referred this divine vision to the people’s appointed leaders, my father above all, and asked them what they thought. All were of one mind, to leave this wicked land, and depart a place of hospitality defiled, and sail our fleet before the wind. So we renewed the funeral rites for Polydorus, and piled the earth high on his barrow: sad altars were raised to the Shades, with dark sacred ribbons and black cypress, the Trojan women around, hair streaming, as is the custom: we offered foaming bowls of warm milk, and dishes of sacrificial blood, and bound the spirit to its tomb, and raised a loud shout of farewell. Then as soon as we’ve confidence in the waves, and the winds grant us calm seas, and the soft whispering breeze calls to the deep, my companions float the ships and crowd to the shore. We set out from harbour, and lands and cities recede. In the depths of the sea lies a sacred island, dearest of all to the mother of the Nereids, and Aegean Neptune, that wandered by coasts and shores, until Apollo, affectionately, tied it to high Myconos, and Gyaros, making it fixed and inhabitable, scorning the storms. I sail there: it welcomes us peacefully, weary as we are, to its safe harbour. Landing, we do homage to Apollo’s city. King Anius, both king of the people and high-priest of Apollo, his forehead crowned with the sacred headband and holy laurel, meets us, and recognises an old friend in Anchises: we clasp hands in greeting and enter his house. I paid homage to the god’s temple of ancient stone: “Grant us a true home, Apollo, grant a weary people walls, and a race, and a city that will endure: protect this second citadel of Troy, that survives the Greeks and pitiless Achilles. Whom should we follow? Where do you command us to go? Where should we settle? Grant us an omen, father, to stir our hearts. I had scarcely spoken: suddenly everything seemed to tremble, the god’s thresholds and his laurel crowns, and the whole hill round us moved, and the tripod groaned as the shrine split open. Humbly we seek the earth, and a voice comes to our ears: “Enduring Trojans, the land which first bore you from its parent stock, that same shall welcome you, restored, to its fertile breast. Search out your ancient mother. There the house of Aeneas shall rule all shores, his children’s children, and those that are born to them.” So Phoebus spoke: and there was a great shout of joy mixed with confusion, and all asked what walls those were, and where it is Phoebus calls the wanderers to, commanding them to return. Then my father, thinking of the records of the ancients, said: “Listen, O princes, and learn what you may hope for. Crete lies in the midst of the sea, the island of mighty Jove, where Mount Ida is, the cradle of our race. They inhabit a hundred great cities, in the richest of kingdoms, from which our earliest ancestor, Teucer, if I remember the tale rightly, first sailed to Trojan shores, and chose a site for his royal capital. Until then Ilium and the towers of the citadel did not stand there: men lived in the depths of the valleys. The Mother who inhabits Cybele is Cretan, and the cymbals of the Corybantes, and the grove of Ida: from Crete came the faithful silence of her rites, and the yoked lions drawing the lady’s chariot. So come, and let us follow where the god’s command may lead, let us placate the winds, and seek out the Cretan kingdom. It is no long journey away: if only Jupiter is with us, the third dawn will find our fleet on the Cretan shores.” So saying, he sacrificed the due offerings at the altars, a bull to Neptune, a bull to you, glorious Apollo, a black sheep to the Storm god, a white to the auspicious Westerlies. A rumour spread that Prince Idomeneus had been driven from his father’s kingdom, and the Cretan shores were deserted, her houses emptied of enemies, and the abandoned homes waiting for us. We left Ortygia’s harbour, and sped over the sea, threading the foaming straits thick with islands, Naxos with its Bacchic worship in the hills, green Donysa, Olearos, snow-white Paros, and the Cyclades, scattered over the waters. The sailors’ cries rose, as they competed in their various tasks: the crew shouted: “We’re headed for Crete, and our ancestors.” A wind rising astern sent us on our way, and at last we glided by the ancient shores of the Curetes. Then I worked eagerly on the walls of our chosen city, and called it Pergamum, and exhorted my people, delighting in the name, to show love for their homes, and build a covered fortress. Now the ships were usually beached on the dry sand: the young men were busy with weddings and their fresh fields: I was deciding on laws and homesteads: suddenly, from some infected region of the sky, came a wretched plague, corrupting bodies, trees, and crops, and a season of death. They relinquished sweet life, or dragged their sick limbs around: then Sirius blazed over barren fields: the grass withered, and the sickly harvest denied its fruits. My father urged us to retrace the waves, and revisit the oracle of Apollo at Delos, and beg for protection, ask where the end might be to our weary fate, where he commands that we seek help for our trouble, where to set our course. It was night, and sleep had charge of earth’s creatures: The sacred statues of the gods, the Phrygian Penates, that I had carried with me from Troy, out of the burning city, seemed to stand there before my eyes, as I lay in sleep, perfectly clear in the light, where the full moon streamed through the window casements: then they spoke to me and with their words dispelled my cares: “Apollo speaks here what he would say to you, on reaching Delos, and sends us besides, as you see, to your threshold. When Try burned we followed you and your weapons, we crossed the swelling seas with you on your ships, we too shall raise your descendants yet to be, to the stars, and grant empire to your city. Build great walls for the great, and do not shrink from the long labour of exile. Change your country. These are not the shores that Delian Apollo urged on you, he did not order you to settle in Crete. There is a place the Greeks call Hesperia by name, an ancient land powerful in arms and in richness of the soil: There the Oenotrians lived: now the rumour is that a younger race has named it Italy after their leader. That is our true home, Dardanus and father Iasius, from whom our race first came, sprang from there. Come, bear these words of truth joyfully to your old father, that he might seek Corythus and Ausonia’s lands: Jupiter denies the fields of Dicte to you.” Amazed by such a vision, and the voices of the gods, (it was not a dream, but I seemed to recognise their expression, before me, their wreathed hair, their living faces: then a cold sweat bathed all my limbs) my body leapt from the bed, and I lifted my voice and upturned palms to heaven, and offered pure gifts on the hearth-fire. The rite completed, with joy I told Anchises of this revelation, revealing it all in order. He understood about the ambiguity in our origins, and the dual descent, and that he had been deceived by a fresh error, about our ancient country. Then he spoke: “My son, troubled by Troy’s fate, Only Cassandra prophesied such an outcome. Now I remember her foretelling that this was destined for our race, and often spoke of Hesperia, and the Italian kingdom. Who’d believe that Trojans would travel to Hesperia’s shores? Who’d have been moved by Cassandra, the prophetess, then? Let’s trust to Apollo, and, warned by him, take the better course.” So he spoke, and we were delighted to obey his every word. We departed this home as well, and, leaving some people behind, set sail, and ran through the vast ocean in our hollow ships. When the fleet had reached the high seas and the land was no longer seen, sky and ocean on all sides, then a dark-blue rain cloud settled overhead, bringing night and storm, and the waves bristled with shadows. Immediately the winds rolled over the water and great seas rose: we were scattered here and there in the vast abyss. Storm-clouds shrouded the day, and the night mists hid the sky: lightning flashed again from the torn clouds. We were thrown off course, and wandered the blind waves. Palinurus himself was unable to tell night from day in the sky, and could not determine his path among the waves. So for three days, and as many starless nights, we wandered uncertainly, in a dark fog, over the sea. At last, on the fourth day, land was first seen to rise, revealing far off mountains and rolling smoke. The sails fell, we stood to the oars: without pause, the sailors, at full stretch, churned the foam, and swept the blue sea. Free of the waves I’m welcomed first by the shores of the Strophades, the Clashing Islands. The Strophades are fixed now in the great Ionian Sea, but are called by the Greek name. There dread Celaeno and the rest of the Harpies live, since Phineus’s house was denied them, and they left his tables where they fed, in fear. No worse monsters than these, no crueller plague, ever rose from the waters of Styx, at the gods’ anger. These birds have the faces of virgin girls, foulest excrement flowing from their bellies, clawed hands, and faces always thin with hunger. Now when, arriving here, we enter port, we see fat herds of cattle scattered over the plains, and flocks of goats, unguarded, in the meadows. We rush at them with our swords, calling on Jove himself and the gods to join us in our plunder: then we build seats on the curving beach, and feast on the rich meats. But suddenly the Harpies arrive, in a fearsome swoop from the hills, flapping their wings with a huge noise, snatching at the food, and fouling everything with their filthy touch: then there’s a deadly shriek amongst the foul stench. We set out the tables again, and relight the altar fires, in a deep recess under an overhanging rock, closed off by trees and trembling shadows: again from another part of the sky, some hidden lair, the noisy crowd hovers, with taloned feet around their prey, polluting the food with their mouths. Then I order my friends to take up their weapons and make war on that dreadful race. They do exactly that, obeying orders, placing hidden swords in the grass, and burying their shields out of sight. Then when the birds swoop, screaming, along the curved beach, Misenus, from his high lookout, gives the signal on hollow bronze. My friends charge, and, in a new kind of battle, attempt to wound these foul ocean birds with their swords. But they don’t register the blows to their plumage, or the wounds to their backs, they flee quickly, soaring beneath the heavens, leaving behind half-eaten food, and the traces of their filth. Only Celaeno, ominous prophetess, settles on a high cliff, and bursts out with this sound from her breast: “Are you ready to bring war to us, sons of Laomedon, is it war, for the cows you killed, the bullocks you slaughtered, driving the innocent Harpies from their father’s country? Take these words of mine to your hearts then, and set them there. I, the eldest of the Furies, reveal to you what the all-powerful Father prophesied to Apollo, and Phoebus Apollo to me. Italy is the path you take, and, invoking the winds, you shall go to Italy, and enter her harbours freely: but you will not surround the city granted you with walls until dire hunger, and the sin of striking at us, force you to consume your very tables with devouring jaws.” She spoke, and fled back to the forest borne by her wings. But my companions’ chill blood froze with sudden fear: their courage dropped, and they told me to beg for peace, with vows and prayers, forgoing weapons, no matter if these were goddesses or fatal, vile birds. And my father Anchises, with outstretched hands, on the shore, called to the great gods and declared the due sacrifice: “Gods, avert these threats, gods, prevent these acts, and, in peace, protect the virtuous!” Then he ordered us to haul in the cables from the shore, unfurl and spread the sails. South winds stretched the canvas: we coursed over foaming seas, wherever the winds and the helmsman dictated our course. Now wooded Zacynthus appeared amongst the waves, Dulichium, Same and Neritos’s steep cliffs. We ran past Laertes’s kingdom, Ithacas’s reefs, and cursed the land that reared cruel Ulysses. Soon the cloudy heights of Mount Leucata were revealed, as well, and Apollo’s headland, feared by sailors. We headed wearily for it, and approached the little town: the anchor was thrown from the prow, the stern rested on the beach. So, beyond hope, achieving land at last, we purify ourselves for Jove, and light offerings on the altars, and celebrate Trojan games on the shore of Actium. My naked companions, slippery with oil, indulge in the wrestling-bouts of their homeland: it’s good to have slipped past so many Greek cities and held our course in flight through the midst of the enemy. Meanwhile the sun rolls through the long year and icy winter stirs the waves with northerly gales: I fix a shield of hollow bronze, once carried by mighty Abas, on the entrance pillars, and mark the event with a verse: AENEAS OFFERS THIS ARMOUR FROM CONQUERING GREEKS then I order them to man the benches and leave harbour: in rivalry, my friends strike the sea and sweep the waves. We soon leave behind the windblown heights of Phaeacia, pass the shores of Epirus, enter Chaonia’s harbour and approach the lofty city of Buthrotum. Here a rumour of something unbelievable greeted our ears: Priam’s son, Helenus, reigning over Greek cities, having won the wife and kingdom of Pyrrhus, Aeacus’s scion, Andromache being given again to a husband of her race. I was astounded, and my heart burned with an amazing passion to speak to the man, and learn of such events. I walked from the harbour, leaving the fleet and the shore, when, by chance, in a sacred grove near the city, by a false Simois, Andromache was making an annual offering, sad gifts, to Hector’s ashes, and calling his spirit to the tomb, an empty mound of green turf, and twin altars, she had sanctified, a place for tears. When she saw me approaching and recognised, with amazement, Trojan weapons round her, she froze as she gazed, terrified by these great wonders, and the heat left her limbs. She half-fell and after a long while, scarcely able to, said: “Are you a real person, a real messenger come here to me, son of the goddess? Are you alive? Or if the kindly light has faded, where then is Hector?” She spoke, and poured out her tears, and filled the whole place with her weeping. Given her frenzy, I barely replied with a few words, and, moved, I spoke disjointedly: “Surely, I live, and lead a life full of extremes: don’t be unsure, for you see truly. Ah! What fate has overtaken you, fallen from so great a husband? Or has good fortune worthy enough for Hector’s Andromache, visited you again? Are you still Pyrrhus’s wife?” She lowered her eyes and spoke quietly: “O happy beyond all others was that virgin daughter of Priam, commanded to die beside an enemy tomb, under Troy’s high walls, who never suffered fate’s lottery, or, as a prisoner, reached her victorious master’s bed! Carried over distant seas, my country set afire, I endured the scorn of Achilles’s son, and his youthful arrogance, giving birth as a slave: he, who then, pursuing Hermione, Helen’s daughter, and a Spartan marriage, transferred me to Helenus’s keeping, a servant to a servant. But Orestes, inflamed by great love for his stolen bride, and driven by the Furies for his crime, caught him, unawares, and killed him by his father’s altar. At Pyrrhus’s death a part of the kingdom passed, by right to Helenus, who named the Chaonian fields, and all Chaonia, after Chaon of Troy, and built a Pergamus, and this fortress of Ilium, on the mountain ridge. But what winds, what fates, set your course for you? Or what god drives you, unknowingly, to our shores? What of the child, Ascanius? Does he live, and graze on air, he whom Creusa bore to you in vanished Troy? Has he any love still for his lost mother? Have his father Aeneas and his uncle Hector roused in him any of their ancient courage or virile spirit?” Weeping, she poured out these words, and was starting a long vain lament, when heroic Helenus, Priam’s son, approached from the city, with a large retinue, and recognised us as his own, and lead us, joyfully, to the gates, and poured out tears freely at every word. I walked on, and saw a little Troy, and a copy of the great citadel, and a dry stream, named after the Xanthus, and embraced the doorposts of a Scaean Gate. My Trojans enjoyed the friendly city with me no less. The king received them in a broad colonnade: they poured out cups of wine in the centre of a courtyard, and held out their dishes while food was served on gold. Now day after day has gone by, and the breezes call to the sails, and the canvas swells with a rising Southerly: I go to Helenus, the seer, with these words and ask: “Trojan-born, agent of the gods, you who know Apollo’s will, the tripods, the laurels at Claros, the stars, the language of birds, and the omens of their wings in flight, come, speak (since a favourable oracle told me all my route, and all the gods in their divinity urged me to seek Italy, and explore the furthest lands: only the Harpy, Celaeno, predicts fresh portents, evil to tell of, and threatens bitter anger and vile famine) first, what dangers shall I avoid? Following what course can I overcome such troubles?” Helenus, first sacrificing bullocks according to the ritual, obtained the gods’ grace, then loosened the headband from his holy brow, and led me, anxious at so much divine power, with his own hand, to your threshold Apollo, and then the priest prophesied this, from the divine mouth: “Son of the goddess, since the truth is clear, that you sail the deep blessed by the higher powers (so the king of the gods allots our fates, and rolls the changes, so the order alters), I’ll explain a few things of many, in my words to you, so you may travel foreign seas more safely, and can find rest in an Italian haven: for the Fates forbid Helenus to know further, and Saturnian Juno denies him speech. Firstly, a long pathless path, by long coastlines, separates you from that far-off Italy, whose neighbouring port you intend to enter, unknowingly thinking it nearby. Before you can build your city in a safe land, you must bend the oar in Sicilian waters, and pass the levels of the Italian seas, in your ships, the infernal lakes, and Aeaean Circe’s island. I’ll tell you of signs: keep them stored in your memory. When, in your distress, you find a huge sow lying on the shore, by the waters of a remote river, under the oak trees, that has farrowed a litter of thirty young, a white sow, lying on the ground, with white piglets round her teats, that place shall be your city, there’s true rest from your labours. And do not dread that gnawing of tables, in your future: the fates will find a way, Apollo will be there at your call. But avoid these lands, and this nearer coastline of the Italian shore, washed by our own ocean tide: hostile Greeks inhabit every town. The Narycian Locri have built a city here, and Lyctian Idomeneus has filled the plain with soldiers: here is that little Petelia, of Philoctetes, leader of the Meliboeans, relying on its walls. Then when your fleet has crossed the sea, and anchored and the altars are raised for your offerings on the shore, veil your hair, clothed in your purple robes, so that in worshipping the gods no hostile face may intrude among the sacred flames, and disturb the omens. Let your friends adopt this mode of sacrifice, and yourself: and let your descendants remain pure in this religion. But when the wind carries you, on leaving, to the Sicilian shore, and the barriers of narrow Pelorus open ahead, make for the seas and land to port, in a long circuit: avoid the shore and waters on the starboard side. They say, when the two were one continuous stretch of land, they one day broke apart, torn by the force of a vast upheaval (time’s remote antiquity enables such great changes). The sea flowed between them with force, and severed the Italian from the Sicilian coast, and a narrow tideway washes the cities and fields on separate shores. Scylla holds the right side, implacable Charybdis the left, who, in the depths of the abyss, swallows the vast flood three times into the downward gulf and alternately lifts it to the air, and lashes the heavens with her waves. But a cave surrounds Scylla with dark hiding-places, and she thrusts her mouths out, and drags ships onto the rocks. Above she has human shape, and is a girl, with lovely breasts, a girl, down to her sex, below it she is a sea-monster of huge size, with dolphins’ tails joined to a belly formed of wolves. It is better to round the point of Pachynus, lingering, and circling Sicily on a long course, than to once catch sight of hideous Scylla in her vast cave and the rocks that echo to her sea-dark hounds. Beyond this, if Helenus has any knowledge, if the seer can be believed, if Apollo fills his spirit with truth, son of the goddess, I will say this one thing, this one thing that is worth all, and I’ll repeat the warning again and again, honour great Juno’s divinity above all, with prayer, and recite your vows to Juno freely, and win over that powerful lady with humble gifts: so at last you’ll leave Sicily behind and reach the coast of Italy, victorious. Once brought there, approach the city of Cumae, the ghostly lakes, and Avernus, with its whispering groves, gaze on the raving prophetess, who sings the fates deep in the rock, and commits names and signs to leaves. Whatever verses the virgin writes on the leaves, she arranges in order, and stores them high up in her cave. They stay in place, motionless, and keep in rank: but once a light breeze ruffles them, at the turn of a hinge, and the opening door disturbs the delicate leaves, she never thinks to retrieve them, as they flutter through the rocky cave, or to return them to their places, or reconstitute the prophecies: men go away unanswered, and detest the Sibyl’s lair. Though your friends complain, and though your course calls your sails urgently to the deep, and a following wind might fill the canvas, don’t overvalue the loss in any delay, but visit the prophetess, and beg her with prayers to speak the oracle herself, and loose her voice through willing lips. She will rehearse the peoples of Italy, the wars to come, and how you might evade or endure each trial, and, shown respect, she’ll grant you a favourable journey. These are the things you can be warned of by my voice. Go now, and by your actions raise great Troy to the stars.” After the seer had spoken these words with benign lips, he ordered heavy gifts of gold and carved ivory to be carried to our ships, and stored massive silverware in the holds, cauldrons from Dodona, a hooked breastplate woven with triple-linked gold, and a fine conical helmet with a crest of horse-hair, Pyrrhus’s armour. There were gifts of his own for my father too. Helenus added horses and sea-pilots: he manned our oars: he also equipped my friends with weapons. Meanwhile Anchises ordered us to rig sails on the ships, so the rushing wind would not be lost, by our delay. Apollo’s agent spoke to him with great respect: “Anchises, worthy of proud marriage with Venus, cared for by the gods, twice saved from the ruins of Troy, behold your land of Italy: sail and take it. But still you must slide past it on the seas: the part of Italy that Apollo named is far away. Go onward, happy in your son’s love. Why should I say more, and delay your catching the rising wind?” Andromache also, grieved at this final parting, brought robes embroidered with gold weave, and a Phrygian cloak for Ascanius, nor did she fail to honour him, and loaded him down with gifts of cloth, and said: “Take these as well, my child, remembrances for you from my hand, and witness of the lasting love of Andromache, Hector’s wife. Take these last gifts from your kin, O you, the sole image left to me of my Astyanax. He had the same eyes, the same hands, the same lips: and now he would be growing up like you, equal in age.” My tears welled as I spoke these parting words: “Live happily, you whose fortunes are already determined: we are summoned onwards from destiny to destiny. For you, peace is achieved: you’ve no need to plough the levels of the sea, you’ve no need to seek Italy’s ever-receding fields. I wish that you might gaze at your likeness of Xanthus, and a Troy built by your own hands, under happier auspices, one which might be less exposed to the Greeks. If I ever reach the Tiber, and the Tiber’s neighbouring fields, and gaze on city walls granted to my people, we’ll one day make one Troy, in spirit, from each of our kindred cities and allied peoples, in Epirus, in Italy, who have the same Dardanus for ancestor, the same history: let it be left to our descendants care.” We sail on over the sea, close to the Ceraunian cliffs nearby, on course for Italy, and the shortest path over the waves. Meanwhile the sun is setting and the darkened hills are in shadow. Having shared oars, we stretch out, near the waves, on the surface of the long-desired land, and, scattered across the dry beach, we rest our bodies: sleep refreshes our weary limbs. Night, lead by the Hours, is not yet in mid-course: Palinurus rises alertly from his couch, tests all the winds, and listens to the breeze: he notes all the stars gliding through the silent sky, Arcturus, the rainy Pleiades, both the Bears, and surveys Orion, armed with gold. When he sees that all tallies, and the sky is calm, he sounds a loud call from the ship’s stern: we break camp, attempt our route, and spread the winged sails. And now Dawn blushes as she puts the stars to flight, when we see, far off, dark hills and low-lying Italy. First Achates proclaims Italy, then my companions hail Italy with a joyful shout. Then my father Anchises took up a large bowl, filled it with wine, and standing in the high stern, called to the heavens: “You gods, lords of the sea and earth and storms, carry us onward on a gentle breeze, and breathe on us with kindness!” The wind we longed-for rises, now as we near, a harbour opens, and a temple is visible on Minerva’s Height. My companions furl the sails and turn the prows to shore. The harbour is carved in an arc by the eastern tides: its jutting rocks boil with salt spray, so that it itself is hidden: towering cliffs extend their arms in a twin wall, and the temple lies back from the shore. Here I see four horses in the long grass, white as snow, grazing widely over the plain, our first omen. And my father Anchises cries: “O foreign land, you bring us war: horses are armed for war, war is what this herd threatens. Yet those same creatures one day can be yoked to a chariot, and once yoked will suffer the bridle in harmony: there’s also hope of peace.” Then we pray to the sacred power of Pallas, of the clashing weapons, first to receive our cheers, and clothed in Phrygian robes we veiled our heads before the altar, and following the urgent command Helenus had given, we duly made burnt offerings to Argive Juno as ordered. Without delay, as soon as our vows are fully paid, we haul on the ends of our canvas-shrouded yard-arms, and leave the home of the Greek race, and the fields we mistrust. Then Tarentum’s bay is seen, Hercules’s city if the tale is true: Lacinian Juno’s temple rises against it, Caulon’s fortress, and Scylaceum’s shore of shipwreck. Then far off Sicilian Etna appears from the waves, and we hear the loud roar of the sea, and the distant tremor of the rocks, and the broken murmurs of the shore, the shallows boil, and sand mixes with the flood. Then my father, Anchises, said: “This must be Charybdis: these are the cliffs, these are the horrendous rocks Helenus foretold. Pull away, O comrades, and stand to the oars together.” They do no less than they’re asked, and Palinurus is the first to heave his groaning ship into the portside waves: all our company seek port with oars and sail. We climb to heaven on the curving flood, and again sink down with the withdrawing waves to the depths of Hades. The cliffs boom three times in their rocky caves, three times we see the spray burst, and the dripping stars. Then the wind and sunlight desert weary men, and not knowing the way we drift to the Cyclopes’s shore. There’s a harbour, itself large and untroubled by the passing winds, but Etna rumbles nearby with fearsome avalanches, now it spews black clouds into the sky, smoking, with pitch-black turbulence, and glowing ashes, and throws up balls of flame, licking the stars: now it hurls high the rocks it vomits, and the mountain’s torn entrails, and gathers molten lava together in the air with a roar, boiling from its lowest depths. The tale is that Enceladus’s body, scorched by the lightning-bolt, is buried by that mass, and piled above him, mighty Etna breathes flames from its riven furnaces, and as often as he turns his weary flank, all Sicily quakes and rumbles, and clouds the sky with smoke. That night we hide in the woods, enduring the dreadful shocks, unable to see what the cause of the sound is, since there are no heavenly fires, no bright pole in the starry firmament, but clouds in a darkened sky, and the dead of night holds the moon in shroud. Now the next day was breaking with the first light of dawn, and Aurora had dispersed the moist shadows from the sky, when suddenly the strange form of an unknown man came out of the woods, exhausted by the last pangs of hunger, pitifully dressed, and stretched his hands in supplication towards the shore. We looked back. Vile with filth, his beard uncut, his clothing fastened together with thorns: but otherwise a Greek, once sent to Troy in his country’s armour. When he saw the Dardan clothes and Trojan weapons, far off, he hesitated a moment, frightened at the sight, and checked his steps: then ran headlong to the beach, with tears and prayers: “The stars be my witness, the gods, the light in the life-giving sky, Trojans, take me with you: carry me to any country whatsoever, that will be fine by me. I know I’m from one of the Greek ships, and I confess that I made war against Trojan gods, if my crime is so great an injury to you, scatter me over the waves for it, or drown me in the vast ocean: if I die I’ll delight in dying at the hands of men.” He spoke and clung to my knees, embracing them and grovelling there. We urged him to say who he was, born of what blood, then to say what fate pursued him. Without much delay, my father Anchises himself gave the young man his hand, lifting his spirits by this ready trust. At last he set his fears aside and told us: “I’m from the land of Ithaca, a companion of unlucky Ulysses, Achaemenides by name, and, my father Adamastus being poor, (I wish fate had kept me so!) I set out for Troy. My comrades left me here in the Cyclops’ vast cave, forgetting me, as they hurriedly left that grim threshold. It’s a house of blood and gory feasts, vast and dark inside. He himself is gigantic, striking against the high stars – gods, remove plagues like that from the earth! – not pleasant to look at, affable to no one. He eats the dark blood and flesh of wretched men. I saw myself how he seized two of our number in his huge hands, and reclining in the centre of the cave, broke them on the rock, so the threshold, drenched, swam with blood: I saw how he gnawed their limbs, dripping with dark clots of gore, and the still-warm bodies quivered in his jaws. Yet he did not go unpunished: Ulysses didn’t suffer it, nor did the Ithacan forget himself in a crisis. As soon as the Cyclops, full of flesh and sated with wine, relaxed his neck, and lay, huge in size, across the cave, drooling gore and blood and wine-drenched fragments in his sleep, we prayed to the great gods, and our roles fixed, surrounded him on all sides, and stabbed his one huge eye, solitary, and half-hidden under his savage brow, like a round Greek shield, or the sun-disc of Phoebus, with a sharpened stake: and so we joyfully avenged the spirits of our friends. But fly from here, wretched men, and cut your mooring ropes. Since, like Polyphemus, who pens woolly flocks in the rocky cave, and milks their udders, there are a hundred other appalling Cyclopes, the same in shape and size, everywhere inhabiting the curved bay, and wandering the hills. The moon’s horns have filled with light three times now, while I have been dragging my life out in the woods, among the lairs and secret haunts of wild creatures, watching the huge Cyclopes from the cliffs, trembling at their voices and the sound of their feet. The branches yield a miserable supply of fruits and stony cornelian cherries, and the grasses, torn up by their roots, feed me. Watching for everything, I saw, for the first time, this fleet approaching shore. Whatever might happen, I surrendered myself to you: it’s enough for me to have escaped that wicked people. I’d rather you took this life of mine by any death whatsoever.” He’d barely spoken, when we saw the shepherd Polyphemus himself, moving his mountainous bulk on the hillside among the flocks, and heading for the familiar shore, a fearful monster, vast and shapeless, robbed of the light. A lopped pine-trunk in his hand steadied and guided his steps: his fleecy sheep accompanied him: his sole delight and the solace for his evils. As soon as he came to the sea and reached the deep water, he washed away the blood oozing from the gouged eye-socket, groaning and gnashing his teeth. Then he walked through the depths of the waves, without the tide wetting his vast thighs. Anxiously we hurried our departure from there, accepting the worthy suppliant on board, and cutting the cable in silence: then leaning into our oars, we vied in sweeping the sea. He heard, and bent his course towards the sound of splashing. But when he was denied the power to set hands on us, and unable to counter the force of the Ionian waves, in pursuit, he raised a mighty shout, at which the sea and all the waves shook, and the land of Italy was frightened far inland, and Etna bellowed from its winding caverns, but the tribe of Cyclopes, roused from their woods and high mountains, rushed to the harbour, and crowded the shore. We saw them standing there, impotently, wild-eyed, the Aetnean brotherhood, heads towering into the sky, a fearsome gathering: like tall oaks rooted on a summit, or cone-bearing cypresses, in Jove’s high wood or Diana’s grove. Acute fear drove us on to pay out the ropes on whatever tack and spread our sails to any favourable wind. Helenus’s orders warned against taking a course between Scylla and Charybdis, a hair’s breadth from death on either side: we decided to beat back again. When, behold, a northerly arrived from the narrow headland of Pelorus: I sailed past the natural rock mouth of the Pantagias, Megara’s bay, and low-lying Thapsus. Such were the shores Achaemenides, the friend of unlucky Ulysses, showed me, sailing his wandering journey again, in reverse. An island lies over against wave-washed Plemyrium, stretched across a Sicilian bay: named Ortygia by men of old. The story goes that Alpheus, a river of Elis, forced a hidden path here under the sea, and merges with the Sicilian waters of your fountain Arethusa. As commanded we worshipped the great gods of this land, and from there I passed marshy Helorus’s marvellously rich soil. Next we passed the tall reefs and jutting rocks of Pachynus, and Camerina appeared in the distance, granted immoveable, by prophecy, and the Geloan plains, and Gela named after its savage river. Then steep Acragas, once the breeder of brave horses, showed its mighty ramparts in the distance: and granted the wind, I left palmy Selinus, and passed the tricky shallows of Lilybaeum with their blind reefs. Next the harbour of Drepanum, and its joyless shore, received me. Here, alas, I lost my father, Anchises, my comfort in every trouble and misfortune, I, who’d been driven by so many ocean storms: here you left me, weary, best of fathers, saved from so many dangers in vain! Helenus, the seer, did not prophesy this grief of mine, when he warned me of many horrors, nor did grim Celaeno. This was my last trouble, this the end of my long journey: leaving there, the god drove me to your shores.’ So our ancestor Aeneas, as all listened to one man, recounted divine fate, and described his journey. At last he stopped, and making an end here, rested.

Book 4


But the queen, wounded long since by intense love, feeds the hurt with her life-blood, weakened by hidden fire. The hero’s courage often returns to mind, and the nobility of his race: his features and his words cling fixedly to her heart, and love will not grant restful calm to her body. The new day’s Dawn was lighting the earth with Phoebus’s brightness, and dispelling the dew-wet shadows from the sky, when she spoke ecstatically to her sister, her kindred spirit: “Anna, sister, how my dreams terrify me with anxieties! Who is this strange guest who has entered our house, with what boldness he speaks, how resolute in mind and warfare! Truly I think – and it’s no idle saying – that he’s born of a goddess. Fear reveals the ignoble spirit. Alas! What misfortunes test him! What battles he spoke of, that he has undergone! If my mind was not set, fixedly and immovably, never to join myself with any man in the bonds of marriage, because first-love betrayed me, cheated me through dying: if I were not wearied by marriage and bridal-beds, perhaps I might succumb to this one temptation. Anna, yes I confess, since my poor husband Sychaeus’s death when the altars were blood-stained by my murderous brother, he’s the only man who’s stirred my senses, troubled my wavering mind. I know the traces of the ancient flame. But I pray rather that earth might gape wide for me, to its depths, or the all-powerful father hurl me with his lightning-bolt down to the shadows, to the pale ghosts, and deepest night of Erebus, before I violate you, Honour, or break your laws. He who first took me to himself has stolen my love: let him keep it with him, and guard it in his grave.” So saying her breast swelled with her rising tears. Anna replied: “O you, who are more beloved to your sister than the light, will you wear your whole youth away in loneliness and grief, and not know Venus’s sweet gifts or her children? Do you think that ashes or sepulchral spirits care? Granted that in Libya or Tyre before it, no suitor ever dissuaded you from sorrowing: and Iarbas and the other lords whom the African soil, rich in fame, bears, were scorned: will you still struggle against a love that pleases? Do you not recall to mind in whose fields you settled? Here Gaetulian cities, a people unsurpassed in battle, unbridled Numidians, and inhospitable Syrtis, surround you: there, a region of dry desert, with Barcaeans raging around. And what of your brother’s threats, and war with Tyre imminent? The Trojan ships made their way here with the wind, with gods indeed helping them I think, and with Juno’s favour. What a city you’ll see here, sister, what a kingdom rise, with such a husband! With a Trojan army marching with us, with what great actions Punic glory will soar! Only ask the gods for their help, and, propitiating them with sacrifice, indulge your guest, spin reasons for delay, while winter, and stormy Orion, rage at sea, while the ships are damaged, and the skies are hostile.” By saying this she inflames the queen’s burning heart with love and raises hopes in her anxious mind, and weakens her sense of shame. First they visit the shrines and ask for grace at the altars: they sacrifice chosen animals according to the rites, to Ceres, the law-maker, and Phoebus, and father Lycaeus, and to Juno above all, in whose care are the marriage ties: Dido herself, supremely lovely, holding the cup in her hand, pours the libation between the horns of a white heifer or walks to the rich altars, before the face of the gods, celebrates the day with gifts, and gazes into the opened chests of victims, and reads the living entrails. Ah, the unknowing minds of seers! What use are prayers or shrines to the impassioned? Meanwhile her tender marrow is aflame, and a silent wound is alive in her breast. Wretched Dido burns, and wanders frenzied through the city, like an unwary deer struck by an arrow, that a shepherd hunting with his bow has fired at from a distance, in the Cretan woods, leaving the winged steel in her, without knowing. She runs through the woods and glades of Dicte: the lethal shaft hangs in her side. Now she leads Aeneas with her round the walls showing her Sidonian wealth and the city she’s built: she begins to speak, and stops in mid-flow: now she longs for the banquet again as day wanes, yearning madly to hear about the Trojan adventures once more and hangs once more on the speaker’s lips. Then when they have departed, and the moon in turn has quenched her light and the setting constellations urge sleep, she grieves, alone in the empty hall, and lies on the couch he left. Absent she hears him absent, sees him, or hugs Ascanius on her lap, taken with this image of his father, so as to deceive her silent passion. The towers she started no longer rise, the young men no longer carry out their drill, or work on the harbour and the battlements for defence in war: the interrupted work is left hanging, the huge threatening walls, the sky-reaching cranes. As soon as Juno, Jupiter’s beloved wife, saw clearly that Dido was gripped by such heart-sickness, and her reputation no obstacle to love, she spoke to Venus in these words: “You and that son of yours, certainly take the prize, and plenty of spoils: a great and memorable show of divine power, whereby one woman’s trapped by the tricks of two gods. But the truth’s not escaped me, you’ve always held the halls of high Carthage under suspicion, afraid of my city’s defences. But where can that end? Why such rivalry, now? Why don’t we work on eternal peace instead, and a wedding pact? You’ve achieved all that your mind was set on: Dido’s burning with passion, and she’s drawn the madness into her very bones. Let’s rule these people together with equal sway: let her be slave to a Trojan husband, and entrust her Tyrians to your hand, as the dowry.” Venus began the reply to her like this (since she knew she’d spoken with deceit in her mind to divert the empire from Italy’s shores to Libya’s): “Who’d be mad enough to refuse such an offer or choose to make war on you, so long as fate follows up what you say with action? But fortune makes me uncertain, as to whether Jupiter wants a single city for Tyrians and Trojan exiles, and approves the mixing of races and their joining in league together. You’re his wife: you can test his intent by asking. Do it: I’ll follow.” Then royal Juno replied like this: “That task’s mine. Now listen and I’ll tell you briefly how the purpose at hand can be achieved. Aeneas and poor Dido plan to go hunting together in the woods, when the sun first shows tomorrow’s dawn, and reveals the world in his rays. While the lines are beating, and closing the thickets with nets, I’ll pour down dark rain mixed with hail from the sky, and rouse the whole heavens with my thunder. They’ll scatter, and be lost in the dark of night: Dido and the Trojan leader will reach the same cave. I’ll be there, and if I’m assured of your good will, I’ll join them firmly in marriage, and speak for her as his own: this will be their wedding-night.” Not opposed to what she wanted, Venus agreed, and smiled to herself at the deceit she’d found. Meanwhile Dawn surges up and leaves the ocean. Once she has risen, the chosen men pour from the gates: Massylian horsemen ride out, with wide-meshed nets, snares, broad-headed hunting spears, and a pack of keen-scented hounds. The queen lingers in her rooms, while Punic princes wait at the threshold: her horse stands there, bright in purple and gold, and champs fiercely at the foaming bit. At last she appears, with a great crowd around her, dressed in a Sidonian robe with an embroidered hem. Her quiver’s of gold, her hair knotted with gold, a golden brooch fastens her purple tunic. Her Trojan friends and joyful Iulus are with her: Aeneas himself, the most handsome of them all, moves forward and joins his friendly troop with hers. Like Apollo, leaving behind the Lycian winter, and the streams of Xanthus, and visiting his mother’s Delos, to renew the dancing, Cretans and Dryopes and painted Agathyrsians, mingling around his altars, shouting: he himself striding over the ridges of Cynthus, his hair dressed with tender leaves, and clasped with gold, the weapons rattling on his shoulder: so Aeneas walks, as lightly, beauty like the god’s shining from his noble face. When they reach the mountain heights and pathless haunts, see the wild goats, disturbed on their stony summits, course down the slopes: in another place deer speed over the open field, massing together in a fleeing herd among clouds of dust, leaving the hillsides behind. But the young Ascanius among the valleys, delights in his fiery horse, passing this rider and that at a gallop, hoping that amongst these harmless creatures a boar, with foaming mouth, might answer his prayers, or a tawny lion, down from the mountain. Meanwhile the sky becomes filled with a great rumbling: rain mixed with hail follows, and the Tyrian company and the Trojan men, with Venus’s Dardan grandson, scatter here and there through the fields, in their fear, seeking shelter: torrents stream down from the hills. Dido and the Trojan leader reach the very same cave. Primeval Earth and Juno of the Nuptials give their signal: lightning flashes, the heavens are party to their union, and the Nymphs howl on the mountain heights. That first day is the source of misfortune and death. Dido’s no longer troubled by appearances or reputation, she no longer thinks of a secret affair: she calls it marriage: and with that name disguises her sin. Rumour, compared with whom no other is as swift. She flourishes by speed, and gains strength as she goes: first limited by fear, she soon reaches into the sky, walks on the ground, and hides her head in the clouds. Earth, incited to anger against the gods, so they say, bore her last, a monster, vast and terrible, fleet-winged and swift-footed, sister to Coeus and Enceladus, who for every feather on her body has as many watchful eyes below (marvellous to tell), as many tongues speaking, as many listening ears. She flies, screeching, by night through the shadows between earth and sky, never closing her eyelids in sweet sleep: by day she sits on guard on tall roof-tops or high towers, and scares great cities, as tenacious of lies and evil, as she is messenger of truth. Now in delight she filled the ears of the nations with endless gossip, singing fact and fiction alike: Aeneas has come, born of Trojan blood, a man whom lovely Dido deigns to unite with: now they’re spending the whole winter together in indulgence, forgetting their royalty, trapped by shameless passion. The vile goddess spread this here and there on men’s lips. Immediately she slanted her course towards King Iarbas and inflamed his mind with words and fuelled his anger. He, a son of Jupiter Ammon, by a raped Garamantian Nymph, had set up a hundred great temples, a hundred altars, to the god, in his broad kingdom, and sanctified ever-living fires, the gods’ eternal guardians: the floors were soaked with sacrificial blood, and the thresholds flowery with mingled garlands. They say he often begged Jove humbly with upraised hands, in front of the altars, among the divine powers, maddened in spirit and set on fire by bitter rumour: “All-powerful Jupiter, to whom the Moors, on their embroidered divans, banqueting, now pour a Bacchic offering, do you see this? Do we shudder in vain when you hurl your lightning bolts, father, and are those idle fires in the clouds that terrify our minds, and flash among the empty rumblings? A woman, wandering within my borders, who paid to found a little town, and to whom we granted coastal lands to plough, to hold in tenure, scorns marriage with me, and takes Aeneas into her country as its lord. And now like some Paris, with his pack of eunuchs, a Phrygian cap, tied under his chin, on his greasy hair, he’s master of what he’s snatched: while I bring gifts indeed to temples, said to be yours, and cherish your empty reputation. As he gripped the altar, and prayed in this way, the All-powerful one listened, and turned his gaze towards the royal city, and the lovers forgetful of their true reputation. Then he spoke to Mercury and commanded him so: “Off you go, my son, call the winds and glide on your wings, and talk to the Trojan leader who malingers in Tyrian Carthage now, and gives no thought to the cities the fates will grant him, and carry my words there on the quick breeze. This is not what his loveliest of mothers suggested to me, nor why she rescued him twice from Greek armies: he was to be one who’d rule Italy, pregnant with empire, and crying out for war, he’d produce a people of Teucer’s high blood, and bring the whole world under the rule of law. If the glory of such things doesn’t inflame him, and he doesn’t exert himself for his own honour, does he begrudge the citadels of Rome to Ascanius? What does he plan? With what hopes does he stay among alien people, forgetting Ausonia and the Lavinian fields? Let him sail: that’s it in total, let that be my message.” He finished speaking. The god prepared to obey his great father’s order, and first fastened the golden sandals to his feet that carry him high on the wing over land and sea, like the storm. Then he took up his wand: he calls pale ghosts from Orcus with it, sending others down to grim Tartarus, gives and takes away sleep, and opens the eyes of the dead. Relying on it, he drove the winds, and flew through the stormy clouds. Now in his flight he saw the steep flanks and the summit of strong Atlas, who holds the heavens on his head, Atlas, whose pine-covered crown is always wreathed in dark clouds and lashed by the wind and rain: fallen snow clothes his shoulders: while rivers fall from his ancient chin, and his rough beard bristles with ice. There Cyllenian Mercury first halted, balanced on level wings: from there, he threw his whole body headlong towards the waves, like a bird that flies low close to the sea, round the coasts and the rocks rich in fish. So the Cyllenian-born flew between heaven and earth to Libya’s sandy shore, cutting the winds, coming from Atlas, his mother Maia’s father. As soon as he reached the builders’ huts, on his winged feet, he saw Aeneas establishing towers and altering roofs. His sword was starred with tawny jasper, and the cloak that hung from his shoulder blazed with Tyrian purple, a gift that rich Dido had made, weaving the cloth with golden thread. Mercury challenged him at once: “For love of a wife are you now building the foundations of high Carthage and a pleasing city? Alas, forgetful of your kingdom and fate! The king of the gods himself, who bends heaven and earth to his will, has sent me down to you from bright Olympus: he commanded me himself to carry these words through the swift breezes. What do you plan? With what hopes do you waste idle hours in Libya’s lands? If you’re not stirred by the glory of destiny, and won’t exert yourself for your own fame, think of your growing Ascanius, and the expectations of him, as Iulus your heir, to whom will be owed the kingdom of Italy, and the Roman lands.” So Mercury spoke, and, while speaking, vanished from mortal eyes, and melted into thin air far from their sight. Aeneas, stupefied at the vision, was struck dumb, and his hair rose in terror, and his voice stuck in his throat. He was eager to be gone, in flight, and leave that sweet land, shocked by the warning and the divine command. Alas! What to do? With what speech dare he tackle the love-sick queen? What opening words should he choose? And he cast his mind back and forth swiftly, considered the issue from every aspect, and turned it every way. This seemed the best decision, given the alternatives: he called Mnestheus, Sergestus and brave Serestus, telling them to fit out the fleet in silence, gather the men on the shore, ready the ships’ tackle, and hide the reason for these changes of plan. He in the meantime, since the excellent Dido knew nothing, and would not expect the breaking off of such a love, would seek an approach, the tenderest moment to speak, and a favourable means. They all gladly obeyed his command at once, and did his bidding. But the queen sensed his tricks (who can deceive a lover?) and was first to anticipate future events, fearful even of safety. That same impious Rumour brought her madness: they are fitting out the fleet, and planning a journey. Her mind weakened, she raves, and, on fire, runs wild through the city: like a Maenad, thrilled by the shaken emblems of the god, when the biennial festival rouses her, and, hearing the Bacchic cry, Mount Cithaeron summons her by night with its noise. Of her own accord she finally reproaches Aeneas in these words: “Faithless one, did you really think you could hide such wickedness, and vanish from my land in silence? Will my love not hold you, nor the pledge I once gave you, nor the promise that Dido will die a cruel death? Even in winter do you labour over your ships, cruel one, so as to sail the high seas at the height of the northern gales? Why? If you were not seeking foreign lands and unknown settlements, but ancient Troy still stood, would Troy be sought out by your ships in wave-torn seas? Is it me you run from? I beg you, by these tears, by your own right hand (since I’ve left myself no other recourse in my misery), by our union, by the marriage we have begun, if ever I deserved well of you, or anything of me was sweet to you, pity this ruined house, and if there is any room left for prayer, change your mind. The Libyan peoples and Numidian rulers hate me because of you: my Tyrians are hostile: because of you all shame too is lost, the reputation I had, by which alone I might reach the stars. My guest, since that’s all that is left me from the name of husband, to whom do you relinquish me, a dying woman? Why do I stay? Until Pygmalion, my brother, destroys the city, or Iarbas the Gaetulian takes me captive? If I’d at least conceived a child of yours before you fled, if a little Aeneas were playing about my halls, whose face might still recall yours, I’d not feel myself so utterly deceived and forsaken.” She had spoken. He set his gaze firmly on Jupiter’s warnings, and hid his pain steadfastly in his heart. He replied briefly at last: “O queen, I will never deny that you deserve the most that can be spelt out in speech, nor will I regret my thoughts of you, Elissa, while memory itself is mine, and breath controls these limbs. I’ll speak about the reality a little. I did not expect to conceal my departure by stealth (don’t think that), nor have I ever held the marriage torch, or entered into that pact. If the fates had allowed me to live my life under my own auspices, and attend to my own concerns as I wished, I should first have cared for the city of Troy and the sweet relics of my family, Priam’s high roofs would remain, and I’d have recreated Pergama, with my own hands, for the defeated. But now it is Italy that Apollo of Grynium, Italy, that the Lycian oracles, order me to take: that is my desire, that is my country. If the turrets of Carthage and the sight of your Libyan city occupy you, a Phoenician, why then begrudge the Trojans their settling of Ausonia’s lands? It is right for us too to search out a foreign kingdom. As often as night cloaks the earth with dew-wet shadows, as often as the burning constellations rise, the troubled image of my father Anchises warns and terrifies me in dream: about my son Ascanius and the wrong to so dear a person, whom I cheat of a Hesperian kingdom, and pre-destined fields. Now even the messenger of the gods, sent by Jupiter himself, (I swear it on both our heads), has brought the command on the swift breeze: I saw the god himself in broad daylight enter the city and these very ears drank of his words. Stop rousing yourself and me with your complaints. I do not take course for Italy of my own free will.” As he was speaking she gazed at him with hostility, casting her eyes here and there, considering the whole man with a silent stare, and then, incensed, she spoke: “Deceiver, your mother was no goddess, nor was Dardanus the father of your race: harsh Caucasus engendered you on the rough crags, and Hyrcanian tigers nursed you. Why pretend now, or restrain myself waiting for something worse? Did he groan at my weeping? Did he look at me? Did he shed tears in defeat, or pity his lover? What is there to say after this? Now neither greatest Juno, indeed, nor Jupiter, son of Saturn, are gazing at this with friendly eyes. Nowhere is truth safe. I welcomed him as a castaway on the shore, a beggar, and foolishly gave away a part of my kingdom: I saved his lost fleet, and his friends from death. Ah! Driven by the Furies, I burn: now prophetic Apollo, now the Lycian oracles, now even a divine messenger sent by Jove himself carries his orders through the air. This is the work of the gods indeed, this is a concern to trouble their calm. I do not hold you back, or refute your words: go, seek Italy on the winds, find your kingdom over the waves. Yet if the virtuous gods have power, I hope that you will drain the cup of suffering among the reefs, and call out Dido’s name again and again. Absent, I’ll follow you with dark fires, and when icy death has divided my soul and body, my ghost will be present everywhere. Cruel one, you’ll be punished. I’ll hear of it: that news will reach me in the depths of Hades.” Saying this, she broke off her speech mid-flight, and fled the light in pain, turning from his eyes, and going, leaving him fearful and hesitant, ready to say more. Her servants received her and carried her failing body to her marble chamber, and laid her on her bed. But dutiful Aeneas, though he desired to ease her sadness by comforting her and to turn aside pain with words, still, with much sighing, and a heart shaken by the strength of her love, followed the divine command, and returned to the fleet. Then the Trojans truly set to work and launched the tall ships all along the shore. They floated the resinous keels, and ready for flight, they brought leafy branches and untrimmed trunks, from the woods, as oars. You could see them hurrying and moving from every part of the city. Like ants that plunder a vast heap of grain, and store it in their nest, mindful of winter: a dark column goes through the fields, and they carry their spoils along a narrow track through the grass: some heave with their shoulders against a large seed, and push, others tighten the ranks and punish delay, the whole path’s alive with work. What were your feelings Dido at such sights, what sighs did you give, watching the shore from the heights of the citadel, everywhere alive, and seeing the whole sea, before your eyes, confused with such cries! Cruel Love, to what do you not drive the human heart: to burst into tears once more, to see once more if he can be compelled by prayers, to humbly submit to love, lest she leave anything untried, dying in vain. “Anna, you see them scurrying all round the shore: they’ve come from everywhere: the canvas already invites the breeze, and the sailors, delighted, have set garlands on the sterns. If I was able to foresee this great grief, sister, then I’ll be able to endure it too. Yet still do one thing for me in my misery, Anna: since the deceiver cultivated only you, even trusting you with his private thoughts: and only you know the time to approach the man easily. Go, sister, and speak humbly to my proud enemy. I never took the oath, with the Greeks at Aulis, to destroy the Trojan race, or sent a fleet to Pergama, or disturbed the ashes and ghost of his father Anchises: why does he pitilessly deny my words access to his hearing? Where does he run to? Let him give his poor lover this last gift: let him wait for an easy voyage and favourable winds. I don’t beg now for our former tie, that he has betrayed, nor that he give up his beautiful Latium, and abandon his kingdom: I ask for insubstantial time: peace and space for my passion, while fate teaches my beaten spirit to grieve. I beg for this last favour (pity your sister): when he has granted it me, I’ll repay all by dying.” Such are the prayers she made, and such are those her unhappy sister carried and re-carried. But he was not moved by tears, and listened to no words receptively: Fate barred the way, and a god sealed the hero’s gentle hearing. As when northerly blasts from the Alps blowing here and there vie together to uproot an oak tree, tough with the strength of years: there’s a creak, and the trunk quivers and the topmost leaves strew the ground: but it clings to the rocks, and its roots stretch as far down to Tartarus as its crown does towards the heavens: so the hero was buffeted by endless pleas from this side and that, and felt the pain in his noble heart. His purpose remained fixed: tears fell uselessly. Then the unhappy Dido, truly appalled by her fate, prayed for death: she was weary of gazing at the vault of heaven. And that she might complete her purpose, and relinquish the light more readily, when she placed her offerings on the altar alight with incense, she saw (terrible to speak of!) the holy water blacken, and the wine she had poured change to vile blood. She spoke of this vision to no one, not even her sister. There was a marble shrine to her former husband in the palace, that she’d decked out, also, with marvellous beauty, with snow-white fleeces, and festive greenery: from it she seemed to hear voices and her husband’s words calling her, when dark night gripped the earth: and the lonely owl on the roofs often grieved with ill-omened cries, drawing out its long call in a lament: and many a prophecy of the ancient seers terrified her with its dreadful warning. Harsh Aeneas himself persecuted her, in her crazed sleep: always she was forsaken, alone with herself, always she seemed to be travelling companionless on some long journey, seeking her Tyrian people in a deserted landscape: like Pentheus, deranged, seeing the Furies file past, and twin suns and a twin Thebes revealed to view, or like Agamemnon’s son Orestes driven across the stage when he flees his mother’s ghost armed with firebrands and black snakes, while the avenging Furies crouch on the threshold. So that when, overcome by anguish, she harboured the madness, and determined on death, she debated with herself over the time and the method, and going to her sorrowful sister with a face that concealed her intent, calm, with hope on her brow, said: “Sister, I’ve found a way (rejoice with your sister) that will return him to me, or free me from loving him. Near the ends of the Ocean and where the sun sets Ethiopia lies, the furthest of lands, where Atlas, mightiest of all, turns the sky set with shining stars: I’ve been told of a priestess, of Massylian race, there, a keeper of the temple of the Hesperides, who gave the dragon its food, and guarded the holy branches of the tree, scattering the honeydew and sleep-inducing poppies. With her incantations she promises to set free what hearts she wishes, but bring cruel pain to others: to stop the rivers flowing, and turn back the stars: she wakes nocturnal Spirits: you’ll see earth yawn under your feet, and the ash trees march from the hills. You, and the gods, and your sweet life, are witness, dear sister, that I arm myself with magic arts unwillingly. Build a pyre, secretly, in an inner courtyard, open to the sky, and place the weapons on it which that impious man left hanging in my room, and the clothes, and the bridal bed that undid me: I want to destroy all memories of that wicked man, and the priestess commends it.” Saying this she fell silent: at the same time a pallor spread over her face. Anna did not yet realise that her sister was disguising her own funeral with these strange rites, her mind could not conceive of such intensity, and she feared nothing more serious than when Sychaeus died. So she prepared what was demanded. But when the pyre of cut pine and oak was raised high, in an innermost court open to the sky, the queen hung the place with garlands, and wreathed it with funereal foliage: she laid his sword and clothes and picture on the bed, not unmindful of the ending. Altars stand round about, and the priestess, with loosened hair, intoned the names of three hundred gods, of Erebus, Chaos, and the triple Hecate, the three faces of virgin Diana. And she sprinkled water signifying the founts of Avernus: there were herbs too acquired by moonlight, cut with a bronze sickle, moist with the milk of dark venom: and a caul acquired by tearing it from a newborn colt’s brow, forestalling the mother’s love. She herself, near the altars, with sacred grain in purified hands, one foot free of constraint, her clothing loosened, called on the gods to witness her coming death, and on the stars conscious of fate: then she prayed to whatever just and attentive power there might be, that cares for unrequited lovers. It was night, and everywhere weary creatures were enjoying peaceful sleep, the woods and the savage waves were resting, while stars wheeled midway in their gliding orbit, while all the fields were still, and beasts and colourful birds, those that live on wide scattered lakes, and those that live in rough country among the thorn-bushes, were sunk in sleep in the silent night. But not the Phoenician, unhappy in spirit, she did not relax in sleep, or receive the darkness into her eyes and breast: her cares redoubled, and passion, alive once more, raged, and she swelled with a great tide of anger. So she began in this way turning it over alone in her heart: “See, what can I do? Be mocked trying my former suitors, seeking marriage humbly with Numidians whom I have already disdained so many times as husbands? Shall I follow the Trojan fleet then and that Teucrian’s every whim? Because they might delight in having been helped by my previous aid, or because gratitude for past deeds might remain truly fixed in their memories? Indeed who, given I wanted to, would let me, or would take one they hate on board their proud ships? Ah, lost girl, do you not know or feel yet the treachery of Laomedon’s race? What then? Shall I go alone, accompanying triumphant sailors? Or with all my band of Tyrians clustered round me? Shall I again drive my men to sea in pursuit, those whom I could barely tear away from their Sidonian city, and order them to spread their sails to the wind? Rather die, as you deserve, and turn away sorrow with steel. You, my sister, conquered by my tears, in my madness, you first burdened me with these ills, and exposed me to my enemy. I was not allowed to pass my life without blame, free of marriage, in the manner of some wild creature, never knowing such pain: I have not kept the vow I made to Sychaeus’s ashes.” Such was the lament that burst from her heart. Now that everything was ready, and he was resolved on going, Aeneas was snatching some sleep, on the ship’s high stern. That vision appeared again in dream admonishing him, similar to Mercury in every way, voice and colouring, golden hair, and youth’s graceful limbs: “Son of the Goddess, can you consider sleep in this disaster, can’t you see the danger of it that surrounds you, madman or hear the favourable west winds blowing? Determined to die, she broods on mortal deceit and sin, and is tossed about on anger’s volatile flood. Won’t you flee from here, in haste, while you can hasten? Soon you’ll see the water crowded with ships, cruel firebrands burning, soon the shore will rage with flame, if the Dawn finds you lingering in these lands. Come, now, end your delay! Woman is ever fickle and changeable.” So he spoke, and blended with night’s darkness. Then Aeneas, terrified indeed by the sudden apparition, roused his body from sleep, and called to his friends: “ Quick, men, awake, and man the rowing-benches: run and loosen the sails. Know that a god, sent from the heavens, urges us again to speed our flight, and cut the twisted hawsers. We follow you, whoever you may be, sacred among the gods, and gladly obey your commands once more. Oh, be with us, calm one, help us, and show stars favourable to us in the sky.” He spoke, and snatched his shining sword from its sheath, and struck the cable with the naked blade. All were possessed at once with the same ardour: They snatched up their goods, and ran: abandoning the shore: the water was clothed with ships: setting to, they churned the foam and swept the blue waves. And now, at dawn, Aurora, leaving Tithonus’s saffron bed, was scattering fresh daylight over the earth. As soon as the queen saw the day whiten, from her tower, and the fleet sailing off under full canvas, and realised the shore and harbour were empty of oarsmen, she struck her lovely breast three or four times with her hand, and tearing at her golden hair, said: “Ah, Jupiter, is he to leave, is a foreigner to pour scorn on our kingdom? Shall my Tyrians ready their armour, and follow them out of the city, and others drag our ships from their docks? Go, bring fire quickly, hand out the weapons, drive the oars! What am I saying? Where am I? What madness twists my thoughts? Wretched Dido, is it now that your impious actions hurt you? The right time was then, when you gave him the crown. So this is the word and loyalty of the man whom they say bears his father’s gods around, of the man who carried his age-worn father on his shoulders? Couldn’t I have seized hold of him, torn his body apart, and scattered him on the waves? And put his friends to the sword, and Ascanius even, to feast on, as a course at his father’s table? True the fortunes of war are uncertain. Let them be so: as one about to die, whom had I to fear? I should have set fire to his camp, filled the decks with flames, and extinguishing father and son, and their whole race, given up my own life as well. O Sun, you who illuminate all the works of this world, and you Juno, interpreter and knower of all my pain, and Hecate howled to, in cities, at midnight crossroads, you, avenging Furies, and you, gods of dying Elissa, acknowledge this, direct your righteous will to my troubles, and hear my prayer. If it must be that the accursed one should reach the harbour, and sail to the shore: if Jove’s destiny for him requires it, there his goal: still, troubled in war by the armies of a proud race, exiled from his territories, torn from Iulus’s embrace, let him beg help, and watch the shameful death of his people: then, when he has surrendered, to a peace without justice, may he not enjoy his kingdom or the days he longed for, but let him die before his time, and lie unburied on the sand. This I pray, these last words I pour out with my blood. Then, O Tyrians, pursue my hatred against his whole line and the race to come, and offer it as a tribute to my ashes. Let there be no love or treaties between our peoples. Rise, some unknown avenger, from my dust, who will pursue the Trojan colonists with fire and sword, now, or in time to come, whenever the strength is granted him. I pray that shore be opposed to shore, water to wave, weapon to weapon: let them fight, them and their descendants.” She spoke, and turned her thoughts this way and that, considering how to destroy her hateful life. Then she spoke briefly to Barce, Sychaeus’s nurse, since dark ashes concealed her own, in her former country: “Dear nurse, bring my sister Anna here: tell her to hurry, and sprinkle herself with water from the river, and bring the sacrificial victims and noble offerings. Let her come, and you yourself veil your brow with sacred ribbons. My purpose is to complete the rites of Stygian Jupiter, that I commanded, and have duly begun, and put an end to sorrow, and entrust the pyre of that Trojan leader to the flames.” So she said. The old woman zealously hastened her steps. But Dido restless, wild with desperate purpose, rolling her bloodshot eyes, her trembling cheeks stained with red flushes, yet pallid at approaching death, rushed into the house through its inner threshold, furiously climbed the tall funeral pyre, and unsheathed a Trojan sword, a gift that was never acquired to this end. Then as she saw the Ilian clothing and the familiar couch, she lingered a while, in tears and thought, then cast herself on the bed, and spoke her last words: “Reminders, sweet while fate and the god allowed it, accept this soul, and loose me from my sorrows. I have lived, and I have completed the course that Fortune granted, and now my noble spirit will pass beneath the earth. I have built a bright city: I have seen its battlements, avenging a husband I have exacted punishment on a hostile brother, happy, ah, happy indeed if Trojan keels had never touched my shores!” She spoke, and buried her face in the couch. “I shall die un-avenged, but let me die,” she cried. “So, so I joy in travelling into the shadows. Let the cruel Trojan’s eyes drink in this fire, on the deep, and bear with him the evil omen of my death.” She had spoken, and in the midst of these words, her servants saw she had fallen on the blade, the sword frothed with blood, and her hands were stained. A cry rose to the high ceiling: Rumour, run riot, struck the city. The houses sounded with weeping and sighs and women’s cries, the sky echoed with a mighty lamentation, as if all Carthage or ancient Tyre were falling to the invading enemy, and raging flames were rolling over the roofs of men and gods. Her sister, terrified, heard it, and rushed through the crowd, tearing her cheeks with her nails, and beating her breast, and called out to the dying woman in accusation: “So this was the meaning of it, sister? Did you aim to cheat me? This pyre of yours, this fire and altar were prepared for my sake? What shall I grieve for first in my abandonment? Did you scorn your sister’s company in dying? You should have summoned me to the same fate: the same hour the same sword’s hurt should have taken us both. I even built your pyre with these hands, and was I calling aloud on our father’s gods, so that I would be absent, cruel one, as you lay here? You have extinguished yourself and me, sister: your people, your Sidonian ancestors, and your city. I should bathe your wounds with water and catch with my lips whatever dying breath still hovers.” So saying she climbed the high levels, and clasped her dying sister to her breast, sighing, and stemming the dark blood with her dress. Dido tried to lift her heavy eyelids again, but failed: and the deep wound hissed in her breast. Lifting herself three times, she struggled to rise on her elbow: three times she fell back onto the bed, searching for light in the depths of heaven, with wandering eyes, and, finding it, sighed. Then all-powerful Juno, pitying the long suffering of her difficult death, sent Iris from Olympus, to release the struggling spirit, and captive body. For since she had not died through fate, or by a well-earned death, but wretchedly, before her time, inflamed with sudden madness, Proserpine had not yet taken a lock of golden hair from her head, or condemned her soul to Stygian Orcus. So dew-wet Iris flew down through the sky, on saffron wings, trailing a thousand shifting colours across the sun, and hovered over her head. “ I take this offering, sacred to Dis, as commanded, and release you from the body that was yours.” So she spoke, and cut the lock of hair with her right hand. All the warmth ebbed at once, and life vanished on the breeze.

Book 5


Meanwhile Aeneas with the fleet was holding a fixed course now in the midst of the sea, cutting the waves, dark in a northerly wind, looking back at the city walls that were glowing now with unhappy Dido’s funeral flames. The reason that such a fire had been lit was unknown: but the cruel pain when a great love is profaned, and the knowledge of what a frenzied woman might do, drove the minds of the Trojans to sombre forebodings. When the ships reached deep water and land was no longer in sight, but everywhere was sea, and sky was everywhere, then a dark-blue rain cloud hung overhead, bringing night and storm, and the waves bristled with shadows. Palinurus the helmsman himself from the high stern cried: ‘Ah! Why have such storm clouds shrouded the sky? What do you intend, father Neptune?’ So saying, next he ordered them to shorten sail, and bend to the heavy oars, then tacked against the wind, and spoke as follows: ‘Brave Aeneas, I would not expect to make Italy with this sky, though guardian Jupiter promised it. The winds, rising from the darkened west, have shifted and roar across our path, and the air thickens for a storm. We cannot stand against it, or labour enough to weather it. Since Fortune overcomes us, let’s go with her, and set our course wherever she calls. I think your brother Eryx’s friendly shores are not far off, and the harbours of Sicily, if I only remember the stars I observed rightly.’ Then virtuous Aeneas replied: ‘For my part I’ve seen for some time that the winds required it, and you’re steering into them in vain. Alter the course we sail. Is any land more welcome to me, any to which I’d prefer to steer my weary fleet, than that which protects my Trojan friend Acestes, and holds the bones of my father Anchises to its breast?” Having said this they searched out the port, and following winds filled their sails: the ships sailed swiftly on the flood, and they turned at last in delight towards known shores. But Alcestes, on a high hill in the distance, wondered at the arrival of friendly vessels, and met them, armed with javelins, in his Libyan she-bear’s pelt: he whom a Trojan mother bore, conceived of the river-god Crinisius. Not neglectful of his ancient lineage he rejoiced at their return, entertained them gladly with his rural riches, and comforted the weary with the assistance of a friend. BkV:42-103 Aeneas Declares the Games When, in the following Dawn, bright day had put the stars to flight, Aeneas called his companions together, from the whole shore, and spoke from a high mound: “Noble Trojans, people of the high lineage of the gods, the year’s cycle is complete to the very month when we laid the bones, all that was left of my divine father, in the earth, and dedicated the sad altars. And now the day is here (that the gods willed) if I am not wrong, which I will always hold as bitter, always honoured. If I were keeping it, exiled in Gaetulian Syrtes, or caught on the Argive seas, or in Mycenae’s city, I’d still conduct the yearly rite, and line of solemn procession, and heap up the due offerings on the altar. Now we even stand by the ashes and bones of my father (not for my part I think without the will and power of the gods) and carried to this place we have entered a friendly harbour. So come and let us all celebrate the sacrifice with joy: let us pray for a wind, and may he will me to offer these rites each year when my city is founded, in temples that are his. Acestes, a Trojan born, gives you two head of oxen for every ship: Invite the household gods to our feast, our own and those whom Acestes our host worships. Also, when the ninth Dawn raises high the kindly light for mortal men, and reveals the world in her rays, I will declare a Trojan Games: first a race between the swift ships: then those with ability in running, and those, daring in strength, who step forward, who are superior with javelin and slight arrows, or trust themselves to fight with rawhide gloves: let everyone be there and hope for the prize of a well-deserved palm branch. All be silent now, and wreathe your brows.” So saying he veiled his forehead with his mother’s myrtle. Helymus did likewise, Acestes of mature years, the boy Ascanius, and the rest of the people followed. Then he went with many thousands, from the gathering to the grave-mound, in the midst of the vast accompanying throng. Here with due offering he poured two bowls of pure wine onto the ground, two of fresh milk, two of sacrificial blood, and, scattering bright petals, he spoke as follows: “Once more, hail, my sacred father: hail, spirit, ghost, ashes of my father, whom I rescued in vain. I was not allowed to search, with you, for Italy’s borders, our destined fields, or Ausonia’s Tiber, wherever it might be.” He had just finished speaking when a shining snake unwound each of its seven coils from the base of the shrine, in seven large loops, placidly encircling the mound, and gliding among the altars, its back mottled with blue-green markings, and its scales burning with a golden sheen, as a rainbow forms a thousand varied colours in clouds opposite the sun. Aeneas was stunned by the sight. Finally, with a long glide among the bowls and polished drinking cups, the serpent tasted the food, and, having fed, departed the altar, retreating harmlessly again into the depths of the tomb. Aeneas returned more eagerly to the tribute to his father, uncertain whether to treat the snake as the guardian of the place, or as his father’s attendant spirit: he killed two sheep as customary, two pigs, and as many black-backed heifers: and poured wine from the bowls, and called on the spirit and shadow of great Anchises, released from Acheron. And his companions as well, brought gifts gladly, of which each had a store, piling high the altars, sacrificing bullocks: others set out rows of cauldrons, and scattered among the grass, placed live coals under the spits, and roasted the meat. BkV:104-150 The Start of the Games The eagerly-awaited day had arrived, and now Phaethon’s horses brought a ninth dawn of cloudless light, and Acestes’s name and reputation had roused the countryside: they thronged the shore, a joyous crowd, some to see Aeneas and his men, others to compete. First the prizes were set out for them to see in the centre of the circuit, sacred tripods, green crowns and palms, rewards for the winners, armour, and clothes dyed with purple, and talents of silver and gold: and a trumpet sang out, from a central mound, that the games had begun. Four well-matched ships with heavy oars were chosen from the fleet for the first event. Mnesthus, soon to be Mnesthus of Italy from whom the Memmian people are named, captains the Sea-Serpent, with its eager crew: Gyas, the vast Chimaera of huge bulk, a floating city, rowed by the Trojan men on three decks, with the oars raised in triple rows: Sergestus, from whom the house of Sergia gets its name, sails in the great Centaur, and Cloanthus from whom your family derives, Cluentius of Rome, in the sea-green Scylla. There’s a rock far out at sea opposite the foaming shore, which, lashed by the swollen waves, is sometimes drowned, when wintry north-westerlies hide the stars: it is quiet in calm weather and flat ground is raised above the motionless water, a welcome haunt for sun-loving sea-birds. Here our ancestor Aeneas set up a leafy oak-trunk as a mark, as a sign for the sailors to know where to turn back, and circle round the long course. Then they chose places by lot, and the captains themselves, on the sterns, gleamed from a distance, resplendent in purple and gold: the rest of the men were crowned with poplar leaves, and their naked shoulders glistened, shining with oil. They manned the benches, arms ready at the oars: readied for action they waited for the signal, and pounding fear, and the desire aroused for glory, devoured their leaping hearts. Then when the clear trumpet gave the signal, all immediately shot forward from the starting line, the sailor’s shouts struck the heavens, as arms were plied the waters turned to foam. they cut the furrows together, and the whole surface gaped wide, ploughed by the oars and the three-pronged beaks. The speed is not as great when the two horse chariots hit the field in their race, shooting from their stalls: and the charioteers shake the rippling reins over their galloping team, straining forward to the lash. So the whole woodland echoes with applause, the shouts of men, and the partisanship of their supporters, the sheltered beach concentrates the sound and the hills, reverberating, return the clamour. BkV:151-243 The Boat Race Gyas runs before the pack, and glides forward on the waves, amongst the noise and confusion: Cloanthus follows next, his ship better manned, but held back by its weight. After them separated equally the Sea-Serpent and the Centaur strain to win a lead: now the Sea-Serpent has it, now the huge Centaur wins in front, now both sweep on together their bows level, their long keels ploughing the salt sea. Now they near the rock and are close to the marker, when Gyas, the leader, winning at the half-way point, calls out loudly to his pilot Menoetes: “Why so far adrift to starboard? Steer her course this way: hug the shore and graze the crags to port, oars raised: let others keep to deep water.” He spoke, but Menoetes fearing unseen reefs wrenched the prow towards the open sea. “Why so far adrift?” again, “Head for the rocks, Menoetes!” he shouts to him forcefully, and behold, he sees Cloanthus right at his back and taking the riskier course. He squeezed a path between Gyas’s ship and the booming rocks inside to starboard, suddenly passing the leader, and, leaving the marker behind, reached safe water. Then indeed great indignation burned in the young man’s marrow, and there were tears on his cheeks, and forgetting his own pride and his crew’s safety he heaved the timid Menoetes headlong into the sea from the high stern: he stood to the helm, himself captain and steersman, urged on his men, and turned for the shore. But when Menoetes old as he was, clawed his way back heavily and with difficulty at last from the sea floor, he climbed to the top of the crag and sat down on the dry rock dripping, in his wet clothing. The Trojans laughed as he fell, and swam and laughed as he vomited the seawater from his chest. At this a joyful hope of passing Gyas, as he stalled, is aroused in Sergestus and Mnestheus, the two behind, Sergestus takes the leading place and nears the rock, still he’s not a full ship’s length in front, only part: the rival Sea-Serpent closes on him with her prow. Then, Mnesthus walking among his crew amidships exhorted them: “Now, now rise to the oars, comrades of Hector, you whom I chose as companions at Troy’s last fatal hour: now, exert all that strength, that spirit you showed in the Gaetulian shoals, the Ionian Sea, and Cape Malea’s pursuing waves. Now I, Mnesthus, do not seek to be first or try to win – let those conquer whom you have granted to do so, Neptune – but oh, it would be shameful to return last: achieve this for us, countrymen, and prevent our disgrace.” They bend to it with fierce rivalry: the bronze stern shudders at their powerful strokes: and the sea-floor drops away beneath them: then shallow breathing makes limbs and parched lips quiver. and their sweat runs down in streams. Chance brings the men the glory that they long for. When Segestus, his spirit raging, forces his bows, on the inside, towards the rocks, and enters dangerous water, unhappily he strikes the jutting reef. The cliff shakes, the oars jam against them, and snap on the sharp edges of stone, and the prow hangs there, snagged. The sailors leap up, and, shouting aloud at the delay, gather iron-tipped poles and sharply-pointed boathooks, and rescue their smashed oars from the water. But Mnesthus, delighted, and made eager by his success, with a swift play of oars, and a prayer to the winds. heads for home waters and courses the open sea, as a dove, whose nest and sweet chicks are hidden among the rocks, suddenly startled from some hollow, takes flight for the fields, frightened from her cover, and beats her wings loudly, but soon gliding in still air skims her clear path, barely moving her swift pinions: in this way Mnestheus and the Sea-Dragon herself furrow the final stretch of water in flight, and her impetus alone, carries her on her winged path. Firstly he leaves Segestus behind struggling on the raised rock then in shoal water, calling vainly for help, and learning how to race with shattered oars. Then he overhauls Gyas and the Chimaera’s huge bulk: which, deprived of her helmsman now, gives way. Now Cloanthus alone is left ahead, near to the finish, Mnestheus heads for him and chases closely exerting all his powers. Then indeed the shouts redouble, and together all enthusiastically urge on the pursuer. The former crew are unhappy lest they fail to keep the honour that is theirs and the glory already in their possession, and would sell their lives for fame. the latter feed on success: they can because they think they can. And with their prow alongside they might have snatched the prize, if Cleanthus had not stretched out his hands over the sea and poured out his prayers, and called to the gods in longing. “Gods, whose empire is the ocean, whose waters I course, On shore, I will gladly set a snow-white bull before your altars, in payment of my vows, throw the entrailsinto the saltwater, and pour out pure wine.” He spoke, and all the Nereids, Phorcus’s choir, and virgin Panopea, heard him in the wave’s depths, and father Portunus drove him on his track, with his great hand: the ship ran to shore, swifter than south wind or flying arrow, and plunged into the deep harbour. BkV:244-285 The Prize-Giving for the Boat Race Then Anchises’s son, calling them all together as is fitting, by the herald’s loud cry declares Cloanthus the winner, and wreathes his forehead with green laurel, and tells him to choose three bullocks, and wine, and a large talent of silver as gifts for the ships. He adds special honours for the captains: a cloak worked in gold for the victor, edged with Meliboean deep purple in a double meandering line, Ganymede the boy-prince woven on it, as if breathless with eagerness, running with his javelin, chasing the swift stags on leafy Ida: whom Jupiter’s eagle, carrier of the lightning-bolt, has now snatched up into the air, from Ida, with taloned feet: his aged guards stretch their hands to the sky in vain, and the barking dogs snap at the air. He gives to the warrior, who took second place by his prowess, a coat of mail for his own, with polished hooks, in triple woven gold, a beautiful thing and a defence in battle, that he himself as victor had taken from Demoleos, by the swift Simois, below the heights of Ilium. Phegeus and Sagaris, his servants, can barely carry its folds, on straining shoulders: though, wearing it, Demoleus used to drive the scattered Trojans at a run. He grants the third prize of a pair of bronze cauldrons and bowls made of silver with designs in bold relief. Now they have all received their gifts and are walking off, foreheads tied with scarlet ribbons, proud of their new wealth, when Segestus, who showing much skill has with difficulty got clear of the cruel rock, oars missing and one tier useless, brings in his boat, to mockery and no glory. As a snake, that a bronze-rimmed wheel has crossed obliquely, is often caught on the curb of a road, or like one that a passer-by has crushed with a heavy blow from a stone and left half-dead, writhes its long coils, trying in vain to escape, part aggressive, with blazing eyes, and hissing, its neck raised high in the air, part held back by the constraint of its wounds, struggling to follow with its coils, and twining back on its own length: so the ship moves slowly on with wrecked oars: nevertheless she makes sail, and under full sail reaches harbour. Aeneas presents Sergestus with the reward he promised, happy that the ship is saved, and the crew rescued. He is granted a Cretan born slave-girl, Pholoe, not unskilled in the arts of Minerva, nursing twin boys at her breast. BkV:286-361 The Foot Race Once this race was done Aeneas headed for a grassy space, circled round about by curving wooded hillsides, forming an amphitheatre at the valley’s centre: the hero took himself there in the midst of the throng many thousands strong, and occupied a raised throne. Here if any by chance wanted to compete in the footrace he tempted their minds with the reward, and set the prizes. Trojans and Sicilians gathered together from all sides, Nisus and Euryalus the foremost among them, Euryalus famed for his beauty, and in the flower of youth, Nisus famed for his devoted affection for the lad: next came princely Diores, of Priam’s royal blood, then Salius and Patron together, one an Arcanian, the other of Arcadian blood and Tegean race: then two young Sicilians, Helymus and Panopes, used to the forests, companions of old Acestes: and many others too, whose fame is lost in obscurity. Then Aeneas amongst them spoke as follows: “Take these words to heart, and give pleasurable attention. None of your number will go away without a reward from me. I’ll give two Cretan arrows, shining with polished steel, for each man, to take away, and a double-headed axe chased with silver: all who are present will receive the same honour. The first three will share prizes, and their heads will be crowned with pale-green olive: let the first as winner take a horse decorated with trappings: the second an Amazonian quiver, filled with Thracian arrows, looped with a broad belt of gold and fastened by a clasp with a polished gem: let the third leave content with this Argive helmet.” When he had finished they took their places and, suddenly, on hearing the signal, they left the barrier and shot onto the course, streaming out like a storm cloud, gaze fixed on the goal. Nisus was off first, and darted away, ahead of all the others, faster than the wind or the winged lightning-bolt: Salius followed behind him, but a long way behind: then after a space Euryalus was third: Helymus pursued Euryalus, and there was Diores speeding near him, now touching foot to foot, leaning at his shoulder: if the course had been longer he’d have slipped past him, and left the outcome in doubt. Now, wearied, almost at the end of the track, they neared the winning post itself, when the unlucky Nisus fell in some slippery blood, which when the bullocks were killed had chanced to drench the ground and the green grass. Here the youth, already rejoicing at winning, failed to keep his sliding feet on the ground, but fell flat, straight in the slimy dirt and sacred blood. But he didn’t forget Euryalus even then, nor his love: but, picking himself up out of the wet, obstructed Salius, who fell head over heels onto the thick sand. Euryalus sped by and, darting onwards to applause and the shouts of his supporters, took first place, winning with his friend’s help. Helymus came in behind him, then Diores, now in third place. At this Salius filled the whole vast amphitheatre, and the faces of the foremost elders, with his loud clamour, demanding to be given the prize stolen from him by a trick. His popularity protects Euryalus, and fitting tears, and ability is more pleasing in a beautiful body. Diores encourages him, and protests in a loud voice, having reached the palm, but claiming the last prize in vain, if the highest honour goes to Salius. Then Aeneas the leader said, “Your prizes are still yours, lads, and no one is altering the order of attainment: but allow me to take pity on an unfortunate friend’s fate.” So saying he gives Salius the huge pelt of a Gaetulian lion, heavy with shaggy fur, its claws gilded. At this Nisus comments: “If these are the prizes for losing, and you pity the fallen, what fitting gift will you grant to Nisus, who would have earned first place through merit if ill luck had not dogged me, as it did Salius?” And with that he shows his face and limbs drenched with foul mud. The best of leaders smiles at him, and orders a shield to be brought, the work of Didymaon, once unpinned by the Greeks from Neptune’s sacred threshold: this outstanding prize he gives to the noble youth. BkV:362-484 The Boxing Contest When the races were done and the gifts allotted, Aeneas cried: “Now, he who has skill and courage in his heart, let him stand here and raise his arms, his fists bound in hide.” So saying he set out the double prize for the boxing, a bullock for the winner, dressed with gold and sacred ribbons, and a sword and a noble helmet to console the defeated. Without delay Dares, hugely strong, raised his face and rose, to a great murmur from the crowd, he who alone used to compete with Paris, and by that same mound where mighty Hector lies he struck the victorious Butes, borne of the Bebrycian race of Amycus, as he came forward, vast in bulk, and stretched him dying on the yellow sand. Such was Dares who lifted his head up for the bout at once, showed his broad shoulders, stretched his arms out, sparring to right and left, and threw punches at the air. A contestant was sought for him, but no one from all that crowd dared face the man, or pull the gloves on his hands. So, cheerfully thinking they had all conceded the prize, he stands before Aeneas, and without more delay holds the bullock’s horn in his left hand and says: “Son of the goddess, if no one dare commit himself to fight, when will my standing here end? How long is it right for me to be kept waiting? Order me to lead your gift away.” All the Trojans together shout their approval, and demand that what was promised be granted him. At this Entellus upbraids Acestes, sitting next to him on a stretch of green grass, with grave words: “Entellus, once the bravest of heroes, was it all in vain, will you let so great a prize be carried off without a struggle, and so tamely? Where’s our divine master, Eryx, now, famous to no purpose? Where’s your name throughout Sicily, and why are those spoils of battle hanging in your house?” To this Entellus replies: “It’s not that quelled by fear, pride or love of fame has died: but my chill blood is dull with age’s sluggishness, and the vigour in my body is lifeless and exhausted. If I had what I once had, which that boaster enjoys and relies on, if that youthfulness were mine now, then I’d certainly have stepped forward, but not seduced by prizes or handsome bullocks: I don’t care about gifts.” Having spoken he throws a pair of gloves of immense weight which fierce Eryx, binding the tough hide onto his hands, used to fight in, into the middle of the ring. Their minds are stunned: huge pieces of hide from seven massive oxen are stiff with the iron and lead sewn into them. Above all Dares himself is astonished, and declines the bout from a distance, and Anchises’s noble son turns the huge volume and weight of the gloves backwards and forwards. Then the older man speaks like this, from his heart: “What if you’d seen the arms and gloves of Hercules himself, and the fierce fight on this very shore? Your brother Eryx once wore these (you see that they’re still stained with blood and brain matter) He faced great Hercules in them: I used to fight in them when more vigorous blood granted me strength, and envious age had not yet sprinkled my brow with snow. But if a Trojan, Dares, shrinks from these gloves of ours, and good Aeneas accepts it, and Acestes my sponsor agrees, let’s level the odds. I’ll forgo the gloves of Eryx (banish your fears): you, throw off your Trojan ones.” So speaking he flings his double-sided cloak from his shoulders, baring the massive muscles of his limbs, his thighs with their huge bones, and stands, a giant, in the centre of the arena. Then our ancestor, Anchises’s son, lifts up a like pair of gloves, and protects the hands of both contestants equally. Immediately each takes up his stance, poised on his toes, and fearlessly raises his arms high in front of him. Keeping their heads up and well away from the blows they begin to spar, fist to fist, and provoke a battle, the one better at moving his feet, relying on his youth, the other powerful in limbs and bulk: but his slower legs quiver, his knees are unsteady, and painful gasps shake his huge body. They throw many hard punches at each other but in vain, they land many on their curved flanks, or their chests are thumped loudly, gloves often stray to ears and brows, and jaws rattle under the harsh blows. Entellus stands solidly, not moving, in the same stance, avoiding the blows with his watchful eyes and body alone. Dares, like someone who lays siege to a towering city, or surrounds a mountain fortress with weapons, tries this opening and that, seeking everywhere, with his art, and presses hard with varied but useless assaults. Then Entellus standing up to him, extends his raised right: the other, foreseeing the downward angle of the imminent blow, slides his nimble body aside, and retreats: Entellus wastes his effort on the air and the heavy man falls to the ground heavily, with his whole weight, as a hollow pine-tree, torn up by its roots, sometimes falls on Mount Erymanthus or mighty Mount Ida. The Trojans and the Sicilan youths leap up eagerly: a shout lifts to the sky, and Acestes is the first to run forward and with sympathy raises his old friend from the ground. But that hero, not slowed or deterred by his fall, returns more eagerly to the fight, and generates power from anger. Then shame and knowledge of his own ability revive his strength, and he drives Dares in fury headlong across the whole arena, doubling his punches now, to right and left. No pause, or rest: like the storm clouds rattling their dense hailstones on the roof, as heavy are the blows from either hand, as the hero continually batters at Dares and destroys him. Then Aeneas, their leader, would not allow the wrath to continue longer, nor Entellus to rage with such bitterness of spirit, but put an end to the contest, and rescued the weary Dares, speaking gently to him with these words: “Unlucky man, why let such savagery depress your spirits? Don’t you see another has the power: the gods have changed sides? Yield to the gods.” He spoke and, speaking, broke up the fight. But Dare’s loyal friends led him away to the ships, his weakened knees collapsing, his head swaying from side to side, spitting out clots of blood from his mouth, teeth amongst them. Called back they accept the helmet and sword, leaving the winner’s palm and the bullock for Entellus. At this the victor exultant in spirit and glorying in the bullock, said: “Son of the Goddess, and all you Trojans, know now what physical strength I had in my youth, and from what fate you’ve recalled and rescued Dares.” He spoke and planted himself opposite the bullock, still standing there as prize for the bout, then, drawing back his right fist, aimed the hard glove between the horns and broke its skull scattering the brains: the ox fell quivering to the ground, stretched out lifeless. Standing over it he poured these words from his chest: “Eryx, I offer you this, the better animal, for Dares’s life: the winner here, I relinquish the gloves and my art.” BkV:485-544 The Archery Contest Immediately Aeneas invites together all who might wish to compete with their swift arrows, and sets out the prizes. With a large company he raises a mast from Serestus’s ship, and ties a fluttering dove, at which they can aim their shafts, to a cord piercing the high mast. The men gather and a bronze helmet receives the lots tossed into it: the first of them all to be drawn, to cheers of support, is Hippocoon son of Hyrtaces, followed by Mnestheus, the winner of the boat race a while ago: Mnestheus crowned with green olive. Eurytion’s the third, your brother, O famous Pandorus, who, ordered to wreck the treaty, in the past, was the first to hurl his spear amongst the Greeks. Acestes is the last name out from the depths of the helmet, daring to try his own hand at the youthful contest. Then they take arrows from their quivers, and, each man for himself, with vigorous strength, bends the bow into an arc, and first through the air from the twanging string the son of Hyrcanus’s shaft, cutting the swift breeze, reaches the mark, and strikes deep into the mast. The mast quivered, the bird fluttered its wings in fear, and there was loud applause from all sides. Then Mnestheus eagerly took his stand with bent bow, aiming high, his arrow notched level with his eyes. But to his dismay he was not able to hit the bird herself with the shaft, but broke the knots of hemp cord that tied her foot as it hung from the mast: she fled to the north wind and the dark clouds, in flight. Then Eurytion who had been holding his bow ready, with drawn arrow for some time, called on his brother to note his vow, quickly eyed the dove, enjoying the freedom of the skies, and transfixed her, as she beat her wings beneath a dark cloud. She dropped lifeless, leaving her spirit with the starry heavens, and, falling, brought back to earth the shaft that pierced her. Acestes alone remained: the prize was lost: yet he still shot his arrow high into the air, showing an older man’s skill, the bow twanging. Then a sudden wonder appeared before their eyes, destined to be of great meaning: the time to come unveiled its crucial outcome, and great seers of the future celebrated it as an omen. The arrow, flying through the passing clouds, caught fire marked out its path with flames, then vanished into thin air, as shooting stars, loosed from heaven often transit the sky, drawing their tresses after them. Astonished, the Trinacrians and Trojans stood rooted to the spot, praying to the gods: nor did their great leader Aeneas reject the sign, but embracing the joyful Acestes, loaded him with handsome gifts and spoke as follows: “Take these, old man: since the high king of Olympus shows, by these omens, that he wishes you to take extraordinary honours. You shall have this gift, owned by aged Anchises himself, a bowl engraved with figures, that Cisseus of Thrace once long ago gave Anchises my father as a memento of himself, and as a pledge of his friendship.” So saying he wreathed his brow with green laurel and proclaimed Acestes the highest victor among them all. Nor did good Eurytion begrudge the special prize, though he alone brought the bird down from the sky. Next he who cut the cord stepped forward for his reward, and lastly he who’s swift shaft had transfixed the mast. BkV:545-603 The Exhibition of Horsemanship But before the match is complete Aeneas the leader calls Epytides to him, companion and guardian of young Iulus, and speaks into his loyal ear: “Off! Go! Tell Ascanius, if he has his troop of boys ready with him, and is prepared for the horse-riding to show himself with his weapons, and lead them out in honour of his grandfather.” He himself orders the whole crowd of people to leave the lengthy circuit, emptying the field. The boys arrive, and glitter together on their bridled horses under their fathers’ gaze, and the men of Troy and Sicily murmur in admiration as they go by. They all have their hair properly circled by a cut garland: they each carry two cornel-wood spears tipped with steel, some have shining quivers on their shoulders: a flexible torque of twisted gold sits high on their chests around the neck. The troops of horse are three in number, and three leaders ride ahead: two groups of six boys follow each, commanded alike and set out in gleaming ranks. One line of youths is led joyfully by little Priam, recalling his grandfather’s name, your noble child, Polites, seed of the Italians: whom a piebald Thracian horse carries, showing white pasterns as it steps, and a high white forehead. Next is Atys, from whom the Latin Atii trace their line, little Atys, a boy loved by the boy Iulus. Last, and most handsome of all in appearance, Iulus himself rides a Sidonian horse, that radiant Dido had given him as a remembrance of herself, and a token of her love. The rest of the youths ride the Sicilian horses of old Acestes. The Trojans greet the shy lads with applause, and delight in gazing at them, seeing their ancient families in their faces. When they have ridden happily round the whole assembly under the eyes of their kin, Epytides with a prolonged cry gives the agreed signal and cracks his whip. They gallop apart in two equal detachments, the three groups parting company, and dissolving their columns, then, recalled, they wheel round, and charge with level lances. Then they perform other figures and counter-figures in opposing ranks, and weave in circles inside counter-circles, and perform a simulated battle with weapons. Now their backs are exposed in flight, now they turn their spears to charge, now ride side by side in peace. Like the Labyrinth in mountainous Crete, they say, that contained a path winding between blind walls, wandering with guile through a thousand turnings, so that undetected and irretraceable errors might foil any guidelines that might be followed: so the Trojan children twine their steps in just such a pattern, weaving battle and flight, in their display, like dolphins swimming through the ocean streams, cutting the Carpathian and Lybian waters, and playing among the waves. Ascanius first revived this kind of riding, and this contest, when he encircled Alba Longa with walls, and taught the Early Latins to celebrate it in the way he and the Trojan youth had done together: the Albans taught their children: mighty Rome received it from them in turn, and preserved the ancestral rite: and today the boys are called ‘Troy’ and their procession ‘Trojan’. So the games are completed celebrating Aeneas’s sacred father. BkV:604-663 Juno sends Iris to Fire the Trojan Ships Here Fortune first alters, switching loyalties. While they, with their various games, are paying due honours to the tomb, Saturnian Juno sends Iris down from the sky to the Trojan fleet, breathing out a breeze for her passage, thinking deeply about her ancient grievance which is yet unsatisfied. Iris, hurrying on her way along a rainbow’s thousand colours speeds swiftly down her track, a girl unseen. She views the great crowd, and scans the shore, sees the harbour deserted, and the ships abandoned. But far away on the lonely sands the Trojan women are weeping Anchises’s loss, and all, weeping, gaze at the deep ocean. “Ah, what waves and seas are still left for weary folk!” They are all of one voice. They pray for a city: they tire of enduring suffering on the waves. So Iris, not ignorant of mischief, darts among them, setting aside the appearance and robes of a goddess: becoming Beroe, the old wife of Tmarian Doryclus, who had once had family, sons, and a famous name. and as such moves among the Trojan mothers, saying: “O wretched ones, whom Greek hands failed to drag to death in the war beneath our native walls! O unhappy people what fate does Fortune reserve for you? The seventh summer is on the turn since Troy’s destruction, and we endure the crossing of every sea and shore, so many inhospitable stones and stars, while we chase over the vast sea after an Italy that flees from us, tossing upon the waves. Here are the borders of our brother Eryx and our host Acestes: what stops us building walls and granting our citizens a city? O fatherland, O gods of our houses, rescued from the enemy in vain, will no city now be called Troy? Shall I see nowhere a Xanthus or a Simois, Hector’s rivers? Come now, and burn these accursed ships with me. For the ghost of Cassandra, the prophetess, seemed to hand me burning torches in dream: ‘Seek Troy here: here is your home’ she said. Now is the time for deeds, not delay, given such portents. See, four altars to Neptune: the god himself lends us fire and the courage.” So saying she first of all firmly seizes the dangerous flame and, straining to lift it high, brandishes it, and hurls it. The minds of the Trojan women are startled, and their wits stunned. Here, one of the crowd, Pyrgo, the eldest, the royal nurse of so many of Priam’s sons, says: “This is not Beroe, you women, this is no wife of Rhoetitian Doryclus: look at the signs of divine beauty and the burning eyes, the spirit she possesses, her form, the sound of her voice, her footsteps as she moves. Just now I myself left Beroe, sick and unhappy, that she alone was missing so important a rite and could not pay Anchises the offerings due to him.” So she speaks. At first the women gaze in uncertainty at the ships, with angry glances, torn between a wretched yearning for the land they have reached, and the kingdom fate calls them to, when the goddess, climbs the sky on soaring wings, cutting a giant rainbow in her flight through the clouds. Then truly amazed at the wonder, and driven by madness, they cry out and some snatch fire from the innermost hearths, others strip the altars, and throw on leaves and twigs and burning brands. Fire rages unchecked among the benches, and oars, and the hulls of painted pine. BkV:664-699 The Fleet is Saved Eumelus carries the news of the burning ships to Anchises’s tomb and the ranks of the ampitheatre, and looking behind them they themselves see dark ash floating upwards in a cloud. Ascanius is first to turn his horse eagerly towards the troubled encampment, as joyfully as he led his galloping troop, and his breathless guardians cannot reign him back. “What new madness is this? He cries. “What now, what do you aim at, wretched women? You’re burning your own hopes not the enemy, nor a hostile Greek camp. See I am your Ascanius!” And he flung his empty helmet in front of his feet, that he’d worn as he’d inspired his pretence of battle in play. Aeneas hurries there too, and the Trojan companies. But the women scatter in fear here and there along the shore, and stealthily head for the woods and any cavernous rocks: they hate what they’ve done and the light, with sober minds they recognise their kin, and Juno is driven from their hearts. But the roaring flames don’t lose their indomitable fury just for that: the pitch is alight under the wet timbers, slowly belching smoke, the keel is gradually burned, and the pestilence sinks through a whole hull, nor are heroic strength or floods of water any use. Then virtuous Aeneas tears the clothes from his chest, and calls on the gods for help, lifting his hands: “All-powerful Jupiter, if you don’t hate the Trojans to a man, if your former affection has regard for human suffering, let the fleet escape the flames now, Father, and save our slender Trojan hopes from ruin: or if I deserve this, send what is left of us to death with your angry lightning-bolt, and overwhelm us with your hand.” He had barely spoken, when a dark storm with pouring rain rages without check and the high hills and plains quake with thunder: a murky downpour falls from the whole sky, the blackest of heavy southerlies, and the ships are brimming, the half-burnt timbers soaked, until all the heat is quenched, and all the hulls except four, are saved from the pestilence. BkV:700-745 Nautes’ Advice and Anchises’ Ghost But Aeneas, the leader, stunned by the bitter blow, pondered his great worries, turning them this way and that in his mind. Should he settle in Sicily’s fields, forgetting his destiny, or strike out for Italian shores? Then old Nautes, whom alone Tritonian Pallas had taught, and rendered famous for his great skill (she gave him answers, telling what the great gods’ anger portended, or what the course of destiny demanded), began to solace Aeneas with these words: “Son of the Goddess, let us follow wherever fate ebbs or flows, whatever comes, every fortune may be conquered by endurance. You have Trojan Acestes of the line of the gods: let him share your decisions and be a willing partner, entrust to him those who remain from the lost ships, and those tired of your great venture and your affairs: Select also aged men and women exhausted by the sea, and anyone with you who is frail, or afraid of danger, and let the weary have their city in this land: and if agreed they will call it by Acestes’s name.” Then roused by such words from an aged friend, Aeneas’s heart was truly torn between so many cares. And now black Night in her chariot, borne upwards, occupied the heavens: and the likeness of his father Anchises seemed to glide down from the sky, and speak so: “Son, dearer to me than life, when life remained, my son, troubled by Troy’s fate, I come here at Jove’s command, he who drove the fire from the ships, and at last takes pity on you from high heaven. Follow the handsome advice that old Nautus gives: take chosen youth, and the bravest hearts, to Italy. In Latium you must subdue a tough race, harshly trained. Yet, first, go to the infernal halls of Dis, and in deep Avernus seek a meeting with me, my son. For impious Tartarus, with its sad shades, does not hold me, I live in Elysium, and the lovely gatherings of the blessed. Here the chaste Sibyl will bring you, with much blood of black sheep. Then you’ll learn all about your race, and the city granted you. Now: farewell. Dew-wet Night turns mid-course, and cruel Morning, with panting steeds, breathes on me.” He spoke and fled like smoke into thin air. “Where are you rushing to? Aeneas cried, “Where are you hurrying? Who do you flee? Who bars you from my embrace?” So saying he revived the embers of the slumbering fires, and paid reverence, humbly, with sacred grain and a full censer, to the Trojan Lar, and the inner shrine of white-haired Vesta. BkV:746-778 Departure from Sicily Immediately he summoned his companions, Acestes first of all, and told them of Jove’s command, and his dear father’s counsel, and the decision he had reached in his mind. There was little delay in their discussions, and Acestes did not refuse to accept his orders. They transferred the women to the new city’s roll, and settled there those who wished, spirits with no desire for great glory. They themselves, thinned in their numbers, but with manhood fully alive to war, renewed the rowing benches, and replaced the timbers of the ships burnt by fire, and fitted oars and rigging. Meanwhile Aeneas marked out the city limits with a plough and allocated houses: he declared that this was Ilium and this place Troy. Acestes the Trojan revelled in his kingdom, appointed a court, and gave out laws to the assembled senate. Then a shrine of Venus of Idalia was dedicated, close to the stars, on the tip of Eryx, and they added a stretch of sacred grove, and a priest, to Anchises’s tomb. When all the people had feasted for nine days, and offerings had been made at the altars, gentle winds calmed the waves and a strong Southerly called them again to sea. A great weeping rose along the curving shore: a day and a night they clung together in delay. Now the women themselves, to whom the face of the ocean had once seemed cruel, and its name intolerable, wish to go and suffer all the toils of exile. Good Aeneas comforts them with kind words and commends them to his kinsman Acestes with tears. Then he orders three calves to be sacrificed to Eryx, a lamb to the Storm-gods, and for the hawsers to be duly freed. He himself, standing some way off on the prow, his brow wreathed with leaves of cut olive, holds a cup, throws the entrails into the salt waves, and pours out the clear wine. A wind, rising astern, follows their departure: his friends in rivalry, strike the waves, and sweep the waters. BkV:779-834 Venus Seeks Neptune’s Help But meanwhile Venus, tormented by anxiety speaks to Neptune, and pours out her complaints in this manner: “O Neptune, Juno’s heavy anger, and her implacable heart, force me to descend to every kind of prayer, she whom no length of time nor any piety can move, nor does she rest, unwearied by fate or Jove’s commands. It’s not enough that in her wicked hatred she’s consumed a city, at the heart of Phrygia, and dragged the survivors of Troy through extremes of punishment: she pursues the bones and ashes of the slaughtered. She alone knows the reason for such fury. You yourself are witness to the trouble she stirred lately in Libyan waters: she confused the whole sea with the sky, daring to do this within your realm, relying vainly on Aeolus’s violent storm-winds. See, how, rousing the Trojan women, in her wickedness, and disgracefully, she has burnt their fleet, and, with ships lost, to leave their friends behind on an unknown shore. I beg you to let the rest sail safely through your seas, let them reach Laurentine Tiber, if I ask what is allowed, if the Fates grant them their city.” Then the son of Saturn, the master of the deep oceans, said this: “You’ve every right to trust in my realms, Cytherea, from which you draw your own origin. Also I’ve earned it: I’ve often controlled the rage and fury of sea and sky. Nor has my concern been less for your Aeneas on land (I call Xanthus and Simois as witnesses). When Achilles chased the Trojan ranks, in their panic, forcing them to the wall, and sent many thousands to death, and the rivers choked and groaned, and Xanthus could not find his course or roll down to the sea, then it was I who caught up Aeneas in a thick mist, as he met that brave son of Peleus, when neither the gods nor his own strength favoured him, though I longed to destroy the walls of lying Troy, that my hands had built, from the ground up. Now also my mind remains the same: dispel your fears. He will reach the harbours of Avernus, safely, as you ask. There will only be one, lost in the waves, whom you will look for: one life that will be given for the many.” When he had soothed the goddess’s heart, she joying at his words, Father Neptune yoked his wild horses with gold, set the bits in their foaming mouths, and, with both hands, gave them free rein. He sped lightly over the ocean in his sea-green chariot, the waves subsided and the expanse of swollen waters grew calm under the thunderous axle: the storm-clouds vanished from the open sky. Then came his multi-formed followers, great whales, Glaucus’s aged band, Palaemon Ino’s son, the swift Tritons, and all of Phorcus’s host: the left hand taken by Thetis, Melite and virgin Panopea, Nesaea, and Spio, Thalia, and Cymodoce. At this, soothing joy in turn pervaded father Aeneas’s anxious mind: he ordered all to raise their masts quickly, and the sails to be unfurled from the yard-arms. Together they hauled on the ropes and let out the canvas as one, now to port and now to starboard: together they swung the high yards about: benign winds drove the fleet along. Palinurus, first of them all, led the close convoy: the rest were ordered to set their course by his. BkV:835-871 The Loss of Palinurus And now dew-wet Night had just reached her zenith in the sky: the sailors relaxed their limbs in quiet rest stretched out on the hard benches beneath the oars: when Sleep, gliding lightly down from the heavenly stars, parted the gloomy air, and scattered the shadows, seeking you, bringing you dark dreams, Palinurus, though you were innocent: the god settled on the high stern, appearing as Phorbas, and poured these words from his mouth: “Palinurus, son of Iasus, the seas themselves steer the fleet, the breezes blow steadily, this hour is granted for rest. Lay down your head and rob your weary eyes of labour. For a little while, I myself will take on your duty for you.” Palinurus, barely lifting his gaze, spoke to him: “Do you tell me to trust the sea’s placid face, the calm waves? Shall I set my faith on this monster? Why should I entrust Aeneas to the deceptive breeze, I whom a clear sky has deceived so often?” So he spoke and clinging hard to the tiller never relaxed his hold, and held his sight on the stars. Behold, despite his caution, the god shook a branch, wet with Lethe’s dew, soporific with Styx’s power, over his brow, and set free his swimming eyes. The first sudden drowse had barely relaxed his limbs, when Sleep leant above him and threw him headlong into the clear waters, tearing away the tiller and part of the stern, he calling to his friends often, in vain: while the god raised his wings in flight into the empty air. The fleet sailed on its way over the sea, as safely as before, gliding on, unaware, as father Neptune had promised. And now drawn onwards it was close to the Sirens’s cliffs, tricky of old, and white with the bones of many men, (now the rocks, far off, boomed loud with the unending breakers) when the leader realised his ship was wallowing adrift, her helmsman lost, and he himself steered her through the midnight waters, sighing deeply, and shocked at heart by his friend’s fate: “Oh, far too trustful of the calm sea, and the sky, you’ll lie naked, Palinurus, on an unknown shore.”

Book 6


So Aeneas spoke, weeping, gave his fleet full rein, and glided at last to the shores of Euboean Cumae. They turned their prows to the sea, secured the ships’ anchors, by the grip of their flukes, and the curved boats lined the beach. The youthful band leapt eagerly to the Hesperian shore: some sought the means of fire contained in veins of flint, some raided the woods the dense coverts of game, pointing out streams they found. But pious Aeneas sought the summits, where Apollo rules on high, and the vast cavern nearby, the secret place of the terrifying Sibyl, in whom the Delian prophet inspires greatness of mind and spirit, and reveals the future. Soon they entered the grove of Diana, and the golden house. Daedalus, so the story goes, fleeing from Minos’s kingdom, dared to trust himself to the air on swift wings, and, gliding on unknown paths to the frozen North, hovered lightly at last above the Chalcidian hill. First returning to earth here, he dedicated his oar-like wings to you Phoebus, and built a gigantic temple. On the doors the Death of Androgeos: then the Athenians, Crecrops’s descendants, commanded, sadly, to pay annual tribute of seven of their sons: there the urn stands with the lots drawn. Facing it, rising from the sea, the Cretan land is depicted: and here the bull’s savage passion, Pasiphae’s secret union, and the Minotaur, hybrid offspring, that mixture of species, proof of unnatural relations: the artwork here is that palace, and its inextricable maze: and yet Daedalus himself, pitying the noble princess Ariadne’s love, unravelled the deceptive tangle of corridors, guiding Theseus’s blind footsteps with the clue of thread. You’d have shared largely in such a work, Icarus, if grief had allowed, he’d twice attempted to fashion your fate in gold, twice your father’s hands fell. Eyes would have read the whole continuously, if Achetes had not arrived from his errand, with Deiophobe, Glaucus’s daughter, the priestess of Phoebus and Diana, who spoke to the leader: ‘This moment doesn’t require your sightseeing: it would be better to sacrifice seven bullocks from a virgin herd, and as many carefully chosen two-year old sheep.’ Having spoken to Aeneas in this way (without delay they sacrificed as ordered) the priestess called the Trojans to her high shrine. The vast flank of the Euboean cliff is pitted with caves, from which a hundred wide tunnels, a hundred mouths lead, from which as many voices rush: the Sibyl’s replies. They had come to the threshold, when the virgin cried out: ‘It is time to question the Oracle, behold, the god, the god!’ As she so spoke in front of the doors, suddenly neither her face nor colour were the same, nor did her hair remain bound, but her chest heaved, her heart swelled with wild frenzy, she seemed taller, and sounded not-human, for now the power of the god is closer. ‘Are you slow with your vows and prayers, Aeneas of Troy, are you slow?’ she cried. ‘The great lips of the House of Inspiration will not open without.’ And so saying she fell silent. An icy shudder ran to the Trojans’ very spines, and their leader poured out heartfelt prayers: ‘Phoebus, you who always pitied Troy’s intense suffering, who guided the hand of Paris, and the Dardan arrow, against Achilles’s body, with you as leader I entered all those seas, encircling vast lands, and penetrated the remote Massilian tribes and the fields edged by Syrtes: now at last we have the coast of elusive Italy in our grasp: Troy’s ill fortune only followed us as far as here. You too with justice can spare the Trojan race, and all you gods and goddesses to whom the great glory of Ilium and Dardania was an offence. O most sacred of prophetesses, you who see the future, (I ask for no lands not owed me by my destiny) grant that we Trojans may settle Latium, with the exiled gods and storm-tossed powers of Troy. Then I’ll dedicate a temple of solid marble to Phoebus and Diana Trivia, and sacred days in Phoebus’s name. A noble inner shrine waits for you too in our kingdom. There, gracious one, I will place your oracles, and mystic utterances spoken to my people, and consecrate picked men. Only do not write your verses on the leaves, lest they fly, disordered playthings of the rushing winds: chant them from your own mouth.’ He put an end to his mouth’s speaking. But the wild prophetess raged in her cavern, not yet submitting to Phoebus, as if she might shake the great god from her spirit: yet he exhausted her raving mouth all the more, taming her wild heart, shaping her by constraint. And now the shrine’s hundred mighty lips have opened of themselves, and carry the seer’s answer through the air: ‘Oh, you who are done with all the perils of the sea, (yet greater await you on land) the Trojans will come to the realm of Lavinium (put that care from your heart): but will not enjoy their coming. War, fierce war, I see: and the Tiber foaming with much blood. You will not lack a Simois, a Xanthus, a Greek camp: even now another Achilles is born in Latium, he too the son of a goddess: nor will Juno, the Trojans’ bane, be ever far away, while you, humbled and destitute, what races and cities of Italy will you not beg in! Once again a foreign bride is the cause of all these Trojan ills, once more an alien marriage. Do not give way to misfortunes, meet them more bravely, as your destiny allows. The path of safety will open up for you from where you least imagine it, a Greek city.’ With such words, the Sibyl of Cumae chants fearful enigmas, from her shrine, echoing from the cave, tangling truths and mysteries: as she raves, Apollo thrashes the reins, and twists the spur under her breast. When the frenzy quietens, and the mad mouth hushes, Aeneas, the Hero, begins: ‘O Virgin, no new, unexpected kind of suffering appears: I’ve foreseen them all and travelled them before, in my own spirit. One thing I ask: for they say the gate of the King of Darkness is here, and the shadowy marsh, Acheron’s overflow: let me have sight of my dear father, his face: show me the way, open wide the sacred doors. I saved him, brought him out from the thick of the enemy, through the flames, on these shoulders, with a thousand spears behind me: companion on my journey, he endured with me all the seas, all the threats of sky and ocean, weak, beyond his power, and his allotted span of old age. He ordered me, with prayers, to seek you out, humbly, and approach your threshold: I ask you, kindly one, pity both father and son: since you are all power, not for nothing has Hecate set you to rule the groves of Avernus. If Orpheus could summon the shade of his wife, relying on his Thracian lyre, its melodious strings: if Pollux, crossing that way, and returning, so often, could redeem his brother by dying in turn – and great Theseus, what of him, or Hercules? – well, my race too is Jupiter’s on high.’ With these words he prayed, and grasped the altar, as the priestess began to speak: ‘Trojan son of Anchises, sprung from the blood of the gods, the path to hell is easy: black Dis’s door is open night and day: but to retrace your steps, and go out to the air above, that is work, that is the task. Some sons of the gods have done it, whom favouring Jupiter loved, or whom burning virtue lifted to heaven. Woods cover all the middle part, and Cocytus is round it, sliding in dark coils. But if such desire is in your mind, such a longing to sail the Stygian lake twice, and twice see Tartarus, and if it delights you to indulge in insane effort, listen to what you must first undertake. Hidden in a dark tree is a golden bough, golden in leaves and pliant stem, sacred to Persephone, the underworld’s Juno, all the groves shroud it, and shadows enclose the secret valleys. But only one who’s taken a gold-leaved fruit from the tree is allowed to enter earth’s hidden places. This lovely Proserpine has commanded to be brought to her as a gift: a second fruit of gold never fails to appear when the first one’s picked, the twig’s leafed with the same metal. So look for it up high, and when you’ve found it with your eyes, take it, of right, in your hand: since, if the Fates have chosen you, it will come away easily, freely of itself: otherwise you won’t conquer it by any force, or cut it with the sharpest steel. And the inanimate body of your friend lies there (Ah! You do not know) and taints your whole fleet with death, while you seek advice and hang about our threshold. Carry him first to his place and bury him in the tomb. Lead black cattle there: let those be your first offerings of atonement. Only then can you look on the Stygian groves, and the realms forbidden to the living.’ She spoke and with closed lips fell silent. Leaving the cave, Aeneas walked away, with sad face and downcast eyes, turning their dark fate over in his mind. Loyal Achates walked at his side and fashioned his steps with similar concern. They engaged in intricate discussion between them, as to who the dead friend, the body to be interred, was, whom the priestess spoke of. And as they passed along they saw Misenus, ruined by shameful death, on the dry sand, Misenus, son of Aeolus, than whom none was more outstanding in rousing men with the war-trumpet, kindling conflict with music. He was great Hector’s friend: with Hector he went to battle, distinguished by his spear and trumpet. When victorious Achilles despoiled Hector of life, this most courageous hero joined the company of Trojan Aeneas, serving no lesser a man. But when, by chance, he foolishly made the ocean sound to a hollow conch-shell, and called gods to compete in playing, if the tale can be believed, Triton overheard him and drowned him in the foaming waves among the rocks. So, with pious Aeneas to the fore, they all mourned round the body with loud clamour. Then, without delay, weeping, they hurried to carry out the Sibyl’s orders, and laboured to pile tree-trunks as a funeral pyre, raising it to the heavens. They enter the ancient wood, the deep coverts of wild creatures: the pine-trees fell, the oaks rang to the blows of the axe, ash trunks and fissile oak were split with wedges, and they rolled large rowan trees down from the hills. Aeneas was no less active in such efforts, encouraging his companions, and employing similar tools. And he turned things over in his own saddened mind, gazing at the immense forest, and by chance prayed so: ‘If only that golden bough would show itself to us now, on some such tree, among the woods! For the prophetess spoke truly of you Misenus, alas, only too truly.’ He had barely spoken when by chance a pair of doves came flying down from the sky, beneath his very eyes, and settled on the green grass. Then the great hero knew they were his mother’s birds, and prayed in his joy: ‘O be my guides, if there is some way, and steer a course through the air, to that grove where the rich branch casts its shadow on fertile soil. And you mother, O goddess, don’t fail me in time of doubt.’ So saying he halted his footsteps, observing what signs the doves might give, and which direction they might take. As they fed they went forward in flight just as far as, following, his eyes could keep them in sight. Then, when they reached the foul jaws of stinking Avernus, they quickly rose and, gliding through the clear air, perched on the longed-for dual-natured tree, from which the alien gleam of gold shone out, among the branches. Just as mistletoe, that does not form a tree of its own, grows in the woods in the cold of winter, with a foreign leaf, and surrounds a smooth trunk with yellow berries: such was the vision of this leafy gold in the dark oak-tree, so the foil tinkled in the light breeze. Aeneas immediately plucked it, eagerly breaking the tough bough, and carried it to the cave of the Sibylline prophetess. Meanwhile, on the shore, the Trojans were weeping bitterly for Misenus and paying their last respects to his senseless ashes. First they raised a huge pyre, heavy with cut oak and pine, weaving the sides with dark foliage, set funereal cypress in front, and decorated it above with shining weapons. Some heated water, making the cauldrons boil on the flames, and washed and anointed the chill corpse. They made lament. Then, having wept, they placed his limbs on the couch, and threw purple robes over them, his usual dress. Some raised the great bier, a sad duty, and, with averted faces, set a torch below, in ancestral fashion. Gifts were heaped on the flames, of incense, foodstuffs, bowls brimming with olive-oil. When the ashes collapsed, and the blaze died, they washed the remains of the parched bones in wine, and Corynaeus, collecting the fragments, closed them in a bronze urn. Also he circled his comrades three times with pure water to purify them, sprinkling fine dew from a full olive branch, and spoke the words of parting. And virtuous Aeneas heaped up a great mound for his tomb, with the hero’s own weapons, his trumpet and oar, beneath a high mountain which is called Misenus now after him, and preserves his ever-living name throughout the ages. This done, he quickly carried out the Sibyl’s orders. There was a deep stony cave, huge and gaping wide, sheltered by a dark lake and shadowy woods, over which nothing could extend its wings in safe flight, since such a breath flowed from those black jaws, and was carried to the over-arching sky, that the Greeks called it by the name Aornos, that is Avernus, or the Bird-less. Here the priestess first of all tethered four black heifers, poured wine over their foreheads, and placed the topmost bristles that she plucked, growing between their horns, in the sacred fire, as a first offering, calling aloud to Hecate, powerful in Heaven and Hell. Others slit the victim’s throats and caught the warm blood in bowls. Aeneas himself sacrificed a black-fleeced lamb to Night, mother of the Furies, and Earth, her mighty sister, and a barren heifer to you, Persephone. Then he kindled the midnight altars for the Stygian King, and placed whole carcasses of bulls on the flames, pouring rich oil over the blazing entrails. See now, at the dawn light of the rising sun, the ground bellowed under their feet, the wooded hills began to move, and, at the coming of the Goddess, dogs seemed to howl in the shadows. ‘Away, stand far away, O you profane ones,’ the priestess cried, ‘absent yourselves from all this grove: and you now, Aeneas, be on your way, and tear your sword from the sheathe: you need courage, and a firm mind, now.’ So saying, she plunged wildly into the open cave: he, fearlessly, kept pace with his vanishing guide. You gods, whose is the realm of spirits, and you, dumb shadows, and Chaos, Phlegethon, wide silent places of the night, let me tell what I have heard: by your power, let me reveal things buried in the deep earth, and the darkness. On they went, hidden in solitary night, through gloom, through Dis’s empty halls, and insubstantial kingdom, like a path through a wood, in the faint light under a wavering moon, when Jupiter has buried the sky in shadow, and black night has stolen the colour from things. Right before the entrance, in the very jaws of Orcus, Grief and vengeful Care have made their beds, and pallid Sickness lives there, and sad Old Age, and Fear, and persuasive Hunger, and vile Need, forms terrible to look on, and Death and Pain: then Death’s brother Sleep, and Evil Pleasure of the mind, and, on the threshold opposite, death-dealing War, and the steel chambers of the Furies, and mad Discord, her snaky hair entwined with blood-wet ribbons. In the centre a vast shadowy elm spreads its aged trunks and branches: the seat, they say, that false Dreams hold, thronging, clinging beneath every leaf. And many other monstrous shapes of varied creatures, are stabled by the doors, Centaurs and bi-formed Scylla, and hundred-armed Briareus, and the Lernean Hydra, hissing fiercely, and the Chimaera armed with flame, Gorgons, and Harpies, and the triple bodied shade, Geryon. At this, trembling suddenly with terror, Aeneas grasped his sword, and set the naked blade against their approach: and, if his knowing companion had not warned him that these were tenuous bodiless lives flitting about with a hollow semblance of form, he would have rushed at them, and hacked at the shadows uselessly with his sword. From here there is a road that leads to the waters of Tartarean Acheron. Here thick with mud a whirlpool seethes in the vast depths, and spews all its sands into Cocytus. A grim ferryman watches over the rivers and streams, Charon, dreadful in his squalor, with a mass of unkempt white hair straggling from his chin: flames glow in his eyes, a dirty garment hangs, knotted from his shoulders. He poles the boat and trims the sails himself, and ferries the dead in his dark skiff, old now, but a god’s old age is fresh and green. Here all the crowd streams, hurrying to the shores, women and men, the lifeless bodies of noble heroes, boys and unmarried girls, sons laid on the pyre in front of their father’s eyes: as many as the leaves that fall in the woods at the first frost of autumn, as many as the birds that flock to land from ocean deeps, when the cold of the year drives them abroad and despatches them to sunnier countries. They stood there, pleading to be first to make the crossing, stretching out their hands in longing for the far shore. But the dismal boatman accepts now these, now those, but driving others away, keeps them far from the sand. Then Aeneas, stirred and astonished at the tumult, said: ‘O virgin, tell me, what does this crowding to the river mean? What do the souls want? And by what criterion do these leave the bank, and those sweep off with the oars on the leaden stream? The ancient priestess spoke briefly to him, so: ‘Son of Anchises, true child of the gods, you see the deep pools of Cocytus, and the Marsh of Styx, by whose name the gods fear to swear falsely. All this crowd, you see, were destitute and unburied: that ferryman is Charon: those the waves carry were buried: he may not carry them from the fearful shore on the harsh waters before their bones are at rest in the earth. They roam for a hundred years and flit around these shores: only then are they admitted, and revisit the pools they long for.’ The son of Anchises halted, and checked his footsteps, thinking deeply, and pitying their sad fate in his heart. He saw Leucaspis and Orontes, captain of the Lycian fleet, there, grieving and lacking honour in death, whom a Southerly overwhelmed, as they sailed together from Troy on the windswept waters, engulfing both the ship and crew in the waves. Behold, there came the helmsman, Palinurus, who fell from the stern on the Libyan passage, flung into the midst of the waves, as he watched the stars. When Aeneas had recognised him with difficulty sorrowing among the deep shadows, he spoke first, saying: ‘What god tore you from us, Palinurus, and drowned you mid-ocean? For in this one prophecy Apollo has misled me, he whom I never found false before, he said that you would be safe at sea and reach Ausonia’s shores. Is this the truth of his promise?’ But he replied: ‘Phoebus’s tripod did not fail you, Aeneas, my captain, nor did a god drown me in the deep. By chance the helm was torn from me with violence, as I clung there, on duty as ordered, steering our course, and I dragged it headlong with me. I swear by the cruel sea that I feared less for myself than for your ship, lest robbed of its gear, and cleared of its helmsman, it might founder among such surging waves. The Southerly drove me violently through the vast seas for three stormy nights: high on the crest of a wave, in the fourth dawn, I could just make out Italy. Gradually I swam to shore: grasped now at safety, but as I caught at the sharp tips of the rocks, weighed down by my water-soaked clothes, the savage people attacked me with knives, ignorantly thinking me a prize. Now the waves have me, and the winds roll me along the shore. Unconquered one, I beg you, by the sweet light and air of heaven, by your father, and your hopes in Iulus to come, save me from this evil: either find Velia’s harbour again (for you can) and sprinkle earth on me, or if there is some way, if your divine mother shows you one (since you’d not attempt to sail such waters, and the Stygian marsh, without a god’s will, I think) then give this wretch your hand and take me with you through the waves that at least I might rest in some quiet place in death.’ So he spoke, and the priestess began to reply like this: ‘Where does this dire longing of yours come from, O Palinurus? Can you see the Stygian waters, unburied, or the grim river of the Furies, Cocytus, or come unasked to the shore? Cease to hope that divine fate can be tempered by prayer. But hold my words in your memory, as a comfort in your hardship: the nearby peoples, from cities far and wide, will be moved by divine omens to worship your bones, and build a tomb, and send offerings to the tomb, and the place will have Palinurus as its everlasting name.’ His anxiety was quelled by her words, and, for a little while, grief was banished from his sad heart: he delighted in the land being so named. So they pursued their former journey, and drew near the river. Now when the Boatman saw them from the Stygian wave walking through the silent wood, and directing their footsteps towards its bank, he attacked them verbally, first, and unprompted, rebuking them: ‘Whoever you are, who come armed to my river, tell me, from over there, why you’re here, and halt your steps. This is a place of shadows, of Sleep and drowsy Night: I’m not allowed to carry living bodies in the Stygian boat. Truly it was no pleasure for me to take Hercules on his journey over the lake, nor Theseus and Pirithous, though they may have been children of gods, unrivalled in strength. The first came for Cerberus the watchdog of Tartarus, and dragged him away quivering from under the king’s throne: the others were after snatching our Queen from Dis’s chamber.’ To this the prophetess of Amphrysian Apollo briefly answered: ‘There’s no such trickery here (don’t be disturbed), our weapons offer no affront: your huge guard-dog can terrify the bloodless shades with his eternal howling: chaste Proserpine can keep to her uncle’s threshold. Aeneas the Trojan, renowned in piety and warfare, goes down to the deepest shadows of Erebus, to his father. If the idea of such affection does not move you, still you must recognise this bough.’ (She showed the branch, hidden in her robes.) Then the anger in his swollen breast subsided. No more was said. Marvelling at the revered offering, of fateful twigs, seen again after so long, he turned the stern of the dark skiff towards them and neared the bank. Then he turned off the other souls who sat on the long benches, cleared the gangways: and received mighty Aeneas on board. The seamed skiff groaned with the weight and let in quantities of marsh-water through the chinks. At last, the river crossed, he landed the prophetess and the hero safe, on the unstable mud, among the blue-grey sedge. Huge Cerberus sets these regions echoing with his triple-throated howling, crouching monstrously in a cave opposite. Seeing the snakes rearing round his neck, the prophetess threw him a pellet, a soporific of honey and drugged wheat. Opening his three throats, in rabid hunger, he seized what she threw and, flexing his massive spine, sank to earth spreading his giant bulk over the whole cave-floor. With the guard unconscious Aeneas won to the entrance, and quickly escaped the bank of the river of no return. Immediately a loud crying of voices was heard, the spirits of weeping infants, whom a dark day stole at the first threshold of this sweet life, those chosen to be torn from the breast, and drowned in bitter death. Nearby are those condemned to die on false charges. Yet their place is not ordained without the allotted jury: Minos, the judge, shakes the urn: he convenes the voiceless court, and hears their lives and sins. Then the next place is held by those gloomy spirits who, innocent of crime, died by their own hand, and, hating the light, threw away their lives. How willingly now they’d endure poverty and harsh suffering, in the air above! Divine Law prevents it, and the sad marsh and its hateful waters binds them, and nine-fold Styx confines them. Not far from there the Fields of Mourning are revealed, spread out on all sides: so they name them. There, those whom harsh love devours with cruel pining are concealed in secret walkways, encircled by a myrtle grove: even in death their troubles do not leave them. Here Aeneas saw Phaedra, and Procris, and sad Eriphyle, displaying the wounds made by her cruel son, Evadne, and Pasiphae: with them walked Laodamia, and Caeneus, now a woman, once a young man, returned by her fate to her own form again. Among them Phoenician Dido wandered, in the great wood, her wound still fresh. As soon as the Trojan hero stood near her and knew her, shadowy among the shadows, like a man who sees, or thinks he sees, the new moon rising through a cloud, as its month begins, he wept tears and spoke to her with tender affection: ‘Dido, unhappy spirit, was the news, that came to me of your death, true then, taking your life with a blade? Alas, was I the cause of your dying? I swear by the stars, by the gods above, by whatever truth may be in the depths of the earth, I left your shores unwillingly, my queen. I was commanded by gods, who drove me by their decrees, that now force me to go among the shades, through places thorny with neglect, and deepest night: nor did I think my leaving there would ever bring such grief to you. Halt your footsteps and do not take yourself from my sight. What do you flee? This is the last speech with you that fate allows.’ With such words Aeneas would have calmed her fiery spirit and wild looks, and provoked her tears. She turned away, her eyes fixed on the ground, no more altered in expression by the speech he had begun than if hard flint stood there, or a cliff of Parian marble. At the last she tore herself away, and, hostile to him, fled to the shadowy grove where Sychaeus, her husband in former times, responded to her suffering, and gave her love for love. Aeneas, no less shaken by the injustice of fate, followed her, far off, with his tears, and pitied her as she went. From there he laboured on the way that was granted them. And soon they reached the most distant fields, the remote places where those famous in war crowd together. Here Tydeus met him, Parthenopaeus glorious in arms, and the pale form of Adrastus: here were the Trojans, wept for deeply above, fallen in war, whom, seeing them all in their long ranks, he groaned at, Glaucus, Medon and Thersilochus, the three sons of Antenor, Polyboetes, the priest of Ceres, and Idaeus still with his chariot, and his weapons. The spirits stand there in crowds to left and right. They are not satisfied with seeing him only once: they delight in lingering on, walking beside him, and learning the reason for his coming. But the Greek princes and Agamemnon’s phalanxes, trembled with great fear, when they saw the hero, and his gleaming weapons, among the shades: some turned to run, as they once sought their ships: some raised a faint cry, the noise they made belying their gaping mouths. And he saw Deiphobus there, Priam’s son, his whole body mutilated, his face brutally torn, his face and hands both, the ears ripped from his ruined head, his nostrils sheared by an ugly wound. Indeed Aeneas barely recognised the quivering form, hiding its dire punishment, even as he called to him, unprompted, in familiar tones: ‘Deiphobus, powerful in war, born of Teucer’s noble blood, who chose to work such brutal punishment on you? Who was allowed to treat you so? Rumour has it that on that final night, wearied by endless killing of Greeks, you sank down on a pile of the slaughtered. Then I set up an empty tomb on the Rhoetean shore, and called on your spirit three times in a loud voice. Your name and weapons watch over the site: I could not see you, friend, to set you, as I left, in your native soil.’ To this Priam’s son replied: ‘O my friend, you’ve neglected nothing: you’ve paid all that’s due to Deiophobus and a dead man’s spirit. My own destiny, and that Spartan woman’s deadly crime, drowned me in these sorrows: she left me these memorials. You know how we passed that last night in illusory joy: and you must remember it only too well. When the fateful Horse came leaping the walls of Troy, pregnant with the armed warriors it carried in its womb, she led the Trojan women about, wailing in dance, aping the Bacchic rites: she held a huge torch in their midst, signalling to the Greeks from the heights of the citadel. I was then in our unlucky marriage-chamber, worn out with care, and heavy with sleep, a sweet deep slumber weighing on me as I lay there, the very semblance of peaceful death. Meanwhile that illustrious wife of mine removed every weapon from the house, even stealing my faithful sword from under my head: she calls Menelaus into the house and throws open the doors, hoping I suppose it would prove a great gift for her lover, and in that way the infamy of her past sins might be erased. Why drag out the tale? They burst into the room, and with them Ulysses the Aeolid, their co-inciter to wickedness. Gods, so repay the Greeks, if these lips I pray for vengeance with are virtuous. But you, in turn, tell what fate has brought you here, living. Do you come here, driven by your wandering on the sea, or exhorted by the gods? If not, what misfortune torments you, that you enter these sad sunless houses, this troubled place?’ While they spoke Aurora and her rosy chariot had passed the zenith of her ethereal path, and they might perhaps have spent all the time allowed in such talk, but the Sibyl, his companion, warned him briefly saying: ‘Night approaches, Aeneas: we waste the hours with weeping. This is the place where the path splits itself in two: there on the right is our road to Elysium, that runs beneath the walls of mighty Dis: but the left works punishment on the wicked, and sends them on to godless Tartarus.’ Deiophobus replied: ‘Do not be angry, great priestess: I will leave: I will make up the numbers, and return to the darkness. Go now glory of our race: enjoy a better fate.’ So he spoke, and in speaking turned away. Aeneas suddenly looked back, and, below the left hand cliff, he saw wide battlements, surrounded by a triple wall, and encircled by a swift river of red-hot flames, the Tartarean Phlegethon, churning with echoing rocks. A gate fronts it, vast, with pillars of solid steel, that no human force, not the heavenly gods themselves, can overturn by war: an iron tower rises into the air, and seated before it, Tisiphone, clothed in a blood-wet dress, keeps guard of the doorway, sleeplessly, night and day. Groans came from there, and the cruel sound of the lash, then the clank of iron, and dragging chains. Aeneas halted, and stood rooted, terrified by the noise. ‘What evil is practised here? O Virgin, tell me: by what torments are they oppressed? Why are there such sounds in the air?’ Then the prophetess began to speak as follows: ‘Famous leader of the Trojans, it is forbidden for the pure to cross the evil threshold: but when Hecate appointed me to the wood of Avernus, she taught me the divine torments, and guided me through them all. Cretan Rhadamanthus rules this harshest of kingdoms, and hears their guilt, extracts confessions, and punishes whoever has deferred atonement for their sins too long till death, delighting in useless concealment, in the world above. Tisiphone the avenger, armed with her whip, leaps on the guilty immediately, lashes them, and threatening them with the fierce snakes in her left hand, calls to her savage troop of sisters. Then at last the accursed doors open, screeching on jarring hinges. You comprehend what guardian sits at the door, what shape watches the threshold? Well still fiercer is the monstrous Hydra inside, with her fifty black gaping jaws. There Tartarus itself falls sheer, and stretches down into the darkness: twice as far as we gaze upwards to heavenly Olympus. Here the Titanic race, the ancient sons of Earth, hurled down by the lightning-bolt, writhe in the depths. And here I saw the two sons of Aloeus, giant forms, who tried to tear down the heavens with their hands, and topple Jupiter from his high kingdom. And I saw Salmoneus paying a savage penalty for imitating Jove’s lightning, and the Olympian thunder. Brandishing a torch, and drawn by four horses he rode in triumph among the Greeks, through Elis’s city, claiming the gods’ honours as his own, a fool, who mimicked the storm-clouds and the inimitable thunderbolt with bronze cymbals and the sound of horses’ hoof-beats. But the all-powerful father hurled his lighting from dense cloud, not for him fiery torches, or pine-branches’ smoky light and drove him headlong with the mighty whirlwind. And Tityus was to be seen as well, the foster-child of Earth, our universal mother, whose body stretches over nine acres, and a great vulture with hooked beak feeds on his indestructible liver, and his entrails ripe for punishment, lodged deep inside the chest, groping for his feast, no respite given to the ever-renewing tissue. Shall I speak of the Lapiths, Ixion, Pirithous, over whom hangs a dark crag that seems to slip and fall? High couches for their feast gleam with golden frames, and a banquet of royal luxury is spread before their eyes: nearby the eldest Fury, crouching, prevents their fingers touching the table: rising up, and brandishing her torch, with a voice of thunder. Here are those who hated their brothers, in life, or struck a parent, or contrived to defraud a client, or who crouched alone over the riches they’d made, without setting any aside for their kin (their crowd is largest), those who were killed for adultery, or pursued civil war, not fearing to break their pledges to their masters: shut in they see their punishment. Don’t ask to know that punishment, or what kind of suffering drowns them. Some roll huge stones, or hang spread-eagled on wheel-spokes: wretched Theseus sits still, and will sit for eternity: Phlegyas, the most unfortunate, warns them all and bears witness in a loud voice among the shades: “Learn justice: be warned, and don’t despise the gods.” Here’s one who sold his country for gold, and set up a despotic lord: this one made law and remade it for a price: he entered his daughter’s bed and a forbidden marriage: all of them dared monstrous sin, and did what they dared. Not if I had a hundred tongues, a hundred mouths, a voice of iron, could I tell all the forms of wickedness or spell out the names of every torment.’ When she had spoken of this, the aged priestess of Apollo said: ‘But come now, travel the road, and complete the task set for you: let us hurry, I see the battlements that were forged in the Cyclopean fires, and the gates in the arch opposite us where we are told to set down the gifts as ordered.’ She spoke and keeping step they hastened along the dark path crossing the space between and arriving near the doors. Aeneas gained the entrance, sprinkled fresh water over his body, and set up the branch on the threshold before him. Having at last achieved this, the goddess’s task fulfilled, they came to the pleasant places, the delightful grassy turf of the Fortunate Groves, and the homes of the blessed. Here freer air and radiant light clothe the plain, and these have their own sun, and their own stars. Some exercise their bodies in a grassy gymnasium, compete in sports and wrestle on the yellow sand: others tread out the steps of a dance, and sing songs. There Orpheus too, the long-robed priest of Thrace, accompanies their voices with the seven-note scale, playing now with fingers, now with the ivory quill. Here are Teucer’s ancient people, loveliest of children, great-hearted heroes, born in happier years, Ilus, Assaracus, and Dardanus founder of Troy. Aeneas marvels from a distance at their idle chariots and their weapons: their spears fixed in the ground, and their horses scattered freely browsing over the plain: the pleasure they took in chariots and armour while alive, the care in tending shining horses, follows them below the earth. Look, he sees others on the grass to right and left, feasting, and singing a joyful paean in chorus, among the fragrant groves of laurel, out of which the Eridanus’s broad river flows through the woodlands to the world above. Here is the company of those who suffered wounds fighting for their country: and those who were pure priests, while they lived, and those who were faithful poets, singers worthy of Apollo, and those who improved life, with discoveries in Art or Science, and those who by merit caused others to remember them: the brows of all these were bound with white headbands. As they crowded round, the Sibyl addressed them, Musaeus above all: since he holds the centre of the vast crowd, all looking up to him, his tall shoulders towering above: ‘Blessed spirits, and you, greatest of Poets, say what region or place contains Anchises. We have come here, crossing the great rivers of Erebus, for him.’ And the hero replied to her briefly in these words: ‘None of us have a fixed abode: we live in the shadowy woods, and make couches of river-banks, and inhabit fresh-water meadows. But climb this ridge, if your hearts-wish so inclines, and I will soon set you on an easy path.’ He spoke and went on before them, and showed them the bright plains below: then they left the mountain heights. But deep in a green valley his father Anchises was surveying the spirits enclosed there, destined for the light above, thinking carefully, and was reviewing as it chanced the numbers of his own folk, his dear grandsons, and their fate and fortunes as men, and their ways and works. And when he saw Aeneas heading towards him over the grass he stretched out both his hands eagerly, his face streaming with tears, and a cry issued from his lips: ‘Have you come at last, and has the loyalty your father expected conquered the harsh road? Is it granted me to see your face, my son, and hear and speak in familiar tones? I calculated it in my mind, and thought it would be so, counting off the hours, nor has my trouble failed me. From travel over what lands and seas, do I receive you! What dangers have hurled you about, my son! How I feared the realms of Libya might harm you!’ He answered: ‘Father, your image, yours, appearing to me so often, drove me to reach this threshold: My ships ride the Etruscan waves. Father, let me clasp your hand, let me, and do not draw away from my embrace.’ So speaking, his face was also drowned in a flood of tears. Three times he tries to throw his arms round his father’s neck, three times, clasped in vain, that semblance slips though his hands, like the light breeze, most of all like a winged dream. And now Aeneas saw a secluded grove in a receding valley, with rustling woodland thickets, and the river of Lethe gliding past those peaceful places. Innumerable tribes and peoples hovered round it: just as, in the meadows, on a cloudless summer’s day, the bees settle on the multifarious flowers, and stream round the bright lilies, and all the fields hum with their buzzing. Aeneas was thrilled by the sudden sight, and, in ignorance, asked the cause: what the river is in the distance, who the men are crowding the banks in such numbers. Then his father Anchises answered: ‘They are spirits, owed a second body by destiny, and they drink the happy waters, and a last forgetting, at Lethe’s stream. Indeed, for a long time I’ve wished to tell you of them, and show you them face to face, to enumerate my children’s descendants, so you might joy with me more at finding Italy.’ ‘O father, is it to be thought that any spirits go from here to the sky above, returning again to dull matter?’ ‘Indeed I’ll tell you, son, not keep you in doubt,’ Anchises answered, and revealed each thing in order. ‘Firstly, a spirit within them nourishes the sky and earth, the watery plains, the shining orb of the moon, and Titan’s star, and Mind, flowing through matter, vivifies the whole mass, and mingles with its vast frame. From it come the species of man and beast, and winged lives, and the monsters the sea contains beneath its marbled waves. The power of those seeds is fiery, and their origin divine, so long as harmful matter doesn’t impede them and terrestrial bodies and mortal limbs don’t dull them. Through those they fear and desire, and grieve and joy, and enclosed in night and a dark dungeon, can’t see the light. Why, when life leaves them at the final hour, still all of the evil, all the plagues of the flesh, alas, have not completely vanished, and many things, long hardened deep within, must of necessity be ingrained, in strange ways. So they are scourged by torments, and pay the price for former sins: some are hung, stretched out, to the hollow winds, the taint of wickedness is cleansed for others in vast gulfs, or burned away with fire: each spirit suffers its own: then we are sent through wide Elysium, and we few stay in the joyous fields, for a length of days, till the cycle of time, complete, removes the hardened stain, and leaves pure ethereal thought, and the brightness of natural air. All these others the god calls in a great crowd to the river Lethe, after they have turned the wheel for a thousand years, so that, truly forgetting, they can revisit the vault above, and begin with a desire to return to the flesh.’ Anchises had spoken, and he drew the Sibyl and his son, both together, into the middle of the gathering and the murmuring crowd, and chose a hill from which he could see all the long ranks opposite, and watch their faces as they came by him. ‘Come, I will now explain what glory will pursue the children of Dardanus, what descendants await you of the Italian race, illustrious spirits to march onwards in our name, and I will teach you your destiny. See that boy, who leans on a headless spear, he is fated to hold a place nearest the light, first to rise to the upper air, sharing Italian blood, Silvius, of Alban name, your last-born son, who your wife Lavinia, late in your old age, will give birth to in the wood, a king and the father of kings, through whom our race will rule in Alba Longa. Next to him is Procas, glory of the Trojan people, and Capys and Numitor, and he who’ll revive your name, Silvius Aeneas, outstanding like you in virtue and arms, if he might at last achieve the Alban throne. What men! See what authority they display, their foreheads shaded by the civic oak-leaf crown! They will build Nomentum, Gabii, and Fidenae’s city: Collatia’s fortress in the hills, Pometii and the Fort of Inus, and Bola, and Cora. Those will be names that are now nameless land. Yes, and a child of Mars will join his grandfather to accompany him, Romulus, whom his mother Ilia will bear, of Assaracus’s line. See how Mars’s twin plumes stand on his crest, and his father marks him out for the world above with his own emblems? Behold, my son, under his command glorious Rome will match earth’s power and heaven’s will, and encircle seven hills with a single wall, happy in her race of men: as Cybele, the Berecynthian ‘Great Mother’, crowned with turrets, rides through the Phrygian cities, delighting in her divine children, clasping a hundred descendants, all gods, all dwelling in the heights above. Now direct your eyes here, gaze at this people, your own Romans. Here is Caesar, and all the offspring of Iulus destined to live under the pole of heaven. This is the man, this is him, whom you so often hear promised you, Augustus Caesar, son of the Deified, who will make a Golden Age again in the fields where Saturn once reigned, and extend the empire beyond the Libyans and the Indians (to a land that lies outside the zodiac’s belt, beyond the sun’s ecliptic and the year’s, where sky-carrying Atlas turns the sphere, inset with gleaming stars, on his shoulders): Even now the Caspian realms, and Maeotian earth, tremble at divine prophecies of his coming, and the restless mouths of the seven-branched Nile are troubled. Truly, Hercules never crossed so much of the earth, though he shot the bronze-footed Arcadian deer, brought peace to the woods of Erymanthus, made Lerna tremble at his bow: nor did Bacchus, who steers his chariot, in triumph, with reins made of vines, guiding his tigers down from Nysa’s high peak. Do we really hesitate still to extend our power by our actions, and does fear prevent us settling the Italian lands? Who is he, though, over there, distinguished by his olive branches, carrying offerings? I know the hair and the white-bearded chin of a king of Rome, Numa, called to supreme authority from little Cures’s poverty-stricken earth, who will secure our first city under the rule of law. Then Tullus will succeed him who will shatter the country’s peace, and call to arms sedentary men, ranks now unused to triumphs. The over-boastful Ancus follows him closely, delighting too much even now in the people’s opinion. Will you look too at Tarquin’s dynasty, and the proud spirit of Brutus the avenger, the rods of office reclaimed? He’ll be the first to win a consul’s powers and the savage axes, and when the sons foment a new civil war, the father will call them to account, for lovely freedom’s sake: ah, to be pitied, whatever posterity says of his actions: his love of country will prevail, and great appetite for glory. Ah, see over there, the Decii and Drusi, and Torquatus brutal with the axe, and Camillus rescuing the standards. But those others, you can discern, shining in matching armour, souls in harmony now, while they are cloaked in darkness, ah, if they reach the light of the living, what civil war what battle and slaughter, they’ll cause, Julius Caesar, the father-in-law, down from the Alpine ramparts, from the fortress of Monoecus: Pompey, the son-in-law, opposing with Eastern forces. My sons, don’t inure your spirits to such wars, never turn the powerful forces of your country on itself: You be the first to halt, you, who derive your race from heaven: hurl the sword from your hand, who are of my blood! There’s Mummius: triumphing over Corinth, he’ll drive his chariot, victorious, to the high Capitol, famed for the Greeks he’s killed: and Aemilius Paulus, who, avenging his Trojan ancestors, and Minerva’s desecrated shrine, will destroy Agamemnon’s Mycenae, and Argos, and Perseus the Aeacid himself, descendant of war-mighty Achilles. Who would pass over you in silence, great Cato, or you Cossus, or the Gracchus’s race, or the two Scipios, war’s lightning bolts, the scourges of Libya, or you Fabricius, powerful in poverty, or you, Regulus Serranus, sowing your furrow with seed? Fabii, where do you hurry my weary steps? You, Fabius Maximus, the Delayer, are he who alone renew our State. Others (I can well believe) will hammer out bronze that breathes with more delicacy than us, draw out living features from the marble: plead their causes better, trace with instruments the movement of the skies, and tell the rising of the constellations: remember, Roman, it is for you to rule the nations with your power, (that will be your skill) to crown peace with law, to spare the conquered, and subdue the proud.’ So father Anchises spoke, and while they marvelled, added: ‘See, how Claudius Marcellus, distinguished by the Supreme Prize, comes forward, and towers, victorious, over other men. As a knight, he’ll support the Roman State, turbulent with fierce confusion, strike the Cathaginians and rebellious Gauls, and dedicate captured weapons, a third time, to father Quirinus.’ And, at this, Aeneas said (since he saw a youth of outstanding beauty with shining armour, walking with Marcellus, but his face lacking in joy, and his eyes downcast): ‘Father, who is this who accompanies him on his way? His son: or another of his long line of descendants? What murmuring round them! What presence he has! But dark night, with its sad shadows, hovers round his head.’ Then his father Aeneas, with welling tears, replied: ‘O, do not ask about your people’s great sorrow, my son. The Fates will only show him to the world, not allow him to stay longer. The Roman people would seem too powerful to you gods, if this gift were lasting. What mourning from mankind that Field of Mars will deliver to the mighty city! And what funeral processions you, Tiber, will see, as you glide past his new-made tomb! No boy of the line of Ilius shall so exalt his Latin ancestors by his show of promise, nor will Romulus’s land ever take more pride in one of its sons. Alas for virtue, alas for the honour of ancient times, and a hand invincible in war! No one might have attacked him safely when armed, whether he met the enemy on foot, or dug his spurs into the flank of his foaming charger. Ah, boy to be pitied, if only you may shatter harsh fate, you’ll be a Marcellus! Give me handfuls of white lilies, let me scatter radiant flowers, let me load my scion’s spirit with those gifts at least, in discharging that poor duty.’ So they wander here and there through the whole region, over the wide airy plain, and gaze at everything. And when Anchises has led his son through each place, and inflamed his spirit with love of the glory that is to come, he tells him then of the wars he must soon fight, and teaches him about the Laurentine peoples, and the city of Latinus, and how to avoid or face each trial. There are two gates of Sleep: one of which is said to be of horn, through which an easy passage is given to true shades, the other gleams with the whiteness of polished ivory, but through it the Gods of the Dead send false dreams to the world above. After his words, Anchises accompanies his son there, and, frees him, together with the Sibyl, through the ivory gate. Aeneas makes his way to the ships and rejoins his friends: then coasts straight to Caieta’s harbour along the shore. The anchors are thrown from the prows: on the shore the sterns rest.

Book 7


Caieta, Aeneas’s nurse, you too have granted eternal fame to our shores in dying: tributes still protect your grave, and your name marks your bones in great Hesperia, if that is glory. Now, as soon as the open sea was calm, having paid the last rites due to custom, and raised a funeral mound, Aeneas the good left the harbour and sailed on his way. The breezes blew through the night, and a radiant moon was no inhibitor to their voyage, the sea gleaming in the tremulous light. The next shores they touched were Circe’s lands, where that rich daughter of the sun makes the hidden groves echo with continual chanting, and burns fragrant cedar for nocturnal light in her proud palace, as she sets her melodious shuttle running through the fine warp. From there the angry roar of lions could be heard, chafing at their ropes, and sounding late into the night, and the rage of bristling wild-boars, and caged bears, and the howling shapes of huge wolves, whom Circe, cruel goddess, had altered from human appearance to the features and forms of creatures, using powerful herbs. But Neptune filled their sails with following winds, so that Troy’s virtuous race should not suffer so monstrous a fate entering the harbour, and disembarking on that fatal shore, and carried them past the boiling shallows, granting them escape. Now the sea was reddening with the sun’s rays, and saffron Aurora in her rose-coloured chariot, shone from the heights of heaven, when the winds dropped and every breeze suddenly fell away, and the oars laboured slowly in the water. At this moment, gazing from the sea, Aeneas saw a vast forest. Through it the Tiber’s lovely river, with swirling eddies full of golden sand, bursts to the ocean. Countless birds, around and above, that haunt the banks and streams, were delighting the heavens with their song and flying through the groves. He ordered his friends to change course and turn their prows towards land, and joyfully entered the shaded river. Come now, Erato, and I’ll tell of the kings, the times, the state of ancient Latium, when that foreign troop first landed on Ausonia’s shores, and I’ll recall the first fighting from its very beginning. You goddess, you must prompt your poet. I’ll tell of brutal war, I’ll tell of battle action, and princes driven to death by their courage, of Trojan armies, and all of Hesperia forced to take up arms. A greater order of things is being born, greater is the work that I attempt. King Latinus, now old in years, ruled fields and towns, in the tranquillity of lasting peace. We hear he was the child of Faunus and the Laurentine nymph, Marica. Faunus’s father was Pictus, and he boasts you, Saturn, as his, you the first founder of the line. By divine decree, Latinus had no male heir, his son having been snatched from him in the dawn of first youth. There was only a daughter to keep house in so noble a palace, now ready for a husband, now old enough to be a bride. Many sought her hand, from wide Latium and all Ausonia, Turnus above all, the most handsome, of powerful ancestry, whom the queen hastened to link to her as her son-in-law with wonderful affection. But divine omens, with their many terrors, prevented it. There was a laurel, with sacred leaves, in the high inner court in the middle of the palace, that had been guarded with reverence for many years. It was said that Lord Latinus himself had discovered it, when he first built his fortress, and dedicated it to Apollo, and from it had named the settlers Laurentines. A dense cloud of bees (marvellous to tell) borne through the clear air, with a mighty humming, settled in the very top of the tree, and hung there, their feet all tangled together, in a sudden swarm. Immediately the prophet cried: ‘I see a foreign hero, approaching, and, from a like direction, an army seeks this same place, to rule from the high citadel.’ Then as he lit the altars with fresh pine torches, as virgin Lavinia stood there next to her father she seemed (horror!) to catch the fire in her long tresses, and all her finery to burn in crackling flame, her royally dressed tresses set alight, her crown alight, remarkable for its jewels: then wreathed in smoke and yellow light, she seemed to scatter sparks through all the palace. Truly it was talked of as a shocking and miraculous sight: for they foretold she would be bright with fame and fortune, but it signified a great war for her people. Then the king, troubled by the wonder, visited the oracle of Faunus, his far-speaking father, and consulted the groves below high Albunea, mightiest of forests, that echoed with the sacred fountain, and breathed a deadly vapour from the dark. The people of Italy, and all the Oenotrian lands, sought answers to their doubts, from that place: when the priest brought offerings there, and, found sleep, in the silent night, lying on spread fleeces of sacrificed sheep, he saw there many ghosts flitting in marvellous forms, and heard various voices, had speech with the gods, and talked with Acheron, in the depths of Avernus. And here the king, Latinus, himself seeking an answer, slaughtered a hundred woolly sheep according to the rite, and lay there supported by their skins and woolly fleeces: Suddenly a voice emerged from the deep wood: ‘O my son, don’t try to ally your daughter in a Latin marriage, don’t place your faith in the intended wedding: strangers will come to be your kin, who’ll lift our name to the stars by their blood, and the children of whose race shall see all, where the circling sun views both oceans, turning obediently beneath their feet.’ Latinus failed to keep this reply of his Father’s quiet, this warning given in the silent night, and already Rumour flying far and wide had carried it through the Ausonian cities, when the children of Laomedon came to moor their ships by the river’s grassy banks. Aeneas, handsome Iulus, and the foremost leaders, settled their limbs under the branches of a tall tree, and spread a meal: they set wheat cakes for a base under the food (as Jupiter himself inspired them) and added wild fruits to these tables of Ceres. When the poor fare drove them to set their teeth into the thin discs, the rest being eaten, and to break the fateful circles of bread boldly with hands and jaws, not sparing the quartered cakes, Iulus, jokingly, said no more than: ‘Ha! Are we eating the tables too?’ That voice on first being heard brought them to the end of their labours, and his father, as the words fell from the speaker’s lips, caught them up and stopped him, awestruck at the divine will. Immediately he said: ‘Hail, land destined to me by fate, and hail to you, O faithful gods of Troy: here is our home, here is our country. For my father Anchises (now I remember) left this secret of fate with me: ‘Son, when you’re carried to an unknown shore, food is lacking, and you’re forced to eat the tables, then look for a home in your weariness: and remember first thing to set your hand on a site there, and build your houses behind a rampart.’ This was the hunger he prophesied, the last thing remaining, to set a limit to our ruin…come then, and with the sun’s dawn light let’s cheerfully discover what place this is, what men live here, where this people’s city is, and let’s explore from the harbour in all directions. Now pour libations to Jove and call, with prayer, on my father Anchises, then set out the wine once more. So saying he wreathed his forehead with a leafy spray, and prayed to the spirit of the place, and to Earth the oldest of goddesses, and to the Nymphs, and the yet unknown rivers: then he invoked Night and Night’s rising constellations, and Idaean Jove, and the Phrygian Mother, in order, and his two parents, one in heaven, one in Erebus. At this the all-powerful Father thundered three times from the clear sky, and revealed a cloud in the ether, bright with rays of golden light, shaking it with his own hand. Then the word ran suddenly through the Trojan lines that the day had come to found their destined city. They rivalled each other in celebration of the feast, and delighted by the fine omen, set out the bowls and crowned the wine-cups. Next day when sunrise lit the earth with her first flames, they variously discovered the city, shores and limits of this nation: here was the pool of Numicius’s fountain, this was the River Tiber, here the brave Latins lived. Then Anchises’s son ordered a hundred envoys, chosen from every rank, all veiled in Pallas’s olive leaves to go to the king’s noble fortress, carrying gifts for a hero, and requesting peace towards the Trojans. Without delay, they hastened as ordered, travelling at a swift pace. He himself marked out walls with a shallow ditch, toiled at the site, and surrounded the first settlement on those shores with a rampart and battlement, in the style of a fortified camp. And now his men had pursued their journey and they saw Latinus’s turrets and high roofs, and arrived beneath the walls. Boys, and men in the flower of youth, were practising horsemanship outside the city, breaking in their mounts in clouds of dust, or bending taut bows, or hurling firm spears with their arms, challenging each other to race or box: when a messenger, racing ahead on his horse, reported to the ears of the aged king that powerful warriors in unknown dress had arrived. The king ordered them to be summoned to the palace, and took his seat, in the centre, on his ancestral throne. Huge and magnificent, raised on a hundred columns, his roof was the city’s summit, the palace of Laurentian Picus, sanctified by its grove and the worship of generations. It was auspicious for a king to receive the sceptre here and first lift the fasces, the rods of office: this shrine was their curia, their senate house, the place of their sacred feasts, here the elders, after lambs were sacrificed, sat down at an endless line of tables. There standing in ranks at the entrance were the statues of ancestors of old, in ancient cedar-wood, Italus, and father Sabinus, the vine-grower, depicted guarding a curved pruning-hook, and aged Saturn, and the image of Janus bi-face, and other kings from the beginning, and heroes wounded in battle, fighting for their country. Many weapons too hung on the sacred doorposts, captive chariots, curved axes, helmet crests, the massive bars of city gates, spears, shields and the ends of prows torn from ships. There Picus, the Horse-Tamer, sat, holding the lituus, the augur’s Quirinal staff, and clothed in the trabea, the purple-striped toga, and carrying the ancile, the sacred shield, in his left hand, he, whom his lover, Circe, captivated by desire, struck with her golden rod: changed him with magic drugs to a woodpecker, and speckled his wings with colour. Such was the temple of the gods in which Latinus, seated on the ancestral throne, called the Trojans to him in the palace, and as they entered spoke first, with a calm expression: ‘Sons of Dardanus (for your city and people are not unknown to us, and we heard of your journey towards us on the seas), what do you wish? What reason, what need has brought your ships to Ausonian shores, over so many azure waves? Whether you have entered the river mouth, and lie in harbour, after straying from your course, or driven here by storms, such things as sailors endure on the deep ocean, don’t shun our hospitality, and don’t neglect the fact that the Latins are Saturn’s people, just, not through constraint or law, but of our own free will, holding to the ways of the ancient god. And I remember in truth (though the tale is obscured by time) that the Auruncan elders told how Dardanus, sprung from these shores, penetrated the cities of Phrygian Ida, and Thracian Samos, that is now called Samothrace. Setting out from here, from his Etruscan home, Corythus, now the golden palace of the starlit sky grants him a throne, and he increases the number of divine altars.’ He finished speaking, and Ilioneus, following, answered so: ‘King, illustrious son of Faunus, no dark tempest, driving us though the waves, forced us onto your shores, no star or coastline deceived us in our course: we travelled to this city by design, and with willing hearts, exiled from our kingdom, that was once the greatest that the sun gazed on, as he travelled from the edge of heaven. The founder of our race is Jove, the sons of Dardanus enjoy Jove as their ancestor, our king himself is of Jove’s high race: Trojan, Aeneas, sends us to your threshold. The fury of the storm that poured from fierce Mycenae, and crossed the plains of Ida, and how the two worlds of Europe and Asia clashed, driven by fate, has been heard by those whom the most distant lands banish to where Ocean circles back, and those whom the zone of excessive heat, stretched between the other four, separates from us. Sailing out of that deluge, over many wastes of sea, we ask a humble home for our country’s gods, and a harmless stretch of shore, and air and water accessible to all. We’ll be no disgrace to the kingdom, nor will your reputation be spoken of lightly, nor gratitude for such an action fade, nor Ausonia regret taking Troy to her breast. I swear by the destiny of Aeneas, and the power of his right hand, whether proven by any man in loyalty, or war and weapons, many are the peoples, many are the nations (do not scorn us because we offer peace-ribbons, and words of prayer, unasked) who themselves sought us and wished to join with us: but through divine destiny we sought out your shores to carry out its commands. Dardanus sprang from here, Apollo recalls us to this place, and, with weighty orders, drives us to Tuscan Tiber, and the sacred waters of the Numician fount. Moreover our king offers you these small tokens of his former fortune, relics snatched from burning Troy. His father Anchises poured libations at the altar from this gold, this was Priam’s burden when by custom he made laws for the assembled people, the sceptre, and sacred turban, and the clothes, laboured on by the daughters of Ilium.’ At Ilioneus’s words Latinus kept his face set firmly downward, fixed motionless towards the ground, moving his eyes alone intently. It is not the embroidered purple that moves the king nor Priam’s sceptre, so much as his dwelling on his daughter’s marriage and her bridal-bed, and he turns over in his mind old Faunus’s oracle: this must be the man, from a foreign house, prophesied by the fates as my son-in-law, and summoned to reign with equal powers, whose descendants will be illustrious in virtue, and whose might will take possession of all the world. At last he spoke, joyfully: ‘May the gods favour this beginning, and their prophecy. Trojan, what you wish shall be granted. I do not reject your gifts: you will not lack the wealth of fertile fields, or Troy’s wealth, while Latinus is king. Only, if Aeneas has such longing for us, if he is eager to join us in friendship and be called our ally, let him come himself and not be afraid of a friendly face: it will be part of the pact, to me, to have touched your leader’s hand. Now you in turn take my reply to the king: I have a daughter whom the oracles from my father’s shrine, and many omens from heaven, will not allow to unite with a husband of our race: sons will come from foreign shores, whose blood will raise our name to the stars: this they prophesy is in store for Latium,. I both think and, if my mind foresees the truth, I hope that this is the man destiny demands.’ So saying the king selected stallions from his whole stable (three hundred stood there sleekly in their high stalls): immediately he ordered one to be led to each Trojan by rank, caparisoned in purple, swift-footed, with embroidered housings (gold collars hung low over their chests, covered in gold, they even champed bits of yellow gold between their teeth), and for the absent Aeneas there was a chariot, with twin horses, of heaven’s line, blowing fire from their nostrils, bastards of that breed of her father’s, the Sun, that cunning Circe had produced, by mating them with a mortal mare. The sons of Aeneas, mounting the horses, rode back with these words and gifts of Latinus, bearing peace. But behold, the ferocious wife of Jove returning from Inachus’s Argos, winging her airy way, saw the delighted Aeneas and his Trojan fleet, from the distant sky, beyond Sicilian Pachynus. She gazed at them, already building houses, already confident in their land, the ships deserted: she halted pierced by a bitter pang. Then shaking her head, she poured these words from her breast: ‘Ah loathsome tribe, and Trojan destiny, opposed to my own destiny! Could they not have fallen on the Sigean plains, could they not have been held as captives? Could burning Troy not have consumed these men? They find a way through the heart of armies and flames. And I think my powers must be exhausted at last, or I have come to rest, my anger sated. Why, when they were thrown out of their country I ventured to follow hotly through the waves, and challenge them on every ocean. The forces of sea and sky have been wasted on these Trojans. What use have the Syrtes been to me, or Scylla, or gaping Charybdis? They take refuge in their longed-for Tiber’s channel, indifferent to the sea and to me. Mars had the power to destroy the Lapiths’ vast race, the father of the gods himself conceded ancient Calydon, given Diana’s anger, and for what sin did the Lapiths or Calydon, deserve all that? But I, Jove’s great Queen, who in my wretchedness had the power to leave nothing untried, who have turned myself to every means, am conquered by Aeneas. But if my divine strength is not enough, I won’t hesitate to seek help wherever it might be: if I cannot sway the gods, I’ll stir the Acheron. I accept it’s not granted to me to withhold the Latin kingdom, and by destiny Lavinia will still, unalterably, be his bride: but I can draw such things out and add delays, and I can destroy the people of these two kings. Let father and son-in-law unite at the cost of their nations’ lives: virgin, your dowry will be Rutulian and Trojan blood, and Bellona, the goddess of war, waits to attend your marriage. Nor was it Hecuba, Cisseus’s daughter, alone who was pregnant with a fire-brand, or gave birth to nuptial flames. Why, Venus is alike in her child, another Paris, another funeral torch for a resurrected Troy.’ When she had spoken these words, fearsome, she sought the earth: and summoned Allecto, the grief-bringer, from the house of the Fatal Furies, from the infernal shadows: in whose mind are sad wars, angers and deceits, and guilty crimes. A monster, hated by her own father Pluto, hateful to her Tartarean sisters: she assumes so many forms, her features are so savage, she sports so many black vipers. Juno roused her with these words, saying: ‘Grant me a favour of my own, virgin daughter of Night, this service, so that my honour and glory are not weakened, and give way, and the people of Aeneas cannot woo Latinus with intermarriage, or fill the bounds of Italy. You’ve the power to rouse brothers, who are one, to conflict, and overturn homes with hatred: you bring the scourge and the funeral torch into the house: you’ve a thousand names, and a thousand noxious arts. Search your fertile breast, shatter the peace accord, sow accusations of war: let men in a moment need, demand and seize their weapons.’ So Allecto, steeped in the Gorgon’s poison, first searches out Latium and the high halls of the Laurentine king, and sits at the silent threshold of Queen Amata, whom concerns and angers have troubled, with a woman’s passion, concerning the Trojan’s arrival, and Turnus’s marriage. The goddess flings a snake at her from her dark locks, and plunges it into the breast, to her innermost heart, so that maddened by the creature, she might trouble the whole palace. Sliding between her clothing, and her polished breast, it winds itself unfelt and unknown to the frenzied woman, breathing its viperous breath: the powerful snake becomes her twisted necklace of gold, becomes the loop of her long ribbon, knots itself in her hair, and roves slithering down her limbs. And while at first the sickness, sinking within as liquid venom, pervades her senses, and clasps her bones with fire, and before her mind has felt the flame through all its thoughts, she speaks, softly, and in a mother’s usual manner, weeping greatly over the marriage of her daughter to the Trojan: ‘O, have you her father no pity for your daughter or yourself? Have you no pity for her mother, when the faithless seducer will leave with the first north-wind, seeking the deep, with the girl as prize? Wasn’t it so when Paris, that Phrygian shepherd, entered Sparta, and snatched Leda’s Helen off to the Trojan cities? What of your sacred pledge? What of your former care for your own people, and your right hand given so often to your kinsman Turnus? If a son-in-law from a foreign tribe is sought for the Latins, and it’s settled, and your father Faunus’s command weighs on you, then I myself think that every land free of our rule that is distant, is foreign: and so the gods declare. And if the first origins of his house are traced, Inachus and Acrisius are ancestors of Turnus, and Mycenae his heartland.’ When, though trying in vain with words, she sees Latinus stand firm against her, and when the snake’s maddening venom has seeped deep into her flesh, and permeated throughout, then, truly, the unhappy queen, goaded by monstrous horrors, rages madly unrestrainedly through the vast city. As a spinning-top, sometimes, that boys intent on play thrash in a circle round an empty courtyard, turns under the whirling lash, – driven with the whip it moves in curving tracks: and the childish crowd marvel over it in innocence, gazing at the twirling boxwood: and the blows grant it life: so she is driven through the heart of cities and proud peoples, on a course that is no less swift. Moreover, she runs to the woods, pretending Bacchic possession, setting out on a greater sin, and creating a wider frenzy, and hides her daughter among the leafy mountains, to rob the Trojans of their wedding and delay the nuptials, shrieking ‘Euhoe’ to Bacchus, crying ‘You alone are worthy of this virgin: it’s for you in truth she lifts the soft thyrsus, you she circles in the dance, for you she grows her sacred hair.’ Rumour travels: and the same frenzy drives all the women, inflamed, with madness in their hearts, to seek strange shelter. They leave their homes, and bare their head and neck to the winds: while others are already filling the air with vibrant howling carrying vine-wrapped spears, and clothed in fawn-skins. The wild Queen herself brandishes a blazing pine-branch in their midst, turning her bloodshot gaze on them, and sings the wedding-song for Turnus and her daughter, and, suddenly fierce, cries out: ‘O, women of Latium, wherever you are, hear me: if you still have regard for unhappy Amata in your pious hearts, if you’re stung with concern for a mother’s rights, loose the ties from your hair, join the rites with me.’ So Allecto drives the Queen with Bacchic goad, far and wide, through the woods, among the wild creatures’ lairs. When she saw she had stirred these first frenzies enough, and had disturbed Latinus’s plans, and his whole household, the grim goddess was carried from there, at once, on dark wings, to the walls of Turnus, the brave Rutulian, the city they say that Danae, blown there by a violent southerly, built with her Acrisian colonists. The place was once called Ardea by our ancestors, and Ardea still remains as a great name, its good-fortune past. Here, in the dark of night, Turnus was now in a deep sleep, in his high palace. Allecto changed her fierce appearance and fearful shape, transformed her looks into those of an old woman, furrowed her ominous brow with wrinkles, assumed white hair and sacred ribbon, then twined an olive spray there: she became Calybe, Juno’s old servant, and priestess of her temple, and offered herself to the young man’s eyes with these words: ‘Turnus, will you see all your efforts wasted in vain, and your sceptre handed over to Trojan settlers? The king denies you your bride and the dowry looked for by your race, and a stranger is sought as heir to the throne. Go then, be despised, offer yourself, un-thanked, to danger: go, cut down the Tuscan ranks, protect the Latins with peace! This that I now say to you, as you lie there in the calm of night, Saturn’s all-powerful daughter herself ordered me to speak openly. So rise, and ready your men, gladly, to arm and march from the gates to the fields, and set fire to the painted ships anchored in our noble river, and the Trojan leaders with them. The vast power of the gods demands it. Let King Latinus himself feel it, unless he agrees to keep his word and give you your bride, and let him at last experience Turnus armed.’ At this the warrior, mocking the priestess, opened his mouth in turn: ‘The news that a fleet has entered Tiber’s waters has not escaped my notice, as you think: don’t imagine it’s so great a fear to me. Nor is Queen Juno unmindful of me. But you, O mother, old age, conquered by weakness and devoid of truth, troubles with idle cares, and mocks a prophetess, amidst the wars of kings, with imaginary terrors. Your duty’s to guard the gods’ statues and their temples: men will make war and peace, by whom war’s to be made.’ Allecto blazed with anger at these words. And, as the young man spoke, a sudden tremor seized his body, and his eyes became fixed, the Fury hissed with so many snakes, such a form revealed itself: then turning her fiery gaze on him, she pushed him away as he hesitated, trying to say more, and raised up a pair of serpents amidst her hair, and cracked her whip, and added this through rabid lips: ‘See me, conquered by weakness, whom old age, devoid of truth, mocks with imaginary terrors amongst the wars of kings. Look on this: I am here from the house of the Fatal Sisters, and I bring war and death in my hand.’ So saying, she flung a burning branch at the youth, and planted the brand, smoking with murky light, in his chest. An immense terror shattered his sleep, and sweat, pouring from his whole body drenched flesh and bone. Frantic, he shouted for weapons, looked for weapons by the bedside, and through the palace: desire for the sword raged in him, and the accursed madness of war, anger above all: as when burning sticks are heaped, with a fierce crackling, under the belly of a raging cauldron, and the depths dance with the heat, the smoking mixture seethes inside, the water bubbles high with foam, the liquid can no longer contain itself, and dark vapour rises into the air. So, violating the peace, he commanded his young leaders to march against King Latinus, and ordered the troops to be readied, to defend Italy, to drive the enemy from her borders: his approach itself would be enough for both Trojans and Latins. When he gave the word, and called the gods to witness his vows, the Rutuli vied in urging each other to arm. This man is moved by Turnus’s youth and outstanding nobility of form, that by his royal line, this one again by his glorious deeds. While Turnus was rousing the Rutulians with fiery courage, Allecto hurled herself towards the Trojans, on Stygian wings, spying out, with fresh cunning, the place on the shore where handsome Iulus was hunting wild beasts on foot with nets. Hades’s Virgin drove his hounds to sudden frenzy, touching their muzzles with a familiar scent, so that they eagerly chased down a stag: this was a prime cause of trouble, rousing the spirits of the countrymen to war. There was a stag of outstanding beauty, with huge antlers, that, torn from its mother’s teats, Tyrrhus and his sons had raised, the father being the man to whom the king’s herds submitted, and who was trusted with managing his lands far and wide. Silvia, their sister, training it to her commands with great care, adorned its antlers, twining them with soft garlands, grooming the wild creature, and bathing it in a clear spring. Tame to the hand, and used to food from the master’s table, it wandered the woods, and returned to the familiar threshold, by itself, however late at night. Now while it strayed far a-field, Iulus the huntsman’s frenzied hounds started it, by chance, as it moved downstream, escaping the heat by the grassy banks. Iulus himself inflamed also with desire for high honours, aimed an arrow from his curved bow, the goddess unfailingly guiding his errant hand, and the shaft, flying with a loud hiss, pierced flank and belly. But the wounded creature fleeing to its familiar home, dragged itself groaning to its stall, and, bleeding, filled the house with its cries, like a person begging for help. Silvia, the sister, beating her arms with her hands in distress, was the first to call for help, summoning the tough countrymen. They arrived quickly (since a savage beast haunted the silent woods) one with a fire-hardened stake, one with a heavy knotted staff: anger made a weapon of whatever each man found as he searched around. Tyrrhus called out his men: since by chance he was quartering an oak by driving wedges, he seized his axe, breathing savagely. Then the cruel goddess, seeing the moment to do harm, found the stable’s steep roof, and sounded the herdsmen’s call, sending a voice from Tartarus through the twisted horn, so that each grove shivered, and the deep woods echoed: Diana’s distant lake at Nemi heard it: white Nar’s river, with its sulphurous waters, heard: and the fountains of Velinus: while anxious mothers clasped their children to their breasts. Then the rough countrymen snatching up their weapons, gathered more quickly, and from every side, to the noise with which that dread trumpet sounded the call, nor were the Trojan youth slow to open their camp, and send out help to Ascanius. The lines were deployed. They no longer competed with solid staffs, and fire-hardened stakes, in a rustic quarrel, but fought it out with double-edged blades, and a dark crop of naked swords bristled far and wide: bronze shone struck by the sun, and hurled its light up to the clouds: as when a wave begins to whiten at the wind’s first breath, and the sea swells little by little, and raises higher waves, then surges to heaven out of its profoundest depths. Here young Almo, in the front ranks, the eldest of Tyrrhus’s sons, was downed by a hissing arrow: the wound opened beneath his throat, choking the passage of liquid speech, and failing breath, with blood. The bodies of many men were round him, old Galaesus among them, killed in the midst of offering peace, who was one of the most just of men, and the wealthiest in Ausonian land: five flocks bleated for him, five herds returned from his fields, and a hundred ploughs furrowed the soil. While they fought over the plain, in an equally-matched contest, the goddess, having, by her actions, succeeded in what she’d promised, having steeped the battle in blood, and brought death in the first skirmish, left Hesperia, and wheeling through the air of heaven spoke to Juno, in victory, in a proud voice: ‘Behold, for you, discord is completed with sad war: tell them now to unite as friends, or join in alliance. Since I’ve sprinkled the Trojans with Ausonian blood, I’ll even add this to it, if I’m assured that it’s your wish I’ll bring neighbouring cities into the war, with rumour, inflaming their minds with love of war’s madness, so that they come with aid from every side: I’ll sow the fields with weapons.’ Then Juno answered: ‘That’s more than enough terror and treachery: the reasons for war are there: armed, they fight hand to hand, and the weapons that chance first offered are stained with fresh blood. Such be the marriage, such be the wedding-rites that this illustrious son of Venus, and King Latinus himself, celebrate. The Father, the ruler of high Olympus, does not wish you to wander too freely in the ethereal heavens. Leave this place. Whatever chance for trouble remains I will handle.’ So spoke Saturn’s daughter: Now, the Fury raised her wings, hissing with serpents, and sought her home in Cocytus, leaving the heights above. There’s a place in Italy, at the foot of high mountains, famous, and mentioned by tradition, in many lands, the valley of Amsanctus: woods thick with leaves hem it in, darkly, on both sides, and in the centre a roaring torrent makes the rocks echo, and coils in whirlpools. There a fearful cavern, a breathing-hole for cruel Dis, is shown, and a vast abyss, out of which Acheron bursts, holds open its baleful jaws, into which the Fury, that hated goddess, plunged, freeing earth and sky. Meanwhile Saturn’s royal daughter was no less active, setting a final touch to the war. The whole band of herdsmen rushed into the city from the battle, bringing back the dead, the boy Almo, and Galaesus, with a mangled face, and invoking the gods, and entreating Latinus. Turnus was there, and ,at the heart of the outcry, he redoubled their terror of fire and slaughter: ‘Trojans are called upon to reign: Phrygian stock mixes with ours: I am thrust from the door.’ Then those whose women, inspired by Bacchus, pranced about in the pathless woods, in the god’s dance (for Amata’s name is not trivial), drawing together from every side, gathered to make their appeal to Mars. Immediately, with perverse wills, all clamoured for war’s atrocities, despite the omens, despite the god’s decrees,. They vied together in surrounding King Latinus’s palace: like an immoveable rock in the ocean, he stood firm, like a rock in the ocean, when a huge breaker falls, holding solid amongst a multitude of howling waves, while round about the cliffs and foaming reefs roar, in vain, and seaweed, hurled against its sides, is washed back again. As no power was really granted him to conquer their blind will, and events moved to cruel Juno’s orders, with many appeals to the gods and the helpless winds, the old man cried: ‘Alas, we are broken by fate, and swept away by the storm! Oh, wretched people, you’ll pay the price yourselves for this, with sacrilegious blood. You, Turnus, your crime and its punishment await you, and too late you’ll entreat the gods with prayers. My share is rest, yet at the entrance to the harbour I’m robbed of all contentment in dying.’ Speaking no more he shut himself in the palace, and let fall the reins of power. There was a custom in Hesperian Latium, which the Alban cities always held sacred, as great Rome does now, when they first rouse Mars to battle, whether they prepare to take sad war in their hands to the Getae, the Hyrcanians, or the Arabs, or to head East pursuing the Dawn, to reclaim their standards from Parthia: there are twin gates of War (so they are named), sanctified by religion, and by dread of fierce Mars: a hundred bars of bronze, and iron’s eternal strength, lock them, and Janus the guardian never leaves the threshold. When the final decision of the city fathers is for battle, the Consul himself, dressed in the Quirine toga, folded in the Gabine manner, unbars these groaning doors, himself, and himself invokes the battle: then the rest of the men do so too, and bronze horns breathe their hoarse assent. Latinus was also commanded to declare war in this way on Aeneas’s people, and unbolt the sad gates, but the old man held back his hand, and shrank from the vile duty, hiding himself in dark shadows. Then the Queen of the gods, gliding from the sky, set the reluctant doors in motion, with her own hand: Saturn’s daughter forced open the iron gates of War on their hinges. Italy, once peaceful and immoveable, was alight. Some prepared to cross the plains on foot, others stirred the deep dust on noble horses: all demanded weapons. Others polished smooth shields, and bright javelins, with thick grease, and sharpened axes on grindstones: they delighted in carrying standards and hearing the trumpet call. So five great cities set up anvils and forged new weapons: powerful Atina, proud Tibur, Ardea, Crustumeri, and towered Antemnae. They beat out helmets to protect their heads, and wove wickerwork frames for shields: others hammered breastplates of bronze, and shiny greaves of malleable silver: to this they yielded pride in the share’s blade and the sickle, all their passion for the plough: they recast their father’s swords in the furnace. And now the trumpets began to sound, the word that signalled war went round: this man, in alarm, snatched his helmet from his home, another harnessed quivering horses to the yoke, took up his shield, and triple-linked coat of mail, and fastened on his faithful sword. Now Muses, open wide Helicon, and begin a song of kings who were roused to war: what ranks of followers each one had, filling the plain: with what men even then Italy’s rich earth flowered: with what armies she shone: since, goddesses, you remember, and have the power to tell: while a faint breath of their fame has barely reached us. First fierce Mezentius enters the war, that scorner of gods, from the Tuscan shore, and rouses his troops to arms. His son, Lausus, is beside him, than whom no other is more handsome in form, except Laurentine Turnus. Lausus, the tamer of horses, who subdues wild beasts, leads a thousand men from Agylla’s town, who follow him in vain, deserving to be happier than under his father’s rule, a father who might perhaps not be a Mezentius. Aventinus follows them, the handsome son of handsome Hercules, displaying his palm-crowned chariot and victorious horses, over the turf, and carries his father’s emblem on his shield: a hundred snakes, and the Hydra wreathed with serpents: the priestess Rhea brought him to the shores of light, in a secret birth, in the woods, on the Aventine Hill, a woman mated to a god when Tyrinthian Hercules, the conqueror who slew Geryon, came to the Laurentine fields, and bathed his Spanish cattle in the Tuscan stream. His men carry javelins and grim pikes, in their hands, to war, and fight with polished swords and Sabellian spears. He himself, on foot, a huge lion skin swinging, with terrifying unkempt mane, and with its white teeth crowning his head, enters the royal palace, just like that, a savage, with Hercules’s clothing fastened round his shoulders. Then twin-brothers, Catillus, and brave Coras, Argive youths, leaving the walls of Tibur, and a people named after their brother Tiburtus, borne into the forefront of the army, among the dense spears, like cloud-born Centaurs descending from a high peak in the mountains, leaving Homole and snow-covered Othrys in their swift course: the vast woods give way as they go, and, with a loud crash, the thickets yield to them. Nor is Caeculus the founder of Praeneste’s city missing, who as every age has believed was born a king, to Vulcan, among the wild cattle, and discovered on the hearth, he’s followed by a rustic army drawn from far and wide, men who live in steep Praeneste, and the fields of Juno of Gabii, and beside cool Anio, and among the Hernican rocks dew-wet from the streams: those you nurture, rich Anagnia, and you father Amasenus. They don’t all have weapons or shields, or rumbling chariots: most fling pellets of blue lead, some carry twin darts in their hand, and have reddish caps of wolf-skin for headgear: the left foot is bare as they walk, a boot of raw hide protects the other. And Messapus, Neptune’s son, tamer of horses, whom no one’s permitted to fell with fire or steel, now suddenly calls to arms his settled tribes, and troops unused to war, and grasps the sword again. These hold Fescennium’s lines and Aequi Falisci’s, those Soracte’s heights and Flavinium’s fields, and Ciminus’s lake and hill, and Capena’s groves. They march to a steady beat, and sing of their king: as the river Cayster and the Asian meadows, struck from afar, echo sometimes, when the snowy swans, among the flowing clouds, return from pasture, and make melodious music from their long throats. No one would think that bronze-clad ranks were joined in such a crowd, but an airy cloud of strident birds driving shore-wards from the deep gulf. Behold, Clausus, of ancient Sabine blood, leading a great army, and worth a great army in his own right. Now the Claudian tribe and race has spread, from him, through Latium, since Rome was shared with the Sabines. With him, a vast company from Amiternum, and ancient Quirites from Cures, all the forces of Eretum, and olive-clad Mutusca: those who live in Nomentum town, and the Rosean fields, by Lake Velinus, those from Tetrica’s bristling cliffs, and from Mount Severus, and Casperia and Foruli, and from beside Himella’s stream, those who drink the Tiber and Fabaris, those cold Nursia sent, and the armies of Horta and the Latin peoples, and those whom Allia, unlucky name, flows between and divides: as many as the waves that swell in Libya’s seas, when fierce Orion’s buried by the wintry waters, or thick as the ears of corn scorched by the early sun, in the plain of Hermus, or Lycia’s yellow fields. The shields clang, and the earth is terrified by the tramp of feet. Next Halaesus, Agamemnon’s son, hostile to the Trojan name, harnesses his horses to his chariot, and hastens a thousand warlike tribes to Turnus, men who turn the fertile Massic soil for Bacchus, and those the Auruncan elders have sent from the high hills, and the Sidicine levels nearby, those who have left Cales behind, and those who live by Volturnus’s shallow river, and by their side the rough Saticulan and the Oscan men. Polished javelins are their weapons, but their custom is to attach a flexible leash. A shield protects their left, with curved swords for close fighting. Nor shall you, Oebalus, go un-sung in our verses, you whom they say the nymph Sebethis bore to Telon, who is old now, when he held the throne of Teleboan Capreae: but not content with his father’s fields, even then the son exercised his power over the Sarrastrian peoples, and the plains that Sarnus waters, and those who hold Rufrae and Batulum and Celemna’s fields, who are used to throwing their spears in the Teuton fashion: and those apple-growers that the ramparts of Abella look down on, whose head-cover is bark stripped from a cork-tree: and their bronze shields gleam, their swords gleam with bronze. And you too Ufens, sent to battle from mountainous Nersae, well known to fame, and fortunate in arms, whose people of the hard Aequian earth, are especially tough, and hunt extensively in the forests. They plough the earth while armed, and always delight in carrying off fresh spoils, and living on plunder. There came a priest as well, of the Marruvian race, sent by King Archippus, sporting a frond of fruitful olive above his helmet, Umbro the most-valiant, who, by incantation and touch, was able to shed sleep on the race of vipers and water-snakes with poisonous breath, soothing their anger, and curing their bites, by his arts. But he had no power to heal a blow from a Trojan spear-point, nor did sleep-inducing charms, or herbs found on Marsian hills, help him against wounds. For you, Angitia’s grove wept: Fucinus’s glassy wave, for you: for you, the crystal lakes. And Virbius, Hippolytus’s son, most handsome, went to the war, whom his mother Aricia sent in all his glory, He was reared in Egeria’s groves, round the marshy shores, where Diana’s altar stands, rich and forgiving. For they tell in story that Hippolytus, after he had fallen prey to his stepmother Phaedra’s cunning, and, torn apart by stampeding horses, had paid the debt due to his father with his blood, came again to the heavenly stars, and the upper air beneath the sky, recalled by Apollo’s herbs and Diana’s love. Then the all-powerful father, indignant that any mortal should rise from the shadows to the light of life, hurled Aesculapius, Apollo’s son, the discoverer of such skill and healing, down to the Stygian waves. But kindly Diana hid Hippolytus in a secret place, and sent him to the nymph Egeria, to her grove, where he might spend his life alone, unknown, in the Italian woods, his name altered to Virbius. So too horses are kept away from the temple of Diana Trivia, and the sacred groves, they who, frightened by sea-monsters, spilt chariot and youth across the shore. Turnus himself went to and from, among the front ranks, grasping his weapons, pre-eminent in form, overtopping the rest by a head. His tall helmet was crowned with a triple plume, holding up a Chimaera, breathing the fires of Etna from its jaws, snarling the more, and the more savage with sombre flames the more violent the battle becomes, the more blood is shed. But on his polished shield was Io, with uplifted horns, fashioned in gold, already covered with hair, already a heifer, a powerful emblem, and Argus, that virgin’s watcher, and old Inachus pouring his river out of an engraved urn. A cloud of infantry followed, and the ranks with shields were thick along the plain, Argive men and Auruncan troops, Rutulians and old Sicanians, and the Sacranian lines, and Labicians, their shields painted: and those who farmed your woodland pastures, Tiber, and Numicius’s holy shore, and those whose ploughshare turns Rutulian hills or Circe’s headland, those whose fields Jupiter of Anxur guards, or Feronia, pleased with her green groves: those from where Satura’s black marsh lies, and from where chill Ufens finds his valley’s course, and is buried in the sea. Besides all these came Camilla, of the Volscian race, leading her line of horse, and troops gleaming with bronze, a warrior girl, her hands not trained to Minerva’s distaff, and basket of wool, but toughened to endure a fight, and, with her quickness of foot, out-strip the winds. She might have skimmed the tips of the stalks of uncut corn, and not bruised their delicate ears with her running: or, hanging above the swelling waves, taken her path through the heart of the deep, and not dipped her quick feet in the sea. All of the young men flooding from houses and fields, and the crowds of women marvelled, and gazed, at her as she went by, in open-mouthed wonder at how the splendour of royal purple draped her smooth shoulders, how her brooch clasped her hair with gold, how she herself carried her Lycian quiver, and a shepherd’s myrtle staff, tipped with the point of a spear.

Book 8


When Turnus raised the war-banner on the Laurentine citadel, and the trumpets blared out their harsh music, when he roused his fiery horses and clashed his weapons, hearts were promptly stirred, all Latium together swore allegiance in restless commotion, and young men raged wildly. The main leaders, Messapus, Ufens and Mezentius, scorner of gods, gathered their forces from every side, stripping the broad acres of farmers. And Venulus was sent to great Diomedes’s city, Arpi, to seek help, and explain that the Trojans were planted in Latium, Aeneas had arrived with his fleet, carrying his vanquished gods, and pronouncing himself a king summoned by destiny, that many tribes were joining the Trojan hero, and his name was spreading far and wide in Latium. What Aeneas was intending given these beginnings, what outcome he desired from the war, if fortune followed him, might be seen more clearly by Diomedes, himself, than by King Turnus or King Latinus. So it was in Latium. Meanwhile the Trojan hero of Laomedon’s line, seeing all this, tosses on a vast sea of cares, and swiftly casts his mind this way and that, seizing on various ideas, turning everything over: as when tremulous light from the water in a bronze bowl, thrown back by sunshine, or the moon’s radiant image, flickers far and wide over everything, then angles upwards, and strikes the panelled ceiling overhead. It was night, and through all the land, deep sleep gripped weary creatures, bird and beast, when Aeneas, the leader, lay down on the river-bank, under the cold arch of the heavens, his heart troubled by war’s sadness, and at last allowed his body to rest. Old Tiberinus himself, the god of the place, appeared to him, rising from his lovely stream, among the poplar leaves (fine linen cloaked him in a blue-grey mantle, and shadowy reeds hid his hair), Then he spoke, and with his words removed all cares: ‘O seed of the race of gods, who bring our Trojan city back from the enemy, and guard the eternal fortress, long looked-for on Laurentine soil, and in Latin fields, here is your house, and your house’s gods, for sure (do not desist), don’t fear the threat of war, the gods’ swollen anger has died away. And now, lest you think this sleep’s idle fancy, you’ll find a huge sow lying on the shore, under the oak trees, that has farrowed a litter of thirty young, a white sow, lying on the ground, with white piglets round her teats, That place shall be your city, there’s true rest from your labours. By this in a space of thirty years Ascanius will found the city of Alba, bright name. I do not prophesy unsurely. Now (attend), in a few words I’ll explain how you can emerge the victor from what will come. Arcadians have chosen a site on this coast, a race descended from Pallas, friends of King Evander, who followed his banner, and located their city in the hills, named, from their ancestor Pallas, Pallantium. They wage war endlessly with the Latin race: summon them as allies to your camp, and join in league with them. I’ll guide you myself along the banks by the right channels, so you can defeat the opposing current with your oars. Rise, now, son of the goddess, and, as the first stars set, offer the prayers due to Juno, and with humble vows overcome her anger and her threats. Pay me honour as victor. I am him whom you see scouring the banks, with my full stream, and cutting through rich farmlands, blue Tiber, the river most dear to heaven. Here is my noble house, my fount flows through noble cities.’ He spoke: then the river plunged into a deep pool, seeking its floor: night and sleep left Aeneas. He rose and, looking towards the heavenly sun’s eastern light, raised water from the stream in his cupped hands, and poured out this prayer to heaven: ‘Nymphs, Laurentine Nymphs, from whom come the tribe of rivers, and you, O Father Tiber, and your sacred stream, receive Aeneas, and shield him at last from danger. In whatever fountain the water holds you, pitying our trials, from whatever soil you flow in your supreme beauty, you will always be honoured by my tributes, by my gifts, horned river, ruler of the Hesperian waters. O, only be with me and prove your will by your presence.’ So he spoke, and chose two galleys from his fleet, manned them with oarsmen, and also equipped his men with weapons. But behold a sudden wonder, marvellous to the sight, gleaming white through the trees, a sow the same colour as her white litter, seen lying on the green bank: dutiful Aeneas, carrying the sacred vessel, sets her with her young before the altar and sacrifices her to you, to you indeed, most powerful Juno. Tiber calmed his swelling flood all that night long, and flowing backwards stilled his silent wave, so that he spread his watery levels as in a gentle pool, or placid swamp, so it would be effortless for the oars. Therefore they sped on the course begun, with happy murmurs, the oiled pine slipped through the shallows: the waves marvelled, the woods marvelled, unused to the far-gleaming shields of heroes, and the painted ships floating in the river. They wore out a night and a day with their rowing navigated long bends, were shaded by many kinds of trees, and cut through the green woods, over the calm levels. The fiery sun had climbed to the mid-point of the sky’s arc, when they saw walls and a fort in the distance, and the scattered roofs of houses, which Roman power has now raised heavenwards: then Evander owned a poor affair. They turned the prows quickly towards land, and approached the town. By chance that day the Arcadian king was making solemn offering to Hercules, Amphitryon’s mighty son, and other gods in a grove in front of the city. His son Pallas was with him, and with him were all the leading young men, and his impoverished senate offering incense, and the warm blood smoked on the altars. When they saw the noble ships: that they were gliding through the shadowy woods, rowing with silent oars: they were alarmed at the sudden sight and rose together, leaving the tables. But proud Pallas ordered them not to break off the rites, and seizing his spear flew off to meet the strangers himself, and at some distance shouted from a hillock: ‘Warriors what motive drives you to try unknown paths? Where are you heading? What people are you? Where from? Do you bring peace or war?’ Then Aeneas the leader spoke from the high stern, holding out a branch of olive in peace: ‘You are looking at men of Trojan birth, and spears hostile to the Latins, men whom they force to flee through arrogant warfare. We seek Evander. Take my message and say that the chosen leaders of Troy have come, asking for armed alliance.’ Pallas was amazed, awestruck by that great name: ‘O whoever you may be, disembark, and speak to my father face to face, and come beneath our roof as a guest.’ And he took his hand and gripped it tight in welcome: they left the river, and went on into the grove. Then Aeneas spoke to King Evander, in words of friendship: ‘Noblest of the sons of Greece, whom Fortune determines me to make request of, offering branches decked with sacred ribbons: indeed I did not fear your being a leader of Greeks, an Arcadian, and joined to the race of the twin sons of Atreus, since my own worth, and the god’s holy oracles, our fathers being related, your fame known throughout the world, connect me to you, and bring me here willingly, through destiny. Dardanus, our early ancestor, and leader of Troy’s city, born of Atlantean Electra, as the Greeks assert, voyaged to Troy’s Teucrian people: and mightiest Atlas begot Electra, he who supports the heavenly spheres on his shoulders. Your ancestor is Mercury, whom lovely Maia conceived, and gave birth to on Cyllene’s cold heights: and Atlas, if we credit what we hear, begot Maia, that same Atlas who lifts the starry sky. So both our races branch from the one root. Relying on this, I decided on no envoys, no prior attempts through diplomacy: myself, I set before you, myself and my own life, and come humbly to your threshold. The same Daunian race pursues us with war, as you yourself, indeed they think if they drive us out, nothing will stop them bringing all Hesperia completely under their yoke, and owning the seas that wash the eastern and western shores. Accept and offer friendship. We have brave hearts in battle, soldiers and spirits proven in action.’ Aeneas spoke. Evander scanned his face, eyes and form, for a long time with his gaze, as he was speaking. Then he replied briefly, so: ‘How gladly I know, and welcome you, bravest of Trojans! How it brings back your father’s speech, the voice and features of noble Anchises! For I recall how Priam, son of Laomedon, visiting the realms of his sister, Hesione, and seeking Salamis, came on further to see the chill territories of Arcadia. In those days first youth clothed my cheeks with bloom, and I marvelled at the Trojan leaders, and marvelled at the son of Laomedon himself: but Anchises as he walked was taller than all. My mind burned with youthful desire to address the hero, and clasp his hand in mine: I approached and led him eagerly inside the walls of Pheneus. On leaving he gave me a noble quiver of Lycian arrows, a cloak woven with gold, and a pair of golden bits, that my Pallas now owns. So the hand of mine you look for is joined in alliance, and when tomorrow’s dawn returns to the earth, I’ll send you off cheered by my help, and aid you with stores. Meanwhile, since you come to us as friends, favour us by celebrating this annual festival, which it is wrong to delay, and become accustomed to your friends’ table.’ When he had spoken he ordered the food and drink that had been removed to be replaced, and seated the warriors himself on the turf benches. He welcomed Aeneas as the principal guest, and invited him to a maple-wood throne covered by a shaggy lion’s pelt. Then the altar priest with young men he had chosen competed to bring on the roast meat from the bulls, pile the baked bread in baskets, and serve the wine. Aeneas and the men of Troy feasted on an entire chine of beef, and the sacrificial organs. When hunger had been banished, and desire for food sated, King Evander said: ‘No idle superstition, or ignorance of the ancient gods, forced these solemn rites of ours, this ritual banquet, this altar to so great a divinity, upon us. We perform them, and repeat the honours due, Trojan guest, because we were saved from cruel perils. Now look first at this rocky overhanging cliff, how its bulk is widely shattered, and the mountain lair stands deserted, and the crags have been pulled down in mighty ruin. There was a cave here, receding to vast depths, untouched by the sun’s rays, inhabited by the fell shape of Cacus, the half-human, and the ground was always warm with fresh blood, and the heads of men, insolently nailed to the doors, hung there pallid with sad decay. Vulcan was father to this monster: and, as he moved his massive bulk, he belched out his dark fires. Now at last time brought what we wished, the presence and assistance of a god. Hercules, the greatest of avengers, appeared, proud of the killing and the spoils of three-fold Geryon, driving his great bulls along as victor, and his cattle occupied the valley and the river. And Cacus, his mind mad with frenzy, lest any wickedness or cunning be left un-dared or un-tried drove off four bulls of outstanding quality, and as many heifers of exceptional beauty, from their stalls. and, so there might be no forward-pointing spoor, the thief dragged them into his cave by the tail, and, reversing the signs of their tracks, hid them in the stony dark: no one seeking them would find a trail to the cave. Meanwhile, as Hercules, Amphitryon’s son, was moving the well-fed herd from their stalls, and preparing to leave, the cattle lowed as they went out, all the woods were filled with their complaining, and the sound echoed from the hills. One heifer returned their call, and lowed from the deep cave, and foiled Cacus’s hopes from her prison. At this Hercules’s indignation truly blazed, with a venomous dark rage: he seized weapons in his hand, and his heavy knotted club, and quickly sought the slopes of the high mountain. Then for the first time my people saw Cacus afraid, confusion in his eyes: he fled at once, swifter than the East Wind, heading for his cave: fear lent wings to his feet. As he shut himself in, and blocked the entrance securely, throwing against it a giant rock, hung there in chains by his father’s craft, by shattering the links, behold Hercules arrived in a tearing passion, turning his head this way and that, scanning every approach, and gnashing his teeth. Hot with rage, three times he circled the whole Aventine Hill, three times he tried the stony doorway in vain, three times he sank down, exhausted, in the valley. A sharp pinnacle of flint, the rock shorn away on every side, stood, tall to see, rising behind the cave, a suitable place for vile birds to nest. He shook it, where it lay, it’s ridge sloping towards the river on the left, straining at it from the right, loosening its deepest roots, and tearing it out, then suddenly hurling it away, the highest heavens thundered with the blow, the banks broke apart, and the terrified river recoiled. But Cacus’s den and his vast realm stood revealed, and the shadowy caverns within lay open, no differently than if earth, gaping deep within, were to unlock the infernal regions by force, and disclose the pallid realms, hated by the gods, and the vast abyss be seen from above, and the spirits tremble at incoming light. So Hercules, calling upon all his weapons, hurled missiles at Cacus from above, caught suddenly in unexpected daylight, penned in the hollow rock, with unaccustomed howling, and rained boughs and giant blocks of stone on him. He on the other hand, since there was no escape now from the danger, belched thick smoke from his throat (marvellous to tell) and enveloped the place in blind darkness, blotting the view from sight, and gathering smoke-laden night in the cave, a darkness mixed with fire. Hercules in his pride could not endure it, and he threw himself, with a headlong leap, through the flames, where the smoke gave out its densest billows, and black mist heaved in the great cavern. Here, as Cacus belched out useless flame in the darkness, Hercules seized him in a knot-like clasp, and, clinging, choked him the eyes squeezed, and the throat drained of blood. Immediately the doors were ripped out, and the dark den exposed, the stolen cattle, and the theft Cacus denied, were revealed to the heavens, and the shapeless carcass dragged out by the feet. The people could not get their fill of gazing at the hideous eyes, the face, and shaggy bristling chest of the half-man, and the ashes of the jaw’s flames. Because of that this rite is celebrated, and happy posterity remembers the day: and Potitius, the first, the founder, with the Pinarian House as guardians of the worship of Hercules, set up this altar in the grove, which shall be spoken of for ever by us as ‘The Mightiest’, and the mightiest it shall be for ever. Come now, O you young men, wreathe your hair with leaves, hold out wine-cups in your right hands, in honour of such great glory, and call on the god we know, and pour out the wine with a will.’ He spoke, while grey-green poplar veiled his hair with Hercules’s own shade, hanging down in a knot of leaves, and the sacred cup filled his hand. Quickly they all poured a joyful libation on the table, and prayed to the gods. Meanwhile, evening drew nearer in the heavens, and now the priests went out, Potitius leading, clothed in pelts as customary, and carrying torches. They restarted the feast, bringing welcome offerings as a second course, and piled the altars with heaped plates. Then the Salii, the dancing priests, came to sing round the lighted altars, their foreheads wreathed with sprays of poplar, one band of youths, another of old men, who praised the glories and deeds of Hercules in song: how as an infant he strangled the twin snakes in his grip, monsters sent by Juno his stepmother: how too he destroyed cities incomparable in war, Troy and Oechalia: how he endured a thousand hard labours destined for him by cruel Juno, through King Eurystheus: ‘You, unconquerable one, you slew the cloud-born Centaurs, bi-formed Hylaeus and Pholus, with your hand: the monstrous Cretan Bull: and the huge lion below the cliffs of Nemea. The Stygian Lake trembled before you: Cerberus, Hell’s guardian, lying on half-eaten bones in his blood-drenched cave: No shape, not Typheus himself, armed and towering upwards, daunted you: your brains were not lacking when Lerna’s Hydra surrounded you with its swarm of heads. Hail, true child of Jove, a glory added to the gods, visit us and your rites with grace and favouring feet.’ Such things they celebrated in song, adding to all this Cacus’s cave, and the fire-breather himself. All the grove rang with sound, and the hills echoed. Then they all returned to the city, the sacred rites complete. The king walked clothed with years, and kept Aeneas and his son near him for company, lightening the road with various talk. Aeneas marvelled, and scanned his eyes about eagerly, captivated by the place, and delighted to enquire about and learn each tale of the men of old. So King Evander, founder of Rome’s citadel, said: ‘The local Nymphs and Fauns once lived in these groves, and a race of men born of trees with tough timber, who had no laws or culture, and didn’t know how to yoke oxen or gather wealth, or lay aside a store, but the branches fed them, and the hunter’s wild fare. Saturn was the first to come down from heavenly Olympus, fleeing Jove’s weapons, and exiled from his lost realm. He gathered together the untaught race, scattered among the hills, and gave them laws, and chose to call it Latium, from latere, ‘to hide’, since he had hidden in safety on these shores. Under his reign was the Golden Age men speak of: in such tranquil peace did he rule the nations, until little by little an inferior, tarnished age succeeded, with war’s madness, and desire for possessions. Then the Ausonian bands came, and the Siconian tribes, while Saturn’s land of Latium often laid aside her name: then the kings, and savage Thybris, of vast bulk, after whom we Italians call our river by the name of Tiber: the ancient Albula has lost her true name. As for me, exiled from my country and seeking the limits of the ocean, all-powerful Chance, and inescapable fate, settled me in this place, driven on by my mother the Nymph Carmentis’s dire warnings, and my guardian god Apollo.’ He had scarcely spoken when advancing he pointed out the altar and what the Romans call the Carmental Gate, in ancient tribute to the Nymph Carmentis, the far-seeing prophetess, who first foretold the greatness of Aeneas’s sons, the glory of Pallanteum. Next he pointed to a vast grove, which brave Romulus would restore as a sanctuary, and the Lupercal, the Wolf’s Cave, under a cold cliff, named in the Arcadian way for the wolf-god, Lycaean Pan. And he also pointed out the grove of sacred Argiletum calling the place to witness, relating the death of Argus his guest. He leads him from here to the Tarpeian Rock and the Capitol, now all gold, once bristling with wild thorns. Even then the dreadful holiness of the place awed the fearful country folk, even then they trembled at the wood and the rock. ‘A god inhabits this grove,’ he said, ‘ and this hill with its leafy summit, (which god is unknown): my Arcadians believe they have seen Jove himself, as his right hand has often shaken his darkening shield, and called up the storm clouds. Moreover you can see in these two townships with broken walls, the memorials and relics of men of old. Father Janus built this fort, Saturn that: this was named the Janiculum, that the Saturnia.’ Talking among themselves they came to the house of the impoverished Evander, and saw cattle here and there, lowing where the Roman Forum and the fashionable Carinae would be. When they reached the house, Evander said: ‘Victorious Hercules stooped to entering this doorway, this palace charmed him. My guest, dare to scorn wealth, and make yourself worthy too to be a god: don’t be scathing about the lack of possessions.’ He spoke, and led mighty Aeneas beneath the confines of his sloping roof, and allotted him a mattress stuffed with leaves, and the pelt of a Libyan bear: Night fell, and embraced the earth with her darkening wings. Now Venus, a mother fearful, and not without reason, in her mind, troubled by the Laurentine threats, and fierce uprising, spoke to Vulcan, her husband, in their golden bridal chamber, beginning this way, breathing divine passion into her words: ‘I didn’t ask weapons of your skill or power, dearest husband, nor any help for my poor people, while the Argive kings destroyed doomed Troy in the war, her citadel fated to fall to hostile flames: no, I didn’t want to exercise you or your skills in vain, though I owed much indeed to Priam’s sons, and often wept at Aeneas’s cruel suffering. Now at Jove’s command he has set foot on Rutulian shores, so I come likewise as a suppliant and ask arms of the power sacred to me, a mother on behalf of her son. Thetis, Nereus’s daughter, and Aurora, Tithonus’s wife, could move you with tears. See what nations gather, what cities, closing their gates, are sharpening their swords against me, to destroy my people.’ She had spoken, and as he hesitated, the goddess caressed him in a tender embrace, on this side and on that, in her snowy arms. At once he felt the familiar flame, and that warmth he knew penetrated him to the marrow, and ran through his melting bones, no differently than when, with a peal of thunder, a forked streak of fire tears through the storm-clouds with dazzling light: his partner felt it, delighted with her cleverness and conscious of her beauty. Then old Vulcan spoke, chained by immortal love: ‘Why do you seek instances from the past? Goddess, where has your faith in me gone? If your anxiety then was the same, it would have been right for me too to arm the Trojans then: neither fate nor the almighty Father refused to let Troy stand, or Priam live, ten years more. And so now, if war is your intent, and your mind is set on it, cease to doubt your powers, entreating whatever care I can promise in my craft, whatever can be made of iron and molten electrum, whatever fire and air can do.’ Saying these words he gave her a desired embrace, and sinking onto his wife’s breast, sought gentle sleep in every limb. When, in vanishing night’s mid-course, first rest has conquered the need for sleep: when a woman, who supports life with distaff and the humble work Minerva imposes, first wakes the ashes, and slumbering flames, adding night hours to her toil, and maintains her servants at their endless task, by lamplight, to keep her husband’s bed pure, and raise her young sons: just so, the god, with the power of fire, rose now from his soft bed, no idler at that hour, to labour at the forge. An island, its rocks smoking, rises steeply by the Sicilian coast, near the flanks of Aeolian Lipare. Beneath it a cave, and the galleries of Etna, eaten at by the Cyclopean furnaces, resound, and the groans from the anvils are heard echoing the heavy blows, and masses of Chalybean steel hiss in the caverns, and fire breathes through the furnaces. It is Vulcan’s home and called Vulcania. Here then the god with the power of fire descended from the heavens. In the huge cave the Cyclopes, Brontes, Steropes, and bare-limbed Pyrcamon, were forging iron. They held a lightning-bolt, shaped with their hands, like many of those the Father hurls from all over the sky, part of it polished, part still left to do. They’d added three shafts of spiralling rain, three of watery cloud, three of reddening fire, and the winged south wind. now they were blending terrifying flashes, into the work, sounds and fears, and fury with following flames. Elsewhere they pressed on with a chariot for Mars, with winged wheels, with which he rouses men, with which he rouses cities: and a chilling aegis, the breastplate of Pallas, competing to burnish its serpent scales of gold, its interwoven snakes, and the Gorgon herself on the goddess’s breast, with severed neck and rolling eyes: ‘Away with all this,’ he shouts, ‘remove the work you’ve started, Cyclopes of Etna, and turn your minds to this: you’re to make arms for a brave hero. Now you need strength, swift hands now, all the art now of a master. An end to delay.’ He said no more, but they all bent quickly to the toil, and shared the labour equally. Bronze and golden ore flowed in streams, and steel, that deals wounds, melted in a vast furnace. They shaped a giant shield, one to stand against all the weapons of Latium, layering it seven times, disc on disc. Some sucked in air and blew it out again with panting bellows, others dipped the hissing bronze in the lake: the cavern groaned beneath the weight of anvils. With mighty force they lifted their arms together in rhythm, and turned the mass of metal, gripping it with pincers. While the lord of Lemnos hastened the work on the Aeolian shore, the kindly light, and the dawn song of the birds beneath the eaves, called Evander from his humble house. The old man rose, clothed his body in a tunic and strapped Tyrrhenian sandals to the soles of his feet. Then he fastened his Tegaean sword over his shoulder and to his side, flinging back a panther’s hide on the left. Two guard dogs besides ran ahead from the high threshold, and accompanied their master’s steps. The hero made his way to his guest Aeneas’s secluded lodging, thinking of his words, and the help he had promised. Aeneas was no less early to rise: his son Pallas walked with the one, Achates with the other. They clasped hands as they met, sat down among the houses, and finally enjoyed open conversation. The king was the first to begin, so: ‘Greatest leader of the Teucrians, for my part while you’re safe and sound I’ll never accept that the kingdom and power of Troy have been overthrown, our strength in war is inadequate to such a name: on this side we are shut in by the Tuscan river, while on that the Rutulian presses us, and thunders in arms round our walls. But I propose to affiliate mighty peoples to you, and a war-camp rich in kingships, help that chance unpredictably reveals. You arrive at fate’s command. Not far from here is the site of Argylla’s city, built of ancient stone, where the Lydian race, famous in war, once settled the Etruscan heights. For many years it flourished, until King Mezentius ruled it with arrogant power, and savage weaponry. Why recount the tyrant’s wicked murders and vicious acts? May the gods reserve such for his life and race! He even tied corpses to living bodies, as a means of torture, placing hand on hand and face against face, so killing by a lingering death, in that wretched embrace, that ooze of disease and decomposition. But the weary citizens at last armed themselves surrounded the atrocious madman in his palace, mowed down his supporters, and fired the roof. Amongst the carnage he escaped and fled to Rutulian soil, protected by Turnus’s allied army. So all Etruria has risen in rightful anger, demanding the king for punishment, with the threat of immediate war. Aeneas, I’ll make you leader of those thousands. For their ships clamour densely on the shore, and they order the banners to advance, but an aged soothsayer holds them back, singing of destiny: ‘O chosen warriors of Maeonia, the flower, the honour of our ancient race, whom just resentment sends against the enemy, and whom Mezentius fires with rightful anger, no man of Italy may control such a people as you: choose foreigners as leaders.’ So the Etruscan ranks camped on that plain, fearful of this warning from the gods. Tarchon himself has sent ambassadors to me, with the royal sceptre and crown, entrusting me with the insignia: I to come to the camp, and take the Tuscan throne. But the slow frost of old age wearied by the years, and strength now beyond acts of valour, begrudge me the command. I would urge my son to it, except that of mixed blood with a Sabine mother, he takes part of his nationality from her. You, O bravest leader of Trojans and Italians, to whose race and years destiny is favourable, whom the divine will calls, accept. Moreover I’ll add Pallas here, our hope and comfort: let him become accustomed under your guidance to endure military service, and the grave work of war, witness your actions, and admire you from his early years. I’ll grant him two hundred Arcadian horsemen, the choice flower of our manhood, and Pallas will grant the same to you himself.’ He had scarcely finished, and Aeneas, Anchises’s son, and loyal Achates, with eyes downcast, were thinking of many a difficulty, in their own sombre minds, when Cytherea sent a sign from a cloudless sky. For lightning came flashing unexpectedly from heaven, with thunder, and suddenly all seemed to quake, and, through the air, a Tyrrhenian trumpet blast seemed to bray. They looked upwards, a great crash sounded again and again. In a calm region of the sky among the clouds they saw weapons reddening in the bright air, and heard the noise of blows. The others were astounded but the Trojan hero knew the sounds as those of things which his mother had promised. Then he cried: ‘My friend, indeed, do not wonder I beg you as to what these marvels might prophesy: I am called by Olympus. The goddess who bore me foretold she would send this sign if war was near, and bring weapons from Vulcan through the air to aid me. Alas what slaughter awaits the wretched Laurentines! What a price you’ll pay me, Turnus! What shields and helmets and bodies of the brave you’ll roll beneath your waves, father Tiber! Let them ask for battle and break their treaties.’ Having spoken, he raised himself from his high throne, and firstly revived the dormant altars with Herculean fire, then gladly visited yesterday’s Lar and the humble household gods. Evander and the Trojan warriors equally sacrificed chosen ewes according to the rite. Next he went to the ships and met again with his comrades, choosing the most outstanding in courage to follow him to war: the others slipped downstream, floating effortlessly on the helpful current, carrying news to Ascanius of his father and his fortunes. Horses were granted to the Trojans who were to take the Tyrrhenian field: They lead out a choice mount for Aeneas, clothed in a tawny lion’s pelt with gleaming gilded claws. A rumour suddenly flew through the little town, proclaiming that horsemen were riding fast to the Tyrrhene king’s shores. Mothers, in alarm, redoubled their prayers, and fear drew near with danger, and now the war god’s image loomed larger. Then old Evander, clasping his son’s hand as he departed, clung to him weeping incessantly and spoke as follows: ‘O, if Jupiter would bring back the years that have vanished, I to be as I was when I felled the foremost ranks under Praeneste’s very walls, and as victor heaped up the shields, and sent King Erulus down to Tartarus, by this right hand, he to whom at his birth his mother Feronia (strange to tell) gave three lives, triple weapons to wield – to be three times brought low in death: who at last in a moment this right hand stripped of all his lives, and equally of all his weapons: I would never be torn as now from your sweet embrace, my son, never would Mezentius have poured insults on this neighbour’s head, caused so many cruel deaths with the sword, or widowed the city of so many of her sons. But you, powers above, and you, Jupiter, mighty ruler of the gods, take pity I beg you on this Arcadian king, and hear a father’s prayer. If your will, and fate, keep my Pallas safe, if I live to see him and be together with him, I ask for life: I have the patience to endure any hardship. But if you threaten any unbearable disaster, Fortune, now, oh now, let me break the thread of cruel existence, while fear hangs in doubt, while hope’s uncertain of the future. while you, beloved boy, my late and only joy, are held in my embrace, and let no evil news wound my ears.’ These were the words the father poured out at their last parting: then his servants carried him, overcome, into the palace. And now the horsemen had ridden from the opened gates, Aeneas, and loyal Achetes, among the first: then the other princes of Troy, Pallas himself travelling mid-column, notable in his cloak and engraved armour, like the Morning-Star, whom Venus loves above all the other starry fires, when, having bathed in Ocean’s wave, he raises his sacred head in heaven, and melts the dark. Mothers stand fearfully on the battlements, and with their eyes follow the cloud of dust, the squadrons bright with bronze. The armed men pass through the undergrowth where the route is most direct: a shout rises, and they form column, and with the thunder of their hooves shake the broken ground. There’s a large grove by the chilly stream of Caere, held sacred far and wide, in ancestral reverence: the hollow hills enclose it on all sides, and surround the wood with dark fir trees. The tale is that the ancient Pelasgians, who once held the Latin borders, dedicated this wood and a festive day to Silvanus, god of the fields and the herds. Not far from here, Tarchon and the Tyrrhenians were camped in a safe place, and now all their troops could be seen, from the high ground, scattered widely over the fields. Aeneas, the leader, and the young men chosen for war, arrived, and refreshed their horses and their weary bodies. Then Venus, bright goddess, came bearing gifts through the ethereal clouds: and when she saw her son from far away who had retired in secret to the valley by the cool stream, she went to him herself, unasked, and spoke these words: ‘See the gifts brought to perfection by my husband’s skill, as promised. You need not hesitate, my son, to quickly challenge the proud Laurentines, or fierce Turnus, to battle.’ Cytherea spoke, and invited her son’s embrace, and placed the shining weapons under an oak tree opposite. He cannot have enough of turning his gaze over each item, delighting in the goddess’s gift and so high an honour, admiring, and turning the helmet over with hands and arms, with its fearsome crest and spouting flames, and the fateful sword, the stiff breastplate of bronze, dark-red and huge, like a bluish cloud when it’s lit by the rays of the sun, and glows from afar: then the smooth greaves, of electrum and refined gold, the spear, and the shield’s indescribable detail. There the lord with the power of fire, not unversed in prophecy, and knowledge of the centuries to come, had fashioned the history of Italy, and Rome’s triumphs: there was every future generation of Ascanius’s stock, and the sequence of battles they were to fight. He had also shown the she-wolf, having just littered, lying on the ground, in the green cave of Mars, the twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, playing, hanging on her teats, and fearlessly sucking at their foster-mother. Bending her neck back smoothly she caressed them in turn, and licked their limbs with her tongue. Not far from that he had placed Rome, the Sabine women, lawlessly snatched from the seated crowd, when the great games were held in the Circus: and the sudden surge of fresh warfare between Romulus’s men, and the aged Tatius and his austere Cures. Next, the same two kings stood armed in front of Jove’s altar, holding the wine-cups and joined in league, sacrificing a sow, the new-built palace bristling with Romulus’s thatch. Then, not far from that, four-horse chariots driven in different directions tore Mettus apart (Alban, you should have kept your word, though!), and Tullus dragged the liar’s entrails through the woods, the briars wet with sprinkled blood. There was Porsenna too, ordering Rome to admit the banished Tarquin, and gripping the city in a mighty siege: the scions of Aeneas running on the sword for freedom’s sake. You could see Porsenna in angry, and in threatening, posture, because Cocles dared to tear down the bridge, because Cloelia broke her restraints and swam the river. At the top Manlius, guardian of the Tarpeian Citadel, stood before the temple, defending the high Capitol. And there the silvery goose, flying through the gilded colonnades, cackled that the Gauls were at the gate. The Gauls were there in the gorse, taking the Citadel, protected by the dark, the gift of shadowy night. Their hair was gold, and their clothes were gold, they shone in striped cloaks, their white necks torqued with gold, each waving two Alpine javelins in his hand, long shields defending their bodies. Here he had beaten out the leaping Salii and naked Luperci, the woolly priest’s caps, and the oval shields that fell from heaven, chaste mothers in cushioned carriages leading sacred images through the city. Far from these he had added the regions of Tartarus, the high gates of Dis, the punishment for wickedness, and you Catiline, hanging from a threatening cliff, trembling at the sight of the Furies: and the good, at a distance, Cato handing out justice. The likeness of the swollen sea flowed everywhere among these, in gold, though the flood foamed with white billows, and dolphins in bright silver swept the waters round about with arching tails, and cut through the surge. In the centre bronze ships could be seen, the Battle of Actium, and you could make out all Leucate in feverish preparation for war, the waves gleaming with gold. On one side Augustus Caesar stands on the high stern, leading the Italians to the conflict, with him the Senate, the People, the household gods, the great gods, his happy brow shoots out twin flames, and his father’s star is shown on his head. Elsewhere Agrippa, favoured by the winds and the gods leads his towering column of ships, his brow shines with the beaks of the naval crown, his proud battle distinction. On the other side Antony, with barbarous wealth and strange weapons, conqueror of eastern peoples and the Indian shores, bringing Egypt, and the might of the Orient, with him, and furthest Bactria: and his Egyptian consort follows him (the shame). All press forward together, and the whole sea foams, churned by the sweeping oars and the trident rams. They seek deep water: you’d think the Cycladic islands were uprooted and afloat on the flood, or high mountains clashed with mountains, so huge the mass with which the men attack the towering sterns. Blazing tow and missiles of winged steel shower from their hands, Neptune’s fields grow red with fresh slaughter. The queen in the centre signals to her columns with the native sistrum, not yet turning to look at the twin snakes at her back. Barking Anubis, and monstrous gods of every kind brandish weapons against Neptune, Venus, and Minerva. Mars rages in the centre of the contest, engraved in steel, and the grim Furies in the sky, and Discord in a torn robe strides joyously, while Bellona follows with her blood-drenched whip. Apollo of Actium sees from above and bends his bow: at this all Egypt, and India, all the Arabs and Sabaeans turn and flee. The queen herself is seen to call upon the winds, set sail, and now, even now, spread the slackened canvas. The lord with the power of fire has fashioned her pallid with the coming of death, amidst the slaughter, carried onwards by the waves and wind of Iapyx, while before her is Nile, mourning with his vast extent, opening wide his bays, and, with his whole tapestry, calling the vanquished to his dark green breast, and sheltering streams. Next Augustus, entering the walls of Rome in triple triumph, is dedicating his immortal offering to Italy’s gods, three hundred great shrines throughout the city. The streets are ringing with joy, playfulness, applause: a band of women in every temple, altars in every one: before the altars sacrificial steers cover the ground. He himself sits at the snow-white threshold of shining Apollo, examines the gifts of nations, and hangs them on the proud gates. The conquered peoples walk past in a long line, as diverse in language as in weapons, or the fashion of their clothes. Here Vulcan has shown the Nomad race and loose-robed Africans, there the Leleges and Carians and Gelonians with their quivers: Euphrates runs with quieter waves, and the Morini, remotest of mankind, the double-horned Rhine, the untamed Dahae, and Araxes, resenting its restored bridge. Aeneas marvels at such things on Vulcan’s shield, his mother’s gift, and delights in the images, not recognising the future events, lifting to his shoulder the glory and the destiny of his heirs.

Book 9


While all these things were happening in various places, Saturnian Juno sent Iris from heaven to brave Turnus, who chanced to be sitting in a sacred valley, a grove to Pilumnus his father. To him Thaumas’s daughter spoke, from her rosy lips: ‘Turnus, see, the circling days, unasked, have brought what you wished, but what no god dared to promise. Aeneas leaving the city, his friends and ships, seeks the Palatine kingdom, and Evander’s house. Unsatisfied he has reached Corythus’s furthest cities, and, gathering men from the country, arms Lydian troops. Why wait? Now is the time to call on horse and chariot. End all delays: seize their camp, in its confusion.’ She spoke, and rose into the sky on level wings, tracing a vast arc against the clouds in her flight. The youth knew her, raised both his hands to the heavens, and sent these words after her as she flew: ‘Iris, glory of the sky, who sent you down through the clouds, to me, on earth? Where does this sudden bright moment spring from? I see the sky split apart at its zenith, and the stars that roam the pole. I follow so mighty an omen, whoever calls me to arms.’ Saying this he went to the river and scooped water from the surface of the stream, calling often to the gods, and weighting the air with prayers. Now the whole army, rich in horses, rich in ornate clothes, and gold, was engaged in moving over the open fields: Messapus controlling the front ranks, Tyrrhus’s sons the rear, Turnus, the leader, in the centre of the line: like the deep Ganges, swelling in silence, through his seven placid streams, or Nile when his rich stream inundates the fields, soon sinking down into his course. The Trojans suddenly see a black dust cloud gathering there, and darkness rising over the plain. Caicus shouted first from the forward rampart: ‘What’s that rolling mass of black fog, countrymen? Bring your swords, quickly: hand out spears: mount the walls: ah, the enemy is here!’ With a great clamour the Trojans retreated through the gates, and filled the ramparts. For Aeneas, wisest in warfare, had commanded, on leaving, if anything chanced in the meantime, they were not to dare to form ranks or trust themselves to the open field: they were only to guard the camp and walls, safe behind the ramparts. So, though anger and shame counselled the troops to fight, still they shut the gates and followed his orders, awaiting the enemy, armed, within their hollow turrets. But Turnus had galloped forward ahead of his slow column, accompanied by twenty chosen horsemen, and reached the city unexpectedly: a piebald Thracian horse carried him, a golden helmet with a crimson crest protected his head. ‘Men,’ he shouted, ‘is there anyone who’ll be first with me among the enemy – ? Look,’ and twirling a javelin sent it skyward to start the fight, and rode proudly over the field. His friends welcomed him with a shout, and followed with fearful battle-cries: marvelling at the Trojan’s dull souls, not trusting themselves to a level field, nor facing men carrying weapons, but hugging the camp. He rode to and fro wildly round the walls, seeking a way in where there was none. Like a wolf, lying in wait by a full sheepfold, that snarls by the pens at midnight, enduring the wind and rain, the lambs bleating safe beneath their mothers, and rages against the prey out of reach, fierce and persistent in its anger, tormented by its dry, bloodless jaws, and the fierceness of its long-increasing hunger: so as Turnus scanned the wall and camp, the Rutulian’s anger was alight, and indignation burned in his harsh marrow. How could he try and enter, and hurl the penned-up Trojans from their rampart, and scatter them over the plain? He attacked the ships, that lay close to a flank of the camp, defended by earthworks, and the flowing river, calling out to his exultant friends for fire, and fervently grasped a blazing pine-brand in his hand. Then they set to (urged on by Turnus’s presence) and all the men armed themselves with dark torches. They stripped the hearths: the smoking branches threw a pitchy glow, and Vulcan hurled the cloud of ashes to heaven. O Muse, what god, turned away such fierce flames from the Trojans? Who drove such savage fires from the ships? Tell me: belief in the story’s ancient, its fame is eternal. In the days when Aeneas first built his fleet on Phrygian Ida and prepared to set out over the deep ocean, they say the Mother of the gods herself, Berecyntian Cybele, spoke so to great Jupiter: ‘My son, lord of Olympus, grant what your dear mother asks of you in request. There was a pine-forest a delight to me for many years a grove on the summit of the mountain, where they brought offerings, dark with blackened firs and maple trunks. I gave these gladly to the Trojan youth, since he lacked a fleet: now, troubled, anxious fear torments me. Relieve my fears, and let your mother by her prayers ensure they are not destroyed, shattered by voyaging or violent storm: let their origin on our mountain be of aid to them.’ Her son, who turns the starry globe, replied: ‘O, my mother, to what do you summon fate? What do you seek for them? Should keels made by mortal hands have eternal rights? Should Aeneas travel in certainty through uncertain dangers? To what god are such powers permitted? No, one day when they’ve served their purpose, and reached an Italian haven, I’ll take away, from those that escape the waves, and bear the Trojan chief to Laurentine fields, their mortal shape, and command them to be goddesses of the vast ocean, like Doto, Nereus’s child, and Galatea, who part the foaming sea with their breasts.’ He spoke, and swore his assent, by his Stygian brother’s rivers, by the banks that seethe with pitch on the black abyss, and with his nod shook all Olympus. So the day he had promised came, and the Fates fulfilled their appointed hour, when Turnus’s injury to the sacred fleet prompted the Mother to defend them from the flames. At first a strange light flared to the watchers, and a huge cloud was seen to travel across the sky from the east, with bands of her Idaean attendants: then a terrible voice rang through the air, echoing among the Trojan and Rutulian lines: ‘Trojans, don’t rush to defend the ships, or take up arms. Turnus can burn the ocean, sooner than my sacred pines. Go free, you Goddesses of the sea: your mother commands it.’ And at once each ship tore her cable loose from the bank: they dipped their noses like dolphins, and sought the watery deep. Then (strange wonder) as many virgin shapes re-surfaced, and swam about the sea. The Rutulians were amazed in mind, Messapus himself was awe-struck, his horses panicked: and even the noisy flow of the river halted, as Tiber retreated from the deep. But brave Turnus’s confidence never wavered: and he raised their spirits as well, and chided them: ‘These marvels are aimed at the Trojans, Jupiter himself has deprived them of their usual allies: those didn’t wait for Rutulian missiles and fires. So the seas are impassable for the Trojans, and they have no hope of flight: other regions are lost to them, and this land is in our hands, so many thousands of Italy’s peoples are in arms. I’m not afraid of all the fateful omens from the gods these Phrygians openly boast of: enough has been granted to Venus and the Fates, since the Trojans have reached Ausonia’s fertile fields. I have my own counter destiny, to root out the guilty race, that has snatched my bride, with the sword. That’s a sorrow that doesn’t touch Atrides alone, nor is Mycenae alone allowed to take up arms. ‘But to die once is enough.’? To have sinned before should be enough for these men, to whom confidence in a dividing wall, and slight obstacles to death, defensive moats, grant courage, to utterly detest well-nigh the whole tribe of women. Did they not witness the work of Neptune’s hands, the battlements of Troy, sink in flames? But you, O chosen ones, which of you is ready to uproot the ramparts with your steel, and invade their terrified camp with me? I don’t need Vulcan’s arms, or a thousand ships, against Trojans. Let all Etruria join them now in alliance. They need not fear darkness, or cowardly theft ‘of their Palladium, killing guards on the citadel’s heights’, we won’t hide in the dark belly of a horse: I intend to circle their walls in broad daylight with fire. I’ll make them concede its not Greeks, Pelasgic youth, they’re dealing with, whom Hector held till the tenth year. Now, since the best part of the day’s gone, men, refresh yourselves with what’s left, pleased with work well done, and look forward to starting the battle. Meanwhile the order was given to Messapus to picket the gates alertly with sentries and ring the ramparts with flames. Fourteen Rutulians were chosen to guard the walls with their men, each with a hundred soldiers under them, purple-plumed and glittering with gold. They ran about, took turns on watch, or lifted the bronze bowls and enjoyed their wine, stretched out on the grass. The fires shone, while the guards spent the watchful night in games. The armed Trojans held the heights, looking down on this from above, and also with anxious fears, checked the gates, built bulwarks and bridges, and disposed their weapons. Mnestheus and brave Serestus, whom Aeneas their leader appointed to command the army and state, if adversity ever required it, urged them on. Sharing the risk, the whole company kept watch and served in turn, at whatever point was to be guarded by each. Nisus, bravest of warriors, son of Hyrtacus, was a guard at the gates, he whom Ida the huntress had sent to accompany Aeneas, agile with javelin and light darts, and Euryalus was with him, than whom none was more beautiful among the Aenedae, or wearing Trojan armour, a boy, whose unshaven face, showed the first bloom of youth. One love was theirs, and they charged side by side into battle: now they were also guarding the gate at the same sentry-post. Nisus said: ‘Euryalus, do the gods set this fire in our hearts, or does each man’s fatal desire become godlike to him? My mind has long urged me to rush to battle, or high adventure, and is not content with peace and quiet. You see what confidence the Rutulians have in events: their lights shine far apart, and they lie drowned in sleep and wine, everywhere is quiet. Listen to what I’m now thinking, and what purpose comes to mind. The army and the council all demand Aeneas be recalled, and men be sent to report the facts to him. If they were to grant what I suggest to you (the glory of doing it is enough for me) I think I could find a way, beyond that hill, to the walls and ramparts of Pallanteum.’ Euryalus was dazzled, struck by a great desire for glory, and replied to his ardent friend at once, like this: ‘Nisus, do you shun my joining in this great deed, then? Shall I send you into such danger alone? That’s not how my father Opheltes, seasoned in war, educated me, raising me among Greek terrors and Troy’s ordeals, nor have I conducted myself so with you, following noble Aeneas and the ends of fate. This is my spirit, one scornful of the day, that thinks the honour you aim at well bought with life itself.’ Nisus replied: ‘Indeed I had no such doubts of you, that would be wrong: not so will great Jupiter, or whoever looks at this action with favourable gaze, bring me back to you in triumph: but if (as you often see in such crises) if chance or some god sweeps me to disaster, I want you to survive: your youth is more deserving of life. Let there be someone to entrust me to earth, my body rescued from conflict, or ransomed for a price, or if Fortune denies the customary rites, to perform them in my absence, and honour me with a stone. And don’t let me be a cause of grief to your poor mother, my boy, who alone among many mothers dared to follow you, without thought of staying in great Acestes’s city.’ But the lad said: ‘You weave your excuses in vain, my purpose won’t change or yield to yours. Let’s hurry’, and he roused guards, who came up to take their place: leaving his post he walked by Nisus’s side to seek the prince. Every other creature, throughout the land, was easing its cares with sleep, its heart forgetful of toil: the Trojans’ chief captains, the pick of their manhood, were holding council on the most serious affairs of state, what to do, and who should go now as messenger to Aeneas. They stood, between the camp and the plain, leaning on their long spears, holding their shields. Nisus and Euryalus, together, begged eagerly to be admitted at once: the matter being important, and worth the delay. Iulus was first to welcome the impatient pair, and ordered Nisus to speak. So the son of Hyrtacus said: ‘Followers of Aeneas, listen with fair minds, and don’t judge my words by our years. The Rutulians are quiet, drowned in sleep and wine. We ourselves have seen a place for a sortie: it opens in a fork of the road by the nearest gate to the sea. There’s a gap between the fires, and black smoke rises to the stars. If you allow us to seize the chance, you’ll soon see us back again burdened with spoils after carrying out vast slaughter. The road will not deceive us as we seek Aeneas and Pallanteum’s walls. In our frequent hunting through the secret valleys we’ve seen the outskirts of the city, and know the whole river.’ To this Aletes, heavy with years and wise in mind, replied: ‘Gods of our fathers, under whose power Troy lies, you do not intend to obliterate the Trojan race as yet since you bring us such courage in our young men and such firm hearts.’ So saying, he took them both by the shoulder and hand while tears flooded his cheeks and lips. ‘What possible prize could I consider worthy to be granted you men for such a glorious action? The gods and tradition will give you the first and most beautiful one: then good Aeneas, and Ascanius, who’s untouched by the years and never unmindful of such service, will immediately award the rest.’ Ascanius interrupted: ‘Rather I entreat you both, Nisus, since my well-being depends on my father’s return, by the great gods of our house, by the Lar of Assaracus, and by grey-haired Vesta’s innermost shrine, I lay all my fortune and my promise in your lap, call my father back, give me a sight of him: there’s no sorrow if he’s restored. I’ll give you a pair of wine-cups, all of silver, with figures in relief, that my father captured when Arisba was taken, and twin tripods, two large talents of gold, and an antique bowl Sidonian Dido gave me. If we truly manage to capture Italy, and take the sceptre, and assign the spoils by lot, you have seen the horse golden Turnus rode, and the armour he wore, I’ll separate from this moment, from the lots, that same horse, the shield, and the crimson plumes as your reward, Nisus. Moreover my father will give you twelve women of choicest person, and male captives all with their own armour, and, beyond that, whatever land King Latinus owns himself. But now I truly welcome you wholly to my heart, Euryalus, a boy to be revered, whose age I come closer to in time, and embrace you as a friend for every occasion. I’ll never seek glory in my campaigns without you: whether I enjoy peace or war, you’ll have my firmest trust in word and action.’ Euryalus spoke like this in reply: ‘No day will ever find me separated from such bold action: inasmuch as fortune proves kind and not cruel. But I ask one gift above all from you: I have a mother, of Priam’s ancient race, unhappy woman, whom neither the land of Troy, nor King Acestes’s city could keep from accompanying me. I leave her now, ignorant of whatever risk to me there might be, and of my farewell, since ( this night and your right hand bear witness) I could not bear a mother’s tears. But I beg you, comfort her helplessness and aid her loss. Let me carry this hope I place in you with me, I will meet all dangers more boldly.’ Their spirits affected, the Trojans shed tears, noble Iulus above all, and this image of filial love touched his heart. Then he said: ‘Be sure I’ll do everything worthy of your great venture. She’ll be as my mother to me, only lacking her name Creusa: no small gratitude’s due to her for bearing such a son. Whatever the outcome of your action, I swear by this life, by which my father used once to swear: what I promised to you when you return, your campaign successful, that same will accrue to your mother and your house.’ So he spoke, in tears: and at the same time stripped the gilded sword from his shoulder, that Lycaon of Cnossos had made with marvellous art, and equipped for use with an ivory sheath. Mnestheus gave Nisus a pelt, taken from a shaggy lion, loyal Aletes exchanged helmets. They armed, and left immediately: and the whole band of leaders, young and old, escorted them to the gate as they went, with prayers. And noble Iulus too, with mature mind and duties beyond his years, gave them many commissions to carry to his father: but the winds were to scatter them all, and blow them vainly to the clouds. Leaving, they crossed the ditches, seeking the enemy camp in the shadow of night, destined yet to first bring many deaths. They saw bodies in drunken sleep, stretched here and there on the grass, chariots tilted upwards on the shore, men, among wheels and harness, and weapons and wine-cups lying about. Nisus, Hyrtacus’s son, spoke first, saying: ‘Euryalus, now the occasion truly calls for a daring right hand. This is our road. You must see that no arm’s raised against us at our back, and keep watch carefully: I’ll deal destruction here, and cut you a wide path.’ So he spoke, and checked his speech, and at once drove his sword at proud Rhamnes, who chanced to be breathing deeply in sleep, piled with thick coverlets, He was King Turnus’s best-beloved augur, and a king himself, but he could not avert destruction with augury. Nisus killed three of his servants nearby, lying careless among their weapons, and Remus’s armour bearer, and his charioteer, found at the horses’ feet: he severed lolling necks with his sword. Then he struck off the head of their lord himself, and left the trunk spurting blood, the ground and the bed drenched with dark warm blood. And Lamyrus too, and Lamum, and young Serranus, noted for his beauty, who had sported much that night, and lay there limbs drowned by much wine – happy if he’d carried on his game all night till dawn: So a starving lion churning through a full sheepfold, (driven by its raging hunger) gnaws and tears at the feeble flock mute with fear, and roars from its bloodstained mouth. Nor was Euryalus’s slaughter any less: he too raged, ablaze, and among the nameless crowd he attacked Fadus, and Herbesus, and Abaris, while they were unconscious: and Rhoetus, but Rhoetus was awake and saw it all, but crouched in fear behind a huge wine-bowl. As he rose, in close encounter, Euryalus plunged his whole blade into Rhoetus’s chest, and withdrew it red with death. Rhoetus choked out his life in dark blood, and, dying, brought up wine mixed with gore: the other pressed on fervently and stealthily. Now he approached Messapus’s followers: there he saw the outermost fires flickering, and the horses, duly tethered, cropping the grass: Nisus (seeing him carried away by slaughter and love of the sword’s power) said briefly: ‘Let’s go, since unhelpful dawn is near. Enough: vengeance has been satisfied: a path has been made through the enemy.’ They left behind many of the men’s weapons fashioned from solid silver, and wine-bowls and splendid hangings. Euryalus snatched Rhamnes’s trappings, and gold-studded sword-belt, gifts that wealthy Caedicus had once sent to Remulus of Tibur, expressing friendship in absence: he when dying gave them to his grandson as his own, and after his death in turn the Rutulians captured them during the war in battle: now Euryalus fitted them over his brave shoulders, though in vain. Then he put on Messapus’s excellent helmet with its handsome plumes. The left the camp and headed for safety. Meanwhile riders arrived, sent out from the Latin city, while the rest of the army waited in readiness, on the plain, bringing a reply for King Turnus: three hundred, carrying shields, led by Volcens. They were already near the camp, and below the walls, when they saw the two men turning down a path on the left: his helmet, gleaming in the shadow of night, betrayed the unthinking Euryalus, and reflected back the rays. It was not seen in vain. Volcens shouted from his column: ‘You men, halt, what’s the reason for your journey? Who are you, you’re armed? Where are you off to?’ They offered no response, but hastened their flight to the woods, trusting to the dark. The riders closed off the known junctions, on every side, and surrounded each exit route with guards. The forest spread out widely, thick with brambles and holm-oaks, the dense thorns filling it on every side: there the path glinted through the secret glades. Euryalus was hampered by shadowy branches, and the weight of his plunder, and his fear confused the path’s direction. Nisus was clear: and already unaware had escaped the enemy, and was at the place later called Alba from Alba Longa (at that time King Latinus had his noble stalls there) when he stopped, and looked back vainly for his missing friend. ‘Euryalus, unhappy boy, where did I separate from you? Which way shall I go?’ he said, considering all the tangled tracks of the deceptive wood, and at the same time scanning the backward traces he could see, criss-crossing the silent thickets. He heard horses, heard the cries and signals of pursuit: and it was no great time before a shout reached his ears and he saw Euryalus, betrayed by the ground and the night, confused by the sudden tumult, whom the whole troop were dragging away, overpowered, struggling violently in vain. What can he do? With what force, or weapons, can he dare to rescue the youth? Should he hurl himself to his death among the swords, and by his wounds hasten to a glorious end? He swiftly drew back his spear arm and gazing upwards at the moon above, prayed, with these words: ‘O you, goddess, O you, Latona’s daughter, glory of the stars, and keeper of the woods, be here and help us in our trouble. If ever my father, Hyrtacus, brought offerings on my behalf to your altars, if ever I added to them from my own hunting, hung them beneath your dome, or fixed them to the sacred eaves, let me throw their troop into confusion, guide my spear through the air.’ He spoke and flung the steel, straining with his whole body. The flying javelin divided the shadows, struck Sulmo’s back, as he turned, and snapped, the broken shaft piercing the heart. He rolled over, a hot stream pouring from his chest, and deep gasps shook his sides, as he grew cold. They gazed round them, in every direction. See, Nisus, all the more eager, levelled another spear against his ear. While they hesitated, the javelin hissed through both of Tagus’s temples, and fixed itself still warm in the pierced brain. Fierce Volcens raged, but could not spy out the author of the act, nor any place that he could vent his fire. He rushed at Euryalus with his naked sword, as he cried out: ‘In the mean time you’ll pay in hot blood and give me revenge for both your crimes.’ Then, truly maddened with fear, Nisus shouted aloud, unable to hide himself in the dark any longer, or endure such agony: On me, Rutulians, turn your steel on me, me who did the deed! The guilt is all mine, he neither dared nor had the power: the sky and the all-knowing stars be witnesses: he only loved his unfortunate friend too much.’ He was still speaking, but the sword, powerfully driven, passed through the ribs and tore the white breast. Euryalus rolled over in death, and the blood flowed down his lovely limbs, and his neck, drooping, sank on his shoulder, like a bright flower scythed by the plough, bowing as it dies, or a poppy weighed down by a chance shower, bending its weary head. But Nisus rushed at them, seeking Volcens above all, intent on Volcens alone. The enemy gathered round him, to drive him off, in hand to hand conflict. He attacked none the less, whirling his sword like lightning, until he buried it full in the face of the shrieking Rutulian, and, dying, robbed his enemy of life. Then, pierced through, he threw himself on the lifeless body of his friend, and found peace at last in the calm of death. Happy pair! If my poetry has the power, while the House of Aeneas lives beside the Capitol’s immobile stone, and a Roman leader rules the Empire, no day will raze you from time’s memory. The victorious Rutulians, gaining new plunder, and the spoils, weeping carried the lifeless Volcens to the camp. Nor was there less grief in that camp when Rhamnes was discovered, drained of blood, and so many other leaders, killed in a single slaughter, with Serranus and Numa. A huge crowd rushed towards the corpses and the dying, and the place fresh with hot killing, and foaming streams full of blood. Between them they identified the spoils, Messapus’s gleaming helmet, and his trappings re-won with such sweat. And now Aurora, early, leaving Tithonus’s saffron bed, sprinkled her fresh rays onto the earth. And now as the sun streamed down, now as day revealed all things, Turnus armed himself, and roused his heroes to arms: they gathered their bronze-clad troops for the battle, each his own, and whetted their anger with various tales. They even fixed the heads of Euryalus and Nisus on raised spears (wretched sight), and followed behind them, making a great clamour. The tough sons of Aeneas had fixed their opposing lines on the left side of the ramparts (the right bordered on the river) and they held the wide ditches and stood grieving on the high turrets: moved as one, made wretched by seeing the heads of men they know only too well transfixed and streaming dark blood. Meanwhile winged Rumour, flying through the anxious town, sped the news, and stole to the ears of Euryalus’s mother. And suddenly all warmth left her helpless bones, the shuttle was hurled from her hands, the thread unwound. The wretched woman rushed out and sought the ramparts and the front line, shrieking madly, her hair dishevelled: she ignored the soldiers, the danger, the weapons, then she filled the heavens with her lament:’ ‘Is it you I see, Euryalus? You who brought peace at last to my old age, how could you bring yourself to leave me alone, cruel child? Why did you not give your poor mother the chance for a final goodbye when you were being sent into so much danger? Ah, you lie here in a strange land, given as prey to the carrion birds and dogs of Latium! I, your mother, did not escort you in funeral procession, or close your eyes, or bathe your wounds, or shroud you with the robes I laboured at night and day for you, soothing the cares of old age at the loom. Where shall I go? What earth now holds your body, your torn limbs, your mangled corpse? My son, is this what you bring home to me? Is this why I followed you by land and sea? O Rutulians, if you have feelings, pierce me: hurl all your spears at me: destroy me above all with your steel: or you, great father of the gods, pity me, and with your lightning bolt, hurl this hated being down to Tartarus, since I can shatter this cruel life no other way.’ This wailing shook their hearts, and a groan of sorrow swept them all: their strength for battle was numbed and weakened. She was igniting grief and Idaeus and Actor, at Ilioneus’s order, with Iulus weeping bitterly, caught her up, and carried her inside in their arms. But the war-trumpet, with its bronze singing, rang out its terrible sound, a clamour followed, that the sky re-echoed. The Volscians, raising their shields in line, ran forward, ready to fill in the ditches, and tear down the ramparts: Some tried for an entrance, and to scale the wall with ladders, where the ranks were thin, and a less dense cordon of men allowed the light through. The Trojans accustomed to defending their walls by endless warfare, hurled missiles at them of every sort, and fended them off with sturdy poles. They rolled down stones too, deadly weights, in the hope of breaking through the well-protected ranks, which under their solid shields, however, rejoiced in enduring every danger. But soon even they were inadequate since the Trojans rolled a vast rock to where a large formation threatened, and hurled it down, felling the Rutulians far and wide, and breaking their armoured shell. The brave Rutulians no longer cared to fight blindly, but tried to clear the ramparts with missiles. Elsewhere, Mezentius, deadly to behold, brandished Tuscan pine, and hurled smoking firebrands: while Messapus, tamer of horses, scion of Neptune, tore at the rampart, and called for scaling ladders. I pray to you, O Calliope, Muses, inspire my singing of the slaughter, the deaths Turnus dealt with his sword that day, and who each warrior was, that he sent down to Orcus, and open the lips of mighty war with me, since, goddesses, you remember, and have the power to tell: There was a turret, tall to look at, with high access-ways, and a good position, that all the Italians tried with utmost power to storm, and to dislodge with the utmost power of their efforts: the Trojans in turn defended themselves with stones and hurled showers of missiles through the open loopholes. Turnus was first to throw a blazing torch and root the flames in its flank, that, fanned by a strong wind, seized the planking, and clung to the entrances they devoured. The anxious men inside were afraid, and tried in vain to escape disaster. While they clung together and retreated to the side free from damage, the turret suddenly collapsed, and the whole sky echoed to the crash. Half-dead they fell to earth, the huge mass following, pierced by their own weapons, and their chests impaled on the harsh wood. Only Helenor and Lycus managed to escape: Helenor being in the prime of youth, one whom a Licymnian slave had secretly borne to the Maeonian king, and sent to Troy, with weapons he’d been forbidden, lightly armed with naked blade, and anonymous white shield. When he found himself in the midst of Turnus’s thousands, Latin ranks standing to right and left of him, as a wild creature, hedged in by a close circle of hunters, rages against theirs weapons, and hurls itself, consciously, to death, and is carried by its leap on to the hunting spears, so the youth rushed to his death among the enemy, and headed for where the weapons appeared thickest. But Lycus, quicker of foot, darting among the enemy and their arms reached the wall, and tried to grasp the high parapet with his hands, to reach his comrades’ grasp. Turnus following him closely on foot, with his spear, taunted in triumph: ‘Madman, did you hope to escape my reach?’ He seized him, there and then, as he hung, and pulled him down, with a large piece of the wall, like an eagle, carrier of Jove’s lightning bolt, soaring high, lifting a hare or the snow-white body of a swan in its talons, or a wolf, Mars’s creature, snatching a lamb from the fold, that its mother searches for endlessly bleating. A shout rose on all sides: the Rutulians drove forwards, some filling the ditches with mounds of earth, others throwing burning brands onto the roofs. Ilioneus felled Lucetius with a rock, a vast fragment of the hillside, as he neared the gate, carrying fire, Liger killed Emathion, Asilas killed Corynaeus, the first skilled with the javelin, the other with deceptive long-range arrows: Caenus felled Ortygius, Turnus victorious Caeneus, and Itys and Clonius, Dioxippus and Promolus, and Sagaris, and Idas as he stood on the highest tower, and Capys killed Privernus. Themillas had grazed him slightly first with his spear, foolishly he threw his shield down, and placed his hand on the wound: so the arrow winged silently, fixed itself deep in his left side, and, burying itself within, tore the breathing passages with a lethal wound. Arcens son stood there too in glorious armour, his cloak embroidered with scenes, bright with Spanish blue, a youth of noble features, whom his father Arcens had sent, reared in Mars’s grove by Symaethus’s streams, where the rich and gracious altars of Palicus stand: Mezentius, dropping his spears, whirled a whistling sling on its tight thong, three times round his head, and split his adversary’s forehead open in the middle, with the now-molten lead, stretching him full length in the deep sand. Then they say Ascanius first aimed his swift arrows in war, used till now to terrify wild creatures in flight, and with his hand he felled brave Numanus, who was surnamed Remulus, and had lately won Turnus’s sister as his wife. Numanus marched ahead of the front rank, shouting words that were fitting and unfitting to repeat, his heart swollen with new-won royalty and boasting loudly of his greatness: ‘Twice conquered Trojans aren’t you ashamed to be besieged and shut behind ramparts again, fending off death with walls? Behold, these are the men who’d demand our brides through war! What god, what madness has driven you to Italy? Here are no Atrides, no Ulysses, maker of fictions: a race from hardy stock, we first bring our newborn sons to the river, and toughen them with the water’s fierce chill: as children they keep watch in the chase, and weary the forest, their play is to wheel their horses and shoot arrows from the bow: but patient at work, and used to little, our young men tame the earth with the hoe, or shake cities in battle. All our life we’re abraded by iron: we goad our bullocks’ flanks with a reversed spear, and slow age doesn’t weaken our strength of spirit, or alter our vigour: we set a helmet on our white hairs, and delight in collecting fresh spoils, and living on plunder. You wear embroidered saffron and gleaming purple, idleness pleases you, you delight in the enjoyment of dance, and your tunics have sleeves, and your hats have ribbons. O truly you Phrygian women, as you’re not Phrygian men, run over the heights of Dindymus, where a double-reed makes music for accustomed ears. The timbrels call to you, and the Berecynthian boxwood flute of the Mother of Ida: leave weapons to men and abandon the sword.’ Ascanius did not tolerate such boastful words and dire warnings, but facing him, fitted an arrow to the horsehair string, and, straining his arms apart, paused, and first prayed humbly to Jove making these vows: ‘All-powerful Jupiter, assent to my bold attempt. I myself will bring gifts each year to your temple, and I’ll place before your altar a snow-white bullock with gilded forehead, carrying his head as high as his mother, already butting with his horns, and scattering sand with his hooves.’ The Father heard, and thundered on the left from a clear sky, as one the fatal bow twanged. The taut arrow sped onwards with a dreadful hiss, and passed through Remulus’s brow, and split the hollow temples with its steel. ‘Go on, mock at virtue with proud words! This is the reply the twice-conquered Phrygians send the Rutulians’: Ascanius said nothing more. The Trojans followed this with cheers, shouted for joy, and raised their spirits to the skies. Now, by chance, long-haired Apollo, seated in the cloudy skies, looked down on the Italian ranks and the town, and spoke to the victorious Iulus as follows: ‘Blessings on your fresh courage, boy, scion of gods and ancestor of gods yet to be, so it is man rises to the stars. All the wars that destiny might bring will rightly cease under the rule of Assaracus’s house, Troy does not limit you.’ With this he launched himself from high heaven, parted the living air, and found Ascanius: then changed the form of his features to old Butes. He was once armour-bearer to Trojan Anchises, and faithful guardian of the threshold: then Ascanius’s father made him the boy’s companion. As he walked Apollo was like the old man in every way, in voice and colouring, white hair, and clanging of harsh weapons, and he spoke these words to the ardent Iulus: ‘Enough, son of Aeneas, that Numanus has fallen to your bow and is un-avenged. Mighty Apollo grants you this first glory, and does not begrudge you your like weapons: but avoid the rest of the battle, boy.’ So Apollo spoke and in mid-speech left mortal sight and vanished far from men’s eyes into clear air. The Trojan princes recognised the god and his celestial weapons, and heard his quiver rattling as he flew. So, given the god’s words and his divine will, they stopped Ascanius, eager for the fight, while themselves returning to the battle, and openly putting their lives at risk. The clamour rang through the towers along the whole wall, they bent their bows quickly and whirled their slings. The whole earth was strewn with spears: shields and hollow helmets clanged as they clashed together, the battle grew fierce: vast as a rainstorm from the west, lashing the ground beneath watery Auriga, and dense as the hail the clouds hurl into the waves, when Jupiter, bristling with southerlies, twirls the watery tempest, and bursts the sky’s cavernous vapours. Pandarus and Bitias, sons of Alcanor from Ida, whom Iaera the wood-nymph bore in Jupiter’s grove, youths tall as the pine-trees on their native hills, threw open the gate entrusted to them by their leader’s command, and, relying on their weapons, drew the Rutulian enemy within the walls. They themselves stood in the gate, in front of the towers to right and left, steel armoured, with plumes waving on their noble heads: just as twin oaks rise up into the air, by flowing rivers, on the banks of the Po, or by delightful Athesis, lifting their shaggy heads to the sky, and nodding their tall crowns. When they saw the entrance clear the Rutulians rushed through. At once Quercens and Aquicolus, handsome in his armour, Tmarus, impulsive at heart, and Haemon, a son of Mars, were routed with all their Rutulian ranks, and took to their heels, or laid down their lives on the very threshold of the gate. Then the anger grew fiercer in their fighting spirits, and soon the Trojans gathering massed in the same place, and dared to fight hand to hand, and advance further outside. The news reached Turnus, the Rutulian leader, as he raged and troubled the lines in a distant part of the field, that the enemy, hot with fresh slaughter, were laying their doors wide open. He left what he had begun, and, roused to savage fury, he ran towards the Trojan gate, and the proud brothers. And first he brought Antiphates down with a spear throw, (since he was first to advance), bastard son of noble Sarpedon by a Theban mother: the Italian cornel-wood shaft flew through the clear air and, fixing in his belly, ran deep up into his chest: the hollow of the dark wound released a foaming flow, and the metal became warm in the pierced lung. Then he overthrew Meropes and Erymas with his hand, and then Aphidnus, then Bitias, fire in his eyes, clamour in his heart, not to a spear (he would never have lost his life to a spear) but a javelin arrived with a great hiss, hurled and driven like a thunderbolt, that neither two bulls’ hides nor the faithful breastplate with double scales of gold could resist: the mighty limbs collapsed and fell, earth groaned and the huge shield clanged above him. So a rock pile sometimes falls on Baiae’s Euboic shore, first constructed of huge blocks, then toppled into the sea: as it falls it trails havoc behind, tumbles into the shallows and settles in the depths: the sea swirls in confusion, and the dark sand rises upwards, then Procida’s lofty island trembles at the sound and Ischia’s isle’s harsh floor, laid down over Typhoeus, at Jove’s command. At this Mars, powerful in war, gave the Latins strength and courage, and twisted his sharp goad in their hearts, and sent Rout and dark Fear against the Trojans. Given the chance for action, the Latins came together from every side, and the god of battle possessed their souls. Pandarus, seeing his brother’s fallen corpse, and which side fortune was on, and what fate was driving events, pushed with a mighty heave of his broad shoulders and swung the gate on its hinges, leaving many a comrade locked outside the wall in the cruel conflict: but the rest he greeted as they rushed in and shut in there, with himself, foolishly, not seeing the Rutulian king bursting through among the mass, freely closing him inside the town, like a huge tiger among a helpless herd. At once fresh fire flashed from Turnus’s eyes his weapons clashed fearfully, the blood-red plumes on his helmet quivered, and lightning glittered from his shield. In sudden turmoil the sons of Aeneas recognised that hated form and those huge limbs. Then great Pandarus sprang forward, blazing with anger at his brother’s death, shouting: This is not Queen Amata’s palace, given in dowry, or the heart of Ardea, surrounding Turnus with his native walls. You see an enemy camp: you can’t escape from here.’ Turnus, smiling, his thoughts calm, replied to him: ‘Come then, if there’s courage in your heart, close with me: you can go tell Priam that, here too, you found an Achilles.’ He spoke. Pandarus, straining with all his force, hurled his spear rough with knots and un-stripped bark: the wind took it, Saturnian Juno deflected the imminent blow, and the spear stuck fast in the gate. Turnus cried: ‘But you’ll not escape this weapon my right arm wields with power, the source of this weapon and wound is not such as you.’: and he towered up, his sword lifted, and, with the blade, cleft the forehead in two between the temples, down to the beardless jaw, in an evil wound. There was a crash: the ground shook under the vast weight. Pandarus, dying, lowered his failing limbs and brain-spattered weapons to the ground, and his skull split in half hung down on either side over both his shoulders. The Trojans turned and fled in sudden terror, and if Turnus had thought at once to burst the bolts by force, and let in his comrades through the gates, that would have been the end of the war and the nation. But rage and insane desire for slaughter drove him, passionate, against the enemy. First he caught Phaleris and Gyges whom he hamstrung, then flung their spears, which he seized, at the backs of the fleeing crowd. Juno aided him in strength and spirit. He sent Halys and Phegeus, his shield pierced, to join them, then Alcander and Halius, Noemon and Prytanis unawares, as they roused those on the walls to battle. As Lynceus calling to his comrades moved towards him, he anticipated him with a stroke of his glittering sword from the right-hand rampart, Lynceus’s head, severed by the single blow at close quarters, fell to the ground with the helmet some distance away. Then Amycus, that threat to wild creatures, than whom none was better at coating spears and arming steel with poison, and Clytius, son of Aeolus, and Cretheus, friend to the Muses, Cretheus the Muses’ follower, to whom song and lyre and striking measures on the strings were always a delight, always he sang of horses, of soldiers’ weapons and battles. At last the Trojan leaders, Mnestheus and brave Serestus, hearing of this slaughter of their men, arrived to see their troops scattered and the enemy within. Mnestheus shouted: ‘Where are you running to, off where? What other walls or battlements do you have, but these? O citizens, shall one man, hemmed in on all sides by ramparts, cause such carnage through this our city, and go unpunished? Shall he send so many of our noblest youths to Orcus? Cowards, have you no pity, no shame, for your wretched country, for your ancient gods, for great Aeneas?’ Inflamed by such words they were strengthened, and they halted, densely packed. Turnus little by little retreated from the fight, heading for the river, and a place embraced by the waves. The Trojans pressed towards him more fiercely, with a great clamour, and massed together, as a crowd of hunters with levelled spears close in on a savage lion: that, fearful but fierce, glaring in anger, gives ground, though fury and courage won’t let it turn its back, nor will men and spears allow it to attack, despite its wish. So Turnus wavering retraced his steps cautiously, his mind seething with rage. Even then he charged amongst the enemy twice, and twice sent them flying a confused rabble along the walls: but the whole army quickly gathered en masse from the camp, and Saturnian Juno didn’t dare empower him against them, since Jupiter sent Iris down through the air from heaven, carrying no gentle commands for his sister, if Turnus did not leave the high Trojan ramparts. Therefore the warrior, overwhelmed by so many missiles hurled from every side, couldn’t so much as hold his own with shield and sword-arm. The helmet protecting his hollow temples rang with endless noise, the solid bronze gaped from the hail of stones, his crest was torn off, and his shield-boss couldn’t withstand the blows: the Trojans, with deadly Mnestheus himself, redoubled their rain of javelins. Then the sweat ran all over Turnus’s body, and flowed in a dark stream (he’d no time to breathe) and an agonised panting shook his exhausted body. Then, finally, leaping headlong, he plunged down into the river in full armour. The Tiber welcomed him to its yellow flood as he fell, lifted him on its gentle waves, and, washing away the blood, returned him, overjoyed, to his friends.

Book 10


Meanwhile the palace of all-powerful Olympus was opened wide, and the father of the gods, and king of men, called a council in his starry house, from whose heights he gazed at every land, at Trojan camp, and Latin people. They took their seats in the hall with doors at east and west, and he began: ‘Great sky-dwellers, why have you changed your decision, competing now, with such opposing wills? I commanded Italy not to make war on the Trojans. Why this conflict, against my orders? What fear has driven them both to take up arms and incite violence? The right time for fighting will arrive (don’t bring it on) when fierce Carthage, piercing the Alps, will launch great destruction on the Roman strongholds: then it will be fine to compete in hatred, and ravage things. Now let it alone, and construct a treaty, gladly, as agreed.’ Jupiter’s speech was brief as this: but golden Venus’s reply was not: ‘O father, eternal judge of men and things (for who else is there I can make my appeal to now?) you see how the Rutulians exult, how Turnus is drawn by noble horses through the crowd, and, fortunate in war, rushes on proudly. Barred defences no longer protect the Trojans: rather they join battle within the gates, and on the rampart walls themselves, and the ditches are filled with blood. Aeneas is absent, unaware of this. Will you never let the siege be raised? A second enemy once again menaces and harasses new-born Troy, and again, from Aetolian Arpi, a Diomede rises. I almost think the wound I had from him still awaits me: your child merely delays the thrust of that mortal’s weapon. If the Trojans sought Italy without your consent, and despite your divine will, let them expiate the sin: don’t grant them help. But if they’ve followed the oracles of powers above and below, why should anyone change your orders now, and forge new destinies? Shall I remind you of their fleet, burned on the shores of Eryx? Or the king of the storms and his furious winds roused from Aeolia, or Iris sent down from the clouds? Now Juno even stirs the dead (the only lot still left to use) and Allecto too, suddenly loosed on the upper world, runs wild through all the Italian cities. I no longer care about Empire. Though that was my hope while fortune was kind. Let those you wish to win prevail. Father, if there’s no land your relentless queen will grant the Trojans, I beg, by the smoking ruins of shattered Troy, let me bring Ascanius, untouched, from among the weapons: let my grandson live. Aeneas, yes, may be tossed on unknown seas, and go wherever Fortune grants a road: but let me have the power to protect the child and remove him from the fatal battle. Amathus is mine, high Paphos and Cythera are mine, and Idalia’s temple: let him ground his weapons there, and live out inglorious years. Command that Carthage, with her great power, crush Italy: then there’ll be no obstacle to the Tyrian cities. What was the use in their escaping the plague of war, fleeing through the heart of Argive flames, enduring the dangers at sea, and in desolate lands, as long as the Trojans seek Latium and Troy re-born? Wouldn’t it have been better to build on those last embers of their country, on the soil where Troy once stood? Give Xanthus and Simois back to these unfortunates, father, I beg you, and let the Trojans re-live the course of Ilium.’ Then royal Juno goaded to savage frenzy, cried out: ‘Why do you make me shatter my profound silence, and utter words of suffering to the world? Did any god or man force Aeneas to make war and attack King Latinus as an enemy? He sought Italy prompted by the Fates (so be it) impelled by Cassandra’s ravings: was he urged by me to leave the camp, and trust his life to the winds? To leave the outcome of war, and their defences to a child: to disturb Tuscan good faith, and peaceful tribes? What goddess, what harsh powers of mine drove him to harm? Where is Juno in this, or Iris sent from the clouds? If it’s shameful that the Italians surround new-born Troy with flames, and Turnus make a stand on his native soil, he whose ancestor is Pilumnus, divine Venilia his mother: what of the Trojans with smoking brands using force against the Latins, planting their yoke on others’ fields and driving off their plunder? Deciding whose daughters to marry, and dragging betrothed girls from their lover’s arms, offering peace with one hand, but decking their ships with weapons? You can steal Aeneas away from Greek hands and grant them fog and empty air instead of a man, and turn their fleet of ships into as many nymphs: is it wrong then for me to have given some help to the Rutulians? “Aeneas is absent, unaware of this.” Let him be absent and unaware. Paphos, Idalium, and high Cythera are yours? Why meddle then with a city pregnant with wars and fierce hearts? Is it I who try to uproot Troy’s fragile state from its base? Is it I? Or he who exposed the wretched Trojans to the Greeks? What reason was there for Europe and Asia to rise up in arms, and dissolve their alliance, through treachery? Did I lead the Trojan adulterer to conquer Sparta? Did I give him weapons, or foment a war because of his lust? Then, you should have feared for your own: now, too late, you raise complaints without justice, and provoke useless quarrels.’ So Juno argued, and all the divinities of heaven murmured their diverse opinions, as when rising gales murmur in the woods and roll out their secret humming, warning sailors of coming storms. Then the all-powerful father, who has prime authority over things, began (the noble hall of the gods fell silent as he spoke, earth trembled underground, high heaven fell silent, the Zephyrs too were stilled, the sea calmed its placid waters). ‘Take my words to heart and fix them there. Since Italians and Trojans are not allowed to join in alliance, and your disagreement has no end, I will draw no distinction between them, Trojan or Rutulian, whatever luck each has today, whatever hopes they pursue, whether the camp’s under siege, because of Italy’s fortunes, or Troy’s evil wanderings and unhappy prophecies. Nor will I absolve the Rutulians. What each has instigated shall bring its own suffering and success. Jupiter is king of all, equally: the fates will determine the way.’ He nodded, swearing it by the waters of his Stygian brother, by the banks that seethe with pitch, and the black chasm and made all Olympus tremble at his nod. So the speaking ended. Jupiter rose from his golden throne, and the divinities led him to the threshold, among them. Meanwhile the Rutulians gathered round every gate, to slaughter the men, and circle the walls with flames, while Aeneas’s army was held inside their stockade, imprisoned, with no hope of escape. Wretchedly they stood there on the high turrets, and circling the walls, a sparse ring. Asius, son of Imbrasus, Thymoetes, son of Hicetaon, the two Assaraci, and Castor with old Thymbris were the front rank: Sarpedon’s two brothers, Clarus and Thaemon, from noble Lycia, were at their side. Acmon of Lyrnesus, no less huge than his father Clytius, or his brother Mnestheus, lifted a giant rock, no small fragment of a hillside, straining his whole body. Some tried to defend with javelins, some with stones, hurling fire and fitting arrows to the bow. See, the Trojan boy, himself, in their midst, Venus’s special care, his handsome head uncovered, sparkling like a jewel set in yellow gold adorning neck or forehead, gleaming like ivory, inlaid skilfully in boxwood or Orician terebinth: his milk-white neck, and the circle of soft gold clasping it, received his flowing hair. Your great-hearted people saw you too Ismarus, dipping reed-shafts in venom, and aiming them to wound, from a noble Lydian house, there where men till rich fields, that the Pactolus waters with gold. There was Mnestheus as well, whom yesterday’s glory, of beating Turnus back from the wall’s embankment, exalted highly, and Capys: from him the name of the Campanian city comes. Men were fighting each other in the conflict of bitter war: while Aeneas, by night, was cutting through the waves. When, on leaving Evander and entering the Tuscan camp, he had met the king, announced his name and race, the help he sought, and that he himself offered, what forces Mezentius was gathering to him, and the violence in Turnus’s heart, and then had warned how little faith can be placed in human powers, and had added his entreaties, Tarchon, joined forces with him without delay, and agreed a treaty: then fulfilling their fate the Lydian people took to their ships by divine command, trusting to a ‘foreign’ leader. Aeneas’s vessel took the van, adorned with Phrygian lions below her beak, Mount Ida towering above them, a delight to the exiled Trojans. There great Aeneas sat and pondered the varying issues of the war, and Pallas sticking close to his left side, asked him now about the stars, their path through the dark night, and now about his adventures on land and sea. Now, goddesses, throw Helicon wide open: begin your song of the company that followed Aeneas from Tuscan shores, arming the ships and riding over the seas. Massicus cut the waters at their head, in the bronze-armoured Tiger, a band of a thousand warriors under him, leaving the walls of Clusium, and the city of Cosae, whose weapons are arrows, held in light quivers over their shoulders, and deadly bows. Grim Abas was with him: whose ranks were all splendidly armoured, his ship aglow with a gilded figure of Apollo. Populonia, the mother-city, had given him six hundred of her offspring, all expert in war, and the island of Ilva, rich with the Chalybes’ inexhaustible mines, three hundred. Asilas was third, that interpreter of gods and men, to whom the entrails of beasts were an open book, the stars in the sky, the tongues of birds, the prophetic bolts of lightning. He hurried his thousand men to war, dense ranks bristling with spears. Pisa ordered them to obey, city of Alphean foundation, set on Etruscan soil. Then the most handsome Astur followed, Astur relying on horse and iridescent armour. Three hundred more (minded to follow as one) were added by those with their home in Caere, the fields by the Minio, ancient Pyrgi, unhealthy Graviscae. I would not forget you, Cunerus, in war the bravest Ligurian leader, or you with your small company, Cupavo, on whose crest the swan plumes rose, a sign of your father’s transformation (Cupid, your and your mother’s crime). For they say that Cycnus wept for his beloved Phaethon, singing amongst the poplar leaves, those shades of Phaethon’s sisters, consoling his sorrowful passion with the Muse, and drew white age over himself, in soft plumage, relinquishing earth, and seeking the stars with song. His son, Cupavo, drove on the mighty Centaur, following the fleet, with troops of his own age: the figurehead towered over the water, threatening from above to hurl a huge rock into the waves, the long keel ploughing through the deep ocean. Ocnus, also, called up troops from his native shores, he, the son of Manto the prophetess and the Tuscan river, who gave you your walls, Mantua, and his mother’s name, Mantua rich in ancestors, but not all of one race: there were three races there, under each race four tribes, herself the head of the tribes, her strength from Tuscan blood. From there too Mezentius drove five hundred to arm against him, lead in pine warships through the sea by a figure, the River Mincius, the child of Lake Benacus, crowned with grey-green reeds. Aulestes ploughed on weightily, lashing the waves as he surged to the stroke of a hundred oars: the waters foamed as the surface churned. He sailed the huge Triton, whose conch shell alarmed the blue waves, it’s carved prow displayed a man’s form down to the waist, as it sailed on, its belly ending in a sea-creature’s, while under the half-man’s chest the waves murmured with foam. Such was the count of princes chosen to sail in the thirty ships to the aid of Troy, and plough the salt plains with their bronze rams. Now daylight had vanished from the sky and kindly Phoebe was treading mid-heaven with her nocturnal team: Aeneas (since care allowed his limbs no rest) sat there controlling the helm himself, and tending the sails. And see, in mid-course, a troop of his own friends appeared: the nymphs, whom gracious Cybele had commanded to be goddesses of the sea, to be nymphs not ships, swam beside him and cut the flood, as many as the bronze prows that once lay by the shore. They knew the king from far off, and circled him dancing: and Cymodocea, following, most skilful of them in speech, caught at the stern with her right hand, lifted her length herself, and paddled along with her left arm under the silent water. Then she spoke to the bemused man, so: ‘Are you awake, Aeneas, child of the gods? Be awake: loose the sheets: make full sail. We are your fleet, now nymphs of the sea, once pines of Ida, from her sacred peak. Against our will we broke our bonds when the treacherous Rutulian was pressing us hard, with fire and sword, and we have sought you over the waves. Cybele, the Mother, refashioned us in this form, from pity, granting that we became goddesses, spending life under the waves. Now, your son Ascanius is penned behind walls and ditches, among weapons, and Latins bristling for a fight. The Arcadian Horse, mixed with brave Etruscans already hold the positions commanded: while Turnus’s certain purpose is to send his central squadrons against them, lest they reach the camp. Up then, in the rising dawn, call your friends with an order to arm, and take your invincible shield that the lord of fire gave you himself, that he circled with a golden rim. If you don’t think my words idle, tomorrow’s light will gaze on a mighty heap of Rutulian dead.’ She spoke, and, knowing how, with her right hand, thrust the high stern on, as she left: it sped through the waves faster than a javelin, or an arrow equalling the wind. Then the others quickened speed. Amazed, the Trojan son of Anchises marvelled, yet his spirits lifted at the omen. Then looking up to the arching heavens he briefly prayed: ‘Kind Cybele, Mother of the gods, to whom Dindymus, tower-crowned cities, and harnessed lions are dear, be my leader now in battle, duly further this omen, and be with your Trojans, goddess, with your favouring step.’ He prayed like this, and meanwhile the wheeling day rushed in with a flood of light, chasing away the night: first he ordered his comrades to obey his signals, prepare their spirits for fighting, and ready themselves for battle. Now, he stood on the high stern, with the Trojans and his fort in view, and at once lifted high the blazing shield, in his left hand. The Trojans on the walls raised a shout to the sky, new hope freshened their fury, they hurled their spears, just as Strymonian cranes under dark clouds, flying through the air, give noisy cries, and fleeing the south wind, trail their clamour. This seemed strange to the Rutulian king and the Italian leaders, until looking behind them they saw the fleet turned towards shore, and the whole sea alive with ships. Aeneas’s crest blazed, and a dark flame streamed from the top, and the shield’s gold boss spouted floods of fire: just as when comets glow, blood-red and ominous in the clear night, or when fiery Sirius, bringer of drought and plague to frail mortals, rises and saddens the sky with sinister light. Still, brave Turnus did not lose hope of seizing the shore first, and driving the approaching enemy away from land. And he raised his men’s spirits as well, and chided them: ‘What you asked for in prayer is here, to break through with the sword. Mars himself empowers your hands, men! Now let each remember his wife and home, now recall the great actions, the glories of our fathers. And let’s meet them in the waves, while they’re unsure and their first steps falter as they land. Fortune favours the brave.’ So he spoke, and asked himself whom to lead in attack and whom he could trust the siege of the walls. Meanwhile Aeneas landed his allies from the tall ships using gangways. Many waited for the spent wave to ebb and trusted themselves to the shallow water: others rowed. Tarchon, noting a strand where no waves heaved and no breaking waters roared, but the sea swept in smoothly with the rising tide, suddenly turned his prow towards it, exhorting his men: ‘Now, O chosen band, bend to your sturdy oars: lift, drive your boats, split this enemy shore with your beaks, let the keel itself plough a furrow. I don’t shrink from wrecking the ship in such a harbour once I’ve seized the land.’ When Tarchon had finished speaking so, his comrades rose to the oars and drove their foam-wet ships onto the Latin fields, till the rams gained dry ground and all the hulls came to rest unharmed. But not yours, Tarchon, since, striking the shallows, she hung on an uneven ridge poised for a while, unbalanced, and, tiring the waves, broke and pitched her crew into the water, broken oars and floating benches obstructed them and at the same time the ebbing waves sucked at their feet. But the long delay didn’t keep Turnus back: swiftly he moved his whole front against the Trojans, and stood against them on the shore. The trumpets sounded. Aeneas, first, attacked the ranks of farmers, as a sign of battle, and toppled the Latins, killing Theron, noblest of men, who unprompted sought out Aeneas. The sword drank from his side, pierced through the bronze joints, and the tunic scaled with gold. Then he struck Lichas, who had been cut from the womb of his dead mother and consecrated to you, Phoebus: why was he allowed to evade the blade at birth? Soon after, he toppled in death tough Cisseus, and huge Gyas, as they laid men low with their clubs: Hercules’s weapons were no help, nor their stout hands nor Melampus their father, Hercules’s friend, while earth granted him heavy labours. See, Aeneas hurled his javelin as Pharus uttered words in vain, and planted it in his noisy gullet. You too, unhappy Cydon, as you followed Clytius, your new delight, his cheeks golden with youthful down, you too would have fallen beneath the Trojan hand, and lain there, wretched, free of that love of youth that was ever yours, had the massed ranks of your brothers, not opposed him, the children of Phorcus, seven in number, seven the spears they threw: some glanced idly from helmet and shield, some gentle Venus deflected, so they only grazed his body. Aeneas spoke to faithful Achates: ‘Supply me with spears, those that lodged in the bodies of Greeks on Ilium’s plain: my right hand won’t hurl any at these Rutulians in vain.’ Then he grasped a great javelin and threw it: flying on, it crashed through the bronze of Maeon’s shield, smashing breastplate and breast in one go. His brother Alcanor was there, supporting his brother with his right arm as he fell: piercing the arm, the spear flew straight on, keeping its blood-wet course, and the lifeless arm hung by the shoulder tendons. Then Numitor, ripping the javelin from his brother’s body, aimed at Aeneas: but he could not strike at him in return, and grazed great Achates’s thigh. Now Clausus of Cures approached, relying on his youthful strength, and hit Dryopes under the chin from a distance away, with his rigid spear, driven with force, and, piercing his throat as he spoke, took his voice and life together: he hit the ground with his forehead, and spewed thick blood from his mouth. Clausus toppled, in various ways, three Thracians too, of Boreas’s exalted race, and three whom Idas their father and their native Ismarus sent out. Halaesus ran to join him, and the Auruncan Band, and Messapus, Neptune’s scion, with his glorious horses. Now one side, now the other strained to push back the enemy: the struggle was at the very threshold of Italy. As warring winds, equal in force and purpose, rise to do battle in the vast heavens and between them neither yield either clouds or sea: the battle is long in doubt, all things stand locked in conflict: so the ranks of Troy clashed with the Latin ranks, foot against foot, man pressed hard against man. But in another place, where a torrent had rolled and scattered boulders, with bushes torn from the banks, far and wide, Pallas, seeing his Arcadians unused to charging in ranks on foot turning to run from the pursuing Latins, because the nature of the ground, churned by water, had persuaded them to leave their horses for once, now with prayers, and now with bitter words, the sole recourse in time of need, fired their courage: ‘Friends, where are you running to? Don’t trust to flight, by your brave deeds, by King Evander’s name, and the wars you’ve won, and my hopes, now seeking to emulate my father’s glory. We must hack a way through the enemy with our swords. Your noble country calls you and your leader Pallas, to where the ranks of men are densest. No gods attack us. We are mortals driven before a mortal foe: we have as many lives, as many hands as they do. Look, the ocean closes us in with a vast barrier of water, there’s no land left to flee to: shall we seek the seas or Troy?’ He spoke, and rushed into the midst of the close-packed enemy. Lagus met him first, drawn there by a hostile fate. As he tore at a huge weight of stone, Pallas pierced him where the spine parts the ribs in two, with the spear he hurled, and plucked out the spear again as it lodged in the bone. Nor did Hisbo surprise him from above, hopeful though he was, since, as he rushed in, raging recklessly at his friend’s cruel death, Pallas intercepted him first, and buried his sword in his swollen chest. Next Pallas attacked Sthenius, and Anchemolus, of Rhoetus’s ancient line, who had dared to violate his step-mother’s bed. You, twin brothers, also fell in the Rutulian fields, Laridus and Thymber, the sons of Daucus, so alike you were indistinguishable to kin, and a dear confusion to your parents: but now Pallas has given you a cruel separateness. For Evander’s sword swept off your head, Thymber: while your right hand, Laridus, sought its owner, and the dying fingers twitched and clutched again at the sword. Fired by his rebuke and seeing his glorious deeds, a mixture of remorse and pain roused the Arcadians against their enemy. Then Pallas pierced Rhoetus as he shot past in his chariot. Ilus gained that much time and that much respite, since he had launched his solid spear at Ilus from far off, which Rhoetus received, as he fled from you, noble Teuthras and your brother Tyres, and rolling from the chariot he struck the Rutulian fields with his heels as he died. As in summer, when a hoped-for wind has risen, the shepherd sets scattered fires in the woods, the spaces between catch light, and Vulcan’s bristling ranks extend over the broad fields, while the shepherd sits and gazes down in triumph over the joyful flames: so all your comrades’ courage united as one to aid you Pallas. But Halaesus, fierce in war, advanced against them and gathered himself behind his shield. He killed Ladon, Pheres and Demodocus, struck off Strymonius’s right hand, raised towards his throat, with his shining sword, and smashed Thoas in the face with a stone, scattering bone mixed with blood and brain. Halaesus’s father, prescient of fate, had hidden him in the woods: but when, in white-haired old age, the father closed his eyes in death, the Fates laid their hands on Halaesus and doomed him to Evander’s spear. Pallas attacked him first praying: ‘Grant luck to the spear I aim to throw, father Tiber, and a path through sturdy Halaesus’s chest. Your oak shall have the these weapons and the soldier’s spoils.’ The god heard his prayer: while Halaesus covered Imaon he sadly exposed his unshielded chest to the Arcadian spear. But Lausus, a powerful force in the war, would not allow his troops to be dismayed by the hero’s great slaughter: first he killed Abas opposite, a knotty obstacle in the battle. The youth of Arcadia fell, the Etruscans fell, and you, O Trojans, men not even destroyed by the Greeks. The armies met, equal in leadership and strength: the rear and front closed ranks, and the crush prevented weapons or hands from moving. Here, Pallas pressed and urged, there Lausus opposed him, not many years between them, both of outstanding presence, but Fortune had denied them a return to their country. Yet the king of great Olympos did not allow them to meet face to face: their fate was waiting for them soon, at the hand of a greater opponent. Meanwhile Turnus’s gentle sister Juturna adjured him to help Lausus, and he parted the ranks between in his swift chariot. When he saw his comrades he cried: ‘It’s time to hold back from the fight: it’s for me alone to attack Pallas, Pallas is mine alone: I wish his father were here to see it.’ And his comrades drew back from the field as ordered. When the Rutulians retired, then the youth, amazed at that proud command, marvelled at Turnus, casting his eyes over the mighty body, surveying all of him from the distance with a fierce look, and answered the ruler’s words with these: ‘I’ll soon be praised for taking rich spoils, or for a glorious death: my father is equal to either fate for me: away with your threats.’ So saying he marched down the centre of the field: the blood gathered, chill, in Arcadian hearts. Turnus leapt from his chariot, preparing to close on foot, and the sight of the advancing Turnus, was no different than that of a lion, seeing from a high point a bull far off on the plain contemplating battle, and rushing down. But Pallas came forward first, when he thought Turnus might be within spear-throw, so that chance might help him, in venturing his unequal strength, and so he spoke to the mighty heavens: ‘I pray you, Hercules, by my father’s hospitality and the feast to which you came as a stranger, assist my great enterprise. Let me strip the blood-drenched armour from his dying limbs, and let Turnus’s failing sight meet its conqueror.’ Hercules heard the youth, and stifled a heavy sigh deep in his heart, and wept tears in vain. Then Jupiter the father spoke to Hercules, his son, with kindly words: ‘Every man has his day, the course of life is brief and cannot be recalled: but virtue’s task is this, to increase fame by deeds. So many sons of gods fell beneath the high walls of Troy, yes, and my own son Sarpedon among them: fate calls even for Turnus, and he too has reached the end of the years granted to him.’ So he spoke, and turned his eyes from the Rutulian fields. Then Pallas threw his spear with all his might, and snatched his gleaming sword from its hollow sheath. The shaft flew and struck Turnus, where the top of the armour laps the shoulder, and forcing a way through the rim of his shield at last, even grazed his mighty frame. At this, Turnus hurled his oak spear tipped with sharp steel, long levelled at Pallas, saying: ‘See if this weapon of mine isn’t of greater sharpness.’ The spear-head, with a quivering blow, tore through the centre of his shield, passed through all the layers of iron, of bronze, all the overlapping bull’s-hide, piercing the breastplate, and the mighty chest. Vainly he pulled the hot spear from the wound: blood and life followed, by one and the same path. He fell in his own blood (his weapons clanged over him) and he struck the hostile earth in death with gory lips. Then Turnus, standing over him, cried out: ‘Arcadians, take note, and carry these words of mine to Evander: I return Pallas to him as he deserves. I freely give whatever honours lie in a tomb, whatever solace there is in burial. His hospitality to Aeneas will cost him greatly.’ So saying he planted his left foot on the corpse, and tore away the huge weight of Pallas’s belt, engraved with the Danaids’ crime: that band of young men foully murdered on the same wedding night: the blood-drenched marriage chambers: that Clonus, son of Eurytus had richly chased in gold. Now Turnus exulted at the spoil, and gloried in winning. Oh, human mind, ignorant of fate or fortune to come, or of how to keep to the limits, exalted by favourable events! The time will come for Turnus when he’d prefer to have bought an untouched Pallas at great price, and will hate those spoils and the day. So his friends crowded round Pallas with many groans and tears, and carried him back, lying on his shield. O the great grief and glory in returning to your father: that day first gave you to warfare, the same day took you from it, while nevertheless you left behind vast heaps of Rutulian dead! Now not merely a rumour of this great evil, but a more trustworthy messenger flew to Aeneas, saying that his men were a hair’s breadth from death, that it was time to help the routed Trojans. Seeking you, Turnus, you, proud of your fresh slaughter, he mowed down his nearest enemies, with the sword, and fiercely drove a wide path through the ranks with its blade. Pallas, Evander, all was before his eyes, the feast to which he had first come as a stranger, the right hands pledged in friendship. Then he captured four youths alive, sons of Sulmo, and as many reared by Ufens, to sacrifice to the shades of the dead, and sprinkle the flames of the pyre with the prisoners’ blood. Next he aimed a hostile spear at Magus from a distance: Magus moved in cleverly, and the spear flew over him, quivering, and he clasped the hero’s knees as a suppliant, and spoke as follows: ‘I beg you, by your father’s shade, by your hope in your boy Iulus, preserve my life, for my son and my father. I have a noble house: talents of chased silver lie buried there: I have masses of wrought and unwrought gold. Troy’s victory does not rest with me: one life will not make that much difference.’ Aeneas replied to him in this way: ‘Keep those many talents of silver and gold you mention for your sons. Turnus, before we spoke, did away with the courtesies of war, the moment he killed Pallas. So my father Anchises’s spirit thinks, so does Iulus.’ Saying this he held the helmet with his left hand and, bending the suppliant’s neck backwards, drove in his sword to the hilt. Haemon’s son, a priest of Apollo and Diana, was not far away, the band with its sacred ribbons circling his temples, and all his robes and emblems shining white. Aeneas met him and drove him over the plain, then, standing over the fallen man, killed him and cloaked him in mighty darkness: Serestus collected and carried off his weapons on his shoulders, a trophy for you, King Gradivus. Caeculus, born of the race of Vulcan, and Umbro who came from the Marsian hills restored order, the Trojan raged against them: his sword sliced off Anxur’s left arm, it fell to the ground with the whole disc of his shield (Anxur had shouted some boast, trusting the power of words, lifting his spirit high perhaps, promising himself white-haired old age and long years): then Tarquitus nearby, proud in his gleaming armour, whom the nymph Dryope had born to Faunus of the woods, exposed himself to fiery Aeneas. He, drawing back his spear, pinned the breastplate and the huge weight of shield together: then as the youth begged in vain, and tried to utter a flow of words, he struck his head to the ground and, rolling the warm trunk over, spoke these words above him, from a hostile heart: ‘Lie there now, one to be feared. No noble mother will bury you in the earth, nor weight your limbs with an ancestral tomb: you’ll be left for the carrion birds, or, sunk in the abyss, the flood will bear you, and hungry fish suck your wounds.’ Then he caught up with Antaeus, and Lucas, in Turnus’s front line, brave Numa and auburn Camers, son of noble Volcens, the wealthiest in Ausonian land, who ruled silent Amyclae. Once his sword was hot, victorious Aeneas raged over the whole plain, like Aegeaon, who had a hundred arms and a hundred hands they say, and breathed fire from fifty chests and mouths, when he clashed with as many like shields of his and drew as many swords against Jove’s lightning-bolts. See now he was headed towards the four horse team of Niphaeus’s chariot and the opposing front. And when the horses saw him taking great strides in his deadly rage, they shied and galloped in fear, throwing their master, and dragging the chariot to the shore. Meanwhile Lucagus and his brother Liger entered the fray in their chariot with two white horses: Liger handling the horses’ reins, fierce Lucagus waving his naked sword. Aeneas could not tolerate such furious hot-headedness: he rushed at them, and loomed up gigantic with levelled spear. Liger said to him: ‘These are not Diomedes’s horses that you see, nor Achille’s chariot, nor Phrygia’s plain: now you’ll be dealt an end to your war and life.’ Such were the words that flew far, from foolish Liger’s lips. But the Trojan hero did not ready words in reply, he hurled his spear then against his enemies. While Lucagus urged on his horses, leaning forward towards the spear’s blow, as, with left foot advanced, he prepared himself for battle, the spear entered the lower rim of his bright shield, then pierced the left thigh: thrown from the chariot he rolled on the ground in death: while noble Aeneas spoke bitter words to him: ‘Lucagus, it was not the flight of your horses in fear that betrayed your chariot, or the enemy’s idle shadow that turned them: it was you, leaping from the wheels, who relinquished the reins.’ So saying he grasped at the chariot: the wretched brother, Liger, who had fallen as well, held, out his helpless hands: ‘Trojan hero, by your own life, by your parents who bore such a son, take pity I beg you, without taking this life away.’ As he begged more urgently, Aeaneas said: ‘Those were not the words you spoke before. Die and don’t let brother desert brother.’ Then he sliced open his chest where the life is hidden. Such were the deaths the Trojan leader caused across that plain, raging like a torrent of water or a dark tempest. At last his child, Ascanius, and the men who were besieged in vain, breaking free, left the camp. Meanwhile Jupiter, unasked, spoke to Juno: ‘O my sister, and at the same time my dearest wife, as you thought (your judgement is not wrong) it is Venus who sustains the Trojans’ power, not their own right hands, so ready for war, nor their fierce spirits, tolerant of danger.’ Juno spoke submissively to him: ‘O loveliest of husbands why do you trouble me, who am ill, and fearful of your harsh commands? If my love had the power it once had, that is my right, you, all-powerful, would surely not deny me this, to withdraw Turnus from the conflict and save him, unharmed, for his father, Daunus. Let him die then, let him pay the Trojans in innocent blood. Yet he derives his name from our line: Pilumnus was his ancestor four generations back, and often weighted your threshold with copious gifts from a lavish hand.’ The king of heavenly Olympus briefly replied to her like this: ‘If your prayer is for reprieve from imminent death for your doomed prince, and you understand I so ordain it, take Turnus away, in flight, snatch him from oncoming fate: there’s room for that much indulgence. But if thought of any greater favour hides behind your prayers, and you think this whole war may be deflected or altered, you nurture a vain hope.’ And Juno, replied, weeping: ‘Why should your mind not grant what your tongue withholds, and life be left to Turnus? Now, guiltless, a heavy doom awaits him or I stray empty of truth. Oh, that I might be mocked by false fears, and that you, who are able to, might harbour kinder speech! When she had spoken these words, she darted down at once from high heaven through the air, driving a storm before her, and wreathed in cloud, and sought the ranks of Ilium and the Laurentine camp. Then from the cavernous mist the goddess decked out a weak and tenuous phantom, in the likeness of Aeneas, with Trojan weapons (a strange marvel to behold), simulated his shield, and the plumes on his godlike head, gave it insubstantial speech, gave it sound without mind, and mimicked the way he walked: like shapes that flit, they say, after death, or dreams that in sleep deceive the senses. And the phantom flaunted itself exultantly in front of the leading ranks, provoking Turnus with spear casts, and exasperating him with words. Turnus ran at it, and hurled a hissing spear from the distance: it turned its heels in flight. Then, as Turnus thought that Aeneas had retreated and conceded, and in his confusion clung to this idle hope in his mind, he cried: ‘Where are you off to, Aeneas? Don’t desert your marriage pact: this hand of mine will grant you the earth you looked for over the seas.’ He pursued him, calling loudly, brandishing his naked sword, not seeing that the wind was carrying away his glory. It chanced that the ship, in which King Osinius sailed from Clusium’s shores, was moored to a high stone pier, with ladders released and gangway ready. The swift phantom of fleeing Aeneas sank into it to hide, and Turnus followed no less swiftly, conquering all obstacles and leapt up the high gangway. He had barely reached the prow when Saturn’s daughter snapped the cable, and, snatching the ship, swept it over the waters. Then the vague phantom no longer tried to hide but, flying into the air, merged with a dark cloud. Meanwhile Aeneas himself was challenging his missing enemy to battle: and sending many opposing warriors to their deaths, while the storm carried Turnus over the wide ocean. Unaware of the truth, and ungrateful for his rescue, he looked back and raised clasped hands and voice to heaven: ‘All-powerful father, did you think me so worthy of punishment, did you intend me to pay such a price? Where am I being taken? From whom am I escaping? Why am I fleeing: how will I return? Will I see the walls and camp of Laurentium again? What of that company of men that followed me, and my standard? Have I left them all (the shame of it) to a cruel death, seeing them scattered now, hearing the groans as they fall? What shall I do? Where is the earth that could gape wide enough for me? Rather have pity on me, O winds: Drive the ship on the rocks, the reefs (I, Turnus, beg you, freely) or send it into the vicious quicksands, where no Rutulian, nor any knowing rumour of my shame can follow me? So saying he debated this way and that in his mind, whether he should throw himself on his sword, mad with such disgrace, and drive the cruel steel through his ribs, or plunge into the waves, and, by swimming, gain the curving bay, and hurl himself again at the Trojan weapons. Three times he attempted each: three times great Juno held him back, preventing him from heartfelt pity. He glided on, with the help of wave and tide, cutting the depths, and was carried to his father Daunus’s ancient city. But meanwhile fiery Mezentius, warned by Jupiter, took up the fight, and attacked the jubilant Trojans. The Etruscan ranks closed up, and concentrated all their hatred, and showers of missiles, on him alone. He (like a vast cliff that juts out into the vast deep, confronting the raging winds, and exposed to the waves, suffering the force and threat of sky and sea, itself left unshaken) felled Hebrus, son of Dolichaon, to the earth, with him were Latagus and swift Palmus, but he anticipated Latagus, with a huge fragment of rock from the hillside in his mouth and face, while he hamstrung Palmus and left him writhing helplessly: he gave Lausus the armour to protect his shoulders, and the plumes to wear on his crest. He killed Evanthes too, the Phrygian, and Mimas, Paris’s friend and peer, whom Theano bore to his father Amycus on the same night Hecuba, Cisseus’s royal daughter, pregnant with a firebrand, gave birth to Paris: Paris lies in the city of his fathers, the Laurentine shore holds the unknown Mimas. And as a boar, that piny Vesulus has sheltered for many years and Laurentine marshes have nourished with forests of reeds, is driven from the high hills, by snapping hounds, and halts when it reaches the nets, snorts fiercely, hackles bristling, no one brave enough to rage at it, or approach it, but all attacking it with spears, and shouting from a safe distance: halts, unafraid, turning in every direction, grinding its jaws, and shaking the spears from its hide: so none of those who were rightly angered with Mezentius had the courage to meet him with naked sword, but provoked him from afar with their missiles, and a mighty clamour. Acron, a Greek had arrived there from the ancient lands of Corythus, an exile, his marriage ceremony left incomplete. When Mezentius saw him in the distance, embroiled among the ranks, with crimson plumes, and in purple robes given by his promised bride, he rushed eagerly into the thick of the foe, as a ravenous lion often ranges the high coverts (since a raging hunger drives it) and exults, with vast gaping jaws, if it chances to see a fleeing roe-deer, or a stag with immature horns, then clings crouching over the entrails, with bristling mane, its cruel mouth stained hideously with blood. Wretched Acron fell, striking the dark earth with his heels in dying, drenching his shattered weapons with blood. And he did not even deign to kill Orodes as he fled, or inflict a hidden wound with a thrust of his spear: he ran to meet him on the way, and opposed him man to man, getting the better of him by force of arms not stealth. Then setting his foot on the fallen man, and straining at his spear, he called out: ‘Soldiers, noble Orodes lies here, he was no small part of this battle.’ His comrades shouted, taking up the joyful cry: Yet Orodes, dying, said: ‘Whoever you are, winner here, I’ll not go unavenged, nor will you rejoice for long: a like fate watches for you: you’ll soon lie in these same fields.’ Mezentius replied, grinning with rage: ‘Die now, as for me, the father of gods and king of men will see to that.’ So saying he withdrew his spear from the warrior’s body. Enduring rest, and iron sleep, pressed on Orodes’s eyes, and their light was shrouded in eternal night. Caedicus killed Alcathous: Sacrator killed Hydapses: Rapo killed Parthenius, and Orses of outstanding strength. Messapus killed Clonius, and Ericetes, son of Lycaon, one lying on the ground fallen from his bridle-less horse, the other still on his feet. Lycian Agis had advanced his feet but Valerus overthrew him, with no lack of his ancestors’ skill: Salius killed Thronius, and Nealces, famed for the javelin, and the deceptive long-distance arrow, in turn killed Salcius. Now grievous War dealt grief and death mutually: they killed alike, and alike they died, winners and losers, and neither one nor the other knew how to flee. The gods in Jupiter’s halls pitied the useless anger of them both, and that such pain existed for mortal beings: here Venus gazed down, here, opposite, Saturnian Juno. Pale Tisiphone raged among the warring thousands. And now Mezentius shaking his mighty spear, advanced like a whirlwind over the field. Great as Orion, when he strides through Ocean’s deepest chasms, forging a way, his shoulders towering above the waves, or carrying an ancient manna ash down from the mountain heights, walking the earth, with his head hidden in the clouds, so Mezentius advanced in his giant’s armour. Aeneas, opposite, catching sight of him in the far ranks prepared to go and meet him. Mezentius stood there unafraid, waiting for his great-hearted enemy, firm in his great bulk: and measuring with his eye what distance would suit his spear, saying: ‘Now let this right hand that is my god, and the weapon I level to throw, aid me! I vow that you yourself, Lausus, as token of my victory over Aeneas, shall be dressed in the spoils stripped from that robber’s corpse.’ He spoke, and threw the hissing spear from far out. But, flying on, it glanced from the shield, and pierced the handsome Antores, nearby, between flank and thigh, Antores, friend of Hercules, sent from Argos who had joined Evander, and settled in an Italian city. Unhappy man, he fell to a wound meant for another, and dying, gazing at the sky, remembered sweet Argos. Then virtuous Aeneas hurled a spear: it passed through Mezentius’s curved shield of triple-bronze, through linen, and the interwoven layers of three bull’s hides, and lodged deep in the groin, but failed to drive home with force. Aeneas, joyful at the sight of the Tuscan blood, snatched the sword from his side, and pressed his shaken enemy hotly. Lausus, seeing it, groaned heavily for love of his father, and tears rolled down his cheeks – and here I’ll not be silent, for my part, about your harsh death, through fate, nor, if future ages place belief in such deeds, your actions, so glorious, nor you yourself, youth, worthy of remembrance – his father was retreating, yielding ground, helpless, hampered, dragging the enemy lance along with his shield. The youth ran forward, and plunged into the fray, and, just as Aeneas’s right hand lifted to strike a blow, he snatched at the sword-point, and checked him in delay: his friends followed with great clamour, and, with a shower of spears, forced the enemy to keep his distance till the father could withdraw, protected by his son’s shield. Aeneas raged, but kept himself under cover. As every ploughman and farmer runs from the fields when storm-clouds pour down streams of hail, and the passer by shelters in a safe corner, under a river bank or an arch of high rock, while the rain falls to earth, so as to pursue the day’s work when the sun returns: so, overwhelmed by missiles from every side, Aeneas endured the clouds of war, while they all thundered, and rebuked Lausus, and threatened Lausus, saying: ‘Why are you rushing to death, with courage beyond your strength? Your loyalty’s betraying you to foolishness.’ Nevertheless the youth raged madly, and now fierce anger rose higher in the Trojan leader’s heart, and the Fates gathered together the last threads of Lausus’s life. For Aeneas drove his sword firmly through the youth’s body, and buried it to the hilt: the point passed through his shield, too light for his threats, and the tunic of soft gold thread his mother had woven, blood filled its folds: then life left the body and fled, sorrowing, through the air to the spirits below. And when Anchises’s son saw the look on his dying face, that face pale with the wonderment of its ending, he groaned deeply with pity and stretched out his hand, as that reflection of his own love for his father touched his heart. ‘Unhappy child, what can loyal Aeneas grant to such a nature, worthy of these glorious deeds of yours? Keep the weapons you delighted in: and if it is something you are anxious about, I return you to the shades and ashes of your ancestors. This too should solace you, unhappy one, for your sad death: you died at the hands of great Aeneas.’ Also he rebuked Lausus’s comrades, and lifted their leader from the earth, where he was soiling his well-ordered hair with blood. Meanwhile the father, Mezentius, staunched his wounds by the waters of Tiber’s river, and rested his body by leaning against a tree trunk. His bronze helmet hung on a nearby branch, and his heavy armour lay peacefully on the grass. The pick of his warriors stood around: he himself, weak and panting eased his neck, his flowing beard streaming over his chest. Many a time he asked for Lausus, and many times sent men to carry him a sorrowing father’s orders and recall him. But his weeping comrades were carrying the dead Lausus, on his armour, a great man conquered by a mighty wound. The mind prescient of evil, knew their sighs from far off. Mezentius darkened his white hair with dust, and lifted both hands to heaven, clinging to the body: ‘My son, did such delight in living possess me, that I let you face the enemy force in my place, you whom I fathered? Is this father of yours alive through your death, saved by your wounds? Ah, now at last my exile is wretchedly driven home: and my wound, deeply! My son, I have also tarnished your name by my crime, driven in hatred from my fathers’ throne and sceptre. I have long owed reparation to my country and my people’s hatred: I should have yielded my guilty soul to death in any form! Now I live: I do not leave humankind yet, or the light, but I will leave.’ So saying he raised himself weakly on his thigh, and, despite all, ordered his horse to be brought, though his strength ebbed from the deep wound. His mount was his pride, and it was his solace, on it he had ridden victorious from every battle. He spoke to the sorrowful creature, in these words: ‘Rhaebus, we have lived a long time, if anything lasts long for mortal beings. Today you will either carry the head of Aeneas, and his blood-stained spoils, in victory, and avenge Lausus’s pain with me, or die with me, if no power opens that road to us: I don’t think that you, the bravest of creatures, will deign to suffer a stranger’s orders or a Trojan master.’ He spoke, then, mounting, disposed his limbs as usual, and weighted each hand with a sharp javelin, his head gleaming with bronze, bristling with its horsehair crest. So he launched himself quickly into the fray. In that one heart a vast flood of shame and madness merged with grief. And now he called to Aeneas in a great voice. Aeneas knew him and offered up a joyous prayer: ‘So let the father of the gods himself decree it, so noble Apollo! You then begin the conflict….’ He spoke those words and moved against him with level spear. But Mezentius replied: ‘How can you frighten me, most savage of men, me, bereft of my son? That was the only way you could destroy me: I do not shrink from death, or halt for any god. Cease, since I come here to die, and bring you, first, these gifts.’ He spoke, and hurled a spear at his enemy: then landed another and yet another, wheeling in a wide circle, but the gilded shield withstood them. He rode three times round his careful enemy, widdershins, throwing darts from his hand: three times the Trojan hero dragged round the huge thicket of spears fixed in his bronze shield. Then tired of all that drawn-out delay, and burdened by the unequal conflict, he thought hard, and finally broke free, hurling his spear straight between the war horse’s curved temples. The animal reared, and lashed the air with its hooves, and throwing its rider, followed him down, from above, entangling him, collapsing headlong onto him, its shoulder thrown. Trojans and Latins ignited the heavens with their shouts. Aeneas ran to him, plucking his sword from its sheath and standing over him, cried: ‘Where is fierce Mezentius, now, and the savage force of that spirit?’ The Tuscan replied, as, lifting his eyes to the sky, and gulping the air, he regained his thoughts: ‘Bitter enemy, why taunt, or threaten me in death? There is no sin in killing: I did not come to fight believing so, nor did my Lausus agree any treaty between you and me. I only ask, by whatever indulgence a fallen enemy might claim, that my body be buried in the earth. I know that my people’s fierce hatred surrounds me: protect me, I beg you, from their anger, and let me share a tomb with my son.’ So he spoke, and in full awareness received the sword in his throat, and poured out his life, over his armour, in a wave of blood.

Book 11


Meanwhile Dawn rose and left the ocean waves: though Aeneas’s sorrow urged him to spend his time on his comrades’ burial, and his mind was burdened by death, as victor, at first light, he discharged his vows to the gods. He planted a great oak trunk, its branches lopped all round, on a tumulus, and decked it out as a trophy to you, great god of war, in the gleaming armour stripped from the leader, Mezentius: he fastened the crests to it, dripping with blood, the warrior’s broken spears, and the battered breastplate, pierced in twelve places: he tied the bronze shield to its left side, and hung the ivory-hilted sword from its neck. Then he began to encourage his rejoicing comrades: ‘We have done great things, men: banish all fear of what’s left to do: these are the spoils of a proud king, the first fruits of victory, and this is Mezentius, fashioned by my hands. Now our path is towards King Latinus and his city walls. Look to your weapons, spiritedly, make war your expectation, so when the gods above give us the sign to take up our standards, and lead out our soldiers from the camp, no delay may halt us unawares, or wavering purpose hold us back through fear. Meanwhile let us commit to earth the unburied bodies of our friends, the only tribute recognised in Acheron’s depths. Go,’ he said, ‘grace these noble spirits with your last gifts, who have won this country for us with their blood, and first let Pallas’s body be sent to Evander’s grieving city, he, whom a black day stole, though no way lacking in courage, and plunged in death’s bitterness.’ So he spoke, weeping, and retraced his steps to the threshold where Pallas’s lifeless corpse was laid, watched by old Acoetes, who before had been armour-bearer to Arcadian Evander, but then, under less happy auspices, set out as the chosen guardian for his dear foster-child. All the band of attendants, and the Trojan crowd, stood around, and the Ilian women, hair loosened as customary in mourning. As Aeneas entered the tall doorway they struck their breasts, and raised a great cry to the heavens, and the royal pavilion rang with sad lamentation. When he saw the pillowed face and head of Pallas, pale as snow, and the open wound of the Ausonian spear in his smooth chest, he spoke, his tears rising: ‘Unhappy child, when Fortune entered smiling was it she who begrudged you to me, so that you would not see my kingdom, or ride, victorious, to your father’s house? This was not the last promise I made your father, Evander, on leaving, when he embraced me, sending me off to win a great empire, and warned me with trepidation that the enemy were brave, a tough race. And now, greatly deluded by false hopes, he perhaps is making vows, piling the altars high with gifts, while we, grieving, follow his son in vain procession, one who no longer owes any debt to the gods. Unhappy one, you will see the bitter funeral of your child! Is this how we return, is this our hoped-for triumph? Is this what my great promise amounted to? Yet, Evander, your eyes will not see a son struck down with shameful wounds, nor be a father praying for death, accursed because your son came home alive. Alas, how great was the protector, who is lost to you, Ausonia, and you, Iulus.’ When he had ended his lament, he ordered them to lift the sad corpse, and he sent a thousand men, chosen from the ranks, to attend the last rites, and share the father’s tears, a meagre solace for so great a grief, but owed a father’s sorrow. Others, without delay, interwove the frame of a bier with twigs of oak, and shoots of arbutus, shading the bed they constructed with a covering of leaves. Here they placed the youth high on his rustic couch: like a flower plucked by a young girl’s fingers, a sweet violet or a drooping hyacinth, whose brightness and beauty have not yet faded, but whose native earth no longer nourishes it, or gives it strength. Then Aeneas brought two robes of rigid gold and purple that Sidonian Dido had made for him once, with her own hands, delighting in the labour, interweaving the fabric with gold thread. Sorrowing, he draped the youth with one of these as a last honour, and veiled that hair, which would be burned, with its cloth, and heaped up many gifts as well from the Laurentine battle and ordered the spoils to be carried in a long line: he added horses and weapons stripped from the enemy. He had the hands of those he sent as offerings to the shades, to sprinkle the flames with blood in dying, bound behind their backs, and ordered the leaders themselves to carry tree-trunks draped with enemy weapons, with the names of the foe attached. Unhappy Acoetes, wearied with age, was led along, now bruising his chest with his fists, now marring his face with his nails, until he fell, full-length on the ground: and they led chariots drenched with Rutulian blood. Behind went the war-horse, Aethon, without his trappings, mourning, wetting his face with great tear drops. Others carried Pallas’s spear and helmet, the rest Turnus held as victor. Then a grieving procession followed, Trojans, Etruscans, and Arcadians with weapons reversed. When all the ranks of his comrades had advanced far ahead, Aeneas halted, and added this, with a deep sigh: ‘This same harsh fate of warfare calls me from here to other weeping: my salute for eternity to you, noble Pallas, and for eternity, farewell.’ Without speaking more he turned his steps toward the camp and headed for the walls. And now ambassadors, shaded with olive branches, came from the Latin city, seeking favours: they asked him to return the bodies of men, felled by the sword, overflowing the plain, and allow them to be buried under a mound of earth. there could be no quarrel with the lost, devoid of the light: let him spare those who were once hosts and fathers of brides. Aeneas courteously granted prayers he could not refuse, and added these words as well: ‘Latins, what shameful mischance has entangled you in a war like this, so that you fly from being our friends? Do you seek peace for your dead killed by fate in battle? I would gladly grant it to the living too. I would not be here, if fate had not granted me a place, a home, nor do I wage war on your people: your king abandoned our friendship, and thought Turnus’s army greater. It would have been more just for Turnus himself to meet this death. If he seeks to end the war by force, and drive out the Trojans, he should have fought me with these weapons, he whom the gods, or his right hand granted life, would have survived. Now go and light the fires for your unfortunate countrymen.’ Aeneas had spoken. They were silent, struck dumb, and kept their faces and their gaze fixed on one another. Then Drances, an elder, always hostile to young Turnus, shown in his dislike and reproaches, replied in turn, so: ‘O, Trojan hero, great in fame, greater in battle, how can I praise you to the skies enough? Should I wonder first at your justice, or your efforts in war? Indeed we will gratefully carry these words back to our native city, and if Fortune offers a way, we will ally you to our king. Let Turnus seek treaties for himself. It will be a delight even to raise those massive walls and lift the stones of Troy on our shoulders.’ He spoke, and they all murmured assent with one voice. They fixed a twelve day truce, and with peace as mediator, Trojans and Latins wandered together, in safety, through the wooded hills. The tall ash rang to the two-edged axe, they felled pine-trees towering to the heavens, and they never ceased splitting the oaks, and fragrant cedars, with wedges, or carrying away the manna ash in rumbling wagons. And now Rumour filled Evander’s ears, and the palace’s and the city’s, flying there, bringing news of that great grief: Rumour, that a moment since was carrying Pallas’s victory to Latium. The Arcadians ran to the gates, and following ancient custom, seized torches for the funeral: the road shone with the long ranks of flames, parting the distant fields. The Trojan column, approaching, merged its files of mourners with them. When the women saw them nearing the houses, grief set the city ablaze with its clamour. But no force could restrain Evander, and he ran into their midst, flung himself on Pallas’s body, once the bier was set down, clinging to it with tears and groans, till at last, he spoke, his grief scarcely allowing a path for his voice: ‘O Pallas, this was not the promise you made your father, that you would enter this savage war with caution. I am not ignorant how great new pride in weapons can be, and honour won in a first conflict is very sweet. Alas for the first fruits of your young life, and your harsh schooling in a war so near us, and for my vows and prayers unheard by any god! Happy were you, O my most sacred Queen, in a death that saved you from this sorrow! I, by living on, have exceeded my fate, to survive as father without son. I should have marched with the allied armies of Troy and been killed by those Rutulian spears! I should have given my life, and this pomp should have carried me, not Pallas, home! Yet I do not blame you, Trojans, or our treaty, or the hands we clasped in friendship: my white hairs are the cause of this. And if an untimely death awaited my son it is my joy that he fell leading the Trojans into Latium, killing Volscians in thousands. Indeed, Pallas, I thought you worthy of no other funeral than this that virtuous Aeneas, the great Phyrgians, the Etruscan leaders and all the Etruscans chose. Those, whom your right hand dealt death to, bring great trophies: Turnus, you too would be standing here, a vast tree-trunk hung with weapons, if years and mature strength had been alike in both. But why in my unhappiness do I keep the Trojans from war? Go, and remember to take this message to your king: if I prolong a life that’s hateful to me, now Pallas is dead, it’s because you know your right hand owes father and son the death of Turnus. That is the one path of kindness to me and success for you that lies open. I don’t ask for joy while alive, (that’s not allowed me) but to carry it to my son deep among the shades.’ Dawn, meanwhile, had raised her kindly light on high for wretched men, calling them again to work and toil: now Aeneas the leader, now Tarchon, had erected pyres on the curving bay. Here according to ancestral custom they each brought the bodies of their people, and as the gloomy fires were lit beneath, the high sky was veiled in a dark mist. Three times they circled the blazing piles, clad in gleaming armour, three times they rounded the mournful funeral flames on horseback, and uttered wailing cries. Tears sprinkled the earth, and sprinkled the armour, the clamour of men and blare of trumpets climbed to the heavens. Then some flung spoils, stripped from the slaughtered Latins, onto the fire, helmets and noble swords, bridles and swift wheels: others, gifts familiar to the dead, their shields and luckless weapons. Many head of cattle were sacrificed round these, to Death. They cut the throats of bristling boars, and flocks culled from the whole country, over the flames. Then they watched their comrades burn, all along the shore, and kept guard over the charred pyres, and could not tear themselves away till dew-wet night wheeled the sky round, inset with shining stars. Elsewhere too the wretched Latins built innumerable pyres. Some of the many corpses they buried in the earth, some they took and carried to the fields nearby, or sent onwards to the city. The rest, a vast pile of indiscriminate dead, they burnt without count, and without honours: then the wide fields on every side shone thick with fires, in emulation. The third dawn dispelled chill shadows from the sky: grieving, they raked the bones, mixed with a depth of ash, from the pyres, and heaped a mound of warm earth over them. Meanwhile, the main clamour, and the heart of their prolonged lamentation, was inside the walls, in the city of rich Latinus. Here mothers and unhappy daughters-in-law, here the loving hearts of grieving sisters, and boys robbed of their fathers, cursed the dreadful war, and the marriage Turnus had intended, and demanded that he and he alone should fight it out with armour and blade, he who claimed for himself the kingdom of Italy, and the foremost honours. Cruelly, Drances added to this and testified that Turnus alone was summoned, that he alone was challenged to battle. At the same time many an opinion in varied words was against it, and for Turnus, and the Queen’s noble name protected him, while his great fame, and the trophies he’d earned, spoke for him. Amongst this stir, at the heart of the blaze of dissension, behold, to crown it all, the ambassadors brought an answer from Diomedes’s great city, sad that nothing had been achieved at the cost of all their efforts, presents and gold and heartfelt prayers had been useless, the Latins must find other armies or seek peace with the Trojan king. King Latinus sank beneath this vast disappointment. The angry gods and the fresh graves before his eyes, had given warning that this fateful Aeneas was clearly sent by divine will. So, summoning his high council, the leaders of his people, by royal command, he gathered them within his tall gates. They convened, streaming to the king’s palace, through the crowded streets. Latinus, the oldest and most powerful, seated himself at their centre, with no pleasure in his aspect. And he ordered the ambassadors, back from the Aetolian city, to tell their news, asking for all the answers in order. Then all tongues fell silent, and, obeying his order, Venulus began as follows: ‘O citizens, we have seen Diomedes and his Argive camp, completed our journey, overcome all dangers, and grasped that hand by which the land of Troy fell. As victor over the Iapygian fields, by the Garganus hills, he was founding the city of Argyripa, named after his father’s people. When we had entered, and were given leave to speak to him in person, we offered our gifts, and declared our name and country: who had made war on us: and what had brought us to Arpi. He listened and replied in this way with a calm look: “O fortunate nations, realms of Saturn, ancient peoples of Ausonia, what fortune troubles your peace and persuades you to invite base war? We who violated the fields of Troy with our blades, (forgetting what we endured in battle beneath her high walls, or those warriors Simois drowned) have paid in atrocious suffering, and every kind of punishment, for our sins, throughout the world, a crew that even Priam would have pitied: Minerva’s dark star and that cliff of Euboea, Caphereus the avenger, know it. Menelaus, son of Atreus, driven from that warfare to distant shores, was exiled as far as Egypt, and the Pillars of Proteus, while Ulysses has viewed the Cyclopes of Aetna. Even Mycenean Agamemnon, leader of the mighty Greeks, was struck down at the hand of his wicked wife, when barely over the threshold: he conquered Asia, but an adulterer lurked. Need I speak of the kingdom of Neoptolemus, Idomeneus’s household overthrown, or the Locrians living on Libya’s coast? How the gods begrudged me my return to my country’s altars: the wife I longed for: and lovely Calydon? Even now visitations pursue me, dreadful to see: my lost comrades, as birds, sought the sky with their wings or haunt the streams (alas a dire punishment for my people!) and fill the cliffs with their mournful cries. This was the fate I should have expected from that moment when, in madness, I attacked Venus’s heavenly body with my sword, and harmed her hand by wounding it. Do not, in truth, do not urge me to such conflict. Since Troy’s towers have fallen I have no quarrel with Teucer’s race, nor have I joyful memories of those ancient evils. Take the gifts your bring me, from your country, to Aeneas. I have withstood his cruel weapons and fought him hand to hand: trust my knowledge of how he looms tall above his shield, with what power he hurls his spear. Had the Troad produced two other men like him, the Trojans would have reached the Greek cities, and Greece would be grieving, their fates reversed. During all that time we spent facing the walls of enduring Troy a Greek victory was stalled at the hands of Hector and Aeneas, and denied us till the tenth year. Both were outstanding in courage and weaponry: Aeneas was first in virtue. Join hands with him in confederation, as best you can, but beware of crossing swords with him.” Noblest of kings, you have heard, in one, what their king replies and what his counsels are concerning this great war.’ The ambassadors had scarcely finished speaking when diverse murmurs passed swiftly among the troubled Italian faces, just as when rocks detain a flowing river a muttering rises from the imprisoned eddies, and the banks, that border it echo with splashing waves. As soon as thoughts were calmer and anxious lips were quiet, the king began to speak, from his high throne, first calling on the gods: ‘Latins, I wish we had decided on this vital matter before now, and it would have been better not to convene the council at such a moment, when the enemy is settled in front of our walls. Citizens we are waging a wrong-headed war with a divine race, unconquered warriors whom no battles weary, and who will not relinquish the sword even when beaten. If you had hopes of the alliance with Aetolian armies, forgo them. Each has his own hopes: but see how slight they are. As for the rest of our affairs, the utter ruin they lie in is in front of your eyes and under your hands. I accuse no one: what the utmost courage could do has been done: the conflict has taken all the strength of our kingdom. So let me explain the decision of my deliberating mind, and I will outline it briefly (apply your thoughts to it). There’s an ancient domain of mine along the Tuscan river, stretching westward, to the Sicanian border and beyond: Auruncans and Rutulians work the stubborn hills with the plough, sow seed there, and use the roughest slopes as pasture. Let us yield all this region, with the pine-clad tract of high hills, to the Trojans in friendship, and spell out the just terms of a treaty, and invite them to share our kingdom: let them settle, if their desire is such, and build their city. But if their wish is to conquer other territories and some other nation, and they might leave our soil, let us fashion twenty ships of Italian oak: or more if they can fill them, all the timber lies close to the water: let them set out the number and design of their fleet themselves: we’ll give the labour, the shipyard and the bronze. Moreover, I want a hundred envoys to go to carry the news and seal the pact, Latins of noblest birth, holding out branches as peace tokens in their hands, and bearing gifts, talents of ivory and gold, and the throne and the robe, symbols of royalty. Consult together, and repair our weary fortunes.’ Then Drances, whom Turnus’s glory provoked with the bitter sting of secret envy, rose, hostile as before,: lavish of his wealth, and a better speaker, but with a hand frozen in battle: held to be no mean adviser in council, and powerful in a quarrel (his mother’s high birth granted him nobility, his father’s origin was uncertain): and with these words added weight and substance to their anger: ‘O gracious king, you consult us on a subject clear to all, and needing no speech from us: everyone acknowledges they know what the public good demands, but shrink from speech. Let that man, through whose inauspicious leadership and perverse ways (speak I will though he threaten me with violence or death) we have seen so many glorious leaders fall, and the city sunk in mourning, while he attacks the Trojan camp, trusting in flight, and frightens heaven with his weapons, let him grant freedom of speech, and cease his arrogance. Add one further gift to the many you order us to send and communicate to the Trojans, one more, gracious king, why not, as a father may, and let no man’s violence prevent you, give your daughter to an illustrious man in a marriage worthy of her, binding this peace with an everlasting contract. But if fear of doing such possesses our minds and hearts, let us appeal to the prince, and beg permission from him: to yield, and give up his rights in favour of his king and his country. O Turnus, you who are the source and reason for all these problems for Latium, why do you so often hurl your wretched countrymen into obvious danger? There’s no remedy in war, we all ask you for peace, together with the sole inviolable pledge of peace. I first of all, whom you imagine to be your enemy (and I will not contest it) come as a suppliant. Pity your people, set your pride aside, and conquered, give way. Routed, we have seen enough of death and made broad acres desolate. Or, if glory stirs you, if you harbour such strength of feeling, and if a palace as dowry is so dear to you, be bold, and carry yourself confidently against the enemy. Surely we whose lives are worthless should be scattered over the fields, unburied and unwept, so that Turnus might gain his royal bride? And you too, if you have any strength, if you have any of your father’s warlike spirit, you must look into the face of your challenger.’ Turnus’s fury blazed at such a speech. He gasped and from the depths of his heart gave vent to these words: ‘Drances, it’s true you always have more than plenty to say whenever war calls for men, and you’re first to appear when the senate is called together. But there’s no need to fill the council-house with words, that fly so freely from you when you are safe, when the rampart walls keep the enemy off and the ditches are not yet drowned in blood. So thunder away, eloquently (as is your wont) Drances, and charge me with cowardice when your hand has produced like mounds of Trojan dead, and dotted the fields everywhere with trophies. You’re free to try what raw courage can do, and certainly we don’t need to search far for enemies: they’re surrounding the walls on every side. Shall we go against them? Why hesitate? Will your appetite for war always remain in your airy tongue and fleeing feet? I, beaten? You total disgrace, can anyone who sees the Tiber swollen with Trojan blood, and all Evander’s house and race toppled, and the Arcadians stripped of weapons, say with justice I am beaten? Bitias, and giant Pandarus, and the thousand men that I as victor sent down to Tartarus in one day, did not find it so, imprisoned though I was by the walls, and hedged by enemy ramparts. No safety in war? Madman, sing such about the Trojan’s life, and your possessions. Go on then, troubling everyone with your great fears, and extolling the powers of a race twice-defeated, while disparaging Latinus’s army. Now even Myrmidon princes, now Diomede, Tydeus’s son, and Larissean Achilles, tremble at Trojan weapons, and Aufidus’s river flows backwards from the Adriatic waves. And what when he pretends he’s afraid to quarrel with me, the cunning rascal, and intensifies the charge with false terror. You’ll not lose a life like yours to my right hand (don’t shrink) keep it, let it remain in your breast. Now, old father, I return to you and your great debate. If you place no further hope in our forces, if we’re so desolate, if one reverse for our troops has utterly destroyed us, and our Fortunes cannot return, let’s stretch out our helpless hands, and sue for peace. Oh if only our traditional courage was here, though. That man to me would be happy in his efforts, and outstanding in spirit, who had fallen in death, so as not to see such things, and who had bitten the dust once and for all. Yet if we still have our wealth and manhood intact and nations and cities of Italy are still our allies, if the Trojans won glory with great bloodshed, (they too have their dead, the storm of war’s the same for all) why do we lose heart, shamefully, on the very threshold? Why does fear seize our limbs before the trumpets sound? Many things change for the better with time, and the various labours of altering years: Fortune toys with many a man, then, visiting him in turn, sets him on solid ground again. The Aetolian and his Arpi will be no help to us: but Messapus will, and Tolumnius, the fortunate, and all those leaders sent by many a people: no little glory will accrue to the flower of Latium and Laurentine fields. We have Camilla too, of the glorious Volscian nation, leading her troop of riders, and squadrons bright with bronze. But if the Trojans only call me to fight, and that’s your wish, if I’m so great an obstacle to the common good, Victory is far from having fled these hands of mine with such hatred that I should refuse to try anything for a hope so sweet. I’d face him with courage though he outclassed great Achilles, and wore armour to match, fashioned by Vulcan’s hands. I, Turnus, not second in virtue to any of my ancestors, dedicate my life to you all, and to Latinus, father of my bride, Aeneas challenges me alone? I pray that he does so challenge: and, if the gods’ anger is in this, that it is not Drances rather than I who appeases them in death, or if there’s worth and glory, takes it all. Arguing among themselves, they debated the issues in doubt: while Aeneas was moving his camp and lines. See, a messenger runs through the royal palace, with great commotion, filling the city with huge alarm: the Trojans, ready for battle, and the Etruscan ranks were sweeping down from the river Tiber, over the plain. At once people’s minds were troubled, their hearts shaken, and their deep anger roused by the ungentle shock. Anxiously they called for weapons: weapons the young men shouted, while their sad fathers wept and murmured. And now a great clamour filled with discord rose to heaven on every side, as when a flock of birds settles by chance in some tall grove, or when the swans give their hoarse calls, among noisy pools, by Padusa’s fish-filled streams. ‘Yes, oh citizens,’ Turnus cried, seizing his moment, ‘convene your council and sit there praising peace: while they attack us with weapons.’ He said no more but sprang up and went swiftly from the high halls. ‘You, Volusus,’ he shouted, ‘tell the Volscian troops to arm, and lead the Rutulians. Messapus, and Coras with your brother, deploy the cavalry, under arms, over the wide plain. Let some secure the city gates, and occupy the towers: the rest carry their weapons with me, where I order.’ At once there was a rush to the walls all over the city. King Latinus himself left the council, dismayed by the darkness of the hour, and abandoned his great plan, reproaching himself again and again for not having freely received Trojan Aeneas, and adopted him as his son-in-law for the city’s sake. Some dug trenches in front of the gates or carried stones and stakes. The harsh trumpet gave the cruel call to war. Then a diverse circle of mothers and sons ringed the walls: this final trial summoned them all. Moreover the Queen, with a great crowd of women, drove to Pallas’s temple on the heights of the citadel carrying gifts, virgin Lavinia next to her as her companion, a source of so much trouble, her beautiful eyes cast down. The women climbed to the temple, filled it with incense fumes, and poured out sad prayers from the high threshold: ‘Tritonian Virgin, mighty in weapons, ruler of war, shatter the spear of the Trojan robber, with your hand, hurl him flat on the earth, stretch him prone beneath our high gates.’ Turnus, in a fury of zeal, armed himself for battle. He was already dressed in his glowing breastplate, bristling with bronze scales, his legs sheathed in gold, his temples still bare, his sword buckled to his side, shining, splendid, as he ran down from the citadel’s heights, exultant in spirit, already anticipating the enemy in hope: like a stallion, breaking his tether and fleeing his stall, free at last, lord of the open plain, who either heads for the pastures and the herds of mares, or, used to bathing in some familiar river, gallops away, and, with head held high, neighs with pleasure, his mane playing over neck and shoulder. Camilla sped to meet him, accompanied by her Volscian troops, and alighted from her horse close by the gates, all her company leaving their mounts at her example, and slipping to earth: then she spoke as follows: ‘Turnus, if the brave may rightly have faith in themselves, I dare to, and promise to, encounter Aeneas’s cavalry, and ride to meet the Etruscan horsemen alone. Let me attempt the first dangers of the battle with my hand while you stay by the walls and protect the ramparts.’ Turnus replied, his gaze fixed on this amazing girl: ‘O virgin glory of Italy, how should I attempt to thank you or repay you? But as your spirit soars beyond us all, share the task with me. Aeneas, so rumour says, and scouts sent out confirm, has deployed his light cavalry to search the plains thoroughly: he himself climbing the ridge, marches through the desolate heights towards the town. I am preparing an ambush on a deep track in the woods, so as to block both entrances to the gorge with armed men: you must wait for the Etruscan cavalry charge: brave Messapus will be with you, and the Latin troops, and Tiburtus’s band, and you must take command as leader.’ So he spoke, and exhorted Messapus and all the allied generals to battle, with similar words, then moved against the enemy. There’s a valley with a winding bend, suitable for the tricks and stratagems of warfare, crowded on both sides by a dark wall of dense leaves, to which a narrow track leads: it has a confined floor, and a difficult entrance. Above it, among the look-outs of the high mountain tops, lies a hidden level and a secure shelter, whether one wishes to attack to right or left, or make a stand on the ridge and roll huge boulders down. Here the warrior hurried by a well known network of paths and taking position he occupied the treacherous woods. Meanwhile, in heaven’s halls, Diana, Latona’s daughter, spoke to swift Opis, one of her sacred band of virgin followers, and gave voice to these sorrowful words: ‘O girl, Camilla, is going to the cruel war, and takes up my weapons in vain. She’s dearer to me than all others, and this is no new love that comes to Diana, or moves my spirit with sudden sweetness. When Metabus was driven from his throne by hatred of his tyrannical power, and was leaving Privernum, his ancient city, fleeing amidst the conflict of war, he took his child to share his exile, and, slightly altering her mother’s name Casmilla, called her Camilla. Carrying her in front of him at his breast he sought a long ridge of lonely forests: fierce weapons threatened him on every side, and the Volscians hovered round him with their troops. While they were still in mid-flight, see, the Ausenus overflowed, foaming to the top of its banks, so great a downpour burst from the clouds. He, preparing to swim across, was held back by love of his child, and fear for his dear burden. Quickly, debating all options with himself, he settled reluctantly on this idea: the warrior fastened his daughter to the giant spear, solid with knots and of seasoned oak, he chanced to be carrying in his strong hand, wrapping her in the bark of a cork-tree from the woods, and tying her wisely to the middle of the shaft: then balancing it in his mighty hand he cried out to the heavens: ‘Kind virgin daughter of Latona, dweller in the woods, I her father dedicate this child to your service: fleeing the enemy through the air, yours is the first weapon she clasps as a suppliant. Goddess I beg you to accept as your own this that I now commit to the uncertain breeze.’ He spoke, and drawing back his arm hurled the spinning shaft: the waters roared, and the wretched Camilla flew over the rushing river on the hissing steel. And Metabus, with a great crowd of his enemies pressing him closely, gave himself to the flood, and victoriously snatched his gift to Diana from the grassy turf, the spear and the little maid. No city would accept him within their houses or their walls, (nor would he in his savagery have given himself up to them) he passed his life among shepherds on the lonely mountains. Here, among the thickets of savage lairs, he nourished his child at the udders of a mare from the herd, and milk from wild creatures, squeezing the teats into her delicate mouth. As soon as the infant had taken her first steps, he placed a sharp lance in her hands, and hung bow and quiver from the little one’s shoulder. A tiger’s pelt hung over head and down her back instead of a gold clasp for her hair, and a long trailing robe. Even then she was hurling childish spears with tender hand, whirling a smooth-thonged sling round her head, bringing down Strymonian cranes and snowy swans. Many a mother in Etruscan fortresses wished for her as a daughter-in-law in vain: she, pure, content with Diana alone, cherished her love of her weapons and maidenhood. I wish she had not been swept up into such warfare, trying to challenge the Trojans: she would be my darling, and one of my company still. Come now, nymph, since bitter fate drives her on, slip from the sky and seek out the Latin borders, where with evil omen they join in sad battle. Take these weapons and draw an avenging arrow from the quiver, and if anyone violates her sacred flesh by wounding her, Trojan or Italian, pay me with their equal punishment in blood. Then I’ll carry the body and untouched weapons of the poor girl in a cavernous cloud to a sepulchre, and bury her in her own land.’ She spoke, and Opis slid down with a sound through heaven’s light air, her body veiled in a dark whirlwind. In the meantime the Trojan band with the Etruscan leaders, and all the cavalry, approached the walls, marshalled in squadrons troop by troop. Warhorses neighing, cavorted over the whole area, fighting the tight rein, prancing this way and that: the field bristled far and wide with the steel of spears, and the plain blazed with lifted weapons. On the other side, also, Messapus, and the swift Latins, Coras with his brother, and virgin Camilla’s wing appeared, opposing them on the plain, and drawing their right arms far back they thrust their lances forward, the spear-points quivered: the march of men and the neighing of horses increased. And now both halted their advance within a spear’s throw: they ran forward with a sudden shout and spurred on their maddened horses, spears showered from all sides at once as dense as snowflakes, and the sky was veiled in darkness. Immediately Tyrrhenus and brave Aconteus charged each other, with levelled spears, and were the first to fall with a mighty crash, shattering their horses’ breastbones as they collided: Aconteus, hurled like a thunderbolt or a heavy stone shot from a catapult, was thrown some distance, and wasted his breath of life on the air. At once the ranks wavered, and the Latins slung their shields behind them, and turned their mounts towards the walls. The Trojans pursued, Asilas their leader heading the squadrons. Now they were nearing the gates when the Latins again raised a shout, and turned their horse’s responsive necks: the Trojans now fled, and retreated to a distance with loose reins, like the sea running in with alternate waves, now rushing to shore, dashing over the rocks in a foaming flood, drenching the furthest sands with its swell, now retreating quickly, sucking rolling pebbles in its wash, leaving dry sand as the shallows ebbed: twice the Tuscans drove the routed Rutulians to the city, twice, repulsed, they looked behind, defending their backs with their shields. But when they clashed in a third encounter their lines locked tight, and man marked man, then truly, the battle swelled fiercely among the groans of the dying, with weapons, bodies, and horses in their death-throes, in pools of blood, entangled with slaughtered riders. Orsilochus hurled a lance at Remulus’s horse, fearing to attack the man, and left the point embedded beneath its ear: The rearing charger, maddened by the blow, and unable to bear the wound, lifted its chest, and thrashed high with its forelegs, Remulus thrown clear, rolled on the ground. Catillus felled Iollas and Herminius, a giant in courage, a giant in torso and limbs, tawny hair on his head, his shoulders bare, for whom wounds held no terror he spread so wide in his armour. The driven spear passed quivering through his broad shoulders, and, piercing him, doubled him up with pain. Dark blood streamed everywhere: clashing with swords, they dealt death and sought a glorious ending through their wounds. But an Amazon exulted in the midst of the slaughter, with one breast bared for battle: Camilla, armed with her quiver: now she showered sturdy javelins, scattering them from her hands, now she lifted a strong battle-axe in her unwearied grasp: and Diana’s weapon, a golden bow, rattled on her shoulder. Even when she retreated, attacked from behind, she reversed her bow and fired arrows while fleeing. And around her were chosen comrades, virgin Larina, and Tulla, and Tarpeia wielding her axe of bronze, the Italides, daughters of Italy, whom noble Camilla chose herself as her glory, faithful servants in peace or war: such were the Amazons of Thrace, treading Thermodon’s streams, and fighting with ornate weapons, around Hippolyte, or when Penthesilea returned, in her chariot, and the ranks of women with crescent shields exulted. Whom did you strike, first and last, with your spear, fierce girl? How many bodies did you spill over the earth? Euneus, son of Clytius, was the first, whose exposed chest she pierced with her long shaft of pine, as he faced her. He fell, spewing streams of blood, and bit the gory dust, and, dying, writhed on his wound. Then she killed Liris and Pagasus too, one gathering the reins of his wounded horse as he rolled from it, the other nearing to stretch out a defenceless hand to the falling man, both flung headlong together. She added to them Amastrus, son of Hippotas, and, leaning forward to throw, sent her spear after Tereus, Harpalycus, Demophoon and Cromis: and as many spears as the girl sent spinning from her hand, so many Trojan warriors fell. The huntsman Ornytus was riding far off, in unfamiliar armour, on his Iapygian horse, the hide stripped from a bullock covering his broad shoulders, his head protected by a wolf’s huge gaping mask, and white-toothed jaws, a rustic’s hunting-spear in his hand: he moved along in the centre of the army, a full head above the rest. Catching him she struck him (no effort in the routed ranks) then with pitiless heart spoke above him: ‘Did you think you chased prey in the forest, Tuscan? The day is here that proves your words wrong, with a woman’s weapons. But you’ll carry no small fame to your father’s shades, you fell to Camilla’s spear.’ Then she killed Orsilochus and Butes, two of the largest Trojans, Butes she fixed with a spear in the back, between breastplate and helmet, where the rider’s neck gleams and the shield hangs from the left arm: while fleeing from Orsilochus, chased in a wide circle, she eluded him, wheeling inside, pursuing the pursuer: then, lifting herself higher, drove her strong axe, again and again, through armour and bone, as he begged and prayed desperately: the wounds staining his face with warm brain-matter. Now the warrior son of Aunus, met her, and suddenly halted, terrified at the sight, he a man of the Apennines, not the least of the lying Ligurians while fate allowed it. When he saw he couldn’t escape a fight by a turn of speed, or divert the queen from her attack, he tried to devise a stratagem with wit and cunning, as follows: ‘What’s so great about relying on a strong horse, woman? Forget flight, and trust yourself to fighting me on level ground, equip yourself to battle on foot: you’ll soon know whose windy boasting’s an illusion.’ He spoke, and she, raging and burning with bitter resentment, handed her horse to a friend, and faced him with equal weapons. on foot and unafraid, with naked sword and plain shield. But the youth, sure he had won by guile, sped off (instantly), flicking his reins, took to flight, pricking his horse to a gallop with spurs of steel. The girl shouted: ‘Stupid Ligurian, uselessly vaunting your boastful spirit, you’ve tried your slippery native wiles in vain, and cunning won’t carry you back to Aunus unharmed.’ And like lightening she intercepted the horse’s path, on swift feet, and seizing the reins from in front tackled him, and took vengeance on the blood she hated: as light as a falcon, Apollo’s sacred bird, swooping from a tall rock, overtaking a dove in flight in the high cloud, holding her in its talons, and tearing her heart out with its curved talons: while blood and torn feathers shower from the sky. But the father of gods and men with watchful eyes sat throned on high Olympus observing it all. The maker stirred the Etruscan, Tarchon, to fierce battle and goaded him to anger with no gentle spur. So Tarchon rode amidst the slaughter and the wavering ranks, inciting his squadrons with varied shouts, and calling each man by name, rallying the routed to the fight. ‘What fear, what utter cowardice has filled your hearts, O, you ever-sluggish Tuscans, O you who are never ashamed? Can a woman drive you in disorder and turn your ranks? Why do we bear swords and spears idle in our right hands? But you are not slow to love or for nocturnal battles, nor when the curved pipe proclaims the Bacchic dance. Wait then for the feast and wine-cups on the loaded tables, (that is your passion and your pleasure) while the happy seer reports the sacred omens, and the rich sacrifice calls you into the deep grove!’ So saying, and ready to die, he spurred his mount into the press, tore at Venulus like a whirlwind, and snatched him from his horse, and, clasping his enemy to his chest with his right arm, and stirring himself to a mighty effort, carried him off. A shout rose to the skies and all the Latins turned their gaze that way. Tarchon flew over the plain like lightning, carrying weapons and man: then he broke of the iron tip of his enemy’s spear, and searched for an unguarded opening where he might deal a deadly wound: Venulus, struggling with him, kept the hand from his throat, meeting force with force. As when a tawny eagle soaring high carries a snake it has caught, entwined in its feet, with talons clinging, while the wounded serpent writhes in sinuous coils, and rears its bristling scales, hissing with its mouth as it rises up, and none the less attacks its struggling prey, with curved beak, while its wings beat the air: so Tarchon carried his prize in triumph from the Tiburtian ranks. Emulating their leader’s example and success, the Etruscans charged. And now Arruns, a man whose life was owed to the fates, began to circle swift Camilla, with his javelin, with skilful cunning, trying for the easiest of chances. Wherever the girl rode among the ranks, in her fury, there Arruns shadowed her, and followed her track in silence: wherever she returned in triumph or withdrew from the foe, there the youth secretly turned his quick reins. He tried this approach and that, travelling the whole circuit on every side, relentlessly brandishing his sure spear. It chanced that Chloreus, once a priest, sacred to Cybele, glittered some distance away splendid in Phrygian armour, spurring his foam-flecked horse, that a hide, plumed with bronze scales, and clasped with gold, protected. He himself, shining with deep colours and foreign purple, fired Gortynian arrows from a Lycian bow: the weapon was golden on his shoulder, and golden the seer’s helm: his saffron cloak and its rustling folds of linen were gathered into a knot with yellow gold, his tunic and barbaric leg-coverings embroidered by the needle. The virgin huntress singling him out from all the press of battle, either hoping to hang his Trojan weapons in the temple, or to display herself in captured gold, pursued him blindly, and raged recklessly through the ranks, with a feminine desire for prizes and spoil, when Arruns, finally seizing his chance, raised his spear from ambush and prayed aloud, like this, to heaven: ‘Highest of gods, Apollo, guardian of holy Soracte, whose chief followers are we for whom the blaze of the pine-wood fire is fed, and who as worshippers, confident in our faith, plant our steps on deep embers among the flames, all-powerful father grant that this shame be effaced by our weapons. I seek no prize, no trophy of the girl’s defeat, no spoils: some other deed will bring me fame: only let this dreadful scourge fall wounded under my blow, and I’ll return without glory to the cities of my ancestors.’ Phoebus heard him, and granted the success of half the prayer in his mind, half he scattered on the passing breeze: he agreed to the prayer that Arruns might bring Camilla to sudden death’s ruin: but did not grant that his noble country should see him return, and the gusts carried his words away on the southerly winds. So as the spear whistled through the air, speeding from his hand, all the Volscians turned their eager eyes and minds towards the queen. She herself noticed neither breeze nor sound, nor the weapon falling from the sky, till the spear went home, fixing itself under her naked breast, and driven deep, drank of her virgin blood. Her friends rushed to her anxiously and caught their falling queen. Arruns, more fearful than the rest, fled in joy and terror, not daring to trust his spear further, or meet the virgin’s weapons. And as a wolf that has killed a shepherd, or a great bullock, immediately hides itself deep in the pathless mountains before the hostile spears can reach it, conscious of its audacious actions, and holds its lowered tail quivering between its legs, as it heads for the woods: so Arruns, in turmoil, stole away from sight, and, content to escape, plunged into the midst of the army. Camilla tugged at the weapon with dying hands, but the iron point was fixed between the bones, near the ribs, deep in the wound. She sank back bloodless, her eyes sank, chill with death, the once radiant colour had left her cheeks. Then, expiring, she spoke to Acca, one of her peers, faithful to Camilla beyond all others, sole sharer of her sorrows, and uttered these words to her: ‘Acca, my sister, my strength lasted this far: now the bitter wound exhausts me, and all around me darkens with shadows. Fly, and carry my final commands to Turnus: he must take my place in the battle, and keep the Trojans from the city. Now farewell.’ With these words she let go the reins, slipping helplessly to earth. Then, little by little, growing cold she loosed herself from her body completely, dipping the unresponsive neck and that head death had seized, letting go her weapons, and with a sob her life fled angrily to the shades below. Then indeed an immense shout rose, reaching the golden stars: with Camilla fallen, the battle swelled: the Trojan host, the Etruscan leaders, and Evander’s Arcadian squadrons rushed on in a mass together. Now Opis, Diana’s sentinel, had been seated there on a mountain, for a long time, watching the battle fearlessly. And when she saw far off, amongst the clamour of raging armies, that Camilla had paid the penalty of death, she sighed and uttered these words from the depths of her heart: ‘Ah too cruel, virgin girl, too cruel the sacrifice you have made, for trying to challenge the Trojans in war! It has not helped you that you worshipped Diana in the lonely woods and wore our quiver on your shoulder. Yet your queen has not left you without honour now in the extremes of death, nor will your loss be without fame among the people, nor will you suffer the infamy of dying un-avenged. For whoever desecrated your body with this wound will pay the price of death.’ An earthen mound, covered with shadowy holm-oak, stood beneath the high mountain, the vast tomb of Dercennus, an ancient Laurentine king: here the loveliest of goddesses, after swift flight, first set foot and caught sight of Arruns from the high tumulus. When she saw him shining in armour, swollen with pride, she cried: ‘Why go so far away? Turn your steps here, come this way to destruction, and receive your reward, worthy of Camilla. May even you not die by Diana’s weapons?’ She spoke: then the Thracian goddess took a winged arrow from her golden quiver, and stretched the bow in anger, drawing it far back, until the curving horns met, and now with levelled arms she touched the steel tip with her left hand, and her breast and the bow-string with her right. At the same moment as Arruns heard the hissing dart, and the rushing air, both one, the steel was fixed in his body. His allies, oblivious, left him on the unmemorable dust of the plain, gasping and groaning in extremity: while Opis winged her way to heavenly Olympus. Camilla’s light cavalry were first to flee, their mistress lost, the Rutulians fled in turmoil, brave Atinas fled, scattered leaders and abandoned troops sought safety, and, wheeling their horses about, headed for the walls. No one could check the pursuing, death-dealing Trojans with weapons, or stand against them but slung their unstrung bows on bowed shoulders, and their horses’ hooves shook the crumbling earth in flight. A cloud of dark murky dust rolled towards the walls, and mothers, from the watchtowers, raised the womens’ cry to the stars in heaven, as they beat their breasts. The enemy host pressed hard on those who first broke at speed through the open gates, mixing with their lines, so they did not escape a pitiful death, but, pierced through, gasped away their lives on the very threshold, their country’s walls around them, within the shelter of their houses. Some closed the gates, and dared not open a path for their friends or let them inside the walls, though they begged, and the most pitiful death followed, of those defending the entrance in arms, and those rushing onto the swords. Some driven by the rout, shut out, in front of the gaze and the weeping faces of their parents, rolled headlong into the ditches, others charging blindly with loose reins battered at the gates and the tough gate-posts barring their way. The women themselves when they saw Camilla from the walls in fierce emulation (true love of country guided them) threw weapons with their weak hands, and in their haste used poles of tough oak and fire-hardened stakes instead of steel, and were ablaze to die in the forefront defending the walls. Meanwhile in the forest, the bitterest of messages filled Turnus’s thoughts: Acca had brought the warrior her news of the mighty rout: the Volscian ranks annihilated, Camilla killed, the enemy advancing fiercely, sweeping all before them in the fortune of war, panic now reaching the city. Maddened he abandoned the ambush among the hills (so Jove’s cruel will demanded) and left the wild forest. He had scarcely passed from view, in reaching the plain, when Aeneas, the leader, mounted the ridge, after entering the unguarded gorge, and emerging from the dense woods. So they both marched quickly towards the walls, in full force, and with no great distance between them: and at that moment Aeneas saw the plain, far off, smoking with dust, and caught sight of the Laurentine army, and Turnus realised that fatal Aeneas was in arms, and heard the march of feet, and the sound of horses. They would have joined battle at once and attempted combat, but rosy Phoebus was already bathing his weary team in the Spanish deeps, and, day waning, brought back the night. They camped before the city, and strengthened their defences.

Book 12


When Turnus saw the Latins exhausted, and weakened by their military reverse, himself the subject of every gaze, his own promise to them yet unfulfilled, he burned implacably, and unprompted, and raised his courage. As a lion, in the African bush, severely hurt by huntsmen with a wound to the chest, only then rouses himself to battle, tosses his shaggy mane over his neck, in joy, and, unafraid, snaps off the spear some poacher has planted in him, roaring from blood-stained jaws: so the violence grew in Turnus’s inflamed heart. Then he spoke to the king, beginning turbulently like this: ‘There’s no reluctance here, in Turnus: there’s no reason for Aeneas’s coward crew to take back their words or renounce their pact: I go to meet him. Carry out the holy rite, father, and draw up the marriage contract. I’ll either send this Trojan, this Asian deserter, to Tartarus, (let the Latins sit and watch) and with my sword, alone, dispel the nation’s shame, or let him possess the defeated, let Lavinia go then as his bride.’ Latinus replied to him with calm in his heart: ‘O youth of noble spirit, the more you excel in fierce courage, the more it is right for me to take careful thought, and weigh every event with caution. You have your father Daunus’s kingdom, you have the many fortresses you captured by force, and Latinus is not short of gold and generosity: there are other unmarried girls, not ignoble in birth, in the fields of Latium and Laurentium. Allow me to say this, un-gently, openly stripped of all guile, and take it to heart: it was forbidden for me to ally my daughter to any of her former suitors, and all gods and men decreed it. Conquered by love for you, conquered by kinship, and the tears of a sorrowful wife, I broke all bounds: I snatched the betrothed girl from my son-in-law to be, and drew the impious sword. You see, Turnus, what events, what war dogs me, what a heavy burden you above all bear. Defeated in two great battles we can hardly preserve the hopes of Italy in our city: Tiber’s streams are yet warm with our blood, the vast plains whitened by our bones. Why did I waver so often? What madness changed my decision? If I’d be ready to accept the Trojans as allies with Turnus dead, why not rather end the conflict while he’s alive? What would your Rutulian kin say, and the rest of Italy, if I betrayed you to death (let chance deny those words!) while seeking my daughter in marriage? Consider the fortunes of war: pity your aged father, whom his native Ardea keeps apart from us, sorrowing.’ Turnus’s fury was unaffected by these words: it mounted higher, inflamed by the treatment. As soon as he was able to speak, he began like this: ‘Most gracious one, that concern you feel for me, I beg you, for me, set it aside, and allow me to barter death for glory. I too can scatter spears and no lack of steel, from my hand, father, and blood flows from the wounds I make as well. His goddess mother will be far from him, she who covers his flight with mist, like a woman, and hides in empty shadows.’ But the queen wept, terrified by the new terms of conflict, and clung to her ardent son, as if she were dying: ‘Turnus, one thing I beg of you, by these tears, by any respect for Amata that touches your heart: you are my only hope, the peace of my sad old age, the honour and power of Latinus is in your hands, our whole tottering house rests on you: do not engage in combat with the Trojans. Whatever danger awaits you in that battle awaits me too, Turnus: I would leave this hateful light with you and will never, as a prisoner, see Aeneas as my son-in-law.’ Lavinia listened to her mother’s words, her burning cheeks wet with tears, while a deep blush kindled their fire, and spread over her glowing face. Her virgin looks showed such colour as when one stains Indian ivory with crimson dye, or as white lilies redden when mixed with many a rose. Love stirred Turnus, and he fixed his gaze on the girl: fired still more for battle, he spoke briefly to Amata: ‘O mother, I beg you not to send me off with tears, or like ill omens, as I leave for the battles of a bitter war: Turnus is not free to delay his hour of death. Idmon, as a messenger, carry my unwelcome words to the Trojan leader. When tomorrow’s Dawn, riding her crimson chariot, reddens in the sky, do not lead Trojans against Rutulians, let Trojan and Rutulian weapons rest: let us resolve this war with our own blood, on that field let Lavinia be sought as bride.’ When he had spoken, and returned quickly to the palace, he called for his horses, and delighted in seeing them, neighing before him, horses Orithyia herself gave Pilumnus, as a glory, surpassing the snow in whiteness, and the wind for speed. Their charioteers stood around eagerly patting their echoing chests, with the flat of their hands, and combing their flowing manes. Turnus drew a breastplate, stiff with gold and pale bronze, over his shoulders, fitted his sword and shield in position, and the horns with their crimson crest: the god with the power of fire had wrought the sword for his father, Daunus, and dipped it, glowing, in the waters of the Styx. Then Turnus gripped his strong spear firmly, that stood leaning on a great column in the middle of the hall, a spoil won from the Auruncan, Actor, shook it till it quivered and shouted: ‘Now, o spear that never failed my call, now the time has come: Actor, the mightiest, carried you, and now the right hand of Turnus: allow me to lay low the body of that Phrygian eunuch, tear off and shatter his breastplate with my powerful hand, and defile his hair with dust, that’s curled with a heated iron, and drowned in myrrh.’ He was driven by frenzy, glowing sparks shot from his whole aspect, fire flashed from his fierce eyes, like a bull, before a fight, that starts its formidable bellowing and, trying its anger with its horns, charges a tree-trunk, lashes the air with its blows, and scatters the sand, as it practises for the battle. Meanwhile Aeneas, no less fierce, armed with the weapons, his mother’s gift, sharpened himself for conflict, and roused his anger, happy the war might be settled by the means on offer. Then he comforted his friends, and Iulus’s anxious fears, speaking of destiny, and ordered them to take a firm reply to King Latinus, and declare his conditions for peace. The next dawn had scarcely begun to sprinkle the mountain summits with its rays, at that time when the horses of the sun first rise from the deep ocean, and breathe light from lifted nostrils: the Rutulians and Trojans had measured out the field of combat, under the massive walls of the city, and were preparing hearths and turf altars for their mutual gods. Others wearing priest’s aprons, their foreheads wreathed with vervain, brought spring water and fiery embers. The Ausonian army marched out, and their ranks, armed with spears, poured through the crowded gates. All the host of Trojans and Tuscans streamed out on the other side, arrayed in their various armour, equipped with steel, as if the bitter conflict of war called out to them. And the captains too, among their many thousands, darted about, brilliant in gold and purple, Mnestheus of Assaracus’s line, brave Asilas, and Messapus, tamer of horses, son of Neptune. As soon as each had retired to their own ground, at the given signal, they planted their spears in the earth, and leant their shields on them. Then women, and weak old men, and the unarmed crowd, poured out eagerly, and gathered on towers and rooftops, or stood on the summit of the gates. But Juno, gazed at the plain, looking from the top of a hill (called Alban now, then without name, honour or glory) at the twin ranks of Laurentum and Troy, and Latinus’s city. Immediately, goddess to goddess, she spoke to Turnus’s sister, who ruled over lakes and echoing rivers (Jupiter, the king of high heaven, gave her that honour for stealing her virginity): ‘Nymph, glory of rivers, dearest of all to my heart, you know how I’ve preferred you alone of all the Latin girls who’ve mounted unwelcome to the couch of great-hearted Jove, and I have freely granted you a place in a part of the sky: lest you blame me, Juturna, learn of impending grief. Whenever Fortune allowed, and the Fates permitted the Latin state to prosper, I protected Turnus and your city. Now I see a warrior meeting with an unequal destiny, and a day of Fate and inimical force draws near. I cannot look at this combat, they agreed to, with my eyes. If you dare do anything more for your brother in person, go on: it’s fitting. Perhaps better things will follow for the wretched.’ She had scarcely spoken, when Juturna’s eyes flowed with tears, and her hand struck her lovely breast three or four times. ‘This is not the moment for tears,’ said Saturnian Juno: ‘Run, and, if there’s a way, snatch your brother from death: or stir conflict and shatter the treaty they’ve made. I teach you daring.’ Having urged her thus, she left her uncertain and troubled, sadly hurt at heart. Meanwhile the kings drove out: Latinus in a four-horsed chariot of massive size (twelve golden rays circling his shining brow, emblems of his ancestor, the Sun), Turnus behind a snow-white team, brandishing two spears with broad steel blades in his hand. On the other side, Aeneas, the leader, ancestor of the Roman race, came from the camp, ablaze with starry shield and heavenly armour, Ascanius with him, Rome’s second great hope, while a priest in pure robes brought the offspring of a bristly boar, and also an unshorn two-year sheep, and tethered the animals next to the blazing altars. The heroes turned their gaze towards the rising sun, sprinkled salt meal with their hands, marked the victims’ foreheads with a knife, and poured libations from cups onto the altars. Then pious Aeneas, with sword drawn, prayed like this: ‘Sun, be my witness, and this country that I call on, for which I have been able to endure such labours, and the all-powerful Father, and you Juno, his wife, (now goddess, now, be kinder, I pray) and you, glorious Mars, you, father, who control all warfare with your will: I call on founts and rivers, on all the holiness of high heaven, and the powers in the blue ocean: if by chance Victory falls to Turnus of Italy, it is agreed the defeated will withdraw to Evander’s city, Iulus will leave the land, and the people of Aeneas will never bring renewed war in battle, or attack this realm with the sword. But if victory agrees that our contest is mine (as I think more likely, and may the gods by their will prove it so), I will not command the Italians to submit to Trojans nor do I seek a kingdom for myself: let both nations, undefeated, put in place an eternal treaty. I will permit your gods and their rites: Latinus my father-in-law will keep his weapons, my father-in-law will keep his accustomed power: the Trojans will build walls for me, and Lavinia will give her name to a city. So Aeneas was first to speak, then Latinus followed him, thus, raising his eyes to heaven, and stretching his right hand to the sky: ‘I also swear, Aeneas, by the same earth, sea, and sky, by Latona’s twin offspring, and by two-faced Janus, by the power of the gods below, and the shrines of cruel Dis: may the Father, who ratifies treaties with his lightning, hear me. I touch the altar: I call as witness the gods, and the flames between us, no day shall break this peace or truce on Italy’s side, however things may fall out: nor will any power deflect my will, not if it plunges the earth, drowned in flood, into the waves, and dissolves heaven in hell, just as this sceptre (since he chanced to hold the sceptre in his hand) hewn, once and for all, from the lowest stem in the woods, having lost its parent trunk, and shedding its leaves and twigs to the knife, will never, now the craftsman’s hand has sheathed it in fine bronze, and given it to the elders of Latium to carry, extend shoots or shade from light foliage.’ They sealed the treaty between them with these words in full view of the leaders. Then with due rite they slaughtered the sacrificial beasts over the flames, tore out the entrails, while they were alive, and piled the alters with heaped dishes. But the duel had for a long time seemed unfair to the Rutulians, and their hearts were torn by varied emotions, more so when they saw the combatants’ unequal strength near to. Turnus added to the unrest, in advancing with silent tread and venerating the altar humbly, with downcast eyes, and by his wasted cheeks and the pallor of his youthful body. As soon as his sister, Juturna, was aware that talk was spreading and the minds of the multitude were wavering in doubt, she entered the heart of the army, in the guise of Camers, whose birth was of noble ancestry, his father’s name famous for virtue, and he himself of the bravest in arms, she entered the heart of the army, not ignorant of her task, sowing various rumours and speaking as follows: ‘O Rutulians, aren’t you ashamed to sacrifice one life on behalf of so many of you ? Aren’t we their equals in numbers and might? See, all the Trojans and Arcadians are here, and the Etrurian band led by fate, and hostile to Turnus: if every other man attacks, there’s barely an opponent for each of them. Turnus will climb in glory to the gods, at whose altars he has dedicated his life, and live borne on men’s lips: but we will be forced to submit to proud masters, our country lost, we who now sit inactive in the field.’ The will of the young men was roused by these words, more and more so, and a murmur spread through the ranks: even the Laurentines and the Latins changed their minds. Those who had lately hoped for rest from battle, and a safe existence, now longed for weapons, prayed for the treaty to be broken, and pitied Turnus’s unjust fate. Juturna added another greater spur, showing a sign in the depths of the sky, none more significant to disturb Italian minds, and charm them by the wonder of it. Jove’s tawny eagle, flying through reddened air, stirred the shore-birds, with noisy confusion in their winged ranks, when suddenly diving to the water he seized the most outstanding swan cruelly in his curved talons. The Italians paid attention, and (amazing to see) all the birds wheeled, clamouring, in flight and, in a cloud, drove their enemy through the air, darkening the sky with their wings, until, defeated by force and the weight, the bird gave way, and, dropping the prey from his talons into the river, fled deep into the clouds. Then the Rutulians truly hailed this omen with a shout and spread wide their hands, and Tolumnius the augur was first to cry out: ‘This, this was what my prayers have often sought. I understand it, and recognise the gods: snatch up the sword with me, with me at your head, o unhappy race, fragile birds, whom a cruel foreigner terrifies with war, ravaging your coast with violence. He will take flight and sail far away over the deep. Close ranks, together, and defend the king who has been snatched from you, in battle. He spoke, and running forward hurled his spear at the enemy: the hissing cornel shaft sang, and cut unerringly through the air, At one with this, at one, was a mighty shout the army all in uproar, and hearts hot with the turmoil. The spear flew on, to where, by chance, nine handsome brothers stood in its path, all of whom one faithful Tuscan wife had borne to Arcadian Gylippus, It struck one of them, a youth of great beauty, in shining armour, at the waist, where a stitched belt rubbed against his stomach, and the buckle bit into the overlapping ends, pierced his ribs, and hurled him to the yellow sand. But his spirited band of brothers, fired by grief, drew their swords or snatched their iron spears, and rushed forward blindly. The Laurentine ranks charged them: Trojans and Agyllines and Arcadians in decorated armour, poured in from the other side: so all had one longing, to let the sword decide. They stripped the altars, there was a fierce storm of spears in the whole sky, and a steely rain fell: wine-bowls and hearthstones were carried off: Latinus himself fled, taking his defeated gods, the treaty void. Others harnessed their chariots or leapt on their horses, and waited with drawn swords. Messapus, keen to destroy the truce, charging on his horse, scared off Auletes, an Etruscan king with a king’s emblems: the unfortunate man, as he backed away, entangled, fell, head and shoulders, on to the altar behind him: and Messapus flew at him furiously, spear in hand, and from his horse’s height struck mightily at him with the massive weapon, as Auletes begged piteously, and spoke like this, over him: ‘He’s done for: this nobler victim is given to the great gods.’ The Italians crowded round and stripped the warm body. Against them, Corynaeus snatched a charred brand from an altar, and aiming a blow at the charging Ebyso dashed flames in his face: his great beard flared and gave off a smell of burning. Corynaeus following through his blow, clutched the hair of his stunned enemy in his left hand and brought him to earth with a thrust of his bent knee: then stabbed him in the side with his straight sword. Podalirius, towered over the shepherd Alsus, pursuing him with naked steel as he ran through the shower of spears in the front rank: but Alsus swung his axe back, and sliced through the front of his enemy’s brow and chin, drenching his armour with widely spouting blood. Harsh repose and iron slumber pressed on his eyes and their light was sunk in everlasting night. But virtuous Aeneas his head bared, unarmed, stretched out his right hand, and called loudly to his troops: ‘Where are you running to? Why this sudden tide of discord? O, control your anger! The agreement has already been struck, and its terms fixed. I alone have the right to fight: Let me do so: banish your fears. I’ll prove the treaty sound with this right hand: these rites mean Turnus is already mine.’ Amidst these cries and words, see, a hissing arrow winged its way towards him, launched by what hand, sent whirling by whom, was unknown, as was the chance or god that brought the Rutulians such honour: the glorious pride in it was kept concealed, and no one boasted of wounding Aeneas. As soon as Turnus saw Aeneas leave the ranks, his captains in confusion, he blazed with the fervour of sudden hope: he called for weapons and horses as one, leapt proudly into his chariot, and gripped the reins in his hands. He gave many a brave man death in his swift passage. Many he overturned half-alive, crushed the ranks under his chariot, or seizing his spears showered them on those fleeing. Just as when blood-drenched Mars is roused, and clashes his shield, by the icy streams of Hebrus and, inciting war, gives rein to his frenzied horses, so that they fly over the open plain outrunning the south and west winds, and farthest Thrace groans to the beat of their hooves, while around him the forms of black Terror, Anger and Treachery, speed, the companions of the god: with the same swiftness Turnus lashed his horses, smoking with sweat, through the midst of the conflict, trampling on enemies piteously slain, while the galloping hooves splashed bloody dew, and trampled the gore mixed with sand. Next he gave Sthenelus to death, Thamyrus, and Pholus, the latter close to, the former at a distance, from a distance too both sons of Imbrasas, Glaucus and Laudes, whom Imbrasus himself had raised in Lycia, and equipped with matching armour, to fight hand to hand, or outstrip the wind on horseback. Elsewhere Eumedes rode through the midst of the battle, famous in warfare, the son of aged Dolon, recalling the grandfather in name, his father in courage and skill, he who, in going as a spy that time to the Greek camp, dared to ask for Achilles’s chariot as his reward: but Diomedes paid him a different reward for his daring and he no longer aspired to Achilles’s team. When Turnus saw Eumedes, far over the open plain, he first sent a light javelin after him across the long space between, then halted his paired horses, leapt from his chariot, onto the half-dead, fallen man, and, planting his foot on his neck, tore the sword from his hand, and bloodied the bright blade deep in his throat, adding these words as well: ‘See the fields, that Western Land, you sought in war: lie there and measure it: this is the prize for those who dare to cross swords with me, thus they build their walls.’ Then with a cast of his spear he sent Asbytes to keep him company, Chloreus and Sybaris, Dares and Thersilochus, and Thymoetes who was flung from the neck of his rearing horse. As when the blast of the Edonian northerly sounds over the Aegean deep, and drives the breakers to shore, while brooding gusts in the sky put the clouds to flight, so, wherever Turnus cut a path, the lines gave way, and the ranks turned and ran: his own speed carried him on, and, as the chariot met it, the wind tossed his flowing plume. Phegeus could not endure his attack or his spirited war-cry: he threw himself at the chariot and with his right hand wrenched the heads of the swift horses aside, as they foamed at the bit. While he was dragged along, hanging from the yoke, Turnus’s broad-headed lance reached for his exposed flank, tore open the double-stranded mail where it entered, and grazed the surface of the flesh in a wound. Phegeus still turned towards his enemy, his shield raised, and was trying to protect himself with his drawn sword, when the wheel and the onrush of the spinning axle sent him headlong, throwing him to the ground, and Turnus, following through, struck off his head with a sweep of his blade between the rim of the helmet and the chain-mail’s upper edge, and left the body lying on the sand. BkXII:383-467 Venus Heals Aeneas While Turnus was victoriously dealing death over the plain, Mnestheus and loyal Achates, with Ascanius by their side, set Aeneas down inside the camp, bleeding, supporting alternate steps with his long spear. he struggled furiously to pull out the head of the broken shaft, and called for the quickest means of assistance: to cut open the wound with a broadsword, lay open the arrow-tip’s buried depths, and send him back to war. Now Iapyx, Iasus’s son, approached, dearest of all to Apollo, to whom the god himself, struck by deep love, long ago offered with delight his own arts, his own gifts, his powers of prophecy, his lyre, and swift arrows. But Iapyx, in order to delay the fate of his dying father, chose knowledge of the virtues of herbs, and the use of medicine, and, without fame, to practise the silent arts. Aeneas stood leaning on his great spear, complaining bitterly, amongst a vast crowd of soldiers, with Iulus sorrowing, himself unmoved by the tears. The aged Iapyx, his robe rolled back in Paeonian fashion, tried hard in vain with healing fingers and Apollo’s powerful herbs: he worked at the arrow uselessly with his hand, and tugged at the metal with tightened pincers. No luck guided his course, nor did Apollo his patron help, while cruel terror grew greater and greater over the plain, and evil drew near. Now they saw the sky standing on columns of dust: the horsemen neared and arrows fell thickly in the midst of the camp. A dismal cry rose to heaven of men fighting and falling under Mars’s harsh hand. At this Aeneas’s mother, Venus, shaken by her son’s cruel pain, culled a dittany plant from Cretan Ida, with downy leaves and purple flowers: a herb not unknown to the wild goats when winged arrows have fixed themselves in their sides. This Venus brought, her face veiled in dark mist, this, with its hidden curative powers, she steeped in river water, poured into a glittering basin, and sprinkled there healing ambrosial juice and fragrant panacea. Aged Iapyx bathed the wound with this liquid, not knowing its effect, and indeed all pain fled from Aeneas’s body, all the flow of blood ceased deep in the wound. Now, without force, the arrowhead slipped from the wound, following the motion of his hand, and fresh strength returned to Aeneas, such as before. Iapyx cried: ‘Quickly, bring our hero weapons. Why are you standing there?’ and was first to excite their courage against the enemy. ‘Aeneas, this cure does not come by human aid, nor guiding art, it is not my hand that saved you: a god, a greater one, worked this, and sends you out again to glorious deeds.’ Aeneas, eager for battle, had sheathed his legs in gold, left and right, and scornful of delay, brandished his spear. As soon as his shield was fixed at his side, the chain mail to his back, he clasped Ascanius in his armed embrace, and, kissing his lips lightly through the helmet, said: ‘My son, learn courage from me and true labour: good fortune from others. Now my hand will protect you in war, and lead you to great rewards. Make sure later, when your years have reached maturity, that you remember: let your father Aeneas, and your uncle Hector inspire your soul, by recalling their example.’ When he spoken these words, he rushed out through the gate, in all his strength, brandishing a great spear in his hand: Antheus and Mnestheus with him, and their massed ranks, and all the army streamed from the camp. Then the plain was a chaos of blinding dust, and the quaking earth shook under the tramp of feet. Turnus saw them advance, from the rampart opposite: the Ausonians saw, and a cold tremor ran to the marrow of their bones: Juturna was the first of all the Latins to hear and recognise the sound, and she fled in fear. Aeneas flew ahead, racing his dark ranks over the open plain, As when the weather breaks and a storm cloud moves towards land, over the deep ocean (ah, the hearts of wretched farmers know if from far off, and shudder: it brings ruin to trees, and havoc to harvests, everything far and wide is destroyed), the gales run before it and carry their roar to the shore: so the Trojan leader drove his ranks against the foe, thickly they all gathered to him in dense columns. Thymbreus struck mighty Osiris with his sword, Mnestheus killed Arcetius: Achates killed Epulo, Gyas killed Ufens: even Tolumnius the augur fell, first to hurl his spear straight at the enemy. A shout rose to heaven, and in turn the routed Rutulians turned their backs in a cloud of dust, fleeing over the field. Aeneas himself did not deign to send the fugitives to their death, nor did he attack the foot-soldiers, cavalry or those hurling missiles: he tracked only Turnus, searching through the dense gloom, Turnus alone he summoned to combat. Juturna, the warrior maiden, her mind stricken with fear, knocked Turnus’s charioteer, Metiscus, from the reins, at this, so that he slipped from the beam, and left him far behind: she herself took his place, and guided the flowing reins with her hands, assuming Metiscus’s voice, form, weapons, all. As when a dark swallow flies through the great house of some rich lord, winging her way through lofty halls gathering tiny crumbs and scraps of food for her noisy young, now twittering in the empty courtyards, now by the damp ponds: so Juturna was drawn by the horses through the enemy centre and, flying in her swift chariot, criss-crossed the whole plain, now here, now there, she gives evidence of her triumphant brother, not allowing him close combat, flying far away. Nevertheless Aeneas traversed her winding course to meet him, tracking him, calling him loudly among the ranks. As often as he set eyes on his enemy, and tried to match the flight of the swift horses in his course, as often Juturna turned and wheeled the chariot. Ah, what to do? Vainly he fluctuated on the shifting tide, and diverse concerns called his thoughts away. Messapus, who happened to be carrying two strong spears tipped with steel, advanced lightly towards him, levelled one, and hurled it with unerring aim. Aeneas stopped, and gathered himself behind his shield sinking on one knee: the swift spear still took off the tip of his helmet, and knocked the plumes from the crest. Then his anger truly surged, and incited by all this treachery, seeing his enemy’s chariot and horses driven far off, calling loudly on Jove, and the altars of the broken treaty, as witness, he plunged at last into the fray, and, aided by Mars, he awoke dreadful, savage, indiscriminate slaughter, and gave full rein to his wrath. What god can now relate for me such bitter things as these, who can tell of such varied slaughter, the deaths of generals, whom Turnus now, and now the Trojan hero, drove in turn over the field? Jupiter was it your will that races who would live together in everlasting peace should meet in so great a conflict? Aeneas meeting Rutulian Sucro (in the first battle that brought the Trojan attack to a halt) quickly struck him in the side, and drove the cruel steel through the ribs that protect the heart, where death come fastest. Turnus threw Amycus from his horse, and Diores his brother, attacking them on foot, striking one with the long lance as he advanced, the other with his sword, then hanging both their severed heads from his chariot carried them away dripping with blood. Aeneas sent Talos and Tanais and brave Cethegus to death, three in one attack, and sad Onites of Theban name, whose mother was Peridia: Turnus killed the brothers sent from Lycia, Apollo’s fields, and Menoetes of Arcadia, who had hated war, but in vain: his humble home and his living were round Lerna’s fish-filled streams, never knowing the patronage of the great, and his father farmed rented land. Like fires set burning from opposite sides of a dry forest into the thickets of crackling laurel, or foaming rivers falling swiftly from the mountain heights, roaring and racing seawards, each leaving its path of destruction, so Aeneas and Turnus with no less fury swept through the battle: now anger surged within: now their hearts which knew no defeat were bursting: now with all their strength they set out to do harm. As he boasted of his fathers, and the antiquity of his ancestors’ names, and all his race traced back through Latin kings, Aeneas sent Murranus headlong with a stone, a great whirling rock, and hurled him to the ground: beneath the reins and yoke, the wheels churned him round, and the horses’ hooves, forgetful of their master, trampled him under with many a blow. Turnus met Hyllus as he charged, roaring with boundless pride, and hurled a spear at his gilded forehead: piercing the helmet the weapon lodged in his brain. Cretheus, bravest of Greeks, your right hand did not save you from Turnus, nor did the gods hide Cupencus when Aeneas came: he set his chest against the weapon’s track, and the bronze shield’s resistance profited the wretch nothing. The Laurentine field saw you fall also, Aeolus, on your back, sprawled wide on the ground. You fell, whom the Greek battalions could not lay low, nor Achilles who overturned Priam’s kingdom: here was the boundary of death for you: your noble house was below Mount Ida, that noble house at Lyrnesus, your grave in Laurentine soil. All the lines turned towards battle, the whole of the Latins, the whole of the Trojans, Mnestheus and fierce Serestus, Messapus, tamer of horses, and brave Asilas, the Tuscan phalanx, Evander’s Arcadian squadron, each for himself, men straining with all their strength: no respite and no rest: exerting themselves in one vast conflict. Now his loveliest of mothers set in his mind the idea of moving against the walls, and turning his army on the city, swiftly, to confound the Latins with sudden ruin. While he tracked Turnus here and there through the ranks and swept his glance this way and that, he could see the city, free of fierce warfare and peacefully unharmed. Suddenly an image of a more ambitious act of war inflamed him: he called the generals Mnestheus, Sergestus and brave Serestus, and positioned himself on a hillock, where the rest of the Trojan army gathered round in a mass, without dropping their shields or spears. Standing amongst them on the high mound he cried: ‘Let nothing impede my orders, Jupiter is with us, and let no one be slower to advance because this attempt is so sudden. Today I will overthrow that city, a cause of war, Latinus’s capital itself, and lay its smoking roofs level with the ground, unless they agree to accept our rule, and submit, in defeat. Do you think I can wait until Turnus can face battle with me, and chooses to meet with me again, though defeated before? O citizens, this man is the fountainhead and source of this wicked war. Quickly, bring burning brands, and re-establish the treaty, with fire.’ He spoke, and all his troops adopted wedge-formation, hearts equal in emulation, and advanced in a dense mass towards the walls: in a flash, scaling ladders and sudden flames appeared. Some ran to the gates and cut down the leading defenders, others hurled steel, and darkened the sky with missiles. Aeneas himself, among the leaders, raised his hand, at the foot of the wall, accused Latinus in a loud voice, and called the gods to witness that he was being forced into battle again, that the Italians were doubly enemies, another treaty was broken. Dissension rose among the fearful citizens: some commanded the city be opened, and the gates be thrown wide to the Trojans, and they dragged the king himself to the ramparts: others brought weapons and hurried to defend the walls, as when a shepherd, who’s tracked a swarm to its lair concealed in the rock, fills it with acrid smoke: the bees inside, anxious for safety, rush round their wax fortress, and sharpen their anger in loud buzzing: the reeking darkness rolls through their hive, the rocks echo within to a blind humming, and fumes reach the clear air. Now further misfortune befell the weary Latins, and shook the whole city to its foundations with grief. When Queen Amata, from the palace, saw the enemy approaching, the walls assaulted, flames mounting to the roofs, but no opposing Rutulian lines, nor Turnus’s army, the unhappy queen thought Turnus had been killed in combat, and, her mind distraught, in sudden anguish, she cried out that she was the cause, the guilty one, the source of evil, and uttering many wild words in the frenzy of grief, wanting to die, she tore her purple robes, and fastened a hideous noose of death to a high beam. As soon as the wretched Latin women knew of the disaster, first her daughter Lavinia fell into a frenzy, tearing at her golden tresses and rosy cheeks with her hands, then all the crowd around her: the wide halls echoed to their lamentations. From there the unhappy rumour spread throughout the city: Spirits sank: Latinus went about with rent clothing, stunned by his wife’s fate and his city’s ruin, fouling his white hair with clouds of vile dust, reproaching himself again and again for not having freely received Trojan Aeneas, and adopted him as his son-in-law. Meanwhile Turnus, fighting at the edge of the plain, was pursuing the stragglers now, more slowly, and rejoicing less and less in his horses’ advance. The breeze bore a clamour to him mingled with an unknown dread, and the cheerless sounds of a city in chaos met his straining ears. ‘Ah, what is this great grief that shakes the walls? What is this clamour that rises from the distant city?’ So he spoke, anxiously grasping the reins and halting. At this his sister, controlling chariot, horses and reins disguised in the shape of his charioteer, Metiscus, countered with these words: ‘Turnus, this way, let us chase the sons of Troy, where victory forges the way ahead: there are others with hands to defend our homes. Aeneas is attacking the Italians, and stirring conflict: let our hands too deal cruel death to the Trojans. You will not leave the field inferior in battle honours or the number you have killed’ Turnus replied to this: ‘O sister, I recognised you long ago, when you first wrecked the truce with your guile, and dedicated yourself to warfare, and now too you hide your divinity in vain. But who desired you to be sent down from Olympus to suffer such labours? Was it so you might see your unlucky brother’s death? What can I do? What chance can offer me life? I saw Murranus fall, before my very eyes, calling out to me, loudly, no one more dear to me than him remains, a mighty man, and overwhelmed by a mighty wound. Unfortunate Ufens fell, so he might not witness our shame: the Trojans captured his body and his armour. Shall I endure the razing of our homes (the one thing left) and not deny Drances’s words with my sword? Shall I turn my back, and this country see Turnus run? Is it indeed so terrible to die? Oh be good to me, you Shades below, since the gods above have turned their faces from me. I will descend to you, a virtuous soul, innocent of blame, never unworthy of my great ancestors.’ He had barely spoken when Saces sped by, carried on a foaming horse through the thick of the enemy, wounded full in the face by an arrow, and calling to Turnus by name as he rushed on: ‘Turnus, in you our last hope lies, pity your people. Aeneas is explosive in arms, and threatens to throw down Italy’s highest citadel and deliver it to destruction, even now burning brands fly towards the roofs. The Latins turn their faces to you, their eyes are on you: King Latinus mutters to himself, wavering as to whom to call his sons, towards what alliance to lean. Moreover the queen, most loyal to you, has fallen by her own hand, and fled, in horror of the light. Messapus and brave Atinas, alone in front of the gates sustain our lines. Around them dense squadrons stand on every side, a harvest of steel that bristles with naked swords, while you drive your chariot over the empty turf.’ Stunned and amazed by this vision of multiple disaster, Turnus stood silently gazing: fierce shame surged in that solitary heart, and madness mingled with grief, love stung to frenzy, consciousness of virtue. As soon as the shadows dispersed, and light returned to his mind, he turned his gaze, with blazing eyes, towards the walls, and looked back on the mighty city from his chariot. See, now, a spiralling crest of flame fastened on a tower, and rolled skyward through the stories, a tower he had built himself with jointed beams, set on wheels, and equipped with high walkways. He spoke: ‘Now, sister, now fate triumphs: no more delays: where god and cruel fortune calls, let me follow. I’m determined on meeting Aeneas, determined to suffer death, however bitter: you’ll no longer see me ashamed, sister. I beg you let me rage before I am maddened.’ And, leaping swiftly from his chariot to the ground, he ran through enemy spears, deserting his grieving sister, and burst, in his quick passage, through the ranks. As when a rock torn from the mountaintop by a storm hurtles downward, washed free by a tempest of rain or loosened in time by the passage of the years, and the wilful mass plunges down the slope in a mighty rush and leaps over the ground, rolling trees, herds and men with it: so Turnus ran to the city walls through the broken ranks, where the soil was most drenched with blood, and the air shrill with spears, signalled with his hand and began shouting aloud: ‘Rutulians stop now, and you Latins hold back your spears. Whatever fate is here, is mine: it is better that I alone make reparation for the truce and decide it with the sword.’ All drew back, and left a space in their midst. Now Aeneas the leader hearing the name of Turnus left the walls, and left the high fortress, cast aside all delay, broke off from every task, and exultant with delight clashed his weapons fiercely: vast as Mount Athos, or Mount Eryx, or vast as old Apennine himself when he roars through the glittering holm-oaks and joys in lifting his snowy summit to heaven. Now all truly turned their eyes, stripping the armour from their shoulders, Rutulians, Trojans and Italians, those who held the high ramparts and those whose ram battered at the walls beneath. Latinus himself was amazed at these mighty men, born at opposite ends of the world, meeting and deciding the outcome with their swords. As soon as the field was clear on the open plain, they both dashed quickly forward, hurling their spears first from a distance, rushing, with shield and ringing bronze, to battle. The earth groaned: they redoubled their intense sword-strokes, chance and skill mingled together. And as when two bulls charge head to head in mortal battle, on mighty Sila or on Taburnus’s heights, and in terror their keepers retreat, the whole herd stand silent with fear, and the heifers wait, mute, to see who will be lord of the forest, whom all the herds will follow, as they deal wounds to each other with immense force, gore with butting horns, and bathe neck and shoulders in streaming blood, while all the wood echoes to their bellowing: so Trojan Aeneas and the Daunian hero, Turnus, clashed their shields, and the mighty crash filled the sky. Jupiter himself held up two evenly balanced scales before him, and placed in them the diverse fates of the two, to see whom the effort doomed, with whose weight death sank down. Turnus leapt forward thinking himself safe, rose to the full height of his body with uplifted sword, and struck: the Trojans and the anxious Latins cried out, both armies were roused. But the treacherous blade snapped, and would have left the eager warrior defenceless in mid-stroke, if immediate flight had not saved him. He ran swifter than the east wind, when he saw that strange hilt in his exposed right hand. The tale is that in headlong haste, when he first mounted behind his yoked team for battle, he left his father’s sword behind, and snatched up the blade of his charioteer, Metiscus: and that served him for a long while as the straggling Trojans turned their backs, but the mortal blade flew apart like brittle ice at the stroke, on meeting Vulcan’s divine armour: and the fragments gleamed on the yellow sand. So Turnus ran madly this way and that over the plain, winding aimless circles here and there: on all sides the Trojans imprisoned him in their crowded ring, and a vast marsh penned him on one side, on the other the steep ramparts. Aenaeas, no less, though his knees, slowed at times by the arrow wound, failed him and denied him speed, pursued and pressed his anxious enemy hotly, foot to foot: as when a hound in the hunt presses on a stag, chasing and barking, one found trapped by the river or hedged in by fear of the crimson feathers: the stag, terrified by the snares and the high banks, flies backwards and forwards a thousand ways, but the eager Umbrian clings close with gaping mouth, almost has him, and snaps his jaws as though he holds him, baffled and biting empty air: Then a clamour breaks out indeed, the pools and banks around echo, and the whole sky rings with the tumult. As he fled Turnus chided the Rutulians, calling on each by name and calling out for his own familiar sword. Aeneas in turn threatened death and immediate destruction if any one approached, and terrified his trembling enemies threatening to raze the city, and pressing on though wounded. They completed five circuits, and unwound as many, this way and that: since they sought for no paltry prize at the games, but vied for Turnus’s life blood. By chance this was the place where a bitter-leaved wild olive, sacred to Faunus, had stood, a tree revered by sailors of old, where, when saved from the sea, they used to hang their gifts to the Laurentine god, and the votive garments: but the Trojans had removed the sacred trunk, allowing of no exceptions, in order to fight on open ground. Here stood Aeneas’s spear, its impetus had carried it there, fixed and held fast by the tough roots. The Trojan halted, intending to pluck out the steel with his hand, and pursue the man he couldn’t catch by running, with his javelin. Then Turnus mad with anxiety indeed cried: ‘Faunus, pity me, I pray, and you, most gracious Earth if I have every honoured your rites that the sons of Aeneas have instead defiled by war, retain the steel.’ He spoke, and did not invoke the power of heaven in vain, since Aeneas could not prise open the wood’s grip, by any show of strength, though he wrestled long and lingered over the strong stump. While he tugged and strained fiercely, Juturna, the Daunian goddess, changing again to the shape of Metiscus, the charioteer, ran forward and restored his sword to her brother. But Venus, enraged that this was allowed the audacious nymph, approached, and plucked the javelin from the deep root. Refreshed with weapons and courage, one relying on his sword, the other towering fiercely with his spear, both breathing hard, they stood, tall, face to face, in martial conflict. The king of almighty Olympus meanwhile was speaking to Juno, as she gazed at the fighting from a golden cloud: ‘Wife, what will the end be now? What will be left in the end? You know yourself, and confess you know, that Aeneas, is destined for heaven as the nation’s god: the Fates raise him to the stars. What are you planning? What hope do you cling to in the cold clouds? Was it right that this god be defiled by a mortal’s wound? Or that the lost sword (for what could Juturna achieve without you?) be restored to Turnus, the defeated gaining new strength? Now cease, at last, and give way to my entreaties, lest such sadness consume you in silence, and your bitter woes stream back to me often from your sweet lips. It has reached its end. You have had the power to drive the Trojans over land and sea, to stir up evil war, to mar a house, and mix marriage with grief: I forbid you to attempt more.’ So Jupiter spoke: so, with humble look, the Saturnian goddess replied: ‘Great Jupiter, truly, it was because I knew it was your wish that I parted reluctantly from Turnus and the Earth: or you would not see me alone now, on my celestial perch, enduring the just and the unjust, but I’d be standing, wreathed in flame, in the battle line itself, and drawing the Trojans into deadly combat. I counselled Juturna (I confess) to help her unfortunate brother and approved greater acts of daring for the sake of his life, yet not for her to contend with the arrow or the bow: I swear it by the implacable fountainhead of Styx, that alone is held in awe by the gods above. And now I yield, yes, and leave the fighting I loathe. Yet I beg this of you, for Latium’s sake, for the majesty of your own kin: since it is not prohibited by any law of fate: when they soon make peace with happy nuptials (so be it) when they join together soon in laws and treaties, don’t order the native Latins to change their ancient name, to become Trojans or be called Teucrians, or change their language, or alter their clothing. Let Latium still exist, let there be Alban kings through the ages, let there be Roman offspring strong in Italian virtue: Troy has fallen, let her stay fallen, along with her name.’ Smiling at her, the creator of men and things replied: ‘You are a true sister of Jove, another child of Saturn, such waves of anger surge within your heart. Come, truly, calm this passion that was needlessly roused: I grant what you wish, and I relent, willingly defeated. Ausonia’s sons will keep their father’s speech and manners, as their name is, so it will be: the Trojans shall sink, merged into the mass, only. I will add sacred laws and rites, and make them all Latins of one tongue. From them a race will rise, merged with Ausonian blood, that you will see surpass men and gods in virtue, no nation will celebrate your rites with as much devotion.’ Juno agreed it, and joyfully altered her purpose: then left her cloud, and departed from the sky. This done the Father turns something else over in his mind and prepares to take Juturna from her brother’s side. Men speak of twin plagues, named the Dread Ones, whom Night bore untimely, in one birth with Tartarean Megaera, wreathing them equally in snaky coils, and adding wings swift as the wind. They wait by Jove’s throne on the fierce king’s threshold, and sharpen the fears of weak mortals whenever the king of the gods sends plagues and death’s horrors, or terrifies guilty cities with war. Jupiter sent one of them quickly down from heaven’s heights and ordered her to meet with Juturna as a sign: she flew, and darted to earth in a swift whirlwind. Like an arrow loosed from the string, through the clouds, that a Parthian, a Parthian or a Cydonian, fired, hissing, and leaping unseen through the swift shadows, a shaft beyond all cure, armed with cruel poison’s venom: so sped the daughter of Night, seeking the earth. As soon as she saw the Trojan ranks and Turnus’s troops, she changed her shape, suddenly shrinking to the form of that small bird that perching at night on tombs or deserted rooftops, often sings her troubling song so late among the shadows – and the fiend flew screeching to and fro in front of Turnus’s face, and beat at his shield with her wings. A strange numbness loosed his limbs in dread, his hair stood up in terror, and his voice clung to his throat. But when his wretched sister Juturna recognised the Dread One’s whirring wings in the distance, she tore at her loosened hair, marring her face with her nails, and her breasts with her clenched hands: ‘What help can your sister give you now, Turnus? What is left for me who have suffered so? With what art can I prolong your life? Can I stand against such a portent? Now at last I leave the ranks. Bird of ill-omen, do not you terrify me who already am afraid: I know your wing-beats and their fatal sound, and I do not mistake the proud command of great-hearted Jupiter. Is this his reward for my virginity? Why did he grant me eternal life? Why is the mortal condition taken from me? Then, at least, I could end such pain and go through the shadows at my poor brother’s side! An immortal, I? Can anything be sweet to me without you my brother? Oh what earth can gape deep enough for me, to send a goddess down to the deepest Shades?’ So saying she veiled her head in a grey mantle, and the goddess, with many a cry of grief, plunged into the river’s depths. Aeneas pressed on, brandishing his great spear like a tree, and, angered at heart, he cried out in this way: ‘Why now yet more delay? Why do you still retreat, Turnus? We must compete hand to hand with fierce weapons, not by running. Change into every form: summon up all your powers of mind and art, wing your way if you wish to the high stars, or hide in earth’s hollow prison.’ Turnus shook his head: ‘Fierce man, your fiery words don’t frighten me: the gods terrify me and Jupiter’s enmity.’ Saying no more he looked round seeing a great rock, a vast ancient stone, that happened to lie there in the plain, set up as a boundary marker, to distinguish fields in dispute. Twelve picked men, men of such form as Earth now produces, could scarcely have lifted it on their shoulders, but the hero, grasping it quickly, rising to his full height and as swiftly as he could, hurled it at his enemy. But he did not know himself, running or moving raising the great rock in his hands, or throwing: his knees gave way, his blood was frozen cold. The stone itself, whirled by the warrior through the empty air, failed to travel the whole distance, or drive home with force. As in dreams when languid sleep weighs down our eyes at night, we seem to try in vain to follow our eager path, and collapse helpless in the midst of our efforts, the tongue won’t work, the usual strength is lacking from our limbs, and neither word nor voice will come: so the dread goddess denied Turnus success, however courageously he sought to find a way. Then shifting visions whirled through his brain: he gazed at the Rutulians, and at the city, faltered in fear, and shuddered at the death that neared, he saw no way to escape, no power to attack his enemy, nor sign of his chariot, nor his sister, his charioteer. As he wavered, Aeneas shook his fateful spear, seeing a favourable chance, and hurled it from the distance with all his might. Stone shot from a siege engine never roared so loud, such mighty thunder never burst from a lightning bolt. Like a black hurricane the spear flew on bearing dire destruction, and pierced the outer circle of the seven-fold shield, the breastplate’s lower rim, and, hissing, passed through the centre of the thigh. Great Turnus sank, his knee bent beneath him, under the blow. The Rutulians rose up, and groaned, and all the hills around re-echoed, and, far and wide, the woods returned the sound. He lowered his eyes in submission and stretched out his right hand: ‘I have earned this, I ask no mercy’ he said, ‘seize your chance. If any concern for a parent’s grief can touch you (you too had such a father, in Anchises) I beg you to pity Daunus’s old age and return me, or if you prefer it my body robbed of life, to my people. You are the victor, and the Ausonians have seen me stretch out my hands in defeat: Lavinia is your wife, don’t extend your hatred further.’ Aeneas stood, fierce in his armour, his eyes flickered, and he held back his hand: and even now, as he paused, the words began to move him more deeply, when high on Turnus’s shoulder young Pallas’s luckless sword-belt met his gaze, the strap glinting with its familiar decorations, he whom Turnus, now wearing his enemy’s emblems on his shoulder, had wounded and thrown, defeated, to the earth. As soon as his eyes took in the trophy, a memory of cruel grief, Aeneas, blazing with fury, and terrible in his anger, cried: ‘Shall you be snatched from my grasp, wearing the spoils of one who was my own? Pallas it is, Pallas, who sacrifices you with this stroke, and exacts retribution from your guilty blood.’ So saying, burning with rage, he buried his sword deep in Turnus’s breast: and then Turnus’s limbs grew slack with death, and his life fled, with a moan, angrily, to the Shades.