The Aeneid (Vintage Classics)
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Virgil's great epic transforms the Homeric tradition into a triumphal statement of the Roman civilizing mission. Translated by Robert Fitzgerald.
Of javelins, not puny when they strike. Blood flows from wounds I, too, can give. This time His goddess-mother, she who, when he runs, 75 Hides him in womanish cloud, who hides herself In empty phantoms—she’ll be far away.” But now the queen, Amata, terrified By the new hazard of the single combat, Wept and pale as death clung to her ardent 80 Son-in-law: “Turnus, I beg you by these tears, By all you hold at heart for me, Amata— You our one hope, our stay in grim old age—
Backward and split the skull of his enemy From brow to chin. Gore splattered on his armor; 425 Harsh repose oppressed his eyes, a sleep Of iron, and in eternal night they closed. Meanwhile the man of honor, Aeneas, stood Bare-headed with his right hand out, unarmed, And called his troops: 430 “Where bound? Are you a mob? Why this outbreak of brawling all at once? Cool your hot heads. A pact has been agreed to, Terms have been laid down. I am the one To fight them. Let me do so.
proscription, setting up lists of enemies in the thousands whom it was then lawful to kill without trial. Murderers and informers flourished. Romans had endured this much before Virgil was born in 70 B.C. There would be more. Statesmanship and generalship were now too often the same thing; if you could not command troops, it almost seems, you stayed out of politics. After Marius and Sulla came greater examples: Gnaeus Pompeius, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gaius Julius Caesar, who in 60 B.C.
fathers, 875 A sequence carried down through many captains In a long line from the founding of the race. Meanwhile paternal love would not allow Aeneas’ mind to rest. He sent Achatës On a quick mission to the ships, to tell 880 Ascanius and bring him to the city— Fond father, as always thoughtful of his son— And told Achatës to fetch gifts as well, Relics of Ilium: a robe stiff with figures Worked in gold, and a veil woven round 885 With yellow acanthus flowers—both adornments
thus the tyrant’s brutal words: “Either I win the honor of taking spoils From the enemy commander, or I die 625 A noble death. My father will bear alike One destiny or the other. No more threats.” He strode into the open, and the blood Turned cold in hearts of the Arcadians. Down from his chariot Turnus leapt and lunged 630 On foot to closer quarters, as a lion After he sights from some high place a bull Far off, spoiling for combat on the plain, Goes bounding forward: such was