Hie Roman Mission

CHear the end of Anchises' review of the great figures of Roman history (see the previous selection), he contrasts some of the achievements of Greek civilization with what he sees should be the guiding concerns of Rome. To emphasize this, he ignores what the Romans were to accomplish in literature and art.

Excudent alii spirantia mollius aera

(credo equidem), vivos ducent de marmore vultus, orabunt causas melius, caelique meatus describent radio et surgentia sidera dicent: 850

tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento

(hae tibi erunt artes), pacique imponere morem, parcere subiectis et debellare superbos.

<-: Vergil Aeneid 6.847-853

text P. Vergili Maronis Opera, ed. R. A. B. Mynors

(Oxford Classical Texts, 1969) meter hexameter [§mi]

excu|dent ali|i || spi|rantia | mollius | aera cred(o) equi|dem vi|vos || du|cent de | marmore | vultus

847 Anchises refers to the Greeks by alii (others)-, excudo -ere hammer out, fashion; spirantia ... aera lit., breathing (spiro -are) bronzes (aes aeris n.); mollius (compar. adv. of mollis soft) trans, more delicately—Greek statuary, both bronze and marble, of the classical period and later was famous for its lifelike qualities.

848 credo equidem indeed I believe [so]—Anchises is conceding this to the Greeks; ducent will shape; marmor marmoris n. marble.

84gf. orabunt causas they will plead cases—the Greeks developed the art of rhetoric, both forensic and political; melius (compar. adv. of bene) better; caeli meatus lit., the movements (meatus -us m.) of the sky, trans, the movements [of the celestial bodies] in the sky—the Greeks developed the prevailing system of astronomy; describo -ere trace; radio instrumental abl. [§G47] with a rod (radius -(i)i m.)— astronomers used a rod and sandbox to illustrate astral phenomena; surgentia sidera the rising stars (sidus sideris n.), i.e., when the stars rise; dicent will predict. 8 5 if. regere imperio populos to rule peoples with [your] government (instrumental abl. [§g 47]); Romane voc. sg. of Romanus -I m.—Anchises uses the singular to address the Roman race in general; mementd 2 sg. imp. memini -isse here be sure to; tibi dat. of possessor [§G3o]; artes arts, skills; pad imponere morem lit., to impose (impdnd -ere impose [something] (acc.) on [something] (dat.)) civilized practice on peace, i.e., to establish civilized practices in lands to which Rome had brought peace—mos here has the broad meaning of customs appropriate to a civilized society; naturally, Romans would understand these from their own point of view, which was not necessarily that of the conquered people. 853 pared -ere + dat, spare; the adjectives subiectus (submissive) and superbus (proud) are both used as nouns; debello -are subdue.

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