The Dream of Ilia

Tfcere were Roman poets before Quintus Ennius (239-169 b.c.), but he was the one responsible for setting Roman poetry firmly in the Greek tradition. Of his many works, the most significant was the Annales, an account in epic style of Roman history from its mythical beginnings up to his own day.

The following fragment, one of the few longer passages that survive from the Annales, comes from early in the poem where Ennius tells the story of Rome's foundation. After Aeneas escaped from Troy to Italy, he had two daughters by Eurydica (this version of the legend differs from that of Vergil). One of these, Ilia, is described as waking from a terrifying dream that she recounts to her unnamed sister. The dream hints at. Ilia's union with the god Mars (homo pulcher in 1.5), by whom she will bear the twins Romulus and Remus, The obscure clause "[your] fortune will rise again from a river" may refer to the story that the twins were set adrift on the Tiber but driven ashore by a flood.

Et cita cum tremulis anus attulit artubus lumen, talia turn memorat lacrimans, exterrita somno: "Eurydica prognata, pater quam noster amavit, vires vitaque corpus meum nunc deserit omne.

text The Annals ofQ. Ennius, ed. O. Skutsch (Oxford University Press, 1985) meter hexameter [§mi]

et cita | cum tremu|lis || anus | attulit | artubu(s) | lumen talia | turn memo|rat || lacri|mans ex|territa | somno (Early Latin poetry allowed the elision of final s before a word beginning with a consonant, as in artubu(s) above.)

1 cita quick, adj. agreeing with the subject anus (-us f. old woman, perhaps here a nurse), but trans, quickly [§g 55]; take cum tremulis (shaking) with artubus (artus -us m. limb—a few 4th-decl. nouns have a dat./abl. pi. in -ubus, not -ibus); the object of attulit (afferd -ferre bring) is lumen (lit., light, but trans, torch).

2 talia is the object of memorat (historic pres. [§g6o]; memoro -are), lit., she speaks such [things as follows], i.e., she spoke thus (the understood subject is Ilia); lacrimans (lacrimo -are cry) and exterrita (exterreo -ere frighten) agree with the subject of memorat; take somno (abl. of separation [§G4o]) with exterrita, frightened out of sleep.

3 Eurydica prognata voc. phrase, lit., born of Eurydica (abl. of origin [§G4i])— Ilia's unnamed sister, who is not the old woman of 1. 1, is present; pater quam noster amavit adj. clause referring back to prognata—the relative quam is postponed [§G4]; prose order would be quam pater

4 vires (nom. pi. of vis) strength; corpus meum ... omne my whole body, deserit (desero -ere abandon) is singular because it agrees with vita, the nearer of the two subjects [§G 58] vires vitaque, but trans, strength and life abandon

nam me visus homo pulcher per amoena salicta 5

et ripas raptare locosque novos. ita sola postiila, germana soror, errare videbar tardaque vestigare et quaerere te neque posse corde capessere: semita nulla pedem stabilibat. exim compellare pater me voce videtur 10

his verbis: 0 gnata, tibi sunt ante gerendae aerumnae, post ex fluvio fortuna resistet.'

homo pulcher (a handsome man) is the subject of visus (supply est, i.e., seemed—the passive of video can have the sense of seem), which is followed by an inf. phrase me ... raptare (to carry me off); take per amoena (pleasant) salicta (salictum -I n. willow grove) et ripas (rfpa -ae f. [river] bank) ... locosque novos (here unfamiliar, strange) together: through pleasant willow groves and ...—at this point in the narrative, Ilia is presumably raped by Mars (the homo pulcher) and becomes pregnant by him, but she conceals this from her sister; sola ( nom.) agrees with the subject of videbar (ego understood) in 1.7. 7 postiila afterwards; germana soror lit., full sister, but trans, simply sister; videbar

I seemed (cf. visus [est] in 1.5). 8f. tarda slow, adj. agreeing with the subject of videbar, but trans, slowly [§G 55]; vestigare (vestlgo search for), quaerere (quaero look for), and capessere (capesso grasp) govern te; neque here but not; corde abl. of place where [§G38] in [my] heart—to grasp you in [my] heart expresses the vagueness of a dream; semita -ae f. path; pes pedis m .foot; stabilibat old form of the imperf. stabiliebat (stabilio -Ire make steady)—lit., no path made [my] foot steady, i.e., there was no path I could follow.

10 exim (= exinde) then; compello -are address, speak to; pater [our] father, i.e., Aeneas; voce instrumental abl. [§G47] with [his] voice, i.e., aloud; videtur historic pres. [§g6o],

1 if. his verbis another instrumental abl., but trans, in these words; gnata (= nata) voc. daughter; sunt... gerundae gerundive construction [§g8o] with aerumnae (troubles; aerumna -ae f.) as subject and tibi as dat. of agent [§g2g], lit., troubles are to be borne by you; ante and post are used adverbially; fluvius -(i)l m. river; resisto -ere here rise again, be restored—its normal meaning is stop (intr.), resist.

13 ecfatus perf. pple. of ecfor -ari say; germana voc. sister; repente suddenly; recedo -ere withdraw, go away.

14 nec sese (= se) ... conspectum lit., nor did he give himself to [my] sight (conspectus -us m.)—Ilia had only heard her father, not seen him; corde cupltus [though] desired by [my] heart (instrumental abl. [§G47]).

I5f. quamquam (although) introduces two adverbial clauses of concession (with the indicative), which are joined by et (1. 16); multa adverbial acc, [§gi6] many [times]; scansion indicates manus (not manus), and context shows that this is acc, pi. after tendebam (tendo -ere stretch); caerula blue; templa here regions; take blanda (coaxing) with voce (instrumental abl. [§G47]). 17 vixjust now; aegro cum corde meo with my heart sick.

haec ecfatus pater, germana, repente recessit nec sese dedit in conspectum corde cupitus, quamquam multa manus ad caeli caerula templa 15 tendebam lacrimans et blanda voce vocabam. vix aegro cum corde meo me somnus reliquit."


In past centilries, a knowledge of Latin was expected of anyone who claimed to be educated, and many Latin phrases and sentences were in common use.~Some came from Roman sources, some came from medieval arid later writers, while others were part of the western European- tradition .and have no known origin. Those of the third type sometimes existed in different forms and were interpreted in different ways: An example is et ego in Arcadia, which was commonly inscribed :on: tombstones, where it was interpreted as I too [was] in Arcadia, that is, I (the dead person) led a happy life. Arcadia, the central region of southern Greece, was believed to be inhabited by happy rustics who led simple, uncomplicated lives. The saying was also used by people looking back on a happy and carefree youth before they assumed the responsibilities of adulthood.

However, there was another, possibly more authentic, form: et in Arcadia ego. This too was commonly seen on tombstones, but with the meaning I [am] even in Arcadia. Here the speaker is Death, who comes even to those who have enjoyed lives of happiness, similar to those of Arcadia's inhabitants. '

In later pages, we will examine several Latin sayings and quotations that have been, and in some cases still are, current in society.

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