'When Aeneas finally meets his father, Anchises, in the Underworld, the latter explains how the souls of the dead are purified and how some are subsequently reborn into the world. He then shows his son the souls of those who are destined to make Rome great. Prominent among these is the future Augustus, who will restore the prosperity of the Golden Age and extend the empire. (The idea of the transmigration of souls came from Greek sources and was not part of normal Roman belief (see page 78).)
Hie vir, hie est, tibi quem promitti saepius audis, Augustus Caesar, divi genus, aurea condet saecula qui rursus Latio regnata per arva Saturno quondam, super et Garamantas et Indos proferet imperium; iacet extra sidera tellus, 795
extra anni solisque vias, ubi caelifer Atlas axem umero torquet stellis ardentibus aptum.
text P. Vergili Maronis Opera, ed. R. A. B. Mynors
(Oxford Classical Texts, 1969) meter hexameter [§mi]
hie vir hie | est tibi | quem || pro|mitti | saepius | audis Augustus Cae|sar || dijvi genus | aurea | condet
791 quem is postponed [§g 4]; promitti pres. pass. inf. of promitto -ere promise;
saepius (compar. of saepe used to express a high degree [§G54]) very often. 792.ff. divi genus in apposition [§G52] to Augustus (-i m.) Caesar (Caesaris m.) offspring of a god—Augustus was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, who had been deified (the Eastern practice of deifying rulers was borrowed by Rome); aurea... quondam an adj. clause with a postponed rel. pron., qui (1. 793) [§g4]; aurea ... saecula golden generations (saeculum -I n.), i.e., a new (rursus) Golden Age; condo -ere establish; Latio abl. of place where [§g 38] in Latium (Latium -(i)i n.), the area in central Italy of which Rome was the principal city; regnata per arva Saturno quondam through fields (arvum -i n.) once ruled over (regno -are) by Saturn (dat. of agent [§g2g]; Saturnus -i m.)—Saturn, the father and predecessor of Jupiter, was supposed to have reigned in Latium during the Golden Age (cf. Tibullus Elegies 1.3.35, page 117); super (+ acc., here beyond) governs Garamantas (Greek acc. pi. of Garamantes Garamantium m.pl, a people of north Africa) and Indds (Indus -I m. an Indian); et (after super, postponed [§g 3]) joins this clause to the previous one.
795 profero -ferre extend; iacet... tellus describes the land to which Augustus will extend the empire; extra sidera beyond the constellations (sidus sideris n.)— the constellations are those of the zodiac, the belt of star groups that encircles the earth.
huius in adventum iam nunc et Caspia regna responsis horrent divum et Maeotia tellus, et septemgemini turbant trepida ostia Nili. 800
nec vero Alcides tantum telluris obivit, fixerit aeripedem cervam licet, aut Erymanthi pacarit nemora et Lernam tremefecerit arcu;
796 anni solisque vias lit., the paths of the year and sun, i.e., the path of the sun during the year (hendiadys [§Gg6])—the sun's annual path, as conceived in Ptolemaic astronomy and called the ecliptic, is in the same plane as the zodiac; Vergil is referring to the regions of the earth lying beneath the sky on either side of (i.e., to the north and south of) the zodiac/ecliptic; caelifer Adas sky-bearing Atlas (Adas Atlantis m.), a divine being (a Titan) condemned to support the sky.
797 axem (axis axis m.) here sky, which is stellis ardentibus aptum furnished with blazing (ardeo -ere) stars (instrumental abl. [§g47]; Stella -ae f.); umerd abl. of place where [§g 38] on his shoulder (umerus -I m.); torqueo -ere turn—in Ptolemaic astronomy, the sky with its stars and planets revolved around a fixed earth; standing on earth, Atlas held up the moving sky and so could be said to turn it.
798f. huius i.e., Augustus; in here in anticipation of; adventus -us m. coming; et... et... both ... and ...; Caspia regna Caspian kingdoms, i.e., countries in the vicinity of the Caspian Sea; both regna and tellus are the subject of horrent (horreo -ere tremble); responsis ... divum because of the replies (abl. of cause [§g48]; re-sponsum-ln.) of the gods (dlvumoldgen.pl. of divus -1 m .god)—Anchises claims that in oracles the gods had already given warning of Augustus' coming; Maedtius adj. of Maeotis (Maeotidis f.) of Lake Maeotis, the Sea of Azov north of the Black Sea.
800 septemgemini ... ostia Nili the mouths (ostium -(i)i n.) of the sevenfold Nile (Nilus -i m.), i.e., the Nile delta, which is used by synecdoche [§gg8] for Egypt; turbo -are be alarmed; take trepida (trepidus anxious) with ostia.
801 vero adv. indeed; Alcides (-ae m.) another name for Hercules; take telluris (partitive gen. [§G24]) with tantum, trans, so much of the earth; obeo obire visit— in the course of performing his twelve labors, Hercules traveled to numerous places and eliminated monsters of various kinds.
8o2f. Three clauses are introduced by licet (+ subj., although), which is postponed [§G4]; fixerit 3 sg. perf. subj. act. figo -ere here shoot (with an arrow); aeripedem cervam bronze-footed stag (cerva -ae f.—the noun, although grammatically feminine, can refer to either sex), in English called "the Hind of Ceryneia," a deer of enormous proportions that ravaged crops at Oenoe in the Peloponnese; Erymanthi ... nemora the groves (nemus nemoris n.) ofErymanthus (Erymanthus -i m.), a mountain in Arcadia plagued by a large boar, which Hercules killed; pacarit (= pacaverit [§G95]) 3 sg. perf. subj. act. paco -sirepacify; Lerna -ae f. a district in Argolis in southeastern Greece, where Hercules killed the Hydra, a multiheaded water snake; tremefecerit 3 sg. perf. subj. act. tremefacid -ere make tremble; arcus -us m. bow.
nec qui pampineis victor iuga flectit habenis Liber, agens celso Nysae de vertice tigris. 805
et dubitamus adhuc virtutem extendere factis, aut metus Ausonia prohibet consistere terra?
<s Vergil Aeneid 6.791-807
8o4f. Liber (Llberl m., = Bacchus = Dionysus), the god of wine, is the second mythological benefactor of mankind to whom Augustus is favorably compared; nec qui... victor ... Liber ... in prose order, nec victor Liber qui...—with nec ... Liber supply tantum tellüris oblvit from 1. 801, trans, nor [did] triumphant Liber [visit so much of the earth], who ...; pampineis ... habenis instrumental abl. [§g 47] with reins (habéna -ae f.) of vine shoots (pampineus adj. of pampinus -I m. vine shoot); iuga pi. for sg. [§g 53], trans, yoke (iugum -I n.), i.e., the yoke placed on the necks of his two tigers (cf. Tibullus Elegies 1.3.41, page 118); flectit historic pres. [§g6o] of flecto -ere here control; agens here driving; celsó ... dé vertice from the lofty peak (vertex verticis m.); Nysa -ae f. the legendary mountain in India where Bacchus was born; tigris acc. pi. of tigris tigris f. tiger—Bacchus' journey from India to the West in a chariot drawn by a pair of tigers and his introduction of wine throughout the known world were regarded as symbols of the triumph of civilization over brute nature.
806 The vision of Augustus' future achievements should dispel any doubts Aeneas had about his destiny to establish a settlement in Italy from which Rome would eventually rise; Anchises tactfully uses the 1 pi. dubitamus ...J do we hesitate ...? instead of the 2 sg.—Aeneas had shown a certain hesitation during his laborious journey to Italy; adhüc still; extendó -ere enlarge; factis instrumental abl. [§G47] by deeds.
807 Ausonia ... terra abl. of place where [§G38] on Ausonian land (a poetic expression for Italy); with prohibet supply nos (us); consisto -ere settle.
Propertius on the Aeneid
With these enthusiastic words, Propertius greeted the appearance of Vergil's Aeneid;
Cedite, Romani scriptores, cedite, Grai!
nescio quid maius nascitur Iliade. Elegies 2.34.65f.
Make way, Roman writers, make way, Greeks! Something greater than the Iliad is born.
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