Aeneid - Book II

By AoM, in 'Reading Latin', Jun 3, 2016.

  1. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    In the next week or so, I'm going to start a translation of Book II of Virgil's Aeneid. I translated Book I late last year, and eventually hope to have my own translation of all twelve books. I'm creating this thread to act as place to ask questions that arise and to post interesting constructions, poetic devices, etc. I come across. I recently read Knox's seminal article "The Serpent and the Flame". Any other interesting articles on Book II?

    I hope this is the right place to post the thread!
  2. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Book 2 is my favourite.
    Are you going to show us some of your translation of book 1?
  3. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Sure. There may be some mistakes/typos.

    Attached Files:

  4. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Started today and got through 39 lines. Some remarks:

    - Gotta love how Aeneas calls Ulysses durus (7). ::):
    - Great imagery: suadentque cadentia sidera somnos (9).
    - Line 14: ductores Danaum reminds me of the use of ductores in Book I (149) to describe the deer.
    - I like how Virgil uses anatomical terms to describe the horse: it has ribs (costas, 16) and a womb (uterumque, 20; uteri, 38).
    - dives opum (22), describing the island Tenedos, the same phrase used to describe Carthage in Book I (14).
    - dum regna manebant (22) reminds me of the phrase used twice in Book VI: dum vita manebat (608, 661).
    - As the commentaries have pointed out, a great line (26): ergo omnis longo soluit se Teucria luctu; the synchysis lets us know that, at that time, their sorrow was indeed, and unfortunately, not over.
    - et molem mirantur equi (32) reminds me of Aeneas' amazement at Carthage in Book I (miratur molem Aeneas, 421).
    - et quorum melior sententia menti (35): somewhat tricky, but an ellipsis of the nominative, est, with menti being a dative of possession.

    One question:

    quis talia fando
    Myrmidonum Dolopumve aut duri miles Ulixi
    temperet a lacrimis? (6-8)

    Thankfully the commentary pointed out that Myrmidonum and Dolopum are partitive genitives with quis, but does a qui need to be understood with miles: "or what soldier of harsh Ulysses,"?

    That's it so far!
  5. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    My literal understanding of it is:
    "Who among the Myrmidons or Dolopians, or who a soldier of Ulysses, would...?"
    AoM likes this.
  6. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    So we really should understand miles as militum, another partitive genitive that Virgil has changed to a simple nominative to avoid the awkwardness of 'of the soldiers of harsh Ulysses' (and probably for the sake of meter :p)?

    Before seeing the commentary's note, I thought quis (even though it's not an interrogative adjective) was going with miles. So, "What soldier of ... or ... or ..."
  7. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Lines 40-104:

    - magna comitante caterva (40): cf. magna iuvenum stipante caterva (I.497)
    - sic notus Ulixes? (44): poor Ulysses again. :p
    - equo ne credite, Teucri (48): Don't trust the horse!
    - validis ingentem viribus hastam (50): love that synchysis.
    - alvum (51): now the horse has a belly and is called a beast as well (feri).
    - As one commentary pointed out, the assonance together with the line's meaning is incredible (53): insonuere cavae gemitumque dedere cavernae.
    - si fata deum, si mens non laeva fuisset (54): a lot of uncertainty about this line, but I took laeva with two meanings here; the fates of the gods are unfavorable, the minds of the Trojans are foolish.
    - Troiaque nunc staret, Priamique arx alta maneres (56): the switch to 2nd person is unexpected and extremely effective as a result.
    - circumfusa ruit certantque inludere capto (64): I like the switch to the plural from singular; the crowd is growing as the captive is brought forward and they fight to ridicule him.
    - hortamur fari...fiducia capto (74-75): a lot of dispute about this in the commentaries; see below for the question on the latter half.
    - Sinonem (79): we finally learn the captive's name.
    - insontem infando indicio (84): unbelievable alliteration and elision.
    - cassum lumine (85): yet another way of saying that someone is dead ("deprived of light").
    - pellacis Ulixi (90): even the Greeks hate Ulysses! :p
    - hinc mihi...hinc semper...hinc spargere (97-98): the anaphora and historic infinitives are vivid and reinforce Ulysses' tenacity and Sinon's annoyance toward it.
    - donec Calchante ministro— (100): yay, aposiopesis. cf. Neptune's in Book I (Quos ego—; 135).
    - sed quid ego haec autem nequiquam ingrata revolvo (101): "Why am I rambling on again?" ::D
    - Ithacus (104): Sinon won't even mention the Ithacan by name.

    - seu versare dolos eu certae occumbere morti (62): I see scholars doing it, but it's okay to translate seu...seu as either...or, right?

    - memoret quae sit fiducia capto (75): oh boy, this clause. One scholar was translating memoret as 'let...', which seems a little disjointed. It's an indirect command predicated on hortamur ("We urge him to..."). So, coming after a semicolon, I started with "that he (Sinon) recount..."

    The two translations that one scholar gave are:
    - "let him say what he relies on as a captive"
    - (based on Servius' suggestion) "let him remember what a captive must depend on", to which he adds "i.e. telling the truth, but this seems impossible for memoret."

    My translation so far:
    "that he recount what confidence he has as a captive", so closer to the first interpretation, but I don't understand why the second option "seems impossible for memoret." The first option is based on the fact that Sinon apparently has information to give the Trojans, and this fact is keeping him alive. The scholar notes: "Sinon has indicated that he has no place now among the Greeks, so the Trojans ask him to say what grounds he has for thinking they will wish to receive him" To that I say, "What..?" Sinon confessed that even the Trojans are demanding punishment along with blood (et super ipsi...cum sanguine poscunt?). How does that suggest that he thinks the Trojans will wish to receive him?

    The second is much more general and is based on the fact that the only thing keeping a captive alive is his ability to tell the truth. So, "let him remember what .... a captive has." The difficulty I had with choosing this option was I couldn't find a good translation for fiducia; I wanted to try to stay close the actual meaning of the word, but if anyone has any suggestions. I don't expect an 'answer' to the question because it really is tough to know what Virgil himself meant (and the manuscript problem doesn't help matters).

    Lastly, in this line (104): hoc Ithacus velit et magno mercentur Atridae. How is hoc long if it's accusative singular? Both of the commentaries I'm looking at (and Servius as well) didn't have a note on this. Is it just long by position because it's the first syllable?

    Edit: Forgot two questions. :oops:

    - donec Calchante ministro— (100): what's a good translation for minister? The whole sentence is, "And in fact he (Ulysses) did not rest until with Calchas as his ...." Apparently Calchas is an eminent seer among the Greeks. I was thinking of 'accomplice', which is a little strong for minister, but increases Sinon's apparent disdain for the Greeks.

    - hoc Ithacus velit et magno mercentur Atridae (104): "and the sons of Atreus purchase it at a high price." Sinon ends this section with how Ulysses would like to see him put to death, and how Menelaus and Agamemnon would pay a great price for it. I'm having trouble with the latter half because apparently mercor can't mean 'pay'. How does the phrasing of the translation above sound?

    Thanks again for any help!
    Last edited by AoM, Jun 9, 2016
  8. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Hoc as accusative can have a long o. You had one on line 60.
    "Purchase" would be fine for mercentur.
  9. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Ah, I didn't notice that hoc at the beginning of line 60. And checking L&S, they do indeed have it as long. Wiktionary, you're usually so good about macrons. :doh:
  10. LVXORD Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Another interpretation would explain the heavy nature of "hoc" by the fact that the word was originally "hocc(e)", as attested in both inscriptions and by grammarians (Velius Longus - "cum dicimus 'hic est ille', unum 'c' scribimus et duo audimus, quod apparet in metro"). But I would get worked up over linguistics.
  11. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Yeah, I saw that in L&S. Virgil must want to emphasize the word (in both cases so far).
  12. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Lines 105-144:

    - ignari scelerum tantorum artisque Pelasgae (106): Aeneas' regret.
    - sanguine placastis...Argolica (116-119): So, we have Virgil telling us what was said by Aeneas, telling us what was said by Sinon, telling us what was said by Eurypylus... :applause:
    - sanguine quaerendi reditus animaque litandum / Argolica (118-119): climactic enjambment which I rendered with '...' in English.
    - obstipuere (120): cf. Aeneas and Achates (I.513) and Dido (I.613).
    - nec dulcis natos exoptatumque parentem (138): Sinon playing on those heartstrings.
    The end of Sinon's plea (143-144): miserere laborum / tantorum, miserere animi non digna ferentis.


    - Describing the seer Calchas (126): bis quinos silet ille dies tectusque recusat

    It seems the common translation for tectus here is 'shut up in his tent'. Any other suggestions for it that stay a little closer to the text?

    - The next line (127): prodere voce sua quemquam aut opponere morti.

    I was having trouble finding a good translation of opponere in this context. The clause is: 'and he (Calchas) refuses to betray anyone with his own voice, or expose him to death.' I saw one translation had 'condemn'; that's a little strong for the verb but does get the sense. Does 'expose' work, or should I go with 'condemn'?

    Finally through Sinon's speech! Edit: still a little more.. :p
    Last edited by AoM, Jun 14, 2016
  13. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Lines 145-198:

    - sustulit exutas vinclis ad sidera palmas (153): cf. ingemit, et duplicis tendens ad sidera palmas (I.93).
    - ferre sub auras (158): an idiom we have in English as well: "to bring something beneath the light".
    - Troia fidem, si vera feram, si magna rependam (161): incredible assonance.
    - scelerumque inventor Ulixes (164): will Ulysses ever get a break? :hysteric:
    - arsere coruscae / luminibus flammae arrectis, salsusque per artus / sudor iit (172-174): this description excites the senses.
    - numenque reducant (178): numen: either the deity (i.e., the Palladium) or the auspices; I chose the latter.
    - arma deosque (181): cf. arma virumque (I.1).
    - digerit (182): a new word for me; from digero, 'to separate' (here 'to interpret', referring to Calchas and the omina); where we get the English 'digest' (digestum).
    - pro numine laeso (183): cf. quo numine laeso (I.8).
    - nefas quae triste piaret (184): triste: either neuter adjective or adverb; I chose the former.
    - neu populum antiqua sub religione tueri (188): Williams's note: "so that it could not take the place of the Palladium (183), and save Troy from destruction."
    - et nostros ea fata manere nepotes (194): as Williams notes, this does indeed come to pass.
    - lacrimisque coactis (196): "by forced tears"

    Around 600 more lines to go.. :dance:
  14. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Lines 199-249:

    - Hic aliud maius miseris multoque tremendum (199): emphatic.
    - Lines 204-227: I love the sibilance in many of these lines. I wrote a paper on hissing in Plautus' Amphitryon, and was constantly impressed by how Virgil used it in this vivid description of Laocoön's death.
    - ardentisque oculos suffecti (210): oculos is a Greek accusative.
    - sibila lambebant linguis vibrantibus ora (211): chiasmus to end the initial description of the scene.
    - parva duorum / corpora natorum (213-214): synchysis in the merciless murder of Laocoön's two sons.
    - bis medium amplexi, bis collo squamea circum / terga dati (218-219): the anaphora stresses the twin aspect (gemini) above and is terrifying.
    - perfusus sanie vittas atroque veneno (221): vittas is another Greek accusative; a visceral line which adds to the already monstrous description of the snakes.
    - qualis mugitus...cervice securim (223-224): very ironic; as Laocoön is sacrificing a bull, he himself becomes one, his cries likened to bellowing.
    - Notice the general progression of how Aeneas is describing these monsters: angues (204) > serpens (214) > dracones (225), increasing their presence and enormity as he relives the event; I rendered this in English as snake > serpent > dragon.
    - insinuat pavor (229): cf. sinuatque (208); the snakes' presence, and their effect on the Trojans, is reinforced by the verb.
    - rotarum...lapsus (235-236): cf. lapsu (225); "the slithering of wheels"
    - feta armis (238): continuing the anatomy of the horse; a disturbing image when you really think about it.
    quater (242, 243): cf. O terque quaterque beati (I.94).
    - immemores caecique furore (244): thoughtless and blind with passion, the Trojans miss the obvious signs of the Greeks' treachery.
    - et monstrum infelix sacrata sistimus arce (245): as Williams notes, the sibilance and spondees are used by Virgil to achieve the "finality of the line"; Aeneas' use of monstrum to refer to the horse is also noteworthy.


    - et incertam excussit cervice securim (224): in comparing Laocoön to a bull, Virgil says, "and has shaken off the ill-aimed axe from its neck."
    Any suggestions for another word besides "ill-aimed" for incertam? That seems to be what most commentaries/translations go with, though.

    - nos delubra deum miseri, quibus ultimus esset / ille dies, festa velamus fronde per urbem. (248-249)

    Two options:
    (1) "not connected with miseri, 'wretched, inasmuch as that day was our last'"
    (2) "'though that day was our last:'" "a relative proposition, containing an anthithesis to the leading proposition"

    So either causal or adversative, I guess.

    My translation:

    "In our misery, although that day would be our last, we cover the shrines of the gods with festive foliage all over the city."
    Last edited by AoM, Jun 20, 2016
  15. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    "Ill-aimed" is really le mot juste; I think it would be futile to look further. If there is a better alternative, I can't think of one off hand.
  16. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    I'd never heard the term before, so thanks for that lol. It's definitely a constant struggle in looking for just the right word.
  17. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Lines 250-297:

    - conticuere; sopor fessos complectitur artus (253): cf. conticuere omnes (1); cf. miseros morsu depascitur artus (215).
    - laxat (259): a sort of zeugma (used in different senses with the two objects, claustra and Danaos).
    - dirus Ulixes (261): ... :cool:
    - demissum lapsi per funem (262): continuing the snake metaphor ("slithering down the lowered rope").
    - urbem somno vinoque sepultam (265): extremely foreboding with sepelio.
    - agmina conscia iungunt (267): conscia gave me a little trouble, but I rendered it as "complicit" to convey the negative connotation.
    - largosque effundere fletus (271): cf. largoque umectat flumine vultum (I.465).
    - aterque cruento (272): cf. atroque veneno (221).
    - squalentem barbam et concretos sanguine crinis / vulneraque illa gerens (277-278): an upsetting image for Aeneas to see.
    - videbar (279): because Aeneas is recounting a dream, he cannot be exactly sure (cf. visus, 271).
    - quibus Hector ab oris (282): cf. Venus to Aeneas, quibus aut venistis ab oris (I.369).
    - ille nihil (287): the ellipsis strengthens the meaning.
    - hostis habet muros (290): I love how Virgil will still use such simple sentences; Hector is very brief here because the Greeks are about to take the city.
    - sat patriae Priamoque datum (291): either "we've had our time at the top" or "you have given enough"; my translation: "Enough's been given to the country and Priam".
    - si Pergama dextra...defensa fuissent (291-292): the city is lost, nothing can be done.
    - fatorum comites (294): the Penates are described as "companions of fate".
    - aeternumque adytis effert penetralibus ignem (297): chiasmus to end the section and Aeneas' dream.


    - vel Danaum Phrygios iaculatus puppibus ignis! (276): referring to Hector, Aeneas says this; "or" or "even" here? Apparently the ships weren't actually burned? Williams: "The Trojan attack on the Greek ships which they almost set on fire is described in..."

    My translation: "having even cast Phrygian fires upon the Greeks' ships!"
  18. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Getting fatigue already, and I'm not even halfway through. :oops:

    Lines 298-369:

    - atque arrectis auribus asto (303): cf. arrectisque auribus adstant (I.152).
    - in segetem veluti (304): I really like this simile; it's one of those images that makes me eager to see a movie or miniseries adaptation.
    - tum vero manifesta fides (309): I like Williams' suggestion that Aeneas is being sarcastic here.
    - exoritur clamorque virum clangorque tubarum (313): cf. insequitur clamorque virum stridorque rudentum (I.87).
    - pulchrumque mori succurrit in armis (317): although Hector has told him to flee, Aeneas wants to die along with his home and his people.
    - elapsus (318): a continuation of the snake metaphor?; it's applied to a Trojan here, but I did translate it the same as above.
    - quo res summa loco (322): something that has given nearly every scholar trouble; apparently either 'Where's the best place to make a last stand?' or 'How's Troy doing?' I went with the former: 'Where's the greatest advantage...'
    - fuimus Troes, fuit Ilium (325): with these words I'm reminded that the Aeneid is most importantly the journey and toils of an immigrant.
    - insultans (330): Sinon is described as 'gloating' as he helps to burn the city.
    - stat ferri acies mucrone corusco / stricta, parata neci (333-334): a sharp and brutal image which some translations have missed capturing.
    - maximus armis (339): one of those instances where I feel it's appropriate to not translate arma literally: 'the greatest in warfare'.
    - audierit (346): as Williams notes, the incomplete line is very effective but should not be taken as a deliberate device.
    - moriamur et in media arma ruamus (353): returning again to this idea of wanting to die fighting.
    - una salus victis nullam sperare salutem (354): Virgil's mastery of concluding speeches continues.
    - inde, lupi ceu (355): another simile; the Trojans are 'plundering wolves', blindly thrust out by their ravenous hunger.
    - quis cladem...aequare labores (361-362): cf. quis talia fando...a lacrimis (6-8).
    - urbs antiqua ruit (363): cf. urbs antiqua fuit (I.12); in the days of the Romans, the latter will mirror Troy's fate.
    - plurima perque...corpora perque...limina (364-366): one can imagine Virgil continuing with yet another perque.
    - virtus (367): the first use of virtus, here as a cause of Greek death; I also love the contrast here: the Greeks may be victorious (victoresque), but some of them will fall (cadunt).
    - crudelis ubique / luctus, ubique pavor et plurima mortis imago (368-369): dark sights all around; luctus and mors have been used multiple times already; the second use of pavor (cf. 229, the snakes' wrath is still felt); here I rendered plurima 'intense'.


    - et summi fastigia tecti / ascensu supero (302-303): "and I climb onto the roof of the highest building"

    Is this referring to Anchises' house or another house in the vicinity? Because summus can mean 'top of...', so the roof of the top of the house (i.e., the peak of the roof).

    Almost halfway there!
  19. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Lines 370-452:

    - primus se Danaum magna comitante caterva (370): cf. primus ibi ante omnis magna comitante caterva (40); each man shared the same fate (death by actual, and metaphorical, snakes).
    - delapsus (377): snake metaphor keeps going.
    - improvisum aspris...colla tumentem (379-381): the Trojans are now snakes.
    - tremefactus (382): just as the hearts of the Trojans were panic-stricken at the snakes (228, tremefacta), so too is Androgeos; the tables are now turned.
    - diffugiunt (399): cf. diffugimus (212); another mirror of previous circumstances.
    - ardentia lumina (405): cf. ardentisque oculos (210, of the snakes).
    - Graiarum errore iubarum (412): cf. iubaeque (206, of the snakes).
    - gemini Atridae (415): the same adjective used to describe the twin snakes above (203, 225).
    - stridunt silvae saevitque (418): the winds hissing.
    - insidiis (421): if you can't beat 'em, join them?
    - atque ora sono discordia signant (423): "Oh wait, we do speak different languages..."
    - pereunt Hypanisque Dymasque / confixi a sociis (428-429): particularly brutal and heartbreaking; Kline misses it: "Hypanis and Dymas die at the hands of allies".
    - pietas (430): Panthus' pietas could not save him; but this trait will ultimately save the Trojan race.
    - vulnere tardus Ulixi (436): "...of course!" ::D
    - cernimus obsessumque acta testudine limen (441): Helm's Deep, anyone?
    - haerent parietibus scalae (442): *kicks down ladder full of men*
    - veterum decora alta parentum (448): cf. scaenis decora alta futuris (I.429); as old ornaments fall, new ones rise.


    - dolus an virtus, quis in hoste requirat? (390): help needed here. "Deceit or valor, who will question it in an enemy?" I saw Kline translated in hoste as "in war".

    - protinus ad sedes Priami clamore vocati (437): for protinus, continuously or immediately?

    - Dardanidae contra turris ac tecta domorum (445): translation for domorum? Palace could work; Kline has "halls". It's referring to Priam's palace, which I guess is made up of many "houses".
  20. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Lines 453-505:

    - ea lapsa (465): the tower slithers down the roof, crushing many of the Greeks below.
    - nec saxa nec ullum / telorum interea cessat genus (467-468): (skip to 3:17)
    - qualis ubi in lucem (471 ff.): another snake metaphor; so many details.
    - at domus interior gemitu miseroque tumultu / miscetur (486-487): cf. at domus interior regali splendida luxu / instruitur (I.637-638, of Dido's palace).
    - fit via vi (494): the power of terseness.
    - et late loca milite complent (495): cf. uterumque armato milite complent (20).
    - non sic (496): this gave me trouble at first, but Virgil is stressing that the influx of Greeks is more powerful than a raging river.
    - furentem / caede (499-500): like father, like son (cf. instat vi patria Pyrrhus, 491).
    - geminos (500): again used to describe the sons of Atreus; Agamemnon and Menelaus aren't twins, right? Servius' note: "geminos more suo 'fratres'. 'gemini' enim sunt non duo, sed simul nati."
    - quinquaginta illi thalami (503): cf. quinquaginta intus famulae (I.703).

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