Silius Italicus - Book 1

By Dantius, in 'Reading Latin', Apr 9, 2018.

  1. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    I'm going to do AoM-style notes, because why not. At least for book one – not sure if I'll do them for all 17 books.

    Preface (1-16):
    - ordior arma (1): I saw some article/commentary on Google Books pointing out that with these opening words, Silius indicates his two major sources of Vergil and Livy (arma = Vergil’s arma virumque, and apparently ordior has a Livian tone to it; cf. tantae ordiendae rei from Livy’s preface referring to him beginning his work).
    - Aeneadum (2): the same article/commentary mentioned the obvious connection here to Vergil’s Aeneid, and claimed that Silius Italicus was using this term in the plural to emphasize that while the Aeneid was about just one man as the hero, his poem is going to be about the whole Roman people.
    - 1-3: Rather short as opening sentences go, but at least there’s a bit more to it than Valerius Flaccus’.
    - viros (5): again, plural as opposed to Vergil’s virum.
    - sacri cum perfida pacti (5): the first of many genitives of specification with adjectives that are otherwise unattested in that construction. An allusion to the stereotype of Carthaginians as untrustworthy (Punica fides)
    - gens Cadmea (6): I would expect this to refer to Thebans, since that’s the gens that Cadmus originated, but it refers to Carthage, because Cadmus comes from Phoenicia and so does Carthage. It seems like Silius often stretches to find periphrastic place names.
    - quaesitumque (7): the construction (participle used impersonally as a direct object) reminds me of certatum in Luc. 1.5.
    - ter…ter (8-11): a common anaphora in Roman poets, it seems.
    - reseravit Dardanus arces / ductor Agenoreas (14-15): synchysis. I guess the interlocked word order represents how the Romans have made their way into the Carthaginian citadel?
    - Poenorum ac muris defendit Roma salutem (16): if we were doing this passage in class, a classmate of mine would almost certainly ask if this line is a word picture where the muris literally separate the Carthaginians from Rome. It's definitely a stretch, but I guarantee you someone would ask it. A few of my classmates love finding hendiadys and word pictures where there aren't any. Like "is Hecuba et natae a hendiadys for 'Hecuba's daughters'?" I guess it's better to look for literary devices that aren't there than to be completely unengaged.

    - Words used to refer to Rome or the Romans in these lines: Aeneadum, Oenotria, Hesperiae, Roma, Dardanus
    - Words used to refer to Carthage or the Carthaginians in these lines: Carthago, Cadmea, Sidonii, Agenoreas
    I feel like it’s a bit much, but it’s easy enough to tell from context who each word refers to.
    Last edited by Dantius, Apr 9, 2018
  2. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    Initial impressions after about 190 lines (I'll do the full posts for those lines tomorrow):
    • lots of synchysis.
    • Silius finds all sorts of weird names for the Romans and Carthaginians, presumably for metrical reasons.
    • He likes genitives of specification and epexegetical infinitives with adjectives.
    • Overall, it's pretty enjoyable so far, although some parts are a bit derivative of Vergil. Stylistically, there are some lines I really like, some not so much. Some of it is a bit overdone. He may be the worst Latin epic poet compared to Vergil or the like, but he's not objectively terrible.
  3. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    Yeah, it seems he wrote the epic to (literally) end all Latin epics.

    Curious to see what noteworthy bits he has.
  4. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    Here's the next segment.

    Preface; Juno inspires Hannibal to wage war against the Romans (17-55):
    - tantarum causas irarum (17): an obvious echo of Musa, mihi causas memora and Tantaene animis caelestibus irae? from Vergil’s preface.
    - odiumque perenni / servatum studio (17-18): synchysis.
    - 21-23: 3 lines in a row that are framed by an adjective at the beginning and the modified noun at the end. It feels a bit awkward to me.
    - sed enim conamine primae / contuso pugnae fractisque in gurgite coeptis / Sicanio Libycis (33-35): double synchysis.
    - remolitur (36): a rare poetic word.
    - turbanti terras pontumque mouere paranti (37): chiasmus.
    - cunctas…belliger…iras / Hannibal (38-39): yet another synchysis.
    - intulerit Latio…Dardaniam et bis numina capta penates (42-43): a combination of Vergil’s inferretque deos Latio and Ilium in Italiam portans victosque Penates.
    - 45-54: Juno prophecying the major Roman defeats. It’s a nice passage and very much like Juno from the Aeneid, but it’s a bit weird that she’s telling Hannibal about victories he’s going to have later. Are we to understand that in the world of this poem, he chooses those locations for battles because of remembering Juno’s prophecy, making it kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy? Or did he forget about what Juno said and just end up picking those locations anyway because Juno’s prophecy is guaranteed to come true? I’m probably overthinking this scene. It’s a nice passage though so I’ll copy it here:
    dum Romana tuae, Ticine, cadauera ripae 45
    non capiant, famulusque mihi per Celtica rura
    sanguine Pergameo Trebia et stipantibus armis
    corporibusque uirum retro fluat, ac sua largo
    stagna reformidet Trasimennus turbida tabo,
    dum Cannas tumulum Hesperiae campumque cruore 50
    Ausonio mersum sublimis Iapyga cernam
    teque uadi dubium coeuntibus, Aufide, ripis
    per clipeos galeasque uirum caesosque per artus
    uix iter Hadriaci rumpentem ad litora ponti.
    - Romana tuae, Ticine, cadauera ripae (45): another synchysis. He’s using too many of these in my opinion.
    - campumque cruore Ausonio mersum (50-51): vivid imagery. Reminds me of some of the descriptions of Pharsalus in Lucan book 7, e.g. Caesar, ut Hesperio uidit satis arua natare sanguine

    - vadi dubium (52): another genitive of specification, not as weird as perfida pacti though.
  5. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    Description of Hannibal; Hannibal’s Oath (56-122):
    - 56-60: The description of Hannibal seems to be sourced mainly from Livy. Interestingly, however, Livy starts with a description of Hannibal’s virtues and strength in war, then turns to his faithlessness and lack of respect for the gods (a claim which isn’t really supported by the rest of the books). Silius focuses entirely on his trickery here and only talks about his virtue in war later in the book. The description also feels rather Sallustian, with the implied forms of sum and the non-parallel constructions.
    - fideique sinister (56): another funny gen. of specification
    - devius aequi (57): yet another funny gen. of specification; non-parallel construction with exuperans astu
    - divum pudor (58): weird-sounding expression; I don’t know if I’ve seen pudor with this kind of objective genitive before.
    - improba virtus (58): the same phrase appears in Statius’ Thebaid. They seem to have been written at around the same time so I can’t tell what came first. Maybe they both independently happened to use the same phrase (I’m not sure if that’s a possibility you’re ever allowed to consider in classical scholarship though :/)
    - his super (60): cf. his accensa super from Aen. 1
    - Siculo demergere foedera ponto (62): I like this phrasing.
    - 64-69: A nice description of H.’s dreams of fighting the Romans.
    - rapidis fertur per summas passibus Alpis (65): synchysis.
    - impia diri…arma tyranni (74-75): another synchysis. This time the two halves of the synchysis each end their respective lines. However the number of syllables is reversed (3-2-2-3).
    - sociarat (76): Silius seems to like these syncopated forms more than most poets. Already he’s had crearit (4), fundarit (44), and now this.
    - datum (78): another construction that Silius likes: quis superare datum (14), cingere permissum (25), and now this.
    - sollers nutrire (79): not a weird gen. of specification, but it is a weird epexegetical infinitive.
    - templum (84): really delayed subject. I thought that sacrum in 81 was used substantively as the subject and I got very confused about the et. I think it’s kind of poor sentence construction honestly.
    - marmore maesto (86): I like this phrase. Alliteration of m creates a nice sound.
    - atque…atque (93-94): I never knew that atque…atque could be used as a correlative pair. I’ve only ever seen et…et and que…que before. Apparently this usage is also found in Tibullus’ Elegies and Vergil’s Eclogues.
    - immugit tellus rumpitque horrenda per umbras / sibila; inaccensi flagrant altaribus ignes. (95-96): nice imagery.
    - Hannibal haec patrio iussu ad penetralia fertur, (99): Silius has changed the location of Hannibal’s Oath to a temple of Dido, rather than a temple of Ba’al as actually happened. Presumably this is to emphasize how Hannibal is avenging Dido’s death by rising up against the Romans.
    - audito surgentis carmine flammas (103): wow, another synchysis. Who would have expected that?
    - gens recidiva Phrygum (106): cf. et recidiva manu posuissem Pergama victis (Verg. Aen. 4.344)
    - Hannibal’s oath (114-119):
    'Romanos terra atque undis, ubi competet aetas,
    ferro ignique sequar Rhoeteaque fata reuoluam.
    non superi mihi, non Martem cohibentia pacta,
    non celsae obstiterint Alpes Tarpeiaque saxa.
    hanc mentem iuro nostri per numina Martis,
    per manes, regina, tuos.'
    - nigra triformi / hostia mactatur diuae (119-120): another synchysis spread over two lines.

    - So far there’s been about 1 synchysis for every 11 lines.
    - Words used so far to refer to Rome, the Romans, or Italy: Aeneadum, Oenotria, Hesperiae, Roma, Dardanus, Romam, regna Latini, Latio, Troius, Dardaniam, Romana, Pergameo, Hesperiae, Ausonio, Iapyga, Italum, Saturnia, Romanum, Phrygum, Laurentibus, Tyrrhena, Latiae, Romanos
    - Words used so far to refer to Carthage or the Carthaginians: Carthago, Cadmea, Sidonii, Agenoreas, Libyes, Phoenicum, Libycis, Tyriis, Cadmeae

    It’s getting a bit crazy with all these names. It feels a bit like Silius was bad at fitting things into meter so he needed to have as many periphrases as possible so that he could fit the name into any metrical combination.

    The atque...atque note is bolded because it's the most interesting construction I've learned so far (425 lines into book 1) in Silius Italicus. This note is the last time I'm going to list the word used to refer to the Romans/Carthaginians because it takes too long to go through all the lines again looking for those adjectives and I think the point is clear by now.

    Next post will be shorter.
  6. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    The priestess’ prophecy; Hasdrubal takes over control of the army and dies; The slave who killed H. is punished; Hannibal is demanded as a new leader (123-188):
    - in aerio pendent tua uertice castra (128): synchysis, as has appeared many many times before..
    - arma uirosque (132): echo of Aeneid opening? The phrase in this exact form appears 6 times in Silius and once in Statius. arma virumque appears twice in the Aeneid and once in Silius.
    - latent casus longique labores (139): I like the sound effects here - the spondees and the L sounds make it sound long and weighty, I think. (I'm not really experienced with looking at sound effects but I'm trying it out. I often think they're a stretch, but not always.)
    - occubuit saeuo Tyrius certamine ductor (143): wow, really different word order here that we definitely haven’t seen like 12 times already…
    - primus inire manu, postremus ponere Martem. (160): interesting construction. Would you take these as historical infinitives or epexegetical dependent upon primus and postremus? (I have an answer in mind that I’ll mention in the next post, but I’m interested to see how others interpret it first)
    - quem postquam diro suspensum robore uidit (165): synchysis.
    - deformem leti (166): really weird genitive with adjective here. Might be the weirdest one I’ve seen so far.
    - 171-175: nice lines, with lots of alliteration and such (as well as, of course, a synchysis in 174, and, loosely, in 171-172 (verbera lacerum scindentia corpus))
    non ignes candensque chalybs, non uerbera passim
    ictibus innumeris lacerum scindentia corpus,
    carnificaeue manus penitusue infusa medullis............(carnificus: rare word)
    pestis et in medio lucentes uulnere flammae
    - ossa liquefactis fumarunt feruida membris (178): golden line (synchysis with a verb in the middle)
    - erepto trepidus ductore exercitus (183): synchysis.

    - hinc…hinc...hinc (185-187): nice anaphora beginning each line.
  7. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    For 160, I'd probably go with the latter, but I'm not sure.

    As for 178, it seems one of the criteria for a golden line is: adj. adj. verb noun noun. But some would still consider it one.
  8. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    I think there's different definitions depending on where you look. For instance I think some people accept a chiastic arrangement as a golden line and others don't.

    That's what I eventually decided on.

    e.g., Ovid in the story of Pyramus and Thisbe writes "quantum erat, ut sineres toto nos corpore iungi?" (P+T addressing the wall). The book Love and Transformation: an Ovid Reader has a note that "the ō/ō/ō assonance perhaps onomatopoetically mimics their cries of longing". That seemed like a stretch to me.
  9. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    That longique labores reminds me of:

    longumque fugae ne linque laborem (Aen. III.160)
    Dantius likes this.
  10. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    Nice. I'm probably missing a ton of Aeneid echoes because it's been a while since I've read it (well, I've read books 1, 2, 4, 8, 12 more recently, but I had to read them very speedily for class – the teacher expected us to read it in English translation so he assigned like 600-800 lines a day – so I'm not going to remember all the phrases in them).
  11. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    Geographical digression; Hannibal’s character continued; Beginning of the siege of Saguntum (189-295):
    - Aeoliis candens Austris et lampade Phoebi / aestifero Libye torretur subdita Cancro (193-194): I’m getting flashbacks to the rather painful to read geographical digressions in Lucan.
    - septeno impellens tumefactum gurgite pontum (197): synchysis. I’m probably going to stop pointing these out since they’re just so common.
    - 202-210: a description of Atlas (the mountain/Titan who held up the sky). The imagery is nice.
    - serpentum largo coquitur fecunda ueneno (212): as Lucan describes in great detail in Book 9.
    - altrix bellorum bellatorumque uirorum (218): lots of -orum endings in a row. Also a very slow line.
    - prodiga gens animae et properare facillima mortem (225): describing the Spanish soldiers. Poetic-ish genitive and poetic infinitive, but not as weird as some of the other examples in Silius Italicus.
    - 226-233: a nice couple of lines, though the transition in 228 is a bit jarring.
    namque ubi transcendit florentis uiribus annos,
    impatiens aeui spernit nouisse senectam,
    et fati modus in dextra est. hic omne metallum:
    electri gemino pallent de semine uenae,
    atque atros chalybis fetus humus horrida nutrit.
    sed scelerum causas operit deus. Astur auarus
    uisceribus lacerae telluris mergitur imis
    et redit infelix effosso concolor auro.
    The last line is similar to a passage from Statius’s Silvae: pallidus fossor redit erutoque / concolor auro.
    - nec Cereri terra indocilis nec inhospita Baccho (237): chiasmus, double metonymy, and double litotes all in one line.
    - 239-270: I mentioned above that Silius’ first description of Hannibal focuses entirely on his trickery. Now, Silius shows the other side of H. as described by Livy. Apparently some people also compare this description to the description of Cato in Luc. 9.
    - rerum freni (240): cf. rerum…habenae in line 144, which is a Vergilian phrase (e.g. 7.600, as AoM recently pointed out in his Aeneid VII thread)
    - tunc arte paterna / conciliare uiros, armis consulta senatus / uertere, nunc donis (240-242): historical infinitives!
    - primus sumpsisse…primus carpsisse (242-243): these infinitives are almost certainly going with primus, since I’ve never seen perfect historical infinitives before. That suggests that the infinitives in 160 are also dependent on primus/postremus.
    - sternacem…equum (261-262): cf. sternacis equi in Verg. 12.364
    - qua sparsit ferrum, latus rubet aequore limes (267): I like this phrasing.
    - 271-end of book 2: The siege of Saguntum! (first major event and catalyst of the 2nd Punic War)
    - Prima Saguntinas turbarunt classica portas (271): golden line (I think this one’s more properly golden because it has the adj./adj./noun/noun order). Like the previous one, the verb in the middle is syncopated.
    - clementer crescente iugo (274): the slow meter seems to parallel the sense of the slow increase in height, but all the c’s make kind of a harsh sound.
    - tris animas namque id monstrum, tris corpore dextras / armarat ternaque caput ceruice gerebat. (278-279): an echo of nascenti cui tris animas Feronia mater / (horrendum dictu) dederat, terna arma mouenda in Vergil?
    - armarat (279): Another one of those types of syncopated form. I don’t like those forms personally, especially this one with the double ar. But maybe you could say the double ar works for the sense since it sound kind of like a barking/grumbling/growling (r is the canina littera after all) so maybe it represents the monstrous Geryon well. But that's one of those sound effects that seems like a stretch.
    - duraeque sorores / tertia bis rupto torquerent stamina filo. (281-282): I find these lines kind of funny for some reason. I think it’s the fact that Silius is getting into such technical detail about how the threads of life work for a three-bodied man.
    - ovans (283): Silius overuses this word. This is the third occurrence within about 140 lines.
    - Silius combines several traditions about the founding of Saguntum (that it was founded by Hercules, which is only mentioned here as far as I know, that it was founded by Greeks from Zacynthus, that these were mixed with Rutulians). The Hercules story is repeatedly emphasized to portray Hannibal’s contempt for the gods.

    - Poenis u<r>bi imperitare negatum (295): another one of these impersonal constructions with an infinitive. imperitare is often found in history (and Horace, apparently)
  12. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    Beginning of the siege of Saguntum; Hannibal’s forces destroy a part of the wall (296-425):
    - ipse caput quassans (298): cf. ille, caput quassans from Aen. 12.894, and iamque caput quassans from Lucr. 2.1164.
    - circumlustravit (298): rare word.
    - pandere iamdudum portas et cedere uallo / imperat et longe clausis sua foedera, longe / Ausoniam fore, nec ueniae spem Marte subactis (300-302): the construction changes weirdly after the et in 301. The infinitives before are Hannibal’s command (“he commands them to open the gates”), but fore is an indirect statement infinitive.
    - concidit exacti medius per uiscera teli, / effusisque simul praerupto ex aggere membris / uictori moriens tepefactam ret<t>ulit hastam. (307-309): seems like something Lucan would write.
    - nunc picea iactat fumantem lampada flamma, / nunc sude, nunc iaculo, nunc saxis impiger instat (320-321): nice anaphora.
    - 324-326: a rather uninteresting simile. I’m pretty sure it’s the first simile in the poem. The Aeneid’s first simile is a lot more worth studying.
    - heu priscis numen populis, at nomine solo / in terris iam nota Fides! (329-330): kind of a Lucan-ish exclamation.
    - certamine tanto / conseruere acies, ueluti circumdata uallo / Roma foret, clamantque super: 'Tot milia, gentes / inter tela satae, iam capto stamus in hoste? (338-341): a rather awkward subject change from the sentences that preceed, about the Saguntini. stare is used in the sense of sedere (to remain inactive, etc.)
    - subit arduus agger / imponitque globos pugnantum desuper urbi (348-349): interesting personification. I don’t like the non i-stem forms like pugnantum but they’re fairly common in poetry. Silius has also had venientum earlier on and I know faventum appears in book 12. I’m sure there are others. On a completely unrelated note, I thought there was a parallel sentence in Lucan and I was looking for it (I was misremembering), and I found this nicely balanced sentence from Lucan: inplicitas magno Caesar torpore cohortes, with a chiasmus and Caesar in the center.
    - cetera pingui / uncta pice (354-355): synchysis. I know I said I’d stop pointing these out, but I can’t help myself.
    - qualis sanguineo praestringit lumina crine / ad terram caelo decurrens ignea lampas. (358-359): another simile. This one has an echo of Lucan’s book 1 simile where he compares Caesar to a lightning bolt and writes “obliqua praestringens lumina flamma”. However this simile is comparing flaming weapons to flaming lightning bolts – I prefer similes that draw a surprising connection between two more different things (e.g. a human and a lightning bolt, as Lucan did).
    - pugnantum (360): this form again.
    - arma uirosque (364): Vergil echo?
    - pandunt prolapsam suffossis moenibus urbem (366): a nice line. Alliteration, lots of spondees, and a possible echo to Aen. 2’s prolapsa videntem / Pergama.
    - 370-372: another less than satisfactory (in my opinion) simile. A wall, made of rocks, collapsing is compared to rocks falling from a mountain.
    - 384-386: some rather unnecessary insults from a Saguntine to a Carthaginian he’s never met before:
    'Fallax Poene, iaces; certe Capitolia primus
    scandebas uictor. quae tanta licentia uoti?
    nunc Stygio fer bella Ioui!'
    - felix heu nemorum et uitae laudandus opacae, / si sua per patrios tenuisset spicula saltus. (395-396): some more funny genitives. Also reminds me of felix, heu nimium felix, si litora tantum / numquam Dardaniae tetigissent nostra carinae from Aen. 4.
    - hunc miseratus adest infesto uulnere Ladmus. (397): cf. illum ardens infesto vulnere Pyrrhus / insequitur from Aen. 2.
    - saeuum adridens (398): I really like these accusative neuter forms as adverbs. I don’t know why, I just find them kind of cool and they’re usually used in neat passages.
    - insurgens gladio (401): the phrasing seems really familiar to me but I can’t place where I’ve seen it before. Does anyone remember seeing a similar phrase?
    - crudaque uirens ad bella senecta (405): cf. cruda deo viridisque senectus from Aen. 6, which, incidentally, is also imitated by Tacitus.
    - non pauidus fetas mulcere leaenas (406): rare infinitive.
    - una omnes dextraque cadunt iraque perempti (410): dextraque…iraque a hendiadys for dextra irata? I don’t like calling things hendiadys but I can’t make sense of this phrase otherwise.
    - et iam corporibus cumulatus creuerat agger, (418): alliteration.

    - 421-425: finally a proper simile that I kind of like, even if I feel like I’ve seen some similar ones before. Also it has another one of those non i-stem participles in venantum.

    General observation: Silius' similes are fairly consistently weaker than those of some other poets.
  13. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    Siege of Saguntum continued; Murrus dies; Hannibal is wounded (426-547):
    - permixtus utrisque / Hannibal agminibus (428-429): the synchysis makes Hannibal mixed into the battle lines within the structure of the sentence itself.
    - 433-436: the simile has been compared to Aen. 12.331-336, though of course the latter is more interesting in my opinion.
    - grata quo non spectatior alter / uoce mouere fora (440-441): funny infinitive.
    - perque ipsos caedis cumulos stragemque iacentum / monstrabat furibundus iter cunctosque ciebat / nomine (453-455): nice lines (more comments below).
    - iacentum (453): another one of these forms.
    - cunctosque ciebat / nomine (454-455): a mark of a good general, e.g. Petreius in Sall. Bellum Catilinae 59: unumquemque nominans appellat. The enjambment of nomine especially emphasizes that word.
    - Murroque secundos / hunc superos tribuisse diem (457-458): as the Carthaginians report it, at least, it’s the gods that helped Murrus kill so many of their men, not Murrus’ own virtue.
    (the notes from here to the end of book 1, as well as some of the book 2 notes, were written without access to the internet, so the citations from other authors are not fully written out or do not include line numbers.)
    - 460-464: a nice set of lines, both because of letiferum (I mentioned in the previous post that I like those adverbial accusatives) and the nice simile and imagery.
    letiferum nutant fulgentes uertice cristae,
    crine ut flammifero terret fera regna cometes
    sanguineum spargens ignem: uomit atra rubentis
    fax caelo radios, ac saeua luce coruscum
    scintillat sidus terrisque extrema minatur.
    - fulgurat (467): rare-ish word. Usually used impersonally, but here it has the subject umbo.
    - per longum uasto Cori cum murmure fluctus (469): a slow line with lots of spondees.
    - arma cruento / … auro rutilantia (476-477): arma appears with rutilo in Aen. 8, according to L+S.
    - foedera, faxo, / iam noscas, quid uana queant et uester Hiberus. (479-480): there’s something I don’t like about this word order, it feels slightly awkward, but I can’t exactly describe it.
    - fer tecum castamque fidem seruataque iura (481)… fer debita fraudum / praemia (484-485): Murrus imitates Hannibal’s phrasing in his retort. Incidentally, I think Silius must like Pyrrhus’ speech to Priam (who wouldn’t?) in which he says referes ergo haec et nuntius ibis / Pelidae genitori. illi mea tristia facta / degeneremque Neoptolemum narrare memento. Nunc morere. At least twice now Silius has had similar speeches where characters tell others to go die and do something in the underworld.
    - conscia…virtus (493-494): The phrase sounded familiar to me. L+S confirms that it appears in Verg. Aen. 12.
    - lato Murrus caligat in hoste (499): Interesting phrasing. Murrus, incidentally, is reminding me a bit of Scaeva in Luc. 6, who also single-handedly fought off the enemy army. Now the only question is if Murrus is going to lose an eye like Scaeva did. (answer: he didn’t. He also died, unlike Scaeva.)
    - innumerae nutare in casside cristae (501): come on Silius, you’ve already used a variant of nutare cristae less than 50 lines ago.
    - defenso (507): At first I thought this was an alternate fut. perf., like faxo (everywhere) or iusso (in Vergil). Turns out it’s just a frequentative. :(
    - Dumque orat caeloque attollit lumina supplex, / ’Cerne', ait (508-509): I think the subject changes between attollit and ait, which is really awkward.
    - decisae uertice cristae (524): What is Silius’ obsession with cristae in this passage? Here he uses it with vertice, as he did in 460. And, even worse, the next line has another form of nutare (the non i-stem participle nutantum) agreeing with iubarum!
    - genua labant (529): an echo of a line towards the end of Verg. Aen. 12 describing Turnus. I think the full line in Vergil is genua labant; gelidus concrevit frigore sanguis but I might be combining two separate lines into one.
    - gaudetque nitescere duris / uirtutem et decoris pretio discrimina pensat. (533-534): now Murrus is even more like Scaeva or other “heroes” in Lucan who care most of all about their virtue being seen and admired. Scaeva says “I wish Caesar were here to watch, but since he isn’t, Pompeio laudante cadam” (I can only remember a bit of the Latin), and Vulteius wishes he were in a captured city surrounded by children and old men rather than out in the middle of the sea when he and his shipmates heroically commit suicide.
    - 538-547: Hannibal is wounded in the leg (this event actually happened and is described in Livy as well). Silius includes a Lucan-like exclamation wishing that the spear had been thrown in such a way that it had killed Hannibal.
  14. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    Siege of Saguntum continued; Ambassadors are sent to Rome; War with Carthage approaches (548-694):
    - Sed Iuno (548): divine intervention to save Hannibal. Weird that Silius describes J. as watching from the top of the Pyrenees. I thought the gods could see everything from the top of Mount Olympus.
    - Ite citi, remis uelisque impellite puppim. (568): I feel like this is an echo of something from Vergil but I can’t remember the passage.
    - ite citi (571): repetition.
    - 576-578: Some nice if fairly traditional and perhaps somewhat overdone lines:
    Pellebat somnos Tithoni roscida coniunx,
    ac rutilus primis sonipes hinnitibus altos
    adflarat montis roseasque mouebat habenas.
    - fractaque anhelant / aequora (592-593): interesting phrasing.
    - 609-616: Of course Silius has to include a reference to how in the good old days the senators were content with poverty and a farming life. It’s pretty much a requirement in anything remotely historical written during or after the 1st century BC. Maybe even before that.
    Concilium uocat augustum castaque beatos
    paupertate patres ac nomina parta triumphis
    consul et aequantem superos uirtute senatum.
    facta animosa uiros et recti sacra cupido
    attollunt, hirtaeque togae neglectaque mensa
    dexteraque a curuis capulo non segnis aratris.
    exiguo faciles et opum non indiga corda,
    ad paruos curru remeabant saepe penates.
    - pugnantum (619): Silius really likes these forms. I’ve already mentioned that I don’t.
    - 621-629: description of spoils and other memorabilia of previous wars, especially the 1st Punic, at Rome. The phrasing and some of the scene selection recalls the description of Aeneas’ shield, e.g. Punica bella, / Aegatis cernas fusaque per aequora classe / exactam ponto Libyen testantia rostra echoes in medio classes aeratas, Actia bella, cernere erat; The Gauls on the Capitoline appears in both descriptions. Alpinaque gaesa in Silius recalls duo quisque Alpina coruscant / gaesa manu from Vergil (I think I’m remembering it correctly).
    horrida bella (630): the phrase appears at least twice in the Aeneid.
    - orantum (631): like synchyses, I’m going to stop pointing these out now. They’re just too common and I think I’ve made my point that Silius overuses them.
    - Random note (not related to any particular lines): Silius changed the order of events a bit. In reality, the Saguntini sent ambassadors before the siege proper began, and the fight in the collapsed part of the wall happened after Hannibal was wounded.
    - quem insana freta aut coetus genuere ferarum (638): harsh description of Hannibal!
    - spumeus hic medio qui surgit ab aequore fluctus, / si prohibere piget, uestras effringet in urbes. (646-647): I like this phrasing.
    - per uos culta diu Rutulae primordia gentis / Laurentemque larem et genetricis pignora Troiae, / conseruate pios, qui permutare coacti / Acrisioneis Tirynthia culmina muris. (658-661): Anacoluthon: the vos is meant to be an object to an oro or precor and then it just isn’t; Silius goes directly into the imperative. cf. from Silius book 12: per vos Tyrrhena faventum / stagna deum, per ego et Trebiam cineresque Sagunti, obtestor: dignos iam vosmet reddite vestra / quam trahitis, fama, et revocate in pectora Cannas. (something like that)
    - inde agitant consulta patres curasque fatigant. (675): another familiar-sounding line. The phrase curas fatigant is striking but L+S cites it only in this passage and one other Silius passage so I might be misremembering.
    - at Fabius, cauta speculator mente futuri / nec laetus dubiis parcusque lacessere Martem / et melior clauso bellum producere ferro (679-681): some nice infinitives here and good characterization of Fabius.
    - 687-689: nice comparison of Fabius to a sailor who can tell that a storm is coming.
    - nec diuum oblitis indicere bella morentur. (694): a nice dramatic ending to the first book.


    Note: I may have found the phrase that insurgens gladio from the previous passage reminded me of. It’s probably Aen. 12.729: alte sublatum consurgit Turnus in ensem. I’m not 100% sure though.
  15. AoM nulli numeri

    • Civis Illustris
    From Dido (IV.593-4):

    ite, / ferte citi flammas, date tela, impellite remos!
    Dantius likes this.
  16. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
  17. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    As well as bis capti Phryges in book 9.

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