By Dantius, in 'Reading Latin', May 19, 2018.
Notes are less thorough, more just pointing out the occasional interesting passage.
So more like Pacifica-style rather than AoM style?
I like this construction:
nunc superos, ne Flamin<i>o, nunc deinde precari
Flaminium, ne caelicolis contendere perstet. (5.103-104)
praestantem corpore et armis (5.175): corpore et armis appears twice in Vergil and 3 times in Silius.
5.201-207: even the gods cannot fight against the fate of Lake Trasimene:
Auertere dei uultus fatoque dederunt
maiori non sponte locum; stupet ipse tyranni
fortunam Libyci Mauors, disiectaque crinem
inlacrimat Venus, et Delum peruectus Apollo
tristem maerenti solatur pectine luctum.
sola Apennini residens in uertice diras
expectat caedes immiti pectore Iuno.
furit et diffulminat omnem / obstantum turbam (5.276-77): very rare word. Not really related too much to this note, but obstantum made me think of it: every single genitive plural participle, as far as I remember, in Silius books 1-10 ends in -um rather than -ium. I believe there's around 55 such forms in the first 10 books. Maybe more. Perhaps he just didn't know how to form them properly.
gelidusque sub ossa / peruasit miseris conspecti consulis horror. (5.390): cf. Aen. 2.120/12.447, as well as Ov. Her. 5.37, 16.67.
Ante omnis iaculo tacitas fallente per auras
occumbit Bogus, infaustum qui primus ad amnem
Ticini rapidam in Rutulos contorserat hastam.
ille sibi longam Clotho turbamque nepotum
crediderat uanis deceptus in alite signis. (5.401-405)
I guess Bogus’ predictions were bogus after all. :/
Also, rare use of Clotho as metonymy for vita.
Laudande laborum (5.561): another use of laudo + gen.
immemor annorum seniumque oblitus in arma
ille quidem cruda mente et uiridissimus irae
ibat, sed uani frigentem in Marte senectam
prodebant ictus (5.568-571)
A slight echo of cruda deo viridisque senecta from Vergil.
'Quae uulnera cernis,
quas mortes!' inquit 'premit omnis dextera ferrum,
armatusque iacet seruans certamina miles.
hos, en, hos obitus nostrae spectate cohortes!
fronte minae durant, et stant in uultibus irae.
et uereor, ne, quae tanta creat indole tellus
magnanimos fecunda uiros, huic fata dicarint
imperium, atque ipsis deuincat cladibus orbem.' (5.669-676)
Several common images used to describe bold Roman fighters here. The speaker is Hannibal. It’s very reminiscent of stories from the Pyrrhic War.
nec cernere deerat (6.10): I’ve seen est used in the sense of “it is possible” – indeed both Vergil and Silius Italicus have used the phrase cernere erat (and Silius will use it again shortly in 6.41) – but I’ve never seen deest used in the sense of “it is not possible”. L+S doesn’t even cite that as a usage for desum.
captae prohibere nequiret / cum Poenos aquilae (6.27-28): unusual construction with prohibeo + acc. of person and dat. of thing. L+S cites a few instances of prohibeo w/ dat. of person like aditum alicui prohibere, but this is the only instance or one of the only instances of this construction as far as I can tell.
sonus omnis et aura
exterrent pennaque leui commota uolucris. (6.58-59)
An echo of Aen. 2.728: nunc omnes terrent aurae, sonus excitat omnis
quicquid adest duri et rerum inclinata feramus.
talis lege deum cliuoso tramite uitae
per uarios praeceps casus rota uoluitur aeui. (6.119-121):
hunc medio inuasit fluctu ripaeque relatos
(heu genus infandum leti!) depascitur artus. (6.202-203)
An echo of miseros morsu depascitur artus from the Aeneid. Both passages describe snakes.
Allia et infandi Senones captaeque recursat
attonitis arcis facies. (6.555-556)
This has got to be at least the 5th or 6th time Silius has alluded to either the capture of Rome by the Gauls, or the depiction thereof on Aeneas’ shield. It's certainly not the last.
Cinefactus or any other moderator – could you change the title of this thread to "Silius Italicus - Books 5-17"?
6.551-573: Describing the panic in the city when rumors come about the Battle of Lake Trasimene. Clearly based on Liv. 22.7. Both are quite nice passages.
nimium uiuacis dura senectae / supplicia expendi (6.587-588): perhaps a slight echo of Luc. 2.65: oderuntque grauis uiuacia fata senectae
cernere erat. (6.694): this phrase again. I believe it’s the third use in Silius Italicus (not counting the litotes nec cernere deerat cited above).
uiridique ad dura laborum
bellator senio (7.3-4): Silius has already echoed the phrase cruda deo viridisque senecta. I don’t like when he echoes the same phrase more than once.
nosces Fabios certamine ab uno (7.39): si recte memini, this was cited in Horsfall’s note on accipe nunc Danaum insidas et crimine ab uno / disce omnes.
tanta adeo, cum res trepidae, reuerentia diuum
nascitur: at rarae fumant felicibus arae. (7.88-89)
No comment, it’s just an interesting quote. Sounds like something Tacitus would write.
summumque decus, quo tollis ad astra
imperii, Romane, caput, parere docebat. (7.94-95).
A bit of a tricky phrase grammatically, as summum decus is in apposition with parere. I often hear/read modern people talking about how the Romans’ discipline in the army and military formations, etc. were the key to their ability to win wars and expand their empire, but I don’t often see this so explicitly acknowledged in ancient authors. Or maybe I do and I’ve just forgotten.
I like it.
I'm sure I've read passages where, for example, an author contrasted an orderly Roman army with a chaotic barbarian one and rather clearly linked that to Roman victory, or so. I can't remember any specific passage right now, though; but ordines servare and the like is clearly presented as a good thing in military accounts, and the opposite as a bad thing often leading to disaster.
ite citi, ruite ad portas, propellite uallum (7.101): cf. ite citi, remis uelisque impellite puppim in book 1, as well as the Aen. 4 passage of which this is an echo (593-594)
fulmina gentis / Scipiadae (7.106-107): a common phrase. cf. this video:
I never knew about scipio being related to sceptrum, or anything in that video for that matter.
7.120-122: Interesting – Hannibal is compared in a simile to Achilles. Cf. the note in book 4 about Hannibal being developed as an epic hero.
his dictis fractus furor et rabida arma quierunt:
ut, cum turbatis placidum caput extulit undis
Neptunus totumque uidet totique uidetur
regnator ponto, saeui fera murmura uenti
dimittunt nullasque mouent in frontibus alas,
tum sensim infusa tranquilla per aequora pace
languentes tacito lucent in litore fluctus. （7.253-259）
A reversal of the first simile in the Aeneid, where Neptune calming the seas is compared to an orator calming the people. Here an orator is compared to Neptune. Also placidum caput extulit undis is a direct echo of the wording in the Aeneid.
These are all the notes for Book 7. I could have sworn there were more notes after line 259, but maybe not. Or maybe I accidentally deleted them.
That first line echoes this of the Sibyl (Aen. 6.102):
ut primum cessit furor et rabida ora quierunt
I'm under the impression that this Silius Italicus went too far in borrowing from other writers (mostly Vergil). An allusion here and there is cool, but this feels excessive.
Very much so. The analogy I use is that it reminds me of when a book/movie is published, ends up being very successful, and then the publisher/studio decides to make an unnecessary sequel that just copies the best moments of the original without really adding anything. That's kind of the relationship between Silius Italicus and the Aeneid. There are also some Ovid echoes – book 8 has a 150 or so line segment that's basically plagiarized from Ovid's Fasti (both are describing the same event, how Anna the sister of Dido ended up in Italy as the goddess Anna Perenna, and they tell it in the exact same way using almost the exact same wording. Silius just adds a bunch of Vergil echoes into the mix).
Admittedly, however, I do find the reversed simile from 7.253-259 kind of clever. Honestly Silius' similes are pretty lackluster overall as they're all just kind of the stock similes that every author uses.
Some highly derivative scenes that come up later:
Scipio goes into the underworld in book 13, under the guidance of a descendant of the Cumaean Sibyl of Aeneid fame, to visit his father (and his paternal uncle), and sees many figures from the past and future of Roman history along the way.
I'm currently reading about the funeral games that Scipio held in honor of his father, involving various athletic competitions.
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