Aeneid XII sēmivirī Phrygis


Staff member
Dā sternere corpus
lōrīcamque manū validā lacerāre revulsam
sēmivirī Phrygis et foedāre in pulvere crīnīs
vibrātōs calidō ferrō murraque madentis.”

How offensive is the word semivirus? The nineteenth century books translate it as effeminate, but the contexts I have seen it make it seem ruder.
of this dickless Trojan?


Staff member
The nominative is semivir.

It's hard to tell exactly how offensive it is, but it's definitely an insult.

"Dickless Trojan" may be a little over the top, though it did make me smile. The reason I think it may be too much is that there's no direct reference to genitals in the Latin word, only an indirect one in vir, which refers to a person of a certain gender.

I might have gone for the totally literal translation "half man", but I'm not saying that's necessarily the only or best solution.


Staff member
Thanks :) It is always hard to figure out the exact tone of some of the insults.


Civis Illustris
'Effeminate' sounds rather accurate to me there (especially with the added description of his hair).


Homo Sapiens
Staff member
but at the time I think "effeminate" would be seen as a pretty big insult for a warrior like Aeneas (assuming that's who it's referring to)


nulli numeri
Also in book 4 (215): et nunc ille Paris cum semiviro comitatu.
It can literally refer to mythical human-beast hybrids. However here, from the OLD:

b (applied to men defective in their virility).

▶ tertium ab hermaphroditis et spadonibus ~ri genus Plin. Nat. 11.263; —(of eunuchs) nec aliter concitantur quam solent Phrygii tibicinis sono ~ri Sen. Ep. 108.7; armiger ‥ ~r impubemque gerens sterilemque iuuentam V. Fl. 6.695; ~o Cybeles cum grege Mart. 3.91.2; Sil. 17.20; ~r, ‥ mollia qui rapta secuit genitalia testa Juv. 6.513; Apul. Met. 8.28; —(of effeminate men) ille Paris cum ~ro comitatu Verg. A. 4.215; Liv. 33.28.7; Luc. 8.552; nos Phryga ~rum ‥ incesta uolitantem puppe feremus? Stat. Ach. 2.78.

Glare, P. G. W. (Ed.). (2012). Oxford Latin Dictionary (Second Edition, Vol. I & II). Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Staff member
They're not saying Aeneas (or his entourage) are actually eunuchs are they? It's their hair style and texture they find effeminate, no?
Maybe girly-man?


Staff member
I was looking for roughly the equivalent level of insult rather than a direct translation, but I guess you could go with big Trojan girl.