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129–172: The Hunting Party

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 [1]

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 After the divine interlude the action switches back to the human plane. The basic structure of the section is as follows:

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 129: Indication of time

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 130–50: Preparation for the hunt and departure

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 130–35: Nameless attendants from Carthage

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 130–32: The youth and Massylian horsemen

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 133–35: Punic princes

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 136–39: Queen Dido

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 140–41a: Aeneas’ companions, above all his son Iulus/ Ascanius

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 141b–50: Aeneas, including simile that compares him to Apollo, correlating with the Dido-Diana simile in Book 1.494–504.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 151–59: The hunt

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 151–55: General activities

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 156–59: Ascanius/ Iulus enjoying the hunt

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 160–72: The perfect storm

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 160–64: Scattering of the companions

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 165–72: The encounter in the cave

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 In broad outline, 129–172 recount the events that Juno had anticipated in 117–127, but the match is uneven. In particular, Virgil elaborates on the preparation for the hunt (the one and a half lines 117–18: uenatum Aeneas unaque miserrima Dido/ in nemus ire parant prefigure 130–50) and the hunt itself (the one line 121: dum trepidant alae saltusque indagine cingunt prefigures 151–59). More intriguingly, Virgil manages to keep Juno’s notion that a ‘marriage’ is in the works resonant throughout. He follows up the programmatic announcement ‘hic hymenaeus erit’ with subtle hints that assimilate the proceedings to a Roman wedding ceremony, leading up to the climax in the cave. ‘Echoes of wedding language and imagery’ include 133: thalamo; 133: cunctantem; 137–39: Dido’s incongruously ornate dress; 142: iungit; perhaps also 165: dux.[2] Possibly, Virgil encourages the reader to recall the ‘long poems’ by Catullus (61–68) and in particular Catullus 61, the famous wedding poem, which features many thematic parallels to this section of Aeneid 4, most conspicuously perhaps the belated appearance of the ‘bride’/ Dido.[3] These persistent hints open up various avenues of interpretation: (i) to begin with, they serve as subtle reminders that Juno is orchestrating events in the background for a specific purpose; (ii) at the same time, the oblique and refracted gestures to a proper Roman wedding ceremony cannot help but highlight that the ‘wedding’ that is unfolding here is profoundly distorted and deeply flawed: if hic hymenaeus erit (127) stands at the beginning of the section, death (letum) and evil (mala) mark the end: ille dies primus leti primusque malorum/ causa fuit (169–70);[4] (iii) more specifically, the conflation of a hunt and a wedding produces jarring results, as it brings into close contact two cultural spheres that are often configured as diametrically opposed: if wedding and marriage revolve around a domestic union for the purpose of procreation, hunting is about going off into the wild for the purpose of killing. Likewise, hunting in ancient thought is a sexually charged activity, but the erotics associated with hunting are of the violent, trangressing kind, as opposed to the civilized values that inform proper marital arrangements. In English, as John Henderson reminds me, ‘venery’ traditionally covers both hunting and sex.

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 The joining of Carthaginians and Trojans in the hunt extends the theme of union beyond the two leaders to include two ethnic groupings: the two mingle, and Virgil uses the language of social ties (4.142: infert se socium) in the run-up to the physical mingling in the cave, thus recapitulating the two modes of civic and ethnic union that the two goddesses voiced in their plotting. The intermingling of Carthaginians and Trojans raises the question whether Virgil uses the occasion to demarcate ethnic differences. But at least on the level of the entourage, similarities outweigh differences: in fact, Virgil opts for studied symmetry in how he presents the two peoples. At first sight the same does not quite apply to the same degree to the two leaders: here differences dominate, also on the syntactical level. As Syed points out:[5]

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 The description of Dido’s appearance in lines 133–39 starts out with Dido as the grammatical object, being awaited by her companions (4.133–34: reginam … exspectant). She is the subject of hardly a single active verb, excepting the (ironically) deponent progreditur in 4.136. For the most part, she is watched for (4.134: exspectant), surrounded (4.136: stipante), clothed (4.137: circumdata), her hair tied (4.138: nodantur), her brooch clasping her dress (4.139: subnectit). By contrast, Aeneas and Apollo to whom Aeneas is compared, are insistently active, they are the subjects of active verbs in the passage: Aeneas joins Dido (4.142: infert se socium) and unites his companions with hers (4.142: agmina iungit). In the simile, Apollo leaves Lycia (4.144: deserit) and comes to Delos (4.144: invisit). He renews dances (4.145: instaurat), he walks (4.147: graditur), he presses his locks (4.148: premit crinem) and braids them with gold (4.148: implicat auro). Just so, Aeneas, too, walks (4.149: haud illo segnior ibat).

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 There is, then, a much greater emphasis on Aeneas in this section, who re-enters the text with a vengeance. But on inspection, the differentiation between Dido and Aeneas is perhaps less marked than Syed makes it out to be. It is true that Dido, throughout this passage, remains strangely out of focus and her agency marginalized. But this does not square at all with Syed’s conclusion that ‘Dido is the object of the reader’s gaze.’ Instead, Virgil directs the attention of his audience onto Aeneas, his comparandum Apollo, and Ascanius/ Iulus: they are the protagonists in the unfolding drama of the hunt and regain the narrative limelight. And there are subtle touches through which Virgil breaks down any stark opposition between the Trojan hero and the Phoenician queen: many of the thematic concerns that dominate the stretch on Dido, in particular ‘gold’ and ‘hair’ recur in the simile that compares Aeneas to Apollo. Also in light of the fact that we later meet Aeneas as if dressed for a Punic catwalk, with a cloak aflame in Phoenician gold and purple (4.261-64), we may legitimately wonder whether his attire here does not provide a fitting match for that of the queen. And as for syntax, just as Dido, Apollo, too, struts about in a deponent: graditur (147). The passage, then, seems studiously ambiguous about the countervailing dynamics of assimilation and differentiation.

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 129: Oceanum interea surgens Aurora reliquit: this is Virgil’s equivalent to Juno’s ubi primos crastinus ortus/ extulerit Titan radiisque retexerit orbem (118–19). He had already used Aurora to indicate daybreak at 6–7 (postea Phoebea lustrabat lampade terras/ umentemque Aurora polo dimouerat umbram). The goddess of Dawn will again mark the beginning of a day at 584–85 (which is set up by a reference to her in 568, within a speech by Mercury): Et iam prima nouo spargebat lumine terras/ Tithoni croceum linquens Aurora cubile (‘And now early Dawn, leaving the saffron bed of Tithonus, was sprinkling the earth with fresh light’). Virgil thus uses Aurora three times in Aeneid 4 to indicate the beginning of a day: the first day is Dido’s first day in love; on the second day, the fateful encounter in the cave takes place; and on the third day, Aeneas departs. Moreover, over the course of the book Aurora gradually morphs from a personified concept into a mythological character. At 6–7 there is hardly any hint of her involvement with Tithonus; here, at 129, surgens and reliquit refers to her daily departure from the bed of her aging husband, for whom she requested immortality, while forgetting to ask for eternal youth as well; and at 584–85, the sad story of a love-quest that went tragically awry is alluded to explicitly, with linquens harking back to (and providing a gloss on) surgens and reliquit in 129. In a sense, then, the repeated references to Aurora and the ever more concrete allusion to her myth offer a cosmic correlate to the evolving tragedy of Dido.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 130–139: The Carthaginians (and, notably, Dido) get themselves ready for the hunt. The section falls into three parts:

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 130–32: Out come the youth (3 lines)

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 133–35: The Carthaginian nobles and her horse wait for dallying Dido (3 lines)

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 136–39: Dido’s entrance (4 lines)

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 130–132: it portis iubare exorto delecta iuuentus,/ retia rara, plagae, lato uenabula ferro,/ Massylique ruunt equites et odora canum uis: Three ‘excited’ lines that describe how the Carthaginian hunting party bustles from the gates. Several formal features magnify the sense of jostling excitement and expectation:

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 1) The missing verb: whereas the delecta iuuentus (130) ‘comes forth’ (it) and the Massyli equites (132) ‘rush out’ (ruunt) together with the hounds, the three pieces of equipment mentioned in line 131 (retia, plagae, uenabula), which are also in the nominative, lack a verb. Given that these are inanimate objects, it is difficult to construe them either with it or with ruunt, and one has mentally to supply something like portantur (‘are brought’).

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 2) Word order: the monosyllabic verb at the outset (it) instantly emphasizes motion and conveys something of the hustle and bustle of the hunting party: everyone is eager to get going. (The English expression ‘tally ho!’ generates a similar effect.) See also below on stat sonipes (135).

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 3) Ictus, accent, and monosyllabic verse ending: the concluding phrase of 132 is agitated by a clash between ictus (odóra canúm uis) and accent (odóra cánum uís), in addition to featuring a highly unusual monosyllabic line ending. The two aspects go together as Austin explains, as part of a little disquisition on word accents in Latin more generally:[6]

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 A glance at any page of Virgil shows two normal patterns in the last two feet, either that of delecta iuventus, or that of venabula ferro: i.e. the last word is a disyllable or a trisyllable, and the last two feet are shared between two words only. Thus the metrical beat or ‘ictus’, in a normal ending, falls on the same syllable as that which bears the accent of the spoken word; for that accent falls on the penultimate syllable of all disyllabic words, and of all longer words if that syllable is long, but on the antepenultimate of trisyllabic or longer words if the penultimate is short; and this rule gives delécta iuvéntus, venábula férro, with word-accent and ictus coinciding. When the normal end-pattern is disturbed, the rhythm is disturbed too, so that there is no longer this coincidence: the ictus falls thus, odóra canúm vis, but the accent thus, odóra cánum vís, and so with an abnormal end-pattern an abnormal rhythm is obtained. The line has a bustling, agitated close instead of a calm, smooth one, and the metre itself shows the excitement of the scene, with the hounds poking about vigorously and appearing in unexpected places.

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 Monosyllabic verse-endings are always very dramatic: cf. e.g. 1.105: insequitur cumulo praeruptus aquae mons (‘down in a heap comes a sheer mountain of water’) which also features the same sequence of adjective, genitive attribute, noun.[7] In both cases, Virgil enhances the effect by stepping down the number of syllables in the words that precede the climactic monosyllable: 3 (odora/ praeruptus): 2 (canum/ aquae): 1 (uis/ mons).

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 130: iubare exorto: an ablative absolute; iubar signifies the radiance of heavenly bodies, here the sun. The party sets out ‘at sunrise.’

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 131: retia rara, plagae, lato uenabula ferro: a surprising asyndetic continuation of delecta iuuentus, specifying some items of accoutrement that are carried out for the hunt: two different kinds of nets (retia rara are ‘broad-meshed’ to channel the game in a certain direction; plagae are nets for trapping) and spears with broad blades (lato…ferro is an ablative of description).

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 132: Massyli … equites: the Massyli are another ethnic grouping in Northern Africa, apparently on friendly terms with the Phoenician settlers—in contrast to the hostile people mentioned by Anna in 40–43. The priestess supposed to have supplied Dido with a counter-spell to love is ‘of Massylian race’ (4.483: hinc mihi Massylae gentis monstrata sacerdos). The most famous member of the tribe in historical times was king Massinissa, the first king of Numibia, who lived during the time of the Second Punic War, starting out as an ally of Carthage but then switching sides and playing a key role in the battle of Zama (202 BC), which ended the war. The Roman general Scipio nevertheless refused to pardon his wife, the Carthaginian princess Sophonisba; to avoid the humiliation of being paraded in a Roman triumph, she committed suicide. For those who know their Roman history Sophonisba and the fate of Carthage more generally beckon on the historical horizon and in turn foreshadow Dido’s tragic end within the Aeneid.

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 132: odora canum uis: Virgil uses a transferred epithet: the hounds, not the uis, are ‘keen-scented’ (odora). The phrasing has precedents in Homer, Ennius, and Lucretius.[8]

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 133–135: reginam thalamo cunctantem ad limina primi/ Poenorum exspectant, ostroque insignis et auro/ stat sonipes ac frena ferox spumantia mandit: in direct antithesis to the eagerness of the rest of the party and the hounds, Dido lingers (cunctantem) in her chamber (thalamo), holding up proceedings. Both the lingering and the term Virgil uses for ‘chamber’ hint at the Roman wedding ritual. The reluctance of the bride to enter into the house of her husband on the day of her marriage, as a preliminary step towards her first experience of sexual intercourse, is a key theme of Catullus’ wedding poems designed to highlight her modesty and her virginity (see especially Catullus 61 and 66, but the whole bloc of Catullus’ long poems comes into play here).[9] And as Austin points out, ‘Virgil’s choice of the word thalamus is significant (he could have written tecto)’[10]: in a transferred sense, thalamus means ‘bridal-bed’ or ‘wedlock’—as in 4.18 above.[11] Its use here seems to imply that Dido has become a bride—but one wonders about focalization: does Dido already conceive of herself as a bride and display bridal hesitation before the upcoming ‘wedding’? Or is she simply busy with her toilette, and the oblique reference to her as a bride is Virgil’s way of emphasizing that Dido, unknowingly, prepares for (another) wedding experience? But the ‘wedding associations’ of cunctantem and thalamo, once put together, are somewhat disturbing: after all, what is Dido doing dallying in the wedding chamber? Far from highlighting her sense of shame (pudor, pudicitia) or virginity, her prolonged presence in the room marked for encounters of the carnal kind would seem to suggest that sex is on her mind and that she longs for the physical consumation of her visceral passion in a way that is supposedly entirely alien to innocent brides.[12] Alternatively, we could read the moment of hesitation as ‘a last saving instinct, a natural pull back to the safety of her home and her goals before she enters upon her hard fata.’[13] Whatever the answer, the leading men of the Carthaginians (primi/ Poenorum: a phrase linked by alliteration across the enjambment) patiently wait for her; her horse, too, ‘stands’ (stat, another monosyllabic beginning that ‘stands’ in contrast to the it in line 130), but does so impatiently: see below on 135.

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 134–135: ostroque insignis et auro: the phrase describes Dido’s horse, but the referent does not become clear until the following line. For a moment one could therefore assume that Dido is meant, especially since both the purple and the gold evoke her hometown of Tyre—which was famous for the sea snail from which the purple dye was extracted and which she fled on ships laden with gold. The joke continues in line 136, where Virgil switches the subject, almost imperceptibly, from the horse (mandit) to Dido (progreditur).

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 [Extra Information: Here is the opening of the excellent Wikipedia entry on ‘Tyrian Purple’, which includes discussion of the biology of the sea snails, the chemistry behind the secretion used to make dye, and the snails’ contribution to cultural history:

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 Tyrian purple (Greek, πορφύρα, porphyra, Latin: purpura), also known as royal purple, imperial purple or imperial dye, is a purple-red natural dye, which is extracted from sea snails, and which was possibly first produced by the ancient Phoenicians. This dye was greatly prized in antiquity because it did not fade but became more intense with weathering and sunlight. Tyrian purple was expensive: the 4th-century-BC historian Theopompus reported, ‘Purple for dyes fetched its weight in silver at Colophon’ in Asia Minor. The expense meant that purple-dyed textiles became status symbols, and early sumptuary laws restricted their uses.][14]

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 135: stat sonipes ac frena ferox spumantia mandit: sonipes is a combination of sonus + pes, i.e. a creature that makes a noise with its feet, especially a horse. Virgil may be cracking a bit of a joke here by combining this metonymy for horse with the verb stat. The two verbs (stat, mandit) frame the line; note also the alliteration (stat sonipes … spumantia; frena ferox). Cicero calls ‘f’ a lettera insuauissima (‘a most unpleasant letter’) at Orator 163, and the f-alliteration, reinforced by the assonance of frefer– and spumantia mandit here perhaps conveys something of the impatient chomping of the horse.

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 136–137: tandem progreditur magna stipante caterua/ Sidoniam picto chlamydem circumdata limbo;: Dido finally issues forth, but she remains strangely oblique throughout this passage: Virgil mentions the delecta iuuentus (130), the Massyli equites (132), the primi Poenorum (133–34), the Phrygii comites (140), Iulus/ Ascanius (twice in the nominative: 140, 156), and Aeneas (also twice in the nominative: 142, 150), whereas Dido registers only as an absent queen (reginam…exspectant) and an implied subject (progreditur). See also below on 138–39. This is very much in contrast to her magnificent entrance in Book 1, to which Virgil here gestures (1. 496–97):

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 regina ad templum, forma pulcherrima Dido,
incessit, magna iuuenum stipante caterua.

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 [The queen, Dido, of surpassing beauty, approached the temple, with a large throng of youths crowding around her.]

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 In this earlier scene, which is followed by a simile that compares Dido to Diana, Aeneas lurks in the shadows and watches. In our passage, which includes a simile that compares Aeneas to Apollo, the positions are reversed: Dido is out of the limelight for the time being, whereas Aeneas and his son are very much in it. After Juno’s performance script, which foregrounded Dido, this comes as a bit of a surprise. Virgil, it seems, deliberately inverts the emphases and preferences of the goddess.

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 137: Sidoniam picto chlamydem circumdata limbo: Virgil often construes perfect passive participles with a direct object as if they had a reflexive-active (or Greek middle) sense, as here circumdata: Dido has surrounded herself with a Sidonian (= Phoenician) riding-cloak that sports an adorned border (picto…limbo). The two phrases are interlaced according to the pattern adjective1 (Sidoniam), adjective2 (picto), noun1 (chlamydem), noun2(limbo).

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 138–139: cui pharetra ex auro [sc. est], crines nodantur in aurum,/ aurea purpuream subnectit fibula uestem: Dido’s disappearing act continues: we get her at the beginning of 138 in the dative of ownership (cui), but the focus is on her golden bow, her hair (literally ‘tied into gold’), and her golden buckle that clasps her purple-dyed cloak: the polyptoton ex auro, in aurum, aurea that dominates the tricolon, together with the reference to the purple colour of her cloak, gives the impression that Dido is decked out like a Christmas tree but remains strangely out of focus herself—in contrast, as we shall see, to Aeneas. In terms of plot, one begins to understand why her companions were in for such a long wait, though Dido’s sense of dress is clearly out of kilter: hunting is dirty business, whereas she is clothed as if for a beauty pageant. The chlamys, though, a Greek type of cloak, is an appropriate hunting garment, and the quiver recalls her special association with the goddess of the hunt, Diana: see 1.500–01: illa [sc. Diana] pharetram/ fert umero gradiensque deas supereminet omnis (‘she carries a quiver on her shoulder and, striding along, surpasses all the other goddesses in height’). (The lines are from the simile that accompanies the entry of Dido into the poem and powerfully resonates in the passage here: see below.) Ironically, the golden display strongly recalls Dido’s dead husband Sychaeus. See Book 1.343–44 (from Venus’ speech to Aeneas, instructing him about Dido’s past): huic coniunx Sychaeus erat, ditissimus auri/ Phoenicum (‘Her husband was Sychaeus, richest in gold of the Phoenicians’). After his murder by Dido’s brother Pygmalion, Sychaeus appears to his wife in a vision, showing her the place of his hidden treasures (359): ignotum argenti pondus et auri (‘a secret mass of gold and silver’), which Dido then loads on a ship and flees (362–64): nauis, quae forte paratae,/ corripiunt onerantque auro; portantur auari/ Pygmalionis opes pelago (‘ships, which by chance were ready, they seize and load with gold; the wealth of greedy Pygmalion is carried overseas’). So in essence, Dido is here wearing the treasures of her dead husband to impress her would-be new consort.

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 [Extra information: As for the gold, to top it all off, line 138 is a so-called ‘golden line’, a uersus aureus, i.e. it features the pattern adjective1 (aurea) adjective2 (purpuream) verb (subnectit) noun1 (fibula) noun2 (vestem), though it ought to be noted that ‘the term was not used in antiquity.’[15] Such golden lines are comparatively speaking uncommon in the Aeneid and could be considered an Alexandrian-neoteric mannerism. So from the point of view of genre, Dido is not really dressed here as befits an epic protagonist.[16] Likewise, the passage recalls two passages in Callimachus, in which the Alexandrian poet describes the golden regalia of Artemis (Hymn 3.110–12):

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 Ἄρτεµι Παρθενίη Τιτυοκτόνε, χρύσεα µέν τοι
ἔντεα καὶ ζώνη, χρύσεον δ’ ἐζεύξαο δίφρον,
ἐν δ’ ἐβάλευ χρύσεια, θεή, κεµάδεσσι χαλινά.

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 Artemis, Lady of Maidenhood, Slayer of Tityus, golden were your weapons and your belt, and golden the car you yoked, and you put golden bridles, goddess, on your deer.

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 and Apollo (Hymn 2.32–5):

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 χρύσεα τὠπόλλωνι τό τ’ ἐνδυτὸν ἥ τ’ ἐπιπορπίς
ἥ τε λύρη τό τ’ ἄεµµα τὸ Λύκτιον ἥ τε φαρέτρη,
χρύσεα καὶ τὰ πέδιλα• πολύχρυσος γὰρ Ἀπόλλων
καὶ πουλυκτέανος•

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 Golden is the tunic of Apollo, his mantle, his lyre, his Lyctian bow, and his quiver. Golden, too, are his sandals; for rich in gold is Apollo and also in possessions.

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 These gestures would certainly be thematically appropriate and enriching in a passage that, by means of allusions to Book 1.494–504, correlates Dido with Diana/ Artemis and Aeneas with Apollo.[17] The result is something one may call intertextual cross-dressing: ‘The queen of Carthage proceeds to the hunt resplendent in finery from various corners of the Callimachean wardrobe, matched with consummate skill by her Roman dresser.’[18]]

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 140: nec non et Phrygii comites et laetus Iulus/ incedunt. ipse ante alios pulcherrimus omnis/ infert se socium Aeneas atque agmina iungit: the litotes nec non marks the switch from Phoenicians to Trojans. Virgil’s design nicely conveys a sense of hierarchy and importance: in a first step he introduces the anonymous collective and Iulus, who is singled out by name, but is syntactically situated at the same level as the comites (see the coordination by et…et…). They enter the scene together, in enjambment: incedunt. Then there is a slight pause, signalled by the caesura (a trithemimeres), which ‘marks the moment of their waiting for Aeneas to take up his position.’[19] Then Aeneas steps forward to take his place next to Dido and to join their forces. agmina refers to the Carthaginians and the Trojans who have come from separate quarters and are here joined together into one troop by Aeneas. Dido is nowhere to be seen, though some translations obfuscate her eclipse. Goold, for instance, renders the lines thus: ‘Aeneas himself, goodly beyond all others, advanced to join her and unites his band with hers.’ ‘Her’ and ‘hers’ are not in the Latin. The verse design enacts the central and conspicuous leadership role of Aeneas. The design is chiastic with Aeneas as pivot—verb: infert, accusative object: se socium, subject: Aeneas, accusative object: agmina, verb: iungit—and thereby mirrors on the figurative level what happens at the level of plot: the intermingling of the two peoples around Aeneas who stands at dead centre. One could imagine that the meeting of the two groups resulted in a huge hullabaloo, but Virgil suggests otherwise: the two elisions (socium Aeneas; atque agmina) enact the smooth joining of forces by the joining of words. If one sees the preparations for the hunt as the distorted and distorting performance of a wedding ritual, agmina iungit recalls 126: conubio iungam stabili.

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 141–142: ipse ante alios pulcherrimus omnis/ infert … Aeneas: Aeneas’ entry into the narrative here is modelled on Dido’s entry in Book 1 and its accompanying simile (see below). Cf. esp. lines 1.496–97: regina ad templum, forma pulcherrima Dido/ incessit, 501: gradiensque deas supereminet omnis (of Diana), and 503: talem se laeta ferebat. Parallels include the epithet pulcherrima/us (as W. Clausen puts it: ‘Dido and Aeneas are thus beautifully paired’),[20] the effective use of enjambment for a verb of entry (incessit, infert), and the notion of excelling all others, with omnis positioned for emphasis in the last foot of the line. While the adjective pulcherrimus helps to correlate Dido’s entry in Book 1 with the scene here, it otherwise strikes an odd note: apart from underscoring that Dido has remained entirely faceless in the verses devoted to her (her last ornamenting epithet came in 117, where Juno called her miserrima), ‘outstanding beauty’ is an attribute better suited to erotic contexts than the hunt. In fact, it is an epic topos that goddesses work some cosmetic magic on their favourite heroes before crucial encounters with a girl: Athena prettifies Odysseus before his encounter with Nausicaa; Hera prettifies Jason before his encounter with Medea; and Venus, in Book 1, had rendered Aeneas stunning to behold before he left his protective cloud to meet Dido (1.586–91). While Virgil mentions no divine intervention here, his use of pulcherrimus constitutes a gesture to this commonplace.[21]

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 143–149: qualis ubi hibernam Lyciam Xanthique fluenta/ deserit ac Delum maternam inuisit Apollo/ instauratque choros, mixtique altaria circum/ Cretesque Dryopesque fremunt pictique Agathyrsi;/ ipse iugis Cynthi graditur mollique fluentem/ fronde premit crinem fingens atque implicat auro,/ tela sonant umeris: The Apollo-simile interrupts the plot and transports the reader into the realm of the gods. The tricolon is an operative principle throughout: we get three geographical locations (hibernam Lyciam, Xanthi fluenta, Delum maternam), three main verbs in the opening sequence (deserit, inuisit, instaurat), three types of companions (Cretes, Dryopes, picti Agathyrsi), three main verbs in the closing sequence with Apollo as subject (graditur, premit, implicat)—though, perhaps for the sake of variation, with a fourth tagged on but with a change in subject (sonant). In pairing Dido with Diana and Aeneas with Apollo by way of similes Virgil follows a pattern set by Apollonius who likens Jason to Apollo at Argonautica 1.307–09 and Medea to Artemis (the Greek equivalent to Diana) at 3.876–84. (Virgil inverts Apollonius’ sequence of male—female.) Here is Argonautica 1.306–11, details of which Virgil preserved in his own simile:

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 Ἦ, καὶ ὁ µὲν προτέρωσε δόµων ἒξ ὦρτο νέεσθαι.
οἷος δ’ ἐκ νηοῖο θυώδεος εἶσιν Ἀπόλλων
Δῆλον ἀν’ ἠγαθέην ἠὲ Κλάρον, ἢ ὅγε Πυθώ
ἢ Λυκίην εὐρεῖαν ἐπὶ Ξάνθοιο ῥοῇσι—
τοῖος ἀνὰ πληθὺν δήµου κίεν, ὦρτο δ’ ἀυτή 310
κεκλοµένων ἄµυδις.

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 [He spoke and went forth from his home to make his departure. And as Apollo goes from his fragrant temple through holy Delos or Claros, or through Pytho or broad Lycia by the streams of Xanthus, so he went through the crowd of people, and a shout went up as they cheered with one voice.]

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 143: qualis ubi: ‘as when….’ qualis translates οἷος in the Greek, but ubi, which introduces an emphasis on a precise moment in time, has no equivalent in Apollonius. It sets up the highly resonant hibernam: see next note.

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 143: hibernam Lyciam Xanthique fluenta/ deserit: hibernam Lyciam Xanthique fluenta translates almost verbatim Apollonius, Argonautica 1.300: ἢ Λυκίην εὐρεῖαν ἐπὶ Ξάνθοιο ῥοῇσι, i.e.:

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 Λυκίην (Lukiên) > Lyciam
εὐρεῖαν (eureian) ~ hibernam
Ξάνθοιο (Xanthoio) > Xanthi
ῥοῇσι (rhoêsi) > fluenta

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 Three items are all but identical (indicated by ‘>’). Virgil, however, changes the attribute of Lycia (signalled by ‘~’). Instead of εὐρεῖαν (‘broad’) we get hibernam, an adjective here used instead of an adverb: it signifies the moment in time when Apollo leaves Lycia, i.e. ‘in winter.’ See Weber: ‘Lycia is not Apollo’s “winter home” [Austin (1963) 64]; on the contrary, it is the place in Asia that in winter the god leaves behind for Greece.’[22] The adjustment seems minor; but it is fraught with meaning, as it interrelates the simile with a wide range of key thematic concerns in Aeneid 4. To begin with, the thought that Apollo leaves Lycia in winter (as Weber goes on to point out) surprises: ‘it is an unfamiliar Apollo who joins his worshippers in the dead of winter. … the presence of the visitors named in 4.146 actually rules out winter rites on Delos. The god whose epiphany coincides with winter is rather Dionysus, winter being the season when this god renews his biennial dances on Parnassus and, probably, on Cithaeron as well’ (324).

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 The theme of ‘abandoning a place in winter’ is a charged theme in the context of Aeneid 4, ominously proleptic of what Aeneas will do later on in the book. The reference to winter not only recalls the end of Anna’s speech, where she suggests to Dido that she should use the time of the year as an argument for Aeneas to stay (4.51–53), but also sets up 309–11 (Dido’s outraged confrontation with Aeneas upon finding out that he will even brace the winter-storms to get away from Carthage as quickly as he can): quin etiam hiberno moliri sidere classem/ et mediis properas Aquilonibus ire per altum,/ crudelis? (‘Even in the winter season you hasten to get your fleet ready and to travel across the sea in the midst of northern gales, cruel one?’).[23] Virgil’s use of the verb deserit (‘he abandons’), which he placed for special effect in enjambment (followed by a weak diaeresis after the first foot), is equally charged and it, too, features prominently in Dido’s confrontation with Aeneas. See 323: cui me moribundam deseris hospes?, as well as Dido’s concluding self-portrayal at 330 as capta ac deserta. A look at the Apollonian model is again instructive: in the Argonautica, the god simply ‘goes’ (309: εἶσιν).

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 144: Delum maternam … Apollo: Delos was the island on which Leto gave birth to her twins Diana and Apollo. The position of the attribute after the noun it modifies generates a chiasmus with hibernam Lyciam in the previous line, mirroring the dynamics of ‘departure’ (deserit) and ‘arrival’ (inuisit). Virgil identifies the subject (Apollo) only at the very end of the second verse of the simile, though the geographical locations, and in particular the phrase Delum maternam, already provide fairly decisive clues. Virgil has changed the attribute of Delos from ἠγαθέην (‘most holy’, an attribute used of places under divine protection) in Apollonius to maternam. The emphasis on returning to a maternal location may aid in the subtle assimilation of Apollo to Dionysus that pervades the simile.[24] The purposeful direction of Apollo’s travels in Virgil contrasts sharply with the somewhat haphazard enumeration of cult locations in Apollonius and thereby enhances the parallels between Apollo’s actions in the simile and Aeneas’ action later on in the narrative.

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 145: instauratque choros: choros instaurare means ‘to renew the dance.’ This is a further hint of a Dionysiac presence in the simile: ‘the god who, after an absence abroad in Asia, returns to the Greek land of his mother and there sets his votaries to dancing …—this god is first and foremost Dionysus.’[25]

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 145–146: mixtique altaria circum/ Cretesque Dryopesque fremunt pictique Agathyrsi: the –que attached to mixti links instaurat and fremunt; the –que attached to Dryopes links Cretes and Dryopes; the –que attached to picti links Dryopes and Agathyrsi. The –que attached to Cretes, in contrast, despite scanning long, does not link anything and is thus strictly speaking superfluous. (Converting the –ques into ‘ets’, one would get et Cretes et Dryopes et picti Agathyrsi.) Who are the people that participate in Apollo’s rites? Cretes are inhabitants of the island of Crete, a straightforward designation. The Dryopians and Agathyrsians, on the other hand, here ‘make their debut in Latin verse’: Weber (2002) 328. Pease describes the Dryopians as ‘a rude and predatory tribe’,[26] whereas the Agathyrsians are, according to Weber, ‘obscure barbarians.’[27] He notes: ‘this heterogeneous mélange of mainstream and marginal Greeks mingling with outlandish foreigners has no place in the elitist cult of Apollo. Such retinue of polyglot worshipers would rather be at home in the ecumenical milieu of Dionysus’ (325–26). He points out other Dionysiac touches, including the etymology of both Dryopians and Agathyrsians;[28] the modifier of the Agathyrsians, that is, picti (‘whether this word refers to tattooing or to some other means of coloring the skin or hair, painted or tattooed devotees are out of place in the cult of Apollo’: 328); the verb fremunt, which recalls Dionysus’ epithet Bromius;[29] and the neologistic licence and dithyrambic flair of the verse design, with the extra –que scanned long in the second arsis. (The overemphatic polysyndeton arguably also underscores the action of the verbs: mixti and fremunt, the mixing and crowding around the altar.)

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 147: ipse: picks up Apollo.

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 147: iugis Cynthi: Dionysus, too, is a mountain god.[30]

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 147: graditur: ‘in 1, 501 the same verb is used of his sister Diana in her rites on Cynthus.’[31] See also 1.312 (of Aeneas): ipse uno graditur comitatus Achate (‘he himself strides forth, accompanied only by Achates’).

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 147–148: mollique fluentem/ fronde premit crinem fingens atque implicat auro: Virgil lavishes as much attention on Apollo’s hairdo as he did on Dido’s. crinem is the accusative object of both premit and fingens (an ‘apo-koinou’ position), as well as implicat, and all three verbs address the quality captured in the attribute of crinem, i.e. fluentem: Apollo puts his hair in order (premit) by shaping (fingens) his flowing locks with soft foliage (note the alliteration fluentemfrondefingens) and braiding it (implicat) with a golden diadem. The Dionysiac touches continue: mollis is, as Weber points out, ‘virtually a vox propria for objects connected with Dionysus.’[32] He also provides the following analysis of the participle fingens, which turns out to be syntactically and thematically ‘camp’: ‘The effeminacy implicit in molli … is further suggested by the fingens in the next line. This participle acquires a degree of emphasis from being somewhat superfluously appended to a clause that is already complete both syntactically and semantically. … Aeneid 4.148 is … unique in Latin verse for not applying fingere of setting the hair either to a woman or to a male of precarious masculinity. Here fingens combines with molli in the preceding line to frame fluentem/ fronde premit crinem, and both words together imbue the intervening expression with a strong suggestion of effeminacy that is at once alien to Apollo and intrinsic to Dionysus.’[33]

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 149: tela sonant umeris: a sudden shift in tone from the peaceful imagery of the previous lines, especially if one recalls Iliad 1.43–47:[34]

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 Ὣς ἔφατ’ εὐχόµενος, τοῦ δ’ ἔκλυε Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων,
βῆ δὲ κατ’ Οὐλύµποιο καρήνων χωόµενος κῆρ,
τόξ’ ὤµοισιν ἔχων ἀµφηρεφέα τε φαρέτρην• 45
ἔκλαγξαν δ’ ἄρ’ ὀϊστοὶ ἐπ’ ὤµων χωοµένοιο,
αὐτοῦ κινηθέντος• ὃ δ’ ἤϊε νυκτὶ ἐοικώς.

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 [Thus he [sc. Chryses] spoke in prayer, and Phoebus Apollo heard him.
Down from the peaks of Olympus he came, irate at heart,
bearing his bow on his shoulder and his covered quiver. 45
The arrows rattled on the shoulders of the angry god,
while he was moving, and his coming was like the night.]

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 This is Apollo’s highly dramatic entry into Western literature, and Virgil seemingly lifts and translates a key component from Homer’s description of the wrathful divinity striding down from Mt. Olympus to shoot his plague-bearing poisoned arrows into the camp of the Greeks. In Virgil, the reference to the arrows of destruction rattling in the quiver on Apollo’s shoulders comes as an unpleasant surprise after the peaceful scenes of dancing and hair-dressing—a dark reminder that both the god and the hero he is meant to illustrate may have a baleful impact on those around them. Specifically, it recalls the deer-simile at 4.69–73, where a pastor, who represents Aeneas, mortally wounds a deer with his arrows. The sudden switch in theme from celebration to death in the simile thus mirrors on the micro-level the progression from what is supposed to be a wedding (127: hymenaeus) but actually is the beginning of a tragic plot that leads to misery and death (169–70: ille dies primus leti…). With supreme economy Virgil thereby recapitulates the Homeric paradox that the god of brightness and light (see his epithet Phoebus) may also resemble darkness and night, that the god of healing may cause a plague. For the first appearance of the divinity in Western literature, the terms of entry are fittingly complex and problematic, setting the tone for what was to follow.

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 [Extra Information: The question whether the passage from Iliad 1 is ‘relevant’ here triggered a little tussle between the two Virgilian scholars Oliver Lyne and Nicholas Horsfall. Lyne offers the following interpretation of our passage: [35]

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 Aeneas is armed for Apollo, armed for the hunt. But Apollo in arms is surely too significant and ominous a figure to perform merely this function: poets introduce him in warlike as opposed to peaceful guise with deliberation, and for awesome purposes. Added to which, the arms here in question are particularly sinister arms, for this is Apollo from a most sinister source. A highly disturbing allusion is in fact operating. ‘Tela sonant umeris’ is a translation of Hom. Il. 1.46. And Il. 1.46 describes Apollo the plague-bringer, describes, to be precise, the very means by which Apollo delivered plague. In Iliad 1 Apollo came down from Olympus to punish the Achaeans with plague, and ‘his arrows’, the instruments of that plague, ‘clashed on his shoulders’ as he descended—a striking, ominous, and memorable moment: ἔκλαγξαν δ’ ἄρ’ ὀϊστοὶ ἐπ’ ὤµων, ‘tela sonant umeris.’ Vergil’s simile therefore culminates in a recall of this most memorable moment, the advent of the divine plague-bringer. So the allusion (assuming it to be such) intimates the suggestion: Aeneas the plague-bringer. Aeneas a plague-bringer?

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 Nicholas Horsfall reviewed Lyne at Classical Review 38.2, 243–45, and objected: ‘L.’s hunt for allusions comes up with answers of varying credibility: I can see why he finds the Homeric plague god behind Aen. 4.143ff., but not here alone we might pause to ask “is that association actually relevant?”, “does it make sense, or serve any real purpose?” and above all, “can we believe that that is what V. himself wanted us to conclude?”.’ To which Lyne responds: ‘We have no evidence for what Vergil wanted us to conclude—beyond the text. The question is pointless and evades the interest[ing] fact in the text. “Is that association actually relevant?” Why shouldn’t it be, unless we have preconceptions about what Vergil “intends” to be relevant?’[36] What are we to make of this? Horsfall’s question ‘is that association actually relevant?’, far from being ‘pointless’ (as Lyne would have it), strikes me as a good one—as a challenge to the reader who has this association to make it ‘relevant’ (whatever this is taken to mean: ‘relevance’, too, is under continual negotiation as the history of engaging with Latin texts amply shows) by offering a good argument in its favour (and the criteria for what counts as ‘good’ are of course also to some extent in flux). Conversely, Horsfall seems to rule out relevance in part by failing to see any point or purpose, in part by appealing to the poet behind the text as a decisive instance of critical authority. Yet I agree with Lyne that the reference to Iliad 1 (if it is one) makes a lot of sense and serves a very real purpose: for starters, it renders Virgil’s text more resonant with meaning, makes for a perfect fit with the overarching dynamics of this section, and enhances the complexity and appeal of his artistry. Put differently, if Virgil did not want his readers to have this association and consider it relevant, he should have.]

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 149–150: haud illo segnior ibat/ Aeneas, tantum egregio decus enitet ore: Virgil foregrounds two points of comparison, juxtaposed asyndetically: the graceful energy that animates Aeneas’ movements (emphasized by means of the litotes haud segnior); and his beauty. illo is ablative of comparison and refers to Apollo; in the second clause the comparison is understood: so much (tantum) beauty shines forth from the face of Aeneas as (quantum) shines forth from that of Apollo. (a1) tantum (a2) egregio (b1) decus (c) enitet (b2) ore, i.e. attribute1 attribute2 noun1 verb noun2, almost forms a ‘golden pattern’. Note the enjambment of Aeneas; the name serves as pivot between the two clauses of which he is the subject.

74 Leave a comment on paragraph 74 0 151: postquam altos uentum in montis atque inuia lustra: uentum, sc. est, i.e. the third person singular perfect indicative passive of uenio, here used impersonally (‘they came’). The preposition in modifies both altos montis and inuia lustra. The line features three elisions (postquam altos, uentum in, atque inuia), where the space between words disappears: is this, perhaps, Virgil’s way of emphasizing by formal means the pathless thickets into which the company moves? Along those lines, note the clash of accent and ictus in both altos and montis—a formal feature arguably used to underscore their steepness. The ascent into the mountains surprises: Juno, in her masterplan, had twice mentioned ‘groves’ as venue for the hunt (see 118: in nemus ire parant; 121: saltusque indagine cingunt) and there are other incongruous touches, such as hunters on horseback (135, 156–57), including Ascanius, who enjoys himself ‘in the middle of the vale’ (156: mediis in uallibus). Weber explains the unexpected mountain setting as a means of sustaining affinities between Aeneas and Dionysus: ‘As Dionysus is a mountain god who hunts, Aeneas is a hero who hunts in the mountains’ (333), or, more specifically, ‘Aeneas is the Virgilian counterpart of Euripides’ Dionysus, as both the hunter who survives the hunt and a stranger newly arrived from Asia. His advent, like that of Dionysus, leads to the death of the reigning monarch’ (334).

75 Leave a comment on paragraph 75 0 152: ecce: the particle—a colloquialism integrated into high poetry by Virgil—marks a moment of transition, from preparation to the actual start of the hunting.[37]

76 Leave a comment on paragraph 76 0 152–153: ferae saxi deiectae uertice caprae/ decurrere iugis: Virgil interlaces words modifying the hunted animals (feraedeiectaecaprae: note the hyberbaton of attribute (ferae) and noun (caprae), effectively placed at the end of the line) with words describing the topography (saxiuertice). The result is a combination of symmetry and order on the level of form that generates a moment of suspense before the sudden resolution in the subsequent lines: decurrere (= decurrerunt) iugis. The placement of deiectae between the genitive attribute (saxi, here used as a synonym of montis) and the noun on which it depends (uertice) enacts its meaning and prepares for the main verb (de-iectae ~ de-currere): the mountain goats are separated from (‘driven off’) their usual haunts on the rocky mountain-crags.

77 Leave a comment on paragraph 77 0 153–155: alia de parte patentis/ transmittunt cursu campos atque agmina cerui/puluerulenta fuga glomerant montisque relinquunt: the subject of all three clauses (transmittunt, glomerant, relinquunt) is the much-delayed cerui (corresponding in metrical position to the caprae in line 152). There is a sharp change in rhythm from 154, where all the feet, except the fifth, are spondaic, to 155, where all the feet, except the fourth, are dactylic. In each case the rhythm is thematically appropriate: first, the deer crowd together; then they take off. Virgil further enhances the speed of their flight by a husteron proteron: logically, the deer must first leave the mountains before they can rush across the plain, but Virgil has inverted the natural order to convey a ‘head-over-heels’ impression. Compare, for instance, Antony and Cleopatra, Act 3, Scene 10: ‘The Antoniad, the Egyptian admiral,/ With all their sixty, fly and turn the rudder.’ (The logical sequence would require ‘they turn the rudder and fly.’) Other unsettling features include the hyperbata patentis … campos (which ‘opens’ up a space for the words of movement transmittunt and cursu that Virgil places within the ‘open …. fields’) and agmina … puluerulenta (reinforced by the verse break). The sequence of attribute—noun : noun—attribute is chiastic, an effect reinforced by the chiastic symmetry of verb (transmittunt)—ablative (cursu)—accusative object (campos) : accusative object (agmina)—ablative (fuga)—verb (glomerant). The excitement of the verse design calms down and resolves itself in the final colon, which is simplicity itself: montisque [= montesque] relinquunt.

78 Leave a comment on paragraph 78 0 156–159: at puer Ascanius mediis in uallibus acri/ gaudet equo iamque hos cursu, iam praeterit illos,/ spumantemque dari pecora inter inertia uotis/ optat aprum, aut fuluum descendere monte leonem: To end his description of the hunt, Virgil includes a vignette of Ascanius, who displays the exuberant enthusiasm of youth, both in how he hustles and bustles around the hunters on his high-spirited horse and in his heroic fantasizing. (acri, prominently placed at the end of the line, harks back to Ascanius through the alliteration, but modifies equo; acri/ gaudet equo is a highly effective verse break, with the enjambment followed by a choriambic phrase.) The passage forms a tricolon, organized around the three main verbs gaudetpraeteritoptat. optat introduces an indirect statement that falls into two parts, linked by aut: the first revolves around a boar—note the awe-inspiring hyperbaton spumantem … aprum, the second around a lion (also marked by a hyperbaton, though a less impressive one: fuluum … leonem). Ascanius’ fascination with hunting will play a major role in the second half of the poem, where his shooting of a treasured stag is one of the main reasons why war breaks loose: see 7.475–510. Ascanius is also notably, if not surprisingly, absent from Juno’s script.

79 Leave a comment on paragraph 79 0 156: mediis: true to its meaning, the word is placed plumb in the middle of the line.

80 Leave a comment on paragraph 80 0 158: pecora inter inertia: the preposition inter (‘between’), true to its meaning, is placed between the two segments of the phrase it coordinates. iners here means something akin to ‘unadventurous’ or ‘harmless’, i.e. not suited to test the mettle Ascanius thinks he has.

81 Leave a comment on paragraph 81 0 158: uotis: in the dative, with dari: ‘… may be granted to his vows.’ Votum is a technical term of Rome’s civic religion and usually involves a promise to a god in return for his or her aid, especially in situations of military crisis. Here the term ironically ennobles Ascanius’ day-dreaming and wishful thinking.

82 Leave a comment on paragraph 82 0 The Perfect Storm: the concluding part of this section consists of thirteen lines, falling into three blocks of roughly equal length:

83 Leave a comment on paragraph 83 0 160–164: The storm starts; everyone is running for cover (5 lines)

84 Leave a comment on paragraph 84 0 165–168: Dido and Aeneas ‘happen’ to find themselves in the same cave and have sex (4 lines)

85 Leave a comment on paragraph 85 0 169–172: The disastrous consequences (4 lines)

86 Leave a comment on paragraph 86 0 160–164: Interea magno misceri murmure caelum/ incipit, insequitur commixta grandine nimbus,/ et Tyrii comites passim et Troiana iuuentus/ Dardaniusque nepos Veneris diuersa per agros/ tecta metu petiere; ruunt de montibus amnes: these lines fulfill Juno’s announcement in 120–24. See in particular the repetitions (with variation) of nigrantem commixta grandine nimbum (120) ~ commixta grandine nimbus (161) and tonitru caelum omne ciebo (122) ~ magno misceri murmure caelum (160). Overall, the design of 160–64 is systematically chiastic: clause 1: subject (caelum) and verb (incipit), clause 2: verb (insequitur) and subject (nimbus), clause 3: subject (Tyrii comites, Troiana iuuentus, Dardanius nepos) and verb (petiere), clause 4: verb (ruunt) and subject (amnes). In his coverage of personnel and weather conditions Virgil has achieved ‘asymmetrical balance’: three clauses (1, 2, and 4) are about the weather and its consequences, one clause (3) is about the personnel, but the number of subjects for each of the two topics is identical: caelum, nimbus, amnes—Carthaginians, Trojans, Ascanius.

87 Leave a comment on paragraph 87 0 160–161: Interea magno misceri murmure caelum/ incipit, insequitur commixta grandine nimbus: magno misceri murmure is a magnificent instance of onomatopoeia, combining m-alliteration with assonance (-ri, mur-, –mur-, –re) and a deft mixing of vowels, all of which are present: a, o, i, e, i, u, u, e. The formulation recalls Virgil’s description of the cave of the winds, which are said to roar around their prison magno cum murmure montis (1.55), before they are set loose at Juno’s behest. Again the goddess takes control of the weather, infringing upon a domain where her husband Jupiter is nominally in charge, and unleashes chaos and destruction.[38]

88 Leave a comment on paragraph 88 0 161: incipit, insequitur: the asyndeton emphasizes the speed with which the cloud gathers—it is there in an instant: insequitur thus does what it means: it follows immediately upon what precedes, without room for a connective. The alliterative beat in-, in– reinforces the effect. (See already 1.104–05: tum prora auertit et undis/ dat latus; insequitur cumulo praeruptus aquae mons; ‘then the prow turns and exposes the ship’s side to the waves; down in a heap follows a steep mountain of water.’)

89 Leave a comment on paragraph 89 0 162–164: et Tyrii comites passim et Troiana iuuentus/ Dardaniusque nepos Veneris diuersa per agros/ tecta metu petiere; ruunt de montibus amnes: Virgil accounts for all parties of the hunt mentioned before, i.e. the Carthaginians, the Trojans, and Ascanius (= Dardanius nepos Veneris), though he devotes significantly more space to the entourage than Juno did in her preview, who dismissed it with two words (123: diffugient comites). He also introduces an element of variation: when describing the preparations for the hunt, he wrote of Carthage’s delecta iuuentus (130) and Aeneas’ Phrygian companions (140: Phrygii comites); here the Carthaginians (from Tyre) are the companions (Tyrii comites), and the Trojans the youth (Troiana iuuentus). The ‘confused’ word order is not dissimilar to the design Virgil used to describe the hunted beasts in flight at 153–55. Note the hyperbaton, reinforced by enjambment, of diuersa … tecta, enacting the notion of ‘being scattered’ all across the fields (per agros, deftly placed between) and the two adverbial modifications sprinkled in at the beginning (passim) and the end (metu). (Cf. 153–55: cursu and fuga.) The main verb (petiere = petierunt: ‘a perfect of sudden action’[39] is long in the coming. Just as incipit and insequitur in 161, petiere and ruunt are juxtaposed asyndetically—a startling effect enhanced by the preceding polysyndeton et … et… -que.

90 Leave a comment on paragraph 90 0 165–166: speluncam Dido dux et Troianus eandem/ deueniunt: an almost verbatim repetition of 124–25: speluncam Dido dux et Troianus eandem/ deuenient; only the future deuenient has become a present (deueniunt). See above for comments on the design. Virgil’s closest Greek model for the encounter in the cave is Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.1128–69, which describes the consummation of the marriage between Jason and Medea (also in a cave). But in Apollonius, the situation is quite different: the Argonauts have reached the land of the Phaeacians, ruled by king Alcinous and his wife Arete, hotly pursued by the enraged Colchians. In desperation, Medea pleads with Arete not to be handed back over to the Colchians to take her back to her father’s home (4.1014–28), mentioning in passing that she has so far retained her virginity (4.1024–25). But when Arete presents Medea’s case to her husband, Alcinous, who is disinclined to offend either Zeus or Aeetes with a partial judgment in favour of Medea, makes his judgment dependent on Medea’s virginity (or lack thereof): ‘If she is a virgin, I direct that she be returned to her father; if, however, she is sharing a bed with a husband, I will not separate her from her spouse, nor will I hand over to enemies any child she may be bearing in her womb’ (1006–9). Thereupon he falls asleep, giving Arete the opportunity to inform the Argonauts of her husband’s intent. Thus put into the picture, Jason and Medea do not hesitate for an instant to get the wedding ceremony and the physical consummation of their marriage underway (4.1128–69):

91 Leave a comment on paragraph 91 0 Immediately they prepared a mixing-bowl of wine for the blessed gods, as is proper, and following correct ritual procedure led sheep to the altar. On that very night they made ready a bridal bed for the girl in the sacred cave where Macris once lived … Here, then, they prepared the great bed; over it they threw the gleaming golden fleece, so that the wedding night should be honoured and become the subject of song. And for them the nymphs gathered flowers of many colours and brought them cradled in their white breasts. … Some were called daughters of the river Aegaeus, others haunted the peaks of mount Melite, and others were woodland nymphs from the plains. Hera herself, Zeus’ wife, urged them to come in Jason’s honour. To this day that holy cave is called the Cave of Medea, where the nymphs spread out fragrant linen and brought the marriage of the couple to fulfilment. … The crew … to the pure accompaniment of Orpheus’ lyre, sang the wedding song at the entrance of the bridal chamber. It was not in Alcinous’ domain that the heroic son of Aeson [Jason], had wished to marry, but in the halls of his father after his retun to Iolcus; and Medea also had the same intention, but necessity led them to make love at that time. But so it is: we tribes of woe-stricken humans never enter upon delight wholeheartedly, but always some bitter pain marches alongside our joy. Thus, though they melted in sweet love-making, both were fearful whether Alcinous’ sentence would be brought to fruition.

92 Leave a comment on paragraph 92 0 Yes, we may share Apollonius’ sentiment and sympathise with Jason and Medea that they did not have the palace wedding both of them dreamed of. Arrangements are indeed a bit makeshift and premature and the mingling in the cave perhaps not quite what Jason and Medea had in mind for their first night together. And yet: we get a proper wedding ritual, nymphs honouring the bride in joyful humour at the behest of Hera, and Hera herself overseeing the proceedings and giving her blessings. The Golden Fleece, too, one would have assumed, is a reasonable substitute for a wedding couch, and the music (Orpheus’ lyre!) is of the finest quality. The contrast to the illicit romp we get in Aeneid 4, where Dido and Aeneas, sweaty from the hunt and drenched by the sudden downpour, just ‘happen’ to find themselves all alone, with Juno’s nymphs howling on top of the mountain, could not be starker. It is the difference between a one-night stand motivated by sudden opportunity and overwhelming passion and deliberate and purposeful, if somewhat reluctant, entry into the bonds of marriage according to proper ritual protocol: Jason and Medea ‘get legal’; Aeneas and Dido do not.

93 Leave a comment on paragraph 93 0 166–168: prima et Tellus et pronuba Iuno/ dant signum; fulsere ignes et conscius aether/ conubiis summoque ulularunt uertice Nymphae: upon the arrival of Dido and Aeneas in the same cave, Virgil shifts the focus back to the sphere of the divine—a euphemistic side-stepping of what, precisely, the pair get up to in the cave. Instead, we get a cosmic spectacle, put on by Tellus, Juno, Aether, and the Nymphs, that mimics aspects of a wedding ritual. Here are three assessments:

94 Leave a comment on paragraph 94 0 Austin: ‘Virgil thus makes the wedding ritually correct, as one would expect him to. But it remains a supernatural ceremony, and an uncanny one for all its seeming correctness.’[40]

95 Leave a comment on paragraph 95 0 Moles: ‘For her own purposes Juno desires the union of the two lovers to be a permanent marriage: this does not amount to an objective statement of the nature of their union. While the divine responses to the “wedding” are indeed ritually correct the emotional effect is of a ghastly parody of the norm, suggesting rather that this marriage presided over by Juno is not a true marriage at all.’ [41]

96 Leave a comment on paragraph 96 0 ‘Vergil’s passage suggests either a wedding or a parody of a wedding, and the event is described in such a way that it is hard to know what is really happening.’[42]

97 Leave a comment on paragraph 97 0 You may (or may not) wish to use these views as points of departure in developing your own reading of the text.

98 Leave a comment on paragraph 98 0 166–167: Tellus … fulsere ignes et conscius aether: a presence of Earth (or Mother Earth) nicely complements the presence of aether and the flashes of lightning that come down from the sky—but neither Tellus nor Aether are standard divinities in the context of a Roman wedding.[43]

99 Leave a comment on paragraph 99 0 166: pronuba Iuno: a pronuba was ‘a married woman who conducted the bride to her bridal chamber’ (OLD s.v.). It derives from nubo, to marry, and is hence etymologically related to conubium (see below, 168). Here the term is used as an epithet of Juno, clearly in her self-assigned role as assistant in the wedding she plans, stages, but arguably fails to execute properly. Juno is thus portrayed as present during the cave-encounter in her ritual function as goddess of marriage. Intriguingly, however, pronuba is not attested as an attribute of Juno before our passage (though later becomes common in Virgilian imitators, from Ovid onwards). This raises the question: ‘does Virgil use the epithet Pronuba in an ironic sense?’[44]

100 Leave a comment on paragraph 100 0 167: dant signum: they give a/ the sign—for what?

101 Leave a comment on paragraph 101 0 167–168: fulsere ignes et conscius aether/ conubiis: possibly a hendiadys (= fulsit ignibus aether).[45] fulsere = fulserunt, i.e. third person plural perfect indicative active of fulgeo. conscius is ‘a witness’, and Virgil links the witnessing and what is being witnessed through alliteration: consciusconubiis. The enjambed conubiis correlates with the enjambed dant signum in the previous line, almost as if the two form a complete sentence (dant signum conubiis). The clause picks up 4.126 from Juno’s speech: conubio iungam stabili. (Virgil had already used the plural of a single marriage at 3.319.)

102 Leave a comment on paragraph 102 0 168: summoque ulularunt uertice Nymphae: ulularunt = ululauerunt; ululo, which is an onomatopoeic word, here means ‘to howl in religious excitement’: OLD s.v. 2c. Significantly, the corresponding noun makes an appearance at 4.667–68 (the collective response to the news of Dido’s suicide): lamentis gemituque et femineo ululatu/ tecta fremunt, resonat magnis plangoribus aether (‘the palace rings with lamentations, sobbing, and the howling of women, heaven echoes with loud wails’). As such, it foreshadows Virgil’s comments in the subsequent lines that the event in the cave, whatever it was, inaugurated a plot that would end in death (leti…causa). Virgil’s lexical intertwining of sex and death has a proto-Freudian ring to it.

103 Leave a comment on paragraph 103 0 169–170: ille dies primus leti primusque malorum/ causa fuit: the transition from the flashes of lightning and the howling nymphs of the previous lines to the sober and brutal assessment of the consequences is stark, especially since Virgil states the consequences (death and evils) before giving the reasons, which follow in lines 170–72. (This inversion, of course, also enables the close proximity of sex and death discussed above, and suggests that the event in the cave itself, and not just what it does to Dido, causes what follows.) Virgil stresses that his narrative has reached a tragic turning point (in Aristotelian terms: peripeteia) through the reiteration of primus, which is perhaps best understood adverbially and indicating ‘degree rather than chronology’, i.e. ‘that day before all others.’[46] For the encounter in the cave clearly has a prehistory: it is not that Dido’s condition changes; rather, the physical consummation of her passion entails a change in her behaviour, which has tragic consequences.[47] As John Henderson points out (per litteras), the Homeric word for this notion, which would turn into a cliché of tragic historiography, is arche-kakos, i.e. ‘the beginning of evil.’ One also wonders when the evils are supposed to have run their course. Do they end with Dido’s suicide? Or with the end of the Aeneid? With the historical fulfilment of Dido’s course in the figure of Hannibal? Or with the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC? Virgil’s formulation is open-ended in terms of chronology and endows Dido’s and Aeneas’ romp in the cave with world-historical significance, along the lines of William Butler Yeats, Leda and the Swan, 19–21, which traces the destruction of Troy and the subsequent murder of Agamemnon back to a divine orgasm: ‘A shudder in the loins engenders there/ The broken wall, the burning roof and tower/ And Agamemnon dead.’

104 Leave a comment on paragraph 104 0 170–172: neque enim specie famaue mouetur/ nec iam furtiuum Dido meditatur amorem:/ coniugium uocat, hoc praetexit nomine culpam: Dido comes out. She no longer has any regard for appearances (specie) or for what people say (fama, which sets up the personified entry of the concept, i.e. Fama, in 173). Considerations of face or reputation no longer bother her: she lives her love out in the open and calls it marriage.[48] Note the gradual increase in agency: Virgil starts out with a negated passive (neque … mouetur) and continues with a negated deponent (nec iammeditatur), which together serve as foil for two verbs in the active: uocat, praetexit. The diaeresis after uocat is unusual: a caesura in the third foot (after hoc, in this case) is far more frequent. There is, then, a ‘premature’ shift from a description of what Dido is doing to a critical evaluation of her action, from a ‘subjective’ to an ‘objective’ point of view. At the same time, one could construe hoc both with coniugium (neuter accusative singular) and nomine (neuter ablative singular), especially since coniugium lacks a predicative complement: ‘she calls this marriage, and with that name covers her culpa.’ hoc, then, functions as a marked pivot between Dido’s lie or self-delusion (coniugium) and the authorial assessment (culpam). There is a shift from the dactylic coniugium uocat to the heavily spondaic hoc praetexit nomine culpam, reinforced by the complete coincidence of accent and ictus in each word after uocat. As Moles puts it: ‘Virgil’s words clearly imply that Dido is behaving badly and knows it: she “is no longer influenced by appearances or reputation; no longer is it a secret love she practises. She calls it marriage—with this name she conceals her ‘culpa’”. Dido, now shameless, says something… which is not true. Virgil draws a clear contrast between Dido’s outward behaviour and the inner reality.’[49] The two key nouns coniugium and culpam frame the line and are linked by alliteration. The verb praetexo [prae + texo], here in the figurative sense of ‘to cloak (with)’ (OLD s.v. 2b), links sex and death in the Dido episode insofar as it recurs at 4.500 (Anna not realizing that her sister is about to commit suicide): non tamen Anna nouis praetexere funera sacris/ germanam credit (‘yet Anna does not believe that her sister cloaks her death with these new rites’).

105 Leave a comment on paragraph 105 0 What does the culpa consist in? Moles has an excellent discussion of the various possibilities that have been suggested, including the popular view that the culpa lies in her disloyalty to Sychaeus, her reneging on her oath of eternal faithfulness.[50] But, he argues, ‘this makes no sense in context. To defend herself against criticism Dido calls her “culpa” a “coniugium”. Her “culpa” cannot be disloyalty to Sychaeus, for any association with a man, whether licit or illicit, necessarily involves abnegation of her oaths to Sychaeus and to protest that her association with Aeneas was a “coniugium” does nothing at all to meet that charge, as indeed Dido herself has already recognized (Aen. 4.15–19).’ The right answer, according to Moles, is that the culpa ‘consists in the illicit nature of her love-making with Aeneas, which Dido, to defend her reputation, tries to present as proper “coniugium”.’ This generates a powerful split in perceptions (or versions) of reality. Dido may be dishonest in trying to cover up her sexual misdemeanour, but Juno certainly is of the considered opinion that the act of intercourse that took place in the cave represents a proper marriage (see Aeneid 4.99, 103–4, 125–27), for which she has even solicited the agreement of Venus. So what is missing? Most importantly, as Moles makes clear, the consent of the supposed groom. Even if one were to assume that the sex-act could serve as substitute for the speech-act (the equivalent of the ‘I do’ in a modern wedding), for it to be felicitous would seem to require mutual consent. And Aeneas himself never regards his fling in the cave (and whatever commingling and cohabitation comes after) as a coniugium. See esp. 4.338–39 (Aeneas speaking to Dido): nec coniugis umquam/ praetendi taedas aut haec in foedera ueni (‘I never held out the torch of a bridegroom or entered into such a contract’).

106 Leave a comment on paragraph 106 0  


107 Leave a comment on paragraph 107 0 [1]
In 1945 a mosaic illustrating the hunt was discovered at Low Ham in Somerset. For a picture, see R. P. Wright, ‘Roman Britain in 1945: I. Sites Explored; II. Inscriptions’, Journal of Roman Studies, 36 (1946), p. 148, Plate 11. For discussion see Anderson (2006).

108 Leave a comment on paragraph 108 0  

109 Leave a comment on paragraph 109 0 [2]
Caldwell (2008), passim, with the quotation from p. 426.

110 Leave a comment on paragraph 110 0  

111 Leave a comment on paragraph 111 0 [3]
See Catullus 61.76–100, which also features a reference to the pudor of the bride (83).

112 Leave a comment on paragraph 112 0  

113 Leave a comment on paragraph 113 0 [4]
The sentence reads like Virgil’s response to Juno’s pronouncement: ille picks up hic; the perfect fuit contrasts with the future erit; and the emphasis on letum and mala underscores that Juno’s perverse idea of a marriage will lead to tragedy and death.

114 Leave a comment on paragraph 114 0  

119 Leave a comment on paragraph 119 0 [7]
Horace makes fun of this feature at Ars Poetica 139: Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus (‘The mountains will give birth, there will be born a ludicrous mouse’).

120 Leave a comment on paragraph 120 0  

123 Leave a comment on paragraph 123 0 [9]
For the topos, in Catullus and elsewhere, see Hersch (2010), pp. 144–48.

124 Leave a comment on paragraph 124 0  

127 Leave a comment on paragraph 127 0 [11]
Caldwell (2008), p. 428 points out that the sinister connotations of the term increase significantly if we bear in mind what this loanword from the Greek means in Greek: ‘Moreover, thalamus is doubly resonant, in that it also assumes the meaning “tomb”, especially in Greek; the conflation of the elements of nuptial and funereal ritual is especially prevalent in Greek tragedy, often involving the girl who fails to make the transition to marriage.’

128 Leave a comment on paragraph 128 0  

129 Leave a comment on paragraph 129 0 [12]
‘Supposedly’ since the reluctance of the bride, at least according to Catullus, may well be faked.

130 Leave a comment on paragraph 130 0  

133 Leave a comment on paragraph 133 0 [14]
It is worth citing the passage in Athenaeus that preserves this tidbit from Theopompus since it brings out the negative political ideology of the colour purple as a sign of luxury, debauchery, and moral decay that leads to tyranny and civil war. See The Learned Banqueters 12.526c: ‘According to Phylarchus, the Colophonians originally practiced harsh social discipline, but after they ran aground on the reef of luxury and became friends and allies of the Lydians, they went out with their hair elaborately decorated with gold jewelry… The fact that they got drunk at all hours made them so depraved, that some of them had never seen the sun rise or set. They also passed a law—still in effect in our time—that pipe-girls, harp-girls, and all entertainers of this sort were to be paid to work from dawn until noon, and from then until dusk; after that, they spent the rest of the night getting drunk. Theopompus in Book XV of the History says that 1000s of them wandered around the city wearing sea-purple robes. Even kings did not have much fabric of this sort in that period, and they went to great lengths to obtain it; for purple dye cost its weight in silver. So since they lived this way, they became enmeshed in tyranny and civil war, and were ruined along with their country’ (trans. by S. D. Olsen in the Loeb Classical Library edition, Cambridge, MA, 2010).

134 Leave a comment on paragraph 134 0  

135 Leave a comment on paragraph 135 0 [15]
O’Hara (2011), p. 35. He references John Dryden’s Preface to his Sylvae (1685).

136 Leave a comment on paragraph 136 0  

137 Leave a comment on paragraph 137 0 [16]
For more statistics and general information on the golden line and the history of scholarship on it, see the excellent Wikipedia entry on ‘Golden Line’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_line).

138 Leave a comment on paragraph 138 0  

147 Leave a comment on paragraph 147 0 [21]
In his version of the Medea myth in the Metamorphoses, Ovid sends this tradition up by suggesting that Jason was particularly beautiful when he met Medea ‘casu’—by chance.

148 Leave a comment on paragraph 148 0  

151 Leave a comment on paragraph 151 0 [23]
See also 4.193, from Fama’s song: nunc hiemem inter se luxu, quam longa, fouere.

152 Leave a comment on paragraph 152 0  

159 Leave a comment on paragraph 159 0 [27]
Weber (2002), p. 325, with particular reference to Euripides’ Bacchae. He goes on to show that the ritual dancing here mentioned fits Dionysus far better than Apollo (324–25).

160 Leave a comment on paragraph 160 0  

161 Leave a comment on paragraph 161 0 [28]
Dryopes: ‘the Dryopians share with Dionysus nomenclature connecting them with trees in general and with the oak [drus, in Greek] in particular’ (329); Agathyrsi: ‘the etymology of which, as it is explained by one Pisander in Stephanus Byzantius (s.v.), would make of these people “the right thyrsic ones”’ (328). (A thyrsos is a staff wreathed by ivy carried by Dionysus and his followers.)

162 Leave a comment on paragraph 162 0  

163 Leave a comment on paragraph 163 0 [29]
Weber (2002), p. 329: ‘In the realm of diction, Virgil’s verb fremere is something of a vox propria for the Bacchic roar, recurring in this connection not only in the Aeneid (7.389), but also in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (3.528). Indeed, fremere is probably cognate with Greek <bremein> and, hence, with Dionysus’ epithet Bromius.’

164 Leave a comment on paragraph 164 0  

165 Leave a comment on paragraph 165 0 [30]
Weber (2002) pp. 329–30, 332–33.

166 Leave a comment on paragraph 166 0  

173 Leave a comment on paragraph 173 0 [34]
See Conington (1884), p. 266: ‘The image is from Il. 1. 46 … though the nature of the motion is different.’

174 Leave a comment on paragraph 174 0  

179 Leave a comment on paragraph 179 0 [37]
Ecce occurs 37 times in the Aeneid: for what it is doing in the epic, see the nuanced discussion by Dionisotti (2007). Our instance receives mention on page 80, ‘when Dido’s hunt moves from brilliant show into action’; more generally: ‘insofar as it [sc. ecce] has a definable meaning, it is that of expressing immediacy and engagement, in relation to happenings, people or thoughts, whether visible or not’ (p. 83).

180 Leave a comment on paragraph 180 0  

181 Leave a comment on paragraph 181 0 [38]
For a discussion of the cave of the winds, see Essay 1: Content and Form.

182 Leave a comment on paragraph 182 0  

187 Leave a comment on paragraph 187 0 [41]
Moles (1984), p. 52. See also Pöschl (1962), p. 82: ‘But the signs, multiplied by earth tremor… are not those of a gay wedding feast, but are rather related to the epiphanies of the gods of the nether world.’ He notes that ‘here begins the activity of Fama, which as an inescapable, growing demoniacal power, somewhat like another Allecto, announces and sets off the tragic development.’

188 Leave a comment on paragraph 188 0  

193 Leave a comment on paragraph 193 0 [44]
Hersch (2010), p. 193, in the context of a broader discussion of the attestations of pronuba in Latin literature from Plautus onwards.

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199 Leave a comment on paragraph 199 0 [47]
Virgil uses a similar formulation in Aeneid 7, with reference to Ascanius’ shooting of the pet-stag that stirs the Latins to pick up arms: quae prima laborum/ causa fuit (481–82) (‘this was the first cause of travails’).

200 Leave a comment on paragraph 200 0  

201 Leave a comment on paragraph 201 0 [48]
furtiuus in the sense of ‘stealthy’ or ‘clandestine’ is also used of love-affairs by Catullus 7.8 and occurs in other love poets as well (OLD s.v. 2a), though it is difficult to say whether it has a distinct generic flavour here. If it does, the adjective marks a switch from ‘elegy’ to ‘tragedy.’

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Source: http://aeneid4.theclassicslibrary.com/2012/11/30/129-172%E2%80%82the-hunting-party-2/?replytopara=134