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198–218: In Dad I Tru$t

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 198–202: The five lines provide a brief introduction to Iarbas (hic), his lineage, and his extraordinary devotion to Jupiter. The flashback (cf. the perfect posuit and the pluperfect sacraverat) serves as explanatory foil for his outrage at the news about Dido that Fama brings his way.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 198: Hic Hammone satus rapta Garamantide nympha: born, i.e. son, of Hammon (in the ablative of origins). Hammon, a Libyan deity, was identified with Greek Zeus and Roman Jupiter (a phenomenon called ‘syncretism’: various cultures are claimed to call the same divinity by different names). The mother remains virtually anonymous (an odd Garamantian nymph) and is deprived of active participation in the procreation—a point nicely reinforced by the ablative absolute construction rapta … nympha and Virgil’s choice of satus, the perfect passive participle of sero, ‘to sow’, which reduces the importance of the nymph to providing a vessel for Jupiter’s seed: syntax and lexicon reinforce Virgil’s callous account of Iarbas’ parentage.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 199–202: templa Ioui centum latis immania regnis,/ centum aras posuit uigilemque sacrauerat ignem,/ excubias diuum aeternas, pecudumque cruore/ pingue solum et uariis florentia limina sertis: templa … centum … immania, centum aras is one of the most impressive accusative objects in the entire poem. Note the chiasmus (a) templa (b) centum (b) centum (a) aras. The word order enacts the deliberate placement (cf. posuit) of the temples in his expansive kingdom: Virgil intersperses the phrase that signifies the temples (templa), their number (centum), and their size (immania) with references to their dedicatee (Ioui: ‘for Jupiter’) and their position (latis … regnis). Here it sounds as if Hammon situated the temples at various places throughout his realm; but the fact that he prays in front of altars (plural) in 204 would seem to suggest that some, if not all, are concentrated in one location.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 We move from temples to the altars in the temples to the fire on the altars: a gradual, climactic narrowing of focus, even though the tense (sacrauerat is pluperfect, posuit perfect) would seem to suggest that Hammon first dedicated the ever-watchful fires before constructing the buildings in which to house them.[1] excubias … aeternas stands in apposition to uigilem … ignem (explaining its function), with a chiastic inversion of attributes and nouns: (a) uigilem (b) ignem (b) excubias (a) aeternas. pingue solum and limina are either further accusative objects with sacrauerat or, more likely, nominatives with the verbs (erat, erant), elided. Overall, the nouns in the second half of the description pick up the accusative objects in the first half in inverse order, creating the pattern abc ~ cba: (a) templa (b) aras (c) ignem; (c) excubias (b) solum (a) limina. The thresholds (limina) refer to the entrance to the temples (templa); the ground (solum) that is fat with the blood of sacrificial victims harks back to the altars where the beasts are slaughtered (aras); and at the centre, as we have seen, excubias articulates the purpose of the fire (ignem).

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 202: uariis florentia limina sertis: another Virgilian word-picture, with the varied garlands ‘wreathed around’ the florentia limina. serta, –orum n. comes from sero, (serui), sertus, ‘to wreathe’, which is not to be confused with sero, seui, satus, ‘to sow’, which Virgil used in 198 (see above on satus).

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 203–205: isque amens animi et rumore accensus amaro/ dicitur ante aras media inter numina diuum/ multa Iouem manibus supplex orasse supinis: The basic structure of the sentence consists of is (203) … dicitur (204) … Iouem supplex orasse (205): ‘he is said to have beseeched Jupiter as suppliant.’ Then we get further specifications of why he did this (he was amens animi and rumore accensus amaro), where he did it (ante aras, media inter numina diuum), how he did it (manibus supinis) and with what frequency or intensity he did it (multa: perhaps best taken as an adverbial accusative). These verses ironically recall and invert 1.48–49 (Juno speaking): et quisquam numen Iunonis adorat/ praeterea aut supplex aris imponet honorem? (‘And will any still worship Juno’s divine powers or humbly lay sacrifice upon her altars?’) If there a goddess feels she needs to assert herself to avoid a crisis of recognition and identity, here Iarbas demands the same of Jupiter.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 203: amens animi et rumore accensus amaro: commentators read the striking phrase amens animi (where animi is either a locative or a genitive of reference or specification) as a Virgilian response to Lucretius’ phrase mens animi (De Rerum Natura 3.615, 4.758 etc.), in which mens designates ‘the intellectual rather than the emotional side of animus.’[2] If that is the case, it would imply that Iarbas, whose animus has lost (a-) its mens, is now ruled entirely by his passions. accensus picks up the metaphorics of fire from 197: incenditque animum. This is the first of a series of revelations that cause the recipient to lose his/her mind and burst into fiery passion. See below 279 (Aeneas in shock at Mercury’s epiphany and reacting to his message): obmutuit amens and 281: ardet abire fuga; and 300–01 (Dido reacting to Fama’s news that Aeneas is getting his fleet ready): saeuit [sc. Dido] inops animi totamque incensa per urbem/ bacchatur.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 204: ante aras media inter numina: a replay of the scene we get at 62, where it is Dido who ante ora deum pinguis spatiatur ad aras. The verse features another media in the middle, and another inter ‘between’ the two components of the phrase it governs, here reinforced by ante aras. As behooves a preposition meaning ‘before’, ante comes before the noun it governs. For numen/ numina, see above on 4.94.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 205: manibus … supinis: Iarbas prays with his hands turned upwards, i.e. towards the divinity he is trying to reach.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 206–218: Iarbas’ prayer to Jupiter falls into three parts:

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 206–210: Opening remarks that issue a challenge to Jupiter (5 lines)

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 211–214: Dido’s past misbehaviour (4 lines)

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 215–219: Her current licence and its religious implications (4 lines)

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 206–210: Iarbas begins with two questions of roughly equal length, in which he poses a dilemma: either Jupiter sees what is going on with Dido and Aeneas, or there is no point in worshipping him; but if he is aware of what is going on, so the implication, his inaction is disgracefully negligent given the dutiful veneration he receives. Jupiter is thus placed in an impossible position: the way Iarbas frames the situation, he cannot plead ignorance and hence is undoubtedly guilty of negligence. In essence, the fact that these going-ons can happen without any sign of divine disapproval or intervention suggests that the economy that sustains religious worship has broken down, and Iarbas puts it to Jupiter that it is in the god’s own interest to restore it.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 206–208: Iuppiter omnipotens, cui nunc Maurusia pictis/ gens epulata toris Lenaeum libat honorem,/ aspicis haec?: overall, the rhetorical force of the sentence is finely calibrated between respect for the god and outrage at his inactivity. Iarbas begins in prayer-mode, with a vocative (Iuppiter) and honorary epithet (omnipotens) as if to invoke the divinity or address him in a hymn. The relative clause, however, already introduces a subtle switch in focus. In a hymn, this construction is often used to detail the powers and achievements of the divinity invoked. But Iarbas does not retain Jupiter in the subject position—instead, he, with a whiff of indignation, puts on record what he and his people are doing for Jupiter (the relative pronoun cui is in the dative of advantage). Then comes, effectively placed in emjambment, the choriambic punchline: aspicis haec? Only now it becomes manifest that we are not dealing with a respectful invocation but a question that challenges Jupiter as potentially remiss in his oversight of human affairs.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 omnipotens is a standard epithet of Jupiter, but Iarbas here uses it with a special edge: given that Jupiter is assumed to be all-powerful (an erroneous assumption, as we shall see), the question whether he sees what happens in Carthage becomes rhetorical; and as a rhetorical question it carries a bitter accusation: you see this—and do nothing? The very fact that Iarbas questions whether Jupiter has been paying attention puts an oblique questionmark over the supreme divinity’s epithet omnipotens. In articulating frustration with divine inaction in the face of injustice, Iarbas touches upon a problem that haunts many religious belief-systems: if gods or God are/ is all-powerful, how come that there is perceived injustice and evil in the world? Iarbas adds a second aspect to his accusation: in the relative clause introduced by cui he underscores the material investment that he and his people have devoted to ensuring Jupiter’s approval and support. There is a clear implication here that in the economy of exchange and services that tends to inform many religious transactions (sacrifice and worship in return for divine benevolence, according to the logic of do-ut-des, i.e. ‘I, the human, give [something] in order that you, the god, give [something] in return’: see above Footnote 89), Jupiter miserably fails to uphold his part of the bargain.

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 206–207: …cui nunc Maurusia pictis/ gens epulata toris Lenaeum libat honorem…: the force of the nunc is either that now, i.e. under the rule of Iarbas, the people of Mauretania (Maurusia is the Greek name for the region of North-West Africa) have started to worship Jupiter whereas they did not do so before, or that the worshipping is going on at this very moment, i.e. is concurrent with Iarbas’ prayer.[3] pictis … toris: translators and commentators are virtually unanimous in thinking that the phrase refers to ‘couches decorated with embroidered covers’, but my colleague Dr Clemence Schultze, an expert in ancient clothing, assures me that they are mistaken. pictus, she argues, simply means ‘decorated’ and here refers most likely to woven, figurative decoration, rather than embroidery (which apparently was very rare compared to weaving patterns and figures). Cf. 1.708: during Dido’s banquet, the Trojans are ‘summoned to decline on decorated couches’ (toris iussi discumbere pictis). Note the regular pattern of attributes (Maurusia, pictis, Lenaeum) and nouns (gens, toris, honorem), nicely interlaced in the first two cases, which are organized around the participle epulata. (As often, the deponent past participle here expresses an action that started in the past but continues contemporaneously with the action of the main verb.) Lenaeum … honorem is a contrived way of saying ‘an offering of wine’ (Lenaeus, a, um = Bacchic, from Greek Lênaios, in turn derived from lênos, which means ‘wine-press’), but note the nice alliteration Lenaeum libat that ensues. libare is a ritual action, the pouring of wine in honour of the god.

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 208–210: an te, genitor, cum fulmina torques/ nequiquam horremus, caecique in nubibus ignes/ terrificant animos et inania murmura miscent?: after already getting into Jupiter’s face with the importunate question aspicis haec?, Iarbas now becomes even more aggressive. He could have made it clear that the question is entirely rhetorical (with the implied answer from Jupiter being ‘of course I do’) by following it up with a request for a divine intervention to right the wrong. Instead, he leaves the answer open and posits the stark alternative that either Jupiter sees what is going on or he is impotent. As with the first rhetorical question, the set of beliefs behind this rhetorical posture seems to be the following:

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 (i) Jupiter, far from being impotent, is omnipotent (at least that is what Iarbas calls him);

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 (ii) he hence sees exactly what is going on (which turns aspicis haec? into a rhetorical question);

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 (iii) he does nothing about it—despite the worship he receives from his son and his people.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 As the following narrative makes clear, the presuppositions that inform the prayer are not aligned with the realities of Virgil’s literary world: (i) is only partially correct (Jupiter is neither impotent nor omnipotent); (ii) is incorrect; and (iii) is both moot (since (ii) is incorrect) and ironic: Jupiter will react to Iarbas’ prayer, but not out of a concern for Iarbas, but for Aeneas and his destiny! In other words, Iarbas, just like Anna, is a minor character who thinks about the gods and engages in religious activities while being shown up by the poet as profoundly misunderstanding the supernatural realities that apply within the narrative universe of the Aeneid.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 The an-sentence pursues the implications of Jupiter not seeing what is happening at Carthage. If that were the case, Iarbas argues, the meteorological phenomena that tend to be seen as expressions of his will, are in fact devoid of meaning, and the religious awe they trigger beside the point. Iarbas raises the possibility of absence of divine purpose in the universe (which implies that one may well cease to pay attention to divinities or try to interact with them) by means of one subordinate clause (cum fulmina torques) and three main clauses: te nequiquam horremus; caeci in nubibus ignes terrificant animos; and inania murmura miscent (with the subject remaining caeci in nubibus ignes). Jupiter retains meaningful agency in the cum-clause, but the three main clauses then gradually proceed to cancel it out. Each contains a term that evokes a world defined by supernatural indifference: nequiquam, caeci (‘blind’ in the sense of ‘random’, i.e. without point or purpose), and inania. Iarbas thus removes Jupiter from the scene bit by bit. In the first colon, which also includes a direct address in apostrophe (genitor), he juxtaposes a frightening action undertaken by Jupiter (cum fulmina torques: second person singular) with fear on the part of humans (horremus: a generic first person plural, ‘we humans’). The second person personal pronoun te, which is the accusative object of horremus and harks back to torques, functions as link between the cum-clause and the main clause. In the second and third main clause, matters look very different. We get the same natural phenomenon, but without reference to divine agency. And Iarbas pointedly shifts from the personal ‘you—we’ to the third person plural: ignes terrificant animos. While terrificant picks up horremus, Iarbas no longer presupposes a relationship between Jupiter and humanity. Instead of considering lightning (ignes) and thunder (murmura) the result of divine action (Jupiter throwing his thunderbolts for a reason), Iarbas gives a ‘natural’ explanation: they become meteorological occurrences that are devoid of intention (cf. caeci) and purpose (cf. inania). (The breaking apart of fulmen, i.e. thunder-bolt, into bolt (ignes) and thunder (murmura) hints at a quasi-scientific approach to a phenomenon often endowed with religious import. Virgil/ Iarbas here use/s the idiom of Epicurean physics as elaborated by Lucretius in the De Rerum Natura.)

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 208: genitor: the meaning is both generic and specific: Iarbas, after all, is the son of Jupiter.

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 210: murmura miscent: an onomatopoetic phrase.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 211–214: femina, quae nostris errans in finibus urbem/ exiguam pretio posuit, cui litus arandum/ cuique loci leges dedimus, conubia nostra/ reppulit ac dominum Aenean in regna recepit: In four verses Iarbas presents his take on the affair between the Carthaginian queen and the Trojan castaway, reminding Jupiter of what happened when Dido arrived in the region. He outlines the background in a series of relative clauses (quae, cui, cui), framed by the exposed subject femina and the rest of the main clause (conubia nostra … recepit). The last line of this account features a nice antithesis between reppulit at the beginning of the verse (in enjambment and followed by a very effective diaeresis after the first foot) and recepit at the end: linked by alliteration, the two verbs refer to diametrically opposed actions on Dido’s part.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 His prayer has intriguing parallels with the accusations Dido levels at Aeneas when she hears of his preparations for departure (4.373–75): eiectum litore, egentem/ excepi et regni demens in parte locaui;/ amissam classem, socios a morte reduxi (‘I welcomed him, a castaway on the shore, a beggar, and madly gave him a share in my kingdom; his lost fleet I rescued, his crews I saved from death’). She prefaces these observations with an invocation of the gods as guardians of justice (371–72: iam iam nec maxima Iuno/ nec Saturnius haec oculis pater aspicit aequis; ‘Now neither mighty Juno nor the Saturnian father looks on these things with righteous eyes!’), but then goes on to mock the notion that Aeneas’ desire to leave Carthage has been kindled by a messenger from Jupiter, endorsing in the process a quasi-Epicurean conception of the gods as tranquil beings uninterested in human affairs (376–80), only to follow up on this with a renewed appeal to pia numina to shipwreck Aeneas on his way to Italy (382–84): just like Iarbas, Dido, too, is confused about the supernatural forces at work in the (literary) world she inhabits.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 211: femina: Dido, of course, but Iarbas cannot bring himself to call her by her name; instead he spits out the generic ‘a woman’.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 211: nostris errans in finibus: Just as Dido has come wandering around in Iarbas territory, so errans has roamed into the midst of nostris … in finibus. Note that Iarbas uses an ablative, rather than an accusative of direction, emphasizing the haphazard and random nature of Dido’s movements.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 211–212: urbem/ exiguam: ‘to be contrasted with the ingentia … moenia of 1, 365–366 and the minae … murorum ingentes of 4, 88–89. Perhaps Iarbas had not lately seen the city which had risen so rapidly, or else he wished to disparage the upstart town or to emphasize the smallness of the tributary territory upon which its economic life depended.’[4] A third possibility is perhaps even more likely: he knows full well what Carthage has been turning into, but feels betrayed, and is unwilling to acknowledge that a woman has had the better of him.

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 212–213: litus arandum … loci leges: Iarbas continues to deprecate Dido’s achievements: after his reference to the supposedly small size of the city, he laughs at her people ploughing the shore (not the most fertile of soils) and highlights that he has dictated the terms on which she can use the land. From a legal point of view, he considers himself her overlord.

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 212: pretio posuit: the phrase puts the emphasis on Dido’s mercenary, rather than military, modus operandi in taking possession of the land: she purchased (pretio is an ablative of price), rather than conquered, her kingdom. Austin detects ‘snarling contempt’[5] in the p-alliteration. Virgil may here be hinting at the reputation of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians as nations of traders.

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 214: dominum Aenean: dominum is best taken predicatively: ‘Aeneas as (her) lord.’ Dominus (unlike uir) is a marked term: like Juno at 4.103 (liceat seruire marito), Iarbas diagnoses a servile streak in Dido, implying that she has willingly become Aeneas’ slave. These internal perspectives on her status and condition contrast sharply with Virgil’s systematic use of regina throughout the book. Dido thereby turns into a challenging paradox: she belongs to both the highest and the lowest category of human beings, nominally a queen, but, according to some of her fellow-characters, thinking and acting like a slave. The formulation also stands in implicit contrast to conubia nostra and suggests that Dido has got a worse deal by choosing Aeneas over himself.

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 215–217: et nunc ille Paris cum semiuiro comitatu,/ Maeonia mentum mitra crinemque madentem/ subnexus, rapto potitur: the design is similar to 211–14: Iarbas begins with a contemptuous reference to Aeneas (ille Paris; cf. femina in 211), which he pads out with a prepositional phrase (cum … comitatu) and a lengthy participle construction (Maeonia … subnexus; cf. the relative clauses in 211–213) before the main verb of the sentence (potitur). Dido is reduced to the level of spoils, raptum. (Like uti, frui, fungi, and uesci, potiri takes an ablative object.)

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 215: ille Paris: Iarbas construes an analogy: as Paris is to Helen and Menelaus, so Aeneas is to Dido and himself. In each case, the rightful husband had his wife stolen by an unwarlike Trojan prince. The notion that Aeneas is ‘another Paris’ recurs as an insult in the second half of the poem: see 7.321: Paris alter; 7.363; 9.138–39. This, as John Henderson points out (per litteras), is ‘part of an all-pervasive typological struggle for the roles of Trojans and Achaeans in Virgil’s re-make of the Iliad, which eventually casts Aeneas as Achilles, and his victim Turnus as Hector—mutatis, however, mutandis.’

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 215: cum semiuiro comitatu: ‘with his entourage of eunuchs.’ semiuir (put together from semi– and uir) seems to be a Virgilian neologism, but he relies on a more general discourse: ‘This particular taunt was made by Greeks and Romans against various Oriental peoples, from the Persian Wars onward, including the Trojans.’[6] The verse design adds to the effect: ‘the rhythm produced by the four-syllable line-end comitatu, with clash of ictus and accent in the fifth foot …, adds to the “foreign” sound of the line.’[7] The construal of the other as ‘foreign’, ‘feeble’, and ‘effeminate’, as both threatening and inferior, is an insidious if widespread rhetorical technique. The insults also continue the oblique affiliation of Aeneas with Dionysus: ‘Iarbas’ allegation that the entourage accompanying Aeneas is male only in part (cum semiuiro comitatu) applies quite literally to Dionysus, whose thiasos in fact consists partly of men, partly of women.’[8]

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 216: Maeonia mentum mitra crinemque madentem/ subnexus: the m-alliteration, combined with the assonance crinemque madentem (one can almost feel the oil dripping), nicely conveys disgust. The Maeonian mitre or ‘Phrygian cap’ again evokes associations of an Eastern locale (Maeonia refers to Lydia, a region situated next to Phrygia) and Dionysus: it is a ‘headgear so typical of Dionysus that in Propertius, the god Vertumnus claims that donning a mitre will allow him to pass for Dionysus [Prop. 4.2.31]. … Iarbas’ mockery of Aeneas for hair damp with perfume is paralleled in Pentheus’ ridicule of Dionysus for the same affectation.’[9] Some editors prefer to read subnixus instead of subnexus, which would (literally) heighten the insult.

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 217–218: nos munera templis/ quippe tuis ferimus: Iarbas construes an antithesis between Aeneas (ille) and himself (nos): Aeneas takes possession of what is not his (rapto), whereas Iarbas offers gifts (munera) to the supreme divinity. At the end of his prayer, he thus returns to his personal relationship with Jupiter, underscored by the alliterative attribute of templis, i.e. tuis. For quippe see Austin: ‘Like scilicet and nimirum, it is often ironical, as here; it should probably be taken closely with tuis, although its effect colours the tone of the whole sentence.’[10]

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 218: ferimus famamque fouemus inanem: the f-alliteration, combined with homoioteleuton (-mus … -mus), again may convey a sense of irritation. Fama’s news induces Iarbas to reduce Jupiter to the level of a rumour (fama), and one that is inanis on top. Iarbas thereby continues his Epicurean/ Lucretian deracination of divinely animated nature into atmospheric phenomena. Put differently, he is supplying the Epicurean physics to match Dido’s pseudo-Epicurean ethics. (inane is the technical term for the void through which Epicurus’ atoms move; Iarbas had already used the adjective at 210 above: inania murmura.)

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0  


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