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219-237: Jupiter’s Wake-up Call

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Jupiter does indeed heed Iarbas’ prayer—just not in the way Iarbas intended him to. Far from engaging with the concerns voiced by his son, Jupiter decides that it is time to issue a wake-up call to our forgetful hero Aeneas, and he instructs his underling Mercury, traditionally responsible for delivering messages from the divine to the human sphere, to pay a visit to Carthage and get destiny back on track. The structure of this section is as follows:

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 219–222: Narrative (3 lines)

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 223–237: Jupiter’s speech to Mercury (15 lines)

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 223–226: Jupiter’s order to Mercury (4 lines)

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 227–231: Appraisal of Aeneas’ failure to live up to expectations (5 lines)

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 232–236: Expression of bafflement at said failure (5 lines)

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 237: Concluding order to be conveyed to Aeneas (1 line)

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 There is an important Homeric model for this scene: in Odyssey 5, Zeus, after having been visited by an upset Athena pleading on behalf of her hero Odysseus, who is held captive on the island of Ogygia, against his wishes, by the nymph Calypso, addresses Hermes with the order to visit Calypso to get Odysseus’ voyage home underway (Odyssey 5.28–42):

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 ἦ ῥα, καὶ Ἑρµείαν, υἱὸν φίλον, ἀντίον ηὔδα•
“Ἑρµεία, σὺ γὰρ αὖτε τά τ’ ἄλλα περ ἄγγελός ἐσσι,
νύµφῃ ἐυπλοκάµῳ εἰπεῖν νηµερτέα βουλήν, 30
νόστον Ὀδυσσῆος ταλασίφρονος, ὥς κε νέηται,
οὔτε θεῶν ποµπῇ οὔτε θνητῶν ἀνθρώπων•
ἀλλ’ ὅ γ’ ἐπὶ σχεδίης πολυδέσµου πήµατα πάσχων
ἤµατί κ᾽ εἰκοστῷ Σχερίην ἐρίβωλον ἵκοιτο,
Φαιήκων ἐς γαῖαν, οἳ ἀγχίθεοι γεγάασιν, 35
οἵ κέν µιν περὶ κῆρι θεὸν ὣς τιµήσουσιν,
πέµψουσιν δ’ ἐν νηὶ φίλην ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν,
χαλκόν τε χρυσόν τε ἅλις ἐσθῆτά τε δόντες,
πόλλ’, ὅσ’ ἂν οὐδέ ποτε Τροίης ἐξήρατ’ Ὀδυσσεύς,
εἴ περ ἀπήµων ἦλθε, λαχὼν ἀπὸ ληίδος αἶσαν. 40
ὣς γάρ οἱ µοῖρ’ ἐστὶ φίλους τ’ ἰδέειν καὶ ἱκέσθαι
οἶκον ἐς ὑψόροφον καὶ ἑὴν ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν”.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 [He spoke, and said to Hermes, his son: ‘Hermes, for you are also at other times our messenger, declare to the fair-tressed nymph our fixed resolve, the return of steadfast Odysseus, that he may return with guidance neither of gods nor of mortals, but that on a well-constructed raft, suffering woes, he may come on the twentieth day to deep-soiled Scheria, the land of the Phaeacians, who are near of kin to the gods. They shall show him honour with all their heart, as if he were a god, and shall send him in a ship to his native land, after giving him stores of bronze and gold and clothing, more than Odysseus would ever have won for himself from Troy, if he had returned unscathed with his due share of the spoil. For in this wise it is his fate to see his friends, and reach his high-roofed house and his native land.’]

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 This section is also in part a re-run of the narrative sequence in Aeneid 1 that unfolds after the storm. There, too, Jupiter’s attention is drawn to what is going on in Libya (see 1.226: Libyae defixit [sc. Iuppiter] lumina regnis); Venus appears in order to remonstrate with him on behalf of her son; and Jupiter, after unscrolling the scripts of destiny for the benefit of Venus, sends down Mercury to ensure that fate takes its course (1.223–304).

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 219–221: Talibus orantem dictis arasque tenentem/ audiit Omnipotens, oculosque ad moenia torsit/ regia et oblitos famae melioris amantis: some commentators take audiit (= audiuit) to mean ‘answered’; but this would seem to imply that Jupiter listened to, agreed with, and acted on the contents of Iarbas’ prayer. As it turns out, however, he only uses him as an ‘alarm bell’ that alerts him to the fact that Aeneas’ historical mission is currently on hold in Carthage. He does not seem to care a jot for Iarbas’ own grievances and desires. Hence a simple ‘heard’ might convey a better sense. Virgil’s use of the epithet Omnipotens in the narrative harks back to Iarbas’ use of the term at the beginning of his prayer (206: Iuppiter omnipotens…), just as oculosque ad moenia torsit/ regia picks up aspicis haec? in 208. The reiteration of omnipotens is either affirmative (‘yes, Jupiter is indeed all-powerful’) or slightly ironic (‘he who got hailed as “All-Powerful”’)—or both. Virgil/ Jupiter appraises the walls of Troy differently from Iarbas: regia, in emphatic enjambment underscores Dido’s royal-imperial ambition (and the scope of her construction site). Jupiter first casts his gaze on the royal walls (ad moenia … regia) and then the lovers (amantis is accusative plural: = amantes). The et thus links moenia and amantis, and both accusatives are governed by the preposition ad. The phrase famae melioris, which is dependent on oblitos, introduces an interesting twist: apparently, there is fama, in the sense of rumour, and then there is fama melior, i.e. fame. Aeneas’ fama melior is the equivalent to the fama (in the sense of ‘good reputation’) that Dido begins to disregard after the encounter in the cave (170: neque enim specie famaue mouetur).

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 222: tum sic Mercurium adloquitur ac talia mandat: with Jupiter’s address to Mercury (who just happens to be around to do the supreme divinity’s bidding), compare 4.8: cum sic unanimam adloquitur male sana sororem (Dido addressing her sister Anna).

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 223: ‘uade age, nate, uoca Zephyros et labere pennis: four imperatives (or ‘bossy forms of the verb’), i.e. uade, age, uoca, labere (of the deponent labor) and one vocative, i.e. nate, in the opening line: Jupiter takes charge, and no mistake. uade and age are best taken together as a colloquial ‘off you go’, which gives the command a tripartite structure. zephyri are the western winds, though it is not entirely easy to correlate geography and favourable flying conditions: how do you best get to Carthage from Mt. Olympus via Mt. Atlas? Here is Henderson (per litteras) on the sound effect: ‘just say the w-w-word (uauo) “Zephyros” and hey presto! you’re gliding: soft sound for soft puff.’

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 224–226: Dardaniumque ducem Tyria Karthagine qui nunc/ exspectat fatisque datas non respicit urbes/ adloquere: the –que after Dardanium links labere (223) and a fifth imperative, i.e. adloquere in 226, of which Dardanium ducem is the accusative object. Virgil used adloqui of Jupiter addressing Mercury in 222 (tum sic Mercurium adloquitur) and the reiteration reinforces on the lexical level the ‘chain of command’: Jupiter > Mercury > Aeneas. Jupiter fills the hyperbaton between the accusative object Dardanium ducem and the verb adloquere with a relative clause that contains his appraisal of what he considers disgraceful behaviour. Syntax reinforces sense: by pulling the specification (in the locative) Tyria Karthagine out of the relative clause into which they belong (the relative pronoun qui is in post-positive position), Virgil generates a particularly jarring juxtaposition of Dardanium ducem and Tyria Karthagine: what, so Jupiter implies, has a Trojan leader got to dally in Tyrian Carthage? Likewise, Karthagine stands in contrast to the urbes that the fata have granted to Aeneas and his descendents upon his arrival in Italy: Lavinium, Alba Longa, Rome. Dido’s city is thus poised midway between a reference to Aeneas’ past, i.e. Troy (founded by Dardanus), and a reference to Aeneas’ future. (Cities—and not Iarbas’ aggrieved feeling of justice or Dido’s sense of shame—concern Jupiter.) Another dramatic moment in these lines comes at the end of 224, which, unusually, concludes with the two monosyllables qui nunc: ‘…who now’—does what, precisely? Line break, 227: exspectat, i.e. ‘wastes his time’.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 226: et celeris defer mea dicta per auras: the et links adloquere and Jupiter’s sixth imperative, i.e. defer. The word order again creates an iconic enactment of the sense, with defer mea dicta ‘passing through’ celeris … per auras. Pease notes ‘the figurative transfer of speed from the messenger to the medium through which he passes’,[1] but the celeris auras may also pick up Zephyros in 223.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 227–231: non illum nobis genetrix pulcherrima talem/ promisit Graiumque ideo bis uindicat armis/ sed fore qui grauidam imperiis belloque frementem/ Italiam regeret, genus alto a sanguine Teucri/ proderet, ac totum sub leges mitteret orbem: the syntax is difficult: illum, together with its predicative complement talem, is the accusative object of promisit and uindicat;[2] but promisit also introduces the indirect statement that begins with sed fore (= futurum esse; the subject accusative, which is also the antecedent of the generic qui-clause, i.e. eum, is implied). The non in 227 negates talem: ‘not as such a one (read: not as a slothful womanizer forgetful of his destiny) did his pretty mother promise him to me…’; the striking hyperbaton of non … talem underscores the perceived difference between Venus’ promise and current realities. Jupiter here presupposes that Aeneas’ mother Venus (= genetrix pulcherrima) at one point vouched for her son to him (= nobis). We may be dealing with an ironic reflex of the scene in Book 1.235–37, where Venus accosts Jupiter to remind him of a promise he made to her: hinc fore ductores, reuocato a sanguine Teucri,/ qui mare, qui terras omnis dicione tenerent,/ pollicitus [sc. es] (‘you promised that from Teucer’s restored blood-line should come leaders, who hold the sea and all lands under their rule…’). The parallels in terms of syntax, lexicon, and theme are striking:

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 1.235: hinc fore ductores…qui ~ 4.229: sed fore, qui

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 1.235: reuocato a sanguine Teucri ~ 4.230: genus alto a sanguine Teucri

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 1.236: qui mare, qui terras omnis ~ 4.231: totum … orbem

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 1.236: dicione tenerent ~ 4.231: sub leges mitteret

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 1.237: pollicitus ~ 4.228: promisit

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 The joke is multilayered: in Book 1, Venus quotes Jupiter back at himself. Here Jupiter recalls Venus recalling what he himself had promised at an earlier occasion and turns things around in such a way that his original promise to her, of which she reminded him in Book 1, now sounds like her promise to him.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 228: Graiumque ideo bis uindicat armis: Jupiter refers to the rescue operations Venus performed on the battlefield of Troy (Iliad 5.311–18) and during the sack of the city (see Aeneid 2.620, 665). Graium (= Graiorum) is Virgil’s preferred form of the genitive plural.

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 229–231: sed fore qui grauidam imperiis belloque frementem/ Italiam regeret, genus alto a sanguine Teucri/ proderet, ac totum sub leges mitteret orbem: Jupiter anticipates Aeneas’ future in Italy (as well as Italy’s future) in a tricolon: …regeret, …proderet (= propagaret), …mitteret. Italy, placed in enjambment (Italiam), comes with a massive predicative complement, designed chiastically: (a) grauidam (b) imperiis (b) bello (a) frementem. It is unclear to what moment in time Jupiter’s striking image of an Italy ‘pregnant’ with military commands (imperia) and ‘buzzing’ with war refers: to the time of Aeneas’ arrival in Italy or to Italy as the future centre of a world-empire (or both)? Jupiter, of course, condenses several centuries of Roman history in the figure of Aeneas.

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 230–231: genus alto a sanguine Teucri/ proderet: Jupiter again employs the idiom of blood-descent and racial founding, which (as here) has the tendency to blur the distinction between the gens of Aeneas and the gens Romana: the genus is both specifically the gens Iulia and more generally the people of Rome. As we already had occasion to note, the first time Virgil introduces the theme of ‘Trojan blood-descent’ focused in the figure of Aeneas is in the proem. See 1.19–20: progeniem sed enim Troiano a sanguine duci/ audierat [sc. Juno]. Jupiter thus casts his accusatory assessment in the idiom of the proem (progenies and genus are virtual synonyms), suggesting an affinity between the author and the supreme divinity of the Olympic pantheon.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 231: totum sub leges mitteret orbem: Jupiter here prefigures the ‘Roman mission statement’ that Anchises will pass on to his son in Aeneid 6.847–53, esp. 851–53:

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento
(hae tibi erunt artes), pacique imponere morem,
parcere subiectis et debellare superbos.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 [you, Roman, be mindful to rule the peoples with the power to command (these shall be your arts), to impose traditional order upon peace, to spare the vanquished, and to war down the proud.]

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 The image combines imperial conquest on a cosmic scale (totum … orbem is a hyperbole) with the imposition of legal order (sub leges): Roman civilization and its worldwide spread are, seemingly paradoxically, grounded in superior violence and a commitment to law. Readers of the Aeneid debate furiously whether the Aeneid has Aeneas fail to live up to the mission statement at the death (of beaten and pleading) Turnus that concludes the poem.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 232: si nulla accendit tantarum gloria rerum/ nec super ipse sua molitur laude laborem,/ Ascanione pater Romanas inuidet arces?: in the two parts of the si-clause, Aeneas is the understood accusative object of accendit (sc. eum) and the emphatic subject (cf. ipse) of molitur. This sequence, in which Aeneas first figures as an absent presence and then comes fully into focus, serves as foil for the main clause where Jupiter remonstrates that at least Aeneas’ role as father ought to get him going: he insidiously implies that Aeneas dallies with Dido since he begrudges his son his stellar future. gloria and laus represent the core desire of Rome’s ruling elite: immortality through fame, involving the public recognition of praiseworthy deeds on behalf of the community. These ambitions sustained and defined the political culture of the Roman republic and continued to play a decisive role in imperial times even though the presence of a princeps put a glass ceiling on what heights of gloria (in particular) other members of the ruling elite could reach. Jupiter refers to the glory that will accrue to Aeneas if he pursues his destiny. tantae res refers to both his epic quest in the Aeneid and its aftermath, the history of Rome. He again uses the language of the (extended) proem: labor is a leitmotif since 1.10–11 (…tot adire labores/ impulerit) and molitur, together with tantarum and Romanas, echoes the final line (1.33): tantae molis erat Romanam condere gentem. But Jupiter observes that Aeneas’ current conduct suggests that he could not care less for core Roman values, that he has morphed, at least temporarily, from a proto-Roman into an anti-Roman character. (Though Aeneas is by no means averse to labor: see 235 below; he just misapplies his efforts.)

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 233: super ipse sua molitur laude laborem: the preposition super governs the ablative phrase sua laude. Pease notes that ‘super … sua … laude is interlocked with ipse … molitur … laborem’,[3] which, among other things, generates the thematically effective juxtapositions of ipse and sua and of laude and laborem. (The alliterated laude laborem almost verges on a specious figura etymologica: labor tends to entail laus.)

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 234: Ascanione pater Romanas inuidet arces?: the particle –ne attached to Ascanio signals the question. Again Jupiter interlocks syntactic units: pater … inuidet is situated between Ascanione … Romanas … arces. This spacing is iconic especially since other stylistic devices suggest that ‘Ascanius’, ‘Roman’, and ‘citadels’ form a unity: Romanas modifies arces and Ascanione and arces are linked by alliteration and assonance; but the supposed envy (inuidet) of father (pater) Aeneas breaks this unity apart. Jupiter’s insinuation is spiteful not least since Aeneas elsewhere takes loving care of his offspring.

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 235: quid struit?: after Iarbas’ prayer, in which he expresses outrage at the supposedly Epicurean leisure that Dido and Aeneas indulge in, this question comes as a bit of a surprise. Clearly, what Jupiter sees (220–21: oculosque ad moenia torsit/ regia…) does not correspond in every respect to what Fama reports (and Iarbas mindlessly reiterates). Apparently, Aeneas, far from being idle, is hard at work in building up Carthage! Later on we learn that Jupiter’s gaze captures the truth better than Fama’s gossip: see below, 259–71.

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 235: aut qua spe inimica in gente moratur: there is a hiatus (absence of elision) between spe and inimica. The description of the Carthaginians as a gens inimica recalls the fact that earlier on Jupiter had dispatched Mercury to suppress their warlike spirit (1.302–303: et iam iussa facit [sc. Mercury], ponuntque ferocia Poeni/ corda uolente deo; ‘Instantly, he carries out the order, and at the will of the god, the Carthaginians soothe their savage hearts’) and also foreshadows the inveterate enmity between Carthage and Rome in historical times.

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 236: nec prolem Ausoniam et Lauinia respicit arua?: Jupiter continues to use charged language, not least from the proem, foregrounding Aeneas’ final destination by means of the chiasmus (a) prolem (b) Ausoniam (b) Lauinia (a) arua: references to Ausonia, a poetic name for Italy, recur throughout the prophetic utterances in Aeneid 3; and Lauinia … arua recalls the very beginning of the Aeneid, i.e. 1.2–3: Lauiniaque uenit/ litora. The geographical specification ‘Lavinian’ refers to the town of Lavinium, which Aeneas is destined to found and name after his Italian wife Lavinia. Jupiter’s discourse thus spans the entire epic (and beyond), looking backwards to the prophetic proem and forward to events in Italy that are recounted in the second half of the epic, as well as ‘Aeneid 13’.

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 [Extra information: as you know, the poem comes to an abrupt end with Aeneas’ killing of Turnus, at 12.952. It does not include the narrative material that would go into a ‘happy end’, such as Aeneas’ marriage to Lavinia and his founding of Lavinium. Dissatisfied with this (lack of) closure, a Renaissance scholar, Maffeo Vegio (1407–1458), added a further book to the epic, a sequel known as Aeneid 13, which contains all the good stuff that happened after the final showdown between Turnus and Aeneas.[4]]

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 237: nauiget!: a subjunctive of command: ‘let him set sail!’: ‘the chief point in Jupiter’s command, emphasized by its position in the line, yet entirely omitted by Mercury in 4, 265–276.’[5]

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 237: haec summa est, hic nostri nuntius esto: esto is third person singular imperative of sum; nostri is the genitive of nos (Jupiter uses the so-called ‘majestic plural’): ‘let this be the message from Us’. He here sums up and crosses his ‘ts’: see the assonance in nostri nuntius esto.

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0  


40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 [2]
Note that Virgil switches from the perfect (promisit) to the present tense (uindicat), for greater vividness or, as Maclennan (2007), p. 108 suggests, because ‘the effect of her actions still continues’.

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0  

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 [4]
See the bilingual edition (Latin text/ English translation) by Michael C. J. Putnam for the I Tatti Renaissance Library (Harvard University Press) or (for the Latin text only) http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/vegius.html.

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0  

Source: http://aeneid4.theclassicslibrary.com/2012/11/30/219-237-jupiters-wake-up-call/