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31–53: Sister Act II: Anna’s Reply

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Dido has put her sister in an impossible situation. It does not require much intuition on Anna’s part to divine that what Dido really yearns for is to yield to her fatal attraction to the Trojan hero. At the same time, Dido has done her very best to close down this option. Her self-imprecation linked to an apostrophe of Pudor preemptively deprives Anna of much leeway in giving advice. In fact, at the end of her speech, Dido sidelined her partner and confidante, invoking Pudor personified and entering into an ‘unbreakable vow’, in a desperate attempt to prevent herself from succumbing to her irresistible passion: if she honours Pudor and remains loyal to Sychaeus, she lives; if she violates the terms of her vow, she dies. Anna, however, disregards both Dido’s personal scruples and the metaphysical obligations her sister has imposed on herself. She gives absolute priority to what she knows Dido longs for deep in her heart. Her reply, which is just slightly longer than Dido’s speech, falls into four parts of gradually diminishing length (8/6/5/4):

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 1: 31–38: Consideration of Dido’s (non-existent) love life, which falls into two halves of four lines each:

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 1.1: 31–34: Dido, Anna urges, deserves to experience love again and to have children and should quit wasting pieties on the ashes of her former husband.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 1.2: 35–38: A quick, contrastive retrospective: Dido, while in mourning (aegra) understandably rejected her host of local suitors; but why fight genuine love?

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 2: 39–44: Strategic advantages of giving in to her feelings for Aeneas: he will protect Carthage from the many enemies that are threatening the city.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 3: 45–49: Suggestion that the arrival of Aeneas at Carthage is part of a divine plan to ensure a glorious future for the city.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 4: 50–53: Practical proposals of what to do to ensure divine support and get Aeneas to stay.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 In formal terms, Anna’s basic strategy in the first two parts of her speech is the use of the rhetorical question. 1.1 comprises two rhetorical questions; 1.2 begins by stating facts, which yield a further rhetorical question (38: placitone etiam pugnabis amori?); and 2 inverts this pattern by beginning with a rhetorical question (39: nec uenit in mentem quorum consederis aruis?) before stating the answer and concluding with another rhetorical question cast as praeteritio (43–44: quid bella Tyro surgentia dicam/ germanique minas?). Throughout this section of the speech, then, Anna does not so much dispense advice as ask ‘how could you not act on your passion’? She then changes tack (3). After assuring Dido that there is no reason why she ought not to give in, but countless reasons why she should, Anna embeds Dido’s love within larger frames of reference: divine will and the prospect of a glorious future for Dido’s city Carthage owing to a marriage-alliance with Aeneas. Civic considerations already dominated in part 2, but are here turned from something negative (threats) to something positive (a vision of future greatness). As if Dido’s decision is by now a foregone conclusion, Anna ends her speech with practical advice on how to ensure the continuing goodwill of the gods and the continuing presence of Aeneas. Overall, then, she counters Dido’s commitment to the dead (and Death!), with an affirmation of Life, in all its facets, personal and political: fulfilling sex, a happy marriage, the joys of children, the prospect of being the reigning monarch of a powerful and prosperous city, future fame, and the blessing of the gods. She thus counters Dido’s final endorsement of social norms, backed by a religious resolution, with her own, countervailing invocation of a patriotic vision and a concluding appeal to the gods.[1]

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 In tragedy, confidants hardly ever give sound advice, however well-intentioned they may be. A good example of this dynamic is the speech of the nurse in Euripides’ Hippolytus, who also counsels Phaedra to act on her feelings and reveal her illicit desires to her stepson Hippolytus to disastrous results. What can be said for Anna is that she argues not in favour of a love affair, but a marriage alliance (grounded in love, to be sure).

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 31–33: Anna refert: ‘o luce magis dilecta sorori: dilecta (‘beloved’, sc. Dido) is in the vocative; luce is ablative of comparison after magis (‘more beloved than light’); sorori (= mihi), a dative of agency, is Anna herself. Anna’s keynote luce, which stands in stark antithesis to the last words of Dido’s speech, i.e. sepulcro, is programmatic. As John Henderson puts it (per litteras): ‘He’s dead; you’re not is the obvious way to knock closure with sepulcro | on the head.’

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 32: solane: the particle –ne introduces a question. By singling out Dido with sola, Anna arguably picks up Dido’s reference to Aeneas with solus hic in line 22, suggesting, however subliminally, that the two are made for each other.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 32: perpetua … iuuenta: an ablative of time: ‘during your entire [for this sense of perpetuus, see OLD s.v. 1d: Dido is not eternally youthful] period of youth.’ maerens carpere: –pe– scans long: carpere is second person singular future passive indicative of carpo (an alternative form to carperis); it has the intransitive sense ‘to waste away’ (OLD s.v. 7c), thus here: ‘are you going to waste away?’ Ironically, Virgil used the same verb in a similar sense at 4.2: the fact is that Dido is wasting away, though not ‘in mourning’ (maerens is a circumstantial participle).

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 33: nec dulcis natos Veneris nec praemia noris?: noris is the syncopated form of noueris, i.e. the second person singular future perfect active of nosco. dulcis (accusative plural; = dulces), which grammatically goes with natos, is most likely meant to modify praemia as well—just as Veneris could also be construed with both dulcis natos (see below) and praemia. The goddess of love clearly takes centre-stage in this verse, presiding over studiously ambiguous syntax and semantics. One way to construe the two accusative objects dulcis natos and praemia (with the genitive attribute Veneris) is as ‘theme and variation’, i.e. sweet sons are the rewards (praemia) of engaging in sexual intercourse (Veneris). On this reading, Anna would slyly cover up Dido’s overwhelming erotic desire by downplaying the act, and emphasizing the socially desirable outcome, of sex, i.e. offspring. But one could read her rhetoric against the grain and see dulcis natos and praemia Veneris as two diverse notions, detailing two distinct functions of sex, i.e. reproduction and pleasure, in what would amount to a coy husteron proteron, in which she first refers to procreation and then hints at sexual gratification. After all, the phrase praemia Veneris leaves quite a bit to the (erotic) imagination: what exactly are ‘the rewards of love/ Venus’?

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 There are further details to savour: while the genitive Veneris depends on praemia (‘the rewards of love’) the postponed nec (standard word order would be: nec Veneris praemia) does more than to provide ‘metrical flexibility’.[2] For a fleeting moment, Virgil’s design creates the impression that Veneris modifies dulcis natos, with Anna asking her sister whether she will never have come to know ‘the sweet sons of Venus.’ Unbeknowst to either her or Dido, Dido of course has come to know both sons of Venus, i.e. Aeneas and Cupid (whom she fondled on her lap in the guise of Ascanius), rather well by now. (For the brother-act, see 1.664–69, where Venus addresses her son with nate, meae uires, mea magna potentia, solus,/ nate… before enlisting him to help his brother: frater … Aeneas … tuus.) Virgil thus also plays with the double sense of Venus, which may either refer to the anthropomorphic goddess of love or signify, metonymically, the emotion/ experience of ‘love’ (just like Ceres = ‘grain’ etc.). Anna most likely has the latter sense in mind, but we, the readers, are surely encouraged to activate the former sense as well. After all, Venus is a powerful presence in Virgil’s divine machinery and has already arranged for Dido to receive presents from Love. See 1.695–96 (Iamque ibat dicto parens et dona Cupido/ regia portabat Tyriis…: ‘And now, obeying her word, Cupid went forth and carried the royal gifts for the Tyrians…’). In short, the phrase praemia Veneris is replete with dramatic (and tragic) irony.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 34: id cinerem aut manis credis curare sepultos?: cinerem and manis (= manes) sepultos are the subject accusatives of the indirect statement introduced by credis. The pronoun id, which sums up the previous rhetorical question (is Dido to waste away her youth in mourning for her murdered husband?), is the accusative object of curare (here: ‘to pay heed to’). manes, manium (m. pl.) are primarily ‘the spirits of the dead’ or ‘the shade of a particular person’ (OLD s.v. 1b and c), but, as sepultos makes clear, Anna uses the word in the sense of ‘mortal remains’ (OLD s.v. 2), i.e. almost synonymously with cinis. This line is Anna’s answer to Dido’s closing sentence ille habeat secum seruetque sepulcro, which grants Sychaeus continuing existence in the hereafter. Picking up sepulcro with sepultos, Anna argues that Sychaeus is dead and buried and hence unable to concern himself with what Dido feels or does, either in terms of grieving for him or opting to enter into a new relationship. This position has affinities with Epicurean philosophy: Epicurus too maintained that our soul does not survive our body, consisting as it does of an agglomeration of atoms that simply disperse in death. But it turns out to be disastrously misguided in Virgil’s world.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 35–38: esto: aegram nulli quondam flexere mariti,/ non Libyae, non ante Tyro; despectus Iarbas/ ductoresque alii, quos Africa terra triumphis/ diues alit: placitone etiam pugnabis amori?: esto (a third person singular future imperative) has a concessive sense: ‘so be it!’ (OLD s.v. sum 8b). Anna uses the exclamation as proleptic point of departure for rehearsing Dido’s past opportunities to remarry, recalling the sequence of suitors she rejected, both in her native Tyre and then in Libya. Intriguingly, she thereby reaffirms the image of Dido perpetuated within the historiographical tradition, in which the queen features as a model of chastity. But Anna then goes on to clamour for fully embracing the Virgilian departure from the orthodox account, in which Dido and Aeneas never met: ‘Fair enough’, she says, ‘you didn’t love those others—but why deny yourself the second love of your life?’ Her chosen idiom subtly aligns itself to Dido’s: nulli … flexere mariti picks up 22: solus hic inflexit sensus

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 35: aegram: the predicative adjective refers to Dido: ‘you [a te is implied], in your sorrow, no wooer has been able to move.’ O’Hara asks: ‘in what way does Anna think Dido is “sick” (cf. male sana in 8)? With sorrow for Sychaeus? With disgust at her suitors…?’[3] But Maclennan, taking aegram closely with quondam, ingeniously suggests that Anna does not think of Dido as sick at all, but rather as cured by her new-found love for Aeneas: ‘formerly [quondam], when you were sick with grief (for Sychaeus)…’[4] The adjective may also recall 1.351–52 (from the account of Dido’s biography that Venus gives to Aeneas): … factumque diu celauit [sc. Pygmalion] et aegram/ multa malus simulans uana spe lusit amantem (‘and for long he [sc. Pygmalion] covered up the deed [sc. of murdering Sychaeus] and by many a pretence cunningly cheated her, sick with love as she was, with empty hope’).

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 35: mariti: usually a maritus is a husband, but here the sense clearly is something akin to ‘wooer’ or ‘prospective husband.’ Anna continues to plant the idea of marriage in the mind of her sister by using a term that suggests a fait accompli.

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 36: Libyae … Tyro: we may be dealing with a grammatical enallage: in form, Libyae is locative, though in terms of sense it is perhaps best understood as an ablative of place or origin (Libya), whereas Tyro is in form an ablative of place, though in sense a locative (Tyri). Tyre is Dido’s hometown in Phoenicia, which she fled after the murder of Sychaeus. The reference here is curious since, at least according to Venus, there was no time for entering into a new relationship there anyway: initially, Pygmalion covered up the crime, so Dido did not know that her husband was dead, and as soon as she found out through an apparition she fled the city (1.345–64). Anna must have known this (indeed, one could argue that the grammatical enallage surreptitiously highlights her ‘spinning’ of the facts), but her hyperbolic tweaking of the truth has a clear rhetorical purpose: it emphasizes the length of Dido’s refusal to get on with life and love, which has led to the indiscriminate rejection of both countrymen and foreign suitors. The implication is ‘enough is enough.’

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 36: despectus Iarbas: Virgil elides est—the form is the third person singular perfect indicative passive of despicio. Iarbas, a son of Jupiter, is the African king in control of the land on which Dido is building her city, and, as it turns out, none too pleased that she rejected him as a suitor. When he hears of her affair with Aeneas (which is adding insult to injury), he kicks up a royal fuss with his dad: see below 196–221.

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 37–38: ductoresque alii [sc. despecti sunt], quos Africa terra triumphis/ diues alit: note the enjambment (triumphis/ diues—‘rich in triumphs’) and the alliterative patterning that links the opening of the two verses (ductores ~ diues; alii ~ alit). The choriambic opening (diues alit), with its strong caesura in the second foot, brings to a close the thought that Anna introduced with esto in line 35 and which serves as negative foil for the rhetorical question that takes up the rest of the verse.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 37: triumphis: The triumph is the quintessentially Roman victory ritual, involving the procession of the conquering general from the Campus Martius to the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus (or Mars Ultor, in imperial times).[5] Even though the term can also denote ‘military victory’ more generally, its use here by Anna is curious and potentially contains another (historical) irony by evoking the Roman conquest of Africa and the many triumphal parades that ensued: Africa, on this reading, is rich in triumphs for the Romans. This at least is what Juno fears: see 1.21–2: hinc populum late regem belloque superbum/ uenturum excidio Libyae… (‘from there a people, kings far and wide and proud in war, should come forth for the downfall of Libya’). Arguably, we are dealing with another instance in which Virgil reveals Anna as a person with limited insight by giving her constructions and phrases that resonate with meanings she herself cannot possibly be aware of. Thematically, though, the reference to triumphs as a metonymy of military might is entirely appropriate: it anticipates Anna’s next argumentative turn. She submits that giving in to her love for Aeneas is also a good move on Dido’s part for strictly strategic reasons: the union would fortify the precarious position of Carthage in a supremely hostile environment.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 38: placitone etiam pugnabis amori?: –ne introduces a question. placitus is the perfect passive participle (though in sense active) of placeo: ‘a love that is pleasing.’ The combination of placito amori and pugnabis (linked by alliteration) generates a paradox that Dido is asked to resolve by discontinuing her fight against love and marks a subtle change in Anna’s argument: after expressing sympathy for Dido’s rejection of suitors while she was still aegra with grief for Sychaeus (even though, as she implies, there were good strategic reasons for accepting one of her African suitors), Anna now switches into exhortative mode. The strategic rationale for a powerful alliance still applies, while one of the reasons for not entering into one (the lack of a suitor for whom Dido harbours amorous feelings) has disappeared. In her argument Anna silently passes over two rather salient points: (a) in line with her own belief that the dead ought to have no bearing on the living (see line 34), she refuses to reckon with Dido’s lingering feelings of loyalty to Sychaeus, making out as if her sister’s renewed ability to love would enable her to enter into another marriage freely and happily; (b) Anna takes Aeneas’ consent simply for granted, even though Aeneas has not presented himself as a suitor; this is a nice touch in terms of boosting the morale of her sister, but proves the fatal flaw in her approach to the problem. Indeed, in both respects, Anna profoundly (and deliberately?) misunderstands, or begs to differ from, her sister, for whom Sychaeus remains a powerful point of reference throughout and who intuitively knows very well that Aeneas will not, cannot stay for good: even while their affair is in full swing (to the point of Aeneas helping with the construction of Carthage), Dido remains ill at ease (see below on 4.298: omnia tuta timens).

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 39: uenit: another instance where metre helps to clarify a point of grammar: uenit (with short e, as here) is the third person singular present indicative active; uênit (with long e), is the third person singular perfect indicative active.

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 39: quorum consederis aruis?: ‘in whose lands you have settled.’ Consederis, the verb of the indirect question, is second person singular perfect active subjunctive of consido, here: ‘to settle as a colonist, to make one’s home’ (OLD s.v. 4). Note the second person singular: Anna’s focus remains exclusively on Dido, as she continues to marginalize both herself and the other Tyrian refugees. This stands in implicit contrast to the historiographical tradition against which Virgil is writing, where her fellow-travellers try to force Dido into a marriage alliance with a local ruler in the interest of communal safety.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 40–44: hinc Gaetulae urbes, genus insuperabile bello,/ et Numidae infreni cingunt et inhospita Syrtis;/ hinc deserta siti regio lateque furentes/ Barcaei: situated on a map, the geographical references in this sentence look as follows:

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Anna elaborates on the theme of disadvantageous location—wherever one looks, there are either enemies or wastelands around (hinc, hinc), and that is not even considering foes threatening from afar, i.e. Dido’s hometown Tyre, to which Anna alludes in the following sentence. As the map illustrates (if we want to presuppose that Anna operated with precise geographical awareness), she begins in the south with the Gaetulian cities, then moves clockwise to the southwest (the Numidians), the east (the Syrtis), and the southeast (the desert and the Barcaeans). At the same time, this circular motion (cf. cingunt; the verb lacks an accusative object, which one could supply mentally (te or nos), though the absolute use perhaps enhances the ominous sense of being ringed in on all sides by hostile people and inhospitable landscape) is belied by her use of hinchinc as a structuring device. It suggests a bipartite division: the Gaetulian cities, the Numidians, and the Syrtis on one side, the desert and the Barcaeans on the other. As the map shows, this does not quite work since the Numidians and the Syrtis are located on opposite sides of Carthage. What are we to make of this geographical imprecision? Are we dealing with another subtle hint that Anna’s point of view is not to be trusted in all details?

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Another point of interest is the implied antithesis Anna creates between the isolated city of Carthage, governed by a lonely queen in the thralls of love, and the hostile and warlike people that threaten to overpower her on all sides. The rhetorical agenda behind this construct is obvious: the more feeble and vulnerable Dido considers herself to be, the greater the appeal of a powerful union with the Trojan hero. But it is, at least to some extent, a construct: in earlier portions of the epic, Virgil has dropped unmistakable hints that the Phoenician settlers fit right into their new environment. Already in the proem, Carthage is characterized as diues opum studiisque asperrima belli (14) and in the narrative proper it requires a divine intervention for the Carthaginians to put aside their ferocious hearts and for Dido to adopt a benevolent disposition towards the shipwrecked Trojans (1.302–04: ponuntque ferocia Poeni/ corda uolente deo; in primis regina quietum/ accipit in Teucros animum mentemque benignam; ‘with the god willing it, the Punic people lay aside their savage hearts; above all the queen receives a gentle soul and friendly mind towards the Teucrians’). From the start of the Aeneid, the world-historical showdown between Rome and Carthage in the Punic Wars of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC forms a wider historical horizon against which the epic action unfolds, and Virgil drops consistent reminders that he is here providing the aetiology for the most lethal military conflict Rome experienced in its rise to empire.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 40: Gaetulae urbes, genus insuperabile bello: the adjective Gaetulus (‘of the Gaetulians, Gaetulian’) refers to the people that lived in the interior of North West Africa; there is a slippage from the topographical (urbes) to the ethnic (genus), with genus insuperabile bello standing in apposition to the notional urbes Gaetulorum. (The reference to actual cities may surprise in this context, though see 1.578 where Dido mentions the woods and cities of Libya where Aeneas may have got lost.) Anna’s idiom recalls many other passages in the Aeneid in which Virgil engages in ethnographic commentary. As here, this often involves reference to a city or a people/ ethnic community (genus) and an attribute in predicative position, rendered more precise by an ablative of respect, frequently indicating martial qualities. There are two instances of this in the extended proem, i.e. Karthago … studiis … asperrima belli (1. 13–14: ‘Carthage, extremely stern in the pursuits of war’) and populum … bello … superbum (1. 21: ‘a people … proud in war’, i.e. the Romans). Another parallel passage that resonates strongly here is 1.339, where Venus (disguised as a Carthaginian maid) describes the inhabitants of Libya as a genus intractabile bello. (Virgil in general has a fondness for adjectives ending in -bilis/-bile; see below 4.53: tractabile and, perhaps most famously, 8.625: clipei non enarrabile textum (to convey the impossibility of putting into words the texture of images engraved on Aeneas’ shield).

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 41: Numidae infreni: Numida, -ae m., is a native of Numidia; Virgil calls them ‘unbridled’ (infreni) because of the way they ride their horses, their ethnic character, and their way of life (true to their name, they lead a ‘nomadic’ existence).

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 41: inhospita Syrtis: the reference to the Syrtis recalls the sea-storm in Aeneid 1 that wrecked Aeneas’ fleet. Three of the ships were forced by eastern winds from the deep into shallows and sandbanks (ab alto/ in breuia et syrtis) where they remained stuck (1.110-12) until Neptun removed the accumulated sand (1.146: et uastas aperit syrtis). Here, the singular Syrtis may refer either to the two areas of sandy flats between Carthage and Cyrene to the East or ‘the whole desert region adjoining the coast’ (so the OLD s.v. c). Ancient etymologists connected the name with the Greek verb suro, ‘to drag off by force’, an aspect well brought out by the attribute inhospita.

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 42–43: hinc deserta siti regio lateque furentes/ Barcaei: the information given under the second hinc forms a thematic chiasmus with the information given under the first hinc: after people (Gaetulians, Numidians) and place (Syrtis), we now get place (the desert region) and people (the Barcaeans). Barca is the Punic word for ‘lightning’, which comes out in their habit ‘to rage and range far and wide.’ siti is ablative (of cause) of sitis, sitis, f. Its primary meaning is ‘thirst’ but here it has the transferred sense ‘arid weather, drought.’ The Barcaei are the people of Barce, a city located in the Cyrenaica, close to present-day Tripoli. Virgil may have chosen this particular city since it calls up associations with the Carthaginian Barca family to which Hannibal belonged. late furentes (‘raging far and wide’) would certainly nicely describe Hannibal’s actions in Italy during the Second Punic War.

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 43–44: quid bella Tyro surgentia dicam/ germanique minas?: Dido left Tyre with the state-treasure, much to the dislike of her brother. This is one of the reasons Aeneas and his men initially receive such a frosty welcome: the Carthaginians are expecting an attack from the sea, and would not at first allow Aeneas’ men to land (see 1.540: hospitio prohibemur harenae). Tyro is ablative of origin (‘arising from Tyre’). germanus: Pygmalion, brother to both Dido and Anna.

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 44: germanique minas?: one of the notorious half-lines in the Aeneid, evidence of the incomplete state the poem was in when Virgil died. Here a trailing-off halfway through the line would even be thematically appropriate: Anna, after all, is using the rhetorical device of praeteritio, where you mention something without elaborating on it since it would be unnecessary or inappropriate to do so.

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 45–46: dis equidem auspicibus reor et Iunone secunda/ hunc cursum Iliacas uento tenuisse carinas: apart from the main verb reor and the qualifier equidem that goes with it, the two verses consist of an indirect statement: Iliacas carinas is the subject accusative, tenuisse the verb, and hunc cursum its accusative object. The most striking features are the two ablative absolutes dis auspicibus and Iunone secunda that belong in the indirect statement but are pulled up front for emphasis. auspex, auspicis denotes a religious functionary who gets information about the will of the gods from the behaviour of birds (flight or feeding patterns, cries), but can also have the more general sense of (divine) patron or supporter (OLD s.v. 3). The lines drip with unintended irony and are arguably the most blatant illustration that Anna hasn’t a clue what she is talking about: Juno had no intention whatsoever of blasting Aeneas to Africa; she set out to sink his fleet. The arrival of Aeneas at Carthage is thus a complete accident, and not at all the result of purposeful divine planning: Juno (etymologized as ‘helper’) is here the exact opposite of auspex or secunda, and the wind that blew Aeneas Dido’s way not a favourable (in Latin: secundus, implied by Juno’s attribute) breeze, but a destructive storm. This is already the second instance in which Anna makes a judgement upon a matter involving the sphere of the divine that turns out to be seriously mistaken, at least within the literary world of Virgil’s epic. (The first came in line 34 where she dismisses the notion of a conscious afterlife.) By now her ignorance and naiveté are glaringly obvious: the advice she gives Dido is bound to be deeply flawed, or at least out of touch with the realities that apply in the Aeneid. But this is in keeping with her dramatic role: ‘Anna’s job is to voice seductive thoughts “for” Dido, to feed them to her: the altera ego says what’s forbidden to the self’ (Henderson, per litteras).

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 47–49: quam tu urbem, soror, hanc cernes, quae surgere regna/ coniugio tali! Teucrum comitantibus armis/ Punica se quantis attollet gloria rebus!: Anna concludes her exhortation with three exclamatory sentences (quam … urbem, … quae … regna! – quantis … rebus!) designed to entice Dido to yield to her passion by invoking grand prospects of the city and the fame that is bound to ensue for her from the liaison. Overall, the design is chiastic: Anna begins with Dido and Carthage (urbem, regna) before adding a reference to Aeneas (coniugio tali); she then proceeds with another reference to Aeneas (Teucrum [= Teucrorum] comitantibus armis) before concluding with Carthage (Punica … gloria). The chiasmus ensures that Aeneas ends up at the centre of Carthage and its imperial future. In the third colon, there is also a shift in perspective: in the first two cola Anna imagines what Dido will see (cernes); in the third, she states an objective prospect (attollet gloria).

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 47­–48: quam tu urbem, soror, hanc cernes, quae surgere regna/ coniugio tali!: both cernes and surgere go with both exclamatory clauses: ‘what a city you will [note the future tense] see rise here, what a kingdom [sc. you will see] rise with such a husband.’ ‘Hanc is deictic, as Anna sweeps her hand towards the city.’[6] Anna systematically interrelates Carthage and Dido: quam (Carthage) tu (Dido) urbem (Carthage) soror (Dido) hanc (Carthage) cernes (Dido), a pattern reinforced by the elision of tu and urbem, which merges Dido with her city. coniugium (from coniunx: husband) signifies ‘marriage’ but may also mean husband. Anna dramatically places the ablative of cause that will enable Carthage’s rise to imperial greatness in enjambment.

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 49: Punica se quantis attollet gloria rebus!: almost a golden line: (a) Punica (b) quantis (c) attollet (a) gloria (b) rebus.

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 50–51: tu modo posce deos ueniam, sacrisque litatis/ indulge hospitio causasque innecte morandi: Tu posce—indulge—innecte: Anna opts for a tricolon in these two verses, which details the three pieces of her advice: (1) get divine approval; (2) make Aeneas feel welcome; (3) entice him to stay. After line 47, this is the second time that Anna uses the (from a grammatical point of view unnecessary) second personal pronoun.

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 50: posce deos ueniam: posco, construed with a double accusative, means ‘to demand something (here: ueniam) of someone (here: deos)’, or, in another idiom, ‘to ask someone (here: deos) insistently or authoritatively for a thing (here: ueniam)’: see OLD s.v. 2a. uenia has a double meaning: ‘permission’ and ‘forgiveness.’ Arguably, both of these meanings are here in play. See O’Hara: ‘Anna’s phrase posce ueniam captures the ambiguity at the heart of this scene, for ueniam can mean “leave” or “permission” to do something, with no connotation of wrong, or it can mean “forgiveness” for a wrong done. Anna, who is arguing that there is nothing wrong with yielding to a new love, must be thought to mean, “ask for permission”. But the other connotation of uenia suggests a different perspective, that perhaps Dido needs forgiveness for even being attracted to Aeneas, or wishing to break faith with Sychaeus.’[7] Indeed, just after Anna claimed that Aeneas has arrived as part of a larger divine plan, she has no reason to recommend to her sister to ask the gods for ‘forgiveness’; even ‘permission’ seems a bit too forceful given that, according to Anna, Dido would simply align herself with the will of the gods if she were to marry Aeneas. We have, then, yet another instance in which Anna’s discourse, upon inspection, yields a highly ironic layer of meaning of which the character herself is unaware.

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 50: sacrisque litatis: the –que links the two imperatives posce and indulge. lito is a technical term of Roman religion, with a variety of specific meanings to do with the communication between humans and gods. Here it means ‘to offer by way of propitiation or atonement to obtain divine favour.’ In a way, it refers to the cult action (the performance of a sacrifice) that corresponds to, and should accompany, the prayer (a speech act) Anna has just referred to in posce deos ueniam. Pease argues that ‘the ablative absolute here expresses a condition; if the sacrifices have turned out favorably Dido may assume that the gods favor her course of action.’[8] This, however, is a very innocent reading of Anna’s rhetoric. It glosses over the grammatical ambiguity inherent in the ablative absolute construction, which Anna exploits to help her argument. In contrast, if one takes sacris litatis in a temporal sense (i.e. ‘after divine favour has been obtained through sacrifices’), there is a niceif somewhat rashsense of progression built into her syntax. On this reading, Anna gives the impression that divine approval for her recommended course of action will certainly be forthcoming and she uses this (as it turns out erroneous) assumption as the basis for her advice on how best to retain Aeneas in Carthage.

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 51: causasque innecte morandi: the –que links the imperatives indulge and innecte. The basic meaning of innecto is ‘to fasten, tie, bind.’ Here it has the sense ‘to weave plots or to devise reasons’ (OLD s.v. 4). Dido should try her best to tie together a series of arguments why Aeneas ought to stay.

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 52–53: dum pelago desaeuit hiems et aquosus Orion,/ quassataeque rates, dum non tractabile caelum: another tricolon, in which the first and the second colon share one dum. The –que links desaeuit and quassatae [sc. sunt]. desaeuio means ‘to work off rage’, pelago is an ablative of place; the verb in the last colon/ the second dum-clause (est) is again elided. At 4.309–11, Dido uses the fact that Aeneas plans to depart outside the sailing season as evidence for his savage diposition towards her: quin etiam hiberno moliri sidere classem/ et mediis properas Aquilonibus ire per altum,/ crudelis? (‘Even during winter do you actually hasten to labour at your fleet, and to travel across the sea in the midst of nothern winds, cruel one?’) And she returns to the theme at 4.430, when she breathes to Anna, with gusto, of how she might trick Aeneas into staying: exspectet facilemque fugam uentosque ferentis (‘let him wait for an easy flight and favourable winds!’). Anna alternates references to the stormy seas (pelago desaeuit hiems; quassatae rates) and the stormy skies (aquosus Orion; non tractabile caelum), thus conveying a good sense of the entire cosmos in turmoil.

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 52: aquosus Orion: ‘The setting of Orion in November marked the onset of stormy weather (hiems); such allusions are not simply learned ornament, but a natural idiom, the stock-in-trade of any farmer or sailor.’[9] A reference to stormy Orion would no doubt resonate with Aeneas, given his recent experience at sea. See 1.535 where Ilioneus blames the trouble of the Trojans on nimbosus Orion in his address to Dido. The parallel suggests that Anna has been eavesdropping.

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0  


46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 [1]
I owe appreciation of this contrast to John Henderson.

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0  

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 [5]
For a recent discussion, see Beard (2007).

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0  

Source: http://aeneid4.theclassicslibrary.com/2012/11/30/31-53%E2%80%82sister-act-ii-annas-reply-2/