Aeneid translation notes, Book I, lines 520-560

March 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Now to cover the embassy sent to beseech Dido to grant them aid.  Not quite as exciting as the previous passage, but still may be of some interest to readers.

Postquam introgressi et coram data copia fandi,
maximus Ilioneus placido sic pectore coepit:
‘O Regina, novam cui condere Iuppiter urbem
iustitiaque dedit gentis frenare superbas,
Troes te miseri, ventis maria omnia vecti,
oramus, prohibe infandos a navibus ignis,
parce pio generi, et propius res aspice nostras.
Non nos aut ferro Libycos populare Penatis
venimus, aut raptas ad litora vertere praedas;
non ea vis animo, nec tanta superbia victis.
Est locus, Hesperiam Grai cognomine dicunt,
terra antiqua, potens armis atque ubere glaebae;
Oenotri coluere viri; nunc fama minores
Italiam dixisse ducis de nomine gentem.
Hic cursus fuit,

cum subito adsurgens fluctu nimbosus Orion
in vada caeca tulit, penitusque procacibus austris
perque undas, superante salo, perque invia saxa
dispulit; huc pauci vestris adnavimus oris.
Quod genus hoc hominum? Quaeve hunc tam barbara morem
permittit patria? Hospitio prohibemur harenae;
bella cient, primaque vetant consistere terra.
Si genus humanum et mortalia temnitis arma
at sperate deos memores fandi atque nefandi. 

‘Rex erat Aeneas nobis, quo iustior alter,
nec pietate fuit, nec bello maior et armis.
Quem si fata virum servant, si vescitur aura
aetheria, neque adhuc crudelibus occubat umbris,
non metus; officio nec te certasse priorem
poeniteat. Sunt et Siculis regionibus urbes
armaque, Troianoque a sanguine clarus Acestes.
Quassatam ventis liceat subducere classem,
et silvis aptare trabes et stringere remos:
si datur Italiam, sociis et rege recepto,
tendere, ut Italiam laeti Latiumque petamus;
sin absumpta salus, et te, pater optime Teucrum,
pontus habet Libyae, nec spes iam restat Iuli,
at freta Sicaniae saltem sedesque paratas,
unde huc advecti, regemque petamus Acesten.’

Talibus Ilioneus; cuncti simul ore fremebant
Dardanidae. 


When they had entered and were given the opportunity of speaking face to face with the queen, Ilioneus, the leader, with calm in his heart, began:  “O queen, granted by Jupiter to build a new city and to restrain the proud peoples with justice, we miserable Trojans, carried by the winds over the entire sea, pray to you; keep away the fire from our ships, spare my pious people and look closer at our situation.  We have not come to Libya with swords or to plunder your household gods or to take plunder and to drive it to the shore; that force nor such haughtiness is not for a defeated soul.  There is a place that the Greeks call Hesperia, an ancient land, powerful in arms and fertile soil.  Men of Oenotrius have cultivated it, the story has told us that their descendents have named it Italy from the name of their leader.  This was our course, [unfinished line], when suddenly the surging tide of stormy Orion drove us into the hidden shoals and dispersed us with the boisterous south winds through the waves and over the impenetrable rocks and the salt waves overcame us; we few have swum to your shores.  What kind of men are these?  What land permits such barbarous law?  We have been kept off of the refuge of the beach:  your men arouse war and they prevent us to stand on the beach.  If you scorn the human race and the arms of mortal beings, expect the gods to be mindful of right and wrong.  Aeneas was our king, than whom no other was more fair and pious, or greater in war and arms.  If the fates save the man, if he still breathes the air of heaven and if he as yet not been laid dead in the harsh underworld, there is no fear to us, do not regret to have been the first to contend in rivalry of kindness:  in Sicily there are cities and arms, and Acestes is of clear Trojan blood.  Let us be permitted to beach our ships shattered by the winds and to hew timber in the woods and to trim the oars, in order that we might seek fertile Italy and Latium, if we are given to extend our course to Italy with our king and companions; but if the health is destroyed, and you, noblest father of the Trojans, if the Sea of Libya holds you and the hope not remains of Iulus, at least then let us seek the waters of Sicily and a home already prepared from which we were borne away, and let us seek King Acestes.”  Iionous said this; and all of the Trojans shouted with one voice.

Dido’s response and what follows afterwards will be posted sometime during the weekend.  Changed the wording slightly from my 1994 translation, but on the whole, kept over 90% of it the same.  Quite rough in patches, though.

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