The first six books of the "Aeneid" reflect, in their content, Homer's "Odyssey", and indeed Virgil borrowed not just themes but also many phrases from the great Greek epic. Of these six books, this one, Book III, is probably the least well-known, and the least read, not only in antiquity, but also more recently, since it has rarely been used as a textbook in schools, as the others, particularly Books IV and VI, have been. In this context, it is perhaps worthy of note that in the 1990 Penguin edition of the "Aeneid" the translator David West, while offering commentaries on all the other eleven books, did not provide one for Book III. Such relative neglect is also reflected in the fact that, until now, Book III has escaped the attentions of Sabidius. However, this omission has now been rectified, and a translation is offered below.

The title which Sabidius has suggested for this book, "The Seven Years' Wandering of Aeneas", draws attention to the fact that, just as Odysseus, or Ulysses, as he was known to Virgil and the Romans, took ten years to find his way back to Ithaca after the end of the Trojan War, so Aeneas' arrival in Italy only occurred after a prolonged period of travelling around the Mediterranean. Indeed, at the very end of Book I, Queen Dido, his host at Carthage, says to him: "Tell me, my guest, from the very beginning, of the wiles of the Danaans, and of the misfortunes of your followers and your wanderings. For now a seventh summer is carrying you as a wanderer over every land and sea." In his response  Aeneas tells her in Book II of the agonies of Troy's last hours, and in Book III he provides her with the details of his seven years' wandering. Thus, for all of this book, other than the last three lines, Aeneas is speaking.

While Book III contains relatively few of Virgil's more memorable passages, it does have some worthy of particular attention. There is the pathos of lines 486-491, in which Andromache expresses her love for Aeneas' son, Ascanius, who reminds her so poignantly of her own young son, Astyanax, so brutally slaughtered by Pyrrhus, who was then to enslave her and force her to become his wife: "Take these last gifts of your kinsfolk, O sole surviving likeness to me of my Astyanax: so he moved his eyes, so he moved his hands, so he moved his face; and now he would be growing up, equal in age to you." There is also the sheer horror of Achaemenides' account of the Cyclops Polyphemus devouring two of his comrades (lines 622-628): "He feeds on the flesh and dark blood of these wretched men. With my own eyes I saw him, when, lying back in the middle of the cave, he smashed the bodies of two of our number, which he had caught with his great hand, on the rock, and the entrance was bespattered and swimming with gore; I saw him when he devoured their body parts, dripping with putrid matter and the warm limbs quivered under his teeth." There are, horresco referens, other horrors too, which grip the attention of the reader: the cornel and myrtle bushes with blood-stained roots, from which comes the discovery of the cruel murder of Polydorus (lines 27-46); the terrifying screams and dreadful stench of the repulsive Harpies, who are birds with the faces of women (lines 225-244); and Helenus' description of the joint terrors provided by the demonic whirlpool Charybdis and the six-headed sea-monster Scylla, who in partnership prey upon the ships traversing the Straits of Messina (lines 420-428). All these details, and, of course, the majestic rhythms of Virgil's dactylic hexameters, make the reading of Book III a truly memorable experience.

The text for this translation is taken from the edition published by Ginn & Co. of Boston, in 1900, edited by J.B. Greenhough. Reference has also been made to "The Commentary on Virgil's Aeneid" by John Conington, Whittaker & Co., London, 1876. Both of these works are available on the website.


a) The Trojans build a fleet and set sail to find a place of exile (ll. 1-12).
"After the Powers Above had seen fit to overthrow the Asian state and Priam's guiltless people, and proud Ilium has fallen, and all of Neptune's Troy lies smoking on the ground, we are driven by the omens of the gods to seek distant places of exile and unoccupied lands, and we build a fleet under the very (shadow of) Antandros and the mountains of Phrygian Ida, uncertain as to where the Fates would carry (us or) where we should be permitted to settle, and we gather our people together. Scarcely had early summer begun, when father Anchises commanded (us) to entrust our sails to destiny: in tears, I leave the shores of my native-land and its havens, and the plains where Troy once stood: (as) an exile, I set sail with my comrades and my son, and with our household gods and the great gods (of our race).
b) We land in Thrace where  I begin to lay the foundations of a city (ll. 13-18).

"Some distance away there lies a land with vast plains belonging to Mavors (i.e. Mars) - the Thracians farm (it) - , once ruled by the fierce Lycurgus, of old a (source of) friendship to Troy, and their household gods (being) allies (of ours), while Fortune was (with us). Here I sail, and I site my first city-walls on a winding shore, though I began (it) with fate being against (it), and I fashion its name 'Aeneadae' from my own name.


a) Aeneas was sacrificing in honour of his new undertaking, when he found blood dropping from the roots of some cornel and myrtle branches which he was pulling up for the altars, and a voice came from the soil where they stood, telling him that the murdered Polydorus was buried there, and that they were the spears which had been fixed in his body (ll. 19-46).

"I was offering sacrifices to my mother, the daughter of Dione (i.e. Venus) and to the (other) gods, so that they might be favourable to the works (which I had) begun, and I was sacrificing a sleek bull on the shore to the High King of the Heavenly Dwellers. By chance, there was quite near there a mound (of earth) on the top of which (were) thickets of cornel and myrtle, bristling with its dense spear-like branches. I went up to (it), endeavouring to wrench the green wood from the ground, so that I might cover the altar with leafy boughs, (when) I see a portent horrible and astounding to relate. For the first bush which is plucked out from the soil by it torn roots, from it flow drops of black blood and they stain the earth with its gore. An icy shudder shakes my limbs and, stiff with terror, my blood congeals. And yet I proceed once more to tear away the resisting stalk of another (bush) and to explore fully its hidden secrets. And, again, blood oozes from the bark of this second (one). Greatly disturbed in my mind, I began to pray to the woodland nymphs and Father Gradivus (i.e. Mars), who presides over the Getic (i.e. Thracian) fields, to make the portent propitious in the proper manner and lighten the (threat of) the omen. But, when I attack a third (bunch of) spear-shafts with greater effort, and I am pulling hard with my knees (pressed) against the sand - shall I speak or be silent? - , a pitiable groan is heard from the bottom of the mound, and an answering voice comes to my ears: "Why, Aeneas, would you rend a poor wretch? Spare (me) now that I have been buried! Forbear to pollute your righteous hands! Troy bore me, no different to you, nor is this blood which is flowing from this stalk (any different). Oh, flee this cruel land (and) flee this coast of avarice: for I (am) Polydorus: an iron crop of weapons has covered my pierced (body), and has grown into sharp javelins."

b) Aeneas is horror-struck. Polydorus had been entrusted to the charge to the King of Thrace, who, on the overthrow of Troy, had murdered him for the sake of the treasure that had been sent with him. Aeneas refers the matter to his father Anchises and the chiefs of his followers, and there is unanimous agreement that they should leave Thrace. The Trojans pay solemn funeral rites to the murdered youth,  (ll. 47-68).

"Then, indeed, I was stupefied, overcome in my mind by uncertain dread, and my hair stood (on end).
The unfortunate Priam, when he was already despairing of Dardanian arms and saw his city surrounded under siege, had once secretly entrusted this Polydorus, with a great weight of gold, to the King of Thrace to be nurtured. That (king), when the power of the Teucrians (was) broken, and fortune withdrew, following the cause of Agamemnon and his victorious army, breaks every divine law; he murders Polydorus and takes possession of the gold by force. (O) infamous hunger for gold, to what do you not compel human hearts? When the terror left my bones, I refer the portents of the gods to the chosen chiefs of my people, and firstly to my father and ask (them) what their opinion is. They (are) all of the same mind, that we should depart from this accursed land, that this polluted place of lodging should be abandoned, and we should grant the south winds to our fleet. So, we celebrate Polydorus' funeral rites, and a huge (quantity of) earth is heaped on his burial mound. Altars are raised to the Shades, made mournful by sacred fillets and black cypress, and (all) around (are) the women of Ilium with their hair loosened in accordance with custom. We offer bubbling bowls of warm milk and saucers of sacrificial blood, and inter his spirit in its tomb, and invoke (his name) in a loud voice for the very last time.


a)  The Trojans set sail with the next fair wind. They land in Delos and are welcomed there. Aeneas consults the oracle, begging the god to tell them where to settle. An answer came at once, bidding them seek out the place from which their race sprung, and assuring them a new and lasting place there (ll. 69-98).

"Then, as soon as the sea (is) trustworthy, and the winds create peaceful waves, and a gentle whispering breeze calls (us) seawards, my comrades bring down our ships and fill up the beach (with them): we set sail from the harbour, and land and cities recede (from view). In the middle of the sea there lies a sacred (piece of) land most dear to the mother of the Nereids (i.e. Doris) and to Aegean Neptune, which, while (it was) drifting around coasts and strands the pious Archer-God (i.e. Apollo) chained fast to lofty Myconos and Gyaros, and made (it) immovable and inhabited and scornful of the winds. Here I sail; a most peaceful (spot), it welcomes my weary (crews) to a safe harbour; disembarking, we pay our reverence to Apollo's city. King Anius, (being) king of his people and the priest of Phoebus, comes to meet (us), with his brows garlanded with fillets and sacred laurel; he recognised his old friend Anchises. We join hands in guest-friendship and enter his palace. I paid reverence to the god's temple (which was) built of old stone. "Grant us a permanent home, (O) God of Thymbra (i.e. Apollo), grant my weary people walls, and descendants and a city that will endure; preserve this second Trojan Pergama (i.e. citadel of Troy) for the survivors of the Danaans and pitiless Achilles. Whom should we follow? To where do you bid us go? Where should we put our dwellings? Grant (us), (O) Father, a sign and inspire our hearts. Scarcely had I spoken these (words): suddenly everything seemed to shake, and the doorway and the god's laurel (crown) and the whole mountain around (us) is moved, and the tripod bellows as the sanctuary is exposed. Grovelling (in fear), we fall to the ground, and a voice comes to our ears: 'O hardy sons of Dardanus, the land which first bore you from your ancestral stock, that same (land) will welcome you on its fertile bosom when you return. Seek out your ancient mother! From here, the house of Aeneas, and his son's children and those that shall be born to them, will rule all the regions of the earth.'

b) All the Trojans are eager to know the meaning of the oracle. Anchises explains to them that Crete was the original cradle of their race and their national religious observances and that they can reach it in three days of sailing; he orders sacrifices to render the voyage auspicious (ll. 99-120).

"Thus Phoebus spoke: and a (great shout of) joy arose, mixed with uproar, and everyone asks to which city Phoebus is calling (us) in our wanderings and to which he is telling (us) to return. Then, my father, revolving in his mind the traditions of past (generations of) men, says: 'Listen, O chiefs and learn about (the object of) your hope: in the midst of the sea lies Crete, the island of mighty Jupiter; there (is) Mount Ida, the cradle of our race. In that richest of kingdoms, (men) inhabit a hundred great cities; from there our forefather, Teucer, if I recall what I heard aright, originally sailed to the shores of Rhoeteas (i.e. a promontory on the Hellespont), and chose a site for his kingdom. Ilium and the towers of Pergama had not yet been erected; (the people) lived in the bottom of the valleys. From here (comes) our Mother, the inhabitant of (Mount) Cybele, and (also) the cymbals of the Corybantes and the grove of Ida; from here (come) the faithful silences for her mystic rites, and the harnessed lions submitted (to draw) their mistress' chariot. So, come and let us follow where the commands of the gods lead (us); let us appease the winds and seek the kingdom of Cnossos (i.e. the capital of Crete). Nor is it a long journey away, (if) only Jupiter is with (us); the third dawn will bring our fleet to land on the shores of Crete.' Speaking thus, he sacrificed fit offerings on the altars, a bull to Neptune, a bull to you, fair Apollo, a black sheep to the Storm (God), (and) a white (one) to the auspicious Westerly Winds.


a) The Trojans hear that they may settle in Crete without any danger from enemies, and they make their way there accordingly (ll.121-131). 

"A rumour quickly spreads that Prince Idomeneus has departed, after being driven from his father's kingdom, and that the shores of Crete are deserted, her houses are empty of enemies, and the abandoned dwellings are standing ready (for our use). We leave the harbour of Ortygia and speed across the sea, to Naxos, where they revel on the mountains, and green Donysa, Olearos and Paros, with its white marble, and the Cyclades, scattered, (as they are,) across the sea, and we traverse straits strewn with numerous (bits of) land. The shouts of the sailors arise from their efforts in their various (tasks). Comrades encourage one another: 'Let us make for Crete and our ancestors!' A wind rising astern follows (us) as we go, and at last we glide on to the ancient shores of the Curetes.

b) Aeneas had begun the foundation of a city, when a pestilential season set in. Anchises recommends returning to Delos and consulting the oracle again (ll. 132-146). 

"So, I work eagerly at the walls of my chosen city, and call (it) Pergama, and exhort my people, delighting at the name, to cherish (the place as) their home, and to erect a citadel as a (strong) shelter.
And now our ships (were) drawn up on the dry beach; our young men (were) busy with weddings and fresh farmlands; I was making laws and (allocating) houses: when suddenly from some tainted stretch of the sky there came upon the human frame a wasting disease, and a pitiable blight upon both trees and crops, and a year full of death. (Men) relinquished their sweet lives or continued to drag their sick bodies (around); then Sirius (i.e. the Dog-star) scorched the fields into bareness; the grass became parched and the blighted crops denied (us) food. My father urges (us) to return to sea and to go back again to the oracle of Phoebus at Ortygia (i.e. Delos) and pray for his favour (in answering these questions): what end might he bring to our weary fortunes? whence does he bid (us) seek help for our exertions? whither to direct our course?

c) While Aeneas was contemplating what he should do, the Household Gods appeared to him by night, with a communication from Apollo telling him that the real home of his race was Italy, from where Dardanus came (ll.147-171).

"It was night-time and sleep had taken hold of all the animals on the earth: the sacred images of the gods and the Household Gods of Phrygia, which I had brought with me from Troy and through the midst of the fires of the city seemed to stand there before my eyes, as I lay in sleep, clear in the broad light, where the full moon was pouring herself through the windows (which had been) set into (the walls); then they addressed (me) thus, and allayed my anxieties with these words: 'What Apollo will tell you when you have come to Ortygia, he utters here, and, lo! he send us to your threshold of his accord. When Dardania went down in flames, we followed you and your arms, we traversed the swelling seas with you on your ships, in the same way we shall exalt your future offspring to the stars, and grant empire to their city: you must build a mighty city for the great (gods of your race), and not shrink from the long labour of exile. Your abode must be changed: Delian Apollo did not urge these shores upon you, nor did he order (you) to settle in Crete. There is a region, the Greeks call (it) Hesperia by name, (it is) an ancient land, mighty in arms and in the richness of its soil; the Oenotrian people settled (there); now rumour (has it) that their descendants have called their nation Italy from the name of their leader (i.e. Italus): this is your proper dwelling-place; from here Dardanus was sprung, and our forefather Iasius, from whom our race first (came). Come then, arise and relate with joy these words, which must not be doubted, to your aged father: let him look for Corythus and the lands of Ausonia; Jupiter denies you the fields of (Mount) Dicte (i.e. Crete).


a) Aeneas informs his father of what Apollo has said; Anchises admits his error, and remembers a similar prophecy from Cassandra. The Trojans set sail again (ll. 172-191).

"Astounded by such a vision and utterance of the gods - this was not a dream, but I seemed to recognise their expressions in person, and their garlanded hair and their actual faces; then a cold sweat trickled all over my body, I tear my body from its bed and raise my upturned hands to the sky with a prayer and I pour offerings of undiluted wine on the hearth. After I have performed this sacrifice, I joyfully inform Anchises, and disclose this revelation in its proper order. He recognised our ambiguous descent, and our two-fold parentage, and that he had been confused by his recent mistake about our ancient lands. Then, he says: 'My son, (you who are) troubled by the destiny of Ilium, Cassandra, alone, foretold such an outcome to me. Now I recall that she prophesied that these (lands were) owed to our race, and she often invoked Hesperia and, often, the realm of Italy. But who would believe that Teucrians would come to the shores of Italy, or whom, then, might the prophetess Cassandra influence? Let us yield to Phoebus, and, on his advice, let us follow the better (course).' We abandon this dwelling-place also, and, leaving (just) a few (people) behind, we set sail and speed over the vast surface of the sea in our hollow ships.

b) When land was out of sight, the Trojans were involved in a storm, which raged for three days and nights; but on the fourth day land appears (ll. 192-08).

"When our ships have reached the high (sea), and no land is any longer in sight, but (there is) sky on all sides and sea on all sides, then a dark rain-cloud stood directly over my head, bringing night and storm, and the waves billow up in the gloom. At once, the winds churn up the sea and great waves swell up; we are tossed this way and that in the vast abyss; storm-clouds enveloped the day, and a watery darkness blotted out the sky; lightning flashes again and again from clouds (which have been) torn asunder. We are driven from our course, and wander blindly over the waves. Palinurus (i.e. the Trojan helmsman), himself, says he cannot distinguish day or night in the sky, nor remember the route in the midst of the waves. For three long days of uncertainty in the blinding darkness and for as many nights without a star, we wander across the sea. At last, on the fourth day, land (is) seen to rise for the first time, exposing distant mountains and sending up smoke. The sails fall (slack), and we rise to our oars; without delay, the sailors, at full stretch, thrash the foaming (waves) and sweep across the dark-blue (surface of the sea).

6) THE HARPIES (LL. 209-277).

a) The Trojans find themselves on the Strophades, the islands of the Harpies. Oxen and goats are seen grazing: they kill, sacrifice and eat. Then, the Harpies come upon them, and tear and pollute the meat (ll. 210-228).

"After I have been rescued from the waves, the shores of the Strophades (i.e. The Turning Islands) are the first to welcome me. Called by a Greek name, the Strophades are islands lying in the great Ionian (sea), which dread Celaeno and the other Harpies inhabit after Phineus' house was closed to them and they fled in fear from their former tables. No more deadly monster, nor any more savage scourge or divine wrath than these has risen from the waters of the Styx. They are birds with maidens' countenances, (there is) the foulest excrement from their bellies, (they have) hands like talons, and their lips are always pallid with hunger. On our arrival here, when we enter the harbour, behold, we see contented herds of oxen scattered over the plain, and a flock of goats in their pastures with no guard. We rush at (them), sword (in hand), and call on the gods, and Jupiter himself, to (take) a share in our plunder; then, we heap up mounds of earth on the winding shore, and feast on the rich foodstuffs. But, suddenly, in a terrifying swoop from from the hills, the Harpies appear (before us), and flap their wings with a loud clattering noise, and they plunder our feast and defile everything with their filthy touch; then (there is) an awful scream amidst a repulsive stench.

b) The Trojans set up a feast in another more secluded spot, but the same visitation follows. When the Harpies assail them for the third time, they draw their swords and attack them, but are able to make no impression on them (ll. 229-244).

"In a deep recess, under a hollow rock, enclosed all around by trees and flickering shadows, we lay out the table and replace the fire on the altars once more; again, from another part of the sky and from their hidden lair, the screeching crowd flutters around their prey with their clawed feet, (and) defiles our feast with their mouths. Then, I bid my comrades take up their arms, and proclaim that war must be waged against this accursed race. They do just as I have ordered and deposit their swords under cover in the grass and keep their shields out of sight in a concealed spot. So, when, as they swoop down along the winding shore, they make a noise, Misenus from his high look-out post gives the signal on his hollow bronze trumpet. My comrades charge, and try out a new (way of) fighting, (that is,) to wound these foul birds of the sea with their swords: but they do not receive any violence on their feathers, nor wounds on their backs, and, soaring up to the stars with rapid flight, they leave behind (them) the half-eaten prey and the foul traces (of their visit).

c) Celeano, one of the Harpies, threatens the Trojans with famine as a punishment for their current gluttony and violence. Anchises bids them set sail again (ll. 245-267).

"Celaeno, that prophetess of misfortune, perches alone on a high rock, and gives vent to this cry from her breast: '(O) children of Laomedon, are you really ready to declare war for the sake of the slaughter of our oxen and for the sake of our butchered steers, and to drive the innocent Harpies from their proper realm? So, take these words of mine to your hearts and fix (them there), (words) which the Almighty Father foretold to Phoebus, (and) Phoebus Apollo (foretold) to me, (and) I, the eldest of the Furies, reveal (them) to you. You are seeking Italy in your journey, and, having summoned the winds, you shall go to Italy and be able to enter its ports. But you will not encompass your ordained city with walls, until dire hunger and the outrage of your slaughter upon us shall force you to eat your own tables and consume them with your jaws.' She spoke, and, borne by her wings, she fled back to the forest. But the blood of my comrades went stiff, chilled by a sudden terror; their spirits fell, and no longer with arms, but with vows and prayers they bid (me) pray for peace, (no matter) whether they were goddesses or ill-omened and foul birds. And from the beach father Anchises, with outstretched hands, calls on the mighty powers above and declares the required sacrifices: '(O) Gods, prevent their threats; (O) Gods, avert such misfortune and graciously save the righteous!' Then, he bids (us) pull the cables from the shore and slacken the rigging.

d) They sail by the islands off the west coast of Greece, and at last land in Leucadia (ll. 268-277).

"The South Winds stretch our sails; we speed over the foaming waves, wherever the wind and the helmsman directed our course. Now wooded Zacynthos appears in the midst of the waves, and Dulichium and Same, and Neritos with its steep crags. We escape the rocks of Ithaca, Laertes' realm, and curse the land (which was) the nurse of savage Ulysses. Soon, too, the cloudy peaks of Mount Leucata and (the temple of) Apollo, dreaded by sailors, are sighted. Wearily we head for this, and go up to the little town; an anchor is dropped from the prow, and the sterns stand on the beach.

7) THE GAMES AT ACTIUM (LL. 278-293).

(At Actium the Trojans sacrifice and celebrate games, in joy at their escape so far. They winter there, and then depart, leaving a memorial to their sojourn. They land next in Chaonia.)

"So, at last, having reached land unexpectedly, we purify ourselves in the worship of Jupiter and set altars alight for our offerings, and we celebrate Ilian (i.e. Trojan) games on the shores of Actium. Stripped naked, my comrades exercise their native wrestling bouts with slippery oil; they are relieved to have evaded so many Greek cities and to have held (the course of) their flight through the midst of their enemies. Meanwhile, the sun revolves around the great (circle of the) year, and icy winter roughens the waves with northern gales. I fix to the door-post opposite a bronze shield, the arms of great Abas, and mark this event with a (line of) verse: AENEAS [OFFERS] THIS ARMOUR [TAKEN] FROM THE CONQUERING DANAANS. Then, I command (the crews) to leave the harbour and  to take their seats on the thwarts: in rivalry, my comrades strike the sea and sweep its surface. Forthwith, we lose sight of Phaeacia's airy heights and traverse the shores of Epirus, and we enter the harbour of Chaonia and approach the lofty town of Buthrotum.


a) Here Aeneas is told that Priam's son, Helenus, is king of the country and married to Andromache. Going to the city, Aeneas finds her making offerings at Hector's tomb (ll. 294-319).

"Here, an incredible rumour of events takes possession of our ears: that Helenus, the son of Priam is ruling over Greek cities, after taking possession of the wife and sceptre of Pyrrhus, the scion of Aeacus (i.e. father of Peleus and grandfather of Achilles), and that Andromache had passed again to a husband from her people. I was struck dumb with amazement and my heart burned with a wondrous desire to accost the man and to learn about such great occurrences. Leaving the ships and the beach, I set out from the harbour, when Andromache happened to be making annual offerings and sad gifts to the ashes (of the dead) in a grove before the city by the waters of a feigned Simois (i.e. a Trojan river), and she was inviting Hector's shade (to visit) an empty mound of grassy turf, (on) which she had consecrated twin altars (as) the occasion for her tears. When she caught sight me approaching and saw with amazement the Trojan arms around (her), she froze in the midst of her gaze, terrified by these great supernatural visions, and the warmth left her bones. She faints, and, after a long while, she speaks at last with difficulty: 'Are you (who) is coming to me a real face and a real messenger, (O) son of the goddess? Are you alive, or, if the kindly light has faded, where is Hector?' She spoke, and poured forth tears, and filled the whole place with her crying. I barely say a few (words) in reply to her as she sobs so passionately, and, deeply moved, I gasp in a broken voice: 'I live, indeed, yet I lead my life through all extremes (of suffering); (but) do not be in doubt, for you see real (things). Alas! what fate overtakes you in your fall from so great a husband, or what good fortune, worthy enough for Hector's Andromache visits you again? Do you (still) serve Pyrrhus in wedlock?'

b) From Andromache, Aeneas hears that the tale is true. She had been given to Helenus by Pyrrhus, when he wearied of her himself, and, after Pyrrhus had been killed by Orestes, Helenus succeeded to part of Pyrrhus' dominions (ll. 320-43). 

"She cast down her eyes, and spoke in a subdued voice: 'O happy before (all) others, that virgin daughter of Priam (i.e. Polyxena), sentenced to die at an enemy's grave (i.e. that of Achilles) under the high walls of Troy, who did not have to endure any of those allocations by lot, nor to have come (as) a captive to the bed of a victorious master! I, conveyed over alien seas from our burning native-land, have had to bear in child-bearing servitude (i.e. she had given birth to Molossus) the contempt and arrogant youth of Achilles' progeny; (he,) who then pursuing Leda's Hermione (i.e. the daughter of Helen and Menelaus) and a Lacedaemonian marriage, transferred (me), his female-slave to be held by Helenus, his male-slave. But, Orestes, inflamed by a great desire for his stolen bride, and harassed by the Furies for his crime (i.e. he had murdered his mother Clytemnestra for killing his father Agamemnon), catches him off his guard and butchers him at his father's altar. On the death of Neoptolemus (i.e. Pyrrhus), a part of his kingdom is restored and passed to Helenus, who called (it) by name the Chaonian plains and the whole (land) Chaonia after the Trojan Chaon, and built a Pergama and this Ilian citadel on the mountain ridge. But what winds, what fates gave you passage? But what god landed (you) unwittingly on our shores? What of the boy, Ascanius? Does he still live and enjoy the breezes? (he) whom you already (had) at Troy (N.B. This is the solitary instance in Virgil's works of a hemistich, where the sense is left incomplete) ... Does the boy still have any love for his lost mother? Do both his father Aeneas and his uncle Hector arouse any of their ancient valour and manly spirit?'

c) As Andromache is speaking, Helenus appears. He welcomes Aeneas to his city, which is built after the model of old Troy, and entertains his comapnions (ll. 344-355).

"Weeping, she poured forth such (words), and was beginning to produce a flood of vain lamentations, when Helenus, the heroic son of Priam approaches with a large number of companions, and he recognises (us) as his kinsmen and leads us joyfully to his gates, and sheds many tears between each of his words. I go forward and recognise a little Troy and a Pergama, built to resemble the great (one), and a dry river-bed by the name of Xanthus, and I embrace the door-posts of a Scaean gate. Moreover, the Teucrians also enjoy the friendly city with me: the king received (them) in his spacious colonnades; in the middle of the fore-court, they poured goblets of wine in libation, and held out their dishes with the feast being served on gold (plates).


a) Wishing to sail to Italy, Aeneas consults Helenus about his proposed voyage, telling him that every divine intimation, save that of Celaeno, has been in favour of the journey to Italy, and asking him what he has to be on his guard against (ll. 356-373).
"And now a day, and another day, has passed, and the breezes invoke our sails, and the canvas is inflated by the south wind. With these words I accost the prophet, and request the following (things): '(O) Trojan-born interpreter of the gods, whose senses are alive to the will of Phoebus, the tripods, the laurel-trees of Clarios (i.e. Apollo) and the stars, the voices of birds and the omens of propitious flight, come, speak (to me): - for every divine utterance has spoken to me of a prosperous voyage, and all the gods, in (the expression of) their will, have urged (me) to make for Italy and to explore remote lands: only the Harpy, Celaeno, prophesies a strange portent, and a shame (it is) to tell (of it), and warns of baleful wrath and vile hunger - , first, what dangers shall I avoid? And, (by) following what (course), can I avoid such great troubles? Then, Helenus, after first slaughtering bullocks in accordance with custom, entreats the grace of the gods, and loosens the fillets around his hallowed head, and leads me, bewildered by your overwhelming presence, by his own hand to the threshold of your (shrine), (O) Phoebus, and then the priest utters these (words) from his divinely (inspired) lips:

b) Helenus tells Aeneas that his home in Italy was not as near as he thought, the neighbouring coasts being occupied by hostile Greek settlements, Aeneas was to sail around Sicily, and the sign of his home was to be the appearance of a white sow with thirty piglets on the bank of a river. In sailing past Sicily, he was to avoid the passage betwixt Scylla and Charybdis, for fear of destruction and to go round by Cape Pachernus. Special care was to be taken to propitiate Juno (ll. 374-395). 

" '(O) son of the goddess - for (there is) a clear assurance that you voyage through the deep (sea) with favourable auspices ; so the king of the gods allots our destiny and unrolls the succession (of events) - (so) that circle is turned around - , I shall explain a few (things) out of many in my words to you, so that you may traverse foreign seas the more safely and can come in to land at an Ausonian port; for the Fates prevent Helenus from knowing other (things), and Juno, the daughter of Saturn, forbids (him) to speak (to them). In the first (place), a long distant and trackless journey separates Italy, which you think (to be) now close at hand and in the neighbourhood, and, in your ignorance, you are preparing to enter its ports, from our far-away country. But before you can construct your city in a secure land, you must bend your oars in Trinacrian (i.e. Sicilian) waters and the salty sea of Ausonia, and the lakes of the underworld, and Circe's island of Aeaea, must be traversed by your ships. I shall tell (you) a sign, keep it stored in your heart: when a huge sow, discovered by you at an anxious moment by the waters of a secret river, will be lying under some holm-oaks along its banks, having just given birth to a litter thirty in number, reclining all white on the ground, her white piglets around her teats, that will be the place for your city, that (will be) a sure respite from your labours. Don't you shudder at the little bits of tables that await (you): fate will find a way, and, at your call, Apollo will be there (to help you).
c) In sailing past Sicily, Aeneas was to avoid the passage betwixt Scylla and Charybdis, for fear of destruction, and to go round by Cape Pachernus. Special care was to be taken to propitiate Juno (ll. 396-440). 

"But steer clear of these lands and this coastline of the Italian shore (i.e. the east coast of Italy, opposite Epirus), the nearest (part of) which is washed by the tide of our sea; all of its towns are inhabited by wicked Greeks. Here, the Locrians of Naryx have founded their city, and Idomeneus of Lyctos has beset the plains of the Sallentines with his soldiery; here (is) the famous little Petelia of Philotetes, the leader of the Meliboeans, sustained by its wall. Indeed, when your fleet has moved across the sea and lies at anchor, and you are about to pay your vows at the altars which you have already erected on the beach, veil your hair, covering (it) with a purple garment, lest some hostile face shall meet (you) amidst the sacred fires in honour of the gods, and spoil everything. Let your comrades keep this method of sacrifice, (and keep) it yourself: let your descendants remain pure in this religious observance. But, when, on your departure, the wind carries you to the coast of Sicily, and the barrier of the straits of Pelorus opens out, the land on your port (side) and the seas to port should be sought in a long circuit: avoid the shores and seas to your starboard (side) (i.e. do not pass between Scylla and Charybdis). They say that these lands one day broke apart, torn asunder by some vast upheaval - the long-standing antiquity of time can effect such change - , although both lands had been one continuous (block of land); the ocean came between them with its force and severed the Hesperian side (of Italy) from the Sicilian (side), and it flows in a narrow tide between fields and towns (now) separated by coast. On your starboard (side), Scylla blocks your way, and on your port (side is) the insatiable Charybdis, and three times (a day) she swallows vast floods (of sea) into her gulf (and) into the bottom of the vortex of her whirlpool, and ever again she hurls (them) up into the air in turn, and lashes the stars with her spray. But her cave keeps Scylla imprisoned in its hidden recesses, and she thrusts out her mouths and drags ships on to the rocks. On top she has the appearance of a human, and (she is) a maiden with a lovely breast down to her waist, but below (she is) a sea-monster with a monstrous body, with dolphins' tails joined to a belly (full) of wolves. It is better to go around the turning point of Trinacrian Pachynus, lingering and wheeling around the long course, than once to have beheld misshapen Scylla in her vast cave, and its rocks resounding with her sea-green hounds. Moreover, if Helenus possesses any wisdom, if there is any trust (to be given) to this prophet, (and) if Apollo fills his mind with the truth, this one (thing) shall I prophecy to you, (O) son of the goddess, and this one (thing) before everything (else), and I shall advise (you) repeatedly again and again: in your prayers worship the divine power of great Juno above all, and utter your vows willingly and win over your mighty mistress with a suppliant's gifts: so, at last, you will leave Trinacria behind and be dispatched to the borders of Italy victorious.

d) Aeneas is advised that, on his arrival in Italy, he was to go to Cumae and consult the Sibyl, who would tell him all about his future conflicts with the Italian nations in establishing his kingdom (ll. 441-462). 

"When, having been brought there, you approach the city of Cumae, and the haunted lakes of Avernus with its murmuring woods, you will catch sight of the frenzied prophetess, who sings of fate deep in the rock, and commits marks and names to leaves. Whatever prophecies the virgin writes down on leaves, she sorts into numerical order and leaves behind in her secluded cave. They remain unmoved in their places, nor do they get out of order; but yet, when a light wind has ruffled them, and the door, turning on its hinges, has disturbed the delicate leaves, never then does she care to take hold of them as they flutter about the hollow rock, nor to restore (them to) their places or to join the prophecies together. (People who have come to consult the oracle) depart without counsel, and hate the Sibyl's abode. May you experience no such loss through delay - although your comrades may chide (you), and your voyage may forcibly call your sails to the deep, and you can fill your canvas with favourable (winds) - , but may you go to the prophetess with prayers and plead that she should utter the oracles herself, and willingly unloose her voice and lips. The peoples and the forthcoming wars, and every means by which you may avoid or endure toil, those (things) she will explain to you, and, if duly besought, grant (you) a favourable  passage. These are (the things) of which you may be warned by my voice. Come (now), go your way, and raise mighty Troy to the stars by your deeds.'


a) Helenus then bestows magnificent gifts on Aeneas and his father (ll.463-471).

"After the seer had spoken these (words) thus with his friendly (lips), he then orders gifts, heavy with gold and carved ivory, to be taken to our ships, and into their hulls he crams a massive (weight of) silver and cauldrons from Dodona, a breastplate bound by hooks, and triple-meshed with gold, and the cone of a splendid helmet with a crest of horse-hair, the armour of Neoptolemus; there are gifts of his to my father as well. He also provides (us with) horses, and in addition he brings (us) guides (for the journey). He makes good (the number of) our oarsmen; (and) at the same time he equips my comrades with weapons.

b) Helenus bids Anchises farewell, and Andromache loads Ascanius with gifts (ll. 472-491).
"Meanwhile, Anchises bade the fleet rig its sails, so that there should be no delay in the case of a favouring wind. Phoebus' interpreter (i.e. Helenus) addresses him with much honour: '(O) Anchises, (you who were) deemed worthy of a proud union with Venus, charge of the gods, twice rescued from the ruins of Pergama, behold! your land of Ausonia; seize it with your sails! And yet you must slip past the nearest (coast) to the sea; that part of Ausonia which Apollo reveals (in his prophecy is) far away. Go your way,' he says, '(you who is) happy in the devotion of your son. Why do I carry on any further  and, by talking, delay the rising winds?' Andromache, no less sad at this final parting, brings garments embroidered with gold thread, and a Phrygian cloak for Ascanius - nor does she lag behind in honouring (him) - and loads (him) with woven gifts, and she says the following (words): 'Take these too, my boy, so that they may be to you the memorials of my hands, and may they testify to the lasting love of Andromache, the wife of Hector. Take these last gifts of your (kinsmen), O the sole surviving likeness to me of my Astyanax: thus he used to move his eyes, thus his hands, thus his face; and now he would be growing up equal to you in age.'

c) Aeneas bades both Helenus and Andromache farewell, contrasting their settled condition with his 
uncertain circumstances, and hoping that their prospective posterities might remain brother Trojans at heart (ll. 492-505). 

"As I was departing, I addressed them with tears welling up (in my eyes): 'Live happily, (O persons) for whom their destiny has already been accomplished; I am called from one fate to another. For you, your rest (is) won; you have no need to plough the surface of the sea; nor do you need to seek the ever receding fields of Ausonia. You see your likeness of (the River) Xanthus and a Troy which your own hands has been constructed under better auspices, I hope, (than the original Troy) and which will be less accessible to the Greeks. If ever I reach the Tiber, and the neighbouring fields of the Tiber, and I see the city granted to my people, we shall one day create in our hearts a single Troy from each of our kindred cities and allied peoples in Epirus and in Hesperia, who have the same Dardanus (as) founder and the same history; let that charge await our descendants.'

11) IN SIGHT OF ITALY (LL. 506-547).

a) They set sail again: night comes on: they land, and sleep till midnight, when they are roused by their pilot Palinurus, and they put to sea again (ll. 506-520).

"We sail out on the sea close to the nearby Ceraunian (promontory), from where the journey and passage to Italy by sea (is) the shortest. Meanwhile, the sun sinks (into the sea) and the mountains are shrouded in darkness; after sharing out the oars, we lay ourselves down in the lap of our chosen (piece of) land at the water's (edge), and rest our bodies (which are scattered) in all directions on the beach; sleep refreshes our weary limbs. Nor yet has Night, led by the hours, come to the middle of its cycle: no sluggard, Palinurus rises from his bunk and investigates every wind and catches the air with his ears (i.e. listens for a gale); he carefully checks every constellation gliding in the silent sky, Arcturus, and the rainy Hyades, and the twin Bears (i.e. Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), and he surveys Orion with his golden (sword). When he sees that everything in the clear sky is in place, he gives a loud signal from the stern; we strike camp and start out on our journey, and we spread the wings of our sails.

b) As the day dawned, the Trojans caught their first sight of Italy, and raised a shout of welcome, while Anchises made a prayer to heaven. They put to shore in a harbour overlooked by a temple of Minerva. Four white horses are seen grazing, an omen which Anchises interprets as significant of both war and peace. The Trojans pay their devotions to Pallas and Juno, with their heads covered as Helenus had enjoined them (ll. 521-547).

"And now, the stars having been put to flight, Dawn was growing red (in the sky), when we see in the distance the dark hills and the low-lying (coastline) of Italy. Achates is the first to to cry out 'Italy', and my companions salute 'Italy' with a joyful shout. Then father Anchises decorated a great mixing-bowl with a wreath, and filled (it) with wine, and, standing on the lofty stern, he called upon the gods (as follows): '(You) Gods who rule the sea, the earth and storms, give (us) an easy journey with wind, and blow (upon us) with favourable (winds).' The desired breezes become frequent, and a harbour opens up (before us) quite near at hand already, and a temple appears on the heights of Minerva. My comrades furl the sails and turn their prows towards the shore. The harbour (is) curved into (the shape of) a bow by (the action of) the East Wind on the waves, (and) the projecting rocks foam with salt spray; itself, it lies concealed; towering rocks let down their arms in a double wall, and the temple recedes from the shore. Here, (as) our first omen, I saw four horses, snowy white (in colour), grazing on grass on the broad plain. And father Anchises cries out: 'O foreign land, you bring (us) war; these horses are armed for war, these herds are threatening war. But yet these same four-footed beasts (will) one day be accustomed to take on a chariot, and, when yoked, will endure a harmonious bridle; there's also a hope of peace.' Then, we pray to the divine power of Pallas, resounding with arms, who was the first to welcome us, rejoicing (as we were), and we veil our heads before the altars in Phrygian cloth; in accordance with the behests of Helenus, which he had most particularly given us, we duly burn the sacrificial offerings to Argive Juno as we have been bidden.

12) THE APPROACH TO ITALY (LL. 548-587).

a) Setting sail once more, the Trojans pass by Tarentum, and come within sight of Mount Aetna. They manage to avoid Charybdis but are tossed by the waves, till at last at evening time they land in the territory of the Cyclopes (ll. 548-569).

As soon as our vows have been duly performed, we turn the tips of the sail-yards covered with the sails (to the wind) without delay, and we leave those dwellings of men of Greek stock, and their suspect fields. Then is seen the bay of Tarentum, founded by Hercules, if the story is true; opposite (to it) towers the temple of the Lacinian goddess (i.e. Juno); and (there are) the fortress of Caulon and Scylaceum, that wrecker of ships. Then, Trinacrian Aetna is seen from afar, (rising) out of the water, and we hear from a distance the tremendous groaning of the sea, and the pounding rocks, and the roar of the breakers (crashing) on the shore, and the shallow waters boil up and sand is mingled together with the surf. And father Anchises  (cries out): 'Undoubtedly this (is) that Charybdis: Helenus warned (us) of these crags, (and of) these dreadful rocks. Pull away, O my comrades, and rise to your oars together!' They do just as they have been instructed, and Palinurus was the first to turn his creaking prow towards the waters on his port (side). The whole fleet headed to port by oar and by wind. We are lifted skywards by an arching wave from the deep, and, likewise, when the water was sucked away, we sank to the deepest Shades. Three times the crags gave out a booming noise amid their hollow rocks (i.e. their rocky caves); three times we saw the foam exploding and the stars dripping. Meanwhile, the wind and the sun have left us exhausted, and unaware of the route we drift towards the coast of the Cyclopes.

b) The Trojans found a sound and spacious harbour; but they were disturbed all night by the sight and sounds of Aetna, which they could not see for the darkness. Legends attribute the convulsions of the mountain to the movements of the giant Enceladus, whom Jupiter had placed beneath it (ll. 570-587).

(There is) a harbour, untroubled by the presence of the winds, and spacious (in) itself; but close by (Mount) Aetna thunders away with its dreadful eruptions; and from time to time it projects a black cloud into the sky, smoking with a whirlwind of pitch and white-hot lava, and it tosses up balls of flame and licks the stars; intermittently belching forth rocks and the torn entrails of the mountain, it heaves (them) up into the air, and it gathers molten rocks into a ball with a groan, and seethes in its lowest depths. The story is that the body of Enceladus, half-consumed by a thunderbolt, is weighed down by this heavy mass, and that mighty Aetna lying on top (of him) exhales fire from its broken furnaces, and that whenever he wearily turns from side to side, the whole of Trinacria shudders with his rumbling and obscures the sky with smoke. That night, hidden in the woods, we endure monstrous portents, nor do we see what reason is causing the sound. For there were no fires among the stars , nor (was there) a clear vault in the starry sky, but (there were) clouds in the dark heavens, and a stormy night kept the moon among rain-clouds.

13) THE ACHAEMENIDES (LL. 588-654).

a) In the morning, the Trojans see a ragged and emaciated man, evidently a Greek, advancing towards them. He begs the Trojans to take him with them or kill him. They reassure him, and ask him to tell them his story (ll. 588-612).

"And now the next day was rising with the first (light) in the East, and Dawn had dispersed the dewy darkness from the sky: when suddenly there came out of the woods the strange of an unknown man, worn out, and in the last extremity of thinness, and in pitiable clothing, and he stretches forth his hands towards the shore (as) a suppliant. We turn round and look (at him): (oh,) the dreadful filth, and the shaggy beard, the covering held together with thorns, but in other respects a Greek, and in the past we had been sent to Troy in his father's arms. And he, when he saw from a distance their Dardanian dress and Trojan arms, he hesitated a little, terrified at the sight (of them), and checked his step; then, he rushed headlong to the shore with weeping and prayers: 'I appeal (to you) by the stars, by the gods above, by this life-giving light of heaven, take me (aboard), (O) Teucrians. take me away to whatever lands you wish; that will be enough (for me). I know that I am a man from the Danaan fleet, and I confess that I assailed the household gods of Ilium in warfare; in return for this, if the wrongfulness of my crime is so great, fling me piecemeal into the waves and bury (me) in the vast ocean. If I do perish, I shall be happy to perish at the hands of men.' He finished speaking, and clasped our knees, and to our knees he clung, grovelling. We exhort him to tell us who he is, and from what stock (he is) sprung, and to confess what misfortune has since then been pursuing (him). Father Anchises, himself, after no great delay, offers the young man his right (hand), and steadies his mind with an immediate pledge (of safety). At last he lays aside his terror and speaks the following (words):

b) The poor man said his name was Achaemenides; he has been at Troy with Ulysses, and on the voyage home had inadvertently been left in the cave of the Cyclops. He described to us the death of his comrades and the vengeance Ulysses then took, and advises us to fly at once, as there were many other giants besides the one who had been blinded. He himself had been in the island for three months, subsisting as best he could, and only wished to be removed from it (ll. 613-654).

" 'I am from the land of Ithaca, a companion of the luckless Ulysses, Achaemenides by name, (and) my father Adamastus (being) poor - would that my humble lot had stayed (that way)! - I set out for Troy. My comrades abandoned me in the vast cave of the Cyclops, forgetful (of me), while they hurriedly leave that savage threshold. (It is) a house of gore and cruel feasts, dark (and) huge within; (he,) himself, (is) of great height and he knocks (his head) against the lofty stars - (O) Gods, remove such a scourge from the earth! - nor (is he) gracious in his aspect or affable to anyone in his speech. He feeds on the flesh and the dark blood of wretched (men). With my own eyes I saw (him), when, lying back in the middle of the cave, he seized the bodies of two of our number in his great hand, and dashed (them) on the rock, and the threshold was bespattered and swimming with gore; I saw (him) when he munched their limbs dripping with dark putrid matter, and the warm body parts quivered under his teeth. But Ulysses did not suffer such things to happen with impunity, nor did the Ithacan forget himself (i.e. his cunning) at such a critical moment. For, as soon as he, gorged with his feast and buried in wine, relaxed his drooping neck, and sprawled, immense (in size), across the cave, vomiting during his sleep gore and morsels (of flesh) mixed together with undiluted wine streaked with blood, we, (while) praying to the great gods and sharing out our tasks, spread with one (accord) all around (him) and, with a sharpened stake, pierce his eye - a monstrous (eye), which lay hidden, one only, beneath his grim forehead, like an Argive shield (i.e. these were round) or Phoebus' lamp (i.e. the sun) - , and at last we gleefully avenge our comrades' shades. But flee, (O) wretched (men), flee and uproot your cables from the beach. For, just as Polyphemus pens his fleecy sheep in his hollow cave and squeezes their teats (for milk), (there are) a hundred other of these horrendous Cyclopes, just as large (as him), (who) dwell far and wide near these winding shores and wander among these high mountains. Three times now the moon's horns are filling themselves with light, while I drag out my existence in the woods among the desolate dens and lairs of wild beasts, and I keep watch on the gigantic Cyclopes from a rock, and shudder at the sound of their feet and voices. The boughs yield a wretched sustenance, berries and stony cornel-nuts, and grass, torn up (from the soil) by its roots, feeds (me). Although I have been surveying everything, this fleet (of yours) is the first I have caught sight of coming in to shore. To this (fleet), whatever it should prove to be, I totally surrendered (myself): it is enough (for me) to have escaped from this abominable tribe. Rather do you take away this life of mine by whatever death you wish.'

14) POLYPHEMUS (LL. 655-691).

a) As Achaemenides was speaking, the blind monster Polyphemus appeared from the mountain with his sheep, and advanced into the water, which did not reach his sides. The Trojans put to sea quickly, while he strode after them; but, finding they outstripped him, he cried out (ll. 655-674). 

"Scarcely had he said these words, when we see on the top of the mountain the shepherd Polyphemus himself, hauling his enormous bulk among his sheep and seeking the well-known shores, a dreadful monster, shapeless, gigantic, (and) bereft of his sight. A pine-tree, trimmed (of its branches) by hand, guides and steadies his footsteps; his fleecy sheep accompany (him) - they (are) his sole pleasure and (the one) solace of his misfortune. When he reached the deep waters and came to the (deep) sea he washes therein the blood flowing from his gouged-out eye(-socket), grinding his teeth with a groan, and now he strides through the midst of the sea, nor yet does the sea wet his towering flanks. Alarmed, we hurry far away from there, with the suppliant having been so deservedly rescued, and silently cut the cable, and, bending forwards, we churn the surface of the sea with contending oars. He (i.e. Polyphemus) heard (us), and turned his footsteps towards the sound of the voice (i.e. the voice of the 'coach' who marks the time for each stroke). But, when no opportunity is given him to clutch (us) with his hand, nor can he keep up with the Ionian waves in pursuing (us), he raises a tremendous cry, at which the ocean and all its waves shuddered and the entire land of Italy (was) startled, and Aetna bellowed within its vaulted caverns.

b) In answer to Polyphemus' cry, his giant brethren throng the shore. The Trojans hurries away, not knowing in which direction they were going, but anxious to avoid Scylla and Charybdis. A breeze sprung up from the north and carried them along, Achaemenides being their guide (ll. 675-691).

"But the tribe of the Cyclopes, aroused from the woods and the high mountains, rush to the harbour and throng the shore. We discern the Aetnaean brotherhood standing there powerless, with glaring eye, (and) bearing their heads high in the sky, a fearsome gathering: just like oak-trees, with their tops towering in the air, or cone-bearing cypresses, stand firm in Jupiter's high forest or Diana's (sacred) grove. Sharp terror drives (us) headlong to shake out our rigging and to spread our sails to the favouring winds in whatever direction (we might be carried). On the other hand, Helenus' injunctions warn (them) not to hold their course between Scylla and Charybdis, each a way of death with little difference (between them); (so) we resolve to set our sails (to go) back. And lo! the North Wind is with us, having been sent from the narrow fastness of (Cape) Pelorus. I am carried past the mouth of the (River) Pantagia and the bay of Megara  and (low-)lying Thapsus. Such (names) did Achaemenides, the companion of the luckless Ulysses point out (to me), as he retraced in reverse order the shores which he had wandered over (before).

15) THE DEATH OF ANCHISES (LL. 692-718).

a) The Trojans sail by Plemyrium, Helorus, Pachynum, Camarina, Gela, Acragas, Selinus, Lilybaeum and Drepanum. At the last of these places Aeneas loses his father, Anchises - a most heavy and unexpected blow. Sailing on from there, he was driven on to the North African coast by a storm (ll. 692-715).

"Stretched in front of a Sicanian bay lies an island opposite wave-tossed Plemyrium; the men of old called its name Ortygia. The story is that Alpheus, the river of Elis, drove a secret passage beneath the sea; now, it is merged with Sicilian waters at your fountain, Arethusa. As instructed, we offer worship to the great deities of the place; and from there I pass by the fertile soil of the marshy (River) Helorus. Then, we skirt the lofty crags and jutting rocks of (Cape) Pachynus, and Camarina, never allowed by the Fates to be moved, appears in the distance, and the Geloan plains and Gela, called by the name of its immense river. Then, steep Acragas, once the breeder of spirited horses, displays its massive walls from a distance. And, having been granted the winds, I leave you behind, (O) palm-clad Selinus, and I pick my way through the rough shoals (and) the hidden reefs of Lilybaeum. Next the harbour of Drepanum, and its joyless shore, receives me. Here, after so many storms at sea had been managed, I lose my father Anchises, the solace of my every care and mishap: here, (O) best of fathers, you abandon me, exhausted (as I am), alas, rescued in vain from so many perils! Neither the prophet Helenus, though he warned (me) of many terrors, nor the dreaded Celaeno, predicted this grief to me. This (was) the final agony, this (was) the goal of my long journeys. On my departure from there, the god drove me to your shores."

b) So Aeneas ends his story (ll. 716-718).

Thus father Aeneas, with all eyes fixed (on him), recounted alone the decrees of the gods, and told (the story of) his voyages. At last, he fell silent, and making an end (here), he retired to rest.
Last modified onThursday, 02 November 2017 14:36

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