Vergil, Aeneid I 132-141

'Tantane vōs generis tenuit fīdūcia vestrī?

Iam caelum terramque meō sine nūmine, ventī,

miscēre et tantās audētis tollere mōlēs?

quōs ego—sed mōtōs praestat compōnere flūctūs.135

Post mihi nōn similī poenā commissa luētis.

Mātūrāte fugam rēgīque haec dīcite vestrō:

nōn illī imperium pelagī saevumque tridentem,

sed mihi sorte datum. Tenet ille immānia saxa,

vestrās, Eure, domōs; illā sē iactet in aulā140

Aeolus et clausō ventōrum carcere rēgnet.'

Manuscripts: M | R

Neptune sternly rebukes the winds (Austin). 

132: tantane vos generis tenuit fiducia vestri: note the careful chiastic order. The alliteration in tanta tenuit emphasizes the irony (F-B). generis vestri: the winds were sons of Aurora (= Eos, or Dawn) and the Titan Astraeus, who had rebelled against Jupiter (F-B) (Smith’s Dictionary, s.v. Astraeus).

133: iam: emphatic; the winds had been disorderly before, but now things were coming to a climax (Page). iam...audetis: i.e., “unruly as you have been, do you now dare?” (F-B). Note the absence of any interrogative particle to introduce this question. This occurs chiefly in impassioned questions, such as this (Bennett). caelum terramque…miscere: proverbial of general confusion, yet used here almost in a literal sense (F-B). meo sine numine: “without commands of mine” (F-B). venti: vocative (C-R).

134: tantas...tollere: note the alliteration, similar to that in 132 (F-B). moles: sc. undarum (Bennett). “Mountains of waters” (Storr).

135: quos ego—: “whom I’ll—.” This is the most familiar instance in Latin of the figure called aposiopesis, common in passionate outbursts (F-B) (AG 641). praestat: = melius est, impersonal (Comstock). componere is the subject (Wetherell).

136: post: adverb; “another time” (F-B). non simili: = dissimillima (Walpole). “With no like penalty,” i.e., “very different,” by the figure called litotes (F-B) (AG 326c).

137: maturate: “speed well your flight”; the verb (lit. “ripen”) is used of speed in performance of with a touch of royal irony (Conway). vestro...regi: i.e., Aeolus (F-B).

138: non illi: note the emphatic position of these important words, which are contrasted with sed mihi (F-B). tridentem: the regular symbol of Neptune’s power (Bennett).

139: sorte datum: sc. esse. infin. with subject-acc. (imperium and tridentem) in oratio obliqua (Chase) (AG 580a). According to the myth, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto divided the empire of their father Saturn by lot (F-B).

140–141: aula...regnet: “let him display his power (se iactet) in that court, and reign in the close shut prison of the winds” (Frieze).

140: vestras...domos: “home of you and yours” (F-B). Eure: Neptune, though addressing Eurus only, is thinking of all the winds (Walpole). se iactet: “let him lord it” (F-B). Jussive Subjunctive (Bennett) (AG 439).

141: clauso...carcere: emphatic; then and not till then let him reign, when he has closed up the prison (Walpole). Emphatic and a predicate...though it may also be abl. abs. (Conington). Abl. absolute of condition: provided the prison of the winds be closed (Chase) (AG 420.4).


fīdūcia, ae, f.: confidence, trust, reliance, assurance, hope, 2.75, et al. (fīdō)

mōlēs, is, f.: a cumbrous mass; a heavy pile or fabric; mound, rampart, 9.35; dike, 2.497; a mass of buildings, vast buildings, 1.421; structure, 11.130; frame or figure, 2.32; bulk, 5.118; weight, 7.589; pile, mass, 1.61; gigantic frame, 5.431; warlike engine, siege tower, 5.439; array, pomp, train, 12.161; body of soldiers, phalanx, 12.575; heavy storm, tempest, 5.790; toil, work, labor, 1.33.

commissum, ī, n.: an offense, a fault, a crime, 1.136. (committō)

luō, uī, 3, a.: to set free by atonement; pay for, atone for, expiate, 1.136, et al.; suffer, 11.849. (rel. to λύω, loosen)

mātūrō, āvī, ātus, 1, a.: to bring to maturity, ripen; fig.; hasten, speed, 1.137. (mātūrus)

pelagus, ī, n.: the sea; open sea, main, 1.138; flood, 1.246.

tridēns, entis: adj. (trēs and dēns), three-pronged, trident, 5.143; subst., tridēns, entis, m., a triple-pointed spear; trident, 1.138.

immānis, e: (adj.), vast, huge, immense, 1.110; wild, savage, barbarous, 1.616; cruel, ruthless, 1.347; unnatural, monstrous, hideous, 6.624; (adv.), immāne, wildly, fiercely, 12.535.

Eurus, ī, m.: the southeast wind, 1.85, et al.; wind, 1.383, et al.

iactō, āvī, ātus, 1, freq. a.: to throw often or much; toss to and fro; toss, freq.; hurl, cast, 2.459; thrust out, 5.376; aim, 5.433; (fig.), throw out words, utter, say, 1.102; of the mind, revolve, meditate, 1.227; sē iactāre, boast, exalt one's self, rejoice, glory, 1.140; prae sē iactāre, to make pretense of, 9.134; p., iactāns, antis, arrogant, assuming, ambitious, 6.815. (iaciō)

aula, ae, archaic genit. āī, f.: a forecourt, atrium; court, peristyle (as surrounded with columns), hall, 3.354; palace, royal seat, 1.140.

Aeolus, ī, m.: Aeolus. 1. The god who ruled over the winds, 1.52. 2. A follower of Aeneas from Lyrnesus, 12.542.

carcer, eris, m.: a dungeon, hold, prison, 1.54; carcer, or pl., carcerēs, the stalls; the starting place or barrier in the circus or race-course, 5.145.

rēgnō, āvī, ātus, 1, n. and a.: to exercise sovereignty; to be king, to reign, 1.141; rule, govern, 3.14; impers., rēgnātur, etc., there is kingly rule, 1.272. (rēgnum)

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Suggested Citation

Christopher Francese and Meghan Reedy, Vergil: Aeneid Selections. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2016. ISBN: 978-1-947822-08-5.