Hippolytus/Virbius

Fr. 190

This aition is only indirectly attested.


Vergil, Aeneid 761-782: 

Ibat et Hippolyti proles pulcherrima bello,

Virbius, insignem quem mater Aricia misit,

eductum Egeriae lucis umentia circum

litora, pinguis ubi et placabilis ara Dianae.

namque ferunt fama Hippolytum, postquam arte nouercae765

occiderit patriasque explerit sanguine poenas

turbatis distractus equis, ad sidera rursus

aetheria et superas caeli uenisse sub auras,

Paeoniis reuocatum herbis et amore Dianae.

tum pater omnipotens aliquem indignatus ab umbris770

mortalem infernis ad lumina surgere uitae,

ipse repertorem medicinae talis et artis

fulmine Phoebigenam Stygias detrusit ad undas.

at Triuia Hippolytum secretis alma recondit

sedibus et nymphae Egeriae nemorique relegat,775

solus ubi in siluis Italis ignobilis aeuum

exigeret uersoque ubi nomine Virbius esset.

unde etiam templo Triuiae lucisque sacratis

cornipedes arcentur equi, quod litore currum

et iuuenem monstris pauidi effudere marinis.780

filius ardentis haud setius aequore campi

exercebat equos curruque in bella ruebat.


Serv. VergA 7.778

exponit τὸ αἴτιον: nam Callimachus scripsit Αἴτια, in quibus etiam hoc commemorat.


Ovid, Ibis 279-280

Vel tua, ne poenae genus hoc cognoverit unus,    

Viscera diversis scissa ferantur equis.      


Σ G Ov. Ib. 279

tangit fabulam de Hippolyto. unde Callimachus:

nolit Hippolytus Phaedrae violare pudorem,

et quia noluerat, habuit pro munere mortem.

sed qui recta facit quod in aeternam moriatur,

denegat Hippolytus, qui vitae bis reparatur.

 

Fr. 190 Harder (= 190 Pf.) 

Vergil, Aeneid 761-782
Serv. Verg. A 7.778
Ovid, Ibis 279-280
Σ G Ov. Ib. 279

Virbius was a male deity from the circle of Diana in the context of her little-known cult of Aricia (Servius on Aeneid 5.9 and 7.84). Virbius was identified by the Romans with Hippolytus, who died by being trampled by his own horses. The interpretation connecting Virbius with Hippolytus seems to have been based solely on the fact that horses were forbidden in Virbius’ sanctuary in Aricia (Vergil, Aeneid 7.774-779; Ovid, Fasti 3.266). When Virbius had died, Diana recalled him to life and entrusted him to the care of the nymph Egeria (Servius on Aeneid 7.761). Callimachus seems to have mentioned the Virbius/Hippolytus story somewhere in the Aetia, based on the two scholia quoted here. Italian subjects are also treated in fr. 93-93b

Vergil, Aeneid 7.761-782 (trans. Theodore C. Williams)

Next, Virbius in martial beauty rode,

son of Hippolytus, whose mother, proud

Aricia, sent him in his flower of fame

out of Egeria's hills and cloudy groves

where lies Diana's gracious, gifted fane.

For legend whispers that Hippolytus,

by step-dame's plot undone, his life-blood gave

to sate his vengeful father, and was rent

in sunder by wild horses; but the grave

to air of heaven and prospect of the stars

restored him;—for Diana's love and care

poured out upon him Paeon's healing balm.

But Jove, almighty Sire, brooked not to see

a mortal out of death and dark reclimb

to light of life, and with a thunderbolt

hurled to the Stygian river Phoebus' son,

who dared such good elixir to compound.

But pitying Trivia hid Hippolytus

in her most secret cave, and gave in ward

to the wise nymph Egeria in her grove;

where he lived on inglorious and alone,

ranging the woods of Italy, and bore

the name of Virbius. 'T is for this cause

the hallowed woods to Trivia's temple vowed

forbid loud-footed horses, such as spilled

stripling and chariot on the fatal shore,

scared by the monsters peering from the sea.

Yet did the son o'er that tumultuous plain

his battle-chariot guide and plunging team.


Servius on Vergil, Aeneid 7.778

He describes the aition. For Callimachis wrote Aetia, in which he also recounts this story.


Ovid, Ibis 279-280

Or, so that he (Hippolytus) will not be the only one to have known this type of punishment, may your innards be split open and dragged in different directions by horses.


Scholia G on Ovid, Ibis 279

He touches upon the story of Hippolytus. Hence Callimachus:

"Hippolytus did not wish to violate Phaedra's chastity,

and because he was unwilling, he got death as his reward.

But (the idea) that one who does the right thing dies forever

is denied by Hippolytus, who was twice restored to life."

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Suggested Citation

Susan Stephens, Callimachus: Aetia. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-947822-07-8.http://dcc.dickinson.edu/callimachus-aetia/uf/Hippolytus-Virbius