Vergil, Aeneid II 268-297

Tempus erat quō prīma quiēs mortālibus aegrīs

incipit et dōnō dīvum grātissima serpit.

In somnīs, ecce, ante oculōs maestissimus Hector270

vīsus adesse mihī largōsque effundere flētūs,

raptātus bīgīs ut quondam, āterque cruentō

pulvere perque pedēs trāiectus lōra tumentēs.

ei mihi, quālis erat, quantum mūtātus ab illō

Hectore quī redit exuviās indūtus Achillī275

vel Danaüm Phrygiōs iaculātus puppibus ignēs!

Squālentem barbam et concrētōs sanguine crīnēs

vulneraque illa gerēns, quae circum plūrima mūrōs

accēpit patriōs. Ultrō flēns ipse vidēbar

compellāre virum et maestās exprōmere vōcēs:280

'Ō lūx Dardaniae, spēs ō fīdissima Teucrum,

quae tantae tenuēre morae? Quibus Hector ab ōrīs

exspectāte venīs? Ut tē post multa tuōrum

fūnera, post variōs hominumque urbisque labōrēs

dēfessī aspicimus! Quae causa indigna serēnōs285

foedāvit vultūs? aut cūr haec vulnera cernō?'

Ille nihil, nec mē quaerentem vāna morātur,

sed graviter gemitūs īmō dē pectore dūcēns,

'Heu fuge, nāte deā, tēque hīs' ait 'ēripe flammīs.

hostis habet mūrōs; ruit altō ā culmine Trōia.290

Sat patriae Priamōque datum: sī Pergama dextrā

dēfendī possent, etiam hāc dēfēnsa fuissent.

Sacra suōsque tibī commendat Trōia penātēs;

hōs cape fātōrum comitēs, hīs moenia quaere

magna pererrātō statuēs quae dēnique pontō.'295

Sīc ait et manibus vittās Vestamque potentem

aeternumque adytīs effert penetrālibus ignem.

Manuscripts: M 268-292, 293-297 | P 268-277, 278-297

The shade of Hector appears to Aeneas and urges him to flee (Bennett).

268: tempus erat: this, with nox erat, has been observed to be a favorite form of transition with Vergil (G-K). prima...quiēs: i.e., the heavy first sleep (Carter); the first sleep is the deepest, hence the sweetest (C-R). aegrīs: a touch of Vergil’s constitutional melancholy (Sidgwick). The phrase is sometimes quoted as an instance of Vergil’s “pessimism,” but the epithet here has also a special force: when men are weary and worn out sleep is most welcome and most sound (Page).

269: donō (abl.) div(ōr)um: “by the grace of heaven” (Comstock).

270: oculōs: understand meōs (Bennett). maestissimus: “in the deepest grief”; used appositively. It is rarely, even in poetry, that Latin joins an attributive adjective to a proper name (C-R). This is the first occurrence of the superlative. Maestus is less often used than tristis, and occurs relatively more often in poetry than in prose (Austin).

271: vīsus: sc. est (Chase); the regular word for visions in dreams (Carter).

272: raptātus bīgīs: after slaying Hector, Achilles fastened his body to his chariot and dragged it thrice around the walls of Troy (H-H).

273: trāiectus lōra: an instance of the acc. after a passive participle, in imitation of the ordinary Greek construction (P-H) (AG 397c). The Greek accusative (AG 397b), used with somewhat more boldness than usual, as it is applied not to a part of the person, as in 1.589, nor even to the dress, as 1.320. The ordinary Greek accusative here would have been pedēs, accompanied by lorīs in the ablative (Frieze). tumentēs: indicating that he was still alive, as the limbs of a dead body would not swell from violence (C-R).

274: ei mihi: dative of reference with an interjection (AG 379a). illō: “the famous,” “the glorious,” a common meaning of ille (Knapp) (AG 297b).

275: redit: the present for vividness (F-B). The lively present, of a scene so well remembered that it seems to be still before the speaker’s eyes (Chase). exuviās indūtus Achillī: i.e., the armor of Achilles, which the hero lent to his friend Patroclus, who was slain by Hector. The story is told in Iliad 16. The participle here is middle and governs a direct accusative (F-B) (AG 397c).

276: puppibus: dative with a verb of motion (AG 363.2). Vessels in ancient times, when not in active use, were hauled up on shore, with the prows towards the sea; the sterns would thus be the part first attacked from land (C-R).

277: concrētōs: “matted” (F-B).

278: vulnera: the Greeks stabbed his dead body in spite: “no one passed him without a wound” say Homer, Iliad 22.371 (Sidgwick). The wounds are those wantonly inflicted on the dead body of Hector by the Greeks (see Il. 22.369–375), and the mutilations received when it was dragged by the chariot of Achilles (Frieze). circum...mūrōs: i.e., while being dragged about the walls (Bennett). quae plūrima: attracted, as often in prose, from the antecedent into the relative clause (F-B); “which in great numbers” (Chase).

279: ultrō: without waiting to be first spoken to by the ghost; join with compellāre (Frieze). flēns ipse: “in tears too myself” (Howson). vidēbar: “I thought I spoke to him:” videor or videor mihi is the regular Latin idiom for this English turn (Austin).

280: exprōmere: describes the effort: “fetched” or “drew” (Sidgwick); implying that the words came with difficulty (C-R). vōcēs: = verba (Comstock).

281: ō lux...spēs ō: the repeated ō marks Aeneas’ deep emotion (the chiasmus is effective) (Austin). lux: i.e., “saviour,” “deliverer” (Bennett); a common metaphor, here meaning “defence” or “safety” rather than “glory” (C-R). Dardaniae: the land of Dardanus, Troy (Carter). Teucr(ōr)um.

282: tenuēre: as object understand (Bennett). morae: in his dream Aeneas does not realize that Hector is dead, but fancies that he has been long absent, and anxiously waited for (Frieze). Aeneas’ words have the inconsequential nature of a dream: in reality he knew only too well the manner of Hector’s death. In his dream he remembers only that Hector has recently been absent from the Trojan ranks, and in phrases of intense pathos asks him why (Williams).

283: exspectāte: vocative for nominative (H-H); vocative for nom. by attraction to the 2nd person (Sidgwick). ut: “how,” i.e., in how sad a plight (G-K). = qualem (Howson).

284: funera: “deaths” (Carter).

285: quae causa…: “what cruel cause has marred the fairness of your face?” Indignus when used of a person suffering means “undeserving,” but when of the thing suffered “undeserved” and so “cruel,” “shameful.” Serēnus is usually an epithet of the sky or weather, and means “sunny” with the associated idea of “calm.” (Page)

287: nihil: the object of respondit understood (Frieze). morātur: “heeds,” so commonly nihil moror (Storr). quaerentem vāna: “as I was asking my useless questions.” The editorial, narrative Aeneas recognizes not only that his questions of 281–6 were foolish and irrelevant, but that Hector knew it too; note the severe contrast implied by the eventual sed graviter (288) (Horsfall).

290: altō ā culmine: i.e., from top to bottom (Bennett).

291: sat...datum: a legal phrase; your debt to country and king has been fully paid (G-K). sat = satis used as an indecl. neut. (H-H). = satis fēcisti (Storr). si...possent...fuissent: AG 517a.

292: hāc: sc. manū (Carter).

293: sacra...Penātēs: sacra seems to be a general term for the religious ceremonies, and penātēs a particular term. What the penatēs were it is difficult to say. They were probably national deities represented in little images of wood or stone, and the word may be derived from the root PA-, “to protect” or “feed:” cp. pater, pasco, penus (H-H). In his dream, Aeneas is given a sacred charge, to take the Penates of Troy across the sea to a new home, thus keeping her continuity inviolate. Commendat suggests a solemn entrusting, as of children by a dying parent (Austin). Hector clearly and explicitly indicates that it is the city of Troy that now entrusts its own (suōs) penates to Aeneas: national, not personal, tutelary deities. Penātēs is delayed as far as possible to carry the greatest weight (Horsfall).

294: comitēs: predicate accusative (Bennett). in apposition with hōs (Frieze). hīs moenia…: “for these seek thou a city, a mighty city, which after wandering over the sea you will at last establish.” Some place a comma after quaere, instead of after magna (Page).

295: quae: postponed to the third word in its clause, after the thunderous participle and the verb (which acquire enhanced prominence) (Horsfall).

296: vittās Vestamque: = Vestam vittatam: “(the image of) Vesta wearing a vitta”; hendiadys (H-H). According to tradition, her worship at Rome was introduced from Troy (Bennett).

297: aeternum...ignem: the fire which was taken from the mother-city for the daughter-city, when it was eventually founded (Carter). In the temple of Vesta at Rome, “the eternal fire” was maintained, the extinguishing of which foreboded the doom of the city (H-H). penetrālibus: here adj. “inmost,” usu. subst. “inner places” (Sidgwick). Penetrālis need not mean more than “innermost”; but it is a word especially connected with the Penates, who were sometimes known as the dī penetrāles (Cic. de nat. deor. 2.68; cf. Sen. Oed. 265) (Austin). The line is carefully patterned, with adjective and noun in agreement at the beginning and end, and an inner chiastic arrangement aeternum adytis ) ( penetralibus ignem (Austin).


tempus, oris, n.: 1. Time in general, a period, time, 1.278; interval or space of time, 4.433; crisis, circumstance, juncture, 7.37; season, fitting time, opportunity, proper moment, 4.294; ex longō (tempore), in or for a long time, 9.64. 2. The temple of the forehead, 9.418; commonly pl., 2.684; of animals, 12.173.

quiēs, ētis, f.: rest, repose, 3.495; sleep, 2.268; respite, intermission, 1.723.

serpō, serpsī, serptus, 3, n.: to creep, glide, 5.91; steal on or over, 2.269.

Hector, oris, m.: son of Priam, and chief defender of Troy, 1.99, et al.

adsum, adfuī, esse, irreg. n.: to be near or by; to be present, at hand, or here, 1.595; to have arrived, 2.132; to be with, attend, 2.701; aid, accompany, 10.547; be propitious, 3.116; to beset, 2.330; inf., adfore, to be about to come, destined to come, 7.270. (imp. subj., adforem, -ēs, -et, -ent)

largus, a, um: (adj.), ample; spacious, expansive, 6.640; plentiful, copious, flowing, 1.465; bountiful, free, 10.619; w. gen., lavish, 11.338.

effundō, fūdī, fūsus, 3, a.: to pour out or forth; shed, 2.271; throw, cast out, 7.780; cast, 6.339; overthrow, 11.485; bring out, 9.68; unbind, dishevel, 4.509; dissolve, 2.651; let loose, throw out, 5.818; spend, lose, waste, 5.446; of words, utter, 5.780; (pass.), effundī, dart, 5.145; flow, 6.686. (ex and fundō)

flētus, ūs, m.: a weeping; tears, 3.599; a flood of tears, 2.271; lamentation, mourning, 4.463; tearful, sad message, 4.437. (fleō)

raptō, āvī, ātus, 1, intens. a.: to seize violently; drag, 1.483; hurry away, transport. (rapiō)

bīgae, ārum, f. pl: a team of two horses; a car or chariot drawn by two horses; a car, 2.272; bīgīs in albīs, in a chariot drawn by two white horses, 12.164. . (bis and iugum)

āter, tra, trum: (adj.), black; dark, gloomy, 1.60, et al.; smoky, lurid, 7.456; 4.384; clotted, dark, 3.622; soiled, blackened, 2.272; (fig.), sad, fatal, 6.429; venomous, deadly; of the odor of smoke, 12.591.

cruentus, a, um: (adj.), bloody, blood-stained, 1.296; covered with blood, 10.498.

pulvis, eris, m., rarely f.: dust, 2.273; soil, ground, earth; dusty plain, 7.163.

trāiciō, iēcī, iectus, 3, a. and n.: to throw across, over; pass over, cross, 6.536; pierce, 2.273; transfix, 1.355; p., trāiectus, a, um, drawn or passed through, 5.488; transfixed, pierced, 9.419. (trāns and iaciō)

lōrum, ī, n.: a leather strap or thong, 2.273; pl., lōra, ōrum, reins, 1.156, et al.; harness, 9.318.

tumeō, uī, 2, n.: to swell, 2.381; to be puffed up, boastful, 11.854; p., tumēns, entis, swollen, 2.381.

ei (monosyll.): (interj. expressive of grief), ah! alas! woe is me! 2.274, et al.

redeō, īvī or iī, itus, īre, irreg. n.: to go, come back, return; retreat, 9.794.

exuviae, ārum, f.: that which has been taken off; a garment, vestment, 4.496; armor, arms; spoils, 2.275; memorials, relics, 4.651; skin, 2.473; hide, 11.577. (exuō)

induō, uī, ūtus, 3, a.: to put into; put on, assume, 1.684; clothe; surround, crown, 3.526; pierce, slay, 10.682; (pass. as middle, w. acc.), gird one's self with, put on, 2.393; induere in vultūs, transform to the features, 7.20.

Achillēs, is (eos or ī), m.: the son of Peleus, king of Thessaly, and Thetis, daughter of Nereus, 1.468, et al.

Danaī, ōrum, m.: the Greeks, 2.327.

Phrygius, a, um: Phrygian, Trojan, 1.381; subst., Phrygiae, ārum, f., Phrygian or Trojan women, 518. (Phryx)

iaculor, ātus sum, 1, dep. n. and a.: to hurl the javelin; to dart; throw, cast, hurl, 1.42. (iaculum)

puppis, is, f.: the hinder part of a ship; the stern, 5.12; (by synecdoche), a vessel, boat, ship, 1.69; (meton.), crew, 8.497.

squāleō, uī, 2, n.: to be rough, foul, neglected, waste; p., squālēns, entis, foul, filthy, neglected, squalid, 2.277; of armor, scaly, covered with work of scales, embossed, 10.314.

barba, ae, f.: the beard, 3.593.

concrēscō, crēvī, crētus, 3, n.: to grow together; grow thick; stiffen, 12.905; p., concrētus, a, um, concreted, matted, 2.277; formed by natural growth, contracted, accumulated, 6.738.

crīnis, is, m.: the hair, 1.480; train of meteors, 5.528; (often in the pl.), the hairs of the head, the hair.

circum: (adv.), about, around; (prep. with acc.), around, about.

patrius, a, um: adj. (pater), pertaining to one's father or ancestors; a father's, 2.658; paternal, natural to a father, 1.643; exacted by a father, 7.766; due to, felt for a father or parent, 9.294; ancestral, hereditary, 3.249; of one's country, native, 3.281; belonging to the nation, of the country, 11.374.

ultrō: (adv.), to the farther side; furthermore, over and above, moreover, 2.145, et al.; even, 9.127; beyond the limit of necessity; uncompelled, unasked, unimpelled; apart from all external influences, of one's self, of one's own accord or motion, voluntarily, willingly; unprompted by any words on another's part, first, 2.372; 4.304; unaddressed, 10.606; promptly, 10.282; impetuously, 12.3. (cf. ulterior)

compellō, āvī, ātus, 1, a.: to address, accost, speak to, 1.581; greet, salute, 3.299; chide, upbraid, 5.161.

exprōmō, prōmpsī, prōmptus, 3, a.: to bring or draw out; to utter, 2.280.

ō: (interj. expressing joy, grief, astonishment, desire, or indignation), O! oh! ah! w. voc., 2.281, et al.; w. sī and the subj., oh that, 11.415; sometimes placed after the word to which it relates, 2.281.

Dardania, ae, f.: Troy, 2.281.

fīdus, a, um: adj. (fīdō), trustworthy, faithful, trusty, 1.188; safe, secure, hospitable, 5.24; w. gen., tuī fīdissima, most faithful to thee, 12.659.

Teucrī, ōrum, m.: the Trojans, descendants of Teucer, 1.38, et al.; adj., Teucrian, Trojan, 9.779, et al. (Teucer)

ōra, ae, f.: a margin, border, 12.924; coast, shore, 3.396; region, 2.91; rim, extremity, 10.477; pl., outline, compass, 9.528.

exspectō, āvī, ātus, 1, a. and n.: to look out for; to expect, wait for, 4.134; await, 6.614; tarry, linger, delay, 4.225; p., exspectātus, a, um, much looked for; much desired, 2.283; expected, trusted.

veniō, vēnī, ventus: to come, freq.; come forth; approach, 6.755; rise, appear, 1.353; dawn, 10.241; to present one's self or itself, 5.344; descend, spring from, 5.373; impers., ventum est, we, they came or have come, 4.151.

ut (utī): (adv., interrog.), in what manner, how? 1.466, et al.; sometimes with indic. in a dependent question, 6.855; how gladly, 8.154.

post: (prep. w. acc., and adv. of place and time); (prep.), behind, 1.296; next to, 7.655; after, 5.626; (adv.), afterwards, then, next, 1.612; hereafter, 1.136.

tuī, ōrum, m.: your friends, kinsmen, countrymen, descendants, etc., 3.488; freq. (tuus)

defessus, -a, -um: wearied, tired, fatigued, 1.157. (dēfetīscō)

indīgnus, a, um: (adj.), unworthy; unmeet, unjust, 10.74; disgraceful, shameful, revolting, cruel, 2.285; once with gen., 12.649; n. pl. subst., indīgna, ōrum, indignities, 12.811.

serēnus, a, um: (adj.), clear, calm, tranquil, serene, 3.518, et al.; fair, 2.285; subst., serēnum, ī, n. (sc. caelum), a clear sky.

foedō, āvī, ātus, 1, a.: to make foul; defile, pollute, 3.227; (fig.), disfigure, mutilate, 2.286; lacerate, wound, 12.871; break, tear in pieces, destroy, 2.55. (foedus)

nec or neque: (adv. and conj.), and not; neither, nor, 1.643, et al.; in prohibition, 3.394, et al.; neque (nec) — neque (nec), neither — nor, 5.21, et al.; nec — et, or -que, may be rendered neither — nor, 12.801; 2.534; nec nōn, and also, nor less, 6.183; nec nōn et, and also, 1.707.

vānus, a, um: (adj.), containing nothing, empty; devoid of truth, deceitful, false, 1.352; unavailing, 8.259; groundless, 4.12; ignorant, 10.631; subst., vāna, ōrum, n., useless things, 2.287; (adv.), vāna, vainly, 11.854.

graviter: (adv.), heavily; deadly, 7.753; greatly, deeply, 1.126; heavily, mournfully, 2.288. (gravis)

gemitus, ūs, m.: a groaning; a groan, 3.39, et al.; sigh, 1.485; lamentation, 2.486; cry, 2.413; noise, roaring, 3.555. (gemō)

heu: (interj.), alas! ah! oh! 2.289, et al.

ruō, ruī, rutus, 3, n. and a.: to fall with violence; tumble down, fall, freq.; fall in battle, 10.756; of the sun, go down, set, 3.508; rush forward, 2.64; of the chariot of Nox, hasten up; ascend, rise, 2.250; advance, 10.256; plunge, rush, 2.353; flee, 12.505; tremble, quake, 8.525; hasten, pass away, 6.539; cause to fall; cast down, 9.516; plow, 1.35; cast, throw up, 1.85; throw up or together, 11.211.

culmen, inis, n.: a top, summit, height, 2.290; house top, ridge, roof, 2.458. (cf. columna)

Trōia, ae, f.: 1. Troy, the capital of the Troad, 2.625, et al. 2. A city built by Helenus in Epirus, 3.349. 3. A part of the city of Acesta in Sicily, 5.756. 4. The name of an equestrian game of Roman boys, 5.602.

Priamus, ī, m.: 1. Priam, son of Laomedon, king of Troy, 1.458, et al. 2. A Trojan youth, son of Polites and grandson of King Priam, 5.564.

Pergama, ōrum, n., Pergamum, ī, n., and Pergamus (-os), ī, f.: 1. The citadel or walls of Troy, 3.87; Troy, 4.344, et al. 2. The Trojan citadel of Helenus in Epirus, 3.336.

possum, potuī, posse, irreg. n.: to be able; can, 1.242, et al.; to avail, have influence, power, 4.382. (potis and sum)

sacrum, ī, n.: a holy thing; pl., sacra, ōrum, n., sacred symbols, rites, 12.13; sacred rites, ceremonies, sacrifices, 2.132; sacred things, utensils, symbols, 2.293; mysteries, 3.112.

commendō, āvī, ātus, 1, a.: to commit, consign, intrust, 2.748. (com- and mandō)

Penātēs, ium, m.: gods of the household; hearth-, fireside gods, 2.514, et al.; tutelary gods of the state as a national family, 1.68; (fig.), fireside, hearth, dwelling-house, abode, 1.527. (penus)

pererrō, āvī, ātus, 1, a.: to wander through or over, 2.295; survey, 4.363; explore, try, 5.441; pervade, 7.375.

manus, ūs, f.: the hand, 1.487; freq.; (meton.), action, movement of the hand; work, art, handiwork, 3.486; prowess, heroic deed, action, 2.434; force, violence, 2.645; a collection of persons; a band, crew, troop; an army, 2.29; forces, 5.623; multitude, 6.660; pl., manūs, workmen, 11.329; dare manūs, to yield, 11.558; extrēma manus, the finishing hand or touch, 7.572.

vitta, ae, f.: a fillet, band, or chaplet for the head, especially for religious occasions, 5.366, et al.

Vesta, ae, f.: Vesta, daughter of Saturn, and granddaughter of Vesta, wife of Coelus; goddess of the hearth and household, 2.296, et al.; (meton.), the hearth, the fire.

adytum, ī, n.: the inaccessible; the innermost part of a temple, accessible only to the priest; a shrine, sanctuary, oracle, 2.115; the interior of a tomb, or shrine of the dead, 5.84.

efferō, extulī, ēlātus, ferre, irreg. a.: to bear, or bring out or forth, 2.297; bear away, rescue, 3.150; raise, elevate, lift up or high, 1.127; elate, puff up, 11.715; efferre gressum or pedem, walk, go, come forth, 2.753; efferre sē, arise, 3.215. (ex and ferō)

penetrālis, e: adj. (penetrō), innermost, inner, 2.297; subst., penetrālia, ium, n., the interior of a house; sanctuary, shrine, chapel (of a dwelling or temple), 2.484, et al.

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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.