46-63

Nec satis terrae patent:

effrēgit ecce līmen īnfernī Iovis

et opīma vīctī rēgis ad superōs refert.48

vīdī ipsa, vīdī nocte discussā īnferūm50

et Dīte domitō spolia iactantem patrī

frāterna. cūr nōn vīnctum et oppressum trahit

ipsum catēnīs paria sortītum Iovī

Erebōque captō potitur et retegit Styga?

parum est revertī, foedus umbrārum perit:49

patefacta ab īmīs mānibus retrō via est55

et sacra dīrae mortis in apertō iacent.

at ille, ruptō carcere umbrārum ferōx,

dē mē triumphat et superbificā manū

ātrum per urbēs dūcit Argolicās canem.

vīsō labantem Cerberō vīdī diem60

pavidumque Sōlem; mē quoque invāsit tremor,

et terna mōnstrī colla dēvictī intuēns

timuī imperāsse.

Juno focuses on her most recent reason to hate and fear Hercules. Her enemy has just returned from the Underworld with Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog, and so demonstrated his contempt for death.

46 nec satis terrae patent: “even the earth is not room enough.”

47 īnfernī Iovis: “the Jupiter below,”a common poetic way of referring to Jupiter’s brother Dis, ruler of the Underworld.

48 opīma vīctī rēgis: a Roman commander could be awarded the spolia opīma, “the rich spoils,” by defeating an enemy commander in battle and taking his weapons and armor. Juno speaks as if Hercules has defeated Dis (vīctī rēgis) and taken spoils from him.

50 vīdī ipsa, vīdī: the repetition of vīdī with the intensifying pronoun emphasizes Juno’s strong emotion. Virgil’s Aeneas similarly repeats vīdī as he narrates the disasters that he observed during the sack of Troy (Aeneid 2.499–501). īnferūm: genitive, for inferōrum, “of the world below,” a neuter plural adjective used as a substantive (L-S inferus I.B)

50–51 nocte discussā … et Dīte domitō: ablative absolute (AG 419), describing the attendant circumstances of iactantem.

51 iactantem patrī: “(Hercules) showing off to his father (Jupiter).”

51-52 spolia … frāterna: “his (Jupiter’s) brother’s spoils”; Jupiter and Dis are brothers.

52–54 Juno exaggerates the consequences of Hercules’ removal of Cerberus. What if he decided to rule in the Underworld in place of Dis, the god whom he conquered?

53 ipsum: Dis. paria sortītum Iovī: “having drawn equal lots to Jupiter.” Sortītum refers to Dis, like the other accusative participles in the sentence. Dis drew lots with his brothers Jupiter and Neptune for control of the universe. Jupiter won and took heaven; Neptune came in second and took the sea; Dis lost and so has the undesirable Underworld. See Iliad 15.184ff.

54 Erebōque captō: ablative, governed by the deponent verb potitur (AG 410). Styga: a Greek accusative form of the third declension (AG 82).

49, 55-56 Juno voices a complaint that the god of the Underworld makes frequently in ancient poetry. During Homer’s battle of the gods, for example, Hades worries that Poseidon will split open the earth and allow people to see his kingdom (Homer Iliad 20.61–66).

49 Editors since F. Leo have moved this line here, as it makes better sense with the lines that follow. parum est revertī: “it is not enough to return.” foedus umbrārum: “the compact governing the shades,” i.e., an agreement between Pluto and Jupiter than Pluto’s kingdom is not to be violated. The genitive is normal after foedus, see L-S foedus -eris n. II. perīt: “has perished” = periit > pereō perfect active.

55 retrō via: “the road back.” Note that via est should be read viast through prodelision; see note 2. ab īmīs mānibus: “from the deepest underworld” > Mānēs, shades of the dead, by metonymy.

56 sacra: “holy things.” See note 30 on Latin neuter adjectives used as nouns.

57-63 Juno takes Hercules’ latest Labor personally, as if his choice to parade Cerberus in triumph was intended as an insult to her. She is also afraid of the monster that he has brought up from the Underworld.

57 ruptō carcere: ablative of specification (AG 418), describing why Hercules is ferox.

58 superbificā: Seneca apparently coined this resonant compound adjective. Compound adjectives in ficus are rare, but characteristic of Roman drama.

60 vīsō … Cerberō: ablative absolute (AG 419), describing the attendant circumstances. labantem … diem: “daylight faltering” (Fitch).

63 imperāsse: = imperāvisse, as if she herself, rather than Eurystheus, had ordered Hercules to bring back Cerberus.

effringō –ere –frēgī –frāctus: to break out or open; crush

īnfernus –a –um:  of that which is below, infernal

Iuppiter Iovis m.: Jupiter, Jove

opīmus –a –um: rich; fat, fertile

discutiō –ere –cussī –cussus: to shake off

īnfernus –a –um:  of that which is below, infernal

Dīs –ītis m.: Dis; Pluto

domō domāre domuī domitus: to tame, subdue

spolia –ōrum n.: plunder; hide (of an animal), arms

iactō iactāre iactāvī iactātus: to throw; throw around; boast

frāternus –a –um: of a brother, fraternal

vinciō vincīre vīnxī vīnctum: to bind, tie up

opprimō opprimere oppressī oppressus: to press on or down; overwhelm

catēna –ae f.: chain, fetter

Iuppiter Iovis m.: Jupiter, Jove

Erebus –ī m.: Erebus

potior potiri potitus sum: to obtain; to possess; to reign over

retegō retegere retēxī retēctus: to uncover, reveal

Stygius –a –um: Stygian; pertaining to Styx (river)

revertor revertī reversus sum: to turn back, return

foedus foederis n.: contract, treaty

patefaciō patefacere patefēcī patefactum: to reveal

imus –a –um: deepest, last

mānēs –ium m. pl: souls or ghosts of the dead 

retrō: backwards

sacrum sacrī n.: a holy thing; sacrifice; a sacred thing, temple

dīrus –a –um: ominous, fearful, horrible; dire

apertus aperta apertum: open

carcer carceris m.: prison, jail

ferōx ferōcis: bold; wild

triumphō triumphāre triumphāvī triumphātus: to triumph, have a triumph

superbificus superbifica, superbificum: proud-making 

āter atra atrum: black

Argolicus –a –um: of Argolis; Argolic; Greek

vīsum vīsī n.: vision

labō labāre labāvī labātus: to give way

Cerberus –ī m.: Cerberus, three-headed dog of Pluto

pavidus –a –um: scared, frightened

invādō invādere invāsī invāsum: to go in, attack

tremor –ōris m.: trembling; a shudder, horror

ternī –ae –a: 3 each

mōnstrum mōnstrī n.: monster; omen

collum collī m.:  neck

dēvincō –ere –vīcī –victus: to conquer completely

intueor intuērī intuitus sum: to look at

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