918-939

AM.                                          Nāte, mānantēs prius

manūs cruentā caede et hostīlī expiā.

 

HER       Utinam cruōrem capitis invīsī deīs920

lībāre possem! grātior nūllus liquor

tīnxisset ārās; victima haud ūlla amplior

potest magisque opīma mactārī Iovī,

quam rēx inīquus.

 

AM.                                       Fīniat genitor tuōs

optā labōrēs, dētur aliquandō ōtium925

quiēsque fessīs.

 

HER.                                 Ipse concipiam precēs

Iove mēque dignās. stet suō caelum locō

tellūsque et aequor; astra inoffēnsōs agant

aeterna cursūs, alta pāx gentēs alat;

ferrum omne teneat rūris innocuī labor930

ēnsēsque lateant. nūlla tempestās fretum

violenta turbet, nūllus īrātō Iove

exsiliat ignis, nūllus hībernā nive

nūtrītus agrōs amnis ēversōs trahat.

venēna cessent, nūlla nocitūrō gravis935

sūcō tumēscat herba. nōn saevī ac trucēs

rēgnent tyrannī. sī quod etiamnum est scelus

lātūra tellūs, properet, et sī quod parat

mōnstrum, meum sit.

Amphitryon reminds his son to purify his bloodstained hands before performing the sacred ritual. Hercules replies that he wishes he could offer Lycus as a sacrifice. Amphitryon then asks Hercules to pray for an end to his Labors, but he instead asks for peace over the whole earth.

Hercules’ desire for human sacrifice stands in tension with his more “civilized” vision of world peace and shows us that he has begun to move beyond social norms even before his episode of madness.

918–919 mānantēs … expiā: prose word order would be expiā prius manūs mānantēs caede cruentā et hostīlī. caede: ablative of manner (AG 412) modifying mānantēs: “trickling with slaughter.” cruentā et hostīlī: hendiadys: “the bloody enemy’s.”

920–21 utinam … lībāre possem: “if only I could pour.” The imperfect optative subjunctive denotes an unaccomplished wish (AG 442). capitis invīsī: Lycus’s “hateful head.”

922 tinxisset: past contrary to fact: “would have stained” (AG 514C) > tingo.

922–23 victima … potest: supply esse as the complementary infinitive in the first clause (AG 456); mactārī is the complementary infinitive in the second clause.

924–25 Finiat … optā … dētur: a substantive clause of purpose (AG 563) with the ut omitted: “ask that your father put an end ... and that … be given.”

925 fessīs: dative substantive, “to tired people.”

927 Iove mēque: ablatives of specification with the adjective dignus (AG 418)

927–937  stet… agant… alat… teneat… lateant… turbet… exsiliat… trahat… cessent… tumescat… regnent: all jussive subjunctives (AG 439), expressing Hercules’ prayer for the world.

927 suō locō: locative ablative (AG 421)

930 The line expresses the “swords into plowshares” motif.

932 irātō Iove: ablative of source (AG 403). Seneca plays on Jupiter’s multiple identities as Hercules’ father and the sky from which the lightning (ignis) originates.

933 hibernā nive: ablative of source (AG 403)

934 agrōs amnis eversōs: placing amnis between agros and eversos suggests the river running through the middle of the field.

935–936 nocitūrō … sūcō: ablative of manner (AG 412), “with juice that will cause harm,” i.e. poison.

937–38 quod: = aliquod. est … lātūra: > fero, “is going to produce.” properet: jussive subjunctive, like sit in the next line.

mānō mānāre mānāvī mānātus: to drip, flow

cruentus –a –um: bloody, blood–stained

hostīlis hostīlis hostīle: hostile

expiō –āre –āvī –ātus: to atone; purify

utinam: would that

cruor cruōris m.: blood, bloodshed

invīsus –a –um: hated

lībō libāre libāvī libātus: to pour, taste

līquor līquōris m.: a fluid, liquid

tingō tingere tinxī tinctum: to wet, moisten; dye, color

victima –ae f.: sacrificial animal; victim

opīmus –a –um: rich; fat, fertile

mactõ mactāre mactāvī mactātus: to sacrifice, offer; punish, reward

Iovis –is m.: Jupiter, Jove

inīquus –a –um: unequal; uneven, unjust

fīnīō fīnīre fīnīvī fīnītus: to limit, fix; finish

genitor genitōris m.: father

quiēs quiētis f.: rest, peace

concipiō concipere concēpī conceptum: to hold; become fertilized, germinate

Iovis –is m.: Jupiter, Jove

inoffēnsus –a –um: unhindered

innocuus –a –um: harmless

ēnsis ēnsis m.: sword

fretum fretī n.: strait, channel; the sea

violentus –a –um: violent, savage

Iovis –is m.: Jupiter, Jove

exsiliō –ilīre –ilui: to spring forth

hībernus –a –um: (belonging to) winter

nix nivis f.: snow

nūtriō –īre –īvī or iī –ītus: to nourish

ēvertō ēvertere ēvertī ēversus: to overturn, overthrow

venēnum venēnī n.: poison

cessō cessāre cessāvī cessātus: to delay; cease; be idle

sūcus –ī m.: juice

tumēscō tumēscere tumuī —: to begin to swell

herba herbae f.: grass, herb

trux trucis: wild, rough, savage

rēgnō rēgnāre rēgnāvī rēgnātus: to rule

tyrannus tyrannī m.: tyrant

etiamnum or etiamnunc: yet, till now, even at this time

mōnstrum mōnstrī n.: monster; omen

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