THE.      Rapitur volucrī tortus Ixīōn rotā;750

cervīce saxum grande Sīsyphiā sedet;

in amne mediō faucibus siccīs senex

sectātur undās; alluit mentum latex,

fidemque cum iam saepe dēceptō dedit,

perit unda in ōre, pōma dēstituunt famem.755

praebet volucrī Tityōs aeternās dapēs,

urnāsque frūstrā Danaidēs plēnās gerunt;

errant furentēs impiae Cadmēidēs,

terretque mēnsās avida Phīnēās avis.

Theseus describes the punishment of the famous criminals of the Underworld, including Ixion, Sisyphus, Tantalus, Tityos, the Danaides, the daughters of Cadmus (see below), and Phineus.

See the introductory essay for the relationship between this passage and Virgil’s similar description of Underworld punishment at Aeneid 6.565–627. Note the careful arrangement of adjectives, nouns, and verbs in lines 750–52 and 759.

750 Rapitur: “is moved quickly” (LS rapio I.B), i.e. “spins.” volucrī: adjective in the ablative, “swift.” The word is used below as a noun (756). tortus: “whirled around” (LS torqueo I.B.1), but also “tortured” (ibid. II.B). rotā: ablative of means (AG 408).

751 Sīsyphiā: adjective in place of a genitive noun, as at line 72.

752 senex: Tantalus

754 fidem … dedit: “has promised.” cum: the conjunction is postponed to second position, as often in poetry. saepe: modifies dēceptō, which is dative, referring to Tantalus.

756 volucrī: noun in the dative, “to a bird” (traditionally two vultures devoured his liver). The word is adjectival above (750).

758 Cadmēidēs: three of the daughters of Cadmus, Autonoe, Agave, and Ino, either killed their own family members or attempted to. Their crime, though not their punishment, foreshadows Hercules’.

tortus –ūs m.: twisting

rota rotae f.: wheel

cervīx cervīcis f.: neck

grandis grandis grande: full–grown; large

Sīsyphus or –os –ī m.: Sisyphus

medium medi(ī) n.: middle

faux faucis f.: throat; jaws, mouth; entrance

siccus –a –um: dry

sector sectārī sectātus sum: to follow eagerly

adluō –ere –luī: to wash against; bathe

mentum mentī n.: chin

latex –icis m.: liquid, fluid

dēcipiō dēcipere dēcēpī dēceptus: to deceive, cheat

ōra –ae f.: shore, coast

pōmum –ī n.: fruit

dēstituō dēstituere dēstituī dēstitūtum: to set down; leave alone

Tityos –ī m.: Tityos

daps –dapis f.: feast

urna urnae f.: urn

Danaides, -es: The Danaids

furō furere: to rage, be mad

impius –a –um: disloyal, wicked

Cadmēis –idis: of Cadmus

avidus –a –um: eager; greedy; hungry

Phīneus –eī or –eos m.: Phineus

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