AM.                                          Quod subitum hoc malum est?

quō, nāte, vultūs hūc et hūc ācrēs refers

aciēque falsum turbidā caelum vidēs?


HER.      Perdomita tellūs, tumida cessērunt freta,955

īnferna nostrōs rēgna sēnsēre impetūs;

immūne caelum est, dignus Alcīdē labor.

in alta mundī spatia sublīmis ferar,

petātur aether; astra prōmittit pater.

— quid, sī negāret? nōn capit terra Herculem960

tandemque superīs reddit. ēn ultrō vocat

omnis deōrum coetus et laxat forēs,

ūnā vetante. recipis et reserās polum?

an contumācis iānuam mundī trahō?

dubitātur etiam? vincla Sāturnō exuam,965

contrāque patris impiī rēgnum impotēns

avum resolvam. bella Tītānēs parent,

mē duce furentēs; saxa cum silvīs feram

rapiamque dextrā plēna Centaurīs iuga.

iam monte geminō līmitem ad superōs agam;970

videat sub Ossā Pēliōn Chīrōn suum,

in caelum Olympus tertiō positus gradū

perveniet aut mittētur.

Amphitryon asks Hercules what is wrong. Hercules then claims that, having conquered the earth, seas, and Underworld, he has only heaven left to achieve. In a terrifying turn, he threatens war against heaven if he is forbidden to enter, promising to release Saturn and the Titans from the Underworld and lead them in an assault on Olympus. To climb there he will pile Mount Ossa on top of Mount Pelion.

953 quō: “why,” “for what purpose.” Amphitryon’s questions describe Hercules’ psychotic episode and indicate that an eclipse is not real but only Hercules’ hallucination.

954 aciēque turbidā: “with confused vision,” ablative of manner (AG 412)

955–59 Hercules’ hallucination becomes more grandiose. He imagines proceeding from a pacified earth into his father’s heaven.

956 sensēre: = sensērunt.

957 immune: “untouched” (Fitch 2018).  Being immunis is usually a good thing, but Hercules in his megalomania seems to see it as a flaw. Alcīdē: ablative of specification with the adjective dignus (AG 418), as at 927.

958–59 ferar … petatur: hortatory subjunctives (AG 439)

960–64 Hercules questions whether heaven will in fact admit him.

960 quid, sī negāret: a present contrary to fact condition: “what if he should now refuse?” (AG 514C).

963 ūnā vetante: ablative absolute (AG 420), referring to Juno.

964 an … trahō: “or should I tear down…?” The indicative instead of deliberative subjunctive is colloquial (AG 444.a Note). But there may be a hint of Hercules’ coming madness: with the indicative, he seems to imagine that he is already engaged in a war with heaven.

965 Saturnō: ablative of separation (AG 401)

966 impiī: Hercules calls Jupiter impius because he attacked his own father—exactly what Hercules himself is plotting to do. Impotens, modifying regnum, means “lacking self-restraint” (rather than “powerless”). Hercules criticizes Jupiter for not ruling with moderation.

967 parent: hortatory subjunctive (AG 439): “let the Titans prepare war” against Jupiter.

968 mē duce: ablative absolute, “with me as their leader” (AG 419)

969 Centaurīs: ablative with plēna: “full of Centaurs.” Hercules plans to seize the Thessalian mountain ranges where the Centaurs live in order to make his way up to heaven.

970 monte geminō: ablative of means (AG 408)

971 videat: hortatory subjunctive (AG 439), “let Chiron see.”

972–73 in caelum … perveniet aut mittetur: “will reach to the sky or will be hurled” there. tertiō … gradū: “from a third step,” ablative of place from which, without a preposition (AG 428.g).

subitum –ī n.: a sudden occurrence

quī: in what manner? how? Why?

turbidus –a –um: confused, fould

perdomō perdomāre perdomuī perdomitum: to tame thoroughly; subdue

tumidus –a –um: swollen; inflated with passion or pride

fretum fretī n.: strait, channel; the sea

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

immūnis –e: free from service; w. gen., exempt, freed from

Alcīdēs –ae. m.: a descendant of Alceus; Hercules

sublīmis sublīme: high, lofty; exalted 

Herculēs –is m.: Hercules

ēn or em: Look! Behold!

ultrō: furthermore, beyond; voluntarily

coitus coitūs m.: meeting together; sexual union

laxō laxāre laxāvī laxātus: to spread out; open up

foris foris f.: door

reserō reserāre reserāvī reserātus: to unbolt; open

polus –ī m.: pole, heavens

contumāx, contumācis: insolent; studdorn

iānua iānuae f.: door

Sāturnus –ī m.: Saturnus

exuō exuere exuī exūtus: to take off

impius –a –um: disloyal, wicked

impotens –entis: powerless; lacking control, violent

avus avī m.: grandfather, ancestor

resolvō –ere –solvī –solūtus: to untie

Tītān –ānis m.: a Titan

furō furere: to rage, be mad

fera ferae f.: wild animal

Centaurus –ī m.: a Centaur

geminus –a –um: twin

līmes –itis m.: boundary, limit; path

Ossa –ae f.: Ossa, a mountain in Thessaly

Pēlius –a –um: of or belonging to Pelion

Olympus –ī m.: Olympus (home of the gods)

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