Vergil, Aeneid II 298-317

Dīversō intereā miscentur moenia lūctū,

et magis atque magis, quamquam sēcrēta parentis

Anchīsae domus arboribusque obtēcta recessit,300

clārēscunt sonitūs armōrumque ingruit horror.

Excutior somnō et summī fastīgia tēctī

ascēnsū superō atque arrēctīs auribus astō:

in segetem velutī cum flamma furentibus Austrīs

incidit, aut rapidus montānō flūmine torrēns305

sternit agrōs, sternit sata laeta boumque labōrēs

praecipitēsque trahit silvās; stupet īnscius altō

accipiēns sonitum saxī dē vertice pāstor.

Tum vērō manifesta fidēs, Danaümque patēscunt

īnsidiae. Iam Dēïphobī dedit ampla ruīnam310

Volcānō superante domus, iam proximus ārdet

Ūcalegōn; Sīgēa ignī freta lāta relūcent.

Exoritur clāmorque virum clangorque tubārum.

Arma āmēns capiō; nec sat ratiōnis in armīs,

sed glomerāre manum bellō et concurrere in arcem315

cum sociīs ārdent animī; furor īraque mentem

praecipitat, pulchrumque morī succurrit in armīs.

    Manuscripts: M | P 298-300, 301-317

    The din of war increases: I climb the roof and watch, like a shepherd on a rock at the sound of fire or flood. The fire rises: I seize arms (Sidgwick).

    298: dīversō: “in all directions,” “in various regions” (Carter). Note the word’s emphatic position (H-H); “disturbed by many mingled sounds of grief” (G-K). miscentur moenia luctū: Vergil is fond of using misceō of any sort of “confusion” or “trouble” (Sidgwick). Here the city is said to be “confounded,” because “confusion reigns in the city”—“throughout the city with manifold cries of agony confusion reigns” (Page). Moenia, “the city” proper, i.e., all inside the walls (Carter). Luctū, used of the agony during a battle as well as of the grief afterwards for the lost (Conington). magis atque magis: with clārēscunt (301), “louder and louder grow the sounds” (Comstock); “the noises begin to grow clearer and clearer” (H-H).

    299–300: sēcrēta…recessit: “stood back apart [from others]” (Comstock), i.e., was in a remote region of the city, apart by itself. It was neither near the shore nor the Scaean gate where the first fighting was (Carter). = quamquam domus parentis Anchīsae recessit (“lay retired”) sēcrēta (“separate, standing apart), obtēctaque arboribus (Chase). obtēcta: “shaded” (Carter). Notice the accumulation of phrase, sēcrēta obtēcta recessit, “though the walls of my sire were hid in still retreat behind a shroud of trees” (Sidgwick).

    301: clārescunt: “grow distinct” (Carter). armōrumque ingruit horror: ingruit = invādit (Servius); “advance furiously, assail” (Frieze). horror = “shuddering, terror, dread; clashing din” (Frieze). armōrum, subjective genitive with horror (AG 348), “the terror of battle” (Comstock). Translation is difficult: perhaps “the shivery din of arms comes battering” (Austin). Supply nōbīs (Pharr); “and the clash of arms rolls onward” (H-H); “the dread din of arms rolls on” (G-K); “the alarm of battle rolls onward” (Page); “the din of arms grows louder, and their clash impends” (Horsfall).

    302: excutior: a passive used reflexively (AG 156) (C-R): “I start up” (Comstock); “I rouse myself” (Chase); “I shake myself from sleep” (H-H). fastīgia: this word, which strictly indicates a “gable-roof,” must not be pressed, but taken as simply “roof” (Page). Summī fastīgia tēctī, “the highest part of the peaked roof” (Carter).

    303: ascēnsū superō: = ascendō (Carter): “I mount to the top of” (G-K); “I climb to,” literally “gain by climbing” (C-R).

    304–308: in segetem…pastor: a comparison to illustrate Aeneas’ state of mind as he stood on the house-top (Carter); = adstō velutī (cum in segetem…silvās) stupet…pastor: “with ears pricked up I stand, as (when fire falls…or a torrent overwhelms…) the unwitting shepherd is dazed as he hears…” (Page). The comparison instituted is between the bewilderment of Aeneas and of the shepherd, but a further comparison is implied between the din of battle and the sounds of destruction heard by the shepherd (C-R).

    304: furentibus Austrīs:  “when winds are raging” (Comstock); ablative absolute describing an attendant circumstance (AG 420) (Pharr).

    305: rapidus…torrēns: “a swift torrent with its mountain stream sweeps the fields” (Sidgwick). montānō flūmine: = montānī flūminis (Comstock), being ablative of means (AG 409) with sternit (Pharr), or a sort of ablative of quality (AG 415) with rapidus—“a whirling mountain torrent” (Page).

    306: sternit…sternit: “lays waste” (Comstock), a vigorous and rhetorical method of joining clauses by repeating an important word (anaphora, AG 641) (Page). laeta: a common epithet of crops, “joyous,” “bounteous” (Page); “smiling” (Comstock); “luxuriant” (C-R). boumque labōrēs: boum = bovum (gen. pl.) (Pharr); labōrēs = “things produced by labor,” i.e., the crops (Page); literally “the labor of the oxen,” (a Homeric phrase: ργα βον) (Chase), i.e., “the plowed fields” (Carter).

    307: stupet īnscius: take with velutī (C-R): “stands dazed and perplexed” (Comstock); “stands aghast and bewildered” (Howson), i.e., not comprehending at all (C-R), because he has just been roused by the sound, and is still dazed and ignorant of its cause (Page).

    307–308: altō vertice: to harmonize with Aeneas’ position (see line 302) (C-R).

    308: accipiēns: = audiēns (Carter), “as he catches” (Comstock).

    309: tum vērō manifesta fidēs: supply est (Carter): “the truth is clear” (Comstock) or “evident” (H-H), i.e., that the city is captured (Howson); “then truly the proof was plain”: the warnings of Hector were confirmed by the plain evidence of my senses. Fidēs is here not “faith,” “belief,” but “that which causes faith,” or “belief” (Page). manifesta fidēs is widely used: see 3.375 auspiciīs manifesta fidēs (“it is clear fact”), Livy 6.13.7 manifesta fidēs publicā ope Volscōs adiūtōs (“clear proof that…,” “evidence”), Statius, Thebaid 6.638 audītum manifesta fidēs (“clear proof that he was heard”) (Horsfall). Danaum: = Dana[ōr]um by syncope.

    310: Deiphobī: Deiphobus was the son of Priam and Hecuba. After the death of Paris he married Helen (Carter). In 6.494 his ghost meets Aeneas and describes how he was betrayed by his wife at the sack of Troy, and slain and mangled (Sidgwick). His house was the first to be attacked (C-R), drawing the pent-up fury of the Greeks (Pharr). dedit ruīnam: = ruit (Pharr): “fell crashing,” literally “gave a fall” (C-R); “has made” or “caused ruin,” i.e., has fallen in ruin. Vergil and Lucretius are both fond of using in the sense of “place” or “make,” which is still found in compounds like abdō “I place apart” and condō “I place together” (Page). Ruīnam is both the fall and the consequences of it (G-K). ampla: Notice how the position of ampla heightens the effect of dedit ruīnam (C-R).

    311: Volcānō superante: Volcānō = ignī (Pharr). Volcānus is the god of fire, often used for “fire” itself (Sidgwick) by metonymy (AG 641) (Carter). Volcānō superante, ablative absolute (AG 419), “as the fire gains the mastery” (Comstock); “amid the overpowering flames” (H-H). Superante has a double force: “vanquishing” and also “towering over” (Page).

    312: proximus Ūcalegōn: = domus Ucalegōnis (Pharr), the name of the owner put for the house (Page): “[the house of] my neighbor Ucalegon” (Comstock). Ūcalegōn, from ούκ۔αλέγων, “Don’t-Care,” a name of strange form and meaning: sounds like a nickname (Sidgwick). Homer (Iliad 3.148) mentions Ūcalegōn as a trusted consellor of Priam (Howson). Sīgēa…freta: “the Hellespont” (C-R); Sīgēum was a promontory of the Troad, near the union of the Hellespont and the Aegean Sea (Carter). Map of Troy and environs.  ignī…relūcent: “gleam with the blaze” (H-H); ignī, ablative (AG 76b.1) of means (AG 409) (Pharr). lāta: expressive of the vastness of the conflagration (C-R).

    313: exoritur: of the third conjugation here (AG 176) (normally it would be fourth conjugation, exorītur); singular because it agrees with the nearest subject (Pharr). clāmorque…clangorque: Note the word play and polysyndeton (AG 640). virum: = vir[ōr]um by syncope; subjective genitive (AG 347) with clāmor (as also armōrum with clangor). tubārum: Vergil touches on a custom of city-sacking; often cities are sacked to the sound of trumpets, as Tullus Hostilius ordered Alba Longa to be sacked (Servius).

    314: nec sat ratiōnis in armīs: supply est; nec = nōn tamen (Carter): “nor yet is there much (literally “sufficient”) purpose (or sense)” (C-R); sat ratiōnis is “sufficient reason” to justify me in taking them. Aeneas’ actions are due to passion, not to reflection (C-R).

    315: glomerāre: “to muster” (Comstock), dependent on the sense of “desire” in ardent animi—“my spirit burns to gather together a troop for war” (Page);  bellō: dative of purpose (AG 382) (Carter); in prose = ad bellum (C-R). in arcem: the citadel as a rallying-point in his first thought (Conington).

    316–317: furor…praecipitat: “rage and wrath urge on my soul” (Page); “fury and wrath drive me headlong” (H-H).

    316: animī: supply meī (Pharr): “my spirit” (Sidgwick); poetic plural (Carter).

    317: succurrit…armīs: = succurrit [mihi] pulchrum [esse] morī in armīs, “and I think [how] glorious / noble (pulchrum) it is to die in battle,” literally “it occurs to me that it is glorious…” (Page). Compare Horace’s famous line (Odes 3.2.13), dulce et decorum est prō patriā morī, “it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country” (C-R).


    intereā: (adv.), amid these things; meanwhile, in the meantime, 1.418, et al.

    lūctus, ūs, m.: a mourning; sorrow, grief, woe, lamentation, 2.298, and freq.; personif., 6.274. (lūgeō)

    magis, and short form, mage: (adv.), in a greater measure; more, 5.94; 10.481; the more, 7.787; for potius, by preference, rather, 5.29; better, 4.452. (rel. to māgnus)

    sēcrētus, a, um: separated, apart, retired, solitary, 2.299; secret; unnoticed, 4.494. (sēcernō)

    Anchīsēs, ae, m.: son of Capys and Themis, and father of Aeneas by Venus, 2.687, et al.

    obtegō, tēxī, tēctus, 3, a.: to cover up or over, 2.300.

    recēdō, cessī, cessus, 3, n.: to go back, retire, withdraw, 12.129; recede, retreat, 2.633; stand apart, retire, 2.300; depart, 2.595; disappear, 3.72; vanish, 5.526.

    clārēscō, claruī, 3, inc. n.: to become clear to the ear or eye; grow loud, increase, 2.301.

    sonitus, ūs, m.: a sounding; noise, 2.732, et al.; roaring, 2.209; thunder, 6.586. (sonō)

    ingruō, uī, 3, n.: to rush into; advance furiously, 11.899; assail, 8.535; rush upon the ear, resound, 2.301; descend, 12.284.

    horror, ōris, m.: a roughening or bristling; (fig.), a shuddering; terror, dread, horror, dismay, 2.559; clashing din, 2.301. (horreō)

    excutiō, cussī, cussus, 3, a.: to shake out or off, 2.224; throw or cast down, 1.115; cast out, 10.590; drive away, 3.200; expel, 7.299; shake out, uncoil, 3.267; uncoil and arrange (set the sails), 3.683; deprive of, 6.353; throw aside, break, 12.158; hurry forth, call forth, 9.68. (ex and quatiō)

    fastīgium, iī, n.: that which is carried to a point or apex; the apex or point of a pediment; a gable, upper part of a house; roof, pinnacle, battlement, 2.444; slope of a trench; (fig.), chief point, 1.342. (fastīgō)

    ascēnsus, ūs, m.: a climbing or ascending, 2.303. (ascendō)

    arrigō, rēxī, rēctus, 3, a.: to raise up; erect; bristle up, 10.726; (fig.), to excite, rouse; p., arrēctus, a, um, standing up, rising; erect, 5.426; bristling, 11.754; attentive, 1.152; animated, roused, encouraged, 1.579; ardent, intent; intense, 5.138; in fearful expectation, 12.731. (ad and regō)

    adstō, stitī, 1, n.: to stand at, near, or upon; alight, 1.301; stand, 9.677; be present, 3.150; stand or be ready, 3.123; impend, 3.194.

    seges, etis, f.: a field of grain; standing corn, 2.304; crop, harvest, growth of spears, 3.46; pasture land, 4.129.

    furō, uī, 3, n.: to be mad; freq., to rave, be frantic, rage, 1.491; to be furious, burn, storm (for war), 7.625; to be burning or mad with love, 1.659; to be frenzied, in a frenzy, 6.100; inspired, 2.345; distracted with grief, 3.313; plunge madly, 9.552; boil, 7.464; with cognate acc., give vent to one's fury, 12.680.

    Auster, trī, m.: the southerly or south wind, opposite to Aquilo; wind in general, 3.70; (meton.), the south.

    rapidus, a, um: adj. (rapiō), that tears away; violent, fierce; swiftly moving, rapid, 1.42; speedy, quick, prompt, 5.513.

    montānus, a, um: adj. (mōns), pertaining to mountains; mountain-, 2.305.

    torreō, uī, tostus, 2, a. and n.: to burn, scorch, roast, parch, 1.179; rush, roll, 6.550; of a river bank, 9.105; p., torrēns, entis, subst., a torrent, 7.567.

    sternō, strāvī, strātus, 3, a.: to spread out, spread, 1.700; stretch on the ground, strike down, slay, 1.190; cast down, prostrate, devastate, 2.306; make level, smooth, calm, 5.763; spread, cover, 8.719; strew, litter; overthrow, conquer, 6.858; pass. (in middle sense), sternor, ī, to stretch one's self, lie down, 3.509.

    sata, ōrum, n.: things sown or planted; grain, growing grain; crops, 3.139. (serō, serere, sēvī, satus)

    praeceps, cipitis: adj. (prae and caput), head foremost; headlong, 2.307; deep, 11.888; hurried, hasty, quick, speedy, 4.573; flying, running swiftly, 2.516; 3.598; rash, impetuous, fiery, 9.685; prolept., ready to sink, 10.232; subst., praeceps, n., a steep, precipice, verge, 2.460; in praeceps, headlong; downwards, 6.578.

    stupeō, uī, 2, n. and a.: to be amazed or dazed; to be bewildered, confounded, lost in wonder, 1.495; wonder at, 2.31.

    īnscius, a, um: not knowing; unaware, unwitting, ignorant, 1.718; amazed, bewildered, 2.307; w. gen., ignorant of, 12.648.

    vertex, icis, m.: a whirl; whirlpool, 7.567; vortex, 1.117; whirling column of flame, 12.673; the top, crown of the head, the head, 1.403; summit, top, 1.163; mountain summit, height, 3.679; ā vertice, from on high, from above, 1.114. (vertō)

    pāstor, ōris, m.: one who feeds; herdsman, shepherd, 2.58. (pāscō)

    manifēstus, a, um: (adj.), made obvious; palpable, plain, clear, evident, 2.309; manifest, visible, 3.151, et al.

    Danaī, ōrum, m.: the Greeks, 2.327.

    patēscō, patuī, 3, inc. n.: to begin to be open; to be open to view, stand open, 2.483; open, 3.530; become evident, manifest, 2.309. (pateō)

    īnsidiae, ārum, f.: a sitting down, or lying in ambuscade; an ambush, 11.783; snare, toil; plot, treachery, wile, 2.36; stealthy journey or enterprise, 9.237; artifice, stratagem, 2.421; personif. pl., Īnsidiae, ārum, Stratagem, 12.336. (īnsideō)

    Dēiphobus, ī, m.: a son of Priam, who became the husband of Helen after the death of Paris, 6.495.

    ruīna, ae, f.: a falling down; fall, overthrow; convulsion, commotion, destructive force, 1.129; onset, shock, 11.613; pl., ruin, overthrow, destruction, 1.238; dare, trahere ruīnam, to fall in ruins, 2.310; bring destruction, 12.454. (ruō)

    Vulcānus, ī, m.: the god of fire and of the forge, son of Jupiter and Juno, 8.422; (meton.), fire, 2.311, et al.

    Ūcalegōn, ontis, m.: a Trojan; (meton.), the house of Ucalegon, 2.312.

    Sīgēus, a, um: adj. (Sīgēum), pertaining to Sigeum, a promontory and town in the Troad, at the mouth of the Dardanelles, about five miles northwest of Troy; Sigean, 2.312.

    fretum, ī, n.: a frith or strait; water; the sea, 1.557.

    relūceō, lūxī, 2, n.: to shine back or again, or brightly; glow, flash, 2.312; to take fire, 12.300.

    exorior, ortus sum, 4, dep. n.: to rise up; come forth, appear, rise, 4.130; arise, 3.128; spring up, arise, 4.625.

    clangor, ōris, m.: a clashing sound; braying, din, blast, 2.313; rushing sound, flapping, 3.226. (clangō, resound)

    tuba, ae, f.: a trumpet, 2.313, et al.; trumpet-signal, 11.424.

    āmēns, entis: out of one’s mind or senses; amazed, beside one’s self, frantic, mad, furious, 2.314; 4.203; distracted, 3.307.

    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.

    satis or sat: (adj. and adv.), sufficient, enough; w. gen., 2.314; alone as subject, 2.291; as predicate, 2.642; comp., satius, better, preferable, 10.59.

    glomerō, āvī, atus, 1, a.: to gather into a ball or mass; roll, whirl, 3.577; collect; assemble, gather, 2.315; (pass.), glomerārī, in mid. signif., to throng, gather; troop, flock, 1.500. (glomus, ball)

    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.

    concurrō, currī (rarely cucurrī), cursus, 3, n.: to run together or at once; crowd around, 12.297; rush, 2.315; rush to conflict, 7.224; rush against a foe; (with dat.), engage, encounter, 1.493.

    praecipitō, āvī, ātus, 1, a. and n.: to cast headlong, hurl, plunge, 2.37; urge, hurry, hasten; impel, incite, 2.317; break off, end swiftly, 12.699; hasten away, 4.565; n. (sc. sē), fall headlong, 6.351; descend swiftly, 2.9; run down, 4.251. (praeceps)

    succurrō, currī, cursus, 3, n.: to run up; run to assist; with dat., to aid, succor, relieve, help, 1.630; impers., succurrit, it comes into the mind, occurs, seems, 2.317. (sub and currō)

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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.