Astyages's Weblog

August 16, 2009

Virgil’s Aeneid

Filed under: Uncategorized — astyages @ 12:08 am

Edited by

DL Rowlands

Part 1:

...at last the Trojan refugees were driven against the shores of the Latian realm

 

Book I 

It was the hatred and jealousy of the goddess Juno which caused the Trojans, fleeing from the destruction of their home-city, so much grief and struggle, through seas made mountainous by Aeolus the god of the wind. Yet even the Queen of Heaven could not forever forestall the fate which Jove had ordained for these storm-tossed wanderers, who would father the Alban race and lay the foundations of the glory that was Rome.

But tell me, oh Muse, what were the causes of such divine wrath? What act, innocent or knowing, was it which provoked the ire of Heaven’s Queen?

It was out of love for Carthage, dearer to Juno than the isle of Samos or even her own city of Argos, whose empire she had personally designed and encouraged to greatness, that her anger arose. For an ancient prophecy had once said that the Trojan race would one day destroy her beloved Carthage and then would lay the yoke of their imperialism upon all the nations of the world. For this reason Juno had aided the Greeks in their ten-year-long campaign against the Trojan state. Furthermore, Juno harbored great resentment against the beautiful young Paris, who had disdained to make love to her, as the goddess had requested, and had instead bestowed this grace upon the beautiful youth, Ganymede.

This prophecy and this insult had caused the Queen of Heaven such distress that she turned her dark and bloodthirsty mind to the business of revenge. For seven long years Juno caused the band of wandering refugees, the remnants of the Trojan host to wander, storm-tossed and scattered through the main, until at last they were driven against the shores of the Latian realm. But scarcely had the Trojan fleet left the Sicilian shores, with cheerful shouts, when Juno, laboring still with endless discontent, gave vent to her fury:

“Then am I vanquished? And must the Trojans reign in Italy? So Fate will have it, and Jove adds his force; I am powerless alone against these two. Angry Pallas, with vengeful spleen, could burn the Grecian navy and drown the men! She, for the fault of one offending foe, presumed to throw the very bolts of Jove himself; and with whirlpools from beneath she tossed the ship and exposed the bosom of the deep. Then, as an eagle grips the trembling hare, she strongly seized the wretch, still hissing with her father’s flame, and with a burning wound transfixed him; and naked, on a rock, she bound him.

“But I who walk in awful state, the majesty of heaven, the sister wife of Jove, for long years employ my fruitless force against the thin remains of ruined Troy! What nations will now pray to Juno’s power? Who now will lay offerings on my slighted altars?”

Feeling thus powerless, the goddess sought the aid of an ally in the form of Aeolus, who keeps the winds bound up within a mountain cave or lets them out to work at his command.

“Oh Aeolus”, she beseeched him, “the King of Heaven has given you the power of the winds and of tempests; you can calm them down and smooth the troubled seas, or you can swell them to a fury… Now there is a race of wandering slaves whom I abhor who are currently making fair headway through the Tuscan sea on their way to Italy, where they plan to design and build new temples for their vanquished gods. Raise all thy winds! Let the skies become black as night! Sink or disperse my fatal enemies! Do this for me, and of the fourteen ocean nymphs who bear my train, the fairest, Deiopeia, shall be yours and make you the father of a happy line.”

To this the god replied, “Your wish is my command, my Queen, for is not my own realm the present of your bounteous hand?”

And with that the god hurled his spear against the mountainside and when he pulled it out again, from the hollow wound the winds danced into the air, and skimming along the ground they settled on the sea, sweeping it into great surges, raising mountains of water and disclosing the deep. The South, East and West winds all blowing at the same time caused such confusion that huge waves rolled in billows to the shore. The cables cracked; and the sailors cried out fearfully as the daytime skies turned to night, and loud peals of thunder and flashes of Jove’s lightning revealed a dreadful picture.

Struck with an unusual fright, the Trojan chief lifted up his hands and eyes and prayed for relief, “Those who died under the walls of Troy are far happier than we! Why couldn’t I have been slain by Tydides, bravest of Greeks, and lie with noble Hector in the plain? Or in the bloody fields of Sarpedon, where Simois rolls the bodies and the shields of heroes, whose dismembered hands still hold their dart aloft or clench the pointed spear!”

(to be continued)

2 Comments »

  1. Thank you very much for your comment, George…

    I’m not ‘translating’ the Aeneid as I don’t have the Latin; all I’m doing really is trying to make it a bit more easily readable by rendering it into prose, though I must say the work does seem to be somewhat ‘mountainous’.

    However, please ignore my despondency over this project in my comment over at the Pigs’ Arms earlier today… I’m probably just feeling a little tired and depressed. Perhaps if I set myself a goal of posting a section at a time; one section per week (or maybe per month; we’ll see how it goes), maybe I’ll get through it eventually.

    It’s been so long since I first read the Aeneid that I could not do what you suggest without re-familiarizing myself with the work first; and one of the best ways for me to do this is to turn an epic poem into a prose story… But if I do this properly perhaps I will eventually relate those aspects of the story to which you refer and both our purposes will have been served.

    I do hope you’ll drop in from time to time to keep me on track and to let me know what you think about how my website is progressing.

    Please take your time with AOV… if you do have any questions or problems with it, or find passages which perhaps require a little more explanation for a ‘non-anthropologist’, please do not hesitate to leave your questions as comments on the relevant post and I’ll respond to them as quickly as I can.

    Looking forward to many interesting discussions, my old friend… I also intend to visit your own website regularly (been meaning to do that for ages, but have been just too busy thus far; but I’ll see you there soon, don’t worry!) If you have no objections, I’d also like to post a link to it under my ‘blogroll’…

    In the meantime, let me just say ‘thank you’ once more and bid you a hearty ‘Welcome to Astyages’s Weblog!’ as I pour out a libation to the Muses and pray for their inspiration and the strength to continue. And another one to Aesclepios with another prayer for a swift return to health for both of us!

    🙂

    Comment by astyages — October 1, 2009 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  2. Dave you’re launching on a very brave labour, here, so brave that I think Hercules might be shivering in his lion skin with fear you’ll surpass all of his brave work!
    What I had in mind when I was talking about Aeneas… back in the old days, was a telling of Aeneas’ tale, much in the way I’m telling the myths around the capture of Troy. Just relax and tell the myths around Aeneas from whatever source is around, rather than retell or translate Virgil’s wholl dozen books! What I was getting at is that you’d somehow go back and talk about his daddy’s (Anchises) encounter with Aphrodite -a delightful tale by the way- and then his (Aeneas’) various encounters with the Greeks on the battlefield, then how he went to bring in more allies (his tribe) to Troy to help them with the war effort, how he came back too late, after the Greeks had done their worse and left… so that our two stories would be linked and both sides of the war would be represented, for the sake of the patrons of the Pig’s doo dahs.
    Just a modern telling of what you know about Aeneas.
    I really am sorry to have thrown you into this huge, cumbersome and what must be highly irritating mountain of work. I should have made myself much clearer.
    I’ve really enjoyed Warrigal’s latest story. I wish I could write like that. A story told by the hearth from the heart with a slight whiff of whiskey! Lovely, relaxed atmosphere with the promise of turbulence just beneath the surface!
    I’ve just begun on your AOV thesis. I must admit, because I’m not at all familiar with either the aesthetics debate nor Anthropology, the discipline, I’m struggling a fair bit with the Intro. I know you told me to skip the intro but I can’t do that. I’m the sort of twit who just must read, intros and prefaces and forewords and dedications before he gets on to the opus. If it’s written, then it must be read!
    But do give me a bit of time. I’ll get to it in the fullness of time!
    The blog looks good. I enjoyed much of your poetry. It’s such a difficult medium that one. I hardly spend any more time working with it any more. Too much other stuff to do!

    A bientot (Sorry, I can’t add the accents)

    Comment by george T — October 1, 2009 @ 6:34 pm | Reply


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