Atropos

800px-Sifaks_El_Madher
Syphax, king of the Masaesyli of western Numidia

Verum ubi mox iuncto sociarant aggere vires
Massylus Tyriusque duces, accitaque regno
lenierat pubes infaustae vulnera noctis,
ira pudorque dabant et coniunx, tertius ignis,
immanes animos; afflataque barbarus ora
castrorum flammis et se velamine nullo
vix inter trepidas ereptum ex hoste catervas
frendebat minitans; sed enim non luce Syphacem
nec claro potuisse die nec sole tuente
a quoquam vinci. iactarat talia vecors,
sed iam claudebat flatus nec plura sinebat
Atropos et tumidae properabat stamina linguae.
(Silius Italicus, Punica 17.109-120)

But presently, when the Massylian and Carthaginian generals had united their forces behind a common rampart, and fresh troops summoned from all the kingdom had mitigated the disaster of the night, anger and shame and love for his bride – a third incentive – filled the king’s heart with inordinate passion: he breathed out savage threats and ground his teeth, to think that his face had been scorched by the fire in the camp, and that he had with difficulty been rescued from the foe, a naked man in the midst of his discomfited soldiers. No man on earth, he declared, could ever have conquered Syphax in bright daylight or in the face of the sun. Such was his mad boasting; but Atropos was already putting an end to his insolence and suffered him to say no more; and the thread of that proud talker was nearly spun. (tr. James Duff Duff)

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