Nec coiere pares. alter vergentibus annis
in senium longoque togae tranquillior usu
dedidicit iam pace ducem, famaeque petitor
multa dare in vulgus, totus popularibus auris
impelli, plausuque sui gaudere theatri,
nec reparare novas vires, multumque priori
credere fortunae. stat magni nominis umbra;
qualis frugifero quercus sublimis in agro
exuvias veteres populi sacrataque gestans
dona ducum nec iam validis radicibus haerens
pondere fixa suo est, nudosque per aëra ramos
effundens trunco, non frondibus, efficit umbram;
et quamvis primo nutet casura sub Euro,
tot circum silvae firmo se robore tollant,
sola tamen colitur.
(Lucan, Bell. Civ. 1.129-143)

The two rivals were ill-matched. The one was somewhat tamed by declining years; for long he had worn the toga and forgotten in peace the leader’s part; courting reputation and lavish to the common people, he was swayed entirely by the breath of popularity and delighted in the applause that hailed him in the theatre he built; and trusting fondly to his former greatness, he did nothing to support it by fresh power. The mere shadow of a mighty name he stood. Thus an oak-tree, laden with the ancient trophies of a nation and the consecrated gifts of conquerors, towers in a fruitful field; but the roots it clings by have lost their toughness, and it stands by its weight alone, throwing out bare boughs into the sky and making a shade not with leaves but with its trunk; though it totters doomed to fall at the first gale, while many trees with sound timber rise beside it, yet it alone is worshipped.

(tr. James Duff Duff)


heinrich leutemann, orakel van delphi

Tandem conterrita virgo
confugit ad tripodas vastisque adducta cavernis
haesit et insueto concepit pectore numen,
quod non exhaustae per tot iam saecula rupis
spiritus ingessit vati; tandemque potitus
pectore Cirrhaeo non umquam plenior artus
Phoebados irrupit Paean mentemque priorem
expulit atque hominem toto sibi cedere iussit
pectore. bacchatur demens aliena per antrum
colla ferens, vittasque dei Phoebeaque serta
erectis discussa comis per inania templi
ancipiti cervice rotat spargitque vaganti
obstantes tripodas magnoque exaestuat igne
iratum te, Phoebe, ferens. nec verbere solo
uteris et stimulis flammasque in viscera mergis:
accipit et frenos, nec tantum prodere vati
quantum scire licet. venit aetas omnis in unam
congeriem, miserumque premunt tot saecula pectus,
tanta patet rerum series, atque omne futurum
nititur in lucem, vocemque petentia fata
luctantur; non prima dies, non ultima mundi,
non modus Oceani, numerus non derat harenae.
(Lucan, Bell. Civ. 5.161-182)

Scared at last the maiden took refuge by the tripods; she drew near to the vast chasm and there stayed; and her bosom for the first time drew in the divine power, which the inspiration of the rock, still active after so many centuries, forced upon her. At last Apollo mastered the breast of the Delphian priestess; as fully as ever in the past, he forced his way into her body, driving out her former thoughts, and bidding her human nature to come forth and leave her heart at his disposal. Frantic she careers about the cave, with her neck under possession; the fillets and garlands of Apollo, dislodged by her bristling hair, she whirls with tossing head through the void spaces of the temple; she scatters the tripods that impede her random course; she boils over with fierce fire, while enduring the wrath of Phoebus. Nor does he ply the whip and goad alone, and dart flame into her vitals: she has to bear the curb as well, and is not permitted to reveal as much as she is suffered to know. All time is gathered up together: all the centuries crowd her breast and torture it; the endless chain of events is revealed; all the future struggles to the light; destiny contends with destiny, seeking to be uttered. The creation of the world and its destruction, the compass of the Ocean and the sum of the sands—all these are before her. (tr. James Duff Duff)



Actum Romanis fuerat de rebus, et omnis
indiga servitii fervebat litore plebes:
erupere ducis sacro de pectore voces.
‘ergo pari voto gessisti bella, iuventus,
tu quoque pro dominis, et Pompeiana fuisti,
non Romana manus? quod non in regna laboras,
quod tibi, non ducibus, vivis morerisque, quod orbem
adquiris nulli, quod iam tibi vincere tutum est,
bella fugis quaerisque iugum cervice vacanti
et nescis sine rege pati. nunc causa pericli
digna viris. potuit vestro Pompeius abuti
sanguine: nunc patriae iugulos ensesque negatis,
cum prope libertas? unum fortuna reliquit
iam tribus e dominis. pudeat: plus regia Nili
contulit in leges et Parthi militis arcus.
ite, o degeneres, Ptolemaei munus et arma
spernite. quis vestras ulla putet esse nocentes
caede manus? credet faciles sibi terga dedisse,
credet ab Emathiis primos fugisse Philippis.
vadite securi; meruistis iudice vitam
Caesare non armis, non obsidione subacti.
o famuli turpes, domini post fata prioris
itis ad heredem. cur non maiora mereri
quam vitam veniamque libet? rapiatur in undas
infelix coniunx Magni prolesque Metelli,
ducite Pompeios, Ptolemaei vincite munus.
nostra quoque inviso quisquis feret ora tyranno
non parva mercede dabit: sciat ista iuventus
cervicis pretio bene se mea signa secutam.
quin agite et magna meritum cum caede parate:
ignavum scelus est tantum fuga.’ dixit, et omnes
haud aliter medio revocauit ab aequore puppes
quam, simul effetas linquunt examina ceras
atque oblita favi non miscent nexibus alas
sed sibi quaeque volat nec iam degustat amarum
desidiosa thymum, Phrygii sonus increpat aeris,
attonitae posuere fugam studiumque laboris
floriferi repetunt et sparsi mellis amorem:
gaudet in Hyblaeo securus gramine pastor
divitias servasse casae. sic voce Catonis
inculcata viris iusti patientia Martis.
(Lucan, Bell. Civ. 8.253-293)

The cause of Rome was as good as lost, and all the rabble, at a loss for want of a master, swarmed upon the shore. But utterance came with a rush from the sacred breast of Cato: “It seems then, soldiers, that you too fought with the same desire as others, in defence of tyranny—that you were the troops of Pompey, and not of Rome. You no longer suffer in order to set up a tyrant; your life and death belong to yourselves, not to your leaders; there is no one for whom you gain the whole world, and now you may safely conquer for yourselves alone. Yet now you desert the ranks; you miss the yoke when your neck is relieved, and you cannot endure existence without a tyrant. But you have now a quarrel worthy of brave men. Pompey was suffered to make full use of your life-blood : now, when freedom is in sight, do you refuse to fight and die for your country? Out of three masters Fortune has spared but one. Shame on you! The court of Egypt and the bow of the Parthian soldier have done more for the cause of lawful government. Depart, degenerate men, neglectful alike of Ptolemy’s gift and your own weapons. Who would suppose that your hands were ever stained with bloodshed? Caesar will take your word for it that you were quick to turn your backs to him, and first in the flight from Philippi in Thessaly. Go and fear not: if Caesar be your judge, you, who were not subdued by battle or siege, have deserved to have your lives spared. Base slaves! Your former master is dead, and you welcome his heir. Why do you not seek to earn a greater reward than mere life and pardon? Seize the hapless wife of Magnus and daughter of Metellus, and carry her over the sea; lead captive the sons of Pompey; and so outdo the gift of Ptolemy, Also, whoever bears my head to the hated tyrant will receive no small reward for his gift. By the price of my head your troops will learn that they did well to follow my standard. Rouse up therefore, commit a mighty crime, and gain your reward. Mere flight is the crime of cowards.” By this speech he recalled all the ships from mid-sea. Even so, when the swarm deserts the cells that have hatched their young, they forget the comb; their wings are no longer intertwined, but each bee flies independently and plays truant, ceasing to suck the bitter thyme; but, if the sound of Phrygian brass rebukes them, at once in alarm they stop their flight and go back to their task of bearing pollen, and renew their love of scattered honey; the shepherd on the meadow of Hybla is relieved, and rejoices that the wealth of his cottage is safe. Thus by Cato’s words the resolution to endure lawful warfare was impressed upon his men. (tr. James Duff Duff)



This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Vulturis ut primum laevo fundata volatu
Romulus infami complevit moenia luco,
usque ad Thessalicas servisses, Roma, ruinas.
de Brutis, Fortuna, queror. quid tempora legum
egimus aut annos a consule nomen habentes?
felices Arabes Medique Eoaque tellus,
quam sub perpetuis tenuerunt fata tyrannis.
ex populis qui regna ferunt sors ultima nostra est,
quos servire pudet. sunt nobis nulla profecto
numina: cum caeco rapiantur saecula casu,
mentimur regnare Iovem. spectabit ab alto
aethere Thessalicas, teneat cum fulmina, caedes?
scilicet ipse petet Pholoën, petet ignibus Oeten
immeritaeque nemus Rhodopes pinusque Mimantis,
Cassius hoc potius feriet caput? astra Thyestae
intulit et subitis damnavit noctibus Argos:
tot similes fratrum gladios patrumque gerenti
Thessaliae dabit ille diem? mortalia nulli
sunt curata deo. cladis tamen huius habemus
vindictam, quantam terris dare numina fas est:
bella pares superis facient civilia divos,
fulminibus manes radiisque ornabit et astris
inque deum templis iurabit Roma per umbras.
(Lucan, Bell. Civ. 7.437-459)

Ever since Romulus founded his city by the flight of a vulture on the left, and peopled it with the criminals of the Asylum, down to the catastrophe of Pharsalia, Rome ought to have remained in slavery. I have a grudge against Fortune on the score of the Bruti*. Why did we enjoy a period of lawful government, or years named after the consuls? Fortunate are the Arabs and Medes and Eastern nations, whom destiny has kept continuously under tyrants. Of all the nations that endure tyranny our lot is the worst, because we blush for our slavery. In very truth there are no gods who govern mankind: though we say falsely that Jupiter reigns, blind chance sweeps the world along. Shall Jupiter, though he grasps the thunderbolt, look on idly from high heaven at the slaughter of Pharsalia? Shall he forsooth aim his fires at Pholoe and Oeta, at the pines of Mimas and the innocent forest of Rhodope, and shall Cassius, rather than he, strike Caesar down ? He brought night upon Thyestes and doomed Argos to premature darkness; will he then grant daylight to Pharsalia that sees the guilt as great, of so many swords wielded by brothers and fathers? Man’s destiny has never been watched over by any god. Yet for this disaster
we have revenge, so far as gods may give satisfaction to mortals: civil war shall make dead Caesars the peers of gods above; and Rome shall deck out dead men with thunderbolts and haloes and constellations, and in the temples of the gods shall swear by ghosts.

* He refers to the Brutus who expelled the Tarquins.

(tr. James Duff Duff, with his note)


civil war

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Pro tristia fata!
aëra pestiferum tractu morbosque fluentes
insanamque famem permissasque ignibus urbes
moeniaque in praeceps laturos plena tremores
hi possunt explere viri, quos undique traxit
in miseram Fortuna necem, dum munera longi
explicat eripiens aevi, populosque ducesque
constituit campis, per quos tibi, Roma, ruenti
ostendat quam magna cadas. quae latius orbem
possedit, citius per prospera fata cucurrit?
omne tibi bellum gentes dedit, omnibus annis
te geminum Titan procedere vidit in axem;
haud multum terrae spatium restabat Eoae,
ut tibi nox, tibi tota dies, tibi curreret aether,
omniaque errantes stellae Romana viderent.
sed retro tua fata tulit par omnibus annis
Emathiae funesta dies. hac luce cruenta
effectum, ut Latios non horreat India fasces,
nec vetitos errare Dahas in moenia ducat
Sarmaticumque premat succinctus consul aratrum,
quod semper saevas debet tibi Parthia poenas,
quod fugiens civile nefas redituraque numquam
Libertas ultra Tigrim Rhenumque recessit
ac, totiens nobis iugulo quaesita, vagatur
Germanum Scythicumque bonum, nec respicit ultra
Ausoniam, vellem, populis incognita nostris.
(Lucan, Bell. Civ. 7.411-436)

O cruel destiny! Air fatal to inhale, and epidemic disease; maddening famine, cities consigned to the flames, and earthquakes that could bring to ruin populous cities—all these might be glutted by the men whom Fortune drew from every quarter to premature death, snatching away the gifts of long ages even while she displayed them, and arraying nations and chiefs upon the battle-field; by them she wished to show to collapsing Rome, what greatness fell with her. What city ever possessed a wider empire, or ran more quickly from success to success? Each war added nations to Rome; each year the sun saw her move forward towards either pole; a small part of the East excepted, night, and day from beginning to end, and all the sky revolved for Rome, and the stars in their courses saw nothing that was not hers. But the fatal day of Pharsalia reversed her destiny and undid the work of all the past. Thanks to that bloody field, India dreads not the Roman rods, no Roman consul arrests the nomad Dahae and makes them dwell in cities, or leans on the plough* in Sarmatia with his robe looped up; it is owing to Pharsalia that Parthia still owes us stern retribution, and that Freedom, banished by civil war, has retreated beyond the Tigris and the Rhine, never to return; often as we have wooed her with our life-blood, she wanders afar, a blessing enjoyed by Germans and Scythians, and never turns an eye on Italy: would that our nation had never known her!

* In ancient times it was the business of the consul to trace out with the plough the limits of a colony planted in a conquered country. The Dahae were nomads who wandered over the plains to the East of the Caspian.

(tr. James Duff Duff, with his note)



This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Ergo utrimque pari procurrunt agmina motu
irarum; metus hos regni, spes excitat illos.
hae facient dextrae, quidquid nona explicat aetas,
ut vacet a ferro. gentes Mars iste futuras
obruet et populos aevi venientis in orbem
erepto natale feret. tunc omne Latinum
fabula nomen erit; Gabios Veiosque Coramque
pulvere vix tectae poterunt monstrare ruinae
Albanosque lares Laurentinosque penates,
rus vacuum, quod non habitet nisi nocte coacta
invitus questusque Numam iussisse senator.
non aetas haec carpsit edax monimentaque rerum
putria destituit: crimen civile videmus
tot vacuas urbes. generis quo turba redacta est
humani! toto populi qui nascimur orbe
nec muros inplere viris nec possumus agros;
urbs nos una capit. vincto fossore coluntur
Hesperiae segetes, stat tectis putris avitis
in nullos ruitura domus, nulloque frequentem
cive suo Romam sed mundi faece repletam
cladis eo dedimus, ne tanto in corpore bellum
iam possit civile geri. Pharsalia tanti
causa mali. cedant, feralia nomina, Cannae
et damnata diu Romanis Allia fastis.
tempora signavit leviorum Roma malorum,
hunc voluit nescire diem.
(Lucan, Bell. Civ. 7.385-411)

Therefore the armies rushed forward, each inspired with the same passionate ardour, the one eager to escape a tyranny, the other to gain it. These hands will bring it to pass that, whatever the ninth century* unfolds, it shall be free from warfare. This battle will destroy nations yet unborn; it will deprive of their birthtime and sweep away the men of the generation coming into the world. Then all the Latin race will be a legend; dust-covered ruins will scarce be able to indicate the site of Gabii and Veii and Cora, the houses of Alba and the dwellings of Laurentum—a depopulated country, where no man dwells except the senators who are forced to spend one night there by Numa’s law which they resent**. It is not the tooth of time that has wrought this destruction and consigned to decay the memorials of the past: in all these uninhabited cities we see the guilt of civil war. How far reduced are the numbers of the human race! All the people born on earth cannot supply inhabitants for town or country; a single city contains us all. The corn-fields of Italy are tilled by chained labourers; the ancient roof-tree is rotten and ready to fall, but none dwell beneath it; Rome is not peopled by her own citizens but swarms with the refuse of mankind, and we have sunk her so low, that civil war, for all her many inmates, is no longer possible. Pharsalia is the cause of so great a mischief. The fatal names of Cannae and of Allia, cursed long ago by the Roman Calendar, must give place to Pharsalia. Rome has marked the date of lighter calamities, but has decided to ignore this day.

* Lucan lived in the ninth century from the foundation of Rome. The lack of men in that age was due, he says, to the slaughter of Pharsalia.
** The Roman consuls had to be present at Alba for the celebration of the Latin Festival.

(tr. James Duff Duff, with his notes)


bartolomeo pinelli
Bartolomeo Pinelli, The head of Pompey offered to Caesar by the rhetorician Teodato.

Sic fatus opertum
detexit tenuitque caput. iam languida morte
effigies habitum noti mutaverat oris.
non primo Caesar damnavit munera visu
avertitque oculos; voltus, dum crederet, haesit;
utque fidem vidit sceleris tutumque putavit
iam bonus esse socer, lacrimas non sponte cadentes
effudit gemitusque expressit pectore laeto,
non aliter manifesta potens abscondere mentis
gaudia quam lacrimis, meritumque immane tyranni
destruit et generi mavolt lugere revolsum
quam debere caput. qui duro membra senatus
calcarat voltu, qui sicco lumine campos
viderat Emathios, uni tibi, Magne, negare
non audet gemitus.
(Lucan, Bell. Civ. 9.1032-1046)

With these words he took off the covering from the head, and held it in his hands. By now the features, relaxed by death, had changed the aspect of that familiar face. When Caesar first saw it, he did not condemn the gift nor turn away: his eyes were fixed upon the face till he could be sure. Then, when he saw the proof of the crime, and thought it safe at last to be the loving kinsman, he shed crocodile tears and forced out groans while his heart rejoiced. By tears alone was he able to hide his obvious delight; and thus he belittles the king’s horrid service, preferring to mourn the severed head of his kinsman rather than owe obligation for it. Though he had trampled on corpses of senators with face unmoved, and had beheld dry-eyed the field of Pharsalia, to Magnus alone he dares not deny the tribute of tears. (tr. James Duff Duff)