Iam terras volucremque polum fuga veris aquosi
lassat et Icariis caelum latratibus urit;
ardua iam densae rarescunt moenia Romae.
hos Praeneste sacrum, nemus hos glaciale Dianae
Algidus aut horrens aut Tuscula protegit umbra,
Tiburis hi lucos Anienaque frigora captant.
te quoque clamosae quae iam plaga mitior Urbi
subtrahit? aestivos quo decipis aëre soles?
quid tuus ante omnes, tua cura potissima, Gallus,
nec non noster amor, dubium morumne probandus
ingeniine bonis? Latiis aestivat in oris,
anne metalliferae repetit iam moenia Lunae
Tyrrhenasque domos? quod si tibi proximus haeret,
non ego nunc vestro procul a sermone recedo.
certum est: inde sonus geminas mihi circumit aures.
(Statius, Silvae 4.4.12-26)

Already the flight of watery spring wearies earth and whirling sky and burns heaven with Icarian barking. Already the lofty buildings of crowded Rome are less populous. Some sacred Praeneste shelters, some Diana’s chilly wood, or shivering Algidus, or Tusculum’s shade, yet others make for the groves of Tibur and Anio’s cool. You too, what gentler clime now draws you from the clamorous city? With what air do you trick the suns of summer? What of your chief care, your favorite, Gallus, whom I too love (to be praised for gifts of character or mind, who shall say?)? Does he spend the season on Latium’s coast or does he revisit the walls of quarried Luna and his Tyrrhene home? But if he stays close to you, I do not now go far from your talk, that’s certain, and that’s why both my ears are buzzing.
(tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey)



Quis rude et abscisum miseris animantibus aequor
fecit iter solidaeque pios telluris alumnos
expulit in fluctus pelagoque immisit hianti,
audax ingenii? nec enim temeraria virtus
illa magis, summae gelidum quae Pelion Ossae,
iunxit anhelantemque iugis bis pressit Olympum.
usque adeone parum lentas transire paludes
stagnaque et angustos submittere pontibus amnes?
imus in abruptum gentilesque undique terras
fugimus exigua clausi trabe et aëre nudo.
inde furor ventis indignataeque procellae
et caeli fremitus et fulmina plura Tonanti.
ante rates pigro torpebant aequora somno,
nec spumare Thetis nec spargere nubila fluctus
gaudebant. visis tumuerunt puppibus undae,
inque hominem surrexit hiems. tunc nubila Plias
Oleniumque pecus, solito tunc peior Orion.
(Statius, Silv. 3.2.61-77)

Who made the sea, untried and sundered, into a highway for hapless mankind, driving the loyal foster sons of solid earth into the waves, hurling them into the ocean’s jaws? Bold of spirit was he! Not more venturesome the courage that joined snowy Pelion to Ossa’s peak and crushed panting Olympus under two mountains. Was it not enough to cross sluggish swamps and meres and set straitened rivers under bridges? We go into the abyss, fleeing our native lands in all directions, confined by a small plank and the open air. Hence raging winds and indignant tempests and a roaring sky and more lightning for the Thunderer. Before ships were, the sea lay plunged in torpid slumber. Thetis did not joy to foam nor billows to splash the clouds. Waves swelled at sight of ships and tempest rose against man. ‘Twas then that Pleiad and Olenian Goat were clouded and Orion worse than his wont. (tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey)



sed tu, dum nimio possessa Hyperione flagrat
torva Cleonaei iuba sideris, exue curis
pectus et assiduo temet furare labori.
et sontes operit pharetras arcumque retendit
Parthus, et Eleis auriga laboribus actos
Alpheo permulcet equos, et nostra fatescit
laxaturque chelys: vires instigat alitque
tempestiva quies; maior post otia virtus.
talis cantata Briseide venit Achilles
acrior et positis erupit in Hectora plectris.
te quoque flammabit tacite repetita parumper
desidia et solitos novus exsultabis in actus.
certe iam Latiae non miscent iurgia leges,
et pacem piger annus habet, messesque reversae
dimisere forum, nec iam tibi turba reorum
vestibulo querulique rogant exire clientes.
cessat centeni moderatrix iudicis hasta,
qua tibi sublimi iam nunc celeberrima fama
eminet et iuvenis facundia praeterit annos.
felix curarum, cui non Heliconia cordi
serta nec imbelles Parnasi e vertice laurus,
sed viget ingenium et magnos accinctus in usus
fert animus quascumque vices. nos otia vitae
solamur cantu ventosaque gaudia famae
quaerimus. en egomet somnum et geniale secutus
litus ubi Ausonio se condidit hospita portu
Parthenope, tenues ignavo pollice chordas
pulso Maroneique sedens in margine templi
sumo animum et magni tumulis accanto magistri.
(Statius, Silv. 4.4.27-55)

But while the grim mane of Cleonae’s star* blazes in the grip of too powerful Hyperion, strip your breast of its cares and steal yourself from ceaseless work. The Parthian covers his guilty quiver and unstrings his bow, the charioteer bathes his horses in Alpheus, hard-driven in the labors of Elis; my lyre too grows weary, its strings relax. Timely rest stimulates and fosters strength, energy is greater after ease. So came Achilles the fiercer after he had sung of Briseis; putting by his quill, out he burst against Hector. You also shall idleness silently inflame, sought again for a little while, and you shall leap up fresh to your wonted activities. Sure it is that Latium’s laws now cease their wrangling, the lazy season enjoys peace and returning harvests have discharged the Forum. Defendants no longer throng your anteroom nor querulous clients ask you to come out. Idle stands the Spear** that rules the Hundred Judges, whereby your eloquence is already borne far and wide conspicuous on the wings of Fame, outstripping your youthful years. Happy in your avocations, you care not for Helicon’s garlands or peaceable laurels from Parnassus’ peak; vigorous your wit, girt up for great employments your mind shoulders whatever betides, while I solace a leisured life with song and seek the fickle joys of fame. Look! Pursuing sleep and the genial shore where stranger Parthenope*** found refuge in Ausonian haven, I idly strike the slender strings; sitting on the verge of Maro’s shrine****, I take heart and sing at the tomb of the great master.

* The lion killed by Hercules at Cleonae became the constellation Leo.
** Sales of enemy or confiscated property were conducted sub hasta. Why the symbolic spear also served as emblem for the civil court of a hundred is uncertain, like many other things about this institution.
*** One of the three Sirens, who flung themselves into the sea after failing to entice Ulysses. One legend had it that she was washed ashore in the Bay of Naples and somehow founded the city.

(tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey, with his notes)


AA379227: Archaeology

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

‘Nunc docet ingentes saltu me iungere fossas,
nunc caput aërii scandentem prendere montis,
quo fugitur per plana gradu, simulacraque pugnae
excipere immissos curvato umbone molares
ardentesque intrare casas peditemque volantes
sistere quadriiugos. memini, rapidissimus ibat
imbribus assiduis pastus nivibusque solutis
Sperchios vivasque trabes et saxa ferebat,
cum me ille immissum, qua saevior impetus undae,
stare iubet contra tumidosque repellere fluctus,
quos vix ipse gradu totiens obstante tulisset.
stabam equidem, sed me referebat concitus amnis
et latae caligo fugae; ferus ille minari
desuper incumbens verbisque urgere pudorem.
nec nisi iussus abi: sic me sublimis agebat
gloria, nec duri tanto sub teste labores.
nam procul Oebalios in nubila condere discos
et liquidam nodare palen et spargere caestus,
ludus erat requiesque mihi; nec maior in istis
sudor, Apollineo quam fila sonantia plectro
cum quaterem priscosque virum mirarer honores.
quin etiam sucos atque auxiliantia morbis
gramina, quo nimius staret medicamine sanguis,
quid faciat somnos, quid hiantia vulnera claudat,
quae ferro cohibenda lues, quae cederet herbis,
edocuit monitusque sacrae sub pectore fixit
iustitiae, qua Peliacis dare iura verenda
gentibus atque suos solitus pacare biformes.
hactenus annorum, comites, elementa meorum
et memini et meminisse iuvat: scit cetera mater.’
(Statius, Ach. 138-167)

‘Anon he teaches me to span great ditches in a jump, to climb and grasp an airy mountain peak as if racing over the level; in mock battle to receive flying boulders on my curving shield boss, to enter burning huts and stop hurtling chariots on foot. I remember when Sperchios was flowing his fastest, fed on continual rains and melted snow, carrying live trees and rocks; Chiron would tell me to get in where the torrent’s current was fiercest and stand against it, repelling the swollen waves that he himself would hardly have withstood with so many feet. I stood, but the angry river and the mist of his broad rush took me back. He bore down on me with savage threats and scolded to shame me. I did not leave till ordered, so high glory urged me, and before so mighty a witness labours were light. For to hide Oebalian quoits far up in the sky and knot holds in the slippery wrestling match and scatter boxing gloves were my play and relaxation, and toil therein no greater than when I plucked the sounding strings with Apollo’s quill and marvelled at the glories of the men of old. He even taught me of juices and grasses to aid in sickness, of medicine to stanch fast-flowing blood, what brings sleep, what closes gaping wounds, what plague should be checked by steel, what yields to herbs; and he fixed in my mind the precepts of sacred justice, whereby he used to give laws for Pelion’s tribes to reverence and pacify his own twiforms. So far, comrades, I remember the training of my early years and joy in the memory. My mother knows the rest.’ (tr. David Roy Shackleton-Bailey)


Giovanni Battista Cipriani, Chiron leert Achilles boogschieten, 1776
Giovanni Battista Cipriani, Chiron instructing Achilles in the bow (1776)

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

‘Vix mihi bissenos annorum torserat orbes
vita rudis, volucris cum iam praevertere cervos
et Lapithas cogebat equos praemissaque cursu
tela sequi; saepe ipse gradu me praepete Chiron,
dum velox aetas, campis admissus agebat
omnibus, exhaustumque vago per gramina passu
laudabat gaudens atque in sua terga levabat.
saepe etiam primo fluvii torpore iubebar
ire supra glaciemque levi non frangere planta.
hoc puerile decus. quid nunc tibi proelia dicam
silvarum et saevo vacuos iam murmure saltus?
numquam ille imbelles Ossaea per avia dammas
sectari aut timidas passus me cuspide lyncas
sternere, sed tristes turbare cubilibus ursos
fulmineosque sues, et sicubi maxima tigris
aut seducta iugis fetae spelunca leaenae.
ipse sedens vasto facta exspectabat in antro,
si sparsus nigro remearem sanguine; nec me
ante nisi inspectis admisit ad oscula telis.
iamque et ad ensiferos vicina pube tumultus
aptabar, nec me ulla feri Mavortis imago
praeteriit. didici, quo Paeones arma rotatu,
quo Macetae sua gaesa citent, quo turbine contum
Sauromates falcemque Getes arcumque Gelonus
tenderet et flexae Balearicus actor habenae
quo suspensa trahens libraret vulnera tortu
inclusumque suo distingueret aëra gyro.
vix memorem cunctos, etsi bene gessimus, actus.’
(Statius, Ach. 110-137)

‘Scarce had my raw life turned twice six years when he had me run faster than the swift stags and Lapith horses and chase the darts I flung. Often would Chiron himself, while his age ran swift, pursue me at gallop all over the plains in headlong career, and when I was exhausted in my wanderings through the meads he would joyfully praise me and hoist me onto his back. Often too at the first freezing of the river he would bid me walk over it nor break the ice with lightsome foot. Such was my boyish glory. Why tell you of forest fights and glens now empty of savage growls? He would never let me chase unwarlike deer through Ossa’s wilds or lay timid lynxes low with my spear; I must rouse grim bears from their dens and boars like thunderbolts or mayhap a mighty tigress’ lair or a hidden cavern on the mountain that housed a lioness and her cubs. Himself would sit in his vast cave and wait for my exploits: would I return splashed with black blood? Nor did he admit me to his kiss until he had inspected my weapons. And now I was making ready for affrays of the sword with my neighbour folk; no aspect of fierce Mavors passed me by. I learned how the Paeonians whirl their arms, how the Macetae speed their javelins, with what a spin the Sarmatian plies his stake, the Gete his falchion, the Gelonian his bow, how the Balearic driver of the twisted sling swings his missile aloft with balanced pull, marking out the air he comprises in its circle. I could scarce recall all I did, though I did it well.’ (tr. David Roy Shackleton-Bailey)


James Barry, The education of Achilles, ca. 1772
James Barry, The education of Achilles (ca. 1772)

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

Excipit Oenides: “Quin, o dignissima caeli
progenies, ritusque tuos elementaque primae
indolis et, valida mox accedente iuventa,
quae solitus laudum tibi semina pandere Chiron
virtutisque aditus, quas membra augere per artes,
quas animum, sociis multumque faventibus edis?
sit pretium longas penitus quaesisse per undas
Scyron et his primum me arma ostendisse lacertis.”
quem pigeat sua facta loqui? tamen ille modeste
incohat, ambiguus paulum propiorque coacto:
“dicor et in teneris et adhuc reptantibus annis,
Thessalus ut rigido senior me monte recepit,
non ullos ex more cibos hausisse nec almis
uberibus satiasse famem, sed spissa leonum
viscera semianimisque lupae traxisse medullas.
haec mihi prima Ceres, haec laeti munera Bacchi,
sic dabat ille pater. mox ire per invia secum
lustra gradu maiore trahens visisque docebat
adridere feris nec fracta ruentibus undis
saxa nec ad vastae trepidare silentia silvae.
iam tunc arma manu, iam tunc cervice pharetrae,
et ferri properatus amor durataque multo
sole geluque cutis; tenero nec fluxa cubili
membra, sed ingenti saxum commune magistro.”
(Statius, Ach. 86-109)

Oeneus’ son takes over: ‘Nay, most worthy scion of heaven, why not tell your right favouring comrades of your ways, the rudiments of earliest anture and what Chrion showed you as presently strong manhood came on; the seeds of glory, the path to valour, the arts to make your body grow and your mind. Let it be worth while that I have sought Scyros over the length of waves and been the first to show weapons to these arms of yours.’
Whom would it irk to tell of his own deeds? Yet he begins modestly, a little hesitant, rather as if constrained: ‘They say that in my tender years, still crawling, when the old man of Thessaly received me on his stark mountain, I took no ordinary food nor satisfied hunger from nurturing breasts, but tore at the tough flesh of lions and offal of a she-wolf still half alive. This was my first bread, this the gift of happy Bacchus*, thus that father of mine used to feed me. Presently he taught me to go with him through the trackless wilderness, drawing me on with his wider stride, and to laugh when I saw wild beasts and not to fear rocks shattered by rushing torrents and the silences of the vast forest. Even then arms were in my hand, even then a quiver at my neck, precocious love of steel, skin hardened by sun and frost in plenty, limbs not loosened by soft bedding, but a rock shared with my huge master.’

* But nothing has been said about what Achilles had to drink – unless a line has fallen out after 100.

(tr. David Roy Shackleton-Bailey, with his note)


Hendrick Goltzius, Apollo (2)
Hendrick Goltzius, Apollo

Phoebe parens, seu te Lyciae Pataraea nivosis
exercent dumeta iugis, seu rore pudico
Castaliae flavos amor est tibi mergere crines,
seu Troiam Thymbraeus habes, ubi fama volentem
ingratis Phrygios umeris subiisse molares,
seu iuvat Aegaeum feriens Latonius umbra
Cynthus et assiduam pelago non quaerere Delon:
tela tibi longeque feros lentandus in hostes
arcus et aetherii dono cessere parentis
aeternum florere genas; tu doctus iniquas
Parcarum praenosse manus fatumque quod ultra est
et summo placitura Iovi, quis letifer annus,
bella quibus populis, quae mutent sceptra cometae;
tu Phryga submittis citharae, tu matris honori
terrigenam Tityon Stygiis extendis harenis;
te viridis Python Thebanaque mater ovantem
horruit in pharetris, ultrix tibi torva Megaera
ieiunum Phlegyan subter cava saxa iacentem
aeterno premit accubitu dapibusque profanis
instimulat, sed mixta famem fastidia vincunt:
adsis o memor hospitii, Iunoniaque arva
dexter ames, seu te roseum Titana vocari
gentis Achaemeniae ritu, seu praestat Osirim
frugiferum, seu Persei sub rupibus antri
indignata sequi torquentem cornua Mithram.
(Statius, Theb. 1.696-720)

Phoebus, Parent—whether Patara’s* thickets keep You
busy on Lycia’s snowy slopes; or it’s Your desire to
rinse Your golden curls in Castalia’s pure spring water;
or, as Thymbra’s Lord, You dwell in Troy where, they say,
You bore on Your shoulders, unthanked, blocks of Phrygian stone;
or whether You favor Leto’s Cynthus, which casts its shadow
across the Aegean, or Delos, anchored, adrift no more—
Yours the barbs and bow dealing death from afar to fierce
foes, on You did celestial parents bestow a face
ever in bloom and the skill to know in advance the Spinners’
uneven handiwork and the fate that lies beyond,
and what Jove Most High intends, which year death will strike,
which nations will go to war, which scepters comets will change;
You made the Phrygian kneel to Your lyre; for Your mother’s
honor, stretched earth-born Tityos out on Stygian sands;
green Python—the Theban mother too—shook to see You
vaunting Your archer’s success; to avenge You, grim Megaera
keeps famished Phlegyas*** pinned deep under cavernous rock,
forever at table and tortured with banquet dishes defiled
so his hunger’s first mixed with, then killed by disgust**:—
be near us, remember we made You welcome, bless Juno’s
land and be kind, whether it’s right to invoke You as ‘rose-red
Titan,’ in Achaemenian litany, or as ‘Osiris,
Lord of Harvest,’ or – thinking how, deep in Persean rock-caves,
He wrangles headstrong bulls—should we invoke You as ‘Mithras’?

* Patara: principal city of Lycia and site of a famous oracle of Apollo, as are the following four sites.
** 709-715: A list of some of the god’s more prominent exploits; the Phrygian: Marysas; Your mother: Leto; the Theban mother: Niobê.
*** Phlegyas, father of Ixion, here receives punishments usually assigned to others, namely to Tantalus and Phineus, whose banquet was defiled by monstrous bird-women known as Harpies.

(tr. Jane Wilson Joyce, with her notes)



Ferimur per devia vastae
urbis et ingentem nocturnae caedis acervum
passim, ut quosque sacris crudelis vespera lucis
straverat, occulta speculamur nube latentes.
hic impressa toris ora exstantesque reclusis
pectoribus capulos magnarum et fragmina trunca
hastarum et ferro laceras per corpora vestes,
crateras pronos epulasque in caede natantes
cernere erat, iugulisque modo torrentis apertis
sanguine commixto redeuntem in pocula Bacchum.
hic iuvenum manus et nullis violabilis armis
turba senes, positique patrum super ora gementum
semineces pueri trepidas in limine vitae
singultant animas.
(Statius, Theb. 5.248-261)

We take our way through byways of the deserted city, hiding in secret darkness, descrying everywhere a huge pile of the night’s massacre, as the cruel evening had laid them low in the sacred groves. Here could be seen faces pressed down on couches, sword hilts standing out from opened breasts, broken fragments of large spears and knife-torn clothes among the bodies, mixing bowls overturned, victuals swimming in gore, and Bacchus mixed with blood returning in torrents from severed throats into the wine cups. Here is a company of young men, here a gathering whom no weapons should violate, the old; and half-dead boys, placed on the faces of their moaning parents, sob out their trembling spirits on the threshold of life. (tr. David Roy Shackleton-Bailey)


Fas mihi sanctorum venia dixisse parentum,
tuque, oro, Natura, sinas, cui prima per orbem
iura animis sancire datum: non omnia sanguis
proximus aut serie generis demissa propago
alligat: interius nova saepe adscitaque serpunt
pignora conexis. natos genuisse necesse est,
elegisse iuvat. tenero sic blandus Achilli
semifer Haemonium vincebat Pelea Chiron,
nec senior Peleus natum comitatus in arma
Troica, sed claro Phoenix haerebat alumno.
(Statius, Silv. 2.1.82-91)

By permission of sacred parenthood, and by your leave, Nature,
Who dictate the whole world’s primal laws, may I be allowed
To say: consanguinity and natural descent via a line of offspring,
Are not the only bonds; adopted children are often dearer to us
Than kin. Legitimate sons are a necessity, but those we choose
Are a joy. So Achilles meant more to that kindly centaur Chiron,
Than to Haemonian Peleus. Nor did the aged Peleus accompany
His son to the Trojan War, but Phoenix clung to his dear pupil.
(tr. Tony Kline)



Procedunt, gemini ceu foedere iuncto
hiberna sub nocte lupi: licet et sua pulset
natorumque fames, penitus rabiemque minasque
dissimulant humilesque meant, ne nuntiet hostes
cura canum et trepidos moneat vigilare magistros.
(Statius, Ach. 1.704-708)

They go forward like two wolves in league on a winter’s night; though hunger, their own and their cubs’, pushes them, they quite dissemble their ravening threats and move meekly, lest watchdogs announce the enemy and warn the fearful shepherds to keep vigil. (tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey)