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What does Jupiter have to say about it ?


Image taken from an edition of Vergil's books dated MDCCXVI
To see image in big size (255K)

Olli subridens hominum sator atque deorum
vultu, quo caelum tempestatesque serenat,              255
oscula libavit natae, dehinc talia fatur:
«Parce metu, Cytherea, manent immota tuorum
fata tibi; cernes urbem et promissa Lavini
moenia, sublimemque feres ad sidera caeli
magnanimum Aeneam; neque me sententia vertit.       260
Hic tibi (fabor enim, quando haec te cura remordet,
longius et volvens fatorum arcana movebo)
bellum ingens geret Italia populosque feroces
contundet moresque viris et moenia ponet,
tertia dum Latio regnantem viderit aestas,                265
ternaque transierint Rutulis hiberna subactis.
At puer Ascanius, cui nunc cognomen Iulo
additur (Ilus erat, dum res stetit Ilia regno),
triginta magnos volvendis mensibus orbes
imperio explebit, regnumque ab sede Lavini                270
transferet, et longam multa vi muniet Albam.
Hic jam ter centum totos regnabitur annos
gente sub Hectorea, donec regina sacerdos
Marte gravis geminam partu dabit Ilia prolem.
Inde lupae fulvo nutricis tegmine laetus                    275
Romulus excipiet gentem et Mavortia condet
moenia Romanosque suo de nomine dicet.
His ego nec metas rerum nec tempora pono:
imperium sine fine dedi. Quin aspera Juno,
quae mare nunc terrasque metu caelumque fatigat,    280
consilia in melius referet, mecumque fovebit
Romanos, rerum dominos gentemque togatam.
Sic placitum. [...]
Nascetur pulchra Troianus origine Caesar,
imperium Oceano, famam qui terminet astris,
Iulius, a magno demissum nomen Iulo.
Hunc tu olim caelo spoliis Orientis onustum
accipies secura; vocabitur hic quoque votis.              290
Aspera tum positis mitescent saecula bellis;
cana Fides et Vesta, Remo cum fratre Quirinus
jura dabunt; dirae ferro et compagibus arctis
claudentur Belli portae; Furor impius intus
saeva sedens super arma et centum vinctus haenis      295
post tergum nodis fremet horridus ore cruento.»

Vergil, Aeneid I, 255-296. Paris, Pub. Jean Barbou, MDCCXVI.

To read an english translation

Questions

1- In this passage, determine the elements of the communication situation : who is speaking ? To whom ? Why ?

2- Vergil is one of Augustus' contemporaries ; here he narrates the origins of Rome : in what tense ought he be writing ? Which tense is mainly used in this text ? How would you explain this contradiction ? What effect is produced on the reader (or the listener : at the time of Vergil, the text was often read or recited) ?

3- Make the connection between this text and the mythological and allegorical friezes of the Ara Pacis.

4- Which low relief of the Ara Pacis can you compare (to underline points in common and differences) with this description of the Furor impius described in the last sentence ? Justify your answer.

5- Look for the points in common, accentuated in this text, between Aeneas and Augustus (called by the name of "Caesar") ; here are three main areas of research :
    - family ties,
    - their fate on earth,
    - what happens after their death.
Why does Vergil insist on the similarities between these two people.


6- "Aspera tum positis mitescent saecula bellis;
     cana Fides et Vesta, Remo cum fratre Quirinus
     jura dabunt; dirae ferro et compagibus arctis
     claudentur Belli portae."
Which period is designated by the word "tum" ? What kind of progress did this period bring (be careful : look for the meaning of the closing of the "gates of war") ? Find the subjects : is progress attributed to anyone in an explicit way ? Who is being implicitly referred to over these few lines ?

7- Summarise your research on this text and the four mythological bas-reliefs of the Ara Pacis :
     - which term(s) do you feel would be the most appropriate to qualify them : descriptive, explanatory, narrative, argumentative ?
     - Which purposes are common to the text and images ?

Further research :
     From when dates the english translation given to you here ?
     The ancient translations opted for elegance of sentence structure and rhythm of sentences. The exactness of the translation was not a priority : try to find some examples by comparing the Latin text with its translation.

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