Classical Texts Library >> Ovid, Fasti >> Book 4
















[1] “O gracious Mother of the Twin Loves,1” said I, “grant me thy favour.” The goddess looked back at the poet. “What wouldst thou with me?” she said, “surely thou wast wont to sing of loftier themes. Has thou an old wound rankling in thy tender breast?” “Goddess,” I answered, “thou wottest of my wound.” She laughed, and straightway the sky was serene in that quarter. “Hurt or whole, did I desert thy standards? Thou, thou hast ever been the task I set myself. In my young years I toyed with themes to match, and gave offence to none; now my steeds treat a larger field. I sing the seasons, and their causes, and the starry signs that set beneath the earth and rise again, drawing my lore from annals old. We have come to the fourth month in which thou art honoured above all others, and thou knowest, Venus that both the poet and the month are thine.” The goddess was moved, and touching my brows lightly with myrtle of Cythera, “Complete,” said she, “the work thou hast begun.” I felt her inspiration, and suddenly my eyes were opened to the causes of the days: proceed, my bark, while still thou mayest and the breezes blow.

[19] Yet if any part of the calendar should interest thee, Caesar,2 thou hast in April matter of concern. This month thou hast inherited by a great pedigree, and it has been made thine by virtue of thine adoption into a noble house. When the Ilian sire3 was putting the long year on record, he saw the relationship and commemorated the authors of thy race: and as he gave the first lot in order of the months to fierce Mars, because he was the immediate cause of his own birth, so he willed that the place of the second month should belong to Venus, because he traced his descent from her through many generations. In seeking the origin of his race, he turned over the roll of the centuries and came at last to the gods whose blood he shared. How, prithee, should he not know that Dardanus was born of Electra, daughter of Atlas, and that Electra had lain with Jupiter? Dardanus had a son Erichthonius, who begat Tros; and Tros begat Assaracus, and Assaracus begat Capys. Next came Anchises, with whom Venus did not disdain to share the name of parent. Of them was born Aeneas, whose piety was proved when on his shoulders through the fire he bore the holy things and his own sire, a charge as holy. Now at last have we come to the lucky name of Julus, through whom the Julian house reaches back to Teucrian ancestors. He had a son Postumus, who, because he was born in the deep woods, was called Silvius among the Latin folk. He was thy father, Latinus; Latinus was succeeded by Alba, and next to Alba on the list was Epytus. He gave to his son Capys, a Trojan name, revived for the purpose, and he was also the grandfather of Calpetus. And when Tiberinus possessed his father’s kingdom after the death of Calpetus, he was drowned, it is said, in a deep pool of the Tuscan river. Yet before that he had seen the birth of a son Agrippa and of a grandson Remulus; but Remulus, they say, was struck by Levin-bolts. After them came Aventinus, from whom the place and also the hill took their name. After him the kingdom passed to Proca, who was succeeded by Numitor, brother of hard-hearted Amulius. Ilia and Lausus were born to Numitor. Lausus fell by his uncle’s sword: Ilia found favour in the eyes of Mars and gave birth to thee, Quirinus, and thy twin brother Remus. He always averred that his parents were Venus and Mars, and he deserved to be believed when he said so; and that his descendants after him might know the truth, he assigned successive perios to the gods of his race.

[63] But I surmise that the month of Venus took its name from the Greek language: the goddess was called after the foam of the sea.4 Nor need you wonder that a thing was called by a Greek name, for the Italian land was Greater Greece. Evander had come to Italy with a fleet full of people; Alcides also had come; both of them were Greeks by race. As a guest, the club-bearing hero fed his herd on the Aventine grass, and the great god drank of the Albula. The Neritian chief also came5: witness the Laestrygones and the shore which still bears the name of Circe.6 Already the walls of Telegonus7 were standing, and the walls of moist Tibur, built by Argive hands. Driven from home by the tragic doom of Atrides, Halaesus had come, after whom the Faliscan land deems that it takes its name. Add to these Antenor,8 who advised the Trojans to make peace, and (Diomedes) the Oenid, son-in-law to Apulian Daunus. Aeneas from the flames of Ilium brought his gods into our land, arriving late and after Antenor. He had a comrade, Solymus, who came from Phrygian Ida; from him the walls of Sulmo take their name – cool Sulmo, my native town, Germanicus. Woe’s me, how far is Sulmo from the Scythian land! Therefore shall I so far away – but check, my Muse, thy plaints; ‘tis not for thee to warble sacred themes on mournful strings.9

[85] Where doth not sallow envy find a way? Some there are who grudge thee the honour of the month, and would snatch it from thee, Venus. For they say that April was named from the open (apertum) season, because spring then opens (aperit) all things, and the sharp frost-bound cold departs, and the earth unlocks her teeming soil, though kindly Venus claims the month and lays her hand on it. She indeed sways, and well deserves to sway, the world entire; she owns a kingdom second to that of no god; she gives laws to heaven and earth and to her native sea, and by her inspiration she keeps every species in being. She created all the gods – ‘twere long to number them; she bestowed on seeds and trees their origins. She drew rude-minded men together and taught them to pair each with his mate. What but bland pleasure brings into being the whole brood of birds? Cattle, too, would not come together, were loose love wanting. The savage ram butts at the wether, but would not hurt the forehead of the ewe he loves. The bull, whom all the woodland pastures, all the groves do dread, puts off his fierceness and follows the heifer. The same force preserves all living things under the broad bosom of the deep, and fills the waters with unnumbered fish. That force first stripped man of his savage garb; from it he learned decent attire and personal cleanliness. A lover was the first, they say, to serenade by night the mistress who denied him entrance, while he sang at her barred door, and to win the heart of a coy maid was eloquence indeed; every man then pleaded his own cause. This goddess has been the mother of a thousand arts; the wish to please has given birth to many inventions that were unknown before.

[115] And shall any man dare rob this goddess o the honour of giving her name to the second month? Far from me be such a frenzy. Besides, while everywhere the goddess is powerful and her temples are thronged with worshippers, she possesses yet more authority in our city. Venus, O Roman, bore arms for thy Troy, what time she groaned at the spear wound in her dainty hand10; and by a Trojan’s verdict she defeated two heavenly goddesses.11 Ah would that they had not remembered their defeat! And she was called the bride of Assaracus’ son,12 in order, to be sure, that in time to come great Caesar might count the Julian line among his sires. And no season was more fitting for Venus than spring. In spring the landscape glistens; soft is the soil in spring; now the corn pushes its blades through the cleft ground; now the vine-shoot protrudes its buds in the swelling bark. Lovely Venus deserves the lovely season and is attached, as usual, to her dear Mars: in spring she bids the curved ships fare across her natal seas and fear no more the threats of winter.

KAL. APR. 1st

[133] Duly do ye worship the goddess, ye Latin mothers and brides, and ye, too, who wear not the fillets and long robe.13 Take off the golden necklaces from the marble neck of the goddess14; take off her gauds; the goddess must be washed from top to toe. Then dry her neck and restore to it her golden necklaces; now give her other flowers, now give her the fresh-blown rose. Ye, too, she herself bids bathe under the green myrtle, and there is a certain reason for her command; learn what it is. Naked, she was drying on the shore her oozy locks, when the satyrs, a wanton crew, espied the goddess. She perceived it, and screened her body by myrtle interposed: that done, she was safe, and she bids you do the same. Learn now why ye give incense to Virile Fortune in the place which reeks of warm water. All women strip when they enter that place, and every blemish on the naked body is plain to see; Virile Fortune undertakes to conceal the blemish and to hide it from the men, and this she does for the consideration of a little incense. Nor grudge to take poppy pounded with snowy milk and liquid honey squeezed from the comb; when Venus was first escorted to her eager spouse, she drank that draught: from that time she was a bride. Propitiate her with supplications; beauty and virtue and good fame are in her keeping. In the time of our forefathers Rome had fallen from a state of chastity, and the ancients consulted the old woman of Cumae.15 She ordered a temple to be built to Venus, and when that was duly done, Venus took the name of Changer of the Heart (Verticordia) from the event. Fairest of goddesses, ever behold the sons of Aenas with look benign, and guard thine offspring’s numerous wives.

[163] While I speak, the Scorpion, the tip of whose swinged tail strikes fear, plunges into the green waters.16

IV. NON. 2nd

[165] When the night has passed, and the sky has just begun to blush, and dew-besprinkled birds are twittering plaintively, and the wayfarer, who all night long has waked, lays down his half-burnt torch, and the swain goes forth to his accustomed toil, the Pleiads will commence to lighten the burden that rests on their father’s17 shoulders; seven are they usually called, but six they usually are; whether it be that six of the sisters were embraced by gods (for they say that Sterope lay with Mars, Alcyone and fair Celaeno with Neptune, and Maia, Electra, and Taygete with Jupiter); the seventh, Merope, was married to a mortal man, to Sisyphus, and she repents of it, and from shame at the deed she alone of the sisters hides herself; or whether it be that Electra could not, brook to behold the fall of Troy, and so covered her eyes with her hand.

PR. NON. 4th

[179] Let the sky revolve thrice on its never-resting axis; let Titan thrice yoke and thrice unyoke his steeds, straightway the Berecyntian18 flute will blow a blast on its bent horn, and the festival of the Idaean Mother will have come.19 Eunuchs will march and thump their hollow drums, and cymbals clashed on cymbals will give out their tinkling notes: seated on the unmanly necks of her attendants, the goddess herself will be borne with howls through the streets in the City’s midst. The state is clattering, the games are calling. To your places, Quirites! and in the empty law-courts let the war of suitors cease!

[191] I would put many questions, but I am daunted by the shrill cymbal’s clash and the bent flute’s thrilling drone. “Grant me, goddess, someone whom I may question.” The Cybelean goddess spied her learned granddaughters20 and bade them attend to my inquiry. “Mindful of her command, ye nurslings of Helicon, disclose the reason why the Great Goddess delights in perpetual din.” So did I speak, and Erato21 did thus reply (it fell to her to speak of Venus’ month, because her own name is derived from tender love): “Saturn was given this oracle: ‘Thou best of kings, thou shalt be ousted of thy sceptre by thy son.’ In fear, the god devoured his offspring as fast as they were born, and he kept them sunk in his bowels. Many a time did Rhea22 grumble, to be so often big with child, yet never be a mother; she repined at her own fruitfulness. Then Jove was born. The testimony of antiquity passes for good; pray do not shake the general faith. A stone concealed in a garment went down the heavenly throat23; so had fate decreed that the sire should be beguiled. Now rang steep Ida loud and long with clangorous music, that the boy might pule in safety with his infant mouth. Some beat their shields, others their empty helmets with staves; that was the task of the Curetes and that, too, of the Corybantes. The secret was kept, and the ancient deed is still acted in mimicry; the attendants of the goddess thump the brass and rumbling leather; cymbals they strike instead of helmets, and drums instead of shields; the flute plays, as of yore, the Phrygian airs.”

[215] The goddess ended. I began: “Why for her sake doth the fierce breed of lions yield their unwonted manes to the curved yoke?” I ended. She began: “Tis thought, the wildness of the brute was tamed by her: that she testifies by her (lion-drawn) car.” But why is her head weighted with a turreted crown? Is it because she gave towers to the first cities?” The goddess nodded assent.

[221] “Whence came,” said I, “the impulse to cut their members?” When I was silent, the Pierian goddess began to speak: “In the woods a Phrygian boy of handsome face, Attis by name, had attached the tower-bearing goddess to himself by a chaste passion. She wished that he should be kept for herself and should guard her temple, and she said, ‘Resolve to be a boy for ever.’ He promised obedience, and, ‘If I lie,’ quoth he, ‘may the love for which I break faith be my last love of all.’ He broke faith; for, meeting the nymph Sagaritis,24 he ceased to be what he had been before. For that the angry goddess wreaked vengeance. By wounds inflicted on the tree she cut down the Naiad, who perished thus; for the fate of the Naiad was bound up with the tree. Attis went mad, and, imagining that the roof of the chamber was falling in, he fled and ran for the top of Mount Dindymus. And he kept crying, at one moment. ‘Take away the torches!’ at another, ‘Remove the whips!’ And of the swore that the Stygian goddesses25 were visible to him. He mangled, too, his body with a sharp stone, and trailed his long hair in the filthy dust; and his cry was, ‘I have deserved it! With my blood I pay the penalty that is my due. Ah, perish the parts that were my ruin! Ah, let them perish,’ still he said. He retrenched the burden of his groin, and of a sudden was bereft of every sign of manhood. His madness set an example, and still his unmanly ministers cut their vile members while they toss their hair.” In such words the Aonian Muse eloquently answered my question as to the cause of the madness of the votaries.

[247] “Instruct me, too, I pray, my guide, whence was she fetched, whence came? Was she always in our city?” “The Mother Goddess ever loved Dindymus, and Cybele, and Ida, with its delightful springs, and the realm of Ilium. When Aeneas carried Troy to the Italian fields, the goddess almost followed the ships that bore the sacred things; but she felt that fate did not yet call for intervention of her divinity in Latium, and she remained behind in her accustomed place. Afterwards, when mighty Rome had already seen five centuries,26 and had lifted up her head above the conquered world, the priest consulted the fateful words of the Euboean song. They say that what he found ran thus: ‘The Mother is absent; thou Roman, I bid thee seek the Mother. When she shall come, she must be received by chaste hands.’ The ambiguity of the dark oracle puzzled the senators to know who the Parent was, and where she was to be sought. Paean27 was consulted and said, ‘Fetch the Mother of the Gods; she is to be found on Mount Ida.’ Nobles were sent. The sceptre of Phrygia was then held by Attalus; he refused the favour to the Ausonian lords.28 Wonders to tell, the earth trembled and rumbled long, and in her shrine thus did the goddess speak: ‘Twas my own will that they should send for me. Tarry not: let me go, it is my wish. Rome is a place meet to be the resort of every god.’ Quaking with terror at the words Attalus said, ‘Go forth. Thou wilt still be ours. Rome traces its origin to Phrygian ancestors.’ Straightway unnumbered axes fell those pinewoods which had supplied the pious Phrygian29 with timber in his flight: a thousand hands assemble, and the Mother of the Gods is lodged in a hollow ship painted in encaustic colours. She is borne in perfect safety across the waters of her son and comes to the long strait named after the sister of Phrixus30; she passes Rhoeteum, where the tide runs fast, and the Sigean shores, and Tenedos, and Eetion’s ancient realm.31 Leaving Lesbos behind, she came next to the Cyclades and to the wave that breaks on the Carystian shoals.32 She passed the Icarian Sea also, where Icarus lost his wings that slipped, and where he gave his name to a great water. Then she left Crete on the larboard and the Pelopian billows on the starboard, and steered for Cythera, the sacred isle of Venus. Thence she passed to the Trinacrian33 Sea, where Brotnes and Steropes and Acmonides34 are wont to dip the white-hot iron. She skirted the African main, and beheld astern to larboard the Sardinian realms, and made Ausonia.

[291] “She had reached the mouth where the Tiber divides to join the sea and flows with ampler sweep. All the knights and gave senators, mixed up with the common folk, came to meet her at the mouth of the Tuscan river. With them walked mothers and daughters and brides, and the virgins who tended the sacred hearths. The men wearied their arms by tugging lustily at the rope; hardly did the foreign ship make head against the stream. A drought had long prevailed; the grass was parched and burnt; the loaded bark sank in the muddy shallows. Every man who lent a hand toiled beyond his strength and cheered on the workers by his cries. Yet the ship stuck fast, like an island firmly fixed in the middle of the sea. Astonished at the portent, the men did stand and quake. Claudia Quinta traced her descent from Clausus35 of old, and her beauty matched her nobility. Chaste was she, though not reputed so. Rumour unkind had wronged her, and a false charge had been trumped up against her: it told against her that she dressed sprucely, that she walked abroad with her hair dressed in varied fashion, that she had a ready tongue for gruff old men. Conscious of innocence, she laughed at fame’s untruths; but we of the multitude are prone to think the worst. When she had stepped forth from the procession of the chaste matrons, and taken up the pure water of the river in her hands, she thrice let it drip on her head, and thrice lifted her palms to heaven (all who looked on her thought that she was out of her very mind), and bending the knee she fixed her eyes on the image of the goddess, and with dishevelled hair uttered these words: ‘Thou fruitful Mother of the Gods, graciously accept thy suppliant’s prayers on one condition. They say I am not chaste. If thou dost condemn me, I will confess my guilt; convicted by the verdict of the goddess, I will pay the penalty with my life. But if I am free of crime, give by thine act a proof of my innocency, and, chaste as thou art, do thou yield to my chaste hands.’ She spoke, and drew the rope with a slight effort. My story is a strange one, but it is attested by the stage.36 The goddess was moved, and followed her leader, and by following bore witness in her favour: a sound of joy was wafted to the stars. They came to a bend in the river, where the stream turns away to the left37; men of old named it the Halls of Tiber. Night drew on; they tied the rope to an oaken stump, and after a repast disposed themselves to slumber light. At dawn of day they loosed the rope from the oaken stump; but first they set down a brazier and put incense on it, and crowned the poop, and sacrificed an unblemished heifer that had known neither the yoke nor the bull. There is a place where the smooth Almo flows into the Tiber, and the lesser river loses its name in the great one. There a hoary-headed priest in purple robes washed the Mistress and her holy things in the waters of Almo. The attendants howled, the mad flute blew, and hands unmanly beat the leathern drums. Attended by a crowd, Claudia walked in front with joyful face, her chastity at last vindicated by the testimony of the goddess. The goddess herself, seated in a wagon, drove in through the Capene Gate; fresh flowers were scattered on the yoked oxen. Nasica received her.38 The name of the founder of the temple has not survived; now it is Augustus; formerly it was Metellus.” 39

[349] Here Erato stopped. There was a pause to give me time to put the rest of my questions. “Why,” said I, “does the goddess collect money in small coins?” “The people contributed their coppers, with which Metellus built her fane,” said she; “hence the custom of giving a small coin abides.” I asked why then more than at other times people entertain each other to feasts and hold banquets for which they issue invitations. “Because,” said she, “the Berecyntian goddess luckily changed her home, people try to get the same good luck by going from house to house.” 40 I was about to ask why the Megalesia are the first games of the year in our city, when the goddess took my meaning and said, “She gave birth to the gods. They gave place to their parent, and the Mother has the honour of precedence.” “Why then do we give the name of Galii to the men who unman themselves, when the Gallic land is so far from Phrygia?” “Between,” said she, “green Cybele and high Celaenae41 a river of mad water flows, ‘tis named the Gallus. Who drinks of it goes mad. Far hence depart, ye who care to be of sound mind. Who drinks of it goes mad.” “They think no shame,” said I, “to set a dish of herbs on the tables of the Mistress. Is there a good reason at the bottom of it?” “People of old,” she answered, “are reported to have subsisted on pure milk and such herbs as the earth bore of its free will. White cheese is mixed with pounded herbs, that the ancient goddess may know the ancient foods.”

NON. 5th

[373] When the next Dawn42 shall have shone in the sky, and the stars have vanished, and the Moon shall have unyoked her snow white steeds, he who shall say, “On this day of old the temple of Public Fortune was dedicated on the hill of Quirinus” will tell the truth.

VIII. ID. 6th

[377] It was, I remember, the third day of the games, when a certain elderly man, who sat next to me at the show, observed to me, “This was the famous day when on the Libyan shores Caesar crushed proud Juba’s treacherous host.43 Caesar was my commander; under him I am proud to have served as colonel: at his hands did I receive my commission. This seat I won in war, and thou didst win in peace,44 by reason of thine office in the College of the Ten.” We were about to say more when a sudden shower of rain parted us; the Balance hung in heaven released the heavenly waters.

V. ID. 9th

[387] But before the last day shall have put an end to the shows, sworded Orion will have sunk in the sea.45

IV. ID. 10th

[389] When the next Dawn shall have looked on victorious Rome, and the stars shall have been put to flight and given place to the sun, the Circus will be thronged with a procession and an array of the gods, and the horses, fleet as the wind, will contend for the first palm.

PR. ID. 12th

[393] Next come the games of Ceres. There is no need to declare the reason; the bounty and the services of the goddess are manifest. The bread of the first mortals consisted of the green herbs which the earth yielded without solicitation; and now they plucked the living grass from the turf, and now the tender leaves of tree-tops furnished a feast. Afterwards the acorn became known; it was well when they had found the acorn, and the sturdy oak offered a splendid affluence. Ceres was the first who invited man to better sustenance and exchanged acorns for more useful food. She forced bulls to yield their necks to the yoke; then for the first time did the upturned soil behold the sun. Copper was now held in esteem; iron ore still lay concealed; ah, would that it had been hidden for ever! Ceres delights in peace; and you, ye husbandmen, pray for perpetual peace and for a pacific prince. You may give the goddess spelt, and the compliment of spurting salt, and grains of incense on old hearths; and if there is no incense, kindle resinous torches. Good Ceres is content with little, if that little be but pure. Ye attendants, with tucked up robes, take the knives away from the ox; let the ox plough; sacrifice the lazy sow. The axe should never smite the neck that fits the yoke; let him live and often labour in the hard soil.

[417] The subject requires that I should narrate the rape of the Virgin: in my narrative you will read much that you knew before; a few particulars will be new to you.

[420] The Trinacrian land46 got its name from its natural position: it runs out into the vast ocean in three rocky capes. It is the favourite home of Ceres: she owns many cities, among them fertile Henna47 with its well-tilled soil. Cool Arethusa48 had invited the mothers of the gods, and the yellow-haired goddess had also come to the sacred banquet. Attended as usual by her wonted damsels, her daughter roamed bare-foot through the familiar meadows. In a shady vale there is a spot moist with the abundant spray of a high waterfall. All the hues that nature owns were there displayed, and the pied earth was bright with various flowers. As soon as she espied it, “Come hither, comrades,” she said, “and with me bring home lapfuls of flowers.” The bauble booty lured their girlish minds, and they were too busy to feel fatigue. One filled baskets plaited of supple withes, another loaded her lap, another the loose folds of her robe; one gathered marigolds, another paid heed to beds of violets; another nipped off the heads of poppies with her nails; some are attracted by the hyacinth, others lingered over amaranth; some love thyme, others corn poppies and melilot; full many a rose was culled, and flowers without a name. Persephone herself plucked dainty crocuses and white lilies. Intent on gathering, she, little by little, strayed far, and it chanced that none of her companions followed their mistress. Her father’s brother49 saw her, and no sooner did he see her than he swiftly carried her off and bore her on his dusky steeds into his own realm. She in sooth cried out, “Ho, dearest mother, they are carrying me away!” and she rent the bosom of her robe. Meantime a road is opened up for Dis; for his steeds can hardly brook the unaccustomed daylight. But when the band of playmates attending her had heaped their baskets with flowers, they cried out, “Persephone, come to the gifts we have for thee!” When she answered not their call, they filled the mountain with shrieks, and smote their bare bosoms with their sad hands.

[455] Ceres was startled by the loud lament; she had just come to Henna, and straightway, “Woe’s me! my daughter,” said she, “where art thou?” Distraught she hurried along, even as we hear that Thracian Maenads rush with streaming hair. As a cow, whose calf has been torn from her udder, bellows and seeks her offspring through every grove, so the goddess did not stifle her groans and ran at speed, starting from the plains of Henna. From there she lit on prints of the girlish feet and marked the traces of the familiar figure on the ground. Perhaps that day had been the last of her wanderings if swine had not foiled the trail she found. Already in her course she had passed Leontini, and the river Amenanus, and the grassy banks of Acis. She had passed Cyane, and the spring of gently flowing Anapus, and the Gelas with its whirlpools not to be approached. She had left behind Ortygia and Megara and the Pantagias, and the place where the sea receives the water of the Symaethus, and the caves of the Cyclopes, burnt by the forges set up in them, and the place that takes its name from a curved sickle,50 and Himera, and Didyme, and Acragas, and Tauromenum, and the Mylae,51 where are the rich pastures of the sacred kine. Next she came to Camerina, and Thapsus, and the Tempe of Halorus, and where Eryx lies for ever open to the western breeze. Already had she traversed Pelorias, and Lilybaeum, and Pachynum, the three horns of her land. And wherever she set her foot she filled every place with her sad plaints, as when the bird doth mourn her Itys lost.52 In turn she cried, now “Persephone!” now “Daughter!” She cried and shouted either name by turns; but neither did Persephone hear Ceres, nor the daughter hear her mother; both names by turns died away. And whether she spied a shepherd or a husbandman at work, her one question was, “Did a girl pass this way?” Now o’er the landscape stole a sober hue, and darkness hid the world; now the watchful dogs were hushed. Lofty Etna lies over the mouth of huge Typhoeus, whose fiery breath sets the ground aglow.53 There the goddess kindled two pine-trees to serve her as a light; hence to this day a torch is given out at the rites of Ceres. There is a cave all fretted with the seams of scolloped pumice, a region not to be approached by man or beast. Soon as she came hither, she yoked the bitter serpents to her car and roamed, unwetted, o’er the ocean waves. She shunned the Syrtes, and Zanclaean Charybdis, and you, ye Nisaean hounds,54 monsters of shipwreck; she shunned the Adriatic, stretching far and wide, and Corinth of the double seas.

[502] Thus she came to thy havens, land of Attica. There for the first time she sat her down most rueful on a cold stone: that stone even now the Cecropids55 call the Sorrowful. For many days she tarried motionless under the open sky, patiently enduring the moonlight and the rain. Not a place but has its own peculiar destiny: what now is named the Eleusis of Ceres was then the plot of land of aged Celeus. He carried home acorns and blackberries, knocked from bramble bushes, and dry wood to feed the blazing hearth. A little daughter drove two nanny-goats back from the mountain, and an infant son was sick in his cradle. “Mother,” said the maid – the goddess was touched by the name of mother – “what does thou all alone in solitary places?” The old man, too, halted, despite the load he bore, and prayed that she would pass beneath the roof of his poor cottage. She refused. She had disguised herself as an old dame and covered her hair wit ha cap. When he pressed her, she answered thus: “Be happy! may a parent’s joy be thine for ever! My daughter has been taken from me. Alas! how much betters is thy lot than mine!” She spoke, and like a tear (for gods can never weep) a crystal drop fell on her bosom warm. They wept with her, those tender hearts, the old man and the maid; and these were the words of the worthy old man: “So may the ravished daughter, whose loss thou weepest, be restored safe to thee, as thou shalt arise, nor scorn the shelter of my humble hut.” The goddess answered him. “Lead on; thou hast found the way to force me”; and she rose from the stone and followed the old man. As he led her and she followed, he told her how his son was sick and sleepless, kept wakeful by his ills. As she was about to pass within the lowly dwelling, she plucked a smooth, a slumberous poppy that grew on the waste ground; and as she plucked, ‘tis said she tasted it forgetfully, and so unwitting stayed her long hunger. Hence, because she broke her fast at nightfall, the initiates time their meal by the appearance of the stars. When she crossed the threshold, the saw the household plunged in grief; all hope of saving the child was gone. The goddess greeted the mother (her name was Metanira) and deigned to put her lips to the child’s lips. His pallor fled, and strength of a sudden was visibly imparted to his frame; such vigour flowed from lips divine. There was joy in the whole household, that is, in mother, father, and daughter; for they three were the whole household. Anon they set out a repast – curds liquefied in milk, and apples, and golden honey in the comb. Kind Ceres abstained, and gave the child poppies to drink in warm milk to make him sleep. It was midnight, and there reigned the silence of peaceful sleep; the goddess took up Triptolemus in her lap, and thrice she stroked him with her hand, and spoke three spells, spells not to be rehearsed by mortal tongue, and on the hearth she buried the boy’s body in live embers, that he fire might purge away the burden of humanity. His fond-foolish mother awoke from sleep and distractedly cried out, “What doest thou?” and she snatched his body from the fire. To her the goddess said: “Meaning no wrong, thou hast done grievous wrong: my bounty has been baffled by a mother’s fear. That boys of yours will indeed by mortal, but he will be the first to plough and sow and reap a guerdon from the turned-up soil.”

[561] She said, and forth she fared, trailing a cloud behind her, and passed to her dragons, then soared aloft in her winged car. She left behind bold Sunium,56 and the snug harbour of Piraeus, and the coast that lies on the right hand. From there she came to the Aegean, where she beheld all the Cyclades; she skimmed the wild Ionian and the Icarian Sea; and passing through the cities of Asia she made for the long Hellespont, and pursued aloft a roving course, this way and that.57 For now she looked down on the incense-gathering Arabs, and now on the Indians: beneath her lay on one side Libya, on the other side Meroe, and the parched land. Now she visited the western rivers, the Rhine, the Rhone, the Po, and thee, Tiber, future parent of a mighty water. Whither do I stray? ‘Twere endless to tell of the lands over which she wandered. No spot in the world did Ceres leave unvisited. She wandered also in the sky, and accosted the constellations that lie next to the cold pole and never dip in the ocean wave. “Ye Parrhasian stars,58 reveal to a wretched mother her daughter Persephone; for ye can know all things, since never do ye plunge under the waters of the sea.” So she spoke, and Helice answered her thus: “Night is blameless. Ask of the Sun concerning the ravished maid: far and wide he sees the things that are done by day.” Appealed to, the Sun said, “To spare thee vain trouble, she whom thou seekest is wedded to Jove’s brother and rules the third realm.”

[585] After long moaning to herself she thus addressed the Thunderer, and in her face there were deep lines of sorrow: “If thou dost remember by whom I got Persephone, she ought to have half of thy care. By wandering round the world I have learned naught but the knowledge of the wrong: the ravisher enjoys the reward of his crime. But neither did Persephone deserve a robber husband, nor was it meet that in this fashion we should find a son-in-law. What worse wrong could I have suffered if Gyges59 had been victorious and I his captive, than now I have sustained while thou art sceptered king of heaven? But let him escape unpunished; I’ll put up with it nor ask for vengeance; only let him restore her and repair his former deeds by new.” Jupiter soothed her, and on the plea of love excused the deed. “He is not a son-in-law,” said he, “to put us to shame: I myself am not a white more noble: my royalty is in the sky, another owns the waters, and another void of chaos.60 But if haply thy mind is set immutably, and thou art resolved to break the bonds of wedlock, once contracted, come let us try to do so, if only she has kept her fast; if not, she will be the wife of her infernal spouse.” The Herald God received his orders and assumed his wings: he flew to Tartarus and returning sooner than he was looked for brought tidings sure of what he had seen. “The ravished Maid,” said he, “did break her fast on three grains enclosed in the tough rind of a pomegranate.” Her rueful parent grieved no less than if her daughter had just been reft from her, and it was long before she was herself again, and hardly then. And thus she spoke: “For me, too, heaven is no home; order that I too be admitted to the Taenarian vale.61” And she would have done so, if Jupiter had not promised that Persephone should be in heaven for twice three months. Then at last Ceres recovered her looks and her spirits, and set wreaths of corn ears on her hair; and the laggard fields yielded plenteous harvest, and the threshing-floor could hardly hold the high-piled sheaves. White is Ceres’ proper colour; put on white robes at Ceres’ festival; now no one wears dun-coloured wool.

ID. 13th

[621] The Ides of April belong to Jupiter under the title of Victor: a temple was dedicated to him on that day.62 On that day, too, if I mistake not, Liberty began to won a hall well worthy of our people.63


[625] On the next day steer for safe harbours, thou mariner: the wind from the west will be mixed with hail. Yet be that as it may, on that day, a day of hail, Caesar in battle-array smote hip and thigh his foes at Modena.64

XVII. KAL. 15th

[629] When the third day shall have dawned after the Ides of Venus, ye pontiffs, offer in sacrifice a pregnant (forda) cow. Forda is a cow with calf and fruitful, so called from ferendo (“bearing”): they think that fetus is derived from the same root. Now are the cattle big with young; the ground, too, is big with seed: to teeming Earth is given a teeming victim. Some are slain in the citadel of Jupiter; the wards (Curiae)65 get thrice ten cows, and are splashed and drenched with blood in plenty. But when the attendants have torn the calves from the bowels of their dams, and put the cut entrails on the smoking hearths, the eldest (Vestal) Virgin burns the calves in the fire, that their ashes may purify the people on the day of Pales.66 When Numa was king, the harvest did not answer toe the labour bestowed on it; the husbandman was deceived, and his prayers were offered in vain. For at one time the year was dry, the north winds blowing cold; at another time the fields were rank with ceaseless rain; often at its first sprouting the crop balked its owner, and the light oats overran the choked soil, and the cattle dropped their unripe young before the time, and often the ewe perished in giving birth to her lamb. There was an ancient wood, long unprofaned by the axe, left sacred to the god of Maenalus.67 He to the quiet mind gave answers in the silence of the night. Here Numa sacrificed two ewes. The first fell in honour of Faunus, the second fell in honour of gentle Sleep: the fleeces of both were spread on the hard ground. Twice the king’s unshorn head was sprinkled with water from a spring; twice he veiled his brows with beechen leaves. He refrained from the pleasures of love; no flesh might be served up to him at table; he might wear no ring on his fingers. Covered with a rough garment he laid him down on the fresh fleeces after worshipping the god in the appropriate words. Meantime, her clam brow wreathed with poppies, Night drew on, and in her train brought darkling dreams. Faunus was come, and setting his hard hoof on the sheep’s fleeces uttered these words on the right side of the bed: “O King, thou must appease Earth by the death of two cows, let one heifer yield two lives in sacrifice.” Fear banished sleep: Numa pondered the vision, and revolved in his mind the dark sayings and mysterious commands. His wife,68 the darling of the grove, extricated him from his doubts and said: “What is demanded of thee are the inwards of a pregnant cow.” The inwards of a pregnant cow were offered; the year proved more fruitful, and earth and cattle yielded increase.

XVI. KAL. 16th

[673] This day once on a time Cytherea commanded to go faster and hurried the galloping horses down hill, that on the next day the youthful Augustus might receive the sooner the title of emperor for his victories in war.69

XV. KAL. 17th

[677] But when you shall have counted the fourth day after the Ides, the Hyades will set in the sea that night.70

XIII. KAL. 19th

[679] When the third morn shall have risen after the disappearance of the Hyades, the horse will be in the Circus, each team in its separate stall. I must therefore71 explain the reason why foxes are let loose with torches tied to their burning backs.72 The land of Carseoli73 is cold and not suited for the growth of olives, but the soil is well adapted for corn. By it I journeyed on my way to the Pelignian land, my native country, a country small but always supplied with never-falling water. There I entered, as usual, the house of an old host; Phoebus had already unyoked his spent steeds. My host was wont to tell me many things, and among them matters which were to be embodied in my present work. “In yonder plain,” said he, and he pointed it out, “a thrifty countrywoman had a small croft, she and her sturdy spouse. He tilled his own land, whether the work called for the plough, or the curved sickle, or the hoe. She would now sweep the cottage, supported on props; now she would set the eggs to be hatched under the plumage of the brooding hen; or she gathered green mallows or white mushrooms, or warmed the low hearth with welcome fire. And yet she diligently employed her hands at the loom, and armed herself against the threats of winter. She had a son, in childhood frolicsome, who now had seen twice five years and two more. He in a valley at the end of a willow copse caught a vixen fox which had carried off many farmyard fowls. The captive brute he wrapped in straw and hay, and set a light to her; she escaped the hands that would have burned her. Where she fled, she set fire to the crops that clothed the fields, and a breeze fanned the devouring flames. The incident is forgotten, but a memorial of it survives; for to this day a certain law of Carseoli forbids to name a fox; and to punish the species a fox is burned at the festival of Ceres, thus perishing itself in the way it destroyed the crops.”

XII. KAL. 20th

[713] When next day Memnon’s saffron-robed mother74 on her rosy steeds shall come to view the far-spread lands, the sun departs from the sign of the leader of the woolly flock, the ram which betrayed Helle75; and when he has passed out of that sign, a larger victim meets him. Whether that victim is a cow or a bull, it is not easy to know; the fore part is visible, the hinder part is hid. But whether the sign be a bull or a cow, it enjoys this reward of love against the will of Juno.76

XI. KAL. 21st

[721] The night has gone, and Dawn comes up. I am called upon to sing of the Parilia, and not in vain shall be the call, if kindly Pales favours me. O kindly Pales, favour me when I sing of pastoral rites, if I pay my respects to thy festival. Sure it is that I have often brought with full hands the ashes of the calf and the beanstraws, chaste means of expiation. Sure it is that I have leaped over the flames ranged three in a row, and the moist laurel-bough has sprinkled water on me. The goddess is moved and favours the work I have in hand. My bark is launched; now fair winds fill my sails.

[731] The people, go fetch materials for fumigation from the Virgin’s altar. Vesta will give them; by Vesta’s gift ye shall be pure. The materials for fumigation will be the blood of a horse and the ashes of a calf; the third thing will be the empty stalks of hard beans. Shepherd, do thou purify thy well-fed sheep at fall of twilight; first sprinkle the ground with water and sweep it with a broom. Deck the sheepfold with leaves and branches fastened to it; adorn the door and cover it with a long festoon. Make blue smoke with pure sulphur, and let the sheep, touched with the smoking sulphur, bleat. Burn wood of male olives and pine and savines, and let the singed laurel crackle in the midst of the hearth. And let a basket of millet accompany cakes of millet; the rural goddess particularly delights in that food. Add viands and a pail of milk, such as she loves; and when the viands have been cut up, pray to sylvan Pales, offering warm milk to her. Say, “O, take thought alike for the cattle and the cattle’s masters; ward off from my stalls all harm, O let it flee away! If I have fed my sheep on holy ground, or sat me down under a sacred tree, and my sheep unwittingly have browsed on graves; if I have entered a forbidden grove, or the nymphs and the half-goat god have been put to flight at sight of me; if my pruning-knife has robbed a sacred copse of a shady bough, to fill a basket with leaves for sick sheep, pardon my fault. Count it not against me if I have sheltered my flock in a rustic shrine till the hail left off, and may I not suffer for having troubled the pools: forgive it, nymphs, if the trampling of hoofs has made your waters turbid. Do thou, goddess, appease for us the springs and their divinities; appease the gods dispersed through every grove. May we not see the Dryads, or Diana’s baths, nor Faunus,77 when he lies in the fields at noon. Drive far away diseases: may men and beasts be hale, and hale too the sagacious pack of watch-dogs. May I drive home my flocks as numerous as they were at morn, nor sign as I bring back fleeces snatched from the wolf. Avert dire hunger. Let grass and leaves abound, and water both to wash and drink. Full udders may I milk; may my cheese bring in money; may the sieve of wicker-work give passage to the liquid whey: lustful be the ram, and may his mate conceive and bear, and many a lamb be in my fold. And let the wool grow so soft that it could not fret the skin of girls nor chafe the tenderest hands. May my prayer be granted, and we will year by year make great cakes for Pales, the shepherd’s mistress.” With these tings is the goddess to be propitiated; these words pronounce times, facing the east, and wash thy hands in living dew. Then mayest thou set a wooden bowl to serve as mixer, and mayest quaff the snow-white milk and purple must; anon leap with nimble foot and straining thews across the burning heaps of crackling straw.

[783] I have set forth the custom; it remains for me to tell its origin. The multitude of explanations creates doubt and thwarts me at the outset. Devouring fire purges all things and melts the dross from out the metals; therefore it purges the shepherd and the sheep. Or are we to suppose that, because all things are composed of opposite principles, fire and water – those two discordant deities – therefore our fathers did conjoin these elements and though meet to touch the body with fire and sprinkled water? Or did they deem these two important because they contain the source of life, the exile loses the use of them, and by them the bride is made a wife?78 Some suppose (though I can hardly do so) that the allusion is to Phaethon and Deucalion’s flood. Some people also say that when shepherds were knocking stones together, a spark suddenly leaped forth; the first indeed was lost, but the second was caught in straw; is that he reason of the flame at the Parilia? Or is the custom rather based on the piety of Aeneas, whom, even in the hour of defeat, the fire allowed to pass unscathed? Or is it haply nearer the truth that, when Rome was founded, orders were given to transfer the household gods to the new houses, and in changing homes the husbandmen set fire to their country houses and to the cottages they were about to abandon, and that they and their cattle leaped through the flames? Which happens even to the present time on the birthday of Rome.79

[807] The subject of itself furnishes a theme for the poet. We have arrived at the foundation of the City. Great Quirinus, help me to sing thy deeds. Already the brother of Numitor80 had suffered punishment, and all the shepherd folk were subject to the twins. The twins agreed to draw the swains together and found a city; the doubt was which of the two should found it. Romulus said, “There needs no contest. Great faith is put in birds; let’s try the birds.” The proposal was accepted. One of the two betook him to the rocks of the wooded Palatine; the other hied at morn to the top of the Aventine. Remus saw six birds; Romulus saw twice six, one after the other: they stood by their compact, and Romulus was accorded the government of the city. A suitable day was chosen on which he should mark out the line of the walls with the plough. The festival of Pales was at hand; on that day the work began. A trench was dug down to the solid rock; fruits of the earth were thrown into the bottom of it, and with them earth fetched from the neighbouring soil. The trench was filled up with mould, and on the top was set an altar, and a fire was duly lit on a new hearth. Then pressing on the plough-handle he drew a furrow to mark out the line of the walls: the yoke was borne by a white cow and snow-white steer. The king spoke thus: “O Jupiter, and Father Mavors, and Mother Vesta, stand by me as I found the city! O take heed, all ye gods whom piety bids summon! Under your auspices may this my fabric rise! May it enjoy long life and dominion over a conquered world! May East and West be subject unto it!” So he prayed. Jupiter vouchsafed omens by thunder on the left and lightnings flashing in the leftward sky. Glad at the augury, the citizens laid the foundations, and in short time the new wall stood. The work was urged on by Celer, whom Romulus himself had named and said, “Celer, be this thy are; let no man cross the walls nor the trench which the share hath made: who dares to do so, put him to death.” Ignorant of this, Remus began to mock the lowly walls and say, “Shall these protect the people?” And straightway he leaped across them. Instantly Celer struck the rash man with a shovel. Covered with blood, Remus sank on the stony ground. When the king heard of this, he smothered the springing tears and kept his grief locked up within his breast. He would not weep in public; he set an example of fortitude, and “So fare,” quoth he, “the foe who shall cross my walls.” Yet he granted funeral honours, and could no longer bear to check his tears, and the affection which he had dissembled was plain to see. When they set down the bier, he gave it a last kiss, and said, “Snatched from they brother, loath to part, brother, farewell!” With that he anointed the body before committing it to the flames. Faustulus and Acca, her mournful hair unbound, did the same. Then the Quirites, though not yet known by that name, wept for the youth, and last of all a light was put the pyre, wet with their tears. A city arose destined to set its victorious foot upon the neck of the whole earth; who at that time could have believed such a prophecy? Rule the universe, O Rome, and mayest thou often have several of that name, and whenso’er thou standest sublime in a conquered world, may all else reach not up to thy shoulders!

IX. KAL. 23rd

[863] I have told of Pales, I will now tell of the festival of the Vinalia; but there is one day interposed between the two. Ye common wenches, celebrate the divinity of Venus: Venus favours the earnings of ladies of a liberal profession. Offer incense and pray for beauty and popular favour; pray to be charming and witty; give to the Queen her own myrtle and the mint she loves, and bands or rushes hid in clustered roses. Now is the time to throng her temple next the Colline gate; the temple takes its name from the Sicilian hill. When Claudius carried Arethusian Syracuse81 by force of arms, and captured thee, too, Eryx, in war, Venus was transferred to Rome in obedience to an oracle of the long-lived Sibyl, and chose to be worshipped in the city of her offspring. You ask, Why then do they call the Vinalia a festival of Venus? And why does that day belong to Jupiter? There was war to decide whether Turnus or Aeneas should be the husband of Latin Amata’s daughter: Turnus sued the help of the Etruscans. Mezentius was famous and a haughty man-at-arms; might was he on horseback, but mightier still on foot. Turnus and the Rutulians attempted to win him to their side. To these overtures the Tuscan chief thus replied: “My valour costs me dear. Witness my wounds and those weapons which oft I have bedabbled with my blood. You ask my help: divide with me the next new wine from your vats – surely no great reward. Delay there need be none: ‘tis yours to give, and mine to conquer. How would Aeneas wish you had refused my suit!” The Rutulians consented. Mezentius donned his arms, Aeneas donned them too, and thus he spoke to Jupiter. “The foe has pledged his vintage to the Tyrrhenian king; Jupiter, thou shalt have the new wine from the Latin vines.” The better vows prevailed: huge Mezentius fell, and with his breast indignant smote the ground. Autumn came round, stained with the trodden grapes; the wine that was his due was justly paid to Jupiter. Hence the day is called the Vinalia: Jupiter claims it for his own, and loves to be present at his own feast.

VII. KAL. 25th

[901] When April shall have six days left, the season of spring will be in mid course, and in vain will you look for the Ram of Helle, daughter of Athamas82; the rains will be your sign, and the constellation of the Dog will rise.83

[905] On that day, as I was returning from Nomentum to Rome, a white-robed crowd clocked the middle of the road. A flamen was on his way to the grove of ancient Mildew (Robigo), to throw the entrails of a dog and the entrails of a sheep into the flames. Straightway I went up to him to inform myself of the rite. Thy flamen, O Quirinus, pronounced these words: “Thou scaly Mildew, spare the sprouting corn, and let he smooth top quiver on the surface of the ground. O let the crops, nursed by the stars of a propitious sky, grow till they are ripe for the sickle. No feeble power is thine: the corn on which thou hast set thy mark, the sad husbandman gives up for lost. Nor winds, nor showers, nor glistening frost, that nips the sallow corn, harm it so much as when the sun warms the wet stalks; then, dread goddess, is the hour to wreak thy wrath. O spare, I pray, and take thy scabby hands from off the harvest! Harm not the tilth; ‘tis enough that thou hast the power to harm. Grip not the tender crops, but rather grip the hard iron. Forestall the destroyer. Better that thou shouldst gnaw at swords and baneful weapons. There is no need of them: the world is at peace. Now let the rustic gear, the rakes, and the hard hoe, and the curved share be burnished bright; but let rust defile the arms, and when one essays to draw the sword from the scabbard, let him feel it stick from long disuse. But do not thou profane the corn, and ever may the husbandman be able to pay his vows to thee in thine absence.” So he spoke. On his right hand hung a napkin with a loose nap, and he had a bowl of wine and a casket of incense. The incense, and wine, and sheep’s guts, and the foul entrails of a filthy dog, he put upon the hearth – we saw him do it. Then to me he said, “Thou askest why an unwonted victim84 is assigned to these rites?” Indeed, I had asked the question. “Learn the cause,” the flamen said. “There is a Dog (they call it the Icarian dog),85 and when that constellation rises the earth is parched and dry, and the crop ripens too soon. This dog is put on the altar instead of the starry dog, and the only reason why this happens is his name.”

IV. PR. KAL. 28th - 30th

[943] When the spouse of Tithonus has left the brother of Phrygian Assaracus,86 and thrice has lifted up her radiant light in the vast firmament, there comes a goddess decked with garlands of a thousand varied flowers, and the stage enjoys a customary license of mirth. The rites of Flora also extend into the Kalends of May. Then I will resume the theme: now a loftier task is laid upon me. O Vesta, take thy day! Vesta has been received in the home of her kinsman: so have the Fathers righteously decreed. Phoebus owns part of the house; another part has been given up to Vesta; what remains is occupied by Caesar himself. Long live the laurels of the Palatine! Long live the house wreathed with oaken boughs! A single house holds three eternal gods.87

1. Eros and Anteros.
2. Augustus, adopted by Julius Caesar, who traced his descent from Venus, through Aeneas.
3. Romulus, as descended from Aeneas and so from Ilus, founder of Ilium.
4. Aphrodite, from aphros, “foam.”
5. Ulysses, after the hill Neriton in Ithaca. Lamus, king of the Laestrygones, was thought to have founded Forminiae. Ulysses visited the Laestrygonians, as described in Hom. Od. x. 81.
6. The promontory Circeium.
7. Tusculum.
8. Said to have founded Patavium.
9. Ovid was exiled to Scythia.
10. Wounded by Diomede, Iliad, v. 335.

11. Paris, the Trojan, adjudged to her the apple, the prize of beauty; and her rivals, Juno (Hera) and Athena, bore a grudge for their defeat.
12. Anchises, grandson of Assaracus. The Julian line claimed descent from Iulus, son of Aeneas.
13. Courtesans, who were forbidden to wear the garb of matrons.
14. Venus, to whom the month of April belonged. Her statue was washed. On April 1, women of the lower sort bathed in the men’s public baths, and worshipped Fortuna Virilis.
15. The Sibyl.
16. Real setting April 26. Apparent setting May 13.
17. Atlas.
18. Phrygian (from Mount Berecyntus).
19. Cybele, the Asiatic goddess. The feast was called the Megalensian (Megale, great goddess). Her attendants, the Galli, were eunuchs.
20. The Muses, whose father Jupiter was son of Cybele.

21. Eros, Love.
22. Cybele.
23. Of Saturn (Cronos).
24. No doubt named from the river Sangarius or Sagaris, in Phrygia. She appears to have been nymph of a neighbouring tree. The jealous goddess punished Attis by driving him mad.
25. The Furies.
26. In 204 B.C., year of Rome 549, the Sibylline books were consulted. The Sibyl lived at Cumae, a colony of Euboea. See Livy xxix. 10, 11, 14.
27. Delphic Apollo. The envoys sent from Rome, M. Valerius Laevinus, M. Caecilius Metellus, Ser. Sulpicius Gallus, consulted the oracle at Delphi on their way and received a favourable answer.
28. This is not borne out by Livy.
29. Aeneas.
30. Helles-pontus. See above, iii. 851 note.

31. Eëtion was father of Andromache, and king of Thebe in the Troad.
32. South of Euboea.
33. Sicilian.
34. Usually called Pyracmon. These are the three Cyclopes who forged Jupiter’s thunderbolts under Mount Etna.
35. A Sabine leader, said to have assisted Aeneas: Virgil, Aen. vii. 706. Ancestor of the Claudian house.
36. It was probably acted at the Megalensia, the Great Mother’s festival.
37. Left for one ascending the Tiber.
38. P. Corn. Scipio Nasica, a young man, was commissioned to receive the goddess.
39. The temple was dedicated in 191 B.C. It was burned down in 111 B.C., when one Metellus restored it (? Q. Caecilius Metellus); and in A.D. 3, when Augustus restored it (Mon. Ancyr. iv. 19, in L.C.L Velleius Paterculus, p. 376).
40. This feast was a great time for hospitality; and the words used for invitations were mulitare, and mulitario.

41. In Phrygia.
42. Pallantias, Aurora. Ovid regards her as daughter of the giant (or Titan) Pallas.
43. Thapsus, 46 B.C.
44. The Decemviri stlitibus iudicandis had special seats in front.
45. True setting being April 10 (morning); apparent setting May 18.
46. Sicily.
47. In Sicily: often called Enna.
48. Nymph of the fountain Arethusa, in Syracuse. She had invited the matrons, so that Persephone, or Proserpine, daughter of Ceres, was left unguarded.
49. Pluto, or Dis, brother of Jupiter.
50. Either Zancle (an ancient name of Messene) or Drepanum, named after zanklon or drepanon, “a sickle.” The other places named are also in Sicily. “Tempe of Helorus” (l. 147) is the upper gorge of the river-course, recalling Tempe in Thessaly.

51. Riese’s cogent conjecture for melan (unintelligible).
52. The nightingale: see ii. 629 note.
53. See i. 573. The monster was imprisoned beneath Etna.
54. He confuses the sea-monster Scylla with Scylla daughter of Nisus, as Virgil did, Ecl. vi. 74-77.
55. Athenian, from Cecrops, the first king.
56. A headland of Attica.
57. She turns from N.E. to S.E. and S.W., passing between Libya and Ethiopia, thence to Europe.
58. The constellation of the Great Bear (also Helice), as identified with Arcadian Callisto: Parrhasian stands for Arcadian. See above, ii. 155, iii. 108.
59. He confuses the hundred-handed brothers with the giants who tried to storm heaven (see iii. 805).
60. She has wedded Pluto or Hades, himself a king like Jupiter and Neptune. Chaos, the abyss, us used for Hades. See i. 103, note.

61. Tartarus, since there was supposed to be a mouth of hell at Taenarum, a promontory in Laconia.
62. Vowed by Q. Fabius Maximus, 295 B.C.
63. Atrium Libertatis, not far from the Forum.
64. He relieved the siege of Mutina in 43 B.C., against Antony.
65. See ii. 530 note, iii. 140.
66. See below, l. 721.
67. Pan.
68. Egeria.
69. Venus, as the ancestress of the Julian house, is made to hasten the sun’s setting on April 15, that he might rise the sooner on the 16th, when the title of Imperator was given him for his relief of Mutina.
70. The true evening setting was on April 20.

71. Because this loosing of foxes was part of the Games of Ceres.
72. Compare Judges xv. 4-6.
73. A Latin town, on the road to Paelignian Corfinium.
74. Aurora.
75. See iii. 851-876.
76. Whether is be Io as a cow, or the bull that carried off Europa, Juno is equally offended at the reminder of her husband’s unfaithfulness.
77. It was dangerous to disturb Pan (Faunus) at midday, or to see satyrs and nymphs at their gambols. He alludes also the story of Actaeon and Diana, Metam. iii. 161.
78. Fire and water were supposed in combination to create life. The exiled man was debarred from fire and water (“igni atque aqua interdictus”); and these two were presented to the bride as she entered her new home.
79. The Palilia.
80. Amulius. See iii. 67.

81. M. Claudius Marcellus captured Syracuse, 212 B.C.
82. Apparent setting was on March 20, true setting on April 5.
83. The Dog-star then rose in the morning of August 2, set in the evening of May 1; not in April.
84. The dog.
85. Supposed to be the dog Maera, which discovered the body of his master Icarius.
86. According to Homer, Tithonus was a distant cousin of Assaracus. Frater is often used loosely.
87. When Augustus was made Pontifex Maximus, eh should have taken up his residence in the Regia near Vesta’s temple, but instead he built a chapel of Vesta in his own house on the Palatine, and dedicated it on April 28, which was made a public holiday. The mention of Phoebus refers to the temple of Apollo built on the Palatine containing the famous library. Here, as in iii. 425, the poet claims kindship for Augustus with Vesta through Aeneas. For the oaken boughs cf. i. 644 note.