Abbildungen der Seite

19. Coelestia sacra; i. e. the worship of the Muses. – 22. Maeonides = Homer ; from Maeonia, where he was said to have been born. See on Met. VI. 149. — 23. Helicone. See on II. 219. 24. Verba – modis words free from measure ; i. e. prose. — 28. Liberior toga; i. e. the toga virilis, for which the boy of noble birth, at about the age of fifteen, exchanged the toga praetexta. He then ceased to be an infans, and entered on the legal rights of manhood. Hence liberior. For the datives, see Gr. 388. 4. A. & S. 225. II. 29. The latus clavus, or broad purple stripe down the front of the tunic, was the badge of senatorial rank. Augustus, however, allowed the sons of senators, and, in some cases, of equites whose fortunes equalled that of senators, to wear the latus clavus, when they assumed the toga virilis. · - 32. Cf. Hor. C. II. 17. 5. 34. Dequefui and I became one of the Triumviri ; i. e. the Triumviri Capitales, whose duty it was to inquire into all capital crimes, and who had the care of public prisons. — 35. Curia – est=the senate was now open to me, but (not desiring to enter it) I laid aside the latus clavus. When a young eques was allowed to wear the latus clavus (see on v. 29), he gave it up on reaching the age when he was admissible into the senate, if he did not desire to become a senator, and assumed the angustus clavus, the badge of the equestrian order.

- 36. Onus; i.e. the senatorship. ~ 38. Fugax, in poetry, sometimes takes a genitive of the thing which is shunned. - 39. Aoniae Sorores the Muses; since Helicon and Aganippe, their favorite haunts, were in Aonia, or Boeotia. See on I. 313. — 40. Otium often denotes freedom from the cares of public life. — 44. Macer; i. e. Aemilius Macer, who wrote a poem, or poems, now lost, upon birds, serpents, and medicinal plants. He was born at Verona, and was a friend of Virgil's. — On the subjunctives, see Gr. 525. A. & S. 265. — 45. S. Aurelius Propertius, the poet, was born about B. C. 51. Little is known of his life. As an elegiac poet, he ranks very high, and, among the ancients, it was a disputed point whether the preference should be given to him or to Tibullus. Ignes; i. e. love-poems. — 47. Ponticus; a poet, less noted, who wrote on the Theban War in hexameter (heroo) verse. Bassus; a poet mentioned also by Propertius. Iambo iambic verse. 48. Dulcia - mei; i. e. were favorites in my circle of friends. 49. Numerosus Horatius=the tuneful Horace. -50. Ausonia = Italian. See on Met. V. 350. — 51. Ovid was twenty-four years old when Virgil died, but the latter had resided for some years at Naples. Albius Tibullus, the elegiac poet, died in the same year with Virgil, or soon after. The poetry of his contemporaries shows him to have been a gentle and singularly amiable man. 53. C. Cornelius Gallus, born about B. C. 66, was an intimate friend of Virgil, Varus,

[ocr errors]

Ovid, and other eminent men of his time, and highly esteemed as a poet; but none of his works have come down to us. — - 54. The series of elegiac poets, according to Ovid, is, therefore : Gallus, Tibul. lus, Propertius, Ovidius. - 56. Thalia mea= my muse. Thalia, at ieast in later times, was “the Muse of comedy and of merry and idyllic poetry.” — 57. Populo legi; i. e. in public, either in the Forum or the baths. The practice had become a common one at the time here referred to. — 60. The real name of the Corinna, celebrated in the Amores of Ovid, is not known to us. Sidonius Apollinaris says that she was Julia, the daughter of Augustus, and some modern scholars think this not improbable. — 63. Quum fugerem: - when I went into exile. Placitura

which would perhaps have pleased. At this time he burned the Metamorphoses. See Life. — 64. Studio. Gr. 391. I. A. & S. 222, R. I.

65. Molle – telis = susceptible and by no means proof against the arrows of Cupid. — 66. Moveret. See ref, on v. 44. — 67. Essem is subjunctive after quum causal. Hic=such ; i. e. thus susceptible. — 68. Fabula scandal. - 69-72. See Life. 73. Ultima. She was connected with the noble house of the Fabii and also with the imperial family. — 74. Conjux. Gr. 547. I. A. & S. 271, N. 2. — 75, 76. Filia-avum; i. e. his daughter, Perilla, was twice married, and had a child by each husband. — 77, 78. Since a lustrum is a period of five years, Ovid's father had reached the age of ninety. — 79. Me. Gr. 371. 3. I). A. & S. 232 (2) and N. 1. Some editors read, me ... adempto. -80. Proxima justa=the last honors. His mother died soon after her husband. -83. Me. Gr. 381 and 1. A. & S. 238. 2. - 84. Nihil. Gr. 380. 2. A. & S. 232 (3). — 85. Si — restat; i. e. if death is not annihilation; if the soul is immortal. - 86. Gracilis thin, insubstantial. Cf. leves populos, Met. X. 14. — 89, 90. Causam jussàe fugae that the cause of my banishment. Errorem. Ovid says again and again that his offence was an error, not a crime. See Life. - 91. Studiosa (sc. mei) devoted. 92. Pectora. See on Met. X. 71. It would seem from this line that friends had requested him to write this sketch of his life. — 94. Antiquas ; i. e. gray. — 95, 96. Pisaea — equus; i. e. ten times had the horses won the prize in the Qlympian

The Olympian games were celebrated, once in four years, near Pisa, in Elis. Ovid here (as in Ep. ex Pont. IV. 6. 5, where he uses the expression, quinquennis Olympias) makes the Olympiad equal to the Roman lustrum (see on v. 78). He was fifty-one years old at the time of his banishment. 97. - See Life. - 101. Ovid repeatedly complains of the treachery of those about him. Cf. Ep. ex Pont. II. 7. 62 : Ditata est spoliis perfida turba meis. — 106. Cepi – arma=I took up the arms of my situation; i. e. I met the change bravely. -. 108. The hidden pole is the Southern ; the visible, the Northern. Cf. Virg. G. I. 242 foll. — 110. Sarmatis ora= the Sarmatian shore. Sarmatia was the general name for the northeastern part of Europe and the northwestern part of Asia. The Danube separated it from Thrace, just within whose boundaries the Getae lived. — 111. Circumsoner. Gr. 516. II. and 3. Some editors read circumsonor. Compare quamvis ... cst, v. 113. 113. Referatur. Gr. 501. I. A. & S. 264. 7. - 116. Lucis = vitae. — 117. Gratia ... tibi=is thy favor ; i. e. I owe to thee. The subject of the sentence is the clause depending on quod. — 119. Ab Istro from the Danube ; i. e. from this place of exile. For the change of number in nos ... mihi, see Met. V. 517, 518; XI. 132, 133, etc. 120. Helicone. See on v. 23. – 122. Ab exsequiis =post exsequias. — 123. Detrectat praesentia ; i.-e. depreciates the works of living authors. - 124. Nostris; sc. operibus. -128. Plurimus. See on Met. XI. 140. — 130. Protinus — tuus ; i. e. though I die, I shall not be forgotten. Cf. Hor. C. II. 7.21 ; III. 30. 6. Cf. also the closing verses of the Metamorphoses ::


Jamque opus peregi quod ncc Jovis ira nec ignes
Nec poterit ferrum nec edax abolere vetustas.
Quum volet illa dies quae nil nisi corporis hujus
Jus habet, incerti spatium mihi finiat acvi;
Parte tamen meliore mei super alta perennis
Astra ferar nomenque erit indelebile nostrum,
Quaque patet domitis Romana potentia terris
Ore legar populi, perque omnia saecula fama,
Si quid habent veri vatuin praesagia, vivam!


P. VIRGILIUS (or VERGILIUS) MARO, was born on the 15th of October, B. C. 70, in the first consulship of Cn. Pompeius Magnus, and M. Licinius Crassus, at Andes, a small village near Mantua in Cisalpine Gaul. The tradition, though an old one, which identifies Andes with the modern village of Pietola, may be accepted as a tradition, without being accepted as a truth. The poet Horace, afterwards one of his friends, was born B. C. 65; and Octavianus Caesar, afterwards the Emperor Augustus, and his patron, in B. C. 63, in the consulship of M. Tullius Cicero. Virgil's father probably had a small estate which he cultivated : his mother's name was Maia. The son was educated at Cremona and Mediolanum (Milan), and he took the toga virilis at Cremona on the day on which he commenced his sixteenth year, in B. C. 55, which was the second consulship of Cn. Pompeius Magnus and M. Licinius Crassus. It is said that Virgil subsequently studied at Neapolis (Naples), under Parthenius, a native of Bithynia, from whom he learned Greek; and the minute industry of the grammarians has pointed out the following line (Georg. I. 437) as borrowed from his master :

Glauco et Panopeae et Inoo Melicertac. He was also instructed by Syron, an Epicurean, and probably at Rome. Virgil's writings prove that he received a learned education, and traces of Epicurean opinions are apparent in them. His health was always feeble, and there is no evidence of his attempting to rise by those means by which a Roman gained distinction, oratory and the practice of arms. Indeed, at the time when he was born, Cisalpine Gaul was not included within the term Italy,” and it was not till B. C. 89 that a Lex Pompeia gave even the Jus Latii to the inhabitants of Gallia Transpadana, and the privilege of obtaining the Roman civitas by filling a magistratus in their own cities. The Roman civitas was not given to the Transpadani till B. C. 49. Virgil, therefore, was not a Roman citizen by birth, and he was above twenty years of age before the civitas was extended to Gallia Transpadana.

[ocr errors]

It is merely a conjecture, though it is probable, that Virgilius retired to his paternal farm, and here he may have written some of the small pieces which are attributed to him, the Culex, Ciris, Moretum, and others. The defeat of Brutus and Cassius by M. Antonius and Octavianus Caesar at Philippi, B. C. 42, gave the supreme power to the two victorious generals, and when Octavianus returned to Italy, he began to assign to his soldiers lands which had been promised them for their services. But the soldiers could only be provided with lạnd by turning out many of the occupiers, and the neighborhood of Cremona and Mantua was one of the districts in which the soldiers were planted, and from which the former possessors were dislodged. There is little evidence as to the circumstances under which Virgil was deprived of his property. It is said that it was seized by a veteran named Claudius or Clodius ; and that Asinius Pollio, who was then governor of Gallia Transpadana, advised Virgil to apply to Octavianus at Rome for the restitution of his land, and that Octavianus granted his request. It is supposed that Virgil wrote the Eclogue which stands first in our editions, to commemorate his gratitude to Octavianus Caesar. Whether the poet was subsequently disturbed in his possession and again restored, and whether he was not firmly secured in his patrimonial farm till after the peace of Brundusium, B. C. 40, between Octavianus Caesar and M. Antonius, is a matter which no extant authority is sufficient to determine.

Virgil became acquainted with Maecenas before Horace was, and Horace (Sat. I. 5, and 6. 55, etc.) was introduced to Maecenas by Virgil. This introduction was probably in the year B. C. 38; but, since the name of Maecenas is not mentioned in the Eclogues of Virgil, we may perhaps conclude that it was not until after they were written that the poet was on those intimate terms with Maecenas which ripened into friendship. Horace, in one of his Satires (Sat. I. 5), in which he describes the journey from Rome to Brundusium, mentions Virgil as one of the party, and in language which shows that they were then in the closest intimacy. The time to which this journey relates is somewhat uncertain, but the best authorities agree in fixing it in the year B. C. 37. (See Hor. Sat. I. 5. Introd.)

The most finished work of Virgil, his Georgica, an agricultural poem, was undertaken at the suggestion of Maecenas, and it was probably not commenced earlier than B. C. 37. “ The tradition that Maecenas himself suggested the composition of Georgics may be accepted, not in the literal sense which has generally been attached to it, as a means of reviving the art of husbandry and the cultivation of the devastated soil of Italy; but rather to recommend the principles of the ancient Romans, their love of home, of labor, of piety, and order; to magnify their domestic happiness and greatness; to make

« ZurückWeiter »