« IndietroContinua »
Attica by the Tyndarids on account of Helen. Some critics cavil at the epithet iuvene, in v. 129, since they ingeniously calculate that Theseus, at the period in question, must have been at least fifty years old. Were this a grave history we might entertain the objection—but when urged against a poet who is celebrating a mythical hero and a legendary tale, it is sheer nonsense.
135, 137. Satyri... Faunus. See notes on Ov. A. A. I. 542. Extracts p. 65., and on Fast. II. 267. Extracts p. 77.
136. Quæsièrunt. See “ Elements of Latin Prosody,” p. 105.
147. Ordo, Quæcunque herba potens radixque utilis ad opem medendi in toto orbe nascitur, mea est. L.
151. (Ipse repertor.) The train of thought is this, “It is little wonderful that I, though skilled in the healing art, should be unable to minister to my own diseased heart, since even the God of Medicine, Apollo himself, became a shepherd and fed the herds of Admetus, when wounded by the shafts of Love."
Ovid here follows Callimachus and Rhianus the Thracian, in assigning love as the cause of the sojourn of Apollo upon earth in the guise of a herdsman, the former when enumerating the attributes and titles of the deity, thus sings,
Φοιβον και Νόμιον κικλήσκομεν, εξέτι κείνου
The more common legend, as given by Euripides and Apollodorus, told that Jove having troyed Æsculapius, Apollo, in vengeance, slew the Cyclopes (or their sons) who had forged the thunderbolts, and was sentenced by the King of heaven to serve as bondsman to a mortal for the space of a year. He accordingly entered the service of Admetus, son of Pheres, king of Pheræ in Thessaly, and tended his cattle on the banks of the river Amphrysus, whence Ovid A. A. II. 239.
Cynthius Admeti vaccas pavisse Pheræas
Dicitur, et parva delituisse casa.
and Virgil, at the beginning of the third Georgic,
Te quoque, magna Pales, et te memorande canemus
A third account, that of Alexandrides the Delphian, assigned the slaughter of the Python as the cause of the punishment of Apollo.
The whole of these tales, and the authorities for them, will be found enumerated in the Scholium on the first line of that most touching of dramas, the Alcestis of Euripides.
152. (A nostro.) A hic ponitur pro post. Sensus est, Phæbus, postquam me amavit, etiam Alcestida amavit. B.
Burmann has totally mistaken the meaning of these words. Loers correctly observes that there is no hint given by any ancient author that Apollo ever cherished a passion for Alcestis the wife of Admetus. The preposition a in this, as in many similar passages, signifies not after, but indicates the cause of some effect described, e.g.
Non ego Tydides, a quo tua saucia mater. Ov. R. A. 5.
Lastly, nostro igne is not here equivalent to igne nostri. We must translate then not as Burmann would have it,
“And was smitten with love for Alcestis after his passion for me." but “And was smitten by the same passion which now consumes me.”
OVID. HEROIDES. EPISTLE XIII.
This Epistle is supposed to be addressed by Laodamia, daughter of Acastus, to her husband Protesilaus, who, having determined to take part in the expedition against Troy, had repaired to Aulis in Bootia, which is named by Homer as having been the gathering place of the Grecian fleet. Later poets told that the ships were long detained in that harbour by an adverse wind, raised by Artemis in vengeance for the death of a consecrated stag slain by Agamemnon, and that the were unable to set forth till the wrath of the goddess was at length appeased by the sacrifice of Iphigenia, daughter of the guilty chief.
Protesilaus, son of Iphiclus, son of Phylacus, is mentioned by Homer (11. B. 695,) as the chief who led against Troy, in forty dark ships, the men of Phylace, Pyrasus, Antron and Pteleus~ Thessalian towns lying
round the Pagasæan Gulf. As he was leaping from his bark, far the foremost of all the Achæans, he was slain by a Dardanian warrior, leaving behind him in Phylace a sorrowing spouse.
He is named cursorily in some other passages of the Iliad. The legend, as embellished by subsequent poets, is thus briefly narrated in the compilation which bears the name of the Fables of Hyginus.
Achivis fuit responsum, qui primus litora Troianorum attigisset, periturum. Cum Achivi classes applicuissent, ceteris cunctantibus, Iolaus Iphicli et Diomedeæ filius primus e navi prosilivit, qui ab Hectore confestim est interfectus; quem cuncti appellarunt Protesilaum, quoniam primus ex omnibus perierat. Quod uxor Laodamia Acasti filia cum audisset eum periisse, flens petit a diis, ut sibi cum eo tres horas colloqui liceret: quo impetrato, a Mercurio reductus, tres horas cum eo colloquuta est. Quod iterum cum obisset Protesilaus, dolorem pati non potuit Laodamia. FAB. CIII.
The slayer of Protesilaus who, by Homer, is simply called Aágdavos årig, is here said to have been Hector; and so the story is told by Ovid, when describing the arrival of the Grecian host before Troy.
Hostis adest, prohibent aditu, litusque tuentur
Different authors gave the glory to different champions, enumerated by the Scholiast on Homer, among whom we find Æneas. The assertion, that the name borne by Protesilaus before his death was Iolaus, meets with little countenance from ancient writers.
Ausonius, indeed, derives the appellation from agãtos óréodos, but takes it for granted that he bore it from his birth.
Protesilae, tibi nomen sic fata dederunt,
Victima quod Troiæ prima futurus eras.
and in his Epitaphia Heroum, XII.
Fatale adscriptum nomen mihi Protesilao:
Nam primus Danaum bello obii Phrygio,
Captus pellacis Laertiadæ insidiis.
Ipse super proprium desiliit clypeum.
Tale mihi nomen quum pater imposuit. Propertius alludes to that part of the tale, according to which Protesilaus is said to have been permitted to return to life for a brief space that he might again behold his widowed bride.
Illic Phylacides iucundæ coniugis heros
Non potuit cæcis immemor esse locis:
Thessalis antiquam venerat umbra domum. I. xix. 7.
and Lucian, who introduces the hero in two of his Dialogues of the Dead, represents Pluto as granting him leave of absence for a whole day, which serves to explain Statius Silv. II. vii. 121.
Unum, quæso, diem deos silentum
In the poem of Catullus, addressed to Manlius, much of which seems to be imitated from some writer of the Alexandrian School, there is a beautiful digression on the bereavement of Laodamia: it is there said that the gods in wrath deprived her of her lord, because the nuptials had been celebrated with impious haste before the fitting sacrifices had been duly offered.
Quam ieiuna pium desideret ara cruorem
Docta est amisso Laodamia viro.
Finally, we remark that Virgil associates Laodamia in the realms of Pluto with the unhappy dames, whose death was caused by love.
1. Ordo verborum est, “Amans Laodamia mittit salutem viro Æmonio, et optat eo ire quo mittitur salus, hoc est, epistola.” Micyllus. The interpretation of Crispinus is more simple and, in every respect, preferable. “ Amans Æmonis Laodamia mittit salutem Æmonio viro et optat (i.e., cupit) eam salutem pervenire quo mittitur.” Compare. Ov. E. ex P. III. ii. 1.
Quam legis a nobis missam tibi, Cotta, salutem,
Missa sit ut vere, perveniatque, precor,
also Her. XVIII. l.
Mittit Abydenus, quam mallet ferre, salutem.
2. (Æmonis Æmonio.) Æmonia was an ancient name of Thessaly, and hence Æmonius is used by the poets as equivalent to Thessalian. Thus Æmonia puppis,' Æmonius iuvenis,Æmonium hospitium,3 Æmonidae,* are used to indicate the ship Argo, Iason, and the Argonauts; while Æmonius heros, Æmonii equi,6 Æmonia cuspis,? &c., are periphrases for Achilles, his horses and spear.
I Ov. A. A. I. 6. 2 Met. VII, 132, 8 Prop. I. xv. 20. 4 Val. Flacc. IV. 506. 5 Ov. Amor. II. ix. 7. 6 Prop. II. vill. 38. 7 11. i. 63. Horace too speaks of
Venator in campis nivalis=Æmoulæ....C. I. xxxvii. 19.
6. (Sævis utile tempus aquis,) i. e., tempus aptum tempestatibus. L. 12. (Solvor,) sc. invita, non ipsa me solvo. L.
15. (Boreas.) Protesilaus was about to sail from Thessaly to the rendezvous of the Grecian fleet at Aulis. Hence Boreas would be a fair wind.
23, 24. Compare Ov. Met. x. 457.
Iamque fores aperit iam ducitur intus, at illi
also Stat. Theb. IV. 324,
Poplite succiduo resupinum ac pæne cadentem,
and Plaut. Curcul. II. üi. 30.
Phæd. Quid tibi 'st? Curc. Tenebræ oboriuntur; genua
inedia succidunt. 25. (Acastus.) Acastus, the father of Laodamia, is usually identified with Acastus, son of Pelias, king of Thessaly. He was one of the Argonauts, and subsequently drove Jason and Medea from Iolcos, after they had compassed the death of his sire. Various other exploits of this hero are enumerated by Apollodorus and others, but they possess no particular interest.
29. Rediit. See “Elements of Latin Prosody,” p. 110.
30. (Momordit,) i. e., dolore affecit. R., who quotes Ov. Amor. II. xix. 43.
Mordeat ista tuas aliquando cura medullas. the same figure is very common in English.
(Bicorniger.) Bacchus, who is frequently represented in ancient works of art with two horns, the emblem of power among eastern nations.
(Pampinea hasta.) The thyrsus, the sacred gestamen of Bacchus and his votaries. It was a long rod, like a spear-shaft, wreathed round with ivy and vine branches, and terminated by a pine cone. Compare Ov. Amor. III. xv. 17. The poet is announcing his determination to devote himself to the drama,
Corniger increpuit thyrso graviore Lyæus,
Pulsanda est magnis area maior equis.
and Met. III. 666.