Commentary Cons. Phil. Book 4 Metrum 7
Heroic endurance leads to success.
Meter: Sapphic hendecasyllable with caesura after the fifth syllable. The last verse is an adonic ( - u u).
- line 1
bis quinis: = decem.
operatus: < operor, "work, be occupied"; here, "having waged" (with accusative: late Latin).
- line 2
Atrides: "son of Atreus," viz. Agamemnon, leader of the Greek expedition against Troy.
Phrygiae: i.e., Troy.
- line 3
fratris: Menelaus, husband of Helen (whose absence is implied by amissos thalamos).
- line 4
4: Lines 4-7: In order to placate the goddess Artemis and secure favoring winds for his becalmed fleet on the way to Troy, Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia at Aulis.
- line 6
exuit patrem: "he put off [the role of] a father."
- line 7
foederat: "had stained/defiled."
sacerdos: "[as a] priest," apposition with ille.
- line 8
8: Lines 8-12: Odysseus's encounter with the Cyclops, Polyphemus.
Ithacus: "from Ithaca."
- line 10
- line 11
caeco: caeco . . . ore: "blind visage"; causal ablative; Odysseus had put out the Cyclops's only eye.
furibundus: sc. Polyphemus.
ore: caeco . . . ore: "blind visage"; causal ablative; Odysseus had put out the Cyclops's only eye.
- line 12
rependit: "paid back."
- line 13
13: Lines 13-31: The twelve labors of Hercules, which won him divine status (lines 30-31), were given in various lists in antiquity; B. gives them in this order:
- taming the Centaurs (line 14),
- despoiling the Nemean lion (15) (saeuo . . . leoni: dative of separation),
- slaughtering the Stymphalian birds (16) (fixit: "transfixed," i.e., "shot"),
- stealing the golden apples of the Hesperides (17-18) (laeuam: accusative of respect with gravior, "weighed down in his left hand"),
- chaining the (three-headed) hellhound, Cerberus, and bringing him up to the light of day (19),
- feeding the stern Thracian Diomedes to his own horses (20-21),
- killing the Lernaean Hydra [see 4P6.3] (22) (combusto: "burned up"),
- shaming the river god Achelous in defeat, by breaking off his horns (23-24) (Achelous: scanned short-short-long-short)
- killing the giant Antaeus (25) (strauit: < sterno, "throw down, bring low"),
- killing the half-man Cacus who had been plaguing Evander's city (26) (Aeneid 8.190f),
- capturing the Erymanthian boar (and bringing it back) (27-28) (quosque: antecedent is umeros (28)),
- holding the world on his shoulders -- taking Atlas's place) (29-30, foreshadowed in line 27) (inreflexo: "unbent").
celebrant: "make famous."
- line 30
pretium: governs genitive, ultimi . . . laboris.
- line 31
caelum: in apposition with pretium.
- line 32
celsa: celsa . . . uia: probably the Milky Way.
- line 33
uia: celsa . . . uia: probably the Milky Way.
- line 34
terga nudatis: "bare your back," as you flee.