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Commentary Cons. Phil. Book 4 Metrum 7

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
aluo: "belly."

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:
  1. taming the Centaurs (line 14),
  2. despoiling the Nemean lion (15) (saeuo . . . leoni: dative of separation),
  3. slaughtering the Stymphalian birds (16) (fixit: "transfixed," i.e., "shot"),
  4. stealing the golden apples of the Hesperides (17-18) (laeuam: accusative of respect with gravior, "weighed down in his left hand"),
  5. chaining the (three-headed) hellhound, Cerberus, and bringing him up to the light of day (19),
  6. feeding the stern Thracian Diomedes to his own horses (20-21),
  7. killing the Lernaean Hydra [see 4P6.3] (22) (combusto: "burned up"),
  8. shaming the river god Achelous in defeat, by breaking off his horns (23-24) (Achelous: scanned short-short-long-short)
  9. killing the giant Antaeus (25) (strauit: < sterno, "throw down, bring low"),
  10. killing the half-man Cacus who had been plaguing Evander's city (26) (Aeneid 8.190f),
  11. capturing the Erymanthian boar (and bringing it back) (27-28) (quosque: antecedent is umeros (28)),
  12. 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.

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