Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Arma virumque cano

A short break from my Greek Odyssey is due, thanks to Rome's 2763rd birthday. Here we see a portrait of Aeneas, the Trojan hero, the founder of Alba Longa and the legendary ancestor of Romulus. The portrait is dated to 27 BC - 14 AD.

Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris
Italiam, fato profugus, Laviniaque venit
litora, multum ille et terris iactatus et alto
vi superum saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram;
multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem,
inferretque deos Latio, genus unde Latinum,
Albanique patres, atque altae moenia Romae.

J. B. Greenough's edition.

Arms and the man I sing, who first made way,
predestined exile, from the Trojan shore
to Italy, the blest Lavinian strand.
Smitten of storms he was on land and sea
by violence of Heaven, to satisfy
stern Juno's sleepless wrath; and much in war
he suffered, seeking at the last to found
the city, and bring o'er his fathers' gods
to safe abode in Latium; whence arose
the Latin race, old Alba's reverend lords,
and from her hills wide-walled, imperial Rome.

As translated by J. Dryden

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