Vergil, Aeneid, Book 1, lines 1-49

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read in the restored pronunciation of classical Latin by Robert P. Sonkowsky, University of Minnesota.

(Text followed by translation)

Arma virumque canō, Trōiae quī prīmus ab ōrīs


Ītaliam, fātō profugus, Lāvīniaque vēnit


lītora, multum ille et terrīs iactātus et altō


vī superum saevae memorem Iūnonis ob īram;


multa quoque et bellō passus, dum conderet urbem,


īnferretque deōs Latiō, genus unde Latīnum,


Albānīque patrēs, atque altae moenia Rōmae.


Mūsa, mihī causās memorā, quō nūmine laesō,


quidve dolēns, rēgīna deum tot volvere cāsūs


insignem pietāte virum, tot adīre labōrēs


impulerit. Tantaene animīs caelestibus īrae?


     Urbs antīqua fuit, Tyriī tenuēre colōnī,


Karthāgō, Italiam contrā Tiberīnaque longē


ōstia, dīves opum studiīsque asperrima bellī;


quam Iūnō fertur terrīs magis omnibus ūnam


posthabitā coluisse Samō; hīc illius arma,


hīc currus fuit; hoc rēgnum dea gentibus esse,


sī quā fāta sinant, iam tum tenditque fovetque.


Prōgeniem sed enim Trōiānō ā sanguine dūcī


audierat, Tyriās ōlim quae verteret arcēs; 


hinc populum lātē rēgem bellōque superbum


venturūm excidiō Libyae: sīc volvere Parcās.


Id metuēns, veterisque memor Sāturnia bellī,


prīma quod ad Trōiam prō cārīs gesserat Argīs—


necdum etiam causae īrārum saevīque dolōrēs


exciderant animō: manet altā mente repostum


iūdicium Paridis sprētaeque iniūria fōrmae,


et genus invīsum, et raptī Ganymēdis honōrēs—


hīs accēnsa super, iactātōs aequore tōtō


Trōas, rēliquiās Danaum atque immītis Achillī,


arcēbat longē Latiō, multōsque per annōs


errābant, āctī fātīs, maria omnia circum.


Tantae mōlis erat Rōmānam condere gentem!


Vix ē cōnspectū Siculae tellūris in altum


vēla dabant laetī, et spūmās salis aere ruēbant,


cum Iūnō, aeternum servāns sub pectore volnus,


haec sēcum: ‘Mēne inceptō dēsistere victam,


nec posse Ītaliā Teucrōrum āvertere rēgem?


Quippe vetor fātīs. Pallasne exūrere classem


Argīvum atque ipsōs potuit submergere pontō,


ūnius ob noxam et furiās Āiācis Oīleī?


Ipsa, Iovis rapidum iaculāta ē nūbibus ignem,


disiēcitque ratēs ēvertitque aequora ventīs,


illum expirantem trānsfixō pectore flammās


turbine corripuit scopulōque īnfīxit acūtō.


Ast ego, quae dīvum incēdō rēgīna, Iovisque


et soror et coniūnx, ūnā cum gente tot annōs


bella gerō! Et quisquam nūmen Iūnōnis adōret


praetereā, aut supplex āris impōnet honōrem?’



I sing of arms, and of the man who, being driven from
his country by the decrees of Fate, first came from the
coasts of Troy to Italy, even to the Lavinian shore, much
harassed both on sea and land by the violence of heaven,
because of the unforgotten grudge of relentless Juno;
suffering much in war too, while he strove to found a city,
and to establish his gods in Latium; from him sprang the
Latin race, the Alban fathers, and the walls of lofty Rome.
Rehearse to me, O Muse, the causes, - for what insult to
her divinity, or by what act aggrieved, did the queen of
heaven force a man noted for his goodness to pass through
so many trials, to undergo so many hardships. Is it possible
that such resentment can exist in the minds of deities?
There was in olden times a city, Carthage by name,
occupied by settlers from Tyre, facing Italy and the mouth
of the Tiber, though far away, rich in its resources, and
devoted to the stern pursuits of war; a city which Juno is
said to have regarded with special favour more than all other
lands, Samos even being second to it.
Here were her arms; here was her chariot; it, even at
that early day, she purposes to be the capital of the earth,
and she cherishes it with that intent, if by any means
the Fates permit. But she had heard that a race is being
derived from Trojan blood which shall one day overturn the
Tyrian towers: that a people of extended sway, and formidable
in war, should spring from it, to the ruin of Africa; that
this the wheel of Fate is bringing round. This the daughter
of Saturn dreaded, and well remembered the long protracted
war which she, with special bitterness, had carried
on at Troy in behalf of her beloved Argos; for not even
yet had the causes of her anger and her keen pangs of
resentment faded from her recollection; the judgement of
Paris dwells deeply lodged in her mind, the affront offered
to her slighted beauty, and the detested race, and the
honours conferred on Ganymede, to heaven borne.
Enraged to fury because of these things, she chased over
the whole ocean those of the Trojans whom the Greeks and
the merciless Achilles spared, and kept them far from
Latium; and thus, hounded by the fates, for many years they
roamed round every sea. So hard it was to found the
Roman State.
Scarcely were the Trojans, clearing Sicily, fairly out to
sea, and with their prows were joyously driving before them
the briny foam, when Juno, nursing in her heart her
never-dying wound, thus muttered to herself: To think of
me abandoning my purpose as one baffled, and that I
should not be able to divert from Italy this Prince of
Troy! I am forbidden by the fates, forsooth! Was not
Pallas Minerva able to burn the Grecian ships, and drown
their crews in ocean, for the crime of one, and the mad
passion of Ajax, Oïleus’s son? She, in person, hurling
from the clouds Jove’s swift lightning, both scattered their
ships and upturned the sea with the winds: him, too,
breathing flames from his pierced breast, she caught in a
whirling eddy, and impaled him on a pointed rock. But I,
who walk in my majesty as the queen of the gods, - I, both
the sister and the wife of Jupiter, am still carrying on war
for so many years with a single nation; and after that, can
men worship Juno’s deity any longer, and lay offerings on
her altar?

                                                               trans. A. Bryce

This selection is an excerpt from the recording “Selections from Vergil,” Audio Forum, Madison, CT 06443, with the kind permission of the publisher. For further information, click here


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