The Oppression of Fear: Statius, Thebaid 1.195-6

“Alas! What a bitter lot that hangs on doubtful fear, unbearable to all! This man rules today, while his brother furnishes threats for tomorrow!”


heu dubio suspensa metu tolerandaque nullis

aspera sors populis! hic imperat, ille minatur!


NOTE: A considerable amount of Statius’ condensed, epigrammatic punch is lost in the above translation of “hic imperat, ille minatur,” (one rules, the other threatens), but I thought that a little elaboration might be necessary to make sense of the quotation in isolation. These types of expressions rarely retain their force when translated.

Also, this quotation would probably be more topically appropriate during an election cycle.

Leave a Reply