What About Those Lavinian Shores? (AP Vergil Week)

Servius, Commentary on Vergil’s Aeneid (1.2)

“‘And came to the Lavinian shores.’ This city had three names. First, it was called Lavinum after Lavinus, the brother of Latinus. Later, it was called Laurentum after the laurel discovered by Latinus, as he took charge following his brother’s death and increased the city. Then it was called Lavinium after Lavinia, the wife of Aeneas. Therefore, ‘Lavina’ should be read, not ‘Lavinia,’ because it received the name of Lavinium after the arrival of Aeneas, and it was proper then to say either ‘Lavinum’ (as he did), or ‘Laurentum.’ Nevertheless, certain people unnecessarily wish to make this a kind of prolepsis (anticipation). To be sure, he was right to add ‘Lavina’, so that he could show what part of Italy Aeneas had come to, because many other men had come to Italy at that time, as for example Capys (who founded Capua) and Polites (who founded Politorium).

Lavinaque venit litora haec civitas tria habuit nomina. nam primum Lavinum dicta est a Lavino, Latini fratre; postea Laurentum a lauro inventa a Latino, dum adepto imperio post fratris mortem civitatem augeret; postea Lavinium a Lavinia, uxore Aeneae. ergo ‘Lavina’ legendum est, non ‘Lavinia’, quia post adventum Aeneae Lavinium nomen accepit, et aut Lavinum debuit dicere, sicut dixit, aut Laurentum. quamvis quidam superfluo esse prolepsin velint. sane bene addidit ‘Lavina’, ut ostenderet ad quam partem Italiae venisset Aeneas, quia et multi alii eo tempore ad Italiam venerant, ut Capys, qui Capuam, Polites, qui Politorium condiderunt.

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