Aeneas Gazes Upon the Broken Victors

Accius, Fragment of an unknown play (lines 46-63: from Varro De Lingua Latina 6.60)

This is allegedly Aeneas speaking. I have no idea what is going on here. But a few of these lines are beautiful. And timely.

“Who is it who calls upon my name?”

It is said that Tantalus was born from Zeus
And that Pelops came from Tantalus. Then from Pelops
Atreus was born, who was then the father of our line.
Atreus’ sons, kings, are now preparing their homecoming.

But if you don’t shut up, Menelaos, you’ll fall by this right hand.
And thus, while Argos has power it will strip you of power.
Oh ancient parent of our race, honor of the Argives,
He did the greatest deed when the Danai were turned away
He completed the highest act, the madman regained the fight
With his own hand.
An arrogant victor
He could not endure to be conquered himself
Because of the pain at such terrible fame.

I see you, I see you. Live Ulysses while you can
Seize the final shining light with your eyes.

Is this that Telamon, whom glory has raised
Up to heaven itself
Whom the Greeks used to watch, to whose face
The Greeks always used to turn their own?
His spirit has collapsed with his circumstances.”

Quis enim est qui meum nomen nuncupat?
Iove propagatus est ut perhibent Tantalus,
Ex Tantalo ortus Pelops, ex Pelope autem satus
Atreus, qui nostrum porro propagat genus.
. . . Iam domutionem reges Atridae parant.

Quod nisi quieris, Menelae, hac dextra occides.
Proin demet abs te regimen Argos dum est
potestas consili.
O parens antiqua nostrae gentis, Argivum decus,
. . . Facinus fecit maximum, cum Danais
summam perfecit rem, manu sua restituit proelium
Victor insolens
ignominiae se dolore victum non potuit pati.

Video, video te. Vive, Ulixes, dum licet;
oculis postremum lumen radiatum rape.
Hicine est Telamo ille, modo quem gloria ad
caelum extulit,
quem aspectabant, cuius ob os Grai ora obvertebant
sua? . . .

. . . Simul animus cum re concidit.

Image result for Ancient Roman Aeneas


Three Latin Fragments from Ajax’ s Speech Against Odysseus: Lucius Accius’ Lost Arms

The mythical and poetic traditions around the Trojan War make the Judgment of the Arms (the contest for Achilles’ weapons between Odysseus and Ajax) a common motif in art and literature. The Roman Tragedian Accius had his own version. Here are some fragments.


“His words [i.e. Achilles’] speak clearly, if you understand them.
He commands that his weapons be given to the kind of man
Who bore them, if we desire to overpower Pergamum.
I declare that I am that man, that it is right for me to use
The weapons of my kin, that they be allotted to me
Either because I am his relative or his rival in bravery.”

Aperte fatur dictio, si intellegas:
Tali dari arma, qualis qui gessit fuit,
Iubet, potiri si studeamus Pergamum.
Quem ego me profiteor esse, me est accum frui
Fraternis armis mihique adiucarier
Vel quod propinquus vel quod virtuti aemulus.


“This man [Odysseus] was the only man who ignored the sworn oath
Which he took first and you all made together.
He tried to pretend to be insane to avoid the fighting.
If observant Palamedes in his wisdom
Had not noticed the malicious daring of this coward
The law of sacred oath would be meaningless forever.”

Cuius ipse princeps iuris iurandi fuit
Quod omnes seitis, solus neglexit fidem;
Furere adsimulare, ne coiret, institit
Quod ni Palamedi perspicax prudentia
Istius percepset malitosam audaciam,
Fide sacratae ius perpetuo falleret.


“Yeah, saw you, Ulysses, breaking Hector on a rock.
I watched you defending the Greek fleet with your shield,
While I, trembling, clamored for shameful flight.”

Vidi, te, Ulixes, saxo sternentem Hectora,
Vidi tegentem clipeo classem Doricam;
Ego tunc pudendum trepidus hortabar fugam.