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It just so happens that…

February 8, 2007

Two nights ago I began the Aeneid in earnest, after having slowly made my way through Bernard Knox’s excellent introduction. The translation, by Robert Fagles, is every bit as clear and delightful as his Homer, and I’m excited by what’s to come. The divine conflicts, both between gods and other gods, and between the gods and Fate, are fascinating, and the poetry lovely.

I particularly enjoyed this passage, in which Juno is attempting to bribe Aeolus, the lord of the winds (who we remember from the Odyssey) into releasing the four winds, which will cause Aeneas’ ship to crash. She begins her offer thusly:

I happen to have some sea-nymphs, fourteen beauties
Deiopea the finest of all by far…
I’ll join you in lasting marriage, call her yours
and for all her years to come she will live with you
and make you the proud father of handsome children.
Such service earns such gifts.

Who can say no to sea-nymphs?

It goes without saying that Aeolus agrees, and Aeneas and his fleet nearly perish before Poseidon, who resents Aeolus’ presumption, sends the winds back where they belong and guides Aeneas safely to Carthage.

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One comment

  1. I haven’t yet read the Aeneid, but I’ve been meaning to for a long time. I hope you enjoy it!



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