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This text of
A Voyage Home to Gaul

by
Rutilius Namatianus

published in the Loeb Classical Library,
1922

is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!

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p765 Rutilius Namatianus
A Voyage Home to Gaul

[and if you need it, here's help in using the map,
including my own symbols & added information.]

Book I

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Rather1 will you marvel, reader, that my quick return journey (to Gaul) can so soon renounce the blessings of the city of Romulus. What is too long for men who spend all time in venerating Rome?2 Nothing is ever too long that never fails to please. How greatly and how often can I count those blest who have deserved birth in that happy soil! Those high born scions of Roman nobility crown their honourable birth with the lustre of the Capital! On no other land could the seeds of virtues have been more worthily let fall by heaven's assignment. Happy they too who, winning meeds next to the first, have enjoyed Latin homes!3 The Senate-house, though fenced with awe, yet stands open to foreign merit, nor deems those strangers who are fittingly its own. They share the power of their colleagues in the senatorial order, and possess part of the sacred Genius4 which they revere, even p767as from ethereal pole to pole of the celestial vault we believe there abideth the council of the Deity Supreme.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] But 'tis my fortune that is plucked back from the well-loved land; the fields of Gaul summon home their native.5 Disfigured they are by wars immeasurably long, yet the less their charm, the more they earn pity. 'Tis a lighter crime to neglect our countrymen when at their ease: our common losses call for each man's loyalty. Our presence and our tears are what we owe to the ancestral home: service which grief has prompted ofttimes helps. 'Tis sin further to overlook the tedious tale of disasters which the delay of halting aid has multiplied: now is the time after cruel fires on ravaged farms to rebuild, if it be but shepherd's huts. Nay, if only the very springs could utter words, if only our very trees6 could speak, they well might spur my laggard pace with just complaints and give sails to my yearning wishes. Now that the dear city slackens her embrace, my homeland wins, and I can scarce feel patient with a journey deferred so late.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] I have chosen the sea, since roads by land, if on the level, are flooded by rivers; if on higher ground, are beset with rocks. Since Tuscany and since the Aurelian highway,7 after suffering the outrages of Goths with fire or sword, can no longer control forest with homestead or river with bridge, it is better to entrust my sails to the wayward sea.a p769Repeated kisses I imprint on the gates I have to leave: unwillingly my feet cross the honoured threshold. In tears I beseech pardon (for my departure) and offer a sacrifice of praise, so far as weeping allows the words to run:

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] "Listen, O fairest queen of thy world, Rome, welcomed amid the starry skies, listen, thou mother8 of men and mother of gods, thanks to thy temples we are not far from heaven: thee do we chant, and shall, while destiny allows, for ever chant. None can be safe if forgetful of thee. Sooner shall guilty oblivion whelm the sun than the honour due to thee quit my heart; for benefits extend as far as the sun's rays, where the circling Ocean-flood bounds the world. For thee the very Sun-God who holdeth all together9 doth revolve: his steeds that rise in thy domains he puts in thy domains to rest. Thee Africa hath not stayed with scorching sands, nor hath the Bear, armed with its native cold, repulsed thee. As far as living nature hath stretched towards the poles, so far hath earth opened a path for thy valour. For nations far apart thou hast made a single fatherland; under thy dominion captivity hath meant profit even for those who knew not justice:10 and by offering to the vanquished a share in thine own justice, thou hast made a city of what was erstwhile a world.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] "As authors of our race we acknowledge Venus and Mars — mother of the sons of Aeneas, father of p771the scions of Romulus: clemency in victory tempers armed strength: both names11 befit thy character: hence thy noble pleasure in war and in mercy: it vanquishes the dreaded foe and cherishes the vanquished. The god who found the olive-tree is worshipped, the deity too who discovered wine, and the youth who first drove the ploughshare in the soil;12 the healing art through the skill of the god Paeon13 won altars: Hercules by his renown was made divine: thou, too, who hast embraced the world in triumphs fraught with law, dost make all things live under a common covenant. Thee, O goddess, thee every nook of the Roman dominion celebrates, beneath a peaceful yoke holding necks unenslaved. The stars, which watch all things in their unceasing motion, never looked upon a fairer empire. What like unto thy power did it fall to Assyrian arms to link in one? The Persians only subdued neighbours of their own. The mighty Parthian kings and Macedonian monarchs14 imposed laws on each other through varying changes. It was not that at thy birth thou hadst more souls and hands: but more prudence and more judgement were thine. By wars for justifiable cause and by peace imposed without arrogance thy renowned glory reached highest wealth. That thou reignest is less than that thou deservest to reign; thy deeds surpass thine exalted destiny. To review thy high p773honours amid crowded trophies were a task like endeavouring to reckon up the stars. The glittering temples dazzle the wandering eyes: I could well believe such are the dwelling-places of the very gods. What shall I say of streams suspended on airy arches,15 where scarce the Rainbow-Goddess could raise her showery waters?16 You might rather call them mountains grown up to the sky: such a structure Greece would praise, as giant-wrought. Rivers17 diverted are lost sight of within thy walls: the lofty baths consume whole lakes.18 No less are thy dewy meads filled also with their own rivulets, and all thy walls are a‑babble with springs from the soil. Hence a breath of coolness tempers the summer air, and the crystal well relieves a harmless thirst. Nay, once a sudden torrent of waters seething hot broke forth, when thine enemy19 trod the roads by the Capitol: had it lasted for ever, mayhap I had deemed this mere chance; but it was to save thee that it flowed; for it came only to vanish. Why speak of woods enclosed amid thy panelled palaces,20 where native birds sport with varied song? In the spring that is thine never does the year fail in its mildness: baffled winter respects thy charms.

p775 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] "Raise, O Rome, the triumphal laurels which wreathe thy locks, and refashion the hoary eld of thy hallowed head to tresses fresh and fair. Golden let the diadem flash on thy tower-crowned helmet;21 let the golden buckler belch forth perpetual fires! Let forgetfulness of thy wrongs bury the sadness of misfortune; let pain disregarded close and heal thy wounds. Amidst failure it is thy way to hope for prosperity: after the pattern of the heavens losses undergone enrich thee. For flaming stars set only to renew their rising; thou seest the moon wane to wax afresh. The Allia did not hinder Brennus' penalty; the Samnite paid for a cruel treaty by slavery; after many disasters, though defeated, thou didst put Pyrrhus to flight; Hannibal himself was the mourner of his own successes.22 Things which cannot be sunk rise again with greater energy, sped higher in their rebound from lowest depths; and, as the torch held downward regains fresh strength, so from lowly fortune thou dost soar more radiant aloft. Spread forth the laws that are to last throughout the ages of Rome: alone thou needst not dread the distaffs of the Fates, though with a thousand years and sixteen decades o'erpast, thou hast besides a ninth year in its course.23 The span which doth remain is subject to no bounds, so long as earth shall stand firm and heaven uphold the stars! That same thing builds thee up which wrecks all other realms: the law of thy new birth is the power to thrive upon thine ills.

p777 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] "Come, then, let an impious race fall in sacrifice at last: let the Goths in panic abase their forsworn necks. Let lands reduced to peace pay rich tribute and barbarian booty fill thy majestic lap. Evermore let the Rhineland plough for thee, for thee the Nile o'erflow; and let a teeming world give nurture to its nurse. Yea, let Africa proffer to thee her fertile harvests, rich in her own sun, but richer for thy showers.24 Meanwhile may granaries too arise to house the furrow-crops of Latium, and with the nectar of the West may sleek wine-presses flow. Let Tiber's self, garlanded with triumphal reed, apply his waters to serve the needs of Romulus' race, and 'twixt his peaceful banks bear for thee down-stream the wealthy cargoes of the fields and up-stream those of the sea.25

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] "Outstretch, I pray, the level main lulled to rest 'neath Castor and his twin brother;26 be our Lady of Cythera the guide to smooth my watery path, if I found favour when I administered Quirinus' laws,27 if to the venerable senators I showed respect and from them asked advice; for that ne'er a crime unsheathed my magisterial sword must be the people's, not the prefect's, boast.28 Whether 'tis granted to lay my life to rest in ancestral soil or whether thou shalt one day be restored to my eyes, blest shall my life be, lucky beyond all aspiration, if thou deign always to remember me."

p779 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] With these words we take the road: our friends attend. Eyes cannot tearless say "good-bye." And now while others wend their way back to Rome, Rufius,29 the living glory of his father Albinus,30 clings close to me on my way. He draws his name from the ancient pedigree of Volusus, citing Rutilian princes on the witness of Virgil.31 171To his power of eloquence was entrusted the imperial palace: in youth he was the fitting spokesman of the emperor. 173Still earlier, a mere stripling, he had governed as pro-consul the Carthaginian peoples and among the Tyrian folk inspired dread and love alike. His zealous energy gave promise of highest office: if it is permitted to trust desert, a consul will he be. In the end I sadly forced him to go back reluctant: yet, though in body severed, one mind keeps us linked.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Then at length I proceed to the ships,32 where with twy-horned brow the branching Tiber cleaves his way to the right.33 The channel on the left is avoided for its unapproachable sands: its one remaining boast is to have welcomed Aeneas.34 And now the p781sun in the paler sky of the Scorpion's Claws had lengthened the space of the night-watches.35 We hesitate to make trial of the sea; we tarry in the haven, unreluctant to endure idleness amid the delays which bar our voyage, so long as the setting Pleiad storms upon the treacherous main, and the anger of the squally season is hot.36 It is a joy to look back many a time at the city still near, and with scarce availing sight to trace its hills, and look where the guiding eyes37 feast on that dear scene, fancying they can see what they desire to see. Nor is yonder place, which holds the imperial citadels and the world's capital, recognized by me in virtue of the smoke which marks it out (and yet 'tis the signs of light smoke which Homer38 praises whensoever it rises starward from a well-loved land); nay rather a fairer tract of sky and a serene expanse marks the clear summits of the Seven Hills. There 'tis lasting sunshine: the very daylight which Rome makes for herself seems purer than all else. Time and again our spellbound ears ring with the noise of the Circus games;39 a blaze of cheers proclaims the crowded theatre: familiar shouts are sent back by the echoing air, whether it is that they really reach us or that affection fancies so.

p783 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Thrice five days we watched the trust to be placed in the sea, until a new moon's more favourable breeze should present itself. Then on the eve of going I send back to his studies and the city Palladius, the hope and honour of my race.40 That eloquent youth had been sent of late from the lands of the Gauls to learn the laws of the Roman courts. My son in affection and kinsman by blood, he holds the fondest ties of my regard. Even now his father Exuperantius trains the Armoric sea-board to love the recovery of peace; he re-establishes the laws, brings freedom back and suffers not the inhabitants to be their servants' slaves.41

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] In the half-dawn we weigh anchor, at the hour of day when colour is first restored and lets the fields grow visible. In little boats we make way along the nearest shores, so that a beach might always lie open as a refuge for them. Let cargo-ships 'neath canvas plough through the summer waves: safer is autumn if we have quickness to escape. The Alsian land is skirted, and Pyrgi fades into the distance42 — to‑day large country-houses, in earlier days small towns. Now the sailor points out the bounds of Caere: the ancient Agylla has lost its name through time.43 Next we coast by Castrum, shattered both by wave and time: an age-worn gateway marks the half-ruined place. O'er it p785stands guard, fashioned as a little statue in stone, the figure of one with horns upon his shepherd's brow: although long years have blotted out the earliest name, legend considers this was once "Castrum Inui,"44 whether it be that Pan exchanged Maenalus for Tuscan woods or that Faunus comes in to haunt his native dells: since45 he reneweth the offspring of mankind with plenteous births, the god is represented over-prone to venery.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] To Centumcellae46 we changed our tack before a strong South wind: our ships find mooring in the calm roadstead. An amphitheatre of water is there enclosed by piers, and an artificial island shelters the narrow entrances; it rears twin towers and extends in both directions so as to leave a double approach with narrow channels. Nor was it enough to construct docks of wide harbourage; to keep the vagrant breeze from rocking the craft even when safe in port, an inner basin has been coaxed into the very midst of the buildings, and so, with its surface at rest, it knows naught of wayward wind, like the water imprisoned in Cumae's baths47 which buoys up the unhurried arms plied by the swimmer in alternate sweep.

Civitavecchia today: in Roman times, Centumcellae. The smaller basin to the west is very recent; the arrangements in the larger basin may to some extent date back to Roman times. (Zoom out 4 levels and NE for the baths that Rutilius then visits, indicated by another [a map marker]; they're clearly visible in the satellite photo.)

[and if you need it, here's help in using the map,
including my own symbols & added information.]

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] We pay a pleasant visit to the hot springs named after a bull:48 the distance of three miles seems no p787troublesome delay. There the wells are not spoiled by a brackish flavour, nor is the water coloured and hot with fuming sulphur: the pure smell and delicate taste make the bather hesitate for what purpose the waters should better be used.49 If the legend deserves credit, it was a bull that first revealed these hot baths by tracking out the source, when, tossing aloft the sods, as is a bull's way to prelude a fight, he grazed his downbent horns upon a hard tree-stump: or else a god, counterfeiting an ox-like shape and visage, would not permit the gift of the warm soil to lurk unseen; like the god who, bent on snatching stolen joys from his theft of Agenor's daughter, bore across the seas the terror-stricken maid.50 Not Greeks alone must have the glory of marvels which o'ertop belief! The fount of Helicon has for its begetter an animal:51 let us believe that through like origin these waters were drawn forth, as the steed's hoof dug out the Muses' well.b The land also, blazoned in Messalla's poetry,52 has these outlets to vie with the Pierian grots: and his sweet lines, affixed to the hallowed portals, capture the eye of him who enters, and makes him linger as he leaves. This is the man who traces his descent from the first consul, if we go back as far as his ancestors the Publicolae: he too with his nod as p789prefect held praetorian control. Yet greater glory dwells in his mind and tongue. He has shown what kind of dwelling-place eloquence demands: each man's power in oratory will depend on his desire to be good.53

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The half-light of dewy morn gleamed from a purple sky; we spread our sails bent in curves slantwise; and for a time give a wide berth to the shore which the Munio54 blocks with shoals: the narrow river-mouth heaves restlessly with treacherous surf. Thereafter we sight the scattered housetops of Graviscae,55 plagued often with a marshy smell in summer-time; and yet the wooded neighbourhood is green with close-grown groves, and pine-tree shadows wave o'er the margin of the sea. Then we descry, all unguarded now, desolate Cosa's ancient ruins and unsightly walls.56 'Tis with a qualm that I adduce mid serious things the comic reason for its downfall; but I am loath to suppress a laugh. The story runs that once upon a time the townsfolk were forced to migrate and left their homes behind because rats infested them! I'd sooner believe in losses suffered by the Pygmies' infantry57 and in cranes leagued solemnly to fight their wars. Not far from here we make the port which the name of Hercules distinguishes: a softer breeze follows p791declining day. Amid the traces of his camp our conversation weaves again the tale of Lepidus in headlong flight to Sardinia;58 for 'twas from Cosa's shore that Rome, following the lead of valiant Catulus, drove off the foes of her own blood. Yet was that Lepidus more a villain, who mid civil strife, in a confederacy of three, waged impious warfare; whose reinforcements — to the city's dread — crushed the freedom recovered in battle at Mutina. A third of the name ventured to contrive a plot against the peace and met a fate that fits luckless defendants. A fourth, aiming at a stealthy inroad on imperial power, paid the penalty of foul adultery. To‑day also — but of the Lepidi of our day fame will draw up a better indictment: let posterity be the judge to brand the ill-omened stock. Am I to believe that definite characters descend from names or rather that definite names are given to characters? However that be, it is a strange routine in the chronicles of Latium that misfortune has so often recurred through the sword of the Lepidi.59

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The shades of night as yet are undispelled when we entrust ourselves to the sea. Born of the neighbouring hill-crest, a breeze befriends us. Mount p793Argentarius juts out amidst the waves and with two-fold ridge60 confines the blue waters of its bays, shortening the road across the hills to twice three miles, while its extent round by sea is three times twelve, even as the Corinthian isthmus betwixt twin floods cleaves the Ionian deep with shores which two seas wash.61 We just succeeded in doubling that long round of scattered crags, nor are the helmsman's anxious détours without heavy toil — so often puffs of wind change with each varying tack: the sails which helped a moment since are suddenly a drag. Far off I marvel at Igilium's62 forest heights: 'twere sinful to cheat the island63 of the homage which its fame deserves. Of late this isle defended its own glades, whether by natural position or by the emperor's supernatural powers,64 when, though severed only by a moderate channel, it bade defiance to triumphant arms as if isolated by the far-dividing sea. It welcomed many refugees from mangled Rome: here might the weary drop their fear and find sure safety. A cavalry, which against nature's law spelt terror on shipboard, had harried many a sea with warfare suited to the land.65 It is a miracle p795to believe that a single haven at crises different66 should be so near the Romans, and for the Goths so far. We touch at Umbro's mouth:c no inconsiderable stream, it welcomes panic-stricken barques at a safe entrance: such easy approach does the river-bed with its descending current ever offer, as often as a cruel tempest bursts upon the deep. Here I was minded to land upon the peaceful shore; but, as the mariners were greedy for further progress, I e'en follow: so, speeding on, I find that with daylight the breeze has failed: neither forward nor backward can we make way. So on the sand of the beach we mark out67 our resting-place for the night: a myrtle wood provides our evening fires. We raise our little tents with oars as props: a pole set crosswise helped to form a hastily fashioned roof.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Day came: though pushing on with oars, we seem to be at a standstill, and yet the receding land proves the movement of the bow. Across our course lies Elba, famous for its iron mines:68 than it Norican69 soil has produced no richer yield; nor is the wrought metal of the Bituriges preferable, though smelted in great furnaces;70 nor the molten mass which pours from the Sardinian ore.71 More good is done to the world by teeming earth which gives birth to iron than by the golden gravel washed down by the Tagus in the distant West;72 for deadly gold is the p797substance that makes vice: blind lust of gold leads into every crime: golden gifts carry by storm the troth of wedded brides: a golden shower can buy the maid's embraces:73 loyalty sapped by gold betrays the well-walled town: scandalous misuse of gold ambition itself pursues its wild career. But not so iron: it is with iron that neglected fields are tilled; by iron was the first way of living found. Races of demigods, who knew not iron-harnessed Mars, by iron faced the charge of savage beasts. For human hands their unarmed use is not enough, if iron weapons lent not other hands. Such thoughts of mine beguiled the weariness of a laggard wind, and all the time in varied notes the boatswain's trumpery refrain rang out.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The neighbouring Faleria74 checks our weary course, though Phoebus scarce had reached his mid career. That day it happened merry village-bands along the country cross-roads soothed their jaded hearts with festal observances; it was in truth the day when, after long time restored, Osiris wakes the happy seeds to yield fresh produce.75 Landing, we seek lodging,76 and stroll within a wood; we like the ponds which charm with their shallow enclosed p799basin. The spacious waters of the imprisoned flood permit the playful fish to sport inside these preserves. But we were made to pay dear for the repose of this delightful halting-place by a lessee who was harsher than Antiphates as host!77 For a crabbed Jew was in charge of the spot — a creature that quarrels with sound human food.78 He charges in our bill for damaging his bushes and hitting the seaweed, and bawls about his enormous loss in water we had sipped. We pay the abuse due to the filthy race that infamously practises circumcision: a root of silliness they are: chill Sabbaths are after their own heart, yet their heart is chillier than their creed. Each seventh day is condemned to ignoble sloth, as 'twere an effeminate picture of a god fatigued.79 The other wild ravings from their lying bazaar methinks not even a child in his sleep could believe. And would that Judaea had never been subdued by Pompey's wars and Titus' military power.80 The infection of this plague, though excised, still creeps abroad the more: and 'tis their own conquerors that a conquered race keeps down.81

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Against us rises a North wind; but we too strive with oars to rise, while daylight shrouds the stars. Close at hand Populonia opens up her safe coast, where she draws her natural bay well inland. No p801Pharos,82 conspicuous with nightly light, has piers built there which rise in order to sky; but men long ago, finding a mighty cliff to serve as a look-out where the towering hill-crest overhangs the conquered waves, laid the foundations of a castle for twin services to man — a defence on land and signal-post for sea. The memorials of an earlier age cannot be recognised; devouring time has wasted its mighty battlements away. Traces only remain now that the walls are lost: under a wide stretch of rubble lie the buried homes. Let us not chafe that human frames dissolve: from precedents we discern that towns can die.83

The ruins of Populonia. The parking lot, just W of my marker, holds no more than 80 cars, and here it's not half full: if you're traveling in Italy and want to see some Roman ruins, this looks like a peaceful choice.

[and if you need it, here's help in using the map,
including my own symbols & added information.]

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Here a joyful piece of news spreads as we listen: it was almost my decision to go back to Rome. Here do we learn that the prefecture of the Sacred City has been bestowed upon your merits, beloved friend. I'd fain include your true name in my poem; but the strict law of meter avoids certain feet.84 Your cognomen will come in a line,85 dearest Rufius: by that name but recently my page has sung your praise.86 Let a day of festivity, such as years ago honoured my own home with garlands on the door, now show respect to hopes fulfilled:87 let green p803boughs be the decoration for the joy we share: a great part of mine own life88 has been advanced to high place. Thus, aye thus to me let this renewal of office bring pleasure: once again I enjoy dignity through the one for whom I wished it more.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] When the North wind veered, we took pains to run with sails before the breeze, as soon as the Morning-star gleamed on his rosy steed. Corsica begins to show her dim mountains, and, matched in colour, the mass of shadow makes the cloud-capped crest look higher still: so 'tis the moon's way with splendid horn to fade leaving us puzzled,89 and e'en though found she yet lies hid for straining eyes. The short sea-passage here has given support to a lying legend; for folk say a herd of cattle swam across at the time when first it happened that a woman called Corsa in quest of a stray ox reached the shores of Cyrnos.90

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] As we advance at sea, Capraria now rears itself — an ill-kept isle full of men who shun the light. Their own name91 for themselves is a Greek one, "monachoi" (monks), because they wish to dwell alone with none to see. They fear Fortune's boons, as they dread her outrages: would anyone, to escape misery, live of his own choice in misery? What silly fanaticism of a distorted brain is it to be unable to endure even92 blessings because of your terror of p805ills? Whether they are like prisoners93 who demand the appropriate penalties for their deeds, or whether their melancholy hearts are swollen with black bile, it was even so that Homer assigned the ailment of excessive bile as cause of Bellerophon's troubled soul;94 for it was after the wounds of a cruel sorrow that men say the stricken youth conceived his loathing for human kind.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Entering on the region of Volaterra, appropriately called "The Shallows,"95 I thread my way through the deep part of the treacherous channel. At the bow the look-out watches the water beneath and gives directions to the helm beyond, guiding the stern with warning shouts. A boundary on each side marks puzzling narrows by a pair of trees, and presents a line of piles hammered in there: to these it is the custom to fix tall laurels easy to see because of their branches and bushy foliage, so that, although the shifting bank96 of thick mud shows its mass of sea-weed, a clear passage may keep the guiding-signs unstruck. There I was driven to make a halt by a tearing North-wester of the sort that is wont to shatter the depths of the woods. Scarce safe beneath a roof did we endure the pitiless rains: the neighbouring country-seat of my own Albinus was placed at my disposal. For my p807own he was whom Rome linked to me as successor in office,97 in whose person my civil jurisdiction was continued. His merit outweighed years which had not been waited for:98 a lad in the bloom of youth, he had the worth of age. Mutual respect joined our kindred characters, and regard grew from the friendship of one for the other. He preferred that I should hold the reins of power, although he might have surpassed me: yet his affection for his predecessor has made him a greater man.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] We find time to inspect the salt-pans lying near the mansion: it is on this score that value is set upon the salt marsh, where the sea-water, running down through channels in the land, makes entry, and a little trench floods the many-parted ponds. But after the Dog-star has advanced his blazing fires, when grass turns pale, when all the land is athirst, then the sea is shut out by the barrier-sluices, so that the parched ground may solidify the imprisoned waters.d The natural incrustations catch the penetrating sun, and in the summer heat the heavy crust of salt cakes, just as when the wild Danube stiffens with ice and carries huge wains upon its frost-bound stream. Let him who is given to weigh natural causes examine and investigate the different effect worked in the same material:99 frost-bound streams melt on catching the sun, and on the other hand liquid waters can be hardened100 in the sun.e

p809 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] How oft the fount of blessings springs from ills!101 The hateful weather produced an enjoyable delay; for Victorinus,102 more than half my soul, by meeting me fulfilled our mutual hopes. The capture of Tolosa had forced him, a wanderer in the lands of Etruria, to settle there and dwell in a foreign home. It was not only amid distress that his wisdom shone: with heart unaltered he could face prosperity. Well did the Ocean know his merits, well did the Far North know them, and all the lands the untamed Briton ploughs, where his self-restrained authority as a Prefect's deputy103 has earned him the lasting interest paid by strong regard. That region is parted from us far as earth's most distant bound, but he was its ruler as it might have been in the heart of Rome. A greater prize it is to have aimed at popularity with those among whom it is less discredit to be unpopular. Though attached of late to our revered Court as Right Honourable Count,104 yet in his passion for country-life he disdained the highest grades of advancement. Embracing him I mocked the contrary winds, while I enjoyed already, methought, a part of my own native land.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Saffron Aurora had brought forward her fair-weather team: the breeze offshore tells us to haul p811the sail-yards up. The gentle breath of the wind carries the stern-fittings on without vibration; softly flap the sails on rigging free from any strain. There rises in the midst of the sea the wave-girt Gorgon105 with Pisa and Corsica on either side. I shun the cliffs, which are memorials of recent disaster; here a fellow-countryman met his doom in a living death. For lately one of our youths of high descent, with wealth to match, and marriage-alliance equal to his birth, was impelled by madness to forsake mankind and the world, and made his way, a superstitious exile, to a dishonourable hiding-place. Fancying, poor wretch, that the divine can be nurtured in unwashen filth, he was himself to his own body a crueller tyrant than the offended deities. Surely, I ask, this sect is not less powerful than the drugs of Circe?106 In her days men's bodies were transformed, now 'tis their minds.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] From there we make for Triturrita:107 that is the name of a residence, a peninsula lying in the wash of baffled waves. For it juts out into the sea on stones which man's hand has put together, and he who built the house had first to make sure building ground. 531I was astonished at the haven close by, which by report is thronged with Pisa's merchandise and sea-borne wealth. The place has a marvellous appearance. Its shores are buffeted by the open sea and lie exposed to all the winds: here there are not sheltering piers to protect any inner harbour-basin capable of defying the threats of Aeolus.108 p813But, fringing its own deep-water domain, the tall sea-weed is like to do no damage to a ship that strikes it without shock; and yet in giving way it entangles the furious waves and lets no huge roller surge in from the deep.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] A clear South-east wind had brought again the moment for sailing; but I was eager to pay a visit to Protadius:109 whoever perchance may wish to recognise him by sure signs should think in his heart that he is looking upon a model of goodness: no painting will ever give a truer portrait of him in colour than will the image that comes from his blended excellences. His prudence marked by steady look is evident even to a distant eye; the expression of fair-mindedness shines out, commanding respect. This tribute might perhaps be lessened were it merely that Gaul was praising a fellow-countryman; but Rome can bear witness to her former prefect. Umbria110 replaced his ancestral home with but a humble abode: his virtue took either lot as equal. The man's unvanquished mind regards small things as great; for to his spirit great things once had been but small. A petty farm used to contain the conquerors of kings, and a few acres yielded men like Cincinnatus.111 Such contentment in our view is deemed to fall not short of Serranus' plough and Fabricius' hearth.112

p815 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] So then I moor my ships in the safe anchorage, and myself drive to Pisa by the road the wayfarer goes afoot.113 I get horses and the offer of carriages too from a tribune personally endeared to me through former comradeship,114 when as Master of the Household Duties I was controller of the palace and of the pious emperor's armed guard. I scan the ancient city of Alphean origin,115 which the Arno and the Ausur gird with their twin waters; at their junction the rivers form the cone of a pyramid: the opening front offers access on a narrow tongue of land;116 but 'tis the Arno that retains its own name in the united stream, and in truth the Arno alone arrives at the sea. Long time ere fortune could enrol the house of Trojan birth among Laurentum's royal line,117 Etruria welcomed Pisa as a colony from Elis, witnessing its origin by the evidence of its name. Here was shown to me the statue of my revered father,118 erected by the Pisans in their market-place. The honour done to my lost parent made me weep: tears of a saddened joy wet my cheeks with their flow. For my father once was governor of the land of Tuscany and administered the jurisdiction assigned to the six fasces.119 After he had passed p817through many offices,120 he used to tell, I can recall, that his governorship of Tuscany had been more to his liking than any: for neither the management of the Sacred Largesses, important though it be, nor the authority of a quaestor had brought him more pleasure. His affection, inclining more towards the Tuscans, did not hesitate to give an inferior place, if piety lets it be said, even to his prefecture in Rome.121 Nor was he mistaken, being an equal favourite with those whom he esteemed: their mutual regard inscribes in verse undying gratitude,122 and old men who can remember him make known to their sons how firm of purpose he was and at the same time how kindly. They are glad that I myself have not fallen off from my parent's honours, and eagerly give me a warm welcome for his sake and for my own. Often as I traversed the lands near the Flaminian Way123 I have found the same proof of my father's renown; the whole of Lydia124 worships Lachanius'125 fame like some divinity among the natives of her soil. A favourite with the good, this province keeps its old-world ways and deserves always to have good governors, like Decius, the noble offspring of Lucillus,126 who among the peoples of Corytus127 rules o'er these happy lands. Small wonder it is that the sire, reproduced in the character of his great son, feels blest in a descendant so like p819himself. His satire, sportive in its mordant poetry, neither Turnus nor Juvenal128 shall surpass. The censorious file has restored old-fashioned modesty: in attacking the bad, it teaches to be good. Did not that most upright dispenser of the Sacred Largess repel in his days the Harpies who gathered round it?129 — Harpies, whose claws rend asunder the world, their sticky talons dragging off whatever they touch; creatures who make Argus one-eyed and Lynceus blind;130 public thieves,131 they flit among the guardians; but their hundred-handed pillaging did not escape Lucillus, whose single hand checkmated all their hands together.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] And now returning from Pisa's city to Triturrita, I was setting the hanging sails to a clear Southern wind, when the sky turned foul under a sudden pall of rain-clouds; the cloven rack scattered its vagrant lightnings. We stopped; who 'neath a spiteful storm would dare to go on seas which threatened madness? The respite from our voyage we spend in the neighbouring forests, delighted to exercise our limbs in the pursuit of game. Our innkeeper supplies the implements for the chase, and hounds trained to discover a strongly scented lair. By means of an ambush and the snare of wide-meshed nets a boar, though terrifying in the flash of his tusks, is overthrown and falls — such a one as p821Meleager132 of the strong shoulders might dread to approach, such a one as would slacken the joints of Hercules. Then mid the echoing hills leap the notes of the bugle-horn, and singing makes the booty light in carrying back.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Meanwhile the South-west wind on dripping wings fails not by means of pitch-black clouds to deny us day after day. 'Tis now the season133 when the watery Hyades are at their morning setting, and now the Hare is buried and hidden by the winter's rain — a constellation of scanty beams but cause of mighty waves: no sailor puts out from the land which it has soaked; for it is closely linked to stormy Orion, and the dew-drenched prey flees from the heat-fraught Dog-star. We saw the sea yellowing with the disturbance of the sands and pastures covered with the scum it has belched forth, even as the Ocean pours into the midst of fields, when under errant brine it whelms the lands from which it must ebb; whether the truth be that back-flowing from another world134 it dashes against this world of ours, or that with its own waters it feeds the twinkling stars.

p823 Book II

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] My book had not yet grown too long nor undergone many windings of its scroll;135 in its own right it might have been longer: but I feared weariness would come upon continuous toil — feared lest my reader should shrink from handling an undivided work.136 Ofttimes the late-delayed end of a feast brings distaste for viands: water in moderate draughts is the more welcome to thirst: the stone that by its lettering marks the many miles seems to afford the tired wayfarer some breaks upon the road. Between two booklets I divide my nervous modesty137 which it had been better to have faced once only.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Freed at last from the stormy blockade of the sea, we had the fortune to make for the deep from Pisa's harbour. Calm smiles the surface of the waters as the sunbeams glitter: the furrowed wave whispers with gentle plash. The Apennine slopes heave in sight where Thetis138 chafes at her repulse by a wind-swept promontory.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] He who would embrace in his view Italy, the queen of the world, and form at once a mental picture of the whole land, will find that she extends in shape like an oak leaf,139 contracted by the converging indentation of her sides. In length the distance p825by road is one of a thousand miles140 from the Ligurian territories to the Sicilian straits: on her breadth the destructive fury of the Tuscan and of the Adriatic main makes entry in varied winding curves; but where the land is narrowest between the neighbouring seas it stretches merely one hundred and thirty miles.141 The central mountain-chain slopes towards the sundered billows where the rising and the setting Sun-god brings and withdraws the day: its eastern peaks beset the Dalmatian waves, and its western spurs cleave the blue Tuscan waters. If we acknowledge that the world was made on a definite plan and if this great fabric was a god's design, then as a protective fringe for our Latin outposts he wove the Apennines, barriers scarce approachable by mountain paths. Nature feared men's jealousy (of Italy) and thought it scant defence to put the Alps in Northern invaders' way, just as she has fenced with many limbs our vital parts and placed more than one covering around the precious works she has produced. Even then the Rome that was to be deserved her encirclement of manifold bulwarks and had gods who thought anxiously for her.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Wherefore more bitter is the crime of cursed Stilicho142 in that he was betrayer of the Empire's p827secret.143 As he strove to live longer than the Roman race,144 his cruel frenzy turned the world upside down, and, while fearing that wherein he had made himself formidable,145 he let loose the arms of the barbarians to the death of Latium: he plunged an armed foe in the naked vitals of the land, his craft being freer from risk than that of openly inflicted disaster.146 Even Rome lay exposed to his skin-clad menials147 — captive ere she could be captured. Nor was it only through Gothic arms that the traitor made his attack: ere this he burned the fateful books which brought the Sibyl's aid.148 We hate Althaea for the death which came of the brand she gave to the flames;149 birds, so the fancy runs, weep for Nisus' lock.150 But it was Stilicho's will to hurl to ruin the eternal empire's fate-fraught pledges and distaffs still charged with destinies. Let every torment of Nero in Tartarus now halt; let an even more miserable ghost consume the Stygian torches.151 Stilicho's victim was immortal, Nero's was mortal; the one destroyed the world's mother, the other his own.

p829 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] But in this digression we have perhaps been garrulous: let us now resume in verse the voyage we had set ourselves. On swiftly gliding course we bear towards glittering walls: the sister who draws her radiance from the Sun is the bestower of the city's name.152 In the colour of its native rocks it surpasses smiling lilies, and the stone flashes bedecked in polished radiance. Rich in marble, it is a land which, revelling in its white light, challenges the virgin snows.

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The Loeb Editor's Notes:

These notes often cite line numbers, corresponding to the Latin text of course rather than the translation. For ease of reference, where the passage cited is very far from the passage annotated, I've simply provided a link; and passages very close to the latter have been indicated in the text above, in the left margin.

1 Potius supports the view that the opening of the poem is lost.

2 The poet is to praise Rome at length (3‑164). He claims that nothing can be tedious in the eulogy of a city which every age has held in honour — the urbs aeterna calls for eternal veneration.

3 i.e. though not born in Rome, like those in 5‑6.

4 The Genius is the indwelling spirit of the Roman People, shared by such provincials as were admitted into the senate. Their union is compared with the heavenly council under the presidency of the supreme god (Jupiter is not named).

5 Rutilius feels the call of his ravaged estates in Gaul: see Introduction.

6 arbuta is not used here in the restricted sense of arbutus.

7 The Via Aurelia was the road by the coast of Etruria to the Italian Riviera. Cf. sense of agger in medio in aggere, Avianus, xvii.15.

8 Baehrens' alteration to nutrix is purely arbitrary, even in the light of altricem in 146.

9 Cf. Einsied. Ecl. I.29‑31 and note b, p329 supra.

10 iniustis has its point in relation to iuris, l. 65.

11 i.e. of the two divinities Venus and Mars.

12 The three alluded to are Athene (Minerva), Bacchus, and Triptolemus.

13 Paeŏniam: the Greek adjective is παιώνιος. Rutilius is not, however, unclassical here; for Ingram (Hermathena IX.407) illustrates the use of Paeonius in Virgil, Ovid, and other poets: cf. Avianus, VI.7, Paeonio magistro.

14 The Seleucid kings of Syria, who succeeded to part of the empire won by Alexander of Macedon, and whose wars with Parthia brought sometimes victory, sometimes defeat.

15 The aqueducts of Rome, massive enough to be called "Cyclopean" (giganteum opus, 100), like the masonry at Tiryns or of the Lion Gateway at Mycenae. In the time of Frontinus, who was curator aquarum A.D. 97‑106, there were nine aqueducts; later, this number was increased.

16 The hyperbole means that hardly any rainbow in the sky could reach the same height as the span of the arches of the aqueducts. Burman suggested that quo might be clearer than qua.

17 e.g. water from the Anio supplied the aqueducts called Anio Vetus and Anio Novus.

18 celsa refers to the imposing loftiness of the public baths; lacus to such lakes as Alsietinus, Sabatinus (Lago di Bracciano) and Sublacensis (near Subiaco, from which water was brought into Rome by aqueducts and stored in large cisterns.

19 Legend had it that when Titus Tatius and his Sabines reached the gate of Janus under the Capitol, the god sent out boiling water from the earth and discomfited the enemy.

20 The reference is to gardens enclosed within colonnades which had panelled ceilings.

21 Cf. Lucan I.185‑190, where Roma, wearing a mural crown, appears to Caesar at the Rubicon, turrigero canos effundens vertice crines.

22 Four examples of recovery are cited: (1) the defeat of Rome at the Allia in 390 B.C. was soon avenged by the death of Brennus, the Gallic leader; (2) the subjection of the Samnites compensated for the severe terms imposed by them on the Romans at the Caudine Forks, 321 B.C.; (3) King Pyrrhus' successes in his invasion changed to disaster at Beneventum, 275 B.C.; (4) Hannibal's victories in the Second Punic War ended in defeat.

23 The year 1169 of Rome gives the date A.D. 416.

Thayer's Note: At least according to the chronology of Varro, the one most commonly accepted, that set the legendary founding of Rome in the 753 B.C. we learned as schoolchildren. The Romans themselves had other chronologies that varied by five or six years, though, so Rutilius' numerical contortions don't in themselves determine a firm date.

24 For the ancient idea that the north wind brought to Africa rain-clouds gathered in Italy cf. Stat. Theb. VIII.411; Lucan, III.68‑70; IX.420‑423.

25 The prayer is that traffic and trade may revive, now that Alaric has withdrawn.

26 The name of either of the twin Dioscuri may do duty for the other: cf. Hor. Od. III.XXIX.64, geminusque Pollux; in Catull. IV.27 both are invoked, but only one named, gemelle Castor et gemelle Castoris. There was a temple of Castor and Pollux at Ostia, and one of Venus on the island at the Tiber-mouth; hence the allusion to Cytherea.

27 Rutilius had been praefectus urbis in A.D. 414; cf. I.423‑428; 467‑468.

28 The absence of capital punishment during Rutilius' prefecture was a credit to the Roman people.

29 Ceionius Rufius Volusianus belonged to an of family of ancient pedigree. He had been proconsul of Africa with his headquarters at Carthage (I.173), and as a youthful imperial quaestor had performed the duty of reading before the senate communications from the Emperor (I.171). Rutilius expresses his delight over the news of his friend's appointment to the city prefecture (I.415‑428).

30 Rufius Albinus, prefect of the city in A.D. 390, should be distinguished from the Albinus of I.466.

31 The family claimed descent from the Volusus addressed by Turnus, prince of the Rutuli, in Aeneid XI.463.

32 There were several boats (cymbae I.219) used by Rutilius' company on their coasting voyage northwards: cf. I.559, puppibus ergo meis.

33 About eighteen miles from Rome and some miles from the sea the Tiber branches so as to form the Isola Sacra (cf. Aeneid VIII.727, Rhenusque bicornis, referring to the two mouths of the Rhine: the "horn" idea is associated with the bull-like force of rivers in flood). At the mouth of the left branch was Ostia, the ancient port of Rome, which in time became blocked up with silt and sand. On the right branch harbour-works were undertaken by the Emperor Claudius and improved by Trajan.

34 For Aeneas' landing see Aeneid VII.29 sqq.

35 The Scorpion is next to Libra among the signs of the Zodiac: the sun enters Libra at the autumnal Equinox. Poets use either Chelae (claws) or Libra (balance) in reference to this season.

Thayer's Note: A confusing note. It would have been clearer to say that Libra was a relatively new constellation, the stars of which in older times had been considered to form the claws of the adjacent Scorpio; thus the season is named not after one or the other of two constellations (that would then be traversed by the sun at different times of the year), but after the same constellation under either name. For full details, see Libra in Allen's Star Names.

At any rate, the poet's intent is to date his departure from Rome: the sun was in the constellation Libra; not the sign, although they very closely coincided in Rutilius' time. The space of the night-watches is lengthened because winter is approaching, the solstice is past, and the night is now longer than the day: since the Romans divided the night into the same number of watches thruout the year, now the watches are getting longer. He is leaving the City in late September or early October. Carcopino's date, 16 Oct 417, seems a bit late to me; but I haven't read his article (see the note in the Introduction) — if you have a copy at hand, you're welcome to send it to me, of course.

36 If cadit, 188, is kept in the sense of "subsides," it involves taking dum as "while" in 187 and as "until" in 188 (unless cadit can here mean "descends" or "swoops" upon the sea). Calet is accepted from L. Mueller.

37 Cf. oculique duces rem credere cogunt, Aetna 189.º He can just make out the hills of Rome, and part of the city he can see in imagination only, his eyes directing him to where it should be.

38 Cf. Odyss. I.57‑59; X.29‑30.

39 The Ludi Romani began in Rutilius' time on Sept. 21 and so fit into the autumnal setting of his voyage.

40 Palladius, the last of Rutilius' circle to take leave of him before his voyage, was a young relative of his who had come from Gaul to study law in Rome. His father, Exuperantius, had restored order to the Armorican regions in Gaul, which had followed the example of revolt from the empire set by Britain in A.D. 407.

41 The reference is most probably to a servile insurrection which Exuperantius checked.

42 Alsium, now Palo, was an ancient Etruscan town. Pyrgi, now Santa Severa, was a seaport for Caere.

Thayer's Note: See Chapter 34: Alsium and Chapter 32: Pyrgi of George Dennis's Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria.

43 Caere, now Cervetri, had Agylla as its Greek name.

Thayer's Note: See Chapter 33, Cerveteri, of George Dennis's Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria.

44 Rutilius confuses Castrum Novum in Etruria with Castrum Inui in Latium: cf. Aen. VI.775. Init in 234 is an attempt to explain the name Inuus, here identified with the Greek Pan or the Latin Faunus.

45 For dum causal, assigning a reason, cf. Plaut. Trin. 1149‑50 dum vereor sermonem interrumpere, solus sto; and Cic. ad Att. I.XVI.2 qui (sc. Hortensius) dum veritus est . . . non vidit illud. . . . Rutilius I.443 may also be a parallel.

46 Now Civita Vecchia. The port was constructed under Trajan: see the description in Plin. Ep. VI.XXXI.15‑17.

Thayer's Note: Chapter 30, Centumcellae, of George Dennis's Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria also provides further information.

47 Cumae, on the bay of Naples, was partly settled by Euboeans: cf. Virg. Aen. VI.2: Euboicis Cumarum allabitur oris.

48 Aquae or Thermae Taurianae, three miles N. of Civita Vecchia.

Thayer's Note: In Italian, the Terme Taurine. Substantial remains of Trajan's Baths are extant — I've marked their location in the maps on this page — and may still be visited; there were once two sites on them, with photographs and history: all that has disappeared with the continuing shrinkage of the Web.

49 i.e. whether for drinking or bathing.

50 The bull that unearthed the hot wells may have been a disguised god, just as, according to the myth, the bull that carried off to Crete Europa, the daughter of the Phoenician king Agenor, was really Jupiter.

51 The fountain Hippocrene on Mount Helicon in Boeotia, sacred to the Muses, was fabled to have been produced by a stroke of the hoof of the winged horse Pegasus.

52 Valerius Messalla, praetorian prefect in A.D. 396, is often mentioned in the Code of Theodosius. He claimed descent for Valerius Publicola, who became colleague to Junius Brutus on the retirement of Tarquinius Collatinus; so that "primo de consule," 271, is not literally accurate. Symmachus (VII.81‑92) addresses letters to him, and Sidonius Apollinaris admired his intellectual qualities (Carm. 9.302).

53 Quintilian repeatedly insists on character as indispensable in an orator: Iproem. 9‑10 (qui esse nisi vir bonus non potest); II.II (the whole section); II.XV.1; XII.I.1 (is qui a M. Catone fingitur, vir bonus dicendi peritus): cf. Cic. de Orat. II.85.

54 Now the Mignone.

55 Graviscae, the port of Tarquinii, being in the Maremma, had unhealthy air. Like its pine-groves, this small place has disappeared.

Thayer's Note: See Chapter 20, Graviscae, of George Dennis's Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria.

56 Cosa is now Ansedonia: its harbour was the Portus Herculis, now Porto Ercole.

57 The first mention of Milton's "small infantry warred on by cranes" is in Homer, Iliad III.3‑6.

58 Four Lepidi are here alluded to: (1) M. Aemilius Lepidus, declared a public enemy by the Senate in 77 B.C., was after his defeat at the Mulvian Bridge pursued by Catulus into Etruria. He eventually fled from Portus Herculis to Sardinia. (2) His son, M. Aemilius Lepidus, who had long wavered between Mark Antony and the Senate, joined forces with Antony after the battle of Mutina in 44 B.C. The allusion in l. 300 is to his membership of the triumvirate with Antony and Octavian. (3) The triumvir's son plotted in 30 B.C. to murder Octavian, but was arrested and put to death. (4) M. Aemilius Lepidus was the second husband of Drusilla, Caligula's sister. He conspired against his imperial brother-in‑law, and had illicit relations with Agrippina and Livilla, two other sisters of the emperor. He was executed in A.D. 39.

59 Lepidum: genit. plur. rather than adjectivally with malum.

60 Monte Argentario, a rugged peninsular promontory over 20 miles in circuit, has two peaks (ancipiti iugo) — the southern one above Porto Ercole, and the northern one above Porto S. Stefano.

61 The promontory of Monte Argentario is likened to the isthmus of Corinth (= Ephyre, frequently in the poets from Homer onwards). In strict accuracy, the Ionian sea lies on one side only of the isthmus, the Aegean being on the other side.

62 Igilium, now Giglio, was, as an island, reasonably safe from invasion by the Goths (l. 329), whether in A.D. 408 when Alaric advanced to his first siege of Rome or in the following years. It offered refuge to fugitives from Rome when the city was sacked by Alaric in A.D. 410 (see l. 331).

63 quam: sc. insulam, though its name Igilium is neuter.

64 The alternatives (emphasized by a play on words) are that the island may have been protected either by the ingenium (= natura) loci or by the indwelling Genius of Honorius, which is viewed as a presiding Fortuna guarding the island against attack.

65 The Gothic cavalry was reinforced by that of the Huns under Alaric's brother-in‑law Ataulf. They sailed from island to island on marauding expeditions.

66 i.e. at the time of the sack of Rome and of the Gothic sea-raids.

67 metari is the regular verb for laying out a camp.

68 Lit. "mines of the Chalybes." The Χάλυβες of Pontus were renowned for their working of steel (χάλυψ).

69 Noricum, between the Danube and the Alps, corresponded to a great part of Styria and Carinthia and included the district round Salzburg. Its steel was famed; cf.  Hor. Od. I.XVI.9‑10, Noricus ensis.

70 The Bituriges of Gallia Aquitanica have left their name in Bourges. Strictura, wrought metal, implied smelting which could be carried out where firewood was abundant. Ore from Ilva (the modern Elba), which was short of fuel, had to be taken to furnaces on the mainland.

71 caespes, lit. the clod or lump containing ore: cf. glaeba, 352.

72 From Tartessus in Spain Tartessiacus gets its meaning of "Western."

73 The allusion in l. 360 is to the myth of Danaë and in l. 361 to the bribery employed by Philip of Macedon to capture cities. Cf. the attack on gold by Tiberianus, pp560‑563 supra.

74 It is now Falese, or Porto di Faliesi.

Thayer's Note: It is so close to Piombino as to be referred to most commonly by the name Porto Vecchio = "the old port". I've marked it on the map.

75 The worship of Osiris, introduced from Egypt in republican times, passed through vicissitudes of favour and disfavour, but spread widely through the Roman Empire. A vegetation-deity and patron of agriculture, Osiris was also a suffering hero and became god of the dead. The priests of his sister-wife Isis mourned his death or joyfully celebrated his periodic resuscitation. Here he gives a fertilizing stimulus to autumnal sowings.

Thayer's Note: For further details on the cult as taken over by the Greeks and Romans, the best starting-point is Plutarch's philosophically transmuted Isis and Osiris.

76 Villam here seems to mean an "inn": cf. villicus or vilicus as "innkeeper," I.623.

77 The savage king of the Laestrygones devoured one of Ulysses' men and sank all his ships except that on which Ulysses sailed (Odyss. X.114‑132).

78 The taboo of the pig as unclean was unintelligible to Romans, whose cuisine included fifty different ways of serving swine's flesh.

Thayer's Note: To be a bit clearer about it, pork was the staple meat of the Romans, somewhat as beef is to Americans.

79 The reference is to the teaching of the Hebrew scriptures: e.g. Genesis ii.2‑3; Exodus xx.9‑11, xxxiv.21.

80 The Maccabean monarchy fell after Pompey's three months' siege of Jerusalem, 63 B.C. Titus captured Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

81 Cf.  Hor. Epist. II.I.156, Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit.

82 At Populonia, an ancient Etruscan town, there was an old castle instead of a lighthouse like the famous one on the island of Pharos off Alexandria.

Thayer's Note: See Chapter 43, Populonia, of George Dennis's Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria.

83 Cf. in Sulpicius' letter of consolation to Cicero, Ad Fam. IV.V, nos homunculi indignamur, si quis nostrum interiit . . . quorum vita brevior esse debet, cum uno loco tot oppidum cadavera iacent?

84 Rufius' full name, Ceionius Rufius Vŏlŭsĭanus, is inadmissible in elegiacs.

85 The vexed line, 421, whether Veneri is read as dative of Venus or as vocative of Venerius, offers no sure foundation for the addition of Venerius to the name of Rufius. Taking Veneri as a vocative, some editors have thought Rutilius dedicated his poem to "Venerius" Rufius.

86 Supra, lines 167‑168.

87 Rufius' elevation brings back to Rutilius' mind his own prefecture: cf. I.157‑160.

88 Cf. I.493, nostrae pars maxima mentis, and Hor. Od. I.III.8, animae dimidium meae.

89 dubitanda = to be puzzled over, an object of uncertainty: cf. Virg. Aen. VI.454, aut videt aut vidisse putat per nubila lunam.

90 Cyrnos (Κύρνος), or Corsica, lies about 55 miles off the mainland. Itasius Lemniacus denies that it could be seen from Populonia. The story ran that a herdswoman noticed an ox used to swim the sea and return fatter. This suggested that there was a fertile island not far away.

91 Cognomen is the equivalent of nomen in several Virgilian passages: Aen. III.163; VIII.48. It is loosely used, supra I.421.

92 Nec has the force of ne . . . quidem, as in nec puerum, I.394.

93 Ergastula, "prisons for slaves," prob. by metonymy here for the inmates.

94 Homer in reality does not explain Bellerophon's misanthropy as due to black bile (μελαγχολία), though he describes him as "eating out his heart" (ὃν θυμὸν κατέδων Il. VI.202). The true reason for his grief was the loss of his three children.

Thayer's Note: It is noteworthy that the fantasy whereby a person's unhappiness is assigned to chemical causes — rather than to the horrible events we suffer thru — had already reared its head in Antiquity; and I'm glad to see that the translators don't buy into it.

95 The name is preserved in Torre di Vada.

96 The shifting mud-bank is compared with the fabled Symplegades of the Euxine, the floating rocks which used to clash together and rebound.

97 Albinus succeeded Rutilius as Prefect of the city in A.D. 414.

98 i.e. Albinus had been appointed to high office at a singularly early age; but, if he fell short of the usual number of years, he made up for this by his merits.

99 fomes "touchwood" is here "matter," "material," or "element"; and virtually "cause" in relation to opus = "working," "effect." (Cf. note on opus in Aetna, 337, supra p391).

100 i.e. by evaporation salt can be secured from brine. Compare Lucretius' lines on the baking and the thawing action of heat, VI.962‑969.

101 Like Shakespeare's "There is some soul of goodness in things evil" (King Henry V Act IV Sc. i l. 4).

102 Victorinus, a Gaul like Rutilius (l. 510), had lost his home in Toulouse owing to its capture by Ataulf, King of the Visigoths, in A.D. 413 (l. 496). He had been Vicarius for the Praetorian Prefect of Gaul and as such had exercised authority in Britain. Though he held the distinction of Comes Illustris, he preferred country-life in Etruria to attendance at court.

103 Victorinus had been Vicarius Britanniarum: see preceding note.

104 The three classes of Comites Illustres were: (1) in actu positi, holding office; (2) vacantes, on the list for appointment; (3) honorarii, merely titular. Victorinus belonged to the third class.

105 This island, now Gorgona, lies about 22 miles SW of Leghorn. It was long occupied by monks.

106 Homer, Odyss. X.135‑405.

107 The Villa Triturrita is conjecturally placed with the neighbouring Portus Pisanus (I.531, II.12) between Leghorn and the mouth of the Arno, but the coast has been greatly altered owing to alluvial deposits.

108 Cf. Virg. Aen. I.50‑91, the Cavern of the Winds.

109 Protadius corresponded with Symmachus, from whose letters we learn that he came from Trèves (cf. 549‑551). A learned official, he was the son of an eminent rhetorician praised by Ausonius for his lectures in Constantinople, Rome and Bordeaux.

110 Either Protadius had some property in Umbria proper, or "Umbria" here includes the part of Etruria round Pisa.

111 For the story see Val. Max. IV. iv.7.

112 Rutilius here echoes Virg. Aen. VI.844.

113 The other route would have been by sea to the mouth of the Arno and then up the river.

114 The tribune had served in the Scholares or Imperial Guard, who were under the control of Rutilius when Magister Officiorum at the palace.

115 Pisa was reputed to have been founded from the Pisa in Elis, near the river Alpheus (cf. 573‑574).

116 Those coming up-stream would face the apex of the triangle formed by the union of the two rivers, and by this tongue of land those going inland would enter on the opening "frons," the narrow strip gradually expanding into a broad front.

117 The claim implies that Pisa was founded before Aeneas arrived in Italy.

118 The name of Rutilius' father was Lachanius, I.595.

119 The arva are identical with the provincia of I.597. Six fasces were the insignia of the office of Consularis Tusciae et Umbriae. A consul in Rome had twelve fasces: cf.  Laus Pisonis, 70 (supra, p300).

120 Rutilius' father had been Count of the Sacred Largesses, Quaestor, and City Prefect.

121 The praefectura here is that of the City Prefect, not of the Praetorian Prefect. Rutilius is apologetic (si fas est) over the idea of preferring any dignity to the prefecture of the august city of Rome.

122 Canit here implies laudatory lines on the base of the statue rather than actual song.

123 The regions in mind were Umbrian and Tuscan districts lying not far off the line of the great northern road from Rome.

124 Lydia here means Etruria, which according to one ancient account was settled from Lydia in Asia Minor.

125 The fact that the name Lachanius does not occur elsewhere is not enough to justify Burman's substitution of Laecanius.

126 Rutilius is our sole source of information about Decius, who was Consularis Tusciae et Umbriae in A.D. 416, and about his father, whose satiric powers are compared to those of Juvenal and Turnus.

127 Corytus or Corythus (now Cortona) is here used for Etruria, as being one of its ancient towns.

128 Huius applies to Lucillus, not to his son. Turnus, though a satirist, succeeded in surviving under Domitian (vet. schol. on Juvenal I.20; Martial XI.X, contulit ad saturas ingentia pectora Turnus). Juvenal belonged to the next generation. Two lines of Turnus (one unintelligible) are given in Morel, Fragm. Poet. Lat. p134.

129 i.e. as Comes Sacrarum Largitionum, Lucillus balked the greedy "Harpies" in their designs upon public money.

130 Their peculations are so smart that Argus of the hundred eyes would seem to have only one eye to watch them with, while the keen-eyed Lynceus would seem to be blind.

131 publica furta, abstract for concrete, means the plundering Harpies: custodes means the Comites Sacrarum Largitionum.

132 Meleager, son of Oeneus and Althaea (see II.53), took part in the famous Calydonian boar-hunt.

133 A wet and stormy period of the year coincides with the setting of the Hyades in morning twilight (late November) and with the setting of the Hare (early November). The Hare is near the left foot of Orion, and flees as a "dew-drenched prey" (638) before the burning Dog-star, Sirius.

134 Alio orbe means the moon. Of the two theories here suggested regarding the cause of tides, the second refers to an ancient belief that sun and stars were fed on the waters of the ocean.

135 i.e. the parchment had not been rolled to a great extent round its stick.

136 One long book might prove too wearisome: hence the author thinks it advisable to begin a second book. The tone suggests that Book II either was actually or was intended to be much longer than it now is.

137 i.e. the blushing diffidence of a modest author is spread over two books instead of one. He ought, he feels, to have boldly met his qualms of modesty and concentrated on a single book: he now has to meet them over again.

138 Thetis, as a sea-goddess, is a metonymy for the sea. Beyond Pisa spurs of the Apennines run out into a lofty headland.

139 Cf. Plin. N. H. III.43, referring to Italy as folio maxime querno adsimilata.

140 A Roman mile was 143 yards less than an English mile, so that 1000 Roman miles are approximately equal to 918 English miles. This estimate of Italy's length is virtually that of Pliny, loc. cit. (1020 miles). But the length in a straight line from the Simplon to Cape Lucca is about 700 miles. Rutilius, as the phrase milia teruntur shows (cf. terere viam), is calculating, like Pliny, by the roads usually travelled.

141 In Calabria, which is, however, merely the "toe" of Italy, the peninsula is only about 20 miles wide; but Rutilius follows Pliny's estimate of 136 miles from the Adriatic across country to Ostia (N. H. III.44).

142 For the career of Stilicho, ending with his disgrace and death in A.D. 408, see Gibbon's Decline and Fall and Hodgkin's Italy and Her Invaders. His victories over Alaric at Pollentia in 403 and over Radagaisus in 405 did not save him from charges of treasonable collusion with the barbarians. His ambassador incurred relentless enmity. While the prose-writers Zosimus and Orosius take, like Rutilius, an unfavourable view of his character, Claudian is emphatic in his praises.

143 By letting Alaric enter Italy (II.46), Stilicho had revealed the "secret" that the barbarians could invade the empire with immunity.

Thayer's Note: Although it makes sense in the progression of Rutilius' concerns in this passage, this is a minority interpretation of the arcanum imperii; the poet is very often taken to mean that Stilicho revealed the ritual name of Rome the secrecy of which protected her against outside enemies (Plin. H.N. XXVIII.18, as translated by W. H. S. Jones: "Verrius Flaccus cites trustworthy authorities to show that it was the custom, at the very beginning of a siege, for the Roman priests to call forth the divinity under whose protection the besieged town was, and to promise him the same or even more splendid worship among the Roman people. Down to the present day this ritual has remained part of the doctrine of the Pontiffs, and it is certain that the reason why the tutelary deity of Rome has been kept a secret is to prevent any enemy from acting in a similar way.") Just a few years before Rutilius wrote, it looks like Claudian — to whom Stilicho was a great hero — feared, in appropriately veiled terms (arcanum regni, Bell. Goth. 100‑103), that someone might do just that.

144 The motive suggested for Stilicho's treachery is that he intended, by the ruin of the Roman race, to further his own interests: he counted on outliving the devastation of Italy.

145 The implication is that, though he had made himself feared through his influence with the Goths, he is now afraid of them.

146 The phrasing is difficult. If accepted, it seems to mean that it was safer for Stilicho to employ against Italy a secret pact with the Goths than a military invasion. But if the ablat. of comparison usually supplied with liberiore is dispensed with, the sense might be "with the over-bold fraud of ruin inflicted."

Thayer's Note: When all else fails, emend! Nevertheless, the following item, by J. S. Reid among the Notes in CR:1(2/3), p78, reproduced here in its entirety — Prof. Reid died in 1926 and the article is in the public domain — offers an appealing solution to the otherwise awkward text, the "difficult" phrasing:

Rutilius Claudius Namatianus, II.47.8:

'Visceribus nudis armatum condidit hostem

Illatae cladis liberiore dolo.'

The subject to condidit is Stilicho, who admitted the Goths by compact into the 'viscera' of Latium. The second line stands as I have written it in all editions. It is interpreted thus: 'by a wile more free from danger than the wile of an openly inflicted disaster,' i.e., it was safer for Stilicho to use against his country the wile of a compact with the Goths than the wile of a direct attack. There is much difficulty here. The natural senses of illatae cladis and liberiore are warped in a strange fashion; and an illata clades could not be called a dolus. Is it not obvious that in the line as Rutilius wrote it there was an allusion to the Trojan horse? There are similar mythological allusions in the context. Illatae is a blunder for Iliacae. Whether the error was in the lost codex, or in the transcript of a codex Bobiensis made by Inghirami in 1494, from with all existing MSS. are derived, is hard to say. If the commonly accepted idea be true that the codex was written in the Langobardic minuscule of the Carolingian epoch, the error was probably in the codex itself, since Iliacae in that particular script could hardly even by extreme negligence be mistaken for illatae. The word liberiore has taken the place of some other comparative, which if the possibilities be considered can be no other than deteriore. The Langobardic d has a long upstroke, and if the first part of the letter were faintly written or obliterated, it would easily be mistaken for l. The peculiar Langobardic t is not unlike some forms of the Italian v and b. Inghirami might therefore easily mistake deteriore for leveriore or leberiore, which he would then naturally correct to liberiore. The line 'Iliacae cladis deteriore dolo' will then mean 'by a wile more wicked than that which brought disaster on Troy.' For dolus compare Plautus, Pseudolus 1244, Fleck, 'superauit dolum Troianum atque Vlixem Pseudolus.' — J. S. R.

147 Ovid and Claudian apply "pellitus" to the Goths.

148 Rutilius is the sole authority for the allegation that Stilicho burned the Sibylline books which the Romans consulted in times of stress. Their destruction thus preceded the fall of Rome by only a few years.

149 Althaea caused the death of her son Meleager by burning the magical firebrand on which his life depended: cf. note on Pentadius I (De Fortuna) 21‑22, supra p545.

150 Scylla caused the death of her father Nisus by depriving him of the purple lock on which his life depended: see the Ciris in the Appendix Virgiliana: cf. crinem Nisi, Nemes. Cyn. 44.

151 i.e. Stilicho should suffer under the torches of the Furies even more horrible punishment than that inflicted upon the matricide Nero in Tartarus.

152 With this allusion to the town of Luna and the brief glance at its marble quarries, the poem, as we have it, ends abruptly.

Thayer's Note: Rather than an allusion, Luna may well have been what the author actually wrote. Although the Loeb edition doesn't mark it in the apparatus criticus, at least one edition, in turn surely based on at least one manuscript, here has candentia moenia Lunae — "the glimmering walls of Luna"; so quoted in W. H. Hall, The Romans on the Riviera and the Rhone, p66.

For more information on Luna (the modern Luni), see Chapter 35 of George Dennis's Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria. Notice also that nothing is simple or obvious: as Dennis rightly points out, the city probably does not owe her (Etruscan) name to the Moon, even if favored by the Latin word such had already become general opinion in Roman times.


Thayer's Notes:

a The collapse of bridges makes it necessary for rivers to be forded or crossed by boat; but more seriously, the flooding of wide tracts of level land, often caused by changing hydrography due to earthquakes, knocks out whole long stretches of road. Maintenance, already a constant battle requiring peace, control of the territory and manpower, then becomes a far more difficult and expensive matter of building a new road on adjacent higher ground, where rockslides are more likely to occur. Much of this can be observed in the remains of what could have been an alternate land route for Rutilius: the Via Flaminia in Umbria between Spoleto and Foligno, less than a hundred miles north of Rome, was permanently flooded out in Late Antiquity; traces of detours built in that period can still be made out today, girdling the hills to the east.

b Animals do make discoveries, and observing them pays off: the Romans, closer to the origins of things, were more in tune with them than we are, and Pliny the Elder repeatedly tells us of the medicinal value of this herb or that having first been discovered by an animal.

c The Umbro, now the Ombrone, is one of the larger streams emptying into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its alluvial deposits have advanced the coastline a bit, so the location of Rutilius' night on the beach as marked on the map is only approximate: not more than five or six miles southwest of Grosseto (a town unknown to the Romans, founded in the Middle Ages).

d The technique has changed very little; for an idea of it, and photos of the kind of landscape Rutilius saw, see my own visit to the salt flats of Cervia — nearly 1600 years later, and on the Adriatic rather than the Tyrrhenian coast of Italy.

e Late Antiquity seems to have been fascinated by water and its changes of state; see for example the poems of Claudian on a drop of water purportedly trapped in a rock crystal.


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