Virgil Aeneid II

Notes for Virgil Aeneid II, lines needed for the Literature - Verse section  of OCR GCSE Latin 2011

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Lines 268 - 280 (1)

Tempus erat, quo prima quies mortalibus aegris

It was the time when first sleep begins for weary mortals

incipit, et dono divom gratissima serpit.

and creeps over them as the sweetest gift of the gods. (The passage opens with two melodious lines descriptive of night. The word 'aegris' (268) may be thought to intoduce a not of foreboding, or it may be no more than a generalising adjective describing the lot of moral men. 'prima' (268) with 'incipit' (269) is superfluous though it may seem to enhance the dramatic feeling of a sleep that was welcome and deep. The scene is one of calm before the horror which ensues.)

In somnis, ecce, ante oculos, maetissimus Hector

See, in dream, before my eyes, Hector seemed to be there most sad,

visus adesse mihi, largosque effundere fletus,

and to pour out floods of (lit. copious) tears,

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Lines 268 - 280 (2)

raptatus bigis, ut quondam, aterque cruento

torn by the chariot, as once (he was), black with bloody

pulvere, perque pedes traiectus lora tumentes

dust, and his swollen feet pierced by the thong (lit. having been pierced through the feet with a thong). (In describing the apparition of Hector Virgil places emphasis on the pathos of the Trojan hero's appearance and, by implication, on the brutality of the Greeks. There are violent and emotive words and phrases 'raptatus', 'aterque cruento pulvere', 'traiectus', 'tumentes', and the triple alliteration of 'pulvere perque pedes' (273) reflects the heightened emotion.)  

Ei, mihi, qualis erat. quantum mutatus ab illo

 Ah, me, how he was! How changed from that

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Lines 268 - 280 (3)

Hectore, qui redit exuvias indutus Achilli,

who returned, (historic present to make narrative vivid) having put on Achilles' arms who returned, (To heighten the pathos we are made to see Hector at the height of his glory, returning, 'clad in the spoils of Achilles', a reference to the death of Patroclus at Hector's hands, when Patroclus had gone into battle wearing Achilles' armour. The present tense 'redit' (275) attracts different explanations from the editors. Austin says that its use marks 'a still continuing effect..." Hector the returner from battle", always victorious, inconceivable as defeated'. The rhythm of the line gives an effect of inexorable speed produced by the pauses at the end of the first and second feet and the absence of a caesura in the third.) 

vel Danaum Phrygios iaculatus puppibus ignes

or (having) hurled Trojan (Phyrigian=Trojan. Phyrygia being the area in which Troy was situated) flames on the Greek (Danai=Greeks, after Danaus, the legendary founder of the Greek race. The juxtaposition of 'Danaum Phrygios' intensifies the feeling conflict. The description of the ghost is completed by the representation of unkempt beard, hair matted with blood and the wounds he had received when dragged around the city walls) ships

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Lines 268 - 380 (4)

sqalentem barbam et concretos sanguine crines

for he had (lit. wearing) a filthy beard and hair matted with blood,

volneraque illa gerens, quae circum plurima muros

and those very many wounds which he received around the walls

accepit patrios. Ultro flens ipse videbar

of his city (a reference to how he was dragged three times round the walls of Troy by Achilles after his defeat). Weeping I seemed

Compellare virum et maestas expromere voces:

to address him first and pour forth sad words:

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Lines 268 - 280 (5)

(In spite of his appearance Aeneas' reaction is one of sorrow rather than of fear - Virgil is at pain not to make him seem a coward. Hector now goes on to insist that Aeneas cannot save Troy and it is his duty to leave and fulfil his destiny. This is Virgil's justification of Aeneas' departure from Troy in such a crisis - 'if Hector counselled flight, flight was honourable for anyone - so we are prepared for what is to follow: the apparent desertion is in reality the pursuance of a holy duty, enjoined upon Aeneas by the dead.)

Summary of Hector's speech:

Troy is finished, the city can't be saved, the Greeks are fated to win, they are inside the city destroying it, no amount of bravery can save it. It is Aeneas' duty to rescue the Gods of the state and to go and found a new nation.

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Lines 298 - 317 (1)

Aeneas wakes to find the city on fire and the enemy in their midst. The pasage opens with a picture of ubiquitous confusion and grief.

Diverso interea miscentur moenia luctu

Meanwhile everywhere (diverso = in each different [part]) the city is confused ('miscentur' implies noise and confusion: 'moenia' refers to the buildings of the city) with grief,

et magis atque magis, quamquam secreta parentis

and more and more, through my father Anchises' house, secluded

Anchisae domus arboribusque obtecta recessit

and overshadowed by trees, was set back

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Lines 298 - 317 (2)

clarescunt sonitus, armorumque ingruit horror

the sound grew (historic present to make the narrative vivid), and the horror of war (lit. arms) broke (historic present) in upon it. (Here Aeneas, still not properly awake, appears to argue with himself about the surprising amount of noise. His father's house stood apart, set back and screened by trees, yet the sound of war grows clearer and the noise of war advances threateningly upon him.)

Excutior somno, et summi fastigia tecti

I am shaken from sleep (excutior somno - suggests a sudden awakening by Aeneas; historic present to make it vivid), and climb (lit. rise by a climb) to the roof-top of the house (lit. roof of the house top)

ascensu supero, atque arrectibus auribus adsto:

and stand there with ears pricked up: (This line characterised by a two-fold elision and sustained assonance and alliteration: ascensu super(o) atqu(e) arrectibus aurectibus adsto, reflecting the excitement of the situation.)

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Lines 298 - 317 (3)

in segentem veluti *** flamma fuerentibus austris

as when fire falls upon a wheat-field while south winds rage

incidit, aut rapidus montano flumine torrens

or the rushing torrent from a mountain stream

sternit agros, sternit sata leata boumque labores

lays low the fields, lays low the joyous (transferred epithet or hypallage - the adjective refers not to the joy of the crops but to the delight of those seeing them) crops, the labour of oxen,

praecipitesque trahit silvas, stupet inscius alto

and drags down trees headlong, and the shepherd, unaware, is amazed

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Line 298 - 317 (4)

accipiens sonitum sax de vertice pastor

hearing the echo from a rocky peak (lit. the peak of a rock). (epic simile - the main point of comparison in this simile is that Aeneas and the shepherd both helplessly watch and listen from a height while destruction is caused all round, but there are also other ideas here: Aeneas was a shepherd (pastor) to his people; he was on the roof of his house, just as the shepherd was on a high rock, and flames were now swallowing Troy, as the crops and ploughland are swept away in the simile and great efforts have gone into building Troy into a successful city just as the oxen have laboured to plant crops; Aeneas, newly woken from sleep, barely realises that his world is being engulfed in disaster, just as the herdsman barely realises the enormous scale of the disaster which is destroying his crops. The repetition of sternit (306) emphasises the destruction and makes unnecessary a less powerful connecting word.) 

Tum vero manifesta fides, Danaumque patescunt

Then indeed the truth was clear, and the plot of the Greeks revealed (historic presents).(Aeneas realises the truth of the situation-there is a contrast between 'fides' & 'insidiae'-the truth of the situation now shining out amidst deception.)

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Lines 298 - 317 (5)

insidiae. Iam Deiphobi dedit ampla ruinam

Now the large house of Deiphobus (son of Priam and Hecuba, and husband of Helen after the death of Paris) fell to (lit. gave) ruin,

Volcano superante domus; iam proximus ardet

fire (Vulcan, the fire god=fire. -a poetic idiom) gaining mastery (over it): now Ucalegon's next door was ablaze:

Ucalegon; Sigea igni freta lata relucent

the wide Sigean straits (the sea west of Troy) glow with fire.

Exortior clamorque virum clangorque tubarum.

Them the clamour of men (virum archaic gen pl) and the blare of trumpets rises.

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Line 298 - 317 (6)

Arma amens capio; nec sat rationis in armis,

Frantic, I seize weapons: yet there is no clear purpose in weapons (lit. nor (is there) enough reasons...)

sed glomeraremanum bello et concurrere in arcem

but my spirit burns to gather a band of men for battle and run to the citadel

*** sociis ardent animi; furor iraque mentem

with my friends: madness and anger hurl my mind

praecipitant, pulchrumque mori succurrit in armis

headlong (Aeneas has already forgotten Hector's words & is rushing into battle. This is stressed by the use both of 'amens' (lit. out of one's mind), 'nec sat rationis' and finally 'furor iraque mentem praecipitat' - The desire for glor has now overtaken him.), and it occurs (to me) that (it is) beautiful to die in arms.

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Overview of lines 317 - 624

As Aeneas leaves, he meets a priest of Apollo who tells him that it is useless to fight. Nevertheless, Aeneas gathers a group of fighters in order to put up what resistance they can. Finally, Aeneas sets up a stronghold in the King's palace and tries to defend it. While doing this, he sees the king and his son murdered by the Greeks who burst in. His mother, the goddess Venus, now appears to him and tells him that he must go and save his wife, his son and his father.

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Lines 624 - 637 (1)

Troy sinks in flames. Aeneas seeks to take his father with him in his flight from the city but Anchises refuses to leave.

Tum vero omne mihi visum considere in ignis

Then indeed all Ilium (=Troy) seemed to me to sink in flames,

Ilium et ex imo verti Neptunia Troia;

and Neptune's Troy (when the first king of the city was building the city Neptune helped with the construction. The king failed to reward him and so he became an enemy of Troy) to be upturned from her foundations;

ac veluti summis antiquam in montibus ornum

just as when (another epic simile) on the mountain heights

*** ferro accisam crebrisque bipennibus instant

farmers strive in competition to uproot an ancient ash tree, struck with the

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Lines 624 - 637 (2)

eruere agricolae certatim, - illa usque minatur

iron (blade) and blow upon blow (lit. frequent blows) of the axe, it threatens continually (to fall),

et tremefacta comam concusso vertice nutat,

and nods of trembling foliage (lit. having been made to tremble with respect to its hair) and shivering crown,

volneribus donec paulatim evicta, supremum

till gradually overcome by the blows it has groaned its last,

congemuit, traxitque iugis avolsa ruinam.

and torn from the ridge, crashed down in ruin (lit. dragged down ruin). (The old tree is personified to add pathos - Quivering, it nods its stricken head, its hair shivers and it groans under the redoubled blows. The gods who are aiding the assult on Troy are like the farmers in the simile, striking

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Lines 624 - 637 (3)

with repeated axe-blows. The tree takes on a human personality through the personification implicit in such words and phrases as tremefacta comam concusso vertice nutat, vulneribus and congemuit ... The pathos elicited for the tree through the use of personification is transferred to Troy itself. When the city falls it crashed like the ash tree, bringing utter ruin in its wake. The agents of destruction for the city are the gods, and for the tree, the farmers and our sympathy is increased since so many are attacking a single one and the tree cannot defend itself being static against the energetic farmers. The work in both cases is a strenuous one, but one which eventually prevails. The tree is seen from a distance, just as Troy is seen through the fire and smoke, so that although Aeneas knows what is happening, i.e. the gods are destroying the city, the event appears eerie and mysterious. And indeed it is, for the fall of a city, like the fall of a tree, changed the landscape, before us, and so an aspect of the world.)

Descendo, ac ducente deo flammam inter et hostes 

I descend, and, led by a divinity (his mother Venus), make my way (lit. am extricated expedior suggests that all obstacles are removed from Aeneas' path) through the flames and the enemy:

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will durbin


Annabel Clarke

Thank you! This was a great help!

hiuu billy

What about the rest? Are you going to do more, anyway(: it's good so far.

Sasha Culpin

This is amazing THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! but are there any more???  You legend thank you :D X

Sasha Culpin

This is amazing THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! but are there any more???  You legend thank you :D X

John Empson

a night before the exam and i can call u a lifesaver

John Empson

a night before the exam and i can call u a lifesaver


Thank you so much!!!! Got a mock tomorrow and this has EVERYTHING i needed :)


sooo much help, but what about the rest. Anyway its really great so far





The man



Are you going to do the rest up to line 795 please?


please do more!

Skye Galpeer-Shade

Thank you soooooo much for these notes these are really helpful!!! :)


dude, you are awesome.

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