The Aristaeus Episode and Aeneid 1

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The Aristaeus Episode and Aeneid 1

NELIS, Damien Patrick

NELIS, Damien Patrick. The Aristaeus Episode and Aeneid 1. In: Haan, E. From Erudition to Inspiration . Belfast : Belfast Byzantine Enterprises, 1992. p. 3-18

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Kevin's playing games. He stands for lyric Intervention in the scheme ofthings, As when a simile begins to find

Focus and direction in epic verse

And the bard's strong band upon the poem's helm Goes dreamy and the whole craft drifts or lifts

While the boatmen think they smell hearthsmoke from home Upon the seawind, and then the story swings

On course again towards some bloodied landfall.


And since the whole thing's irnagined anyhow, Imagine being Kevin. Which is he:

Self-forgetful or in agony ail the time

From the neck on out down through his hurting forearms?

Are bis fingers sleeping? Does he still feel his knees?

Or has the shut-eyed blank of underearth

Crept up through him? Is there distance in his head?

Alone and rnirrored clear in love's deep river, 'To labour and not to seek reward,' he prays,

A prayer his body makes entirely For he has forgotten self, forgotten bird

And on the riverbank forgotten the river's name.

The Aristaeus episode and Aeneid 1

Damien N elis

The existence of a considerable number of verbal similarities between the second half of the fourth book of Virgil's Georgics and certain passages of the Aeneid is often remarked upon. Most of the scholarly activity devoted to the apparent connections between the two poems has dealt with the question of the priority of composition of the verses, a problem which of course raises the issue of the laudes Gal/i and the Servian tradition of the publication of a second edition of the Georgics after the death of C. Cornelius Gallus in 27/26 B.C. Recent contributions to this debate' have tended to lend credence to Servius's statements, or at least to certain parts of them, but many remain unconvinced. 2 Another approach to the connections between the Aristaeus episode and the Aeneid, one which deliberately ignores the Prioritdtsfrage, bas attempted to study the verbal sirnilarities in the context of broader thematic connections between the two works.3 This method, building on the findings of several earlier contributions to the study of the fourth book of the Georgics, has produced the theory that an allegorical reading of both works reveals the story of bugonia, Aristaeus, Orpheus and Eurydice to be a commentary on recent historical events and characters, namely Actium, Augustus, Antony and Cleopatra. This interpretation has received a decidedly cool reception. One reviewer4 has written, '... this paper is

1 See, for example, E. Paratore, 'L'episodio di Orfeo', Atti del Convegno Virgiliano ne/ Bimillenario delle Georgiche (Naples, 1977), 9-36; E. Lefèvre, 'Die Laudes Ga/li in Vergils Georgica', WS, n.s.20 (1986) 183-192; H. Jacobson, 'Aristaeus, Orpheus and Ûle iAudes Ga/li', AJP, 105 (1984), 271-300; P. Domenicucci, 'L'Elegia di Orfeo ne! IV libro delle Georgiche', GIF, n.s.,16 ( 1985), 239-248.

2 See, for example, J. Hermes, C. Cornelius Gallus und Vergil: Das Problem der Umarbeitrmg des Vierren Georgica-B11ches (Diss. Münster, 1977, pub!. 1980); R.F. Thomas, Virgil. Georgics (Cambridge, 1988), 1.13-16. The classic statement in English of this view is that of W.B. Anderson 'Gallus and the Fourth Georgie', CQ, 27 (1933), 36-45, 73. See also E. Norden, 'Orpheus und Eurydice', Sitzungsber. d.

Pre11ss. Akad. Wiss. Phil-Hist. Kl.22 (1934), 626-683 = KI. Schr. (Berlin, 1966), 468- 532. For a most useful bibliography on the subject, see Jacobson, 'Aristaeus'.

3 See Y. Nadeau, 'The Lover and the Statesman: A study in apiculture (Virgil, Georgics 4.281-558)', Poetry and Politics in the Age of Augustus, eds. T. Woodman and D. West (Cambridge, 1984), 59-82; see also the additions to the original argument by the same author: 'Aristaeus: Augustus: Berenice: Aeneas', Mnemosyne, 42 (1989), 97-101.

4 J. den Boeft, MnemoJyne, 39 (1986), 517.



either the sumrnit of ingenious brilliance or utter nonsense'. Another critics is of the opinion that 'readers will find many grounds for disbelief'.

It would be wrong, however, to react to the undoubted excesses of this allegorical reading by throwing the baby out along with the bath water and thus ignoring the significance of both the verbal and, more importantly, thematic parallels which do undoubtedly exist betw.een the Aristaeus episode and the Aeneid. The purpose of this paper is the very lirnited one of going over once again this much-trodden ground in an attempt to set out as clearly as possible the themes and actions which link Aeneas to Aristaeus in the first book of Virgil's epic. I stake no large claims to originality. What follows owes much to the work of such scholars as inter alios Heurgon, Büchner, Knauer, Segal, Crabbe, Griffin, Berres and Nadeau and my very considerable debt to them will be obvious throughout.

I should make it clear from the outset that as far as the Prioritiitsfrage is concerned I am convinced of the priority o(Georgics IV over Aeneid 1. 6 It is obvious from the proem to Georgics III that the composition of an epic poem was already on Virgil's mind while he was still working on the Georgics and I would accept that the two poems contain similarities of diction and theme because they reflect many of the poet's most constant preoccupations during some of the most disturbed years of Roman history. I would even go so far as to say that Virgil was already doing preliminary work on Aeneid 1, 4 and 6 while he was composing the Aristaeus episode. But I do not believe that we can speak in any meaningful sense of large-scale simultaneous composition of both works or that Virgil would in fact have finished the second version of the Georgics in 26 B.C. when the Aeneid was already well under way. I take Servius's remarks7 about the rewriting of parts of the adventures of Aristaeus and/or Orpheus to be garbled versions of a quite different explanation of certain features of the Aristaeus episode, 8 and I see no

5 N.M. Horsfall, CR, 35 (1985), 53.

6 Most recently R. Martin, Enciclopedia Virgiliana (Rome, 1985), 2, 668, bas argued for simultaneous composition of the passages in question while T. Berres, following K. Büchner, RE VIIIA, s.v. P. Vergilius Maro, 1315-1318, Die Entstehung der Aeneis, Hermes Einzelsehriften, 45 (Wiesbaden, 1982), 303-314, bas contended that the early sections of the Aeneid pre-dated and influenced the revised version of Georgies IV.

7 In bis famous notes on Eclogue 10.1 and Georgies 4.1 Servius states that Virgil rewrote part of Georgies IV after the death of C. Cornelius Gallus (in 27/26 B.C.; see R. Syme, The Roman Revolution [Oxford, 1939], 309, n.2).

8 There is evidence to suggest that the Aristaeus episode as we have it contains laudes Ga/li in the form of prolonged imitation of both the form and content of Gallus's own poetry; see R. Coleman, 'Gallus, the Bueolies and the Ending of the Fourth Georgie', AJP, 83 (1962), 55-71; Lefèvre, 'Die Laudes Ga/li', 190; Thomas,

Virgil, Georgies, 1. 15f.; G. D'Anna, Virgilio: Saggi Critiei (Rome, 1989), 76f.


good reason to deny that Virgil completed the Georgics in 29 B.C.9 The argument based on chronological considerations can be accompanied by other objections to Servius's claim. Why was Gallus allowed to retain such prorninence in Eclogues 6 and 10 if he had to be removed from Georgics IV? How could a poem in which Augustus figures prominently end with large-scale praise of a subordinate? How could a passage by Rome' s most famous poet in praise of such a striking figure of both the literary and political world disappear without trace after having been in circulation for at least two years? Do not the inconsistencies of Servius's remarks (were the laudes Ga/li replaced by Aristaei fabula or by Orphei fabula or both?) suggest the confused, unsound basis of his sources? My position is basically the same as Knauer's,10 that Virgil can be seen bringing to perfection in the mythological narrative of the fourth Georgie those techniques of imitation which were to provide the basis for the composition of the Aeneid. I would also argue that the arguments set out below conceming the relationship between Homer, Georgics IV and.

Aeneid 1 lend support to Knauer's thesis.

The following is a list of the verbal sirnilarities between Georgics IV.281-566 and Aeneid 1.11 Not ail of the links here cited will be discussed below but the very number of parallels is noteworthy and reinforces the basic argument that Virgil consciously intended them and wanted his informed reader to notice them.

Aeneid 1

71 72 84 93

126f. (cf. 154f.) 136


Georgics IV.281-566

538 - 550 343 471 498 35lf.



9 See J. Griffin, 'The Fourth Georgie, Virgil and Rome', in Latin Poets and Roman Life (London, 1985), 163-182, here p. 180 (originally published G & R, 26 [1979], 61-80); Thomas, Virgil, Georgies, 1.1.

10 See G.N. Knauer, 'Virgil and Homer', ANRW, II. 31.2 (1981), 870-918, here 910- 914.

11 Berres, Die Entstehung, and W. Moskalew, Formular Language and Poetie Design in the Aeneid, MnemoJyne Suppl., 73 (Leiden, 1982), 194-199, provide the most complete collections of the similarities between the passages in question and my list is based on theirs, with only a few additions. Unless stated otherwise, Arabie numerals refer to the books of the Aeneid, Roman numerals to the books of the Georgies. The text of Virgil used is that of R.A.B. Mynors, P. Vergi/i Maronis Opera (Oxford, 1969)2.


159-161 166 166 - 168 235


372 (cf. 753) 387f.


407 4llf.



700 -706

418 - 421 374 422f.,429 282 285f.

324 415-417 356 424 444f.


376 - 379

Two further passages of Aeneid 1 must be mentioned. Compare 1.742- 746 and IV. 345-347 (the song of Iopas and the song of Clymene) and compare also 1. 430-436 witb lV.162-169 (the compariso~ of the Carthaginians to bees and a narrative description of bees). Detatled study of the most striking of these verbal similarities will illustrate the close thematic connections between the narrative of the Aristaeus episode and the adventures of Aeneas in the opening book of the Aeneid.

As the Trojans sail away from Sicily a violent storm arises._ Aeneas's fleet is battered by the tempest, raised by Juno and Aeolus, unt1l Neptune intervenes to still the winds and cairn the seas. The entrance of the sea- god on to the scene is described as follows (1.124-127):

Interea magno misceri murmure pontum emissamque hiemem sensit Neptunus et imis stagna refusa vadis, graviter commotus, et alto

prospiciens somma placidom capot extolit onda.

Virgil here quotes almost a whole line from Georgics IV. There, following Aristaeus's complaint to his mother Cyrene at the source of the river Peneus, the nymph Arethusa raises her head out of the water (IV.35lf.):

... ante alias Arethusa sorores prospiciens somma flavum capot extolit onda.

The poet also has in mind Cyrene's reaction to Aristaeus's lament, ~be nymph, like Neptune, being beneath the surface of water and heanng sounds from above (IV.333f.):

At mater sonitum thalamo sub fluminis alti sensit.


Cyrene hears a noise and one of her sister-nymphs, Arethusa, raises her head out of the waters to see whence it cornes. eptune, combining the rotes of the two nymphs, hears the sound of a raging stonn and looks out from the surface of the water to see exactly what is going on.12 Aristaeus's speech has been replaced by a storm at sea but significant details of the action are oonunon ta both narratives. In addition to the link between Neptune and Cyrene + Arethusa, the preceding narratives both contain speeches in which Aeneas and Aristaeus bewail the situation in which they find themselves (cf. IV.321-332 and 1.94-101, Aeneas being caught in a storm at sea, Aristaeus having lost his hive of bees and standing at the source of a river), and bath men see death as preferable to such suffering (cf. IV.326-328 and 1.94-101). In addition, Virgil imitates Aristaeus's speeeh of complaint soon after at two other points in Aeneid 1.

Not long after the calming of the storm by Neptune, Venus, saddened by the sufferings of her son Aeneas, complains to Jupiter (1.229-253). At the end of her speech she draws attention to the fact that Aeneas is of divine parentage and that he has been promised deification but that in his case even these advantages count for little (1.250-252):

nos, tua progenies, caeli quibus adnuis arcem, navibus (infandum!) amissis unius ob iram prodimur atque Italis longe disiungimur oris.

In Georgics IV the burden of Aristaeus's complaint to his mother is exactly the same. 13 He moans (IV.322-325):

... qoid me praeclara stirpe deorum

(si modo, quem perhibes, pater est Thymbraeos Apollo) invisum fatis genoisti? aut quo tibi nostri

pulsus amor? quid me caelum sperare iubebas?

He too suffers, despite bis divine parentage and the e)(pectation of imm.ortality. In the Georgics the son complains directly to bis mother whereas in the Aeneid it is the mother who pleads to Jupiter on her son's behalf but this difference is unimportant given that soon after the meeting with Venus and Jupiter Aeneas meets his mother, disguised as a huntress in the Libyan forest. lt is only as the goddess disappears from his sight

12 Vîrgil's original source for both passages is to be found in Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.1310-1314 where the sea-deity Glaucos rai ses his head out of the waves to speak 10 the Argonauts. See F. Rüuen, De Vergilii Srudiis Apollonîanis (Diss. Münster, 1912), 49; D.P. elis. The Aeneid und rire Argonaulica of Apollonius Rhodiu (Diss. B.elfast, 1988), 8lf. (publication fortbcoming).

13 See Nadeao, 'The Lover and the Statesman', 61.



that the hero recognizes the true identity of the girl and this recognition provokes the following complaint (l.407f.):

quid naturn totiens, crudelis tu quoque, falsis ludis imaginibus?

Arethusa reports the content of Aristaeus's complaints to his mother as follows (IV.353-356):

... o gemitu non frustra exterrita tanto, Cyrene soror, ipse tibi, tua maxima cura, cristis Aristaeus Penei genitoris ad undam stat \acrimans, et te crudelem nomine dicit.

Both Aeneas and Aristaeus, therefore, in bitter complaints describe tbeir respective motheTS as crudelis. Virgil thus draws on Aris~eus_ s spee~h to his mother Cyrene at IV.321-332 on three different occasions m Aene1d l:

for Aeneas's speech in the storm, for Venus's complaint to Jupiter and finally for Aeneas's lament to his mother. . .

The striking sirnilarity between 1.127 and IV.352 (prospzciens summa ... ) tbus serves to draw the reader's attention to further, Jess inunediately obvious, links between Aeneid l and Georgics IV .14 The same may be said of some further verbal similarities between the two texts. After the calming of the stoun by Neptune the Trojans make for the nearest land and so corne to the Libyan shore (l.159-161):

est in secessu longo locus: insula portum efficit obiectu laterum, quibus omnis ab alto frangitur inque sinus scindit sese unda reductos.

Virgil evidently has in mind IV.418-421 where the place m which Aristaeus must confront Proteus is described as follows:

... est specus ingens exesi latere in montis, quo plurima vento

cogitur inque sinus scindit sese unda reductos, deprensis olim statio tutissima nautis;

Aeoeas discovers exactly such a safe landfall for the sailor in distress that be is in the narrative of Aeneid l. But soon after his landing in Libya the Trojan hero receives guidance from his mother and he is fioally recei~ed in friendly fashion by Dido Queen of Carthage, and welcomed first mto

14 The best demonstration of Virgil's use of this technique in the imitation of his models, that is the use of explicit verbal allusions to signal broader patterns of thematic imitation is that of G.N. Knauer, Die Aeneis und Homer, Hypomnemata, 7 (Gèittingen, 1964), 119, 145f., 233f. etc.


her city and then into her palace. Sacrifices follow (1.632) and a feast takes place (1.695-756). Strange as it may seem, Virgil here has in mind Aristaeus's entry into the watery realm of Cyrene and her nymphs (IV.358-373) and the subsequent description of the preparation of a feast and the offering of sacrifices (IV.374-385). Once again, direct quotation from the Georgics makes clear the link. The description of the feast in Dido's palace begins as follows (1.701-706):

dant manibus famuli lymphas Cereremque canistris expediunt tonsisque ferunt mantelia villis.

quinquaginta intus famulae, quibus ordine longam cura penum struere et flammis adolere penatis;

705 centum aliae totidemque pares aetate ministri, qui dapibus mensas onerent et pocula ponant.

Virgil here refers to IV.376-383:

. .. , manibus liquidos dant ordine fontis germanae, tonsisque feront mantelia villis;

pars epulis onerant mensas et plena reponunt pocula, Panchaeis adolescunt ignibus arae.

380 et mater 'cape Maeonii carchesia Bacchi:

Oceano libemus' ait. simul ipsa precatur Oceanumque patrem rerum Nymphasque sorores,

centum quae silvas, centum quae flumina servant.

The passages are so similar as to be unmistakably connected. The description of the banquet offered to Aeneas by Dido is modelled in part on the preparations for a feast described after Aristaeus's entry into the umida regna (IV.363) of Cyrene. Once again, Aeneas's experiences in the first book of the Aeneid closely resemble those of Aristaeus in Georgics IV.

Aristaeus, after the loss of his bees, goes to the source of the Peneus and complains bjtterly to his mother Cyrene about his suffering. On being heard by Arethusa, he is kindly received by his mother in her wonderful realm. A banquet is being prepared there and offerings made to the gods.

Cyrene goes on to tell Aristaeus of Proteus and then the narrator proceeds to describe Aristaeus's encounter with the Neptuni ... vates (IV.387) in a great cave. Aeneas is first seen in the middle of a great storm at sea but this commotion is felt by Neptune (who is described in such a way as to recall Arethusa) and calmed by him. Aeneas next lands in a great harbour (the description of which quotes from the description of Proteus's cave).

Soon after, Venus, the hero's mother, complains to Jupiter on her son's behalf and a little later still Aeneas meets his mother in the wood and describes her as crudelis, exactly as Aristaeus had called his mother.



Finally the Trojan hero is kindly received by Dido and he enters her marvelÎous palace where sacrifices are offered and a ~anquet prepare?, preparations which are closely mode~ed on those which take place_ m Cyrene's home after Aristaeus's amvaJ there. ': common narranve pattern involving complaint and lament by a suff~nn? hero, help offered by the hero's mother and a friendly reception which 1~volv_es a feast and suggests the possibility of a solution to the hero's tnals, 1s co~on to both narratives and the conunon elements a~e mark~d by th~ repetition of whole phrases and lin es from Georgics IV m_ Aene1d 1. It is well known that in the first book of Virgil's epic Aeneas is model_led on Odysseus. It is less often acknowledged, but equally true, that be is also model_led on Achilles and Jason. It is rarely stated that be. continually recall_s. Anstaeus but this link too is undeniably present and important. In addition to the evidence set out above further material may also be_ produced to support the argument that Aeneas is consciously and meanmgfully modelled on

Aristaeus. , · · f h

Following Aristaeus's lament but preceding ~ethu~ s ra1s1°:g o ~r head from the waters of the river Virgil desc~bes m splendid. de!ail (IV.334-344) the retinue of nymphs surroundmg Clymene, spmnmg fleeces and listening to ber song (IV.345-347):

inter quas curam Clymene narrab~t inanem Volcani, Martisque <lolos et dulc1a furta, aque Chao densos divum numerabat amores.

In Aeneid 1 a related singing performance takes place, altho~gh at a different point in the narrative, during the banquet shared by TroJans and Carthaginians in Dido's palace (l.740-747):


... cithara crinitus Iopas persona! aurata, docuit quem_ maximus Atlas. hic canit errantem lunam sohsque labores,

unde hominum genus et pecudes, unde imber_ et ignes, Arcturum pluviasque Hyadas geminosque Tnones, quid tantum Oceano properent se ~ingere soles hibemi, vel quae tardis mora noctlbus obstet;

ingeminant plausu Tyrii, Troesque sequuntur.

At first sight the sangs of Clymene and Iopa~ seem to have nothin? in corrunon but on closer inspection highly allusive ~d subtle co~ecttons begin to appear. As so often with Virgil, due attention mu~t be pa1~ to the poet's models if his poetry is to be understood. lapas smgs dunng the b anquet g1ven m .. · · Carthage fior Aeneas by Dido exactly as Demodocus


sings during the banquet organized in honour of Odysseus on ScheriatS and Virgil goes as far as to imitate the content of Demodocus's second sang (in ail the bard sings three times in Odyssey 8). lopas's cosmology in fact draws on allegorical interpretations of the infamous second song of Demodocus.16 The Phaeacian bard's scandaJous story of the adulterous affair on Olympus was given a leamed veneer of respectability and seriousness by the allegorists who argued that Ares and Aphrodite represented the two great cosmic forces of Neikos and Philia, Strife and Love.17 Virgil imitates in a remarkably leamed manner by having Iopas present a de-allegorized version of Demodocus's song, an account of the work:ings of the universe. Such allusive refereo.ce to Odyssey 8 does not, however, reveal the full extent of Virgil's imitation of Homer at the end of Aeneid l.

The other famous passage of Homer to be read as an allegory of the cosmic activity of Love and Stcife was the description in Jliad 18 of the shield of Achilles with its two cities, one at war, the other living in peace and harmony .1s Virgil was well aware of interpretation of the shield as be shows in bis creation of the shield of Aeneas in Aeneid 819 but he also refers to the shield of Achilles in the song of Iopas.20 Virgil's errantem lunam solisque labores (1.742) refer to Homer's TJÉÀtÔv -r' àx:âµavro crÛ.T)Vl'lV tE 1tÂ.1'j0oooav at !liad 18.484. The line whicb runs Arcturum pluviasque Hyadas geminosque Triones (I. 744) refers in part to Iliad 18.486f.:

15 See Knauer, Die Aeneis, 164-173.

16 See Knauer, Die Aeneis, 168, n.2; A. Wlosok, 'Gemina Doctrina: On Allegorical Interpretation', Papers of the Liverpool Latin Seminar 5 (1986), 75-84· P. Hardie, Virgil's Aeneid: Cosmos and lmperium (Oxford, 1986), 61-63; J. Farrell, Virgil's Georgics and the Traditions of Ancient Epic: The Art of Allusion in Literary History (Oxford and New York, 1991), 258-260. Virgil s direct model is in fac1 Apollonius Rhodius, Arg.1.496-511 where the cosmogonie song of Orpheus is in fact a direct imitation of the tale of Ares and Aphrodite in Odyssey 8; see D.P. elis, 'Dernodocus and


Song ofOrpheus: (Ap. Rhod., Arg.1. 496-511)', forthcoming, MH(l992).

17 See Heraclitus, Homeric Allegories 69.7-8: NoµtÇw 6' fyùY'fE Kallt€p Èv cf)alo.!;w, cxv8p6:,itoi.ç iJ&>vfl &6ot>À.(l)µfvo1ç, (tS(>~vo. -uximx q,1J.ooô<pou


ÊlnO'tT\l!TtÇ EX~l. 'tà yàp L\1ŒÀ1x:à 66yµo.t<X x:o.l rltv 'Eµ1tEOOICÀ.ElOV yv<,>µT)V rouœv àitè tO'O't<Ov ~ioûv, VApT}v µtv ôvoµ&mxç 'tO veîiroç. rltv ·Acppoôl'tT}v q>lÀÎ.IX

lS See Heraclitus, Homeric Allegories 49.2: ME't<X/3ÊJ3T}KEV oùv àU:rrropuciix;

êit1 'tèl.ç 600 7t6).eu;,, 't'l'tv µtv EiptiVTJÇ, -.IJv m,Uµou mxpticrcxy<i>v, i'.vo. µT}6' 'EµltE&>tlf!ç 'A1qxxy1vtîvoç àit' aÀ.Â.ou


1' ito.p' 'Oµfipot> rltv :E1ru11CT1v âp(xreto.t 661;0.v. Cf. P. Hardie, 'Cosmological and Ideological AspecLS of the Shield of Achilles', JHS, 105 (1985), 15.

19 See Hardie, Virgil's Aeneid 336-376.

20 See Servius on 1.742; Hardie, Virgil's Aeneid, 63, n.72; R.D. Brown, 'The Homeric Background to a Homeric Repetition', AJP, 111 ( 1990) 182-186.




W..T1t� 0' ·y� 't£ -co tE a0Eva<; 'Optrova<;

• ApK'tOV 0', flv K<Xt • Aµal;av E1t1.1CA.T]O\V KaA.Eoucnv.

Finally, quid tantum Oceano properent se tingere soles (1.745) may be seen as an inversion of fliad 18.489, oi'.11 6' &µµop(x; ton M>S'tp(i)V 'QicEavo'i:o. The song of Iopas thus involves imitation of both the song of Demodocus and the shield of Achilles as Virgil fuses aspects of both the famous Homeric passages which were read as representing in allegorical guise the workings ofNeikos and Philia in the natural world_ Exactly the same is true of the song of Clymene.

The nymph Clyrnene sings, like Demodocus, of Venus/Aphrodite, Mars/Ares and Vulcan/Hephaestus, but she sings of many other divine love affairs as well. In fact, Virgil tells the reader, she recoWlts the densos divum . . . amores right from the beginning of creation, aque Chao (IV.347). The Virgil who knew so well his Apollonian Argonautica21 and who was the author of the songs of Sil en us and lopas is fully aware of the implications of these two words. Oemodocus's Aphrodite and Vulcan had long been understood to represent cosmic Neikos and Philia and when Virgil states explicitly that Clymene sang of all the loves of the divine powers right from the moment of the creation of the world (aque Chao) he makes it clear that he is fully aware of the allegorical reading of the song of the Phaeacian bard.22

21 See note 16 above.

22 See Knauer Die Aeneis, 168, n.2; Hardie, Virgil's Aeneid, 83f.; Farrell, Virgil's Georgics, 270f. lt is worth noting here that the mention of creation (aque Chao), of cosmic love (the allegorical reading of Mars and Venus as Neikos and Philia) and of mythological love (the telling of many divine amores) in Clymene's song (cf. Hesiod,

Theogony 120 where the naming of Eros as primal cosmic power follows on ,'\'tot µ.ev npoma-ta Xa� ytvu· (l l6] and precedes the account of the birth of the gods from

numerous divine unions), is relevant to the understanding of both the song of Silenus in Eclogue 6 and that of lopas in Aeneid 1 (cf. Hardie, Virgil's Aeneid, 84). In the case of the former, it would seem to establish the central importance of the theme of love as the common factor linking the different pans of the song (see Z. Stewart, 'The Song of Silenus'. HSCP, 64 [1959], 179-205, here 181) while in the latter case it shows that lopas's song is indeed to be seen as closely related to the love of Dido and Aeneas in the fourth book and in no way extraneous to the surrounding a.ction during the banquet in which it occurs (on the thematic relevance of lopas's song to the action of Aeneid 1 and 4 see most recently R.D. Brown, 'The Structural Function of the Song of lopas', HSCP, 93 (1990], 15-34). The opening of Ovid's Metamorplioses is also closely relevant here (see P.E. Knox, 'Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Traditions of Augustan Poetry' Cambridge Pliilological Society Suppl., 11 [Cambridge, 1986], 9-23). and the central importance in this tradition of the song of Orpheus in the first book of Apollonius 's Argonautica must not be overlooked (see elis, 'Demodocus and the Song of Orpheus', n.16 above). It is also wonh suggesting here that this link between the song of Clymene and that of Silenus in Eclogue 6, a passage in which the influence ofGallus's poetry is evident if unquantifiable, provides further evidence for

TIIE ARIST AEUS EPISODE Clymene's song thus draw

u . .

song of Demodocus in Od s n a egoncal mterpretation of the second the link between the �sse

:rn exactly as does the song of lopas and so connections between AeneiJ I :nr;:;�can be a�ded to the list of demonstrate the relationship betw Cl staeus episode. It remains to in fact the case23 that the lament o;: ymene's_ song and_ lliad 18. It is two Iliad ic staeus to his mother IS modelled on and th pas

hsages, the lament of Achilles to Thetis at Iliad 1 348-356 e same ero's second spee h f ·

18. 79-93. In addition the catal c

� complamt to his mother at fliad on the retinue of ' ogue O �ymphs at IV.334-344 is modelled t nymphs accompanymg Thetis at fliad 18 37-49 Th

ou come of the second meeting b tw T · · · e

creation of the arms for the h �


hetis and Achilles is the yrrgil's access to the tradition 0���h:ta�';;?g


hfamous _shiel_d. Given unage of the . . . ip w ic saw this obJect as an

. .

1 . c�smos, �t is possible to appreciate his handling of H matena m this particular section of G . omeac Aristaeus's lament and the . . . eorgics IV. The account of his aid is created from a me�tmg with his mother Cyrene who comes to Thetis in fliad 1 and 18 lnt!1:::t: 0� th_e� involving Achilles and the description of which reflects alleg��::t;;�pl:�s Cl>;"1ene's song,

!��:�:e:hi:i�c? w: seen as closely simil: too

�; :��fse


passage in the H ' ,.e.. e second song of Demodocus, the only other omenc corpus to be seen as an all . 1

role played by Neikos and Ph"li . h . · egonca account of the awareness of the l"nk b I a m t e creation of the world. Virgil's . . 1 s etween lliad 18 and Od s 8 · . mutate both models taking his ba . . Y Sey pe!Dllts hrm to but incl ud ing from �he latter a s sic n

;rrat1ve structure from the former anything that resembles the shieldo

�; lcii�:e V

2nus and Mars rather than Wby does Virgil re-use material from G s. · · ·

creation of Aeneid 1? A p�....:a1 eorg1cs IV m this way in the

Q.lll answer ma b ·d

remarkably imitative quality of all V" .

1, Y e provt ed by the

considered his own earlier work to b _irgi s po�try, and he wiJI have Virgil in fact seems to have e J':15t as 1�1tabe as any other text.

whole Graeco-Roman literary:::.;. cuno

dusly L�cus1ve approach to the I ion, an a stnvmg for comprehensive- the theory that the Aristaeus story as Vir ii o . . II

contained faudes Galli through the evoca�ion ngf1Gna y wrote it, and as we. now have it,

above. 0 allan themes and techmque; see n. 8

23 See A.M. Crabbe, 'The Aristaells 'E tr , (DP .

Knauer, 'Virgil and Homer' 910-91/;tn • �1l_1hes1s, Oxford, 1975), 52f.;

Mynors, Virgil. Georgics ed 'wit/ , omas, Virgil, Georgics, 2.202; R.A.B.

i1rgil's �eorgics, 266-270. . ta commentary (Oxford, 1990) on rv.333; Farrell _On this approach to the imitation of both H . . .

C3.II11S, Virgil's Aug1man E ic (C. b "d omenc epics m the Aeneid see F Goorgics, 266-2_70 for a sli:huy dr;er:nf:��::�io�7;;.2��; ��e also F

farrell, Vi:gil';

passage under discussion. ITg1 s use o Homer m the 13



ness has been seen as a prominent feature of the Aeneid in particular.25 But a more satisfying explanation of the links between Georgics IV and Aeneid 1 can be proposed by once again paying due attention to the literary models which underly both texts the common source being, of course, Homer.

In creating the Aristaeus episode Virgil draws on both the fliad and Odyssey in order to create a highly original, n�teric narrati�e, which also owes much to Callimachus and Catullus .. 6 As mentioned above, Aristaeus and Cyrene are modelled on Achilles and Thetis in Iliad 1 a�d 18. Here Virgil found a narrative pattern involving the lament of a hero m distress after having suffered loss and the subsequent help given him by his mother. On to this structure Virgil grafts, from Odyssey 4, the story of Menelaus Eidotboe and Proteus: again, a hero in distress is helped by a nymph, this time by being sent to confront the seer Proteus. In addition, Virgil also refers, via Iliad 18, to Odyssey 8 in the song of Clymene,_ and in describing the descent of Aristaeus into ·the Peneus and kataba�1s of Ocpheus he refers to the nekuia of Odyssey 11, Proteus correspondmg to Tiresias and with Clymene being modelled on Circe as well as on Thetis, Eidothoe and Demodocus. As far as Aeneid 1 is concerned it is the imitation of Tliad 1 which is of particular importance. Virgil has at many points Linked the opening book of his epic to the first book of Homer s Iliad. The wrath of Juno corresponds to the wrath of Achilles, for example, while the great natural disturbance of the stonn at sea recalls the lliadic plague. More importantly for the issues involved here, Venus appeals to Jupiter on her son's behalf exactly as Thetis approaches �us concerning Achilles and the meeting between Aeneas and Venus which follows soon after recalls the meeting between the lliadic hero and his mother.27 When Virgil came, therefore, to imitate this lliadic material in Aeneid l it was easy, not to say perfectly natural given his encyclopaedic approach to the literary tradition, to include reference to his own previ�us imitation of Iliad 1 in the Aristaeus episode of Georgics IV, thus creaung a network of imitation and allusion linking the three texts. The technique of imitation variously named 'double allusion', 'window reference and 'two-tier allusion' accounts perfectly for this imitative process.28 Virgil 25 See Hardie, Virgil's Aeneid, 24.

26 On Virgil's imitation of Homer in the Aristaeus episode see Crabbe Tire Ari.staeus

"Epy/lion ', 54-59, 177-195· A.M. Crabbe, 'lgnoscenda quidem .... Catullus 64 and�;

Founh Georgie'. CQ, 27 ( 1977), 342-351; A.M. Crabbe, 'Georgie 4 and the Aeneid , PVS, 18 (1979-1980), 10-31· Knauer, 'Virgil and Homer', 910-914; adeau, 'The Lover and the Statesman', 73-75; Farrell, Virgil's Georgics, 104-113.

27 On the imitation of l/iad I in Aeneid I see especially M. Lausberg, 'Iliadisches im ersten Buch der Aeneis', Gymnasium, 90 ( 1983), 203-239.

28 See J.C. McKeown, Ovid, Amores: Text. Prolegomena and Commentary, I, (ARCA, 20, Liverpool, 1987), 37-45· R.F. Thomas 'Virgil's Geargics and the An of


consistently imitates not only a given model but also an imitation of that original model and it is in this context that the series of similarities between Aeneas, Aristaeus and Achilles may best be appreciated.

Awareness of the workings of multi-tier allusion goes some way to showing why Aeneas resembles Aristaeus in Aeneid 1, but it would be false to argue that the clear insights into the mechanics of Virgilian imitation thus achieved can explain the full significance of the pattern of allusion discussed at length above. The question 'why does Virgil re-use material from Georgics IV in the creation of Aeneid 1 ?' thus remains largely unanswered.

The story of Aristaeus as created by Virgil has as its central concerns death and loss, the cost involved in the process of regeneration and its value.29 Eurydice and the bard Orpheus die while Aristaeus succeeds in r�gaining new_ hives. Without going to the extreme of seeing a single, direct allegoncal relationship with Actium, Octavian, Antony and Cleopatra, 30 it is surely impossible to read this narrative and not apply it to the world in which Virgil found himself around 30 B.C. Indeed, given the sphragis with which Virgil brings the Georgics to a close it is all but impossible to avoid making the connection between Virgil's narrative and the post-Actian situation of Rome. In the final eight lines of the poem Octavian and Virgil, the man of action and the poet, are deliberately compared and contrasted and they fill roles which correspond to those occupied respectively by Aristaeus and Orpheus in the preceding 250 lines. 31 This interpretation of the Aristaeus episode implies that the hives of Aristaeus represent more than just simply bees. Instead, they stand for that Roman race which had been destroyed by years of civil war during the first century B.C. and the renewal of which seemed to be promised by the victory of Octavian at Actium in 31 B.C.32 When it is realized that such themes already underly the Aristaeus episode it becomes immediately clear that Virgil is dealing in Georgics IV with problems which he will handle again in the Aeneid.

Reference', HSCP, 90 (1986), 188f. and S. Hinds, 'The Metamorphosis of Persephone' '. Cambridge Classical Studies (Cambridge, 1987), 182, s. v. allusion, two­

tter, respectively. See also F. Cairns, Tibu//us: A Hellenistic Poet at Rome (Cambridge, 1979), 62f. and Virgil's Augustan Epic (Cambridge, 1989), 194.

29 In what follows my debt to Griffin, 'The Fourth Georgie', will be obvious. His is one of the most useful contributions to the study of Georgics IV and one of the most acute discussions of the links between it and the Aeneid.

30 See Nadeau, 'The Lover and the Statesman'.

3l See Griffin, 'The Fourth Georgie', 177f.

32 See Griffin, 'The Fourth Georgie', 175; see also H. Dahlmann, 'Der Bienenstaat von Vergils Georgica', Akad. der Wiss. u. der Lit. in Mainz, Abh. der Geistes-und Sozialwiss. Kl. (1954).



When Aeneas makes his first appearance in Aeneid 1 he is a man who has lost his city, Troy, and who is in search of a new one, the building of which will eventually lead to the foundation of Rome, as the opening lines of the epic make clear (1.1-7). The hero' s situation is thus akin to that in which Aristaeus is first presented, after the loss of his bees. That Virgil intended an at first sight unlikely comparison between the loss of a city and the loss of bee-hives is clear not only from the connection between bee-hives and the city of Rome in Georgics IV but also from the Aeneid as a whole, when each of the four races which dorninate the action of the poem, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Trojans and the Latins (respectively at 1.430-436, 6.707-709, 7.64-67 and 12.587-592) is in turn compared to a community of bees. 33 On each of these four occasions Virgil rnakes obvious verbal allusion to his description of the bees in Georgics IV and so sends the reader of his epic directly back to the earlier poem. It is of course particularly important that it is early in Aeneid 1 that bees make their first appearance. As Aeneas and Achates approach Carthage they look down from a height on the nascent city (1.430-436):

430 qualis apes aestate nova per florea rura exercet sub sole labor, cum gentis adultos educunt fetus, aut cum liquentia mella stipant et dulci distendunt nectare cellas, aut onera accipiunt venientium, aut agmine facto 435 ignavum fucos pecus a praesepibus arcent;

fervet opus redolentque thymo fraglantia mella.

Virgil refers particularly to Georgics IV.162-169 (cf. also lliad 2.87-89 and Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.879-882) but what is critically important is the fact of the comparison of the city and its people to a hive and its bees. It bas been noted that what was narrative in the Georgics here becomes sirnile, 34 but it is important to note also that the connection between bees and a race of humans which was certainly present but latent and merely hinted at in Georgics IV is now made explicit. Furthermore, the words with which Aeneas greets the sight of the bee-like Carthaginians force the reader to apply the image of the bees both to Troy, the city Aeneas has lost, and to the new city he is trying to found.

As he looks down on Carthage the hero says, 'o fortunati, quorum iam moenia surgunt ! ' (1.4 3 7). The se words sum up Aeneas' s situation perfectly. At the sight of a city being built he can only reflect on his own inability to found the new city in which he will install the Trojanpenates.

33 See W.W. Briggs Jr., Narrative and Simi/e from the Georgics in the Aeneid, Mnemosyne Suppl. 58 (Leiden, 1980), 74f.; Nadeau, 'The Lover and the Statesman', 70-72; Farrell, Virgil's Georgics, 262-264.

34 See Briggs, 'Narrative and Simile', 68-75.



The Trojan hero thus finds himself in a situation sirnilar to that of Aristaeus. Aeneas, in terms of the image imposed by the Carthage-bee sirnile, has lost bis original hive and has not yet been able to find a new one.

Once it is agreed that the situation in which Aeneas finds himself in the opening scenes of the Aeneid is comparable to that of Aristaeus after the Joss of his bees the sirnilarities of expression and action which link the two heroes throughout the remainder of Aeneid 1 take on their full significance. Modelled on Aristaeus, Aeneas lands on the Libyan shore (cf. Proteus's cave) and receives guidance from his mother Venus (cf.

Cyrene). He enters Dido's marvellous palace where a feast is prepared (cf. the feast in Clymene's umida regna), and Iopas sings a cosmological/

cosmogonical song (cf. the song of Clymene). It is at this point in the story that the first book of the epic cornes to its close and the title of this paper limits its scope to just this point in the narrative. I cannot resist, however, bringing this paper to a close with a brief glance forward to Aeneid 4 where the sirnilarities between Aeneas and Aristaeus continue to operate.35 In explaining the cause of Aristaeus's plight Proteus explains how he caused the death of Eurydice and how her death led to the destruction of the hives (IV.454-459):

tibi has miserabilis Orpheus haudquaquam ob meritum poenas, ni fata resistant, suscitat, et rapta graviter pro coniuge saevit.

illa quidem, dum te fugeret per flumina praeceps, immanem ante pedes hydrum moritura puella servantem ripas alta non vidit in herba.

In Aeneid 4 Aeneas will be responsible to some extent for the death of Dido, and Virgil describes the Queen's death in terms which evoke the plundering of the once happy and prosperous bee-hive (in the ant simile at 4.402-407) and the destruction of Carthage as a whole (in the comparison of Carthage to a captured city at 4.669-671),36 the city so strikingly likened to a bee-hive on its first appearance in the poem. In each case the

35 I will not deal here with the similarities between Aeneas and Orpheus which become apparent especially in Aeneid 2, 4 and 6 and which merit detailed study; see C.P. Segal, 'Orpheus and the Fourth Georgie', AJP, 87 (1966), 307-325; C.P. Segal, 'Art and the Hero: Participation, Detachment and Narrative Point of View in Aeneid l ', Arethusa, 14 (1981 ), 67-83, here 68; Nadeau, 'The Lover and the Statesman', 68- 70; Griffin, 'The Fourth Georgie', 172-178; L. Bocciolini Palagi, 'Enea corne Orfeo', Maia, n.s.,42 (1990), 133-150.

36 See V. Estevez, 'Queen and City: Three similes in Aeneid 4' Vergilius, 20 (1974), 25-35 and 'Capta ac deserta: The Fall of Troy in Aeneid 4', Cf, 74 (1978-1979), 97- 109.



dama e is done because of misplaced love.37 Eurydice flees (IV .457) t~e g A . t (IV 317) who is unaware of the disastrous results of h1s

pastor ris aeus · · h · ï t 4 69 73

actions just as the deer to which Dido ~s comp~ed m t e ~~ e/ m~t -be . fr ht from a pastor wbo is nesc1us (4.7lf.) an

::~ed !itb Aeneas.39 Finally, Dido is moritura at 4.?0~, 415, .5~9, 604 just as Eurydice is described as mori"!ra at IV.45~, Virgil des:bmg the fate of each woman in siroilarly trag1c tones. Ansta~ and eneas d but Virgil never allows us to forget the cost of v1ctory and the

succee , _ . 40

price paid by those on the Wl'Ong s1dei.

. d

·1 ' 74f Nadeau· 'The Lover and the Statesman''

37 64 68-70 and ~ee also J.N. Grant, 'See Briggs 'Narrauve an mue, Dido Melissa'' Phoenix, 23 (·• ' 1969), 380-391 .

3g' SeeGriffin, 'The-Fourtb Georgie', 1: 5· . . 987) 194-198.

39 See R O AM Lyne Further Voices ,n Virgil s Aene1d (Oxf~rd, 1 .... _ 'A 'd

· · · · ' . fl f the Georgzcs on u,e ene1 was

40 The first version of a paper on _the in u;i;;e ~ M Crabbe (now Wilson, and to written in early 1982 under the guidance o ~· . . . . artment of

h m much thanks for encouragement and adv1ce throughout) m the Dep hl

~at~n at the Queen's University of Belfast. It is a p~e~sur: ~ : ai:;o



revised version in honour of Prof. M.J. McGann, otwrt , JtM:\OVOÇ. (Crinagoras of Mytilen.e, A.P., 6.227).

Seneca's Phaedra and the goddess Diana

John McNee

Interest in Seneca's tragedies continues to grow. Since the appearance of the first detailed commentary in English of a Senecan tragedy nearly twenty years ago, 1 major editions of all the genuine plays ( except one) have been produced by British or Arnerican scholars.

The Phaedra is without doubt Seneca's rnost influential play and the one which has attracted rnost critical attention in recent years. The culmination of this interest has been the recent edition by Coffey and Mayer,2 a scholarly and commendable book in rnany respects, but which, I feel, does not do full justice in its introduction or commentary to what I believe to be a key passage in the play. This is the so-called 'Song of Hippolytus' (lines 1-84), a section frequently ignored or misunderstood by critics,3 who, it seerns, are happy to acknowledge the 'programmatic' value of the opening of other ancient masterpieces (e.g. the Aeneid or Aeschylus's Agamemnon) but signally fail to recognize any such possibility in the Phaedra, 4 or indeed in Seneca's plays generally.

The aim of the present article therefore is to illustrate one aspect of Seneca's artistry - his portrayal of the goddess Diana in the Song of Hippolytus - in the hope that the song as a whole and Seneca's prologues in general may be viewed more sympathetically as original, relevant, vigorous and, in terrns of the plays which follow them, significant compositions.

Close inspection of the language of Hippolytus's opening song helps to cast light on his characterization. The series of full imperatives (ite ...

cingite . .. lustra te . . . scandite [ l -7]), similar to · Hercules' s opening

1 Seneca: Medea, ed. C.D.N. Costa (Oxford, 1973).

2 Seneca: Phaedra, ed. M. Coffey and R.G. Mayer (Cambridge, 1990).

3 One exception is M.M. Stiihli-Peter, Die Arie des Hippolytus (Diss. Zurich, 1974), a punctilious and detailed study.

4 Most recently, Coffey and Mayer, eds., Phaedra, 88: ' ... the theme of the song does not look forward to the action of the play ... '. See also W.S. Barrett, Euripides, Hippolytos (Oxford, 1963), 35.




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