Posted by Eric » Add Comment »
- diros Pharsalia campos
- inpleat et Poeni saturentur sanguine manes,
- ultima funesta concurrant proelia Munda,
- his, Caesar, Perusina fames Mutinaeque labores
- accedant fatis et quas premit aspera classes
- Leucas et ardenti servilia bella sub Aetna,
- multum Roma tamen debet civilibus armis,
- quod tibi res acta est.
Though Pharsalia fill the awful
fields and Carthaginian shades be sated with blood,
though the last battles transpire in deadly Munda,
though, Caesar, Perusinain hunger and the toil of Mutina
be added to these fates and the fleets which harsh Leucas
presses and slaves’ wars beneath burning Aetna,
much, nevertheless, does Rome owe to citizens’ arms,
because this thing was done for you.
Notes: I am translating 38-43 as a series of concessive clauses (indicated by tamen in 44), though the cum one would expect in prose is missing. sanguine, it seems to me, should be taken with both inpleat and saturentur, though I could be wrong. Line 39 contains Lucan’s second reference to the Poeni (the first is in l.31, where Carthage will not be responsible for the destruction and desolation of Rome). Any chance that Dido could be lurking here behind the Carthaginian shades sated with blood?
Munda (l.40) is a city in Hispania Baetica and was, according to Heitland & Haskins, in 45 BC ‘the last battle of the civil war of which Pharsalia was the turning-point’. It was at Pharsalus (in Thessaly) that Caesar defeated Pompey in 48 BC (cf. l.38).
The adjective Perusina refers to the Etruscan city of Perusia (modern Perugia). fames indicates (again according to Heitland & Haskins) the siege of Perusia in 41 BC, carried out by Octavian when the city was sheltering L. Antonius (see OCD s.v. Perusia).
Mutinae (l.41) refers to the city of Mutina (modern Modena) in Cisalpine Gaul and, according to the OCD, ‘was famous for its successful resistance to Pompey in 78 and Antony in 43 BC’.
Leucas (l.43) is a promontory on the island of Leucadia (Lewis & Short), though the OCD gives it as the name for the island (in the Ionian Sea) itself–a name which is derived from ‘the white limestone cliffs on its west coast’. It is put here for Actium in 31 BC (so Heitland & Haskins).