Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Man Reborn: The Rebirth of Hippolytus [Ovid, Fasti VI.732-756]

 Hanc quoque cum patriis Galatea receperit undis,

plenaque securae terra quietis erit,

surgit humo iuvenis telis adflatus avitis,               735

     et gemino nexas porrigit angue manus.

notus amor Phaedrae, nota est iniuria Thesei:

     devovit natum credulus ille suum.

non impune pius iuvenis Troezena petebat:

     dividit obstantes pectore taurus aquas.               740

solliciti terrentur equi, frustraque retenti

     per scopulos dominum duraque saxa trahunt.

exciderat curru, lorisque morantibus artus

     Hippolytus lacero corpore raptus erat,

reddideratque animam, multum indignante Diana.               745

     'nulla' Coronides 'causa doloris' ait:

'namque pio iuveni vitam sine volnere reddam, 

    et cedent arti tristia fata meae.'

gramina continuo loculis depromit eburnis:

     profuerant Glauci manibus illa prius,                750

tum cum observatas augur descendit in herbas,

     usus et auxilio est anguis ab angue dato.

pectora ter tetigit, ter verba salubria dixit:

     depositum terra sustulit ille caput.

lucus eum nemorisque sui Dictynna recessu               755

     celat: Aricino Virbius ille lacu.

--Ovid, Fasti VI.732-756

The same day that Galatea welcomes in her father’s waves,

When the earth lies quiet and full of peace,

A youth rises from the earth, struck down by his grandfather’s weapons,

Extending his hands bound by twin serpents.

We all know the tale of Phaedra’s lust and Theseus’ wrongdoing,

When he, bamboozled, condemned his own son [to die].

The youth, pious in vain, did not reach Troezen.

A bull rose up from the waves; this spooked the lad’s terrified horses,

and they dragged their master, still clutching the reins,

Through rocky craigs and rough terrain.

He fell from the chariot, and snatched up by the reins tangled in his limbs,

Hippolytus’ body was mangled…

Overwhelmed with grief, Diana restored him to life.

Asclepius said, “There is no need to grieve,

For I shall restore the pious youth to life—every wound removed—

The wretched Fates shall yield to my healing art!”

From an ivory cabinet he started to pull medicines,

The kind that had previously benefited Glaucus,

When the prophet found the aforementioned herb

that a snake had used to cure another snake.

Three times Asclepius touched the youth’s breast,

Three times he spoke a healing spell,

And then the youth raised his head up

From the ground.

A grove now conceals him in woods

Where Dictynna haunts.

That man—a man reborn [Virbius]—now dwells in Aricia’s lake.



Name: Publius Ovidius Naso  

Date:  43 BCE – 18 CE

Works:  Ars Amatoria


              Tristia, etc.



Map of Roman Empire Divided into Regions



Ovid was one of the most famous love poets of Rome’s Golden Age. His most famous work, the Metamorphoses, provides a history of the world through a series of interwoven myths. Most of his poetry is erotic in nature; for this reason, he fell into trouble during the conservative social reforms under the reign of the emperor Augustus. In 8 CE he was banished to Bithynia, where he spent the remainder of his life pining for his native homeland.



Early Roman Lit: through 2nd c BCE: Republican Rome: through 1st c. BCE; Golden Age: 70 BCE to 18 CE; Silver Age: 18 CE to 150 CE; Age of Conflict: 150 CE - 410 CE; Byzantine and Late Latin: after 410 CE

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