Tunc illa virgo, numinis magni dea,
Iustitia, caelo missa cum sancta Fide
terra regebat mitis humanum genus.
non bella norant, non tubae fremitus truces,
non arma gentes, cingere assuerant suas
muris nec urbes: pervium cunctis iter,
communis usus omnium rerum fuit;
et ipsa Tellus laeta fecundos sinus
pandebat ultro, tam piis felix parens
et tuta alumnis. Alia sed suboles minus
conspecta mitis * * *
* * * Tertium sollers genus
novas ad artes extitit, sanctum tamen,
mox inquietum quod sequi cursu feras
auderet acres, fluctibus tectos graui
extrahere pisces rete uel calamo levi,
decipere volucres crate * * *
tenere laqueo, premere subiectos iugo
tauros feroces, vomere immunem prius
sulcare terram, laesa quae fruges suas…
interior, alte condidit sacro sinu.
Sed in parentis viscera intravit suae
deterior aetas; eruit ferrum grave
aurumque, saevas mox et armavit manus;
partita fines regna constituit, novas
exstruxit urbes, tecta defendit sua
aliena telis aut petit praedae imminens.
neglecta terras fugit et mores feros
hominum, cruenta caede pollutas manus
Astraea virgo, siderum magnum decus.
--Seneca the Younger, Octavia 397 – 424
Then Justice, the great-souled virgin goddess,
Sent down from heaven,
Ruled over the human race throughout the earth
With sacred faith.
At that time, mankind knew not the name of war,
Nor the shrill trumpet cry of reveille, nor of warfare;
Cities were not accustomed to build up defensive walls,
Travel was open for all;
All property was held in common.
The earth herself, Mother and Guardian,
gladly produced her bountiful crops for her children.
But the next age was less luxurious; . . .
The third age of mankind expanded with new technology,
Still a pious generation, but restless.
They dared to hunt down wild beasts,
Drag fish from the waves with their nets,
Use snares for birds and other animals,
Tame oxen with yoke,
Slash open the untouched earth with their ploughs.
And now, wounded, the earth hid her fruits
More deeply in her bosom.
But that age violated their sacred Mother’s loins,
Plucking out iron and gold
Put weapons in their savage hands,
Established borders for their kingdoms,
Built up new empires,
Defended their own homes with weapons,
Or sought out new homes for booty.
Neglected, the virgin goddess Astraea
Fled the earth and savage ways of man,
Fled those hands polluted with bloody murder
And sought the great glory of stars.
SENECA THE YOUNGER
Name: Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Date: 4 BCE – 65 CE
Works: Epistulae Morales*
Originally from Corduba, Hispania, Seneca the Younger was a Roman statesman with a tumultuous career. First exiled to the island of Corsica by the emperor Claudius, he was later recalled and became the emperor Nero’s mentor and tutor. Seneca wrote prolifically in several genres, including Stoic philosophy and Roman tragedies. He was ultimately put to death by the emperor Nero for his participation in the Pisonian Conspiracy of 65 CE.
SILVER AGE LATIN