pulsus ob invidiam regno virisque superbas
Priverno antiqua Metabus cum excederet urbe,
infantem fugiens media inter proelia belli
sustulit exsilio comitem, matrisque vocavit
nomine Casmillae mutata parte Camillam.
ipse sinu prae se portans iuga longa petebat
solorum nemorum: tela undique saeva premebant
et circumfuso volitabant milite Volsci.
ecce fugae medio summis Amasenus abundans
spumabat ripis, tantus se nubibus imber
ruperat. ille innare parans infantis amore
tardatur caroque oneri timet. omnia secum
versanti subito vix haec sententia sedit:
telum immane manu valida quod forte gerebat
bellator, solidum nodis et robore cocto,
huic natam libro et silvestri subere clausam
implicat atque habilem mediae circumligat hastae;
quam dextra ingenti librans ita ad aethera fatur:
"alma, tibi hanc, nemorum cultrix, Latonia virgo,
ipse pater famulam voveo; tua prima per auras
tela tenens supplex hostem fugit. accipe, testor,
diva tuam, quae nunc dubiis committitur auris."
dixit, et adducto contortum hastile lacerto
immittit: sonuere undae, rapidum super amnem
infelix fugit in iaculo stridente Camilla.
at Metabus magna propius iam urgente caterva
dat sese fluvio, atque hastam cum virgine victor
gramineo, donum Triviae, de caespite vellit.
non illum tectis ullae, non moenibus urbes
accepere (neque ipse manus feritate dedisset),
pastorum et solis exegit montibus aevum.
hic natam in dumis interque horrentia lustra
armentalis equae mammis et lacte ferino
nutribat teneris immulgens ubera labris.
utque pedum primis infans vestigia plantis
institerat, iaculo palmas armavit acuto
spiculaque ex umero parvae suspendit et arcum.
pro crinali auro, pro longae tegmine pallae
tigridis exuviae per dorsum a vertice pendent.
tela manu iam tum tenera puerilia torsit
et fundam tereti circum caput egit habena
Strymoniamque gruem aut album deiecit olorem.
multae illam frustra Tyrrhena per oppida matres
optavere nurum; sola contenta Diana
aeternum telorum et virginitatis amorem
Metabus was exiled from his kingdom on account of his own arrogant character, he
left the ancient city of Priverna. As he was running for his life, he carried
an infant as his companion in exile: it was his daughter Camilla, named after
her mother Casmilla (with one letter changed).
her in a sling across his chest, Metabus sought the rolling hills and desolate
groves. However, he was beset all around him by savage enemy weapons; the
Volsci infested the region, and he was surrounded.
He finds the Amasenus River rolling in front of him, separating him from
freedom. And even worse! A thunderstorm broke out.
prepared to swim across the stream, but he was checked by love for his
daughter. He fretted over the precious cargo in his arms.
he tried to figure out what to do, suddenly inspiration struck. The sturdy
spear he happened to carry in his strong warrior’s hand was equally sturdy and
aged wood. He tied his daughter to the middle of the spear, balancing it in his
immense right hand, and prayed to the heavens,
Diana, daughter of Latona,
of this sacred grove,
a parent, devote my child to you.
daughter—your pledge—flees the enemy bearing your weapons.
and accept her as an offering; I entrust her to you
spoke and sent the spear aloft. Wretched Camilla sped over the swift current of
the stream, bound to the whistling spear. Metabus, seeing a troop of pursuers
approach, dove into the stream. Once he successfully made it across, he plucked
the infant from his spear, and dedicated her to Diana.
home or city would give him shelter due to his own former cruelty, so he spent
the remainder of his life wandering the lonely foothills and shepherds’ paths.
He raised his daughter on mare’s milk and other beasts’. When the girl first
learned to walk, he gave her a little spear of her own, put a little javelin, bow,
and arrow on her shoulders.
was no refinement in her appearance; she dressed in a tiger’s pelt, and spent
her childhood hunting. Already as a child, she could take down cranes and white
swans with her weapons.
vain, many Italian mothers wished she’d become their daughter-in-law, but she
was content with Diana alone, unapologetically cherishing her eternal love of
hunting and chastity.
Name: Publius Vergilius Maro
Date: 70 BCE – 21 BCE
born in Mantua (Cisalpine Gaul, located in northern Italy) and lived during
the tumultuous transition of Roman government from republic to monarchy. His
masterpiece, the Aeneid, tells the story of Aeneas’ migration from
Troy to Italy; it was used for centuries as the pinnacle of Roman literature.
GOLDEN AGE ROME