pariter silvis dominaris et astris,
movit, Latonia, curam :
nobilibus spectacula nostra laboras
feris summoque in vertice rupis
arcu cessante pudicas
comitum inviolabile cogis
veniunt umcros et brachia nudae
iaculis et terga sagittis,
pulchraeque tamen ; sudoribus ora
rubent, sexum nec cruda fatetur
virginitas ; sine
lege comae ; duo cingula vestem
pendere vetant. praecedit amicas
sequitur nutrita Lycaeo
telisque domat quae Maenala Thero.
properat Britomartis ab Ida
et cursu Zephyris
numquam cessura Lycaste.
geminae metuenda feris Hecaerge
et soror, optatum
numen venantibus, Opis
Scythia : divas nemorumque potentes
Delos praelata pruinis.
hae septem venere
duces ; exercitus alter
incedunt, acies formosa Dianae,
centum de vertice Cynthi
casto genuit quas flumine Ladon.
has ubi collectas
vidit, sic Delia coepit :
‘ O sociae, mecum
thalami quae iura perosae
percurritis agmine montes,
cernitis ut Latio
superi communibus ornent
studiis ? quantos Neptunus equorum
donet ab orbe
greges ? laudi quod nulla canendae
vacent ? nostram quoque sentiat idem
debemus opem. non spicula poscit
iste labor ;
maneant clausis nunc sicca pharetris,
omnis et a
solitis noster venatibus arcus
temperet ; in
solam cruor hic servetur harenam.
clatris dilata morte tenendae
ferae, cupidas arcete sagittas ;
plausum casuris parcite monstris.
--Claudian, Stilicho III.237-274
Daughter of Latona [Diana],
Who lords over the forests and the stars with equal ease,
You care for Stilicho as well, by ensuring our Roman games
are filled with noble beasts.
On the top of Alpine cliffs with bow in hand,
you assemble and hold a chaste [inviolabile] court
With your chaste [pudicas] companions.
All of them are armed
With bare arms and bare shoulders,
Armed with spear in hand and quiver on their backs
Beautiful yet unadorned.
Their dusty faces gleam with sweat,
Showing off neither their maidenhood nor their gender.
Their hair is loose, two hempen cords gird their waists
And keep their legs free.
Blond Leontodame arrives first,
Nebrophone (raised on the Lycaean mountain) follows next
And Thero, who keeps the Arcadian territories in check with
her mighty weapons.
Passionate Britomartis hastens over from Cretan Mt. Ida
And Lycaste, who can outrun the wind.
Scythian-born twins Hecaerge (the one feared by all beasts)
and her sister Opis, (The one to pray to when you’re hunting)
arrive side-by-side, by making their home in Delos
shunning the wild norths—made these twins powerful goddesses.
These seven leaders came, and following them was another
army of nymphs,
Diana’s beautiful Valkyries.
A hundred of them were from Taygetus,
A hundred of them were from the peak of Mt. Cynthus,
A hundred nymphs born in the region of the chaste-flowing
When they assembled together, Diana began her speech:
“O allies, you who follow me together
Who spurn the detested marriage bed,
Dwelling with me in the crisp mountain ranges,
Do you notice that the gods are all keeping an eye on Rome
How many herds of horses that Neptune has bestowed upon the
That my brother Apollo’s lyre never stops singing of Rome’s
I feel that we ought to be doing the same.
We do not need our spears for this task,
Our arrows can remain unbloodied,
Our bows can cease from their accustomed hunting,
Blood should be preserved for the Roman games only.
Beasts should be brought in alive with nets & cages
(spare them from your fierce arrows!)
Save these creatures until their deaths can come
For an applauding audience.”
Name: Claudius Claudianus
Date: 370 – 404 CE
The Abduction of Proserpina
On the Consulship of Stilicho
Claudian was born in Alexandria, Egypt
during the 4th century CE. He is one of the best poets of the time
period, and he provides a unique perspective as a non-Christian writer in Christian
Rome. Many of his works are still extant, including panegyric [official
praise literature] for the Roman Emperor Honorius and his general Stilicho, a
poem criticizing the eunuch consul Eutropius, and an epic retelling of the
abduction of Persephone.
AGE OF CONFLICT