Friday, September 2, 2022

Dangerous Beauty: Caeneus vs the Centaurs, Lactantius Placidus, Narr. 12.4

 CONTENT WARNING: rape, attempted rape, warfare

[Nestor] rettulit enim sua aetate Caenin Elati filiam fuisse, quae propter pulchritudinem a Neptuno conpressa sit data venia ob iniuriam, ut in virum mutata nullo telo interfici possit. huic cum Pirithous Ixionis filius...nuptui interesset ducta Hippodamia et Eurytus inter Centauros vino incitatus in nuptam novam impetum fecisset, ceteri prosiluere Lapithae atque Centauri nuptias frequentantes. ideoque caedes cum maxima esset exorta plurimique ex utraque parte ob raptum matronarum concidissent et quod inviolabilis ille restaret, ab universis, qui ex caede reliqui fuerunt, novissime impetu facto congestisque in eum arborum truncis spiritum reddere coactum. tamen non immemor deus Neptunu, a quo specisum munus acceperat, supradictum in volucrem nominis sui transfiguravit. 

--Lactantius Placidus, Qui dicitur Narrationes Fabularum Ovidiarum liber 12 fab.4

Nestor told a story of a person from his generation. He said that Caenis was once the daughter of Elatus, who was assaulted by Neptune because of their beauty, and when given a gift in restitution, they were transformed into a man who could not be killed by any weapon.

Caeneus was present when Pirithous, the son of Ixion got married to Hippodamia. Eurytus, along with other centaurs, got drunk and tried to assault the bride, and all of the centaurs and Lapiths started fighting. When everyone was getting killed and a lot of people from both sides had died because of this abduction attempt, Caeneus alone remained standing, unharmed. The rest of the [centaur] survivors ganged up on him, heaping tree trunks upon him to smother him. Neptune did not forget him or his gift; he turned him into a bird that shared his name.



Name:  Lactantius Placidus

Date:  5th or 6th century CE

Works:  Abridgement of Ovids’ Metamorphoses

Commentary on Statius’ Thebaid



Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans



 Little is known about this Christian author, but he is known for his commentary on Statius’ Thebaid and an abridgement of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.


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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