NAMQUE FERUNT LUCTU CYCNUM PHAETHONTIS AMATI Phaethon Clymenes et Solis filius fuit. qui cum doleret obiectum sibi ab Epapho, rege Aegypti, quod esset non de Sole, sed de adulterio procreatus, duce matre venit ad Solem et poposcit, ut si vere esset eius filius, petenda praestaret. quod cum Sol iurasset per Stygem paludem se esse facturum, petit ille ut eius currus agitaret. Sol post iusiurandum negare non potuit. acceptis itaque curribus Phaethon, cum orbitam solis exisset, et coepisset mundus ardere, a Iove fulminatus in Eridanum cecidit, qui et Padus vocatur. huius interitum flentes sorores, Phaethusa et Lampetusa, deorum miseratione in arbores commutatae sunt, ut hic dicit, in populos, ut in bucolicis, in alnos. fuit etiam quidam Ligus, Cycnus nomine, dulcedine cantus ab Apolline donatus, amator Phaethontis. qui cum eum fleret extinctum, longo luctu in avem sui nominis conversus est. qui postea ab Apolline inter sidera conlocatus est. cuius nunc filium Cupavonem dicit habere cycni pennas in galea ad formae paternae insigne monstrandum.
--Servius, In Aen.10.189
“FOR, IT IS SAID, OUT OF LOVE FOR HIS LOVER PHAETON, CYCNUS…”
Commentary: Phaeton was the son of Clymene and the Sun. When Phaeton got upset because Epaphus, the Pharoah of Egypt, told him that he wasn’t the son of the Sun but a bastard, his mother Clymene took him to meet his father. Phaeton asked the Sun to grant him a wish to prove he was really his son. When the Sun swore on the river Styx that we would grant Phaeton his wish, Phaeton said he wished to drive his chariot, and the Sun could not refuse.
Phaeton took charge of his father’s chariot, and when he deviated from the Sun’s track, he began to burn up the world. Jupiter shot him down with lightning and Phaeton fell in the Po river.
His sisters, Phaethusa and Lampetusa, wept over his death until the gods took pity on them and transformed into alder trees.
Phaeton was also mourned by his lover, a Ligurian named Cycnus, (a man who was endowed with an amazing singing voice by Apollo). Because Cycnus mourned excessively over Phaeton’s death, he was transformed into the bird he shares a name with (a swan). Later on, Apollo turned him into a constellation. His son Cupavo is said to have the feathers of a swan in the crest of his helmet in tribute of his father.
Name: Maurus Servius Honoratus
Date: 4th – 5th c. CE (???)
Works: In Vergilii carmina comentarii
Little is known about the author or manuscript tradition for the grammatical commentary of Vergil’s Aeneid.
BYZANTINE / LATE LATIN