Publius Vergilius Marro

Now Virgil was a pretty cool guy, an early Roman poet who had the favor of Augustus so just about all of his stuff is still around for us to suffer over.

But some cool Quotes:

Tantaene animis caelestibus irae? (Aeneid, i.11). "Why is everything all screwed up?" (litt. "Wherefore such great anger in the heavenly spirits?")

Forsan et haec olim meminisse quoque finem.  (Aeneid, i, 203). "Perhaps some day we'll be able to remember all this bad stuff."  This is really hard to translate because it was after a lot of killing and gore. PTSD all over this one. 

Abiit ad plures Cena, Satyricon, 42,5. "He kicked the bucket"

Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas. (Georgics ii, 490). "A guy is awful lucky who is able to understand how stuff works."

sed argutos inter strepere anser olores. (Eclogue ix, 32). "[I am] but a mere goose honking among melodious swans."  This was Virgil's response when compared to what he thought were the more notable poets Varius and Cinna.


My 4th year Latin was exciting because we studied Virgil.  He was one great guy for sure, and probably the only writer who did the language justice.  Around Christmas we remember a line from one of the Ecologues.  At that time Augustus was dispossesing a lot of farmers of their land and giving it to his soldiers.  In book 4 is the story of a baby boy who was born and would renew the world.  Augustus, who was Virgil’s friend and protector liked book 4 because he thought the baby was himself.  Early Christians came to believe it was about the Christ child.

Ultima Cumaei venit iam carminis aetas; Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo.  Iam redit et virgo, rediunt Saturna regna, iam nova progenes caelo demittur alto. (Eclogue iv, 3). "Now we have the final age, (according to that Cumaean Oracle lady). A great series of events begins to unfold.  Soon the virgin goddess returns and the reign of Saturn will be restored;  a new type of leadership will come from the high heaven."

Then there was this guy:


Laocoon (la-OH-ku-on)

He was a high priest in the temple of Poseidon (the good guys’ God I suppose) and was surprised at the naivety of the Trojans to consider accepting a big dumb wooden horse into their city, especially from the Greeks.  So here is the incident as told by Virgil:

Aeneid, book II

Laocoon ardens summa decurrit ab arce,           

et procul 'o miseri, quae tanta insania, cives?

creditis auectos hostis? aut ulla putatis

dona carere dolis Danaum? sic notus Vlixes?

aut hoc inclusi ligno occultantur Achiui,

aut haec in nostros fabricata est machina muros,

inspectura domos uenturaque desuper urbi,

aut aliquis latet error; equo ne credite, Teucri.

quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentis.'

sic fatus ualidis ingentem uiribus hastam

in latus inque feri curuam compagibus aluum

contorsit. stetit illa tremens, uteroque recusso

insonuere cauae gemitumque dedere cauernae.

Then Laocoon went back to his temple to pray to Poseidon but Athena (on the Greek side) sent two big nasty serpents and killed him and his two sons.  The Trojans believed that Laocoon had angered the gods so they dragged the horse into their city even removing part of the gateway, which all goes to show that they really were dumb.



One seriously angry Laocoon came down from his temple

and immediately said “You idiots, Are you guys insane or what?”

Do you really believe that the enemy has left?

Or do you actually believe that a Greek present can bring anything but grief?

Don’t you understand that sly Ulysses?

or that within this wooden thing is hiding a bunch of Greeks?

or that this contraption is designed to spy down and look into our homes from above?

and that this is not all pure lies?  For God sake, you stupid Trojans do not trust this horse! because whatever it is, I fear Greeks bearing gifts.

When he finished he took a great big spear and hurled

it into the belly of the thing where it twisted

and trembled and shook until its inmost recesses

gave out a huge groan.