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Deceitful Crete: Aeneid 3.84. and the Hymns of Callimachus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2009

S. J. Heyworth
Affiliation:
Wadham College, Oxford

Extract

Early in Aeneid 3 Aeneas visits Delos and approaches the temple of Apollo with a request for advice on the destination for which the refugees should head. There is an immediate response to his questions (Verg. Aen. 3.90–2):

uix ea fatus eram: tremere omnia uisa repente,

liminaque laurusque dei, totusque moueri

mons circum et mugire adytis cortina reclusis.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Classical Association 1993

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References

1 Cf. Hopkinson, N., ‘Juxtaposed Prosodic Variants in Greek and Latin Poetry’, Glotta 60 (1982), 162–77Google Scholar: ‘Extraordinary even by Hellenistic standards is Call. H. 1, with six examples in 96 lines’ (164).

2 Dr E. L. Harrison, for whose critical comments on this paper I am most grateful, points out the neatness of transferring the prophecy ‘from the anti-Trojan Poseidon of the Iliad to the pro-Trojan Apollo, who in the Iliad was prepared to sacrifice Aeneas to preserve Hector (20.75ff.), but who now shows his true Augustan mettle in the (dramatically) earliest prophecy of Aeneas' voyage.’

3 Thus Strabo 13.1.53; Αἰνείω γενεή in Σ Arn/A. Our editions and the MSS read βίη Τρώεσσιν ⋯νάξει. Similar is H.Hom. 5.196–7.

4 See Wiseman, T. P., ‘Cybele, Virgil and Augustus’, in Woodman, A. J. and West, D. A. (eds.), Poetry and Politics in the Age of Augustus (Cambridge, 1984), pp. 117–28Google Scholar.

5 On which see Hopkinson, N., CQ 34 (1984), 139–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 Hopkinson does not bring out the full paradox of this: for Epimenides' dictum to have point it must be spoken by a Cretan; at issue here is whether Zeus is a Cretan or not. If he is, he would lie to us: the debate can never be resolved by asking the god himself for information.

7 Another paradox here too, I fancy: why are we discussing the birth-myth of a god who is not only immortal, but actually eternal?

8 By placing Curetum under Cretam (129), Vergil brings out the etymology of Crete that Callimachus leaves unsaid: see Maltby, R., A Lexicon of Latin Etymologies (Leeds, 1991), p. 161Google Scholar.

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