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Excerpt from Vergil's Aeneid
Aeneas Sacrificing from the Ara Pacis, 13-9 BCE.
Venus becoming concerned about the destiny of her off-spring Aeneas after he flees Troy appeals to her father Jupiter to make sure that Aeneas's destiny is assured. Jupiter responds with this famous prophesy in which he lays out the manifest destiny of Roman rule. Aeneas and his off-spring with be successful in founding the Latin race. The descendants of Aeneas will include Romulus and Remus. Romulus will found Rome. To the Romans Jupiter will "give no bounded times or power." The descent from Aeneas will include Julius Caesar "whose power the ocean bounds, whose fame, the skies." In turn Augustus will inherit the lineage Under him "will the world grow mild; the battle-sound will be forgot".
But while he anxious mused,
near him, her radiant eyes all dim with tears,
nor smiling any more, Venus approached,
and thus complained: “O thou who dost control
things human and divine by changeless laws,
enthroned in awful thunder! What huge wrong
could my Aeneas and his Trojans few
achieve against thy power? For they have borne
unnumbered deaths, and, failing Italy,
the gates of all the world against them close.
Hast thou not given us thy covenant
that hence the Romans when the rolling years
have come full cycle, shall arise to power
from Troy's regenerate seed, and rule supreme
the unresisted lords of land and sea?
O Sire, what swerves thy will? How oft have I
in Troy's most lamentable wreck and woe
consoled my heart with this, and balanced oft
our destined good against our destined ill!
But the same stormful fortune still pursues
my band of heroes on their perilous way.
When shall these labors cease, O glorious King?
Antenor, though th' Achaeans pressed him sore,
found his way forth, and entered unassailed
Illyria's haven, and the guarded land
of the Liburni. Straight up stream he sailed
where like a swollen sea Timavus pours
a nine-fold flood from roaring mountain gorge,
and whelms with voiceful wave the fields below.
He built Patavium there, and fixed abodes
for Troy's far-exiled sons; he gave a name
to a new land and race; the Trojan arms
were hung on temple walls; and, to this day,
lying in perfect peace, the hero sleeps.
But we of thine own seed, to whom thou dost
a station in the arch of heaven assign,
behold our navy vilely wrecked, because
a single god is angry; we endure
this treachery and violence, whereby
wide seas divide us from th' Hesperian shore.
Is this what piety receives? Or thus
doth Heaven's decree restore our fallen thrones?”
Smiling reply, the Sire of gods and men,
with such a look as clears the skies of storm
chastely his daughter kissed, and thus spake on:
“ Let Cytherea cast her fears away!
Irrevocably blest the fortunes be
of thee and thine. Nor shalt thou fail to see
that City, and the proud predestined wall
encompassing Lavinium. Thyself
shall starward to the heights of heaven bear
Aeneas the great-hearted. Nothing swerves
my will once uttered. Since such carking cares
consume thee, I this hour speak freely forth,
and leaf by leaf the book of fate unfold.
Thy son in Italy shall wage vast war
and, quell its nations wild; his city-wall
and sacred laws shall be a mighty bond
about his gathered people. Summers three
shall Latium call him king; and three times pass
the winter o'er Rutulia's vanquished hills.
His heir, Ascanius, now Iulus called
(Ilus it was while Ilium's kingdom stood),
full thirty months shall reign, then move the throne
from the Lavinian citadel, and build
for Alba Longa its well-bastioned wall.
Here three full centuries shall Hector's
have kingly power; till a priestess queen,
by Mars conceiving, her twin offspring bear;
then Romulus, wolf-nursed and proudly clad
in tawny wolf-skin mantle, shall receive
the sceptre of his race. He shall uprear
and on his Romans his own name bestow.
To these I give no bounded times or power,
but empire without end. Yea, even my Queen,
Juno, who now chastiseth land and sea
with her dread frown, will find a wiser way,
and at my sovereign side protect and bless
the Romans, masters of the whole round world,
who, clad in peaceful toga, judge mankind.
Such my decree! In lapse of seasons due,
the heirs of Ilium's kings shall bind in chains
Mycenae's glory and Achilles' towers,
and over prostrate Argos sit supreme.
Of Trojan stock illustriously sprung,
lo, Caesar comes! whose power the ocean bounds,
whose fame, the skies. He shall receive the name
Iulus nobly bore, great Julius, he.
Him to the skies, in Orient trophies dress,
thou shalt with smiles receive; and he, like us,
shall hear at his own shrines the suppliant vow.
Then will the world grow mild; the battle-sound
will be forgot; for olden Honor then,
with spotless Vesta, and the brothers twain,
Remus and Romulus, at strife no more,
will publish sacred laws. The dreadful gates
whence issueth war, shall with close-jointed steel
be barred impregnably; and prisoned there
the heaven-offending Fury, throned on swords,
and fettered by a hundred brazen chains,
shall belch vain curses from his lips of gore.”
--ed. John Dryden.
Book VI, lines 756-800
“Hark now! for of the glories I will tell
That wait our Dardan blood; of our sons' sons
Begot upon the old Italian breed,
Who shall be mighty spirits, and prolong
Our names, their heritage. I will unfold
The story, and reveal the destined years.
Yon princeling, thou beholdest leaning there
Upon a royal lance, shall next emerge
Into the realms of day. He is the first
Of half-Italian strain, the last-born heir
To thine old age by fair Lavinia given,
Called Silvius, a royal Alban name
(Of sylvan birth and sylvan nurture he),
A king himself and sire of kings to come,
By whom our race in Alba Longa reign.
Next Procas stands, our Trojan people's boast;
Capys and Numitor, and, named like thee,
Aeneas Sylvius, like thee renowned
For faithful honor and for deeds of war,
When he ascends at last his Alban throne.
Behold what warrior youth they be! How strong
Their goodly limbs! Above their shaded brows
The civic oak they wear! For thee they build
Nomentum, and the walls of Gabii,
Fidena too, and on the mountains pile
Collatia's citadels, Pometii,
Bola and Cora, Castrum-Inui—
Such be the names the nameless lands shall bear.
See, in that line of sires the son of Mars,
Great Romulus, of Ilian mother born,
From far-descended line of Trojan kings!
See from his helm the double crest uprear,
While his celestial father in his mien
Shows forth his birth divine! Of him, my son,
Great Rome shall rise, and, favored of his star,
Have power world-wide, and men of godlike mind.
She clasps her seven hills in single wall,
Proud mother of the brave! So Cybele,
The Berecynthian goddess, castle-crowned,
On through the Phrygian kingdoms speeds her car,
Exulting in her hundred sons divine,
All numbered with the gods, all throned on high.
“Let now thy visionary glance look long
On this thy race, these Romans that be thine.
Here Caesar, of Iulus' glorious seed,
Behold ascending to the world of light!
Behold, at last, that man, for this is he,
So oft unto thy listening ears foretold,
Augustus Caesar, kindred unto Jove.
He brings a golden age; he shall restore
Old Saturn's sceptre to our Latin land,
And o'er remotest Garamant and Ind
His sway extend; the fair dominion
outruns th' horizon planets, yea, beyond
The sun's bright path, where Atlas' shoulder bears
Yon dome of heaven set thick with burning stars.
Against his coming the far Caspian shores
Break forth in oracles; the Maeotian land
Trembles, and all the seven-fold mouths of Nile.