Remus, Remulus, and other tiburtines.
In the catalogue of the Italic allies of Turnus, in Book VII of the Aeneid, the third place is occupied by the warriors coming from Tibur (after those commanded by Mezentius and by Aventinus). Unlike other heroes or peoples present in the catalogue, to which Virgil gives localizations and characterizations either anomalous or contradicting the antiquarian tradition (1), the case of Tibur does not seem problematic, presenting names and a genealogy attested by other authorities (2):
Tum gemini fratres Tiburtia moenia linquunt, fratris Tiburti dictam cognomine gentem, Catillusque acerque Coras, Argiva iuventus
(Aen. 7.670-72). (3)
An unknown "Sextius", quoted by Solinus 2.8, also spoke of Argiva iuventus (but perhaps depending on Vergil), identified Tiburtus, Coras, and Catillus as sons of another Catillus son of the Theban Amphiaraus: the three frathers, he says, founded the city after a war against the Sicels, and the city took its name from the older of the three (qui depulsis ex oppido Siciliae veteribus Sicanis a nomine Tiburti fratris natu maximi urbem vocaverunt). The detail about the war is probably influenced by the historic tradition, according to which Tibur was a Sicel city conquered by the Aborigines (cf. Dion. Hal. ant. 1.16.5). The Theban genealogy is confirmed by Pliny, who points however to only one Tiburtus, son of Amphiaraus, as founder of the city (nat. 16.237). Servius ad Aen. 7.670 says that the three brothers came from Greece (differently from "Sextius", according to whom they were born in Italy), justifies likewise the city's eponymy with the older age of Tibur/Tiburnus, and says that other cities were founded by the other brothers (his note ad Aen. 7.672 names the city of Coras and the mons Catilli, "mount of Catillus"). A different genealogy for Tibur was accepted by Cato the Elder, for whom the city was founded by the admiral of the fleet of Evander (praefectus classis Evandri)--who was therefore an Arcadian and not an Argive--whose name was again Catillus (orig. frg. 56 P. ap. Sol. 2.7).
The Vergilian version, however, is different from the other ones in one detail: two of the three brothers, Coras and Catillus, are gemini, that is twins. The possibility of a Tiburtine "twin" tradition, analogous to that of the foundation of Rome, was not excluded by Horsfall (4), but the idea that Coras and Catillus are twins is absent from the antiquarian tradition about Tibur, and it is therefore to be considered a Vergilian innovation.
The embarrassment shown by the ancient exegesis, moreover, is significant: Tiberius Donatus (p. 99. 19-20 Georgii) is inclined to accept the idea that gemini here means "two", as in other Vergilian passages. This exegesis is perhaps presupposed also by Servius (ad Aen. 7.670), who ignores the notion that Coras and Catillus are twins, and speaks of tres fratres. That gemini in fact means "twins" is suggested by the subsequent appearance of Coras and Catillus in battle, where Vergil twice (Aen. 11.465 and 604) refers to them with the same phrase, et cum fratre Coras ("Coras and his brother") (5), echoing the famous phrase of Aen. 1.292 referred to Romulus and Remus: Remo cum fratre Quirinus. That Coras's brother is his twin Catillus is suggested by Virgil's catalogue, in which only Coras and Catillus are participating in the war.
Besides this echo, the analogy between the twins Coras/Catillus and Romulus/Remus is suggested also by other details:
a) Vergil says that Aventinus, the character who in the catalogue of Book 7 precedes the Tiburtine brothers, was born in a forest from a priestess called Rhea: collis Aventini silva quem Rhea sacerdos/furtivum partu sub luminis edidit oras (Aen. 7.659-60). This story duplicates, on the one hand, the birth of Silvius from Lavinia (cf. the version narrated by Serv. ad Aen. 6.760), and on the other, the birth of Romulus and Remus from another sacerdos, Rhea Silvia: regina sacerdos / Marte gravis geminam partu dabit Ilia prolem (Aen. 1.273-74). In all of these three instances we are dealing with sons of divinities or deified heroes, for Aventinus is a son of Hercules (Silvius of Aeneas, and Romulus and Remus of Mars). The name of Rhea, as Servius notes (ad Aen. 7.659: adludit ad nomen matris Romuli), evokes the story of the birth of Romulus and Remus; slightly afterward the reader finds another allusion to this story when the gemini Coras and Catillus enter the war.
b) Together with Coras and his brother, in one of the contexts mentioned above, we find the celeres Latini (Aen. 11.603). Servius (ad loc.) sees here an allusion to the military squadron founded by Celer, who in part of the tradition was the murderer of Remus, and was rewarded for that by Romulus with the institution of the celeres (qui dicitur Remum occidisse, in cuius gratiae vicem a Romulo fieri tribunus equitum meruit) (6).
2. Remus and Remulus.
Further hints at a similarity between Rome and Tibur are offered by characters which Vergil presents either as Tiburtine or as somehow associated with Tibur. In Book 9, after the slaughter in the enemy camp, Euryalus collects some precious objects belonging to the warriors he and Nisus have just killed:
Euryalus phaleras Rhamnetis et aurea bullis cingula, Tiburti Remulo ditissimus olim quae mittit dona, hospitio cum iungeret absens, Caedicus; ille suo moriens dat habere nepoti; post mortem bello Rutuli pugnaque potiti: haec rapit
This Remulus is probably called Tiburs to distinguish him from Remulus Numanus, the character of the Aeneid killed by Ascanius with the approval of Juppiter (9.630-634). Remulus, a sort of mixture of 'Romulus' and 'Remus' (7), is also the name of an Alban king, son of Tiberinus and killed by Iuppiter (8). Our Remulus received some presents from a certain Caedicus and bequeathed them to his grandson. Ancient commentators were uncertain as to whether the phrase post mortem (v. 363) referred to the death of Remulus or to that of his grandson. Aelius Donatus, according to Servius, interpreted the death as being that of Euryalus and Nisus. Servius, Tiberius Donatus, and Asper (ap. Schol. Veron. Aen. 9.363) think that the death in question is that of the grandson, who, according to Asper and Servius, is to be understood as homonymous with his grandfather; he would have died in the course of the war with the Rutulians, and his possessions would have gone to the Rutulian Rhamnes. Despite this solution, Servius included it among the twelve "obscure and insoluble" passages of the Aeneid.
The passage is obscure also for the modern commentators. In the past, editors have tried to resolve the problem by athetizing the line (so that the grandson would be Rhamnes himself (9)); but this solution is not convincing, both because the ms. tradition is unanimous in transmitting the line, and because one Remulus, probably the grandson, is somehow present, as we shall see, in the following of the poem. The majority of the commentators is now inclined to take post mortem as referring to moriens, and so to Remulus senior (10), leaving indeterminate the fate of his grandson.
Before we complete the picture of the documentation about Remulus, it is worthwhile to consider the figure of Rhamnes, whose death has been previously described. He is the first Italic slaughtered by Nisus. The second one is a warrior named Remus, killed together with his servants, his squire, and his charioteer:
simul ense superbum Rhamnetem adgreditur, qui forte tapetibus altis exstructus toto proflabat pectore somnum, rex idem et regi Turno gratissimus augur, sed non augurio potuit depellere pestem. Tris iuxta famulos temere inter tela iacentis armigerumque Remi (11) premit aurigamque sub ipsis nactus equis ferroque secat pendentia colla. Tum caput ipsi aufert domino truncumque relinquit sanguine singultantem; atro tepefacta cruore terra torique madent
Rhamnes is called superbus, apparently, because of the luxury in which he lives (so Servius Danielis ad Aen. 9.322). Macrobius Sat. 5.9.10 considers the line to be an imitation of Hom. II. 2.859 (the augur Ennomos killed by Achilles), but his name recalls that of the Ramnes or Ramnenses, the ancient Roman tribe associated with the leadership and the name of Romulus (the additional aspiration, as Norden observed, "Graecizes" a totally Italic name (12), perhaps with reference to his Argive-Tiburtine identity).
There are also other features connecting Rhamnes to Romulus: firstly, Rhamnes is rex and augur (9.327), and this recalls the traditional status of Romulus (cf. Cic. div. 1.3, optumus augur fuisse traditur). Secondly, and most importantly, Rhamnes is associated with a warrior named Remus, who clearly evokes the same Roman antiquarian context (13). In addition to the names of Rhamnes and Remus, we also find, some lines further, the already mentioned name of Remulus: three names, as Hardie notes, "having associations with early Roman history" (14).
Rhamnes, being in possession of the objects that once belonged to Remulus, should be Rutulian, but he is also rex (not of the Rutulians, of course, since their king is Turnus). No clue is given about the ethnic group of Remus, if not his contiguity to Rhamnes, and the obvious tendency to associate him with Remulus, something that may suggest that he could be from Tibur too.
But even apart from this last possibility, the presence of a Tiburtine Remulus in a relationship of contiguity with Rhamnes and Remus has the effect of reinforcing the "Roman" colouring of Tibur that has already been suggested, as we have seen, by the twin couple of the founders Coras and Catillus. Dingel wonders why the Remulus of Aen. 9.362 bequeathed his possessions to his grandson, and not to his son (15). The answer is perhaps to be found in the Romulus model, for Romulus, in the Alban genealogy, was the great-nephew of King Numitor. Remulus' grandson, whose name was perhaps Remulus too (thus the ancient exegesis, as we have seen), would have been involved in a war between Tiburtines (?) and Rutulians, and as a consequence of this he would have lost the objects that later came into the possession of Rhamnes; from this loss the ancient exegesis deduced that he died in the war, but Vergil does not say explicitly so.
It is possibile, however, to imagine that Remulus did not die in that war, since we find a character named Remulus among the Italic warriors who fight against Aeneas in Book 11:
Orsilochus Remuli, quando ipsum horrebat adire, hastam intorsit equo ferrumque sub aure reliquit; quo sonipes ictu furit arduus altaque iactat vulneris impatiens arrecto pectore crura: volvitur ille excussus humi. Catillus Iollan ingentemque animis, ingentem corpore et armis deicit Herminium, nudo cui vertice fulva caesaries nudique humeri nec volnera terrent: tantus in arma patet. Latos huic asta per armos acta tremit duplicatque virum transfixa dolore
Remulus is attacked by the Trojan Orsilochus who, not daring to confront him directly, throws his spear against Remulus' horse, and unseats him. This cannot, of course, be Remulus Numanus, who has already been killed by Ascanius (cf. 9.633-34); but he could be the grandson of the Tiburtine Remulus, if he remained alive after the war against the Rutulians. For, in the war against the Trojans, the Tiburtines are allies of the Rutulians, and so he too, bearing the same name as his grandfather, could be fighting together with his former enemies. Horsfall excludes this possibility (16), but a remarkable indication in favor of it is the fact that, immediately after the passage on Remulus and Orsilochus, we find a description of the deeds of Catillus--a contiguity suggesting that Remulus too belongs to the Tiburtine forces. The name of Remulus is therefore linked, once again, with the town of Tibur.
The last Tiburtine of the Aeneid is Venulus, the messenger sent by Turnus to Diomedes in order to convince him to enter the war against the Trojans (8.9-17), and who on his return relates that the Greek hero does not want to participate in the conflict (11.225-95). We find him shortly afterward fighting among the lines of the Tiburtines, and then dying, killed by Tarchon:
concitat et Venulo adversum se turbidus infert dereptumque ab equo dextra complectitur hostem et gremium ante suum multa vi concitus aufert. Tollitur in caelum clamor cunctique Latini convertere oculos. Volat igneus aequore Tarchon arma virumque ferens; tum summa ipsius ab hasta defringit ferrum et partis rimatur apertas, qua volnus letale ferat; contra ille repugnans sustinet a iugulo dextram et vim viribus exit. Utque volans alte raptum cum fulva draconem fert aquila implicuitque pedes atque unguibus haesit, saucius at serpens sinuosa volumina versat arrectisque horret squamis et sibilat ore arduus insurgens; illa haud minus urget obunco luctantem rostro, simul aethera verberat alis: haud aliter predam Tiburtum ex agmine Tarchon portat ovans
Horsfall observes that Venulus "fights among the warriors of Tibur (but is not himself specified as Tiburtine)" (and adds that "the name's etymology and associations are altogether unclear") (17). His provenance from Argive Tibur is instead emphasized by Servius, who explains in this way the choice of Venulus as messenger to Argive Diomedes (ad Aen. 8.8). As to his name, sometimes it has been associated with Venilia, Turnus' mother, but it seems more probable that it is somehow connected with the goddess Venus (18). He is sent moreover to Diomedes, the Greek who injures Venus in the Iliad (5.330 sgg.) (19) and the same Diomedes remembers this episode when justifying his refusal to help Turnus against Aeneas (Aen. 9.276-277; cf. also the ovidian version of the story in met. 14.478-511). Perhaps also the verb complectitur of l. 743, which echoes the erotic language of the "nocturnal battles", also alludes to Venus (20).
On the basis of the evidence thus far collected about the analogy between Rome and Tibur, we may think that the name Venulus could evoke the Aeneadic genealogy of Rome (and of the gens Iulia). This is confirmed, in my opinion, by line 747, where we see Tarchon who, on his horse, holds Venulus and his armor: arma virumque ferens ("bearing arms and his man"). This is an obvious echo of the poem's incipit (Arma virumque cano), where the vir is of course Aeneas. According to Horsfall, the echo of Aen. 1.1 is ironic (21), but what interests us is that it confirms the "Aeneadic" association of Venulus already suggested by the name of the character. Besides having as founders a couple of twins, and among its warriors one Remulus, and (perhaps) one Remus, Tibur has in its army also a warrior who evokes, with his name and his story, the protagonist of the poem, Aeneas.
A further allusion to the Venus/Aeneas genealogy may be found in the commentary of Servius, who says that the model for the Venulus/Tarchon encounter is an episode of the Gallic war narrated by Caesar:
Hoc de historia tractum est: namque Gaius Iulius Caesar, cum dimicaret in Gallia et ab hoste raptus equo eius portaretur armatus, occurrit quidam ex hostibus, qui eum nosset, et insultans ait 'caesar, caesar', quod Gallorum lingua 'dimitte' significat: et ita factum est ut dimitteretur. hoc autem ipse Caesar in ephemeride sua dicit, ubi propriam commemorat felicitatem
(Serv. ad Aen. 11.743).
This account is rather suspicious (22) since there is no trace of this story in the De bello Gallico, which should correspond to the Ephemeris mentioned by Servius (23). The remarkable similarities between the two texts suggest that the anecdote has been assembled on the basis of Vergil's text (on the other side, if Servius' account were reliable, Vergil would surely have followed Caesar's text closely!): ab hoste raptus equo eius portaretur armatus (Caesar/Servius), dereptumque ab equo; arma virumque ferens (Vergil).
It is also to be noted that shortly afterward Vergil underlines Tarchon's good luck (759: fatis debitus; Caesar/Servius: felicitas), and that Servius Danielis speaks of his felicitas (ad Aen. 11.758). The allusion to Caesar's story, if Servius' account is to be trusted, would be altogether consistent with the general picture of Venulus, thus assimilated not only to Aeneas, but also to a very important descendant of Aeneas.
Unlike Caesar in Servius' anecdote, Venulus is killed by his enemy. His spectacular death is perhaps meant to suggest to the reader the necessary decline of Tibur before the future rise of Rome. We can see a similar suggestion already in the first mention of Tibur in the poem, in the catalogue of the five Italic cities involved in the preparation for the war: Atina potens Tiburque superbum / Ardea Crustumerique et turrigerae Antemnae (Aen. 7.630-31).
The epithet superbus was already problematic for Servius (ad Aen. 7.630), who was uncertain between two explanation: superbus in the meaning of nobilis ("proud"), or in reference to an improbable historical account in which the Senate, when the Tiburtines asked for help, replied superbi estis --"you are haughty". Horsfall does not reject the hypothesis that Vergil may allude "to the proud position looking down over the Roman Campagna" (24). But perhaps superbus (adjective which in Virgil is "a kind of universal factor in the competitive world" (25)) also refers to the ambitious "Roman" associations with which Tibur is presented in the poem, and to the necessity that it succumbs in order that the "real" Rome can rise. Rhamnes, it should also be noticed, is superbus (9.325), and expiates this characterization with his own death (and Servius Danielis ad Aen. 9.322 points out the use of the same adjective for Tibur).
The clues we have collected have different degrees of probability. The surest result is that the twins Catillus and Coras are a Virgilian invention that is doubtlessly based on, or inspired by, the Roman twins Romulus and Remus. This also suggests a resemblance between Rome and Tibur as they are both founded by twins (it is not relevant that Tibur was also founded by a third brother). The similarity is reinforceed by the presence in the poem of a Tiburtine called Remulus and, in the same context, of two characters called Rhamnes and Remus. There is less clarity regarding the character of Venulus, who fights amidst the Tiburtines and whose name reminds us of the goddess Venus and perhaps of her Roman descendants.
On the whole it seems certain enough that the Aeneadic Tibur is meant to call to mind, for the readers of the poem, the story of Rome's foundation. The presence in the catalogue of the Tiburtines twins develops the previous "romulean" birth of Aventinus e suggest an imaginary double of Rome.
This "other" Rome has an important feature in common with the true Rome: the Tiburtine twins fight together and are in harmony like the Virgilian Romulus and Remus in 1.292-293, where Iuppiter prophesies that Quirinus and his brother will be together law-makers. This imagine reflects the Augustan version of the Roman myth, committed to omitting that fratricide which had been commonly considered in the previous years as the archetype of the civil wars. The repeated reference of 1.292-293 to Catillus and Coras (see above 11.465 and 604) is significant, echoing the well-known topos of the twins united in peace and war (26).
The fratricidal struggle, removed from the twin pair, is reproduces in the Aeneid as the war between the Trojans and the Italics. In this war Tibur is included by Virgil among the enemies of Aeneas, perhaps also reflecting historical perception: in the Augustan age, the memory of the historical enemity between Rome and Tibur was still active. The Tiburtines had received Roman citizenship only after the social war and Augustus had assigned the town non to Latium, but to the Fourth region, Sabinum et Samnium. But the Aeneadic war ends with the end of the poem, and it is the premise of the ethnic fusion of Trojans and Latin, established by Iuppiter, preparing the "unity of the Italian people" (27) expected by Augustus after the civil wars. The "Romulean" shape of Tibur is probably functional to this Virgilian strategy.
University of Roma Tor Vergata
* Recebido em 29-01-2013; aceite para publicacao em 11-04-2013.
A first draft of the present paper was read at the Symposium Cumanum 2007, more advanced versions in the Universities of Roma Tre and Palermo in 2010. I think friends and collegues who gave me in these meetings useful suggestions.
(1) The most striking instances: Messapus, in the eponymous tradition of Messapia, in the Catalogue is the leader of Equi and Falisci; Halaesus, hero from the area of Falerii, according to Vergil, comes from Campania; the leader of the Marsi, Umbro, has the name of an Etruscan river, and so on. On some of these name changes cf. F. Stok, "Onomastica / toponomastica virgiliana", L'onomastica deu'Italia antica. Aspetti linguistici, storici, culturali, tipologici e classificatori, ed. by P. Poccetti, Rome 2009, pp. 551-61.
(2) Documentation in D. BRIQUEL, "La legende de fondation de Tibur", ACD, 33, 1997, pp. 63-81.
(3) Text of Virgil is quoted from the Teubnerian edition by G. B. CONTE, 2009.
(4) J. N. BREMMER, N. M. HORSFALL, Roman Myth and Mythography, London 1987 (BICS Suppl. 52), pp. 6-7. The later N. HORSFALL Virgil, Aeneid 7. A Commentary, Leiden/Boston/Koln, 2000, p. 439 admits "possibly under the influence of the Roman legend", but for 11.465-604 (quoted above).
(5) N. HORSFALL, Virgil, Aeneid 11. A Commentary, Leiden/Boston, 2003, p. 281, observes that "actually, Coras has two brothers, Catillus and Tiburtus", but Tiburtus, as it seems, does not participate in the war.
(6) A third clue may be found in the relation of Rhea Silvia with Anien, the river of Tibur: for part of tradition Rhea was kidnapped by the Anien (in the other version by the Tiberis). There is also the possibily that the name of Tibur was associated with that of the Tiber, despite the different quantity of the vowel 'i'.
(7) So P. KRETSCHMER, "Remus und Romulus", Glotta, 1, 1909, p. 296.
(8) Cf. G. BRUGNOLI, "Reges Albanorum", Atti del convegno virgiliano di Brindisi nel bimillenario della morte, Perugia, 1984, pp. 167-68.
(9) Wagner, among the scholars who adopted this solution, thought that Rhamnes was a Rutulian son of a daughter of the Tiburtine Remulus (P.Virgili Maronis Opera, ill. Chr. G. HEYNE, ed. IV cur. G. P. E. Wagner, III, Lipsiae/Londinii 1833, repr. Hildesheim 1968, p. 353).
(10) Cf. PH. HARDIE (ed.), Virgil, Aeneid Book IX, Cambridge 1994, p. 139; J. DINGEL, Kommentar zum 9. Buch der Aeneis Vergils, Heidelberg 1997, p. 155.
(11) The indirect way in which Remus is introduced seggested to Schrader the conjectural correction Remum, for which Remus becomes the armour-bearer of Rhamnes and the death described at ll. 332-334 is that of Rhamnes, not of Remus. As notes Hardie, Book 9, p. 133, with this correction the count of the specific individuals killed by Nisus and Eurialus reaches 13, the same number as the Thracian victims of Diomedes (Hom. Il. 10.495).
(12) E. NORDEN, "Vergils Aneis im Lichte ihrer Zeit", NJ, 7, 1901, p. 327n.
(13) J. J. O'HARA, True Names. Vergil and the Alexandrian Tradition of Etymological Wordplay, Ann Arbor, 1996, p. 218: "The connection of a man named Rhamnes with a man named Remus alludes to the derivation of one of the old Roman tribes, the R(h)amnenses, from the name Romulus". Cf. also G. DUMEZIL, Mariages indo-europeens, Paris, 1979, p. 224: "lire Romulus sous Rhamnes".
(14) HARDIE, Book 9, p. 132.
(15) DINGEL, Kommentar, p. 155.
(16) HORSFALL, Aen. 11, p. 360. L. FRATANTUONO, A Commentary on Virgil, Aeneid XI, Bruxelles 2009, p. 211 permits all the possible identifications.
(17) HORSFALL, Aen. 11, p. 170.
(18) M. PASCHALIS, Virgil's Aeneid. Semantic Relations and Proper Names, Oxford, 1997, p. 288: "Venulus is the counterpart of Venus in this book" (sceptical Fratantuono, Aeneid XI, p. 86).
(19) Another connection is noted by L. Fratantuono, "Tros Italusque: Arruns in the Aeneid", in C. Deroux (ed.), Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History, v. XIII, Bruxelles, 2006, pp. 284-85: Arruns before killing Venulus taunts the allies of Aeneas for being devoted to Venus / love, at non in Venerem segnes nocturnaque bella (11.736); in a similar way Remulus (!) Numanus taunts the Phrygians in 9.617-618. This possibility is validated by the erotic allusion in 11.227 (see above).
(20) FRATANTUONO, Aeneid XI, pp. 242-43.
(21) HORSFALL, Aen. 11, pp. 402-403.
(22) HORSFALL, Aen. 11, pp. 400-401 sees it as "someone's invention".
(23) Cf. M. RAMBAUD, L'art de la deformation historique dans les Commentaires de Cesar, Paris, 1966, p. 90.
(24) HORSFALL, Aen. 7, p. 408.
(25) D. CHRISTENSEN, "Superbia in Vergil's Aeneid: Who's Haughty and Who's not?", Scholia, 11, 2002, p. 53n.; cf. also A. Traina, "superbia", Enciclopedia Virgiliana, 4, 1988, pp. 1072-76.
(26) See F. MENCACCI, I fratelli amici: la rappresentazione dei gemelli nella cultura Romana, Venezia, 1996, p. 76.
(27) C. ANDO, "Vergils Italy: Ethnography and Politics in First-Century Rome", in D. S. Levene, D. P Nelis (eds.), Clio and the Poets. Augustan Poetry and the Traditions of Ancient Historiography, Leiden/Boston/Koln 2002, p. 138.
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|Title Annotation:||II STVDIA BREVIORA|
|Publication:||Euphrosyne. Revista de Filologia Classica|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2013|
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