The shield of Turnus ('Aeneid' 7.783-92).
Two piece of armour are described: Turnus' triple-crested helmet, decorated with an image of the fire-breathing Chimaera; and his shield, depicting the metamorphosis of Io.(1) In what follows, I will argue that these two images suggest two competing interpretations of the character and fate of their wearer. Turnus can be viewed as an innocent victim of the gods, caught between the machinations of Juno and Jupiter's plans for the future of Rome; or as an enemy of order and peace, irredeemably compromised by his furor and battle-lust, who must be destroyed so that the new Golden Age of Augustus can eventually be established. Abundant examples of either reading can be found in the critical literature of recent years; and it seems to me that both are in fact suggested by the text of the poem. The ambiguities surrounding Turnus' character and motivation can be further clarified in the light of the poet's handling elsewhere in the Aeneid, and in the Eclogues and Georgics, of passion and violence and the possibility (or impossibility) of transcending them. These themes, I will suggest, are embodied in Turnus' two emblems, the fire-breathing monster and the defenceless woman transformed into an animal through the desires and jealousies of the gods.
The most obvious explanation for Io's presence on Turnus' shield is genealogical: Amata tells us in 7.373 that he is descended from Inachus and Acrisius, and the earlier reference is recalled both by the presence of Inachus on the shield (as Io's father), and by the designation of Turnus' followers as `Argive youth', immediately after the ecphrasis in 794. Beyond her importance as the hero's distinguished ancestor, however, Io can be seen as a symbolically appropriate emblem of Turnus' character and role in the narrative.(2)
According to the most common version of the myth, Io was seduced by Zeus/Jupiter, who then transformed her into a heifer to avoid detection by Hera/Juno (though some sources attribute the metamorphosis itself to Hera).(3) On discovering her husband's misdemeanour, Hera avenged herself on the unfortunate Io, first by setting her servant Argus to watch over the heifer, and then by sending a gadfly to drive her mad. The gadfly, as Hera's agent, has obvious parallels with Allecto, who is sent by Juno to instil furor in Turnus. On this level, Turnus is portrayed as a helpless victim of divine persecution. It is notable, however, that Io is depicted on the shield at the very moment of metamorphosis, as is suggested by the phrase `sublatis cornibus' (`with horns raised', 789) and the insistent anaphora `iam saetis obsita, iam bos' (`now covered with bristles, now a cow', 790). The significance of this focus on the actual transformation can be better appreciated if we compare this passage with others where metamorphoses are described or alluded to.
Throughout Virgil's works, metamorphosis and passion -- particularly sexual passion -- are closely associated.(4) The sex drive is represented as an uncontrollable madness which reduces men and women to the level of the beasts. This becomes particularly clear in book 3 of the Georgics, but the idea is also present in embryo in Eclogue 6. The interlocking themes of Silenus' song (order and disorder, love and metamorphosis) come together in the central story of Pasiphae's perverse passion for the bull, which encloses a briefer reference to the myth of the daughters of Proetus. Pasiphae is treated with notable sympathy: she is addressed directly as `virgo infelix' (`unlucky girl') and the narrator, Silenus, is described as consoling her for her love. Nevertheless, her passion is seen as madness `dementia', 47) and her desire to mate with an animal as `shameful' (`turpis', 49). She has not, of course, undergone a literal transformation, but behaves as though she had, wandering in the wild (52) and speaking enviously of the cows which catch her beloved's eye. The Proetides, with whom Pasiphae is compared, actually believe themselves to be cows, though their (rather comical) behaviour is regarded as less shameful than hers. Notably (though Virgil does not explicitly mention the detail) both `metamorphoses' were inflicted as punishments by the gods, though the Proetides suffered for their own crimes,(5) whereas Pasiphae's punishment is incurred on behalf of her husband Minos. Similarly, Dido in Aeneid 4 has the furor of love inflicted on her by Venus, and she too is compared to an animal, in the famous deer simile of 4.69-73, and is described (like Pasiphae) as infelix and demens.(6) There is a particularly clear echo of the Eclogue in Dido's last speech, where she declares herself `only too happy, had the Trojan ships never reached [her] shores' (`felix, heu nimium felix, si litora tantum / numquam Dardaniae tetigissent nostra carinae', 4.657-8). Pasiphae, likewise, would have been `fortunate, had cattle never existed' (`fortunatam, si numquam armenta fuissent', 45). In all three cases (Pasiphae, the Proetides, Dido) love or sexual desire is represented as transforming the lover into a beast; but the transformation is also something inflicted on the lover by the gods, and therefore irresistible.(7) The pattern is repeated yet again in the figure of Turnus and his emblem, Io: both are literally or metaphorically changed into animals and in both cases the transformation is represented as the work of the gods.(8)
The notion that passion is both brutalizing and irresistible is developed more explicitly in the digression on the power of amor in book 3 of the Georgics, where sexual desire is said to afflict all (men and animals alike), and is described as a fiery madness which inspires perverse and unnatural behaviour. Under its influence, predatory animals are even more dangerous than usual, the lioness neglects her cubs, and even deer -- usually the gentlest of creatures -- become violent.(9) Worst of all are horses: the poet attributes their furor insignis to the intervention of Venus, connecting it with the somewhat obscure myth of Glaucus, who was eaten alive by his own chariot team (supremely unnatural behaviour in a herbivorous animal). At the very centre of this catalogue (258-63), Virgil inserts a pair of human lovers. Though the details make is clear enough that this is a reference to the story of Hero and Leander, the couple are not actually named; and it has often been remarked that their anonymity not only makes them a paradigm for all human lovers, but also minimizes the distinction between human and animal. Young Leander is just the representative of one species among many: apart from the greater number of lines which are devoted to his behaviour, he is scarcely differentiated from the Sabine boar which precedes him in the catalogue, or the lynxes, wolves, and dogs which follow.(10) Moreover, his irrepressible determination to get at his beloved precisely mirrors that of the lustful horses described in 252-4 and 266-70: both man and horses swim rivers or straits, and neither can be restrained by their `keepers'.
The suggestion in this passage that man and animal become virtually indistinguishable under the influence of amor is symbolically anticipated by a number of references elsewhere in the poem to myths of metamorphosis. Two examples in book 1 -- Nisus and Scylla in 404-9 and the halcyon(11) in 399 -- are no more than passing allusions, the significance of which is not immediately obvious: it is notable, however, that both stories link love to metamorphosis, and it can be argued that they lead up to two more explicit examples in book 3. Here, Virgil mentions the metamorphosis of Saturn into a horse, during his courtship of the nymph Philyra (93-4), and, at slightly greater length, Juno's persecution of the metamorphosed Io (146-56). The latter passage is connected with the attack on amor in several ways: not only is Juno's anger the result of sexual jealousy, but the gadfly (like amor) is described as a `pest' from which the flocks must be protected; both are associated with hot weather; and there are a number of verbal echoes.(12) In the fourth book (15-17), there is a brief allusion to another tale of sexual jealousy, violence, and metamorphosis, the myth of Procne and Philomela; this is picked up at the end of the book, where Orpheus' lament for his lost wife is compared to a nightingale's plaint for her lost offspring.(13)
As I have suggested elsewhere, the emphasis throughout the Georgics on the brutalizing power of amor can be connected with Virgil's engagement with Lucretius.(14) The attack on amor in book 3 is permeated by Lucretian allusions, which draw attention to discrepancies between the two poets' world-views.(15) In Lucretius, the mating instinct of animals is held to be natural and healthy, while `love' is a destructive delusion and is attacked at some length in the finale to book 4 of the De Rerum Natura. Though the lures of amor are dangerous and the lover is inevitably subject to pain and distress of all kinds, love is quite easy to avoid if we simply behave rationally, recognizing that sexual desire is easily satisfied if we do not insist on exclusivity, and refrain from attributing superhuman qualities to imperfect human beings. Virgil tends to undermine Lucretius' faith in the power of reason, by blurring the distinction between animal and human sexuality. The symbolism of metamorphosis implies that reason breaks down in the face of violent emotion, erasing the distinction between human and animal, while animal sexuality is itself described in terms which Lucretius reserves for the painful experience of human lovers.(16) Similarly, the role of the gods in inspiring sexual feelings (vigorously denied by Lucretius) implies that such feelings cannot easily be resisted or overcome.
Turning from the Georgics to the Aeneid, we can trace a similar complex of themes (particularly in book 7) leading up to the image of Io on Turnus' shield. Book 7 begins with a brief but haunting description of the island of Circe (identified with the promontory of Circei on the west coast of Italy). The passage is striking not only because of its prominent position (at the very centre of the poem), but also because it is displaced from its expected position in the `Odyssean' wanderings of book 3, to act as a kind of prelude to the `Iliadic' half of the poem.(17) Aeneas and his comrades do not in fact encounter Circe face to face -- they are wafted past by Neptune in order to keep them out of danger -- but as they sail past they can hear the roars and bellows of Circe's victims: lions, boars, bears, and wolves which were once men (7. 15-20).
The significance of this episode can be related to a long tradition of allegorical interpretation of the Circe myth, stretching from the Cynic Diogenes of Sinope in the fourth century B.C. to the Neo-Platonist Porphyry in the third century A.D.(18) Details vary, but the Homeric story is generally understood as an allegory of the conflict between reason (represented by Odysseus and/or Hermes) and pleasure or lust (represented by Circe). The companions of Odysseus stand for those weak souls who are reduced to the level of animals -- or, in some versions, condemn themselves to repeat the cycle of reincarnation -- by surrendering to their baser instincts; this is represented by the transformation into pigs. Against this background, Virgil's substitution (or, to be more precise, addition(19)) of wild animals in place of the Homeric pigs is particularly striking. Virgil's Circe plays a symbolic role analogous to her part in the interpretations of the allegorists; she stands, however, not for pleasure, but for the violent passion or furor which turns human beings into savage beasts, and which is about to erupt when Aeneas lands in the superficially peaceful Latium. Like Turnus when first confronted by the demonic Allecto, Circe's victims kick against the pricks (`vincla recusantum', 16), but the `savage goddess' is too strong for them and they have lost their human form (20). They are subject to anger (`irae', 15) and rage (`saevire', 18), emotions which will be prominent in Turnus and other characters later in book 7 and throughout the remainder of the poem. Indeed, the saevitia (`savagery') of both Circe and her victims (emphasized here not only by the anaphora `saevire ... saeva' in 18-19, but also by a play on the similar-sounding `saetigeri' in the previous line) acts as a kind of leitmotif to the book: similar language is used to describe Juno, Allecto, Turnus, and Mars, and the words saevus and saevire are used 13 times in all before the end of the book.(20) Turnus, in particular, strongly recalls Circe's victims: he growls or roars like a beast (`fremit', 460), and his desire for battle flus him with rage (`saevit', 461) and anger (`ira', 462). Amata and the other women are also transformed by Allecto's influence: they howl (395) like Circe's wolves, dress in skins (396),(21) and wander in the `deserted haunts of wild beasts' (`deserta ferarum', 404), under the pretence of worshipping Bacchus.(22)
Circe is referred to twice later in the book: in 187-91, the poet tells how, overcome by jealousy, she transformed Latinus' forefather Picus into a bird;(23) and in 280-3, she is mentioned as the breeder of fire-breathing horses which were the ancestors of the chariot-team sent by the king as a gift to Aeneas. Again, the goddess is connected with (sexual) passion and metamorphosis, while the fire-breathing horses suggest violence and war.(24)
Circe, then, prefigures Allecto as a symbol of the violent emotions which threaten to overcome reason and reduce man to the level of the beasts. I have already noted parallels between the opening scene and Allecto's `transformation' of Turnus; and it is worth noting too (as Philip Hardie has pointed out in an interesting discussion of `mutability' in Virgil and other Augustan poets) that both Allecto herself and her mistress Juno are `metamorphic' characters. Juno's complaint `memet in omnia verti' (`I have turned everywhere', 309) could also be translated `I have turned myself into everything'; and Allecto `turns herself into so many different shapes' (329).(25) The snake which she throws at Amata becomes a necklace and a fillet (351-3), and the lines in which she takes on the shape of the old priestess Calybe (415-18) are almost Ovidian in their vividly-imagined detail. These transformations might be interpreted as symbols of the different ways in which passion manifests itself in different characters: love in Dido, maternal partiality in Amata, battle-lust in Turnus.(26)
Hardie also points out Lucretian echoes in the account of Turnus' transformation, which ironically recalls a passage in which Lucretius stresses the power of reason to overcome innate deficiencies of character. In De Rerum Natura 3.288-322, different character-types are explained in terms of the atomic constitution of the individual soul, and compared to the `characters' of animals (the angry lion, timid deer and placid cow). Lucretius concludes by reassuring us that, though it may not be possible to transcend these characteristics completely, the `traces' of our innate constitution which reason cannot overcome will be so slight that they cannot prevent us from `living a life worthy of the gods'. Virgil's account of Turnus' `infection' strongly recalls the angry character as described by Lucretius:
sed calidi plus est illis quibus acria corda
iracundaque mens facile effervescit in ira.
quo genere in primis vis est violenta leonum,
pectora qui fremitu rumpunt plerumque gementes
nec capere irarum fluctus in pectore possunt
But there is more heat in those whose keen hearts and angry minds easily blaze out in anger. A prime example is the violent character of lions, whose growling and roaring often bursts their breasts, and who cannot contain the surge of anger within their breast.
According to Lucretius' atomic theory, the angry man or lion literally has an excess of fire in his soul, which causes `waves of anger' to overflow his breast. Virgil develops this language into a simile comparing Turnuus' anger to a cauldron gradually boiling over.(27) The torch thrown by Allecto corresponds to the fiery soul in Lucretius;(28) but Turnus has no chance to resist once Allecto takes on her true shape. Still more than in the Georgics, Virgil here takes issue with Lucretius' rationalist faith: innate propensities to violent emotion may be too strong to overcome, like the demonic Allecto; we may have more in common with the beasts than Lucretius would be prepared to admit.
Virgil's quasi-allegorical use of metamorphosis myths can also be seen as taking issue with Lucretius in a slightly different sense. For Lucretius, as for many writers of the period, such transformations are simply impossible, and stories involving them are paradigm cases which exemplify the absurd and irrational nature of myth in general. While other myths (though untrue) merit discussion and interpretation, metamorphoses are either dismissed out of hand or figure as adynata, examples of what is patently impossible.(29) The species are fixed and unchanging, with their own permanent and well-defined characteristics: one kind cannot change into another and never could.(30) Virgil, on the other hand, implies that stories of this kind may have a symbolic truth, even if they are unacceptable on a literal level.(31) Whether or not a human being can really become an animal, the stories of Pasiphae, Circe, and Io can be taken as illustrations of the brutalizing effect of passion. Similarly, Lucretius tends to write off composite monsters (Centaurs, Scylla, the Chimaera) as absurdities unworthy of serious consideration:(32) these, as we shall see, are also rehabilitated by Virgil, in the wake of earlier allegorical interpreters.
Throughout the Virgilian corpus, then, myths of metamorphosis act as vehicles for reflection on the destructive and dehumanizing power of the passions. Turnus' transformation by Allecto parallels Circe's more literal transformations at the beginning of the book, and is in turn mirrored in the story of Io, depicted on his shield at the end of the book. To what extent, though, we are justified in interpreting Juno and Allecto as externalizations of Turnus' emotions? It is relatively easy to explain the Circe episode as a symbolic anticipation of later events, because Circe's role in the action is otherwise so limited; but Juno is not so easily disposed of. The status of the divine apparatus in the Aeneid had been much discussed, and I do not intend to reopen the debate here; but it is worth observing that, while Virgil goes out of his way to make the behaviour of other characters (particularly Dido and Amata) plausible on a purely human level, he does not do so in Turnus' case.(33) We know that Dido has every reason to fall in love with Aeneas even without Venus' intervention: she has heard favourable reports of him and his countrymen; the two characters have much in common; she longs for a child. Similarly, Amata is already anxious and angry on behalf of her daughter's suitor before Allecto heightens her emotions (7.344-5). But we know almost nothing of Turnus' psychological state prior to his transformation. He is certainly sleeping peacefully enough when the disguised Allecto approaches him; and he answers the supposed priestess calmly, if proudly. But the poet simply does not give us enough information to be sure whether his later behaviour is `in character' or not. Are we to see him as the victim of Juno's meddling, or as a tool apt to be so exploited? The question is not susceptible to any straightforward answer; indeed, in the fight of what was said above about the depiction of sexual passion in the Eclogues and the Georgics, it may be misleading to distinguish between the two possibilities. And again, the figure of Io is an appropriate emblem for either role, or both. At one level, she is an innocent victim of the passion and jealousy of the gods (and is memorably so represented in tragedy, particularly the Prometheus Bound); on the other, she suggests, like Circe's animals(34) and the Io of the Georgics, the brutalizing power of furor.
In the later books of the poem, Turnus' animal nature is frequently evoked by means of similes. It has often been pointed out that Virgil is much more selective than Homer in his use of animal imagery: while Aeneas is only very rarely compared to predatory animals, Turnus is repeatedly likened to a lion, tiger, wolf, or eagle.(35) These similes are obviously calculated to bring out the aggressive, bloodthirsty nature of Turnus' `Homeric' heroism; Aeneas, on the contrary, generally pursues the Roman ideal of fighting `for the sake of peace'.(36) But there is one passage near the end of the poem where the two heroes are depicted as equally-matched, and equally eager to fight: as the long-anticipated duel is finally joined, the combatants are compared to a pair of bulls fighting for leadership of the herd (12.715-24). The simile is derived ultimately from Apollonius Rhodius (Arg. 2.88-9);(37) but it recalls more immediately the battle of rival bulls which forms a prelude to the attack on amor in the Georgics:
ac velut ingenti Sila summove Taburno
cum duo conversis inimica in proelia tauri
frontibus incurrunt, pavidi cessere magistri,
stat pecus omne metu mutum, mussantque iuvencae
quis nemori imperitet, quem tota armenta sequantur;
illi inter sese multa vi proelia miscent
cornuaque obnixi infigunt et sanguine largo
colla armosque lavant, gemitu nemus omne remugit
And just as when, on huge Sila or the top of Taburnus, two rival bulls charge into battle with their horns lowered, the frightened herdsmen draw back and the whole herd stands by, dumb with fear, while the heifers wonder who will rule the woods, whom all the herd will follow. They join battle with great violence, driving their horns into each other and bathing their necks and shoulders in streams of blood, until the whole grove echoes with their bellowing.
pascitur in magna Sila formosa iuvenca:
illi [sc. tauri] alternantes multa vi proelia miscent
vulneribus crebris; lavit ater corpora sanguis,
versaque in obnixos urgentur cornua vasto
cum gemitu: reboant silvaeque et longus Olympus
A beautiful heifer is grazing on great Sila. They [the rival bulls] join battle with great violence, and deal each other many wounds; their bodies are bathed in black blood, as they lower their horns with a great bellow to meet the enemy's charge, until the woods and the heavens, from end to end, resound.
Though the details have been adapted to fit the new context, the similarities are obvious: in particular, the setting on the rather obscure Calabrian mountain Sila and the presence of the nervous females in 718 serve to connect the two. Thus, the simile is linked with the series of passages discussed above which portray the brutalizing effect of amor on its victims. The heifers which will be the prize of the winning bull take us back to Io and the gadfly: the animals in the Georgics passage are `goaded' by desire (`caeci stimulos ... amoris', 210) as Io is goaded by the gadfly, and there seems to be a play on the three place-names Silarus (the haunt of the gadfly in Geo. 3.146), Sila, and Taburnus, and the two Latin names for the gadfly, asilo and tabanus.(38) Where do all these resemblances lead us? One effect is to remind us of Turnus' love for Lavinia (mentioned at the beginning of the book as increasing his eagerness for battle): she, like the heifers of line 718, will be the victor's prize. But it is notable here that both heroes are compared to animals, as again at 749-57, where Aeneas in hot pursuit of Turnus is like a hunting-dog chasing a deer.(39) The similarity between the two men suggested by these similes prepares us for the ambiguity of the ending, where it is Aeneas, not Turnus, who is on fire with anger and `savage grief' (`saevi doloris', 945). Both are in a sense victims of Juno or of their own passions, like the persecuted Io or the love-maddened bulls; Aeneas may or may not be justified in killing Turnus (by his own lights, or according to the standard of behaviour suggested by Anchises in his famous exhortation to `spare the humble and crush the proud', or the ideology of Augustan Rome(40); but it must be significant that the action is carried out in the frame of mind which has been characteristic of Turnus since his encounter with Allecto in book 7.(41)
I have argued up to this point for a relatively sympathetic reading of Turnus' character, based on his affinity with Io (and Dido) and on related images of metamorphosis in book 7 and throughout the second half of the poem. This reading must be balanced, however, against the much less positive interpretation suggested by Turnus' other piece of armour.(42) The fire-breathing Chimaera on Turnus' helmet also resembles its wearer, who is a `fiery' character from the Allecto scene onwards,(43) and `roars' (`fremit', 460) for arms just as the monster roars in the heat of battle (`fremens', 787). It serves to align Turnus with the fire-breathing monster Cacus, whose fight with the saviour Hercules is described in the next book; this combat acts in turn as `type' of Aeneas' duel with Turnus, and of Augustus' victory over Cleopatra, as depicted on Aeneas' shield at the end of book 8. Though not without ambiguities of its own,(44) this typology suggests a relatively clear-cut opposition between the forces of order and peace Hercules as monster-slayer, especially as depicted in the hymn of the Salii; Augustus as triumphator) and the forces of violence and disorder. This opposition is further underlined by the connexion between the Chimaera and the Giants, suggested by the phrase `Aetnaeos ignis' (`fires of Etna') in 786. The phrase implies a further reference to the traditions of allegorical interpretation which, as we saw, underlie Virgil's handling of the Circe myth. The Chimaera was sometimes rationalized as a personified volcano (hence her fiery `jaws')(41) volcanic activity, in turn, was frequently connected with the giant Enceladus or Typho who was said to be buried under Mount Etna. The third element in the equation is the very common interpretation of the gigantomachy as a battle between order and chaos, which may have political implications: in Horace's fourth Roman Ode (Odes 3.4), for example, the Giants stand for `force unchecked by counsel' (`vis consili expers'), as opposed to force exercised with restraint' (`vis temperata')(46) Turnus' helmet, then, marks him not only as a monster (like the Chimaera) but as an opponent of the divine order imposed by Jupiter: if the fires breathed out by Etna are signs that Typho/Enceladus is trying to escape and renew his attack on the Olympians, so the fires breathed out by the Chimaera are signs that Turnus' violence is directed against the will of the supreme god. And as the Chimaera was slain by Bellerophon, and Enceladus imprisoned by jupiter, Turnus too must be eliminated if peace is to be established.
Once again, it is possible to detect a kind of revision of Lucretius here. The phrase which Virgil uses to describe the Chimaera -- `Aetnaeos efflantem faucibus ignis' (`breathing out fires of Etna from its jaws') -- echoes Lucretius' description of Etna, `flamma ... Aetnae fornacibus efflet' (`flame breathes out from the furnaces of Etna', 6.460).(47) Volcanic eruption can, in Lucretius' eyes, be explained on entirely rational principles, without recourse to myth;(48) but he elsewhere appeals to the myth of the gigantomachy to symbolize Epicurus' bold attack on established religion. At the beginning of the poem (1.62-79), Epicurus is represented as a hero defying the demonic figure of religio and, undaunted by Jupiter's rumoured thunderbolts, breaking through the walls of the world in thought and bringing back knowledge of the true nature of the universe as his prize. The image recurs in book 5 (117-21), where Lucretius represents those who attack the idea that the heavenly bodies are divine as Giants attacking the heavens -- except that in the poet's eyes the attack is fully justified and involves no impiety. The myth of Typho/Enceladus is implicitly invoked in the long encomium of Empedocles (1.716-33), whom Lucretius praises warmly as a philosophical poet, despite the errors he finds in his philosophical system. In describing Empedocles' birthplace, Sicily, the poet mentions Etna, in terms which suggest the buried Giant and his attack on the heavens:
hic Aetnaea minantur
murmura flammarum rursum se colligere iras,
faucibus eruptos iterum vis ut vomat ignis
ad caelumque ferat flammai fulgura rursum
Here the rumbling of Etna warns that it is gathering its angry flames again and preparing to spew out the fires erupting from its jaws and hurl gouts of flame once more at the heavens.
In the context, it is easy to interpret the implicit allusion to the Giants' assault on the heavens as a symbol of `heroic' philosophical endeavour, particularly as Lucretius goes on to praise Empedocles' writings as `holier and based on much sounder reason than the prophecies which the Pythia issues from the tripod and laurel of Phoebus' (738-9).
Lucretius, then, strikingly reverses the traditional evaluation of the Giants' attack on the heavens, and associates it with the triumph of reason over superstition, rather than with unreasoning violence in opposition to order and peace. Virgil returns to the more usual evaluation, and, in so doing, revises the earlier poet's system of values: for Lucretius, peace is readily available to the individual, and is to be attained by withdrawing from public life, eschewing superstition and the desire for fame and fortune, and following in the footsteps of Epicurus. Virgil's revaluation of the myth suggests rather that peace is to be won on the political level by the suppression of the forces of violence and disorder, and on the personal level (to anticipate slightly) by subordinating personal desires to the good of the wider community.
If the image of Io on the shield indicates a view of Turnus as a victim, whether of the gods or of his own passions, the Chimaera on his helmet gives a less sympathetic impression, implying that he is an enemy of reason, order, and the gods. If we now consider the other figures in the catalogue of Italian troops, similar ambiguities can be traced.(49) The catalogue begins with the impious Mezentius, the epitome of Italian ferocity and the antithesis of Trojan piety. He is followed by several figures with monstrous or bestial associations: Aventinus bears a shield depicting the Hydra (though as the foe of his father Hercules) and wears a lion skin (reminiscent of Circe's victims(50) as well as Hercules'), and his followers wield `savage' pikes; next come Catillus and Coras, who are compared to Centaurs (traditionally part-civilized creatures, who are listed amongst the monsters slain by Hercules in the Salian hymn in book 8(51)); and Caeculus, son of Vulcan and hence brother of Cacus, whose followers wear wolf-skin caps. At this point, however, the monstrous elements fade out, and are gradually replaced by loving evocation of Italian places, and picturesque details of weaponry and armour. Messapus' followers are compared to birds, but to swans rather than to any fiercer animal; and there are several references in the latter part of the catalogue to agriculture, recalling the tough Italian farmer of the Georgics.(52) The priest and healer Umbro, who figures near the end of the catalogue, even possesses the ability to `soothe the anger' of snakes and cure their bites: his skill might be considered symbolically significant, given the role of the snakey Allecto in starting the war (though in fact, like his Homeric predecessors, he proves unable to save himself, let alone calm the passions which have led to the outbreak of hostilities). The whole catalogue graphically illustrates the double-edged character of Virgil's early Italians, who are depicted as tough, sturdy, and frugal, but also as prone to lawlessness, violence, and cruelty. This ambiguity is summed up in the last two figures in the catalogue, Turnus himself, and Camilla, whose double nature (as maiden and warrior, beautiful but unnatural) is captured in the closing image of her spear, `pastoral myrtle tipped with a blade' (817).(53)
The ambiguous symbolism of Turnus' armour can also be usefully compared with the symbolism of the baldric which he takes as spoils from the dead Pallas, which is similarly equivocal.(54) The baldric is chased with a gruesome scene of murder, depicting the sons of Aegyptus killed on their wedding-night by their brides, the daughters of Danaus. The ecphrasis can be read as an authorial comment on the killing of Pallas: as Turnus takes from the dead youth (`exanimem', 10.496) a belt depicting slaughtered youths (`caesa manus iuvenum', 498), it is easy to take the strong note of moral condemnation (`nefas', `a crime', 497; `foede', `foully', 498) as applying to Turnus' act as well as the Danaids'. In the immediate context, then, the ecphrasis emphasizes Turnus' cruelty, displayed in his merciless slaughter of a weaker opponent.(55) But the narrator's explicit commentary in 501-5 also directs our attention to the end of the poem, where the killer will become the victim: a time will come, we are told, when Turnus win wish he had never taken the baldric (it will, in fact, prove his final downfall, when Aeneas catches sight of it in the final lines of book 12). This suggests another way of reading the scene, particularly as the emphasis on marriage (the belt depicts the `bloody bed-chambers' of youths slaughtered on their wedding-night') has obvious relevance to Turnus' situation.(56) Again, then, Turnus is both criminal and victim; and Aeneas' act of vengeance in the closing lines of the poem becomes similarly problematic through the implicit comparison with the Danaids' murder of their bridegrooms.
Nevertheless, the baldric also serves to distinguish between the actions of Aeneas and Turnus. It is not only the scene depicted on the belt, but what Turnus does with it, that is important: had he not been wearing it, had Aeneas' anger not been sparked off by the reminder of dead Pallas, Turnus' life might have been spared. Aeneas also takes spoils from Mezentius later in book 10, but (as has often been remarked) he does not wear them, setting them up instead as a trophy dedicated to Mars.(57) For Turnus (as for the heroes of the Iliad), spoils are marks of personal status and achievement; for Aeneas, victory in battle is a mark of divine favour, and spoils are therefore to be dedicated to the gods.(58) This crucial distinction is part of a larger difference in ethos, which is also reflected in the designs on the two characters' shields. Turnus' shield, as we have seen, refers on one level to his noble ancestry, and on another to his own character and fate. Aeneas' shield, by contrast, does not refer directly to the hero himself, but represents the future exploits of his distant descendants. Symbolically, his acceptance of the shield is equated with this acceptance of the destiny which was thrust upon him in book 2: he `lifts the fame and fate of his descendants' as he picks up the shield in the closing line of book 8. The crucial difference between Turnus and Aeneas is a distinction between personal glory and impersonal duty, private desires and public pietas.(59) During the course of the epic, Aeneas is progressively stripped of all personal ties (Creusa, Anchises, Dido), except for his son, who represents the crucial link with the future. Unlike Turnus, he has no personal desire for Lavinia, whom he has never even seen. Again, comparison with the Georgics is instructive: in the fourth book, the beehive, which in some ways represents the ideal state,(60) is a wholly impersonal society, in which all work cooperatively for the common good (149-96). There is no amor, since the bees reproduce asexually (197-202), and the life of the individual is entirely subordinated to the survival of the community (203-9).(61) Against this image of passionless harmony Virgil sets the figure of Orpheus, the lover and poet, whose absolute devotion to Eurydice is represented both as a source of powerful inspiration and, finally, as his downfall, when he is overcome by furor at the crucial moment and loses her forever. Though Orpheus is treated with great sympathy by the narrator (Proteus, another metamorphic character), he is ultimately defeated by his own passion. It is Aristaeus, in the frame narrative, who succeeds in bringing about a `resurrection' of sorts when his dutiful obedience to the commands of his divine mother Cyrene enables him to generate a new swarm of bees and became the `inventor' of the practice known as bougonia (generation of bees from the carcass of a dead heifer). Resurrection is a rather misleading word, because this is not the same swarm as the one Aristaeus lost; yet one hive of bees is interchangeable with another, unlike the lost Eurydice, who is, for Orpheus, irreplaceable.
A similar tension between the personal and impersonal, passion and duty, dominates the action of the Aeneid, on two interconnected levels. On the individual level, the hero can be seen as struggling to subordinate his passions and desires to the demands of pietas and the future (particularly in the Dido episode). On a larger scale (particularly represented in the prophecies of jupiter at the beginning and end of the epic), the action of the poem is one stage in a long historical process, culminating in the defeat of furor and the inauguration of a new Golden Age of peace under Augustus, as prophesied by jupiter in book 1 and Anchises in book 6. I have argued that Virgil's reworking of Lucretian language and his exploitation of the symbolism of metamorphosis tend to call into question Lucretius' certainty that it is possible to subordinate the passions and overcome furor on a personal level. On the historical level, the outlook seems brighter: omniscient jupiter does foretell quite categorically that furor will at last be chained and the gates of war will be closed (1.291-6). But the interdependence between the two levels tends to undermine the certainty of Jupiter's prediction: so long as individuals are subject to furor, how can it be possible to prevent strife from breaking out again? This, after all, is precisely what happens in book 7: Allecto attacks individuals, and the frenzy spreads from those individuals to the whole community.
The end of the poem does nothing to resolve these problems because of the ambiguities involved in the character and motivation of both actors in the closing scene. Turnus may be viewed either as a monster who must be killed, or as a victim of circumstance, who repents his earlier aggression now that Juno has abandoned him -- to use Anchises' terms, either as superbus or as subiectus. Aeneas, on the other hand, is presented with a dilemma in which the opposition between duty and personal inclination is far from clear-cut: the rights of the suppliant conflict with the demands of Aeneas' ally Evander, who has required the hero to avenge the death of his son; on the personal side, hesitation (`cunctantem', 940) and anger (`ira', 946) have both been presented as negative qualities which the hero has striven to transcend. Servius comments (on 12.940) that the poet has written the scene in such a way that Aeneas' pietas is displayed both in his hesitation and in his determination to take vengeance for Pallas; but we could equally well turn the remark around, and say that Aeneas is faced with an impossible dilemma, from which he can only extricate himself by descending to his enemy's level and giving way to the brutalizing force of anger. Ultimately, our judgement of Aeneas' final act must be conditioned by our judgement of Turnus; and if, as I have suggested, Turnus is a thoroughly ambiguous figure, the end of the poem leaves the question open.
(1.) For earlier discussions, see S. G. P. Small, `The Arms of Turns: Aeneid 7.783-92' TAPhA 90 (1959), 243-52; V. Buchheit, Vergil uber die Sendung Roms (Heidelberg, 1963), 108-15; M. C. J. Putnam, `Aeneid VII and the Aeneid, AJPh 91 (1970), 408-30; C. C. Breen, `The Shield of Turnus, the Swordbelt of Pallas, and the Wolf', Vergilius 32 (1986), 63-71; P. R. Hardie, `Augustan Poets and the Mutability of Rome', in A. Powell (ed.), Roman Poetry and Propaganda in the Age of Augustus (London, 1992), 59-82.
(2.) The phrase `argumentum ingens' is suggestive: though argumentum is the regular technical term of the subject or theme of a work of art, the word can also denote `a symbolic representation, symbol' (OLD s.v. [section] 4; e.g. Pliny, N. H. 29.54, 35.142). When Aeneas' shield is described at the end of the next book, the poet again employs a phrase which seems designed to draw attention to the reader's task of interpretation: the shield is `non enarrabile textum', `a fabric that cannot be (fully) described' (the noun `textum' hints at the act of poetic composition: though it apparently did not take on the meaning `text' until a slightly later period, the metaphor of writing as weaving was well established by the late Republic; see further J. Scheid and J. Svenbro, The Craft of Zeus (Harvard, 1996), 131-55, and A. J. W. Laird, `Ut figura poesis: Writing Art and the Art of Writing in Augustan Poetry', in J. Elsner (ed.), Art and Text in Roman Culture (Cambridge, 1996), 75-102 (77-81 on Aeneas' shield)).
(3.) For Hera/Juno as the agent of metamorphosis, see e.g. Aesch. Suppl 299, Propertius 2.33.9. A convenient conspectus of different versions of the myth can be found in P. M. C. Forbes Irving, Metamorphosis in Greek Myths (Oxford, 1990), 211-16.
(4.) For a modern theory linking metamorphosis with sexual transgression, see Forbes Irving, op. cit., esp. 58-79. Irving notes that stories of females transformed into animals all involve illicit sexual activity, and suggests that they reflect `the traumatic effect of an unorthodox or illegitimate change from young girls to sexual objects' (68). No clear distinction is made between rape and seduction; it is always the female partner who is transformed, whether or not she is represented as compliant. Metamorphosis reflects the `wildness' and dangerous nature of female sexuality: in Io's case, the gadfly is a kind of doubling or repetition of the metamorphosis itself, since the maddening of the heifer separates her still further from civilized society.
(5.) According to Hesiod, they were punished `because of their lustfulness' ([GREEK WORDS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], fr. 132 Merkelbach-West), though other versions identify their crime as insulting Bacchus or Hera/ Juno (Bacchylides 1.43-58, Apollodorus 2.2.1, Probus on Ecl. 6.48).
(6.) The reiterated phrase `a! virgo infelix' (`ah! unfortunate girl', Ed. 6.47 and 52 cf. Aen. 4.68, 78, 450 etc.) echoes Calvus fr. 9 Courtney, `a! virgo infelix, herbis pasceris amaris' (`ah! unfortunate girl, you graze on bitter grass', of the transformed Io). R. F. Thomas (`Theocritus, Calvus and Eclogue 6', CPh 74 (1979), 337-9) also compares `pallentis ruminat herbis' (`he [(Pasiphae's bull] chews pale grass') in Ecl. 6.54. The meagre fragments of Calvus' Io give us little to go on, but it is tempting to speculate that the poem was an important intertext not only for Ecl 6 and Aen. 4, but also for several passages of the Georgics (cf. Thomas ad 3.152-4 and 219) and for the depiction of Io's metamorphosis on Turnus' shield. D. O. Ross (Virgil's Elements: Physics and Poetry in the Georgics (Princeton, 1987), 162) argues that the Io `must have been a poem of a more serious character than our sensibilities can allow, clouded over with animal passion, with divinity, vengeance, madness, and final release and revelation'. Note also that both Pasiphae and Dido wander aimlessly through the mountains/city, displaying behaviour which is characteristic both of unrequited lovers and of cattle (as Thomas points out); both resemble the metamorphosed Io.
(7.) Pasiphae is also mentioned at the beginning of Aeneid 6, where she figures on the doors of the temple of Apollo. Again, her perverse passion is described with a mixture of pity and horror: it is both `crudelis amor tauri' (`cruel love for a bull', 24) and `Venus nefanda' `unspeakable love', 26). The ecphrasis as a whole contains echoes of the Dido episode, as well as looking forward (through its images of death and the mysteries of the labyrinth) to Aeneas' katabasis.
(8.) The parallel between Turnus and Dido is made particularly clear in the lion simile at the opening of book 12: where Dido was compared to a wounded deer, Turnus is likened to a wounded lion, and the link is pointed by the fact that the scene is set `in the lands of the Carthaginians' (1 2.4). It might be objected that Turnus' ruling passion is aggression rather than love; but sexual desire and battle-lust are always closely associated in Virgil, and sometimes barely distinguishable (cf. Ecl. 10.44, Aen. 9.182-3 (with Hardie's commentary ad loc.) and 12.70f.). All such violent emotions are regarded as furores, and have similarly destructive effects on the individual and society. Turnus' `brutalization' is discussed further below.
(9.) Geo.3.242-83. So too Dido is transformed from helpless victim (69-73) to vengeful and implacable enemy (607-29; note also that her first reaction to Aeneas' desertion is to threaten violence (592-4)).
(10.) The anaphora `quid iuvenis ... quid lynces' (`what of the young man ... ? what of lynxes?', 258/264) helps to create the impression that Leander is simply one item in an undifferentiated list. Cf. M. C. J. Putnam, Virgil's Poem of the Earth: Studies in the Georgics (Princeton, 1979), 199; and the commentary of Mynors ad loc.
(11.) The halcyon is associated with the myth of Alcyone and her husband Ceyx, who were both changed into sea-birds, either as a punishment for impiety (Apollodorus 1.52) or because the gods took pity on the couple when Alcyone leapt into the sea on hearing that her husband had been shipwrecked (Ovid, Met. 11.410ff.). On metamorphosis myths in the Georgics generally, see W. Frentz, Mythologisches in Vergils Georgica (Meisenheim am Glan, 1969), 72-108 (86-93 on Nisus, Scylla, and Alcyone).
(12.) `hunc quoque ... arcebis ... pecori' (154-5) ~ `sed non ulla magis industria firmat/quam Venerem et caeci stimulos avertere amoris' (209-10); `nam mediis fervoribus acrior instat' (154) ~ `vere magis, quia vere calor redit ossibus' (272); `diffugiunt' (150) ~ `diffugiunt' (277); `furit' (250) ~ `furias' (246), `furor' (266); `furit mugitibus aether/concussus silvaeque' (150-1) ~ `reboant silvae et longus Olympus' (223). There seems also to be an etymological play on `asilo' (`gadfly', 147) and the obscure place-name Sila, the setting for the battle of rival buns in 219: the bulls are `goaded' by love as the cows/Io are goaded by the gradfly (cf. R. F. Thomas, `Gadflies (Virg. Geo. 3.145-148)', HSCP 86 (1982), 84: Ross, op. cit. (n. 6), 157-63). The phrase `caeci stimulos amoris' in 210 might also constitute a play on the subsidiary meaning of the Greek [GREEK WORDS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (`gadfly'), which can also have the more abstract sense `sting' or `smart of pain'; notably, Epicurus uses the word in this sense, with reference to eros (fr. 483). Thomas (commentary, ad loc.) detects another possible allusion to Calvus in 219, suggesting that Virgil's beautiful heifer is based on a description of the metamorphosed Io; such an echo would provide a further link between the two passages.
(13.) Though there is no explicit reference to the myth here (the bird's young have been taken by a `cruel ploughman'), the nightingale's mournful song had been identified since Homer (Od 19.518-24) as Procne's lament for her murdered child, whom the sisters cooked and fed to his father in revenge for the latter's rape of Philomela. (There is some confusion in the tradition as to which sister is which: for Greek writers, Procne is usually the mother of Itys, and is changed into a nightingale, while Philomela becomes a swallow; at some stage, the names were transposed, so that Virgil's Procne is the swallow, and Philomela is the nightingale and Itys' mother.)
(14.) `Man and Beast in Lucretius and the Georgics' CQ 41 (1991), 414-26; `Virgil's Metamorphoses: Myth and Allusion in the Georgics' PCPS 41 (1995), 36-61 (esp. 48-52).
(15.) Lucretius' Venus is `delight of gods and men' (1.1), brings to birth 'every species of animal' (1.4) and `instils desire in the hearts of all' (1.19): these ideas are condensed in Geo. 3.242-4 (with close verbal parallels), but given a very different tone and emphasis. DRN 1. 14-20, where Venus is described as leading eager animals through meadows and rushing rivers, is also closely echoed in the behaviour of Virgil's horses (3.253-4 and 269-70). Hardie Virgil's Aeneid: Cosmos and Imperium (Oxford, 1986), 164) puts forward the attractive suggestion that the etymological play on the name hippomanes, which is interpreted by implication as `horse-madness' (`furor equarum', 266), recalls Lucretius' play on amor and umor (`liquid', i.e. semen) in 4.1055-60. See further Gale, `Man and Beast', 419-20.
(16.) Both poets use the metaphors of fire, wound, and madness: these are conventional (particularly in amatory epigram), but the transference from man to animal is striking in view of the highly Lucretian context. Note also that the `unseen goads' and `hidden snare' of love (210, 217) both recall Lucretian metaphors (cf. DRN 4.1120, 1153; 1082, 1215; 1059, 1062; 1145).
(17.) Cf. K. J. Reckford, `Latent Tragedy in Aeneid 7.1-285', AJP 82 (1961), 252-69; C. P. Segal, `Circean Temptations: Homer, Vergil, Ovid', TAPA 99 (1968), 419-42; Putnam, op. cit. (n. 1); Hardie, op. cit. (n. 1).
(18.) On allegorical interpretation and its influence on the composition of the Aeneid, see R. R. Schlunk, The Homeric Scholia and de Aeneid (Ann Arbor, 1974), 33-5; Hardie, op. cit. (n. 15), especially 26-32; D. C. Feeney, 7he Gods in Epic (Oxford, 1991), 10-37 and 132-7. On allegorical interpretations of the Circe myth, E. Kaiser, `Odysee-Szenen als Topoi', MH 21 1964), 197-208; J. Yarnall, Transformations of Circe: The History of an Enchantress (Urbana and Chicago, 1994), 53-98 (and 80-6 on Circe in the Aeneia).
(19.) Homer's Circe keeps lions and wolves as pets (Od 10.212-19), but it is unclear whether they are metamorphosed humans (as Eurylochus believes, 433) or simply magically tamed animals. Commentators are divided: contrast Heubeck and Hockstra with Stanford ad loc.
(20.) Juno: 287, 592; Allecto: 329, 511; Mars: 608. Cf. Segal (op. cit. (n. 17)), who also points out links between Circe and Allecto established by their use of poison (Circe's `potent herbs', 19 and the poison of Allecto's snakes, 341 and 354) and association with monstrous creatures (monstra, 21, 348 and 376).
(21.) Compare the striking way that Circe's victim are described: `quos ... induerat Circe in vultus ac terga ferarum' (`whom Circe had covered/dressed with the faces and hides of beasts', 20). Note also `fremens' in 389.
(22.) Though the pretended rites are consciously undertaken as a ploy to delay Lavinia's marriage or formal betrothal (385-8), the women's mental state resembles the ecstasy of bacchic worship (392-3), and Allecto is described as driving Amata with the `goads of Bacchus' (405). Cf. 4.300-3, where Dido, in the frenzy of love and anger, is compared to a bacchant.
(23.) For the full story, see Ovid, Met. 14.312ff. It is notable that in Ovid's version, Circe's lustful character is stressed throughout (not just in die Picus story: see also Met. 14.1-74 for the story of Glaucus and Scylla, and 223-307 for her transformation of Odysseus' companions). The point is made explicitly in 14.2 5-6, `neque enim flammis habet aptius ulla/ talibus ingenium' (`no other woman has a character so susceptible to the flames of passion'). The influence of the allegorical tradition -- still latent in the Virgilian version -- has come to the fore in Ovid's reworking.
(24.) Horses in the Georgics are associated with both war (`bellator equus', 2.145; cf. also 3.83, 90-1, 116, 179-86) and lust (266-83). They are also fiery creatures: note especially `volvit sub naribus ignem', 3.85, picked up in the description of Latinus' horses, `spirantis naribus ignem', Aen. 7.281 (also 98-100 and 271; cf. Ross, op. cit. (n. 6), 153). In the Aeneid horses are associated with war through the omens of 1.443-5 and 3.537-43 (though in the latter case they are also said to offer `the hope of peace'); fire is associated with war and passion throughout the poem, especially in books 2, 4 and 7 (cf. B. M. W. Knox,`The Serpent and the Flame', AJP 71 (1950), 379-400; B. Fenik, `Parallelism of Theme and Imagery in Aeneid 2 and 4', AJP 80 (1959), 1-24; and n. 43 below).
(25.) Hardie, op. cit. (n. 1), 63-4.
(26.) Two further examples of metamorphosis relevant to my theme are the transformation of Cycnus into a swan, briefly described in 10.189-93 and referred to as a crimen of Amor; and the fate of the companions of Diomedes, who were changed into birds (11.271-4) as a punishment (Diomedes suggests) for their `violation' of Troy and, more specifically, the `madness' (`demens', 276) of the hero's attack on the gods themselves. The other examples mentioned by Hardie (the fate of Polydorus in book 3, Acestes' portentous arrow in 5, the metamorphosis of the Trojan ships in 9) are not so pertinent here, since they do not involve animals.
(27.) Cf. esp. `nec iam se capit unda' (`and now the surging water cannot contain itself') in 466 with line 298 of the Lucretian passage. Turnus also growls (fremit, 460) like Lucretius' lion (`fremitu', 297); and note that fiery Turnus is compared to a lion roused to violence in 12.3-9, while his sparkling eyes in 12.102 (`oculis micat acribus ignis', `fire flashes from his keen eyes') recall those of the angry person in Lucretius 3.289 (`ex oculis micat acrius ardor', `heat flashes more keenly from his eyes'). Cf. also the `irae' of Circe's lions in 7.15.
(28.) Anger is describe as a smoking torch in DRN 3.303f. (`irai fax ... / fumida, suffundens caecae caliginis umbra', `the torch of anger, suffusing [the mind] with the shadow of blinding blackness'); the Lucretian phrase is compressed by Virgil into the striking oxymoron `atro/lumine fumantis ... taedas' (`torches smoking with black light', 7.456f.).
(29.) See especially 2.700-6 (with the dismissive observation that such things obviously don't happen, 707) and 2.817-25; cf. the dismissal of monstrous or portentous creatures in 1. 199-204 and 5.891-4.
(30.) This principle is particularly clear in the discussion of personality types (3.296-306) which, as we have just seen, Virgil echoes in his account of Turnus' `metamorphosis'. The fixity of animal characteristics is used as the basis for a reductio ad absurdum later in the same book (3.748-53), where Lucretius argues against the doctrine of metempsychosis on the grounds that reincarnation of the same soul in the body of a different animal would necessarily result in aberrant behaviour (dogs would flee from deer, doves would chase hawks, animals would possess the faculty of reason). Cf. also 1.188-90.
(31.) In Georgics 3, Virgil's engagement with Lucretius is `flagged' by means of verbal echoes: both the references to metamorphosis myths discussed above are preceded by allusions to passages where Lucretius takes an explicitly or implicitly anti-mythological stance. The phrase `quorum Grai meminere poetae' in 90 echoes a Lucretian `distancing formula', used (with minor variations) to reject mythological explanations of various phenomena in 2.600, 5.405, and 6.754; while the fiery nostrils attributed to the ideal horse a few lines earlier (`volvit sub naribus ignem', 85) recall the horses of Diomedes as described in the proem to DRN 5 (`spirantis naribus ignem', 30), where the poet is ridiculing the exploits of Hercules. Similarly Virgil's gadfly is `asper, acerba sonans' (149), a phrase which recalls Lucretius' dragon of the Hesperides, `asper, acerba tuens' (533).
(32.) See especially 5.878-924; cf. 4.732-48.
(33.) Feeney (op. cit. (n. 18), 162-72) argues that it is impossible to take Allecto simply as a device for revealing the characters' psychological state; the incompatibility between different reading conventions (the gods as `literal' participants in the action versus the gods as psychological symbols) is such that we cannot determine for certain whether Amata and Turnus are in control of their actions or not.
(34.) The link is pointed by the reference to the promontory of Circei in 799, as one of the areas from which Turnus' followers are drawn. Io's bristly hide (`saetis obsita', 790) also recalls Circe's pigs (`saetigeri sues', 17).
(35.) Lion: 9.792-6, 10.454-6, 12.4-9; tiger: 9.730; wolf: 9.59-64, 565-6; eagle: 9.563-4. Cf. V. Poschl, The Art of Vergil. Image and Symbol in the Aeneid (trans. G. Seligson, Ann Arbor, 1962), 98-9. The monstrous Mezentius is similarly characterized: he is likened to a lion in 10.723 and a boar in 708. Aeneas and his comrades are compared to hungry wolves in 2.355-60, when driven by the frenzy (`furor', 355) of despair to seek death in the futile defence of Troy; shortly afterwards, they stoop to the ruse of dressing in Greek armour, which must be seen, in the context of Ulysses' and Sinon's despicable deceits, as morally questionable (note especially Coroebus' comment in 2.390). The ploy can also be seen as a kind of metamorphosis: the Trojans `put on' (`induitur', 2.393) a new outward form, just as Circe `puts the appearance of beasts' (`induerat', 7.20) on her victims; and note also `mutemus' in 2.389. A borderline case is the hunting-dog smile in 12.749-57: while not precisely predatory, the dog is certainly aggressive compared to the deer (Turnus) it is pursuing (contrast the hunted lion in the opening lines of book 12). Compare also 10.565-570, where Aeneas, at his most aggressive after the death of Pallas, is likened to the fire-breathing giant Aegaeon, one of the primeval enemies of jupiter. Other Trojans are compared to animals only at moments when they are behaving less than honourably (Nisus is like a lion when slaughtering sleeping Italians in 9.339; Arruns slinks away like a wolf after ids cowardly attack on Camilla, 11.811).
(36.) Cf. Cicero, De Officiis 1.34: `Wars should be undertaken to this end, that we may live in peace without injury.' Attitudes towards warfare and conquest amongst Virgil and his contemporaries are usefully explored by R. O. A. M. Lyne, `Vergil and the Politics of War', CQ 33 (1983), 188-203; cf. also my `War and Peace in Lucretius and the Georgics', PVS 23 (forthcoming).
(37.) See R. L. Hunter, `Bulls and Boxers in Apollonius and Virgil', CQ 39 (1989), 557-61.
(38.) Cf. note 11 above.
(39.) The sequence of animal similes spanning book 12 strikingly illustrates Turnus' increasing helplessness and Aeneas' increasing aggression: in the opening scenes, Turnus is like a wounded lion which turns on its hunters (4-9), and then a bull working itself up for a fight (103-6); at the end of the book, the heroes are at first evenly matched (both bulls, in the passage under discussion), but Turnus is soon reduced to the role of prey, with Aeneas again playing the part of hunter (note the echoes `puniceae', 750 ~ `Poenorum', 4; `venator', 751 ~ `venantum', 5; but the deer is `territus' (752) where the lion was `impavidus' (8)).
(40.) Anchises' exhortation seems in fact to represent a widely held ideal of justice in war: the conquered should be treated with compassion, provided that it is safe to do so (cf. Cicero, De Officiis 1.35; Prop. 2.16.41-2 and 3.22.21-2; Horace, Carmen Saec. 51-2; Augustus, Res Gestae 3.2).
(41.) On the ending, see most recently G. K. Galinsky, `How to be Philosophical about the End of the Aeneid, ICS 19 (1994), 191-201, where he defends (with minor modifications) the conclusions reached in his earlier article, `The Anger of Aeneas' (AJP 109 (1988), 321-48). Galinsky invokes contemporary philosophical debate in order to show that anger would not necessarily be regarded as a vice by the Augustan reader, and that Aeneas' victory is not therefore compromised. The very fact, however, that the nature of anger was the subject of controversy amongst the philosophical schools must surely increase, rather than decrease, the openness of the ending. Virgil's reader was (and is) not obliged to believe anger to be either a good thing or a bad thing and the fact that the emotion has so often been associated with Turnus up to this point should at least give us pause. Aeneas himself is depicted as working up his own anger on the eve of the duel (12.108), suggesting that it is a quality essential to the warrior; but he also tries to restrain the irae of others when the truce is broken (314). Turnus' final plea `ulterius ne tende odiis' (`do not carry your hatred further', 938) echoes, perhaps disingenuously, Aeneas' own earlier sentiments. Again, we might see a significant contrast between Aeneas' deliberate manipulation of his own anger and Turnus' lack of control (contrast the active verbs in 12.108, where Aeneas works himself up into a suitably aggressive state of mind, with the passive `agitur furiis' (`is driven on by fury') used of Turnus in 101); but in the final scene it is Aeneas who is in the grip of furiae (`furiis accensus', `set on fire by fury', 12.946).
(42.) The symbolism of the helmet is well analysed by Buchheit, op. cit. (n. 1), 111-12, Small, op. cit. (n. 1), and especially Hardie, op. cit. (n. 15), 118-19.
(43.) Note particularly the opening scenes of book 9, where the `fire' of Turnus' anger (66) becomes the literal fire with which he attack the ships (71-7) and later (535-7) the Trojan camp cf. Poschl, op. cit. (n. 35), 130). Again at the beginning of book 12, Turnus is `fired' by the thought of the coming duel (3, 55, 71 and especially 101-2; cf. also 325, 670, and 732). It should be noted, however, that fire is an ambiguous symbol throughout the Aeneid, since it may signify greatness or victory as well as destructiveness and passion: note especially the flames which play around the heads of Iulus (2.682-6), Augustus at Actium (8.680-1), and Aeneas himself (10.270-1).
(44.) Hercules' behaviour in the fight with Cacus has something of the monstrous about it, and in places he sounds disturbingly similar to his opponent: he blazes with anger (`exarserat', 219, `fervidus', 230), gnashes his teeth (230), and is afflicted with furious rage `furiis', 219, `furens animi', 228). Similarly, Aeneas, when enraged by his failure to save Pallas, is compared to the fire-breathing giant Aegaeon: the simile would not seem out of place if applied to the Chimaera-like Turnus, and implies a startling -- if temporary -- similarity between the two heroes. On Hercules and Cacus, see further G. K. Galinsky, "The Hercides-Cacus Episode in Aeneid 8', AJP 87 (1966), 18-5; Hardic, op. cit. (n. 15), 110-18; on Aeneas and Aegaeon, Hardie, op. cit., 154-6; J. J. O'Hara, `They Might Be Giants: Inconsistency and Indeterminacy in Vergil's War in Italy', Colby Quarterly 30 (1994), 206-32.
(45.) Cf. Servius on 6.288, where he gives a detailed allegorical interpretation. The volcano is also mentioned by Pliny, N.H. 2.110.
(46.) Cf. Hardie, op. cit. (n. 15), 85-156, especially 85-90 and 125-43 on the political symbolism of the gigantomachy.
(47.) The Chimaera itself is dismissed as an absurdity in 5.901-6.
(48.) The word `fornacibus' (`furnace', `forge'), however, suggests a rationalization of the other myth connected with Etna, which is sometimes the site of the forge where the Cyclopes make Jupiter's thunderbolts: cf. Hardie, op. cit. (n. 15), 185-7; M. R. Gale, Myth and Poetry in Lucretius (Cambridge, 1994), 187.
(49.) On the ambiguity of pre-war Italy and its inhabitants, cf. O'Hara, op. cit.
(50.) Cf. `tegimen ... indutus capiti' (`a hide which covered his head', 666-8) with `induerat ... in vultus ac terga terarum' (`she had covered with the faces and hides of beasts', 20). The lion-skin also has `terrible bristles' (`saeta', 667) like Circe's pigs (`saetigeri', 17).
(51.) The link is pointed by the repetition of the epithet `nubigenae' (`cloud-born') in 7.674 and 8.293.
(52.) `oliviferae Mutuscae' (`olive-bearing Mutusca', 711), `vertunt felicia Baccho Massica qui rastris'(`those who turn with their hoes the Massic soil, fertile for vines', 725-6), `maliferae ... Abellae' (`Abella with its apple-orchards', 740) and especially `armati terram exercent' (`they work the soil under arms', 748), which looks forward to the speech of Numanus Remulus in book 9 (esp. 609-13).
(53.) The relatively lengthy account of Hippolytus' son Virbius, who comes between Umbro and Turnus in 761-82, can perhaps also be fitted into this pattern. Hippolytus himself is a victim of furor, destroyed through the wiles of his spumed step-mother Phaedra. He is subsequently revived, thanks to the chaste love of Diana, and lives out his life in pastoral seclusion in the grove of Egeria (with `ignobilis' (`inglorious', 776) compare the poet's `ignobile otium' (`inglorious ease'), contrasted with the active life of the conquering hero Octavian at the end of the Georgics (4.560-4)). But Hippolytus' son Virbius is apparently oblivious to the destructiveness of passion manifested in his father's death: he rushes eagerly into battle in a chariot drawn (significantly) by `fiery' (`ardentis') horses (781-2). We have already explored the associations between fire and destructive passion, and between horses and war; and Virbius' chariot may remined us of the runaway chariot of war at the end of Georgics 1. We are left to wonder whether Virbius will prove any more able to control his horses amidst the furor of war than his father was when confronted by the sea monster called up Theseus' curse. On another level, the chariot itself suggests self-control and the possibility of losing it: for the soul as charioteer, see especially Plato, Phaedrus 246a-57e; madness is commonly likened to a chariot out of control by the tragedians (Aeschylus, Choe. 1021-4, P. V. 882-4; Euripides, El. 1253, Or. 36, I. T. 82-3).
(54.) This point is developed at length by M. C. J. Putnam, `Virgil's Danaid Ecphrasis', ICS 19 (1994), 171-89, who, however, takes the ecphrasis ultimately to imply a fairly clear-cut condemnation of Aeneas (and Augustus).
(55.) G. B. Conte (`The Baldric of Pallas: Cultural Models and Literary Rhetoric', in The, Rhetoric of Imitation (Ithaca and London, 1986), 185-95) also draws attention to the connexion between the marriage motif and the theme of premature death as developed in sepulchral inscriptions and elegiac poetry: the death of an unwed youth is considered particularly pitiful. Cf. 6.307 and 10.720.
(56.) Putnam (op. cit. (n. 54), 178) points out that Turnus' supplication of Aeneas can also be linked with the Danaid myth, in which supplication is an important motif.
(57.) The arms of Haemonides are similarly taken away for dedication by Serestus, 10.541-2.
(58.) Aeneas' action accords with the ideal (often expressed, though perhaps seldom adhered to) that the general's share of war-spoils should be used for public benefaction, rather than self-aggrandizement: see, for example, Cicero, De Officiis 2.76, where Aemilius Paulus and Mummius are praised for using spoils to `adorn' Italy rather than enrich their own property. For the idea that magnificence in the public sphere should ideally be combined with personal frugality, see also Sallust, Cat. 9.2, Cic. Flacc. 28, Mur. 75, Hor. Carm. 2.15.13-20.
(59.) Cf. S. S. Kristol, Labor and Fortuna in Virgil's Aeneid (New York and London, 1990), 224-6, who points out that Turnus relies mainly on past glories (e.g. 7.414, 474; 10.76; 12.649), rather than looking to the future, as Aeneas is encouraged to do.
(60.) For some important qualifications, see J. Griffin, `The Fourth Georgic, Virgil, and Rome', G&R 26 (1979), 60-80.
(61.) It is perhaps also significant that Procne the swallow, whose metamorphosis is part of a series of mythological allusions related to the theme of passion and furor, is mentioned as one of the enemies from which the
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|Publication:||Greece & Rome|
|Date:||Oct 1, 1997|
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