Monday, August 25, 2014
Tree-Felling in Statius' Achilleid
Nowhere are the shady haunts of old: Othrys is lesser grown, lofty Taygetus sinks low, the shorn hills see the light of day. Now the whole forest is afloat: oaks are hewn to make a fleet, the woods are diminished for oars.Id., 2.60-65 (Paris abducts Helen; tr. J.H. Mozley):
nusquam umbrae veteres: minor Othrys et ardua sidunt
Taygeta, exuti viderunt aera montes.
iam natat omne nemus: caeduntur robora classi,
silva minor remis.
He cuts down the Phrygian groves, the secret haunts of the turret-crowned mother, and flings down pines that fear to fall to earth, and borne o'er the sea to Achaean lands he plunders the marriage-chamber of his host the son of Atreus—ah! shame and pity on proud Europe!—and exulting in Helen puts to sea and brings home to Pergamum the spoils of Argos.The "turret-crowned mother" is Cybele (Magna Mater), represented thus in statuary and on coins.
ille Phrygas lucos, matris penetralia caedit
turrigerae veritasque solo procumbere pinus
praecipitat terrasque freto delatus Achaeas
hospitis Atridae—pudet heu miseretque potentis
Europae!—spoliat thalamos, Helenaque superbus
navigat et captos ad Pergama devehit Argos.
61 veritasque P: vetitasque ω