Wednesday, July 27, 2022


An Inscription at Erice

Thanks to Eric Thomson for sending me this photograph of an Italian inscription from Erice, Sicily, composed by Giuseppe Pagoto and erected in 1930:
Here is a mixed-case transcription with my tentative punctuation (line numbers also added):
Faro di salvezza e di gioia,
splendeva questo sacro monte,
da secoli remoti
e poi che da queste mura,
vinta Cartagine alle Egadi,        5
usciva patteggiato il punico Amilcare.
La ridente Venere Ericina
adoravano i Quiriti,
progenitrice dell'alta Roma,
quando quì venne        10
gloria del passato,
religione e bellezza di natura
egli.        15
Congiunti presso il sepolcro di Anchise
in fraternità di sangue e di valore
gli Ericini e gli avi Troiani.
Consacrò questi luoghi,
limite d'Italia,        20
e li recinse della luce immortale
della divina poesia.
nell' anno MCMXXX,
bimillenario del poeta,        25
Here is my very rough first attempt at a translation:
Beacon of salvation and joy
this holy mountain gleamed
from centuries remote
and then when from these walls
(Carthage having been defeated at the [Battle of the] Aegates)
the Punic Hamilcar came forth to sue for peace.
The Quirites worshipped
the laughing Venus Erycina,
ancestress of lofty Rome,
when hither came
glory of the past,
religion and beauty of nature
inspiring him.
Joined together at the tomb of Anchises,
in brotherhood of blood and valor,
(were) the inhabitants of Erice and the Trojan ancestors.
He (Vergil) consecrated these places,
outpost of Italy,
and surrounded them with the immortal light
of divine poetry.
At Erice
in the year MCMXXX,
bimillennary of the poet,
(year) VIII (of the Fascist Era).
A few notes:
5 vinta Cartagine alle Egadi — the Battle of the Aegates (241 B.C.) marked the end of the First Punic War.
7 la ridente Venere Ericina — cf. Horace, Odes 1.2.33: Erycina ridens.
16-17 Congiunti ... gli Ericini e gli avi Troiani — cf. Vergil, Aeneid 5.293: undique conveniunt Teucri mixtique Sicani (at the funeral games for Aeneas' father Anchises).
Related post: Hail!

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