Statius, Silvae Book 4
Translated by D. A. Slater
Formatted and with notes by C. Chinn

I. Domitian’s Seventeenth Consulship

	WITH happy omens doth our Emperor, the conqueror of Germany, 
	add yet again the purple unto his eight consulships twice told 
	and inaugurates once again a glorious year.1 With the new sun he rises 
	and with the great lights, more radiant still than they and mightier 
5	than the Morning Star in the East. Joy to the laws of Latium, 
	joy to the chairs of state!2 Let Rome more proudly lift her seven hills 
	heavenwards, and beyond the rest let Evander’s mount exult.3 
	Again the rods, again the twelve axes4 have scaled the Palatine and broken 
	Caesar’s rest. The Senate rejoice that their prayer has been heard 
10	and that they have overcome their Ruler’s modesty. 
	Even Janus5 himself, the almighty renewer of the dateless years, 
	lifts up his head and from both his thresholds gives thanks; 
	Janus, whom thou hast fastened in bonds of peace6 (Peace his neighbour)7 
	and bidden him lull all wars to rest and swear allegiance to the statutes 
15	of the new forum. From both his gates he uplifts hands 
	of entreaty and with twofold voice he cries: 

	‘All hail, great father of the world, who makest ready with me to renew 
	the ages; fain would thy city ever behold thee thus in my month; thus it is 
	meet that the years should begin their march, and fresh aeons make their 
20	entry. Grant to our records this bliss continually. Let thy shoulders 
	many a time be robed in the purple folds and the trappings 
	wrought in haste for thee by thine own Minerva’s hands.8 
	Seest thou, how the temples break into a new and strange radiance; 
	how the fire leaps higher on the altars; how even my mid-winter stars 
25	grow warm in honour of thee and thy haviour? Knights and commons 
	and purple senators rejoice,9 and every office draws a lustre from 
	the sunshine of thy consulate. Tell me, was there a magic such as this 
	in the year just past? Speak, royal Rome, and do thou, age-long Time, 
	review our records with me. Rehearse not petty histories, 
30	but theirs only whom our Caesar may deign to surpass. 
	Thrice and ten times in the gliding years did Augustus wield the axes,10 
	but he entered late on his career of service: thou in early manhood 
	hast outstripped thy forefathers. And how oft thou dost refuse, 
	how oft forbid the proffer! Yet wilt thou yield, and to the suppliant 
35	senate promise many a return of the day. The long tale is still to tell. 
	Thrice, yea, and four times as oft shall Rome be blessed in granting 
	thee this office. Thou and I will inaugurate yet another Aeon;11 
	thou shalt reconsecrate the altar of the aged sire. 
	Only accept the triumph, and a thousand trophies shall be thine. 
40	Still is Bactra, still is Babylon to be yoked with fresh tribute: 
	no laurels are yet won from India to lay in the lap of Jove: 
	not yet are the Seres, and not yet the Arabs thy suppliants: not yet hath 
	the whole year its guerdon: ten months still yearn for a title from thee.’12 

	Thus Janus, and willingly closed his gates and was gone. 
45	Then all the gods opened their portals and gave signs and tokens 
	in the glad sky: and royal Jupiter confirmed to thee, sire, 
	enduring youth and years as many as his own.

II. Thank you to Domitian for dinner

	THE royal feast of Sidonian Dido is sung by him 
	who brought the great Aeneas to the Laurentine fields;13 
	the banquet of Alcinous is celebrated in deathless verse 
	by him who sang the return over the broad seas of Ulysses outworn:14 
5	but I,—to whom Caesar has even now for the first time 
	granted to enjoy the bliss of that holy banquet, and to rise up 
	from an Emperor’s table,—how shall I sound my vows upon the lyre; 
	how avail to pay my thanks? Nay, though my brow be bound 
	and blessed with the fragrant bays of Smyrna and of Mantua,15 not even so 
10	shall my strains be worthy. I seemed to be feasting in the heart 
	of heaven with Jove, taking from the Trojan’s16 hand 
	immortal wine. Barren are the years of my past. 
	This is the beginning of my days, this the threshold of life. 
	Ruler of the world, great father of the conquered globe, 
15	hope of mankind, darling of the gods, can it be that I behold thee as I recline? 
	Is it thou? And dost thou suffer me to see thy face, thy face hard by 
	at the board over the wine, and must I not rise up to do thee homage? 

	Noble is the hall and spacious, not glorified with a hundred columns, 
	but with so many as might bear up the gods in heaven, 
20	were Atlas discharged. The neighbouring palace of the Thunderer17 
	is amazed at thine. The gods rejoice that thou hast thy home in 
	as fair a seat as their own. Hasten not to ascend to the great sky. 
	So spacious is the pile; more enlarged than the plain is the career 
	of thy vast hall, clasping and closing within it wide space of sky, 
25	unsurpassed save by its lord. He fills the place 
	and his mighty presence makes its delight. There, as in rivalry, 
	gleams the marble of Libya and of Ilium; resting upon syenite18 
	are slabs of Chian19 and blocks of sea-grey stone:20 
	and Luna21 is there, pressed into the service only to support the columns. 
30	So high the vault above, the weary sight can scarce strain 
	to the roof: you might think it the ceiling of the golden heavens. 
	Such was the palace wherein Caesar bade the nobles of the stock 
	of Romulus and the knights in their array take their places together at 
	a thousand tables for the feast: and Ceres in person with robes upgirt 
35	and Bacchus toiled in their service.22 Amid such plenty glided of old 
	the wheels of heaven-born Triptolemus:23 so bountifully did Lyaeus24 
	overshadow bare hills and temperate fields with the cluster-laden vine. 

	But not upon the feast, not upon the slabs of Moorish 
	citron-wood set on pillars of ivory, not upon the long array 
40	of henchmen,—on him, on him alone had I eyes to gaze. 
	Calm was his countenance; with a quiet majesty he tempered 
	the brightness and gently abated the blazoned pomp of his grandeur: 
	yet the radiance he sought to hide shone out upon his brow. 
	Even the barbarian foeman and nations that knew him not 
45	might in such splendour have recognized their monarch. 
	Even so, when he has stabled his steeds, Gradivus reclines 
	in Rhodope’s chill valleys;25 so Pollux resting from the lists 
	at Therapnae lays down his glistening limbs;26 
	so Euhan on the banks of Ganges amid the wild ecstasy of his Indians;27 
50	so grim Alcides returning from his perilous labours 
	rejoiced to rest his bulk upon the lion-skin.28 
	‘Tis not enough : these words, Sire, paint not thy looks. 
	Nay, but when the king of heaven comes to the ends of the Ocean, 
	and feasts with the Ethiopians, with overflowing ooze of hallowed nectar 
55	on his countenance, it is in such guise he bids the Muses rehearse 
	their mystic song, and Phoebus acclaim the triumph of Pallene.29 

	Oh, may the gods, that often listen, men say, attentively to the entreaties 
	of the humble, grant thee, I pray, to outlast twice and three times thy aged 
	father’s span of years. Unassailable be the gods you have sent to the skies. 
60	Bestow shrines: but inhabit still a home on earth! Often mayst thou open 
	the temple gates to a new year and greet Janus with new lictors:30 
	often with garlanded victims renew the quinquennial rites! 
	When thou didst bid me to the bright feast and hallowed joy 
	of thy board, then after many a year such a light shone 
65	upon me as long ago beneath the hills of Trojan Alba,31 
	when I sang, now of the Dacian fray and now of the battles on the 
	Rhine,32 and thy hands set upon my head the golden crown of Pallas.

III. The Domitian Road

	WHAT means the clash of stubborn flint 
	and ponderous steel that fills the stony Appian33 
	where it neighbours the sea? 
	Not from Libyan hordes, I know, comes the turmoil. 
5	No alien chief, whose warfare keeps faith with no man, 
	is restlessly harrying the Campanian lands;34 
	nor is a Nero bridling the rapids, hewing down 
	hills, and filling up discoloured marshes.35 
	He who with courts of law and justice 
10	has encircled the warlike threshold of Janus;36 
	he who to chaste Ceres gives back 
	her long lost fields and temperate acres;37 
	he who suffers not men to be unsexed;38 
	the censor who will not have grown youths stand in dread 
15	of punishment for their comeliness; 
	he who restores the Thunderer to his Capitol 
	and makes Peace dwell in her own shrine;39 
	he who consecrates a temple to his father’s race 
	and hallows the Flavian sway;40—
20	this is his handiwork. In anger at the roads that 
	delayed his people and the plains that checked their 
	goings to and fro, he puts an end to the long circuits 
	of old, re-lays the track and makes firm the heavy sand. 
	It is his pleasure to bring the home of the 
25	Euboic Sibyl,41 the Gauran bay,42 and sultry 
	Baiae43 nearer to the Seven Hills. 

	Here of old the traveller, moving slow in his 
	carriage, with one wheel foundered, hung 
	and swung in balanced torture, while the churlish 
30	soil swallowed his wheels, and in mid land 
	the Latins shuddered at the ills of sea-voyaging. 
	No swift journeying was theirs: while the 
	suppressed ruts clogged and checked their going, 
	and the tired nags, fretting at their burden, 
35	under the high yoke crawled upon their way. 
	But now what was a whole day’s journey 
	is become scarce two hours’ travel. 
	No barque, no straining bird 
	of the air will make better speed. 

40	The first task was to prepare the furrow,44 
	to open a track and with deep digging hollow out 
	the earth ; the next in other wise to re-fill 
	the caverned trench, and prepare a lap on which 
	the convex surface of the road might be erected, 
45	lest the ground should sink or the spiteful earth 
	yield an unstable bed for the deep-set blocks: 
	then, with close-knit revetments on this side and on that, 
	and with many a brace, to gird the road. 
	What a multitude of hands wrought together at the work! 
50	These felled the forest and stripped the hills; 
	those made smooth the beams and the rocks with steel: 
	these bound the stones together and wove fast 
	the work with baked bricks and dingy pumice; 
	others with might and main dried the thirsty pools 
55	and drained off afar the lesser rivulets. 
	Such toilers might have hollowed Athos and 
	shut in sad Helle’s moaning flood with a bridge not 
	of boats.45 It had been short work for them—
	did not heaven warn them from the way—
60	to make Ino’s Isthmus unite,46 not part, two seas. 

	Shores and nodding woods are all astir, 
	and far through the heart of the cities resounds the crash; 
	the echo, breaking on this side and on that, 
	is tossed from vine-clad Massicus to Gaurus.47 
65	Peaceful Cyme marvels at the tumult; 
	sluggish Savo and the marshes of Liternum are amazed.48 

	Soon Vulturnus49 with yellow locks, 
	and far-streaming ooze of moisture 
	on his sedge-crowned heads, arose and 
70	leant on the vast span of the Emperor’s bridge. 
	Hoarse from his lips surged a cry: 

	‘Hail, kind founder of my lands, how hast thou 
	curbed, within the straight course thou enjoinest, 
	me, who overflowed of old the pathless valleys 
75	and knew nor bank nor bound? 
	Now I, that was so grim and terrible, 
	and aforetime scarce brooked the hesitating barques, 
	bear to-day a bridge and am become a thoroughfare. 
	The flood that was wont to rend the land and whirl 
80	the forest (ah, shame!) is henceforth but a river. 
	Yet am I grateful: the reward is worth the thraldom; 
	for it is at thy bidding, and under thy rule that I have 
	yielded; and men will read of thee as my 
	strong disposer and lord for ever of my banks. 
85	And now thou honourest me with a sumptuous dike 
	and sufferest me not to go neglected, but dost banish 
	afar barren soil and foul reproach, that my stream 
	may not be defiled with dust or charged with mud, 
	when I am lost in the depths of the Tyrrhene sea50—
90	such is Cinyphian Bagrada51 that between his silent banks 
	goes winding through the fields of Carthage;—
	nay, but so clear shall be my hurrying waters, 
	that their pure flood shall rival the still sea, 
	and challenge the stream of neighbouring Liris.’52 

95	So said the River: and ere he ended, 
	a long reach of marble roadway had arisen. 
	For gateway at its fair threshold stood an arch 
	that shone with the trophies of our warrior Lord 
	and all the wealth of Ligurian53 mines, 
100	huge as the rainbow that spans the cloudy sky. 
	There under swiftly the traveller turns, 
	leaving Appia54 to sigh that she is flouted. 
	Swifter forthwith and more eager is the journeying; 
	forthwith even the horses delight in the speed, 
105	as when the arms of the rowers tire 
	and the breezes first begin to fan the sails. 
	Come therefore all ye that under the Eastern skies 
	keep true fealty and allegiance to the Roman Father: 
	come, for the path is easy, and resort to us! 
110	Come fast you Eastern laurels! 
	No bar is there to your desire, nought to delay. 
	Whoso at daybreak leaves the Tiber55 
	may sail the Lucrine56 at nightfall. 

	Hist! Who is this that I descry at the far limits 
115	of the new way, where Apollo points out old-world 
	Cumae?57 White is her hair and white her snood. 
	Is my sight duped? Or is it the laurel-crowned Sibyl of Chalcis 
	who is even now approaching from her hallowed cave?58 
	Yield we, my lyre! Let thy notes be hushed: a holier minstrel 
120	is lifting up her voice: we must silence our strains.59 
	See how her neck sways: see how she revels far and wide 
	over the new-built track; her presence fills 
	the road. Then thus with maiden lips she speaks: 

	‘Did I not say, River and Plains, be patient, 
125	for by heaven’s grace there will surely come one 
	that with a road and lofty bridges will make easy 
	to the traveller rank woodland and quaking sand? 
	Behold the god!60 He it is whom Jupiter commands 
	to rule as his vice-gerent over the happy world. 
130	No worthier Sovereign has taken up the sway, 
	since under my guidance Aeneas, in his eager quest 
	for the future, threaded the prophetic woods 
	of Avernus61 and then went his way. 
	He is a friend to peace: he is terrible in battle; 
135	yes, and he is kinder and mightier than Nature. 
	Were he lord of the starry sky, India would be watered 
	with bountiful showers, there would be bubbling springs 
	in Libya, and summer warmth on Haemus.62 

	‘Hail, lord of men and father of gods to be, 
140	whose godhead I foresaw and founded. 
	No longer seek out my words with the appointed 
	litanies of the Fifteen63 and pore over them in the 
	mouldering scroll: nay, that thou mayest have help, 
	listen to my song as I stand revealed; 
145	I have seen the linked yean of service 
	that the shining Sisters64 are weaving for thee: 
	great is the tale of centuries that awaits thee: 
	beyond the span of thy sons and thy sons’ sons 
	shall thou wear thy youth unbroken; 
150	to the peaceful eld that Nestor, so men say, attained, 
	to the years that hoary Tithonus reckoned, 
	and that I asked of my Delian lover.65 
	Already the snowy North has sworn allegiance to thee; 
	soon the East shall yield a noble triumph. 
155	By the path of Euhan66 and errant Hercules 
	thou shall ascend beyond the stars and the flaming sun, 
	past source of Nile and snows of Atlas; 
	rejoicing in every meed of renown, 
	thou shall disdain the laurell and the car. 
160	As long as the altar-fire of Troy endures and the 
	Tarpeian Sire67 still thunders in his re-born temple; aye, 
	until this road comes to be older than the time-worn Appian 
	and sees thee still sovereign over all the world.’

IV. Letter to Vitorius Marcellus

	SWIFTLY, my Letter, you must cross the Euboic plains68 and linger not. 
	Set forth upon your way where now the far-famed Appia69 shoots out 
	into a new road70 and a firm bank keeps fast the quaking sand. 
	Then when you have come hot-foot to the towers of Romulus,71 
5	hasten to the right shore of tawny Tiber, 
	where Sea-fight Lake72 is shut fast behind the Tuscan 
	ridge and city parks fringe the stream. 
	There you will see Marcellus, pre-eminent in looks 
	and gallantry. By his lofty stature you will know him. 
10	First give him in prose the greeting of every day. 
	Then forget not to repeat this message in metre. 

	‘Now spring with its showers is past, and, passing, frees earth 
	and the whirling sky. The snarling dogstar73 makes the heavens burn: 
	thinned now are the throngs in towered Rome. 
15	Some in hallowed Praeneste74 and some in Diana’s cool boskage75 
	take shelter; these upon shaggy Algidus and those in bowered Tusculum, 
	while others court the cool freshness of Anio and Tibur’s woods.76 
	What more temperate land steals you now away from the roar 
	of Rome? Under what sky are you baffling the summer sun? 
20	And what of Gallus,77 my friend too, but most chiefly yours 
	beyond all others?—and who shall decide whether for worth or for wit 
	to praise him most?—Is he spending the summer on the Latian coast, 
	or returns he to the towers of quarried Luna and his 
	Tuscan home?78 If he is nigh and at your side, 
25	my name, I know, is not far from your discourse. 
	Yes, that is why both my ears are ringing. 
	Now, while in wanton Hyperion’s79 grip burns 
	the glowering lion’s mane,80 you too must banish care 
	from your breast and steal away from unremitting toil. 
30	Even the Parthian unbends his bow and hides 
	his murderous quiver.81 The charioteer bathes in Alpheus 
	the steeds that have sweated in the lists at Elis.82 My lyre, too, 
	is faint and I unstring it. For strength finds spur and sustenance 
	in timely rest, and, valour rises more valorous from repose. 
35	So from singing of Briseis Achilles came forth deadlier 
	to battle, and laid aside the lute to burst upon Hector.83 
	You, too, by a brief spell of ease, will secretly be kindled 
	to fresh fire and go forth exultant to your wonted task. 
	Assuredly the fray of Law is not raging now; 
40	it is a sluggish and a tranquil time; the return of the harvest-tide 
	has emptied the courts. The accused are not now crowding your halls: 
	your clients are not now entreating you with cries to come forth. 
	The spear is at rest, the emblem of the Hundred,84 
	before whom your eloquence rings conspicuous, 
45	already of a high renown beyond your years. 
	Happy are you in your pursuits, for neither the garlands 
	of Helicon nor the peaceful laurels from Parnassus’ peak delight you.85 
	Your wits are strong, your spirit, braced for high employ, 
	is patient of success and failure alike. We the while solace 
50	our leisured life with song: the windy joys of fame are 
	our ambition. And so, lured by the desire of sleep to this voluptuous 
	shore, where in an Ausonian86 haven Parthenope,87 
	the stranger, found shelter, see, with feeble hands I strike upon 
	my puny lyre. For sitting here at the threshold of Maro’s88 shrine, 
55	I still take courage and pour forth a lay to my master’s grave. 

	But if Fate grants your life for long years to run,—and grant 
	she must, and may it please the godhead of our lord of Latium, 
	whom it is your study to honour above the Thunderer,89 
	and who is crowning your consulate with fresh office 
60	and charges you to restore Latina’s90 slanting track,—
	You, it may be, will go forth to bridle the legions of Ausonia; 
	the nations of the Rhine or the shores of gloomy Thule91 
	are your charge to guard, or else the Danube or the grim threshold 
	of the Caspian pass. For your worth is not the power 
65	of eloquence alone. A martial frame is yours, and limbs 
	that might with a struggle don ponderous armour. If you should march 
	on foot over the plain, you have a crest that will nod above them all; 
	or if the jingling bridle be in your hands, the most fiery-tempered charger 
	will be as meek as a bondslave to your bidding. We, with singing the deeds 
70	of others, are drifting to old age: you, a hero in battles of your own, 
	will yourself do deeds for others to sing and set a high pattern before 
	the boy Geta,92 whose warrior grandsire is already asking of him worthy 
	exploits and grants him knowledge of triumphs his own kindred have won. 
	Up, boy, up! Man though thy father be, quick and overtake him, 
75	thou, as blessed in his valour as in thy mother’s lineage. 
	Even now Fame, the sorceress, in her Tyrian purple,93 with happy omens fosters 
	thee for herself, and radiantly promises thee all the great offices of State.’ 

	This lay, Marcellus, I pen to you here on the Chalcidic94 
	shore, where Vesuvius jets forth diminished fury, 
80	spouting his columned fires in rivalry with Sicily.95 
	‘Tis strange—but true. When the crops grow again, and the 
	desolate fields are green once more, will mankind hereafter believe 
	that cities and peoples lie imprisoned beneath, and that the fields 
	of their forefathers perished by a like fate? Even now the peak still 
85	menaces death. Far be that ruin from your beloved Teate!96 
	May such fury never possess the Marrucinian hills!97 

	Now, if haply you would know what theme my muse assays, 
	the Thebaid, my argosy, has weathered her Tyrian98 voyage 
	and at last has furled her sails in the longed-for haven. 
90	On the peaks of Parnassus and in Helicon’s groves she has 
	flung upon the ritual fire due incense, and the entrails of a virgin heifer: 
	now upon the tree of offerings she hangs my fillets, while about 
	my discrowned brow a fresh chaplet twines with strange caress: 
	now I assay to tell the tale of Troy and of great Achilles,99 but the 
95	archer-god bids me to another task and points to the doughtier deeds 
	of Ausonian majesty. Thither my desire this long while beckons, 
	only fear plucks me back. Can my shoulders bear the load? 
	Will not my back bend beneath the ponderous burden? 
	Tell me, Marcellus, is the task for me? Dare I trust to the perils 
100	of the Ionian a bark that has known no such formidable seas? 

	And now farewell! Let there be no waning of your love 
	for the poet who is bound heart and soul to you, for Tirynthius,100 
	too, stinted not his friendship. So will you outstrip the fame 
	of loyal Theseus101 and of him who round towered Troy 
105	dragged mangled Hector to solace his dead friend.102

V. Lyric Ode to Septimius Severus

	HAPPY in the glory of my narrow domain, 
	where ancient Alba worships her Teucrian gods,103 
	I salute Severus104 the eloquent and the brave with a greeting 
	that is sounded on unwonted strings. 

5	At last surly Winter has been overwhelmed by the sun 
	on high and has fled to the Parrhasian105 North: 
	at last the icy gusts have melted into warm zephyrs 
	and sunshine is upon land and sea. 

	Spring rules everywhere: the trees are tressed 
10	with the leafage of another year: the birds sing 
	their plaints anew and the fresh songs that 
	in mid-winter’s hush they have devised. 

	A thrifty soil, a sleepless hearth, a roof-tree 
	blackened with smoke of many a lamp: 
15	these are my solace, these and a wine taken from the jar 
	almost before it has had time to ferment. 

	Not in my fields bleat a thousand woolly flocks: 
	nor lows the cow to her pleasant paramour. 
	If ever I sing, it is alone, and nought but the dumb field 
20	protests against its master’s voice. 

	Yet, next to my native home, this land 
	has my heart; here it is that the 
	warrior-queen of battle crowned 
	my strains with Caesar’s chaplet,106 

25	when with all your heart strongly you strove 
	to have your comrade safe from the welcome ordeal, 
	trembling as Castor trembled at every note 
	in the din of the Bebrycian lists.107 

	Can it be that far Leptis on the distant Syrtes is indeed 
30	your birthplace?108 Why, soon she will yield Indian 
	harvests and rob fragrant Sheba 
	of her priceless cinnamon. 

	Who would not think that beloved Septimius had planted 
	his baby steps on each of the seven hills of Romulus? 
35	Who would think that as a weanling child 
	he had not drunk of Juturna’s109 rill? 

	Nor strange such worth: in your boyhood 
	you knew not the waters of Africa, 
	but sailed into Ausonian110 havens, and swam, 
40	our adopted kinsman, in Tiber’s pools. 

	Then among sons of the Senate, content 
	with the narrow purple,111 you grew out of 
	boyhood, by noblesse of disposition 
	achieving boundless tasks. 

45	No trace of Carthage112 in your speech or in your bearing: 
	no alien heart is yours: Italy, Italy is your motherland. 
	Whereas in Rome and amid Roman knights 
	are men fitted to be the foster-sons of Libya. 

	In the hum of the courts cheerily rings out 
50	your voice: not to be bought is that eloquence; 
	that sword sleeps in the scabbard, 
	save when friends bid you draw. 

	But oftener your delight is in the tranquil fields, 
	either in the home of your father on Veientine 
55	soil,113 or above bowers of the 
	Hillmen or in old-world Cures.114 

	There you shall rehearse more themes 
	in prose: but between-whiles forget me not; 
	and in those shy recesses make 
60	your coy lyre ring again.

VI. The “Hercules At-The-Table” of Novius Vindex

	ONE day as I was idly loitering at sundown in 
	the broad Enclosure,115 a truant from my task, for the fit 
	was not upon me, I was borne off to feast with generous 
	Vindex;116 and still in my inmost heart lives unforgotten 
5	the memory of that night. It was not idle cheer 
	that regaled us, dainties fetched from divers climes 
	and vintages old as the Public Charter Chest.117 
	Wretched indeed are they whose delight is to tell the flavour 
	of the pheasant from the crane of Thrace; what goose has the richest vitals; 
10	why the Umbrian boar has less breed about him than the boar 
	of Tuscany; and on what shore the succulent oyster finds his softest bed.118 
	The feast of reason was ours and talk from the heart 
	of Helicon,119 with merry jests, that lured us to sit out 
	the mid-winter night and banish gentle sleep from our eyes, 
15	until Castor’s brother-twin120 peeped out from his Elysian home 
	and Dawn mocked the feast of yesternight. Ah, honest night; 
	and would that then as once in Tiryns two moons had been joined in one!121 
	A night to be marked with sea-pearls from Erythraean deeps;122 
	a night to treasure long and the spirit of it to live for evermore! 

20	There it was and then that I learnt so well those thousand shapes 
	of classic ivory and bronze, and waxen forms so shrewdly 
	counterfeited they seemed upon the brink of speech. For where 
	will you find the peer of Vindex to discern in classic work 
	a master’s hand, or to name the artist of an unsigned piece? 
25	Vindex alone can say which bronzes were fashioned with sleepless 
	care by cunning Myro: which marble was conjured into life by the chisel 
	of industrious Praxiteles;123 what ivory carving took the last touches from the man 
	of Pisa’s finger;124 what breathing bronze was cast by Polycletus;125 
	what line reveals even at a distance the hand of bygone Apelles?126 
30	Whenever he lays down the lute, it is thus that Vindex makes holiday; 
	this is the passion that lures him from the grottos of the Muses. 

	Amid his treasures, guardian and god of his temperate board, 
	was a Hercules that with deep delight took my heart captive, 
	and with long gazing I could not satisfy my sight, 
35	such a majesty was in the work, such a power was framed 
	within those narrow confines: the god, the god was there! Aye, 
	he vouchsafed himself, Lysippus,127 to thine eyes, a dwarf to the eye, 
	a giant to the mind. And though that wondrous stature be confined 
	within a foot’s space, yet look the figure up and down 
40	and you will be fain to cry: ‘That is the breast that crushed 
	the ravager of Nemea;128 those the arms that swung 
	the fatal club and snapped the Argo’s oars!’129 
	It is not bulk: tiny is the form that has this wizard power! 
	What subtlety, what skill was in the cunning master’s hand, 
45	that had the power as well to conceive in his mind 
	a colossal statue as to fashion an ornament for the table. 
	Never could the Telchines130 in the caves of Ida131 have devised in tiny 
	bronze so dainty a counterfeit,—no nor brawny Brontes,132 nor he 
	of Lemnos,133 who makes radiant the gleaming armour of the gods. 
50	Nor is his presentment repulsive and unsuited to the easy moods 
	of feasting. That is the Hercules at whom the house of frugal 
	Molorchus134 marvelled; that the Tegean priestess beheld in Alea’s 
	groves;135 that rose from the cinders on Oeta to the sky,136 
	and sipped his nectar with joy while Juno still frowned.137 
55	The very air of heartfelt jollity invites to the feast. 
	One hand holds his brother’s languorous cup,138 the other 
	still grips the club. And see, a rugged seat upbears him, 
	a rock with the Nemean lion’s skin for covering. 

	Inspired is the work, and worthy has been its lot. Once the lord 
60	of Pella139 possessed it to be the worshipful deity of his 
	joyous board, and bore it, his companion, East and West. 
	In the hand that but now had crowned and uncrowned kings 
	and overthrown great cities, blithely would he clasp it. 
	From this Hercules he would seek courage for the morrow’s fray: 
65	to Hercules he would tell, a conqueror ever, his gorgeous victories, 
	whether he had won from Bromius140 the credit of putting the Indians 
	in chains, or with strong spear burst the gates of Babylon, 
	or overwhelmed in battle Pelasgian141 liberty and the land 
	of Pelops.142 Of all the long array of his triumphs men say 
70	he sought excuse only for one—the overthrow of Thebes.143 
	And when Fate snapped the thread of achievement and the king 
	drank the deadly wine, heavy as he was with the dark shades 
	of death, he was afraid at the changed countenance of the god 
	he loved and the bronze that at that last feast broke into sweat.144 

75	Thereafter the priceless treasure fell to the Nasamonian145 
	king; aye, and Hannibal of the dread right hand, in the pride 
	of his faithless sword poured libations to the God of Valour, 
	who, for all that, hated a master drenched with Italian blood 
	and menacing with fell fires the towers of Romulus;146 
80	yes, hated him even when he vowed Him banquets and the 
	bounty of Lenaeus,147 and sighed to follow in his accursed camp; 
	but most when with sacrilegious flames he destroyed His own 
	fanes, defiling hearth and shrine of innocent Saguntum148 
	and kindling in her people a noble frenzy. 

85	Then after the passing of the Phoenician leader the princely bronze 
	fell into no common hands. Now the trophy adorned the feasts 
	of Sulla,149 accustomed as it was to enter into the homes 
	of the great, and happy in the pedigree of its masters. 
	To-day,—if gods deign to read the hearts and souls 
90	of men,—though neither court nor kingly purple surround thee, 
	yet white and stainless, lord of Tiryns,150 is thy master’s soul. 
	An old-world loyalty is his, a heart true for all time to friendship 
	once vowed. Vestinus151 is my witness, who even in the heyday 
	of youth yet vied with his great forefathers. It is his spirit that Vindex 
95	breathes night and day, and lives ever in the arms of that noble shade. 
	Here then, Alcides,152 bravest of all gods, is welcome repose 
	for thee. Not on war and proud battle thou gazest 
	but upon lyre and fillet and song-loving bays. 
	Vindex in ceremonial lays shall tell in what strength 
100	thou didst strike terror into the halls of Ilium and of Thrace, 
	into snowy Stymphalos and the rainy hills of Erymanthus: 
	what manner of foeman thou wast to the owner of the Spanish 
	herds and to the Egyptian potentate of the altar merciless; 
	he shall tell how thou didst pierce and plunder the halls of Death, 
105	and leave the daughters of Libya and of Scythia in tears.153 
	Neither the Emperor of Macedon154 nor savage Hannibal 
	nor the rude voice of savage Sulla could ever have hymned thee 
	in such strains. Thou, assuredly, Lysippus, who didst devise the 
	masterpiece, wouldst not have chosen to find favour in other eyes than his.

VII. Lyric Ode to Vibius Maximus

	LONG since thou hast had thy fill, bold Erato,155 
	of the broad plain; take truce awhile now with the 
	travail of heroes, and within narrower circles 
	confine thy high emprise. 

5	And thou, O Pindar,156 prince of the lyric throng, 
	grant me for a brief space the charter of a new 
	measure, if in Latin numbers I have 
	hallowed thy Thebes.157 

	It is for Maximus158 that I would refine my song. 
10	Now I must gather a chaplet of the virgin 
	myrtle, and now a deeper thirst 
	craves a purer draught. 

	When wilt thou come back to thy loved Latium 
	from the Dalmatian hills, where the miner returns to the 
15	light pale from the sight of Dis159 and sallow as the gold 
	that he has unearthed? 

	See, I that am the child of a nearer clime 
	yet linger not in slothful Baiae’s160 languorous 
	haven, nor with the bugler 
20	known to Hector’s battles.161 

	Without thee a numbness takes my song. 
	Even Thymbra’s lord162 comes slower than is his wont: 
	and lo, at the first turning-point in the race 
	my Achilles163 stands still. 

25	For it is through thy faithful counsel that my Thebaid, 
	kept long under the discipline of the file, 
	now with ambitious string aspires to prove the joys of 
	the Mantuan’s164 fame. 

	Still we pardon thee for lingering, inasmuch as with 
30	a goodly scion thou hast stablished thy lonely hearth. 
	O day of gladness! we hail the advent of 
	a second Maximus. 

	Childlessness we must shun with every effort. 
	Close in pursuit presses the heir with hostile vows, 
35	and (fie upon him, fie!) prays that an early death may 
	overtake his kind friend. 

	The childless man is laid in earth without a tear, 
	while his greedy survivor, the usurper of the home, 
	stands ready to pounce upon the spoils of death, counting the cost 
40	even of the funeral fire. 

	Long live the noble babe! Be it his to tread 
	the path open to few, that he may grow up 
	like his sire and challenge his 
	grandsire’s doughty deeds. 

45	Thou shall tell thy child how thou didst 
	carry thy sword to Orient Orontes,165 
	leading the eagles of thy squadron under 
	favour of Castor;166 

	he, how he followed Caesar’s lightning course 
50	and laid upon the fugitive Sarmatae167 the bitter 
	terms that they should live beneath 
	one clime and one only. 

	But first let him learn in boyhood the arts whereby them 
	dost trace back all the world’s antiquity and dost 
55	give us again the style of terse Sallust168 and the foster-
	son of the Timavus.169

VIII. Congratulations to Julius Menecretes

	FLING wide the gates of the gods, Parthenope,170 festoon the temples, 
	and fill them with fumes of frankincense and smoke from the throbbing 
	entrails of the sacrifice; for, behold, a third scion swells the progeny 
	of famed Menecrates.171 The goodly host of thy magnates is increasing 
5	to solace thee for the havoc wrought by the fury of Vesuvius. 
	And let not Naples alone besiege the festal altars in gratitude for this 
	relief: the kindred haven also, and the land beloved of gentle Dicarcheus172 
	must twine chaplets for their shrines, aye, and the Surrentine173 shore 
	dear to the god of the flowing bowl,174 the shore of the child’s 
10	mother’s sire,175 around whom his little grandsons throng: 
	see, they are vying who shall copy his features in their own. 
	Joy, too, to that mother’s brother in the glory of his Libyan lance,176 and to 
	Polla177 who counts these babes her own and gathers them to her gracious 
	bosom! Blessings on thee, Menecrates, who givest so many bright hopes 
15	to thy country for her service to thee. Thrilled with the sweet turmoil 
	is thy home in which the cry of joy has sounded for so many heirs. 
	Away with sullen Envy! let her begone far hence and turn elsewhere her 
	jealous thoughts! Unto these little ones a white Fate has promised old age 
	and a glory of long lived worth; and Apollo, their father’s friend, his bays. 

20	So the omen is fulfilled! Thou hadst by gift from the most honoured ruler 
	of Ausonian178 Rome those glad privileges he grants to the fathers of three 
	children; and now, behold, Lucina179 hath come thrice, and to thy loyal house 
	returned anew. Even so, I pray, may thy house endure,—
	a fruitful tree and never changing since the consecration of the gift. 
25	Joy to thee, that more than once thy stock has been blessed with a 
	man-child: but to a young father a daughter too must bring bliss,—
	fitter unto sons are valorous deeds, but sooner of the daughter will 
	grandsons be born to thee,—and such a daughter as that Helen who planted 
	baby steps between her Spartan brothers;180—so fair a child and worthy 
30	even then of the lists in her mother’s land; fair as the bright sky, when on a 
	clear night two stars approach their beams and the moon shines between them. 

	And yet, rare friend, bitterly must I cry out upon thee; 
	wroth too am I, as wroth as a man may be with those he loves. 
	Was it right that only from common rumour the news 
35	of thy great joy should reach me? And when for the third time 
	a newborn babe was wailing in thy home, came there not 
	in haste forthwith a herald scroll to bid me heap festival-fires 
	upon the altars, and wreathe the lyre and deck the lintel; 
	to bid draw forth a jar of old smoke-begrimed Alban181 
40	and mark the day with song? But if, a laggard and a delayer, 
	I chant my vows only now, thine is the guilt and thine 
	the shame. But further press my plaint I cannot. For see, 
	how joyously thy children cluster round about thee and shelter 
	their sire. With such an array whom wouldst thou not vanquish? 

45	Gods of our land, whom under high omens the fleet 
	of Abas182 bore over the sea to the Ausonian shore, 
	and thou, Apollo, leader of that far-exiled folk, 
	upon whose dove, still perched on her left shoulder, 
	Eumelis183 gazes with loving worship: 
50	and thou, Ceres, our Lady of Eleusis,184 to whom we, thy votaries, 
	in headlong course silently without ceasing brandish the torch: 
	and ye, Tyndaridae,185 whom neither awe-inspiring Taygetus, 
	Lycurgus’ hill, nor wooded Therapnae, have worshipped more fervently;186 
	guard ye for our country this family and home. Stricken with years 
55	and divers agonies is our city: let there still be champions to help her 
	with voice and with store, to keep her name green and to guard her. 
	Let them learn gentleness from their gentle father, and from their 
	grandsire splendour and bounty:—from both the love of radiant Virtue. 
	For surely such lineage and such store vouch that the maid, when first the 
60	marriage torch is kindled, shall come a bride to a princely home, and that 
	these boys—if but unvanquished Caesar’s godhead be partial to true worth—
	shall tread, ere their boyhood is past, the threshold of the senate of Romulus.

IX. Hendecasyllabic Jokes to Plotius Grypus

	A BOOK for a book!187 Why, Grypus,188 
	this is indeed a jest. But the jest will have 
	a better flavour if now you make me some 
	return. For a joke, friend Grypus, ceases 
5	to be a joke, if you carry it too far. 
	Look you, we can sum the reckoning. 
	My volume was as gay as purple and 
	new parchment and a pair of bosses could make it:—
	it cost me a pretty penny besides my pains! 
10	Yours to me is all mouldy and moth-eaten; 
	such dry pages as are sometimes moistened with Libyan 
	olives, or else are charged with pepper or with incense 
	from the Nile, or reek of anchovies from Byzantium! 
	Even the contents are not your own wit: not the 
15	thunderous eloquence you hurled at the 
	three courts in your prime; not your speeches 
	to the Hundred,189 before Germanicus190 set you 
	to direct and guide our corn ships, 
	and to control the post on all our roads; no, 
20	but the drowsy musings of old Brutus,191 that you’ve 
	picked up for a song,—for a clipped coin or two of 
	his mad Majesty Caligula,192—out of some poor devil of a 
	bookseller’s pack. Call this a gift? Couldn’t you possibly 
	muster a cap stitched together from the snippings 
25	of tunics? or towels, or unbleached napkins? 
	A paper-book, or dates from Thebes, or figs from 
	Caria?193 Never a roll of plums or of 
	bullaces in a revolving case? Nor 
	dried-up lamp-wicks? Nor leeks with 
30	their jackets off? Nor even eggs? 
	Fine flour? Coarse meal? 
	Never a slimy snail-shell that had been 
	far over the Cinyphian194 plains? 
	Rank lard or scraggy ham? 
35	Nor sausages? Nor stinking Wurst? 
	Nor cheese? Nor salt? Nor fish-pickle? 
	Nor cakes of green saltpetre? 
	Nor raisin-wine with the grapes left in it? 
	Or must, with the sweet lees boiled and thickened? 
40	How ungenerous to refuse me noisome 
	tapers, a knife, a starveling notebook! 
	Could you not send me some tinned raisins? 
	Or a few dishes turned in the potteries of Cumae?195 
	Or just one set—truce to your fears!—
45	one set of spotless pans and pots? 
	But no, with your nicely calculating scales, 
	like a fair dealer, you risk no change, but give me 
	the same weight you got. But tell me: when I’ve 
	brought you a dyspeptic greeting at peep of day, 
50	are you to give me greeting at my house in turn? 
	Or when you’ve feasted me on the fat of the land, 
	are you to expect as good a dinner back? 
	Grypus, you have raised my choler: but farewell! 
	only do not with your usual wit 
55	send me back again today a gibe for a gibe.


1 Domitian’s 17th consulship was for 95 CE.
2 The “curule chair” was one of the symbols of the Roman magistrate.
3 I.e. the Palatine Hill. According to myth Evander was an Arcadian king who lived on the site of Rome before the city was founded.
4 The fasces (axes surrounded by bundles of rods) were another symbol of Roman Republican magistrates.
5 God of the new year (hence “January”).
6 The doors of the Temple of Janus in Rome were closed during times of peace. The Temple was located in one of the imperial fora north of the old Roman Forum.
7 There was a Temple of Pax (Peace) nearby the Temple of Janus.
8 Minerva was, among other things, the goddess of weaving.
9 The three divisions of Roman society are mentioned here: upper class Senators; middle class Equites (Knights); and the Plebs (Commons).
10 Augustus, the first Roman emperor, held the consulship 13 times.
11 The Secular games were supposed to take place every 100-110 years, thereby representing a saeculum or age of Rome. Domitian held the Secular Games in 88 CE.
12 Statius catalogs various Eastern peoples who were supposedly under Rome’s sway.
13 Vergil in Aeneid Books 1 and 2 narrated a feast held by Dido, queen of Carthage, for Aeneas, the last surviving hero of Troy.
14 Homer in Odyssey Books 8-12 narrates a grand feast given by Alcinous, king of Phaeacia, for Odysseus/Ulysses.
15 References by way of birthplaces to Homer and Vergil respectively.
16 Ganymede, cupbearer of the gods, was a Trojan youth abducted by Jove.
17 The Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline (Domitian’s palace is on the Palatine).
18 An Egyptian stone.
19 Chios is an island in the Aegean Sea.
20 A blue stone from Carystus on Euboea, an island in Greece.
21 A marble from Etruria.
22 Here Ceres (the goddess of grain) stands for food and Bacchus (the god of wine) stands for drink.
23 A grain god associated with Ceres.
24 Bacchus.
25 The war god Mars (Gravidus) was said to dwell in Thrace, where the Rhodope river may be found.
26 Pollux was a famous horseman of myth. Therapne refers to his association with Sparta.
27 Bacchus (Euhan) is frequently associated with various Eastern peoples.
28 Hercules (Alcides) wore the skin of the Nemean lion (he killed the lion as the first of his famous labors).
29 Here Statius indirectly alludes to the end of Iliad Book 1 when Zeus returned to Olympus after feasting among the Ethiopians. Back on Olympus the Muses sang and Apollo played his lyre during a feast. Pallene refers to the location of Zeus’ victory over the giants.
30 I.e. Statius prays that Domitian will hold the consulship again.
31 Alba Longa was city founded by Aeneas’ son Ascanius and was a precursor to Rome. Statius won a prize at a poetry contest held there.
32 Refers to a (lost) poem by Statius on Domitian’s military campaigns.
33 The Appian Way was a very famous road running southward from Rome.
34 The bustle of building of the road is compared to Hannibal’s occupation of southern Italy during the Second Punic War.
35 The emperor Nero was notorious for his extravagant building projects.
36 The temple of Janus in the imperial forum north of the old Roman Forum.
37 Domitian evidently passed legislation ordering the return of grain farming to certain lands used for other agricultural purposes.
38 Domitian past a law forbidding the practice of making young men into eunuchs.
39 Domitian rebuilt the destroyed Temple to Jupiter on the Capitoline, and finished a Temple of Peace begun by his father Vespasian.
40 Flavius is Domitian’s family name. This phrase probably refers to the imperial cult.
41 Cumae.
42 Mount Gaurus is near Puteoli.
43 A resort town on the Bay of Naples.
44 What follows is a fairly detailed account of Roman road construction.
45 During his invasion of Greece in 480 BCE the Persian King Xerxes, in order to ease the passage of his army, built a pontoon bridge across the Hellespont and dug a canal across the neck of Mount Athos in Greece.
46 The Isthmus of Corinth is referred to here.
47 Two coastal mountains along the path of the new road.
48 Respectively, and town, a river, and a swamp along the path of the new road.
49 A river (and, here, god) along the path of the new road.
50 The part of the Mediterranean into which the Vulturnus flows.
51 A silty river in north Africa.
52 A nearby river (to the north of the Vulturnus).
53 Liguria is in northern Italy.
54 The Appian Way.
55 In Rome.
56 A lake in Campania. Statius is perhaps overstating the speed with which one could travel on the new road.
57 There was a famous Temple of Apollo at Cumae.
58 The Sibyl was the priestess of Apollo at Cumae.
59 Because Apollo is the patron of poets.
60 I.e. Domitian.
61 A lake in Campania that was supposedly the site of an entrance to the Underworld.
62 I.e. in Thrace.
63 The officials who guarded the so-called Sibylline Books, a collection of oracles supposedly pertaining to Rome’s future.
64 The Fates, who determine the length of mortals’ lives.
65 Three examples of extremely long lives. Nestor lived for several generations of men. Tithonus was given eternal life by his lover Aurora. The Sibyl herself was given long life by Apollo (“my Delian lover”).
66 Bacchus.
67 The Temple to Jupiter on the Capitoline.
68 I.e. the area around the Bay of Naples.
69 The Appian Way, which led south from Rome.
70 The Domitian Way, see previous poem.
71 I.e. Rome.
72 An artificial lake originally built by Augustus for a mock naval battle. The location is disputed.
73 Sirius, often associated with the heat of summer.
74 A hill-resort near Rome.
75 Near Aricia, south of Rome.
76 Three areas southeast of Rome.
77 Some mutual friend, not otherwise known.
78 Two references to Etruria, the region to the north of Rome.
79 I.e. the sun.
80 The constellation Leo.
81 The Parthians were an eastern people (and implacable enemy of the Romans) known for their skill at archery.
82 References to the Olympic games.
83 A reference to Achilles’ withdrawal from and return to battle in the Iliad.
84 Marcellus was evidently a member of the centumviral court, which was concerned with property suits.
85 Helicon and Parnassus are two Greek mountains often associated with poetry.
86 I.e. Italian.
87 Naples.
88 I.e. Vergil.
89 Jupiter.
90 The Latin Way, across Latium.
91 An island representing the far reaches of the earth.
92 Marcellus’ son.
93 The Phoenician city of Tyre produced an expensive purple dye that became a symbol of luxury.
94 I.e. the area around the Bay of Naples.
95 I.e. Mount Etna.
96 Marcellus’ home town, on the east coast of Italy.
97 Also refers to Marcellus’ home region.
98 Because Cadmus, the founder of Thebes, was originally from Phoenicia.
99 A reference to Statius’ incomplete epic poem, the Achilleid.
100 Hercules.
101 Theseus’ loyalty to his friend Perithous was such that he followed him to the Underworld.
102 Achilles mutilated Hector’s corpse because Hector had killed Achilles’ friend Patroclus.
103 Alba Longa (where Statius had a house) was the city where Romulus and Remus were supposed to have born. The founders of the city were Trojans (Teucrians) descended from Aeneas.
104 Septimius Severus was either born in or had ancestors from Libya in north Africa. He is possibly related to the later emperor Septimius Severus.
105 I.e. connected with the constellation Callisto.
106 Refers to Statius’ victory in a poetic contest at the Alban Games.
107 According to the story of Jason and the Argonauts, Castor encouraged his brother Pollux to engage in a boxing match with the fearsome King Amycus of the Berybricians. Severus is compared to Castor, Statius to Pollux.
108 Severus was from Lepcis Magna in Libya, near the two Syrtes Rivers.
109 A nymph associated with Latium.
110 I.e. Italian.
111 I.e. the narrow purple stripe on the toga representing the equestrian order.
112 A north African city.
113 In Etruria, north of Rome.
114 Two Sabine tribes who lived near Rome in ancient times.
115 The Saepta in the Campus Martius, where voting used to take place during the Republic.
116 Nonius Vindex, a poet and art collector.
117 The Fasti, or list of consuls from time immemorial.
118 This list of exotic and decadent foods is meant to contrast with Vindex’ good taste.
119 A mountain in central Greece associated with poetry.
120 The constellation Gemini.
121 Tiryns, a city in Greece, was according to some traditions the birthplace of Hercules (other traditions name Thebes as his birthplace). Jupiter seduced Alcmena (Hercules’ mother) and, to increase his pleasure, lengthened the night unnaturally.
122 A white stone was used to mark significant days on the calendar. The use of a pearl for this purpose makes the day discussed here even more significant.
123 Myron and Praxiteles were famous Greek sculptors.
124 I.e. Phidias, perhaps the most famous Greek sculptor of all.
125 Another famous sculptor.
126 A famous Greek painter.
127 Yet another well-known sculptor.
128 A reference to Hercules’ first labor when he killed the deadly Nemean lion.
129 Hercules was known for his famous club. Also, when on the Argonauts’ expedition, he famously rowed the Argo by himself. He was so strong he broke the oars he was using.
130 Mythical dwarves and craftsman. Their mention here recalls the prologue to Callimachus’ Aetia.
131 A mountain near Troy.
132 One of the great Cyclopes who forged thunderbolts for Jupiter.
133 Vulcan.
134 A poor man who once welcomed Hercules into his house.
135 Auge, one of Hercules’ lovers.
136 Hercules, in great pain before his death, placed himself on a pyre atop Mount Oeta in Greece. He subsequently became a god.
137 Juno always persecuted Hercules out of anger at Jupiter’s infidelities.
138 Bacchus. He is called Hercules’ brother because (1) his mother too was a mortal seduced by Jupiter and (2) he also was from Thebes.
139 Alexander the Great.
140 Bacchus, often associated with Eastern lands.
141 I.e. Greek.
142 The Peloponnesus in southern Greece.
143 Because Hercules was from Thebes.
144 Alexander died (possibly of poison) after an extended drinking-bout. The statuette of Hecules here provides Alexander with an omen of his impending doom by “sweating.”
145 Carthiginian.
146 According to tradition Hannibal (who was not in fact a king) hated Rome because (1) the Romans defeated Carthage in the first Punic war decades earlier and (2) one of the defeated Carthaginian generals was Hannibal’s father.
147 I.e. wine (Lenaeus refers to Bacchus).
148 A city in Spain, loyal to Rome during the Second Punic War. It was destroyed by Hannibal.
149 L. Cornelius Sulla, a famous Roman general and ultimately dictator. He was known for his ruthlessness.
150 Hercules.
151 Probably a mutual friend of Statius and Vindex.
152 Hercules.
153 The preceding is a list of some of Hercules’ adventures. Vindex apparently either did or will compose a poem about them.
154 Alexander the Great.
155 One of the Muses.
156 A famous Greek poet who wrote odes in praise of athletes and politicians.
157 A reference to Statius’ own Thebaid. Pindar was from Thebes.
158 A man of Dalmatian descent. Not much is known about him.
159 The god of the Underworld.
160 A city on the Bay of Naples.
161 A reference to Misenus, a squire of Hector’s, who gave his name to Misenum, a city on the Bay of Naples.
162 Apollo.
163 A reference to Statius’ own Achilleid.
164 Vergil.
165 A river in Syria.
166 I.e. with good fortune.
167 A people who lived near the Caspian Sea.
168 A historian known for his striking literary style.
169 This reference is obscure.
170 Naples.
171 A friend of Statius and son-in-law of Pollius Felix, another of Statius’ friends.
172 Puteoli.
173 Surrentum, another nearby town.
174 Bacchus.
175 Pollius Felix.
176 Evidently Pollius won some military distinction in north Africa.
177 Pollius’ wife.
178 Italian.
179 Goddess of childbirth.
180 The point here seems to be that Menecrates’ daughter will be as attractive to suitors of good families as Helen was.
181 Wine was aged by smoke in a room above the hearth.
182 A legendary figure from the island of Euboea in Greece, from where settlers came to the Bay of Naples.
183 A Neopolitan divinity.
184 Ceres, the goddess of grain, was associated with the Greek town of Eleusis, where her famous mysteries took place.
185 Castor and Pollux, sons of Tyndareus, a king of Sparta.
186 Three topographical references to Sparta.
187 This poem was composed in the context of the Saturnalis, a midwinter festival characterized by revelry and gift-giving. Statius apparently gave Grypus a fine book for a present, and in return got a shabby one.
188 Not otherwise known.
189 The centumviral court, concerned with property issues.
190 Domitian.
191 Either philosophical or oratorical works by M. Brutus, the well-known conservative politician of the Late Republic.
192 A proverbial phrase for debased currency. Interestingly it is not clear that Caligula actually ever did this.
193 In Asia Minor.
194 I.e. North African.
195 Evidently a cheap type of pottery.