The OF Blog: Rough translation of the Aeneid, Book II, lines 13-30

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rough translation of the Aeneid, Book II, lines 13-30

Now to tackle a bit more of the opening to Book II, picking up with the introduction of the infamous Trojan horse.  Again, this is a first draft and not an editing of old translation notes, as was the case for Book I:

Fracti bello fatisque repulsi
ductores Danaum tot iam labentibus annis
instar montis equum divina Palladis arte
aedificant, sectaque intexunt abiete costas;
votum pro reditu simulant; ea fama vagatur.
huc delecta virum sortiti corpora furtim
includunt caeco lateri penitusque cavernas
ingentis uterumque armato milite complent. 

Broken by war and repelled by the fates after many seasons slipped by, the Danaan leaders through the artifice of divine Pallas constructed a horse as big as a mountain, cutting pines to weave its ribs; they feigned a votive offering for a return home; this rumor was spread around.  They chose by lot men to furtively inclose in the dark flank and within the vast hollow belly they filled with armed soldiers.
A bit rough toward the end; likely needs to have the repetitions broken somewhat to make it smoother in English.
Est in conspectu Tenedos, notissima fama
insula, dives opum Priami dum regna manebant,
nunc tantum sinus et statio male fida carinis:
huc se provecti deserto in litore condunt. 

Nos abiisse rati et vento petiisse Mycenas.
Ergo omnis longo soluit se Teucria luctu;
panduntur portae, iuvat ire et Dorica castra
desertosque videre locos litusque relictum:
hic Dolopum manus, hic saevus tendebat Achilles;
classibus hic locus, hic acie certare solebant.

 There is within view Tenedos, a well-known island, rich in power while Priam remained in power, now so great a bay and anchorage is treacherous:  here the Greeks establish themselves on the deserted shore.  We thought they had departed and were before the wind sailing to Mycenae.  Therefore the Teucerian city was freed of her long sorrow:  the gates are opened, we delight in going from the city to the deserted Doric camp and to see the abandoned shore:  here the Thessalians stayed, here fierce Achilles; here the ships were drawn up, here the accustomed battle lines were drawn.
Although a bit too literal in places, I believe the substance of the passage is transferred adequately here.  Vergil uses triple replication of certain phrases (here, it is hīc) frequently to achieve a certain effect and while in a later edit, especially if it were to cast this into a English-style poem, such phrasings would be altered or lost, here it stands as a marker for the effect achieved by reading this passage in Latin.

More on the Trojans' reactions to seeing the Trojan Horse in the coming days or weeks.

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