LCL 96: 140-141
Epitaphia Heroum Qui Bello TroicoInterfuerunt
Ausonius Lectori Suo Salutem.
Ad rem pertinere existimavi, ut vel vanum opusculum materiae congruentis absolverem et libello, qui commemorationem habet eorum, qui vel peregrini [Burdigalae vel1] Burdigalenses peregre docuerunt, Epitaphia subnecterem [scilicet titulos sepulcrales2] heroum, qui bello Troico interfuerunt. quae antiqua cum aput philologum quendam repperissem, Latino sermone converti, non ut inservirem ordinis persequendi [studio3], set ut cohercerem libere nec aberrarem.
Rex regum Atrides, fraternae coniugis ultor, oppetii manibus coniugis ipse meae. quid prodest Helenes raptum punisse dolentem, vindicem adulterii cum Clytemestra necet?
Epitaphs On The Heroes Who TookPart In The Trojan War1
Ausonius to the Reader, greeting.
I have thought it to the purpose to finish off this little work and to append it—for however trifling it may be, it is kindred in substance—to my little book commemorating the Professors of Bordeaux, whether they were strangers teaching at Bordeaux or fellowcountrymen teaching abroad. It is the Epitaphs [that is to say, funerary inscriptions] on the Heroes who took part in the Trojan War. It consists, indeed, of ancient poems which I found in the possession of some scholar and turned into Latin, on such terms as not to follow the strict letter of the original slavishly, but to paraphrase it freely, though without missing the point.
1, The son of Atreus, the king of kings, the avenger of my brother’s wife, met my end at my own wife’s hands. What, then, avails it that in my grief I punished Helen’s ravisher, since Clytemnaestra slays the chastiser of adultery?
- 1The Peplos of “Aristotle” (a collection of sixty-seven couplets commemorating Greek and Trojan heroes) contains the originals of many, but by no means all, of these pieces. Nos. xxvii.–xxxv. have no connection with the Trojan War, and were probably thrust into their present place by an editor who, after the death of Ausonius, introduced his unpublished work into the published collection wherever it seemed to fit in more or less appropriately. See Introduction.
- 2cp. Pepl. 1.