M. Manilii Astronomicon

Liber Primus

Carmine divinas artes et conscia fati sidera diversos hominum variantia casus, caelestis rationis opus, deducere mundo aggredior primusque novis Helicona movere 5cantibus et viridi nutantis vertice silvas hospita sacra ferens nulli memorata priorum. hunc mihi tu, Caesar, patriae princepsque paterque. qui regis augustis parentem legibus orbem concessumque patri mundum deus ipse mereris, 10das animum viresque facis ad tanta canenda. iam propiusque favet mundus scrutantibus ipsum et cupit aetherios per carmina pandere census. hoc sub pace vacat tantum. iuvat ire per ipsum aera et immenso spatiantem vivere caelo 15 et adversos stellarum noscere cursus.

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The Astronomica of Marcus Manilius

Book 1

By the magic of song to draw down from heaven god-given skills and fate’s confidants, the stars, which by the operation of divine reason diversify the chequered fortunes of mankind; and to be the first to stir with these new strains a the nodding leaf-capped woods of Helicon, as I bring novel offerings untold by any before me: this is my aim. You, Caesar, b First Citizen and Father of your Country, who rule a world obedient to your august laws and merit the heaven granted to your sire, yourself a god, are the one who inspires this purpose and gives me strength for such lofty themes. Now is heaven the readier to favour those who search out its secrets, eager to display through a poet’s song the riches of the sky. Only in time of peace is there leisure for this task. It is my delight to traverse the very air and spend my life touring the boundless skies, learning of the constellations

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.manilius-astronomica.1977