A newer edition of this work is available: 2018

Seneca the Younger, Agamemnon

LCL 78: 170-171



luctatur Aiax. vela cogentem hunc sua tento rudente flamma perstrinxit cadens. 535libratur aliud fulmen: hoc toto impetu certum reducta Pallas excussit manu, imitata patrem. transit Aiacem et ratem ratisque partem secum et Aiacem tulit. nil ille motus, ardua ut cautes, salo 540ambustus exstat, dirimit insanum mare fluctusque rumpit pectore, et navem manu complexus ignes traxit et caeco mari conlucet Aiax; omne resplendet fretum. tandem occupata rupe furibundum intonat: 545“Superasse me nunc pelagus atque ignes iuvat, vicisse caelum Palladem fulmen mare. non me fugavit bellici terror dei, [et Hectorem una solus et Martem tuli] 548 Phoebea nec me tela pepulerunt gradu; 550cum Phrygibus istos vicimus: tene horream aliena inerti tela iaculantem manu? quid si ipse mittat?” plura cum auderet furens, tridente rupem subruit pulsam pater Neptunus imis exerens undis caput 555solvitque montem; quem cadens secum tulit, terraque et igne victus et pelago iacet.

Nos alia maior naufragos pestis vocat. est humilis unda, scrupeis mendax vadis, ubi saxa rapidis clausa verticibus tegit 560fallax Caphereus; aestuat scopulis fretum fervetque semper fluctus alterna vice.

  • 545me nunc Düring: nunc se A: nunc E: saevum Delz, Hudson-Williams
  • 548 deleted by Leo


disaster. 23 As he strained on the ropes to shorten sail, he was grazed by the falling fire. Another bolt was aimed: drawing back her hand, Pallas launched it on target with all her might, imitating her father. It passed through Ajax and his ship, and carried away part of the ship and Ajax himself. Unshaken, though scorched, like a lofty crag he stood out from the saltwater, sundered the maddened sea, broke the waves with his chest. As he grasped his ship tightly he caught fire from it, and in that blind sea Ajax was a source of light; the whole strait was illuminated. Finally, taking his stand on a rock, he thundered in fury: “I glory in having overcome flood and fire, in having conquered heaven, Pallas, lightning, sea. I was not driven off by fear of the war god, 24 nor forced to retreat by Phoebus’ arrows; I defeated those foes along with the Phrygians. Should I quail before your feeble-handed hurling of another’s weapons? Why not let him fire them himself?” As he dared say more in rage, father Neptune raised his head from the depths of the waves, struck and dislodged the rock with his trident, and toppled the crag. He carried it with him in his fall, and lies conquered by earth and fire and sea.

Already wrecked, we were drawn by another, worse scourge. There are shallows made treacherous by sharp underwater crags, where deceitful Caphereus conceals his rocky base beneath swirling eddies; water boils over the reefs, the waves always seethe in ebb or flow. Above towers

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-agamemnon.2004