A newer edition of this work is available: 2018

Seneca the Younger, Agamemnon

LCL 78: 200-201



Detrahere cultus uxor hostiles iubet, induere potius coniugis fidae manu textos amictus. horreo atque animo tremo! regemne perimet exul et adulter virum? 885venere fata. sanguinem extremae dapes domini videbunt, et cruor Baccho incidet. mortifera vinctum perfidae tradit neci induta vestis: exitum manibus negant caputque laxi et invii claudunt sinus. 890haurit trementi semivir dextra latus, nec penitus egit: vulnere in medio stupet. at ille, ut altis hispidus silvis aper cum casse vinctus temptat egressus tamen artatque motu vincla et in cassum furit, 895cupit fluentes undique et caecos sinus dissicere et hostem quaerit implicitus suum. armat bipenni Tyndaris dextram furens, qualisque ad aras colla taurorum popa designat oculis antequam ferro petat, 900sic huc et illuc impiam librat manum. habet, peractum est! pendet exigua male caput amputatum parte, et hinc trunco cruor exundat, illinc ora cum fremitu iacent. nondum recedunt: ille iam exanimem petit 905laceratque corpus, illa fodientem adiuvat. uterque tanto scelere respondet suis: est hic Thyestae natus, haec Helenae soror. stat ecce Titan dubius emerito die, suane currat an Thyestea via.

  • 898popa Bentley: prius EA


His wife bids him take off this enemy attire, and put on instead a mantle woven by her hand, his faithful spouse. I shudder and tremble in spirit! Shall the king be murdered by an exile, the husband by an adulterer? The hour of fate has come. The feast’s last course will see the master’s blood—yes, blood will drop into the wine. The deadly garment he has put on binds him and delivers him to death by treachery. Its loose, impenetrable folds imprison his head and give his hands no way out. The half-man gouges his side with a trembling hand—but he has not thrust deep, he freezes in the very act of wounding! As in deep woods a bristling boar caught fast in a net still attempts to escape, tightening his bonds by his movements and raging in vain, so the king tries to part the blinding folds that pour around him, and searches for his enemy while ensnared. The Tyndarid madly arms herself with a double-bladed axe, and tries aiming at various points with those wicked hands, just as an attendant at the altar marks out the bulls’ necks by eye before striking with the steel. He’s hit, 50 it’s all over! The head hangs by a small segment, not cleanly cut off. Here blood pours from the torso, there lies the face with its mouth still shouting. They are not yet stepping away: he attacks Agamemnon now he is dead and mutilates his body, she assists in the stabbing. Both show themselves true to family by such a crime: he is Thyestes’ son, she is Helen’s sister. But see, with his day’s work ended the Titan halts in confusion: should he run his own course, or a Thyestean course? 51

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-agamemnon.2004