A newer edition of this work is available: 2018

Seneca the Younger, Hercules

LCL 62: 112-113



785regnum tuetur. sordidum tabo caput lambunt colubrae, viperis horrent iubae longusque torta sibilat cauda draco. par ira formae: sensit ut motus pedum, attollit hirtas angue vibrato comas 790missumque captat aure subrecta sonum, sentire et umbras solitus. ut propior stetit Iove natus antro, sedit incertus canis et uterque timuit.—ecce latratu gravi loca muta terret; sibilat totos minax 795serpens per armos. vocis horrendae fragor per ora missus terna felices quoque exterret umbras. solvit a laeva feros tunc ipse rictus et Cleonaeum caput opponit ac se tegmine ingenti tegit; 800victrice magnum dextera robur gerens huc nunc et illuc verbere assiduo rotat, ingeminat ictus. domitus infregit minas et cuncta lassus capita summisit canis antroque toto cessit. extimuit sedens 805uterque solio dominus et duci iubet; me quoque petenti munus Alcidae dedit. Tum gravia monstri colla permulcens manu adamante texto vincit. oblitus sui custos opaci pervigil regni canis 810componit aures timidus et patiens trahi, erumque fassus, ore summisso obsequens, utrumque cauda pulsat anguifera latus. postquam est ad oras Taenari ventum, et nitor

  • 793et uterque EA: leviterque Madvig
  • 799tegit E: clepit A


noise. Snakes lick the heads foul with pus, his manes bristle with vipers, and a long serpent hisses in his twisted tail. His rage matches his appearance. As he heard the movement of feet, his shaggy coat bristled with quivering snakes, and he pricked up his ears to catch the sound, being practiced in hearing even ghosts. When Jove’s son took his stand closer to the cave, the hound sat back uncertain, and each felt fear. Suddenly with deep barking he alarmed the silent region; the snakes hissed threateningly all over his shoulders. The din of his fearsome bark, emerging through his three mouths, frightened even the shades in bliss. Then the hero loosed the fierce, gaping jaws from his left shoulder, thrust out the Cleonaean head and screened himself with that huge shield. 41 Wielding the great tree trunk in his all-conquering right hand, he whirled it this way and that in constant blows, and redoubled his strikes. Mastered, the hound broke off its threats, wearily drooped all its heads and emerged from the cave that it filled. The two rulers quailed on their thrones and bade him be led away; they granted me too as a gift to Alcides’ request. 42

Then he stroked the monster’s foul necks with his hand, and leashed them with adamantine chains. Forgetting himself, the unsleeping watchdog of the dark realm timidly laid back his ears and tolerated being led, acknowledging his master, submitting with lowered muzzles, and thumping each flank with his snaky tail. But after they reached the borders of Taenarus, and the brightness of the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-hercules.2002