A newer edition of this work is available: 2018

Seneca the Younger, Hercules

LCL 62: 54-55



iter ruina quaeret et vacuo volet regnare mundo. robore experto tumet, et posse caelum viribus vinci suis 70didicit ferendo; subdidit mundo caput nec flexit umeros molis immensae labor meliusque collo sedit Herculeo polus. immota cervix sidera et caelum tulit et me prementem: quaerit ad superos viam. 75Perge, ira, perge et magna meditantem opprime, congredere, manibus ipsa dilacera tuis; quid tanta mandas odia? discedant ferae, ipse imperando fessus Eurystheus vacet. Titanas ausos rumpere imperium Iovis 80emitte, Siculi verticis laxa specum, tellus Gigante Doris excusso tremens supposita monstri colla terrifici levet. [sublimis alias Luna concipiat feras] Sed vicit ista. quaeris Alcidae parem? 85nemo est nisi ipse; bella iam secum gerat. adsint ab imo Tartari fundo excitae Eumenides, ignem flammeae spargant comae, viperea saevae verbera incutiant manus. i nunc, superbe, caelitum sedes pete, 90humana temne! iam Styga et manes fugisse credis? hic tibi ostendam inferos. revocabo in alta conditam caligine,

  • 72meliusque E: mediusque A
  • 83 deleted by Leo
  • 90feros Σ: ferox A,Epc


Bacchus: he will forge a path by destruction, and he will want to rule in an empty sky. Swollen with confidence in his well-tested might, he has learnt through bearing the heavens that his strength can conquer them. When he bent his head to support the sky, the toil of that immense weight did not bow his shoulders; no, the firmament rested more securely on Hercules’ neck. Without budging, his back supported the stars and heavens—and my pressure. Yes, he is seeking a path to the gods.

Onward, my anger, onward! Crush this overreacher! Grapple with him, tear him apart with your own hands. Why delegate such hatred? Let the wild beasts go, let Eurystheus too rest, weary with giving commands. Release the Titans who dared disrupt Jove’s sway; open the cavern in the Sicilian peak, and let the Dorian land, which trembles whenever the giant struggles, free the pinioned neck of that horrific monster. 9

But he has defeated these! Do you need a match for Alcides? 10 There is none but himself. Now he must war with himself. The Eumenides must be summoned here from the lowest depths of Tartarus, their burning hair must scatter fire, their cruel hands brandish snaky whips. Go ahead, proud man, aspire to the gods’ abodes, despise human status! You think you have now escaped the Stygian world and its merciless spirits? Here I will show you infernal powers. I shall call up one buried in deep darkness,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-hercules.2002