Seneca the Younger, Hercules

LCL 62: 14-15

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Soror Tonantis—hoc enim solum mihi nomen relictum est—semper alienum Iovem ac templa summi vidua deserui aetheris, locumque caelo pulsa paelicibus dedi; 5tellus colenda est, paelices caelum tenent. hinc Arctos alta parte glacialis poli sublime classes sidus Argolicas agit; hinc, qua recenti vere laxatur dies, Tyriae per undas vector Europae nitet; 10illinc timendum ratibus ac ponto gregem passim vagantes exerunt Atlantides. ferro minax hinc terret Orion deos suasque Perseus aureus stellas habet; hinc clara gemini signa Tyndaridae micant 15quibusque natis mobilis tellus stetit. nec ipse tantum Bacchus aut Bacchi parens





Sister of the Thunder God: this is the only title left me. Wife no more, I have abandoned ever-unfaithful Jove and the precincts of high heaven; driven from the skies, I have given up my place to his whores. I must dwell on earth; whores inhabit the skies. Over here is the Bear,1 that lofty constellation high in the frozen North, a lodestar for Greek fleets. Here, where the daylight waxes in early spring, shines the one that carried Tyrian Europa across the waves. Over there rise the far-ranging daughters of Atlas, feared by ships and the sea. Here Orion menaces the gods with his sword, and golden Perseus has his constellation.2 Here glitters the brilliant sign of the twin Tyndarids, and those at whose birth the drifting land stood still.3 And not only Bacchus himself and Bacchus’ mother

  • 1Juno begins to point out in the night sky various commemorations of Jupiter’s infidelities and his bastards. The Bear (Ursa Major) is Callisto, mother by Jupiter of Arcas; the bearer of Europa is the Bull, Taurus; Atlas’ daughters are the Pleiades, three of whom lay with Jupiter and bore him sons.
  • 2A tradition purporting to explain Orion’s name said he was born without a mother from the urine of Jupiter and other gods. Perseus was Jupiter’s son by Danae.
  • 3The latter twins are Apollo and Diana (sun and moon), borne by Latona on the wandering isle of Delos; the former are Castor and Pollux (Gemini), sons of Leda, whose cuckolded husband was Tyndareus.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-hercules.2018