A newer edition of this work is available: 2018

Seneca the Younger, Medea

LCL 62: 402-403



650ite nunc, fortes, perarate pontum fonte timendo.

Idmonem, quamvis bene fata nosset, condidit serpens Libycis harenis; omnibus verax, sibi falsus uni, 655concidit Mopsus caruitque Thebis. ille si vere cecinit futura, 657exul errabit Thetidis maritus; 661fulmine et ponto moriens Oilei 660a<pro suo natus> patrioque pendet 660bcrimine poenas.

658Igne fallaci nociturus Argis 659Nauplius praeceps cadet in profundum; 662coniugis fatum redimens Pheraei uxor impendes animam marito. ipse qui praedam spoliumque iussit 665aureum prima revehi carina [ustus accenso Pelias aëno] arsit angustas vagus inter undas. Iam satis, divi, mare vindicastis: parcite iusso.


670Pavet animus, horret: magna pernicies adest. immane quantum augescit et semet dolor accendit ipse vimque praeteritam integrat.

  • 658-59 transposed after 660, and 661 transposed before 660, by Peiper, who also recognised the lacuna in 660; the supplement is Zwierlein’s
  • 661Oilei D. Heinsius: oyleus E: cyleus A
  • 666 deleted by Peiper


Go ahead, brave men, plough through the seas, with danger in a spring!

Idmon, though well aware of fate, was buried in Libya’s sands by a serpent; true seer for all, false only for himself, Mopsus fell dead, parted from Thebes. If he sang truly of the future, Thetis’ husband will wander in exile; dying by lightning and sea, Oileus’ <son> will pay penalty <for his own> and his father’s crime.

Planning harm for Argos with deceiving fire, Nauplius will fall sheer into the deep; replacing her Pheraean spouse in death, the wife 33 will expend her life for her husband. Even he who ordered the plunder, the golden spoil brought back on that first ship, seethed while wandering in narrow waters. 34 Enough reparations, you gods, for the sea: spare one under orders.

Act 4

My heart shudders with fear: great devastation is near. It is monstrous how her resentment grows, feeds its own fires, renews its past violence. I have often seen her raging,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-medea.2002