Seneca the Younger, Trojan Women

LCL 62: 142-143

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Quicumque regno fidit et magna potens dominatur aula nec leves metuit deos animumque rebus credulum laetis dedit, me videat et te, Troia: non umquam tulit 5documenta fors maiora, quam fragili loco starent superbi. columen eversum occidit pollentis Asiae, caelitum egregius labor; ad cuius arma venit et qui frigidum septena Tanain ora pandentem bibit 10et qui renatum primus excipiens diem tepidum rubenti Tigrin immiscet freto, et quae vagos vicina prospiciens Scythas ripam catervis Ponticam viduis ferit, excisa ferro est; Pergamum incubuit sibi. 15En alta muri decora congesti iacent tectis adustis; regiam flammae ambiunt

  • 15-16congesti . . . adustis A: congestis . . . adusti E




Anyone who trusts in royal power, anyone who rules supreme in a great palace without fear of the fickle gods, anyone who surrenders his trusting heart to happiness, should look upon me, and upon you, Troy. Never did Fortune give greater proofs of how unstable the place is where the proud stand.1 Overthrown and fallen is the pillar of mighty Asia, masterwork of the gods.2 To its army came that warrior who drinks of the chill Tanais spreading wide its seven mouths,3 and the one who first welcomes the reborn daylight and sends the warm Tigris on to join the crimson sea, and she who faces as neighbor the nomad Scyths and rides hard on the Pontic shore with her unwed hordes. Now it has been razed by the sword; Pergamum has collapsed on itself. See, the walls, those lofty glories, lie piled in ruins on the charred buildings; flames throng the palace, and smoke rises across the entire breadth of

  • 1These lessons for rulers are echoed in Elizabethan drama: “Those that are proud of fickle Empery, / And place their chiefest good in earthly pomp: / Behold the Turk and his great Emperess” (Christopher Marlowe, 1 Tamburlaine 5.2.290–92); “Never did Fortune greater instance give / In what frail state proud magistrates do live” (Thomas Storer, Life and Death of Thomas Wolsey).
  • 2Troy’s walls were built by Neptune and Apollo.
  • 3Rhesus; the following references are to Memnon and the Amazon Penthesileia.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-trojan_women.2018