Seneca the Younger, Trojan Women

LCL 62: 144-145

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omnisque late fumat Assaraci domus. non prohibet avidas flamma victoris manus: diripitur ardens Troia. nec caelum patet 20undante fumo; nube ceu densa obsitus ater favilla squalet Iliaca dies. stat avidus irae victor et lentum Ilium metitur oculis ac decem nondum ferus ignoscit annis; horret afflictam quoque, 25victamque quamvis videat, haud credit sibi potuisse vinci. spolia populator rapit Dardania; praedam mille non capiunt rates. Testor deorum numen adversum mihi patriaeque cineres teque rectorem Phrygum, 30quem Troia toto conditum regno tegit, tuosque manes quo stetit stante Ilium, et vos meorum liberum magni greges, umbrae minores: quidquid adversi accidit, quaecumque Phoebas ore lymphato furens 35credi deo vetante praedixit mala, prior Hecuba vidi gravida nec tacui metus et vana vates ante Cassandram fui. non cautus ignes Ithacus aut Ithaci comes nocturnus in vos sparsit aut fallax Sinon: 40meus ignis iste est, facibus ardetis meis. Sed quid ruinas urbis eversae gemis, vivax senectus? respice infelix ad hos

  • 23nondum Axelson: tandem EA


Assaracus’ house. Yet the flames do not curb the conqueror’s greedy hands: Troy is plundered while she burns. The sky is obscured by the billowing smoke; as though enveloped in thick cloud, the daylight is black and befouled with Ilium’s ash. The conqueror stands insatiable in his anger and measures long-lingering Ilium with his gaze, and savagely refuses as yet to forgive the ten long years. He shudders at her even in her ruins, and though he sees her defeated, he cannot convince himself that her defeat was possible. Looters seize the Dardan spoils; those thousand ships cannot hold the plunder.

I call the gods to witness (hostile though they are to me), and the ashes of my country, and you, ruler of Phrygia,4 now buried beneath your whole realm, covered by Troy, and your spirit5—as long as you stood, Ilium stood—and you great flocks of my children, less mighty shades: all disasters that have happened, all evils that Phoebus’ priestess foretold in raving speech as the god denied her credence, I Hecuba saw first while great with child,6 and I voiced my fears; I was a futile prophetess before Cassandra. It was not the wary Ithacan that scattered firebrands among you, nor the Ithacan’s night-prowling companion, nor lying Sinon:7 that fire is mine, you are burning with my brands.

But why, lingering old age, lament the downfall of a city that is overthrown? Ill-fated one, face these fresh griefs;

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-trojan_women.2018