Seneca the Younger, Trojan Women

LCL 62: 146-147

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luctus recentes; Troia iam vetus est malum. vidi execrandum regiae caedis nefas, 45ipsasque ad aras maius admissum scelus Aiacis ausis, cum ferox, saeva manu coma reflectens regium torta caput, alto nefandum vulneri ferrum abdidit; quod penitus actum cum recepisset libens, 50ensis senili siccus e iugulo redît. placare quem non potuit a caede effera mortalis aevi cardinem extremum premens superique testes sceleris et quoddam sacrum regni iacentis? ille tot regum parens 55caret sepulcro Priamus et flamma indiget ardente Troia. Non tamen superis sat est: dominum ecce Priami nuribus et natis legens sortitur urna, praedaque en vilis sequar. hic Hectoris coniugia despondet sibi, 60hic optat Heleni coniugem, hic Antenoris; nec dest tuos, Cassandra, qui thalamos petat. mea sors timetur, sola sum Danais metus. Lamenta cessant, turba captivae mea? ferite palmis pectora et planctus date 65et iusta Troiae facite. iamdudum sonet fatalis Ide, iudicis diri domus.

  • 46Aiacis ausis Bentley: aeacis armis E: eacide armis A saeva* A: scaeva* E: laeva Gronovius


Troy by now is an old distress. I saw the accursed sacrilege of the king’s murder, and a crime committed at the very altar greater than the outrage of Ajax, when the ferocious fellow,8 bending back the king’s head by the hair twisted in his cruel hand, buried his wicked blade in a deep wound. After he willingly received the deeply driven sword, it came out dry from the old man’s throat. Who could not have been appeased from savage slaughter by a man closing on the last climacteric of mortal life, and by the gods witnessing the scene, and by a kind of sanctity belonging to fallen kingship? Priam, famous father of so many princes, has no tomb; he lacks a funeral fire, while Troy burns.

Yet this is not enough for the gods above: even now the urn is casting lots, selecting a master for the daughters and daughters-in-law of Priam, and I shall follow—see, a worthless prize! One man betroths Hector’s wife to himself, another hopes for Helenus’ wife, another for Antenor’s; there is even someone who desires your bridal bed, Cassandra. My lot is feared, I alone frighten the Danaans.

Is your lamentation idle, my band of captive women? Strike your breasts with your hands, beat out the sounds of sorrow, and perform the funeral rites for Troy. For a long time now fateful Mt. Ida should have been reechoing, home of the cursed judge.9

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-trojan_women.2018