Silius Italicus, Punica

LCL 277: 384-385

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Silius Italicus

labitur intento cornu transfossus, et una 660arcum laeva cadens dimisit, dextra sagittam.

At non tam tristi sortitus proelia Marte Phoebei Soractis honor Carmelus agebat; sanguine quippe suo iam Bagrada tinxerat ensem, dux rectorque Nubae populi; iam fusus eidem 665Zeusis, Amyclaei stirps impacata Phalanti, quem tulerat mater claro Phoenissa Laconi. talia dum metuit, nec pugnae fisus in hoste tam rapido nec deinde fugae, suadente pavore, per dumos miser in vicina cacumina quercus 670repserat atque alta sese occultabat in umbra Hampsicus, insistens tremulis sub pondere ramis. hunc longa multa orantem Carmelus et altos mutantem saltu ramos transverberat hasta; ut, qui viscata populatur harundine lucos, 675dum nemoris celsi procera cacumina sensim substructa certat tacitus contingere meta, sublimem calamo sequitur crescente volucrem. effudit vitam, atque alte manante cruore membra pependerunt curvato exsanguia ramo. 680Iamque in palantes ac versos terga feroces pugnabant Itali, subitus cum mole pavenda terrificis Maurus prorumpit Tunger in armis. nigra viro membra, et furvi iuga celsa trahebant cornipedes, totusque novae formidinis arte 685concolor aequabat liventia currus equorum terga; nec erectis similes imponere cristis cessarat pennas, aterque tegebat amictus.


Punica, VII

Cleadas’ bow was bent when he was laid low by the spear; the bow slipped from his left hand and the arrow from his right, as down he fell.

But better fortune in battle befell Carmelus, the pride of Soractea sacred to Apollo. For he had already dyed his sword with the blood of Bagrada, lord and leader of a Nubian people; and he had slain Zeusis also, a warlike son of Spartan Phalantus,b whom a Punic mother had borne to a famous Lacedaemonian. Then fearing the same fate, Hampsicus had not confidence to engage so active a foe, nor even to fly: urged by terror, the poor wretch had passed through thickets and climbed to the top of a neighbouring oak, where he hid in the thick leafage, standing on boughs that shook under his weight. But Carmelus ran him through with his long spear, as he begged hard for mercy and sprang from branch to branch overhead. Thus the fowler who dispeoples the grove with his cane-rod tipped with birdlime, pursues the bird over his head with a lengthening reed, and silently tries to reach at last the topmost branches by adding a joint to his tapering rod.c Hampsicus poured forth his life; his blood streamed down from above, and his lifeless limbs bent down the branch on which they hung.

And now the Romans were fighting fiercely against the straggling and fleeing foe, when suddenly Tunger, the Moor, a terrible giant, rushed forward to battle. His body was black, and his lofty chariot was drawn by black horses; and the chariot—a new device to strike terror—was the same colour all over as the dusky backs of the steeds; and on his lofty crest he had been careful to set a plume of the same hue; and the garment he wore was black also.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.silius_italicus-punica.1934