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Latin Text

Ovid: Fasti: Book I: January

Translator’s introduction:

(a) To the work as a whole.

The “Fasti” is a six-book Latin poem by Ovid concentrating on the Roman calendar or ‘Fasti’, and each of its separate books deals with the first six months of the year, January to June. The books contain some brief astronomical details, but their principal sections discuss the religious festivals of the Romans, the rites which were involved in them, and their mythological explanations. The poem contains much Roman mythological and religious lore which would otherwise have been lost. The poem was originally published in 8 A.D. the year when Ovid was exiled to Tomis, but he continued to work on new drafts of it for the remainder of his life. Ovid never completed the work, and it is unclear whether he ever intended to write about the final six months of the year.

This translator’s introduction concludes with a quotation from the introduction to the Penguin translation of the “Fasti” by A. J. Boyle and R.D. Woodard (London, 2000): “Ovid’s Fasti has as its background a calendar of the first six months of the Roman religious year, into which are woven episodes drawn from Roman historical tradition and Greek mythology, embroidered with astronomical observations and political sorties. The result is a tapestry of times and seasons, myths and beliefs, ancient lore passed down from deep antiquity, or borrowed from foreign peoples. To be sure, Ovid’s literary purposes in producing his Fasti extend far beyond those of one whose chief aim is merely to chronicle; nevertheless, even if unwittingly, Ovid has left for us one of our most precious records of Roman cult and ritual and its cyclic celebration” (p. xxxii).

In the translation below, each day which Ovid specifically highlights is shown with the day of the month followed by the its title, where relevant. i.e. Kalends, Nones, Ides, and then its legal/religious category marked in italics. These categories are as follows:

fastus: a day on which courts could sit
comitialis: a day on which citizen assemblies could meet and votes be taken
nefastus: a day on which no court or public assembly could meet.
nefastus publicus: a day on which no public business could occur, but on which great public festivals took place.
endotercisus: days which were ‘nefastus’ in the morning and evening, but ‘fastus’
in between.

Additional information about the religious festivals which Ovid particularly highlights is provided in parenthesis immediately beneath the titles of the relevant sections. This information has been taken from the “Novaroma Calendar of Holidays and Festivals” (see novaroma.org calendar).

The Latin text for this translation has been taken from “Ovid’s Fasti”, edited by Sir James George Frazer, Harvard University Press, published by William Heinemann, London (1933), which is available on the Perseus website, sponsored by the Classical Department of Tufts University. Sabidius has also made use of the translation and accompanying notes of “Ovid: Fasti”, edited by A.J. Boyle and R.D. Woodward, Penguin Books (2000), and of the translation of the “Fasti” provided by A.S. Kline on his “Poetry in Translation” website.

(b) To Book I.

The first book, the book on January, opens with a prologue, which is a dedication to Germanicus (ll. 1-62), and a description of the poet’s theme as a description of the Roman calendar and religious festivals. The first section (ll. 83-294), and the longest one, is an interview between the poet and the god Janus about the details of his function as primal creator. The second main section (ll. 317-456) concerns the festival of the Agonalia, the aetiologies of sacred animals, the story of Aristaeus, and that of Lotis and Priapus. The third main episode (ll. 461-636) deals with the festival of the Carmentalia, and discusses the exile of Evander from Arcadia to Latium, and the prophecies of his mother Carmentis about Aeneas, Augustus and Livia, and, after a mythical interlude featuring the struggle between Hercules and Cacus, it ends with praise about the family of Augustus. The end of the book deals with the festival of Concordia (ll. 637-650), the moveable Day of Sowing, or Sementivae, together with a prayer for agricultural productivity (ll. 655-704), and the Feast of the Altar of Peace (the “Ara Pacis”) (ll. 709-724).

Proem (ll. 1-62).

a. Dedication to Germanicus (vv. 1-26).

I shall sing of the seasons distributed across the Latin year, together with the reasons (for them), and of the constellations that fall beneath the earth and rise (again). (O) Caesar Germanicus, accept this work with a calm expression, and direct the voyage of my uncertain ship, and, without scorning this trivial honour, come, be you propitious like a god, as I offer you this act of duty. You will recall the sacred rites extracted from the ancient records and for what benefit each day is marked. You will find there the festivals belonging to your family (i.e. the Julian house); often (the name of) your father (i.e. Tiberius), and of your grandfather (i.e. Caesar Augustus), is to be read (there), and the honours, which they win, illustrating the coloured calendars, (as they do), you and your brother Drusus (i.e. Drusus the younger, son of Tiberius and Vipsania) will also win. Let others sing of Caesar’s wars: I shall sing of Caesar’s altars and of those days which he has added to the (other) holy (days). Approve my attempt to go through the glorious deeds of your (family), and cast out the alarming fears in my heart. Give me your gentleness, (and) you will give strength to my verses. (For) my wit will stand or fall by your glance. My book may be shaken (with awe), being subject to the judgment of a learned prince, like a message being read by the Clarian god (i.e. Apollo, to whom there was a sanctuary and oracle dedicated in Claros, a town in Ionia). For I have heard of the eloquence which comes from your cultured lips, when it has borne civic arms on behalf of anxious defendants. And I know, when your efforts have turned to my arts (n.b. Germanicus wrote Greek plays), how copiously the river of your genius flows. If it is permissible, and it is lawful, let a bard guide a bard’s reins, so that under your auspices the whole year may pass happily.

b. Early calendar: Romulus and Numa (v. 27-44).

When the City’s founder arranged the calendar, he decided that there would be ten months in his year. Of course, Romulus, you knew more about arms than about stars, and conquering your neighbours was your chief concern. And yet, Caesar, there is a reason which could have prompted him and he has (grounds) by which he may justify his error. He determined that (the time) which is sufficient for a child to appear from his mother’s womb was enough time for his year; for as many months after her husband’s funeral a bereaved wife maintains signs of mourning in her house. So did the diligent Quirinus (i.e. Romulus) view these (matters), when, arrayed in his ceremonial robes, he bestowed proper years on his people. The month of Mars was the first (one), and (that) of Venus (i.e. April) was the second; she is the origin of our race (i.e. Venus was the mother of Aeneas), (and) he (is) its father (i.e. Mars was the father of Romulus): the third (i.e. May) (came) from the elderly (i.e. Maiores), and the fourth (i.e. June) from the name of the young (i.e. Juniores), (and) the group which follow was marked according to number (i.e. Quintilis, Sextilis, September, etc.). But Numa did not bypass Janus, nor the ancestral shades, and put two (more) in front of the ancient months (i.e. January and February).

c. Rules for the different days (vv. 45-62).

Yet, lest you are unaware of the laws of the various days, Lucifer (i.e. Dawn) does not always have the same observances. It will be an unlawful (day) (i.e. a “dies nefastus”) on which the three words (of the praetor) (i.e. ” ‘Do’ [I give] bonorum possessionem”;” ‘Dico'”, [I deliver] ius”; and ” “‘Addico”, [I award] id de quo quaeritur”) are not spoken: it will be a lawful (day) (i.e. a “dies fastus”) on which it will be permissible for a law to be enacted. (But) you should not assume that its character will persist throughout the day; what will now be a lawful (day) was unlawful in the morning (n.b. such days were called “dies endotercisi”, or half-holidays); for once the entrails have been offered to the god, one can say all (things), and the praetor in office has (the right of) free speech. There is also (the day) on which it is right to enclose the people in the voting-stalls (n.b. such days were called “dies comitiales”); (and) there is also (the day) which always recurs on a nine(-day) cycle (i.e. the “nundinae” or market-days). The worship of Juno lays claim to our Ausonian (i.e. Italian) Kalends (i.e. the first day of the month); a rather large white ewe-lamb falls to Jupiter on the Ides (i.e. the thirteenth or the fifteenth day of the month); the guardianship of the Nones (i.e. the fifth or seventh day of the month) lacks a god. After all these (days), the next (day) will be an unlucky (one). The ill-omen derives from a (past) misfortune: for on those days Rome suffered tragic losses in a military defeat. These words of mine, applying (as they do) to the whole calendar, will be stated (just) once, lest I shall be forced to disrupt the sequence of events.

January 1: Kalends: Fastus (ll. 63-294).

See (how) Janus appears first in my song to announce a happy year for you, Germanicus. Two-headed Janus, source of the silently gliding year, the only one of the gods who can see your own back, be propitious to the leaders (i.e. Tiberius and Germanicus), by whose labour the fertile earth (wins) trouble-free peace, and the sea is calm: be propitious to your Senate and to the people of Quirinus (i.e. Rome), and unlock with a nod your shining white temples (i.e. they were shining white because their worshippers wore white togas). A prosperous day dawns: may you favour (us) in your words and thoughts; now let auspicious words be spoken on this auspicious day. Let our ears be free of lawsuits, and let mad disputes be banished forthwith: malicious tongues, postpone your work. Do you see how the air lights up with fragrant fire, and (how) the Cilician grains (i.e. filaments of saffron from Mount Corycus in Cilicia) crackle in the burning hearths? The flame beats on the temple’s gilded (roof) and spreads its flickering light on the shrine’s roof. Spotless vestments make their way to the Tarpeian Heights (i.e. the Capitol), and the people themselves wear the same colour as (that of) their festival (i.e. white), and now new axes (i.e. the fasces held by the lictors) precede (the consuls) (n.b. on the first day of the year the newly elected consuls, followed by the people, went in procession to the Capitol to offer a sacrifice to Jupiter), new purple glows (i.e. the ‘toga praetextata’, worn by the consuls was edged with purple) and the distinctive ivory (chair) (i.e. the ‘sella curulis’, the curule chair, in which the consul sat) feels a fresh weight. Work-shy bullocks, which the grass of Falerii (an Etruscan town from which white cattle were brought to Rome to be sacrificed) had nourished on their plains, offer their necks to be cut. When Jupiter watches the whole world on his hill (i.e. either the dome of heaven or the Capitol, on the top of which was a temple dedicated to Jupiter) there is nothing that he sees but it belongs to Rome. Hail, day of joy, and ever return happier (still), worthy to be cherished by a people that rules the world.

But two-shaped Janus, what god shall I say you are? For Greece has no god like you. Tell (me) too the reason why alone of (all) the gods, you can see what is behind (you) and what is in front of (you). While I was pondering these (things) in my mind, holding my writing-tablet (in my hand), the house seemed suddenly brighter than it was before. Then, sacred and marvellous Janus in his two-headed form suddenly brought his twin faces before my eyes. I was greatly afraid, and felt my hair stiffen with fear, and my heart was frozen with a sudden coldness. Holding his staff in his right(- hand) and his key in his left (one), he uttered these words to me from his front face: “Having set aside your fear, learn what you seek, (you) bard full of labour on the days (in question), and take hold of my words in your mind. The ancients – for I am something from former times – called me Chaos: note the events of a time long ago, of which I shall sing. The clear air, and the three elements which remain, fire, and water, and earth, were heaped together (as) one. When once this mass had broken up, through the discord of its component parts, and, having dissolved, it departed to new dwelling places, flame sought the heights, air took a nearer place, and the earth settled in the middle ground. Then, I who was a ball and a mass without shape, returned to the appearance and the limbs of a god. Even now, (as) a slight mark of my confused shape, what is my front and (what is) my back appear the same. Listen to what may be the other reason for the shape you query, so you know of this, and of my duties as well. Whatever you see anywhere, sky, sea, clouds, earth, all (things) are opened and closed by my hand. The custody of this vast world is in my hands alone, and control of the turned-back door-hinges is all mine. When it pleases (me) to send out Peace from tranquil houses, she walks the long roads freely: the whole world would be thrown into confusion by deadly bloodshed, if my rigid bolts did not keep War confined. I sit at Heaven’s gate with the gentle hours – Jupiter, himself, comes and goes at my discretion: for that reason I am called Janus; you would laugh at the names the priest (gives) me, when he lays the cake of Ceres (i.e. the Janual) and the meal mixed with salt (i.e the ‘mola salsa’) upon (the altar): for on his sacrificial lips I am called now Patulcius (i.e. the Opener) and now Clusius (i.e. the Shutter). So, with a change of name, rude antiquity chose to mark those different functions (of mine). The nature of my (power) has been explained; now learn the reason for my shape: although you already perceive it in some part. Every door has two sides, this one and that one, of which one faces the public and the other (the image of) the Lar (i.e. the tutelary god of the household), and, as your doorkeeper, sitting near the threshold of the entrance to your house, sees who goes out and who comes in, so I, the doorkeeper of the heavenly court, look in easterly and westerly directions at the same time. You see Hecate’s faces turning in three directions (n.b. Hecate, under the name of Trivia, was the three-headed guardian of the crossroads), so that she may guard the crossroads which have branched into three pathways: and I, lest I should lose time by twisting my neck (around), am permitted to look both ways without moving my body.”

He finished speaking, and by a look he agreed that, if I wished to ask (him) more, he would not create any difficulties for me. I took heart, and gave thanks to the god without fear, and, gazing at the ground, I spoke some more words: “Come, tell (me) why the New Year begins in winter, when it would be better if it started in the spring? Then everything is in flower, then it is a fresh time of the year, and the new bud swells on the teeming vine-shoot, and the tree is covered with freshly formed leaves, and the grass seed sprouts on the surface of the soil, and the birds delight the warm air with their harmonies, and the cattle frisks and gambols in the meadows. Then, the sun is sweet, and the stranger swallow comes forth and moulds her clay-built nest under the lofty roof-beam; then, the land endures tilling and is renewed by the plough. This (time) should rightly have been called New Year.”

I had questioned him with many (words); briefly and without delay, he condensed his response into two lines: “The winter solstice is the beginning of the new year: Phoebus and the year have the same beginning.” After this, I wondered why the first day was not free from litigation. “Know the reason,” Janus says. “I assigned the nascent time to business matters, lest, due to an omen, the whole year should be idle. Therefore, everyone gives a taste of the conduct of their skills, and does no more than give proof of their usual work.”

Then, I (said) why, though I appease other gods, do I bring the incense and wine first to you, Janus?” He replies, “So that through me, who guards the thresholds, you can have access to whichever gods you wish.” “But why are joyous words spoken on your Kalends, and why do we give and receive reciprocal expressions of good wishes?” Then, leaning on the staff which he bore in his right(-hand), the god replies, “Omens usually belong to beginnings. You direct your anxious ears to the first word, and the augur takes his cue from the first bird that he sees. (On this day,) the temples and the ears of the gods are open, nor does any tongue utter fruitless prayers, and words have weight.” Janus finished (speaking). I effected a short silence, but (then) followed his last words with words of my own: “What do the gifts of dates and wrinkled dried figs mean?” I said, “as well as that honey glistening in the bottom of the wine-jar?” “The omen is the reason,” he says, “so that its savour may follow events, and so that the year may complete its course as sweetly as it had begun.” “I can see why these sweet (things) are given; (but) explain the reason for the gifts of cash, so that no part of your festival may escape my (understanding).”

He laughed and said, “O how (the character) of your own times deceives you, if you think that honey has been taken up more sweetly than cash (in hand)! I have scarcely seen anyone, (even) in the reign of Saturn, in whose heart money was not sweet. Love of being rich grew with time, and it is now at its height: for there is scarcely any way in which it could now expand much further. Wealth is (valued) more (highly) now than in former years, when the people (were) poor and Rome was new, when a small hut held Quirinus (i.e. Romulus), son of Mars, and reeds from the river made a scanty bed. Jupiter could barely stand upright in his cramped shrine, and the lightning-bolt in Jupiter’s right-hand was made of clay. They decked with leaves the Capitol, which now (they deck) with gems, and the senator himself grazed his own sheep; there was no shame in taking one’s gentle sleep on straw, and on putting one’s head in the hay. The praetor (i.e. Cincinnatus) had just left his plough to dispense law to the people, and (to own) a light plate of silver was an offence. But, ever since Fortune had raised her head in this place, and Rome has touched with her crest the highest gods, both wealth and the frantic lust for riches has increased, and, when those, who possess the most, (still) crave for more, they seek to spend, (and) they compete to acquire what’s been spent, and, in their vices, there are alternating (sources of) nourishment. Like those whose bellies swell up when (they are) filled, the more they drink the more thirsty (they become); now the prize is in the money: wealth brings honours, friendship too: everywhere the poor man is neglected. You still ask (me) if cash is a useful (means of) augury, and why old bronze (coins) are (such) a delight in our hands. Once (men) gave bronze: now there is a better omen in gold, and, having been overcome, old money gives way to the new. Although we (still) approve of the antique, we too delight in golden temples: such splendour suits a god. We praise the past, but we enjoy our own age: yet the customs of both are worthy to be cultivated to the same extent.”

He (i.e. Janus) had completed his advice, (and) so, as before, I again address the god who holds the key in a calm voice: “Indeed, I have learned much: but why is (the figure of) a ship marked on one (side of) this bronze (coin), (and) a twin shape on the other?” “You might have been able to recognise me in the double image,” he said, “if those former days had not worn away the work. The reason for the ship remains: the scythe-carrying god, having previously wandered the world, came by boat to the Tuscan river (i.e. the Tiber). I remember (how) Saturn (was) welcomed in this land – he had been driven by Jupiter from the celestial regions. From that day, the Saturnian name remained with the people for a long time; the land was also called Latium, because the god was hiding (there). But a dutiful posterity stamped a ship on the coin to commemorate the stranger god’s arrival. I, myself, inhabited the ground, the left side of which the most gentle waves of the sandy Tiber rub smooth. Here, where Rome now is, an uncut forest was flourishing, and all this space provided pasturage for (only) a few cows. My citadel was the hill, which the people of this age call by my name, and they name (it) the Janiculum. (It was) then (that) I reigned, when the earth was able to bear the gods, and the spirits intermingled in human places. Justice had not yet put mortal sin to flight – she was the last of the gods to leave the earth – , and shame, itself, without force, ruled the people, instead of fear ;(and) it was no trouble to expound the law to righteous (men). I (had) nothing (to do) with war: I guarded peace and the doorposts,” and, showing his key, he said, “These (are) the arms I bear.”

The god closed his mouth. So then, I opened mine, my voice eliciting the voice of the god: “Since you have so many archways, why do you stand immortalised in (just) one, here where you have a temple adjoining two market-places (i.e. the Forum Romanum and the Forum Iulium)?” Stroking with his hand the beard falling on his chest, he at once recounted the warlike deeds of Oebalian Tatius, and how the fickle guardian (i.e. Tarpeia), induced by (the gift of) bracelets, led the silent Sabines on a path to the top of the citadel. “Then,” he said, “there was a slope as steep as it now is, by which you descend to the valleys through the market-places. Even now (the enemy) had reached the gate, from which Saturn’s envious daughter (i.e. Juno) had removed the opposing bars; fearing to engage in battle with such a powerful deity, I cunningly made use of a device of my own craft, and opened the mouths of the fountains, by means of which I am powerful, and let loose a sudden (gush of) water. But first I threw sulphur into the sodden water courses, so foaming liquid would block Tatius’ path. When this service (had been) performed and the Sabines repulsed, its appearance was restored to the safe place that it had been; an altar was raised to me, joined to a little sanctuary: it burns in its flames the (sacrificial) spelt and the cakes.”

“But why do you hide in peacetime, and throw open your gates in war?” At once, he gave me the answer I sought: “My gate, with its bolts removed, stands wide open, so that, when the people go to war, the return (path) may lie open (too). In peace, I close the door, lest it can somehow depart; and by Caesar’s will, I shall be closed for a long time.”

He finished speaking, and, lifting up his eyes that looked in different directions, he surveyed all that existed in the whole world: there was peace, Germanicus, and a reason for your triumph, (as) the Rhine had already yielded its waters to you (as) your maidservants (n.b. Germanicus was awarded a triumph in 17 A.D. for his victories over the Chatti, the Cherusci, and the Angivarii). Janus, create peace and the agents of eternal peace, and grant that its author may not abandon his work! Yet, something which I have been permitted to learn from the calendar itself, the senate consecrated two temples on this day. The island, which the river surrounds with water, welcomed the one whom the nymph Coronis bore to Phoebus (i.e. Aesculapius). Jupiter has a share in it (too): one place received both of them, and the temples of the mighty grandfather and grandson are joined (n.b. the temples of Aesculapius and of Jupiter on Tiber island were consecrated in 291 B.C. and 195 B.C. respectively).

January 3: Comitialis (ll. 295-314).

What prevents (me) from speaking of the stars, and of (how) they rise and fall? That was a part of what I promised. (O) happy souls (i.e. astronomers), who first took the trouble to know these (things), and ascend to the heavenly mansions! It is likely that they extended their heads above the frailties and homes of men alike. Neither lust, nor wine did break their lofty natures, nor (did) public business (i.e. the pleading of causes in the Forum) or the toils of military service; no trivial ambition, or (vain) glory suffused with false splendour, or hunger for great wealth, tempted (them). They directed the distant stars to our mind’s eye, and subjected the heavens to their genius. So, (man) may seek the sky; (there is) no (need) that Olympus should bear (the burden of) Ossa, and that the top of Pelion should touch the starry heights. Following these masters, I too shall measure out the sky, and attribute their own days to the wandering constellations. So, when the third night of the coming Nones shall arrive, and the ground shall be sprinkled and drenched in heavenly dew, the claws of the eight-footed Crab shall be sought in vain: it will plunge headlong beneath the western waves (i.e. the morning-setting of Cancer).

January 5: Nones: Fastus (ll. 315-316).

Should the Nones be at hand, showers of rain, discharged from dark clouds, will give you their sign that the Lyra has risen (i.e. the morning-rising of Lyra).

January 9: Agonalia: Nefastus Publicus? (ll. 317-458).

(In the Agonalia of January, Janus must be appeased. The Rex Sacrorum sacrifices a ram to Janus at the Regia.)

Add four successive days to the Nones, (and) Janus must be appeased on the day of the Agonalia (i.e. the festival in honour of Janus, when a ram was sacrificed in the Regia by the Rex Sacrorum). The reason for the name must be the girded (priest’s) attendant (i.e. the ‘popa’), at whose blow the gods’ sacrificial victim falls, and he, as he is about to stain with hot blood the blade which he holds (in his hand), always asks if he should do (it), (i.e. he says ‘Agone?’) nor does he act unless (he is) commanded (i.e. when the Rex Sacrorum says ‘Hoc age!’). Some believe that the day has the name Agonalia from the leading (of the victim to the altar), because the sheep do not come (to the altar) but are driven (there). Others think that the festival (was) called Agnalia (i.e. about lambs) by the ancients, when a single letter might have been dropped from its usual place. Or, (perhaps,) the day itself was named from the terror (i.e. ‘ἀγωνία’) of the sheep, because the victim fears the knife (it sees) mirrored in the water? You may also say that the day happened to have borne a Greek name from the games (i.e. ‘ἀγῶνες’) that used (to be held) in former times. And ancient language called sheep ‘agonia’; and this last explanation is, in my judgment, the truth. And, although the (meaning) is uncertain, the Rex Sacrorum must so appease the gods with the mate of a woolly ewe (i.e. a ram). It is called a ‘victima’ (because) it fell at the hands of a victor; the name ‘hostia’ (i.e. sacrificial victim) comes from enemies (i.e. ‘hostes’) (who have been) subdued. Once, spelt and the glittering grains of pure salt (i.e. the ‘mola salsa’) were (the means by) which it was possible for a man to placate the gods. No foreign ship had yet brought (to Italy) across the ocean waves liquid myrrh extracted from the bark (of a tree), nor had the Euphrates sent incense, nor India perfume, and the threads of yellow saffron from the Red (Sea) were unknown. The altar happily gave out fumes from Sabine juniper, and the bay (wood) blazed with a loud (crackling) sound. If there was anyone, who could add violets to garlands woven from meadow flowers, he was rich. The knife that now lays bare the entrails of the stricken bull, (then) had no role in the sacred rites. Ceres (was) the first (to) delight in the blood of the greedy sow, as she avenged her crops by the rightful death of the harmful (creature): for (when) spring (was) new, she discovered that the grain, while it was sucking its tender juices, (had been) uprooted by the snout of a bristling (pig). Terrified by this precedent, you should have spared the vine-shoot, (you) he-goat. Someone watching (it) sinking its teeth into the vine, uttered these words in loud indignation: “Gnaw the vine, (you) goat: but, when you stand at the altar, there will be (something) from it which can be sprinkled on your horns.” The truth follows these words: your enemy (has been) consigned to you for punishment, Bacchus, and, as the wine is poured, it is sprinkled on its horns. Her guilt damaged the sow, and her guilt also damaged the she-goat: what do you deserve, (you) ox, and (you) gentle sheep? Aristaeus (i.e. son of Apollo) wept because he had seen his bees totally destroyed (by the nymphs) and the honey-combs (which they had) begun left abandoned: his azure mother (i.e. the water-nymph Cyrene) could barely console him in his grief, (but) added these final words to what she had said: “Cease your tears, my boy: Proteus (i.e. the sea-god who could change his shape) will allay your losses, and show (you) by what means you may recover what you have lost. (But) lest he may still deceive you by changing his shape, let strong bonds shackle both his hands.”

The youth approaches the seer (i.e. Proteus) and takes hold of the old man’s arms, relaxed in sleep (as they were), and binds (them). Transformed by his art, he falsifies his appearance; (but) soon, tamed by the ropes, he returns to his own body, and, raising his dripping face and his sea-green beard, he said, “Are you asking (me) how you can recover your bees? Bury the carcass of a sacrificed young bullock in the earth: once it had been buried, it will give (you) what you are asking of me.” The shepherd (i.e. Aristaeus) does (as he has been) told; a swarm (of bees) boils up from the putrid (body of) the ox: one dead (beast) created thousands of lives. Death demands a sheep: wickedly it had grazed the vervain (i.e. plants used for sacred purposes) which a pious old woman used to offer to the rural gods. What (creature) remains safe, when woolly sheep and rural oxen lay their lives on the altar? Persia propitiates the ray-crowned Hyperion (i.e. Mithras, the God of the Sun, associated with the Greek Hyperion or Helios) with a horse. so that no sluggish victim should be offered to the swift god. Because (a hind) was once sacrificed to the triple Diana (i.e. Trivia, identified with Hecate) in place of a virgin (i.e. Iphigeneia), now also a hind dies (for her) although not instead of a virgin. I have seen the Sapaeans (i.e. a tribe living in Thrace) and those who dwell near your snow, (O) Haemus (i.e. a mountain in Thrace), offer dogs’ entrails to Trivia (i.e. an epithet of Diana, representing her as the goddess of the crossroads). And a young ass is sacrificed to the stiff guardian of the countryside (i.e. Priapus); the reason is shameful indeed, but still fitting in relation to this god. (O) Greece, you used to celebrate the feast of ivy-leaf bearing Bacchus, which every third winter delivers at the appointed time. To the same (place) there also came the gods who were worshippers of (him as) Lyaeus, and all those who were not averse to jokes, and Panes (i.e. Fauns), young Satyrs prone to lust, and the goddesses that haunt the streams and the lonely countryside (i.e. the Naiads or water-nymphs).

And there came old Silenus (i.e the father of the Satyrs) on a hollow-backed ass, and the crimson (one) (i.e. Priapus) who scares the timid birds with (the stiffness of) his groin. Finding a grove that (was) suitable for sweet entertainments, they lay down on beds covered with grass: Liber (i.e. Bacchus) provided the wine, each had brought his own garland, (and) the stream supplied the water to be sparingly mixed. There were Naiads present, some (with their hair) flowing without the use of a comb, and others with their tresses neatly fixed in place by hand; one serves (the food) with her tunic tucked up above her knee, (and) another bares her breast through her torn robe; one uncovers her shoulder, another trails her skirt along the grass, and no encumbrances (i.e. shoes) impede their tender feet. Then, some kindle ripe fires (of passion) in the Satyrs, and there are others who display their temples wreathed in pine in your (honour), (O Pan): you, too, Silenus, are on fire with insatiable lust: it is your wantonness that does not allow you to grow old. But, of all of them, crimson Priapus, the glory and guardian of gardens, was captivated by Lotis: for her he longs, for her he prays, for her alone he sighs, and he gives (her) signs by nodding and woos (her) with gestures. There is disdain in the beautiful, and pride goes with beauty: she looks down (on him) in derision by her looks. It was night, and with the wine making (them) drowsy, they lay down in separate places, overcome by sleep. Furthest away, Lotis sank to rest on the grassy ground under the maple boughs, as if she were weary from frolicking. Up rose her lover, and, holding his breath, he secretly directs his silent footsteps on tip-toe with a light tread. When he reached the snow-white nymph’s secluded bed, he takes care that the sound of his breath should not be heard; and now he balances his body on the grass nearby: but she was still completely full of sleep. He rejoices, and, drawing the cover from her feet, he began to go (all) the way (to meet) his wishes. But lo, the ass carrying Silenus, bellowing through his raucous mouth, gave out some untimely sounds. Terrified, the nymph, arises, and pushes Priapus away with her hands, and, as she flees, she arouses the whole grove. But the over-expectant god, with his obscene member, was laughed at by everyone in the moonlight. The author of the clamour (i.e. the ass) paid the penalty of death, and he is now a victim dear to the Hellespontine god (i.e. Priapus, who was worshipped at Lampsacus, a port on the Hellespont, opposite Gallipoli).

(You) birds, the solace of the countryside, (you) harmless species, accustomed to the woods, who build your nests, and keep your eggs warm under your feathers, and utter sweet notes from your ready beaks, you were (once) inviolate; but none of this is of any help (to you), because you have guilty tongues, and the gods believe that you reveal their thoughts. (But nor (is) it untrue: because as each one of you (is) very close to the gods, you give true signs, now by wing, (and) now by voice.) Though long untouched, the race of birds was killed at last, and the gods delighted in their informers’ entrails. So, the white dove, a consort torn from her mate, often burns on an Idalian (i.e. Roman, the epithet coming from Mount Ida, close to the former home of Aeneas.) hearth. Nor did protecting the Capitol (i.e. when the cackling of Juno’s sacred geese saved the the Capitol from a surprise attack by the Gauls in 390 B.C.) assist the goose from having to yield up his liver on a platter to you, (O) elegant daughter of Inachus (i.e. Io, identified with the Egyptian deity Isis). At night, a crested bird (i.e. a cock) is sacrificed to the goddess Night, because he summons the warm day with his vigilant voice.

Meanwhile, the bright constellation of the Dolphin raises himself over the sea (i. e the cosmic rising of the Dolphin on the 9th January), and reveals his face from his native waters.

January 10: Endotercisus (ll. 459-460).

The following dawn marks the winter at its mid-point, and what remains will be equal to what has gone before.

January 11: Carmentalia: Nefastus Publicus (ll. 461-586).

(The Carmentalia was a two-day festival in honour of Carmentis, a Goddess of Childbirth and Prophecy. Into her shrine it was unlawful to bring leather, as it was a reminder of death and the slaughter of animals. The prayers offered to her invoked the mysterious Carmentes (i.e. the Goddesses Porrima and Postverta, who presided over the birth of children, the former when the baby’s head came first, the latter, when its feet came first. On this day, the Flamen Carmentalis, assisted by the Pontifices, offers sacrifice at the shrine of Carmenta, next to the Porta Carmentalis near the Capitol.)

The next time his bride (i.e. Aurora) leaves Tithonus’ (couch), she will witness the priestly rite of the Arcadian goddess (i.e. Carmenta, or Carmentis, one of the Camenae, the prophetic nymphs). The same day received you, too, sister of Turnus (i.e. Juturna, whose temple stood in the Field of Mars, near the Aqua Virgo), at the sacred spot where the Field (of Mars) is enveloped by the Virgin’s water (i.e. the Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct opened by Agrippa in 19 B.C., the source of which was reputed to have been revealed by a young girl). Where shall I look for the causes and the nature of these rites? Who will steer my boat in the midst of the sea? Do you enlighten me, (you) who has, yourself, taken your name from song (i.e. Carmenta), and favour my design, lest your honour should stray.

The land (i.e. Arcadia) that was born before the moon, if it it is to be believed with regard to itself, takes its name from the great Arcas (i.e. son of Jupiter and Callisto). From there came Evander, who, although illustrious on both sides (of his family), was nobler through the sacred blood of his mother (i.e. Carmenta); she, as soon as she had absorbed the heavenly fire in her spirit, uttered prophecies inspired by the god through her truthful mouth. She had foretold that civil commotions were in store for her son and for herself, and many (other things) besides, (that were) proved true by time. For all too true his mother’s (prophecies proved), when the young man, obliged to go into exile, abandoned Arcadia and his Parrhasian home (i.e. Pallantium). While he wept, his mother said (to him), “You must bear your fortune like a man – cease those tears, I beg (you). It was fated thus; no fault of yours has banished you, but a god (has): you have been expelled from the city by an offended god. You are not suffering a punishment (which you have) deserved, but the anger of a god: amid great misfortunes, it is (quite) something to be free of guilt. As each man’s conscience is his own, so does it harbour hope or fear within his heart in accordance with his deeds. But do not mourn, as if (you were) the first to endure such ills: such a storm has overwhelmed the greatest men. Cadmus (i.e. the founder of Thebes) suffered the same (fate), (he) who (was) once driven from the shores of Tyre, and stayed (as) an exile on Aonian (i.e. Boeotian) soil; Tydeus (i.e. the king of Calydon and the father of Diomedes) endures the same (fate), and Pagasaean Jason too (i.e. the leader of the Argonauts who journeyed to Colchis in search of the Golden Fleece; they set sail from Pagasae in Thessaly, where the “Argo” was built), and (others) besides, whom it would require too much time to speak of. To the brave every land is their country, just as the sea (is) to fish, and to a bird any (place) stands open in the world’s empty (air). Yet, a wild storm does not rage for a whole year: and for you (too), there will be a spring time, believe me!”

Strengthened in mind by his mother’s words, Evander cleaves the waves in his ship and makes for Hesperia (i.e. Italy). and now, on the advice of the wise Carmenta, he steered his boat into a river and went to meet the Tuscan waters (i.e. the Tiber); she examines the river bank to which the shallows of Tarentum (i.e. a site on the Field of Mars where an underground altar to Pluto and Proserpina had been dedicated) were joined, and huts scattered across desolate places; and she stood as she was before the stern with her hair dishevelled, and, with a fierce (expression on her face), she joined hands with the pilot, and, stretching out her arms towards the distant bank, she stamps the pine-wood deck wildly with her feet three times, and, when she gave a hasty jump so as to set her foot on land, she was barely, yes barely, restrained by the hand of Evander; and she cried out, “Hail (you) gods of the places we have been seeking, and (you) the country that shall give new gods to heaven (i.e. Romulus and the Caesars), and you rivers and fountains which this foreign land possesses, and (you) wooded groves (i.e the woods with which the hills of Rome were then covered) and bands of Naiads, may you be seen as a good omen to my son and myself, and lucky be the foot that touches that bank! Am I deceived, or will these hills become mighty walls, and from this soil all of the earth shall take its laws? The whole world is one day promised to these mountains. Who would believe that this place has so great a destiny? And now Dardanian (i.e. Trojan) ships will touch these shore: here too, a woman (i.e. Lavinia) shall be the cause of a new war. Dear grandson Pallas (i.e. the son of Evander), why do you don that fatal armour? Don (it)! (Your killer) (i.e. Turnus) will be slain by no humble avenger (i.e. Aeneas). Yet, conquered Troy, you will conquer, and, having fallen, you will rise again: your very ruin will crush your enemy’s homes (i.e. the future conquest of Greece by the Romans). (O) conquering flames, you consume Neptune’s Pergama (i.e. the citadel of Troy, which had been built by Poseidon): shall not your ashes be higher than the whole world? Soon pious Aeneas will bring his sacred (emblems) (i.e. the Di Penates, his household gods) and another sacred (thing), his father (i.e. Anchises, although this is strange because he never reached Italy): welcome the Ilian (i.e. Trojan) gods, (O) Vesta (i.e. either the Penates were placed in the temple of Vesta or they had their own temple beside it)! The time will come, when the same (hand) (i.e. either Julius Caesar or Augustus) will guard the world and yourselves, and the sacred (emblems) will be cultivated by the god himself (i.e. Augustus, who moved the residence of Pontifex Maximus from the Forum to his house on the Palatine, and within this established a shrine to Vesta, which included sacred fires which it was claimed Aeneas had brought with him to Italy), and the safety of our native-land will remain in the hands of the family of Augustus. You say that this house (i.e. the Julian) will hold the reins of empire.
So, a god’s grandson and son (i.e. Tiberius) will bear the weight of his father’s (business) with a heavenly mind, and, just as I (i.e. Carmenta) shall one day be worshipped at eternal altars, so shall Julia Augusta (i.e. Augustus’ wife Livia, who was adopted into the Julian family and created Augusta in his will) be a new divinity.” When, with such words, she had descended into our times, her prescient tongue halted in mid-speech. Disembarking from his ships, the exile (i.e. Evander) stood on the turf of Latium: he was happy (in) his place of exile! There was no long delay: houses stood, and no other (hill) was greater than the Arcadian’s (i.e. the Palatine, at the foot of which Evander landed) among the hills of Ausonia (i.e. Italy).

Look, the club-carrying hero (i.e. Hercules) is driving Erythea’s cows (i.e. the cattle of Geryon from the isle of Erythea) here, after traversing his long journey across the world; and, while the Tegean house (i.e. Evander’s home, Tegea being a town in Arcadia) is (a source of) hospitality for him, his cattle roam unguarded across the broad acres. It was morning; woken from his sleep, their Tirynthian driver (i.e. Hercules) observes that two bulls are absent. As he searches, he sees no footprints of the silently stolen (beasts): savage Cacus has dragged (them) backwards into his cave, Cacus, the terror and the shame of the Aventine woods, no slight evil for his neighbours and their guests. The face of the man (was) grim, his body (was) huge and his strength (was) in proportion to his body – the father of the monster was Mulciber (i.e. “The Melter”, Vulcan, in his capacity as a metal-smith), and a vast cavern with deep recesses (served) as his home, (so) remote that it could scarcely be found even by the wild beasts; skulls and arms hang nailed above the doorposts, and the filthy ground is white with human bones. Jupiter’s son (i.e. Hercules) was leaving, with part of his herd having been poorly protected: (then) the stolen (animals) let out a lowing (noise) in a raucous bellow. “I welcome my recall,” he says, and, following the sound, their avenger comes through the woods to the impious cave. That (man) (i.e. Cacus) had blocked the entrance with a broken piece of rock from the hill; ten yoked (oxen) could scarcely have moved that barricade. He (i.e. Hercules) leans (on it) with his shoulders, – heaven too had (once) rested on them (i.e. when he had supported the sky for Atlas) – , and toppled that vast bulk by his pressure. The crash that (occurred) as soon as it was overthrown terrified the very heavens, and the battered ground subsided under the weight of its bulk. Cacus at first engages in battle with both his hands, and wages war ferociously with boulders and tree-trunks. When this achieves nothing, he resorts, in a cowardly fashion, to his father’s arts, and vomits roaring flames through his mouth. You would think that Typhöeus (i.e. the giant placed under Etna by Jupiter after the end of the war with the giants) was breathing what he so often blasts forth, and that a sudden bolt of lightning was hurled from from the fires of (Mount) Etna. The grandson of Alceus (i.e. Hercules) grabs (him), and, having brought out his knotty club, he sank (it) three or four times into the face of the opposing man. He (i.e. Cacus) falls, and vomits smoke mixed with blood, and, as he dies, he beats the the ground with his broad chest. The victor sacrifices one of those bulls to you, Jupiter, and summons Evander and the country folk (to the feast), and he sets up an altar to himself, which is called the Mightiest, (i.e. the Ara Maxima at the foot of the Palatine Hill, sacred to Hercules) in that part of the City (which) takes its name from an ox (i.e. the Forum Boarium). Nor is Evander’s mother (i.e. Carmenta) silent that the time was near when the earth would make enough use of its Hercules. But the felicitous prophetess, as she lived the most beloved of the gods, owns this day in Janus’ month.

January 13: Ides: Nefastus Publicus (ll. 587-616).

On the Ides, in the temple of Jupiter the pure priest (i.e. the Flamen Dialis) offers the entrails of a gelded sheep to the flames; and every province was (then) returned to our people (n.b. on 13 January 27 B.C. Octavian suddenly renounced all his powers and provinces and placed them at the free disposal of the Senate and People of Rome), and your grandfather was given the name Augustus. Examine the waxen images displayed in the noble halls: such a great name has never been assigned to a man (before). Africa calls her conqueror after herself (i.e. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, cos. I. 205 B.C.), another (name) testifies to the tamed powers of the Isaurians (i.e. Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus, cos. 79 B.C.) or Cretans (i.e. Quintus Caecilius Metellus Creticus, cos. 69 B.C.); the Numidians make one man proud (i.e. Quintus Caecilus Metellus Numidicus, cos. 109 B.C.), Messana another (i.e. Manius Valerius Maximus Messala, cos. 263 B.C.), (while) a third drew his fame from the city of Numantia (i.e. Quintus Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Numantinus, cos. I. 147 B.C.): and Germany gave death and its name to Drusus (i.e. Nero Claudius Drusus, Tiberius’ younger brother and Germanicus’ biological father). (O) woe (is) me, how short-lived was that (period of) virtue (n.b. Drusus died in 9 B.C. at the age of 31)! If Caesar (i.e. Augustus) were to seek names from (those he had) defeated, he would assume as many in number as the great world has tribes. Some (men), made famous by a single (victory) have titles taken from torques (i.e. Titus Manlius Torquatus, cos. I 235 B.C.) or a helping raven (i.e. Marcus Valerius Corvus, cos. I. 348 B.C.) Magnus (i.e. Pompey), your name is the measure of your deeds: but (the man) who defeated you (i.e. Julius Caesar) was greater (still) in name. There is no level of surname above (that of) the Fabii: that house (was) called the Greatest because of its services (n.b. Quintus Fabius, cos. I. 322 B.C. was given the title Maximus, when he divided the lower class of people into four tribes, called the Urbanas, and the name then adhered to his family; Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, cos. I. 233, was to earn the surname Cunctator, “Delayer” fighting Hannibal during the Second Punic War). But yet, all (of these) are distinguished by human honours; (only) he (i.e. Augustus) has a name associated with supreme Jupiter. Senators call sacred (things) august, (and) temples, duly dedicated by the hands of priests, are called august. Augury, too, derives from the root of this word, and whatever Jupiter augments by his power. May he augment our leader’s rule and his years, and may he (always) cover your doors with a garland of oak-leaves: and with divine auspices may the heir to so great a surname (i.e. Tiberius) sustain the burden of the world with omens which his father (had followed).

January 15: Carmentalia: Nefastus Publicus: (ll. 617-636).

When Titan (i.e. the Sun) thrice looks back on the Ides that have passed, the sacred rites of the Parrhasian goddess (i.e. Carmenta) will be repeated. For formerly carriages conveyed the Ausonian matrons – these (i.e. ‘carpenta’), I think, were also named after Evander’s mother – ; (but) this privilege is soon removed, and every matron resolves not to renew the stock of their ungrateful husbands, and not to give birth, and she rashly discharges by a secret thrust the growing burden from her guts. They say that the senate reproved the daring wives for their cruelty, but restored the right (which had been) removed, and ordains that that two sacred festivals should now be celebrated in honour of the Tegean (i.e. Arcadian) mother (and) on behalf of boys and maidens at the same time. It is not lawful to bring leather hides into her shrine, lest the lifeless (animals) defile her pure hearths. If you love ancient rituals, listen to the prayers, and you will hear names previously unknown to you. Porrima is appeased, and (so is) Postverta, whether (they are) your sisters or companions in your exile, Maenalian (i.e. Arcadian) goddess. The one is thought to sing of what happened long ago, the other of whatever was about to happen in the future.

January 16: Nefastus Publicus (ll. 637-650).

(O) radiant Concordia, the next day has placed you in a snow-white temple, (near) where lofty Moneta (i.e. an epithet of the goddess Juno, who had a temple on the Capitol under that designation) lifts her soaring steps; now you have a fine view of the Latin mob, and now consecrated hands have established (you). Furius (i.e. Marcus Furius Camillus), conqueror of the Etruscan people, vowed (to build) your ancient temple, and he fulfilled the promise of his vow (n.b. Camillus, as dictator vowed to build a temple to Concordia in 367 B.C., after the peaceful settlement of a dispute between the patricians and the plebeians, when the latter were given access to the consulship for the first time). His reason (was) that, having taken up arms, the commons had seceded from the fathers, and Rome, itself, was fearful of their power. The recent cause (is) a better (one): Germany offers its dishevelled hair under your auspices, (O) revered leader (i.e. Tiberius) (n.b. it is possible that under the peace agreed with the Germans in 11. A.D. that they agreed to supply quantities of hair for the Roman market). From that you dedicated the spoils of a defeated race, and built a shrine to the goddess that you yourself worship (n.b. the temple of Concordia was rebuilt by Tiberius in the years following 7 B.C. with the wealth which he had acquired in his German and Pannonian conquests of 12-9 B.C., and there was a rededication ceremony in 10 A.D.). Your mother (i.e. Livia) built this (together with you) with a property (i.e. the Porticus Liviae, in the Subura, dedicated in 7 B.C.) and an altar (i.e. to Concordia, dedicated by Livia within the Porticus some years later), she alone being found worthy (to share) great Jove’s (i.e. Augustus’) bed.

January 17: Comitialis: (later Nefastus Publicus).

When this (day) has passed, Phoebus (i.e. the Sun), you will leave Capricorn, and go quickly through the sign of the Water-Bearer (i.e. Aquarius) (n.b. this signifies the passage of the Sun into Aquarius).

January 23: Comitialis.

Seven (days) from now, when the Rising (Sun) sinks beneath the waves, Lyra will no longer shine in the sky at all (n.b. this passage signifies the evening setting of Lyra).

January 24: Comitialis.

On the night after the setting of this constellation (i.e. Lyra), the fire that flickers in the midst of the Lion’s breast will be submerged (i.e. the morning setting of Regulus). Three or four times I unravelled the times marked in the calendar, and I did not discover any Day of Sowing (i.e. the festival of the Sementivae), when a Muse says to me – for she sensed (my puzzlement) – , “This day is appointed (by the priests). Why are you looking for moveable rites in the calendar? Though the day of the festival (is) uncertain, its season is fixed thus: (it is) when the field is made fertile with scattered seeds.” (You) garlanded bullocks, stand at the full trough: your labour will return with the warmth of spring. Let the farmer hang his worn-out plough on its post: the wintry ground dreads its every wound. Steward, when the sowing is done, give the land a rest; (and) give a rest to the men who have tilled the soil. Let the village keep the festival: let the farmers purify the village and offer yearly cakes on the village hearths. Propitiate Earth and Ceres, the mothers of the crops, with their own spelt and the entrails of a pregnant (sow): Ceres and Earth fulfil a common function: the one bestows their origin to the crops, the other the space. (You) partners in toil, through whom antiquity (was) improved, and the acorns of oak-trees were replaced by more nutrient food, glut the eager farmers with boundless produce, so that they may reap worthy prizes from their tillage. May you grant the tender seeds perpetual increase, and do not let the new shoots be nipped by chilly snows. When we sow, let the sky be clear with calm breezes; when the seed is covered (with earth), sprinkle (it) with water from the sky. Beware lest noxious birds should ravage Ceres’ cultivated lands in their ruinous hordes. You too, ants. spare the sown seeds: there will be a greater supply of loot from the harvest. Meanwhile, let (the corn) grow free from scaly mildew, and let no crop fade in colour due to bad weather, and may it not fail through leanness, or equally (become) unduly plump, (and) perish, exuberant in its own richness. And free the fields from the darnel that blights one’s eyes, and let no (wild) oats grow on cultivated soil; may the land yield with huge interest crops of wheat and barley, and the spelt that has twice undergone the flames (n.b. the ancients parched, or dried with fire, the spelt before they ground and then baked it). I (offer) these (prayers) for you; choose these (prayers) yourselves, farmers, and may both goddesses (i.e. Earth and Ceres) bring about the prayers we have chosen.

War has long occupied mankind: the sword was more useful than the ploughshare, (and) the ploughing ox yielded to the horse; hoes stood idle, and mattocks (were) turned into spears, and helmets were crafted from heavy rakes. Thanks to the gods and to your house (i.e. the family of Germanicus), Wars have long lain bound in chains under your feet. Let the ox come under the yoke, (and) let the seed come under the ploughed earth: Peace fosters Ceres, Ceres, the foster-child of Peace.

January 27: Comitialis.

But on the sixth day that preceded the approaching Kalends, a temple was dedicated to the Ledaean gods (i.e. the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux, the sons of Leda): brothers from a family of gods (i.e. the Caesarian family) founded it for those divine brothers around Juturna’s pool (n.b. Tiberius refounded the temple of Castor and Pollux on the south side of the Forum in 6 A.D. close to the pool of Juturna, and dedicated it in his own name and that of his deceased brother Drusus).

January 30: Nefastus Publicus.

This very song has led me to the Altar of Peace (n.b. this famous monument was dedicated on the Field of Mars in 9 B.C. after Augustus’ return from his campaigns in Spain): this day will be the second from the end of the month. Wreathe your braised locks with the laurels of Actium (i.e. where Augustus defeated Mark Antony in 31 B.C. and after which the civil wars came to an end), Peace; be present and stay gently throughout the world. While enemies are lacking, the reason for a triumph is also lacking: you will be a greater (cause for) glory to our leaders (i.e. Tiberius and Germanicus) than war. Let the soldier only bear arms, with which he may smother arms, and let the fierce trumpet never be sounded except in procession. May the world, near and far, dread the sons of Aeneas (i.e. the Romans): and if any land used to fear Rome too little, may it love (her). Priests, add incense to the flames on the (Altar) of Peace, and let a (shining) white victim fall with its brows drenched (in wine); ask the gods (who are) well-disposed to pious prayers that the house (i.e. the imperial house) which procures it should stay in peace for a long time. But now the first part of my labour has been completed, and this book comes to an end with its month.

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