Friday, February 09, 2007

By the river Styx...

[By Jessica and Rose]

[By Alex]

I came across these pictures drawn for me by some of my former students today, and I thought I'd post them to add a bit of excitement to my blog. They both show scenes from Aeneas' journey through the underworld. Here's how Virgil describes it:

Hinc via Tartarei quae fert Acherontis ad undas.
turbidus hic caeno vastaque voragine gurges
aestuat atque omnem Cocyto eructat harenam.
portitor has horrendus aquas et flumina servat
terribili squalore Charon, cui plurima mento
canities inculta iacet, stant lumina flamma,
sordidus ex umeris nodo dependet amictus.
ipse ratem conto subigit velisque ministrat
et ferruginea subvectat corpora cumba,
iam senior, sed cruda deo viridisque senectus.
huc omnis turba ad ripas effusa ruebat,
matres atque viri defunctaque corpora vita
magnanimum heroum, pueri innuptaeque puellae,
impositique rogis iuvenes ante ora parentum:
quam multa in silvis autumni frigore primo
lapsa cadunt folia, aut ad terram gurgite ab alto
quam multae glomerantur aves, ubi frigidus annus
trans pontum fugat et terris immittit apricis.

From here there is a path, which leads to the rolling waters of Tartarean Acheron. Here, in a vast chasm, thick with mud, a whirlpool seethes and belches forth all its sand into Cocytus. The dreadful ferryman Charon, in terrible filth, guards these waters and rivers. On his chin grows a mass of unkempt grey hair, his eyes blaze with flame, his dirty cloak hangs down from a knot at his shoulders. He guides the raft with a pole and tends to the sails, and he carries the bodies upstream in his rust-coloured boat. He is now quite old, but for a god old age is fresh and green. To here the whole crowd rushed, streaming to the banks. Mothers and men, and the bodies of great hearted heroes, now finished with their lives. Boys and unwedded girls, and young men, placed on pyres before the eyes of their parents, as many as the leaves in a forest, which at autumn's first frost drop and fall, or as many as the birds which flock to land from the seething deep, when the cold season drives them across the sea and sends them to sunny lands.
[Aeneid VI.295-312]

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