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C A R M E N V.
The subject of this Ode may be thus briefly explained: The son of Phraates, king of the Parthians, had been for some time detained at Rome as a hostage by Augustus, butwas sent back, on condition that Phraates himself should restore the Roman standards and prisonersthat had been taken in the war with Crassus and Antony, B.c. 53. This condition was proposed by Augustus, and agreed to by Phraates, A.U.c. 731, but was not actually fulfilled by the latter till A.U.c. 34, when the Parthian king was alarmed by the rumour that Augustus was preparing to invade his dominions, and had already penetrated as far as Syria. The restoration of these prisoners and standards was celebrated at Rome with great enthusiasm, by festivals and poetical compositions, as well as by the erection of a triumphal arch and temple, and by the striking of coins to commemorate the event. The purpose of the poet, in this Ode, is to magnify the power of Augustus, which had been exerted with signal effect in the recovery of the Roman prisoners and standards from the Parthians, and in the consequent humiliation of that people.
COELO tonantem credidimus Jovem
Sub rege Medo Marsus et Appulus, *
Incolumi Jove et urbe Roma? • •
13. hoc, i. e. such dishonest behaviour in Roman soldiers. 14. condicionibus, dative, * disagreeing with the base conditions.' 15. trahentis (= qui traheret) perniciem (suo) eaeemplo, in veniens aevum (= in futuram aetatem), si captiva pubes non periret immiserabilis, * and that he should bring, by his example (of dishonesty), destruction upon his citizens in a future time, if the captive youth were not to perish unpitied.' 17. perirèt, the only example in Horace of a short syllable (èt) in the thesis of the first order of the Alcaic strophe (hence some have corrected: perárent or perires). 20. militibus, sc. nostris Romanis, ' from our soldiers.' 21. derepta, i. e. violenter et contumeliose detracta, * ignominiously torn
off '(comp. Virg. A. 11, 193: spolia occisis derepta Latinis). 22. retorta, * bound behind ' (eomp. below Ep. 2, 1, 191: Mox trahitur manibus regum fortuna retortis). 23. portas, sc. Carthaginis — non clausas, as a sign of their perfect security (comp. A. P 199* Chorus laudet... Justitiam legesque et apertis otia portis); as in the following line, * the fields, devastated by the Roman wav, cultivated anew,' an expressive sign of perfect fearlessness respecting a new attaek of the Romans. 24. populata, in the passive meaning, * desolated,' * devastated.' 25. auro repensus, &c., bitter irony = quasi vero miles, repensns auro, rediturus sit acrior! ' the soldier, ransomed by gold, will, no doubt, return a braver one.' 30. nec curat (= nec vult) with the
Donec labantes consilio patres
Atqui sciebat, quae sibi barbarus
Horace invites Maecenas to celebrate with him the festival of the Matronalia, in honour of Juno Lucina, on the 1st of March; and since the poet must have known that this festival was observed only by married men and women, his invitation is, perhaps, to be regarded as merely jocular. Written A.U.c. 725.
MARTIIs caelebs quid agam Calendis, 4).
CARM. 8.—1. Kalendis, some Codd.—2. thuris, some Codd. 5. sermonis, some Codd.
alluding to the general beliefthat after his return to Carthage he was put to death by the most terrible torments, comp. Cic. Off. 1, 13 and 3, 27 (which fate, however, is now regarded as a mere invention of the Romans, in order to |justify their own cruelty towards the Carthaginian prisoners). 51. dimovit = cedere sibi jussit viamque aperire, * removed out of his way.' 52. reditus, accus. plur., poetic. inst. ofthe sing. reditum, *his return' (comp.
above C. 1, 14, 7: carinae), perh. only in order to avoid the repetition of the ;
final m three times im one line. 53. longa, here= taedii plena, “tedious.' Carm. 8.—1. Martiis Calendis, i. e. on the festival of the ladies (Matronalia). 3. positusque carbo, poetic. for *the fire lighted upon the altar made of live turf." 5. docte sermones (acc. Graec.) &c., of Maecenas = tu cui quidquid rerum est sacrarum vel Latinarum vel Graecarum bene perspectum est, *well instructed in the sciences (rites) of both languages;' sermones = literas. 8. arboris ictu, comp. above C. 2, 13.