Aeneid Book 12, lines 311 - 340

Aeneas is wounded

by Virgil

A long-delayed duel between Aeneas and Turnus to settle the conflict without further bloodshed is about to begin, and Aeneas and his opposite number, King Latinus, have both sworn to respect the outcome. But Aeneas’s enemy, the Goddess Juno, is at work again. Turnus has a sister, Juturna, who has been granted immortality by Jupiter as thanks for her favours. In disguise, just as the Latin warriors fear that Turnus looks no match for the mighty Aeneas, she goads them into breaking the truce, and yet another bloody general conflict breaks out, in which, to make matters worse, Aeneas is hit by a stray arrow while trying to stop the fighting.

See the illustrated blog post here.

To follow the story of Aeneas in sequence, use this link to the full Pantheon Poets selection of extracts from the Aeneid; see the next episode here.

To listen, press play:

To scroll both versions of the poem at the same time - tap inside one box to select it and then scroll.

At pius Aeneas dextram tendebat inermem
nudato capite atque suos clamore vocabat:
‘quo ruitis? quaeve ista repens discordia surgit?
o cohibete iras! ictum iam foedus et omnes
compositae leges. mihi ius concurrere soli;
me sinite atque auferte metus. ego foedera faxo
firma manu; Turnum debent haec iam mihi sacra.’
has inter voces, media inter talia verba
ecce viro stridens alis adlapsa sagitta est,
incertum qua pulsa manu, quo turbine adacta,
quis tantam Rutulis laudem, casusne deusne,
attulerit; pressa est insignis gloria facti,
nec sese Aeneae iactavit vulnere quisquam.
Turnus ut Aenean cedentem ex agmine vidit
turbatosque duces, subita spe fervidus ardet;
poscit equos atque arma simul, saltuque superbus
emicat in currum et manibus molitur habenas.
multa virum volitans dat fortia corpora leto.
seminecis volvit multos: aut agmina curru
proterit aut raptas fugientibus ingerit hastas.
qualis apud gelidi cum flumina concitus Hebri
sanguineus Mavors clipeo increpat atque furentis
bella movens immittit equos, illi aequore aperto
ante Notos Zephyrumque volant, gemit ultima pulsu
Thraca pedum circumque atrae Formidinis ora
Iraeque Insidiaeque, dei comitatus, aguntur:
talis equos alacer media inter proelia Turnus
fumantis sudore quatit, miserabile caesis
hostibus insultans; spargit rapida ungula rores
sanguineos mixtaque cruor calcatur harena.

Pious Aeneas bared his head, held out an unarmed
hand and shouted to his men: “where
are you running? Why this sudden discord?
Control your anger! The pact is struck and all
the rules settled. Only I can fight – leave all
to me, and have no fear. I will enforce the treaty
with a firm hand: by these rites, Turnus is mine!”
Even as these words were uttered, an arrow, flights hissing, struck Aeneas, who knows shot by whom, propelled by what wind, and whether chance or a god had brought the Rutuli such glory; the kudos of the deed
high, but hidden, and none boasted of Aeneas’s wound.
Turnus, seeing Aeneas leave his army, its leaders
perturbed, burned hotly with sudden hope, called for
his horses and armour, and with a bound leapt proud
and splendid onto his chariot and shook the reins.
As he went, he gave many strong men’s bodies to
death, sorely wounded many, crushed the ranks
with his chariot, grabbed spears to use on the fleeing.
As bloody Mars, roused to clash his shield in frenzy
by the rivers of icy Hebrus, looses war and gives their
head to his raging team, that flies over the open sea
before the north and west winds; farthest Thrace groans
with the shock of their hooves, while around the God are
borne the faces of black fear, wrath and ambush,
his retinue; just so swift Turnus whips his horses,
smoking with sweat, into the midst of battle,
riding his sadly slaughtered enemies down;
his horses’ swift hooves scatter the bloody dew
and kicks up gore blended with the sand.