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.

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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.

`

More Poems by Virgil

  1. The Trojans reach Carthage
  2. Aeneas joins the fray
  3. Turnus is lured away from battle
  4. Jupiter’s prophecy
  5. Signs of bad weather
  6. Help for Father Aeneas from Father Tiber
  7. The portals of sleep
  8. The Trojan Horse enters the city
  9. Souls awaiting punishment in Tartarus, and the crimes that brought them there.
  10. Rites for the allies’ dead
  11. Mourning for Pallas
  12. The farmer’s starry calendar
  13. The Trojans prepare to set sail from Carthage
  14. Hector visits Aeneas in a dream
  15. Dido and Aeneas: Hell hath no fury …
  16. Mercury’s journey to Carthage
  17. The infant Camilla
  18. Virgil begins the Georgics
  19. Love is the same for all
  20. The Aeneid begins
  21. Aeneas comes to the Hell of Tartarus
  22. Palinurus the helmsman is lost
  23. Storm at sea!
  24. The Fury Allecto blows the alarm
  25. Aristaeus’s bees
  26. The death of Pallas
  27. The Harpy’s prophecy
  28. The journey to Hades begins
  29. Laocoon warns against the Trojan horse
  30. Dido’s release
  31. More from Virgil’s farming Utopia
  32. Virgil’s perils on the sea
  33. Sea-nymphs
  34. Dido and Aeneas: royal hunt and royal affair
  35. Vulcan’s forge
  36. Rumour
  37. The farmer’s happy lot
  38. The death of Dido.
  39. Aeneas tours the site of Rome
  40. Aeneas finds Dido among the shades
  41. The death of Euryalus and Nisus
  42. Virgil’s poetic temple to Caesar
  43. Laocoon and the snakes
  44. A Fury rouses Turnus to war
  45. Aeneas’s vision of Augustus
  46. Juno is reconciled
  47. Aeneas arrives in Italy
  48. Aeneas rescues his Father Anchises
  49. Aeneas’s oath
  50. Aeneas reaches the Elysian Fields
  51. New allies for Aeneas
  52. Omens for Princess Lavinia
  53. Aeneas’s ships are transformed
  54. Charon, the ferryman
  55. Aeneas sees Marcellus, Augustus’s tragic heir
  56. How Aeneas will know the site of his city
  57. Turnus at bay
  58. King Latinus grants the Trojans’ request
  59. Fire strikes Aeneas’s fleet
  60. King Mezentius meets his match
  61. Juno throws open the gates of war
  62. Aeneas prepares to tell Dido his story
  63. Virgil predicts a forthcoming birth and a new golden age
  64. Aeneas saves his son and father, but at a cost
  65. Turnus the wolf
  66. Dido falls in love
  67. Catastrophe for Rome?
  68. In King Latinus’s hall
  69. Aeneas learns the way to the underworld
  70. Anchises’s ghost invites Aeneas to visit the underworld
  71. The Syrian hostess
  72. The death of Priam
  73. The natural history of bees