Aeneid Book 7, lines 445 - 470

A Fury rouses Turnus to war

by Virgil

Angry at the prospect of peaceful settlement for the Trojans in Italy, Juno the Queen of the Gods has called on the help of Allecto the Fury to thwart it. Under the influence of the fearsome Allecto, Latinus’s Queen has gathered a band of Latin women and girls round her and abandoned the city for a Bacchic rampage across the mountains in protest at her husband’s plan to marry their daughter to Aeneas, instead of Turnus, the chief of the neighbouring Rutuli. Now Allecto, disguised as an old woman, has  gone to Turnus as he sleeps to try to rouse him to action. At first he brushes her rudely off. But then …

This will not be the last time that we see Turnus burning with the violent anger that will be his trademark, perhaps because that is his character, perhaps because the effects of the fire that the Fury kindles in him in this extract will prove to be lasting.

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 the original and English translation of the poem at the same time - tap inside one box to select it and then scroll.

Talibus Allecto dictis exarsit in iras,
at iuveni oranti subitus tremor occupat artus,
deriguere oculi: tot Erinys sibilat hydris
tantaque se facies aperit; tum flammea torquens
lumina cunctantem et quaerentem dicere plura
reppulit et geminos erexit crinibus anguis
verberaque insonuit rabidoque haec addidit ore:
‘En ego victa situ, quam veri effeta senectus
arma inter regum falsa formidine ludit.
respice ad haec: adsum dirarum ab sede sororum,
bella manu letumque gero.’
sic effata facem iuveni coniecit et atro
lumine fumantis fixit sub pectore taedas.
olli somnum ingens rumpit pavor, ossaque et artus
perfundit toto proruptus corpore sudor;
arma amens fremit, arma toro tectisque requirit;
saevit amor ferri et scelerata insania belli,
ira super: magno veluti cum flamma sonore
virgea suggeritur costis undantis aeni
exsultantque aestu latices, furit intus aquai
fumidus atque alte spumis exuberat amnis,
nec iam se capit unda, volat vapor ater ad auras.
ergo iter ad regem polluta pace Latinum
indicit primis iuvenum et iubet arma parari,
tutari Italiam, detrudere finibus hostem:
se satis ambobus Teucrisque venire Latinisque.

Hearing this, Allecto blazed into anger. Sudden
shaking took the youth’s limbs even as he spoke, his
eyes froze: so many snakes hissed round the Fury,
so titanic was her form. Rolling fiery eyes, she
hurled him back, wondering what else to say,
reared up twin serpents in her hair, cracked
her scourge and, raging, cried: “See now! Wasted,
am I? Tired old age has lost the truth and deludes me
with fears of kings at war, does it? Look well; I am here
from the home of the Furies, my dire sisters, and bring
war and death in hand!”
Then she hurled her torch at the youth and
lit a fire in his breast, smoking with dark flame.
A great terror tore away his sleep, sweat broke
out across his limbs and body and drenched
him to the bone. Wild for weapons, he seeks them
in the room, in the house; he burns with lust
for steel and the madness and crime of war,
as when with a loud crackling the firewood is set
to the boiling cauldron and the smoking brew
leaps and overflows with foam, uncontrollable,
and the dark vapour mounts into the air. He tells
his best young warriors they must march on King Latinus,
that peace has been defiled, orders them to arms,
to the defence of Italy, to drive the enemy out:
he is coming, enough for Trojans and the Latins combined.


More Poems by Virgil

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