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.

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