Aeneid Book 7, Lines 166 - 193

In King Latinus’s hall

by Virgil

Arrived in Italy, Aeneas sends envoys to King Latinus to assure him of the Trojans’ friendly intentions and request his permission to settle in peace. Latinus awaits the envoys in his awe-inspiring ancestral hall. In the story about Circe referred to in this extract, her advances were spurned by King Latinus’s forebear Picus, and she punished him by turning him into a woodpecker.

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Cum praevectus equo longaevi regis ad auris
nuntius ingentis ignota in veste reportat
advenisse viros. Ille intra tecta vocari
imperat et solio medius consedit avito.
tectum augustum ingens, centum sublime columnis,
urbe fuit summa, Laurentis regia Pici,
horrendum silvis et religione parentum.
hic sceptra accipere et primos attollere fasces
regibus omen erat, hoc illis curia templum,
hae sacris sedes epulis, hic ariete caeso
perpetuis soliti patres considere mensis.
quin etiam veterum effigies ex ordine avorum
antiqua e cedro, Italusque paterque Sabinus
vitisator, curvam servans sub imagine falcem,
Saturnusque senex Ianique bifrontis imago
vestibulo astabant, aliique ab origine reges
Martiaque ob patriam pugnando volnera passi.
multaque praeterea sacris in postibus arma,
captivi pendent currus curvaeque secures
et cristae capitum et portarum ingentia claustra
spiculaque clipeique ereptaque rostra carinis.
ipse Quirinali lituo parvaque sedebat
succinctus trabea laevaque ancile gerebat
Picus, equum domitor; quem capta cupidine coniunx
aurea percussum virga versumque venenis
fecit avem Circe sparsitque coloribus alas.
tali intus templo divom patriaque Latinus
sede sedens Teucros ad sese in tecta vocavit …

A messenger on horseback brought to the old
King’s ears news that huge men in strange clothing
had arrived. He ordered that they be called to the
palace and in its midst took his ancestral throne.
At the top of the city stood an immense, noble hall,
high on a hundred columns, awesome with dense
woods and the aura of the ancestors, the realm of
Laurentine Picus. Here it was auspicious for kings first
to assume the sceptre and fasces of office, this temple was
their court, the seat of holy feasts; the elders would
sacrifice a ram and assemble at these timeless tables.
Carvings in ancient cedar of the forefathers stood in order,
Italus and old Sabinus the vintner, his curved vine-hook
kept under his image, old Saturn and a statue of two-faced
Janus stood at the entrance, and the other kings since the
beginning, with warriors who had suffered wounds
for the homeland. There too were many sets
of arms on sacred posts, captured chariots
hung there and curved axes, helmet-crests,
bars from immense gates, spears,shields
and rams torn from the prows of ships.
Picus the horse-lord himself sat, first among them with
his regal staff and robe of state, a sacred shield on his left arm, whom his golden lady Circe, gripped with desire,
struck with her wand, turned into a bird with
her potions and spread his wings with colours. Such was
the temple of the Gods in which, seated on the throne
of his fathers, Latinus called the Trojans to him in his hall.


More Poems by Virgil

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