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