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NaPoTraMo: The Sack of Troy

April 19, 2010

So my NaPoTraMo is pretty much failed. Oh well. But in the interests of the betterment of mankind (or something), and at the suggestion of Seamus, I’m going to put up a couple of older translations that have not yet seen the light of the Internet.

This one is from two years ago, when I first studied Latin, and is from a segment of the Aeneid where the story of the destruction of Troy is narrated in flashback. I confess, I originally translated this particular bit for the cinematic goriness of it. Enjoy.

For look – though Polites escaped the fury of Pyrrhus,
another of Priam’s sons, past foes and arrows,
flees through the empty halls and endless cloisters,
already hurt. Now hot on his heels comes Pyrrhus,
eager to kill, pursuing spear-in-hand –
And just as his flight brought him before his father,
He fell, and the life poured from him with the blood.

[…]

Said Pyrrhus: “Then, herald, carry these words back
To the Peleids’ father. Remember me to him –
Depraved Neoptolemus and my ghastly deeds.
Now die.” Saying which, up to the very altar
He dragged the trembling man – who slipped
In his own son’s spreading blood – and in his hair
Wound his left hand; then, though his right hand shook,
Drew back his sword and drove it to the hilt
In Priam’s side . . .

Translates Vergil’s Aeneid Book II, ll. 526-32 and 547-53. Latin text available here.

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