Notes to Lucan, Bellum Civile 5.762-792

Cornelia's speech to Pompey after his defeat at Pharsalus (Plutarch, Pompey 74): I see thee . . . husband, not by thy fortune, but by mine, reduced to one small vessel, thou who before thy marriage with Cornelia didst sail this sea with five hundred ships. Why hast thou come to see me, and why didst thou not leave to her cruel destiny one who has infected thee also with an evil fortune so great? What a happy woman I had been if I had died before hearing that Publius, whose virgin bride I was, was slain among the Parthians! And how wise if, even after his death, as I essayed to do, I had put an end to my own life! But I was spared, it seems, to bring ruin also upon Pompey the Great.

thalamus, -i m.
marriage; marriage bed; bedroom; translate with nil as a partitive genitive.

superi, -orum m. pl.
the gods above; in the ablative case following de.

relinquo, -ere, -liqui, -lictum
leave; remain (in the passive); allow; depart from.

queror, -i, questa/us sum
complain, lament.

rumpo, -ere, rupi, ruptum
break, put an end to.

funus, -eris n.
funeral; death; ruin, destruction.

dirus, -a, -um
dread, fearful.

fax, facis f.
funeral torch; death. Note the chiastic word arrangement (ABBA) that places the torch in the center of the phrase. Since fax also means marriage torch, it anticipates Cornelia’s self-assessment as a bride whose dowry is tragedy.

summus, -a, -um superlative superus
last, final; highest.

rogus, -i m.
funeral pyre.

sors, sortis f.
lot, fate; the alliteration with sed, followed by nimis and dismissa, convey Cornelia's disapproval of Pompey's request.

frequens, -entis
repeated, frequent; regular.

plebeius, -a, -um
common; plebeian, low; Cornelia claims their commitment to each other must meet a higher standard than that observed by the non-elite.

nimis adverb 
too much, very much.

careo, -ere, -ui, -- + ablative
be without; be absent from.

dimitto, -ere, -misi, -missum
send away; this is the verb that is used when a man rejects his betrothed or divorces his wife.

hostis, -is m. f.
enemy; i.e. Caesar.

adventus, -us m.
arrival, approach; scan the line for the effect of the anaphora of ad.

foedus, -eris n.
agreement, treaty; poetic plural. Cornelia uses political terms for her marriage, which originated as a political arrangement but became a bond of affection.

taeda, -ae f.
torch; (metaphorical use) marriage.

placo, -are, -avi, -atum
to conciliate, placate; note her heavy irony.

socer, -i m.
father-in-law, i.e. Julius Caesar, father of Julia, Pompey’s fourth wife, who died in childbirth two years before Cornelia’s marriage to Pompey. Note how oblique references to Caesar open and close the sentence.

cognosco, -ere, cognovi, cognitum
learn, understand; (in the perfect tense) know; modified by sic, followed by tibi, dative of agent. This is the first of five rhetorical questions that Cornelia passionately addresses to Pompey, trying to persuade him to let her remain with him as he goes into battle.

fides, -ei f.
loyalty; truth; honor.

credo, -ere, credidi, creditum + ne (interrogative particle)
believe, trust; think.

tutus, -a, -um; comparative: tutior, tutius
safe, secure; followed by dative of reference: mihi ... tibi.

olim adverb
for a long time; once. Used for iam dudum in Silver Latin.

casus, casus m.
event; fall, accident.

pendeo, -ere, pependi,  --
hang; with de = be dependent upon. Pompey has said that she will survive if she is away from the battlefield, but she argues that they are together in this crisis.

fulmen, fulminis, n.
thunderbolt; used metaphorically to mean disaster.

iubeo, -ere, iussi, iussum
order, command; followed by indirect statement.

absens, absentis
being away; absent; the present participle of absum, it modifies me.

praesto, -are, praestiti, praestitum
offer, provide; be outstanding; show; followed by a direct object (caput) and an indirect object (fulminibus ... tantaeque ruinae).

caput, -itis n.
head; person; life; Cornelia means herself.

securus, -a, -um
untroubled; free from anxiety; safe; confident.

cum conjunction + subjunctive

etiamnunc = etiam + nunc  adverb
still; until now; besides.

votum, -i n.
prayer; vow. Cornelia's expression, confused by her emotions, makes interpretation difficult. A suggestion is that vota is both object of facias and subject of perisse in the indirect statement (that is, Pompey's assurances of his safety were without substance as he made them).

pereo, -ire, -ii, -itum
be lost; die; be undone. Another possible reading is to take the infinitive as the subject of videtur, with Cornelia as its subject (that is, does he consider her "death"/absence from him a secura sors?).  

ut conjunction + subjunctive
even if; used here (as though etiam si) to introduce two suppositions (nolim, sequar).

nolo, nolui, nolle, --
be unwilling, not wish; refuse.

servio, -ire, -ivi, -itum + dative
be a slave to; serve. Cornelia may be alluding to her envisioned status as a prisoner of war or she is speaking figuratively.

manes, manium m. pl.
spirits of the dead; the lower world; (metaphorical use) underworld.

ferio, -ire, --, --
reach, hear (a report); strike, hit; subjunctive after dum.

dum conjunction + subjunctive
until; while; translate before feriat.

maestus, -a, -um
sad, sorrowful; gloomy.

procul  adverb
far away.

nempe adverb

superstes, superstitis
surviving, outliving; modifying the subject of vivam, it is followed by the dative of person (tibi) or event.

adde quod = besides.

adsuesco, -ere, adsuevi, adsuetum
make accustomed; become accustomed to. It is used transitively (understand me as the object). Fatis (here, bad luck) is the indirect object (click on spqr at the end of the verse for their image).

dolor, -oris m.
sorrow, pain; trouble; object of ferre below.

crudelis, -e
cruel, hard-hearted.

doceo, -ere, docui, doctum

ignosco, -ere, -novi, notum
make allowances; forgive, pardon; followed by dative of person ([mihi] fatenti).

fateor, -eri, fatus/a sum
confess; reveal; understand mihi.

patior, pati, passus/a sum
suffer, allow, put up with (here = going on with life); complementary infinitive after [me] posse.

quod si = but if.

audio, -ire, -ivi, -itum
hear; note the voice, followed by dative of agent.

eventus, us m.
outcome; result.

coniunx, coniugis m.f.
wife; husband; married partner; ultima is a predicate adjective not attributive (ie, not his "last wife").

sollicitus, -a, -um
disturbed; alarmed; anxious. Understand me. Cornelia claims that even if he is successful she will be frightened because she will be so far away that the news will take long to reach her.

rupes, -is f.
cliff; rock.

puppis, -is f.
stern (back of a ship); here metonymy for the ship itself.  

laetus, -a, -um
welcome; glad; tam modifies laeta.

solvo, -ere, solvi, solutum
free, relax, remove; followed by the accusative of object (metus) and dative of person (mihi).

metus, -us m.
fear; anxiety.

prosperus, -a, -um
favourable, successful; here, neuter plural, the substantive modified by audita. Note the central placement of mihi, which relates to most of the words in the line. 

cum conjunction + subjunctive
since, seeing that.

vacuus, -a, -um
deserted, empty.

proicio, -ere, proieci, proiectum
forsake; banish; fling forward; followed by the dative variis locis.

vel adverb
even; perhaps; modifies Caesare . . . fugiente.

fugio, -ere, fugi, fugitum
flee; escape.

notesco, -ere, notui,  --
become known, become famous; here followed by the ablative of cause exilio.

litus, litoris n.
shore; Lesbos, where Pompey intends to send Cornelia, is an island in the Aegean.

clarus, -a, -um
celebrated; famous; genitive of description. Translate with nominis (the following ablative absolute clause makes it clear that Cornelia refers to Pompey).

exilium, -ii n.
exile; i.e. Cornelia.

Mytilenaeus, -a, -um
of Mytilene; Mytilenian; Mytilene was the capital of Lesbos.

latebra, -ae f.
hiding-place; retreat. Note the litotes (poterit nescire).

precor, -ari, precatus/a sum

extremus, -a, -um (superlative of exter)
last; predicate adjective modifying hoc.

vinco, -ere, vici, victum
conquer, defeat; modifies arma.

fuga, -ae f.
flight; escape; dependent on tutius. Scan to discover the case.

cum conjunction
when; if.

committo, -ere, commisi, commissum
entrust, trust; with reflexive pronoun te.

unda, -ae f.
wave; here, metonymy for sea; in the dative dase after commiseris.

quolibet adverb
anywhere; wherever you want.

infaustus, -a, -um
unlucky, ill-starred.

potius adverb
rather; instead; preferably; followed by quaerere below.

deflecto, -ere, flexi, flexum
turn aside; steer.

carina, -ae f.
keel of a ship; by metonymy, the ship itself.

quaero, -ere, quaesivi, quaesitum
search for; try to reach; quaerere = quaereris (2 s. future passive), followed by the local ablative.

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