♠ Vergil, Aeneid 2.77-144
My fate ordains, my words shall be sincere:
I neither can nor dare my birth disclaim;
Greece is my country, Sinon is my name.
Tho’ plung’d by Fortune’s pow’r in misery,
‘T is not in Fortune’s pow’r to make me lie.
If any chance has hither brought the name
Of Palamedes, not unknown to fame,
Who suffer’d from the malice of the times,
Accus’d and sentenc’d for pretended crimes,
Because these fatal wars he would prevent;
Whose death the wretched Greeks too late lament—
Me, then a boy, my father, poor and bare
Of other means, committed to his care,
His kinsman and companion in the war.
While Fortune favor’d, while his arms support
The cause, and rul’d the counsels, of the court,
I made some figure there; nor was my name
Obscure, nor I without my share of fame.
But when Ulysses, with fallacious arts,
Had made impression in the people’s hearts,
And forg’d a treason in my patron’s name
(I speak of things too far divulg’d by fame),
My kinsman fell. Then I, without support,
In private mourn’d his loss, and left the court.
Mad as I was, I could not bear his fate
With silent grief, but loudly blam’d the state,
And curs’d the direful author of my woes.
‘T was told again; and hence my ruin rose.
I threaten’d, if indulgent Heav’n once more
Would land me safely on my native shore,
His death with double vengeance to restore.
This mov’d the murderer’s hate; and soon ensued
Th’ effects of malice from a man so proud.
Ambiguous rumors thro’ the camp he spread,
And sought, by treason, my devoted head;
New crimes invented; left unturn’d no stone,
To make my guilt appear, and hide his own;
Till Calchas was by force and threat’ning wrought—
But why—why dwell I on that anxious thought?
If on my nation just revenge you seek,
And ‘t is t’ appear a foe, t’ appear a Greek;
Already you my name and country know;
Assuage your thirst of blood, and strike the blow:
My death will both the kingly brothers please,
And set insatiate Ithacus at ease.’ Latin Text
♠ Hyginus, Fabulae 135
LAOCOON: Laocoon, son of Acoetes, brother of Anchises, and priest of Apollo, against the will of Apollo had married and had children. By lot he was appointed to sacrifice to Neptune on the shore. Opportunity thus presenting itself, Apollo sent two snakes from Tenedos over the waves of the sea to kill his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus. When Laocoon tried to bring aid to them, the snakes killed him, too, in their folds. The Phrygians thought this happened because Laocoon had thrown his spear against the Trojan Horse. Latin Text
♠ Bakchylides fr 9 SM – Bacchylidis Carmina cum fragmentis, p. 88, ed. B. Snell and H. Maehler. Leipzig 1970.
Serv. Verg. Aen. 2,20: Certainly Bakchylides talks of Laocoon and his wife or of the snakes coming from the Kalydnai islands and changed into humans. (Transl. E. Bianchelli)
♠ Sophokles, Laocoon fr 373 R – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta vol. 4, pp. 332-33, ed. S. L. Radt. Göttingen 1977.
♠ Sophokles, Laocoon fr 372 R – Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta vol. 4, p. 332, ed. S. L. Radt. Göttingen 1977.
Sophokles in his Laocoon gives the names of these snakes (i.e. the ones who pursued Laocoon). (Transl. E. Bianchelli)
Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, February 2023
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