David L Rowlands
It was the hatred and jealousy of the goddess Juno which caused the Trojans, fleeing from the destruction of their home-city, so much grief and struggle, through seas made mountainous by Aeolus the god of the wind. Yet even the Queen of Heaven could not forever forestall the fate which Jove had ordained for these storm-tossed wanderers, who would father the Alban race and lay the foundations of the glory that was Rome.
But tell me, oh Muse, what were the causes of such divine wrath? What act, innocent or knowing, was it which provoked the ire of Heaven’s Queen?
It was out of love for Carthage, dearer to Juno than the isle of Samos or even her own city of Argos, whose empire she had personally designed and encouraged to greatness, that her anger arose. For an ancient prophecy had once said that the Trojan race would one day destroy her beloved Carthage and then would lay the yoke of their imperialism upon all the nations of the world. For this reason Juno had aided the Greeks in their ten-year-long campaign against the Trojan state. Furthermore, Juno harbored great resentment against the beautiful young Paris, who had disdained to make love to her, as the goddess had requested, and had instead bestowed this grace upon the beautiful youth, Ganymede.
This prophecy and this insult had caused the Queen of Heaven such distress that she turned her dark and bloodthirsty mind to the business of revenge. For seven long years Juno caused the band of wandering refugees, the remnants of the Trojan host to wander, storm-tossed and scattered through the main, until at last they were driven against the shores of the Latian realm. But scarcely had the Trojan fleet left the Sicilian shores, with cheerful shouts, when Juno, laboring still with endless discontent, gave vent to her fury:
“Then am I vanquished? And must the Trojans reign in Italy? So Fate will have it, and Jove adds his force; I am powerless alone against these two. Angry Pallas, with vengeful spleen, could burn the Grecian navy and drown the men! She, for the fault of one offending foe, presumed to throw the very bolts of Jove himself; and with whirlpools from beneath she tossed the ship and exposed the bosom of the deep. Then, as an eagle grips the trembling hare, she strongly seized the wretch, still hissing with her father’s flame, and with a burning wound transfixed him; and naked, on a rock, she bound him.
“But I who walk in awful state, the majesty of heaven, the sister wife of Jove, for long years employ my fruitless force against the thin remains of ruined Troy! What nations will now pray to Juno’s power? Who now will lay offerings on my slighted altars?”
Feeling thus powerless, the goddess sought the aid of an ally in the form of Aeolus, who keeps the winds bound up within a mountain cave or lets them out to work at his command.
“Oh Aeolus”, she beseeched him, “the King of Heaven has given you the power of the winds and of tempests; you can calm them down and smooth the troubled seas, or you can swell them to a fury… Now there is a race of wandering slaves whom I abhor who are currently making fair headway through the Tuscan sea on their way to Italy, where they plan to design and build new temples for their vanquished gods. Raise all thy winds! Let the skies become black as night! Sink or disperse my fatal enemies! Do this for me, and of the fourteen ocean nymphs who bear my train, the fairest, Deiopeia, shall be yours and make you the father of a happy line.”
To this the god replied, “Your wish is my command, my Queen, for is not my own realm the present of your bounteous hand?”
And with that the god hurled his spear against the mountainside and when he pulled it out again, from the hollow wound the winds danced into the air, and skimming along the ground they settled on the sea, sweeping it into great surges, raising mountains of water and disclosing the deep. The South, East and West winds all blowing at the same time caused such confusion that huge waves rolled in billows to the shore. The cables cracked; and the sailors cried out fearfully as the daytime skies turned to night, and loud peals of thunder and flashes of Jove’s lightning revealed a dreadful picture.
Struck with an unusual fright, the Trojan chief lifted up his hands and eyes and prayed for relief, “Those who died under the walls of Troy are far happier than we! Why couldn’t I have been slain by Tydides, bravest of Greeks, and lie with noble Hector in the plain? Or in the bloody fields of Sarpedon, where Simois rolls the bodies and the shields of heroes, whose dismembered hands still hold their dart aloft or clench the pointed spear!”
(to be continued)