Sunday, March 18, 2007

Vergil Journal 8: Iarba's Speech

Due Friday 24th

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The last Vergil journal of the quarter will be due Friday, the 24th, and I would like you to comment on Iarbas' speech. Is his argunment valid?
mRo

bryn said...

Considering that an annoyance with Dido has been stirring within me for the past few days inclines me all the more to say that yes, Larbas does make a valid argument. But, his argument is only valid if one were to agree with the omnipotent power of the gods and the fate the Aeneas is supposed to live up to. While reading this story, understanding that agreement is very necessary to understanding the story.
Larbas starts out by calling Jupiter omnipotent or "omnipotens" (and includes something about a race's honor). Although this may be seen as mere flattery, in all actuality, it begins his argument. According to these words, Larbas is expressing Jupiter's absolute power; or lack there of. Because Jupiter has authority over everything he, in theory, should control the actions of something as "insignificant" as Dido. Larbas questions the toughness of Jupiter, why he would leave the fate of such an important destiny up to such a silly woman.
Larbas continues about himself. He complains to Jupiter about his one-sided relationship with Dido. He "dedimus" gave her...things :) and, instead of rewarding Larbas, as had been decided, she "receptit Aenean ac dominum in regna" received Aeneas as master in the kingdom. Regardless of Dido's love or resentment of Larbas, she bartered with him. He provided her with provisions for her city on his own terms and she did not live up to her promises. It is an extra punch to Larbas to so readily accept a stranger, one who is destined to build a city in Italy at that.
Lastly, Larbas brings up Paris and the fact that Larbas' people, as devoted as they are to the gods receive nothing in return while Paris' men, who have little devotion or creed are given so many advantages. To Larbas, godly rewards are not circumstantial. A man receives according to what he devotes--end of story. Why should Larbas sacrifice so much to Jupiter if other people reap all of the benefits?
Not to say that I think Larbas is a wonderful, generous human being...in fact, I find him to be selfish and egotistical. But, I do agree that Dido has no place interfering with fate and choosing to completely ignore her promises.

bryn said...

can I just say that it is a bit annoying that the website will not let you add spaces at the beginning of paragraphs...

Michelle said...

Virgil Journal
March 22nd
Iarbas’ Speech


To start off with, I think that Iarbas sounds like a whiny spoiled child. Right away he starts complaining to Jupiter (after he first butters him up) about Dido and what she has and hasn’t done. I think that he is being totally and completely ridiculous.

One of his points is that because Dido was given land and a city to rule over, she should return the favor by marrying Iarbas’ people (by which I assume he’s referring to himself). What gave him that idea? Did he tell her before he gave her the land that she would be expected to do that? Is an agreement of marriage part of accepting land? I doubt it. So when Iarbas says:

“conubia nostra reppulit”

“and she rejected our marriage”

he has no right to be upset about it because Dido never agreed to it in the first place.

This speech to Jupiter makes Iarbas sound awfully jealous of Aeneas. He basically says that Dido was given all this land and opportunity but instead of picking Iarbas to “invite into her kingdom” she picks Aeneas. Well I can see why! I don’t think I’d want to have such a whiny person around me all the time. It seems to me that Dido made an excellent choice in her actions.

Iarbas also compares Aeneas to Paris implying that Aeneas stole “his girl” in the same way that Paris stole Helen. This is his best attempt at an insult… It’s probably one of the more valid (but also pathetic) parts of his speech because he does make a good comparison, and he must be commended on the visual imagery used in describing Aeneas. However, if Iarbas has sunk so low that he has been reduced to portreying Aeneas as a “girly man” , there is clearly something wrong with him. It seems to me that Iarbas needs to get over himself and accept the fact that Dido chose Aeneas for very apparent reasons.

On the other hand, one could also argue that Dido did not choose Aeneas because the gods forced her to love him. In that case, Iarbas is even more at fault for this silly speech to Jupiter because love, in regards to Dido, seems totally out of her control. However, we can not forget Aeneas’ fate to leave Carthage and make his way to Italy, so, like Iarbas, it seems that it’s time for Dido to also let go and forget about something she can not have forever.

Parinda said...

Iarbas complains to Jupiter about recent events involving "his girl" and the girly Trojans...

He complains out of annoyance that some girly Trojan has been invited into Dido's kingdom as a lord.

"dominum Aenean in regna recepit"

He had given her land expecting marriage in return from her. I guess land was valuable since he finds it equal to trade for marriage with Dido. I don't think Iarbas said directly to Dido that he was expecting her to marry him, so he shouldn't be complaining that she's falling for Aeneas. She probably thinks that all of Iarbas’ kindness is because he feels that she has been through enough pain and that she deserves something nice.

Iarbas is jealous and afraid of Aeneas. If it weren’t jealousy, then he’d just accept Aeneas as a challenge and not complain to Jupiter. He feels inferior to Aeneas so he tries to put him down by comparing him to Paris…

“…Paris cum semiuiro comitatu…”
Paris with his half man company

He describes the Trojan race as girly people. Everybody knows Paris’ story of how he had stolen Helen of Sparta. I think he’s trying to let Jupiter know that how Aeneas had won Dido is similar to Paris and Helen’s story and that way of winning a girl is cheap/shameful.

Iarbas also asks Jupiter why he hasn’t done anything with his power to steer Aeneas away from his girl. He describes Jupiter’s lightning as useless and empty, challenging him to do something to get rid of Aeneas for him.

This whole speech makes me think of Iarbas as a lazy leader. He should be fighting for Dido on his own without the help of the gods. He gets lazy though and complains once to Jupiter, then he sits back and waits for Aeneas to sail away leaving Dido to him. His argument is not valid, but because of fate, he gets Jupiter’s help anyway.

Srednicki said...

When he finds out that Aeneas has had an affair with Dido, Iarbas is very bitter. It seems that he will not let this very independent woman live her own life, but, rather, must act however he wants her to, or he will complain to the gods.Here, as he addresses Jupiter, Iarbas angrily enumerates the various things he has done to show his loyalty to the gods. “Cui nunc Maurusia pictis gens epulata toris Lenaeum libat honorem, aspicis haec?” he asks. Iarbas and his entire race have faithfully poured wine as libation, and trembled at his all powerful lightning bolts. Iarbas thinks that he does make a valid point, because he has indeed been consistently pious, and what has he received in return? Utter rejection from a woman who should have been his. In his anger, he spitefully mocks the all powerful god, asking whether he has wasted his time in worship. He asks, “inania murmura miscent?” Has constant pious fear and respect won him nothing? Has he trembled at Jupiter’s thunder uselessly?

It seems so. For, although Iarbas and his people have done so much for Dido and her kingdom, when Aeneas arrived on the Carthigenean shores, she evidently has forgotten all about this. “She rejected our marriage and received King Aeneas into her kingdom (conubia nostra reppulit ac dominum aenean in regna recepit).” It seems there is nothing Iarbas can do, although Dido is rightly his. Such a change would leave him feeling, rightfully, betrayed and helpless. Therefore, all he can do is take his anger out on Aeneas through insulting words. His people were never allies with Aeneas or the Trojans, but now he hates Aeneas because he is the cause of Iarbas’ rejection by Dido. Iarbas must use every insult he can quickly think up to slam at Aeneas, making him seem like a laughable fool. He questions his sexuality (semiviro), describing him with effeminate looks, and compares him to Paris, another woman-stealer who provoked dire consequences. Iarbas concludes his speech with a sort of ultimatum for Jupiter, asking again whether he and his people have been so loyal to the god for nothing.

Being used to the teachings of modern religions, I thought that any god would surely not grant to Iarbas what he asked for, because he was essentially being a spoiled brat to beg for what he ideally wanted in exchange for libation and fear of the gods. However, it seems that ancient Roman gods really did worry about their subjects remaining faithful. Jupiter was truly concerned that he could lose the piety of Iarbas because things weren’t going well for him. Also, Aeneas following his fate is essential for the plans of the gods to go through. If Aeneas does not leave, the race in Italy will never be established. Therefore, as Iarbas wishes, Jupiter consents and moves Aeneas away from Dido and Carthage. As Aeneas leaves, Dido feels utterly destroyed and betrayed. Iarbas’ wishes have completely broken the woman he wanted in the first place. Is the lesson to be learned here? Begging and threats may get a person whatever he or she asks for, but unwanted side effects may result as well. Iarbas shouldn’t simply get whatever he wants, just because he has been pious. However, the nature of his religion unfairly makes it so that being spoiled and demanding is, in fact, effective.

Mpasini said...

Poor Iarbas :'( <3

Here we have this powerful guy who feels like he has been wronged, but done all the right things. We learn in his 13-line speech that he prayed to the gods and helped Dido, but didn't get what he wanted in the end- a girl whose name he does not even mention: Dido (refers to her as "femina" in line 211). I believe this speech is very well set up, and Iarbas' logic is clear. As a person who can relate to Iarbas in many aspects of my own life (except for the getting girls part), I think he has a valid point. On the other hand, after going to Catholic school for 9 years and having the nuns tell you that God won't just give you what you want, people like Iarbas and I must realize that gods won't give you stuff just because you beg for it, or just because you think you deserve it. In ancient times' reality and today reality, we can't always get what we want (no matter what religion we associate ourselves with) - the gods and fate always seem to interfere, and frankly, there's nothing we can do about it :D.

In the first few lines, Iarbas directly addresses Jupiter, and in all bitterness, makes a valid point- What the heck are we (Iarbas and his people) afraid of what you do for nothing? Why have we been worshiping and respecting you and getting nothing in return? Are you a cream puff god (I know that there is no Latin to support that)? Later on, in lines 217-28, Iarbas ends his speech by basically saying "non...inanem" - "But we carry gifts to your temples and we cherish your reputation in vain?" (something along those lines)... I'm only ok with Iarbas' complaining because his stakes have been sooo bad...and the poor guy doesn't know it. Yeah, maybe he has wasted all his time on a matter that, from the beginning, has been out of his hands. He has a right to be angry, and I say go ahead and tell Jupiter these things (and as we know, Jupiter does agree to move Aeneas away from Dido/Carthage..., but was this the best thing for everyone in the end?...Dido kills herself anyways...). Its always good to get things off your chest... ;)

Further along in the speech, Iarbas talks about the "femina" he ultimately desires, whom he does not even take the time to name- Dido of course. He discusses how he gave her a shore that must be plowed and laws of the place. Basically, Iarbas helped her cope with things, but he was rejected in marriage, which is not even the worst of it. Dido has accepted Aeneas into her kingdom in line 214! Iarbas is thinking "What the heck has Aeneas done to make him a more viable suitor than freaking me who has helped this girl with everything!" Iarbas then introduces a comparison to add validity to his argument: Aeneas is like Paris, who took someone/something, namely Helen (although the Latin doesn't say this directly either), and got to keep her. Iarbas wishes he wasn't cheated like this, but little does he know, fate would drag Aeneas away from Dido in the end anyway...and even then, Iarbas doesn't have shot.

The one interesting literary device that caught my interest was "subnexus" in 217. Being a pesky participle, this word gave me trouble when I was translating- I'm pretty sure it means tied...so the translation is talking about Paris who was tied in respect to his chin (accusative of respect I believe) by a Maeonian cap (I'm trying to remember how it went exactly)...the cool part about this is you can see the Maeonian cap (Maeonia mitra) goes around the word chin (mentum)...creating a little word picture thing...One other cool thing that needs to be brought up is the "girly men" bust in 215- "semiuriro comitatu"- you go Iarbas!

Happy Spring Break!

(and mRo...sorry this was late...)

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