Myths of Greece and Rome Narrated with Special Reference to Literature and Art

Page: 174

War with the Latins.

As Iulus and some companions had unfortunately wounded the pet stag of Silvia, daughter of the head shepherd, a brawl ensued, which, fomented by Alecto, soon developed into a bloody war. Hostilities having thus begun, Turnus, with the various Latin chiefs, immediately besought Latinus to open the gates of Janus’ temple. He refused; but Juno, afraid lest even now her plans might be set at naught, came down from Olympus, and with her own hand flung wide the brazen doors. This unexpected apparition kindled a general ardor; new troops enlisted; and even Camilla, the Volscian warrior-maiden, came to proffer her aid to Turnus.

“Last marches forth for Latium’s sake
Camilla fair, the Volscian maid,
A troop of horsemen in her wake
In pomp of gleaming steel arrayed;
Stern warrior queen!”
Virgil (Conington’s tr.).
Story of Camilla.

When but a babe in arms, Camilla had been carried off by her father, as he fled before the Volscian troops. When he came to the Amasenus River, he found his pursuers close at his heels. Tying his infant daughter to his spear, he hurled her to the opposite bank, which, thanks to Diana’s aid, she reached unharmed, while her father plunged into the waves to join her. In his gratitude to find her safe, he [374] dedicated her to Diana, who trained her to love the chase and all manly pursuits.

Surprised to see Latinus’ friendly offers of hospitality so suddenly withdrawn,