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‘Oreads’
The Aeneid of Virgil, Book 1, Part 15
As Aeneas recalls the departed
Dido ascends the temple stairs
Fare as the moon and under guard
Her progress begs a chorus of Oreads
Dido serene and of such grace
Above the crowd she halts apace
Their labors plant her royal seeds
Their subjugation seeing to her needs
.
Her elegant form drapes the throne
High placed above the shrine of stone
Into ranks the crowds mill
Come to implore her benevolent will
She hears their complaints and cause
She takes petitions and dispenses laws
Their tasks and burdens she divides
And when just by lot decides
End 15
Notes
The Oreads were the consorts of Artemis or Dianna [Roman], goddess of the hunt. The existence of such feminine deities of the hunt suggests that the conquered populations of Europe, brought under Aryan rule—as their men were slaughtered—had a strong hunting tradition, preserved in feminized myth, perhaps echoing the first modern human inhabitants of Europe.
The role of the queen as a benevolent mother, dispensing justice, remains alive in our symbolic scales of justice.
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