De Bello Sidereo

Alexis Hellmer Gives Star Wars True Epic Treatment — In Latin Dactylic Hexameter

In Medias Res
May 4, 2018 · 3 min read
Poeta Latinus Alexis Hellmer Musis caelicolis inspiratus. (Image by artist Travis Durden)

[Editor’s note: Alexis Hellmer, Latinist extraordinaire and Professor of Latin language and literature at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, and at the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, in Mexico, also happens to be a fan of Star Wars. Animi causa (just for kicks) he decided to compose some Latin hexameters for Star Wars, as if it were a Roman epic. They’re extraordinary, and when I saw them on Facebook I asked him for permission to publish them here, and now we’re publishing them for the Fourth of May (May the Fourth Be With You). He is using “iedus” as “jedi.” And by the way, the word Newton — and Hellmer! — use for “force” is “vis,” making “may the force be with you” vis sit vobiscum or vis vobiscum.]

[Updated with new verses for May the 4th, 2019, beginning with “sperat enim.”]

DE BELLO SIDEREO LIBER I

Sidereum canimus bellum quo fulgidus aether
flagravit, tum caelivagas naves, decus aevi,
et radiantes iedorum enses, lucida tela;
praeterea ignotos orbes quos continet aura
caelestis, quorum partem tenet horridus algor,
partem, quos flamma torret sol, occupat aestus;
et gentes alienas, saevi Martis alumnas.
Rerum parens Vis, mundum quae numine comples,
nam sine te nihil exoritur in luminis oras,
arride nostris coeptis votumque secunda!
Tempore abhinc multo fuit ingens lacteus orbis
nostro longe semotus; Respublica mundi
mille annos summo viguit moderamine recta,
quippe patres conscripti sancte foederis aequa
inviolataque iura ferebant: omnia namque
pacis agebantur studio, mirabile dictu.
At potiendi auro et dominandi saeva cupido
invasit nonnullos: sic discordia parta
sideribus. Quid non mortalia pectora cogis
auri sacra fames! Respublica contremit omnis
civiles misere quam vexant seditionis
motus. Nam populus tum vectigalia magna
respuit aucta modo, quibus extima sidera mundi
iure petunt mercatores multisque referta
navigia adducunt ultroque citroque per auras.
At princeps mercatorum, nequissimus unus,
obscenum dirumque nefas sub pectore versat:
sceptra tenens dextra et confisus Foederis armis
Nabum orbem parvum obsidione premit improbus arta.

Sperat enim populum bellorum posse coerci
insidiis, itaque tristissima machina multa
letum orbi minitans gentique et plurima navis
circumdat sedes Amidalae, amplissima regna.
Consistunt subito naves in limine portus,
quas cohibent inimici armis navesque minaces.
Legati tunc conveniunt sanctusque senatus,
qui mundum cunctum, qui gentes legibus aequis
temperat: undique fit clamor rebus super hisce.
Interea prudens equites Iedos vocat, armis
insignes, cogit quos Cancellarius amplus
hostium adire rates, pacemque bonumque tueri.
Edicto parent equites: leguntur ad hanc rem
Iedorum ex turma duo: Quigonusque magister
egregius, iuvenisque armis Kenobius acer.
Extemplo arripiunt enses navemque paratam
conscendunt. Cursu celeri alta ad sidera tendunt.
Adveniunt tandem legati ad Principis aulam
aetheriam. Automaton forma atque humana figura
factum ducit eos conclavia ad intima navis,
exspectare iubet equites illosque relinquit
inclusos. At quid non sentit pectore Iedus?
Praesagit etenim tectam Kenobius astu
fraudem. Nam Princeps, aequi pacisque inimicus,
inservit domino Sidio, qui non superatur
ulli perfidia (tantum ardet pectore noxae)
et sceleris omnis merito princepsque paterque
dicitur. Hic Sidius Iedis cladem meditatur
horribilem: claudit portarum ingentia claustra
et subito totum conclave vapore repletur
mortifero. Fugientes sed mora nulla retardat:
arripiunt enses, vi fulminis arma corusca.
Automatum manus equites prohibere iubetur.


Alexis Hellmer is Professor of Latin language and literature at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, and at the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, in Mexico. He is also the founder of the Studium Angelopolitanum, an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to the teaching of the Classics.

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