De Bello Sidereo

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

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.]

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.