Roman poet of the 1st century AD (Silver Age of Latin literature)
Fear first made gods in the world.

Publius Papinius Statius (c. 45 – c. 96) was a Roman poet of the Silver Age of Latin literature.




The translations are by D. R. Shackleton Bailey, and are taken from vol. 207 of the Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003).

  • Tacitumque a principe vulgus
    dissidet, et, qui mos populis, venturus amatur.
    • The crowd is at silent odds with the prince. As is the way of a populace, the man of the future is the favourite.
    • Bk. 1, line 169
  • Exedere animum dolor iraque demens
    et, qua non gravior mortalibus addita curis,
    spes, ubi longa venit.
    • Grief and mad wrath devoured his soul, and hope, heaviest of mortal cares when long deferred.
    • Bk. 2, line 319
  • Non parcit populis regnum breve.
    • A brief reign spares not the folk.
    • Bk. 2, line 446
  • O caeca nocentum
    consilia! o semper timidum scelus!
    • Blind counsels of the wicked! Crime cowardly ever!
    • Bk. 2, line 489
  • Pessimus in dubiis augur, timor.
    • Fear (in times of doubt the worst of prophets) revolves many things.
    • Bk. 3, line 6
  • Quid crastina volveret aetas
    scire nefas homini.
    • What the morrow's years might bring 'twas sin for man to know.
    • Bk. 3, line 562
  • Primus in orbe deos fecit timor.
    • Fear first made gods in the world.
    • Bk. 3, line 661
    • These words also appear in a fragmentary poem attributed to Petronius.
  • Omne homini natale solum.
    • Every soil is natal to man.
    • Bk. 7, line 320
    • Variant translation: The whole world is a man's birthplace.
  • Da spatium tenuemque moram, male cuncta ministrat
    • Give time, a little delay; impulse is ever a bad servant.
    • Bk. 10, line 704
  • Mirantur taciti et dubio pro fulmine pallent.
    • They wonder in silence and turn pale for the dubious thunderbolt.
    • Bk. 10, line 920
  • Vive, precor; nec tu divinam Aeneida tempta,
    sed longe sequere et vestigia semper adora.
    • O live, I pray! Nor rival the divine Aeneid, but follow afar and ever venerate its footsteps.
    • Bk. 12, line 816 (trans. J. H. Mozley)


The translations are by D. R. Shackleton Bailey, and are taken from vol. 206 of the Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015).

  • Blandus honos hilarisque tamen cum pondere virtus.
    • A dignity that charms and virtue gay yet weighty.
    • Book II, 3, line 65
  • Qui bona fide deos colit amat et sacerdotes.
    • Whoever worships the gods in good faith, loves their priests too.
    • Book V, Preface, line 10
  • Sic auferre rogis umbram conatur et ingens
    certamen cum Morte gerit, curasque fatigat
    artificum inque omni te quaerit amare metallo.
    Sed mortalis honos, agilis quem dextra laborat.
    • So does he strive to rescue your shade from the pyre and wages a mighty contest with Death, wearying the efforts of artists and seeking to love you in every material. But beauty created by toil of cunning hand is mortal.
    • Book V, 1, line 7
  • Nec frons triste rigens nimiusque in moribus horror
    sed simplex hilarisque fides et mixta pudori
    • Yet no stiff and frowning face was hers, no undue austerity in her manners, but gay and simple loyalty, charm blended with modesty.
    • Book V, 1, line 64
  • Excidat illa dies aevo nec postera credant
    saecula. nos certe taceamus et obruta multa
    nocte tegi propriae patiamur crimina gentis.
    • May that day perish from Time's record, nor future generations believe it! Let us at least keep silence, and suffer the crimes of our own house to be buried deep in whelming darkness.
    • Book V, 2, line 88 (trans. J. H. Mozley)


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