Clamores horrendos  

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This page Clamores horrendos is part of the medium specificity series.  Illustration: Laocoön and His Sons ("Clamores horrendos" detail), photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen.
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This page Clamores horrendos is part of the medium specificity series.
Illustration: Laocoön and His Sons ("Clamores horrendos" detail), photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Clamores simul horrendos ad sidera tollit (he lifted to heaven horrendous cries) is a phrase from Virgil's account of the death of Laocoön in the Aeneid.

As depicted in the marble group

The horrendous cries are usually identified as bellowing and are the object of speculation in Johann Joachim Winckelmann's "Thoughts on the Imitation of Greek Works in Painting and Sculpture," Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's "Laocoon: An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry" and Charles Bell's Essays on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting.

Both Winckelmann and Lessing contend that the marble statue does not "bellow" as described by Virgil, but rather groans while Charles Bell contends that the statue is silent.

Laocoön's full death

In Aeneid Virgil describes the circumstances of Laocoön's death:

From the Aeneid
Ille simul manibus tendit divellere nodos
perfusus sanie vittas atroque veneno,
clamores simul horrendos ad sidera tollit:
qualis mugitus, fugit cum saucius aram
taurus et incertam excussit cervice securim.
Literal English translation:
At the same time he stretched forth to tear the knots with his hands
his fillets soaked with saliva and black venom
at the same time he lifted to heaven horrendous cries:
like the bellowing when a wounded bull has fled from the altar
and has shaken the ill-aimed axe from its neck.
John Dryden's translation:
With both his hands he labors at the knots;
His holy fillets the blue venom blots;
His roaring fills the flitting air around.
Thus, when an ox receives a glancing wound,
He breaks his bands, the fatal altar flies,
And with loud bellowings breaks the yielding skies.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Clamores horrendos" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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