Tantae mōlis erat Rōmānam condere gentem!
“It was so much toil to found the Roman race!” (Vergil, Aeneid, Book 1.33)
So exclaims the poet Vergil in the Aeneid. Throughout the epic, he justifies this assertion by describing the troubles the poem’s hero Aeneas meets. Many Romans in Vergil’s time saw the stable government established by Augustus, the first Roman emperor, as the ultimate political achievement—in contrast to the preceding civil wars. Yet Vergil never shrinks from making his readers feel the personal and political sufferings experienced by the Trojan exiles who were believed to have been the ancestors of the historical Romans.
From Latin for the New Millennium