in Small House at Allington

Chapter 35 – Vae Victis

Vae Victis

This is a Latin phrase literally meaning, “Woe to the vanquished ones.”  This phrase was recorded by the Roman historian Livy in his History of Rome. According to Livy, this statement was made by the chieftain of the Gauls after the defeat of the Romans at the Battle of Allia c. 387-390 BCE, which was said to be one of Rome’s greatest defeats.  This chapter title is appropriate in regard to both Mr. Crosbie’s misadventure with John Eames in the previous chapter and his marriage and integration into the De Courcy family. This phrase summarizes Crosbie’s situation in general, and through this Latin phrase Trollope is identifying Crosbie’s devastating situation with the Roman defeat.  By means of this title, Trollope projects some sympathy on to Crosbie because he has been defeated by himself and those to whom he has submitted.  [AM 2006]

Sources:  Livy, History of Rome 5.48.


hymeneal altar

“Hymeneal altar” is a phrase used to refer to the marriage ceremony.  In this context, the newspaper that documents Mr. Crosbie’s misadventure at Paddington Station uses the phrase to identify Mr. Crosbie as the man who is soon to be married to the daughter of the Earl de Courcy. This phrase stems from the name of the Greek god of marriage, Hymen.  [AM 2006]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.



Lady Amelia uses this Latinate word to explain how nicknames have not been used in the history of the de Courcy family.  Lady Amelia’s use of this word shows her elitist attitude regarding the De Courcy family name and its history and reputation.  See the commentary on Chapter 34.   [AM 2006]