Revealed by Virgil: The US Presidential result

If there happens to be no fortune-teller in town, you can always turn to the poet Virgil. Since ancient times, his work has been credited with prophetic powers. Anyone can ask him about the future – you just take a copy of his work, choose a line at random, and divine from this what will come to pass.

This form of scrying into the future, the “sortes Virgilianae”, has been used since the time of the Roman emperors. Legend records that it has frequently been unerring, whether in the ancient or modern world. The method told Hadrian and Alexander Severus that they would accede to the emperorship. Similarly, it told Charles I, when he tried it in 1645, that he would lose his throne. Recently, the Classics don Mary Beard used it when meditating the future of printed books, and was given the gloomy reply from the beginning of Aeneid II “conticuere omnes” – All fell silent.

Emboldened by the knowledge that the Sortes are particularly successful for predicting the rise and fall of rulers, some of my students decided to consult with Virgil on the outcome of the US Presidential election. The poet gave a clear and unerring reply. The students lighted on Aeneid IV, line 57:

“exquirunt; mactant lectas de more bidentis”

As Virgil clearly says, it is to be “more Biden”.