Virgils Aeneid

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I. Publius Vergilius Maro . Life1. Born in village of Andes near Mantua2. Studied rhetoric, medicine, and astronomy at early age3. Abandoned to study philosophy4. Spellings and variations of namesa. Virgilb. Vergilc. Virgilius. B. Lived 10/15/70-9/21/19 B.C.1. Politically violent/chaotic years (Civil Wars

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Virgils Aeneid

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1. Virgil's Aeneid Class Notes and Discussion Day 1: 11/2/06 Day 2: 11/3/06

2. I. Publius Vergilius Maro Life 1. Born in village of Andes near Mantua 2. Studied rhetoric, medicine, and astronomy at early age 3. Abandoned to study philosophy 4. Spellings and variations of names a. Virgil b. Vergil c. Virgilius

3. B. Lived 10/15/70-9/21/19 B.C. 1. Politically violent/chaotic years (Civil Wars—Julius Caesar) 2. Republic was on its decline (Augustus’ reign marked line between Republic and Empire) 3. Virgil was affected by political unrest (demobilized soldiers confiscated land near Mantua after Brutus and Cassius were defeated in 42 B.C.)

4. Highly respected 1. Dante’s main character in The Inferno is guided by Virgil 2. Medieval scholars respected (they tried to assert that his writings might have foretold of the coming of Christ soon after his death; that would make him a prophet)

5. D. Still revising the Aeneid when he died (traditional position) 1. Some lines not as long as they should be. 2. Poem itself not incomplete 3. Wanted the text destroyed, but estate executors did not comply

6. E. Other Works 1. “Eclogues” a. 10 short poems in dactylic hexameter b. Pastoral poetry c. Political themes

7. 2. “Georgics” a. Longer poem (four books of dactylic hexameter— same as Aeneid) b. Supposed to be book of advice for farmers c. Also includes mythological and political themes

8. F. Relationship to Augustus 1. Not a close relationship 2. Maecenas was a patron (also close associate of Augustus) 3. Level of support of Augustus’ political aims is debated 4. Evidence in Aeneid of attempt to present Rome as more stable

9. The Aeneid A. Setting 1. Character from Homer’s Iliad 2. Actual time would have been around 12th century BC (archaeologists estimate Troy might have fallen in the late 12th [1184 BC])

10. B. Historical Accuracy 1. Primarily, story is fiction a. No Trojans or Greeks settled in Latium in 12th Century BC b. First signs of civilization are from much later c. Ethnically, Romans a are blend of Etruscans and local peoples in the Italian region (not Greek or Trojan)

11. 2. Influenced heavily by Homer’s Iliad (which is based on at least some fact) and Odyssey (but Aeneid is still distinct; more to come on that later) 3. References to events and people from centuries just preceding composition are accurate 4. Although difficult to determine for certain, seems that Romans saw as a fictionalized account of true events

12. C. Shared Characteristics with Homeric epics 1. Considered literary or secondary epic (to set apart from primitive or primary epics, like Homer’s) a. Shows that Homer’s works were oral, improvisational b. Virgil’s created in the epic tradition but written and designed to be read rather than recited

13. 2. No repetition of formulas (as in Homeric works) but imitation of Homeric language (*) 3. Similar heroic characteristics, (*) though they do differ in some ways (*) a. Homer celebrates individualism (i.e. Achilles [*]) b. Virgil celebrates working within society and sophistication (*)

14. Book 12 Recurring and Descriptive Language (*) Iliad (swift for Achilles, etc.) Aeneid (furor and furere [verb form]--also symbolic) Recurring images (*) Iliad (fire, gods speaking directly to humans, gore) Aeneid (snakes, wounds, fire, hunting, storms)

15. 1. Symbolism not evident in Homeric works (*) 2. Symbolism and symbolic meaning important in Aeneid (especially in reference to Roman history and current events) D. Differences from Homeric epics

16. a. Aeneas’ journey to found Rome follows to link with Octavian/Augustus b. Destruction of Troy and wanderings of Aeneas = history of Rome in 1st century B.C. (collapse of the Republic, creation of peace/order by Augustus via creation of the Empire)

17. c. “Civil war” between Trojans and Italian allies = Roman civil wars (Brutus and Cassius v. Mark Antony, Octavian/Augustus, and Lepidus and Mark Antony v. Octavian/Augustus) d. Aeneas’ relationship with Dido = Mark Antony’s relationship with Cleopatra

18. 3. Philosophical basis in Aeneid is not present in Homeric epics a. Use of stoicism i. School of thought teaching that self-control, moral/emotional strength, and detachment from distracting emotions would make one a clear thinker, unemotional, and unbiased ii. Developed in Hellenistic period

19. iii. Very popular among educated elite at the time iv. Relies on jus naturale (“natural law”) [some things are just because they are—i.e. “All men are created equal…” based on “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”], which would be included and influential on Christianity

20. b. Examples: i. Connection between fate and founding of Rome (Book 1) ii. Preference by Zeus for Roman race (Book 1) iii. Anchises’ discussion of nature and human existence (Book 6)

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