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Vergil’s Aeneid : Rome’s National Epic. Who Was Vergil?. Publius Vergilius Maro lived from 70-19 BC. He was probably the son of a wealthy farmer and was born near Mantua, Italy. Vergil received a good education. He is most famous for 3 poetic works: The Ecologues : pastoral poetry

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who was vergil
Who Was Vergil?
  • PubliusVergiliusMaro lived from 70-19 BC.
  • He was probably the son of a wealthy farmer and was born near Mantua, Italy.
  • Vergil received a good education.
  • He is most famous for 3 poetic works:
    • The Ecologues: pastoral poetry
    • The Bucolics: poems about farming
    • The Aeneid: the national epic of Rome
who was vergil1
Who Was Vergil?
  • Around 29 BC Vergil was commissioned by Augustus to write a poem about Rome’s founding.
  • TheAeneiddetails the adventures of Aeneas, a Trojan warrior who sailed to Italy and founded the Roman race.
  • The Aeneid is similar to the Odyssey and the Iliadof Homer.
opening lines of the aeneid
Opening Lines of the Aeneid
  • Armavirumquecano, Troiae qui primus aborisItaliam, fatoprofugus, Laviniaquevenitlitora…
  • I sing of arms and the man, he who, exiled by fate,

first came from the coast of Troy to Italy, and to

the Lavinian shores…


I sing of arms and the man, he who, exiled by fate,

first came from the coast of Troy to Italy, and to

Lavinian shores – hurled about endlessly by land and sea,

by the will of the gods, by cruel Juno’s remorseless anger,

long suffering also in war, until he founded a city

and brought his gods to Latium: from that the Latin people

came, the lords of Alba Longa, the walls of noble Rome.

Muse, tell me the cause: how was she offended in her divinity,

how was she grieved, the Queen of Heaven, to drive a man,

noted for virtue, to endure such dangers, to face so many

trials? Can there be such anger in the minds of the gods?


Armavirumquecano, Troiae qui primus aborisItaliam, fatoprofugus, Laviniaquevenitlitora, multumille et terrisiactatus et altovi superumsaevaememoremIunonisobiram;multaquoque et bello passus, dumcondereturbem,               inferretquedeosLatio, genus undeLatinum,Albaniquepatres, atquealtaemoeniaRomae.

Musa, mihicausasmemora, quo numinelaeso,quidvedolens, reginadeum tot volvere casusinsignempietatevirum, tot adirelaboresimpulerit. Tantaeneanimiscaelestibusirae?

the aeneid
The Aeneid
  • The Aeneid is divided into 12 books, or sections.
  • It is written entirely in a meter called dactylic hexameter: 6 measures of long-short-short.
  • It was still unfinished when Vergil died. Some lines are incomplete (missing beats).
  • He asked his friends to burn it, but Augustus ordered it to be published instead.
  • It is one of the most important literary works in Western literature.
aeneas the roman hero
Aeneas, the Roman Hero
  • According to mythology, Aeneas was the son of the Trojan Anchises and the goddess Venus.
  • He was a valiant warrior and cousin of King Priam of Troy.

When the Greeks invade

Troy using the trick of the

Trojan horse, the ghost of

Hector appears to Aeneas

and warns him to flee

the city.

aeneas continued
Aeneas (continued)
  • After trying to fight, Aeneas finally flees the city with his family.
  • He carries his crippled father Anchises.
  • His wife Creusa (daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba) and son Ascanius (also called Iulus) follow behind.
  • They take their Trojan household gods, the Lares and Penates, with them. (statues)

“ergo age, care pater, ceruiciimponerenostrae;ipse subiboumerisnec me labor istegravabit…”

“…mihiparuusIulussit comes, et longeservetvestigiaconiunx…”

aeneas continued1
Aeneas (continued)
  • In the chaos of battle, Creusa falls behind and is killed. Aeneas goes back to find her but her ghost appears to him and explains he has to leave without her.
  • She also prophesies that he will sail to Hesperia (Italy) and marry another.
  • Aeneas gathers a band of survivors and they sail west to find a new land to settle in.
  • The goddess Juno is Aeneas’ enemy and tries to derail him from his fate to found a “new Troy.”
aeneas adventures
Aeneas’ Adventures
  • Aeneas and his followers have many adventures during their wanderings.
  • Several times they think they’ve found the right place to settle, only to be told “no” by the gods.
  • His father Anchises dies on Sicily.
  • After 6 years, a violent storm wrecks them on the shores of north Africa, near Carthage.
  • Aeneas and Queen Dido of Carthage have a year-long love affair.
aeneas adventures continued
Aeneas’ Adventures (continued)
  • The gods call Aeneas

back to his duty.

  • Queen Dido commits

suicide and curses

Carthage and Rome

to be enemies.

aeneas adventures continued1
Aeneas’ Adventures (continued)
  • Aeneas visits the Sybil, a prophetess, and makes a trip to the Underworld where he sees the shades of his father and Queen Dido (who refuses to speak to him!)
  • The Trojans eventually reach the shores of Italy near Latium.
  • King Latinusof the Latins receives Aeneas and allows the exiled Trojans to live in Latium.
  • The king’s daughter, Lavinia, is given to Aeneas as his wife.
aeneas adventures continued2
Aeneas’ Adventures (continued)
  • Lavinia’s first promised husband, King Turnusof the Rutilians, declares war.
  • The Aeneid’s cliffhanger ending: Aeneas kills Turnus in battle. The end!
  • Roman historians later wrote that yes, Aeneas’ forces won the war, though King Latinus died.
  • Aeneas married Lavinia, founded the city of Lavinium, and became the ancestor of Romulus and Remus.
aeneas heroic traits
Aeneas’ Heroic Traits
  • Aeneas was known as pius Aeneas for his piety/devotion toward his gods, family, and country.
  • He was a strong warrior.
  • He put his duty before his personal

wishes (ex.: leaving Dido in Carthage).

aeneas legacy
  • The Julian family traced their ancestry back to Aeneas’ son AscaniusIulus, and thus to the goddess Venus.
  • Vergil included prophetic scenes of Augustus’ family members in parts of the poem.
  • Vergil’s poem the Aeneid was excellent propaganda for the Emperor Augustus since it tied his family into the legends and mythologies of Troy and Rome.