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Framing The Aeneid. HUM 2051: Civilization I Fall 2012 Dr. Perdigao October 24-26, 2012. New Love. Venus and Juno as promoting affair—why?

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Framing the aeneid

Framing The Aeneid

HUM 2051: Civilization I

Fall 2012

Dr. Perdigao

October 24-26, 2012

New love
New Love

  • Venus and Juno as promoting affair—why?

  • Dido: “Had I not set my face against remarriage / After my first love died and failed me, left me / Barren and bereaved—and sick to death / At the mere thought of torch and bridal bed— / I could perhaps give way in this one case / To frailty” (975, L22-26)

  • Effects on Carthage: Now, “Towers, half-built, rose / No farther” (977, L121).

  • New allegory of the cave

  • Role of Rumor—two forms

  • After King Iarbas pleas to Jupiter, Jupiter sends Mercury to visit Aeneas because “He was to be the ruler of Italy” (981, L312). Here he had been “Laying foundations for new towers and homes” (982, L354).

  • Role of Lavinia introduced

Woman scorned
Woman Scorned

  • “Dear Dido” speech [984-985]; Dido’s response [985-986]

  • Dido’s role in long line of female characters preceding her?

  • Symbol from The Odyssey returns, with new meaning—final “peace” based on this test, new context for Dido

  • Pyre

  • Mercury’s advice: “Woman’s a thing / Forever fitful and forever changing” (991, L791-792).

  • Dido’s “wish” for Aeneas, outcomes to story

  • Elaborate death speech, end (994); patterns of 3s


  • Descent into the underworld—vital myth important from The Odyssey onward. Descent as death, virtual death, gaining energy and coming back to the task at hand

  • Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome—forecast in poem—poem makes Rome feel justified

  • Past, Present, Future—tableau of Aeneas with father, son

  • Dido—as both Penelope and Clytaemnestra

  • Greeks—sense of character as being: Roman as becoming, sense of self as learning, grows, develops—like the bildungsroman

  • Empire itself has to “become”—takes 500 years


  • Sibyl of Cumae as guide, her directive in relation to Circe’s guidance

  • Call to muse begins Book VI—cast in new role?

  • Styx, Lethe, Charon (his fear/distrust of Aeneas)

  • Palinurus—as new Elpenor?; Sibyl’s solution

  • Minos, Rhadamanthus (map for Dante)

  • Golden bough

  • The Fields of Mourning, Blessed Groves

  • Dido’s role—for pity (she as tragedy)

  • Helen’s story, told by Deïphobus (Menelaus, Ulysses): “Enjoy a better destiny” (1003, L372)

  • Blessed Groves—Trojan heroes, Anchises

  • Reincarnation?

  • Entire prophecy retold by father: “Caesar Augustus, son of the deified, / Who shall bring once again an Age of Gold / To Latium” (1010, L702-704).

  • Elegy to Marcellus (1013)

Aeneas in history
Aeneas in History

  • Politics—monarchy: republic: empire

  • Caesar—back to monarchy; Octavian Augustus (most revered one): Pax Romana (Roman peace)—new order. Virgil’s day is celebrating that rule

  • Aeneas’s shield—rearmored—but Rome prophesized; hindsight because Virgil knows what is happening

  • Greek versus Roman sensibility

  • Aeneas’s son kept out of battle, aside, as if King

  • Aeneas is only beginning for Virgil, prepares for Augustus, not replacement


  • Book VIII—Aeneas’ shield, made by Vulcan (Hephaestus), guardian of fire

  • “And finally the fabric of the shield / Beyond description . . . There the Lord of Fire, / Knowing the prophets, knowing the age to come, / Had wrought the future story of Italy, / The triumphs of the Romans.” (1015, L24-30)

  • Ekphrasis

  • “Knowing nothing of the events themselves, / He felt joy in their pictures” (1018, L168-169).

  • Transitions

  • Pallas, killed by Turnus (corollary in The Iliad?)

  • Aeneas kills Etruscan Mezentius, then Turnus in single combat

  • Juno intervenes, has Turnus’s sister Juturna (river nymph) intervene, Aeneas wounded; Juturna gives Turnus new sword when finally facing Aeneas

To rage
To Rage

  • Book XII—The Death of Turnus

  • Jupiter asks Juno to “put down this fit of rage” (1020, L61); Jupiter concedes, agrees to “make them Latin, one in speech” (L68)

  • At end, turns to universal: “Just as in dreams when the night-swoon of sleep / Weighs in our eyes, it seems we try in vain / To keep on running, try with all our might, / But in the midst of effort faint and fail; / Our tongue is powerless, familiar strength / Will not hold up our body, not a sound / Or word will come: just so with Turnus now.” (1022, L 164-170)

  • Turnus asks for mercy, evoking image of Anchises, asks for his body to be returned to his kin

  • “Moment by moment now / What Turnus said began to bring him round / From indecision” (1023, L211-212) until he sees the swordbelt

  • “Aeneas raged at the relic of his anguish / Worn by this man as trophy” (1023, L220-221)