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The Maius Opus. Books VII-XII. Vergil and the Aeneid. During the first 40 years of Vergil’s life he lived during a time of continuous conflict His work, the Aeneid , features key situations in which individuals create a life in common e.g., Evander and Aeneas. Dido.

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the maius opus

The Maius Opus


vergil and the aeneid
Vergil and the Aeneid
  • During the first 40 years of Vergil’s life he lived during a time of continuous conflict
  • His work, the Aeneid, features key situations in which individuals create a life in common
  • e.g., Evander and Aeneas
  • Is there anything Roman about Dido?
  • Is she to blame for what happens?
  • Is Aeneas to blame for what happens?
key themes
Key Themes
  • Peace comes at a price
  • Danger is always at hand
  • Emphasis on the visual in Augustan culture
  • New ways for Romans to see themselves
  • See what they have in common with others
us vs them part i
Us vs. Them, Part I
  • “Keiko was not one of our kind but nevertheless he was still one of us.”
  • (Veterinary Chaplain, Speaking at the Funeral of Keiko, A Killer Whale, Oregon, 2003)
us vs them part ii
Us vs. Them, Part II
  • “We found several sick and famished Indians, who begged hard for mercy and for food. It hurt my feelings; but the understanding was that all were to be killed. So we didthe work.”
  • (Settler, Oregon, 1857)
overview of book vii
Overview of Book VII
  • Aeneas arrives in Latium
  • Latinus promises Lavinia in marriage to Aeneas
  • Juno and Allecto incite war
  • Catalogue of Italians who are heroes
new characters
Latinus, king of Latium

Lavinia, his daughter

Turnus, ruler of Rutulians

Mezentius, ruler of the Etruscans

Camillia, amazon like warrior who is allied with Turnus

Allecto, a Fury

Latium is the place where Aeneas will found Lavinium

New Characters
book vii the halfway point
Book VII – the halfway point
  • Erato is the muse chosen to start the book
  • She is the “lovely one” and she is the muse of love poetry
  • Book is about women and Vergil’s love of his native land
from peace to war
From Peace to War
  • When we first see Ostia, it is peaceful, but then it is transformed into a war camp, not a town
  • Warriors come from all over Italy to the camp
from troy to rome
From Troy to Rome
  • Aeneas goes to meet king Latinus, direct descendant of Saturn
  • Saturn founded Saturnia on the future site of Rome
  • Trojans have reached their final destination
aeneas turnus and lavinia
Aeneas, Turnus and Lavinia
  • Lavinia is a second Helen AND a second Medea
  • War breaks out between the Latins and the Trojans
  • Will end up creating a dysfunctional family with Aeneas
roman marriage
Roman Marriage
  • Do not look for love in a marriage
  • Vergil says nothing of their marriage
  • Lavinia never says anything in this book
  • Will reappear in Book XII
the terrifying prediction vii 112 116
The Terrifying Prediction VII.112-116
  • You won’t found your city until you eat your tables
  • Aeneas and company are so hungry they eat the wheat cakes that hold their food
  • Is this sinister or funny?
allecto s madness
She makes everyone mad



the Italians are angered by Ascanius killing a tame deer

Destroys relationships between men and women

Fills Turnus with rage – treaty is broken

Trojans are guilty of spilling first blood

Allecto’s Madness
the gates of war
The Gates of War
  • Gates flung open during times of war
  • Juno opens the gates
  • War has begun
camilla the equal of turnus
Camilla – the equal of Turnus
  • Admired female warrior
  • Amazing physical powers
  • Huntress turned warrior
  • Ignored traditional female roles
  • Opposite of Dido?
book viii plot summary
Book VIII – plot summary
  • Aeneas goes to Evander, Evander promises Etruscan aid
  • Evander tells the story of Hercules
  • Venus asks Vulcan to make Aeneas’ armor
new characters and places
Evander, king of Pallanteum

Pallas, his son

Cacus, man eating monster

Actium, 31 BC, the critical victory of Octavian (soon to be Augustus) Caesar over the opposing forces of Marc Antony and Cleopatra: this is the central scene in Aeneas' shield

New Characters and Places
community and identity
Multiple versions of Rome’s foundations

Evander’s tour of the ancient city is reminiscent of the story of Romulus’ foundation

Violence can remove moral danger and and protect the established community

When Hercules kills Cacus, that is what he is doing

Community and Identity
evander s humble home
Evander’s humble home
  • Evander invites Aeneas into his home, which is reminiscent of Augustus’ house on the Palatine
  • The establishment of a moral, civilized community begins with good leadership
the shield
The Shield
  • Three values, iustitia, virtus, and pietas
  • All nations will bow down to Rome
  • Glory of the Roman Empire
  • Can Aeneas understand what he sees?
book ix where s aeneas
Book IX – Where’s Aeneas?
  • Main events include:
  • Turnus attacks
  • Nisus and Euryalus go on a night mission
  • Rage of Turnus – gets pushed out of Trojan camp
turnus and the rutilians
Turnus and the Rutilians
  • When Turnus attacks the Trojan camp, Aeneas’ ships turn into nymphs and vanish
  • Turnus is happy – no escape.
  • Misreads the sign. Urges men to rest before battle resumes
nisus and euryalus
Nisus and Euryalus
  • Longing for glory, Euryalus decide to sneak off to warn Aeneas, takes Nisus with him
  • Aeneas says they are a fortunate pair
  • What is fortunate about getting killed?
a series of unfortunate events
A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Night-time mission
  • Lust for Human slaughter and war-prizes
  • Gleam of helmet betrays a warrior
interpretation of this episode
Interpretation of this episode
  • Death of young is part of war, may be tragic, but is necessary
  • Positive view of heroism – how you die defines how people perceive you
  • Deaths are not tragic as the pair gives in to hybris (excessive pride)
issues vergil raises in book ix
Issues Vergil raises in Book IX
  • What are the costs of war to women?
  • What does it mean to be human?
  • What does it mean to be a victor in war?
book x a very violent episode
Book X- A Very Violent Episode
  • 25 battle scenes – gory and violent
  • Fighting continues
  • Turnus kills Pallas
  • Juno saves Turnus from Aeneas
  • Aeneas kills Mezentius
power of furor anger
Power of Furor (Anger)
  • Can the power of a future empire contain the furor?
  • Juno’s intervention in Turnus and Aeneas’ fight is rare for a battle scene in an epic
  • Scene between Jupiter and Hercules
the sorrow of hercules
The Sorrow of Hercules
  • Hercules weeps when he sees Pallas dying
  • Jupiter tells him that everyone has their day to die
  • Who is Hercules? Most human of gods
  • Audience sees the death from two perspectives at once
  • Can anyone change fate?
book eleven
Book Eleven
  • Burial of Pallas
  • Trojans attack
  • Death of Camilla
deep grief of trojans for pallas
Deep Grief of Trojans for Pallas
  • Mezentius is a bloody trophy, but Pallas is a life tragically cut short
  • Mourning Trojan women appear
  • Robbed of the happy future of marriage and children
  • Death robs young warriors of their future
turnus anger
Turnus’ anger
  • Turnus is depicted as being like a stallion who wants to rush into war
  • Aeneas is the opposite, he hates war and equates it with sorrow
  • Duty vs. Freedom
death of camilla
Death of Camilla
  • Bellatrix (warrior)
  • Leaves her hunting for war, but she is doomed.
  • Promised a noble death
  • Raised in woods as a wild girl who drinks animals’ milk and even as a toddler had spear, bows and arrows
respect for camilla
Respect for Camilla
  • Diana respects her decision to fight
  • Turnus puts her in charge of his men
  • Fights for her own reasons, even after she wants her share of the spoils (and dies fighting for them) she gets a hero’s death
aeneid xii the end
Aeneid XII – The End
  • Turnus challenges Aeneas to fight
  • The Rutuli wound Aeneas
  • He is cured by Venus
  • Kills Turnus
the fight
The Fight
  • Aeneas trapped Turnus like a hunter traps a deer
  • Turnus is compared to Mars at the glory of his fighting
  • His death is humiliating
  • He offers Aeneas the chance to spare his life
why does aeneas kill turnus
Why Does Aeneas kill Turnus?
  • Sees belt of Pallas and is enraged
  • Turnus must die to ensure the future
  • Aeneas gets to defy Juno’s wishes
  • This is a foundation story
  • About community and identity
  • What are the rules? Who can be in the community? Who is the enemy?