Classics 222 notes for 3/2/09
The third test is on Monday 3/9. It will have exactly the same format as the third test
from last year, which is available in a folder in the course documents area of the
Blackboard site. Please test yourself as you will be tested.
Note on journals: Please write one journal for each reading assignment, so ONE
journal for books 1-2, ONE journal for books 3-4, etc.
is an epic written for a circumscribed audience of the wealthy and educated.
Epic is a genre we haven't seen before. Homer defines it. Moderns make up a description,
largely from reading Homer, in which an epic is a narrative with large extension in time
and space, in which a hero is challenged in ways that deal with the BIG Questions, such
as the relationship of the divine and the human, the tensions between duty and love,
between family and society, the confrontation of death, and the meaning of life. After
Homer, everyone was writing in his shadow. Vergil revives the genre by going beyond
is an answer to Homer. It alludes to the Iliad and Odyssey a lot.
The poem is divided into 12 book rolls: 1-6 Wanderings- like Odyssey, 7-12 War in
Latium- like Iliad
Three important differences between Vergil's Roman epic and Homer:
1) It’s completely literary, rather than an oral composition that’s written down
2) Roman Mythology explains Roman Greatness
3) The nature of the Heroes
Achilles: is insulted because his prize is taken away, sits on the beach and
sulks, prays to his mother to let the Greeks loose until he gets his respect back.
, Odysseus: devious, trickster, lies for the sake of lying. Athena plots with
: 700 years later (people had written epics in between but most were not
considered noteworthy and have not survived). He is a man on a mission- not concerned
with Glory or homecoming. Must find Italy and found the Roman race which is destined
to conquer the world. Had been a prince of Troy, and has seen his home utterly
destroyed. A perspective we just can’t have- loss and bitterness of civil war. Aeneas has
lost practically everything- wife dies as he was leaving Troy. Wanders for seven years-
home no longer exists- Where is there any joy left in this life? But Aeneas goes on,
because he has a duty to find Italy and found the race from which Rome will come.
Aeneas is the first hero in Western Epic that is a grown-up. He doesn’t want to do it- but