Chapter_19 IM 6e


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CHAPTER 19 VIRGIL’S ROMAN EPIC: THE AENEID MAIN POINTS 1. Having experienced the disorder of the Roman civil wars, Virgil became a supporter of the empire and Emperor Augustus. 2. His works include two pastoral poems idealizing the simplicity of rural life, an appealing theme to urban Rome. 3. His epic poem, the Aeneid , was funded by Augustus. At the end of his life, Virgil had not finished his revisions; he ordered his manuscript burned at his death, but Augustus prevented its destruction. 4. Written in Latin, the Aeneid is intended to make Latin a poetic vehicle with a cultural status similar to Greek and to assert Augustus’s ancestral link to Aeneas. Virgil also intended to achieve the status that Homer as a poet had among educated Romans. 5. The first six books are modeled after the Odyssey ; the rest are modeled on the Iliad . 6. The main focus is the historicizing of myth, linking its characters with individual events and persons in Roman history. 7. Though history is an essential element of the Aeneid , Romans would have preceived that Virgil’s complex allusions called for some “revisionist” history. 8. The narration includes the reign of Aeneas and his son, the conquest of Greece, the expansion of Rome, and the reign of Julius Caesar and Augustus. 9. The Punic Wars and the Carthaginian invasion of Rome are predicted in Dido’s curse on Aeneas when he leaves her. 10. Aeneas must forego permanent marriage with Dido, whom he loves, due to political considerations. This situation reflects the political considerations which often determined marriage choices in Virgil’s Rome. 11. The first role of the city is to create good conditions for civilized life; to establish good government; to erect buildings and monuments; and to encourage arts, theater, trade, and commerce. If the city leader neglects these tasks, the city will suffer. 12. The second role of the city is to spread its civilization, even if it entails fighting wars. While we may regard this as imperialist aggression, many lands welcomed the Roman security, technology, improved economy, and opportunities for Roman citizenship and for advancement in the Roman bureaucracy. 13. The Roman concern with boundaries (walls, ramparts, legal and national borders) is evident in the Aeneid ; the “walls of Rome” symbolize not just the nation but all of Roman culture. 14.
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This note was uploaded on 10/17/2011 for the course CLAS 3302 taught by Professor Landoncook during the Spring '11 term at Texas Tech.

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