Vergil’s Aenied

The Aenied is the logical follow on from the Iliad which I have previously looked at.  In it, Vergil copies much from Homer’s style.  Much about the story, also, is the same, and so there are just a few points in want to make about it.  First, the Aenied was written when Augustus had just become the emperor.  Thus there was a lot offer pressure on the poets of the day to glorify him and the empire of Rome. This is why there are so many references to Augustus as the great leader which Rome needs to survive, and a long description of the battle of Actium.  Moreover, the whole story is really about the glorification of Rome, as Aeneas has to overcome so much in order to found the city, which shows that the Romans really are a strong people. Dido, so story is one of the most tragic in all of ancient literature, and so has been preserved into modern times.  It is a story which highlights fate better than all others, as it shows that no matter how much one wants something, they cannot have it unless they are fated to.  Aeneas must found Rome and Rome will be an enemy of Carthage no matter what happens, and so Dido must be an innocent victim of the fate which brought them together.  My final point is about the role of the gods.  In the Aenied, the gods are the ones who make everything happen.  Likewise in the Iliad, where they decided the outcome no matter how well either side fought. What their role is, therefore, seems to be to highlights the helplessness of man, and emphasise the role of fate in our lives.  In Rome,  Vergil was the foremost poet for epic poetry, until Ovid’s Metamorphoses which I am reading at the moment.


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