Virgil's Aeneid, Book 1
Here are a few salient points from the lecture/discussion of
Aeneid Book I. . .
I. Virgil, poet of the Aeneid
- Writing, not oral, poet
- Aeneid composed between 30-19 BCE
- Virgil died before putting the poem into final form (he
wanted his friends to burn it)
II. 1.1-49 (Fitzgerald) Prologue
A. CREATIVE IMITATION OF HOMER (1.1)
- Aeneid 1.1 I sing of WARFARE and a MAN AT WAR
- Iliad 1.1 WRATH, Sing goddess, the wrath of Peleus'
- Odyssey 1.1 The MAN describe to me, Muse, the man of
B. MOVEMENT FROM TROY TO ITALY (1.2-12)
- The movement is both geographical and ideological; Aeneas
must leave the old/East behind and move on to the new/West
- Virgil's epic is simultaneously working on two levels: that
of Aeneas and that of contemporary Rome of the 20's BCE.
- Aeneas is conditioned by a public destiny/fate marked out
for him: he must subordinate every individualistic heroic impulse
to the goal of founding the city from which would result the Latin
nation and, finally, Rome.
C. PIETAS - the reinvented hero, pius Aeneas
- loyalty and fulfilling obligations in respect of one's
family, city, and gods.
III. BOOK I
A. The STORM
- Watch for this nexus of images here and throughout the
poem: wounding; fire; pain; furor; fury; storm
- First simile in the Aeneid, 1.201-15: evokes image
of Roman civil wars, "Neptune's action indicates the goal of peace
and stability toward which Aeneas is groping and, beyond that,
points to the achievements of Augustus, who quieted the storm of
the mob at Rome." (Anderson, 25)
B. Jupiter's "historical summary" 1.347-98: Latium, Alba Longa,
Rome; final defeat of impious Furor.
C. Hunting (1.411)
- Aeneas hunts deer for his men
- Venus appears to him in guise of huntress (what is she
- [Aeneas first possesses Dido during a hunt]
- [Dido's passion for him is put in terms of the agony of a
D. Scenes of the walls of Juno's temple; last is
- Aeneas' response to the "story" on the wall is to weep;
compare Odysseus' response to Demodocus' song about the Trojan
Horse in Odyssey 8.521-34
E. Dido and Aeneas
- To think about: What is Venus' interest in enflaming Dido
with passion for Aeneas?