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Week 11 - Aneid - Books 1-4

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Timothy Perry

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Lecture #10 Page 1 Week Eleven - Aeneid, Books 1-4 Monday, March 15, 2010 5:38 PM Timeline of Epic: o Archaic Period (776-479 BC) Homeric Epic (c. 700) Lyric and Elegiac o Classical Period (479-323 BC) Tragedy o Hellenistic Period (323-31 BC) Epic revived Epyllia Apollonius Very influential on Latin Epic Introduction to Virgil's Aeneid o By common consent this is the greatest epic in Latin Literature o Do have other Latin Epics, dated to after Virgil o Virgil Born 70 BC in Mantua, died in 19 BC Educated in Milan, family must have been reasonably well-off to afford this Family seems to have some land confiscated in the Civil Wars Works: Eclogues/Bucolics (39-38 BC) Modeled on Theocritus, a Hellenistic poet Georgics (29 BC) 4 poems of several hundred lines each about farming Modeled in part of Hesiod's Works and Days and Hellenistic poems Aeneid (19 BC, unfinished) Apparently wrote two lines of poetry a day Was unrevised at the time of his death Have 12 books of unrevised poetry Some of the lines are half the length they should be Unknown if he was going to write another 12 to make it 24 like Homer's Most scholars argue he only meant to write 12 Before he died he requested that it be destroyed BUT it was published, it was slightly amended but nothing was added Quickly established itself as "the" classic work of Latin poetry and epic Huge influence on subsequent Latin poetry Gained the patronage of Maecenas (also the patron/friend of Horace) Close friend of Octavian Don't have a lot of reliable of information about Virgil What we do know about him comes from various ancient lives and ancient commentaries on his poems but the information is often derived from the poems of Virgil o Political Context to the Aeneid Written early in the reign of Augustus Influenced by contemporary politics End of civil wars (very unstable century or so in Rome) 're-founding' of the Roman Republic (supposedly) Aeneid is set in the mythical past Aeneas is from Greek mythLecture #10 Page 2 Events in the poem constantly look forward to Roman History Aeneas himself does not found Rome, but his descendents do He founds the new people that go on to become Romans in Italy Main Point: at least as the poem presents things, Roman history seems to move forward inevitably from Aeneas and the founding of the Roman people to Augustus and the re-founding of the Roman world Augustus' regime is presented as the culmination of Roman History Figures of Aeneas and Augustus are very much linked Augustus is made a descendent of Aeneas through his adopted father Julius Caesar who claimed to be descended from Iulus (Iulius, Julius), son of Aeneas o Style and Structure Aeneid fits the description of epic Long narrative poem of serious events from the mythical past Written in dactylic hexameter Greatly influenced by Hellenistic poetry Allusion Alludes to earlier works of poetry often with significant changes Constant allusion to previous epic poetry, specifically the Iliad and the Odyssey, also the Argonautica and other Roman epic which doesn't survive apart from fragments specifically the poetry of Ennius Is a very learned poem Virgil was very well versed in literature, uses allusion a lot Twelve Books Books 1-6 = the Odyssey Tell of Aeneas's wanderings, journey to
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