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The Aeneid

by Virgil

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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21,520190165 (3.9)4 / 602
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed) In dramatic and narrative power, Virgil's "Aeneid" is the equal of its great Homeric predecessors, "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey." It surpasses them, however, in the intense sympathy it displays for its human actors-a sympathy that makes events such as Aeneas's escape from Troy and search for a new homeland, the passion and the death of Dido, the defeat of Turnus, and the founding of Rome among the most memorable in literature. This celebrated translation by Robert Fitzgerald does full justice to the speed, clarity, and stately grandeur of the Roman Empire's most magnificent literary work of art.… (more)
  1. 300
    The Iliad by Homer (inge87, HollyMS)
  2. 280
    The Odyssey by Homer (inge87, caflores)
  3. 180
    The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (lisanicholas)
    lisanicholas: Dante, whose poetical muse was Virgil, makes himself the "hero" of this epic journey through not only Hell, but also Purgatory and Heaven -- a journey modeled to a certain extent on Aeneas's visit to the Underworld in the Aeneid. Dante's poem gives an imaginative depiction of the afterlife, which has both similarities and significant contrasts to Virgil's depiction of the pagan conception of what happens to the soul after death, and how that is related to the life that has been lived.… (more)
  4. 150
    The Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes (andejons)
    andejons: Both epics connects to the Iliad and the Odyssey, even if the Argonautica is a prequel of sorts and the Aeneid is a sequel. Also, both Jason and Aeneas as well as Medea and Dido shows similar traits.
  5. 80
    Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin (rarm)
  6. 21
    The Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch (chrisharpe)
  7. 10
    Voyages and Discoveries: Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques & Discoveries of the English Nation by Richard Hakluyt (KayCliff)
  8. 00
    Black Ships by Jo Graham (sturlington)
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» See also 602 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 152 (next | show all)
  archivomorero | May 21, 2023 |
"All the gods on whom this empire once depended have left their shrines and their altars. You are rushing to defend a burning city. Let us die. Let us rush into the thick of the fighting. The one safety for the defeated is to have no hope of safety." (pg. 40)

You've got to admire the Classical cojones on a man who, looking at the formidable glory of The Iliad and The Odyssey, the two works of Homer, decides to himself write a third volume continuing the story. The two epics were already ancient when Virgil, writing just a few decades before Christ, decided to pick up the story of the Trojan captain Aeneas, who flees the sack of Ilium and leads his band of martial refugees across the Mediterranean into Italy, where they begin the dynasty that will become "the beginning of the Latin race, the Alban fathers and the high walls of Rome" (pg. 3).

What's even more admirable is that Virgil achieves his task. He takes the best flavours from Homer – the voyage of Aeneas and his people across the Mediterranean mirrors Odysseus' wine-dark wanderings in The Odyssey, while the battles in Italy recall those outside the walls of Troy in The Iliad – and makes them his own. He skilfully appropriates the Greek stories into his new Roman culture – perhaps one of the most successful cross-pollinations in history – in a way that not only pays homage to the Homeric originals but adds a very creditable and satisfying third volume to the story.

It was a surprise to me when I first read The Iliad, nearly a decade ago now, that there was no mention of a wooden horse. That particular story ends with the fateful clash between Hector and Achilles, and furthermore the horse is only mentioned briefly as Odysseus' stratagem in The Odyssey. Rather, it is Virgil's Aeneid which delivers to us the full story of the Trojan Horse: the large wooden "gift" presented to Troy by the "fleeing" Greeks; the carnival atmosphere among the Trojans after it is brought within the walls of Ilium; the unheeded warnings of the priestess Cassandra. It is The Aeneid which gives us the famous line to "beware of Greeks bearing gifts" (pg. 30), and it shows us why we pay heed to the line in the chapters that follow: a frankly breath-taking depiction of the fall of Troy.

The sack of the city of Ilium, told in flashback by Aeneas, is one of the most evocative passages of writing I have ever read, and worth the price of admission alone. Laden with epic tragedy and pathos, it gores the reader with a relentless narrative drive. As the Greek soldiers pour out of the horse and storm the city, Virgil vividly depicts the confusion, fear, heartbreak and humiliation the Trojans feel. We see the old king Priam, noble and dignified, butchered like a pig (pg. 47). We see Aeneas part from his own agèd father who, with the walls of his city collapsing around him, stoically tells his son that "if the gods in heaven had wished me to go on living, they would have preserved this place for me" (pg. 50). Later, having led his band to safety, Aeneas discovers his wife is missing: "whether she stopped or lost her way or sat down exhausted, no one can tell. I never saw her again… I stormed and raged and blamed every god and man that ever was" (pg. 53). Fighting his way back into the fallen city, he meets her ghost – "Three times I tried to put my arms around her neck. Three times her phantom melted in my arms" (pg. 54) – who tells him not to weep, for now she will not be a slave to any Greek (pg. 54). She won't be a war-prize or concubine like Andromache, widow of Hector. When Aeneas tells Dido, Queen of Carthage, that "we are the remnants left by the Greeks. We have suffered every calamity that land and sea could inflict upon us" (pg. 22), it is the pen of Virgil, not the swords of the Achaeans, which has made us feel it.

But Virgil does more than just lean on the stories of Homer for his epic. When the fate of Ilium is behind them on the winds, and their ships bring them to Carthage, Virgil proves he can create an epic quality of his own. Aeneas' romance with Dido is unfortunately brief, but fits the Homeric framework Virgil has constructed like a glove. A subsequent chapter in which Aeneas travels into the underworld shows that, while he may have been inspired by Homer, he himself would inspire Dante.

Unfortunately, I found the story lost some of its momentum when Aeneas and his band finally land in Italy. The conflict between Aeneas and the native adversaries who already live on the land is never entirely clear, perhaps because Virgil, sensitive to the political implications of a mis-step on his part in the reign of Augustus, wanted to bring legendary Trojan blood into the founding of Rome – a land "pregnant with empire" (pg. 88) – without maligning the existing tribes of the region, who also contributed to that imperial rise. The final chapters of The Aeneid get stuck in a succession of games tournaments, battles and funeral processions, with much of the early promise forgotten. By this point, Aeneas is a powerful, unreflective champion destined to conquer the land, far removed from the pained, tragic underdog who left the bodies of his wife and father in Ilium and that of Dido across the sea. Considering Virgil was in conscious imitation of Homer, I don't think it's unfair to note that his final duel between Aeneas and the Italian champion Turnus lacks the narrative satisfaction that accompanies the duel between Hector and Achilles, and The Aeneid ends abruptly immediately after this final spear is plunged.

That said, this final battle does allow for one real moment of high tragedy, a late shimmer which recalls all those fantastic moments in the first half of Virgil's epic. The final fated duel threatens to be generic, until Turnus, who has been avoiding the confrontation with the indomitable Aeneas, looks around him at the burning city of his birth and decides to face him. "You will not see me put to shame again," he tells his weeping sister. "This is madness, but before I die, I beg of you, let me be mad" (pg. 324). This is supreme drama, not only in the quality of the line, but in the underlying juxtapositions. Aeneas, who fled a burning city, is now razing one himself. Turnus, the young captain, is facing the indomitable Trojan hero Aeneas to defend his home even though he knows he will die, just as the doomed Trojan captain Hector once faced the indomitable Achilles. The Aeneid ends too soon after this to really allow us to chew on what it means, but it speaks to the quality of Virgil's architecture that the juxtaposition can be made so astutely.

At this point it is also worth mentioning David West, who provided the excellent translation in my Penguin Classics edition of the book. West wisely decides on a prose translation of Virgil's epic poem, and consequently avoids all the pitfalls that come with trying to reconcile the story to modern English metre and rhyme. By sticking to prose, West retains all the narrative drive and lyricism of Virgil's Aeneid without it sounding alien or artificial to English ears. Some of the credit for the power of Virgil's lines and the narrative momentum of his scenes must go to West's delivery and decision-making, which has retained that power in translation when it could so easily have been spoiled.

All told, Virgil created in The Aeneid an epic that can stand alongside the august volumes of Homer without any shame or sense of inferiority. At its best – such as in the sack of Troy – there is scarcely anything better, and the epic is laced throughout with moments and ideas and lines of poetry that fascinate. It is interesting to see Odysseus presented as an outright villain – here, he is called Ulixes – for of course, the story is told from the perspective of the defeated Trojans who curse his name. It is even more interesting that the Greeks are shown to suffer from their victory: Diomedes rebuffs the Italian call for aid against Aeneas as he has fought enough Trojans, and "those of us whose swords violated the fields of Ilium… we are scattered over the round earth, paying unspeakable penalties and suffering all manner of punishment for our crimes. We are a band of men that even Priam might pity" (pg. 280). Odysseus is lost at sea. Agamemnon has been murdered by his wife in his bath. Even among the Greek rank-and-file there is a price to be paid: Aeneas and his crew encounter one of Odysseus' desolate crewmen still hiding on the hellish island of the Cyclopes, in dread fear of those cannibalistic giants (pg. 76). The epics of Homer and Virgil show that the glory of the heroes can often be hollow, their fates cruel; the nuance is a far cry from our common understanding of these 'noble', heroic epics, and it is fascinating to read.

There are sometimes questions raised over whether Homer was one man, a blind, bearded storyteller plucking at a lyre, or simply the name given to encompass all those storytellers who, so the argument goes, refined the stories of The Iliad and The Odyssey over centuries. Perhaps the finest compliment we can pay to Virgil – for we know that he at least was one man – is that his success in The Aeneid lends credence to the argument that Homer was an individual. Virgil showed that one man can indeed create an epic of such scope and quality. ( )
  MikeFutcher | May 21, 2023 |
  BegoMano | Mar 5, 2023 |
  BegoMano | Mar 5, 2023 |
The Romans just aren't as interesting to me as the Greeks. ( )
  mykl-s | Feb 25, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 152 (next | show all)
added by AngelsAngladaLibrary | edit9 País, juny 1978, Maria Àngels Anglada

» Add other authors (317 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Virgilprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ahl, FrederickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Albini, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Allinson, Anne C. E.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Allinson, Francis GreenleafEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arnold, EdwinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aulicino, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ģiezens, AugustsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bartsch, ShadiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beck, Marcosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bellès i Sallent, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bellessort, AndréTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cain, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calzecchi Onesti, RosaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Canali, LucaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cleyn, FrancisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conington, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Copley, Frank O.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cranch, Christopher PearseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dickinson, PatricTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dryden, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Durand, René L.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elers, GunvaldisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eliot, Charles WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Espinosa Pólit, AurelioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fagles, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Feldhūns, ĀbramsForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fitzgerald, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fo, AlessandroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giannotti, FilomenaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goelzer, HenriEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Green, MandyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hane-Scheltema, M. d'Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Humphries, RolfeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knight, W. F. JacksonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knox, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levi, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, C. DayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mandelbaum, AllenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marzari Chiesa, FrancescoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mussini, CesareEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neuffer, LudwigTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oakley, Michael J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oksala, PäivöTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oksala, TeivasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Page, T. E.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palmer, E. H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paratore, E.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pattist, M.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petrina, CarlottaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Plankl, WilhelmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Radice, BettyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ravenscroft, ChristopherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rijser, DavidAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruden, SarahTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sabbadini, RemigioEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schoonhoven, HenkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwartz, M.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sermonti, VittorioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sisson, C. H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ungaretti, GiuseppeForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vaňorný, OtmarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vivaldi, CesareTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vondel, J. van denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vretska, KarlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warren, Henry ClarkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Aeternum dictis da diva leporem.
For Penny
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Wars and man I sing—an exile driven on by Fate, he was the first to flee the coast of Troy, destined to reach Lavinian shores and Italian soil, yet many blows he took on land and sea from the gods above—thanks to cruel Juno's relentless rage—and many losses he bore in battle too, beofe he could found a city, bring his gods to Latium, source of the Latin race, the Alban lords and the high walls of Rome.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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3150002214 Reclam UB
3150201500 Reclam

The Aeneid in translation.
According to the "dead language" convention, there are separate works for Latin and bilingual editions.
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(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed) In dramatic and narrative power, Virgil's "Aeneid" is the equal of its great Homeric predecessors, "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey." It surpasses them, however, in the intense sympathy it displays for its human actors-a sympathy that makes events such as Aeneas's escape from Troy and search for a new homeland, the passion and the death of Dido, the defeat of Turnus, and the founding of Rome among the most memorable in literature. This celebrated translation by Robert Fitzgerald does full justice to the speed, clarity, and stately grandeur of the Roman Empire's most magnificent literary work of art.

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Haiku summary
A man leaves his home
and wanders with his people
and finds a new home.
Long search for new home
Old one ru'ned by Greek Gift Horse
Future lies with wolves

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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140440518, 0140449329, 0140455388, 0143105132, 0143106295

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2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300119046, 0300151411

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