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The Aeneid by Vergil

The Aeneid (edition 2021)

by Vergil (Author)

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23,256197161 (3.9)4 / 612
This enduring masterpiece tells of the epic quest of Aeneas, who flees the ashes of Troy to found a new civilization: Rome. A unique hero, Aeneas struggles and fights not for personal gain but for a civilization that will exist far into the future. Caught between passion and fate, his vision would change the course of the Western world. Virgil, Rome's greatest poet, turned a mythical legend into a national epic that would survive Rome's collapse to become the most influential book Rome contributed to Western culture.… (more)
Title:The Aeneid
Authors:Vergil (Author)
Info:Random House (2021), 464 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

The Aeneid by Virgil

  1. 320
    The Iliad by Homer (inge87, HollyMS)
  2. 300
    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)
  9. 00
    Watership Down by Richard Adams (themulhern)
    themulhern: Destruction of the home city (or warren as the case might be), a flight and many struggles, the founding of a new city (or warren).
AP Lit (253)

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» See also 612 mentions

English (160)  Spanish (10)  French (7)  Italian (6)  Catalan (3)  Dutch (3)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  Vietnamese (1)  All languages (194)
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A twelve-book-long epic poem it describes the early mythology of the founding of Rome. The hero Aeneas, a Trojan prince and son of Venus, faces trials and tribulations as he escapes Troy as it burns and sails the Mediterranean searching for a new home.

The Aeneid alludes to both the Odyssey and the Iliad, tales of the Trojan War composed as epic poems by Homer. The first six books of the Aeneid are the stories of Aeneas and other Trojan survivors travelling around the Mediterranean, in the style of Odysseus and his crew in the Odyssey. The latter half of Virgil's work focuses on warfare, as Aeneas fights Turnus, king of the Rutuli and a warrior said to be more powerful than Achilles. The Aeneid also contains epic tropes that hearken back to Homer. For instance, in Book V Aeneas puts on funeral games for his dead father, Anchises. These games are strongly reminiscent of the funeral games hosted in honour of Patroclus in Book XXVIII of the Iliad. Later, in Book VI of the Aeneid, Aeneas descends into the Underworld where he encounters his father and Dido, his spurned lover and former Queen of Carthage; Odysseus makes a similar journey in Book XI of the Odyssey. Divine intervention is another prominent feature in the Aeneid; gods such as Jupiter and Venus compel and assist Aeneas to fulfill his destiny, while other divine figures, Juno, for example, actively plot against Aeneas, and attempt to thwart his attempts to reach Italy and lay the foundations of Rome.

The epic begins in media res, the standard technique in epic poetry as Aeneas and his men wash up on an unfamiliar shore. He is whisked inland to the court of Dido, Queen of Carthage, where, in Book II, he tells the story of the fall of Troy from the Trojan perspective. In his account, he describes the Trojan Horse on the shores outside Troy, the warning of Laocoön, the Greeks' emergence from the hollow horse and the storming of the gates, the death of King Priam at the hands of Neoptolemus (Achilles' nephew), and the annunciation of his quest to take the Trojan gods and found a new city in the West. Aeneas goes on to describe his journey across the Mediterranean Sea. As he finishes the story, Dido is struck by an arrow of Cupid, Aeneas' half-brother, and falls in love with the Trojan. (This scheme is hatched by Juno to keep Aeneas in Carthage) Their love was not meant to be, as Jupiter, via Mercury, reminds Aeneas of his destiny and orders him to embark once again in search of his new home. After that divine reminder, Aeneas sets sail on the Mediterranean, still seeking the location of Troy's successor.

Aeneas settles the Trojans in Latium, a region in western Italy, at the invitation of Latinus, king of the Latin tribe. Aeneas begins to court Latinus's daughter, Lavinia, with her father's blessing. ( )
  Marcos-Augusto | Jun 11, 2024 |
I’ve never been a fan of epic poetry (besides The Divine Comedy), but coming from an insomniac, I found this one the perfect bedtime companion. ( )
  TheBooksofWrath | Apr 18, 2024 |
Aeneas fleeing Troy, traveling the Mediterranean World, and winning land in Italy to found Rome
I spent a month intermittently reading this translation. I had often quoted the first line "Arma virumque cano" when showing off my small Latin knowledge, and decided I needed to actually read the epic. Robert Fagles produced this translation in 2006, so the vocabulary is modern, and is easily read. I have a volume with the classic translation of John Dryden, and tried previously to read that version, without success.
The story opens with Aeneas and his Trojan ships wrecked on the shore of Carthage by a storm commanded by Aeolus, at the urging of Juno. Aeneas relates his tale at a banquet held in his honor by Dido, the queen, who falls madly in love. Aeneas requites the love, and is thinking of settling with Dido with his Trojans, but is warned in a dream sent by Jupiter to follow his destiny as the founder of Rome. He sails from Carthage, and Dido is a suicide. Aeneas is again grounded by a storm in Sicily, where his father Anchises dies. He finally arrives in Italy, after losing his pilot Palinurus, and traveling to Hades to meet his father, who shows him the glories of future Rome. The Trojans construct a fortified camp at the mouth of the Tiber, and Aeneas offers friendship and asks to marry Lavinia, a princess of the nearby Latins. A powerful champion of the Rutulians, Turnus, also desires Lavinia, and decides to attack the Trojans while Aeneas is upriver negotiating with the Etruscans. He returns with Etruscan allies to relieve the seige of the Trojan camp. A bloody battle among Trojans, Latins, Etruscans and Rutulians ends in single combat with Turnus. Juno, who had schemed against the Trojans throughout the poem, finally agrees to Jupiter's command to allow Aeneas and the Trojans to found their city, as long as the city speaks Latin and absorbs the Trojans. The end comes when Aeneas kills Turnus, rejecting pleas for mercy because Turnus was wearing a belt that Aeneas had given Pallas, his dear friend.
Bernard Knox writes a learned introdction to Virgil, the Rome of Augustus Ceasar's time. It contains a brief summary of the poem. He also contributes end notes. There are 17 fine reproductions of frescoes from Pompeii inserted in the relevant passages of the volume.
Vivid and bloody descriptions of battles, many heros named and killed, Gods sending their messengers and demigods to do battle or scheme against the protagonists, it read like a modern fantasy novel.

I marked some passages.
Book 1, lines 887-896
... Then Iopas,
long-haired bard, strikes up his golden lyre
resounding through the halls. Giant Atlas
had been his teacher once, and now he sings
the wandering moon and laboring sun eclipsed,
the roots of the human race and the wild beasts,
the source of storms and lightning bolts on high,
Arcturus, the rainy Hyades, the Great and Little Bears,
and why the winter suns so rush to bathe themselves in the sea,
and what slows the nights to a long lingering crawl.

Book 4, lines 219-223
Straightway Rumor flies through Libya's great cities,
She thrives on speed, stronger for every stride,
slight with fear at first, soon soaring into the air
she treads the ground and hides her head in the clouds

Book 6, lines 306-311
On they went, those dim travelers under the lonely night,
through gloom and the empty halls of Death's ghostly realm,
like those who walk through woods by a grudging moon's
deceptive light when Jove has plunged the sky in dark
and black night drains all color from the world.

Book 9, lines 218-223
Nisus asks, 'do the gods light this fire in our hearts
or does each man's mad desire become his god?'
For a while now a cravings urged me on
to swing into action, some great exploit --
no peace and quiet for me....

Book 10 lines 880-881
Grim repose and an iron sleep press down his eyes
and seal their light in a night that never ends ( )
  neurodrew | Oct 7, 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 |
The Romans just aren't as interesting to me as the Greeks. ( )
  mykl-s | Feb 25, 2023 |
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added by AngelsAngladaLibrary | edit9 País, juny 1978, Maria Àngels Anglada

» Add other authors (656 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
Braund, SusannaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cain, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calzecchi Onesti, RosaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Canali, LucaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clements, JeffCover artistsecondary 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
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Ungaretti, GiuseppeForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ungaretti, GiuseppeForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vaňorný, OtmarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Aeternum dictis da diva leporem.
For Penny
First words
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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This enduring masterpiece tells of the epic quest of Aeneas, who flees the ashes of Troy to found a new civilization: Rome. A unique hero, Aeneas struggles and fights not for personal gain but for a civilization that will exist far into the future. Caught between passion and fate, his vision would change the course of the Western world. Virgil, Rome's greatest poet, turned a mythical legend into a national epic that would survive Rome's collapse to become the most influential book Rome contributed to Western culture.

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Comprises a 15-page introduction, a bibliography, chronology, translation of the text, a 16-page Postscript, Glosssary and Notes .
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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