The Aeneid



Why The Aeneid and The Italian Volcanoes

I paired The Aeneid with Italy because it is considered one of the most defining works of Latin literature. I also chose it because I greatly enjoyed reading the story (the translation by Robert Fagles is excellent). If you liked The Illiad and The Odyssey, then this is your kind of book and if you haven’t read it already, then you should. The female character of Dido (the founder and first Queen of Carthage) is one of my favorite all-time strong, heroic female characters. I liked the entire book, but the earlier chapters with Dido are were the highlight for me.

More About The Aeneid

The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It comprises 9,896 lines in dactylic hexameter. The first six of the poem’s twelve books tell the story of Aeneas’s wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem’s second half tells of the Trojans’ ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed.

The hero Aeneas was already known to Greco-Roman legend and myth, having been a character in the Iliad. Virgil took the disconnected tales of Aeneas’s wanderings, his vague association with the foundation of Rome and a personage of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous pietas, and fashioned this into a compelling founding myth or national epic that at once tied Rome to the legends of Troy, explained the Punic Wars, glorified traditional Roman virtues, and legitimized the Julio-Claudian dynasty as descendants of the founders, heroes, and gods of Rome and Troy.

The Aeneid is widely regarded as Virgil’s masterpieceand one of the greatest works of Latin literature. The Aeneid has been considered the national epic of ancient Rome from the time of its composition to the present day.

Publius Vergilius Maro traditional dates October 15, 70 BC – September 21, 19 BC, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He wrote three of the most famous poems in Latin literature, the Eclogues (or Bucolics), the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana, are sometimes attributed to him. Virgil’s work has had wide and deep influence on Western literature, most notably Dante’s Divine Comedy, in which Virgil appears as Dante’s guide through Hell and Purgatory.