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Thread: The Aeneid Discussion Group

  1. #196
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    I can discuss it with you. I actually read the final six books last month. It was just a little tedious to keep this thread up. But feel free to discuss whatever you wish. The work is realtively fresh and on my mental fingertips.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  2. #197
    well, i really enjoy hearing what everyone says, but some questions are, where is Aeneas in book IX? and also, do you think that when Virgil repeatedly calls Aeneas "pious Aeneas" he is being sarcastic? i mean, he had the emperor looking over his shoulder and this was Rome's "founding narrative." so did Virgil really think that Aeneas was pious or courageous or just appeasing the Roman elite? what do you think about the Fates and Jove? who serves who? look forward to discussing.

  3. #198
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    Hi I'm sorry to be joining so late in the game but don't worry I have all ready read the Aeneid twice in Latin class.
    So Patrick (if you don't mind me calling you Patrick) to give what I believe is a plausible answer to your question I would have to say that Virgil genuinely thought Aeneas was pious and admired him very much. I base this on the whole idea that this was not like some book report he wrote this was a major work of enormous density and to be able to just lie through your teeth and like it for more than 1000 lines alone is hard enough.
    The fates and Jove is a good question but the way you stated the question I don't like because Jove does have power over the out come of things hence all the head nodding he does and the supplication he gets, but take this power he has with a grain of salt. The power that Jove has he does not exorcise beyond the decrees of fate because the role of fate is not to impose a destiny on us (at least for the Romans) it is to tell us what will bring the best outcome. For more proof look at the word for fate in Latin fato from the word farri which literally means to say or to decree fato is the future tense.
    For a better illustration of how the Romans would interpret fate read the Fagle's translation of the death of Sarpaedon in the Iliad. This shows fate to be more like the common denominator of what is best for all.
    By the way it is pronounced lay-AWK-oo-on not lau-COON

  4. #199
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrickb.palmer View Post
    well, i really enjoy hearing what everyone says, but some questions are, where is Aeneas in book IX? and also, do you think that when Virgil repeatedly calls Aeneas "pious Aeneas" he is being sarcastic? i mean, he had the emperor looking over his shoulder and this was Rome's "founding narrative." so did Virgil really think that Aeneas was pious or courageous or just appeasing the Roman elite? what do you think about the Fates and Jove? who serves who? look forward to discussing.
    Absolutely not sarcasm as to "pius Aeneas."
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  5. #200
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    gates of false dreams

    so, eve adler has a fascinating book on "virgil's empire" and gives a very political reading.
    i haven't read it all, but the idea I like from her is that Virgil is responding to Lucretius' De Rerum Natura- an explanation of epicureanism but using an epic form that people can recognize and relate to.
    epicureanism- quark is probably up on this, but denies the existence of gods, or at least of gods who meddle in everyday human affairs. when we die, we break up into smaller parts- "atoms" and that life is more random than people care to think
    Lucretius thinks he can turn everyday men into "philosophers" with his epic, but seems to have given little thought to what the outcome of this might be.
    virgil responds (acc to adler) by writing a greater epic, because Virgil knows that while Lucretius may be right, that people need a reason for restraint and decorum. that most people won't be "philosophers" in the truest sense (and thus not understand why they need to control/curb their baser instincts/impluses- only thinking, hey- no gods, no punishment) and therefore need more simple guidelines for living and more fiery justice imagined in the heavens.
    False dreams: virgil knows that his tale of the underworld is untrue but nonetheless extremely necessary for culture and civilization. Rome has been through over a century of civil wars and Virgil wants to refound rome as stable and promoting life. (not constant power grabs and self aggrandizement)

    adler's argument made fantastic sense to me.
    about the sybil and sex: seems like Apollo is IN her. not just her voice. So, yes- there are womb implications in the cave as well as echoes (sorry) of :
    plato's cave
    Joseph Campbell and others argue the freudian/jungian cave/subconscious/id connection
    and it's a womb of sorts out of which Aeneas is reborn a roman. (i know you were getting there... someone said it earlier)

    enough for my first post in this thread. hah. i'm on book 6 right now and it has to be the best.

  6. #201
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    memmius and funerals

    question: why have a second death (one after Palinaurus) emerge unexpectedly in the underworld? (misenus) and because he challenges the gods to a trumpet contest? and yet ANOTHER burial. counting the funeral pyres in the Aeneid could be a thesis in itself; there are SO many.
    Misenus and Palinaurus go together somehow, and it's always more than a framing device- even if i can't figure it all out.
    In book 6, you think the death polluting would be Palinaurus, but then Misenus out of nowhere. ?? thoughts?
    Last edited by zeldalola; 03-06-2011 at 04:49 PM. Reason: had the wrong name; typo

  7. #202
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    fates and jove

    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    Absolutely not sarcasm as to "pius Aeneas."
    i wonder the same thing. i mean HOW many times did gods or prophets or dreams tell him to go to Latium/tiber/Italy? In book 3- every stop told him of his mission. Seems A is a little hardheaded at times? I'm sure there's a sophisticated reason for it. I just haven't found a critic with whom I totally agree on this issue.

    jove and fates. in the Iliad, Jove/Zeus can mess with some details, but the fates have already sketched the big picture and items that Zeus can't change.
    In the Aeneid, seems like Jove is the primary agent of Fate. or is FATE itself.

  8. #203
    Do you think this is Virgil's way of claiming free will?

  9. #204
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    For me, one of the most interesting things about the Aeneid is "the two Virgils" - often called the "private" and "public." The public Virgil was required to write this epic that glorified Augustus by tracing his linage back to the Trojan Wars. This Virgil is the one who spurs Aeneas on to Rome to fulfill his destiny (as represented by Jove). We can only guess as to the nature of the "private" Virgil, but there are instances where things are not as great as they seem. The two main points that come to mind are
    1. The fact that Aeneas exits the underworld through the Gate of Ivory and not the Gate of Horn
    2. The very end, the un-heroic nature which Virgil leaves off the story.

    So the struggle between the gods pushing Aeneas to Rome and he not always wanting to follow their guidence parallels the struggle between the two Virgils - or in a more general sense, that struggle between duty and desire.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  10. #205
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    PP- I think free will definitely exists as a concept in Virgil, but Aeneas' free will only gets him into trouble. When Aeneas is leaving Carthage, Dido confronts him. He responds that if he were doing anything of his free will, he would be dead with all the Trojan... or behaving as a traditional glory seeking hero would.

    Aeneas' fate and the gods dog Aeneas for the first 6 books up until his visit to the underworld. In these books Aeneas is confused and reluctant; he makes many mistakes.

    Once out of the underworld, he seems to have a better understanding of what is expected of him and seems more willing/proactive.

    I haven't thought too much about "free will" in the context of the Aeneid because it seems a more Christianity oriented discussion and Virgil is pre Christian era.

    I don't think any Greek or Roman would deny the existence of free will, they would argue that going against fate or the will of the gods will cause trouble. More of an excessive pride, piety issue.

    You were asking this in regard to the gate of false dreams? Can you say more about what you had in mind? (These are only my opinions. I'm an intemediate Virgil student (no latin) at best.)



    C.D. I agree, these aspects are what distinguish Virgil from the Homeric copy cat that many readers suspect him to be, and what finally make the Aeneid enjoyable and complex.

    These aspects can also make the Aeneid soooooooo frustrating. If you read Lee Fratantuono's companion to the Aeneid, he focuses a lot on the counter currents and how Aeneas makes so many mistakes- he's like a bumbling fool. It's fascinating but I got very confused before I began to get a little unconfused....

  11. #206
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    I like your distinction of pre and post-Underworld Aeneas. I would have to read the latter half again to decide if I can fully agree with that view (it has been some time.)
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  12. #207
    Traditionally, critics have divided the Aeneid in two sections, the Iliad half and the earlier Odyssey half. The two Virgils seem to be related to the distinction. However, it is obvious that the two fold structure breaks down at times. Virgil's point seems to be that fate was never mint to be easy.

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