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The Aeneid

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Fleeing the ashes of Troy, Aeneas, Achilles’s mighty foe in the Iliad, begins an incredible journey to fulfill his destiny as the founder of Rome.

His voyage will take him through stormy seas, entangle him in a tragic love affair, and lure him into the world of the dead itself—all the way tormented by the vengeful Juno, Queen of the Gods. Ultimately, he reaches the promised land of Italy where, after bloody battles and with high hopes, he founds what will become the Roman empire. An unsparing portrait of a man caught between love, duty, and fate, the Aeneid redefines passion, nobility, and courage for our times. Robert Fagles, whose acclaimed translations of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey were welcomed as major publishing events, brings the Aeneid to a new generation of readers, retaining all of the gravitas and humanity of the original Latin as well as its powerful blend of poetry and myth. Featuring an illuminating introduction to Virgil’s world by esteemed scholar Bernard Knox, this volume lends a vibrant new voice to one of the seminal literary achievements of the ancient world.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

From the award-winning translator of The Iliad and The Odyssey comes a brilliant new translation of Virgil's great epic

484 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 20

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Publius Vergilius Maro (October 15, 70 BCE – September 21, 19 BCE), usually called Virgil or Vergil /ˈvɜrdʒəl/ in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of 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 is traditionally ranked as one of Rome's greatest poets. His Aeneid has been considered the national epic of ancient Rome from the time of its composition to the present day. Modeled after Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid follows the Trojan refugee Aeneas as he struggles to fulfill his destiny and arrive on the shores of Italy—in Roman mythology the founding act of Rome. Virgil's work has had wide and deep influence on Western literature, most notably the Divine Comedy of Dante, in which Virgil appears as Dante's guide through hell and purgatory.

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Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
1,029 reviews17.7k followers
September 6, 2023
The Waste Land

The Aeneid

YOU can Conquer - now, isn’t that a nifty quick analysis of how faith works? That’s Virgil talking!

Faith in oneself... or Faith in a Higher Being?

Let’s take a closer look...

Virgil left off writing this masterpiece a mere twenty years before the Star appeared over ancient Bethlehem.

And, of course, the Aeneid gave the worldly Romans hope for a brighter future at the same time, when their history was beginning its long, slow decline into moral chaos. It inspired them to believe that a semi-divine Trojan named Aeneas had given them ideals worth dying for!

With not much respect due to Troy’s ancient conquerors - the Greeks.


Sure, it was political propaganda commissioned by Augustus, through Virgil’s noble mentor Maecenas.

But don’t forget that many of the same Roman readers of this runaway bestseller were fathers of the first Italian Christian converts.

The domino effect was about to play its hand.

Early Christian apologists, looking for grist for their mills, would soon see in Virgil’s groundbreaking ideas about a blissful afterlife in the Elysian Fields - for ordinary good people, as well as Homer’s heroes - an announcement of the Lord’s freely-offered - and freely-withheld - salvation.

A salvation for which Aeneas must forsake the fleshpot of Carthage...

And did I say Homer? That’s another thing...

Approximately concurrent with all of this was the disastrous destruction by fire of Alexandria’s priceless library - the last detailed link with the pre-Roman Greek world.

So, now, books like this one were suddenly a prime source for imaginative myth-making.

It is hard to imagine such inspired living as the Knights of the Round Table, or early books of such high-mindedness as Piers Plowman or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight existing without the nobility of the Aeneid.

(But what about the loss of higher mathematics - and calculus - to the Ottoman Empire, against whom Europe Crusaded? Enemies don’t share secrets, alas.)

But how about the late medieval romances... and how much Latin magic is in the Holy Grail?

The Greeks - so sybaritic in their literature and such a springboard in their stories for the imagination - had little or no influence on our serious Medieval European ancestors.

The very dearth of Hellenic playfulness gave our ancestors their dour mindset. Perhaps in an age of starting from scratch again and rebuilding, that grim mindset was best.

So, the popular faith and imagination of the Middle Ages derived largely from books like this!

Even Aeneas’ triumphant victory over Turnus was seen by clerics as a divine allegory of the victory over evil.

And who’s to say they were so WRONG, though?

But, with that, Church censorship was also beginning, and Roman freedoms were eventually going to be curtailed.

But freedom has radically different restrictions as Age progresses to Age, and while we postmodernists seem to have fewer, we in fact have migrated to much less privacy.

Every age has its manner of dealing with anarchy. Ours is surveillance.

But to the Church, MORAL Anarchy was the most perilous type of chaos, thanks to Nero and Caligula. And for the future of European civilization the Church seems in hindsight to have been right.

It’s like your parents weeding out any bad influences on you as you grew up - can THAT be such a bad thing? Most good parents do it - or used to. It’s like pruning back your rose bushes, in the interests of their future health.

Sure, there’ll be some Major adjustments for the kids later on, but if they have an active intelligence, they’ll catch up in plenty of time, though the transition from naïve innocence to cosmic disappointment is vast.

And without the firm foothold of faith well nigh impossible.

And note well the conclusion to Book VI of the Aeneid, in which Virgil shows the only auspicious door out of the Underworld: the Gate of Horn, and NOT the Gate of Ivory... the former symbolizing Cosmic Disappointment.

Now, most people on this planet prefer a life of Ivory (physical riches and spiritual materialism) over a life of Horn (disappointment and penance). That’s our natural and very Fallen nature.

The origin of the ancient symbol of the Horn lies in its roots in the misfortune of being cuckolded. A young buck drives away his rivals with his horn. Ever notice than when a cuckold comes onstage in a Mozart opera, his musical genius symbolized that fact by having the French Horn play a sybaritic riff? His nascent disappointment becomes comic to the audience.

Similarly, could the seed of a great religion of love and compassion have taken root without the concurrent sowing of the nobility that the Aeneid has in men’s minds? And moral nobility is born in cosmic ethical disappointment.

Could Christianity have spread like wildfire throughout the fallen Empire... without it? For that’s what the spoiled, self-indulgent emperors were to believers - a cosmic disappointment. But that disappointment was to Virgil the RIGHT WAY to Heaven.

Sure, I know I’m REACHING a bit to make my points.

But whatever your own views, the Aeneid is the great Medieval Desert Island Book - one of the only great ancient imaginative yarns the serious, and violent, early Middle Ages really had.

A true oasis for the souls of those who were lost and confused in that scattered moral debris before the Fall of the Colossus that was the Roman Empire:

And an ethical bedrock!

All roads lead to ROME?

Not on your life, for this sententious-sounding old guy!

So I’ll just continue to walk the straight & narrow path with my old pal Virgil.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews27 followers
August 26, 2021
Æneis = Aeneid, Virgil

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 traveled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans.

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.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نوزدهم ماه نوامبر سال 1991میلادی

عنوان: انه اید؛ اثر: ویرژیل؛ برگردان: میرجلال الدین کزازی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، نشر مرکز، 1381، در 479ص، شابکها یک9643057151؛ دو9643051099؛ سه9789643057152؛ چاپ دوم 1375، چاپ سوم 1383، چاپ ششم 1387؛ واژه نامه دارد، نمایه دارد؛ موضوع شعر حماسی لاتینی از نویسنگان ایتالیا - سده 01پیش از میلاد

منظومه‌ ای حماسی، که «ویرژیل» شاعر «روم» باستان، آن را در پایان سده ی نخست پیش از میلاد، و به زبان لاتین سروده است، «ویرژیل» راهنمای سفر «دانته» در کتابهای دوزخ و برزخ «کمدی الهی» نیز هست؛ «سرودهای شبانی»، و «سرودهای روستایی» را نیز، ایشان سروده است

داستان «انه اید» همان پیآمدهای نبرد «تروا»، پس از تازش «یونانیان» است؛ «ویرژیل» در «انه اید»؛ داستان «انه» را میسراید؛ و آنچه را که او، پس از رهایی از مرگ در «تروا»، در سفرهای پرماجرایش، برای رسیدن به «لاتیوم»، سرزمینی که به او نوید داده شده، میآزماید، و از سر میگذراند؛ سرگذشت «انه» یا «انه اید» «ویرژیل»، در غرب، سومین داستان بزرگ پهلوانی است، پس از «ایلیاد و اودیسه»ی «هومر» «یونانی»؛ «انه اید» در ادبیات کلاسیک «رومی (رمی)»، همان جایگاهی را دارد، که «ایلیاد» و «ادیسه» در ادبیات کلاسیک «یونان» دارد، آن را میتوان دنباله ای بر «ایلیاد هومر» نیز برشمرد، «ویرژیل»، «انه اید» را از آنجا آغاز میکند، که «هومر»، «ایلیاد» را با ویرانی و سوختن «تروا» به پایان میبرد؛ «انه اید» همان حماسه ی ملی «رومی»ها نیز هست؛ «انه» بزرگزاده ای «تروایی» ست، که تبار مادریش به خدایان میرسید، و پس از تباهی «تروا»، او سفری پرماجرا را بر پهنه ی دریاها آغاز میکند، به «کارتاژ»، و سپس به «ایتالیا» میرود، مردمان لاتین را به پیروزی میرساند، و فرمانروای مردمی میشود که شایستگی «ترواییان» را، با توانستنهای لاتینیان در هم آمیخته اند؛ «رومی»ها «انه» را نیای «رومولوس»، بنیادگذار شهر «رم» میشناسند، و میشناختند؛ «ویرژیل» از آن داستان کهن، حماسه ای پرشور ساختند، که در روزگار امپراتوری، پشتوانه ای تاریخی و اسطوره ای برای «رمی»ها شد؛

کتاب اول: پس از جنگ «ایلیون» و سوختن شهر «تروی»، اهالی آن به هر سوی کوچیدند؛ «انئاس» و یارانش به سوی «ایتالیا» بادبان کشیدند؛ اما ایزدبانو «یونو» که به سبب حسادت دیرین به زیبایی «ونوس» ایزدبانوی زیبایی، دشمن «تروجان‌»ها بود، کشتی ایشان را دستخوش طوفان گردانید، تا غرقشان کند؛ «ونوس» که مادر «انئاس» نیز هست، به یاری پسرش شتافت، و کشتی او را به ساحل «کارتاژ (نام شهری باستانی در شمال «آفریقا - کشور تونس ‌امروزی» انداخت؛ «انئاس» و یارانش به نزد «دیدون»، شهبانوی «کارتاژ» رفتند، و از ایشان برای رفتن به «ایتالیا» یاری طلبیدند؛ «ونوس» از بیم آنکه «یونو» باز هم دخالت کند، و جان «انئاس» و یارانش را، به خطر اندازد، پسر دیگر خود «کوپیدو»، ایزد عشق را روانه می‌کند، تا در هیئت کودکی حامل هدایا، در مجلس بزم بر زانوی شهبانوی «کارتاژ» نشسته، عشق «انئاس» را در سینه ی او بدمد؛ شهبانو «دیدون» که اینک عاشق «انئاس» شده، از او درخواست می‌کند که داستان جنگ «تروی» را بازگو کند

کتاب دوم: «انئاس»، داستان واپسین روز جنگ «تروی» را بازمی‌گوید: «یونانیان» اسبی چوبی را، با دلاورترین مردان خود پر می‌کنند، و بر در «تروی» گذاشته، ساحل را ترک می‌کنند؛ جاسوسی «یونانی» در لباس یک فراری، به «تروجان‌»ها می‌گوید، که این اسب پیشکش «یونانیان» به ایزدبانویی است، که به معبدش توهین کرده ‌اند، و خود به سرعت به «یونان» بازگشته ‌اند، تا تندیس خدایان خود را همراه آورند تا مگر به شفاعت آن‌ها از خشم ایزدبانو در امان بمانند؛ و اگر «تروجان»‌ها آن اسب پیشکشی را، وارد شهر خود کنند، خشم ایزدبانو بر «یونانیان» خواهد گرفت؛ «تروجان‌»ها اسب را وارد شهر می‌کنند، و نیمه شب، مردان «یونانی» از آن به بیرون ریخته، «تروی» را به آتش می‌کشند؛ «انئاس» با دلیری می‌جنگد، و در میانه ی نبرد، چشمش به «هلن» زیباروی، که مسبب تمام این فجایع است می‌افتد، و قصد کشتنش را می‌کند، اما مادرش «ونوس» او را بازمی‌دارد، و او را به حفظ خانواده و گریز از شهر می‌خواند؛ «انئاس» با خانواده اش، و کسانی که سپس به او می‌پیوندند، از «تروی» ویران می‌گریزد

کتاب سوم: «انئاس» و یارانش در جستجوی سرزمینی که شهر تازه ی خود را در آن بنا کنند، نخست به «تراس» می‌روند، اما وقتی «انئاس» می‌خواهد، گیاهی خونچکان را بکند، آوازی از بن آن برمی‌آید، و خود را روح یکی از یاران «انئاس» معرفی می‌کند، که به دست «تراسیان» کشته شده‌ است و این گیاه از جسد او رسته است. «انئاس» از ترس خیانت «تراسیان» از «تراس» می‌گریزد، و خدایان او را به «ایتالیا» رهنمون می‌شوند؛ در راه «ایتالیا» در جزیره ‌های گوناگون سرگردان می‌شود، گاه با «هارپی»ها کرکسانی با چهرهٔ دختران، روبرو می‌شود، گاه با «کوکلوپس»ها، غول‌های یک چشم، و گاه از «خاروپیدس» هیولای دریا می‌گریزد؛ سرگذشت‌هایی که پیش از این «اولیس» از سر گذرانده؛ داستان «انئاس» با رسیدن به «کارتاژ» پایان می‌یابد

کتاب چهارم: «انئاس» و «دیدون» شهبانوی «کارتاژ»، سرمست از دلدادگی، با یکدیگر عشق می‌ورزند؛ «انئاس» از ادامه ی سفر منصرف می‌شود، و این خبر به «ژوپیتر» می‌رسد؛ «ژوپیتر»، «انئاس» را باز به سوی «ایتالیا» و پادشاهی موعود می‌خواند؛ «انئاس» بی‌درنگ «کارتاژ» را ترک می‌کند، و «دیدون» شهبانوی «کارتاژ» خود را می‌کشد؛ این چنین دشمنی دیرینه ی «روم» و «کارتاژ» آغاز می‌شود

کتاب پنجم: «انئاس» و یارانش به «سیسیل» می‌رسند، و برای بزرگداشت خدایان، مسابقاتی برگزار می‌کنند؛ در همین حین زنان تروجان خسته از سفر بی پایان، به قصد این که در سیسیل بمانند، و باز سرگردان دریاها نشوند، کشتی‌ها را ب�� آتش می‌کشند؛ «ژوپیتر» بارانی می‌فرستد و بعضی از کشتی‌ها را نجات می‌دهد؛ از آنجا که تعداد کشتی‌ها کاسته شده، «انئاس» ناگزیر پیران و ناتوانان را، در «سیسیل» باقی می‌گذارد و با ز��ده‌ترین مردان و زنانش راهی «ایتالیا» می‌شود

کتاب ششم: «انئاس» به راهنمایی «سیبیل»، راهبه ی غیبگو، به جهان زیرین سفر می‌کند، تا روح پدرش را ببیند؛ پس از گذر از رودخانه ی ورودی جهان زیرین، از میان ارواح سرگردان (کسانی که خودکشی کرده ‌اند یا بدون گور مانده ‌اند) می‌گذرد، و روح دیدون شهبانوی «کارتاژ» را می‌بیند؛ سپس از برابر دروازه ی دوزخ می‌گذرد، و راهبه که راهنمای اوست، شمه ‌ای از عذاب‌های دوزخیان را باز‌گو میکند؛ سپس به بهشت می‌رسد، و در آنجا با روح پدرش دیدار می‌کند؛ پدرش روح فرزندانی که قرار است از نسل «انئاس» پدید آیند، و «روم» را به بزرگی برسانند به او نشان داده، و او را با مژده ی بزرگی، به ادامه ی سفرش به سوی «ایتالیا» ترغیب می‌کند؛ «انئاس» بازمی‌گردد و بی‌درنگ به سوی «ایتالیا» بادبان می‌کشد

کتاب هفتم: «انئاس» به «ایتالیا» می‌رسد، و قصد آن دارد که با دختر «لاتینوس» پادشاه «لاتین»ها - از اقوام ساکن ایتالیا - ازدواج کند، تا بر توانش در آن دیار افزوده شود؛ اما ایزدبانو «یونو» که از پیروزی «انئاس»، و سازگاری سرنوشت با او، خشمگین است، می‌کوشد که این پیروزی را؛ هرچه بیشتر تیره سازد؛ پس با یاری ایزدبانو «آلکتوی» دوزخی، جنگ و خون‌ریزی را، در بین «ایتالیایی‌»ها و «تروجان‌»ها می‌پراکند؛ از جمله «ترونوس» پادشاه «روتولی»ها - از اقوام ساکن «ایتالیا» - که قرار بود با دختر «لاتینوس» ازدواج کند، خشمگین به جنگ «انئاس» می‌آید

کتاب هشتم: «انئاس» برای رودررویی با «ایتالیایی»ها، با دشمن آن‌ها پادشاه «اواندر» هم پیمان می‌شود؛ «اواندر» برای او تاریخچه سرزمین «ایتالیا» را بازمی‌گوید: از دورانی که «ساتورن» مردمان وحشی آن دیار را قانون بخشید، و بر ایشان حکومت کرد، تا دورانی که «هرکول» دیو هولناک ساکن در آن دیا�� را کشت؛ پس از «اواندر»، دشمنان دیگر «ایتالیا» نیز با «انئاس» متحد می‌شوند؛ «ونوس» از شوی خود، «ولکان» ایزد آتش و صنعت، می‌خواهد، که برای فرزندش «انئاس»، اسلحه و زره بسازد، و «ولکان» می‌پذیرد، و بر آن‌ها تمام تاریخ آینده «روم» را حکاکی می‌کند، و «انئاس» سرنوشت نسل‌های آینده را بر دوش می‌اندازد

کتاب نهم: «ایتالیایی»ها - «لاتین‌»ها و «روتولی»‌ها - از غیبت «انئاس» استفاده کرده شهر او را محاصره می‌کنند؛ جنگی سخت درمی‌گیرد

کتاب دهم: «انئاس با هم پیمانانش بازمی‌گردد؛ سپاهیان «ایتالیایی» از دوسو محاصره می‌شوند، و نبرد به سود «تروجان»‌ها می‌گردد؛ ایزدبانو «یونو» از «ژوپیتر» می‌خواهد، که لااقل «ترونوس» پادشاه «روتولی»‌ها که از تیره خدایان است، جان به در برد؛ پس ابری را به شکل «انئاس» می‌سازد، و «ترونوس» به خیال اینکه «انئاس» را دنبال می‌کند، ابر را تعقیب کرده، به یک کشتی وارد می‌شود؛ کشتی حرکت کرده از صحنه ی جنگ دور می‌شود

کتاب یازدهم: «تروجان‌»ها به شهر «لاتین»‌ها یورش برده، محاصره کنندگان خود را محاصره می‌کنند؛ جنگ درمی‌گیرد و عاقبت بنا بر آن می‌شود که «انئاس» و «ترونوس» نبرد تن به تن کنند و نتیجه جنگ را تعیین نمایند

کتاب دوازدهم: نبرد تن به تن درمی‌گیرد، و «انئاس»، «ترونوس» را به قتل می‌رساند.

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 04/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 03/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
June 11, 2017
“What god can help me tell so dread a story?
Who could describe that carnage in a song - “

Well, the answer of course is Virgil, a poet of the era of Augustus’ Rome. Why does he write it? Many literary critics have condemned the Aeneid for being state propaganda. Of course it is. Openly, proudly so! Many others have condemned it for connecting strongly to other epic poems of the Ancient world, most notably of course Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Of course it does. Openly, proudly so!

The Aeneid is a perfect example of a change of imperial power and education from one dynasty or area in the world to another, a “translatio imperii et studii”. Whenever empires rise, and are in need of legitimacy, they make sure to incorporate literature, art and other cultural achievements of suppressed or defeated powers, thus creating a fictitious historical connection that justifies their claims to greatness and world dominance.

The Greek culture has been widely exploited to establish a tradition of unbroken rule and lawful power in Europe, and the Aeneid is an early example of fiction supporting the dynastic claims of a whole people.

Constructed as a sequel to the Iliad, and thus taking place at the same time as the Odyssey, it tells the story of Trojan refugee Aeneas and his family, who are on a quest to find a new home for themselves after surviving the destruction of Troy by the Greeks. After many adventures, mirroring Ulysses’ problematic navigation in the tricky waters of the Mediterranean, they land in the country where “fate” tells them to found a new empire based on Aeneas’ descendants. Here they turn from refugees to usurpers of power and fight a bloody war to finally declare themselves victors over the native peoples in the area which will become known as Rome, or Italy.

So far, so good. Translatio imperii, check!

Translatio studii?

Roman culture is in many ways a direct copy and paste of earlier Greek achievements, and their Olympus is mostly identical, just renamed. But there are peculiarities within the Aeneid that give it a specific flavour and make it enjoyable to read.

For example, Aeneas’ visit to the Underworld is hilarious, and he meets both past and future celebrities of his tribe. The modern reader may wonder how life in the Underworld works out practically, with Creusa, Dido, and eventually also Lavinia all joined together in their love for Aeneas? Is polygamy acceptable in the Underworld, if it is only practised as serial monogamy on earth? But those are amusing, theological reflections that the heroes do not dwell on.

Much more interesting are the godly powers that support or oppose Aeneas’ cause, with Venus, his mother, being his most ardent advocate in Olympus, and with Juno being his most hateful enemy. A combination that puts Jupiter in a pickle, of course.

Aeneas manages to have weapons of mass destruction delivered by the joint effort of Venus and Vulcan, and it is of peculiar interest to archaeologists that his shield carries the future of Rome written down for him: a prophetic text! Or a wonderfully amusing way to establish legitimacy through translatio historiae? Rewriting history when needed for political purposes is not an invention of Orwell’s 1984. Dante later added his own journey to the Underworld under the guidance of experienced traveller Virgil - translatio studii - as illustrated in The Divine Comedy, and beautifully painted by Delacroix, in another simultaneous leap forwards and backwards in history, creating connections between times and characters:

What made me read the ancient text, and stick it out until the end, despite being frustrated at times when the war turned into repetitive, graphically described slaughter, involving heads cut open so that brains are split in half, and any other imaginable mutilation of human bodies, over page after page?

There is the interesting question of heroic ideal, alive and terrifyingly deadly still in World War I and II, of “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”, the famous line from Virgil’s contemporary Horace’s Odes. One young man in the Aeneid puts it quite bluntly: if I win, I will bring home lots of booty, and if I fall, I will be an immortal hero. Either way, my father will be proud.

There are the relationships between men and women, and the role of women in general. Camilla, the warrior virgin modelled on Amazons Hippolyta or Penthesilea, the mighty Carthaginian queen Dido, who has a strong mind of her own, and Lavinia, the booty for the winner in the war, are all different representatives of ancient women’s roles and status in society. For the modern reader, the goddesses in the Olympian council are more amusing types, playing the political advocates of the causes they support, fearlessly, adamantly, and in eternal frustration over the slow pace of the action, and over the cacophony of a polytheistic assembly, all with equal right to speak and lobby - and to which they add incessantly. Quite like international committees nowadays, weighing different claims, needs and justice against each other!

General verdict: if you love mythology, historical processes as mirrored in fiction, graphic war scenes, unhappy love, and stormy seas, as well as the neverending story of human fight for power and legitimacy, then the Aeneid is highly recommended.

I enjoyed it all, and will close with a bow to Dido, my favourite ancient, tragic heroine so far! She did not really get a chance, representing Carthage. Her suicide was a necessary construction to symbolise the wars to come:

Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam, said Cato, and Dido was just one of many to suffer from Roman power play. A mighty queen, nonetheless!
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.5k followers
Want to read
May 26, 2023
it's almost summertime, and you know what that means. time to pick which impressive classics i'll read outside so people think i'm smart
Profile Image for Meredith Holley.
Author 2 books2,272 followers
July 10, 2011
I’m a huge fan of propaganda, but I think I may not be a fan of fan fic. I was going into this with the hope that it would be fun, extreme, Latin propaganda, but The Aeneid is really more Trojan War fan fic, IMO. It’s the Phantom Menace to The Iliad’s Empire Strikes Back. It is seriously lame. I think Akira Kurosawa could have made a pretty decent movie of it because he likes to have people frenzy. There’s a lot of frenzying here. The dudes are all chest pound, blooooood, and the chicks are all hair pull, frenzy, waaaaaail. And Aeneas is such a dweeb about the name-dropping. Like, “Oh, did I mention that Venus is my mom? Oh, did I tell you how freaking hot I am? Yeah, I was totally there when Odysseus scammed the Cyclops.” Give me a freaking break. Did you scam the Cyclops? No. Get over yourself.

This is what happens when you start a series, and then someone else wants to capitalize on your story. It’s the fifth season of The West Wing or the seventh season of The Gilmore Girls or all the Jane Austen / Jane Eyre sequels and prequels. It just doesn’t work. Find your own story! I’m looking at you, Virgil. Not that I’m against people using storylines that someone else has used. That’s almost inevitable (and, of course, Shakespeare is a good argument for being okay with stealing). But, there is a line. I’m not positive where it is. This story crossed it. And then don’t even get me started about Dante. WHY?! Virgil’s got his guys running into Homer’s guys, and then Dante’s running into Virgil? It’s just so presumptuous. I guess, it’s like, go ahead and steal a really wonderful storyline if you have something to add to it. But don’t think that your SUPER LAME storyline is going to suddenly turn wonderful because you drop a character from a good story into it.

And there are some seriously weird details to this story. For example, Venus is this guy’s mom, but she doesn’t raise him to know not to pull a George Costanza in running away from the Greeks? Dude. It just takes a second to wait for your wife, you loser. I mean, I’m no great fan of Venus to begin with, but that’s just weird. It seems like she would have taken a minute to say, "Don't trample people running away from your enemies." Maybe it never occurred to her he'd be so lame.

And then the business with Dido was just annoying. She’s the queen of all the land, has been through hell, wherein her eeeevil brother killed her seemingly pretty awesome husband, and then when Aeneas says to Dido, “btw, it was great sleeping with you, but I have a lot of heads to chop off for no particular reason, so I should prolly get going,” she goes all Kathy Bates in Misery all of a sudden. Except lamer because she’s wailing and self-mutilating instead of taking it out on him. It’s just awkward to watch. Girl needs a sassy gay friend. And none of these people are as cool as they think they are.

And the rest of the book is basically one long chest pound. I guess there’s the part where he goes to Hades, and lo, he knows folk there. I’m kind of bitter about the whole thing because Juno’s so funny and great in The Iliad and such a loser here. Again, Akira Kurosawa probably could have turned it into a pretty decent movie. I don’t really get the frenzying thing, but Kurosawa seemed to have liked it. And, if you like people to run around, chopping limbs off and then whining and blustering for a while, you might really click with this book. What I’m saying, though, is if you haven’t read The Iliad, that’s where it’s at. I recommend, for best results, reading it in a hammock.
Profile Image for Adam Dalva.
Author 8 books1,642 followers
July 17, 2020
Impossible to rank a book that is so important, that has so many problems, that holds moments of deep and beautiful simile and metaphor, that treats its lead with shocking inconsistency, whose ending is an eruption of modern plot that redeems the whole book.

The Ferry translation is quick and good and worth noting.

There is staggering overlap with The Iliad and the Odyssey throughout- Cyclops and Scylla and Charybdis were surprises here, as is the rip off of the in media res structure. We have storms (Poseidon as savior, instead of tormentor was an interesting twist), a separation of forces, a host. But everything seems condensed .

Dido, as you might hope, pops off the page. That amazing section on page 17 that scans over her dead husband was so unbelievably Hamlet, and there was something tragic about Cupid's bewitching her:
"And Cupid, to please his Acidalian mother,
Begins, little by little, to erase
From Dido's mind the image of Sychaeus,
And to substitute a living passion in
A heart and soul long unaccustomed to love." (33)

But as with the windmills in Don Quixote, she is too quickly gone.

The Roman propaganda is interesting throughout but in some ways, it is less pronounced than I would have thought, save for one outrageous description of a piece of armor. It put me in mind of just Grossman's Stalingrad (it's great). To get it by the Soviet censors he had to (among many other things) add a 40 page section about how heroic coal miners are - and I ended up fascinated by that section, in its lack of nuance and its propulsion, in how a talented writer operates in restrictive systems.

The second half, in Italy, is a more human-oriented text, and somewhat ridiculous. The book's supporting characters, especially the lovers Nisus and Euryalus, are stronger than the lead. The book is rarely a page turner, but it is incredibly worth your time. It is very, very different than you might expect.

Two things: The treatment of the underworld is gorgeous, in Book 6. It is, of course, Dantean pre Dante. Critic Madeline Miller points out that "when Aeneid is in hell, after he finishes admiring that same glorious pageant of future Roman heroes, he finds himself before two gates. One is made of horn and is, Virgil tells us, for “true shades.” The other, made of ivory, is for “false dreams.” And Aeneas, founder of the gleaming vision of Roman history we have just seen, leaves through the latter."

Borges was preoccupied by this distinction too, and I wonder if there are some hints here of the undermining that I feel is at work in The Aeneid some impulse to attack the very root of the project, of fiction, of the need for Roman propaganda in a poem, even of the need for empire and cultural assimilation.

Which brings me to the ending. I'll spoiler tag.

Profile Image for Fernando.
684 reviews1,127 followers
December 20, 2022
"La fortuna favorece a los valientes."

La Eneida, este poema épico inmortal surgido de la genialidad de Publio Virgilio Marón, es considerado uno de las obras clásicas fundacionales de la literatura universal que lo relaciona directamente con los aedos griegos, especialmente Homero, pero que en como continuación histórica con la guerra de Troya tiene también conexiones con algunas de las tragedias de Esquilo y Sófocles.
Virgilio, este poeta incomparable, comparte dos detalles muy interesantes con el genio checo Franz Kafka. Esta, su obra cumbre está inacabada luego de once años de gestación a los que dedicara los últimos años de su vida, incluso ya muy enfermo, de la misma manera que Kafka, no termina sus novelas "El castillo" o "El proceso", Virgilio deja trunco el final de la Eneida que le arrebata la muerte cuando lo sorprende a los 51 años.
Por el otro lado, también comparte con Kafka una decisión que fue desoída: Kafka, ya gravemente enfermo de tuberculosis le pide a Max Brod, su amigo y albacea que queme toda su obra, orden que Brod desobedece para legarnos todo lo que hoy leemos de este autor.
Lo mismo hace Vario, amigo y también albacea de Virgilio quien ya en su lecho de muerte le pide que queme todo lo escrito sobre la Eneida, poema que el poeta acostumbraba a recitarle al emperador Augusto.
Cuando uno lee la Eneida sabe de antemano que si quiere realmente tener una idea global de lo que allí sucede, deberá, en lo posible leer previamente la Teogonía de Hesíodo que explica cómo se gestaron los distintos dioses del Olimpo y como éstos, luego de relacionarse con los mortales fueron engendrando a los distintos héroes de los poemas.
De esta forma, llegamos a saber que Eneas es fruto de la unión de la diosa Venus (o Afrodita para los griegos) con su padre Anquises como de la misma manera Aquiles nace de la unión de la diosa Tetis con el mortal Peleo, mientras que con Ulises esto no sucede aunque es importante aclarar la íntima relación que el héroe de la Odisea tiene con Palas Atenea.
Siempre los dioses interceden ante un destino posiblemente desafortunado para cambiar las cosas y esto también sucederá en la Eneida, ya que constantemente Eneas es protegido por Venus en distintos momentos, desde la huida de Troya hasta el arribo a las costas de Hesperia, como se denominaba antiguamente a Italia hasta cuando comienzan los combates contra los latinos bajo la orden del caudillo Turno, quien a su vez tendrá el apoyo de otra diosa, Juno, quien generará en él y en sus súbditos la constante violencia y ánimos para ir a la guerra, como lo hace también el dios Ares (Marte) con Héctor en la Ilíada.
Es que Juno, celosa de los troyanos hará lo imposible para impedir que Eneas funde una nueva Troya en Italia, además por haber sido desairada por el mortal Paris eligiendo a Venus y por el desaire amoroso que le propina Ganímedes con un príncipe troyano.
Pero Venus no es la única diosa que formará parte de todo este juego de traiciones, discordias y peleas. Otros dioses como Júpiter (Zeus) o Vulcano quien, de la misma manera que hizo con Ulises forjará la armadura y escudo de Eneas para la batalla con Turno tendrán incidencia directa.
Así, todo estará servido para la guerra. Pero primero debemos aclarar que la Eneida consta de dos partes bien marcadas.
En primer lugar, luego de la destrucción de Illión, como se conocía también a Troya, Eneas escapa con su padre Anquises a cuestas y su hijo Ascanio de la mano, perdiendo en ella a su esposa mortal, Creúsa. A partir de allí, arribará a Cartago donde tendrá un tormentoso affaire con la reina, Dido. Estos hechos tienen un trasfondo que le acarrearán más desgracias al héroe teucro.
Es que el escape de Eneas hacia Italia tiene el mismo tenor que el de Ulises volviendo a Ítaca en la Odisea. Recordemos que son varios los poemas y tragedias en donde se narran regresos odiseicos luego de la caída de Troya. Lo mismo sucede con el regreso de Agamenón en la tragedia de Esquilo y en la Orestíada, narrado por el mismo aedo.
Luego de vivir las peores vicisitudes, de la persecución de Juno, la muerte de muchos de sus guerreros, de estar sometidos a tempestades que destruyen sus naves llega a Italia y es aquí donde comienza la segunda parte, que tiene en el relato, una similitud muy cercana a la Ilíada, cuando los latinos entran en guerra con los teucros. Los cuatro libros finales de los doce que contiene la Eneida relatan estos hechos bélicos.
Es clave haber leído la Ilíada, ya que la descripción de las batallas serán prácticamente iguales a los del poema de Homero. Por momentos, las manera en que lo describe Virgilio es tan cruento que parece que uno como lector está viendo esa violencia con la que latinos y teucros se masacran en el campo de batalla. La sangre salpica por doquier a todos los que son muertos por su enemigo, las lanzas acribillan cuanto pecho se encuentran y se parten cabezas hasta el cuello o se degüellan hombres sin la menor compasión.
Parece que Nikolái Gógol se inspiró en la Ilíada y la Eneida para contarnos de manera tan explícita y tan parecida lo que sucede en el enfrentamiento entre los cosacos ucranianos y los polacos en su novela Tarás Bulba, lo que demuestra la inspiración que poetas como Homero o Virgilio generaban en los grandes escritores de la era moderna.
Otro aspecto muy importante a tener en cuenta es que el eje y el centro de la Eneida reside en el libro VI, cuando Eneas desciende a los Infiernos para encontrarse con Anquises, su padre fallecido. De la misma manera que cuando Ulises baja al Hades, Eneas debe atravesar los distintos lugares del Infierno como lo hace el inmenso Dante Alighieri quien durante gran parte de la Divina Comedia elige para esa travesía precisamente a... Virgilio. Nadie más indicado que el poeta latino para acompañarlo en ese oscuro camino.
A diferencia de lo narrado en La Divina Commedia, Virgilio nos explica cómo es el Infierno de una forma más reducida y como si todos los lugares estuvieran muy juntos unos de otro.
Eneas es acompañado por la profetiza Sibila, quien le muestra y explica qué es cada cosa en el Averno y que sucede con las almas que están allí.
Lo que Dante describirá con todo lujo de detalles es mostrado a Eneas rápidamente, tal es el caso de Caronte, el barquero que traslada las almas por el río Aqueronte, la laguna Estigia y el lago del Leteo, en donde Eneas también debe entrar para olvidar parte de lo vivido.
Ya en los libros XI y XII se desarrolla la batalla final y da la sensación de que Virgilio traza una comparación con la Ilíada para describir el enfrentamiento más importante de todos entre Eneas y Turno, como lo hiciera Homero con Aquiles y Héctor.
Es claro el sentimiento de homenaje a Homero como también la inspiración que el poeta griego le infundó para continuar la historia en su propio poema.
Comparando la Ilíada como la Odisea, tanto Eneas como Aquiles enfrentan a su adversario con el objeto de vengar la muerte de Patroclo en el caso de Aquiles contra Héctor como la muerte de Palante a manos de Turno en lo que respecta a Eneas.
Lamentablemente y al quedar inconclusa la Eneida, nunca sabremos que sucede después de este enfrentamiento del que no voy a revelar el ganador para resguardar a aquel lector que quiera embarcarse en la aventura del bravo y valiente guerrero Eneas, cuyas hazañas han quedado inmortalizadas en el oro de las letras universales gracias a Virgilio, uno de los padres de la literatura.
Quisieron los hados que así fuera…
Profile Image for Libby.
Author 5 books42 followers
July 8, 2008
There are plenty of reviews here telling you why you should or shouldn't read book X. This review of Virgil's "Aeneid," the largely-completed first century BC nationalist epic poem that recounts the Trojan War and Aeneas's role in the eventual founding of Rome, will tell you instead why you should read a copy of "Aeneid" from a university library. Simply put: student annotations.

Nearly every book in a university catalog has been checked out at one time or another by a student reading it as primary or supplemental material for class. Thus, many books have important passages underlined, major themes listed at the beginnings of chapters, and clarifications written in the margins. The copy of "Aeneid" that I read not only contained thematic annotations from one student, but also a number of unintentionally funny comments from another. This made reading the epic poem, the sort of which spends five pages describing Aeneas's shield, much more entertaining than it might have otherwise been.

For example, beside a section in which the longevity and glory of the Roman Empire was prophesied, the befuddled student wrote, "But Rome fell- did Virgil know this?" Ah yes, Virgil the time-traveling super-poet who cleverly peppered his verse with chronologically ironic statements. The same annotator observed that Dido's downfall is that she's "too nice" (apparently, feuding goddesses had nothing to do with it) and produced a mind-boggling series of rhetorical queries that demonstrate the importance of using context when deciphering pronouns in poetry (hint: the closest noun isn't always the antecedent).

Sadly, the annotator only made it about a third of the way through the poem before either realizing that he/she could glean the crucial bits from lecture/Wikipedia or dropping the class. As a result, I was forced to pencil in similar comments in order to make it through the rest of the poem. The moral of this story is that though you may get the occasional bonehead marking up your book, reading a book that others have commented on previously gives an undeniable sense of camraderie. As in any interaction with strangers, you may be happily surprised, disappointed, or surprised into laughter. I highly recommend the experience to all.
Profile Image for Piyangie.
530 reviews489 followers
October 5, 2022
History records that Virgil wrote his epic poem The Aeneid to fulfill two purposes. One is to restore the faith among Romans in the "Greatness of Rome" at a time such faith was hard tried. The second reason is to legitimize the Caesar line to the Roman throne. To achieve this end, Virgil picks up a Trojan hero by the name of Aeneas, who is a mythical legend in Homer's epic poem The Iliad , and weaves a tale of how he became the founding father of future Roman rulers.

Having drawn his hero from Homer, Virgil also draws his influence from Homer. The Aeneid in all sense is a structural mixture of The Iliad and The Odyssey. Out of the twelve books, the first six tell the story of Aeneas's wanderings and the many obstacles he faces in his voyage to Italy thus imitating the pattern of The Odyssey . The next six books hold the story of warfare: the war between the Trojans and the Rutulians for the throne of Italy and the royal bride. This part imitates Homer's The Iliad. However, after this second reading, I felt that Virgil, while imitating Homer, has also surpassed him in a different aspect. Virgil's portrayal of this legendary story is more passionate and expressive than either of Homer's classics. Even the hero Aeneas, is portrayed more like a human than the superheroes Hector, Achilles, and Odysseus, so as to make the human connection to the ruling Caser line more plausible.

The reading experience of The Aeneid was quite pleasant this time. The translation I read is commendable. It has kept the feel of the time period of this legendary tale while making it more readable at the same time. The story was engaging, and it went quite smoothly through the twelve books. I enjoyed the story and very much enjoyed the dramatic effect with which it was portrayed.

One particular thing struck me after this read. According to this tale, the Trojans, representing the east, are to become the founding fathers of the western Roman line, mixing them with the native Italians. But here Virgil says that Jupiter, in order to satisfy his wife, Juno, promises that the new mixed race emerging from the Trojan-Italian union will keep the customs, speech, dress, values, and lifestyle of the native Italians, and not of the Trojans. I couldn't help wondering whether this was Virgil's way of expressing the triumph of the West over the East.

However, from a modern reader’s perspective, this epic poem is a literary justice to the Trojans who are finally rescued from their humiliation and restored to their dignity. For the sympathizers of Troy and Trojans, Virgil has furnished a good antidote.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,066 reviews1,759 followers
May 5, 2017
انه ايد و مختارنامه!

مختارنامه رو ديديد؟ ديديد چقدر جنگ هاش تصنعیه؟ پر از حركات خشك و نمايشى، انگار نه انگار كه اون جا جنگه و دو نفر دارن با خشم و وحشت به قصد كشت تيغ تيز روانه ى سينه و گلوى هم مى كنن. نه وحشتى، نه عرقى، نه به نفس نفس افتادنى، نه تيرى كه توى گوشت گير مى كنه و بيرون نمياد، نه لخته خون كف كرده ى جارى از گلويى...

فكر مى كنم بخشى اين ها به خاطر اينه كه عوامل اثر نه خودشون در جنگى حضور داشتن تا واقعيتش رو ببينن (طبيعتاً) و نه تخيل قدرتمندى داشتن كه بتونن جنون آشوبناك يه جنگ رو پيش خودشون تصوير كنن. و ويرژيل قطعاً يكى از اين دو رو داشته: يا تجربه ى مستقيم جنگ، يا تخيل قدرتمندى كه جايگزين تمام عيارى براى تجربه شده. اين حرف خيلى بيشتر در مورد هومر صادقه، كه ويرژيل پيروش محسوب ميشه.

انه ايد و ايلياد

هومر شاعر يونانى حدود سه هزار سال قبل، ماجراى جنگ ده ساله ى يونان و تروى رو كه به نابودى تروى انجاميد، به شعر سرود. حدود هزار سال بعد، ويرژيل شاعر رومى دنباله اى براى ايلياد سرود و تعريف كرد كه چطور مهاجران جنگ زده ى تروى، در جستجوى خونه اى جديد، تمدن روم رو در ايتاليا بنياد گذاشتن.

حماسه ى هومر اون قدرها عناصر ملّى نداره، و هومر به يك اندازه از تروجان ها و يونانى ها جانبدارى مى كنه، همون طور كه خدايان بعضى طرفدار اين گروهن و بعضى طرفدار اون گروه. اما حماسه ى ويرژيل شايد به تبع شكل حكومت روم، رنگى شديداً ملّى گرايانه پيدا كرده، جداى از موضوع (ماجراى بنيانگذاران روم) در توصيف ها و شخصيت پردازى ها و ماجراها و پيشگويى ها و رفتار خدايان، جانبدارى مطلقى به نفع تروجان ها (بنيانگذاران روم) ديده ميشه و به ندرت خصوصيت مثبتى از دشمناشون نشون داده ميشه.

اين خصوصيت، و نداشتن خط داستانى پيوسته و جذاب، باعث ميشه كه حماسه ى رومى انه ايد چند مرتبه پايين تر از همتاى يونانى ش قرار بگيره، هر چند هنوز در اوج مى درخشه.

خلاصه کتاب برای یادآوری شخصی

Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,721 followers
March 3, 2020
Book Review
3 out of 5 stars to The Aeneid, a classic work written in 17 BC by Virgil.

In The Aeneid, Virgil creates two vastly different archetypal heroes named Turnus and Aeneas. Aeneas is a Trojan prince who has hopes of finding a new Troy in the land of Latium, but he runs into an angered Turnus, a Rutulian prince that does not welcome Aeneas. Both men are equally strong, equally determined, and have equal and rightful claim to the land. However, Virgil creates this distinct difference and hatred between the men that leads to the profound greatness of Rome.

Turnus is a Rutulian prince who is planning on marrying Lavinia, the princess of Latium. He is courageous when he defends his people in the war against the Trojans (Book IX and X), brilliant in his plans to attack the Trojan camp (p.207), yet motivated to win for purely personal goals. Turnus sacrifices public welfare and the good of the state just to defeat Aeneas and win the battle and Lavinia. Aeneas is also a prince who is planning on marrying Lavinia. He is caring when he looks back for his late wife Creusa (p.57), respectful and loving when his father dies (p.80), and driven when he continues his journey to find a new Troy (p.103). However, unlike Turnus, Aeneas is truly unselfish in his reasons for wanting Latium. Aeneas wants to settle the land for his people and their families, to find a new Troy. Aeneas does not want the land to be selfish. Both Turnus and Aeneas have determination behind them, physical and mental strength behind them, yet most of all the gods behind them.

With the help of Juno, Turnus fights till the end avoiding several near deaths such as Pallas’ arrow and his jump into the Tiber River fully armored. Similar to Turnus, Aeneas’ mother helps Aeneas by giving him protection with the creation of the shield (p.198), and when she heals Aeneas’ wound with the special potion (p. 302). Turnus and Aeneas up until this point have no differences. They are identical in their strengths, weaknesses, and support. However, the one major difference between them is that Aeneas has destiny behind him. He is fated to take care of his Trojan people, find a new Troy, marry Lavinia, and bear descendants to establish the great city of Rome. Aeneas has no choice but to win the war and Lavinia’s hand in marriage. Turnus must lose and somehow suffer; He cannot escape his fate. Virgil makes use of the difference between the two heroes using antagonism, hatred and most of all the superiority of Aeneas to show the greatness of Rome.

At the time The Aeneid was written Augustus Caesar was in power and the Pax Romana was beginning. Rome was in a state of absolute reign and greatness. Virgil makes use of the character Aeneas to show the greatness of his friend Octavian or Augustus Caesar. He uses the difference between the two heroes to show that by destiny via Aeneas (an ancestor of Octavian Caesar) Rome will lead the world in philosophy, art, and intelligence, etc. Turnus is good, but Aeneas is better and so is the new emperor Caesar. With Octavian Caesar in control, Rome will become even greater than it is. Virgil accomplishes his goal of glorifying Rome and its leader Augustus Caesar.

Virgil creates a strong similarity between Turnus and Aeneas, however the major characteristic of these two heroes is that Aeneas is destined to win and Turnus to lose. This difference greatly surpasses the likeness between the two men and leads to the exaltation and glorification of Rome. If Augustus Caesar is anywhere similar to Aeneas, which he is as Virgil points out, he will lead Rome to the tops. And that is just what happens!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,114 followers
November 8, 2017
Read as part of my A Levels.
Thoroughly enjoyed the first half of The Aeneid (mainly because its the half influenced by The Odyssey and so more mythological and fantastical) less enthralled by the second half (more influenced by The Iliad - with war and politics.)
Will go back for a reread at some point I imagine.
Profile Image for Madeline.
781 reviews47.2k followers
February 8, 2018
"I sing of warfare and a man at war.
From the sea-coast of Troy in early days
He came to Italy by destiny,
To our Lavinian western shore,
A fugitive, this captain, buffeted
Cruelly on land as on the sea
By blows from powers of the air - behind them
Baleful Juno in her sleepless rage.
And cruel losses were his lot in war,
Till he could found a city and bring home
His gods to Latium, land of the Latin race,
The Alban lords, and the high walls of Rome.
Tell me the cause now, O Muse, how galled
In her divine pride, and how sore at heart
From her old wound, the queen of gods compelled him-
A man apart, devoted to his mission-
To undergo so many perilous days
And enter on so many trials."

Years after finally reading The Illiad and The Odyssey (one of my high school classes went over the important bits of The Odyssey, but that was pretty much the beginning and end of my classical education), I got around to reading the Roman side of the story, at last.

Is it blasphemy to say that I like Virgil's version more? Granted, Odysseus is probably a more compelling character, since he's at least morally complex in comparison to Aeneas's bland nobility and piety, but I kind of preferred reading the adventures of a guy who manages to be a hero without also having to be a self-centered, cheating dickbag. Even though I prefer the Greeks to the Romans overall, I'm Team Aeneas on this one, because man, Odysseus sucks. (I have this whole theory that everything that happens in the Odyssey is actually one huge lie concocted by Odysseus to explain why he didn't come home for ten years after the Trojan War)

As in Homer's epics, some of the best parts of this book are the battle descriptions, which are exciting, detailed, and appropriately gory. There's also a lengthy description of the armor that the gods give one of the characters, and even though that sounds boring, it's actually beautiful. And I liked the supporting characters a lot more than I liked Homer's, especially Queen Dido and Camilla the warrior girl. Also Aeneas travels to the Underworld, which is always a fun time.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,096 reviews17.7k followers
May 27, 2018
some funny reviews as to my opinions on this

1) this is filled with purple prose and instalove, complete with a hot sexy bad boy for the main character

2) hello my name is Aeneas Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way. I have long ebony black hair and some people say I look like Aphrodite (AN: if u don’t know who she is get da hell out of here!) I was sailing through the ever-mindful anger of the savage Juno. It was raining so there was no sun, which I was very happy about. A lot of gods stared at me. I put up my middle finger at them.

3) this doesn't really deserve one star but my latin class definitely does
Profile Image for Jesús De la Jara.
727 reviews90 followers
October 18, 2020
A pesar que el relato en sí no es tan interesante o épico como los de Homero, Virgilio logra un relato bien logrado y muy interesante.
Es bueno también conocer cómo explican los romanos el desenlace de algunos griegos, adaptado claro está a su realidad.
Es una de las pocas obras épicas en Roma que conozco por lo que el valor que tiene aún se eleva más, todo para dotar a Augusto de un origen divino.
Lamentablemente esta obra fue inconclusa.
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,301 reviews22k followers
March 11, 2008
I’ve been meaning to read the Aeneid for years. The Armorial Bearings of the City of Melbourne have the motto: Vires Acquirit Eundo which is taken from book four of the Aeneid. It translates as, “It gathers strength as it goes”. Melbourne’s first judge gave the young town the motto – but I’ve often wondered if those he gave it to had any idea that the reference is to sexual rumours spreading about Dido and Aeneas. Rumour being the swiftest of the Gods.

Anyway, there is a pop star who is called Dido too, which is an odd name to call a child, I’d have thought. Given Dido’s fate in this book – to commit suicide as Aeneas leaves her to fulfil his destiny and found Rome – it seems an even stranger name to call a child.

I had no idea that Aeneas was from Troy. That Helen one has a lot to answer for – but then, what would the Iliad, Odyssey and Aeneid be without her? And while we are on troublesome women – what’s that Juno like? But then, if you are going to marry your brother, well…

The religion in this book is utterly remarkable. I quite like it, as it does more or less accord with my experience of the world. One of the problems Christianity faces is the problem of evil – how can an all powerful, all loving God allow such terrible things to happen? But the ancients had no such worries – basically the Gods are all total nutcases and totally dysfunctional. They don’t just engage in incest, but every vice imaginable and they all basically hate each other. So they go out of their way to make life a misery for each other and, in the process, make life a complete misery for people.

I mean, imagine that not only the destruction of Troy, but also of Carthage (two of the major cities of the ancient world) can be more or less explained as resulting from a guy called Paris judging a beauty contest. This is religion for the third millennium. This is religion for a generation raised on Big Brother and American Idol.

And when Virgil wants to be violent, we are talking squelchingly so. You know the sort of thing – thrice the two edged sword hacked into his flesh until huge welts… Yes, boy’s own adventure stuff, possibly even with capital letters. Lots of blood, quite a bit of mashed brains and the words ‘up to the hilt’ used at least twice that I can remember without checking.

All the same there are moments of aching humanity and a perceptiveness that catches the breath. The scene in hell with Dido is very moving, the stuff with the king of Arcadia and Pallas is heart wrenching. A constant theme throughout is how your greatest victory can become your greatest defeat – as Turnus proves at the end.

I really loved this, I loved the extended metaphors (some that went to the very edge of being over extended – like a rubber band that suddenly snaps and slaps the extender on the hand when all he wanted to do was shoot the band at a friend across the room, or knock down some paper targets now forever just out of reach). There is one – which I’ve forgotten what it was seeking to illuminate now – where a lion is being baited and has a spear stuck into it and the spear is broken off flush with its wound. I think all this was basically to say how loudly some guy was roaring – you know, as loud as a lion, wasn’t quite enough. But the metaphors really are quite something. You’d never get away with building metaphors like that today.

I don’t know if it is as good as the Odyssey, but like the Odyssey it starts as a Classical Road movie and ends up one of those Epic Theatre battles that used to be on telly after the wrestling on Sunday mornings when I was growing up.

You have to say one thing for these Mediterranean types , they sure know how to put on a good fight. The thing that is hardest to understand is that the Romans gave up all this to become Christians – hard to imagine.
Profile Image for J. Sebastian.
68 reviews60 followers
August 30, 2022
Mandelbaum’s translation is beautiful. After the fall of Troy, Aeneas and his Trojans strive through tremendous pain and hardship to find their way home. Destiny and fate are always in view behind the suffering and the endless journey, and a beauty that is rich and deep emerges everywhere. It is the blending of destiny with heroic epic poetry that gives meaning and beauty to life, no matter how hard it can become.

Though Aeneas wanders through many lands, the great women of the book emerge as landmarks on his journey home. This begins with the loss of his wife Creusa, whom Aeneas loses when they are escaping the Greeks and the burning ruin of Troy; he turns, much like Orpheus when Eurydike is following him out of the underworld, and discovers that she is gone. Rushing back to find her Aeneas encounters Creusa's ghost; it is too late, but she tells him that another wife awaits him in Italy, and Creusa submits to fate. There follows the tragedy of Dido, who falls in love with Aeneas when he is shipwrecked in Carthage. He (in submission to the ordained fates) abandons her cruelly, and continues on his journey. Halfway through the book Aeneas will descend into the underworld following the Sybil, priestess of Apollo (as Theseus entered the Labyrinth with the help of Ariadne’s thread).

In the second half of the book the great heroine is Camilla, whose tragic death (like that of Dido) can move deep currents of pity in the reader. Foreshadowed from the very beginning of the poem, Lavinia, the promised bride awaits for him at the end of his journies; she is betrothed to another, and this will cause another war before the foundations of Rome can be laid.

Some examples of the happy success of Mandelbaum’s English translation: near the end of Book I, the scene is set thus for a great story, just before Dido asks Aeneas to tell the tale of his trials and wanderings:

And at the first pause in the feast the tables
are cleared away. They fetch enormous bowls
and crown the wine with wreaths. The uproar grows;
it swells through all the palace; voices roll
across the ample halls; the lamps are kindled––
they hang from ceilings rich with golden panels––
and flaming torches overcome the night.
And then the queen called for a golden cup,
massive with jewels, that Belus once had used,
Belus and all the Tyrian line; she filled
that golden cup with wine. The hall fell still. (I. 1008 - 1018)

Late in the poem, the young hero Pallas exhorts his men, who are being routed, thus:

“Where are you running, comrades? By your valor
and by the name of your own King Evander,
by victories you have won and by my hope
that now would match my father’s fame, you cannot
trust to your feet. The sword must hack a passage
through Latin ranks. And where their mass is thickest,
there, there is where your noble homeland asks
that you and your chief, Pallas, find a path.
There are no gods against us: mortals, we
are driven back by mortal enemies;
we have as many hands and lives as they.
Just see, the waters hem us in with their
great sea wall; there is no retreat by land.
Then shall we seek the deep or Troy’s new camp?”
This said, he charged against the crowding Latins. (X. 510 - 524)

He saves the battle here, but it costs him everything.

Perhaps the most amazing scene, full of wonder, is when Aeneas begins to weep, beholding the relief sculpture that decorates Juno’s temple in Carthage; this depicts scenes from the Trojan war in which he took part; he sees himself therein, his friends, his former king, his famous enemies. Here in this strange new land, Troy gone, he weeps, feeding "his soul on what is nothing but a picture” (I. 659), discovering that there is nowhere that the story of Troy is not known.

But there are so many rich, deep, meaningful, and wonderful passages that to tell them all is to rewrite the whole Aeneid. I will look forward to reading it again and again; it gets better every time.
Profile Image for FotisK.
367 reviews166 followers
September 19, 2020
1η δημοσίευση Book Press:

Η γενεαλογία, η αναζήτηση της προέλευσης, όπως μας δίδαξε ο Φουκώ, δεν είναι απαραίτητο να νοείται ως θεμελίωση στερεοτύπων, αλλά κι ως αναψηλάφηση του παρελθόντος, ως κατακερματισμός της όποιας ενότητας. Τούτο προϋποθέτει, εντούτοις, την εις βάθος γνώση του παρελθόντος, όχι ως στατικού και άπαξ σμιλευμένου όγκου που επικάθεται ως άχθος στις αντιλήψεις και την αισθητική των μελλουσών γενεών, όσο ως συνέχεια, εμβαπτισμένη στην ιστορικότητα.

Μπορεί να μην υπάρχει μία και μοναδική πηγή, γνωστή αποκλειστικά στους μύστες, εκ της οποίας αρδεύονται οι υδάτινες εκτάσεις της γνώσης – πλην όμως, δεν είναι διόλου τυχαίο το γεγονός πως εκείνοι που εντρυφούν στην τέχνη του λόγου, συν τω χρόνω, υποπίπτουν στο άλγος του Νόστου. Κι ο Νόστος εδώ, αναπόδραστα, συγκλίνει με την επιστροφή στο παρελθόν. Ουδείς, ποτέ δεν νοστάλγησε το μέλλον. Και τούτο αποτελεί απλά διαπίστωση – δεν το προσημαίνω θετικά ή αρνητικά.

Εν πάση περιπτώσει, για να έρθουμε στα καθ’ ημάς λογοτεχνικά δρώμενα, παρατηρείται σε αρκετούς αναγνώστες η ανάγκη αναζήτησης των απαρχών. Έχοντας πρώτα τρυγήσει τους καρπούς της συγκαιρινής τους παραγωγής, ο δρόμος τούς οδηγεί σε κάποια θεμελιακά κείμενα, των οποίων η αξία δεν είναι απλώς μουσειακή (εξ αποστάσεως θαυμασμός) για πάσης φύσεως παρελθοντολάγνους, αλλά ζώσα, ακμάζουσα και διαρκής. Η αιχμή της τέχνης των κειμένων αυτών παραμένει κοφτερή κι η επαφή μαζί τους προκαλεί στον αείποτε αναγνώστη εντάσεις και υποδόριες εκρήξεις αμιγούς αισθητικής απόλαυσης.

Σε κάποιο από τα σταυροδρόμια της πορείας αυτής, της οποίας ο χάρτης έχει μεν δημιουργηθεί στο παρελθόν, υφίσταται δε μικρές αλλαγές στην πορεία των αιώνων, ο φίλεργος αναγνώστης θα συναντήσει τον Βιργίλιο και την Αινειάδα του. Επική ποίηση, έμμετρη φανταστική μυθοπλασία, πρόκειται για την ιστορία του Αινεία που φεύγοντας διωκόμενος από την Τροία αναζητά, όπως του όρισαν οι θεοί, μια νέα πατρίδα στην Ιταλία. Η πορεία ετούτη θα έχει διάρκεια, περιπέτειες, πολεμικές αναμετρήσεις, έρωτες και φιλίες, μεγαλείο και πόνο, ζωή και θάνατο. Ο Βιργίλιος θα επιχειρήσει να περιγράψει την ανθρώπινη κατάσταση σε 12 βιβλία και θα το επιτύχει στον μέγιστο βαθμό.

Δεν έχει νόημα να σταθώ εδώ στα όποια επιμέρους, δεδομένου ότι η εισαγωγή των περίπου 130 σελίδων του ανυπέρβλητου μεταφραστή / σχολιαστή Παπαγγελή καλύπτει ολοκληρωτικά τον αναγνώστη. Θεωρώ πως θα μπορούσε (σε έναν άλλο ιδεατό κόσμο που δεν υποτιμούσε εξόφθαλμα την πνευματική αριστεία) να αποτελέσει από μόνη της πανεπιστημιακό μάθημα. Τούτου δοθέντος, το μόνο που μένει σε έναν απλό αναγνώστη (πάντα για μένα ομιλώ) είναι να μοιραστεί με τους ομοιοπαθείς τον αντίκτυπο που ένα τέτοιο έργο μπορεί να έχει στην πνευματική του διαμόρφωση.

Δεν είναι απλό για κάποιον που εδώ και καιρό έχει ξεκόψει από τον έμμετρο λόγο να συντονιστεί με το εν λόγω κείμενο. Το έπος έχει παραδώσει ανεπιστρεπτί τη σκυτάλη στο μυθιστόρημα και τούτο καθιστά σαφώς πιο απαιτητική τη διαδικασία κατά την οποία οι συνηθισμένοι στα αλμυρά ύδατα της λογοτεχνίας καλούνται να βουτήξουν στο γλυκό νερό της επικής ποίησης, να προσαρμοστούν παρευθύς στην απουσία άνωσης (μεγάλη ευκολία ετούτη) και να απολαύσουν τις χάρες της.

Ο δάσκαλος Μπλουμ έρχεται (τώρα και πάντα) αρωγός στην προσπάθεια: η ποίηση πάσης μορφής αναμέλπεται, εκφωνείται δυνατά (από στήθους, ακόμα καλύτερα), ούτως ώστε να αποτελεί μια ολοκληρωμένη οπτικοακουστική εμπειρία που μετατρέπει τον λόγο σε αίσθηση, σε βίωμα. Μολονότι θα ψευδόμουν αν έλεγα πως ακολούθησα πιστά τη συμβουλή καθ’ όλη τη διάρκεια της μακράς ανάγνωσης, όταν επιλεκτικά το έπραξα υπήρξαν όντως παράγραφοι / στίχοι οι οποίοι κυριολεκτικά υλοποιήθηκαν εμπρός μου, απέκτησαν ουσία και βάρος, διέρρηξαν τον χρόνο και τον τόπο και με ρούφηξαν στη δίνη τους.

Δεδομένου πως ο Παπαγγελής στην εισαγωγή του αναλύει ενδελεχώς τα ζητήματα διακειμενικότητας, εκλεκτικής συγγένειας της Αινειάδας με τα προηγηθέντα ομηρικά έπη, θα καταθέσω την προσωπική μου αίσθηση. Το εναρκτήριο λάκτισμα είναι ξεκάθαρο. Ο Βιργίλιος δεν φείδεται πλείστες όσες αναφορές, δεν αποκρύπτει επιρροές και τα οφειλόμενα στον Όμηρο. Ταυτόχρονα όμως διαθέτει την απαιτούμενη από μια μεγαλοφυία οίηση, ώστε να δοκιμάσει την αιχμή του ποιητικού του ξίφους απέναντι σε έναν ογκόλιθο. Μην ξεχνάμε ότι έχουν μεσολαβήσει αιώνες στο μεταξύ, και πως στη σκευή του ο Βιργίλιος φέρει το απόθεμα του δραματικού λόγου όπως το παρέδωσαν οι μεγάλοι τραγικοί ποιητές.

Θα λέγαμε πως ο Βιργίλιος είναι ένας επίγονος, κάτι που εν προκειμένω δεν έχει την αρνητική χροιά που προσέδιδε ο Στάινερ στην έννοια. Ο Λατίνος ποιητής είναι ο ευτυχής κληρονόμος μιας παράδοσης την οποία τίμησε με τρόπο θαυμαστό, εισαγάγοντας το δραματικό ύφος στην επική αφήγηση. Καίτοι το έργο του αποτελεί συνέχεια, δεν καταφεύγει στην ανούσια μίμηση, βορά στις σκιαμαχίες του αδηφάγου χρόνου. Η Αινειάδα εντάσσεται στη νεωτερικότητα, καθώς στο επικό στοιχείο εμφιλοχωρούν θραύσματα υπαρξιακού προβληματισμού. Ο Αινείας, σε αντίθεση με τους αδαμάντινους και κάπως δισδιάστατους ομηρικούς ήρωες, αμφιβάλλει, άγεται και φέρεται από όλα εκείνα τα ηθικά διλήμματα που συνιστούν εν τέλει την τραγικότητα. Εκεί που το ομηρικό έπος, όπως θαυμαστά τονίζει ο μεταφραστής, παρουσιάζεται «ως ευθύγραμμο, άμεσο, μια συμπαγής αναπαράσταση, όχι αυτοστοχαστική…», το νεότερο έπος λοξοκοιτά προς τα πίσω, ώστε να οδηγηθεί πλησίστιο εμπρός. Για να επανέλθουμε στην εισαγωγική παράγραφο περί Φουκώ, ο ποιητής κατακερματίζει την ενότητα του παρελθόντος, αναψηλαφώντας το παραδεδομένο, εγκυμονώντας το μέλλον όπως αυτός το οραματίστηκε.

Η θεϊκή παρουσία –εσαεί παρούσα, ουδέποτε αμφισβητούμενη– κατευθύνει τις πράξεις των ηρώων, προφητεύοντας τα μελλούμενα, δικαιώνοντας τις πράξεις των τραγικών ηρώων που προσπίπτουν σε εκείνη διαρκώς για καθοδήγηση και αιτιολόγηση πράξεων (δικαίων και αδίκων). Τούτο όμως δεν εμποδίζει τους ήρωες (τον Αινεία πρώτιστα) να υποφέρουν, να αισθάνονται το άχθος της ύπαρξής τους, να αμφιβάλλουν και να συγκρούονται με τη συνείδησή τους και εκείνη των άλλων.

Όπως έχουμε διδαχθεί από το Αρχαίο δράμα, μεταξύ των στοιχείων που ορίζουν την τραγικότητα ενός προσώπου συμπεριλαμβάνονται τα αισθήματα ενοχής, η σύγκρουσή του με υπέρτερες δυνάμεις, η απότομη μεταστροφή της τύχης, αλλά και η επικράτηση μιας αναπόφευκτης μοίρας. Ο Αινείας είναι ο κατ’ εξοχήν τραγικός ήρωας, αλλά εν τινι μέτρω αυτό ισχύει και για τα άλλα dramatis personae του έπους. Από τις πλέον χαρακτηριστικές περιπτώσεις η Διδώ, η οποία περιθάλπει τον Αινεία, τον ερωτεύεται για να τον χάσει στη συνέχεια, καθώς εκείνος ακολουθεί την προδιαγεγραμμένη από τους θεούς μοίρα του. Ο διάλογός τους πριν από τον χωρισμό (και τη συνακόλουθη αυτοκτονία της) είναι συγκλονιστικός και παραπέμπει στις ομορφότερες στιγμές της δραματικής ποίησης: «Το δάκρυ μου και ο λόγος σου, αυτά και τίποτα άλλο η άμοιρη δεν έχω. Αναβολή και χρόνο σου ζητώ, για να π��ραδοθώ στη μοίρα μου, να μάθω να πονάω». Και σε αυτή την έκκληση, ο αμετάπειστος Αινείας θα απαντήσει: «Αν ήταν στο δικό μου ριζικό, να ορίζω τη ζωή μου όπως τη θέλω».

Όταν στη συνέχεια η Αφροδίτη ζητά από τον Ήφαιστο να φτιάξει μια νέα αρματωσιά για τον γιό της (όπως έπραξε η Θέτις για τον Αχιλλέα), είναι σαν να είμαστε παρόντες στην ίδια τη διαδικασία της ποιητικής δημιουργίας. Ο Βιργίλιος μετατρέπεται αυτοστιγμεί σε θεό Ήφαιστο: Στο βαθύ σκοτάδι της νύχτας, στα υπόγεια, απομονωμένος συνδαυλίζει το πυρ, ακονίζει την πένα, λιώνει το ατσάλι της έμπνευσης και σκαρώνει πανοπλία τρομακτική, απόκοσμης έμπνευσης, μεγαλειώδη. Το φυσερό της δημιουργίας ασθμαίνει ακάματα, οι στίχοι ρέουν, λιώνουν και παίρνουν το σχήμα τους αργά και σταθερά, υπό το άγρυπνο βλέμμα του δημιουργού. Όταν προβάλει το πρωί (χωλός, συχνά καταγέλαστος – τι σημασία όμως έχει το δέμας και η όψη του δημιουργού;) φέρνει στους θνητούς και τους αθανάτους που παρακολουθούν κραταιοί πλην όμως ανέμπνευστοι, το δημιούργημά του: την ποιητική του πανοπλία – καλύτερα, την πανοπλία για τον Αινεία και το έπος για εμάς τους βροτούς.

Τα παραδείγματα υψηλής αφηγηματικής τέχνης αφθονούν. Ενδεικτικά μόνον αναφέρω κάποια. Συγκλονιστική η περιγραφή της εξόδου όπου ο Νίσος και ο Ευρύαλος επιχειρούν ανεπιτυχώς να κατασκοπεύσουν τους αντιπάλους στον πόλεμο κατά των Ρουτούλων. Μάταιη όμως η έξοδός τους και ο επακόλουθος θάνατός τους: «Ένα μονάχα μπόρεσε: πολύ τον δυστυχή του φίλο να αγαπήσει». Και ο ποιητής συνεχίζει: «Μακάριοι και οι δυο σας! Μερτικό στη δύναμη ας έχουν τούτοι οι στίχοι, ποτέ για εσάς δεν θα έρθει ο καιρός που λησμονιά θα σβήσει το όνομά σας».

Για να ακολουθήσει στη συνέχεια ο σπαραγμός της μάνας του Ευρ��αλου. Ποια ψυχή σύγχρονη, μέλλουσα δεν θα συγκλονιστεί από του ποιητή τους στίχους, τον τρόπο με τον οποίο μεταφέρει τον πόνο της απώλειας; Τι μπορεί να είναι εκείνο που έχει δραστικά αλλάξει ανά τους αιώνες, ώστε κάποιος να ισχυριστεί πως οι στίχοι έχουν ατονήσει και ο αντίκτυπος που προκαλούν είναι αδρανής και αφλεγής; Το ερώτημα είναι προφανώς ρητορικό.

Στη συνέχεια, ο Αινείας σκοτώνει τον νεαρό Λαύσο που επιχειρεί να σώσει τον πατέρα του από βέβαιο θάνατο. Τον φόνο ακολουθεί η θλίψη για τον άδικο χαμό. Παραδίδει το σώμα στους συντρόφους του: «το κ��ρμί ο ίδιος το σηκώνει από το χώμα – ασχήμιζε το αίμα τα μαλλιά που ήταν πάντα καλοχτενισμένα». Το κάλλος δεν εγκαταλείπει τον νεκρό, σε αντίθεση με την ψυχή που κατεβαίνει στον Άδη. Είναι η παρακαταθήκη στην αιωνιότητα, ο τρόπος του ποιητή για να δοξάσει το εφήμερο, τη νεότητα που υποκύπτει στον αδήριτο θάνατο, αλλά ταυτόχρονα γίνεται στίχος, αιώνιο παρόν, γίνεται ομορφιά προς τέρψιν των συγκαιρινών και των μελλοντικών αναγνωστών.

Το έπος βρίθει πολεμικών συγκρούσεων. Ο αναγνώστης βέβαια ανακαλύπτει σταδιακά πως υπάρχει τάξη, ισορροπία, αισθητική, ακόμα και στις βιαιότερες περιγραφές. Το φονικό έχει τους κανόνες του, την τελετουργία του. Οι άνδρες πεθαίνουν διότι καταρχάς είναι θνητοί. Διότι είναι έρμαια των βουλών των θεών, μα και των δικών τους επιθυμιών. Διότι επιζητούν το κλέος, την υστεροφημία. Διότι είναι αψήφιστα γενναίοι, αλλά και ασυλλόγιστα δειλοί. Ποτέ όμως δεν πεθαίνουν ακατονόμαστοι (σε συμφωνία με την ομηρική παράδοση). Ο άνδρας που συναντά τον θάνατο σε μάχη ονοματίζεται, ενίοτε παρατίθεται σύντομη αναφορά στην οικογένεια ή τη φυλή του. Ετούτο τον καθιστά άνθρωπο, υποκείμενο άξιο αναφοράς, όχι απλώς έναν άγνωστο στρατιώτη, αναπληρωματικό πολεμιστή που η ύπαρξή του συνεισφέρει στη δόξα του βασιλιά του. Κάτι τέτοιο δεν υφίσταται στον Όμηρο ούτε προφανώς στον Βιργίλιο. Ο ηττημένος κερδίζει από την αξία του νικητή, με συνέπεια να αναφέρεται στους αιώνες.

Ο θάνατος για τον Βιργίλιο είναι ηρωικός μεν, πένθιμος δε. Οι ψυχορραγούντες αφήνουν με θλίψη τον κόσμο, αναπολούν την πατρίδα και τους αγαπημένους τους προτού ενωθούν με τις σκιές. Ο ποιητής αποδίδει τιμή στους πεσόντες σε δίκαιο ή άδικο αγώνα, τυλίγοντάς τους με το πέπλο των στίχων του, το οποίο θα τους συνοδεύσει στο φριχτό ταξίδι τους στον κάτω κόσμο. Εκείνη τη στιγμή αίρει τον εαυτό του πάνω από τα ανθρώπινα, μετατρέπεται σε Θεό που επιχειρεί να επανορθώσει κατάφωρη αδικία (τι πιο άδικο από την ανελέητη σφαγή νέων και μη ανθρώπων στο πεδίο της μάχης), παρεμβάλλοντας την πένα του ως ασπίδα: «Κι αν η μοίρα σας οδήγησε πρόωρα στον θάνατο, οι στίχοι μου θα σας προσφέρουν ανάπαυση, αναγνώριση, την παρηγοριά της αιω��ιότητας» μοιάζει να λέει. Ο θάνατος ποτέ δεν είναι οριστικός όσο υπάρχει η τέχνη. Ομοίως, ο άνθρωπος που δημιουργεί παραμένει αθάνατος, χτίζει για τον εαυτό του και τους γύρω του μια τάφρο στην οποία ρυθμικά χυμάνε τα κύματα του χρόνου και του αναπόφευκτου.

Αντί επιλόγου

«Τι είναι τελικά η Αινειάδα;» θα αναρωτηθεί ο σύγχρονος αναγνώστης, ο οποίος εθισμένος στην ταχεία αναλγητική επίδραση των λογοτεχνικών συμπληρωμάτων βλέπει με περισσή δυσπιστία ένα μεγάλης έκτασης κείμενο που μέσα από τους αιώνες παρατηρεί αφ’ υψηλού το ψηφιακό μας παρόν, απαιτώντας σιωπή, στάση, περισυλλογή, υπομονή. Η Αινειάδα είναι, αποφαντικά, το όνειρο του δημιουργού της, ένα κύημα (και κύμα) αστείρευτης έμπνευσης, η θαλερή όψη της ζωής κάθε φορά που μιμείται –ατυχώς– την τέχνη. Ο Βιργίλιος συμπλέκει το μυθικό με το ρεαλιστικό, υπακούει και προσεύχεται σε δυνάμεις ανώτερες από αυτόν (στο ομηρικό παρελθόν και στο Δωδεκάθεο). Ταυτόχρονα όμως, ως γνήσιος καλλιτέχνης, αποδομεί, εξεγείρεται, επαίρεται και πλάθει στα κρυφά πηλό με βλάσφημα υλικά. Αυτή είναι η διττή φύση, η κατάρα του καλλιτέχνη: εκεί που προσπίπτει σε προγόνους, εξουσίες και θεούς, την ίδια στιγμή να ενίσταται, να λοιδορεί και να «εμφαίνει καταγωγικούς δεσμούς» με όλα όσα θεωρεί συγγενικά στην τέχνη του.

Ο σύγχρονος αναγνώστης καλείται να μοιραστεί το όνειρο της δημιουργίας αυτής, να εμβαπτιστεί στην ποιητική ουσία, να δοξάσει τους θεούς της και να γιορτάσει το ταπεινό και το υψηλό της ύπαρξής του δίπλα στον ποιητή. Τίποτε λιγότερο!

Profile Image for Gabriel.
501 reviews707 followers
November 19, 2021
La Eneida es una grandiosa mezcla entre la Ilíada y la Odisea.

Los elementos, los tópicos, las figuras literarias para darle potencia y profundidad a lo contado y los personajes que la protagonizan son un fuerte indicio de que Virgilio quiso que así fuera narrada la historia; como un recordatorio a esos poemas tan importantes. Y eso es una razón más que suficiente para querer leerlo ya que en mi opinión se me hizo un relato bastante entretenido y digerible, incluso mucho más que los mencionados anteriormente.

La historia sigue a Eneas, un troyano al que luego de la pérdida de Troya contra el ejército aqueo se ha visto empujado a buscar un lugar en el cual refugiarse junto con gran parte del pueblo que lo sigue. En el camino, que será bastante largo y difícil contará con la ayuda de una diosa que lo guiará, pero a su misma vez habrá otra que hará lo que esté en sus manos para que este no logre su cometido. Sin duda alguna los dioses tomarán el protagonismo que siempre han tenido en los terribles sucesos que acompañan a los personajes, al igual que el destino, los presagios y las intervenciones divinas, habrá mucha violencia, conflictos civiles/afectivos y también el futuro de una ciudad prometida en medio de guerras y conquistas; hasta la llegada al mismísimo infierno.

La primera parte, que va desde los libros I al VI son una clara referencia a la Odisea con el viaje del héroe hacia el lugar deseado, rodeado de peripecias y forjando un relato en el que se nos nutrirá de detalles en torno a cómo se desarrolló el triunfo de los aqueos sobre los troyanos y gran parte del destino de los implicados. Y la segunda parte, que va desde los libros VII al XII se narran la llegada y conquista de Eneas en Italia, lugar que más adelante sería conocido como Roma. También el tono trágico y violento envuelto en muertes y conflictos tensos y sangrientos es una buena referencia a la Ilíada.

En fin, a lo que quiero llegar es que si has leído la Ilíada y la Odisea y ambas te han gustado muchísimo este es un relato que merece la pena ser leído, ya que bebe en gran parte de estos poemas homéricos y se nota la influencia por parte de estos en la Eneida, una epopeya igual épica que sus antecesoras. O incluso más, ya que tiene varias escenas intensas y conmovedoras como pocas.
Profile Image for Robert.
93 reviews
March 21, 2010
Oh, Aeneid, it isn't you... it's me!

I tried to like you, Aeneid, I really did. And we had some good times, didn't we? But I have to admit that I think I was still a bit hung up on Iliad, and I was trying to make you something you aren't. That isn't fair to you, and it isn't fair to me.

You've got such nice language in you. Such poetry! I'm sure that someone will come along soon who can appreciate you for what you are. You deserve it. Really. You're a wonderful story; you're just not for me.

I finally had to accept it when you kept going on and on about those STUPID BOAT RACES. Oh! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! No, really, that wasn't fair of me. No, no, you should absolutely enjoy your boat races. No, they're great, and I'm sure that they're interesting to a lot of people, and they're part of what makes you you -- which is great -- but I just can't get interested. My mind kept wandering.

Oh, of course I realize you've got other interests. I realize that you were just finishing up with the boat races when I said this, but it isn't just that. I'd been thinking about this for awhile. And I think I should spend my time with a book that I enjoy more. And you'll find a reader who's interested in you. I really wish you all the best, and I'm sorry I had to stop reading you so early.
Profile Image for E. G..
1,112 reviews684 followers
June 30, 2016

--The Aeneid

Translator's Postscript
Genealogy: The Royal Houses of Greece and Troy
Suggestions for Further Reading
Variants from the Oxford Classical Text
Notes on the Translation
Pronouncing Glossary
Profile Image for Melcat.
282 reviews26 followers
November 30, 2021
Virgil’s Aeneid is not that long but I still feel like I spent a lot of mental energy to conquer it.

Heavily inspired by Homer, it tells the story of Aeneas (think of a less charismatic Trojan counterpart of Odysseus) who:
- Survives the fall of Troy ;
- Enter his own wandering (hello The Odyssey) ;
- Then goes to war (hello The Iliad) ;
- To finally become, after the gods have ceased to fight for a minute and given their blessing, the founder of the Roman race.
Tell me about plagiarism! Overall this book is mostly one big piece of Roman propaganda, and the sheer intensity of it can be tiresome.

Some chapters are less stimulating than others. I'm not going to lie, I skipped a few parts because I couldn't force myself to keep reading. I agree that the ending is good though! it kinda redeemed the rest of the book in my memory, but not enough to want to go through it again any time soon.

The political/propaganda aspect of it is fascinating however, and I was much more captivated by the (deep) contextual analysis at the start of my edition than by the work itself.
Overall, it's the opposite of a page turner but the analysis aspect is pretty cool and make that tedious read worth it.

It is still a very important piece of literature, far below the quality of Homer's work (which is immortal in my opinion). I will come back to this, if one day I have an obscene amount of mental stamina to spare.
Profile Image for Paul Haspel.
563 reviews83 followers
September 7, 2022
Aeneas of Troy, in Homer’s Iliad, survives the Trojan War that kills most of his fellow-countrymen. A warrior of notable skill and bravery, he is nonetheless just about to be killed by Achilles when, in Book 20 of the Iliad, the sea-god Poseidon “poured a mist across Achilles’ eyes…and hoisting Aeneas off the earth he slung him far…” At that point, Aeneas simply disappears from the poem – and in the formulation of the Roman poet Virgil, Aeneas’ disappearance can be explained in terms of his being destined to lead a band of fellow Trojan survivors in founding a new and greater Troy, in the form of mighty Rome.

Virgil (70-19 B.C.) stands alone among the poets of classical Rome, like Homer among the Greeks. No other classical writer composing in Latin is thought to share Virgil’s gift for wielding the language in such a way as to produce work that is both forceful and graceful. His talent for poetry was recognized, and encouraged, from his youth. At the same time – perhaps unavoidably, considering the times in which he was living – Virgil was caught up in the turbulence of Roman politics as Rome careened through one crisis after another, on its way from republic to empire.

He is said to have been born near present-day Mantua, in northern Italy – a region where Octavian, after his defeat of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi in 42 B.C., rewarded his soldiers with land that he took from local landowners. One of those landowners may have been the then-28-year-old Virgil, and some scholars have seen Virgil’s Eclogues as containing pointed references to Octavian’s act of land theft.

Yet even if Virgil resented what Octavian did in northern Italy, he must have known which side his puls (or focaccia) was buttered on. Within five years, he was part of the retinue of Maecenas, a trusted advisor to Octavian and patron of poets. Maecenas encouraged Virgil to compose the Georgics. This poetic cycle further enhanced Virgil’s reputation for poetry, and Virgil and Maecenas are said to have read the Georgics to Octavian, after Octavian had returned from defeating Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.

It must be nice – it must be nice – to have a future emperor on your side. The poet Propertius tells us that Octavian, once he had officially become the first Emperor of Rome as Augustus Caesar, commissioned the composition of the Aeneid by Virgil, so that the poet could spend the last decade of his life working on the epic poem that would forever be considered his masterpiece. Reading the Aeneid, one gets the sense of how Virgil is building upon the Homeric tradition – and, in some ways, changing it by incorporating a contemporary political inflection that no doubt pleased his imperial patron.

There are many great translations of the Aeneid. I favour the Penguin Classics deluxe-edition translation by Robert Fagles. A classics professor at Princeton University, Fagles had a gift for rendering the Greek of Homer and the Latin of Virgil into muscular, evocative English, in a Shakespearean-sounding blank-verse iambic pentameter that captures the musicality of both poets while avoiding both pedantry and excessive informality. His work found a wide and appreciative audience, and deservedly so.

Fagles starts his translation of The Aeneid by writing, “Wars and a man I sing” (p. 71) – not the traditional “Of arms and the man I sing” – and in a way I like Fagles’s version better. The reason is that his translation – “a” rather than “the” – emphasizes Aeneas as a specific individual with a destined historical role, in a way that seems to comport well with Virgil’s historical vision and poetic sensibility. Aeneas, after all, is “an exile driven on by Fate…destined to reach Lavinian shores and Italian soil”, and to face “many losses…in battle…before he could found a city” (p. 71) at what would one day be Rome.

The world of The Aeneid is, like that of The Iliad and The Odyssey, a world where the Olympian gods intervene regularly and forcefully in human affairs. Jupiter himself, the king of the gods, has made clear that it is Aeneas’ ultimate destiny to defeat any enemies he may encounter in Italy, and to found the Roman state:

Aeneas will wage
A long, costly war in Italy, crush defiant tribes
And build high city walls for his people there
And found the rule of law….
On them I set no limits, space or time:
I have granted them power, empire without end….
From that noble blood [of Troy] will arise a Trojan Caesar,
His empire bound by the Ocean, his glory by the stars:
Julius, a name passed down from [Aeneas’ son] Iulus, his great forebear.
(pp. 81-82)

Aeneas faces the constant and unyielding opposition of Juno, the queen of the gods, whose hatred for the Trojans did not end with the destruction of Troy; but he enjoys the protection of other Olympian deities, such as Venus (goddess of love, and Aeneas’ mother) and the sea-god Neptune. When Juno persuades the wind-god Aeolus to send wild winds to strike the Trojan ships at sea, threatening the wreck of the entire Trojan expedition to Italy, Neptune goes with his son Triton and the sea-nymph Cymothoë to calm the seas and rescue the Trojans – an event that Virgil recounts via an elaborate simile that emphasizes the Roman “rage for order” and fear of chaos:

Just as, all too often,
Some huge crowd is seized by a vast uprising,
The rabble runs amok, all slaves to passion,
Rocks, firebrands flying. Rage finds them arms
But then, if they chance to see a man among them,
One whose devotion and public service lend him weight,
They stand there, stock-still with their ears alert as
He rules their furor with his words and calms their passion.
(pp. 76-78)

Driven to Carthage, the Trojans are granted sanctuary by the Carthaginian queen Dido. Hearing Aeneas’ recounting of the Trojans’ travails during and after the fall of their city, she says, “Schooled in suffering, now I learn to comfort/Those who suffer too” (p. 97). While Virgil depicts Venus as making Dido fall in love with Aeneas by having the love-god Cupid shoot Dido with arrows of love, in accordance with a well-known trope of classical epic, doing so hardly seems necessary. It makes perfect sense that Dido – like Aeneas, an exile who has successfully led her people to safe harbour in a new land – might come to feel passion for someone who is brave and strong like her, and with whom she has so much in common.

In Book Two of the Aeneid, Aeneas provides Dido and the Carthaginian court with a detailed recounting of the fall of Troy, and he emphasizes in the process the treachery of the Greeks in securing victory through the subterfuge of the Trojan Horse. Aeneas tells how Laocoön, priest of Troy, tried to dissuade the Trojans from taking the horse into the city, saying, “Trojans, never trust that horse. Whatever it is,/I fear the Greeks, especially bearing gifts” (p. 105).

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts – another idea from Virgil that one hears spoken throughout the modern world, often by people who have never read Virgil. But the Trojans, as Aeneas reminds us, did not take Laocoön’s advice, because two giant sea-serpents, sent by the gods, swam up onto the land and promptly killed Laocoön and his two sons – a tableau that one can see recreated in a magnificent, and grim, statue preserved today at the Vatican Museum. Always we are reminded that the Olympian gods are perfectly able and willing to intervene in human affairs, in a manner that we mortals might find to be fundamentally unjust.

As Aeneas tells it, he was ready to give his life in Troy’s defence, until his mother Venus intervened and told him to focus on trying to save his wife Creusa, their son Ascanius, and Aeneas’ father Anchises. For good measure, Venus made it clear that there was no more use in Aeneas’ fighting for Troy, a city whose fall had been ordained by the gods: “Think: it’s not that beauty, Helen, you should hate,/Not even Paris, the man that you should blame, no,/It’s the gods, the ruthless gods who are tearing down/The wealth of Troy, her toppling crown of towers” (p. 127). And so Aeneas left Troy, carrying father Anchises on his back, holding the hand of his young son Ascanius. Wife Creusa trailed behind, her ultimate fate an unhappy one.

This part of the Aeneid, with its emphasis on how the gods arrange the love affair of Aeneas and Dido – even using the weather to trap the two together, alone in a cave, at the critical moment – creates a decided sense of sympathy for Dido. There is a desperate quality to Dido’s love for Aeneas:

This was the first day of her death, the first of grief,
The cause of it all. From now on, Dido cares no more
For appearances, nor for her reputation, either.
She no longer thinks to keep the affair a secret –
No, she calls it a marriage,
Using the word to cloak her sense of guilt.
(p. 173)

Their love is passionate – and it is should be no surprise that more than a dozen composers have been inspired to bring to the operatic stage the story of Dido and Aeneas. Understandably, Aeneas is in no hurry to leave his Queen of Carthage. It takes a visit from the messenger-god Mercury to Aeneas to induce the prince of Troy to flee from his Carthaginian love interlude and return to the performance of his divinely established duty. Mercury may offer a frankly sexist assessment that “Woman’s a thing/That’s always changing, shifting like the wind” (p. 190), but one gets a sense of how much Virgil sympathizes with Dido.

Aeneas follows the directive of the gods and leaves. Dido curses her departed lover, prophesying eternal enmity between Carthage and Rome – a perfectly correct prophecy that anticipates the three Punic Wars of 246-164 B.C., and the total destruction of Carthage – and then takes her own life.

It soon becomes clear that Aeneas will not be able to complete his quest and fulfill his destiny unless he descends into the underworld, the realm of Pluto and abode of the dead, to receive crucial information from his now-dead father Anchises on how to conduct the rest of his mission. In passages of singular grimness, Virgil sets forth a vivid picture of the underworld, with particular emphasis on the cruel punishments facing those who have sinned against the gods.

These passages from Book 6 of the Aeneid are said to have caused Augustus’ sister Octavia to faint when the poem was read to her. And, centuries later, they inspired the poet Dante Aligheri. In the first two books of his Divine Comedy, Dante the Poet makes Virgil the guide for Dante the Pilgrim through Hell and Purgatory; and anyone who has read the Aeneid will see at once how strongly Virgil’s poem influenced Dante’s vision of Hell in the Inferno.

Like Odysseus in the Odyssey, Aeneas in the Aeneid successfully makes his way through the underworld, and finds his father Anchises, who gives him advice regarding how things are to go, in a way that looks ahead to the Roman Empire and the Roman “destiny” to rule the world:

“But you, Roman, remember, rule with all your power
The peoples of the Earth – these will be your arts:
To put your stamp on the works and ways of peace,
To spare the defeated, break the proud in war.”
(p. 266)

Armed with that new knowledge, Aeneas returns to the world of the living, and goes forth to fulfill his destiny. And while Latinus, king of the Latins, is willing to heed the wishes of the gods, forge an alliance with the Trojans, and marry his daughter Lavinia to Aeneas, there are some formidable antagonists still to be faced. Turnus, king of the Rutuli, was the man whom Latinus’ wife Amata wanted to see marry Lavinia, and he is angry at the prospect that both his bride-to-be and his prospective future kingdom are to be taken from him by some Johnny-come-lately from defeated troy. Turnus – “his build magnificent, sword brandished,/Marches among his captains, topping all by a head” (p. 300) – is likely to be a formidable enemy for any warrior. And among the greatest of Turnus’ supporters is the Volscian leader Camilla; “This warrior girl, with her young hands untrained/For Minerva’s spools and baskets filled with wool,/A virgin seasoned to bear the rough work of battle” (p. 301).

Virgil has a gift for interweaving elements of incisive characterization, even in the midst of bloody scenes of battle. One of the pre-eminent villains of The Aeneid is Mezentius, an Etruscan king who is notorious for his cruelty, and who revels in the chance to spill Trojan blood – until his son Lausus bravely and selflessly gives his own life stopping a sword thrust that would have killed Mezentius. The grieving father regrets living on once his son has died: “Was I so seized by the lust for life, my son,/I let you take my place before the enemy’s sword?...I owed a price to my land and people who despise me./If only I’d paid with my own guilty life” (p. 400). Aeneas takes on Mezentius in single combat and defeats him soundly, asking, “Where’s the fierce Mezentius now?/Where’s his murderous fury?” (p. 401). And the despicable Mezentius achieves a measure of dignity in his last moments, asking to be buried next to his beloved son Lausus as “he offers up his throat to the sword” (p. 401).

And thus the Aeneid moves toward a conclusion that may be divinely pre-ordained but nonetheless makes for suspenseful reading. While the political element – the recurrent need for Virgil to throw in a reference or two to what great leaders Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar are going to be – is jarring, it may also have been inevitable, considering the hyper-politicized nature of a Roman state that had been through so much political turbulence during the century of which Virgil was a part. But a modern reader can look past the politics and enjoy the richness of the poetry.

If you have a friend who enjoys classical literature, then someday you may see on their bookshelf Fagles’ Penguin Classics translations of the Iliad (with a blue cover), the Odyssey (with a red cover), and the Aeneid (with a gold cover). If your friend has bought those editions and read them, then their time and their money were well-spent.
Profile Image for Alex.
1,419 reviews4,486 followers
February 9, 2017
The Romans took over from the Greeks as the dominant Mediterranean power after Alexander of Macedon died in 323 BCE, and then turned into an empire when Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BCE, which is a nice way to say that he staged a military coup and installed himself as dictator. It ran along merrily for 800 years until around 500 AD, when it was finally overrun by a series of people with awesome names like Visigoths and Attila the Hun.

Rome was actually founded even earlier than that, though, in the 700s BCE, by Aeneas, who was a Trojan - from the Trojan War, so we’re working (as usual) off Homer. Like Odysseus, Aeneas had a long and incompetent journey from Troy.

I made this myself! Click for bigger

He wasn’t going home, though, he was trying to find a prophesied new one. Because Odysseus showed up in a horse and burned his old one. (That famous Trojan Horse story is mostly told in the Aeneid, only briefly referred to in the Odyssey.)

That founding story, which is made up, is what's told in the greatest Roman epic, Virgil's Aeneid, written around 20 BCE. It’s pretty good. The story of the Carthaginian queen Dido is a high point: she falls in love with him; they sleep together and then he’s like never mind, I gotta go found Rome, prompting her to commit suicide by stabbing while burning, and beginning a feud with Carthage that will come to fruition when Hannibal barely fails to defeat Rome around 200 BCE, and then Rome completely destroys Carthage and you can’t even find ruins anymore, really, which is a bummer.

Dido killing herself - by Cayot, 1711, this is in the Louvre

TS Eliot calls The Aeneid "our classic, the classic of all Europe." It's a minor work for our generation - we're way more familiar with Homer - but it's been consistently read since it was written, unlike Homer (who lost favor for a while in the Middle Ages). It's an imperialist work, basically, written to canonize Rome as a great civilization and specifically exploring what it means to be a superpower. Virgil wasn't comfortable with it himself; he never finished it, and (according to the myth) asked that it be burned after his death, which lesson Kafka might have paid attention to: if you want something burned right, you'd best do it yourself.

I read the Fagles translation, which was as usual excellent. In case you don't know, Fagles is the Pevear & Volokhonsky of antiquity: he's done well-regarded translations of just about every work written BCE, which means you can just go with him if you don't have any better ideas but you should maybe watch out that you don't end up absorbing the entire canon through him, which would be weird. Mandelbaum also has a translation; I haven't read it but his work is dependable. Your other options are the conservative Fitzgerald or the very liberal Lombardo. Here's an excellent but very lengthy piece that (starting about halfway down) talks at length about different translations and comes out for Fagles.
Profile Image for Ron Sami.
Author 3 books82 followers
April 20, 2022
The main ancient Roman epic poem, written at the beginning of the reign of Octavian Augustus.

Plot. Rating 4
The plot of the poem is divided into two parts. The first part tells about the voyage of Aeneas to the shores of Italy and various incidents on his way. The second part reports on the actions of Aeneas in Latium.
I liked the second part of the poem more, where the plot is full of military operations and a tense confrontation between the opposing sides. There is also more drama in this section of the poem. Although the chapters on Dido sound rather poignant, the descriptions of the war, and the heroics, death and sorrow associated with it, seemed to me more convincing.
The general plot of the poem is varied and contains many small branches and events.

Characters. Rating 4
Aeneas is well developed, his constant desire to obey the gods and put the common good above his own desires is clearly shown. The history of Rome in the pre-imperial period contains many such heroes. I think Virgil's poetry was a good example of a first hero of Roman times.
Although most of the characters in the poem are rather faceless, there are memorable personalities such as Dido, Turnus, Camilla, and other episodic characters.

Dialogues. Rating 4
Dialogues can be considered a model of pathos and grandiosity. They fit the genre, but to be honest, towards the end of the book, I got a little tired of such monotonous recitations.

Writing style. Rating 4
There are many beautiful sayings and metaphors in the poem, and the poems themselves are full of action and details. Virgil is clearly among the best ancient poets. But, this style is quite difficult to read. You often need to re-read incomprehensible phrases because of the unknown concepts of antiquity and the subtle meanings that Virgil puts into the text.

Worldbuilding. Rating 5
I think when reading such poems one can feel the great depth of the Roman world, which was extremely developed socially, culturally, and religiously. There are many different features of antiquity in the poem. I liked the descriptions of military battles and fights in Eliade - for an epic they are quite diverse and reliable.

Conclusion. Overall rating 4
A great poem, which is a good fusion of poetry and antiquity.
Profile Image for Sud666.
1,977 reviews164 followers
January 12, 2019
The Aeneid is an epic tale of the journey of Aeneas, survivor of Troy's fall, and his journey to found the Roman peoples. The story is one you should read yourself and like the Greek Illiad and Oddessy (from which Virgil borrows heavily-as any Roman writer would have done at the time- 19 BCE). It is a story full of gods and goddesses, war, lust and anger. One of the great classic stories. It is one everyone should take a moment and read at least once. I highly recommend reading it in the original Latin as the phrases translate better than in modern translations..case in point is the elegance of the original Latin in the phrase "..tantaene animis caelestibus irae?" ("Can such great anger dwell in heavenly breasts?").

I shall leave all the ins and outs of the story for English majors and Classics scholars to dissect. My thing is history and the historical background for Virgil is quite interesting.

Virgil was a friend of Maecenas, a close advisor to Octavian Caesar. Octavian, not yet Augustus, had decided after the period of civil conflicts of the past several decades to aim for peace throughout the Empire. Octavian tightened laws on Roman morality and one of the ways he did this was to co-opt the writers and poets of the day. Virgil's Aeneas is the perfect ROman. He is a devoted son, great warrior and faithful to the gods. Take a close look at the basic character of Aeneas (patriotism, filial devotion, parental love, conformity to the will of heaven, and a scrupulousness in carrying out the honors due the gods)- they are precisely the same virtues Caesar was preaching. That is why Aeneas is the epitome of the Roman ideal. He never loses his self-control, never blasphemes, is never unjust, deceitful or careless in the performance of any of his obligations. There is no flaw in his character; he is never guilty of sin and although a great warrior, he prefers peace.

Not to mention throughout the story the gods and other peoples often remark on the future potential for the peoples of the Tiber river-a clear nod to stroking the egos of the Romans about their own creation myths. It is a truly magnificent work -not just as a work of storytelling, but in the subtle influence it spread throughout the Empire. Like Homer's great work- this one is Virgil's magnum opus (taking over a decade to write) and should be read by all well rounded people everywhere.
Profile Image for Inkspill.
411 reviews39 followers
March 31, 2020
I had first come across Aeneid in The Iliad, where my background reading told me his story continues. At the time I did not fully understanding Dido, the Queen of Carthage, also comes from this story.

I find these big texts a touch intimidating so I was ready for this to be a difficult read. Instead, I was surprised how I warmed to it. I think the intro essays had a big part to play in this, and maybe being more familiar with these stories, than say a year ago, also helped.

The intro in this one was by Frederick Ahl. He explained Virgil’s background after a quick bio and explained how this story came about, but one of my favourite bits was the explanation of the difficulties to translate because of Virgil’s wordplay. I like poetry, so I’ve come across terms like alliteration and acrostic but I’ve never considered them being part of something this huge. The way I read Ahl’s explanation made me imagine Virgil having so much fun writing this. Though I think Virgil must have also struggled with it, as it took him about a decade, and was close to death, where he hadn’t quite finished and asked for it not to be published. Augustus, born Gaius Octavius, the Emperor of Rome at the time had other ideas.

I for one am pleased to have read this to discover the romantic liaisons between Dido and Aeneid, that would lead to tragic outcome, had a quite a bit of helping hand. Also, by luck, I’m glad I read The Iliad first, otherwise I would have missed the courteous notes, even in battle scenes. Through this poem Aeneas was frequently referred to as Father Aeneas, father to me suggesting someone wise, knowing and reasonable, and so Turnus’s fate came us a complete surprise to me. Now having read this I feel I’m ready to read Dido, Queen of Carthage by Christopher Marlowe.
Profile Image for Markus.
644 reviews78 followers
November 24, 2019
The Aeneid by Virgil
(70BC – 19BC)
A verse translation by Allen Mandelbaum

Virgil chooses the “Iliad” by Homer as the baseline and background for his epic poem The Aeneid.
According to scholars, Virgil aimed with his work to establish the original founding of the Roman Nation.

Ilium is the Latin name of Troy. The city existed in the late bronze age, about 1200BC.

The Iliad is Homer’s story of the young Trojan Paris and his kidnap of consenting beautiful Helen; followed by the Greek revenge expedition under the kings Menelaus and Agamemnon, ensued by a ten-year siege and the final destruction of the city.

Virgil started to work on the Aeneid late in his life at the age of about 41 and worked on it over the last eleven years of his life.

Readers of the Iliad will remember the last image of the long war, the sudden outcome due to the trick of the wooden horse, the destruction of the city of Troy and the annihilation of king Priam and his family, as well as most of the inhabitants of the city.

Only Aeneas and a terrified group of followers fled and escaped.

This is the starting point of Virgil's epic work.

Aeneas had his young son Ascanius by the hand, carried his old father, Anchises on his back,
and left his wife Creüsa, following in his footsteps, behind, but unfortunately on the way she got lost. He turned back in pain and despair to search for her but in vain.

Soon Aeneas had a large crowd of fleeing Trojans around him.
They built ships and took to the sea to look for a new country where they could establish.

Now all the Ancient Gods in the Olympus prepared to interfere and did not fail to make appearances in disguise, to give Aneas instructions on where to go and how to achieve their destiny.

After many rough adventures, inspired to Virgil by Homer’s Odyssey, on sea and coastlines, Aeneas lost his father in old age on the way.
Apollos priestess the Sybil shows him the way to the land of shadows, the underground, to help him see his father again. Aeneas succeeds, then returns safely to the ground.

Finally, by decision of the Gods, their ships are cast up unto the sands of Libya.

Here happens the most famous and the most pleasant and romantic chapter as Aeneas encounters Queen Dido of Libya.

Dido is a lovely young widow and quickly falls in love with Aeneas; she never hesitates to make him her lover and new husband.

However, soon she is left behind heartbroken when the Gods meddle in again and make the Trojans continue their road to destiny; find a new country in Italy; the Latium.

After seven years of extensive and dangerous wanderings, Aeneas and the Trojans arrive in Italy at the mouth of river Tiber.

They set up a base camp and go to meet old King Latinus at his fortress of Laventum to ask to allow them to settle there.
The king is in favour and even offers his daughter Lavinia to Aeneas for marriage, but Turnus, his son, is jealous.

Angry young Turnus organizes the war of raging Latins against the Trojans.
The Gods have their favourites on one side and the other.

This chapter of this war is a long remake in reverse, of Homer’s battle in the Iliad before the walls of the city of Troy.

Virgil, almost word for word uses the same style and sequences as Homer in the fight between Hector and Achilles.

All along in his work, Virgil as in a mirror stays close to Homer’s pictures of fight and war.
So also in human relations among the fighters, their loyalties, hopes, fears and bravery.

And besides personal feelings, their unfailing faith and loyalty for political engagements given and received.

In a final long and furious battle between Aeneous and Turnus, the Gods decide the outcome.

Aeneas lives, but by the will of Jupiter in exchange, the Trojans lose their name in the future civilisation.
Italy remained Italy, and the future generations based on Trojan bloodlines became Romans.

I was charmed with my first encounter with the Aeneid in a prose translation.
The story is still present in my mind, with most of its twists and turns.

To me, the verse translation by Allan Mandelbaum is a far superior pleasure to read.

A milestone in classic literature, ‘The Aeneid’ is a Must for readers of classics.
Profile Image for Uroš Đurković.
623 reviews140 followers
September 19, 2022
Evo – topos neizrecivosti: ni da sve moguće superlative ovde upotrebim, ne bi bili dovoljni da dočaraju šta je sve „Eneida”. Susret sa klasičnim delima zaista umiva čoveka – predstavlja nužni reset za dodir sa savremenošću. A zaista dobri prevodi, kao što je to ovde slučaj, rastežu savremenost do drevnosti. Marjanca Pakiž je uspela da Vergilije zvuči kao neko sasvim blizak, uz zadivljujuću posvećenost da osavremenjivanje bude i potkrepljeno, autentično, ali i beskrajno elegantno. Čitanje ovog izdanja je briljantan omaž celini rimske kulture, rekapitulacija mitologije i antičke istorije i udžbenik stila, pun avantura i izazova. Doživljaj ne bi bio ni upola takav da nije bilo ne samo, naravno, odličnog prevoda gde je heksametar dosledno poštovan od prvog do poslednjeg stiha, već i izuzetnih prevodilačkih napomena, korisnih, neopterećujućih, otmenih i, usudiću se reći, šmekerski duhovitih – pogotovo jer Pakiž ne preza od gotovo pa lično obojenih ocena, kao i kritičkih promišljanja pojedinih neusaglašenosti u delu, koje čine čitanje još zanimljivijim. Stoga svih 767 napomena čine svojevrsnu kriptoknjigu u odnosu na „Enejidu”, koja višestruko nagrađuje sve posvećene. A tek da ne govorim o tome koliko puta sam bacio pogled na geografsku kartu koja se dobija uz ovo izdanje! Ovo je, dakle, čitanje sa punom borbenom i putničkom opremom – a, da stvar bude još bolja – pristupačno! Jer Pakiž nije ni precenila ni potcenila čitaoce – ko želi da priđe Vergiliju, moći će po svojoj sopstvenoj meri, ali uz retko vrednu pomoć. Zaista, ovako dragoceno izdanje se retko pojavljuje u nekoj kulturi i treba da apsolutno bude prepoznato i pozdravljeno.

Pošto je čitanje trajalo dugo, moj rokovnik je značajno podgojen. I sažet pregled beležaka bio bi preobiman, pa ću sada napraviti neki sažetak sažetaka. Najpre jedan sasvim opšti utisak: Vergilije je pesnik epskog sveta, ali delikatne lirske refleksije. Koliko sam uživao u pričama, toliko su me radovali svi lirski uzleti i poetična skretanja koja čak i surovosti čine na poseban način nežnim. Ono što je posebno uzbduljivo, a što bi znao i neko pre čitanja, jeste što je celina „Eneide”, u odnosu na nama poznatije, Homerove oči, pogled poraženih. I to ne običan pogled, već osveta i trijumf, utemeljujuć za poimanje posebnosti jedne zajednice. Otuda Vergilije komunicira kako sa ondašnjim trenutkom, tako sa Homerom, ali i, kao svaki epski pesnik, večnošću. Inače, često se prenebregava da između Homera i Vergilija stoji raspon od, bogami, osam vekova! Zamislite da danas poredimo neki savremeni roman sa nečim iz 12. veka? Vreme se usitnjuje.

Pregled nekih omiljenih momenata, po pevanjima:

I) Eolova stolujuća špilja i Neptun dok umiruje vetrove:
„Reče pa rečima samim nabubrelu pučinu smiri,
rasprši oblaka hrpe i sunčevu povrati svetlost.” (57)

II) Kasandra je najuverljivija najneuverljivija proročica u istoriji proricanja.
Eneja sanja Hektorovu sen.

III) Jeza – iz zelenih izdanaka krv. Eneja susreće mrtvog Polidora.
Podnožje Etne: Grk koji moli Trojance da ga prime.
Polifem na brdu bez i tog jednog njegovog oka. (168)

IV) Didonu izjeda zaljubljenost. Sukobi i navijanja Junone i Venere.
Didonino proklinjanje zbog neuzvraćene ljubavi:
„(...) Biću daleko, al’ mrkim ću ognjem
pratiti tebe. A ledena smrt kad mi dušu od tela
rastavi, biću uz tebe kao utvara! Platićeš grdno!
Znaću, jer meni će vesti do najdubljeg podzemlja stići.” (192)
Misterija čarobnice iz Etiopije.
Didonino samoubistvo.

V) Trka brodova i nagrada – zlatni ogrta�� sa porubom.

VI) Katabaza!

I saznanje da Had nije konačan – da duđe idu uvis i potom se vraćaju u tela. Metempsihoza! (292)

VII) Krčkanje rata. (Do ovog trenutka „Eneida” je više nalikovala „Odiseji”, od ovog postaje „Ilijada”.)

VIII) Reka Tibar govori u svoje ime. (358)
Ali i: „čude se vode i šume: ne videše do tad da blješte
ičiji brodovi tako, a brodovi da se šarene.” (360)

U „Eneidi” su vrlo česta svitanja, ali i počinci.

Venera u postelji ubeđuje Vulkana da pomogne oružjem. Enejin štit. (379) A na njemu sva italska prošlost i sva rimska budućnost.

IX) Niz i Eurijal se uvlače među Turnove vojnike.

X) Veće bogova: Jupiter negoduje.

Opis: „A među njima je, eno, i briga Venerina silna:
dečak Dardanac, a prelepu otkrio glavu pa blista –
kao treperava svetlost dragulja sred tamnijeg zlata
na dijademi il’ kakvom đerdanu, il��� kao što sjaji
s tamnog kovčežića, od terpentinovog drveta, vešto
umetnut deo od slonove kosti. Niz prebeli vrat se
slila dečakova kosa, a meko je prikuplja zlato.” (446)

Eneja se raznevljuje. Pa i šutira glavu ubijenog. (467)

Junona interveniše: pravi utvaru po ugledu na Eneju da bi se spasio Turno.

XI) Kamila kao jedna od najupečatljivijih amazonki – obnaživanje grudi u napadu – herojska smrt.

XII) Finalna borba: Eneja vs. Turno.

Venera krišom Eneji daruje bilje, da pomogne.

Poređenje: opšta uznemirenost kao kad pronađe pčele neki pastir u šupljikavoj steni. (558)
Profile Image for Ivana Books Are Magic.
523 reviews201 followers
July 14, 2016
When I think of Aeneid, I think of one Summer not too long and one bright fifteen-year-old I taught it to. By that time, I've read Aeneid a number of times and I had a very high opinion about it yet it was that experience of teaching it to somebody that made me see it in a whole new light. I felt like I was reading it for the first time, but still I could remember all those parts that originally moved me the most and it was interesting to observe my emotional reactions to it anew. For clearly, it was a work that was capable of moving me deeply.

Tutoring can be quite challenging, as it often happens that those who search for a tutor are the ones who are having the most problems grasping the subject matter. Interesting thing about literature is that those students who refuse to read it are often the those who are best capable to understand it. Any brows raised yet?

Who are writers after all? Aren’t they those who choose to search for additional meanings and interpretations of this world? Those who are not satisfied with it? Those who are ready to rebel? Don’t give me that ‘Ceaser -ordered -this -book -to- praise- the- Romans -so- the- writer- must - have- been -a -sell out’ thing. I couldn’t care less and I think it is irrelevant. A book is either a success or is it not. This hasn’t nothing to do with the fact whether it was commissioned or not. It has got to do with the person who wrote it, if the author is an artist determined to create art, then the book usually ends up being art.

If you ask me, the fact that it is supposed to be written to praise ancient Romans is not important at all and it doesn’t take or add anything to/from Aeneid. Don’t use it as an excuse for giving up on reading it. If you don’t like it because it didn’t move you that’s fine, but I think this epic deserves a fair change. I believe it deserves to be read with an open mind and heart.

It sometimes happens with classics that we forget to really read them. We read about them and by the time we get to reading them, we’re so engrossed with all that background information that we forget the fundamental joy of reading and that is reading for love of reading. What matters is that it is amazing epic poem written by a talented writer. In other words, it is the writer that matters.
Speaking of writers, I imagine a lot of them were rebellious teens. Those straight A student will read the book, cover to cover and learn the basic historical facts about it, but will they be moved? Will they cry when Aeneid leaves a woman who loves him to fulfil what he sees as his duty? Will they offer new interpretations? Those that are really new and fresh, not a sum of something critically acclaimed literature professors shared most recently?

Perhaps it is an appropriate irony that it often happens that intelligent but rebellious students avoid reading assignments, just because they find it hard to connect to the subject matter. Because they are put off by the fact that it is a classic. That is really understandable, because when one is fifteen, Aeneid may seem boring. That is why a good teacher must be prepared to invest a bit more time to get their students into reading it. Let’s take Aeneid, for example. Yes, we could talk about all kind of literary interpretations, about its background, about its historical context but wouldn’t it be nice to talk about it like readers? Like people who were genuinely moved by it?
I must have read Aeneid at least twice that Summer. Surprisingly, trying hard to concrete on every important aspect of it didn’t take anything away from the joy of reading it. That is the marvellous thing about literature. It really doesn’t matter how long ago it was written, great literature always makes us feel a certain way. Time is the greatest distance between two places, said Tennessee Williams and while that is certainly the case when it comes to our daily lives and human relationship, such rules do not apply to literature. You know you won’t be less of an intellectual if you admit that you were actually moved by a literary classic. If you don’t open emotionally (and not just intellectually) to some piece of writing, you’re bound to miss out.

I’m not going to say that every single verse in Aeneid left me in awe. The poetry is certainly beautiful, but the narrative, the characters and the overall story might feel a bit alien to a modern reader. Nevertheless, if one is willing to just forget about all that and READ it, I’m sure that one will find that the praise Aeneid has enjoyed is well deserved. Sure, there are events in it that aren’t terribly interesting and parts that were an obvious praise of ‘you-know-who’ and so on… That all being said, it is a book I enjoyed reading. It is a book I’ve read numerous times and that is the most honest of recommendations.

Don’t take my word for it, go on and read it yourself, if you already haven’t. If you have, consider rereading it. Aren’t you curious why it is such a brilliant piece of writing? Why it inspired so many writers? Why it has been considered one of the most important works of European literature? Don’t be afraid to take up this one, find a good translation and enjoy. And if you happen to be able to read in original ( for there are people who can read in Latin), lucky you.
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