The Aeneid of Virgil

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Click anywhere in the line to jump to another position:. An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system. View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document. Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text. Vergilius Maro, Aeneid Theodore C.

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Williams, Ed. Click anywhere in the line to jump to another position: book: book 1 book 2 book 3 book 4 book 5 book 6 book 7 book 8 book 9 book 10 book 11 book This text is part of: Greek and Roman Materials. And thus is piety honoured? Is this the way you restore us to empire? No though ahs turned me.

This your son — for, since this care gnaws your heart, I will speak and, further unrolling the scroll of fate, will disclose its secrets — shall wage a great war in Italy, shall crush proud nations, and for his people shall set up laws and city walls, till the third summer has seen him reigning in Latium and three winters have passed in camp since the Rutulians were laid low.

Then Romulus, proud in the tawny hide of the she-wolf, his nurse, shall take up the line, and found the walls of Mars and call the people Romans after his own name. For these I set no bounds in space or time; but have given empire without end.

The Aeneid – Vergil Epic | Summary & Analysis | Ancient Rome – Classical Literature

Spiteful Juno, who now in her fear troubles sea and earth and sky, shall change to better counsels and with me cherish the Romans, lords of the world, and the nation of the toga. Thus is it decreed. Thee shall come a day, as the sacred seasons glide past, when the house of Assaracus shall bring into bondage Phthia and famed Mycenae, and hold lordship over vanquished Argos. From this noble line shall be born the Trojan Caesar, who shall extend his empire to the ocean, his glory to the stars, a Julius [Augustus], name descended from great Iulus! Him, in days to come, shall you, anxious no more, welcome to heaven, laden with Eastern spoils; he, too, shall be invoked in vows.

Then wars shall cease and savage ages soften; hoary Faith and Vesta, Quirinus with his brother Remus, shall give laws.

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The gates of war, grim with iron and close-fitting bars, shall be closed; within, impious Rage, sitting on savage arms, his hands fast bound behind with a hundred brazen knots, shall roar in the ghastliness of blood-stained lips. Through the wide air he flies on the oarage of wings, and speedily alights on the Libyan coasts. At once he does his bidding, and, God willing it, the Phoenicians lay aside their savage thoughts; above all, the queen receives a gentle mind and gracious purpose toward the Teucrians.

The fleet he hides in over-arching groves beneath a hollow rock, closely encircled by trees and quivering shade; then, Achates alone attending, himself strides forth, grasping in hand two shafts, tipped with broad steel. For from her shoulders in huntress fashion she had slung the ready bow and had given her hair to the winds to scatter; her knee bare, and her flowing robes gathered in a knot. Show grace to us, whoever you may be, and lighten this our burden. Inform us, pray, beneath what sky, on what coasts of the world, we are cast; knowing nothing of countries or peoples we wander driven hither by wind and huge billows.

SparkNotes: The Aeneid

Many a victim shall fall for you at our hand before your altars. Tyrian maids are wont to wear the quiver, and bind their ankles high with the purple buskin. It is the Punic realm you see, a Tyrian people, and the city of Agenor; but the bordering country is Lybian, a race unconquerable in war.

Dido wields the sceptre — Dido, who, fleeing from her brother, came from the city of Tyre. Long would be the tale of wrong, long its winding course — but the main heads of the story I will trace. Her husband was Sychaeus, richest in gold of the Phoenicians, and fondly loved by unhappy Dido; to him her father had given the maiden, yoking her to him in the first bridal auspices. But the kingdom of Tyre was in the hands of her brother Pygmalion, monstrous in crime beyond all others. Between these two came frenzy. But in her sleep came the very ghost of her unburied husband; raising his pale face in wondrous wise, he lad bare the cruel altars and his breast pierced with steel, unveiling all the secret horror of the house.

Then he bids her take speedy flight and leave her country, and to aid her journey brought to light treasures long hidden underground, a mass of gold and silver known to none.

Introducing Virgil’s Aeneid

Moved by this, Dido made ready her flight and her company. Then all assemble who felt towards the tyrant relentless hatred or keen fear; ships, which by chance were ready, they seize and load with gold; the wealth of grasping Pygmalion is borne overseas, the leader of the enterprise a woman. But who, pray, are you, or from what coasts come, or whither hold you your coarse?


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From ancient Troy, if perchance the name of Troy has come to your hears, sailing over distant seas, the storm at its own caprice drove us to the Libyan coast. I am the loyal Aeneas, who carry with me in my fleet my household gods, snatched from the foe; my fame is known to the heavens above. With twice ten ships I embarked on the Phrygian sea, following the fates declared, my goddess-mother pointing me the way; scarcely do seven remain, shattered by waves and wind. Myself unknown and destitute, I wander over the Libyan wastes, driven from Europe and Asia.

For I bring you tidings of your comrades restored and of your fleet recovered, driven to safe haven by shifting winds — unless my parents were false, and vain the augury they taught me. Only go forward and where the path leads you, direct your steps! From her head her ambrosial tresses breathed celestial fragrance; down to her feet fell her raiment, and in her step she was revealed a very goddess. Why am I not allowed to clasp hand in hand and hear and utter words unfeigned? But Venus shrouded them, as they went, with dusky air, and enveloped them, goddess as she was, in a thick mantle of cloud, that none might see or touch them, none delay or seek the cause of their coming.

She herself through the sky goes her way to Paphos, and joyfully revisits her abode, where the temple and its hundred altars steam with Sabaean incense and are fragrant with garlands ever fresh. And now they were climbing the hill that looms large over the city and looks down on the confronting towers. Aeneas marvels at the massive buildings, mere huts once; marvels at the gates, the din and paved high-roads. Eagerly the Tyrians press on, some to build walls, to rear the citadel, and roll up stones by hand; some to choose the site for a dwelling and enclose it with a furrow.

Here some are digging harbours, here others lay the deep foundations of their theatre and hew out of the cliffs vast columns, fit adornments for the stage to be. Even as bees in early summer, amid flowery fields, ply their task in sunshine, when they lead forth the full-grown young of their race, or pack the fluid honey and strain their cells to bursting with sweet nectar, or receive the burdens of incomers, or in martial array drive from their folds the drones, a lazy herd; all aglow is the work and the fragrant honey is sweet with thyme.

Veiled in a cloud, he enters — wondrous to tell — through their midst, and mingles with the people, seen by none! Here Sidonian Dido was founding to Juno a mighty temple, rich in gifts and the presence of the goddess. Brazen was its threshold uprising on steps; bronze plates were its lintel beams, on doors of bronze creaked the hinges. In this grove first did a strange sight appear to him and allay his fears; here first did Aeneas dare to hope for safety and put surer trust in his shattered fortunes.

See, there is Priam! Here, too, virtue finds its due reward; here, too, are tears for misfortune and human sorrows pierce the heart. Dispel your fears; this fame will bring you some salvation. For he saw how, as they fought round Pergamus, here the Greeks were in rout, the Trojan youth hard on their heels; there fled the Phrygians, plumed Achilles in his chariot pressing them close.

Not far away he discerns with tears the snowy-canvassed tents of Rhesus, which, betrayed in their first sleep, the blood-stained son of Tydeus laid waste with many a death, and turned the fiery steeds away to the camp, before they could taste Trojan fodder or drink of Xanthus. Elsewhere Troilus, his armour flung away in flight — unhappy boy, and ill-matched in conflict with Achilles — is carried along by his horses and, fallen backward, clings to the empty car, still clasping the reins; his neck and hair are dragged on the ground, and the dust is scored by his reversed spear.

Meanwhile, to the temple of unfriendly Pallas the Trojan women passed along with streaming tresses, and bore the robe, mourning in suppliant guise and beating breasts with hands: with averted face the goddess kept her eyes fast upon the ground. In fact, they're so old that many scholars now believe that they were composed orally, before the invention of writing, and only later committed to paper papyrus, that is.

Now, there's no doubt that Homer's poems contain a lot of material that was handed down for generations before them.

That said, we don't really know what, because we don't have any older literature to use as evidence: the Iliad and the Odyssey are as far back as our records of written literature go. Now here's the funny thing: the same holds true for the Greeks and Romans — their records didn't go any further back either. As a result, the basic fact that Virgil's Aeneid clearly, overtly, explicitly, and obviously you can use your imagination to expand this list of adverbs alludes to its precursor, Homer, also makes it fundamentally different from Homer, who, as far as we and the ancients are concerned, has no precursors at all.

Pretty neat, huh? But the differences go further than that. For one thing, if the Iliad and the Odyssey are oral poems, or at least seriously influenced by the oral tradition, then the Aeneid is a seriously written poem. According to one account, Virgil first plotted out the whole story in prose, and then very methodically went back and put it into lines of verse, which he then methodically revised. This whole process took something like 12 years, but even then Virgil wasn't satisfied, and, on his deathbed, he commanded that his manuscript be burned.

According to legend, it was only saved from the flames by order of the emperor, Caesar Augustus. So, Augustus must have been a pretty big poetry fan, right? Maybe, but that probably wasn't the main reason why he wanted Virgil's manuscript saved. A better reason is that, on the surface at least, the Aeneid is an account of how the Trojan prince Aeneas joined his people with the Italians to form the basis for the later city of Rome.

It's a pretty straightforward endorsement of Augustus's own consolidation of power after many years of brutal civil war. But wait, why did we say that the Aeneid is only an endorsement of Augustus "on the surface"?