We’re skipping forward about 500 years and turning our attention from Greece to Rome during the celebrated principate of Caesar Augustus. We will also be looking back to Homer, since Virgil is a Roman epic poet who in many ways seeks to imitate or even upstage Homer, to show that Roman poetry can compete with Greek poetry, and to imply Rome’s superiority to Greece. Odysseus’s Roman name is Ulysses, so pay attention to how Virgil introduces and revises the story of this Greek hero in contrast with his own hero, Aeneas, a Trojan soldier who leads some of his people from burning Troy to a new place in Italy… a place that will eventually become Rome.
The Latin word for “the quality of being Roman” is Romanitas, and one could argue that this is exactly what The Aeneid is about. What do Romans value? How are the pre-Roman, legendary characters in The Aeneid different from the Greeks we have seen in The Odyssey? Being able to compare key themes and ideas among the works we have been discussing will help prepare you for the midterm at the end of this module.
You may want to reflect on these biblical passages while reading The Aeneid:
On peace (Consider Anchises’ advice for the Romans in Book 11):
- Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[h] Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:16-18 (ESV)
On friendship (Consider Nisus and Euryalus):
- No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 (HCSB)
On revering parents (Consider Aeneas’ care for Anchises):
- Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 (HCSB)
Discussion Board 4 – 300 Word Count due on Tuesday
For each week’s Discussion Forum, write a response to the provided question on the first thread as well as your own question on the week’s reading in a new thread by Tuesday
According to Virgil’s Aeneid, what are some praiseworthy qualities that Romans should imitate? Refer to at least one specific passage from the epic poem to support your opinion, and cite the book and line numbers of the passage you use. You may instead consider ways that Virgil seems to critique, rather than celebrate, the Trojans who will go on to found Rome. Are there any signs that Virgil is not entirely praising Rome and its legendary founder —Make sure you pose a question