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AENEID, Lecture 4

 

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Book 1. 147 ff
Sic ait, et dicto citius tumida aequora placat
collectasque fugat nubes solemque reducit.
Cymothoe simul et Triton adnixus actuo
detrudunt navis scopulo; levat ipse tridenti
et vastas aperit syrtis et temperat aequor
atque rotis summas levibus perlabitur undas.
ac veluti magno in populo cum saepe coorta est
seditio, saevitque animis ignobile vulgus,
iamque faces et saxa volant (furor arma ministrat),
tum pietate graven ac meritis si forte virum quem
conspexere, silent arrectisque auribus astant;
ille regit dictis animos et pectora mulcet:
sic cunctus pelagi cedidit fragor, aequora postquam
prospiciens genitor caeloque invectus aperto
flectit equos curruque volans dat lora secundo.

So he speaks, and swifter than his speech, he calms the swollen sea,
scatters the gathered cloud, and brings back the sun.
CymothoŽ and Triton, working together, thrust the ships
from the sharp reef: Neptune himself raises them with his trident,
parts the vast quicksand, tempers the flood,
and glides on weightless wheels, over the tops of the waves.
As often, when rebellion breaks out in a great nation,
and the common rabble rage with passion, and soon stones
and fiery torches fly (frenzy supplying weapons),
if they then see a man of great virtue, and weighty service,
they are silent, and stand there listening attentively:
he sways their passions with his words and soothes their hearts:
so all the uproar of the ocean died, as soon as their father,
gazing over the water, carried through the clear sky, wheeled
his horses, and gave them their head, flying behind in his chariot.

Key passage to understanding the Aeneid.

Juno has bribed Aeolus to create a wind storm to whip up the ocean to try to drown the fleet.

She didn't try to get Neptune to go along with her plan. Neptune is upset at this unauthorized storm.

He calms the sea immediately.

Then get a simile--it's like a mob scene calmed by a great leader


saevitque animis ignobile vulgus
the base rabble rages.

uses the same word for Juno, and would use it for Achilles. Mob's gone mad

Is calmed by a

virum - a man, like Aeneas in 1.1

gravem - known for gravity

pietate - known as pius

meritis - merits, his dignitas.


ille regit dictis animos
He rules their spirits with speech


et pectora mulcet:
and softens their hearts.

Very important to Virgil

Chaos/disorder ------------>order

Aeneid shows movement from chaos and disorder to order.  Virgil writes a very complex allegory.

Chaos/disorder ----------->order

1. Mythic Level

Fall of Troy New Troy

Order brought by Aeneas (mythical level)

Civil war in Rome Peace (Pax Romana)

2. Historical Level

Order brought by Augustus (historical level) 5 civil wars in 1st cen bc. Now left with one ruler.

Aeneid can be read as an allegory. Aeneas, the ultimate embodiment of Roman virtue, symbolizes Augustus.

How does Aeneas solve his problems? Through his labor. Virgil gets labor from Stoic philosophers.

3. Philosophic level

the chaos of-------->order

passions reason

Brought by stoic philosopher

4. Artistic

Human existence is messy. We live in a state of flux. Flux of normal life & experience in the material world. Things constantly change in the material world.

What stops the change momentarily? Art. Art brings a kind of order. Virgil does that for the artistic level for Rome

5. Social level

Barbarism - originally meant those who couldn't speak Greek. Romans add can understand Roman civilization. Roman army subjects them to Roman rule; then they can be civilized by living under Roman law. Will live under the blessings for civilization. Roads, baths, buildings, laws, etc.

If they don't want to be civilized, beat them down (debellare)

gods have ordained all of this

chaos/disorder ---> Order Created by levels

Collapse of Troy ----> New Troy. Aeneas myth

Roman civil war -----> Peace. Augustus history

passions -----> reason. stoic philosopher philosophical

flux of life -----> Art. Artist Virgil artistic

Barbarism civilization ----->Roman reality


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Aeneas is fato profugus - exiled by fate.

Looks like he may escape fate by staying with Dido. Would be like Odysseus staying with Circe or Calypso. Would cease to exist.

Must choose to be with Dido or to fulfill destiny

Aeneas chooses his destiny. Leads to a lot of labor for him and others. Sets up little town,

descendants set up Alba Longa then Rome

Later descendants will set up Pax Romana. GIve people orderly lives, the kind the gods want us to have.

Question? Where did Romans really come from? We don't know. Were a lot of people floating around the Mediterranean after the Trojan War. Sea Peoples.

Romans believed it. Saw their mission to rule the world.

Alexander the Great had a similar notion. Wanted to Hellenize the world.

Not everyone was anxious to become Roman. Germans were reluctant. Parthians.

Gladiator movie. Marcus Aurelius talking to his general. General says as bad as Rome is, it's better than what's elsewhere.

Christian attitude toward the Romans is different from the Roman attitude toward the Christian.

Romans saw Christianity as a threat.

Christians saw Rome as part of God's divine mission for man. God's mission is to produce Christianity. To do that, need a protective matrix - Rome.

Christian God had ordained Rome to take over world so early Christians could gain a foothold.

Germans came down in 5th Cen AD & overthrew Rome.

European history -- repeated attempts to re-establish Rome

  1. Charlemagne -- Holy Roman Empire
  2. Spanish Empire -- giving barbarians the gift of Christianity & civilization.
  3. British Empire modeled on the Roman. 19th cen.  Kipling says to take up the "white man's burden." Transform the natives to civilized Christians. Brits went to far-flung places. Sent young men who were educated in British schools, men who had read Virgil. Was a prophet of the Empire.
  4. The Kaiser of Germany and the Tsar of Russia -- both titles are derived from the word "Caesar."
  5. Hitler's Third Reich?  The First Reich was the Holy Roman Empire.
  6. Pax Americana. American Empire. 20th Century. Thought Brits went wrong by reading Virgil. We lead the post-colonial world. Is a tendency to criticize Virgil. More & more people are hostile toward Virgil. Combine that with the change away from Latin, explains the downgrading of Virgil. In old days, even ok high schools had 4 years of Latin. Virgil's qualities as a poet rely heavily on his original Latin. Homer is easier to translate; stayed more popular.

Like Romans, American like blood sports, American engineering, our architecture, our government.

B/c we get all of this in the Aeneid, it's possible that Virgil was an influence on Augustus rather than just being a mouthpiece for him. Virgil read it to Augustus as he wrote it.

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