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1–8: Sleepless in Carthage

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 5.         The first word of Book 4 is the adversative particle at. Why does this surprise? What does Virgil achieve with this opening gambit?

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 6.         The second word of Book 4 is the programmatic regina. What are the characteristics of a good monarch? Do the same criteria of excellence apply to kings and queens or is there a difference according to gender? To what extent is Dido’s royal status (and the attending civic responsibilities) part of Virgil’s characterization of the Carthaginian queen?

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 7.         In monarchies today, too, potential tension between regal role-requirements and the quest for ‘true’ love and personal fulfilment is always there: compare Dido’s and Aeneas’s choices with the decision of Edward VIII to abdicate the throne so he could marry Wallis Simpson.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 8.         Scan the phrase regina graui iamdudum saucia cura (line 2) and analyse its design: how has Virgil arranged the nouns (regina, cura) and their attributes (graui, saucia)? What is the force of iamdudum and how does the word order enhance its effect?

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 9.         Map out the situations in which a character feels cura in the Aeneid. (You can use the Concordance function at the University of Pennsylvania’s ‘Vergil Project’ (http://vergil.classics.upenn.edu/) to search for further instances of the word.) What are the different types of cura we encounter in the poem? Try to develop a typology (erotic, political, human, divine, self-centred, civic-minded etc.).

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 10.       What type of ablative do you think uenis (2) is? Is it an ablative of place (‘in her bloodstreams’) or an ablative of instrument (‘with her bloodstreams’)? Do we need to decide? How does your sense of the grammar influence your interpretation of the text?

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 11.       In the phrases multa … uirtus (3) and multus … honos (4) Virgil uses adjectives instead of adverbs: what is the rhetorical effect?

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 12.       Virgil uses the two phrases multa uiri uirtus (3) and multus gentis honos (4) to specify why Dido swoons over Aeneas. Give the meaning of all four nouns with due consideration of their wider significance within Roman culture and explore the thematic affinities between the two nominatives (uirtus, honos) and the two genitives (uiri, gentis).

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 13.       Identify the two figures of speech Virgil uses in the phrase uiri uirtus.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 14.       Discuss Virgil’s use of gens in the Aeneid: where does it occur for the first time? Where else? Why is it such a key term?

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 15.       What metaphors does Virgil use to describe Dido in the thralls of passion, both in the opening lines of Book 4 and elsewhere in Aeneid 1 and 4?

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 16.       In Virgil’s pathology of love, which of Dido’s symptoms refer to the body, which to the mind?

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 17.       Is it possible to associate the different metaphors that Virgil uses of Dido in love with different emotional responses he meant to trigger in the audience? Oliver Lyne, for instance, submits that ‘wound imagery easily suggests sympathy. Wounds involve suffering, which we pity’, whereas ‘fire imagery is less sympathetic, potentially aggressive, and destructive’ and therefore concludes: ‘Vergil implies an antipathetic as well as a sympathetic aspect to Dido’s violently passionate love’. Do you agree?

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 18.       Can you think of English expressions that are equivalent to Virgil’s erotic images? What are the conceptions of love—from infatuation with another person to outright sexual desire—that inform the metaphors? Are they all reconcilable with one another? How does what Dido experiences relate to our notion of ‘romantic love’?

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 19.       In what ways are the opening lines both retrospective and prospective, that is, point back to what happened in Book 1 and point forward to what will happen in Book 4?

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 20.       As the narrative unfolds, words that Virgil here uses metaphorically of Dido in love recur with a literal meaning to portray Dido’s death: which ones are they?

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 21.       Why do the –e– and the –a in Phoeb-ea (6) scan long?

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 22.       Discuss the verbal architecture of line 7: umentemque Aurora polo dimouerat umbram.

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 23.       Scan line 8 (cum sic unanimam adloquitur male sana sororem) and discuss the thematic implications of the metrical peculiarity.

Source: http://aeneid4.theclassicslibrary.com/2012/11/29/1-8%E2%80%82sleepless-in-carthage/