Archive for November, 2012


A. Texts Mynors, R. A. B. (1969), P. Vergili Maronis Opera (Oxford Classical Texts), Oxford. The Latin Library: http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/vergil/aen4.shtml (Plain text) Perseus Collection: Greek and Roman Material: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/ [Greek and Roman Material, P. Vergilius Maro]. The website includes: (a) The Latin text as edited by J. B. Greenough (1900), hyperlinked to Lewis & Short Dictionary; (b) […]

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The Aeneid is chockfull of religious images and ideas. In the course of the epic, we encounter the anthropomorphic divinities of Greek and Roman myth as well as deified concepts; reflections on the ethics (or lack thereof) of divine behaviour; various types of religious practices or speech-acts (rituals, sacrifices, modes of divination; prayers, curses, oaths); […]

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Literary texts point beyond themselves in ways intimately related to how language works more generally. Any use of language is to some extent a re-use: ‘Whenever we describe the world, consciously or unconsciously we measure our descriptions against previous descriptions of the world. The words which we use have always been used before; we never […]

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Historiographical Dido

It is a sober truth: most of the literary production of Greek and Roman antiquity has vanished beyond recovery. Before the advent of printing and the possibility of mass production or, more recently, the IT-revolution and the attendant explosion in storage capacity, the transmission of a Greek or Latin text depended on its being painstakingly […]

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Content and Form

Virgil’s genius manifests itself not least (some would argue: above all) in his supreme mastery of his chosen metre and, especially, in how he uses metre and formal aspects of his poetry more generally to enhance his thematic concerns. Much of Virgil’s sophistication in interrelating content and form eludes the casual reader, and even scholars […]

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296–299  (and beyond): Hell Hath no Fury Like a Woman Scorned

Dido somehow ‘divines’ (297: praesensit) what Aeneas has in mind, loses control of her rational self (she is furens and inops animi), and rages (300: saeuit) and raves (301: bacchatur) through the city, before accosting Aeneas (from 305 onwards). What is the source of her premonition? She seems to rely on her own intuition, and […]

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279–295: The Great Escape

As Hardie notes, ‘the effect of Mercury’s first message on Aeneas had been similar in its incendiary emotional effects to the effect of Fama’s words on Iarbas’[1]—as well as, one may add, to the effect of Fama’s words on Dido (see below 298–301). Aeneas now too has lost his mind (he is amens: 279) and […]

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259–278: Back To The Future

Mercury touches down in Carthage to pass on Jupiter’s orders and get (Aeneas’) destiny back on track. The Homeric model is Hermes’ appearance to Calypso in Odyssey 5, telling the nymph that she has to let the hero go. There is, then, a shift from the clinging host in Homer to the lingering guest in […]

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238–258: Mercury Descending

Mercury’s departure is closely modelled on those of his Homeric counterpart Hermes at Iliad 24.339-48 and Odyssey 5.43-54. This allusive engagement has attracted critical comment since antiquity: see Macrobius, Saturnalia 5.6.11-12. In the Iliad, Zeus sends Hermes to make sure that Priam will arrive safely at the tent of Achilles to ransom the body of […]

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219-237: Jupiter’s Wake-up Call

Jupiter does indeed heed Iarbas’ prayer—just not in the way Iarbas intended him to. Far from engaging with the concerns voiced by his son, Jupiter decides that it is time to issue a wake-up call to our forgetful hero Aeneas, and he instructs his underling Mercury, traditionally responsible for delivering messages from the divine to […]

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Source: https://aeneid4.theclassicslibrary.com/2012/11/