Fantasy Eliot, Charles W. (editor): Harvard Classics 13: Virgil's Aeneid. v1, 29 Apr 07
#1  RWood 04-29-2007, 06:45 PM
Back to the ancient world again for one of the greatest epics ever written. Octavian, who had defeated Antony in 31 BC and upon whom the title "Augustus" had been bestowed four years later by the Roman Senate, pressed Virgil to write an epic to praise his regime.

From Wikipedia:
Virgil responded with the Aeneid, the writing of which took up the last ten years of his life. The first six books of the epic tell how the Trojan hero Aeneas escapes from the sacking of Troy and makes his way to Italy. On the voyage, a storm drives him to the coast of Carthage, where the queen Dido, welcomes him, and under the influence of the gods falls deeply in love with him. Jupiter recalls Aeneas to his duty, however, and he slips away from Carthage, leaving Dido to commit suicide, cursing Aeneas as revenge. On reaching Cumae, in Italy, Aeneas consults the Cumaean Sibyl, who conducts him through the Underworld and reveals his destiny to him. Aeneas is reborn as the creator of Imperial Rome.

The six books (of "first writing") are modeled on Homer’s Odyssey, but the last six are the Roman answer to the Iliad. Aeneas is betrothed to Lavinia, daughter of King Latinus, but Lavinia had already been promised to Turnus, the king of the Rutulians, who is roused to war by the Fury Allecto. The Aeneid ends with a single combat between Aeneas and Turnus, whom Aeneas defeats and kills, spurning his plea for mercy.
Thus all the glory and sweep of Homer but with far more realistic characters.

A side note in passing, this marks the 10% point in the MobileRead series of Harvard Classics.
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#2  Bob Russell 04-29-2007, 06:56 PM
10% already is awesome! While I am lacking time to read at the moment, I am zealously snatching them up as they appear, for a later date!!!

#3  RWood 04-29-2007, 09:14 PM
For those folks who may not remember or missed the early posts about the Harvard Classics before I started converting them to LRF and posting them at MobileRead, Bob was the one that encouraged me to do it and has been a great supporter of the project since its inception. Also Alex, NatCh, HarryT, and others have lent their support and encouragement. To all of you, thanks.

#4  UncleDuke 05-02-2007, 01:16 PM
i think of it as the roman version of the odyssey

#5  HarryT 05-02-2007, 02:18 PM
Quote UncleDuke
i think of it as the roman version of the odyssey
That's exactly what it is - Virgil was "inspired" (read "stole huge chunks of" ) both the Odyssey and the Iliad. The Aeneid is in 24 books - the first 12 are a rip-off of "The Odyssey", the last 12 of "The Iliad".

That doesn't make it any less of a great poem, obviously!

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