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Prominence given to his double purpose in the statement of
the subject of the poem
The Aeneid a new type of epic poetry.
III. Place assigned to Augustus in the Aeneid
Augustus the typical embodiment of Roman imperialism
Meaning given by Virgil to his relation to Aeneas
Imaginative and ethical value of the idea on which the
I. General character of the action as affected by the Age in
Interest to Roman readers of the revival of Homeric life
Inferiority to Homer in exhibiting a vivid image of life
Virgil's representation an artistic compromise
II. Supernatural Agencies, Observances, and Beliefs in the
Part played by the Olympian Divinities in the Aeneid.
Survivals of primitive religious worship in the Aeneid.
Worship of the dead
Virgil's 'Inferno '
His exact acquaintance with religious ceremonial
III. Political and Social Life, etc. as represented in the
Idea of a Paternal Government in the Aeneid
Sense of majesty attaching to Government
Relation of States to one another
IV. Conception and Delineation of Character in the Aeneid 395-408
Weakness of dramatic imagination in Virgil
Conception and delineation of Aeneas.
THE ROMAN POETS OF THE
THE Augustan Age, regarded as a critical epoch in the history of the world, extends from the date of the battle of Actium, when Octavianus became undisputed master of the world, to his death in the year 14 A.D. But the age known by that name as a great epoch in the history of literature begins some years earlier, and ends with the death of Livy and Ovid in the third year of the following reign. Of the poets belonging to that age whose writings have reached modern times-Virgil, Horace, Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid-all were born, and some had reached manhood, before the final overthrow of the Republic at the battle of Philippi. The earlier poems of Virgil and Horace belong to the period between that date and the establishment of the Empire. The age of the Augustan poets may accordingly be regarded as extending from about the death of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. to the death of Ovid 17 A.D.
The whole of this period was one of great literary activity, especially in the department of poetry. Besides the writers just mentioned, several others were recognised by their contemporaries as poets of high excellence, though there is no reason to doubt that the works which have reached our time were the
most distinguished by original genius and finished execution. These works, though differing much in spirit and character as well as in value, have some common characteristics which mark them off from the literature of the Republic. It seems remarkable, if we consider the short interval which divides the Ciceronian from the Augustan Age, and the enthusiasm with which poetry was cultivated by the younger generation in the years immediately preceding the battle of Pharsalia, that so few of the poets eminent in that generation lived on into the new era. The insignificant name of Helvius Cinna is almost the only poetic link between the age of Catullus and the age of Virgil'. Perhaps, also, the Quintilius whose death Horace laments in the twenty-fourth Ode of Book I. may be the Varus of the tenth poem of Catullus. The more famous name of Asinius Pollio also connects the two eras; but in Catullus he is spoken of, not as a poet, but simply as 'a youth of wit and graceful accomplishments 2, and in his later career he was more distinguished as a soldier, statesman, and orator than as a poet. It is remarked by Mr. Munro that there are indications that the new generation of poets would have come into painful collision with those of the preceding generation had their lives been prolonged. This spirit of hostility appears in the somewhat contemptuous notice of Calvus and Catullus in the Satires of Horace :
Quos neque pulcher
Hermogenes unquam legit, neque simius iste
Nil praeter Calvum et doctus cantare Catullum 5
But it is rather in their political feelings and relations, and in the views of life arising out of these, than in the principles and practice of their art, that the new poets are separated from, and
Disertus puer ac facetiarum.' Catullus xii. 8.
3 The name of Trebatius also, though one associated with law rather than literature, may be added as a connecting link between the friends of Cicero and of Horace.
+ Munro's Lucretius, Introduction to Notes, ii. page 305.
These writers your fine Hermogenes never reads, nor that ape, whose whole art is to repeat the songs of Calvus and Catullus.' Hor. Sat. i. io. 17-19.
RELATION TO EARLIER POETRY
antagonistic to, the old. Had Calvus and Catullus survived the extinction of liberty, it would have been impossible for them to have adopted the tone of the poets of the following age. By birth, position, and all their associations and sympathies, they belonged to the Senatorian party. If they could have yielded an outward submission to the ascendency of Julius Caesar and Augustus, they never could have become sincerely reconciled to the new order of things, nor could they have employed their art to promote the ideas of the Empire. On the other hand, L. Varius, the oldest among the poets of the new era, seems first to have become famous by a poem on the death of Julius Caesar. Virgil, in the poem placed first in order among his acknowledged works, speaks of Octavianus in language which no poet of the preceding generation could have applied to a living contemporary: O Meliboeus, it was a God that gave to me this life of ease.' In the Georgics, planned, and, for the most part, composed before the establishment of the monarchy, the person of Caesar is introduced, not only as the centre of power in the world, but as an object of religious veneration; and the national and ethical teaching of that poem is entirely in harmony with the objects of his policy. And, although Horace in the Satires and Epodes, composed between the years 40 and 30 B.C., is so far true to the cause of his youth as to abstain from any direct declaration of adherence to the winning side, yet he attributes to his adviser Trebatius the counsel 'to celebrate the exploits of the invincible Caesar';' and his whole relation to Maecenas is one of the most characteristic marks of the position in which the new literature stood to the State and to its leading men.
Yet, while separated from the literature of the Republic in many of its ideas, and in the personal and political feelings on which it is founded, the poetry of the Augustan Age is, in form and execution, the mature development of the efforts of the previous centuries. Much of its literary inspiration is derived from the age immediately preceding it, and from still older 1 Hor. Sat. ii. I. II.