Virgil lived through the fall of the Roman Republic and the establishment of the Empire. In his poems we see a series of attempts, increasingly ambitious in scale and conception, to combine technical brilliance and beauty with profound meditation on the nature of imperialism and the relation of the individual to the State. From short pastoral poems on love and song he progressed to the heroic myth of the founding of Rome. "The Aeneid", immediately recognised as the greatest masterpiece of Latin literature, has had incalculable influence on European literature in the two thousand years since it was first published.
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For the funeral of the young prince , Pallas Aeneas sends two cloaks of crimson , embroidered with gold , ' which once Dido had made for him , happy at her work ' ( 11.73-4 ) . The two words laeta laborum repay lingering : they show us ...
Dido called this , says Virgil , a wedding - and clearly not without some grounds . Yet when Aeneas is challenged by her , he can say with truth that he never went through a proper marriage ceremony ( 4.338-9 ) .
The reader is not meant to feel that Aeneas does not love Dido - when she collapses at the end of her next speech of passionate denunciation , he ' groans , his heart shaken by the greatness of his love ' ( 4.395 ) - but the spotlight ...
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Rome and Arcadia
the Muse in hobnails
The Aeneid and the myth of Rome
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