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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In making himself a mouthpiece for such wide - spread emotions he turned his back on the ideals of the previous generation of poets . For Catullus and his friends prided themselves on their elitism , on their superiority to the ideas ...
In all three works of Virgil we shall find the theme of political power and armed force in their relation to the life of the intellect and the emotions , of philosophy , the arts and love . The poet's thought did not remain unchanging ...
... 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 is on her emotions , not on his .
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Rome and Arcadia
the Muse in hobnails
The Aeneid and the myth of Rome
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