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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He must also have felt apprehensions , not only about the ruler's survival ( Augustus had weak health and was not expected to live to the great age which he in fact achieved ) but also about his intentions . The epic would celebrate his ...
There will be no such union between the middle - aged Aeneas and youthful Lavinia - a fact underlined when her mother , Queen Amata , hangs herself in despair at the thought of Aeneas marrying her daughter ( 12.593ff . ) .
Instead he makes it clear that Aeneas might have let him live but , in fact , killed him in an access of passion . Parcere subiectis , he was told in the Sixth book ( ʻspare the defeated ) . Romans were aware , at least in theory ...
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Rome and Arcadia
the Muse in hobnails
The Aeneid and the myth of Rome
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