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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That feeling was of course accompanied by another , very different , one - pride and satisfaction at a career of unbroken conquest , which must mean that the gods favoured Rome and had glorified her with the splendours of the world .
In addition we feel the pathos of Aeneas , who is going through such sufferings to create Rome , being given only this indirect glimpse of it , unrecognisable but tantalising . In a similar way , at the end of the same book , he is ...
All the same , we are meant to feel that this is less than a complete exculpation . After the incident in the cave he lives with Dido openly , wearing a cloak of crimson and gold which she has embroidered for him and actually joining ...
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Rome and Arcadia
the Muse in hobnails
The Aeneid and the myth of Rome
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