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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Virgil follows it in the Second with something rather simpler : an unhappy lover sits and bewails his plight to the rustic scenery . Theocritean models are clear . But here too something has changed ; for Virgil replaces the pretty ...
The surprise for the reader comes in what follows . For the climax of this long list of gods – Bacchus , Ceres , Neptune , Pan , Minerva and the rest – is Octavian , who receives an invocation of the same length ( 19 lines ) as all ...
... not only the chilling sacrifice of Turnus by the goddess who originally stirred him up to fight but also the statement that Rome will actually outdo the gods in virtue . What can it mean ? We get a hint in what immediately follows .
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Rome and Arcadia
the Muse in hobnails
The Aeneid and the myth of Rome
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