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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Yet this unnamed young man ' was the first to give a favourable response . Again Tityrus is an old man but the reply is to ' boys ' . Ever since antiquity readers have had trouble with this opening passage . The usual course has been to ...
... but a young and beautiful herdsman ( yet ' shepherd of the people ' is a phrase for a ruler familiar ever since Homer , and doubtless the new god is rejuvenated ) ; not a notorious sceptic in religion but a pious devotee of Bacchus ...
However , the young man is carried away and Aeneas drives his sword through the tunic , which his mother had woven with gold thread ( 10.818 ) . The boy dies and Aeneas is harrowed by the sight of his pale face and equally by the ...
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Rome and Arcadia
the Muse in hobnails
The Aeneid and the myth of Rome
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