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A VERY few words will suffice for all that has to be said in editing these two books of Vergil.
They have been selected as forming a little episode by themselves, and the selection is so natural and complete that it implies no mutilation of the great whole of which it is a part.
The Introduction contains matter of a kind that could not well be inserted at any particular part of the notes. At the same time it bears special reference to the books under consideration.
The Text of Vergil may be regarded as settled : and the ordinary editions have been followed. Any important variation suggested by modern textual critics has been referred to in the Notes.
The Notes are original as far as notes on an author like Vergil can be said to be so; but the
editor admits his great obligation to the usual sources of information. Besides the more ordinary form of annotations, some attention has been paid to philology and archæology. When illustrative passages are cited, the quotations, as a rule, are given in full. Experience has taught me the necessity of this.
A Map is given as a Frontispiece, containing such places, and such places only, as are mentioned in these two books.
HARROW, Oct. 1881.
E. W. HOWSON.
THE ENEID is the national epic of imperial Rome. It breathes the spirit of her ambition, her pride, her religion, and her greatness. It gathers together in one magnificent whole her legends and traditions, and seeks to explain her origin and foundation. And the hero of the poem is meant to be the național hero of Rome. He is the pattern and sample of what a Roman should be, according to the ideal conceived under the peaceful dominion of the Cæsars. And, seeing that these two books deal so closely with Æneas, something may be said about his name and character.
(a) The name of Eneas is veiled in considerable obscurity. Aineias was one of the titles of Aphrodite, and is generally supposed to mean "the gracious," from aiveîv, to consent. Temples to Aphrodite Aineias were not uncommon, and we find traces of them in Leucas, Actium, Ambracia, Buthrotum, Iapygia, and at Elymus in Sicily. Again we see in the names of Enus, a town at the mouth of the Hebrus, and Aineia, a place in Chalcidice, a similarity of name which can scarcely be altogether accidental. Vergil has made use of these traces, and has worked them into his poem in the two books
before us. Whether they contain genuine allusions to Eneas we cannot be sure; but it is possible that they may, especially as we have allusions in ancient writers to a clan called the Æneadæ, members of which may have visited these places.
(b) The character of Eneas was undoubtedly designed by Vergil to be an embodiment of his heroic ideal. He was to be a type of the national character; and the position he occupies may not unfairly be compared with that of Abraham in Jewish, Siegmund in Teutonic, and Arthur in British, history. His title is pater, and his distinctive epithet is pius. The latter, as is well known, expresses a character which is alert to all the calls of duty, religious, domestic, patriotic. And duty in this sense was virtually the religion of Rome. The character of Æneas as painted by Vergil has met with much severe criticism and even ridicule. He has been assailed as impassive, tame, superstitious, and perfidious, and generally devoid of all the qualities which usually go to make a hero. And true it is that we cannot compare him for dash and interest with the Homeric warriors, such as Achilles or Hector. Still the character contains much that claims our attention and admiration. We must remember that civilisation had done its work since the early times, and that the heroic ideal had consequently changed. Vergil also probably desired to show forth in Æneas the more humane virtues which he reverenced in Augustus. Thus Æneas is the champion of law in opposition to the violence of Turnus. He is distinguished for affection: