Thursday, September 27, 2012

Another Rip Off by the Romans

Ok, so it was plainly obvious in our class discussion with Mr. Williams today that there were many examples of the Romans adopting or basically ripping off ideas from more advanced societies such as the Greeks. We also noted that this included literature, citing similarities between Homer's two epics and Virgil's Aeneid in regards to meter (dactylic hexameter), situations, etc.

I've found another similarity regarding the characters of Odysseus  and Aeneas in that they both need to persuade others by simply going by their word. Odysseus crafty personality causes him to withhold his reasons for why he and his men should do the things they do. He expects his men to simply follow him based on his word. This however proves to be a great flaw in Odysseus and proves detrimental to his journey to return home, namely when he does not explain why his men should not open the bag of winds, which gets opened by the men in spite of Odysseus' secrecy and blows them off course.

It is likewise in the Aeneid, that his divine knowledge provided to him by Venus, forces him to convince others, telling them to simply trust him. In the case of Dido, his word doesn't seem to be enough, and when he leaves her, despite telling her that he must follow the order of the gods to do so, she commits suicide and curses Aeneas and his descendants to forever quarrel with her people in Carthage, the allusion to the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage. So it would seem that this secret knowledge, similar to the knowledge Odysseus received from a divine regarding the wind bag, is a similar cause of trouble in the story as in The Odyssey.

So to summarize, the knowledge which both possess but cannot or will not explain ultimately lead to future trouble. So I guess the Romans just ripped that little motif off as well from the Greeks.

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