Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Aeneid ties in actual history to its plot

I found it interesting how so many of the events that we have read in the story seem to tie in with actual wars and events in Roman history.  For example, Aeneas escapes Troy and flees to Italy in order to escape the Trojan War.  The night Aeneas leaves is the night the Greeks sneak in with the Trojan Horse.  On his way to Italy, Aeneas and his crew are forced to stop in Carthage due to a storm over sea.  There, Aeneas and the queen Dido of Carthage fall in love.  The gods come and tell Aeneas to get back on track on his mission to establish a city in italy.  Aeneas ends up leaving Carthage and Dido behind which angers her.  She curses him as she kills herself hoping that his city will be destroyed.  Later, a war called the Punic Wars if fought where Carthage and Rome fight.  There are several references to wars which tie into the plot of the epic poem.


Lindsay A said...

Well, if it was written to give Romans a history - and a history that is modeled off mythology - then explaining real events in Roman history makes sense. Mythology was always used to explain events that did not have a clear reason (such as the Greek's belief in Zeus causing lightning). Virgil is writing the mythological story of Aeneas in order to explain where the Romans came from.

Tyler Dean said...

Yeah, Virgil included all of that for he purpose of tracing back roman lineage to the time of the Greeks. As Mr. William said, the Greeks thought Romans and their society was primitive, so the Romans had to come up with a way to trace their history back to the time of the Greeks, giving them a connection to the advanced Greek society. You have to remember that this epic ad others in the time were commissioned by Augustus to increase the fame and power of the Romans, so the reasoning for the epic makes complete sense.