“The Aeneid”

Virgil (translated by Robert Fagles)

After reading “The Illiad” and “The Odyssey” I had to read Virgil’s story of the flight of Aeneas from the doomed city of Troy and his journey to Italy to found Rome.

It’s common, when visiting art museums, to see classical statues labeled “Roman copy of Greek original”. That’s when kept coming to mind as I read this book. Virgil, writing in the first century AD strove mightily to tie Rome to the ancient (ancient even to him) Greeks. I was almost always aware that it was a poem written to submit to the emperor to glorify Rome rather than a work of art focused on human nature (which is what Homer’s works are).

There are a lot of incidents in “The Aeneid” and some, for instance the fall of Troy and the story of Queen Dido, are satisfying on their own. As a whole, though, it’s like a modern action movie with some great scenes but a lack of character and dramatic pacing.

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