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Classics & Ancient History   >   Virgil: Aeneid: Book 12


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Virgil: Aeneid: Book 12

In this course, Professor Llewelyn Morgan (University of Oxford) explores Book 12 of Virgil's Aeneid, with a particular focus on lines 1-106 and 614-727. In the first three modules, we think about the figures of Turnus and Aeneas, first separately, and then together. In the fourth module, we think about some other characters in Book 12 – namely, Amata, Latinus and Lavinia – before moving on in the fifth module to think about the connected themes of fate and delay. Finally, in the sixth module, we provide close readings of five passages of Latin: (i) lines 85-86 (Turnus' charioteers prepare the horses for battle); (ii) lines 638-40 (Turnus reflects on the death of Murranus); (iii) lines 25-26 (Latinus asks Turnus to listen to him); (iv) lines 614-19 (Turnus loses vigour on the battlefield, then hears the clamour of war in the distance); and (v) lines 662-4 (Saces asks Turnus why he is not in the thick of battle).


In this module, we think about the presentation of Turnus in Book 12 of the Aeneid, focusing in particular on: (i) the extent to which Turnus is presented as a worthy opponent for Aeneas; (ii) the fact that Turnus is not presented in any straightforward way as a villain; (iii) the significance of the fact that the very first word of Book 12 is 'Turnus'; (iv) the importance of the opening scene of Book 12 in which Turnus resists the pleas of his mother and father and takes responsibility for his own actions; (v) the simile at lines 4-9, in which Turnus is compared to a wounded lion, especially its connection with a similar simile in Book 20 of the Iliad, and the fact that the lion in the simile is wounded by a 'bandit' or 'robber' (Latin: latronis); (vi) the question of whether we are to see Turnus as a second Achilles or a second Hector – or a bit of both; (vii) the importance of Turnus' sister Juturna in emphasising Turnus' status as a proto-Roman; and (viii) the extent to which Turnus is a devotus.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Morgan, L. (2022, February 07). Virgil: Aeneid: Book 12 - Turnus [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morgan, L. "Virgil: Aeneid: Book 12 – Turnus." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Feb 2022,


Prof. Llewelyn Morgan

Prof. Llewelyn Morgan

University of Oxford