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1. Is the Aeneid a pro- or anti-Augustan poem?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about whether the Aeneid should be read as a pro- or anti-Augustan, focusing in particular on: (i) the political context: Virgil’s relationship with Maecenas, one of Augustus’ chief political advisors, and Augustus’ claim that he had descended from Aeneas; (ii) the parts of the Aeneid that depict contemporary Roman history, such as the pageant of Roman heroes in Book 6 and the images on the shield of Aeneas in Book 8; (iii) the importance of Book 6 of the Aeneid, in which Aeneas meets the shades of the victims of the story so far (Palinurus, Dido, Deiphobus, etc.) before seeing what the future has in store for him and his descendants; (iv) Otis Brooks’ pro-Augustan reading of Book 6; (v) Anthony Boyle’s anti-Augustan reading of Book 6; (vi) Adam Parry’s view that the Aeneid has both pro- and anti-Augustan elements; and (vii) the importance of Marcellus within the pageant of heroes.
In this course, Dr Sharon Marshall explores Virgil’s Aeneid through five key questions. In the first module, we think about whether the Aeneid should be read as a pro- or anti-Augustan poem. After that, we explore the nature of the relationship between Dido and Aeneas. In the third module, we ask how we (and Aeneas himself?) should interpret the images on the Shield of Aeneas. In the fourth, we think about the figure of Aeneas himself and his attitude towards Rome’s imperial destiny. And finally, in the fifth, we think about the distinctiveness of Roman epic as a whole and the ways in which Virgil engages with the epic tradition as represented not just by Homer, but also by Ennius.
Dr Sharon Marshall is Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter, specialising in Roman epic, love elegy and the Roman novel.
Cite this Lecture
Marshall, S. (2020, January 15). Virgil: Aeneid - Is the Aeneid a pro- or anti-Augustan poem? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/virgil-aeneid-sharon-marshall/is-the-aeneid-a-pro-or-anti-augustan-poem
Marshall, Sharon. "Virgil: Aeneid – Is the Aeneid a pro- or anti-Augustan poem?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Jan 2020, https://massolit.io/courses/virgil-aeneid-sharon-marshall/is-the-aeneid-a-pro-or-anti-augustan-poem