One of Virgil’s most famous work is the epic poem “Aeneid” that consists of 12 books. Aeneid is written in dactylic hexameter. The main plot of it is the adventure of Aeneas who, after the city of Troy was destroyed, went on a journey.
With this work Virgil wanted to emphasize the greatness of the Roman people and the emperor Augustan. The theme of this epic Virgil found in the legend that sees the Troyans as the ancestors of the Romans who managed to survive the towns fall. The leader Aeneas was the grandfather of the Augustan family. Even though the legend of Aeneas isn’t true, it was considered to be true for a long time because of the Italian Greeks.
It was written in the last decade of Virgil’s life. It was published 2 years after his death. Virgil wanted to burn all of his works but the emperor Augustan stopped him and ordered for the books to be published with no modification.
Virgil was looking for a role model and inspiration in Homer’s works.
The hero of Troy, Aeneas, was the son of Venus, goddess of love. He left him hometown with the other refugees because the Greeks burned it. Jupiter ordered him to sail with 12 ships to Italy where his new country will be. The journey lasted seven years. Aeneas was going through a lot of pain and suffering during the journey. When they were close to the finish line, a great storm occurred because of the order of the king of winds. He gave that order because the goddess Juno told him to do that. He was the protector of the Carthaginians and the enemy of the Troyans. God Neptune saved Aeneas and the Trojans from the storm and sent them to the coast of Libya. The Trojans came across a woman that told them they were near Carthage were queen Dido lived. Venus took care of Dido falling in love with Aeneas.
Dido made a feast for the guests and Aeneas told her everything about the Trojan war. The Greeks were besieging Troy for ten years, and after that, they managed to fool the Trojans and destroy the city. Most of the city was ruined, and the habitants were dead. Amongst them was the king Priam. Because the gods decided that Troy was ruined, he left with his father and son.
Aeneas tell the story of his journey and the places he visited. On his journey, he lost his father. He described his encounter with the harpies and his friend Achates.
This poem is dedicated to the Dido and Aeneas love. Juno wanted for Aeneas to stay in Carthage, so she supported their love. During a great storm, Aenea and Dido hide in a cave and let themselves into the hands of love. But soon their love will experience some difficulties. A messenger tells Aeneas that the god Jupiter wants him to finish what he started. Aeneas listened to him and started preparing ships. Dido must persuade Aeneas to stay with her, but he has to do his job. Dido commits suicide because she couldn’t deal with all of it. While she was dying the ship were sailing out, and she put a curse on the Rome and Carthage. She stated that there would be a great fight between them.
The king waited for the TrojanS on Sicily where the storm led them. Aeneas was preparing a funeral for his father. The angry goddess Juno sends the messenger during the games. She convinced the Trojan women that were exhausted to set their ships on fire. Aeneas asks Jupiter to send some rain, so they save four ships. In his dreams, his father told him to leave all of the women on Sicily because a big battle was waiting for him in Italy.
Aeneas came to the west of Italy, and with the help of goddess Sibyl, he went to the underground. Between the dead, he sees Dido in the shadows and sees her anger and bitterness and also the torture that the sinful souls are exposed to. Between the blessed souls, he meets his father who told him the future of the Roman Empire. Aeneas goes away and carries on with his journey.
The next stop was the river Tiber. With the help of his friends Aeneas asks the ruler of Lazio Latinus to let them found their city. Latinus pleases them and promises the hand of his daughter Lavinia. Goddess Juno wants to stop the marriage, so she convinced Latinus wife and king Turnus to go to war with the Trojans. There was a battle even though Latinus wanted to prevent it. Etruscans joined the war against the Trojans.
The River-God Tiberinus says to Aeneas to go and look for help from Evander. He helped him with 400 horsemen and their leader who was his son, Pallas. Aeneas asked the Tirenians for help also. Along the way, he met his mother Venus who gave him the weapon of god Vulcan. On the weapon, there was the future history of Rome
Juno’s messenger convinced Turnus to attack the shelter of the Trojans. Turnus sank their boats because he saw that they were avoiding the battle. Goddess Cybele appeared and turned the ships into nymphs. Turnus does not stop because of that and continues the fight. The Trojan heroes are looking for Aeneas to let him know about the possibility of failure. Everything ended up tragic for them. They die, and the great battles continued. When they thought that they had surrounded Turnus he jumped into the river Tiber and saved himself.
God Jupiter complained about Venus and Juno who started a war. He decided to let faith decide the end of the battle. The battles continued, and then Aeneas showed up with thirty ships full of allies. Turnus killed Pallas and gets help from Juno. Aeneas killed his son Laos.
A 12 days truce was used to bury the fighters. Pallas father asked Aeneas to get the revenge for his son’s death. Latiuns was still trying to stop the battles. Soon Turnus ally Camilla died in the fighting.
Turnus felt that he was coming to an end so he suggested that he and Aeneas should end their battle with a fight between the two of them. Juno was still influential, so she convinced Latinus to keep on going with the fighting. Aeneas killed Turnus. Jupiter consoles his wife Juno by saying that everything was the fault of the faith.
Publius Vergilius Maro Biography
Publius Vergilius Maro was a Roman poet born 70 BC in North Italy. He did not come from a wealthy family but his father took care of his education. He spent his youth in schools all around Italy, mostly Milan. He studied philosophy, medicine and rhetoric in Rome.
He was shy and didn’t have much success as a public speaker. Because of his shyness he avoided public places and they called him Parthenias. Despite his shyness and quietness he influenced many European writers with his work.
Between 37 and 30 BC he wrote an epic “Georgica”.
He spent his life near Naples and sometimes went to Sicily. He was a well-known writer of the Augustan period and was a fan of ancient Greece poets and philosophers.
He lived in the Augustus palace where he was convinced to write Aeneid. It is consisted of 12 book and 9 896 lines in dactylic hexameter.
He died in Calabria 19 BC. Vergil was buried in Naples.