The Aeneid Themes

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The Aeneid quickly achieved a preeminent position in Latin literature and eventually in world literature and culture. Thanks to the Aeneid's enormous popularity and its immediate adoption as a school text, it became the standard for the epic in Western Europe. The work of Virgil's predecessors was almost completely lost. For these reasons it is difficult to properly appreciate Virgil's originality. The early Roman epics of Naevius and Ennius were essentially history, at times current events, written in the epic form. Virgil's Aeneid is equally concerned with Roman history, but handles it in a radically different way.

To handle both the flaws and the real, if frustrated, virtues and promise of the Roman way, Virgil used a legend for the main line of narrative in the Aeneid. History was relegated to digressions. In the Aeneid, legend was treated like real life, history was insinuated into prophecy, visions...

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This section contains 1,925 words
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Buy The Aeneid Study Guide
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Epics for Students
The Aeneid from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.