(Composed between 30 & 19 BC)
Be alert to the patterns of beginnings and endings for each of the assigned books of the Aeneid.
Be prepared to respond to each of the following queries, and to briefly summarize each assigned book of the Aeneid. To facilitate class discussion always refer to book and line numbers. See the glossary to the Aeneid and also Grimal for handy reminders about characters and places.
BOOK I EPIC BEGINNINGS
1. Who is Aeneas? (N.B. You will be tracing his development as a hero throughout the epic.)
2. What is the first major event of the Aeneid?
3. Who is Juno and why is she furious? How does Virgil describe her fury. Compare the opening lines (1-15 or so) of the Aeneid with those of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
4. Who is Aeolus? (Where have we met him before?) What is his part in Juno’s plan?
6. What does the first simile of the Aeneid (209–216) tell us, and why? Be alert to similies in the Aeneid and their function compared with Homeric similies.
7. Where does Aeneas’ ship land?
8. What do we learn from lines 256–270?
9. Why does Venus supplicate Jupiter? How does Jupiter respond to her? (Who is Venus’ counterpart in the Greek pantheon?)
10. Who is Dido and how does she receive Aeneas and his men?
11. What is her story? Who is Sychaeus? Describe her circumstance when Aeneas arrives.
12. Discuss Venus in conjunction with Dido. How do Ascanius and Cupid figure in the relationship?
BOOK II THE FALL OF
1. Identify and describe in general terms the three main segments of this book.
2. Who is Sinon? Discuss his character.
3. What does Sinon’s role reveal about the Greeks? About the Trojans?
4. Who is Laocoön? What effect does his presence have on the action?
5. What image coils itself around Book two? Discuss in detail the significance of this symbol.
6. Who is Priam and what events are relevant to him?
7. Identify the following:
8. Do all flames burn with equal heat in Book two? ( A consuming question) Be specific in your discussion.
9. How does this book conclude?
BOOK IV THE FATE OF DIDO
BOOK VI THE JOURNEY TO THE UNDERWORLD
BOOK VII THE FIRST STAGES OF WAR IN
• Mezentius (854 ff.)
• Lausus (857-863)
• Camilla (1055-1072)—Compare her with Penthesilea and Dido. Note her shepherd’s staff with the spear head. What is the effect of ending the
book this way?
(NB: Aeneas doesn’t appear at all. Comment.)
BOOK VIII THE FUTURE SITE OF
1. Describe the main purpose of this book.
What is the function of the god of the
3. Who is Evander and what is his relation to Hercules?
4. Do you sense any parallels between Hercules and Aeneas? Be specific. Cite relevant lines.
5. Who is Cacus and what is his significance?
6. What transpires during the interlude among the gods?
7. Describe the shield of Aeneas. Is Book VI relevant in any way to the events depicted on the shield? Who creates the shield?
8. What are the differences between the shield of Aeneas at the shield of Achilleus at Iliad 18? What do these differences tell us about the purposes of the two epics?
BOOK XII THE DEATH OF TURNUS
1. The Italians have experienced their second military defeat. XII takes place during that night and the following day. Outline the three large sections of XII, summarizing the events at 1–422, 423–927, and 928–1271.
2. What is the importance of the description with which Virgil opens XII? How is it related to Book I?
3. Who is Juturna and what is her significance?
4. How does Virgil portray Aeneas at 423?
5. What is Turnus’ reaction to the news reported by the wounded messenger at 886 and the few following (ff) lines? How do Turnus’ words to Juturna confirm the simile at XI.643?
6. What are we to make of men who throw stones? Turnus has this nasty habit in common with Hercules (see VIII.309 ff.), and yet acts like Cacus. This is getting confusing. How can you explain it to your instructor?
7. Is Aeneas still a pawn of destiny, pious and dutiful to the end?
8. For such a complex epic, the Aeneid ends rather abruptly. . .or does it? Offer an interpretation of lines 1252–1272. What is the final focus? Why?
9. Compare the ending of the Aeneid to the ending of the Iliad.