On 2 September 31 B.C.E., the heir of Julius Caesar defeated the forces of Antony and Cleopatra in a naval engagement at Actium. Despite the varied judgments this battle received in antiquity, common opinion held that Actium marked the start of a new era, a turning point in Roman history and, indeed, in Western civilization.
Actium and Augustus marks a turning point as well. Robert Alan Gurval's unusual approach is to examine contemporary views of the battle and its immediate political and social consequences. He starts with a consideration of the official celebration and public commemoration of the Actian victory and then moves on to other questions. What were the "Actian" monuments that Octavian erected on the battle site and later in Rome? What role did the Actian victory play in the political formation of the Principate and its public ideology? What was the response of contemporary poetry? Throughout, this volume concentrates on contemporary views of Actium and its results.
Written to include the general reader, Actium and Augustus presents a thoughtful examination of a complex period. All Greek and Latin quotations are translated, and extensive illustrations present graphic evidence about the issues Romans faced.
Robert Alan Gurval is Associate Professor of Classics, University of California, Los Angeles, and has been a recipient of the Rome Prize awarded by the American Academy in Rome.
Virgil University of Chicago Press, 2017 Library of Congress PA6807.A5F47 2017 | Dewey Decimal 873.01
“I sing of arms and the man . . . ”
So begins the Aeneid, greatest of Western epic poems. Virgil’s story of the journey of Aeneas has been a part of our cultural heritage for so many centuries that it’s all too easy to lose sight of the poem itself—of its brilliantly cinematic depiction of the sack of Troy; the monstrous hunger of the harpies; the intensity of Dido’s love for the hero, and the blackness of her despair; and the violence that Aeneas and his men must endure before they can settle in Italy and build the civilization whose roots we still claim as our own.
This new translation brings Virgil’s masterpiece newly to life for English-language readers. It’s the first in centuries crafted by a translator who is first and foremost a poet, and it is a glorious thing. David Ferry has long been known as perhaps our greatest contemporary translator of Latin poetry, his translations of Virgil’s Eclogues and Georgics having established themselves as much-admired standards. He brings to the Aeneid the same genius, rendering Virgil’s formal metrical lines into an English that is familiar and alive. Yet in doing so, he surrenders none of the feel of the ancient world that resonates throughout the poem, and gives it the power that has drawn readers to it for centuries. In Ferry’s hands, the Aeneid becomes once more a lively, dramatic poem of daring and adventure, of love and loss, of devotion and death. Never before have Virgil’s twin gifts of poetic language and urgent, compelling storytelling been presented so powerfully for English-language readers. Ferry’s Aeneid will be a landmark, a gift to longtime lovers of Virgil, and the perfect entry point for new readers.
“Aurora rose, spreading her pitying light,
And with it bringing back to sight the labors
Of sad mortality, what men have done,
And what has been done to them; and what they must do
The ships are ready to sail. The journey, from the fall of Troy to the birth of Rome, is about to begin. Join us.
The Aeneid of Virgil
Virgil University of Michigan Press, 1995 Library of Congress PA6807.A5M38 1995 | Dewey Decimal 873.01
Called "the best poem by the best poet," Virgil's Aeneid is perhaps the most famous work in Latin literature. It tells the story of Rome's founding by the Trojan prince Aeneas after many years of travel, and it contains many of the most famous stories about the Trojan War. It also reveals much of what the Romans felt and believed about themselves- the sensitive reader will see that these same values and issues often trouble us today.
In this new translation Edward McCrorie has performed the difficult task of rendering Virgil's compact, dense Latin into fine, readable, modern English verse. The sometimes complex text is made clear and comprehensible even for first-time readers, and a glossary of names helps identify characters and place-names in the poem. The translation is well suited for students at all levels, and readers already familiar with Virgil will find many fresh images and ideas.
"A brilliant effort."--Robert Bly
"I admire the ambition of the project, and the generosity of many of the lines."--Robert Fagles
Edward McCrorie is Professor of English, Providence College. His poetry and translations of Latin verse have been widely published.
“John Shields's book is a provocative challenge to the venerable Adamic myth so exhaustively deployed in examinations of early American literature and in American studies. Moreover, The American Aeneas builds wonderfully on Shields's considerable work on Phillis Wheatley. “?—American Literature??
“The American Aeneas should be of interest to classicists and American studies scholars alike.” ?—The New England Quarterly??
John Shields exposes a significant cultural blindness within American consciousness. Noting the biblical character Adam as an archetype who has long dominated ideas of what it means to be American, Shields argues that an equally important component of our nation’s cultural identity—a secular one deriving from the classical tradition—has been seriously neglected.??Shields shows how Adam and Aeneas—Vergil’s hero of the Aeneid— in crossing over to American from Europe, dynamically intermingled in the thought of the earliest American writers. Shields argues that uncovering and acknowledging the classical roots of our culture can allay the American fear of “pastlessness” that the long-standing emphasis on the Adamic myth has generated.
John C. Shields is the editor of The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley and the author of The American Aeneas: Classical Origins of the American Self, which won a Choice Outstanding Academic Book award and an honorable mention in the Harry Levin Prize competition, sponsored by the American Comparative Literature Association.
Latin epics such as Virgil’s Aeneid, Lucan’s Civil War, and Statius’s Thebaid addressed Roman aristocrats whose dealings in gifts, favors, and payments defined their conceptions of social order. In The Commerce of War, Neil Coffee argues that these exchanges play a central yet overlooked role in epic depictions of Roman society.
Tracing the collapse of an aristocratic worldview across all three poems, Coffee highlights the distinction they draw between reciprocal gift giving among elites and the more problematic behaviors of buying and selling. In the Aeneid, customary gift and favor exchanges are undermined by characters who view human interaction as short-term and commodity-driven. The Civil War takes the next logical step, illuminating how Romans cope once commercial greed has supplanted traditional values. Concluding with the Thebaid, which focuses on the problems of excessive consumption rather than exchange, Coffee closes his powerful case that these poems constitute far-reaching critiques of Roman society during its transition from republic to empire.
During the decades following the English civil wars, British poets seeking to make sense of lingering political instabilities turned to Virgil’s Georgics. This ancient poem betrays deep ambivalences about war, political power, and empire, and such poets as Andrew Marvell, John Dryden, and Anne Finch found in these attitudes valuable ways of responding to the uncertainties of their own time. Composed during a period of brutal conflict in Rome, Virgil’s agricultural poem distrusts easy stability, urging its readers to understand that lasting peace must be sowed, tended, reaped, and replanted, year after year. Like the ancient poet, who famously depicted a farmer’s scythe suddenly recast as a sword, the poets discussed in Cultivating Peace imagine states of peace and war to be fundamentally and materially linked. In distinct ways, they dismantle the dream of the golden age renewed, proposing instead that peace must be sustained by constant labor.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
One of the best books ever written on one of humanity’s greatest epics, W. R. Johnson’s classic study of Vergil’s Aeneid challenges centuries of received wisdom. Johnson rejects the political and historical reading of the epic as a record of the glorious prehistory of Rome and instead foregrounds Vergil’s enigmatic style and questioning of the heroic myths.
With an approach to the text that is both grounded in scholarship and intensely personal, and in a style both rhetorically elegant and passionate, Johnson offers readings of specific passages that are nuanced and suggestive as he focuses on the “somber and nourishing fictions” in Vergil’s poem. A timeless work of scholarship, Darkness Visible will enthrall classicists as well as students and scholars of the history of criticism—specifically the way in which politics influence modern readings of the classics—and of poetry and literature.
What does it mean to “know” what a work of fiction tells us? In Vergil’s Aeneid, the promise and uncertainty of fama convey this challenge. Expansive and flexible, the Latin word fama can mean “fame,” long-lasting “tradition,” and useful “news,” but also ephemeral “rumor” and disruptive “scandal.” Fama is personified as a horrifying winged goddess who reports the truth while keeping an equally tight grip on what’s distorted or made up. Fama reflects the ways talk—or epic song—may merge past and present, human and divine, things remembered and things imagined.
Most importantly, fama marks the epic’s power to bring its story world into our own. The cognitive dynamics of metaphor share in this power, blending the Aeneid’s poetic authority with the imagined force of the gods. Characters and readers are encouraged—even impelled— to seek divine order amidst unsettling words and visions by linking new experiences with existing knowledge. Transformative moments of recognition set the perceptual stage both for the gods’ commands and for the epic’s persuasive efficacy, for pietas (remembrance of ritual and social obligations) and furor (madness).
Antonia Syson’s sensitive close readings offer fresh insights into questions of fictive knowledge and collective memory in the Aeneid. These perspectives invite readers to reconsider some of the epistemological premises underlying inquiry into ancient cultures. Drawing comparisons with the nineteenth-century English novel, Syson highlights continuities between two narrative genres whose cultural contributions and rhetorical claims have often seemed sharply opposed.
Finding Italy explores the journey of the Romans’ ancestor Aeneas and his fellow Trojans from their old home, Troy, to their new country, Italy, narrated in Vergil’s epic poem Aeneid. K. F. B. Fletcher argues that a main narrative theme is patriotism, specifically the problem of how one comes to love one’s new country. The various directions Aeneas receives throughout the first half of the poem are meant to create this love, explaining both to Aeneas and to Vergil’s readers how they should respond to the new, unified Italy synonymous with Rome. These directions come from the gods, or from people close to Aeneas who have divine connections, and they all serve to instill an emotional connection to the land, creating a mental image of Italy that tells him far more about his destination than merely its location, and ultimately making him fall in love with Italy enough to fight for it soon after his arrival. The poem thus dramatizes the birth of nationalism, as Italy is only a concept to Aeneas throughout his trip; these directions do not describe Italy as it is at the time of Aeneas’ journey, but as an ideal to be realized by Aeneas and his descendants, reaching its final, perfect form under Augustus Caesar.
Finding Italy provides a very detailed reading of the directions Aeneas receives by situating them within their relevant contexts: ancient geography, Greek colonization narratives, prophecy, and ancient views of wandering. Vergil draws on all of these concepts to craft instructions that create in Aeneas an attachment to Italy before he ever arrives, a process that dramatizes a key emotional problem in the late first century BCE in the wake of the Social and Civil Wars: how to balance the love of one's modest birthplace with the love of Rome, the larger city that now encompasses it.
The first-century CE North African philosopher Cornutus lived in Rome as a philosopher and is best known today for his surviving work Greek Theology, which explores the origins and names of the Greek gods. However, he was also interested in the language and literature of the poets Persius and Lucan and wrote one of the first commentaries on Virgil. This book collects and translates all of our evidence for Cornutus for the first time and includes the first published English translation of Greek Theology. This collection offers entirely fresh insight into the intellectual world of the first century.
Translation based on the latest critical text
The first truly holistic picture of Cornutus’s intellectual profile
A new account of the early debate over Aristotle’s Categories and the Stoic contribution to it
In this series of interrelated essays, treating Ovil, Virgil, St. Augustine, Henrich von Morungen, Chretien de Troyes, Dante, Langland, and Chaucer, the author explores the ways in which medieval authors and their Roman predecessors used the image of the mirror both as instrument and metaphor. The essays individually provide fresh insights into the texts and issues discussed and, taken together, provide new perspectives on medieval culture and the ways it anticipated problems that plague our own.
Now through a Glass Darkly brings both traditional medievalist and postmodernist approaches to bear in its attempt to understand both the powers and the limits of verbal art. Nolan explores the ways medieval writers and their Roman predecessors used formal and thematic mirrors to examine the implications of alterity in the face of similarity, arguing that these preoccupations were as central to the medieval sensibility as they are to our own. Now through a Glass Darkly frames several of the key issues in the current debate over the continued viability (or not) of the inherited canon of Western culture, such as the question whether there is any meaning at all to be rescued from such notions as “coherence” or “tradition” in Western literature.
Now through a Glass Darkly will appeal to the educated generalist interested in the relationships between literature and its surrounding intellectual and cultural contexts as well as to those more specifically interested in medieval poetry and poetics. For medievalists and those who work at the intersection of critical theory and medieval literature, Now through a Glass Darkly will be of critical importance.
Departing from conventional views of the pastoral genre as an Arcadian escape from urban sophistication, The Pipes of Pan highlights its genesis in the allusive and polemical literary cultures of Alexandria and Rome. Both cities placed great emphasis upon learned invocation and reformulation of poetic models. The pastoral metaphor provided Theocritus and Vergil with tools for representing the contests and confrontations of poets and genres, the exchange of ideas among poets, and poets' reflections on the efficacy of their works.
Pastoral poetry highlights the didactic relationship of older and younger shepherds, whether as rivals or as patron and successor. As such it is an ideal form for young poets' self-representation vis-à-vis their elders, whose work they simultaneously appropriated and transformed, even as the elder poets were represented in the new texts. This influence is reenacted in every generation: Theocritus vs. his Alexandrian forebears, Vergil vs. Theocritus, Calpurnius vs. Vergil, Nemesianus vs. Vergil and Calpurnius, Petrarch vs. Vergil, Boccaccio vs. Petrarch, Spenser vs. Vergil, along with Chaucer and Milton vs. Spenser.
The Pipes of Pan combines multiple strands of contemporary intertextual theory with reception aesthetics and Harold Bloom's theory of intersubjective conflict between generations of poets. It also provides one of the first systematic studies of intertextual and intersubjective dynamics within a whole genre.
This work will be of interest to classicists, students of literary theory, comparative literature, medieval and Renaissance literature, Italian humanism, and English literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. All texts are translated.
Thomas Hubbard is Associate Professor of Classics, University of Texas at Austin.
Reading after Actium is a study of Vergil's Georgics, a didactic poem ostensibly about farming but in fact a brilliant exercise challenging readers to develop a broader perspective on the basic problems and the dangers of human life. Octavian is treated as one of the poet's students and given the opportunity to learn lessons in handling power, in controlling Rome's vast resources, and in preventing the bloody cycle of civil war from beginning again. Most of all the Georgics asks Octavian to consider what is involved in assuming godlike power over his fellow citizens.
Reading after Actium provides an introduction to the history of scholarship surrounding the Georgics and the political questions surrounding Octavian and his career. Nappa gives a book by book analysis of the entire poem, and a conclusion that draws together the themes of the whole. Reading after Actium will appeal to students and critics of Vergil and other Augustan Literature as well as those of didactic poetry and its traditions. Students of Roman history and politics should read this as well.
Christopher Nappa is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Minnesota.
There has long been vital interest in the ways that texts affect each other--through translation, imitation, parody, and other forms of emulation and subversion. Throughout the last two millennia, the Virgilian text has created its own intertextual heritage, persisting in the works of Eliot, Frost, Lowell, and Heaney. Richard F. Thomas's new volume demonstrates that such control and manipulation of the inherited tradition is to be found with great intensity in the very author who, in turn, created his own complex tradition.
The articles and notes included in this volume have been selected for their diachronic aspect in addition to the synchronic status they had in their original context. Dealing with the intricate ways in which Virgil, and in the introductory chapter his predecessor Catullus, manipulated and appropriated their inherited Greek and Roman literary tradition, this book presents a coherent profile, through these detailed studies, of the mechanics of one of the most dynamic periods in the literary history of any culture.
Richard Thomas--one of the most important voices in Latin literary studies today--shows little anxiety about objections to authorial intentionality. Throughout there is a working assumption that intertextual connections can be established and, further, that functions and purposes, even intended ones, may be inferred from those connections.
This book will be of interest to scholars and students of Greek and Latin literature but will also be of great value to students of medieval, Renaissance, and early modern vernacular literatures, most of whose poets see themselves as closely connected to Virgil.
Richard F. Thomas is Professor of Greek and Latin, Harvard University.
In The Revelation of Imagination, William Franke attempts to focus on what is enduring and perennial rather than on what is accommodated to the agenda of the moment. Franke’s book offers re-actualized readings of representative texts from the Bible, Homer, and Virgil to Augustine and Dante. The selections are linked together in such a way as to propose a general interpretation of knowledge. They emphasize, moreover, a way of articulating the connection of humanities knowledge with what may, in various senses, be called divine revelation. This includes the sort of inspiration to which poets since Homer have typically laid claim, as well as that proper to the biblical tradition of revealed religion. The Revelation of Imagination invigorates the ongoing discussion about the value of humanities as a source of enduring knowledge.
As the most widely read Roman poem in antiquity, the Aeneid was indelibly burned into the memories of generations of Roman school children. In her new book, Yasmin Syed analyzes the formative influence the poem exerted on its broad audience of educated Romans. Syed analyzes Roman pedagogy and reading practices as well as ancient beliefs about the powerful influence of poetry. Her study considers these cultural components together with the aspects of identity that define the Aeneid's characters. By doing so, Syed shows how Vergil's ancient audiences saw themselves---their experiences, goals, and values---reflected in the poem and guided by it. In particular, Syed's treatment of gender and ethnicity brings to light the key role of Vergil's poem in the formation of Romanity.
Yasmin Syed is Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley.
James Joyce’s Ulysses is a modern version of Homer’s Odyssey, but Joyce—who was a better scholar of Latin than of Greek—also was deeply influenced by the Aeneid, Virgil’s epic poem about the journey of Aeneas and the foundation of Rome.
Joyce wrote Ulysses during the Irish War of Independence, when militants, politicians, and intellectuals were attempting to create a new Irish nation. Virgil wrote the Aeneid when, in the wake of decades of civil war, Augustus was founding what we now call the Roman Empire. Randall Pogorzelski applies modern theories of nationalism, intertextuality, and reception studies to illuminate how both writers confronted issues of nationalism, colonialism, political violence, and freedom during times of crisis.