Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    does anyone have a good point to argue that it is Not a political poem?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Well it isn't purely for propaganda, it is also written for:

    - Entertainment
    - Cultural reasons - the Romans had something of an inferiority complex to the Greeks - they wanted to be as cultured as they were but in their own style. Hence the take on epic poetry.
    - Fame. Virgil wanted to impress his peers.

    Obviously there are political elements in it, but I wouldn't say it was a 'political poem'.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    The last person to write an epic in Latin before Virgil was Ennius - and his style is nowhere near as sophisticated as Virgil's. What Virgil is trying to do is to take a Greek style and adapt it to latin poetry: that's a poetical statement, not a political one.

    Consider also the magnificence of his character analysis and depth of appreciation for the minutiae of life. I'm doing Book X for A level - a massive part of that is a discussion of the meaning of pietas, mercy in warfare, what war does to people, ideas, social mores... It's an analysis of life, death and the transition from one to the other. Very little of this is even indirectly relevant to the propaganda point, let alone necessary to prove it home.

    The political element does run through the Aeneid, but it would be just as valid if you ignored it: say, you had no idea who Augustus was and what all those references are to. The politics/propaganda *is* valid, and is very important to the poem, but I wouldn't say the poem hinges on it. In fact, I'm inclined to claim something like Virgil used Augustus' patronage to get publicity (and funding) for his work - in return for that, he had to write in some propaganda, which he may even have believed (after all, a lot of it just extols Aeneas as Father of the Romans, and you have to make the jump to it extolling Augustus as descendant of Aeneas) - and what's wrong with a little patriotic feeling in a poem about the foundation of your nation? After all, part of a Roman's pietas is loyalty to his country; so why would Virgil be immune?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    a way in which it doesn't enforce the idea of Aeneas being a fantastic hero and thus promote Augustus as the descendant of a perfect person is:

    In book 10 where upon hearing of Pallas' death at the hand of Turnus Aeneas begins to enact revenge upon every person he meets. He goes as far as to kill supplicants and a priest in cold blood. not what we've come to expect from the epic hero.

    Also in book 4 Aeneas breaks the heart of Dido. A quality that we wouldn't expect to witness from Aeneas
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by lastinglament)
    does anyone have a good point to argue that it is Not a political poem?
    It's a bit petty but the fact that the books were discrete and could be read as individual stories could show that it's not solely propaganda and has value as a 'story'/
    You could make the point that Dido and her death/the sympathy we have for are more for poetic value than about propaganda though you can counter criticise by claiming that the choice of Carthage (because of the punic wars/hannibal etc.) is political and the fact that she references Hannibal in her death speech (he is the "unkown avenger..harry the race of Dardanus") is important.
    Can argue the portrayal of certain characters on the 'other side' such as Lasus and Camilla moves away from politics and focus on the portrayal of battle although the character of Lasus exhibits extreme piety- something that's obviously a reference to Augustan morals.
    You can argue that book two is not relevant to the over-arching political aim of the book but it is an exciting story to read/listen to and builds up the character of Aeneas.


    I would find this question so difficult, really hope it doesn't come up!!
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    All the things that go on in the Aeneid are for Rome, but the way Virgil writes some parts of it shows a personal response of pity/pathos/sympathy for the sufferers and not the ultimate glory of Rome. Some examples would be the suicide of Dido (Aeneas must leave for Rome, but the reader is left feeling very sorry for her), the unjust death of Laecoon & sons, unjust death of Palinurus, the early deaths of Pallas and Lausus and even the sympathetic style Mezentius' death is written - despite his brutal history.

    Also, the poem ends with Aeneas killing Turnus - losing self-control (against Augustan values) despite Turnus mentioning Aeneas' father (an aspect of piety). Theoretically, revenge wasn't a Roman ideal and the end of the poem leaves Aeneas as a killer (and Aeneas is supposed to represent Augustus) rather than perhaps the expected celebration of Rome itself, if it was pure propaganda.

    Also, Aeneas is far from perfect. E.g. human sacrifices after the death of Pallas & the loss of control which leads him to kill Lausus, although he regrets it afterwards.

    If the Aeneid was just propaganda, as it was originally commissioned to be by Augustus, then it would have been lost amongst other historical texts and not stand out as poetry. I do wonder if Augustus was really all that happy with the outcome. It certainly doesn't flat out praise the Augustan regime as he probably would have expected.
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
Turn on thread page Beta
Updated: June 14, 2011

University open days

  • University of Bradford
    All faculties Undergraduate
    Wed, 21 Nov '18
  • Buckinghamshire New University
    All Faculties Postgraduate
    Wed, 21 Nov '18
  • Heriot-Watt University
    All Schools Postgraduate
    Wed, 21 Nov '18
Poll
Black Friday: Yay or Nay?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.