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Barron's Booknotes-The Aeneid by Virgil-Free Book Summary
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(I. 148-156)

In this simile Virgil has described the storm as though it were a civil war, with people fighting in the streets. He shows that a strong leader can calm the people and bring order out of chaos. You'll recall that, when Virgil began the Aeneid, the emperor Augustus had finally ended a century of civil strife by his strong leadership. In this way Virgil relates his story to recent events in Rome.

NOTE:

An epic simile is a poetic device in which one thing, such as a storm at sea, is compared to another thing, such as a civil war. We won't discuss all the epic similes in the Aeneid, but you can have fun trying to spot them. They often begin with "like" or "as" and they usually compare a person or event with something in nature.

Saved from the storm, Aeneas and the remainder of his fleet find themselves near the north coast of Africa and head for the nearest harbor. Even though Aeneas is exhausted, he climbs a mountain, hoping to signal a passing ship. No luck. But suddenly three stags and a herd of deer appear. Quickly he shoots seven with his arrows and carries them back to the Trojan camp. There the men find some wine, still safe in one of the ships, and everyone stretches out on the grass, sipping wine while the meat cooks.

Aeneas gives a little speech, telling his comrades to cheer up, to forget their fear and sadness, and to hope for better days that fate has promised. What he doesn't mention-this is typical of Aeneas-is his own sorrow over his lost comrades and his dread about the future. We begin to see that Aeneas does have leadership qualities: for one, he takes responsibility. But we also see that he hides his true feelings in order to do so.

At this point the scene shifts back to the gods and we are introduced to Jupiter (also called Jove), the king of the gods, and Venus, who is Aeneas' mother.


NOTE:

In classical mythology the gods sometimes had children with mortal men and women. Aeneas is the son of Venus and a mortal man, Anchises. Later on, you'll see that people often call Aeneas "goddess-born." This means that he is semi-divine. This myth explains why Julius Caesar, who claimed that he was descended from Aeneas, could proclaim himself a god while he was emperor. While Augustus didn't go quite this far, he was revered in Rome as godlike because he restored peace.

Venus is upset. She reminds Jupiter of his promise that the Trojans would found Rome and that Rome would rule the world. Jupiter is perfectly calm and tells Venus that everything is going just as it should, according to fate. To calm her he prophesies that Aeneas will find Italy, win a great war there, and start his city, Lavinium. (In the Aeneid, Italy is sometimes called Latium or Lavinia. Lavinium and Alba Longa are the names of the cities that came before the actual founding of Rome). Three hundred thirty-three years from this time, Romulus and Remus will build the walls around the city and call it Rome, after Romulus.

To these I set no bounds in space or time; They shall rule forever...

And from this great line Will come a Trojan, Caesar, to establish The limit of his empire at the ocean, His glory at the stars, a man called Julius Whose name recalls Iulus.


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Barron's Booknotes-The Aeneid by Virgil-Free Book Summary
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