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Myths and Legends HUM 2051: Civilization I Fall 2014 Dr. Perdigao October 20-22, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Myths and Legends HUM 2051: Civilization I Fall 2014 Dr. Perdigao October 20-22, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Myths and Legends HUM 2051: Civilization I Fall 2014 Dr. Perdigao October 20-22, 2014

2 The Legacy Founding of Rome in 753 BCE with mythological beginnings Legend that it was founded by Romulus and Remus; abandoned, they were raised by she-wolf 270 BCE—Roman lit began when Greek slave translated The Odyssey from Greek to Latin Begins with translation—Greek imitation—essential to formation of Rome, Roman culture Only 2 kinds of literature Romans excelled at: lyric and epic

3 Contextualizing Virgil Virgil (70 BCE-19 BCE) In spirit of imitation and respect but Romans also alter by enlargement (size and grandeur) Inheritance, respect, but alteration by change Virgil was a member of literary and social avant garde, goal to challenge government His aim was to trace responses to government through literature (like Ovid and Catullus) but with new empire of Augustus Chaos and order—order as the ascendancy of the power of Augustus

4 Constructing The Aeneid Values: –Respect for the past –Personal subordinated for good of family/state –Intense reverence for authority –Stoic self-control (emotions held in check) Virgil reimagines Homeric hero while at the same time honoring tradition of Homer’s epic and imitating it Virgil spent 12 years on The Aeneid. At the time of his death, he wanted to write for three more years; when he was on his deathbed he told his friends to destroy it because he “hadn’t gotten it right yet.” But it is considered one of the most “perfected” works

5 Virgil’s Frames As “eulogy” of Roman values (early reference to Fides and Vesta [939]), the cost at which they are achieved and sustained Translation from prose to poetic form (not always complete hexameter lines) After completing the poem, he tries to fix remaining lines but does not change chronological sequence

6 Virgil’s Tradition Eclogues (37 BCE) as country vs. city life, pastorals Georgics (29 BCE) as farmer-animal husbandry—practical compared to idealized country life in Eclogues Politics of The Aeneid: idealization of central authoritative political power as best way to organize society Beehives—symbol of Georgics —centralized authoritative figure, all subordinated to task for good of the hive Beehive—as ideal community, Roman politics As cautionary tale from the history of the Republic?

7 Structure and Form The Aeneid —title Imitates The Iliad —but names the character, combines 2 works Invokes muse, begins in medias res, includes epic similes, Homeric epithets (pious Aeneas, dutiful Aeneas) But the change is the focus on founding Rome rather than on personality of Aeneas Issue of destiny—as action (unimaginable in Homer’s works) Books 1-6=wanderings of Aeneas from Troy, reflection of The Odyssey Books 7-12=battles of Aeneas and his troops, reflection of The Iliad

8 New Order Aeneas’ epithet is “pious” while the Greek hero’s physical and intellectual traits are emphasized; Aeneas’ ethics, piety or devotion to his family, gods, and country are emphasized Nostos=homecoming... Journey Pietas=deep respect and reverence for one’s father, family, country, ancestors, and the gods Augustus (Julius Caesar’s great-nephew, adopted son): rule=civic renewal of Rome, revival of traditional religious devotion, and the fostering of a new patriotism. The arts become important vehicles for the ideals reflected in Virgil’s work.

9 Comparison of Terms Achilles and Odysseus are motivated by “obligation by personal gain and glory and display heroic wrath” while Aeneas is driven by obligation or duty (pietas) (Quartarone 202). Juno’s wrath as motivation—like anger of Poseidon ( Odyssey ) and wrath of Achilles ( Iliad ); her anger over Dido and Carthage, injured honor (202) Venus—Thetis ( Iliad ), Athena ( Odyssey ), as protectresses Mercury intervenes to tell Aeneas that he must forsake personal glory and personal relationships (like/unlike when Hermes tells Odysseus that he must leave Calypso)

10 Close Readings Opening lines, invocation to the muse, conceptual shift “Is this / The palm for loyalty? This our power restored?” (937) Response: “fated things to come,” the “gift of empire without end” (938). From mythical beginnings to reality Dido’s story, betrayal, Sychaeus, Pygmalion Venus’ treatment of Aeneas, disguise Venus’ spell Ascanius/Iulus (“while Ilium stood”) Stories retold, caution of Trojans emphasized

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