Inspired by Homer, and the inspiration for Dante and Milton, Virgil's The Aeneid is an immortal epic poem of the ancient world that lies at the heart of Western life and culture, translated from the Latin with an introduction by David West in Penguin Classics. After a century of civil strife in Rome and Italy, Virgil wrote The Aeneid to honour the emperor Augustus by praising Aeneas - Augustus' legendary ancestor.
As a patriotic epic imitating Homer, The Aeneid also set out to provide rome with a literature equal to that of ancient Greece.
It tells of Aeneas, survivor of the sack of Troy, and of his seven-year journey - to Carthage, where he tragically fell in love with Queen Dido; then to the underworld, in the company of the Sybil of Cumae; and finally to Italy, where he founded Rome.
It is a story of defeat and exile, of love and war, hailed by Tennyson as 'the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man'.
David West's acclaimed prose translation is accompanied by an updated introduction, Including a new discussion of each of the twelve books of The Aeneid. Publius Virgilius Maro (70-19 BC) studied rhetoric and philosophy in Rome where he became a court poet. As well as The Aeneid, his Eclogues and Georgics earned him the reputation as the finest Latin poet. If you enjoyed The Aeneid, you might like Homer's The Iliad, also available in Penguin Classics. 'The most truthful translation ever, conveying as many nuances and whispers as are possible from the original' The Times 'Sweet prose, clear and clean and dancing like a mountain stream, as here ...West opens the window and the winds bring life into Virgil's body' Wall Street Journal
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages, maps, further reading, index
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 27/03/2003
- Category: Poetry by individual poets
- ISBN: 9780140449327
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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by Unreachableshelf
In my opinion, the greatest of the Classical epics. The Aeneid does not merely praise the glory of Rome and Augustus by exhalting Aeneas; it conveys a melancholy for everything that Aeneas, the Trojans, and even their enemies underwent in order to bring about fate. Rome's enemy Carthage, and even Hannibal who lead the invading army, is here depicted as the eventual avengers of a woman abandoned by her lover not for any fault of her own, but merely because the gods required him to be elsewhere. The Italians are shown as glorious warriors, whose necessary deaths in battle may not be worth it. Finally there is the end, not with the joy of triumph, but with the death moan of the Italian leader. The translation by David West perfectly captures the tone of the original.
Review by TybaltCapulet
Aeneas is the son of a goddess. His wife is dead. His home is destroyed because someone decided to run away with the wife of a Greek King named Helena. A prophecy is guiding him to Latium, an area of Italy where his descendants will become the greatest empire of mankind. But first, there is an epic that has to happen.The story is not entirely unlike The Odyssey. There are some parallels, and there are some things that are put in to place to basically say, "This is happening at the same time" because it is.Suicidal queens, vengeful royalty, and large sea voyages are abound in this epic tale.