The Aeneid

Virgil (Robert Fagles Translation)
Reading Order: Book 20
Categories: 2020, Erik Rostad
Fiction
Pages: 386
Date Started: June 26, 2020
Date Finished: July 5, 2020
16h 12m 23s
Reason Book was Chosen: I heard someone discuss Robert Fagles version of the Aeneid somewhere - most likely on a podcast. I don't recall what podcast or who discussed it, but it intrigued me enough to add it to this year's list. I also want to be engaging with these ancient works on a yearly basis.

My Thoughts

Wow – this was awesome! Myth and history combining to tell the story of the founding of the Romans and connecting it to the fall of Troy. The first half covers Aeneas’ wanderings from the fall of Troy to his date with destiny in Italy. The second half covers battles with the native Latins already living in Italy. It’s an epic in the full sense of the word.

I read the Robert Fagles translation with the introduction by Bernard Knox. It was very helpful. Knox’s introduction set the stage. I usually avoid introductions, but this one was very helpful, and in my case, necessary. I didn’t know anything about The Aeneid going into it. I mean, even the basics. The introduction provided the proper mindset to begin reading the book.

Then, there is a fantastic map at the beginning of the story and a thorough glossary at the end. I used the map to note down page numbers for when Aeneas was in each location. I used the glossary to look up gods, characters, and locations. I would have been completely lost without the map and glossary. The glossary also assisted in connecting the names of the gods in Latin to those same gods in Greek.

It’s incredible to think that this has been read for 2000 years. The battle scenes were so vivid. The slaughter of Troy at the beginning was incredibly tragic. I could almost picture myself there watching loved ones and friends being hacked to death before my eyes. Can you imagine? Virgil puts you right in the thick of it. The Greeks have just entered Troy through the famous Trojan horse and we get to see things from the other side.

I am so glad I read The Aeneid. I took it very slowly. I wanted to look up each god, person, and place mentioned. I re-read some sections multiple times. It’s an epic worth reading and worth reading well.

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