This seminar examines Virgil’s Aeneid as well as the pivotal and turbulent context that led to its creation. The course begins with an introduction to the political turmoil that encompassed the fall of the Roman Republic and Octavian’s rise to power as Augustus Caesar, supreme ruler of the Roman Empire. It will then turn to explore the influence of Greece on the development of Roman culture and on Virgil’s development as a poet. Virgil’s objective in the Aeneid was to provide a mythic narrative to explain the Roman people as a continuation in Italy of the Trojans celebrated by Homer. The Aeneid was the culmination of Virgil’s literary career and this seminar will emphasize Virgil’s poetic invention of the idea of Rome, and the lasting influence of that idea in both Europe and the United States.
Virgil. The Aeneid. Trans. Robert Fagles. Penguin Classics, 2008. ISBN-10: 0143105132.
Heaney, Seamus. Aeneid Book VI: A new Verse Translation. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017. ISBN-10: 0374537046.
NORMAN AUSTIN is Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Arizona. With his B.A. from Toronto and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, he has taught Greek and Latin literature at several universities. He joined the University of Arizona in 1980. He has taught courses in epic, tragedy, and philosophy, and numerous Humanities Seminars. He has published five books on Greek literature and myth.