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The Aeneid1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2016

R. D. Williams
University of Reading
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We know that Virgil, like Milton, spent many preliminary years in planning an epic poem, turning over the possibilities, practising his skill and techniques on other genres before undertaking the most ambitious of all the literary types. He tells us himself at the beginning of the sixth eclogue that when he wished to sing of kings and battles, Apollo warned him to keep to pastoral poetry; and in the proem to Geo. iii he promises to make a temple of song whose shrine shall be Caesar’s, and on the doors will be pictures of the conquering Romans and of their glorious ancestors.

He did not in the end sing of Alban kings, nor yet (directly) of the battles of Caesar: he selected instead a subject which offered wide scope within his chosen area of interest.

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 1967

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page no 23 note 1

For commentaries on the Aeneid, see the Appendix to this article: for the major literary studies, see p. 4 notes 1 and 2 and p. 28 n. 4.


page no 23 note 2 Servius in his comment says that Virgil refers either to the Aeneid or to a poem on the Alban kings, and Servius auct. adds various other possibilities. Donatus (Vita 19) says that Virgil began a Roman theme but finding his material uncongenial (offensus materia) went over to pastoral instead.

page no 23 note 3 On the Aeneas legend before Virgil, see Nettleship in Conington’s edition, vol. ii (fourth ed.), xlv ff., Glover, ch. iv, Brinkman, J. A., CJ liv (1958-9), 25 Google Scholar ff., and the intro, to my Aeneid Hi, 7 ff., where fuller bibliography is given. The outstanding instance of Virgil’s variation from the prose version which we find in Dionysius is the story of Dido and the second visit to Sicily. There is some evidence that Naevius brought Dido into the Aeneas legend, but it is certain that the scope and extent of this part of the story is Virgil’s own.

page no 24 note 1 Heinze, R., Virgils epische Technik, first ed. (Leipzig, 1903)Google Scholar.

page no 24 note 2 Entretiens sur l’antiquité classique (Fondation Hardt), vol. ii: L’influence grecque sur la poésie latine (Geneva, 1956), 131 ff.

page no 24 note 3 Knight, W. F. Jackson, Roman Vergil (London, 1944, second ed., Peregrine, 1966), esp. 104 Google Scholar ff.

page no 24 note 4 Knauer, G. N., Die Aeneis und Homer (Göttingen, 1964)Google Scholar; see also his short summary in GRBS v (1964), 61 ff.

page no 25 note 1 Auerbach, Erich, Mimesis (Berne, 1946, trans. 1953)Google Scholar; see also Lewis, Bowra, Tillyard (cited in note 4 p. 28).

page no 25 note 2 Matthew Arnold’s terms (On Translating Homer).

page no 26 note 1 See p. 32.

page no 26 note 2 See pp. 33-34.

page no 26 note 3 Knox, B. M. W., AJP lxxi (1950), 379 Google Scholar ff.; see also Brooks, R. A., AJP lxxiv (1953), 260 Google Scholar ff. (the Golden Bough); Newton, F. L., TAPA lxxxviii (1957), 31 Google Scholar ff.; Fenik, B., AJP lxxx (1959), 1 Google Scholar ff.; Segal, C. P., Arion iv (1965), 617 Google Scholar ff. and v (1966), 34 ff.

page no 26 note 4 See Graves, Robert, Oxford Addresses on Poetry (London, 1962), 27 Google Scholar ff., and Sforza, F., CR xlix (1935), 97 Google Scholar ff.

page no 26 note 5 Servius in his introductory note to his commentary on the Aeneid says ‘intentio Vergilii haec est, Homerum imitari et Augustum laudare a parentibus’; cf. Donatus (Vita 21). See my article in Antichthon i (1967).

page no 26 note 6 See R. D. Williams, ‘The Opening Scenes of the Aeneid’, Proc. Virgil Soc. (1965-6), 14 ff.

page no 28 note 1 Critics who have particulary stressed the Roman spirit of the poem (besides Otis and Pöschl, whose books are discussed further on) include Eliot, T. S., What is a Classic? and Virgil and the Christian World in Poetry and Poets (London, 1957)Google Scholar; Warde Fowler (p. 4 n. 1); Klingner (p. 4 n. 2); Haecker, T., Virgil, Father of the West (Bonn, 1933, trans. Wheen, A. W., 1934)Google Scholar.

page no 28 note 2 Myers’s phrase ‘accent of brooding sorrow’ has been often used, and the most quoted line of the Aeneid has been sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.

page no 28 note 3 Ridley, M. R., Studies in Three Literatures (London, 1962)Google Scholar.

page no 28 note 4 As well as Otis, Pöschl, and Putnam (discussed later) and Bowra and Tillyard (p. 4 n. 2) see Nettleship, H., Suggestions Introductory to a Study of the Aeneid (Lectures and Essays, Oxford, 1885)Google Scholar; Glover, ch. xii; Lewis, C. S., A Preface to Paradise Lost (Oxford, 1942), ch. vi Google Scholar; Mackail’s, J. W. Aeneid(Oxford, 1930)Google Scholar, Intro, lxiii ff.; Parry, A., ‘The Two Voices of Virgil’s Aeneid’, Arion ii (4) (1963), 66 Google Scholar ff.

page no 29 note 1 The readingpacisque must now be finally abandoned: see Fraenkel, E., Mus. Helv. xix (1962), 133 Google Scholar. For mos in this meaning cf. Aen. viii. 316 guis neque mos neque cultus etat.

page no 29 note 2 This is certainly the correct punctuation: see Page’s excellent note.

page no 29 note 3 See Conway, R. S., The Structure of Aeneid vi (Essays and Studies Presented to William Ridgeway [Cambridge, 1913], 1 ft)Google Scholar.

page no 29 note 4 For Virgil’s use of Ennius see Bowra, C. M.. CQ xxiii (1929), 65 Google Scholar ff., and Norden, E., Ennius und Vergilius (Leipzig, 1915)Google Scholar.

page no 30 note 1 See Otis, ch. ii; Quinn, K., The Catullan Revolution (Melbourne, 1959)Google Scholar; H. W. Garrod in the introduction to the Oxford Book of Latin Verse, pp. xvi ff.

page no 30 note 2 For Catullus and Virgil see R. E. H. Westendorp Boerma, Acta Classica (1958), 55 ff.

page no 30 note 3 For example Aen. iv. 316, Cat. lxiv. 141; Aen. iv. 657-8, Cat. lxiv. 171-2.

page no 31 note 1 Cf. also Conington: ‘We are wearied, it must be confessed, of being continually reminded of his piety’; and Wight Duff: ‘The Aeneid succeeds in spite of its hero’; ‘Aeneas is too often a puppet’.

page no 31 note 2 Otis and Pöschl emphasize the positive moral qualities of Aeneas; Perret, Clausen (HSP lxviii [1964], 139 ff.) and MacKay, (TAPA xciv [1963], 157 ff.)Google Scholar emphasize his human failings. See also Lewis and Bowra (p. 28 n. 4), and Semple, W. H., Bull. John Rylands Library xxxiv (1951), 119 CrossRefGoogle Scholar ff., Enk, P. J., Latomus xvi (1957), 628 Google Scholar ff. Sullivan, F. A., AJP xvii (1959), 150 Google Scholarff., Dudley, D. R., Greece & Rome N.s. viii (1961), 52 CrossRefGoogle Scholar ff., Goseage, A. J., Phoenix xvii (1963), 131 CrossRefGoogle Scholar ff., McGushin, P., AJP lxxxv (1964), 225 Google Scholar ff., Poe, J. P., TAPA xcvi (1965), 321 Google Scholar ff., and Commager’s introduction (p. 4 n. 2).

page no 32 note 1 Pöschi, V., Die Dichtkunst Virgils: Bild und Symbol in der Aeneis (Innsbruck, 1950, trans. Seligson, 1962)Google Scholar. For a brief and popular presentation of his views about Augustan values see also Cjf lvi (1960-1), 290 ff.

page no 32 note 2 See pp. 33-34.

page no 32 note 3 See p. 34.

page no 32 note 4 Brooks Otis, Virgil: a Study in Civilized Poetry (Oxford, 1963)Google Scholar.

page no 33 note 1 Putnam, M. C. J., The Poetry of the Aeneid (Harvard, 1965)Google Scholar.

page no 34 note 1 Latin Explorations (London, 1963), 29-58; Greece & Rome, N.s. xii (1965), 16 ff.

page no 35 note 1 See Bowra, C. M., Greece& Rome iii (1933-4), 8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar ff., and Edwards, M. W., Phoenix xiv (1960), 151 Google Scholar ff.

page no 35 note 2 See Bailey, C., Religion in Virgil (Oxford, 1935), 275 Google Scholar ff.; Williams, R. D., Greece & Rome N.s. xi (1964), 48 Google Scholarff.

page no 36 note 1 Williams, R. D., Phoenix xvii (1963), 266 CrossRefGoogle Scholar ff.

page no 36 note 2 This vital distinction between Virgil and Homer is discussed from varying aspects by Lewis, Bowra, Tillyard (p. 28 n. 4), Haecker (p. 28 n. 1), and Otis.

page no 36 note 3 See Austin’s edition, Intro, pp. xiv ff.

page no 37 note 1 See Otis’s excellent article in TAPA xc (1959), 165 ff.

page no 37 note 2 Studies on the character of Turnus include (in addition to Otis, Pöschl, Putnam, Bowra) Small, S. G. P., TAPA xc (1959), 243 Google Scholar ff. (with full bibliography); worth, G. E. Duck, TAPA xcii (1961), 81 Google Scholar ff.; Thornton, Agatha H. F., Greece & Rome xxii (1953), 82 CrossRefGoogle Scholar ff.

page no 37 note 3 See Otis, ch. vii; Heinze, pp. 210 ff.; Bowra, pp. 56 ff.

page no 38 note 1 See Anderson, W. S., TAPA lxxxviii (1957). 17 Google Scholar ff.; MacKay, L. A., Tapa xxxviii (1957). 11 Google Scholar ff; Spaeth, J. W., CJ xlvi (1950-1), 277 Google Scholarff.

page no 39 note 1 Bailey, C., Religion in Virgil (Oxford, 1935)Google Scholar; Boyancé, P., La Religion de Virgile (Paris, 1963)Google Scholar.

page no 39 note 2 Williams, R. D., Vergilius xi (1965), 11 Google Scholar ff.

page no 39 note 3 The Harpies are from Apollonius, but the spirit of the episode is of the kind I am describing, and its context is from the cattle of the Sun-god in Odyssey xii.

page no 40 note 1 See R. D. Williams, Antichthon i (1967).

page no 41 note 1 R. S. Conway, ‘The Architecture of the Epic’, (Harvard Lectures on the Vergilian Age, 1928).

page no 41 note 2 See the introductions to my editions of these books.

page no 41 note 3 See Duckworth, G. E., AJP lxxv (1954), 1 Google Scholar ff., and TAPA lxxxviii (1957), 1 ff.

page no 41 note 4 Camps, W. A., CQ N.s. iv (1954). 214 CrossRefGoogle Scholarff. and CQ N.s. ix (1959), 53 ff.; Perret, Virgile2 , 113 ff.; Otis, 217 ff.

page no 41 note 5 Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1962.

page no 42 note 1 Roman Vergil2 (Peregrine, 1966), ch. v, and Appendix i and ii.

page no 42 note 2 The Latin Language(London, 1954), 111 ff.

page no 42 note 3 Latin Explorations (London, 1963), ch. viii.

page no 42 note 4 CQ N.s. ix (1959), 181 ff.

page no 42 note 5 Vergilius (RE), pp. 227 ff., 299 ff., 409 ff.

page no 42 note 6 As, for example, Norden’s Aeneid vi, and the Oxford editions of ii, iii, iv, v.

page no 42 note 7 Marouzeau, J., Traité ae stylistique latine3 (Paris, 1954)Google Scholar; L’Ordre des mots dans la phrase latine, 3 vols. (Paris, 1922-49).

page no 42 note 8 Wilkinson, L. P., Golden Latin Artistry (Cambridge, 1963)Google Scholar.

page no 42 note 9 See Wilkinson and Marouzeau (notes 8 and 7 above); Wilkinson, L. P., CQ xxxiv (1940), 30 CrossRefGoogle Scholar ff.; Ashcroft, A. H., Greece & Rome xx(1951), 97 CrossRefGoogle Scholarff.—a good brief account; F. R. Dale, The Stateliest Measure, Presidential Address to the Virgil Society, 1952; Duckworth, G., TAPA xcv (1964), 965 Google Scholar, where full bibliographical references are given.

page no 43 note 1 Knight, W. F. Jackson, Accentual Symmetry in Vergil (Oxford, 1939)Google Scholar, and Roman Vergil2 , 292 ff.; L. P. Wilkinson, Golden Latin Artistry, 90 ff.

page no 43 note 2 See Allen, W. S., Vox Latina: a guide to the pronunciation of Classical Latin (Cambridge, 1965), 83 Google Scholar ff. for a summary and references.

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